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Dashboard video shows South Carolina state trooper shooting unarmed driver in Columbia

Thu, 09/25/2014 - 6:33pm

COLUMBIA — A South Carolina state trooper’s dashboard video shows an unarmed driver being shot just seconds after he was stopped for a seatbelt offense – and the trooper, who was fired last week, has now been charged with assault.

As Levar Jones cried in pain waiting for an ambulance, he repeated one question: “Why did you shoot me?”
Jones’ painful groans and then-Trooper Sean Groubert’s reply – “Well you dove head first back into your car” – were captured by the camera.

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State proposes fix for Gracewood

Thu, 09/25/2014 - 6:05pm


In the wake of federal criticism of patient care at the Gracewood campus of East Central Regional Hospital, the hospital’s Family Council has a message: OK, so fix it.

Federal inspectors found in a series of inspections that began in March and culminated last month that there were serious deficiencies in oversight and patient safety, particularly verbal and physical abuse of patients, and a number of injuries that were not thoroughly investigated or investigated at all.

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Michaux: Reed gets taste of Ryder Cup pressure early

Thu, 09/25/2014 - 5:21pm

Welcome to the Ryder Cup, Patrick Reed. For your opening act, go try to cut the heart out of the European team.

By the time most Americans wake up Friday morning, the former Augusta State star will have already made his Ryder Cup debut with fellow rookie Jordan Spieth against European stalwart Ian Poulter and Scotland’s own Stephen Gallacher.

It’s a great show of faith by American captain Tom Watson in the two youngest players on his team.

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Augusta one of five cities kicking off prisoner reentry pilot program

Thu, 09/25/2014 - 5:04pm

Nine months after the Georgia Prisoner Reentry Initiative (GA-PRI) was approved by Gov. Nathan Deal, the inaugural program will begin Oct. 1 in Richmond County.

Throughout the remainder of 2014, 31 inmates – all of whom once resided in Augusta – will return to Richmond County with hopes of transitioning towards a productive life.

“This program is all about helping people start over,” said Richmond County steering committee team member Gloria Ricks. “People deserve a second chance and that’s what this initiative is all about.”

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Prison term imposed for attempted child molestation

Thu, 09/25/2014 - 4:44pm

A Virginia man who traveled to Augusta to have sex with a 14-year-old girl was sentenced Thursday to 14 years in prison.

John Frederick Tysarczyk Jr., 37, of Newport News, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in November to attempted online enticement of a minor.

Tysarczyk came to Georgia on July 25 after having sexually explicit online chats and phone communications with someone he believed to be an underage girl. The person was actually a law enforcement officer.

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Jury convicts Augusta man of murder

Thu, 09/25/2014 - 4:38pm

An Augusta man who shot his brother in the back and killed a second man was convicted of all charges Thursday.

A Richmond County Superior Court jury deliberated about three hours to find Rickey Grover Smith, 63, guilty of murder, aggravated assault and two counts of possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime.

On Jan. 24, Smith shot and killed 39-year-old Christopher Padgett and wounded his brother Steve Smith after an altercation at the Smiths’ home on Moore Road.

Sentencing is scheduled for Wednesday.


Scam artist headed to prison

Thu, 09/25/2014 - 4:09pm

Eva Carrol Smith has been conning people out of money for more than two decades, authorities said.

She has been arrested about 20 times on theft-related charges but, with the exception of a few months in jail, she usually escaped conviction.

Until Thursday.

Smith, 48, pleaded guilty in Richmond County Superior Court to two felony counts of theft and six misdemeanor counts of theft by deception. Judge J. Wade Padgett accepted the plea negotiation and sentenced Smith to 10 years in prison, followed by 16 years on probation.

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Affair with married co-worker forces resignation of UGA associate AD Crumley

Thu, 09/25/2014 - 4:03pm


ATHENS, Ga. — A high-level University of Georgia athletics administrator abruptly resigned last week amid an investigation under the school’s anti-harassment policy.

Frank Crumley, who served as executive associate athletic director for finance and business, stepped down on Sept. 16 while UGA’s Equal Opportunity Office was looking into a relationship he had with a female athletic association employee who reported to him, according to documents obtained Thursday by the Athens Banner-Herald under an open records request.

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State has new demands for Columbia County hospital

Thu, 09/25/2014 - 3:47pm

The state says a proposed Columbia County hospital can be built only if the county ponies up 20 percent, which means the county must make a new commitment that could cost it more than $30 million regardless of whether new SPLOST financing is approved by voters.

The new requirements should not be a problem, though, Columbia County Commission Chairman Ron Cross said.

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Meth labs found near Willis Foreman Elementary

Thu, 09/25/2014 - 2:21pm


Two men were arrested Thursday after multiple methamphetamine labs were discovered off Willis Foreman Road within feet of an elementary school.

