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Ex-principal no-show at Atlanta school cheating trial

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Wed, 10/08/2014 - 1:11pm

ATLANTA — A former principal testifying in the Atlanta Public Schools cheating trial failed to show up in court, prompting the judge to ask prosecutors to find him.

Former Gideons Elementary School Principal Armstead Salters had testified Tuesday for the prosecution and was supposed to return Wednesday for more examination by attorneys, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.

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Animal shelter hopes to increase adoptions at event Saturday

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Wed, 10/08/2014 - 11:59am


Augusta Animal Services will hold its second annual Family Fun Day on Saturday to help get dogs and cats out of the shelter and into homes.

Operations Manager Priscilla Crisler said the event is a push to get shelter animals adopted but is also an effort to help familiarize the public with the shelter and teach proper pet care.

The event will have food, face-painting and games, and families are invited to bring their pets for $10 rabies vaccines and $15 microchipping.

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Burned body in Stone Mountain park

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Wed, 10/08/2014 - 11:18am


STONE MOUNTAIN, Ga. — Police are investigating after a couple walking their dog in a Gwinnett County park found the burned body of a woman.


Gwinnett police Cpl. Ed Ritter said the body was found Wednesday morning on the pathway next to a pavilion in Deshong Park, east of Stone Mountain.


Ritter tells The Atlanta Journal-Constitution very few details about the death were available Wednesday morning. Homicide investigators had been called to the scene.


The park is about 20 miles east of downtown Atlanta.

Gay marriage application OK'd in SC

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Wed, 10/08/2014 - 10:12am

CHARLESTON, S.C. — A South Carolina court approved a gay marriage application Wednesday and plans to issue a license despite the state’s constitutional ban against the practice and the attorney general’s pledge to defend it.

Charleston County Probate Judge Irvin Condon said he would issue a license for Charleston County Councilwoman Colleen Condon and her partner, Nichols Bleckley, after the state’s required 24-hour waiting period unless overruled by the courts.

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Tuesday Aiken shooting investigated

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Wed, 10/08/2014 - 9:55am

Aiken County police are investigating a Tuesday evening shooting that resulted in an adult and juvenile being hospitalized.

Deputies responded to the 100 block of Owl Branch Road about 9:45 p.m. after reports of multiple shots fired.

One man told police he was walking in the road when she was shot in the left hip, according to a news release. The victim, who was transported to an area hospital for treatment, could not provide deputies with any details on the shooter.

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Details offered in 2013 Aiken K-9 death

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Wed, 10/08/2014 - 9:40am

AIKEN— Authorities say an Aiken County deputy was disciplined last year after the death of a police dog left in a hot car.

Sheriff’s Capt. Eric Abdulla told The Aiken Standard on Tuesday that an explosives-detecting dog named Cooper died June 7, 2013.

Abdullah says the dog was inside a kennel in a patrol car. Abdullah says the handler, Special Operations Deputy James Taylor, generally kept the dog there during the day, giving him several breaks.

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Eclipse offered stunning sight

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Wed, 10/08/2014 - 8:07am


Much of the nation got to see a total lunar eclipse this morning.

The event, called by many the “Blood Moon Eclipse,” was the second of 2014.

Wednesday morning’s event offered a rare cosmic sight, called a “selenelion.”

That means viewers could see both the lunar eclipse and the rising sun simultaneously because the images are refracted by Earth’s atmosphere.

Unlike solar eclipses, lunar eclipses are safe to view without any eye protection or special precautions, as they are dimmer than the full moon. They offer a photographic opportunity.

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UGA linebacker punched in bar

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Wed, 10/08/2014 - 7:30am

ATHENS, Ga. -- The downtown Athens scene caused a confusing situation for a Georgia football player for the second consecutive weekend.

Senior linebacker Kosta Vavlas was punched in the face at Silver Dollar Bar on College Street early Sunday, a few hours after the Bulldogs win over Vanderbilt.

According to the police report, Vavlas, 22, was punched by Jeffery Cody Bradford, 23, who was arrested for battery and booked on Sunday into jail.

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SC reports season's 1st flu death

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Wed, 10/08/2014 - 7:27am

COLUMBIA — Health officials say South Carolina has had its first death of this flu season.

The Department of Health and Environmental Control said it was notified Tuesday that someone from the Midlands died from laboratory-confirmed flu. DHEC didn’t release any other details about the person.

Flu season starts in October and typically peaks in February.

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SC man wins 'American Pickers' suit

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Wed, 10/08/2014 - 7:24am

GREENVILLE, S.C. — A Greer man has won a $1,000 judgment against a host of television’s “American Pickers” over a piece of antique farm equipment.

The Greenville News reported Jerry Bruce hopes to open a museum of tools from the 1800s.

