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New canine named for fallen officer Scotty Richardson hard at work for Aiken police

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Wed, 02/25/2015 - 9:33am

German Shepherd Scooter – named after fallen Officer Scotty Richardson – has big shoes to fill at the Aiken Department of Public Safety.

“It’s still painful at times to think about the loss of Scotty, but it’s good to have something positive associated with the tragedy,” Lt. Jake Mahoney said

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Jim Lorraine one of 60 named a Presidential Leadership Scholar

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Wed, 02/25/2015 - 1:43am

Jim Lorraine, president and CEO of Augusta-based America’s Warrior Partnership, has been named one of 60 members of the inaugural class of Presidential Leadership Scholars.

The leadership development initiative will draw from the resources of U.S. presidential centers belonging to Lyndon B. Johnson, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush.

The six-month educational series will begin in late February at Mount Vernon, George Washington’s home.

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Georgia still high in uninsured

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Tue, 02/24/2015 - 11:33pm


Nearly one in five people in Georgia still lack health insurance while other southern states that expanded Medicaid saw dramatic improvement of uninsured rates, according to the director of health policy for the Georgia Budget & Policy Institute.

But a spokesman for Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal argues the state did add to the Medicaid rolls without the expansion, which makes doing so more difficult.

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Davis pitches 'strong mayor' plan in south Augusta

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Tue, 02/24/2015 - 10:11pm

Mayor Hardie Davis continued discourse Tuesday promoting a change to a strong mayor form of government before a receptive south Augusta audience.

Davis launched a debate about amending the city charter and enhancing mayoral powers with a bang Friday, with the 10-member commission then unaware of his wishes and uninvited to the news conference where he revealed them.

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Thurmond Lake users asked for input on Corps' shoreline management plan update

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Tue, 02/24/2015 - 8:53pm


The shores of Thurmond Lake are up for discussion before possible revisions to a plan that governs use of the land.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers wants public input as it updates the shoreline management plan for Thurmond Lake. Three meetings are scheduled next week in Evans, Lincolnton and McCormick.

Corps Spokesman Billy Birdwell said it’s not known what changes, if any, will be made to the plan. Updates are required every five years, although no changes have been made since 2001, according to the Corps.

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Training in Blythe helps FBI agents learn about explosives

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Tue, 02/24/2015 - 7:54pm


The FBI is blowing things up this week in Blythe to learn what clues an explosion leaves behind.

During the first day of class Monday, about 30 FBI agents from across the country gathered at the Richmond County sheriff’s training range to watch things explode. The explosions ranged from Hollywood-syle “ooh and aah” blasts to the homemade kind. Agents observed the different effects of various chemicals and combinations and even the smells the explosions made.

The department put out signs warning about the loud booms from the explosions.

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Decade-old projects to fix bridges moves forward

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Tue, 02/24/2015 - 6:43pm


After more than a decade of design work, the Georgia Department of Transportation has begun replacing two of Clarks Hill Lake’s oldest bridges, which reports show have deteriorated from harsh weather conditions and extreme traffic loads.

Alabama-based Scott Bridge Co. started construction on replacements for both bridges, which were both built in 1952 and cross into Columbia and McCormick counties east of Lincolnton, in 2014 – nearly 12 years after reports first labeled the overpasses “structurally deficient.”

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A lot on the line for the Jaguars in rivalry rematch against USC Aiken

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Tue, 02/24/2015 - 6:32pm


When USC Aiken travels across the river to face Georgia Regents in a rivalry rematch tonight, a lot will be on the line for the Jaguars.

While the Pacers (men and women) have locked up spots in the Peach Belt Conference Tournament, the Georgia Regents men and women each have to win for different reasons in tonight’s regular-season finale.

The doubleheader is designated a “Blackout” by the school – officials are encouraging fans to wear black.

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Man sentenced to life in prison in rape case

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Tue, 02/24/2015 - 6:25pm


A man who broke into the home of a teenager and raped her was convicted Tuesday and sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

A Burke County Superior Court jury deliberated 40 minutes before finding Darrell Williams guilty of burglary and rape for the attack on a 16-year-old girl in October 2011.

Because of Williams’ criminal history, he must serve all of his prison sentence without the possibility of parole, said Assistant District Attorney Natalie Paine who prosecuted Williams, 47.

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Walker publishes autobiography

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Tue, 02/24/2015 - 5:38pm

Former Georgia Senate Majority Leader Charles Walker has published an autobiography.

From Peanuts to Power: The Road to Wealth, Success and Happiness, available from Amazon on March 16, details Walker’s journey “from being a poor, young boy in the south whose father was a sharecropper, to becoming a political powerhouse and entrepreneur,” according to the 186-page hardcover book’s jacket.

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Fourth person arrested in Thomson murder

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Tue, 02/24/2015 - 5:17pm


A fourth person has been arrested in the fatal shooting of a 21-year-old in Thomson earlier this month, officials said Tuesday.

