ATHENS, Ga. -- Speeches will be the order of the day today as the Georgia Republican Party’s two-day biennial state convention gets under way in Athens, with two formally declared presidential candidates and a likely GOP contender headlining the bill at The Classic Center in downtown Athens.
Festivities for the early arrivals among the 3,500 people expected for the GOP convention began Thursday evening, with a welcome party sponsored by Georgia Republican Party Chairman John Padgett and state Sen. Bill Cowsert, R-Athens, in the Atrium at The Classic Center.
LAS VEGAS — B.B. King believed anyone could play the blues, and that “as long as people have problems, the blues can never die.”
But no one could play the blues like B.B. King, who died Thursday night at age 89 in Las Vegas, where he had been in hospice care.
Although he kept performing well into his 80s, the 15-time Grammy winner suffered from diabetes and other problems. He collapsed during a concert in Chicago last October, later blaming dehydration and exhaustion.
Bond was denied Thursday for an Augusta man facing a retrial on a murder charge in a 2006 fatal shootout.
The case against Eddie Lee Freeman, 30, was returned to Richmond County Superior Court in October after the Georgia Supreme Court ruled his 2008 conviction had to be reversed because of an improper comment by the judge.
Freeman and two other men were arrested in the Sept. 12, 2006, shooting death of 21-year-old Terrance D. Moore in a local motel room.
The subcommittee working to revise Richmond County’s 35-year-old animal ordinances came closer Thursday to narrowing down a list of potential groups that would be exempt from spay and neuter requirements in the ordinance package.
The subcommittee last week approved charging owners with sterilized animals a one-time $10 licensing fee while imposing a $100 annual licensing fee on owners who refuse to spay or neuter their pets.
Augusta Animal Services is holding its third annual Family Fun Day on Saturday to help educate the public about pet care and to move dogs and cats out of the high-kill shelter and into loving homes.
The shelter is offering a special $40 adoption rate per animal, which is almost half the price of normal adoptions. These animals are already spayed or neutered, fully vaccinated and micro-chipped.
U.S. Army initiatives to diversify the nation’s energy grid with renewable sources reached a new benchmark Thursday with the start of construction for a 209-acre solar panel farm on Fort Gordon.
The 30-megawatt solar plant and two other similar-sized facilities at Fort Stewart and Fort Benning will result in 18 percent of the Army’s energy consumption in Georgia when complete. The Fort Gordon plant, on land near the Gordon Lakes Golf Course, is expected to begin producing electricity next year.
Palmer Brigham is “obviously smart,” her grandmother said Thursday after the Westminster senior was announced as the Augusta Exchange Club’s Youth of the Year. But she added, it’s her heart that sets her apart.
“It’s not surprising,” Patricia Brigham said of her granddaughter. “She’s one who has always given herself to other people.”
As Augusta’s senior commissioner pushes to make the city more age-friendly, a new index from AARP gave the city 51 out of 100 points for meeting current and future needs of residents.
The “livability” index gave Augusta a higher score than Columbia County, Aiken County, North Augusta and Macon, which all received a 49, but a lower one than Savannah and Columbus, both of which garnered a 52.
The Laney girls basketball team will be honored with a parade Saturday.
The Wildcats won the program’s first GHSA state title in March with a 70-55 win against Beach in the Class AAA state championship.
Starting at noon Saturday, the parade will begin at the football team’s practice field (Mill Street) and then go on Wrightsboro Road to Augusta Avenue. After that it will continue on to Laney-Walker Boulevard and to Eleventh Street. From there, it will go to Wrightsboro Road and back to the football practice field.
ATLANTA -- As delegates gather at this weekend’s Republican state convention in Athens, a first-time candidate and the winner of Georgia’s ‘08 primary top the list of presidential favorites among party rank and file.
Tied for first, 10 months before the Georgia primary, are neurosurgeon Ben Carson, a political novice who’s among the most recent to formally announce, and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, who failed to capitalize on his primary win here seven years ago.
Carson and Huckabee were tied with 20 percent.
