Category Archives: FRONT

Jesup police investigating robbery at Heritage Bank

The Jesup Police Department is investigating a robbery at the Heritage Bank on Friday morning.

The police department says the vehicle they are looking for in connection with the incident is a black, four-door Buick with mirror decals along the bottom that resemble chrome and four hub caps but no center caps.

Those with any information regarding the robbery are asked to call the Jesup Police Department at (912) 427-1300.

Read more at WSAV

Plant these now to help next summer’s garden

Home gardeners who plan to give their garden spot a rest this fall can plant seeds now to help next summer’s garden. A University of Georgia expert says planting a cover crop during this fall will add precious soil organic matter and nutrients that will benefit garden soil later.

“I am stuck on building soil organic matter and increasing the soil’s ability to hold on to nutrients,” said Julia Gaskin, a sustainable agriculture specialist with the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences. “Boosting up soil matter is critical for encouraging healthy soil biology, which helps to make nutrients available for plants.”

Continue reading

Blackshear police arrest suspect in 2012 fatality

Blackshear police have made an arrest related to a two-year-old incident in which a pedestrian crossing a highway died after being struck by a van.

“A witness came forward who was able to provide us with critical evidence that essentially broke the case,” Police Chief Chris Wright tells The Times.

Robin Dana Gould, 55, of Blackshear was killed in April 2012 while crossing U.S. Highway 84 between Huddle House and True Value in Blackshear.

via The Blackshear Times

 

Brunswick college professor bans ‘bless you’

College-of-Coastal-Georgia-logoA professor at Coastal College of Georgia in Brunswick has reportedly banned students from saying “bless you” in class and has threatened to deduct points from their final grade if they dare to say it.

Leon Gardner, assistant professor of chemistry at the College of Coastal Georgia, lists six rules on behavior for his Introductory Physics class, Campus Reform reported.

Under Rule No. 6, Mr. Gardner reportedly states: “Saying ‘bless you.’ We are taught that it is polite to say ‘bless you’ when someone sneezes. However, if you say this while I am talking, it is NOT polite, it is very rude!”

He goes on to say that saying “bless you” is “especially” rude and that offenders may see an immediate 1 percent final grade deduction for each occurrence.

“Especially egregious behavior could result in expulsion from the class, withdrawal from the course, and disciplinary action from the college,” he warns.

“I don’t know why I should be addressing this to you,” Mr. Gardner said when asked for comment from Campus Reform, prior to hanging up.

Last week, the Associated Press reported that a Tennessee high school student was sent to the principal’s office for saying “bless you” to another student who sneezed.

Washington Times.

Bat disease found in wild Bulloch snake

snake2A disease that some scientists have compared to the illness killing bats by the millions has been documented in a wild snake in Georgia.

An emaciated mud snake from Bulloch County tested positive last month for Snake Fungal Disease, according to the Southeastern Cooperative Wildlife Disease Study. The mud snake is the first free-ranging snake from Georgia that the Athens-based cooperative has confirmed with Ophidiomyces ophiodiicola, the fungus associated with the disease.

Snake Fungal Disease is a severe dermatitis that causes scabs, crusty scales, nodules, abnormal molting and other changes to a snake’s skin. First reported in a captive black rat snake from Sparta, since 2006 the disease has turned up in growing numbers of wild snakes in the eastern and midwestern U.S. At least eight species, varying from milk snakes to eastern racers, have been infected.

The severity of infection varies and the overall impact on populations is not clear. Yet, among Illinois’ last population of eastern massasauga rattlesnakes, all of the snakes that showed signs of infection died, according to a University of Illinois professor studying Ophidiomyces ophiodiicola. In New Hampshire, the disease was implicated in a 50-percent decline in an imperiled population of timber rattlesnakes.

The increasing reports and potential threat have prompted comparisons to white-nose syndrome, a fungal disease that has killed an estimated 5.7 million hibernating bats and spread from the Northeast to as far west as Missouri. White-nose was confirmed in Georgia in 2013. The fungus related to white-nose is similar in some aspects to Ophidiomyces ophiodiicola, including that it occurs naturally in soil.

Senior wildlife biologist John Jensen, a herpetologist with the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, suggested that Snake Fungal Disease is, for now, a deeper mystery than white-nose. “There’s a lot more we don’t know about it,” said Jensen, who works for DNR’s Nongame Conservation Section.

The challenge in learning more is that snakes are more difficult to monitor than many other animals.
Wildlife biologist Dr. Jessica McGuire of the Nongame Conservation Section said that when studying such diseases, “You opportunistically get what data you can, and focus from there.”

Questions include how Snake Fungal Disease is transmitted, what factors spur infections and how can the disease be treated. The fungus is not transmitted to humans, according to the Southeastern Cooperative Wildlife Disease Study. However, people could possibly carry it on clothes or equipment.

“This case definitely highlights the importance of disinfecting field gear,” McGuire said of the mud snake.

A volunteer with The Orianne Society, a Georgia-based nonprofit focused on conserving imperiled snakes, found the emaciated snake on the edge of a blackwater swamp near Statesboro.

Because mud snakes are cryptic and solitary, the incident could point to the ease at which the disease is spread, Jensen said. “I guess the take-home message is that all of our snakes may be susceptible to this.”

While noting that hundreds of healthy snakes have been found in Georgia and the eastern U.S. this year, Dirk Stevenson of The Orianne Society called the emerging disease issue troubling. “Scientists with The Orianne Society will closely examine all snakes they encounter – including the federally protected eastern indigo snake – at study sites in Georgia and other states for symptoms of the fungus,” said Stevenson, director of the organization’s Fire Forest Initiative.

How You Can Help

Georgia DNR’s Nongame Conservation Section works to conserve native snakes and Georgia’s other rare and endangered animals and native plants. Yet the agency receives no state general funds, depending instead on fundraisers, grants and donations.

Help by purchasing the new nongame wildlife license plate – a bald eagle in flight! – or renew your older eagle or ruby-throated hummingbird plates. Thanks to a law change this year, you can upgrade to a DNR wildlife plates for only $25 more than a standard tag, and more of those fees will be dedicated to conserving Georgia wildlife.

Supporters can also contribute directly to the Georgia Nongame Wildlife Conservation Fund. These programs support conservation of wildlife not legally fished for, hunted or collected. Details: www.georgiawildlife.com/conservation/support.

 

Brunswick grill fire jumps to tire inventory

Temperatures here hit about 95 degrees around 4 p.m. Wednesday.

Then there was a fire.

What started out as a brush fire along a chain-link fence spread onto a used tire business and burned some inventory.

Bobby Martin, who changes tires at Golden Isles Used Tires, said he was inside the business off U.S. 17 north of Brunswick when he noticed it was getting dark outside.

via Grill fire jumps to used tire inventory in Brunswick Wednesday afternoon | members.jacksonville.com.

Former coast guard station eyed for museum

Glynn County worked on the homefront to help defeat the Axis powers during World War II.

A shipyard built Liberty Ships that hauled war supplies to embattled Great Britain, blimps stationed at Naval Air Station Glynco hovered above the coastline watching for signs of invasion and private citizens pulled together as they did all over the country to restore peace to the world.

The story of their contribution is not adequately told, but the Coastal Georgia Historical Society has a plan to shine a spotlight on that great generation of Golden Islanders.

jacksonville.com.

Jesup businesses moving on after fire

Some displaced businesses from the Aug. 4 fire in Jesup have found temporary new homes. A spokeswoman for the Wayne County Chamber of Commerce said four businesses and a church have found temporary homes. The fire destroyed six businesses and a church in the Whaley Center.

The Chamber said Fair Haven Market, The Computer Store, Flying Eagle Feed and Pet Supply, Grimes Insurance Agency, and the New Miracle Deliverance Church have found new locations. Moppett’s Children’s Wear and Maternity and Shoes Galore and More are still looking for new storefronts.

 WJCL News.

Back to School Guide 2014: Laptops

No gadget — besides a smartphone, maybe — is as crucial to a college student as the laptop. Regardless of your major, you’ll want a solid machine with a well-crafted keyboard to see you through term papers, class presentations and more. From a sub-$400 Chromebook to sleek models from Lenovo and Samsung, our roundup has something for everyone. Click through the gallery below to see all 11 picks, and don’t forget to check out the rest of our guide for other gadget recommendations.

via Back to School Guide 2014: Laptops.

Brunswick officer took online training for chief

forensics

A Brunswick police captain took online training courses for Chief Tobe Green and another officer, all of whom left their jobs Tuesday, documents from an internal investigation show.

Green retired and Capt. Michael Melton and Sgt. Richard Evans both resigned.

The investigative report, which the Times-Union obtained Tuesday through an open records request, also showed that Green had ordered the investigation closed short of its completion.

jacksonville.com.

Burger King nixes lower-calorie ‘Satisfries’

Burger King is getting rid of the lower-calorie french fries it introduced less than a year ago.

The Miami-based chain said in a statement that it gave its North American franchisees the option to continue selling the fries earlier this week. Only about 2,500 of the approximately 7,500 locations opted to continue selling them as a permanent item. The others have started phasing them out.

WJCL News.

Brantley deputies seize 66 marijuana plants

marijuana 08-08
Brantley County sheriff Jack Whisenant shows the size of the plants seized last week.

The Brantley County Sheriff’s Office has seized 66 marijuana plants near the intersection of Mattie Shuman Road and Lee Road.

The department was contacted on Aug. 5 by Georgia Department of Natural Resources rangers after they found  marijuana plants growing in planted pines and when drug investigators arrived at the scene 66 marijuana plants had been located by DNR at that location.

Because the plants being grown in a remote area, no suspect has been identified in the incident and the sheriff’s office will request a destruction order from Superior Court for the plants

In other action:

Christopher Johnson (51) was arrested and charged with Driving While License Suspended/Failure to keep in Proper Lane.  Deputies were called to a driver that was believed to have been drinking.  When deputies got behind the vehicle they observed the driver cross over the fog line several times.  Deputies initiated a traffic stop and asked if Johnson had been drinking.  Johnson was having problems with his blood sugar and tested negative on the alcohol test.  A check on Johnson’s license showed suspended.  Johnson was transported to the Brantley County Detention Center.

Deputies responded to the 100 block of Driftway in reference to Theft by Taking.  Complainant stated that someone had stolen some prescription medication.  

Gabriel Mayorga (26) was arrested and charged with Following too Close/Driving without a Valid License.  Deputies initiated a traffic stop and it was discovered that Mayorga did not have a driver license. 

Kevin Burns (31) was arrested and charged with Possession of Marijuana less than Ounce/Possession and use of Drug Related Objects/Drugs not in Original Container.  Deputies went to Plum St to serve a Probation Warrant on Burns.  A search of Burns incident to arrest led to the discovery of scales and marijuana among some other items.  Burns was transported to the Brantley County Detention Center.

Amy Brannen (26) was arrested and charged with Possession of Marijuana less than Ounce/No Insurance.  Deputies initiated a traffic stop on Brannen’s vehicle after they observed weaving over the center line.  Deputies asked if they could search the vehicle which Brannen consented to.  A small bag of suspected marijuana was found.

Deputies responded to Sawmill Rd in reference to Theft by Taking.  Complainant stated that a pot belly cast iron stove some angle iron and a water pump were missing from their residence.

Deputies responded to the 1800 block of Riverside Rd in reference to Theft by Taking.  Complainant stated that their checkbook was missing.

Deputies spoke with the complainant at the Brantley County Sheriff’s Office in reference to Theft by Deception.  The complainant stated that they were contacted by Facebook that they had won some money and they needed to send $250 for taxes to receive the money.  After sending the $250 the complainant was contacted again to send more money and realized they had been scammed. 

Deputies were contacted by the complainant in reference to Identity Fraud.  Apparently an unknown subject used the complainant’s information in 2008 to obtain a job and now the IRS has filed delinquent tax liens on the complainant’s paychecks.

Deputies responded to George Ave in reference to Burglary at the hunting club.  Complainant stated that someone had pried the locks off of three structures in order to gain access.  Tools and a lawnmower were taken.

Deputies responded to the 200 block of Crosby Lane in reference to Entering Auto/Theft by Taking.  Complainant stated that several parts were taken from a vehicle that they had been restoring.

Kevin Hardwick (47) was issued a citation for Driving While License Suspended/No Insurance.  Shelly Woods (41) was issued a citation for Possession and use of Drug Related Objects.  Deputies got out with the suspects and discovered the driver (Hardwick) had suspended license.  A used syringe was found near the feet of Woods.  

Deputies responded to the 500 block of Auction Rd in reference to Burglary/Theft by Taking.  Complainant stated that someone stole a pressure washer, wire welder and air compressor from their property.  

sams

Sam’s Club to open on I-95 north of Brunswick

sams

Wal-Mart Stores will build a Sam’s Club just off Interstate 95 near Brunswick that will open in late 2015 sparing member shoppers from the area the long drives to Jacksonville and Savannah, officials said.

The 136,000-square-foot store will be the original anchor in a 42-acre shopping center that could eventually have a dozen businesses off the Golden Isles Parkway between Canal Road and the historic Altamaha Canal, developer John Callaway said.

“This is probably the worst kept secret,” Wal-Mart spokesman Glen Wilkins said.

Wilkins said the store has been in the works for a long time, but the company wanted to make sure it “had the right plan, the best plan for bringing it to Glynn County.”

jacksonville.com.

ebola sq

Ebola victims arrive in Atlanta

ebola sq
The isolation room at Emory University Hospital where an American aid worker infected with the Ebola virus in Africa will be treated in Atlanta.

An American doctor infected with the Ebola virus in Africa arrived in Atlanta for treatment Saturday, landing at a military base, then being whisked away to one of the most sophisticated hospital isolation units in the country, officials say.

A private plane outfitted with a special, portable tent designed for transporting patients with highly infectious diseases arrived at Dobbins Air Reserve Base, spokesman Lt. Col. James Wilson confirmed. Samaritan’s Purse missionary group tells The Associated Press that Dr. Kent Brantly is the patient.

An ambulance from Atlanta’s Grady Memorial Hospital left the base shortly after the jet landed and drove the 15 miles or so toward Emory University Hospital where Brantly and another aid worker will be treated.

The Associated Press.

St. Marys seeks grant to develop boathouse plans

boathuseThe city applied for a grant Thursday to pay an architecture firm to draw concept renderings for a building project on the waterfront property where the late Howard Gilman once entertained guests at his boathouse.

Should the city be awarded the Tourism Product Development Grant, it would receive $20,000 from the Georgia Department of Economic Development. It would also be on the hook for a $20,000 match, up to 40 percent of which could be made in kind.

The Foram Group, the developer the city chose for the property, could use the architectural renderings to seek investors for the project.

jacksonville.com.

Perdue to face Michelle Nunn

perdue

Now that Georgia Republicans have settled on businessman David Perdue as their nominee for the state’s open Senate seat, the real battle begins with a marquee match-up in the fall against Democrat Michelle Nunn that could help determine control of the chamber.

The contest is one of the nation’s most closely-watched in the 2014 elections, and the prospects of Democrats winning a Senate seat in the staunchly conservative state are tantalizing for Nunn and her party as they defend their Senate majority. But Perdue is running as a Washington outsider and has the firepower of his own wealth behind him, having sunk at least $3 million of his own money into winning the GOP nomination against veteran Rep. Jack Kingston.

via News from The Associated Press.

Nahunta pellet plant owner expanding

pellet plant
A worker fine tunes machinery after Nahunta pellet plant was purchased.

E-Pellets LLC, which owns a production facility in Nahunta, has acquired the formerly shuttered Louisiana Pacific OSB mill in Athens, GA. The company plans to convert the mill into a wood pellet production facility, producing approximately 450,000 metric tons annually. The wood pellets will be exported to the European Union to be used as an alternative to coal as fuel in power plants.

E-Pellets has a long-term port agreement with Georgia Kaolin Terminal Inc. (GKT), which provides E-Pellets sufficient port capacity to export up to 1.35 million metric tons of wood pellets per year through the port facility in Savannah, GA. E-Pellets previously purchased another underperforming production facility in Nahunta and is expanding the production volume. All of the wood pellets are contracted to be sent to European power producers. E-Pellets is exploring other development opportunities in GA and SC.

Newly appointed CEO Doug Albrecht leads a seasoned management team. Albrecht is the owner and operator of a major pulp, paper, and forestry products company in South America. He is supported on the ground by chief operating officer Ken Ciarletta, logistic manager Mark Newhart, development by Ben Easterlin, and general administration by Keith Hulbert.

“E-Pellets is going to focus on executing its build-out program, and will evaluate developing other sites under option,” said Doug Albrecht. “We have an incredibly talented group of human resources with unparalleled know how in this sector, along with supporting capital partners, customers, vendors, and suppliers and we hope to grow with all of them.”

savannah steam logoA professional football team is taking strides to kick off their season next spring – and they plan to do it right here in Savannah.

They’re not scrambling either; representatives from the new X-League met with Savannah Civic Center officials to tentatively set up dates.

The new team, the Savannah Steam, is a part of the X-League, an indoor football league with teams in various major cities around the country.

WJCL News.

Slower turtle nesting no surprise

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERALoggerhead sea turtles won’t set a fifth straight nesting record in Georgia this summer.

As of June 20, the nesting season midpoint, the Georgia Sea Turtle Cooperative had logged 464 nests. That’s about half the number through the same period last year, when the cooperative documented the most loggerhead nests – 2,289 – since comprehensive surveys began in 1989.
Sea Turtle Program Coordinator Mark Dodd of DNR’s Nongame Conservation Section said the less-than-blistering pace continues, with 806 nests as of July 7.
“We’re just having an average year,” Dodd said.
The previous four summers have been anything but average. Loggerheads, a federally threatened species and Georgia’s primary nesting sea turtle, set consecutive records for nest totals, even topping 2,000 the past two years.
Yet, average is also no surprise after the string of nesting highs. According to DNR’s quarter-century of survey data, annual fluctuations are more the norm. “It’s common to have several high years followed by a lower year,” Dodd recently wrote cooperative members.
The outlook this year is “very close to the 25-year average of 1,201 nests,” with so-so nesting also reported at many other beaches in the Southeast, he added.
Still, 1,000-plus is solid. (2007 saw a meager 689 nests.) And, with analysis already confirming that loggerhead nesting is on the rise in Georgia, Dodd can look at past years – when fat seasons followed lean ones – and see a possible surge in 2015.
“Given what’s happened in previous years, we would expect a big year next year,” he said.

Three indicted in Wayne train crash

train

Brunswick District Attorney Jackie Johnson says an indictment has been returned in Wayne County Superior Court charging Randall Miller, Jody Savin and Jay Sedrish with involuntary manslaughter and criminal trespass in connection to the death of 27-year-old Sarah Jones, who was a camera assistant working on the set of ‘Midnight Rider’. She was killed in February 2014 when an oncoming train passed through the set.

Jones and several other members of the film crew were located on the railroad tracks and trestle at Doctortown Landing in Wayne County, when Jones was struck by the oncoming train. Other crew members were injured, but survived the collision.

Miller and Savin are the owners of the Unclaimed Freight Productions, Inc. which was filming ‘Midnight Rider.’ Sedrish was the Executive Producer for the film.

The district’s attorney office says they will not comment on this pending case.

Steve Lowry, whose law firm represents the family of Sarah Jones, tells News 3 that the criminal charges were “not a surprise.”

Sarah Jones’ parents have filed a civil suit in relation to their daughter’s death naming Miller and others from Unclaimed Freight. Another attorney from Lowry’s firm, Jeff Harris, told us when the civil suit was filed that the incident that caused Jones’ death was a clear cut case of negligence.

Lowry tells WSAV, our sister station in Savannah, that Sarah’s parents were informed of the criminal charges on Thursday. “They just want justice for their daughter,” Lowry says.

WJBF-TV

Star Trek Farragut premiere set for Saturday

USSfarragut

The Starship Farragut film “The Price of Anything,” will premiere Saturday at 7 p.m. The web series film, will be  followed by 7:45 p.m. premiere of “Conspiracy of Innocence,” at Farragut Films, 516 W. William Ave., Kingsland.

