The Zebulon Police Department and The Pike County Sheriff’s Department joined forces Saturday to capture a wanted fugitive during a vehicle pursuit. 911 operators received numerous calls of a reckless driver on Highway 19 traveling southbound. Zebulon Police were able to locate the vehicle at the city limits and attempted to initiate a traffic stop at which time the driver refused to stop.
Pike County Sheriff’s Deputies joined in the pursuit during, which time the vehicle became increasingly dangerous to other vehicles on the road as it traveled on the wrong side of the roadway with complete disregard for the safety of others. A determination was made by the pursuing units to forcibly stop the suspect before anyone could be hurt by the suspect. After being stopped by a P.I.T. manuver the suspect resisted both police and deputies efforts to be placed under arrest. The suspect was taken into custody at the scene and transported to Spalding Regional Hospital for minor injuries.
The vehicle driven by the suspect was determined to have been stolen from Spalding County. In addition the suspect , Ronald Miller Jr. 33 years of age, has warrants for his arrest from Spalding and Clayton counties. Counterfeit money was located in the vehicle and Miller was also believed to be under the influence of drugs at the time of his arrest.
Miller faces numerous charges from both The Zebulon Police Department and The Pike County Sheriff’s Office. Among the charges are Felony fleeing and eluding, Forgery, Driving under the influence of drugs, reckless driving and various traffic offenses. Miller is currently housed at the Pike County Jail awaiting a bond hearing.
Between 5:00 and 6:00 Thursday evening units from the Griffin Police Department, Griffin Fire and Rescue, and Spalding Regional EMS responded to the Griffin-Spalding County airport to a plane crash. A twin engine aircraft was making an approach for landing, and touched down then skidded off the runway. Commissioner Dick Morrow advised WKEU News that apparently the pilot forgot to lower the landing gear and the aircraft skidded safely off the runway. There were no injuries from the incident, and the airport was closed until the aircraft could be removed. The airport reopened the runway about an hour later.
Spalding County 4-H Cotton Boll and Consumer Judging team members:
Front L-R: Sayla Boldon and Cheyenne Bailey
Back L-R: Zaria Owens, Lexie Bailey, Benjamin Rutledge, Isabel Rutledge, Abigail Noulis, Carrianna Simmons, and Hannah Rutledge
Spalding County 4-H Cotton Boll and Consumer Judging Junior and Senior Teams competed at their area contest in Conyers in November. This competition is sponsored by the Georgia Cotton Commission, and as such, the 4-H’ers write their own commercial about cotton and give their live presentation before two judges. In the consumer judging part of the competition, 4-H’ers learn about four consumer items: an article of clothing, a food/beverage, a consumer service, and a consumer good. They compete by reading a scenario about each category, rank 4 items in that category best to worse, and present oral reasons before a judge stating why they placed the items in that ranking.
The team members are given a score on Placing and Reasons, Presentation (cotton commercial), and Over-all Individual.
The Spalding County 4-H Junior Cotton Boll and Consumer Judging Team members were:
Zaria Owens: 4th place Placing and Reasons and 3rd Over-all;
Sayla Boldon; Lexi Bailey; and Cheyenne Bailey.
The Area First Place Spalding County team members and their placings were:
Abigail Noulis: 2nd place Placing and Reasons and 6th Over-all;
Benjamin Rutledge: 2nd place Presentation and 5th Over-all;
Hannah Rutledge: 3rd place (tie) Placing and Reasons, 6th Presentation, and 3rd Over-all;
Isabel Rutledge: 6th place Placing and Reasons, 1st Presentation, and 4th Over-all; and
Carrianna Simmons: 3rd place (tie) Placing and Reasons, 4th Presentation, and 2nd Over-all.
The team’s 1st place score earned them a berth in the state competition on 12 December at Rock Eagle 4-H Center where they won 3rd place in the state. The top 4 scoring team members earned the opportunity to compete on the state team.
The State 3rd Place Spalding County team members were:
Isabel Rutledge: 2nd place Placing and Reasons and 3rd Over-all;
Benjamin Rutledge: 3rd Place Presentation;
Carrianna Simmons, and Hannah Rutledge.
WKEU News has learned that Corey Jarvis will not accept the position as the next Griffin High School head football coach. A WKEU source stated to WKEU News, and also reported on twitter from Fox 5 Atlanta and 11 Alive twitter account that Corey Jarvis will stay at May High School as their Head Coach. Jarvis stated and we quote ”After careful and thoughtful consideration, I have decided to remove my name as a candidate for the position of head football coach at Griffin High School. I would like to thank the members of the Griffin-Spaulding County School District for considering me. However, my plan is to remain at Mays High School, where we will continue striving for a state championship, while building and molding great young men who will go on to be contributing members of society.” WKEU News would like to thank 11 Alive for their assistance with this story.
As of now their hasn’t been an official press release by the Griffin-Spalding County School System as to what the next step will be to fill the position.
Lamar County Sheriff Brad White hs advised WKEU news that att approximately 6:25 a.m. on February 4th the Lamar County Sheriff’s Office received a single vehicle accident on I-75 southbound at the 200 mile marker. The vehicle hit the guardrail and came to rest in the northbound lanes of I-75. Officers responding to the scene arrived at approximately 6:34 a.m. The driver and occupant of the vehicle were checked by emergency personnel at the scene. Neither occupant received any injuries.
Upon further investigation, officers found containers with possible hazardous materials inside which raised suspicions of a possible mobile Meth lab. At this time, Sheriff Brad White expressed extreme concern for the motoring public. The Lamar County Sheriff’s Office quarantined the area and contacted the GBI HAZMAT and EOD officers for assistance securing the suspected hazardous materials. The GBI HAZMAT and EOD officers arrived and secured, removed and transported the suspected hazardous materials away from the scene.
Sheriff Brad White expresses his regret for any inconvenience experienced by the motoring public for delays which occurred during the closing of I-75 northbound.
The Spalding County Office of Elections and Voter Registration would like to remind Spalding County Registered Voters that early voting for the Presidential Preference Primary is:
Monday, February 8, 2016 through Friday, February 26, 2016. 8:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m.
Saturday voting will be available on February 20, 2016 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Spalding County residents can vote early at the:
Office of Elections and Voter Registration 825 Memorial Drive Griffin, GA 30224
Registered voters are not required to provide a reason to early vote.
