Latest News from The Columbia County News-Times

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Updated: 1 hour 5 min ago

Columbia County Orchestra announces 2014-15 schedule

18 hours 39 min ago

The Columbia County Orchestra is about to begin its 2014-15 concert season, with a theme of Celebrating Columbia County. The primary venues for the season will include Powell Baptist Church in Harlem and St. Teresa Avila Catholic Church in Grovetown. Other venues for the season will include: East Georgia State College/Augusta, the historic Appling courthouse, and East Georgia State College in Swainsboro.

CONCERT I: Sept. 27, 3 p.m.

“Pops Concert” at Powell Baptist Church, Harlem. Columbia County Youth Orchestra members will also perform with the CCO on this concert.

CONCERT II: Nov. 30, 6 p.m.

Sixth Annual Handel’s Messiah Sing-In/Powell Baptist Church, Harlem.

SMALL ENSEMBLE PERFOR-MANCES: Arts in Appling, Dec. 6, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Appling Courthouse. Music all day featuring CCO chamber ensembles and other area ensembles.

CONCERTS III & IV: Dec. 12, 13, 6:30 & 7:00 p.m. Community Christmas Concerts featuring the orchestra and the choir at St. Teresa Avila Church, Grovetown.

CONCERT V: April 24. Spring 2015 Handel’s Messiah Sing-In featuring walk-in choir/St. Teresa Avila Catholic Church, Grovetown.


Music Mentors Concert/St. Teresa Avila Catholic Church, Grovetown. Featuring area students and Suzuki Strings of Augusta Senior Ensemble performing with Columbia County Orchestra members.

Go to for more directions, details and times for each program. Programs are free.

Categories: Local

Property Transfers, Sept. 21, 2014

18 hours 40 min ago

Mill Branch Investors LLC to Oconee Capital Investments LLC, parcel ID 0611877, $42,500.

Mill Branch Investors LLC to Oconee Capital Investments LLC, parcel ID 0611856, $42,500.

Mill Branch Investors LLC to Oconee Capital Investments LLC, parcel ID 0611887,

Mill Branch Investors LLC to Oconee Capital Investments LLC, parcel ID 0611886, $44,500.

IDK Homes Inc. to William J. Ramsey Jr. and Vickie H. Ramsey, parcel ID 0611840, $229,900.

Sherri Mason to Bryan C. Waller and Aleesha M. Waller, parcel ID 062838, $129,000.

Ivey Residential LLC to Kate C. Long, 1989 Kenlock Drive, $158,900.

Riverwood Land LLC to Kevin R. Hefner Construction Inc., 724 Bishops Circle, $120,000.

Ivey Residential LLC to Bradley Posadas and Ellen Posadas, 1033 Ardrey Circle, $216,000.

Oconee Capital Invest-ments LLC to Nisha S. Patel, parcel ID 0611793, $249,900.

Edward Perry Shelfer Jr. to Emily S. Dorn and Brandon J. Dorn, parcel ID 061066, $169,900.

Ashley M. Amerson to Sean M. Confer and Donna L. Confer, parcel ID 074209, $160,000.

Vincent A. Velez to Ramy Dh Yassin and Asma Nadir, parcel ID 063243, $130,000.

Keystone Homes Inc. to Walter E. Yoho and Stephanie J. Yoho, parcel ID 0611761, $171,800.

Herbert Homes Inc. to Vincent A. Velez and Laurie A. Velez, 1024 Arlington Way, $429,900.

Wilson Parker Homes of Hidden Creek Inc. to Brian James Grotz Sr., 934 Golden Bell Lane, $250,325.

Bartram Sunbury LLC to Wilson Parker Homes of Sunbury at Bartram Trail Inc., 5633 Sunbury Loop, $45,000.

Bartram Sunbury LLC to Wilson Parker Homes of Sunbury at Bartram Trail Inc., 5636 Sunbury Loop, $43,000.

Bartram Sunbury LLC to Wilson Parker Homes of Sunbury at Bartram Trail Inc., 5637 Sunbury Loop, $45,000.

Mary N. Moye Irrev-ocable Income Only Trust dated Sept. 12, 2008, to Kapeel Kumar, 260 Full Circle, $157,000.

The estate of Joseph Wayne Perry to RGB Investments Properties LLC, parcel ID 053323, $11,500.

Stephen F. Schonke to John R. Talman and Traci W. Talman, parcel ID 072431, $315,000.

Ming Quang Pham to D.B. Blackburn LLC, 537 Pheasant Run, $52,000.

Matthew Jude Rovan to Emilia Odi, 719 Hidden Lane, $120,000.

Linda Rich-Mason to David Bauer and Young Bauer, parcel ID 059100, $89,000.

Despard Earl Potter Jr. to Jubriel E. Meneses, parcel ID 067C187, $182,700.

Wilson Parker Homes of Hidden Creek Inc. to Hope O. Bogan, 932 Golden Bell Lane, $255,790.

Randy L. Dowell to Corey J. Miller, 2154 Sylvan Lake Drive, $129,000.

Bakers Group LLC to JJ & Z Builders LLC, 8842 Crenshaw Drive, $43,000.

Augusta Land Invest-ments LLC to Wilson Parker Homes of Hidden Creek Inc., 313 Zier Court, $45,750.

Ivey Residential LLC to Lance E. Hunter and Rachel L. Hunter, 264 Palamon Drive, $210,000.

Mark B. Character to Jessica A. Corbin, parcel ID 077C126, $110,000.

Cynthia Edenfield to Kevin M. Hebert, 961 Cammaron Way, $80,000.

Blackstone Development Co. LLC to PDH Builders Inc., 2091 Egret Circle, $58,000.

Wendell F. Johnson to Matthew W. Baldwin, parcel ID 073285, $143,000.

Charles White to River Island Property Owners Association Inc., 1578 River Island Parkway, $111,500.

Wilmoth Snyder to Sheng Fu Chen, 236 Flowing Wells Road, $105,000.

Glenn Bedell to Irfan Azeem, parcel ID 081B1176, $375,000.

Michael A. Lombardo to Harley Rodriguez, parcel ID 0622212, $267,000.

