Latest News from Columbia County News-Times

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Six injured in wreck

Wed, 7/9/2014 12:13 AM
Categories: Local

Pet adoptions

Wed, 7/9/2014 12:13 AM
Categories: Local

Current events

Wed, 7/9/2014 12:13 AM

UPCOMING

Boat tours

In honor of Teacher Appreciation Month, the Augusta Canal National Heritage Area is offering free rides to teachers on the Petersburg tour boats during July; teachers can invite one guest; must present a school badge, name tag or ID card at the Discovery Center ticket desk, 1450 Greene St.; tours depart 10 and 11:30 a.m. Tuesday-Saturday in July; Civil War tour departs 1:30 p.m.; tours include free admission to the interactive Canal Discovery Center; reservations suggested; (706) 823-0440 ext. 4

Family matinees

Doors open 12:30 p.m., movies begin 1 p.m. Wednesdays, Columbia County Library, 7022 Evans Towne Center Blvd.; July 9 The Croods; July 16 Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2; July 23 Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters; free; under age 12 must be accompanied by an adult; (706) 650-5005

Amateur Series

Amateur Series 2014 7 p.m. July 10-12, Columbia County Exhibition Center, 212 Partnership Drive, Grovetown; soloist/musicians July 10, variety/bands July 11, finale with top eight going head to head July 12; 6:30 p.m. live taping for finale; ccamateurseries.com

Astronomy

Long Ago, in Galaxies Far, Far Away, topic of Astronomy Club of Augusta meeting Friday, July 11, Georgia Regents University’s New Science Building, W1008, 2500 Walton Way; Dr. Varsha Kulkarni, professor of physics and astronomy at the University of South Carolina, speaking about distant galaxies, quasars, their evolution, intergalactic matter and more; annual awards presented, refreshments served; stargazing afterward; angelfire.com/ga/
astronomyclubaugusta

Reception

Artists Guild of Columbia County exhibit and reception 3-5 p.m. Saturday, July 12, Infiniti of Augusta, 3069 Washington Road; meet area artists; refreshments; free; artistguildcc.org

The Beach Boys

Hot Southern Night 7 p.m. Sunday, July 13, Bell Auditorium, 712 Telfair St.; $49-99, tickets at James Brown Arena and online at www.georgialinatix.com, bit.ly/SQRgwP

Stamp club

Greater Augusta Stamp Club 7 p.m. Monday, July 14, First Baptist Church of Augusta Activities Building, 3500 Walton Way; Displaying and Exhibiting Postage Stamps, slide show will be presented by Fred Danes

Kickoff party

Light The Night Kickoff Party 6-7:30 p.m. Tuesday, July 15, Adventure Crossing, 4350 Wheeler Road; network with other participants and learn about fundraising tools and resources to help reach your goals; learn about the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society mission and the research being funded to find cancer cures; reservations required by July 11 to kate.sanders@lls.org, lightthenight.org/ga

Celebrity roast

Augusta Mini Theatre: Sunshine’s Roast & Toast Celebration 7 p.m. Thursday, July 17, Tabernacle Baptist Church Family Life Center, 1230 Laney-Walker Blvd.; honoring Clint Bryant, director of athletics at Georgia Regents University; benefits Mariah McKie Butler Memorial College Book Scholarship Fund; $50; tickets at theater, online or by phone at (706) 722-0598; to place an ad in the event journal call (706) 680-6712 or email AugustaMiniTheatre@gmail.com, augustaminitheatre.com

Tribute to Elvis

Chasing The Dream Tour, A Tribute To Elvis Presley 7 p.m. Friday, July 18, Jabez Sanford Hardin Performing Arts Theater, 7022 Evans Town Center Blvd., Evans; Elvis tribute artist Travis Powell, with special guest Jeff Barnes; recreating magical moments from the career of Elvis Presley; music from the 1950s through the 1970s; elvisfestival.com

