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Ga. attorney general won't fight Supreme Court ruling if it allows gay marriage

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Wed, 04/22/2015 - 12:06pm




ATLANTA – Georgia’s top lawyer said Wednesday that he would not fight if the U.S. Supreme Court rules in June that gay marriage is a right and that state bans are unconstitutional.

Attorney General Sam Olens was responding to a reporter’s question during a speech to the Atlanta Press Club.

The nation’s highest court is expected to rule soon on one of the country’s most volatile issues. It’s trying to set a national position after conflicting decisions by various federal courts have created confusion.

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River Glen homicide victim named

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Wed, 04/22/2015 - 9:53am

Coroner Mark Bowen has identified a man who died at Riven Glen apartments Tuesday after what police said appeared to have been a beating.

The victim was identified as Leonel Vasquez-Calvo, 51, homeless.

Police responded to the apartment complex at 201 E. Telfair St., and discovered Vasquez-Calvo with injuries consistent with a beating. He was pronounced dead at the scene about 1:30 a.m.

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Gov. Deal signs failing schools bill

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Wed, 04/22/2015 - 7:48am

ATLANTA — Gov. Nathan Deal has signed a bill authorizing a state takeover of what he calls “chronically failing schools,” setting up a vote on a constitutional amendment needed to enact the new policy.

To the cheers of legislators as well as charter school students and their parents from the Utopian Academy for the Arts in Clayton County, Deal said Tuesday in the Capitol that his actions are aimed at implementing an Opportunity School District to turn around failing schools.

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Burke, other schools discard Blue Bell ice cream

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Wed, 04/22/2015 - 7:42am



Authorities say Georgia schools are not required to discard Blue Bell ice cream products, but some school systems — including ones in Burke and Richmond counties — said that they are doing so.

Three Burke County public schools had Blue Bell ice cream products, a spokeswoman said Wednesday.

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Emory employee charged in student fee thefts

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Wed, 04/22/2015 - 7:39am

ATLANTA — A former Emory University employee is facing federal fraud charges in connection with about $317,000 in student fees and tuition stolen over a two-year period.

WSB-TV reports Brenda Michael is accused of setting up a PayPal account to divert student funds into her own account, affecting about 185 students taking classes at the Emory University School of Nursing.

Michael’s attorney, Parag Shah, said she will enter a guilty plea later this month.

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Apollo 13 astronaut, flight director to speak at GRU

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Tue, 04/21/2015 - 11:35pm

Two men noted for their roles in the Apollo 13 moon mission will speak at Georgia Regents University’s Maxwell Theatre on Saturday as part of the school’s alumni weekend.

James Lovell Jr., the mission’s commander who uttered the phrase “Houston, we’ve had a problem here,” will be joined by flight
director Gene Kranz as they discuss the roles they
played in guiding the spacecraft safely back to Earth after an onboard explosion, according to a news release.

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Injuries, failures reported on Augusta VA elevators

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Tue, 04/21/2015 - 11:26pm

Augusta’s Charlie Norwood Veterans Affairs Medical Center had to call in contract mechanics 260 times last year to repair broken and stuck elevators that records show trapped 25 passengers and injured two others.

Reports obtained by The Augusta Chronicle last week under the Freedom of Information Act show four of the local VA’s 34 elevators at its downtown and uptown locations failed inspection during a weeklong visit in late March by mechanics from Bayline Lift Technologies of Norfolk, Va.

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Augusta man arrested for aggravated assault

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Tue, 04/21/2015 - 9:44pm

An Augusta man is in police custody on charges of aggravated assault, false imprisonment and burglary in the first degree.

Antwone Marquese Scriven, 27, was arrested Tuesday afternoon after allegedly breaking into a home in the 200 block of Caldwell Drive and taking clothes and shoes from a victim’s closet, according to an incident report from the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office.

Scriven allegedly struck a female victim in the face and stole 30 pairs of Air Jordan sneakers. The shoes are valued at $4,200.

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Columbia County commissioners resolve zoning issues with Lights of the South

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Tue, 04/21/2015 - 9:37pm

The lights on Louisville Road will be on again this Christmas season.

Columbia County Commission members voted Tuesday to approve a rezoning of property that clears the way for Lights of the South to operate this holiday season.

The rezoning approval, however, is subject to property owner Benjamin Bell’s compliance with several stipulations invoked by county planning officials, including providing proof of proper permitting for some existing structures and ponds.