Augusta Land Investments LLC to Wilson Parker Homes of Hidden Creek Inc., 309 Zier Court, $45,750.

Augusta Land Investments LLC to Wilson Parker Homes of Hidden Creek Inc., 311 Zier Court, $45,750.

Karla Grimaud to Thomas E. Hand and Betty C. Hand, 350 Arthur Grimaud Way, $30,000.

Bakers Group LLC to JJ & Z Builders LLC, 8809 Crenshaw Drive, $42,000.

Metro Homesites LLC to Keystone Homes Inc., parcel ID 0611912, $34,000.

Keystone Homes Inc. to Joseph Moore, parcel ID 0611905, $160,200.

Keystone Homes Inc. to Kenneth Santiago, parcel ID 611756, $181,500.

Amanda Alford to Amy V. Hodge, parcel ID 077362, $145,000.

The United States Department of Urban Development of Washington D.C. to Brian Fossell, parcel ID 032179, $80,300.

Joseph Napier Ford to Kingsbury Custom Homes Inc., parcel ID 059143, $179,400.

Alex G. Beacham to Jeffrey L. Lacombe, parcel ID 072311, $6,881.

Denise D. Smith to Paul W. Hogan, parcel ID 071A030C, $325,000.

Anthony J. Moretti to Jeramie P. Martin and Katie J. Martin, parcel ID 065675A, $505,000.

Ivey Residential LLC to Luke Garland Maffey and Sarah Allison Maffey, 5418 Everlook Circle, $229,900.

Michael J. Oddi Sr. to Martha H. Hudgins, 407 Sandleton Way, $194,000.

Ivey Residential LLC to John Arthur Rockelmann III and Jennifer M. Rockelmann, 507 Mauldin Drive, $415,000.

Herbert Homes Inc. to Kevin M. Morris and Stephanie A. Morris, 4439 Grove Landing Drive, $159,900.

Categories: Local

Marriage Licenses, Sept. 21, 2014

18 hours 40 min ago

Christopher Brian Gregory and Elaine Nadimen Rendon Perea applied for a marriage license on Sept. 5, 2014, and were married Sept. 5, 2014, in Evans.

Shawn Michael Baskin and Shannon Renee Baskin applied for a marriage license on July 29, 2014, and were married Aug. 1, 2014, in Evans.

Nicky Allen Lind and Margo Lynn Pulliam applied for a marriage license on Aug. 29, 2014, and were married Aug. 29, 2014, in Evans.

Dorris Joe Harmon and Barbara Penrow Autry applied for a marriage license on Aug. 19, 2014, and were married Aug. 31, 2014, in Martinez.

Zachary David Lewallen and Kathryn Ann Simpson applied for a marriage license on Sept. 4, 2014, and were married Sept. 6, 2014, in Appling.

Daniel Cole Brooks and Shelly Lareesa Voss applied for a marriage license on Aug. 27, 2014, and were married Sept. 6, 2014, in Milledgeville, Ga.

Jeffrey Charles Butler and Debbie Delores Waddell applied for a marriage license on July 29, 2014, and were married Sept. 6, 2014, in Augusta.

Jason Morton Danil-ovich and Kate Elizabeth Brown applied for a marriage license on July 8, 2014, and were married Sept. 6, 2014, in Augusta.

Clifton Davis Brown and Sanquenetta Worden applied for a marriage license on Sept. 9, 2014, and were married Sept. 9, 2014, in Augusta.

Terry Gene Shockey and Lisa Michelle Walker applied for a marriage license on Aug. 14, 2014, and were married Sept. 6, 2014, in Augusta.

Edward G. Benton Jr. and Tabetha Ann Seigler applied for a marriage license on Sept. 2, 2014, and were married Sept. 6, 2014, in Augusta.

Dewayne S. Williams and Dekeishia Ann Rogers applied for a marriage license on Sept. 11, 2014, and were married Sept. 11, 2014, in Evans.

Bradley W. Whitaker and Geri Lyn Floyd applied for a marriage license on Sept. 11, 2014, and were married Sept. 11, 2014, in Evans.

John Bradford Fuller and Priscilla Elizabeth Lowman applied for a marriage license on Sept. 10, 2014, and were married Sept. 10, 2014, in Evans.

Cody Aaron Blackmon and Erika Kaitlynn Hopkins applied for a marriage license on Aug. 22, 2014, and were married Sept. 6, 2014, in Appling.

Timothy Charles Brown II and Ryan Ashley Bargeron applied for a marriage license on Aug. 29, 2014, and were married Sept. 6, 2014, in Appling.

Jarvis Levell Smith and Latashia Ann Kennedy applied for a marriage license on Sept. 12, 2014, and were married Sept. 12, 2014, in Evans.

John Bradford Lesko and Katelyn Elizabeth Waldrup applied for a marriage license on Aug. 29, 2014, and were married Sept. 6, 2014, in Martinez.

Robert Wesley Wahl and Celina Marie Zapata applied for a marriage license on Sept. 5, 2014, and were married Sept. 6, 2014, in Augusta.

Kevin Dwayne Smith and Stacey Elaine Bartholomew applied for a marriage license on Aug. 11, 2014, and were married Sept. 6, 2014, in Appling.

Wyatt Dean Spencer and Brittni Nicole Embry applied for a marriage license on Sept. 12, 2014, and were married Sept. 12, 2014, in Evans.

Ross Godwin Peterson and Amy Elizabeth Bumpas applied for a marriage license on July 24, 2014, and were married Sept. 13, 2014, in

Daniel Jose Alsdorf and Emily Elizabeth Hammond applied for a marriage license on Sept. 2, 2014, and were married Sept. 13, 2014, in Augusta.

Categories: Local

Divorces, Sept. 21, 2014

18 hours 40 min ago

Jeffrey Nichols Domen-ech and Stephanie Nicole Domenech, Sept. 4, 2014.

William M. Brickle and Katherine F. Brickle, Sept. 2, 2014.

Karla Brinkman and Steven C. Brinkman, Aug. 28, 2014.

