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Aiken Standard (Newspaper) - February 9, 2011, Aiken, South Carolina mrnrnmmmmmmmmm N.A. voters select incumbents in primary 13A m < j-'i I n 'I fi Wednesday February 9,2011 Vol. 145, No. 40 Toda/sWéather High Full forecast n2C Y o u r () ( • il i S ( ) u r c e S i ri e è. ====== www.aikenstandard.com s IBi) 50^ Man charged in cyclist's death Man charged after surgeon dies from injuries after his bicycle was struck by vehicle By KAREN DAILY Staff writer State troopers have charged an Aiken man with reckless homicide after a Fort Gordon surgeon died Sunday from injuries sustained after his bicycle was struck by a vehicle in October. Daniel W. Johnson, 41, of Beech Island was arrested early Monday evening and was placed in the Aiken County detention center, stat- Burke Johnson ed Sid Gaulden, a spokesman for the S.C. Highway Patrol. The collision, which occurred on Oct. 1 on Beech Island Avenue in Aiken County, claimed the life of Dr. Matthew Burke. An autopsy performed Tuesday on Ae body of the U.S. Araiy major showed he died from head trauma, according to Aiken County Coroner's Office reports. Dwight D. Eisenhower Army Medical Center public affairs spokesperson Jennifer Chipman confirmed the 37-year-old died at the hospital on Sunday. The Martinez resident was one of a number of cyclists struck when he and several other riders met in Augusta and rode into South Carolina. Aiken County Coroner Tim Carlton said Burke was wearing a bike helmet but suffered severe head trauma. The collision occurred about 6:40 p.m., Friday, Oct. 1 while Burke and five other cyclists in a group were headed north on Beech Island Avenue. The 2006 Dodge Durango was northbound and struck the cyclists from behind. At the time of the crash, Lance Cpl. Josef Robinson said four of the six were taken to ^ea hospitals for treatment after the wreck. Daniels was restrained and uninjured. Troopers said the cyclists were wearing protective gear and reflective attire. "The driver was unable to stop and struck two, three, four, five and six," the trooper explained. Matthew Burke, 37, of Martinez, was transported by EMS to MCG. Lauren Farmer, 47, of Augusta, was taken to University Hospital. Scott Moore, 39, of Augusta, was taken to MCG. Judith Speck, 42, of North Augusta, was uninjured. Hugh Ray, 48, of Martinez, was taken to University Hospital. Therapy dog combats fear ■ After the death of a local student attacked by a pet, an Aiken SPCA volunteer and pup visited the school to engage and comfort students. By ROB NOVIT Senior writer Katie, a 6-year-old Énglish setter, serves as a therapy dog and often visits nursing homes and other facilities to engage and comfort the residents. She got a different assignment Tuesday - traveling to Merriwether Elementary School for a different kind of healing. It's been a particularly difficult time for the children and faculty. About three weeks ago, fourth-grader Kristen Lee Dutton, 9, died when the family pet she was walking suddenly attacked her. Counselors from other schools were brought m to assist Merriwether counselor Meagan Morris in meeting with the students, many of them devastated by the loss of a classmate. Recently, she decided to invite Aiken SPCA volunteer coordinator Chris-sey Miller to talk with the students in three grade-level sessions. Miller brought along volunteer Joann Minnick, owner of Katie. "It was a definite shock for everybody," Morris said. "Even after a week, many of the kids were still scared of their own dogs. One boy whose dog had always slept in his bed said he wasn't doing that anymore. I knew we had to do something. I didn't want the kids to live with that fear." Miller strove to emphasize that dogs can be great companions, but children should always be careful around any dog, especially with those Civil suit filed in The Balcony auction dispute staff photo by Rob Novit Thomas Rhodes, a Merriwether Elementary School first-grader, gets a warm welcome from Katie, an English setter. Chrissey Miller of the Aiken SPCA arranged for Katie's appearance Tuesday to alleviate the anxiety that many Merriwether students are feeling following the death of a classmate to a dog attack. they don't know. Several kids got a chance to approach Katie appropriately and pet her under the chin as the others watched. "If we can renew the children's interest m their own pets, then we have accomplished what we set out to do," Miller said. "This (event) is really courageous and inspirational. To actually invite a dog and someone who knows something about dogs is a progressive