Originally created 05/14/00

Across the area


Councilman wants windows closed

ATLANTA - City Councilman Lee Morris has proposed an ordinance to close every drive-through window in Atlanta each May 1 through Sept. 30 in an effort to improve air quality.

Mr. Morris said drive-through windows contribute to Atlanta's smog problems and encourage a car-dependent culture.

"I'm not sure society realizes yet how bad off we really are," Mr. Morris said.

He proposed an ordinance in 1998 that would have prevented construction of any new drive-through windows, but the council voted against his proposal.

Some cities in California, North Carolina and Massachusetts already ban or restrict drive-throughs. However, Mr. Morris faces stiff opposition from industry groups and Mayor Bill Campbell.

The proposal has the approval of the City Utilities Committee, and the full council will consider that recommendation Monday.


Family safe after house fire

Though his house was damaged by fire Saturday afternoon, Keith Honeycutt was just thankful that at the end of the day he still had his family and his rabbit.

Mr. Honeycutt's two-story house at 4079 Arlington Road caught fire at about 6:52 p.m. after gasoline began leaking from a car in his garage, he told firefighters.

Seconds later, the fuel apparently hit the flame from the nearby water heater, causing an explosion, said Martinez Fire Department Chief Gary Thigpen. Immediately, Mr. Honeycutt, his wife, Amy, and their 4-year-old daughter Aubrey escaped. Mr. Honeycutt suffered only minor burns to his leg and was treated at Doctors Hospital.

One family member remained inside as fire engulfed the garage and spread to the roof, though: Aubrey's pet rabbit Hoppy. Minutes later, firefighters David Wimpy and Chris Middleton made a discovery.

"We looked all over the bedroom and then there was the rabbit curled up on the floor," Mr. Middleton said.

"As long as these people right here are OK, I don't care about the house," Mr. Honeycutt said, pointing to his family and his rabbit after the rescue.

The rabbit was treated with oxygen but was OK. Chief Thigpen said firefighters were able to contain damage to the garage and attic. The car was a complete loss.


Drive begins to get fans for elderly

With the temperature already reaching the 90s, television station WJBF (Channel 6) is spearheading the eighth annual Fans for the Elderly project this month to collect electric fans for senior citizens.

The station, along with BP/Amoco, Georgia Bank and Trust, Powertel, and radio stations WKXC-FM (99.5) and WSLT-FM (98.3), hopes to collect 300 fans for elderly people in Georgia and South Carolina. Last year, the effort collected 260 fans.

The stations will hold live remotes with Chief Meteorologist George Myers at Wal-Mart in Thomson on Monday and at Wal-Mart on Bobby Jones Expressway on May 22. Fans can be donated there or dropped off at any of the sponsors' offices.


Shots exchanged at stakeout

MACON - Two Macon police officers shot and killed a man who walked up from behind and fired on them during a drug stakeout, police said.

The officers were lying along a wooded trail near a row of east-side duplexes at 11:25 p.m. Thursday. Two men approached the officers, asked them, "What are you doing here?" and then opened fire when the officers identified themselves, police said.

The officers returned fire, Deputy Police Chief Willie J. May said.

Police identified the dead man as 25-year-old Patrick Long. The second suspect escaped and has not been identified. Officers Heath Holcomb and Sandra Aldridge were not wounded in the shootout.


Shooting leaves two wounded

DORAVILLE - A Doraville police officer was killed and a nightclub manager seriously wounded in a shooting Friday night.

Officer Hugo Arango was investigating a report of vehicle burglaries in the parking lot of Eclipse Night Club when he was shot. Authorities said he had tried to detain several suspects after a reported vehicle break-in. As he tried to frisk one of the suspects, another man pulled a 9mm handgun and shot the officer at least three times.

Officer Arango was hit in the chest, neck and leg, said Doraville Police Col. C.M. Edwards. He was taken to Atlanta Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead at about 3 a.m. Saturday.

Club Manager David Contreras was shot in the face but was in stable condition Saturday at Grady Memorial Hospital.


Animal carcass finds investigated

RED BANK - Authorities in Lexington County are investigating the discovery of 13 animal carcasses in the woods near the Red Bank community.

Someone who regularly walks through the woods discovered three animal bodies Friday afternoon and called the sheriff's office, said Joe Mergo, the county's director of solid waste management and animal services.

The person "smelled something awfully smelly," Mr. Mergo said, and found the carcass of a deer that looked as though it had been hit by a vehicle and thrown into the woods. The person then noticed the carcasses of a cat and a dog.

Deputies who went to investigate the initial discovery found the bodies of 10 more dogs in trash bags buried about 4 feet deep. The carcasses were buried elsewhere after officials determined they were too decomposed to examine for cause of death, he said.


Alcohol petition sparks vote

GREENVILLE - A group that wants the city of Greenville to allow Sunday alcohol sales in restaurants has gathered enough signatures to put the issue to voters.

Greenville 2000 delivered a petition with 3,517 signatures to city hall Friday, more than the 2,500 needed to qualify for a June 13 referendum. The signatures must be verified by the Greenville County Election Commission.

A countywide referendum on Sunday alcohol sales was rejected by voters last year. But voters within the Greenville city limits approved the measure.

The Rev. Stan Craig, head of Citizens for Traditional Family Values, said his group opposes another vote on Sunday alcohol sales because it's a waste of taxpayer money.

If the referendum passes, restaurants and some sites that have permits can sell alcohol on Sunday. Liquor and grocery stores cannot.


Charges brought against worker

GREENWOOD - A minister and employee of Greenwood School District 50 has been charged with molesting an 8-year-old boy, authorities say.

Greenwood police charged Lujon Augustin Fernando Garcia, 42, with criminal sexual conduct with a minor.

Judge Lee Miller said he set bond at $1 million because of the evidence against Mr. Garcia and his potential danger to the community.

Police Chief Gerald Brooks said the alleged incident happened May 7 at Abbeville Baptist Association.

Mr. Garcia had been employed by District 50 as a library aide at East End Elementary School since November 1998, said Martha Vincent, spokeswoman for the district.


Four boys charged in assault

CHARLESTON - Four boys between the ages of 8 and 10 charged with sexually assaulting an 8-year-old girl on a Charleston County school bus have been suspended from school and recommended for expulsion, a district official says.

The boys are accused of molesting the girl Thursday on a school bus carrying pupils from Burns Elementary, said Mitch Lucas of the Charleston County Sheriff's Office.

Police were notified after a girl got off the bus and told her mother, Mr. Lucas said. The bus driver did not see the alleged incident on the full bus, authorities said, but he called police when he heard about it.

Police said the girl was sexually assaulted but no intercourse occurred. The boys are charged with criminal sexual conduct with a minor, Mr. Lucas said. Because of their age, they were released to their parents.


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