Latest News from Columbia County News-Times

Syndicate content
Updated: 12 min 59 sec ago

Pet Adoptions

Wed, 11/25/2015 12:10 AM
Categories: Local

Current Events

Wed, 11/25/2015 12:10 AM

Shoes for homeless

Augusta area podiatrists are collecting shoes to distribute for the homeless; drop off new and used shoes at Augusta podiatrists’ office through Jan. 4; all types of shoes needed, all sizes, preferably good condition; (706) 724-7000

Art class

Oil pastel painting 1-3 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 2, Attic Treasures, 575 W. Milledgeville Road, Harlem; learn how to draw still life or landscape, then layer oil pastel colors; held by Harlem Arts Council; $20;

Book Club

Discussing Christian Nation by Frederic C. Rich 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 2, Columbia County Library, second floor, 7022 Evans Town Center Blvd.; copies available at The Book Tavern;

Silent auction

Georgia Regents Medical Center Ambulatory Care Services Silent Auction 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Dec. 3, Augusta University Health System Terrace A, 1120 15th St.; benefits American Heart Association; (803) 474-8677

Executive lunch

Columbia County Chamber of Commerce Executive Luncheon 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Dec. 3, Savannah Rapids Pavilion, 3300 Evans to Locks Road, Martinez;
Dr. Brooks Keel, president of Augusta University and CEO of Georgia Regents Health System. speaker; members $25, others
$35; columbiacountychamber.

Homes tour

North Augusta Christmas Tour of Homes 5:30-9:30 p.m. Dec. 4, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Dec. 5, North Augusta; tour of private homes, North Augusta Arts & Heritage Center and North Augusta High School Science and Technology Center; sponsored by Beta Sigma Phi Sorority; $20 advance through 3 p.m. Dec. 4, $25 during tour; advance tickets at Jim Bush Flowers and Gifts, Communigraphics, and Parks Pharmacy, North Augusta; and at Designed for Change, Martinez; (803) 279-4577

Choral concert

Christmas Through the Ages Featuring the Music of John Rutter 7:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 4, First Baptist Church of Evans, 515 N. Belair Road, Evans; presented by Columbia County Choral Society; Christmas carols and Requiem by John Rutter; tickets at door and online; $15; military, ages 55 and older, students and groups of 10 or more $12;

Art class

Learn to Fold 3D Stars with Paper Strips 10-11 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 5, Attic Treasures, 575 W. Milledgeville Road, Harlem; ages 9 and older; $7;


Gingerbread House Workshop 10 a.m.-noon Saturday, Dec. 5, Hire Grounds Cafe, 3179 Washington Road; decorate a gingerbread house; free, reservations with child’s first name and age required; (706) 650-5760,

Home buying

Free Home Buyer Workshop 10 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 5, Lakeside High School, 533 Blue Ridge Drive, Evans; learn about finding financing, owning a home in today’s market; (706) 284-1306,


Symphony Orchestra Augusta: Tim Zimmerman & The King’s Brass 4 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 6, Jabez Sanford Hardin Performing Arts Center, 7022 Evans Town Center Blvd., Evans; music from Gabrieli to hymn classics, Handel to jazz spirituals, Christmas carols to patriotic marches; $20;

Cedar Ridge

School council meeting 2:30 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 9, Cedar Ridge Elementary School, media center, 1000 Trudeau Trail, Grovetown; (706) 447-2100,

Wendy Murphy

Meet the Artist: Wendy Murphy 6-7:30 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 10, Hire Grounds Cafe, 3179 Washington Road; artwork on display during December; free; (706) 650-5760


Fellowship Banquet 5 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 12, Rosemont Association Building, 5463 Burks Mountain Road, Appling; sponsored by the Smith Grove Baptist Church; $15, ages 12 and younger $10

Christmas concert

Columbia County Orchestra: Noel! Christmas 7 p.m. Friday, Dec. 11, St. Teresa of Avila Catholic Church, Sanctuary, 4921 Columbia Road, Grovetown; featuring St. Teresa’s Choir with Kimberly Lies conducting; and

Harlem High

School council meeting 4:30 p.m. Monday, Dec. 14, Harlem High School, principal’s conference room, 1070 Appling Harlem Road, Harlem; (706) 556-5980,

Yule concert

Christmas with the Annie Moses Band doors 6:30 p.m., show 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 15, Jabez Sanford Hardin Performing Arts Center, 7022 Evans Town Center Blvd., 30809 Evans; $49; (706) 726-0366,


Savannah River Woodturners monthly meeting 9 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 19, Savannah River Woodturners Club Shop, 144 N. Belair Road, Evans; woodturning enthusiasts share projects, learn from other woodturning experts; share wood, teach newcomers, network; first visit free;

Nashville show

Live From Nashville doors 6:30 p.m., show 7:30 p.m. Friday, Jan. 8, Jabez Sanford Hardin Performing Arts Center, 7022 Evans Town Center Blvd., 30809 Evans; $43; (706) 726-0366,

Glenn Miller

The World Famous Glenn Miller Orchestra doors 6:30 p.m., show 7:30 p.m. Friday, Jan. 22, Jabez Sanford Hardin Performing Arts Center, 7022 Evans Town Center Blvd., 30809 Evans; $43; (706) 726-0366,

Evans council

School council meeting 1 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 10, Evans High School media center conference room, 4550 Cox Road; (706) 863-1198,

