Category Archives: BREAKING NEWS

Tifton to host truck and tractor pull Sept. 26, 27

The fall edition of the Tifton Truck and Tractor Pull rolls into town Sept. 26 and 27 at the American Legion Fairgrounds. Sponsored by the Lucas Oil Pro Pulling League and the Southern Pullers Association, truck and tractor pullers from all across the Southeast will compete for Southern Pullers Association championship points and prize money.

“The 8,500-pound Light Pro Stock tractors class is a great one to watch. These tractors are powerful, loud and fast. Of course, we still have the big two- and four-wheel drive classes, too,” said Tyron Spearman, coordinator of the pull.  “Look for the points standing and competition schedule online at www.tpuller.com or find the Southern Pullers Association on Facebook.”

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events

Jekyll’s Wild Georgia Shrimp and Grits Festival this weekend

FRIDAY

The Wild Georgia Shrimp & Grits Festival, 5-9 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Saturday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday, Jekyll Island Historic Landmark District. Includes arts and crafts, a Family Fun Zone, live entertainment, Craft Brew Tastings, demonstrations, contests and live music. Free admission, parking $6, samples $3. (912) 635-3666 or jekyllisland.com/shrimp-and-grits.

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Two women found dead on northside of Jax

News from Segazine.
News from Segazine.

The bodies of two young women were found on the side of the road on the Northside early Thursday morning. The Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office is working to find out who they are, what happened and how they died.

At 1:53 a.m. officers were dispatched to Sisson Drive, near the intersection of Main Street North and Clark Road, in reference to two bodies that were found.

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Georgia jobless up to 8.1 percent in August

The Georgia Department of Labor announced today that Georgia’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for August was 8.1 percent, up four-tenths of a percentage point from a revised 7.7 percent in July. The rate in August of last year was 8.2 percent.

“We had good job growth, both over the month with 24,700 new jobs and over the year with 79,300 more jobs, and initial claims, a leading economic indicator that measures new layoffs, decreased 27 percent,” said State Labor Commissioner Mark Butler. “All of this positive data makes the rate increase somewhat questionable.

“With continued job growth and fewer layoffs, we would expect the rate to come down. We’ve talked with the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics, which conducts the monthly household survey that determines the national and state unemployment rates,” Butler continued. “They say the ‘volatility’ in the monthly survey numbers ‘is expected’ and that it’s often ‘smoothed’ during the annual benchmarking process. Last year’s initial August rate was eventually reduced by a half-point, and we expect a similar reduction this year.”

There were 4,132,900 jobs in Georgia in August, the most since June 2008. Jobs were up by 0.6 percent, from 4,108,200 in July. The monthly gains came in government at 16,600 as seasonal school workers returned to their jobs after summer layoffs. Education and health services added 7,700 jobs, manufacturing recorded 4,000 new jobs, construction added 1,600 jobs, and other services added 1,500.

“Our over-the-year job growth, which was an impressive 2.0 percent, was the second largest for August since 2005 and came in all the important job sectors,” said Butler.

The job gains were in professional and business services, 25,400; leisure and hospitality, 16,100; trade and transportation, 13,200; manufacturing, 9,900; construction, 5,900; education and health services, 5,700; information services, 1,500; other services, 1,000; government, 300; and financial activities, 100.

There were 31,122 new claims for unemployment insurance filed in August, a decrease of 11,536, from 42,658 in July. For the past three years, initial claims fell by an average of 11,504 from July to August. Most of the August decline in claims came in manufacturing, administrative and support services, health care and social assistance, and trade.

Also, over the year, initial claims were down by 12.3 percent. There were 4,381 fewer claims filed than the 35,503 in August 2013. Most of the decline over the year came in trade, transportation and warehousing, construction, administrative services, and health care and social assistance.

Connect with us on Facebook, YouTube and Twitter @GeorgiaDOL, which can be easily accessed via our website at www.gdol.ga.gov.

Two arrested in Brantley on multiple drug charges

Brantley County deputies seized almost 50 marijuana plants and arrested two while executing a search warrant.

Lisa Wainright, 52, and John Wainright, 54, were arrested and charged with manufacturing marijuana, and trafficking in cocaine, illegal drugs, marijuana or methamphetamine.  A search warrant was executed at the Wainright property where approximately 45 marijuana plants were located. Both were transported to the Brantley County Detention Center.

In other arrests:

Investigators were called to the Southeast Georgia Medical Center in Brunswick in reference to Cruelty to Children. Medical staff had called and reported a child that had a small fracture to the upper left side of the skull. The Department of Family and Children Services along with Brantley County Investigators and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation interviewed the parents. The case was turned over to the GBI for further investigation. Continue reading

Man dies after being hit by cement truck in Jesup

A man is dead after being hit by a cement truck in downtown Jesup around 5:30 p.m. Thursday at the intersection of Georgia 27 and North Third Street.

Georgia State Patrol identified the victim as Brandon Hill, 27, of Jesup.

“Hill had gotten into an altercation with a group of individuals and had thrown a bottle at a woman and began running.  Based on witness accounts, it is believed that Hill was being followed by three individuals when he ran into the intersection,” said GSP Trooper Raumando Thompson.

The cement truck driver identified as Andrew Donagi, 44, of Screven will not face charges. He was driving at the speed limit of 35 miles per hour when Hill stepped in front of the truck, said Trooper Thompson.

The Jesup Police Department is investigating the events leading up to the fatal crash.

 WSAV

Jesup man to get new trial in Glynn shooting deaths — 21 years later

A Jesup man convicted of murder in the 1993 execution-style shooting deaths of a woman and her son is set to get a new trial starting Sept. 22 before a Glynn County jury.

But in an unusual turnabout, prosecutors have asked Superior Court Judge Stephen G. Scarlett to allow them to use evidence that the original judge ruled out, Larry L. Jenkins Jr.’s confession that he killed Terry Ralston, 37, and her son, Michael, 15.

Jenkins was a 17-year-old student at Wayne County High School when the Ralstons were abducted from their coin-operated laundry in downtown Jesup. During a motions hearing Friday, he sat silently in a pumpkin-colored jail jump suit and with ankles shackled and his hands cuffed in front of him.

jacksonville.com.

College Park parents alarmed after snakes spotted at school

Parents say they’re alarmed about snakes seen inside and outside a school south of Atlanta.

Feldwood Elementary School Principal Principal Raquel Harris says the Fulton County school system has purchased snake repellent for the perimeter of the school. Harris said employees are monitoring for snake movements at night and have contacted a pest control company.

Parent Temeka Strozier tells WSB-TV (http://bit.ly/X5Jxgq) that a snake crawled over a parent’s foot during a PTA meeting and open house on Tuesday.

Harris emailed parents a letter telling them that the safety of students is the school’s No. 1 priority, and that officials are working diligently to ensure that children are safe.

It wasn’t known what type of snakes are being seen in the school.

Macon.com.

Average turtle nest year no cause for alarm

turtlesExcept for a long-missing loggerhead named Coral, sea turtle nesting in Georgia rated average in 2014.
Not that average is bad for this threatened species and Georgia’s primary sea turtle.

The 1,193 nests recorded through Labor Day fell far shy of the 2,289 counted last summer and ended a four-year run of nesting highs. But Georgia DNR Sea Turtle Program Coordinator Mark Dodd explained that while the 26-year average for loggerheads is 1,215 nests, a rise and fall in nesting is more normal than a string of annual increases.

“The overall statistical trend (for loggerheads) is still increasing, and we’re still in a recovery period. This is one of the natural fluctuations in nesting that we’ve seen.”

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Former Darien police lietenant charged in theft of narcotics from evidence storage

A former Darien police lieutenant was arrested Thursday on a charge of taking narcotics from the police evidence room, officials said.

Georgia Bureau of Investigation agents arrested Nicholas “Nick” O. Roundtree, 36, around noon and took him to the McIntosh County jail where he was booked and released on bail, the county Sheriff’s Office said….

jacksonville.com.

Suspect in Memphis slaying jailed in Camden County

A Memphis, Tenn., man sought in a slaying there was apprehended after a traffic stop on Interstate 95 in Camden County and is in the county jail in Woodbine.

About 1:40 p.m. Thursday, a white Ford Focus crossed from Nassau County into Camden County where Florida Highway Patrol officers, Camden County sheriff’s deputies and Kingsland police officers pursued it to a point near the Harriett’s Bluff interchange, Camden County spokesman William Terrell said….

jacksonville.com.

Social media harassment a problem — even in Brantley County

Social media harassment has become a serious problem, even in Brantley County

Deputies responded to Dee Gee Trail in reference to harassment recently after a complainant said that someone has been posting harassing comments on Facebook about his spouse and also accusing him of stealing.
In other related reports, officials were called to investigate two instances of credit card fraud including one in which the victim said an unknown subject had made five transactions on his debit card, and another in which the victim said someone stole his Go Blue card which is attached to his checking account and charged over $300.
In other arrests:
Michael Deslauriers (28) was arrested and charged with making harassing phone calls and disorderly conduct. Deputies were dispatched to the 500 block of Ft. McIntosh Loop in reference to a report of terroristic threats and acts. The complainant said that Deslauriers had made threatening texts toward him. A short time later Deslauriers came to the sheriff’s office and admitted to texting the complainant several more times since being told not to. Deslauriers kept cursing and showing out while in the lobby in front of other people in the lobby. He was arrested at that time.

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badhouse

Search underway for more bodies in squalid Massachusetts home

A search was underway Friday at a squalid home where the bodies of three infants were found among vermin and piles of soiled diapers, and authorities had not ruled out the possibility that more bodies may be inside, a prosecutor said.

Detectives investigating a case of reckless endangerment of children found the bodies Thursday at the house in Blackstone, about 50 miles southwest of Boston along the Rhode Island border. Four other children had been removed from the home two weeks earlier.

Worcester District Attorney Joseph Early Jr. said the house was in “deplorable condition.” He said authorities don’t know when or how the babies died, or their ages and genders. No criminal charges have been filed in connection with the deaths.

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Whitehouse under fire for not opposing Boggs

An abortion rights group Thursday criticized Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., for not opposing a controversial nominee to a federal district court in Georgia.

The president of NARAL Pro-Choice America wrote Whitehouse after his comments Tuesday about nominee Michael P. Boggs. Whitehouse, when asked if he would vote for Boggs at the Senate Judiciary Committee level, said that he backs district court nominees who have the support of their home-state senators – which Boggs has.

Roll Call Politics.

SanDisk’s 512GB SD card will hold all the 4K video you can handle

If you’ve been dabbling in 4K video recording, you probably know that most SD cards won’t cut it; you’ll be thankful if you have enough space for a wedding video, let alone a magnum opus. SanDisk may have a solution for that space problem in its new, extra-capacious 512GB Extreme Pro SDXC card. It’s fast enough (95MB/s) to shoot interruption-free 4K, but also has more than enough storage for a day’s worth of movies and high-speed photography. Capture 60Mbps video on Sony’s AX100, for example, and you could theoretically keep going for almost 19 hours. You’re going to pay dearly for all that headroom, though. The 512GB card sells for a whopping $800 — unless video production is your bread and butter, you’re probably better off “settling” for the Extreme Pro’s 128GB or 256GB variants.

engadget

Dollar General goes hostile in bid for Family Dollar

Dollar General is going hostile with its $9.1 billion bid for Family Dollar after its rival repeatedly rejected previous offers.

The discount chain has commenced an open offering to investors of Family Stores Dollar Inc. for $80 per share in cash, the same offer that was rejected last week by the company’s board.

Shares of Family Dollar jumped 5 percent before the opening bell Wednesday and appeared headed for an all-time high.

Family Dollar, based in Matthews, North Carolina, has voiced concerns about such a deal passing antitrust review. In response to those fears, Dollar General has said that it is willing to divest up to 1,500 stores if the Federal Trade Commission requires it. The company also is offering to pay a $500 million reverse breakup fee if antitrust hurdles get in the way.

The Tifton Gazette

Southern rust hits Georgia corn crop early

Southern corn rust struck Georgia’s corn crop two weeks earlier this season and has spread across the Coastal Plain, says a University of Georgia plant pathologist. If not treated quickly, the annual disease can stunt plants and reduce yields.

“If you don’t protect against southern rust early enough, and it starts to spread, it’s hard to stop. Once it escapes the bottle, it’s hard to put back in the bottle,” said Bob Kemerait, a UGA Extension scientist based on the Tifton Campus. Kemerait has been busy answering phone calls from growers who thought they had the disease under control only to discover it when weather conditions favored a spread of the disease.

If southern corn rust is not spotted or treated quickly, it can have a devastating impact on corn production in the Southeast, particularly in Georgia where yield losses in excess of 25 bushels of corn per acre have been observed. Southern corn rust infects corn leaves. The infected leaves can’t produce as many sugars through photosynthesis, which reduces yield. It can also drain the stalk of its strength, making corn plants vulnerable during high winds that could blow the stalks down.

