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City Ink: Politicians stuffed with favors at potluck

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Sat, 12/13/2014 - 7:16pm

Augusta commissioners’ Christmas potluck dinner at the Boat House was by all accounts a sumptuous feast of gastronomical delights.

One of the most popular items was Commissioner Marion Williams’ rotisseried goat which he served with a pungent barbecue sauce. He unselfishly shared the sauce with Commissioner Alvin Mason who used it on his cooked goose and had some left over for the gander.

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Legal community weighs in on grand jury process

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Sat, 12/13/2014 - 5:09pm


A well-known maxim in law enforcement claims a prosecutor could get a ham sandwich indicted if he wanted.

That it didn’t happen in two recent high-profile incidents involving police officers in Staten Island, N.Y., and Ferguson. Mo., has the public and legal community wondering about the validity of the grand jury system.

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Jan. 1 deadine for ACA health care coverage looming

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Sat, 12/13/2014 - 5:04pm

CLEARWATER — It only took about an hour for Elaine Chavous to bring her family in under her coverage under the Affordable Care Act as she worked with Certified Application Counselor Anne Fulcher at the Margaret J. Weston Community Health Center. During the first open enrollment period for what has become known as Obamacare, Chavous and Fulcher started trying in January and didn’t complete enrollment until March.

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Local school districts still weighing flexibility options

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Sat, 12/13/2014 - 4:51pm

First it was the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001, which required districts to reduce achievement disparities among students and meet yearly benchmarks or risk their schools being labeled as failing.

The next decade in Georgia brought an overhaul of standardized tests, a new accountability system to grade schools, stauncher evaluations for teachers and administrators, and Common Core, a new set of content standards for math and English/language arts.

And 2015 could bring the most drastic change yet.

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Empty Stocking Fund: Ailing man without family

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Sat, 12/13/2014 - 4:44pm



A 57-year-old Augusta man found out in May that he has lung cancer.

“I had to stop work and my unemployment ends in September,” he writes. “My disability will not start until January.”

He is alone, without family, and lives by himself. The prospects for a happy holiday this year are bleak.

The Augusta Chronicle Empty Stocking Fund has helped people such as this for 84 years. Last year, the charity raised more than $100,000 that helped children and families across the region.

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Empty Stocking Fund: Mother struggles with medical bills

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Sat, 12/13/2014 - 1:16am


An Augusta mother of four, now divorced, is trying to pay bills and find a Christmas for her children despite a problem pregnancy and the discovery of tumors.

“I had a C-section last November,” she writes, “but about four weeks later I was readmitted to the hospital.

“After surgery they had to removed three tumors and also took my uterus out. I was just medically cleared two months ago.”

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Josey players still affected by Sheppard's death

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Sat, 12/13/2014 - 1:15am


In between No. 3 Darius Williams and No. 30 Domonique Hurst sits an empty locker in the T.W. Josey High School gymnasium.

For more than three years, No. 25 belonged to Recardell “C.J.” Sheppard, before the 17-year-old collapsed and died Oct. 13 during a pickup basketball game at the high school.

His cause of death was determined a natural and cardiac-related issue, according to Richmond County Coroner Mark Bowen.

Today marks two months since Sheppard’s death, which remains a daily reminder of how precious life can be for coach Justin Durham’s team.

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Aiken Co. Coroner: 24-year-old Graniteville man shot to death in Bath

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Fri, 12/12/2014 - 9:08pm

The Aiken County Coroner’s Office says a Graniteville man was shot and killed Friday on Railroad Street in Bath.

Approximately 5:15 p.m., deputies responded to the 100 block of Railroad Street where two victims were found suffering from gunshot wounds, according to Sgt. Jason Feemster.

Cameron G. Clark, 24, of Graniteville, was pronounced dead at the scene at 5:30 p.m., according to Aiken County Coroner Tim Carlton. 

Jacob Humphries, 27,  was also shot during the incident and is receiving treatment at Georgia Regents University Hospital.

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Controversial call comes at WACO's expense

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Fri, 12/12/2014 - 9:06pm


ATLANTA — A.J. Gray believed he had an interception.

Calhoun coach Hal Lamb thought otherwise.

One official nearest to the ball saw one thing. Another official saw another.

With Washington County and Calhoun tied early in the fourth quarter of their Class AAA championship matchup, Gray appeared to make an interception along the Yellow Jackets sideline. Instead, the call was overturned. No. 2 Calhoun went on to defeat the top-ranked Golden Hawks, 27-20.

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Foundation awards grants to local non-profits

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Fri, 12/12/2014 - 3:51pm


When some pediatric nursing students at the University of South Carolina Aiken return to the classroom in January, they will have a new baby to practice caring for.