approach to what happened." Dogs are amazing creatures, Miller told the children. Their sense of smell is 4,000 times that of people, which helps them find criminals, lost people and even sicknesses inside people's bodies. But they are not human and Please see DOG, page 7A Director: Aiken SPCA may reopen in March By ROB NOVIT Senior writer Following an insurance adjuster's inspection of the damaged Aiken SPCA shelter earlier this week, agency director Gary Willoughby hopes the fadlity can retum to operation in March. The shelter shut down after a laundiy room fire last Friday night forced SPCA staffers a^ volunteers to evacuate about 100 dogs and cats. None of the animals were injured and all were taking into foster situations or housed at the Winding Lanes Kennels and Stable. Some have ah-eady been adopted, and some fostCT families have indicated an interest in keeping their dogs or cats as pets, Willoughby said. He met with subcontractors Tuesday to discuss repair issues. The commercial washer and dryer need to be replaced, as well as the alarm system. The HVAC system is "totally shot," said Willoughby, and it's not clear yet if the hot water heater can be Please see SPCA, page 7A oy AMIJA D0L!AH!T!S Staff writer Controversy surrounding allegations of wrongdoing in connection with the February 2010 auction of a $2.5 million Winter Colony estate has led to a civil lawsuit filed against the auction company and the home's sellers. In F^ebruary 2010, James Oremus and Melissa Lack-ey-Oremus of Aiken County said they were the highest bidders at an auction of the 11,600-square-foot home on about 6 acres of land on Whiskey Road, but were forced to sign away their offer so another bidder, who had been barred from the auction due to paperwork issues, could enter the bidding. The Oremuses are suing for damages related to fraud, civil conspiracy, negligence, recklessness and breach of contract, among others, according to the lawsuit. "Plaintiffs, having submitted the highest bid at auction, have unjustly lost the opportunity and right to own this unique property known as The Balcony and to realize an expected retum on their investment, and they are entitled to recover actual damages in such amount as they shall prove at trial," according to court documents. The auction company. Grand Estates Auction Co. of Charlotte, N.C., acted as the auction's agents for Karl and Erin Hirschhom, the previous owners and residents of The 3alcony, located at 836 Whiskey Road. The Hirschhoms were named in the suit, as was Grand Estates Auction Co., Grand Estates Advertising Breakdown or auction lawsuit WHO FILED 5UIT: James Oremus and Melissa Lackfey-Oremus, who originally bid on The Balcony in February 2010. WHO IS BEING SUED: The auction company, Grand Estates Auction Co. of Charlotte, N.C., Grand Estates Advertis- , ing LLC and agents Stacy Kirk and Valeria Devine, broker Scott Kirk, and Karl and Erin Hirschhom, the previous owniers and residents of The Balcony. WHATTHE LAWSUIT CLAIMS: Fraud, civil conspiracy, negligence, recklessness and breach of contract. WHAT'S NEXT: A civil suit represents only one side of a case, and the other parties have an opportunity to respond to the allegltions. LLC and agents Stacy Kirk and Valeria Devine, as well as broker Scott Kirk. The Oremuses allege that, after the auctioneer hammered down their bid, the Hirschhoms, Grand Estates and the three shareholders of Grand Estates agreed that the amount of their bid was "unacceptably low to the Hirschhoms, as Trustees, and provided inadequate sales commissions for Grand Estates," according to the documents. The Oremuses allege that all defendants were negligent and reckless by failing to disclose to the plaintiffs the issues possibly affecting Please see AUCTION, page 7A George Ray Archer, Clearwater Rev. Dr. Lorenzo Long, Columbia, Md. Gloria D.O'Banion, Warrenvllle George T. ''Budd/'Walden Clearwater Dorothy Swinton Whaley Knightr Sumter Deaths and Funerals 16A VisKwww. QjbKIB Calendar 3C Classifieds 5B Crossword 7C Comics 6C Dear Abby 7C Horoscopes 7C Markets 14A Movie Listings 3C NationA/Vorld 14A Obituaries 6A Opinions ISA Puzzles 7C Sports IB TV Listings 2C gfcâÉÉÎB'. ■j.i- am NieM schow baskihau« tooay at stoopii • WIgitch the Aiken Lady Hornets claah wKh the North Augusta Lady Ybllow Jackets t>y tufiirig Irito A8W, channel 95 on Atlantic Bioadbaiul today. BOYS MIOH SCHOOIBASKITBAU« TODAY at 9t30 PM • See the Aiken Hornets take on the North Augusta Yelkwv Jackets by tuning into ASTV, channel 95 on AUantk: Broadband today.
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