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Nuclear Regulatory Commission grants extension for MOX construction deadline

Fri, 11/14/2014 - 5:54pm


A 10-year extension for construction of the mixed-oxide fuel fabrication facility at Savannah River Site has been approved by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

According to a news release, the NRC signed an order Thursday extending the completion deadline until March 30, 2025. CB&I Areva MOX Services, the facility’s contractor, asked for the extension in May after numerous construction delays, some caused by lower-than-projected annual funding from Congress and delivery delays for components.

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Bond set for Augusta man facing drug trafficking charges

Fri, 11/14/2014 - 5:31pm


An Augusta man accused of receiving a hefty load of drugs by mail was granted a $50,000 bond Friday.

Cecil Ray Hodge, 54, was targeted by Richmond County Sheriff’s narcotics investigators on Nov. 6 based on a tip he would receive a mailed package containing illegal drugs, said Assistant District Attorney Falin Syms. Officers reported finding 13 pounds of marijuana, nearly 6 ounces of methamphetamine, and 163 tablets of morphine.

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AT&T stops adding Web tracking codes on cellphones; identifiers hampered online anonymity

Fri, 11/14/2014 - 4:03pm

WASHINGTON — AT&T Mobility, the nation’s second-largest cellular provider, said Friday it’s no longer attaching hidden Internet tracking codes to data transmitted from its users’ smartphones. The practice made it nearly impossible to shield its subscribers’ identities online.

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Georgia eyes probation reform

Fri, 11/14/2014 - 1:13pm


ATLANTA -- At the direction of Gov. Nathan Deal, a panel of criminal justice experts has been studying Georgia’s misdemeanor probation system and is expected to make a slate of recommendations, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported Friday.

“Transparency and oversight are probably the two key catch phrases that are driving what we’re doing,” said Georgia Court of Appeals Judge Michael Boggs, co-chair of the governor’s Criminal Justice Reform Council.

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Bond denied for two Augusta men facing rape charges

Fri, 11/14/2014 - 1:09pm

Two men accused of rape and false imprisonment in what a prosecutor described as a bizarre scheme to terrorize someone were denied bond Friday.

Ricky L. Darby, 41, and William J. Krepps, 20, have been held without bond since their arrests earlier this month. Neither man has a felony record but Senior Judge William J. Fleming Jr. denied bond in Richmond County Superior Court on grounds they could pose a danger to the community.

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SEC leads Tailgate Top 10

Fri, 11/14/2014 - 1:00pm

Before football games at the University of Mississippi, one of the best parties in the South is held on 10 grassy acres shaded by dozens of hulking oak trees in the middle of campus.

Under canvass tents, women in dresses and high-heeled shoes mingle with men wearing pressed khakis and starched dress shirts.

The buffet tables are covered with checkered cloths and freshly cut flowers. There’s plenty to eat and drink.

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Facts about Richmond County property taxes

Fri, 11/14/2014 - 12:00pm

As the saying goes, nothing is certain but death and taxes, and the due date for the second item has arrived.

Stragglers who submit their Augusta ad valorem tax bill payments after Saturday will find their bills bearing 1 percent interest per month and a 10 percent late payment penalty, according to, the Web site of the Richmond County tax commissioner.

Here are some other facts about local property taxes:

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U.S. Rep. John Barrow lists Washington townhouse for rent

Fri, 11/14/2014 - 11:39am

U.S. Rep. John Barrow listed his Washington townhouse for rent this week, just days after he said he will sell his Augusta home to spend time with family in Athens, Ga., following a 10-year run in the House.

Barrow’s spokesman, Richard Carbo, confirmed the Augusta congressman plans to rent his two-story condominium about a half-mile from the U.S. Capitol, but refused to speculate on whether the move signals Barrow’s intent to seek re-election in the future.

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Dogwood Stable's Palace Malice will return to racing in 2015

Fri, 11/14/2014 - 11:03am

Palace Malice will race again in 2015.

Dogwood Stable’s prized colt, who won the 2013 Belmont Stakes, has been cleared for competition after an examination found him to be fully recovered from a bone bruise.

“The X-rays and ultrasounds taken in Kentucky on Thursday morning are as good as we hoped they would be, and Dr. Larry Bramlage and Dr. Robert Copelan pronounced him completely sound,” Cot Campbell, Dogwood president, said in a release issued Friday.

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Free church concert Sunday

Fri, 11/14/2014 - 9:17am

St. John United Methodist Church is presenting a free concert Sunday afternoon open to the public.

