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South Carolina, feds argue MOX lawsuit in court

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Thu, 06/30/2016 - 7:46am


COLUMBIA — It’s now up to a federal judge to decide whether South Carolina’s lawsuit against the federal government over an unfinished plutonium processing project at Savannah River Site should be dismissed, or whether the state’s pursuit of millions of dollars in fees should move forward.

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Woman shot near Atlanta's Lenox mall

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Thu, 06/30/2016 - 7:37am

ATLANTA — Authorities say a woman has been shot near an Atlanta shopping mall after two men followed her and her boyfriend inside the mall and then tried to rob them.

Atlanta police spokesman Sgt. Warren Pickard tells news outlets that the suspects followed the 23-year-old woman, her child and her boyfriend to their car Wednesday evening after the couple had shopped at Lenox Square in the Buckhead neighborhood.

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Stolen beer found, can't be kept

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Thu, 06/30/2016 - 7:34am

ATLANTA — Authorities have found most of the nearly 80,000 bottles of beer that were stolen from an Atlanta brewery last week, but the company says every last drop will have to be thrown away.

SweetWater Brewing Co. spokeswoman Tucker Berta Sarkisian said in a news release that the Georgia Bureau of Investigation and Southeastern Transportation Security Council on Wednesday returned 30 of the 40 pallets of beer that had been stolen, minus a few cases.

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No suicide; wife charged in husband death

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Thu, 06/30/2016 - 7:32am

BUFORD, Ga. — A woman has been charged in connection with her husband’s death, which was initially reported as a suicide last year.


Gwinnett County police Cpl. Michele Pihera said in a news release Wednesday that 35-year-old Liubov Volkova has been indicted on a murder charge and accused of fatally shooting her husband, 38-year-old Jordan Whitson.


Authorities say Volkova told authorities on Nov. 1 that her husband had shot himself in the cheek inside their Buford home.


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Evans mom's events with teens lead to probation

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Thu, 06/30/2016 - 12:22am

An Evans mother on Wednesday pleaded guilty to six counts of contributing to the delinquency of a minor and was sentenced to six years on probation in a case that both the defense and prosecuting attorneys called unusual.

Rachel Lynn Lehnardt, 35, was sentenced in Columbia County for allowing her 16-year-old daughter and her underage friends on two separate occasions to drink alcohol and smoke marijuana in her home and for showing the teens sex images on her phone.

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Mayor's "ban the box" effort folded into larger Augusta Commission policy changes

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Wed, 06/29/2016 - 10:22pm


Augusta may soon “ban the box” on city job applications but it won’t be on Mayor Hardie Davis’ timeline.

Davis launched a public push to eliminate the check box for criminal convictions earlier this year but when the mayor called for a June 7 vote, he found the effort rolled into an ongoing Augusta Commission revision of the city personnel policies and procedures manual.

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Arrest made in home invasion

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Wed, 06/29/2016 - 7:03pm

One person is in custody following a Saturday home invasion on Morningside Drive.

According to a news release from the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office, an unnamed suspect was arrested Wednesday in connection to the invasion. The investigation is ongoing and the identity of the suspect is being withheld until victims of the home invasion view photographic lineups, the release stated.

More information is forthcoming.

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Paine College gets $1 million donation from Christian Methodist Episcopal Church College of Bishops

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Wed, 06/29/2016 - 2:03pm

Declaring it a “historical moment,” the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church College of Bishops donated $1 million to Paine College to help it solidify its finances as it battles to keep accreditation, Bishop Kenneth W. Carter said Wednesday.

In what was both figuratively and literally a revival that often brought a fervent crowd to its feet to clap and shout, speakers declared that Paine would win its fight and come out stronger for it.

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Police still looking for clues on missing Burke County man

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Wed, 06/29/2016 - 12:51pm

Police continue to look for clues in the suspicious disappearance of a Burke County man one month ago.

“At this point we really don’t know what happened,” Burke County sheriff’s Sgt. Dedric Smith said Wednesday. “...It’s a difficult case.”

Simon Powell, 63, was last seen about 7 p.m. on June 1 in Dickies coveralls and driving his white 2012 Ford pickup. Smith said family members said it was out of character for Powell to go missing, especially for that length of time.

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Pastor facing sex charge kills self in Ga.

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Wed, 06/29/2016 - 8:20am

MARIETTA, Ga. — Georgia police say an Indiana pastor accused of going to Kentucky earlier this month to try to have sex with a minor has died in an apparent suicide.

