Originally created 04/21/00

Across the area: Authorities search for slaying suspect

Police released new details Thursday in the slaying of a York Street man whose body was discovered Tuesday.

The weapon used to kill Paul Williams is believed to be a 12-gauge shotgun, according to a news release from Aiken Department of Public Safety. The shotgun stock had been cut into a pistol grip and wrapped in black electrical tape. The rest of the stock was found at the scene, police said.

Authorities say Mr. Williams died from a wound to the chest early Tuesday morning inside his home in the 400 block of York Street. His body was discovered by a friend who had arrived at about 7 p.m., when Mr. Williams did not show up for work.

The Public Safety Department is offering up to a $2,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the killer. Anyone with information is asked to contact Chief Investigator Dwayne Courtney at (803) 642-7620.


Man dies in morning wreck

A 26-year-old Martinez man was killed Thursday morning when his pickup flipped after striking the rear of a gravel truck on Columbia Road.

Matthew D. Metheney, of Silver Maple Drive, died of massive head trauma at Doctors Hospital less than an hour after the 6:41 a.m. wreck, Columbia County Coroner Tommy King said.

According to Capt. Rick Whitaker of the sheriff's office, the gravel truck driven by Kenneth Smith, 63, of Augusta, was traveling slowly up a hill in the westbound lane of Columbia Road near Patriots Park.

Mr. Metheney apparently misjudged how slowly the truck was traveling and swerved too late to miss it, Capt. Whitaker said. The front of the pickup struck the left rear of the gravel truck.

The pickup flipped and landed upside down, pinning the driver inside. No charges will be filed, Capt. Whitaker said.


Industry standards demonstrated

Three representatives of the National Skill Standards Board visited Augusta Technical Institute on Thursday to discuss industry skill standards.

State officials were showing how Georgia is using its own statewide skill standards to attract and assist businesses. Board Executive Director Edie West said Georgia has a model system.

The board was created by Congress to build a voluntary national system of skill standards, assessment and certification so businesses can compete in the global economy. Members are appointed by the president and Congress.


VA nurse wins area award

Mary Forbes, a staff nurse for the Augusta Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Centers, was named CSRA Nurse of the Year on Thursday at the Spirit of Nursing Showcase.

Mrs. Forbes, who works in primary care at the Downtown Division of the VA, will go on to compete for the state title at the Georgia Nurses Association convention May 6. In addition to her other services, Mrs. Forbes leads the smoking cessation group for veterans at the VA.

The annual nursing award is presented by the 10th District chapter of the Georgia Nurses Association.


12-year-old leads police in chase

GREER -- A 12-year-old Roebuck boy has been charged with failure to stop for police after he wrecked his father's car in a chase.

The boy, who was unresponsive when pulled from the vehicle at about 3:30 a.m. Wednesday, was treated and released from a Spartanburg hospital into the custody of his father. Authorities did not release the boy's identity because of his age.

Greer Patrolman Chuck Porter pursued the car before it flipped over several times and struck a utility pole. Patrolman Porter said the car was traveling close to 100 mph when it struck the pole.

Police were uncertain why the boy took the car.

"There were signs that the boy may have been running away from home," Capt. Gary Smith said. "There were clothes packed in the car."


Tech company to open facilities

COLUMBIA -- A commercial computer support company says it will create 250 to 500 jobs by opening facilities in Lee and Williamsburg counties.

Nashville, Tenn.-based ClientLogic Corp. hopes to move into a renovated facility at the James Industrial Park in Bishopville by midsummer, then add another facility at Williamsburg Cooperative Industrial Park.

South Carolina has been actively recruiting high-tech companies to the state's rural areas. ClientLogic is a subsidiary of Toronto-based Onex Corp. The company provides customer relationship management services to electronic commerce and technology companies by assisting in acquiring and retaining customers and maximizing profitability.


Student accused in stabbing

ATLANTA -- Police were searching Thursday for a 16-year-old accused of stabbing another student while they were on their way to Therrell High School.

Principal Henry Williams said the 17-year-old victim, who attends an alternative school located at Therrell, suffered minor injuries from being hit in the face and slashed in the neck.

Neither student was identified.

