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Grady Hospital unit settles overbilling case

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Fri, 04/24/2015 - 1:22pm



ATLANTA -- Grady Health System has agreed to pay $2.95 million to settle charges that it improperly billed Medicaid for treatment to neonatal intensive care patients, the Georgia attorney general announced.

The state of Georgia alleged that Grady inflated billings for certain services provided to these NICU patients, resulting in either unjustified or inflated payments from Medicaid.

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Georgia Bank & Trust owner reports $4.2 million quarterly profit

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Fri, 04/24/2015 - 12:21pm


The parent company of Georgia Bank & Trust reported Friday an increase in first-quarter profit compared with last year.

Augusta-based Southeastern Bank Financial Corp. reported first-quarter net income of $4.2 million, or 63 cents per share, up from $3.8 million, or 57 cents per share, in the first quarter of 2014.

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Reward offered in 2 slayings

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Fri, 04/24/2015 - 11:41am


The federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives is offering rewards in two unsolved Aiken County homicides this year.

Gail McFadgen, 16, died April 16 after being shot near Diamond Street in Clearwater.

On Jan. 11, Donnie Lee Brooks Jr. died after being shot at Ridgeview Manor apartments in North Augusta.

Both shooters have not been identified.

The agency is offering up to a $5,000 reward in each case for information leading to an arrest and conviction in the shootings.

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Vigil honors Ga. Southern victims

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Fri, 04/24/2015 - 4:58am

STATESBORO, Ga.  — The long line of Georgia Southern nursing students clad in the white coats that symbolized their career path moved slowly toward the center of campus.

Joining more than 1,000 fellow mourners, the students gathered for a candlelight vigil Thursday night, to pray, honor and remember the five young classmates taken suddenly from them in a tragic wreck Wednesday morning just west of Savannah. Two other students were also injured in the crash.

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Horsfield, Kinhult tied for Junior Invitational lead

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Thu, 04/23/2015 - 6:07pm

GRANITEVILLE — Many of the players in the Junior Invitational at Sage Valley field are planning to play college golf.

Sweden’s Marcus Kinhult has other thoughts.

“I’m thinking of turning pro maybe in a year,” he said. “I made the decision last summer.”

If his play Thursday is any indication, Kinhult might be making a wise choice. In windy conditions at Sage Valley Golf Club, Kinhult posted 3-under-par 69 and is tied atop the Junior Invitational leaderboard with Sam Horsfield.

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Decision on charges in 5 Ga. crash deaths could take months

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Thu, 04/23/2015 - 5:51pm


SAVANNAH, Ga.  — A decision on whether to bring criminal charges in a fiery interstate crash that killed five   Georgia   nursing students could take months as investigators work to piece together details of the collision, authorities said Thursday.

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Audit finds records lag for foster-children social workers

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Thu, 04/23/2015 - 4:19pm

ATLANTA – Georgia social workers charged with overseeing the safety of foster children are getting increasingly behind in their paperwork, making it difficult for managers and the public to ensure they are doing the job, according to a state audit.

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Michaux: Former Laney star Rod Hall might have future in NFL

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Thu, 04/23/2015 - 4:16pm

Of all the post-graduate career options Clemson point guard Rod Hall Jr. was considering applying his basketball skills or degree in Parks, Recreation and Tourism Management, one possibility never came up until last week.

The NFL.

Among all the phone calls from agents campaigning to extend his basketball career, Hall suddenly started getting rung up by NFL scouts.

“Man, it’s pretty crazy,” Hall said with a chuckle. “A couple of teams started calling me Friday morning. Ever since they’ve been calling and wanting to see me work out. A few teams invited me to mini-camp.

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McDuffie teen charged in slaying

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Thu, 04/23/2015 - 3:19pm

A McDuffie County teen has been charged as an adult following a fatal stabbing in Thomson.

Travtavious Moss, 15, of the 1500 block of Autumn Ridge Drive, Thomson, was arrested by Georgia Bureau of Investigation agents and charged with murder and the possession of a knife during the commission of a crime.

According to Thomson Police Chief John Seay, at approximately 9:40 p.m. Wednesday, officers were dispatched to 208 Watson St. where the attack had been reported.

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McKee wins Louis Harris Award

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Thu, 04/23/2015 - 3:11pm


The Augusta West Rotary Club awarded on Thursday its 2015 Louis Harris Award to Rick McKee, editorial page cartoonist of The Augusta Chronicle.

The club has presented the award annually since 1979 to honor the memory of Harris, a community leader who was a longtime editor of The Chronicle and Augusta Herald.

In accepting the award, McKee thanked the club, his colleagues and mentors who supported him through the years.

