Fort Gordon might make First Friday off-limits

  • Follow Local Business

Fort Gordon command staff will consider preventing soldiers from visiting downtown Augusta during First Friday.

The topic came up Friday afternoon at the quarterly meeting of the Armed Forces Disciplinary Control Board, which addresses garrison issues on post, including whether to recommend that certain establishments and areas be placed off-limits to soldiers.

The panel of civilians and military personnel expressed concern about this month’s First Friday, which ended with six people, half of them teenagers, wounded by gunfire. Richmond County sheriff’s investigators continue to search for a suspect.

Lt. Col. Hollis Bush, director of Fort Gordon’s emergency services, said he would research the incident and collect data to present at the next meeting, in October. Maj. Gen. Alan Lynn, Fort Gordon’s commander, recently placed Trip 3 Smoke Shop off-limits after an investigation found the store was selling synthetic marijuana, also known as “spice.”

Stephanie Forbes, the owner of Gaartdensity Gallery at 1155 Broad St., said she hopes the fort doesn’t keep soldiers away.

“I think it’s a huge mistake,” she said. “Soldiers make up a good percentage of First Friday patrons. It isn’t going to solve anything by pulling people away.”

Forbes, who also waits tables at Mellow Mushroom on Broad Street, is working on getting a group of downtown business owners together next week to discuss ways to bring First Friday back to what it was when it started in 1994 – an art gallery walk designed to draw families downtown and showcase businesses.

“There is so much great potential for downtown,” she said. “Running away isn’t going to solve anything.”

Christan Armour, a manager at Bees Knees located at 211 10th Street, said banning soldiers from the monthly event would be detrimental to businesses in the area.

“It will definitely affect business downtown,” she said. “And it seems unfair to (the soldiers).”

Commanding officers have the privilege under military law to place locations and businesses off-limits if it’s found those places are detrimental or harmful to their “health, morale, safety, morals and welfare.”

In the wake of the shooting, Richmond County sheriff’s investigators said they will boost security at First Fridays and increase their enforcement of the city’s midnight curfew for minors. Officers believe a single shooter opened fire shortly after 11:30 p.m. in the 900 block of Broad Street.

The shooting led some to recall another violent incident that marred the event. In October 2002, three fights broke out that ended in damage to Broad Street bars. At least 19 arrests were made for disorderly conduct.

First Friday was originally run by Main Street Au­gusta, which was funded by the Down­town Develop­ment Authority. Main Street Augusta dissolved itself in 2006, and the DDA relinquished the festival for financial reasons. It was picked up by the Greater Augusta Arts Council in 2007, which has been running it on a very limited scale since then.

Comments (44) Add comment
ADVISORY: Users are solely responsible for opinions they post here and for following agreed-upon rules of civility. Posts and comments do not reflect the views of this site. Posts and comments are automatically checked for inappropriate language, but readers might find some comments offensive or inaccurate. If you believe a comment violates our rules, click the "Flag as offensive" link below the comment.
augusta citizen
10002
Points
augusta citizen 07/13/12 - 04:24 pm
12
0
Not surprising

The army is known for making areas that are considered out of control and dangerous off-limits. I also read on another news source that Rockbottom Music is planning to leave downtown due to this incident and the general crime element that's rampant at night. The owner said that he's fed up with the crime and that parents have become wary of bringing their kids there for music lessons. I say that it's time to focus on the real issue, which is cleaning up the crime. No amount of fancy street lights, fountains, parks or tourist spots will change downtown's problems. It is the crime.

rzombie125
11
Points
rzombie125 07/13/12 - 04:26 pm
8
6
That makes a lot of sense!

That makes a lot of sense! Ban them from something that they had nothing to do with. Fort Gordon already requires their children to be home by curfew. By the time the hooligans and thugs come out the soldiers are already back on post (IET soldiers). They already restrict them to basically the mall and post. IET soldiers can't ride in POV's (personally owned vehicles), nor can they buy one. That makes no sense to me at all. I understand they want to keep them under mother hens wings, but they're adults fighting for our country and you're gonna tell them they can't buy a car and they can't go to a specific part of town on a certain evening? I could understand if it were a bar that has a questionable reputation. But, this is a city street. Broad st!

