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School hearing officer arrested

Mon, 8/25/2014 3:15 PM

A Columbia County School System employee was recently accused of not reporting allegations of child abuse.

John Leroy Padgett Jr., 52, is the school system hearing officer. He was arrested and charged with failure to report suspected child abuse on Aug. 22.

Superintendent Sandra Carraway said Padgett was put on administrative leave when the allegations were raised. School officials had planned to discuss Padgett’s at Tuesday’s Board of Education meeting.

On Aug. 9, a 17-year-old girl told Columbia County deputies that Padgett had been molesting her since she was 15 with the most recent incident of abuse only a few days before.

The teen also said a family member had sexually abused her At the time, the teen said she got pregnant and had an abortion, according to the report.

Columbia County sheriff’s Capt. Steve Morris said “her allegations are under investigation.”

Part of Padgett’s job is that he is legally required to report suspected child abuse.

“As a mandated reporter, he failed to report this sexual abuse, this molestation that occurred,” Morris said.

Padgett was released from the Columbia County Detention Center after posting a $1,000 bond, according to jailers.

Categories: Local

Property Transfers, Aug. 24, 2014

Sun, 8/24/2014 12:21 AM

Mill Branch Investors LLC to IDK Homes Inc., parcel ID 0611888, $42,500.

Mill Branch Investors LLC to IDK Homes Inc., parcel ID 0611876, $42,500.

Herrington Partners LLC to IDK Homes Inc., parcel ID 0611860, $42,500.

ACSC Properties LLC to Eben Gray, parcel ID 048348, $80,000.

Michael R. Tiller to Brandon J. Crandall, parcel ID 073L073, $147,500.

Kwi H. Barton to Michael R. Tiller, parcel ID 078705, $264,900.

Kiet Van Ho to Kailash Kailash, parcel ID 078531, $163,000.

Leslie W. Lyle aka Leslie Lyle to Amanda Quackenbush, parcel ID 073A516, $128,000.

Oakdale Custom Homes Inc. to Rodney D. Harvey, parcel ID 0611782, $239,900.

Jeremy J. VanVeelen to Joshua D. Diggs, parcel ID 0621901, $188,110.

Rosemary L. Fields to Stephen A. Shiver and Jennifer L. Shiver, parcel ID 081109, $665,000.

Debbie L. Sellers to William H. Lariscy III, parcel ID 060311, $177,900.

Fred H. Reid o Arnold Lawrence Gonzales and Pia Maria Gonzales, parcel ID 042272, $55,000.

D.R. Horton-Crown LLC to Eboni Gazaway, parcel ID 0622489, $182,628.

D.R. Horton-Crown LLC to Matthew William Forshee and Allison Forshee, parcel ID 0601023, $294,943.

D.R. Horton-Crown LLC to Steven M. Murray Jr., parcel ID 0622488, $184,004.

D.R. Horton-Crown LLC to Michael Harris and Sohyun Han, parcel ID 0671640, $266,759.

Grovehar LLC to G. Wayne Peloquin, parcel ID 077009E and 077009I, $551,310.

Timothy J. Reimer to Gary Speed, parcel ID 0621349, $199,000.

Oconee Capital Investments LLC to Rastassia N. Armstrong and Jerald Lawrence Armstrong, parcel ID 0641884, $255,000.

Southern Homesites LLC to IDK Homes Inc., parcel ID 060968, $54,900.

Eric P. Igel to David Poston and Ashley Poston, parcel ID 082I253, $229,000.

Alexander H. Von Plinsky IV to Joel Daniel Vangura, parcel ID 061536, $129,900.

Marie Thomae to Tara Ford Romes and Charles Romes, parcel ID 061645, $149,900.

Ivey Residential LLC to Crawford Creek Homebuilders LLC, 226 Asa Way, $29,300.

South Georgia Custom Homes LLC to Parrell R. Newsom, parcel ID 059206, $259,900.

Lydia D. Jackson to Patrick Parr, parcel ID 078224, $163,900.

Kingsbury Custom Homes Inc. to Lewis P. Johnson, parcel ID 059175, $219,500.

Gary S. Cruiksbank to Joseph B. Klecha IV and Stephanie E. Klecha, 1823 Champions Circle, $899,000.

Michael Phelps to Eric C. Odem and Ingrid T. Odem, 403 Hastings Place, $230,000.

Selahattin Aslaner and Joann Aslaner to Erin C. Isaacs and Salah S. Hourani, 1133 Midford Court, $205,000.

Ivey Residential LLC to Anthony C. Dehn and Hadessah N. Dehn, 1986 Kenlock Drive, $152,000.

Downeast Homebuilders Inc. to Curtis C. Bearden V and Shelby L. Bearden, 455 Sebastian Drive, $170,350.

Jennifer A. Ligon to Michelle M. Ellison, 820 Paisley Lane, $182,000.

JJ & Z Builders LLC to Tracy M. Bryant, 3447 Conifer Trail, $276,800.

Wilson Parker Homes of Hidden Creek Inc. to Kemo N. Edwards and Jacqueline Y. Williams, 1433 Dooley Lane, $249,950.

Winchester Homes of GA Inc. to Jason S. Jorgensen and Susan B. Jorgensen, 669 Shipley Ave., $186,775.

