Stallings Island Middle School students, faculty and staff earned a treat Thursday: a truckload of Blue Bell ice cream.
The school was one of 340 schools named 2014 National Blue Ribbon Schools by the U.S. Department of Education.
“It’s a great achievement,” said Mark Goodwin, of Blue Bell Creameries, who delivered the ice cream to the school, as students cheered. “Enjoy your day, and enjoy your ice cream.”
CHARLESTON — The U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday refused to block gay marriages in South Carolina but Attorney General Alan Wilson said the issue is still not settled.
The court denied Wilson’s request to prevent the marriages while he appeals last week’s decision by a federal judge tossing out the state constitutional ban on gay marriage.
On Wednesday, a Charleston judge issued the first gay marriage licenses in the state and a lesbian couple exchanged vows on the courthouse steps.
Carl Sanders, who died Sunday, was the only Georgia football letterman to be elected governor. He was proud of that distinction, as were UGA alumni and the Bulldog family.
Sanders was good to his alma mater.
As governor, he was always looking out for his university whenever he had the opportunity. While he was governor of the entire state, he was never reluctant to underscore his support of the university and express his feelings for all things Red and Black.
ATLANTA — Georgia’s unemployment rate has dropped to 7.7 percent.
The Georgia Department of Labor early Thursday morning announced the new October jobless figure.
The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate of 7.7 percent is down from 7.9 percent in September. It’s also slightly below the 7.8 percent rate from a year ago.
NORTH AUGUSTA — Aiken County Sheriff’s investigators say an electrical extension cord was the cause of a fire late Wednesday that killed two people on Womrath Road.
A refrigerator was plugged into the extension cord, which sparked the fire, according to Capt. Eric Abdullah.
“It’s a truly tragic event,” Abdullah said. “We urge homeowners to be mindful of the dangers with extension cords … they’re not meant to stay plugged into an appliance for long periods of time.”
Bells will be ringing around Augusta through Christmas Eve as the Salvation Army holds its annual Red Kettle campaign.
Maj. Tony Perez, the Salvation Army area commander, said the ringing of the bells means Christmas, but also hope for many families in the Augusta area.
Money collected in the red kettles will provide Christmas for 1,800 Augusta-area children ages infant to 12.
“It will take a lot of pennies, nickels, dimes, quarters and dollar bills to reach our goal of $220,000,” Perez said.
With February’s ice storm still fresh on their minds, Augustans are preparing earlier than normal for freezing temperatures.
Wintery weather came early this year as a large cold front pushed across the area bringing record-breaking temperatures Wednesday and nearly the same Tuesday. The 15-degree temperature Wednesday morning reported at Augusta Regional Airport broke the previous record of 22 degrees on Nov. 19, 2008, according to the National Weather Service.
The public is invited to attend a Safe Communities Offender Notification meeting Thursday.
The meetings are part of the Aiken Department of Public Safety’s crime reduction initiative.
At the meeting, offenders meet with law enforcement officials and community members to hear the effects of their crimes. Offenders will be given, in writing, the penalties they will face if they commit another crime. They are also offered opportunities to connect with area service providers and nonprofit organizations to help them pursue a crime-free path, according to a news release.
Natural gas provider SCANA Energy is joining forces with United Military Care to help Georgia service members, veterans and their families stay warm through a special fund they’ve started.
The fund, launched on Veterans Day, has raised around $5,650 and so far helped pay heating bills or open new accounts for 10 military families in Georgia who depend on natural gas for warmth.
United Military Care President Kim Scofi said the nonprofit organization also has around 10 other families who have applied for heating assistance through the program.
ATLANTA — Dozens of state workers braved the cold Wednesday morning to offer their final salute to former Gov. Carl Sanders as his hearse passed the Capitol.
Most of those employees weren’t working in government when Sanders, an Augusta native, was in office, and many hadn’t been born by the time he left office in 1967.
OXFORD, Ga. — Authorities in Newton County are investigating a house fire that claimed the life of an Oxford woman.
Fire officials say 88-year-old Willie Peal Foster was killed in the Tuesday blaze at 936 Cook Road in Oxford.
