Category Archives: NOW

St. Marys hospital authority’s use of funds laudable, but not be legal?

The bulk of funding for St. Marys’ popular senior center might disappear if one legislator’s investigation shows the city hospital authority provides its funding illegally.

State Rep. Jason Spencer, R-Woodbine, said state law requires the St. Marys Hospital Authority to use its more than $3 million trust fund to support low-income residents’ medical care rather than provide for the center. He reported the discrepancy to the state Attorney General’s office and expects an opinion soon.

jacksonville.com.

Why government wants you to take out loans you can’t afford

By Robert Romano

On April 2, the Washington Post published an article entitled, “Obama administration pushes banks to make home loans to people with weaker credit.” The report cites a recent speech made Federal Reserve Board Governor Elizabeth Duke advocating that more home loans be made to people with fragile credit scores.

“The drop in purchase mortgage originations, although widespread, has been most pronounced among borrowers with low credit scores,” Duke noted. She suggested the drop in originations was leading to depressed household formation (i.e. the amount of new homebuyers entering the market), which was down 59 percent in 2006 to 2011 versus the five years prior. This, in turn, is slowing down the economic recovery.

The solution, says Duke, is to start giving them loans. “I think the ability of newly formed households, which are more likely to have lower incomes or weaker credit scores, to access the mortgage market will make a big difference in the shape of the recovery,” she declared.

Duke further predicted, “I expect the strongest impetus to recovery to come from pent-up demand for housing in the form of household formation.”

So, there you have it. In order to foster a faster economic “recovery,” you, I, and everyone else need to take out more loans on houses we cannot afford. Never mind that the financial crisis, the ensuing credit contraction and recession were all caused by banks making loans to people who could not afford to repay.

“To suggest that lowering credit standards is the solution to the financial crisis is to ignore the past 20 years of history,” Americans for Limited Government President Bill Wilson said, pointing to previous episodes of government intrusion into the housing market.

“The same thing happened after the 1991 recession when credit slowed down. By 1992, Congress had agreed to institute and expand the GSE ‘affordable’ housing goals, which required an increasing percent of government-backed mortgages to be of lower quality,” Wilson noted.

“By 2007, when the bubble popped, those goals had expanded from 30 percent of Fannie and Freddie’s portfolios to 55 percent,” Wilson added. Meaning, by the time it all came crashing down, the government was requiring that more than half of the mortgages purchased by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, government sponsored enterprises (GSEs), needed to be to individuals with lower incomes, which tend to have a higher risk of default.

But why would the government do that? Wilson answers, “Since the economy is addicted to credit expansion, in order to grow, the incentive is for lending standards to become progressively weaker over time.”

That is because whenever credit contracts or even slows down its expansion, as Americans for Limited Government has previously noted from data by the Bureau of Economic Analysis and the Federal Reserve, the economy tends to follow suit.

River could provide for ecotourism attraction

What would it take to make Wayne County a major draw for ecotourism?That was the subject presented to the Community Advisory Council of Rayonier by former congressman Lindsay Thomas as the group gathered Thursday. Thomas outlined a broad range of ideas coupled with the theme of community cooperation.Thomas said that interest in the Altamaha River is growing, as is its increasing use as a destination for tourism. He said the river is drawing state and national attention because of its historical significance, its size and the diverse ecological community along its corridor.

via The Press-Sentinel

District attorney to retire May 31

The Brantley Enterprise has learned that District Attorney Rick Currie plans to retire May 31.

The district attorney made the announcement in an email to the Enterprise Friday. The full text of that announcement is included below:

“I first became a prosecutor in May 1981 when I was hired by then District Attorney C. Deen Strickland. I continued as an assistant district attorney when Donnie Dixon became DA in January 1983. I had the pleasure of working for and learning from both of them.

“In March 1994, I was appointed District Attorney of the Waycross Judicial Circuit by Governor Zell Miller to fill the unexpired term of Donnie Dixon who had been appointed to be US Attorney for the Southern District of Georgia. I later won a contested election in July 1994 for my first full term. I have been honored by running unopposed for office in 1998, 2002, 2006 and 2010.

“I have also had the pleasure of serving my fellow district attorneys as President of the District Attorneys Association and, for the last four years, as Council Member of the Prosecuting Attorneys Council (our governing body). I was also appointed last year by Governor Nathan Deal to serve on the Georgia Commission on Family Violence.

“As an active trial attorney, I fully understand that the duties and demands of District Attorney do not allow me to satisfy everyone. However, I have dedicated most of my adult life to being the best District Attorney and prosecutor I can be, fully believing that my hard work and sacrifice will and does make a difference, and trying to make ours a better and safer community.

“It has been my utmost pleasure to serve the citizens of the Waycross Judicial Circuit as your District Attorney. I do not know exactly what lies in my future but it is my sincerest hope to continue to serve the good citizens of this circuit and this great state.

It is not clear who will take Currie’s place, but assistant district attorney George Barnhill’s name has been mentioned, though not by Currie.

On Lady Gaga, Karl Rove, Buzzfeed, and Fracking

By Robert Romano

Establishment Republicans are in the midst of what can only be described as an intellectual meltdown. They must be.

Whether it’s the revelation that American Action Network attempted to get the ever-controversial, exceptionally talented Lady Gaga to perform for $1 million at the Republican National Convention — an institution, to put it mildly, she shares almost nothing in common with.

Or Karl Rove’s American Crossroads push to defeat, not Democrats, but tea party candidates, the same movement that had helped the GOP to reclaim a majority in the House of Representatives in 2010.

To now the National Republican Congressional Committee’s (NRCC) hailing as a model for future Republican messaging Buzzfeed, a website that drives traffic with pictures of talking cats, celebrity gossip, sexual innuendo, and sci-fi. It’s hard not to ask what the heck is going on.

“BuzzFeed’s eating everyone’s lunch,” National Journal reports NRCC spokesman Gerrit Lansing as saying. “They’re making people want to read and be cognizant of politics in a different way.”

Yeah, by interspersing political stories amid pure trivial nonsense with headlines like “Floating Poop In Space — A Confidential Discussion,” “Which Kind Of Gamers Are The Best Lovers?” “The 28 Most Ironic Things That Have Ever Happened,” and “This Guy Is Obsessed With Becoming A Mermaid.”

Perhaps I am simply being obtuse. I’m certain the NRCC might respond that it was merely looking at Buzzfeed’s web layout as something to emulate to generate more clicks, something indicated in the National Journal story.

But Lansing went further than that, saying a site like Buzzfeed — which can only be defined as appealing to the lowest common denominator — was in fact some new way to talk about politics. Who knew floating poop in the void of space could be such an effective tool?

Here, the NRCC is acknowledging something that Barack Obama already knows and took full advantage of in 2008, which is that politics in America is dead.

Let’s face it. When a candidate’s appeal as a pop culture icon trumps any examination whatsoever of the issues facing the nation, when people are more driven by who’s advancing in Dancing with the Stars than what’s going on in their local community, then perhaps our society really has devolved into a lemming-like mob of sycophants.

Farm Rich recall products listed

Rich Products of Buffalo, N.Y., is expanding its previously announced recall of certain Farm Rich and Market Day products to include all products produced at its Waycross, Ga., plant with “Best By” dates ranging from January 1, 2013 to September 29, 2014.

The expansion is due to possible contamination with Escherichia coli O121 bacteria (“E. coli O121”).

The CDC has reported 24 cases of E. coli 0121 in 15 states. Symptoms of the illness include mild to severe diarrhea and abdominal cramps. Blood is often seen in the stool. Usually little or no fever is present. Although most healthy adults can recover completely within 5-10 days, certain individuals can develop a complication called Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome (HUS) which can cause the kidneys to fail. HUS is most likely to occur in young children and the elderly. The condition could lead to serious kidney damage and even death.

Rich Products says it is unaware of any illnesses associated with the products included in the expanded recall.

Specific product information is as follows:

via Rich Products expands recall to all products produced in Waycross, Ga..

Waycross plant recalls all products as CDC reports 24 E.coli cases

Due to possible contamination with Escherichia coli O121 bacteria (“E. Coli O121”), Rich Products Corporation of Buffalo, NY, has expanded its voluntary recall to include all products from its Waycross plant.

According to a press release posted on the U.S. Food and Drug Administration website, the recall has been expanded to include all products produced at its Waycross plant with “Best By” dates ranging from Jan. 1, 2013 to Sept. 29, 2014. This was due to possible contamination with Escherichia coli O121 bacteria (“E. coli O121”). The expanded recall is in addition to products recalled on March 28, 2013.

Rich Products press release states that the Center for Disease Control has reported 24 cases of E. coli 0121 in 15 states. It gives the following symptoms of the illness:

Mild to severe diarrhea and abdominal cramps. Blood is often seen in the stool. Usually little or no fever is present. Although most healthy adults can recover completely within 5-10 days, certain individuals can develop a complication called Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome (HUS) which can cause the kidneys to fail. HUS is most likely to occur in young children and the elderly. The condition could lead to serious kidney damage and even death.

Rich Products reported that it is unaware of any illnesses associated with the products included in the expanded recall.

via Farm Rich Expands Recall As CDC Reports 24 E.Coli Cases – Loganville-Grayson, GA Patch.

South Georgia’s ‘Office Creeper’ arrested in North Carolina

The man dubbed the “Office Creeper” has been arrested in North Carolina.

54-year-old Antonio Hornsby is accused throughout the state of posing as an air condition repairman then stealing money from wallets and purses in office areas.

Police in Cordele and Tifton believe he hit businesses there along Interstate 75 in a theft spree that stretched from North Georgia to Valdosta.

Right now he’s being held in the Mecklenburg County Jail awaiting extradition.

WALB.com

Waycross man arrested in 19-year-old’s shooting death

Waycross police arrested a man Wednesday shortly after finding a 19-year-old man dead of a gunshot wound in a house, city police Chief Tony Tanner said in a release.

Police answering reports of a reported homicide about 12:15 p.m. found a body in a house at 713 1/5 Pittman Street, Tanner said.

Shortly after the investigation began, a man surrendered at the Ware County Sheriff’s Office and handed over a weapon, Tanner said.

The Sheriff’s Office took the suspect, 34-year-old Toma McNair, who lives at the residence were the body was found, to Waycross where the city police took custody of him, Tanner said.

McNair was charged with murder and possession of a firearm in the commission of a crime and jailed.

jacksonville.com.

County releases agenda for tonight’s meeting

BRANTLEY COUNTY COMMISSION

Regular Meeting

April 4, 2013

Call Meeting to Order

Invocation and Pledge to Flag

Public Participation

Approval of Minutes-March, 2013

CONSENT AGENDA

Approve Appointment of Clay Lee to Brantley Co. Board of Health

REGULAR AGENDA

Sheriff’s Department-Information System and Repairs to Jail

Resolution-Open New Bank Account Titled “Brantley County 2013 SPLOST Funds”

Transfer of $205,911.76 from SPLOST-Jail to SPLOST-Roads

($92,911.76 to City of Hoboken; $113,892.62 to City of Nahunta)

Charlton Memorial keeps up struggle to pay its debts

Cash continues to be a struggle for the hospital as more vendors demand “higher and higher” payments on old debt before they will ship supplies or continue services.

CEO H.D. Cannington told the hospital authority board at their regular meeting last week that critical supplies are being obtained by making small payments to vendors and borrowing from other hospitals,

“We owe one vendor about $64,000 and they’ve asked us to sign a promissory note for the amount, but we are reluctant to do so until we know we will have the cash available to meet the monthly payment,” he said.

