A Hit and run incident on old Atlanta road on Monday night about g 6::30  took the life of a 38 year old Spalding County resident.
Coroner Sonny Foster said that the young man was identified as Shaun Wright age 38.  Mr. Wright had been  working on a mobile home.  He was struck close to his home when he was riding a bicycle to another location. He was struck by a vehicle like a mini van or possibly Dodge Caravan type vehicle. The coroner said that the vehicle may have a headlight missing.  Sheriffs Department officials and area law enforcement are continuing a search and following leads on the vehicle that fled the scene.  Coroner Foster indicated that EMT personnel worked on Mr. Wright 30 to 40 minutes at the scene before he was pronounced dead.   The Coroner said that Mr. Wright suffered massive blunt trauma injuries.  The investigation is continuing by The Sheriffs Department investigators. 

Terrelll Michael Tidwell, age 61

A suspect identified as Terrell Tidwell allegedly opened fire on BPD officers early Tuesday on Willow Wind Circle here. He barricade himself in a residence and later was arrested by several agencies that responded tom the scene.
Terrelll Michael Tidwell, age 61, is charged with four counts of aggravated assault against a police officer, reckless conduct and three counts criminal damage to property. He had a previous arrest in Lamar County in 2007 for attempting to obtain drugs by fraud.

The Barnesville Police Department said that on February 20, 2018 at approximately 12:05 a.m. dispatch received a 911 call in reference to a verbal domestic problem at 939 Willow Winds Apartment. As Barnesville Police Department officers were en route they were advised that shots had been fired. As Sgt. Mark Evans and Patrolman Daniel McEachern exited their vehicle the suspect fired a shot from behind a closed door.

The suspect had barricaded himself inside of the residence and multiple shots were fired from within striking three vehicles parked in front of the apartment. Additional agencies assisted Barnesville Police Department with apprehending the suspect: the Lamar County Sheriff’s Office, Gordon College Police Department and the Georgia State Patrol CERT and SWAT teams.

Tidwell surrendered around 3:35 a.m. and was transported by EMS to be checked and was then transported to the Lamar County Detention Center by Sgt. Freddie Oates. Once again he is charged with four counts of aggravated assault against a police officer, reckless conduct and three counts criminal damage to property.

WKEU would like to thank Walter Geiger and the Barnesville Herald Gazette for their assistance in this news story. You can subscribe to the Herald Gazette on line at barnesville.com

Georgia Department of
Early Care and Learning

 

 

In Barnesville the Herald Gazette has reported that the Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning (DECAL) has filed suit against a Lamar County firm for over $144,000 allegedly misappropriated funds earmarked for the local summer feeding program.

Problems were found during fiscal reviews of A.D. Smith Community Services’ handling of funds conducted in the summer of 2016. The firm, headed by April Smith-Scott, began administering the feeding programs in March, 2009.

A complaint for Breach of Contract and a demand for repayment of $144,062.83, interest and other relief, were filed in Lamar superior court Feb. 2 by the Georgia attorney general’s office.

The original reviews turned up money spent on disallowed expenses in the amount of $59,036.47 and disallowed meals in the amount of $3,237.88 in fiscal year 2016.

DECAL moved to terminate its relationship with the Smith organization in March, 2017. Neither Smith nor her partner Stead Walker appealed. They were officially removed as providers of the program on April 4, 2016.

DECAL conducted a second review in early 2017 and an additional $80,474.48 in misappropriated funds was also discovered.

Neither Smith nor Walker responded to three separate demand letters issued over the balance of 2017, resulting in last week’s legal action.

According to Walter Geiger the case should appear on an upcoming civil court docket in Lamar County within a few weeks.

WKEU would like to thank Walter Geiger and the Barnesville Herald Gazette for their assistance in this news story.  You can subscribe to the Herald Gazette on line at Barnesville.com

 

 

The Spalding County Sheriff’s Office in conjunction with the Office of Spalding County Coroner Sonny Foster, are releasing that the body found in the wall of the former Howard Johnson’s Hotel on February 11, 2018 has been positively identified as Timothy Johnson. Johnson, who was last seen on December 6,2017 was found lodged in a wall in a plumbing chase between 2 rooms in the abandoned hotel.

According to Sheriff Darrell Dix, “All indications are that Johnson was in the wall stripping copper from plumbing when he died. Investigators found cutting tools, flashlights, and copper piping that had been cut for removal. An autopsy performed by the GBI Crime Lab showed that there was no trauma to Johnson’s body and foul play is not involved. The way that his body was positioned in the wall and evidence recovered around him indicates that he was not dumped there as has been rumored. It will be months before results of toxicology tests are available that may shed more light on the cause of his death.”

Dix Continued, “The hotel was searched by investigators from the Spalding County Sheriff’s Office twice and Griffin Police Department and Spalding Sheriff’s Investigators combined an additional time during the period that Johnson was missing. Two of those times the searches were conducted with the use of cadaver dogs. Each of these searches, room to room, the office areas, and anywhere else we could access, including the searches with cadaver dogs, yielded no results. Even the rooms that we were specifically asked to search yielded no results. The location where Timothy Johnson’s body was found was in an area that was closed off, low to the ground, and dark. The area could not be accessed unless you cut into the wall in just the right place, and to recover his body, we had to remove an entire section of wall from one area. We met with Timothy Johnson’s mother and other family members at the hotel this morning and at their request, showed them the area and walked them through the events that led up to the discovery of the body.”

Dix added, “It appears that the person who located Johnson’s body was there to strip copper from the building as well when he stumbled upon the body. We have spoken to him, questioned him at length, and have determined that he had nothing to do with Johnson’s death. Due to the discovery being made during the attempt to commit a crime he will not receive the reward that was offered.”

The Griffin City Commissions met Tuesday Night February 13th at the city offices downtown.

The Commissioners recognized:  D’Marquivius King, Police Officer, with the Police Department, as the January 2018 “Strongest Link” award recipient.

The “Strongest Link” Award is given monthly to a deserving employee who has demonstrated excellent performance and productivity, loyalty, professional pride, and other noteworthy accomplishments. The recognized employee receives one day off with pay, a gift certificate from a local restaurant, a “Strongest Link” plaque, and the symbolic “chain”, which he will be the custodian of until a subsequent employee is recognized.

 

Police Chief Mike Yates Police nominated D’Marquivius King (DJ) who came to the police department over a year ago as an 18 year old intern. We immediately recognized DJ as “Different”, mature beyond his years, already a leader in his ROTC program in his high school. DJ performed admirably in his role as an intern, learning the records division operations, never late, always polite, again, showing a maturity beyond his years. DJ expressed his desire to become a police officer which, with skepticism due to his age, I agreed to consider. As DJ graduated from high school and submitted his application for police officer he was presented with the usual obstacles of that process but, in spite of skepticism, excelled. Given his maturity, work ethic, outgoing personality and commitment, I agreed to give him a try. He was hired and sent to the police academy where he would sink or swim on his own merits. Not surprisingly, he excelled at the academy and graduated as a certified officer in 2017, the first 18/19 year old I have ever hired. DJ was then placed into the rigorous FTO (Field Training Officer) program which lasts a minimum of 12 weeks and has about a 20% failure rate (even for older more experienced individuals). Again, not surprising to those of us who have gotten to know DJ, he again excelled. With an abundance of caution I required DJ to grudgingly complete extra weeks of FTO training, simply because of his youth, even when his FTO’s said “he’s ready”. Again, DJ excelled. He was released from field training a few weeks ago and continues to set an example for even the experienced officers. Even before his FTO program was complete the public commented frequently about his attitude, professionalism and willingness to help. Shortly after completing his FTO program he was recognized for changing a flat tire, in the cold and the rain for a citizen, AFTER he got off duty. He is an amazing young man and sets the bar high for himself in the service of others and I could use a dozen more just like him, in spite of his youth, given his exceptional maturity. He is an example for all of us to follow, enthusiastic, positive, ready to work and “Happy” to be part of the team…… We can all learn something from him.

Mike Yates Police Chief.

 

The commissioners:

Approved”   a Proclamation declaring Friday, February 16, 2018 to be Arbor Day in the City of Griffin.  The City of Griffin has been recognized as a Tree City USA by the National Arbor Day Foundation and desires to continue its tree-planting ways. Arbor Day celebratory events bring focus to the efforts to protect our trees and woodlands, to support our city’s urban forestry programs, and to plant trees to promote the well-being of present and future generations. In that regard, everyone is invited to an Arbor Day celebratory event to be held at 10 a.m. on February 16, 2018 at the New Horizons – New Directions Preparatory Academy at 814 Experiment Street, at which time we will plant three Red maple trees on campus.

