Originally created 05/12/00

Across the area: Challenge hearing moves to today



The qualifying challenge hearing for Richmond County sheriff candidate Woodrow Fryer was changed from Monday to today by the Board of Elections on Thursday.

The hearing will begin at 9 a.m. in Room 319 of the municipal building. The public is invited to attend.

The hearing revolves around allegations made by Augusta lawyer William McCracken that Mr. Fryer violated a state law requiring candidates to submit fingerprints to the judge of Probate Court on or before the end of qualifying.

Mr. Fryer said Wednesday that his prints have been on file with the Probate Court since February, when he received a gun permit.

AIKEN COUNTY

Man charged with DUI in accident

A Langley man was arrested and charged Wednesday with felony DUI after surrendering to police.

The South Carolina Highway Patrol said Craig Roberts, 28, backed over his niece April 21 while she was playing in the driveway of her Hillman Street residence. Four-year-old Whitney Anstett, of Warrenville, was taken to Medical College of Georgia Hospital for back injuries and a broken leg.

Police also charged Mr. Roberts with driving under suspension and leaving the scene of an accident. He is being held without bond at Aiken County Detention Center.

AIKEN COUNTY

Preschool registration set

Aiken County Child Development Program registration will be held today at all Aiken County elementary schools. Children must be 4 years old by Sept. 1 to register.

Parents should bring immunization records, a legal birth certificate, Social Security card and proof of South Carolina residency.

Although there is limited space in the program, instructional support Coordinator Carol Miles urged everyone to apply.

"It is a free, public preschool program. It's just a matter of trying to reach the children in need," she said.

First consideration is given to children who are considered at-risk for future school performance problems. Selection is based on results of a developmental test and parent interview.

AIKEN COUNTY

Voter registration deadline nears

The Aiken County Voter Registration and Elections Office will be open from 9 a.m. to noon Saturday, the last day to register to vote in the June 13 Democratic and Republican primary elections. Normal office hours are from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays.

Registered voters in House District 83 can cast absentee ballots for the May 23 special election at that time as well.

Call 642-2028 for more information.

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA

Senator released from hospital

WASHINGTON - U.S. Sen. Strom Thurmond, R-S.C., was released from a Washington hospital Thursday after being treated for an upset stomach and dehydration.

Mr. Thurmond left Walter Reed Army Medical Center and arrived at the Capitol in time for an early-morning vote, aides said. The Republican had checked himself into the hospital Tuesday night, complaining of an upset stomach.

At 97, Mr. Thurmond is the oldest senator in history. He has been in and out of hospitals several times in recent years for a variety of problems and had prostate surgery last year.

GEORGIA

Automaker admits SUV failing

ATLANTA - In a startling admission, Ford Motor Co. says its high-profit business in sport utility vehicles doesn't always jibe with its desire to be more environmentally responsible.

The critical comments were delivered in a book given to shareholders who attended Ford's annual meeting Thursday.

"We take our social responsibility seriously," Chairman William Clay Ford Jr. said after the meeting. "Our approach to SUVs and the environment has not always been responsible, but now we're in the leading position."

The automaker's SUVs were the major engine behind the company's record profits of $7.2 billion last year. Demand for several models, including the hulking Excursion, almost has outpaced supply.

Mr. Ford, a great-grandson of Henry Ford, has made environmental concerns one of his top priorities.

SOUTH CAROLINA

Charity's ex-chief will plead guilty

FLORENCE - The former executive director of a Pee Dee charity will plead guilty to taking more than $30,000 from an organization that helps people with AIDS, according to the Morning News of Florence.

Karen Rochelle Beckford ran Hope for the Pee Dee for about a year. She resigned in March.

The newspaper reported Ms. Beckford signed an agreement last month with federal prosecutors to plead guilty. She will have to repay the charity. The agreement is not binding until Ms. Beckford goes before a judge.

Board Chairman Joe Bittle said the charity is still operating and looking for a new director.

"Clients are being seen and care is being given without interruption," Mr. Bittle said.

GEORGIA

Teens die in morning accident

CUMMING - Two 16-year-olds were killed Thursday morning when their car slammed into a utility pole, Forsyth County authorities said.

A third teen-ager in the car was injured.

The two victims were identified as Adam Alfrey, the driver, and Steven Grant, who was sitting in the front seat of the 1988 BMW, said Investigator Jerry Petrotto of the Forsyth County Sheriff's Department.

Ian Biernacki, 17, who was sitting in the back seat of the car, was listed in stable condition at Atlanta Medical Center. He had facial fractures, but his condition was not life-threatening, hospital spokeswoman Stephanie Williams said.

SOUTH CAROLINA

Census lacks workers for county

HILTON HEAD ISLAND - The low unemployment rate in Beaufort County is creating problems in finding workers to complete the U.S. Census count.

More than 40 workers are needed to complete the second phase of the census in the next four to six weeks, said Barbara Edwards, manager of the local census office.

"It's going to be done. Failure's not an option," Ms. Edwards said.

The Census Bureau requires that local people conduct the count, preventing the importation of workers from other counties, she said.

GEORGIA

Board denies rapist's parole

ATLANTA - Citing mental illness and extremely bad behavior during his prison term, the Georgia State Board of Pardons and Paroles denied parole to Alphonso Dade, 43, who is serving a life sentence for a 1985 rape in Augusta.

"It appears that he was on the path of becoming a serial rapist, and there are no signs that he has reformed himself," Parole Board Chairman Walter Ray stated in a news release.

According to authorities, on Feb. 20, 1985, Mr. Dade pointed a gun at a 28-year-old woman outside a nightclub and ordered her into his car. He then drove her to a nearby parking lot and robbed and raped her inside the car.

Several days later, he assaulted a woman walking to her car in the parking lot of a gym.

Mr. Dade was sentenced to life for the rape and 10 years for aggravated assault in Richmond County Superior Court on Nov. 27, 1985. His case will not come before the parole board again until Feb. 2002. He is currently being held in a state prison in Reidsville.

AUGUSTA

Fire destroys Augusta home

At least three firefighters collapsed from intense heat while dousing an afternoon blaze in south Augusta on Thursday.

Cleveland Garrison of the 3000 block of Libby Drive told firefighters his car caught fire while parked in the garage, said Augusta-Richmond County Fire Department Capt. Ivan Bolgla. Flames spread to the house, eventually burning through the roof, melting front shutters and ravaging most of the interior of the one-story brick house, he said. No one was inside when the fire started at about 5:30 p.m.

The fire took about a half-hour to contain, Capt. Bolgla said. The heat-afflicted firefighters were revived by drinking water and inhaling oxygen, he said.