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Suspect asks for ride, then drives off in vehicle

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Wed, 07/30/2014 - 12:16am

An Augusta man who agreed to give another man a ride to an undetermined location Tuesday afternoon is now without his vehicle after he says the man drove off in his sport utility when the two men stopped for gas.

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Georgia police ease way into 'slowpoke' law

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Tue, 07/29/2014 - 11:38pm

Trooper 1st Class Chris Niehus found five “slowpoke” motorists on Augusta-area roads Tuesday. But like so many others who have been stopped by officers enforcing Georgia’s revamped slowpoke law, all five drivers left with just a warning.

The Georgia State Patrol trooper said now is not the time to start issuing citations. In fact, since the law took effect July 1, he said, he hasn’t issued a single ticket.

Now’s the time to educate.

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Compromise on tax increase expected at called meeting

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Tue, 07/29/2014 - 11:34pm

Augusta commissioners appear headed to a possible compromise on a property tax increase after defeating a $9 million increase at a called meeting Monday.

Mayor Pro Tem Corey Johnson, one of seven to vote against the 2-mill increase Monday, said he hopes to join at least five other commissioners at a called meeting Wednesday, in support of a lesser increase of 1.5 mills that doesn’t include $1,000 annual raises for all city employees.

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Georgia Governor Nathan Deal wrote letter promoting ethics chief less than year after complaints filed against him

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Tue, 07/29/2014 - 10:56pm

Less than a year after Georgia’s ethics director said she felt pressured to settle ethics complaints against Gov. Nathan Deal, the governor wrote a letter recommending her inclusion in the Leadership Georgia program.

The governor wrote the letter despite the fact that he’s said he doesn’t really know the ethics commission’s executive director, Holly LaBerge.

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Gov. Haley urges Atlantic Beach to end Bikefest after fatal shootings

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Tue, 07/29/2014 - 10:45pm

ATLANTIC BEACH, S.C. — Gov. Nikki Haley urged the Atlantic Beach Town Council on Tuesday to end the town’s annual biker festival and promised to work to help transform the tiny beachfront community into a family-friendly destination that tourists from across the nation will visit.

“Please help us put an end to what we know as Bikefest,” Haley urged the council in the wake of a rash of violence during this year’s festival on Memorial Day weekend.

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Richmond County Sheriff's Office program gives youths hands-on policing experience

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Tue, 07/29/2014 - 8:56pm

A new program at the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office will give local youths a real world, hands-on policing experience.

The Police Exploring program, which is part of the Boy Scouts of America, takes youths ages 16 to 20 with no criminal record and a good standing in school and introduces them to life in law enforcement.

“The information they’re going to be getting is a mild version of what an officer learns on the road,” said Sgt. Mike Gilliland.

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Medical residency changes proposed

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Tue, 07/29/2014 - 7:06pm

A prestigious government advisory group is proposing changes to the way graduate physicians are trained that could open the door for states like Georgia and South Carolina to add positions where they have historically been shortchanged, the co-chairwoman said.

But the report from the Institute of Medicine on graduate medical education does not address overall underfunding and the need to diversify funding away from Medicare, said Dr. Peter Buckley, dean of Medical College of Georgia at Georgia Regents University.

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Battle over vacant buildings in downtown Augusta could go to court

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Tue, 07/29/2014 - 7:05pm

A heated legal battle is brewing in downtown Augusta’s historic district, where city notices to demolish or rehabilitate two vacant buildings have set off fighting over property that hasn’t received much attention in more than a decade.

Last week, Richmond County Magistrate Judge H. Scott Allen gave Bonnie Ruben and the city of Augusta 30 days to reach an agreement on whether a former department store and burned nightclub she owns on the 700 and 900 blocks of Broad Street are not structurally sound and require repair, or are free of violations and should be left alone.

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Parents complain about movie mix-up at Augusta theater

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Tue, 07/29/2014 - 5:53pm

Regal Entertainment Group said Tuesday the company is evaluating complaints that its Augusta theater showed scenes from the R-rated Sex Tape instead of a PG children’s movie, Mr. Peabody & Sherman, in its $1 Summer Movie Express program for youngsters.

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Augusta taxpayers dodge financial bullet thanks to judge's ruling

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Tue, 07/29/2014 - 3:23pm

Taxpayers dodged a financial punch when a judge ruled this month Augusta doesn’t have to pay attorney fees to the company that successfully sued the city over its bidding process.

Meritain, an independent subsidiary of Aetna insurance, sought more than $300,000 for legal expenses incurred in a suit against the city.

Meritain will receive the $33,917 it spent preparing a bid to oversee the city employees’ self-insured health insurance fund, Judge J. David Roper ruled in a July 8 order.

