Originally created 06/28/02

Across the area



Civic center leader named

Two days after firing civic center General Manager Reggie Williams and one day after appointing Assistant General Manager Linda Roberts as interim manager, the Augusta Coliseum Authority has tapped a third person to direct the facility in the absence of a permanent leader.

Ms. Roberts will be out on sick leave for several weeks. The next in line to lead operations is Jason Green, the director of event services for the civic center. He will be in charge until Ms. Roberts returns, said authority Chairman Bill Maddox.

A committee of the coliseum authority is scheduled to meet today to talk about hiring an attorney for the civic center. Board attorney Sam Nicholson resigned June 1.

Congress OKs plan for SRS fuel facility

The U.S. House and Senate have approved their portions of a plan to bring a mixed-oxide fuel fabrication facility to Savannah River Site.

As many as 500 jobs could be on the way to the Aiken area as a result, government sources have said.

On Thursday, the Senate passed its Department of Defense Authorization Bill for 2003.

The bill establishes a construction schedule for the fuel facility, a time frame for completion of operations and a penalty of up to $100 million a year if the Department of Energy fails to meet its obligations under the agreement.

The bill must be reconciled with a version passed by the House of Representatives before it is presented to the president to sign.

Feds wrap up review of airport master plan

The Federal Aviation Administration is concluding its review of Augusta Regional Airport's master plan.

FAA spokeswoman Kathleen Bergen said she expects the agency to issue its findings late next week, including opinions and suggestions for the airport's 20-year development plan.

Airport officials submitted their master plan to the FAA in December. Any approval the agency gives to the airport's proposed layout for a new, midfield terminal and parallel runways would be conditional and based on results of an environmental study.

Man investigated over stolen gift cards

Investigators were looking for a Graniteville man Thursday they say was part of a plan by two store employees to steal gift cards from Dillard's on Washington Road.

Cedric Ali Colden, 30, is being sought in connection with making false returns at the store in order to get credit for gift cards, said Richmond County sheriff's Investigator Greg Newsome. Mr. Colden and another employee, Juan Wiley, are accused of using those cards to purchase more than $500 worth of merchandise from the store, he said.

Mr. Wiley, 25, of North Augusta, was arrested Wednesday and charged with with felony theft by deception, Investigator Newsome said. Mr. Colden clocked out and left the store before police could arrest him, he said.

Investigator Newsome said a warrant for thefts has been issued against Mr. Colden. Anyone with information about Mr. Colden's whereabouts is asked to call the Richmond County Sheriff's Office at 821-1080.

Armed robbers take restaurant deposits

A manager from T-Bonz restaurant was robbed of a deposit bag by two masked men Thursday, and police are looking for the owner of a yellow Cadillac for questioning.

Lauren Hancock told authorities that two men approached her at 9:50 a.m. as she was going to her car in the parking lot at 1654 Gordon Highway. One man showed a gun and demanded the bank deposit bag, said Sgt. Scott Peebles, of the Richmond County Sheriff's Office. The men took the bag and ran from the lot.

Police say the men may have left in a faded yellow, older-model four-door Cadillac with a vinyl top. Anyone with information on the vehicle's owner or the robbery is asked to call the sheriff's office at 821-1080.

Biotech grant awaits application approval

A group promoting biotechnology in Augusta and in Georgia will have to wait to apply for state economic development money.

The Georgia Medical Center Authority's OneGeorgia grant application is on hold pending approval by the state attorney general's office, the board learned at its meeting Thursday. The money would be used to equip an incubator being built at the Medical College of Georgia.

The attorney general's office will not grant the necessary approval of the application without more evidence of a greater return on the requested $500,000 investment.

The incubator is slated to open in late 2003.

Missing woman found at her house

Richmond County authorities say they found an Augusta woman whose had been reported missing since she was released from Georgia Regional Hospital on June 18.

Alma G. Davis, 52, was found late Wednesday living at a Greene Street residence, Richmond County Sheriff's Office officials said. Her family did not know she had her own residence when they reported her missing this week, police said.

A hospital employee dropped her off at Gary's Hamburgers, but she never contacted her family. Ms. Davis' son told officers that he believed his mother was a danger to herself, and police asked the media to publicize her picture.

Vote drive scheduled at downtown church

A special voter registration drive will take place from 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Sunday at Beulah Grove Baptist Church. The church is in the historic Bethlehem district at 1434 Poplar St.

