Originally created 11/18/99

Area briefs: Firefighter bonds out in threats case



A Richmond County firefighter accused of threatening officials in the department and in city government was released on $15,000 bond Wednesday.

Tony Lee Brown, 32, of the 4000 block of Sweetbriar Drive in Martinez, was arrested last week and charged with making terroristic threats, a felony. Richmond County Superior Court Judge J. Carlisle Overstreet set bond at a hearing Wednesday. The judge prohibited Mr. Brown from entering municipal buildings or fire stations.

Mr. Brown has been a vocal critic of pay raises in the fire department and said in a recent interview with [as]The Augusta Chronicle[xs] that his criticism put his job in jeopardy. He was relieved of duty last week after supervisors learned of the allegations of threats. The district attorney's office also took sworn depositions, which led to his arrest.

COLUMBIA COUNTY

Blocked sewage seeps into home

Columbia County Water and Sewer Department officials spent much of Wednesday trying to determine what caused sewage to back up into a Martinez home.

"We did see a possible problem there in the sewer main where his line tied into the main sewer line," said Bart Smalley, the county's utilities system supervisor.

The backup took place at about 12:30 p.m. Tuesday in the 4100 block of Brierwood Drive, off Old Evans Road.

"Usually, those blockages are called by an abuse of the system," said Billy Clayton, the county water and sewer services director. "In this case, paper towels from the school were quite common."

The residence is served by the same line as South Columbia Elementary School. Today, county officials expect to determine whether crews need to dig up part of the line to work on the problem.

NORTH AUGUSTA

Fire destroys house, burns man

A North Augusta man suffered burns to his hands after an early morning fire raged through his home Wednesday, public safety officials said.

The fire broke out at about 5:30 a.m. in the 100 block of West Five Notch Road. John Stribling, 76, who was renting the house, escaped but suffered minor burns, said Capt. Charles Williams, of North Augusta Department of Public Safety. Mr. Stribling was taken to University Hospital and later transferred to Joseph M. Still Jr. Burn Center at Columbia-Augusta Medical Center, where he was listed in fair condition Wednesday night.

The fire was caused by an electrical heater in the living room. Fire department officials say they believe something was placed too close to the heater. Firefighters battled the blaze for more than a half-hour, but the residence was destroyed.

AIKEN COUNTY

Cooking fire destroys mobile home

An Aiken County mobile home was destroyed by fire early Wednesday after a man fell asleep while cooking french fries, a sheriff's report stated.

Eddie Winburn, 35, of 173 Halcomb Drive, told authorities he was cooking when he fell asleep at about 10:30 p.m. When he woke up two hours later, the home was filled with smoke, so he ran to a neighbor's house to call 911.

When Couchton Fire Department officials arrived, the trailer was in flames. A sheriff's report indicates the homeowner was intoxicated at the time of the fire.

No one was injured in the fire. The home and its contents had an estimated value of $25,000, the report stated.

COLUMBIA COUNTY

Festival to display local artwork

Paintings will fill the walls of Savannah Rapids Pavilion on Friday as part of the New Horizons Arts Festival.

The free two-day event, sponsored by Columbia County Community Services, will include art displays from local artists, artist demonstrations and more than 50 arts and crafts vendors. Paintings will be from artists throughout Georgia and Alabama, said Frank Neal, a director of Columbia County Community Services.

"Giving people more of an opportunity to see some new and upcoming artists in this area is what we're really trying to showcase," Mr. Neal said.

Festivities begin at 7 p.m. Friday with a juried art show on the pavilion's second floor. A silent auction lasts from 7-10 p.m.

On Saturday, the event will display the majority of its arts and crafts booths outside the pavilion from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. with live entertainment all day. Two children's art workshops will be from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and from 1-2:30 p.m. To make reservations for the workshops, call Gertrude Herbert Institute of Art, 722-5495. For festival information, call 868-3484 or 868-3481.

AUGUSTA

MCG president to give address

Medical College of Georgia President Francis J. Tedesco will deliver his 1999 State of the University address, "Retooling for the 21st Century," at 4 p.m. today in the first-floor auditorium of MCG's School of Dentistry.

The annual address is held in conjunction with the fall General Faculty Assembly, at which new faculty members will be introduced. It is open to the public.

Dr. Tedesco, a graduate of St. Louis University School of Medicine, has been a member of the MCG faculty since 1978, when he became chief of the section of gastroenterology. He also served as acting vice president for clinical activities and interim dean of the School of Medicine before becoming president July 1, 1988.[mc]

AUGUSTA STATE UNIVERSITY

Graduation scheduled for Dec. 18

More than 300 students are expected to graduate during the fall commencement Dec. 18 at Augusta State University.

The commencement is scheduled at the physical education/athletic complex on Wrightsboro Road. James W. Garvey, an English professor at Augusta State who has been selected by students as this year's outstanding faculty member, is the featured speaker.

Dr. Garvey also was the 1988 recipient of the university's alumni association Town/Gown Award. He earned a bachelor's degree from the University of Toronto and master's and doctoral degrees from the University of Rochester. He has been teaching at Augusta State since 1979.

AUGUSTA

Auction to benefit ill boy

An autographed poster of Tiger Woods on the green of the 13th hole at the 1997 Masters will be auctioned to raise money for 8-year-old heart transplant recipient Daniel Moretz.

The poster can be viewed at The Frame Shoppe, next to Fitz-Symms Photography on Walton Way. The auction will be from 5-6 p.m. Friday on the Austin Rhodes show on radio station WGAC-AM (580).

Tax-deductible contributions to Daniel can be made to: COTA for Daniel, c/o SunTrust Bank of Augusta, P.O. Box 927, Augusta, GA 30903, attention: Jan Wilson. For information, call Jeff Annis at 737-4120.

AUGUSTA

Thanksgiving party set for seniors

The annual Senior Adult Thanksgiving Celebration will be from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. today at Julian Smith Casino, 2200 Broad St. The event is free and open to everyone 55 and older. For information, call 796-5025.

AIKEN

Woman reports home invasion

An Aiken woman reported a late-night home invasion Tuesday, telling public safety officers that two masked men carrying pistols broke down her door on the 400 block of Palm Drive and ransacked her home.

Tiffany Miles, 19, said she was not sure what the men were looking for or whether they took anything. At about 11:50 p.m., the men broke the back door down, ordered Ms. Miles and another woman into another room and then rummaged through the home, according to police. A few minutes later, they left the home.

The women were not injured. They were not able to provide a detailed description of the suspects, according to a police report.

RICHMOND COUNTY

Deputies arrest man in robbery

Richmond County deputies arrested an Augusta man Wednesday on charges of armed robbery and possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime.

Robert Eugene Wideman, 33, of the 2000 block of Leona Street, was taken into custody at about 5 a.m., according to police reports.

Police had sought Mr. Wideman since earlier that morning, when a woman was robbed at gunpoint on the 2000 block of Golden Rod Street, reports state.

According to police, a robber drove up to the victim at about 1 a.m. Wednesday, got out of his older-model Cadillac and pointed a gun at her head. He took an undisclosed amount of money before fleeing the scene in his vehicle.