Moultrie Observer: News.

Charlton development authority hoping to attract new industry with ‘GRAD’ site

The state believes having prepared and available sites for industrial development will attract new industry to Georgia counties and they’ve come up with a program to encourage that development.

The Development Authority of Folkston and Charlton County wants to participate in the state’s Georgia Ready for Accelerated Development (GRAD) Sites Program and is hoping to bring the city and county on board with the plan.

To qualify for GRAD status, available sites have to be submitted by a local community or economic development organization to the state and its partners in the program (GA Power, Georgia EMC, and Electric Cities of Georgia) and reviewed by a third party. Categories of due diligence and review include minimum acreage (50), ownership security, zoning designation, road and rail accessibility, utilities service, and wetlands and stream delineation.

via Charlton County Herald

Large grant awarded for area pomegrenate industry

USDA Rural Development State Director Quinton N. Robinson and U.S. Congressman John Barrow have announced the approval of a $150,000 Rural Business Enterprise Grant (RBEG) designed to boost the processing and marketing of pomegranates grown by farmers in southeast Georgia. The grant recipient, Seven Rivers Resource Conservation and Development Area Council Inc. of Baxley, will apply the RBEG funds to the purchase of equipment specially designed to wash and separate pomegranates from the hulls.

The Baxley News-Banner.

Stalled Georgia judicial nominee presents a dilemma for Senate Democrats

The troubled judicial nomination of Michael P. Boggs is stuck in the Senate Judiciary Committee as the days grow short for congressional action this year, and the panel is moving other nominations ahead of his.

The troubled judicial nomination of Michael P. Boggs is stuck in the Senate Judiciary Committee as the days grow short for congressional action this year, and the panel is moving other nominations ahead of his.

The committee added a slate of 10 judicial nominees to its agenda for votes this month, likely next week. That agenda does not include Boggs, one of President Barack Obama’s nominees to a federal district court in Georgia.

A vote now on Boggs’ nomination would unnecessarily risk a potentially awkward intraparty conflict among Democrats, Senate aides and nominations experts familiar with the nomination said. Committee Democrats either could reject one of Obama’s judicial picks for the first time. Or the nomination could advance to the full Senate with opposition from many Democrats and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev.

Roll Call Politics.

wmh

Wayne hospital generates millions despite huge challenges

Wayne Memorial Hospital generated $109.1 million in revenue for the local and state econo-mies during 2012, according to a new report by the Georgia Hospital Association.

The report also found that, during the same time period, Wayne Memorial provided approximately $5.9 million in uncompensated care while sustaining more than 879 full-time jobs throughout Jesup and the rest of the state.

The Press-Sentinel

Bama the neglected dog dies – but not before experiencing love at last

bamaUPDATE: Officials announced Wednesday morning that Bama had died.

An area community fought to make sure a dog who wasn’t guaranteed tomorrow felt the love of a family just one more time.

Members of Coastal Pet Rescue made the decision to euthanize the hard-lived pooch Wednesday morning.  But not before a community showed him a warmth he may never have felt before.

 WJCL News.

State launches fraud investigation into Democrat voter registration group

Channel 2 Action News has learned Georgia’s secretary of state is investigating allegations of forged voter registration applications and demanding records from a voter registration group with ties to one of the state’s highest ranking Democrats.

A subpoena was sent to the New Georgia Project and its parent organization Third Sector Development on Tuesday.

The organization is a project of the nonprofit organization Third Sector Development, which was founded and is led by House Minority Leader Stacey Abrams.

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Daycare license revoked following Brunswick infant death

The Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning (DECAL), Tuesday, issued a license revocation for a Brunswick daycare center after the death of an infant in August.

In a news release from Chief Communications Officer Reg Griffin of DECAL, his organization confirmed that rule violations involving supervision and infant sleep safety may have contributed to the death of a child at Generation Kids Preschool Nursery located at 2267 Pinewood Street.

 WJCL News.

Driver dies after collision on Interstate 95

A driver was killed in a multi-vehicle collision on Interstate 95 near Airport Road on Tuesday afternoon.  The driver’s name was not immediately released, pending next-of-kin notification.

Florida Highway Patrol said Diana Pineiro, 28, was driving a Mitsubishi Lancer south on I-95 in the center lane.  The driver of a Nissan Titan was on the entrance ramp from Airport Road to I-95 southbound as a tractor-trailer was heading south in the right lane.

News4Jax

Students rally behind teacher who talks about Jesus in class

Students at a public high school outside Atlanta are rallying behind a teacher who says he’s standing up for his Christian beliefs and what he views as his right to talk about Jesus in the classroom.

Hundreds of students poured into hallways at Sequoyah High School Tuesday, holding signs and chanting in support of history teacher John Osborne.

Osborne said he didn’t feel supported by administrators, so he decided to take a few days off, he told WXIA-TV. He said he’s talked about God at school for years.

 jacksonville.com.

Dog on the brink of death receives love and affection from volunteers

Bama, a bulldog whose days may be numbered, got to see what human love and affection really is through “Hugs for Bama.”

“Basically we went on a wing and a prayer in the hopes that maybe we weren’t too late, but in the very least that he would know some compassion comfort and love and whatever days we could give him,” said Lisa Scarbrough.

WJCL News.

Charlton commissioner wants accounting of rec department funds

Charlton County Commission Chairman Wade Johnson says he wants all county recreation department revenues revealed in their annual budget each year.

“They get concessions, sign-up fees, other things,” he said at last week’s regular commission meeting. “I want to make it loud and clear, I want this reported. I want transparency for the public.”

Johnson’s request was part of a general discussion on the county’s proposed 2015 budget. County Administrator Al Crace assured him the information would be included in future budgets.

Crace also noted the proposed $9.2 million budget does not represent any “significant” change from last year but requires .02 mills less than in 2014.

via Charlton County Herald

Brunswick hires consultant to review investigation of chief

The city has retained an outside consultant to review an internal affairs investigation of online training that resulted in the retirement of Chief Tobe Green and the resignations of two other officers, Mayor Cornell Harvey said.

Also the city has named Jimmy Carter, a former chief and former U.S. marshal for the Southern District of Georgia, as its interim police chief effective Monday, City Manager Bill Weeks said.

Carter had served 25 years on the Brunswick police force, the last seven as chief, before he retired to serve as U.S. marshal for the four years that George H.W. Bush was president.

Maj. Greg Post, who led the internal investigation into online training, has been interim chief and will report to Carter in his on-going role as operations officer, Weeks said.

jacksonville.com.

Cornfield robot sprays fertilizer on plants

This summer a Minnesota startup began deploying an autonomous robot that rolls between corn plants spraying crop fertilizer.

The robot applies fertilizer while the plant is rapidly growing and needs it most. This eliminates the need for using tractors, which can damage the  high stalks, and reduces the amount of fertilizer needed earlier in the season, says Kent Cavender-Bares, CEO of the company, Rowbot. Further, by reducing the fertilizer, the robot reduces the amount of nitrogen that can end up polluting waterways after rainstorms.

As the machine travels between rows, it can spray two rows of corn on either side of the machine. It uses GPS to know when it’s reached the end of the field, and LIDAR, or laser-scanning, to make sure it stays between rows of mature cornstalks without hitting them. Although such fields could also be fertilized at any time via irrigation, only about 15 percent of U.S. cornfields are irrigated.

Rowbot developed its machine under a strategic partnership with Carnegie Robotics, which grew out of research at Carnegie-Mellon University. This summer Rowbot used its machine to fertilize 50 acres of corn, at a charge of $10 per acre plus the cost of fertilizer.

MIT Technology Review.

Atlanta at epicenter of Apple's next industry disrupting quake - Atlanta Business Chronicle

Atlanta at epicenter of Apple’s next industry disrupting quake

For Apple, the road to its next billion-dollar market connects through Atlanta.

The consumer electronics leviathan has trained its lasers on the financial payments market — one in which Atlanta is a global hub.

About 70 percent of all U.S. payments processed annually run through companies based in Georgia. Four of the top 20 American Banker FinTech 100 companies are headquartered in the Peach State.

Apple (NYSE: AAPL) will announce, at an event Tuesday afternoon, a new mobile payments system that will transform its mobile devices into credit cards — no fumbling for wallets, or card-swiping required. The company will also launch the iPhone 6, in two sizes.

Cupertino, Calif.-based Apple appears to have finally embraced Near Field Communication (NFC) technology — equipping new hardware with a chip that allows information to be wirelessly and securely transmitted between devices.

Atlanta Business Chronicle.

Charlton County High School students select Mr. CCHS, Miss Shilofohaw

Charlton County High School students Fred Howard III and Savannah Kern are Mr. CCHS and Miss Shilofohaw for 2014. Howard is the son of Tammy Howard and the late Fred Howard Jr. Kern is the daughter of Brian and Stoney Kern. The students are selected from the senior honor court. They must have participated in extra-curricular activities and must have a spotless discipline record to be eligible for the honor.

via Charlton County Herald

‘Two old guys’ turn reclaimed wood into unique furniture

Hondo Ritchie’s special talent has led him to a new business.“I can read the wood.”

Ritchie is half of the “two old guys’’ workforce at Island Sea Design along with Francis Antczak, who got fed up with the antique business and is finally doing what he wants.

“I wanted an American business,’’ Antczak said. “We cut wood. It’s all grown in America.”

jacksonville.com.

Waycross police looking for man who attacked woman

Police said they are looking for a man who attacked a woman in Waycross in December.

According to the Waycross Police Department, a female was attacked by a man she believes is mentally challenged.

Police said the attack took place in the 1000 block of Riverside Drive near Highway 84.

According to the police department, the man spoke very slowly.

Police said the man last wore a black sweatshirt with a hoodie pulled tight to his face.

He is 6 feet tall and is between his 20s and 30s.

If you have information about the man, call 287-2989.

www.actionnewsjax.com.

Sex offender wanted in Camden County arrested

Deputies in Camden County said a wanted sex offender was arrested Wednesday.

According to the Camden County Sheriff’s Office, deputies were searching for 44-year-old Jerry L. Dixon earlier this morning.

Deputies said Dixon was wanted for failing to register as a sex offender.

According to the Sheriff’s Office, Dixon was first charged with sexual battery against a child under 16 years old.

actionnewsjax.com.

Waycross man pleads guilty to enticement of minors

Donnell Cornelius Shavers, 22, of Waycross  pleaded guilty earlier this week before Chief United States District Court Judge Lisa Godbey Wood to enticement of minors to engage in sex acts and to the production of child pornography.

Shavers will be sentenced after the completion of a presentence investigation by the U. S. Probation Office.

The case against Shavers and his codefendant Jacques Donte Taylor arose out of a joint investigation by Homeland Security Investigations and the Ware County Sheriff’s Office, with additional assistance from the Liberty County Sheriff’s Office.  The case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, which is a nationwide U. S. Department of Justice initiative designed to protect children from online exploitation and abuse.

WJCL News.

Paula Deen gets 10-acre tribute portrait in Odum

 

When Paula Deen makes her big appearance in southeast Georgia later this year, it will be her second biggest one in the area. That’s because the other one will be so big that it literally takes up a 10-acre corn field.

Officials with Poppell Farms of Odum recently announced that the Savannah-based celebrity chef and her family will make a personal appearance at their farm on Oct. 5 and, in her honor, the farm will commission a full-sized corn maze in her likeness that the public will get to enjoy.

WJCL News.

Savannah man charged in Effingham child molestation case

Jason Hilliard, 38, of Savannah was arrested Thursday in Chatham County stemming from a child molestation warrant issued in Effingham County.

“Effingham County Sheriff’s investigators secured an arrest warrant following a several month-long investigation where it was determined he molested a six year old child,” sheriff’s spokesman David Ehsanipoor said.

WJCL News.

Group discusses replacement storefronts for downtown Jesup

By Derby Waters

With the sound of an excavator working just across the street, a group met Thursday afternoon in the Jesup Depot to discuss storefronts that will be built to replace those lost in the Aug. 4 downtown fire.

Cleanup has begun, and Van Williamson plans to start construction on the replacement building as soon as the cleanup is completed. He said the lot should be cleaned of the fire debris by the end of the week.

The Williamson family members were on hand to hear from community leaders and Julien de Rocher, a community design specialist from the Georgia Department of Community Affairs (DCA).

Williamson said he plans to build a steel structure to replace the lost building that was built nearly 100 years ago. He said he is willing to listen to ideas of how the fronts of the stores should look so that the downtown appearance might be enhanced.

via The Press-Sentinel

Jeep ‘death wobble’ leaves drivers shaken and looking for answers

Imagine driving down the highway and having your car suddenly start to shake violently. It’s been happening to Jeep owners across the country. The ABC7 News I-Team has been looking into it and has the results of its investigation.

