Originally created 01/01/00

Across the area: Two groups to join economic boycott



COLUMBIA -- A national group of lawmakers and the foundation sponsoring an annual conference for black men have agreed to join the NAACP in its economic boycott of South Carolina.

The National Conference of Insurance Legislators has decided to move its February meeting of about 200 members out of Charleston.

And The Brookland Foundation's annual Black Male Conference is being transformed from a conference in Columbia into a training session for leaders and volunteers in Charlotte, N.C.

The groups are supporting the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People in its fight to bring the Confederate flag down from the Statehouse dome.

GEORGIA

Boy, 4, apparently hangs himself

DALTON -- A 4-year-old north Georgia boy died when he apparently hanged himself while playing on his neighbor's property, said Whitfield County Sheriff Scott Chitwood.

Samuel Joseph "Joey" Anderson was playing with a rope hanging from a tree when he apparently stuck his head inside a noose and either jumped or fell at about 5 p.m. Wednesday, Sheriff Chitwood said.

Before the accident, he had been playing with his two older brothers and two cousins on the neighbor's 15-foot boat, the sheriff said. But the 4-year-old and his 2-year-old cousin were alone at the time of the accident, he said.

Greg Gross, the boyfriend of the child's mother, found him hanging, cut the rope and started CPR. Neither Mr. Gross nor emergency personnel were able to revive the boy, however.

The Georgia Department of Family and Children's Services is investigating to determine why the child was left unsupervised, police said.

SOUTH CAROLINA

Woman, stepson die in car crash

PICKENS -- A Pickens County woman and her teen-age stepson have died in a single car crash near their mobile home months after the woman's son was shot and killed.

Judy Yeagley, 46, and passenger Tyler Andrew Yeagley, 15, of Pickens died when their vehicle went off the road, hit a tree and flipped early Wednesday, Coroner Mitchell Davis said.

Lance Cpl. Dan Marsceau of the state Highway Patrol said neither victim was wearing a seat belt.

They were the second and third deaths in the family in four months. Ms. Yeagley's son, 23-year-old Michael Blake Murphy, was shot and killed in September.

GEORGIA

Students charged in molestations

CLARKESVILLE -- Three Habersham Central High School students have been charged with 50 counts of sexual molestation of younger students at the school, authorities said Thursday.

Georgia Bureau of Investigation Agent Jim Hallman said the combined charges against the 18-year-olds range from aggravated child molestation to sodomy.

Habersham County Sheriff Ronnie James said the 10 victims ranged in age from 13 to 15.

The arrests came after an investigation of almost four months.

The suspects were identified as Rolundus Nissan Brown, Nathaniel McShane Brown and Kasey Lanard Mance, all of Clarkesville.

GEORGIA

Sheriff taps daughter for job

DECATUR -- DeKalb County Sheriff Sidney Dorsey has named his daughter as his department's spokeswoman.

Cherlea Dorsey, 22, a December graduate of Georgia Southern University, will make about $30,000.

She was the only candidate to be interviewed for the job, and she began working for her father after the departure of Jolene Freeman, the department's former public information officer.

No county laws or policies prohibit the sheriff from hiring a family member. But other elected officials said the hiring was inappropriate.

"The benefits of having nonfamily members in positions under department heads is the independent opinion that an employee brings to that position," said County Commissioner Judy Yates. "When you hire a family member, you lose that independence."

Sheriff Dorsey said he sees nothing wrong with his decision.

"My daughter has a skill that is needed and, quite frankly, who can I trust more than my own daughter?" he said.

GEORGIA

Police hunt robbery suspect

SPARTANBURG -- Upstate authorities are searching for a man they say is responsible for a string of bank robberies in the past two weeks.

Reginald Earl Rice, 27, has tried to rob seven banks since he was released from prison Dec. 17, police said. Most of the robberies took place at drive-through windows.

Authorities were tipped off to the suspect's identity when he went inside a bank on the latest attempt, police said. Surveillance photos taken during that robbery helped identify him.

The FBI said Mr. Rice is armed and dangerous. He was last seen in Atlanta on Tuesday.

Mr. Rice was released from prison after serving time for a parole violation stemming from a 1995 bank robbery at Wachovia Bank in Spartanburg.

SOUTH CAROLINA

Customers want packages back

ROCK HILL -- Customers of a local shipping company that closed its doors earlier this month are saying the owner failed to mail dozens of packages before Christmas and did not return unsent items.

But Matt Marko, owner of Priority Postal Plus, said this week that all of the packages had been shipped before the holiday.

"I don't know why people are hollering that I have packages," he said. "There are no packages over there. There are none."

Six people have called police since Tuesday, while about 15 left notes under the door at Priority Postal Plus asking for the packages to be returned, said Detective Keith Dugan of the Rock Hill Police Department.

Police said they hope to contact Mr. Marko within the next few days to determine whether customers have a valid complaint.

"My priority in any investigation is to try to return the goods," Detective Dugan said. "It seems like the most commonsense and wise thing is to try to recover what has been taken."

But nothing has been taken, nor will police find very much, Mr. Marko said.

He says he closed the shop after two former employees allegedly stole $20,000 and failed to pay utility bills while he received medical care last fall.

Priority Postal Plus had offered United Parcel Service, Federal Express and U.S. Mail services since November 1997.

GEORGIA

Officials shut down reactor at Plant Vogtle

WAYNESBORO -- A non-Y2K-related equipment failure caused officials to shut down one of Plant Vogtle's two nuclear reactors this week.

A failed tube on a water heater led officials to shut down the nuclear-power plant's Unit 2 reactor at about 9 a.m. Tuesday, a Georgia Power spokesman said. Workers repaired the pipe and began to restart the reactor Friday.

The plant should return to full operations today, officials said.

At the Catawba plant in Clover, S.C., one reactor went off-line at 6 p.m. Thursday, Duke Power Co. spokesman Tom Shiel said. He said a team was investigating the cause of the shutdown, which he said was not Y2K related.

COLUMBIA COUNTY

Accident victims listed in stable condition

Three people who were sent to the hospital after a head-on car collision at the intersection of Wrightsboro and Louisville roads Thursday night were in stable condition Friday.

The accident occurred at 8:20 p.m. when Troy Barfield, 43, of Whiskey Road, Grovetown, ran a stop sign while turning left onto Wrightsboro Road into the path of a vehicle driven by Ashley Duncan, 16, of Commerce, Ga., said Columbia County Sheriff's Deputy David Herrity.

Deputy Herrity said Mr. Barfield suffered a skull, jaw and ankle fracture, and Mr. Duncan suffered a broken jaw. A passenger in the car with Mr. Duncan, Floyd Wood, 25, of Maysville, Ga., also had severe head injuries.

All three were taken to Medical College of Georgia Hospital. Deputy Herrity said none of their injuries was life threatening.

Mr. Barfield was charged with running a stop sign and not wearing a seat belt, Deputy Herrity said.

AUGUSTA

Fire damages five units at Woodcrest Apartments

A fire damaged at least five units at Woodcrest Apartments late Friday night.

The fire hit the attic, and flames were shooting out of the roof of the complex off Sibley Road at 11:20 p.m. Friday night.

"At this point it looks like everybody got out safe," Deputy Chief Carl Scott said, adding that he didn't know what caused the fire.

By 11:55 p.m. the fire was mainly out, but firefighters were still on the scene. Investigators were on their way to the scene to determine the cause.

It was undetermined if there were any injuries. Apartment manager Janet Johnson said she believed everyone got out of the building, but the deputy fire chief would not confirm that.