Muttville Comix

Johnny Peers and his Muttville Comix doors 6:30 p.m., show 7:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 12, Jabez Sanford Hardin Performing Arts Center, 7022 Evans Town Center Blvd., 30809 Evans; $29.50, ages 11 and younger $12.50; (706) 726-0366,

School council

School council meeting 1 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 24, Greenbrier Middle School, 5120 Riverwood Parkway, Evans; (706) 650-6080,

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., 30809 Evans; $45; (706) 726-0366,

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,

Adam Trent

The Futurist Adam Trent doors 6:30 p.m., show 7:30 p.m. Saturday, April 16, Jabez Sanford Hardin Performing Arts Center, 7022 Evans Town Center Blvd., 30809 Evans; $40; (706) 726-0366,

Evans council

School council meeting 1 p.m. Wednesday, April 27, Evans High School media center, 4550 Cox Road; (706) 863-1198,

Middle school

School council meeting 1 p.m. Wednesday, May 4, Greenbrier Middle School, 5120 Riverwood Parkway, Evans; (706) 650-6080,


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,


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,

Categories: Local


Wed, 11/25/2015 12:10 AM
Categories: Local

Final order issued for GRU to build hospital near Grovetown

Wed, 11/25/2015 12:10 AM

In January, the board controlling Georgia Regents Medical Center will determine when to start the design and construction of its 100-bed Columbia County hospital.

The commissioner of the Georgia Department of Community Health signed the final order Monday allowing the university’s medical center to build a hospital near Grovetown, closing the door for appeals from competing hospitals.

A certificate of need was given to the Georgia Regents a year ago to build the facility near Interstate 20. Doctors Hospital and University Health Care System, who also applied to build the county’s first hospital, challenged the ruling.

In an e-mail to colleagues, Shawn Vincent Sr., the vice president of Partnerships, International Healthcare and Strategic Affiliations for the health system, said Monday’s final order “exhausts the appeals at the DCH level.”

In September, an appeal panel hearing officer ruled that Doctors and University did not meet the burden of proof to show that the certificate of need was given in error.

“This is another major victory for the citizens of Columbia County and surrounding communities who eagerly await a hospital that they can call their own,” he said.

University has previously said it will no longer challenge the rulings. Doctors Hospital, however, has indicated it will continue to fight the certificate in state court.

Vincent said officials plan to discuss “next steps” with the board of directors in January.

“We are looking at a 30-month process from the time that we break ground to seeing the doors open and seeing our first patient,” he said.

Vincent said some of the design work has already been done on the $148 million hospital. Of the 100 beds, 24 will be for an intensive care unit. The three-story, 259,000-square- foot building will be placed on Gateway Boulevard, butting up to I-20, according to the health system.

“We really feel that this is going to be a focal point to the community,” Vincent said. “We also see this as a significant economic driver for the community.”

In order to get the project, Columbia County had to pledge to provide 20 percent of the funding.

Categories: Local

Poor results prompt Richmond, Columbia county schools to begin preparations for next Milestones

Wed, 11/25/2015 12:09 AM

Students from Richmond and Columbia counties didn’t fare well on the Georgia Milestones assessment released last week but school officials say the results will help them focus on what they need to do to get better.

The Milestones – end-of-grade tests for third- through eighth-grade students and a new end-of-course test for ninth grade and above – places students in one of four proficiency levels, from beginning learners to distinguished learners. The majority of students in the two counties fell within the lowest proficiency categories, which school officials blamed on the Milestones’ higher difficulty. The assessment dispenses with older question-and-answer styles, sometimes requiring students to support their responses.

School district officials said they are taking steps to prepare students and teachers for the next wave of Milestones testing during the upcoming spring semester. The end-of-grade test covers language arts, mathematics, science and social studies. The end-of-course test includes ninth-grade literature and composition, American literature and composition, coordinate algebra, analytic geometry, physical science, biology, U.S. history and economics.

Richmond County School System Communications Manager Kaden Jacobs said school officials were still examining the results, trying to determine where schools are succeeding and struggling. “The main focus as we examine this data is to find what resources are needed to make our students prepared at a classroom and school level,” he said.

Jacobs added that the district will use professional learning classes to help teachers plan lessons in a way to help students practice for the test’s open-ended questions.

“We have removed the furlough days, so we have extra time for
professional learning days,” he
said. “Our teachers will be able to focus on their preparations for the
next wave of testing, which will
have a positive impact on our

Columbia County Superintendent of Schools Sandra Carraway said her district’s focus on science, technology and mathematics paid off, citing students’ performance on the science and mathematics sections of the end-of-course test. Columbia County had the second highest average among Georgia school systems on the analytic geometry portion of the test and the seventh highest on the coordinate algebra.

“We start our STEM education in middle school, and we can see that has had a very big impact on our students’ performance,” Carraway said.

However, Carraway said, the district needed to work harder on literature-related subjects, where Columbia County students struggled compared to other testing categories.

“That greater emphasis on open-ended questions and inferring answers through evidence is something we definitely need to further practice with,” Carraway said. “While the scores fell within our predictions, we are going to work on changing our teaching standards so our students have more exposure to that style of test.”

Carraway said she was confident her district would show improvements during the next round of testing.

“Compared to the majority of the 181 districts in Georgia, we did extremely well,” Carraway said. “We need to focus on making sure we keep up our performance as time goes on.”

Students across Georgia performed poorly on Milestones tests.

Fewer than 39 percent of elementary, middle and high school students were found proficient in English and math, according to statewide results.

Categories: Local

Tips for a healthy and meaningful Thanksgiving

Wed, 11/25/2015 12:08 AM

Tips for a healthy and meaningful Thanksgiving.