Boat races

28th annual Augusta Southern Nationals July 18-20; gates open 8 a.m., races start 9 a.m.; no coolers, food, drink, pets; bring chairs, blankets, cameras; umbrellas allowed on top of grassy area; debit/credit cards (Visa/Master Card) accepted at gates and souvenir stands and at concession stands with a minimum $5 charge; $22 advance, $30 at gate; good all three days; benefits Georgia Special Olympics; augustasouthernnationals.org

Live After 5

Tony Williams & The Blues Express 6 p.m. Friday, July 18, Augusta Riverwalk Eighth Street Plaza; bring seating and picnic dinner; free; information and vendor/sponsor opportunities (706) 821-1754

Eubanks concert

The Eubanks Family in concert 7:30 p.m. Saturday, July 19, Augusta Jewish Community Center, 898 Weinberger Way, Evans; $20 members, $25 others; ticket includes heavy hors d’oeuvres; augustajcc.org

Categories: Local

Police Blotter, July 9, 2014

Wed, 7/9/2014 12:12 AM

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

 

Appling woman sets fire near propane tank

An Appling woman was arrested Sunday morning after setting a fire next to a propane tank at her home.

Felicia Shantell Pollard, 34, of Johnson Drive, was charged with disorderly conduct.

A deputy responded to her home at about 10:45 a.m. to assist Columbia County Fire Rescue. The deputy found a pile of clothing and other items on fire within four feet of a propane tank and a gasoline can on the porch.

The deputy walked inside and found Pollard passed out on the sofa. When the deputy woke her, Pollard said she was burning her husband’s clothing. She actually burned her 15-year-old daughter’s clothes instead of her husband’s.

The deputy used a water hose to extinguish the fire until firefighters arrived. He said the fire was dangerously close to the propane tank and could have caused a disastrous situation.

Pollard appeared extremely intoxicated and registered .184 blood alcohol content on a field alcohol test.

She was released from the Columbia County Detention Center Monday after posting a $500 bond, according to jailers.

 

Man refused
to leave home

Authorities charged a Martinez man Saturday after he walked into a neighbor’s home and wouldn’t leave.

Jason Cole Tice, 30, of Petersburg Circle, was charged with criminal trespass.

A 60-year-old woman who lives on the same street as Tice said she was standing in her kitchen at about 9 p.m. with the back door open. She looked up and saw Tice standing in her back doorway.

Tice told the woman he’d been chasing some kids and needed a drink of water. The woman told Tice to leave her property. The woman said Tice walked inside and shut and locked the door. He made a comment about her home and asked to be shown upstairs.

The woman said she again asked Tice to leave, but he sat on the sofa. She ran outside and said Tice left when her son arrived.

A deputy found Tice at his nearby home. Tice, who was incoherent at times and said he was under the influence of methamphetamine, said he knew the people who lived at the woman’s home, a man there sold satellites. The woman said no one at her house sells satellites.

Tice was released from the Columbia County Detention Center after posting an $1,100 bond.

 

Vomit-dumping caught on video

An Evans man called authorities early Thursday after he discovered that someone dumped vomit on his front porch.

The 37-year-old man said that three men came onto his porch between 1 and 3 a.m. The man’s home video surveillance footage showed one of the men standing on the corner as a lookout while the other two dumped the vomit on the porch.

Photos of the men from the video footage was given to sheriff’s office investigators.

 

Woman reports thief asks $200 to return phone

A woman said Sunday that someone held her stolen cell phone hostage for $200.

The 39-year-old woman said she left her cell phone inside her unlocked vehicle at Lake Springs recreation area at Clarks Hill between 2 and 6:30 p.m. Saturday. During that time, someone stole the phone.

The woman said she received a text on her husband’s phone from the thief demanding $200 to return it to her.

The responding deputy attempted to contact the person with the stolen phone, but was unable to.

Copper thieves likely planned to come back

A Grovetown man said Thursday that someone cut copper from his home and likely intended to come back for more.

The 62-year-old man said he returned to his vacant family home and discovered that someone had broken in through a window between June 25 and Thursday afternoon. The burglar used a bow saw to cut copper pipes off the water heater in the kitchen. The thief or thieves also cut copper wires from the attic and fuse box in the bedroom.

