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Over 300 people identified whose prosecutions might be tainted

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Tue, 02/17/2015 - 11:29pm

As the investigation into the improper and possibly illegal conduct of a federal prosecutor and ATF agent continues, U.S. Attorney Edward Tarver released the names of an additional 340 people whose criminal prosecutions may have been tainted.

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Columbia County puts six-month halt on dense residential rezonings

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Tue, 02/17/2015 - 11:27pm

Columbia County commissioners voted unanimously Tuesday to temporarily halt certain types of dense developments for six months while officials consider revisions to zoning ordinances.

A motion to place a six-month moratorium on rezoning properties to the “R-3, R-3A, T-R, or RCO districts, or to request residential lot sizes below 10,000 square feet within Planned Unit De­velop­ments,” passed 4-0. Com­mis­sioner Trey Allen was absent from the meeting because he was in Atlanta being sworn in to a seat on the state Board of Education.

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Wife accused of stealing $400,000 from husband's firm

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Tue, 02/17/2015 - 11:05pm

The estranged wife of a Columbia County builder was in sheriff’s custody Tuesday, accused of embezzling more than $400,000 from her husband’s business over several years.

Heather Singleton Boggus, 35, was arrested Saturday by police in Thomasville, Ga. on a warrant accusing her of violating the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, according to Columbia County sheriff’s Capt. Steve Morris.

Morris said Boggus was booked into the Columbia County jail Tuesday night. No bond had been set.

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Reform bill could require S.C. farms to get permits for water withdrawal

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Tue, 02/17/2015 - 10:46pm


South Carolina legislators are working to reform the state’s water laws to strike a balance that appeases the pro-agriculture lobby without alienating mega-farms that bring the promise of economic dollars.

House Bill 3564, introduced by Rep. James Smith, D-Richland, requires permits by farms for siphoning water from the state’s rivers and lakes. The current water withdrawal act, passed in 2010 after years of debate with a powerful farm lobby, provides farmers exemptions from parts of the statute, including permitting.

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North Augusta public safety to add body cameras to uniform

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Tue, 02/17/2015 - 10:43pm

North Augusta officials say the city’s public safety officers do everything by the book.

To prove it, they’ll be equipping officers with body-worn cameras to add a layer of accountability and protect the North Augusta Department of Public Safety from false accusations of misconduct.

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Suspect sought in Lowe's theft of 2 riding mowers

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Tue, 02/17/2015 - 8:58pm

The Richmond County Sheriff’s Office is searching for a man accused of stealing two lawnmowers Monday, valued at $2,399 apiece.

Around 4:24 p.m., deputies responded to Lowe’s in the 3200 block of Peach Orchard Road, where a store employee said an unknown man was seen on surveillance video removing a Husqvarna riding lawnmower, according to a RCSO incident report.

The suspect pushed the lawnmower towards Windsor Spring Road and then returned later in the day and removed a second lawnmower from the property.

The man is only described as a male wearing dark clothing.

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Cross Creek rallies, wins on Alana Davis layup at buzzer

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Tue, 02/17/2015 - 8:24pm


They celebrated as they left they floor. They cheered in the locker room. And when they returned to the basketball court later, the Lady Razorbacks were still making noise after Tuesday night’s victory.

Alana Davis banked in a buzzer-beating layup as Cross Creek rallied from a double-digit deficit in the second half for a 68-67 win over Columbus in the first round of the Class AAAAA Tournament.

“It was unreal,” said Davis, the Lady Razorbacks sophomore center. “I’ve never experienced something like that. I had to pray. Thank God.”

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South Carolina Air National Guard will conduct exercises

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Tue, 02/17/2015 - 6:26pm

The South Carolina Air National Guard is conducting air defense exercises Wednesday near Greenwood, McCormick and Newberry counties.

As part of the routine exercise, fighter jets might be seen escorting a single-engine aircraft between 1 and 2:30 p.m., according to a statement from Sgt. Ed Snyder.

Most of the flying activity will not be visible from the ground, Snyder stated.



Investigation ongoing into paying with fake $20s

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Tue, 02/17/2015 - 5:52pm

The Richmond County Sheriff’s Office is investigating after a man attempted to pay a probation company with fake currency Monday.

Around 2:03 p.m., deputies responded to the 300 block of Walton Way, where Hau Pham, 39, of Thomson, allegedly gave a receptionist at Sentinel Offender Services fake $20 bills, according to a RCSO incident report.

When deputies arrived, Pham said he did not know the money was counterfeit and that he received the currency from a nail salon in Thomson. In all, Pham was carrying fifteen $20 bills that proved to be counterfeit, the report stated.

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Georgia Regents sets sights on Peach Belt Conference title

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Tue, 02/17/2015 - 4:06pm


With the way his team is playing, Georgia Regents coach Dip Metress is focused on trying to win another league title.

Riding an eight-game winning streak, the Jaguars are tied for first in the Peach Belt Conference East Division. While Georgia Regents trails Montevallo by two games with three to go in the overall standings, Metress continues to focus on the top prize.

