A Senate panel this week advanced legislation that would make it easier for the Department of Veterans Affairs secretary to fire corrupt or poor-performing employees, not just top officials.
The Department of Veterans Affairs Accountability Act of 2015 seeks to expand on a law passed by Congress and signed by President Obama last year that gave VA secretary Robert McDonald firing authority over senior executives.
To about 100 Augusta children, Thursday was an opportunity to splash in the water and meet a robot, but to adults it was an opportunity to reverse the perception of police.
“It was a good day for kids to realize we (are a positive role model),” said Richmond County sheriff’s Sgt. Mike Gilliland. “We want the kids to realize we’re not the bad guys. We’re not here to take them to jail.”
It was the third year the sheriff’s office has partnered with the Boys and Girls Club to offer children a day of fun and an opportunity to meet police officers.
DALLAS — The autopsy of a woman who was found dead in a Texas jail revealed no injuries that would suggest she died in a violent homicide, authorities said Thursday.
Waller County prosecutor Warren Diepraam discussed details of the autopsy of 28-year-old Sandra Bland, who authorities say was found hanging in her jail cell on July 13.
Less than 48 hours after arriving on a plane from China, 6-year-old Noah had adapted to his four-week “vacation” with the Drafts family. He made his bed Wednesday morning without being asked and easily interacted with the family’s five other children although he speaks no English.
Noah’s vacation from a Chinese orphanage is much more than a foreign exchange trip or a sightseeing tour of the United States. It’s his chance to find a new family.
On the third anniversary of Amelia Hiltz’s death, the woman responsible was sentenced to life in prison.
Monique Sullivan, 34, apologized Thursday for the horrific crash on the River Watch Parkway that killed Hiltz, nearly killed Maureen Floyd and Kevin Mollenhauer, and altered the lives of the survivors and those who rushed to aid the victims.
As the heat wave continues to hit Augusta, so is a spate of air conditioner thefts.
Since July 8, at least three police reports have been filed about stolen window units.
“I think it’s safe to say these units aren’t being sold for scrap metal,” Richmond County Lt. Allan Rollins said. “It’s been an extremely hot summer, and people seem to be doing whatever it takes to stay cool. It’s an unfortunate situation.”
The reported crimes have come from the 2700 block in Cardigan Court, 3900 block in Wrightsboro Road and 2200 block in Wheeless Road.
Job losses from the end of the school year drove up the metro unemployment rate to 6.9 percent in June, the Georgia Department of Labor reported Thursday.
The jobless rate was 6.6 percent in May and 7.9 percent in June a year ago.
The number of jobs in Augusta decreased by 2,400, mostly in education and health services, state government, manufacturing and construction. Despite the losses in June, the Labor Department reported that the metro area has 5,500 more jobs than in June 2014.
The driver of a car that plunged into a pond off Hardy McManus Road early Thursday escaped without injury.
Emergency crews were called to the scene of the single-car accident about 6:30 a.m. near Woodruff Road, according to Columbia County sheriff’s Capt. Steve Morris.
Morris said the driver, Darien Churchville, 22, of Evans, told deputies she dozed off behind the wheel of her 2003 Toyota Corolla while traveling eastbound on Hardy McManus Road. She was startled awake when her car left the road.
An Augusta business was robbed at gunpoint Wednesday afternoon.
A black man armed with a handgun entered Family Dollar in the 1900 block of Broad Street and demanded money, according to an incident report from the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office. The suspect – described as 6 feet tall and 150 pounds – left the store on foot and was last seen heading west in the direction of Olmstead Homes.
Anyone with any information can contact the Sheriff’s Office at (706) 821-1020.
A landlord removed the front door from his rental home Tuesday after the tenant couldn’t pay the rent.
Richmond County deputies were called to the residence in the 2100 block in Silverdale Road about 2 p.m., and were told by the tenant that her landlord had come to the property and demanded rent money. When she couldn’t produce cash, the landlord ordered two of his employees to remove the front door and turn off the water, according to an incident report.
The tenant told deputies she was moving out.
More than 190 new teachers got their first in-depth look at their new school system Wednesday morning, undergoing orientation as Columbia County braces for a predicted population boom.
Development of a sales tax package to present to voters Nov. 3 kicks into high gear Friday at a three-hour Augusta Commission meeting.
The content of the special purpose, local option sales tax package will be critical as SPLOST opponents cite Tuesday’s passage of a stormwater fee as another reason to defeat the referendum.
AIKEN — Jeb Bush says he’s not an angry candidate. Far from it, in fact.
He says he represents a more positive option for voters as a “happy warrior” who refuses to bend the knee to pessimism.
Instead, Bush says he will run an inclusive presidential campaign in places other Republican candidates won’t go – black churches, the Hispanic community and on college campuses. He says he will campaign with “heart and conviction” and campaign to win. And that, he hopes, will be good enough for the future of America.
COLUMBIA — Steve Spurrier has a message for all those “enemies” out there, saying he will remain South Carolina’s coach for a long time.
Spurrier said Wednesday that he’s not too old at 70 to coach and is not leaving the school where he has coached the past 10 years and is the team’s career victory leader.
Spurrier essentially said similar things at Southeastern Conference Media Days last week. That hasn’t stopped the questions about how long Spurrier might remain on the sidelines.
Even though she didn’t get to hit the siren during her first shift in the ambulance, Adedayo Oduwole said it was still OK.
“It wasn’t as intense as I thought it would be,” she said. Before she begins her first year at Medical College of Georgia at Georgia Regents University, this future doctor will be certified as an emergency medical technician.
More than 35 days have passed since Richmond County’s last homicide, eclipsing the longest stretch thus far in 2015.
There have been 10 killings – nine charges of murder and one of involuntary manslaughter – but none has occurred since June 13. Before that stretch, the longest that the county had gone without a homicide was two months, in June and July of 2014.
“I’m proud of the effort and strategies (our employees) have put in to reduce our homicide rate,” Richmond County Sheriff Richard Roundtree said.
Former U.S. Rep. John Barrow announced Wednesday that he will return to his alma mater to teach a subject he became very familiar with during his decade-long run as the Deep South’s last white Democratic congressman – partisan gridlock.
The University of Georgia confirmed in a news release that Barrow, an Athens, Ga., native who has strong ties to the Clarke County college town, will be an in-residence scholar for its School of Public and International Affairs.
Army Col. Michael A. Weber was installed as commander of Dwight D. Eisenhower Army Medical Center at Fort Gordon on Wednesday.
Weber replaced Col. John Lamoureux who has been at the hospital since August 2013, according to a news release. He became chief of staff for Southern Region Medical Command.
Previously, Weber served as the assistant program manager in the Office of the Program Manager for the Saudi Arabian National Guard Modernization Program, according to a release.
The change of command ceremony was held at Fort Gordon’s Barton Field.
The Richmond County Board of Education voted to approve a motion asking the Augusta Commission for more information on the newly passed stormwater fee, with some board members arguing that state law exempts the public entity from paying the fee.
The Augusta Commission approved the fee Tuesday, at $6.40 a month for most households. The fee is designed to raise $14 million yearly to pay for maintenance on Augusta’s rapidly aging storm water drainage systems.
The Charlie Norwood Veterans Affairs Medical Center announced Tuesday that its acting chief of staff will manage the Augusta’s hospital’s 2,445-employee workforce full time.
Starting July 26, Dr. Oladipo Kukoyi, a longtime administrator in the VA’s Southeast network, will become the hospital’s first permanent chief of staff since Michael Spencer resigned the position in May 2014 amid reports of treatment delays and preventable deaths in its gastrointestinal unit.