Charles Lee Pennington Jr., 39, and Jay Harland Briele, 45, each have been charged with manufacturing methamphetamine, trafficking methamphetamine, illegal dumping and manufacturing methamphetamine within 1,000 feet of a school, according to a statement from Richmond County sheriff’s Sgt. Monica Belser.

A female suspect, whose identity was not made public, was interviewed and released.

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Ryder Cup pairings announced

Thu, 09/25/2014 - 11:59am


GLENEAGLES, Scotland — Pairings for the opening session of fourballs matches Friday at the Ryder Cup (all times EDT):


2:35 a.m. — Bubba Watson and Webb Simpson, United States, vs. Justin Rose and Henrik Stenson, Europe.


2:50 a.m. — Rickie Fowler and Jimmy Walker, United States, vs. Thomas Bjorn and Martin Kaymer, Europe.


3:05 a.m. — Jordan Spieth and Patrick Reed, United States, vs. Stephen Gallacher and Ian Poulter, Europe.


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Charles Walker to be free man

Thu, 09/25/2014 - 11:30am


Former Georgia Senate Majority Leader Charles Walker is scheduled to be a free man today after having served his sentence for 127 felony counts.

Walker, a Democrat from Augusta, was once the second-most powerful member of the state General Assembly. He was convicted in 2005 for fraud, conspiracy, lying about the circulation of his newspaper, pocketing charity funds and other crimes.

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Attorney General Holder will step down

Thu, 09/25/2014 - 11:01am

WASHINGTON — Eric Holder, who served as the public face of the Obama administration’s legal fight against terrorism and pushed to make the criminal justice system more even-handed, is resigning after six years on the job. He is the nation’s first black attorney general.

The White House said Thursday that President Barack Obama planned to announce Holder’s departure later Thursday. The White House said Holder plans to remain at the Justice Department until his successor is in place.

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Police to collect unused medications

Thu, 09/25/2014 - 10:35am

Police are seeking your unused and expired drugs as part of a drug take back program

On Friday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office will be accepting prescription drugs in pharmaceutical drop boxes at CVS locations on 15th Street at Walton Way and Peach Orchard at Lumpkin roads.

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Salvation Army to offer Christmas assistance

Thu, 09/25/2014 - 10:29am

The Salvation Army will begin accepting applications for Christmas assistance on Oct. 6.

The Salvation Army of Greater Augusta’s Christmas Assistance Program will help provide Christmas gifts for children 12 and under and will be given on a first-come, first-served basis. Bring children’s clothing and shoe sizes and limit all gift requests to $40 and under per item, a press release states.

Applications for assistance will be taken from 9 to 11:30 a.m. and 1 to 3:30 p.m. Oct. 6-10 at the Salvation Army First Stop Center (Kroc Center campus), 1765 Broad St.

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NutraSweet to stop making aspartame, downsize Augusta plant

Thu, 09/25/2014 - 8:57am

NEW YORK — NutraSweet says it will no longer make the artificial sweetener aspartame as a result of foreign competition.

The privately held company said Wednesday it expects to shut down a major portion of a plant that employs about 210 workers, including contractors, by year-end as a result. That will leave it with only about 10 to 20 employees to focus on its two other smaller sweeteners, the company said.

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Suspect named in Wednesday shooting in Augusta

Thu, 09/25/2014 - 8:05am

Police have identified a suspect in the Wednesday shooting of a man on Morning Drive.

Sedrick Antonique Williams, 17, of the 1800 block of Formosa Drive, is being sought on charges of aggravated assault and possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime. He is considered armed and dangerous, police said in a news release.

Police were called to the 1900 block of Morning Drive about 5:10 p.m. and discovered Darius Montreal Parks, 24, of Bream Avenue with a gunshot wound to the neck.

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Richmond County School System apologizes to Elbert County for 'miscommunication' with marching band

Wed, 09/24/2014 - 9:09pm

The Richmond County School System issued an apology to Elbert County Comprehensive High School on Wednesday after a “miscommunication” caused the marching band to not perform during a football game last week.

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Augusta libraries, schools say calls to ban books are rare

Wed, 09/24/2014 - 9:07pm

The American Library Association’s latest list of most challenged books is striking in its diversity.

Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye and Stephen Chbosky’s The Perks of Being a Wallflower deal with weighty themes such as racism or sexuality. Others, including Jeff Smith’s graphic novel series Bone, are works of high fantasy and allegory meant for all ages.

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Barrow-Allen debate moved to Evans Government Complex

Wed, 09/24/2014 - 7:50pm


Democratic incumbent John Barrow and Republican challenger Rick Allen will face off Saturday as scheduled, but there has been a change in venue for the 12th Congressional District’s only scheduled Augusta debate.

The forum, sponsored by the Islamic Society of Au­gusta, has been moved from the Islamic Community Center, located at 465 Old Evans Road, in Martinez, to the Evans Government Com­plex at 630 Ronald Reagan Drive.

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