Originally created 03/09/99

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Students arrested at two high schools

Two Columbia County high school students were removed from school by police Monday after the discovery of weapons and drugs.

At Harlem High School, a 17-year-old student was arrested after officials allegedly found a hunting knife in his car. Joe Kent of the 100 block of Chinook Court in Grovetown was charged with possession of a weapon on school property and was taken to the Columbia County Detention Center, said sheriff's Capt. Steve Morris.

At first, school officials suspected the Harlem High junior of having drugs in his car. But after searching the vehicle with help from a sheriff's narcotics dog, only the knife was discovered, Capt. Morris said.

Also Monday, a 15-year-old Evans High School student was charged with the unlawful possession of prescription medication, Capt. Morris said.

Police were called to the school after a teacher became concerned about the peculiar behavior of two students, he said. After an investigation, authorities determined the students were under the influence of Xanax, which they had obtained from a third student, Capt. Morris said.

Authorities found 25 Xanax tablets in the possession of the 15-year-old Martinez youth.

He was taken before Juvenile Court Judge Jim Blanchard and sent to Augusta Regional Youth Detention Center to await a hearing. Authorities refused to release the teen's name because of his age. The other two students were not charged, Capt. Morris said.

Victim had low blood sugar

An Augusta woman who died in a car accident Sunday after she apparently lost control of her car was a diabetic with very low blood sugar, authorities said Monday.

Marie London, 82, of the 2300 block of Minto Street, died at about 2 p.m. Sunday at Medical College of Georgia Hospital after she struck two cars while police tried to pull her over, said Richmond County sheriff's Maj. Richard Weaver.

A patrol deputy spotted her heading east on Wrightsboro Road crossing Highland Avenue at about 1 p.m., and she was swerving across the road, Maj. Weaver said. When the deputy tried to pull her over, she kept going, crossing the center line.

Ms. London sideswiped Carolyn S. Mock, 52, of Warrenville, as she was driving west on Wrightsboro Road. Ms. London continued on, striking Earl R. Rice, 75, head-on. Ms. London was taken to MCG, where she died about an hour later.

Engineer suggests renovations

An engineer hired by the Harlem City Council recommended Monday that the city make $1.1 million in renovations to its wastewater treatment plant.

Scott Godefroy, hired as an engineering consultant to evaluate the plant, suggested the plant's offices be upgraded because equipment from 1972 was still in use and a separate bathroom with shower should be added. He suggested more plant staffing.

Among other equipment upgrades, Mr. Godefroy said the plant's oxidation ponds should be cleaned and sewage disinfected without chlorination.

Mayor Shirley Tankersley asked Mr. Godefroy whether changes could be done in phases. The report will be updated with more details before the council acts, Mr. Godefroy said.

Grovetown grants contracts

Grovetown city officials have awarded contracts totaling more than $300,000 for three construction projects.

The largest contract was given Monday to Blair Construction for the initial building phase of baseball fields off Newmantown Road. The Evans firm submitted the lower of two bids -- $238,163 -- for earth grading and construction of a road and parking area for the future playing fields.

City council selected a Lawrenceville, Ga., firm to serve as architect and construction supervisor for the new city hall. Precision Planning, which worked on Grovetown's public safety building, will get $47,900 to design and implement plans for the new building across from the current city hall.

A Thomson, Ga., firm, Hitt Brothers Construction, was selected to build a $21,600 office addition to the city's water treatment plant. Hitt Brothers was the only bidder.

Panel backs $1.6 million for Y2K

Under the gun to make government computers immune to the millennium bug, an Augusta commission panel Monday approved spending $1.6 million on computer hardware, software, consulting services and employees.

The bulk of the money will be for a capital lease of $400,457 a year for three years for personal computer and printer hardware; and software for registry of deeds, business licenses, building permits and imaging software.

The plan includes reorganizing the city's information technology department as recommended by the city's recent efficiency study, which called for two more employees to deal with new personal computers and printers.

The vote Monday by the city's public safety committee must be approved by the full Augusta Commission.

Officials donate from mayor fund

An Augusta Commission committee moved Monday to donate $10,000 of Mayor Bob Young's contingency fund to the Metro Augusta Chamber of Commerce's annual Red Carpet Tour.

The chamber requested the money to help pay for a Masters Week dinner for visiting business and industry representatives. Commissioner Jerry Brigham proposed taking the money from Mr. Young's discretionary fund.

But Commissioner Henry Brigham suggested the entire commission should help with the donation, especially since Mr. Young was absent from Monday's meeting and couldn't take part in the discussion. Mr. Young is attending the National League of Cities meeting in Washington.

Jerry Brigham, however, said commissioners had budgeted more money for the mayor to spend at his discretion than they had for themselves.

The full commission is expected to vote on the matter next week.

Rolling car does no harm

Two North Augusta children were unharmed Monday when the car they were sitting in rolled into a tree and a house.

The 5- and 7-year-olds were sitting in their mother's van in the parking lot at Paul Knox Middle School on Wells Road when class was let out at 3 p.m., said Lt. Tim Pearson of the North Augusta Department of Public Safety.

The mother, whose name was not released, was standing about 15-20 feet from the car. Although she was holding the car keys in her hand, one of the children retrieved a spare set from the glove compartment, put the key in the ignition and turned it over. The car did not actually start, but it was knocked into reverse. It rolled and hit a tree and then hit a house.



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