Before the Thanksgiving meal:

1. Set the tone for the day. Carve out some quiet time in the morning to reflect and give thanks for all that is good in your life. In light of the recent tragedies worldwide, setting aside time to be grateful for your loved ones, while also praying for peace, can be a beautiful tribute to those lives that have been affected by violence.

2. Exercise in the morning. Go for a walk with your family, search YouTube for a beginner yoga class, or do body-weight exercises at home. Physical activity in the morning creates positive energy for the rest of the day.

3. Don’t skip breakfast. Skip-ping breakfast often leads to overeating at the main meal. Have a protein and healthy fat for breakfast to help curb the urge to overindulge later. Try an egg with a side of whole wheat toast with peanut butter.

4. Make a healthy dish or appetizer. This way you will be able to enjoy a healthy alternative at the main meal.

At the meal:

1. Begin with the end in mind. How do you feel when you overeat? Uncomfortable, bloated and stuffed. It’s not a good feeling. Before you start eating, set the intention for how you want to feel at the end of the meal and use this as your guide.

2. Pick favorites. What are your three favorite Thanksgiving foods? You may notice it’s the special foods you eat only at this time of year. Go ahead and really savor those delicious favorites and try to steer clear of filler foods – like dinner rolls – that you can enjoy all year round.

3. Moderation. You don’t have to gobble up your favorite foods all at once. Savor the deliciousness by enjoying moderate servings. The great thing about having an abundance of your favorite foods- is that you can enjoy them all week long as leftovers!

4. Put your fork down in between bites. Eat slowly and enjoy the good food and good conversation.

Take the focus off of the food:

1. Family Updates. Every year my mom has our family members go around the dinner table and has each person share what they are grateful for, and they also give an update of what is going on in their life. This is a great way to stay connected and good conversation starters for later. I always learn something new each year- like two of my cousins got promotions at work last year!

2. Go for a family walk. A midday Thanksgiving gathering will allow you to enjoy a walk in between dinner and dessert.

3. Watch old family videos. Ask family members to bring old family videos. I can promise you lots of laughs and it’s a great way to acknowledge those loved ones who aren’t physically with you. Don’t forget to get the camera out this Thanksgiving and Christmas to enjoy years later!

4. Bring a game. Download a couple games on your smart phone for your whole family to play. Our family loves “Heads Up” and “Catch Phrase.”

May thoughts of gratitude and prayers for peace be with you and your loved ones this Thanksgiving.

Kylie Alger is a certified health and wellness coach, co-owner of The WellWoman: Body, Mind & Spirit, and has a degree in exercise science.

Categories: Local


Wed, 11/25/2015 12:08 AM
Categories: Local

Local group helps those who serve

Wed, 11/25/2015 12:06 AM

The living room of Darlene Mays’ Martinez apartment had a few stacked boxes and was devoid of a couch Nov. 19.

A friend had picked up her old couch and another was bringing her another one. She giggled as she explained that it gives her plenty of room to stack boxes of hygiene kits, boxed lunches and stuffed Christmas stockings.

In September, Mays became the Veterans Administration representative in the Augusta area for Soldiers’ Angels, a national organization that supports and comforts wounded veterans, deployed personnel and their families.

She is working to get the local chapter up and running, and is looking for volunteers and donations.

The national Soldiers’ Angels organization offers support to deployed soldiers through letter-writing teams, teams that send homemade baked goods, and adoption of a soldier by an Angel who sends letters and care packages monthly.

Angel volunteers also support family members when a soldier has been left behind or falls on the battlefield, throws baby showers for expectant mothers whose spouse is deployed and offers support to female caregivers of Post 9-11 wounded or ill service members.

Locally, there aren’t enough volunteers to support all of these different missions, so Mays focuses on only a few.

“My main concern is hygiene kits, boxed lunches, blankets and now the (Christmas) stockings,” she said.

Hygiene kits are provided on an as-needed basis to wounded veterans at the Uptown and Downtown campuses of the Charlie Norwood VA Medical Center.

Boxed lunches filled with shelf-stable foods and bottled water are given to homeless veterans who arrive in the medical center’s emergency room.

Mays is just now beginning to collect items such as travel-size shampoo and soaps, toothpaste, puzzle books, socks and other small gifts to fill Christmas stockings to give to the veterans for Christmas.

She is expecting a donation of Christmas cards. She plans to set up a table in a shopping center to let people sign the cards, which will be placed in the stockings.

She also hopes to have a Volunteer Day around the beginning of December, if she can accumulate enough items and volunteers. On that day, she plans to pack the kits, boxed lunches and Christmas stockings in assembly-line fashion.

“Once I get more of the items we need, I’m going to do it once a month,” she said.

Donations of blankets or quilts are also being accepted.

Items that will not be accepted are razors, hand sanitizer and alcohol wipes. Items such as these are given directly to the VA to be administered by the hospital, not given directly to the veteran for safety reasons.

Mays said a friend told her about the organization in 2011 and she’s been donating ever since. Now that she is medically retired, she wanted to become more involved and started working actively with the Atlanta chapter. The Augusta chapter was begun in April, but the representative who had been appointed moved from the area. Mays stepped into the role in September.

She also volunteers two days a week at the downtown VA. “I just like helping people. When the doctor retired me, I thought, I’m not sitting down doing nothing.”