Question/answer session follows with producers and meet and greet with cast and crew. Then tour the 10,000-square foot studio, built by unpaid volunteers and fans to duplicate the interior of the U.S.S. Farragut, a sister ship to the Capt. Kirk-era Enterprise from the “Star Trek” series. The event is free.

Visit http://www.starshipfarragut.com/

16,000 could be cut from Fort Stewart

Just a year after the U.S. Army announced Fort Stewart would lose one of its three combat brigades, a new study shows as many as 16,000 soldiers and Defense Department civilians could be cut from the Coastal Georgia installation in the coming six years.

The report released last week by the U.S. Army Environmental Command spelled out that worst-case scenario for Fort Stewart where about 20,000 soldiers are currently stationed alongside about 3,000 military civilians.

The report — the Supplemental Programmatic Environmental Assessment (SPEA) for Army 2020 force structure realignment — considered the environmental and socioeconomic impacts communities surrounding about 30 domestic Army posts could face in the case of drastic mandatory cuts to force strength that would become necessary should the full effects of sequestration become reality. In addition to Fort Stewart, the report identified nine other major Army installations that could face similar deep cuts.

 savannahnow.com.

Former Marine from Brantley killed in Iraq

marineA m memorial service will be held Saturday for a former Marine killed in Iraq.

Retired Gunnery Sgt. Moncie Johns was working as a contractor in support of U.S. missions in Basra when he was killed on June 17.

His death happened four days before he planned to return home to the United States to see his family.

Johns served with the 1st Battalion 4th Marines, 2nd Battalion 5th Marines and as a drill instructor.

The memorial will be held Saturday at 2 p.m. at the Hickox Praise and Worship Church in Nahunta, Georgia.

Flowers can be sent in his name to the church at 1641 Buffalo Creek Drive, Nahunta, Georgia, 31553.

Brunswick one of top 10 cities for July 4th

Folks in this shrimp-loving port town could have celebrated the original July 4th—the Brits established this town in 1771. Today, Brunswick offers free watermelon slices, horseshoe tossing, and fireworks on the 4th at its Mary Ross Waterfront Park. Readers loved the overall historic vibe, including a parade of old homes reflecting Queen Anne, Jacobean, Mansard, and Gothic styles.

Travel + Leisure.

Ports smashing records in Savannah, Brunswick

carsGeorgia’s busy seaports have continued to handle record cargo volumes in 2014 as the U.S. economy recovers, putting the Port of Savannah within close reach of a big milestone when the fiscal year ends next week, the Georgia Ports Authority’s chief executive said Monday.

Curtis Foltz, executive director the state agency that oversees the ports in Savannah and Brunswick, told the authority’s board of directors that the ports moved a combined 2.63 million tons of imports and exports in May. It’s the most freight Georgia’s ports have ever seen in a single month — edging the previous record 2.61 million tons reported in March.

The booming 2014 has Savannah on the verge of claiming another shattered record. The latest numbers show Savannah during the past 11 months handled more than 2.86 million cargo containers packed with everything from retail goods to frozen chickens. The Savannah port has never before surpassed 3 million containers in a single year. With fiscal 2014 wrapping up June 30, port officials say the milestone seems inevitable.

“We will exceed the 3 million mark for the first time,” Foltz said.

via Ga. ports smashing cargo-volume records in Savannah, Brunswick in last stretch of fiscal year.

Georgia tobacco on the rebound?

tobacco
Daniel Johnson inspects some of the new leaves on a portion of the 450 acres he has planted in tobacco in fields between Alma and Blackshear. Johnson says he’s in tobacco farming to stay. “I’m on my 31st crop, and I’m 50,” he says.

J. Michael Moore was in a caravan of about 20 cars that had made four stops in Florida and was closing in on Valdosta.

The tour isn’t the chore it once was.

“It got shorter. We’ve got fewer people,’’ he said.

The Augusta Chronicle.

Four charged with meth possession, intent

GROUPSHOTKimberly Cox (41), John Wilson (45), David Harden (38) and Michael Lee (44) were charged with Possession of Methamphetamine with Intent.  Deputies initiated a traffic stop on the vehicle for having an expired tag and the occupants tossed the baggies of methamphetamine out of the car in plain sight of the deputy.  All were transported to the Brantley County Detention Center.

IN OTHER ACTIVITY:

Deputies responded to Janie Circle in reference to Burglary.  Complainant stated someone gained entry to their apartment by prying the door open.  Several items were taken including a TV, laptop, DVD’s, and fans.

Deputies met with complainant at the Brantley County Sheriff’s Office in reference to Theft by Conversion that occurred in the 800 block of Mars Hill Rd.  Complainant stated the offender has taken several items from the residence and possibly pawned or sold them without permission of the owner.

Deputies responded to the 500 block of Hightower Rd in reference to Theft by Taking.  Complainant stated gas was taken from two vehicles in their yard.

Deputies responded to the 400 block of Canal Rd in reference to Entering Auto/Theft by Taking.  Complainant stated that a camera and some pocket knives were missing.

Deputies met with complainant at the Brantley County Sheriff’s Office in reference to Theft by Taking that occurred on Caleb Rd.  Complainant stated someone stole their prescription medication from their mailbox.

Warner
WARNER

James Warner (26) was arrested and charged with Weaving/Possession of Open Alcohol Container/No License on Person/DUI.  Deputies observed Warner’s vehicle weaving all over the road and initiated a traffic stop. Warner stated he had been drinking Vodka.  Warner was transported to the Brantley County Detention Center. 

Deputies responded to Ladybug Lane in reference to Criminal Trespass.  Complainant stated someone entered a building on their property and put caulk in the gas tank of their dry wall machine.

Deputies responded to the100 block of Murray Rd in reference to Terroristic Threats and Acts.  Complainant stated the offender threatened to physically harm his girlfriend if she returned to her house. 

Deputies met with complainant at the Brantley County Sheriff’s Office in reference to Identity Theft Fraud.  Complainant stated someone has obtained their debit card information and has been using their account without permission. 

Deputies responded to Brantley St in reference to Theft by Deception/Forgery.   Complainant stated a patient’s signature had been forged and the offender received money for services they didn’t provide.

oliveras
OLIVERAS

Joelyn Oliveras (33) was arrested and charged with Seatbelt Violation/Driving while License Suspended.  Deputies initiated a traffic stop on Oliveras for not having a seat belt on and discovered his license was suspended. 

Deputies responded to the 800 block of Coffee County Club Rd in reference to Theft by Taking/Criminal Trespass.  Complainant stated someone cut a hole in their fence and stole their lawnmower. 

herriin
HERRIN

Chris Herrin (44) was arrested and charged with DUI/Driving while License Withdrawn/Possession of Open Alcohol Container/Possession of Marijuana less than Ounce.  Deputies initiated a traffic stop on Herrin and smelled a strong odor of alcohol.  There was an open beer in the front seat next to Herrin and a marijuana cigarette was found in his cigarette pack.  Herrin was transported to the Brantley County Detention Center. 

Deputies responded to the 400 block of Canal Rd in reference to Burglary/Theft by Taking.  Complainant stated someone broke into their camper and stole a TV.

 

Chikungunya virus confirmed in Georgia

mosquitoHealth officials are reporting new cases of the chikungunya virus in Cuba and the United States. The debilitating virus has been spreading in the Caribbean through infected mosquitoes since December, according to the World Health Organization.

On Thursday, the Georgia Department of Public Health confirmed the state’s first case of chikungunya. Health officials say the patient was infected during a recent trip to a Caribbean nation. Recent cases have also been reported in North Carolina and Tennessee, with a total of 57 infections reported to the CDC this year, according to a CDC spokesperson.

Six chikungunya infections have also been documented in Cuba, according to a local paper, which references the Cuban Ministry of Public Health. The paper says the patients were frequent travelers to Haiti and the Dominican Republic.

Close to 5,000 chikungunya cases have been confirmed in the Caribbean this year, according to the Pan American Health Organization (PDF); more than 160,000 cases are suspected. Locales with the virus include the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Experts say American tourists are bringing chikungunya back home, and it’s just a matter of time before it starts to spread within the United States.

New to the Americas, the virus, which causes fever and joint pain that can become chronic, has no cure or vaccine.

Preventing mosquito bites is key to avoiding infection. Experts offer these basic tips:

• Use bug spray if you are going out, especially in tropical or wooded areas near water.

• Get rid of standing water; empty plastic pools, flower pots and pet dishes so mosquitoes don’t breed in them.

• Dress appropriately in long sleeves and pants.

CNN.com.

35th bike ride across Georgia stops in Jesup

bikersHundreds trekked across Wayne County on two wheels last weekend as the annual Bicycle Ride Across Georgia made its stop here Friday afternoon.

However, Jesup was not the first stop in the cross-state jaunt. BRAG riders made six stops over seven days from Washington all the way to Darien.

Riders who made the entire trip traveled more than 300 miles, and some opted out of the rest day and rode an additional 36-100 miles.

Several rest stops were stationed along the cyclists’ routes to provide a safe place for them to rest and rehydrate.

Bikers riding the BRAG route were required to adhere to a “BRAG Safety Pledge,” which lists safety precautions riders should take while on the road.

via The Press-Sentinel > News > 35th BRAG stops in Jesup.

Nahunta native gets NASA award

nasaNASA’s Stennis Space Center employee Paul Foerman, a native of Nahunta and resident of Ocean Springs, Mississippi, received the prestigious Silver Snoopy award June 11 during a special onsite ceremony.

Foerman is the public affairs lead for the NASA Office of Communications. He was recognized for outstanding contributions and efforts in sharing the journey of space exploration with the public and inspiring the next generation of explorers.

Astronaut Mike Fincke presented the award. Foerman received a Silver Snoopy lapel pin flown on space shuttle Endeavour during its STS-134 mission, along with a letter of commendation and certificate signed by Fincke.

Fincke served as science officer and flight engineer on the Expedition 9 mission in 2004, spending six months aboard the International Space Station. He served as commander of Expedition 18, which spanned a six-month period in 2008-9. Fincke was a mission specialist on STS-134 in 2011, the final flight of shuttle Endeavour.

The Silver Snoopy is the astronauts’ personal award and is presented to less than 1 percent of the total NASA workforce annually. The award is presented by a member of the astronaut corps representing its core principles for outstanding flight safety and mission success.

Spotted sunfish hooked in Satilla ties record

Ryan Kersey reeled in a tie to the current state-record spotted sunfish from the Satilla River on June 4.
Ryan Kersey reeled in a tie to the current state-record spotted sunfish from the Satilla River on June 4.

Spotted sunfish, also called “stumpknockers,” present a fun fishing challenge for anglers.  Ryan Kersey can attest to that!  Kersey, age 39, of Swainsboro, Ga., also knows that the effort was well worth it as he reeled in a tie to the current state-record spotted sunfish from the Satilla River on June 4, 2014.

According to the Georgia Department of Natural Resources’ Wildlife Resources Division, this 10 oz, 8-inch catch doesn’t beat, but ties, the existing state record established by Mike Markovcic in 2003.  A new record would have to be at least one ounce greater.

“The Satilla River is going to be the best place to be during the hot Georgia summer for some fantastic bream fishing, and the catch of this new state record tie is a great example,” says John Biagi, chief of fisheries for the Wildlife Resources Division.  ”Georgia offers such fantastic places for anglers, from big rivers and reservoirs to small neighborhood lakes.  I hope this tying record will inspire others to get out there and go fish Georgia!”

Spotted sunfish (Lepomis punctatus) are members of the bream family.  They are dark olive or brown above, with light green or olive sides and covered with small black spots and dusky orange fins.  They are typically small, rarely reaching one-half pound, and usually found in heavily vegetated, slow moving lowland streams and warm shallow ponds or small to large creeks and large rivers extending into brackish tidal regions.  Nicknamed “stumpknocker” as they orient to stumps where they find food.  They are frequently caught on natural baits, such as worms and crickets, but small spinners, flies and popping bugs also work well.

Anglers must possess a current Georgia fishing license to fish in public waters.  Where can you get a license? Buy it online, find a list of retail license vendors at www.georgiawildlife.com/licenses-permits-passesor buy it by phone at 1-800-366-2661.

By purchasing a license as well as fishing equipment and related items, you and your fellow anglers help fund sport fish restoration programs, thanks to the Sport Fish Restoration Act.  This Act allows funds accumulated from a federal excise tax on fishing equipment and related items to be directed to activities that benefit recreational anglers.  A portion of these funds is provided to the Georgia Department of Natural Resources based on several factors, including the number of paid sporting licenses.  Sport Fish funds make the following activities possible: managing sport fish populations, raising freshwater fish in hatcheries and stocking them in public waters, maintaining and operating public fishing areas and building boat ramps, and much more!

Information about state-record fish, including an application and rules, can be found atwww.georgiawildlife.com/Fishing/RecordProgram or in the current Sport Fishing Regulations Guidebook.

Hazlehurst woodyard fire 70% contained

fire

Fires in Hazlehurst are about 70 percent contained according to reports from the scene of Thompson Hardwoods, Inc.  where a massive lumber fire has spanned most of the day and is expected to cause millions in damage.

Multiple firefighters were sent to the hospital with heat exhaustion from the extreme conditions around the fire.  Over 100 firefighters and numerous agencies also responded including the Georgia Forestry Commission who brought out their helicopter to help put water on hot spots throughout the day.

The American Red Cross was also providing food and water to those brave enough to battle the blaze.

Firefighters plan to be on-scene with the fire for the next 24 to 48 hours.

WJCL

CCG won’t turn Fins into teaching restaurant

 

finsA deal under which culinary students from College of Coastal Georgia would have operated the former Fins by the Sea restaurant on Jekyll Island won’t happen after all.

On Tuesday, Coastal Georgia President Gregory Aloia informed Jones Hooks, executive director of the Jekyll Island Authority, that the college could not carry out an agreement made public just over a year ago under which Fins would become a teaching restaurant by fall of this year.

The college’s culinary arts program is in the middle of a five-year continuing re-accreditation process and undergoing a comprehensive review of its curriculum, Aloia said in a release.

“We deeply appreciate the Jekyll Island Authority’s willingness to work with us to partner with all the exciting developments on Jekyll Island,” Aloia said.

jacksonville.com.

Brunswick’s hostel endures 39 years

hostel

Tom Dennard built the Hostel in the Forest in 1975 as a haven for international travelers.

He’d gotten the idea while staying in such places himself during backpacking trips around Europe. Providing basic accommodations, hostels are popular among travelers out to see the world on a budget — generally younger ones but not exclusively.

And for years, those kinds of travelers made up the bulk of the business in the woods west of Brunswick and Interstate 95.

jacksonville.com.

Former Enterprise editor moves to WJCL

chrisFormer Brantley Enterprise editor Chris Buchanan has taken a giant step into his future — and perhaps that of the media as a whole.

Chris has taken a position as Digital Executive Producer at WJCL News in Savannah.

In his new post, Chris is responsible for placement of breaking news and special features on the station’s website at www.wjcl.com.

While his post as editor of the Enterprise allowed him to become very familiar with news writing and editing as well as layout and design, recently he had become increasingly interested in — and quite proficient at — website design, updating and maintenance.

Soon after sending his resume to WJCL, he got a call from station officials who said they were looking for someone with web experience who also was well versed in AP style.

That conversation led to an interview one day after which he was offered the job and asked to start the very next Monday.

Three educators indicted in child sex abuse case

Tina Kirby turns herself into authorities to face charges of failure to report child abuse.
Tina Kirby turns herself into authorities to face charges of failure to report child abuse.

DARIEN — A grand jury has indicted three school leaders in connection with a child abuse investigation at McIntosh County Academy.

Principal Terrance Haywood, assistant superintendent Larry Day and superintendent Ernestine Kirby are all facing a misdemeanor charge of failure to report child abuse. Kirby has also been charged with obstruction of an officer, a misdemeanor, and Haywood faces an additional felony charge of making a false statement.

McIntosh County Clerk of Superior Court records show the officials did not report alleged abuse between a teacher, Lori Quigley, and a child.

Quigley, who was arrested in April, is accused of having sex with two students from McIntosh County Academy. One sexual encounter took place at a Waffle House, according to investigators.

 

In April, a motion by the McIntosh County School Board to suspend the three officials was not seconded and they were allowed to keep their jobs.

ActionNewsJax.com.

St. Simons lighthouse cottage museum reopens

After a $1 million refurbishment, the keeper’s cottage at the St. Simons Island lighthouse looks old and brand new at the same time.The million-dollar refurbishment converted the two-story brick structure into what the Coastal Georgia Historical Society wanted all along, including a suite of upstairs rooms dressed out in period furnishings.Those were the days around the turn of the 20th century when the cottage attached to the lighthouse near the island’s southern tip was occupied by a keeper and assistant keeper, plus their families. One family lived upstairs, the other downstairs.

jacksonville.com.

Appointed DA’s DUI arrests big issue in primary

meetbradThe two candidates for district attorney of the Waycross judicial circuit both cite their experience, one’s decades longer than the other’s.

But experience as an issue in the May 20 Republican primary may have been pulled to the side of the road by the driving record of the appointed incumbent, Bradley Collins, who has publicly admitted to two DUI arrests.

While candidates strive for name recognition, Collins’ face is being circulated in the form of a mug shot from one of his arrests.

Gov. Nathan Deal appointed Bradley Collins, an assistant prosecutor who had been fired, to the position last summer after the retirement of long-time District Attorney Rick Currie. Until the appointment, George Barnhill, a prosecutor with 26 years’ experience in the office, had moved up from Currie’s chief assistant to acting district attorney. It was Barnhill who fired Collins, he says for repeated failures including coming to court unprepared. Collins contends it was because he decided to run against Barnhill.

Court records show that Collins received two DUIs, one on Oct. 17, 2004, in Sylvester and another on April 26, 2006, in Cook County. Breath analysis tests showed that Collins’ blood alcohol content was 0.206 percent in the first arrest and about 0.12 percent in the second. Under Georgia law, 0.08 percent is under the influence.

.jacksonville.com.

Savannah customs seizes 346 pounds of cocaine

The U.S. Customs and Border Protection office at the Port of Savannah has seized a little more than 346 pounds of cocaine from a shipping container at the Garden City Terminal.

Officers found 133 packages that contained a white powdery substance during inspections of shipping containers on April 14. Customs officers field-tested samples of the substance, which proved positive for the properties of cocaine, the agency said in a news release.

The estimated street value of the cocaine is more than $9 million.

“Most successful narcotics enforcement operations are the direct result of solid teamwork. This significant cocaine seizure is a great testament to the dedication, perseverance, and resolve of our employees to keep these dangerous and deadly narcotics off of our communities’ streets,” said Lisa Beth M. Brown, Customs’ port director for Savannah.

In November 2012, Customs officers seized 6,400 pounds of a leafy substance that was identified by the agency’s Savannah laboratory as khat, a Schedule 1 narcotic. The khat was shipped in a processed state to preserve its freshness and was manifested as tea. The khat’s estimated street value was about $1.7 million. Several people connected with the shipment were arrested.

Khat is a flowering shrub containing cathinone, and it is chemically similar to ephedrine and other amphetamines. Both the cocaine and the khat seizures remain active investigations.

savannahnow.com.

Caney Bay bridge reopened early

Caney Bay Road bridge over Buffalo Creek was reopened on budget and ahead of schedule.
Caney Bay Road bridge over Buffalo Creek was reopened on budget and ahead of schedule.

A shorter commute comes early for motorists in Brantley County traveling on Caney Bay Road between SR 23 and SR 520.

The Georgia Department of Transportation announces the new bridge on Caney Bay Road/CR225 over Buffalo Creek has been completed and was open to traffic Tuesday. The bridge opening on May 6th is ahead of the anticipated opening in June.

This $1 million bridge replacement project which included the construction of a 400′ long bridge inclusive of two 12′ wide travel lanes with 2′ shoulders, realignment of the roadway and sloops and installing guardrail. This new bridge and roadway alignment should improve operational safety for motorist which was funded through State and Federal funds. The contractor is Southern Concrete Construction Company, Inc. of Albany.

