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Updated: 11 hours 51 min ago

Man indicted for trying to meet teen for sex

Wed, 7/22/2015 12:20 AM

An Aiken man arrested in April on suspicion of trying to meet a teenage girl for sex was recently indicted in Columbia County.

A Columbia County Grand Jury indicted Derek Bryce Merchant, 26, of Kenmont Street, on charges of computer or electronic pornography, obscene contact with a child and criminal attempt to commit aggravated child molestation, according to the indictment released Friday.

Merchant was arrested April 28 as part of an undercover investigation to identify people who approach children online in an effort to meet them for sex by the FBI’s Cyber Child Exploitation Task Force. He was apprehended at an undisclosed Columbia County location, where he believed he was meeting a 14-year-old girl for sex.

Merchants is being held in the Columbia County Detention Center without bond, according to jail records.

Categories: Local

Police Blotter

Wed, 7/22/2015 12:20 AM

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


Janitor reports intruders

A janitor working inside an Evans medical building early Friday called authorities after hearing what she believed was intruders in the offices.

The janitor said she was inside University Complex on Towne Centre Drive between
10 p.m. Thursday and 3:20 a.m. Friday. She heard someone knock on the door of Suite 3200, but found no one there.

About 1 a.m., the janitor said she found a small pistol replica that appeared to have come off a key chain, laying on the floor of an exam room in, Suite 3000, Augusta Foot and Ankle, and a green Latex glove in the trash can of that room. The items were not there when the janitor inspected the room when she arrived, but were there when she returned with a vacuum cleaner.

About 2:30 a.m., the janitor said she heard knocking on the door of Suite 3000. A few minutes later, she heard a cellphone ringing, but it was quickly silenced. The janitor heard a door slam right after that.


Man returns, steals lost iPad

A woman said someone returned an iPad her son lost in a Martinez restaurant Sunday, then stole it.

The woman said she was in Monterrey’s restaurant at about 7 p.m. and brought an iPad for her 7-year-old son to play with. As they were leaving, the woman said she noticed her son didn’t have the iPad and asked a staff member if anyone turned it in.

The staffer said someone turned the iPad in, but then came back and took it.

The staffer said a man in his mid 30s with short gray hair brought an iPad to the front desk stating it was lost. She put it behind the counter. Several minutes later, the man returned and demanded the iPad back.

The staffer said she refused, but the man began making a scene, so she gave it to him. The man told her he wanted to ensure it got back to the rightful owner, so he left a note with the name Jose Ortiz and a phone number.

A deputy tried to call Ortiz, but the number belonged to a man in Hinesville, Ga., who said he didn’t know Ortiz.


Man reports stolen SUV

A Martinez man said a friend he drank with stole his SUV early Friday.

The 46-year-old man said his friend and coworker came to his home the previous evening to hang out and drink. During that time, the man said his friend told him about a place in Waynesboro, Ga., that can “chop” cars.

The man said his friend left and he went to sleep. The man heard a noise at about 7 a.m., but assumed it was his sister. When he woke at about 8:15 a.m., the man said the front door was cracked open, and the keys to his 2001 Chevrolet Tahoe that were left on a table in the living room and the vehicle were missing along with a water jug containing about $1,500 in change and gold coins. His paint machine and tools were untouched inside the home.

The man said he couldn’t reach his friend. Both he and his friend recently got jobs at the same plant. A deputy tried to get information from a plant representative, but she refused.


Woman reports scammer

A Harlem woman told deputies Friday that she wasn’t fooled by scammers pretending to be with the IRS.

The woman said she got a voice message on her cellphone from a man with a foreign accent who claimed to be with the IRS. The caller told the woman she owed $2,500 to the IRS and an officer would be at her home to arrest her if she didn’t pay.

The woman said she received no paperwork stating she owed money to the IRS and asked the caller to send her some. The caller refused and wouldn’t give her any more information. The woman never gave the caller any personal information and was told the call was a scam and not to send any money.

Categories: Local

Richmond County sheriff's deputy cleared of rape accusations

Wed, 7/22/2015 12:09 AM

A Richmond County sheriff’s deputy accused of raping a woman in April has been cleared, authorities said Friday.

The 33-year-old woman told Columbia County sheriff’s investigators that Richmond County sheriff’s Cpl. Jason Turner raped her at his Martinez home April 9 and took photos of her with his phone.

The Columbia County sheriff’s office investigated the accusations while Richmond County opened an internal investigation into the officer’s conduct. Because of lack of evidence, the officer was not charged and remained on active duty.

A rape kit was completed and sent to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation for analysis. The results came back negative last week.

“There is no evidence that a sexual assault or any crime occurred,” Columbia County sheriff’s Capt. Steve Morris said Friday.

Investigators do not plan to charge the woman with filing a false report, he said. The case has been closed and Turner has been notified of the findings. The Richmond County Sheriff’s Office has also closed its internal investigation, Lt. Allan Rollins confirmed.

Reports show this was not the first time the victim has accused someone of rape.

Last year, the woman told police that a friend had raped her while they were staying together in a hotel room five months earlier. No charges were filed in that report.

In February, the woman reported her husband and mother-in-law attacked her. She told police that her husband punched her in the face, threw her down, kicked her and slammed her head into a door. Police found a small scratch on her forehead.

