Originally created 04/18/99

Additional area news



Fire investigated as possible arson

A house fire Friday night in Crawford Mill subdivision is being investigated by the Martinez Fire Department as possible arson.

Firefighters were dispatched to the house, located at the corner of Belglade Road and East Creek Mill Court, at approximately 8:11 p.m. after smoke was reported coming from the house, Martinez Fire Department Chief Gary Thigpen said.

The fire is suspicious because the home only recently had been built and was vacant at the time, Chief Thigpen said. Also, electricity at the home had not been turned on.

Chief Thigpen said the fire began in a back room of the house, and it appeared that someone had broken in to start the blaze.

Firefighters were able to put the fire out quickly, and there was only minimal damage done. An official ruling on the fire is expected by Monday, Chief Thigpen said.

Republicans choose new officers

Republicans in the 10th Congressional District chose their new officers Saturday.

The district's Republican Convention was held in Lincolnton. Officers chosen by the 150 delegates attending will serve two-year terms.

Jeff Davis III from Dublin is the new district chairman, replacing Leroy Lewis, who did not run for re-election.

Mike Carrington from McDuffie County was elected first vice chairman; Rob Blandingburg from Columbia County, second vice chairman; Dan Jordan from Monticello, third vice chairman; Jim Wallace from Dublin, secretary; and Paul Webster from Richmond County, treasurer.

U.S. Representative Charlie Norwood, R-Ga., who serves the 24 counties in the district, was keynote speaker at the convention.

The event was a prelude to the Republican state convention, scheduled for May 21-22 at Augusta-Richmond County Civic Center.

Election meetings scheduled

The Aiken County Registration and Election Commission has scheduled a public meeting for Monday at 7 p.m. in the Aiken County Council Building, 736 Richland Ave. W., to discuss the voter registration and election processes.

In addition, the elections office now is taking applications for poll managers. Those wishing to help with local, state and federal elections may apply by calling 642-1528 or 642-2028.

Poll workers are required to attend at least six hours of training and are paid on a per diem basis.

Drainage work to close road

Olive Road, between Essie McIntyre Boulevard and Eagle's Way, will be closed until Friday, according to the city's Public Works and Engineering Department.

Contractors are improving the drainage system and adjusting the waterline. Traffic will be detoured from Olive Road to Eagle's Way to 15th Street, then to Essie McIntyre Boulevard and back to Olive Road.

Suspect to fight extradition

GAINESVILLE -- A Georgia man accused of killing two Oklahoma residents will battle extradition to that state.

James Chandler Rider, 37, refused to waive the process Friday, said Paul Stanley, assistant prosecutor for the Hall/Dawson judicial circuit.

Mr. Rider is wanted in Oklahoma on two counts of felony murder in the April 9 shooting deaths of Sam Hallum, 40, and his 70-year-old mother, Daisy Hallum. He is being held without bond. Oklahoma Bureau of Investigation agents who were in Gainesville to take custody of the Flowery Branch resident went home empty-handed.

Mr. Rider was arrested April 11 at Northeast Georgia Medical Center, where he was receiving treatment for a broken arm.

Hall County sheriff's Lt. Art Jetton said the arrest came after an April 9 alert by authorities in Pittsburg County, Okla., that Mr. Rider was a suspect in the slayings of the Hallums. An extradition hearing for Mr. Rider is scheduled for May 14.

Police arrest two men in rape

ATHENS -- Authorities have arrested two men in connection with last month's rape of a University of Georgia student.

Albert Lee Johnson Jr., 19, and Anthony Leon Johnson, 27, both of Athens, are thought to be distant cousins. They were charged Friday with kidnapping, armed robbery and aggravated sodomy.

The 20-year-old student was attacked early March 27 as she made her way from downtown Athens to her university dormitory.

She allegedly was robbed at gunpoint, led to a secluded area and sexually assaulted.

Albert Johnson already is in jail on charges of pointing a gun at a person. The charged stemmed from a domestic incident.

Anthony Johnson was arrested Friday soon after being asked in for questioning.

Sen. Drummond's wife dies

GREENWOOD -- Holly Self Drummond, the wife of Senate President Pro Tem John Drummond, D-Ninety Six, died Saturday after suffering a heart attack.

She was 77.

Mr. Drummond, the Senate's senior member, had left the chamber early Friday after his wife suffered the heart attack at Self Memorial Hospital.

Lawmakers later delayed final action on changes in video gambling rules that had been debated all week.

Mrs. Drummond was the daughter of the late William O. and Sue Self.

She was a graduate of Ninety Six High School and a 1943 honor graduate of Winthrop University.

She was a member of a variety of local organizations and had served as a member of the boards of visitors of Winthrop and Piedmont Technical colleges.

Gov. Jim Hodges plans to attend the funeral at 11 a.m. Monday at the First Baptist Church in Ninety Six.

Mrs. Drummond is survived by her husband; three sons, John H. Drummond and Richard Drummond, both of Greenwood, and Robert Drummond, Ninety Six.

Workers find old graves

BEAUFORT -- Construction workers restoring St. Helena's Episcopal Church have uncovered four graves beneath the church that apparently date to 1842 or earlier, a member of the restoration committee says.

Tombstones from the graves will be removed, cleaned and placed on display. The 278-year-old church in downtown Beaufort is filled with historical information, and the newly discovered tombstones will be a welcome addition, committee members say.