Originally created 05/21/05

Across the area

Chief candidate reschedules

Augusta fire chief candidate David Berousek was ready, but Delta wasn't.

The airline canceled a flight the chief of the North Shore Fire Department in Brown Deer, Wis., was to have taken to come to Augusta on Friday for an interview.

The interview has been rescheduled for June 1, Augusta City Administrator Fred Russell said.

Chief Berousek will be the second of three finalists scheduled to interview for the job. Niles Ford, the deputy fire chief with the Fulton County Fire Department in Atlanta, interviewed Monday.

Mr. Russell cancelled an interview scheduled for Monday with Johnny Wayne Teeters, chief of the city of Greensboro, N.C., fire department after learning that he did not have the required four-year college degree. The city's human resources department failed to properly screen the finalist list before sending it to Mr. Russell.

Officials on lookout for bank robber

Authorities are searching for an armed man who robbed a Johnston Regions Bank on Friday morning, an official said.

The suspect carried a pistol into the bank on Lee Street just before 9:30 a.m., ordered customers and employees onto the ground and made off with money within 45 seconds, Johnston Police Department Chief Butch Easler said.

Police are looking for a black male wearing an Army-green jacket and camouflage hat. He is 5 feet, 9 inches tall and weighs about 200 pounds. Those with information can call (803) 275-2488 or (803) 637-5357.

'Radioactive' box returned to owner

The nuclear soil-moisture measuring device found blocking Monday morning traffic on Stevens Creek Road has been returned to its owner, according to the state Environmental Protection Divison.

EPD confirmed that the device - a Troxler Surface Moisture-Density Gauge found in a large yellow box marked "radioactive" - belongs to Augusta-based CSRA Testing and Engineering Co., said Jim Hardeman, the manager of EPD's Environmental Radiation Program. A company driver was carrying the device chained down in the back of a pickup truck, but someone apparently cut the chain and stole the box.

Officials do not know how it ended up in a roadway, Mr. Hardeman said.

Fifth Street from Broad to Ellis streets was blocked for about two hours Monday morning after a water bottle deliveryman brought the box downtown and fire, police and environmental authorities were called in to determine what was inside.

Columbia County school board is fined

The Columbia County Board of Education will pay fines totaling $4,500 to settle erosion control violations at the site of the new Evans Middle School and administration complex under construction off Hereford Farm Road in Evans.

According to the Georgia Environmental Protection Division, which posted the fine and settlement criteria on its Web site this week, the violations included unauthorized procedural changes in its erosion and sedimentation control plan and erosion violations that affected nearby waters.

Al Frazier, the director of EPD's East Georgia regional office in Augusta, said school officials and contractors also must correct erosion problems at the site and help restore mandatory buffer zones that separate construction activity from nearby creeks or streams.

The new school, which will replace the existing Evans Middle School at Belair and Columbia roads, is scheduled to be available for use by August 2006.

Man reports robbery in restaurant parking lot

An Augusta man told Richmond County sheriff's deputies that he was robbed by two men outside a Peach Orchard Road restaurant Thursday night, a police report states.

The 26-year-old man said that at 10:32 p.m. at the Ryan's steak house, while he was trying to get into his vehicle, a man pointed a gun at him and told him to "give me what you got."

The victim said he gave them $50, and the men ran north on Peach Orchard Road.

Soldier charged in speeding incident

A Fort Gordon soldier was arrested early Friday morning after Richmond County sheriff's deputies caught him traveling more than 40 mph over the speed limit, jail records state.

Dennis Edward Hart Jr., 23, of the 551st Signal Battalion, 15th Regimental Signal Brigade, was charged with speeding and disregarding a stop sign, Richmond County jail records state.

The record states Mr. Hart was arrested in the 500 block of 15th Street at 1:47 a.m., after driving 92 mph in a 45 mph zone.

Students to take part in Fort Gordon camp

About 240 high school students in the Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps in the Augusta area will take part in the overnight Camp Semaphore at Fort Gordon from May 31 to June 3, according to the post's public affairs office.

The camp provides the cadets with a challenging learning experience while developing positive leadership, teamwork, citizenship skills and knowledge, a news release states.

It also builds individual self-confidence and discipline through hands-on adventure and team-building training exercises. Cadets are also provided the opportunity to interact with peers from diverse backgrounds in a safe military environment.

The cadets will receive training in rappelling, using a one rope bridge, combat water safety, land navigation and the confidence course. For more information, call 791-4199.

Former director pleads guilty to fraud

The former human resource director at Carole Fabrics pleaded guilty to diverting employees' direct deposit paychecks into her own bank account.

Donna Chapman pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court to 51 counts of wire fraud. According to the indictment, from August 2001 through Feb. 13, 2004, Ms. Chapman diverted 51 employee payments. The amount of money involved added up to slightly more than $100,000, according to the U.S. Attorney's office. Wire fraud is punishable by up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

Award winners among Walker transfers

The educator who was selected by colleagues as the 2005 teacher of the year at C.T. Walker Traditional Magnet School is one of three women the incoming principal wants removed, school officials said.

That is why Assistant Superintendent Missoura Ashe told outgoing Principal Paula Baker not to name the school's top teacher like other schools have already done. Dr. Ashe said the person who wins must serve in that role for the upcoming year, so they need to be at the school.

Beverly Hite, who takes over as principal in the fall, said she was following orders when she interviewed school staff and chose who to keep. Her choice of reassignments also included last year's teacher of the year.

The decision on whether to accept Ms. Hite's recommendations is pending. If Superintendent Charles Larke passes the principal's choices to the school board, trustees would vote June 9.

Absentee ballots are now available

The deadline to register to vote in the June 21 Richmond County special election is Monday.

Absentee ballots for the special election are now available.

Voters who want to cast absentee ballots in person should go to the Richmond County Board of Elections office at 530 Greene St., Room 104, between 8:30 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. Voters casting absentee ballots in person must present valid identification and must state the reason the ballot is being requested.

Voters who want to cast absentee ballots through the mail must send a written application to the board at 530 Greene St., Room 104, Augusta, GA 30911, or fax to (706) 821-2814. The application must state the voter's name and address, the election for which the ballot is being requested (June 21, 2005, Special Election) and the reason the voter needs the ballot. The application must be signed by the voter. Advance voting will be available the week before the election.

Authors to sign new book about Thurmond

Authors Jack Bass and Marilyn Thompson will sign copies of their new book about former U.S. Sen. Strom Thurmond on Sunday in downtown Edgefield.

The writers of Strom: The Complicated Personal and Political Life of Strom Thurmond will appear at Tompkins Library at 104 Courthouse Square from 3 to 6 p.m.

SCDOT to hold open house today in Aiken

The public is invited to the South Carolina Department of Transportation's Aiken office today to learn more about what the agency does and the importance of transportation.

The open house at 1931 University Parkway from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. is part of National Transportation Week.

There will be children's activities, including an art contest, demonstrations and a display of the equipment the agency uses.


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