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Felony, not politics behind board change, Lockett says

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Tue, 01/13/2015 - 1:13pm

District 5 Commissioner Bill Lockett said Tuesday he did not ask for the Animal Services advisory board chairman’s resignation last week “because of politics” but because of a felony conviction Lockett was previously unaware of.

BB Langham was sentenced to 10 years of probation in May after pleading guilty to felony cruelty to children in the first degree, family violence and sexual battery.

The charges stem from an incident in 2012 in which a 13-year old girl reported awaking in bed with Langham’s hand in her pants.

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How can Ga. pay for roadwork?

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Tue, 01/13/2015 - 12:42pm


ATLANTA -- Speaking to a statewide business group Tuesday, senior state officials endorsed the organization’s call for increased funding on transportation, but none would say how to go about it.

Gov. Nathan Deal acknowledged the need for a spending boost and promised to make the case for it in Wednesday’s State of the State Address. Experts have estimated $1.5 billion in additional annual spending is needed to maintain existing roads, highways and bridges and that as much as $20 billion would be necessary for substantive improvements.

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January tourism impact expected to be $2 million

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Tue, 01/13/2015 - 9:36am


Augusta tourism officials expect $2 million in visitor spending in January.

The big driver will be the Augusta Cutting Horse Futurity, starting Friday. The attendance is estimated at 2,700 with an impact of $1.2 million, according to information provided by the Augusta Convention and Visitors Bureau and the Augusta Sports Council.

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Police seek Checkers holdup attempt suspect

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Tue, 01/13/2015 - 9:30am

Police are seeking a man who attempted to rob a Windsor Spring Road fast-food restaurant early this morning.

Deputies were called to Checkers, 3554 Windsor Spring Road, around 2 a.m. after an unknown man walked up to the drive-thru window and attempted to rob the business. According to an incident report, the man, who was wearing a ski mask and carrying a rifle, tried to make employees open the window.

He ran away without anything after employees left the window area and activated a panic alarm.

TCU passes Ala. in football poll

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Tue, 01/13/2015 - 9:24am


Ohio State is No. 1 in the final Associated Press poll and TCU finished third, in front of two teams that made the playoff ahead of the Horned Frogs.


The Buckeyes finished on top of the AP Top 25 for the fifth time in program history, matching Miami and Southern California for fourth most behind Alabama (nine), Notre Dame (eight) and Oklahoma (seven).


Ohio State beat Oregon 42-20 on Monday night in the first College Football Playoff national championship game and got all 59 first-place votes in the media poll.


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Augustan part of Gov. Deal inaugural ceremony

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Tue, 01/13/2015 - 7:35am


ATLANTA -- The start of Gov. Nathan Deal’s second term Monday began with his reflecting on his past achievements rather than laying out an agenda for the next four years.

He set the tone by joking about the rain showers that forced Monday’s ceremonies inside as compared to the crippling blizzard before his first inauguration four years ago that prompted festivities to the same House chambers that year.

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Pedestrian killed in Aiken County accident

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Mon, 01/12/2015 - 11:11pm


The South Carolina Highway Patrol is investigating a vehicle accident that killed a pedestrian in Aiken Monday night.

About 7:18 p.m., first responders were called to 2076 Augusta Road where the victim, 63-year-old Henry G. Reese, of Gloverville, was struck by a 2001 Chevrolet van while attempting to cross the four-lane road, Aiken County Coroner Tim Carlton said in an e-mail.

Reese was pronounced dead at Georgia Regents Medical Center at 8:05 p.m. A toxicology report is pending. Carlton said Reese was wearing dark clothes when he was struck.

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GA lawmakers' bills support local pupil's push to lower age of political candidates

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Mon, 01/12/2015 - 10:18pm


ATLANTA — A Grovetown middle-schooler’s proposal to change the state constitution to lower the minimum age for serving in the Georgia Legis­lature will be introduced by lawmakers.