Whoever stole the copper left two screwdrivers and a hammer by the fuse box and a bow saw and hammer in the kitchen as if they were planning to return for more copper.

Categories: Local

Independence celebration comes to Evans

Wed, 7/9/2014 12:11 AM

 

Steve Grover arrived early to grab a spot right in front of Evans Towne Center Park’s main stage.

For the first time in the event’s 20-year history, Columbia County was celebrating Independence Day in downtown Evans, instead of the more spacious Patriots Park off William Few Parkway.

Grover, along with his wife, Tiffany; 15-year-old son, Tyler; and 8-year-old daughter, Briana, said they were not taking any chances of having their view of fireworks obstructed.

“I’m curious to see how this park will hold everyone,” Grover said.

Though officials said there were concerns of accommodating the expected 10,000 people for the celebration, event coordinator Stacie Adkins said she believed those in attendance would be better served at Evans Towne Center Park.

The facility provides a more central location for the event than Patriots Park, where Adkins said organizers had to split into two areas to make the Independence Day celebration work.

Plus, she said, Evans Towne Center Park’s multiple stages, numerous entrance and exit routes, and modern facilities make it easier for event organizers to provide quality entertainment, control traffic and decorate the park with flags and banners.

Adkins estimated that the celebration offered more than 200 entertainers, a large fireworks show, 40 vendors and a dozen rides. That’s not counting the park’s two playgrounds and splash pad, which many adults said was the best benefit of having the show at Evans Towne Center Park.

“It’s more convenient,” said Jasmine Childress, as she watched her two grandsons, Carson, 3, and Braxton, 2, play in the splashpad.

Childress and her friend Steve Pruitt have participated in Fort Gordon and Augusta Signers celebrations. They said Columbia County’s event was family fun. “It’s good to see people come together,” she said.

Categories: Local

Augusta Eagles find coach, looking for players

Wed, 7/9/2014 12:09 AM

 

It has been a tumultuous offseason for the homeschool Augusta Eagles football team.

Heading into their second season of 11-man football in the Glory For Christ League, the team and coach Sam Lilly parted ways early on June 30, putting the upcoming season in jeopardy.

“We were kind of without a coach and we weren’t going to be able to have a season,” said board member Amy Bailey.

Bailey got on the phone and by noon had found a new coach in Chris Smith.

“I was definitely not expecting this opportunity,” Smith said. “I realized the season was in major jeopardy of not happening. I had been working with the quarterbacks and felt an obligation. I didn’t want the boys to lose the opportunity to play football. They would be heartbroken.”

Smith, who will start outprocessing from the Army this week, has been coaching football for about 14 years, starting when his son played recreation league football in Virginia. He volunteered with the Heidelberg (Department of Defense Dependents School) middle and high school squads from 2004 to 2010 in Germany before coming to the area.

“I’ve been coaching with the Columbia County rec department pretty much since I hit the ground,” Smith said. “Last year I was coaching with Columbia Middle School. I was a lay coach over there.”

Lilly started the 2013 year with 16 players and Smith faces much the same challenge. He is determined to plow ahead.

“We will officially start 21 July,” said Smith. “We’ll do our camp. As of right now we only have 11 confirmed, and one of the big concerns was we really have to push to get these kids and at the minimum we have to have 25 boys. From what I understand there’s been a whole lot of interest.”

In order to be ready for the season, the Eagles cancelled their first two games of the season and will start with a home game at Lions Memorial Field in North Augusta against Grace Christian.

The Augusta Preparatory Day School Cavaliers are scheduled to play the Eagles on Friday, Oct. 10 for their homecoming. When he heard that the Eagles’ season was in peril, head coach Harry Bacheller started looking for alternatives. For now, he’s counting on the Eagles being there.

“We’re going to wait it out,” said Bacheller, adding that he is putting together a backup plan. “They have plans and they have players out here. I’m going to do everything I can do to help them.”

Lilly, who runs Sports Academy South, Inc., wishes the program well.

