Latest News from The Columbia County News-Times

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Updated: 26 min 40 sec ago

State insurance cut for some school system personnel considered

12 hours 27 sec ago

A consideration on the state level to make up a large budget deficit could take a heavy toll on the local school system.

Lawmakers are considering eliminating health insurance coverage for non-certified school personnel including bus drivers, nutrition workers, paraprofessionals, technology, maintenance and other essential school staff from the 2016 budget.

“This would cripple the school bus industry,” Columbia County School System Transportation Director Dewayne Porter said. “The main reason people come to us is the medical insurance.”

The Department of Community Health spent $135 million to provide benefits to 11,500 of these workers statewide in 2014.

School system Superintendent Dr. Sandra Carraway said the proposal could affect 60 to 70 non-certified personnel who work less than 30 hours a week.

“(Bus drivers) would be hit the hardest,” Carraway said, adding some of the routes don’t allow the drivers to work 30 hours a week. “It would place a great burden on school systems across the state.”

Carraway said the cost to insure the workers has risen steadily over the past several years. The system is paying $596 per month for each employee, which is half of the total cost that is split with the state.

“That’s a lot of money that the state is paying,” Carraway said. “In the governor’s mind, they are part-time employees.

“It comes at a great expense to the state. I know the governor is seeking ways to find money to fund all the programs. I would hope they would find it in their budget categories to continue offering this. If it happens, it’ll harm a lot of people across the state.”

Porter said he employees 217 “full-time” bus drivers plus 41 special education bus aids and five monitors, in addition to eight or 10 substitute drivers. He expects that the majority of people affected in the local system will be drivers.

Qualified bus drivers who pass the extensive background and drivers checks are hard to find, but Porter said he’s found them at job fairs.

Columbia County bus drivers receive competitive, though not high pay and the health insurance is by far the largest perk he has to offer.

“The main reason people come to us is the medical insurance,” Porter said. “If they were to lose their health insurance, it would take away the biggest bargaining chip I have to attract applicants.

“If I couldn’t offer the insurance to them, we would be in bad shape.”

If insurance is cut, Porter said he fully expects some drivers to leave and it to become more difficult to attract new ones.

“They don’t make enough money driving a bus to afford medical insurance on their own,” Porter said.

Carraway said the non-certified personnel is essential to the school system. She believes a budget plan will be worked out that includes coverage for the workers.

“I do think that there will be a compromise,” Carraway said. “I believe the Governor will find a way. I think he’s going to hear not just from those affected, but from all of their employers who find their services critical to operating school systems across the state.”

Categories: Local

Police Blotter, Feb. 1, 2015

12 hours 1 min ago

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

Man vandalizes woman’s home

An Evans woman called deputies Wednesday after discovering her boyfriend vandalized her home.

The 36-year-old woman said she left her house at about 8:30 a.m. She couldn’t lock the door because it was damaged when her boyfriend kicked it in earlier that morning.

When she returned at about 10 a.m., the woman said she discovered that someone poured bleach all over her mattress and clothes in the closet. A record album collection left to the woman by her late father also was missing.

Man scammed by eBay buyer

A Grovetown man told authorities Wednesday that he was defrauded out of money he received for selling items on eBay.

The 52-year-old man said he sold some items on the Web site to a woman from Malaysia. The buyer put money in the man’s PayPal account before he shipped the items. After the shipment, the man said he checked his PayPal account again and the money was missing.

He tried to contact the buyer, but the man said the eBay account no longer existed and he had no other means of contacting the buyer.

Couple demands reward for cat

An Appling woman called police Monday after she said two people tried to get a reward from her for returning her cat.

The woman said her cat went missing on Jan. 19. She received a Facebook message on Monday from a man and a woman who claimed to have the cat. They asked how much reward money she was offering. When the woman responded that the reward was $500, the man said he needed $500. When the woman asked for photos of the cat, the man refused.

The woman said McDuffie County sheriff’s deputies told her they need a Columbia County incident report to help her because the man said he lives in McDuffie County. Deputies told the woman not to go to any address the man gives her without a deputy escort.

Thief accesses bank via phone

An Evans man said that someone used his cell phone number in an attempt to get into his bank accounts.

The 43-year-old man said Monday that someone used his cell phone number on Jan. 16 to contact his service provider and tried to change his phone number. The thief then tried to access his USAA bank account.

The would-be thief was able to change the e-mail address associated with the bank account, but company representatives notified the man via text message about the attempted unauthorized access to his account. The thief was trying to get $9,000 from his account, but weren’t able to. Whoever tried to get the man’s money also tried to access other accounts the man and his daughter have with USAA, but were unable to.

The man said the thief also opened a Navy Federal Credit Union account using his information, but he immediately closed the account when he received notification of it in the mail.

Woman gets suspicious calls

An Evans woman said Tuesday that she got suspicious calls from someone asking for money.

The woman said she received a voicemail from someone who identified herself as Samantha Carter about a bounced check. The caller said the check was written in 2000 and she was calling to collect.

The woman said she she’s never bounced a check.

Categories: Local

Harlem to apply for solar grant

12 hours 1 min ago

Harlem officials agreed at their first meeting of the year to explore a new way to bring revenue into the city.

At their first meeting of the year, officials decided to proceed with the application process for a Georgia Power Co. Advanced Solar Initiative grant program that could bring in as much as $15,000 a year for 20 years.

If the city’s application is chosen, Georgia Power, through Hannah Solar Energy, would be allowed to lease five acres of city-owned property behind the water treatment plant and construct an array of solar panels to collect energy.

“Hannah Solar will build it and Hannah Solar will maintain it,” said Hannah Solar representative Mark Cann. “There’s an opportunity to lease 5 acres of land. There’s an opportunity to make (revenue).”

Municipalities awarded will be chosen in April. Out of 800 applications last year, 57 were chosen.

Cann said he expects that some amendments to the process will drastically reduce the number of applicants this year.

“We feel enthusiastic about it,” Councilman Tom Blalock said about the preliminary approval.

The city began the application process last year, but opted out because of a $5,000 non-refundable application fee.

Officials only preliminarily approved moving forward with the application process and can opt out again at any time.

Also at the meeting, officials appointed John Thigpen to another year as the city’s May Pro Tem.

They also agreed to move the city’s monthly Planning and Zoning Commission meetings from City Hall to the public safety build-
ing.

That move will not be immediate, maybe by the summer, to accommodate existing meeting schedules.

Categories: Local

Development Authority leader wins alumni award

12 hours 2 min ago

The executive director of the Columbia County Development Authority was recently honored by his undergraduate university.

Lander University’s Alumni Association named Robbie Ben­nett as the 2015 Young Alumni Award win­ner. The association announced the award on Thursday.

After graduating from lander in 2001, Bennett received a Masters degree in public administration from the University.

He graduated from the Economic Development Institute of the University of Oklahoma and is as a certified economic developer by the International Economic Development Council.