Sen. Josh McKoon, R-Colum­bus, said Monday that he will sponsor a resolution to enact the proposal by Columbia Middle School pupil C.J. Pearson, 12.

Rep. Ben Harbin, R-Evans, is sponsoring a companion resolution in the House. McKoon’s measure would lower the minimum age for senators from 25 to 21, while Harbin’s would lower it for the House from 21 to 18.

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Animal services board chairman BB Langham resigns

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Mon, 01/12/2015 - 9:43pm


The chairman of the Augusta Animal Services advisory board resigned Friday, becoming the seventh person to leave the 10-member board in three months.

BB Langham said he resigned after District 5 Commissioner Bill Lockett called and asked him to leave the board. Langham declined to provide the reasons Lockett gave in asking for his resignation, saying “It has to do with politics, and I’ll leave it at that.”

Lockett did not return several calls for comment.

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Harris, Pittman qualify for District 7 special election

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Mon, 01/12/2015 - 9:18pm

Augusta Commission District 7 hopefuls Louis “Hap” Harris and Sonny Pittman qualified Monday for the March 17 special election to complete the rest of Donnie Smith’s term.

According to Richmond County Board of Elections Executive Director Lynn Bailey, Pittman and Harris signed up to run for the seat, which requires a candidate be at least 21 and live in the district one year before the election. The fee is $360.

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Former Jag Patrick Reed wins Tournament of Champions

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Mon, 01/12/2015 - 8:49pm


KAPALUA, Hawaii — Four shots behind with four holes to play, former Augusta State standout Patrick Reed made two birdies and holed out from 80 yards for an eagle Monday, and then closed out his unlikely rally by making an 18-foot birdie putt to beat Jimmy Walker in a playoff at the Hyundai Tournament of Champions.

The PGA Tour started a new year without a host of big names, but got a compelling finish at Kapalua.

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Team Lean weight loss challenge kicks off at Family Y

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Mon, 01/12/2015 - 8:41pm


As she enrolled in Team Lean on Monday at the Wilson Family YMCA, Jennifer Huffman, of Martinez, was carrying part of her motivation on her left arm.

Eight-month-old Juliet mostly stared wide-eyed as her mom weighed and registered as part of a team of about 40 people at Vineyard Church of Augusta who are taking part in the annual weight loss contest.

“Post-baby weight,” Huffman said, looking down at her daughter, who sported a big pink bow on her head. “But more just getting back into shape, the way I was before I got pregnant.”

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Home building permits increase in Columbia County, decrease in Augusta

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Mon, 01/12/2015 - 8:37pm


Area officials say Columbia County further defined itself as the region’s preferred living community last year, issuing more than three times as many home-construction permits as industry-heavy Augusta-Richmond County.

After a slow spring, new building permits for single-family homes surged 9 percent in Columbia County for an annual total of 1,185 units built, which is 100 more than the 1,085 houses constructed in 2013.

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Federal report on mismanaged projects makes example of MOX facility at Savannah River Site

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Mon, 01/12/2015 - 8:30pm


A troubled plutonium conversion plant at Savannah River Site has become an example of unruly, mismanaged government projects needing reform, according to a new report from the U.S. Energy Department.

Construction of the mixed-oxide fuel fabrication facility could cost as much as $12 billion because of project planning failures when the idea was conceived, according to the report. The initial estimate of capital costs in 2001 was $1.1 billion for the plant, which is intended to create commercial nuclear fuel from weapons-grade plutonium.

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City parking ordinance update gets lukewarm reception

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Mon, 01/12/2015 - 8:26pm

A request by Augusta’s Downtown Development Authority to update the city’s parking ordinance met a lukewarm reception Monday.

Interim deputy Administrator Steve Cassell, who’s been working closely with DDA Director Margaret Woodard on developing a parking management plan for downtown, said a need to update the ordinance was raised during two public hearings on parking the city held Dec. 9.

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