The required planning, environmental, engineering, right of way, funding and construction processes involved in any major transportation project can add years to its schedule.   The Georgia DOT nonetheless is committed to improving its program and project delivery.   Concept development, preliminary engineering and right of way acquisition processes are being streamlined.  Aggressive schedules are being set.  And kept; a thousand projects were completed last year.  For more information on Georgia DOT, please visit www.dot.ga.gov<http://www.dot.ga.gov>

How Georgia got universal pre-K

zellThree years ago, Georgia’s newly elected Republican Gov. Nathan Deal was in a pickle. The money for the state’s public preschool program was dwindling fast. Georgia Pre-K, which is open to all 4-year-olds in the state, is funded entirely by the Georgia Lottery. The lottery, like everything else, had suffered dramatically from the economic downturn. Something needed to be cut.

One obvious solution would have been to restrict the program to a smaller population of low-income families. “We actually looked at whether this was a viable option during this funding discussion,” says Bobby Cagle, the commissioner for Georgia’s Department of Early Care and Learning. “Should we go to a targeted program? There are number of reasons why I believe we shouldn’t do that. If you use it as a targeted program, you marginalize the program in very distinct ways.”

Voters often see income-based programs as welfare, which is unpopular with conservatives in particular, Cagle says. He ought to know. He watched his home state of North Carolina adopt a need-based prekindergarten program in the late 1980s. “It has been marginalized as a welfare program. It’s been on the chopping block every single year,” he says.

Deal agreed with Cagle’s analysis and maintained the program’s universal access. In order to balance the books, he wound up cutting 20 days from the Georgia Pre-K school calendar—which translated into a roughly 10-percent pay cut for the teachers—and increased class sizes from 20 to 22 students. Over the course of the next two years, Deal was able to add back the 20 days as the economy (and lottery revenues) recovered. The 22-student class size has remained in place.

Georgia’s universal prekindergarten program is the oldest in the country. It thrives in a red state and is championed by classic conservatives like Deal. The program is open to all students, and it embraces choice—any school that meets the state standards, whether religious, corporate, or private, can apply for funding. And its continued success and popularity reflects the gulf between congressional Republicans—who oppose the Obama administration’s efforts to expand access to pre-K nationwide—and the local politicians who have embraced state-supported early-childhood education in some of the most conservative states in the country.

The fact that Georgia’s program does not rely on taxpayer dollars has contributed to its bipartisan acceptance. “Pre-K is not a tax burden,” says Stephanie Blank, the founding chair of the governing board of Georgia Early Education for Ready Students, or GEEARS. “Some would argue it’s a financial burden, but playing the lottery is a choice. That does make it far more palatable.”

Georgia Pre-K has been around for so long, it’s not seen as political anymore, if it ever was. “I never looked at this as a partisan issue, honestly,” says Sen. John Albers, a Republican in the Georgia Legislature who represents a district north of Atlanta. He sent both of his children to Georgia Pre-K. “If I had to do it all over again I’d do it two times.”

But the universal nature of Georgia’s program is another key to its success—and that could be a surprising lesson for other states looking to build support for early-education programs. “You’re not going to see Republicans go down to an income-based thing,” says Sen. Fran Millar, another Republican who is a member of the Georgia Senate’s Educaiton and Youth Committee. “It would get political in about six months. It would be about class warfare.”

Zell Miller’s Great Idea

Establishing a lottery for education was the brainchild of former Georgia Gov. Zell Miller, a Democrat-turned-Republican who is still beloved throughout the state. In his first bid for governor in 1990, Miller looked for a way to champion education without tax hikes that would scare away conservative voters. He knew that many state residents already played the Florida lottery, and he figured that money might as well stay in-state. He proposed creating a Georgia lottery whose proceeds would go to two dedicated causes—college scholarships and preschool. Miller campaigned almost exclusively on that idea and won.

Georgia’s lottery-funded preschool started as a pilot program in 1992, targeted to low-income kids. The HOPE Scholarship, available to any Georgia high-school graduate with a 3.0 grade point average or better who attends a state college, was established in 1993.

By 1994, the prekindergarten program was serving about 15,000 children. The Georgia Lottery also was turning out to be far more successful than anyone could have imagined. In 1994, a narrowly reelected Miller was in the happy position of deciding what to do with a funding surplus. He decided on universal access to Georgia Pre-K. A top aide for Miller, Mike Vollmer, explained the reasoning in Elizabeth Rose’s 2010 book The Promise of Preschool: From Head Start to Universal Pre-Kindergarten, telling Rose: “With the political conservative environment that we are living in, if we come out and try to push a program for poor kids, we’re not going to get a whole lot of support.”

Thus, by catering to a conservative dislike for welfare-type programs, Georgia became the first state to establish universal prekindergarten. A generation of Georgia’s children has now grown up with the program. A steady funding stream ensures that there is a robust supply of prekindergarten providers. The K-12 school systems are fully invested in prekindergarten because they don’t have to worry about competing for scarce resources. Families have sent their small kids to Georgia Pre-K schools and then used the same revenue stream for their college-bound students. They don’t question its existence.

These residents probably don’t realize that Georgia’s preschool program is unusual. Only 11 other states place no income limitations in their prekindergarten programs, according to the National Institute for Early Education Research. It’s worth noting that about half are red or semi-red states—Alabama, Florida, Maine, Missouri, Oklahoma, and Virginia.

In many of these states, however, enrollment is low because funding is low. In Alabama, for example, only 6 percent of the state’s 4-year-olds were enrolled in 2012 due to funding constraints. Missouri, like Georgia, uses a state gaming program to fund its prekindergarten program, but there is so little money available that only 4 percent of the state’s 4-year-olds were enrolled in 2012.

Georgia, by contrast, is at 58 percent enrollment in Georgia Pre-K, with another 7 percent of the state’s 4-year-olds enrolled in the federally funded Head Start. (Many of the Head Start kids are in the same classrooms with Georgia Pre-K students.)

Of the states that don’t target prekindergarten to needy families, only Florida and Oklahoma beat out Georgia in enrollment, covering 79 percent and 74 percent of 4-year-olds, respectively. But there is a difference: Florida and Oklahoma rely on general coffers to fund pre-K. In Georgia, it’s all about the lottery.

The Debate Now

The conversation about prekindergarten in Georgia has moved to the next level. Advocates and state officials are now weighing tweaks and improvements to a program that most people view as a success generally.

The biggest complaints about Georgia Pre-K involve access. Some 6,000 kids are currently on a waiting list, according to state officials. In an informal survey of 20 parents in midtown Atlanta, half said that they have worried about not getting in to a Georgia Pre-K school and eight complained that the program wasn’t really “universal.” Eight of the respondents paid for private preschool.

“The quality pre-K programs are always full, so many of us still end up using private pre-K,” one parent said.

Still, wait lists are a necessary evil if the state is going to meet its budget, Cagle says. And with more access comes more demand. “If you increase the slots, you have more people that become aware of it,” he says, “and they’re more optimistic about their opportunity to get into the program, and so you have more people apply.”

When it comes to the lottery, state education officials give its management a wide berth, preferring to leave lottery operations to the experts who have provided so much cash over the years. After the 2011 shortfall, Sen. Albers and a few of his fellow legislators started cautiously asking questions of the lottery officials. Did prize amounts need to be so high? Why were executive bonuses so high?

The Legislature wound up passing a bill to cap executive bonuses, but Albers says they aren’t likely to probe further if the lottery continues to produce good revenues. He says his conversations with lottery officers have been highly respectful, albeit with a tiny threat behind them. “After we passed the bill to control bonuses, it was like, ‘If you want us to control everything with legislation, we can. You probably don’t want us to,’ ” he says.

There are still questions about the distribution of the lottery money. Two-thirds of the revenues are devoted to the HOPE Scholarship, leaving one-third of the funds for prekindergarten. Some people think Georgia Pre-K is being shortchanged. “If I had my druthers—it sounds like heresy for a Republican—I would probably have put more money into Pre-K than the HOPE Scholarship because I think it’s so important to get it on the front end,” says Millar.

Deal tried to address that concern by reducing the amount of the HOPE Scholarship awards. Before he took office, HOPE scholarships covered 100 percent of an eligible student’s tuition. Now, award amounts are based on a percentage of the student’s tuition. Without that change, the scholarships would have gobbled up all of the available lottery money because college costs were rising so fast, said Kristin Bernhard, who was Deal’s education-policy adviser at the time.

“We were going to respect that one-third/two-thirds distribution, and there was no way to do that unless we looked at what people were receiving on the HOPE scholarship side,” says Bernhard, who became a deputy commissioner at the state’s Department of Early Care and Learning in January.

Early-education advocates are pushing beyond these parameters, saying it’s time to start talking about using the state’s general funds for prekindergarten. “We need to be realistic and clear that we don’t have a lot of our state dollars going to education,” says Mindy Binderman, executive director of GEEARS. “If we really want to expand, at some point we’re going to have to figure that out.”

State officials are so far rejecting that idea. “This was founded primarily as a lottery program, and we have remained true to that and the discussions have really not gone to general funds,” Cagle says.

Still, advocates like Binderman are in a pretty good position relative to early education advocates in other states. Polling by her group shows that 66 percent of Georgia voters would support a new tax for early education. Deal, in typical Republican fashion, is not receptive to a new tax right now, even for one of his favorite causes. But that could change. And even if it doesn’t, Georgia and its preschoolers are way ahead of much of the country.

Segafest offers plenty of performers June 7

emmabaconBeginning at 11 a.m. on June 7 at Hunter Field in Waynesville, SEGAFEST will offer one of the largest lineups of performers assembled for a single day event in recent area history.

Artists performing at the festival encompass a broad selection of musicians from Southeast Georgia and the surrounding area. This year’s lineup features up and coming young singer song writers as well as seasoned vets, including current Georgia Music Awards Country Teen Artist of the Year Nominee , Nate Kenyon who sung his way into the living rooms and hearts of America as a semi-finalist on the hit television show America’s Got Talent, and the Blues Man of the South himself, Mr. Gitlo Lee. 

Those artists alone would make the festival’s five dollar admission fee seem like an extremely good bargain, but SEGAFEST doesn’t stop there. If you’re a fan of folk/Americana, you definitely don’t want to miss the soulful and heartfelt lyrics of Laurie Rider. Perhaps your phone number includes the digits 5309, your husband or boyfriend’s name is Jessie, or you just love 80’s rock, if so the Members Only Band will have a song or two just for you. If it’s classic rock you crave, Sugar Creek has you taken care of. From Austin Lane to Nick Bryant to Nora Ricci, the list of outstanding performers goes on and on like a live juke box of amazing talent.

SEGAFEST doesn’t limit the festivities to just music. This year’s festival also includes the Cruizn’ for a Cause Car Show, bounce houses, slides, and other activities in a fun and family friendly environment. There will be plenty of great food and arts and craft vendors as well. The festival is a charity event with all proceeds going to The Gap House Recovery Community Center.

Festival creator and organizer Jesse Mobley said “This event has been very much needed and a long time coming. It is my hope SEGAFEST will become an annual community tradition that will provide entertainment to our citizens and bring visitors to our area for years to come.” 

For more information, please visit www.segafest.com.

Boggs apologizes to Senate Judiciary Committee

Georgia Court of Appeals Judge Michael Boggs, President Obama’s controversial pick for a federal district court seat, has apologized to the chairman and ranking member of the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee for omitting information about his time as a state legislator from his Senate questionnaire.

boggsCivil rights, abortion rights and progressive organizations are campaigning against Boggs’ nomination, citing bills and resolutions Boggs supported while representing Waycross for two terms in the state House of Representatives. Boggs failed to mention legislation in his original Senate questionnaire that reflected his conservative stances on the hot-button issues of abortion, same-sex marriage, and religion.. Among the issues Boggs omitted from his questionnaire were: a resolution he introduced in the House in 2004 calling for a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage; a bill to place the Ten Commandments in Georgia’s 159 county courthouses; bills to further restrict abortions; and his vote to retain the Confederate battle emblem on Georgia’s old state flag.

In an April 10 letter to Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., and Ranking Member Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, Boggs wrote: “In several instances in my original questionnaire, I omitted detail that I did not believe was responsive, based on the public questionnaires of other judicial nominees who also had served as state legislators, and I would like to apologize for not including this information.”

Boggs explained that most of the material he omitted initially but included in his 26-page addendum “was not readily available” and that he had “located and exhausted new resources” in order to provide the committee with the additional information.

The appellate judge said that in his original questionnaire, he had provided “a summary description” of his speeches and talks while a Georgia legislator but that any written calendars memorializing the dates of his speeches from the well of the House would have been discarded either when he disposed of a laptop “several years ago after it stopped working” or in 2012, seven years after he was appointed as a Superior Court judge in the Waycross Circuit.

Boggs also said that although he “made a good faith effort to search available records for media coverage” of his speeches, “three of the local newspapers that covered my legislative district do not maintain electronic or searchable editions (even internally) for the time period in which I served as a state representative.” A fourth local paper, he said, “does not maintain electronic editions searchable by the public for the time period in which I served as a state representative” and are “only available in bound volumes and on microfiche.”

Other bills that Boggs sponsored but did not list in the initial questionnaire response included one establishing a “pro-life” license plate that would have generated funds for crisis pregnancy centers that didn’t provide abortion counseling or abortion-related procedures and a bill that would have required minors to seek permission of a parent or guardian before they could obtain an abortion, even in cases of incest and rape.

Included in Boggs’ April 10 letter is his first reference to a speech he made on the floor of the House of Representatives on Feb. 26, 2004, introducing a state Senate bill that sought passage of a constitutional amendment prohibiting same-sex marriages in Georgia—one that eventually passed. Boggs said his comments “were made extemporaneously” and he retained no notes but included video coverage of the debate, which he said he secured from Georgia Public Television.

In that speech, which the Daily Report reported in a February story about Boggs, the lawmaker said the amendment was “premised on good conservative Christian values” and intended to guard against rulings by “activist judges” who might overturn a state law that already barred gay marriage.

Boggs also included in his questionnaire addendum a list of bills and resolutions he sponsored or cosponsored, including a bill supporting display of the national motto, “In God We Trust,” in government buildings and public schools; and a resolution urging the U.S. Congress to affirm the U.S. as a Judeo-Christian nation.

 

dailyreportonline.com

Brantley nutrition manager wins state award

​Marsha Carlson, right, school nutrition manager at Brantley County Middle School, accepts the Louise Sublette Award of Excellence from Valerie Bowers, president of the Georgia School Nutrition Association, at the 59th GSNA Annual Conference in April.
​Marsha Carlson, right, school nutrition manager at Brantley County Middle School, accepts the Louise Sublette Award of Excellence from Valerie Bowers, president of the Georgia School Nutrition Association, at the 59th GSNA Annual Conference in April.

The non-profit Georgia School Nutrition Association has awarded Marsha Carlson from Brantley County Middle School the state Louise Sublette Award of Leadership Excellence in School Nutrition, considered the highest honor a school nutrition manager can earn.  The award recognizes a manager who has demonstrated dedication and ingenuity by successfully implementing a project to improve his or her school meal program.

Marsha Carlson successfully launched a Grab N Go Breakfast program, positively impacting student participation and enhancing the overall school environment.  After finding that most students were opting to skip breakfast upon arriving at school in order to socialize with friends in the gym before first period, Marsha revamped her breakfast program to better suit the needs of the school community.  She transformed breakfast into a Grab N Go initiative, allowing students to choose hot and cold items in the hall on their way to homeroom, where they could eat a nutritious breakfast and visit with friends.  Marsha was integral in garnering support from administrators, teachers, staff, students and parents, and in securing a $5,000 Universal School Breakfast Pilot grant.  The success of the program has been overwhelming with participation increasing from 32% to 93% of students eating breakfast at school.

“This award spotlights the best in creative thinking and proactive effort by school nutrition managers to implement projects that directly benefit students,” said Valerie Bowers, M.Ed., SNS, President of the Georgia School Nutrition Association.  “Marsha has shown tremendous dedication and passion in serving the Brantley County Middle School community, exemplifying excellence in school foodservice.

The annual award is in memory of Louise Sublette, a leader in school nutrition in Tennessee and in the national School Nutrition Association.  During her 43 years in the profession, Sublette worked in many areas of foodservice—public schools, colleges, hospitals and elderly feeding programs.  Sublette dedicated her career to honoring school nutrition professionals and ensuring those who work in school cafeterias have access to professional development opportunities, empowering them to help their school meal programs flourish.

In Brantley County

 

group2Andrea Ostrander (26) was arrested and charged with Trafficking in Illegal Drugs/Possession of Methamphetamine/Willful Obstruction of Law Enforcement.  Carrie McNeely (29) was arrested and charged with Receipt, Possession or Transfer of Firearm/Trafficking in Illegal Drugs/Possession of Methamphetamine/Willful Obstruction of Law Enforcement.  William McNeely (30) was arrested and charged with Trafficking in Illegal Drugs/Possession of Methamphetamine/Willful Obstruction of Law Enforcement.  John Clary (23) was arrested and charged with Trafficking in Illegal Drugs/Possession of Methamphetamine.  Christopher Purvis was arrested and charged with an existing Theft by Taking warrant/Receipt, Possession or Transfer of Firearm/Trafficking in Illegal Drugs/Possession of Methamphetamine.  Deputies responded to River Ridge Loop for a welfare of check on Ostrander’s children and while there they discovered suspected methamphetamine as well as firearms and one subject with an active warrant.  All subjects were transported to the Brantley County Detention Center.  The Department of Family and Children Services arrived to tend to the children.

In other action:

05-01-2014

Deputies met with two different complainants at the Brantley County Sheriff’s Office in reference to Theft by Taking that occurred at Knox Cemetery.   Both complainants stated that bronze head markers had been stolen from their loved ones graves. The Brantley County BOard of Commissioners has offered a reward for information leading to an arrest in this case.

Brandy L. Anderson (32) was arrested and charged with Receipt, Possession or Transfer of firearm.  Deputies were dispatched to the George Ave.  in reference to a dispute. Upon arrival it was discovered that Anderson who is a convicted felon was living in the home where several firearms were present.  Anderson was transported to the Brantley County Sheriff’s Office. 

Stephanie Lassiter (41) was arrested and charged with Possession of Marijuana with Intent/Possession of Marijuana less than an Ounce/Possession of Open Container/No Proof of Insurance.  Deputies pulled up behind the suspect vehicle which was stopped at a stop sign for an unusually long time and asked if they needed assistance. The driver (Lassiter) stated she was trying to get her phone which she had dropped.  The deputy noticed an open bottle of beer in the vehicle.  Also located in the vehicle was a zipper wallet that belonged to Lassiter which contained suspected marijuana.  Lassiter did state the marijuana belonged to her.

05-02-2014

Deputies responded to the Brantley County Sheriff’s Office to meet with complainant in reference to Terroristic Threats and Acts/Harassing Phone Calls. Complainant stated they have received several text messages of a threatening nature from the offender. 

Deputies responded to Thrift Landing in reference to Theft by Taking.  Complainant stated someone stole the battery from their vehicle. 

Alexander Rowland (56) was arrested and charged with Public Drunkenness. Deputies were dispatched to meet with the conductor of an Amtrak train at the Ga 520 crossing.  The conductor stated they had a passenger that was drunk and disorderly and he needed to be removed from the train. Rowland was transported to the Brantley County Detention Center.

05-03-2014

Deputies responded to the Johnson Ave area in reference to Criminal Trespass/Abandoned, Unattended Vehicle.  Complainant stated there had been a young male standing on the porch and there was a Green Kia left parked in front of the house.   The driver of the vehicle could not be located.  It was towed from the area.

Mark Lusty (44) was arrested and charged with DUI/Driving while License Suspended/Weaving over Roadway/Speeding in excess of Maximum Limits. Deputies were called to Satilla Estates in reference to a speeding motorist.  Complainants stated they believed the driver to be Lusty and gave a description of the suspect vehicle.  Deputies located the vehicle still in the area and observed Lusty to weave completely over to the other lane of travel. A traffic stop was performed and Lusty was transported to the Brantley County Detention Center.

Mark Lusty

05-04-2014

Deputies responded to the 100 Block of Main Street in reference to Theft by Taking.  Complainant stated several items had been stolen from their home in the past week. 

Deputies responded to the 400 block of Canal Rd in reference to Harassing Phone calls.  Complainant stated they had been receiving harassing phone calls. 

Deputies responded to St afford Rd in reference to Criminal Trespass.  Complainant stated a portion of their fence had been damaged. 