Dustin M. Colson to August S. Van Brink and Clara Mae Van Brink, parcel ID 032055E, $76,000.

JR Homes of Alabama LLC to James W. Quick and Sharon L. Quick, 127 Broadleaf Trail, $285,145.

Categories: Local

Marriage Licenses, Aug. 24, 2014

Sun, 8/24/2014 12:20 AM

Nolan James Lowe and Elaine Marie Sutton applied for a marriage license on July 16, 2014, and were married Aug. 4, 2014, in Evans.

Ashutosh Singh and Lauren Elizabeth Graves applied for a marriage license on June 25, 2014, and were married Aug. 8, 2014, in Evans.

Benjamin Joseph Velky and Sara Frances Kennedy applied for a marriage license on June 20, 2014, and were married Aug. 9, 2014, in Augusta.

Zachary Dale Barnes and Caitlin Galena Ross applied for a marriage license on July 11, 2014, and were married Aug. 9, 2014, in Grovetown.

Bryan Thomas Baker and Elisabeth Lee Randall applied for a marriage license on Aug. 11, 2014, and were married Aug. 11, 2013, in Evans.

Christopher Charles Rains and Shannon Marie Marshall applied for a marriage license on July 10, 2014, and were married Aug. 2, 2014, in Grovetown.

Eric William Heinl and Kaitlin Marie Conway applied for a marriage license on Aug. 8, 2014, and were married Aug. 9, 2014, in Martinez.

Dylan Edward Fitzpatrick and Jolene Mitchell applied for a marriage license on Aug. 12, 2014, and were married Aug. 14, 2014, in Evans.

Nathan Clay Covington and Kelsey Leah Covington applied for a marriage license on Aug. 12, 2014, and were married Aug. 14, 2014, in Evans.

Eric Alan Voss and Shani Layla Graham applied for a marriage license on Aug. 12, 2014, and were married Aug. 14, 2014, in Evans.

Edward Devrayl Dennis and Takeisha Cherie Barnes applied for a marriage license on Aug. 14, 2014, and were married Aug. 14, 2014, in Evans.

Quashawn Deanthony Cooper and Britany Suzanne Pham applied for a marriage license on Aug. 13, 2014, and were married Aug. 14, 2014, in Evans.

John Ira Parker and Journey Yvonne Tatum applied for a marriage license on July 28, 2014, and were married Aug. 9, 2014, in Savannah.

Frederick Eric Tyson Jr. and Janis Renea Cook applied for a marriage license on July 25, 2014, and were married Aug. 9, 2014, in Augusta.

Cameron Rashard Jenkins and Jessica Carmen Algarin applied for a marriage license on Aug. 13, 2014, and were married Aug. 14, 2014, in Evans.

Paul Gerald Guidry and Dawn Hollowood Turner applied for a marriage license on July 10, 2014, and were married Aug. 6, 2014, in Lincolnton, Ga.

Marcus Deshaun Sanford and Tanganyika Diano Cummings applied for a marriage license on Aug. 14, 2014, and were married Aug. 14, 2014, in Evans.

Christopher David Brandon Edwards and Jassica Catrice Dial applied for a marriage license on Aug. 14, 2014, and were married Aug. 14, 2014, in Evans.

Eric Jordan Buffet and Kimberly Elaine Stewart applied for a marriage license on July 30, 2014, and were married Aug. 9, 2014, in Appling.

Zachary Ryan Walker and Emilie Marie Houghtling applied for a marriage license on Aug. 11, 2014, and were married Aug. 16, 2014, in Appling.

Christopher Jerome Reid and Tamiko Laticia Anderson applied for a marriage license on May 2, 2014, and were married July 25, 2014, in East Point, Ga.

Matthew Palmer Pearson and Bethany Marie McDaniel applied for a marriage license on Aug. 6, 2014, and were married Aug. 16, 2014, in Augusta.

Categories: Local

Divorces, Aug. 24, 2014

Sun, 8/24/2014 12:20 AM

Robert A. Beachum and Mary L. Beachum, Aug. 15, 2014.

Cynthia Denise Morrall and Steven Morrall III, Aug. 11, 2014.

Brendon Neely-Otts and Fredlene Neely-Otts, Aug. 11, 2014.

Patricia M. Lord and Charles E. Lord Jr., Aug. 6, 2014.

Lisa A. Patterson and Joseph E. Patterson, Aug. 15, 2014.

Tracy L. Johnson and Loretta H. Johnson, Aug. 11, 2014.

Stephen R. Croft and Janet L. Davis, July 22, 2014.

Bridgett Berry Wells and Joseph Nicholas Wells, Aug. 4, 2014.

Tiffany Johnson and Jerry Johnson, July 31, 2014.

Reena Sue Settle and Marvin Brown Settle, Aug. 5, 2014.

Maricela Meers and Timothy L. Meers, Aug. 4, 2014.

Deborah Childers Martin and Scott Michael Martin, Aug. 11, 2014.

Cortez Vincent Bailey and Sharon L. Bailey, Aug. 6, 2014.

Preston Brooks Keel and Joanna Dille Keel, Aug. 11, 2014.

Casey Ritch Vause and Shaun Mitchell Vause, Aug. 11, 2014.

Mark Robert Daugherty and Heather Ann Daugherty, Aug. 11, 2014.