If you're standing at 11th & Broad and some thugs approach, would you rather have a liberal arts major from ASU or a soldier in the US Army standing next to you?? Thanks for supporting Augusta, Fort Gordon!

boomhauer
650
Points
boomhauer 07/13/12 - 04:43 pm
10
1
I agree Augusta Citizen! And
Unpublished

I agree Augusta Citizen!

And to Mr RZombie125 not only does the Military protect our Country but it also protects it's soldiers and that will not change!

chadwick323i
48
Points
chadwick323i 07/13/12 - 04:50 pm
7
3
City of Augusta off limits

Just make the city of Augusta off limits!! The Soldiers can do their personal business in Columbia County!!!

Patty-P
3520
Points
Patty-P 07/13/12 - 05:29 pm
6
1
I would love to see what

I would love to see what countyman has to say about this now. I wonder if he still thinks the majority of military families live in Richmond County.

happychimer
19504
Points
happychimer 07/13/12 - 05:32 pm
4
0
What are IET soldiers?

What are IET soldiers?

Willow Bailey
20605
Points
Willow Bailey 07/13/12 - 06:13 pm
6
2
I would say smart move for

I would say smart move for military personnel.

KSL
143368
Points
KSL 07/13/12 - 07:08 pm
3
3
I don't see why they would

I don't see why they would have to be limited from downtown prior to 9:30 on FF.

happychimer
19504
Points
happychimer 07/13/12 - 07:15 pm
5
0
Nobody can tell me what IET

Nobody can tell me what IET soldier is.

dichotomy
37379
Points
dichotomy 07/13/12 - 07:40 pm
9
0
IET - Initial Entry

IET - Initial Entry Training.....newspeak for the old Basic/Advanced Individual Training (AIT)

KSL
143368
Points
KSL 07/13/12 - 07:54 pm
4
2
I thank you for the

I thank you for the explanation. I am certain Happy will too.

choppergirl
9
Points
choppergirl 07/13/12 - 08:22 pm
7
13
The last I heard curfews existed was in Nazi Germany

I wonder what these soldiers are fighting for, if they are not fighting for freedom. Because obviously, they are not free, if they can not go where they please in their free time. They are nothing but slaves and property of the US government, and why one would enter into such a lopsided bondage contract is beyond me.

That's not what I want to talk about, however. I have an interesting other personal story, however, about this CURFEW business.

Once a Columbia County cop called me and told me they were going to arrest me the next Monday, or I could come in and turn myself in, for a crime I did not commit. Not being guilty of anything, and being a good citizen, I was like ok, I'll turn myself in, no big deal. Boy was I naive and stupid back then. Curses to civics class and all the lies they taught us. But anyway, that is not my story, but sets the background of my story.

While in Columbia County jail, they brought in this white teenage girl after midnight. She was terrified out of her mind. I mean literally scared to death terrorized, crying, etc. A kid who had never been in trouble with the law, or whatever, that kind of terror.

I had no idea why she was there, she looked and acted like an honors student. Honors students have a way of being able to spot other honors students. It was obviously not drugs, prostitution, or theft. And then I found out, it was because she had been out after "curfew". Not being from Columbia County, I was like, WTH??? Curfew? Are you serious? What kind of backwards retrograde place is this? Is this insane? And very unconstitutional?

So they locked her in a cell several cells down from me. I could see her name chalked in on the chalk board, it was "Flowers". I want to remember her first name was Melissa, but I can not be sure, it was so long ago.

Anyway, I remembered the trip my parents had taken me to Dachau when I was little, and shown me the concentration camp, and the tremendous courage of the people that endured that place when there was no hope left for them.

So there, in that cell in Columbia County, I did something. I started to sing. I didn't care if they were going to beat me to death. I was mad. These were the real terrorists, filling innocent people full of terror, not some desert tribe people half away around the world. Anger has a way of empowering you.

I started to sing, and I started to quiet at first, to get up my courage, but then louder and louder. I sang the few songs I knew by heart... and this is how I started...

