Originally created 04/02/04

Across the area



Salesman faces burglary charge

A door-to-door salesman was arrested Thursday after police say he was caught burglarizing a Columbia County home.

Christopher Jones, 20, of Madison, Ark., was selling cleaning products on Avery Avenue in Martinez when he saw a homeowner in the 4000 block leave, said Columbia County sheriff's Capt. Steve Morris.

He said that when the homeowner came back shortly before 5 p.m., he caught the suspect leaving the house through an unlocked window and carrying a duffel bag full of electronic equipment.

The man ran away after being seen, police said.

The homeowner chased the suspect for half a mile to the Food Lion on Belair Road, where police found Mr. Jones and took him into custody. He was charged with burglary and taken to the Columbia County Detention Center.

Army general to tour post, Fort Discovery

A four-star general responsible for the Army's training installations will visit Augusta on Monday to further tour Fort Gordon and also visit Fort Discovery, according to a news release from the post.

Gen. Kevin P. Byrnes, the head of Training and Doctrine Command, will visit with Brig. Gen. Janet Hicks, Fort Gordon's commanding general, and tour Fort Discovery, the downtown science center that is a partnership between the Army and the civilian National Science Center.

Gen. Byrnes, whose headquarters is at Fort Monroe, Va., toured Fort Gordon last year. Under his command, Training and Doctrine operates 32 schools and training centers at 15 Army installations, which includes Fort Gordon's Signal Center, the release states.

Crane Ferry Road gets speed hump

A speed hump was installed on Crane Ferry Road on Thursday, according to Augusta city officials.

One more hump also is expected to be installed on the road today. Recently, the Augusta Commission approved the speed humps as part of a pilot project that, if successful, could bring more speed humps to other Augusta-area neighborhoods as a traffic calming device.

The commission also recently approved the use of radar guns by police on Crane Ferry.

Jury will continue deliberations today

Two people accused of taking part in a robbery that turned fatal must wait another day to learn whether a jury believes they are guilty or innocent of murder.

After a full day in Richmond County Superior Court and three hours of deliberations Thursday, the jury sitting in judgment of Oliver D. Nelson, 38, and Kindra D. Mathis, 21, asked to retire for the night and continue this morning. Judge Albert M. Pickett granted the request.

Mr. Nelson and Ms. Mathis face felony murder and a weapon violation charge in the Feb. 24, 2003, shooting death of 27-year-old Willie Rhodes in a Bohler Avenue home where Ms. Mathis lived.

The admitted shooter, Michael Smith, 44, testified this week that Mr. Nelson talked him into robbing Mr. Rhodes of crack cocaine and that Ms. Mathis, the victim's girlfriend, set Mr. Rhodes up for the crime. Mr. Smith pleaded guilty to murder and is serving a life sentence in prison.

Man reports damage to change machine

A worker at a downtown office building told Richmond County sheriff's deputies that he found that someone had ripped the change machine from a vending machine after he noticed someone wandering around the building Wednesday, a police report states.

The worker at the New South Building in the 300 block of Bay Street told deputies that at 4:50 p.m., he saw a man wandering around the first floor of the building near a break room, and told him that he would be closing the building soon.

The worker said he found that the change machine had been ripped from the vending machine and was lying on the floor. He said he told the man he was calling the police, and the man ran from the building.

Church plans concert for victims of fire

A church is planning a fund-raiser to help a family who is recovering from their losses in a recent fire.

New Life Christian Center is sponsoring a concert with Machaira from 7 to 9 p.m. Saturday at 2805 Wylds Road, behind the Augusta Mall next to Planet Extreme. The concert is a benefit for the Bussey family.

The Rev. Samuel Bussey and his two stepdaughters died in the fire. His wife, Charon Bussey, and their son Samtavius, 5, survived.

All proceeds from the benefit will go directly to the Bussey family.

Judge signs warrants in baseball field fight

A North Augusta judge granted warrants against two fathers who North Augusta police officers said got into a fight after their sons got into a squabble on a baseball field this week, reports state.

Municipal Judge Thomas Murphy signed simple assault warrants Wednesday morning against Mark Wright, 45, and Darryl W. Grover, 38.

According to an incident report from the North Augusta Department of Public Safety, the men argued after their sons got into an altercation on the baseball field at Riverview Park on Tuesday night.

Witnesses reported that Mr. Wright approached Mr. Grover, bumping him in the chest, and then Mr. Grover retaliated by striking Mr. Wright in the face before engaging in a fight.

After the first altercation was over, officers found that Mr. Wright went looking for Mr. Grover, found him by the bathroom area and tackled him, starting another brawl, the report states.

Woman reports theft of commercial sink

An Augusta woman told Richmond County sheriff's deputies that someone entered her back yard and took a stainless steel commercial sink Wednesday, a police report states.

Sylvia F. Johnson, 35, of the 1000 block of 15th Avenue, said that between 6 a.m. and 4:45 p.m., someone entered her yard and took the sink, valued at $2,000.

Nominations sought for student awards

The Augusta Chronicle is seeking nominations for its Best and Brightest Awards recognizing outstanding high school seniors.

Academics, extracurricular activities, community service and character are among the criteria to be considered. Twenty-five students will be selected for recognition in the newspaper's annual graduation section. They will also be honored at a banquet May 24. The deadline for nominations is April 16.

The two-page nomination form is available online at www.augustachronicle.com/metro.

The original form posted did not include the second page of the entry form. Both pages, plus a letter of recommendation from someone who is not a relative of the student are required. To request a mailed application, call 823-3646.

Army seeks interest in Fort Gordon wood

The U.S. Army wants to know whether anyone wants the wood from the last of Fort Gordon's World War II-era buildings that have been replaced by new construction over the years, according to a news release from the post's public affairs office.

The post will hold an open house Saturday to show those interested the old buildings, the release states. Depending on the level of interest, Fort Gordon may allow reuse and recovery of most of the wood.

Anyone interested in the open house or seeking more information may call 791-2403.