Photo ID is required.
If you have any questions, please call: 770/467-4245
Hawkins, was a Lamar County High School graduate and volunteer firefighter in Monroe County.NHe was removed from life support earlier in the week.
Spalding County Parks & Recreation is currently accepting nominations for the annual “Bain Proctor Award for Volunteerism.” Nominations will be accepted until the end of the business day on March 4, 2016. Any resident of Spalding County who has volunteered his/her service to benefit the community may be nominated for this award. The candidate may not be paid or otherwise compensated for their service. Nominations should include the following:
A cover page with the nominee’s name and address, the name of the person submitting the nomination, contact information, and the name of the nominating association or organization if any.
A maximum of a one-page (12 point font, 1-inch margins) statement documenting the nominees volunteer service to Spalding County and it’s citizens.
Nomination packets must be submitted to the Parks and Recreation administrative office, 843 Memorial Drive.
For more information, please call 770-467-4750.
Spalding County has received a share of a $3.75 million dividend declared by the Board of Trustees of the Association County Commissioners of Georgia – Group Self-Insurance Workers’ Compensation Fund (ACCG – GSIWCF). The dividend in the amount of $1,378.00 will be returned in the form of a credit towards Spalding County’s workers’ compensation premium for the 2016 policy year. The ACCG – GSIWCF is owned by the Georgia county government and authority members providing workers’ compensation insurance coverage to Georgia counties since its inception in 1982. The fund is managed by the Board of Trustees who represent the participating Georgia counties. Georgia law, enacted in 1982 at the request of Georgia county governments, allowed counties to pool their resources by forming a non-profit insurance fund to provide for anticipated losses and expenses. The ACCG – GSIWCF collectively self-insures a large portion of the risk, which allows Georgia county governments and authorities to purchase non-profit insurance coverage at cost-efficient rates that are typically better than a county could negotiate on its own. The non-profit self-insurance program is an effective method of financing insurable risks, which ultimately reduces insurance costs for the county and benefits the taxpayers. Members participating in the ACCG Insurance Program also receive extensive loss control and safety services to help mitigate and reduce claims. Fred Favors, McDuffie County Commissioner and Chairman of ACCG – GSIWCF Board of Trustees said, “The dividend rewards those long-term members of ACCG’s workers’ compensation fund and can result in a significant reduction in their insurance premium. This program continues to allow counties and authorities to effectively manage their insurance costs.” The dividends are possible because of favorable results in the investment of premium dollars held in reserve to pay claims. The successful management efforts on the part of Spalding County towards implementing loss control techniques and promoting safety contributes significantly in the reduction of injuries, claims and costs. Any insurance premiums and any investment income earned on the premium, which are not used to pay claims and operating expenses, belongs to the authority and county government members of the ACCG – Group Self-Insurance Workers’ Compensation Fund.
On Friday, January 29, 2016, a Fish Fry fund raiser was held for Spalding County Sheriff’s Deputy Jennifer Fuller. Deputy Fuller received severe burns from a grease fire on December 23, 2015, while off duty. The fund raiser was held at the Masonic Lodge #413, located at 1019 West Solomon Street, Griffin, Georgia. Sheriff Beam stated to WKEU News ” I want to thank everyone who participated in sponsoring and working at the fund raiser. It was a huge success; raising just over $10,000.00, all of which goes to Deputy Fuller. I am very proud of everyone who made donations and came out on Friday night. Thank you for everything.”
SPALDING COUNTY PARKS, PUBLIC GROUNDS AND LEISURE SERVICES ANNOUNCE COMMUNITY CENTERS TO OPEN EARLY DURING WINTER BREAK FEBRUARY 15-19, 2016
Facility hours during School Break are as follows:
City Park Community Center
601 Camp Northern Road
Mon-Tues-Thurs 10:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.
Wed and Fri 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p. m.
1110 Highfalls Road
Mon-Tues-Thurs 10:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.
Wed and Fri 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Fairmont Community Center
241 Blanton Street
Mon-Fri “Kids in Motion” 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Mon–Fri 5:00 p.m.-9:00 p.m. for open play
Fairmont Park Community Center will be hosting “Kids in Motion,” a free program which offers scheduled activities and programming for Spalding County children. Kids ages 5-14 are invited to attend this Winter Break Camp, Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Space is limited. Pre-register online or at any recreation facility at www.spaldingparksandrec.com or call 770- 467-4750
Cronic Nissan is seeking comments on the all new 2016 Titan. Consumers who come test drive the 2016 Titan truck and answer a short questionaire on their experience will get a free oil change. Dealer Wanda Cronic Howell stated to WKEU News that ”Cronic Nissan now has a good selection of the all new 2016 Nissan Titan XD truck and want your feedback on the full size vehicle. Any consumer who stops by the dealership, takes a test drive in the Titan, and answers a short survey on their experience will get a complimentary oil change.
Mrs. Howell also stated to WKEU News ” We are excited about the all new Nissan Titan XD and its many features which most people would not expect to find on a truck. We want to gather consumer opinions about it and to encourage area residents to come in and test drive this vehicle. We are giving them a complementary oil change to thank them for taking their time to assist us by taking this survey. I am convinced everyone will be as excited about the 2016 Nissan Titan as we are once they have seen and driven it.”
The survey should take about ten minutes to complete, and once completed Cronic will give you a coupon good for a complementary oil change. The oil change can be performed at Cronic dealership and the only restrictions are that the coupon can not be used with any other offer, synthetics and diesels are not included. The coupon will expire if not used by December 31,2016. The coupon can be used toward the higher cost of a diesel or synthetic oil change. The Service Departments are open Monday thru Saturday for your convenience.
The all new 2016 Nissan truck features a variety of innovations. Such as a towing capacity of up to 12,000 pounds, a built in gooseneck hitch, an Allison transmission, and is powered by the Cummings V-8 Turbo Diesel which offers 310 horsepower and 555 LB-FT torque.
