Latest News from Columbia County News-Times

Syndicate content
Updated: 56 min 16 sec ago

Chamber accepting leadership program applications

17 hours 28 min ago

Applications for the Columbia County Chamber of Commerce’s 2016 Youth Leadership program are due today.

The Youth Leadership program explores various aspects of the community. There are meetings for monthly programs.

Applications for the Youth Leadership program are due by 5 p.m. today.

Leadership Columbia County is a program for adults focusing on community topics including local government, law enforcement, healthcare, industry and economic development, cultures and community service.

Applications for the adult program are due by 5 p.m. on April 23.

More information and applications for both programs are available at the chamber Web site, or by calling (706) 861-0018.

Categories: Local

On vacation

17 hours 28 min ago
Categories: Local

Pet Adoptions

17 hours 28 min ago
Categories: Local

Police Blotter

17 hours 33 min ago

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


Church is burglarized

A deacon of a Martinez church told deputies Sunday that someone burglarized the church.

The deacon of Faith Outreach at 102 S. Belair Road said that at about 7:30 a.m. he came in the church and found the back door unlocked. The deacon said he found a USB cable on the floor near the door, a nearby storage room in disarray and a keyboard missing. He also said someone stole a DVD player from a filing cabinet, a DVD player from the preschool room, and snack foods, liquid soap, paper towels, trash bags and a vacuum cleaner.

A flat-screen TV had also been removed form the wall in the entryway.

Deputies found no signs of forced entry into the building.


Man follows woman home

A Martinez woman called authorities Thursday after she said a man followed her from an Augusta store to her home.

The 20-year-old woman said a man in his 50s with a bald head and a beard followed her in a black, four-door vehicle from Ulta in Augusta to Cato on Washington Road in Evans at about 7 p.m. She said when she got out of her car, the stranger approached her in his car and asked, “What kind of car is that?” He then said he’d just seen the woman at Ulta.

The woman said she got a “bad feeling” about the stranger and drove away and returned home at about 8:30 p.m. Only a few minutes later, the woman said, she heard the knob on the front door move and her dogs barked. She looked outside and didn’t see anyone, but suspects the stranger followed her home.


Man reports blackmail

A Grovetown man told deputies Thursday that he’s been blackmailed for about a year.

The man said he’s made payments totaling $9,000 to a woman to keep her from releasing nude photos of his wife.

He said the woman asked for another $4,300 by Saturday or she would send people to his house to collect the money.

He said the woman demanded all the payments be made at a home in Richmond County.


Clearing House call proves fake

An Appling woman said Thursday that someone told her she’d won the Publishers Clearing House prize.

The woman said she got a call on her cell phone from a man who identified himself as George with UPS. The caller said he was about to deliver a package from Publishers Clearing House to her home. The woman said she didn’t need the package and he hung up.

Then, “George” called the woman’s husband on his cell phone and began telling him about the package.

The woman said she called the number and a person answered who sounded like George. When she asked if George was available, the man gave the phone to a woman who said “Publishers Clearing House.”

The couple doesn’t know how the strangers got their cell phone numbers.

Man harassed by fake IRS agent

An Evans man called authorities Thursday stating he’s being harassed by someone claiming to be with the IRS.

The man said he’s been getting calls from a man who identified himself as David Wilson with the IRS. The caller claims the man has been audited and now owes money. The man said he’s received no documents from the IRS about being audited.

He doesn’t believe the caller works for the IRS and that he is the target of a scam, so he won’t meet with the caller.

Categories: Local

Columbia County School for the Arts makes deal for land purchase

17 hours 34 min ago

The group behind Columbia County’s first proposed charter school announced it has a contract to purchase land for a future school site near Blanchard Woods Park.

The Columbia County School for the Arts has an agreement to buy 15 acres of property at the corner of Blanchard Woods Drive and Willie Daniel Drive, which is contingent on the school obtaining approval of its charter from either the county Board of Education or the State Charter Schools Commission, according to Todd Shafer, a founding member of the group.

“This is an important and exciting step toward our planned August 2016 opening,” said Shafer, who has been appointed to serve as the school principal by the group’s governing board. “And it is a step we would have been unable to take without the encouragement and support of the many people who believe in our vision of creating a very special school of choice in Columbia County.”

