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Voting by mail begins in Nov. 4 election

Wed, 09/17/2014 - 9:11pm

Voting by mail has begun for the Nov. 4 election.

Richmond County Board of Elections Executive Director Lynn Bailey said mail-out paper absentee ballots are now available for registered voters who complete an application and fax, e-mail, mail or hand deliver it to the elections office in Augusta Municipal Building, 530 Greene St.

It’s not too late to register to vote in the general election, which includes several races that affect Richmond and Columbia counties.

The deadline to register is Oct. 6, Bailey said.

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Norfolk Southern invests in safety improvements

Wed, 09/17/2014 - 7:36pm

A year after a south Augusta train derailment caused a three-day closure of one of the area’s most traveled highways, Norfolk Southern is making safety improvements.

The rail operator has invested $2.2 billion in its infrastructure this year to spot problems in its tracks and railroad crossings before they arise, said Rick Harris, the director of corporate communications.

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Costs increase nearly $1 billion for salt waste facility at Savannah River Site

Wed, 09/17/2014 - 7:06pm


The construction costs of a critical facility for liquid waste cleanup efforts at Savannah River Site has risen nearly $1 billion, according to an official at the South Carolina site.

Latest projections from the U.S. Energy Department estimate the Salt Waste Processing Facility will cost $2.3 billion to build and start up – an increase of $982.5 million from the project cost set in 2009, according to DOE site spokesman Jim Giusti.

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New GSP task force in Richmond County last week

Wed, 09/17/2014 - 6:41pm

Richmond County was one of the first stops last week for a new Georgia State Patrol task force focused on drunken driving.

Eleven troopers in Troop E, which includes Grovetown, Washington, Madison, Milledgeville and Monroe patrol posts, formed the task force to look for intoxicated drivers in the 21 counties along Interstate 20 from Conyers to South Carolina.

The task force will deploy at least once a month for concentrated patrols and sobriety checkpoints.

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Two Butler High students facing gun possession, stolen property charges

Wed, 09/17/2014 - 5:45pm

Two Butler High School students are facing criminal charges in connection to a gun sale on school property.

The two students, 17-year-old Leroy Prince and 17-year-old Patrick Johnson, were arrested after an investigation Tuesday. According to police incident reports, Price brought two semi-automatic handguns to Butler High to sell. Johnson then met with Price and took a 9 millimeter handgun from him while still on school grounds. The handgun was reported stolen in 2007, according to the McDuffie County Sheriff’s Office.

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Two arrested on drug, weapons charges

Wed, 09/17/2014 - 4:31pm

The Richmond County Sheriff’s Office Narcotics Division arrested two people Tuesday on drug trafficking and weapons charges.

Robert Karl Powick, 40, and Elise Lauren Staples, 32, have been charged with trafficking methamphetamine, possession of marijuana with intent to distribute and possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime, according to a statement from Sgt. Michael McDaniel.

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Aiken man wanted on DUI charges

Wed, 09/17/2014 - 4:10pm


Aiken Public Safety is asking for help finding an Aiken man wanted for felony driving under the influence.

Dustin Tre Munoz, 21, is accused of operating his motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol. Munoz disregarded a red light at Silver Bluff Road and Hitchcock Parkway, which caused a traffic collision, according to Detective Jeremy Hembree. The collision, which occurred Sept. 6, resulted in “great bodily injury to the driver of the vehicle he initially struck,” Hembree said in a statement.

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Last member of theft crew sentenced

Wed, 09/17/2014 - 4:08pm


The fifth and final member of a crew that targeted women who left their purses in vehicles was sentenced Tuesday to five years in prison.

James J. Woodard pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit bank fraud and aggravated identity fraud. In 2012 in Richmond and Columbia counties, the crew stole identification and checkbooks from purses left in vehicles. Then women were recruited to serve as “cashers,” drawing money from the accounts.

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West Lake employee arrested on drug charges

Wed, 09/17/2014 - 3:20pm

An employee of a Martinez golf and country club was arrested and accused of drug possession at work.

Edilberto Morales Diaz, 35, was arrested Monday and charged with possession of methamphetamine and trafficking methamphetamine. Diaz is the manager of the Men’s Grille at West Lake Country Club, said Columbia County sheriff’s Capt. Steve Morris. A woman who answered the phone at the club Wednesday wouldn’t say whether Diaz is still employed by West Lake.

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Temperatures cool down for fall

Wed, 09/17/2014 - 1:18pm

Cooler days are here just as the calendar ordered, with autumn arriving on Monday night.

Temperatures for Friday and Saturday will be especially cool, with expected highs of 81 degrees, according to the National Weather Center forecast.

“Usually sometimes mid- to late September we start to pick up some swings in temperature, but they’re usually more noticeable in October,” said Georgia state climatologist Bill Murphey.

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Harlem's Jeremy Graham Band to open for Montgomery Gentry

Wed, 09/17/2014 - 12:39pm

Montgomery Gentry concertgoers will have the chance to hear a song from a local band that should hit the radio waves early next year.

