Joe Hotchkiss, Augusta Chronicle

Joe Hotchkiss

Augusta Chronicle

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Recent articles by Joe:

Lady A isn’t only band facing backlash over southern-themed name

Lady A, formerly Lady Antebellum, isn’t the only music group whose name has struck a sour note because of its Southern accent.Civil unrest prompted by the recent killings of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery and Breonnna Taylor has turned new attention on entities and notable figures tied to the Confederacy and Southern history. In addition to Lady A, groups like the Dixie Chicks and Confederate… → Read More

Controversy flares over Lady A name change

"Ridiculous," said Terri Valenti of Augusta."Bad career decision," said Joyce May Loyal of Martinez."Oh good grief," said → Read More

Controversy flares over Lady A name change

"Ridiculous," said Terri Valenti of Augusta."Bad career decision," said Joyce May Loyal of Martinez."Oh good grief," said Larry Klein of Evans. "I’m embarrassed for my home in Columbia County."Possibly the toughest audience that country music trio Lady A has ever faced is on social media in its own back yard.Until June 11, Lady A called itself Lady Antebellum, whose members include former… → Read More

Columbia County puts restrictions on proposed clock tower’s height

Is it a sign or is it a building?It’s a clock tower -- and Columbia County commissioners spent part of their Tuesday meeting discussing a rezoning request that would have allowed construction of one of the county’s tallest buildings.Instead, the commission voted unanimously to grant the rezoning -- if the property owner agrees to reduce the tower’s height.Civil engineer Gary Bennett filed a… → Read More

Column: You can help local Salvation Army in many ways

Working for The Salvation Army in Augusta, I am often asked: "I see so many homeless in Augusta, why aren't you doing something about it?"The → Read More

Dennis Trudeau resigns from Grovetown City Council

Grovetown City Councilman Dennis Trudeau accepted a plaque from Mayor Gary Jones on Monday during the council meeting, where he announced his resignation from office effective Nov. 1. [JOE HOTCHKISS/THE AUGUSTA CHRONICLE]▲ Dennis Trudeau – the 93-year-old Grovetown city councilman who returned to public office after serving 20 uninterrupted years as the city's mayor – has announced he is… → Read More

Police report states Evans charter school superintendent was fired

Parents filled the dining hall of the School for Arts-Infused Learning on Sept. 26 to find about the circumstances surrounding the dismissal of SAIL Superintendent Kristy Zgol. (JOE HOTCHKISS/THE AUGUSTA CHRONICLE)▲ The first superintendent of Columbia County's first charter school was fired, according to a member of the school's board. Kevin Burnley, current vice-chairman of the Board of… → Read More

Columbia County charter school superintendent abruptly leaves

Teacher Sonya Wheat directs summer campers to another activity at the School for Arts-Infused Learning in Evans in this photo taken in June. The school's first superintendent of the year-old charter school left the school abruptly Friday, and there has been no immediate explanation why. [JOE HOTCHKISS/THE AUGUSTA CHRONICLE]▲ The governing board for Columbia County's first and only charter school… → Read More

Jones Creek Golf Club still pursuing suit against Columbia County

An attorney for the now-closed Jones Creek Golf Club said the club still would pursue its lawsuit against Columbia County over stormwater damage. (JOE HOTCHKISS/THE AUGUSTA CHRONICLE)▲ A U.S. flag hangs at half-staff outside the locked Jones Creek Golf Club clubhouse Wednesday morning. An attorney for the now-closed club said it still would pursue its lawsuit against Columbia County over… → Read More

New York firefighter recounts 9-11 tale of sacrifice at Columbia County event

Columbia County firefighters gathered for Tuesday's Patriot Day remembrance ceremony stand beneath a large American flag hoisted between a pair of ladder trucks, near the Columbia County Military Memorial Wall in Evans. (JOE HOTCHKISS/THE AUGUSTA CHRONICLE)▲ Retired New York Fire Department Lt. Serge Burack said Tuesday that the most valuable lessons of 9-11 come from "personal stories of… → Read More