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Commission gives OK for new gated community off Berckmans Road

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Tue, 04/21/2015 - 8:53pm

A handful of his new constituents weren’t pleased, but newly sworn-in District 7 Commissioner Sean Frantom said his vote to OK a new gated community off Berckmans Road wasn’t a hard one.

“I reached out to a few other homeowners last night,” said Frantom, who won a special election runoff for the post last week and took his oath of office before Tuesday’s Augusta Commission meeting.

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Assistant Athens dean to be interim

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Tue, 04/21/2015 - 4:55pm


An assistant dean will serve as interim dean of the Athens campus of Medical College of Georgia while a search goes on for a permanent replacement, the University System of Georgia announced Tuesday.

Dr. Leslie Petch Lee will become interim dean on May 13 when current Dean Barbara Schuster ends her term May 12. A search committee is looking for a permanent replacement for Schuster to head up the Athens campus, which is run in conjunction with the University of Georgia.

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Man killed in hit-and-run identified

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Tue, 04/21/2015 - 4:46pm

 A man who was struck by two hit-and-run drivers Thursday has been identified, but police continue to seek the drivers, who fled.

Chief Deputy Coroner Kenneth Boose identified the deceased as Charles S. Grimm, 58.

Police said Grimm was hit by two vehicles about 9 p.m. Thursday as he walked near Wrightsboro Road and McDaniel Drive.

Grimm was taken to Doctors Hospital, where he died. He remained unidentified for several days as police and the coroner’s office sought information on his identity and the crime.

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Augusta financial adviser explains gender differences in retirement

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Tue, 04/21/2015 - 2:18pm

Women tend to select a financial adviser based on approachability, not yield track record. They also have different retirement challenges than males that tend to make their nest egg smaller at retirement and place them in a position to outlive the money, said a top executive in a world-wide financial services company.

“Primary care obligations are much more on the forefront for women,” said Meg DePalma, a regional vice president at Prudential Annuities, covering Georgia and South Carolina.

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Augusta organization organizes mobile food drive

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Tue, 04/21/2015 - 2:15pm

 The more than 40 high school students who make up Youth Leadership Augusta will try to do their part to reduce hunger with a food drive on Saturday.

The organization, made up of 11th-grade students, will be at the Augusta-Richmond County Municipal Building from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., collecting nonperishable foods to take to Golden Harvest Food Bank. The students, who work with Augusta political and community leaders to motivate teens to volunteer in their communities, created the drive to offer assistance and build leadership skills.

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Men who stole 39 Wal-Mart iPads could be part of crime ring

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Tue, 04/21/2015 - 1:29pm

DALLAS, Ga. — Police say two men accused of stealing 39 iPads from a Georgia Wal-Mart could be part of a larger crime ring. Last week a couple was accused of stealing 33 iPads valued at more than $15,000 at another Wal-Mart store.

The Atlanta Journal Constitution reports two men stole iPads from a Wal-Mart in Dallas by hiding them inside a file cabinet box, purchasing the box and walking out. Officials didn’t realize the iPads were missing until later.

Investigators hope surveillance video will help identify the pair.

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Deputy hospitalized after morning crash

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Tue, 04/21/2015 - 9:19am

An Aiken County deputy and another driver were hospitalized after a collision Tuesday morning as the deputy was responding to a call.

According to an Aiken County sheriff’s news release, Deputy Nicholas Lott was traveling north on Columbia Highway just before 6 a.m. when he collided with a vehicle coming from Old Jordan Road near the Aiken airport.

Lott was responding to reports of a prowler on Piper Road when the crash occurred. The deputy was able to alert other officers of the crash.

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Blue Bell recalls all products

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Tue, 04/21/2015 - 7:43am

BRENHAM, Texas — Texas-based Blue Bell Creameries issued a voluntary recall Monday night for all of its products on the market after two samples of chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream tested positive for listeria, a potentially deadly bacteria.


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Augusta teenager arrested, charged with felony murder in River Glen killing

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Tue, 04/21/2015 - 5:08am

Two suspects are in custody, one charged with felony murder, after a man was found dead early Tuesday morning at River Glen Apartments, 201 East Telfair Street.

Joshua Derrelle Mormant, 17, of Eastview Drive, has been charged with felony murder, according to a statement from Richmond County Lt. Allan Rollins. A second suspect, Sharon Denise Pinkney, 40, of East Telfair Street, has been charged with misdemeanor obstruction in connection with the homicide investigation.

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