Cobb County police Sgt. Dana Pierce tells the Lexington Herald-Leader 46-year-old David J. Brown’s body was found Monday in a Marietta storage unit.

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Disabled Ga. boy drowns in bathtub

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Wed, 06/29/2016 - 8:18am

MORROW, Ga. — An Atlanta-area man has been charged with murder after his 11-year-old disabled stepson drowned in a bathtub.

Clayton County police spokeswoman Sgt. Ashanti Marbury tells news outlets that Michael D. Smith of Morrow placed the autistic and physically disabled boy in the bathtub Tuesday afternoon and left the bathroom to check on three other children in the home. When he came back, the boy was submerged in the water and dead.

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High-speed chase for car dealer worker

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Wed, 06/29/2016 - 8:14am

JOHNS CREEK, Ga. — Officials say a car dealership employee in the Atlanta area has been arrested and fired after he led Johns Creek police on a high-speed chase in a dealership’s Mercedes-Benz car.

News outlets report that Frederick Spry was hired a few months ago to drive cars between dealerships, but later lost his driver’s license. Police say that was the reason Spry didn’t stop when a Johns Creek officer tried to pull him over June 16.

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Harrisburg residents protest rooming house run by Mercy Ministries

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Tue, 06/28/2016 - 10:50pm


A group of Harrisburg residents concerned about their neighborhood took to the streets again Tuesday to protest the city allowing a tax-exempt group to run a rooming house they say is a magnet for crime.

Waving signs stating “investigate code enforcement,” “close nuisance properties” and other messages, the group protested for an hour.

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Shark attacks man on Sullivan's Island

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Tue, 06/28/2016 - 8:46am

SULLIVAN’S ISLAND, S.C. — Authorities say a man was bitten by a small shark Monday in knee-deep water on Sullivan’s Island in South Carolina.


The Sullivan’s Island fire and police departments said in a statement that the 35-year-old was “nipped” on Monday afternoon by a shark that the victim estimated to be 3 to 4 feet long.


The man, who was on vacation with his wife, was taken to a hospital with non-life-threatening injuries. He wasn’t identified.


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Move to create south Augusta development authority advances

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Mon, 06/27/2016 - 5:48pm


A study committee elected leaders Monday who favor taking a hard look at creating a separate government entity to try to grow the economy in south Augusta.

The area houses much of the region’s industrial base, but residents have long complained about its lack of shopping and dining.

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Draining of Augusta Canal to allow bridge repairs

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Mon, 06/27/2016 - 3:09pm


The Augusta Canal will soon be drained to allow for maintenance and bridge repairs.

According to an Augusta Canal Authority news release, the draining will begin July 5 and will take several days. The canal is expected to remain drained for about three months.

Work on the Butt Memorial Bridge at 15th Street and the Broad Street bridge near King Mill will begin July 18 and will consist of the replacement of the underside decking and other restoration.

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Superior Court Judge J. David Roper to retire

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Mon, 06/27/2016 - 2:15pm


Superior Court Judge J. David Roper announced Monday that he is retiring.

Roper sent out an e-mail announcing his decision, a few weeks shy of his 70th birthday.

Roper said he is notifying the governor about an appointment to fill his seat. Roper’s term ends in 2018.

His last day would be Feb. 5, according to an e-mail announcement.

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Fire damages abandoned Martinez house

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Mon, 06/27/2016 - 12:04pm


An abandoned home in Martinez was damaged by fire this morning.

Firefighters were called to 411 Beverly Road about 2 a.m. and discovered it fully engulfed upon arrival. The fire was quickly extinguished, according to an incident report. Firefighters had to cut the chain to the nearby Hollywood Self Storage to ensure the fire had not spread to the business.


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Morning wreck on I-20 at state line

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Mon, 06/27/2016 - 10:21am



A wreck is slowing traffic on Interstate 20 near Exit 200 at the state line.

No word on injuries.

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Night paving at Gordon Highway, Deans Bridge

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Mon, 06/27/2016 - 9:14am

Night paving at the Deans Bridge Road and Gordon Highway intersection will continue for most of the week.

Paving has been scheduled through Thursday from 7 p.m. to 5 a.m., weather permitting.

The $895,000 project will include improvements to the intersections such as the addition of pedestrian facilities and modifications to the right turning movements and channeling islands at each quadrant of the intersection.

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