Originally created 02/20/03

Across the area



City approves citizen panels

Augusta commissioners voted unanimously late Tuesday to begin work toward appointing a citizens advisory committee that would review projects proposed for a sales tax referendum - possibly later this year.

For the past few weeks, discussion of a capital improvement program funded by a long-term sales tax issue has been stalled in a commission committee, with some commissioners unwilling to move forward. On Tuesday, commissioners approved several work sessions on a proposed building plan in an effort to give a citizens' committee direction in its work.

After those work sessions are completed, commissioners will appoint a citizens advisory committee to review a sales tax project list and offer recommendations to the commission.

Nursing home worker finds missing drug box

An employee of a North Augusta nursing home found a missing drug box that contained narcotics Tuesday.

The employee told police that he found the empty drug box on a curb near the Anne Maria Nursing Home on Talisman Drive. The box, which contained $121 worth of narcotics and other pain medications, was reported missing Monday.

Police reports indicated that units of Valium, morphine, Tylenol-3, Demerol and Lortab were missing from the box when it was found.

Augusta to pay $7,700 for 13 sewage spills

Augusta will pay fines totaling $7,700 for 13 sewage spills during 2001 and 2002, according to a negotiated agreement between the city and Georgia's Environmental Protection Division.

According to the agreement posted on EPD's Web site last week, the spills included 12 events between Nov. 30, 2001 and July 19, 2002, involving less than 10,000 gallons; and one spill of more than 10,000 gallons.

Most of the spills involved accidents related to blockages in lines or ruptures in sewer connectors and lines. Since 1999, the city has paid penalties totaling $236,500 for sewage-related matters.

Driver reports shots fired at his vehicle

At least one man opened fire on the car of an Augusta man Tuesday evening as he was driving down Pepperridge Drive in south Augusta, according to police reports.

Ricardo Dion Smith told police that about six men, four of whom he could identify, stood in the street at the 2100 block of Pepperridge Drive and wouldn't let him through.

Mr. Smith said one of the men pulled a semi-automatic pistol and shot the front windshield of his 1990 Toyota Celica. Mr. Smith said he heard four to five shots as he drove away after the men let him pass.

Three shotgun shells were later found at the corner of Pepperridge Drive and Ramblewood Drive, according to police reports.

Man is charged with lying about shooting

An Augusta man was being held at the Richmond County jail Wednesday without bond, charged with lying about being shot by an unknown assailant.

Sheriff's Lt. Jack Francisco gave the following account: John Jenkins, 45, was actually shot Feb. 14 after he entered the home of his estranged wife, Betty Jenkins, on Madrid Drive North. He had been ordered by a judge not to have contact with his wife, who had separated from him.

Mrs. Jenkins, who was armed with a 9 mm Beretta, shot Mr. Jenkins when she found him in the master bathroom of her home. Mr. Jenkins took the gun away from the woman, then forced her to agree to drop battery charges, which she had filed against him a week before.

Mrs. Jenkins agreed to drop the charges, and Mr. Jenkins later went to St. Joseph Hospital. There he told officers that he had been shot while moving a garbage can on Leona Street.

At the same time, Mrs. Jenkins had met with police and told them the truth. The suspect was charged Feb. 16 with robbery, false imprisonment, aggravated stalking and making false statements.

Police arrest suspect in coin-laundry thefts

A Warrenville man police say is responsible for a string of thefts at coin-operated laundries was arrested Wednesday inside a laundry trying to steal more, police said.

Capt. Michael Frank, of the Aiken County Sheriff's Office, said an investigator walked up to Christopher E. Arthur, 24, of the 100 block of Jon Road, about 1:30 a.m. inside an Easy Wash on South Carolina Highway 421 in Warrenville.

Mr. Arthur is being held at the Aiken County Detention Center on one count of larceny, although Capt. Frank said more charges may be added in the future.

Personalities do time to promote blood drive

Local personalities will be doing hard time to promote a community blood drive Monday.

Volunteers from WKXC-FM, Meybohm Realtors, Phoenix Commercial Printers and WFXA-FM will be incarcerated at the Shepeard Community Blood Center. The jailbirds must convince 10 people to donate blood in order to receive an early release.

The blood drive will run from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. at the blood center on Wrightsboro Road. Refreshments including Godiva chocolates will be given to all participants.

Anyone in good health who is 17 years old, weighs at least 110 pounds and has not donated blood in the past two months is eligible. For more information, call 737-4551.

NAACP plans to hold membership meeting

The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People will have a general membership meeting at 7:30 p.m. Monday at the Augusta Branch of the NAACP, 1101 11th St.

The meeting is open to the public. For more information, call Mildred McDaniel at 724-0390.

Man who wanted fight ends up with charge

An Augusta man picked the wrong fight at the Augusta Boxing Club on Wednesday when he was arrested for refusing to leave the building, a sheriff's report states.

Tom Moraetes, the head of the boxing club, said Cedrick Crawford entered the building at about 11 a.m. and said he was going to box. Mr. Moraetes told Mr. Crawford he would have to fill out a membership form and receive training.

Mr. Crawford told the coach he wanted to box now, and refused to leave.

When police arrived, Mr. Crawford told officers to take him to jail, which they did. Mr. Crawford was charged with disorderly conduct and was released on $200 bond, officials said.

Four-vehicle accident puts man in hospital

An Evans man was transported to Medical College of Georgia Hospital after a four-car accident at the intersection of Washington and Furys Ferry roads Wednesday.

The accident occurred at 7:27 p.m. when the driver of a Jeep Cherokee heading east on Washington Road turned in front of an Audi traveling south on Furys Ferry Road, said Richmond County sheriff's Deputy Brandon Reeves. The impact caused the Cherokee to hit two other vehicles on Furys Ferry Road - a Ford Explorer and a Buick Century, he said.

The driver of the Audi, Mario Banez, was taken to MCG, Deputy Reeves said. Hospital spokeswoman Laura Giles said Mr. Banez was still being evaluated late Wednesday.

The drivers of the Explorer and the Century were not injured, police said. Deborah Brewer, of Augusta, the driver of the Jeep, also was not injured in the accident, authorities said.

Ms. Brewer was cited for failure to yield while turning left, the deputy said.

Officers raid Saluda lab; three men face charges

Two North Augusta residents and a Batesburg, S.C., man remained in the Saluda County jail Wednesday after deputies raided a methamphetamine lab near Saluda, authorities said.

Saluda County Sheriff Jason Booth said the three were making the drug in Saluda and selling it in Aiken and Edgefield counties during the past year.

Those arrested were: Dale Rogers, 42, of the 200 block of Kirby Road; Auby Hilley, 35, of the 100 block of Wind Road; and Pearly Boatwright, 72, of the 1000 block of Lockhart Road in Batesburg.

The men are charged with manufacturing methamphetamine and trafficking in methamphetamine.

Sheriff Booth said deputies recovered about $4,000 in methamphetamine and $1,200 in cash during the Tuesday raid at the lab inside a house at U.S. Highway 378 and Mount Willing Road.

The sheriff vowed to continue to actively target drug dealers in his county.