Categories: Local

Prep Calendar for Sunday, August 24, 2014

Sun, 8/24/2014 12:19 AM

Tuesday, August 26

Harlem vs. Screven County, Grovetown, Evans, Thomson, Burke County, Greenbrier, 5 p.m.

Saturday, August 30

Augusta Christian at Hammond, 9 a.m.


Friday, August 29

Augusta Christian at Laurence Manning

Augusta Eagles vs. Carolina Wildcats

Harlem vs. Grovetown

Monday, August 25

Evans vs. Westside, 5 p.m.

Grovetown at Burke County, 5 p.m.

Tuesday, August 26

Evans vs. Richmond Academy, 5 p.m.

Greenbrier vs. Cross Creek, 5 p.m.

Grovetown vs. Lakeside, 5 p.m.

Harlem at Swainsboro, 5 p.m.

Thursday, August 28

Evans vs. Greenbrier, 5 p.m.

Grovetown at Richmond Academy, 5 p.m.

Harlem vs. Screven County, 5 p.m.

Lakeside vs. Cross Creek, 5 p.m.

Wednesday, August 27

Tuesday, August 26

Grovetown vs. Evans, 5 p.m.

Greenbrier vs. Aiken, 5 p.m.

Augusta Christian vs. Orangeburg Prep, 5:30 p.m.

Evans vs. Aquinas at Grovetown, 6 p.m.

Grovetown vs. Aquinas, 7 p.m.

Thursday, August 28

Evans vs. South Aiken, 5 p.m.

Grovetown vs. Hephzibah, 5 p.m.

Greenbrier vs. South Aiken at Evans, 6 p.m.

Grovetown vs. Laney at Hephzibah, 6 p.m.

Lakeside at Richmond Academy, 6 p.m.

Evans vs. Greenbrier, 7 p.m.

Categories: Local

Roofer gets jail time for working without permits

Sun, 8/24/2014 12:18 AM

A Jefferson County man was sentenced to four months in jail and banned from working in Columbia County for six months this week, after being found guilty of performing roofing work without a permit and operating a business without a license.

Sean Patrick Hughes, 48, of Wrens, was brought before a magistrate judge on Wednesday on mutliple violations of county ordinances, including working as a roofing contractor without a permit and failure to pay occupational tax for his business, Hughes Roofing.

Officials said Hughes had been representing himself as a licensed and bonded contractor to homeowners needing roof repairs after the February ice storm. Code enforcement officials said homeowners complained of Hughes taking money in advance to do repairs, which were never started or completed.

One Martinez man filed a theft by deception complaint against Hughes on May 18. Kenneth Bowles told deputies that Hughes had taken $500 in March for a $4,000 contract to repair his home on Stevens Court. Bowles said Hughes told him the work would begin on April 8. After many phone calls and excuses, Bowles said Hughes returned in May and removed a portion of the damaged shingles, but never returned to finish the job.

Hughes was arrested June 24 on theft by deception charges and released July 3 on $10,100 bond. He was arrested again on July 18 for the code violations.

The warrant for theft was dismissed Monday, according to Magistrate Court personnel, because prosecutors decided it was civil matter.

On Wednesday, however, the only thing dismissed were Hughes’ excuses. Columbia County Associate Magistrate Judge J. Grady Blanchard found Hughes guilty of two violations and sentenced him to 120 days in jail – two consecutive 60-day sentences with no credit for time already served. Hughes also was given six months probation, 50 hours of community service and a $1,360 fine, according to court records.

Blanchard also ordered Hughes to have no contact with the victim or work in Columbia County while he’s on probation.

The next day, Hughes was brought to Richmond County Magistrate Court to face simlar charges before Judge H. Scott Allen.

Hughes pleaded no contest to at least four violations, including working without a permit and no business license, according to Augusta Licensing Manager Larry Harris.

Allen sentenced Hughes to 60 days confinement for the violations and said he could serve the time concurrently with his Columbia County sentence.

“I will let you be Columbia County’s problem for the next two months,” Allen said.

Kathy and Robert Wiggins, who said they gave money to Hughes for work that was never finished on their home in Augusta, observed the proceedings.

Kathy Wiggins said Hughes told them he was a “licensed and bonded” contractor, but they didn’t confirm his claims.

Categories: Local

Volunteers needed to keep lake areas clean

Sun, 8/24/2014 12:17 AM

The public is invited to help keep Clarks Hill Lake parks and shoreline clean as part of the Thurmond Lake Cleanup Campaign.

Volunteers are needed to pick up litter and debris along public lands and waters of the lake including the shoreline, islands, recreation areas, coves, old road ends and bridge areas.

The campaign is part of National Public Lands Day, a nationwide day of service for volunteering at local, state and federal public lands. It is also part of Georgia’s statewide Rivers Alive program.

The volunteer effort begins Wednesday and runs through National Public Lands Day on Sept. 27.

The goal of the effort is to keep the lake and nearby recreational areas clean and ready for use, according to Chrissy Alford, Recreation Chief Ranger for the Corps’ Savannah District.

“They can opt to do some shoreline clean-up any day between now and Public Lands Day,” Alford said.

