Originally created 02/04/03

Across the area

Illness forces school to close

Curtis Baptist High School students received an extended weekend when they arrived at school Monday morning.

The flu epidemic forced the Augusta private school to send their 109 high school students home until Thursday.

"Our teachers got hit hard this week, and we just didn't have the faculty and staff we needed," said Nancy Wilcox, the Curtis Baptist Elementary School principal. Elementary and middle school pupils will have school this week.

Ms. Wilcox said the entire school has suffered from unusually high absentee rates during the past couple of weeks.

Officers investigate rash of tire slashings

Police were investigating a rash of slashed tires Monday through the National Hills subdivision that left vehicles at least 15 residences with expensive damage.

Residents of the Augusta neighborhood woke up Monday to find flat tires on their vehicles, said Maj. Richard Weaver, of the Richmond County Sheriff's Office. Deputies responded to a few calls and then realized other tires were damaged, leading them to wake up owners who had not come outside yet, the major said.

By Monday afternoon, there were reports filed on several streets, including Springwood Drive, Summertime Place, Oleander Drive and Fleetwood Drive. Maj. Weaver said some residences had several cars vandalized, and many had all four tires slashed.

Maj. Weaver said the damage appears to be the work of children. An investigator has been assigned to the case.

Kidnapping suspect is sought by police

Aiken County investigators are looking for a man who took part in a kidnapping Sunday night.

Capt. Michael Frank, of the Aiken County Sheriff's Office, said a 24-year-old Aiken woman accepted a ride from two men as she walked along U.S. Highway 1 north of Aiken at 9:15 p.m.

The captain gave the following account: On the way to her destination in New Ellenton, the woman became nervous and asked the men to drop her off at a convenience store at Whiskey and Powderhouse roads.

At one point during the ride, she said, one of the men pointed a shotgun at her and asked for money.

Instead of dropping her off at the store, the men drove her to a neighborhood behind the store, where she jumped from the car and ran to a house for help.

A sheriff's deputy spotted the men's car near the store and stopped it. The driver was arrested.

Garrett A. Baron, 22, of the 140 block of Old Country Road, is charged with kidnapping, attempted armed robbery and pointing and presenting a firearm, the captain said. He is being held at the Aiken County Detention Center.

The second suspect is described as black, in his 20s, with a medium height and weighing 150 pounds. He wore a blue sweat shirt with a hood, blue sweat pants and a stocking cap, the captain said.

Anyone with information on this crime is asked to call the sheriff's office at (800) 922-9709. Individuals also can call the Aiken County Crime Stoppers at (866) 882-7463. Callers to Crime Stoppers can remain anonymous and could be eligible for a cash reward up to $1,000.

Commissioners make appointment to board

The Augusta Coliseum Authority's former legislative appointee, Joe Scott, has been reappointed to the civic center board by the Augusta Commission. His expired term was filled last month by the legislative appointment of former Augusta Commission appointee Bonnie Ruben.

The commission voted unanimously Monday to appoint Mr. Scott to fill the District 2 seat of Belle Clark. Ms. Clark resigned from the board, and Mr. Scott will fill her position for a three-year term.

City appeals decision on adult bookstore

The Augusta Commission is appealing a federal court decision that an adult bookstore can open - at least temporarily - on Gordon Highway while the business's First Amendment case continues to be considered in U.S. District Court.

Augusta Video X-Mart opened for business Jan. 20 after a federal court ruling was released deeming the city's adult entertainment zoning ordinances invalid. Although the court case arguing the shop's right to free speech still is pending, the temporary order allows X-Mart to reopen in the interim.

The city filed an interlocutory appeal of that decision Friday with the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals. The bookstore will be permitted to remain open during that appeal process.

Officer who shot dog draws internal review

Internal affairs will review the actions of a Richmond County officer who killed a pit bull during the weekend.

Deputy Landon Terry fired his gun twice as the dog charged at him Sunday on Washington Road, a report states. Nicki Marks had called police after the dog got into her back yard and charged her 2-year-old child, a report states.

The officer arrived, found the dog next to its owner and called to the man. The dog then "sped out of the back yard, running at full speed with teeth bared and growling, running approximately 150 feet in approximately 3-5 seconds," the deputy stated.

The officer fired as the dog got within three feet of him. Neighbors had repeatedly complained to animal control about the dog, police said.

Aiken center will hold all-day blood drive

Shepeard Aiken Community Blood Center will hold a "Show Your Heart" blood drive from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday at the Aiken Mall, 2441 Whiskey Road.

Blood donors will be served free breakfast, lunch or dinner. They also will be given the chance to win door prizes and offered free baby-sitting services while parents of young children donate.

The drive is sponsored by Aiken Regional Medical Centers, television station WJBF, radio station WSLT,, Stepping Stones School, What's Cookin' and Allegra Printing.

