Originally created 05/28/03

Across the area



Secretary faces forgery charges

An Aiken woman was arrested Tuesday on charges that she embezzled more that $13,000 from a Vaucluse church where she worked as a part-time secretary.

Joan Melba Prim, 59, faces a count of breach of trust and four counts of forgery, said Kathryn Richardson, a spokeswoman for the South Carolina State Law Enforcement Division. Ms. Prim's arrest Tuesday afternoon at the Aiken County Sheriff's Office followed a two-month investigation by SLED into her employment at First Baptist Church of Vaucluse between April 1, 2002, and March 21,, Ms. Richardson said.

According to arrest warrants, Ms. Prim forged the signatures of church officers to church-issued checks, then deposited them into her own bank account. At least two people had their signatures forged on checks, including one for $1,000, according to arrest warrant affidavits.

Police ask for help in search for woman

Authorities are asking for help in finding an Aiken woman missing since early May.

Jennifer D. Hough, 37, of 1248 Alfred St., was last seen May 6 at a Graniteville home on Church Street where she was staying temporarily, said Lt. Michael Frank, a spokesman for the Aiken County Sheriff's Office.

A friend notified sheriff's officials that Ms. Hough was missing May 20, and they posted a notice asking for information on her whereabouts Tuesday.

Ms. Hough is described as white with black hair and green eyes, about 5 feet 9 inches tall and 150 pounds. She was last seen wearing denim shorts, an orange shirt and tan sandals.

Anyone with information on her whereabouts is asked to call the sheriff's office at (800) 922-9709.

Child recovers after four-wheeler accident

A 4-year-old Dearing boy injured in a four-wheeler accident on Memorial Day has gone home after spending the night at Medical College of Georgia Hospital.

Family members say Tim Howell was airlifted to MCG with deep stomach bruises after the four-wheeler he was riding ran into a parked automobile. The four-wheeler was being driven by a 16-year-old Dearing girl.

Family members said the McDuffie County Sheriff's Office did not investigate the accident, which occurred on private property. Repeated calls to the sheriff's office Tuesday were not returned.

Augusta Commission reschedules meeting

Next week's regularly scheduled Augusta Commission meeting will be moved ahead one day to Monday.

On Tuesday, the commission approved the motion to reschedule the meeting. Next week's meeting will take place at 2 p.m. in the commission chamber on the eighth floor of the Augusta-Richmond County Municipal Building.

PTA council will hold annual training expo

The Richmond County Council of PTAs will kick off its annual training expo Saturday at Meadowbrook Elementary School.

The session, which is the first of the three-part program, focuses on developing quality leadership that encourages parents' participation in their children's learning and better equips them to bring about school improvement.

The seminar, which begins at 9 a.m. at Meadowbrook, off Goldfinch Drive, is open to parents in Columbia and Richmond counties.

Rowing club reports motorboat stolen

An Augusta Rowing Club boat was reported stolen on Tuesday.

The motorboat, valued at $2,500, was taken from the Boathouse in the 100 block of Riverfront Drive, a Richmond County Sheriff's Office report states.

A lock securing the boat had been cut.

Homeless woman gets punched, robbed

A 20-year-old homeless woman told police she was attacked and robbed by two women while walking along an Augusta street Tuesday.

Gloria Locklear said the incident occurred at about 2 p.m. in the 900 block of Carrie Street. She said a white car with an M&M Motors tag drove by and two women got out and confronted her, a Richmond County Sheriff's Office report states.

Ms. Locklear said one of the women struck her in the head with a brick. She said her purse was taken, and she was kicked and punched while on the ground.

Money is taken from safe at McDonald's

More than $780 was reported stolen from a safe at a Hephzibah fast-food restaurant Tuesday.

The theft at the McDonald's, in the 2500 block of Tobacco Road, occurred between 5:33 and 7:50 a.m., a Richmond County Sheriff's Office report states.

The money was taken from a safe in the restaurant office. Three employees were in the office at some point during the time when the money was taken, the report states.

Fire guts residence in Laney-Walker area

Augusta-Richmond County firefighters were called to a fire that destroyed a house in the Laney-Walker neighborhood.

The fire gutted a one-story house late Tuesday at Laney-Walker Boulevard and Mill Street, according to Battalion Chief John Sheridan.

Firefighters received the call at 11:10 p.m., and the fire was extinguished in about seven minutes, Chief Sheridan said.

No one was injured in the blaze, he said.