Aiken Standard, February 24, 2011

Aiken Standard

February 24, 2011

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Issue date: Thursday, February 24, 2011

Pages available: 72

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Publication name: Aiken Standard

Location: Aiken, South Carolina

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Aiken Standard (Newspaper) - February 24, 2011, Aiken, South Carolina By ANNA DOLIANITIS Staff writer Savannah River Nuclear Solutions has entered the second phase of its 1,400 employee workforce reduction plan, notifying affected employees of layoffs, according to SRNS spokesperson Will CaUicott. Callicott sad that he could not give an exact number of employees who will receive news of a layoff . this week, but said that a num- _ ber will be Flowers released after all of the affected employees have been notified of their employment status. The layoffs ate part of a plan announced in late October, planning to eliminate 1,400 jobs by late summer. A letter from SRNS president and CEO Garry Flow^ said in an e-mail to all SRNS employees in December that this week's phase of the layoffs will likely affect 600 to 700 employees. In December, 328 employees participated in a voluntary separation phase of the process, choosing to leave their positions voluntarily and accept one week of severance pay for each year of service, up to 26 weeks. The finail phase of the layoffs will take place in August. Meetings with those who have lost their jobs are scheduled during the week of March 13, Callicott said, to discuss benefits and a variety of other pertinent topics, and then a transition center will open, Callicott said. Part of the purpose of the transition center is to help match the employees' skills with potential employers who might have relevant openings, Callicott said. The transition center will be located on the second floor of 237 Park Ave. in Aiken. Contact Anna Dolianitis at [email protected] com. Thursday February 24,20II Todays Weather - Vol. 145, No. 55\ i ) \ I ] • 1 ^ O c Í11 So I i r c c S i n ( < ' 1 8 ( > 7 www.aikenstandard.com While many Aiken County residents are cheering on the springlike weather, some allergy sufferers can only manage an "ACHOO!" As Aiken experiences warmer temperatures, the pesky yellow dust that is pollen has begun to float around the area, and some residents are starting to feel it assault their sinuses. Dr. Anthony Harris, a local oto-laiyngologist (ear, nose and throat doctor) and allergy specialist said he has seen an increase in patient visits in the last several days. Harris keeps a careful eye on the pollen counts in Charlotte, Atlanta and Greenville to gain a perspective of Aiken's levels, as there is no pollen-counting station in the CSRA. He said the counts have been quite high, and though pollination has begun a bit sooner than expected, Harris has seen it start as early as January in the past. "It's all just a function of the weather," Harris said, adding that usually when the temperatures hit the 70s, pollen graces the area with its presence. Dr. Neil Kao of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology owns the only certified pollen counting station in South Carolina, which is located in Greenville. He said warmer weather along with high winds have contributed to the recent pollen dusting in the area. At this moment, trees are the culprit as they are the earliest pollen producers of the season, said Kao. Cedars, junipers, ehns and alders are currently or will soon be pollinating. Oaks will follow later in the season as the pollination of trees peak in April along with grass, which typically peaks in May. On Wednesday the pollen count w^ considered "high" in Greenville, as it was measured at 1,482 per cubic millimeter, but was on the edge of being "very liigh," which is anything over 1,500 per cubic millimeter. Kao said it's safe to say the levels in Aiken are similar as pollen can travel hundreds of miles. Kao suggested several ways to get through the pollen season if you suffer from allergies. Being aware of your environment, along with identifying any early allergy symptoms can possibly prevent or lessen the effects of pollen.Please see POLLEN, page 16A Full forecast 18C 50^ staff photo by Anna Dolianitis 20-year-old Tevon Jackson appeared in General Sessions court this week to face charges for the 2008 murder of 21-year-old Marcus Finklin. Murder trial hf^pìii!^ By ANNA DOLIANITIS Staff writer A 20-year-old Aiken man appeared at the Aiken County Courthouse Wednesday morning to face charges against him in connection with the 2008 murder of 21-year-old Marcus Finklin. Tevon Jackson of 193 Diy Branch Rd. in Aiken allegedly shot Finklin in the head and robbed him of money and cocaine in the early morning hours of June 4, 2008, after riding in a car with him to complete a drug deal, according to witnesses for the prosecution who testified in court Wednesday. Please see TRIAL, page 16A totoDQSra©Commerce report > See what's happening with the Chamber of Commerce INSIDE TODAYPacers win at home ► use Aiken's men's and women's basketball teams topped visiting Lander. See thè stories on IB.Geraldina V. Hamilton/North Augusta Lila Blackwell Burns, Elizabethtown, N.C. Travis E. Cromer,WagenerSteven Jeffrey Smith,AikenLouise Frederick Norrls,Williston Ashley Pierre, AugustaJesse Odell Baldwin Sr.,Aiken Deaths and Funerals 16A [tjeKfe Calendar 3C Classifieds 5B Coipics 4C Dear Abby 5C Horoscopes 5C Markets 4B Movie Listings 3C Obituaries 6A Opinions ISA 1 Puzzles 5C Sports IB TV Listings 2C Copper taken from area church By KAREN DAILY Staff writer One of the latest victims in a the recent string of copper and metal thefts in the area is a small Wire Road church. Magnolia Baptist Church Deacon Charles Morgan said the two heating and air conditioning units that sat outside the church were "gutted" sometime Sunday afternoon or Monday morning. Only the shells remain on the grey cement pads. "They were destroyed," he said. Each unit is valued around $8,000, and while the church is insured and the units will be replaced, that doesn't make Morgan any less upset. "We have nothing to go on either. There were no footprints or tire tracks - nothing," he said. "They did a clean job, I guess. They came in with the tools, and zip, zip, zip, the panels are off." The air conditioning was running during Sunday services, but when he returned Monday afternoon to do what he called his "rounds," he knew what happened. "They took eveiything," he said. "The only thing left was the compressor. I guess they have a market for the interior pieces as well." Capt. Troy Elwell, ^ Aiken County Sheriffs Office spokesperson, said there are a number of unscrupulous recyclers who inune-diately chip the metal up as it comes in - plausible deni-ability - but said there are a many others that are doing what they should. Recyclers do require ID and keep information, he said. In Georgia, where most of the metal stolen in Aiken is believed to be going, Elwell said, the law requires recyclers take ID. "Many do " he said. Local law enforcement officers see the thefts in Submitted photo Two air-conditioning units at Magnolia Baptist Church were stripped of copper and other sellable parts. spurts, and currently there is a definite uptick, said Elwell. Local businesses, homes and a number of area churches haVe been victimized. Although nothing has proven fool-proof, security experts suggest fencing in property and adding surveillance equipment if possible. Contact Karen Daily at [email protected] com. Educator Roberson still hospitalized By ROB NOVIT Senior writer Dr. Frank Roberson, the Richmond County School District superintendent and a former longtime Aiken County educator, remains hospitalized in an Augusta hospital. Media outlets have reported a statement from a school district spokesman, who said there is no truth to initial information that Roberson had surgery after suffering an aneurysm. However, a person who spoke with a family member Wednesday said Roberson did have surgery for a condition that was not specified. Roberson had taken the superintendent's position in Richmond County last summer. An Aiken County native, he spent about 27 years with the Aiken County School Roberson District. Dr. Bill Galknan, a retired Aiken County deputy superintendent, has known Roberson throughout his career. "I'm obviously very concemed about his health and wish him the best," Gallman said. "We were colleagues for many, many years and worked closely together in several difterent roles. Frank has always had the ability to monitor and modify curriculum, always researching for new possibilities. 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