Before joining the Development Authority in the spring of 2013, Bennett worked with the South Carolina Department of Commerce, the Greenwood Partnership Council and the Augusta Economic Development Authority.

Bennett is the former president of ConnectVP, Greenwood’s young professionals organization and past president of Lander’s Young Alumni
Council.

The award will be presented to Bennett and other award winners on April 18 during Lander’s annual Alumni Day luncheon.

Categories: Local

BMX group to make Blanchard Woods home

12 hours 2 min ago

Columbia County officials are expected to approve an agreement Tuesday to allow a BMX riders group to make the new BMX track at Blanchard Woods Park their home.

The agreement would allow Blanchard Woods BMX Riders and Parents Association, formerly Augusta BMX, to use the track for regular practices and USA BMX-sanctioned tournaments and events as well as maintain it.

County commissioners will make a final decision on the agreement at the bi-monthly meeting on Tuesday.

“If we don’t have this group, we can’t have sanctioned tournaments at Blanchard Woods Park,” county Community and Leisure Services Division Director Barry Smith said at a recent Community and Emergency Services Committee meeting. “It requires a sanctioned club to hold the tournaments sanctioned by USA BMX. It’s actually a win-win situation.”

As part of the agreement, the group will be responsible for all track maintenance. Smith said the group will maintain everything inside the fence from grass mowing to track maintenance like moving dirt and dealing with erosion issues as well as facilitate and run events.

“This is a good deal for the county,” county Administrator Scott Johnson said. “It’s a great public-private partnership.”

Other than club practices, held mostly in the evening, and tournaments and events, the track is open to the public to use for free.

“The other good thing is they will teach new riders how to ride the track,” Smith said. “We have 10 loaner bikes they are going to allow the public to use at no charge. They are not only doing instruction, but they are maintaining the track as well.

The track opening, originally expected in January, was pushed back by about two months after vandalism in December caused about $57,000 worth of damage to the park, mostly on the BMX track.

Smith said a state-sanctioned tournament is slated for March 12.

“We’re hoping it all will be open by then,” Smith said.

Categories: Local

Property Transfers, Feb. 1, 2015

12 hours 8 min ago

Canterbury Farms LLC to Winchester Homes of GA Inc., 718 Southwick Ave., $41,500.

Riverwood Land LLC to Winchester Homes of GA Inc., 1732 Edenburg Way, $43,000.

Terry M. Rideout to Tomas Navarro and Nadia I. Navarro, parcel ID 078218, $160,900.

Charles W. Fraatz and Shirley A. Fraatz to Samuel Terry Driggers, 405 Carson Court, $165,900.

Ronald New to American Homes 4 Rent Properties Eight LLC, 1949 Kenlock Drive, $167,000.

Sayed Nazir Ashna to American Homes 4 Rent Properties Eight LLC, 987 Watermark Drive, $169,900.

Kerry M. Rhodea as trustee of the Kerry M. Rhodes Living Trust dated Feb. 26, 2009, 506 Sumter Court, $25,000.

Betty M. Snead as trustee of the Robert S. Snead and Betty M. Snead Living Trust to Michael Maxwell and Jennifer C. Maxwell, 214 Marty Drive, $310,000.

Santa Monica LLC to Bill Beazley Homes Inc., a portion of parcel ID 060967,
$34,900.

Regis Development Co. Inc. to Bill Beazley Homes Inc., parcel ID 067916, $29,900.

Regis Development Co. Inc. to Bill Beazley Homes Inc., parcel ID 067929, $29,900.

Regis Development Co. Inc. to Bill Beazley Homes Inc., parcel ID 0621414, $28,900.

.S & D Construction LLC to Wilbrod Joseph Farr Smith and Margaret Smith, 211 Hayne Drive, $109,000.

The William E. Hollingsworth Living Trust to Michael O. Whitaker and Judy L. Whitaker, 914 Deercrest Circle, $162,150.

James S. Davis to Virginia S. Green, 4048 Oregon Trail, $138,500.

Jeffrey L. Foreman to James Demons and Beverly Demons, parcel ID 0671202, $173,000.

Ashworth Homes LLC to Hardy Meyer, parcel ID 060980, $399,900.

D.R. Horton-Crown LLC to Kevin Flickinger and Melisa Hines-Flickinger, parcel ID 060854, $237,928.

Rhodes Farm LLC to Joe H. Todd, a portion of parcel ID 084003E, $135,000.

Rhodes Farm LLC to William C. Hughes, a portion of parcel ID 084003E, $135,000.

CSRA Blackstone LLC to Oconee Capital Investments LLC, parcel ID 082409, $45,000.

CSRA Blackstone LLC to Oconee Capital Investments LLC, parcel ID 082389, $56,000.

Charles A. Arestia and Kathleen Arestia to Ryan T. Ziegler, parcel ID 052481, $146,900.

CSRA Blackstone LLC to Oconee Capital Investments LLC, parcel ID 082406, $59,250.

CSRA Blackstone LLC to Oconee Capital Investments LLC, parcel ID 082408, $45,000.

Elizabeth W. Holden to Michael W. Carr, parcel ID 077E166, $117,000.

CSRA Blackstone LLC to Oconee Capital Investments LLC, parcel ID 082407, $45,000.

Frankie E. Wadford to Joseph A. Wolf, parcel ID 066044C, $235,000.

Judith K. Denton to Frankie E. Wadford, parcel ID 074I122, $132,000.

Greg Desandy and Suzanne Desandy to James E. Kay, parcel ID 072L076, $221,750.

Raymond D. Johnson Jr. and Kelly N. Mattox to Bobby Dwaine Simpson II, parcel ID 067C079, $180,000.

KHB Properties LLC to Sivakumar Jayabalan and Janaki Nadarajah, parcel ID 081076C, $1,950,000.

William M. Farmer to Bruce Fryer and Deidra Dryer, 212 Taylor Circle, $130,000.

Bridgette S. Gahen to Nicolas James, 648 Hamden Drive, $179,500.

Eileen P. Martin to James P. Hill and Christina A. Wilson, 360 Bowen Falls, $112,800.

M21AP LLC to Jagadish K. Patel and Kelaben Patel, 643 Kimberley Place, $132,000.

Jianhua Liu as rxecutor of the last will and testament of Robert Edward Perrin dated May 29, 2014, to Trevor A. Winberly, 831 Woodberry Drive,
$238,000.

Ivey Residential LLC to Rodney L.J. Gagnon, Cathy Pizarro and Jose A. Pizarro, 4201 Ellington Drive, $248,620.

Ivey Residential LLC to Jeffrey D. Keenan and Stephanie M. Keenan, 2653 Waites Drive, $235,050.

Ivey Residential LLC to Jeffrey R. Garver and Marissa Garver, 5420 Everlook Circle, $260,000.

Kingsbury Custom Homes Inc. to Frederick W. Rose and Cynthia Michelle Rose, parcel ID 0681088, $224,900.

