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Man who rescued toddler receives Safe Kids hero award at Children's Hospital of Georgia

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Fri, 07/18/2014 - 4:43pm


Nick Ortalaza couldn’t imagine anyone not doing what he did July 12 when he rescued a 19-month-old from a hot car in Hephzibah.

It’s for that reason Ortalaza didn’t want to be called a hero, even though he was honored like one Friday when he was presented with the Safe Kids Badge of Courage at the Children’s Hospital of Georgia.

“There are just way too many child tragedies,” said Jim Mumford, the administrator of the Children’s Hospital of Georgia. “… I get chills thinking about what you did.”

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Death penalty sought in Wadley slaying

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Fri, 07/18/2014 - 4:11pm


LOUISVILLE, Ga. -- Middle Circuit District Attorney Hayward Altman said Friday he will seek the death penalty for Anthony Mereal Lemon, charged earlier this year in the kidnapping, assault and slaying of a 29-year-old Sandersville woman.

Lemon faced a preliminary hearing before Superior Court Judge Bobby Reeves when Altman made the statement.

Lemon, 37, of Wadley was arrested in June in the death of Jamillah Mia Holmes. A county worker discovered her body May 12 at a trash dump site on River Road near Wadley.

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Braves release struggling Uggla

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Fri, 07/18/2014 - 3:13pm


ATLANTA — The Atlanta Braves have requested unconditional release waivers for struggling second baseman Dan Uggla, parting ways with a former starter still owed over $18 million over the remainder of this year and next.

In his fourth season with the Braves, the 34-year-old Uggla was batting .162 with two home runs and 10 RBI in 48 games and 130 at-bats.

Uggla lost his job to Tommy La Stella when the rookie second baseman was called up May 28.

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Ruling on Project Jackson could come next week

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Fri, 07/18/2014 - 1:50pm


AIKEN — Project Jackson is alive for at least another week.

South Carolina Circuit Judge J. Ernest Kinard Jr. told both parties battling over the validity of a tax district created to fund the $144 million project that he won’t make a ruling until at least Thursday.

Resident Stephen Donohue is challenging North Augusta City Council’s claim that the area for the development is blighted, thus qualifying it to become a Tax Increment Financing District.

The sides exchanged blows during Friday’s hearing for nearly eight hours.

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Bond denied in child molestation case

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Fri, 07/18/2014 - 1:25pm

A 36-year-old man accused of repeated acts of child molestation was denied bond Friday.

Steven White faces child molestation charges in Richmond and Burke counties. Friday’s hearing was in Richmond County Superior Court.

Assistant District Attorney Laura Stewart said Friday that White started molesting one girl when she was 13 and a second while she was 5 or 6 years old. The abuse continued until the girls told a family member who lived outside their home, Stewart said.

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Woman charged with smoking meth in gas station restroom

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Fri, 07/18/2014 - 1:20pm


A Warrenville woman was arrested and charged with smoking meth in a North Augusta gas station restroom on Thursday.

North Augusta officers were called to Circle K, 1014 Edgefield Road, around 2:45 a.m. for a suspicious woman who had been there for about two hours and in the restroom for the past 30 minutes.

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Repairman charged in theft of electricity, meter

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Fri, 07/18/2014 - 11:28am


The former owner of an electronics repair business charged with scamming customers earlier this year was arrested again Thursday, charged with stealing electricity and a power meter.

Perry Clark Bower, 54, the former owner of Electric Medic, turned himself in to authorities Thursday afternoon. He is charged with theft and two counts of theft of utilities, according to Columbia County sheriff’s Capt. Steve Morris.

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McIlroy in control at British Open; Woods struggles

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Fri, 07/18/2014 - 10:26am


HOYLAKE, England — Rory McIlroy only saw birdies at Royal Liverpool, mostly on his scorecard, and even one pheasant that trotted across the eighth green as he was lining up a putt. That was but a minor interruption in his command performance Friday in the British Open.

Once he made a birdie, and then another, nothing could stop McIlroy.

Not another collapse in the second round. Not anyone in the field. And certainly not Tiger Woods.

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SC honors artist Jim Harrison

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Fri, 07/18/2014 - 8:32am


COLUMBIA— South Carolina artist Jim Harrison is being honored for his work.


State Rep. Bakari Sellers is presenting on Friday a resolution passed by the General Assembly that will name a crossroads in Harrison’s honor in his hometown of Denmark.


The state Department of Transportation has officially named the intersection at U.S. Highways 321 and 78 in Denmark as “Harrison Crossroads.”


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Man shot during home invasion will be charged

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Fri, 07/18/2014 - 8:15am


Police say a man shot during a home invasion at Butler Creek mobile home park Friday morning will be arrested when he gets out of the hospital.

Eric James Harlan, 26, was shot once in the stomach after he kicked in the door of a home on the 3000 block of Lucas Circle while in possession of a knife.

Harlan faces charges of aggravated assault, burglary in the first degree and possession of a knife during the commission of a crime.

Just before 8 a.m., Richmond County sheriff’s deputies answered a report of a home invasion in which a person had been shot.

