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Divorces, Feb. 7, 2016

Sun, 2/7/2016 12:05 AM

Zachary D. Haynes and Ashley L. Haynes, Jan. 25, 2016.

Yosheco Cheshire Edw­a­rds and James Lamarr Edwards, Jan. 15, 2016.

Gabriel Glenn Locklear and Samantha Nicole Locklear, Jan. 26, 2016.

Daphne D. Faison and Clinton J. Faison, Jan. 22, 2016.

Alberto Pabon-Torres and Vivianette Dones Birriel, Jan. 25, 2016.

Sean Crites and Stephanie Crites, Jan. 11, 2016.

Joseph Andrew Milton and Julia Akiko Snoddy, Jan. 26, 2016.

C. Gregory Padgett and Deana N. Padgett, Jan. 22, 2016.

Christine M. Gibson and Gerry Chad Gibson, Jan. 28, 2016.

Heather May Mallard and Christopher M. Mallard, Jan. 26, 2016.

David Adrian Smith and Julia Libario Smith, Jan. 22, 2016.

Melissa Goode Cole­man and Loyd Branden Coleman, Jan. 26, 2016.

Categories: Local

DUIs, Feb. 7, 2016

Sun, 2/7/2016 12:05 AM

Morgan Dean Smith, 20, of the 1800 block of Long Creek Falls in Grovetown, was charged with driving under the influence on Dec. 12, 2015, and was sentenced to 12 months probation and a $1,055 fine.

Ellen Marie Barfield, 29, of the 1100 block of Rolland Road in Kingston, Ga., was charged with driving under the influence on Dec. 30, 2015, and was sentenced to 12 months probation and a $1,545 fine.

Cody Truitt Devore, 17, of the 200 block of Pecan Drive in Martinez, was charged with driving under the influence on Nov. 20, 2015, and was sentenced to 40 days in jail and 12 months probation.

Robert Hugh Sumner, 38, of the 1600 block of Forest Creek Road in Augusta, was charged with driving under the influence on Nov. 20, 2015, and was sentenced to 40 days in jail and 12 months probation.

Ronald Henry Taylor, 32, of the 1700 block of Wise Road in Augusta, was charged with driving under the influence on Aug. 17, 2015, and was sentenced to 12 months probation and a $1,055 fine.

Anthony John Cesarini, 24, of the 900 block of Alisa Street in Thomson, was charged with driving under the influence on July 11, 2015, and was sentenced to 10 days in jail, 12 months probation and a $1,055 fine.

Lance Aaron Grubb, 29, of the 600 block of Sudlow Lake Road in North Augusta, was charged with driving under the influence on Sept. 5, 2015, and was sentenced to 12 months probation and a $1,055 fine.

Antonio Roderick Randall, 38, of the 100 block of Cheatem Drive in Athens, Ga., was charged with driving under the influence on Aug. 29, 2015, and was sentenced to 10 days in jail, 12 months probation and a $1,055 fine.

John Osborne Daniel, 36, of the 100 block of Charlestowne Drive in Martinez, was charged with driving under the influence on Oct. 12, 2015, and was fined $2,125.

Shaun Dewayne Minyard, 38, of the 700 block of Baker Place Road in Grovetown, was charged with driving under the influence on Oct. 3, 2015, and was sentenced to 10 days in jail, 12 months probation and a $1,950 fine.

Ebony Ladon Taylor, 34, of the 8700 block of Crenshaw Drive in Grovetown, was charged with driving under the influence on Nov. 12, 2015, and was sentenced to three days in jail, 12 months probation and a $1,545 fine.

Anthony Demetrius Thomas, 25, of the 1200 block of Nugget Drive in Grovetown, was charged with driving under the influence on July 5, 2015, and was sentenced to 12 months probation.

Anthony Demetrius Thomas, 25, of the 1200 block of Nugget Drive in Grovetown, was charged with driving under the influence on July 5, 2015, and was sentenced to 240 days in jail and 12 months probation.

Categories: Local

Early voting begins Monday

Sun, 2/7/2016 12:03 AM

In-person voting in Georgia begins Monday, at the Board of Elections office at 500 Faircloth Drive, in Evans. Voters will be able to cast ballots from 8 a.m.-5 p.m., Monday-Friday until Feb. 26.

Columbia County Elections Director Nancy Gay urged voters to take advantage of the early voting period of the March 1 Presidential Preference Primary election. Gay said she expects voter turnout to be heavy on election day and some precincts could be very crowded.

The early voting schedule includes a Saturday voting day on Feb. 20 at three locations – the Board of Elections office, Stevens Creek Community Church and Patriots Park – where polls will be open from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. The Stevens Creek Community Church and Patriots Park voting locations also will be open 8 a.m.-5 p.m. on weekdays starting Feb. 22, she said.

Unlike in the most recent special election, on March 1 all 46 precincts will be open for voting, elections officials said.

Voters can view sample ballots, confirm their registration information or locate their voting precincts by going online to, or by calling the Board of Elections office at (706) 868-3355.

Categories: Local

Property Transfers, Feb. 7, 2016

Sun, 2/7/2016 12:01 AM

Bakers Group LLC to JJ & Z Builders LLC, 904 Erika Lane, $29,000.

Bakers Group LLC to JJ & Z Builders LLC, 908 Erika Lane, $29,000.

Bakers Group LLC to JJ & Z Builders LLC,  906 Erika Landing, $29,000.

RT Bailey Construction Inc. to Charles E. Dawson Jr. and Morlinda Dawson, 5548 Connor Drive, $184,000.

Whispering Pines of Evans LLC to Winchester Homes of GA Inc., 307 Yellow Pine Trail, $43,750.

Baker Place Development LLC to Winchester Homes of GA Inc., 1558 Driftwood Lane, $37,000.