Andrew Schrader to Shannon Elizabeth Burnside and Scott Allen Burnside, parcel ID 083164, $132,000.

H. Roberts Inc. to Park Ridge Builders Inc., parcel ID 030195, $45,000.

Lakeview Augusta LLC to Morgan E. Howell, parcel ID 074A147, $114,000.

William Jenks aka William W. Jenks and Teresa Jenks aka Teresa Bennett Jenks to Kimani K. Baron, parcel ID 073B267,
$126,000.

Lauren Ammons to Wilson A. Villa-Gomez, parcel ID 069603, $125,000.

Carl R. Dixon to Ehab Q. Aalazeez, parcel ID 069B064, $134,900.

Diane M. Hannan and Fred Hannon aka Fred M. Hannan Sr. to Chancelor A. Fuller, parcel ID 077H095, $190,000.

JR Homes of Alabama LLC to Mario R. Heath, 1517 Highwoods Pass, $292,177.

Euchee Creek Investors Inc. to Ashworth Homes LLC, 2151 Fothergill Drive,
$80,000.

Euchee Creek Investors Inc. to Ashworth Homes LLC, 2131 Fothergill Drive, $67,500.

Patricia Weeks aka Patricia D. Schofield to Edmond K. Tamas and Pamela R. Tamas, parcel ID 050585, $199,000.

Rebecca M. Rogers-Peck to Lee & J. Enterprises Inc., 5030 Wrightsboro Road, $420,000.

Matthew W. Rogers to Otis Lynn Allen Jr. and Karen Heath Allen, 4741 Savannah Lane, $165,000.

Amy M. Isdell to David Petsch, parcel ID 001B0548, $10,000.

Donald G. Mondragon and Sharon J. Mondragon to Bryan S. Ditty, parcel ID 077I518, $198,000.

Oconee Capital Investments LLC to Adam J. Reed, parcel ID 0611810, $249,900.

Joseph R. Cranford and Rebecca L. Cranford to Michael C. Melancon, parcel ID 077G877, $251,000.

IDK Homes Inc. to Jack Fulghum III and Kelly Fulghum, parcel ID 0601078, $270,650.

IDK Homes Inc. to Kenneth J. Echols Jr. and Karen P. Echols, parcel ID 0611845, $239,900.

Kenneth W. Thomas and Sara A. Thomas to Michael P. Singleton and Heather Singleton, parcel ID 076124, $295,000.

David Travillion and Markitta Travillion to Patricia S. Weeks, parcel ID 072M185,
$257,500.

Shannon Burnside aka Shannon E. Henninger to Ahmad S. Frozan, parcel ID 066680, $77,000.

Wilson Parker Homes of Hidden Creek Inc. to Anthony M. Anderson, 930 Golden Bell Lane,
$201,690.

Bartram Subury LLC to Wilson Parker Homes of Sunbury at Bartram Trail Inc., parcel ID 0601169, $45,000.

Bartram Subury LLC to Wilson Parker Homes of Sunbury at Bartram Trail Inc., parcel ID 0601048, $43,000.

Bartram Subury LLC to Wilson Parker Homes of Sunbury at Bartram Trail Inc., parcel ID 0601049, $43,000.

Bartram Subury LLC to Wilson Parker Homes of Sunbury at Bartram Trail Inc., parcel ID 0601176, $43,000.

Bartram Subury LLC to Wilson Parker Homes of Sunbury at Bartram Trail Inc., parcel ID 0601167, $45,000.

Bartram Subury LLC to Wilson Parker Homes of Sunbury at Bartram Trail Inc., parcel ID 0601165, $45,000.

Bartram Subury LLC to Wilson Parker Homes of Sunbury at Bartram Trail Inc., parcel ID 0601162, $45,000.

Bartram Subury LLC to Wilson Parker Homes of Sunbury at Bartram Trail Inc., parcel ID 0601166, $45,000.

RT Bailey Construction Inc. to Cynthia S. Taylor, 5525 Connor Drive, $170,075.

Javaid A. Ashraf to Shannon Kelly, 8133 Sir Lancelot Court, $162,000.

Wilson Parker Homes of Hidden Creek Inc. to Tabata A. Treager and Daniel C. Treager, 8510 Crenshaw Drive, $309,990.

JJ & Z Builders LLC to Latoya A. Dock, 938 Erika Lane, $129,900.

Ramp G. Partners LLC to Gary L. Richardson, parcel ID 0681059, $650,000.

Faircloth Homes Inc. to Matthew Brooks and Cynthia Brooks, 1444 Summit Way, $211,300.

Tracey D. Chappell to Elizabeth Knight and Calvin Young, 164 Holiday Drive,
$125,000.

Ivey Residential LLC to Grant Q. Loo, 4401 Amberley Drive, $223,400.

Crawford Creek Homebuilders LLC to Bobby R. Cox Jr., 1202 Tyler Woods Way, $177,750.

Golzap LLC to Crawford Creek Homebuilders LLC, 434 Riley Lane, $33,000.

Golzap LLC to Crawford Creek Homebuidlers LLC, 436 Riley Lane, $33,000.

Santa Monica LLC to Downeast Homebuilders Inc., a portion of parcel ID 060967, $34,900.

Santa Monica LLC to Downeast Homebuilders Inc., a portion of parcel ID 060967, $34,900.

Santa Monica LLC to Downeast Homebuilders Inc., a portion of parcel ID 060967, $34,900.

Santa Monica LLC to Downeast Homebuilders Inc., a portion of parcel ID 060967, $34,900.

Luis M. Rivas to Matthew Leroy Sheets and Sarah Vargas Sheets, 4057 Starview Lane,
$221,025.

Judith Lewkowicz to Jana West Anderson, 2429 River Birch Drive, $162,500.

Bill Beazley Homes Inc. to Bobby E. Taylor and Sofia N. Taylor, 507 Whitby St., $198,900.

Tyler W. Wilson to Jasper A. Cooke, 1639 Old Harlem Highway, $142,000.

K & N Construction Co. Inc. to Tave Brown Sr. and Judieth E. Baker-Brown, 348 Gardenia Drive, $531,900.

JRBS LLC to Tribby Enterprises LLC, a portion of parcel ID 0660360, $230,000.

Allan K. Runner to American Homes 4 Rent Properties Eight LLC, 619 Ventana Drive, $160,000.

Richard V. Powell to American Homes 4 Rent Properties Eight LLC, 709 Porter Lane,
$142,000.

Timpthy A. Blacksom to American Homes 4 Rent Properties Eight LLC, 707 Porter Lane, $146,000.

William H. Eubank Jr. to John D. Pearson Sr., John D. Pearson Jr. and Laurie P. Pearson, parcel ID 027075, $7,000.

North Star Home Builders LLC to Meaghan L. Depalma, 2224 Fothergill Drive, $381,300.

Distin M. VanHouse as administrator for Douglas Donald VanHouse to Alexis N. VanHouse, 207 Morris Calloway Road,
$435,000.