Cronic Nissan has been serving the transportation needs of area residents for more than 30 years. Cronic is located at 2624 North Expressway. Cronic Nissan telephone number is 678-967-2277, and the website is www.croniccars.com
The 5 day Weather forecast indicates a 30 percent chance of rain for Tuesday whit a high of 70 and overnight low of 55. Wednesday will be a 90 percent chance of rain whit a high of 65 and low of 62. Thursday rain is not mentioned, and partly cloudy skies will prevail a high of 54 is expected with a night time low of 40 degree ranges. On Friday partly cloudy with a high of 51 and overnight low of 32 degrees. A good weekend is shaping up for Saturday with partly cloudy skies no rain mentioned, 56 degrees for a high and almost freezing at 34 for an overnight low. Stay tuned to The Rock 88.9 FM, and WKEU AM 1450 or our website wkeuradio.com, and wsbtv.com for the latest in all weather conditions,and local news happening live.
Griffin has a new police Chief Michael Yates first day is February 1st. Yates was selected by a panel appointed by the City Commissioners and following receipt of several applications and a review the panel made up of business individuals city leaders and the Griffin Chapter of the NAACP a unanimous vote was taken and recommended Yates to the City Manager Kenny Smith and the board of Commissioners approved Yates at their meeting in January.
At the last Commissioners meeting 8 individuals during the citizens comment portion of the meeting questioned the hiring of Yates stating they wanted interim Police Chief Homer Daniel to have been the chief as he had over 30 years with the City and Department, and was aware of all operations of the Police Department. The residents questioned Yates selection as he had faced allegations involving racial tensions when he was chief in Jonesboro, Arkansas.
Chief Yates will replace former Chief Steve Heaton, who recently accepted a position with Georgia State University.
Chief Yates resigned his position in Arkansas in August of Last year. His letter to the Mayor and City as was posted in the Arkansas Times and we quote:
With the announcement that Congressman Lynn Westmoreland will not seek re-election to the 3rd Congressional District seat speculation as to several possible candidates have merged. Senator Mike Crane of Newnan announced he would seek the post. At his announcement were Senator Josh McKoon of Columbus, and State Representative Matt Ramsey, who announced his support of Crane. According to the Fayette Citizen other possible candidates include State Representative Marty Harbin of Tyrone, Westmoreland’s Chief of Staff Matt Brass of Newnan, former state Senator Ronnie Chance of Tyrone, State Representative David Knight of Griffin, State Representative David Stover of Newnan, Department of Labor Commissioner Mark Butler, Georgia Chamber of Commerce President Chris Clark of Peachtree City, Chip Flanagan wgo ran against Westmoreland in 2014 and received 30.5 percent of the votes, Kent Kingsley of Barnesville who ran against Westmoreland in 2012 and received 13.8 percent of the votes.
The deadline for qualifying in March 11, followed by the primary on May 24th, and the General Election on November 8th.
In nearby Brooks Georgia, the Community will have a school again in the 2016-17 school year. The difference is that the former elementary school will open as Liberty Tech, Fayette Countys’ first state chartered public school . The Fayette Board of Education on January 19 th approved a three year lese of the former Brooks Elementary School. The Liberty Tech board said they are thrilled and humbled at the level of confidence of the Fayette County Board of Education . This is not some after thought, but the result of months of negotiations. If you are interested in having your child attend the new liberty Tech Charter School in Brooks you can visit www.libertytech-chater.org for registration details about the school. Registration will be open until February 15th with a lottery to be held on February 20 th. The inaugural year will include 283 children in grades 3 thru 8,The School will add one grade each year until it reaches grades K-12 with a capacity of 632 students. The school will serve the south metro area, and will include a 210 day school year, the educational model is a merger between Classical Education and Science, Technology , Engineering, and Math.
As Chairman of the Defense & Veterans Affairs Committee I had the high honor of presiding over the annual welcoming of our Georgia National Guard. The United States has never depended on a large standing army. We have depended on National Guard Units throughout the country who train once a month and for a week or so during the summer. We also depend on a draft when a war starts.
I served in a famous unit in WWII; the 35th Infantry Division which consisted of a regiment from each of these states’ Kansas, Missouri and Nebraska. I joined them as their Liaison Pilot before they were sent to Europe in WWII.
The Commanding Generals presented a program which included me presiding over the swearing in of a new army recruit joining the unit. During the week my Motor Vehicles Committee and the House Appropriations Committee met and we had a meeting of the House Republican Caucus. After meeting to make final adjustments to the present year’s budget we passed it out of the House and to the State Senate for their approval. When we come back next week we will start hearings on the new budget which will cover the period from July 1, 2016 – June 30, 2017.
We have also had a joint session of the House and Senate where the Judiciary covered their budget requests.
If you would like to talk to me about the budget or any item of government; I can be reached in my office at Room 217 State Capitol each day at (404) 656-5126 and I can also be reached before 8:00PM at my home at (770) 227-1474. I can also be reached by email John.Yates@house.ga.gov
The Griffin Police Department would like to ease the public’s concern over the recent social media post on the Spalding County Discussion Page. The subject holds no threat to the citizens of Griffin-Spalding County at this time. He has been identified and resides in another jurisdiction. If you have any questions or concerns please contact the Griffin Police Department at 770-229-6450.
The Griffin City Commissioners Met Tuesday night January 26th at the city offices downtown.
During the meeting the Commissioners received Certifies of Appreciation to each City Commissioner for their help with the Honor of our KIA from Mr. Quimby Melton Jr. chairman for 2016 of the KIA Committee for their help with this past year when a total of twenty fallen local heroes were honored with oral histories, news stories, and plaques placed on downtown buildings.
The Commissioners recognize Rita Bagwell, with the Customer Service Department, as 2015’s “Strongest Link” Award recipient.
The commissioners then opened the meeting for Citizen Comments. The meeting room was almost filled. The majority of those present were there questioning the hiring of the new police chief. Eight individuals addressed the commissioners expressing their concerns.
Robert L. Taylor Jr
Jeffery Benoit Activist with National Action Network (from Rex Ga)
Prior to the statements City Manager Kenny Smith explained the process by which the police chief was chosen and the selection committee that was made up from local individuals to include Mrs Jewel Walker Harps president of the Griffin Chapter of the NAACP and other community leaders that all voted their approval of the selection of the new Chief following the guidelines of fair hiring practices established throughout the state by many other agencies that have used the same criteria to select a Chief for their agencies. The vote by the committee was unanimous.
