Originally created 08/14/04

Across the region



School board approves bigger science classes

ATLANTA - The state Board of Education has approved putting as many as 30 students in high school science classes, up from a maximum of 28. The board action Thursday came a month after it adopted a new curriculum designed to improve the state's science education.

The National Science Teachers Association recommends no more than 24 students in high school classes.

School superintendents in Georgia pressed for expanding the size in a tight budget year.

The change was opposed by teacher organizations and state Superintendent of Schools Kathy Cox.

Cases of former SLED agent are under review

CHARLESTON, S.C. - About 20 open cases handled by a former State Law Enforcement Division agent are being reviewed after criticism of the agent's investigation into the death of the girlfriend of a Mount Pleasant police officer.

The review was prompted by errors in the investigation of Molly Wrazen's fatal shooting handled by former Senior Agent Matt Ford, officials said.

Agent Ford, a state agent for 21 years, stopped working for SLED on Monday after a coroner's jury ruled that Ms. Wrazen was shot and did not commit suicide inside the apartment of narcotics detective Justin Hembree.

Two other SLED agents are conducting a new investigation.

Police say Eden man aimed car at deputy

SAVANNAH, GA. - An Eden man who police say nearly struck an Effingham County sheriff's deputy with his car last week was arrested Tuesday night at his mother's home.

Samori Jodon Smokes, who is in his early 20s, was charged with aggravated assault on a police officer and other charges, including an outstanding felony warrant, police said.

The deputies allege that as they walked up to Mr. Smokes' car, the Eden man put the vehicle in gear and attempted to run down Detective Steven Edenfield, narrowly missing him.

Coroner says worker was electrocuted

CLEMSON, S.C. - A coroner's report says a worker died from electrocution at a WestPoint Stevens' Clemson Finishing Plant earlier this week.

Milford Eugene Carter II, 43, was found in an elevated lift bucket by plant workers Tuesday.

Oconee County Coroner Karl Addis said Thursday that he ruled the death an accident after a report showed Mr. Carter was electrocuted.

Man is accused of killing boss's daughter

DALTON, GA. - A former tenant and employee of a man whose daughter was fatally shot through a window while sleeping in her parents' bed was arrested and charged with murder.

Jeffery Allen Hampton, 32, was accused of using a large-caliber rifle to fire 11 shots into the home of Buddy Parker, striking Tara Nicole Swilley in the head early Aug. 2.

Ms. Swilley, 26, was asleep with her husband and their 7-month-old daughter. Investigators had not determined why Mr. Hampton shot at the Parkers' home, the sheriff said.

New York firm will take state park reservations

COLUMBIA - The state Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism has hired a New York-based company to take reservations for its 35 parks that offer overnight accommodations.

ReserveAmerica, which handles reservations for 3,000 parks, announced the deal Thursday.

The change, which will begin in 2005, will allow visitors to go to a Web site or call a central toll-free number rather than call the individual parks to reserve a cabin or campsite.

The company will get a percentage of the rentals it takes, officials said.

Coroner says worker was electrocuted

CLEMSON - A coroner's report says a worker died from electrocution at a WestPoint Stevens' Clemson Finishing Plant earlier this week.

Milford Eugene Carter II, 43, was found in an elevated lift bucket by plant workers Tuesday.

Oconee County Coroner Karl Addis said Thursday that he ruled the death an accident after a report showed Mr. Carter was electrocuted.

New York firm will take state park reservations

COLUMBIA - The state Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism has hired a New York-based company to take reservations for its 35 parks that offer overnight accommodations.

ReserveAmerica, which handles reservations for 3,000 parks, announced the deal Thursday.

The change, which will begin in 2005, will allow visitors to go to a Web site or call a central toll-free number rather than call the individual parks to reserve a cabin or campsite.

The company will get a percentage of the rentals it takes, officials said.

Cases of former SLED agent are under review

CHARLESTON - About 20 open cases handled by a former State Law Enforcement Division agent are being reviewed after criticism of the agent's investigation into the death of the girlfriend of a Mount Pleasant police officer.

The review was prompted by errors in the investigation of Molly Wrazen's fatal shooting handled by former Senior Agent Matt Ford, officials said.

Agent Ford, a state agent for 21 years, stopped working for SLED on Monday after a coroner's jury ruled that Ms. Wrazen was shot and did not commit suicide inside the apartment of narcotics detective Justin Hembree.

Two other SLED agents are conducting a new investigation.