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Ex-prison worker indicted for inmate relationship

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Thu, 06/18/2015 - 3:40pm


A former employee of the Augusta State Medical Prison has been indicted on charges linked to a personal relationship with one of the inmates.

The Richmond County grand jury returned an indictment Tuesday against Stephanie Nanette Lewis, 45. The indictment accuses her of violation oath of a public official, sexual assault against a person in custody, crossing guard line with drugs, trading with inmates and possession of marijuana with intent to distribute.

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Trenton, S.C. to celebrate 45th Ridge Peach Festival this weekend

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Thu, 06/18/2015 - 3:33pm

TRENTON, S.C. — For the past 12 months, Billy and Beth Powell traveled the Southeast, visiting more than a dozen town festivals.

The Trenton, S.C., couple had one goal in mind: improving their own.

“We were looking for ideas on how we could better our annual Ridge Peach Festival here in Trenton,” Billy Powell said. “But after going to all these festivals, it became clear that what we have in our little town is very special. It’s truly one of a kind.”

This weekend Trenton will put on its 45th consecutive Ridge Peach Festival, a tradition that began in 1970.

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Georgia grapples with abuse of seniors

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Thu, 06/18/2015 - 3:21pm


Before legislation was passed in 2012, GBI Director Vernon Keenan said he was not aware just how many elderly and disabled people were being abused and taken advantage of in Georgia.

The legislation made it illegal to operate an unlicensed personal care home, but the other issues it would bring to light continue to be exposed.

“We did not know the extent of the crimes against the elderly,” said Keenan, in the Thursday keynote address at the seventh annual Elder Rights Conference at Trinity on the Hill. “...We found out financial exploitation is pandemic.”

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Appeal hearing begins over Columbia County hospital decision

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Thu, 06/18/2015 - 3:19pm

ATLANTA — Attorneys for the two hospitals that the state denied permission to build a Columbia County facility took turns Thursday attacking the winning application submitted by Georgia Regents Medical Center.

Doctors Hospital and University Hospital are appealing their denials last year by the Georgia Department of Community Health.

A hearing officer, Ellwood F. Oakley III, started the proceedings by pointing to eight three-ring binders on the table beside him, each containing hundreds of pages of evidence.

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Ga. below average on injury related deaths

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Thu, 06/18/2015 - 3:02pm

ATLANTA -- Georgia has a lower rate of injury-related deaths than most states, a new report finds.

The state had a rate of 58.1 injury deaths per 100,000 people, slightly below the national figure of 58.4 percent, according to the report, released Wednesday by the Trust for America’s Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

Injuries are the leading cause of death for Americans ages 1 to 44.

Georgia ranked 35th-highest among states for the rate of injury deaths, which include — among other things — drug overdoses, motor vehicle crashes and homicides.

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Fallen Sen. Pinckney advocate of the poor

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Thu, 06/18/2015 - 2:02pm

COLUMBIA -- Sickle cell foundations across South Carolina are funded today is because of Sen. Clementa Pinckney’s efforts, according to Sen. Darrell Jackson, D-Richland County.

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Suspect displayed apartheid-era patches

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Thu, 06/18/2015 - 1:50pm

CHARLESTON, S.C. — Dylann Storm Roof drove around with a Confederate flag on his license plate — not exactly an unusual sight in the South. But on his Facebook page, he wore a jacket with the flags of the former white-racist regimes of South Africa and Rhodesia.


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River Watch wrong-way driver trial nears conclusion

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Thu, 06/18/2015 - 1:42pm


The jury in the River Watch Parkway wrong-way driver case is expected to begin deliberations Friday.

Monique Sullivan faces criminal charges including murder and aggravated assault in the Dec. 10, 2012, multivehicle crash that killed a young mother of two and nearly killed another woman.

Sullivan, 34, chose not to testify Thursday after the prosecution wrapped up its case in Richmond County Superior Court. Her decision, as the judge will instruct the jury, cannot be used against Sullivan because it is the state’s burden to prove guilt.

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Shooting suspect captured

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Thu, 06/18/2015 - 11:08am


CHARLESTON, S.C. -- The police chief in Charleston says the man suspected of killing nine people inside a historic black church has been captured in North Carolina.

Chief Greg Mullen says 21-year-old Dylann Storm Roof was arrested during a traffic stop in Shelby, North Carolina.

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Charleston suspect attended church service

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Thu, 06/18/2015 - 8:13am

CHARLESTON, S.C.  -- The suspect in fatal church shooting has been identified as Dylann Roof, 21, of Lexington, S.C.

He is believed to be the white man  who opened fire during a prayer meeting inside a historic black church in downtown Charleston, killing nine people, including the pastor, in an assault authorities described as a hate crime.