Euchee Creek Investors Inc. to North Star Home Builders LC, 406 Tugaloo Court, $65,000.

Bartram Sunbury LLC to Wilson Parker Homes of Sunbury at Bartram Trail Inc., 5621 Sunbury Loop, $45,000.

Raymond John Asenforf Jr. to Brandon V. Dollar, 699 Low Meadow Drive, $178,400.

Ivey Residential LLC to Ryan K. Bailey and Danielle Rae Bailey, 509 Brantley Cove Circle,
$165,000.

Kevin Holt to Aegean Investment Propertie LLC, 223 Pinehurst Drive, $95,900.

Victor C. Wolters and Ann M. Wolters to Catherine Hart Lilliard and Laura Hart Vaughn, parcel ID 071G179, $239,000.

South Georgia Custom Homes LLC to Elizabeth Ogonga, parcel ID 082401, $304,900.

Categories: Local

Marriage Licenses, Feb. 1, 2015

12 hours 9 min ago

Anthony John Cesarini and Chelsea Lauren Baker applied for a marriage license on Jan. 27, 2015, and were married Jan. 27, 2015, in Evans.

Allan Stedman Tardiff and Carmen Faye Meyer applied for a marriage license on Jan. 8, 2015, and were married Jan. 18, 2015, in Augusta.

Taylor Davis Trapp and Kelly Ann Oellerich applied for a marriage license on Jan. 9, 2015, and were married Jan. 16, 2015, in Evans.

Carl Henry Brown and Carrissa Jean Kovarik applied for a marriage license on July 17, 2014, and were married Jan. 15, 2015, in Newnan, Ga.

Jai Domonique Goodsell and Shacoria Brianna Onley applied for a marriage license on Jan. 23, 2015, and were married Jan. 23, 2015, in Evans.

Shawn Peter Pawlak and Robin Leighann Galbraith-Anderson applied for a marriage license on Jan. 23, 2015, and were married Jan. 23, 2015, in Evans.

Kenneth Bobby Moore and Diana Rhodes applied for a marriage license on Jan. 14, 2015, and were married Jan. 24, 2015, in Augusta.

Michael George Lanham Sr. and Connie Sue Walters applied for a marriage license on Oct. 21, 2014, and were married Oct. 25, 2014, in Martinez.

Ramon Patrick Carroll III and Lucille Renae Winter applied for a marriage license on Oct. 13, 2014, and were married Jan. 17, 2015, in Appling.

Quoc That Ton and Trinh Thi Nguyen applied for a marriage license on Sept. 29, 2014, and were married Sept. 29, 2014, in Evans.

Categories: Local

Divorces, Feb. 1, 2015

12 hours 9 min ago

Vanessa Hamm and Joseph Hamm, Jan. 16, 2015.

Sunny Dawn Wilson and Kelly Edward Wilson, Jan. 15, 2015.

Keith R. Hilliker and Wendy G. Hilliker, Jan. 15, 2015.

Stephanie Nicole Gray and Joshua Michael Gray, Jan. 20, 2015.

Debra Padgett Vaughn and Darrell R. Vaughn, Jan. 19, 2015.

Pamela T. McDaniel and James T. McDaniel, Jan. 15, 2015.

Shannon Jean Greer and John Adam Greer, Dec. 30, 2014.

Ward R. Warren and Jane Renee Warren, Jan. 15, 2015.

Ruby E. Johnson and Paul L. Johnson, Jan. 15, 2015.

Categories: Local

Selfies nab cell phone thief

Fri, 1/30/2015 2:36 PM

 

A Grovetown woman was arrested Friday after she took selfies on a stolen cell phone.

Tiffany Sharie Brandon, 21, of Country Glen Circle was charged with theft by taking.

A woman later identified as Brandon went into Fine Lines Tattoo shop at 3731 Washington Road in Martinez just before 3 p.m. on Jan. 6. An employee said he was talking to a woman who matched Brandon’s description in the waiting area of the shop, according to a Columbia County Sheriff’s Office incident report. When he went to his tattoo station to prepare the chair, the employee said the customer ran out the door. He immediately noticed his cell phone missing form the table where he was talking to Brandon.

The employee ran outside and saw Brandon leaving with a man headed west on Washington Road in a burgundy sedan.

Brandon apparently used the phone to take selfies, which showed up on the employee’s iCloud account, according to sheriff’s Capt. Steve Morris. Authorities were able to identify Brandon using the selfies.

Brandon was released from the Columbia County Detention Center after posting a $1,100 bond, according to jail records.

Categories: Local

Police Blotter

Wed, 1/28/2015 12:21 AM

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

Mother faces DUI charges

A Martinez woman was recently charged with driving under the influence in connection to a November wreck that injured her two daughters.

Kelly Nicole Pride, 34, of Sioux Drive, was arrested on Jan. 15. She was charged with driving under the influence, serious injury by vehicle, endangering a child under 14 while driving under the influence, reckless driving, driving too fast for conditions, failure to maintain lane and three counts of not wearing seatbelts. Columbia County sheriff’s Capt. Steve Morris said Pride’s blood alcohol concentration was .15, almost double the .08 legal limit.

At about 12:40 a.m., Pride was driving a jeep Liberty with her daughters, 7 and 14, on Blue Ridge Drive when she crossed the center line. She hit the left side of a Jeep Grand Cherokee, spun across the road and hit an embankment. Both of her daughters were ejected out the rear hatchback window.

The 14-year-old was seriously injured while Pride and her 7-year-old sustained lesser injuries. The driver of the Cherokee wasn’t injured.

Pride turned herself in to the Columbia County Detention Center on Jan. 15. She was released after posting a $11,400 bond.

 

Customer reports scam

A Martinez locksmith business and one of its customers were the victims of a recent scam.

A Martinez woman called authorities Saturday and said she thought she was the victim of a man posing as a Dixie Lock and Safe employee. The woman said she’d made a Saturday appointment earlier in the week with Dixie Lock and Safe to repair her home locks. On Thursday, she used Bing to contact the company to reschedule her appointment to Friday. The search brought up the correct name and address, but a different phone number for the business.

When the woman called the number she found on the Internet, a woman answered and identified the business as Dixie Lock and Safe. When the woman asked to change her appointment, the woman on the phone confirmed the woman’s new Friday appointment.

At about 8 a.m. Friday, the woman said she got a call from someone stating a repairman was on the way to her home. About 30 minutes later, a burgundy van with no identifying marks showed up. A man who identified himself as Nisim Kalfa said he worked for Dixie and completed the work as the woman requested.

He charged $469 to the woman’s credit card. He didn’t seem suspicious or act strangely to the woman.

On Saturday, the woman said a Dixie van showed up at her home ready to do the work. When she told the Dixie employee the work was already done, he called the Dixie officer and confirmed no call to was ever made to reschedule the appointment. The phone number the woman called was confirmed to not be the correct number for the business.