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Ga. woman finds, returns cash

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Tue, 07/29/2014 - 2:31pm

SAVANNAH, GA. -- It’s a scenario many have dreamed about but few have actually encountered — what to do after stumbling upon a large sum of money lying on the ground.

Wilmington Island resident Lauren Rossi faced just such a situation Monday when she pulled up to the island’s SunTrust branch.

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Critics pushing back against plan to cut pollution from power plants

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Tue, 07/29/2014 - 2:12pm

ATLANTA — In the Republican Southeast, critics are pushing back against President Obama’s plan to cut pollution from power plants.

Elected regulators, business interests and labor union officials said Tuesday in Atlanta that the Obama administration’s plan to trim emissions could raise electricity prices, result in job losses and will not significantly curtail global carbon emissions.

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Burglary suspect in attic, Augusta woman tells deputies

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Tue, 07/29/2014 - 12:22pm

An Augusta woman told police that a burglary and robbery suspect damaged her ceiling while he was hiding from police in her attic.

She told the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office about 11 p.m. Sunday that Joshua Alexander Lee was at her Grayling Court home.

Lee, 20, of Evans, was wanted for questioning in Friday’s burglary and armed robbery of a woman at a Skinner Mill Road apartment.

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McCormick County Sheriff's Office continues investigation into attack on cyclist in woods

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Tue, 07/29/2014 - 12:03pm


The McCormick County Sheriff’s Office continues to investigate the reported attack on a bicyclist during the weekend but has yet to find much evidence, a spokesman said Tuesday.

Chief Deputy C.E. Gable Jr. said his officers and the forestry department have searched the area around the wooded hiking trail several times, looking for vehicle tracks and other evidence, but have found only one spent shell casing. They are not sure it is connected to Saturday’s incident.

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SC deputy runs light, causes wreck

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Tue, 07/29/2014 - 8:06am


COLUMBIA— A Richland County sheriff’s deputy has been charged with running a red light and causing a wreck in Columbia that injured a woman.


WIS-TV reported the South Carolina Highway Patrol has charged Cpl. Ken Proffitt with disregarding a traffic signal.


Sheriff’s Lt. Curtis Wilson says Proffitt was on duty at the time, but was not responding to a call when his patrol car hit another car at an intersection Friday night.


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Ga. woman, 88, slugged with skillet

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Tue, 07/29/2014 - 7:46am


LAGRANGE, Ga. -- An 88-year-old Troup County woman has told police there that she was struck in the head with a cast iron skillet while she was lying in bed.

The Columbia Ledger-Enquirer says the reported assault took place Sunday at approximately 4:40 a.m. The suspect is a male juvenile.

The woman told police that she and the boy got into an argument and he struck her. She was taken to the West Georgia Medical Center and treated.

The boy was taken into custody and charged with aggravated assault.

Augusta Commission holds off on tax increase

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Mon, 07/28/2014 - 9:32pm

Seven Augusta Commission members nixed a proposed tax increase Monday that would cost a typical homeowner $70 a year, leaving the countywide millage unset with just a few days to meet state deadlines.

City staffers had proposed the 2-mill increase, expected to generate some $9 million, as the only alternative to cover a $5.4 million annual deficit, partially replenish reserves and provide city employees a $1,000 raise.

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Firefighter pay proposal to go before Augusta Commission

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Mon, 07/28/2014 - 8:31pm

A proposal to boost the salaries of Augusta firefighters will go before the full commission next week after the public safety committee voted Monday to pass the item on consent.

The proposal, drafted by Augusta Fire Chief Chris James, calls for pay increases out of fear the department will continue to lose firefighters to higher-paying agencies, and to some companies in the private sector who seek employees trained in firefighting and emergency medical work.

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Richmond County Board of Education proposes slight drop in millage

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Mon, 07/28/2014 - 8:24pm

The Richmond County Board of Education passed a tentative millage for the 2015 fiscal year Monday, a move that could save property owners a few cents but would keep tax rates mostly the same.

The tentative millage rate proposed by Controller Gene Spires was 19.972 mills, a slight drop from 19.982 mills. If the proposed rate is passed, the owner of a house worth $100,000 would see property taxes dropped by 35 cents, according to Spires.

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Richmond County police arrest 3 suspects in July 24 burglary

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Mon, 07/28/2014 - 7:46pm

Richmond County deputies arrested three men Monday afternoon in connection with a July 24 break-in.

Frank Allen Wilkins II, 19, of Evans; Gregory Bernard Washington Jr., 24, of Martinez; and Joshua Alexander Lee, 20, of Augusta, each were charged with burglary, according to a statement from Capt. Calvin Chew.

The suspects were caught on camera during a burglary at a residence on Wheeler Road.

Several guns, jewelry, a television and an iPad were taken, according to Chew.

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