Category Archives: BREAKING NEWS

Brantley deputies make drug arrest, get kidnapping complaint

Scott Ammons (36) was arrested and charged with Possession and use of Drug Related Objects/Drugs not in Original Container.   While speaking with a subject who was on probation at the Friendly Express deputies noticed a prescription bottle in the vehicle.  The deputies did a search of the vehicle under the fourth amendment waiver of the probation conditions and consent of the occupant.  Loose pills were found in a cigarette pack.  Ammons was transported to the Brantley County Detention Center. (No photo was available from the Brantley County Sheriff’s Office.)

Deputies responded to the 500 block of Duck Pond Rd in reference to Terroristic Threats and Acts.  Complainant stated they had been contacted by an unknown subject and told their son was being held for ransom.  The offender wanted $2000 to release the son.  The complainant asked the offender to tell them the last name of the son and the offender would not give the last name of the son and started cursing at the complainant. 

Deputies responded to the 2300 block of Dixon Rd in reference to Theft by Taking.  Complainant stated they had several auto parts taken including a rear end and hubs.  

Deputies responded to the 4600 block of Central Ave in reference to Theft by Taking.  Complainant stated someone had taken metal and an anvil from their property.  

Deputies responded to Happy Landing in reference to Financial Transaction Card Fraud/Theft by Deception.  Complainant stated the offender has been using their debit card without permission. 

Deputies responded to Janie Circle in reference to Harassing Phone Calls.  Complainant stated the offender has been calling and leaving vulgar and abusive messages.

Deputies responded to the 500 block of Williams Rd in reference to Theft by Taking.  Complainant stated someone stole the seat of their golf cart. 

Deputies were contacted at the Friendly Express in Hoboken by complainant in reference to Entering Auto.  Complainant stated someone stole her purse from her vehicle.

Deputies met with the complainant at the Brantley County Sheriff’s Office in reference to Theft by Deception.  Complainant stated they had met someone online and they obtained the complainant’s account number and deposited a large sum of money that was to be distributed to two other parties.  After the complainant sent the money to the other subjects the bank notified them the check was no good and the complainant would have to repay the money.  

Deputies responded to Matchez Trail in reference to Criminal Trespass.  Complainant stated an unknown subject busted the glass out of the sliding glass door.

Waycross extends bar closing times to 2 a.m. Sunday

The City of Waycross made an ordinance change Tuesday to extend the Saturday night sales of alcohol at clubs and restaurants from 11:59 p.m. to Sunday at 2 a.m.

The city commissioners voted during the consent calendar portion of the 7 p.m. meeting to approve the second readings of the alcohol sales amendments, as well as an amendment to the city code concerning group homes and adding language that regulates fences on private properties. The ordinance changes were approved unanimously by commissioners Norman Davis, Alvin Nelson, Marian Solomon-Gaines and Larry Ethridge. Commissioner Diane Hopkins was not present Tuesday. At least a couple of local residents are not satisfied with that extension of alcohol sales. They want Sunday alcohol sales to be legal by the light of day. David Kirby spoke at the end of the meeting calling for a new ballot to give voters a chance to decide whether alcohol may be sold on Sundays. In 2011, a Sunday retail sales of alcohol referendum failed at the polls. At a Monday afternoon work session, Ngwebifor Fobi, manager of the nightclub “Hush,” appeared at a meeting for the third time urging a new referendum. No commissioners responded to Fobi Monday or to Kirby Tuesday night.

Two-year-old injured in Waycross accident

A 2-year-old boy was seriously injured Tuesday when he ran into the street chasing a ball and was

struck by an oncoming sport utility vehicle, said Waycross Police Capt. Danny Hampton.

Edward Nelson Jr. was taken by helicopter to Shands Trauma Center in Jacksonville, Fla., said Hampton.

Awitness to the 1:44 p.m. accident told police he saw the child in a yard in the 1500 block of Bethune Street playing with a red ball. Hampton said the child ran after the ball as it bounced into the street and was hit by a 2002 Ford Expedition driven by Amos McCloud, 58, of Waycross.

After the child was hit, his foot was trapped under the front driver’s side tire of the vehicle, Hampton said.

Hampton said an illegally parked car that was in the street contributed to the accident.

McCloud told police he was driving south on Bethune Street when he saw a 2014 Toyota Corolla parked about 12 inches from the curb and left unattended in front of 1503 Bethune St. Hampton said McCloud was maneuvering around the parked vehicle when he caught sight of the child playing near the roadway. As he approached, he said, the child darted in front of his SUV.

The owner of the parked vehicle, Jerl Wimberly, 45, of Waycross, was cited for improper parking, said Hampton. Officer Robert Benton was in charge of the accident investigation.

An ambulance transported the boy to a parking lot large enough to facilitate the landing of a helicopter not far from the accident site. The lifeflight chopper landed on the grounds outside the Ware County Board of Education central office building, said school officials.

Head Start gets grant for Brantley RIF program

The Head Start Program has been awarded a grant to participate in the Reading Is Fundamental (RIF) program for the upcoming program year. The program has been selected to receive a private grant for two book distributions.  This grant is fully funded for RIF through Macy’s.

RIF’s highest priority is reaching underserved children from birth to age 8 and is the largest children’s literacy nonprofit in the country. They prepare and motivate children to read by delivering free books and literacy resources to those children and families who need them most. RIF inspires children to be lifelong readers through the power of choice as they provide new, free books for children to choose from and make their own.

“We are honored that RIF selected our program for this grant,” stated Shelli Tyre, Head Start Director.  “We are indeed grateful for Macy’s for underwriting this project for the second straight year.”  Preparing children to succeed as readers is very important, and encouraging children and their families to read aloud together is vital in ensuring school readiness.

Each of the Head Start centers will be planning special reading motivational activities for the children and families on the scheduled distribution days.

“Books inspire a child’s imagination and can help motivate them to follow their dreams,” said Carol Clarke, Literacy Coordinator.

The Brantley County Head Center is currently taking applications for the 2014-2015 program year.  Please contact the family advocate office at (912) 462-6552 for information on the application process.

Glynn budget falls short in health care costs

Less than a week after county administrators released Glynn County’s recommended budget for the 2014-2015 fiscal year, commissioners were faced with a sharp increase in costs for employee health insurance — a change that will affect both this budget year and the next.

County administrator Alan Ours told commissioners Tuesday that his office discovered a shortfall of more than $1 million while updating the costs for a projection last week. In March, he said, the costs were only 8 percent ahead of budget.

“If you put the expenses for this fiscal year on a graph, we are right on budget through March,” Ours said. “But … we’ve had some very sick employees and dependants, and that has taken off.”

InsuranceNewsNet.com.

Boggs issues written answers to senators’ follow-up questions

Members of the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee weren’t content to interrogate Georgia federal judicial candidate Michael Boggs for nearly two hours at his May 13 confirmation hearing.

Seven senators asked the Georgia Court of Appeals judge follow-up questions—as in the hearing, primarily about his conservative stances as a Georgia legislator more than a decade ago—and Boggs on Monday responded with 74 pages of answers.

The Daily Report.

Satilla River cleanup is Saturday in Brantley County

The Satilla Riverkeeper and volunteers will meet at the U.S. 82 bridge in Brantley County at 9 a.m. Saturday for a river cleanup.

The area around the bridge is one of the most heavily used access points on the blackwater river.

The Georgia Department of Natural Resources is cosponsoring the event, and volunteers will be provided with trash bags, gloves and drinking water.

jacksonville.com.

CSX: Train from Waycross to Tampa derails in Alachua County

Buscher said the train was headed from Waycross, Georgia to Tampa. It carried 59 cars and was about a mile in length and only the conductor and an assistant were on it.

Officials with CSX said one of its trains derailed Monday morning while traveling on a private line.

According to the Alachua County Sheriff’s Office, no one was injured when 17 of the train’s cars went off the tracks around 3:30 a.m.

“At this point there is no hazardous chemicals being carried or any incidents that we’re aware of at this time,” said ACSO spokeswowman Sgt. Becky Buscher.

 

ActionNewsJax.com.

Authorities bust heroin traffickers in Statesboro

Tips led to a heroin trafficking bust on Saturday when Statesboro officials rounded-up two Atlanta residents attempting to offload a large amount of the drug at a local apartment.

On Saturday, investigators with the Statesboro-Bulloch Crime Suppression Team conducted a narcotics investigation at Park Place Apartments in the 200 block of Lanier Drive in Statesboro based on information that a large amount of heroin was being transported to that location from Atlanta.

WJCL News.

Lakeland hosts youth fishing derby Saturday

The 14th Annual youth Fishing Derby, hosted by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Valdosta Bassmasters Club, and the City of Lakeland, will be held on Saturday, June 7 from 7 a.m.-12 p.m.

Children ages 3-15 are invited to join the festivities starting at Flatlanders Lake, located off Highway 221 in downtown Lakeland.

Registration is from 7-7:30 a.m., fishing from 7:45 a.m. – 10 a.m.  First, second, and third places prices will be awarded for largest fish by weight to each age group.  Banks Lake National Wildlife Refuge, off Highway 122 (2 miles west of Lakeland), is hosting family-friendly activities following the Derby from 9:30 a.m.-12 p.m.

Activities include knot tying demonstrations, “grunting” for worms, wildlife-themed arts and crafts, and live animal exhibits.  Remember to bring a t-shirt to decorate to show off with paint and fish and animal prints. Refreshments provided by Valdosta Bassmasters and a raffle with prizes donated by event supporters.  Raffles will begin at 10:30 a.m.

All activities will be in accordance with the National Fishing and Boating Week which is being celebrated June 1-8. During this week, the public can enjoy time spent boating and fishing during “Georgia Free Fishing Days” June 7 and June 14. During these two days, Georgia residents 16 years and older do not need a fishing license, although all other fishing regulations apply.

For more information about this event, please contact Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge at 912-496-7836 from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday, or visit the refuge website at www.fws.gov/okefenokee.

Four arrested for drug violations in Brantley County

SAMSWarrick L. Sams (22) was arrested and charged with Possession of Marijuana less than Ounce/Driving While License Suspended/Failure to Maintain Lane.  Deputies observed Sams’ vehicle cross the fog line several times and initiated a traffic stop.  It was discovered that Sams’ license were suspended.  An inventory of the vehicle revealed a plastic bag containing a green leafy substance.  Sams was transported to the Brantley County Detention Center. 

Deputies responded to the Brantley County Sheriff’s Office in reference to Theft by Taking that occurred at Oleander Circle.  Complainant stated they let the offenders borrow their car and the offenders are now refusing to return the car and are leaving the state. 

ZORNESCindy Zornes (30) was arrested and charged with DUI-drugs.  Deputies were dispatched to Hwy 82 at the Satilla River Bridges.  Zornes was stopped on the edge of the bridge.  When deputies approached Zornes stated her vehicle was broke down.  Zornes seemed to be impaired.  When asked if she had taken any medication she admitted she had and also that she had smoked some marijuana.  Zornes was transported to the Brantley County Detention Center.

Deputies responded to the 200 block of First Ave in reference to Criminal Trespass.  Complainant stated the offender got mad and busted a window out of the home.

Deputies responded to Carl Burney Rd in reference to locating Raymond Bertholf (21) who had outstanding warrants for Ware County Sheriff’s Office.   Bertholf was taken into custody and turned over to Ware County.

MOOREMichael L. Moore (38) was arrested and charged with Possession of Methamphetamine/Possession and use of Drug Related Objects/Obstructing or Hindering Law Enforcement.  Deputies responded to Blue Bonnet Ln in reference to serving a warrant on Moore.  When they entered the residence they found in plain view a glass pipe and a cigarette pack containing suspected methamphetamine.  Moore was transported to the Brantley County Detention Center where his warrants were served.  

Deputies spoke to the complainant by phone in reference to Theft by Taking that occurred in the 12000 block of Raybon Rd West.  Complainant stated someone stole their prescription medication.

Deputies spoke with complainant in reference to Theft by Taking that occurred on Douglas Lane.  Complainant stated that their TV had been stolen and pawned at A-Z Pawn in Waycross. 

06-01-2014

Deputies responded to the 200 block of Jeff Rd in reference to Theft by Taking/Criminal Trespass/Burglary.  Complainant stated that an unknown subject had stolen a games system from their home.

Deputies responded to the area of Warners Landing Rd in reference to Burglary.  Complainant stated that someone entered their home through a window and took a TV, a blender and cooler.

ANGLEClifford Angle (26) was arrested and charged with Possession and use of Drug Related Objects/Possession of Methamphetamine with Intent/Possession of Methamphetamine.   Deputies responded to the Friendly Express in reference to a suspicious vehicle.  It was discovered that the subject was wanted out of Glynn County.  An inventory was done on the vehicle and methamphetamine was found.  Angle was transported to the Brantley County Detention Center.

Three cities get highway improvements from state

Crowded roads in Hinesville and Tifton will be widened and a busy interchange in Griffin rebuilt as components of more than $55 million in new transportation infrastructure improvements announced today by the Georgia Department of Transportation.

Approximately $17.8 million will be spent to widen more than three miles of State Route 119 south of Fort Stewart in Hinesville.  Currently a two-lane roadway, it will be widened to four lanes with a sidewalk on one side and mixed-use trail on the other.    McClendon Enterprises, Inc., of Vidalia, will perform the work, scheduled to be completed in April, 2017.

In Tifton, a Georgia DOT contractor will widen two and a half miles of Carpenter Road between Larkin and Davis roads from a single lane in each direction to two lanes each way with a center turn lane, sidewalks and upgrades to the King Road intersection.  The $10.1 million project will be done by Reames and Son Construction Company, Inc., of Valdosta, and is to be completed by November, 2015.

On Griffin’s westside, E.R. Snell Contractor, Inc., of Lithonia, will be paid $11.9 million to rebuild the interchange of U.S. Highway 19/State Route 3 and State Route 16.  The project completion date is August, 2016.

Details on these and other newly awarded projects can be found through the Award Announcement Download at:  https://www.bidx.com/ga/letting?lettingid=14051601

Since January, Georgia DOT has awarded 65 major construction contracts across the state valued at more than $300 million.   However, the Department’s ability to continue maintaining and growing the state’s transportation network will be severely restricted as early as next month unless Congress acts quickly to provide necessary federal funding.