The shaking is so violent and shocking that many Jeep owners call it the “death wobble.” The I-Team knows of no one who has died, but we’ve obtained public records that link the problem to some serious accidents.

It is a scary experience — a violent shaking in the front end of the car that usually hits at highway speed when you make a turn or hit a bump.

Videos from YouTube show how frequently it happens to some Jeep owners. It’s become so common it has a nickname — the “death wobble” — because it is so jarring.

“The whole font end of the vehicle shakes back and forth,” Jeep owner Christopher O’Halloran said.

“It literally feels like the front end of your vehicle is going to shake apart,” Jeep owner Jeri McNeill said.

abc7news.com.

Georgia attorney general defends staff in wake of $10,000 fine

State lawyers handling a lawsuit against the state ethics commission were dealing with a “difficult client” who acted inappropriately in withholding key documents, Attorney General Sam Olens said Thursday in response to his office being fined $10,000 by a judge in the case.

Olens defended the attorneys in his office who handled the lawsuit filed by the former director of the ethics commission, saying they acted “ethically and responsibly.” Olens added he disagreed with the judge’s decision to fine his office but had yet to decide whether to appeal.

“Unlike lawyers in private practice that get to withdraw from representation when you have a difficult client, we don’t have the same luxury,” Olens said. “Unfortunately we have learned a lot of facts in the case post-trial that we would have preferred to have learned pre-trial.”

jacksonville.com.

Pierce commissioners consider various ways to raise taxes

A proposed user fee fell by the wayside and commissioners are now looking at a blended approach including the use of special tax districts, a millage rate increase, a two and a half percent across the board budget cut and fee increases to balance the county budget.

Still, the wait for a decision on county finances continues as no final decision was reached Thursday night. Commissioners discussed the budget for another two hours during the most recent session. The county commission has, so far, met three times for a total of five hours, with no final decisions yet.

A much-debated user fee fell by the wayside in favor of creating special tax districts county-wide to fund EMS and parks and recreation.

County attorney Willis Blacknall III explained the special tax districts would be better legally, since there would be no way to force collection of a user fee.

via The Blackshear Times

Moth Project: Georgia Southern studies shrinking pollinator populations

An exhibit at Georgia Southern University in Statesboro will explore the impact of declining insect populations on the pollination of trees and flowers.

GSU officials say The Moth Project will run from Sept. 11 through Sept. 17 and is focused on exploring the decline of pollinator populations – like honeybees – and a need to search for alternative pollination solutions.

WJCL News.

Antique table from Carnegies’ mansion returned to Glynn library

When Brunswick-Glynn County library trustees meet Wednesday, their elbows will rest on something familiar.

A Jacksonville-based moving company hauled an antique conference table back from Jesup where Linda Kean, the now-departed director of Three Rivers Regional Library, had it moved in July 2013.

“This will be their first meeting around this table instead of the white picnic table and the folding chairs,’’ said Geri Mullis, director of the one-county Marshes of Glynn Regional Library.

jacksonville.com.

Budget committee says no tax increase for Charlton

Segazine SIt still has to be approved by the full commission, but the Charlton County budget committee has come up with a 2015 budget which requires no millage rate increase.

As advertised elsewhere in this newspaper, the county has proposed a $9.26 million budget for next year. The proposal will result in a millage rate reduction of 2/100s.

“The goal of the budget committee was always to have no tax increase,” County Administrator Al Crace told the Herald last week. “It wasn’t easy, but we got it all inside the box.”

via Charlton County Herald

American Textile adding 100 jobs in Tifton

American Textile Company will expand its Tifton operations by investing $10 million and creating more than 100 new jobs during the next three years.

The Duquesne, Pa.–based company’s 418,000-square-foot manufacturing and distribution facility currently employs 200. With its newest expansion, ATC will grow employment and sales with a strategy to manufacture and ship most items from four strategically located sites in the United States, according to the Gov. Nathan Deal’s office.

ATC President and CEO Lance Ruttenburg said consumer demand for American-made products, coupled with rising freight costs and overseas wages, has made it financially viable for companies to expand in the United States.

Atlanta Business Chronicle.

DuPont withdraws Wayne mining permit request, may re-draft

DuPont has requested that its application for a permit for surface mining in Wayne County be withdrawn.

Although not totally clear how or when, the company apparently plans to redraft its plans for mining here. It appears the company is still interested in mining here at some point in the future—but it is now willing to listen to local residents.

With hundreds of local residents joining in opposition to a plan by the company, Clement J. Hilton, plant manager for DuPont in Starke, Fla., sent a request for withdrawal of the application to Kelly Adams, head of the surface mining unit of the Environmental Protection Division of the Georgia Department of Natural Resources.

“DuPont requests to withdraw our surface mining permit application for the Amelia A & B project. DuPont will take this time to address various points raised in recent meetings within Jessup (sic),” Hilton wrote.

via The Press-Sentinel

CSX: Film crew denied track access twice before Wayne crash

CSX Transportation twice denied producers of a biographical movie about singer Gregg Allman permission to shoot on its railroad tracks before a freight train slammed into the film’s crew in south Georgia, killing one worker and injuring six, the company said in court documents.

Legal filings in Chatham County State Court mark the first time Florida-based railroad operator CSX has made any publicly available statement about the Feb. 20 crash involving one of its trains and the crew of the movie “Midnight Rider.” Lawsuits have been filed against CSX and the film’s producers by the parents of Sarah Jones, a camera assistant killed in the collision, and two injured crew members. Director Randall Miller and two other top executives on the production have also been indicted on criminal charges.

via CSX Says Film Crew Was Denied Track Access Before Crash | The Daily Report.

One-year-old dies in Brantley

The death of a 1-year-old Brantley County child Sunday, despite attempts to perform CPR, remains under investigation this week.

Brantley deputies responded to the 13000 block of Raybon Road west in reference to a Code Red.  When deputies arrived Amy Lee was performing CPR on Haylea Davis.  Deputies took over CPR until the EMS units arrived but he coroner pronounced Davis dead at the scene.

VA nurse gets 5 yearsfor bogus worker’s comp claims

A VA nurse from Glennwood, will serve five years in federal prison and must repay $450,000 in federal funds she received by filing bogus worker’s compensation claims, the U.S. attorney said.

Loretta Smith, 41, pleaded guilty Feb. 26 to two counts of mail fraud in the mailing of the fraudulent claims and Senior U.S. District Judge Dudley H. Bowen sentenced her Friday in Dublin, where Smith had worked as a nurse at the Carl Vinson VA Medical Center.

In a charging document, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said that Smith had filed claims between July 2009 and February 2013 in which she falsely asserted she been injured on the job and had traveled for medical treatment and had paid for the treatment.

jacksonville.com.

DuPont tells Wayne residents about mining plans

A standing-room-only crowd of some 300 local residents filled the main building at Cracker Williams Recreation Center Tuesday night to discuss plans by the DuPont corporation to mine in Wayne County.

Heavy attendance at meetings of the county commissioners and a push for a local zoning ordinance are expected to follow this first meeting called by the Concerned Neighbors of Wayne County.

Concerned residents in the area of the proposed mines, elected officials, the environmental savvy and the just-interested listened to speakers discuss what DuPont’s permit request to the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) may mean for the county.

via The Press-Sentinel

St. Simons man among 4 dead in Ohio plane crash

School officials say the three passengers killed in a fiery plane crash in Ohio were members of the varsity wrestling team for Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland.

The three wrestlers have been identified as 20-year-old Lucas Marcelli of Massillon, Ohio, 18-year-old Abraham Pishevar of Rockville, Maryland, and 18-year-old John Hill of St. Simons, Georgia. The 20-year-old pilot, William Felten of Saginaw, Michigan, also was killed.

University officials said Felten and Marcelli were second-year students, while Hill and Pishevar were freshmen.

Marcelli graduated from Jackson High School in Massillon and twice qualified for Ohio’s state wrestling tournament.

The plane crashed and then exploded shortly after takeoff from Cuyahoga County Regional Airport in suburban Cleveland about 10 p.m. Monday. The four men were trapped inside the wreckage.

 jacksonville.com.

Brunswick man gets life for 2013 murder

keyarnfiler

A 33-year-old Brunswick man has been sentenced to life in prison for the 2013 murder of a man, who was found stabbed to death in a burnt out car, prosecutors said.

Keyarn Filer was sentenced to life in prison plus 20 years for the murder of Fullmore, who was found dead in the driver’s seat of a burning 1991 Ford Explorer near Old Jesup Road back in September 2013, the District Attorney’s Office announced Monday.

An autopsy revealed Fullmore had been stabbed several times, prosecutors said.

Filer was convicted on charges of malice murder and arson in the case. In court Monday, he apologized to the court and Fullmore’s family, prosecutors said.

via Brunswick man gets life for 2013 murder.

Four arrested in traffic stop by Brantley deputies

Four people were arrested in a traffic stop by Brantley County deputies made when, during routine patrol, deputies observed the suspect vehicle with a  tag light that was not working and initiated a stop.

Tina Burgess,39, was arrested and charged with hindering apprehension of criminal and tag light required.  Darvin Mancil, 23, was arrested and charged with outstanding warrants/willful obstruction of law enforcement, Bobby Mancil, 28, was arrested and charged with outstanding warrants and willful obstruction of law enforcement, and Tina McDowell, 34, was charged with littering from a motor vehicle. 

Occupants of the vehicle tried to walk away from the scene and gave a false name for one of the men in the vehicle.  Both of the males tried to elude deputies but were quickly apprehended.

In other arrests:

Judi Gavalas,66, was arrested and charged with DUI-Controlled Substance/Driving without a Valid License/Weaving over Roadway.  Deputies made a traffic stop on Gavalas for crossing over the fog line into the grass several times.   Gavalas stated she had taken hydrocodone and that could be why she was weaving.  She was transported to the Brantley County Detention Center.

William Kennedy, 50, was arrested and charged with Theft by Shoplifting.  Deputies were dispatched to the Dollar General on Cleveland Street in reference to theft by shoplifting.  The offender was still on the scene when deputies arrived.  They spoke with Kennedy and he gave them a pack of tagless tanks he had taken from the store without paying for.  Kennedy was transported to the Brantley County Detention Center. 

Tony Johns, 54, was arrested and charged with possession of schedule ii controlled substance, drugs not in original container, driving while license suspended, and operating restrictions on off-road.  Deputies got out with Johns for driving his ATV on the paved road.  His license was found to be suspended and a pill bottle was found with different prescription medication inside of it.  

Charles Boyett, 31, was arrested and charged with Driving while license suspended, DUI-alcohol and weaving over roadway.  Deputies observed Boyett cross the fog line into the grass and then cross over the center line.  Deputies initiated a traffic stop and they could smell an odor of alcohol coming from Boyett’s person.  It was also discovered that his license was suspended.    A breath test confirmed the presence of alcohol.  

In other activity:

Deputies responded 0n 08-22-2014 to the 900 block of Picketts Mill Trail in reference to disorderly conduct/unruly juvenile.  Complainant stated the juvenile had left school early and went to his grandparent’s home in Florida without permission.  When the juvenile returned home he started cussing and picked up a knife threatening to harm himself and threw the knife at the wall. A juvenile complaint form was filled out.  Deputies responded to this residence a second time in reference to Disorderly Conduct/Unruly Juvenile.    Complainant stated their son was acting out and throwing things around because he could not do what he wanted.   A juvenile complaint form was filled out.  On 8-24-2014 deputies were called back to this residence in reference to the same complaints.  The juvenile had punched a hole in the door and broke a cell phone.  Another juvenile complaint form was filled out.  

Deputies responded to Fifth Avenue in reference to theft by taking.  Complainant stated that someone had taken some mail from their mail box.

Deputies responded to Otter Road in reference to criminal trespass.  Complainant stated two juveniles were spotted trying to take their cat.  They were told to put the cat down and they left.

Deputies responded to the 200 block of Plantation Drive in reference to theft by taking or burglary.   Complainant stated that someone had made entry into the home through the back door and taken several items including a nebulizer and a wooden flag case. 

Deputies responded to a criminal damage to property call that occurred in the 19000 block of U.S. Highway 82.  Complainant stated that someone at this location had damaged his car by scratching the top and the sides with an unknown object.

Deputies responded to Baker Hill Road in reference to stalking.  Complainant stated he saw a subject standing in the yard with a baseball.  The offender had previously been told not to come back to the property.  The offender was not located at the time of the report.

Deputies were dispatched to the Friendly Express on Georgia Highway 520 in reference to theft by shoplifting.  The suspect was gone when deputies arrived.  The complainant said that the suspect got a pair of sunglasses and went to the restroom.  The suspect discarded the tags in the restroom and left the store.  

Deputies responded to King Street in reference to theft by taking.  Complainant said that someone stole a bottle of prescription medication.  

