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SUV toddler mom 'devastated' by death, lawyer says

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Wed, 07/16/2014 - 7:58am




ATLANTA — A lawyer for a suburban Atlanta woman whose husband was arrested after their son was left for hours in a hot SUV said Tuesday that she is devastated by the boy’s death.


Criminal defense attorney Lawrence Zimmerman said Leanna Harris is “living every parent’s nightmare” after the death of her 22-month-old son, Cooper.


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SC Klan passing out candy

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Wed, 07/16/2014 - 7:50am


SENECA, S.C. — Some residents in northwestern South Carolina say they found bags of candy on their street containing a piece of paper asking them to join the Ku Klux Klan.


Residents in an Oconee County subdivision found the bags Saturday night or Sunday morning.


The paper said “Save Our Land, Join the Klan.” It had a phone number that led to an automated message discussing KKK efforts against illegal immigration.


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Missing Beech Island man found

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Wed, 07/16/2014 - 1:20am


A man reported missing in Aiken has been found.

The Aiken Department of Public Safety sought Willie Widner, of Beech Island, after his family raised concern over his disappearance. Widner had last been seen in downtown Aiken on July 4.

Police said he returned to his family during the weekend.


Evans man sought for felony theft of Hertz vehicle

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Tue, 07/15/2014 - 11:55pm

Richmond County deputies are searching for an Evans man who hasn’t returned a vehicle he rented from Hertz Car Rental.

Marlon Hill, of 4022 Cameron Court, is accused of felony theft by conversion after having not made payments on a 2014 silver Chevrolet Impala, according to an incident report from the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office.

According to Hertz employee Audrey Averitte, the company – located at 1333 Broad St. – has attempted to contact Hill but has been unsuccessful.

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Two Augusta men arrested following armed robbery on Shoreline Drive

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Tue, 07/15/2014 - 11:47pm

Two Augusta residents were arrested following a June 10 armed robbery on Shoreline Drive.

Joshua Lamar Ellison, 25, and O’Brian Steele, 26, were detained after entering Ebony Eppes’ home with pistols and leaving with $80 and a handgun, according to a Richmond County incident report.

The victim stated that the two suspects entered from opposite ends of her home, stole the listed items and then fled the scene in a white Ford F-150. While deputies were performing an area check, an officer saw two black males driving a truck that matched the description, the report said.

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Arrest made in Washington Road apartment shooting

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Tue, 07/15/2014 - 11:06pm


Columbia County deputies arrested an Augusta man Tuesday afternoon in connection with a shooting that occurred early Monday morning at Westwood Club Apartments on Washington Road.

Trelon Baker, 20, was arrested at his residence, 73 Fox Trace, in Fox Den Apartments in Augusta, Capt. Steve Morris said.

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Introduction of license plate readers met with privacy concerns

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Tue, 07/15/2014 - 8:41pm


Since purchasing a license plate reader, the Harlem Department of Public Safety has seen a dramatic shift in driver behavior. But at least one national organization isn’t pleased with the technology leading to this behavioral change.

The American Civil Liberties Union is concerned the technology might cost motorists something a little more valuable than money: their privacy.

In a July 2013 report, You Are Being Tracked, the ACLU warns that the equipment opens the door for potential abuse.

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OSHA investigations can take months; Kellogg bakery fall in Augusta latest probe

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Tue, 07/15/2014 - 6:59pm

Federal officials continue to investigate the June death of a longtime employee at south Augusta’s Kellogg Bakery and it could take safety inspectors four to six months to determine if the company was at fault in the worker’s fatal fall.

The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration has moved quickly the past five years in eight work-related fatalities and hospitalizations in the Augusta-area to inspect businesses for serious violations.

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Augusta Commission approves animal adoption plan

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Tue, 07/15/2014 - 6:29pm


The Augusta Commission on Tuesday approved an arrangement pitched by Animal Services Director Sharon Broady that will facilitate the transfer of adoptable animals to rescue groups and potentially reduce the shelter’s 70 percent kill rate.

Under Broady’s plan, approved rescue groups can enter the facility and identify which animals they’d like for adoption. Then only Augusta Animal Services, not the rescues, will be allowed to transport any unaltered animals to spay-and-neuter clinics for surgery, which will be paid for by the rescues.

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Death of Blythe man found in Thurmond Lake accidental, officials say

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Tue, 07/15/2014 - 4:59pm


The death of a Blythe man whose body was found in Thurmond Lake last week was an accident, Lincoln County Coroner Paul Reviere said Tuesday.

An autopsy performed Monday revealed that 36-year-old Wayne Patrick Mravlja died in an apparent drowning. Boaters found his body about 4 p.m. July 11 nearly 100 yards offshore near a small island in the Chamberlain’s Ferry boat landing area.