During the board meeting, CFO Kim Savage presented a financial report showing the hospital made a net profit of $37,000 in February. Gross revenues were down, though, by $240,000, with drops in in-patient revenue and most of the out-patient departments compared to the previous month. Clinic visits were also down.

via Charlton County Herald

Drew Sauls named principal at SGES

There will soon be a familiar face at St. George Elementary School — if not for the students, then at least for faculty and staff.

Dr. Drew Sauls, former SGES and CCHS principal is returning to Charlton County as principal of the South County elementary school. He will replace longtime principal, Joan Crews, upon her retirement at the end of the school year.

“I am excited to have Dr. Sauls on board with us at SGES,” Charlton County Superintendent of Schools John Lairsey told the Herald this week. “He brings a wealth of experience back to our system.”

via Charlton County Herald

All aboard for Railwatch 2013 Saturday

Railwatch 2013 will have plenty of activities for train fanciers and Charlton Countians, alike.

Saturday’s event will feature a lot more than just watching trains, including a pancake breakfast,  and a special presentation on the history of  railroading in the swamp. All events are free and open to the public.

The presentation, given by Bob Izlar, director of the UGA Center for Forest Business,  will focus on the operations of the Waycross & Southern Railroad which was a subsidiary of the Hebard Lumber Company in their rail logging of the Okefenokee Swamp from 1910 -1927.

via Charlton County Herald

A city in debt: A look at Valdosta’s GEFA loans

The City of Valdosta currently has seven loans from the Georgia Environmental Facilities Authority, with an eighth loan already approved.

According to Mark Barber, assistant city manager and finance department head, the city paid off the oldest loan in the two weeks the Times has been requesting information about the loans. According to the city’s records, the $1 million loan matured at 20 years, in 2009, but a balance of $34,984 was still outstanding at the end of the last fiscal year.

Barber said there were no penalties assessed for not paying the note off in the time it was due.

Valdosta Daily Times.

Highway 110 rail crossing closure set

railroad crossingThe Georgia Department of Transportation has announced CSX Transportation Inc. has scheduled railroad grade crossing improvements on S.R. 110 in Brantley County. S.R. 110 will be closed at the railroad crossing just north of S.R. 520 in the City of Atkinson and traffic detoured from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m., Monday, April 8, weather permitting. Motorists will be able to access businesses, schools, and residents in the area up to the work zone. All work is weather contingent.

The detour routes will be signed as follows:

* Traffic travel northbound on S.R. 110 will detour in Atkinson on S.R. 520 toward Nahunta traveling west 7.7 miles to U.S. 341/S.R. 23. Traffic will travel 9.4 miles north to S.R. 32 in Hortense, then travel east 3 miles to S.R. 110 where the detour ends.

* Traffic to traveling southbound on S.R. 110 will detour continuing on S.R. 32 for 3 miles towards Hortense to U.S. 341/S.R. 23. Traffic will travel 9.4 miles south on U.S. 341/S.R. 23 to S.R. 520 in Nahunta. Traffic will travel 7.7 miles east to S.R. 110 where detour ends.

* S.R. 110 will remain open to local traffic up to work zone.

Motorists can access real-time, statewide, route-specific information on accidents, road work, traffic, and weather conditions through Georgia 511 – a free phone service. By dialing 511, callers also can transfer to operators to 24 hours a day to report incidents or request assistance. The system can be used to access transit providers, major airports, rideshare organizations, tourism information and 511 systems in surrounding states. Additionally, 511 is available online. Georgia DOT partners with sponsors for assistance in funding 511, thereby preserving tax dollars and helping sustain critical services.

Kingston considering options: U.S. Senate bid in his future?

U.S. Rep. Jack Kingston made a swing through Valdosta Thursday, following a tour of the Southwest region of the state to meet with farmers, business owners, and elected officials to explore a possible bid for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Saxby Chambliss.

Following Chambliss’ retirement announcement, a number of individuals have expressed interest in the seat. Paul Broun of Athens and U.S. Rep. Phil Gingrey of Augusta have both announced their participation in the GOP primary, and Kingston’s name has been mentioned as a possible Republican candidate as well.

Valdosta Daily Times.

Brunswick Commissioner James Brooks surrenders to Camden sheriff

City Commission James Henry Brooks Sr. surrendered at the Camden County jail Monday morning as agreed upon and is awaiting the setting of a bail on his indictment Thursday on racketeering and other charges.

Brooks surrendered about 9:45 a.m., just over two hours before the noon deadline set Friday as a condition of his release on Glynn County charges of obstructing an officer and tampering with a witness.

jacksonville.com.

Brunswick Commissioner gets bail on charge of witness tampering in baby’s killing

City Commissioner James Henry Brooks Sr. was granted a $5,000 bail Friday morning after spending the night in jail on a charge of interfering with a witness in the shooting death of a 13-month-old boy.

Brooks, who surrendered to officers late Friday, was also charged with wilful obstruction of a Glynn County police officer investigating the death of Antonio Angel Santiago and the wounding of his mother March 21 as she was pushing the tot in a stroller on a city street.

 jacksonville.com.

Police: Brunswick baby murder cover-up was a family affair

Six days and four arrests after the murder of 13-month-old Antonio Santiago, Chief Matt Doering says his community still has concerns.

He says they want to know, was Sherry West and her baby boy targeted by the two suspects, DeMarquise Elkins and Dominique Lang?

He says the answer is no. “We’re comfortable now, six days into it that the location of the incident and the victim were random,” Doering said.

Second, he says people want to know if the shooting was gang related. That’s still unclear.

“There are some, or is some, information that is somewhat gang related.  But it does not yet lend itself to conclude that it is gang related activity, or motivated,” he said.

via ActionNewsJax.com.

Charlton Memorial: Condition critical

Charlton Memorial Hospital needs an infusion — of cash — and it needs it stat.

That’s what hospital CEO H.D. Cannington told the Charlton County commissioners last week when that group met with the hospital authority at their request.

Paying out nearly $80,000 a month just to keep its creditors at bay, the hospital needs about $1.4 million right now to keep its doors open, Cannington says.

“I don’t know how  much longer we can continue to operate the way we are,” he said. “It’s getting worse, and worse. Everyday someone’s asking for  money.”

“When you don’t have supplies and can’t get your equipment repaired, there is no option but to close your doors. I don’t want to see that happen and I don’t think it needs to happen.”

The CEO said he believes that — with recent improvements in the business office and other areas — the hospital is on the verge of turning things around.

via Charlton County Herald

Mother, aunt of accused baby killer De’Marquise Elkins arrested

The mother and aunt of accused child killer De’Marquise Kareem Elkins, 17, were arrested Tuesday morning on felony charges of making false statements to police, Glynn County Police Chief Matt Doering said.

Doering said they were arrested about 5 a.m.

De’Marquise Elkins and 14-year-old Dominique Lang are both charged with murder in the shooting death Thursday of 13-month-old Antonio Angel Santiago. Antonio was shot to death in a stroller that his mother Shelly West was pushing on a side street from their apartment facing Union Street in Brunswick’s south end. West said the older of her assailants demanded money before shooting her in the thigh and then her child in the head.

jacksonville.com.

Clinics in Long and Pierce help bottom line at Wayne hospital

The impact of Wayne Memorial Hospital is felt outside the county, and what many here don’t realize is that the reach of the local hospital is boosted by a physical presence in Long and Pierce counties.

While the hospital industry is faced with increased challenges and many local hospitals have been forced to shut their doors, the presence of the hospital here in Wayne County continues to be an important part of the local economy. Part of the reason for its success is a modern business model that includes the operation of offices in two adjacent counties.

via The Press-Sentinel

14-year-old charged in baby boy’s shooting death

A scared looking Dominique Lang, 14, appeared before Glynn County Magistrate Tim Barton Monday morning for an initial appearance on a murder charge in Thursday’s shooting death of a 13-month-old boy.

Lang is charged with De’Marquise Kareem Elkins, 17, with murder in the fatal shooting of Antonio Angel Santiago as the child sat in a stroller pushed by his mother, Sherry West, about 9:15 a.m. West was shot in the right thigh after another pistol round intended for her head grazed her right ear, she said last week.

jacksonville.com.

Southern Ionics will locate sand plant in Offerman

Southern Ionics Inc., a West Point, Miss.-based chemical producer, announced today its intent to construct and operate a mineral sand plant in Offerman.

The facility will process mineral sands from two permitted mines in Charlton and Brantley counties. The plant is proposed to begin operating in early 2014, and will provide new employment for up to 35 skilled workers.

“We’re looking forward to continued investment in South Georgia,” said Ron Rose, director of mining for Southern Ionics. “We’ve already begun constructing the two mines, and we’ll be producing by the end of this year. After four months of searching for a site, we’re excited to have found the right spot for our mineral sand plant in Pierce County,” said Rose.

Southern Ionics worked closely with state and local economic and industrial development authorities, utilities, railroads, and landowners to evaluate potential sites in five south Georgia counties. Commercial rail service and a reliable supply of natural gas were critical issues in the search. The preferred location, along US 84 just northeast of Offerman, is on the CSX mainline between Jesup and Waycross and is near an existing natural gas line. Now, the company is working with the landowner, Pierce County, CSX, and others to lay out a conceptual footprint and procure sufficient property for the plant and a rail spur. At the mines, small amounts of titanium and zirconium mineral sands will be extracted from the sandy soils and then transported by truck to the Offerman Mineral Sand Plant, also referred to as a “dry mill”. There, the various minerals will be subjected to water-gravity separation, high tension electrical current, and magnetic fields which will segregate the individual sand grains based on their different densities and electromagnetic properties. The titanium and zirconium mineral sands will then be sold to manufacturers throughout the United States. Titanium compounds are used as pigments, catalysts, and metal alloys. Zirconium compounds have similar uses and are also important for high-temperature precision metal casting, ceramics, and kidney dialysis.

Southern Ionics is opening the mines and mineral sand plant because zirconium oxychloride, an important industrial chemical produced from zircon sand, is only available from foreign sources. Southern Ionics needed a more reliable supplier in order to satisfy a contract for a new kidney dialysis technology.

“Producing our own zircon sand from which we can produce zirconium chemicals gives us a secure supply while bringing good industrial jobs back to the South,” said Rose.

The Offerman Mineral Sand Plant will be a multi-million dollar investment and will employ up to 35 people. For construction, Southern Ionics is planning to hire local contractors as well as specialty contractors with experience building similar plants. The plant is being designed by an Australian firm to incorporate innovative processes to produce premium-grade minerals and avoid discharging wastewater. Once the property is obtained, Southern Ionics will continue with the plant design, apply for state and local permits, and begin construction. The anticipated opening date is in early 2014. Employment opportunities will be advertised locally as the opening date approaches.

Southern Ionics Inc., a Mississippi-based company, is an innovator and leading manufacturer of specialty and intermediate inorganic chemicals. The company employs more than 260 people at manufacturing, shipping, and research and development sites in Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, Tennessee, and Texas.

Florida DOT to close U.S. Highway 17 bridge for a year

The Georgia Department of Transportation has announced that the  Florida DOT will closing the St. Mary’s River Bridge on U.S. Highway 17 at the Georgia-Florida state line on April 8 for approximately one year for a renovation project.

The $3.5 million project includes replacing and fixing damaged steel and refurbishing mechanical components of the bridge. The project contract specifies 330 days to complete the work and allows for extra time to be added for weather delays, holidays and unforeseen technical issues.

