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No shutdown: House approves bill to keep government open

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Wed, 09/30/2015 - 4:21pm


Just hours before a midnight deadline, a bitterly divided Congress approved a stopgap spending bill Wednesday to keep the federal government open – but with no assurance there won’t be yet another shutdown showdown in December.

Democrats helped beleaguered House Republican leaders pass the measure by 277-151 – a lopsided vote shrouding deep disagreements within the GOP – after the Senate approved it by a 78-20 tally earlier in the day. The votes sent the bill to President Obama for his signature.

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Boxing event scheduled for Saturday moved to Nov. 14

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Wed, 09/30/2015 - 3:08pm

The professional boxing event scheduled for Saturday in Augusta has been moved to Nov. 14.

The matches to be held at Bell Auditorium have been rescheduled to the later date because a main-event fighter fell ill.

Ray Whitfield and Divante Jones, both from Augusta, are the feature names for the event, which will still start at 7:45 p.m. Doors open at 6:45.

Tickets already purchased will be valid for the Nov. 14 event.

Auto auction Saturday for Salvation Army

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Wed, 09/30/2015 - 11:32am


The Salvation Army will hold its last auto auction of the year this Saturday.

It will consist of 40 car, trucks, boats and scooters. The feature car will be a 2006 midnight blue Chrysler Sebring. Other cars include a 1977 Cadillac Deville, 2005 Dodge Magnum and a 1994 Mazda 626. The inventory can be viewed online at

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Burke County homicide victim identified as Augusta man

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Wed, 09/30/2015 - 11:26am


The Georgia Bureau of Investigation said a decomposed body discovered in the Burke County woods last week has been identified as an Augusta man and is considered a homicide.

The body has been identified as Michael Jones, 27.

The Burke County Sheriff’s Office responded Friday to a wooded area off of Watkins Pond Road after a hunter discovered the human remains. According to the GBI, which is assisting in the case, the body was in the area for several days and in a state of decomposition. A cause of death has not been given.

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3 charged in kidnap-slaying of South Carolina man in Augusta

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Wed, 09/30/2015 - 9:41am

Three people have been charged with the kidnapping, robbery and shooting death of a South Carolina man last

Police discovered Cordeldrick Laquinn Brooks,

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Candidates for state, local seats speak at Columbia County forum

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Tue, 09/29/2015 - 10:11pm

Nine candidates, each hoping to fill a state or local seat in a November special election, faced off during a candidate forum Tuesday in Columbia County.

The candidates for the state House District 122 seat and the District 3 county commission seat gathered at the county Performing Arts Center for the forum sponsored by the Columbia County Chamber of Commerce and

The Columbia County News-Times.

The special elections for each seat will be held on Nov. 3.

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Georgia executes woman convicted in husband's death; 1st woman executed in state in 70 years

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Tue, 09/29/2015 - 9:41pm

ATLANTA -- After several last ditch efforts to keep their client alive, Georgia has executed its only female death row inmate.

Kelly Renee Gissendaner died by lethal injection of pentobarbital Wednesday at 12:21 a.m. at the state prison in Jackson. She was convicted of murder in the February 1997 slaying of her husband. She conspired with her lover, who stabbed Douglas Gissendaner to death.

Gissendaner was the first woman executed in the state in 70 years.

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Augusta's finance committee deletes mayor's SUV request

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Tue, 09/29/2015 - 6:37pm

Augusta’s Finance Committee made quick work Tuesday of Mayor Hardie Davis’ request for a city vehicle.

Commissioners cited bad timing and budget concerns in deleting Davis’ request for a 2016 Ford Explorer he and staff could use to transport people and materials to the mayor’s engagements.

“It wasn’t programmed into last year’s budget,” said Commissioner Wayne Guilfoyle, expecting Davis to pay for the car from the mayor’s office budget.

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Westobou Festival moves Ben Folds, Nellie McKay events

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Tue, 09/29/2015 - 4:03pm


Westobou Festival officials announced Tuesday that two events are being moved to new venues. The five-day festival begins Wednesday.

The Ben Folds with Symphony Orchestra Augusta concert planned for 8:30 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 1, is being moved to Bell Auditorium. Doors open at 7:30 p.m.

The venue change from the Jessye Norman Amphitheater was made because the show features a number of musicians playing instruments that are not equipped to handle bad weather, a press release said.