The SimBaby, a simulated baby mannequin, will do everything a live baby does, from responding to medication to urinating, and will provide students hands-on experience they would not get otherwise.

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Drug bust nets more than 100 pounds of marijuana; no arrests made

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Fri, 12/12/2014 - 2:49pm

A search of a south Augusta home led narcotics investigators to more than 100 pounds of high-grade marijuana Friday, authorities said. No arrests have been made.

About 7 a.m., Richmond County sheriff’s deputies were called to the 4300 block of Goshen Lake Drive South in regard to trespassers, Sgt. Shane McDaniel said in an e-mail.

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Vehicle pursuit ends in south Augusta living room

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Fri, 12/12/2014 - 2:24pm

Authorities say a man crashed through the living room of a south Augusta home while fleeing deputies Friday.

About 11:30 a.m., Richmond County sheriff’s deputies started chasing a vehicle, which took them through several streets in Pepperidge subdivision off Peach Orchard Road, Sgt. Monica Belser said in an e-mail.

The pursuit ended when the driver, Jermaine Lloyd, lost control of his vehicle and drove into the living room of a home in the 3300 block of Cobblestone Court.

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Georgian to head House budget panel

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Fri, 12/12/2014 - 1:53pm

WASHINGTON — The incoming Republican chairman of the House Budget panel says he’s going to follow outgoing chairman Paul Ryan’s lead by drafting a fiscal blueprint that would balance the budget in 10 years and call for transforming Medicare into a system that places future retirees in private health insurance plans.

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Historic Augusta to host candlelight tours at Wilson house Saturday

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Fri, 12/12/2014 - 12:55pm


The Boyhood Home President Woodrow Wilson will host candlelight tours on Saturday from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., Historic Augusta announced this week.

The Civil War-era home at 419 7th St. will be decorated with evergreens, and tours will cover details about what Christmas was like in Augusta during the Civil War years, according to a statement from the organization.

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2 cops shot outside Atlanta

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Fri, 12/12/2014 - 11:23am

DECATUR, Ga. — Authorities say they've captured a second suspect who was sought after two police officers were shot in a gun battle Friday morning near the eastern edge of Atlanta.

DeKalb County police Capt. Stephen Fore says the suspect was arrested late Friday morning. He did not immediately have details on the arrest or any charges.

Both officers were taken to hospitals with what are believed to be non-life threatening injuries.

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Measure has MOX funded through next fall

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Fri, 12/12/2014 - 11:14am

CHARLESTON, S.C. — Construction of a plant that would convert weapons-grade nuclear material into reactor fuel will get $345 million to fund operations through October despite the Obama administration’s attempts to put the project on hold.

The money is in a $1.1 trillion spending bill passed by the U.S. House on Thursday and expected to receive Senate approval, perhaps as early as Friday.

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Blue Cross state health plan favorite

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Fri, 12/12/2014 - 9:31am

ATLANTA -- Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Georgia will remain the dominant insurer for the state’s high-profile employee health plan.

More than 80 percent of State Health Benefit Plan members selected insurance plans from Blue Cross during its recent open enrollment, a state agency said Thursday.

Blue Cross was the sole insurer offering plans for the 2014 coverage year. Through public criticism, rallies and a Facebook campaign, many state employees and teachers in the SHBP sought more choices of health insurers for their 2015 coverage.

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Georgia still 38th in health ranking

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Fri, 12/12/2014 - 9:25am


ATLANTA -- Georgia retained its ranking of 38th in a newly released 2014 state-by-state health report card.

Southern states generally ranked at the bottom in the annual report by America’s Health Rankings.

The report says Georgia has strengths that include a low prevalence of binge drinking; a low rate of drug deaths; and a low occupational fatality rate.

Since 1990, Georgia’s infant mortality has decreased by 48 percent from 12.6 to 6.6 deaths per 1,000 live births, the report said. And in the past year, premature deaths in Georgia decreased by 8 percent.

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SC prisons fight drone drops

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Fri, 12/12/2014 - 7:32am

COLUMBIA— State officials are installing new equipment at the Lee Correctional Institution in Bishopville after someone used a drone to try to smuggle contraband into the maximum security prison.

The State newspaper reported two new surveillance towers and thermal imaging cameras are being added to help prevent the smuggling of cellphones, drugs and other contraband.

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Ga. Tech sex attack suspect arrested

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Fri, 12/12/2014 - 7:28am

ATLANTA — Georgia Tech police have arrested a west Georgia man accused in the sexual battery of two women on the Atlanta campus.

Georgia Institute of Technology spokesman Matt Nagel said 43-year-old John Perry Smith of Bremen, Georgia, was being held in the Fulton County Jail.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports Smith was being held on two misdemeanor charges of sexual battery. Jail records do not indicate whether he has an attorney.

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