Originally created 10/15/06

Across the area



No injuries in crash at airport

A small experimental helicopter crashed shortly after takeoff Saturday afternoon at Aiken Municipal Airport but no one was injured, authorities said.

The accident took place at about 3 p.m., when Thomas Lawing, 57, of Charlotte, N.C., was lifting off the ground in a small, ultralight helicopter, Aiken County sheriff's Lt. Michael Frank said.

A 20 mph tailwind blew and caused Mr. Lawing to lose control of a rotor while the craft was 10 feet above the ground, Lt. Frank said.

The helicopter went down and rolled onto its side but had been righted by the time police arrived.

Neither Mr. Lawing nor his passenger, Patricia Parsons, 56, of Davidson, N.C., were hurt. The accident will be investigated by the Federal Aviation Administration, said Kathleen Bergen, a spokeswoman for the agency.

Lobbyist urges black leaders to shift focus

Black political organizers should focus less on tactics like voter registration drives and begin developing a stronger long-term strategy to bring about change for blacks in South Carolina, Dr. John Ruoff, a Columbia lobbyist and community organizer, said Saturday.

"Too often we focus on voter registration and turnout," he said, adding that efforts to build the black electorate should be constant.

"You don't have to do a voter registration drive if you're out knocking on people's doors on a regular basis."

Dr. Ruoff spoke during the last full day of the South Carolina State Conference of the NAACP, held in Augusta. The conference is held across the river in Georgia because of the group's economic boycott of its home state over the Confederate flag flown on state grounds.

A prayer breakfast and memorial service will be held at 9:30 a.m. today.

Vigil to be held for violence in Augusta

Blacks Against Black Crime Inc. and New Creation Missionary Baptist Church will hold a special service Monday night to kick off a 40-day prayer vigil in response to killings and gun violence in Augusta.

The service will be held from 5 to 7 p.m. at the church, 1718 Olive Road, and is open to the public.

Frank Johnson, the head of the group, said the group founded by the late Barbara Thurmond is asking all churches in the area to join in the vigil.

Ms. Thurmond, 56, a graduate of Lucy C. Laney High School, died this summer. She founded the group in 1991 in response to the high murder rate in the black community.

"This prayer vigil endeavor was her last wish for (the group) to perform," Mr. Johnson said in an e-mail.

Police investigating robbery of restaurant

Richmond County sheriff's deputies are investigating the robbery of a Church's Chicken restaurant early Saturday morning.

According to the police report, a worker at the restaurant in the 3300 block of Deans Bridge Road said that at 12:10 a.m., two men came in through the back door, one armed with a black handgun.

The men demanded money from the safe, then exited through the back door.

Woman reports wrist was cut during fight

An Augusta woman told Richmond County sheriff's deputies that someone cut her wrist open during a fight Friday night, a police report states.

Doxie N. Gaskins, 37, of the 1900 block of Gay Drive, said that at 9 a.m., a woman she knew called her a name and fought with her.

During the melee, Ms. Gaskins said, her left wrist was sliced open.

She was taken to University Hospital for treatment, but she said she didn't want to prosecute.

Women say they were robbed at gunpoint

Two young Augusta women told Richmond County sheriff's deputies that they were robbed Friday night on Tybee Court, a police report states.

The victims said two men with dreadlocks approached them from behind and forced them to the ground before demanding money at gunpoint.

The robbers took $8 and fled.

Bojangles robbed by two masked men

Two men robbed a fast-food restaurant on the 3400 block of Mike Padgett Highway on Friday night.

The men went in the back door of Bojangles and pulled a gun on an employee and the manager.

They demanded money, which they took from the office and a register, Richmond County sheriff's Cpl. Charles Benson said.

The two men ran from the restaurant toward Apple Valley Road.

One man was wearing a brown hoodie with a white T-shirt over his face, while the other had on a black hoodie with a grey mask.

Police arrest man in meth trafficking

A Hephzibah man was arrested Friday evening for manufacturing and trafficking methamphetamine.

According to Richmond County jail records, Mark Anthony Jones, 45, was placed in custody at the corner of Elks Road and Turkey Trail and taken to jail at about 9 p.m.

In addition to the methamphetamine charges, he also is charged with possession of marijuana, suspended license, unregistered vehicle and no insurance.

Section of Central Avenue to be closed

Central Avenue from Highland Avenue to Iris Drive will be closed from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Wednesday to park a large crane at the water treatment plant, the Augusta Engineering Department states.

Drivers should use Highland Avenue, Wrightsboro Road, Iris Drive or Monte Sano Avenue as a detour.

Lanes to shut down on Jimmie Dyess

Temporary lane closures will occur for a portion of Jimmie Dyess Parkway from 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Oct. 24, according to a county government release.

The closures will take place from where Jimmy Dyess intersects with West Maysfield Drive to its intersection with Belair Frontage Road and Park West Drive.

The closures will reduce northbound traffic to one inside lane. Vehicles in the area will need to merge left.

- From staff reports



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