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NCAA bans former Augusta State golf coach for four years

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Tue, 09/29/2015 - 3:44pm


Josh Gregory, who led Augusta State University to a pair of NCAA Division I men’s golf national championships in 2010 and 2011, will not be coaching on the NCAA level any time soon.

According to a decision released Tuesday by the Division I Committee on Infractions panel, Gregory, who committed recruiting violations at SMU, is banned from seeking employment at another NCAA member school from now through Sept. 28, 2019.

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Stay of execution for Georgia woman on death row denied by federal and state Supreme Courts

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Tue, 09/29/2015 - 3:04pm

Both the federal and state Supreme Courts have denied an application for a stay of execution for the only woman on Georgia's death row. Death row inmate Kelly Gissendaner is still awaiting a decision from the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals.

Earlier today, Gissendaner got a rare extra chance to plead for a reprieve from the Board of Pardons and Paroles, but failed again in her request for clemency.

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Aquinas, Lincoln County move up Class A football polls

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Tue, 09/29/2015 - 2:35pm

Aquinas and Lincoln County are climbing up the Class A rankings together.

The Irish and Red Devils both improved three spots to fifth and sixth in this week’s Georgia Sports Writers Association high school football rankings.

Aquinas was ranked as high as No. 2, but it lost to Prince Avenue Christian on Aug. 28 when ranked No. 3. However, the Irish have won four in a row since, including a 52-21 rout of Mount de Sales this past week.

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Jaguar athletic teams to use Augusta University effective immediately

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Tue, 09/29/2015 - 2:17pm


After weeks of confusion, the Jaguar athletic teams will compete as Augusta University effective immediately.

The university’s official name was changed from Georgia Regents University to Augusta University two weeks ago.

The athletic department had been using GRU Augusta until today.


Davidson Fine Arts Magnet School earns Blue Ribbon honor

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Tue, 09/29/2015 - 12:58pm

John S. Davidson Fine Arts Magnet School was named a 2015 National Blue Ribbon School on Tuesday, earning the reward through stellar student performance on state and national assessments.

Davidson was one of 285 public schools and 50 private schools nationwide to earn Blue Ribbon recognition this year. The reward is given to schools that have overall academic excellence, or to schools that have dramatically decreased achievement gaps among their student populations.

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Columbia County school bus overheats

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Tue, 09/29/2015 - 10:23am


No one was injured in a reported school bus fire early Tuesday.

Deputies responded to Hammonds Ferry Road at Barhams Ridge just before 7 a.m. because they were told Columbia County school bus No. 2603 was on fire, according to Columbia County sheriff’s Maj. Steve Morris said.

There was no fire, the bus overheated, according to Morris.

All students got off the bus safely and were transferred to another bus.


Reach Valerie Rowell at (706) 868-1222

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No prosecution in steroid case

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Mon, 09/28/2015 - 3:45pm


District Attorney Ashley Wright said Monday there was not enough evidence to prosecute any Richmond County sheriff’s deputies for illegal steroid use.

In a letter to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, Wright wrote: “Upon review of all of the information provided to me and my analysis of the State’s burden to prove that a crime was committed beyond a reasonable doubt, I find that criminal charges based on all of the information reviewed are unsupported by evidence capable of proof beyond a reasonable doubt.”

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Burke County-Thomson showdown at the Bear Den, the first of two meetings, is the Game of the Week

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Mon, 09/28/2015 - 2:42pm


Burke County-Thomson: Part 2 later in the season might decide more, but Part 1 has its own drama.

The undefeated Bulldogs head to the Bear Den for a 7:30 p.m. game Friday in

The Augusta Chronicle’s Game of the Week. Thomson (4-0), ranked sixth in Class AAAA, will later play Burke County (4-1) at home on Nov. 6 in a Region 3-AAAA game — a contest that could have playoff implications.

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Augusta University officer no longer employed by school

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Mon, 09/28/2015 - 2:19pm

An Augusta University public safety officer found to have used force more than his peers over a three-year period is now off the job, officials confirmed Monday.

University spokeswoman Christen Carter confirmed that Officer Wesley Martin, who was hired October 2009, is no longer employed by the school but wouldn’t say if he resigned or was fired. She did say his employment ended Monday, but directed further inquiries to the university’s legal affairs office.

An investigation in 2014 by

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Evidence of water found on Mars

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Mon, 09/28/2015 - 1:05pm

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — Scientists are reporting that Mars appears to have not only frozen water but flowing streams of salty water, at least in the summertime.

They say their latest observations “strongly support” the longtime theory that salt water flows down certain Martian slopes each summer.

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