A Greenville, S.C., man was killed Thursday morning in an Appling traffic accident.
Columbia County Deputy Coroner Harriett Garrison said Garud S. Acharya, 65, died at the scene from blunt-force trauma to the head.
About 10:30 a.m., Acharya was stopped in his Toyota Camry on Bennett Road. He worked for ADT and was in the area for his job, Garrison said.
As he tried to turn left on Ray Owens Road, Acharya pulled into the path of a northbound dump truck, according to sheriff’s Capt. Steve Morris.
JOHNSTON, S.C. — No one was injured Thursday when a train traveling through downtown Johnston struck a truck stalled on its tracks, smashing the tractor-trailer and causing debris damage to vehicles in the nearby library parking lot.
The southbound Norfolk Southern train with two locomotives and 59 cars ripped through the truck about 9:45 a.m., according to a statement from company spokeswoman Susan Terpay.
More than $4,300 worth of landscaping equipment was stolen from a trailer at Augusta Mall while workers groomed the grounds Wednesday.
One of the landscapers told Richmond County sheriff’s deputies he and his crew were working between 10 a.m. and 10:35 a.m. when he saw a black man jump into a white pickup truck and flee toward Wrightsboro Road. After checking the back of one of his trailers, he saw that two leaf blowers, two edgers, two weed-eaters and two push mowers were missing.
Columbia County residents will have yet another chance to offer ideas and voice their concerns on the next 20 years of growth and development today at Evans public library.
The public is invited to an all-day “land use charrette” today to provide input for Columbia County’s comprehensive development plan, dubbed “Vision 2035,” which will help planners and elected officials make decisions about the next two decades of growth and change, said Andrew Strickland, the county’s director of Planning Services.
The Richmond County Board of Education has decided to delay the T.W. Josey High School-Murphey Middle School merger until the 2017-18 school year.
The decision made at a Tuesday committee meeting will allow time for the construction of a new wing at Josey and for the entire student body of Murphey to move to their new school as a single unit, school officials said. The board voted 9-0 to approve the delay, with member Frank Dolan absent.
Georgia Department of Transportation Commissioner Russell McMurry is expected to issue a decision by Tuesday on a controversial, tri-state petroleum pipeline, proposed to run through 210 miles in Georgia.
If approved, Kinder Morgan’s new Palmetto Pipeline will dogleg off the existing Plantation Pipeline in Belton S.C., and transport up to 7 million gallons of oil per day to terminals in North Augusta, Savannah and Jacksonville.
Marshall Square is only about 2,100 feet from Mary Howard’s office, but the retirement resort that opened last November ceases to exist in Columbia County’s Geographic Information System.
The 3½-acre property merely appears as a large plot of undeveloped land on online maps.
“It sure would be great to see that new building,” Howard, the county’s GIS manager, said this week.
By the end of the summer, her wish should come true.
Twenty of the CSRA’s most accomplished high school seniors will be recognized during the 2015 Best and Brightest Award banquet Thursday, competing for a $1,000 grand prize.
The students in the running this year were whittled down from 96 applicants. Five will receive cash prizes.
Applicants had to submit short essays detailing their accomplishments, high school transcripts and letters of nomination to be considered for the award, along with an in-person interview.
Police said a man who shot a fellow city employee at an Augusta cemetery Tuesday did it after an argument over religion.
Ed Wilie Jordan Jr., 47, was booked on charges of aggravated assault and possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime. A Richmond County Sheriff’s Office report said Jordan had to pull the trigger multiple times before the gun fired.
The victim, 43-year-old Theron Rodriquez Wilson, was treated for a gunshot wound to the abdomen. Police said both men are supervisors at the cemetery.
A bat with rabies was discovered in the Goshen subdivision, according to the Richmond County Health Department.
Augusta Animal Services retrieved the bat from a home in the south Richmond County neighborhood and it tested positive for rabies, said Randy Wishard, environmental services manager for the health department.
“Sometimes they find their way in through a vent or something,” he said. “We haven’t seen one in about a month or so.”