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Suit filed in stun gun death

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Tue, 06/30/2015 - 3:56pm

The family of the man who died in 2013 after being handcuffed and tased by Richmond County Sheriff’s deputies filed a wrongful death lawsuit on Friday against Augusta-Richmond County, Sheriff Richard Roundtree and the two officers involved.

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Walton Way traffic flash signal delayed

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Tue, 06/30/2015 - 3:52pm

A new traffic signal on Walton Way will not go into flash mode this week as originally planned because of power loss to the signal.

The light was scheduled to go into flash mode from Tuesday through next Tuesday before going into full operational mode. The Georgia Department of Transportation is working with Augusta engineers to determine why power loss resulted in that area. The department has not yet determined when the weeklong flash mode will begin.

Body positively identified after deadly April crash in Aiken County

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Tue, 06/30/2015 - 3:50pm

The Aiken County Coroner's Office has identified a man killed April 10 in a single-vehicle accident.

Jose Vega-Auguas, 26, of Pinal De Amoles, Queretaro, Mexico, was involved in an alcohol-related crash in which the truck he was driving caught fire leaving his body burned beyond recognition, according to Coroner Tim Carlton.

A tentative identification was established in April, but because Auguas was in this country illegally, positive ID had to be established before releasing the remains.

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Storm watch for several counties

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Tue, 06/30/2015 - 2:15pm


The National Weather Service has issued a severe thunderstorm watch until 8 p.m. for Richmond, Columbia, Aiken, McDuffie, McCormick, Edgefield, Barnwell, Burke and Lincoln counties.

Wind gusts of 35 to 45 mph and dime-size hail are possible.

Frequent lightning is occurring with this storm, according to the weather service.

First gay couple in Richmond County gets marriage license

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Tue, 06/30/2015 - 12:37pm


The first license to wed for a gay couple in Richmond County was issued Tuesday to the Rev. Rick Sosbe and his partner of more than seven years, Michael Rhen.

Sosbe and Rhen arrived at Richmond County Probate Court shortly after 10 a.m. to apply for a marriage license. They stood arm-in-arm, overwhelmed with excitement and some nerves on a long-anticipated day.

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5 charged in credit card 'cloning' thefts

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Tue, 06/30/2015 - 11:26am


Five people from outside the Augusta area have been arrested and others are being sought in a credit card cloning scheme that has affected Aiken, Richmond and Columbia county residents since May.

Aiken County sheriff’s Capt. Eric Abdullah said the suspects have been using cloned credit cards in coordination with counterfeit identification cards. That information is used to buy pre-paid gift cards from pharmacies, grocery and department stores.

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Georgia Regents University names Brooks Keel as its lone finalist in its president's search

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Tue, 06/30/2015 - 10:16am

The lone finalist to be the next president of Georgia Regents University is an Augusta native whose appointment will help heal the divisions between the school and the community, officials said.

Georgia Southern University President Brooks Keel was named Tuesday as the only candidate to replace Dr. Ricardo Azziz, who resigned in January and whose term ended Tuesday. Chancellor Hank Huckaby named GRU Provost Gretchen Caughman to serve as interim president beginning today. The University System of Georgia Board of Regents will meet at 11 a.m. July 8 to consider Keel’s appointment.

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Cop not liable for police dog action

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Tue, 06/30/2015 - 9:02am

ATLANTA -- A DeKalb County police officer will not be held liable for her police dog’s attack of an 11-year-old neighbor, according to a Georgia Supreme Court decision issued Monday.

In November 2011, Officer Lynn Eshleman’s police dog, Andor, chased and injured Chandler Key in the neighbor’s front yard when Eshleman failed to secure the latch to the dog’s kennel.

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Macon Wal-Mart teen rampage

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Tue, 06/30/2015 - 8:28am

MACON, Ga. — Authorities say up to 50 teenagers bent on destruction raced into a Macon Wal-Mart, smashing merchandise and causing an estimated $2,000 in damage.

Bibb County sheriff’s officials say some of the young people snatched a man from a motorized shopping cart and dragged him to the floor during the rampage around 2 a.m. Sunday.

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Georgia gets new outdoor water use rules

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Tue, 06/30/2015 - 7:22am

ATLANTA – How brown your lawn and how dirty your car may be in the next drought will now be up to a set of comprehensive water-use rules approved by the Board of Natural Resources.

Issues California officials face every day during its current drought will be governed here in Georgia by the new regulations.

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Last day for Atlanta Cyclorama

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Tue, 06/30/2015 - 7:19am


ATLANTA — The Atlanta Cyclorama, the colossal Civil War painting created about 130 years ago, is leaving the building it has occupied since 1921 to move across town.


Cyclorama officials say today is the last day visitors can see the 15,000-square-foot oil painting in Grant Park.