 

The commissioners:

Approved:    to amend the City of Griffin’s Fiscal Year 2017-2018 Operating and Capital Budget for Golf Course Fund in the amount of $102,730.00; and approve the transfer of $137,725.00 from Golf Course Escrow to Golf Course checking account.

The resolution and budget amendment appropriates to the Golf Course Fund $102,730.00 to be used for the irrigation system update.  Balance in Golf Course Escrow cash account is $165,385.77 as of January 30, 2018.  Transfer of cash $137,725.00 from Golf Course Escrow will leave $27,660.77 in the account.

 

Approved:   upgrades to City of Griffin’s Network Router equipment to purchase off State contract to move the existing network to a redundant environment in the amount of $149,632.00.

The City’s core router has reached life cycle replacement and network capacity.  The network upgrade is necessary to ensure existing network has redundant environment that is critical to the City’s Internet customers.  The upgrade will allow the network to run at optimum capacity for the City of Griffin to meet the network requirements and future expansions.

 

Approved:   renewal of Cooperative Facilities Use Agreement between the City of Griffin and the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia on behalf of the University of Georgia Archway Partnership for Suite 505 at One Griffin Center in the amount of $1,200.00 per year.

This an anual lease agreement.  The Archway Partnership offices have been located in One Griffin Center since February 2015.

 

Approved:   an additional Griffin-Spalding County Hospital Authority grant allocation for the year 2018, requiring City and County approval, for the County Senior Nutrition Program in the amount of $26,500.  In order for the Hospital Authority to grant the noted funds, both the City Commission and County Commission must give their approval for the County Senior Nutrition Program in the amount of $26,500.

 

Approved:  the purchase of Fluoride Feeder System from Water Treatment & control, Co., in the amount of $20,251.00 for the Harry Simmons Water Treatment Plant. This is a budgeted item.

 

Approved:   an agreement with JM Clayton for the installation and start-up services for High Service Pump #1 Still Branch pump station in the amount of $66,080.00 for the Water and Wastewater Department.

This is a sole source purchase. JM Clayton has institutional knowledge of the system and installed the High Service Pump #2 in 2015.   $405,000 was budgeted in FY2017 and 2018 for this project. This $66,080 agreement will conclude this project.

Approved:   construction of a new replacement scale house at the City of Griffin Transfer Station and Regional Recycling Center at a cost not to exceed $75,000.

Approval of this project will enable the City to construct a new, modern, and healthy environment for the employees and customers to report and conduct business as the existing scale house is approx. 25 years old and has become a harbor for rodents, and the air quality has become questionable.

No single contractor is being assigned or awarded this project as it will be constructed mostly in-house using City Staff as well as a Mobile Construction crew from the Department of Corrections. All building codes will be adhered to and City building inspectors will document same. Occasionally a contractor will be used on proprietary projects that require certifications or licenses. i.e. electrical, HVAC and plumbing.

The Commissioners Approved:   Resolution 2018 CDBG (Community Development Block Grant) for water and sewer improvements in the City’s FY 2018 CDBG Target Area, Meriwether Street (between Park Road and South 8th Street) and authorized the Chairman to execute pertinent documentation.

The City commits to the required cash match for the project, $1,000 cash for the required audits and all additional cash and/or in-kind services needed to complete the project over the grant amount. The City of Griffin Public Works Department will commit $323,550 in cash and $10,000 in-kind services in FY18.

Approved:    on first reading an Ordinance amending Chapter 22 of the Code of Griffin, STATE MINIMUM CONSTRUCTION CODES, to recognize the mandatory state minimum construction codes, effective January 1, 2018, as enacted by the Board of the Georgia Department of Community Affairs.

In the early 1990’s the General Assembly enacted a law delegating to the Department of Community Affairs state minimum building codes in order to provide uniformity throughout the state in construction. This ordinance amends the City Code to reflect the latest changes made by the DCA Board.

Approved and authorized:   the City of Griffin Chairperson to sign application for a Georgia Environmental Finance Authority (GEFA) Loan for Shoal Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant in the amount of $8,000,000.

The GEFA Loan will pay for the dewatering of sludge lagoons and the construction of a new headworks for the treatment facility. The existing headworks has outlived its useful life, and lagoons need sludge sediment removed.

Approved:   to amend the contract with P.F. Moon for the Cabin Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant Construction in the amount of $700,000.

In the construction process it has been discovered that the soil is unsuitable for the foundation of the Oxidation Ditch Process, and the sub-structure has to be designed, engineered and constructed. Original design and geo technical work was performed around the existing plant and results did not demonstrate unsuitable soils. The Original loan budgeted of $16,000,000 made allowance in case of such potential issues.

 

The Commissioners  Reappointed:  Marcus Allen to the Main Street Program for a three-year term to expire 12/31/20.

 

Approved:    a revised city administrative staff organizational chart. The Staff Attorney, Jessica O’Connor will assume responsibility as Chief of Staff, per a revised organizational chart and revised job description.

There is no impact to the Staff Attorney budget. Beginning FY 19, a solicitor will be needed to assist city court. Staff Attorney has been Solicitor, but will now assume role of Assistant Solicitor. Solicitor was previously budgeted at $20,000 and Assistant Solicitor was budgeted at $3,500. A new Solicitor should impact the budget around $18,000 in FY 19.

 

The commissioners:

Approved:  Denial of claim and rejection of Demand for Settlement in the amount of $1,000,000 of a purported ante litem notice from attorney Laquetta S. Pearson, on behalf of her client Larry Crawford, for personal injuries allegedly received in a motor vehicle collision with a Griffin Police officer on December 27, 2017 at approximately 6:30 p.m. on North Expressway.

The City of Griffin participates in the Georgia Interlocal Risk Management Agency (GIRMA) which provides Motor Vehicle Liability Coverage on City vehicles.

 

The commissioners:

Approved to put into a short term portfolio an unexpected revenue of $1.1 million dollar credit from MEAG for the city’s share from Wholesale Supplier Natural Gas. The unexpected funds will be readily available when the commissioners decide where they may best be used.

 

The commissioners went into Executive Session for the purpose of meeting with the City’s attorney(s) to discuss pending/potential litigation, and acquisition of property.

 

Submitted by:     Larry Johnson

The Griffin and indeed many areas of Georgia were saddened on Monday to hear of the passing of a Griffin Icon Bill Haisten.  Bill was perhaps the biggest supporter of his beloved Griffin Bears, of Griffin High for years he worked with WKEUs Ted Taylor, and Tony Broski with his selections of the game of the week on our pre-game show of our Griffin Bears broadcast.

It was my privilege to have known Bill since I was 5 years old as a friend and neighbor in the early 1950s and until today.  Bills selections of the game of the week were phenomenal.  His success rate was amazing to us all.  I fondly remember when Bill was at the station during football season and several of us were sitting with Bill in the Lobby and I remembered I had not called the Coach at Lowdens County in Valdosta to get permission to broadcast the game. I said I wonder what the coach’s number is and Bill without hesitation said 912-and the rest of the number which was correct.  When I talked with the coach he said be sure and tell Bill Haisten hello for me.

He had a phenomenal memory and could recall action in many games played years before when we were students.

Bill was known throughout the State in sports circles.

The Griffin Spalding School System gave Bill the highest honor he said he ever received when they named the Football Field at Memorial Stadium “Bill Haisten Field.”

He was one of the largest supporters of youth events in Spalding County.  He always was present to waive or say goodbye to those 6th grade Junior Deputies that were taking the annual trip to Washington DC.

He was a friend to many.  Even when he fell into ill health he would call the station about sports evens. Or just chat a while. Bobby Chapell of WHIE was a great friend to Bill. And Bill would call as an active participant on the Lets Talk Sports program on Thursdays at 5:30.

Bill was one of those very rare individuals that never saw color in a friend or fellowman, he just saw another of God’s creatures with no reservations but innocence of great respect.

The hearts and prayers of our staff at WKEU and indeed my family got out to the Haisten family.  The one standard I always had in my life was my dear friend Bill.  When my twin grand boys were born I was in the room with Pam at the Hospital, she had just returned to the room she got a call thanked the caller looked at me and said Dad who’s Bill Haisten?  He was so nice and said how happy he was about the boys and every one was healthy. Pam just learned the value of a dear friend and met Bill several times. Bill watched the career of my twin grand boys when they were in High School and playing for Gwinnett County.

Several times he would call me when I was on active duty during my career in the Army.  Once at the pentagon, how he got my number I have no idea, but I was so happy to hear from my dear friend.  He even called me when I graduated Officer Candidate School, to congratulate me for the appointment to 2nd Lieutenant. There are those that you meet in life that may call you a friend. But to Bill Haistne you were his dear friend, and I felt the same. I have lost a Friend of a life time.