The bridge was built in 1927. An average of 8,600 vehicles a day travel across the bridge in both directions.

The detour route will be signed as follows:

· Motorists traveling southbound on U.S. 17/S.R. 25 should take State Route 40 /East King Avenue to Interstate 95; turn left at the on ramp for I-95 South to reconnect with U.S. 17 in Florida.

· Motorists traveling northbound after entering Georgia on I-95 should take Exit Ramp 3; turn right on State Route 40/East King Avenue to reconnect with U.S. 17/S.R. 25.

Travelers to call 511 for updated information about this or any other construction project on interstates and state routes.

Price may be high for beer and a movie in Brunswick

Coming soon to a theater near you, Bud Light.

This could be happening right here in Brunswick, where the tallest structure in town is the steeple on First Baptist.

Georgia Theatre Company has said it is considering selling beer and wine for consumption on the premises. The details of where and how the alcohol would be served remains unclear, but it’s done at other movie houses.

jacksonville.com.

Soccer players suspended over drinking allegations

Authorities say 18 players on a high school soccer team in east Georgia have been suspended and removed from the team after they were accused of drinking alcohol while on a school-sponsored trip to a Jekyll Island tournament.

Columbia County schools Superintendent Charles Nagle said the Greenbrier High School students on the boys’ team either admitted to or were implicated by others that they drank on the trip.

Officials said the students are on a 10-day suspension pending a school disciplinary hearing, which Nagle said is expected to be held next week.

The Augusta Chronicle reports (http://bit.ly/15rwP) that the incident came to the attention of school administrators through posts on a Twitter account.

Authorities said the trip was for a tournament in the Jekyll Island area.

ActionNewsJax.com.

Watch upgraded to warning

The National Weather Service has upgraded a severe thunderstorm watch to a warning from noon to 1 p.m.

Also, the Weatherbug Total Lightning Lightning Network has issued a issued a warning of a  thunderstorm with a significant amount of lightning for the southeast Georgia area. The storm has increased potential to produce severe weather such as heavy rain, hail and damaging winds and should be considered dangerous.

Baby shot and killed in stroller, mother wounded on Brunswick street

Glynn Academy high school was put on lockdown Thursday morning following a shooting of a baby outside a nearby home.

Brunswick police spokesman Todd Rhodes said the shooting occurred on London Street near Ellis Street in the city’s historic South End. The 1100th block of London was cordoned off as police investigated the shooting, which left two victims with gunshot wounds.

jacksonville.com.

Kingston moves towards Senate run

U.S. Rep. Jack Kingston.
U.S. Rep. Jack Kingston.

Republican Rep. Jack Kingston is assembling a campaign team, including a pollster, in anticipation of a bid for the Georgia Senate seat that Saxby Chambliss is leaving open.

Kingston, now in his 11th term, signed up the Washington-based polling firm McLaughlin and Associates — which did work for Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal — according to a source familiar with his political plans. Kingston is expected to make an official announcement of his decision in mid-April, but he appears to be leaning heavily toward running.

Rep. Paul Broun (R-Ga.) has already announced his candidacy, and the National Review Online reported Tuesday afternoon that Rep. Phil Gingrey (R-Ga.) has decided to run. Rep. Tom Price (R-Ga.) is also considered a potential candidate.

(Also on POLITICO: Price mulls bid, huddles with NRSC)

The four Georgia lawmakers could also be joined in the race by one or more candidates from within the state.

Alma gets $6 million for wastewater system

Georgia Environmental Finance Authority (GEFA) Executive Director Kevin Clark announced today the approval of a Clean Water State Revolving Fund (CWSRF) loan of $6,000,000 to the City of Alma to finance upgrades to the city’s wastewater treatment facility. Clark expressed appreciation to State Representative Chuck Sims (R-Ambrose) for his support and credited the state’s commitment to helping cities and counties finance infrastructure development as one of the main contributors to GEFA’s success.

“I want to thank Mr. Clark and the board for these funds,” said Rep. Sims. “GEFA has played an integral part in helping all of Bacon County with these low-interest loans to help us catch up on our needed infrastructure projects.”

The $6,000,000 low interest loan for Alma’s wastewater treatment facility will include construction of a new .75-acre land application system, construction of associated transfer force mains and pretreatment ponds, and modification of the existing headwork to increase operational flexibility. The City of Alma will pay 1.40 percent interest on the 20-year loan of $6,000,000.

Supporters of the loan include Mayor Peggy Murphy, City Manager Nick Overstreet, City Attorney David McCrea, and Council Members John Hughes, Robert Mack, George Roberts, Glover Scott, and Rosie Williams.

The CWSRF, a federal loan program administered by GEFA, provides communities throughout Georgia with low-interest loans to fund wastewater infrastructure and water pollution reduction projects. Eligible projects include a variety of storm water and wastewater collection and treatment projects. These projects conserve and improve water resources, and facilitate economic growth and development.

Cities and counties interested in more information regarding the CWSRF should visit www.gefa.org or call 404-584-1000.

Representative Chuck Sims represents the citizens of District 169, which includes portions of Bacon and Jeff Davis counties. He was elected into the House of Representatives in 1996, currently serves as the Chairman on the Intragovernmental Coordination Committee, and the Ex-Officio of the Appropriations Committee. He also serves on the Higher Education, State Planning & Community Affairs, and Ways & Means committees.

Report shows elevated arsenic in Thomas County wells

The Brantley Enterprise has received a copy of a letter sent to the director of the Southwest Health District by the director of the Department of Public Health reporting that elevated levels of arsenic have been found in Thomasville wells.

But the statewide study which found several wells in Thomas County that exceeded the maximum contaminant level of arsenic also found several in Fitzgerald, Moultrie and Valdosta as well as one in Glynn County and one in Camden.

Look for moe information in this week’s edition of The Brantley Enterprise, Brantley County’s favorite newspaper since 1920!

McIntosh County bison ranch is open for tourists — and chefs

By Terry Dickson

DARIEN | Troy Bivens and Sherry DiSimone intended to run a ranch.

But when your livestock is buffalo, your spread becomes an attraction. They decided to give the public what they want, the couple said, and they’re holding an open house March 30 as an introduction.

“We’re into tourism in a big way,’’ DiSimone said, as evidenced by the elevated cart they use to drive their pastures and let visitors look down on their herd of 35 American bison on 50 acres beside U.S. 17 north of Darien.

jacksonville.com.

5 Hunter soldiers killed in Black Hawk crash in Afghanistan

As a crew chief aboard Black Hawk helicopters in Iraq and Afghanistan, Army Staff Sgt. Marc Scialdo made his family so proud back home in Florida that his parents and siblings gave him a nickname: “the Golden Boy.”“He made our family shine,” the 31-year-old soldier’s mother, Susan Scialdo, said Friday. “He lifted us all. He was just an awesome individual. Always helpful, always shining.”

via jacksonville.com.

Darien blessing of fleet set for April 12-14

As spring starts arriving on the coast of Georgia, the little fishing village of historic Darien readies itself for the annual three-day Blessing of the Fleet Festival on the weekend of April 12 – 14, 2013 which has historically attracted 35,000 visitors when the weather cooperated.

The 45th annual festival attracts food vendors with delicious offerings, craft vendors with must-have items, Classic Car Show and a juried art show that draws artistic talent from across the Southeast. There is a 5K Run/Walk, Street Parade, Marine Parade, and numerous live performances at two entertainment venues.

The fun will begin Friday, April 12, at 5 pm with arts and crafts booths, abundant amounts of food and dancing-on-the-lawn music. Enjoy live music at the Darien Waterfront Park at 7pm, Friday, with the sounds of Nashville recording artist Brent Browning and the County Line Band.

Art In The Park, a two-day juried art event that draws artistic talent from across the southeast, runs from 10am to 5pm on Saturday and Sunday in Vernon Square, just a few steps from the waterfront. Michael Hulett and his soulful saxophone are confirmed as an entertainer appearing on Saturday from 2 until 4pm and Sunday from 12:30 until 2:30pm at Art In The Park venue. There’s nothing like strolling under the stately Live Oaks in a beautiful city park, listening to live jazz performers, sipping lemonade and viewing beautiful works of art including Painting, Sculpture, Photography, Drawing, and Fine Crafts (fiber art, pottery, jewelry, stained glass). Lawn chairs are welcome and encouraged to fully enjoy the entertainment.

The vendor booths and activities continue Saturday morning at 10am and remain open until 10pm. Other Saturday activities include the 5-K River Run/Walk at 8am, the Street Parade with a military and Scottish color guard and the annual Classic Car Show from 11am until 4pm. The entertainment will kick off on the waterfront at 4:00pm with some great musical acts including Soul Gravy, Mason Waters and the Groove All-Stars andVic Waters will rev-up the evening at 7pm on the Waterfront Stage. Then the evening comes to a close with a grand fireworks display at 9pm.

Sunday morning opens with vendor booths and Art in the Park at 10am. At 11am enjoy religious rock and soul music on the Waterfront Park Stage. Then the core activity of Sunday’s magnificent parade of shrimp trawlers, each approaching the Darien Bridge to obtain a blessing for the coming year of fishing, begins at 2pm. Flags and banners wave, while people cheer and diesel engines rumble. It is truly a sight to behold. Awards are announced at 4pm with closing remarks and photo opportunities.

Admission is $5 for age 13 and up on Friday and Saturday. Twelve and under are admitted free with a paying adult. There is no admission charge for Sunday’s events. Visit the web site at www.BlessingoftheFleet.com or call 912-437-6684 for additional information.

Cause of accident remains unknown

2 Accident1A one vehicle accident left an area man with incapacitating injuries last week when his semi left the road east of Hoboken for unknown reasons.

Reports from the state patrol indicate that Robert Lee Brauda, 50, of Brunswick was traveling east on Hwy. 520 near fire tower hill when for an unknown reason, the vehicle left the roadway onto the right shoulder of the roadway.

The 1997 Freightliner truck then traveled approximately 458 feet down the shoulder ot e road before overturning onto the driver’s side.  Eye witness accounts by Enterprise staff showed that the vehicle had crossed the ditch and into a bay of trees on the other side.

The driver was transported by AirEvac to Savannah Memorial Hospital. An update on the driver’s condition was not available on Monday since the hospital no longer had a record of the patient.  Officials said this could be because he had already been released but could not confirm this information. However, the accident report said that the driver received incapacitating injuries of the upper extremities.

No alcohol or drugs were suspected to have played a role in the one-vehicle accident and a seatbelt was used according to to the report filed by Trooper Merritt Meeks.

Herons compete in tennis tourney

BCMS tennis Lauryn Boyd
Lauryn Boyd

The BCHS Herons tennis team recently traveled to Dublin to compete in the Middle GA Classic Tennis Invitational.  The Herons girls first defeated Putnam County in a 5-0 sweep.  The Lady Herons lost a close second round fight against the West Laurens Raiders, putting them in a battle versus Telfair County for 3rd place in the tournament. For the Lady Herons, singles players’ Emily Page, Loren Mertz, and Kiersten Morgan swept all three of the singles matches to lead them to the 3rd place trophy.

The Heron boys made quick work of Putnam County also, winning their first round match by a 5-0 score.  They too would face the West Laurens Raiders in the second round for a shot in the tournament championship.  After Zach Edwards and Camry Chapman won two of the three singles matches easily vs the Raiders, the doubles combination of Skyler Horne and Spencer Lee sealed the win for the Herons.  In the championship match facing the Bleckley Co. Royals, the Herons Camry Chapman was the lone winner, winning his singles match 6-1, 6-0.  The Herons lost the Finals by a 1-4 score.

