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Augusta commissioners agree to increase travel budget but divide money evenly

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Thu, 11/19/2015 - 9:14pm

Augusta Commission members approved additional funding for their travel next year and will provide the mayor funds to do likewise.

The board took an informal vote at a Thursday budget workshop to increase its travel budget from $26,000 to $40,000. Each of the 10 members will now get an even split – $4,000 apiece – and the mayor $10,000 for travel during 2016.

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2 arrested in March double homicide in Warrenton

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Thu, 11/19/2015 - 4:12pm

Authorities have arrested two people connected to a March double homicide in Warrenton, Ga.

Donovan Raishad Fitts, 22, and Jermanique Vashon Franklin, 24, both of Thomson, were arrested Thursday and charged with two counts of murder, according to a statement from Georgia Bureau of Investigation Special Agent in Charge Pat Morgan.

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Ex-Subway pitchman Jared Fogle gets more than 15 years in prison

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Thu, 11/19/2015 - 4:03pm


INDIANAPOLIS — Former Subway pitchman Jared Fogle was sentenced to more than 15 years in prison on Thursday for trading in child pornography and having sex with underage prostitutes, with the judge describing his “perversion and lawlessness” as “extreme.”

Judge Tanya Walton Pratt disregarded prosecutors’ recommendation that Fogle get 12½ years behind bars, opting for a stiffer term of 15 years and eight months in prison. She could have sentenced him to up to 50 years.

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House vote blocks refugees

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Thu, 11/19/2015 - 2:03pm



WASHINGTON — The House has rebuked President Barack Obama by ignoring his veto threat and approving a Republican bill erecting fresh barriers for Syrian and Iraqi refugees trying to enter the United States.


Thursday’s passage came on a 289-137 vote — exceeding the two-thirds majority that would be needed to override a veto.


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Augusta couple plead guilty to arson and insurance fraud

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Thu, 11/19/2015 - 1:51pm

A plot to collect on home insurance didn’t work out for an Augusta couple.

On Thursday in Richmond County Superior Court, Tashima K. Gantt, 42, and Mark Lewis, 49, pleaded guilty to first-degree arson and insurance fraud.

Gantt, who had no felony record, was sentenced to five years probation under the First Offender Act. Lewis, who has a long history of property crimes, was sentenced to five years in prison followed by five years probation.

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Aiken fugitive back in custody

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Thu, 11/19/2015 - 10:37am

A man sought by Aiken authorities after he removed his electronic monitoring device has been captured.

William Todd Sanders was apprehended Wednesday night and is currently at the Aiken County Detention Center, according to police.

Aiken County authorities had sought the 50-year-old man who removed his electronic monitoring device on Monday.

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Paris attack leader killed, prosecutor says

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Thu, 11/19/2015 - 7:37am

PARIS — The Paris prosecutor says that the suspected mastermind of the Paris attacks, Abdelhamid Abaaoud, was killed in a police raid.

In a statement today, the prosecutor’s office said that Abaaoud’s body was found in an apartment building targeted in the raid in Saint-Denis north of Paris on Wednesday. It said he was identified based on skin samples.

USC Aiken, coach Mark Vanderslice break through with win over Paine College

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Wed, 11/18/2015 - 10:52pm

AIKEN — If nothing else, first-year USC Aiken coach Mark Vanderslice was able to sleep a little better this morning.

Keith Belfield and Jevon Patton combined for 56 points as the Pacers rolled to their first win of the season, a 97-84 defeat of Paine on Wednesday night at the convocation center.

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USC Aiken's Brandt notches 500th overall win

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Wed, 11/18/2015 - 10:29pm


AIKEN — The celebration was subdued Wednesday night as USC Aiken picked up its first home win of the season.

You wouldn’t have been able to tell from the reaction, but Pacers coach Mike Brandt notched career win No. 500 as USC Aiken rallied for a 62-56 victory at the convocation center.

“That’s a lot of wins when you look at it,” Brandt said. “In the coaching rounds, you’ve got to have a very supportive family, and my family has been very supportive.

“And it’s the players. I haven’t scored a point.”

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Forecasters suspect tornado struck metro Atlanta area; warning in effect until 3 a.m.

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Wed, 11/18/2015 - 9:16pm

ATLANTA -- The National Weather Service says a tornado has likely touched down in the metro Atlanta area.

Meteorologist Ryan Willis says National Weather Service officials are "quite certain" that a tornado hit northern Coweta County and the communities of Fairburn and Palmetto Wednesday evening.

Willis says a survey team will be sent to the area Thursday to evaluate the damage and to measure the storm's strength. Georgia Power's online outage map says more than 8,000 customers are without service.

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Higher stormwater fee applies to homes across Augusta

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Wed, 11/18/2015 - 9:13pm

A few feet of paved driveway or the extra-wide roof of a ranch home may soon cause heartburn for thousands of Augusta property owners.

The city’s stormwater fee database, now online at, shows through a few clicks how those few extra feet can double the monthly fee going into effect in January.

Sherry Haire was shocked to learn how she and a neighbor were among a handful of property owners in the large Waltons Landing subdivision who will pay double the standard rate of $6.40.

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GHSA places teams in classifications for next two school years

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Wed, 11/18/2015 - 5:35pm

The Georgia High School Association released the classification breakdown for the next two school years on its website.

Starting with the 2016-17 school year, the GHSA will have seven classifications. Schools have until Nov. 30 at noon to request to play up in a classification. The reclassification committee isn’t placing school in regions until Dec. 1.

Schools listed by enrollment size:






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Aiken County authorities seek man who removed monitoring device

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Wed, 11/18/2015 - 2:45pm

Aiken County authorities seek a 50-year-old man who removed his electronic monitoring device on Monday.

According to statement from Aiken County sheriff’s Sgt. Jason Feemster, a bench warrant has been issued for William Todd Sanders on a charge of trafficking methamphetamine/cocaine and removing or circumventing operation of an electronic monitoring device.

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Crash, power outage send pupils home

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Wed, 11/18/2015 - 9:52am

GRANITEVILLE -- A single car crash at the entrance to Byrd Elementary had knocked out power to the school this morning, forcing students to be sent home early.


An automated call from school principal J. Russell Gunter went out to parents at 8:54 a.m. alerting them to the situation and asking them to make arrangements to have students picked up.


No students were injured in the crash, Gunter said in the message.


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Latest: Paris police raid targets suspected mastermind

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Wed, 11/18/2015 - 2:08am

3:20 p.m.

Overnight raids by French police across France have resulted in 25 arrests and the seizure of 34 weapons.

The new tally was announced Wednesday by the Interior Ministry.

The arrests are the latest in a nationwide police dragnet that has seen nightly raids by security forces under powers granted by the state of emergency declared after last week's attacks in Paris.

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