Waynesville music fest set for June 7

The Southeast Georgia Music Festival will open to the public at 10am on Saturday, June 7 off Browntown Road in Waynesville for an all-day, family-friendly music festival. Musical genres include country, folk, Americana, blues, and more. There will be arts and crafts vendors, affordable festival food, bounce houses, a rock climb, even a car show and an auto raffle. Proceeds benefit GAP House Ministries and its Recovery Community Center in Lulaton. For more information, visit www.segafest.com . General admission is $5.

WJCL looks into criminal past of man accused of killing Toombs County teacher

Simon Dixon Mitchell was lead into a Toombs County courthouse Thursday, hours after police found teacher Robin Matthews stabbed to death. WJCL’s learned new details about the case Friday.

While we don’t know how Mitchell got in Matthews’ car, police say he forced her to a remote location where she was found dead. Prosecutors say in addition to murder, aggravated assault and aggravated battery, Mitchell will be charged with kidnapping, false imprisonment and failing to report as a sex offender.

WJCL News.

Jesup’s new treatment plant is in testing phase

The third time is the charm, so the saying goes. And for Stan Efaw, head of the Jesup wastewater department, the third treatment plant in his 30 years of working for the city is about to come on line.

The present plant has been operable for more than 20 years, but Efaw expects that before the end of June, the new $12.5 million facility will be in operation.

“We are getting real close,” he said this week.

via The Press-Sentinel

Brunswick agency says it has no money for assistance

The Coastal Georgia Area Community Action Authority of Brunswick says it’s unable to help low-income residents who receive high utility bills.

Delvon Butler, community service division director for the authority, says there are no funds available for the cooling assistance portion of the Low-Income Heating Energy Assistance Program, which provides a maximum of $350 towards energy bills for residents in Glynn, Camden, McIntosh, Bryan and Liberty counties.

via The Brunswick News

Dalton Branch named Compton Scholar by College of Coastal Georgia

daltonbranchDalton Branch of Brantley County High School has been named one of seven Compton Scholars.

For 17 years, the College of Coastal Georgia has recognized outstanding graduating seniors from the seven area high schools as Compton Scholars. These Compton Scholars demonstrate community service and academic achievement.  Those who opt to attend the College of Coastal Georgia are each awarded a $1,500 academic scholarship by the College Foundation to support their studies.

Others named include Macy Futch, Wayne County High School; Vlad Hickman, Camden County High School; Jordan Rentz, Glynn Academy; Chloe Rowe, McIntosh County Academy; Kaitlin Shea, Frederica Academy; and Shelby Taylor, Brunswick High School

Port-a-potty damages restaurant drive-through canopy

The Brantley County Sheriff’s Office reported this week that a port-a-potty damaged a Nahunta restaurant drive-through canopy and a stolen ladder was found at a local pawn shop.

Deputies responded to Jerry J’s in reference to criminal trespass.  Complainant stated that someone pulled through the drive-thru with a port-a-potty on the back of the truck and knocked down the canopy.  The offender stated he would pay for the damage.

Deputies met the complainant at a pawn shop in reference to theft by conversion/theft by deception that occurred in the 5000 block of High Bluff Road.  Complainant had let a friend borrow some ladders a few months ago and has not been able to contact them since.  Complainant stated they found one of their ladders at the pawn shop.  

Deputies responded to Pete Avenue in reference to terroristic threats and acts.  Complainant stated the offender threatened to harm them.  Offender stated the complainant was playing music too loud and they yelled at them to turn it down.

Deputies responded to the 7100 block of Browntown Road in reference to entering auto.  Complainant stated an unknown subject broke into their box truck and stole a large amount of tools. 

Deputies responded to the Brantley County Sheriff’s Office in reference to terroristic threats and acts. Complainant stated the offender threatened their life.

Deputies responded to the 200 block of Marion Drive in reference to harassing phone calls.  Complainant stated the offender keeps calling and harassing them.  

Deputies responded to the 1900 block of Boots Harrison Road in reference to theft by taking.  Complainant stated that someone stole their prescription medication.

Charlton realtor released to mother’s home

Last week was a very good week for Pam Renshaw.

The 1980 CCHS grad, real estate agent, and mother of three was released from the hospital after seven months and — on the very same day — welcomed her first grandchild into the world.

Renshaw has had her ups and downs since being admitted to the hospital in Gainesville, Florida on October 15 suffering from third degree burns after a freak four-wheeler accident. She was initially treated at Shands Hospital in Florida, and then moved last month to the medical facility’s rehabilitation center.

Last Thursday, Renshaw was released to go home and on the same day her son Trevor, and his wife Tiffany, had their first baby — and Renshaw’s first grandchild. The couple learned of the pregnancy just one day before Renshaw’s accident.

via Charlton County Herald

Lowndes County weighs first tax increase in 15 years

Lowndes County Commission weighed the likelihood of raising the millage rate Tuesday — the first such tax increase in 15 years.

During the past few years, all of the Lowndes County government departments have slashed their expenditures as razor thin as possible to meet revenues. During the Tuesday morning meeting, county commissioners discussed the Fiscal Year 2015 budget, and the possibility of a millage rate increase.

Valdosta Daily Times.

Woman stabbed, killed in Brunswick home

A 53-year-old woman was stabbed to death inside a Brunswick home Thursday morning.

Officers with the Brunswick Police Department responded to a home in the 2400 block of Johnston Street after dispatch received a 911 call with an open line, according to the Brunswick Police Department.

Dispatchers advised officers that they could hear a male and a female yelling in the background. Upon arrival, the initial responding officer saw a man run from the residence, according to police. The male was located a short distance away and was was identified as 51-year-old Wright Greyhound Phoenix.

When police entered the home, they found 53-year-old Angela L. Whitten on the couch, unconscious and suffering from multiple stab wounds to the chest and upper torso area.

FCN

America is in short supply of cyber experts

By Lynn A. Dugle

The Target data breach could have been a story pulled from a heist movie, with the thief coming in through the airducts.

Reports indicate the multi-billion dollar hack took place after the network credentials of a heating and air conditioning subcontractor paid to remotely monitor the temperature at Target stores was exploited. This is a plausible explanation – and is worrisome even if proved wrong.

The breach was one of the largest U.S. cybercrimes to date. And it should be a wake-up call for consumers, businesses, and government leaders alike — when everything is connected, everything is vulnerable.

While the hackers responsible for Target’s data breach made off with the credit and debit card information of 40 million customers, the retailer is just one of many American firms recently victimized by online criminals.

According to PwC, in the last three years, 26 percent of American organizations lost more than $50,000 to cybercrime. In response to the Target incident, 60 percent of U.S. companies are boosting their cybersecurity budgets.

But businesses aren’t the only ones at risk. In a recent poll of American defense officials, cyber attacks were named the single biggest threat to U.S. national security; terrorism ranked a distant second.

The Internet of today is a network without geographic boundaries, seamlessly integrated into our lives. It connects companies, smart phones, critical infrastructure, cars, homes and devices of all sizes. This network is enabled by embeddable computing, unobtrusive sensors, worldwide systems and big data analytic environments. And it is only getting larger.

We entrust this network with our medical records and banking transactions. We are sharing, storing and collecting our most sensitive data on connected computers and devices.

While this “Internet of Things” brings many benefits to the world, it could be overshadowed by cyber threats.

Fortunately, leaders in Washington understand the growing importance of cybersecurity. As President Obama recently stated, “America’s economic prosperity, national security, and our individual liberties depend on our commitment to securing cyberspace.” In fact, every sector of our society is going to increase its reliance on networks that must be protected.

But so far, we’ve seen few policy prescriptions to create the workforce needed to protect and defend this new information ecosystem. One weakness that makes Americans vulnerable to online attacks is the lack of skilled cyber specialists.

In fact, 61 percent of government respondents to a recent survey admitted having too few internet and cyber security experts in their agency. Worldwide, there is a shortage of 1 million cyber experts. This problem is only expected to worsen.

Just last month, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel announced a major push to hire more than 6,000 new cyber professionals. “To accomplish this goal, we are recruiting talent from everywhere,” Hagel said. “But we’re also encouraging people already here in the military, in DOD, to develop cyber skills.”

My own company, the defense technology firm Raytheon, recently made a three-year commitment to the Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition to help address this shortage. Since 2005, the competition has invited U.S. college students to test their skills at protecting computer networks from outside threats in real-world, exciting scenarios. We have seen so much promise from this competition and hired many former competitors.

Raytheon isn’t the only one to recognize the power of student engagement. The competition is also supported by the Department of Homeland Security, Walmart, Facebook and others.

Programs like this are a good start, but progress is slow. Many of today’s most promising students are still unaware of cybersecurity as a career option. In a recent poll of millennials, 82 percent said that none of their high school teachers or guidance counselors had suggested a job in this field.

It’s time to recognize the need for cyber security experts not only in the military, but in industry and government. We must encourage this career path in students from an early age. Efforts that encourage science, technology, engineering, and math education for elementary, middle, and high school students is essential to developing future cyber experts.

Without sustained public-private efforts to grow our cybersecurity workforce and make students excited about this career path, we have little chance of combatting one of the greatest security threats our country currently faces. If we are going to trust this network with our most private data, we should train the best to protect it.

Lynn A. Dugle is a Raytheon Company vice president and president of Raytheon Intelligence, Information and Services.

Audio recording casts doubt on Boggs’ abortion testimony

Michael Boggs

An audio recording of a 2001 Georgia house floor debate is casting further doubt on the testimony of Michael Boggs, a controversial anti-choice judicial nominee who faced some highly skeptical questions from U.S. Senators earlier this month on an anti-choice vote he made as a Georgia state legislator.

via Audio Recording Casts Doubt on Judicial Nominee Michael Boggs’ Abortion Testimony.

Friendly Express updating convenience store network

Friendly Express has enlisted global brand agency CBX to update the design and branding of its 42-store network of convenience stores in southeast Georgia.

CBX will update the chain’s logo and redesign the interiors and exteriors of the convenience stores, which range in size from 2,000 to 3,500 square feet. Friendly Express c-stores, which also offer gasoline, are located in several southeastern Georgia communities, including Waycross, Jesup, Folkston, Brunswick, and St. Simons Island.

CSPnet.

State looks to reopen Charlton hospital as ER

An ambulance races down an empty street in Folkston, population about 5,000. It bypasses Charlton Memorial Hospital, makes a sharp right turn and speeds to an emergency room 40 miles away.

Why? Because Charlton Memorial Hospital has been closed since last August.

Four of Georgia’s 65 rural hospitals have shut down over the past two years. A dozen more have cut services in response to shrinking budgets.

There just wasn’t enough money to keep Charlton Memorial going, says Doug Gowen, who stayed and is in charge of what’s left of the defunct hospital. A small staff handles the medical records accumulated when it was still in business.

With 25 beds, Charlton Memorial, like many rural hospitals, struggled to cope with a lack of high-tech specialty care, a big drop in local funding and populations that were getting older and poorer.

From his office in a trailer behind the hospital, Gowen can see the locked building that was once the second-largest employer in town.

“Ever since we closed, we’ve maintained hope that we’re going to open back up,” he says. “We’ve not sold any of our equipment. Everything is ready.”

The state of Georgia just threw him a lifeline, offering a new kind of license to allow struggling hospitals and those that have closed in the past year to become rural free-standing emergency departments.

“The intent here is to have some kind of health care infrastructure in a community, as opposed to nothing at all,” says Clyde Reese, who runs the Georgia Department of Community Health.

He doesn’t know of another state that’s tried this approach. The new emergency departments would handle run-of-the-mill urgent care, such as broken bones. But they would also stabilize patients for transfer to larger hospitals that are better equipped and staffed.

Reese doesn’t know how the free-standing ER would be funded. Medicaid and Medicare could pay for some of the services, but at reduced, non-hospital rates. “This is a first step of not just looking at hospitals but at health care in general in our rural areas,” he says.

Because of the strains on the Georgia system, Republican Gov. Nathan Deal created the Rural Hospital Stabilization Committee. One thing that won’t be an option: accepting federal money to expand Medicaid to adults without dependent children. That move would cover a half-million poor Georgians. The Republican-controlled Legislature opposes the Affordable Care Act, which created the expansion, and says Medicaid expansion would cost the state too much in the long run.

That’s a mistake, says Tim Sweeney, health policy director at the nonprofit Georgia Budget and Policy Institute. “If the primary issue is the financial stability of rural hospitals, then expanding Medicaid should be Step 1,” he says.

Georgia is missing out on $31 billion in federal money for the state’s health care system over the next decade by not expanding Medicaid, he says. “We know that it would provide significant new funding for hospitals in rural Georgia that are serving uninsured patients right now.”

Deal has said he would prefer the federal funding come in a lump sum directly to the state rather than abiding by the federal government’s stricter rules for Medicaid.

In Folkston, Gowen fears time is running out for the hospital. He says he will apply for a license to open up the ER, even if he has no idea where the money will come from. “There is a very vital lifesaving service provided in our emergency room,” he says. “And if we can get at least that part back up and running, that’s vital to this community.”

NPR.

Savannah authorities offering up to $15,000 for info on cold case

SAVANNAH, Ga. (WJCL) – Around 4 a.m. on the morning of May 29, 2004, Captain Scott Corwin and his girlfriend were walking home through Monterey Square in downtown Savannah.

The couple was approached by an unknown assailant and Captain Corwin was shot and killed during the incident. Corwin was a graduate of West Point and an Army Captain stationed in the Savannah area awaiting deployment to Iraq. Corwin’s assailant remains at large and police need your help to solve this case.

Now a 10-year-old case, authorities are offering a cash reward of up to $15,000 – available anonymously – for new information that leads to an arrest.

Officials with CrimeStoppers said that all information provided to the organization is anonymous and can be reported any time of day. Tipsters can call CrimeStoppers at 234-2020, send an e-tip though the CrimeStoppers website (using the report anonymously link) or by texting CRIMES (274637) and using the keyword CSTOP2020 before the message content. Or use the TipSubmit Mobile App, available for Android and Apple smartphones and tablets through the App Store.

Tomorrow on WJCL News at 5 p.m. the family remembers.

WJCL News.

Charlton prisoners to be sent to Brantley jail

Charlton County’s prisoners won’t be passing go and they will be going directly to jail —  in Brantley County.

GEO Group, owner operators of D. Ray James Prison and the detention center there, notified the county earlier this month they are terminating their contract to house Charlton County inmates. Since then, Sheriff Dobie Conner has been searching for alternative housing for the county’s prisoners.

At last week’s county commission meeting, County Administrator Al Crace said the sheriff has worked out a deal with Brantley County to use their jail facilities.

