Originally created 02/22/01

Across the area

Dale Earnhardt remembrance set

The life of race car driver Dale Earnhardt will be remembered locally at 7 p.m. Friday with a memorial service.

The service at Silver Eagle Speedway on Wrightsboro Road near Grovetown will include Scripture readings by the racing group John 3:16 and a candlelight vigil, said Cliff Bennett, disc jockey for the radio station WEKL-FM, which is one of the sponsors of the event. The speedway also is sponsoring the service.

Mr. Bennett said there will be a memorial book to sign, and people are asked to bring potted plants or flowers for a memorial garden to be started at the race track in memory of Mr. Earnhardt, who died Sunday in a crash at the Daytona 500.

Mr. Bennett said the service will last about 30 minutes and was the result of an outpouring of sympathy among local racing fans. Gates at the speedway will open at 6 p.m. There is no admission price.

Police charge parolee in rape

A man accused of breaking into a house and raping an 18-year-old woman earlier this month was taken into police custody Wednesday after reporting to his parole officer.

Richmond County sheriff's Investigator JoAnn Nutter said Terrence Clifford, 34, of the 1500 block of Linden Street, was arrested at about 1 p.m. His parole officer contacted the department when Mr. Clifford arrived at the office on Washington Road, she said.

Police said a man forced his way into a sleeping woman's home, also on Linden Street, at about 8:30 a.m. Feb. 2. The victim knew the man, and woke up and went from her bedroom to the living room with him. He then grabbed her around the neck and dragged her to another bedroom, where he raped her, Investigator Bill Kitchens said.

Mr. Clifford is being held in the Richmond County jail and is charged with rape, burglary, simple battery and parole violation. He also is charged with kidnapping because the assailant moved the victim by force.

Injured teen cyclist improves

Doctors upgraded the condition of an Aiken teen-ager who was hit by a motorist who reportedly ran a red light.

Carson Abele, 14, is now in serious condition after spending two days on the critical list at Medical College of Georgia Hospital for a head injury, a spokeswoman said.

The boy was riding his dirt bike across Whiskey Road on Monday when he was hit by a car driven by Hollis Noland, 19. The impact threw Carson and his bicycle in the air, and he landed on the car's windshield.

Mr. Noland was charged at the scene with disregarding a traffic signal.

Talk will address Mideast peace

Fostering peace in the Middle East will be the topic of Palestinian-born Marina Riadi of Atlanta during a guest lecture at 11:30 a.m. today in Room B-2 of Skinner Hall on Augusta State University's Walton Way campus.

Dr. Riadi, a former professor at Georgia State University, holds degrees from the University of London and the Sorbonne. A lay member of the Catholic Carmelite Order, she works for the American Friends (Quaker) Service Committee in Atlanta.

Bill would aid sex-crime victims

ATLANTA - Childhood victims of sexual assault and abuse would have longer to report the crimes under a bill approved by the state Senate on Wednesday.

The bill, co-sponsored by Sen. Doug Haines, D-Athens, would begin counting the four-year statute of limitations on certain crimes - including rape, child molestation and incest - when the alleged victim turns 30.

Current state law begins counting when the victim turns 16. Once the statute of limitations runs out, a suspect cannot be charged with a crime.

"We can't expect people who are just leaving childhood to come forward and take that adult of a step," Mr. Haines said. "This allows victims to reach an age of maturity where they're capable of coming forward."

Mr. Haines said no one expects the number of such cases to be huge, but the law would allow prosecutors to go after old cases where evidence is still strong.

House affirms right to hunt, fish

ATLANTA - Hunting and fishing are the right of every Georgian, not a privilege, the House decided Wednesday.

Lawmakers overwhelmingly approved legislation that recognizes hunting and fishing as a valuable part of the state's cultural heritage. The bill, which passed 144-10, also declares hunting and fishing important to Georgia's economy and to environmental management.

"It's a natural right," said Rep. Greg Morris, D-Vidalia, the bill's chief sponsor. "It's as old as the Book of Genesis to take wildlife."

But some legislators objected to a portion of the measure that gives the state Department of Natural Resources sole authority to regulate hunting, fishing and trapping, taking that power away from local governments.

Rep. Doug Teper, D-Atlanta, said the bill would supersede an ordinance in DeKalb County prohibiting snipe hunting.

The bill now goes to the Senate.

Optometrist-prescription bill fails

ATLANTA - A bill to allow optometrists to prescribe certain oral medications - an issue that has popped up yearly in the state Legislature recently - failed in the Senate on Wednesday, but it may not be over.

Sen. Harold Ragan, D-Cairo, who managed the bill in the Senate, has asked for a vote to reconsider ittoday.

Optometrists currently can prescribe only topical drugs, such as ointments and drops, and mild pain relievers. The bill, which would allow them also to prescribe antibiotics and steroids for the treatment of the eye and eyelid only, got 28 votes, one less than the number the bill needed to pass.

Supporters of the bill, which passed the House last month, argue that it would save patients time and money because they can be fully treated by an optometrist without having to see an ophthalmologist for a prescription.

Many doctors - including Sen. Tom Price, R-Roswell, and Sen. Phil Gingrey, R-Marietta - oppose the bill because they say optometrists do not have enough training in dispensing medications to anticipate and respond to negative drug interactions and side effects that could be life threatening.


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