Shafer said should the charter not meet approval by next fall, the group will be under no obligation to buy the property, which is part of a 50-acre tract owned by Superior Court Judge James G. Blanchard Jr.

The group is also in discussions with various groups of investors in order to reach an agreement for financing the construction of a new school on the site. Shafer said the investment groups specialize in jumpstarting charter schools by providing the initial funding for facilities. Once the school has demonstrated a track record of success and can qualify for traditional credit, Shafer said the board can seek new financing to pay off investors and purchase the facility.

“We as a group cannot go to a bank and at this point and get traditional financing,” he said.

Having a contract on the land and the backing of investors for a new facility should, however, satisfy one of the criticisms from state regulators, who denied the group’s charter petition in August.

“It is our intention when we go to the state we will be able to articulate a plan to develop land and build a school,” Shafer said.

The charter commission staff recommended denying the petition for Columbia County School for the Arts for three reasons. It said the proposed school’s governing board, while passionate and knowledgeable, “did not demonstrate that it would be able to assert authority, management, and oversight over the school leaders.”

The commission also said the proposed Columbia County school lacked a clear plan to be ready for the 2015-16 school year and did not articulate a strategy for acquiring a facility for students in that time frame.

Shafer said since that time, several board members have attended state training for charter school administrators and the group is working on a transition plan to be ready when they submit the charter within a few weeks. If approved, the group intends to offer arts infused education for children from kindergarten through eighth grade starting in 2016. The school will add a grade each year afterward until it graduates its first high school class, which could be in the spring of 2021.

Categories: Local

Property Transfers, March 29, 2015

Sat, 3/28/2015 11:16 PM

Martha Katherine Spivey to Jared Marshall Spivey, 4131 Fox Brush Drive, $189,900.

Rhodes Farm LLC to R. Lewis Construction LLC, parcel ID 084164, $70,000.

D.R. Horton-Crown LLC to Jeff H. Whirley and Elizabeth M. Whirley, parcel ID 0601022, $252,682.

Unruh Investments LLC to Jones E. Nalley III and Rebecca L. Nalley, parcel ID 077F250, $138,500.

Metro Homesites LLC to Keystone Homes Inc., parcel ID 061195F, $36,400.

Metro Homesites LLC to Keystone Homes Inc., parcel ID 0611944F, $35,200.

Anthony L. Lioi to Nathan L. Parker to Eunice M. Parker, parcel ID 77242, $305,000.

Lee Builders Inc. to Wells Christopher Lange, parcel ID 074A140, $144,000.

Theodore Weeden Earle as executor of the estate of Gregory Boyd Earle to Kevin W. Lloyd and Melissa S. Lloyd, 4241 Anderson Circle, $266,497.

Winchester Homes of GA Inc. to Christopher J. LaBrec, 2453 Newbury Ave., $189,080.

Winchester Homes of GA Inc. to Andrew Hromyak and Laura Andrews, 1732 Edenburg Way, $228,745.

Pamela B. Mills to Donald P. Helgesen and Tonya A. Bates, parcel ID 077H012, $755,000.

John M. Henry II to Pamela Henry Snowdy, 169 Watervale Road, $125,711.

Judith M. Lewkowicz to Dennis Keith Horton and Katherine Nalls Horton, parcel ID 060253, $152,000.

Richard Gilbert to Gerald A. Speering and Fran J. Speering, 26 Dyches Road, $122,000.

Dale E. Dickson to Kenneth L. Usry, 606 Cedarwood Court, $66,295.

First Bank of Georgia to Kenneth L. Usry, 1376 Waterston Drive, $38,000.

Amanda A. Hong to Robert Peel, 205 High Point Way, $76,300.

B.E.C. Custom Homes and Development Inc. to Ana Situ-Jiang and Xiang Hong Jiang, parcel ID 077H593, $550,000.

U.S. N.A. as trustee for LSF8 Master Participation Trust to Kathie E. Lees, 414 Parliament Road, $80,100.

Renukadevi M. Ramrajegowda to Timothy W. Johnson and Doris K. Johnson, parcel ID 066710, $87,900.

Ivey Residential LLC to Kimberly C. Wood, 2543 Ravenna Lane, $265,675.

Leonard E. Tankersley to Shann P. Heddleson, 6176 Old Union Road, $138,000.

Charles W. Pilcher III to James C. Brooks, 1940 Shoreline Drive, $151,900.

