Latest News from The Columbia County News-Times

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Updated: 1 hour 47 min ago


Wed, 12/17/2014 12:13 AM
Categories: Local

Runners make a joyful noise in the 10K race for charity

Wed, 12/17/2014 12:11 AM
Categories: Local


Wed, 12/17/2014 12:11 AM
Categories: Local

Public meetings set in January for Columbia County school rezoning

Wed, 12/17/2014 12:05 AM

Parents of Columbia County schoolchildren will have two opportunities next month to express their views on the school system’s proposed rezoning plan.

School board trustees agreed Dec. 9 to dates for public meetings on the plan, with the first scheduled for Jan. 8 at Grovetown High School and the second Jan. 20 at Greenbrier High School.

Both meetings will begin at 6 p.m.

“Following these meetings we will take into account all the public feedback that we get and republish the rezoning proposal for your consideration at the next (school board) meeting,” schools Superintendent Sandra Carraway told the board.

Carraway wants to have the rezoning issue settled by the end of January so school administrators can begin planning for the 2015-16 school year.

Officials have already made revisions to the
preliminary plan, which was released Nov. 11. Carraway said some numbers have been adjusted, as has the schedule for implementing some shifts of students between zones, which will take place over the next three school years.

In all, 16 schools will be affected by the rezoning, which officials say is being brought on by rapid growth in the county, primarily in the Grovetown area.

Ground zero for the growth is Baker Place Ele­mentary.

The school has an official capacity of 900 pupils, but currently has more than 1,150. Officials have moved children into 10 portable classrooms on the campus to accommodate the swelling enrollment.

Carraway also reviewed the latest projections for next year’s enrollment, and more children are expected. Officials estimate another 712 children will enroll next fall, with about 150 set to go to Baker Place under the current zoning.

“If the rezoning goes through we can bring Baker Place down to a very manageable 935,” Carraway said.

Current zoning will also increase Greenbrier High School’s enrollment to more than 1,860 students, surpassing Evans High as the county’s largest school. Under the rezoning plan, about 200 of those students will be shifted to Lakeside High, moving its projected enrollment above 1,800.

The rezoning proposal can be viewed on the county schools’ Web site:

Categories: Local

Police Blotter

Wed, 12/17/2014 12:04 AM

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

Man scammed at Wal-Mart

A man shopping at a Martinez Wal-Mart said he was scammed by someone who sold him a store gift card.

The 34-year-old man said he was shopping at the store on Bobby Jones Expressway at about 5 p.m. on Saturday. A stranger approached him offering to sell a gift card worth $386.03. The stranger said he needed rent money and was willing to sell the card for $125. The stranger confirmed the card was loaded with the $386.03 and the man bought it.

The man said he believes that after they confirmed the amount on the card that the stranger switched it for a similar-looking card with no value. When he realized the card was worthless, the man called authorities.


Burglar enjoys cookie and rum

A Martinez woman called authorities Thurs-day and said someone broke into her home and enjoyed items in her kitchen.

The woman said she came home at about 4:30 p.m. and found cookie dough on the kitchen counter and some rum missing from a bottle in the kitchen.

The woman’s son said he got home about an hour before she did and the dough was on the counter then.

Christmas gifts under the tree, cash on the counter and electronics were not taken and nothing else was disturbed in the house.


Woman’s porch is vandalized

A Martinez woman said Friday that someone vandalized her porch while her family was out of town.

The 45-year-old woman said she returned from a week-long vacation at about 6 p.m. Thursday, but she went inside through the garage and didn’t see the porch. At about 4:30 p.m. Friday, the woman found her front porch in disarray.

Someone turned porch furniture upside down, threw swing cushions across the porch, broke a statue in half and shattered a glass table top. The glass was thrown across the porch.

The woman said her husband is out of town working and her children went with her out of town.

A deputy checked with nearby residents, but none saw anything unusual. They did say animals often come close to homes in the area, but the deputy noted that the damage was not consistent with an animal.

Nothing stolen during storage business break-in

The manager of an Evans self-storage business told deputies Friday that someone broke into several storage units, but stole nothing.

The manager of Evans Self Storage at 4731 Washington Road said between 8 p.m. and midnight the previous night, two men wearing dark clothes and hoodies cut the chain link fence on the back side of the gated business and clipped the locks off and went into five storage units on the back of the property. The burglars were caught on video, but the video images were blurry.

The men then left through the same hole they cut in the fence. The manager and a maintenance employee discovered only one piece of one of the five locks removed from storage units. Pieces of the cut fence were found laying in the opening.


Fake bill used
for steak dinner

The manager at an Evans restaurant called authorities Sunday after she said a man trying to use a fake bill ran out with his order.

The manager of the Ruby Tuesday’s restaurant in Mullins Crossing said a man called in a take-out order for a steak and loaded baked potato at about 8:45 p.m. When the man came to pick it up at about 9 p.m., he gave the manager a $100 bill for the $21.58 tab. The manager said she’d be right back.

