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Columbia County school officials plan rollback of property taxes

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Thu, 06/18/2015 - 6:47pm


Columbia County school officials plan to roll back property taxes next month, but the impact on individual tax bills is expected to be small.

Schools Superintendent Sandra Carraway said school board members agreed last week while at their retreat in Savannah to set the school tax millage at 18.3 mills for the next year. The current rate is 18.59 mills, which was set in July 2013 when board members voted to raise the rate a full mill to compensate deep cuts in state funding to local school districts.

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Augusta churches issue call for prayer

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Thu, 06/18/2015 - 3:54pm


Standing together Thursday in front of the Bethel AME Church on Crawford Avenue, five churches and the Augusta Interfaith Coalition issued a call for prayer and a citywide prayer vigil for 24 hours for families of the victims killed in Wednesday’s Charleston church shooting.

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Gunman robs Augusta fish market

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Thu, 06/18/2015 - 3:43pm


Police are seeking a man who robbed a Tobacco Road fish market at gunpoint Thursday afternoon.

According to Richmond County dispatch, a masked man entered Hosanna Fish Market, 2763 Tobacco Road, at the Pinnacle Place shopping center, with a gun around 3:30 p.m. and demanded cash.

He was last seen running from the area. Police are setting up a perimeter to search for the bandit.

He was described as a tall black man in a gray jacket with dark pants.


Ex-prison worker indicted for inmate relationship

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Thu, 06/18/2015 - 3:40pm


A former employee of the Augusta State Medical Prison has been indicted on charges linked to a personal relationship with one of the inmates.

The Richmond County grand jury returned an indictment Tuesday against Stephanie Nanette Lewis, 45. The indictment accuses her of violation oath of a public official, sexual assault against a person in custody, crossing guard line with drugs, trading with inmates and possession of marijuana with intent to distribute.

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Trenton, S.C. to celebrate 45th Ridge Peach Festival this weekend

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Thu, 06/18/2015 - 3:33pm

TRENTON, S.C. — For the past 12 months, Billy and Beth Powell traveled the Southeast, visiting more than a dozen town festivals.

The Trenton, S.C., couple had one goal in mind: improving their own.

“We were looking for ideas on how we could better our annual Ridge Peach Festival here in Trenton,” Billy Powell said. “But after going to all these festivals, it became clear that what we have in our little town is very special. It’s truly one of a kind.”

This weekend Trenton will put on its 45th consecutive Ridge Peach Festival, a tradition that began in 1970.

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Georgia grapples with abuse of seniors

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Thu, 06/18/2015 - 3:21pm


Before legislation was passed in 2012, GBI Director Vernon Keenan said he was not aware just how many elderly and disabled people were being abused and taken advantage of in Georgia.

The legislation made it illegal to operate an unlicensed personal care home, but the other issues it would bring to light continue to be exposed.

“We did not know the extent of the crimes against the elderly,” said Keenan, in the Thursday keynote address at the seventh annual Elder Rights Conference at Trinity on the Hill. “...We found out financial exploitation is pandemic.”

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Appeal hearing begins over Columbia County hospital decision

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Thu, 06/18/2015 - 3:19pm

ATLANTA — Attorneys for the two hospitals that the state denied permission to build a Columbia County facility took turns Thursday attacking the winning application submitted by Georgia Regents Medical Center.

Doctors Hospital and University Hospital are appealing their denials last year by the Georgia Department of Community Health.

A hearing officer, Ellwood F. Oakley III, started the proceedings by pointing to eight three-ring binders on the table beside him, each containing hundreds of pages of evidence.

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Ga. below average on injury related deaths

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Thu, 06/18/2015 - 3:02pm

ATLANTA -- Georgia has a lower rate of injury-related deaths than most states, a new report finds.

The state had a rate of 58.1 injury deaths per 100,000 people, slightly below the national figure of 58.4 percent, according to the report, released Wednesday by the Trust for America’s Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

Injuries are the leading cause of death for Americans ages 1 to 44.

Georgia ranked 35th-highest among states for the rate of injury deaths, which include — among other things — drug overdoses, motor vehicle crashes and homicides.

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Fallen Sen. Pinckney advocate of the poor

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Thu, 06/18/2015 - 2:02pm

COLUMBIA -- Sickle cell foundations across South Carolina are funded today is because of Sen. Clementa Pinckney’s efforts, according to Sen. Darrell Jackson, D-Richland County.

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Suspect displayed apartheid-era patches

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Thu, 06/18/2015 - 1:50pm

CHARLESTON, S.C. — Dylann Storm Roof drove around with a Confederate flag on his license plate — not exactly an unusual sight in the South. But on his Facebook page, he wore a jacket with the flags of the former white-racist regimes of South Africa and Rhodesia.


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River Watch wrong-way driver trial nears conclusion

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Thu, 06/18/2015 - 1:42pm


The jury in the River Watch Parkway wrong-way driver case is expected to begin deliberations Friday.

Monique Sullivan faces criminal charges including murder and aggravated assault in the Dec. 10, 2012, multivehicle crash that killed a young mother of two and nearly killed another woman.

Sullivan, 34, chose not to testify Thursday after the prosecution wrapped up its case in Richmond County Superior Court. Her decision, as the judge will instruct the jury, cannot be used against Sullivan because it is the state’s burden to prove guilt.

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Shooting suspect captured

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Thu, 06/18/2015 - 11:08am


CHARLESTON, S.C. -- The police chief in Charleston says the man suspected of killing nine people inside a historic black church has been captured in North Carolina.

Chief Greg Mullen says 21-year-old Dylann Storm Roof was arrested during a traffic stop in Shelby, North Carolina.

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Charleston suspect attended church service

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Thu, 06/18/2015 - 8:13am

CHARLESTON, S.C.  -- The suspect in fatal church shooting has been identified as Dylann Roof, 21, of Lexington, S.C.

He is believed to be the white man  who opened fire during a prayer meeting inside a historic black church in downtown Charleston, killing nine people, including the pastor, in an assault authorities described as a hate crime.


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Slight change in Ga. jobless rate

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Thu, 06/18/2015 - 7:23am

ATLANTA — State labor officials say Georgia’s unemployment rate has risen slightly to 6.3 percent.

The Georgia Department of Labor on Thursday announced the May jobless figure, a seasonally-adjusted rate that’s up from a revised 6.2 percent in April.

The state’s jobless rate was 7.3 percent in May 2014.

State Labor Commissioner Mark Butler said in a statement that Georgia continues to show strong job growth.

Woman to go on $10 bill

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Thu, 06/18/2015 - 7:10am

WASHINGTON — Alexander Hamilton, who has been featured on the $10 bill since 1929, is making way for a woman.


Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew is to officially announce Thursday that a redesign of the $10 will feature the first woman on the nation’s paper money in more than a century. The plan is to decide which woman sometime this summer.


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