Deputies responded to Georgia Highway 520 near Hoboken in reference to criminal trespass and theft by taking.  Complainant said there were some people picking palmetto berries on their property and they did not have permission to do so.  The offenders had permission to pick on the land beside the complainant’s property but must have gotten confused.

Deputies responded to the Dollar General in Hoboken in reference to theft by shoplifting.    Complainant said a while female concealed a sports bra and a pair of shorts on her person.  The complainant asked the female to remove the items and the female walked out of the store.  The female was gone when deputies arrived.  

Deputies responded to Saw Grass Road in reference to burglary.  Complainant said that when he arrived home the back door was open and a window was broken.  The home had been vandalized but nothing appeared to be missing.   

Deputies responded to High Bluff Road near Silver Lake Road in reference to theft by taking.  Complainant said that the offender took his dog and posted a picture on Facebook trying to locate the owner.  Another person claimed the dog and the offender will not contact the complainant.  

Rep. wants to make hospital authorities more accountable

State Rep. Jason Spencer, R-Woodbine, met with state officials this week to discuss proposed legislation to make hospital authorities across the state more accountable.

Spencer said he introduced legislation to address the issue during the General Assembly session earlier this year, but the bill died because it’s too complicated.

“This is a comprehensive bill that will require a lot of discussion,” he said in a phone interview Thursday. “There are several weaknesses to the Georgia Hospital Authorities Law that have contributed to many rural hospital closures across the state. Particularly, the audits provisions are the weakest and the governance structure of hospital authority boards are too political. These are the provisions that are under discussion for revision.”

This bill will take several discussions to move in order to implement better changes in the law, he said.

via The Brunswick News

Something has to give to cover Pierce County’s projected $350,000 hole in the county budget

The county tax rate may not be increasing this year, but a user fee remains on the table as the county commission looks for $350,000 to balance the 2015 budget.

Commissioners unanimously agreed not to raise the millage rate during their most recent budget hearing last Tuesday night. Commissioners have, so far, met for three hours over two meetings discussing the 2015 budget.

The board is struggling to make up a projected deficit, however, which grew from $138,000 to almost $350,000 during the work session.

In the initial presentation, county manager Paul Christian projected a deficit of $138,000 due almost entirely to new security measures put in place at the courthouse and annex in response to the “Guns everywhere” bill.

via The Blackshear Times

South Georgia’s unemployment up to 9.5 percent in July

The Georgia Department of Labor announced today that the unemployment rate in the Southern Georgia region increased to 9.5 percent in July, up five-tenths of a percentage point from 9.0 percent in June. The rate was also 9.5 percent in July a year ago.

The July rate increase is primarily due to seasonal factors, such as temporary layoffs in educational services. However most of the laid-off workers have returned to their jobs.

Also, there were 1,534 new claims for unemployment insurance filed in July, an increase of 271, or 21.5 percent, from 1,263 in June. Most of the increase was due to claims filed in administrative and support services. There were 2,031 claims filed in July 2013, down 24.5 percent.

Metro Athens had the lowest area jobless rate at 6.6 percent, while the Heart of Georgia-Altamaha region had the highest at 11.4 percent.

Meanwhile, Georgia’s seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate for July was 7.8 percent, up from 7.4 percent in June. The rate was 8.3 percent in July a year ago.

Local area unemployment data are not seasonally adjusted. Georgia labor market data are available at www.gdol.ga.gov

Grisamore: We’re losing our storytellers

The world is losing its storytellers. Time keeps marching them out of the margins.

They are becoming like the milkman, who used to tiptoe to the door by the dawn’s early light. They are going the way of cowboys, chimney sweeps, soda jerks and switchboard operators. One day, they may become as obsolete as scriveners and alchemists, and we will have to look them up the dictionary. (Or Google them.)

Storytellers are an endangered species in times when people communicate in tweets of 140 or fewer characters. Telling stories is becoming a lost art in the age of posting, texting and storing notes on electronic tablets instead of toting canvas book bags.

Macon.com.

Strange bacteria colonies removed from Savannah River Site

Mysterious bacteria growing on Savannah River Site’s spent nuclear fuel storage basins have been removed using a special vacuum.

The rare, bacterial colonies that resemble cobwebs were discovered in 2011 during routine surveillance of the L Disassembly Basin, where nuclear materials from foreign and domestic research reactors are stored and guarded. Scientists studied samples and determined the white, stringy “cobwebs” were made up of a broad variety of bacteria and a few types of microbes….

The Augusta Chronicle.

Savannah State students organizing local rally for Ferguson shooting

A local rally is planned Aug. 23 to protest the fatal shooting of an unarmed black teenager at the hands of a white police officer in Missouri.

The Aug. 9 shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., sparked nightly protests — several of them heated and met with police in riot gear armed with assault weapons — in the St. Louis suburb, and has raised questions nationwide about racial discrimination and police brutality.

Demonstrations of solidarity with the protestors have been held in several cities across the country, including Atlanta, since protesting in Ferguson and a federal investigation into Brown’s death became national news.

savannahnow.com.

Brantley deputies arrest AC theft suspect

Brantley County deputies arrested a 29-year-old man who was caught in the process of allegedly stealing an air conditioning unit.

William Bladow was arrested and charged with theft by taking and criminal damage to property.  Deputies responded to Santa Fe Road where the complainant was standing by with Bladow.  Complainant stated he walked around the back of his house and saw Bladow taking the unit.  

Bladow was transported to the Brantley County Detention Center.

In other arrests:

Ricky Hatcher (39) was arrested and charged with driving while license suspended/knowingly making a false statement.  Deputies spotted a vehicle that was involved in a previous incident and made a traffic stop.  It was determined that the Hatcher had a suspended license.  

Tony McSpadden (49) was arrested and charged with driving while license suspended.  Deputies initiated a traffic stop on the McSpadden and verified that his license was suspended.  McSpadden was transported to the Brantley County Detention Center.

In other activity:

Deputies spoke with the complainant at the Brantley County Sheriff’s Office in reference to entering automobile/identity theft fraud that occurred in the 1800 block of Riverside Road.  Complainant stated that someone entered his vehicle and took his debit card and then used it at several locations in Brunswick. 

Deputies responded to the 300 block of Sweet Water Road in reference to theft by taking.  Complainant stated that some checks were taken from his residence and the offender forged them and cashed them in Savannah. 

Deputies responded to Fred Couper Road in reference to burglary and cruelty to animals.  Complainant claims that someone made entry into his home and killed one of his dogs.  There were other dogs in the home that were not harmed and nothing was reported missing.  

Deputies responded to the 7000 block of Central Avenue in reference to criminal damage to property.  Complainant stated that an unknown subject had scratched both sides of his vehicle.  

Deputies responded to the 1000 block of Taylor Bay Road in reference to theft by taking.  Complainant stated that two batteries were taken from the property.

Deputies responded to the 14000 block of Georgia Highway 110 West in reference to criminal trespass.  Complainant stated he rode by his neighbor’s house and noticed the offenders out by the neighbor’s 4-wheeler.  The complainant did not see the neighbor home so he stopped to see what was going on.  The offender did not give a reason for being there and left the property.  When the home owner arrived home he discovered the front door of the residence open. 

Deputies responded to BellField Road in reference to theft by taking.  Complainant stated that an unknown person took his Craftsman push mower.

Deputies responded to Allen Road in reference to theft by taking.  Complainant said he sold a truck to the offender and there was a gold plated candle holder inside the vehicle that the offender was supposed to return.  At this time the offender has not returned the candle holder.

Brunswick High Pirates moving to 3-AAAAA

The Brunswick High Pirates struggled in the powerhouse Region 1-6A last season, playing against some of the top teams in the state. This year, they’re dropping down to Region 3-AAAAA and bringing a lot of talented players with them.

“I think we’re in the correct classification now and it’s where we probably should’ve been all along,” head coach Victor Floyd said. “I’m excited about going back and competing.”

D’ante Demery, a 6-foot-6, 310-pound sophomore tackle, will anchor an offensive line charged with protecting quarterback Randon Jernigan. The freshman is taking the place of graduated Cory Dixon, last year’s Region 1 offensive player of the year.

Read more: jacksonville.com.

Wayne residents wary of duPont’s plans for titanium mine

Environmentalists are marshalling Wayne County residents to demand local ordinances to control the scope of DuPont’s plans to mine titanium oxide, zircon and other minerals from 2,254 acres it has leased near Jesup.

E.I. du Pont de Nemours & Company Inc. of Starke filed an application for a surface mining permit on May 2 with the Georgia Environmental Protection Division for a 4,063-acre site it describes as the Amelia A & B mine.

The company says in its application it plans to use scrappers and track hoes to excavate mineral sands from the sites. The 1,318-acre A site is south of U.S 341 between Jesup and Odum and north of Holmesville Road, and the 2,744-acre B site is east of U.S. 84 between Jesup and Screven.

jacksonville.com.

High-speed chase involves Long, Wayne law officers

A Saturday-night high-speed chase involved a total of five law-enforcement offices as a Ludowici woman apparently was intent on eluding officers.

At around 8:30 p.m. Saturday, the Long County Sheriff’s Office and the Ludowici Police Department alerted Wayne County that a driver, later identified as Luz A. Steiner, 49, was about to enter Wayne County at a high rate of speed.

Officers from the Wayne County Sheriff’s Office and the Jesup Police Department became involved in the chase. One deputy reported speeds in excess of 100 mph during part of the pursuit.

via The Press-Sentinel

Postal Service begins search for new Jekyll Island post office

It’s been a year since the Jekyll Island Authority announced it had negotiated a deal to keep a U.S. post office on the island while sacrificing home delivery.

A year later, the U.S. Postal Service is just starting its search for a new site for the post office once a temporary facility is closed and there wasn’t so much as a whisper at Monday’s Jekyll Island Authority board meeting Monday about stopping home delivery.

jacksonville.com.

Hate group spreads circulars in Bryan County

Single-sheet circulars bearing the name of the National Socialist Movement and its logo, which includes a swastika, were distributed in areas of north Bryan County last weekend.

The circulars were wrapped around old sections of the Savannah Morning News and other area publications and dropped at the end of driveways inside clear plastic bags.

An Ellabell resident, Jeff Cook, whose wife found one Sunday morning, said he was puzzled by what he saw.

“She brought it in and showed it to me. I didn’t think this was something the newspaper would be doing,” he said.

savannahnow.com.

GIAHA awards $500 scholarship to Brown

awardGolden Isles Arts & Humanities has awarded the $500 Roberta M. Born Scholarship in the arts and humanities to Caleb D. Brown, a 2014 graduate of Glynn Academy High School.  The scholarship is named in honor of Roberta Born. Born served as a board member for the organization and was a Glynn County educator who had a strong understanding of the importance of the arts, particularly arts in education. 

“Caleb is the ideal candidate to receive this scholarship,” said Board Member Jackie Turbidy. “He is an accomplished performer both as an actor and a singer. His goal to pursue a career in the performing arts is commendable. He has the passion and commitment to make it in this field and the board is pleased to present him with this scholarship to help him achieve his goals.”  Caleb is the son of C. Michelle Krauss and will be attending LaGrange College this fall.    

The Roberta Born Scholarship is made possible with the support of a donation from the Eugenia Price/Joyce Blackburn Foundation.  For more information on the Roberta Born Scholarship or the other Arts Education programs that are provided to the community, please contact Golden Isles Arts & Humanities at 912-262-6934 or info@goldenislesarts.org 

Golden Isles Arts and Humanities board members Michele Jamieson and Lori Lambright, left, pose with Caleb D. Brown, scholarship winner, and Heather Heath, executive director of the Golden Isles Arts and Humanities, and Golden Isles Arts and Humanities board member Elizabeth Weatherly. 

Brantley woman charged with abandoning baby after traffic stop

sheriff capMisty Daniels, 27, was arrested and charged with giving false name, abandonment of dependent child and obstructing or hindering after she fled the scene of a traffic stop, leaving her child in the vehicle.

Deputies got out with the offender at Elm Circle and when they asked her name she gave them the wrong name.  While deputies were talking to the other parties Daniels fled the scene leaving her baby there.  A short while later Daniels was located and transported to the Brantley County Detention Center. 

.  Deputies got out with the offender at Elm Circle and when they asked her name she gave them the wrong name.  While deputies were talking to the other parties Daniels fled the scene leaving her baby there.  A short while later Daniels was located and transported to the Brantley County Detention Center. 

In other arrests:

• Johnathan Rogers (37) was arrested and charged with DUI/Endangering a Child x2/and Traffic Violations.  Deputies made a traffic stop on a vehicle with a cracked windshield and while speaking with the driver noticed a strong odor of alcohol coming from his breath.  The alco sensor test revealed the presence of alcohol.  There were two young children in the vehicle with Rogers.  