“I wish them all the luck,” said Lilly. “I wish whoever coaches the team all the luck. I have nothing but love for homeschool.”

Categories: Local

Volunteer Spotlight

Wed, 7/9/2014 12:08 AM

 

When Loreen Reynolds had to make a choice between her paying job and her volunteer work, her volunteerism won out.

“Two summers ago I had to make a choice,” said Reynolds. “ I chose to cut back on my paying job so I could do more volunteer work.”

Reynolds, who volunteers at Harlem United Methodist Church, the Harlem Women’s Club and Attic Treasures thrift store, was also operating a preschool in her home four days a week. She chose to reduce the preschool classes to two days a week.

At Attic Treasures, where Reynolds is treasurer, she keeps a sharp lookout for new items, which she sets aside for Christmas.

“We had 150 kids last year,” said Reynolds. “Each child gets one large present (costing about $30) and several smaller toys.”

In addition, each family gets clothing based on a list of their needs. Every year Reynolds and several other volunteers fan out on Black Friday to shop for bargains. They also keep an eye out for clearance sales throughout the year.

“We probably spent $6,000 last year for 150 kids,” said Reynolds.

“Last year we did Santa Claus for the first time,” said Reynolds. “We paid for that out of the Attic.”

Her children, Andrew, 30, and Zachery, 24, also help out.

“They’re good about volunteering,” said Reynolds. “Zack will help with the computers whenever we need it and Andrew and (his wife) Alex are there to help with the food program whenever we need them.”

Reynolds is co-chairwoman of the outreach committee at Harlem United Methodist Church, which is in charge of the annual Pumpkin Patch. She also helps organize a food pantry for the church.

“About every other month we do a food distribution for the community,” said Reynolds. “We buy the food from Golden Harvest and we have to bag it. We just put a sign out front. If you need food, come and get it.’’

“We also do the Saturday sack program with the money from the Pumpkin Patch,” adds Reynolds. “I bag them up and a friend of mine takes them to the school. We’ve got 12 families and 33 kids that we provide weekly lunches for.”

Given her work in the community, it is no surprise that the Harlem Women’s Club named her Citizen of the Year in 2012. As a club member, she helps out with the monthly bingo during the school year.

“Sometimes the money goes to the Women’s Club,” said Reynolds, “but most of the time it helps the Harlem Drama Club or goes to buy school supplies for the elementary kids. We also do things to raise money for Relay for Life.”

Reynolds, who has lived in Harlem for 23 years, gives credit to her husband, Steve.

“He works hard (at Kimberly Clark). Because of him I am able to do this.”

Categories: Local

The 4-H shotgun club finished on target

Wed, 7/9/2014 12:08 AM

 

The culmination of the 2014 season for the Columbia County 4-H S.A.F.E. (Shooting, Aware-ness, Fun and Education) Clay Pigeon Target Sporting Program came in May.

Known as the shotgun club, the Columbia County teams competed in state competitions after they had advanced past the district round.

Competing against more than 1,700 participants at the Rock Eagle 4-H Center in Eatonton, Ga., the Junior Modified Trap team of Colby Watkins, Dawson Toy, Lilly Howard, Trent Rutledge, Grey Murry, William Tisdate and Bo Bell finished the state competition in sixth place. Watkins finished fifth in the individual category.

At the state trap and skeet competition, Hunter Hyatt finished third while Luke Johnson was second in the district modified trap.

Johnson, an Evans High School graduate, and Jonathan Saul, a Greenbrier graduate, won $1,000 scholarships from the Target Sporting Club.

“The team excels because of the dedicated efforts of head coach Keith Howard and the 4-H S.A.F.E. volunteer coaches and parents,” said Shirley Williamson, head of the Columbia County Extension department and a 4-H coordinator. “Keith (Howard) started the program 13 years ago with 15 participants and it has grown to 135 participants this year.”

Categories: Local

A wreck on South Old Belair injures four.

Tue, 7/8/2014 5:11 PM

The driver of a Lexus sedan lost control going around a curve on South Old Belair Road and knocked down a telephone pole before crashing into the side of a parked semi truck. The four occupants of the car, including three children, were transported to the hospital with appartently non-life threatening injuries.

