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Mexican cartel kidnaps SC man

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Wed, 07/16/2014 - 1:25pm

COLUMBIA — Three men affiliated with a Mexican drug cartel kidnapped a South Carolina man and held him for ransom for nearly a week in a dispute over $200,000 in marijuana, authorities said Wednesday.

The man was blindfolded and bound at a North Carolina home before FBI agents traced phone calls from his abductors and stormed the residence, rescuing him mostly unharmed, authorities said. His identity was being withheld for his safety.

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School system investigating allegations of Laney grades changing

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Wed, 07/16/2014 - 12:43pm

Richmond County school officials have launched an investigation into allegations that student grades were changed unjustly between 25 and 75 times last year at Lucy C. Laney High School, Superintendent Frank Roberson said Wednesday.

Roberson said staff is looking at school documentation to determine the origin of any adjustments to grades that occurred in May, which is when final class grades were submitted.

The grades in question involve seniors at the school.

Roberson said he hopes to have the investigation completed by the end of the day today.

Man indicted in Augusta woman's death

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Wed, 07/16/2014 - 12:32pm


A man accused of stabbing a woman to death in her Augusta apartment in front of her children has been indicted.

Nathan Mims, 46, of North Augusta, faces charges of murder and possession of a knife during the commission of a crime in the April 28 slaying of 43-year-old Natty Ortiz-Ramos.

Ortiz-Ramos’ roommate and children told sheriff’s investigators that her screams woke them and they found Mims on top of Ortiz-Ramos, punching her in the face. The children tried to save their mother, they told investigators, but Mims broke free and stabbed her to death.

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Jason Carter speaks at Paine

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Wed, 07/16/2014 - 12:29pm

Jason Carter, a Democratic candidate for Georgia governor, spoke today to the annual conference of the 6th Episcopal District of the CME Church meeting at Paine College. Augusta Mayor-Elect Hardie Davis also attended today’s event.

Who's best SEC quarterback?

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Wed, 07/16/2014 - 12:17pm

By Marc Weiszer

Morris News Service

HOOVER, ALA. -- Mississippi State safety Jay Hughes won’t have to worry about going up against the now departed Johnny Manziel of Texas A&M or AJ McCarron of Alabama this season.

That doesn’t mean he’s necessarily licking his chops at what’s left among Southeastern Conference quarterbacks.

“Sometimes it really doesn’t matter; these young cats coming up they’re smoking hot, too,” Hughes said. “You’ve really got to be on your toes when it comes to anybody. … A lot of these teams won’t even miss a beat.”

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Commission votes to resume municipal building construction

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Wed, 07/16/2014 - 10:26am

After delaying renovations on the eighth and ninth floors at Augusta Municipal Building for six weeks while they considered moving the city law department to the ninth, Augusta Commission members voted Tuesday to resume construction without additional changes.

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Columbia County schedules SPLOST meetings

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Wed, 07/16/2014 - 9:29am


There are three additional public meetings at which Columbia County residents may get information about the draft list of proposed special purpose local option sales tax projects.

Residents are invited to attend and participate in the tax planning for 2017 through 2022.

• 6 p.m. Tuesday, Exhibition Center, 212 Partnership Drive, Grovetown

• 6 p.m. July 24, Marvin United Methodist Church Family Life Center, 4400 Wheeler Road, Martinez

• 5 p.m. July 28, Harlem Public Safety Building

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Update: Casino boat ropes snap

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Wed, 07/16/2014 - 9:09am

SAVANNAH, Ga. — Authorities say they’ve tried several times to tow a casino boat that ran aground off Georgia’s coast, but the attempts failed when the tow lines broke.

Petty Officer 1st Class Lauren Jorgensen says crews now plan to put passengers onto Coast Guard boats that can hold about eight people, then transfer them to a larger vessel.

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SUV toddler mom 'devastated' by death, lawyer says

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Wed, 07/16/2014 - 7:58am




ATLANTA — A lawyer for a suburban Atlanta woman whose husband was arrested after their son was left for hours in a hot SUV said Tuesday that she is devastated by the boy’s death.