Angel A. Torres and Traci P. Torres, Sept. 3, 2014.

Jackson Derisca and Charmika Shuntel Derisca, Sept. 11, 2014.

Troy D. Burke and Pamela S. Burke, Aug. 27, 2014.

Phillip G. Wittenburg and Julie M. Wittenburg, Sept. 8, 2014.

Frederick M. Koppel-mann and Andrea A. Kop-pelmann, Sept. 16, 2014.

Elizabeth M. Pecora and Shields B. Hull, Sept. 8, 2014.

Priscilla Bradford and Kyle Bradford, Sept. 2, 2014.
Narine Ramtahal and Sandra Dahydeen-Ramtahal, Sept. 12, 2014.

Patrick Sommers and Deletha Sommers, Sept. 2, 2014.

Mikell B. Dodd and Stacey M. Dodd, Sept. 2, 2014.

Joanna Rivera and Aaron David Gernon, Sept. 8, 2014.
Frederick George Clayton and Ranya Clayton, Sept. 10, 2014.

Delonna Aurae Rauls and Christopher A. Rauls, Sept. 3, 2014.

Audra Harris-Davis and Joel Everette Davis, Sept. 9, 2014.

Categories: Local

County History

18 hours 41 min ago

Grovetown residents today know the intersection of Old Wrightsboro Road and Robinson Avenue as the location of City Hall and Memorial Park. What newcomers to the city might not realize, however, is that the intersection has always been the business hub of the city.
The Grovetown Railroad Depot dominated the intersection, but, at one time, two different post office buildings were located on the corner. Many oldtimers in Grovetown also remember Poole’s Store and Clifford’s Store which occupied oposite sides of Robinson Avenue.

Poole’s Store shared space with the post office in the early 1940s when Fort Gordon was built and soldiers from the fort often came to town to mail their packages. Josephine Brand was the Postmistress at the time.

Grovetown historian Charles Lord recalls that Clifford’s Store advertised that they carried everything from groceries to caskets.

Categories: Local

Police Blotter, Sept. 21, 2014

18 hours 41 min ago

The following accounts were taken from Columbia County Sheriff’s Office incident reports:

Employee has meth at work

A manager at a Martinez golf and country club was recently arrested on drug trafficking charges.

Edilberto Morales Diaz, 35, is the manager of the Men’s Grille at West Lake Country Club. He was arrested Monday and charged with possession of methamphetamine and trafficking methamphetamine.

Columbia County sheriff’s Capt. Steve Morris said Diaz’s arrest was the result of a joint investigation with the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office.

Authorities from both counties arrested Diaz, of Lakeside Loop in Hephzibah, outside of West Lake on Monday evening, according to Morris. Deputies searched the Toyota truck he was driving and his office at the country club. They found 59 grams of methamphetamine in his truck and another 15 grams in his office, Morris said.

Diaz is being held in the Columbia County Detention Center without bond, according to jail records.

Caller wants information

An Evans woman said she recently received phone calls from someone asking questions about her computer.

The woman said she got two calls on Sept. 11 and Wednesday from someone claiming he needed to log onto the woman’s computer because error messages were being sent to him.

The caller had a foreign accent didn’t provide any more information.

When the woman tried to call the caller back, no one answered. She believes the calls are some sort of scam.

Debit card thief deposits money

A woman told deputies Monday that whoever stole her debit card made a deposit into her account.

The 26-year-old woman said she lost her debit card at Border Bash a couple of days before.

She noticed it missing when she came home, so she began monitoring her bank account online.

The woman said she saw a $1,300 ATM deposit into her account followed immediately by a $400 ATM withdrawl at an ATM location on Davis Road.

Items stolen at dealership

A representative of a Martinez car dealership said a man stole items from the business while his car was serviced.

The employee of Gerald Jones Honda said on Tuesday that a man brought his car into the dealership on Washington Road on Sept. 12.

While waiting for his car to be serviced, the employee said the man put several items from the waiting area into a bag.

When his car was finished, he took the bag of items worth more than $500 and left in his car.

A deputy reviewed video surveillance footage and saw a man put items into a bag.

The man got into a red car and left without paying for the items.

Categories: Local

Former Grovetown chief a sheriff's deputy

18 hours 44 min ago

Grovetown’s former Department of Public Safety director is now a Columbia County Sheriff’s Office’s new traffic deputy.
Gary Owens started as a deputy in the sheriff’s office Traffic Unit on Tuesday.

“He’s an experienced officer,” Sheriff Clay Whittle said. “We’re glad to have him.”

Owens served the Grovetown department for 22 years between 1983, when he started as a part-time dispatcher, and his resignation on Aug. 22. He became a certified police officer in 1986 and worked for the department for nine years before opting for other jobs for the Georgia Department of Corrections in Atlanta and the Atlanta Olympics internal police force.

He worked for the corrections department in Augusta for a few years before returning to Grovetown as an assistant chief in 2001. Owens took over as director of the department in June 2012 after the resignation of former Chief Al Robinson.

Grovetown officials suspended Owens for two days in early August for misconduct in the handling of two men who escaped from the department’s temporary detention facility on July 26.

Mayor George James said Owens created a “hostile work environment for his employees” and hindered the operation of recovering the two escapees.

City officials gave Owens the option of resigning or being terminated just days after a man accused of helping the escaped prisoners submitted a petition to have Owens fired. The man said he didn’t know the men had escaped when he gave them a ride and that he spent 21 days in jail because Owens wouldn’t listen to him.

Whittle said he’s always shared mutual respect and a good working relationship with Owens. He had no qualms about hiring him.

Owens applied for the position and had to go through the interview process and background check, “just like any other deputy,” Whittle said.

The main function in Owens’ new position is traffic enforcement and investigating wrecks as well as pro-active policing and any other calls for service. He is not a supervisor and reports to the Special Operations Division supervisors.

Categories: Local

Case will continue against shooting suspect

18 hours 45 min ago

A judge determined that prosecution will continue against an Augusta man accused of shooting another man in July.

Columbia County Associate Magistrate Judge Grady Blanchard ruled Tuesday that there was enough evidence against Trelon O’Neal Baker to send his case to Superior Court for further prosecution.