Scouting groups, civic organizations, sports clubs, church groups, businesses, families and individuals are welcome to participate. They can choose an area of shoreline and remove any glass, paper, plastic or abandoned items. Trash bags are available at the Visitors Center or volunteers can bring their own bags. Collected trash can be dropped off at trash receptacles near Corps-operated boat ramps.

Volunteers are also invited to a community clean-up and picnic 8 a.m. to noon on Sept. 27 at West Dam Recreation Area group shelter on West Dam Road in Appling.

“We usually try to get some projects done that day,” Alford said. Those projects usually include cleaning up trails, cleaning out underbrush, building bluebird boxes. “Projects that can be done to improve the (parks).”

The morning will consist of clean-up and improvement activities followed by a volunteer appreciation picnic.

Participants will receive T-shirts while supplies last.

Volunteers should wear closed-toe shoes and long pants and bring plenty of water. They should arrived a few minutes early for check-in and a safety briefing.

Wildwood Park Manager Jamey Rabun said a trail clean-up is planned for the park on Sept. 27. Volunteers for that should report at about 8 a.m. to Pavilion E or contact the gatehouse for more information.

Volunteers for the Corps effort should sign up in advance at the Visitors Center, by calling (864) 333-1129 or by submitting a form online at Completed forms can be dropped off at the Thurmond Lake Project Office at 510 Clarks Hill Highway, Clarks Hill, S.C., or faxed to (864) 333-1150, or can be submitted by e-mail to

For more information, call (800) 533-3478, extension 1129.

Categories: Local

Columbia County approves $700,000 in incentives for development

Sun, 8/24/2014 12:16 AM

Columbia County officials have agreed to give $700,000 in economic incentives to a project that could bring a Wal-Mart “competitor” and as many as 500 jobs to the area outside of Grovetown near Interstate 20.

The Columbia County Commission approved the incentive money at its meeting Tuesday night.

According to county documents, $400,000 will be awarded to Blanchard and Calhoun Commercial as reimbursement for costs associated with infrastructure improvements to make way for a potential development on Lewiston Road at William Few Parkway. An additional $300,000 was approved for traffic improvements in the area.

County documents indicate the incentive money will come from a “variety of transportation discretionary funds” available for such projects.

Commission Chairman Ron Cross said the incentive money will be paid only after the development is completed – if it does come to fruition.

Cross described the anchor for the development as a retailer hoping to build a 140,000-square-foot building that would offer groceries, clothing and household items.

“It is supposed to be a large grocery chain,” he said. “This will be its largest store of this type east of the Mississippi.”

When fully developed, the project could bring as many as 500 jobs to the area, Cross said.

Commissioner Ron Thigpen said the potential tax revenue and job growth that the project would provide will more than pay for the economic incentives provided by the county.

To make way for the development, officials plan to move the intersection of William Few Parkway farther north along Lewiston Road and away from I-20.

Cross acknowleged the new development would create more traffic pressure in the area, but pointed out that there are plans to widen Lewiston Road from I-20 to Columbia Road. That, however, is dependant second tier transportation sales tax funding, so isn’t likely to happen until four or five years from now, he said.

Vic Mills, the CEO of Blanchard and Calhoun Commercial, said the company already controls several parcels of land in the area and has acquired options for other properties that will be needed for the potential development.

“We still have a lot of work to do on this,” Mills said. “But we do have great interest in this location from several prospective tenants.”

Mills said it was too early to name those potential tenants, but he said he was optimistic that if things continued to progress, more details will be available soon.

Categories: Local

County History

Sun, 8/24/2014 12:16 AM
Categories: Local

Police Blotter, Aug. 24, 2014

Sun, 8/24/2014 12:15 AM

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

Intoxicated man falls asleep in

A Martinez man was arrested early Tuesday morning after he passed out in the drive-through line of a fast food restaurant.

Timothy Hayes, 22, was charged with driving under the influence and obstruction of law enforcement.

A deputy was in the drive-through line at McDonald’s at 4264 Washington Road in Evans at about 2:30 a.m., behind a Toyota that had stopped moving. The deputy approached the Toyota and found the driver’s side window rolled all the way down and the driver, Hayes, asleep in the drivers seat. The deputy woke Hayes and asked him to pull into a parking space.

When the deputy approached the car again, he said Hayes rolled the window up leaving a 5-inch opening. When asked for his license, Hayes asked if he was being detained. The deputy could smell alcohol on Hayes’ breath and asked him to step out of the car, but he refused and said he didn’t have to talk to police. The deputy said he was conducting a DUI investigation and again asked Hayes to get out of the car, he again refused.

Hayes said he would exercise his Fifth Amendment right and not talk to the deputy. He then rolled the window up leaving only an open crack.

When a supervisor arrived, Hayes was repeatedly asked to get out, but he continued to say he was not getting out and covered his mouth with his hand when he talked.

A deputy used a lock-out kit to unlock the passenger side door of Hayes’ vehicle. He then got out on his own and was arrested.

Hayes was released from the Columbia County Detention Center later that day after posting a $6,200 bond, according to jailers.

Women receive threatening messages

Two Martinez women told deputies Tuesday that they received threatening text messages.

A 66-year-old woman said she received a text message from a 478 area code threatening her life stating “hey you, you better get back in touch with me before 24 hours, your lifes at stake.” A second message called her by name and asked her to text back. The woman texted back asking “who r u?” and received a last message that read, “im the assassin hired to kill u.”

