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Acting VA chief blames staffing shortages for Augusta woes

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Thu, 07/10/2014 - 5:43pm


The acting secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs said Thursday that the main reason for scheduling problems at the Charlie Norwood VA Medical Center is a shortage of clinicians, adding that too few nurses and doctors has created more work, stress and higher turnover at the Augusta hospital.

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Augusta Ice Sports Center could soon close

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Thu, 07/10/2014 - 4:33pm


Augusta’s only public ice skating rink and hub for recreational ice sports could soon be forced to close.

Augusta Ice Sports Center owner Duncan Cre­rar, who is leasing the 35,000-square-foot building, said he received a letter Tuesday telling him that the property owners intend to sell the
center at 1249 Augusta West Parkway unless he can match the $2 million offer in 15 days.

That high price tag is more than Crerar can afford, he said.

Crerar and his family have operated the center, formerly known as the Augusta Ice Forum, for 14 years.

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Halt to killing ordered at Augusta shelter

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Thu, 07/10/2014 - 3:29pm


In response to a flood of phone calls and e-mails, Augusta Animal Services has temporarily stopped euthanizing all but sick and vicious animals at its Mack Lane shelter, and is working with a rescue group and clinic to get spayed and neutered animals into loving homes, interim Administrator Tameka Allen said at a Thursday news conference.

“We just wanted to make sure that we address this issue,” Allen said, “to let the public know that we hear their cries and appreciate the passion that they feel.”

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Poll finds Ga. Senate race tied

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Thu, 07/10/2014 - 1:02pm

NEWNAN, Ga. -- David Perdue has effectively erased the lead Jack Kingston had enjoyed in the Republican Senate runoff, according to a survey released Thursday.

Perdue told about three-dozen supporters during a campaign stop in this Atlanta suburb that he’s feeling the momentum. The day before, Kingston greeted diners at the Varsity drive-in and also expressed confidence.

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Hephzibah man wins $600,000 in lottery

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Thu, 07/10/2014 - 12:58pm


A Hephzibah man cashed in a $600,000 win after buying a winning instant ticket.

Ward Fenner purchased the $5 instant game $600,000 Rich from First Stop Tobacco Road, 2762 Tobacco Road, according to a Georgia Lottery news release.


Bloodhounds track down drug fraud suspect

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Thu, 07/10/2014 - 12:10pm

Aiken bloodhounds tracked down a suspect wanted for prescription drug fraud after he fled from deputies Wednesday.

Leslie Alan Murphy, 32, was one of 11 suspects identified in an Aiken County investigation into fake drug prescriptions in June.

According to a news release, Aiken County Sheriff’s deputies were sent to Church Road in Beech Island around 10 a.m. Wednesday after receiving a tip on Murphy’s whereabouts.

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VA official addresses Augusta concerns

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Thu, 07/10/2014 - 12:00pm

Sloan Gibson, the acting secretary of Veterans Affairs, told an Augusta audience today that the top priority is getting veterans off wait lists and then addressing systemic problems.

Gibson says trust has been broken, but Augusta is more aggressive than any other facility in improving access.

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Police reconstruct toddler's last hours

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Thu, 07/10/2014 - 10:51am


MARIETTA, Ga. -- The horrific final hours of young Cooper Harris’ life were re-created Tuesday by investigators as they continue to build their case against the toddler’s father, the Atlanta Journal Constitution reports.

Cobb police spokesman Michael Bowman said the department turned over Ross Harris’ SUV and Cooper’s car seat to investigators with the district attorney’s office who conducted the “heat test.”

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Indicted in Athens brass duck attack

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Thu, 07/10/2014 - 10:47am


ATHENS, Ga. -- A Clarke County grand jury this week indicted an Athens man who seriously injured another man last year by smashing him in the face with a brass duck.

Dajuan Anterrell Cooper, 33, was charged with aggravated assault and aggravated battery, according to the indictment filed Tuesday in Clarke County Superior Court.

The indictment states that Cooper “did maliciously cause bodily harm to (the victim) by seriously disfiguring said person’s body ... by striking (the victim) in the head with a brass ornamental duck.”

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Plan for new trauma center not welcomed by all

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Thu, 07/10/2014 - 10:23am

ATLANTA -- Hospital chain HCA’s push to have its Augusta hospital designated as a trauma center has unsettled leaders in the state’s hospital industry.

A trauma center is a medical facility that’s specially equipped and staffed to treat seriously injured people. Georgia authorizes four levels of such centers, depending on their capabilities.