“They’ll be able to take all our prisoners,” he told the commissioners. “At D. Ray James, they didn’t take female inmates, and there were other prisoners they would not accept.”

via Charlton County Herald

Nature Conversancy adds 1,117 acres along Altamaha near Jesup

The Nature Conservancy said that they will add 1,117 acres to its protection near Jesup. The land is along the Altamaha River, and is known as the Morgan Lake tract. With the addition of the property, The Nature Conservancy and its public and private partners now protect more than 140,000 acres in the Altamaha River basin.

The Nature Conservancy purchased Morgan Lake at fair market value from a local private landowner whose family had owned the tract for many years, using it for commercial recreation, timber harvesting and other business ventures,

via STATE.

Metro police seek public assistance in identifying gunman

Savannah-Chatham Metropolitan Police are requesting the public’s help in identifying the gunman who shot a homeless man during a reported robbery attempt May 5.

Carl Whipple, 51, has been hospitalized in serious condition since the shooting on West 40th Street near Marten Luther King Jr. Boulevard in the Cuyler-Brownville neighborhood. Central Precinct officers patrolling a block away heard the shots and found him on the ground about 9:30 p.m.

WJCL News.

Primary results portend GOP wins in November

Two of Tuesday’s biggest vote-getters turned out to be two of Tuesday’s biggest losers.

Michelle Nunn and Jason Carter won more than 200,000 votes apiece in their primary contests, making official what everyone knew all along: They’ll headline the state’s Democratic ticket this fall. But it was what happened on the Republican side that probably sealed their fates for November.

Kyle Wingfield | www.ajc.com.

Election not over for some candidates Glynn

For several candidates who participated in the general primary election Tuesday, the race for public office is not over.

Locally, the county commission’s at-large 1 post is still up in the air. Incumbent Commissioner Clyde Taylor (42.6 percent) ended the primary Tuesday with a 74-vote lead over challenger Mark Stambaugh (41.69 percent). Neither was able to top 50 percent of the ballots cast, so both will appear on the Republican Primary runoff ballot July 22.

via The Brunswick New

VA employee says clinic in Jax understaffed

A woman who works at the Veterans Administration clinic in Jacksonville is blowing the whistle on her employer.

Shawn Lee, a patient services assistant, said the clinic off Jefferson Street is understaffed, with no enrollment clerks working to enter in new veterans’ information. Without them, veterans are experiencing delays and complications in their first interactions with the clinic.

News – Home.

Family of Nahunta truck driver killed in crash sues other driver

wreckA family is taking legal action five months after a horrific crash killed 37-year-old Jamin Middleton, a truck driver from Nahunta. Middleton’s widow says the drive of another semi-truck is to blame for her hunsband’s death and she’s filing a lawsuit against that driver and the company he works for. She says the truck driver was distracted and that’s what caused the seven car pileup that killed her husband.

Buddy Carter, Bob Johnson in runoff for District 1 House seat

State Sen. E.L. “Buddy” Carter and retired Chatham County physician Robert E. “Bob” Johnson will meet July 22 in a runoff of Tuesday’s Republican Primary for the District 1 Congressional seat.

After running out front much of the night, Carter finished with 36 percent of the votes while Johnson collected 21 percent.

St. Simons Island businessman John A. McCallum finished third with 21 percent and state Rep. Jeff Chapman, R-Brunswick, was well back at 13 percent.

Darwin Carter of Alma had 5 percent while Earl T. Martin received 2 percent of the vote.

On the Democratic side, Brian Corwin Reese and Amy L. Tavio finished in nearly a dead heat for the top two spots on the ballot and they will also will meet in a runoff. Tavio finished first, but Reese was only 21 votes back.

The third candidate, Marc Anthony Smith was eliminated, but he was also close with 32.2 percent of the vote.

via Buddy Carter, Bob Johnson in runoff of Republican Primary for District 1 House seat in Georgia | members.jacksonville.com.

Murder suspect charged in 2007 Brunswick kidnapping

Vickers is currently incarcerated on an unrelated murder charge that occurred in February in Wayne County.

A Midway man is facing multiple charges related to kidnapping and making terroristic threats.

Robert Ray Vickers, 32, was arrested May 6 for an incident that took place in a Winn-Dixie parking lot in August 2007, according to a release from the Brunswick Police Department.

Vickers was identified after a major upgrade to the Integrated Automated Fingerprint Identification System (IAFIS) maintained by the FBI. A print taken the victim’s car at the time of the incident was re-entered into the system and came back as a match to Vickers.

A warrant was issued and Vickers was charged, according to the release.

via Murder suspect charged in 2007 kidnapping.

Parents of woman killed on Wayne film set sue Allman, producers

Jeffrey Harris and Stephen Lowry of Harris Penn Lowry filed a wrongful death and negligence lawsuit Wednesday afternoon in Chatham County State Court on behalf of the parents of the camera assistant killed when a train crashed into a movie set in rural South Georgia.

Richard and Elizabeth Jones, parents of Sarah Elizabeth Jones, sued rock star Greg Allman and the producers of the movie “Midnight Rider,” based on his Allman’s 2012 memoir, “My Cross to Bear.”

The lawsuit names as defendants Gregory Allman and a list of producers and contractors affiliated with the movie. Jones, 27, died, and other members of the crew were injured on Feb. 20 as they were filming a scene on a railroad trestle bridge near Jesup on property owned by Rayonier Performance Fibers, according to the lawsuit. The plaintiffs claim that the film crew had permission from Rayonier to use the property, but it did not have clearance from CSX Transportation Inc., owner of the railroad, which is also named as a defendant.

“Despite the fact that they planned to film a scene on active railroad tracks, and despite their knowledge of the danger presented by filming a scene on active railroad tracks, none of the Midnight Rider defendants or their agents, representatives, contractors or employees obtained the proper permission or approval from defendant CSX to conduct filming on the trestle bridge,” the lawsuit states. The complaint goes on to say that the defendants concealed this fact from the rest of the crew, including Sarah.

The lawsuit says the defendants selected an “unreasonably dangerous site for the filming location” and failed to take safety measures or keep a look out for trains.

The lawsuit claims that a representative from Rayonier, the property owner, told film producers that no more than two trains per day would cross the trestle. They waited for two trains to pass before they placed their equipment and set–including a metal hospital bed for a dream sequence–onto the track. When the next train approached, the crew had no way to exit the narrow track on top of the trestle, the suit said.

“Several members of the crew, including Sarah, were not able to escape the path of the oncoming train, and some crew members, equipment and the hospital bed remained on the trestle bridge as the train approached,” the lawsuit states. “The resulting train collision and the flying debris caused Sarah’s death.”

The lawsuit also alleges CSX was negligent because the crew of the first two trains did not warn the third train of the presence of the film crew near the track.

This month Allman and movie producers resolved a suit Allman brought to block the continued filming of the movie. According to the Associated Press, Allman’s attorney David Long-Daniels and director Randall Miller’s attorney Donnie Dixon told a Savannah judge that they had reached agreement, but they didn’t say whether the filming would continue. Unclaimed Freight, the production company, along with Miller and Allman are all named in the Jones lawsuit. Actor William Hurt, who was present at the scene to play Allman, withdrew from the project after the crash, the AP said.

The Daily Report is attempting to reach lawyers for the plaintiffs and the defendants. This story will be updated when more information is available.

via Parents of Woman Killed on Film Set Sue Rocker Gregg Allman and Movie Producers | The Daily Report.

Bennett beats Bowen for Pierce chairman, all incumbents ousted

Election day was not kind to Pierce County  incumbents.

Former county commissioner Neal Bennett defeated incumbent county chairman Mitch Bowen, according to unofficial election results Tuesday night. Bennett garnered 1,675 votes to Bowen’s 1,037, or roughly 62 percent of the vote.

Former commissioner Mike Streat captured about 54.3 percent of the vote and will return to the District 2 seat after defeating Bill Cselle. Streat had 398 votes to Cselle’s 335.

In the District 4 race, Lanier Walker slid by incumbent Carl Boyette by one vote – 364 to 363 – pending final certification of the count. Walker received 50.07 percent of the vote.

Lanny David Williams defeated longtime District 2 school board member Pat Park by a total of 387 to 371. Williams received 51 percent of the vote.

In an area race, George Barnhill defeated incumbent Brad Collins 6,659 to 5,332 in the race for district attorney of the Waycross Judicial Circuit. Barnhill received just over 55 percent of the vote in the six-county district and almost 60 percent of ballots in Pierce County.

via The Blackshear Times

Baby murderer’s sister pleads guilty to throwing gun in pond

The sister of De’Marquise Elkins, who is serving 105 years in prison for killing a 13-month-old boy and other charges, pleaded guilty Wednesday to helping their mother throw the murder weapon in a pond.

Sabrina Elkins, 20, pleaded guilty to tampering with evidence before Superior Court Judge Stephen Kelley.

Kelley sentenced her mother, Karimah Elkins to the maximum 10 years in prison in early March after she pleaded guilty to the same charge. Kelley told Sabrina Elkins she could serve one to 10 years in prison but agreed to defense lawyer Frank Aspinwall’s request that a pre-sentencing investigation be conducted before Kelley decides on a sentence.

 jacksonville.com.

Blackshear publisher lambasts two commissioners seeking re-election

With only a couple of days left, it appears about half as many residents will show up to cast ballots during early voting as did back in November, 2012 when the red-hot sheriff’s race led the local ticket.

And that is sad.

Few races stir the electorate like deciding who will wear our community’s top badge but, in terms of long-term effect on life in our county, the choices available on the ballot for county commission this go-round also have great potential for ill or good.

Hundreds, if not thousands, of decisions have been made by our commissioners over the past few years that can be debated. Not every decision has been perfect. Some good county workers have lost their jobs due to necessary cutbacks. Other changes have been required due to harsh economic realities. More than one county worker has complained bitterly about now having to pay a portion of health insurance costs. I’m sorry, but to them I say, welcome to the world a majority of American workers live in. There are few such costly benefits left.

The Blackshear Times

 

Augusta mayoral candidate had multiple eviction notices

Even more financial baggage surfaced Wednesday on Augusta mayoral candidate Helen Blocker-Adams.

Richmond County Marshal’s Office records show that between June 2007 and January 2013 Blocker-Adams was served with eviction or dispossessory notices more than 40 times at two Augusta apartment complexes.

The pro-business candidate, for whom former presidential candidate Herman Cain headlined a February fundraiser, acknowledged Tuesday that she was far behind on payments on three Aiken County court judgments totaling more than $70,000.

The Augusta Chronicle.

Healthcare experts in Savannah forecast more patient and provider demands
A panel of local industry professionals who met this week agreed patients can expect to find fewer physicians in their networks, pay higher deductibles and see greater demands on health care providers to cut costs as a result of the Affordable Care Act.
Source: Savannah Morning News

GR Health files to build Columbia County hospital
Georgia Regents Health System will file to build a nearly $200 million hospital in Columbia County, setting up a head-to-head comparison with a similar proposal from University Hospital, an official said Wednesday.
Source: Augusta Chronicle

Concussions and other brain injuries prompt more ER visits
Between 2006 and 2010, the total number of visits to emergency departments in a nationwide sample of hospitals grew by 3.6 percent.
Source: Athens Banner-Herald

Teacher injured during fight between students at Conyers Middle School 
Source: Rockdale Citizen

 Coweta County BOE restores days for teachers
Source: Newnan Times-Herald

Savannah-Chatham school bus drivers demand year-round pay
Local school bus drivers are demanding new contracts and year-round pay in response to new legislation that bars them from claiming unemployment during the summer break.
Source: Savannah Morning News

Former UGA coach Jim Donnan’s fate to be decided by jury
The federal jury will continue deliberating today.
Source: Athens Banner-Herald

Bleckley schools closed due to rain, flooding
Poor road conditions also led to the closure.
Source: Macon Telegraph

U.S. DOE investigating Gwinnett County schools for discrimination
For the second time in three years, the U.S. Department of Education is looking into claims that Gwinnett County Public Schools is discriminating against minority students.
Source: Gwinnett Daily Post

South Forsyth High School prank: Offensive banner
The high school removed the offensive banner quickly, but not before it as broadcast on social media sites.
Source: Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Businessman who wrote UGA fight song dies at 72
Clisby Clarke was asked to write a fight song once Herschel Walker signed to play with the Bulldogs in 1980; he wrote “Bulldog Bite,” the popular football fight song.
Source: Atlanta Journal-Constitution

• Obituary for George Clisby Clarke
Source: Legacy.com

Georgia State’s president as downtown Atlanta’s ‘White Knight’
Source: Atlanta Journal-Constitution/subscription

Analysis finds less than 40% of 12th graders ready for college
Less than 40 percent of America’s 12th-graders are academically prepared for college, according to results from the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), often known as the “nation’s report card.”
Source: Christian Science Monitor

Food truck restaurant in Augusta to open brick-and-mortar location
The Brown Bag food truck will open a business at the corner of 10th and Ellis streets in Augusta within the next two weeks.
Source: Augusta Chronicle

Rome business to be included in mill merger
The new Grain Craft will include Milner Milling of Rome, which merged with Kerr Pacific in 2001 to create Pendleton Flour Mill.
Source: Rome News-Tribune

State’s unemployment rate unchanged at 7.0% in April
Source: AccessNorthGa.com

Southwest Airlines mum to future plans in Atlanta
Southwest Airlines Co. CEO Gary Kelly told investors Wednesday the airline is “here to grow” but failed to mention what role Atlanta will play in its growth.
Source: Atlanta Business Chronicle

Gubernatorial race: John Barge, David Pennington debate without Gov. Deal
Gubernatorial candidates John Barge and David Pennington debated each other about education spending and Republican credentials Wednesday night.
Source: Athens Banner-Herald

U.S. Senate candidate chastised over tax comment
Republican U.S. Senate candidate David Perdue’s comments about boosting federal revenues drew fire Wednesday morning from Karen Handel, less than a week before the primary votes are counted.
Source: Athens Banner-Herald

Houston County legislators say transportation and health care need fixes
During Wednesday’s Eggs & Issues breakfast at the Museum of Aviation, legislators talked about road upgrades in general and fixes for the Interstate 75-Interstate 16 interchange and Savannah’s port.
Source: Macon Telegraph

GOP Senate candidate David Perdue blasted for revenue remark
Georgia’s GOP Senate scramble erupted Wednesday into an intense round of attacks over taxes, gay rights and who’s a real Republican, all in the shadow of a key vote that could help determine congressional control.
Source: WSB-TV/AP

Political Notebook, Gwinnett: Tea party endorsements for Mike Beaudreau, Right to Life for Alfie Meek 
“With less than a week before polls close on the primary, local political candidates are releasing some last-minute endorsements.”
Source: Gwinnett Daily Post

Seven Republicans run for 10th Congressional District
The May 20 primary features a pastor, a politician, a business owner, two military men, an attorney and a tea party activist.
Source: Gwinnett Daily Post

Political Insider: GOP runoff for U.S. Senate could 
“If anyone tells you he knows what will happen on the GOP side of the U.S. Senate race Tuesday, spit in his eye. Turnout is likely to be so low that a mayor’s race in Muscogee County could sweep this candidate or that into one of two runoff berths.”
Source: Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Paulding County airport plan an issue in elections
Source: Atlanta Journal-Constitution

A tragic price

A 19-year-old walks into a Waffle House at 1 a.m., draws a gun and commands patrons to the floor while his 29-year-old accomplice stands by menacingly.