“I am proud of my team for competing hard this weekend.  Because of basketball, most of my players have had more matches than they have had practices.  For the boys to get 2nd place and the girls to get 3rd with this level of competition was a very good thing.  Hopefully we can continue to progress as we enter our region matches,” Coach Matt Thrift said.

Herons host Tattnall for their first home match on Thursday March 14.

County sets public hearing on Airport Authority abolishment

PUBLIC NOTICE

The Brantley County Board of Commissioners will hold a public hearing on Monday, March 18, 2013, 3:00 PM, in the County Commission Office. The purpose of this hearing is to seek citizen input in abolishing the Brantley County Airport Authority by local legislation and for the Board of Commissioners to create the “Brantley County Airport Advisory Board”. The public is invited to attend this public hearing.

New Airport Authority member brings experience

Josh Cothren
Josh Cothren

The Brantley County Airport Authority’s newest member is no stranger to the airport business, board members discovered when the regular attendee volunteered to fill an unexpired term at the group’s Tuesday meeting last week.

Josh Cothren agreed to fill an unexpired term that runs through 2016 at the meeting and listed several bits of background information on his involvement with other area airports.

“I’d like to see our airport do something like getting planes coming in here so the citizens can see more than just construction but see activity generating some revenue and start getting some businesses going so that we can start funding ourselves and become self-sustaining to our airport operation.”

Cothren, a Nahunta resident, said he is a member of the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association and is a certified pilot and has worked for the fixed-base operation, Golden Isles Aviation on St. Simons Island for two years as maintenance and lineman.  Cothren has also worked security with the Transportation Security Administration at the Brunswick-Golden Isles Airport since 2008 and worked closely with the airport manager in that county for ideas of how to get the Brantley Airport off the ground.

Cothren will replace Carmel Jackson who was unable to attend enough meetings to keep the position after being appointed.  Chairman Billy Lee said that she had said her tax business and family began taking up much of the time she would have dedicated to the authority.

The group also reappointed longtime member Sonny Stokes at the meeting.

Both appointments have been submitted for approval by the county commission.

The group also approved two modified task orders for the ongoing construction project at the airport including task order eight regarding the apron expansion – of which the county will pay $7,262 – and task order nine dealing with an environmental assessment sprung on the board by the department of transportation last month.  The assessment will pull $2,468 from local funds.

Lee also announced that power line relocation continues to be delayed because of a wording dispute between the county and the Okefenoke Rural Electric Membership Corporation (OREMC).  Lee said the OREMC is requesting a guarantee on payment and that the group met to discuss the latest proposal by the county but that he did not know the outcome.

The county’s first guarantee of payment when funds become available did not pass the scrutiny of the local utility company and the county was awaiting word on a proposed change that would guarantee work in $50,000 intervals.

In other business, the authority,

•  Renewed general airport liability at $2,080.

BCMS tennis sweeps Jeff Davis

tennis lacey cummings
LACEY CUMMINGS

The Brantley County Middle School Tennis Team was in action again Tuesday as they took on Jeff Davis. For the Herons, Kyle Chapman set the tone with an 8-1 win over Conner Berry at #1 singles. At #2 singles, Grant Jacobs of Brantley won 8-5 defeating Brett Tabor. Kade Chapman rounded out the singles for the Herons winning 8-2 over Cruz Carter of Jeff Davis. Brantley’s #1 doubles duo of Luke Courson and Jackson Whisenant defeated Jeff Davis’ Logan Leggett and Grant Berry with a score of 8-2. Brantley Sloan and Nick Alligood picked up another win for the Herons at #2 doubles with an 8-4 score over Gaitlin Varnadore and Victor Ambriz. Other winners for the Herons were the doubles team of A.J. Harper and Brian Boyett and singles player Andrew Spradley.
The Lady Herons also won with a 5-0 score against Jeff Davis. Leading the way for Brantley was Caitlyn Morgan winning 8-2 over Ashley Ducker at #1 singles. With a score of 8-0, Emily Miller defeated Megan Millsaps at #2 singles. At #3 singles, Lauryn Boyd won with an 8-2 score over Kaleigh Bush. Both doubles teams for Brantley won their matches as well. Karsyn Rowell and Lacey Cummings for Brantley won 8-5 over the duo of Lauryn Rowell and Bethany Corbin of Jeff Davis. Jacee Thomas and Macie Allen won at #2 doubles 8-1 by defeating Courtney Perry and Lindsey Smith. Madison Crews and Tori Blaisdell also won for the Lady Herons.

Smith to be named superintendent

Anthony Smith[1]Anthony Smith, long-time principal at Pierce County High School, has tendered his resignation.

Smith is expected to be named superintendent of Brantley County Schools Monday.

The school board accepted his resignation at their monthly work session Thursday morning, pending his approval as superintendent by the Brantley County Board of Education at their meeting Monday night.

Smith’s last day on the job will be Tuesday, March 12.

via The Blackshear Times

Ware County man on trial for vehicular homicide and leaving accident scene

A Ware County man went on trial Thursday for vehicular homicide, DUI and leaving the scene of an accident where his friend lay dead.

Matthew Taylor Roberson, 19, of Waycross, died when Coty Wayne Rodriguez’s speeding pickup truck crashed into a railroad crossing signal at 2:30 a.m. Aug. 5, 2010, spun around and threw him out the rear window, Ware County District Attorney Rick Currie said.

via jacksonville.com.

Lake Lindsey Grace bass size limits meeting set for Jesup

Local anglers and other interested parties are invited to attend an upcoming public meeting hosted by the Georgia Department of Natural Resources’ Wildlife Resources Division to discuss proposed changes to the current largemouth bass length limits on Lake Lindsay Grace in Wayne County.

Wildlife Resources Division encourages attendance from local sportsmen and women as public input is an important and valuable part of the rule-making process. The meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. on Thursday, March 28, at the Wayne County Commissioner’s Chambers Building (341 East Walnut Street, Jesup).

“WRD Fisheries Management Section staff completed a year–long study that revealed the current 12-inch minimum size limit does allow the most fish to be harvested, but also significantly reduces the number of trophy bass in the lake,” said Tim Bonvechio, fisheries biologist with the Wildlife Resources Division.

“The proposed 15-22 inch protective slot limit predicted a substantial increase in the number of trophy bass available with only a slight decline in the number of bass available to harvest. If enacted, the proposed slot limit has the potential to produce more trophy bass without decreasing the total number of bass harvested by anglers.”

Options being considered:

1. No change in the current size limit of 12 inches and a bag limit of 10 fish per angler per day for largemouth bass;

2. Change the limit to a “protective” slot limit of 15 to 22 inches. Keep the bag limit of 10 fish per day/per angler of which 1 fish can exceed 22 inches per day, if desired, but the other 9 must be less than 15 inches in length.

Wayne County has been proactive in revitalizing the habitat and fish population of Lake Lindsay Grace, which historically produced trophy-size largemouth bass, such as Charles Carter’s 15 lb, 4 oz lake record caught in 1980. However, large bass have been less frequent in recent years.

Projects such as consecutive drawdowns, prescribed burning and in-lake excavating around the perimeter of the lake has helped with aquatic vegetation problems and sediment loading. Changing of the largemouth bass size limit will build upon the county’s habitat work to revitalize the largemouth bass population that receives a high level of harvest on an annual basis. This protective slot limit aims to increase the chances of large fish caught from the lake. Additionally, increased trophy bass production could be a catalyst to attract more anglers and revenue to Wayne County

Anyone attending the meeting is welcome to provide statements or comments, either orally or in writing. Statements should be concise to permit everyone an opportunity to speak. Participants must register upon arrival and notify the registering official of their intent to give a statement. Those unable to attend may submit written statements by April 5, 2013.

Written statements should be mailed to:

Georgia Department of Natural Resources,  Wildlife Resources Division,  Fisheries Management Section,  Attn: Tim Bonvechio,  P.O. Box 2089,  Waycross, Ga 31502-2089

The March 28 meeting site is accessible to people with physical disabilities. To request sign language interpretation or other auxiliary aids, contact Nancy Jones at 912-427-5900 no later than March 15.

After the meeting and the public comment period, Wildlife Resources Division staff will determine if a change of the bass length limits is widely supported. If so, the department may propose a regulation change to the Board of Natural Resources in spring 2013.

For more information, contact Tim Bonvechio at the Waycross fisheries office at 912-285-6094.

BCMS tennis teams sweep Appling

The Brantley County Middle School Lady Herons tennis team was at it again when it defeated the Lady Rams of Appling 5-0 last week. Leading the way was Brantley’s Caitlyn Morgan winning 8-5 against Appling’s Carissa Bass at #1 singles. At #2 singles was Emily Miller winning 8-2 over Halee Leggett. Lauryn Boyd rounded out the top three for the Lady Herons by winning at #3 singles with an 8-3 score over Anna Bell. At #1 doubles, Lacey Cummings and Macie Allen won 8-3 over Kayla McCutchin and Sydney Cauley. With a score of 8-1, the Brantley’s #2 doubles team of Karsyn Rowell and Jacee Thomas defeated Mary Addison and Hannah Bennett.
Winning big again for the boys team was Kyle Chapman of Brantley who defeated Rusty Tracey 8-1 at #1 singles. Winning the only match of the day that was decided by a tiebreaker was Kade Chapman who won 9-8 over Appling’s Luke Lightsey at #2 singles. At #3 singles, Brantley’s Grant Jacobs won with a score of 8-2 over Thomas Lawrence. The fourth win for the Herons came from Luke Courson and Jackson Whisenant at #1 doubles. The duo defeated Appling’s #1 doubles with an 8-3 score. Nick Alligood and Austin Miller of Brantley lost a close 7-9 match at #2 doubles.

Swamptown Getdown opens Friday in Waycross

Uncle Dave Griffin, songwriter and piney woods impressario, is bringing what he describes as an eclectic mix of bands to his third annual Swamptown Getdown in Waycross, Ga.

Country, bluegrass, rock ’n’ roll, you name it, it will be there, he said.

“Anything goes, pretty much,” Griffin said. “We even have a country-death metal mixture that sounds like heavy metal with Hank Williams mixed in — or Hank Williams with heavy metal mixed in.”

via jacksonville.com.

17 spent cold nights in Okefenokee

March 1 is typically when business heats up in the Okefenokee Swamp as the National Refuge goes to its summer hours.

But the first weekend of March was anything but summer-like as temperatures dropped into the lower 30s with a stiff wind blowing. In spite of those conditions, 17 people spent a weekend night camping on platforms over the swamp’s black water, a refuge concessionaire said.

via jacksonville.com.

Pembroke man sentenced to 20 years for kidnappings

Gary Lenion McDonald, 36, of Pembroke was sentenced to 20 years in prison yesterday by Senior U.S. District Court Judge B. Avant Edenfield for his role in two separate kidnappings in the Bryan County area.

United States Attorney Edward J. Tarver stated, “The kidnappings committed by this defendant and others caused extreme pain and harm to victims they targeted. Because of timely action by the FBI and its partners in the law enforcement community, the United States Attorney’s Office was able to prosecute those responsible. The United States Attorney’s Office will continue to have as its highest priority the protection of U.S. citizens.”

McDonald pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit kidnappings, and cooperated in the investigation and prosecution of codefendants Antonio Lamont Murray and Cecil DeWitt Nelson, both of whom were convicted for their roles in the two kidnappings and sentenced to life in prison. Judge Edenfield took McDonald’s cooperation into account when fashioning his sentence.