Shaun D. Jones to Michael S. Hamilton, parcel ID 0671458, $300,000.

Kevin M. Worrall and Alissa B. Worrall to Amelia Miller, 510 Julia Court, $184,500.

Jordan D. Mellinger to Charles E. Barton and Kwi H. Barton, parcel ID 0651006, $240,000.

Oconee Capital Investments LLC to Santha Phillip and Phillip Abraham, parcel ID 079222, $297,340.

Fulcher Exchange LLC to Holden L. Swann, parcel ID 077G325, $159,000.

Ernest I. Guthrie to Seymour Land LLC, parcel ID 082A182, $55,000.

Lee Builders Inc. to Leonard Ray Honeycutt III, parcel ID 60960B, $318,800.

Eric C. Lairsey to Benjamin A. Craig, 425 Santa Anna Trail, $163,500.

Lois G. Hall to Jeffrey Wesenberg, 412 Manly Way, $155,500.

Alfredo Rodriguez to Josephus Willis II, parcel ID 074I133, $175,000.

D.R. Horton-Crown LLC to Brandon E. Moore, parcel ID 069761, $227,946.

D.R. Horton-Crown LLC to Wilfred Orozco, parcel ID 069729, $213,632.

Morris Dean Culbertson to Crystal M. Kultala and James R. Kultala, parcel ID 0611180, $132,000.

Franklin Hayes Gary to Toni Commins, 151 Hickory Drive, $32,000.

Milton M. Berry to Walt Yeomans, parcel ID G16001, $22,000.

Daisy Volcan as trustee of the Daisy B. Volcan Revocable Living Trust to Jin Xiong She, parcel ID 082342, $200,000.

Kenneth R. Gallifent to Sheena Masalosalo and Eleele Masalosalo, parcel ID 050225, $219,900.

Karen Munoz to Bobby Donald Roark II, parcel ID 060590, $195,900.

Brenda F. Johnson to Cam Phung, 242 Maywood Drive, $95,000.

Gerard D. Weathersbee to Matthew J. Henson, 493 Knob Hill Court West, $420,900.

Maria D. Santiago to Lonnie L. Lowe Jr. and Maria V. Lowe, 102 Harvestwood Drive, $80,000.

Donna Faye Woodard aka Donna J. Woodard to Christopher Andrw Traxler and Ashley Nicole Traxler, parcel ID 063036, $237,400.

James & Caleb Inc. to IDK Homes Inc., parcel ID 065015X, $372,000.

James & Caleb Inc. to Oconee Capital Investments LLC, parcel ID 065015X, $51,500.

James & Caleb Inc. to Southern Georgia Custom Homes LLC, parcel ID065015X, $51,500.

Justin L. Rabun and Christina T. Rabun to Taylor S. Clack and Kristen M. Clack, parcel ID 074C020C, $166,500.

James & Caleb Inc. to South Georgia Custom Homes LLC, parcel ID 065015X, $51,500.­

Charlie J. Price to Ricarda Taqui-Binzha and Manuel Mezquite-Cruz, parcel ID 028156, $15,000.

Secretary of Veterans Affairs to Seth S. Lee, parcel ID 073D637, $100,000.

Ruben Pena to Martinez Temple Association I, 4530 Country Glen Circle, $144,750.

Crawford Creek Homebuilders LLC to Alexander Keith Simon, 3039 Margot Lane, $192,000.

Downeast Homebuilders Inc. to Jason Bates and Sarah Bates, 3207 Windwood St.,

Ivey Residential LLC to Susan M. Waters, 907 Glenhaven Drive, $175,700.

Ivey Residential LLC to Jason M. Hines, 544 Brantley Cove Circle, $158,900.

Euchee Forest LLC to Ivey Residential LLC, 834 Williford Run Drive, $41,000.

Rhodes Farm LLC to Ernie Blackburn Homebuilders LLC, a portion of parcel ID 084003H and 084003I, $114,000.

Faircloth Homes Inc. to Peter M. Basciano and Carlene N. Basciano, 1163 Waltsons Pass, $390,241.

Bejamin Roy Smith and Ellen Royal as trustees of the John S. Smith Living Trust dated May 27, 2004, to Maragarita Gowdy, parcel ID 073A511, $73,845.

Curtis Robert Skillman to William R. Shaw and Dorothy Timm Shaw, parcel ID 074144A, $16,000.

Dietmar Perez as executor of the estate of Felix Perez to Mary Ann Trudeau, parcel ID G08037, $20,000.

Leon L. Conner Jr. to Kelley Klein, parcel ID 035019, $255,000.

D.R., Horton-Crown LLC to Gabriel Garcia and Megan Garcia, parcel ID 069749, $207,461.

Crowell & Co. Inc. to Keystone Homes Inc., parcel ID 977875, $71,000.

Crowell & Co. Inc. to Keystone Homes Inc., parcel ID 077874, $71,000.

Metro Homesites LLC to Keystone Homes Inc., parcel ID 0612070, $37,000.

Bryan L. Cheselka to Alicia Lambert and Jamal A. Martin, parcel ID 077G165,

Haneef Z. Hameer to Christopher K. Bennett, parcel ID 074C220, $160,000.

Leonard E. Tankersley to Travis K. Stewart, 5374 Hereford Farm Road, $172,500.

Beazley Builders Inc to Bill Beazley Homes Inc., a portion of parcel ID 052033C, $34,900.

Patrick E. Williams to Claude L. Harris Jr., 746 Keyes Drive, $149,000.

Downeast Homebuilders Inc. to Caleb G. Johnson, 3206 Windwood St., $228,125.

Ivey Residential LLC to Eugene S. Miller and Sara B. Miller, 3403 Amberley Drive, $252,600.