The husband, who told police that he was seeking a divorce, stated that she attacked him and in the process fell and hit her head.

An hour later, the woman called police on her mother-in-law, who she claimed struck her.

Charges were never filed against her husband or mother-in-law.

Categories: Local

Philadelphia United Methodist Church in Harlem recalls past through stories

Wed, 7/22/2015 12:06 AM

Not much is known about the history of Philadelphia United Methodist Church. But the small, white country church, set slightly off Old Louisville Road in Harlem, is full of stories of former members of its congregation.

What is known is that the church was originally organized in 1840 as Rocky Mount, and met in a building three times the size of the current church on a site just a little down the road, said historian Allen Connor.

“We have no documentation of that church,” he said, adding that any documentation that existed was destroyed or lost before the Civil War.

The current church building sits on land donated by church member George B. Magruder just after the Civil War. (His granddaughter still attends.) The church possesses the original deed, dated 1888.

Connor, who has been a member of the church for 54 years, remembers when the church was smaller and did not have air conditioning or indoor plumbing.

“We had no running water in the church until the 1970s,” he said. “If you needed water, there was a spring down in the woods, and people would go to the spring to get water to give their horses or to use in the church.”

Neither the road nor parking lot was paved, and churchgoers would tie their horses to the trees while they were at services.

In his mother’s day, a pot-bellied stove in the middle of the sanctuary kept the place warm, and Sunday school was taught in three curtained-off rooms.

“We probably have more cute stories than we do actual history,” Connor said.

For instance, two sisters – Ms. Maude Sullivan and Ms. Mamie Marshall – taught Sunday school in those curtained rooms.

Before the church had running water, the sisters brought grape juice in mason jars for communion. At least, that’s what the congregation always thought they’d been drinking.

“One of the ministers in the early 1960s, C.W. Ed­wards, tells the story that the first time he gave communion here, he went to drink the grape juice,’’ Connor said.

It was not grape juice. It was homemade elderberry wine that the sisters had made.”

When he was a child, Connor took music lessons from Dorothy Linder, the pianist. He remembers digging the skeleton key out from under a brick in the steps to open the door.

For years, Linder let her dog, Rover, join her in the sanctuary while she taught lessons and practiced Sunday’s music.

“One tradition that’s been there since the Civil War is every second Sunday there has been a covered dish fellowship,” Connor said.

The church did not have a kitchen until it was renovated in the 1970s. The dinners would be laid out on concrete tables under the trees on the church grounds. Those tables, built sometime in the 1930s, still stand. A ring of thick tree stumps is nearby and classes will sometimes hold Bible study there.

The church was renovated in 2004 to expand the sanctuary. The wall was knocked down between the sanctuary and the fellowship hall to create a new altar and choir loft. Stained glass was purchased by members of the congregation in honor of different families in the church.

The expansion doubled the seating capacity in the sanctuary. It can now accommodate between 150 and 200 people and a baby grand piano, which the church raised funds for 25 years to purchase.

In a hallway at the back of the church, which holds offices and classrooms, is a history cabinet with items from the church’s past, including communion trays, offering plates and church fans dating from the 1930s.

Connor said the church has always been, and still is, a tight-knit congregation that looks out for one another in times of need.

“It’s always been a church of fellowship in the community,” he said. “It’s very much a rural community church.”

Categories: Local

Pet Adoptions

Wed, 7/22/2015 12:04 AM
Categories: Local

Look out below!

Wed, 7/22/2015 12:04 AM
Categories: Local

Current Events

Wed, 7/22/2015 12:03 AM


Family Movie Matinee 12:30 p.m. today, Jabez Sanford Hardin Performing Arts Center, 7022 Evans Town Center Blvd., Evans; doors open noon, movie begins 12:30 p.m.; free; limited seating; ages 12 and under must be accompanied by an adult; (706) 650-5005,

Resource expo

Caregiver resource expo 9 a.m.-noon Thursday, July 23, Warren Baptist Church, Simmons Hall, 3203 Washington Road; a variety of local community resources available with vendor tables covering hospice, home health, medical supplies and Alzheimer’s and caregiver support groups; presented by Area Agency on Aging and Warren Baptist Church; free;

Job fair

Department of Juvenile Justice Augusta Job Fair 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Thursday, July 23, Augusta Youth Development Campus, 3485 Mike Padgett Highway; on-the-spot interviews for Juvenile Corrections Officer 1 and 2 positions; check online for changes and updates;

Evans reunion

Evans High School Class of 1995 20-year reunion 8 p.m. Saturday, July 25, Sky City, 1157 Broad St.;

Sizzling Summer

The Remedy Band performing as part of the Sizzling Summer Music Series 5:30 p.m. Sunday, July 26, Columbia County Amphitheater, 7022 Evans Town Center Blvd., Evans; $6;

GOP meeting

CSRA Republican Women’s monthly meeting Tuesday, July 28, Logan’s Roadhouse, 269 Robert C. Daniel Jr. Parkway; District Attorney Ashley Wright, speaker; social/dinner 6-7 p.m., business meeting 7 p.m.; free, dinner optional


Small Business Workshop 9 a.m.-noon Wednesday, July 29, Columbia County Chamber of Commerce, 1000 Business Blvd., Evans; Grow Your Business with Email & Social Media; simple marketing strategy for small businesses and nonprofits; learn how to make the most of the combination of e-mail and social media for business; Constant Constant, presenter; free;