The Georgia Soldiers’ Angels have a Web site that allows businesses, churches and civic groups to purchase items in bulk to donate. It is at

Other donations can be made by calling Mays at (706) 421-6459 or by e-mailing

For more information about the organization, go to

Categories: Local

Developer seeks zoning for senior living complex

Sun, 11/22/2015 12:08 AM

A Charleston, S.C., construction company is planning to build a senior living community on Furys Ferry Road.

Bennett Hofford, the owner of Bennett Hofford Construction, is seeking new zoning for 40 acres at 309 Furys Ferry Road for Indigo Hall, for an assisted care facility, independent living cottages and possibly a nursing home.

Hofford told the Columbia County Planning Commission that the development would likely employ more than 100 people.

The land between the Westhampton and Brookfield subdivisions is currently zoned for residential. County leaders would have to change it to special use for a retirement community, which the planning commisison recommended Thursday.

The rezoning would need Columbia County Commisison approval. That board next meets on Dec. 1.

Hofford said the project would not begin until 2016, after a permitting process.

The first phase would be the assisted living and memory care facility at the rear of the property.

“We had a fire out here,” said commissioner Chris Noah, referencing the Marshall Square Retirement Resort incident in June. “You’re going to have updated fire protection?”

“Generally, we build to international building code. To be honest with you, I’ve built a lot in South Carolina and we have hurricane codes and earthquake codes. The current one we’re building is in a fire district, so it is a fireproof building with sprinklers,” Hofford said.

As an assisted living facility, the building codes would be different than the “senior lifestyle” codes governing Marshall Square, Noah said.

“We are partners with Meridian Senior Living, which is the largest management company in America,” Hofford said. “They are experienced and we are thrilled to have them. They prefer to have all the buildings one story.”

Between the different facilities, there would be about 360 units for rent.

“Most of the people who occupy these facilities do not have cars,” Hofford said.

Hofford suggested that the nursing home was a possibility that might never be constructed, but he wanted the facility in the plans in the event that one could be permitted.

Hofford’s company develops commercial areas and resorts. It also owns and manages three hotels in the Charleston area.

Categories: Local

New Bartram Trailhead amenities to be unveiled Saturday

Sun, 11/22/2015 12:08 AM

A Bartram Trail trailhead in Appling now boasts some new biker-friendly amenities.

A grand reopening of the Petersburg Trailhead near Petersburg recreation area on Clarks Hill Lake will be held at 1 p.m. Saturday in conjunction with the Southern Off-Road Bicycle Association’s CSRA (SORBA-CSRA) Chapter’s annual Bike Fest.

The $100,000 worth of improvements made along the trailhead includes a group shelter with a grill, water and electricity, an expanded gravel parking lot with 25 parking spaces, bike wash station, bike repair station, changing room, rustic toilet and a partner donation box.

Three benches and road crossing signs were also added along Bartram Trail as well as a kiosk and picnic table at Wildwood Park.

The improvements to the trainlhead were paid for by Corps Handshake funds and by several partnering organizations and businesses: SORBA-CSRA, Mulherin Lumber, Andy Jordan’s Bicycle Warehouse, Chain Reaction Bicycles, Outspokin’ Bicycles, Ivey Residential LLC and Columbia County Community and Leisure Services Division.

The Petersburg Trailhead is one of five along the 27-mile Bartram Trail and is heavily used by area riders and runners.

Categories: Local

Police Blotter, Nov. 22, 2015

Sun, 11/22/2015 12:03 AM

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


Man robbed
at gunpoint

An Evans man called authorities Tuesday, five days after he said he was assaulted and robbed at gunpoint.

The 51-year-old man said he was standing near the curb in front door of his townhouse off Old Evans Road at about 11:30 on Nov. 12 when a man approached and hit him on the head with something. There was more than one assailant, who then stole $938 in cash from the man’s pocket. They got into a vehicle and left.

The man said he realized he was bleeding and went inside and cleaned the wounds. Two people inside the townhouse did not see the incident, but gave deputies statements consistent with the man’s.

When deputies arrived, the man showed them blood stains on the concrete where he said the assault happened and the bloody clothes he wore the night of the incident.


Restaurant burglarized

An owner of a Martinez restaurant told deputies Monday that someone she believes is a former employee burglarized the restaurant over the previous weekend.

The owner discovered Mot’s Pit Cooked Barbeque at 3963 Columbia Road had been burglarized when she opened the restaurant Monday morning. She said money left inside and beside the cash register was missing along with the Saturday receipts and a change bag.

An employee closed the restaurant at about 10:30 p.m. Nov. 14 and left a key in an agreed upon outdoor hidden spot, as she was told. The owner review the surveillance video footage and saw a man in a black hoodie get the key and open the front door of the building at about 11:30 p.m.

The video showed the burglar taking cash from the register and taking the change bag and cash envelope with Saturday’s money that were beside the register.

The burglar then waved at one of the cameras and went into the owner’s office. He then left out the front door, taking the cash and the key with him.


Motorist pulls gun on driver

A man called authorities Monday and said a motorist had pulled a handgun on him.

The 44-year-old man said he was driving on Furys Ferry Road at about 10:40 a.m. when a man driving a Mercedes Benz wove in and out of traffic, nearly hitting his vehicle.

The man pulled up to the Mercedes and told the driver to be more careful because he nearly caused a wreck. The driver responded by telling the man not to worry about it.

When the man said he was worried about it, he said the Mercedes driver pulled out a black pistol and pointed it at him. The men then backed off and took a photo of the Mercedes’ license plate. A deputy wasn’t able to make contact with the registered owner.