I will see you soon my friend we have a lot to talk about.

Funeral Servicers will be announced later by Haisten-McCullough  Funeral Home

According to Sheriff Darrell Dix on February 11, 2018, at approximately 3:00 p.m., an unnamed person committing a theft at the former Howard Johnson property, located at 1690 North Expressway, discovered a possible body inside an interior wall. The unnamed person left the scene and notified the Spalding County 911 system of his discovery approximately 3 hours later.

LT Joe Hudson, of the Griffin Police Department, responded to the scene and noted a foul odor coming from one of the rooms at the building. Lt. Hudson forced entry into the abandoned property and discovered a body in between the interior walls in the plumbing access area. Lt. Hudson notified Griffin Fire and due to his knowledge of a previously filed missing person report involving Timothy Johnson, the Spalding County Sheriff’s Office was contacted.

Sheriff Darrell Dix, lead Investigator Ray Hightower, Coroner Sonny Foster along with other investigators and crime scene personnel arrived at the scene.

Entry was made to the area where the body was located and identification documents found on the remains indicated Timothy Johnson.

The body was extricated by personnel from the Griffin Fire Department with the assistance of Spalding Sheriff’s crime scene investigators. The body was transported to the GBI Crime lab for autopsy and positive identification. No foul play is suspected at this time but investigators are awaiting results from the autopsy. The autopsy is scheduled for early Tuesday morning.

Sheriff Dix, Coroner Foster and Investigator Hightower met with the mother of Timothy Johnson and discussed with her the discovery of the body.

Mr. Johnson was last seen on December 6, 2017 and was reported missing on December 11, 2017. His truck was located in an adjacent parking lot on December 7, 2017 by Griffin Police.

Spalding investigators searched the property on three occasions, and cadaver K-9’s searched the area twice earlier in the investigation.

Sheriff Dix would like to thank the Griffin Police and Fire Department for their assistance. According to Sheriff Dix “Griffin P.D. and Griffin firefighters provided valuable assistance in locating the remains. We appreciate their assistance with the investigation.”

 

Sheriff’s Deputies Michael D. Corley Photo 1

Sheriff’s Deputy Ralph “Sidwell”  Sid Calloway Photo 2

 Chase Maddox Locust Grove Police Department.  Photo 3

The GBI is releasing the names of the three officers in Thursdays Henry County shooting: Fallen Locust Grove Officer Chase Maddox Photo 3, Henry County Sheriff’s Deputies Michael D. Corley (pic 1) & Ralph Sidwell “Sid” Callaway (pic 2)

THIRD UPDATE ON SHOOTINGS OF TWO DEPUTIES AND A LOCUST GROVE OFFICER WHO WAS PRONOUNCED DEAD AT THE SCENE..  

A Locust Grove Police Officer was killed and two Henry County Deputies were shot about 10:00 am Friday Morning while the Deputies were serving a Bench Warrant for failure to appear.

The subject of the arrest has not been identified at this time but the Locust Grove Mayor identified the 26 year old Police Officer as Chase Maddox of Patton Road in Pike County. He had been with the department for about five years.

Henry County Sheriff Kenneth McBrayer said his deputies Henry County Sheriff’s Deputies Michael D. Corley, and Ralph Sidwell “Sid” Callaway were in Locust Grove to serve a failure to appear warrant.

Reports of the shootings were confirmed by the Sheriff Brayer at a news conference about 2:05 Friday afternoon. The incident was reported to be in a residence on St. Francis Court in Locust Grove, near Tanger Mall outlet located on I-75 at Locust Grove Road.  When deputies realized that they were going to have resistance from the resident they called in assistance from the Locust Grove Police Department.  An altercation between the suspect and officers broke out and gunfire started inside the home, the resident was killed, as well as Locust Grove Officer Chase Maddox.

The two Deputies were air lifted by Emory Helicopter Air Ambulance based at the Griffin Spalding Airport to the Atlanta Medical Center for treatment.  The police officer was also sent to the Atlanta Medical center and pronounced dead shortly after being transported.

Sheriff McBrayer said he has called in the Georgia Bureau of Investigation who will be investigating the incident. GBI agent and spokesperson Nellie Myers said more information will be release soon as the investigation continues.

WKEU news has been advised that the Mt. Zion United Methodist Church pastor Wade Corley is the Brother of one of the Deputies that was shot and severely wounded. Deputy Michael Corley lives at 277 Slaughter Road in Spalding County.  The second deputy was hit in his ballistic vest and received buses and trauma injuries and was later released Thursday by the Hospital. Both deputies are expected to recover.

Wade Corley, said of his brother “Thank God for the bulletproof vest.” The Bullet went through the vest and caught him on the right side of his ribs.

 

 

 

 

Twelve Spalding County 4-H’ers joined more than 400 4-H youth, leaders, and volunteers from across the state for 4-H Day at the Capitol on Thursday, February 1, in Atlanta, Georgia. Participants from Spalding County included: Jhaycee Barnes, Deron Brown, Baily Champion, Kaylee Collins, Isaac Daugherty, Mark Dover, Jalen Favors, Shelby Lane, Alyssa Laud, Jabri Nash, Marcoyia Sutton, and Korre Trimble.

4-H’ers visited the Georgia State Capitol to meet with their representatives and senators, tour the capitol building, and observe the legislative process. State 4-H President Mason McClintock of Bacon County addressed both chambers of the Georgia General Assembly, thanking them for their continued support of 4-H and pledging Georgia 4-H’s commitment to work to improve Georgia’s communities. “Getting personally involved with government and the democratic process are essential steps to becoming an engaged citizen,” said Rebecca Heard, Spalding County 4-H Agent with the University of Georgia Extension program. “I’m so excited we were able to provide our 4-H’ers with an opportunity to engage in our participatory democracy to better understand the value of their voices and beliefs.”

Following the Capitol tour and visit, 4-H’ers enjoyed a luncheon sponsored by the Georgia 4-H Foundation Board of Trustees. The Honorable Governor Nathan Deal, First Lady Sandra Deal, Lieutenant Governor Casey Cagle, and Dr. Sam Pardue, Dean and Director of the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, encouraged the 4-H’ers to continue serving their counties and communities though 4-H participation.
Resolutions in the House and Senate recognized several 4-H members for their outstanding achievements in leadership and citizenship, as well as 4-H’ers who have excelled in contests at the national level. The day’s activities concluded with a picture of the entire delegation with a number of representatives and senators. Georgia 4-H thanks Georgia’s leaders for their warm welcome and continued support of the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, Cooperative Extension, and Georgia 4-H.
For information on getting involved in Spalding County 4-H, please contact the County Extension Office at (770)-467-4225.
A kindergartner enrolled in the local school system was found in possession of a firearm Thursday morning. No injuries were reported.

The school system superintendent Dr. Jute Wilson said.

Thursday morning, a 6-year old Lamar County Primary student brought an unloaded small caliber pistol to school. After showing the weapon to a student, the classmate reported to an adult who immediately secured the backpack and notified administrators. There is no evidence the child intended to hurt anyone. The weapon was never loaded, brandished, or used to threaten anyone. We are proud of the classmates, staff members, and administration who handled the situation quickly and safely. We are especially proud of the young classmate who notified an adult of the matter. 

The Lamar County School System is working closely with the Barnesville Police Department and the Lamar County Sheriff’s Office. This incident will be handled according to state and district policies by both the school system and law enforcement.

 

The Griffin-Spalding County School System (GSCS) named David and Ashley Mangham from Cowan Road Elementary School as the district-level Most Valuable Parents (MVP). The Manghams were honored during the Griffin-Spalding Board of Education meeting on February 6.  Mr. and Mrs. Mangham actively participate in workshops and volunteer during school events, classroom parties and trips.

“Mr. and Mrs. Mangham value education and are deeply involved and invested in their children’s education. You can see them around the school building daily, ready to take on any task or lend a hand to positively impact the classroom and school. They make contributions regularly to the classroom to benefit all students,” said Cowan Road Elementary Assistant Principal Misty Garvin.

GSCS is also proud to recognize the school-level MVPs for January 2018:

  • Anne Street Elementary- De’Vay & Roderick Fluellyn
  • Crescent Elementary- Stephanie Marshall
  • Futral Road Elementary- Melissa Styler
  • Griffin High School- Jamie Paul
  • Jackson Road Elementary- Kathy Anthony
  • Jordan Hill Elementary- Allen Maddox
  • Rehoboth Road Middle- Gary Pline

 

GSCS began the MVP Program in 2011 as a way to increase parent engagement. This district-level program recognizes parent volunteers who make outstanding contributions to our schools. Each month the schools choose an exceptional volunteer to be their school-level MVP. From the school-level nominees, a district-level MVP is selected. Last school year GSCS recognized over 90 MVPs. Seventy-four volunteers have been recognized to date during the 2017-18 school year.