When the manager returned to tell the man the bill was fake, he was gone. She went outside to get a description of the vehicle he was in, but didn’t see the man anywhere.

The entire transaction was captured on the restaurant’s video surveillance system.

Categories: Local

Pet Adoptions

Wed, 12/17/2014 12:01 AM
Categories: Local

Sounds of the season

Wed, 12/17/2014 12:01 AM

Sounds of the season

Categories: Local

Current Events

Wed, 12/17/2014 12:00 AM

Lights of South

6-10 p.m. daily through Dec. 30, 633 Louisville Road, Grovetown; $8.95, $5.95 ages 4-17, ages 3 and younger admitted free;

Forestry Pageant

Columbia County Forestry and Pine Seedling Scholarship Pageant – 5:30 p.m. March 14, Evans High School, 4550 Cox Road, Evans; queens will serve as hosts at the Miss Georgia Forestry Pageant in Tifton, Ga.; all contestants receive a trophy; winner and three runners-up 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,;

Hospice help

Volunteers sought for Hospice Advantage’s Georgia office, 2824 Hillcreek Drive; training provided; flexible opportunities; (706) 651-9841,

Christmas Gala

Fatty Marsha’s fifth annual Christmas Gala 7 p.m. Friday, Dec. 19, Sacred Heart Cultural Center, 1301 Greene St.; toy drive for those with HIV; dinner, drinks; semiformal; tickets at Pyramid Music and by phone; $20 single, $35 couple; (706) 449-4315,

Benefit soccer

Jenny Clark Memorial Scholarship Alumni Soccer Game, 2 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 20, Lakeside High School Stadium, 533 Blue Ridge Drive, Evans; annual alumni soccer game open to any player, male or female, who graduated from any high school; $25 – includes game, T-shirt and lunch from Fatz Cafe after game; public invited to watch, free

Bird counts

Augusta count, 7:30 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 20, those without previously assigned areas meet at Popeyes, corner of Walton Way and Gordon Highway; call Anne Waters to be assigned, spotters needed, (706) 793-2788; Aiken count Wednesday, Dec. 24, Aiken County, call Calvin Zippler to participate, no experience required, spotters needed, (803) 295-7460;


St. Teresa of Avila Catholic Church dedication of new church, 10 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 20, 4921 Columbia Road, Grovetown; Rite of Dedication; Gregory J. Hartmayer, speaker; free;

Rabies clinic

Low-cost rabies clinic for dogs and cats, Noon-3 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 20, Augusta Animal Services, 4164 Mack Lane; microchipping $15, one-year rabies vaccination $5; cash or Richmond County address checks only; open to all area residents; (706) 790-6836

Christmas event

11 a.m. Sunday, Dec. 21, Canaan of Galilee Baptist Church, 5830 Clarks Hill Road, Appling; free; (706) 541-0851

Fencing classes

Introduction to foil fencing classes begin Monday, Jan. 5, Augusta Fencers Club, 4648 Greene St.; registration open for the 10-week course; meets one hour each week; $175 through Dec. 22, $195 after – all competitive equipment provided; separate courses and times for ages 6-9, 10-13 and adults; (706) 722-8878,

New Year’s Eve

10 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 31, Canaan of Galilee Baptist Church, 5830 Clarks Hill Road, Appling; with Piney Grove and Crawford Grove Baptist churches; breakfast served; free; (706) 541-0851

BMX race

First race at Blanchard Woods BMX Track 6:30 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 10, Blanchard Woods Park, 4600 Blanchard Woods Drive, Evans; open to the public; spectators free; one day free membership for new riders;

5K run/walk

9 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 7, Lakeside High School, 533 Blue Ridge Drive, Evans; 3.1 mile course, mostly flat, one hill; $20; register at or run day registration 8 a.m. in Lakeside cafeteria; benefits Lisa Meitin Memorial Scholarship Fund and the Ovarian Cancer National Alliance


11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday, March 21, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday, March 22, Evans Towne Center Park; 7016 Evans Town Center Blvd.; celebrating Columbia County’s art, music, dance and heritage; performances by Columbia County Choral Society, Musical Theatre Workshops, Company of Job, Columbia County Orchestra Association with finale featuring excerpts from Columbia County Ballet’s Roar of Love; $5 March 21, free March 22; (706) 312-7194,,


Christian singles

6:30-10:30 p.m. Saturdays, Ballroom Dance Center, 525 Grand Slam Drive, off Evans-to-Locks Road; dance lessons 6:30-7:30 p.m., dance 7:30-10:30 p.m.; refreshments; Augusta Christian Singles; $8 members, $10 others; Barbara Nash (803) 640-2075,

Eyeglass help

Financial assistance for qualifying Grovetown residents’ eyeglasses; Grovetown Lions Club; Grovetown Lions Club Eyeglass Program, P.O. Box 248, Grovetown, GA 30813

Farmers market

4:30-7 p.m. Thursdays through Oct. 30, Columbia County Amphitheater, 7022 Evans Town Center Blvd.; Evans Towne Farmers Market; local farmers committed to all-natural growing practices, children’s activities, cooking demos and vegetable gardening education;,