A 23-year-old diner sitting at the counter refuses to comply. He draws a legally concealed pistol and shoots the teen, killing him almost instantly while the accomplice flees.

If you are the deceased 19-year-old armed robber’s cousin, your natural reaction would be to:

A: Express a mix of shock, horror and shame that your cousin’s senseless actions not only led to his untimely death but jeopardized the lives of innocent people.

B: Express outrage that laws enabled the would-be victim to carry a concealed weapon and justifiably use it to defend himself and other patrons?

The Augusta Chronicle.

Four arrested for drug crimes in Brantley

ARRESTSGary Sumner (34), Graham Nolan(20) and Danna Brasiel (22) were arrested and charged with Possessio n of Schedule II Controlled Substance. Roxanna Little (19) was arrested and charged with 2 counts Possession of Schedule II Controlled Substance and No Proof of Insurance. Deputies initiated a traffic stop on the suspect vehicle and discovered there was no insurance on the vehicle.  Before the vehicle was towed an inventory was done and the drugs were discovered at that time.

Deputies responded to the 400 block of River Ridge Loop in reference to Terroristic Threats and Acts/Harassing Phone Calls/Criminal Trespass.  Complainant stated offender came on their property and threatened him and has been sending threatening text messages.

Deputies responded to the 6000 block of Browntown Rd in reference to Theft by Taking/Criminal Trespass.  Complainant stated that someone stole a bike from their residence.

Deputies responded to Fourth Ave in reference to Theft by Taking/Criminal Trespass.  Complainant stated their dog had been shot a few weeks ago and things have been going missing from their property.  One of the complainant’s rabbits had been stolen as well as various hand tools.

Deputies responded to the 100 block of Warners Landing Rd in reference to Burglary.  Complainant stated someone had pried opened the back door of the home and taken several items.

Deputies responded to Community Rd in reference to a call of someone Impersonating a Police Officer.  Complainant stated they received a call from someone stating they were a Brantley County deputy when it fact they worked for a debt collection agency.

Deputies responded to the 4000 block of Caney Bay Rd in reference to Criminal Trespass/Theft of Service/Burglary.  Complainant stated someone had been on the property and trashed the carport as well as the back porch.

Deputies met with complainant at the Brantley County Sheriff’s Office in reference to Theft by Taking that occurred at the off road park.  Complainant stated their 4 wheeler had been stolen.

Senator raises ethics issues over Boggs’ 2012 donation

boggsFacing the Senate Judiciary Committee this week, Georgia Court of Appeals Judge Michael Boggs said the Georgia law prevented him from discussing his views on abortion.

But one senator suggested Boggs, seeking confirmation to a seat on the U.S. District Court, may have violated the state code of judicial conduct 10 years ago as a candidate for the Waycross Circuit Superior Court and two years ago as sitting judge.

At issue was Canon 7 of the Georgia Code of Judicial Conduct, which says, “Judges Shall Refrain from Political Activity Inappropriate to their Judicial Office.”

Canon 7A (1) (a) says, “A judge or a candidate for public election to judicial office shall not … make speeches for a political organization or candidate or publicly endorse a candidate for public office.”

Canon 7A (1) (c) says a judge or candidate shall not “make a contribution to a political organization.”

On Tuesday, Sen. Chris Coons, D-Del., a committee member with a law degree and a master’s in ethics from Yale University, asked Boggs whether he had violated Georgia’s judicial ethics code in 2004 when, as a candidate for Superior Court, he joined a national steering committee to re-elect President George W. Bush.

via Senator Raises Ethics Issues Over Boggs’ 2012 Donation | The Daily Report.

Talent showcase coming to Waycross

Lions of Georgia Follow Your Dream Talent Showcase will be held on Saturday, June 21, 2014, at the Waycross Middle School, 700 Central Avenue, Waycross. If you know some talented singers in solo, duet or band formation even, get the word to them to sign up. But the showcase is not just for musicians…dancers, magicians and comedians are more than welcome as well. The winning performance will receive a $500 cash prize. Deadline to enter is June 14.

Savvanah home invasion suspect is now in custody

A home invasion suspect is in custody.

The Sheriffs Office says 19-year-old Antonial Kirkland of Guyton is facing multiple charges.

He’s one of two armed and masked men accused of breaking into a home on Mockingbird Drive and stealing Money.

It happened April 24, the family of three was home at the time of the home invasion.

Charges include armed robbery, aggravated assault and kidnapping.

via Home invasion suspect is now in custody | WJCL News.

Metro family defends actions in Savannah melée

New developments have surfaced in the case of a metro Atlanta family who said they were attacked in Savannah.

Police have released surveillance video that shows some of the chaos that took place Mother’s Day weekend.

When Channel 2 Action News first published the story, it went viral and left some people questioning the Forsyth family members’ that they were randomly attacked.

Channel 2’s John Backman sat down with the family again and this time, with the surveillance video.

Rob Gray said when he and his family were walking on River street, a man walked through the family looking for a fight.

“He’s actually threatening me at this point,” Gray said as he was looking at the video. “He was the aggressor in the whole thing.”

The video shows a man in a yellow shirt trying to get a man in a red shirt to keep walking.  It also shows Gray stepping outside of the crowd. Gray said he was telling the men to keep walking.

ActionNewsJax.com.

Three sentenced in Rincon firearms burglary

James Seyfried, 55, from Palm Coast; Florida, Finlandia Pineda, 56, from Palm Coast, Florida; and Elaine Taylor, 61, from Alma, Georgia were sentenced yesterday to lengthy prison terms by Senior U. S. District Court Judge B. Avant Edenfield in a case that involved the burglary of a Rincon, Georgia residence of numerous firearms and other items.  Each defendant earlier pled guilty to possessing firearms as a convicted felon.  Seyfried was sentenced to serve 120 months in prison, Pineda was sentenced to serve 115 months in prison, and Taylor was sentenced to serve 70 months in prison.  All three will serve 3 years of supervised release upon their release from prison.

United States Attorney Edward J. Tarver stated, “The combination of repeat offenders with multiple felony convictions and home burglaries makes for a volatile situation, particularly when firearms are the target.  Thanks to the quick work of our law enforcement partners, a number of stolen firearms did not end up in our communities to be used in the commission of additional crimes.  Dangerous felons who have failed attempts at rehabilitation, continue to commit crimes and possess firearms should do hard time for a long time in a federal prison.

J. Britt Johnson, Special Agent in Charge, FBI Atlanta, stated, “The FBI-led Southeast Georgia Violent Crime Task Force is pleased with the role it played in removing three dangerous repeat offenders from our streets while recovering numerous firearms, including several fully automatic machine guns.  With the establishment of this task force, area law enforcement are better prepared to address those more violent individuals in a more comprehensive and effective manner as seen here.”

According to evidence presented during the guilty plea and sentencing hearings, Taylor, a multi-convicted felon, received information that a Rincon, Georgia resident had a number of safes in his home containing cash, firearms, and other items.  Taylor recruited Seyfried and Pineda, also multi-convicted felons, in a conspiracy to burglarize the Rincon home.  On April 15, 2013, the defendants stole the safes from the Rincon home and transported them to Florida.  Once in Florida, the defendants were able to open the safes, which contained 16 firearms, including fully automatic rifles (machine guns) and semi-automatic firearms, as well as silencers, smoke grenades, and thousands of dollars in cash.

Taylor’s criminal history includes over 100 felony convictions, including convictions for tax fraud, counterfeiting, and an aggravated assault.  Seyfried, who was on federal supervised release at the time of the burglary, has felony convictions that include cocaine trafficking and possessing a firearm as a convicted felon.  Pineda’s criminal history includes a murder-for-hire conviction, where she attempted to hire a hit man to murder Seyfried, her husband at the time.

  The investigation of this case was conducted by the FBI Safe Streets Violent Crime Task Force of Southeast Georgia, which was assisted by the Effingham County Sheriff’s Office and the Bacon County Sheriff’s Office.  Assistant United States Attorneys E. Greg Gilluly, Jr. and T. Shane Mayes 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.

Georgia Workforce to offer veteran training in Savannah

Georgia Workforce Development, a division of the Georgia Department of Economic Development (GDEcD), today announced four new veteran training programs in Coastal Georgia, launched by Coastal Workforce Services.

“With more than 80,000 Georgia veterans expected to return home from combat over the next four years, it is now our duty to make their transition as easy as possible,” said Gov. Nathan Deal. “I want to thank all involved in launching these training programs for your commitment to honor Georgia’s heroes with meaningful and rewarding careers.”

In Savannah, the Local Workforce Area (Coastal Workforce Services) has offered training programs that help ease the transition process for returning heroes.

To ensure that veterans have the proper training that businesses require, each program targets a specific, in-demand skill set.

“Helmets to Hardhats” is an 18-week training program that is designed to train pipe welders and provide certification nationwide.

For Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) training, “Troops to Trucks” will officially launch in May and six veterans are already registered. The local area is partnering with the Savannah Technical College and Ogeechee Technical College for the programs.

Georgia Tech has partnered with the local community through the university’s Vet2 training program, a four-week education and transition program that assists veterans in converting specialized military knowledge into the civilian workforce.

“One of the biggest hurdles facing our returning veterans is the ability to transfer their unique and mastered skills into professional certifications,” said Ben Hames, Deputy Commissioner for Georgia Department of Economic Development, Workforce Division. “These programs demonstrate the state’s commitment to veterans and ultimately supply our workforce with individuals who bring a valuable skillset to the table.”

With the fastest growing port in the southeast, the Port of Savannah, Savannah is a hub for manufacturing and logistics companies. To meet our state’s growing need for a highly skilled talent pool in these industries, the local area is working with The Coastal Logistics Group to provide on-the-job training for veterans in those sectors.

The Workforce Division is focused on connecting local areas with key partners, such as technical colleges, regional military installations, local employers and community leaders, to craft impactful programs that meet business needs.

Changes coming but the name remains Harveys

Harveys it was. Harveys it is, and Harveys it will be.

It was Harveys before it closed for renovations this week. It is Harveys now that it’s closed for those changes. And it will be Harveys when it reopens Friday at 7 a.m.

The name will stay the same, and those familiar green shirts with the same employees wearing them can be expected after the changes are made at the grocery store.

What will change are many of the food items and some additional offerings for patrons.

via The Press-Sentinel

outfit2

Just peachy!

outfit2This outfit is just right for spring and just the right price for the fashionista on a budget. The quilted lightweight deconstructed crop blazer is by Ongue Casuals and features a peach, beige and gold lame print on white. (XL) The matching George long-sleeved button up blouse is a classic (XL). The Napier good brooch matches the gold in the blazer and the J Renee gold pumps finish this smart look. (9.5 M). get this whole outfit for only $75!

Contact: thenook

Teen drowns in Long days before graduation

A 17-year-old Long County High School senior drowned Tuesday in a borrow pit on Louvanda Lane, off Joe Kennedy Road in Long County, according to Long County Emergency Management Agency Director Bob Hesley.

Joserath Barahona Perez had been swimming with a friend just before 3 p.m. when he began to struggle. The friend tried to help but was unable to rescue Perez. He went under about 100 feet from shore and did not resurface. AirEvac, Ludowici/Long County Fire Department and the Long County Sheriff’s Office assisted at the scene, Hesley said.

Perez was set to graduate from high school next week.

via Coastal Courier.

Morehouse student killed in Homerville night club shooting

Clayton Rolland Cross, 22, was shot and killed inside a nightclub where he was the DJ, Saturday night. The GBI says he was not apparently targeted, and another man, Dominique Ellis, 23, was hit by a bullet fragment. He was not seriously hurt.

Cross is from Homerville but was attending college in Atlanta, and was home for the weekend.

Police have warrants out on Trevor Denard Posley, 22, and Dexter Jamal Freeney, 18, both from Homerville.  Steven Maurice Monroe, 25, is already in jail in connection with this case.

The GBI provided this news release:

On Saturday, May 10, 2014 at approximately 10:30 pm, the Clinch County Sheriff’s Department and Homerville Police Department responded to a multiple shooting in the “912 Club” in Homerville Georgia.  The Clinch County Sheriff’s Department requested assistance from the Georgia Bureau of Investigation Douglas office.

Clayton Rolland Cross, 22 years of age, was found deceased after he was shot while inside the club. Cross is from Homerville but was attending college in Atlanta and was home for the weekend. Initial Investigation reveals that Cross was at the club to check on working as a DJ that night.

Cross was talking to friends inside the club when he was shot and did not appear to be the intended target of the shooting. The GBI Crime Lab in Macon will conduct an autopsy.

Dominique Ellis, 23 years of age, was also injured during the shooting by a suspected bullet fragment and was transported and later released from a local hospital.

The GBI has obtained Felony Murder, Aggravated Assault, and Possession of Firearm during the commission of a crime arrest warrants for the following individuals:   Trevor Denard Posley, B/M, 22 years of age; Dexter Jamal Freeney, B/M, 18 years of age; and Steven Maurice Monroe, B/M, 25 years of age; all of Homerville.

Trevor Posley and Dexter Freeney have not been located but Steven Monroe was taken into custody in Clinch Countytoday.   The investigation is still on-going; therefore no other details will be released at this time.

If anyone has information pertaining to the investigation, please contact the GBI Douglas Office at 912-389-4103 or the Clinch County Sheriff’s Department at 912-487-5316.

