Originally created 02/20/00

Across the area: Families sought to house students



The Department of Nursing at Augusta State University is seeking host families for 20 Japanese nursing students and two teachers who will be in Augusta from March 23-31 for a nursing seminar.

Families need to provide a separate bedroom and bathroom and breakfast, brown-bag lunch and dinner each day.

For more information or to volunteer, call Dr. Letha Lierman at 737-1725 or send e-mail to llierman@aug.edu.

COLUMBIA COUNTY

Commission seat gets first hopeful

Tommy Mercer has announced plans to seek the Republican nomination for the District 4 seat on Columbia County Commission.

Mr. Mercer, 58, wants the seat Pat Farr plans to leave after eight years. Mr. Farr has thrown his support to Mr. Mercer.

Mr. Mercer is the first candidate to announce for the race. The primary will be July 18, and the general election will be Nov. 7. Rob Blandenburg, vice chairman of the 10th District Republican Party, said he is considering running.

Mr. Mercer, who filed his candidacy Thursday, said his main objective in running is to continue managing the county's growth. He wants to see more clean industry move in to increase the tax base.

"I want to see the county grow and continue to grow," he said. "And I want us to keep the tax base where it is now without scalping the folks who have moved into Columbia County and built and retired and live here."

The tax base will grow as new people and industries move in, he said. He wants to find more creative ways to raise money without raising taxes. He supports the recent bond issues and water rate increases to pay for water improvements.

NORTH AUGUSTA

Nominations taken for seat

The Rev. Nathaniel Irvin Sr. has become the second Democrat to file for the South Carolina House District 81 seat left vacant when Scott Beck resigned to take a job with the state attorney general's office.

He joins Evelyn T. Robinson in seeking the Democratic nomination. Republicans Arthur Shealy, Eddie Butler and Don Smith have offered for the Republican nomination.

Primaries will be held for both parties April 4, with a runoff, if necessary, on April 18. The general election is set for May 23.

Filing for both parties ends at noon Tuesday. Democrats interested in entering the race can call Democratic Party Chairman Charles Staples at 641-4756 for an appointment or file in person at the law office of Maxwell and Anderson, 225 Barnwell Ave. in Aiken. Republicans can call party Chairman David Nix at 641-9445 for an appointment.

GEORGIA

School ends spending slowdown

ATHENS -- The University of Georgia in Athens has collected $4.1 million in savings since President Michael Adams announced cost-saving measures a month ago, leading the school to end the spending slowdown.

That money will go toward a $48 million shortfall that arose throughout the 34 colleges and universities after they changed from a quarter system to a semester system.

Enrollment fell after the switch, and that threatened state funding. But now enrollment is going back up.

About half the savings came from not filling vacant teaching positions. The rest came from cutting operating expenses and postponing renovations.

Dr. Adams announced Friday that normal hiring can resume in some departments by March 1.

GEORGIA

Burning cross leads to charges

RICHLAND -- An elected official for a southwestern Georgia town and two other white men have been charged with burning a cross in front of a black woman's home.

Richland City Councilor Roy "Pete" Cobb, Frank Anderson and Kenneth Royal burned a cross at the home of 20-year-old Lawanda Holmes, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation said Friday.

Each is charged with one count of making terroristic threats and criminal trespassing.

Ms. Holmes' mother said her daughter came home Wednesday to find a cross built out of an old rocking chair burning on her front lawn and a note containing a racial slur on her front door.

SOUTH CAROLINA

$500,000 in yarn reported missing

SPARTANBURG -- Police are looking for nine truckloads of yarn reported missing from a local textile company.

Catawba Knits asked Spartanburg County Sheriff's Office to investigate after reviews of inventory reports showed $500,000 worth of yarn missing -- enough to fill nine tractor-trailers, Lt. Ron Gahagan said.

The yarn, used to make vinyl car-seat covers, was reported missing from two storage sites in Spartanburg and one in Inman. Lt. Gahagan said there were no signs of forced entry at any of the locations.

SOUTH CAROLINA

RV show, sale continues

COLUMBIA -- The RV Super Show and Sale continues at the State Fairgrounds today.

South Carolina RV Dealers Association organized the event, and dealers from the Midlands, the Upstate and the Lowcountry have more than 600 motor homes and trailers on display. It is expected to draw between 8,000 and 9,000 people.

Dealers will show some of the latest RV features, products and equipment, said Ron Plemmons, executive director of the group.

PENNSYLVANIA

Man tries to sell headdress

PHILADELPHIA -- A Georgia man pleaded guilty to trying to sell an eagle feather headdress last worn by Apache leader Geronimo and was sentenced to six months' probation.

Leighton Deming, of Suwanee, could have been fined Thursday up to $15,000 or sentenced to six months in prison for violating the U.S. Migratory Bird Protection Act. Part of the act prohibits trafficking in golden eagle feathers.

Mr. Deming was also ordered to forfeit the $1 million, 93-year-old headdress. The headdress had been given to his grandfather and was considered a family heirloom.

"I feel really bad about this. I'm sorry it ever occurred. It's been devastating to my family," Mr. Deming told Chief U.S. Magistrate Judge James R. Melinson.

Another man arrested with Mr. Deming -- Thomas Marciano, 42, of Atlanta -- has not yet gone to trial.

The elaborate, full-length war bonnet, which U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service officials estimate was made from the tail feathers of at least six golden eagles, was stored in a trunk for more than 90 years. It was being offered for sale on the Internet for $1.2 million. Several museums have asked for the headdress.



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