Originally created 02/09/00

Across the area: Authorities indict women in thefts

Two women accused of helping themselves to other people's money were indicted in multicount theft indictments Tuesday.

The Richmond County grand jury issued one indictment against Robin D. Farrell, 39, of the 1200 block of Maple Ridge Court in Evans, charging her with 22 felony counts of theft and 40 misdemeanor counts of theft. Tuesday's indictments came after a Thursday Columbia County indictment against Ms. Farrell. In Columbia County, the former University Hospital Prompt Care employee faces 149 criminal charges, including theft and racketeering.

In Richmond County, Ms. Farrell is accused of taking checks, totaling more than $34,713, from July 1998 through March 1998.

In another indictment, Willie Mae Mincey, 43, of the 2300 block of Amsterdam Drive, faces 82 counts of first-degree forgery, and misdemeanor charges of giving a false name, obstruction of a law enforcement officer and theft. She is accused of forging checks totaling $14,670 last spring.


Officials adds school day

Columbia County's school system has added one day to the school year calendar so pupils can make up a day missed be cause of snow.

Schools were closed Jan. 25 after about 3 inches of snow fell on Columbia County the day before. School Superintendent Tommy Price said pupils will have to report to school May 31 to make up the day missed.

The school year was set to end May 30 with final exams scheduled for May 26, May 29 and May 30. Exam dates will be adjusted with the change.

During a school board meeting Tuesday, Mr. Price told board members he plans to bring a revised school year calendar to them for approval once he feels comfortable that no more days will be missed because of weather.


Boy pleads guilty to carrying gun

AIKEN -- A special education pupil charged with taking a starter gun to Kennedy Middle School pleaded guilty Tuesday and was given an indeterminate sentence at the South Carolina Department of Juvenile Justice.

His hearing before Family Court Judge G. Larry Inabinet, a day after the incident, was expected to deal only with detention until the case could be heard. But the boy decided to enter a guilty plea, court personnel said.

The indeterminate sentence means a judge will review the boy's status periodically to decide if he is ready to leave the institution.

Second Circuit Solicitor Barbara Morgan is expected to discuss the case with news media today.


Rail work to close two streets

Two Augusta streets will be closed today, including an area of 15th Street where workers will be rebuilding railroad tracks.

A section of 15th Street at the railroad crossing near Greene Street has been closed, but CSX Transportation workers expect it to reopen this afternoon. Meanwhile, southbound traffic will be detoured along Broad Street to 13th Street, then to Greene Street and back onto 15th Street. Northbound traffic will be detoured right onto Greene Street, left onto 13th Street and left onto Broad Street, before returning to 15th Street.

No left turns from Broad Street to southbound 15th Street will be allowed. The public works and engineering department is urging motorists to use alternate routes whenever possible.

Alexander Drive at the CSX railroad crossing near River Watch Parkway also will be closed to through traffic. Neither eastbound nor westbound traffic will be allowed to turn onto Alexander Drive from River Watch, and there will be no access to River Watch from Alexander Drive. Motorists can use Claussen Road to reach River Watch.


House candidate filing dates set

Filing for the South Carolina House District 83 seat, recently vacated by the resignation of Scott Beck, will take place from noon Friday through noon Feb. 22. Filing is to be by appointment with Aiken County Republican Party Chairman, David Nix, at (803) 641-9445. The filing fee is $100.

The special election primary will be April 4. A runoff election, if necessary, will be April 18. The special election is set for May 23.


Lawmaker pads election war chest

ATLANTA -- U.S. Rep. Charlie Norwood has amassed nearly $550,000 in his campaign treasury in case a Democratic challenger emerges to his expected bid for a fourth term representing Georgia's 10th Congressional District.

Mr. Norwood, R-Evans, raised $301,332 during the last half of last year, according to a report filed with the Federal Election Commission, while spending $87,916. Combined with previous fund raising, that left him with $546,639 cash on hand as of Dec. 31.

Mr. Norwood defeated Democrat Denise Freeman of Lincolnton two years ago to win his third two-year term, but has yet to draw an opponent for this year's race.

Most of the money Mr. Norwood raised during the last half of the year -- $208,520 -- came from individual donors. He also received $87,275 from political-action committees.

The largest PAC contribution during the reporting period to Mr. Norwood, a dentist, was $5,500 from the American Dental Association. He also took in $5,000 from the American Academy of Emergency Medicine and $4,500 from the American Medical Association.


Both sides claim win on DNA bill

ATLANTA -- Lt. Gov. Mark Taylor claimed victory Tuesday as the Senate unanimously approved his bill requiring the collection of DNA samples from convicted felons.

But Republicans claimed victory, too, saying an amendment they tacked onto the bill saved the state money by making the felons pay the cost of collecting the samples.

Currently, the state collects DNA samples only from sex offenders prior to their release.

Mr. Taylor's bill broadens that to include all felons. It was approved 54-0. Mr. Taylor said the measure will give investigators a broader database to work with when they are examining DNA samples left at crime scenes.

Republicans easily passed an amendment requiring the cost of the testing to be assessed against inmates' prison accounts or from funds inmates earn after their release.


State fines city in sewage spill

MACON -- The state Environmental Protection Division is fining Macon Water Authority $8,500 for problems at its sewage treatment plants in 1999.

The water authority also must correct sewage treatment problems and report to the state four times a year about what it is doing to prevent spills.

The fine, which state officials called the largest ever imposed on the Macon authority, was for six major sewage spills and four permit violations. More than 30,000 gallons of raw sewage seeped into the Ocmulgee River during a spill in July that might have lasted several weeks.


State, authority quell sewer feud

GREENVILLE -- A local sewer authority has dropped its lawsuit against the state that had resulted in a moratorium on new sewer connections in a growing area of Greenville County.

The Western Carolina Regional Sewer Authority signed an agreement, written largely by staffers at the state Department of Health and Environmental Control, that concedes what DHEC asked for: lower phosphorus discharge limits and designating the Reedy River and Lake Greenwood as "impaired waters."

The sewer authority said that DHEC will study other sources of pollution in the river, like street and farm runoffs.


Workers to disconnect Infoline

The Augusta Chronicle's Infoline system will be down for two hours this afternoon.

The telephone information system will be shut down from 3 to 5 p.m. while workers move equipment that will have to be disconnected.


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