• John Hite (49) was arrested and charged with DUI and other Traffic Violations.  Deputies received a call to Barlow Rd in reference to someone driving up and down the road almost hitting mailboxes.  Deputies made a traffic stop on the vehicle and could smell a strong odor of alcohol coming from the driver.   Mr. Hite was asked to exit the vehicle and if he would take a field sobriety test which he consented to.  The test revealed Hite was intoxicated and he was transported to the Brantley County Detention Center. 

• William Sweat (30) was arrested and charged with possession of methamphetamine/possession of a schedule ii controlled substance/possession of a schedule iv controlled substance/possession of a schedule iii controlled substance/drugs not in original container/driving while license suspended.  Deputies initiated a traffic stop on a vehicle that was weaving.  Deputies made contact with the driver, Sweat, and asked for a driver’s license.  Sweat stated he did not have one.  A check through the system confirmed this statement.  A search of Sweat revealed a small plastic bag containing pills. An inventory of the vehicle showed the presence of suspected meth.   Sweat was transported to the Brantley County Detention Center.

• David Davis (44) was arrested and charged with driving while license suspended.  Clinton Holder (36) was issued a citation for possession and use of drug related objects. Deputies got out with a vehicle that had pulled off the roadway for a second time.  It was confirmed the driver, Davis, had a suspended license.  There was a package lying on the floor and the driver gave consent to look inside.  There were drug related items inside which Holder admitted to being his.  

• Melissa Johnson (38) was arrested and charged with DUI/Weaving/County Ordinance Alcohol Violation.  Deputies were dispatched to Murphy Rd in reference to Criminal Trespass.  The complainant stated their ex had just left the house and she was intoxicated.  Deputies drove around the area and spotted the vehicle coming toward them and as it got closer the suspect vehicle drove in the ditch.  Deputies smelled a strong odor of alcohol coming from Johnson and she did test positive for alcohol. 

In other action:

• Deputies responded to the 200 block of Barlow Rd in reference to Theft by Taking.  Complainant stated that several food items as well as a cell phone were taken from the residence.

• Deputies responded to Elm Circle in reference to Theft by Taking.  Complainant stated that the offender took a washer and dryer and some collectibles. 

• Deputies responded to Hwy 301 North in reference to Harassment.  The complainant stated there is a court order that the offender and the complainant are to avoid contact with each other.  The complainant stated that the offender has been following them and they have also received messages from the offender.  

• Deputies responded to the 300 block of J Foot Lane in reference to Criminal Trespass.  The complainant stated that when the mail carrier went to place the mail inside the box they discovered a dead rattle snake and called the complainant.  

• Deputies responded to Hughes St in reference to Criminal Trespass.  Complainant stated the offender was standing between two boats under a shelter and jumped the fence when they saw the complainant.  

• Deputies responded to the 2700 block of Sears Rd in reference to Terroristic Threats and Acts.  Complainant stated that the offender threatened to drag them outside and beat them. 

• Deputies responded to Charlton Visiting Nurses in reference to Sent Dead Flowers.  Complainant stated that they had received dead flowers from an unknown subject.

• Deputies responded to Chicora Rd in reference to Theft by Taking.  Complainant stated that prescription medication was taken from their mailbox.

• Deputies responded to the 100 block of Waterpump Rd in reference to Theft by Taking.  Complainant stated that their prescription medication had been stolen.

• Deputies responded to the 100 block of Twin Flower Trail in reference to Theft by Taking.  Complainant stated that something that was delivered to them was taken from their mailbox.

• Deputies responded to Buford Hwy in reference to Theft by Deception.  Complainant stated that someone made a credit card purchase without their knowledge in another county.

• Deputies responded to the 900 block of Stafford Rd in reference to Burglary/Theft by Taking/Criminal Trespass.  Complainant stated that an unknown subject had stolen several collectible knives from a storage building on the property.  

Valdosta Family Dollar robber caught in Clinch

The Valdosta Police Department, along with other law enforcement agencies, have caught the suspect in an armed robbery at the Family Dollar on Central Avenue.

On Sunday, at approximately 6:44 pm, the Valdosta Police Department responded to the Family Dollar, 512 E. Central Avenue in reference to the report of an armed robbery. Officers arrived and were told that an African American male had entered the store, displayed what appeared to be a handgun wrapped up in a t-shirt, then removed an undisclosed amount of money out of the cash register.

Valdosta Today

Brunswick area reporting record tourism year

Coastal Brunswick and its neighboring islands are reporting record tax figures that show how tourism is booming.

The Brunswick News reports (http://bit.ly/1pSZU9Z ) the Golden Isles Convention and Visitors Bureau, during its fiscal year that ended June 30, for the first time saw lodging tax revenues exceed $5 million. Overall lodging revenues exceeded $107 million.

Scott McQuade, the CVB’s executive director, says the numbers show tourism is making a strong comeback in the area, which was hit hard by the 2008 recession. His organization promotes tourism in Brunswick as well as St. Simons Island, Little St. Simons Island, Sea Island and Jekyll Island.

Hotel tax revenues are a key indicator for tourism officials. And McQuade says collections in fiscal 2014 were up a whopping 34 percent compared with four years ago.

Macon.com.

Narcotics agents bust trio in Savannah meth sting

Two area residents and one Albany native are in Savannah jail after they attempted to sell large quantities of meth to Counter Narcotics Team (CNT) agents Thursday evening.

On Thursday evening, CNT agents purchased over two ounces of methamphetamine from a 31 year old Albany man at one of the motels in the I-95/Highway 204 area. Two individuals from west Chatham County were also participants in this incident.

WJCL News.

OSHA cites Allman film company in Wayne train crash

Federal workplace safety regulators have issued citations against a movie production company in a Georgia train crash that killed a camera assistant and injured six others while they were shooting a biographical film about singer Gregg Allman.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration on Thursday proposed $74,900 in fines against Film Allman LLC, a company incorporated in 2013 to make the movie “Midnight Rider.”

WJCL News.

Report: Nunn bought land near Brunswick with lobbyists

Georgia Senate candidate Michelle Nunn (D) bought a swath of Georgia land with two registered lobbyists, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Nunn and her husband, along with her father, former Sen. Sam Nunn D-Ga., and two of her father’s former staffers who are now registered lobbyists, secured a $2 million loan and bought 85 acres of land near Brunswick with plans to develop it.

During the 2008 economic downturn they decided instead to preserve it with a “conservation easement contract” with a land trust that kept the area from being preserved — and allows them to get tax breaks for preserving the marshland.

TheHill.

Seasonal layoffs causes rise in Georgia unemployment rate

State labor officials say Georgia’s unemployment rate has risen to 7.8 percent.

The Georgia Department of Labor on Thursday announced the new jobless figure, which is up from 7.4 percent in June.

State Labor Commissioner Mark Butler said the increase is mostly due to temporary, seasonal layoffs in local government and manufacturing.

Butler said the state’s employment picture is continuing to show positive signs. He said private employers in the state created 8,200 jobs in July.

jacksonville.com.

Brunswick day care shut down after baby’s death

The Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning (DECAL) said it has issued an Order for Intended Emergency Closure for a day care where a 3-month-old boy was found unresponsive in his crib Tuesday and later died.

DECAL Chief Communications Officer Reg Griffin said in a statement that in the case of Generation Kids Preschool Nursery, the agency “found that rule violations may have contributed to the death of a child.”

www.actionnewsjax.com.

VPD Search for Suspect in Early Morning Shooting

The Valdosta Police Department is currently searching for the suspect in a shooting that occurred early this morning at Club Dreams.

According to the report, at approximately 1:55 am the Valdosta Police Department responded to Club Dreams, 2159 Bemiss Road, in reference to the report of gunshots being fired and persons injured. Officers arrived and were told that as people were exiting the club, a fight broke out in the parking lot, and at least one person pulled out a gun and fired multiple

Valdosta Today 

New judge named to Lowndes County State Court

Gov. Nathan Deal announced his second judicial appointment Wednesday, this time to Lowndes County State Court.

Workers’ compensation lawyer Ellen Golden will join the court, filling a new judgeship created by the passage of House Bill 986 during this year’s General Assembly.

Golden, a partner at Ryan & Golden in Valdosta, earned her law degree from Mercer University. According to her firm’s website, Golden started her career in general practice before working as an assistant district attorney in the Alapaha Judicial Circuit. She left the public sector in 2000 to begin her workers’ compensation practice.

At first, Golden represented employers and insurance companies, her site states. Now, she represents “select defense clients” and injured workers.

The Daily Report.

Efforts under way to help in Jesup fire recovery

Efforts are gathering steam to help several local businesses recover from a devastating fire in downtown Jesup Monday night.

Most notably, the Jesup Downtown Development Authority has set up the Jesup DDA Fire Fund Account at SunTrust Bank. Donations can be made at SunTrust or at the Wayne County Chamber of Commerce.

The St. Joseph’s/Candler health system in Savannah donated $5,000 Thursday morning, DDA Chair Joe Ierardi said.

“The city attorney is going to have to tell us what we can and can’t use it for legally,” Ierardi said of the fund.

via The Press-Sentinel

Chatham officials: Shooting coverage not overblown

Chatham County leaders aren’t too happy with some in Savannah’s city hall attacking the media for its coverage on the recent gun violence. During Friday’s commissioners meeting some made it a point to say they had no problem with the media attention to 24 shootings across Savannah this past month.

On Thursday WJCL told you how some Savannah aldermen weren’t happy with the media after they learned from Metro police that gun violence is slightly down compared to last year. Alderman Van Johnson told us, “I mean the reality of it is that the media is in business to make news and those who make the more sensational headlines and the better top story, obviously do better.”

WJCL News.

32 Savannians sentenced in WIC fraud investigation

The U.S. Department of Justice announced Friday that over 30 Savannah residents were sentenced this week as part of a massive Georgia Women, Infant, and Children (“WIC”) Program fraud case involving a fake grocery store on Victory Drive.

All 32 participants pleaded guilty and were sentenced this week before United States Magistrate Judge James E. Graham for their roles in selling their WIC vouchers and the vouchers of their minor children for cash.

WJCL News.

Odum woman pleads guilty to murder of mother, stepfather

An Odum woman was sentenced to life in prison Thursday after she pleaded guilty to murder and acknowledged that she helped her much younger boyfriend shoot her mother and stepfather to death.

Heather Tipton, 37, pleaded guilty in Wayne County Superior court to two counts each of murder and violating the state criminal street gang act and single counts of making a false statement to police and tampering with evidence, said John B. Johnson, the senior assistant prosecutor who was ready to take the case to trial Monday.

jacksonville.com.

Students evacuated from Coastal Middle due to possible gas leak

coastal-middle

Just before 8 a.m. Thursday Coastal Middle School students were evacuated to Islands High School due to reports of a small gas leak. Savannah police, fire and Atlanta Gas were called to the scene to investigate.

Officials have not yet released exactly what they discovered, but the all-clear for students to return was given around 8:30 a.m.  Coastal students will resume the day as normal.

 WJCL News.

Police hope stickers will help secure downtown

Savannah-Chatham Metropolitan Police and the city’s Mobility and Parking Services Department have joined hands to help visitors to the downtown area keep their cars and property safe.

Operation “Lock Your Car” began this week when Parking Services and Metro Police began affixing the first of 5,000 stickers to parking meters and parking vending machines reminding drivers and their occupants to take precautions.

WJCL News.

Arrest made for false statement given in Valdosta murder

The Lowndes County Sheriff’s Office has arrested one man after he gave a false statement about the death of Kendrick Johnson.

On Friday, July 18 Dalton Chauncey came to the Lowndes County Sheriff’s Office and relayed that he had been present during a conversation in which two individuals made admissions that they caused the death of Kendrick Johnson in January 2013. According to the statement given by Chauncey, he only knew the first name of the individuals and that a third person, whom he did know was present and heard these admissions.

Valdosta Today 

Former Savannah-Chatham police chief faces new charges

A Tuesday re-indictment of the former police chief of the Savannah-Chatham Metropolitan Police Department added two new counts against him court documents revealed, Thursday.

Willie Clinton Lovett is now facing two separate counts of making false statements to the Federal Bureau of Investigation during their investigation of an illegal gambling operation in which Lovett already faces seven other charges.

 WJCL News.

Four alligators removed from Hinesville pond

Four alligators found in a Hinesville pond will be finding a new home this week with the help of a local trapper.

Trapper Jack removed four gators from ponds in Hinesville’s Bryant Commons Park, Wednesday morning.

The city contracted Trapper Jack and his assistant Valerie Jones to remove the nuisance gators out of fear the scaly inhabitants may prove to be a danger to children who fish in the ponds during special events.

WJCL News.

St. Vincent’s, Bacon County hospital announce alliance

St. Vincent’s HealthCare and Bacon County Hospital in Alma have formed a strategic alliance that the systems say will provide better health care and wellbeing for the residents in their Southeast Georgia and Northeast Florida services areas.

