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Brenda Anderson Shimel Obituary 2024 – Thomas Poteet & Son Funeral Directors

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Brenda Anderson Shimel Obituary 2024 – Thomas Poteet & Son Funeral Directors


Augusta, GA – Entered into rest on June 9th 2024, Mrs. Brenda Anderson Shimel, 75 loving wife of 50 years to the late Earl William Shimel.

Brenda was born in Savannah, GA. She was a resident of Augusta, GA where she worked as a waitress for 30 years at T’s Restaurant. 

Family members include her daughter: Deborah Shimel (Michelle); granddaughter: Sarah Shimel (Tre); great-grandchildren: Parker and Delanie Lewis; and sister: Wanda Loftin (David). As well as a number of nieces and nephews. In addition to her husband, she is preceded in death by her great-grandchild, Addy Lewis, and her sister Carolyn Colson. 

A memorial service will be held Sunday, June 14, 2024 at 4:00 pm in the chapel of Thomas Poteet & Son Funeral Directors with Pastor Steven Kendrick officiating.

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The family would also like to extend their gratitude to Pruit Health Richmond and Hospice team for their determined care and help in aid. 

The family will receive friends on Sunday, one hour prior to the service at Thomas Poteet & Son Funeral Directors, 214 Davis Rd., Augusta, GA 30907 (706) 364-8484. Please sign the guestbook at www.thomaspoteet.com.



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Augusta, GA

Flight snags continue for Augusta travelers after tech outage

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Flight snags continue for Augusta travelers after tech outage


AUGUSTA, Ga. – A day after a cybersecurity outage brought thousands of global businesses and agencies to their knees, flight backups continue at airports around the world.

At Augusta Regional Airport, there were at least four canceled arrivals and three canceled departures on Saturday.

Especially hard-hit was Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, the world’s busiest – and one that most fliers out of Augusta pass through. Even if they don’t make the drive to Atlanta to fly out, most travelers out of Augusta Regional Airport change planes in Atlanta.

Most flight information boards at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport are no longer flashing a blue error screen. But as of Saturday at 10:30 p.m., more than 689 flights in and out of Atlanta have been canceled and over 903 are delayed, according to data from FlightAware.

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The Atlanta-based Delta Air Lines requested a stop on flights from southern and northeastern states until 9 a.m., according to the Federal Aviation Administration. Although it’s been lifted, incoming flights continue to be delayed by two and a half hours.

“Delta is continuing its operational recovery Saturday following an outside vendor technology issue that prompted the airline and many others to pause flying for several hours on Friday,” the airline said in a statement.

The widespread technology outage on Friday caused problems for industries across the board.

But one of the most visible ones was the travel industry, with lines of passengers stranded at airports after airlines were shut down by the outage that happened when cybersecurity firm CrowdStrike deployed a faulty update.

Flights were halted for hours Friday at Augusta Regional Airport because the outage affected Delta and American Airlines, Augusta’s two commercial carriers.

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Traveler Nina Pantano said she was taking a quick trip home to see her family but now she won’t make it. Her main problem now? Her luggage.

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“It’s in Detroit, and I’m not there. They said it was supposed to just stay in Charlotte since I was not physically going to Detroit, and I could just pick it up, or they could send it back. But it’s in Detroit,” she said.

Some travelers are no longer relying on planes to get home.

David Wilkins said: “He’s heading to Richmond in a rental car, and he’s turning around and he’s coming back to the airport to pick me up, because we live like 25 minutes apart from each other in Richmond, Virginia.”

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American started flying again by around midday Friday, and Delta said it was flying, as well.

But it was slow going.

By late afternoon, Delta showed a number of cancellations and delays at the airport, while American showed several delays.

Wilkins says he is a frequent flier with Delta Airlines.

“I’ve got 1.4 million miles with Delta out of 20 years. Maybe this has happened a handful of times, maybe three or four times,” he said.

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In fact, only a couple of flights had arrived in Augusta all day, according to the online flight tracker.