Another woman called police a few hours later to report she’d received similar messages. The 59-year-old woman said she received the same message demanding a response and responded by saying she’d let law enforcement handle the matter. The messages continued. The woman said she then got a message that read, “my men are all over there now with there Barrett M82 Sniper Rifle, waiting for the last order.” The woman said she inadvertently called the number and immediately received a text that read, “Yes?”

A deputy called the number and waited for a return call. He then called again and left a message to have no more contact with the woman.

Woman finds hidden camera in home

A Martinez woman said Monday that she found a camera hidden in her home.

The 43-year-old woman said she was having her home air conditioning system service. She said the technician alerted her that there was a camera surveillance system in one of the air vents. The camera was positioned to provide a clear view of the living room, kitchen and entryway. The camera was attached to a transmitter/recorder and some wireless transmission device to allow for remote surveillance and possibly the ability to electronically eavesdrop on e-mails and other electronic communications.

The woman said she’s been through a highly contentious divorce and believes her husband installed the camera to electronically “stalk” her.

Metal stolen from college welding class

A welding teacher told authorities Monday that someone stole scrap metal from Augusta Technical College’s Grovetown campus.

The instructor said that between Aug. 7 and Monday, someone stole $2,300 worth of scrap metal used for the class.

He said 40 10-foot-long pieces of metal were taken from a container inside a locked fence. Some was in a container outside the gated area.

The total amount of metal stolen was 1,500 pounds.

Categories: Local

Lions run by Cavaliers in season opener

Sat, 8/23/2014 12:52 AM

The first meeting betweeen Augusta Christian and Augusta Preparatory Day School had its share of memorable moments Friday night.

Augusta Prep scored on an interception return, a fake punt and a fumble return. It was the relentless grinding of Augusta Christian’s rushing attack and their swarming defense, however, that gave them the early series lead with the 42-20 win.

Going with a running back by committee approach, the Lions rushed 42 times for 380 yards and five touchdowns. E’Mon Reeves led all rushers with 202 yards and a touchdown on 11 carries while John Freeman had 12 carries for 112 yards and two touchdowns.

“There’s always competition between all the backs,” said Reeves, noting that it makes them all better. “Every touch we get we try to do what we can with it.”

Deontre Watson and Calvin Taylor stuffed a fourth-and-one attempt at the Lions’ 46 on Augusta Prep’s first series of the game, setting a defensive tone for the game.

By the end, the Cavaliers mustered just four first downs and fumbled six times, losing five.

Following the stop, it took six plays for the Lions to score when quarterback Matthew Peavler hit Bryce Ford on a outside screen and he went in from 28 yards out.

The Lions would force punts on the Cavaliers’ next three possessions, but trailed 8-7 at halftime after Cavaliers’ defensive back Joseph Shaver picked off a pass and returned it 46 yards for a score with 5:28 left in the second quarter.

“They did some good things too to catch us sleeping a little bit,” said Lions’ head coach Keith Walton. “We made adjustments at halftime. That group of linemen have worked together for a day. It’ll come along. Moving (Zach) Giella from tackle to center was a good move, too.”

Opening the third quarter, Freeman ripped off gains of 16, 16, 15 and scored on a 14-yarder to give the Lions the 15-8 lead they would not relinquish.

After the Cavaliers turned the ball over on downs on their next possession, Reeves rumbled 44 yards for a score as the Lions stretched the lead to 22-8.

“Their defense was kind of challenging to read but going into the second half I kind of figured it out and made the adjustments and then came the yards,” Reeves said.

Jimmy St. Louis hit Shaver for a 54-yard touchdown off a fake punt with 3:16 left in the third quarter and the Cavaliers trailed 28-14. Building momentum, the Cavaliers recovered a fumble at the Lions’ 38 just before the end of the quarter. After gaining a first down, they fumbled the ball right back to the Lions and any hope of a turnaround was gone when the Lions used five plays to score.

“We were trying to pull out a miracle but then it got away from us,” said Cavaliers head coach Harry Bacheller. “We were extremely worn down, they wore us down.”

Alan Worsham and Davis Addyman rushed for the Lions final touchdowns before the Cavaliers’ Brendan Alee returned a fumble 65 yards for a touchdown to close out the scoring.

“We can try to fix the fumbles and all the other mistakes, and a lot of them are due to youth and trying to get better each week and that’s all a coach can ask,” Bacheller said. “I’m extremely proud of them. That was a big, talented, experienced team we played and we move on from here.”

Categories: Local

Grovetown police chief resigns

Fri, 8/22/2014 4:34 PM


Grovetown Department of Public Safety Chief Gary Owens resigned his position Friday.

Owens submitted his letter of resignation to city officials.

“He indicated that he was ready to pursue other opportunities,” Mayor George James said.

Owens took over as director of the department in June 2012 after the resignation of former Chief Al Robinson.

Owens’ resignation comes two weeks after he was suspended for two days for misconduct in the handling of two men who escaped from the department temporary detention facility on July 26.

“He created a hostile work environment for his employees by his actions,” James said at the time. “He hindered the operation of recovering the two escapees.”