The Commissioners approved on second reading an update to the City of Griffin’s Sewer Use Ordinance to comply the City of Griffin’s National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System Permits.
From time to time the Sewer Use Ordinance is reviewed and amended for compliance with NPDES Permit Conditions.
Also approved was the purchase of a new 100 foot Mid-Mount Platform aerial fire truck from Williams Fire Apparatus for the fire department for the quoted amount of $1,098,963.00 from 2016 SPLOST funds, authorize prepayment to allow for cost savings, and amend the budget accordingly. This purchase is one of the two projects for the fire department that are to be paid for by General Obligation Sales Tax bonds. By making this purchase now and using the prepay option, the savings are approximately $21,273.13 for prepayment and $22,404.00 before a price increase, totaling approximately $43,000.00 in savings.
The Commissioners approved the purchase of a Caterpillar Olympian 50kW Natural Gas Generator set and installation from Yancey Power Systems under the NJPA contract in the amount of $26,424.00. The current generator is over 50 years old and is not able to be repaired. A generator is required to sustain operations in the event of a power outage. It is also a requirement for the city’s ISO rating.
Also the Commissioners approved the purchase of the Openway meter reading infrastructure to replace the Smart Synch AMI system in the amount of $1,461,266.47, using funds from the Municipal Competitive Trust Short Term Flexible Operating account.
Due to the turn down of 2g communication by AT&T, the Smart Synch system will soon be obsolete. Through negotiations the proposed price was discounted $1.6 million to compensate for impact on City Of Griffin. Normal cost for this system would have excess of $3 million dollars.
Approved an amendment to the FY 15-16 Electric Department budget appropriating $13,020.00 towards Tools and Small Equipment ($4,980.00 – Line Construction, $3,390.00 – System Operations, and $4,650.00 – Marketing, to be transferred from Scrap Metal Sales cash account to purchase office equipment and furniture for administration and wellness equipment for the operations center.
Approved a Resolution to amend the City of Griffin Fiscal Year 2016 Operating and Capital budget in the amount of $60,564.41 in the General Fund for Cemetery Operations ($8,240.00 to replace the air condition and furnace at the cemetery office complex; and $20,000.00 to replace broken sidewalks and install an irrigation system at Memorial Park and recognize a $5,000.00 donation from the Military Affairs Committee.
Approved to deny “Ante Litem” Notice, received December 18, 2015, from attorney LaQuetta S. Pearson, on behalf of Ms. Vaura Henley, 828 Ray Street, Griffin, Georgia, for alleged physical and mental anguish incurred on July 11, 2015 at approximately 2:30 p.m. when officers of the Griffin Police Department mistakenly served an “no knock” search warrant at her residence. Denial of the Claim is recommended as the female claimant was not physically harmed and no property damage resulted. The mistake was caught quickly before officer undertook to search the house. Georgia law provides no action for Mental Anguish in the absence of physical injury. This claim has been turned over to GIRMA for investigation and adjustment, if warranted, subject to the City’s “per claim” deductible of $25,000 per occurrence. Maximum liability coverage per occurrence is $1,000.000.00.
Approved: to deny “ante litem” notice received on December 22, 2015, from Attorney Jeffrey R. Neighbors on behalf of his client Rasheta Goggins. A vehicle driven by Ms. Goggins was involved in a motor vehicle accident on June 24, 2015 with a city-owned vehicle operated by employee Andrew DeMarco at the intersection of E. Broad Street and N. 4th Street. Investigator cited Mr. DeMarco as being “at-fault”. Claim is being investigated and adjusted by GIRMA. Ms. Goggins suffered alleged injuries to her neck and back. The Notice contains an Offer of Compromise in the amount of $35,000. Staff recommends denial of the claim in order to cease the tolling of the statute of limitations and to allow claimant to file suit. Subject to the City’s “per claim” deductible of $25,000, GIRMA will provide legal defense to City and payment of any resulting legal liability (judgment).
At the end of meeting the Commissioner Comment portion each commissioner stated their support of City Manager Kenny Smith and the process thru which the new Police Chief was chosen.
Chairman Dick Morrow thanked everyone that spoke and said, “In my opinion social media is one of the worst things going. This man is an excellent choice and the man has been slandered before he got here. This smear by social media is unjustified”.
Gordon State College President Max Burns was recently elected to two national boards, the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) and the U.S. Fulbright Association.
SACSCOC is the recognized regional accrediting body in 11 Southern states for institutions of higher education that award associate, baccalaureate, master’s or doctoral degrees. The SACSCOC Board of Trustees is the representative body of the College Delegate Assembly and is charged with carrying out the accreditation process.
Established in 1977, the Fulbright Association is a private, nonprofit organization whose members are Fulbright Program alumni. The Fulbright Association supports and promotes international education and cultural exchange leading to mutual understanding among the people of the world.
In 1993 Burns was a Senior Fulbright Scholar teaching and conducting research in Sweden. He has also been a visiting professor in Australia, New Zealand and China.
“I am honored to serve on the boards of these two significant organizations,” Burns said. “Being a part of the governance body of SACSCOC and the Fulbright Association affords me the opportunity to support and promote the development of Gordon State College and the University System of Georgia.”
Burns was named the 29th president of Gordon State College in 2011.
Dani Gibson, Colter Chasteen, Tyler Gibson, and Carly Nash. Coaches for the team were Joanna Gibson and Melissa Chasteen. This team came home in 4th place in the nation.
More than 1000 youth from more than 32 states including Alberta, Canada attended the Western National Roundup January 7-10, 2016 in Denver, CO. The Conference, now in its 96rd year, is held annually in early January, coinciding with the National Western Stock Show. This year’s theme of “Mission Impossible” is aimed at leaving participants with the confidence that they have the opportunity to create unique experiences and thrive in their self-defined future through 4-H and FFA.
Both 4-H and FFA members between the ages of 14 and 19 have the opportunity to qualify for Roundup by winning their home state’s contest. The competitions held at Western National Roundup include horse and livestock judging, livestock quiz bowl, hippology, horse demonstrations and public speaking, parliamentary procedure, family consumer sciences presentations, skill-a-thon, and bowl, consumer decision making, public speaking prepared and impromptu, and meats identification. Workshops are offered throughout the week which provides a learning experience for the youth exposing them to topics ranging from communication and team building to leadership development. Youth participants develop a mastery of their respective subject matters, but more importantly, gain life-long skills. Such skills as public speaking, professionalism, and good sportsmanship along with the memories and new friendships will outlast the trophies and ribbons that were won.