Mr. Williams said the dispute apparently started Wednesday, when one student threw something off a bus at the other.

The attack happened at about 8:30 a.m. Thursday a half-mile from the southwest Atlanta school, officials said.


Peanut commission will continue

TIFTON -- Georgia's peanut farmers have voted to keep the Georgia Peanut Commission.

As required by state law, farmers have been asked to vote on the matter every three years since the commission was formed in 1961.

This year, 5,219 ballots were sent to Georgia peanut farmers. Of those that were returned, 1,624 -- or 85 percent -- voted in favor of keeping the commission, 278 voted against and nine ballots were declared invalid.

The results were tallied by an independent accounting firm and made public Thursday.


Woman dies in car accident

An Appling woman died from massive internal injuries after a car wreck at Washington and Pleasant Home roads Thursday morning.

Sharon Noegel, 50, was pronounced dead at 8:47 a.m. at Medical College of Georgia Hospital, said Coroner Leroy Sims. About 45 minutes earlier, she had been driving eastbound in a 1989 Nissan Maxima on Washington Road when police said a teen-age driver in a 1996 Ford Thunderbird pulled in front of her while turning left onto Pleasant Home Road.

According to a Richmond County Sheriff's Department report, Patricia Outz, 17, of Augusta, was at fault in the collision for failing to yield. She is currently listed in good condition at the hospital, and deputies said she will be arrested on her release.

Pending charges include second degree vehicular homicide, driving with no license and failure to yield right of way, police said.


Officials to consider water plan

Columbia County commissioners will consider a water conservation plan for residents next month. But officials aren't sure when they'll start enforcing the measures.

Members of the county's Water and Sewer Service Committee approved the plan Thursday night. Under the first phase, all outdoor watering is banned on Mondays, but residents and businesses using an underground sprinkler system or more than one sprinkler connected to a hose are restricted to certain days. Even addresses could water on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday; while odd addresses could water on Wednesday, Friday and Sunday.

Under the second phase, the county will increase the ban to allow watering only during the hours of 5 to 9 a.m. and 5 to 9 p.m. on the prescribed days. Also, residents using just one sprinkler on a hose are brought in under the even/odd system. The third phase bans all outdoor watering.

If the policy is approved, officials must decide when to implement it.

"If you asked me today I'd say go ahead and implement it," said Water and Sewer Serviced Director Billy Clayton, adding that would allow residents to become familiar with the restrictions before the county starts actually enforcing them.


Officials searching for robbery suspects

Aiken County authorities were searching into the early morning hours for two men who robbed a convenience store at gunpoint late Thursday.

At about 10:30 p.m., two men entered the Golden Pantry at 3410 Trolley Line Road. One produced a gun and demanded money from the clerk, police said. No shots were fired and no one was injured in the incident, police said.

After the men fled on foot, Aiken County deputies blocked off streets in the surrounding neighborhood and brought in police dogs to search for the suspects. No arrests had been made late Thursday.


Corrections seeks new site for halfway house

Community outrage over a proposed 200-bed halfway house off Phinizy Road has prompted the Georgia Department of Corrections to look for a new site, according a state senator.

At a meeting of neighborhood groups at Bell Terrace Senior Citizens Center on Golden Camp Road, state Sen. Don Cheeks, D-Augusta, read a letter from Georgia Department of Corrections Commissioner Jim Wetherington stating that the facility housing state prisoners will not go near any communities where it is not welcome. The facility still will be built somewhere in Richmond County, Mr. Cheeks said, as state funding for centers in Augusta and Columbus has already been approved.

"I welcome the transitional center to Richmond County, but I do not feel it should be in a residential area if the residents don't want it, if we have somewhere else to put it," Mr. Cheeks said, adding that he has recommended placing it in an industrial area.

Heath & Associates currently holds a contract to build the center. The contract with W.A. Hamby & Associates to build a halfway house off Spring Grove Road near Breeze Hill subdivision was canceled after a missed deadline in February, he said.

When completed, the transitional center will help recently paroled prisoners re-enter society by providing a supervised living setting while they work jobs during the day. Nearby residents of the Phinizy Road site said the area already has too many correctional facilities.


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