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River Watch wrong-way driver trial nears conclusion

Thu, 06/18/2015 - 1:42pm


The jury in the River Watch Parkway wrong-way driver case is expected to begin deliberations Friday.

Monique Sullivan faces criminal charges including murder and aggravated assault in the Dec. 10, 2012, multivehicle crash that killed a young mother of two and nearly killed another woman.

Sullivan, 34, chose not to testify Thursday after the prosecution wrapped up its case in Richmond County Superior Court. Her decision, as the judge will instruct the jury, cannot be used against Sullivan because it is the state’s burden to prove guilt.

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Shooting suspect captured

Thu, 06/18/2015 - 11:08am


CHARLESTON, S.C. -- The police chief in Charleston says the man suspected of killing nine people inside a historic black church has been captured in North Carolina.

Chief Greg Mullen says 21-year-old Dylann Storm Roof was arrested during a traffic stop in Shelby, North Carolina.

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Charleston suspect attended church service

Thu, 06/18/2015 - 8:13am

CHARLESTON, S.C.  -- The suspect in fatal church shooting has been identified as Dylann Roof, 21, of Lexington, S.C.

He is believed to be the white man  who opened fire during a prayer meeting inside a historic black church in downtown Charleston, killing nine people, including the pastor, in an assault authorities described as a hate crime.


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Slight change in Ga. jobless rate

Thu, 06/18/2015 - 7:23am

ATLANTA — State labor officials say Georgia’s unemployment rate has risen slightly to 6.3 percent.

The Georgia Department of Labor on Thursday announced the May jobless figure, a seasonally-adjusted rate that’s up from a revised 6.2 percent in April.

The state’s jobless rate was 7.3 percent in May 2014.

State Labor Commissioner Mark Butler said in a statement that Georgia continues to show strong job growth.

Woman to go on $10 bill

Thu, 06/18/2015 - 7:10am

WASHINGTON — Alexander Hamilton, who has been featured on the $10 bill since 1929, is making way for a woman.


Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew is to officially announce Thursday that a redesign of the $10 will feature the first woman on the nation’s paper money in more than a century. The plan is to decide which woman sometime this summer.


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9 fatally shot at historic black church in downtown Charleston

Thu, 06/18/2015 - 12:17am

7 p.m.

North Carolina authorities say the suspect in the shooting of nine people in a historic black church in Charleston has been transferred into the custody of the FBI and is being flown to South Carolina to face charges.

Shelby Police Chief Jeff H. Ledford said 21-year-old Dylann Roof would be charged either when the plane transporting him landed in South Carolina or when it entered South Carolina airspace.

Roof has waived his right to counsel, meaning he will either represent himself or hire his own lawyer.

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Kinder Morgan appeals Georgia DOT decision against the Palmetto Pipeline in its certificate of need request

Wed, 06/17/2015 - 10:38pm


Kinder Morgan officials maintain that Georgia Department of Transportation Commissioner Russell McMurry used improper procedures and committed an “abuse of discretion” in denying them a certificate of need to build a tri-state oil pipeline that would cut through 210 miles of Georgia, according to an appeal the company filed Wednesday.

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Mayor, administrator disagree over working relationship, hierarchy

Wed, 06/17/2015 - 10:10pm

Augusta Mayor Hardie Davis and City Administrator Janice Allen Jackson are having a disagreement over whether she works for him. Davis said Jackson made the assertion that she doesn’t, leaving him “dumbfounded.”

Davis said he was feeling left out of city affairs and called for a Friday meeting with Jackson, where she told him she worked for the 10-member Augusta Commission, not the mayor.

“As I explained what my role is statutorily and to the city, the question became, ‘That is not my understanding,’” Davis said.

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Columbia County task force wants all contractors checked with proper permits and licenses observed

Wed, 06/17/2015 - 9:51pm


A task force formed to rid Columbia County of unlicensed contractors proposed a cleansing process Wednesday that starts with building inspectors visiting job sites to confirm all construction companies and trade businesses operating locally are properly permitted.

During a 90-minute roundtable discussion, the three-person study committee said the sweep would start with electrical, mechanical, plumbing and general contracting businesses before moving to painters, roofers and house framers, each of which is not required to be licensed under Georgia law.

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Second driver in deadly River Watch wreck out of jail on bond

Wed, 06/17/2015 - 9:13pm

Both drivers from a June 1 wreck on River Watch Parkway that killed three Augusta children have been released from jail.

Wade Jackson, 32, posted $10,000 bond around 7:45 p.m. Wednesday, while Christopher Whitehead, 33, was released a day earlier after posting $20,000 bond.