Sam Cline Jr., a man arrested for aiding the escapees after providing them a ride to a nearby bar, said he did so not knowing they were wanted. He submitted petitions to city officials Wednesday to have Owens and an investigator terminated. He claimed Owens cursed and yelled at him and never let him speak. Cline spent 21 days in jail without bond.

“I hate for anybody to lose their job at this point,” Cline said. “But if you can’t do your job, stay out of the kitchen.”

Owens started with the department as a part-time dispatcher in 1983. He became a certified police officer in 1986 and served the department for nine years before opting for other jobs for the Georgia Department of Corrections in Atlanta and the Atlanta Olympics internal police force.

He worked for the corrections department in Augusta for a few years before returning to Grovetown as assistant chief in 2001.

“It has been an honor and a privilege to serve as your Director of Public Safety,” Owens wrote in his resignation letter. “I am very proud of all the accomplishments and achievements that have been made in my tenure and know that the Department of Public Safety will continue to achieve excellence with the ground work that has began.”

James said until a replacement has been found, each captain in the department will manage their own divisions and report to the city manager.

No plans have yet been made as to how or when a replacement will be hired.

“The council has got to get together and meet to determine how we are going to approach it,” James said.

Categories: Local

Football preview-Greenbrier

Wed, 8/20/2014 12:20 AM

There’s a positive air of anticipation surrounding Greenbrier High School football.

Not what you might expect for a school coming off an 0-10 2013 season, but the hiring of former Lakeside head coach Jarrett Troxler last spring seemingly re-energized the program.

Troxler, who led the Panthers to the state playoffs the past three seasons, downplays his effect.

“Anytime there’s change there’s excitement,” Troxler said. “I doubt it’s me, it’s probably just the fresh philosophy on things may have gotten the excitement back up and now it’s my job to keep it up.”

Senior Allen Walls, who quarterbacked the Wolfpack last year, returns to his natural position at wide receiver. He credits the arrival of Troxler and a fresh start with a noticeable change across the board.

“It’s the level of intensity,” Walls said. “Also commitment, motivation. I mean everything’s improved. I can see a lot of it in all the guys. They’re enthusiastic, motivated. It’s fun.”

While Troxler won’t run the same offense he ran at Lakeside, it will still retain certain elements such as playing with urgency. Senior wide receiver Warren Coombs thinks the pace is helping the team become crisper.

“We’ll be more effective in plays,” Coombs said. “When we rep the plays at practice we’re getting them done a whole lot faster, the speed of the plays are going to be done faster and the amount of plays we get during the game is going to be a whole lot faster. Everything is faster.”

After a year away, senior Adam Sasser returns at quarterback, while senior running back Jamal Richard is one of the fastest players he’s coached, Troxler says.

To protect his backfield, Troxler will be relying on a young line.

“Offensively, we’re very young up front,” said Troxler. “We’re looking at a bunch of sophomores and juniors and one senior. We’re very young up front but we’ve got decent size and they’re getting stronger in the weight room. It’s awesome for the future but we’re throwing some young guys on the fire.”

Defensively, Troxler mentions senior Jarod Hudson on the line, junior linebacker Caleb Culverhouse and thinks his secondary can be his best unit.

“We did some 7-on-7s over the summer and they’ve been one of our most consistent positions in camp so I’m excited about them, Troxler said.

Troxler knows what happens in the summer and in preseason camp is just a prelude.

“The real test will be when we open up at Harlem and when we hit that first region game down in Warner Robins.”

Categories: Local

Marching bands to entertain at half-time

Wed, 8/20/2014 12:18 AM
Categories: Local

Prep Calendar for Wednesday, August 20, 2014.

Wed, 8/20/2014 12:18 AM

Thursday, August 21

Harlem at Thomson, 5 p.m.

Saturday, August 23

Greenbrier, Grovetown at NEGA at Athens Christian, 8 a.m.

Augusta Prep at Loganville Christian Academy, 9 a.m.

Tuesday, August 26

Harlem vs. Screven County, Grovetown, Evans, Thomson, Burke County, Greenbrier, 5 p.m.



7:30 P.M.)

Friday, August 22

Augusta Prep vs. Augusta Christian

Evans vs. Westside

Harlem vs. Greenbrier

Lakeside at North Augusta

Today, August 20

Greenbrier at Burke County, 5 p.m.

Harlem vs. Evans, 5:30 p.m.

Thursday, August 21

Evans at Burke County, 5 p.m.

Grovetown at Thomson, 5:30 p.m.

Harlem at Jefferson County, 5:30 p.m.

Friday, August 22

Greenbrier vs. Morgan County, 5 p.m.

Saturday, August 23

Greenbrier vs. East Hall at North Georgia University, 10 a.m.

Greenbrier vs. Mills Creek at North Georgia University, 2 p.m.

Monday, August 25

Evans vs. Westside, 5 p.m.

Grovetown at Burke County, 5 p.m.

Tuesday, August 26

Evans vs. Richmond Academy, 5 p.m.

Greenbrier vs. Cross Creek, 5 p.m.

Grovetown vs. Lakeside, 5 p.m.

Harlem at Swainsboro, 5 p.m.

Saturday, August 23

Thursday, August 21

Evans at Hephzibah, 5 p.m.

Grovetown vs. Cross Creek at Richmond Academy, 5 p.m.

Grovetown at Richmond Academy, 6 p.m.