The evidence presented during McDonald’s guilty plea hearing, and the trial of codefendant Antonio Lamont Murray, revealed that McDonald, Murray and Nelson conspired to commit two separate kidnappings in the Bryan County area in late 2011 and early 2012. The first kidnapping occurred on December 1, 2011. During this incident, the victim was abducted at gunpoint, beaten, and later released only after a ransom was paid. The second kidnapping occurred on January 12, 2012. The second victim was also abducted at gunpoint and released only after a ransom was paid.

In addition to being sentenced to 20 years imprisonment for his conviction, McDonald was also sentenced to serve a term of 5 years of supervised release, and to pay restitution to the victims of these kidnappings in the amount of approximately $500,000. Tarver noted that there is no parole in the federal system.

The convictions of McDonald, Murray and Nelson resulted from a joint investigation by the FBI, the U.S. Marshals, NCIS, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, the Georgia State Patrol, the Bryan County Sheriff’s Office, the Tattnall County Sheriff’s Office, the Bulloch County Sheriff’s Office, the Liberty County Sheriff’s Office, the Richmond Hill Police Department, the Pooler Police Department, the Pembroke Police Department and the Hinesville Police Department.

Assistant United States Attorneys Brian T. Rafferty and Carlton R. Bourne, Jr. prosecuted 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.

Vietnamese man pleads guilty to Hazlehurst firebombing

Leon Buu Dam, 48, a naturalized American citizen from South Vietnam, pleaded guilty before Chief Judge Lisa Godbey Wood on last week  to two charges relating to the firebombing of Cindy Nails, a business operating on South Tallahassee Street in Hazlehurst. The bombing resulted in the total loss of the contents of the business, totaling over $21,000.

United States Attorney Edward J. Tarver stated, “Whatever his motive, firebombing a commercial business is never the solution. At a minimum, this Defendant now faces a 15 – year prison sentence. It is unfortunate that he will now be forced to surrender the rights that he earned on his quest for citizenship. His arson days are now extinguished.”

Evidence presented at the guilty plea hearing showed that Cindy Nails caught fire just after business hours on December 7, 2010. The fire destroyed the interior of the building and all its contents. Arson investigators discovered a ball-style trailer hitch, an alarm clock, and a bundle of matches wrapped in duct tape, along with evidence of a flammable accelerant inside the building. The investigation revealed that Dam had purchased a trailer hitch and alarm clock, just like those found in the business, along with a quart of Coleman kerosene, at a nearby Wal-Mart a few weeks earlier. Surveillance video from nearby businesses on the night of the bombing placed Dam and his vehicle at the business that night.

Dam now faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 15 years in prison. Mr. Tarver noted that there is no parole in the federal system. He is presently in the custody of the United States Marshal.

The case was the result of a joint investigation conducted by the ATF, the Georgia State Fire Marshall, and the Hazlehurst Fire Department. Assistant United States Attorney Cameron Heaps Ippolito is prosecuting this case on behalf of the United States. For additional information, please contact First Assistant United States Attorney James D. Durham at (912) 201-2547.

Broxton man gets 15 years for assault rifle possession

Alex M. Bennett, 32, of Broxton was sentenced last week by Chief United States District Judge Lisa Godbey Wood to 15 years in prison for possessing an assault rifle as a convicted felon. He was also sentenced to serve 5 years supervised release upon his release from prison.

Evidence presented during the guilty plea and sentencing hearings revealed that Bennett burglarized a residence in Hazlehurst, Georgia, where he stole an SKS semi-automatic rifle with a 20 round magazine. Because Bennett had three prior convictions for drug offenses and robberies, he was classified as an “armed career criminal” under federal law and faced a minimum mandatory sentence of 15 years.

The case was investigated by the Hazlehurst Police Department and the ATF. The case was prosecuted under Project Ceasefire, a joint federal, state and local firearms initiative involving the U.S. Attorney’s Office, the ATF and various local police departments.

United States Attorney Edward Tarver said: “Through project Ceasefire, the United States Attorney’s Office will be relentless in its enforcement of federal firearms laws. Project Ceasefire has proven to be an effective tool in the Department of Justice’s efforts to rid the streets of dangerous felons who carry guns. Felons who possess firearms can expect to be returned to prison. ”

Assistant U.S. Attorney Carlton Bourne prosecuted 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.

Freeze warning issued for Brantley

A freeze warning has been issued for Brantley County for 3 to 8 a.m. Sunday by the National Weather Service. A freeze warning also is in effect from late Sunday night until Monday morning.

A freeze warning means sub-freezing temperatures are imminent or expected for at least 2 hours. Appropriate action should be taken to ensure tender vegetation and outdoor pets have adequate protection from the cold temperatures. Young children…the elderly and the homeless are especially vulnerable to the cold. Take measures to protect them. A freeze watch means sub-freezing temperatures are possible for at least 2 hours. Precautions may be required to protect plants… Pets and those sensitive to the cold if a freeze warning is issued.

Tax assessor board releases agenda

The Brantley County Board of Tax Assessors has released the agenda for next week’s meeting:

 

Agenda

March 4, 2013 (AT) 8:30am

Regular Meeting

Agenda:

Call meeting to order and pledge

Approval of Agenda

•March 4, 2013

Approval of minutes

•February 11, 2013

Public Participation

Old Business

New Business

•Lydia Burch-2011/2012 Appeal

•EandR’s and NOD’s

•Appeals

30-Day Notices

BOE List

•Legislative Update

•Policy and Procedures Committee (Ga.AO)

•TAVT

•Any Other Matters Deemed Pertinent

Office Update

Training Update

Executive Session

GIAHA plans ‘Branson on the Road’

Golden Isles Arts & Humanities presents Branson on the Road, direct from America’s entertainment capital, a music extravaganza that brings great classic country, bluegrass, rockabilly and gospel music to the stage of the Historic Ritz Theatre in Downtown Brunswick. Because of high audience demand, the troupe will perform two shows at the Ritz on Saturday, March 23 at 3 p.m. and 8 p.m.

In the tradition of the legendary traveling road shows, Branson on the Road mixes together fiddle, mandolin, banjo, guitar, upright slap bass, rhinestone costumes, and hilarious comedy.  It’s the kind of show most people thought was long gone in this day of overproduced music, overused special effects and performers singing to tracks. In the same tradition as the traveling road shows during the glory days of the Grand Ole Opry, the Louisiana Hayride and the first Branson music shows, Branson On The Road has been delighting audiences for more than 20 years on the famous 76 Country Music Boulevard (known as “The Strip”).

The band includes Debbie Horton, the only woman to have played lead guitar for the great Johnny Cash.  She hosted her own show at the old Boxcar Willie Theater in Branson and has performed on the famous Louisiana Hayride and Ernest Tubb Midnight Jamboree in Nashville.  Also featured are Donnie Wright, an expert musician and arranger who has performed at The Grand Ole Opry in Nashville, The Presley’s Show in Branson, The Pine Mountain Jamboree in Eureka Springs, and a long-standing run at The Golden Nugget in Las Vegas.

Branson On The Road is a regular featured act on the national television show, “Midwest Country” on the RFD-TV network seen in over 100 million homes. Golden Isles Arts & Humanities is pleased to bring the show to our community for the first time.

Advanced ticket prices are $15 for adult members of Golden Isles Arts & Humanities and $10 for senior (65+) members. For non-members advanced prices are $20 adults and $15 seniors. On the day of the show, tickets cost $20 for adult members and $15 for senior members, and $25 for adult non-members and $20 senior non-members. Ticket prices for ages 18 and under and students of the College of Coastal Georgia are always $5, regardless of member status or purchase.

Tickets may be purchased in person at the Ritz or by phone with credit card, Wednesdays-Fridays 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturdays 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. They are also available on line at goldenislesarts.org. For more information, please visit that web address or call Golden Isles Arts & Humanities at 912-262-6934.

 

Doctor, five others indicted for pill mill operation

A federal indictment, unsealed yesterday in federal court, has charged 6 defendants with conspiring to traffic oxycodone, hydrocodone, and other drugs through a purported pain clinic known as East Health Center, which operated in Garden City, Georgia from February through May of 2011.

The indictment alleges that during the time that East Health Center was open, members of the conspiracy unlawfully prescribed and caused to be prescribed more than four million milligrams of oxycodone without any legitimate medical purpose. During this same period, prescriptions were written for numerous “patients” who lived outside the state of Georgia, including over 130 from Kentucky; over 50 from North Carolina; over 30 from South Carolina; and over 80 from Florida.

United States Attorney Edward Tarver said, “During the last two years, we’ve seen a number of pill-mills relocate their unlawful businesses to the State of Georgia. These so-called clinics operate under the guise of a stethoscope and a white coat, and they prey upon their so-called ‘patients.’ Any pill mills that seek to do business in the Southern District of Georgia can expect to be investigated and prosecuted like every other drug trafficking organization that pushes poison in our communities.”

Harry S. Sommers, Special Agent in Charge of the Atlanta Field Division of the DEA, remarked, ” The DEA will continue to aggressively investigate those who cause to be dispensed addictive pain medications without legitimate medical purpose under the pretext of a medical doctor’s care.”

The indictment results from a joint investigation by the DEA, IRS – Criminal Investigations, GBI, Chatham Savannah Counter Narcotics Team (CNT), and the United States Marshals Service. Personnel from the Ware County Sheriff’s office assisted in making arrests.

Any defendant found guilty of the drug conspiracy charged in the indictment faces a maximum penalty of up to 20 years in prison and a fine of $1,000,000. The money laundering count also charged carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a fine of $500,000. The United States is also seeking to forfeit various items of personal property involved in the offenses, including $365,000 as the alleged proceeds of the defendants’ drug operation. The 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.

The 6 defendants indicted are:

Sean Michael Clark, 34, of Boca Raton, Florida;

Adelaida M. Lizama, 27, of Boca Raton, Florida;

Daniel John Wise, 34, of Fort Lauderdale, Georgia;

Najam Azmat, 55, of Waycross, Georgia;

Candace Anne Carreras, 25, of Boca Raton, Florida; and,

Shelly Lynn Morford, 31, of Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

Other targets of the investigation have already pled guilty for their role in the East Health Center pill-mill. Adelard LeFrancois, III, 43, of Boca Raton, Florida and Francis J. Barbuscia, 36, of Plantation, Florida, entered guilty pleas before U.S. District Court Judge William T. Moore, Jr. on August 3, 2012. Each pled guilty to conspiring to dispense controlled substances, including oxycodone, without a legitimate medical purpose. Konstantinos Afthinos, 32, of Florida pled guilty to misprision of felony on November 5, 2012. On November 7, 2012, Kenneth Gossett, 51, of Rome Georgia, pleaded guilty to conspiring to dispense controlled substances, including oxycodone, without a legitimate medical purpose.

Ligon proposes PARCC withdrawal

Sen. William Ligon (R-Brunswick) will hold a press conference Thursday in the Senate Press Conference room at 12:15 p.m. to discuss Senate Bill 167. Sen. Ligon sponsored this legislation to withdraw Georgia from its participation in the Common Core State Standards Initiative and the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC).

Sen. Ligon will be joined by Dr. Sandra Stotsky, who served on the Common Core Validation Committee and as senior associate commissioner in the Massachusetts Department of Education; Ze’ev Wurman, a visiting scholar at the Hoover Institution and former Senior Adviser at the Office of Planning, Evaluation and Policy Development in the U.S. Department of Education; Jane Robbins, an attorney and Senior Fellow with the American Principles Project; and Dr. Jim Arnold, Superintendent of Pelham City Schools, GA.