The woman asked the Dixie employee to re-key her locks and install a new deadbolt because she was worried about being burglarized. The employee also said the work the fraudulent repairman did should have only cost about $120.

The employee then called authorities to report that someone has been stealing their jobs by using the company name and address to solicit customers online.

He said incidents similar to what happened to the woman have occurred several times previously. The customers have told him that repairmen with Middle Eastern accents show up in unmarked vans to do the work using the Dixie Lock and Safe name.

Truck vandalized

A Martinez man called police Sunday after discovering someone had vandalized his truck.

The 55-year-old man said he parked his truck at about 8 p.m. Saturday evening. When he went outside at about 7:30 a.m. Sunday, the man found that someone had smashed both driver’s side windows of the truck. He also found four burned areas next to the windshield on the passenger side where it appeared the paint was off.

Nothing inside the truck was disturbed or stolen.

Categories: Local

Marshall Square Retirement Resort holds open house

Wed, 1/28/2015 12:16 AM

An Evans luxury apartment complex for seniors held an open house on Thursday.

More than 400 people attended the open house at Marshall Square Resort in Evans.

“It’s very nice,” said Sarah Roberts, who was visiting from Alabama.

Visitors toured the model apartments – the two-bedroom Palm Beach apartment and the one-bedroom Laguna apartment.

Pat and Jim Bible asked numerous questions about the two-bedroom apartment while others attending wandered through the rooms and peered into the large bathrooms and closets.

The 134-apartment complex, developed by Resort Lifestyle Communities, opened in late 2014 on an 8.6-acre parcel on Ronald Reagan Drive at North Belair Road.

Visitors also experienced some of the community’s amenities, including the fine and casual dining rooms staffed with on-site chefs, fitness room, library and outdoor spaces.

Developers compared the complex to a luxury hotel or cruise ship, where all amenities are included.

Monthly rent ranging from $2,500 to $4,300 includes all utilities such as water, cable, Internet and phone as well as transportation, fine and casual dining with on-site chefs, housekeeping, fitness center, 150-seat theater, and concierge and valet services among others.

The community is “protected, safe and secure” with locked outside doors, noted the developers.

Categories: Local

CMFA Chilly Chili Cook-off a success

Wed, 1/28/2015 12:16 AM

By most accounts from event organizers and participants, the Champions Made From Adversity Chilly Chili Cook-off Saturday at Evans Towne Center Park was a success.

The weather was almost perfect with not a cloud in the sky and temperatures were warmer than predicted, bringing out a number of chili cookers and tasters.

The event was Champions Made From Adversity’s fourth, with proceeds going to the organization that helps advance the lives of those with physical disabilities through sports and leisure activities.

Two new categories for soup and stew and cornbread were added to the chili cook-off this year, and CMFA co-founder Jeff Snover was dishing out his butternut squash soup to those who stopped by his table.

“It’s nice to see the crowd,” said Snover. “Every year we’ve regularly seen an increase, and this year is a home run.”

CMFA Community Programs Manager Pam Wooten, who ran the wheelchair free-throw shooting contest, among other things, noted there was a problem with the wind while they were trying to set up early before the 11 a.m. opening, but that things were running smoothly.

“We’re happy with the turnout, it looks like everyone is having a great time,” Wooten said.

Ned Keeler, Deputy to the Commanding General, United States Cyber Center of Excellence at Fort Gordon, got to the cook-off a little before 2 p.m. with his wife, Sheril, and friends from Macon, Ga.

“We’re having a wonderful time,” said Keeler, who planned to sample everyone’s wares. “We’re a little disappointed because some of them have already run out.”

One of those who got there early enough to sample all the wares was judge Kelly Ayres. He said he used to get calls to be a judge but has taken to calling CMFA to ensure his place as an official taster.

“It’s fun, I enjoy doing it every year,” Ayres said.

Categories: Local

Georgia Regents Health System, University Hospital look at potential partnership

Wed, 1/28/2015 12:15 AM

Georgia Regents Health Sys­tem and University Hospital have begun talks on a potential partnership, the University System of Georgia announced Friday.

The two are already working together on some residencies and would like to expand more, but they could also help each other respond to shrinking reimbursements, University CEO Jim Davis said.

Neil Pruitt, the chairman of the university system’s Board of Re­gents, and past chairman Philip Wil­heit had lunch at University Hos­pital to begin those talks, he said.

“They were good discussions, the tone was very good and it’s the kind of discussion we are going to have to have going forward if we are all going to thrive,” Davis said.
In a statement, the regents said they wanted to “explore strategic opportunities to potentially create a partnership to expand health services and better serve Georgians.”

Davis said that Gov. Nathan Deal wants GRU to have a top-50 medical school and that it might need help to do that.

“To do that, they really need a larger, deeper clinical platform to get there,” Davis said. “To do that on their own is going to be very difficult. They’re broaching ideas on how we might collaborate
more deeply to provide that medical education experience here.”

University Hospital already has six residency slots where residents from the Medical College of Georgia rotate through. Three are in OB/GYN, two are in general surgery and one is in internal medicine. Because multiple residents can rotate through those slots, last year 36 residents rotated through University-based residencies and saw more than 1,400 cases.

University Hospital has the ability to add 11 more residency slots and would like to get help from a state fund to expand residencies in the state, Davis said. The hospital is trying to create a family medicine program in conjunction with MCG, for instance, he said.

But there could be even larger collaborations, Davis said.

“They are also, just like every other hospital, dealing with the effects of the Affordable Care Act and the reimbursement challenges that it brings to every hospital in the country,” he said.

The talks are similar to those Uni­versity has had with other health systems and providers “looking for ways to collaborate, to reduce the impact of that by reducing our fixed costs and how we can work closer together to do that,” Davis said.

The regents said “an exploratory discussion is underway,” and Davis said the parties have agreed to meet again soon.

Categories: Local

Pet Adoptions

Wed, 1/28/2015 12:15 AM
Categories: Local

Current Events

Wed, 1/28/2015 12:14 AM

Pet food drive

Donations of dog, cat, puppy and kitten food accepted at Animal House, Boots, Bridles and Britches, Grovetown Farm & Garden, Vineyard Wine Market, Martinez/National Hills animal hospitals and Wild Birds Unlimited or call for pick- up; benefits local rescue groups; (706) 863-2067, pawprintsfoundation.org

Hospice help

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

Replace the Roof

Fundraiser for CSRA Humane Society’s shelter; mail donations to P.O. Box 14667, Augusta, GA 30919 or bring to the shelter, 425 Wood St.; gifts of $50 or more eligible for Roof Fund T-shirt; csrahumanesociety.org

Art display

Through Feb. 3, Savannah Rapids Park Visitors Center, 3300 Evans to Locks Road; works by Susan Porterfield, Denise Howard, Sharon Fausnight, Linda Lavigne and Charlie O’Neal; free