Augusta Prep vs. Bethlehem Christian Academy, 6:30 p.m.

Saturday, August 23

Lakeside Play Day (Aquinas, Fox Creek, Greenbrier, Grovetown, Westside), 9 a.m.

Augusta Prep vs. Young Americans, 11:30 a.m.

Augusta Christian at Warhawk Invitational Tournament, TBA

Tuesday, August 26

Grovetown vs. Evans, 5 p.m.

Greenbrier vs. Aiken, 5 p.m.

Augusta Christian vs. Orangeburg Prep, 5:30 p.m.

Evans vs. Aquinas at Grovetown, 6 p.m.

Grovetown vs. Aquinas, 7 p.m.

Categories: Local

Sauls celebrates 20-year anniversary of World Series title in style

Wed, 8/20/2014 12:18 AM

This weekend produced a cool moment for many Columbia County sports fans. On Saturday, ESPNU aired the Senior Little League World Series championship game between Curacao and a team from Texas. This was the final game of a busy summer of baseball with a World Championship on the line. Who would have thought Columbia County would have a huge rooting interest in the game. Well, we certainly did. Former Evans and Georgia Southern standout Clint Sauls was the head coach for the West University (Texas) squad. In 2008 Sauls, who had lived his entire life in Columbia County, was packing his bags for Texas. He had met a girl from Houston named Jamie Corcoran, and in March of 2009 the two were married. It should have come as no surprise that Sauls immediately got involved with coaching baseball. After all, he had been around sports his entire life. His father, Durwood, was a long time coach at Evans and won a state title in football last season as a part of the coaching staff at Aquinas.

As a player, Sauls was a standout in basketball and baseball for the Knights, but it was the diamond where he really shined. He helped guide Evans to state titles as a junior and senior in 1993 and 1994. He also was a part of a very special summer in 1994.

Fresh off the high school state championship, Sauls was a part of the Columbia County Dixie Majors World Series winning team. As a matter of fact, that summer Columbia County pulled off a rare feat by winning both the Majors (17- and 18-year-olds) and Pre-Majors (15- and 16-year-olds) World Series. As a matter of fact, Sauls crushed a two-run home run in the clinching game over Alexandria, Va. That was 20 years ago this year. Sauls was drafted that year by the New York Yankees, but elected to head to Georgia Southern to pitch for the Eagles. He had an outstanding college career and many were surprised when he was not drafted for a second time after his stint in Statesboro.

After college, Sauls pursued a career in coaching and coached or assisted on too many teams to name. He was always involved with coaching teenagers on the diamond. He had been a star player and now he was devoting his time to helping kids just like him. Well, after his marriage and subsequent move to Houston, Sauls got involved with the West University Senior Little League Team. The Texas Team had immediate success. As a matter of fact, this year’s appearance in Bangor, Maine (the site of the Senior Little League World Series) was Sauls’s fourth trip in six years. A fifth trip was narrowly missed in 2013 with a loss in the Southwest Region title game. Yes, it is safe to say, Sauls is simply a winner. And, if you heard, his post game interview, he has stayed humble despite all his success as a player and coach.

What better way to celebrate the 20-year anniversary of winning a World Series, than winning a World Title.

Congrats to Clint and thanks for representing Columbia County in such a great way.

Categories: Local

Athlete Spotlight

Wed, 8/20/2014 12:17 AM


Even before she started at the high school, Evans’ Hannah Peters was no stranger to Lady Knights volleyball.

Peters, the squad’s junior captain, is the fourth and final sister to take the court for the Lady Knights.

“My oldest sister Rebekah’s first game was when I was 5, so I’ve been to Evans volleyball games since I was 5,” Peters said. “At first I just went because we do everything as a family. We just went and watched my oldest sister play. When I was in like fourth grade to middle school, I would just pass with them in the yard – or they would teach me how to pass. I was probably pitiful at that.”

Pitiful is nowhere near the vocabulary Evans head coach Lauren Farr uses to describe her middle blocker/hitter.

“She’s a great all-around player,” said Farr, who likes to move her around on the court. “She is a dynamic hitter. For her height (5-feet-10) she is an awesome back-row player – she’s a good passer, she’s got a good serve. If she wants to, she can definitely take it to the next level.”

When her next-oldest sisters took up the sport, that’s when it really caught Peters’ attention.

“Alecia and Jennifer did cheerleading but then they switched to volleyball, so I was like, ‘Oh well, I’ll do volleyball, too,’ and I started to enjoy it in middle school,” Peters said.

It wasn’t any one aspect, rather the entirety of the sport that drew her in.

“I like the fact that it’s a team sport,” she said. “Everybody’s involved, you can’t just have one player and win. Playing-wise, I love to pass and block. I also love to hit, she added quickly, but I love to pass and block.”

She knows her game has come a long way since her first year at Evans.

“It’s improved a lot,” Peters said. “My freshman year coach would always tell you I ran into the setter. He had me in the middle there, too. I would always turn around and run into the setter,” she acknowledged, laughing.

The Lady Knights made a run in the 2013 Area 2-AAAAA tournament and made it to the state tournament. That provided a push for the 2014 season.

“I think it’s carried over a lot because we’ve set team goals for our team and we want to be top 2 instead of top 3, because we were third last year,” Peters said. “We have to continually push ourselves to get better and better and improve from last year.”