Categories: Local

Teen arrested for threatening radio host

Tue, 7/8/2014 11:49 AM

An Augusta teen was arrested Monday for threatening a local talk radio show host.

A 16-year-old was charged with making terroristic threats against WGAC host Austin Rhodes, according to Columbia County sheriff’s Capt. Steve Morris.

Rhodes called authorities just before 11 p.m. Sunday because someone threatened him through Facebook. Rhodes said he’d recently discussed a drive-by shooting in Augusta on his radio show which sparked a conversation on his professional Facebook page, according to a Columbia County Sheriff’s Office incident report.

Someone made comments on that Facebook page that made Rhodes concerned for his safety. The poster, later identified as the teen, wrote, “The Austin Rhodes show gone be dead on my life,” according to the report. The teen was cautioned by someone else that he could get arrested or making such threats.

The teen then sent Rhodes a private Facebook message in which he called Rhodes a dead man and said that he’d messed with the wrong person. The teen also mentioned Rhodes’ wife and threatened to come get him, according to the report.

Rhodes saved the comments before the teen deleted them. He provided deputies written copies of the comments.

The teen was booked into the Columbia County Detention Center Monday and was transferred to the Regional Youth Detention Center, according to Morris.

Categories: Local

Blue Ridge Drive closed for construction

Mon, 7/7/2014 10:34 AM

Motorists should avoid Blue Ridge Drive for the next few weeks because part of it will be closed for construction.

Blue Ridge Drive will be closed to through traffic from Bristol Road/Clark Pointe to Old Evans Road through July 25.

The closure, which began Monday morning, is for the replacement and repair of stormwater infrastructure under Blue Ridge Drive.

Columbia County traffic officials recommend motorists use Old Evans Road, Columbia Industrial Boulevard, Evans to Locks Road and other sections of Blue Ridge Drive as detour routes.

Categories: Local

County History

Sun, 7/6/2014 12:09 AM
Categories: Local

All-Star meet wraps up CSRA swim season

Sun, 7/6/2014 12:08 AM

From intros matching that of a prizefighter walking into the ring to packed stands throughout the night, Monday was all about individual swimmers at the Augusta Aquatics Center.

After a long weekend of team divisional competition, the CSRA Swim League wrapped up its summer season with the 2014 CSRA All-Star Swim Meet. They swam with their pool colors on, but it was about individual achievement as records fell and double winners were crowned.

“It means responsibility for me,” said Westlake’s Lauren Smith, who won the girls 9-10 25 yard breaststroke, of swimming for herself. “I can push to do what I want to do.”

The night was divided into two parts, the 10-and-under swimmers going first followed by the 11-and-over crowd.

In the first session there were five double winners including Stratford’s Victoria Anderson (girls 8-under 25 butterfly, 100 individual medley) and Jones Creek’s Audrey Munger (9-10 25 free, 25 fly).

“It’s harder, it makes me swim faster,” said Munger of facing the other top swimmers.

It didn’t take long for records to fall by the wayside in the second session as Westlake’s Nathan Alleyne won the 13-14 boys 50 freestyle (23.68), breaking the record previously set in 2012 by Farmington’s Dallin Tippett. Alleyne thought he had a chance at the record as he was less than a second from breaking it on Saturday at his division meet.

“I guess I was in the zone this time,” said Alleyne, who later added a win in the 50 fly.

Another double winner, Springlakes’ Nathan Rogers, found himself pitted against pool teammates and potential high school teammates in Mitchell Petras and Aaron Hendry while winning the 50 breast.

I swim against them every day,” said Rogers, calling it a weird experience. “We’re friends, we don’t dislike each other, but we don’t want to lose.”

Rogers would tack on a win in the 50 fly as well.

Other double winners included: Woodbridge’s Erin Day (girls 11-12 50 free/100 IM) and Brennnan Day (boys 15-18 50 back/100 IM), Springlakes’ Rachel Fulton (girls 11-12 50 back/50 fly), Riverwood’s Zachary Vasquez (boys 11-12 50 free/fly) and Ellen Johnson (girls 13-14 50 free/100 IM).

