Originally created 02/14/01

Across the area



COLUMBIA COUNTY
Police workers cited in harassment case

Two Columbia County Sheriff's Office employees are under investigation for alleged sexual harassment in the workplace.

"There are two independent internal investigations being conducted," said Columbia County Sheriff's Capt. Steve Morris.

Capt. Morris said he could not comment on the grounds for the investigation or give any other details. He did say that disciplinary action has been taken against the two employees.

AUGUSTA
Home development meeting set

The Housing and Neighborhood Development director will speak at a special meeting Thursday called by the Harrisburg Neighborhood Association. Keven Mack will discuss a plan to improve 20 homes in the Harrisburg community this summer. The meeting will be at 7:30 p.m. at the Harrisburg Family Life Center, 1901 Fenwick St. For more information, call (706) 736-1600.

AUGUSTA
State offers legal assistance

Low-income people possibly in need of legal assistance for civil problems may speak with representatives of Georgia Legal Services Program in the following counties:

Warren County on Friday from 1 to 3 p.m. at the Warren County Department of Family and Children Services, 224 N. Legion Drive, Warrenton.

Burke County on Feb. 21 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Community Action Agency, 567 W. Ninth St., Waynesboro.

McDuffie and Glascock counties on Feb. 21 from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. at the McDuffie Human Development Center, 810 White Oak Road, Thomson.

Jefferson County on Feb. 21 from 3 to 4 p.m. at the Jefferson County Department of Family and Children Services, U.S. Highway 1 North, Louisville.

Lincoln, Taliaferro and Wilkes counties on Feb. 21 from 10 a.m. to noon at the Wilkes County Courthouse, Commissioner's Board Room, 23 E. Court St., Room 222, Washington.

Washington County on Feb. 21 from 10 a.m. to noon at the Washington County Department of Family and Children Services, 1124 S. Harris St., Sandersville.

Jenkins County on Feb. 28 from 1 to 2 p.m. at the Jenkins County Department of Family and Children Services, 618 Gray St. Ext., Millen.

Screven County on Feb. 28 from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the Equal Opportunity Authority, 209 E. Ogeechee St., Sylvania.

The Georgia Legal Services Program office, 811 Telfair St., Suite 202, Augusta.

Weekday appointments from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. may be scheduled by calling 721-2327 or toll-free (800) 248-6697.

AUGUSTA
Health board seeks clinic funding

Needing a new clinic in south Augusta, the Richmond County Board of Health voted Tuesday night to approach local legislators about getting $500,000 from the state.

The board received a preliminary look at what services will be offered and what size the new clinic will be, courtesy of design planning done by the clinic staff.

"We're letting the staff become the planners. And it is saving money already," said real estate consultant F.A. Johnson. The preliminary plans call for a roughly 20,000-square-foot clinic in the Diamond Lakes recreation area, owned by the county. The state funds would be for site work and equipment. The rest of the $2.5 million budget would come out of special purpose local option sales tax funds beginning in 2003, said East Central Health District Director Dr. Frank Rumph.

However, the health department may ask Augusta Commissioners to move that up a year because of severe overcrowding at the current south Augusta clinic, which is about 3,000 square feet, Dr. Rumph said.

EMANUEL COUNTY
Online teen abstinence rally set

SWAINSBORO - About 250 to 300 Swainsboro-area youths will rally at the Emanuel County 4-H Club House, South Main Street, Swainsboro, for Seize the Net between 6 and 9 tonight.

Seize the Net is an online version of True Love Waits, an abstinence campaign that has enlisted about a million youths since 1993. Anyone who promises to remain chaste until marriage can sign a pledge card through the web page at www.truelovewaits.com.

The Swainsboro event is sponsored by area churches. For more information, call (478) 237-3429.

GEORGIA
Senate votes to study gas costs

ATLANTA - The Georgia Senate voted unanimously Tuesday to create a committee to study the state's skyrocketing natural-gas costs and issue a report by year end.

Sen. Greg Hecht, D-Jonesboro, who sponsored the resolution that created the committee, said too many people have complained about high gas prices to let the issue go unexamined any longer.

While Mr. Hecht acknowledged that Georgia's gas prices are some of the lowest in the Southeast, he said state deregulation four years ago created a "sophisticated system that needs a lot of study and expertise."

The six-member Senate Study Committee on Natural Gas will include two senate committee leaders and four senators appointed by Lt. Gov. Mark Taylor.

GEORGIA
Cigarette-vending ban re-proposed

ATLANTA - For the second year in a row, the General Assembly will take up legislation banning cigarette vending machines in Georgia.

Rep. Charlie Smith introduced a bill into the House on Tuesday that would ban new cigarette machines as of July 30.

The measure also would set up a fund to compensate vendors for the loss of revenue from existing machines and for destroying them, since cigarette machines cannot be retrofitted to handle other products. The payouts, which could total up to $15 million, likely would be funded from Georgia's share of the national tobacco settlement.

"We're trying to put an end, as much as possible, to sales of tobacco products to minors," said Mr. Smith, D-St. Marys. "The vending machine is one of the last places that minors can get at cigarettes without having to produce an ID."

GEORGIA
Two charged in dog-dragging case

LAWRENCEVILLE - A former police officer and her neighbor are accused of dragging a dog behind a truck until its paws bled.

Maria Christina Rivero, a former Gwinnett County police officer, and her next-door neighbor, Mario Cruz, were arrested Sunday on abuse charges.

Police said they put Mr. Cruz's family dog, a golden Labrador retriever, on a leash behind Ms. Rivero's truck and dragged him down the street. A witness told police the truck was going about 30 mph.