The two hospital systems signed the agreement Friday and there’s something in it for both, said Roger Boatright, chairman of the Bacon County Health Services Board.

“We’ll be purchasing through them. We can save about $600,000 a year in purchasing of supplies, equipment and other things. In return, we try to send our heart patients down there,’’ Boatright said.

Boatright said the hospital facilities are still owned by Bacon County and operated by a board that includes members of the publicly appointed Bacon County Hospital Authority.

“We’re still independent. We’re haven’t merged. We haven’t sold,’’ he said.

jacksonville.com.

Glynn wants return of table donated by Carnegie family

Disputes are often resolved when people gather around a table to talk.

In Glynn County, however, one dispute is over a table itself, a big conference table that the Carnegie family donated to the Brunswick library about 40 years ago.

The massive table was in the library on the western end of Gloucester Street until about June 30, 2013. That’s when Linda Kean, then Three Rivers Regional Library Director, had it hauled off to Jesup when Glynn County evicted her and her staff.

Kean resigned last week, she said, to move somewhere north with her husband, Earl, who will practice law.

 

jacksonville.com.

Child molestation alleged at Georgia Sheriff’s Youth Home

Four people have been arrested after allegations of child molestation were made at the Georgia Sheriff’s Youth Home in Hahira.

On Friday, July 25, 2014, at approximately 5:00 PM, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation arrested Jesus Gomez, 17, at the Valdosta DFACS Office, and charged him with child molestation. Gomez was a resident at the Georgia Sheriff’s Youth Home, Hahira, Georgia.

Valdosta Today

Excursions set for Okefenokee, Cumberland Island

Federal agencies that oversee Cumberland Island and the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge in southeast Georgia are planning weekend paddling excursions this fall for the public to explore their wildest corners.

The National Park Service and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service have scheduled the paddling trips the weekend of Sept. 13 through 15 and day trips on Sept. 21 and 22. Visitors who sign up and pay admission fees in advance will get guided tours of each site’s federally protected wilderness areas.

The outings are planned to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the National Wilderness Preservation Act, which was adopted by Congress in 1964. Lands protected by the wilderness act are left undeveloped and largely untouched by man.

Macon.com.

Three killed in head-on semi-car crash in Glynn

Three people died in a head-on collision on a heavily traveled Glynn County highway just after noon Wednesday.

The accident, which involved a semi tractor-trailer and a passenger car, occurred near the entrance to the port facilities on U.S. 17 South, Glynn County Police Chief Matt Doering said.

Brunswick residents Benjamin Nelson and Christopher Wiggins and Jacksonville resident William Hester, all 23, died when the Subaru Impreza driven by Nelson collided with the semi tractor-trailer driven by Robert Lowe of Alabama, Georgia State Patrol Trooper 1st Class Ty Brooks said.

jacksonville.com.

Bail denied for Waycross woman charged in death of child

A Waycross woman has been denied bond after being charged with murder for the death of a 3-year-old boy on Saturday.Karena Warden, 42, of 600 Summit Street, initially was charged with cruelty to a child in the first degree after the unresponsive child, Maliachi J’Quavion Smith, was taken to the Mayo Clinic Waycross where doctors could not revive him.A bond hearing was held Thursday morning, Capt. Danny Hampton of the Waycross Police Department said.

members.jacksonville.com.

Waycross woman charged with murder of 3-year-old

warden

A Waycross woman has been charged with murder after she allegedly punched and kicked a 3 year old boy to death.

Police in Waycross responded to the Mayo Health Clinic Saturday after a 3 year old boy was brought in unresponsive.The child later died, according to a release from the WPD.

An examination revealed the child had suffered multiple contusions consistent with being abused over a period of time.

The Waycross Police Department investigated the case as a homicide and arrested 42-year-old Karena Warden. The young boy was allegedly a guest in Warden’s home for approximately two months and had come to Waycross with other children in his family.

The warrant stated the young boy was punched in the head and body, kicked in the face, denied sleep and choked.

The Division of Family and Children Services is also investigating the child’s death.

Warden was charged with murder and felony cruelty to a child, according to an arrest warrant.

 First Coast News

Valdosta has urgent need for blood and platelet donations

The American Red Cross has an urgent need for blood and platelet donors of all types to help prevent a blood shortage.

Every two seconds someone in the U.S. needs a blood transfusion, and every day the Red Cross must collect 15,000 donations to meet the needs of patients. Over the past 11 week, donations through the Red Cross were down approximately 8 percent, resulting in about 80,000 fewer donations than expected. The number of donors continues to decline, and the shortfall is significant enough that the Red Cross could experience an emergency situation in the coming week.

Valdosta Today

Brantley man arrested on multiple drug-related charges

 


 

In other action:

Deputies met with complainant at the Brantley County Sheriff’s Office in reference to Forgery/Theft by Deception.  Complainant stated the offender gave them a check that was forged by the offender.  

Deputies responded to the 100 block of Willow Drive in reference to Theft by Taking.  Complainant stated that someone had taken a mini bike (dirt bike).  It was a 2013 bike made by Baja Motorsports. 

Deputies met with complainant at the Brantley County Sheriff’s Office in reference to Financial Transaction Card Fraud.  The complainant stated that an online company had been charging their debit card.  Complainant contacted the bank and the card was cancelled. 

Deputies responded to Whisper Ridge Loop in reference to Burglary/Theft by Taking.  Complainant stated they had been out of town and someone had taken several items from their home and stole a check and cashed it.  Some of the items taken are a bicycle, push mower and various tools. 

Deputies responded to Browntown Rd in reference to Theft by Taking.  Complainant stated that several farm implements and other metal was taken from this property.  Complainant also had a tractor stolen from Albert Gibson Rd.  

Tyler Asbell (22) was arrested and charged with Burglary/Criminal Trespass.  Deputies responded to Dogwood Circle in reference to Burglary/Criminal Trespass.  Complainant stated that the offender had stolen 2 guns from them.  Deputies went and met with the offender and he did admit to taking the guns.  Asbell had traded one of the guns and the other was tossed into a culvert pipe.  Asbell did take deputies to the culvert pipe and the gun was recovered.  Asbell was transported to the Brantley County Detention Center. 

Justin Stokes (23) was arrested and charged with Possession of Methamphetamine with Intent to Distribute/Possession of Marijuana less than Ounce/Failure to Appear.  Deputies went to Hoke Rd in reference to serving a Bench Warrant on Mr. Stokes.  A search incident to arrest was done and the methamphetamine and the marijuana were found at this time.  Stokes was taken to the Brantley County Detention Center.

Zep agrees to $905,000 EPA penalty

Zep Inc. will pay a $905,000 civil penalty to resolve Environmental Protection Agency allegations its subsidiary sold an unregistered pesticide, sold a misbranded pesticide and submitted false compliance certification statements.

Atlanta-based Zep (NYSE: ZEP) neither admitted nor denied the EPA’s allegations and legal conclusions. It said it agreed to a consent order to avoid the expense of litigation.

The EPA claimed Zep sold “Formula 165” between April 21, 2010, and Jan. 6, 2012, in violation with the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA).

Atlanta Business Chronicle.

Wayne tax assessor attorney denies open records request

An attorney for the Wayne County Board of Tax Assessors has refused a Georgia Open Record Acts request for the Board’s settlement with Rayonier Forest Resources regarding timberland taxes.

As a result, on Friday The Press-Sentinel instructed Georgia Press Association attorney David Hudson to file a motion to overturn that portion of the settlement requiring the agreement to be sealed.

Rayonier and Wayne County jointly announced on June 19 that the two sides had reached a settlement in its six-year dispute over new timberland values, but neither side would reveal the details of the settlement.

via The Press-Sentinel

Foreign aquatic plants invade county lakes

Bill Tyson plunged his hand into the water in a lake in southern Effingham County and pulled out what looked like seaweed. He stuck the aquatic plant into a Ziploc bag full of water and looked closely at the specimen, counting whorls of leaflets around the stem.

After counting four leaflets, Tyson, who is the Effingham County coordinator for agriculture and natural resources for the University of Georgia Cooperative Extension, pronounced the plant Eurasian Water-milfoil.

“I’m not 100 percent sure, but I’m pretty confident,” he said.

savannahnow.com.

Still Pond Winery returns to its roots

After nearly a year of uncertainty, Still Pond Winery, which has been supplying Georgia wine lovers with a variety of homemade wines for the past decade, is now taking things back to the farm’s roots with the company’s new line of premium moonshine, top shelf vodka and aged brandy made in the new Still Pond Distillery.

Charles Cowart, owner of what is now known as Still Pond Winery and Distillery, said the decision to venture into the moonshine market made perfect sense for the company, since not only is moonshine quickly becoming one of the most popular spirits in the country, it adds yet another way for the family-owned business to diversify its product line.

Albany Herald.

Georgia firms eye commercial uses of drones

One of the hottest viral videos over the July 4th weekend was taken by a camera-equipped drone that flew through exploding fireworks.

Unmanned aircraft may still be most associated with weapons of war, but that’s quickly changing — and not just because of cool fireworks videos.

Businesses are eying civilian drones’ peaceful uses. And a handful of Georgia companies and colleges already are at work on ways to turn them into tools of commerce.

savannahnow.com.

Dulany Industries to develop former Tronox site in Savannah

Savannah-based Dulany Industries Inc. is expected to announce Monday that it has reached an agreement with Greenfield Environmental Savannah Trust LLC to buy the 1,600-acre former site of Kerr McGee and Tronox off East President Street, with plans to turn the valuable waterfront tract into multi-use industrial complex.

The property, to be called SeaPoint Industrial Terminal Complex, is the largest private industrial site at the Port of Savannah. It features a mile of deep-water frontage, dual rail access into the port and infrastructure that includes a dock, utilities and a research and development facility.

Reed Dulany, president of Dulany Industries, said his company plans to clean-up the site, then redevelop some 375 acres into six or more plots for diversified multi-tenant use, focusing on high-tech manufacturing companies with compatible interests. The state will retain 1,000 acres in wetlands, and the project also will create a buffer for Historic Fort Jackson, he said.

“SeaPoint will offer everything from soup to nuts,” he said. “Our clients will have accessibility to rail, deep water, steam and solar energy, warehousing, R&D

savannahnow.com.

New concept Walmart headed to Brunswick

About one-quarter the size of a typical Walmart Supercenter — a Neighborhood Market is moving into Brunswick, Georgia.

Walmart Neighborhood Markets were designed as a smaller-footprint option for communities, offering a pharmacy, groceries and a smaller selection of household merchandise.

Walmart currently operates more than 340 Neighborhood Markets nationwide.

Jacksonville Business Journal.

Savannah officials bash new gun laws after shootings

Officials are pleading with the public to speak-up and do their part to help end a sudden explosion of gun violence in the last week.

The mayor, police chief and city aldermen spoke in a press conference just after noon Monday after eight shootings in and around downtown Savannah since July 16.

“We don’t deserve to live in fear caused by a handful of kids too dumb to solve their problems without a gun,” Mayor Edna Jackson said adding that whoever is involved in the shootings doesn’t deserve to be called men.

 WJCL News.

Georgia’s watermelon crop producing sweet results

Good yields, reasonable prices early in the season and low disease pressure has Georgia’s watermelon crop producing sweet results, says one University of Georgia vegetable horticulturist.

“Typically, for overhead irrigated growers in the Tifton area, we’re in the 40,000-50,000-pound range for watermelon yields, but I’ve heard a number of reports in the 60,000-pound range per acre, which is good,” said Tim Coolong, who is based on the UGA Tifton Campus. “Prices at the start of the season were pretty strong. Growers that had melons available then, did fairly well and helped make up for last year.”

Georgia FACES

New disease hits Georgia Vidalia onion crop

Georgia is the only state that produces sweet Vidalia onions. It’s also the only state where onion farmers are tackling a new disease — yellow bud.

Yellow bud (Allium Cepa) turns onion leaves yellow, similar to a ripe banana. The plant either dies or loses the yellow color in the leaves and greens back up. While the plant looks healthy, the damage has already been done.

via Yellow Bud Disease | Georgia FACES | UGA.

Suspect requires treatment as Ware deputies raid suspected working meth lab

A suspect required treatment and two Ware County deputies were briefly overcome by chemical fumes Sunday when deputies raided what is believed to have been a working methamphetamine lab, the county sheriff said.

After receiving a tip that methamphetamine production was under way at a Ware County residence, sheriff’s deputies traveled to 3143 Slash Pine Road about 10:40 p.m. Saturday, Sheriff Randy Royal said.

The owner of the residence, Joseph C. Puckett, gave them permission to “look around” and, as they did so, the officers saw a light in a building behind the residence, Royal said.

When the deputies opened the door of the building, they were briefly overcome by chemical fumes from inside and took the man inside the building, William G. Bird, 23, into custody, Royal said.

jacksonville.com.