Spalding County 4-H Horse Quiz Bowl Team represented the state of Georgia as state champions in national competition. The team consisted of Dani Gibson, Colter Chasteen, Tyler Gibson, and Carly Nash. Coaches for the team were Joanna Gibson and Melissa Chasteen. This team came home in 4th place in the nation. Individual honors given 9th place
Units from The Pike County Sheriff’s Office, Pike County Fire Department, and Emory Air Flight all responded to a one vehicle accident on Highway 18 Monday afternoon. A 7-year-old child was life flighted to Egleston, while an 11-year-old child was transported by ambulance to an area hospital.
West Point Mayor Drew Ferguson announced on Monday that he will be a
candidate for the United States Congress representing Georgia’s 3rd Congressional District.
“Washington is broken and as a small businessman I know that what our communities need
from Congress is that they get out of the way and let us create jobs and economic
opportunity for our citizens,” Ferguson said. “We are a conservative place, and I want to
put conservative principles to work for the whole district like we have in West Point where
we have cut taxes and utility rates while creating an economic development boom.”
Biography of Mayor Drew Ferguson
A. Drew Ferguson IV, DMD
1985-‐1988 Attended University of Georgia
1988-1992 MCG, Degree in Dental Medicine
1992-‐Present General Practice in West Point,GA
Member of Western District Dental Society
Member of Georgia Dental Association
Member American Dental Association
Adjunct and Faculty member of Medical College, Georgia School of Dentistry
1999 Secretary/Treasurer Western District Dental Society
2000 President elect Western District Dental Society
2001-2002 President Western District Dental Society
1997-1999 City of West Point Board of Alderman
2003-‐2008 Capital City Bank Community Board of Directors
2004-‐2007 Lanier Memorial Hospital Board of Directors
2004-‐Present Pierre Fauchard Academy (An International Honor Dental Org.)
2005-‐Present International College of Dentist
2006 Elected into Honorable Fellowship by the Georgia Dental Association
2008-‐Present Elected into Fellowship of American College of Dentist
2008-‐Present Member of West Point 2100 Foundation Board
2008-‐Present Mayor of West Point,GA
2009-‐Present Member of Troup Strategic Plan Incorporated Board
2012 Appointed by Governor Deal to Criminal Justice Coordinating Council
2012--Present Chairman of State Statistic Analysis Committee
2012-‐Present Board Member Downtown West Point Development Authority
2013--Present Board Member Valley Partnership of Joint Economic Development
2015–Chairman of The Troup County Center for Strategic Planning
Dr. Ferguson is married to Elizabeth C. Ferguson and they have four children.
Sheriff Jimmy Thomas of Pike County has advised WKEU news that a routine traffic stop by Pike County Deputies led to the discovery of a mobile methamphetamine lab on Highway 19 this morning. After stopping a Pontiac G3 passenger car Deputies observed a strong chemical smell coming from the car and also noticed the driver to be extremely nervous in his behavior.
During a search of the vehicle components of the lab were located and Deputies backed away from the scene to await clandestine lab clean up personnel. Due to the hazardous nature of methamphetamine labs haz-mat suits were used during the clean up.
Everette Pierson III, 43 years of age, was arrested and charged with manufacturing methamphetamine. He was also charged with possession of methamphetamine after he was discovered to also have some hidden on his person.
Pierson is currently in the Pike County Jail awaiting his first appearance hearing.
About 5:30 Sunday evening Sheriff Wendell Beam said that units from the Spalding County Fire Department, Spalding County Sheriff’s Department responded to a explosion at 76 Hall Road. Initial reports were that a house had exploded upon arrival units discovered that it was in a garage that was behind the residence. Initials reports as to the cause of the explosion was from an oxygen tank exploding. No one was injured at the scene.
Right side of photo Firefighter Chris Holloway
Spalding County Fire Chief Kenny West announced today the retirement of Firefighter Chris Holloway, who has been a dedicated long term employee for over 20 years.
Firefighter Chris Holloway began his career with the Spalding County Fire Department in July 24, 1995 as a Firefighter. During his career, Holloway has worked to obtain additional certifications that have assisted the department in the area of rescue. Holloway has been a member of the Georgia Search and Rescue Team – Central Division for many years with specialization certifications in rope rescue, trench rescue and confined space rescue to name a few.
Spalding County Fire Chief Kenny West stated that, “Chris’ knowledge and technical skills have served this department and community well. Chris has been a valuable part of the Spalding County Fire Department. We congratulate Chris and wish him well in this next chapter of his life.”
The department is hosting a Retirement Luncheon for Firefighter Holloway on January 30 from 1pm-3pm at the Spalding County Fire Department – Headquarters Station located at 600 Carver Road.
Effective on Monday, February 1, 2016 Michael F. Yates will assume the duties as Chief of Police for the City of Griffin Police Department.
A native of Henry County. Mike comes to the Griffin Police Department with 28 years of law enforcement experience. Yates holds a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice degree from the University of West Georgia and a Masters of Public Administration degree from Columbus State University. He is a graduate of the FBI National Academy, the Georgia Law Enforcement Command College and the Arkansas Law Enforcement Leadership Program.
Yates worked his way through the ranks of Henry County law enforcement before becoming Chief of the Bibb County Public School System Police. He has served as the Chief of Police for the City of Americus, Georgia and as the Executive Director of the Middle Flint Regional E-911 Authority. He recently served nine years as Chief of Police for the City of Jonesboro, Arkansas before returning to his family in Henry County.
Yates was offered the position from a large field of highly qualified applicants after a rigorous hiring process and background investigation. Chief Yates comes to Griffin with a history of success in the areas of crime reduction, community engagement, and service to the citizens.
A committee representing parents, business and community joined Griffin-Spalding County School System and Griffin High administrators to review all applications for teacher/head football coach for Griffin High. The job posting followed the application process traditionally used by GSCS. The position was posted for 10 days and 25 applications were completed in the online process.
