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Aiken Standard (Newspaper) - February 17, 2011, Aiken, South Carolina H.S. BASKETBALL PLAYOFFS a RESULTS ON 1-3B Thursday February 17,2011 Today’s Weather High 72° Low 45° Full forecast 16C Vol. 145, No. 48\oiir Lo ca I Source Since I 807 ===== ===== 500Charges dismissed against Wetherington By ANNA DOLIANITIS Staff writer Charges against 29-year-old Heath Russell Wetherington of North Augusta for first-degree criminal sexual conduct with 3-year-old girl have been dismissed. Wetherington Magistrate Court judge Danny Lynn ruled at a probable-cause hearing Wednesday afternoon that there was not probable cause to proceed to trial. “In my opinion, the state did not meet probable cause for the charge, and that’s why I did not bind it over,” Lynn said. 'Wednesday’s probable-cause hearing was a routine preliminary hearing to determine whether or not probable cause exists. Lynn said that the solicitor’s office could still proceed and directly indict Wetherington through a grand jury, if they believe that they have enough evidence. Solicitor J. Strom Thurmond said that the solicitor’s office coasters pursuing a direct indictment on a case-by-case basis, which he said happens “on occasion.” Wetherington was arrested on Sept. 2 and was later released on $100,000 bond. Because Wetherington SPCA ready to start over By HALEY HUGHES Staff writer The Aiken SPCA anticipates demolition at the fire-damaged facility to begin next week. Executive Director Gary Willoughby said Wednesday the 7,800-square-foot building will get a new roof and new flooring in addition to new water and electrical lines, heating and cooling units and washer and dryer. He believes the total cola of the repairs to be $200,000, most, if not all, of which is covered by insurance. The Feb. 4 fire at the SPCA started in the laundry room, though no one has yet con-finned how it starts! The resulting heat caused a water pipe in the ceiling to burst, which helped extinguish most of the flames, and all the animals at the shelter wen: evacuated from the building safely. Public Safet) officers. SPCA and county staffers and volunteers moved the animals to the city annex building on the same property and to the nearby Aiken County Animal Shelter. Most animals were later taken into foster homes. “Since then, there have been well over 50 adoptions,” Willoughby said, noting that about 70 animals remain in foster homes. “And quite a few foster homes have indicated interest. in adopting the animals they have.” The Adopt-a-Thon this past weekend at Pets mart was high- Christopher A. Mar ti Jr., Martinez, Ga. Dorinda A. Carter Hubbard, Aiken Emory Howell Jones Jr. Everett D. Baker, Bath Jeffrey Dennis Stewart Aiken JoeCassels, Jackson Kendall Eugene Matthews, Aiken Laura B. Di Salvo, Beech Island Monroe Stallings, New Ellenton Nina F. Cummings Adams, Barnwell Ruth L Glover, Langley Ruth Nicholson Buchanan, Aiken Vorise $. Myrtek, Barnwell Deaths and Funerals 16A iaeftOB Calendar 5C Classifieds SB Crossword 4C Comics SC Dear Abby 4C Horoscopes AC Markets AB Movie Listings SC Obituaries 6A Opinions 11A Putties 4C Sports IB TV Listings 2C ly successful, and three dogs from the SPCA will join those from the county shelter today in being transported to Massachusetts for adoption there The SR A is still devoted to its goal of spaymg and neutering animals to prevent unwanted strays, despite not currently having space to do so. Aiken County has made av ailable the surgery room at the sheila for the SK'A to continue pet sterilization. “We’re going to help as many animals as we can,” Willoughby said. warn to rosier a pelf ► What? Displaced SPCA pets need foster families ► When? Now ► Where? Pets currently housed at city annex building and Aiken County Shelter ► For more information, call 648-6863. The $25 adoption fee will be in place until the SPCA Is able to open again, which he expects to be sometime in April. Coincidentally, the non-profit agency expects to break ground on its new facility on Willow Run Road in Apii as well. More foster homes are needed. For more information, call the SPCA at 648-6863. The calls are routed to the SK’A Treasure C hest, and employ ees check