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Faces of Survival: Sonya Hurlbut

Thu, 10/09/2014 - 8:10pm

Sonya Hurlbut was there for her daughter as she was being treated for cervical cancer in 2008 when she thought maybe she should schedule a checkup for herself.

Hurlbut wasn’t one to go to the doctor, she said, and it had been a while since she had been seen by one.

The nurse who administered her mammogram saw something suspicious on the X-ray. She took three mammograms to be sure. The doctor discovered the tumor on her chest wall, where it was hard to see.

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City looks to water, garbage revenue to cover budget request

Thu, 10/09/2014 - 7:44pm

Augusta commissioners will venture into uncharted territory as they consider increasing the franchise fee charged against water, sewer and garbage revenue to fund some $1.6 million in pay increases at the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office.

Interim Administrator Tameka Allen and Finance Director Donna Williams said staff will present options for increasing the fee, which has remained at 3.5 percent of gross revenues for many years, at a Friday commission retreat.

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School board candidate says he will enact changes if elected

Thu, 10/09/2014 - 5:47pm


James Swanagan Jr. has observed the Richmond County School System from the perspective of a parent and later as a school bus driver.

Now Swanagan said he wants to enact change from the position of an elected official.

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UGA's Gurley suspended

Thu, 10/09/2014 - 5:32pm

ATHENS, Ga. — Georgia suspended star tailback and Heisman Trophy frontrunner Todd Gurley indefinitely from competition because of an ongoing investigation into an alleged NCAA rules violation, the school announced late Thursday afternoon.

A source confirmed the investigation is looking into Gurley accepting extra benefits for memorabilia and/or autographs.

Bruce Feldman, of Fox Sports 1, first reported the details of the alleged violation.

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Martinez couple completes 6-month journey on Appalachian Trail

Thu, 10/09/2014 - 4:48pm

At a time when their peers struggle with mountains of college coursework, James Rittwage and Elizabeth Smith decided to climb mountains of their own.

Their trek led them on a journey to rival the best of senior trips. After six months and 2,185 miles, they had hiked the Appalachian Trail from Springer Mountain in Georgia to Mount Katahdin in Maine.

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Two top school administrators leaving Richmond County Board of Education

Thu, 10/09/2014 - 3:57pm


Two Richmond County Board of Education cabinet members have given notice they will be leaving the school system.

Deputy Superintendent Tim Spivey said he is retiring Oct. 31 after a 33-year career in Richmond County. Chief Human Resources Officer Norman Hill also submitted his resignation effective Nov. 5 after six years with the system.

The district had a shift in its top leadership this year with Superintendent Angela Pringle taking office Sept. 4.

However both Spivey and Hill said their moves had nothing to do with the recent leadership change.

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Resource center opens to help Savannah River Site retirees with health benefits

Thu, 10/09/2014 - 2:55pm

For former Savannah River Site workers, help has arrived to navigate the complex process of health care benefits and reimbursements.

The Savannah River Site Retiree Resource Center opened last month in Aiken to assist former SRS employees prepare and file benefits-related forms. The SRS Retiree Association created the support system in partnership with the Lower Savannah Council of Governments.

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Ga. lawmakers review power plant changes

Thu, 10/09/2014 - 2:45pm

ATLANTA — Georgia lawmakers heard contrasting views Thursday on how the state could meet proposed rules limiting carbon emissions from power plants.

President Obama’s administration has proposed a 30 percent cut in carbon-dioxide emissions from power plants by 2030, one of the most significant actions to curb the key gas linked to global warming. Federal officials are still accepting comments on the plan and have not adopted a final version.

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SC Supreme Court stops same-sex marriage license

Thu, 10/09/2014 - 12:36pm

COLUMBIA, S.C. — South Carolina’s Supreme Court ordered probate judges across the state to stop taking application for marriage licenses Thursday, saying it wants to give a federal judge time to rule on a case taking on the state’s ban on same-sex unions.

The court’s order just before noon ended a whirlwind week of legal maneuvers and disappointed dozens of gay couples who went to probate court offices in Charleston County and Richland County after a U.S. Supreme Court decision Monday appeared to open the door for gay marriages in the state.

No licenses were issued.

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Asphyxia killed Kia plant worker

Thu, 10/09/2014 - 10:51am


WEST POINT, Ga. — A coroner says preliminary results of an autopsy show that a worker killed at the Kia Motors assembly plant in west Georgia died of asphyxia after materials fell on him.


Troup County Coroner Jeffrey Cook said it appears the worker’s breath was cut off due to the weight that was on him.


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Drive-by shooting kills Columbia woman

Thu, 10/09/2014 - 7:47am

COLUMBIA — Richland County officials have identified a woman who was killed in a drive-by shooting.