Riverwood Land LLC to Christopher A. Krupp and Lisa N. Krupp, parcel ID 065553, $115,000.

Thomas J. Wesse to Masrin C. Lopez and Gilbert James Lopez, parcel ID 078C436A, $75,000.

Lee H. Heldt and Rebecca B. Heldt to Chris J. Melcher and Melanie A. Melcher, 1838 Champions Circle, $200,000.

LD & N LLC to Lamar D. Waters Jr., 435 Bonaventure Way, $50,000.

Bo Y. Chang to Donnette Connell, 4438 Misty Cove Court, $92,000.

Barry C. Bazemore to Lucille M. Fairclough and Leeroy R. Francis, parcel ID 082J217, $169,900.

Jack Woodrow Mulvihill III to Larissa Naples, 205 Claudia Drive, $170,500.

All Weathers Construction Co. LLC to Clayton Dean Bowers and Jennifer E. Bowers, 9055 Winterton St., $417,000.

IDK Homes Inc. to Steven L. Hoggard and Rebecca M. Hoggard, parcel ID 0601116, $414,150.

Maja Mandusic to Frida M. Cuevas, parcel ID 074A160, $120,000.

Chad L. Kahn to Alan Brosious, parcel ID 066504, $83,000.

Herbert Homes Inc. to Casei Garrison, 2126 Grove Landing Way, $174,977.

Eric J. Rodriguez Pagan to Sammy J. Nicholas, parcel ID 063432, $219,900.

David A. Sward Jr. to Norman Lee Kyle III and Sara Kaye Kyle, parcel ID H02155, $138,500.

Irvin Levi Jones III to Amos Meyers, parcel ID 060307, $155,000.

Stanley R. Faison to KHO Development LLC, a portion of parcel ID 091A047, $11,000.

Glenn C. Degraaf to KHO Development LLC, a portion of parcel ID 081A035A, 081A035H and 081A035I, $7,500.

Ivey Residential LLC to Larry J. Anderson and Susanne G. Anderson, 486 Brantley Cove Circle, $175,050.

Categories: Local

Marriage Licenses, Feb. 7, 2016

Sun, 2/7/2016 12:01 AM

Carlton Bruce Thurmond and Kristina Rachel Yant applied for a marriage license on Jan. 22, 2016, and were married Jan. 23, 2016, in Martinez.

Andrew Theron Lee Davis and Jennifer Lisa Putnam applied for a marriage license on Dec. 31, 2015, and were married Jan. 16, 2016, in Augusta.

Celestino Lopez-Garcia and Morgen Brittany Cooper applied for a marriage license on Jan. 22, 2016, and were married Jan. 23, 2016, in Evans.

Booker Frank Marshall and Etta Catoe Smitherman applied for a marriage license on Jan. 6, 2016, and were married Jan. 16, 2016, in Martinez.

Dylan Ray Ward and Danielle Nicole Crump applied for a marriage license on Jan. 7, 2016, and were married Jan. 11, 2016, in Evans.

Cameron Thomas Whitaker and Shelby Miranda Powell applied for a marriage license on Jan. 19, 2016, and were married Jan. 27, 2016, in Evans.

Anthony John Cesarini and Chelsea Lauren Baker applied for a marriage license on Jan. 27, 2016, and were married Jan. 27, 2016, in Evans.

Richard Gregory Brown and Cindy Lea Brown applied for a marriage license on Jan. 22, 2016, and were married Jan. 24, 2016, in Harlem.

Michael William Fink and Edith Rachel Sligh applied for a marriage license on Dec. 9, 2015, and were married Jan. 23, 2016, in Augusta.

Ricrocjenski Cullens Jr. and Lashonda Green applied for a marriage license on Dec. 28, 2015, and were married Jan. 16, 2016, in Martinez.

Randall Craig Hamil and Andrea Fail Turpin applied for a marriage license on Jan. 22, 2016, and were married Jan. 29, 2016, in Martinez.

Justin Ryan Merrill and Kyle Allen Higgins applied for a marriage license on Jan. 15, 2016, and were married Jan. 23, 2016, in Grovetown.

John Fitzgerald Stewart and Linda Carol Austin applied for a marriage license on Jan. 29, 2016, and were married Jan. 29, 2016, in Augusta.

Angel Wenceslao and Angelica Marie Montiel applied for a marriage license on Jan. 29, 2016, and were married Jan. 30, 2016, in Augusta.

Richard Earl Melcher and Marie Nash Harvey applied for a marriage license on Dec. 31, 2015, and were married Jan. 30, 2016, in Evans.

Donny Dean Thompson and Daniela Cathrine Brown applied for a marriage license on Dec. 30, 2015, and were married Jan. 23, 2016, in Grovetown.

Categories: Local

Police Blotter, Feb. 7, 2016

Sun, 2/7/2016 12:01 AM

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

Pair arrested for meth

Two people are were recently arrested in Grovetown for trafficking methamphetamine.

Juan Leon Galeana, 34, of Second Avenue in Grovetown, and Krystal Angel Arechiga, 22, of Milledgeville Road in Augusta, were charged with trafficking meth on Jan. 30.

The pair were found at a home in Grovetown with 6.7 pounds of meth as well as bags, a digital scale, a handgun, several cell phones, cash and credit cards.

Galeana and Arechiga are being held in the Columbia County Detention Center without bond. Arechiga is also being held for another agency, according to jail records.

Man breaks into apartment

An Evans woman called police Monday after she said a man kicked in her apartment door.

The 24-year-old said she was inside her apartment on Old Evans Road at about 11:30 a.m., when she heard someone knock on the door. She then heard someone kick in the door and an intruder came into the apartment.

When the intruder saw the woman and her younger brother inside, he quickly left.

The woman described the intruder as a black teen boy wearing a black jacket, black pants and a visor. Deputies searched the area, but didn’t locate anyone matching the description.

