Originally created 02/20/01

Across the area



GEORGIA
Reports says births to teens declined

ATLANTA - Georgia newborns were less likely to be born to teen-age mothers and more likely to have benefited from prenatal care at the end of the 1990s than at the beginning of the decade, a new study shows.

The proportion of births to women who smoked during pregnancy dropped sharply, falling from more than 15 percent in 1990 to below 10 percent in 1998, keeping the state below the national average, the study released today says.

The percentage of children born to mothers who received late or no prenatal care fell from 7 percent to 3 percent, while the national average declined from 6 percent to 4 percent. In the same period, Georgia births to teen-age mothers declined from 17 percent to 15 percent but remained above the national average.

The survey was produced for the Annie E. Casey Foundation's annual survey of child well-being.

It says Georgia's annual births rose from 112,666 in 1990 to 122,368 in 1998. During that time, the percentage of births to unmarried women in Georgia increased, as it did for the nation as a whole.

SOUTH CAROLINA
Two face charges in robbery

GLOVERVILLE - Two suspects in the weekend robbery of a pizza deliveryman remained in the Aiken County jail Monday night, jail officials said.

Kevin F. Woodward, of Mosely Drive, Trenton; and Joey C. Smith, 24, of Rainbow Falls Road, Graniteville, are charged in connection with the Sunday robbery of a Domino's Pizza deliveryman at gunpoint, sheriff's Lt. Michael Frank said.

The deliveryman, who was not identified, pulled into the parking lot of the Minit Shop on Augusta Road in Gloverville at 9:30 p.m. to deliver two pizzas. He was reportedly approached by two men who asked him for change. When the deliveryman replied that he didn't have any, one of the men pulled out a revolver and demanded the pizzas and money, Lt. Frank said.

The deliveryman complied, and the men ran up a hill behind the store, officials said. Police said one of the men had placed a phone call to Domino's from the Minit Shop shortly after 9 p.m.

The Aiken County Bloodhound Team searched the immediate area, leading police first to a pile of bread sticks and then to the suspects, who were hiding under a mobile home on Myrtle Street, Lt. Frank said.

They were being held Monday at the Aiken County Detention Center. Mr. Woodward is charged with robbery while armed with a dangerous weapon and possession of a weapon during the commission of a violent crime. He is being held under a $25,000 bond. Mr. Smith is charged with armed robbery and is under a $15,000 bond.

NORTH AUGUSTA
Board votes to annex 3.5 acres

The North Augusta City Council on Monday night voted to annex 3.5 acres of land recently purchased by owners of the 1,500-acre Blanchard Park.

The city took in 2.51 acres located at Ascauga Lake Road and an additional acre located at Blanchard Road. Developers bought the land to gain better access from the Blanchard Park to the two roads, according to a city official.

The council also voted to rezone seven acres of land owned by the Taylor family at Revco Road, approximately 500 feet south of U.S. Highway 1. It was changed from thoroughfare commercial to industrial.

According to a North Augusta Planning Commission memo, the Taylor family plans to transfer the property to C.N. Brown & Co., which plans to develop a chemical products warehouse and distribution facility. C.N. Brown does business with current tenants of the North Augusta Industrial Park, the memo states.

GEORGIA
Plane crashes after Daytona 500

ATLANTA - Four people heading home from the Daytona 500 auto race were missing after their plane crashed off the Georgia coast Sunday night, the Coast Guard reported Monday.

The small Beechcraft Bonanza plane was flying parallel to the coastline when the Federal Aviation Administration lost radar contact at 8:17 p.m. No emergency signal was heard, according to the Coast Guard.

Aboard the plane were William Pritchett of Windsor, N.C.; his brother, John Pritchett, of Chesapeake, Va.; and Ray and Ken Chapman of Virginia Beach, Va. Rescuers had recovered some remains by Monday evening but had not identified them, Coast Guard spokesman Dana Warr said.

Debris from the crash has been found 25 miles from where officials say the plane went down, Mr. Warr said.

The National Transportation Safety Board will investigate.

AUGUSTA
Group will celebrate new homes

The Laney-Walker Development Corp. will celebrate the completion of another phase in its home-construction project today.

The nonprofit development group has completed 11 homes as a part of its Summerfield East Subdivision project, an urban renewal project in the Summer Street area. A housewarming celebration and home tour will be at 10 a.m. today at 1233 Summer St. The plan is to build the last 10 houses of the subdivision by the end of the year.