Winder restaurant finally has its pig mural

A mural of a pig and sauce bottles has finally returned to downtown Winder.

More than six months after starting – and then halting – work on a mural showing a pig being attacked by bottles of barbeque sauce due to the mural being far larger than allowed by the local city ordinance, Smokin’ Po Boys general manager Michael Welch watched Thursday as three area artists painted a smaller, friendlier mural on the side of the building.

The concept, he said, is victory, as this time the sauce bottles carry a smiling pig, like the NFL’s Packers used to carry coach Vince Lombardi.

“It’s kind of sad that we can’t use all of the space,” he said. “But this concept may be better in terms of telling who we are.”

The artist can’t use all of the space because when they started to back in September – and then were halted by the rain – Welch was told that his mural violated a city ordinance that limited signs to 150 square feet. That initial mural was slated to cover 720 square feet.

Barrow County News 

Tuition to increase at state technical colleges

 

Okefenokee Technical College and Altamaha Technical College will combine next year
Okefenokee Technical College and Altamaha Technical College will combine next year

The group that oversees Georgia’s technical colleges has approved of increasing tuition beginning in fall of 2014.

Officials say the Technical College System of Georgia has voted unanimously to raise tuition at the state’s technical colleges by $4 per credit hour. Officials say students at the state’s 24 technical colleges will now pay $89 per credit hour for standard programs, and average tuition for a full 15-hour course load this fall will be $1,335, plus books and fees.

Commissioner Ron Jackson says the system has done what it can to avoid tuition hikes, but operational costs for the programs being offered at the state’s technical colleges continues to rise.

Jackson says college presidents are still committed to helping students and their families find financial aid.

Proposal could allow tolls along interstates

Could the interstate highways you drive everyday soon require a toll?

The Obama administration just proposed a new law that would make that a possibility.

Channel 2’s Justin Gray learned that the president’s new transportation bill would allow states to turn highways like Interstate 85 or Interstate 75 into toll roads.

The thought of a toll booth on the downtown connector seems like an off the wall idea and it’s actually prohibited by federal law right now.

“It’s not a mandate. The administration is not forcing states to put tolls on interstate, highways. They’re just giving them the opportunity to do so,” said Patrick Jones, head of the International Bridge, Tunnel and Turnpike Association.

wsbtv.com.

Canon XL1s Mini DV camera: $500

canon

Canon’s XL1S makes it possible to truly customize your shooting experience. Its unique open architecture design, full manual control, and extensive list of dedicated accessories allow the camera to become an extension of your creative spirit. Superior image quality and pro-oriented features make the XL1S ideal for those with discriminating taste.

The Canon XL1S is not one, but many different cameras. Interchangeable lenses and viewfinders allow the XL1S to be tailored for optimal performance in any shooting condition. Incorporating high precision optics, full manual control, and features found only previously on top-end professional gear, the XL1S raises the standard for others to follow.

Canon offers a full range of accessories to complement the open-architecture design of the XL1S. Optional lenses, viewfinders, and microphone adapters allow you to customize the XL1S to your specific style and application.

Works but needs factory cleaning. 912-208-0083.

2000 Jeep Grand Cherokee Limited: $3000

jeep

RULE THE NIGHT: This midnight black 2001 Jeep Grand Cherokee Limited with 4.7 V-8 engine features every option available in its year model except four-wheel drive. That includes leather seats, rear power port, Infiniti Gold sound system with cassette player and 8-CD changer plus cables for subwoofer and steering wheel mounted controls for distraction-free adjustments, moon roof, front seat warmers, separately adjustable heat and cool settings for driver and passenger comfort, power driver and passenger seats, automatic seat setup for two drivers, cruise control, auto door locks, auto on-off lights, fog lamps, tow package with built-in receiver, factory installed limo tint on all windows, and OEM Jeep chrome 5-spoke mag wheels. Even has original cargo cover for back and floor mats. Call 912-208-0083.

835 bridges in Georgia compromised

DIRTROADBRIDGESMore than 2 million times a day, vehicles cross the 835 structurally compromised bridges in Georgia, according to a road-builders trade group seeking to urge Congress to fund more highway construction.

Locally, that includes two bridges over Cowpen Creek on Georgia 32/Harrell Highway, both about 1.5 miles west of the junction with Georgia 27.)

State officials stress that the bridges need upgrades but that they are not unsafe. Signs steer truckers away from those not capable of handling heavy loads.

The report compiled from government data is being used as reason for Congress to act before the current authorization of the U.S. Highway Trust Fund expires Oct. 1. The chief economist for the American Road & Transportation Builders Association, Alison Premo Black, said federal funds are needed to match with state and local resources to repair these bridges across the state.

“Letting the Highway Trust Fund investment dry up would have a devastating impact on bridge repairs,” Black says, noting the trust fund supports an average $119.2 million annually in Georgia bridge work. “It would set back bridge improvements for years.”

David Spear, a spokesman for the Georgia Department of Transportation, said the state needs to spend $500 million annually for the next five years to catch up with routine bridge maintenance.

“But the issue right now is not even long term; it is immediate,” he said.

jacksonville.com.

Spotting a woman in a full Army combat uniform, some men launching a boat near the ruins of the old Gilman Paper Co. probably thought they had figured out why she was overdressed for a warm Saturday morning.

But when they asked Kela Holmes if she was in the National Guard, she answered, “No. We are filming a movie.”

That could become a familiar reply to a lot of future questions around Camden County. Thanks to the Coastal Georgia Film Alliance, or CGFA, more and more directors are choosing locations in Camden County to shoot their projects.

Holmes is one of the stars of “The Debt,” a new film from Mahmoud Shoolizadeh. The screenplay for the movie explores the effects post-traumatic stress disorder has on soldiers returning from war. Shoolizadeh transformed parts of the old mill site into a war zone to shoot some scenes for the movie. That was why Holmes and her co-star, Courtney Gardner, were dressed for battle last weekend.

jacksonville.com.

School board takes no action against officials

Lori-Quigley (1)The McIntosh County Board of Education took no action in a called meeting Thursday against three school officials who were arrested and charged with failure to report suspected child abuse earlier in the week.

Law enforcement officials say McIntosh school superintendent Tina Kirby, assistant superintendent of facilities Larry Day, and McIntosh Academy principal Terrance Howard were aware that former teacher Lori Quigley was having sex with students in her classroom and other places and did nothing.

The media was ejected from the public meeting for about an hour while the board discussed the issue and were called back in just in time to hear a motion to suspend the three indefinitely fail because it did not get a second.

The superintendent and assistant superintendent attended the meeting.

Day one of three arrested in McIntosh abuse case

Larry Day

Three McIntosh County school officials — including a former Brantley County official — have been arrested for failure to report child abuse.

The McIntosh County Sheriff’s Office requested the GBI ‘s assistance March 18 after allegations that McIntosh County School officials failed to report sexual abuse of a student by Lori Quigley, a teacher.

Quigley was charged by the McIntosh County Sheriff’s Office.

The investigation also has led to three arrests of McIntosh County School officials.

Superintendent Ernestine “Tina” Kirby was charged on one count of failure to report child abuse and one count of obstruction of a law enforcement officer.

Assistant superintendent Larry Day and principal Terrance Haywood each have been charged with one count of failure to report child abuse.

Haywood also faces one count of false statements.

Haywood was arrested on Wednesday morning, and Kirby and Day surrendered themselves to the McIntosh County Sheriff’s Office later on Wednesday.

Quigley, a teacher at McIntosh Academy, was accused of sexually assaulting at least two male students.

Investigators believe the abuse had been going on for a couple of years, and they believe the principal, assistant superintendent, and superintendent all know about it and didn’t report it.

Haywood is the only one charged with a felony for reporting a false statement in writing. He was arrested today in school.

The assistant principal is filling in at the school, and the deputy superintendent is filling in until the school board can decide what to do.

WTOC-TV

St. Marys mill popular with filmmakers

papermillLarge piles of concrete, twisted metal and other debris at the old Gilman Paper Co. site in St. Marys may be an eyesore to some people, but the vacant industrial site is a thing of beauty to filmmakers.

“There’s a million different looks out there,” said Doug Vaught, chair of the Coastal Georgia Film Alliance. “You could shoot forever out there if you’re looking for destruction next to beauty.”

A full-length movie, “Eye of the Hurricane,” and five short films have featured the paper mill in some of its scenes. Vaught said the mill site was even the inspiration for a short movie, “The Preserve.”

Online Athens.

Nahunta man drowns at Little Ocmulgee

little ocmulgeeA Nahunta man has drowned after the boat carrying  him and his wife capsized Saturday morning.

Wheeler County Sheriff Maurice Johnson said rescuers found the body of Fred Lamar Drury, 62, around 8 p.m. Saturday night after searching all day in Little Ocmulgee State Park.

Drury’s wife, Elizabeth, was able to swim to safety.

The couple was on the south side of the lake near the dam.

The dam doors were open, and the current pulled the boat toward the opening.

The Sheriff said it was a team effort during the search.

“Had an outpouring of support from surrounding agencies,” said Johnson. “I couldn’t even begin to name all the fire rescue and dive teams and just community. People were bringing grills out there and grilling hot dogs for all the search and rescue personnel. People were bringing their personal boats because we needed smaller boats, and we don’t actually have that equipment like some of the larger areas do.”

Sheriff Johnson said the couple was on a weekend getaway and was staying in one of the lodges at the park.

NBC News

St. Marys opposes Fernandina bid for ferry

ferryMayor John Morrissey believes a ferry linking St. Marys and Fernandina Beach is a good idea. He just doesn’t want that ferry to stop at Cumberland Island.

Morrissey met with representatives from the Friends of the Amelia Island Trail last week to discuss their proposal to link the cities via Cumberland Island National Seashore. One of those representatives, Phillip Scanlan, would like to see the National Park Service add a second ferry terminal in Fernandina Beach to serve the island.

The Amelia Island Trail is part of the East Coast Greenway, a proposed 2,900-mile bike trail that runs the length of the East Coast. One of the many breaks in the trail is at the St. Marys River, but Scanlan says that could be easily bridged if cyclists could visit both cities with Cumberland Island as a stopover between them.

“We agree to disagree about adding the second ferry,” Scanlan said of his meeting with Morrissey.

Morrissey has acknowledged that the East Coast Greenway holds marketing potential for both cities and could be “an important engine for tourism.” He has also made it clear that he intends to protect the city’s exclusive arrangement with the Park Service for the downtown St. Marys ferry terminal. For that reason, Morrissey is all in favor of a direct ferry between the cities with no stops at Cumberland Island.

These discussions come as the concessionaire contract for ferry service nears its expiration date of Aug. 16. Calvin Lang holds the contract and plans to submit a bid to keep it.

jacksonville.com.

Huey Ham passes at 76

huey hamFormer Brantley County Magistrate Judge Huey Ronald Ham, 76, of Hickox passed away Monday morning (April 7, 2014) at his residence following an extended illness.

Huey Ronald Ham was born in Lulaton, Georgia on October 2, 1937 to Elias Oscar Ham (1908-1977) and Nancy Elizabeth “Lizzie” Jones (1912-2001).

Huey was preceded in death by his wife Dorothy “Dot” (Morgan) Ham; parents; paternal grandparents, Needham Vandy Ham and Eugenia “Genie” Wainright; and maternal grandparents, Everett Edward Jones and Margaret Elizabeth “Betty” Highsmith; and an infant sibling.

Huey finished high school in 1956, at Nahunta High School while living with his mother’s sister Eula Jean Jones, helping on the family farm that was settled by his great-grandfather Edward Benjamin Jones in 1880. After high school graduation Huey attended Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College in Tifton, Georgia. On completion of Junior College in the spring of 1958 he transferred to the University of Georgia.

After a short tenure at UGA, He married his high school sweetheart, Dorothy Morgan on 31 August 1958 and joined the U.S. Army, after basic training was assigned overseas to an artillery unit in Hanau, Germany. “Dot” joined him later that year. While in Germany Dorothy gave birth to Huey’s first born, Kathy Ham (Hendrix) 5-30-1960. Upon leaving the U.S. Army, serving 3 years, Huey returned to the University of Georgia, graduating with a degree in Vocational Education in Agriculture. He taught in Brantley County school system in Hoboken initially. While Huey, Dot and Kathy lived in Hoboken, Ronald Edward Ham was born (7-27-1964). Huey’s job moved to the Brantley County High School in Caney Bay at the time of school consolidation. After Ronald was born Huey’s Aunt Eula gave him a home place on the Hickox family farm that Huey would run and where Huey and Dot would reside and raise their children, grandchildren and great grandchildren for over 49 years.

Huey was very civic minded, and served in many capacities in county government; Rabies Inspector; 1968, Justice of the Peace, Hickox District serving 3 terms; and Chief Magistrate Judge from 1984-2000. He retired in 1990 with 30 years teaching Vocational Agricultural in the Brantley County school system and served his last 10 years as a full time Magistrate Judge. As FFA advisor for 3 decades Huey was father to many that needed one. In 1994 he was appointed to the Coastal Zone Advisory Committee, by Gov. Zell Miller. Huey was a charter members of the Brantley County Historical Society, as Vice President and later as President when the first Brantley County History book was published. Huey was instrumental in working with his lifelong friend Joe Sears to clear the pathway for the Bayview Nursing Home where 4 of his immediate family members would receive the best of care in their final days. He was a true public servant.

Judge Ham had a love of our local history. He has put in many hours of discovery, through reading, studying, traveling and many hours of physical labor. He was considered a local expert. He was the driving force behind the Geortner Mumford Library, Confederate Wall, and locating the cemetery where 40 or more Confederate Soldiers were buried. On the Confederate Wall which he built with bricks actually made in Waynesville, Huey placed a marble marker for each of his 4 great-grandfather’s who served in the Confederate cause; Needham Bathaway Ham, Noah Thomas Wainright, Edward Benjamin Jones and John Franklin Highsmith.

Judge Huey Ham has made many contributions to our communities with his connections he has in government. He served on the 6th Senatorial District for the Democratic Party, the Coastal Zone advisory Committee, Exchange Club, Airport Advisory Board and volunteer EMT in the early days plus many other positions.

Surviving is his brother Robert Garland Ham, his daughter and son-in-law, Katherine Marie “Kathy” (Ham) Hendrix and husband, James Fredrick “Freddie” Hendrix; a son and daughter-in-law, Ronald Edward Ham and wife Paula Renee’ (Cleland) Ham; grandchildren, Renee’ Rona (Roberson) Smith, husband Stephen Kristopher “Kris” Smith; Hilary Hope (Hendrix) Harris, husband Devin Andrew Harris; Elizabeth Renee Ham; Joseph Ronald Ham; great-grandchildren, Katlyn Renee’ Smith; Kirsten Ruby Smith; Kibrey Rose Smith.

A Visitation will be held Tuesday evening (April 8, 2014) starting at 6 p.m. at Frye Funeral Home, Nahunta.

Huey was a member of the Nahunta First Baptist church where his funeral service will take place on Wednesday (April 9, 2014) at 3 p.m., following a brief visitation from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m., by Pastor Randy Carson and Speaker Al Perry.

Burial will be in New Hope Cemetery, Hickox, Brantley County, Georgia.

Pallbearers, Ernie Thomas, Andy Riggins, Andy Harris, James “Juke” Johns, David Royster, Jimmy Thomas, Alt. Randy Wainright, Alt. Ray Smith.

Wayne meth arrests stem from Brantley probe

odumA Wayne County couple are being held without bail after their arrests on charges of possessing and distributing methamphetamine.Linda Henderson and James Perkins had an initial appearance before U.S. Magistrate Judge James E. Graham, who heard testimony that the charges arose from an investigation of a violent drug gang. DEA Special Agent Douglas Kahn testified that the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and Georgia Bureau of Investigation were originally investigating a “very dangerous, violent group of individuals manufacturing methamphetamine in Brantley County.”

jacksonville.com.

Suspended deputy captain?

victimThe Brantley County Sheriff’s Department deputy suspended after a Ware man was reportedly beaten may have been Capt. Wade Bennett according to unconfirmed reports.

Bennett is a former member of the Ware County Sheriff’s Office brought onto the Brantley department by sheriff Jack Whisenant, who also was fomerly on the Ware County department.

The Georgia Bureau of Investigation is probing a Brantley County deputy’s arrest in Waycross of a man who later required treatment at an emergency room, officials said.

Whisenant confirmed that he had suspended one of his deputies with pay pending the outcome of a GBI investigation, but he declined to identify the officer.

The GBI took on the investigation at the request of Ware County Sheriff Randy Royal, said Russell Mansfield, special agent in charge of the GBI’s Douglas office.Royal said his office first got involved about 3 p.m. Thursday when deputies responded to a 911 call from a woman who said she was in a pawn shop on Memorial Drive in Waycross where she had found items she believed were taken from her home, Royal said.

The woman also called a Brantley County deputy to whom she was related, and he arrived at the pawn shop about the same time as deputies, Royal said.The Ware County deputies were still at the pawn shop dealing with the initial report of the burglary, which the victim had discovered about 1:30 p.m., “when the Brantley County deputy left the pawn shop unknown to us,” Royal said.

The Brantley County deputy returned later with Christopher Tyle Lee, 26, in custody and released him to Ware County, Royal said.

The Brantley County deputy had arrested Lee on an outstanding Ware County bench warrant issued for nonpayment of child support, Royal said.Because of Lee’s condition, Royal said his deputies asked for an EMS unit to come to the pawn shop.

“Mr. Lee was then transported by a Ware County deputy to the emergency room. He was treated there and transported to the Ware County jail,’’ Royal said.In a photo of Lee taken when he was booked into the Ware County jail Thursday, his left eye is swollen nearly shut and he appears to have a laceration under his left eyebrow. There is a black spot on the laceration that could be a suture.

jacksonville.com.

GBI investigating Brantley deputy’s actions

victimGeorgia Bureau of Investigation is probing a Brantley County deputy’s arrest in Waycross of a man who later required treatment at an emergency room, officials said.

Brantley County Sheriff Jack Whisenant confirmed that he had suspended one of his deputies with pay pending the outcome of a GBI investigation, but he declined to identify the officer.

The GBI took on the investigation at the request of Ware County Sheriff Randy Royal, said Russell Mansfield, special agent in charge of the GBI’s Douglas office.Royal said his office first got involved about 3 p.m. Thursday when deputies responded to a 911 call from a woman who said she was in a pawn shop on Memorial Drive in Waycross where she had found items she believed were taken from her home, Royal said.

The woman also called a Brantley County deputy to whom she was related, and he arrived at the pawn shop about the same time as deputies, Royal said.The Ware County deputies were still at the pawn shop dealing with the initial report of the burglary, which the victim had discovered about 1:30 p.m., “when the Brantley County deputy left the pawn shop unknown to us,” Royal said.The Brantley County deputy returned later with Christopher Tyle Lee, 26, in custody and released him to Ware County, Royal said.The Brantley County deputy had arrested Lee on an outstanding Ware County bench warrant issued for nonpayment of child support, Royal said.Because of Lee’s condition, Royal said his deputies asked for an EMS unit to come to the pawn shop.“Mr. Lee was then transported by a Ware County deputy to the emergency room. He was treated there and transported to the Ware County jail,’’ Royal said.In a photo of Lee taken when he was booked into the Ware County jail Thursday, his left eye is swollen nearly shut and he appears to have a laceration under his left eyebrow. There is a black spot on the laceration that could be a suture.

jacksonville.com.

Thunderstorms predicted for area

heavy_rainfall_potential_resizedA wave of low pressure will move over the southeast region late Sunday through Monday. Widespread rainfall with embedded thunderstorms will bring moderate to heavy rainfall across the local area, with the most intense rainfall expected to begin to affect the Suwanee River Valley and inland southeast Georgia Sunday evening.

This rainfall will gradually shift eastward through Monday morning, with a more robust line of showers and thunderstorms expected to cross the Florida peninsula Monday afternoon. A few strong thunderstorms capable of gusty winds are possible. Rainfall will decrease over the area Monday night through early Tuesday morning. Widespread rainfall amounts of 1-3 inches are possible. Please refer to the attached graphic.