Fire information

Advice on fire dangers for Columbia County residents; presented by Georgia Forestry Commission, Columbia County; (706) 556-3962

Food pantry

10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday-Friday, 1959 Appling Harlem Highway, Appling; Columbia County Cares Food Pantry; (706) 541-2834

Hospital classes

Variety of classes each month; Doctors Hospital; (706) 651-2450,

Live wrestling

Live action first Saturday every month; doors open 7:30 p.m., belltime 8 p.m., Patriots Park Gymnasium, 5445 Columbia Road, Grovetown; $10 front row, $7 general admission, 5 and younger free;


4:30 p.m. Wednesdays, Mindbody Stress Reduction Programs, 4210 Columbia Road Suite 4A, Martinez; Mindfulness and Expansive Meditations; experience deeper awareness and stress reduction through guided meditations; $15, $5 students with ID; (706) 496-3935,


MOMS Club of Augusta meets 10 a.m. first Wednesdays (except December); chapter includes Augusta, Martinez and North Augusta; e-mail for location;,


Columbia County Orchestra and Columbia County Youth; weekly meetings; musicians needed; information can be found online;

Public speaking

7 p.m. Mondays, University Hospital Education Wing, third floor, room 3; Riverwalk Toastmasters Public Speaking and Leadership Club; Sharma Pogula (706) 855-1081,


Barbara C. Beazley Memorial Scholarship, sponsored by The Columbia County Foundation for Children; must be a Columbia County resident and intend to enroll or are currently enrolled in a college or technical school; applications available from school counselors’ offices and online; grants are need-based; deadline to apply and submit documents May 30;


Fort Gordon’s Survivor Outreach Services, for families of deceased soldiers; (706) 787-4767,


• Grovetown Senior Center; volunteer drivers to deliver meals to shut-ins needed; (706) 210-8699

• Regency Hospice; training provided; Nancy Browning (706) 868-4422 • Golden Harvest Food Bank; help sort donations; (706) 736-1199

Categories: Local

Sports Calendar for Sunday, December 14, 2014.

Sun, 12/14/2014 12:15 AM

Memorial Soccer Game

The Jenny Clark Memorial Scholarship Annual Alumni Soccer game is at Lakeside High School on at 2 p.m. Dec. 20 open to all soccer players who have graduated from any area high school. Cost is $25 to play, which includes game, T-shirt and lunch after the game from Fatz Café. Spectators are admitted free. Proceeds will benefit the Jenny Clark Memorial Scholarship Fund which has awarded over $50,000 to deserving scholar-athletes who have graduated from CSRA high schools over the past 14 years.

Jenny Clark was a 1998 graduate of Lakeside High School and a varsity soccer player who died from head injuries suffered in a golf cart accident in 2000.

Baseball Camp

• The 2014 Ed Amerson Christmas Baseball Camp is at Greenbrier High School on Dec. 20 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. for those in grades two through eight. Cost is $50 and includes snack, drink and T-shirt. Contact Jason Osborn at (706) 650-6040 ext. 4151 or at or David Barnes at

• A-Team Winter Camp is Dec. 21 to Jan. 25, 2015 every Sunday at Riverside Park from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. for those in grades six to 12. Registration fee is $125. The camp is to prepare players for the upcoming middle/high school season. Contact Adrian McCladdie at or (706) 288-8511.

Registration is at Hometown Sports.

• The 2014 Grovetown High School Baseball Christmas Camp for those in kindergarten through eighth grade is Dec. 22 and Dec. 23 from 9 a.m to noon. Cost is $40 per camper and $20 per each additional sibling. Each camper will need to bring baseball shoes, glove, baseball pants and bat. Contact Mike Jones at (706) 447-2102 ext. 5833 or stop by the school for an application.

Categories: Local

Prep Calendar for Sunday, December 14, 2014.

Sun, 12/14/2014 12:15 AM

Monday, Dec. 15

Harlem vs. Washington-Wilkes, 5 p.m. (girls), 6:30 p.m. (boys)

Greenbrier vs. South Aiken, 7 p.m. (girls), 8:30 p.m. (boys)

Friday, Dec. 19

Augusta Prep at Brentwood Holiday Classic, 4 p.m. (girls), 5:30 p.m. (boys)

Greenbrier vs. Aquinas, 6 p.m. (girls), 7:30 p.m. (boys)

Lakeside vs. South Aiken, 6 p.m. (girls), 7:30 p.m. (boys)

Evans at North Augusta, 7 p.m. (girls), 8:30 p.m. (boys)

Harlem vs. Grovetown, 7 p.m. (girls), 8:30 p.m. (boys)

Saturday, Dec. 20

Augusta Prep at Brentwood Holiday Classic, 3 p.m. (girls), 4:30 p.m. (boys)


Thursday, Dec. 18

Greenbrier at Statesboro, TBA

Friday, Dec. 19

Lakeside at Treutlen Viking Invitational, 5 p.m.

