Originally created 07/11/00

Across the area



AUGUSTA
Official praises area's legislators

Lt. Gov. Mark Taylor told members of the Augusta Rotary Club on Monday that Georgia's economic future depends greatly on continued education reforms, reduction of the crime rate and an increase in economic development in Augusta and other cities throughout the state.

"Atlanta will not and cannot be the sole economic engine driving this state," he said.

Mr. Taylor, who spoke at The Clubhouse reception hall on Washington Road, also lauded Augusta's legislative delegation, specifically, Sen. Charles Walker, and Reps. Robin Williams and Jack Connell.

He said Augusta's delegation is among the strongest, if not the strongest, group in the state.

And Mr. Taylor said Mr. Walker, the Senate majority leader, played an instrumental role during a recent trade mission to Israel. He said Mr. Walker helped persuade five Israeli businesses to expand into Georgia.

One member of the audience asked Mr. Taylor if he thought Georgia's state flag would become a target now that South Carolina's flag issue had been resolved. Mr. Taylor said he hoped state lawmakers would avoid the issue.

"We must continue to focus on the business at hand, the business of running this state," he said.

AUGUSTA
Judge: Man should face grand jury

A Lincoln County man facing a federal charge that he plotted a murder-for-hire of his ex-wife was denied bond Monday.

U.S. Magistrate Judge W. Leon Barfield also found probable cause that Edward D. Hoyt III, 39, should face a federal grand jury for possible indictment. Mr. Hoyt was arrested last month and charged with use of an interstate commerce facility in commission of a murder for hire.

According to FBI Special Agent Rebecca T. Harrison, who testified Monday at Mr. Hoyt's preliminary hearing in Augusta's federal court, Mr. Hoyt was arrested June 24 just inside the South Carolina state line on Interstate 20. With Mr. Hoyt was the man investigators believe he had hired to kill his ex-wife, she testified.

Special Agent Harrison also testified that investigators taped conversations between Mr. Hoyt and the alleged would-be hit man discussing, among other things, how best to kill Joyce Hoyt in Indiana, Pa., and buying a handgun the day before the two men set off for a "reconnaissance" mission to Ms. Hoyt's Pennsylvania home.

AUGUSTA
Construction delays events

Woodlawn Baptist Church has rescheduled two events announced for this week because of construction delays.

"Mr. Quigley" will visit the congregation's children at 7 p.m. Aug. 30 instead of Wednesday.

Pam Thum will perform her concert at 6:30 p.m. Sept. 24 instead of Sunday.

Woodlawn is about a month away from moving into its new campus at 4943 Columbia Road, Grovetown, the Rev. Tony Christie said. It currently holds services at Warren Road Elementary School, 311 Warren Road.

For more information, call 724-3573.

AIKEN
Couple suing highway patrol

An Aiken County man is suing the South Carolina Highway Patrol, claiming he was rear-ended by a trooper during a traffic stop.

Plaintiff John Clarke claims Trooper Thomas McKinney was driving too fast for conditions, following too closely and failing to keep a proper lookout when the accident occurred April 20, 1999.

The lawsuit states that Mr. Clarke was driving his 1993 Hyundai to work on U.S. Highway 1 at the posted speed limit when a trooper did a U-turn, got behind his vehicle and turned on his blue lights. When Mr. Clarke saw the blue lights, he slowed his vehicle, the suit states.

Mr. Clarke claims the trooper "willfully, recklessly, wantonly and negligently drove his vehicle into the rear of plaintiff's vehicle, causing great damage." He claims the accident caused him permanent disability, mental anguish, lost wages, high medical bills and a lower quality of life.

Mr. Clarke's wife, Patricia, also is suing the Highway Patrol, claiming loss of consortium. Both are seeking actual damages and attorney's fees.

The lawsuit, filed in the Aiken County Court of Common Pleas, represents only one side of a dispute. The Highway Patrol has 30 days to respond.

GEORGIA
Man charged in stabbing death

TWIN CITY - A Twin City man was arrested and charged with murder in Emanuel County after a Metter resident was found stabbed to death early Saturday.

Venancio Gaspar Caneco, 25, of Griffin Ferry Road, is being held in the Emanuel County jail.

He was arrested just hours after officers found the body of 23-year-old Edwardo Castro lying in Griffin Ferry Road just outside Stillmore on Saturday morning, Emanuel County Sheriff J. Tyson Stephens said. Police received a call at about 4 a.m. saying someone was lying in the road.

Mr. Castro had been stabbed in the chest, the sheriff said.

AUGUSTA
Head of census office fired

Within a month of the tentative completion of Census 2000, the head of Augusta's census office has been fired by his superiors in Atlanta.

John Harland, manager of the local U.S. Census Bureau office, was dismissed Friday as a result of "issues that were brought up by his staff," area Manager Alan Cranford said.

"There were issues in his management style that we disagreed with," Mr. Cranford said. "Basically, it was in the best interests of the Census Bureau to let him go."

Further details could not be released because of the sensitivity of all census-related information, Mr. Cranford said. Mr. Harland had been with the U.S. Census Bureau since September 1999. Eddie Sanders, a field technician, is now acting manager of the Augusta office.

COLUMBIA COUNTY
Man jailed under suicide watch

A 21-year-old Evans man charged with terroristic threats in connection with a police standoff in June was released Monday from Georgia Regional Hospital and moved to the Columbia County Sheriff's Office Detention Center.

Brian Bojanowski is under suicide watch at the jail, Capt. Steve Morris said.

Mr. Bojanowski was arrested June 16 after a two-hour standoff with police at his house in the Rivershyre subdivision in which police said he threatened to kill himself. When officers approached the house, a molotov cocktail was tossed out the window. Mr. Bojanowski was found unconscious in an upstairs bedroom.

He is charged with making terroristic threats and acts, possession of destructive devices and aggravated assault, Capt. Morris said.

Mr. Bojanowski is being held on bonds totaling $45,000.

COLUMBIA COUNTY
Task force pursues chairman plan

Columbia County's Government Task Force agreed Monday night to continue researching the creation of an at-large, elected chairman's position.

The task force voted 12-1 to move forward on the idea, with Bill Beasley casting the dissenting vote. He was unhappy that the task force voted without setting a salary or answering other questions about the position.

"If I make a business decision, I have to know cost and benefits before I make my choice," he said.

Task Force Chairman Ed Rees said the vote won't affect the final report - due to the commission next month - but it was necessary to guide future meetings.

The next meeting is July 24.

AUGUSTA
Police seek woman in stabbing

A 52-year-old Augusta man was stabbed during an argument Monday night, and police were taking out warrants against his girlfriend.

Jim Leverett, of the 1100 block of Ninth Avenue, was stabbed in both arms and his right hand with a steak knife at about 10:15 p.m., Richmond County Sheriff's Investigator Ken Rogers said.

Police said Mr. Leverett also was hit in the head with a vase.

Police were searching for Pamela Bernice Brown, 42, who lives with Mr. Leverett. Investigator Rogers said warrants for aggravated assault and possession of a knife during the commission of a crime were taken out against her.

Mr. Leverett was at the Medical College of Georgia Hospital emergency room early this morning, and his condition was not available.