“The committee has worked tirelessly and we appreciate their willingness to serve,” said Superintendent Jim Smith. “They have worked diligently on behalf of Griffin High and we thank them for their service.”
Committee members who reviewed all applications and interviewed eight candidates are:
Dr. Kiawana Kennedy, assistant superintendent for administrative services;
Eddie Payne, district athletic director;
Dr. Darrell Evans, GHS principal;
Dr. Kennedy Holt, GHS athletic director;
Dick Brooks, community leader and former GHS football player;
Dr. Mark Crump, GHS medical advisor
Robby Milner, Spalding County Parks and Rec program supervisor
Sharonda Bostic, GHS Booster Club secretary and parent
April Streit, GHS parent
All information on candidates is confidential information and each committee member signed a confidentiality agreement prior to serving.
Candidates were ranked based on their knowledge, skills, abilities and references and were then interviewed on January 21 by the committee. Two finalists will be recommended to the superintendent for interviews at a future date. The position is expected to be filled at the February 2 Board of Education meeting.
“I appreciate the support and experience this committee provided to Griffin High,” said Principal Dr. Darrell Evans. “Their expertise will ensure that we thoroughly vet all candidates and recommend finalists who will make a difference in the lives of GHS students.”
The Brownsville Herald Gazette and Walter Geiger said: She pleaded guilty to aggravated battery and two counts of first degree cruelty to children. “I’ll let you decide on the sentencing but we need to make sure to get her out of her kids’ lives,” assistant district attorney Mark Daniel told Judge Tommy Wilson.
The charges arose in early March, 2014 when Gunn, also known as Linda Jessica Street, took her three-month-old daughter Victoria to Griffin for medical care. Dr. Tommy Hopkins found the child had a fractured femur and notified law enforcement.
The child was sent to Spalding Regional Hospital where multiple bruises, indicating a pattern of abuse, were found as was a brain bleed. The subsequent investigation indicated the injuries were inflicted at the home where Gunn was living at 366 Liberty Hill Rd. in Milner.
Gunn, who was pregnant with another child at the time of the assaults, had beaten the baby against a headboard, dropped her off the bed several times, thrown a cell phone at her and hit the child on the head with a soda bottle.
Gunn was diagnosed with bi-polar disorder and put on anti-psychotic medications after her arrest.
Her attorney said that Gunn is borderline mentally retarded, has been the victim of two sexual assaults and suffered psychotic episodes after Victoria was born with physical problems involving her digestive system.
He also said “She couldn’t subtract, didn’t know how many months are in a year, or who Abraham Lincoln was. She didn’t understand how to take care of a baby. Her second child was born while she was in jail. Both children were adopted and have no ongoing issues.
Her attorney suggested Judge Wilson consider a sentence of 10 years to serve and 10 years on probation as they had discussed previously.
Judge Wilson resounded “I’m not in that mood today. You can withdraw your plea if you want,”
The attorney briefly conferred with Gunn but she indicated she wanted to proceed. He asked that the sentence restrict Gunn from being around children under age 16 and require her not to have any more children.
Looking Gunn in the face, District Attorney Daniel added, “I was not here in 1994. Had I been here your father would be in prison,” he said.
Gunn also wept as she tried to address the judge. Her testimony was largely unintelligible from the public area of the courtroom but at one point she said, “My baby got caught in the couch”.
“I want the truth,” Judge Wilson thundered and Gunn finally admitted she had caused the injuries. Addressing Kimmey, the judge continued, “All I am hearing is excuses. All she knows how to do is produce babies and she has no idea how to take care of them.” “She wanted a baby to have someone to love her,” Kimmey countered.
“We keep condoning stuff in society and let it go on and on. We keep petting people on the hand and I am sick of it. This is not all your fault but some of it is. You had the baby. The good Lord has blessed me with a short memory. I won’t remember your case tomorrow,” Judge Wilson told Gunn.
He then sentenced her to 30 years in prison to be followed by 30 years on probation. She can never possess a gun and must stay away from children under age 16. She is also barred from reaching out to her children but may respond if they seek her out.
Gunn was led away in handcuffs and shackles.
Volunteers from the AARP Tax Aide Program will be at the Spalding County Senior Center to provide free tax preparation services for adults ages 50 and over. This free service is provided by appointment only. To make an appointment please call the Senior Center at 770-467-4384. Appointments will be scheduled between the hours of 12:30 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. on the following dates:
February 2, 9 16, 23 March 3, 8, 22, 29 April 5, 12
Long and short forms will be processed.
All tax related records will be required to complete proper forms.
The Spalding County Senior Center is located at 885 Memorial Drive Griffin, GA 30223
CARBON MONOXIDE – SAFETY TIPS FROM THE SPALDING COUNTY FIRE DEPARTMENT
Carbon Monoxide, also, known as CO, is called the “invisible killer” because it is a colorless, odorless, poisonous gas. More than 150 people in the United States die every year from accidental non-fire related CO poisoning associated with consumer products. These products include generators, faulty, improperly installed or fuel-burning appliances such as furnaces, stoves, water heaters or fireplaces that are used or incorrectly vented.
It is important to understand the symptoms of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning because CO is odorless, colorless and otherwise undetectable to the human senses, people may not know that they are being exposed. The initial symptoms of CO poisoning are similar to the flu, without a fever, including:
Shortness of breath
More severe and high level poisoning results in progressively more severe symptoms, including:
Loss of muscular coordination
Loss of consciousness
A few safety tips include installation and testing of Carbon Monoxide alarms, any generators should be physically placed outside of the home, make sure vents for the dryer, furnace, stove and fireplace are clear of debris and remove vehicles from garages immediately after starting.
For additional information, visit www.usfa.fema.gov/prevention/outreach/carbon_ monoxide.html or call the Spalding County Fire Department at 770-228-2129.
HOME HEATING – FIRE SAFETY TIPS FROM THE SPALDING COUNTY FIRE DEPARTMENT
Did you know…….
From 2010-2012, an average of 45,200 home heating fires occurred in the United States each year, resulting in an annual average of approximately 155 deaths, 625 injuries and $351 million in property loss.
Statistics show that heating is the second leading cause of all home fires, the leading cause was cooking.
Home heating fires peak in the early evening hours between 5:00 p.m. and 9:00 p.m. with the highest peak occurring between 6:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. This four hour period accounted for 30 percent of all home heating fires.