Woman’s stolen iPad returned

A woman said Tuesday that whoever stole her iPad in Waynesboro, Ga., has returned it.

The woman said her iPad was stolen three months ago from her car in Waynesboro. She did not report the theft to Waynesboro authorities. On Monday, the woman said the iPad was turned on and located at an Evans home using the Find My iPhone app.

Deputies spoke to the homeowners and neighbors. No one admitted having the missing iPad or knowing where it was.

A couple of hours after deputies visited the home, the woman said she got a call from a blocked number. The male caller said she would find her iPad behind the dumpsters at the Burger King on Deans Bridge Road in Augusta. She went to the restaurant and found the iPad, but no one was around. Happy to have the iPad back, the woman opted not to press charges.

Categories: Local

County moves to reorganize structure, hire new deputy administrator

Sun, 11/22/2015 12:01 AM

Columbia County officials announced this week an extensive reorganization of county government that they said would greatly improve efficiency and interaction among various departments.

Columbia County Administrator Scott Johnson said the new structure is something he has been working on quite a while.

“This is a long time coming, a major reorganization for the county,” he said. “The county continues to grow and we feel like it is a more efficient way to do business.”

The new structure organizes all county departments under two major divisions, each under the supervision of a deputy county administrator. Deputy Administrator Glenn Kennedy will supervise five directors and another yet to be hired deputy administrator will supervise five other divisions.

County commissioners approved the new structure and the new deputy administrator position at Tuesday’s meeting. The starting salary for the new position will be $121,692. Also under the plan, county Finance Director Leanne Reece was named as the new head of the Internal Services Division, which will include the Finance, Procurement, Fleet Services, Information Technology and Broadband Utility departments.

The overall structure reduces the number of directors and supervisors reporting to Johnson from 15 to five, which will allow him more flexibilty to address issues and focus on projects that need his attention, he said.

The official organization chart will be altered from the traditional multi-tiered structure to a circular chart to reinforce the idea of connectivity among departments, he said.

“This new structure will replace the classic form of local government and will allow all county departments to better interact with one another which in turn, will promote efficiency,” he said in a statement.

Johnson also introduced a new set of core values for the county government – professionalism, respect, integrity, dedication and excellence, which are also an acronym for PRIDE.

He said the previous vision statement was too difficult to remember.

“From what I’ve found is that most of our employees are not familiar with that,” he said. “It’s hard to recite, it’s hard to remember, so I tried to come up with something that is more indicative of what we are actually doing on a day to day basis.”

Categories: Local

Property Transfers, Nov. 22, 2015

Sun, 11/22/2015 12:00 AM

Dorita Fransham to William J. Parker, parcel ID 082A361, $190,000.

Scott E. Booth to Phillip James Broadwater, parcel ID 059A183, $257,500.

Kimberly M. Tiernan-Armstrong aka Kimberly M. Sams to Kim D. O’Steen, parcel ID 061702, $155,00.

Lola M. Hayes to Cathy C. Johnson, parcel ID 074307, $85,000.

Rita Loraine Anderson to Wendy L. Acs and Mike Acs Jr., parcel ID 072209, $200,000.

Pamela A. Palmer as executor of the estate of William T. Doker to Ricky Wayne Adams and Helen Frances Adams, 302 Merrymont Drive, $135,000.

Michael W. Hall to Oldham Property LLC, 4105 Eagle Nest Drive, $176,745.

Aaron W. Schaffer to Randy J. Watson and Tiffanie J. Watson, 41 Plantation Hills Drive, $240,000.

Mark Thrailkill to Kristina N. Archer, parcel ID 078F256, $118,000.

Zachariah Sepulveda to Andrew James Snyder and Mirella Vasquez Snyder, parcel ID 052353, $142,900.

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

James and Caleb Inc. to South Georgia Custom Homes LLC, a portion of parcel ID 065015X, $51,500.

Jeremy Elizabeth Stewart to Brittany M. Wilhite and Matthew C. Wilhite, parcel ID063375, $149,900.

Ronald L. Harrison to Benjamin J. Murphy, parcel ID 006071B, $199,500.

Canterbury Farms LLC to Faircloth Homes Inc., 727 Southwick Ave., $42,000.

Rhodes Farm LLC to Ernie Blackburn Homebuilders LLC, 315 Little Branch Lane, $110,675.

Faircloth Homes Inc. to Corey S. Johnson and Jessica, 223 Tulip Drive, $225,000.

Downeast Homebuilders Inc. to Harold L. Schmidt and Kathleen K. Schmidt, 3251 Windwood St., $211,100.

Steven Wayne Jacks to Robert K. Iacovone III, 1119 Indian Springs Trail, $209,900.

Magnolia Valley Plantation LLC to Faircloth Homes Inc., parcel ID 0601357, $58,900.

Magnolia Valley LLC to Faircloth Homes Inc., parcel ID 0601331, $43,900.

Magnolia Hills LLC to Faircloth Homes Inc., parcel ID 0601294, $58,900.

The estate of Billy Ray Wisdom to Michael Pie Trbovich, 115 Wadsworth Court, $115,000.

David D. Stennis to Denise M. Carter, 450 Flowing Creek Drive, $73,000.

Jeffrey Pippin Hale to Terrall A. Putnam and Kimberly S. Putnam, 538 Brandermill Road, $165,500.

Georgia Subcontracting Professionals LLC to Nathan N. Wallens and Frances H. Wallens, 1414 Dunwoody Place, $263,000.