Block party

Block Party, Concert with Canton Jones 4 p.m. Wednesday, July 29, Green Branch Baptist Church, 974 Augusta Highway, Thomson; school supply giveaway; children’s activities; bring canned food or nonperishable items to be entered to win $100 gift card;

Community meeting

Community Meeting for Public to Voice Concerns on Regional Transportation System 5:30-7:30 p.m. Thursday, July 30, Columbia County Government Complex Auditorium, 630 Ronald Reagan Drive, Evans; voice opinions on the recommended Transportation Vision 2040 Plan and the FY 2015-2016 Transportation Improvement Program for the Augusta Regional Transportation Study;

Benefit ride

Ride For Recovery and Benefit Concert 9 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 1, Augusta Harley-Davidson, 4200 Belair Frontage Road; benefits Souls of Sobriety and Bridges of Hope; registration 9-11 a.m., kick stands up 11:30 a.m.; ride to Bridges of Hope in Louisville, Ga.; arrive approximately 12:30 p.m.; activities, refreshments and music by George Croft and the Vellotones at Bridges of Hope following ride; $25 plus $5 per passenger; (706) 829-6396, (706) 312-4933

Storks and Kites

Augusta-Aiken Audubon field trip 8 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 1, Silver Bluff Audubon Sanctuary, meet at Kathwood Ponds; view wood storks at Silver Bluff, then drive to Allendale to look for swallow-tailed Kites; beginners welcome; free;

Sizzling Summer

Lenwood Holmes and The Sounds Unlimited performing as part of the Sizzling Summer Music Series 5:30 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 2, Columbia County Amphitheater, 7022 Evans Town Center Blvd., Evans; $6;

Book club

Discussing One Nation Under God: How Corporate America Invented Christian America by Kevin M. Kruse 6:30-8 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 5, Columbia County Library, second floor, 7022 Evans Town Center Blvd., Evans; copies available at The Book Tavern;

Book sale Friends of the Columbia County Libraries Book Sale 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday- Saturday, Aug. 7-8, 2-4 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 9, Columbia County Library, second floor, 7022 Evans Town Center Blvd., Evans; fiction and nonfiction Storks, Corks

Storks and Corks 2015 6-9 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 8, Silver Bluff Audubon Sanctuary, 4542 Silver Bluff Road, Jackson; casual dress, food, wine; chance to see endangered Wood Storks in natural setting; silent auction; $50, reservations required; (803) 471-0291,,

Sizzling Summer

Doc Easton performing as part of the Sizzling Summer Music Series 5:30 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 9, Columbia County Amphitheater, 7022 Evans Town Center Blvd., Evans; $6;

Driving tour

Augusta-Aiken Audubon driving field trip at Phinizy Swamp Nature Park 8 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 15, 1858 Lock and Dam Road; drive around Phinizy looking for post-breeding birds and wading birds that come in late summer; beginners welcome; free;


Candlelight Wine & Dine: eZra Brown 6-8 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 15, Columbia County Amphitheater, 7022 Evans Town Center Blvd., Evans; gates open 5 p.m., concert 6 p.m.; bring seating and picnic; $10 advance, $15 day of show; (762) 233-5299,


Women’s Conference: The Refiner’s, Oakey Grove Baptist Church, 911 N. Belair Road, Evans; praise and worship 6:30 p.m. Aug. 14; workshops 8:30 a.m. Aug. 15, topics: Preparation for the Fire, Standing in the Fire and No Smell of Smoke; worship 10:15 a.m. Aug. 16, Sharon Riddle; free

Meet writer

Meet Jeffrey Selman, author of God Sent Me: A textbook case on evolution vs. creation, 3 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 16, Columbia County Library meeting room, 7022 Evans Town Center Blvd., Evans; copies of book available $15, cash or check;

Categories: Local

Man charged with wife's murder admits cutting himself

Tue, 7/21/2015 12:30 PM


The case against a Grovetown man charged in the June 14 stabbing death of his wife will continue.

Columbia County Magistrate Judge Jason R. Troiano decided at a preliminary hearing Tuesday that there is enough evidence to continue prosecution of Philip Stephen West, 46, on a murder charge.

Philip West was charged with malice murder and possession of a knife during the commission of a crime after the fatal stabbing of his wife, Sherri Kay West, 47, at their Shoreline Drive home late on June 14.

Just after 11 p.m., someone called 911 and didn’t speak. But dispatchers could hear a woman screaming. The recorded phone call lasted nearly eight minutes.

“You could hear Mrs. West take her last breath on the phone,” Columbia County Sheriff’s Office Investigator Daniel Gaston said at the hearing.

Dispatchers called right back and Philip West answered and calmly said everything was fine and he’d open the door for deputies on the way. When they got there, deputies knocked on the door for several minutes finding the door unlocked.

Deputies found Philip West on the foyer floor with several wounds. He told deputies his wife stabbed him.

“He was covered in blood,” Gaston said. “He had severe lacerations to his left arm, right arm and a knife in his chest.”

They also found Sherri West on the kitchen floor with stab wounds to her chest, back and upper side. She was pronounced dead at the scene.