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Clemson has sold out football season tickets

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Thu, 07/10/2014 - 7:16am

CLEMSON — Clemson says it’s sold out of football season tickets.


Athletic department spokesman Joe Galbraith said Wednesday that the school had sold all of the more than 52,000 season tickets at Memorial Stadium for its seven-game home schedule.


Clemson’s athletic ticket office is selling single-game tickets for all home games at Death Valley except for the season-finale with South Carolina on Nov. 29.


The school said it surpassed last year’s season-ticket sales by more than 1,000.

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SC parents charged in toddler hot car death

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Thu, 07/10/2014 - 7:15am

FLORENCE, S.C. — The parents of a Florence toddler who died earlier this year after being left in a hot car have been arrested and charged with neglect.

Florence County sheriff’s deputies say 57-year-old Joe Kennedy and 44-year-old Ruthene Kennedy were arrested late Wednesday morning.

Authorities said 13-month-old Jeremiah Kennedy was taken to a hospital by his parents May 25 after being left in a hot vehicle for about an hour and a half.

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Mayor to fight nude Tybee Beach

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Thu, 07/10/2014 - 7:10am

TYBEE ISLAND, Ga. — The mayor of Tybee Island says more than 800 people who signed a petition calling for a nude friendly section of beach will need to keep their clothes on as long as he’s in office.

WTOC-TV reports Shawn Williams of Savannah has gotten 861 people to sign his petition asking Tybee city officials to make a portion of Georgia’s largest public beach clothing-optional.

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Atlanta county studies 17 percent tax hike

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Thu, 07/10/2014 - 7:07am


ATLANTA — Leaders in one of Georgia’s largest counties are debating a proposed 17 percent property tax hike.


Commissioners in Fulton County got input from taxpayers Wednesday as they debated what would be the first increase of its kind in more than 20 years.


Fulton County Commission Chairman John Eaves tells WSB-TV declining revenues and increased costs have left the county with a $40 million to $50 million budget shortfall.


Fulton County is home to Atlanta and several of its northern and southern suburbs.

Ga. highway closes to move big plane

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Thu, 07/10/2014 - 7:04am

WARNER ROBINS, Ga. — Military officials say parts of Georgia State Route 247 in central Georgia will be temporarily closed as a C-130 airplane is moved.

WMAZ-TV reports the highway closures are planned today in the Warner Robins area.

Robins Air Force Base officials said in a statement that the airplane will be moved from 9 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.

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Millions gain health coverage, but Georgia lags behind, reports show

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Thu, 07/10/2014 - 12:17am

The Affordable Care Act allowed the uninsured rate nationally to drop this year from 20 percent to 15 percent among adults 19 to 64 years old, a new report found. But in places such as Georgia, which did not expand Medicaid, the uninsured rate remains high, particularly for the poor.

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3 top picks to replace City Administrator Fred Russell named

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Wed, 07/09/2014 - 10:39pm

Landing a job as city administrator would be “the crowning touch of my career, to manage in my hometown,” for Augusta native Janice Allen Jackson. But commissioners and the mayor said they’ll weigh her application against two other well-qualified finalists who interviewed Wednesday for the top post.

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Suspect crashes stolen car during traffic stop

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

Deputies are searching for a male suspect accused of stealing a Honda Civic, then wrecking the vehicle after fleeing a routine traffic stop.

Approximately 11:30 p.m. Tuesday, a Richmond County deputy attempted to initiate a traffic stop on Second Avenue, according to an incident report from the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office. Instead of stopping, the suspect turned right onto Bolt Drive, but crashed into a parked vehicle.

The suspect then fled on foot towards First Avenue. The deputy gave chase but lost sight of the suspect, the report stated.

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Summer demands blood donations

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Wed, 07/09/2014 - 8:22pm


Even as blood donations dry up during summer months, Grovetown resident Donna Morrow finds the time to give a bit of herself to the community she lives in.

It certainly helps that she has seen firsthand how her blood makes a difference, she said. When a family friend gave birth to a son with a heart defect, Morrow, who had a compatible blood type, decided to donate.

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Richmond, Columbia counties excel in CRCT language arts while Richmond County students fall short in math, science

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Wed, 07/09/2014 - 7:47pm


Elementary and middle school pupils in Richmond and Columbia counties continue to perform well in language arts, but Richmond County students fall short in math and science, according to Georgia Department of Education test results.

Students in most grade levels in both counties either increased their scores in reading and language arts or saw minor drops on the 2014 Criterion Referenced Competency Tests.

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