Jones Creek Golf Club's future seems uncertain after closure

A dry fountain sat at the entrance of Jones Creek Golf Club in Evans on Monday. The club suspended operations at 6 p.m. Sunday, "driven by the delay and uncertainty" of litigation against Columbia County, the club said in a letter to members Friday. (JOE HOTCHKISS/THE AUGUSTA CHRONICLE)▲ A copy of the letter sent to members about Jones Creek Golf Club's closure was posted at the locked front… → Read More

Grovetown partially reimbursed by insurance company in city employee theft

Grovetown Mayor Gary Jones said Thursday he hopes the receipt of a reimbursement check for stolen city funds will close the "most painful and embarrassing chapter of our city's history." (JOE HOTCHKISS/THE AUGUSTA CHRONICLE)▲ The city of Grovetown's receipt of an insurance check, partially reimbursing funds taken by the former city clerk, closes the "most painful and embarrassing chapter of our… → Read More

Harlem gearing up for next month's Oliver Hardy Festival

Harlem Downtown Development Director Kennedy Sammons and Gary Russeth, a volunteer at the city's Laurel and Hardy Museum, stand in one of the museum's exhibits. The 30th annual festival honoring Oliver Hardy, who was born in Harlem, will be Oct. 6. [JOE HOTCHKISS/THE AUGUSTA CHRONICLE]▲ The city of Harlem's Oliver Hardy Festival will be Oct. 6, and people have been asking city Downtown… → Read More

Columbia County educators learn about local business needs

Columbia County educators boarded a school bus Thursday morning for a daylong tour to learn more about local employers and what job skills they seek in high-school graduates. (JOE HOTCHKISS/THE AUGUSTA CHRONICLE)▲ Columbia County teachers and school administrators took a closer look Thursday at the workplaces where their students are likely to find jobs in the next several years. About 40… → Read More

AU Health opens first practice in Columbia County

Dr. Julian Nussbaum, the CEO of Augusta University Medical Associates, stands at the lectern as other AU dignitaries, including AU President Brooks Keel (second from left), applaud the just-unveiled sign on the Evans building where AU Health will offer primary care. [JOE HOTCHKISS/THE AUGUSTA CHRONICLE]▲ Unveiling the sign just made it official. Augusta University and its health-care network, AU… → Read More

Bible-themed theater company to build new home in Columbia County

This property at the corner of Flowing Wells Road and Fitzgerald Drive in Martinez is slated to be the new home of a Bible-inspired theater troupe, according to papers filed with Columbia County planning officials. (JOE HOTCHKISS/THE AUGUSTA CHRONICLE)▲ A biblically inspired theater troupe has been granted permission to erect a permanent home and performing space in Martinez. The Columbia County… → Read More

Chamber program geared to better acquaint Columbia County schools with local businesses

Columbia County Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Tammy Shepherd said the Teachers in Business event will help local educators and administrators to better understand the workforce needs of local employers. (JOE HOTCHKISS/THE AUGUSTA CHRONICLE)▲ The John Deere tractor plant in Grovetown will be one of the stops on the Aug. 30 Teachers in Business event. (JOE HOTCHKISS/THE AUGUSTA… → Read More

Harlem grapples with transportation issues

When state government officials visit Harlem, Harlem considers it a big deal.And the big deal Harlem finds itself grappling with now, and in coming years, → Read More

County close to reopening parts of Evans Towne Center Park

Two months after closing parts of Evans Towne Center Park, Columbia County is close to reopening the large areas of grass to visitors again.Deputy County → Read More

Lower taxes likely for Columbia County property owners

Columbia County property owners soon might pay lower property taxes.The county’s Board of Commissioners will vote next month on precisely how much the local government will reduce its millage rate, County Administrator Scott Johnson said Wednesday.“The commission has not yet decided what the rollback will be, but we can say beyond the shadow of a doubt the millage rate or the tax rate in… → Read More