State Insurance Commissioner Ralph Hudgens said the fire began in the family room, where an extension cord appeared to have malfunctioned. Newton County Fire Chief Kevin O’Brien said he was uncertain how the cord malfunctioned but the cause was ruled electrical in nature and the cord appeared to be culprit.
FOUNTAIN INN, S.C. — Police have charged a Fountain Inn man whose three pit bulls injured two people and killed two other dogs.
The Greenville News reports Wednesday that 21-year-old Rayvon Denzel James has been charged with four counts of failure to keep a vicious dog restrained and animal nuisance.
Police on Friday saw the dogs attacking a family pet. A mother and her 10-year-old daughter were bitten trying to separate the animals, and Police Chief Keith Morton says they were treated at a hospital.
GREENVILLE, S.C. — Sheriff’s deputies say a Greenville woman sold tickets and parking passes for Clemson and University of South Carolina games but never delivered the goods.
Greenville County deputies tell local media outlets Tuesday that the tickets were allegedly sold online by 51-year-old Melissa McAffe Grey of Greenville.
Authorities say five people have reported buying the tickets from her and trying to get in touch to get the tickets or money back. Deputies say Grey returned the money after being contacted by law enforcement.
ATLANTA -- Nurses, doctors, emergency medical technicians and other health-care workers get punched, bit and slammed into walls while doing their jobs, and a legislative panel is considering whether to increase penalties in order to protect them.
The attacks come from patients, their family and even gangs seeking revenge, according to testimony various witnesses gave Tuesday to a House-Senate committee making a study of violence against healthcare workers. Trade associations for hospitals and nurses requested the legislative inquiry.
A bevy of upset Hyde Park residents were on hand for new city Administrator Janice Allen Jackson’s first commission meeting Tuesday, demanding to know where $4 million in relocation funds had been spent when more than 70 residents remained in the neighborhood.
“Go out there and look and see if they done put $4 million out there,” one man said, standing up in the gallery, after commissioners received a report on project spending.
Four Richmond County public safety officials were awarded Tuesday.
During the 12th annual Public Safety Awareness Day at T’s Restaurant, the Exchange Club of South Augusta presented a plaque and $50 check to Yolanda Holley (dispatch), Joseph McAlpin (civil marshal’s department), Ian Buckley (fire department) and Michael Woodard (sheriff’s office).
“This is the least we can do to show our appreciation to those who keep our community safe,” said Larry Sides, the president of the Exchange Club. “These individuals … need to know how much they mean.”
An Augusta teen was shot while trying to burglarize a home Tuesday, deputies say.
About 10:50 a.m., Richmond County sheriff’s deputies were called to the 1800 block of Gordon Highway for a burglary in progress with shots fired, according to a statement from the department.
The homeowner told deputies he was inside when he heard his front door being kicked open. When the victim went to the front of his house, he saw 17-year-old Ty’Qua Zhan’Trez Walker, of Lyman Street, standing in the kitchen. Two more unknown black males were seen entering through the door.
Historic Augusta hopes a handful of the city’s distressed landmarks can be given a second life.
The historic preservation group added three Broad Street commercial buildings, two Greene Street houses and a home on Central Avenue to its 2015 Endangered Properties list.
The buildings, some of which have holes in the roof and broken windows and are vacant, should be preserved to maintain the city’s rich history, the group says.
AIKEN — A single-vehicle crash Tuesday afternoon killed Ethel L. Leduc, 93, the Aiken County coroner said.
Leduc was headed north on Whiskey Road near Doughtery Road when she drove onto the right shoulder of the road and into a ditch, according to a news release. She was taken to Georgia Regents Medical Center, where she was pronounced dead at 2:27 p.m.
No one else was injured in the crash.
Public discussion on a proposed downtown parking management plan that includes meters will take place in December.
Two public meetings will be held Dec. 9. The first forum is set for noon at the Augusta-Richmond County Public Library at 823 Telfair St., and the second is scheduled for 6 p.m. at the Marbury Center at 1257 Broad St., according to the Downtown Development Authority, which is helping the city organize the meetings.