For more information, call (803) 643-7996 or 737-4551.

Blood center joins national supply effort

With the prospect of war in Iraq, Shepeard Community Blood Center is participating in a national effort to supplement the U.S. military's blood supply during wartime if needed.

Shepeard's participation is part of an agreement between the U.S. Department of Defense and members of America's Blood Centers, a network of 74 community blood centers that collect nearly half of the nation's blood supply.

Local blood drives and donations will continue as scheduled.

For information, call America's Blood Centers toll free at (888) USBLOOD, visit the Web site at www.americasblood.org or call Shepeard Community Blood Center at (706) 737-4551.

Officials prepare card for shuttle families

Local residents have the opportunity to sign a sympathy card for the families of the fallen flight crew of the space shuttle Columbia.

Columbia County officials, on an idea from a county resident, commissioned a 3-by-2-foot corrugated plastic sympathy card for residents to sign or write notes on. That card will be delivered to NASA to share with the grieving families.

"I think it makes people feel better if they can contribute something when there is a national crisis like this," said Pam Tucker, the county Emergency Services director.

The card will be available to sign beginning noon today through 4 p.m. Friday at the Evans government complex, in the first-floor lobby of Building B in front of the Board of Elections office.

The card will bear the county logo because the county and the shuttle were named for Christopher Columbus, and it will read - "Our Sympathy from citizens of Columbia County, Georgia, to the families of the space shuttle Columbia flight crew."

Carnival company gets Columbia County job

The local carnival company that has provided rides for the Augusta fair since 1956 will move its midway to this year's Columbia County fall fair.

Drew Exposition confirmed involvement in the fair sponsored by the Merchants Association of Columbia County, scheduled for Oct. 30 through Nov. 8 at the Columbia County fairgrounds.

The carnival company took over for Amusements of Buffalo, the fair's usual provider, after the Buffalo, N.Y., company left this year's fair without a word of the 2003 date, said Mike Zapata, the association president.

Smoltz to be speaker at Fort Gordon event

Atlanta Braves pitcher John Smoltz will speak at Fort Gordon's National Prayer Breakfast observance Wednesday.

Mr. Smoltz will speak at the Gordon Club on 19th Avenue, where the breakfast will start at 6:30 a.m.

Open to everyone, the breakfast is free, but recommended donations are $3 for sergeants and below and $5 for those above sergeant.

For more information, call (706) 791-4683.

Teenagers fight at high school

Two teenagers were arrested Monday after a fight at North Augusta High School, according to a North Augusta police report.

Nathaniel Keith Harman, 17, and Christopher Peterson, 18, both of North Augusta, were charged with assault and battery after they fought each other in the 2000 block of Knob Cone Avenue at 10:50 a.m., the report states.

Police find razor blade on Glenn Hills student

A 17-year-old Glenn Hills High School student was arrested Monday after school officials discovered a small razor blade in the teen's possession, they said.

Demetrius Danaelle Williamson, of the 3000 block of Mistletoe Avenue, Augusta, was charged with carrying a weapon at school, disrupting public school and obstruction, according to jail records.

Wayne Frazier, the assistant principal at Glenn Hills High, said public safety officials discovered the teen had a razor blade at lunchtime. He was unsure what led to the obstruction charge.

Dentist office reports theft from mailbox

Tax information and X-ray film of dental procedures was reported stolen from the mail Monday at an Augusta dentist's office.

A worker for Dr. E. Parker H. Cudd, in the 2400 block of Peach Orchard Road, said she went to retrieve mail from the office's mailbox and discovered that envelopes had been opened and emptied, a Richmond County Sheriff's Office report states.

The envelopes were supposed to contain W-2 tax information for Dr. Cudd's employees and X-ray photographs of dental procedures, according to the report.

Man says ex-girlfriend cut him with knife

An Augusta man told police an ex-girlfriend attacked him with a knife at his home Monday morning.

Dale Irvin Feruson, of the 2800 block of Oakland Avenue, said the woman entered his apartment while he was sleeping. He said she was standing over him with a knife in her hand when he awoke, a Richmond County Sheriff's Office report states.

Mr. Feruson told police that she swung the knife toward him. He said he grabbed her arms to catch the blow, but the knife grazed the right side of his head, causing a scratch. He said she ran away with the knife in a white Lincoln Town Car. According to reports, some of Mr. Feruson's furnishings had been moved toward his front door.

Girl says mother hit hit her with mop

A 15-year-old Augusta girl told police Monday that her mother struck her in the head, hands and legs with a mop handle Sunday night.

The girl, who lives in the 1900 block of Engle Road, said her mother hit her and choked her because she had broken a closet door, a Richmond County Sheriff's Office report. An officer reported noticing red marks on the girl's hands. The Richmond County Department of Family and Children Services was notified and is checking into the incident, the report states.


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