SRS Info Pods

Today, Jaguar Student Activities Center, 2500 Walton Way; poster displays 5 p.m., registration 5 p.m., first come first served; presentations 6-8 p.m.; participants can attend two of four presentations – Nuclear Materials Management, Environmental Monitoring and Restoration, Waste Management and Savannah River National Laboratory; free

Gospel music

The Dixie Melody Boys Quartet 7 p.m. Friday, Jan. 30, Bethesda Baptist Church, 5793 Old Augusta Highway, Harlem; featuring gospel legend Ed O’Neal; free, love offering taken; (706) 556-6818, bethesdabchurch.weebly.com

Get the Dirt Out

Introductory class for Savannah Riverkeeper volunteers; 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 31, Enterprise Mill, Cotton Room, 1450 Greene St.; Dr. Frank Carl, instructor; how the general permit for erosion and sediment control for construction projects is supposed to work; (706) 826-8991, info@savannahriverkeeper.org, facebook.com/events/569371333197449

Phinizy Swamp

Phinizy Center driving field trip of Phinizy Swamp Nature Park 9 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 31, Phinizy Swamp Nature Park, 1858 Lock and Dam Road; driving trip; free for Phinizy Center members, fee for others; open to the public, beginners welcome; Anne Waters and Lois Stacey lead; phinizycenter.org

CrossFit

Free Community Workout of the Day 9:30-11:30 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 31, CrossFit Augusta, 4408 Evans to Locks Road, Evans; open to all levels of fitness; no CrossFit experience necessary; coaches on hand to help anyone new to CrossFit; free; crossfitaugusta.com

Archaeology

Augusta Archaeological Society meeting Thursday, Feb. 5, Big Daddy’s Bar & Grill, 4045 Jimmie Dyess Parkway; Christopher Moore, archaeologist with Savannah River Archaeological Research Program at SRS, speaker; Early Hunter-Gatherer Tool Use and Animal Exploitation in the Southeast: Protein Reside and Microwear Evidence from the CSRA, topic; dinner on your own 6:30 p.m., program 8 p.m.; free; (706) 829-1615

Iron Chef

Sierra Club Iron Chef Social Event 7 p.m. Friday, Feb. 6, The Acorn Restaurant at Red Oak Manor, 410 N. Louisville St., Harlem; sample and rate appetizer, soup and entree selections prepared by three local chefs; meal also includes salad, dessert and coffee, tea or lemonade; $25; lgmcburney@bellsouth.net, facebook.com/events/888003447911590

reNew & Brew

A celebration of reinvention 7-11 p.m. Friday, Feb. 6, Snelling Center, 3165 Washington Road; auction of items donated to Goodwill Retail Stores that have been reinvented by local artists, decorators and designers; highlighting individuals who have reinvented themselves with the help of Goodwill’s education and training programs; menu by culinary students from Helms College; $75 and up; goodwillworks.org/renewandbrew

Bird watching

Augusta-Aiken Audubon Field Trip to Jackson Boat Landing 9 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 7, meet at Kathwood Ponds, Silver Bluff Audubon Sanctuary, Silver Bluff Road, Jackson; looking for woodland birds; open to the public, beginners welcome; Anne Waters and Lois Stacey lead; free; augustaaikenaudubon.org

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 panther5k.com or run day registration 8 a.m. in Lakeside cafeteria; benefits Lisa Meitin Memorial Scholarship Fund and the Ovarian Cancer National Alliance

Chic event

10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 7, Columbia County Exhibition Center, 212 Partnership Drive, Grovetown; premier women’s event featuring shopping, entertainment, fitness and fun; free; Chic.augusta.com

Zoo trip

Sierra Club: Orchids and the Riverbanks Zoo 10 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 7, Riverbanks Zoo and Garden, 500 Wildlife Parkway, Columbia; eat lunch in Columbia, then view orchids and spend the afternoon at the zoo; zoo admission $13.95; sonnyandcathyblack@gmail.com, facebook.com/events/758663654214779

Fundraiser

Cecil Herrin and The Michael Douglas Youth Foundation presents The Harlem Legends 6 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 7, Greenbrier High School, 5114 Riverwood Parkway, Evans; Men Get Breast Cancer Too! Celebrity Basketball Show; The Harlem Legends vs. The Cecil Herrin Breast Cancer Warriors; tickets available at Wrightsboro Road SunTrust Bank, Village Deli, Evans Fitness Club Express and the high school; supports men with any type of cancer; benefits Trinity Hospital of Augusta; $20-$50; (706) 799-9465, (678) 630-8843, harlemlegends.com

Brick Pond trip

Augusta-Aiken Audubon field trip to North Augusta Brick Pond Park 9 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 14, meet in North Augusta Municipal Building Center Street parking lot, 100 Georgia Ave., North Augusta; looking for ducks and woodland birds; list of observed birds to be submitted for Great Backyard Bird Count; open to the public, Anne Waters and Lois Stacey lead; free; augustaaikenaudubon.org

Anniversary

Augusta Christian Singles 37th anniversary party 8 p.m. to midnight Saturday, Feb. 14, Ballroom Dance Center, 525 Grand Slam Drive, Evans; catered; semiformal to formal attire; $16 members, $20 guests; christiandances.org

Roundtable

6 p.m. Monday, Feb. 16, Snelling Center, 3165 Washington Road; supper by Edgar’s $12; the Rev. Robert Fain, rector of Church of the Good Shepherd, on the Episcopal Church and the Civil War from union to separation to reunion; open to anyone interested in the history of the American Civil War; annual dues $25 or $40 per couple; (706) 736-2909, gfy@gwenfulcheryoung.com, bit.ly/1mQbLXI

Sierra Club

6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 17, Unitarian Universalist Church of Augusta, 3501 Walton Way Extension; program about State of Maine and Acadia National Park by Richard Dillenbeck with pictures by Ed McCranie; refreshments; free, open to the public; facebook.com/events/1521716348105263

Trail hiking

Sierra Club Horn Creek Trail Hike 10 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 21, Horn Creek Trail, Lick Fork Lake Road, Edgefield; moderate hike for 5 miles; free; sonnyandcathyblack@gmail.com, facebook.com/events/878378038849480

Storybook meal

VIP seating 8:30 a.m., general seating 11 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 28, First Baptist Church of Augusta fellowship hall, 3500 Walton Way; hearty breakfast followed by a parade of storybook characters including princes, princesses and action heroes; autographs and photographs with characters; children encouraged to dress as favorite storybook character; souvenir storybook for each child; tickets required for all attendees; (706) 650-BURN (2876)

Birding trip

Augusta-Aiken Audubon Field Trip to Lovers Lane 9 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 28, meet at Popeyes, 450 Walton Way; looking for winter residents; open to the public, beginners welcome; Anne Waters and Lois Stacey lead; free; augustaaikenaudubon.org

Yard sale

Held by Augusta South Rotary Club and Aquinas High School; 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, March 7, Aquinas High School, 1920 Highland Ave.; space rental $25, deadline to reserve March 1; leave items to be donated at Catholic Social Services; doors open 7 a.m. for set up; (706) 840-2087, plightsey@gru.edu