Brunswick pill mill doctor had criminal past

doctorA doctor who had been acquitted of stealing a deceased patient’s Rolex watch in Stockton in 2010 now finds himself convicted in Georgia of running a pill mill.

Cleveland J. Enmon Jr. has reportedly been sentenced to 20 years in federal prison on 92 charges of distributing disproportionate amounts of narcotics to patients.

The conviction comes five years after the San Joaquin County District Attorney’s Office charged Enmon, accusing him of taking a $6,500 gold Rolex from a retired Manteca police officer who had died at St. Joseph’s Medical Center.

A jury found him not guilty.

But odds were not on his side in the more recent trial. Enmon represented himself in the drug case and lost.

Recordnet.com.

Brunswick police chief suspended pending investigation into online training program

The police chief for the city of Brunswick has been suspended amid an investigation into an online training program for officers.

Chief Tobe  Green and another officer, Capt. Mike Melton, have been placed on administrative leave. City Manager Billy Weeks said Friday they will remain suspended pending the outcome of an internal investigation requested by the Georgia Peace Officer Standards and Training Council.

The Republic

SGHS wants to go private, lease Brunswick and St. Marys hospitals

Southeast Georgia Health System, which operates Georgia’s largest remaining public hospital, wants to restructure to become a private nonprofit corporation that would lease and operate the hospitals in Brunswick and St. Marys.

The reorganization, culminated with the signing of a lease on the two hospitals, could become fully effective in December, and would result in the system gaining new business from outside its geographic area, Carlton A. DeVooght, system vice president and general counsel told the Glynn County Commission Tuesday.

With 2,300 employees, Southeast Georgia Health System is the largest employer in Glynn County where it has 316 beds in the hospital along with a maternity center, a large outpatient treatment center and several immediate care facilities, DeVooght said.

The Camden Center has 40 beds, a maternity center, a senior care center and other specialty services, he said. The system has 345 employees in Camden County.

DeVooght said the health system’s status as a public hospital constrains it from reacting quickly to business opportunities and to competition because it has to get permission from other public hospitals within its geographic service area.

He cited as an example Memorial Health University Medical Center in Savannah, which restructured long ago. Memorial Health has established an office and is offering services in Glynn County, and Southeast Health System can’t quickly respond to recapture the health care dollars leaving the community, he ssaid.

 jacksonville.com.

Manhunt on in Brunswick for Palatka murder suspect

The Palatka Police Department has identified the person they said is responsible for a Tuesday morning homicide.  A nationwide warrant was issued for Kevin T. Daniels, 34, of Palatka, who is charged with first-degree murder, attempted first-degree murder, aggravated stalking, armed burglary and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.PPD responded to a call of shots fired around 1:30 a.m. on Husson Avenue. Officers found 34-year-old Raymond Lavon Perry, of Starke, dead from a gunshot wound. Investigators said Daniels also shot at his estranged wife, Alzetta Esau, but missed.Authorities tracked Daniels to Brunswick, Georgia, but he was not located. Family members told Action News Daniels broke in through the back door of the home and started shooting.Lakenya Williams said she received a rude awakening early Tuesday morning.”I got a phone call stating that my sister’s estranged husband shot her friend,” Williams said.Williams said Perry leaves behind a young son.”We loved him,” Williams. “We’ve been knowing him for a very long time. He was a good man.”According to police, as many as eight children ranging in age from 2 to 10 were inside the home at the time of the slaying.The family said the kids had all come over for a sleepover.“It really devastated my 10-year-old granddaughter,” said Alfred Esau, Alzetta Esau’s father. “She saw everything.”Police said Daniels and Alzetta Esau have children together. According to court records, in February Alzetta Esau obtained a permanent injunction against Daniels. He was not to have contact with Alzetta Esau or their children.”I’m just worried about my sister,” Williams said. “That’s the only thing I’m worried about, my sister and her well-being. “This is a horrific experience for the children who witnessed this crime. The city will exhaust every resource possible to bring Daniels into custody,” said Palatka Police Chief Gary Getchell. Anyone with any with information leading to the location of Daniels is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 1-888-277-847 or Detective Lt. Jason Shaw at 386-329-0115.

actionnewsjax.com.

Two Waycross men indicted on federal charges of enticing girls for sex acts to produce pornography

Two Waycross men are charged in a 13-count federal indictment with enticing minor girls to engage in sexual acts so they could record the acts to produce child pornography.

Janques Donte Taylor, 22, is charged with three counts of production of child pornography, one count of coercing and enticing a minor and two counts of receiving child pornography.

Donnell Cornelius Shavers, 22, is charged with one count of producing child pornography, five counts of coercion and enticement and one count of receiving child pornography.

The two men are charged in the same indictment even though they acted separately.

The indictment says that between Jan. 26 and March 18, Shavers used the internet to persuade five girls, identified only by their initials, to engage in a sexual acts to produce child pornography. Taylor used the internet around Jan. 5 to persuade another girl to engage in a sex act to produce child pornography.

The sex acts could be charged as statutory rape under Georgia law, the indictment says.The indictment says Taylor received child pornography twice in early January while Shavers received child pornography once in March.

All of the acts are said to have occurred in Ware County where the two men are charged with child molestation and other felonies, Sheriff Randy Royal said

jacksonville.com.

Elected officials can speak out on proceedings of closed sessions

It is important they know that if even just one of them chooses to disclose what was talked about behind closed doors, he can do so without fear of violating any state law.

By KELSEY COCHRAN
Transparency Project of Georgia

Elected officials are free to speak about what goes on in executive sessions, according to a leading authority on the Georgia Open Meetings Act.

Attorney David Hudson says elected officials do not give up their First Amendment rights to free speech simply because they hold office or because they participate in an executive session of a governing body.

Hudson told members of the Georgia Press Association earlier this year: “From time to time, elected officials such as city council members, county commissioners, school board members or appointed members of the board of government authorities will receive advice (usually from a lawyer representing the public entity) that the public official may not disclose information learned in a closed session. Such advice has no basis in fact or in law.”

Hudson adds: “Elected officials are subject only to the voters.”

He explains there is an obvious misunderstanding of the Code of Ethics contained in O.C.G.A 45-10-3 that prohibits them from disclosing proprietary information for “personal gain” or in violation of the public trust. He says: “None of its provisions would prohibit an elected or appointed member from disclosing what occurred in an executive session if the member felt it was in the public interest to do so.”

In fact, Hudson feels that the state’s Constitution might even compel an elected official to disclose what occurred in a closed-door executive session.

In the same article he commented on Article I, Sec. II, Paragraph I of the Georgia Constitution. “It states: ‘Public officers are trustees and servants of the people and are at all times amenable to them.’ Thus if the public officer learns of something that occurs in a closed session that he or she believes should be known by the people to whom the public officer is a servant, there is no prohibition in Georgia law that would prevent such disclosure or subject the public officer to any measure of discipline.”

Hudson says that disclosing information from executive sessions might anger fellow officials, but in his opinion a public servant should weigh the public trust against the risk of creating ill-will with other members of the same elected body.

Local elected officials in county and city governments have told reporters and editors they are legally prohibited to disclose what is discussed in executive sessions.

Hudson disagrees.

In addition, Hudson has consistently opined that there are no requirements in state law to hold executive sessions for any reason. Rather, he has said, it is permitted or allowed for property acquisition, pending or actual litigation and certain personnel issues.

Jim Zachary, editor of the Henry Daily Herald and Clayton News Daily, and director of the recently-launched Transparency Project of Georgia, says: “There is a significant difference between being legally permitted to do something and being required. Every single time elected officials retreat to executive session, it is a choice they are making to conceal the public’s business. It is important they know that if even just one of them chooses to disclose what was talked about behind closed doors, they can do so without fear of violating any state law.”

Zachary continues: “These are extremely important legal perspectives. Citizens should continue to put pressure on local officials to stop doing public business in private.”

Jesup brother, sister charged with identity theft and tax fraud

Gregory Allen, 31, and Leisha Allen, 33, brother and sister from Jesup, GA, were arraigned last week on a federal indictment for their alleged roles in a stolen identity and tax fraud scheme operating in Wayne County.

The federal indictment alleges that Leisha and Gregory Allen filed fraudulent tax returns in order to illegally obtain tax refund checks for their personal benefit. The indictment further alleges that the Allens filed hundreds of fraudulent tax returns using the stolen names and social security numbers of others, including deceased individuals, in order to claim over a million dollars in fraudulent tax refunds.

United States Attorney Edward J. Tarver said, “The burgeoning crime of stealing the identities of innocent people for the purpose of filing false tax returns places all Americans at risk. The damage to unsuspecting victims is severe and long-lasting. Identity thieves beware: this is a real crime, against real people, with real consequences. Know that you will be investigated, prosecuted, and sent to federal prison for your crimes. This case is one of many examples of the continuing efforts of federal law enforcement and the United States Attorney’s Office to combat identity-theft schemes designed to steal tax dollars.”

“This is a case of greed, deceit, manipulation and theft directed at the United States Department of Treasury and the American taxpayer,” stated Veronica F. Hyman-Pillot, Special Agent in Charge IRS Criminal Investigation. “We will continue to aggressively pursue identity theft in order to protect our nation’s tax system and millions of Americans who could fall prey to this crime.”

Mr. Tarver emphasized that an indictment is only an accusation and is not evidence of guilt. The defendants are entitled to a fair trial, during which it will be the government’s burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

 

Two Waycross men indicted for child pornography

JACQUES DONTE TAYLOR, 22, and DONNEL CORNELIUS SHAVERS, 22, both of Waycross, were indicted by a federal grand jury sitting in Savannah earlier this week on numerous counts of enticing minors to engage in sexual acts and with production of child pornography.  In part, the indictment alleges that from January through March of 2014 TAYLOR and SHAVERS persuaded, induced, and enticed two minors to engage in sexually explicit conduct for the purpose of producing child pornography. 

United States Attorney Edward J. Tarver said, “These defendants have been charged with committing heinous acts against young children.  Our children deserve protection from those who abuse and prey on them.  The U. S. Attorney’s Office will continue to aggressively prosecute those who violate the innocence of our children.” 

“The online exploitation of children is a problem being faced by law enforcement agencies at all levels of government,” said Brock D. Nicholson, special agent in charge of ICE Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) in Atlanta.  “By working with local partners like the Ware County Sheriff’s Office, HSI special agents can use their unique authorities and technical expertise to help fully investigate crimes against children and ensure their perpetrators are brought to justice.”

    Ware County Sheriff Randy F. Royal stated, “I am proud of our investigator, Detective Hope Salinas, who began the initial investigation, which led to Mr. Taylor and Mr. Shavers’ arrests and their being charged with child molestation and other state-level felonies.  I am prouder still of the level of support and the spirit of cooperation between our agency and Homeland Security Investigations, which afforded the manpower and resources needed to broaden the scope of the investigation so that all the victims in this case will get the opportunity for justice.”  

The federal indictment of TAYLOR and SHAVERS arises out of a joint investigation by the HSI and the Ware County Sheriff’s Office, with additional assistance from the Liberty County Sheriff’s Office.  Tarver emphasized that an indictment is only an accusation and is not evidence of guilt.  The defendants are entitled to a fair trial, during which it will be the Government’s burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. 


This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, which is a nationwide U. S. Department of Justice initiative designed to protect children from online exploitation and abuse.  Led by the United States Attorneys’ Offices, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state and local resources to better locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the Internet, as well as identify and rescue victims.  

Assistant United States Attorney Daniel R. Crumby is prosecuting the case on behalf of the United States.  For additional information, please contact First Assistant United States Attorney James D. Durham at (912) 201-2547.

Bulloch County official arrested on theft, forgery charges


An employee of the Bulloch County Clerk of Court’s office was arrested after a lengthy investigation that uncovered theft, forgery and other crimes, Tuesday, Bulloch officials announced Wednesday.

According to the Bulloch County Sheriff’s Office (BCSO), the department received a call from Clerk of Court Heather Banks McNeal in late June regarding a discrepancy in monies collected by an employee of her office.

WJCL News.

Creating an Islamic state in Syria and Iraq

carl
Carl Anthony Wege is an Associate Professor of Political Science at Coastal Georgia Community College in Brunswick, Georgia. He has published articles on the Abu Nidal Organization, the Syrian Social Nationalist Party, Hezbollah and Syrian and Iranian Intelligence Organizations. He also teaches a terrorism course at Armstrong Atlantic State University.

By Carl Wege

The sectarian nature of the struggle in Iraq may simply be the most convenient, available expression for social conflict.

The Sunni uprising in eastern Syria that is now merging withIraq’s incipient civil war is becoming a Salafi-led insurgency, which is encompassing both countries under the banners of theIslamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS). What Abu-Bakr al-Baghdadi, or Caliph Ibrahim, now calls the “Islamic State” had originated in the defunct Islamic State in Iraq (ISI) and the Mujahideen Shura Council. The quickly unfolding engagements demonstrate an unappreciated operational capacity on the part of ISIS and the evidence of Sunni populations failing to actively resist the group. These events are fundamentally changing the character of the Syrian Civil War and are engaging Iraq in a more overtly sectarian conflict.

