Originally created 02/11/99

Additional area news



State high court turns down appeal

ATLANTA -- Columbia County's appeal of a court judgment awarded to a Martinez man in March was unanimously rejected this week by the Georgia Supreme Court.

Justices ruled Monday to affirm the Columbia County jury's award of $69,000 in damages and attorney fees to S.E. Doolittle. The money is for damage from uncontrolled stormwater running into Mr. Doolittle's pond from subdivision developments near Oakley Pirkle Road.

The high court sent the case back to Columbia County Superior Court for a more specific order relating to the runoff.

Justices ruled that the original court order -- directing the county to return runoff on Mr. Doolittle's land to predevelopment conditions -- was an impossible demand. So the Supreme Court asked that the order be revised.

County Attorney Doug Batchelor said he will ask the high court to reconsider.

Incorporation meeting set

The committee researching the possible incorporation of Beech Island will hold a meeting tonight to present some of its findings.

Three maps of proposed city boundaries will be displayed. Committee members will seek input from the audience on whether they should further investigate how to make Beech Island a town, said Dan Johnson, general chairman of the committee.

The maps, labeled A, B and C, were derived from U.S. Census information as required by law, he said. The property enclosed by Map C was appraised at more than $37 million and includes 325 residents, Mr. Johnson said.

The meeting starts at 7 p.m. at Beech Island Volunteer Fire Department.

Short circuit smokes up room

WAGENER -- An electrical short circuit caused minimal smoke damage Wednesday to a mobile classroom at Wagener-Salley High School.

As students made their way to homerooms, several people noticed smoke drifting from the classroom used for American history and geography classes.

School officials immediately notified the Wagener Volunteer Fire Department, and emergency crews responded before the short ignited into a blaze. By 8:15 a.m., the smoke had cleared.

Damage to the classroom hasn't been tallied, said Assistant Principal Owen McAlister. No one was injured. Classes were moved to the library.

Man arrested at high school

A Grovetown man was arrested Wednesday at Greenbrier High School after he tried to take a student from school without authorization, police said.

Travis Griffin, 20, of the 5500 block of Old Augusta Highway, went to the school Wednesday morning to pick up a student. But Mr. Griffin didn't check with the school office, said Columbia County sheriff's Capt. Steve Morris.

A school safety officer saw the two in the school parking lot and saw what appeared to be contraband in Mr. Griffin's car, Capt. Morris said. A search of the vehicle turned up a bag of what police suspect is marijuana.

Mr. Griffin was charged with misdemeanor marijuana possession and was taken to the Columbia County Detention Center. He was later freed on bonds of $1,050.

The student was returned to school. Authorities declined to identify him because he is under age and wasn't charged.

Fashion show to be held Friday

Augusta's NAACP branch will hold a fashion show Friday to raise money.

Ebony Fashion Fair's "Fashions to Love" begins at 8 p.m. at Bell Auditorium, 712 Telfair St.

Tickets cost $30 and include subscriptions to Ebony or JET magazine. Proceeds from ticket sales will go toward legal funds, youth leadership training and scholarships.

For information, call (706) 869-8854 or (706) 855-7997.

Seniors Prom set for Saturday

Augusta senior citizens can dance the night away Saturday at The Augusta Chronicle's eighth annual Seniors Prom.

The dance will be from 7 to 10 p.m. at Bell Auditorium, 712 Telfair St. Sponsors include Columbia Augusta Medical Center's Senior Friends organization and Kroger supermarkets. A local big band group, Sophisticated Swing, will play classic swing tunes.

Tickets cost $5 and must be purchased in advance. They are available through the Senior Friends program at Columbia Augusta Medical Center and at these locations for The Chronicle: News Building, 725 Broad St. in Augusta; South Carolina Bureau, 123 Pendleton St. N.W. in Aiken; and the Columbia County News Times, 4143 Columbia Road in Martinez. For information, call (706) 823-3443.

Award nominations sought

Nominations are being accepted for the 1999 Firefighters' Appreciation Awards, sponsored by Joseph M. Still Burn Center at Columbia Augusta Medical Center.

The awards, given to outstanding local firefighters, will be presented at a banquet next month.

The community may nominate individual firefighters for their education and community service efforts or for outstanding achievement in saving lives and property. An individual not associated with a fire department but who has been involved in helping save lives or property may be nominated for the Joseph M. Still Citizenship Award.

The banquet begins at 6 p.m. March 19 at North Augusta Community Center. The guest speaker will be retired Aiken Public Safety Director Carroll Busbee.

To submit nominations or get information, call (706) 736-3900.

Jewish facility to be dedicated

Members of the Augusta Jewish Community Center will dedicate their new facility at a gala Saturday night.

The event will include the dedication and music performed by members of the Augusta Opera's outreach program. The black-tie-optional event begins at 8 p.m.

Refreshments will be served. The event is free and open to members and prospective members. Reservations are required. For information, call (706) 228-3636.

Magnet school seeking students

Davidson Fine Arts Magnet School, part of the Richmond County schools system, is taking applications through 4:30 p.m. April 1 for the 1999-2000 school year.

Students interested in auditioning for placement in middle school grades six through eight or high school grades nine through 12 are asked to call the school at (706) 823-6974 for information.

Students must live in Richmond County. Prior training in the arts is not required.

Teen charged in girl's injuries

AUSTELL -- A 15-year-old boy was charged with the attempted murder and rape of a 6-year-old girl who lived in the home where he was staying.

The 6-year-old girl is expected to make a full recovery, Cobb County police spokesman Robert Quigley said Wednesday. The victim was in Scottish Rite Hospital.

The 6-year-old's father and his girlfriend allowed a friend's 15-year-old son to move in with them three weeks ago, Mr. Quigley said. Early Tuesday morning, the father's girlfriend found the little girl crying and bleeding.

"The 15-year-old went into the 6-year-old's bedroom and strangled her until she was unconscious and raped her," Mr. Quigley said.

Authorities charged the teen as an adult.