"How many roads must a man walk down, before they call him a man... how many seas must the white dove sale... before she can sleep in the sand... how many times must the cannon balls fly, before theya re forever banned... the answer, my firend, is blowing in the wind, the Answer is blowing in the Wind.."

The girl stop crying, and just peeped out of her cell window, and looked at me, overcome by curiousity, who was this person, in this horrible, horrible, center of the terror police state fortress, singing, of all things, singing.... she looked at me with this look, like, a small animal looks at you when you call it out from hiding under a bush. As if I were this powerful, shining bright friendly light that said, do not be afraid, I am here, listen to me, and nothing can hurt you.

I finished the rest of the song, and then I sang a few other songs by Joan Baez, not because I was a hippie, but because they were simple and easy to remember songs and I did not want to mess them up. I never saw her again.

Later I would go on to be falsely convicted for a crime I didn't commit, tortured for over 700 days in south Georgia prison, and then released when I won my appeal. I was the first person to be convicted in that new Columbia County Courthouse, and I remember, there was a big issue about the Statue of Justice not being blindfolded. Because of me, that courthouse shall be forever cursed.

The police state will not protect you. Indeed, they very well turn out to be the enemy that destroys your life. They are a gang of thugs with radios and guns who run a slander game for profit.

The only way you can win true raw unadulterated freedom, is not to fight for the state, but to stand up and defend your freedom for yourself and your family, no matter how small the resistance may be at first. Resistance grows, but it always starts with that small, powerful seed of courage and the will to resist.

I sang a lot at first in my first year in prison, but after about 500 days, something inside of you dies, your consciousness is drown out by the crushing noise and stupidity and sensory deprivation that surrounds you. Georgia prisons are truly a horrible place, and a shame on our state, that considering its black and criminal history of leading a civil war to uphold slavery, should now be a paragon of freedom and civil right the rest of the world would look to to emulate. But its not. Georgia is as bad as ever, if not worse than it ever was. Its vast slavery complex has just gone underground, out of sight now hidden at the ends of country roads leading out of small Georgia towns in the middle of nowhere. You wouldn't know it, but there's 50 prisons in Georgia, all built like concentration camps with designs taken back from WW2. Razor wire. Do not cross lines. Bunkers. Concertina. Rations barely enough to keep you alive, but not sentient or intelligent. Humidity, cold, heat, noise, sleep deprivation....

So what do you do. You sing. You sing as loud as you can.

allhans
24846
Points
allhans 07/13/12 - 08:56 pm
10
0
What the heck?

What the heck?

JRC2024
10381
Points
JRC2024 07/13/12 - 09:13 pm
8
0
so what is your point chopper

so what is your point chopper. The thread is about low life thug type people that come in and invade downtown on first friday after 9:30 and how to stop them from spreading their ignorance and bad behavior on all the other law abiding citizens downtown. Your comment about the military being like a slave owner is just pathetic. You would not say that if you were living during WWII. There has to be unquestioned dicipline because of the nature of their jobs and they are very much appriciated by myself and many many others. By the way, you never said why you spent several years in a Georgia prison or what you were supposed to have done.

KSL
143368
Points
KSL 07/13/12 - 09:06 pm
2
2
What year was that,

What year was that, choppergirl? Sounds like a horrible ordeal.

KSL
143368
Points
KSL 07/13/12 - 09:24 pm
4
3
My father didn't speak of

My father didn't speak of his law cases very often, one I remeber when I was in grammar school was his appointment by the court to represent several Ft. McPhearson sp? soldiers who had broken in somewhere and allegedly stolen something. Back then there were no paid public defenders. It was purely pro bono. These were young guys he felt had made a serious error in judgment. I was very young, so I don't remember the circumstances. They got discharged from the army, but somehow they didn't have to serve much if any time and he found them jobs. My dad is gone. I need to ask my mother the details. My dad was totally about doing the right and honorable thing. I have no idea why he went above and beyond giving them the best representation he could and on to the next step of rehabilitation and giving them a second chance.
.

jgriffin5197
22
Points
jgriffin5197 07/13/12 - 09:48 pm
7
0
First, I will direct my

First, I will direct my comment towards the comments about IET Soldiers having no freedom and Soldiers being slaves and government property. IET is initial entry training- keyword, training! The key objective for these Soldiers is to focus on learning the ways of the military and the skills needed for their jobs. That being said, there is good reason why they are not allowed to run around all hours of the night and have curfews. When they have obtained the skills needed to perform their jobs and move onto permanent status, they will have all the freedoms you speak of.