Delta issued a travel waiver for all customers who booked flights departing Friday. It allows customers to manage their own travel changes via delta.com and the Fly Delta app.

The fare difference for customers will be waived when rebooked travel occurs on or before July 24, in the same cabin of service as originally booked. If travel is rebooked after July 24, any difference in fare between the original ticket and the new ticket will be collected at the time of booking.”

American Airlines sent out this statement:

“Earlier this morning, a technical issue with a vendor impacted multiple carriers, including American. As of 5 a.m. ET, we have been able to safely re-establish our operation. We apologize to our customers for the inconvenience.”

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Local fliers should contact their airline directly for the most up-to-date flight information.



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Augusta, GA

Hometown History: The Augusta Canal

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Hometown History: The Augusta Canal


AUGUSTA, Ga (WJBF)- Many people drive across it or run, walk and bike beside it every day. Many kayak and fish on it too. We’re talking about the Augusta Canal.

In this month’s “Hometown History,” Kim Vickers dives into learning more about it’s origins and how it saved Augusta.

The Augusta Canal has been part of the Garden City’s landscape for nearly 180 years. Since it was built, it has been used for water power, transportation and the city’s primary water supply. In fact, it’s the only canal in the country still being used for its original purposes.

“The whole idea of the canal came about because in the 1840’s, the South was going was very agricultural and the South was actually going through a bit of an economic depression, including Augusta. A lot of folks were packing up and moving out West during westward expansion,” explained Julianna Shurtleff, Education Program Director at the Augusta Canal Discovery Center.

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Because of the economic depression, Augusta was in danger of becoming a ghost town.

Shurtleff told Kim Vickers that Henry Cumming, the son of Augusta’s first mayor, believed Augusta should stop shipping cotton up north for production. He proposed that Augusta should build a canal to create industry and make textiles locally in order to boost the economy.

Henry Cumming.

“He knew that we could have a canal because of the Savannah River and the geography of the land here. We’re on the fall line. So, the land dropped from the piedmont to the coastal plain here,” said Shurtleff. “So, if you’ve been out on the canal, you know it’s higher than the river. So, the water would drop from the canal, spin turbines and factories and run machines. It’s amazing that they could figure that out in 1845.”

Cumming dreamed that Augusta could be like Lowell, Massachusetts, the center of the Industrial Revolution.  But first, he needed to rally support.

“You look at history books and back in the 1840’s, in the South, a lot of Southerners were not open to industrial life. They were still farmers and agricultural. So, you know, it was this Yankee idea, I guess you’d say, that…having industry in the South. So, he had to gain some support,” Shurtleff said.

Cumming hired the chief engineer of the Georgia Railroad, John Edgar Thomson, and a local surveyor, William Phillips, to determine what the fall on the Savannah River was and if it was enough to create power.

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“And he really felt like we could have a hydropower canal here, that would be hydro mechanical to begin with, before electricity, where the water would fall on turbines that turned, but they would just be connected to more wheels and shafts and belts that would transfer the force from there to every piece of equipment in the middle,” said Julie Boone, Former Education Program Director & Volunteer at the Discovery Center.

Boone said that once Cummings secured support, he had to figure out how to pay for it.

“And how to get the money was a real problem. Of course, the first money came out of Mr. Cummings own pocket to do this. So, but with the help of investors, it was started and it was built.”

Shurtleff added that local land owners paid for some of it too.

“A lot of the land that was part of the original layout of the canal, were farms and plantations, and they would pay out of their pocket to help dig that part of the canal.”

The Savannah River drops 52 feet over 7 miles through Augusta. The plan was for the canal to be built in three levels  south of the river through the center of the city.

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The first level channeled water from the river, the second carried the water mast the mills, providing power and the third released the water back into the river.

“So the idea was to build the canal, to stay at the Piedmont level. So up at the head gates at Savannah Rapids, the canal and the are river level. Then the canal stays higher as the river drops and as the river drops through town, that water would stay higher. And it would drop into mills and spin turbines,” Shurtleff explained. 