Confined fires, those fires confined to chimneys, flues, or fuel burners, accounted for 84 percent of home heating fires.
Twenty-nine percent of home heating fires occurred because the heat source was placed too close to items that can burn.
Follow these heating tips to help maintain a fire and a safe home this winter:
Keep anything that can burn, such as bedding, clothing and curtains, at least 3 feet away from a heating source, this would include heaters, fireplaces and wood stoves.
Make sure the heater has an automatic shut off in case it tips over.
Turn off heaters when you go to bed or leave the room.
Plug portable heaters directly into outlets and never into an extension cord or power strip.
Put fires in fireplaces and wood stoves out before you go to sleep or leave your home.
Put ashes in metal container with a lid, at least 3 feet from your home.
Have fireplaces, wood stoves and furnaces inspected regularly.
For additional information, visit www.usfa.fema.gov/prevention/outreach or call the Spalding County Fire Department at 770-228-2129.
SPALDING COUNTY OFFICE OF HOMELAND SECURITY JOINS NATIONAL PREPAREDNESS CAMPAIGN
The Spalding County Office of Homeland Security is hosting a Kickoff meeting in partnership with FEMA and their Preparathon campaign. The kickoff will be on Thursday January 21, 2016 at 10:00 a.m. in the meeting room at the Spalding County Annex located at 119 East Solomon Street. While everyone understands the importance of preparing, this kickoff meeting will ensure that everyone knows the resources available to assist in preparing for a disaster.
A recent Federal Emergency Management Agency survey found that nearly 60% of American adults have not practiced what to do in a disaster by participating in a disaster drill, or preparedness exercise at work, school, or home in the past year. Further, less than half of these adults have developed an emergency plan and discussed it with their household. With the number and severity of weather-related disasters on the rise, America’s Preparathon! is an opportunity for individuals, organizations and communities to take action to prepare for specific hazards through group discussions, drills and exercises.
America’s Preparathon! is a grassroots campaign for action to increase both individual and community preparedness and resilience. The goals of the campaign are to increase the number of people who understand which disasters could happen in their community, know what to do to be safe and mitigate damage, take action to increase their preparedness, and participate in community resilience planning.
On February 3, 2016 in conjunction with the statewide tornado drills, individuals, families, workplaces, schools and organizations will come together to practice simple actions to stay safe before, during, and after emergencies, including:
Register for the local emergency notification alerts on the Spalding County website.
Develop an emergency communication plan for your family.
Collect important documents and keep them in a safe place.
Have an emergency kit that can be used for the need of sheltering in place or evacuating with supplies in case water and power are unavailable.
If you would like a site evaluation for your drill or for more information, contact Spalding County EMA at (770)228-2129.
For more information, call Molena City Hall at 770-884-9711.
The period for potential candidates to apply for the head football coaching position at Griffin High School, vacated when Jarrett Laws was notified that he would not be retained on December 18, ended at 5:00 PM on January 15. Reports indicated that close to 25 applicants expressed interest in the position.
According to the Griffin-Spalding County Schools website, the preferred criteria for filling the opening included:
3 years of high school or college coaching experience
5 years of teaching experience
a strong football philosophy
and a demonstrated ability to focus on academic and discipline along with the ability to take on a leading role within the community.
The school system also stated in the application process that it preferred that candidates hold at least a Masters degree and have served some time as a head coach with which would include experience in managing staff.
In a previous email issued by Griffin-Spalding County Schools, it is the intent of the administration to decide on finalists from the pool of applicants as quickly as possible so that interviews can be conducted by Superintendent Jim Smith with the desire being to have named the Bears new head coach in February.
The Griffin Police Department responded to a shooting incident at Griffin High School. The incident took place right after the Griffin vs Spalding basketball game Friday night. Upon arrival by the Griffin Police Department it was determined that no one was injured, but a truck parked in the parking lot had several bullet holes throughout the vehicle. The shooting is currently under investigation by The Griffin Police Department.
Since we have now been in Legislative Session for five days, I finally have some important things to report such as the Governor’s speech to us. The budget hearings will start January 19 so I will then have some very important things to report. I thought Governor Deal’s “State of the State” message to a joint session of the House and Senate was very good. I will give a few of the highlights. His first statement was that “an ocean of opportunity lies ahead for Georgia’s Ship of State”. He stated that if the wind does not blow or blows in the wrong direction “we need strong leadership”.
During my 20 years in the legislature I have worked with three governors and I believe that all have been good, but none have and worked more closely than Governor Nathan Deal.
The Governor has provided well for the future of our state in these important areas:
- He emphasized the importance of leadership in our elected officials.
- He stressed that when he took office the State was in deep distress in many economic areas and now we are in great shape.
- Our reserve that is our Rainy Day Fund had been almost completely depleted in our attempt to keep our Ship of State from sinking. Over $1.4 billion from that fund had been used during that 2 year period, and yet things were still tough. Our unemployment rate was 10.4 percent. Our prison population was the fourth-largest in the country and was projected to grow by 8% over the next five years. Our high school graduation rate was an unacceptable 67.5%.
The Governor stated that fortunately, with the support of the legislature, and the hard work of many we passed conservative budgets, coupled with the economic growth that was spurred by our reforms, our Rainy Day fund that was almost gone five years before has now grown to over $1.43 billion.
By cutting taxes and removing regulatory burdens on businesses, our unemployment rate has been cut almost in half and now stands at 5.6%. The construction industry that was hit so hard by the waves of the Great Recession now has the third lowest unemployment rate in the country at just 4%. By removing sales tax on energy for manufacturing there has been over 22,000 new manufacturing jobs increase.
I can be reached in my office at Room 217 State Capitol each day at (404) 656-5126 and I can also be reached before 8:00PM at my home at (770) 227-1474. I can also be reached by email John.Yates@house.ga.gov
Changes in the Teenage and Adult Driver Responsibility Act (TADRA) Law for teen drivers put parents squarely in the passenger’s seat. It requires that anyone who applies for a permanent driver’s license must have a parent, legal guardian or responsible adult sign a verification form affirming that the candidate has completed 40 hours (with 6 hours at night) of supervised driving experience, if the candidate has successfully completed an approved driver education course.
