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Senate candidates jockey for position at Grovetown debate

Sat, 04/19/2014 - 9:10pm

GROVETOWN — Seven Re­pub­lican candidates for Georgia’s open U.S. Senate seat spend a couple hours Sat­ur­­day afternoon trying to put some daylight between their brands of conservative politics on issues ranging from gun rights to global warming.

The event was the sixth of seven planned debates between those lined up to replace U.S. Sen. Saxby Chamb­­liss, R-Ga., who will retire at the end of the year. Each hopes to be the lone Re­pub­lican to come out of the May 20 primary to face the Democratic candidate in November.

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Police seek gas station robbery suspect

Sat, 04/19/2014 - 8:31pm

Police are seeking a suspect who robbed an Augusta gas station Saturday morning.

About 9:52 a.m., a black male entered Sprint Food Stores at 3444 Mike Padgett Highway with his face covered in a black cloth and his right hand in a black bag, according to the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office.

It is unclear whether he was concealing a weapon in the bag or pretending to have one, but he did leave with cash.

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Senator received support from probation firm owner, bondsmen group

Sat, 04/19/2014 - 7:49pm

Less than a week before a Senate committee stripped a bill of provisions that limited the fees private probation companies can charge, the owner of such a firm wrote a letter of recommendation for the Waynesboro state senator who headed the committee and is in line for a judgeship that will supervise people affected by the legislation.

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Medical marijuana used in Augusta, activist says

Sat, 04/19/2014 - 3:55pm


Even without a law to cover them in Georgia, dozens and maybe hundreds of people in the Augusta area are using marijuana or a derivative to treat ailments, one activist said.

Medical marijuana activist Maison Harley said their shadowy use clamors for the state to extend legal protection amid an evolving understanding of the potential health benefits of cannabis.

“That’s the gray area that all of these families are having to go into,” he said. “Most of them have taken it upon themselves to find these products via any means necessary.”

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Aquinas star Hill follows coach to Virginia Tech

Sat, 04/19/2014 - 12:20pm


Ahmed Hill will follow coach Buzz Williams to Virginia Tech.

Hill, the Aquinas boys basketball star and one of the top 100 recruits in the nation, picked the Atlantic Coast Conference program after he was granted his release from Marquette. Williams left the Golden Eagles to take over the Hokies job on March 24.

“I love Virginia Tech,” Hill said Saturday. “I do love Marquette, but Virginia Tech is amazing. Everybody is nice and together.”

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Gov. Nathan Deal set to sign bill expanding gun rights in Georgia

Fri, 04/18/2014 - 8:51pm


ATLANTA — Gov. Nathan Deal will sign legislation next week expanding gun rights in Georgia.

Spokesman Brian Robin­son confirmed Friday that a bill signing on House Bill 60 is planned Wednesday. Word of the event first came in an online posting by the gun rights group Georgia Carry.

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Augusta VA details process for eliminating gastrointestinal delays

Fri, 04/18/2014 - 8:08pm

A gastrointestinal expert at one of the specialty’s top-ranked programs in the nation said it is “within the realm of possibility” that the Charlie Norwood Veterans Affairs Medical Center eliminated its backlog of more than 4,500 unresolved endoscopies in 2012.

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Meth use on rise in Richmond County

Fri, 04/18/2014 - 7:51pm

Methamphetamine use is on the rise in Richmond County, but the variety of meth police are seeing is changing.

“Finding people in possession of methamphetamine has continued to rise and has yet to plateau,” said Richmond County sheriff’s Sgt. Jason Vinson. “Over the years I’ve noticed that it’s become more and more of a popular drug in Augusta.”

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Three detained after robbery in Aiken County

Fri, 04/18/2014 - 7:31pm

Aiken County deputies responded Friday to an armed robbery at an area business.

B&B Loans, at 105 Railroad St. in Wagener, was robbed by two black men, one carrying a handgun, Aiken County Sheriff’s Office Public Information Officer Jason Feemster said in a news release.

The suspects’ vehicle was located traveling on Highway 302 near Kitchings Mill. Deputies stopped the vehicle and three men were detained, Feemster said.

No names had been released late Friday.

Transparency is on agendas of mayoral hopefuls

Fri, 04/18/2014 - 7:01pm

Public meetings and open government. Two of the recurring themes in this past year of your glimpse into how and why the newspaper does what it does.

This week at a public meeting about tuberculosis testing at Hephzibah High School, journalists were admonished not to do their jobs at the meeting, else the speaker would not continue.

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Georgia grants military veterans option for special driver's license

Fri, 04/18/2014 - 5:52pm

Thanks to a change at the Georgia Department of Driver Services, veterans no longer have to carry around bulky forms to prove they were in the military.