Lana L. Dunnigan to Desmond R. Williams and Irene Williams, 1631 Jamestown Ave., $249,900.

Bruce A. Marshall to Raymond Dunham, 325 Annie Laurie Drive, $20,000.

N. Gayle Partlett to Wayne Hammett, parcel ID 024222, $126,000.

Alvin L. Barney to Tracee Roberts-Jenkins, parcel ID 077I554, $203,900.

Rene Garcia Jr. to Oanh Thi Nguyen and Nbu V. Loo, parcel ID 072N018, $152,000.

Harold G. Johnston to Scott J. Pidcock and Kimberly M. Pidcock, parcel ID 081B857, $640,000.

Michael G. Orr to Mukeshkumar K. Patel, parcel ID 078414, $85,000.

Trudy G. Holder to Steven R. Duvall Jr. and Cassandra D. Duvall, parcel ID 078H340, $112,500.

IDK Homes Inc. to Oscar D. Morales, parcel ID 0611873, $239,900.

Tonya P. Bowen and John D. Bowen to Lamar A. Frederick and Melissa K. Frederick, parcel ID 0621499, $119,000.

Brian P. Enter and Allison B. Enter to Gary Porterfield, parcel ID 084127, $512,820.

James N. Ferrell to William A. Dozier, parcel ID 081B1133, $372,500.

Michael F. Boyd and Nancy F. Boyd to Jerrell L. McNutt and Vera McNutt, parcel ID 061294, $170,000.

Jonathan D. Lewis to Lauren E. Livingston, parcel ID 074B142, $90,000.

Barbara Jeffcoat Carmichael to Callie J. Kirkland, 4525 Derryclare Lane, $125,000.

Philip E. Leopold and Marguerite LK Leopold as co-trustees of the Marguerite LK Leopold Living Trust to Jaime I. Salemi, 587 Oak Brook Drive, $176,000.

Lang Le and Phuong Ho to N.P. Dodge Jr., 309 Bobwhite Trail, $285,000.

South Georgia Custom Homes LLC to David M. Tran and Emily Tran, parcel ID 059208, $304,900.

Pauline Weis now known as Elen Pauline Bailey to Genna R. Weis and Alexander C. Beyersdoefer, parcel ID 07710258, $156,250.

First Choice Homebuilders LLC to Joseph A. Tingerthal, 6351 Southbroom, $324,218.

Beverly Reigle to Sylan T. Starbird, parcel ID 073A013, $93,000.

Charles Christopher Roberts Jr. to Gordon Parry Broadbent IV, parcel ID G09427 and G09428, $160,000.

Joseph W. O’Tyson to Doctors Hospital of Augusta LLC, 745 N. Belair Road, $4,800,000.

Golzap LLC to Park Ridge Builders LLC, parcel ID 0681142, $35,000.

Julian C. Ammons to Melvin E. Rhinehart and Addie Rhinehart, 519 Hardwick Court, $234,900.

Pierwod Construction Co. to Bobby Ramsey and Joann Ramsey, 713 Oakwood Court, $199,900.

Pierwood Construction Co. to William Huerth and Lisa Huerth, 1681 Jamestown Ave., $309,000.

Andrew Russell Williams to Melanie R. Roy, 245 Full Circle Drive, $172,000.

Heath D. Haynie to Ian L. Daysh and Susannah G. Daysh, 943 Rollo Domino Circle, $300,000.

Mary Sue Properties LLC to Kristy Steven Jones, parcel ID 067753, $280,000.

Regis Development to Bill Beazley Homes Inc., parcel ID 0621406, $26,900.

Thomas D. Buzard as successor trustee of the Kenneth D. Buzard Living Trust to Matthew J. Hitchler and Rachelle Elisha Hitchler, 822 Willow Lake, $270,000.

John J. Pryhoda to Dwayne E. Baker Jr. and Keionna J. Baker, 1309 Royal Oak St., $168,000.

Michelle E. Armour to Carlos Solivan and Alejandrina Solivan, 514 Goodale Court, $110,000.

Jennifer Hudson to Mir Abdul Besith Khan and Ferheth M. Khan, 715 Kensey Park Lane, $142,000.

Regis Development to Bill Beazley Homes Inc., parcel ID 0621407, $26,900.

Mike Zapata to Heatherley Fillgrove, parcel ID 077099, $8,700.