Philip West was taken to Georgia Regents Medical Center, where he underwent surgery to repair the injuries to his arm, chest and another to his neck.

Investigators attempted to interview Philip West for several days after the incident and were finally able to get coherent answers from him four days later.

Initially, Philip West said that he and his wife argued over something on television and he blacked out until speaking to 911 dispatchers on the phone. He then began elaborating stating he didn’t remember stabbing his wife and would never hurt her, but remembered arguing, the knife in her chest and blood. Maybe he took the knife from her and one of them slipped.

“He said Sherri would constantly hit him and hell at him and tell him how sorry a person he was,” Gaston said. “He said he wanted her to stop the verbal abuse every day.”

Philip West nearly died from his injuries and admitted to Gaston that he’d hurt himself after realizing his wife was dead.

“He realized he’d hurt her,” Gaston said. “He wanted to die after the 911 call. He began to cut himself because he didn’t want to live without Sherri.”

West remained in the hospital until July 8, when he was arrested and charged with his wife’s murder. He “did commit the offense of Murder when he unlawfully and with malice aforethought took the life of Sherri West by stabbing her multiple times with a kitchen knife,” according to the warrant for his arrest signed by a Magistrate Court judge on June 30.

There was no evidence of premeditation or staging, only that the stabbing was a spur of the moment act. Gaston said he opted to charged Philip West with malice murder instead of voluntary manslaughter, which could be an act as the result of provocation.

“This has been going on for months,” Gaston said of the arguing between Philip West and his wife and his allegations she abused him. “The murder charge stems from “him not leaving months ago instead of letting it get to this point.”

West has been held in the Columbia County Detention Center without bond since his arrest.

Categories: Local

Kids exercise their minds at this science camp.

Mon, 7/20/2015 5:47 PM

Pre-K children gathered around MAES Education Center instructor Courtney Hatcher to learn about gasses by blowing up balloons and watching what happend when you put dry ice in a cup of water. The "Ideaventions" summer camp experiments both entertained and educated the participants.

The MAES Education Center also offers individual tutoring and SAT Preparation classes.

Categories: Local

Property Transfers, July 19, 2015

Sun, 7/19/2015 12:13 AM

Deborah P. Huguenin to River Gate Development LLC, 4419 Hardy McManus Road, $1,450,000.

Alexander Lombana to Corey R. Tillman, 465 Lory Lane, $154,500.

N. Vernon Blanchard to James L. Manahan and Heather S. Manahan, 6542 Washington Road, $210,000.

CitiMortgage Inc. to NEX Ventures Realty Inc., 120 Long Creek Way, $82,500.

Richard Edgar Savage to Daniel Lee Savage and Richard Edgar Savage, 6284 Keg Creek Drive, $534,000.

Ivey Residential LLC to Branden A. Kline and Sarah E. Thompson, 29 Havelock Drive, $211,750.

Shashidhar Subbanna to Mohamed M. Othman and Heba M. Saleh, parcel ID 082K001, $405,000.

Frances Elizabeth Moses to James D. Jackson and Jacqueline B. Jackson, parcel ID 077B345, $70,000.

Ann Marie Anzalone to Phuong Dung Thi Le, parcel ID 081107, $150,000.

Francisco Jacome to Deborah Datta and Meridian Jensen, 3516 Pebble Beach Drive, $425,000.

Keith D. Robertson to Humberto Sifuentes Jr. and Narnita Mohanty, parcel ID 076187, $375,000.

Daniel L. Disch to Kevin Clements, parcel ID 050136, $159,900.

Gary D. Taylor to Reva Bryce and Roderick Bryce, parcel ID 0621040, $190,900.

Erik R. Ewing to Joseph M. Uher, parcel ID 069536, $170,000.

Ronald J. Ramirez to Taylor Paul Teal and Kristina Joy Teal, parcel ID 073A132, $104,900.

Euchee Forest LLC to Ivey Residential LLC, 512 Brantley Cove Circle, $30,500.

Magnolia Valley Plantation LLC to Winchester Homes of GA Inc., parcel ID 0601364, $58,900.

Mark D. Pillarelli and Patricia Pillarelli to Michael Ray Cooper and Shannon Anita Cooper, parcel ID 0671040, $299,000.

Designer Homes and Construction LLC to Eric L. Crist, parcel ID 068919, $183,200.

JBC Development of Evans LLC to Old Evans Partners LLC, 568 Old Evans Road, $11,000,000.

David C. Fletcher to William L. Young and Kathryn Young, parcel ID 077I065, $179,800.

Georgia Bank and Trust Co. of Augusta Georgia to James Norwood West as trustee of the Norwood West and Jenlee West Family Trust, parcel ID 077C058P, $75,000.

Leslie A. Carlson as trustee of the Leslie A. Carlson Revocable Trust to Steven E. Gibbons, 200 Ryan Lane, $219,000.

The estate of Paul V. Davis Jr. aka Vernon Davis Jr. to Jesus A. Concepcion and Sandra Concepcion, 6705 Cobbham Road, $75,000.

Dealia A. Yancey to Richard Ramsey and Anna Barnes, 105 Ansley Place, $139,400.

McGahee Investment Properties LLC to Kenneth R. Miles II, parcel ID 001A247, $66,400.

Anissa L. Cox-Holt to Tara A. Cimaglia, parcel ID 077I195, $199,500.