Evans vs. Richmond Academy, Westside, 5:30 p.m.

Categories: Local

Grovetown farmer grew up in gardening

Sun, 12/14/2014 12:13 AM

Foster Olson has long known that good things come from the Earth. In fact, as owner of Grovetown Farm and Gardens and Clyde’s Fresh Produce, the Grovetown resident has been tilling soil and planting crops ever since he was a

“I grew up in Columbia County,” said Olson. “My granddad was a dairy farmer and a truck farmer. My mom grew up being a truck farmer.”

It’s only natural that Olson, too, would grow up working the land. Growing up, he was responsible for tending a patch of farmland that his dad had planted with melons and other vegetables. In order to earn his spending money, Olson, along with his siblings, would tend the crops, later picking and selling them.

Olson says he’s always had a large garden. For the past 16 years, he has owned Grovetown Farm and Gardens. It is at his shop that many purchase his tomatoes, squash, okra, cucumbers, melons and beans.

It was in the summer of 2013 that Olson decided to establish Clyde’s Fresh Produce and begin selling his vegetables through Augusta Locally Grown’s Evans Towne Farmers Market.

“Most of our land is horse pastures,” he said. “But we have land on which to produce extra vegetables.”

Earlier this fall, Augusta Locally Grown organized a crop mob at Olson’s property. The nearly 40 participants helped to plant fruit trees and blueberry and raspberry plants, as well as scuppernong vines.

“We planted about 40 trees and 30 blueberries and raspberries,” said Olson, who uses no insecticides or pesticides on his plants. “We’ve since planted 40 more trees, including some pecan trees.”

Olson is looking to create a retirement fund from his fruit and vegetable sales and, in the process he plans to meet the demand for locally grown fruits and vegetables head on by doubling much of his crop production.

“This coming year, we plan to double our tomato and melon crops,” he said. “We have about 900 strawberry plants that will produce in May and June.

“Basically, from this is going to become my retirement fund,” added Olson, who hopes to retire in the next 5 to 10 years.

Currently, Olson has carrots, cabbage and lettuce planted and is selling those items through Augusta Locally Grown’s online market.

“This is the really slow time of the year,” he said. “The peak of winter will be February, March and April.”

Categories: Local

Property Transfers, Dec. 14, 2014

Sun, 12/14/2014 12:12 AM

Emily F. McKenney and Robbie Bryant to Sung Yong Kim and Mal Soon Kim, parcel ID 074450, $165,000.

Asa J. High to Cara D. Wilson, parcel ID 07I852, $218,000.

Amy M. Teston to Hadi A. Hameed, parcel ID 066772, $76,500.

Ernest Donald Thorne aka Ernest D. Thorne and Sandra L. Thorne to Jimmy W. Boan and Amy M. Boan, parcel ID 065421, $296,000.

Terence V. Price to Teresa Annette Watts, 6494 Washington Road, $23,972.

Richard T. Rose and Karen L. Rose to Michael S. Parrish, parcel ID 065551, $418,500.

William Few Partners LLC to Designer Homes and Construction LLC, parcel ID 059213, 059240 and 059236, $152,000.

Michael S. Parrish to James E. Rugg, parcel ID 065876, $519,000.

DEW Land Development Co. to Scott D. Starling and Rebecca L. Starling, 5331 Linder McCurdy Road, $89,900.

Chamblin Partners to CCB Properties LLC, a portion of parcel ID 061085, $365,000.

David F. Keener and Joyce A. Keener to Nicholas G. Voss and Jessica Y. Voss, parcel ID 081D017, $263,000.

Jeff J. Miller to Houda Miloudi, parcel ID 077B544, $71,000.

Patrick J. Meagher and Elizabeth A. Meagher to Matthew John Ritz and Hallie Wylds Ritz, parcel ID 077311, $235,000.

The estate of William Nagy to Adam Cook and Janna Cook, parcel ID 078C264, $146,000.

Riverwood Land LLC to Keystone Homes Inc., parcel ID 058057, $51,500.

Riverwood Land LLC to Keystone Homes Inc., parcel ID 058057, $51,500.

Southern Homesites LLC to Medallion Construction Co. Inc., parcel ID 0601100, 06010963, 0601128, 0601123 and 0601122, $304,500.

Donald Kaake to Joshua A. Green and Pa Yang, parcel ID 063363, $136,000.

Mark S. Stover to Steven Michael Nunely and Heather H. Nunley, parcel ID 072P107, $208,000.

William R. Thompson to Beth Porter Moorhead, parcel ID 077I051, $165,000.

Shannon L. Nelson fka Shannon Neal to Tracy Allen Palmer, 4673 Clifden Ave., $103,000.

Robert Maldonado to Merrick M. Martin and Patricia E. Martin, 3022 Kilknockie Drive, $197,500.

Elizabeth Ann Smith to Veronica Rountree, 1000 Windmill Parkway, $85,000.

Herbert Homes Inc. to Joshua M. VanEpps and Kimberly A. VanEpps, 4449 Grove Landing Drive, $152,900.

