RICHMOND AND COLUMBIA COUNTIES
Police count 22 holiday DUI arrests
Richmond and Columbia County sheriffs' departments reported 22 arrests on charges of driving under the influence on New Year's Day.
Richmond County records show that 17 DUI arrests were made from midnight Friday to 10:30 a.m. Saturday. The majority of those arrests -- 10 -- were made at a traffic stop at Wheeler and Aumond roads, according to jail committal records.
In Columbia County, sheriff's Capt. Steve Morris said there were five DUI arrests made from 6 p.m. Friday to 6 a.m. Saturday. Capt. Morris said the numbers were consistent with past New Year's Eves. Last year, four arrests were made.
"The great news is that we did not have a fatality," the captain said. "We didn't even have a major wreck."
Wreck victim's condition worsens
The condition of a Grovetown man who was involved in a Thursday night head-on car collision at the intersection of Wrightsboro and Louisville roads was downgraded Saturday to critical.
Troy Barfield, 43, of Whiskey Road, was taken to Medical College of Georgia Hospital after suffering a skull, jaw and ankle fracture in the wreck.
Two people who were in the other car involved in the wreck, Ashley Duncan, 16, of Commerce, Ga., and Floyd Wood, 25, of Maysville, Ga., were released from the hospital Friday, a nursing representative said.
The incident occurred at 8:20 p.m. Thursday when Mr. Barfield ran a stop sign while turning left onto Wrightsboro Road into the path of a vehicle driven by Mr. Duncan, said Columbia County Sheriff's Deputy David Herrity.
Deputy Herrity said he charged Mr. Barfield with running a stop sign and not wearing a seat belt.
Apartment fire ruled accidental
Although an official cause will not be released until Monday, Augusta-Richmond County Fire Department investigators determined Saturday that a Friday night fire at Woodcrest Apartments was an accident.
Lt. G.B. Hannan said he had determined the cause as accidental but would wait until Monday to file his official report.
The fire, which began at about 10:30 p.m., damaged eight units at the complex, located off Sibley Road, Lt. Hannan said. Two of those had extensive damage. Lt. Hannan said there were no injuries, and the occupants of the two complexes that were damaged most were not at home at the time.
Residents without a place to stay were taken to Augusta's Red Cross branch, where they spent Friday and Saturday nights.
Lt. Hannan said he knew of no donations or special funds set up to benefit the residents of the complex.
School board will fill top spots
Columbia County school board members will hold a special called meeting Monday to elect the board's chairman and vice chairman for 2000.
The meeting will be at 8:30 a.m. at the Evans Middle School media center. Ray Hicks has served as chairman for two years, and Roxanne Whitaker currently serves as vice chairwoman. There are no term limits on the board's chairman and vice chairman positions.
During Monday's meeting, the board will appoint the school board attorney -- which is done annually -- and will set the board's meeting dates, times and locations for the upcoming year.
Board members also will consider awarding a contract to R.E. Shearer for the construction of an addition to Grovetown Elementary School.
Elections group will meet
The monthly meeting of Aiken County Voter Registration and Election is set for 5:30 p.m. Monday at the Aiken County Council Building, 736 Richland Ave. W.
State's first 2000 baby arrives
MARIETTA -- WellStar Kennestone Hospital in Marietta had something special to celebrate when the new year arrived Saturday -- the birth of the first baby in Georgia in 2000.
Hedaya Peterson made it into the world one second after midnight on New Year's Day. She weighed 7 pounds, 9 ounces and was 19 inches long.
The fuss over the state's first newborn in a new year didn't really faze Hedaya's parents -- Wadud and Khadijah Peterson of Marietta. They are Muslims and don't recognize Jan. 1 as the start of a new year.
The 20-year-old mother picked the child's name, which means "guidance" in Arabic.
Atlanta area house fire kills 4
MORROW -- Four people died early Saturday in a fire that destroyed a house in Atlanta's southern suburbs.
The blaze broke out just after 1:30 a.m., said police Chief Kenny Smith. Investigators had not determined a cause.
Chief Smith identified three of the victims as Tim Morgan, 36; his wife, Amy, 26; and her sister Rebecca Bradshaw, 30. He said the fourth victim, a male, can't be identified until dental records are checked.
The police chief said fire crews responded to the blaze within three minutes after it began. Firefighters entered the building and located the bodies of three victims immediately, Chief Smith said.
It took firefighters about four hours to finally get the fire under control, he said. The fourth victim was not found until 5:20 a.m.
Man fatally shot while hunting
FORT LAWN -- A Matthews, N.C., man was shot and killed by his 15-year-old cousin in what authorities have described as a hunting accident.
A.C. "Terry" Christopoulos, 35, was shot in the chest Thursday afternoon while hunting on private property in Chester County, Coroner Watson Wright said.
Mr. Wright said Mr. Christopoulos was wearing blue jeans and a camouflage top when he was shot by his cousin, who was in a nearby deer stand. Authorities did not identify the teen-ager.
Mike Willis, spokesman for the state National Resources Department, said Mr. Christopoulos "was not wearing `international orange,' which is an important detail. What our investigation has revealed right now is that the victim was mistaken for game."
Town turns out for photograph
SENOIA -- On the first day of 2000, the residents of Senoia gathered on Main Street to have their picture taken.
"I would say 1,000 to 1,200 people showed up," said Frank Hollberg, chairman of the Senoia Downtown Development Authority. "Which is pretty good for a town of 800 people."
The millennial photograph included people, horses, dogs, antique cars and motorcycles. Photographer Gary Gruby took the picture from a scaffold at the bottom of a hill, shooting up the length of Main Street.
Just for the picture, the power company removed its utility poles, and the telephone company moved its lines out of the frame, Mr. Hollberg said. The pictures will be made available for $10.
Senoia is about 35 miles south of Atlanta.
Campbell drops charity link
COLUMBIA -- Campbell Soup Co. has withdrawn from sponsorship of the Souper Bowl of Caring, a charity founded and administered in Columbia.
Campbell's sponsorship helped propel the Spring Valley Presbyterian Church charity drive into a nationwide effort two years ago.
The fund-raising effort encourages churchgoers to drop $1 each into a large soup pot as they leave services on Super Bowl Sunday. The money benefits a charity chosen by each church.
Campbell this year is promoting two other food drives -- the U.S. Postal Service's "Stamp Out Hunger" program and Campbell's own "Tackling Hunger" campaign.