Baker, 20, was charged July 15 with armed robbery, aggravated assault and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon during the commission of a crime. He is being held in the Columbia County Detention Center without bond, according to jail records.

Authorities say Baker shot Jamal Fielding, 25, in the early hours of July 14. Fielding said he was sitting on a bench in the center of the Westwood Club Apartments complex just after midnight when two men and two women approached him, according to Columbia County sheriff’s Investigator Ryan Whittle.

Whittle said the man Fielding later identified as Baker offered to sell him some codeine syrup. When Fielding refused, he said Baker pulled a gun and and took a small amount of marijuana. When Fielding refused to hand over his jewelry, he said Baker shot him in the thigh.

Baker, his friend and the two teenage girls were identified when the video surveillance footage from the apartment complex was released. The 17-year-old girl, Makayla Gabriele Ivey, of Grovetown, was later charged with making false statements to authorities about the shooting.

Whittle said he tracked down Baker’s friend, who said Baker got into the car with a gun, a small bag of marijuana and a cell phone, which Fielding said was taken from the bench. Baker was arrested in Richmond County on July 15.

“All he would say is he was not there and not involved,” Whittle said.

In a photo line-up, Fielding identified Baker as the man who shot him.

Categories: Local

Knights shut down Panthers

Sat, 9/20/2014 2:00 AM

While there numerous big plays for each team, it was Evans High School’s dominating second-half performance that turned Friday night’s game around.

Trailing Lakeside 14-7 at halftime, the Knights got the third-quarter kickoff and didn’t let Lakeside’s offense get possession until there were three minutes left in the quarter. At that point the Knights led 20-14 and they went on to the 29-14 win.

While he didn’t score, offensively, Knights’ running back Bobby Berry carried the load with 23 carries for 134 yards.

The Knights defense was especially suffocating in the second half. In five possessions, the Panthers punted once and had four consecutive interceptions.

“We just fixed our mistakes during halftime and we came out and shut them out,” said Evans’ senior linebacker Tyler Spence, who had an interception along with William Millwood, Carlos Dorsey and Derrick Mims.

“I told the team, ‘hey we got outplayed tonight,’” said Lakeside coach Steve Hibbitts. “There in the second half they put it on us. But it is a long season, anything can happen in the region.”

With six games still ahead of them, the Knights (3-1, 2-1 Region 2-AAAAA) are starting to put themselves in a playoff trajectory and need just a win against Greenbrier in the final week of the season to go undefeated in county play for the second-consecutive year.

Leading up to the game, Evans coach Marty Jackson talked to the team all week about being resourceful, resilient and relentless. The resiliency came first.

Lakeside’s Stephen Houzah took the opening kickoff at his 2 and raced 98 yards for the score as the Panthers (1-3, 1-2) led 7-0, 16 seconds into the game.

“We gave up a touchdown on the first play of the game and that’s going to happen, big plays in big games,” said Jackson, who was expecting a back-and-forth affair. “They’re a good football team, I thought we were better, I thought we were supposed to win.”

The Knights beat playoff-bound Lakeside 26-21 in the next to last week of the 2013 season, but quarterback Matlin Marshall, who threw for two scores and ran for another, thought this year’s win meant more than last year’s because it came early in the season.

“This win sets the tone for us, from here on out we should be good,” said Marshall, who hit Micah Garrett for a nine-yard score to tie the game early in the second quarter.

The Panthers recovered a fumble on the Knights’ first possession of the game but couldn’t take advantage. They were able to capitalize when a bad snap on a punt gave them a first down on the Knights’ 31. From there, it took five plays before quarterback Zaccheus Banks hit Houzah for a 15-yard score and a 14-7 lead with 40 seconds left in the half.

Houzah had a monster game. He returned three kickoffs for 148 yards and a score, caught four passes for 35 yards, recovered a fumble, blocked an extra point and intercepted a pass.

The Knights took control early in the second half. They started with a nine-play drive with Marshall hitting Mims for a 36-yard touchdown to tie the game. They recovered the ensuing onside kick and took the lead for good when Marshall ran it in from 22 yards out 10 plays later.

Mims would score on a run from nine yards out and Larry Beauchamp would end the scoring with a 35-yard field goal with 7:33 left in the game.

Categories: Local

Water park planned for Columbia County

Fri, 9/19/2014 5:30 PM


Columbia County will soon be home to the area’s only water park.

Benjamin Bell, the owner of the popular Lights of the South holiday attraction, announced Friday that he plans to build a $20 million water park on the property near Grovetown.

“I think it’s going to be amazing,” Bell said at a press conference to announce plans for the proposed water park.

According to planning documents filed with Columbia County on Sept. 12, Benjamin Bell is seeking a rezoning to allow for the construction of a 58-acre pirate-themed water park called Scuttle’s Island, which will operate between Memorial Day and Labor Day.

Bell said he expects the water park to bring 185,000 to 300,000 people each year to the property at 633 Louisville Road.

“Ten years ago, when we opened Lights of the South, I actually had this in the back of my mind,” Bell said. “It’s just hard to raise $20 million. All along, we’ve wanted to put it here.”

Bell said plans for the water park are to feature 20 water slides, family and “thrill rides,” a lazy river, a 15,000-square-foot children’s water playground and a 55,000-square-foot wave pool. He said the wave pool will be the largest in the state by 30,000 square feet.

“It’s an all-day park,” Bell said. “In other words, there are things for children to do from 6 months old to folks 99 years old.

“What we’ve tried to do is basically build something for everybody.”

Thrill-seekers will enjoy Walk the Plank, a 98-foot-tall nearly vertical slide and the Pirate’s Punch, about which Bell didn’t provide details.

“If we’re allowed to do this thing, it’ll be the only slide like it in the world,” Bell said. “That’s all I’ll say about that.”

Columbia County Commission Chairman Ron Cross predicted the project would be a “tremendous asset” for the county.

“It will definitely be a destination and it will be great for the county,” he said.

Planning documents state that Lights of the South, which celebrates its 10th year of operation this year, will continue its normal season from mid-November to Dec. 29 each year.