Jones E. Nalley III to Andrew T. Smith and Sara G. Smith, 123 Glenora Drive, $124,900.

Donald Cockerham to Augusta Property Group, 4049 Raintree Drive, $76,500.

Timothy W. Johnson to Mark Miller, 1114 Blackfoot Drive, $269,900.

Loren Dale Flanagan as trustee of the Loren Dale Flanagan Living Trust dated May 18, 2004, and Nancy May Flanagan to Kenneth R. Slayton and Virginia R. Slayton, 358 Canterbury Drive, $379,900.

Jeff McNair Construction Inc. to Thomas M. Prichard, 100 Morgan Drive, $179,900.

Winchester Homes of GA Inc. to Theresa D. Sligh, 2448 Newbury Ave., $189,365.

Anne R. Glasscock to Ruby N. Garrard, 4061 Greenbriar Drive, $40,000.

Kathryn B. Selby and Catherine S. Branch to Sauer Duehring Enterprises LLC, a portion of parcel ID 062086, $500,000.

Jeffrey D. Rumfield to Mary Taylor, 560 Crossgate Court, $179,000.

Anu Hulkkonen nka Anu Johanna Waarna, parcel ID 0671348, $270,500.

Blackstone Development Co. LLC to Ivey Residential LLC, 715 Marsh Point Road, $121,500.

Pierwood Construction Co. to Leonardo Garcia and Jenny Quinones, 709 Oakwood Court, $207,500.

Categories: Local

Marriage Licenses, March 29, 2015

Sat, 3/28/2015 11:16 PM

Andrew Gregory Head and Sara Elaine Tafazoli applied for a marriage license on March 6, 2015, and were married March 14, 2015, in Augusta.

Lee Anthony Schafer and Jessica Brooks Toole Perara applied for a marriage license on March 19, 2015, and were married March 19, 2015, in Evans.

Samuel Jaquis Bailey and Chynna Valencia Key applied for a marriage license on March 19, 2015, and were married March 19, 2015, in Augusta.

William Isaac Gagnon and Lisa Marie Scott applied for a marriage license on March 17, 2015, and were married March 19, 2015, in Evans.

William John Davis Jr. and Lisa Marie Evans applied for a marriage license on Feb. 13, 2015, and were married March 19, 2015, in Evans.­

Adam Lester Newsome and Bernell Mellisa Smith applied for a marriage license on Feb. 23, 2015, and were married March 19, 2015, in Evans.

William McCord Brickle III and Pamela Jean Wooten applied for a marriage license on March 16, 2015, and were married March 19, 2015, in Evans.

Daniel Joseph Banks and Kelly Miriam Lewis applied for a marriage license on March 12, 2015, and were married March 14, 2015, in Harlem.

Gary Lee Stewart Jr. and Kassandra Marie Ames applied for a marriage license on Feb. 4, 2015, and were married March 20, 2015, in Evans.

Corey Rex Peterson and Carrie Ann McLeish applied for a marriage license on March 9, 2015, and were married March 20, 2015, in Evans.

Najja Lowe and Nadine Natasha Johnson applied for a marriage license on March 20, 2015, and were married March 20, 2015, in Evans.

Terey Nigel Tyson and Cheri Davett Patterson applied for a marriage license on March 17, 2015, and were married March 20, 2015, in Evans.

Gary Dean Kelly and Cheryl Young Taylor applied for a marriage license on March 17, 2015, and were married March 20, 2015, in Evans.

Benjamin Phillip Earnest and Rochelle Marie Harvey applied for a marriage license on March 13, 2015, and were married March 21, 2015, in Appling.

Matthew Lee James Lewless and Jessica Nicole Blair applied for a marriage license on March 13, 2015, and were married March 21, 2015, in Evans.

Nathan Allen White and Ashley Nicole Campbell applied for a marriage license on March 4, 2015, and were married in March 21, 2015, in Augusta.

Jeffrey Lloyd Hansen and Rachel Leanne Ferko applied for a marriage license on Feb. 23, 2015, and were married March 21, 2015, in Martinez.

Dominique Roshawne Mincey and Laindia Desiree Fields applied for a marriage license on Feb. 19, 2015, and were married March 21, 2015, in Augusta.

Christopher Edward Led­better and Lauren Nicole Montini applied for a marriage license on March 13, 2015, and were married March 21, 2015, in Appling.

