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'Chronicle' pressroom takes pride in each run

Fri, 09/12/2014 - 6:35pm

‘Stop the presses.” That clichéd movie scene depicting halting the printing press as a big story breaks is a rare occurrence in real life.

I asked Joe Battle, our pressroom superintendent, whether he recalls anyone yelling that in his 29 years at The Augusta Chronicle.

“Apart from something mechanical happening, I think I heard that once,” Joe said. It wasn’t for breaking news, just some guy who said he always wanted to know what it felt like to say it. (Joe didn’t stop the press.)

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Sanford calls off engagement

Fri, 09/12/2014 - 6:03pm


COLUMBIA — Republican U.S. Rep. Mark Sanford says he and his fiancee are calling off their engagement because of the ongoing contention with his ex-wife Jenny Sanford, four years after their divorce.

The former governor announced the break-up Friday in a lengthy post on his Facebook page, writing that “no relationship can stand forever this tension.”

He writes that he’ll be forever grateful for Maria Belen Chapur, and that it’s possible “there will be another chapter when waters calm with Jenny.”

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North Augusta man asks judge to reconsider Project Jackson ruling

Fri, 09/12/2014 - 5:44pm


A South Carolina judge has been asked to reconsider his ruling in favor of North Augusta’s Project Jackson development, which includes a new baseball stadium for the Augusta GreenJackets.

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Augusta man pleads guilty to child molestation

Fri, 09/12/2014 - 5:43pm


An Augusta man accused of masturbating in front of a child was sentenced to 15 years in prison Friday.

Sylvester Harris, 40, pleaded guilty in Richmond County Superior Court to child molestation. Judge Daniel J. Craig imposed the prison term with an additional five years on probation.

Harris was arrested after a 14-year-old girl reported he had sexually harassed her and performed the act in front of her Sept. 29.

Dogwood's Campbell to receive prestigious award

Fri, 09/12/2014 - 5:39pm


Dogwood Stable president Cot Campbell will be presented with the Joe Palmer Award for meritorious service to racing, it was announced Friday.

The National Turf Writers and Broadcasters will honor Campbell, a pioneer in thoroughbred partnerships, at its 55th annual awards dinner on Oct. 29 in Arcadia, Calif.

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Administrator candidate said he was wrong color for Augusta job

Fri, 09/12/2014 - 5:26pm


Former Augusta city administrator candidate Oscar Rodriguez, now a finalist for city manager in Worchester, Mass., cited racial politics and his being the wrong color as the reason he wasn’t hired for the job in July.

In a 90-minute televised interview Thursday with the Worchester mayor and city council, Rodriguez made the remarks in response to Councilor George Russell’s prepared question about his “management experience” in “dealing with issues of racial tension in an urban environment.”

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Jerry Seinfeld to perform at Bell Auditorium

Fri, 09/12/2014 - 4:56pm


Comedian Jerry Seinfeld will perform his stand-up routine in January at Bell Auditorium.

According to a news release from Global Spectrum, which manages the auditorium, Seinfield will perform at 7 p.m. Jan. 16.

Tickets go on sale at noon Sept. 19 and are available online at, by phone at (877) 4AUGTIX and at the Champion’s Box Office at James Brown Arena.

Grants allow clinics to do more primary care

Fri, 09/12/2014 - 4:43pm


Two Augusta Community Health centers will get about $200,000 apiece to expand their primary care services, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced Friday.

They are part of nearly $7 million that came to 30 health centers in Georgia as part of $295 million the agency awarded to 1,195 centers nationwide and in some U.S. territories, the agency said.

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Warrenton bank robbed Friday

Fri, 09/12/2014 - 4:27pm


First Citizens Bank in Warrenton was robbed Friday.

Warren County Chief Deputy Sammy Purvis says a black man entered the downtown Warrenton bank around 1:20 p.m. and demanded money. Witnesses told authorities the man was wearing blue or gray coveralls and a black baseball cap. He was last seen fleeing on foot in the Norwood Street area.

A dye bag placed with the cash exploded, leaving a trail of dye for police to follow.

Agents with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation were called along with Glascock County and city of Thomson tracking dogs.

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Judge refuses guilty plea of Hepzibah man

Fri, 09/12/2014 - 3:26pm

A judge refused Friday to accept the guilty plea of a Hephzibah man accused of murder in connection with a 2012 attempted armed robbery in Columbia County.

Superior Court Judge James G. Blanchard Jr. would not accept the plea from Anthony Terrell Graddy, 37, at a sentencing hearing in Evans after Graddy said he had nothing to do with the attempted armed robbery and death of a companion Patrick Smith, 33.

“If a client says he didn’t do it, I can’t accept his plea,” Blanchard said.

