Originally created 02/18/99

Across the area



Leadership group to clean highway

Leadership Aiken County will clean two miles of Vaucluse Highway on Saturday morning to kick off the group's anti-litter campaign.

The group hopes this will be the start of a campaign drawing the whole county into the fight against litter, said Trish Arnold, project chairwoman for this year's class of Leadership Aiken County.

"From the response we've had already, we feel this is something the whole county can get behind," she said.

The group will adopt Vaucluse Highway from Trolley Line Road to Vaucluse Church of God.

Campaign plans include anti-litter education in schools and a contest for third- through sixth-graders to design a mascot for the group's slogan, "Don't be a litter critter."Recycling center days changeThe days of operation for some Aiken County recycling dropoff centers will change March 1. The hours of operation will remain the same, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

The Belvedere dropoff site at 537 Edgefield Road will be open every day except Sundays. The Langley center at 458 Huber Clay Road will be open daily except Tuesdays and Sundays.

The New Ellenton site at 2120 Williston Road and the Reynolds Pond site at 1491 Reynolds Pond Road will be open Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays.

The Graniteville dropoff center at 214 Bettis Academy Road will be open Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays. The Monetta center at 118 Trojan Road, the Couchton center at 240 New Holland Road and the Windsor center at 102 Cedar Road will be open Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays.

The New Holland center at 121 Chalk Bed Road and the Perry center at 270 Center St. E. will be open Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays. The Wagener Landfill will be open from 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesdays.

Re-elected judge resigns

ATLANTA -- Judge Dorothy Toth Beasley resigned Tuesday from the Georgia Court of Appeals just three months after she won re-election to a six-year term.

Judge Beasley informed Gov. Roy Barnes that she will step down April 1. She declined to give a reason, saying she will make an announcement later this week about her plans.

Mother charged in son's death

DANIELSVILLE -- The mother of a Madison County teen who drowned last month in a pond near Colbert has been charged with involuntary manslaughter and four counts of providing alcohol to a minor after allegedly giving vodka to her son and his friends the night he died.

Laura Gae Peppers, 47, of Colbert, was arrested after the Georgia Bureau of Investigation completed a toxicology report on her son, Kaleb Peppers. The report showed the boy's blood-alcohol content was more than three times the legal limit for driving under the influence, which is 0.08 percent, Madison County Sheriff Clayton Lowe said.

Ms. Peppers, who was released from jail after posting an $11,500 bond, is accused of buying vodka for her son and his three friends. She dropped Kaleb off at a friend's house, allegedly handing him the vodka for the evening.

Kaleb spent the night of Jan. 22 with three friends and was last seen at about midnight. His body was found Jan. 25 in a pond off Swamp Guinea Road.

Panel OKs openness proposals

ATLANTA -- A Georgia Senate committee Wednesday unanimously passed the governor's proposals to crack down on government agencies that illegally close meetings and withhold documents from the public.

The Senate Judiciary Committee sent the two bills, which aim to close loopholes that give state and local governments wiggle room to avoid conducting business in the public eye, to the full Senate. The committee made one minor technical change in the open records bill.

The legislation adds criminal penalties -- a $100 fine for failure to turn over government records and a possible jail sentence for officials who preside over illegally closed meetings.

The open records bill would require governments to respond within three business days to requests for public documents. If the records aren't turned over in that time, agencies must tell what documents are available and set a time for when they can be picked up.

The measure also would force private companies hired to perform government functions to make public any records dealing with their government duties.

Reward offered in escape

REIDSVILLE -- A $500 reward was offered Wednesday for information leading to the capture of three inmates who fled Georgia State Prison in a food service van.

Georgia Corrections Commissioner Wayne Garner posted the reward as the search continued for Danny Pierce, Donnie Fisher and Roy Sanford, who escaped Monday night.

The search was centered south of Reidsville in Surrency, where three men assaulted a homeowner and stole his pickup and three guns. Lookouts were posted from Florida to Texas.

Parents question prison policy

GREENVILLE -- The parents of a 28-year-old man imprisoned for traffic violations want to know why he was in a cell with a recently convicted murderer, who now is suspected of beating the man to death and shoving a pen into his brain through his nose.

Christopher B. Lee of Fountain Inn was in cardiac arrest when jailers found him early Tuesday, Coroner Parks Evans said. He died of chest, neck and face injuries consistent with someone stomping on him.