Following the lead of fire departments across the state, the Augusta Fire Department has plans to introduce a reserve firefighter program.
The department, which employs more than 300 firefighters, requested the reserve program – scheduled for a summer start – in its 2014 budget. The Augusta Commission approved its budget Tuesday night, and Fire Chief Chris James said he is waiting to hear from the city finance department about the more than $374,000 he requested for the program.
The program includes training reserves and providing them with equipment.
Think “Washington County football,” and the House of Pain, deep playoff runs, Takeo Spikes and state title shots come to mind.
This year’s group is close to having a can’t-forget-that-team year.
For the 10th time since 1992 but the first time since 2006, the Golden Hawks are playing in the state semifinals, as Class AAA Washington County is home against Ringgold this Friday at 7:30 p.m. Washington County is one win away from playing for its first state championship since 1997.
The NCAA Division II men’s and women’s soccer national championships are returning to the area in a two-day event this week.
Blanchard Woods Park in Evans will play host to the two final four championships starting Thursday. The two women’s semifinal games will begin at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. The men’s semifinal games begin at 5 and 8 p.m.
Championship games are Saturday. The women’s final begins at 11 a.m., and the men play at 2 p.m.
A play in the regular-season finale at Barnwell sums up perfectly the bond between Silver Bluff stars Gyasi Yeldell and James Jacks.
It was fourth down, and the Warhorses went for it with a running play. But Yeldell, a defensive lineman, and Jacks, a linebacker, were having none of it.
“He (Yeldell) took on two blocks and left me free to make a stop on fourth down,” Jacks said. “It’s unselfish football. We’re out there as a team. We’re not out there for stats, it’s for the win.”
ATLANTA — State officials are searching for a replacement after the resignation of Georgia’s child advocate, Tonya Boga.
Brian Robinson, a spokesman for Gov. Nathan Deal, says a panel of seven people has already been put together to handle the search for her replacement.
Robinson says the group has met once by conference call this week and plans another meeting later this month. Robinson says he expects a replacement to be named sometime in January.
COLUMBIA — A state board has approved paying $286,000 toward the salary of Clemson University’s incoming president.
Clemson announced last month that Jim Clements will take the job in January. The board agreed to match Clements’ salary of $775,000 at his current job as president of the University of West Virginia.
Tuesday’s vote by the Agency Head Salary Commission means taxpayers will fund about a third of that. Private funds will provide the rest.
STATESBORO, Ga. — Statesboro voters for the first time have elected a woman to serve as mayor.
The Statesboro Herald reports 51-year-old Jan Moore won a close runoff election Tuesday night. Unofficial results show she defeated opponent Jonathan McCollar by fewer than 100 votes out of 1,867 mayoral ballots cast.
WINDER, Ga. -- An investigation into an alleged cheating scandal at the Winder Police Department resulted in four people losing their jobs and another initially placed on administrative leave getting reinstated and named interim chief.
In a statement released Tuesday night, Winder Mayor David Maynard said the investigation resulted in the resignations or dismissal of Chief Dennis Dorsey, Lt. Frank Farr and officers Joey Lovinggood and Randel Michael.
The allegations stemmed from improper testing procedures during a physical agility test.
ATLANTA -- Would-be ATM thieves crashed a sport utility vehicle through the front doors of a Buckhead pharmacy before daybreak this morning.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports the incident happened about 4 a.m. at the CVS store in the 3600 block of Peachtree Road.
Police on the scene told Channel 2 Action News that the burglars were apparently trying to steal the store’s cash machine, but fled after having trouble loading the ATM into the back of the SUV and getting the vehicle stuck in the doorway.
Don’t get scammed opening your heart – and your wallet – this holiday season.
Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp warns people to do their research before giving to charitable organizations to ensure their contributions help a worthy cause.
“Charitable donations have the most impact when given to groups that spend responsibly,” Kemp said in a news release. “Advance research can do a lot to ensure gifts are being used properly.”
ATHENS, Ga. -- Nobody knew it then, but the fabric of time and space shifted 50 years ago today — at least in the football-crazy world of Athens and the University of Georgia.
That day, Dec. 4, 1963, Vince Dooley became UGA’s football coach, making all of $15,500 a year, including the extra money he got for a weekly TV show during football season.