In May of 1845, construction on the canal began. White laborers from the Georgia Railroad started the work- but before long the summer heat was too much.

African Americans, both enslaved and freed, finished the work.

“It was a lot of slave labor. Some few immigrants maybe thrown in here and there, but mostly slave labor because no one else would sacrifice having to deal with the heat in the summer,” said Boone. “We have to kindly acknowledge slave labor dug the canal at the same time, we still have to remember that we condemn why.”

It was hot and miserable work and the men that were paid for their work weren’t paid much- only $85 a year.

Today, that equals a little more than $3,500.

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It took 3 years to build all three levels of the Augusta canal, which looked a lot different then than it does now.

“It was only about 5 to 7 feet deep and about 40 feet wide, ” said Boone.

If you build it they will come.  As soon as the first level of the canal was complete, industrial factories began popping up.

James Coleman’s saw and gristmill began production on the canal in April of 1848. A month later the Augusta Factory began producing textiles.

Then, when Georgia seceded from the Union during the Civil War, Colonel George Rains picked Augusta to build a gun powder factory, thanks to the canal.

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“It did impact big when the Confederate Powder Works factory was built here. That gave it, you know, a name of like, okay, this canal  water’s working for the South,” Shurtleff said. “It made over 3 million pounds of gunpowder by the end of the Civil War- the second largest gunpowder factory in the world.”

The 28 Confederate Powder Works buildings were the only ones ever constructed by the Confederate government.

After the war, the success of the canal and the industry it attracted encouraged local leaders to expand.

“So at that time, the city administration and city, you know, big guys were like, ‘oh, this is a good idea, maybe. So, that’s when they invested in expanding the canal. It was expanded in the 1870’s to about 100 to 150 feet wide and 11 to 15 feet deep,” said Shurtleff. 

Mayor Charles Estes hired Charles Olmstead, an engineer he’d worked with on the Erie Canal in New York. 

In 1872, work to widen the canal began. This time the laborers were made up if Irish and Italian immigrants. The Italians dammed Rae’s Creek, and created what would become Lake Olmstead.

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Plus, more than 200 Chinese immigrants were hired to work on the project, and they brought more efficient digging tools with them.

“And with them, they brought modern steam power tools and machines. So they were hired. They came to Augusta, the first Chinese immigrants to the city of Augusta. And it’s really neat because some Chinese in Augusta now can still trace their lineage back to those original immigrants that came to dig the canal in the 1870’s,” Shurtleff explained.

“It was a big deal when they came to town. We were a little Georgia town and no one had ever seen anyone from China. And everybody went to the railroad station. And generally speaking, they were very accepted within the town,” Boone added.

Sibley Mill.
King Mill.

With the widening of the canal, came more industry. Sibley, Enterprise and John P. King Mills were built along the banks of the canal. The rise of the factories brought more people to Augusta.

“And from 1870 to 1890, after the grand enlargement, the city’s population went from 15,000, to over 33,000 people,” said Shurtleff.

People flocked to Augusta to take jobs in the factories along the canal.

“People moving in. They could work in these factories. It was a job that women could have and make money. Children would work in the factories and help their family,” said Shurtleff. “You would have a company and house that you would rent from the company you worked for that was already built and you kind of had a little mill life. So, you know, Harrisburg, which is a famous neighborhood in Augusta, is a mill village.”

As industry continued to flourish, tourism came to Augusta.

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“So, the Georgia coast and where we are, this is about as far south as people traveled in the winter. So we became a winter resort with big hotels and big golf courses. And, you know, where that led to. It led, of course, to the building of the Augusta National. Bobby Jones came here as a tourist and played a little golf and liked it,” Boone said.

As technology advanced, so did the uses for the canal. Augusta was the first city in the South to generate electricity to power street cars and streetlights, and later businesses and homes.

Over time, major floods caused damage to both the canal and the factories. The factories began to close and move overseas and the now polluted canal was neglected by the city.