WALB.com

AUDIBLE BOOKS: The Kraken Project

NASA is building a probe to be splashed down in the Kraken Mare, the largest sea on Saturn’s great moon, Titan. It is one of the most promising habitats for extraterrestrial life in the solar system, but the surface is unpredictable and dangerous, requiring the probe to contain artificial intelligence software. To this end, Melissa Shepherd, a brilliant programmer, has developed “Dorothy,” a powerful, self-modifying AI whose true potential is both revolutionary and terrifying. When miscalculations lead to a catastrophe during testing, Dorothy flees into the Internet.

Audible.com.

55-year-old charged with DUI

sandy dance
Sandy Dance

Sandy L Dance (55) was arrested and charged with DUI/Failure to Maintain Lane. Deputies observed Dance’s vehicle swerve out of its lane of travel several times and initiated a traffic stop.  Upon speaking with Dance it was discovered that she had been drinking.  A breath test was administered and confirmed intoxication. Dance was transported to the Brantley County Detention Center. 

Deputies responded to the 3900 block of Caney Bay Rd. in reference to Criminal Trespass.  Complainant stated that someone has been staying in a vacant residence without permission.  

Deputies responded to Murray Rd in reference to Harassing Phone Calls.  Complainant stated they received harassing text messages from their ex. 

Dylan Sherman
Dylan Sherman

Dylan S. Sherman (22) was arrested and charged with Driving While License Suspended.   Deputies noticed a vehicle where the passenger was not wearing a seat belt and initiated a traffic stop.  It was discovered that the driver had suspended license.  

Deputies responded to Tabernacle Rd in reference to Entering Auto/Burglary. Complainant stated that two ratchet sets were stolen from his shop and someone had entered a truck on the property.

Deputies responded to the Brantley County Sheriff’s Office to meet with complainant in reference to an Entering Auto.  Complainant stated two vehicles had been entered on their property and money, speakers and an amp had been taken.

Deputies responded to Pete Ave in reference to Vicious Dog.  Complainant stated a neighbor’s dog had killed their puppy.

Former soldier pleads in 2011 death of comrade in Camden

A former Fort Stewart soldier pleaded guilty Monday to voluntary manslaughter in the shooting death of a fellow soldier 2 1/2 years ago on a Camden County road.

Until he entered his plea, Jeffrey Cole Eicher, 25, had been indicted with Aaron James Paxton, 38, and Timothy Dale Pennington, 41, of Kingsland on charges of malice murder, felony murder, conspiracy to commit murder, aggravated assault and conspiracy to traffic in marijuana.

jacksonville.com.

School guard accused of sex with girl pleads guilty

Former Duval County school security guard Douglas Tilley pleaded guilty Tuesday to reduced charges of child neglect and contributing to the delinquency of a minor.

Douglas Tilley, 25, was arrested and fired after being accused of having an inappropriate relationship with a student.

According to the original arrest affidavit, Tilley developed a relationship with a 17-year-old student at Frank H. Peterson Academies of Technology, where he worked as a security guard. The two exchanged nude photos, police said, and when she threatened to break up with him, he sent the photos to her mother.

 Home.

Family brutally attacked Mother’s Day weekend in Savannah

A metro Atlanta family was just enjoying their Mother’s Day weekend in Savannah when it was abruptly interrupted.

Rob Gray and his brother-in-law said they were walking down River Street enjoying the sites with their families when they were confronted by a man. Then, a mob attacked them.

“I took a punch to my eye and cracked my orbital,” said Gray.

“I was grabbed by the back of my head at a full run and he smashed my head into the car and I hit the ground,” said Jim Thomas. “This was a violent, malicious attack on a family of eight people.”

Thomas says the attackers went after his wife as well.

ActionNewsJax.com.

No endorsement —for now — in U.S. House race

No endorsement — for now — in U.S. House race
“Southeast Georgia hasn’t had a new congressman in more than 20 years. The last time area residents picked a new U.S. House member for the 1st District was 1992, when Republican state lawmaker Jack Kingston defeated Democratic educator Barbara Christmas.”
Source: Savannah Morning News

Jimmy Carter: United Palestinian government may provide new opportunities for peace 
“Although intensive Middle East peace efforts by Secretary of State John F. Kerry have not produced an agreement, they have clarified the issues and still can produce significant dividends. His team of negotiators now is much more familiar with the complex disputes and obstacles to be overcome, as are the Israelis and Palestinians who have participated in the discussions.”
Source: Washington Post

 Al Stilo: Summer camp sessions at Aurora teach confidence
“This summer Aurora Theatre Academy offers students more camp sessions than ever before. After the successful debut of a fully produced musical production with students last year, this summer students will have the opportunity to perform in Seussical Jr.”
Source: GwinnettForum.com

 Elliott Brack: Can you name the top 5 church denominationsin Georgia?
“People who have lived in Gwinnett for a while could probably tell you the largest church denominations. In fact, perhaps most could easily identify the top three denominations in the county.”
Source: GwinnettForum.com

 Big day coming up!
“In just a few days, May 20, we will have the opportunity to lift up the very heart and soul of our democracy. We will have an opportunity to vote … to select leaders who will perform the prescribed duties of our democratic republic.”
Source: Moultrie Observer

 Jamil Zainaldin: Letter to a liberal arts graduate: the world awaits you
(This commencement address was delivered by Jamil Zainaldin at Piedmont College in Demorest, Georgia, on May 3, 2014.) “This is an important day for graduating seniors. It marks the completion of the requirements for a bachelor’s degree. You are about to walk out the doors of this college and into the waiting arms of the world.”
Source: SaportaReport.com

 

Dan Shugar: Free trade, not tariffs, will boost solar industry
“When I first entered the solar business over 20 years ago, it was just me and a few friends working out of a small garage. Many of us will look back to two decades ago and confidently say that we knew solar would make it in America. The truth: None of us predicted its success would come so soon.”
Source: Savannah Morning News

 

Pinnacle Foods to be bought by Hillshire Brands

Hillshire Brands is pushing further outside the deli case with a deal to buy the maker of Birds Eye frozen vegetables, Duncan Hines cake mixes and Hungry-Man frozen dinners. 
Source: Augusta Chronicle

Heavy Machines Inc. chooses Covington
The company will locate its Atlanta headquarters at the old warehouse at 10110 Roberts Way in Covington. The company, which is based in Memphis, Tenn., is a group of equipment dealers throughout the U.S. supplying heavy-duty, special purpose equipment for sale.
Source: Newton Citizen

 Otsuka Chemical moving to The Lakes at Green Valley
The Lakes at Green Valley is one of Georgia’s first eco-friendly sites.
Source: Griffin Daily News

Office space proposed for property near Fort Gordon
The Army’s future move of the Cy­ber Command headquarters to Fort Gordon has prompted the National Science Center Foundation to act on vacant property near Gate 1.
Source: Augusta Chronicle

 

Otsuka Chemical Co. to base U.S. operation in Spalding County
The company’s Georgia plant will make titanate friction materials that are used in automobile brake pads. The company also makes products used in construction and pharmaceuticals.
Source: AccessNorthGa.com/AP

Atlanta airport gets new general manager
Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed has appointed Miguel Southwell to serve as general manager for the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport.
Source: AccessNorthGa.com/AP

• Miguel Southwell is new general manager of Atlanta airport
Source: Atlanta Business Chronicle 

City of Atlanta buys Underground for $8.8 million
The city officially bought out the remainder of an 88-year lease with the project’s operating partner Dan O’Leary for $8.8 million.
Source: Atlanta Business Chronicle

Marketing: How Coca-Cola, Marriott and Oreo use millennials in marketing their brands
A look at marketing of three major brands using millennials.
Source: Atlanta Business Chronicle

Johnson accuses Carter of mixing campaign funds to pay worker

Congressional hopeful Bob Johnson’s camp charged Monday that rival Buddy Carter used improper funds to pay Dave Simons for work on the federal campaign, an allegation Carter’s team denies.
Source: Savannah Morning News

Peter Grier: Does new poll show Democrats might keep control of Senate?
“Might Democrats keep control of the Senate following this fall’s midterm elections? That question is reverberating through Washington political circles Monday following the surprising numbers of a just-released NBC/Marist poll of key red state 2014 Senate races.”
Source: Christian Science Monitor

 Change to how campaigns are run due to social media
The rise of social media in politics is a sign of the changing times, where politicians are trying to find new ways to reach voters and ultimately get them to the polls.
Source: Douglas County Sentinel

Democrats have secretary of state seat in their sight
The Democratic duo, Doreen Carter and Gerald Beckum, must face one another in the May 20 primary before the winner takes on Brian Kemp in November.
Source: Savannah Morning News

 

 

Parents ask to rescind GM settlement dea

During an unusual news conference in a Marietta law office Monday, attorneys watching from the back of the room remarked that they’d never seen this happen before: Plaintiffs trying to give back settlement money.

Kenneth and Mary Melton, who settled a product liability lawsuit against General Motors last year, announced they have asked a judge to rescind the deal and sanction the company for concealing evidence of the ignition switch defect they say caused their daughter Brooke’s death in a Chevrolet Cobalt.

With a new lawsuit filed Monday in Cobb County State Court, the Meltons added claims about GM executives’ knowledge of the ignition defect and concealment of it, alleging spoliation and other discovery abuses. The Meltons also added new lawyers, with Lance Cooper, a solo from Marietta, bringing in Beasley Allen, Crow, Methvin, Portis & Miles in Montgomery, a personal injury firm with approximately 75 lawyers and 200 support staff.

The Daily Report.

Two suspects wanted in Homerville murder

One suspect is custody but two others are on the run, wanted for their connection in a south Georgia murder.

Investigators in Clinch County are looking for 22-year old Trevor Denard Posley and 18-year old Dexter Jamal Freeney. Steven Monroe is in jail. GBI Agents say the shooting happened at the 912 Club in Homerville on Saturday night.

They say 22-year old Clayton Rolland Cross was found dead after he was shot in the club. Cross is from Homerville and was attending college in Atlanta and was home for the weekend.

Agents say Cross did not appear to be the target of the shooting.

Dominique Ellis was also injured in the shooting by a bullet fragment but has been released from a hospital.

If anyone has information pertaining to the investigation, please contact the GBI Douglas office at 912-389-4103 or the Clinch County Sheriff’s Department at 912-487-5316.

WTXL: News.

Final defendant in Augusta sex trafficking ring pleads guilty

Five defendants have now pled guilty to charges arising out of Sex Trafficking of a Minor Investigation  

 

AUGUSTA, GA – William Warren Hart, 35, of Hephzibah, Georgia, pled guilty last week before Senior United States District Court Judge Dudley H. Bowen, Jr. for his role in a sex trafficking organization which operated in Augusta, Georgia, in 2013.  Hart, who faces up to five years in prison for his limited role in the sex trafficking organization, pled guilty to Using a Facility of Interstate Commerce to Facilitate the Carrying on of a Business Involving Prostitution.  The other four Defendants charged include:

Charles Henry Castillo, a/k/a “Joe King,” 32, of Augusta, Georgia,

Allison Jontil Barnes, a/k/a “Jah” and “Shantae Davis,” 29, of Augusta, Georgia,

Shelica Daniels, a/k/a “Red,” 27, of Augusta, Georgia, and,

Heather Leigh Hedrick, 30, of Augusta, Georgia.

Each of these four Defendants pled guilty previously to Conspiring to Engage in the Sex Trafficking of a Minor.  The charge carries a possible sentence of life imprisonment.  A sentencing date has not yet been scheduled.

United States Attorney Edward Tarver stated, “Georgia’s children are at risk and continue to be vulnerable to exploitation.  More collaborative efforts and faster responses by law enforcement agencies are needed to protect our children.  The aggressive prosecution of individuals like these Defendants will continue to be a priority for the Department of Justice and this United States Attorney’s Office.”

J. Britt Johnson, Special Agent in Charge, FBI Atlanta Field Office, said, “The Defendants in this case clearly illustrate the need for law enforcement, working within the community, to protect our youth who remain vulnerable to those who would prey on them.  The FBI will continue to provide significant investigative resources toward investigations that focus on juvenile sex trafficking within Georgia.”

According to evidence presented during several guilty plea hearings, Daniels, in the summer of 2013, encouraged a 16-year-old girl to leave home and begin working for and with Daniels as a prostitute.  Daniels placed ads on Backpage.com using a pseudonym for the victim to facilitate the criminal conduct.  Soon afterwards, Barnes, who met the victim through Daniels, encouraged the victim to begin working for Barnes in the same way.  Ultimately, the two met up with Castillo, who assumed a leadership role in the operation.  Castillo enlisted the assistance of Hedrick and Barnes in preparing images and videos of the minor to be used to advertise her availability for prostitution.  Hart assisted Barnes in posting some of those advertisements on Backpage.com.

On August 26, 2013, the FBI received a tip from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children that a juvenile’s images were being posted on Backpage.com for prostitution services.  Through an undercover operation conducted that same day, agents and officers with the FBI’s Computer Crime Child Exploitation (CCCX) Task Force identified and arrested Castillo, Hedrick, and Barnes, and rescued the 16-year-old victim at Castillo’s apartment.

           This prosecution was the result of a joint investigation of the FBI’s CCCX Task Force, made up of Augusta-area FBI agents; the Georgia Bureau of Investigation; Richmond County Sheriff’s Office; and the Columbia County Sheriff’s Office.  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 Attorney’s Offices, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state, and local resources to better locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the Internet, as well as identify and rescue victims.

Assistant United States Attorneys Patricia Rhodes and Nancy Greenwood, Deputy Criminal Chief in the Augusta U. S. Attorney’s Branch Office and Project Safe Childhood Coordinator, 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.

First loggerhead nest of the season found on Cumberland

The Georgia Department of Natural Resources says the state’s first loggerhead nest of 2014 was found on Friday at Cumberland Island.

Wildlife biologist Doug Hoffman of the National Park Service reported the nest, which was made during the day. Loggerheads, the state’s primary sea turtle species, usually lay their eggs at night. But night or day, Sea Turtle Program Coordinator Mark Dodd of the Georgia Department of Natural Resources said the state usually sees the season’s first loggerhead nest about the first of May.

 

WSAV

Teachers’ unions threaten Common Core implementation

TEA PARTY opposition to the new education standards in the Common Core is getting a lot of attention. Far more threatening is the less-noticed pushback from teachers’ unions. Even as union leaders profess support for rigorous standards, local and state affiliates are working to weaken, delay or undermine them.