voicemail regularly. By SUZANNE R. STONE Staff writer The return of relatively warm weather has gardeners and lovers of the outdoors eager to get their landscapes back in shape. “Gardeners start getting cabin fever around March I. But the danger is planting any seeds that can be hit by a quick freeze,** said Bill Hayes of the Master Gardeners of Aiken County. Despite the sunshine and mild temperatures, winter still has its grip on the area’s greenery. “We’re selling trees, shrubs and perennials right now, a lot of blackberry and blueberry bushes. People come in looking for bedding flowers, but ifs way too early,” said Palmetto Nursery & Florist co-owner Sam Stevens. “Ifs the beginning of the garden season, almost time for the early spring planting. Seed potatoes, onions, cabbage, spinach, lettuce and leafy greens are what should be going in now; they’ll take the cold; they’re not going to freeze out if the weather turns.” The Master Gardeners plan to give a presentation on late w inter/early spring gardening Monday at the Aiken County Historical Museum, according to Hayes. Please see FREEZE, page 12A is the nephew of former North Augusta Public Safety Director Lee Wetherington, North Augusta Public Safety referred the case to the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division. Contact Anna Dolkmitis at aiioluinitisra>aikemhmdard. com Man suspected in Tenn. murder caught in N.A. Staff photo by Haley Hughes Aiken SPCA Executive Director Gary Willoughy stands near the laundry room where the fire started. The SKA may be able to open in April. By KAREN DAILY Staff writer North Augusta Public Safety officers assisted federal agents capturing a known fugitive rn North Augusta Wednesday on allegations he murdered another man in Tennessee this weekend. Jonique Diguel Mem weather was arrested at Groves Apartments in the City of North Augusta Investigators with the Jackson Police Department in Tennessee said the victim, Michael Bates, was killed on Sunday. He suffered a gunshot wound while dm mg his car on a local Jackson street, explained Amanda Lyons, Deputy U.S. Marshal and spokesperson for the District of South Carolina. An arrest Merriweather warrant was issued on Monday charging Merriweather with first degree murder in connection w uh the shooting, she said. Jackson Police contacted the Gulf C oast Regional Please see MURDER, page 12A North Augusta meth bust nets three arrests Gardeners should wait to avoid ‘quick freeze’ By KAREN DAILY Staff writer Three North Augusta residents have been jailed aller deputies with the Aiken County Sheriffs office uncovered a methamphetamine lab rn operation and seized materials with a possible street value rn excess of $ 150,000. Charles Patrick Dunbar, 40, of 181 Hickory Nut Lodge Road rn North Augusta is charged with manufacturing methamphetamine, disposal of methamphetamine w aste, trafficking methamphetamine products over 1,500 grams and possession of a firearm during die commission of a violent crime. Kimberly Ann Headman, 25, of 172 Adams Branch Road in North Augusta is charged with manufacturing mctham- Dunbar Hedman phetanime, disposal of methamphetamine waste, trafficking methamphetamine products ova 1,500 grams and possession of a firearm during the commission of a violent crime. Diilan Lawrence Lamar, 18, of 181 Hickory Nut Lodge Please see METH, page 12A Lamar Photo courtesy of desicoiours oom Freezes that can be deadly for some plants could still be possible, and some beat nurseries aren't even stocking vulnerable flowers yet. COMING MONDAY Check out the all-new AIKENSTANDARD.COM M IL rn Lf Jims OM H '.tnt I A'S I. ' #7 I till , y / t I. \ i f nth Yr / . WTI I I AMI ll. Ill KHI ll, Jn., MLI). The Pain Center at Aiken Neurosciences, PC The Only Full-Time Pain Center in Aiken Flexible Scheduling • Within 1-2 Weeks ♦ Board Certified Physician* • On-Site Diagnostic Center « MHI, EMG, EEG, Fluoroscopy • Sleep Center • Headache Center • Mass age Therapy * IM J Treatment • Interventional, Nonsurgical Approach • Advanced Radio Frequency St Spinal Cord Stimulation • Headaches, Neck Pain, Back Pain St ail Pain Syndromes Call (803) 642-6500 rat.« for sppoi«tmmt«! • 410 University Hey, .Suite 2M Aiken, _________ ;