For more information, call Anthony Chandler at (706) 722-0994.

AUGUSTA
Campus musicians will perform

The Augusta State University Wind Ensemble and Symphony Orchestra will perform at an on-campus concert tonight.

The performance will be at 8 p.m. at the Grover C. Maxwell Performing Arts Theatre. Augusta State faculty will be featured performing Bach's Brandenburg Concerto No. 5. Angela Morgan and Lou Cefus are directors for the event.

For more information, call (706) 737-1453.

GEORGIA
Bug business faces $4 million fine

ATLANTA - A Fayetteville pest control company could face millions of dollars in fines after thousands of Georgia homes were not properly pretreated for termite prevention, state Agriculture Commissioner Tommy Irvin said Monday.

RSA Services Termite and Pest Control could lose its business permit and face up to $20,000 in fines for each of 4,100 improperly treated homes in metro Atlanta, Mr. Irvin said.

Calling it the most serious problem he's seen in 32 years in office, Mr. Irvin said the company might have given similar treatment to thousands of other homes in Georgia. RSA, a subsidiary of R.S. Andrews Services Inc., also has worked in Conyers, Jonesboro, Macon and Columbus.

Mr. Irvin said he would likely impose a fine of $1,000 per violation, which would total more than $4 million, and make the company do the work again.

GEORGIA
Librarians help capture escapee

SAVANNAH - Employees at Savannah College of Art and Design helped capture a jail escapee Monday after using the Savannah police Web site to find a picture of the man as he sat in the school's library.

Joseph Allen, 37, was arrested after employees at the school's library became suspicious of him. They went to the department's site, which had Mr. Allen's photo and details of the escape, before calling police.

He was arrested a short time later hiding in a building near the library.

Mr. Allen escaped Thursday from the Chatham County Detention Center, where he was being held pending trial on armed robbery charges.

GEORGIA
Muslim employees return to work

COLLEGE PARK - Thirty-one Somali Muslims are back to work at a chicken processing plant in College Park after walking off the job two weeks earlier, saying their boss refused to let them pray.

On Sunday, a spokeswoman for the refugees, said some of them are still facing restrictions over when they can leave the assembly line to pray.

The Somali Muslims left the plant, Sylvest Farms of Georgia, after being denied a break to pray at sunset. Although some of the Muslims had been working at the plant for nearly a year, they said prayer didn't become a problem until December.

On Jan. 17, the plant manager told them if they wanted to pray, they should leave, they said. Local and national Muslim rights groups immediately tried to intercede on behalf of the workers, most of whom cannot speak English and have been in the country for less than two years.

SOUTH CAROLINA
Ex-governors endorse Graham

COLUMBIA - Former Republican Gov. David Beasley is endorsing U.S. Rep. Lindsey Graham's run for Senate.

Mr. Beasley said Mr. Graham could help the GOP hold on to a majority in the Senate by retaining the seat now held by Sen. Strom Thurmond, R-S.C. Mr. Thurmond will be 100 when his term ends in January 2003 and does not plan to seek re-election.

There currently is a 50-50 split in the Senate.

Mr. Graham also last week received an endorsement from former Republican Gov. Carroll Campbell. Mr. Graham plans to make a formal announcement Wednesday of his Senate candidacy.

SOUTH CAROLINA
Police question coroner's ruling

ROCK HILL - A coroner's ruling that a Rock Hill woman killed herself might have been premature, police say.

Melissa Motz, 35, died Friday morning from a single gunshot wound to the head, York County Coroner Doug McKown said. The injuries were consistent with those of a self-inflicted gunshot, the coroner said Saturday.

"It concerns me the coroner rushed to judgment without knowing all the facts," Rock Hill Police Capt. Charles Cabaniss said.

The chief of the detectives said he would discuss the matter with prosecutors.

Police on Friday arrested Mrs. Motz' husband, James Pease Motz, 45, and charged him with firing a gun inside the city limits.

Capt. Cabaniss said he was concerned about the effect Mr. McKown's statements might have on a criminal prosecution if police determine the shooting was not a suicide.

Mr. McKown stands by his ruling.

"Her injuries were consistent with that of a self-inflicted gunshot wound," the coroner said. "If new evidence surfaced, the ruling would be re-evaluated."