Attempts by outside observers to view the war in Syria and the internecine violence in Iraq through separate lenses have proven as ill-conceived as efforts to view the conflicts inAfghanistan and Pakistan as compromising anything other than one theater. Iraq has been a serious player in the Syrian Civil War for nearly two years, with the Maliki government supporting an Iranian air bridge supplying weapons to the Assad regime, while Iraq surreptitiously emboldens IraqiShia Muslims to travel to Syria and fight for Bashar al-Assad. The success of ISIS across western Iraq means there are fewer Iraqi Shia militias in Syria that are able to support the Assad government in its fight against the Sunni rebellion. Significant numbers of those Iraqi Shia fighters are leaving Syria to go home and defend the Shia heartland in Iraq’s south. This will complicate Iranian efforts to crush the Syrian revolt, as Tehran must now also provide arms and advice to Assad and Nouri al-Maliki.

A tactical consequence of these events is a window of perhaps two or three months, where the number of Iraqi Shia militias available to fight for Assad in Syria will further decrease. However, Hezbollah’s ability to fill the gap with Lebanese Shia fighters is still problematic. Even if Hezbollah attempts to mobilize Lebanon’s AMAL movement to buttress the Lebanese Shia expeditionary forces in Syria, this would still take time. AMAL have always been the lesser of Lebanon’s Shia militias, so whatever contribution they make is unlikely to reach Hezbollah standards. At the end of the day, and despite protests to the contrary, Hezbollah is now overextended in Syria. The question for Sunni militias in Syria is how they might exploit this opportunity. Yet the infighting and exhaustion among Salafi factions in Syria over the last year may make Sunni exploitation of this opportunity difficult.

The Prospect of Sectarian Civil War in Iraq

In Iraq, a fatwa (religious decree) by Ali al-Husayni al-Sistani calling able-bodied Shia men to arms in Iraq is genuinely significant, given his position as a “source of emulation” leading the Najaf Hawzas. The ayatollah is revered for his history of political moderation. While Sistani’s fatwa can be construed by scholar-jurists with nuanced understanding as a call to defend the Iraqi nation, the practical effects may be rather different. The Iraqi street is more likely to interpret it as legitimizing the mobilization of quiescent Shia militias and the establishment of new ones. What leaders want, even revered ones, and what their followers do are sometimes two different things.

The implosion of the Syrian and Iraqi states into warring factions is of much more than academic concern for Ayatollah Ali Khamenei … The fires now burning in Syria and Iraq may soon scorch the foundations of Khamenei’s house.

Sistani’s fatwa will ultimately result in a greater number of Shia militiamen who are ready to protect the Shia heartland in southern Iraq. It will eventually make more Shia fighters available for deployment to Syria once the Iraqi situation stabilizes. Yet Sistani’s decree may also have the unintended effect of accelerating the potential for a sectarian civil war across Iraq. The stage for such a conflict was furthered by Maliki’s systematic efforts to exclude Sunnis from public life in Iraq over the past several years.

However, it is now an open question over whether a demise of the Maliki government and a cosmetic change in Baghdad would limit the likelihood for such a sectarian conflict. That is because the problem is not simply Maliki. Rather, the issue lies in regional demographics and the legacy of Sykes-Picot boundaries. European colonial powers, acting much as they did in Africa, drew 20th century borders in the Near East, which intentionally divided ethnic and religious groups, and deliberately placed peoples with a history of inter-communal antagonisms together for the purpose of preventing colonial populations from resisting European rule. Jordan, for example, is even more artificial as a national state than Syria and Iraq. With Syria and Iraq, it is the borders that are colonial holdovers. With Transjordan, the whole concept of the nation-state was an amalgamation of colonial political maneuvers in search of a country. That said, such regional demographics and colonial legacies are not inevitable destinies; although they can be drivers of social antagonism.

The sectarian nature of the struggle in Iraq may simply be the most convenient, available expression for social conflict. Since decades of Baathist dictatorships prevented the development of civil institutions in Iraq and Syria that could openly articulate popular political preferences, other social institutions such as family, religion and tribe filled the roles. Therefore, the Iraqi conflict now described primarily in religious or sectarian terms may actually be more strongly anchored in political and social disputes that are merely fought under the guise of sect. While it is convenient to frame such clashes in sectarian terms, it should be understood that sect may merely be a mode to express underlying Iraqi social conflict rather than instrumental to such contests.

The Factions

The Iraqi-Syrian war is also precipitating a Sunni fratricide, as al-Qaeda-related Salafi formations fighting in Syria and Iraq are splintering badly. Multiple Salafi factions vie for power and operate as coalitions of networks that fight rivals across the entire ideological spectrum. The array of such contending factions include the Mujahideen Shura Council; the Army of Immigrants and Partisans; Jabhat al-Nusra;Kurdish Salafi groups like Jamaat Ansar al-Islam; Dagistani Jamaat; and Jaysh Muhammad. Additionally, foreign and indigenous jihadis encompass a range of actors, including European “war tourists” and thousands of prisoners released from Syrian and Iraqi jails following ISIS raids. Many of these prisoners can be legitimately described as mentally deranged criminals, exercising sociopathic behavior under an ISIS banner.

The complete array of jihadi fighters are perhaps better understood on their own terms rather than as a uniform category. Foreign jihadists are not all the same, just like indigenous Salafi jihadists. Such contending factions, including those incorporating criminal elements, make the claim to represent the piety of the Prophet Muhammad’s companions, while ruthlessly maneuvering for dominance. The time is long past when a figure like Ayman al-Zawahiri could even pretend to speak for Salafi jihadists fighting in Iraq and Syria.

… the problem is not simply Maliki. Rather, the issue lies in regional demographics and the legacy of Sykes-Picot boundaries. European colonial powers, acting much as they did in Africa, drew 20th century borders in the Near East, which intentionally divided ethnic and religious groups.

Jabhat al-Nusra, which had been Zawahiri and al-Qaeda’s “official” affiliate in the Syrian War, is now secondary to the more dominant ISIS under the titular leadership of Baghdadi. Even so, it would likely be a mistake to view Baghdadi as a “new” Osama bin Laden. The world has changed since that night in Abbottabad. The ability of someone like Baghdadi to be anything more than a notable among notables in the shifting coalitions of Salafi jihadists is challenging. A better way to think of ISIS is as an organization of Salafi factions rather than as a Salafi organization. Each of these Salafi factions has its own leader with varying degrees of loyalty to Baghdadi and some, like Abu Mohammad al-Jawlani, hold little if any loyalty.

The ballooning of ISIS-identified areas straddling the former Iraqi-Syrian border has been furthered in some places by the neo-Baathist and pseudo-Sufi Jaysh Rijal al-Tikrit al-Naqshbandi (JRTN) militias, which are believed to be affiliated with aSaddam Hussein-era general, Ibrahim al-Douri. These Baathist militias exhibit more robust military skills than most ISIS fighters, and are making what is likely temporary but, nonetheless, common cause with ISIS in some Sunni towns in Iraq to confront Maliki’s Shia-dominated army. There have been several clashes already between the JRTN and ISIS in Kirkuk and on the highway near Salah al-Din.

The real question is going to be the ability of ISIS to actually govern the Sunni towns in eastern Syria and western Iraq, which it now controls. Since the ISIS “conquest” of these towns was generally without sustained resistance, it is an open question as to how ISIS would fair if significant Sunni opposition develops, particularly in Iraqi towns where the group seeks to impose its own versions of sharia law. Chasing a hated Iraqi Shia army out of a Sunni town in Anbar is one thing. Incorporating Anbar into a caliphate is something else.

The Amalgamation of Civil Wars in Iraq and Syria

The amalgamation of civil wars engulfing both Syria and Iraq are manifesting according to the indigenous social dynamics on the ground. In some ways, all such rebellions are local. Consequently, outside powers from Saudi Arabia to Iran, who are attempting to influence the conflict through local proxies, are limited by these local conditions. The subtleties of the Syrian and Iraqi conflicts should be considered as neither wholly a series of indigenous civil wars, nor wholly a consequence of proxies in the service of outside powers. A better view may see the conflict as one where the engagement of external actors is framed within the social dynamics of local conditions.

While Western observers have been deservedly taken to task for complacency in understanding the organizational significance of ISIS, the situation is even more disastrous from an Iranian perspective. Iran had sought a status as an imperial regional power dominating adjacent countries through a combination of local Shia rulers, such as Iraq’s Maliki, and secular Shia-linked allies such as Syria’s Alawite Baathist government. Instead, Iran has seen a generalized Sunni uprising shattering the nearby countries, which it sought to influence as coherent national states. Tehran has also seen the emergence of a Sunni Kurdish state that is hostile to Iran, while the Islamic Republic is still unable to deploy any actual nuclear deterrent.

The implosion of the Syrian and Iraqi states into warring factions is of much more than academic concern for Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. Iran, beyond the central Iranian plateau, has its own plethora of ethnicities resistant to Tehran’s yoke, in addition to an enormous youth population bulge and tremendous over-urbanization. The fires now burning in Syria and Iraq may soon scorch the foundations of Khamenei’s house.

Georgia to forcibly draw blood from drivers

Intoxicated drivers who are engaged by Metro and visiting law enforcement officers may find themselves without a defensive tactic others have been trying to use beginning tonight when police, prosecutors and a judge team up for “No Refusal” DUI testing.

Savannah-Chatham Metropolitan Police, the Chatham County District Attorney’s Office and Chatham County Recorder’s Court Judge Claire Williams will be working with officers from across Georgia participating in Operation Thunder.

WJCL News.

Blackshear man sentenced for distribution of child porn

Devin Spencer Williams, 19, of Blackshear, was sentenced last week by United States District Court Chief Judge Lisa Godbey Wood to 17½ years in prison, followed by 10 years of supervised release, for distributing child pornography.

Williams pled guilty to two counts of distributing child pornography in January 2014. He will be required to register as a sex offender.

According to the evidence presented at his plea and sentencing hearings, between March 2013 and July 2013, Williams, exchanged email messages with various individuals in order to trade child pornography while in both the Blackshear and Brunswick areas.

When his computer and mobile devices were searched, agents found hundreds of images depicting child sexual abuse. In addition, the evidence revealed that in July 2013, Williams engaged in a number of email chats with an individual in Maine – who is facing federal charges there – who was actively molesting children in his care.

Through those emails, Williams requested and received a number of images depicting the sexual molestation of those children.

Williams, who had been in custody since his arrest in October 2013, was returned to the custody of the United States Marshal Service to serve his sentence.

United States Attorney Edward J. Tarver stated, “It is disturbing that someone so young would engage in trading images of child pornography and would seek images from an active child molester. His conduct exemplifies how those who seek out these images, either directly or indirectly, encourage others to create more images, and perpetuate the horrific victimization of young children. Williams committed a serious crime for which the Court correctly imposed lengthy punishment. The Department of Justice and this United States Attorney’s Office will continue efforts to protect children using aggressive prosecution and advocacy for significant sentences for these crimes.”

“This significant sentence is an important indication that HSI special agents and our law enforcement partners will not tolerate the trading of child pornography in our society,” said Special Agent in Charge Brock D. Nicholson of HSI Atlanta, who oversees the agency’s criminal investigations in Georgia and the Carolinas. “Anyone who thinks they can get away with trafficking in this filth should consider the fact that this defendant will spend nearly 20 years behind bars. Trading in child pornography isn’t a game or a crime that law enforcement takes lightly; it is a serious crime with serious consequences. Those who choose to continue to engage in it should not be surprised when HSI comes knocking at their door and a judge gives them decades in a prison cell to consider their bad choices.”

 

Savannah back in Hollywood spotlight with “Sinking Sand”

The citizens of Savannah are no strangers to movie cameras. From the famed “Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil” to the more recent Miley Cyrus flick, “The Last Song,” Savannah has put its stamp on Hollywood in one way or another.

Now the city can add a new film to its growing résumé.

“Sinking Sand,” produced by locals from Savannah and Georgia, is a suspense thriller set against the backdrop of Savannah. Recently, the cast and crew spent some time filming in downtown Savannah and on Tybee Island before heading to Atlanta.

Writer and director Brian Yarbrough said there were two reasons for setting “Sinking Sand” in Savannah: practical story purposes and the city’s beauty.

“Savannah is really pretty,” he said. “It’s very tantalizing to the eye.”

Star Jenn Gotzon said she sees the city as its own character within the film.

“The depth of consequence in the characters is reflected in the depth of history seen in Savannah,” she said. “The feel and tonality here is something you don’t see in any other city.”

www.wsbtv.com.