Second, correct me if I am wrong, but Soldiers spend a year at a time deployed to a combat zone and are faced with the possibility of not returning home alive to their families everyday. Many Soldiers deploy multiple times in their career. So, why should Soldiers have to worry about being shot and injured, or worst killed here in the "Land of the Free"?

Soldiers for the most part do not choose where they want to be stationed, unfortunately at times we just have to go where the military needs us to go. Even more unfortunate is when we are required to live in and subject our families to towns that have extremely high crime and have substandard school systems. Fort Gordon may ban Soldiers from coming to First Friday and/or anywhere else they feel there is a threat to the force, but honestly who would want to attend places that you have to constantly look over your shoulder anyway?

It is easy to make comments about the way you view the military and the way Soldiers are treated when you are on the outside looking in. People who have actually chose to be a part of the force understand that most decisions are made in the best interest of safety. I'm sure the higher commands making this decision wish they didnt even have to deal with this situation but unfortunately there are people in this town that refuse to do the right thing. People say if you dont vote in the election, then you cant be mad about who gets elected. I say that because everyone is entitled to an opinion, but if you yourself have never wore the uniform, then the way you view it or the stories you have heard are really irrelevant...

KSL
143368
Points
KSL 07/13/12 - 10:22 pm
3
2
Your points are well taken,

Your points are well taken, but just remember that there is a difference in complaining about circumstances in general and in the actions taken by your elected official if you chose not to vote. I vote and I can complain about the people I either voted for or against.

I am and have always been a huge supporter of the military. I am trying to keep your attittude from affecting that.

No one has said they need to be allowed to run around all hours of the night. In fact I suggested the altrrnative while still allowing what the paper implied referred to all of the military.

Prrhaps it was your reference to not voting and then complaining which I have addressed and which frankly has little to do with military life since we don't vote on the rules you live by.

Thank you for your and your family's sacrifice and your service. And for your opinion.

countyman
21623
Points
countyman 07/13/12 - 10:57 pm
0
10
Fort Gordon is located in Richmond County

The majority of military and military families do live in Richmond County... Whether you're counting those who live on Fort Gordon or off the base... The majority of Fort Gordon is located inside of RC, and Freedom Park is apart of the RCBOE... The new construction headed to Fort Gordon goes through the Richmond County Planning & Zoning first...

The owner of Rockbottom said he 'might' move, and one of the future locations was still on Broad street.... Once things cool down people will start to think clearly... A couple of new businesses are getting ready to open downtown so things are still moving forward..

The Candlelight jazz series takes place every sunday night downtown... Thousands of people just showed up for the July 4th celebration, and neither event had any public safety issues... It's funny the local media or certain people act like those events at nightime don't exist....

Why do the people who live downtown never see this 'rampant' crime at night?? I live downtown, and never have any problems with crime.. The owner of Rockbottom sounds fustrated, because he had to bring up an crime from two years ago... The Greenway store moved to downtown from Evans, because of a security issue... The local media definitley didn't bring that bit of information into the spotlight... Now one business is considering moving, and the rest want to stay downtown.. They want to focus on the one businesses who might leave..

KSL
143368
Points
KSL 07/13/12 - 10:44 pm
2
2
One more point, back here in

One more point, back here in the land of the brave and the home of the free, unless they are in a certain initial catergory, their accumulated privieges should not be infringed.

I inherited my very first car even though I had always had a car to drive since I was sixteen. At the college I attened in Mass., freshmen and I believe sophomores were not allowed to have cars. We got permission to have the car on campus for packing and departiing for my trip home to Ga in June. I had to turn in the keys.

