Man accidentally shoots himself
A 17-year-old Martinez man accidentally shot himself in the foot while squirrel hunting Tuesday.
Billy Powell, of the 200 block of Brooks Drive, told deputies he was in the back yard of the home shooting squirrels with his father's .22-caliber Ruger rifle shortly before 1 p.m. He said he pointed the rifle toward the ground - thinking the gun was on safety - when it accidentally fired. The bullet hit him in the right foot.
He was taken to the Medical College of Georgia Hospital where he was treated and released, said hospital spokeswoman Kelly Murphy.
Chamber meeting plans future
Most of the two dozen participants in a recent Columbia County session agreed that their community in 20 years should be cleaner, greener and more harmonious.
Gathering at the Evans Government Complex Auditorium, the Destination 2020 session was the only one of Leadership Augusta's nine town-hall-type meetings held in Columbia County. Information from the sessions, which ended this past week, will become part of a vision plan for the Augusta area.
"There's a lot of talk about the look of the community in the future - green, pedestrian-friendly, with control of signs and aesthetics," said Rebecca Rogers, one of the group facilitators.
Government issues also drew comments, as did concerns about future venues for the arts and recreational opportunities for citizens in the metro Augusta area.
Bryan Quinsey, Columbia County's Chamber president and a Leadership Augusta volunteer, said information from all the town meetings will be compiled this summer, along with other agencies' long-term planning studies. The draft product will then be rolled out for public review this fall.
"Then, there must be some method for implementation," Quinsey said. "We don't want this to end up in a file cabinet."
New fire headquarters
The Martinez Fire Department's headquarters will move off Washington Road in the coming months after Columbia County Commissioners unanimously approved a rezoning request from department officials.
The fire department asked to rezone 1.63 acres near the corner of Plymouth and Desoto Drives for its new headquarters.
"The fact is - if you've been down Washington Road lately, you know - we need a new fire station," said Martinez Fire Chief Doug Cooper.
Earlier this month, members of the county's planning commission voted 3-2 to deny the fire department's request.
School construction approved
Columbia County school officials last week accepted bids for renovations to Harlem Middle School and a parking-lot revamp at Martinez Elementary.
The Harlem Middle project was awarded to R.W. Allen & Associates of Augusta for $730,000. School Board Chairman Wayne Bridges, an accountant for the construction firm, abstained from the bid.
The project will create a new facade and main office for the school, and add five science labs. During the renovations, the office of the school may have to be moved to the media center or to a temporary building.
"We're looking at one of those portable buildings, a lease arrangement, to keep the office up and running during the construction," said School Superintendent Tommy Price.
Further complicating the project, Harlem Middle will also house students from the under-construction Grovetown Middle School until that new facility opens halfway through the school year.
Trustees also approved a bid for $171,000 from Design Contractors of Evans for a reworked parking lot in front of Martinez Elementary. The school will lose much of the lot next year when Flowing Wells Road is widened.
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