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Governor race tight, poll says; Perdue leads Senate

Fri, 09/12/2014 - 3:00pm


ATLANTA -- The governor’s race remains tight, but David Perdue now has a 10-point lead in the U.S. Senate contest, according to a poll released Friday.

Republican incumbent Nathan Deal holds support from 44 percent of the 1,167 likely voters surveyed Wednesday and Thursday by InsiderAdvantage for Morris News Service and Fox5. Democratic challenger Jason Carter has 40 percent of the support, and Libertarian Andrew Hunt has 7 percent while 9 percent remain undecided. The poll has a 3 percent margin of error.

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Deputies seek bandits

Fri, 09/12/2014 - 2:01pm

Police are seeking two men who robbed a woman at gunpoint outside her Madison on the Green apartment late Wednesday.

The 26-year-old victim told police she parked in front of her building on River Ridge Drive around 10:20 p.m. and was getting out of the vehicle when she heard someone tell her to give over her belongings, a police report stated. She said she thought it was a joke until she saw the gun. The two armed bandits were described as black men possibly in their late teens with black doo rags covering their faces.

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Thomson to name field after former coach Welsh

Fri, 09/12/2014 - 1:08pm

Thomson High will name its football field after former longtime coach Luther Welsh.

Rob Ridings, the current Bulldogs coach and a former Welsh assistant, said the naming was approved at Thursday’s board meeting. Thomson’s home facility will be Luther Welsh Field at the Brickyard.

“It’s a great honor for coach Welsh,” Ridings said. “I really enjoyed the five years working for him. I learned a lot about football and how to deal with people. He was a great person.”

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Dad tied to 5 kids' deaths had mental issues

Fri, 09/12/2014 - 10:37am

 LEXINGTON, S.C.— The man who police say killed his five children waived his first court appearance Friday because he is being "portrayed as a monster" and needs a mental health evaluation as soon as possible, his attorney said.

Timothy Ray Jones Jr., 32, has been treated for mental health problems in the past, his attorney Aimee Zmroczek said. She would not specify what sort of treatment or problems he has had.

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2 killed in interstate wreck this morning

Fri, 09/12/2014 - 8:50am

Two people were killed this morning in a traffic accident on Interstate 20 in Columbia County near the McDuffie County line.

The accident took place about 5 a.m. in the eastbound lane, Coroner Vernon Collins said.

The names of the victims have not been made public, but Collins said one was a man from Texas and a woman from South America.

Neither was wearing a seat belt.

Space storm could hit GPS, power but little expected impact

Thu, 09/11/2014 - 11:25pm

A couple of eruptions on the sun earlier this week sent geomagnetic storms racing toward Earth that are expected to hit one after the other with the biggest impact Friday, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said.

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Two Augusta men arrested for operating chop shop

Thu, 09/11/2014 - 9:13pm

Two Augusta men were arrested Thursday on charges of operating an illegal automotive “chop shop” from their residence.

Clifford Edwin Palmer and Justin Bossick, of 2132 Richards Road, were taken into custody by Richmond County Sheriff deputies and transported to Charles B. Webster Detention Center on charges of felony theft by receiving stolen property and felony owning, as well as conducting a chop shop, according to a statement from Sgt. Michael McDaniel.

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Police standards agency to investigate ex-commissioner Smith

Thu, 09/11/2014 - 8:21pm

The agency that certifies Georgia law enforcement officers opened an investigation Thursday into former Augusta Commission member Don­nie Smith that could strip the former state trooper of his Georgia law enforcement credentials permanently.

A Georgia State Pa­trol investigation released last week depicted Smith as performing little state work during Masters Week, hanging out with other law enforcement officers and dignitaries at a “hospitality house” while drawing his lieutenant’s salary.

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2 men face charges in sexual assaults of young girls

Thu, 09/11/2014 - 3:31pm

Two men are facing charges after police said they sexually assaulted young girls.

Amen Rule Hutto, 38, of Rheney Road in Heph­zibah, was booked into the Richmond County jail Tues­day on charges of nonaggravated child molestation after an investigation into an assault on a 7-year-old girl.

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Ex-Clemson soccer player from Aiken sues over alleged hazing

Thu, 09/11/2014 - 2:19pm


COLUMBIA— An ex-Clemson women’s soccer player from Aiken has sued Tigers coach Eddie Radwanski, his assistants and several former teammates for a 2011 hazing ritual in which she said she was blindfolded and ran into a brick wall at the team’s playing field.

A 36-page suit on behalf of Haley Hunt was filed last month in state court in Pickens County. Hunt said Radwanski and his staff discussed a hazing plan with Tiger veterans that had the freshman doing “humiliating and demeaning acts.”

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