Kingsbury Custom Homes Inc. to Juozas V. Raciunas and Dianna R. Raciunas, parcel ID 059165, $224,900.

Michael P. Mellon Jr. to Brady E. Hudkins, parcel ID 073F012, $149,000.

Keystone Homes Inc. to Trevor A. Billings and Birte M. Billings, parcel ID 0611955, $154,400.

Keystone Homes Inc. to Eric D. Belnap and Laura L. Belnap, parcel ID 0611958, $179,900.

John P. Knox Jr. to Melinda Jo Long and Jonathan E. Long, 1191 Newport Trail, $250,000.

Canterbury Farms LLC to Winchester Homes of GA Inc., 259 Seaton Ave., $49,500.

Canterbury Farms LLC to Winchester Homes of GA Inc., 252 Seaton Ave., $48,500.

Canterbury Farms LLC to Winchester Homes of GA Inc., 243 Seaton Ave., $52,000.

Canterbury Farms LLC to Winchester Homes of GA Inc., 256 Seaton Ave., $49,000.

Canterbury Farms LLC to Winchester Homes of GA Inc., 262 Seaton Ave., $48,000.

Canterbury Farms LLC to Winchester Homes of GA Inc., 725 Seaton Ave., $41,500.

Canterbury Farms LLC to Winchester Homes of GA Inc., 719 Southwick Ave., $41,500.

Riverwood Land LLC to Winchester Homes of GA Inc., 1725 Edenburg Way, $43,000.

Winchester Homes of GA Inc. to James M. Jackson and Donna M. Jackson, 1724 Edenburg Way, $221,300.

Indian Springs POA Inc. to Marshall Chad Buchanan and Kim A. Buchanan, parcel ID 0621675, $1,000.

Brandon Sloan to Brandon Rogers, 4424 Roxbury Drive, $8,000.

John Alan Sanders to Jay Acree and Miranda Jones Acree, 954 Watermark Drive, $174,900.

Robert C. Paris to Gary W. Perkins and Linda M. Perkins, 238 Bohler Drive, $175,000.

Jae W. Kim to Timothy Cain and Laura Cain, 6645 Eubank Drive, $420,000.

Joseph L. Mitchell to Srinivas R. Sonne, parcel ID 077G1087, $195,000.

Pierwood Construction Co. to Dondale E. Stroman, 730 Oakwood Court, $199,900.

Ashworth Homes LLC to George M. Koucheravy and Grace W. Koucheravy, 501 Fothergill Court, $451,750.

Patricia M. Davis as executor of the estate of Paul V. Davis Jr. to Virginia R. Shervette, parcel ID 072A148, $155,000.

Stuart Allen Probst to Edward Kim, parcel ID 071D178, $220,000.

Anthony Sanchez to Charles W. Bines, parcel ID G09025, $153,600.

Beazley Builders Inc. to Bill Beazley Homes Inc., parcel ID 052685, $34,500.

Categories: Local

Marriage Licenses, July 19, 2015

Sun, 7/19/2015 12:13 AM

Richard Burke Fahlman II and Geneva Nicole Pearre applied for a marriage license on March 29, 2015, and were married June 30, 2015, in Augusta.

Christopher Michael Hummel and Alisha Renee Barefield applied for a marriage license on June 16, 2015, and were married July 2, 2015, in Evans.

James Douglas Theissen and Hyon Son Madaus applied for a marriage license on June 25, 2015, and were married July 2, 2015, in Evans.

Ryan Jacob Pritchett and Maria Iesha Alday applied for a marriage license on June 12, 2015, and were marred June 27, 2015, in Martinez.

Thomas John Maybury and Sabrina Mary Sakran applied for a marriage license on June 18, 2015, and were married July 2, 2015, in Evans.

Howard Duane Burough and Rosemary Clugston applied for a marriage license on July 2, 2015, and were married July 2, 2015, in Augusta.

Perry Christopher Lamb and Renecia Danielle Roberts applied for a marriage license June 26, 2015, and were married July 2, 2015, in Evans.

Rodney Charles Merkley and Sarah Hunain Afrie applied for a marriage license on June 17, 2015, and were married July 6, 2015, in Evans.

Babak Roohani and Stephani Renee McIntosh applied for a marriage license on June 8, 2015, and were married July 4, 2015, in Evans.

Tyler Hudson Bourdo and Courtney Virginia Gaddy applied for a marriage license on June 12, 2015, and were married June 27, 2015, in Augusta.

Keith Lamont Purvis and Njeri Akalya Purvis applied for a marriage license on July 6, 2015, and were married July 6, 2015, in Augusta.

Jeff Lee Goode and Lisa Freeman Jones applied for a marriage license on June 30, 2015, and were married July 4, 2015, in Evans.

Benjamin Robert Waters and Mary-Beth Charlotte Sutton applied for a marriage license on June 4, 2015, and were married June 26, 2015, in Augusta.
Daniel Parriss McAllister and Fatemeh Rahmani Hazer applied for a marriage license on July 6, 2015, and were married July 6, 2015, in Martinez.

Carlan Langham Tornow and Megan Nichole Mimmie applied for a marriage license on June 29, 2015, and were married July 2, 2015, in Evans.
Braian Lee Coke and Christa Michele Herron applied for a marriage license on June 12, 2015, and were married July 3, 2015, in Augusta.