Whitehead and Jackson were arrested Monday on charges of disobedience of a traffic control device and three counts of vehicular homicide in the second degree. Whitehead was also charged with driving too fast for conditions.

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GBI officials meet with coroners, lawmakers about crime lab concerns

Wed, 06/17/2015 - 9:10pm


For the first time Wednesday, GBI officials met face-to-face with area coroners and lawmakers to discuss delays at its crime lab in Decatur, Ga.

By the end of the two-hour meeting at the Municipal Building, both sides agreed that most of the issues stem from two things: money and finding qualified candidates for open positions.

The meeting had been in the works since January, when members of the Augusta delegation were advised that some toxicology and autopsy results were taking weeks, in some cases months, to be returned.

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Parents hold rally in Atlanta to ask Georgia Judicial Council to investigate family court practices

Wed, 06/17/2015 - 8:06pm


ATLANTA — A small group of parents, including some from Columbia County, braved record heat and uncooperative security guards Wednesday to bring their call for an investigation of family courts to the Judicial Council of Georgia.

Two organizations, Stop Parental Bullying and Parental Alienation Dynamics, staged the rally outside the state office building where the council held its quarterly meeting after guards warned them they could not bring their signs onto state property without a permit.

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Judge drops contempt citation, lists grievances against Columbia County court clerk

Wed, 06/17/2015 - 8:02pm


Superior Court Judge J. David Roper dropped the citation for contempt against Columbia County Clerk of Courts Cindy Mason on Wednesday, then dropped a bomb of allegations, accusing her of malfeasance in office.

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Survivors testify in River Watch Parkway crash trial

Wed, 06/17/2015 - 7:27pm


Elliott Sapp was the first to reach what was left of Amelia Hiltz’s Honda Odyssey, barely believing that a person could have been driving this twisted hunk of metal, he testified in the third day of trial of a woman who drove the wrong way on River Watch Parkway.

But peering inside what was left of the interior, Sapp saw Hiltz and nearly wished he hadn’t.

“She looked terrible. I was holding her hand. I was wondering what was taking the police so long. I kept saying ‘Ma’am, I’m here.’ I kept thinking, ‘I don’t want her to die alone.’”

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North Augusta woman, 61, arrested on drug charges

Wed, 06/17/2015 - 7:07pm


A North Augusta woman was arrested Tuesday after a six-month investigation of suspected drug activity in her home.

Brenda Stingley, 61, of 214 West Buena Vista Avenue, was taken to Aiken County Detention Center after a search of her residence turned up several pills of prescription narcotics, guns and a large sum of cash, according to North Augusta Lt. Tim Thornton.

Stingley is charged with distribution of controlled substances, possession of a controlled prescription without a prescription and distribution within a half-mile of a park.


Appeal begins in Columbia County hospital

Wed, 06/17/2015 - 7:04pm


Whether Columbia County finally gets its own hospital and who gets to build it could be decided by a hearing beginning Thursday in Atlanta.

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Former assistants to lead Laney, Hepzibah in football

Wed, 06/17/2015 - 5:33pm

Rodney McFadden and William Harrell have done a little bit of everything for their respective football teams in recent years.

Now, they each get the chance to lead their programs.

A longtime Laney assistant coach, McFadden was announced as the Wildcats’ new head coach. He replaces Lemuel Lackey, who departed in May for the head football job at Evans.

“It’s a situation where I’m so happy for the kids more than anything,” McFadden said. “With all the changes with the school, we’re able to have some stability with the kids.”

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UGA, UCLA agree to football series

Wed, 06/17/2015 - 1:12pm


ATHENS, Ga. — The Georgia football team will head out to California to play UCLA in the Rose Bowl.

In 2025, the two teams will open the season on the West Coast, with an early September matchup scheduled the next season in Athens.

“This home and home series provides an opportunity for our students and fans to enjoy a great matchup of two tradition-rich football programs in two of the most iconic venues in sports — the Rose Bowl and Sanford Stadium,”

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Suspect in North Augusta shooting was reprimanded in April for playing with a firearm

Wed, 06/17/2015 - 12:54pm

A former Aiken County jailer accused of fatally shooting his wife Saturday was reprimanded by the department in April for playing with a firearm.

According to documents obtained by The Augusta Chronicle, Matthew Jordan Blakley was suspended for a day and placed on six months probation after an April 6 incident in which he was seen retrieving a firearm from his vehicle at the Aiken County Detention Center in “an attempt to horseplay with another deputy.”

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Gas leak capped on Washington Road

Wed, 06/17/2015 - 12:34pm

A gas leak that temporarily closed the westbound lane on Washington Road at Hardy McManus Road has been capped and lanes are now open for traffic, according to a news release from Columbia County Emergency Services.

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