Catalyst Quartet

Symphony Orchestra Augusta: Catalyst Quartet 7:30 p.m. Friday, March 6, Jabez Sanford Hardin Performing Arts Center, 7022 Evans Town Center Blvd., Evans; “energetic and finely burnished, playing with earthy vigor”; Bank of America Columbia County Music Series; $15.74; soaugusta.org

Clarks Hill field trip

Augusta-Aiken Audubon field trip to Clarks Hill 9 a.m. Saturday, March 7, meet at Thurmond Lake Welcome Center, parking lot overlooking lake, 510 Clarks Hill Highway, Clarks Hill, S.C.; looking for waterfowl and small birds; carpool around area checking below dam areas and the lake; trip goes into afternoon, bring lunch; open to the public; Anne Waters and Lois Stacey lead; free; augustaaikenaudubon.org

Dr. Seuss birthday

10 a.m. Saturday, March 7, Hire Grounds Cafe, 3179 Washington Road; celebrate Dr. Seuss’ birthday with book readings, cookies and fun; free

Nature trip

Augusta-Aiken Audubon field trip to Merry Brickyard Ponds; 9 a.m. Saturday, March 14, meet at Popeyes, 450 Walton Way; open to the public; Anne Waters and Lois Stacey lead; $4 fee to enter brick ponds; augustaaikenaudubon.org

YuchiKiokee

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, vatkins@columbiacountyga.gov, evanstownecenterpark.com

Half marathon

One of the nation’s newest half marathon race series, Race 13.1; 7 a.m. Sunday, April 26, Evans Towne Center Park, 7016 Evans Town Center Blvd., Evans; half marathon, 10k and 5k; https://race131.com/races/Race-13-1-Evans-GA

ARC 1965 reunion

50 year reunion 7-11 p.m. Friday, Oct. 9, Julian Smith Casino, 2200 Broad St.; (706) 364-7830, jimpardue@wowway.com

ONGOING

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, christiandances.org

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; cooking demos and vegetable gardening education; kim@augustalocallygrown.org, evanstownefarmersmarket.com

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, doctors-hospital.net

Live wrestling

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; flatlineprowrestling.com

Meditations

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, mindbodystressreduction.com

MOMS Club

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

Orchestras

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

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,
7106.toastmasterclubs.org

Scholarships

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; ccfchildren.com

Survivors

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

Volunteers

• 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

• Safe Kids East Central Georgia; help with events; lead programs that teach safety to children and teens; training provided; (706) 721-7606

• Columbia County Library, Evans; (706) 863-1946, jthompson@columbiacountyga.gov

• American Cancer Society Augusta chapter; drivers for Road to Recovery program, which provides transportation to cancer patients, needed; (706) 731-9900

• Retired & Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP), 4210 Columbia Road Suite 13A, Martinez, for ages 55 and older; (706) 868-0120 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday-Friday

Wine tastings

4:30-6:30 p.m. Fridays, 1-6 p.m. Saturdays, Vineyard Wine Market, 4414 Evans to Locks Road, Evans; (706) 922-9463, vine11.com

Women vets

11 a.m. first Saturdays; The Women’s Veterans Club; $24 per year; April Starks (706) 868-5601

Writers group

6:30 p.m. third Mondays, Georgia Military College, 115 Davis Road; CSRA Writers Group; free, open to the public; for a critique, bring eight copies of up to 10 pages of work (double-spaced); (706) 836-7315

Zumba classes

6:30-7:30 p.m. Thursdays, Mondays, Evans Christian Academy, 213 S. Old Belair Road, Grovetown; $5 per class; (706) 364-3565, evanschristianacademy.org

Categories: Local

Reward offered for tire slashing suspect

Sun, 1/25/2015 12:10 AM

Grovetown authorities say a reward is being offered for information leading to an arrest in connection to a recent tire slashing spree.
Grovetown Department of Public Safety Chief Gary Jones said a $1,000 will be awarded to anyone providing information that leads to the arrest of the person responsible for slashing 22 tires in Pepper Hill subdivision on the evening of Jan. 14.

Jones said someone in a red Kia Soul was seen on video surveillance cameras of several residents cutting 22 tires belonging to nearly that many residents at about 8:30 p.m.

In some cases, the Kia driver didn’t get out of the vehicle. He just opened the door, leaned out and cut tires, Jones said.

“A witness saw a red Kia Soul leaving the area at a high rate of speed,” Jones said.

Officers have run down leads on registered owners of Kia Souls in the area and have been disseminating information via social media, flyers and other methods to identity the suspect.

Anyone with information about the identity or whereabouts of the suspect should call the Grovetown Department of Public Safety at (706) 863-1212.

Categories: Local

School board to vote on rezoning Tuesday

Sun, 1/25/2015 12:10 AM

County residents will have one last chance to voice their concerns or support for a massive school rezoning plan at a public meeting on Tuesday.

School board trustees will be presented a final version of the rezoning plan at their regular meeting, which begins at 5:30 p.m. at the Board of Education office, 4781 Hereford Farm Road in Evans.

Although the plan has been revised slightly since it was first proposed in November, schools Superintendent Sandra Carraway said the plan to be handed to the board will be the same one presented at a Jan. 20 public forum at Greenbrier High School. Carraway said that board members have the power the make changes at the meeting on Tuesday, or accept the plan as it is for a vote.

Trustee Mike Sleeper has said he would like to see some changes on part of the plan, which could affect up to 200 Greenbrier High School students destined to be shifted to the Lakeside High School zone. The county’s proposal exempts 53 rising seniors from the rezoning, if they can provide their own transportation. The other 147 rising freshmen, sophomores and juniors would have to move to Lakeside next fall.

That part of the plan has been met with much vocal opposition from Greenbrier High families who would be affected by the move.

Sleeper said he intends to make a motion on Tuesday that would allow any current students to stay at Greenbrier and complete their high school career. Rising freshman would still be expected to move to Lakeside.

Sleeper said he thinks it is a reasonable compromise to phase in the rezoning for those high schools over a few years, because it does not affect that many students.

“It’s not critical to the point where we can’t let those students continue where they started,” Sleeper said.

Other board members, however, have been reluctant to express support for that change. None have openly opposed it either, saying they would make up their minds when presented with the plan on Tuesday.

The rezoning proposal is the most extensive one ever proposed in Columbia County, involving shifts at 21 schools and moving about 2,000 students over a four-year period. The immediate impact will be felt for most next school year when an estimated 900 children will be shifted to schools across the county. School officials said the county’s exploding growth has flooded some schools with new children while leaving some schools with unused capacity.

Carraway said the plan is designed to make the best use of the county’s current resources while preparing for more growth in coming years.

Categories: Local

Police Blotter

Sun, 1/25/2015 12:09 AM

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

Woman stalked after profile post

An Evans woman told authorities Monday that she’s been stalked since someone put up an online profile of her.

