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Aiken woman found dead in apartment

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Tue, 05/19/2015 - 3:59pm

An Aiken woman was found dead inside her apartment Tuesday.

Lauren McKinney, 28, was discovered at Glendale Terrace Apartments around noon, according to Aiken County Coroner Tim Carlton.

Aiken police are investigating McKinney’s death as a “suspicious death,” Aiken Department of Public Safety Lt. Jake Mahoney said.

“We can’t determine the cause of death,” Mahoney said. “Because of that, we are considering it a crime scene.”

Evans mother charged with allowing underage drinking at her house

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Tue, 05/19/2015 - 3:49pm

An Evans mother was arrested, police say, after she allowed a party that included some underage drinkers last weekend.

Courtney Martineau West, 41, was charged with contributing to the delinquency of a minor.

Deputies went to West’s Preakness Drive home for a noise complaint just before midnight Friday, according to a Columbia County Sheriff’s Office incident report.

As deputies approached the home, several people, including West, ran out the back door and into some woods behind the house.

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Board of Regents approves new operating room, student center renovation in GRU's health-sciences student center

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Tue, 05/19/2015 - 3:39pm



ATLANTA – The construction of a new operating room and renovation of the health-sciences student center at Georgia Regents University each got a green light from the Board of Regents Tuesday.

The $12 million operating room includes renovating existing hospital space to add rooms for heart surgery, patient preparations and recovery with 26 beds. Also getting a makeover will be the pharmacy, nurses’ station, offices and staff lounge as well as the wiring and ventilation system.

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Regents help fund University Hospital residency expansion

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Tue, 05/19/2015 - 3:19pm

ATLANTA — State taxpayer funds will cover some of the costs of University Hospital’s expansion of its residency program for new physicians after the University System of Georgia Board of Regents gave its OK on Tuesday.

The board approved the recommendation to grant $800,000 to the Augusta hospital, which, despite its name, is not part of nearby Georgia Regents University. The hospital will partner with GRU’s Medical College of Georgia Family Medicine program.

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Expect higher traffic on the road and in the air for Memorial Day 2015

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Tue, 05/19/2015 - 3:12pm


You might find the roads and the airports a little busier than normal this Memorial Day.

AAA is predicting the highest travel numbers in the past decade for the unofficial summer kickoff, a period that runs from Thursday to Monday. AAA projects 37.2 million Americans will travel 50 miles or more during the weekend. Georgia is expected to have an estimated million travelers, an increase in almost 5 percent compared to last year.

Both gas and airfare are lower this year, while hotel and car rental rates are slightly higher.

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Toxicology report returned in death of Cross Creek student

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Tue, 05/19/2015 - 2:49pm


Almost seven months after his body was found in the woods behind Cross Creek High School, officials finally know how Nicholas Charles Dunn died.

Richmond County Coroner Mark Bowen said Tuesday that an autopsy and subsequent toxicology report conducted by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation found that Dunn, 18, died of “acute psychotic reaction following an unspecified drug intoxication.” The autopsy report came back Monday.

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Michaux: Who to pull for, Atlanta or Cleveland?

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Tue, 05/19/2015 - 1:45pm


These are confusing times for an NBA playoffs bandwagon jumper.

Repeated confession: the NBA rarely grabs my attention. While there’s no denying the talent level, the sheer volume and scale of it has never attracted me. For all of its flaws, I prefer the college basketball game and always will. Once players drop their alma mater allegiance for cash, they become as relevant as senior-tour golfers in my book.

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Verizon retailer opening in mall's RadioShack location

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Tue, 05/19/2015 - 1:37pm

A Verizon retailer is moving into the old RadioShack location in the Augusta Mall.

Cellular Sales will open Thursday in the mall’s upper level near Sears. The Knoxville, Tenn.-based company is an independent Verizon Wireless retailer and already has stores in the CSRA in Grovetown, Thomson and Waynesboro.

According to the company, eight people were hired for the mall location.

The company employs more than 4,500 people at 545 stores across 28 states. Cellular Sales operates 30 stores in Georgia.

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Burke County teacher, assistant football coach resigns

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Tue, 05/19/2015 - 1:37pm

The Burke County School District has accepted the resignation of social studies teacher and assistant football coach Eric Luke, who was arrested in February on charges of theft by receiving stolen property.

Luke, who was arrested Feb. 22, remained on administrative leave for two months pending an investigation into the charges.

The investigation is still ongoing, but Luke elected to resign, according to James Hyder, general counsel for the Burke County School District.

“Mr. Luke made us aware of his choice and we accepted his decision,” Hyder said.

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Man missing at lake identified

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Tue, 05/19/2015 - 12:22pm

Emergency officials identified a man today, who has been missing since Monday afternoon in the waters of Lake Thurmond’s West Dam Recreation area.