Brother defamed online

An Evans man told deputies Monday that his brother defamed him online and refused to remove the inflammatory remarks.

The 37-year-old man said that he posted his 2000 Ford Excursion for sale on and on Jan. 16. When he checked on the ad on Jan. 24, he noticed three other ads posted by his brother. In the ads, the man’s brother claimed that his brother’s vehicle was stolen from him and to call the Columbia County Sheriff’s Office for a $1,000 reward if his vehicle or his brother were located.

After the fictitious ads were posted, the man said he received several phone calls and numerous people came to his house harassing him about the vehicle and ad. The Auto Trader Web site contacted the man for proof of ownership of the vehicle, which he provided.

The man said he feels he was caused undue hardship and believes the people will continue coming to his home. He’s asked his brother to remove the ads, but he refuses.

Cat shot

A Martinez woman said Wednesday that someone shot her cat.

The 60-year-old woman said her Bengal cat was shot when it was outside between 6 and 8 a.m. A veterinarian said the cat appeared to have been shot by a pellet.

Categories: Local

Interstate lane closure begins Friday night

Fri, 2/5/2016 3:26 PM

A lane of Interstate 20 in Columbia County will be closed through Saturday evening for installation of new scales.

An eastbound lane of I-20 just west of the weight station will be closed beginning at 9 p.m. Friday through 5 p.m. Saturday, according to the Georgia Department of Transportation. The area is from mile marker 186.5 to 188 approaching the weight station between the Grovetown and Harlem exits.

The contractor will install scale components into the roadway as part of a statewide project to install weight scales in the outside lanes about 3,000 feet before the 19 existing weight stations. Current weigh stations require trucks to exit the interstate, which can cause delays. The Weight-In-Motion system weighs trucks as they travel without diversions and will alert the weight station and Georgia State patrol of weights and violators.

Categories: Local

Parole and murder charges possible for pair jailed for 2002 death of Evans man

Fri, 2/5/2016 2:50 PM


Two men in prison face potential parole and murder charges in South Carolina for the kidnapping and a assault of an Evans man found burned in the trunk of his car more than a decade ago.

Shannon Devon Patton, 31, and Daniel Joseph Newton Jr., 29, pled guilty to kidnapping, burglary, aggravated assault, robbery and vehicle theft. They received life sentences for their part in the November 2002 death of Jack Abbott Murray.

“Our understanding at the time was that Newton and Patton received life sentences,” said Assistant Solicitor Ervin Maye, of the South Carolina 11th Judicial Circuit, which covers Edgefield, Saluda, Lexington and McCormick counties.

Maye said that after the pair were sentenced in January 2004, Murray’s son was told to contact Maye’s office if was ever notified of their potential release. He contacted the office in mid-2015 with news of parole possibilities.
“He was under the impression that they had received life sentenced and that was it and that they would not be released,” Maye said, adding it took months to verify all of the information related to sentencing and parole possibilities. “That is what we believed as well.”

Patton and Newton will become eligible for parole in November, according to the Georgia Department of Pardons and Paroles. The state Parole Board will review each case and decide whether or not to grant parole.

“When we found out they were parole eligible, we moved to extradite them to answer the murder charges in South Carolina,” Maye said. “They have never faced the charges and they had no plea agreements or immunity.”

The pair are still serving active sentenced and were transferred to the Edgefield County jail Jan. 27, according to a Georgia Department of Corrections spokeswoman.

On Nov. 18, 2002, the body of Jack Abbot Murray, 63, was found in the trunk of his burning car off Deep Step Road in Edgefield County. He had been beaten and bound and left to burn to death.

The next day, teens Marcus Torrez McCord and Randy Allen Conrad II, then 19 and 17, went to the Columbia County Sheriff’s office and confessed to burglarizing Murray’s Evans home along with Newton and Patton, who is Murray’s former step-son. They told authorities that Patton and Newton said they had put Murray in the trunk of his car, drove to Sumter National Forest and set the car on fire.

McCord and Conrad pled guilty to kidnapping and burglary, as part of a negotiated plea agreement that offered them immunity from further prosecution in connect to the incident in exchange for testimonies against Newton and Patton. Patton and Newton never had such agreements associated with their pleas.

“We intend to prosecute them for murder,” Maye said, adding they plan to move forward prosecuting indictments against the pair handed down shortly after their arrests. “They’ll either retain lawyers or appointed lawyers and we’ll begin the discovery process . We intend to dispose of the case by plea or trial.”

Categories: Local

New York man wanted for attempted murder arrested in Columbia County

Thu, 2/4/2016 2:26 PM

A New York man wanted for allegedly stabbing his stepdaughter was arrested near Harlem early Thursday.

Walter Emilio Carpio-Galicia, 32, of Spring Valley, is being held in the Columbia County Detention Center awaiting extradition by New York authorities, according to sheriff’s Capt. Andy Shedd.

Columbia County authorities responded at about 7:15 a.m. to a two-vehicle wreck on Appling-Harlem Road at Interstate 20.

Carpio-Galicia failed to yield in the black Toyota Corolla he was driving and turned in front of a Ford Explorer, according to Shedd. Carpio-Galicia and two people in the Ford were taken to Doctors Hospital for treatment of minor injuries.

During the investigation of the wreck, authorities discovered that Carpio-Galicia was wanted in Spring Valley for attempted murder of his stepdaughter. The teen was stabbed several times at about 2:45 p.m. on Wednesday, according to Shedd.

Deputies detained Carpio-Galicia at the hospital after he was treated for his injuries.

Categories: Local

Former teacher indicted for relationship with student

Wed, 2/3/2016 1:05 PM


An Evans High School drama teacher was recently indicted after being accused in November of having a sexual relationship with a student.

