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Tropical Storm Erika fades; warnings end

Sat, 08/29/2015 - 2:08pm


SAVANNAH, Ga. - According to the National Hurricane Center, Erika has degenerated into a trough of low pressure and all coastal watches and warnings have been discontinued.

The remnants of Erika are expected to produce total rainfall accumulations of 3 to 6 inches with maximum amounts of 10 inches possible across portions of the Dominican Republic, Haiti and eastern and central Cuba through Sunday. 

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Hurricane Katrina's wrath and rebuilding marked on 10th anniversary

Sat, 08/29/2015 - 1:59pm

NEW ORLEANS — Mississippi and Louisiana marked the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina on Saturday by ringing church bells, laying wreaths and celebrating the resiliency of a region still recovering from a disaster that killed more than 1,800 people and caused $151 billion in damage.

Addressing dignitaries at New Orleans’ memorial to the unclaimed and unidentified dead, Mayor Mitch Landrieu spoke of the dark days after the monstrous storm and how the city’s residents leaned on each other for support.

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Hotel pool drowning victim identified

Sat, 08/29/2015 - 1:45pm


Richmond County Coroner Mark Bowen has identified a man who drowned Friday evening in an Augusta hotel pool.

Jonathan Nunley, 31, of Augusta, is believed to have jumped the fence surrounding the Days Inn pool at 3654 Wheeler Road to go for a swim.

Officials were alerted about 7:15 p.m. when someone noticed he wasn't moving.

Bowen said Saturday that Nunley wasn't staying at the hotel at the time of the drowning. His body was taken to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation crime lab in Atlanta.

Lincoln County ends three-game losing streak to rival Washington-Wilkes

Fri, 08/28/2015 - 11:24pm

WASHINGTON, Ga. — The threat of a 93-year-old rivalry series deadlocking with a fourth consecutive defeat motivated Lincoln County to a 26-13 victory Friday night at Washington-Wilkes.

The Red Devils (2-0) raced to a 26-0 lead midway through the thrid quarter to spoil the debut of new Washington-Wilkes coach Jacob Kelley in the home season opener for the Tigers.

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Man drowns in hotel pool

Fri, 08/28/2015 - 10:56pm

A man drowned in the pool of an Augusta hotel Friday night, Richmond County Coroner Mark Bowen said.

About 7:15 p.m., first-responders were called to the Days Inn at 3654 Wheeler Road. The man, who had not been identified late Friday, is believed to have scaled a fence around the pool to go for a swim. Officials were alerted when someone noticed he wasn’t moving, Bowen said.

Bowen said he thinks the man is from the area and wasn’t staying at the hotel. He appeared to be in his late 20s.

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Command sergeant major relinquishes command at Fort Gordon ceremony

Fri, 08/28/2015 - 8:02pm


Friday was an emotional day as one command sergeant major said farewell to a career he loved and another one picked up the reins.

In a change of command ceremony at Fort Gordon, Command Sgt. Maj. Patrick Brooks, of the Seventh Signal Command (Theater), relinquished command to Command Sgt. Maj. Kristine Purnell.

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Republican candidate Rick Perry invokes Alamo in Aiken appearance

Fri, 08/28/2015 - 7:27pm


AIKEN — Invoking the names of South Carolinians and Alamo defenders William Barret Travis and James Butler Bonham on the stump these days carries with it a certain level of irony for Rick Perry.

Dogged by staff defections, lagging poll numbers and financial shortfalls, the former Texas governor showed he has plenty of fight left Friday at Newberry Hall in front of a modest gathering of Aiken County Republicans. He moved person to person with a fist-clinched determination while touting American values and criticizing an out-of-touch Washington, D.C.

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Columbia County school construction continues

Fri, 08/28/2015 - 7:20pm

Construction on Columbia County school campuses is becoming commonplace and school system officials expect it to continue.

“It’s an exciting time for us,” Superintendent Sandra Carraway said.

She attributes much of the new construction and expansion to the one-cent special purpose local option education tax.

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Augusta eye doctor agrees to pay additional civil payment

Fri, 08/28/2015 - 7:07pm


A local optometrist convicted of Medicare fraud agreed to settle a civil forfeiture action with the federal government earlier this month.

Jeffrey Sponseller, who operated Sponseller Eye Care One, will pay $275,000 to settle a civil action filed over his violation of the False Claims Act. Sponseller submitted false claims for payment for services that were either inadequately performed or not performed at all.

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The Augusta Chronicle marks 230th year

Fri, 08/28/2015 - 5:52pm

Today, The Augusta Chronicle marks its 230th birthday and celebrates more than two centuries of providing this community and region with news and commercial information.

First printed by Greenberg Hughes on Aug. 30, 1785, under the name Augusta Gazette, the newspaper has grown and
adapted with the community it served.