Last week, Gov. Nathan Deal announced that all veterans, regardless of when or where they served, can now request a special license or identification card denoting their service.

Previously, any veteran who didn’t meet certain eligibility or service measures couldn’t request a license.

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Fort Gordon offers sunrise Easter service

Fri, 04/18/2014 - 5:17pm


The Fort Gordon Easter Sunrise service will begin at 6:30 a.m. Sunday at Freedom Park on Rice Road, with Col. David Colwell serving as the guest speaker.

Music will be provided by the Army Signal Corps Band and the Faith Gospel Adult Choir from Good Shepherd Chapel on Fort Gordon.

A 5K “Run for Jesus” on Barton Field will begin at 8 a.m.

In case of inclement weather, the service will be held in Alexander Hall on Chamberlain Avenue.

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Governor receives names of two lawyers to fill Burke County State Court judgeship

Fri, 04/18/2014 - 3:54pm


The Judicial Nominating Commission has submitted recommendations to fill the Burke County State Court judgeship.

The commission sent Gov. Nathan Deal two candidates to replace Judge Jerry Daniel who died on Jan. 30 — Jackson E. Cox, who is the solicitor of the Burke County State Court, and Jesse C. Stone, managing attorney of Merrill & Stone and a state senator for District 23.

Cox has served as the solicitor-general since 2001, and has a private law practice in Waynesboro. He graduated from the University of Georgia School of Law cum laude in 1995.

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Georgia dealers third in nation in incidents of lost, stolen firearms

Thu, 04/17/2014 - 10:19pm

Nearly 900 firearms were lost or stolen from Georgia gun dealers last year, which ranks the state among the Top 5, according to federal data released this month.

A 2013 analysis conducted by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives shows that federal firearms license holders in Georgia ranked third in incidents (134) behind Texas and Florida, and fourth in total guns reported lost or stolen (899) behind Kentucky, New York and Virginia.

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Richmond County teachers may have five less furlough days next year in proposed budget

Thu, 04/17/2014 - 9:30pm

With a softer blow expected to hit Georgia’s education funding next fiscal year, the Rich­mond County Board of Edu­ca­tion is planning to eliminate five furlough days in the 2014-15 budget, restoring the full 180-day instructional calendar for the first time in at least three years. 

According to the proposed budget presented Thursday, employees will still be furloughed on four non-student days to save the district about $4 million.

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Pedestrian struck, killed on Mike Padgett Highway

Thu, 04/17/2014 - 9:27pm

By Doug Stutsman

Staff Writer

A pedestrian was struck and killed by a vehicle Thursday evening on Mike Padgett Highway.

Around 8:15 p.m., Richmond County deputies responded to calls of a traffic accident on the 3100 block of Mike Padgett Highway at the intersection of Payton Drive. The victim, who has not been identified, was pronounced dead at the scene.

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School board addresses cursive writing concerns

Thu, 04/17/2014 - 9:26pm

Citing a “strong relationship between learning and writing cursive,” the Rich­mond County Board of Edu­cation on Thursday approved adjusting school curriculums to add 30 to 40 minutes of practicing cursive writing to classroom sessions.

After board members voiced concerns over how much time schools were using to focus on teaching cursive writing skills, Superin­ten­dent Frank Roberson made a presentation describing
the necessity of teaching them.

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Deputy injured by combative suspect

Thu, 04/17/2014 - 8:47pm

A Richmond County deputy was injured Thursday morning while placing an Augusta man in custody.

Claude Davis, 35, allegedly became physically aggressive towards the officer, injuring the deputy’s finger and kicking him in the groin area, according to a Richmond County Sheriff’s Office report.

Davis was charged with felony obstruction, as well as simple battery, the report stated.

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Health department officials say errors made in school meeting

Thu, 04/17/2014 - 8:05pm

Officials with the Richmond County Health Department acknowledged Thursday that public health employees improperly denied requests for information and attempted to bar photographs during a public meeting about tuberculosis-testing procedures at Hephzibah High School.

Reporters and photographers from The Augusta Chronicle and local television stations were admonished not to shoot video, take photographs or ask questions during Wednesday’s meeting, which was held to inform the public about possible exposure to TB bacteria at the school.

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Investigator glad he changed careers

Thu, 04/17/2014 - 4:11pm

EDITOR’S NOTE: This profile is part of an ongoing series on area law enforcement officers.


WAYNESBORO — The first time Dan­iel Rodriguez considered a career in law enforcement in the late 1980s, he turned it down because of the low pay. The second time, he was the victim of an armed robbery.

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