“The city of Augusta was like, Well, why don’t we fill it in? They were going to build a bypass out to Columbia County and put it through the canal and a golf course,” said Shurtleff. “And the city… a lot of city locals, especially that grew up along the canal, riding their bikes, hiking the trails, were like ‘No. We want to save the canal.’”

Volunteers cleaned up the canal. In 1971, Henry Cumming’s great Grandson, Joseph Cumming, had the canal placed on the National Register of Historic Place.

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In 1989, the Augusta Canal Authority was established by the state legislature as the managing body of the waterway.

“And then the Augusta Canal Authority made a master plan. And part of that master plan was becoming a National Heritage Area. And that was in 1996,” said Shurtleff.

In 2003, the Augusta Canal Discovery center opened in a newly revitalized Enterprise Mill. It houses a museum exhibit reminding people of the blood, sweat and tears that went into the canal’s construction and what mill life was like.

Augusta Canal boat tour. Pic courtesy of Destination Augusta.

People can also enjoy boat tours to learn more.

“Big boats are electric as well. There are batteries on them that are charged up at the dock with hydropower made…well generated right here in the Enterprise Mill. So the canal boats actually run on canal power,” Boone said.

Several tragic incidents are connected to the canal. In 1902, Dennis Cahill, a city worker, drowned trying to rescue a child who had fallen in.

In 1906, Maude Williamson, a worker at Sibley Mill, broke off an affair with Arthur Glover, a married man. It didn’t sit well with him and he murdered her.

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Since then, people have reported some spooky sightings.

“So, she was murdered in 1906 by her jilted lover, and she is seen by many workers throughout the years. And they even did a Ghost Asylum TV show on Maude a few years ago,” said Shurtleff.

And in 1951, the body of 7-year-old Lois Jane was found in the canal by Lovey Ivey.

The Augusta Canal with King Mill in the background. Circa 1903. Courtesy: Library of Congress.

Shurtleff told Kim Vickers that there are reports of strange things happening at Enterprise Mill.

Police said he confessed to her murder and pointed the finger at the child’s family members as conspirators.

“She had gone to the store for her grandmother and never returned. They decided that the grandmother had hired some guy that just hung around town to kill her granddaughter for insurance money,” Boone explained.

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“Here in Enterprise Mill, we’ve had little things happen throughout the museum that are odd, and security guards always tells us stories of things they see at night or walking the halls.”

Both Shurtleff and Boone said they are fascinated by the history of the Augusta Canal and love sharing it with others.

“You’re constantly learning. People have questions. The best thing, the sense of community with the overall Augusta community and the tight knit sense of community within the Canal organization,” explained Boone.

“The history. I mean, I can just get all giddy, like talking about the stories of the canal. And me and some of our other coworkers that are history people. I mean, 3:00 in the afternoon, we’ll go on a tangent about one random thing we learned about the canal. We have to figure it out,” added Shurtleff. 

That’s just part of your Hometown History.

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For more of your Hometown History check out some of the links below.



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Augusta, GA

One person dies after shooting on Acapulco Drive in Augusta

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One person dies after shooting on Acapulco Drive in Augusta


AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) – One person is dead after being found in a parking lot with at least one gunshot wound Saturday morning, according to officials.

The Richmond County Sheriff’s Office says deputies responded to the 2400 block of Acapulco Drive in reference to shots fired at 12:46 in the morning.

Deputies say when they arrived, they found a man who had been shot at least once.

He was transported to Wellstar MCG ER, according to the Richmond County Coroner’s Office.

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The parking lot is in an apartment complex a couple of blocks south of the intersection of Deans Bridge Rad and Gordon Highway.

Richmond County Coroner Mark Bowen says the victim was pronounced dead at 1:23 a.m. in the WellStar MCG hospital emergency room.

An autopsy has been scheduled.

He’s the latest victim in a more than two-year outbreak of violent crime that’s claimed more than 170 lives across the CSRA. Communities large and small and have been affected on both sides of the Savannah River. But as the largest city in the region, Augusta has been hit especially hard.

Authorities have blamed much of the problem on gangs.

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