A Columbia County grand jury indicted Matthew David Curley, 34, of Augusta, on one count of sexual assault by a person with supervisory authority on Jan. 27, according to court records.

On Nov. 14, a parent notified school Principal Johnson about in inappropriate relationship between Curley and a 16-year-old female student. She heard about it from her own daughter, according to a Columbia County Sheriff’s Office incident report. Johnson confronted Curley with the accusation at the school and said he’d recommend his termination leading to Curley penning his resignation letter.

He admitted to Johnson that he kissed the student and performed oral sex on her inside the school after school hours. He denied having intercourse with her, according to a statement presented at a preliminary hearing on Nov. 20.

When authorities interviewed the student, the teen said she pursued Curley and they did have sex on more than one occasion with the most recent happening on Nov. 8. The teen also wrote Curley letters that were in his pocket at the time of his arrest.

The incident is only a crime because of the student-teacher relationship because the teen is of legal consenting age.

At the preliminary hearing, a judge granted Curley a $25,000 bond after he was held for nearly a week without bond. He was ordered to have no contact with minors in an educational or school setting, no contact with minor girls and no contact with the teen. He also had to move into a home away from the marital home and not close to the teen’s home.

Categories: Local

Grovetown man charged in fatal stabbing

Wed, 2/3/2016 10:45 AM

A Camak, Ga., man was fatally stabbed Tuesday and Grovetown man is charged with his murder.

Tyler Burhans, 35, of North Street in Camak, died from a stab wound to the neck, according to Columbia County Deputy Coroner Harriett Garrison.

Grovetown authorities arrested Cassidy James Barrett, 23, of 7507 Senator’s Ridge Drive, with murder and possession of a knife during the commission of a crime. He’s being held in the Columbia County Detention Center without bond, according to jail records.

Grovetown Department of Public Safety Lt. Jones Nalley said that Burhans and his wife went at Barrett’s home to drop off his sister-in-law, who lives there. They waited because she didn’t have a key.

When Barrett arrived at about 6:45 p.m., he pulled into the driveway and nearly hit Burhans’ vehicle. He said something to Barrett, who responded and an argument ensued, according to Garrison. Barrett got out of his truck and approached Burhans.

“A witness said it appeared he hit (Burhans), but he stabbed him with a knife in the left shoulder area, which probably nicked a carotid artery,” Garrison said. “He died almost immediately.”

Garrison pronounced Burhans dead at the Augusta University Medical Center. An autopsy at the Georgia Bureau of Investigation Crime Lab in Atlanta was slated for Thursday.

Categories: Local

Couple marks 70-years of marriage at Brandon Wilde

Wed, 2/3/2016 12:06 AM

One of the great privileges I’ve had as the publisher of the Columbia County News-Times is meeting the people who live in this community.

Truly, not a week goes by that I don’t meet someone with a story that needs to be shared, and this week in no different, except that it might be better than most.

On Monday we were paid a visit by 93-year-old Dorothy Jens.

Mrs. Jens, originally from Illinois, now lives with her husband here in Evans at Brandon Wilde. That marriage had the remarkable occasion last month of marking its 70th year, which was rightly celebrated by their family and friends at the Brandon Wilde Club House.

The two met during the waning day of World War II, in 1945 after Wayne was sent home from to recover from injuries suffered off of the Japanese island of Okinawa. His ship, LST-534, was struck on its port side by Japanese kamikaze pilot on June 22, 1945 – the last day of the allied invasion of that rugged island that cost the lives of more that 12,500 American servicemen. Five of those men died in the explosion on LST-534 and many more were hurt, including Wayne, whose leg was crushed after he was thrown free of the burning ship.

“They wanted to amputate it, but they could find a surgeon,” Dorothy explained.

Despite the horrific nature of his wounds, Wayne made it back stateside and found himself under the care of Dorothy, a “Gray Lady” serving with the American Red Cross at the Great Lakes Naval Hospital.

It didn’t take long for romance to blossom, even though Dorothy was forbidden to date her patients. Still she put him off, and busied herself with preparations for what everyone thought was going to be the Allied invasion of Japan, and the ­expectation of thousands more American casualties.

Wayne was persistent, however, so Dorothy made a promise. “I’ll go out with you after VJ Day,” she said. “The next day, Truman dropped the bomb.”

Dorothy was soon held to her promise and a few months later, on Jan. 26, 1946 the two were wed at Northminster Presbyterian Church in Evanston, Ill.

“The first time he walked without crutches was down that aisle,” Dorothy said.

Both went on to earn doctorates in their fields, Dorothy as a psychologist and Wayne as a nuclear engineer, at one time becoming the vice president for Nuclear Operations at Detroit Edison Co. They have four children, 10 grandchildren and were blessed with the birth of their first great-grandchild on Jan. 20, a little boy named Blake.

Any of us would be proud to have the life these to fine people have had together. Join me in congratulating them – belatedly – on this grand anniversary. They are truly part of the “Greatest Generation.”