The Toys R Us store in Fayetteville and the Babies R Us in Newnan along with 180 others, will be closing as part of the company’s chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization plan.

The announcement to close 182 stores came after the company filed for bankruptcy protection. Toys R Us is expected to decrease its number of stores by approximately 20 percent.

Regarding the announcement, Toys R Us Chief Executive Dave Brandon said, “The reinvention of our brands requires that we make tough decisions about our priorities and focus.”

Going-out-of-business sales are scheduled to begin in February and be completed in April.

Toys R Us in Fayetteville is located at the Fayette Pavilion. The Babies R Us store in Newnan is located at Ashley Park.

Board of Regents Chairman Jim Hull and Chancellor Steve Wrigley announced today that the Board of Regents named Dr. Kirk Nooks as the sole finalist for the position of president of Gordon State College in Barnesville.

Nooks is currently president at Metropolitan Community College (MCC)-Longview in Longview, Mo.

“Dr. Nooks’ experience in higher education provides a strong foundation for Gordon State College to innovate, increase enrollment and strengthen relationships with the Barnesville community and region,” said Wrigley. “I want to thank and commend the Gordon State campus search committee for its efforts and the role it played in this search process. Gordon State College would greatly benefit from Dr. Nooks’ leadership.”

Prior to joining MCC-Longview, Nooks served as both campus dean and executive liaison for diversity at Georgia Highlands College. Nooks holds a doctorate in higher education administration from George Washington University, along with an MBA in marketing and a bachelor of science in industrial management from Mercer University. He is a graduate of the Thomas Lakin Institute for Mentored Leadership and a member of the inaugural cohort of the American Council on Education’s Spectrum Leadership Institute.

“I’m honored to be considered for the role of president of Gordon State. I’m impressed with the students, faculty and staff I’ve met,” said Nooks. “I am excited about the opportunity to become a part of the Gordon State College community.”

The Board of Regents will take action on the selection of the next president of Gordon State College at the board’s next meeting, scheduled for Feb. 13.

 

Griffin Choral Arts will present Handel’s Messiah, Parts 2 and 3 on March 15, 2018.  Scheduled at 7:30 pm at First Baptist Church, 60 area artists will preform this work. Griffin Choral Arts March 15th concert tickets are $15 and available at the door.

Handel’s oratorio “Messiah’ stands as a pillar of the choral-orchestral repertoire.  We present the second and third parts which illuminate the suffering, death, and resurrection of Christ and also point to the second coming and the vision of the Lamb of God seated on the eternal throne.  Expressive recitatives, dramatic airs, remarkable choruses-including the brilliant “Hallelujah”- radiate the splendor of the one who reigns forever and ever.

Prepare for the Easter season with this work of art. Dr. Steve Mulder serves as artistic director of Griffin Choral Arts.

 

The Kiwanis Club of Griffin will hold it’s annual Pancake Day Saturday, February 10th at the Kiwanis of Griffin Center, 1025 South Hill Street. Plates will be served continuously from 7:00 a.m. until 1:00 p.m. for $8.00 each. All proceeds raised through the event go to the support of the Kiwanis scholarship fund.

In new features being offered as part of Pancake Day this year. A drive-thru take out service will be available as well as delivery service to local businesses with a minimum order of 10 plates. To take advantage of the delivery service, local businesses are asked to email orders by Thursday, February 8th to kiwanisclubofgriffin@gmail.com. When placing a delivery order, you are asked to include a contact name, address and phone number.

Spring in Spalding County brings budding leaves and new flowers. Unfortunately, it also brings violent thunderstorms and tornadoes. Spalding County’s Office of Homeland Security will be conducting a “Ready Spalding” Prepare-Athon! Drill for Tornado Safety county-wide on Wednesday, February 7.

While everyone knows the importance of being prepared, the purpose of this drill is to ensure that all Spalding County residents know exactly what to do should a tornado hit your location. This county-wide drill is being held as part of the Georgia’s Severe Weather Preparedness Week and is supported by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the Georgia Emergency Management (GEMA) and the Homeland Security’s “Ready Georgia” campaign. Here’s how to participate:

Before the Drill:

• Register for the Civic Ready emergency notification system and choose what type of alerts you want to receive

• Install a NOAA Weather Radio, if you haven’t already done so. Make sure it’s programmed to receive alerts for Spalding County and check that it has a battery back-up

• Review your severe weather emergency plan with your organization or family and encourage them to learn how to prepare for tornadoes.

• Make sure everyone knows where tornado shelter areas are located. Basements and interior rooms or hallways on the lowest floor are safest

Around 9:00 a.m. the Day of the Drill:

• Listen for the tornado sirens or monitor your NOAA Weather Radio for the message from the National Weather Service. This is your cue to begin the drill

• If you are conducting the drill at your workplace, announce the drill using your building’s notification system

• Follow the steps in your emergency plan

• Everyone should proceed to their tornado shelter area

o Use stairs instead of elevators

• Crouch low, sitting or kneeling against a wall and covering head with hands

• Take a photo and share on your social media platforms using #PrepareAthon

After the Drill:

• Evaluate the drill and document any issues. Modify your plan accordingly.

• Email the number of participants and photos to gpolk@spaldingcounty.com

For questions or assistance, please contact the Spalding County Office of Homeland Security at (770) 228-2129.

 

The subject of a manhunt in Lamar County ended late Thursday afternoon  with the arrest of Kenneth Wayne Jones, age 27.  Law enforcement personnel were searching the area of the Cedar Grove landfill close to the Lamar County industrial park for a suspect who fled a traffic accident in Pike County earlier in the day.

Jones was captured just before sunset.  

He is expected to be charged in Pike County with serious injury by motor vehicle and additional counts. 

 

 

 


A 45-year-old Barnesville man has been charged with arson in connection with a Jan. 24 fire that destroyed a home at 23 Brown St. in Barnesville. The apparently unoccupied home caught fire at about 4 a.m. There were no injuries. reported. 

Daraus Ahmad Myles of 407 Westchester Heights was charged Wednesday in Lamar County with one count of arson in connection with the fire, according to Capt. Al Moltrum of the Barnesville Police Department. Neighbors had seen Myles in the area, according to a tipster who contacted The Herald Gazette in the aftermath of the blaze.

Myles has had several charges in the area and is known by law enforcement personnel.
WKEU would like to thank Walter Geiger and the Barnesville Herald Gazette for their assistance in this news story. . You can subscribe to the Herald Gazette on line at barnesivlle.com. 

SPALDING COUNTY  COMMISSIONERS

 

Board of Commissioners of Spalding County
Regular Meeting
February 5, 2018
6:00 PM
119 E. Solomon St., Meeting Room 108

 