M-Homebuilders Inc. to Bobby L. Dillard and Elizabeth L. Dillard, 3704 Amberley Trail, $245,225.

Gloria S. Bagby as trustee under Item IV U/W Carl F. Bagby to Robert L. Wiley and Georgianna D. Wiley, parcel ID 107H130, $295,000.

Park Ridge Builders Inc. to Alettia Z. Rucker, parcel ID 0681142, $209,900.

First Choice Mortgage Homebuilders Inc. to W.S. Harris & Associates Inc., parcel ID 050454, $35,000.

Categories: Local

Marriage Licenses, Nov. 22, 2015

Sun, 11/22/2015 12:00 AM

Craig Rushing Smith and Joanna Charity Jennings applied for a marriage license on Oct. 28, 2015, and were married Nov. 8, 2015, in Appling.

Tyler Joseph Woodard and Brooke Daniel Robles applied for a marriage license on Oct. 15, 2015, and were married Oct. 24, 2015, in Macon, Ga.

Ronald Glenn Oglesby and Janet Teague Dueringer applied for a marriage license on Oct. 6, 2015, and were married Nov. 7, 2015, in Martinez.

Zachary Michael Brock and Erin Michelle Baker applied for a marriage license on Oct. 9, 2015, and were married Oct. 17, 2015, in Lula, Ga.

Zachary Stephen Cayou and Natasha Kang Mercado applied for a marriage license on Nov. 5, 2015, and were married Nov. 10, 2015, in Evans.

Jeffrey Evan Tatro and Susan Laurel Burke applied for a marriage license on Nov. 10, 2015, and were married Nov. 10, 2015, in Evans.

Joshua Bo Brown and Amanda Nicole McCullough applied for a marriage license on Oct. 16, 2015, and were married Nov. 7, 2015, in Grovetown.

Michael Roy Leite and Christine Howe Houck applied for a marriage license on Oct. 29, 2015, and were married Nov. 6, 2015, in Martinez.

James Anthony Wombles Jr. and Valerie Nichole Deritis applied for a marriage license on Sept. 25, 2015, and were married Nov. 7, 2015, in Appling.

Matthew Kent Bell and Laura Jeannean Cooper applied for a marriage license on Oct. 23, 2015, and were married Nov. 1, 2015, in Appling.

Shawn David Alexander and Carla Renee Sherman applied for a marriage license on July 31, 2015, and were married Nov. 8, 2015, in Evans.

Cameron Joseph Coule and Mary Christen Mickelsen applied for a marriage license on Oct. 16, 2015, and were married Nov. 7, 2015, in Evans.

Victor Manuel Ruiz Cruz and Melissa Sue Zamora applied for a marriage license on Nov. 2, 2015, and were married Nov. 7, 2015, in Hephzibah.

Joni Nicole Poole and Ramsi Nicole Copeland applied for a marriage license on Oct. 30, 2015, and were married Nov. 11, 2015, in Augusta.

Barclay Hubbs Pittman and Wanda Marie Pittman applied for a marriage license on Nov. 3, 2015, and were married Nov. 7, 2015, in Augusta.

Keishawn Deonte Whitfield and Anquameshia Lakelv Whitlow applied for a marriage license on Nov. 12, 2015, and were married Nov. 14, 2015, in Augusta.

Michael Paul Grulke and Melissa Lee Chambers applied for a marriage license on Oct. 30, 2015, and were married Nov. 13, 2015, in Grovetown.

Thomas Lee Wilson and Mary Allyson McLean applied for a marriage license on Oct. 20, 2015, and were married Nov. 7, 2015, in Appling.

Andre Rashad Caldwell and Beth Ann Draeger applied for a marriage license on Nov. 13, 2015, and were married Nov. 14, 2015, in Evans.

Anthony Scott Reese and Heather Denese Reese applied for a marriage license on Feb. 23, 2015, and were married Mar. 20, 2015, in Appling.

Richard Taylor Ramsey and Anna Marie Barnes applied for a marriage license on Nov. 13, 2015, and were married Nov. 14, 2015, in Evans.

James Mikel Luca and Rebecca Edna Colflesh applied for a marriage license on Oct. 23, 2015, and were married Nov. 14, 2015, in Martinez.

Evans Michael McArthur and Mallory Erin Stinson applied for a marriage license on Nov. 5, 2015, and were married Nov. 14, 2015, in Hephzibah.

Justin Denard Coggins and Amanda Lyn Pagnucco applied for a marriage license on Nov. 18, 2015, and were married Nov. 18, 2015, in Evans.

Categories: Local

Divorces, Nov. 22, 2015

Sun, 11/22/2015 12:00 AM

Angela Susan Forestall and James Thomas Forestall, Oct. 27, 2015.

Ann Renay Highsmith-Harvey and Edwin Gerard Highsmith-Harvey, Nov. 3, 2015.

Gregory P. Nale and Samantha M. F. Nale, Nov. 2, 2015.

A. Renee Fry and Trent A. Fry, Oct. 22, 2015.

Joseph Henninger and Kay Lynn Henninger, Oct. 30, 2015.

Ty Stowers and Samantha Stowers, Nov. 16, 2015.

Rafael Gonzalez and Shelby Sheppard, Nov. 10, 2015.

John Sweger and Tina Sweger, Sept. 21, 2015.

Monica B. Henderson and Rufus C. Henderson, Oct. 8, 2015.

Joshua Allen Reid and Jessica Renee Reid, Oct. 27, 2015.

Shannon Jenkins and Stephen Tracy Jenkins, Nov. 10, 2015.