JP Morgan Chase Bank to Leland A. Unruh, 3715 Cactus Trail, $67,725.

Gary A. Hill to Frederick J. Akeley and Joy D. Akeley, parcel ID 072P36, $186,500.

Christia R. Ashmore to Alexander Thaddeus Skinner and Ratchineekorn Skinner, 3359 Evans to Locks Road, $120,000.

Adam J. Alvarez to Jose M. Medina Carrill, 8015 Battle St., $178,000.

Gabor Patonay to Luis M. Conception and Mercedes I. Vazquez, parcel ID 078C777, $119,900.

Euchee Forest LLC to Ivey Residential LLC, a portion of parcel ID 0622385, $30,500.

Ivey Residential LLC to John S. Rogers, 1999 Kenlock Drive, $171,920.

Lauren O. Eubanks to Hazina K. Bellamy, parcel ID 082H461, $176,000.

Morgan Close to Gary J. Waters, parcel ID 066610, $210,000.

William Few Partners LLC to Kingsbury Custom Homes Inc., parcel ID 059235, $49,000.

MBH Holdings Inc. to Kingsbury Custom Homes Inc., a portion of parcel ID 0622518, $471,900.

MBH Holdings Inc. to Kingsbury Custom Homes Inc., a portion of parcel ID 0622518, $429,000.

Canterbury Farms LLC to Winchester Homes of GA Inc., 2429 Newbury Ave., $37,000.

Benchmark Augusta Homes Ltd. to American Homes 4 Rent Properties Eight LLC, 6057 Reynolds Circle, $175,000.

Travis Atkins to American Homes 4 Rent Properties Eight LLC, 611 Cornerstone Place, $202,500.

Nathan R. Gorka to American Homes 4 Rent Properties Eight LLC, 790 Michelle Court, $130,000.

Southfork Homes LLC to Jorge L. Change DePina, 505 Split Pine Trail, $197,900.

Michael W. Smith to Andre M. LaPlume, 460 Belgralde Road, $110,000.

Amber O. Perry to Brian K. Taber and Karen S. Taber, parcel ID 081167, $615,000.

James R. Buckingham Jr. to N.P. Dodge, 820 Prairie Lane, $194,900.

N.P. Dodge to Matthew Roberston and Katherine Robertson, 820 Prairie Lane, $194,900.
Euchee Creek Investors Inc. to Ashworth Homes LLC, 501 Fothergill Court, $90,000.

Champions Golf Properties LLC to Tower 3 Golf, Champions Retreat, a portion of parcel ID 065894, $60,000.

Jesse Strickland to Larry L. Terrell and Rosalie R. Terrell, 795 Osprey Lane, $175,000.

The estate of Brenda E. McDaniel to Jacob R. Herron and Lauren N. Herron, parcel ID 054025A, $97,500.

Robert A. Smith to Conrex Residential Property Group 2013-1 LLC, parcel ID 073C108, $77,000.

Gregory A. Schmalfeldt to Andrew W. Liebig, parcel ID 077G1133, $198,900.

Timothy A. Bradley to Beatrice Y. Eberhart, parcel ID 072K047, $155,000.

Kyle W. Helmsderfer to Guru Darshuan LLC, 424 Fernhurst Lane, $240,000.

Winchester Homes of GA Inc. to Peter C. Kersten and Lynnette C. Kersten, 1711 Opal Court, $329,900.

John Davitte to Richale L. Quinn, 4214 Quail Springs Circle, $244,900.

Sonia Shaun Owen to Julius Raynor and Alice R. Raynor, 1315 Hawkmoor Way, $320,000.

Larry B. Romanowski as trustee of the Larry B. Romanowski Living Trust to Joshua Riffe Anderson and Ashley Deyoung Anderson, 4525 Ridge Pine Drive, $298,000.

Categories: Local

Marriage Licenses, Dec. 14, 2014

Sun, 12/14/2014 12:12 AM

Jordan Guerrero and Julie Kristine Schwartz applied for a marriage license on Sept. 23, 2014, and were married Nov. 9, 2014, in Augusta.

Stephen Alfred Hochgesang and Alexandria Brooke Sims applied for a marriage license on Dec. 3, 2014, and were married Dec. 3, 2014, in Evans.

Luke Austin Maxwell Sawyer and Samantha Lynn Eckert applied for a marriage license on Dec. 2, 2014, and were married Dec. 2, 2014, in Evans.

Timothy Alan Gobel and Rebecca Lynn Chance applied for a marriage license on Dec. 2, 2014, and were married Dec 2, 2014, in Evans.

Jesus Maldonado and Rachel Ella Marin applied for a marriage license on Nov. 14, 2014, and were married Nov. 21, 2014, in Savannah.

Travis Lynn Arnett and Amanda Leigh Saul applied for a marriage license on Dec. 4, 2014, and were married Dec. 4, 2014, in Evans.

Jeffrey Andrew Tankard II and Jacqueline Hofmann applied for a marriage license on Dec. 4, 2014, and were married Dec. 4, 2014, in Evans.