“I told our guys the other day in practice, why don’t we try to win the whole league?” he said. “It’s not out of the realm of possibility, because you never know what happens every night.”

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Bill to legalize fireworks opposed

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Tue, 02/17/2015 - 4:00pm

ATLANTA -- A pair of bills to legalize the sale of fireworks in Georgia ran afoul of critics Tuesday from medical and fire-safety groups, but the sponsors agreed to combine them and move forward.

The proposals, House Bill 15 and HB 110, were independently crafted to allow Georgians to sell and use explosive fireworks like surrounding states. Current state law only permits sparklers.

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Man who sought time with kids in police custody

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Tue, 02/17/2015 - 3:52pm

 Grovetown police have in custody a man who allegedly told a mother Tuesday he would pay $200 to spend alone time with her children.

Chad Eric Stefani, of Broad Oak Road in Grovetown, was wanted on three felony arrest warrants for criminal intent child molestation, according to a statement from Grovetown Chief Gary Jones.

The Grovetown Public Safety Facebook page announced just before 11 p.m. that Stefani had turned himself in, saying “The (Stefani) suspect has surrendered and is in custody at our facility.”

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MCG students, faculty at Capitol

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Tue, 02/17/2015 - 3:15pm

ATLANTA -- Administrators, faculty and more than 30 students from the Medical College of Georgia’s campuses around the state spent the day Tuesday rubbing elbows with legislators.

MCG is part of Georgia Regents University, based in Augusta, with campuses in Athens, Rome, Savannah and Albany.

The students had to compete to be selected to attend, including submitting an essay.

“I wanted to be involved in the legislative process,” said second-year student Bradley Norwack of Cobb County.

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No power for 77,000 in Ga.

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Tue, 02/17/2015 - 3:07pm

ATLANTA — Utility companies say more than 77,000 Georgia customers remain without power as crews work to clear downed trees and power lines.

Georgia's electric membership cooperatives reported that more than 49,200 customers throughout the state were without power Tuesday night after an ice storm coated much of northeast Georgia. A Georgia Power outage map also said more than 27,800 of its customers were without power.

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Student in UGA fraternity gunplay surrenders

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Tue, 02/17/2015 - 2:52pm

ATHENS, Ga. -- A University of Georgia student accused in a weekend shooting incident during an on-campus dispute between two fraternities surrendered to authorities Monday night.

Gregory John O’Brien, 21, is charged with two counts of aggravated assault and one count each of possession of a weapon on school grounds and reckless conduct.

He was released about an hour after surrendering at the Clarke County Jail, after posting a $10,000 bond.

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Fire sweeps through Belvedere home

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Tue, 02/17/2015 - 2:16pm


BELVEDERE -- An afternoon fire has done extensive damage to a home in the 200 block of Edisto Drive in Belvedere.

The blaze was reported about 1:10 p.m. and firefighters from the Belvedere Fire Department and North Augusta Department of Public Safety were on the scene.

No one was hurt, firefighters at the scene said, and everyone inside the home got out safely.

 The cause of the blaze and details of the fire have not yet been made public.


Blue Cross to help hacked customers

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Tue, 02/17/2015 - 1:51pm

ATLANTA -- Current and former Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Georgia members are being offered free identity repair assistance and credit monitoring services in the wake of a massive data breach involving the insurer’s parent company, Anthem.

Blue Cross members dating back to 2004 can start accessing these services before receiving a mailed notification from Anthem that will be sent in the coming weeks.

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Ga. student recovering after bull goring

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Tue, 02/17/2015 - 9:08am

The spokesman said that University of Mississippi sophomore Benjamin Milley, 20, was not ready to talk publicly but was in contact by telephone with his family. The spokesman said he was accompanied by friends at the hospital.

The official spoke on condition of anonymity in keeping with hospital rules.

Milley suffered several wounds, including a 40-cm (16-inch) goring in the thigh, when he was caught by a fighting bull during a festival in the nearby town of Ciudad Rodrigo on Saturday.

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Fatal Warren fire ruled accident

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Tue, 02/17/2015 - 6:52am

An overnight fire that killed an 81-year-old Warren County man has been ruled an accident.

Ralph Hudgens, Insurance and Safety Fire commissioner, said state investigators determined the fire that killed Johnny C. Duggas started in the kitchen of the home as the result of a malfunction in the electrical panel.

State insurance spokesman Glenn Allen said the couple was heating with space heaters which overloaded the panel.

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Feds list 200-plus cases handled by Savannah-based prosecutor and ATF agent who had five-year affair

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Tue, 02/17/2015 - 5:02am

SAVANNAH, Ga. -- Federal prosecutors have identified more than 200 cases in which Savannah-based Assistant U.S. Attorney Cameron Ippolito and a federal agent with whom she had a five-year affair “collaborated.”

Federal judges have removed both Ippolito and Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms Agent Lou Valoze from court duties pending an investigation of whether their ongoing extramarital affair has jeopardized prosecutions and convictions.

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