Karen Pryor and Shane Pryor, Nov. 10, 2015.

Abiy Mekoya and Abinet Gebremichael, Nov. 12, 2015.

Steven S. Liberman and Kamika M. Liberman, Nov. 5, 2015.

Trisha Thurman and Harold Thomas Thurman, Oct. 27, 2015.

Kareem Williams and Amanda Williams, Nov. 12, 2015.

Brandon Van Dollar and Kimberly Michelle Dollar, Oct. 28, 2015.

Karen Ann Taylor and Patrick Jonathan Taylor, Oct. 27, 2015.

Tara Allison Hernandez and Mark Angel Hernandez, Nov. 10, 2015.

Jessica Leah Cranford and Richard Thomas Cranford, Nov. 3, 2015.

Scott Martin Hyatt and Shalia Schmidt Hyatt, Nov. 10, 2015.

Robin Shaw Davis and William C. Davis Jr., Nov. 16, 2015.

Sandra L. Williams and Terrance A. Bridges, Oct. 30, 2015.

Kaitlin Cunningham and Joshua Cunningham, Oct. 22, 2015.

Tamela Williams and William Williams, Nov. 2, 2015.

Judith Louise Johnson and Eric Donald Johnson, Nov. 10, 2015.

Dao T. Pham and Ta Minh Cao, Nov. 3, 2015.

Jimmy Munoz Jr. and Karen Munoz, Nov. 9, 2015.

Categories: Local

Wiggins sign to stay local

Wed, 11/18/2015 12:05 AM

Once he stepped foot on the USC Aiken campus, Daniel Wiggins knew
he found his next baseball stop.

On Monday, the 6-foot-2, 190-pound Lakeside pitcher signed a letter of intent to play with the Pacers.

Last season, USC Aiken went 34-17 in the Peach Belt Conference, one of the toughest leagues in NCAA Division II.

“I just got there and it was a perfect fit,” Wiggins said. “It just felt like home the second I got there. I didn’t know much about it before, but once I got on campus it felt like home.”

The 17-year-old Wiggins started playing tee-ball as a youth and played other sports like basketball and golf. A successful sixth-grade tryout led to Wiggins focusing solely on baseball – he said he was one of three sixth-graders to make the Stallings Island Middle School team.

“All my friends were really nervous going into it. I just said I was going to do the best I can,” he said about the tryout. “I did really good. I was really proud of that. I thought I could do really well in the sport.”

He started playing travel ball in sixth grade with weekend tournaments. When he reached high school, Wiggins started playing in weeklong events during the summer and the fall.

Now, the left-handed pitcher throws four pitches: fastball, curveball, changeup and cutter.

He said his best two pitches are his fastball, which hits the low-to-mid 80s, and his changeup.

Wiggins was named first-team, all-region last season, one of two Panthers on the first team.

His highlight of the season came in April when Wiggins pitched a complete-game shutout against No. 1 Greenbrier, handing the Wolfpack their first loss of the year.

“That was a big win for us,” Wiggins said. “That helped us get to the playoffs. That was a big confidence-booster.”

Last season, Lakeside advanced to the first round of the postseason play.

Wiggins said he’s hoping the Panthers will be able to make a deeper run in the playoffs in the spring.

“We’re going to have a really good year,” he said. “We’ve got a great senior class. I’m just hoping for the best.

Categories: Local

Lawrence signs with Division I Jacksonville State University

Wed, 11/18/2015 12:05 AM

Overshadowed by talented and more-experienced players her first two years, Evans High School’s girl’s basketball player McKenna Lawrence broke out last year and made her presence known.

One of those schools taking note was Division I Jacksonville State University (Jacksonville, Ala.). Lawrence liked the school as well and Friday signed to play for the Lady Gamecocks.

After a junior year in which she averaged 13.1 points-, 5.7 rebounds-, and 2.2 steals-per-game, following it up with a strong AAU season, Lawrence took an unofficial visit in July and followed it up with an official visit last weekend, ruling out Hampton University and Belmont Abbey.

“They’ve been consistent, they’ve been following me for a really long time,” said Lawrence, who was excited to be starting a new chapter in her life. “The school is nice and the team was nice when I went down there. The coaching staff is really like a family, they have your back when you need stuff. They’ll still try to help you through. It’s just a good system.”

That junior year came as no surprise to Evans coach Ryan Morningstar who has seen her potential since she was a freshman.

“I was expecting a big year and she didn’t disappoint on and off the floor, she’s a great kid,” Morningstar said.

Helping with the decision-making process, Lawrence likes the way the Jacksonville State program is going under third-year coach Rick Pietri after the Lady Gamecocks jumped from a 14-win season to a 19-10 mark last year.

“It was good because they just started all over again when they hired Coach (Rick) Pietri,” Lawrence said. “I like his way of playing basketball, it’s a lot similar to my AAU coach.”

Categories: Local

Poteet and Son Funeral Home buys land for expansion in Columbia County

Wed, 11/18/2015 12:02 AM

An Augusta funeral home bought land at the corner of William Few Parkway and Columbia Road for the eventual
construction of another location.

Thomas Poteet and Son Funeral Home, 214 Davis Road, purchased 16.7 acres of land from Journey Community Church for $970,000.

“The main thing we wanted to do was just secure property so that when it was time to expand, we would be ready,” said Buzz Poteet, president and part owner of the funeral home.

Poteet said there is no definitive timeline on building the second location. “It could take us five to 10 years before we’re out there,” he explained.

