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USC president gets raise

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Sat, 08/09/2014 - 11:54am

COLUMBIA — The president of the University of South Carolina is getting a raise and his total compensation could top $1 million in three years.

The State newspaper reports the university trustees recommended on Friday that the USC Foundation increase the portion of Harris Pastides’ compensation that comes from private foundation funds to about $504,000 a year. That’s an almost $109,000 increase.

His state base salary of almost $290,000 remains the same.

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Georgia roads: Bad, getting worse

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Sat, 08/09/2014 - 11:42am

ATLANTA -- Most motorists can see that the grass along Georgia’s highways stays pretty shaggy and rush-hour congestion is getting worse. Rough pavement and potholes are visible enough, too.

So when state transportation officials and business groups say there is a need for road improvements, it isn’t hard to be convincing. And that’s even with the less obvious needs like the 16 percent of Interstates falling below state maintenance standards or the 11 percent of state-owned bridges due for major rehabilitation.

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Broad Street fire investigation complete, no arson as cause

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Fri, 08/08/2014 - 10:59pm


The investigation into the Jan. 3 fire that destroyed the Brislan Building on Broad Street is complete, and no evidence was found to suggest arson was the cause of the blaze.

In the days following the fire, Augusta Fire Department investigators sent off several pieces of evidence to be tested for arson, which was listed as a possible cause in a Richmond County Sheriff’s Office incident report on Jan. 7.

But the results came back early this week and the case was closed Thursday after investigators found “nothing substantial,” spokeswoman Dee Griffin said.

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VA audit: Disability claims mishandled in Augusta region

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Fri, 08/08/2014 - 9:22pm


Federal investigators found in a recent inspection of the Department of Veterans Affairs’ regional office in Atlanta that disability evaluations have been incorrectly processed for five years, resulting in nearly $140,000 in overpayments, according to an audit released this week.

The audit found that staff at the Atlanta regional office, which handles much of the claims veterans file in the Augusta area, incorrectly processed 17 of 30 temporary 100-percent disability evaluations reviewed.

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Bon Air resident says apartment unliveable but rent still due

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Fri, 08/08/2014 - 8:51pm

 The only thing separating Philip Baxley from his neighbor in their Bon Air Apartments on the ground floor is a flimsy, black tarp.

The drywall has been removed from the bottom portion of the wall, and the 66-year-old disabled Vietnam veteran can kick the tarp and see straight through to his neighbor’s unit.

After a small kitchen fire on a second-floor apartment July 19, ceiling sprinklers soaked the second through ground floors, causing water damage ranging from minor to severe in 22 units.

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Summer heat sends more to area cooling centers

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Fri, 08/08/2014 - 8:13pm

Cooling centers and homeless shelters in Richmond and Columbia counties have seen an increase in visitors looking to beat the heat this summer, officials said Friday, as temperatures again climbed towards triple digits.

As many as 150 people sought air conditioning at Columbia County’s seven cooling centers in June and July, estimated Pam Tucker, director of emergency operations.

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South Carolina law attempts to keeps guns out of the hands of the mentally ill

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Fri, 08/08/2014 - 8:04pm

A South Carolina law requiring probate courts to report the names of residents adjudicated mentally ill over the past decade has seen moderate success since it was signed into action in May of last year.

House Bill 3560 effectively created a clearinghouse for information on people who have been found mentally incompetent by a court.

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Young nuclear workers meeting in Augusta for annual conference

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Fri, 08/08/2014 - 7:43pm

Young minds from the nuclear industry will converge on Augusta next week for an annual meeting focused on advancing nuclear power in the United States.

Nearly 100 members of the Southeast chapter of the North American Young Gen­eration in Nuclear leadership group are attending the conference, which features speakers from the Plant Vogtle and V.C. Summer nuclear plants.

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Bus cameras being tested to deal with offenders

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Fri, 08/08/2014 - 7:38pm

They’re big and yellow with flashing lights, but still police frequently see motorists passing stopped school buses and putting children in danger.

“It’s obviously a problem every year,” said Richmond County sheriff’s Sgt. Danny Whitehead. “Our worse fear is obviously what happened last year.”

In December, 8-year-old Jaidyn Williams, a Sue Reynolds elementary student, was struck by a minivan while attempting to board the bus on Belair Road. He was taken off life support on Dec. 26, two weeks after being hit.

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Augusta Technical College police officers conduct active shooter training

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Fri, 08/08/2014 - 5:09pm

It was a statement Augusta Technical College faculty said they never expected to hear: “An armed intruder is on campus.”

Moments after the announcement crackled over the intercom at the school’s Emergency Services Training Center, professors barked orders to students, doors slammed shut and the lights went out.

Outside the building off Lumpkin Road, a man brandishing a handgun paced the sidewalk looking for an entrance. Once inside, he tried the door handles leading to classrooms, reacting angrily when no one would let him in.

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Child deaths rise in Georgia state report

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Fri, 08/08/2014 - 4:37pm

ATLANTA — State figures released Friday show that 180 children died last year while under the supervision of the Division of Family and Children Services.

That represents an increase of 28 deaths, or 18 percent, over 2012, but advocates and agency officials caution against drawing immediate conclusions because this year’s report is more comprehensive.

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Police seek Broad Street car thief

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Fri, 08/08/2014 - 4:25pm

Police are seeking information on a man who took a vehicle from a Broad Street hotel.

Investigators released surveillance photos of the man who they believe took a white Ford Escape from the parking lot of the Ramada Inn, 640 Broad Street, on July 19.

Anyone with information on the suspect is asked to contact the sheriff’s office at (706) 821-1080 or Deputy Angela Gates at (706) 821-1088.


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