The Chicago Teachers Union, which represents teachers in the country’s third-largest school district, last week approved a resolution opposing the Common Core and vowed to lobby the state school board to eliminate its use. In January, the New York State United Teachers withdrew support for the standards while calling for removal of the state’s education commissioner. In Tennessee, the teachers association was instrumental in getting lawmakers to approve a delay in administering assessments aligned to the standards.

The Washington Post.

McIntosh judge candidate accuses opponent of election fraud

A candidate for McIntosh County State Court judge is seeking a warrant charging his opponent, who is the appointed State Court judge, and one of her campaign workers with election fraud and other charges in the marking of an absentee ballot.

In a letter asking for the warrants, Adam S. Poppell III asserts that State Court Judge C. Jean Bolin and Donna R. Caldwell, who is working in Bolin’s campaign, went to the home of Effie G. Young in the rural north of the county on May 5.

Young had been hospitalized recently and, because she was still attached to a heart monitor at the time, had received an absentee ballot, Poppell said in his letter to county Magistrate Teresa K. Jennings.

Knowing that Young had received the ballot, Caldwell and Bolin went to her house in the Young’s Island community in separate vehicles and asked Young how she intended to vote in the State Court race, the May 9 letter says.

After a long conversation, Bolin left but Caldwell remained and immediately marked Young’s ballot, Poppell wrote.

“Ms. Young repeatedly told Ms. Caldwell that she wished to vote for me,’’ but Caldwell sealed the ballot without letting Young see it, Poppell said in his letter.

jacksonville.com.

Georgia sees increase in heroin use

Heroin use is on the rise statewide, while many other drugs appear to be waning, according to an analysis of drug submissions to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation’s crime lab.
Source: Augusta Chronicle

Georgia is focus of maternal death project
Twenty-two Georgia hospitals have joined a project to reduce maternal death rates in the United States, a nursing group announced last week.
Source: Albany Herald

A look at the cost of a cure for Hepatitis C
Probably the biggest ethical dilemma now confronting the health care world involves two expensive new drugs to treat hepatitis C.
Source: Albany Herald

USDA writes new rules limiting junk food sales for school groups

It’s all part of the new Smart Snacks in Schools program, enacted by the United States Department of Agriculture.
Source: Gainesville Times

 Baldwin County would benefit from maintaining scholars after graduation
This past weekend nearly 1,500 students and their families will celebrate the culmination of their hard work, focus and dedication during undergraduate commencement at Georgia College.
Source: Milledgeville Union-Recorder

 Google Atlanta ‘flash-funded’ classroom project requests
Google’s donation, worth $340,000, reached 356 Atlanta-area teachers who will receive materials for a combined 38,775 students. The materials range from magnetic tiles to a brand new playground.
Source: Henry Daily Herald

Commencement held at Paine College on Sunday
Sunday’s ceremony provided a moment of celebration after a trying week at the college, which saw two campus shootings and increased security measures.
Source: Augusta Chronicle/weekend

• Photos: Paine Commencement
Source: Augusta Chronicle/weekend 

Richmond County school board candidate arrested
James Swanagan Jr., 53, of Heph­zibah, was charged with misdemeanor simple battery, according to Richmond County jail records. He is running for the Super District 9 seat.
Source: Augusta Chronicle/weekend

Photos: Mercer University celebrates graduates
Source: Macon Telegraph/weekend

KSU-SPSU merger will create a powerhouse
“KSU President Dr. Dan Papp almost got it right during his State of the University address Wednesday when he described what will result from the merger of Kennesaw State University and Southern Polytechnic State University.”
Source: Marietta Daily Journal/weekend

Albany State University graduates students
Glenda A. Hatchett, an Atlanta attorney and TV personality, delivered the commencement speech for ASU.
Source: Albany Herald/weekend

Muscogee County BOE to discuss uniforms at work session today
Source: Columbus Ledger-Enquirer

Middle Georgia State to offer new degree
This fall, Middle Georgia State College will offer a Bachelor of Applied Science degree program tailored for professionals in technical or industrial careers who want to move into management.
Source: Macon Telegraph

Emory professor wins Guggenheim Fellowship
Emory Professor Bonna Daix Wescoat, a classical archaeologist, has won a 2014 Guggenheim Fellowship for her research on the intersection of architecture, ritual and place in ancient Greek sacred contexts.
Source: Atlanta Business Chronicle

UGA wins first-ever SEC softball title
Georgia (45-12) has defeated six consecutive top-16 teams and will learn its NCAA tournament draw at 10 p.m. Sunday. The selection show will be televised by ESPNU.
Source: Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Former UGA football coach Jim Donnan’s federal trial enters second week
Donnan is facing charges of conspiracy, wire fraud, mail fraud, money laundering and security fraud, all related to an alleged scheme in which investors lost almost $23 million.
Source: Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Former Georgia Perimeter College president files racketeering lawsuit
Former Georgia Perimeter College President Anthony Tricoli filed a racketeering lawsuit this week against several college and University System of Georgia officials, claiming that they conspired to set him up to take the fall for a school shortfall that reached $25 million.
Source: Atlanta Journal-Constitution/subscription

Conyers woman builds career as welder

Misty Whaley now works full-time as a welder for Perimeter Sheet Metal Company Inc. in Ellenwood.

Source: Rockdale Citizen

 Gainesville residents, tenants say they’ll fight Lanier Plaza shopping center redevelopment
Source: Gainesville Times

Sunday interview: Jacki Lowe, 40 years with Southern Company
Lowe has seen the role of women in the workforce change from support jobs to key leadership and management positions.
Source: Columbus Ledger-Enquirer/weekend

Founder of Spanx to speak at Jim Blanchard Leadership Forum this summer in Columbus
Other speakers will include Sheryl Sandburg and businessman Mark Cuban.
Source: Columbus Ledger-Enquirer

GPB to air Senate, Congressional candidates debates

The Atlanta Press Club Loudermilk-Young Debate Series will continue this week beginning with the Republican candidates for the U.S. House of Representatives in the 10th and 12th Districts and the Republicans running for U.S. Senate.

Source: Athens Banner-Herald/weekend

• Ga. GOP debate: Kingston, Perdue take flak
David Perdue and Jack Kingston received attacks from each other and the rest of the Republican Senate candidates Sunday over supposed inconsistencies.
Source: Savannah Morning News 

• TV debate sparks fireworks at GPB event
Source: Savannah Morning News 

• Michelle Nunn defends her support for Keystone XL oil pipeline and the Second Amendment
Republican candidates also debated, with top two perceived front-runners taking hits from the other candidates.
Source: Columbus Ledger-Enquirer 

• 10th District congressional candidates clash in television debate
“Spending and the Constitution dominated a Sunday debate between the front-runners in the Republican primary for the 10th District. Donna Sheldon pounced on Mike Collins for saying early in the campaign that he would have voted to raise the federal debt ceiling.”
Source: Athens Banner-Herald 

Political Notebook, Macon: Warner Robins mayor receives letter from young constituent
With Owen McAlevey, 6 1/2, standing at his side, Mayor Randy Toms read, “Dear Mr. Toms, Georgia doesn’t have enough playgrounds. Please give us some of them, so people can get exercise. On the western side of the county, there are not a lot of playgrounds. We need some with a big green slide and some big red monkey bars, too.”
Source: Macon Telegraph/weekend

Bibb County Democratic dinner honored late Frank Amerson Saturday
Jefferson-Jackson-Carter Day dinner was held on Saturday.
Source: Macon Telegraph/weekend

Endorsement: State House District 141, GOP primary
“The State Senate District 141 race in the Republican Primary has two candidates, Rep. Allen Peake and newcomer Bradley Moriarty, who earned a master’s degree in electrical engineering from Mercer University. Moriarty is 32, but he needs to return to school for political science classes. Running for office is more than rehashing Republican or Democratic talking points that just skim the surface rather than exhibit a deep-rooted knowledge of the subjects. Moriarty is running a low voltage campaign while Peake is tapped into Plant Scherer.”
Source: Macon Telegraph/weekend

Douglas Harden: Congressional oversight and all the president’s men
“The framers of our Constitution and the Founding Fathers of our historic republic knew the snares of monarchies and the traps of dictatorships and despotic rulers all too well. After all, much of European history up through the 1700s was ripe with this sort of ill-fated governance and constant struggle for more representative forms of government by way of war and armed conflict.”
Source: Macon Telegraph/weekend

Poll suggests tight races for governor, U.S. Senate
Source: WSB-TV/weekend

Female candidates boost Democrats’ hopes this year
Democrats, after robust recruiting of female candidates, are counting on women to knock out a few GOP men.
Source: AccessNorthGa.com/AP

Michelle Nunn not only option for Democratic Senate primary
Former state Sen. Steen Miles, Branko Radulovacki and Todd Anthony Robinson made sure of that.
Source: Gwinnett Daily Post

U.S. Rep. Westmoreland talks about Benghazi with Coweta County GOP
Source: Newnan Times-Herald/Sunday

City Ink, Augusta: Mayoral candidates continue to spar over SPLOST
“Mayoral candidates state Sen. Hardie Davis and Augusta Com­mission member Alvin Mason continued their war of words over the next round of the special purpose local option sales tax at an Augusta AMBUCS forum last week while Helen Blocker-Adams reiterated her opposition to the tax package.”
Source: Augusta Chronicle

Rep. Paul Broun’s son arrested on drug charge
Paul Collins Broun III, the 23-year-old son of U.S. Rep. Paul Broun, was booked into the Clarke County Jail Saturday morning on misdemeanor drug and traffic charges.
Source: Athens Banner-Herald/weekend

House 143 race: Former commissioner challenging Rep. James Beverly
Former Bibb County Commissioner Lonzy Edwards is challenging state Rep. James Beverly for the seat under the Gold Dome that represents some of east Macon’s poorest communities, as well as fancier neighborhoods farther north. The winner gets the seat as there is no Republican in the race.
Source: Macon Telegraph

State Rep. Gregory and challenger Bert Reeves square off in scathing forum in Kennesaw
One big issue is the new Atlanta Braves stadium.
Source: Marietta Daily Journal

A look at the candidates for District Attorney of Waycross judicial district
Experience as an issue in the May 20 Republican primary may have taken a back seat by the driving record of the appointed incumbent, Bradley Collins, who has publicly admitted to two DUI arrests. George Barnhill, the opposition, has an interesting past with Collins.
Source: Georgia Times-Union

Poll shows Georgia ethics agency’s problems could hurt Gov. Deal’s race
Source: Atlanta Journal-Constitution/subscription

Democratic Senate hopeful Nunn attacked in her only debate

Frontrunner Michelle Nunn took fire from all three of her Democratic opponents Sunday during the only forum she has joined them in.

It was taped to be shown statewide this evening by Georgia Public Broadcasting and hosted by the Atlanta Press Club. Nunn has skipped all other forums and debates organized by the media, civic groups and even local Democratic outfits.

Yet, she is leading in the polls and in fundraising.

“That bucket of money gives you a certain arrogance that you don’t need to engage with the voters,” opponent ex-state Sen. Steen Miles told her.

via Democratic Senate hopeful Nunn attacked in her only debate | savannahnow.com.

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Blackberry Playbook tablet

DSC_3013The Blackberry Playbook 7-Inch Tablet 16GB. is packed with best-in-class features that work together to deliver a truly uncompromised tablet experience. With features like a 1GHz dual core processor, dual-facing cameras with HD video recording capability, and the new BlackBerry Tablet OS, all wrapped up in a stunning 7″, ultra portable design, the tablet is built to perform. A Micro USB, Headphone and Micro HDMI out Connectors are all provided with this Blackberry OS tablet to enable connections with PCs or televisions. It incorporates software like Adobe Flash Player 10.1 for graphics and image presentations, Codec support for video calling, and C1080p HD video for video outputs. This dual-core processor tablet comes with LED backlight and multi-touch capacitive screen for easy use. The 16GB PlayBook offers exceptional performance with functions like stunning multimedia, true multitasking, and access to the whole Internet without any exceptions. Tablet, cradle charger, notebook cover, $100.

 

Contact: thenook

Statewide opinions

Savannah Morning News

The Obama administration — and likely 2016 presidential contender Hillary Clinton — keep wishing the Benghazi mess will vanish.

Or, failing that, they hope to spin it as a fantasy of right-wing nut jobs.

But facts are stubborn things.

They’re hard to erase. And you never know when they’ll catch up to you.

“A newly released email shows that White House officials sought to shape the way Susan E. Rice, then the ambassador to the United Nations, discussed the Middle East chaos that was the context for the attack on the American diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya, in 2012,” one major news organization reported.

Nope. That’s not a report from Fox News.

It’s from the New York Times.

The Times reported that an email dated Sept. 14, 2012, from Benjamin J. Rhodes, Obama’s deputy national security adviser, was sent to Ms. Rice ahead of her controversial appearances on several Sunday morning news talk shows three days after the attacks that resulted in the slaying of four Americans, including J. Christopher Stevens, the ambassador to Libya.

The subject of the email was: “PREP CALL with Susan.” The president’s lieutenant gave directions to Ms. Rice on how to discuss the tensions boiling over in parts of the Middle East. Especially pertinent are two goals:

— “To underscore that these protests are rooted in an Internet video, and not a broader failure of policy.”

— “To reinforce the President and Administration’s strength and steadiness in dealing with difficult challenges.”

That the White House would issue such orders — to Ms. Rice and others on Obama’s team — is no huge shock.

The president was running for re-election; a big part of his platform was that America was winning the war on terrorism. So it was in his political interest to play up the possibility that a third-rate video sparked the violence that left four Americans murdered.

What is surprising is that these directions were typed and emailed. That made them subject to being ferreted out, thanks to one of the best tools available to uncover facts in our democracy — the Freedom of Information Act.

Governments can run from what they do. But thanks to this splendid, nonpartisan measure, they can’t hide.

The conservative group Judicial Watch used it to dig up this smoking gun on Benghazi. It shows that political considerations played a role in how the Obama administration, including then-Secretary of State Clinton, laid out the facts to the American public.

Not surprisingly, White House press secretary Jay Carney, in a heated briefing, dismissed the email as irrelevant.

Thus the spin continues.

Meanwhile, three family members of victims of the Sept. 11, 2012, attack have written to House Speaker John Boehner, demanding that a select committee be established to probe the attack.

So far, Boehner has only authorized House committees to investigate. Given the latest revelation — which even the Times couldn’t ignore — it’s time to stop the obfuscation and begin to root out everything.

