Originally created 07/29/01

Across the area



AUGUSTA
Gun-wielding man robs Waffle House

Richmond County sheriff's investigators are looking for a man they say robbed a Waffle House at gunpoint Saturday morning.

A man walked into the Waffle House at 3160 Deans Bridge Road at about 6:20 a.m., pointed a small handgun at a waitress and calmly demanded the money from the cash register, authorities said.

The waitress opened the register. The suspect took the money and ran from the restaurant.

The robber is described as black, 5 feet, 7 inches tall and wearing a black stocking cap, gloves, T-shirt and gray shorts.

Anyone with information about the crime is asked to call the sheriff's office at 821-1020 during the day or 821-1080 after hours.

AUGUSTA
HUD official confirms visit plan

The second in command at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development confirmed this week that he will be the keynote speaker at the CSRA Regional Development Corporation's annual meeting Oct. 10.

Deputy Secretary Alphonso Jackson will spend the day in Augusta touring different communities where HUD dollars are being invested, Mayor Bob Young said. The mayor is working to schedule a town meeting so community and housing development corporations can meet with Mr. Jackson and ask him questions about federal funding availability for local projects.

"He's going to take a look at what HUD is doing in Augusta," Mr. Young said. "(State officials) were extremely impressed with the amount of activity taking place here. We intend to show that to Mr. Jackson."

GEORGIA
Homeless shelter gets computers

ATLANTA - Plagued by homeless patrons who want to use the Internet all day, Atlanta public libraries are donating computers to a downtown shelter.

Using an $18,567 federal library grant, the system is buying wireless computers for a large shelter in downtown Atlanta at Peachtree and Pine streets.

Librarians say they're overwhelmed by the number of people who want to surf the Web because they have nowhere else to do it.

"We're asked for things that are beyond what we can provide," said Diana Aleman, the business and technology librarian.

Homeless people will be able to use the terminals to send e-mail to family, friends and potential employers, search job listings and find services to help improve their lives. Also, because a homeless person looking for a job likely won't have a telephone, potential employers can send an e-mail.

The lab will help keep homeless people out of discouragingly long lines, give them a way to look for work in other parts of the country and even enable them to research their own health problems, said Donald Johnson, the computer systems coordinator for the homeless task force.

GEORGIA
Boy-attacking otter had rabies

SAVANNAH - An otter that attacked a 7-year-old boy on Tybee Island has tested positive for rabies.

The boy, Steven Rousakis, was attacked Tuesday on a dock on the Back River.

A group of children were fishing when the otter came up on the dock and began stealing bait fish out of a bucket. Steven, who was unaware of the otter, walked onto the dock, and it chased him and bit the back of his leg.

The otter was killed and tested for the disease. Steven and two others who had contact with the animal got shots for possible exposure.

Steven's mother, Diane Rousakis, said she was glad her son got his first injections Wednesday, before they knew whether the animal had rabies.

"You shouldn't take chances," she said. "Now that we got the results back, we're thanking God we started the procedure when we did."

GEORGIA
Blood bank hits road for patient

ATHENS - Augusta's Shepeard Community Blood Center will travel to Athens on Monday for a blood drive to help an 82-year-old burn victim.

The drive is for Ray Stephens, a patient in critical condition at the Joseph M. Still Burn Center at Doctors Hospital.

Mr. Stephens received second- and third-degree burns to more than 75 percent of his body. Athens police say his son, 56-year-old Raymond A. Stephens, attacked him with a machete before pouring gasoline on him and setting him ablaze about two weeks ago.

There is a special need for O-negative blood, components of which are used to help burn victims in the form of plasma, red blood cells and platelets.

To donate, call Shepeard at (706) 737-4551.

SOUTH CAROLINA
Boyfriend charged in kidnapping

CHARLESTON - A Huger man has been charged with forcing his way into his girlfriend's home, threatening her with a gun and holding her hostage Thursday, authorities said.

Benjamin L. Gantt Jr. was charged with first-degree burglary, kidnapping and assault and battery with intent to kill, according to arrest warrants. He turned himself in Thursday night.

Officers surrounded the home after the woman jumped from a second-floor window and ran to a neighbor's house to call for help.

Mr. Gantt had already left when police entered the home.

Mr. Gantt was on probation for attempting to kill his father two years ago, Magistrate Jack Guedalia said.

A Mount Pleasant police officer said Mr. Gantt had been sentenced to nine years in prison for a conviction of assault and battery with intent to kill, but was out on parole.

The officer said the father and son argued over who would cut the grass and Mr. Gantt shot his father in the right arm and shoulder with shotgun. The wound was so severe, the father's arm was amputated.

SOUTH CAROLINA
Fatal stabbing baffles police

DORCHESTER - The stabbing death of a 71-year-old ham radio enthusiast has police stumped.

The body of George Clifton Moore was found July 16 in his Airstream trailer home. An autopsy showed he had been stabbed to death, probably two days earlier.

The Air Force veteran lived alone and because many of his belongings seemed to still be in the house, investigators are not sure whether robbery was the motive for the stabbing.

Police are turning to the group of on-air friends that Mr. Moore had developed as an amateur radio enthusiast. Mr. Moore used a 45-foot antenna in his front yard to reach fellow ham operators.

Mr. Moore was part of an amateur radio network called North Carolina Singleband Net, according to a friend, Glenn Summerville of Charlotte, N.C. Mr. Summerville said he and Mr. Moore met over the radio and had visited each other's homes through the years.

He said Mr. Moore was a bit of a loner but a nice man. "He was just an old country boy, really," he said.

Mr. Summerville said he had spoken to Mr. Moore in the past month or so. "The last time I really had a one-on-one with George, he talked about going back up to Galax (Virginia) and building himself a cabin," he said.

It was in his hometown of Galax that Mr. Moore saw a service station owner's 1,000-watt AM radio transmitter and huge antenna in the middle of town and became forever hooked on radio.

"My dad was always rather inquisitive," said his son Terry Moore, of St. Louis.