Categories: Local

Pet Adoptions

Wed, 2/3/2016 12:03 AM
Categories: Local

Current events

Wed, 2/3/2016 12:03 AM

Book club

Discussing Why the Religious Right Is Wrong About Separation of Church and State, by Robert Boston; 6:30 p.m. today at The Book Tavern, second floor, 936 Broad St.; copies available; (706) 826-1940,

Time out Luncheon

Lunchtime fellowship ministry; 11:50 a.m. Thursday, Feb. 4; First Baptist Church of Evans, 515 N. Belair Rd.; $6; those who live and work in the neighboring community are invited to come for food, company and a work of inspiration; menu includes spaghetti and meatballs, garden salad, Texas toast and dessert; please make reservations by calling the church office (706) 863-1228 or by emailing no later than noon on Feb. 3rd

Art classes

Artists’ Guild of Columbia County Children’s Drawing and Painting, 4:30-5:30 p.m. Thursdays in February and Thursdays, March 3, 10, 24 and 31; the Church of Our Savior, 4227 Columbia Road, Martinez; $80 per four-week session plus $45 supply fee; for ages 8-12;

Therapy dog testing

International Organization Therapy Dog Testing; 5:30 p.m. first Friday of the month; Brandon Wilde, 4275 Owens Rd.; registration required; (706) 863-3737

Heritage gala

Lucy Craft Laney Museum Heritage Gala, Saturday, Feb. 6, Augusta Marriott at the Convention Center, 2 10th St.; reception 6 p.m., dinner seating 7 p.m.; Dr. Bobby Donaldson, speaker; dinner, live music; formal attire/black tie; $75, reservations required; (706) 724-3576,

Muttville Comix

Johnny Peers and his Muttville Comix, doors open at 6:30 p.m., show 7:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 12, Jabez Sanford Hardin Performing Arts Center, 7022 Evans Town Center Blvd.; $29.50, ages 11 and younger $12.50; (706) 726-0366,

RWC Monthly Meeting

CSRA Republican Women’s Club montly meeting; 6 p.m. Feb. 15; Jones Creek Golf Club, 777 Jones Creek Dr.; social and dinner 6-7 p.m.; business meeting 7 p.m.; guest speaker Columbia County Sheriff Clay Whittle; reservations required; (706) 860-5830

Precint Mass Meetings

Columbia County Republican Party: Precint Mass Meetings; 9 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 20; election of delegates and alternate delegates to the Columbia County Republican Party Convention; all Columbia County residents who are legally registered to vote on or before Feb. 1, 2016, and believe in the principles of the Republican Party are urged to participate in this process; Registration will open at 9 a.m. for all precincts; for more information, email Chairman Michael Wiltse,

Chamber Before Hours

Columbia County Chamber Before Hours; 7:45 a.m. Feb. 23; Columbia County Chamber of Commerce, 1000 Business Blvd.; breakfast and networking 7:45-8:15 a.m., program 8:15-9 a.m.; free for members, $20 first time visitors;

Tribute band

Band on the Run The McCartney Years, doors 6:30 p.m., show 7:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 26, Jabez Sanford Hardin Performing Arts Center, 7022 Evans Town Center Blvd.; $45; (706) 726-0366,

Saxophone Quartet

Symphony Orchestra Augusta: A Prism Saxophone Quartet; 7:30 p.m. March 5; Jabez Sanford Hardin Performing Arts Center, 7022 Evans Town Center Blvd.; $20;

Henry Gross

Henry Gross One Hit Wanderer, doors 6:30 p.m., show 7:30 p.m. Friday, March 18, Jabez Sanford Hardin Performing Arts Center, 7022 Evans Town Center Blvd.; $43; (706) 726-0366,

Futurist Adam Trent

6:30 p.m. April 16; Jabez Hardin Performing Arts Center, 7022 Evans Town Center Blvd.; $40; doors open 6:30 p.m., show strts 7:30 p.m.;

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; (762) 233-1978,

Eyeglass help

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


First Saturday every month; doors open 7:30 p.m., bell time 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,

Female veterans

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


MOMS Club of Augusta meets 10 a.m. first Wednesdays; includes Augusta, Martinez, North Augusta; e-mail for location; membership@momsclubofaugustaorg,

Categories: Local

Show in Augusta is biggest 4-H rabbit and cavy event in U.S.

Wed, 2/3/2016 12:02 AM


Derek Poole held the ball of soft fur in his practiced hands, carefully examining its every aspect – length and consistency of the coat, the shape of the body and the broad head and the length and symmetry of the long ears – before making a pronouncement.

“This is my No. 1. That’s an excellent rabbit,” said Poole, referring to the white American fuzzy lops rabbit in one of several cages lining the judge’s table before him.

Poole, 43, was one of several certified American Rabbit Breeders Association (ARBA) judges brought in from across the country to share his expertise at the fifth annual Augusta Masters of Rabbits and Cavies on the Green Show at the Savannah Rapids Pavilion on Saturday.

The event, sponsored by CSRA Rabbit Breeders Association and the Columbia County 4-H Rabbit Club, is the largest regional rabbit show of its kind and the largest such event sponsored by a 4-H Club in the nation, according to Columbia County 4-H Rabbit Club volunteer and show organizer Marguerite Creekmore.

Creekmore said the show has more than 550 rabbits, representing 25 different breeds and also 85 cavies, more commonly known as Guinea pigs, entered in numerous categories throughout the day.

Most of the 4-H Club members entered in the youth category were from Georgia, including clubs in DeKalb and Burke counties, but in the “open” class, which included adults and children, many participants had traveled many miles and long hours for the show.

“We have people from as far away as Michigan, Texas and Florida,” Creekmore said.

Poole was among the out-of-towners. He lives in Rochester, N.Y., where he operates a literacy foundation and an antiques business, but many weekends he is out judging rabbit shows.

“I fly all over the world to judge shows,” he said, explaining that he was one of about 250 certified ARBA judges worldwide whose services are always in demand. “We travel as much as we want to work. I like to do about 20 shows a year.”

Rabbit shows might seem a bit obscure to the uninitiated, but Poole said the number of people who breed and show purebred rabbits is a more than most people realize.

This is his fifth year as a judge, but he has been involved in the world of rabbit shows for 35 years. Each year he tries to make it to the ARBA national convention, which will be held this year in San Diego.

“There will be somewhere between 20,000 and 25,000 rabbits there,” he said.

The county 4-H Club held its first small rabbit show in 2011, and since then it has grown into a major event. Savannah Rapids Pavilion was packed wall-to-wall Saturday with all manner of bunnies and cavies stacked in colorful cages, while parents and children weaved through the warren of activity, hauling their pets to the judging table each time a new category was announced over the loudspeakers.