At the end of the night, league president Keith Hendry was happy with the way the season went and with the way the final weekend came to a conclusion, especially with the close to 500 parents who worked as volunteers.

“The season’s a sprint – six weeks – but it’s just a lot of fun,” Hendry said. “Look at all the suppport from the parents, that’s the way it’s supposed to be.”

Categories: Local

Greenbrier standout commits to Clemson University

Sun, 7/6/2014 12:07 AM

After taking her time and weighing her options, all Greenbrier High School senior volleyball player DeJhana Cotton has to do now is sign on the dotted line.

After a trip to the school Tuesday, Cotton made her decision to commit to Clemson University.

“I drove up here and visited and they offered me a full-ride scholarship and I had to pick it up,” said Cotton happily. “I verbally committed today and I’m thrilled and very excited to be going there.”

Cotton will have to wait until November before she can officially sign her National Letter of Intent.

In her two seasons with the varsity squad, the 6-foot Cotton has been a major force for the Lady Wolfpack at the net. In that time, the Lady Wolfpack have posted 38-2 and 28-15 records, won two of their three consecutive area titles and made deep runs into the state playoffs.

Former Greenbrier volleyball coach Debbie Born saw her develop from a JV player as a freshman to where she is today, coming off a sophomore season when she was named the Area 2-AAAAA Player of the Year and First Team All-Area as a junior.

“DeJhana is a hard worker, has amazing spirit and work ethic and she brings out the best in her teammates which is a trait that will bring her great success at Clemson,” said Born. “I am so thankful to have coached her and it couldn’t happen to a greater kid. We at Greenbrier are so proud to call her ours.”

Cotton said she had been receiving interest as far back as a year ago but felt too young to make a decision. After looking at other schools she came to realize that Clemson was the place for a number of reasons, including who she would be playing for.

“The coaches are amazing. they welcomed me with open arms and made it seem like it wasn’t fake and it was going to be real and I could be successful there,” said Cotton. “The training facilities are awesome, it’s an overall amazing campus and a really good school. I’m excited.”

Cotton was happy to have the process behind her and is looking forward to the future.

“It’s truly a blessing,” Cotton said. “I’m not going to take it for granted for sure. I’m ready to get on the court.”

Categories: Local

Public hearings on SPLOST project list begin this week

Sun, 7/6/2014 12:06 AM

Officials will begin holding public meetings this week seeking feedback on a list of projects proposed to be funded by penny sales tax revenues beginning in 2017.

Columbia County officials already have a draft list of projects for the 2017-2022 Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax, which will be on the Nov. 4 General Election ballot.

County Administrator Scott Johnson said the list of projects is up for debate and subject to revision based on what comes out of the public meetings.

Some big ticket items included in the first tier of projects to be funded by the SPLOST are $19.2 million for a county justice center garage and renovation, $7.6 million for a sheriff’s administration building, $3.4 million for a new Harlem library, and $9 million for a new county cultural arts center and museum.

The list also includes $30 million in sales tax funds earmarked for a “sole community hospital provider” – money to be made available for use should the state approve one of three area hospitals that have submitted “Certificate of Need” applications to build the county’s first hospital.

Johnson said all three hospitals – University, Doctors and Georgia Regents Health – requested a letter of support from the county and a commitment that the county would be willing to contribute 20 percent in matching funds to new hospital construction, should it be necessary.

So far, University is the only hospital that has said it expects to need those matching funds for its application, although hospital officials have said they were willing to offset that by paying an advance on property taxes, should their project meet state approval.

“We wanted to make sure those funds were there if needed,” Johnson said.

In the case they are not needed, the county has a $30 million list on contingency projects that could be funded instead, most of which is dedicated to building and improving parks and recreation facilities throughout the county.