In addition, a number of grassroots organizations have pledged their support for SB 167 and will be available to talk with the press. These groups include organizations such as Concerned Women for America, Americans for Prosperity, American Principles Project, Georgia Conservatives in Action, Citizen Impact, the Conservative Leadership Coalition, the Georgia Republican Assembly, among others.

 

Brantley schools to remain closed a second day Wednesday

The Brantley County Board of Education announced today that classes will be suspended for a second day Wednesday due to the poor condition of the dirt roads school buses must travel to transport students to and from schools.

Interim superintendent Read Carter made the announcement about 2 p.m. after meeting with transportation director Wiley Crews.

Decisions on further school closings will be made on a day-by-day basis, Carter said.

Odum truck driver killed in collision with Wayne County bus

The Georgia State Patrol has identified the driver of pickup truck who died Monday in a collision with a Wayne County school bus as Samuel Carr, 59, of Odum.

Carr was driving a 2008 Chevrolet Silverado north on U.S. 341 when it crossed the center line about 2:30 p.m. and collided head-on with a bus transporting students home from a special education center in Baxley, Wayne County Sheriff John Carter said.

via jacksonville.com.

Brantley road closures

The followng roads have been closed according to the Brantley County Emergency Management Agency:

• Hope Rd. at Oleander Circle entrances

• Mineral Springs Road near Murphy Rd

• Browntown Road by Murphy Road

• Warners Landing at the end is under water

• Deerwood at the end is under water

• Atkinson Road

• Chicago Avenue in Hoboken

• Evergreen Way east of Schlatterville Road

• Harrington Road

• Little Buffalo Creek Road

• Baker Creek Road from U.S. Highway 82 to Airport Road

• Boots Harrison Road

• Drury Lane

• Albert Gibson Road

• Tyson Road

• Waynesville Road

• Raybon Road East (Turkey Ridge to Gilmore)

• Saddle Club Road (Georgia Highway 121 to Raybon Road West)

• Wainright Loop

• Bachlott Break

• Bobby Strickland Road

• Williams Road

Tornado watch issued for Brantley

The National Weather Service has issued a tornado watch for Brantley County until 3 p.m. A flood advisory issued at 6:50 a..m. expired at 8:15 a.m.

THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN JACKSONVILLE FL HAS ISSUED A

 

* FLOOD WARNING FOR THE SATILLA RIVER AT ATKINSON.

* FROM WEDNESDAY AFTERNOON UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE…OR UNTIL THE WARNING IS CANCELLED.

* AT 9:45 AM MONDAY THE STAGE WAS 12.1 FEET.

* MINOR FLOODING IS FORECAST.

* FLOOD STAGE IS 13.0 FEET.

* FORECAST…RISE ABOVE FLOOD STAGE BY WEDNESDAY EARLY AFTERNOON AND CONTINUE TO RISE TO NEAR 13.9 FEET BY SATURDAY EARLY AFTERNOON.

* IMPACT…AT 13.0 FEET…WARNER LANDING…LOUIS LANDING AND SECONDARY ROADS AROUND KOA CAMPGROUNDS BEGIN TO FLOOD.

 

THE SATILLA RIVER NEAR ATKINSON IS FORECAST TO REACH FLOOD STAGE ON WEDNESDAY AND REMAIN ABOVE FLOOD STAGE THROUGH THE END OF THIS WEEK. AN ADDITIONAL 2 TO 4 INCHS OF RAINFALL ON MONDAY AND TUESDAY OVER SOUTHEASTERN GEORGIA WILL CAUSE ADDITIONAL RISES ON THE RIVER. RESIDENTS AND THOSE WITH INTERESTS ALONG THE RIVER NEED TO MONITOR THE LATEST STATEMENTS AND WARNINGS FOR UPDATED INFORMATION ON THIS DEVELOPING SITUATION.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS…

SAFETY MESSAGE…RESIDENTS AND THOSE WITH INTERESTS ALONG THE RIVER SHOULD TAKE ACTION TO PROTECT THREATENED PROPERTY. HIGH AND FAST FLOWING RIVERS ARE NOT SUITABLE FOR RECREATION OF ANY KIND. KEEP CHILDREN AWAY FROM FLOODED AREAS. DO NOT DRIVE VEHICLES THROUGH FLOODED AREAS. TURN AROUND…DON`T DROWN.

Darien to observe 150th anniversary of burning

Evidence of the worst day in the city’s history rests in a black garbage bag at Fort King George State Historic Site.Aside from tough tabby foundations, the brittle pieces of wood with charred edges are all that’s left of the warehouses that once stood on Darien River when the city was a thriving seaport. It went up in flames July 11, 1863, when the 54th Massachusetts, an all-black Union regiment, torched the town during the Civil War.

via jacksonville.com.

Brantley County School System cancels classes for Tuesday

The Brantley school system has suspended classes for Tuesday and will determine whether to reopen classes for the remainder of the week on a day-to-day basis, interim superintendent Read Carter told the Enterprise Monday.

Carter said school had been cancelled because many county roads have been made impassable by rains that have fallen steadily since late last week that also are expected to push the Satilla River at Atkinson to flood stage by Wednesday.

While the river level has little impact of roads county wide, the amount of ran necessary to bring it to flood stage also causes many county roads to become impassable.

Brantley County issued a list of 11 roads that already had been fully or partially closed as of Monday at 3:30 p.m.

Those on the list include one end of Warner Landing Road, Wainright Loop, Bachlott Brake, Mineral Springs Road near Murphy Road, Hope Road between entrances to Oleander Circle, Deerwood Road, Chicago Avenue, Evergreen Road, Harrrington Road, Little Buffalo Creek Road between Buffalo Creek Drive and Baker Creek Road, and Baker Creek Road from U.S. Highway 82 to Airport Road.

 

Birthday tax to disappear on vehicles purchased after March 1

A new law that changes the way motor vehicles are taxed in Georgia will go into effect on March 1.

Motor vehicles purchased on or after that date and titled in the state will be exempt from sales and use tax and the annual ad valorem tax, also known as the “birthday tax.”

These taxes will be replaced by a one-time tax that is imposed at the time the vehicle is titled on the fair market value of the vehicle called the title ad valorem tax (“TAVT”). For the first year of the TAVT, the rate will be 6.5% of the fair market value as identified by the Georgia Motor Vehicle Assessment Manual.

The TAVT is applicable to dealer and casual sales (individual to individual) but excludes non-titled vehicles such as trailers and other non-motorized vehicles which will remain subject to ad valorem tax.

Vehicles owned prior to January 1, 2012 will stay in the old system and owners can expect to owe the annual ad valorem tax on their birthday. The period between January 1, 2012 and February 28, 2013 is considered an opt-in period. Vehicles purchased during this period may opt-in to the new TAVT system or they can stay in the annual ad valorem system. The Georgia Department of Revenue’s website www.newtitletax.com provides a TAVT calculator that will help owners decide which option is best for them.

Owners who choose to opt-in to the TAVT system will need to go to their local county tag office at any time between March 1, 2013 and December 31, 2013 to do so.

To view frequently asked questions concerning the new TAVT system or to use the calculator, visit the Georgia Department of Revenue website  HYPERLINK “http://www.newtitletax.com” www.newtitletax.com.

UGA to host timberland investment conference on Amelia Island

More than 500 people from more than a dozen countries are expected to attend the 2013 Timberland Investment Conference held biannually by the University of Georgia’s Center for Forest Business. The conference will run from Feb. 27 to March 1 and will focus on achieving investment efficiency in a market-oriented systems and making prudent timberland investment decisions.

The 2013 conference on “The Timberland Asset: The Long Term Investment for The Bright Green Future” will be held at the Ritz-Carlton on Amelia Island, Fla. Featured presentations include global competition for wood markets, the impact of the housing market and economy and domestic and international investment outlooks.

A special session on private forest family ownership will feature a panel of five Georgia families who have held significant forest acreage for 70 to 110 years. These families will explain how they came to own the land, how they have kept it in their families throughout the years and what they see in the future for their ownership.

Registrants represent global leaders in the timberland investment community including investors, landowners, executives, managers, lenders, researchers, analysts, attorneys, consultants, and those involved in the real estate, insurance, forestry industry and service and technology professions.

The Center for Forest Business, which is part of the UGA Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources, also will hold a pre-conference timberland investment field tour on Feb. 26.

Bob Izlar, director of the Center for Forest Business, said this year’s conference is timely because of the recovering strength in the U.S. economy and the long-term attractiveness of the timberland asset to investors. The conference boasts a diverse field of experts who will speak on every facet of the timberland business.

The conference’s keynote speakers are as follows:

• Kermit Baker, senior research fellow at the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University;

• Danielle DiMartino, financial analyst with the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas;

• Paul G. Boynton, chairman, president and chief executive officer of Rayonier; and

• Dan Fulton, president and chief executive officer of Weyerhaeuser.

The UGA Center for Forest Business pioneers academic research and sound financial methods to provide education and service to forest industry, investors and landowners throughout the world. It has previously held similar conferences in Munich, Germany; London, England; and Georgia. For more information, contact Izlar at 706/542-6819 or bizlar@warnell.uga.edu or see www.ugacfb.com.

The agenda and list of speakers and sponsors is available on the center’s website at http://www.ugacfb.com/timberlandasset/. To register for the conference, see http://www.georgiacenter.uga.edu/uga-hotel/conferences-events/register/timberland-investment.

Nimmer appointed to national conference committee

State Rep. Chad Nimmer (R-Blackshear) was recently appointed to serve on the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) Energy, Transportation and Agriculture Committee by House Speaker David Ralston (R-Blue Ridge).

“I am honored to be chosen to serve on this committee,” said Rep. Nimmer. “I consider this a great opportunity to serve the citizens in this capacity.”

The Energy, Transportation and Agriculture Committee is one of NCSL’s 12 standing committees. These standing committees serve an important role in representing state interests in Washington, D.C. and in the facilitating policy innovation among the state and territorial legislatures. The committees also provide a unique forum for the discussion of major issues facing the states, which allows legislators to learn from the experiences of other states.

According to NCSL, its Energy, Transportation and Agriculture Committee consists of state legislators and legislative staff from the nation’s legislatures. The committee convenes three times a year in conjunction with NCSL’s national meeting. This committee has jurisdiction over state-federal energy and electric utilities legislation, regulation and policies; transportation legislation, regulations and policies; and agriculture and rural development legislation, regulations and policies.

The Energy, Transportation and Agriculture Committee is charged with reviewing and developing NCSL policy positions on state-federal concerns regarding these issues. These policy positions are then used to lobby Congress and the federal administration. The committee also provides a forum for legislators and staff to share ideas and expertise on an array of energy, transportation, and agriculture issues. In addition, the committee facilitates topically appropriate educational opportunities for members and colleagues, and provides input to NCSL on policy research projects.

The appointment is for a two-year term concurrent with Rep. Nimmer’s service as a member of the Georgia House of Representatives.

NCSL is a bipartisan organization that serves legislators and staffs from the nation’s 50 states. It provides research, technical assistance and opportunities for policymakers to exchange ideas on the most pressing state issues. It also advocates for the interests of the states in the American federal system.

For more information about NCSL and its Energy, Transportation and Agriculture Committee, please click here.