Coroner Gary Watts said in a statement that 32-year-old Astrid D. Haynes of Columbia died Wednesday morning after she was shot in the abdomen.

Columbia police are looking for suspects.

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Van pulls up to Atlanta hotel lobby with 3 gunshot victims

Thu, 10/09/2014 - 7:43am


ATLANTA — Police are investigating after a bullet-riddled van with three gunshot victims inside pulled up to the lobby of the Marriott Marquis in downtown Atlanta, startling some hotel guests.


Police say a total of six people were inside the white van with New Jersey tags when it arrived at the hotel late Wednesday night.


Hotel guest Jeff Johnson tells WSB-TV that he saw the van pull up, and several men jumped out, yelling.


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Warm winter coming? Maybe

Thu, 10/09/2014 - 7:33am

Warmer-than-normal temperatures – like those experienced Wednesday in Augusta – could extend into the winter, the National Climate Prediction Center predicts.

On Wednesday, the high reached 90 degrees at Daniel Field airport, which ties the record for that location on that date. Records at Daniel Field go back to 1997. At Bush Field airport, which has records going back to 1873, the observed temperature Wednesday was 92 degrees – just two degrees shy of the record high set in 1941.

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4 life sentences for Atlanta child rapist

Thu, 10/09/2014 - 7:30am


ATLANTA — Fulton County prosecutors say a man who argued that he was a sovereign citizen and immune from prosecution has been given four life sentences for raping a 9-year-old girl.

District Attorney’s spokeswoman Yvette Jones says 40-year-old Chadrus Brown represented himself in court and was convicted and sentenced Wednesday after a jury deliberated for roughly half an hour.

Brown was charged with rape, aggravated sodomy and child molestation.

Prosecutors say Brown accused the victim of lying despite DNA evidence linking him to the attack.

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Electric vehicle owners in Augusta won't depend on charging stations outside of home

Wed, 10/08/2014 - 10:58pm

In Amisha Amin’s garage in Evans, her Nissan Leaf gets a surge of energy late at night.

Amin’s electric vehicle gets all the fuel it needs from a 110-volt charger she plugs into a regular outlet at home.

Following her daily routine of school drop-off, commuting to work and errands, she has mileage left over from the 80 to 90 miles on a fully-charged battery.

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Fire department to install smoke detectors Saturday

Wed, 10/08/2014 - 10:14pm

The Augusta Fire Department and American Red Cross of Augusta are teaming up Saturday to install smoke detectors in area homes.

According to the National Fire Protection Association, nearly two-thirds of home fire deaths occur in residences with no smoke detectors or without working smoke alarms.

“Area residents can take simple actions to reduce the risk of a home fire tragedy by installing and maintaining a smoke alarm on every level of their home, inside bedrooms and outside sleeping areas,” said American Red Cross of Augusta Executive Director Jennifer Pennington.

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CDC announces enhanced screening efforts to contain Ebola

Wed, 10/08/2014 - 7:31pm

 ATLANTA — As they mourned the death Wednesday of the first Ebola case diagnosed in the U.S., officials announced enhanced screening for the 150 travelers a day from Ebola-ravaged countries in Africa flying into America, including new measures at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport.

Officials with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported some potential progress in one of those countries, Liberia, but cautioned that a long fight was still ahead.

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Early voting starts, new Augusta advance voting site opens Monday

Wed, 10/08/2014 - 7:10pm


Voters ready to cast a ballot early or check out the new Telfair Street entrance to Augusta Municipal Building can do both at once with the opening of Richmond County’s Advance Voting Center at 8:30 a.m. Monday.

“One of the things that makes it so wonderful for advance voting in particular, is people coming in to vote will no longer be required to go through security screening,” Board of Elections Executive Director Lynn Bailey said. “I think it just makes it a little more convenient.”

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Columbia County affirms financial backing for hospital proposals

Wed, 10/08/2014 - 6:31pm


Columbia County has reaffirmed its commitment to offer financial backing for three proposed hospital plans, should one win needed approval from state regulators.

Columbia County Administrator Scott Johnson transmitted renewed letters of support to officials at the three Augusta hospitals vying to build the county’s first hospital. Each is in the process of seeking a Certificate of Need (CON) from the state, which has already said the area has more than enough hospital beds not to warrant building a new facility.

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Mullins land cleared for River Watch dirt deal

Wed, 10/08/2014 - 6:28pm

The land has been cleared and trees rendered into pulpwood and mulch, but shoppers shouldn’t expect to ring any cash registers in a new section of Mullins Crossing soon.

County officials confirmed Wednesday there are no immediate plans to develop the 21-acre site at 4263 Washington Road, which is expected at some point to be used for the second phase of Mullins Crossing, an Evans retail center which opened in 2005.

The reason for the land’s recent clearing, however, is a deal for its dirt.

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