Robert Morgan Turner Jr. and Dana Marie Thomas applied for a marriage license on June 29, 2015, and were married July 2, 2015, in Evans.

Norman Leonard Heberer and Joan Fortner Fulghum applied for a marriage license on June 24, 2015, and were married July 3, 2015, in Augusta.

Paul Anthony Eubanks and Eileen Patricia Riley applied for a marriage license on May 15, 2015, and were married July 7, 2015, in Evans.

Dwayne Bernard Brabham and Kimberly Michelle Bush applied for a marriage license on June 15, 2015, and were married July 3, 2015, in Braselton, Ga.

Ronda Eugene Lampkin and Sharon Denise Wiley applied for a marriage license on June 18, 2015, and were married June 19, 2015, in Evans.

Alvin Irving Shure and Nancy Godbee Holmes applied for a marriage license on June 24, 2015, and were married July 4, 2015, in Augusta.

Byron Cragg Sylvester and Elizabeth Michelle Schroeder applied for a marriage license on June 10, 2015, and were married June 20, 2015, in Savannah.

Austin Clayborn Thompson and Amy Lynne Penton applied for a marriage license on May 15, 2015, and were married May 30, 2015, in Appling.

Categories: Local

Divorces, July 19, 2015

Sun, 7/19/2015 12:13 AM

Sherril Collier and Eric Collier, July 6, 2015.

Albert Holmes Dillard Jr. and Rebecca Embry Dillard, May 26, 2015.

Ryan Quigley and Courtney Quigley, July 7, 2015.

Gloria Denise Kelley and Jeremy Ray Kelley, July 10, 2015.

Michael Allen Abel and Michelle Lea Dawson Abel, July 10, 2015.

Tom Williamson and Doreen Manuel Williamson, July 10, 2015.

Kelsey Brown and Jason Wallace, May 29, 2015.

James Louise Schlein and Faye Eugenia Turner Schlein, July 6, 2015.

Elizabeth Williams and Brian R. Williams, June 23, 2015.

Jennifer Richards and Chad H. Richards, July 9, 2015.

Tracy A. Braxton and Edward Earl Braxton Jr., July 6, 2015.

Tony Michael Lynn and Bianca Janae Lynn, June 29, 2015.

Bethany S. Owens and William M. Owens IV, July 6, 2015.

Carissa A. Skillman and Julius M. Skillman Sr., July 6, 2015.

Raeghan Smith and Benkamin Smith, July 6, 2015.

Categories: Local

Sports Calendar for Sunday, July 19, 2015.

Sun, 7/19/2015 12:12 AM

Baseball camp

The The Second Annual NIKE Baseball Camp, played host to by Georgia Regents University, is Monday to Thursday and July 27 to July 30 from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., for boys ages 6 to 12 at Christenberry Fieldhouse. Cost is $225. Go to or call 1800-645-3226.

Bulls soccer youth camp

Adam Lundy and the Bulls Soccer Club will play host to a youth soccer camp at Patriots Park from Tuesday, July 21, through Saturday with two sessions running 9 a.m. to noon and 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Cost of the camp is $250. Contact the Bulls Soccer Club at (706) 550-2858. e-mail or go to

Harlem football and cheer camp

All children signed up or going to sign up for Harlem Pop Warner Football and Cheer are invited to attend a free football and cheer camp sponsored by Harlem High School on Friday from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the high school stadium. Registration tables will be set up during the event and concessions will be available. Call Mike Hubert at (706) 726-9370 or Todd Booker at (706) 910-9644.

Golf tournament

The inaugural 2015 Wolfpack Open, benefitting the Greenbrier High School football team is Aug. 1 at Bartram Trail Golf Course beginning at 1:30 p.m. Cost to join the Greenbrier Gridiron Club and former UGA quarterback David Greene on the course is $100 per player or $400 per team. Call John Giangrande at (706) 829-8978, Randy Atchison at (706) 699-1047, go to or e-mail

Categories: Local

Four candidates seek State House District 122 seat

Sun, 7/19/2015 12:11 AM

Columbia County District 3 Commissioner Mack Taylor’s last day in office will be Tuesday, according to the letter of resignation he submitted last week.

Taylor, who was elected in December to fill the seat vacated by Charles Allen, is resigning to pursue the State House District 122 seat left open by the resignation of Ben Harbin.

“Now more than ever, we need experienced, pragmatic leadership in the state House to grow our economy, enhance educational opportunities for students and preserve our unmatched quality of life,” Taylor said in his letter to Gov. Nathan Deal.

He said the experience he has gained as a lawyer, county commissioner, assistant district attorney and community leader has prepared him “to give the people of House District 122 the sound, conservative leadership they deserve.”

Two other Columbia County residents have announced plans to seek the seat – Pat Goodwin, a former chairwoman of the Columbia County Republican Party and the Columbia County Convention and Visitors Bureau, and Jodi Lott, a registered nurse and co-owner of Evan Rehabilitation Services.

A fourth candidate, Joe Mullins, a developer and entertainment promoter, tossed his hat into the ring Thursday.

Mullins touted himself as a conservative businessman who would work to bring jobs to the community and introduce legislation to replace the state income tax with a so-called Fair Tax, a consumption tax on all sales.