He was pronounced dead at 5:10 p.m., Reviere said.

Roger Bettis' 2010 rape conviction for brutal attack at MCG in Augusta, reversed on appeal

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Tue, 07/15/2014 - 4:56pm


An Augusta man convicted of attempted rape and other crimes in a brutal attack in a hospital women’s restroom is entitled to a new trial, the Court of Appeals of Georgia has ruled.

In a July 10 opinion, the appellate court reversed Roger Bettis’ 2010 conviction and 95-year prison sentence because, it said, the trial judge didn’t follow the proper procedure to determine whether Bettis could represent himself at trial.

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Democratic nominee seeks investigation into governor's office for intimidation allegations to derail 2010 campaign probe

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Tue, 07/15/2014 - 3:51pm

ATLANTA -- Jason Carter called for an investigation of Gov. Nathan Deal’s office at a news conference Tuesday.

Carter, the Democratic nominee hoping to unseat Deal, said the governor’s top two aides intimidated Holly LaBerge, head of the ethics commission, attempting to derail her inquiry into Deal’s 2010 campaign. Deal’s re-election campaign denies any wrongdoing, claiming Carter’s argument is simply an “election-year attack.”

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Carter blasts Deal over memo

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Tue, 07/15/2014 - 2:32pm

ATLANTA — Democrat Jason Carter is seizing on a memo written by the head of the state ethics commission in which she says an attorney for Gov. Nathan Deal threatened her agency during its investigation of ethics complaints against the governor.

Carter, who is running against Deal, told reporters Tuesday it was “clear now that there is a pattern of intimidation and interference on the part of the governor’s office.” He renewed his call for a state investigation.

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4 sentenced in Ga. massage case

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Tue, 07/15/2014 - 2:27pm



MACON, Ga — The owner and several employees of a middle Georgia massage parlor have been sentenced on prostitution, conspiracy and money laundering charges.


"The Telegraph of Macon" reports the former owner of Soft Hands Massage and Spa, 51-year-old Hyeon Chae, has been sentenced to three years in prison and is ordered to spend another three years on probation.


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Phinizy environmental research nonprofit changes name

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Tue, 07/15/2014 - 1:54pm


An Augusta environmental research nonprofit has a new name.

Southeastern Natural Sciences Academy changed its name to Phinizy Center for Water Sciences to better emphasize its primary research and education areas, according to a news release from the organization.

“This new name encompasses dedication to the mission of using unbiased science to find solutions for water quality issues and providing water-based environmental education,” the nonprofit said.

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'Walking Dead' get Ga. studio

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Tue, 07/15/2014 - 9:57am

ATLANTA — A studio is constructing a 15-foot-high wall around a neighborhood in the small town of Senoia, creating an enclosed set to film new episodes of the AMC show “The Walking Dead.”

Senoia Mayor Larry Owens said the city council this month approved plans for the wall, which will enclose an area that includes about four brownstone town homes plus about a half-dozen additional residences.

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Snake knocks out Myrtle Beach power

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Tue, 07/15/2014 - 9:51am

MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. — People in Horry County who might have been late for work can blame the snake.

The Sun News of Myrtle Beach reports a snake got into an Horry County Electric Cooperative substation early Tuesday and came in contact with an electronics circuit. Power was cut to almost 2,000 customers.

Officials say the power went out about 1:15 a.m. and was restored about an hour later.


SC strip clubs in trouble

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Tue, 07/15/2014 - 9:49am

MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. — The prosecutor in Horry County is asking a judge to close five strip clubs, saying they have a reputation of prostitution and lewdness and are offensive to public decency.

The owner of one of the clubs says a shutdown would hurt tourism.

Prosecutor Jimmy Richardson filed separate civil complaints against each of the clubs last week, The Sun News of Myrtle Beach ( reported. The request seeks a temporary order to close the clubs until a hearing can be conducted to permanently close them.

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Big gator wanders out of Hilton Head surf

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Tue, 07/15/2014 - 8:52am


HILTON HEAD ISLAND — An alligator wrangler says he hopes authorities allow him to relocate a huge gator lassoed on Hilton Head Island.


The Island Packet of Hilton Head reports the 12-foot gator estimated to weigh 800 pounds wandered out of the surf Monday.


Officials think the alligator could be 45 years old.


It took two men 40 minutes to snare, rope and tape the alligator as a crowd of about 100 people watched.


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Feds to review Ga. Medicaid backlog

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Tue, 07/15/2014 - 8:36am



ATLANTA -- A federal agency says it will review Medicaid eligibility and enrollment processes in Georgia and six other states due to “a substantial backlog of pending applications.”

The July 9 letter from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services does not indicate how much of a backlog Georgia has or the reasons for it.

The Georgia review will also cover the state’s PeachCare program for uninsured children.

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