Originally created 03/02/05

Across the area



Court turns over scam suspect

A woman federal authorities say helped scam businesses up and down the East Coast out of hundreds of thousands of dollars appeared in Richmond County federal magistrate court Monday.

The court remanded Kendra Porterfield, 30, to the custody of federal marshals for commitment to the Northern District of Ohio, according to docket proceedings.

Ms. Porterfield was then transferred from the Richmond County jail to the McDuffie County jail.

Ms. Porterfield was arrested Friday with her boyfriend Walker Washington, 36, by federal marshals outside a vacant Augusta nightclub they intended to lease, officials said.

The couple, both on federal probation from crimes committed in other states, are being investigated in Florida, New York and Massachusetts for cases of theft of services.

Mr. Walker, arrested on outstanding warrants of misdemeanor assault and battery and harassing phone calls, remains at the Richmond County jail, according to the sheriff's office.

Commission might alter water ordinance

Columbia County commissioners voted unanimously Tuesday night to approve a first reading of an amended ordinance that will alter the county's water conservation phases to fall in line with state requirements.

The change, which will need a second reading approval at the commission's next meeting March 15, does not change the days residents are allowed to water outdoors in phase one.

What it does is add three more phases to Columbia County's plan, should they be needed in the future.

Currently, the county has three phases: even-odd watering, even-odd watering with allotted times and no watering.

The state has five phases, including two additional phases allowing different restricted watering times.

The county's current phase one outdoor watering restriction calls for watering on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays at even addresses; watering on Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays at odd addresses; and no watering on Mondays.

Retired businessman named grand marshal

Daniel B. Walter has been named the grand marshal for Augusta's 2005 St. Patrick's Day parade.

The parade, sponsored by Augusta's Irish-American Heritage Society, will begin at 2 p.m. March 17 from the city's municipal building parking lot on Greene Street.

The parade will end at Broad and 6th streets.

Mr. Walter, 76, is a retired businessman and lives in Augusta. Family on his mother's side hail from County Cork, Ireland.

Man is accused of carjacking attempt

Richmond County sheriff's deputies have arrested a man accused of attempting to carjack an Augusta couple Monday night, reports said.

Jose Luis Quinonez, 24, of the 2700 block of Thomas Lane, was charged with criminal attempt at hijacking a motor vehicle and possession of a weapon during the commission of a crime.

The report said that at 7:11 p.m., while in the 2700 block of Thomas Lane, Mr. Quinonez brandished a revolver at a 24-year-old woman as she sat in a vehicle and demanded she get out of the car.

She refused, and her boyfriend confronted Mr. Quinonez before he ran away.

Officers later found Mr. Quinonez nearby.

Man robs convenience store in south Augusta

Richmond County sheriff's deputies are investigating a robbery at a south Augusta gasoline station, a police report said.

A clerk at the Delta Travel Center in the 3400 block of Mike Padgett Highway said that at 9:40 p.m. Monday, a man walked up to her and said he had a gun.

The clerk said she opened the register, and the man grabbed an unknown amount of money before exiting the business.

The clerk's daughter said that when the man ran outside, she chased him and tried to stop him, after which he pushed her down before he drove away eastbound on Bobby Jones Expressway.

Morning fire ravages east Augusta home

An east Augusta home was damaged in a fire Tuesday morning, according to the Augusta-Richmond County Fire Department.

Battalion Chief Michael Weathers said crews got a call to the home in the 300 block of East View Drive at about 10:30 a.m.

Crews found fire shooting through the roof, mostly in the front bedroom, he said.

No one was hurt, and no one was at home at the time of the fire, Chief Weathers said.

He said the cause of the fire was under investigation, but said there was nothing to indicate the fire was suspicious.

Another arrest made in pizza robbery

Richmond County sheriff's deputies have arrested another man Tuesday in a January robbery of a pizza deliveryman, officials said.

Willie Richards, 23, was charged with robbery by force, Investigator Blaise Dresser said.

The robbery happened Jan. 13 on Old McDuffie Road, where a 44-year-old deliveryman said he was hit on the head and robbed of three large pizzas, an order of chicken wings and cheese bread worth $73.

Pupil says she was sexually assaulted

The Aiken Department of Public Safety is investigating sexual assault allegations made by a pupil against a faculty member at Lloyd Kennedy Charter School.

According to police reports, an 11-year-old female pupil at the Aiken County school told a counselor at Aiken-Barnwell Mental Health Center that the faculty member sexually assaulted her in early February.

The report said the pupil told the counselor that the faculty member removed her from classes and took her to his office at the school.

She said he asked her to have sex with him and that he touched her "on her breasts and her pelvic region," according to the report.

The pupil was taken to the Aiken Department of Public Safety on Feb. 8, where she was questioned by authorities.

The faculty member has been placed on administrative leave until the investigation is complete.