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Aiken Standard (Newspaper) - February 9, 2011, Aiken, South Carolina N.A. voters select incumbents in primary 13A Vol. 145, No. 40    Your    Local Source Since 18(>7    50^ '    -    ■    ■       '    —    ~    WM.—— Wednesday February 9,2011 Today's Weather High i P 52° wit*# Full forecast 112CVian charged in cyclist’s deathMan 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 ihe Aiken County detention center, stat- County, claimed the life of Dr. Matthew Burke. An autopsy performed Tuesday on the body of the U.S. Army 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. I 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 w ere taken to area 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 MCO. Lauren Farmer, 47, of Augusta, was taken to University Hospital. Scott Moore, 39, of Augusta, was taken to MCC. Judith Speck, 42, of North Augusta, was uninjured. Hugh Ray, 48, of Martinez, was taken to University Hospital. Civil suit filed in The Balcony auction dispute By ANNA DOLIANITIS 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 February 2010, Janies Orcmus and Melissa Lackey-Orem us 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 ofter so another bidder, who had been barred from the auction due to paperwork issues, could enter the bidding. I The (bemuses are suing for damages related to fraud, civil conspiracy, negligence, recklessness and breach of contract, among others, according to the lawsuit. “Plaintiffs, having suborn* ted the highest bid at auction, have unjultly lost the opportunity and right to own this unique property known as The Balcony and to realize an expected return on I their investment, and they I 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 C harlotte, N.C., acted as the auction’s agents for Karl and Erin Hirschhom, the previous owners and residents of The Balcony, located at 836 Whiskey Road The llirschhoms w ere named in the suit, as was Grand Estates Auction Co., Grand Estates AdvertisingBreakdown of auction lawsuit WHO FILED SUIT: James Oremus and Melissa Lackey-Oremus, who onginaHy bid on Hie Balcony in February 2010. WHO IS BEING SUED. The auction company, Grand Estates Auction Co. of Charlotte, N C., Grand Estates Advertising ILC and agents Stacy Kirk and Valeria Devine, broker Scott Kirk, and Kart and Erin Hirschhom, the previous owners and residents of The Balcony. WHAT THE LAWSUIT CLAIMS: Fraud, civil conspiracy, negligence, recklessness and breach of contract. •WHATS NEXT: A civil suit represents only one side of a case, and the other parties have an opportunity to respond to the allegations. LIX and agents Stacy Kirk and Valeria Des inc, as well as broker Scott Kirk. The (bemuses allege that, atter the auctioneer hammered down their bid, the llirschhoms. Grand Estates and the three shareholders of Grand Estates agreed that the amount of their bid was “unacceptably low to the llirschhoms, as Trustees, ami pro\ ided inadequate sales commissions for Grand Estates,” according lo the documents The (bemuses allege that all defendants were negligent and reckless by failing to disclose to the plaintiffs the issues possibly affecting Please aaa AUCTION, paga 7ASam* (tot&d George Ray Archer, Clearwater Rev. Dr. Lorenzo Long, Columbia, Md. Gloria D. O'Benion, Warrenville George T. “Buddy" Walden Clearwater Dorothy Swinton Whaley Knight, Sumter Deaths and Funerals 16AVisit www. aikenstandard. corn Calendar SC Classifieds 58 Crossword 7C Comics 6C Dear Abby 7C Horoscopes IC Markets MA Movie Listings SC Nation/World MA Obituaries 6A Opinions 15A _ 7C Sports IB TV Listings 2C SHU NNN SCHOO! SASKIIMU, TODAY ,t LOO FU    NOTS    NNN KHOO! BASKfTBAU, TODAY X *.*0 HI • VWtoh the Aiken Lady Hornets dee* with me Nm* Augusta Lady Veto*    •    See the Mum Hornets take on the North Augusta YWtow jackets by Jackets by tuning into AS TV eternal 95 on Attent* Broadbarsd today    tuning    into A81V. channel 96 on Attanfec Broadband todey Johnson cd Sid Gaulden, a spokesman for the S.C. Highway Patrol. The collision, which occurred on Oct. I on Beech Island Avenue in Aiken 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 NOB NOVIT Senior writer Katie, a 6-year-old English 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 in to assist Mem wether counselor VI cagui I Morris in meeting with the students, many of them devastated by the loss of a classmate. Recently, she decided to im itc Aiken SPCA volunteer coordinator ( hrts-sey Miller to talk with the students in three grade-level sessions. Miller thought along volunteer Joann Minntck, owner of Katie. “It was a definite shock for everybody,” Moms said. “Even after a week, many of the kids were still scared of their ow n 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 Staff photo by Rob Novi! Thomas Rhodes, a Mernwether 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. Director: Aiken SPCA may reopen in March they don’t know. Several Iuds 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 rn their own pets, then we have accomplished what we set out to do,” Miller said. " Hus (event) is really courageous and inspirational. To actually im lie 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 PIMM SM DOG, page 7A By ROB NOVIT Senior writer Following an insurance adjustor’s inspection of the damaged Aiken SPC A sheila earlier this week, agency director Gary Willoughby hopes the facility can return to operation in March. The sheila shul down atta a Laundry room tire last Friday night forced SIH A Nutters and volunteers to evacuate about IOO dogs and cals. None of the animals were injured and all ware taking into foster situations or housed at the Winding lunes Kennels and Stable. Sane have already been adopted, and some foster families have indicated an interest in keeping their dogs or cals as pets, Willoughby said. I Ie met w uh subcontractors Tuesday to discuss repair issues. Ihe commercial washer and dryer need to be replaced, as well as the alarm system. Hie HVAC system is ’1018% shot,” said Willoughby, and it’s not clear yet if the hot w aler beata can be PIMM sm SPCA, page 7A % ;