In addition to county-wide projects, the SLPOST plan designates about $8.4 million for Grovetown and $2.5 million for Harlem to use on municipal projects. The municipal distributions were approved at Tuesday’s county commission meeting after a series of intergovernment negotiations, officials said. Johnson said he is hopeful residents will show some interest in the projects and let officials know what they want before the final list is approved.

“I genuinely want public input,” he said of the upcoming listening sessions. “We are going to go and listen to what citizens want and modify the list accordingly.”

Categories: Local

Robolli's Italian Bar & Grill closes in Martinez

Sun, 7/6/2014 12:05 AM

An Italian restaurant in Martinez has closed.

Robolli’s Italian Bar & Grill at 502 Furys Ferry Road closed in mid-June, said owner Burton Eichel.

“A lot more effort was required than I was willing to put into it,” Eichel said. “I just didn’t have the time that the restaurant needed to be run at the standards I wanted to maintain. For me, it just made sense to close it.”

The restaurant opened in the Bi-Lo shopping center next to The Pass in 2009. Eichel took over the business in 2012. The restaurant had about 20 employees.

A representative for Augusta-based retail real estate firm Hull Storey Gibson, which handles leasing for the center, said multiple restaurant operators have expressed interest in the space, but a new lease hasn’t been signed.

Categories: Local

Police Blotter, July 6, 2014

Sun, 7/6/2014 12:01 AM

Charges against former public defender dropped

Charges have been dismissed against a former public defender after she wrote a letter of apology, according to Columbia County sheriff’s Capt. Steve Morris.

Alexia Davis was arrested in February 2013 after authorities say she failed to take reasonable steps to return a ring she found in the parking lot of Cracker Barrel to its rightful owner.

Davis found the ring worth about $10,500 ring on Feb. 7. The person with Davis went inside and asked a server what to do if she found a ring. The woman left with the ring and made a comment that it’d be reported to authorities, but never was.

A Thomson woman reported the ring missing a few days later.

Morris published surveillance video from the restaurant through local media in hopes of identifying the woman Feb. 19. Later that day, Davis brought the ring to Richmond County authorities.

She was charged with theft of lost or mislaid property.

Charges against Davis, who is now a private attorney, were dropped after she wrote a letter to the victim apologizing to her, the sheriff’s office and the District Attorney’s office.

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

Man arrested for hitting elderly man

A Dearing, Ga., man was arrested early Monday after authorities say he got angry at a convenience store and hit an elderly man in the back of the head.

Eric Mandel Rolland, 42, was charged with simple battery.

The 77-year-old man said he’d stopped at the TPS at 499 Lewiston Road near Grovetown at about 6:15 a.m. to buy a case water. He put the case of water on the counter and waited for customers in line in front of him to get checked out. He said before he could pay for his water, a man in line behind him, later identified as Rolland, stepped in front of him and up the register. When the man said he was next, he said Rolland told the man he wasn’t next because he was standing next to another register. The men argued and when Rolland was finishing checking out, the man said Rolland stepped behind him and punched him in the back of the head.

Rolland, who turned himself in to authorities, said that the man cursed at him for stepping up to the counter. Rolland said he cursed back and said the man was standing at another register. He said the man made a fist and made a racial slur.

When he was finished at the register, the man said he tried to go around the man, who tried to elbow him. Rolland said he retaliated by hitting him in the back of the head.

Deputies reviewed store surveillance video footage and didn’t see any physical contact from the man.

Rolland contacted authorities and gave a statement, then turned himself in. He was released from the Columbia County Detention Center after posting an $1,100 bond, according to jailers.

Couple’s bank drafts hijacked

A Martinez couple told authorities Monday that someone hijacked several of their monthly payments that were slated to come out as automatic bank drafts.

The 56-year-old woman said she’s paid certain bills through her bank account she shares with her husband. But the money, which was removed from her account, never made it to the creditors.

The woman said she was notified that two of her mortgage payments, which are paid from the checking account automatically, were never delivered to the mortgage company.

Three car payments that were deducted from the account, also never made it to the lender.

The couple said that a certain amount of money is deposited directly into the account monthly. They have not been on vacation recently and typically only buy necessities. They closed the account.

