Originally created 06/30/03

Across the area

Kitchen fire damages house

A pot on a stove led to a fire that quickly spread and severely damaged an Augusta home Sunday afternoon, authorities said.

Battalion Chief J.G. Sheridan, of the Augusta-Richmond Fire Department, said the fire started after 3 p.m. in the wood-frame house in the 500 block of First Avenue, near the Sand Hills neighborhood.

No one was injured, he said, and the residents of the house helped to evacuate neighboring homes.

None of the nearby homes was damaged, Chief Sheridan said, but a Ford sedan parked in front of the home was severely damaged.

Gunman robs motorist stopped at light

Police are investigating the armed robbery of an Augusta man who was on his way to work.

Lawrence Watson told police that he had stopped at the intersection of North Leg and Wrightsboro roads for a red light Friday night when a man approached his car and pointed a handgun at his head, states a report filed at the Richmond County Sheriff's Office.

Mr. Watson gave the man his wallet, which contained $300, the report states. The man took the money and ran.

State school chief to visit Augusta today

Georgia school Superintendent Kathy Cox will visit Augusta today to discuss the No Child Left Behind Act during a seminar at Glenn Hills Middle School.

U.S. Rep. Johnny Isakson, who served on the House committee that drafted the act, also will address the audience. The public is welcome.

Registration begins at 8:30 a.m., and the seminar will last from 9 to 10:30 a.m.

The Richmond County Board of Education has begun implementing the act, which is designed to increase educational opportunities for pupils.

Signer's home to open for Fourth of July

Historic Meadow Garden, the former home of Declaration of Independence signer George Walton, will open Friday, Independence Day, said Louise Henry, the state curator of the Daughters of the American Revolution.

The public is invited to visit the 1792 house and grounds at 1320 Independence Drive off 13th Street between Walton Way and Telfair Street between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.

Admission for adults costs $2. Children are admitted free.

Officers, band to be part of area's Fourth

Fort Gordon soldiers will help Augusta celebrate the Independence Day holiday at three area events Friday, according to the public affairs office at the Army post.

At 10 a.m., Col. Bernard Kulifay, Fort Gordon's chief of staff, will be the guest speaker at a ceremony sponsored by the Augusta chapter of the Military Order of World Wars on the steps of the Augusta-Richmond County Municipal Building.

At 6 p.m., Col. John Belser, the staff judge advocate at the fort, will speak at the opening ceremony for the Columbia County Independence Day celebration at Patriots Park in Martinez.

At 8 p.m., the U.S. Army Signal Corps Band will perform as part of festivities at Riverwalk Augusta.

Area storms flood streets

Strong thunderstorms rolled through the Augusta area Sunday night, causing some minor road flooding and downed trees in the area.

National Weather Service radar in West Columbia, S.C., indicated a line of thunderstorms stretching from Columbia County through Augusta and south along the Savannah River to Effingham County at 7 p.m.

In Olde Town, a fallen tree blocked the eastbound lane in the 300 block of Broad Street after 8 p.m., and minor road flooding occurred downtown.

Downed trees were also reported on Richmond Hill Road in south Augusta, and flooding was reported on Walton Way near University Hospital.

In North Augusta, authorities reported a blown transformer at the Willow Wick Apartments on Martintown Road, where a power pole and power lines caught fire after 8:45 p.m.

A spokeswoman from Georgia Power said there were no reported outages in Augusta as of 8 p.m. Sunday.

Windsor man dies in Highway 78 collision

A Windsor man was killed in a head-on collision on U.S. Highway 78 near Williston, S.C., shortly after midnight Sunday, Aiken County Coroner Sue Townsend said.

John Fitzgerald Simmons, 36, was pronounced dead at the scene by Deputy Coroner Darryl Ables, Mrs. Townsend said.

Mr. Simmons was driving east in a 1984 Mazda RX-7 two-door coupe when he struck a 1989 Ford Aerostar minivan driven by Hailey Sadam, of Clearwater, at 12:15 a.m., she said.

Mrs. Townsend said Mr. Simmons swerved into the westbound lane while going around a sharp curve crossed by a railroad track just outside Williston.

She said both vehicles were destroyed.

Mrs. Townsend said Ms. Sadam was flown to Medical College of Georgia Hospital. She was listed in good condition Sunday night, an MCG spokeswoman said.

Mr. Simmons died of multiple fractures, Mrs. Townsend said.

2 tractor-trailers are broken into at station

Augusta authorities are investigating two incidents in which someone entered tractor-trailers at the same gas station over the weekend.

Joseph Grant Jr., of Springfield, Mo., told authorities that between 6 a.m. Saturday and 11:30 a.m. Sunday, someone entered his 2000 Freightliner while it was parked at the Pump 'N Shop in the 3600 block of Peach Orchard Road.

Mr. Grant said someone climbed on top of the trailer, lifted the locking rods and cut the locks to gain entry. He said an estimated 75 cases of a blood-pressure medication were taken.

Later Sunday, Lee Roy Lawrence, of Augusta, told authorities that someone cut the locks of his 1998 Freightliner, which was parked at the same service station, between 7 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. Sunday. Items taken from the rig were unknown, according to a police report.


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