Americans can be trusted with the truth, even if some politicians can’t.

The Augusta Chronicle

Gov. Nathan Deal absolutely did the right thing in vetoing a severely flawed private probation services bill this past week.

Had it become state law, House Bill 837 would have shielded key information kept by private probation firms from the Open Records Act.

“I favor more transparency over private probation services,” Deal said.

The restriction of public information alone was enough to warrant the veto. But this lobbyist-driven legislation also would have foolishly expanded the power of for-profit companies. The industry has come under fire for abusive practices against misdemeanor probationers who are supervised by these companies.

A civil rights lawsuit filed by local residents against Sentinel Offender Services is pending. Deal made reference to the case during his veto.

“It is my understanding that the Supreme Court of Georgia has under its consideration an appeal that would address the role of private probation services,” he wrote. “This legislation seeks to have a pre-emptive impact on any decision in that appeal.”

Plaintiffs in the Sentinel case allege the firm’s practices have resulted in low-income probationers being falsely arrested, wrongful imprisoned and subject to fines and fees that can lead to a continuous cycle of debt and longer probation terms.

Superior Court Judge Daniel J. Craig ruled last fall that private probation firms are not permitted under state law to ask judges to extend probation sentences beyond their original terms or to provide electronic monitoring services. Sentinel’s attorneys have appealed Craig’s ruling. Richmond County State Court judges have filed briefs in support of Sentinel’s position.

H.B. 837 was created in response to Craig’s ruling and influenced by the eight lobbyists employed by the Private Probation Association of Georgia during the legislative session.

Ironically, provisions that could have prevented abusive tactics or increased public accountability were stripped from the bill in a Senate committee headed by Sen. Jesse Stone, R-Waynesboro, a state court judge candidate who has political ties to the private probation and bail bonding industries. Stone was the only local delegate to vote in favor of H.B. 837.

But a round of applause is in order for our nine other area legislators who rightfully voted “no” on this bill that civil rights groups called a “gift” to the private probation industry.

This page favors privatization of government services where it is appropriate. But we can’t support giving judiciary-like authority to private firms whose profits are tied to incarcerations, probation-term extensions and “services” such as electronic monitoring.

There’s just too much opportunity and incentive for abuse.

The state’s high court is expected to issue an opinion on Judge Craig’s ruling. We pray the court will say private companies can’t unilaterally alter probation terms – especially without the probationer’s knowledge. That’s a frightening delegation of power. We’re sorry to see the extent to which lawmakers threw the people of Georgia under the special-interest bus. It’s an outrage.

 

joystick

Monster joystick

joystickMonster Macally iStick USB joystick for Mac (but probably works on PCs too) Advanced flight control featurs for flight simulation games, precision slide throttle provides accurate game control, view finder hat switch, high efficiency rapid fire trigger, easy to install plug-and-play operation, excellent feel and shape. Includes CDs. Like new in box.

Contact: thenook

Even in face of lawsuit, Rayonier brags about community support

Even as the Altamaha Riverkeeper is bringing legal action against Rayonier for befouling the river with his contaminants, Jesup plant manager Jack Perrett was bragging about the good the organization does for the community during a grant breakfast Tuesday.

“Do all the good you can by all the means you can in all ways you can in all the places you can to all the people you can as long as you ever can,” the Jesup Rayonier mill’s general manager, Jack Perrett, said, quoting John Wesley, during opening remarks at the Rayonier Foundation’s annual grant breakfast Tuesday.

The Rayonier Foundation provided grants for 39 projects to 35 different local organizations during a breakfast at Sybil’s Restaurant.

The grants and a United Way contribution (including employee donations and a company match) totaled $275,000.

After Perrett’s welcoming, grantees partook of a buffet breakfast before receiving their grants.

After eating, manager of public affairs Kaylyn Padgett awarded the grants.

via The Press-Sentinel

Political wind blowing from the right?

Is there a political change blowing in the wind in Georgia?

We won’t know until November, though some say yes. Somehow, we doubt that Georgians will vote for wholesale political change in their leadership this year.

Yet talking with people throughout the state, you get two feelings:

1. Many are not at all happy with the way Nathan Deal has handled himself as governor. Besides what they perceive as a leader, they see him continuing to shoot himself in the foot by the way he handles matters.

2. The emergence of two well-known names in Democratic circles is giving rise to some people thinking perhaps the Democrats might have a chance at winning more races in this political year. Recognizable names at the top can’t hurt the Democrats any, for sure.

Consider the political spectrum of the state: what was once entirely a Democratic landscape has changed greatly in the last 12 years. People are no longer voting automatically in the Democratic column. Republicanism has swept not only North Georgia, but we have seen old, entrenched Democratic strongholds in South Georgia courthouses make amazing changes.

Some of these very people who at one time would never consider voting Republican have been doing that in much of South Georgia for several years now. But these days some are getting disenchanted with the Republicans, and thinking about making a reverse switch. They will tell you: “It’s the same old crowd who’s running things. They are Republicans in name only, and it’s time to show them up.” So, somewhat unexpected for some conservatives, they’re thinking of voting Democratic “to give some new people in the Democratic Party some energy.”

Another element that has shown itself in recent years is that the Democratic Party has a heavy African-American bent today. That seemed to spell doom for Democrats for several years. Yet no viable major black Democrat has emerged to lead the party. While Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed seems waiting in the wings, he hasn’t stepped forward on the statewide stage lately, even though his steady approach could appeal to disenfranchised whites.

Yet in 2014, here comes Jimmy Carter’s grandson, a state senator, making waves and getting some attention in taking on what seemed to be a shoo-in of a sitting Republican governor. Couple that with Sam Nunn’s daughter, Michelle, running for a Senate seat at the same time, so here are two attractive legacies turning some heads, not only among Democrats, but also among independents.

For Ms. Nunn’s chance, it may all boil down to who the Republicans nominate in the primary to be their Senate candidate. If they nominate Paul Broun or Phil Gingrey, that would mean the centrist Republicans might be looking for a better candidate, no matter what the party. That would make Michelle Nunn’s chances look better.

We suspect the Republicans will hold with a broader nominee, perhaps David Perdue or Jack Kingston. In that case, the chances for the Democrats winning a Senate seat in Georgia would be far less likely. That also might help doom Senator Carter having a better chance at victory against Governor Deal.

As we started with, when the voting is counted, we suspect Georgians will favor the Republicans in 2014. But you can never tell. Gwinnettians, especially Democrats, were sure surprised 30 years ago (1984) when Republicans swept every single contested election.

We must await the tally to find out.

By Elliot Brack

via Gwinnett Forum.com

Port of Savannah expansion nears as Congress strikes water bill deal

Congressional leaders in both parties and chambers are set to move forward next week on a bill to authorize water projects across the nation — including the Port of Savannah deepening.

After nearly seven months of wrangling, the House-Senate negotiators announced Thursday night that they had agreed on a conference committee report which will be filed next week, and should clear both chambers easily. The House is gone next week, though, so the earliest it can head to President Barack Obama’s desk is the week of the 19th.

Political Insider blog.

County officials must help prevent train fires

County officials must help prevent train fires

The Georgia Ports Authority and the Glynn County Commission would be wise to ask the railroad to find out why its trains are creating sparks that are igniting fires that are threatening port facilities on Colonel’s Island, as well as the homes and lives of residents in the area.

For the second time in just over a week, the Glynn County Fire Department and the Georgia Forestry Commission were summoned to south Glynn on Wednesday to combat fires that had been ignited by sparks from a passing train.

The situation was bad enough this week, given the dryness of the woods, for the Glynn County Fire Department to ask for help from others. In addition to the always reliable Georgia Forestry Commission, responding to the call were Camden and Brantley counties, with backup from McIntosh County and a fire-fighting squad at Georgia-Pacific. Working as a team, the units were able to get control of the woods fire and prevent a major loss of property.

It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that there’s an issue here. It wasn’t too long ago, the community will remember, when a fire in the woods in the same general vicinity took out a trestle that connected Colonel’s Island and its car-processing and agricultural facilities to markets in the United States and overseas. There’s far too much at stake to risk that happening again, not to mention all the jobs that are on the line.

The major danger, of course, is to the residents and their life savings, which for many is the investment in their homes. As firefighters will tell most anyone who asks, battling fires in the woods can be extremely difficult and dangerous.

Port and county officials can do something to prevent future problems. They can ask the railroad company to check trains for anything that might burn up the landscape along the tracks.

Not doing anything will continue to put lives, jobs and property at risk.

via The Brunswick News

Detroit murder suspect arrested 21 years later in Camden

Antonio Deshawn Daniels,

A longtime Detroit fugitive accused of shooting two people, killing one, in 1993 was arrested recently in Camden County through a local and federal fugitive apprehension team.

Antonio Deshawn Daniels, 41, was living under the assumed name Martez Deshawn Barnes when he was found to be living near Savannah, Ga. He was tracked down within a month of Detroit Police Department asking investigators to find him, according to a news release from the U.S. Marshals.

Daniels is suspected of pulling a handgun and shooting multiple rounds at two of three men with whom he’d been arguing on Aug. 8, 1993, in Detroit. When confronted by investigators in Georgia, Daniels initially denied the allegations. But when shown fingerprint analysis, he admitted his true identity, according to the news release.

“No matter how long it takes, no matter how far you run, we will find you, and you will face justice,” Robert M. Grubbs, U.S. Marshal for the Eastern District of Michigan, said in the news release.

The U.S. Marshals-led Detroit Fugitive Apprehension Team and U.S. Marshals Southeast Regional Fugitive Task Force worked together in the investigation. The Detroit team includes numerous agencies including metro-area city and county police as well as Michigan State Police and federal agencies.

Daniels is held in Georgia pending extradition to Detroit.

“This is a prime example of what is possible when federal, state and local agencies work together. We always stand ready to render as much aid and assistance to law enforcement from any jurisdiction,” added Camden County Sheriff Jim Proctor.

via Detroit murder suspect arrested 21 years later in Georgia.

Brantley deputies make several drug related arrests

BILLY CREWS JR
BILLY CREWS JR

On May 5, 2014 Billy Crews Jr. (40) was arrested and charged with Possession of a Schedule II Controlled Substance/Possession of a Schedule IV Controlled Substance/Possession of Marijuana Less than an Ounce and Possession of Dangerous Drug that stemmed from a search warrant that was conducted at his residence in March 2014.

BEN GUEST
BEN GUEST

Ben Guest (38) was arrested and charged on an active Probation Warrant as well as Driving While License Suspended.   Deputies initiated and a traffic stop on Guest’s vehicle and Guest stated he did not have a valid license.  Guest was transported to the Brantley County Detention Center.

Deputies spoke with complainant at the Brantley County Sheriff’s Office in reference to a Burglary in the 100 block Limerock Rd.  Complainant stated that someone had broken into their camper twice since February 2014.  Some change, DVD’S and a sawzall was taken.

Deputies responded to Warners Landing Rd. in reference to Theft by Taking.  Complainant stated a storage building was missing from this property.

Deputies responded to the 300 block of Sweetwater Rd in reference to Theft by Taking.  Complainant stated their tax refund was stolen.

DENNIS MORGAN
DENNIS MORGAN

Dennis Morgan (26) was arrested and charged with Theft by Taking/Criminal Trespass/Possession and use of Drug Related Objects.  Deputies responded to Sheffield Rd in reference to a Theft that had just occurred.

Deputies responded to the 100 block of River Ridge Loop in reference to Burglary/Theft by Taking.  Complainant stated that someone stole several items from sheds in their yard.  Tires, game systems, dishes and trailer ball hitches were taken.

JOEY THRIFT
JOEY THRIFT

Joey Thrift (30) was arrested and charged with Trafficking Methamphetamine/Possession Methamphetamine/Drugs not in Original Container/Possession and use of Drug Related Objects/Driving While License Suspended/Use of Communication Facility in Commission of Crime. Deputies made contact with Thrift in a vehicle parked outside of the Gold House Motor Lodge.  It was discovered that Thrift was on Parole.  Upon further investigation a zippered bag was found that contained a large chunk of white granular material tentatively identified as methamphetamine.  

Get Georgia moving again on transportation

By Benita M. Dodd 

Georgia’s economy is picking up, and with it the daily traffic congestion as growing numbers of commuters travel to jobs. Inertia followed the failure of the 2012 transportation sales tax (TSPLOST) in nine of 12 regions, but it’s time to move forward on transportation.

Georgia still needs funding. Congress’ stalemate and growing national infrastructure demands are shrinking the federal pot. At home, even if Georgia legislators possessed the political will to increase it, the state fuel tax remains a source of diminishing funds. It’s tougher to fund infrastructure maintenance and repairs, let alone enhancements, amid erosion by greater fuel efficiency, more alternative-fuel vehicles and money going to programs that do little to ease congestion.

Clearly, Georgia must wean itself off the feds and work to implement state-based transportation priorities for its growing transportation needs. Funding projects such as fixed guideways, road diets, streetcars and streetscapes take away taxpayer dollars needed for mobility improvement and congestion relief. The strings and environmental overregulation tied to federal funds delay projects, increase costs and reduce Georgia’s flexibility and ability to prioritize.

There are existing funding sources. One penny of every four from the state gas sales tax goes to Georgia’s general fund. That’s 25 percent! Voters will be far more receptive when the state dedicates existing taxes. Then, enable a fractional sales tax for Special Purpose Local Option Sales Taxes (SPLOST). Local governments would have the flexibility to divvy up an existing penny tax instead of adding a penny.

It’s also time to prioritize user fees through tolling and, ultimately, Vehicle Miles Traveled (VMT) charges once policy-makers can allay privacy concerns. All motorists pay when a road is tolled. Electronic tolling eliminates booth delays and interstate reciprocity agreements facilitate payment.

Tolling is not just a funding mechanism. Dynamic (time-of-day) tolling is also “congestion insurance,” guaranteeing a trip time while motorists consider the value of their route and timing of their trip. A network of express toll lanes along interstates will provide seamless transition across metro Atlanta, not only for automobiles but for buses (whose users are now stuck in the same congestion), increasing the attractiveness of mass transit.

As for public transportation: Private options such as Uber, Lyft and Megabus should be encouraged, not handicapped. It’s way past time for Atlanta to increase the number of taxi medallions. And efficiency, cost-effectiveness and need should govern transit decisions.