I. OPENING (CALL TO ORDER)
PLEASE SILENCE YOUR CELLPHONES AND ALL OTHER ELECTRONIC DEVICES .
II. INVOCATION
Commissioner Rita Johnson will lead the Invocation.
III. PLEDGE TO FLAG
Commissioner Donald Hawbaker, District #5, will lead the pledge to the flag.
IV. APPOINTMENTS
1. Lift from the table an appointment to the Spalding County Library Board of Trustees:
(a) to succeed John Groth for a four year term to expire 12/31/2021.
2. Consider appointment to the Spalding County Board of Health to fill the unexpired term of Teresa
Buchanan to expire December 31, 2022. This position represents the “Consumer or an advocate for
consumers of health services.”
3. Consider appointment of Chairman or deisgnee to the Atlanta Regional Commission for calendar year
2018.
V. PRESENTATIONS/PROCLAMATIONS
1. Miller Edwards of Mauldin & Jenkins LLC is present to present the FY 2017 Comprehensive Annual
Financial Report.
VI. PRESENTATION OF FINANCIAL STATEMENTS
1. Consider approval of financial statements for the six months ended December 31, 2017.
VII. CITIZEN COMMENT
Speakers must sign up prior to the meeting and provide their names, addresses and topic in which
they will speak on. Speakers must direct all comments to the Board only. Speakers will be allotted
three (3) minutes to speak on their chosen topics and relate to matters pertinent to the jurisdiction of
the Board of the Commissioners. No questions will be asked by any of the commissioners during
citizen comments. Outbursts from the audience will not be tolerated. Common courtesy and civility
are expected at all times during the meeting.
VIII. MINUTES –
1. Consider approval of minutes for the Spalding County Board of Commissioners Regular Meeting on
January 8, 2018, the Spalding County Board of Commissioners Special Called Meeting on January
22, 2018, Spalding County Board of Commissioners Closed Session on January 22, 2018 and the
Board of Commissioners Special Called Meeting on January 26, 2018.
IX. CONSENT AGENDA –
X. OLD BUSINESS –
1. Lift from the table a discussion regarding a request to introduce legislation to clarify supervision of
the position of Elections Supervisor.
XI. NEW BUSINESS –
1. Consider purchase of new Self Contained Breathing Apparatus for the Spalding County Fire
Department from Municipal Emergency Services in the amount of $391,880.00.
2. Consider implementation of a Training Reimbursement Agreement for outside training provided by
Spalding County to employees that will allow reimbursement of training costs should the employee
end their employment with Spalding County within 24 months of completion of training.
3. Consider approval of Fire Training reimbursement agreement.
4. Consider approval on first reading an Ordinance establishing a 25 MPH speed limit on Coe Drive.
5. Consider approval of New Concept Plan and Revised Final Construction Plans Proposal from Falcon
Design Consultants for realignment of Intersection #3.
6. Consider recommendation from Park and Recreation Advisory Commission to approve the fundraising
proposal by the Leadership Griffin+Spalding class of 2018 to construct a Dog Park on Carver
Road property.
7. Consider Resolution supporting the application for FY2018 CDBG funds to be applied toward sewer
improvements in the Dundee Mills target area.
8. Consider approval of FY 2019 Budget Calendar.
XII. REPORT OF COUNTY MANAGER
1. 2016 SPLOST Revenues for December 2017
2. Review of 2017 Spalding County Government Accomplishments.
3. Nominations for the Bain Proctor Award for Volunteerism are open and will be accepted through
February 28, 2018
4. Chairman Ray has requested an update on the status of the old correctional building received from
Georgia Department of Corrections.
XIII. REPORT OF COMMISSIONERS
XIV. CLOSED SESSION
XV. ADJOURNMENT

UPDATE:

A felony chase on the North Expressway lead to the driver of the perused vehicle losing control and crashing into a wooded area just north of School Road on Wednesday afternoon about 4:30 pm.  Sheriff Dix said that their were 4 injuries from the accident and one individual was air lifted by Emory Air Flight Based at the Griffin Spalding Airport when a hasty landing area was established on the North Expressway.  Sheriff Dix said that it was a precaution due to head injuries of the  individual, however the injured person was coherent and talking with EMS personnel. Chief Jamie Clark of the Spalding Fire Department said one trapped female had to be extracted from the vehicle by the Fire Department personnel.   The driver of the vehicle managed to flee the area and was later captured by Deputies on old Highway 41 a shot time later.
Both lanes of the North expressway were closed and traffic.  All north bound traffic was directed to old highway 41 until the investigation was complete.  The investigation remains under investigation and more information is expected to be released later.

Georgia, also known as the Empire of the South, is famous for its luscious peaches, its aviation history, the headquarters of Coca-Cola—and, in 2017, for a political spat over its safety record.

After civil rights leader and Georgia congressman John Lewis criticized Donald Trump, the president shot back with tweets accusing Lewis’s district—which includes three-fourths of Atlanta—of being “crime infested” and “in horrible shape and falling apart.”1

But a state’s safety record is worth more than 140 characters. Atlanta’s elected officials have worked hard to make their city safer by hiring more police officers to patrol neighborhoods, with their workforce growing from 1,600 officers in 2009 to 2,000 in 2013. And it’s paid off: although Atlanta’s murder rate has crept higher over the past few years, its overall crime rate—including robberies, burglaries, and aggravated assaults—has fallen an astounding 27% since 2009.2

Even more impressive than Atlanta’s progress are the safety records of the Peach State’s safest cities, based on the 2016 FBI Uniform Crime Reports (the most recent available). Although Georgia has higher-than-average rates of violent crimes, the fifty cities on this list have at least 40% fewer violent crimes than the national average. The three safest cities have over 90% fewer crimes than the national rate! There were zero homicides in thirty-six of these fifty cities—including Johns Creek, Dunwoody, Thomasville, Kennesaw, and Pooler. Even when including other violent crimes, on average these cities had fewer than three violent crimes per 1,000 people.

The police force of Georgia’s safest city, Summerville, deserves a round of applause. With only one violent crime and forty-one property crimes in 2016, they’ve clearly demonstrated their commitment to public safety.

You might recognize Senoia, the fourth-safest city in Georgia, from movies like Driving Miss DaisyFootloose, and Fried Green Tomatoes. Happily, the city is as safe as it is picturesque, with less than 0.5 violent crimes per 1,000 residents—nearly 90% lower than the national average.

Review our full list to see if your hometown ranks as one of Georgia’s fifty safest cities. And if you’re looking for ways to make your community safer, check out our Georgia Safety Directory for resources on everything from crime prevention to fire safety to domestic violence awareness.

The 10 Safest Cities in Georgia

1. Summerville

Population: 4,442
Violent crimes per 1,000: 0.23
Property crimes per 1,000: 9.23
Total crime: 2.44% violent, 97.56% property

2. Milton

Population: 38,551
Violent crimes per 1,000: 0.26
Property crimes per 1,000: 8.77
Total crime: 2.96% violent, 97.04% property

3. Johns Creek

Population: 84,629
Violent crimes per 1,000: 0.32
Property crimes per 1,000: 8.12
Total crime: 3.93% violent, 96.07% property

4. Senoia

Population: 4,233
Violent crimes per 1,000: 0.47
Property crimes per 1,000: 10.87
Total crime: 4.35% violent, 95.65% property

5. Peachtree City

Population: 35,387
Violent crimes per 1,000: 0.54
Property crimes per 1,000: 15.40
Total crime: 3.49% violent, 96.52%

6. Alpharetta

Population: 64,943
Violent crimes per 1,000: 0.54
Property crimes per 1,000: 20.14
Total crime: 2.68% violent, 97,32% property

7. Tyrone

Population: 7,243
Violent crimes per 1,000: 0.69
Property crimes per 1,000: 9.94
Total crime: 6.94% violent, 93.06% property

8. Dallas

Population: 13,135
Violent crimes per 1,000: 0.84
Property crimes per 1,000: 15.07
Total crime: 5.56% violent, 94.44% property

9. Flowery Branch

Population: 6,895
Violent crimes per 1,000: 0.87
Property crimes per 1,000: 22.48
Total crime: 3.87% violent, 96.13% property

10. Grovetown

Population: 13,469
Violent crimes per 1,000: 0.89
Property crimes per 1,000: 13,29
Total crime: 6.70% violent, 93.30% property

The Rest of the Top 50 Safest Cities in Georgia

Rank City Population Violent Crime (per 1,000) Property Crime (per 1,000) Total Crime: Violent %
Total Crime: Property %
11 Woodstock 31,243 0.96 19.75 4.86% 95.14%
12 Loganville 11,409 0.96 31.82 3.03% 96.97%
13 Holly Springs 11,034 1.00 19.85 5.02% 94.98%
14 Suwanee 19,432 1.03 33.86 3.04% 96.96%
15 Sandy Springs 107,685 1.09 26.35 4.12% 95.88%
16 Braselton 9,912 1.11 8.58 12.94% 87.06%
17 Chatsworth 4,362 1.15 6.65 17.24% 82.76%
18 Byron 5,222 1.15 23.75 4.84% 95.16%
19 Cumming 5,772 1.21 47.99 2.53% 97.47%
20 McDonough 23,675 1.27 30.71 4.13% 95.87%
21 Fayetteville 17,157 1.28 30.48 4.21% 95.79%
22 Jefferson 10,340 1.35 21.57 6.28% 93.72%
23 Jackson 4,966 1.41 19.53 7.22% 92.78%
24 McRae-Helena 8,786 1.48 18.32 8.07% 91.93%
25 Roswell 95,684 1.49 17.79 8.40% 91.60%
26 Cairo 9,772 1.53 28.04 5.47% 94.53%
27 Locust Grove 5,862 1.54 66.87 2.30% 97.70%
28 Dunwoody 49,232 1.58 41.98 3.77% 96.23%
29 Port Wentworth 8,177 1.59 15.16 10.48% 89.52%
30 Centerville 7,657 1.70 32.39 5.24% 94.76%
31 Richmond Hill 12,520 1.76 17.97 9.78% 90.22%
32 Thomasville 18,773 1.81 52.26 3.47% 96.53%
33 Decatur 22,449 1.83 23.39 7.81% 92.19%
34 Acworth 22,467 1.91 25.37 7.54% 92.46%
35 Kennesaw 34,204 1.93 17.75 10.87% 89.13%
36 Glennville 5,068 1.97 26.44 7.46% 92.54%
37 Auburn 7,621 2.10 17.85 11.76% 88.24%
38 Hampton 7,451 2.15 16.64 12.90% 87.10%
39 Pooler 24,006 2.17 29.12 7.44% 92.56%
40 Folkston 5,349 2.24 19.26 11.65% 88.35%
41 Madison 4,034 2.48 40.41 6.13% 93.87%
42 Adairsville 4,804 2.50 28.73 8.70% 91.30%
43 Canton 25,985 2.50 22.71 11.02% 88.98%
44 Lafayette 7,185 2.51 39.81 6.29% 93.71%
45 Bremen 6,380 2.51 42.16 5.95% 94.05%
46 Temple 4,329 2.54 25.87 9.82% 90.18%
47 Camilla 5,080 2.56 46.65 5.49% 94.51%
48 Calhoun 16,439 2.62 38.87 6.73% 93.27%
49 Kingsland 16,597 2.65 22.71 11.67% 88.33%
50 Social Circle 4,414 2.72 19.03 14.29% 85.71%

