NRA official backs checking buyers
One of the National Rifle Association's top officials said his group supports instant background checks of unlicensed dealers at gun shows.
"We've always supported instant background checks," said Wayne LaPierre, the NRA's executive vice president, who is scheduled to speak to Georgia Republicans on Saturday at the state GOP convention at Augusta-Richmond County Civic Center.
The U.S. Senate approved a measure Friday requiring all vendors at gun shows to do background checks on prospective buyers.
The NRA favors background checks if they are instant, records of the check of lawful buyers are destroyed, and the seller isn't liable if the gun is used in a crime, said Mr. LaPierre, who spoke Saturday at the Friends of NRA banquet in Columbia.
The remedy to gun violence in the United States isn't more gun control, Mr. LaPierre said, adding that the country needs tougher enforcement of existing laws. The Clinton administration hasn't made prosecuting gun violations a priority, Mr. LaPierre said.
"Gun control doesn't do anything to really get the criminals off the streets of America," Mr. LaPierre said. "It's tough enforcement of the existing gun laws. Every cop on the street knows it."
College gives first 4-year degrees
MACON -- Macon State College has bestowed its first bachelor's degrees.
Sixteen students received bachelor of science degrees Saturday from Macon State, which previously was a two-year state school that gave only associate degrees. President David Bell called the awarding of the degrees "a special day" for the school.
The first three bachelor of science degree programs were in health and information technology. This year, the school added bachelor of science degrees in business and communication.
Macon State, which opened in 1968 as Macon Junior College, has about 3,700 students and plans to expand to 5,000 by 2002.
Workers to get asthma training
CHARLESTON -- A South Carolina health group has started a statewide program to teach day-care workers how to manage asthma in children better.
Pharmaceutical company Merck & Co. Inc. gave $30,000 to fund the Asthma Management Program. Officials say managing asthma would save health care costs in the long run.
Organizers say they first will focus on centers that care for low-income or minority children who are more at risk for developing asthma. Children in day care are susceptible to asthma attacks after catching viral illnesses from other children.
"The cornerstone of managed care is prevention," said Larry Marchant, executive director of the South Carolina Business and Health Alliance for Managed Care.
The program focuses on identifying asthma triggers such as secondhand smoke, pollen, cat dander and dust mites. It teaches workers to recognize asthma symptoms and manage them through medication.
Shepeard Community Blood Center and American Red Cross bloodmobile schedules:
Today: 7 a.m. to noon, Lakeside High School, 533 Blue Ridge Drive.
Tuesday: 8-11 a.m., Savannah River Site Wackenhut; 8 a.m. to 1 p.m., Boral Bricks on Mike Padgett Highway; 12:30-3:30 p.m., Savannah River Site C Area; 1:30-5:30 p.m., McCormick community blood drive, McCormick County Emergency Medical Services, 212 Augusta St. Extension, McCormick, S.C.
Wednesday: 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., Savannah River Site E Area; 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., University Hospital, 1350 Walton Way; 1-4 p.m., University Hospital finance employees, 1350 Walton Way.
Thursday: 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., Savannah River Site tritium area; 2-7 p.m., Washington-Wilkes community blood drive, 214 Water St., Washington, Ga.
Friday: 8 a.m. to 1 p.m., Evans High School, 4550 Cox Road; 2-7 p.m., Brookwood Elementary School, 455 S. Old Belair Road.
Sunday: 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., Church of Our Savior, 4227 Columbia Road; 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., St. Joseph Church, 2607 Lumpkin Road.
Appointments are available at these locations for people wishing to donate blood:
American Red Cross Blood Services: 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays and 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Fridays (except holidays), 950 Millbrook St., Suite A, Aiken; and 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays and 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays (except holidays), 106 Pleasant Home Road, Suite L, at LaPavilion Shopping Center, Augusta. Call (803) 642-5180 in Aiken or (706) 868-8800, Augusta.
Shepeard Community Blood Center: 10 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Tuesdays through Thursdays and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays (except holidays), 112-B Davis Road, Martinez; 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. weekdays (except holidays), 1533 Wrightsboro Road, Augusta; and noon to 6 p.m. Thursdays and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Fridays (except holidays), Rich Plaza near Whiskey and Pine Log roads, Aiken. Call (706) 854-1880 in Martinez, (706) 737-4551 in Augusta or (803) 643-7996 in Aiken.
Fairfax Town Council, 6 p.m., Town Hall, U.S. Highway 278, Fairfax, S.C.
North Augusta City Council, 7 p.m., Municipal Building, Buena Vista Avenue.
Columbia County Commission, 6:30 p.m., Evans Government Center auditorium.
Aiken County Council, 7 p.m., County Council Annex, Richland Avenue, Aiken.
McCormick Town Council, 7 p.m., Town Hall, Augusta Street, McCormick, S.C.
Augusta Port Authority, 8 a.m. for executive committee and 8:30 a.m. board of directors, Augusta Riverwalk Marina.
Columbia County Civil Services Committee, 3:30 p.m., human resources conference room, Evans Government Center.
Columbia County Water and Sewer Services Committee, 5:30 p.m., water and sewer services conference room, Evans to Locks Road.
Columbia County Planning Commission, 6:30 p.m., Evans Government Center auditorium.
Aiken County Planning Commission, 7 p.m., County Council Annex, Richland Avenue in Aiken.
North Augusta Planning Commission, 7 p.m., Municipal Building, Buena Vista Avenue.
Allendale County Council, 7:30 p.m., Brant Building auditorium, Courthouse Square, Allendale, S.C.
Barnwell County Board of Education, 7:30 p.m., district office, Haygood Avenue, Barnwell.