After the Cyclorama closes late this afternoon, the painting will be prepared for its move across town to a new addition being constructed at the Atlanta History Center in the city’s Buckhead area.


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No 'criminal intent' in Warrenville church fire, say officials

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Mon, 06/29/2015 - 9:58pm

No “criminal intent” was involved in a fire that destroyed a predominantly black Aiken County church early Friday.

The cause of the fire at Warren­ville’s Glover Grove Baptist Church has been classified as undetermined, according to the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division.

“Agents were unable to determine an exact origin or fire cause,” SLED spokeswoman Kathryn Richardson said in a news release. “As a result, agents were unable to eliminate all accidental ignition sources.”

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One dead in Augusta trailer fire

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Mon, 06/29/2015 - 9:06pm

One person died in a structure fire Monday in Augusta.

About 6:58 p.m., the Augusta Fire Department responded to a trailer fire in the 2500 block of Pineview Drive. After putting out the fire, a badly burned body was found in the trailer, according to Richmond County Coroner Mark Bowen.

The victim was pronounced dead on scene at 7:45 p.m.

The body was burned beyond recognition and Bowen said he was unsure if the victim was a man or woman. The investigation is ongoing and the body will be sent to the GBI crime lab.


Academy of Richmond County names its hall of fame inductees in its 4th ever selection

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Mon, 06/29/2015 - 8:34pm

Ten Academy of Richmond County graduates, including a prolific artist, a newspaper editor and a federal judge, will be inducted into the school’s hall of fame this fall.

This is the fourth year the school, founded in 1783, has selected alumni to be inducted into its hall of fame.

“Richmond (Academy) is one of the oldest schools in the country,” said Tim Spivey, the chairman of the selecting committee. “We ought to take pride in it.”

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Ben Harbin will leave Legislature to become lobbyist

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Mon, 06/29/2015 - 7:29pm

Ben Harbin, who has represented Co­lum­bia County in the Georgia Legislature for 20 years, said Monday he would resign next month to take a position with Southern Strategy Group, a Columbia-based lobbying group with offices in Florida, Louisiana, Alabama, Kentucky, North Carolina and At­lanta.

Harbin, 51, said that he’s not happy about leaving office in the middle of his term, but that he has to place the needs of his family first.

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Sheriff's Office to present Pride and Progress program

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Mon, 06/29/2015 - 4:24pm

The Richmond County Sheriff’s Office will present a special program for the community at Tuesday night’s monthly meeting of Pride and Progress.

The program beings 7 p.m. at the University Medical Center South, 3121 Peach Orchard Road, Room 201.

Pride and Progress is a nonpartisan community organization.

Rabid bats caught in south Augusta

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Mon, 06/29/2015 - 4:16pm

The Richmond County Health Department issued a warning Monday after four rabid bats were caught in south Augusta. All were euthanized and tested positive for rabies.

The bats were found in the area of Brown Road, Old Waynesboro Road and Ridgeland Acres subdivision, according to a news release.

Officials urge pet owners in the area to make sure their animals have up-to-date vaccinations given by a registered veterinarian.

If a pet comes in contact with a rabid animal, residents are asked to contact the Richmond County Health Department at (706) 667-4234.

USC Aiken names finalists for men's basketball coaching position

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Mon, 06/29/2015 - 3:30pm


USC Aiken has announced the four finalists for its vacant position of head men’s basketball coach.

The finalists are Steven DeMeo, Joey Higginbotham, Jason Taylor and Mark Vanderslice. Pacers athletic director Randy Warrick said last week he’d like to hire a coach by mid-July.

Higginbotham (Mount Olive) and Taylor (Anderson) are head coaches in the Southeast Region and are familiar with USC Aiken. Mount Olive defeated the Pacers in the 2014-15 season opener. Higginbotham led his squad to the Elite Eight in 2015 and owns a 143-60 overall record in seven seasons.

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Palace Malice pointing for Saratoga

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Mon, 06/29/2015 - 2:27pm

Palace Malice is headed for Saratoga Springs, N.Y., and hopefully some better racing luck.

The 5-year-old son of Curlin is shipping from Belmont Park on Tuesday and is scheduled to breeze in Saratoga on Friday, Dogwood Stable president Cot Campbell said Monday.

Campbell hoped that Palace Malice, the 2013 Belmont Stakes winner, would run in a prep race over the July 4 weekend, but those plans have changed.

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Beech Island man faces charges

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Mon, 06/29/2015 - 1:40pm

A Beech Island man is facing charges after he assaulted a Richmond County man at his home Sunday evening after an argument over a cellphone, police said.

Jason Stephen Russo, 36, was booked into the Richmond County jail Monday morning on a charge of aggravated assault and possession of a knife during the commission of a crime.

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