How We Chose the Safest Cities in Georgia

To identify the fifty safest cities in Georgia, we reviewed the 2016 FBI crime report statisticsand population data. Cities that fell below identified population thresholds or that failed to submit a complete crime report to the FBI were excluded from the ranking system.

Our evaluation is based on the number of reported violent crimes (aggravated assault, murder, rape, and robbery) in each city. If there was a tie, we also factored in the number of property crimes (burglary, arson, larceny-theft, and motor vehicle theft). To level the playing field, we calculated the rate of crimes per 1,000 people in each city. This makes it easier to directly compare the likelihood of these crimes occurring in cities with vastly different populations.

Safe Cities Report is available on line at https://www.safewise.com/blog/safest-cities-georgia/

 

On January 29 at approximately 5:20 p.m. , Chief Pilot Dr. Phillip Smith and Chief Deputy Tony Thomason were on a training flight in the Spalding County helicopter (STAR). While recovering from a training scenario at an altitude of approximately 200 feet, STAR lost its engine. Due to the engine loss, the lift created by the rotor blades began rapidly decaying causing STAR to descend straight down. Dr. Smith, who is a highly decorated helicopter pilot with tours of duty in Vietnam, and is now a flight instructor, nosed the helicopter down to increase the speed of the main rotor in an effort to create more lift. As they neared the ground Smith was able to level out and just before STAR hit the ground, Smith raised the nose to slow the fall, the tail boom struck the ground, the main rotor struck the tail boom, and they came to a stop in a field behind a residence on Ga. Highway 19 in Pike County. Neither Smith or Thomason were injured. Pike County Deputies responded to the scene as did Pike County Sheriff Jimmy Thomas. The FAA and NTSB were notified and an NTSB investigator responded to the scene this morning.
According to Sheriff Darrell Dix, “It appears that the incident was unavoidable and was attributed to a mechanical failure. There is no doubt in my mind that Dr. Smith’s experience, actions and quick response to the crisis saved his life and the life of Chief Thomason. Chief Thomason told me that Dr. Smith remained calm, worked the problem all the way to the ground and he without a doubt saved our lives.” Dix added, “There are very few instances where that type of catastrophic failure, that close to the ground ends as well as this one did. It is a miracle that they walked away unharmed. 100 yards to the right or 100 yards to the left and they would have been in a wood line or a lake. 20 yards shorter and they would have been in a large pile of cut timber. 50 yards further and they would have also been in the woods. The Lord was with them and sat them down in about the only area they could and still be ok. Even though the helicopter is damaged, we are more thankful that they were not harmed.”
Dix continued, “STAR was the second helicopter received by the Spalding County Sheriff’s Office from GEMA’s excess property program. The helicopter program started in Spalding County in 1998 and has been a valuable asset to law enforcement jurisdictions from all across the state. We have always responded to calls for assistance from outside of Spalding County whenever asked.” The equipping, maintenance, upkeep, fuel, insurance, and inspections for STAR are all funded by seized drug funds. STAR went through its last annual maintenance and inspection in August of 2017.” Dix stated, “At this point we are going to examine if it would even be feasible to continue the program. While the damage to STAR may not look extensive, it is substantial. We will get repair costs, check on the availability of another helicopter through the GEMA program and work out the costs of refitting a new helicopter before a decision is made.
We would like to thank Sheriff Jimmy Thomas and his deputies for their quick response. We would also like to thank Atlanta Air Salvage for their assistance.

 

SPALDING COUNTY SUPERIOR COURT

 

The Spalding County District Attorney’s Office presented the case of the State of Georgia vs. Campos Sotero Gonzales this week in front of a Spalding County jury. The Honorable Christopher Edwards presided over the case. The jury convicted Gonzales of two counts of Aggravated Sodomy, Aggravated Sexual Battery, four counts of Child Molestation, and Sexual Battery against a Child Under 16. Chief Judge Edwards sentenced the defendant to three consecutive sentences of life in prison followed by twenty years in prison. The defendant was convicted of forcing a 9-year-old child to perform multiple sexual acts with him over the course of two years. Assistant District Attorney Donna Gopaul tried the case along with Assistant District Attorney Morgan Kendrick.

ADA Gopaul said, “I am beyond proud of the victim in this case. She showed incredible strength and bravery. Thank you to Sgt. McKinney and the other law enforcement officers on the case for their hard work. This was a true team effort.” District Attorney Coker added, “today’s verdict of guilty on all counts and sentencing of Campos Gonzales to three consecutive life terms plus twenty years sends a strong message that the citizens of Spalding County will not tolerate those who prey on children. I am extremely proud of my staff and Assistant District Attorneys Donna Gopaul and Morgan Kendrick, as well as Sergeant Kelly McKinney with the Griffin Police Department and the staff with the Southern Crescent Sexual Assault and Child Advocacy Center. Their tireless efforts ensured that a child predator can never commit such heinous acts again. Most importantly, I am proud of the victim in this case who had the courage and strength to take the stand and face the monster who destroyed her innocence.”

ZEBULON CAMPUS

The Georgia Military College in  Zebulon GMC’s 15th campus and classes will start in accepting students in March.  GMC College is a open enrollment accepting students with only a high school diploma or GED. No SAT score is required.

GMC offers three types of degrees, an associate of arts, an associate of science and an associate of applied science with majors including biology, business administration, computer information systems, computer science, criminal justice, cyber security, middle grades education, English, general studies, history, homeland security and emergency management, human communication, information technology, logistics management, mass communication, mathematics, paralegal studies, political science, pre-nursing, psychology, studio art, social work and sociology. 

 

GMC has articulation agreements with 45 colleges and universities that guarantees a local student’s successful transfer to the four-year institution with most of those schools also offering guaranteed admission agreements.

VOTER REGISTRAR

The upcoming special election for Clerk of Superior Court will be March 20, 2018. Those running include:

Kimberly Slaughter
165 Slaughter Rd
Sunny Side, GA 30284
678-972-0542

Rhonda C. Barnes
624 Forrest Avenue
Griffin, GA 30224
770-316-0908

Joanne F.  Kuprian
1605 Summerwoods Circle
Griffin, GA 30224
678-263-0325

Debbie L. Brooks
1218 Rehoboth Church Road
Griffin,  GA 30224
770-468-9763

As we have for the past 8 decades we will broadcast complete election returns on March 20 beginning at 7:30 pm. The Broadcast will be on “The Rock” 88.9 FM and WKEU 1450 AM /and 102.3 FM.”

In Barnesville a home located at 23 Brown Street was totally destroyed by fire that broke out at 4:am Wednesday morning.

Officials indicated they believed the home was unoccupied.  There were no injuries to firefighters and the cause of the fire remains under investigation.

WKEU would like to thank Walter Geiger and the Barnesville Herald Gazette for their assistance in this news story.  You can subscribe to the Herald Gazette on lie at Barnesville.com

In a programming note, the University of Georgia-Griffin Campus News, which airs on WKEU AM 1450, 102.3 FM and 88.9 FM The Rock, will be moving from Tuesdays mornings to Thursdays starting February 8.

The program, which updates listeners on the many research projects, higher and continuing educational opportunities, as well as other community outreach endeavors undertaken by UGA-Griffin, will continue in its normal time slot of 9-10 AM. The move from Tuesdays to Thursdays will better enable Assistant Provost and Campus Director Dr. Lew Hunnicutt to participate in the weekly program.

The final Tuesday broadcast of the UGA-Griffin Campus News will be heard on January 30 with the program shifting to Thursdays on February 8.

submitted by Larry Johnson

At the January 23rd City Commissioners meeting:

The commissioners: Recognized:   Jack Poland, with the Information Technology Department, as 2017’s “Strongest Link” Award recipient.

