Originally created 08/11/01

Across the area



AIKEN COUNTY
Officers arrest men after finding drugs

AIKEN - Two Aiken men were arrested Thursday night when police found marijuana and cocaine in their car during a traffic stop, a police report said.

Aiken Department of Public Safety officers on Whiskey Road pulled over a 2000 Dodge driven by William Tyronne Robinson, 23, of Ward Circle, at about 11 p.m., the report stated.

Officers found a plastic bag from which the passenger, 23-year-old Assad Coston of the 800 block of Hampton Avenue, said he had smoked marijuana earlier, the report said.

They also found a $1 bill rolled up with what appeared to be cocaine in the driver's seat, and four bags of marijuana in the trunk, the report stated.

Mr. Robinson is charged with careless driving and possession with intent to distribute marijuana and cocaine. Mr. Coston is charged with possession of drug paraphernalia and possession of a suspended license.

AIKEN COUNTY
Police seek link in bank heists

NORTH AUGUSTA - Investigators with the North Augusta Department of Public Safety are looking into a possible connection between two May bank robberies - one on Martintown Road and one in Florida.

Florida resident Anthony Bruno, 52, was arrested Wednesday by FBI agents on a federal warrant. He is accused of the robbery of a SunTrust bank in Jacksonville on May 9.

Investigator Tim Thornton with North Augusta police said the man's description and the robbery are similar to details in a robbery committed at Security Federal on Martintown Road on May 14.

No local charges have been filed against Mr. Bruno.

"He meets our basic description, but we haven't had a chance to talk to him to see if he's our man or not," the investigator said.

AUGUSTA
Airport administration changes

There were more personnel changes in Augusta Regional Airport's administration this week.

Clarence Fennell, the airport's engineer, announced his resignation to the Augusta Aviation Commission on Thursday.

Airport's finance and marketing directors have resigned in recent months. The commission also announced that Kathryn Solee has been hired as the new marketing director.

Ms. Solee now is the marketing director for Asheville Regional Airport in North Carolina.

She will start Aug. 27 and receive a starting salary of $64,000 per year.

COLUMBIA COUNTY
Fall injures Roads employee

A Columbia County Roads and Bridges employee was injured Friday when he fell 20 feet from a construction bucket lift as he attempted to fix a traffic signal.

According to Columbia County Sheriff's Capt. Steve Morris, 49-year-old Mike Coleman, of Harlem, was taken to Medical College of Georgia Hospital.

Deborah Humphrey, an MCG spokeswoman, said Mr. Coleman was in critical condition after the accident but was later discharged from the hospital.

The incident occurred at 1:47 p.m. at the intersection of Evans to Locks and Furys Ferry Road.

Pam Tucker, the county's emergency services division director, said the accident happened after the top of an 18-wheeler tractor-trailer brushed against the bucket.

Mr. Coleman suffered two broken arms, back injuries and full body abrasions, Mrs. Tucker said.

AUGUSTA
Continental Challenge grows

Augusta Regional Airport's effort to lure Continental Express will receive a last-minute boost from the county's legislative delegation.

Rep. Jack Connell, D-Augusta, announced Friday that the local legislators will pledge money for the Continental Challenge campaign. He said about $4,000 had been gathered from legislators and more would be collected over the weekend.

The pledges, which Mr. Connell said came from personal funds, will be added to a bank account that will be used to purchase airplane tickets on Continental Express if the airline comes to Augusta.

Airport officials will travel to Houston on Monday to meet with airline executives and discuss the possibility of adding flights between Augusta and Newark, N.J.

Organizers of the campaign, which started July 18, had hoped to raise $500,000 before the visit.

They topped that amount earlier this week when the Augusta Commission pledged $50,000.

COLUMBIA COUNTY
Fall injures Roads employee

A Columbia County Roads and Bridges employee was injured Friday when he fell 20 feet from a construction bucket lift as he attempted to fix a traffic signal.

According to Columbia County Sheriff's Capt. Steve Morris, 49-year-old Mike Coleman, of Harlem, was taken to Medical College of Georgia Hospital. The incident occurred at 1:47 p.m. at the intersection of Evans to Locks and Furys Ferry Road.

Pam Tucker, the county's emergency services division director, said the accident happened after the top of an 18-wheeler tractor-trailer brushed against the bucket.

Mr. Coleman suffered two broken arms, back injuries and full body abrasions, Mrs. Tucker said.

SOUTH CAROLINA
107 to graduate from USC Aiken

COLUMBIA - University of South Carolina Aiken will graduate 107 students from its campus today. The ceremony will be in Columbia.

Dr. Gordon Smith, dean of the graduate school, will speak at 8:30 a.m. at the Koger Center for the Arts.

U.S. Secretary of Labor Elaine L. Chao will receive an honorary doctor of humane letters degree and will speak to graduates of USC's eight campuses.

AIKEN COUNTY
Charity opens cattle call for dogs

AIKEN - The Aiken Kidney Benefit Inc. wants you - and your little dog, too.

The group plans auditions Aug. 19 for the part of Toto in a fund-raising production of The Wizard of Oz. Owners and their terrier-type dogs must be available for rehearsals and performances in September and October.

Leashed dogs will be auditioned at Powderhouse Kennels at 1258 Powderhouse Road at 2 p.m.

"We had dog auditions for Annie two years ago, and it was quite a scene," said Frank DiBona, Aiken Kidney Benefit board member.

For more information, contact Frank or Debbie DiBona at (803) 848-9262.

AIKEN COUNTY
City loses tournament bid

AIKEN - The city of Aiken narrowly lost its bid this week to play host to the Dixie Boys 13-year-old World Series in 2003.

"It was as tight as Dick's hatband," said Richard Kohn, deputy commissioner of Dixie Boys Baseball. Aiken and two other cities - Jackson, Tenn., and Muscle Shoals, Ala. - were invited to bid at the site of this years' series in Sulphur, La.

The Monday vote was so close between Aiken and Jackson it required a second vote once Muscle Shoals was ruled out, Mr. Kohn said. Jackson was narrowly awarded the event.