Widespread rainfall amounts of 1-3 inches are expected over the forecast area for this event…with locally higher amounts possible. This amount of rainfall could cause areal flooding problems giving already high moisture content in the soils. A flood watch may be needed for portions of the area, which would likely be issued Sunday, if needed. In addition, this rainfall may cause area river rises later in the week.

A few strong to severe storms will also be possible. The first wave of strong storms could move inland from the Gulf of Mexico Sunday evening which would affect the Suwanee River Valley and portions of inland southeast Georgia west of Waycross. This thunderstorm activity will likely decrease in intensity Sunday night, but locally heavy rainfall will continue. Thunderstorm activity is expected to increase once again Monday as a line of precipitation develops in the Gulf and tracks across the Florida peninsula. As the thunderstorms cross the Florida peninsula Monday, gusty winds will be possible in stronger activity.

20 arrested in Brantley drug sweep

drugbustThe Brantley County Sheriff’s Office began making arrests Saturday at 3 a.m. at the end of a long term drug investigation along with the Hoboken Police Department, the state probation agency, Ware CI K-9 and the Georgia State Patrol,

When  the operation ended at about 9 a.m. officials had seized over a pound of marijuana and a small amount of meth and had arrested more than 20 suspected drug dealers.

More arrests are expected of those who could not be located this weekend.

Those arrested included:

Clay Hendricks was arrested and charged with 2 counts of Sale of Schedule I or II Controlled Substance.

Tamara Doppke was arrested and charged with 2 counts of Sale of Schedule I or II Controlled Substance.

Aaron Royster was arrested and charged with 3 counts of Sale of Schedule I or II Controlled Substance.

Dalton Remtula was arrested and charged with 1 count of Sale of Schedule I or II Controlled Substance.

Ashley Jacobs was arrested and charged with 1 count of Sale of Schedule I or II Controlled Substance.

Devin Johns was arrested and charged with Possession of Schedule II Controlled Substance.

Zak Partin was arrested and charged with Purchase, Possession, Manufacture, Distribution, sale of Marijuana.

Marquin Cohen was arrested and charged with 2 counts Purchase, Possession, Manufacture, Distribution, sale of Marijuana.

Curtis Noel was arrested and charged with 2 counts of Sale of Schedule I or II Controlled Substance.

Jay Bell was arrested and charged with Sale of Schedule I or II Controlled Substance.

Chase Hamil was arrested and charged with 2 counts of Sale of Schedule I or II Controlled Substance.

Dustin Crosby was arrested and charged with Purchase, Possession, Manufacture, Distribution, sale of Marijuana.

Ben McDowell was arrested and charged with Sale of Schedule I or II Controlled Substance.

Jessica Highsmith was arrested and charged with Purchase, Possession, Manufacture, Distribution, sale of Marijuana.

Maranda Conley was arrested and charged with Sale of Schedule I or II Controlled Substance.

Scott Crews was arrested and charged with Sale of Schedule I or II Controlled Substance.

Jason Thrift was arrested and charged with 3 counts Sale of Schedule I or II Controlled Substance.

Brian Wilson was arrested and charged with Sale of Schedule I or II Controlled Substance.

Charles Dean was arrested and charged with 2 counts Sale of Schedule I or II Controlled Substance.

Brad Davis was arrested and charged with 2 counts Sale of Schedule I or II Controlled Substance.

Robert Barnaby was arrested and charged with Party to Crime Sale of Schedule I or II Controlled Substance.

Dylan Prefontaine was arrested and charged with Possession of Schedule II Controlled Substance/Possession Drug Related Objects.

Chelsea Noel was arrested and charged with Possession of Schedule II Controlled Substance/Possession Drug Related Objects.

Tina Crews was arrested and charged with Possession of Schedule II Controlled Substance/Possession Drug Related Objects.

Kenneth Baker was arrested and charged with Possession Marijuana less than ounce.

Curtis Baker was arrested and charged with Possession Marijuana less than ounce.

John Eric Sumner was arrested and charged with Possession Marijuana less than ounce.

One juvenile was arrested for Sale of Controlled Substance.

 Click here for photos

Bi-Lo changing south Georgia store banners

BILO-Exterior1Bi-Lo Holdings LLC, the Jacksonville, Fla.-based parent company of Winn-Dixie Stores Inc., and Bi-Lo LLC, plans to change the banners of 10 Georgia stores.

Bi-Lo Holdings plans to convert seven existing Harvey’s stores to Winn-Dixie stores and three Winn-Dixie stores to Harvey’s stores.

The stores are part of Bi-Lo Holdings’ pending acquisition of 134 stores from the Brussels-based Delhaize Group,

“We carefully evaluated the market areas around each store and made conversion decisions that we believe will work best for customers,” R. Randall Onstead, Bi-Lo Holdings’ president and chief executive officer, said in the release.

“Customers will not see any change to the level of quality they have come to expect from either banner.”

Bi-Lo Holdings plans to disclose schedules and timelines for the store conversions at a later date, according to the release.

Bi-Lo Holdings plans to convert Harvey’s stores to Winn-Dixie stores in Brunswick, Saint Marys, and Valdosta and convert Winn-Dixie stores to Harvey’s in Albany, Americus, and in Leesburg, according to the release.

Produce Retailer

BCMS FBLA wins at state competition

fblaBrantley County Middle School won the coveted GA FBLA-ML Sweepstakes Award for the third year in a row at the GA FBLA-ML State Leadership Conference held Feb. 25 at the Perry National Fairgrounds.

Twenty-nine Brantley County Middle School FBLA members competed in a variety of events and won numerous awards. Including chapter and individual awards, BCMS FBLA brought home 28 awards.

Other chapter awards included Gold Chapter, second place Chapter of the Year, first place Local Chapter Activities Report, second place American Enterprise Project, second place Community Service Project, and second place Chapter Scrapbook.

Individual event winners included:  first place in Computer Slide Show – Lila Byers & Susan Hand, first place Employability Skills – Shaina Flowers, 1st place Keyboarding I – Whitley Fabrizio, 2nd place Electronic Leadership Portfolio – Kaylie Hunter, 2nd place Keyboarding II – Autumn Patten, 2nd place FBLA Concepts – Kaylie Hunter, 3rd place Computer Slide Show – Catilyn McDowell & Maranda Padgett, 4th place Electronic Leadership Portfolio – Kassidy Griffin, 4th place FBLA Concepts – Makenzie Johns, 4th place Impromptu Speaking – Rebekah Street, 4th place Spreadsheet – Colby Schultze, 4th place Web Page Creation – Ramey Rowell & Conner Sweat, 5th place Desktop Publishing – Mahnoor Farooq & Kassidy Griffin, 5th place FBLA Concepts – Ashley-Kay Wyatt, 5th place Keyboarding II – Jessica Woodard, 5th place Parliamentary Procedure Concepts – Makenzie Johns, 6th place Career Exploration – Lauren Lee, 6th place Employability Skills – Whitley Fabrizio, 7th place FBLA Concepts – Grant Bennett, 8th place Creed – Victoria Blaisdell, 8th place Video Public Service Announcement – Autumn Patten, 9th place Invention Convention – Catilyn McDowell & Maranda Padgett, and 10th place Employability Skills – Lauren Lee.

The Outstanding GA FBLA-ML Supporter of the Year was presented to Dr. Stuart Medley, CTAE Director for Brantley County Schools. “Dr. Medley has been very supportive of BCMS FBLA throughout his tenure as CTAE Director and we are thankful for all that he has done for our chapter,” stated BCMS FBLA Adviser Ruby Ann Sawyer.

Other members participating in competitive events included Joe Morgan, Jacob Rowell, Thalia Rivas, Eddie Singletary, Hallie Collins, Kayle Murray, Brittany Sessions, Edna Grace O’Berry, and Brittney Lynn.  The members were accompanied to competition by Adviser Ruby Ann Sawyer, and chaperones Dr. Tim Sawyer, Kristie Lee, Katrina Wyatt, Ginger Hunter, and Becky O’Berry.

Memorial Vietnam Wall arrives at museum

wallThe Dignity Memorial Vietnam Wall arrived at the National Infantry Museum and Soldier Center early Sunday afternoon with the tractor-trailer delivering it escorted by what Harris County Sheriff Mike Jolley said was more than 1,000 motorcycles.

Jolley served as the traffic manager for the event that brought the replica of the Vietnam Memorial in Washington to the museum. There is a a five-year agreement with Dignity Memorial to display the 48 panels on a two-acre site on the east side of the building.

Jolley called the organizing of the motorcyclists a “labor of love.”

Asked why he thought so many riders from several states had participated, Jolley replied, “This is history in the making. There is nothing more American than this.”.

Columbus Ledger Enquirer.

Four arrested in Brunswick ‘knock-out game’

knockout

Four Glynn County teens are in custody following an alleged attack similar to the “Knock Out Game.”

Brandon Mikell Allen Jr., 18 was identified by police as the alleged attacker and is accused of punching a juvenile shopper inside a Walmart store Feb. 23, according to a release from the Glynn County Police Department.

The entire incident was captured on the store’s security video and the juvenile victim allegedly can be seen being punched by Allen, according to the release. The juvenile victim sustained swelling and bruising to the facial area where the punch landed.

Three additional suspects Jervon Abdullah Sanderson, 18, Kaleb Scott Dirting, 18, and 19-year-old Ramone Rishaun Roberson were arrested in connection with the assault.

All four suspects were charged with first degree cruelty to children. The incident is still under investigation and additional charges are anticipated.

Any information regarding this incident can be passed on to the violent crimes task force at 912-554-7802 or Silent Witness at 912-264-1333.

FCN

The big question

relevanceTwo state representatives recently admitted that one of their  chief functions is to maintain a place at the table in Atlanta in case something comes up that might benefit residents in their districts. That sounds suspiciously like dogs hanging out under the table hoping for dropped crumbs. Atlanta is packed with caucuses and lobbyists — but not a single one represents the interests of south Georgia residents. Both representatives admitted as much. Is it time for a RURAL PAC? Visit our FORUM to tell us what you think.

Safe Harbor offers Brunswick kids fresh start

A center for children in Brunswick helps abused, neglected or abandoned children and teens by giving them a fresh start and new hope.

Before Matthew Thrift, 18, became a confident adult, he was in a bit of a dark place.

“I went to go get on the bus and they told me I had to stay home for the day they were going to keep me home for the next week so the marks would all be gone,” said Thrift.

FCN

Charlton teacher admits sex with six students

A former Charlton County  High School  teacher will serve 10 years in prison followed by 15 years on probation after she pleaded guilty Monday to having sex with six students.

As her family sat glumly in the front row of the Charlton County courtroom, some of them crying softly, DaNita Wilson, 33, pleaded guilty to six counts of sexual assault before Superior Court Judge Jeffrey H. Kight.

The Augusta Chronicle.

St. Marys prepares for Mardi Gras

mardiEvery year, millions across the country don masks, feather boas and strands of cheap beads to celebrate Mardi Gras, the traditional last day and night of reverie before people make personal sacrifices in observation of Lent.

St. Marys is joining New Orleans, Mobile, Ala., and other cities this week in gearing up for the big festival.

One difference is in the timing: St. Marys doesn’t wait until “Fat Tuesday” to celebrate. As usual, St. Marys will hold all of its Mardi Gras activities on Saturday, three days before the big party happens in New Orleans.

In its 20th year, St. Marys’ Mardi Gras retains an atmosphere more friendly to families than the boozy, bawdy celebrations in larger cities. The “Out of This World” themed events will begin at 7 a.m. with a 5-kilometer “Color Run” in which runners are bombarded with brightly colored, nontoxic cornstarch powder to create a dazzling, colorful flurry at the finish line. There’s also a one-mile walk for those who don’t run.

As the race winds down and the contestants clean off, other events will begin. Starting at 9 a.m. vendors will open their booths along Osborne Street downtown. The booths will be home to various nonprofit organizations, food vendors selling festival favorites such as funnel cakes, and arts and crafts sellers.

“We expect over 100 vendors this year,” says Angela Wigger, Director of Tourism for St. Marys.

As for festival-goers, Wigger estimates that about 12,000 will visit the old section of the city that ends at the St. Marys River.

If she is correct, that will be a lot of people lining Osborne Street for the annual parade that steps off at 10 a.m. The parade usually lasts about an hour as floats slow to throw the traditional bead necklaces to clamoring children.

After the parade, visitors can make their way to the Great Camden County Chili Cook-Off, visit the center stage to see “America’s Got Talent” performer Chris McCarty, or just hang around and wait to see the 1 p.m. costumed pet parade.

Once the kids are worn out from the day’s activities the adults can attend the Formal Mardi Gras Ball at Jay’s British Pub at 7 p.m. The ball includes a costume contest for those who choose to participate in the “Out of this World” theme, a crowning of the 2014 Mardi Gras king and queen, and presentation of the Rosie Kelly Community Service Award for outstanding community service to St. Marys.

Tickets for the ball are $35 and can be purchased at Once Upon a Bookseller or at the St. Marys Welcome Center.

The events regularly draw people from as far as four hours away, Wigger said.

“It promises to be another great day of food and fun,” she said.

For more information, call the St. Marys Welcome Center at (912) 882-4000.

‘Midnight Rider’ staffer killed by train in Wayne

waynetrainwreck

A  camera assistant was killed in Wayne County Thursday afternoon when a freight train struck and killed her on the set of the Gregg Allman biopic “Midnight Rider,” sources confirm to Variety.

Four other people were injured in the accident, one seriously.  The event happened in Wayne County, Ga.

An eyewitness told Variety the movie crew was filming a dream sequence on a railroad trestle when a train unexpectedly crossed the bridge.

The crew, including director Randall Miller, had placed a bed on the tracks for the scene and was expecting two trains on the local bridge, one in each direction, when a third train arrived unexpectedly.

A whistle warned the crew members of the next train, giving them less than a minute, which was too late.

Miller, who also directed the 2008 film “Bottle Shock,” and the still photographer rushed to get the bed off the tracks while the rest of the crew tried to get off the bridge on a plank walk-way. They were still trying to get off the bridge when the train arrived.The second camera assistant was then struck and killed by the train.

Miller had fallen onto the tracks before the train arrived but the still photographer pulled him off, according to the witness, saving his life. The bed was then hit by the train and exploded. That debris hit and injured several people, including one seriously, who was airlifted to Savannah’s Memorial Health University Medical Center.

A costume designer also suffered injuries during the accident and was admitted to the hospital while at least two other people from the crew, none seriously injured, were awaiting treatment in the emergency room at Wayne Memorial Hospital in Jesup, Ga.

Sheriff John Carter of the Wayne County Sheriff’s Department said that his office received three separate 911 calls reporting the accident at 4:37 p.m. on Thursday. He said the freight train was operated by CSX Corp and that the rail line forms a single track as it crosses the river at that point in the trestle bridge where the incident occurred.

CSX issued a statement on the accident. “CSX is deeply saddened by a tragedy that occurred late today on a CSX rail bridge in Doctortown, Ga., and is cooperating fully with authorities as they investigate.  Initial reports indicate that at least three people were injured, one fatally.  CSX personnel are working with first responders to meet the needs of those injured.  A train was en route from Memphis to Savannah when the incident occurred.”

Starring William Hurt and Tyson Ritter as Allman, “Midnight Rider” is set to be released by Open Road in the U.S.

Allman is also an executive producer on the film.

Update: A publicist for the production released a statement late on Thursday. “All of us on the production team are devastated by the tragic accident that happened today. Our thoughts are prayers are with the family of our crew member.”

Variety.

Introducing: Etceterati!

etceterati bizcard

Etceterati is offering — for a very  limited time — a very special promotion: Websites for only $100 with a one-year hosting agreement for $25 per month. We also can find and register a website address for you for a small fee, or we can set up an an address at our Segacom hosting site with a “yourname.segacom.com” address for even less. If you have a Facebook page we can link to it from your splash page and if you don’t we can set that up for you, too, also for a very small fee. Call us today for more information at 912-208-0083 or send email to ideas@etceterati.com. Visit our website at www.etceterati.com to find out more and see samples of our work.

OSHA cites Homerville plant for 22 violations

dupont yardOSHA has cited a Homerville company with 22 safety and health violations and proposed nearly $280,000 in penalties.

In a recent inspection, OSHA found three safety violations at Dupont Yard Inc. that it termed willful, including a failure to implement safety procedures that would prevent machinery from starting up or moving during maintenance, which exposed workers to possible amputation of limbs and other serious and possibly fatal injuries.

Also workers could have been caught in or crushed by rotating chains that had no guards, OSHA said.

jacksonville.com.

NWS predicts very cold weather tonight

image2A frontal boundary will become stationary across the region later today and tonight.  A low pressure system will move east along this boundary on Wednesday. As this Low moves through our region, isolated thunderstorms are expected to develop along and south of it. A few strong thunderstorms will be possible over Northeast Florida from Wednesday afternoon through late Wednesday evening.

Also, as this low tracks east, colder air will move in from the north across Southeast Georgia. There is a great deal of uncertainty as to the strength and timing of the cold air at this point, but there is a low chance for light freezing rain or snow near the  Altamaha River ends early Thursday morning, if the cold air sinks in before the  precipitation moves out of the area.  No accumulation is expected.

Potential Impacts:

A few of the thunderstorms may become strong or severe with a chance of strong   winds or hail. In addition, some storms could contain rotation which will enhance the chance of a brief isolated tornado…with the best chance of this over our southernmost counties in northeast Florida…e.g. Marion, Putnam, Flagler.  Widespread rain and showers will overspread the region Wednesday and early Thursday with rainfall totals ranging from half an inch to around 1.5 inches over parts of inland Southeast Georgia.

The National Weather Service will continue to monitor forecasts, and will provide updates as needed. If expectations change and support a more substantial hazard for our area of responsibility, a n additional email will be sent out by your weather team at the National Weather Service. 

Please reference the additional resources below for more information.

NWS Jacksonville Contact Numbers: 800-499-1594 or (904) 741-4370

NWS Jacksonville webpage: http://www.weather.gov/jax

NWS Jacksonville Marine Weather Page: http://www.srh.noaa.gov/jax/?n=marine

NWS Jacksonville Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/US.NationalWeatherService.Jacksonville.gov

NWS Jacksonville Twitter: @NWSJacksonville

Murder suspect caught after search in Camden

A massive manhunt through Georgia woods and marsh ended with the capture of a man wanted for murder Friday.

The long day for Camden County Sheriff’s Office Dep. James Thames began when he was dispatched to mile marker 16 on Interstate 95 around 10:30 a.m. in reference to a possible stolen vehicle.

The vehicle, carrying four people from South Carolina, had run out of gas heading northbound on I-95.

When two Camden County officers arrived one of the passengers, John L. Murphy, 26, jumped out of the vehicle and ran into the woods.

First Coast News

Murder suspect was Brantley high school grad

murder mugs
Jeremy Pittman’s arrest photo, left, and his facebook photo, right.

The suspect in the death of a Jacksonville man whose body was found in Camden County this week is a Brantley County High School graduate who listed Kingsland as his address on his Facebook page and worked at the U.S. Post Office in Kingsland, although his most recent address was in the 2200 block of Lake Shore Boulevard in Jacksonville, according to the Jacksonville Police Department.

The body of 20-year-old Robert Glenn Hucks was found by hunters in a wooded area of Camden County called Browntown. He was last seen leaving a Jacksonville’s Metro night club — a gay and lesbian bar which describes itself as a “the largest gay and lesbian GLBTQ venue in the State of Florida featuring a total of 7 unique Themed Clubs and Rainbows & Stars gift shop under one roof” — with Jeremy Christian Pittman, 34, who graduated from Brantley County High School in 1998.

The two went to Pittman’s residence where they argued after which Hucks wanted to be taken home, but he was murdered instead, officials said.

A relative of Hucks said he had recently moved to Jacksonville from the Atlanta area.

“He just always wanted to live in Florida,” she said. “He was gay and he felt like he fit in there.”

Comments on Pittman’s Facebook page reflected shock that he had killed Hucks, who also went by the name Ryan Ray Gibson.

“Jeremy Pittman!!!!! I am astonished right now!!! I can’t believe you murdered Ryan Ray Gibson! I was having a fantastic day until I just received a phone call from a mutual friend telling me what has happened to Ryan! This deeply saddens me in many ways… gosh, man! Things like this should NEVER happen!!!!!” said one.