Developers intend to start construction of the water park Oct. 1 and have it ready to open by May 2015, according to county documents.

“We are shooting for Memorial Day, but at least (by) early summer,” Bell said.

Categories: Local

Greenbrier takes control of softball subregion race

Thu, 9/18/2014 11:55 PM

The rivalry softball game between host Greenbrier High School and Evans got a little weird Thursday night.
It had all the earmarks of a classic coming in. After Evans won the first meeting of the year 4-3 on Aug. 28, a second Evans win would all but lock up first place in Region 2A-AAAAA. Conversely, a Greenbrier win by more than a run would put the Lady Wolfpack squarely in the driver's seat with three region contests left.
The Lady Wolfpack hopped behind the wheel as they scored three first-inning runs, tacked on six runs in the fourth and rolled into first place with a 9-1 win that was stopped after Evans was retired in the top of the fifth.
If the Lady Wolfpack (17-3, 5-1 Region 2-AAAAA) win their remaining region games they will play host in the first round of the region tournament beginning Oct. 4 and would be the host throughout with a first-round win. The Lady Knights (14-5, 6-1 region) will finish second if they win their remaining region contests, also playing host to a first-round region tournament series.
Lady Wolfpack coach Garrett Black was just happy to see his team's bats come alive in a pressure situation as they had seven hits including two doubles and a home run.
"Tonight we got our strut back," Black said.
The weird, which included a call to the head of the umpires' association, came early and caused a 15-minute delay in the bottom of the first.
With Greenbrier leading 1-0 after Maddie Hunt scored on a Jordie Holt sacrifice fly, Monica Mullis came to bat with Kirsten Titus on first and two outs. Mullis belted a pitch over the left-centerfield fence for a two-run home run as her teammates mobbed her at home plate. She was subsequently ruled out, however, for her teammates touching her while she was in the field of play.
Evans coach Colette Cassedy noticed the home plate umpire talking to Black after the homer and asked the umpire about the play. She thought the umpire was giving Black a warning.
"When I went up to her I asked her,‘Did the players touch the girls, is that why you were talking to Garrett, did a player touch the girl?'" Cassedy said. "And she goes yes. I said is that an out and she went yes. So since I brought it up it's kind of like I appealed it."
Black challenged the ruling, called the head of the umpire's association, it was looked up in the rule book, Greenbrier was given a warning about touching a player in the field and Mullis' run was allowed to stand because she had not been assisted in any way.
"I was more mad than anything but in the end it turned out the right way," said Mullis of the incident.
It was a big night for Mullis who was playing her second game after missing a handful of games while sick. She added a fourth-inning single and scored from second base on a wild pitch.
The Lady Knights committed an error on the Lady Wolfpack's leadoff batter in the fourth inning. That ultimately led to six unearned runs with five scoring with two outs as the Lady Wolfpack took a 9-1 lead. Kirsten McMonigle had a RBI single before Holt amd Titus had back-to-back RBI doubles. Nicole Rogers joined Mullis with two hits in her two at-bats.
Senior hurler Titus (6-1) dominated from the start, striking out six and scattering three hits.
Cassedy told the team not to let the defeat be the thing that drives the rest of the year.
"We've had a good season and you can't let this one game get you down and how we do after this game defines you," Cassedy said.

Categories: Local

Local country group prepares for first record release

Wed, 9/17/2014 9:47 AM

By Charmain Z. Brackett



Montgomery Gentry concert goers will have the chance to hear a song from a local band that should hit the radio waves in early 2015.

Harlem’s Jeremy Graham recently signed a three-year contract with Dominion Entertainment, and he and his band, the Jeremy Graham Band, will perform the single, “Ride Out to Nowhere,” Friday at the Lady Antebellum Pavilion prior to Montgomery Gentry taking the stage.

“‘Ride Out to Nowhere’ is a song when you have a little something on your mind, and you need some alone time,” said Graham, the band’s lead singer and one of its songwriters.

And it’s “Ride Out to Nowhere” that will be the first recording released on his new record label.

Graham grew up in the 1990s listening to an eclectic mix of music, which has influenced his own style. His father loved rock ‘n roll while his mother enjoyed country music. Some of his influences include Garth Brooks, George Strait, Pink Floyd, Guns N’ Roses, Nirvana and Pearl Jam.

While it’s a solo contract, Graham said he’s keeping all the current band members and the sound engineer with him.

“I got to keep the band. I got to keep the guys I’ve been on the road with for eight years,” he said. “It was super important.”

The band calls Augusta its home and has played The Country Club on Washington Road several times. A concert is scheduled there on Saturday. In addition to Augusta concerts, the members have traveled extensively. They recently returned from the Vermont State Fair and have played across the country. They’ve also played in Europe and Japan on Armed Forces entertainment tours.

Some of the Jeremy Graham Band’s music can be found at the iTunes store and at ReverbNation.

Graham said he’s excited to be opening for Montgomery Gentry.

“I’ve always enjoyed their music. They play the fun-loving, Hell raising country music that I like,” he said.

Tickets to Montgomery Gentry are $25 in advance and $35 on the day of the show.


Categories: Local

Police Blotter, Sept. 17, 2014

Wed, 9/17/2014 12:13 AM

The following accounts were taken from Columbia County Sheriff’s Office incident reports:

Trespasser chased away

Neighbors on Jacqueline Drive in Appling recently called authorities twice after they chased someone trespassing on their property.

A 33-year-old man said he was inside his home at about 11 p.m. Friday when he heard someone banging on the side of his house then someone trying to open the door to the crawl space. He called his neighbor to come over and sneak up on the trespasser to try and catch him.

The neighbor said he approached the house in the area the man heard the noise and a man took off running into nearby woods. A woman who left the home before deputies arrived said she saw a black man, about 6 feet tall and wearing a white tank top, running in the wood line of a nearby home.

The same man called authorities again just before 1 a.m. Sunday. He was at a neighbor’s house and heard a loud noise at his home. The same neighbor who helped him previously went to check out the noise and yelled. The man said he jumped on his ATV, hurried home and saw a man running on a trail alongside his property. He couldn’t chase the trespasser in the thick brush.