Christopher Lee Harper, 43, was last seen just before 3 p.m. Monday riding his Yamaha WaveRunner about 250 yards off shore near Thurmond Dam, according to Georgia Department of Natural Capt. Mark Padgett. Witnesses told a park ranger they saw the man fall off the WaveRunner, surface once and go under again. He was not wearing a life jacket.

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Corps of Engineers encouraging life jacket use with social media contest

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Tue, 05/19/2015 - 11:47am


The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is encouraging boaters and swimmers to wear a life jacket by offering free camping, picnic shelter reservations and day passes to facilities at Thurmond and Hartwell lakes.

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Georgia denies pipeline plan

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Tue, 05/19/2015 - 10:27am

A controversial tri-state oil pipeline planned to cut through 210 miles of Georgia was blocked in the first step of the state’s approval process on Tuesday.

Georgia Department of Transportation Commissioner Russell McMurry denied Kinder Morgan’s application for a certificate of public convenience and necessity, which would have granted the energy infrastructure company the right to acquire private land through eminent domain.

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Group sues over Ga. gun law revision

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Tue, 05/19/2015 - 9:13am

ATLANTA – Now that Gov. Nathan Deal and the legislature just finished with the new laws from this year’s legislative session, they’ve got to address a lawsuit over the wording of two bills changing the gun laws from last year.

The advocacy group Georgia Carry filed suit against Deal and members of the Code Revision Commission for allegedly putting the wrong wording into the Official Code of Georgia, the document lawyers, judges and police depend on for saying what the law is.

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Ex-court clerk indicted in Savannah

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Tue, 05/19/2015 - 8:47am

SAVANNAH, Ga. -- A federal indictment unsealed Monday charged longtime Chatham County Probate Court Chief Clerk/Court Administrator Kim Birge with stealing or embezzling more than $700,000 from Chatham County Probate Court over a three-year period.

Birge, who started work in 1982, had long been a stalwart in Probate Court.

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Charges dropped against Ga. man who freed dog from hot car

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Tue, 05/19/2015 - 7:48am



ATHENS, Ga. -- Authorities have dropped the charges against Athens veteran Michael Hammons, who was arrested after breaking a window to free a dog from a hot car.

According to various reports, Ken Mauldin, district attorney for the Superior Court of Athens-Clarke and Oconee counties, said the car’s owner agreed with his decision to drop the charges.

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Pilot reported problems before fatal Atlanta crash

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Tue, 05/19/2015 - 7:22am



ATLANTA — Federal authorities say the pilot of a small plane radioed air traffic controllers, saying he was struggling to gain altitude seconds before slamming into a metro Atlanta freeway, killing all four onboard.


A preliminary report released Tuesday by the National Transportation Safety Board says the pilot’s last radio transmissions came about two minutes after departure from DeKalb Peachtree Airport shortly after 10 a.m. on May 8.


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A magnitude 2.4 earthquake rocked Crawfordville

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Tue, 05/19/2015 - 1:15am


A magnitude 2.4 earthquake rocked Crawfordville, Ga., Monday, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

The quake was recorded about 5:13 a.m. in the center of the city, the county seat of Taliaferro County. It was felt as far away as Alpheretta (144 miles) and Athens (63 miles), according to the agency’s Web site.

There were no reports of tremors in the Augusta area.


Longtime school administrator retiring

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Mon, 05/18/2015 - 10:49pm


Richmond County Assis­tant Superintendent for Ele­men­tary Education Cheryl Jones is retiring June 1 after more than three decades as a local teacher and administrator.

Jones said Monday that she had been planning her retirement for some time, and that her motivation is to be able to focus more on her daughter.

“I have an 11-year-old daughter, and I have for a long time said when she finished elementary school that I would have 35 years and I could be a stay-at-home mom,” Jones said.

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Judge denies bond for stabbing suspect

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Mon, 05/18/2015 - 10:26pm


A judge declined to set bond Monday for a man accused of stabbing an Augusta man seven times in the back.

Bain M. Broome, 57, has pleaded not guilty in Rich­mond County Superior Court to two counts of aggravated assault and two weapon violations.

Attorney William Suss­man sought Broome’s release on bond, noting that he has been taking medication since his arrest in the Sept. 21 incident.

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With Floyd's 72, North Oconee wins Class AAAA state title

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Mon, 05/18/2015 - 10:24pm


KEYSVILLE, Ga. — Rylie Marchman was OK with losing to North Oconee’s Crockett Floyd on high school golf’s biggest stage Monday.

Marchman, a junior at Burke County, and Floyd, a senior, have become best friends after playing together on the junior and high school golf circuits. Just last week, Marchman and her father, Wade, invited Floyd to play a round at Applewood Golf Course.

The extra work paid off.

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