Pam Cox, a 4-H Club parent and volunteer, said the first time she went to a rabbit show she was bowled over by the enormity of the event.

“I thought, ‘What in the world exactly is going on here?’”

She got introduced to rabbit shows when her son Matthew got involved through 4-H. “It’s all his fault,” she joked.

Now, her 12-year-old daughter Rachel is the one competing. Saturday she brought along two cavies and a charcoal gray lionhead rabbit named Daisy, who came away with a first place showing.

The rabbits might have been more numerous, but the cavy owners were no less passionate.

Clarissa Dollar, 12, watched nervously while ARBA judge Travis Finkle and Jennifer Green, who was in training to become a judge, repeatedly examined and discussed their observations on which of 10 different cavies would be judged best of show.

Dollar was rooting for, P.J., a her Teddy cavy with a cream-colored body and jet black head.

“He’s named P.J. because his dad is Pongo, so Pongo Jr.,” she explained.

Minutes later, Clarissa was overwhelmed with joy as P.J. was announced as champion of the day.

The homeschooled seventh-grader from Newnan, Ga., said she is involved in 4-H in Coweta County, but she came to the show as an independent participant.

“My 4-H club will not allow cavies and I am determined to make them accept them,” she said.

Nearby sat Jimmy Crowder, 50, a veteran breeder of cavies and recognized authority at the show. Crowder, of Douglasville, Ga., downplayed his 14 years of experience, however.

“There are some people who have been doing this 30 or 40 years, so at 14 years I’m still new,” he said. “I’m still learning something at every show.”

Categories: Local

Columbia County charter school group announces changes for new petition

Wed, 2/3/2016 12:02 AM


Organizers behind what would be Columbia County’s first charter school announced changes Monday as they plan their third attempt to seek state approval.

The Columbia County School for the Arts announced it will be submitting its petition to the State Charter Schools Commission this spring under a new name: SAIL (School for Arts-Infused Learning).

Steven Uhles, a spokesman for the SAIL charter school board, said the new name reflects changes in the group’s approach, which will include a statewide attendance zone, meaning that children from any Georgia county will be eligible to enroll. The change follows the enrollment approach of other charter schools, including the Geor­gia School for Innovation and the Classics in Hephzibah, which opened in fall 2015.

“We looked and we saw a lot of other charter schools were doing this, and we considered the counties around us,” Uhles said. “We did see that there was probably a demand for a school like this in McDuffie, Lincoln and Richmond counties.”

Uhles said much of the charter organization remains the same, although some board positions have changed, including a new chairwoman, Kristy Zgol.

Todd Shafer, the former Mar­ti­nez Elementary School teacher who spearheaded the effort to bring an “arts-infused” charter school to Co­lum­bia County, has stepped aside to serve in an advisory role, he said.

“This is the board stepping forward and taking the reins of the project,” Uhles said.

The previous two times the school has submitted charters, their petitions were rejected by the county Board of Education and by the State Charter Commission. The most recent denial came in August, when the charter commission staff cited seven areas in their petition where the group
fell short:

• The academic program lacked substantial plans for implementation.

• Lack of an adequate teacher recruitment plan

• The governing board failed to demonstrate clear understanding of its role.

• Doubts about proposed partnerships with community organizations

• No sufficient plan for special education

• Concerns about the board’s ability to secure financing

• Lack of understanding for the purchasing process

Uhles said the group is working to address each issue in the new petition, but there could be things that state regulators didn’t point out that also need work. He said the group is determined to succeed this time.

“What we discovered last time is that while we will work to address those things, the best thing we can do is put forward the strongest charter possible,” he said.

Because the school will have a statewide attendance zone, the charter petition will be presented this year to the local school board as “information only,” Uhles said. The state commission will have exclusive authority to approve the charter, he said.

The new school, if approved, will be open to students in kindergarten through seventh grades, and it will add another grade each subsequent year until it reaches its goal as “a full K-12 public charter school,” the announcement said.

Uhles said that although the group had an option on land for a proposed campus, the school location is “up in the air” while the board explores its options.

Uhles said the school’s board plans to hold public forums detailing the petition process, student admittance criteria and enrollment procedures in the near future.

For more information, parents can visit

Categories: Local

Police Blotter, Feb. 3, 2016

Wed, 2/3/2016 12:01 AM

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

Man’s ID stolen on Facebook

A Grovetown man told deputies Friday that a man interested in buying a firearm stole his personal information through Facebook.

The 41-year-old man said that on Dec. 8, he received a suspicious post on Facebook from someone who was interested in a buying a firearm from him. The stranger asked for the man to show proof of his identity before he’d do business. So the man sent an image of his drivers license. The potential buyer then stopped communicating with the man.

A few days later, the man said he discovered that someone created a fake Facebook profile using his picture, name and personal information to sell guns online.

On Jan. 16, the man received a suspicious letter which listed him as the sender. The letter contained a typed request for a bank loan from Augusta Metro Credit Union, which
was supposedly from him and included a fake signature. The letter, which was originally mailed in December, was returned because of an incorrect address for the bank.

Church credit card stolen

The financial director of an Evans church said Friday that someone stole the pastor’s church credit card from her office.

She said that someone went into her office at Journey Church on Hardy McManus Road between Jan. 21 and Thursday and stole a church credit card named to the pastor. She said the thief activated the card using the last four digits of the pastor’s Social Security number and used it at a night club in Augusta.

When she contacted the pastor, he said he didn’t have the card and was very concerned that his Social Security number was used. The financial director believes the thief got the information from files in her church office.

Gardening containers

An Evans man called authorities Friday after discovering that trespassers damaged and burned his gardening containers.

