Originally created 08/07/02

Across the area



Pool examined after accident

An Augusta hotel pool where a 15-year-old boy nearly drowned was being investigated Tuesday by Richmond County Health Department officials.

Henry Gilmer, the environmental health manager for the health department, said no license had been issued this year allowing the operation of the pool at Howard Johnson Express Inn/Suites on Gordon Highway.

Mr. Gilmer said an inspector from his department visited the site May 16 to conduct an inspection but was told the pool was not open. The inspector told hotel officials to call him when the pool opened so an inspection could be performed, Mr. Gilmer said, adding that his department never received a call.

On Tuesday, investigators were trying to determine whether the pool was open when Malcolm Collier nearly drowned Saturday. Malcolm was listed in good condition Tuesday at Medical College of Georgia Hospital, said Deborah Humphrey, a spokeswoman for the hospital.

If the pool was open, Mr. Gilmer said, the hotel would be cited for operating a pool without a license. If it was closed, no action will be taken.

City gets tougher on water-ban scofflaws

The Augusta Commission voted Tuesday to allow the city's utilities department to beef up penalties for violating water-conservation ordinances. The increased enforcement was approved with the stipulation that water customers are notified in advance of the increased enforcement and reminded of current restrictions in their next water bills.

After a few months' grace period, the water department will have the authority to disconnect the service of home and business owners found running their sprinklers on the wrong day. When turned off, water will be restored only after a $25 reconnection fee is paid.

Current restrictions prohibit watering on Mondays; even-numbered addresses are permitted to water only on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays; odd-numbered addresses may water only on Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays.

Elementary school will receive face-lift

The Aiken County school board approved design plans for a renovation and addition at Oakwood-Windsor Elementary School on Tuesday night.

The construction of the first phase will cost $4.8 million, with $1 million approved to be borrowed from funding for additions to Chukker Creek Elementary School, where less money will be needed, Deputy Superintendent Bill Gallman said.

The initial phase for Oakwood-Windsor includes eliminating all portable units and constructing 20 new classrooms, a new cafeteria and a kitchen. The construction is expected to begin in June.

Panel votes to submit alternate water plan

The Edgefield County Council voted Tuesday night to submit a Community Development Block Grant application for a residential water line project along South Carolina Highway 283.

After the 3-2 vote, the $562,000 project will be submitted rather than the proposed $1.2 million Edgefield County Senior Citizens Center. The applications are due by next Tuesday.

The county has applied for the $500,000 grant for the senior center twice and been denied, Edgefield County Administrator Wayne Adams said.

Councilmen Bill Vaughan and Joel Hudson voted against the water line project.

Junior League reveals endowment winners

The Junior League of Augusta Ga. Inc. has announced the recipients of the 2002 Arts Endowment Grants.

They are the Library System of Georgia ($450) for storytelling; Gertrude Herbert Institute of Art ($960) to fund an artist in residence; Imperial Theatre ($500) for capital improvements; Storyland Theater ($500) for children's admission tickets to performances; Augusta Ballet ($750) for Nutcracker costumes; and Lakeside High School Chorus ($150) for props and accessories.

Each year, the Junior League provides area nonprofit agencies the opportunity to apply for project grants to encourage artistic excellence in the community. Since 1999, more than $10,000 has been given for this purpose.

Hooded gunman robs convenience store

A hooded man with a gun robbed an Aiken convenience store early Tuesday, taking some cash and cigarettes, police said.

The man - described as black, 20 to 30 years old, 5 feet 10 inches tall and 140 pounds - robbed the Depot Food Store in the 700 block of Silver Bluff Road at about 3:40 p.m., according to an Aiken Department of Public Safety report.

He demanded money from the clerk and reached over the counter and took several packs of cigarettes and left, the report stated.

The man was wearing a red hood, a black loose-fitting shirt and black pants, the report stated.

Anyone with information on this crime is asked to call the Aiken Department of Public Safety at (803) 642-7740.

Disguised robber flees bank with money

A man wearing a wig with long black hair robbed the First Citizens Bank in Trenton, S.C., on Tuesday, police said.

The robber - described as white, 6 feet 2 inches tall and 190 pounds - presented a teller with a note at the bank at 111 Bank St. and got the money at about 11:55 a.m., Edgefield County Sheriff Adell Dobey said.

The robber wore a baseball cap, blue jeans, a light-colored shirt and dark wraparound sunglasses and carried a blue handbag, Sheriff Dobey said. The man also had a light-colored mustache.

Anyone with information on this crime is asked to call the sheriff's office at (803) 637-5337.

Man exposes himself to store employee

Richmond County authorities are looking for a flasher who was touching girls' clothing in a local store and exposing himself at the same time.

A female employee of Rags N' Things on Eve Street told police the man walked into the store last week, walked between racks of the girls' clothing and exposed himself to her. The employee pushed an alarm button, and the man ran from the store, police said.

The man was described as black, 5 feet 6 inches tall and 180 pounds, and he wore a sleeveless T-shirt, black pants and bandana. Anyone with information is asked to call the Richmond CountySheriff's Office at 821-1080.

Money, sword stolen during home invasion

An Augusta family was ordered to lie on the floor during a home invasion late Monday in which gun-wielding robbers stole money and a sword, officials said.

Robert and Debbie Stone and their 16-year-old daughter were unharmed during the invasion in the Harrisburg community, said Lt. Jack Francisco, of the Richmond County Sheriff's Office. Mrs. Stone told police that she and her daughter were on the porch of their Division Street at home about 11:15 p.m. when two men with guns approached and ordered them inside.

The robbers woke up Mr. Stone in his bed, ordered the family to the floor and demanded money and weapons. The robbers took a wallet and an ornamental sword, cut the telephone lines and ran, police said.

Robber flees store without much money

An armed robber didn't get much when he robbed a Hephzibah convenience store early Tuesday, and he dropped $5 of what he had stolen, authorities said.

The masked man walked into the Fast Fare on Georgia Highway 88 at about 12:19 a.m. Tuesday pulled a semiautomatic handgun and demanded money. The man opened the register himself and grabbed the cash before fleeing.

Police say the store clerk had just dropped a load of cash into a secured safe and had a small amount in the register. Police found a $5 bill the robber dropped as he fled the store.

The robber is described as white, 5 feet 10 inches tall, 165 pounds, wearing light-colored blue jeans and a light-blue shirt. He had a green shirt wrapped around his head.



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