Criminal defense attorney Lawrence Zimmerman said Leanna Harris is “living every parent’s nightmare” after the death of her 22-month-old son, Cooper.


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SC Klan passing out candy

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Wed, 07/16/2014 - 7:50am


SENECA, S.C. — Some residents in northwestern South Carolina say they found bags of candy on their street containing a piece of paper asking them to join the Ku Klux Klan.


Residents in an Oconee County subdivision found the bags Saturday night or Sunday morning.


The paper said “Save Our Land, Join the Klan.” It had a phone number that led to an automated message discussing KKK efforts against illegal immigration.


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Missing Beech Island man found

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Wed, 07/16/2014 - 1:20am


A man reported missing in Aiken has been found.

The Aiken Department of Public Safety sought Willie Widner, of Beech Island, after his family raised concern over his disappearance. Widner had last been seen in downtown Aiken on July 4.

Police said he returned to his family during the weekend.


Evans man sought for felony theft of Hertz vehicle

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Tue, 07/15/2014 - 11:55pm

Richmond County deputies are searching for an Evans man who hasn’t returned a vehicle he rented from Hertz Car Rental.

Marlon Hill, of 4022 Cameron Court, is accused of felony theft by conversion after having not made payments on a 2014 silver Chevrolet Impala, according to an incident report from the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office.

According to Hertz employee Audrey Averitte, the company – located at 1333 Broad St. – has attempted to contact Hill but has been unsuccessful.

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Two Augusta men arrested following armed robbery on Shoreline Drive

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Tue, 07/15/2014 - 11:47pm

Two Augusta residents were arrested following a June 10 armed robbery on Shoreline Drive.

Joshua Lamar Ellison, 25, and O’Brian Steele, 26, were detained after entering Ebony Eppes’ home with pistols and leaving with $80 and a handgun, according to a Richmond County incident report.

The victim stated that the two suspects entered from opposite ends of her home, stole the listed items and then fled the scene in a white Ford F-150. While deputies were performing an area check, an officer saw two black males driving a truck that matched the description, the report said.

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Arrest made in Washington Road apartment shooting

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Tue, 07/15/2014 - 11:06pm


Columbia County deputies arrested an Augusta man Tuesday afternoon in connection with a shooting that occurred early Monday morning at Westwood Club Apartments on Washington Road.

Trelon Baker, 20, was arrested at his residence, 73 Fox Trace, in Fox Den Apartments in Augusta, Capt. Steve Morris said.

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Introduction of license plate readers met with privacy concerns

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Tue, 07/15/2014 - 8:41pm


Since purchasing a license plate reader, the Harlem Department of Public Safety has seen a dramatic shift in driver behavior. But at least one national organization isn’t pleased with the technology leading to this behavioral change.

The American Civil Liberties Union is concerned the technology might cost motorists something a little more valuable than money: their privacy.

In a July 2013 report, You Are Being Tracked, the ACLU warns that the equipment opens the door for potential abuse.

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OSHA investigations can take months; Kellogg bakery fall in Augusta latest probe

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Tue, 07/15/2014 - 6:59pm

Federal officials continue to investigate the June death of a longtime employee at south Augusta’s Kellogg Bakery and it could take safety inspectors four to six months to determine if the company was at fault in the worker’s fatal fall.

The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration has moved quickly the past five years in eight work-related fatalities and hospitalizations in the Augusta-area to inspect businesses for serious violations.

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Augusta Commission approves animal adoption plan

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Tue, 07/15/2014 - 6:29pm


The Augusta Commission on Tuesday approved an arrangement pitched by Animal Services Director Sharon Broady that will facilitate the transfer of adoptable animals to rescue groups and potentially reduce the shelter’s 70 percent kill rate.

Under Broady’s plan, approved rescue groups can enter the facility and identify which animals they’d like for adoption. Then only Augusta Animal Services, not the rescues, will be allowed to transport any unaltered animals to spay-and-neuter clinics for surgery, which will be paid for by the rescues.

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