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Sheriff's office filling manpower shortage

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Sat, 03/14/2015 - 7:09pm

Pay raises and other departmental changes have helped fill vacant positions at the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office, but the roster remains below full strength.

There are 10 jailer vacancies and 16 openings on the road patrol. Though it’s not ideal, officials say, it’s better than last year when shortages stretched deputies to provide coverage to the whole county.

“We had been through a rather harried hiring process in the past,” Lt. Allan Rollins said.

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Man killed in Leland Drive shooting

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Sat, 03/14/2015 - 6:09pm


A 65-year-old man was killed in a shooting on Leland Drive on Saturday afternoon and a suspect is in custody, authorities said.

Richmond County sheriff’s deputies and emergency medical workers were called to the 2600 block of Leland Drive about 2:20 p.m., dispatch said, and found a man suffering from a gunshot wound.

Karl Alan Hardge, of Augusta, had been shot once in the upper torso and was taken to Georgia Regents Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead by Chief Deputy Coroner Kenneth Boose at 2:59 p.m.

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Bill for Todd Gurley is last passed Friday

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Sat, 03/14/2015 - 6:08am

ATLANTA – The final bill passed on Crossover Day – the deadline for bills  to remain viable this year – was a response to an autograph dealer who triggered the suspension of University of Georgia tailback Todd Gurley.

Numbered House Bill 3 to reflect Bulldog’s jersey number, the bill would make it a crime to lure college athletes into behavior that jeopardizes their eligibility under the rules of the National Collegiate Athletic Association.

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Bicyclist struck on Mike Padgett Highway

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Sat, 03/14/2015 - 1:40am

A bicyclist was struck by a vehicle in the 3100 block of Mike Padgett Highway about 8 p.m. Friday.

Officials said the driver of the vehicle remained on the scene, while the cyclist was taken to Georgia Regents Medical Center. The victim’s
condition was not made available.

Augusta man pleads to manslaughter in friend's death

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Fri, 03/13/2015 - 11:18pm

An Augusta man who fatally shot a friend during an argument over illegal drugs pleaded guilty Friday to reduced charges in exchange for a 15-year prison sentence.

Daniell F. Simmons, 27, pleaded guilty in Richmond County Superior Court to voluntary manslaughter and a weapons charge. When he completes his prison term Simmons will serve five years on probation.

On May 28, Simmons shot 22-year-old Curtis Lamont Carter five times on Second Street.

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Georgia Regents' senior trio has final shot at ring

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Fri, 03/13/2015 - 8:37pm


When Devonte Thomas first arrived in Augusta, he remembers seeing Howard Brown. More specifically, he remembers seeing Brown’s hand.

Howard Brown is the lone Jaguar to win a ring, representing a conference or regional championship, for his five seasons (including a red-shirt year). His bling didn’t go unnoticed.

“Howard had his whole hand full of rings,” Thomas said. “I asked him what I do to get to that. Win.”

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Augusta house cleaning companies see busy Masters schedules

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Fri, 03/13/2015 - 5:04pm


Masters Week means more work, but also more business, for area house cleaning companies.

“It’s hard, but it’s nice to see the new faces, meet new people and get new clientele,” said Melissa Testino, owner of Clean As a Whistle. “Masters is big in Augusta and it does help small businesses like myself.”

Not only does her crew clean homes in preparation of the April tournament, but they also handle window and pressure washing needs of clients, Testino said.

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Paine College to use grant for disease, substance abuse outreach

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Fri, 03/13/2015 - 5:01pm


Paine College was awarded an $888,000 federal grant it will use to address HIV, substance abuse and hepatitis C among young people in the area, the school announced Friday.

The three-year grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services will be used to launch the Paine College: Informing, Developing and Educating through Active Learning program, or PC-IDEAL, which aims to help underserved communities with disease prevention and education.

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North Augusta lawmaker offers new gun bill

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Fri, 03/13/2015 - 4:54pm

COLUMBIA – North Augusta Republican Rep. Bill Hixon has introduced a pared-down version of separate legislation that’s pending to allow concealed-weapon permit reciprocity with states that issue the gun permits.

Under Hixon’s bill, H. 3799, South Carolina would automatically recognize concealed weapon permits issued by Georgia and North Carolina.

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BMX track opens Monday in Evans

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Fri, 03/13/2015 - 4:29pm

The long awaited opening of Columbia County’s BMX track will be Monday.

The Blanchard Woods Park BMX Track, which was damaged by a vandal in late December, will open at 4 p.m.

“Monday is basically a soft opening to go ahead and open it up to the public and let them start using it,” said Barry Smith, county Community and Leisure Services Division director.

Members of the Blanchard Woods Parents and Riders Association will be at the soft opening with pads and bikes for the public to use.

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Bond denied for Augusta man in murder case

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Fri, 03/13/2015 - 3:51pm


An Augusta man accused of killing an elderly relative and trying to kill his wife of 32 years was denied bond Friday.

Richard Ouzts, 59, has been in custody since his March 1 arrest on charges of murder, attempted murder, possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime, and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.

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Prison term for sex with teen

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Fri, 03/13/2015 - 3:45pm

A 26-year-old man who had sex with a former girlfriend’s teenage daughter pleaded guilty Friday to a reduced charge.

Colton A. Watkins, 26, pleaded guilty in Richmond County Superior Court to sexual battery for having sex with a 14-year-old girl last year.

Judge Sheryl B. Jolly accepted the negotiated plea and sentenced Watkins to five years in prison.

Agencies ramp up traffic enforcement in advance of St. Patrick's Day celebrations

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Fri, 03/13/2015 - 3:43pm


Motorists are being asked to drink their green beers responsibly during St. Patrick’s Day celebrations or else they’ll be seeing blue lights in the rearview mirror.

In an effort crack down on drunk driving during the holiday period, law enforcement agencies in Georgia and South Carolina plan to ramp up visibility with additional officers and road checks.

Random highway checks will begin as early as this weekend in the Palmetto state, South Carolina Highway Patrol Lance Cpl. Judd Jones said.

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Tiger Woods to skip Bay Hill, hopes to be ready for Masters

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Fri, 03/13/2015 - 3:05pm


Tiger Woods will not be at Bay Hill next week for the Arnold Palmer Invitational in Orlando, Fla., the second tournament he has missed since stating a month ago that he would not return to golf until his game was ready.

In a brief statement Fri­day on his Web site, Woods said he wasn’t ruling out the Masters Tournament, which begins April 9.

“I’ve put in a lot of time and work on my game and I’m making strides,” Woods said. “But like I’ve said, I won’t return to the PGA Tour until my game is tournament ready and I can compete at the highest level.”

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