No one knew what to expect. At 31, he was too young to be a head football coach — even Dooley knew that. Not many had even heard of Vince Dooley, who coached freshmen at Auburn University.
ATLANTA — Atlanta’s airport is reporting an increase in passenger traffic during the Thanksgiving weekend, saying more than 1.8 million people passed through between Nov. 25 and Dec. 2.
That marks a 5.6 percent increase over the year before at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, the world’s busiest.
Airport General Manager Louis Miller says the travel season went smoothly and noted the Atlanta airport saw an increase despite a decline in air travel nationally.
ATLANTA — Police say a man struck and killed by a car along Interstate 285 was changing his tire along the freeway.
Fulton County police Cpl. Kay Lester said he had pulled over in the shoulder of the freeway near the Cascade Road exit around 3:30 p.m. Tuesday. Police say the driver who hit the man stopped. It's unclear whether that motorist will face charges.
The man who was killed was later identified as 54-year-old Dwight Moody of Covington.
Daren Flores adjusted the plastic firefighter’s helmet his daughter, Willow, wore as they waited for the start of the Augusta Fire Department’s Badge Pinning Ceremony.
Less than 30 minutes later, the 6-year-old was on stage with her dad, adjusting a shiny badge adorning his firefighter’s uniform.
Flores was among 36 new recruits sworn in at the Boathouse Community Center on Tuesday.
From January to July, the recruits trained with the department to earn certifications as firefighters and emergency medical technicians.
When she had the chance to talk face-to-face with some of Georgia’s lawmakers about public education Tuesday, Ghazala Turabi came right out and said it.
“We need money,” said the mother of six, the oldest a recent graduate of Westside High School.
Schools are underfunded for the basics. Teachers are being furloughed. And without money for the fun stuff like traveling to mathematics competitions, students are getting discouraged.
And that’s not the half of it.
Homeowners and manufacturers got a break Tuesday in the 2014 budget approved after much debate by the Augusta Commission.
Despite a projected shortfall of $7.9 million, commissioners declined to raise property taxes, or tax manufacturers for the energy they purchase, two suggestions recommended by City Administrator Fred Russell that would have raised as much as $5.5 million.
In the industry of holiday gift giving, federal officials and licensed dealers often refer to firearms as a “retail phenomenon.”
“It’s the one present under the tree that’s not only a gift, but also a liability,” said Steven Fishman, president of Sidney’s Department Store in downtown Augusta.
With firearm sales holding steady nationwide, federal officials and licensed dealers, such as Fishman, are encouraging the 144,000 Americans who FBI records show were approved to buy a firearm on Black Friday to document any transfers of ownership made during the holidays.
NORTH AUGUSTA — Georgia fans Bill Payne and his 9-year-old grandson Dalton were first in line Tuesday for former Bulldogs football coach Vince Dooley’s book signing at Kroger.
Dooley autographed a mug, football and one of his books, Dooley’s Playbook: The 34 Most Memorable Plays in Georgia Football History, for the two.
Dalton was excited about meeting the former coach.
“It was cool,” he said.
Bill Payne’s admiration for Dooley stems from the legendary coach’s accomplishments, he said.
The former finance director at Augusta Regional Airport has filed suit alleging she was fired for refusing to violate the law and city ordinances governing purchasing.
The Richmond County Superior Court petition filed Nov. 26 seeks restitution and income that Tammy Strange contends she would have received but for the illegal conduct of the defendants – the city of Augusta and airport Director Gary Letellier.
A lawsuit represents only one side of a dispute. The city will have time to file a response before any court hearing is scheduled.
The Georgia High School Association has placed schools in regions for the 2014-15 and 2015-16 school years. As a result, there are a few regions and sub-regions that are full of Augusta-area schools.
At Tuesday’s meeting, the GHSA allowed Evans, through the isolation rule, to play down in Class AAAAA with other local teams after Evans was originally placed in AAAAAA. Evans will be in Region 2-AAAAA, Sub-region A with Richmond Academy, Cross Creek, Greenbrier, Grovetown and Lakeside. Richmond Academy and Cross Creek both elected to play up a class.