Representative Chad Nimmer represents the citizens of District 178, which includes portions of Appling, Brantley, Pierce, and Wayne counties. He was elected into the House of Representatives in 2011, and is currently serving as the Vice-Chairman on the Industry and Labor Committee. He also serves as a member on the Appropriations, Natural Resources & Environment and Transportation committees.

Garrison to lead Raiders football team

The search for Bobby Johns’ successor is no longer after the Bacon County Board of Education tabbed Hildrick Garrison as the new head coach.

Garrison, the defensive coordinator last season, becomes the third head coach in four years for the Red Raiders and will also serve as the athletic director. This is his first head coaching job after serving eight years on the assistant level – seven in Florida.

via The Alma Times

Alma PO still delivers for residents

The U.S. Postal Service announced it will cease delivering mail on Saturdays, but customers here can expect the level of customer service they receive from the Alma Post Office to stay them same.

Saturday office hours will not change when the five-day mail delivery becomes effective in August, and packages will still be delivered six days a week. Mail addressed to PO Boxes will continue to be delivered on Saturdays.

via The Alma Times

Pierce reins in spending

Two years ago Pierce County government was trying to balance a budget with a million-dollar deficit and searching for cash to pay its bills.

Today, however, the county’s finances are reportedly in much better shape. The county cut the equivalent of two mills of tax money, spending $665,022 less in 2012 than it did in 2011. That comes from a recent report given county commissioners by County Manager Paul Christian.

via The Blackshear Times

South Beach advisory lifted on St. Simons

The Glynn County Health Department has lifted the advisory for South Beach at the Lighthouse from 9th Street to the pier on St. Simons Island. The advisory for St. Andrews Beach from Macy Lane to the St. Andrews picnic area on Jekyll Island remains in place.

Routine water quality tests from samples taken February 7 at both locations showed a high level of enterococci bacteria which increase the risk of gastrointestinal illness in swimmers. Subsequent samples show that bacteria levels at South Beach now within acceptable limits; therefore the advisory for that area has been lifted.

The Glynn County Health Department recommends you do not swim or wade in the water in the area under advisory. Fish and other seafood caught from this area should be thoroughly washed with fresh water and thoroughly cooked before eating as should fish or seafood caught from any waters.

The area will be retested on February 14 and the advisories will be lifted when tests show the bacteria levels meet the Environmental Protection Agency’s recommended standards.

 

Georgia Highway 110 railroad crossing closure, detour set

The Georgia Department of Transportation has announced that CSX Transportation Inc. has scheduled railroad grade crossing improvements on Georgia Highway 110 in Brantley County. The highway will be closed at the railroad crossing just north of U.S. 84 5 in the Atkinson and traffic detoured from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m.,  Feb. 25, weather permitting. Motorists will be able to access businesses, schools, and residences in the area up to the work zone.

The detour routes will be signed as follows:

• Traffic travel northbound on S.R. 110 will detour in Atkinson on U.S. Highway 84 toward Nahunta traveling west 7.7 miles to U.S. Highway 341. Traffic will travel 9.4 miles north to Georgia Highway 32 in Hortense, then travel east 3 miles to Georgia Highway 110 where the detour ends.

• Traffic traveling southbound on Georgia Highway  110 will detour continuing on Georgia Highway  32 for 3 miles towards Hortense to U.S. Highway 341. Traffic will travel 9.4 miles south on U.S. Highway 341 to U.S. Highway 84 in Nahunta. Traffic will travel 7.7 miles east to Georgia Highway 110 where the detour ends.

• Georgia Highway 110 will remain open to local traffic up to work zone.

Suit against Lowndes sheriff settled

A $590,000 settlement has been reached between Sheriff Chris Prine and three of his former employees from the Lowndes County Sheriff’s Office, resolving a four-year dispute that centered on allegations of wrongful termination and work place discrimination.

The settlement discharges all of the claims and liabilities raised against Prine and the county by Michelle Keene, Thomas Crews and Leanne Bennett, according the terms of the agreement.

via Valdosta Daily Times.

Hinesville man wins $1 million in lottery

Alexander Rivera, a Hinesville resident, has won a $1 million top prize playing the Georgia Lottery instant game Georgia Lottery Black. Rivera, who retired five months ago from the U.S. Army, is excited about his windfall.

Georgia Lottery representatives presented Rivera, 44, with an oversized check Tuesday at Parker’s #0028, located at 59 Old Sunbury Road in Hinesville, where he scratched the lucky ticket.

via Coastal Courier

Community shocked by sex allegations at high school

As television news trucks rolled into town last week, many in Charlton County were shocked to learn about their reason for being here.

“I couldn’t believe it,” said Julie Hall last week.. “I mean you hear about it happening some place else, but not here.”

The Homeland resident was reacting to the news that a Charlton County High School teacher had been arrested and charged with seven counts of sexual assault for allegedly having sex with students aged 15 and 16.

“I know it happens with teachers — I’ve seen it on the news,” said one county resident who declined to be identified. “Have you ever heard of it being with seven students? I never have.”

Many expressed concern about the students, but others wondered — because the case involved a female teacher and male students — if the victims were actually willing participants.

“There have been comments around the community about the boys’ participation,” said a source close to the investigation, who also asked not to be identified. “Everyone needs to remember they are victims of a crime. The law is very specific. There’s no telling what effect this could have on them years from now.”

via Charlton County Herald

Camden agencies to split $2.5 million from Cisco racketeering suit

Camden County will get about $1.2 million and other agencies will split a similar amount under a court order dispersing the proceeds of a civil racketeering suit filed against the late Fairley Cisco and others.

Superior Court Judge Anthony L. Harrison signed an order Jan. 30 instructing Michael Lambros, the claims administrator in the suit, to place about $124,232 into an account that already had more than $2.4 million, bringing the total proceeds available for distribution to $2,553,203.

via jacksonville.com.

Glynn sheriff arrests man wanted on Connecticut child porn charges

A man wanted in Connecticut on child pornography and obscenity charges is in the Glynn County jail awaiting extradition, the Sheriff’s Office said.

Working with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, the Glynn County Sheriff’s Office located Michael Adam Szwarc, 25, at a residence Wednesday and took him into custody without incidence, Sheriff Neal Jump said.

Warrants were issued in Farmington, Conn., on Jan. 31 charging Szwarc with possession of child pornography in the first degree, promoting a minor in an obscene performance and obscenity, the Sheriff’s Office said.

There are no charges against Szwarc in Glynn County, but anyone who had contact with him is asked to call the Sheriff’s Office at (912) 554-7600.

via jacksonville.com.

Jesup man pleads guilty to child expoitation, pornography

Stephen A. Keating, 52, of Jesup pleaded guilty Tuesday before Chief United States District Court Judge Lisa Godbey Wood to three counts of Sexual Exploitation of a Minor in relation to his production of numerous images of child pornography, and one count of Distribution of Child Pornography.

Evidence presented at the guilty plea hearing showed that on numerous occasions in 2010 and 2011, Keating sexually molested three minor children in order to create pictures and videos of that conduct. Keating then distributed a number of the images, which were discovered in September 2012 during the arrest of a sex offender in Denmark. The charges against Keating arose from an investigation led by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), with assistance from INTERPOL, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Office of Field Operations in Savannah, CBP Air and Marine Operations in Jacksonville, Fla., the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, and the Liberty County Sheriff’s Office.

“No child should be subjected to sexual abuse and, certainly, no child should have to live with the knowledge that the abuse was captured on film for redistribution to other like-minded predators. This defendant exploited the most vulnerable members of our society, our children. Swift, aggressive prosecution of child predators is the highest priority for the Department of Justice and this United States Attorney’s Office, ”United States Attorney Edward J. Tarver said.

“To victimize the innocent in the manner that this child predator has pleaded guilty to is one of the most revolting crimes in our society,” said Brock D. Nicholson, special agent in charge of ICE Homeland Security Investigations in Atlanta. “HSI special agents will not rest until each and every child victim of sexual exploitation is rescued and defendants like Keating are behind bars.”

Each count of Sexual Exploitation of a Minor to which Keating pleaded guilty carries a mandatory minimum sentence of 15 years in prison and a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison. Keating also faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 5 years in prison and a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison for Distribution of Child Pornography. If released from prison, Keating will be required to register as a sex offender. The date for Keating’s sentencing hearing has not yet been scheduled.

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. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Jennifer G. Solari. For additional information, please contact First Assistant United States Attorney James D. Durham at (912) 341-7842.

Coffee County woman wins $3M in lottery

Vickie Gasque, of Coffee County, won $3 million Saturday playing the instant game “100 Times The Money.”

Gasque purchased her lucky ticket Saturday at Baker Express, located at 1436 Baker Highway W., Douglas. She scratched the ticket at the store and described her and her husband’s reactions as “unbelief.”

Gasque and her husband, Clarence, have six children. The general manager of a manufacturing plant, Gasque doesn’t know how she will use her winnings but said she may retire.

100X The Money is a new instant game with prizes up to $3 million. Gasque is the game’s first top prize winner. She took the money in a lump sum, minus 31%, which the lottery withholds.

Columbus dietician, 29, Tanisha Smith won $1 million playing the instant game “Maximum Green.” Smith bought her ticket at Coastal Food Mart.

Smith claimed her prize Monday at Georgia Lottery headquarters in Atlanta. Coastal Food Mart, 3600 Second Ave. in Columbus, sold the winning ticket. Smith scratched it in the store.

“I was too excited,” she said. “Other people who were in the store were happy for me.”

Smith anticipates sharing a portion of her winnings with family, saving and investing the remainder.

Maximum Green is an instant ticket with prizes of up to $5 million. Georgia Lottery players can enter non-winning tickets in the monthly Maximum Green Extra Chance Drawings to win one of 10 monthly prizes of $10,000. Visit www.galottery.com for more information.

Both women have already claimed their prizes, and declined photographs.

via Coffee woman wins $3M in lottery – WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports.

BCMS tennis sweeps Bacon in opener

Caitlyn Morgan, left, and Kyle Chapman (Photos by Tom Boyd)

The Brantley County Middle School Tennis Teams kicked off the season with two 5-0 sweeps of Bacon County Middle.

Leading the way for the Lady Herons was #1 singles player Caitlyn Morgan who defeated Jessie Goodson with a score of 8-0. Emily Miller and Lauryn Boyd followed suit defeating Ashlyn Martin and Mary Bordeau 8-0 respectively at #2 and #3 singles. Macie Allen and Jacee Thomas won 8-0 at #1 doubles against the duo of Macey Turner and Grace Wilson. In the second doubles matchup, Brantley’s Lacey Cummings and Karsyn Rowell defeated Hannah Holland and Taylor Tomberlin 8-2. Other winners for the Lady Herons were Madison Crews/ Tori Blasdale and Madison White/Brenna Boyett.

The Brantley County Middle Boys Tennis Team also earned a 5-0 win against Bacon County. Setting the pace was Kyle Chapman winning 8-1 against Kaleb Stevens at #1 singles. At #2 singles, Kade Chapman defeated Dawson Jewell 8-4. Not giving up a game, Grant Jacobs put up an 8-0 score against Codie Herrington at #3 singles. At #1 doubles, Jackson Whisenant and Luke Courson defeated Corey Douglas and Spencer Manders 8-0 and Nick Alligood and Austin Miller won 8-1 at #2 doubles against Howard Gordon and John Miles. Others that won matches for the Herons were Brian Boyett and Andrew Spradley.

Early Pierce surge keeps Brantley off balance

An early burst by the Lady Bears kept the Brantley County High School Lady Herons off balance and unable to make up lost points in Last Tuesday’s game in Pierce County.