The woman said in May, a man called the couple’s bank and pretended to be her husband. The man was able to get a $7,000 cash advance on the couple’s credit card using their information.

The woman said she doesn’t know who the man is or how he got the information.

The woman said she’s ordered items online using the credit card.

Several times she discovered items she didn’t buy charged to her account or charges that were more than the item she purchased.

The credit card was cancelled and the woman had scheduled an appointment with her bank’s manager.

McDonald’s register ruined

A McDonald’s customer who threw a soda in anger ruined a register at the Martinez restaurant.

A manager at the store on 3804 Washington Road said on Tuesday that at about 9:30 p.m. the previous evening, a customer got angry at about 9:30 p.m. and threw his soda
in the air as he walked
out.

The soda splashed on the register closest to the man. A short time later, the register locked up and quit working.

The manager said she called the company technical support to fix the machine, but it has to be replaced.

After reviewing store video surveillance footage, the manager said the man was in his early 20s with dark hair wearing black shorts, a dirty white T-shirt and a backwards black ball cap. He was with someone wearing a bright pink shirt and jeans.

Categories: Local

Wreck on Horizon South Parkway injures six.

Fri, 7/4/2014 2:24 PM

Three cars were involved in  a pileup on Horizon South Parkway at 12:50 p.m. when a Toyota Camrey traveling south crossed the center line and collided head on with a northbound Ford Escort which in turn was rear-ended by a Nissan Maxima. Six people were transported to area hospitals with two of the injuries described as serious but non-life threatening. Photo by Jim Blaylock

Categories: Local

Police Blotter, July 2, 2014

Wed, 7/2/2014 12:13 AM

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

 

Man punched by mini-golf customer

An Augusta man was arrested for public drunkenness at a Martinez miniature golf facility Sunday after being punched by a customer.

Aubrey Lee Fuller, 32, of Milledgeville Road, was arrested at Putt Putt on Martinez Boulevard in Martinez, at about 2:15 p.m.

A female employee of the business said Fuller was cursing and causing a disturbance and refused to stop cursing when asked.

She said she asked Fuller to leave when he began cursing and yelling at a family. She said Fuller came at her cursing and yelling, when a 27-year-old customer stepped in.

Fuller cursed at the customer, so the customer punched Fuller in the face.

The customer said he heard Fuller yelling at the employee.

He said he brought his son outside to play miniature golf and Fuller yelled at his son and the employee. He said when Fuller advanced at him, he punched him in the face.

The deputy was unable to get a statement from Fuller due to his level of intoxication, but he tested positive for alcohol.

Fuller was being held in the Columbia County Detention Center Monday on a $500 bond, according to jail records.

 

Kroger employee caught stealing lottery tickets

An employee of an Evans grocery store was recently caught stealing lottery tickets and collecting the winnings.

Elizabeth Alicia Smith, 25, of Martinez, was a customer service representative at the store on Washington Road. A store loss-prevention employee told deputies on June 25 that between May 20 and June, Smith printed $2,857 worth of lottery tickets without paying for them. She also collected more than $800 for the winnings tickets.

Smith admitted to stealing the tickets and was charged with theft by taking.

She was released from the Columbia County Detention Center on Thursday after posting a $2,600 bond, according to jailers.

Intoxicated man found in closed grocery store

An employee of a Martinez grocery store said he found an intoxicated man in the store after closing early Saturday.

The employee of the Bi-Lo at 4480 Columbia Road said he found John Samuel Williams II, 44, of Milledgeville, Ga., sitting near the beer cooler just after 2 a.m. He said Williams appeared intoxicated. He escorted Williams out while calling authorities.

The deputy said Williams’ speech was slurred, he had trouble standing and walking and he smelled of alcohol. Williams said he consumed two large cans of beer. He then cursed at the deputy and asked to be taken to jail.

Williams gave a Milledgeville address, but wasn’t able to tell the deputy how he got in the store.

Williams was charged with public drunkenness and was being held Monday in the Columbia County Detention Center on a $500 bond, according to jail records.

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