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Director's pay hike remains under investigation

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Fri, 01/29/2016 - 7:49pm

Environmental Services Director Mark Johnson has been under investigation for a week as city officials try to determine why his paycheck increased by $15,863 last year.

The 15 percent raise increased Johnson’s salary to $121,618, but when The Augusta Chronicle inquired about the raise, City Administrator Janice Allen Jackson said she had no knowledge of why his pay went up.

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Augusta's Metress closing in on 400th career win

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Fri, 01/29/2016 - 6:07pm


Dip Metress. The Augusta men’s head coach is turning his program around at the right time. The Jaguars have won eight of their past 10 games, with one of the losses occurring in double overtime. With three consecutive home games ahead, Metress can reach career win No. 400 at Christenberry Fieldhouse if the Jaguars take care of business. In his 20th season overall, Metress has a 397-190 career record.


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USC student found dead

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Fri, 01/29/2016 - 2:08pm

COLUMBIA — Authorities are investigating the death of a 19-year-old University of South Carolina student at an off-campus apartment.


Richland County Coroner Gary Watts said Rachel R. Bandman of Glen Allen, Va., was found late Thursday afternoon by a roommate. Bandman was pronounced dead when emergency medical workers arrived.


The coroner said an autopsy Friday showed no signs of trauma. Watts said the cause of death will be determined after final toxicology studies are complete.

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Boshears Fly-in faces changes

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Fri, 01/29/2016 - 11:51am

Boshears Skyfest is returning to its roots as a fly-in after the Federal Aviation Administration denied Daniel Field Airport a waiver to host aerobatics, according to Becky Shealy, vice president at the airport.

Tightened FAA criteria mean the airport would have to relocate the aerial field in which airshow pilots perform their spectacular flips, turns and other maneuvers farther away from the populated areas that surround Daniel Field, Shealy said Friday.

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Governor to visit Augusta on Monday

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Fri, 01/29/2016 - 10:38am

Gov. Nathan Deal will come to Augusta on Monday to offer remarks at the ribbon-cutting ceremony for Unisys Corp.’s new client service center, according to a statement released this morning by the Governor’s Office.

That event takes place at 10 a.m. at Discovery Plaza, Suite A, 1 Seventh St.

Don't be taken in social media scam

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Fri, 01/29/2016 - 9:31am


Police are offering tips on “robbery by appointment” scams that are affecting people across the country.

Robbery by appointments occur when a person attempts to buy or sell something online, but when they meet the other party, they find themselves victims of armed robbery, attempted armed robbery or assault and battery.

In some cases they will be robbed of the cash they brought to make the purchase.

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Augusta University health board looks at financial turnaround plan

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Thu, 01/28/2016 - 10:53pm

Facing a deficit so far this year, the board that governs Augusta University’s health system took stock Thursday of a turnaround plan that includes greater use of its pharmacies and operating more beds.

But even as they discussed plans that could bring in an additional $17 million, AU President Brooks Keel also wanted to call attention to some of the lowest paid full-time employees, more than 700 of whom earn less than the federal poverty level, and the need to give more raises.

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Stakes in Kinder Morgan's Palmetto Pipeline for sale

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Thu, 01/28/2016 - 7:07pm

Kinder Morgan is hoping to sell off interest in two proposed Georgia projects, the Pal­met­to Pipeline and the expansion of the Elba Island liquefied natural gas facility on the Savannah River.

The Houston-based energy infrastructure giant revealed the information at an investor conference Wednesday.

Documents posted on the company Web site indicate Kinder Morgan expects to keep less than a 50 percent share of the $1.1 billion Pal­met­to Pipeline, saying its cost would be $524.7 million.

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Ryan Paquette sentenced for threatening deputy, family

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Thu, 01/28/2016 - 2:21pm

The brother of a man at the center of an investigation into alleged steroid abuse by Rich­mond County sheriff’s deputies was sentenced to two years of probation Thurs­day.

