Across the area

New recycling facility will open in January

Augusta Solid Waste has delayed the opening of a new recycling center at the Deans Bridge Road landfill.

The dumping center for glass, computers, televisions, motor oil, batteries, aluminum, tin, newspapers, plastics and other recyclables had been scheduled to open in November, but the target date is now Jan. 2, according to Solid Waste Assistant Director Lori Videtto.

Some stall guide rails still have to be installed, and the department has ordered extra signs to make the facility easier to use, Ms. Videtto said in an e-mail.

The delay won't affect Christmas-tree recycling. The landfill will take trees free of charge from Dec. 26 to Jan. 17.

Augusta residents with trash service can leave trees at curbs for pickup. Trees will be ground into mulch, Ms. Videtto said.

Botanical gardens to lose funding from city

The Augusta Botanical Gardens are in limbo again after the Augusta Commission voted Tuesday to stop footing the bill for upkeep. The commission voted 9-1 to not renew a six-month lease to operate the gardens on Reynolds Street.

City Administrator Fred Russell said the lease was free, but maintenance was costing the city $140,000 per year. Given the upcoming tight budget year, the expense had to go, he said.

The lone dissenter, Betty Beard, said she cast a no vote to make a statement.

"I am sorry to see it close," she said. "We have put so much time and energy into it."

Mayor Deke Copenhaver said it's a sad situation, but the city can't keep funding a state facility.

Teen arrested in hazing incident

BATON ROUGE, LA. --- An Augusta teen is among six men facing charges linked to an alleged hazing incident that hospitalized at least two members of Southern University's band.

Harvey Harrison, of Augusta, and Carlos-Andres Carter, of Stone Mountain, Ga., both 19, were arrested Tuesday on charges of aggravated second-degree battery and ritualistic acts, the East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff's Office said.

Both remained in the parish jail with bond set at $15,000, according to sheriff's spokeswoman Kellie Engels. Neither had attorneys listed.

Four more suspects were arrested late Tuesday on the same charges: Jeremy Dixon, 22, of Natchez, Miss.; Joseph L. Webb, 21, of Columbus, Ga.; Lagarian Bridgewater, 22, of Baton Rouge; and Aubrey Harris Jr., 20, of Canton, Miss.

According to a probable cause report released by the sheriff's office, three members of the band were beaten last Thursday with a two-by-four as part of an initiation into the band's French horn section.

Two of the victims have been hospitalized and are in serious condition in the intensive care unit at a Baton Rouge hospital. Their names have not been released. The third person withdrew from the alleged initiation, sheriff's deputies said.