Originally created 09/25/01

Across the area



AUGUSTA
City's relief fund nears $700,000

By Monday afternoon, the city had counted more than $692,000 in contributions to the Sept. 11 Care and Prayer Crusade, a fund-raising campaign to collect money for victims of the terrorist attacks in New York and Washington.

Although the city still has more than $300,000 to go before it reaches its $1 million target, donations continued to roll in to Mayor Bob Young's office Monday. A final total will be announced this morning, and on Thursday local firefighters and elected officials will fly to New York to present a check from the campaign and visit the crash site.

Among those contributing Monday were the Augusta National Golf Club, which donated $100,000; Augusta firefighters, $90,000 in collections; University Hospital, $35,000; and members of the Pakistan American Friendship Association of Augusta, $1,000.

AIKEN COUNTY
Clerk's tip leads to arrest

WAGENER - A 21-year-old Wagener man was taken into custody Monday night after, police say, he robbed a video store two blocks from his home.

Gene Autrey Tinsley was being held at the Aiken County Detention Center on charges of armed robbery and possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime, Wagener police Officer John Herring said.

Mr. Tinsley walked into the Video Adventure store on Lee Street at 7:15 p.m. and asked the clerk to hand over money from the cash register, Officer Herring said. The clerk thought Mr. Tinsley was joking until Mr. Tinsley pulled out a silver handgun and the clerk then turned over the money, Officer Herring said.

Mr. Tinsley took the money and left but was found, based on the clerk's description, about 45 minutes later near his residence, Officer Herring said.

AUGUSTA
Police look for robbery suspect

Richmond County sheriff's investigators have identified one of the suspects they say was involved in an armed robbery of a hotel that injured one person Saturday night.

Police are looking for Isaac Eugene Berry, 20, of Augusta, in connection with the crime that occurred at the Guest House Inn in the 3400 block of Wrightsboro Road.

About 8:04 p.m., two men with white T-shirts over their heads and black clothing walked into the hotel and took an undisclosed amount of money.

Richmond County sheriff's Investigator Ken Rogers said Mr. Berry was carrying a knife and his accomplice had a gun.

Mr. Berry's unidentified accomplice grabbed a hotel customer, Hamid Niknia, 69, threw him to the ground and kicked him several times. Mr. Niknia was taken to Doctors Hospital and treated for a broken right shoulder and later released, Investigator Rogers said.

If Mr. Berry is apprehended, he faces two counts of felony armed robbery and possession of a knife, Investigator Rogers said.

His accomplice was described as a black male, 5 foot 8 inches to 5 foot 10 inches, between 170 pounds and 180 pounds.

Anyone with information about this crime is asked to call the Richmond County Sheriff's Office at 821-1080.

AUGUSTA
Alzheimer's patient located

A man with Alzheimer's disease who walked away from an Augusta retirement home Saturday was found wandering in a Fort Gordon housing area Monday, a post official said.

Bernard Joseph Colligan, 83, was picked up by military police about noon after being spotted by a resident on Garcia Drive in an enlisted housing area near Deans Bridge and Tobacco roads, said post spokeswoman Marla Jones.

Mr. Colligan was reported missing Saturday after he walked away from Augusta Gardens, 3725 Wheeler Road - more than four miles from where he was discovered Monday. Investigator Bill Walker, of the Richmond County Sheriff's Office, spent Sunday posting "missing" signs at stores around the retirement home.

Nursing home personnel picked up Mr. Colligan on Monday afternoon, Ms. Jones said. Although dirty from spending two nights outdoors, the man was otherwise OK, Ms. Jones said.

It is the second time Mr. Colligan has been listed as missing. Two years ago when he lived in California, he disappeared before turning up in Texas after taking a bus, police said.

AUGUSTA
Man faces third murder trial

An Augusta man is standing trial on murder charges for a third time this week after two previous mistrials.

Michael Kidd, 27, has pleaded innocent to charges of murder and weapon violations in the Sept. 17, 1999, shooting death of 23-year-old Ronald Davenport. The Richmond County Superior Court jury that began hearing evidence Monday could begin deliberations today.

Mr. Davenport was shot to death in the parking lot of the American Legion on Highland Avenue.

Mr. Kidd has been held without bond since his arrest in September 1999.

AUGUSTA
Police seek robbery suspect

Richmond County sheriff's investigators have identified a suspect they say was involved in an armed robbery of a hotel that injured a clerk Saturday.

Police are looking for Isaac Eugene Berry, 20, of Augusta, in connection with the robbery at the Guest House Inn, in the 3400 block of Wrightsboro Road.

At 8:04 p.m., two men using white T-shirts as masks and wearing black clothing walked into the hotel and took money.

Sheriff's Investigator Ken Rogers said one robber was carrying a knife and one a gun.

One robber grabbed a hotel customer, 69-year-old Hamid Niknia, threw him to the floor and kicked him several times. Mr. Niknia was taken to Doctors Hospital for a broken right shoulder and later released, Investigator Rogers said.

Mr. Berry also faces two counts of felony armed robbery and possession of a knife, Investigator Rogers said.

The other robber was described as black, 5 feet 8 inches to 5 feet 10 inches tall and weighing 170 to 180 pounds.

Anyone with information about the robbery is asked to call the sheriff's office at 821-1080.

GEORGIA
Air National Guard units on call

ATLANTA - The Defense Department has announced plans to call up two Georgia Air National Guard units and part of a third to assist in the war on terrorism, officials said Monday.

Lt. Col. Jim Driscoll, a Georgia National Guard spokesman, said 260 members of the 117th Air Control Squadron in Savannah and 235 members from the 224th Joint Communications Squadron in Brunswick have been notified they will be called up.

In addition, defense officials said they plan to mobilize 30 members of the 116th Bomb Wing at Robins Air Force Base, but the unit has not received any official notification, Lt. Col. Driscoll said.

"In today's world, National Guard members ... know they're an important part of the defense structure of this nation," Lt. Col. Driscoll said.

Some members of the 117th, which specializes in air traffic control, recently returned from Kuwait, where they helped control air traffic in the no-fly zone over Iraq. The 224th is responsible for setting up worldwide communications networks.

The 116th, which has about 1,100 full-time and part-time members, flies B-1 bombers.

Defense officials want to scrap 30 B-1s and consolidate the remaining 60 at bases in Texas and South Dakota. The plan to move the planes assigned to the Air Guard in Georgia and Kansas has been put on hold temporarily because of congressional opposition.

FLORIDA
Sign puts swamp in wrong state

JACKSONVILLE - The last time Florida residents checked, most of the Okefenokee Swamp was in Georgia.

Somebody forgot to tell Anheuser-Busch.

The brewer is taking down a billboard in Jacksonville that has a picture of a swamp labeled as the Okefenokee Refuge. The caption reads: "Busch Beer and the Okefenokee - Two Florida Greats."

More than 95 percent of the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge is in Georgia, not Florida.

The billboard was the result of a Busch Beer Outdoors Photo Contest that placed winning photos of various regions of the United States on some company billboards.

"The billboard mentioning the Okefenokee Refuge is incorrect," Mary Alice Ramirez, a corporate spokeswoman, told The Florida Times-Union. "Anheuser-Busch apologizes for any confusion or concern its placement may have caused. The billboard will be replaced within the next week."