He also said he wanted to provide relief to property owners by increasing the homestead exemption in Columbia County.

Mullins also said he wants a tax-free holiday for Georgia-based businesses.

“This will result in consumers spending their dollars on businesses based here in Georgia, which means jobs and economic growth for Georgians,” he said.
Taylor’s resignation also triggers a special election to fill the District 3 commission seat, for which five candidates have announced.

The group includes Frank Spears, a former county commissioner; Jim Bartley, a builder and recent candidate for commission chairman; business owners Russell Wilder and Gary Richardson; and recently retired Army Lt. Col. Greg Grzybowski.

Categories: Local

Police Blotter, July 19, 2015

Sun, 7/19/2015 12:10 AM

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

Man takes test drive too far

A saleswoman at an Evans car dealership told authorities Monday that a customer took a test drive too far by stealing the car.

The saleswoman at Fairway Ford on Washington Road said she greeted the customer, who came onto the lot after 10 a.m. She described him as a black man wearing jeans, a red and white stripped golf shirt and a black “do rag.”

He parked a maroon Nissan Quest in front of the showroom and told the saleswoman he was looking for a blue Ford Mustang with lots of extras and was adamant he wanted tan leather interior. When she told the man the dealership didn’t have a car with those specifications in stock, she offered to let him test drive a 2015 model.

As they drove the $40,000 vehicle, the saleswoman said she told the man about all the amenities of the vehicle. When they returned to the showroom, the saleswoman and the man sat down to run numbers and do financing paperwork.

The man asked for a soft drink. The saleswoman left the car key on her cell phone on her desk while she went to get the beverages. The saleswoman noticed the man outside by the vehicle as she returned to her desk and assumed he was gathering his identification. Then, she saw him in the Mustang driving away east on Washington Road.

The man left the Nissan he’d arrived in behind at the dealership. Authorities found the stolen Mustang on Wrightsboro Road at marks Church Road in Augusta. The driver and passenger side windows were broken out.

Woman claims harrassment

A Grovetown woman told deputies early Tuesday that a man she assisted harassed her.

The 46-year-old woman said she was at a Circle K gas station on Wrightsboro Road on May 11 when a man approached her claiming he’d lost his cell phone.

He asked the woman to call it to see if he could locate the phone. When she did, the man immediately said he’d found it.

The man thanked the woman and left in an older model blue passenger car.

The woman said ever since she helped the man, he’s been calling and sending text messages to her phone. The man has left several voicemails and one of them included sexual comments.

She’s blocked the man’s number, but the woman said he contacts her from a different phone.

Stranger enters woman’s vehicle

A Martinez woman said Tuesday that she saw a stranger inside her vehicle.

The 22-year-old woman said she went outside at about 3:40 a.m. and saw the drivers door of her GMC Envoy open and the interior lights on. She saw a man inside the vehicle.

The stranger ran away west on Sunnywood Drive until disappearing behind some residence.

A witness said he saw a white man wearing a black hat, solid colored T-shirt and khaki shorts running on Sunnywood Drive and go through the gate to the backyard of a home.

Harassing calls upset woman

A Martinez woman said Wednesday that a stranger is harassing her by phone.

The 53-year-old woman said she received more than 40 calls from a blocked number from the morning of July 10 through July 12.

When she answers, the female caller tells the woman she’s ugly and is going to suffer.

The woman said she doesn’t know who the caller could be.

Home in Evans
is broken into

An Evans woman called authorities late Wednesday after discovering her home had been burglarized.

The 36-year-old woman said that between 5 and 9:15 p.m., someone forced their way through her back door. The top of the door frame was broken.

The woman’s dog was locked in a bedroom and papers were moved around. The woman said she doesn’t think anything was taken and doesn’t know who broke into her home.

Categories: Local

Large Kroger near Grovetown on track for groundbreaking next month

Sun, 7/19/2015 12:03 AM

Construction of a Kroger Marketplace near Grovetown is scheduled to begin next month, according to a corporate representative.

Kroger spokesman Glynn Jenkins said work on the large format grocery at the corner of Lewiston Road and William Few Parkway is expected to start in mid-August and would open in the summer of 2016.

Local development group Blanchard and Calhoun Commercial has been acquiring surrounding residential property for the 36-acre site that will include the 114,000-square-foot Kroger store and fuel center, 10,000 additional square feet of shop space and 12 retail out-parcels down William Few Parkway, Lewiston Road and Bluegrass Trail, as shown on the project’s site plan.

The plan shows raised medians and turn lanes added along the three roadways to assist with traffic control. A new traffic signal at Bluegrass Trail and Lewiston Road is being proposed.

Columbia County officials approved a general commercial rezoning for the property in October to allow for the project near Interstate 20. In late May, county planning commissioners approved building elevations and architectural finishes for the Kroger project, an extra condition placed on last year’s rezoning approval and the last step before building permits could be issued.

According to planning documents, the Kroger Marketplace will be built with brick, stone and stucco finishes on all four elevations.

Design features also incorporate end towers, a columned arcade and a fenced outdoor seating area.

This is one of several Kroger-anchored centers that Blanchard and Calhoun Commercial has developed across the Southeast.

