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Ex-Fire Chief Howard Willis dies

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Mon, 06/22/2015 - 8:00am


A funeral is planned Wednes­day for former Au­gusta Fire Department Chief Howard “Bubba” Willis, who died Sunday.

Willis, 66, started his firefighting career with the old Su­burban Richmond County Fire Department in 1974, according to Chronicle archives, and worked in a number of departments over three decades.

As a special operations chief, he handled the hazardous materials unit, high angle rope rescue, water rescue and safety, along with security for major special events, such as the Georgia Games and July Fourth celebrations.

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Arrest in Atlanta hotel fire

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Mon, 06/22/2015 - 7:58am

ATLANTA — Authorities have arrested an Atlanta man after a hotel fire injured ten people, including a firefighter.

Fulton County police arrested 42-year-old Roger Solomon on Sunday and charged him with arson and two counts of aggravated assault.

Fire crews were called to the Days Inn on Fulton Industrial Boulevard shortly before 7:30 p.m. Saturday. Officials say about 50 people escaped the blaze.

Conditions of the nine people taken to hospitals were not available early Monday. Fire officials say the firefighter is expected to be fine.

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Water main break closes parts of Deans Bridge Road

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Sun, 06/21/2015 - 1:51pm

Officers are on scene at a water main break at the Burger King on Deans Bridge and Barton Chapel roads.

According to Augusta dispatch, the report was made at 11:49 a.m. and deputies requested cones and barrels to surround the incident location in the Burger King parking lot.

One lane of Deans Bridge Road – headed toward Fort Gordon – has been closed to address the problem.



Teen charged after hair weaves taken

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Sun, 06/21/2015 - 1:29pm

An Augusta teenager was arrested Saturday after attempting to steal hair weaves from an area business, police said.

Deputies responded to the Wal-Mart on Deans Bridge Road around 6:40 p.m., where Teiara Martin, 18, of Ruby Drive, was seen on surveillance video concealing beauty supplies, according to an incident report from the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office.

Martin, an employee of McDonald’s inside the Wal-Mart, is accused of taking two packs of hair weaves, false eyelashes, a nail kit and two bags of Hershey kisses.

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Deputies on lunch break make arrest

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Sun, 06/21/2015 - 12:47pm

A pair of Richmond County deputies had their lunch interrupted Friday to assist with a car break-in.

Around 11:23 a.m., two officers were eating at Farmhaus Burgers, on the 1200 block of Broad Street, when a customer advised them that someone was breaking into his vehicle, according to an incident report.

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Miss Georgia winner crowned

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Sun, 06/21/2015 - 12:32pm

COLUMBUS, Ga. — Miss Warner Robins Betty Cantrell has been named Miss Georgia.


Cantrell was crowned Saturday night at the Miss Georgia pageant at the RiverCenter for the Performing Arts in Columbus.


The Columbus Ledger-Enquirer reports Cantrell won the talent competition for her opera performance.


First runner-up was Miss Capital City Adeline Kenerly and second runner-up was Miss Cobb County Patricia Ford.


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Nationals' Max Scherzer no-hits Pirates

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Sat, 06/20/2015 - 6:31pm


WASHINGTON — Just one strike from a perfect game, Max Scherzer saw it slip away with a misplaced slider. Or, some thought, a misplaced elbow.

Scherzer lost his bid in agonizing fashion, plunking a batter with two outs in the ninth inning before finishing off a no-hitter Saturday in the Washington Nationals’ 6-0 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates.

A letdown? Yeah, a little.

“I mean there is, just because you’re so close, one strike away from a perfect game,” he said. “But to get a no-hitter in front of these fans, there’s nothing better.”

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Yankees' Alex Rodriguez gets 3,000th hit of his career

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Fri, 06/19/2015 - 7:34pm


NEW YORK —Alex Rodriguez homered for his 3,000th career hit and smiled all the way around the bases Friday night, the highlight so far in what’s become a resurgent season for the formerly disgraced slugger.

The New York Yankees star wasted no time, connecting in the first inning on a first-pitch, 95 mph fastball from Detroit ace Justin Verlander.

Rodriguez became the 29th player in major league history to reach 3,000 hits, and the first since Yankees great Derek Jeter homered from the very same batter’s box in 2011.