Benjamin Andrew Benedict and Monica Lynn Rowland applied for a marriage license on Dec. 3, 2014, and were married Dec. 4, 2014, in Evans.

Eugene Wade Edwards Jr. and Simona Adele McCoy applied for a marriage license on Dec. 2, 2014, and were married Dec. 4, 2014, in Evans.

Findley James Henderson III and Tonisha Renee Hall-Byrd applied for a marriage license on Nov. 20, 2014, and were married Nov. 27, 2014, in Augusta.

Jamie Avery Lynn Riner and Tonya Lynn Meier applied for a marriage license on Nov. 19, 2014, and were married Nov. 22, 2014, in Martinez.

Douglas Cole Verdell and Sarah Lynn Price applied for a marriage license on Oct. 10, 2014, and were married Oct. 18, 2014, in Waynesboro, Ga.

Tristan Chase Roth and Erin Elizabeth Jacob applied for a marriage license on Nov. 12, 2014, and were married Dec. 6, 2014, in Martinez.

Anthony Joseph Miscuraca and Courtney Ann Lowe applied for a marriage license on Nov. 14, 2014, and were married Nov. 22, 2014, in Martinez.

Emilio Steven Pedroza and Brittany Mirinda-Mae Phillips applied for a marriage license on Nov. 18, 2014, and were married Dec. 5, 2014, in Evans.

Dwayne De’Von Gaffney and Sandra Ivelis Santoago applied for a marriage license on Nov. 26, 2014, and were married Dec. 1, 2014, in Augusta.

David Walter Colvin and Terri Lynn Wright applied for a marriage license on Dec. 8, 2014, and were married Dec. 8, 2014, in Evans.

Categories: Local

Divorces, Dec. 14, 2014

Sun, 12/14/2014 12:10 AM

George Patton and Lisa Ann Patton, Nov. 25, 2014.

Alicia Nicole Barnes and Alrice William Barnes, Nov. 25, 2014.

Karen Best and Kenny Best, Dec. 4, 2014.

Cynthia Kneece Donald­son and John Richard Donaldson, Dec. 4, 2014.

Sachiyo Kawaguchi Chambers and James Edwin Chambers Jr., Dec. 8, 2014.

Ricardo Torez Ball and Tiffany Hill, Dec. 8, 2014.

Robert Shawn Thigpen and Erica Leigh Thigpen, Nov. 25, 2014.

Paris D. Elahee and Nazier C. Elahee, Nov. 20, 2014.

Emily Mae Vanveelen and Jeremy Joseph Vanveelen, Dec. 4, 2014.

Mitchell Mays and Lori Michelle Andrews Mays, Dec. 5, 2014.

Julie McDaniel Langston and John Edward Langston, Nov. 25, 2014.

Lisa Michelle Venuti and John James Venuti, Nov. 26, 2014.

Deneen Annette Griffin and Bruce Edward Griffin, Dec. 2, 2014.

Alice Kay Sacadura and Jupiter Juvenal Sacadura, Dec. 12, 2014.

Cara James and Michael James, Dec. 2, 2014.

Hubert Bailey and Britney Bailey, Dec. 1, 2014.

Julia Louise Haffa and Jeffrey Allen Haffa, Nov. 26, 2014.

Kristen Leigh Allen Owens and Bradley Stephen Owens, Dec. 4, 2014.

Categories: Local

Woman charged with toddler's murder could face trial this spring

Sun, 12/14/2014 12:09 AM

The case against an Augusta woman charged with murder in the death of her toddler could go before a jury as early as February.

Marina Mae Middle­brooks, 30, was indicted on murder and cruelty to children charges in July.

The case could go to trial Feb. 9, said Hank Syms, the Assistant District

Middlebrooks was arrested on May 2 in connection to the death of her 2-year-old daughter, Sky Allen.

Authorities said Mid-dlebrooks’ car ran off Ray Owens Road in front of North Columbia Elementary School.

Sky was found dead and facedown on the floorboard, covered with fresh and dried blood, according to Columbia County Coroner Vernon Collins.

An autopsy at the Georgia Bureau of Investigation Crime Lab in Atlanta showed that Sky died from a stab wound to the throat, Collins said.

Middlebrooks’ attorney, Richard Allen, has filed a notice of his intent to raise the issue of insanity, according to records filed with the Columbia County Clerk of Superior Court’s Office. She’s being held in the Columbia County Detention Center without

Categories: Local

Fee increase part of broad plan

Sun, 12/14/2014 12:09 AM

Increasing the monthly rate for Stormwater Utility fees is one facet of a larger plan to get a handle on Columbia County’s stormwater problems.

Stormwater Utility Manager Gary Bennett said the proposed increase, which would more than double the rate charged to property owners over the next three years, is necessary first and foremost to fund repairs and maintenance to the county’s aging stormwater infrastructure.

Commissioners are expected to vote Tuesday to approve the rate changes, which will begin in January 2015, and rise again at the beginning of the next two years, according to the proposal that passed on its first reading by a 3 to 1 vote.