William Serlie Sherrill III and Patricia Hyman Pond applied for a marriage license on Feb. 10, 2015, and were married March 21, 2015, in Martinez.

James Gilmore Mayo V and Meaghan Elizabeth Pafford applied for a marriage license on Feb. 6, 2015, and were married Feb. 21, 2015, in Augusta.

Jon Brian Hodgson and Tisha Gaye Jones applied for a marriage license on March 6, 2015, and were married March 21, 2015, in Martinez.

Roy Lester Allen and Jacquelyn Moore applied for a marriage license on Feb. 10, 2015, and were married March 22, 2015, in Carrollton, Ga.

Jared Daniel Balbag and Kaysha Teresa Murillo applied for a marriage license on March 6, 2015, and were married March 22, 2015, in Augusta.

Categories: Local

Divorces, March 29, 2015

Sat, 3/28/2015 11:16 PM

Roger Lee Davis and Annie Faile Davis, March 20, 2015.

Kieon D. Pearson and Tinika S. Pearson, March 11, 2015.

Lee Miller and Aimee Miller, Feb. 27, 2015.

Kathleen Silarek and Joseph Silarek, March 18, 2015.

Amanda Marie Williams and Patrick Fitzgerald Williams, March 20, 2015.

Frances Hope Connolly and Eric Keith Connolly, March 13, 2015.

Amber Leanne Everett and Ryan Everett, March 10, 2014.

Henry Lee Williams and Karen P. Williams, March 18, 2015.

Laura Baxter and Jacob Baxter, March 16, 2015.

Robert W. O’Rander and Beverly R. O’Rander, March 16, 2015.

Clarence B. Lamb and Darlene E. Lamb, March 16, 2015.

Jeffrey S. Sigmon and Beverly Sue Scott, March 16, 2015.

Samantha Eve Williams Miracle and Gary Dean Miracle, March 16, 2015.

Categories: Local

Sports Calendar for Sunday, March 29, 2015.

Sat, 3/28/2015 11:15 PM

Registration for MELL

Registration for Martinez-Evans Little League Spring Baseball is still open. Registration for wee ball ends on Tuesday and senior and big finish on May 5. Go to


New Georgia Impact 14U travel baseball team is looking for players. Practices are in Appling. Players must be born after May 1, 2000. Call (706) 231-6488.

Football Camp

The Augusta Prep 7th Annual Summer Football Camp at Augusta Prep is July 7-9. It is host by several out of town coaches. Contact

Categories: Local

GISA mercy rule provides anything but

Sat, 3/28/2015 11:14 PM

What is a coach to do when his or her team is so much better than the opponent they are facing and it becomes apparent quickly.

It’s an issue Tom Norton and his uber-talented Augusta Prep Lady Cavaliers soccer team has had to deal with this year and such was the case Tuesday night facing Gatewood.

Norton’s strategy once his team goes up four or five goals is to take his team off the attack and into a more defensive posture. That’s what he did once his team went up 6-0 on the Lady Gators, pulling back for about 10-plus minutes. Once they resumed their normal style of play, they scored twice more and went into halftime up 8-0.

Here is where I don’t think the Georgia Independent School Association is helping their teams very much. I assumed that when the Lady Cavaliers got to 10-0 the game would be stopped. It looked like that was what the Gatewood girls were expecting as well from the looks on their faces when it got to 10-0 and they were told they had to play on.

Ten seems to be the magic number and that is what the Georgia High School Association goes by. The GISA Soccer Mercy Rule, however, reads: “If a team is 10 or more goals behind at the 20-minute mark of the first half, that will be considered the end of the first half, and the teams will play a 20-minute second half. If a team is 10 or more goals behind at halftime, the second half will be restricted to 20-minutes. When a team is 15 or more goals behind in the second half, the game will be ended.”

I have a few issues with GISA’s mercy rule.

I don’t know how 10 got to be the gold standard, but it’s a nice round number that seems to fit and 15 seems a bit excesssive to me. If a team can get to a 10-0 lead in the first 20 minutes, what is to be gained, really, by playing another 20 minutes? Do they think a team was having an off 20 minutes
and will mount a comeback?

The Lady Cavaliers also played two players down for the last 34 minutes of the game and still scored three goals.