It reported the election of President George Washington, the funeral of hometown favorite James Brown and everything in between.

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Plant Vogtle on track after schedule revised

Fri, 08/28/2015 - 4:41pm

Georgia Power Co. reported Friday that Plant Vogtle expansion is progressing as planned after the Waynesboro facility’s budget and schedule were revised earlier this year to reflect an 18-month delay and a $246 million increase in capital construction costs.

Total construction and capital costs remain at $5.045 billion, and in-service target dates for the plant’s two new nuclear reactors – Units 3 and 4 – are still tentatively set for June 2019 and 2020, respectively, the power company disclosed in its latest construction monitoring report.

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Southeast watches storm approach

Fri, 08/28/2015 - 2:51pm



All of Florida is carefully watching Tropical Storm Erika as the disorganized system makes its way over Hispaniola.


Forecasters at the National Hurricane Center in Miami said that as of 11 a.m. today, the forecast showed the storm hitting the state Monday. The forecast path has Erika skirting the state’s Gulf Coast and then moving up Florida’s spine north of Tampa.


The next 24 hours will be critical in the storm’s development, hurricane center meteorologist James Franklin said.


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Bond granted in gang rape case

Fri, 08/28/2015 - 1:41pm


A judge set $50,000 bonds Friday for four young Augusta man accused of robbing and sexually assaulting at gunpoint two escorts lured to town to meet with a potential client.

Senior Judge William M. Fleming Jr. rejected the prosecutor’s request to deny bond or set restrictive conditions for bond, except for agreeing to an 8 p.m. curfew.

Jahmal Hamm, 18, Curtis D. Jordan, 19, Devonta L. Kitchens, 17, and Maxene Saintal Jr., 16, each faces charges of two counts rape, two counts aggravated sodomy, and armed robbery.

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Woman claims assault led to miscarriage

Fri, 08/28/2015 - 1:01pm

Police are investigating a woman’s miscarriage that occurred shortly after she reported an assault by the unborn child’s father, authorities said.

Richmond County sheriff’s deputies were called to the 29-year-old woman’s Belmont Avenue apartment about 4:30 a.m. Aug. 15.

She told them she was awakened when Darielle Washington, 34, grabbed her arms and argued with her about Facebook posts. According to an incident report, Washington did not live with the woman but had in the past and likely unlocked the door with a key.

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Confederate monument protected by Plexiglas

Fri, 08/28/2015 - 11:14am




CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Mecklenburg County officials have encased a Confederate monument in a Plexiglas barrier to prevent it from being vandalized again.


The Charlotte Observer reports the county has built a wooden frame over the 1929 granite pillar at the Grady Cole Center and installed a transparent Plexiglas container around it.


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South Georgia karate instructor guilty of molestation

Fri, 08/28/2015 - 7:17am

WOODBINE, Ga. -- A south Georgia jury found karate instructor Thomas Franklin Ary guilty Thursday in his retrial on three charges of the child molestation of a young student.

The eight-woman, four-man Camden County jury began deliberating about 11 a.m. and returned about 4 p.m. with its verdict of guilty on all counts of molesting a young girl who was 8 and 9 during two summer camps at Pak’s Karate Institute in Kingsland where Ary was a longtime instructor.

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Georgia 'rampage' victim dies

Fri, 08/28/2015 - 6:53am


ATHENS, Ga. -- One of the victims of a man’s rampage this week in Oglethorpe County has died, while her killer was released from an Athens hospital.

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Savannah State student shot, killed on campus

Fri, 08/28/2015 - 6:46am

SAVANNAH, Ga. -- A Savannah State University student was fatally wounded Thursday night during an altercation at the student union.

Christopher Starks, a junior from the metro Atlanta area, died at a local hospital, officials said.

Classes were delayed until 10 a.m. today.

Savannah State police said the shooting took place late Thursday night near the student union on campus.

No description of the suspect was available late Thursday night, school spokeswoman Loretta Heyward said.

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Lockdown lifted following Savannah State University campus shooting

Fri, 08/28/2015 - 12:16am

Savannah State police said a shooting took place late Thursday night near the student union on campus.

One male was taken to a local hospital for treatment of his injuries, said Loretta Heyward, Savannah State spokeswoman. The extent of his injuries was not immediately known.

No description of the suspect was available late Thursday night, Heyward said.

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State commission denies petition for Columbia County charter school

Thu, 08/27/2015 - 10:42pm

For the second consecutive year, the State Charter Schools Commission has denied a local group’s petition to establish an arts-infused charter school in Columbia County.

Organizers behind the Columbia County School for the Arts were anticipating the commission’s decision after receiving a letter earlier this month indicating that the review panel would recommend to deny their petition.

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