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Voting by mail begins in Nov. 4 election

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Wed, 09/17/2014 - 9:11pm

Voting by mail has begun for the Nov. 4 election.

Richmond County Board of Elections Executive Director Lynn Bailey said mail-out paper absentee ballots are now available for registered voters who complete an application and fax, e-mail, mail or hand deliver it to the elections office in Augusta Municipal Building, 530 Greene St.

It’s not too late to register to vote in the general election, which includes several races that affect Richmond and Columbia counties.

The deadline to register is Oct. 6, Bailey said.

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Norfolk Southern invests in safety improvements

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Wed, 09/17/2014 - 7:36pm

A year after a south Augusta train derailment caused a three-day closure of one of the area’s most traveled highways, Norfolk Southern is making safety improvements.

The rail operator has invested $2.2 billion in its infrastructure this year to spot problems in its tracks and railroad crossings before they arise, said Rick Harris, the director of corporate communications.

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Costs increase nearly $1 billion for salt waste facility at Savannah River Site

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Wed, 09/17/2014 - 7:06pm


The construction costs of a critical facility for liquid waste cleanup efforts at Savannah River Site has risen nearly $1 billion, according to an official at the South Carolina site.

Latest projections from the U.S. Energy Department estimate the Salt Waste Processing Facility will cost $2.3 billion to build and start up – an increase of $982.5 million from the project cost set in 2009, according to DOE site spokesman Jim Giusti.

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New GSP task force in Richmond County last week

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Wed, 09/17/2014 - 6:41pm

Richmond County was one of the first stops last week for a new Georgia State Patrol task force focused on drunken driving.

Eleven troopers in Troop E, which includes Grovetown, Washington, Madison, Milledgeville and Monroe patrol posts, formed the task force to look for intoxicated drivers in the 21 counties along Interstate 20 from Conyers to South Carolina.

The task force will deploy at least once a month for concentrated patrols and sobriety checkpoints.

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Two Butler High students facing gun possession, stolen property charges

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Wed, 09/17/2014 - 5:45pm

Two Butler High School students are facing criminal charges in connection to a gun sale on school property.

The two students, 17-year-old Leroy Prince and 17-year-old Patrick Johnson, were arrested after an investigation Tuesday. According to police incident reports, Price brought two semi-automatic handguns to Butler High to sell. Johnson then met with Price and took a 9 millimeter handgun from him while still on school grounds. The handgun was reported stolen in 2007, according to the McDuffie County Sheriff’s Office.

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Two arrested on drug, weapons charges

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Wed, 09/17/2014 - 4:31pm

The Richmond County Sheriff’s Office Narcotics Division arrested two people Tuesday on drug trafficking and weapons charges.

Robert Karl Powick, 40, and Elise Lauren Staples, 32, have been charged with trafficking methamphetamine, possession of marijuana with intent to distribute and possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime, according to a statement from Sgt. Michael McDaniel.

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Aiken man wanted on DUI charges

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Wed, 09/17/2014 - 4:10pm


Aiken Public Safety is asking for help finding an Aiken man wanted for felony driving under the influence.

Dustin Tre Munoz, 21, is accused of operating his motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol. Munoz disregarded a red light at Silver Bluff Road and Hitchcock Parkway, which caused a traffic collision, according to Detective Jeremy Hembree. The collision, which occurred Sept. 6, resulted in “great bodily injury to the driver of the vehicle he initially struck,” Hembree said in a statement.

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Last member of theft crew sentenced

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Wed, 09/17/2014 - 4:08pm


The fifth and final member of a crew that targeted women who left their purses in vehicles was sentenced Tuesday to five years in prison.

James J. Woodard pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit bank fraud and aggravated identity fraud. In 2012 in Richmond and Columbia counties, the crew stole identification and checkbooks from purses left in vehicles. Then women were recruited to serve as “cashers,” drawing money from the accounts.

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West Lake employee arrested on drug charges

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Wed, 09/17/2014 - 3:20pm

An employee of a Martinez golf and country club was arrested and accused of drug possession at work.

Edilberto Morales Diaz, 35, was arrested Monday and charged with possession of methamphetamine and trafficking methamphetamine. Diaz is the manager of the Men’s Grille at West Lake Country Club, said Columbia County sheriff’s Capt. Steve Morris. A woman who answered the phone at the club Wednesday wouldn’t say whether Diaz is still employed by West Lake.

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