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Augusta VA reports more adverse incidents in care

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Fri, 07/18/2014 - 1:16am


As it works to get patients off waiting lists for appointments, the Charlie Norwood Vete­rans Affairs Medical Center confirmed Thursday five new incidents of patients being seriously injured or dying this year because of mistakes in care.

The incidents, first reported by the conservative news site The Washington Free Bea­con, are believed to be separate from the three cancer-related deaths reported last November in the Augusta hospital’s gastrointestinal clinic.

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Southern Nationals returns to Augusta this weekend

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Fri, 07/18/2014 - 1:16am

After high water forced the cancellation of last year’s Augusta Southern Nationals, the annual drag-race boat tournament returns this weekend to Augusta.

The event – scheduled today through Sunday – is expected to attract 100 boats from across the country and bring an estimated $2 million to the local economy.

“Prior to 2013, we hosted this tournament for 27 straight years,” said Dayton Sherrouse, the executive director of the Augusta Canal Authority.

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Two robbed at gunpoint Thursday in Richmond County

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Thu, 07/17/2014 - 11:16pm

The Richmond County Sheriff’s Office is searching for a man accused of robbing two victims at gunpoint Thursday afternoon.

Approximately 1:50 p.m., Samuel Williams and Deandre Clark were driving on the 2800 block of Thomas Lane when an unknown suspect “came out from behind a tree and pointed a pistol at them,” according to an incident report from the RCSO.

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Second arrest made in Columbia County apartment shooting

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Thu, 07/17/2014 - 11:05pm

Columbia County deputies made a second arrest Thursday in connection with a shooting that occurred early Monday morning at Westwood Club Apartments on Washington Road.

Makayla Gabrielle Ivey, 17, of Grovetown, is accused of giving false statements to investigators and is charged with felony false statements or writings and concealing facts, according to Capt. Steve Morris.

Ivey was booked at the Columbia County Detention Center and released on a $10,100 bond, Morris confirmed.

Ivey’s arrest comes two days after Trelon Baker, 20, was arrested in his Augusta apartment.

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Washington Police Department defunded, closed by Council vote

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Thu, 07/17/2014 - 10:56pm

The Washington (Ga.), police department is no more.

Washington City Council voted 4-3 to defund the police department at Thursday night’s meeting, with Mayor Ames Barnett breaking the 3-3 council member tie. Members of council and Mayor Barnett debated for numerous weeks about closing the department in an effort to cut costs to balance the city’s budget. The department closed Friday, leaving 14 employees without jobs.

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Augusta woman dies in evening car crash

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Thu, 07/17/2014 - 9:32pm

A man has been charged with DUI, reckless driving and first-degree vehicular homicide following a traffic accident that killed an Augusta woman Thursday in Richmond County.

Donetta McCullum, 50, of the 3000 block of Miranda Road, died from injuries that she sustained when her Suzuki Grand Vitara attempted to turn left from Faircrest Avenue onto Peach Orchard Road, according to a statement from Richmond County coroner Mark Bowen.

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Hephzibah man who used 7-year-old daughter as lookout in burglary pleads guilty

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Thu, 07/17/2014 - 9:18pm

A man who used his 7-year-old daughter as a lookout while he burglarized an Augusta home has pleaded guilty to burglary and contributing to the delinquency of a minor.

Ronald Jay Miller, 38, pleaded guilty July 10 in Richmond County Superior Court. Judge Sheryl B. Jolly imposed a sentence of 10 years’ probation, with the condition Miller is to complete a drug-rehab program.

Miller had been in the Augusta Judicial Circuit’s drug court program but had absconded at the time of his arrest for the Nov. 11 burglary.

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Project Jackson trial begins Friday in Aiken County

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Thu, 07/17/2014 - 8:00pm


The fate of North Augusta’s planned riverfront baseball park could become clearer after Friday.

A lawsuit challenging Project Jackson, a $144 million development that includes a new stadium for the Augusta GreenJackets, is going before South Carolina Circuit Judge Ernest Kinard in Aiken County. The plaintiff, North Augusta homeowner Stephen Donohue, claims the city violated the state’s Tax Increment Financing law when it created an ordinance to fund the project.

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Man sought in Beech Island shooting

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Thu, 07/17/2014 - 5:28pm

Aiken County Sheriff’s Office investigators have obtained warrants for the arrest of a man following a shooting Thursday in Beech Island.

Alex James Pitts, 21, is sought in the incident stemming from an ongoing feud between him and 35-year-old Ronald Mixon, according to a statement from Sgt. Jason Feemster.

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Initial attempt to dismiss serial killer's appeal falls short

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Thu, 07/17/2014 - 4:45pm

The state’s initial assault on the final appeal filed by convicted serial killer Reinaldo Rivera has proved unsuccessful.

Attorneys at the Georgia attorney general’s office filed a motion asking the judge to dismiss Rivera’s petition for a writ of habeas corpus. Such a writ orders a person in custody to be brought before a court.

The attorneys contend that Rivera missed a one-year deadline to appeal the Georgia Supreme Court’s ruling that affirmed his 2004 conviction and death sentence.

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