The annual “Strongest Link” Award is given to a deserving employee who embodies the City’s standards for excellence and strengthens our link on the chain philosophy, has a positive attitude toward work responsibilities, co-workers, customers, serves as a role model for others, is productive, exhibits commitment to quality in carrying out job responsibilities, and is an asset to the staff of her/his department.

The recognized employee receives two days off with pay, a $100 American Express gift card, and a “Strongest Link” plaque.

Jack Poland, Chief Information Technology Officer, has for the past ten years lead,

coordinated, guided, and evolved the City’s strategic technology initiatives. The

culmination, of which, is the City’s latest project and program to offer fiber and

broadband services to the City’s industrial and commercial customers. Setting the

foundation and framework for reliable and high efficiency networking solutions, Jack

Poland and his team planned a road-map for fiber installation throughout the City. With

Jack Poland’s vision, experience, talent, and professional team, the City gained

additional networking redundancies and back up processes with added fiber networking

solutions.  With his leadership, the City finds itself with reliable technology solutions. With his persuasive negotiation skills, Jack saves the City thousands of dollars and as a result is able to make the best use of available funds. Assembling teams appropriate for the task is another of his many

specialties. He and his team have accomplished many programs and exceeded expectations.

The Commissioners Approved:   to award bid and purchase 2 (two) 48 x 102 East Genesis Transfer trailers, 120-yard, to be used at the City of Griffin Transfer Station from East Manufacturing, the lowest and most responsive bid and declare as surplus unit #s 911 & 969 both of which are 1997 model trailers. The per each cost is $50,020.00 for a total of $100,040.00. This is a budgeted F/Y 18 purchase in capital funds.These units cannot be made road worthy and pass the required annual inspection required by DOT. In lieu of offering for sale to the public, the units will be scrapped to ensure there are no attempts to make them road worthy by any potential purchaser.

Approved:  a resolution authorizing Doug Hollberg, the 2018 Mayor/Chairperson, and Kenny Smith, City Manager, as the two approved signatories in relation to the MEAG City of Griffin Municipal Competitive Trust. These signatures are updated annually based on Chairperson.

Approved:   of Bid and Work Contract to Crawford Grading & Pipeline, Inc., in the amount of $305,231.65 for median landscape project for the Public Works Department.

These projects are funded from 2016 SPLOST and $50,000.00 Gateway Grant from GADOT.

The Projects locations are:

GA State Route and North Expressway

GA Stare route 16 and Old Macon Highway

GA State Route 92 and Ellis Road (GDOT Gateway Grant)

Experiment Street and Broad Street

The commissioners Approved:  the purchase of irrigation system parts and components from Jerry Pate Turf & Irrigation in the amount of $137,724.58 from the Golf Course Escrow account, for the City of Griffin Municipal Golf Course. The Escro account balance is $164,000.00.

The existing irrigation heads and controller system are over 30 years old and have out lived their useful life. The city will purchase the equipment and parts and the Golf Course staff will install over the next 2 1/2 years to keep the cost down. After reviewing all bids and equipment offered the system offered by Jerry Pate Turf & Irrigation is the only equipment that allows repairs in the field at the irrigation head eliminating hours of labor digging up heads to make repairs. Jerry Pate Turf & Irrigation will also provide the technical assistance while installation takes place if necessary.

Appointed: Bonnie Moray to the Griffin Environmental Council to complete the unexpired term of Kimberly Mathews, set to expire 12/31/18. This Council meets the first Thursday of each month at 5:30 p.m. at City Hall, 3rd Floor Conference Room.

The commissioners tabled the appointment to the Main Street Program until the next meeting.

Appointed:   Commissioner Holly Murray to the Downtown Development Authority to coincide with her term of office.

 

To promote business, tourism, trade, and conventions for the City of Griffin and Spalding County, Georgia. To study, investigate, and develop plans for improving business and tourism in the City and County and to implement such plans in order to attract businesses, visitors, and conventions to the City and County GSBTA Board of Directors Meeting  Thursday, January 25, 20184:00p.m. Griffin Regional Welcome

Dr. Thomas J. Hunt, age 87 of Griffin passed away Monday, January 21, 2018. Dr. Hunt is preceded in death by his father and mother, Dr. and Mrs. Kenneth S. Hunt; his parents-in-law, Mr. and Mrs. Samuel R. Powers; his brother, Kenneth S. Hunt, Jr. and his brother-in-law, Robert William Powers.

He is survived by his wife of 65 years, Suan Powers Hunt; children, Kim Hunt Bowen and husband Phillip Bowen, Jeff Hunt, Kenny Hunt and wife Cheryl Jones Hunt, Lucia Hunt Hyatt and husband Michael Hyatt; sister-in-law, Nell R. Powers. Over the years they have been blessed with many grandchildren and many, many great-grandchildren; many nieces and nephews.

Dr. Hunt graduated from Griffin High School in 1948. He entered Vanderbilt University graduating with a B.A. Degree in Biology. It was there he met Suan Powers and they married in July, 1952. He then attended Emory University Medical School, after which he completed five more years of residency training in general surgery. He became board certified in 1962. Dr. Hunt served as captain in the United States Army Medical Corps for two years before moving to Griffin in 1963. In July 1963 he opened his medical practice in general surgery in Griffin and retired after 42 years. During his career Dr. Hunt was a member of many medical organizations, but most active in World Medical Mission of Samaritans Purse, The Christian Medical and Dental Association, and the Christian Medical Foundation International. He also served in the Flying Hospital with Operation Blessing. He used his God given gifts and his medical training to serve his local communities and in many other countries. In fact, he served abroad on more than 20 short term missions, mostly in third world countries, relieving mission doctors from their full time work. Locally, he also enjoyed his position as the Griffin High School football team doctor for over 15 years. Even after his retirement Dr. Hunt continued serving on many mission trips and volunteered at the Hope Health Clinic in Griffin.

Dr. Hunt was a man of quiet faith and passionate intensity. He was of the protestant faith, anchored in the finished work of Christ on the cross. He served people with compassion-not out of duty or for profit, but out of love and concern for those in need. His medical practice expressed his personal faith. Although receiving many honors, the most important event in his life was when he came to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. His personal relationship with God made the purpose of his life even clearer. As he lived out what God worked within him, he was a blessing to others. Although his profession was time consuming, his family came first in his everyday life.

A visitation for Dr. Thomas J. Hunt will be Saturday, January 27, 2018 from 10:00 am until 11:00 am in the Fellowship Hall of First Presbyterian Church, 1349 Macon Road, Griffin, Georgia. Following the visitation a celebration of his life will be held in the sanctuary. Reverend Paul Curtas and Reverend Bill Lawrence will officiate. Those who wish to make a memorial contribution, may donate to World Medical Mission, Residency Program, PO Box 3000, Boone, NC 28607; thecove.org; 1-800-950-2092.

LAMAR COUNTY SUPERIOR COURT

Tyler Walker Pitts, who fired at deputies in Lamar County  in 2016, following a high speed chase,  and was wounded in an ensuing gun battle, entered guilty pleas in Lamar superior court Monday and was given a long prison sentence by Superior Court Judge Tommy Wilson.

Following the chase with Lamar Deputies, The gun battle followed  that ended in Lamar County Sept. 8, 2016.

Pitts was hit several times by deputies rounds,  in the hail of bullets that followed his opening fire on the law enforcement officials.

Pitts was charged with three counts aggravated assault on a peace officer, obstruction, aggravated assault, fleeing and attempting to elude, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon and possession of a firearm during commission of a felony.

Judge Wilson sentenced Pitts to 25 years in prison with an additional 10 years on probation.

After Pitts’ plea and several others, jury selection began for the trial of Jamorris Cole who is charged with aggravated assault, battery and false imprisonment in one case,  and sexual battery and simple battery in another. The first attempt to try him ended in a mistrial after he attempted to strike his public defender.

WKEU would like to thank Walter Geiger and the Barnesville Herald Gazette for their assistance in this new story.  You can subscribe to the Herald Gazette on line at Barnesville.com.

 

 

The Spalding County Sheriff’s Office has gone to a new standard uniform that has a different look from what you are accustomed to seeing.