The performance, featuring the Vega Quartet with pianist William Ransom, begins at 3 p.m.

The church, 736 Greene St., will provide a nursery, while an offering will take place for the Maxwell Theatre Project.

For more information, call (706) 724-9641.


Augusta woman accused of DUI, reckless driving on Walton Way

Fri, 11/14/2014 - 8:26am

An Augusta woman is facing numerous charges after flipping her car Wednesday morning on Walton Way.

Keshia Lavscaitte Hicks, 39, has been charged with DUI, failure to maintain lane, DUI with a passenger under 14 years of age, serious injury by vehicle and reckless driving, according to Richmond County jail records.

The incident occurred around 6:45 a.m. Wednesday on the 3000 block of Walton Way when Hicks was headed to the Academy of Richmond County to drop off a student, according to Sgt. Danny Whitehead.

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SC man sentenced for bodies in barrels

Fri, 11/14/2014 - 8:12am

ANDERSON, S.C. — A second man has been sentenced to 30 years in prison for helping dispose of bodies found in Lake Hartwell.

Local media outlets report that Shaine David Fischer was sentenced Thursday after pleading guilty to two counts of accessory after the fact to murder.

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Mystery illness hits 74 Emory students

Fri, 11/14/2014 - 8:01am

ATLANTA — Emory University officials say dozens of students have been stricken by gastrointestinal illnesses in recent days.

School officials said that as of Thursday night, 74 students had been treated on campus and at the Emory University Hospital emergency department.

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Savannah River Ecology Lab scientists track gray wolves at Chernobyl site

Thu, 11/13/2014 - 9:34pm


In a strange wilderness once inhabited by people, research scientists from the Savannah River Ecology Laboratory are tracking gray wolves that have taken over land contaminated by the world’s most catastrophic nuclear disaster.

The 30-kilometer zone surrounding the former Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant in northern Ukraine is the only area in the world to analyze the effects of radiation exposure on free-ranging wildlife, said SREL ecologist Jim Beasley. Very little is known about radiation’s long-term effects on animals, he said.

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Doctors, Trinity named Top Performers by hospital accrediting body The Joint Commission

Thu, 11/13/2014 - 8:55pm

It is deja vu for Trinity Hospital and Doctors Hospital of Augusta.

For the third year in a row, Trinity was a named Top Performer by the hospital accrediting body The Joint Commission, while Doctors’ earned the honor for the fourth consecutive year, something only 147 hospitals have done.

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Authorities receive autopsy results in Monday double homicide

Thu, 11/13/2014 - 4:06pm

The Richmond County Coroner’s Office released the autopsy results of two men who were shot dead in a drug deal that went bad Monday night, police said.

According to a statement from the office, 21-year-old Ian Roberts, of Hephzibah, died of a gunshot wound to the head. He was found after Richmond County sheriff’s deputies responded to a call at Ethan Way and Matthew Court in Walton Farms subdivision about 8:15 p.m. and was pronounced dead at the scene.

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Scott Dean's habeas corpus petition denied

Thu, 11/13/2014 - 3:33pm


When Renee Dean’s phone rang early Thursday, she knew something was wrong.

It was her husband, former Columbia County Com­mis­sioner Scott Dean, telling her that his writ of habeas corpus was denied by a south Geor­gia judge.

“He was devastated,” Renee Dean said, adding that his whole family is, too.

The writ, filed on his behalf, alleges that he’s an innocent man being held in prison illegally and places the burden of proof on the state to justify his detention.

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Augusta man pleads guilty in shovel assault

Thu, 11/13/2014 - 2:47pm

A 52-year-old Augusta man who hit his sister in the head with a shovel pleaded guilty Thursday to aggravated assault.

Billy Ray Hendrix also pleaded guilty in Richmond County Superior Court to a charge of third-degree cruelty to children for assaulting his sister in front of a child. Judge J. Wade Padgett accepted the plea negotiation and sentenced Hendrix, who is serving out a year’s imprisonment for an unrelated domestic violence battery case, to 10 years on probation.

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SC appeals gay marriage ruling

Thu, 11/13/2014 - 12:00pm

COLUMBIA — South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson is formally appealing a judge’s ruling that tossed out the state’s ban on same-sex marriages.

Wilson on Thursday filed a notice he would be appealing to the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Virginia. He has called the ruling no surprise and that he is obligated to defend state laws.

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SC lawmakers wary of changing hospital rules

Thu, 11/13/2014 - 7:05am

COLUMBIA — The state health agency is proposing ways to reduce the need for a state permit when a medical facility purchases equipment or upgrades its buildings.

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