What was gained once they reached 10 goals in the second half to play the rest of the way? It still would have seemed over the top to play to the 20-minute mark in the second half once that happened.

I applaud the way Norton handles his team because I don’t know how I would handle the situation that he finds himself in. Is it better to get to the mercy rule quicker or make both teams play to the bitter end?

Categories: Local

Columbia County Sheriff's Office says deputy hurt in motorcycle crash was "exercising due regard"

Sat, 3/28/2015 11:12 PM

Columbia County sheriff’s officials said March 24 that a deputy who was injured in a crash on Furys Ferry Road Saturday was “exercising due regard” during a charity motorcycle ride.

Sheriff’s Capt. Steve Morris said Tuesday that more than 100 participants in the 13th annual Kelsi Long Memorial Ride – a charity event that raises money for children with Down syndrome and other special needs benefitting the Children’s Hospital of Georgia – had been briefed before the event and instructed to stay in the right lane while deputies handled traffic control.The crash occurred at 12:18 p.m. Saturday as a column of motorcyclists was approaching River Watch Parkway on Furys Ferry Road. Morris said Deputy Eddie Laturell was passing the column in a maneuver known as “leapfrogging,” in which deputies take turns blocking intersections to allow the riders to pass through without stopping.

Morris said Laturell was operating his vehicle properly when he sped past the column in the left lane on a 2014 Harley-Davidson with its emergency lights and sirens on.

According to an accident report, as Laturell approached the intersection with Twin Lakes Drive, Gerard Love, 47, of Jeanine Way in Augusta, unexpectedly changed lanes on his 2006 Suzuki VL800, causing a collision.

Laturell and Love were injured and taken to Georgia Regents Medical Center for treatment. Hospital spokeswoman Denise Parish said Love was released Wednesday, and Laturell was released Monday. Love was cited for an improper lane change and driving on an expired license.

Morris said there was no specific policy regulating how fast deputies should drive in leapfrogging maneuvers, only a general policy that requires them to exercise due caution.

Categories: Local

Police Blotter, March 29, 2015

Sat, 3/28/2015 11:05 PM

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

Teen scammed

A teen told deputies March 25 that he was scammed out of nearly $1,000 through

The 18-year-old said he had advertised a radio on the online purchasing site for $40. He said was he was contacted by someone who identified herself as Elaine Brown. She said she’d pay $100 for the radio if she could send a $975 check and have the teen forward the balance to her.

The teen cashed the check and sent the funds electronically to the woman, whose address was in Anniston, Ala. His bank then told him the check was a fake.

Home entered

A man called authorities March 25 after discovering his deployed son’s home had been broken into. The 45-year-old man said he went to his son’s Martinez home because the alarm went off. Deputies found a piece of wood that had been thrown through the window. The man said he owns the house, but his son, who is deployed, lives in it. He walked through and said nothing appeared missing, but items were out of place.

Title withheld

A woman said Tuesday that a woman she bought a vehicle from wouldn’t hand over the title. The 39-year-old woman said she bought a 2000 Jeep Cherokee from another woman on Dec. 15. Though she tried to contact the seller several times, she wasn’t able to get the title. When the woman tried to get a bonded title for the SUV, she discovered the vehicle had a lien on it through Alabama.

Woman stalked

A Martinez woman called 911 March 25 and said a stranger followed her home.

The woman said she left work just before 1 a.m. and noticed a black Chevrolet Tahoe following her. The SUV turned onto a side road as the woman pulled into her neighborhood, and it appeared behind her again. As the woman pulled into her driveway, she said the SUV went past her house, turned around in a cul de sac and stopped at the end of the driveway before speeding away.

Categories: Local

Martinez home heavily damaged in afternoon fire

Fri, 3/27/2015 4:35 PM

A Martinez home was heavily damaged by fire Friday afternoon, Columbia County fire officials said.

Firefighters were called to the home at 406 Padrick Street in Martinez just after 3:30 p.m., when a resident of the home heard and explosion outside, according to Columbia County Battalion Chief Danny Kuhlmann.

Kuhlmann said the man found the home’s carport in flames and immediately called 911.

Firefighters had the blaze under control and extinguished a few minutes after arrival, but the three-bedroom home suffered heavy, fire smoke and water damage.

Kuhlmann said the fire appeared to be accidental, but fire investigators have yet to determine the origin of explosion.