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Slight change in Ga. jobless rate

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Thu, 06/18/2015 - 7:23am

ATLANTA — State labor officials say Georgia’s unemployment rate has risen slightly to 6.3 percent.

The Georgia Department of Labor on Thursday announced the May jobless figure, a seasonally-adjusted rate that’s up from a revised 6.2 percent in April.

The state’s jobless rate was 7.3 percent in May 2014.

State Labor Commissioner Mark Butler said in a statement that Georgia continues to show strong job growth.

Woman to go on $10 bill

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Thu, 06/18/2015 - 7:10am

WASHINGTON — Alexander Hamilton, who has been featured on the $10 bill since 1929, is making way for a woman.


Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew is to officially announce Thursday that a redesign of the $10 will feature the first woman on the nation’s paper money in more than a century. The plan is to decide which woman sometime this summer.


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9 fatally shot at historic black church in downtown Charleston

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Thu, 06/18/2015 - 12:17am

7 p.m.

North Carolina authorities say the suspect in the shooting of nine people in a historic black church in Charleston has been transferred into the custody of the FBI and is being flown to South Carolina to face charges.

Shelby Police Chief Jeff H. Ledford said 21-year-old Dylann Roof would be charged either when the plane transporting him landed in South Carolina or when it entered South Carolina airspace.

Roof has waived his right to counsel, meaning he will either represent himself or hire his own lawyer.

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Kinder Morgan appeals Georgia DOT decision against the Palmetto Pipeline in its certificate of need request

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Wed, 06/17/2015 - 10:38pm


Kinder Morgan officials maintain that Georgia Department of Transportation Commissioner Russell McMurry used improper procedures and committed an “abuse of discretion” in denying them a certificate of need to build a tri-state oil pipeline that would cut through 210 miles of Georgia, according to an appeal the company filed Wednesday.

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Mayor, administrator disagree over working relationship, hierarchy

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Wed, 06/17/2015 - 10:10pm

Augusta Mayor Hardie Davis and City Administrator Janice Allen Jackson are having a disagreement over whether she works for him. Davis said Jackson made the assertion that she doesn’t, leaving him “dumbfounded.”

Davis said he was feeling left out of city affairs and called for a Friday meeting with Jackson, where she told him she worked for the 10-member Augusta Commission, not the mayor.

“As I explained what my role is statutorily and to the city, the question became, ‘That is not my understanding,’” Davis said.

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Columbia County task force wants all contractors checked with proper permits and licenses observed

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Wed, 06/17/2015 - 9:51pm


A task force formed to rid Columbia County of unlicensed contractors proposed a cleansing process Wednesday that starts with building inspectors visiting job sites to confirm all construction companies and trade businesses operating locally are properly permitted.

During a 90-minute roundtable discussion, the three-person study committee said the sweep would start with electrical, mechanical, plumbing and general contracting businesses before moving to painters, roofers and house framers, each of which is not required to be licensed under Georgia law.

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Second driver in deadly River Watch wreck out of jail on bond

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Wed, 06/17/2015 - 9:13pm

Both drivers from a June 1 wreck on River Watch Parkway that killed three Augusta children have been released from jail.

Wade Jackson, 32, posted $10,000 bond around 7:45 p.m. Wednesday, while Christopher Whitehead, 33, was released a day earlier after posting $20,000 bond.

Whitehead and Jackson were arrested Monday on charges of disobedience of a traffic control device and three counts of vehicular homicide in the second degree. Whitehead was also charged with driving too fast for conditions.

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GBI officials meet with coroners, lawmakers about crime lab concerns

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Wed, 06/17/2015 - 9:10pm


For the first time Wednesday, GBI officials met face-to-face with area coroners and lawmakers to discuss delays at its crime lab in Decatur, Ga.

By the end of the two-hour meeting at the Municipal Building, both sides agreed that most of the issues stem from two things: money and finding qualified candidates for open positions.

The meeting had been in the works since January, when members of the Augusta delegation were advised that some toxicology and autopsy results were taking weeks, in some cases months, to be returned.

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Parents hold rally in Atlanta to ask Georgia Judicial Council to investigate family court practices

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Wed, 06/17/2015 - 8:06pm


ATLANTA — A small group of parents, including some from Columbia County, braved record heat and uncooperative security guards Wednesday to bring their call for an investigation of family courts to the Judicial Council of Georgia.

Two organizations, Stop Parental Bullying and Parental Alienation Dynamics, staged the rally outside the state office building where the council held its quarterly meeting after guards warned them they could not bring their signs onto state property without a permit.

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Judge drops contempt citation, lists grievances against Columbia County court clerk

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Wed, 06/17/2015 - 8:02pm


Superior Court Judge J. David Roper dropped the citation for contempt against Columbia County Clerk of Courts Cindy Mason on Wednesday, then dropped a bomb of allegations, accusing her of malfeasance in office.

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