“We did not play well defensively as a team,” coach Dean Horne said.

The game started with a first quarter push by Pierce for an 18-7 lead.  While the Herons did close the gap slightly by the half at 28-21, the Bears increased their lead to 48-32 by the end of the third.  The Herons made up for lost time in the final portion of the game but still trailed 10 points 64-54 at the final buzzer.

Horne said that the team would get back in the gym and work on rotating and movement along with the ball to try to close the defensive gap presented at the game.

Mary Beth Gill led in scoring for the night with 19 points followed by Kristen Burchfield with 10 points.

Hunter Stallard wasn’t far behind with 9 points and Summer Lee with 6.  Kittie Carreker had 2 and Kiersten Morgan 1.

While the Pierce County game was a tough loss for the Lady Herons, a win against Islands High School served as a pick-me-up for the team when they took home a decent lead by the end of the game.

The Herons led early against the Sharks 14-5 in the first quarter and were double digits ahead by the half 31-15.  The Herons continued their lead 39-23 in the third before taking off for a 57-36 in the final score.

Horne spoke highly of the team for their strong team effort during the game.

“I’m very proud of how hard the ladies worked,” he said.

Lee led scoring with 20 points for the game and defensively with 11 steals.

Both Burchfield and Stallard had 12 points for the game.

Gill had 3 points and led in rebounds with 11 for the night.

Both Morgan and Ansley Jackson had 2 points each.

But Saturday’s game against the Southeast Bulloch Yellow Jackets managed to take some wind out of the sails for the Herons who started out strong by tying 8-8 with the fifth ranked team in the first quarter but lost their hold on the team before the half where they trailed 21-11.  The girls never stopped putting points on the board in the third with 21 to the Yellow Jackets’ 29 but were unable to overcome the scoring deficit leading to a 47-36 loss.

Lee led scoring for the Herons with 17 points and also had 3 steals followed by Burchfield with 9 points 4 steals. Stallard put 5 points on during the game.  Ceejay Ham had 3 points followed by Carreker with 2.  Gill had 7 rebounds for the night’s game.

Heron fans cry foul over bad call in Pierce

An early lead against a division cross-river rival wasn’t enough for the win, last week,  when Brantley took on the Bears away in Pierce County but some fans are crying foul.

Coach Tripp Herrin said that Pierce’s shooting and Brantley’s second half performance in some areas were what took the first quarter 18-15 Brantley lead away from the Herons.

“They [Pierce] hit ten 3-point baskets in the first half,” he said. “We did a poor job in the second half containing their dribble penetration and were unable to get over the hump.”

By the half, the Bears had a narrow 37-33 lead over the Herons and while the boys were able to maintain a close game throughout the third only trailing 51-46 they remained at a fairly equal distance in the final minutes when the Bears finished with a 67-63 lead.

But some fans say a crucial call in the last seconds of the game while the Herons were only down by a single point may have also played a major role in the Pierce County victory.

With the Herons only trailing 62-61, one parent captured a foul of his son, Colt Yawn, during the pivotal game on slow motion video.

The video shows a foul, but the referees of the game called a “jump-ball” instead.

The video was sent to various school coaching officials and to the head of the group refereeing the games, the South Georgia Basketball Officials Association.

Derrick Bradshaw lead with 16 points and 7 rebounds for the night followed by Tyler Chambless with 12 points who also led rebounds with 8.

Colt Yawn also had 12 points in the game as well as 5 assists and 5 rebounds.

Zack Edwards had 9 points and three 3-pointers for the game.

Tre Green had 8 points and 7 rebounds followed by Ian Jackson with 4.  Camry Chapman had 2 points for the night.

Friday’s game was a better story for the Herons, who took down the Islands High School sharks yet again with a lead throughout.

The Herons took an 11-7 lead in the first quarter of the game and continued to distance themselves from the Sharks in the half with 31-19 at the end of the second quarter.  The Heron offensive only got stronger in the second half with a 58-24 lead in the third before bringing the game home with a 72-37 lead at the end.

But Herrin said the defense was could be equally credited with the major win.

“Our pressure defense was the difference in the second and third quarters,” he said. “We got a lot of steals out of our press and were able to finish in transition.”

Coach Herrin said that everyone got playing time in the game and that the team really played with energy throughout the game.

Chambless had 18 points for the night with Green going in for 10.  Edwards had 9 and Yawn had 8. Meanwhile Jackson had 6 and Bradshaw had 5.  Stephon Roberson had 4 points followed by Luke Aldridge and Kyle Lairsey with 3.  Dalton Lairsey, Ross Allen and Dalton Thrams each had 2 points for the game.

The Herons almost had another victory in a game against the Southeast Bulloch Yellow Jackets that was close throughout but were mere points shy at the final buzzer.

The Yellow Jackets came out strong in the first quarter leading 22-7 but were not allowed another easier quarter throughout the night.  By halftime Southeast Bulloch only led by 6 points 28-22 having been unable to score more many points throughout the quarter.  The six point difference remained in the beginning of the second half where the Yellow Jackets led 42-36.  The Herons closed the gap but were 5 points down at the end of the game with a final score of 56-51.

“We fell behind early and couldn’t dig ourselves out of the hole,” coach Herrin said. “We got our press working in the second quarter and it keyed a good run. We had a hard time guarding them man-to-man.”

Edwards led scoring with 14 points and a career high 4 three-point baskets in the game.

Bradshaw also made a good showing with 10 points and 10 rebounds.

Yawn had 9 points in the game while Chambless had 8 points and 8 rebounds. Jackson had 4 points followed by Green and Dalton Lairsey with 2 each.

Herrin encouraged the community to come to support the team and its elder members at Senior Night on Friday, Feb. 8 when the Herons take on New Hampstead.

New college chooses new mascot

The students of South Georgia State College have selected the Hawk as the new mascot for the institution.

The selection resulted from an online vote Jan. 21-25 in which students chose between two finalists – Hawk or Lion. With over 300 votes cast, Hawk received 52 percent of the vote and Lion received 48 percent.

“The selection of a new mascot is historic for any institution, and I’m proud of the interest and support our students have shown through this process,” said Dr. Virginia Carson, president of South Georgia State. “I look forward to the excitement the new mascot will bring to our athletic teams, students, and the entire college community.”

The process of selecting a mascot began during the fall 2012 semester when over 450 suggestions were made by students, alumni, faculty, and staff from the Douglas and Waycross campuses as well as each community. A committee comprised of faculty, staff, and students from both campuses analyzed the survey results. The committee also utilized the services of an outside firm to address any potential competitive, regulatory and public opinion issues.

The two mascot finalists were announced earlier this month preceding the online student vote.

The new mascot will not be available for use until the institution’s athletic programs in Douglas and Waycross officially consolidate June 30 per NJCAA regulations. In the meantime, officials said, the Tiger and Swamp Fox, along with their respective colors, will continue to be used.

The process of designing the new mascot logo and other institutional marks such as a general logo for the College is currently underway. Completion of this design phase is projected to be sometime this spring.

In addition to the mascot, the colors of navy and gray – one from each of the former institutions – were selected as the new colors for the College. The colors will be phased in over time in spirit and apparel items as well as athletic facilities and uniforms. Alumni celebrations will continue to honor the traditions of the past, retaining the mascots from the time period in which the alumni graduated.

Norovirus pops up in Brantley

Less than a month after the influenza season peaked in Georgia, a new strain of an old winter virus is beginning to make its rounds in the region. But the Southeast Health District reports no significant spikes or outbreaks at this time.

The Centers for Disease Control classified Georgia as one of 47 states reporting outbreaks of the new Sidney strain of the common winter stomach illness known as the Norovirus.  The new strain first appeared in Australia last year.

The virus is commonly known as the stomach flu or sometimes food poisoning since it is the lead cause of food-borne disease in the United States – often resulting from infected or unwashed fruits and vegetables or even shellfish that isn’t cooked properly.

Though officials are saying the outbreak is on par with what is commonly seen at this time of year, that may not be much comfort for those that already have the symptoms which commonly include diarrhea, throwing up, nausea or stomach cramping.

Once someone catches the virus, there’s not much they can do other than wait it out according to CDC officials who also said that the virus typically runs its course in one or two days.  During that time the person with the sickness is highly contagious.

Officials said that the typical preventative steps associated with most common illnesses are the best way to limit chances of catching the bug – especially since there is no vaccine to prevent it and no medication to take once a person has it.

And people who have had it before can also still become infected again.

Practicing good hygiene – with soap since hand-sanitizer will not kill the bug – and taking care to wash fruits and vegetables before eating or cooking them are major steps along with thoroughly cooking oysters and other shellfish.

Those with the virus should also not handle food while infected and any surface that has been contaminated by vomit or other bodily fluids should be disinfected with bleach.  The clothes of those infected should also be cleaned immediately but handled with care to prevent further spread of the virus.

The virus also remains contagious for at least three days after the infected person has recovered from the symptoms but could the contagious period could be even longer.

Though the illness is rarely more than an inconvenience for most people, the impact it has on the elderly due to dehydration makes it a prime point of concern for long-term care facilities where almost 60 percent of cases occurred in the united states in 2010 and 2011.

Gasoline prices up 14 cents in state

Average retail gasoline prices in Georgia have risen 14.1 cents per gallon in the past week, averaging $3.45/g yesterday, according to GasBuddy’s daily survey of 5,883 gas outlets in Georgia. This compares with the national average that has increased 14.4 cents per gallon in the last week to $3.48/g, according to gasoline price website GasBuddy.com.

Including the change in gas prices in Georgia during the past week, prices yesterday were 3.4 cents per gallon lower than the same day one year ago and are 14.4 cents per gallon higher than a month ago. The national average has increased 21.1 cents per gallon during the last month and stands 4.4 cents per gallon higher than this day one year ago.

“The national average has ticked higher in the last week, as rising oil prices have put upward pressure on gasoline prices,” said GasBuddy.com Senior Petroleum Analyst Patrick DeHaan. “Unfortunately for angry motorists, there doesn’t seem to be much relief in sight, at least for the time being, as retail prices continue to climb in virtually all areas of the country,” DeHaan said.

County releases agenda for Feb. 7 meeting

BRANTLEY COUNTY COMMISSION

Regular Meeting-6:00 PM

February 7, 2013-Commission Office

Call Meeting to Order

Invocation & Pledge to Flag

Changes to Agenda

Public Participation

Approval of Minutes-January, 2013

CONSENT AGENDA

EMA Vehicle-Approved leaving EMA vehicle (Ford Expedition) at the EMA office with the key at the EOC (911) center to be logged out and logged

in when in use for official county business.

Approved awarding the contract to construct the new Satilla Community

Service office building to the low bidder, R. H. Tyson Construction, Inc.,

Blackshear, GA, in the amount of $345,330.00.

Adopted an Amendment to the Brantley County Dangerous Dog Control

Ordinance.

Approved the appointment of Sherry Knox to the Library Board.

Adopted a Resolution for the preparation and submittal of a Community

Development Block Grant-EIP Application.

Approved paying the IRS rate for travel at 56.5 cents per mile.

Regular Agenda

Contract for relocation of power lines at county airport (#1 w.s.)

Employees-Overtime pay for employees working holidays (#2 w.s.)

County Website (#5 w.s.)

County Extension Service (#6 w.s.)

Bids for Waynesville nature trail & outdoor classroom (#10 w.s.)

Bids for walkway, borders, drainage

6. County Manager’s Report