Originally created 05/08/99

Across the area



Authority OKs bid to refurbish seats

Augusta-Richmond Coliseum Authority's building and grounds committee accepted a $64,454 bid Friday by Country Roads, a Greenville, Mich.-based company, to refurbish 20-year-old seating in the civic center.

The committee opened two bids on the project, one submitted by Country Roads and one from Ivan Allen Co.

Each bidder provided an example of how it would retool the seating, which authority members inspected and tested Friday.

The plan calls for replacing fabric on 900 seat bottoms, 100 seat backs, foam as needed, and materials to repair 1,000 more seat bottoms and 100 seat backs in the future.

Approximately 900 of the arena's blue, flip-down seats are slashed or have holes in them, many being held together with duct tape.

The bid must be approved by the full authority. Officials said the project will take about 10 days to complete and will get under way as soon as possible.

Traffic signal problem returns

Repairs made Thursday by a railroad company to a malfunctioning downtown traffic light were not enough to keep it working properly.

The traffic signal at the intersection of Sixth and Broad streets is once again blinking red, instead of changing to yellow and green to guide drivers.

A number of motorists have complained that police have unfairly ticketed them for not stopping at the light.

City officials said the signal was malfunctioning because of broken railroad equipment that is supposed to change the light when a train is approaching.

Public Works director Jack Murphy said Friday that the city's chief engineer was unable to contact officials at CSX railroad company about the problem.

Pupils' threats lead to charges

An argument Thursday between two Evans Middle School pupils that escalated into threats prompted authorities to bring charges against the teens Friday.

The two eighth-graders -- a 14-year-old girl and a 15-year-old boy -- began arguing during a break, Principal Jeff Carney said Friday. The girl allegedly told the boy she could have someone come to the school with a gun and shoot him.

Capt. Steve Morris of the Columbia County Sheriff's Office said the girl was charged with making terroristic threats, and the boy was charged with simple assault because of alleged threats he made. However, Capt. Morris said, no physical contact was made during the argument.

Mr. Carney said the girl denies making the threat but that other students said they heard her threaten the boy.

The girl has been suspended pending a student hearing, he said.

"We have no reason to believe she would do this," Mr. Carney said. "But because it was pretty specific -- and we're talking about a life-or-death thing -- we're treating that one seriously."

First of three town meetings set

Augusta commissioners will hold one of three scheduled town meetings today to hear suggestions on improving the city and to address residents' concerns.

Several department heads will be present at the 11 a.m. meeting at Gracewood Community Center on Tobacco Road. Representatives from the Richmond County Sheriff's Department, public works, the tax assessor's office, and recreation and parks are expected to be present.

Mayor Bob Young, commissioners and City Administrator Randy Oliver also are expected to attend.

The second town meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. May 25 at Belle Terrace Community Center. The third meeting is set for 7 p.m. June 8 at Warren Road Gym.

Mayor to speak at luncheon

Mayor Bob Young will be the keynote speaker at the Augustans Together meeting Monday.

Augustans Together is a group devoted to promoting racial unity throughout Augusta. Mr. Young will talk about his vision for racial harmony.

The meeting will be held in the smoker's room at Ramada Inn at 640 Broad St. Mr. Young will speak at noon, and a lunch buffet will be served beforehand. Anyone is welcome to attend the meeting, and the only expense is the lunch ticket.Country Club to hold openingThe Country Club, a new downtown restaurant and bar at 1102 Broad St., will have a grand opening celebration today featuring a performance by country band Shiloh.

Happy hour begins at 5 p.m., and the band takes the stage at 9:30, said owner Jackie Wall. Admission to the bar is free if you've purchased an entree from the restaurant or $4 otherwise.

The Country Club features breakfast, lunch and dinner. The restaurant is open 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.; the bar opens at 5 p.m.

Prisons chief was behind bars

ATLANTA -- The state prison system's new No. 3 official knows what it's like to spend time behind bars.

James Doctor, the new director of facilities for the Department of Corrections, said Thursday he spent 10 months in a military prison at Fort Leavenworth, Kan., in 1968-69 for being absent without leave.

Mr. Doctor said he went AWOL because he was unhappy with the Army and wanted out, not because he could have been sent to the Vietnam War. A recruiter promised when he enlisted in March 1967 that he would be sent to computer school, he said. Instead, the Army sent him to infantry training at Fort Jackson, S.C.

Police find 8-year-old's body

COLUMBIA -- The body of an 8-year-old Richland County boy was found Friday in a wooded area after an all-night search, sheriff's deputies said.

Investigators suspect foul play was involved in the death of Malcolm Bond and were waiting for autopsy results, Lt. Joseph Pellicci said.

About 50 officers, dogs and a helicopter joined in the search, which began about midnight near the boy's home east of Columbia.

Malcolm was last seen about 7 p.m. Thursday when he left a friend's house on his bicycle. His grandparents reported him missing about 10 p.m., Lt. Pellicci said.

The area is not far from where the body of 12-year-old Joseph Barefoot was found in May 1997. That worried many residents, though Joseph's killer is serving a long prison term.

Michael Saltz Jr. was convicted this past March of beating the boy to death.