Originally created 09/15/99

Area briefs: Commissioner quits to take federal job



Columbia County Commissioner Lee Brooks said Tuesday he is quitting his post to take a new job with the federal government in Oak Ridge, Tenn.

Mr. Brooks, who represents the Harlem and Grovetown areas, said he will become director of training and emergency management at U.S. Department of Energy sites in the Oak Ridge area.

He leaves his commission seat Sept. 24 and starts his new job Oct. 1.

"You have a career goal out there that you never expect to achieve," he said. "This transfer puts me in position to attain my career goal."

Attorney Barry Fleming, who lives near Harlem, said Tuesday he will run for Mr. Brooks' seat on the county commission. He said Mr. Brooks approached him about the seat. The county elections board could schedule the vote for Nov. 2, officials said.

"I never had thought about the county commission much," Mr. Fleming said. "It was not a tough decision, but there was a lot of thought that went into it."

GROVETOWN

Election qualifying ends

FridayGrovetown residents interested in serving in local elected office have until 4:30 p.m. Friday to qualify to run for mayor or a seat on the city council.

Qualifying for mayor and two council seats began Monday. Elections for the four-year terms will be held Nov. 2.

Mayor Dennis Trudeau and challenger George W. James have qualified to run for mayor, City Clerk Shirley Beasley said Tuesday. The council seats are held by Marjorie Adams and David Daughtry.

Mr. Daughtry and challenger Lureather Vinson Cobb have qualified in the council election, Ms. Beasley said. Mrs. Adams said she planned to qualify. The two top vote-getters will be seated on the council.

To qualify, candidates must have lived in Grovetown for at least a year, be a registered voter and be 25 years old by the time of the election.

The fee for qualifying for the council is $108, while $198 if the fee to qualify in the mayor's race. Council members are paid $3,600 annually and the mayor is paid $6,600.

The deadline for registering to vote in the November election is 5 p.m. Oct. 4.

AUGUSTA

Thousands ride buses for free

Augusta Public Transit carried more than double the number of bus riders around town Monday as thousands of people responded to a promotion offering free rides for the day.

More than 9,000 people rode the bus, compared to 4,300 passengers on a typical Monday, according to tallies from the transit department. Although bus drivers didn't collect fares, they counted riders who got on their buses, some of which had standing-room-only crowds.

The "No Money Monday" promotion was part of national Transit Week, designed to promote awareness of and participation in public transit systems. Officials hoped to show people which routes were available to encourage them to ride the bus in the future.

Marker to honor Georgia hero

Augusta's chapter of the National Society of Daughters of the American Revolution celebrates Constitution Week with the dedication today of a marker for the wife of one of the signers of the U.S. Constitution.

A ceremony held to honor Catherine Nicholson Few, wife of Col. William Few, begins at 4 p.m. today at Col. Few's grave in the churchyard at St. Paul's Episcopal Church, 605 Reynolds St. in downtown Augusta. The public is invited.

Col. Few was one of the two signers of the Constitution from Georgia. The other, Abraham Baldwin, is buried at Rock Creek Cemetery in Washington. The celebration will commemorate the 212th anniversary of the signing of the U.S. Constitution.

Students to gather in prayer rally

Christian youth will gather in the dawn light this morning at several area schools for a prayer rally.

Students will intercede for schoolmates and teachers during the national See You at the Pole, an annual event started 10 years ago by a church youth group in Texas.

The event begins at 7 a.m. at the outdoor flagpole at schools where students are participating.

Some three million young people participated last year in 50 states and 17 countries. The prayers are initiated and led by students.

GEORGIA

Abernathy case heads to juryATLANTA -- Ralph David Abernathy III offered no evidence in his defense Tuesday against charges he stole money from the state, and the case has gone to a Fulton County jury.

The former state senator and son of the influential civil rights leader is accused of wrongly keeping $13,247 in state money while he was in office, forging names on expense reports and trying to influence a potential witness to lie to investigators. The jury begins deliberations today.

In closing arguments, prosecutors said Mr. Abernathy used his office to defraud the state and line his own pockets. Defense attorneys said the prosecution had proved nothing.

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA

Coverdell attacks clemency deal

WASHINGTON -- The Senate denounced the Clinton administration's clemency deal with Puerto Rican separatists on Tuesday, and a Georgia senator accused the administration of blocking FBI testimony at a hearing on the deal.

In a 95-2 vote, the Senate criticized the arrangement that allowed 11 Puerto Ricans on Friday to leave prisons where they had been held for nearly two decades. The House approved a similar resolution last week 311-41.

The Senate resolution's author, Sen. Paul Coverdell, R-Ga., accused the administration of stonewalling his hearing Tuesday on the clemency grant by yanking scheduled FBI testimony at the last minute and failing to provide requested documents.

Mr. Coverdell said an FBI agent was scheduled to testify at the Foreign Relations subcommittee on terrorism hearing he was holding Tuesday but that the FBI backed out at 9:30 p.m. Monday.

SOUTH CAROLINA

Suspect owes thousands in taxes

COLUMBIA -- A North Carolina man charged in a federal money-laundering and tax evasion investigation tied to video gambling owes almost $320,000 in back taxes, court records show.

George Grier "G.G." McGuire, 34, owes the Internal Revenue Service almost $275,000 in income tax and about $44,000 in payroll tax, according to records. He has been jailed in Charlotte, N.C., since his July 27 arrest. He is the only person arrested so far in the probe.



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