“We have several tenants interested in the in-line shop space and restaurants interested in the out-parcels,” company President Mark Senn said in an e-mail. “Most of the restaurants are fast casual-type restaurants. Until we have them under lease, we cannot say who is going there.”

Kroger Marketplace stores are about double
the size of a traditional Kroger grocer, and create between 250 and 350 jobs. At the end of 2014, there were nearly 100 locations nationwide.

In addition to groceries, Marketplace stores sell jewelry, apparel, office and school supplies, furniture and toys.

Services such as in-store banking, Starbucks coffee bar, a drive-through pharmacy and a fuel center are included in the design.

Categories: Local

MELL wins title going away

Sun, 7/19/2015 12:01 AM

Tuesday night’s 2015 Georgia Little League Intermediate Baseball State Championship tilt between Martinez-Evans Little League and Smyrna might have started out differently than their first meeting had on Sunday, but it ended the same way.

After beating Smyrna 31-3 Sunday afternoon, MELL led just 4-1 entering the fifth inning Tuesday. Taking advantage of three Smyrna errors, MELL struck for 11 runs, including belting three of itsr six home runs and won the title 15-1 after Smyrna’s at-bat in the bottom half.

MELL will travel next week for the Georgia Little League Intermediate Southeast Regional in Apopka, Fla. Tournament play begins Friday.

“I think the Smyrna team came out ready to play tonight,” said MELL manager Robert Peel. “They played good baseball and we finally just pulled away at the end – starting hitting the ball good.”

Alex Matthews came to bat twice in the fifth inning, blasting a three-run homer the first time and a two-run shot the second. He wasn’t worried that MELL m led by just three runs entering the frame.

“I figured we were about to bust it open because we had just played them and they were throwing the same pitcher as Sunday so we had seen him before,” Matthews said.

MELL was also throwing the same pitcher as Sunday, Preston Price, who had been lights out.

Trailing 1-0 after MELL catcher John D’Amelio blasted a home run in the top of the first, Smyrna came out swinging. They tied it up on an error and base hit with the run scoring as Price started a double play.

That would be it for Smyrna, however, as Price (2-0) recorded the final out with a strikeout, the first of eight consecutive.

He retired Smyrna looking in the second inning and swinging in the third and finished the game with 12 strikouts.

“The first inning was a little rough but I’m glad we were able to come back and win the game,” said Price, whose curveball gave Smyrna fits for the second consecutive time.

Like Matthews, Blake Tucker hit two home runs, the first was a two-run shot in the third that gave MELL a 3-1 lead before Price added a solo shot in the fourth for a 4-1 advantage.

“I squared him up a lot better this time,” Tucker said. “I was seeing the pitches a lot better this time.”

While they are now on to a new goal, the state championship was one they really coveted.

“This is what we wanted, this is what we came up one game short of last year,” said Peel. “Most of these kids are state champs two out of three years and I’m really proud of them.”

Categories: Local

Violations, fine lead to permit for new Grovetown wastewater plant

Sun, 7/19/2015 12:00 AM

Grovetown leaders don’t consider a $10,000 fine from the Georgia Environmental Protection Division to be as bad as it sounds.

In fact, the citation and associated fine helped the city get a permit to build a badly needed wastewater treatment plant.

“(EPD) has done their best to work with us over time,” Grovetown Mayor Georgia James said. “So this is really helping us toward our application.

“They told us the (citation and fine) were going to take place. We knew about it ahead of time. That’s what’s helping us along.”

The citation involves the city’s land application system off Lakeview Drive. The EPD notice was posted on May 25 for violations of the Water Quality Control Act, which included Land Application System Permit/surface water runoff: continuous discharge of pollutants to state waters; failure to sample runoff on a weekly basis; and exceeding total suspended solids and nitrate limitations, according to the citation.

The citation calls for the city to immediately maintain a wastewater treatment pond and storage pond according to their permit; submit a corrective action plan to prevent wastewater-laden runoff; and take all needed measures to stop any wastewater pollution.

Public Works Director Michael Woods said the problem stems from the facility’s inability to properly dispose of wastewater through the facility’s hooding ponds and spray fields.

“It’s been somewhat of an issue for about 30 years,” Woods said. “From my understanding, it’s never (percolated) like it was designed to do.”

The city sends an average of about 17.154 million gallons of wastewater to Columbia County treatment plants in June and 2.7 million gallons to Richmond County.

The Grovetown facility is permitted to release 580,000 gallons a day onto the spray fields. Woods said they use the spray fields as much as possible, spray as much as will be absorbed before running off, which is considerably less than its capacity. In May, the average amount of wastewater sprayed onto the fields was 117,000 per day and 198,000 gallons per day in June.

“From the conception of the plan, there’s been a problem with it not perking like it’s supposed to,” James said of the facility built about 30 years ago. “It was perking somewhat in the beginning. It wouldn’t take the load it was designed to take.

“It kind of works, but not how it ought to.”

Since the city was cited and paid the fine, EPD issued a permit for the city to build a wastewater treatment plant on the same site as the spray fields.

City leaders are exploring funding options for the project.

“We’re going to build a whole new plant if we can find the funding,” Woods said, adding plans for the plant are being drawn up. “We want to, we’ve just got to find the funding.”

The plant is estimated to cost about $25 million.

“We’ll probably have to do a bond to get the plant built,” James said.

Categories: Local
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