Naked student found in class

A Lakeside High School student was found naked inside a portable classroom on Friday.

An employee of the school in Martinez told deputies that he tried to open the door to a portable classroom to clean it at about 12:30 p.m. The door wouldn’t open and he could feel someone holding the door closed from the inside. The employee pushed the door open and found a 14-year-old student with no clothes on.

The employee said he told the student to get dressed and waited outside. He then escorted the teen to the office.

When talking to the assistant principal and his mother, the teen said he’s done this before and feels the need to get naked whenever he feels pressured.

The deputy contacted a Columbia County Juvenile Court intake officer, and the teen was released to his mother.

Store deposit stolen by “good Samaritan”

An assistant manager of an Evans retail store told deputies late Friday that she believes someone trying to help her with car trouble stole the business’ bank deposit.

The assistant manager of the Dollar Tree at 4459 Washington Road said she closed the store and went to her vehicle at about 10:20 p.m. She put the bank deposit on the passenger seat and rolled down the window.

The car wouldn’t start, so she checked under the hood and found the battery cable disconnected.

A man approached the assistant manager and asked if she needed help. She refused the man’s help, reconnected the battery cable and drove to a nearby Wells Fargo

But when she got to the bank, the assistant manager said the bank deposit was gone. She went back to the Dollar Tree parking lot, but didn’t find the deposit or anything else missing from her car.

Metal stolen from field

A Grovetown woman called authorities Thursday after discovering someone had stolen scrap metal from her property.

The 75-year-old woman said her husband keeps a large pile of scrap metal on the back of their property, which is accessible by a dirt path from a nearby road.

She checks the area daily as she tends to the horses.

The woman said the theft happened between Sept. 5 and Thursday. Deputies found a large portion of the fence had been cut and could see where a truck had backed up to the area.

A neighbor told the woman that she’d seen a rusty red truck occupied by an older man and two teens on the path one night.

The neighbor’s son spoke to the older man, who said he was bringing his grandsons out to see the stars.

The stolen scrap metal is estimated to be worth about $6,000.

Categories: Local

Judge refuses murder suspect's guilty plea

Wed, 9/17/2014 12:13 AM

A judge refused to accept a guilty plea Friday from a man who said he had nothing to do with a 2012 attempted armed robbery that led to the death of his friend.

Superior Court Judge James G. Blanchard Jr. would not accept the plea from Anthony Terrell Graddy, 37, at a sentencing hearing in Evans after Graddy said he had nothing to do with the attempted armed robbery and death of Patrick Smith, 33, in Columbia County.

“If a client says he didn’t do it, I can’t accept his plea,” Blanchard said.

Graddy was charged with murder, aggravated assault, possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime, burglary, criminal attempt to commit armed robbery and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.

Assistant District Attorney Garon Muller said the victims in the case have not been cooperative and it would be difficult to prosecute to a conviction from a jury on the murder charge. So he offered Graddy a plea agreement that included 20 years in prison if he pled guilty to a lesser charge of criminal attempt to commit armed robbery, aggravated assault and possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime.

“This is a resolution the state feels is appropriate based on the facts of the case and based on the difficulty of prosecuting some of the counts,” Muller said. “The state (finds it) very difficult to prove those cases and prosecute those cases in a jury trial.”

Graddy, who was diagnosed about 20 years ago with bipolar disorder and paranoid schizophrenia, spoke at the hearing.

“I’ve been locked up for almost three years on this murder charge,” Graddy told the judge. “I really didn’t have anything to do with this.

“Right now, I don’t even know what is going on.”

Blanchard said he wouldn’t accept a guilty plea from Graddy, who claimed he didn’t have anything to do with the crime.

“Try him,” Blanchard said. “I don’t want to see a writ of habeas corpus later because I sent a man who didn’t do it to prison.”

In statements to authorities, Graddy initially said he’d found his friend in the vehicle. He later admitted they’d gone to the house with the intent to rob the occupants.

Graddy and Smith were accused of trying to force their way into a home on Blanchard Road on Feb. 24, 2012, with the intent of robbing those inside, Muller said. As they tried to get into the home, gunfire came from inside the house and authorities say Smith returned fire.

A man inside the home was shot in the back and paralyzed. Smith, who was shot in the abdomen, and Graddy left. Smith was found passed out inside a Chevrolet Suburban that crashed into a ditch on Blanchard Road. Graddy went to a nearby home to call 911. Smith died the next day from his injuries.

“My client (Graddy) did go for help instead of just running away,” Graddy’s attorney, John Lewis, said at the hearing.

Lewis said Graddy was naive, even used a handgun that didn’t work, and went along with the plan with his friend.

“My client is not the instigator of this thing,” Lewis said. “Being a follower is no defense. But he definitely is easily influenced by others. He was a follower, not a leader, not an instigator.”

Categories: Local

On vacation

Wed, 9/17/2014 12:12 AM

A small group traveled with Greg and Teresa Brooks to Canada and Nova Scotia the first week of September. Leaving from NYC the group visited St. John's New Brunswick, seeing the Bay of Fundy and Halifax, and Peggy's Cove, Nova Scotia. They traveled on the Carnival's ship Splendor.