Categories: Local

Former Electric Medic owner sentenced

Wed, 3/25/2015 1:06 PM


The former owner of an electronics repair business charged with stealing from customers last year was sentenced to repay their money at a sentencing hearing on Wednesday.

Perry Clark Bower, 55, former owner of Electric Medic in Martinez, plead guilty to 38 of 76 misdemeanor theft by taking charges as well as two counts of damaging a public utility.

Superior Court Judge J. Carlisle Overstreet sentenced Bower to seven years on probation and ordered Bower to repay $16,625 in restitution to the victims.

Bower was initially arrested in January 2014 after authorities began receiving complaints about Bower and his business from people stating they would leave a television of other piece of electronics with Bower and sometimes a deposit or he would go to their home and repair or collect electronics.

Some said they weren’t able to reach Bower by phone; others said he didn’t repair their electronics or repay them for his charges.

Authorities received about 100 complaints about Bower and his business and was eventually charged with 76 counts of theft.

After his arrest, the business was closed and Bower was evicted in February 2014 for not paying rent for his business location in La Petite Plaza, where he left about 1,000 pieces of electronics, mostly televisions. Columbia County marshals had to identify as many owners as possible and return the electronics.

Bower was arrested again in July after he was caught on video surveillance cameras stealing a power meter from his former business location and installed it at his Martinez home, with didn’t have electricity. Before the meter was confiscated, deputies arrested him later that same day after they discovered he used a pair of scissors to rig the meter to make it work.

Bower had already paid restitution to Georgia Power for any damages incurred in that incident, according to his attorney, Kate Mason.

Mason said that just after the incidents, Bower went to a mental health facility, where he was deemed severely depressed. He must continue his treatment , as advised by his mental healthcare provider, as part of the terms of his probation.

Categories: Local

Traffic shift on Old Petersburg Road

Wed, 3/25/2015 12:10 AM

Traffic on Old Petersburg Road will shift today for construction to widen the road.

Motorists on Old Petersburg Road between Old Evans Road and McCormick Road will be shifted to the north side of the roadway to allow for construction. Both lanes of traffic on the 36-foot-wide roadway will move to an 11-foot-wide lane in each direction, according to Kyle Collins, a Georgia Department of Transportation spokesman.

Collins said he doesn’t have a timeline for the end of the lane shift on Old Petersburg Road.

The $35 million extension will extend Riverwatch Parkway from Baston Road to Washington Road. The project, combined with other projects like the widening of Washington Road, is expected to provide a direct route from the Riverwood area to downtown and ease traffic on other arteries.

The project is funded through the Transportation Investment Act.

The project is slated to have four lanes with 4-foot-wide bike paths, subs and gutters, sidewalks and a 20-foot raised median and a bridge over the railroad tracks.

Categories: Local

Police Blotter

Wed, 3/25/2015 12:09 AM

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


Four vehicles are stolen Four Columbia County residents recently reported their vehicles were stolen from their homes. A 31-year-old Martinez man called authorities Thursday after he went outside to leave for work and discovered his 2002 Ford F-350 was gone. The truck was left parked on the street at 8 p.m. the previous evening, but was locked with the door keypad with the keys inside. A 21-year-old man in Martinez said his 1997 Oldsmobile LSS sedan was stolen from in front of his home Friday. He said he left home at about 1:30 p.m. and when he returned at about 8:30 p.m., the car was gone. He said the car is not driveable and was being restored. Another stolen vehicle was reported to authorities on Sunday by a 49-year-old Evans man. He said he parked his 2007 BMW 328i in the driveway at about 9:30 p.m. When he went outside at about 11 p.m., the vehicle was gone. Deputies found two small skid marks in the driveway where the car was last parked. There was no broken glass or other signs of forced entry. Another Evans man said Sunday that his 2003 Honda Accord also was stolen from his driveway. He parked the car at about 10:30 p.m. the previous night and isn’t sure if he locked the doors. When he went outside at about 12:30 p.m. Sunday, the car was gone. But there was no broken glass or muddy footprints. Woman found on porch

Authorities found a woman on her neighbor’s porch without pants early Friday.

A deputy responded to a report of a suspicious person in a Martinez neighborhood at about 4:30 a.m. and found a woman wearing no pants sitting on the porch of a home. When asked if she was okay, the woman said she was fine, but was trying to get into her house.