“What have you done!!!!!!!!???????” said another.

Pittman’s Facebook page also shows him with friends at New Vision Congregational United Church of Christ in Jacksonville and an Out Jax meeting.

Body found in Camden, Jax man charged

Officials recover body of Robert Hucks in Camden County wooded area

After a hunter found the body of a missing 20-year-old man in the woods of Camden County on Thursday afternoon, a 34-year-old Jacksonville man was charged with murder.

PITTMAN2c_JEREMY_CHRISTIAN
Jeremy Pittman

Jeremy Pittman was seen leaving a Riverside club with the Robert Hucks around midnight on Jan. 17. The younger man was not seen again.

Hucks’ mother filed a missing persons eight days after he never returned from visiting the Metro Entertainment Complex on Willow Branch Avenue.

Hours after Huck was found dead, Pittman was charged with murder.

News – Home.

Southeast Georgia saw ice, sleet, some snow

Rain drops froze on the seeds of a crape myrtle bush in the Hortense Community in Brantley County at noon as sleet moved through. (Photo by Terry Dickson)

As winter storm moved to the southernmost coast of Georgia Wednesday, Georgia Department of Transportation crews moved with it spreading gravel on bridges in advance of dropping temperatures.

The snow and ice storm that closed every school in the state did its worst in the Atlanta metro area. The worst seen in Southeast Georgia was some light icing on bridges and light snow and sleet.

jacksonville.com.

South Georgia sees rare snow event

Snow is falling in South Georgia and it will get heavier as the day goes on.The snow started falling in Terrell County just before eight Friday morning and is expected to continue falling throughout the day.Parts of South Georgia are under a winter storm warning today and we could get snow accumulations of one to three inches here in Albany.Between three and five inches of snow could fall in Lee and Sumter Counties.Flakes are falling — or threatening to fall — today from Texas to the Florida Panhandle and then up along the coasts of Georgia and South Carolina. The snow is bringing a rare white landscape to spots that haven’t seen snow in a decade or longer.The storm is crawling east out of Texas, where it left the Dallas area with more than a foot of snow.

via South GA sees rare snow event – WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports.

Winter storm to roar from Texas to Virginia

Now it’s the South’s turn to get in on the snowy “fun.”

A rare southern winter storm is forecast to bring ice and snow all the way from southern Texas to southern Virginia later Tuesday and into Wednesday.

“Very hazardous travel is likely across a long swath of the South … in the Tuesday to Wednesday timeframe,” reported Weather Channel meteorologist Nick Wiltgen.

“A band of snow, sleet, and freezing rain is expected to materialize by Tuesday afternoon near the central Gulf Coast, and become heavier over eastern North Carolina and into South Carolina, with very cold air in place,” according to National Weather Service meteorologist David Hamrick.

via Southern snow

Enterprise suspends publication

crumpledThe Brantley Enterprise has suspended publication indefinitely after county officials bungled the transfer of the legal organ from the Express, marking the sixth year the newspaper has gone without the revenues the legal organ status provides each year.

“Enough is enough,” Enterprise publisher Ken Buchanan said.

“We believe the people of Brantley County want a better newspaper, but their county officials — not so much.”

However, plans to bring legal action seeking damages against the county will continue, the publisher said.

whokilledThe Brantley Enterprise announced today that well-known Waynesville attorney Joseph Segui will represent the newspaper in its lawsuit against the county after officials bungled the appointment of the legal organ for 2014.

“What’s fair is fair and no reasonable person would accuse the county of fairness with what has happened to The Brantley Enterprise,” Segui said this week.

“The count was prompted to as recently s November to do what was required to change the legals. The failure to do those things ultimately reflects poorly on the officials responsible and their neglect has caused actionable harm to my client,” he added.

The three officials who decide which newspaper would be named the legal include probate court judge Johnnie Crews, sheriff Jack Whisenant, and clerk of court Cindy Crews.

The three officers first named the Enterprise the legal organ Dec. 23 and sent notification to the secretary of state’s office immediately thereafter.

But Brantley Express publisher Mittie Vaughan refused to run the public notice of the change saying that the county had missed the Jan. 1 deadline by which the notice had to be published.

The requirement is designed to allow anyone using the current legal organ to make arrangements to send notices to the new organ.

After a flurry f meetings with Vaughan and her attorney Phillip Golub of Blackshear, the three constitution officers reversed themselves this week, claiming the law was “vague.”

But they were warned in print and in a meeting held in November among the county officials and both newspapers that they were required by law to publish the notice four times in the current legal organ if their intent was to change the legal organ.

But officials did not seem too concerned about the requirement.

“We make the decision,” Whisenant said, adding that people he had spoken with said the law was vague and he and the other two officers could pretty much do what they wanted without fear of legal repercussions.

But after the last meeting between the county and the Express, Whisenant admitted he was wrong, and said that judges he conferred with had told him the action taken would not stand up in court.

The three officers asked that both newspapers publish a new notice explaining the error and reinstating the Express as legal organ.

The Enterprise will not publish the notice, according to publisher Ken Buchanan.

“This monumental error clearly shows the pompousness of county officials who remain convinced that they are above the law. They are not, and it has been one of our main goals over the past 20 years to remove those leaders who practice the arrogance of ignorance.”

It was about five years ago the Enterprise reported on the arrest of the grandson of Johnnie Crews for the rape of a high school student who had been plied with alcohol at a party which took place the Crews family compound in Hickox — and the attempted coverup that followed by former sheriff Robert Thomas and the entire sheriff’s office.

Attempts to report the story by two area daily newspapers were reportedly thwarted by the coverup, and one investigator with the sherif’s office told the Enterprise it would never get that incident report either.

The department claimed it would not release the reports because the investigation was still going on, but the Georgia Open Records Act clearly requires that initial incident reports and arrest reports are public record immediately about filing and requests for them cannot be denied because the investigation is ongoing.

After denying the request for those documents and in the threat of legal action by the newspaper, the sheriff’s office apparently consulted with an attorney and released the records.

The newspaper reported on both the rape and the coverup.

And has not since been named the legal organ.

That’s because the sheriff and the judge — and former clerk of court Anthony Ham — voted no that year and each year since.

Information that came out during the November meeting indicated that the current clerk of court also voted against the Enterprise each year she has been in office.

But it was she who called that meeting and said in it that she was tired of being harassed on the street by those who felt the county had treated the Enterprise unfairly, adding that it was time to move on and put “revenge” behind us.

And as for the judge’s grandson, he has been in out of alcohol and drug rehab centers, has been arrested several times for drug possession and once for intent to distribute.

As far as the Enterprise can find, he has not spent a day in jail for his crime.

In the meantime as well, another of the judge’s grandsons was charged in an attempt to steal outdoor furniture from a Nahunta hardware store which was botched we his vehicle got suck in a ditch.

After hiding the trailer in a stand of trees nearby, that grandson was assisted in getting his truck out of the ditch behind the hardware store by Brantley County Sheriff’s Office investigator John Simpson, who apparently did not question why he was there in the wee hours of the morning.

And the judge more recently reportedly intervened in a domestic disturbance among other family members and ordered a deputy who responded to make no arrests after a family member called the huge and handed the phone to the deputy.

Enterprise to sue county officials over legals

crumpledThe Brantley Enterprise has notified three Brantley County constitutional officers of its intent to bring legal action against them for negligence after they botched an attempt to change the legal organ for 2014.

Ad litem notices were hand delivered Wednesday to the offices of probate court judge Johnnie Crews, clerk of courts Cindy Crews, and sheriff Jack Whisenant, the three tasked with naming the legal organ each year.

The three named The Brantley Enterprise the legal organ for the first time in five years last month and sent the official notification to the Georgia Secretary of State’s office on Dec. 23.

But Mittie Vaughan, the publisher of the county’s current legal organ, threatened legal action and refused to run the legal notice required by law, saying the county had missed the Jan. 1 deadline for publication also required by law.

After a flurry of meetings between county officials, the Express publisher and her attorney Phillip Golub of Blackshear, a statement signed by all three was released this week in which officials reneged on that decision and reinstated the Brantley Express as legal organ because of what they called the vague wording of the law.

However, the Enterprise warned in editorials published during the weeks just before Dec. 1 and in a meeting with Vaughan and the constitutional officers held in November that the law is very clear in its requirement that the change be advertised for four weeks in the current legal organ before it can take place.

“It’s a practical provision that is designed to notify anyone — especially attorney and government offices currently submitting notices — of the change,” said Ken Buchanan, publisher of the Enterprise.

“We believe the officials had ample notification of the requirement and bungled the application, causing the Enterprise great financial harm,” he said.

“That error, coupled with the county’s failure to alternate the legal organ between the newspapers over the last five years as they agreed to do, has made it impossible for the Enterprise to continue publication and it has suspended operations as of this week.”

Georgia legislature kicks off 2014 session

The 40-day legislative session kicked off Monday with replacement lawmakers getting sworn in, committees beginning to work, and a warning to tone down the politics.

Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle welcomed the 56 senators in that legislative chamber with some advice.

“All of us should take a moment and remember why each of us is here, to help the people of Georgia we represent,” he said.

Not only is this an election year, but a primary rescheduled from July to May leaves legislators eager to get the session over with as quickly as possible to maximize time for fundraising and campaigning, Cagle noted. 

Online Athens

County folds on legal organ issue?

The end of history
The end of history

The Brantley Enterprise will not publish an issue this week for only the second time in the past century due to financial concerns brought about by uncertainty surrounding the naming of the county’s legal organ. And pending an official decision on Monday, it may not publish again. Ever.

Three constitutional officers of the county empowered to make the decision named the Enterprise the legal organ on Dec. 23 and notified the Secretary of State’s office of the change.

But Brantley Express publisher Mittie Vaughan has refused to publish the public notice of the change as required by law, claiming the county failed to advertise four weeks in December in her paper, which was then the legal organ.

In so doing, Vaughan has failed to comply with a direct order from the county in an effort to prevent the Enterprise from being named the legal organ until January 2015.

Over the past five years the Enterprise has struggled to remain financially viable after the loss of the legal advertising, revenues from which make up the lion’s share of most weekly newspapers’ income.

The newspaper had hoped to be named the official legal organ as of Jan. 1, which would provide the financial resources to continue to publish.

But despite being named the organ by Probate Court Judge Johnnie Crews, Sheriff Jack Whisenant, and Clerk of Superior Court Cindy Crews as required by law, the situation remains very unclear, and the Enterprise has reached the end of its financial resources.

Pending a decision by county officials on Monday morning, the Enterprise – now in its ninety-fourth year as the county’s newspaper – may be forced to shut its doors for good.

In the meantime, we have decided that the only solution to the immediate lack of cash-flow is to cut the upcoming issue to ease the financial burden.  Where we go from there will depend on the decisions made by officials this week.

 

We will consider continuing to publish the digital edition of the paper for all the subscribers who provide an e-mail address. We may also continue to update the website, Facebook and Twitter with up-to-date stories as they become available.

But many of our readers don’t even have computers. Many just don’t like reading their news online. And for many, like us, nothing replaces the good old feel of inked newsprint in our hands.

We’ll miss it.

And we’ll miss all the friends we’ve made along the way. There are good people in Brantley County, but they’ve been beaten down by corrupt politicians. They’ve forgotten that it is they — not those in public office — who are in charge.

We won’t miss all the politicians who whispered their support but were unwilling to speak out for five long years against the injustice done to the Brantley Enterprise.

Snowday in Hoboken

snow2It snowed Tuesday in Hoboken — at least at the home of Ray and Robin Helmuth — for the third year, according to children Raygen and Carter. Conditions were just right for Helmuth to bring out his homemade snow machine made from an air compressor and pressure washer to make snow for the family to enjoy and the kids to play in. The children play a little and drink a lot of hot chocolate on snow days, according to their mom, Robin. Other stories in this week’s paper include the death of a Nahunta man in a mobile home fire, Nahunta gets a new attorney, a softball player with local connections will play in Italy, and local leaders are cutting ties with Boy Scouts of America.

Arctic cold front charging into Brantley area

freeze

There is an addition I’d like to add to Ben’s excellent E-mail below, that is any water on roadways is going to freeze tonight and from past experience with the cold waves that will include cracked irrigation systems near the (major) roadways. I am not sure what can be done to turn some of these off, if anything, but anybody dealing with transportation will want to be aware of this possibility. Roadways (especially higher speed urbanized roadways) may go from clear to ice covered in a very short distance where these systems have either been turned on to protect vegetation or may have broken. The most likely time for this to occur will be after midnight and through the morning commute in most areas.

Al Sandrik (Warning Coordination Meteorologist)

 

An arctic cold front is charging eastward through southeast Georgia and the Suwannee Valley early this morning. This front will blast through the rest of our area this morning, accompanied by scattered showers. In the wake of the front, the coldest air in several years will plunge into our region. Morning high temperatures mainly in the 50s and 60s will fall into the 40s this afternoon as northwesterly winds abruptly increase to 15-25 mph with higher gusts. Lake Wind Advisories have been posted for all of our region through at least the early evening hours tonight.

The coldest weather of this outbreak will occur tonight and Tuesday morning, with low temperatures in the teens across inland locations, with low/mid 20s for north central Florida and along the immediate coast. A hard freeze warning is in effect tonight through Tuesday morning, with 6 to 12 hours of hard freeze conditions (temperatures 27 degrees or lower) possible. In addition, brisk northwest winds near 15 mph, with occasional higher gusts, will drive wind chill readings during the predawn hours on Tuesday down to near zero in inland southeast Georgia, with single digits expected elsewhere inland and 10-15 degrees closer to the coast. A wind chill warning has been posted from the overnight hours tonight through the mid-morning hours on Tuesday throughout our region.

Not much of a warm-up is expected Tuesday, with high temperatures only reaching 35-40 degrees. Northwest to northerly winds will remain in the 10-15 mph range, keeping wind chill values in the 20s and 30s all day. Another hard freeze is expected Tuesday night for inland locations, with lows in the upper teens to lower 20s. Locations closer to the coast will experience a light freeze, with lows in the upper 20s to lower 30s. A hard freeze watch will likely be posted later today for all inland areas for this expected event on Tuesday night and Wednesday morning.

By Wednesday afternoon, temperatures will finally begin to warm into the 50s and lower 60s across north central Florida. A warming is then is store for the rest of the week.

In addition to the very cold temperatures and wind chill readings, conditions across the coastal waters will worsen. There is a Gale Warning hoisted for the offshore coastal waters beginning at 10 AM this morning through 6 AM Tuesday morning, and a Small Craft Advisory is in effect for the near shore waters through 9 AM Tuesday.

Impacts:

– These low wind chills may result in frostbite to exposed skin, and will lead to hypothermia with more prolonged exposure.

– An extended period of hard freeze conditions may cause exposed water pipes to burst. These conditions are also potentially hazardous to sensitive vegetation, people (especially children and the elderly) as well as pets.

– Residents and businesses should practice fire safety and be sure to use safe sources of indoor heat.

Missing bank director arrested in Brunswick

A south Georgia bank director accused of losing millions of investor dollars before vanishing last year has been arrested in Brunswick.

The U.S. attorney’s office in Savannah says 47-year-old Aubrey Lee Price was arrested Tuesday during a traffic stop on Interstate 95 in Brunswick by members of the Glynn County Sheriff’s Department.

Price disappeared in June 2012 after sending a rambling confession letter to his family and investors saying he planned to drown himself off the Florida coast.

A Florida judge declared him dead about a year ago. But the FBI had said it didn’t believe Price was dead and continued to search for him.

In July 2012, a federal grand jury indicted Price a charge that he defrauded the Montgomery Bank & Trust, Ailey, Ga., of over $21 million.

Prosecutors say Price raised $40 million from his bank and 115 investors, and lost much of the money.

Bank fraud carries a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison and a fine of up to $1,000,000. Price faces additional charges in New York.

Georgia News – Home.

Flu widespread in 10 states, H1N1 dominates

The new flu season is ramping up across the U.S. with growing reports of illness. For the first time since the 2009 influenza pandemic, H1N1 is the dominant circulating flu strain early in the season, according to Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The CDC says flu activity is increasing nationwide and is already high in six states: Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Oklahoma and Missouri.

Regional influenza activity was reported by Guam and 23 states, including Georgia. The others are Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, and Washington.

Atlanta Business Chronicle.

One dead, three shot in Jesup at Christmas time

Law-enforcement agencies are continuing to maintain a tight lip following the discovery of a dead body Monday and a three-person shooting Christmas Eve.

Jesup Police Chief Glenn Takaki said that because of the nature of the incidents and an active investigation, he can say very little at this time. He said the Georgia Bureau of Investigation has assumed the lead in the investigations in cooperation with the local police department and the Wayne County Sheriff’s Office.

Takaki would not confirm rumors that the two incidents are related. He would say only that the GBI has assigned a team of agents to investigate the death and other agents to investigate the shooting.

via The Press-Sentinel

iPhone, Nokia, Blackberry: One chart tells story

In 2007, when the iPhone launched, some of us believed that it was going to change the phone business forever. Nokia and RIM Blackberry obviously dismissed it as a joke. They focused too much on the “phone” and not on the “i,” which was a metaphor for easy internet access in our pockets. Nokia’s market cap on the day of the iPhone launch was $114.5 billion and markets valued Blackberry at $40.09 billion. This year Nokia’s devices business was sold to Microsoft for $7.2 billion. Blackberry is going private for mere $4.7 billion. That is $134 billion in market cap that went poof.

via iPhone, Nokia & Blackberry: one chart that tells a story of divergent fortunes — Tech News and Analysis.

Feds: Atlanta BBQ joint masked huge drug ring

Feds: BBQ joint masked huge drug ring - Atlanta Business Chronicle

An Atlanta couple that ran a Sandy Springs barbecue joint was really cooking up a giant drug running and money laundering business.

The large scale drug trafficking and money laundering organization coordinated the distribution of thousands of kilograms of cocaine imported from Mexico and transported from California to Kansas City, Philadelphia and Washington D.C., and laundered millions of dollars in drug proceeds in Georgia, federal prosecutors say.

Atlanta Business Chronicle.

Praying Santa brings hope in chance encounter

Benson and Bryson Foster meet Santa for the first time at the Mall at Waycross.
Benson and Bryson Foster meet Santa for the first time at the Mall at Waycross.

Below is true story from a young Patterson family who had just brought their twin infant sons to meet Santa for the first time.  Frank and Sarah Foster expected a routine trip to the Waycross Mall.  What they got was a gift in the form of comforting words that neither will ever forget. And all this from a local Santa that in their eyes likely shares more in common with St. Nicholas than any they will ever meet.

We took the boys to see Santa tonight at the mall and we were not prepared for what happened.

Frank told Santa that Benson is stiff because of his cerebral palsy and he proceeded to tell us of his girl and boy twin grandchildren that were about the boys’ age.

After they took a few pictures, we went up to look at the pictures and realized we just left the babies sitting in Santa’s lap so we went to go grab them and he says, “No go ahead I have them. Go look at their pictures, but I want to speak with you when you’re done.”

We went back to him and he held out his hands and said “I want to pray for y’all. I am a praying Santa and I believe your son will be healed.”

He said the Lord spoke to him and he felt he needed to pray for Benson.

I fought tears back as he prayed for us because it was something that was so genuine, selfless, and totally unexpected.

God puts people in our path that are meant to be there and this was something we needed.

He said he wants to see us next year to see how he is doing. Thank you Santa for making our night!

Smith resigns BCHS principal’s post

resignation
Bert Smith will be replaced temporarily by Nehemiah Cummings. (File photo)

The Enterprise has learned that the principal of Brantley County High School has resigned his position.

Bert Smith met with the superintendent before calling faculty and staff together to announce his resignation on Thursday according to board chairman Dot Hickox.  Hickox said at that point the notice became public though nothing has officially crossed the desk of the board given that the decision came just before Christmas break.

Nehemiah Cummings will act as interim principal of the school in the meantime, Hickox said, until the board can reconvene in January to decide how to proceed in naming Smith’s replacement.

Smith accepted a job at a Ware County elementary school she said.

Though only in the position in Brantley for about two years, Brantley County High School has seen increases almost across the board in test scores and other benchmarks in many cases leading the region and the state.  However, the state school board recently released overall graduation rates for systems around the state in which Brantley saw a decent increase but still fell below the state average and was the one of the lowest in the region.