In a plea deal with the district attorney’s office, Cam­e­ron “Ryan” Paquette, 35, admitted in Columbia Coun­ty Superior Court to two counts of misdemeanor simple battery involving threats he made.

Superior Court Judge Mi­­chael Annis ordered Pa­quette to have no contact with the victims or their families and not to possess a firearm during his time on probation.

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$250,000 bond set for Augusta woman accused of child abuse in shaken baby case

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Thu, 01/28/2016 - 2:08pm


A $250,000 bond was set Thursday for an Augusta woman facing a charge of cruelty to children in connection with an infant who suffered shaken baby syndrome and broken bones.

Delores D. Lawrence, 46, has pleaded not guilty in Richmond County Superior Court. She has been held without bond since her arrest seven months ago.

Lawrence was arrested in June after Richmond County Sheriff investigators were called to Georgia Regents Medical Center where a 6-month-old boy underwent brain surgery June 24 to relieve swelling.

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Augusta man's marijuana operation leads to prison term

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Thu, 01/28/2016 - 1:59pm


A 66-year-old man was sentenced to prison Thursday after pleading guilty to having a marijuana operation in a house near an elementary school.

Robert Fultz pleaded in Richmond County Superior Court to possession of marijuana with intent to distribute, manufacturing marijuana in a school zone, and possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime.

Fultz was arrested May 15, 2014, when a confidential informant tipped off narcotics agents. When officers went to 3809 Fairington Drive, Fultz invited them in.

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Augusta woman guilty in kids basketball team scam

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Thu, 01/28/2016 - 1:43pm

 An Augusta woman who admitted she cheated a number of children and their parents out of money intended to fund a basketball team pleaded guilty Thursday to theft.

Monica M. Bussey pleaded guilty in Richmond County Superior Court. Judge J. Wade Padgett accepted the plea negotiation and sentenced Bussey, 34, to one year incarceration followed by four years on probation. Bussey has been in jail since her arrest in January 2015.

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Fire destroys Evans home, claims family dog

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Thu, 01/28/2016 - 12:12pm

Columbia County fire officials are trying to determine the cause of a fire that gutted the interior of a home and claimed a pet Thursday morning in Evans.

Firefighters were called to the blaze at 4556 Anderson Court about 9:30 a.m., after Dorothe Russell returned home and found smoke and flames coming from the two-story wood structure.

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Evans fire on Hillside Drive

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Thu, 01/28/2016 - 9:53am


Columbia County fire crews are handling a residential blaze this morning on Hillside Drive in Evans.

Details when they become available.

Historic Augusta announces annual preservation honors

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Thu, 01/28/2016 - 8:44am

Historic Augusta has recognized 10 preservation efforts with its annual awards announced this week.

Each year the local heritage advocacy group recognizes historic preservation projects throughout the city. The winners of the 2015 awards were:

232 Broad St. - Built circa 1920 in Olde Town, the house has served as a duplex but was returned to a single-family home after sitting vacant for years. RAM Construction, which led the construction, received the award.

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Jefferson County reports another rabies case

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Thu, 01/28/2016 - 8:38am


LOUISVILLE, Ga. -- The Jefferson County Public Health Department has reported a second confirmed case of rabies just a matter of two weeks in the Cason Creek Road area off Highway 296 between Wrens and Louisville.

The first case involved skunk that sprayed a pet dog and chased after one of the pets owners before another person in the home shot the animal.

The more recent case involved a raccoon that has bitten a dog.

Both the skunk and the raccoon have tested positive for the rabies virus.

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Three more arrested in Oregon standoff

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Thu, 01/28/2016 - 1:46am

The FBI and Oregon State Police say they've arrested three more people connected to the armed occupation of a federal wildlife refuge in a remote Oregon area.

A statement said they arrested 45-year-old Duane Leo Ehmer of Irrigon, Oregon, and 34-year-old Dylan Wade Anderson of Provo, Utah, around 3:30 p.m. A few hours later, 43-year-old Jason S. Patrick of Bonaire, Georgia, was arrested.

The FBI says the men turned themselves in to agents at a checkpoint on a road near the refuge.

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