The 75-year-old man said he put at least three FarmDaddy self-watering gardening containers in the woods near the backyard on Nov. 26. He returned and found them missing. On Friday, the man found one of the containers broken and thrown into a creek. Two others appeared to have been burned.

The man said two male juveniles that appear to be teens have been trespassing on the property. He couldn’t give a detailed description because he only saw them from a distance. Deputies saw several juveniles walking past the home, but said they haven’t been on the property and doesn’t know who has been.

Man avoids scam

A Harlem man told deputies Friday that he narrowly escaped a scam to steal his money by someone posing as his friend.

The man said he received an e-mail from a friend on Jan. 27 about a way to make money. After he responded to the e-mail, the man said he began receiving text messages about how to turn $550 into $70,000. He provided his “friend” with his full name, date of birth and said he wouldn’t have $550 until early February.

While waiting until he had the money, the man said his friend contacted him and said his e-mail had been hacked. The man never sent any money.

Trailer stolen

A Grovetown woman said Saturday that someone stole a trailer full of furniture form her property.

The 68-year-old woman said the trailer was parked next to a large storage building on the back side of her property about 100 yards from the main house and out of view from the street. The only access to the property is through a main gate.

The padlock that had to be cut or broken to hitch the trailer was missing. A large truck or van would be needed to pull the trailer because is was full of furniture and other items when it was stolen.

Computer hijacked

A Grovetown woman called authorities Friday after she said someone hijacked her computer and demanded money.

The 73-year-old woman said she was working on her computer at about 9 a.m. Jan. 26 when the screen suddenly went black. A few minutes later, she received a phone call from a man telling her she needed to pay him if she wanted to use her computer again. The man withdrew $179.99 from her bank account.

During a second phone call, the caller demanded the woman send money to him in China. When she tried to send the money through Western Union, the transaction wouldn’t go through. So she sent $720 to Sen Yang in China using MoneyGram.

Man sees trespasser

A Grovetown man said Friday that he saw a man trespassing on his property.

The 29-year-old man said he heard his outdoor grills opening and closing at about 2 a.m. When he looked outside, he saw a man standing near the fence looking at the sky. When he attempted to confront the trespasser, he jumped the fence and ran away.

Categories: Local

County launches new planning and zoning information app

Wed, 2/3/2016 12:01 AM

Columbia County residents now have an easy, online way to find out about those Public Hearing signs often seen on roadsides.

The county launched an interactive Notification of Public Hearings system on Jan. 25. The system allows citizens to find out key information about land use requests and public hearings county-wide.

“The best thing about it is I think it is easily understood and easily navigable,” said county Planning Director Andrew Strickland. “It’s easy to get in it and find the information you need.”

The user-friendly application is maintained through the county’s GIS and Planning department. It displays all current information for property parcels that are subject to planning and zoning changes. If a resident sees a Public Hearing sign, they can go online and get the important information about that parcel.

The information includes the request that was filed, public hearing dates, what actions have been or will be taken, zoning applications and full staff reports.

Strickland said his office gets numerous calls requesting information for parcels under review for planning and zoning changes.

“It really gives all the information that we would normally give anyone who calls,” Strickland said. “It just puts it out there so it is freely available. Of course, people can still call us directly. We’ll be happy to talk to them. This is just another avenue.”

Strickland said he hopes that the information will help get more residents involved in the process.

“It’s been in development for a while,” Strickland said. “This is something that’s been a little while coming.”

The system includes a tutorial video and a printable step-by-step use guide.

The smartphone app, tutorial and user guide are available on the county Web Click on the Notification of Public GHearings Map hyperlink under Latest News or go directly to the system at

Categories: Local

3 sent to hospital after car wreck

Wed, 2/3/2016 12:01 AM
Categories: Local

Authorities warn of scams involving IRS, Census Bureau

Wed, 2/3/2016 12:01 AM

Columbia County authorities are warning residents of two ongoing scams involving government agencies.

The IRS and local authorities have received numerous reports of a phone scam where callers identify themselves as IRS agents attempting to get people to pay a fine immediately threatening with arrest or revocation of a driver license if the fine isn’t paid, according to information released from the Columbia County Sheriff’s Office. Sometimes, the scammers give follow-up calls posing as local authorities or the state motor vehicle division.

The scammer’s story varies sometimes claiming that a person owes money or pretends to be with the IRS trying to steal money or identities.

“Most legitimate government agencies will not demand immediate payment in the form of green dot cars or money orders,” sheriff’s Capt. Andy Shedd said. “Be very cautious if this happens.”

The scammers often use fake names and IRS badge numbers using common names. They may be able to recite the last four digits of the person’s Social Security number.

They are often able to hack the IRS toll-free line to show up the caller ID and they may send bogus e-mails to support the fake calls.

If someone calls claiming to be with the IRS, residents should call the IRS at (800) 829-1040 to confirm if any back taxes are owed. Authorities recommend hanging up immediately and reporting the call If you are unsure if you owe taxes, call the IRS at (800) 829-1040 to confirm if any back taxes are owed.

Others looking to scam residents are claiming to be with the Census Bureau and ask for personal information.

“Most legitimate government agencies will not ask you for person information like your date of birth or Social Security number over the phone,” according to Shedd.

“Be very leery about giving any personal information to anyone. Once things like passwords or account numbers are given out, it’s hard to stop someone from accessing your accounts and stealing from you.”

The Census Bureau never asks for your full Social Security number, money or donations, anything on behalf of a political party, your full bank account or credit card numbers or your mother’s maiden name.

If someone visits your home to complete a survey, always check for a valid U.S. Census Bureau identification badge. For further confirmation, residents can call the bureau at (800) 923-8282.

Mail, calls or e-mails can be verified through the regional offices that can be found by

Categories: Local
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