Train carrying liquor derails in Ware

A 40-car train headed from Memphis to Savannah derailed near Beach Highway in Ware County, northwest of Waycross, Thursday about 5 p.m..

Three containers carrying Seagrams liquor were reported damaged and leaking.

Crews were cleaning up the spillage.

Some crews from the Environmental Protection Agency were also spotted on site.

No one was hurt.

CSX said they likely won’t have the scene cleared until 6 a.m.

ActionNewsJax.com.

Brantley man killed in US 301 wreck in Florida

A Brantley County man was reported killed Wednesday in a crash the Floriday Highway Patrol said involved three log trucks, a flatbed tractor-trailer and three passenger vehicles on U.S. Highway 301 in Nassau County.

jamin middletonJamin Middleton, the son of Greg and Katherine Middleton of Hickox died at the scene of the accident. He was driving a truck for Satilla Transport Inc., also of Brantley County.

Lanes of U.S. 301 at Ford Road were closed for hours after the crash, which happened about 11:30 a.m.

Drivers were urged to avoid the area, which is also a construction zone.

Troopers said that at the time of the crash, the road was down to one lane for about half a mile, with a flag man on each end of the construction. According to FHP, the log truck that started the crash hit another log truck that was stopped and waiting to get through, killing that driver.

Grenville Beattie, who’s been driving trucks for 27 years, said he was the first one stopped by the flag man waiting to get through the construction zone. He said he heard a crash, and a red Dodge slammed into the tree next to him.

By the time he got out to help, he realized how bad the crash was.

“I went down there and tried to get the other driver of the truck with the trailer on top of it, but he was so close to death there wasn’t anything we could do,” Beattie said. “We couldn’t get to him, basically. That’s about all I can tell you.”

Three people were taken to UF Health Jacksonville, but FHP didn’t say their conditions.

Because the two-lane road is in a construction zone, troopers said drivers need to be even more aware than normal.

“Paying attention is most of the reason that most crashes occur,” Sgt. Charlotte Thompson said. “Just pay attention and be aware of the posted speed.”

At about 1 p.m., crews opened one lane of the road on the opposite side to help move traffic through. Beattie said the crash could have been much worse, and he is thankful his truck wasn’t hit, especially because the truck directly behind him was a fully loaded fuel transporter.

Still, he said it’s scary knowing someone doing the same job he does was killed.

“It’s something you don’t want to see,” Beattie said. “It’s so close to the holidays. His family is going have to grieve through the holidays and that’s not right thing to have to do.”

According to FHP, it appears the truck that started the crash belongs to Pritchett Trucking. The company would not comment, saying it’s conducting its own investigation. It also wouldn’t say the condition of the driver.

via 1 killed in US 301 crash involving 7 vehicles in Nassau County | Latest News – Home.

Hoboken parade postponed by weather

rainwarningWidespread showers and isolated storms were expected to push into inland southeast Georgia late this afternoon and will overspread the entire forecast area tonight. Rainfall totals will average 1 to 3 inches across the forecast area. Isolated strong to severe storms will be possible with damaging winds…mainly across the Suwannee River Valley. An isolated tornado cannot be completely ruled out, but the threat remains low. Please check out the graphic for detailed impacts by location.

Bus accident may have injured one student

Parents wait for students to get off bus after accident (Photo by Chris Buchanan)
Parents wait for students to get off bus after accident (Photo by Chris Buchanan)

Witnesses say one student was taken away by a ambulance after one Brantley County school bus struck another near a railroad track on U.S. Highway 82 in Nahunta today as they were taking students home shortly after 3 p.m. Parents were not happy that many students were not being allowed off the buses immediately as the school system was sending other buses to transfer students to their destinations. No official details of the accident available yet.

BOE blasted by public at Monday meeting

boefotoThe Brantley County Board of Education took it on the chin during its regular meeting Monday as bus drivers, parents and students complained about the loss of transportation department director Wiley Crews, some of them going so far as to call the board corrupt.

But it didn’t stop there.

Another student complained about the treatment of another bus driver who resigned after verbal abuse from students on his bus went unpunished, and the mother of a student allegedly sexually molested on a school bus complained that no action has been taken other than to remove the offender from the bus for a few days after she reported the incident to the transportation department.

Board member David Herrin appeared to take the brunt of the driver anger, with one former driver implying it was his fault that Crews resigned.

Mary Gregor said she had reviewed video of previous board meetings in which Herrin repeatedly berated Crews over his decision to purchase an oversized tow truck to bring disabled buses back to the bus garage.

Herrin apparently also felt he was targeted by those who spoke, because he asked for a chance to speak.

“Some things have been said and I think I deserve a chance to respond.”

He was the only board member who asked to speak.

But Herrin’s response was not aimed so much to the comments made at the meeting as they were about an article that appeared several weeks ago in the Enterprise.

He read part of that article aloud, but not before pointing out “it was in the Brantley Enterprise so you can take it for what it’s worth,” then asked Crews if it was true.

Crews said yes.

Herrin also pointed out that the board’s handling of the resignation had nothing to do with anyone being kin to anyone else, an apparent reference to rumors that his friendship with someone related to the bus driver whose actions ultimately led to the transportation director’s resignation may have had an impact on the handling of the case.

But Herrin said the board never had a chance to weigh in on the issue because it was handled by superintendent Anthony Smith who determined that while the driver did fail to engage the emergency brake when loading and unloading students, a violation of state law, and often drove the bus with one hand on the steering wheel and the other holding a cup of coffee, those actions did not require her termination.

Board chairman Dot Hickox told the Enterprise last week  the issues had been addressed, but board personnel policy prevented her from divulging details.

Crews was allowed to join the board in executive session Monday but the board took no action on returning.

In another matter, a mother who claims her daughter was molested on a school bus said she reported the incident to the transportation department a couple of months ago and no action has been taken against the student she says committed the assault, except that he was removed from the bus for a few days.

Hickox directed her to bring the matter to Smith.

And finally one other student complained that a bus driver had resigned after he was verbally assaulted by several bus passengers.

She said no action was taken against those students either.

BOE blasted by public at meeting Monday

boefoto

The Brantley County Board of Education took it on the chin during its regular meeting Monday as bus drivers, parents and students complained about the loss of transportation department director Wiley Crews, some of them going so far as to call the board corrupt.

But it didn’t stop there.

Another student complained about the treatment of another bus driver who resigned after verbal abuse from students on his bus went unpunished, and the mother of a student allegedly sexually molested on a school bus complained that no action has been taken other than to remove the offender from the bus for a few days after she reported the incident to the transportation department.

Board member David Herrin appeared to take the brunt of the driver anger, with one former driver implying it was his fault that Crews resigned.

Mary Gregor said she had reviewed video of previous board meetings in which Herrin repeatedly berated Crews over his decision to purchase an oversized tow truck to bring disabled buses back to the bus garage.

Herrin apparently also felt he was targeted by those who spoke, because he asked for a chance to speak.

“Some things have been said and I think I deserve a chance to respond.”

He was the only board member who asked to speak.

But Herrin’s response was not aimed so much to the comments made at the meeting as they were about an article that appeared several weeks ago in the Enterprise.

He read part of that article aloud, but not before pointing out “it was in the Brantley Enterprise so you can take it for what it’s worth,” then asked Crews if it was true.

Crews said yes.

Herrin also pointed out that the board’s handling of the resignation had nothing to do with anyone being kin to anyone else, an apparent reference to rumors that his friendship with someone related to the bus driver whose actions ultimately led to the transportation director’s resignation may have had an impact on the handling of the case.

But Herrin said the board never had a chance to weigh in on the issue because it was handled by superintendent Anthony Smith who determined that while the driver did fail to engage the emergency brake when loading and unloading students, a violation of state law, and often drove the bus with one hand on the steering wheel and the other holding a cup of coffee, those actions did not require her termination.

Board chairman Dot Hickox told the Enterprise last week  the issues had been addressed, but board personnel policy prevented her from divulging details.

Crews was allowed to join the board in executive session Monday but the board took no action on returning.

In another matter, a mother who claims her daughter was molested on a school bus said she reported the incident to the transportation department a couple of months ago and no action has been taken against the student she says committed the assault, except that he was removed from the bus for a few days.

Hickox directed her to bring the matter to Smith.

And finally one other student complained that a bus driver had resigned after he was verbally assaulted by several bus passengers.

She said no action was taken against those students either.

Snow tires?

SnowmanMarion Strickland and Joe Corbitt of 82 Tire and Lube stand in front of Nahunta’s only  tire snow man. Corbitt and co-worker Raymond Wildes put the snowman together in about 30 minutes just in time for Christmas. Strickland said the idea originated with a friend sending a picture and asking if they could create the work of art. The snowman is one of several decorations adding to the festive holiday feel.

Ride ‘im cowboy

bullriderA young buckaroo tries his hand at the bull riding machine, one of many games for kids at the annual Christmas festival now underway on the courthouse grounds in Nahunta. Judges are right now assessing the floats in the parade which begins at 2 p.m. from Nahunta Elementary and Primary School parking lot and proceeds down U.S. HIghway 301 through downtown and on to the former recreation center north of town. (Photo by Ken Buchanan)

Festival vendors setting up

SETUP1Vendors already have begun setting up booths at the Brantley County Chamber of Commerce Christmas festival in preparation for a day full of fun and excitement. Festival organizer Ruby Ann Sawyer said all slots have been filled and this year’s event may have the highest participation of any previous year. (Photo by Ken Buchanan)

Christmas season gets under way

treeThe Christmas season was officially kicked off Thursday in Nahunta with the annual lighting of the tree on the courthouse lawn, sponsored by the Brantley County Chamber of Commerce. The event, which featured entertainment, caroling and special events by downtown businesses, brought a large crowd of residents — perhaps the largest ever.

GBI: Hortense UGA student committed suicide

State investigators say a University of Georgia student from Hortense whose body was found in a creek last month committed suicide.

The Georgia Bureau of Investigation said in a statement Wednesday that state chief medical examiner Dr. Kris Sperry determined Rebecca Greene intentionally consumed “very large quantities” of diphenhydramine, the main drug found in non-prescription sleeping aid medications.

Sperry said the 22-year-old inadvertently fell into a cold stream, and later died from environmental hypothermia.An Athens-Clarke County police officer found her body in the stream Nov. 19. She was last seen the evening of Nov. 18.

ActionNewsJax.com.

Altamaha Riverkeeper plans to sue Rayonier

Dark plume on water stretches miles, prompts legal action

rayonier sqThe Altamaha Riverkeeper (ARK) today gave notice to Rayonier, Inc. of its intent to file suit against the company for violations of the Federal Clean Water Act and the Georgia Water Quality Control Act. The violations relate to ongoing effluent discharges into the Altamaha River from the Rayonier Performance Fibers plant located in Jesup, Georgia.

“They have just spent several hundred million dollars to update their mill, but they continue to discharge dark, chemical-laden water into the Altamaha,” said Deborah Sheppard, executive director of ARK. “While most paper companies cleaned up their effluent discharges and modernized their water treatment processes, Rayonier continues to use 1970s technology in its effluent treatment. Water sampling and plenty of visual evidence show it isn’t working.”

Rayonier has been discharging polluted water into the Altamaha for decades, Sheppard said. ARK alleges this is in persistent violation of its National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit, specifically Georgia’s narrative water quality standards for color, turbidity, and odor.

The Clean Water Act requires that a plaintiff must give notice of intent to sue and provides for 60 days in which to address the allegations before a complaint can be filed.

“Rayonier needs to comply with the law and stop treating Georgia’s largest river as its private sewer,” said Hutton Brown, a senior attorney with GreenLaw, which is representing ARK.. “We believe the court will agree.”

Discharge from Rayonier’s two outfall locations into the Altamaha contains discolored and malodorous water that, Sheppard said, can be seen and smelled by river users for miles downstream. This has substantially impacted fishing in the river, according to the Georgia Water Coalition’s Dirty Dozen Report. The dark plume of stained water is even visible from a great altitude on Google Earth.

“ARK has worked diligently and waited patiently over the years for the promised improvements to become apparent, but the river today looks and smells like it always has,” said Don Stack of Stack and Associates, also representing ARK.

According to the company’s financial data, Rayonier, headquartered in Jacksonville Fla., has been a favorite on Wall Street, often outperforming the market as a whole. The forest products company has increased shareholder dividends multiple times since 2004.

Over the past three years, the company reports it invested more than $300 million to convert the Jesup plant to specialty fibers. Neil McCubbin, a leading pulp industry expert and engineer, said the specialized pulp is more profitable than the diaper grade pulps made previously. Unfortunately, he said, manufacturing the specialized pulp inherently generates substantially more polluted wastewater than the previous products did.

McCubbin said that Rayonier partially offset this increase by installing some water pollution control measures inside the production processes, which have reduced discharges of many pollutants by roughly 50 percent.

However, the measures installed within the production system, McCubbin said, are far less effective than what he has seen at the best operated pulp mills, and they fail to reduce discharges to acceptable levels.

The real problem, he said, is that Rayonier still relies on 40-year-old effluent treatment technology while declining to invest in proven solutions now commonplace around the world.

“The ASB (Aerated Stabilization Basin) treatment technology used by the Rayonier kraft pulp mill at Jesup was widely accepted in the 1970’s,” McCubbin said. “Today, about half the American kraft pulp mills, and virtually all kraft pulp mills overseas, use the more effective AST (Activated Sludge Treatment) process. A modern AST system at the Jesup plant would reduce pollutant discharge, including color, to less than half today’s values, and would have no risk of impacting mill products. It would also reduce the odorous discharges from the mill complex.”

More on Rayonier: In November, Rayonier was listed, for the third consecutive year, as one of Georgia’s “Dirty Dozen,” by the Georgia Water Coalition. This annual list draws attention to the worst offenders of Georgia’s water quality. “Fisheries, including the river’s once prosperous commercial shad fishery, have been severely damaged (by the Rayonier discharge),” the water coalition report stated. “White sandbars are stained brown.. Fishermen catch seemingly healthy fish only to find them reeking of nauseating pulp mill odors when they begin to clean them.”

Hortense soldier among 89 returning home

Photo by Chris Buchanan
Photo by Chris Buchanan

Spc. Britton Williams of Hortense kisses his little girl, Aubreigh, at the Brunswick airport Saturday on his return from Afghanistan along with 89 other members of the 848th Engineer Co. after a 10-month deployment. It was the first time Williams had seen his daughter, who was born during his deployment. More photos in this week’s Enterprise.

PJ’s spotted at Brantley library

Kids and parents wore pajamas to library event sponsored by Concerted Services INc.
Kids and parents wore pajamas to library event sponsored by Concerted Services INc.

What do you wear to a Pajama Reading Party?  Well, PJ’s of course!

Both children and parents wore their pajamas to the Brantley County Public Library for the event.  The event was coordinated by the Head Start Program in collaboration with the library.  The P.J. Party has become an annual event, which both families and staff look forward to. The Brantley County Head Start/Early Head Start Center is operated by Concerted Services, Inc., your local community action agency.

Studies show that children who are read to in the home and who use the library perform better in school and are more likely to continue to use the library as a source of lifetime learning. Children and parents can come to the library to check out books, DVDs, use the Internet, and attend special programs.  There is a lot happening at the Brantley County Public Library.

Ms. Priscilla Gibson had the children laughing and clapping as she read aloud and conducted a craft activity.  The parents learned about the Head Start literacy programs and the public library resources. Parents learned how string and music can be literacy activities and even had the chance to discover that “tear art” is an emergent literacy activity.  “We appreciate the local library collaborating with the Head Start program,” stated Dr. Shelli Tyre, Head Start Director.  “Collaborative partnerships, such as those with our public libraries, are an integral part of the program.”

We would like to give special thanks to the staff of the Brantley County Public Library for hosting the event again this year,” stated Carol Clarke, Head Start Literacy Coordinator.  “Concerted Services, Inc. promotes family and emergent literacy. We are thrilled that several families signed up for library cards during the event.”

Body of missing Hortense UGA student found

Authorities on have  located the body of a University of Georgia student from Hortense who was reported missing earlier in the day by her boyfriend.

Rebecca Elaine Greene, 22, was found in a creek off the side of The Plaza, a street in west Athens not far from where she lived with her boyfriend on Indale Avenue.

The cause of death was not immediately known.

Authorities located the woman after they were able to ping her cellphone’s signal at about 10:30 a.m.

Police notified Greene’s parents Tuesday afternoon after they drove from their home to meet with officials at a Georgia State Patrol post in Dublin.

Greene lived in the 200 block of Indale Avenue, a street that connects The Plaza and Glendale Avenue and not far from where her body was found.

Her boyfriend reported her as missing Tuesday morning after Greene failed to return home from campus.

Police said the boyfriend, with whom Greene lived, reported that he had last spoken with Greene at about 5:30 p.m. Monday when she was supposed to be at UGa’s science library. They were trying to arrange for the boyfriend to pick her up, police said, but Greene later sent a text message stating that she would either take a bus or walk home.

After not hearing from Greene again, the boyfriend told police he sent her several text messages, but received no responses. He also told police that it appeared his girlfriend’s cellphone had been turned off after 6:15 p.m. as calls went straight to voicemail. Greene’s boyfriend said it appeared that the phone was turned back on shortly before 9 p.m., but his calls went unanswered, according to police.

He notified the woman’s parents about 11:25 p.m. that she hadn’t returned home, police said.

While circumstances surrounding Greene’s death are investigated, authorities with the Athens-Clarke County Police Department and Georgia Bureau of Investigation have cordoned off a portion of The Plaza where it intersects with Glendale Avenue.

greene mug
Rebecca Greene

In the missing person’s report, Greene’s boyfriend told police she was a chemistry major and worked at the Earth Fare organic foods market on South Lumpkin Street.

The Wayne County school board confirmed Tuesday that she was a 2009 graduate of Wayne County High in Jesup, but her home address was Hortense.

Greene’s body was to be taken to the GBI’s crime lab in Decatur, for an autopsy.

Anyone having information regarding the investigation should call the Athens-Clarke County Police Department Crime Stoppers confidential tip line at (706) 613-3342.

jacksonville.com.

Investigators at Cole Ridge after death reported

CrimeSceneThe Brantley Enterprise has confirmed reports of a  death — perhaps a homicide — in Waynesville which occurred early Friday or late Thursday.

Information so far indicates that Tomeshia Nycole Russell, the mother of a newborn infant was discovered by immediate family – not the brother as previously reported – and investigators were on the scene on Cole Ridge off Post Road North later Thursday before noon.

Sources are now reporting that the death is being investigated as a potential homicide and that Russell was found in the house along with her two young children who were alive and transported to a hospital for evaluation.

Waycross mom: Adults bullied baby

Some are calling them “mean moms.” They are mothers making fun of other people’s children on social media.

First Coast News spoke to a local woman who said her “miracle baby” was part of some of some attacks.

Jade Jacobs said her 9-month old daughter, Journey, is her family’s blessing.

“We lost a daughter 2 years ago that was 3 months old,” Jacobs said. “So, this baby that God gifted us with is absolutely perfect and adorable in every single way.”

Jade said she was hurt to learn that a photo of her baby appeared to be on the Facebook page of a woman selling baby clothing.

Jade told FCN the woman was a Facebook friend from whom she bought a dress for her daughter.

Jade said women on the page, whom she believes are mothers, mock and ridiculed not only her daughter, but also other children.

Jade said she became concerned after her sister told her about the Facebook page.

“It hurts. It hurts for her, the other babies that were on there,” Jade said of her daughter.

On a screen shot of the page showing Jade’s daughter, the alleged page’s poster wrote “Another profile picture of all things.”

Under another child’s photo, the page’s poster commented “…You can absolutely not fix ugly.”

Under a different picture, a woman commented “An ugly baby thread…I have died and gone to heaven. Why can’t you guys live near me so we can do this over cocktails.”

“These are mothers bullying babies,” said Jade. “Babies that can’t even talk.”

Jade said another person sent her several screen shots of the page and reported the group to Facebook.

Jade said she has learned an unfortunately hard lesson about social media.