Airport will undergo security assessment

Representatives from Lockheed Martin Corp. are scheduled to visit Augusta Regional Airport on Monday to assess it for new security devices.

The company is under contract by the Transportation Security Administration to help install bomb detection devices.

Under a national deadline, all commercial airports must be outfitted by the end of the year with scanners to check for explosives in luggage.

Airport Director Ken Kraemer said the visit next week is sooner than the airport expected, which he said should help with plans to accommodate a new machine.

Police organization helps injured deputy

The Columbia County deputy who was shot during a struggle with an inmate in April was given support and money Thursday by an organization that assists officers hurt or killed in the line of duty.

Deputy Glenda Shelton spent her day at the Conyers, Ga., headquarters of the Southern Coalition of Police and Sheriffs, where she was given $500, said Donnie Cantwell, executive director of the organization.

Mr. Cantwell said the organization had helped close to 50 officers in Georgia and have assisted officers in Florida, Tennessee, South Carolina, North Carolina and Alabama.

Mr. Cantwell said Deputy Shelton was contacted Wednesday after one of his administrative assistants read about the struggle she was involved in with Tamika Bumpass in April, when Deputy Shelton was shot once.

Capt. Steve Morris said Deputy Shelton did not want to comment on receiving the check.

Gas-company worker charged in thefts

An employee of Bennett Gas Co. was arrested at work this week and charged with stealing cash from payments made by customers, authorities said.

Gloria Harkins Rogers, 47, of the 2900 block of Willis Foreman Road, Hephzibah, was charged with felony theft by taking, Richmond County sheriff's Investigator Tamika Adams said.

The Augusta gas company began investigating the office assistant after finding torn receipts in her trash can, Investigator Adams said. Company officials set up video surveillance and documented the theft of $3,400 in the past month, but the total theft is likely to be much higher, police said.

Mrs. Rogers is accused of taking cash payments from customers, giving them a receipt, but throwing away the company receipt and pocketing the cash, police said. The suspect was released from the Richmond County jail after posting bond Wednesday night.

Signatures sought for Sunday drink sales

Members of Aiken's hospitality industry who want to sell alcohol in restaurants and hotels on Sundays need 200 to 300 more signatures in the next 10 days to have a referendum calling for the measure to be placed on the November general election ballot, according to drive organizer Steve Hale.

The Aiken Hospitality Group needs to collect 1,382 signatures, or 10 percent of the city's registered voters, to have question placed on the ballot. The organization has until July 8 to collect its needed signatures.

Woman reports holdup at I-20 rest stop

Columbia County officers are looking for a woman they say robbed a Louisiana woman at gunpoint Thursday evening at the Interstate 20 East rest area near Harlem.

Deborah Gomez Hull, 35, of Waggaman, told deputies she and her family were traveling to North Carolina when they stopped at the rest area. According to the incident report, a woman went into the bathroom stall Ms. Hull was using, pointed a black handgun at her, asked for her money and told her to stay in the stall for five minutes or she would be shot.

Ms. Hull gave the woman $60 and waited a few minutes before calling 911.

The robber was described as black, 25 to 30 years old, with straight hair.

Kitchen fire burns part of residence

A kitchen fire damaged part of an Augusta home Thursday morning, fire officials said. No one was hurt.

The blaze started at a residence on Tower Pines Drive at about 11:50 a.m. after food was left unattended on a stove, said Lt. G.B. Hannan, of the Augusta-Richmond County Fire Department. The flames set fire to nearby cabinets, then spread to the attic, he said.

Firefighters arrived at about 11:50 a.m. and put out the fire in several minutes, Lt. Hannan said.

Authorities look into cause of house fire

Authorities are investigating a fire that damaged a house on Winter Street late Thursday night.

The fire started at 10 p.m. in a utility room, said Battalion Chief Michael Weathers, of the Augusta-Richmond County Fire Department. Two children - Joseph Byrd and Benjamin Agee, both 8 - spotted flames coming from the house and rushed to the home of a firefighter who lived across the street.

Lt. Willie Womack ran across the street with a garden hose and sprayed the fire but was forced away by the flames, Chief Weathers said. Other firefighters arrived and extinguished the blaze within several minutes.

Max Bogoslawski, 90, the owner of the house in the 1600 block of Winter Street, was away for the day. No one was injured.

Chief Weathers said the fire damaged part of the kitchen, the utility room and the carport. The flames also burned an electrical wire attached to the house. The cause of the fire is still under investigation, the chief said.