Local Update - December 21, 2006

Two accidents on Bobby Jones

Crews are working to clean up the scene of an accident on Bobby Jones Expressway at Wheeler Road. It happened around 6:45.

And crews are cleaning up another accident scene also on Bobby Jones Near Wrightsboro Road. Lanes were closed for a time this morning, but are back open now.

Augusta home robbed

Deputies are out searching for a robber this morning.

Dispatchers say a man entered a house in the 2500 block of Kelly Street in Augusta, robbed a woman living there, and then hit her in the head with a gun.

It happened just before 3:30 this morning.

Fallen Aiken Marine laid to rest

A sad duty in Aiken County Wednesday: the funeral and burial for Marine Cpl. Matthew Dillon, who was killed in Iraq.

Family, friends and other military people gathered at Millbrook Baptist Church.

"If there ever was a word 'patriot,' it would be Matt," said SGT Bill Bryant of the Army National Guard.

"Very nice guy, real friendly, and his friends...he'll be missed," said friend Stewart Prettel.

"They're part of the thread of America that makes us safe. God bless 'em," said David Clerc of the Marine Corps League.

Matt Dillon served two tours in Iraq, one in the Army National Guard and the other in the Marines.

He died December 11.

Youth Center founder passes away

Augusta lost a longtime leader yesterday.

"Pat" Jones, the founder of the Augusta Youth Center, has died.

Jones started the center in 1984. It is now located on Watkins Street.

The center provides a place for children to go after school. They provide clothes and help with homework and keep them off the streets.

She was 51...and we'll miss her

Women and children's shelter opens

Finally, a new rescue mission opens its arms and doors to homeless this holiday season.

Garden City Rescue Mission on Fenwick Street held a ribbon cutting ceremony Wednesday.

The shelter is complete with beds, cribs, and a play area for women and children.

The rescue mission will provide clothing, food, and counseling.

Overnight stays will begin in about two weeks.

Sheriff Strength says he's not quitting

Richmond County Sheriff Ronnie Strength is looking forward to retirement...but not just yet.

He says he received more than 100 calls this week from people asking whether he's leaving, and the answer is no.

The questions came after he was quoted in the newspaper saying "I dread coming to work" and "I've been in the business 30 years and can't wait to get out."

The sheriff says that while he wasn't misquoted, people are taking him out of context. He says what he dreads about work is having to deal with complaints. Most of the complaints, he says, are accusations of officers using unnecessary force and criticism of the way he's disciplined officers.

The sheriff says he has no plans of leaving before his term is up, and he plans on running again in 2008.

GBI to investigate land deal near proposed drag strip

Augusta's planned drag strip has been a hot topic lately--so much so that the GBI is looking into it.

The district attorney asked the GBI to see if there was any wrongdoing by Commissioner Marion Williams. His son in law, Mark Pugh, bought land across from the site commissioners were considering for the raceway.

It's illegal for city leaders to use influence for profit.

Williams says he didn't give him any information about a possible deal.

Deputies searching for Family Dollar robber

Richmond County deputies continue their search for a robber.

Officers say around 10 o'clock last night a man came into the Family Dollar in the 4800 block of Windsor Spring Road with a gun and stole some cash.

Bank robber still on the loose

Columbia County deputies are searching for two armed robbers who held up the Augusta Metro Federal Credit Union on Davis Road around 4 p.m.

It's right near the Richmond/Columbia County line.