“Myself, I’m taking all of my pictures of my children off of there, because you don’t know who may get a hold of your pictures,” she explained. “I feel like these mothers should apologize.”

It appears as though the Facebook group no longer exists.

FCN visited the home of the person Jade said created the Facebook page, but got no answer.

FCN also tried to reach out to several of the women on the page, but it appears several of their profiles have been deleted.

FCN reached out to Facebook, but have not yet heard back.

So, how do you protect your photos on Facebook?

Once you log in using your email and password, go to the “photos” tab under the “favorites” section. It’s located directly under your profile picture.

Once in your photos, click on “albums.” Click on the small icon in the lower right corner of the image.

A drop down menu will appear. Click on your choice or “custom” to set who can and cannot see your photos.

You can also do what Jade did and delete the photos from Facebook.

firstcoastnews.com.

Artist builds home from shipping containers

Julio Garcia, an artist, architect and designer famous for his mixed media prints built for himself a home and studio from shipping containers in Savannah. In creating his home, he drew inspiration from his art in trying to create a house that joins disparate elements into a whole that is more than the sum of its parts. The industrial recycled shipping containers he used to build his home are juxtaposed against the lush natural environments of the Savannah wilds. To create his home, Garcia used two shipping containers made obsolete by the one-way flow of goods from China to the US through the Savannah port.

The construction began by the two recycled 40-foot shipping containers being placed roughly 6 feet apart onto a foundation constructed of steel I-beams, which rest on concrete piers. Next, the builders filled the 6 foot gap between the containers with a wood-framed floor and shed roof. The container sidewalls were then cut away to fashion a large open living room.

To replace the structural support lost by cutting away the walls, two I-beams, which span the room, where installed to hold up the roof. The gap between the two containers and the window openings were lined in natural wood. As for the exterior, Garcia decided to leave it in its original state in order to preserve the industrial look.

In contrast to the exterior of the home, Garcia filled the interior modern, contemporary elements. The home’s kitchen is slightly removed from the rest of the living space of the home through the use of wood flooring, while the rest of the home has a black concrete floor, which matches the countertops. The inside walls are painted white and intended to display Garcia’s art.

The home has one bedroom, which is located at the end of one of the containers, though there is space enough to create a second one at the other end of the container. The containers’ original loading doors were left as they were, and they can now be opened onto the decks around the home.

The deck around the home is constructed from natural wood, while the home is kept cool by several ceiling fans. While the exact cost of building this home was not disclosed, Garcia did mention in an interview that a shipping container can be purchased for around $1000, while the finishing and building costs range from $70 to $90 per square foot.

via Artist Builds His Home From Recycled Shipping Containers.

Cow dump for dollars

Huge crowd watches for the first fecal matter. (Photo by Chris Buchanan)

It’s not a Panda birth but Brantley residents were watching eagerly as if it were.

As people gathered around the field at BCMS the question on everyone’s mind was the same. Where would Ms. Scarlet — the cow in the picture — make her “movement.”

With over 800 squares sold in today’s cow patty bingo fundraiser, someone stood to win a great deal of money. Scarlet  declined to comment on her methods.

CoastFest

CoastFest1Face painting was just one small part of the CoastFest experience this year where education and fun were all part of the Georgia Department of Natural Resources’ event held this past weekend in Glynn County at the Coastal Regional Headquarters. Over 70 environmental, educational, research and exhibitors were on hand.

Welcome to the ‘Cyber Swamp’

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Okefenokee Swamp Park chooses BTC for internet hookup

William Clark III passed along one of the park’s serpentine and legless future additions to visitors during the Okefenokee Swamp Park Recovery, Rebuilding and Rediscovery (OSPREY) Project event, Saturday evening — and a Brantley company will play a major role in getting it there.

“We are just one more grant away from digging a trench from the outside world to bring interactive, fiber optic internet cable to the swamp.  When we can do that, we will be able to broadcast interactive educational programming about the Okefenokee from here to the world and back,” said board chair Dr. William Clark.

Clark said that at this year’s meeting, they forwent the usual snake show during that specific part of the tour to instead pass along a piece of fiber optic cable to show Society members what their donations – with help from Brantley Telephone Company, a grant from the Coca-Cola Foundation, CSX, the Ware County Board of Education and a lot of planning – were about to allow the swamp park to accomplish.

As it turns out, the park will be finally realizing a long term goal of feeding fiber optics to the Waycross entrance of the park allowing the group to finally stream its many classes around the world for the first time in history.

“The railroad and so many other industries and individuals have helped us to become a small city, but it is the Okefenokee Swamp Park that has put Waycross on the map.  And now we are ready to take the opportunity to educate the traveling public and classroom students around the world about this unique ecosystem to the next level” said Clark.

The internet project has gone through many plans in the past with a tower even being proposed to route internet into and out of the park.  But one of the park’s biggest attractions – it’s untouched seclusion – also worked against park officials who wanted to help spread knowledge about the swamp and its many creatures since they couldn’t send or receive a signal.

The next option, then, was running fiber optics out to the park and thanks to a low price on the operation from Brantley’s local telephone company, Clark said Saturday, that will happen. The new cable will mean not only that classes will be able to be taught across the world from on site at the park, but visitors will get a new dimension when coming in to explore with phone-scannable QR codes expected to be used around the park.

The codes would connection via wireless internet to informative sites to give visitors more information on park plants and wildlife – including the scaly green inhabitants for which it has long been known.

Clark said during the presentation that admission has done well in recent years after the slow recovery of the park from major fires and has covered the common costs associated with operation.

But donations from organizations through the OSPREY Project have helped the park maintain and expand its offerings from roof repair to the construction of new classrooms.

The park has since also added a new observation tower to replace the long-remembered structure lost in the fires.

In both making these upgrades and continuing forays into education, the park had also helped continue expansion of services founded by the park’s long-time resident expert – Don Berryhill who had worked for many years to bring Okefenokee education and resource sharing into the surrounding school systems.

Berryhill spoke during the event and met with the public as well.

The night served as a chance for donators for the community, around the region and even around the country to see what they had helped build and what was to come.

While rain slowed down some festivities, visitors were still treated to boat tours of the park, an alligator feeding and a meal of their own that included swamp favorites such as fried gator tail and frog legs – all catered by Peach Pit owner and Brantley native Jimmy Carroll.

The park was founded in October of 1946 and has since attracted millions of visitors from around the world as a unique window to the swamp.

But in recent years, major fires that have rampaged through the swamp have destroyed some of the parks most well known attractions including parts of the boardwalk and the observation tower.

Because of the 2007 and more recent 2011 fires, the non-profit organization has for the first time in over 60 years requested help from the public to rebuild and according to park officials, the public has been very generous in their support.

“At one point, closure of the Park was discussed.  But our community responded by helping fund a recovery from the fires and continues to support ongoing improvements,” Clark said.

Former Heron tennis player earns top honors

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Peerada Looareesuwan earns East Coast Conference women’s tennis ‘Rookie of the Week’

Sophomore Peerada Looareesuwan of the University of the District of Columbia women’s tennis team has earned East Coast Conference Rookie of the Week honors for her performance in the ITA East Regional Championship this past weekend.

In the tournament Peerada won her first 5 matches before losing in the championship match. Peerada is currently 11-1 on the season.

Looareesuwan played #1 singles for the Lady Herons in 2011 as an exchange student from Bangkok, Thailand.  She lead the team to the “Elite 8″ in the state playoffs with an individual record of 22-1.  Peerada played for Valdosta State University last year before transferring to the University of the District of Columbia in Washington DC.

BCHS Tennis Coach Matt Thrift “I am very proud of Peerada.  She still keeps in touch with us from time to time.  She actually came down to practice with us a few times last season.  She will be a true asset to the Firebirds.  They are very fortunate to have her”.

Sheriff’s Office wins award for vehicle

 

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Larry Groover, of T&T Signs of Waynesville, left, and Sheriff’s Jack Whisenant  present the truck that brought the sheriff’s office – and the long-time local business – nationwide attention recently when it was named top design for a law enforcement vehicle in the eastern half of the nation for departments with up to 25 deputies.

Judges in Law and Order Magazine said that the vehicle colors and design where “done right” and “classy”.

According to the article, Whisenant came up with the “star” design and Groover brought it to life on the vehicle working with the sheriff on several drafts to create the right look for the vehicle.

Groover said adapting the design to the vehicle took several hours but was worth it. T&T Signs has gotten requests from other law enforcement offices from as far away as Macon since the SUV hit the streets earlier this year.

Vets carry flag coast to coast

Jerry C. Oliver walks along Hwy. 82 outside of Nahunta, Tuesday, to remind people of their Freedoms leading up to Sept. 11.
Jerry C. Oliver walks along Hwy. 82 outside of Nahunta, Tuesday, to remind people of their Freedoms leading up to Sept. 11.

One step at a time from San Diego to the Georgia coast two veterans have joined forces for the last five months to remind passersby that the rights Americans have enjoyed so freely for years did not come at a small price – and Americans should fight just as hard to keep them.

Jerry C. Oliver and Mark T. Lanham believe in the United States Constitution – so much so that they both risked their lives defending it – Lanham in Desert Storm and Oliver in Vietnam.

So when the two began to feel that the government was no longer respecting the core rights of the people set forth in one of America’s founding documents they decided to grab attention in the only way that they felt they could that would stand out from the crowd.

They began to walk – not a few steps or even across a state but across the entire country.

“We decided to make this walk because all these of all these buracrats in Washington who are stripping our freedoms away,” Lanham said. “It’s still we the people – not we the government.”

The two saved up their money for three years to make the trip, he said.

“We see people doing, which is perfectly good, you know, making the comments on the blogs and on Facebook,” he said. “But they’re talkin’ – we’re walkin’.”

Little by little, Oliver and Lanham travel switching back and forth – one driving while the other walks never lowering the flag that encompasses the very message they hope to get across.

And for the most part, the bellowing horns of semi-truck drivers, shouts of encouragement from motorists and the occasional water bottle or even cash donation seem to show that people support their cause even if they don’t stop to ask for the details.

But the few they do, get an opportunity to share in the memories that these men have made while crossing the country.

And to some extent, sticking in people’s memories is a big part of why they chose to walk in the first place.

“When you see a silver-haired veteran walking down the highway with a flag, they’re not going to remember my name, but they’ll remember that for the rest of their lives,” Oliver said. “That’s what we’re doing – we’re touching people – and that makes us feel good.”

The public has sometimes made just as much an impact on them.

“I will always remember the one – I was walking back near Phoenix, I think the town was Surprise and I saw this this [Veterans Administration Office] and I said I’m going to walk through this little lot,” he said. “And this woman, she had tears in her eyes and she came out and gave me a hug and a kiss – I never got her name.”

Lanham said she told him that seeing him come through proudly presenting the flag took her breath away.

Oliver had his own memories.

“A lady pulled over yesterday on the east side of Waycross and we were talking and she said she was visiting her father and she was going to tell him that she saw us walking,” he said. “I thought that was really nice of her and she said he was World War II veteran.”

After a short pause, she told him she was visiting him at the cemetery, Oliver said.

Crossing the United States, Oliver said they had received a warm welcome when they got to Texas but said that they weren’t merely playing to the crowd when they said that Georgia has by far been the most supportive with honks, donations and rest-stops being openly offered to them along the way. The two even received a hero’s welcome in Dawson, Ga. with people lining up to help, feed and support them in general.

The reception the two have gotten from Georgians turns out to be fitting for Oliver who, in addition to having a son serving a repeat tour of duty in the military, found out only recently that he had two ancestors who fought in the Revolutionary War in Georgia – one of whom died in the conflict.

“If they can give up their lives for us like then, then the least we can do is walk,” he said.

His wasn’t the first ancestor to die in war to protect America’s freedoms and he is far from the last.  So recent regulation of guaranteed constitutional freedoms – such as the right to bear arms and even the right to due process – defeat in legislation what military men and women have fought to protect for many generations.

That’s what the two hope people see when they look at their flags or see the red, white and blue emblazoned on their van.

The two also hope that the flags serve as a reminder to those who see them of the country’s millions of unsung heros.

And by Veterans Day, the two hope to be sitting across from the president of the United States to discuss each of these issues in person.

Oliver admitted that they had heard nothing back yet, but when the march across the country ends near Sept. 11, the two will begin a new journey to Washington D.C.

By the time they get there, they hope they get a response.

But if not, they’ll continue the bottom up approach – one by one and step by step winning the hearts and minds of the people of America as they walk to remind and walk to remember the principles on which their country was founded.

Injuries reported; one airlifted in accident

Emergency personnel rush an accident victim to a waiting helicopter Tuesday night after an accident on 301
Emergency personnel rush an accident victim to a waiting helicopter Tuesday night after an accident on 301

At least one person was air-lifted after an accident on Highway 301 north of Hortense Tuesday evening.

First responders reported entrapment and requested extrication equipment but said that one or both of the occupants were conscious following the accident.

After examination by medical personnel AirEvac was called in to life-flight one of the occupants from a makeshift landing zone at Twin Rivers Church in Hortense.

More information will be posted or printed as it becomes available.

Severe weather causes accidents across county

accidentAn accident on Hwy. 82 east of Nahunta has closed down a west-bound lane while crews work to assess the scene.

Injuries have not been reported at  this time but responders reported live power lines down at the scene in front of the United Biomass plant in Nahunta.

Drivers should use caution while traversing this area due to heavy rains and emergency personnel on the scene.

Another accident occurring at about the same time has been reported on Post Road in Waynesville.  More on that incident as it becomes available.

Varn announces weight-loss winners

George Varn Jr., left, presents a check to Michael Burney who took first place in the weight loss competition.  Not far behind were John Drury Jr., middle, and Bruce Westberry.
George Varn Jr., right, presents a check to Michael Burney who took first place in the weight loss competition. Not far behind were John Drury Jr., middle, and Bruce Westberry.

With a lot of hard work and dedication, Varn Wood Products employees lost a combined 140 pounds in a recent weight loss competition held over a two month period at the Hoboken operation.

The top employees to drop the weight over the eight week period were Michael Burney who lost 39.8 pounds, John Drury Jr. who lost 21.4 pounds and Bruce Westberry who lost 18.8 pounds. The three lost over half of the weight of the 20 participants through exercise and food choice.

Each was awarded a cash prize and will also be given incentive to keep the weight off.

One airlifted in Winokur one-vehicle accident

Crews prepare a patient to be airlifted from Hickox Baptist Church to UF Shands Jacksonville after a one car accident in Winokur.
Crews prepare a patient to be airlifted from Hickox Baptist Church to UF Shands Jacksonville after a one car accident in Winokur.

A Winokur accident involving children sent at least two people to the hospital Tuesday afternoon – one a six year old girl.

According to the investigating patrolman, Trooper First Class Taylor, the driver of the vehicle was traveling south on Hwy. 301 in Winokur – just inside of Charlton County – when she left the road on the west side.  The vehicle then crossed to the east side of the highway turning before clipping a utility pole on that side.

Taylor said he was unsure of the cause of the accident and said that he had yet to talk to the driver as the that time in the investigation but hoped to have a report available by early Wednesday morning.

One patient – a six year old girl – was picked up at a landing zone at Hickox Baptist Church and flown to UF Shands in Jacksonville and another other was taken Mayo.

According to reports, the woman had been able to get both children in the vehicle out before emergency crews arrived.

First responders said that initial injuries did not appear to be life-threatening but that a life-flight is a standard precaution during any accident in which intrusion is a factor.

Sarro dies from accident injuries

Crews work to clean up road debris after a truck accident that resulted in one occupant being air-lifted by emergency crews.
Crews work to clean up road debris after a truck accident that resulted in one occupant being air-lifted by emergency crews.

(UPDATE: Thomas Sarro was killed when his truck overturned on Roberson Street)

At least one was injured in a rollover accident on Roberson Street in Nahunta involving a truck on Friday around noon.

Initial reports from emergency responders warned of a possible ejection and one occupant was taken by ambulance to the Brantley County Airport to be airlifted by an AirEvac helicopter.

More here as it becomes available.

None injured in car-versus-semi accident

A wrecked vehicle sits across east-bound lanes of Hwy. 82, Thursday.  No injuries were reported.
A wrecked vehicle sits across east-bound lanes of Hwy. 82, Thursday. No injuries were reported.

An afternoon accident involving a semi truck and a car resulted in no major injuries according to first responders, Thursday, but the incident did slow down east bound traffic on Hwy. 82 while the scene was investigated.

According to witnesses, a maroon Chrysler turned in front of a truck owned by Wagoner Trucking Company about 30 yards east of the intersection of highways 82 and 121 in Hoboken at about 2 p.m. Thursday.

The truck struck the front right section of the car and the resulting accident blocked east bound lanes forcing responders to divert traffic.  Witnesses said the car driver was attempting to enter the parking lot of Griffin’s Convenience Store when the incident occurred and that the driver was not injured.

The Calvary and Hoboken volunteer fire departments, Hoboken Police Department, Brantley County Sheriff’s Office and Brantley County Emergency Medical Service were the first on scene to the accident.

Accident investigation was turned over to the Georgia State Patrol as is usually the case in automobile accidents within the county and a trooper later arrived on-scene to file the accident report.

Waycross College Foundation renamed to honor founding president Dr. James M. Dye

Dr. James Dye was the driving force and founder behind the creation of Waycross College in 1976
Dr. James Dye was the driving force and founder behind the creation of Waycross College in 1976

 

 

The Waycross College Foundation has changed its name to honor the founding president of the former Waycross College whose vision created the non-profit organization 37 years ago.

 The new name – James M. Dye Foundation, Inc. – was approved by the Foundation’s Board of Trustees July 17 and by the Georgia Secretary of State’s office August 21.

“Dr. James M. Dye’s foresight was not limited to higher education.  He sought to assure that limited financial resources would not be an impediment to needy students,” said Dan Booker, president of the Foundation.  “By his founding in 1976 of what has historically been known as the Waycross College Foundation, students living in the Waycross area have been assured that their educational dreams could be realized.”

On January 8 South Georgia College and Waycross College consolidated to form South Georgia State College, a residential state college serving over 3,000 students.

Dr. Virginia M. Carson, president of South Georgia State College, is appreciative that the Foundation Board chose to honor Dye’s legacy to the area.

“I believe naming the Foundation after Dr. Dye is very fitting,” she said.  “His dedication and commitment to higher education in Ware County is the perfect cornerstone for the mission and expanded reach of the Foundation.”

The Foundation remains an independent cooperative organization of South Georgia State College.  As such, its primary mission of providing financial assistance to students on SGSC’s Waycross Campus will not change, said Taylor Hereford, executive director.

“The Foundation will continue to provide scholarships and grants to qualified students on the Waycross campus,” he said.  “Support will also be given to various campus programs and different institution-wide endeavors via the Foundation’s general operating fund.”

In addition to approving the name change at its July meeting, the Foundation Board kicked off its FY 2014 Annual Giving Campaign, which raises money for scholarships, grants, and general operations.  The campaign runs through June 30, 2014, and Hereford said he is anticipating a successful year.

“The Trustees are extremely grateful for the generous support that continues to be received from those who believe in the Foundation’s mission – a mission, fittingly enough, that is the result of the vision and leadership of the man for which the Foundation is now named,” said Hereford.

For more information about the James M. Dye Foundation on SGSC’s Waycross Campus or to make a donation to the FY 2014 Annual Giving Campaign, please call (912) 449-7510.

 

Drowning victim identified

Emergency medical crews and dive teams work with locals at the scene of a drowning in Hortense on Tuesday.
Emergency medical crews and dive teams work with locals at the scene of a drowning in Hortense on Tuesday.

The Enterprise has confirmed that a man drowned in a private pond off of Duck Pond Road Tuesday afternoon in the Hortense community.

Emergency crews and a dive team were dispatched to the scene in an effort to find Gregory Wallace, 51, who did not resurface while swimming at the pond at about 3 p.m.

The team found Wallace’s body several minutes later submerged according to Sheriff’s Office investigator and spokesman Craig Pitman.

Pittman said he was unable to confirm on-scene reports to the Enterprise that Wallace may have gotten caught on roots or other debris underneath the water. But he did say that he could have jumped into an area he thought was more shallow than it actually was.  Pittman also told the Enterprise that the body would be transported to the crime lab on the request of the coroner.