On a 2010 episode of The History Channel show, he saw a polarimeter. The devices date to the 1830s and were used to measure sugar content in alcohol.

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Judge dismissed Tyler Perry suit

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Wed, 10/08/2014 - 7:19am

ATLANTA — A federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit accusing filmmaker Tyler Perry of unfairly working with government officials to transform a former military base in Atlanta into a studio for Perry’s company.

U.S. District Judge Richard W. Story ruled Tuesday that the court lacks jurisdiction.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports ( that Story didn’t rule on merits of the case, but found the court doesn’t have jurisdiction yet since the U.S. Army hasn’t yet conveyed the property to an authority working to redevelop the base.

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Drive-by shooting kills Atlanta man

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Wed, 10/08/2014 - 7:17am

ATLANTA — Police are investigating a drive-by shooting in Atlanta that claimed the life of a 62-year-old man.

Atlanta police tell CBS 46 it’s possible the victim might not have been the intended target.

The shooting happened early Wednesday, shortly after midnight, near McDaniel and Delevan streets in southwest Atlanta.

Police say they’re reviewing surveillance tapes from a nearby business.

No arrests have been made.

Columbia County Commission abolishes construction, engineering advisory boards

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Tue, 10/07/2014 - 9:49pm


In a surprise move, Columbia County Commission abruptly voted Tuesday to abolish the county’s construction and engineering advisory boards and create a new body that will combine their functions.

The matter was a last-minute addition to the agenda just before commissioners took up the evening’s business. The commission voted unanimously to dissolve the Construction Advisory Board and the Engineering Advisory Committee, and to rewrite county ordinances to create a combined “Development Services” board, which will begin meeting in January.

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Two found naked in car, arrested for drug possession

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Tue, 10/07/2014 - 9:26pm

Two individuals were arrested Monday for possession of marijuana and alprazolam.

Approximately 7:57 p.m., Richmond County sheriff deputies were called to 3924 Wrightsboro Road in reference to a suspicious vehicle. Deputies smelled a strong odor of marijuana and found Leonard Lovett, 25, of Martinez, and Kristen Nichols, 24, of Evans, both naked in the backseat of a 2006 Kia Sorento, according to an incident report from the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office.

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Health economist expects health care plan costs to decrease

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Tue, 10/07/2014 - 8:47pm


ATLANTA — With nearly double the number of plans available during open enrollment beginning next month under the Affordable Care Act, costs of coverage will likely go down, a health economist said Tuesday.

But whether that coverage will have a big impact on the uninsured rates is not yet known, said Dr. William Custer of Georgia State University. And in the future the coverage could affect employees.

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Augusta prostitution sting's 11 arrests fizzle in court

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Tue, 10/07/2014 - 7:15pm

The seven women and four men came to Augusta in Jan­uary, checking into the same Washington Road hotels where visiting families and business travelers stay.

They came from different states: Ohio, Texas, Virginia and others.

All were arrested on prostitution charges in an undercover operation by the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office that centered on, a popular Web site for employment and classifieds listings that investigators fear is becoming a local engine for sex trafficking.

So far, little is being done in the legal system to suppress those concerns.

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SAT scores for Richmond, Columbia County released

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Tue, 10/07/2014 - 7:07pm

Both SAT scores and participation rates increased in Columbia County this year, but scores and test-takers dropped in Richmond County according to documents released by the College Board Tuesday.

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Animal shelter director kills plan to hire adoption coordinator

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Tue, 10/07/2014 - 6:44pm


The hiring of a full-time adoption coordinator, proposed as a strategy to help reduce Augusta Animal Services’ 70 percent euthanasia rate, was nixed by the shelter’s director before the Augusta Commission could vote on the issue Tuesday.

In July, the Augusta Animal Services 10-member advisory board unanimously approved Director Sharon Broady’s idea to hire an adoption coordinator after the shelter euthanized 13,000 unwanted pets over the past two years.

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Michaux: Wilson's victory caps emotional journey

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Tue, 10/07/2014 - 6:41pm


It’s been a couple of days since Oliver Wilson broke into tears on the most storied 18th hole in golf, but the texts, emails and social media well wishes keep pouring in at a rate the Augusta State graduate can’t possibly keep up with.

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Unanimous commission vote defeats excise tax proposal

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Tue, 10/07/2014 - 5:24pm


Facing an audience of sheriff’s deputies and manufacturing employees, Augusta commissioners on Tuesday killed plans to impose an energy excise tax, vowing to find an alternative source to fund $1.4 million in deputy pay raises.

Richmond County Sheriff Richard Roundtree, flanked by two-dozen or more uniformed officers at the commission meeting, said after the vote he was “extremely confident” a source will be located to fund graduated raises for his staff earning up to $60,000, with the largest increase – $3,000 – going to those who earn $35,000 or less.

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