The 41-year-old woman said someone created a profile of her on www.sugardaddy.com and the person who did it is harassing her. The profile, under the username HighDollar39, includes of a photo of her in a swimsuit and personal information including her e-mail address.

On Jan. 18, the woman said she received e-mails from an unknown iPhone account. She was upset by the content of the e-mails because the sender started asking her to meet. He wrote, “By the way got your e-mail from someone you did hook up with he say it was a good time and I should pay top dollar for it.” He also wrote more explicit messages and said she could use the money for her car payments.

Friend steals an iPod, sells it

An Appling man said Monday a friend stole and sold his iPod.

The 24-year-old man said a friend while a friend was at his home two days earlier, he stole the man’s fifth generation iPod Touch. He said his friend then sold the iPod to GameStop. The man said he received an e-mail alerting him that his friend had disabled the iPod on Jan. 17.

The man confronted his friend, who said he found the iPod at the man’s house and took it to GameStop because he didn’t know it belonged to the man.

Woman reports a fraud check

An Evans woman called authorities Wednesday after she received a fake check and instructions to forward some cash.

The woman said she received an e-mail about making extra money as a mystery shopper at Wal-Mart. The woman filled out an online application and received a $2,355 check in the mail on Wednesday. She said the check looked suspicious. The woman called the financial institution the check was written from and was told the check was fraudulent and not to cash it.

Included with the check were instruction for the woman to cash the check, then buy four separate MoneyPak cash cards at four different locations. She was then to send the PIN numbers from the cards to a man named Michael Edwards at two different e-mail addresses.

The woman didn’t follow the instructions, but wanted to report the scam because her Social Security number was included on the online application. She also contacted the Social Security Administration, where a fraud alert was put on her number.

Categories: Local

Grovetown takes county wrestling championship

Sun, 1/25/2015 12:08 AM

After a night of tough, competitive wrestling across the board, it was the Grovetown High School Warriors who were crowned at the Columbia County Wrestling Championship Tuesday night.

After downing Evans 37-27, the Warriors toppled Greenbrier 40-37, winning the bragging rights in the county for a second consecutive year.

Originally slated to be a true county meet, the Lakeside Panthers had to withdraw from the competition because many of their wrestlers were too ill to compete.
“It was very disappointing to have to miss last night’s match,” said Lakeside coach Johnny Castro, who expects his team to be healthy enough to compete in the Region 2-AAAAA Individuals which begin on Friday at Northside, Warner Robins.

Grovetown second-year coach Jeremy Davis was proud of what his team was able to accomplish.
“I told the boys in practice the other day, it’s one thing to win it once, but it’s even harder to win it twice,” Davis said.

All three matches weren’t decided until the latter stages. The Knights overcame a 38-24 deficit before coming back to beat Greenbrier 40-38 in the opening match. At 160 pounds, Gavin Pence beat Tyrone Abero 12-1 to get the Knights within 38-28, Teddy Wolford pinned Roshod Nixon at 170 pounds to close the gap to 38-34, then Jay Allen finished it off by pinning Breylen Jordan in the 182-pound tussle for the win.

Leading Evans 30-24, Grovetown’s freshman 170-pounder Shamar Cofield battled Wolford for three periods, winning 10-6, extending the lead to 33-24. Allen outpointed Miles Leake to close the gap to 33-27 and Evans could have tied the match with a pin, but Grovetown’s Greg Rodgers beat Zaire Harris 9-0 in the 195-pound category to seal it.

“We ended up losing a kid at 152, David Bandlow in the Greenbrier match, that gave us three holes to fill in the Grovetown match,” said Evans’ coach Rich Davis. “Head-to-head out of the 10 matches wrestled, we did very well. I can’t complain. They were some tough matches. It’s probably a testament to how hard Grovetown works and how hard everybody in the area works that the matches are evening up like that.”

In the final competition of the night, the Wolfpack’s Caleb Diprete decisioned Asa DeBuck 5-0 in the 132 weight class and their lead was 25-12. Grovetown junior Zach Nevard pinned Christian Corulli at 145 pounds which began a run of five consecutive wins – including a forfeit – at which point the Warriors held a decisive 40-25 lead. A Jarod Hudson pin of Leake and forfeit at 195 pounds and 220 pounds, respectively, brought the Wolfpack within three points.

The match played out like the Warrior coaches hoped it would.
“We started in a spot where their lineup was stronger and we knew we had to be patient and when we got to our strong part of the lineup we were going to gain some of that ground back,” said Warriors’ coach Nathan White. “Luckily, the guys who were supposed to win, won.”

Greenbrier coach Gralyn Harris would have liked to have seen his team pull out wins from their close losses, but noted the type of competition they were facing.

“I saw a lot of good heart in Grovetown and good heart in Evans,” Harris said. “We have good heart too, but we’re still putting some of these things together as a team.”

Categories: Local

Georgia Supreme Court hears Vein Guys dispute

Sun, 1/25/2015 12:07 AM

ATLANTA — A years-long dispute between the widows of two Augusta-area doctors over ownership of the Vein Guys practice they shared made its way to the Georgia Supreme Court on Tuesday.

The 2010 death of the first surgeon, Dr. Keith Davis, led his partner, Dr. Steven Roth, to offer to buy out his widow.

The dispute about price and terms was still going on three years later when Roth and four employees died in the fiery crash of his new jet near Thomson-McDuffie County Airport, triggering its own set of
lawsuits.

In the meantime, the widows have sued each other, and Lori Davis was cited three times with contempt of court for missing a hearing and ignoring a court order to restore the company Facebook page after one of her attorneys instructed the site to remove
it.

“This is a very, very profitable vein care practice, heavily advertised,” said John Bell, Lori Davis’ attorney, noting that Roth paid himself $1.5 million one year before figuring the profits.

The surgeons had separate practices and formed the Vein Guys on the side to market a novel treatment for varicose veins that Roth developed, eventually adding three other offices and doctors, including Davis’ brother.

The founders signed an agreement splitting everything equally and, in case one died, giving the surviving partner the right to buy out the widow within 90 days.

Lori Davis objected to having the firm’s accountant determine what the business was worth and complained about other aspects of the transaction, but a local judge ruled against her in every instance.

The court concluded that the business arrangement was ended in September 2011.

Now the Supreme Court must decide whether Lori Da­vis should get half of the profits generated between the date of her husband’s death and the settlement date.

“She dragged this out for years. … Should the practice be giving them 50 percent of every dollar made from the work of other people in all that time?” asked James Elli­son, an attorney for Mary Anne
Roth.

None of the seven justices challenged either lawyers’ arguments, so there is no hint as to how they will decide the case.

The justices asked only one question during 40 minutes of oral arguments between the widows’ lawyers, requesting one to speak up.

Categories: Local
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2014 City salaries rose slightly

The salaries of Augusta-Richmond County employees remained relatively flat over the past year, but some people got big raises. Average full-time pay increased by 1.4 percent to $38,949.19.
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