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Drug deaths increasing but not in Georgia

Tue, 09/16/2014 - 12:50am


The number of people dying from prescription painkillers has nearly quadrupled since 1999 but the rate of increase has slowed since 2006, according to a federal report out today.

In Georgia, the number of prescription drug overdose deaths is decreasing thanks to more aggressive enforcement and a new prescription monitoring system, a state official said.

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Augusta Hazmat team responds to 'odor' in Wrens, families examined at hospital

Mon, 09/15/2014 - 11:01pm

The Augusta Fire Department’s Hazmat team was called Monday evening to Jefferson County due to reports of a strong odor outside a residence.

About 8 p.m., the Augusta Fire Department began investigating a chemical and secured the area, according to a statement from Fire Department spokesperson Dee Griffin.

Officials say a resident used an unknown chemical to spray around her house, located on Airport Road in Wrens. The homeowner sprayed the chemical Monday afternoon “but reported a strong odor later in the day,” Griffin stated.

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Evans, Lakeside Columbia County showdown is Game of the Week

Mon, 09/15/2014 - 10:43pm

Columbia County’s best chance for a GHSA playoff team could be the last team standing Friday night.

The possible make-or-break game is Evans at Lakeside, two rivals from Region 2-AAAAA.

Each is 1-1 in region play for what will be a nine-game region slate.

It’s still early in the season, but the winner would position itself as the area’s main playoff threat from the region. The rivalry meeting is The Augusta Chronicle’s Game of the Week.

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Columbia County school officials appoint Evans High and Evans Middle principals to new positions

Mon, 09/15/2014 - 9:45pm


Columbia County school officials made two administrative appointments this week, resulting in changes in leadership at two schools.

Don Brigdon, who had served as the principal of Evans High School for the past 13 years, was named the school system’s Hearing Officer and director of Discipline and School Climate.

Brigdon replaces John L. Padgett Jr., who resigned Aug. 25 after being placed on administrative leave.

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Two sought in Richmond County home invasion

Mon, 09/15/2014 - 8:59pm

The Richmond County Sheriff’s Office is searching for two unknown suspects accused of robbing and beating an Augusta man at his residence.

About 3:30 a.m. Saturday, deputies responded to the 1700 block of Slaton Street, where a 29-year-old victim says he was pistol whipped and robbed of $9,600, according to an incident report.

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RCBOE committee tours Cross Creek High School's new junior ROTC building

Mon, 09/15/2014 - 8:34pm


The Richmond County Board of Education Building Committee toured Cross Creek High School’s new junior ROTC building Monday, taking the first steps toward approving the project and opening much-needed space for the popular school program.

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Florida hearing rescheduled for suspect in fatal Martinez shooting

Mon, 09/15/2014 - 8:23pm


A hearing for a Florida man suspected in the slaying of Martinez resident Bill DaVitte last month has been rescheduled.

The arraignment for Daniel Nelson Robinson has been set for Sept. 22. He had been scheduled to appear in court Monday in Duvall County, according to the Florida 4th Judicial Circuit.

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56 downtown Augusta businesses launch marketing campaign to lure patrons, curb reputation for crime

Mon, 09/15/2014 - 8:20pm


With new measures in place to curb street violence and illegal vendors, downtown Augusta businesses have again pooled their resources to launch a grassroots movement aimed at reclaiming the entertainment district as a safe, fun and thriving area.

The most prominent aspect of the new, six-month “We are Downtown Augusta” campaign is a 20-foot tall billboard on John C. Calhoun Expressway, the last one visitors see before entering the city center from the west.

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Commission to broach administrator search yet again

Mon, 09/15/2014 - 6:22pm

Two significant city appointments return to the forefront Tuesday at a meeting of the Augusta Commission.

Commissioner Ben Hasan, just appointed to the District 6 seat last month after the resignation of Joe Jackson, placed a discussion about appointing a city administrator on the agenda.

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'Do not swim' ban could be lifted Tuesday

Mon, 09/15/2014 - 5:59pm

Athletes training for this month’s Ironman 70.3 Augusta triathlon should be able to brave the waters of the Savannah River as of Tuesday, two days after a mysterious black substance forced officials to issue a “do not swim” order.

Described as a “globby, oily substance,” it was discovered by a swimmer training for the event Sunday, Augusta Fire Department spokeswoman Dee Griffin said. After tracing the substance from the mills area downstream to the Boathouse Com­munity Center, the department and the Richmond County Emergency Management Agency issued the order.

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Decades later, Vietnam soldiers get Medal of Honor

Mon, 09/15/2014 - 4:08pm

WASHINGTON — Two Vietnam War soldiers – one still living, one killed in action – received the Medal of Honor in a White House ceremony on Monday, nearly 50 years after they threw themselves into harm’s way to protect their brothers in combat. President Obama praised the soldiers as patriots whose sacrifices had never been fully realized by a nation divided over the legacy of the Vietnam War.