KSL
143368
Points
KSL 07/13/12 - 10:50 pm
4
2
There you are. Did you

There you are. Did you complain about my post on the starbucks article or do you just have friends in high places?

countyman
21623
Points
countyman 07/13/12 - 10:54 pm
2
4
Why would I complain? I'm

Why would I complain? I'm used to the people bringing up my name on here...

KSL
143368
Points
KSL 07/13/12 - 11:08 pm
2
3
Good to know. Countyman.

Good to know. Countyman. Somebody did or the AC just took it upon themselves. Keep up the good cheerleading for Augusta.

Willow Bailey
20605
Points
Willow Bailey 07/13/12 - 11:14 pm
5
0
I'm with Allhans.

I'm with Allhans.

countyman
21623
Points
countyman 07/13/12 - 11:28 pm
2
5
Why is it considered

Why is it considered cheerleading?? There's crime in the CBD similar to anywhere else, but it doesn't become this dangerous area at night some people are trying to make it seem.. 95% of the crime reported in the media as 'downtown' happens in East Augusta, Bethlehem, Laney Walker, Harrisburg, in/around Sunset, etc... I've never heard of IT companies opening(Rural Sourcing), or multiple private developers willing to invest millions(JB Whites building, Discovery Plaza(old Fort Discovery), Cal Ripken, Jim Jacoby), etc into a dangerous area...

The July 4th celebration had thousands of people attending from around 5pm until late at night...

KSL
143368
Points
KSL 07/13/12 - 11:53 pm
3
1
I don't know why it is

I don't know why it is considered cheerleading other than despite viewing the fires burning in Augusta from Kalmia Hill in Aiken to the wonderful attempts to bringing back downtown Augusta after the malls coming in, complete with Riverwalk, where in the early 90's we drove over most every Fri. night to walk and enjoy the beauty of and the river. I am not a Richmond resident. But over the years, we have spent a lotof money in the county. What happened? The last time we walked the RW was in the 90's there were groups of teenagers who looked like they wanted to be intimidating except my husband is 6'4, a former athlete, looked somewhat intimidating. And of course they were not illegally carrying weapons, that we know of.

Patty-P
3520
Points
Patty-P 07/13/12 - 11:54 pm
7
1
countyman

Doubtful the hoodlums would make it far getting on a military base....therefore let's not try to factor the families that live on base as part of your 'majority.'

KSL
143368
Points
KSL 07/14/12 - 12:06 am
4
1
And the vacant storefronts on

And the vacant storefronts on Broad? Of all local downtowns with so much to offer, why has Augusta fallen behind?. Prople point to Savannah and Columbus. I grew up near Columbus. It has hadmore success in the downtown. My loyalty is to Augusta. Please make it all it should be.

GaStang22
910
Points
GaStang22 07/14/12 - 12:37 am
0
1
Countyman, where exactly did
Unpublished

Countyman, where exactly did you get the idea The Green Way store moved to downtown because of security issues???? Please site your source and provide links if possible.

myfather15
56417
Points
myfather15 07/14/12 - 03:59 am
10
0
Can't believe I wasted my

Can't believe I wasted my time reading that entire, dishonest post. Trust me, It was dishonest, curfew violations are not arrestable offenses, a citation at the most. That poor young lady was NOT brought in on just a curfew violation, but that was a good attempt at getting sympathy. Such a anti-police, anti-military, anti-America post with a serious lack of honesty. If you hate America, fine but don't make up ridiculous stories to support your hatred for it.

Unconstitutional?? Really?? First of all, the curfews are only for juvenile aged teenagers, not 18 year olds which are adults. There is no curfew for adult aged teenagers. Juveniles aren't arrested and brought into adult facilities, its illegal. Thats why I do NOT believe this ridiculous story for a second. You could hear her name chalked into the chalk board???? Really? You said you were the first person Convicted in the NEW Courthouse, not sure of the year but is was probably built somewhere around 2000 or 2001 I believe. I worked in the Columbia County jail in 1998 and it wasn't built then. There were no "chalkboards" in the jail in 1998. This isn't the 50's, try making your stories a little more believable. Thanks for wasting our time with you hate filled message. Have a nice day.

Back to Top

Search Augusta jobs