After taking office, Sheriff Darrell Dix conducted a survey of deputies that covered ways of changing the image of the Sheriff’s Office, the work environment, and improving community relations. After compiling the answers, one of the leading responses was regarding uniform appearance. The almost unanimous opinion was that the current uniform was easily damaged beyond repair causing extra expense to replace, was uncomfortable, and was not durable. Based on the responses, Sheriff Dix formed a committee consisting of uniform patrol deputies and other deputies that wore a uniform daily, and they were tasked with the job of choosing a new look for the agency. The committee came up with options and narrowed them down to four (4) choices. According to Sheriff Darrell Dix, “Once the choices were narrowed down we took photos of a deputy wearing each option and placed them on a ballot. The ballot was distributed and the deputies made their choice. The uniform they chose is more comfortable and more durable than what they were wearing, cost less, and could take the wear and tear that they are subjected to with minimal cost to replace. In purchasing the new uniforms, we sought out quotes from various vendors and in the end, we came up with a vendor that could furnish us with a quality uniform that cost about half of what the uniform we were wearing cost. The savings allowed us to buy new coats for the deputies and still have funds to get uniforms for new hires. We also designed and issued a new badge that pays homage to the past, while representing a move into the future.”

Sheriff Dix continued, “I believe that since the line deputies wear the uniform every day they needed a say in what it was. They now have ownership in it and will wear it proudly. That positive outlook and pride will be one of the small pieces that when combined with other changes we have made, and will continue to make, will translate in to a better relationship with the community and a better work environment for Spalding County Sheriff’s Office employees.”

Photo Courtesy of Walter Geiger and Barnesville Herald Gazette.

A weather related accident in Lamar County on Wednesday took the life of an  18 year old female, a resident of Yatesville Road in Lamar County.  The individual was identified as Kala Hyder formerly of Williamson. She had moved to Lamar County recently.

 
She was a passenger in a pickup truck traveling south bound on Yatesville Road when the driver hit an icy portion of the roadway, and ran off the east side of the road and went nose first into a culvert.
 
The truck flipped and the female victim was partially ejected and trapped under the truck. She was pronounced dead at the scene.  A male who was driving the truck was shaken up but not seriously injured. 
 
Lamar County coroner Jim Smith had Ms. Hyder’s body transported to the state crime lab in Atlanta for a determination as to the exact cause of death. 
WKEU WOULD LIKE TO THANK WALTER GEIGER AND THE BARNESVILLE HERALD GAZETTE FOR THEIR ASSISTANCE IN THIS NEWS TORY.  YOU CAN SUBSCRIBE TO THE HERALD GAZETTE ON LINE AT barnesville.com 

On January 4, 2018 Spalding County Deputies responded to the area of 1650 North Hills Street regarding an armed robbery. Deputies discovered that the victim had arranged to purchase a firearm from a private individual and that the purchase had been arranged on-line. While meeting the seller pointed the weapon at the victim demanded money, and once the money was turned over, the suspects fled.

Based on information gathered during the investigation, a suspect,

 

DELANO WATTS

 

Delano Lee Watts, was developed and warrants were issued for his arrest on multiple charges including armed robbery, aggravated assault, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, and possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime. After investigators linked him to the gangster disciples, warrants were also issued charging Watts with 5 counts of violation of the Georgia street gang act and were actively seeking him.

According to Sheriff Darrell Dix, “Our investigators began following leads and were able to locate Watt’s girlfriends’ house using photos and information gathered from social media. After locating the residence Investigators were able to set up surveillance. On January 6, 2018 investigators with the Spalding County Sheriff’s Office Special Operations Unit and C.A.G.E Unit located Watts at the residence and took him in to custody without incident.

Once Watts was secured, Investigators obtained a search warrant and located the weapon used in the armed robbery. When the weapon was checked it was found that it had been stolen from a location in Corpus Christie Texas. Ironically, Watts had checked in on Facebook from Corpus Christie in the same time frame that the theft occurred.”

Dix continued, “I think our Special Op’s, C.A.G.E. Unit, and Criminal Investigators did an outstanding job in making this arrest. They thought outside the box and came up with a creative way to locate and arrest this suspect. They did the background investigation that lead to charging Watts under the criminal gang act, and recovered a stolen weapon. Everyone from the first responding Deputies all the way through to the Investigators did an exemplary job in solving this crime and getting another gang member off the street.”

The investigation is ongoing and investigators are still interviewing witnesses and developing leads. The Spalding County Sheriff’s Office would also like to remind citizens to use caution when conducting transactions arranged on-line. The front parking lot at the Spalding County Sheriff’s Office has a designated exchange site that is under video surveillance and is accessible 24 hours a day for your use.

The Spalding County Sheriff’s Office and LexisNexis Risk Solutions, recently partnered to provide a new way for the public to stay informed about crime in Spalding County. The Spalding County Sheriff’s Office now has an online crime map called Community Crime Map (http://communitycrimemap.com/) that maps and analyzes crime data, alerts Spalding County citizens about crimes in their area, and allows the Spalding County Sheriff’s Office to quickly alert the public about crimes as they occur.
Spalding citizens can view a map and grid with all of the crimes in their area, sign up for neighborhood watch reports that automatically email a breakdown of recent crime activity, and submit an anonymous tip about a crime directly to their law enforcement agency. Community Crime Map automatically syncs with the Spalding County Sheriff’s Office records system to keep crime information updated online and in the mobile app. Community Crime Map cleans and geocodes the crime data, then displays all of the incidents on a map, grid and analytics dashboard along with some basic information about the incidents, including the type of crime, location type, block-level address, date and time.
For additional information go to: http://communitycrimemap.com/

Today, January 4th, 2018, I wish to announce my candidacy for the Georgia House of Representatives District Seat 130. Edie and I have discussed this opportunity and agree that placing my name in this election is the right thing to do for our community.

I am a native of Griffin, Georgia where I graduated in 1976 from Griffin High School. I am a 1980 graduate from North Georgia College with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Criminal Justice. After graduation, I was commissioned as an officer in the United States Army Engineer Corps. In 1991 I left active duty to join the United States Army Reserves to return to Griffin to assist with my father’s business and raise my family. I worked in Real Estate and law enforcement until recalled to active duty for Operation Desert Storm. I returned to Griffin as General Manager for Dan J Smith Distributors, Inc from 1996 to 2008. I then worked with PetroSouth Inc. as the Central Division Manager from 2008 to 2015. I am currently retired from the United States Army and the petroleum industry.

I worked toward my Masters Degree in Business Administration with Embry Riddle Aeronautical College while serving on active duty. I was elected and served as a member and Chairperson (2003-2008) of the Griffin-Spalding Board of Education from 2000-2008. I was a member and Chairperson of the Griffin-Spalding Educational Foundation and the Griffin-Spalding Partners in Education. I have been a member of the Griffin-Spalding Chamber of Commerce since 1999. As Past President of the Griffin Daybreak Rotary Club (2008-2009), I was awarded the Sheffield Leadership Award. I was also awarded the “FOLLOW ME” leadership award by Rotary International District 6900 as the Assistant Governor of the Year in 2012. In 2016-2017 I was nominated and selected as the Rotary International District Governor for District 6900, comprised of over 4200 Rotarian’s in 69 clubs. In 2011, I was elected to the Spalding County Board of Commissioners, Second District Seat where I am serving in the last year of my second term as a Spalding County Commissioner.

I am happily married to the former Edith Dallas of Griffin, Georgia. Edith and I have five children between us and eight grandchildren.  Edith and I are members of the First Baptist Church of Griffin. My life priorities include God, family, country, education, children’s health with a passion for Rotary!

All my life has been about service. My years of service in the military as well as those serving in community and civic leadership positions total over 48 years. My local experience as a Griffin-Spalding Board of Education member/Chair and a Spalding County Commissioner has provided me the experience and knowledge to continue my service for the citizens of  District Seat 130. Over the next few months, we will be out and about discussing the issues and working to improve our communities. I will be requesting your assistance and vote.

I look forward to seeing and speaking to each of you soon. I thank you.

Sincerely,
Raymond T Ray, Jr.
Candidate, District Seat 130
Georgia House of Representatives

 

On January 5, 2018, members of the Spalding County Sheriff’s Office Special Operations Division, at the request of the Griffin Spalding County School System, initiated a K-9 deployment at the parking lot of Spalding High School.
During the deployment, agents located a quantity of marijuana, alcohol, a TASER and several knives.
After a K-9 alert, agents searched a Spalding High School teachers’ vehicle that was parked in the student parking lot. During the search, agents located less than an ounce of marijuana. The teacher was identified as Jordan Hale of a Griffin address. Hale was arrested and charged with possession of marijuana, less than one ounce and possession of marijuana, less than an ounce, within 1000’ feet of a school.
A juvenile was also arrested and charged with possession of a weapon (knife) on school grounds.
According to Sheriff Darrell Dix “No matter what your stance is on marijuana, school is not the place for it .We will continue to vigorously work and partner with the Griffin Spalding School System to cease weapons and narcotic activity in our schools.”