Bennett estimated that in 2015, the new rate will raise about $612,000 in additional revenue for stormwater projects. He said the numbers for successive years were more difficult to estimate because of unknown variables, including the number of parcels that will be added to the Stormwater Utility service area as new neighborhoods are constructed and more commercial properties are developed.

One of the changes Bennett hopes to implement is to speed up the way properties are added to the service area, and thus begin to be billed for stormwater fees.

“Right now if a new subdivision is built adjacent to our service area, we have to go to the (Board of Commissioners) to add it,” he said.

Bennett said the county is looking at making that process more automated, so that it becomes part of the plan approval process. The intention is to make changes so that the moment infrastructure is turned over to the county to maintain, the associated properties will already be incorporated into the Stormwater Utility service area.

“We just want to streamline the process,” he said.

Officials also plan to review how rate discounts are applied to properties to ensure that all those getting reduced stormwater fees are properly qualified, Bennett said.

More than 20,000 of the 37,800 properties being billed for stormwater fees receive a discounted rate of some kind. Those discounts added up to about $400,000 in reduced fees in 2014, according to county documents.

Bennett said property owners can apply for certain discounts under the stormwater code for various reasons, including having ponds or commercial water management systems.

Bennett also hopes to add more inspectors and more equipment, such as camera that can give them a look at pipes while they are still in the ground, to better manage and maintain infrastructure as it is added to the county’s growing stormwater system.

The county’s stormwater fee has not increased since it was established in 2000. The fee is based on the amount of impervious surface, such as rooftops and paved driveways and parking lots.

The current monthly rate is about 8.75 cents per 100 square feet of impervious surface. According to county data, the median amount for impervious surface is about 3,300 square feet, which would cost about $2.89 per month or $34.65 per year. Commissioners propose to raise the rate by 3 cents per 100 square feet in January, with identical raises in 2016 and 2017.

In the end, the monthly rate will be 17.75 cents per 100 square feet, which would cost about $70.29 each year for a property with 3,300 square feet of impervious surface.

According to a 2013 survey of rates by the Southeast Stormwater Association, that would put the final rate above the Georgia average, which is about 12 cents per 100 square feet. The average across the southeast is about 17.3 cents, according to the survey.

Commissioners are expected to take up the proposal at 6 p.m. Tuesday at the Evans Government Center auditorium.

Categories: Local

Police Blotter, Dec. 14, 2014

Sun, 12/14/2014 12:08 AM

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

Car stolen by truck driver

A Grovetown woman called police Monday and said a tow truck driver stole her vehicle.

The woman said she was driving on Interstate 20 near mile marker 192 on Dec. 1 between 9 a.m. and noon when she had to stop on the roadside because of car trouble. She pulled onto the shoulder and lifted the hood. A short time later, she said, a man driving a tow truck pulled in behind her. The woman said she didn’t see any patches or other insignia on the driver’s blue work clothes or signs or writing on the black truck.

The wrecker driver told the woman he could fix her car for about $200 and it would take about 10 days to order the parts and fix the vehicle. The woman agreed. The driver gave the woman a ride to her home and towed her car. He did not give her a business card, but said his name was Jeff and gave the woman a phone number. The woman hasn’t heard from the driver since.

On Dec. 5, the woman said she got a call from someone who identified himself as Inv. Traylor from Rockdale County, Ga. He told the woman that the Rockdale County Sheriff’s office found her car on I-20 in their jurisdiction.

Harassing calls

A Martinez woman called deputies Monday after she said someone keeps calling her claiming they are owed money. The woman said she got several phone calls from someone who would not give his name, but called from a 626 area code. The caller said Andrew Lewinski owed money on property. The woman said the caller got confrontational when she said she doesn’t know Andrew Lewinski. The woman’s son also received several similar calls the same day. A deputy called the number from which she was receiving the harassing calls and the caller refused to provide his name or the company he worked for.

Nails dumped

A woman said Wednesday that she believes her ex-boyfriend dumped nails in the road near her workplace. The woman said when she arrived at her Martinez workplace in the morning, she discovered nails dumped in the road by the entrance to the parking lot. She was concerned because her ex has harassed her since their break-up. The woman has called Aiken County authorities several times in the last few months because he possibly dumped nails in the road in front of her house.

Categories: Local

Sharp skater

Wed, 12/10/2014 12:17 AM

Sharp skater

Categories: Local

Grovetown officials trying to resolve illegal church sign

Wed, 12/10/2014 12:16 AM


Grovetown officials and leaders of a city church are hoping to work out an amicable resolution after the church installed a sign that violated a city ordinance in August.

A sign was installed at Fellowship Baptist Church near Gordon Highway on Aug. 22, even though it didn’t comply with city regulations and had been rejected by city officials.

The sign exceeds the 60-square-inch maximum sign face limit and the LED lights on the sign are prohibited in an ordinance passed in December 2012.