Categories: Local

Current Events

Wed, 9/17/2014 12:12 AM


Grant program

Tourism Grant Program to enhance tourism in Columbia County; available to qualifying agencies to promote activities, attractions and special events; overseen by Columbia County Convention and Visitors Bureau marketing committee; to apply, contact Shelly Blackburn for application or information; (706) 447-7677,

Grants available

Columbia County Forward Foundation accepting applications for five $1,000 grants to be awarded to organizations to encourage and promote philanthropy in Columbia County; compete application at and provide a 300-500 word proposal; application deadline 5 p.m. Friday, Oct. 31; information: Jessica Perry,


Grovetown Museum, 106 E. Robinson Ave.; open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Fridays, 1-4 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays; children must be accompanied by adult; no charge for tours, donations accepted; (706) 863-1867


Columbia County Forestry and Pine Seedling Scholarship Pageant – Promoting and Protecting the Forestry Industry; March 7; queens will serve as hosts at the Miss Georgia Forestry Pageant in Tifton, Ga.; all contestants receive a trophy; winner and three runner-ups in each age group – Baby Miss birth to 23 months, Teeny Miss 2-3 years, Tiny Miss 4-6 years, Little Miss 7-9 years, Junior Miss 10-12 years, Teen Miss 13-16 years, Miss 17-24 years; $85 for Baby Miss through Teen Miss, $100 for Miss entries; optional categories of Prettiest Dress, Prettiest Smile, Photogenic, Prettiest Face, Best Personality and Photogenic $15 each; (706) 664-5010, columbiacounty

Harlem council

Forming a nonprofit organization whose sole purpose is to offer the citizens of Harlem and visitors a quality experience with performing arts, visual arts and history of Harlem exhibit; Janet Luckey-Short Luckey–, Ann Blalock


AARP Foundation Tax-Aide needs volunteers to prepare tax returns, greet program users and ensure things run smoothly at locations throughout Georgia and nationwide; sign up to train for the 2015 tax season at

Fair pageant

2014 Miss Columbia County Fair Scholarship Pageant 7 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 25, Greenbrier High School, 5114 Riverwood Parkway, Evans; for ladies ages 17-23 who are residents of or attend school in the Central Savannah River Area; judging in interview, swimsuit, evening gown, overall review; entry deadline Monday, Oct. 20; winner will represent Columbia County at state
pageant; applications
online at or call Pat Becton at (706) 863-7645


Augusta Area Newcomers Club meeting and luncheon 10 a.m. Thursday, Sept. 18, e-mail for location; membership open to those who have moved into the area within the last 5 years;,

Arts in Heart

2014 Arts in the Heart of Augusta Festival 5-9 p.m. Friday, Sept. 19, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sept. 20, noon to 7 p.m. Sept. 21, Broad Street and Augusta Common; fine arts, fine crafts market, performers of all kinds, young artist market (for school-age artists), children’s area; no pets or coolers; weekend pass $5 advance, $10 at gate;


Sleeping Beauty

Presented by Columbia County Ballet and Imperial Theatre; 7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 19, Imperial Theatre; tickets by phone or online; (706) 722-8341,

iRun Man 5k

ECE’s iRun Man 5k 8 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 20, Euchee Creek Elementary School; 1 Mile Fun Run for children under 12 8:30 a.m.; 5K open to all ages 9:30 a.m.; Vendors, after-race party; $25
adults, $15 children, advance registration includes T-shirt;

Fishing rodeo

Fish for Life Kids’ Fishing Rodeo and Family Day 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 20, Wildwood Park, 3828 Wildwood Lane, Appling; for ages 2-8 and 9-13; bring pole and bait 9-11 a.m.; other activities include bounce houses, hula hoop contest, bean bag toss, nickles in a haystack, dunking booth; food and games are free;

Lydia work day

9 a.m. to noon Saturday, Sept. 20, Lewis Memorial United Methodist Church, 5555 Hereford Farm Road, Evans; cut material used for sewing Lydia totes for women with cancer;

Guitar Pull

Kicks 99 Guitar Pull presented by Boots, Bridles and Britches; show 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 18: Hunter Hayes, Joe Nichols, Kip Moore, Thompson Square, Dan + Shay, Dustin Lynch; $35; tickets on sale 10 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 20, Champions Box Office only;

Emerging artists

For ages 13-19; 10:30 a.m. to noon Saturday, Sept. 20, Columbia County Library meeting room, 7022 Evans Town Center Blvd.; learn leadership skills and opportunities; bring a sample of your work; presented by Artists’ Guild of Columbia County

Night walk

Light The Night Walk 5 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 20, Evans Towne Center Park, 7016 Evans Town Center Blvd.; fundraising campaign of The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society; food vendors, pets welcome;

Yoga in the Park

10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 21, Pendleton King Park, 1600 Troupe St.; in celebration of National Yoga Month; sponsored by The Yoga Center, Dancing Dogs Yoga and SPACE yoga studios; six different 45 minute classes for all levels; chair yoga class for those with injuries or physical challenges; bring mat and water bottle; free, donations accepted;

Categories: Local

New restaurants in Evans

Wed, 9/17/2014 12:12 AM

Columbia County’s menu of dining options is growing.

Peter Patel and brother A.J. Patel, have opened their second Which Wich sandwich location in Mullins Crossing in Evans.

The restaurant opened Aug. 25 in the former Great Wraps location. The Patels also own the Which Wich on Wheeler Road.

The restaurant is known for its customizable sandwiches and creative ordering system. Patrons note their sandwich options on an ordering bag. “I think a lot of people love it,” Peter Patel said. “The biggest thing is the number of options that we offer.”

Patel said his sandwich shop offers 51 varieties of sandwiches, all of which can be prepared on white or wheat bread, a lettuce wrap or in a bowl. They can be customized using traditional toppings and condiments as well as options such as walnuts, cranberries and a variety of sauces.

The 30-seat restaurant is open 10:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 10:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Friday and Saturday.

Another new restaurant, PDQ, opened Sept. 7 on Washington Road at Belair Road. The 4,300-square-foot restaurant serves chicken fingers, sandwiches, salads and milkshakes.

Operations manager John Cox reused stones from the former Evans School teacher’s cottage, which was later the Strictly Country gift shop. The building was torn down to make way for the restaurant.

The stones were used for the sign base and an arch and pillar on the property. Historic photos of the Evans area are framed in the restaurant’s sunroom.

“We did the best we could,” Cox said of preserving the site’s history. “I’m pretty proud of it.”

The restaurant is open 10 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. daily.

An Italian eatery also is on the way in Martinez.

Edward Mendoza is renovating the former Robolli’s Italian Bar & Grill space on Fury’s Ferry Road into his second area restaurant, Cucina 503.

Mendoza, who also runs Kitchen 1454 on Walton Way and food truck, said his plans are to include a full bar and private and public dining rooms in the 3,600-square-foot space.

