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Augusta Commission approves new stormwater fee

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Tue, 07/21/2015 - 4:45pm

After months of debate, the Augusta Commission voted Tuesday to approve the first reading of an ordinance implementing a stormwater utility fee effective Jan. 1.

Planned at $6.40 a month for most households, the fee is expected to create approximately $14 million annually for maintenance and expansion of the city’s aging storm drainage infrastructure.

Commissioner Marion Williams, who has voted against the fee or abstained during recent efforts to pass it, became the sixth supporting vote it needed for approval.

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Appellate court wants clarity before ruling on appeal in Augusta homicide

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Tue, 07/21/2015 - 2:34pm


What happened at the end of an Augusta man’s murder trial is so muddled, the Court of Appeals of Georgia has sent the case back with instructions to sort it out for a new trial judge.

In a 2-1 opinion released Thursday, the appellate court remanded the case of Devin Washington, 21, back to Richmond County Superior Court.

At a joint trial with Marcus Washington, 26, in May 2013, a jury acquitted both men of malice murder. The jury also acquitted Marcus Washington of felony murder.

The jury convicted both men, who are not related, of weapon violations.

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Wal-Mart employee arrested after cash, merchandise found missing

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Tue, 07/21/2015 - 1:58pm

A Wrightsboro Road Wal-Mart employee was arrested Sunday after management discovered nearly $2,000 in cash and merchandise missing.

A manager told Richmond County deputies she was reviewing sales transactions for Ashley Lutrell Owens, 20, when she discovered $1,900 was missing. Upon further investigation she determined Owens had stolen $700 worth of merchandise and the other $1,200 was taken in the form of cash or gift cards, according to a Richmond County Sheriff’s Office report.

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Augusta teen arrested after DNA tests confirm fatherhood

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Tue, 07/21/2015 - 1:46pm

An Augusta 19-year-old was arrested this week after DNA determined he impregnated a 12-year-old.

The girl’s mother contacted police in January after her daughter’s school called and told her there was a rumor the girl was pregnant. A home pregnancy test confirmed the rumor.

According to a Richmond County sheriff’s report, the girl admitted to her mother she had been having sex with Zavia Anderson since the summer at both her house and an abandoned house. Anderson denied the claims.

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Man charged in wife's murder admits cutting himself

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Tue, 07/21/2015 - 1:19pm

The case against a Grovetown man charged in the June 14 stabbing death of his wife will continue.

Columbia County Magistrate Judge Jason R. Troiano decided at a preliminary hearing Tuesday that there is enough evidence to continue prosecution of Philip Stephen West, 46, on a murder charge.

West was charged with malice murder and possession of a knife during the commission of a crime after the fatal stabbing of his wife, Sherri Kay West, 47, at their Shoreline Drive home.

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Fire destroys Aiken apartment building

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Tue, 07/21/2015 - 1:05pm

More than 20 people were left homeless after a fire destroyed an Aiken apartment building late Monday.

Aiken Department of Public Safety Lt. Jake Mahoney said the department began receiving multiple calls for a fire at The Colony apartments on Greengate Drive about 11:50 p.m.

When firefighters arrived they found heavy fire and smoke coming from the 300 building. The fire spread through all 12 units and the building has been deemed a total loss. Mahoney said 23 residents were displaced.

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Entrance of pro-LGBT Metropolitan Community Church of Our Redeemer defaced with graffiti

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Tue, 07/21/2015 - 12:04pm


Vandals spray-painted Tuesday morning a Bible passage that condemns homosexual sex on a downtown church whose pastor was part of the first gay couple to receive a marriage license in Richmond County.

“Burn Leviticus 18:22 Lies” was painted across the double front doors of the Metropolitan Community Church of Our Redeemer on 557 Greene St. On the front steps was another passage, Leviticus 18:20, with the words “You’ll Burn.”

The vandalism comes almost three weeks after a rainbow flag had been stolen from the front of the church.

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Augusta under heat advisory

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Tue, 07/21/2015 - 9:46am

It’s going to be another hot one with temperatures reaching into the triple digits today.

A heat advisory is in effect from 1 p.m. to 9 p.m. today with temperatures expected to reach between 100 and 102 degrees and heat index values up to 112 degrees.

A heat advisory was also in effect Monday.

According to the National Weather Service, a heat advisory is issued when hot temperatures and high levels of humidity combine to create a situation where heat-related illnesses are possible.

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Power restored after storm outage

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Tue, 07/21/2015 - 9:04am

Power has been restored to the more than 1,000 customers affected by a Monday evening storm.

According to the Georgia Power Web site, there are no outages in the Richmond or Columbia County area.


Temporary city employee ordered to repay Augusta $86,000 for unearned wages claimed

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Mon, 07/20/2015 - 11:41pm


A former temporary employee who bilked the city of Augusta out of $86,456.20 must repay the money as a condition of her 10-year probation sentence.