Most parents don’t feel prepared, or may not know what they need to do, to supervise a new teen driver behind the wheel. But parental involvement is key to reducing teen crashes and fatalities.
Teens want the practice time so they can get their license, but need to know how to communicate with their nervous parents.
There is a FREE course designed to fill this void. The Georgia Traffic Injury Prevention Institute (GTIPI) at The University of Georgia is bringing P.R.I.D.E.—Parents Reducing Injuries and Driver Error—to help Spalding County parents prepare their 14, 15 and 16-year-olds to drive.
“P.R.I.D.E. is an excellent orientation to the driver education process and teen driving laws. It’s designed to help young people become better decision makers, especially as new drivers,” says Frankie Jones, GTIPI’s Director. It will help parents and their new teen drivers learn what they need to do during those 40 hours of driving time,” said Jones. “Our ultimate goal is to reduce risk-taking behavior and youth related car crashes.”
GTIPI and the Griffin Police Department is working with the UGA Griffin Campus to offer the free 2-hour P.R.I.D.E. seminar, a standardized UGA course offered statewide. GTIPI is funded by a grant from the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety.
The Georgia Teens Ride with P.R.I.D.E. classes will:
Help parents and guardians become more aware of their own driving behaviors,
Teach parents and guardians how to help their teens become safe drivers,
Help parents, guardians and teens learn what they need to do during the supervised practice driving time
Alter attitudes and driving behaviors of novice teen drivers.
The course will be offered February 23, 2016 at 6:30pm in Griffin at The UGA Griffin Campus. A teen and at least one parent or guardian must register to attend. Call Lt. Douglas A. Rogers 770-229-6451 Ext 502 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to register.
The City of Griffin and Spalding County are hosting a ‘drop by’ Business Expo on January 28 at the Welcome Center, 143 North Hill Street in Griffin.
This event is for all area businesses and contractors. We invite you to drop by between 9 and 4 to get registered as vendors with our agencies, hear about upcoming projects and pick up promotional items. For more information, contact Cindy Fay at the City of Griffin, 770-229-6401.
On December 01, 2015 at approximately 1:00 o’clock in the morning Lt. Daryl Dix, MPO Chip Johns, and Cpl. Brian Jones were in The Griffin City Park on the Golf course searching for a suspicious vehicle. The officers were on foot after locating what appeared to be fresh tire tracks leading across the golf course toward the wood line that runs parallel to South 9th Street. The officers were using their flashlights checking the wood line when suddenly they heard 4 to 5 gunshots fired at them that appeared to come from South 9th St. Lt. Dix then advised dispatch and had other patrol officers check the area of S 9th St and they were unable to pin point exactly where the shots came from.
Later on the same date several leads began to develop in reference to where the shots came from and possible names of suspects that were involved. From December 1st through December 21st Investigator Stan Phillips conducted a thorough investigation to include the execution of a search warrant which resulted in the recovery of the gun that was used the night of the shooting. There were also drugs recovered at the location of the search. As result of this investigation Demarkis Miller was charged with 3 counts of Aggravated Assault on a Police Officer, Possession of Firearm by a Convicted Felon, Possession of a Firearm During the Commission of a Crime. In addition Devontae Grant, Bernisha Weston, Alexis Newton, Treyvon Payne, Morris Matthews, Recardo Jamal Baldwin were all charged with Obstruction for Hindering the investigation. April Miller was also charged with Possession of Schedule I Controlled Substance, and Possession of Marijuana.
This is still an active investigation in reference to locating additional potential witnesses or additional suspects. Anyone who has information is encouraged to contact Investigator Cpl. Stan Phillips at 770-229-6452 ext. 559
The Spalding County Sheriff’s Office is sponsoring a Fish Fry Benefit for Deputy Jennifer Fuller. Deputy Fuller, a six year employee; received severe burns from a grease fire on December 23, 2015, at her home. Deputy Fuller has had one surgery for a skin graft and possibly will require more surgery. Members of the Spalding County Sheriff’s Office are attempting to raise money to help Deputy Fuller since it appears she will be out of work for an extended period of time.
A fish fry will be held on Friday, January 29, 2016, between 5:00 PM and 8:00 PM, at Masonic Lodge #413, located at 1019 West Solomon Street, Griffin, Georgia (at the corner of 17th Street and West Solomon Street). Fried catfish filets with all the trimmings will be sold for a minimum of a $10.00 donation per plate. The plates will be available for dine in or carry out. Tickets can be purchased at the Sheriff’s Office, Administrative Office; Monday – Friday, 8:00 AM – 5:00 PM, or at the Masonic Lodge on the evening of the event.
Tickets are $20 with a special rate of $15 for groups of 10 or more. All minor children are admitted free when accompanied by a paid adult.
The Peachtree Jazz Edition is an 18 member big band featuring outstanding female vocalist Ms. Toni Byrd. PJE plays an extensive repertoire of Big Band music from the ’30s & ’40s, as well as pop- jazz tunes composed and arranged well into the ’90s with that classic easy listening and swing dance style. Original compositions by Mr. Bill Greenhaw, one of PJE’s trombonists, and a large repertoire of Latin tunes are audience favorites. Peachtree Jazz Edition’s large repertoire includes many original arrangements made famous by the masters like Ella Fitzgerald, Frank Sinatra, Bobby Darin, Duke Ellington, Glen Miller, Natalie Cole, Melissa Manchester and Willie Nelson. Comprised of talented musicians from the Atlanta area along with talented vocalist Toni Byrd, Peachtree Jazz Edition is renowned as one of the premier big bands in the southeast.
The Griffin Area Concert Association has been bringing internationally acclaimed performers in a wide variety of genres to the Griffin area for 58 years. Comprised of an all volunteer board of directors, GACA remains committed to its mission of providing family friendly concerts at affordable prices to the Griffin area.
Tickets for the Peachtree Jazz Edition concert are available on line at www.brownpapertickets.com. Tickets may also be purchased locally at the Griffin-Spalding Chamber of Commerce, First National Bank main office and Zebulon branch, and A Novel Experience Bookstore in Zebulon.
Tickets may also be purchased at the door on the date of the concert beginning at 7:00PM. For more information visit www.griffinconcerts.org or call 770-228-3229.