Poteet said he was interested in expanding to Columbia County because of the population growth in the county.

“We wanted to be between Washington Road and I-20,” he said.

The location is 5456 Columbia Road. Property records show Journey Community Church paid $363,800 for the land in 2004.

In a news release on the property sale, Bobby Smith, the lead pastor of Journey Community Church, said the sale “moves us one step closer to the expansion of our campus on Hardy McManus Road.”

Poteet said he feels the purchase price was a reasonable amount for property in that area.

The 16.7 acres has a pond, Poteet said, which will be an asset for the aethetics of the new location when they are ready to build.

“That’s why we want to take our time and think about it, get it like we need to get it,” he said.

The plot also already has the zoning that allows for a funeral home.

Poteet said the company discovered the location through former Augusta Commissioner Matt Aitken, who is an agent with commercial real estate firm Sherman and Hemstreet.

The church orginally intended to use the Columbia Road land for expansion, but then bought an existing church at 4798 Hardy McManus Road in 2008.

The funeral home has been on Davis Road, a former church, since 2002, expanding that location in 2006.

Categories: Local

Martinez day care zoning request withdrawn

Wed, 11/18/2015 12:01 AM

Developers of a day care at the entrance of a Martinez neighborhood withdrew their rezoning request to the Columbia County Commission, citing public opinion and a potentially better location.

Two weeks ago, the county’s planning commission recommended the disapproval of the conditional use for a day care in a parcel zoned for professional at 3991 Dowling Drive. The land is at the entrance to Heritage Hill on Columbia Road.

William Trotter III, on behalf of day-care developer Clyde Tant and property owner Walton Way Properties, sent a letter to the county Friday asking that the request be removed from the county commission’s agenda for Tuesday evening.

“We’re looking for a different location that is more suitable for our purposes,” he said. “We don’t have any plans to come back to this site.”

Trotter said a better location in Columbia County was identified for the day care. The exact location was not revealed because of ongoing contract negotiations.

Heritage Hill residents expressed concern the day care would create additional traffic and worsen congestion in that area.

“We had a lot of neighborhood objections that we think was unfounded,” Trotter said. “At the same time, our business depends on making people happy. If we make the
neighbors unhappy, then it doesn’t help the Childcare Network’s business. We don’t want to be where
we’re not wanted, regardless of the reasons.”

Categories: Local

Local students struggle with Milestones test

Wed, 11/18/2015 12:01 AM

Students from across the CSRA struggled with the first round of Georgia Milestones testing, according to results released Monday, with many falling into the two lowest-proficiency categories.

Georgia Milestones replaced the End of Course and Criterion-Referenced Com­pe­tency standardized tests this year, taking the form of an end-of-grade test for third- through eighth-grade students and a new end-of-course test for ninth grade and above. The new test is meant to bring more “rigor” to Georgia’s assessments, and local school officials expected the higher standards would yield lower scores in this first set of tests.

“As expected, scores were lower, but, given that this was the first administration of these tests, our students performed relatively well, indicating that in many areas our teachers are effectively providing classroom instruction that prepares students for their future,” said Columbia County schools Superintendent Sandra Carraway. “Our students continue to outperform the state at every level. Further, our fifth grade and high school students performed particularly well in math and science.”

The end-of-grade test covers language arts, mathematics, science and social studies. The test includes ninth-grade literature and composition, American
literature and composition, coordinate algebra, analytic geometry, physical science, biology, U.S. history and economics.

Milestones places students in one of four proficiency levels, from “beginning learners” to “distinguished learners.” Students that fall in the two highest categories, proficient or distinguished learner, demonstrate mastery of the subject. Students falling in the beginner or developing learner levels will need additional academic support to be prepared for their next grade level.

The test will represent 20 percent of the student’s final grade in the next wave of testing in the spring. Pupils in third, fifth and eighth grades must show they can “read and comprehend grade-level material” on the test to be promoted. Fifth- and eighth-graders must score at the developing learner level or higher in mathematics to be promoted.

Students across Georgia performed poorly on Mile­stones tests. Fewer than 39 percent of elementary, middle and high school students were found proficient in Eng­lish and math, according to statewide results.

In Columbia County, 50.8 percent of third-graders tested proficient or higher on the English language arts section of the end-of-grade test, while 21.1 percent of Richmond County students did. Older students also struggled: only 46.3 percent of Columbia County’s sixth-graders scored proficient or higher on the mathematics section of the end-of-grade test, while 16.9 of Richmond County sixth-graders did.

Columbia County students in general did outperform students from all other districts in the 11-county Central Savannah River Area, although individual schools, such as Davidson Fine Arts and A.R. Johnson Magnet schools in Richmond County, tended to score higher in most areas.

Columbia County high school students were challenged in the literature and economics portions of the test, with roughly 40 percent scoring proficient or higher on those sections. They did better on mathematics and science-related subjects: 58.6 percent tested proficient or higher in biology and 56.3 percent were proficient or better in analytic geometry, the highest percentage in the state for a county district.

Carraway said school officials recognize there is much work to do to bring the achievement levels up.

“We must do a better job preparing our elementary students in the areas of science and social studies and moving students scoring at the Developing level to Proficient or Distinguished,” she said. “Parents should know that the tests this year serve as a benchmark for their children’s performance in the future. They will help teachers improve and/or modify their instruction so that students are not simply better prepared to perform well on the tests, but most importantly, that they have the knowledge and skills they need to be successful in school and beyond.”

Categories: Local
Search Augusta jobs