Terrilynn Brown, 52, pleaded guilty June 1 in Richmond County Superior Court to theft by deception. Judge James G. Blanchard Jr. granted Brown’s request to be sentenced under the First Offender Act, which means if she successfully completes probation she will not have a conviction on her record.

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Burglar takes bed, dresser from Augusta home

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Mon, 07/20/2015 - 11:32pm

A king-sized bed, dresser and 50-inch television were stolen from an Augusta residence.

About 10 p.m. Sunday, deputies responded to the 2500 block in Reese Avenue, where a victim had returned to find her home ransacked, according to an incident report from the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office.

Deputies checked the home for fingerprints but didn’t find any.

City administrator to propose property tax cut

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Mon, 07/20/2015 - 11:00pm


City Administrator Janice Allen Jackson said she’s recommending a slight decrease in property taxes this year, although the effect on individual tax bills likely will be too small to eliminate the need for a proposed stormwater fee.

Jackson said she’ll propose to the Augusta Com­mis­sion on Tuesday that it adopt the rollback mill rate, a few hundredths of a percent less than the rate it approved last year.

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Phinizy Center for Water Sciences studying impact of Savannah River water flow through its insects and fish

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Mon, 07/20/2015 - 10:40pm

Fish and water bugs in the Savannah River will play a key role in developing a drought management plan for Thurmond Lake and the waters flowing downstream.

In early July, Phinizy Center for Water Sciences, an Augusta-based water quality research nonprofit, embarked on a 14-month project to study aquatic insects and fish living in the Savannah River. Researchers will use historical data on water flows and new findings to determine appropriate water releases from Thurmond Dam during droughts to protect the river’s ecology.

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More than 1,000 without power in Richmond County

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Mon, 07/20/2015 - 10:30pm

An evening storm has caused a string of power outages in Richmond County.

According to Georgia Power’s Web site, 1,157 Augusta customers were without power at about 10 p.m.

An official with the company said it hoped to have everyone’s power back on by midnight.

New GRU president talks of building relationships

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Mon, 07/20/2015 - 10:16pm

The office walls were bare and there were few books on the shelf Mon­day for new Georgia Regents Uni­ver­sity President Brooks Keel as he paused during his first day.

“It’s a blank slate,” he said, in more ways than one.

But he has already brought in a key adviser from his former post at Georgia Southern University, he already has ideas of how to better connect his two very different campuses and he is already looking forward to greater connections in health care.

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Civil rights activist, former Paine College chairman Silas Norman Jr. dies at 74

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Mon, 07/20/2015 - 9:30pm


Silas Norman Jr., a former Paine College Board of Trustees chairman whose work as a civil rights activist in the 1960s led to the desegregation of Augusta’s city buses, died Friday from cancer. He was 74.

Norman’s fight for social justice began while he was studying at Paine but continued well into his adult years and filtered into his work as a doctor and professor of internal medicine, said longtime friend and Paine historian Mallory Millender.

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Augusta VA wait times increase after early improvements under new director

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Mon, 07/20/2015 - 8:40pm


Despite hiring more staff and revamping the patient call center at the Charlie Nor­wood Veterans Affairs Medical Center, average wait times have steadily increased during Maria Andrews’ first 150 days as the hospital’s new director.

According to patient access data updated monthly on the VA’s Web site, Andrews’ administration got off to a strong start in February, achieving the medical center’s lowest wait times since former Director Bob Hamilton resigned Nov. 30.

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Augusta teen, 18, arrested on charges of molesting 12-year-old

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Mon, 07/20/2015 - 7:25pm


An Augusta teen is accused of child molestation after deputies say he had sexual contact with a 12-year-old.

Scott Angelo Fiske Jr., 18, of Corbin Place, was arrested Sunday on a charge of non-aggravated child molestation, according to Richmond County jail records. He is currently being held in the Charles B. Webster Detention Center without bond.

According to an incident report, the mother of the child contacted the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office after learning that two had sexual contact on June 15 at a home on Cherry Road.


Marshall Square fire investigation continues, but site released back to owners

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Mon, 07/20/2015 - 6:21pm

Fire investigators have finished their work at the Marshall Square Retirement Resort in Evans, but the investigation into the June 2 fatal blaze is still ongoing.

The state fire marshal’s office said Monday that it had released the facility back to its management company and owners, Resort Lifestyle Communities. The announcement comes seven weeks after the early morning fire that killed 91-year-old resident Dorothy “Dot” Carpenter and destroyed the central building and east wing of the senior community. The fire also displaced more than 80 residents.

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Savannah River Site leader moving to U.S. Department of Energy's Los Alamos, N.M. cleanup office

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Mon, 07/20/2015 - 4:27pm

A top U.S. Department of Energy leader at Savannah River Site has been reassigned to a new position at the Los Alamos Field Office in New Mexico.

Douglas Hintze was named manager of DOE’s environmental management Los Alamos Field Office, according to the department. Since September 2012, he served as assistant manager for mission support at SRS.

Hintze has more than 22 years experience working for DOE. The Los Alamos Field Office was created in March during a transition of responsibility for cleanup activities at Los Alamos National Laboratory.


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