When asked her address, the deputy discovered she lived next door. When the deputy told the woman she was at the wrong house, she kept repeating that she was at the correct address.

The woman had abrasions on the left side of her face and feet. She told the deputy she fell on her driveway and scraped her face.

Jewelry stolen

A Martinez woman called authorities Sunday after she discovered some of her jewelry missing.

The 72-year-old woman said she was getting ready for church and went to get her diamond pendant, diamond ring and diamond earrings from a drawer. She said all the pieces were missing.

The pendant and rings were gifts from her late husband. The woman said the last time she wore the jewelry was to church the previous Sunday. She’d been at her home all week except March 18, when she left around noon to visit her sister.

Before leaving the house, the woman said she told her son’s friend he could go inside – the door was unlocked – to wait for a ride. The house looked normal when she returned at about 8 p.m.

The woman said she is a trusting person and didn’t think much of letting the man inside her home. No one else has been in the house since the last time she wore the jewelry and she can’t think of anyone else who might have taken it.

Categories: Local

Having a colorful time

Wed, 3/25/2015 12:09 AM
Categories: Local

Man accused of sex with teen released

Wed, 3/25/2015 12:08 AM

An Augusta man accused of having sex with an underage boy was released from jail Friday after being granted a bond.

Randy Houston Mercer, 57, was released from the Columbia County Detention Center on Friday after posting a $80,300 bond, according to jailers.

Superior Court Judge Albert Pickett granted a $50,000 bond for an aggravated child molestation charge against Mercer. Mercer, of Downing Street, was arrested Feb. 20 and charged with aggravated child molestation, computer pornography, enticing a child for indecent purposes and sexual exploitation of a child. He already had a combined $30,300 bond on the other three charges.

The mother of a 15-year-old Evans boy called authorities after finding a bag of sex toys and undergarments in her son’s room.

The teen told an investigator that he met Mercer on, an all-male social networking site. He said he got the bag from Mercer and also met him several times for sexual encounters.

Mercer told authorities he thought the teen was 16, the legal age of consent, and the teen must agree that he is 18 to join the site.

Categories: Local

YuchiKiokee Festival

Wed, 3/25/2015 12:08 AM

People flock to festival with funny name

Categories: Local

Plans continue for Kroger Marketplace near Grovetown

Wed, 3/25/2015 12:07 AM

A Kroger Marketplace is still slated to break ground near Grovetown this year, though the plans no longer include reconfiguring William Few Parkway.

Blanchard and Calhoun Commercial is continuing the “due-diligence” phase of a new retail project at Lewiston Road and William Few that would bring the first Kroger Marketplace to the Augusta area. Located just off Interstate 20, the 114,000-square-foot store would anchor a shopping plaza, with adjacent strip center and outparcels for additional commercial and restaurant use.

In October, Columbia County commissioners granted the commercial rezoning of about 23 acres to make way for the 35-acre development. A few months before that, county officials agreed to give $700,000 in economic incentives for infrastructure and traffic improvements to support the project.

Local developers have since been working to purchase several parcels of surrounding property to accommodate the project.
Blanchard and Calhoun Commercial President Mark Senn said they expect to begin construction this summer.

The opening of the Marketplace store is tentatively set for spring 2016, said Kroger spokesman Glynn Jenkins.

Part of the delay stemmed from initial plans that called for reworking William Few Parkway. Developers wanted to close the existing intersection at Lewiston Road and push it back two-tenths of a mile to the Bluegrass and Autumn trails interchange to ease traffic and so that the development would be located on the same parcel.

However, if they chose that option, Senn said the Georgia Department of Transportation would require them to build a median running from the intersection to the new development, which they worried would cause difficulties for emergency traffic and motorists trying to access the shopping center.

Instead, the existing parkway will remain, with the Kroger Marketplace on one side and the outparcels across the street.

“There’s plenty of left turn lanes and right turn lanes to get in and out of the outparcels and the Kroger site,” said Columbia County Engineering Manager Steve Exley. “We’ve required them to put in raised medians in portions of (William Few Parkway) to reduce the left turn movements and make sure traffic is orderly out there.”

In addition, the developers will add through lanes, sidewalks and bike lanes around the development, Exley said.

Those additions are currently part of the T-SPLOST project to widen Lewiston Road and will free up funding for other work to be done along the road, Exley said.

Categories: Local
Search Augusta jobs