Sheriff wants officer raises
Richmond County Sheriff Ronnie Strength has asked the county to consider raising the starting salaries of his deputies.
He submitted a letter for the request, which stated that Richmond County's starting salary - $23,211 - was lower than what North Augusta, Aiken County, Columbia County and the Richmond County Board of Education all pay their deputies.
"The Richmond County Sheriff's Office is losing personnel at an alarming rate," Sheriff Strength wrote. "We are rapidly becoming an agency that hires and trains law enforcement personnel only to have them leave for other agencies."
The request will go to the Augusta Commission's Administrative Services Committee, which meets Monday.
Trained Guard soldiers will report to airports
Training wrapped up Friday for 102 Georgia National Guard soldiers who will be stationed this weekend at airports across the state.
Lt. Col. Ken Baldowski, public affairs officer for the Georgia National Guard, said the 12 soldiers scheduled to patrol the Augusta Regional Airport would be in place today.
He also said 63 soldiers assigned to Hartsfield Atlanta International Airport would be in position by Sunday.
The soldiers received a week of airport security training in Savannah.
Absentee voting opens for many county races
AIKEN - Absentee votes can be cast now for the following elections at the Registration and Elections office, 916 Vaucluse Road: 2nd Congressional District Special Republican primary; city of Aiken; towns of Burnettown, Monetta, Perry and Wagener. The congressional primary is Oct. 30. All others are Nov. 6. Absentee voting hours are Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
For more information, call (803) 642-2028.
Developer charged over unpaid fine
AIKEN - An Aiken developer was taken into custody Friday morning in front of the municipal building on a charge of not paying an environmental fine.
Robert Fields, owner of the Summit Business Center in north Aiken, was arrested about 9 a.m., charged with not paying the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control a $12,000 fine for an environmental infraction in Summerville, S.C., DHEC attorney Mary Shahid said.
Mr. Fields was being held Friday night at the Aiken County Detention Center. His bond was not immediately set.
HUD official will visit housing developments
A chief administration official from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development will be in Augusta next week to visit several area housing developments, including the Laney-Walker subdivisions being renovated by Augusta Neighborhood Improvement Corp.
Alphonso Jackson, deputy secretary for HUD, during a one-day visit Wednesday also will have a town meeting with stakeholders at the Beulah Grove Resource Center and visit several Augusta Housing Authority projects.
Chocolate festival offers sweet diversion
Aiken's St. Mary's School will hold its annual Chocolate Festival from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. today.
The fund-raiser will be on school grounds at the corner of Fairfield Street and Richland Avenue.
"The Chocolate Festival is really built around chocolate," said publicity Chairwoman Mary Dufour. "There's a chocolate carrousel, which is a big bake sale with nothing but chocolate items, and there's a chocolate challenge, where anyone can submit a chocolate baked good to be judged by local celebrities."
Local bands, dancing, a magician and a puppet show will entertain both children and adults.
Proceeds from today's event will go to charities and to the St. Mary's School, serving kindergarten through eighth grade. The rain date is set for 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday.
Bowling lanes open for terror-attack fund
A local bowling center is one of hundreds nationwide taking part in a bowlathon Sunday to raise money for New York City firefighters, police, rescue workers and other victims of the Sept. 11 terror attacks.
AMF Bowling Inc. will donate all the money raised in its 400 bowling centers to The Twin Towers Fund, established by New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani.
In Augusta, the bowlathon will be held at Masters Lanes, 1810 Gordon Highway, from noon to 3 p.m. Sunday. Local organizers are asking that each bowler bring a minimum of $50 in pledges. Donations are tax-deductible. For more information, call Masters Lanes at 733-3624.