Demontre Bray, 24, who was wounded in the Feb. 7 shooting that killed his brother, Exzavius Bray, was arrested by U.S. Marshals and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation in Augusta last week on a charge of murder, GBI Special Agent in Charge Pat Morgan said.

He joins Tywuan Burley, 24; Stephen Howard, 25; and Stanquan Rogers, 28; all being held in the McDuffie County Sheriff’s Office Detention Center on murder charges.

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Midland Valley playoff game postponed

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Tue, 02/24/2015 - 2:59pm


Midland Valley’s basketball playoff game against Wilson, originally scheduled for Tuesday, has been postponed.

The Class AAA quarterfinals matchup has been rescheduled for Wednesday at 7 p.m. at Midland Valley. The second-ranked Mustangs are back in the quarterfinals for the second consecutive season.

Presold tickets will be honored. Doors open at 6 p.m.

Augusta's United Way exceeds goal, raises $3.4 million

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Tue, 02/24/2015 - 2:40pm


The United Way of the CSRA announced Tuesday that it exceeded its fundraising goal, but a simultaneous federal fundraising effort missed the mark.

The organization said at its annual meeting at Augusta Marriott at the Convention Center that it raised $3,478,944, while the Combined Federal Campaign failed to meet its goal, raising only $624,281.

“We kicked off in August with a challenge to the community to unleash your superhero,” said Faye Hargrove, United Way’s 2014 campaign chairwoman. “You did exactly that.”

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Georgia Regents wins disc golf tournament

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Tue, 02/24/2015 - 2:26pm


In Tuscaloosa, Ala., the Georgia Regents disc golf team claimed the 6th annual Alabama Slammer tournament with a one-stroke victory over Mississippi State on Sunday.

The Jaguars, who finished 11-under 379, were anchored by Clint Kuglar and John Baker, who finished first and second in the individual competition, respectively.

Kugler shot 9-under 103 and Baker shot 7-under 105. Both were members of the 2014 national championship team.

Aiken County authorities seek help solving homicide

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Tue, 02/24/2015 - 2:03pm


Aiken County authorities are asking for help in the unsolved homicide of Kevin Michael Holder in 2013.

Holder was found by Aiken County Sheriff’s deputies with a fatal gunshot wound on Hamelin Road near Piper Road about 4:20 p.m. on April 30, 2013.

Through a joint investigation with Lexington County Sheriff’s Office, police learned Holder was last seen at a Lexington County gas station in his vehicle the night before his body was found.

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Bill removes exemption for speed traps

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Tue, 02/24/2015 - 6:43am

ATLANTA -- Legislation to remove an exemption against speed traps has gained enough cosponsors to easily pass the Senate, its author, Sen. Jesse Stone, said Monday.

His Senate Bill 134 has 45 other senators signed on as cosponsors, only 11 short of the entire Senate.

Current law prohibits speed traps if more than 40 percent of the law-enforcement agency’s revenue comes from traffic citations.

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Solvay invests in Augusta facility, will build new unit

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Tue, 02/24/2015 - 1:32am


Solvay Specialty Polymers has chosen to build a new high-performance polymer plant next to its existing facility in Augusta.

The Belgium-based company picked the south Augusta plastics plant over its sister facility in India, which already makes the polymer used in aeronautics, health care and electronic devices, said Alain De Greef, Solvay’s site manager in Augusta.

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Marshal's central monitoring system nearing completion

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Mon, 02/23/2015 - 8:00pm


Step aside, Batman. The Richmond County Marshal’s Office is nearing completion of a central monitoring system that would give even the Dark Knight a run for his money.

The system is the first step in Marshal Steve Smith’s plan to bring the remote monitoring of city assets under the same roof.

Currently, the department monitors about 400 cameras at six facilities around the county using a stable of part-timers. Among the facilities under the department’s watchful eye are the Municipal Building, Augusta Regional Airport and John H. Ruffin Jr. Courthouse.

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District 7 candidate forums planned

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Mon, 02/23/2015 - 7:45pm

Three Augusta groups are holding forums for the three candidates seeking the District 7 Augusta Commission post.

The March 17 special election to complete the unexpired term of resigned commissioner Donnie Smith attracted three contenders: Insurance agent Louis “Hap” Harris, retired Army Lt. Col. and businessman Sonny Pittman and Ronald McDonald House Development Director Sean Frantom.

The forums start with a 7 p.m. Tuesday event by the National Hills Neighborhood Association at National Hills Baptist Church, 2725 Washington Road.

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Burke County assistant football coach charged in theft case

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Mon, 02/23/2015 - 7:36pm

A Burke County High School assistant football coach has been temporarily relieved of his duties after being arrested Sunday.

Eric Luke turned himself in on charges of theft by receiving stolen property, according to a statement from Burke County Superintendent Rudolph Falana. He has been placed on administrative leave pending an investigation into the charges.

Burke County sheriff’s Investigator Gene Boseman said Monday that Luke has been released from jail while the inquiry continues.

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