“This a great honor for me,” he said. “I am so proud to have my name included on this trophy.”

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Woman pleads to stealing from employer

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Thu, 04/23/2015 - 2:45pm

A former real estate agency bookkeeper pleaded guilty Thursday to stealing from the business.

Melissa Elaine Reeves, 43, pleaded to nine counts of theft and five counts of ID fraud in a sentencing hearing at the Columbia County courthouse in Evans.

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Former deputy sentenced

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Thu, 04/23/2015 - 2:32pm

A former Columbia County sheriff’s deputy accused of providing accident reports to private attorneys pleaded guilty Thursday.

Former Staff Sgt. David Ronald Kitchens, 50, was charged in March 2013 with computer theft and violation of oath by a public officer. He pleaded guilty to the oath violation and the computer theft charge was dismissed at a hearing at the courthouse in Evans.

Superior Court Judge Sheryl B. Jolly sentenced Kitchens to three years probation and a $300 fine under the First Offender Act.

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Ga. fires back on nursing home payments

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Thu, 04/23/2015 - 8:37am

ATLANTA -- The commissioner of Georgia’s Medicaid agency has written a sharply worded defense of nursing home payments now deemed improper by the federal government.

A federal ruling saying Georgia should return more than $100 million in nursing home payments “is factually and legally incorrect,’’ Clyde Reese, commissioner of the Department of Community Health, wrote in a February letter to a Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services official in Atlanta.

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Marijuana conference set in Columbia

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Thu, 04/23/2015 - 8:34am



COLUMBIA — National experts in a variety of fields are gathering in Columbia this week for a summit on marijuana.


A conference entitled “The Blunt Truth: Today’s Marijuana” is taking place Thursday and Friday at the Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center.


The South Carolina Department of Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse Services is among sponsors of the event at which experts in fields from pharmacology to law enforcement and public health plan to share information and encourage participants to collaborate at the local level.

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Lost family found in SC park

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Thu, 04/23/2015 - 8:32am

GADSDEN, S.C. — A family of five has been rescued after getting lost in the Congaree National Park southeast of Columbia.

Columbia Fire Department spokesman Brick Lewis told local media that the family had been canoeing in the park Tuesday evening when they got lost and called 911.

The parents had three children with them, ages 10, 12 and 15.

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Prosecutor seeks to close SC strip club

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Thu, 04/23/2015 - 8:30am

GREENVILLE, S.C. — The prosecutor in Greenville wants to close a strip club where sheriff’s deputies have been called nearly 300 times in the past three years.

The Greenville News reported the records from the sheriff show that deputies have been called to Platinum Plus 282 times since the beginning of 2012.

Prosecutor Walt Wilkins has filed a lawsuit seeking to close the business as a public nuisance.

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SC names its top teacher

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Thu, 04/23/2015 - 8:28am

COLUMBIA— A Sumter High School teacher has been named South Carolina’s Teacher of the Year.

State Education Superintendent Molly Spearman announced the selection of Suzanne Koty at a banquet in Columbia on Wednesday night.

Koty teaches English and the International Baccalaureate course called Theory of Knowledge.

She receives $25,000 and the use of a new BMW for a year.

The other four finalists receive $10,000.

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Ga. teacher faces student sex charges

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Thu, 04/23/2015 - 8:25am

VALDOSTA, Ga. — A Georgia high school teacher has been arrested and charged with having sexual contact with her male students.

The Valdosta Daily Times reports 42-year-old Phoebe Chapman turned herself in to authorities Tuesday. Investigators say rumors surfaced in March that Chapman had sexual contact with students at Lowndes High School, where she is a career and technical instruction teacher.

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Vehicle arsonist sought in south Ga.

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Thu, 04/23/2015 - 8:22am

ALBANY, Ga. — Georgia fire investigators are on the hunt for a serial arsonist who has been setting cars on fire.

WALB-TV reports three vehicles have been set on fire this week in Albany. On Tuesday, someone set fire to the gas tank cap of a truck. The gas cap melted and fire damaged the paint. The fire was almost identical to two other vehicle fires about ten minutes away.

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UGA tuition outpaces HOPE aid

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Thu, 04/23/2015 - 8:11am


ATHENS, Ga. -- The expense of a college education remains on a steep upward trend.

The combined annual cost of tuition and fees at the University of Georgia has more than tripled in the past 15 years. With a 9 percent tuition hike going into effect next fall, UGA undergraduates will shell out a total of $11,610 for two semesters, about twice what it cost in 2007.

The declining value of the HOPE Scholarship is also helping drive up the cost of attending UGA.

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