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Fort Gordon honors Vietnam vets with welcome home ceremony

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Fri, 06/19/2015 - 6:58pm

The tenacity and unwavering patriotism of several hundred Vietnam War veterans outlasted the beads of sweat that soaked into their clothes and dripped off their brows Friday at Fort Gordon.

Under a blazing sun, the veterans – some using walkers and canes – showed no signs they contemplated leaving the ceremony that many had waited on for a half century. Having endured a lengthy war, the death of comrades and an ungrateful nation, the veterans appeared strong and hardy as bands played, flags waved and a nation said ‘thank you.’

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Mother, boyfriend charged in baby's death

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Fri, 06/19/2015 - 6:33pm


Columbia County authorities charged a Martinez couple with murder Friday in the death of the woman’s 5½-month-old child, two days after he was found lifeless by emergency crews.

Investigators suspect Bentley Reeves was smothered to death by his mother’s boyfriend, in the mobile home he shared with the couple and a 2-year-old sibling, Columbia County sheriff’s Capt. Steve Morris said.

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River Watch wrong-way driver found guilty

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Fri, 06/19/2015 - 6:23pm


After deliberating four hours, the jury in the River Watch Parkway wrong-way driver case found Monique Sullivan guilty Friday, including of felony murder.

The Richmond County Superior Court jury had to sort its way through the technical legal definitions and determine if the state had proven either “criminal intent” and/or “criminal negligence” to find Sullivan guilty of murder, four counts of aggravated assault, cruelty to children and the traffic offenses of driving on the wrong side of the road, speeding and running a red light.

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Coliseum authority reduces SPLOST goal for new arena

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Fri, 06/19/2015 - 6:13pm


Rather than seeking $90 million to $110 million from Augusta’s next sales tax package for a new civic center, the Augusta-Richmond County Coliseum Authority is looking to craft a financing deal that will include just $10 million to $15 million in sales taxes.

The authority’s recent pitch to use sales tax dollars to build a replacement for the 35-year-old James Brown Arena, which could cost up to $110 million, caught many off guard, including city officials now compiling a sales tax package to put before voters Nov. 3.

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Jason Day collapses during US Open, attended to on course before finishing

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Fri, 06/19/2015 - 5:02pm

UNIVERSITY PLACE, Wash. — Jason Day was overcome by dizziness and collapsed on his final hole at the U.S. Open on Friday, raising doubt about whether he will be able to continue this weekend.

Day, who has dealt with vertigo in the past, was approaching his ball in the greenside bunker on the ninth hole, his last of the second round.

Suddenly, he fell to his left, attempting to brace his fall with his hands. His head bounced off the hard ground and Day lay nearly motionless for several minutes.

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Woman pleads guilty to arson

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Fri, 06/19/2015 - 4:33pm

A woman accused of burning down her estranged significant other’s home pleaded guilty Friday in Richmond County Superior Court to first-degree arson.

Jaquitta A. Pugh was charged with arson in the Sept. 29 fire that destroyed Christopher Harry’s home at 2150 Kingsley Court.

Friday, Judge Daniel J. Craig sentenced Pugh to serve 20 years on probation. She was also ordered to pay Harry $140,000 in restitution, said Assistant District Attorney Pierce Blitch, who prosecuted the case.


Charleston shooting suspect appears on 9 murder counts

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Fri, 06/19/2015 - 4:24pm

CHARLESTON, S.C. — They forgave him. They advised him to repent for his sins, and asked for God’s mercy on his soul. One even told Dylann Storm Roof to repent and confess, and “you’ll be OK.”

Relatives of the nine community leaders shot down during a Bible study session at their historic black church confronted the shooting suspect Friday during his initial court hearing, and spoke of love.

“I forgive you, my family forgives you,” said Anthony Thompson. “We would like you to take this opportunity to repent. ... Do that and you’ll be better off than you are right now.”

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Deadline looms for Georgia, Feds

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Fri, 06/19/2015 - 4:12pm

Georgia is “waiting to hear’’ from the U.S. Department of Justice about what the federal agency plans to do after the June 30 expiration of the settlement agreement.

Frank Berry, commissioner of the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities, repeated a statement made earlier this year that Georgia would not meet a deadline for moving people with developmental disabilities out of state-run hospitals.

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