“I don’t like the ordinance,” Pastor Sonny Serigney said. “The ordinance is the problem.”

The church applied for and was denied a permit to install the sign. So he applied for a variance with the city Planning and Zoning Board of Appeals, which also was denied in July.

On Aug. 22, a city building official saw installation begin on the $15,000 sign and warned them for not having a permit. The crew waited for a Code Enforcement official, who served a stop work order, to leave before completing the installation.

The city can cite and sue the church for the illegal sign or the sign can be moved off the property onto a neighboring piece owned by Meybohm Real Estate in Richmond County.

The Richmond County ordinances don’t prohibit the sign and a sliver of the Meybohm property cuts in front of the church.

Mayor George James said the city attorney is in negotiations with Meybohm attorneys to allow the sign to be moved to the sliver in front of the church.

“That would give the church opportunity to move the sign and it would still pretty much appear to be in front (of the church),” Mayor George James said.

James said he’s just waiting for a response from Meybohm attorneys.

“Once we get that, we’ll present it to the pastor and the church and see how they feel about it,” James said.

Serigney has said he thought the church and the sign should have been grand-fathered in and allowed because the church didn’t know about the new ordinance.

He also said the church doesn’t have money to run electrical lines and have the sign moved.

“It’s not just me, what the church (members currently have to say) we’re really not interested in it, but if push comes to shove …” Serigney said. “We’ll see what happens.”

Serigney said he hasn’t heard much from city officials since he was told a couple of months ago they were going to approach Meybohm. When a decision is reached, Serigney said he’ll take it to the church leadership.

“We’ll just have to wait and see.”

City officials also approved an amendment to the ordinance that clarifies that everyone must have a permit for sign installation.

Also, James said city officials are taking a second look at the ordinance.

“We are thinking about allowing reader signs to be part of the ordinance,” James said.

Categories: Local

Police Blotter

Wed, 12/10/2014 12:16 AM

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

Teen charged
in trespassing

A Grovetown teen was charged with criminal trespass Thursday after he was caught putting up flyers on private property.

A deputy directing traffic at Columbia Middle School at about 7 a.m. saw the 16-year-old hammering two documents to a wooden fence on Crown Heights Way at William Few Parkway.

When the deputy asked what he was doing, the teen said, “Nothing.” When asked, he denied posting the documents on the fence.

The deputy, who witnessed the teen posting the flyers, searched the teen’s backpack and found more flyers.

The ones on the fence and in the backpack read, “Want to get away with murder? *be a white cop*,” and other references to the recent incidents in Ferguson, Mo.


Parents report man’s behavior

The suspicious behavior of an Evans man prompted his neighbors to call authorities Saturday.

The couple said they believe the 31-year-old man that lives across the street has an abnormally high interest in their 8-year-old daughter.

They said their neighbor sits on the tailgate of his truck and stares at their daughter as she plays in the yard.

He’s also asked to help the girl ride her bike.

The couple also said they have found beer bottles and cigarette butts, matching the brand their neighbor smokes, in the yard under the girl’s window.

The couple said they have checked under the window and found nothing in the evening, but found the cigarette butts the next morning.

Their neighbor, who has not been seen in their yard but in other neighbors’ yards, said the wind must have blown the butts to the couple’s property.


Man sees odd things at home

A Martinez man told authorities Sunday that a theft was the most recent strange incident at his new home.

The 48-year-old man said that between 4 p.m. Thursday and 10 a.m. Sunday, someone stole a tool box full of bungee cords from the bed of his truck.

The man said he and his wife moved into the home only a couple of weeks before the theft.

They have noticed strange things including the gate to the back yard left unlocked and the light bulb on the porch being unscrewed.


Man scammed, abandoned

A South Carolina man told deputies Thursday that an acquaintance scammed him out of his paycheck and left him at an Evans gas station.

The 37-year-old man said he was paid for some work with a $970 money order. The amount was too much to cash at a store and the man has no bank account. An acquaintance said she’d cash the money order for him at her bank, so he signed the money order over to her.

They went with a friend of the woman’s to her bank on North Belair Road and she went inside to cash the money order. When she returned, the man said his acquaintance said the bank put a hold on cashing it until the next day.

As they traveled back toward his home in South Carolina, the man said his acquaintance asked him to buy her a soda. He agreed and they stopped at a gas station on Evans to Locks Road. The man said he went inside and bought the soda. When he came back outside, the man said his acquaintance and her friend were gone. They left in a newer model gray Honda and the man said he left his jacket and a Redbox video game inside it.

A deputy confirmed with the woman’s bank that she cashed the money order and was given cash.


Residents report thefts from cars

Several residents on a Martinez street told deputies Thursday that someone stole from their vehicles.

Four residents of Timber Wolf Trail said that over the previous night, someone went into unlocked vehicles parked in their driveways and stole items from within.

Purses and wallets containing credit cards, licenses and Social Security cards were stolen form three vehicles and sunglasses and lottery tickets were stolen from a fourth.

It does not appear that force was used to get into any of the vehicles.

Categories: Local

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