He hopes to open the restaurant by Thanksgiving.

Categories: Local

Lady Wolfpack strike down Lady Warriors

Wed, 9/17/2014 12:11 AM

Led by their freshman pitcher, the Greenbrier High School Lady Wolfpack continued to build to Thursday’s region showdown with Evans.

Brianna Butler struck out a career-high 12 batters as the Lady Wolfpack beat Grovetown 9-0 in five innings Thursday night. The Lady Wolfpack improved to 12-3, 3-1 in Region 2-AAAAA, while Butler ran her record to 4-1.

“She threw the ball well tonight,” said Greenbrier coach Garrett Black. “She did exactly what we wanted her to do because today was a big day – region game. There is no next week unless we take care of today.”

Defensively, there wasn’t much for the Lady Wolfpack to do. First baseman Jayla Waugh recorded the first out in the bottom of the first unassisted, catcher Hannah Williamson threw out a would-be base stealer and Butler fielded a comebacker for the second and third outs of the third inning, respectively.

While Lady Warriors’ sophomore Megan McCook pitched well, scattering seven Lady Wolfpack singles, she was undone by six errors behind her. Of the nine runs, just three were earned. This coming while McCook was pitching with an injured toe on her plant foot.

“It easily could have been 2-0, 3-0 and that would would have been better but that’s kind of been our problem all year,” said Lady Warriors’ coach Jeff Davis. “We’ve been making a lot of mental mistakes and our defense has been struggling all year. We’ve got to keep working harder and getting better.”

Kirsten Titus led the Lady Wolfpack with three hits, Williamson had two RBI and Maddie Hunt contributed an RBI single in the Lady Wolfpack’s four-run second inning in which the Lady Warriors committed four errors.

Categories: Local

An electric offense shocks Greenbrier

Wed, 9/17/2014 12:11 AM

On a night at Greenbrier High that included a 45-minute weather delay, it was the Jones County Greyhounds who struck like lightning.

Leading 21-6 at halftime, the Greyhounds scored three touchdowns in a span of 39 seconds late in the third quarter as they went on to the 43-6 victory.

The win ran the Greyhounds’ record to 3-0 and 2-0 in Region 2-AAAAA while the Wolfpack fell to 1-2, 0-2.

Big plays ruled the night and it was the Greyhounds making most of them. After the Wolfpack stopped the Greyhounds on fourth down in their end of the field on their first possession, the Wolfpack drove to the Greyhounds’ 32. Facing a fourth-and-6, quarterback Adam Sasser’s pass was tipped into the hands of Greyhound defensive back Tyric Solomon, who raced down the sideline for an 80-yard score.

Solomon was a thorn in the Wolfpack’s side all night. After Greyhounds quarterback Bradley Hunnicutt threw a 37-yard touchdown pass at 3:53 of the third quarter, Solomon added a 38-yard interception return for a touchdown on the second play of the Wolfpack’s ensuing possession. His third pick of the night, on the Wolfpack’s second play of their next offensive series, led to a 45-yard strike from Hunnicutt to Keaton Gordon at the 3:14 mark of the quarter, good for a 41-6 lead.

“We let it get away from us and the difference is that weight room once we get tired,” said Wolfpack coach Jarrett Troxler. “We’ve got to continue to get better and try to build off the positives of the night and keep working.”

The Wolfpack couldn’t run the ball up the middle but they found success working the edges. They avoided the shutout in the second quarter as they put together an eight-play drive covering 62 yards. On a fourth-and-1 from the Greyhound 5, Warren Coombs took a handoff, swept to the left sideline and found his way into the end zone. He would finish with 48 yards on seven carries.

That trimmed the Greyhounds’ lead to 14-6, but Hunnicut hit Nick Singleton for a 56-yard score to push the lead to 21-6 with 1:06 left in the half.

The Wolfpack drove to the Greyhounds’ 29, but Sasser’s pass into the end zone as time expired was incomplete.

“Take away the (first) pick six and we catch that ball right before halftime and we score, we’re down one score and we get the ball after halftime,” said Troxler.

After throwing mainly receiver screens in the first half, Hunnicutt went vertical in the second half and finished 12 of 14 for 210 yards and three touchdowns.

“We’ve got to do a better job of recognizing that and breaking down and making plays and staying under control,” said Troxler.

Categories: Local

Augusta Prep takes second at tournament

Wed, 9/17/2014 12:10 AM

At the end of two days of volleyball, the Augusta Preparatory Day School squad finished second at its 18th Annual Volleyball Fall Classic.

Playing in the gold bracket Saturday, the Lady Cavaliers (13-5) twice couldn’t get by Trinity Christian. The Lady Cavaliers faced the Lady Lions in the championship game where they were toppled 25-18, 25-22. Earlier, the Lady Cavaliers had taken the Lady Lions to three sets in pool play, losing 25-16, 23-25 and 15-11.

“Overall the team had a good weekend,” said Lady Cavaliers’ coach Rich Bland. “We beat everyone we played except Trinity, who is a top notch team and defending state champion. I feel that if we put together a complete match against them we will beat them. Our serving and passing was spotty at points while playing Trinity.”

Earlier in Saturday pool play, the Lady Cavaliers downed South Aiken (26-24, 25-14) and Wardlaw Academy (25-19, 16-25, 15-8).

Friday afternoon, the Lady Cavaliers raced out to a fast start.

Facing Alleluia, they used a 11-0 run in the first set to break a 10-10 tie, winning 25-12, then went on a 8-0 run in the second set, finishing 25-15.

The Lady Cavaliers would win their next two Friday night matches, beating Loganville (25-23, 25-17) and Dominion Christian (25-16, 25-16).

In the first set against Alleluia, Brooke Stevens served 10 of the 11 points during the run. She had one ace but her tough serves kept Alleluia off balance and teammates like Kathryn James and Savina Patheja were able to set themselves for kills during the run.

Once again, Stevens served six of the eight points in the second-game run, with an ace and kill of her own and two kills from Patheja.
Bland said Stevens was good about getting her serves in and making them tough.

“She’s good about placement and she’s very accurate,” Bland said.

Categories: Local

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