Originally created 05/02/00

Across the area: Officers search for attack suspect



The Aiken County Sheriff's Office is looking for a man who allegedly attacked a Ridge Spring resident outside an Aiken home Monday morning.

The two men began arguing over an automobile shortly after 11 a.m. outside a Jehossee Drive home, police said.

One of the men struck the other, Walter Jones, 34, over the head, possibly with a handgun. The victim, armed with a knife, tried to defend himself, Lt. Michael Frank said. Mr. Jones was taken to Aiken Regional Medical Centers.

His attacker is described as black and about 6 feet tall. He was last seen wearing a gray shirt and blue jeans.

Anyone with information about the incident should call the sheriff's office at (803) 642-1761 or (800) 922-3211.

Individuals also may call Aiken County Crime Stoppers at (803) 642-1798. Callers can remain anonymous and are eligible for a cash reward.

AUGUSTA

Artifact identification day set

The Augusta Archaeological Society will sponsor an "Artifact Identification Day" from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday at the Ezekiel Harris House, 1822 Broad St.

Archaeologists will be on hand to identify prehistoric and historic artifacts and artifact collections. Assistance also will be available to help report and protect important archaeological sites.

The event, held in conjunction with Georgia Archaeology Awareness Week May 6-14, also will include demonstrations of flint knapping -- the art of creating sharpened stone tools from pieces of rock.

For more information, contact Historic Augusta Inc. at (706) 724-0436.

AUGUSTA

Concert will honor director

Butler High School's Choral Department will present its annual Spring Concert at 7 p.m. May 11, at the Gilbert-Lambuth Chapel at Paine College.

The event will feature intermediate choir, concert choir, show choir and alumni choir (including classes from 1970 to 1999), and there will be a special farewell performance to honor retiring Choral Director Millicent Mazyck.

GEORGIA

Game hits second-highest jackpot

ATLANTA -- Big Game officials on Monday raised the estimated jackpot for today's drawing to $150 million, the second highest jackpot in the history of the game.

After no one hit the jackpot of $110 million in Friday's drawing, the prize was raised to $140 million.

The Big Game is held in seven states. In addition to Georgia, Virginia, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan and New Jersey have drawings.

The highest jackpot ever was $197 million, won April 6, 1999, by a woman in Massachusetts.

SOUTH CAROLINA

Woman, grandson die in fire

ANDERSON -- An Anderson woman and her great-grandson have died in a fire that began when the boy accidentally lit a couch while playing with a cigarette lighter.

Veada Wright, 84, and Dyslie Wright, 5, died Sunday of smoke inhalation, Anderson County Coroner Greg Shore said.

Ms. Wright's granddaughter, 16-year-old Tonya McIntosh, escaped, and another great-grandson, 1-year-old Takel Wright, was rescued by a relative. The two are being treated for first- and second-degree burns at the Joseph Still Burn Center at Doctors Hospital in Augusta.

Fire Chief Jack Abraham said officials got a call reporting the fire at 1:16 a.m. Sunday. He said Ms. Wright was heard telling her granddaughter to take the children out of the house while she tried to keep it from burning down. Chief Abraham said there was no smoke detector in the home.

GEORGIA

HMOs fined for slow claims

ATLANTA -- Prudential Health Care of Georgia has been fined nearly $200,000 for failing to pay claims in a timely manner, the state insurance commissioner said Monday.

It's the latest in a series of fines against health care providers resulting from reviews designed to ensure compliance with Georgia's "prompt pay" law.

"The HMO industry is going to have to get its act together or face more penalties," Commissioner John Oxendine said.

Kaiser Foundation Health Plan of Georgia and Aetna-U.S. Healthcare were fined for raising rates without the commissioner's approval. In February, United Healthcare was fined over violations including slow payment of claims.

Coventry Healthcare of Georgia, an Atlanta-based company formerly known as Principal Healthcare, says it will appeal. It was fined $262,700 for not paying claims on time.

SOUTH CAROLINA

High court disciplines attorneys

COLUMBIA -- South Carolina's Supreme Court has suspended two lawyers and removed a third from his practice.

Dennis C. Gilchrist, of Greenville, was suspended last week because he has been charged with a crime and "could pose a threat of serious harm to the public." However, the court, in an order released Monday, did not say what charge Mr. Gilchrist faced, and the Office of Disciplinary Council said the information was confidential.

The second lawyer, William M. Yates, of Columbia, was suspended after he pleaded guilty to simple assault.

The court also transferred indefinitely the practice of M. Eugene Gibbs, of Florence. Mr. Gibbs said during a disciplinary hearing that he was unable to defend himself because of mental incapacity. The court ordered that his practice be handled by Florence attorney Steve Wukela Jr.

SOUTH CAROLINA

Birth card available in any county

COLUMBIA -- South Carolinians can now obtain birth certificate cards from any county health department in the state, regardless of their county of birth.

The Department of Health and Environmental Control said Monday all county offices now have access to all birth records.

Until now, someone who wanted a birth certificate had to go to the county where he was born to get the record.

Only people over 18 named on birth certificates or their parents, guardians or legal representatives can request the records.

Only the short form certificate, or birth card, is available through the new system. Those seeking the long form document must still visit the county of birth or the state office in Columbia.