She knows the competition will be fierce, however.

“I think all the teams have a good chance of winning regional or going to state,” she said.

Her coach likes Evans’ chances with Peters on the court.

“We’ve got a lot of really good middle blockers in the county in our region,” said Farr. “Having Hannah who can match up with any of them is a real asset.”

Categories: Local


Wed, 8/20/2014 12:17 AM


After a third consecutive state playoff appearance in 2013, expectations are running high for the 2014 Lakeside High School Panthers football team and they are embracing them.

“I would say a successful season is going at least two or three rounds in the playoffs,” said first-year head coach Steve Hibbitts, who joined the Panthers after helming the Westside program. “Our goal is to go all the way. I feel like with this team, they could. They really feel like they could do that.”

It’s hard to discount that feeling as they return a dearth of talent and experience in all facets of the game.

Perhaps the biggest question comes at quarterback where junior Nick Patterson and senior Zaccheus Banks are vying to replace Hunter Banks. Hibbitts likes what he has seen to date.

“Coming into summer and me as a new coach, I saw Nick as a quarterback who got a lot of reps last year, had a good year on JV, did a great job,” Hibbitts said. “Zaccheus has really pushed him. I could go with either one of those guys and feel comfortable as a head coach just because of how far Zaccheus has come.”

The signal caller will have speedy wide receivers B.J. Raymond and Stephen Houzah as targets. Raymond had 37 catches for 596 yards and six touchdowns and had a 65-yard punt return for touchdown. Houzah went 16-235 and two scores, racked up 764 yards on 20 kickoff returns with three touchdowns, including a 98-yarder.

Taking handoffs will be running backs Jalen Harrison, Andrew Studstill and Josh Jones. The three backs combined for 984 yards and 10 touchdowns in 2013. They are not worried about getting their share of touches.

“I know when I’m not in they’re going to be fine,” Jones said. “When I’m out there I’m going to do what I need to do. It’s not really competition, it’s knowing the other one can do just as good.”

Hibbitts expects senior center Nick McGee to continue to anchor the line as he has and is excited by the prospct of 6-foot-5, 285-pound junior Scout Sleigh.

Defensively, the Panthers should be stout, led by 2013 Region 2-AAAAA Defensive Player of the Year Rashad Roundtree.

“Overall, they’re a solid group and you throw in some of those big playmakers, we’re really excited about it,” Hibbitts said.

The Panthers open Friday at North Augusta, which has won nine games or more each year since 2009. The Panthers won’t judge the season by one game.

“If we go to state and take it, that’s success to us,” Harrison said.


Categories: Local

Knights look to take next step

Wed, 8/20/2014 12:15 AM


In 2013, the Evans High School Knights went undefeated in Columbia County play, clinching the unofficial crown when junior quarterback Matlin Marshall completed the game-winning pass with just 21 seconds remaining in the next-to-last game against Lakeside.

While they would ultimately fall short, that win also kept the Knights in the running to claim the final state playoff spot out of Region 2-AAAAA. With Marshall behind center, head coach Marty Jackson believes the Knights have the chance to take the next step this year.

“We just have to keep on sawing wood,” said Jackson of making it to the state playoffs. “We are very close. I think we learned a lot about ourselves last year. I think that experience at quarterback is going to be a big factor for us.”

Having a quarterback in the system for more than a year has been a rarity recently for Jackson.

“Having a quarterback coming back, that’s the first time that’s happened since 2009,” Jackson said. “First time we’ve had a returning starter (at QB) so that’s real nice.”

Should something happen to Marshall, Jackson has senior Colin Dominy ready to step in, not that he won’t be already contributing.

“Colin (Dominy) will be on the field, he’ll be starting on defense, he’ll be on the field on offense, too,” Jackson said. “I think that’s a big factor, just that experience factor.”

Ronnie Graham, Joacinto Grimes and Stephon Jacobs got the majority of touches at running back a year ago but graduated. Expected to step in will be senior fullback Carlos Dorsey and junior Robert Clay, among others. Dorsey thinks they will be just fine.

“Our quarterback is really athletic, so replacing the running backs wasn’t that hard of a job,” said Dorsey, noting they were in the second year of running their system. “Last year was our first year running this offense. “This year running our offense, everybody is clicking together, getting their job done, so it’s going to be a pretty good year offensively.”

Defensively, the Knights lose defensive backs K’lon Lovett and David Mims and Jackson thinks replacing those two will be a challenge.

“I feel good about our defensive run-stopping ability,” Jackson said. “Our secondary’s got to grow up in a hurry.”

Dorsey, who also starts at linebacker, was even more definitive about upcoming opponents’ efforts to gain yards on the ground.

“Nobody’s going to be able to run on us,” Dorsey said.

Defensive lineman Devin Lampkin thinks attitude can help carry them a long way as well.

“We’re more positive than we were last year,” said Lampkin. “We’re better up front and I believe we have a good chance of making the playoffs this year.”

Categories: Local

Pet adoptions

Wed, 8/20/2014 12:15 AM
Categories: Local

Top headlines

UGA jumps up in 2 polls

The University of Georgia made the second-biggest jump of all the teams in the two national ranking polls, both of which were released Tuesday.
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