Harlem’s Jeremy Graham recently signed a three-year contract with Dominion Entertainment, and he and his band will perform the single Ride Out to Nowhere on Friday at Lady Antebellum Pavilion before Gentry takes the stage.

Ride Out to Nowhere is a song when you have a little something on your mind, and you need some alone time,” said Graham, the band’s lead singer and one of its songwriters.

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Warren Road Elementary pupils back in school after gas smell investigation

Wed, 09/17/2014 - 12:25pm

A strong odor prompted the evacution of Warren Road Elementary School on Wednesday.

The odor was initially feared to be a gas leak but later determined to be the smell of diesel coming from equipment at a nearby construction site. Dee Griffin, spokeswoman for the Augusta Fire Department, said students were sent to nearby Good News Church while the gas company investigated.

The evacuation lasted for an hour.

Augusta man wins car through Georgia Lottery

Wed, 09/17/2014 - 10:37am

An Augusta man has a new set of wheels after winning a Georgia Lottery promotion.

Milton Singleton, 49, was presented the keys to a 2014 Kia Soul on Tuesday at Kia of Augusta on Gordon Highway.

“It was the car, the ticket and the commercial that attracted me,” he said. “When I saw the announcement of the promotion and I saw the car, I just started playing.”

Through the 21 Black Series Second Chance Promotion, lottery players can enter a second contest with their nonwinning 21 Black Series scratch-off tickets online for a chance to win a Kia Soul.

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'Do not swim' order lifted for Savannah River

Wed, 09/17/2014 - 10:20am


Officials have lifted the “do not swim” order for the Savannah River, but questions still linger on the unknown substance’s origin.

The order was initially issued Sunday after an oily substance was found in the water by a swimmer training for this month’s Ironman 70.3 Augusta.

Savannah Riverkeeper Tonya Bonitatibus said Monday that preliminary findings led her to believe the substance was petroleum-based and might have come from storm drains in the Harrisburg area.

“We’re still waiting on the testing to come back,” Bonitatibus said Wednesday.

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Aiken County warns of phone scam

Wed, 09/17/2014 - 9:24am

Callers are scamming Aiken County residents out of money, police warned Wednesday.

The Aiken County Sheriff’s Office issued a warning about callers telling residents they have missed jury duty or have outstanding fees that need to be paid because of an impending warrant.

Police said law enforcement will never contact residents over the phone demanding immediate payment for outstanding fines or warrants. Any outstanding fees should be paid to the appropriate Court of Clerk office directly or by mail, but not by phone.

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Nationals clinch NL East title on Braves' turf

Tue, 09/16/2014 - 10:07pm


ATLANTA — The Washington Nationals are again champions of the NL East, wrapping up their second division title in three years against the team that knocked them out of the top spot last season.

Tanner Roark pitched five-hit ball over seven innings, Ian Desmond’s two-run homer broke a scoreless tie and the Nationals celebrated another trip to the playoffs with a 3-0 victory over the Atlanta Braves on Tuesday night.

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Warrenton officer placed on leave following profanity-laced post

Tue, 09/16/2014 - 7:54pm


A Warrenton police officer is on administrative leave after he made a profanity-laced post on his personal Facebook page.

Officer Adam Harper is currently being investigated by the Warrenton Police Department and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation for the comments he made about the death of 18-year-old Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo.

In the post Harper said Brown “got what he deserved” and challenged anyone who thought otherwise. He also urged his fellow law enforcement officers to “keep it up.”

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Wal-Mart Neighborhood Market under development in south Augusta

Tue, 09/16/2014 - 6:26pm


Another Wal-Mart Neighborhood Market is coming to the Augusta metro area.

The corner of Windsor Spring and Tobacco roads has been designated for a market-anchored commercial development, according to the leasing firm handling the new North Augusta Wal-Mart, which is almost complete.

The Wal-Mart Neighborhood Market and two small retail spaces will be constructed at 3693 Windsor Spring Road, adjacent to a Rite-Aid, in south Augusta, according to Chattanooga, Tenn.-based Fletcher Bright Co.

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Jefferson Energy Cooperative phone conversion to take place Thursday

Tue, 09/16/2014 - 5:58pm


Jefferson Energy Cooperative will convert to a new phone system on Thursday between 5 p.m. and midnight, disabling regularly listed numbers, according to a statement from public relations director Steve Chalker.

For assistance during that time, call (762) 245-4281.

Augusta Commission gives OK to hire city administrator

Tue, 09/16/2014 - 5:53pm

Seven Augusta Com­mission members pushed forward a plan to hire Au­gusta native and former Albany, Ga., city manager Janice Allen Jackson, despite a call to delay the decision by Mayor-elect Hardie Davis and Commissioner Bill Lockett.

Commissioner Ben Hasan said he’d heard often on the campaign trail about dollars wasted on studies and searches, such as the $19,000 the commission spent with The Mercer Group to produce three finalists for the city administrator job, held by Deputy Administrator Tameka Allen on an interim basis since January.

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