Army Command Sgt. Maj. Bennie G. Adkins survived his injuries. Army Spc. Donald P. Sloat did not. It took an act of Congress to allow each to receive the medal so many decades after the fact.

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Heavy traffic expected near Plant Vogtle during refueling outage

Mon, 09/15/2014 - 12:24pm


The operator of Plant Vogtle has warned that heavy traffic is possible on roads near the nuclear facility as additional workers perform a refueling outage for Unit 2.

Southern Nuclear, a subsidiary of Southern Co., said local law enforcement will help manage traffic increases around the plant, which is about 35 miles south of Augusta near Waynesboro. Law enforcement is contracted to help with traffic flow for the next 30 days.

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Small earthquake reported in Evans

Mon, 09/15/2014 - 12:16pm


A small earthquake was reported Sunday night in Evans, according to the U.S. Geological Survey Web site.

The 2.2-magnitude earthquake was reported about 10 miles northwest of Evans about 11:30 p.m.

An earthquake between 2 and 3 is considered minor but can be felt by some people. It rarely results in damages.

Earlier this year, Edgefield, S.C., experienced a 4.1-magnitude quake that was felt as far away as Athens, Atlanta, Columbia and Charlotte, N.C. That earthquake came on the heels of a February icestorm that crippled much of the area.


Evans-Lakeside is Game of the Week

Mon, 09/15/2014 - 11:32am


Columbia County’s best chance for a GHSA playoff team could be the last team standing on Friday night.

The possible make-or-break game is Evans at Lakeside, two rivals from Region 2-AAAAA. Each is 1-1 in region play for what will be a nine-game region slate.

It’s still early in the season, but the winner would position itself as the area’s main playoff threat from the region. The rivalry meeting is The Augusta Chronicle’s Game of the Week.

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2 shot early Monday morning

Mon, 09/15/2014 - 4:45am

Two men who said they were walking through a subdivision early Monday morning were shot, and deputies are looking for three men in a silver Pontiac Grand Prix who left the scene.

According to a statement from the Richmond County Sheriff's Office, deputies answered a shooting report in the 3600 block of Langdon Drive just after 2 a.m. and found the two victims.

One had been shot in the groin and the other only grazed by a bullet. They were not identified.

The investigation is in the early stages, a sheriff's office spokeswoman said.

Unsolved Cases: Hopson's 1976 death still a mystery

Sun, 09/14/2014 - 11:51pm


Nearly four decades have come and gone, yet the death of 35-year-old Nancy Hopson remains one of two unsolved Richmond County homicides from the 1970s.

On Aug. 9, 1976, the Beech Island woman’s beaten and badly decomposed body was discovered by Augusta police in the trunk of her car at Daniel Village Shopping Center.

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Guns, jewelry stolen from pawn shop

Sun, 09/14/2014 - 10:02pm

Deputies say an Augusta pawn shop fell victim to burglars this weekend, losing at least two handguns and six long guns along with jewelry.

A man cutting grass called police Sunday after noticing a broken window at Hitchock’s Jewelry & Pawn at 3240 Peach Orchard Road, a Richmond County sheriff’s report states. The burglar bars in the window were pushed to one side.

When a keyholder to the business arrived, he said he had left the business about 4 p.m. Saturday and set the alarm. A security dog was supposed to be inside but was gone when the doors were unlocked.

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2 accused of robbing man at gunpoint

Sun, 09/14/2014 - 9:51pm

A man and a teen were arrested Saturday, accused of robbing a 35-year-old Augusta man at gunpoint.

Andre Martrice Simpkins, 19, and Tyquan Khalil Rhodes, 17, both of Augusta, were booked into the Charles B. Webster Detention Center early Saturday on charges of armed robbery, aggravated assault and possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime, according to jail records. Both remained behind bars Sunday.

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Jazz concert returns to raise more scholarship funds

Sun, 09/14/2014 - 9:27pm

With rain clouds looming overhead, the second annual Ann N. Johnson UNCF Jazz Festival kicked off Sunday without so much as a hiccup.

The festival, named in honor of a Paine College graduate and former staff member, returned to the Jessye Nor­man Amphitheater a year after surpassing its goal of collecting $30,000 for the United Negro College Fund.

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Political insiders not ready to give up on Barrow's reelection chances yet

Sun, 09/14/2014 - 8:04pm

Despite winning five consecutive terms in the House, a recent electoral projection suggests Rep. John Barrow’s luck will run out in the 12th Congressional District this year.

Electoral models by The Washington Post project that Augusta construction company owner Rick Allen has a 59 percent chance of winning in November against the Democrat, who has raised nearly twice as much money than his Republican challenger and been endorsed by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

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