For Georgia, the benefits of technology in transportation and safety are enormous: improving traffic light timing and synchronization; embracing GPS-based, real-time smartphone apps for transportation – including public transportation; working to accommodate the arrival of autonomous (“driverless”) automobiles; and making the NaviGAtor intelligent transportation system more responsive to incidents and not just informational.

Finally, adding capacity is not simply a matter of adding lanes but of removing vehicles. To that end, enabling through traffic – passenger and freight – to bypass metro Atlanta will free space within Atlanta. Completing and enhancing developmental highways, including U.S. 27 and the Fall Line Freeway, will free Atlanta of gridlock and open Georgia’s roads.

A version of this commentary was published in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution of April 27, 2014.

(Benita M. Dodd is vice president of the Georgia Public Policy Foundation  an independent think tank that proposes market-oriented approaches to public policy to improve the lives of Georgians. Nothing written here is to be construed as necessarily reflecting the views of the Georgia Public Policy Foundation or as an attempt to aid or hinder the passage of any bill before the U.S. Congress or the Georgia Legislature.)

Obituary: William ‘Bogie’ Kyser, 89

bogieWilliam “Bogie” Hanes Kyser, 89 of Nahunta, passed away Monday (May 5, 2014) at Hospice of the Golden Isles in Brunswick following an extended illness.
Born in Raybon, GA. His parents were William Lafayette Kyser and Sofronnie Lyons Kyser. He was also preceded in death by his first wife, Audrey Spivey Kyser; 4 sisters, Inez Willis, Lizzie Highsmith, Geneva Kyser, and Beaulah Kyser; and 2 brothers, Hilton Kyser and Comer Kyser.
Mr. Bogie enjoyed reading, working with electrical, music, and loved people. He served in World War II and Korean War, and retired after 26 years in the United States Navy as Navy Chief. He also taught v-tech heating and air at BCHS for 13 years, and was on the Brantley County Board of Education. He was a member of Hickox Baptist Church, and also the Masonic Lodge in Nahunta.
Survivors include his Wife, Evelyn Drury Kyser, of Nahunta; 4 daughters and their spouses with his predeceased wife Audrey, Barbara Hodgin, of Lizella, GA, Sandra Luebbecke (Donald), of Trappe, Maryland, Patricia Veach (Mike), of Pace, FL, Rhonda Thomas, of Hoboken, GA; In 2010 Mr. Bogie married Evelyn Drury Kyser and acquired 3 more children and their spouses, Kathy Brockman (Dan), of Brunswick, GA, and Nancy Joyce (Richard), of Acworth, GA, and William “Tommy” Kyser (Paula), of Vine Grove, Kentucky; 17 grandchildren; 16 great grandchildren. Also several nieces, nephews, and other relatives.
Visitation will be held Friday evening (May 9, 2014) starting at 6 PM at Frye Funeral Home, Nahunta.
A Funeral Service will be held Saturday (May 10, 2014) at 11:30AM at Frye Funeral Home with Rev. Ray McMillan and Rev. Wayne Manning officiating.
Pallbearers will be Jeff Johns, Raymond Willis, Harry Edgy, G.W. Knox, Dudley Gordon, and Mike Popwell.
Honorary pallbearers will be Ernest Gurley, Larry Norris, Johnnie Crews, Marlon Edgy, and Dan Brockman. All pallbearers are asked to be at the funeral home Saturday by 11 AM.
Burial will follow in Rob Lewis Cemetery.

VISITATION

Friday May 9, 2014, 6PM at Frye Funeral Home (Formerly Chambless-Frye) in Nahunta, GA.
Click for Map and Directions

FUNERAL SERVICES

Saturday May 10, 2014, 11:30AM at Frye Funeral Home (Formerly Chambless-Frye) in Nahunta, GA.
Click for Map and Directions

INTERMENT

Saturday May 10, 2014, 11:30AM at Rob Lewis Cemetery
Click for Map and Directions

Woman has home she doesn’t own partially demolished

A 62-year-old woman tried to have a home she didn’t own demolished because she doesn’t like the people who live there, according to the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office.

Ana Moreta Folch (pictured) is charged with felony property damage after she called a land-clearing company and told them she wanted an unoccupied mobile home she owned torn down, deputies said.

News – Home.

Brunswick may fire firm that saved nearly $600,000 a year

Despite the cost savings and increased services, some city commissioners appear to be setting the stage for the city to push Waste Management aside.

Brunswick residents will pay less to have their garbage picked up and hauled away next year.

Finance Director Kathy Mills told the City Commission Wednesday that the fee, which is attached to residential property bills, would drop from $247.20 to $210.

“Due to the cost savings we’ve had so far, we’d like to drop the fees,” Mills said.

jacksonville.com.

Memorial University Medical Center in Savannah gets $2 million donation

Savannah resident and heart attack survivor Judith Thomas has donated $2 million to Memorial University Medical Center to launch a fundraising campaign to expand the Heart & Vascular Institute at the medical center.
Source: Savannah Morning News

President of Association of Medical Colleges calls for more residencies
Dr. Darrell G. Kirch, president and CEO of the Association of American Medical Colleges, wants more residencies to increase the number of doctors. There are currently three bills in Congress to increase the number of slots, but they are not going anywhere right now, Kirch said.
Source: Augusta Chronicle

Witness: Former UGA coach, family made $5 million in Ponzi scheme

Jim Donnan and family members gained more than $5 million from a West Virginia company prosecutors described as a Ponzi scheme, a former FBI agent testified in the former University of Georgia football coach’s fraud trial Wednesday.
Source: Athens Banner-Herald

Carroll County educators have mixed reviews on new SAT
The SAT college admission test will no longer require an essay and will utilize less “fancy” vocabulary, according to a decision by The College Board.
Source: Carrollton Times-Georgian

 West Georgia Technical College to cost more this fall
The state board that oversees the Technical College System of Georgia approved the system’s request for a tuition increase of $4 per credit hour starting with the upcoming fall semester.
Source: Carrollton Times-Georgian

 Former Navy SEAL to speak at Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College commencement
Former United States Navy SEAL Coleman Ruiz will be the guest speaker at the spring commencement ceremony at Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College today at 10 a.m. in Gressette Gym on the ABAC campus.
Source: Tifton Gazette

 USDA praises menu offered by Gainesville schools
Snce 2010, school meals have undergone some major changes, all designed to ensure students have more whole grains and a variety of fruits and vegetables on their plates.
Source: Gainesville Times

Georgia State University proposes to buy Turner Field in Atlanta
Georgia State University would buy Turner Field and nearby parking lots after the Atlanta Braves move to Cobb County, under a proposal announced Wednesday.
Source: Athens Banner-Herald

State superintendent candidates debate in Athens over more money for schools, less standardized testing
Eight candidates for state school superintendent tried to win votes in Clarke County Wednesday night — all six Democratic candidates and two of the nine Republicans running.
Source: Athens Banner-Herald

Kennesaw State’s president talks about consolidation with Southern Polytechnic State University
KSU is consolidating with Marietta’s Southern Polytechnic State University after a controversial decision by the Georgia Board of Regents. President Dan Papp said the process of combining the two schools, culminating in January 2015, is the university’s top priority.
Source: Marietta Daily Journal

State considers company to develop statewide student exam
The proposal would make some sweeping changes to statewide testing in Georgia, making the tests more difficult and moving all testing online within five years.
Source: AccessNorthGa.com/AP

Therapy dogs go to College of Coastal Georgia
Three dogs visited the library to calm down students before exams.
Source: Georgia Times-Union

Georgia State president addresses WRAS/GPB partnership
The surprise announcement of Georgia Public Broadcasting partnering up with 88.5/WRAS-FM has caused a maelstrom of controversy, kicked up heavily by angry RAS alumni on social media.
Source: Atlanta Journal-Constitution/subscription

 

Work disrupted at Gainesville plant due to ammonia leak

Source: Gainesville Times

Plant Vogtle water plan opposed
Siphoning water from the Savannah River to operate cooling towers for two new reactors at Plant Vogtle has drawn stiff opposition from at least 10 environmental protection groups.
Source: Augusta Chronicle

Future of coal looks dim as power companies lobby
Flint Energies CEO Bob Ray said he has about 86,000 customers still paying for the power cooperative’s $109 million share of upgrades at Juliette’s Plant Scherer.
Source: Macon Telegraph

High-end stores to join Buckhead project
Source: Atlanta Journal-Constitution/subscription

U.S. Rep. Rob Woodall gets Spirit of Enterprise Award

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce gave him the award Tuesday.
Source: Forsyth News

1st Congressional District candidate catches heat over terrorism comment
Congressional hopeful Bob Johnson admits to a case of foot-in-mouth disease in the wake of comments he made in a video that surfaced recently.
Source: Savannah Morning News

Political Notebook, Gwinnett: John Linder endorses Jack Kingston, Donna Sheldon for 2014 GOP primary
“John Linder has faded from the Gwinnett political scene since his retirement from Congress in 2010. But with some highly contested GOP races on the 2014 primary ballot, the FairTax author has re-emerged to give people tips on how he would vote.”
Source: Gwinnett Daily Post

Political Insider: How plans for revamped Turner Field play into statehouse overhaul
“The redevelopment of Turner Field into a mixed-use project with a new Georgia State University stadium and student housing could also signal the next phase in the famed friendship between Gov. Nathan Deal and Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed.”
Source: Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Seven candidates await Georgia federal judicial confirmation
Source: Atlanta Journal-Constitution/subscription

Flowers Food’s PAC the top Republican donator as a company
The political action committee of Flowers Foods has given more than 99 percent of its political contributions since 1979 to Republicans.
Source: New York Times

Brantley among those battling railroad fire in Glynn

In all there were eight Glynn County fire crews, one Georgia Pacific crew, one Brantley County crew, one Camden County crew and several crews from the forestry commission working to fight the fires that spread out along roughly five miles of track. Filling in for the Glynn County crews at the stations were Brunswick and McIntosh County fire departments.

 

A train serving Colonel’s Island Wednesday left a trail of fire in the woods along the rails in southwestern Glynn County that threatened homes and prompted a regionwide fire-fighting response.

Residents in a neighborhood nestled by the tracks worked with shovels to smother smoldering patches of fire while others stood guard with garden hoses.

The rescuing cavalry included the Georgia Forestry Commission, which cut fire breaks with its bulldozers along the railroad tracks, and firefighting units from Glynn, Camden and Brantley counties, which battled flames fueled by dry woodlands.

In the chaos, no injuries were reported and damage to structures was limited to small yard shed.

The Glynn County Fire Department began receiving calls around 4:30 p.m. about small grass fires along the railroad tracks connecting the Georgia Ports Authority’s Colonel’s Island Terminal to national and international markets.

By 9:30 p.m., the fire was mostly out.

When units arrived, they discovered a string of fires lining the tracks in areas where the railroad line crosses the Turtle River near Green and Hopewell creeks to near its intersection with Ga. 303, said Deputy Chief Hal Herndon of the Glynn County Fire Department.

Firefighting teams focused their efforts on the tracks near the quiet neighborhood of mostly ranch-style homes, mainly in areas where the tracks cross paved surfaces like Emanuel Loop, Radcliffe Road and Fish Hall Road, to prevent flames from reaching the homes.

The fire was just a few hundred yards from her home on Avondale Court, where Mechelle Lewis and her teenage sons watched as the pine trees across the tracks from the cul-de-sac where they live sent flames shooting high into the air, producing a massive column of smoke.

“We’ve seen small (fires) before, but nothing this big,” Lewis said.

About an hour after she first saw the flames, she watched as her sons Noah Lewis, 13, Caleb Lewis, 15, and Zachary Lewis, 18, shoveled sand, dirt and gravel on the smoldering remains of fires that had jumped the tracks.

Across the tracks, the crackle of flames flared up periodically as the forestry commission continued to cut breaks.

Michelle Tucker, who lives on nearby Fish Hall Road, said she saw the smoke on her way home from work. After picking up her children, just a few minutes after first seeing the smoke, Tucker said the flames had grown substantially.

Standing with Mechelle Lewis, she looked down the tracks about a mile to the west where firefighters were feverishly fighting larger blazes.

They questioned how the fire started from a passing train.

“How does a train not know that was happening?” Tucker said.

According to emergency radio communication, the train was eventually stopped by the fire department near where the railroad tracks cross Andy Tostenson and Fancy Bluff roads, less than a mile from the Colonel’s Island Terminal and the port’s bustling auto-processing facilities.

After shoveling sand and dirt onto smaller spot fires, Dustin Lindsay, who grew up in the area, said he was not surprised to see some grow much larger. He has seen it before.

“I’ve seen it. Trains come through here all the time throwing sparks,” Lindsay said.

Deputy Chief Herndon said around 6:45 p.m. that the fires had been contained but said there was still plenty of work to do.

“We’ll probably be out here for quite a while,” Herndon said, pausing as he talked to listen to his radio and communicate with his crews.

In all he said there were eight Glynn County fire crews, one Georgia Pacific crew, one Brantley County crew, one Camden County crew and several crews from the forestry commission working to fight the fires that spread out along roughly five miles of track. Filling in for the Glynn County crews at the stations were Brunswick and McIntosh County fire departments, Herndon added.

As the sun began to set, a forestry commission plane and helicopter flew overhead as the firefighters spread out along the tracks, waiting for the help of a 33,000 gallon railroad tanker equipped with a water cannon to arrive on the scene.

via Train Spreads Fire; Residents Spring into Action in Ga. – Firehouse.

Marvel fans assemble!

MARVEL-UNIVERSE-200X200Marvel fans, assemble! Marvel Universe LIVE! is taking the live entertainment experience to a whole new level, with a mind-blowing show unlike anything you’ve seen before. Watch your favorite Marvel Super Heroes including Spider-Man, The Avengers – Iron Man, Hulk, and more, and threatening villains come to life in an action-packed arena extravaganza, coming to Jacksonville, FL.

You’ll definitely feel the energy with cutting-edge special effects, pyrotechnics, aerial stunts, martial arts, motorcycles and more. It’s being hailed as the most technically advanced live show ever. Join Marvel fans of all ages for this once-in-a-lifetime, monumental performance. The fate of the universe depends on it!

For a limited time receive a FREE Marvel Universe Live Comic Book with ONLINE ticket purchase ONLY.

PRESALE BEGINS THURSDAY, MAY 8 @ 10AM

PRESALE ENDS SUNDAY, MAY 11 @ 11:59PM

PRESALE CODE: VENMUL

Public on sale is Monday, May 12 @ 10am.

Event Dates
April 28 – May 1, 2016

Veterans Memorial Arena