The community is mourning the loss of two lives this week after a weekend fire on East McIntosh Road.  As reported over WKEU, Spalding County fire personnel responded to the scene Saturday morning, and found 44-year old mother Christie Lewis non-responsive and her adopted 6-year old son, Zachary Sevenstar unconscious.  Lewis was pronounced deceased by coroner Sonny Foster a short time later, while the 6-year old was transported to the Augusta Burn Unit in critical condition.  On Sunday, the coroner revealed that Zachary had passed away as well, due to injury from the fire.  Husband Jimmy Lewis, who was working at the time of the incident, advised that firefighters found his wife on top of the 6-year old in an attempt to cover him from the flames.   Georgia’s Insurance and Safety Fire Commissioner Ralph Hudgens said an investigation by his office revealed that the early morning house fire was caused by the improper discarding of a cigarette into a trash can that started the blaze.  Commissioner Hudgens said the fire was reported around 9:30 a.m.  Saturday and the blaze was extinguished by the Spalding County Fire Department.  Conner-Westbury Funeral Home will be in charge of the arrangements.

       

On 07/28/2017, City of Griffin Police Officer Mathew Boynton was arrested without incident and taken to the Spalding County Jail.  He was charged with one felony count of False Statements and Writings, and one felony count of Violation of Oath of Office.  This arrest was the result of a Griffin Police Department criminal investigation stemming from an incident report filed by his ex-wife Jessica Lester (Boynton), alleging that Mathew Boynton illegally deprived her of some of her personal items.  During the conduct of this exhaustive investigation facts and circumstances ultimately led to the arrest of Mathew Boynton as it was determined that he knowingly provided a false statement relating to the property in question and his possession of same. While his actions were unfortunate and disappointing, tarnishing our badge, the Griffin Police Department remains dedicated to providing the best possible police service to our citizens. Now, and in the future the department will strive to maintain the highest professional and ethical behavior.  In spite of the actions of this individual Chief Yates remains steadfast in his dedication to insuring that the Griffin Police Department will not stand for unethical, illegal or immoral behavior from its’ officers.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On 07/26/2017, Trooper T. Flournoy with the Georgia State Patrol stopped a white Mercedes for speeding in the area of N. 9th St. and West Ave. The trooper smelled the odor of marijuana coming from inside the vehicle, and asked the Griffin Police Department for assistance. Members of the Uniformed Patrol Division and Criminal Apprehension and Gang Enforcement Unit (C.A.G.E.) arrived on scene. The driver of the vehicle had cocaine, pills, and marijuana in his possession. Upon further investigation, a stolen firearm was found inside the vehicle.

Andre Noble DOB 5-8-84 AKA “5 Stakks”arrested by GSPCharged with multiple offenses.

The driver was identified as Andre Noble. Noble (DOB 5-8-84), also known as “5 Stakks”, who is the leader of the notorious Rollin 20’s Neighborhood Blood Gang. The case was turned over to the Griffin Police Department’s C.A.G.E. Unit. Noble faces charges of Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon, Theft by Receiving Stolen Firearm, Possession of Cocaine, Possession of Cocaine with Intent to Distribute, Possession of a Schedule 4 Narcotic, Possession of Marijuana Less than 1 OZ, Pills Not in Original Container, and several counts Criminal Street Gang Activity.

Suspected meth cooker Tony Abernathy is led to a decontamination shower by Deputy Kathryn Farr Friday morning. The trailer where the meth lab was found is owned by Georgia Ann Hunt of Concord, according to tax records. (Photo: Walter Geiger)

 

At approximately 9:00 AM on Friday , Lamar County Deputies attempted to serve a Houston County warrant on Tony Abernathy of Barnesville at 272 Aldora Street.  Mr. Abernathy barricaded himself inside the residence along with his wife Amy Abernathy for approximately 45 minutes before exiting through the front door of the residence.  After clearing the interior of the residence, Deputies determined it was being used for the manufacture of Methamphetamine.  Lamar County Deputies and Lamar County Fire and Rescue completed a decontamination process of the residence and one Deputy was treated and released by Upson Regional Medical Center for breathing issues.  Both suspects have been taken into custody and are pending additional warrants at this time.

WKEU offers our sincere thanks to Walter Geiger and the Barnesville Herald Gazette for their coverage of this breaking story and assistance to WKEU News. You can subscribe to the Herald Gazette on line at barnesville.com.

Lance Kershaw (left) was in court in Lamar County July 20 seeking a reduction in his $75,000 bond. He allegedly concealed a camera in a shower at his home, photographed his granddaughter and hung those nude photos in boys’ bathrooms at the high school. Also pictured are defense attorney Selwin Patterson (center) and assistant district attorney Mark Daniel (right). (Photo: Walter Geiger)

A reduction in bond was denied on July 20 for a Barnesville man accused of placing nude photos of his granddaughter in boys’ bathrooms at Lamar County High School last October.

Lance Kershaw, age 60, of 1041 Hwy. 41 South appeared before Judge Bill Fears seeking a reduction in his bond which was previously set at $75,000.

Kershaw is charged with first degree cruelty to children, two counts invasion of privacy, criminal trespass, disrupting a public school and criminal attempt to commit a felony.

According to testimony at the hearing, Kershaw concealed a camera in a shower at his home to gather nude photos of his granddaughter. After some sort of conflict with the girl, Kershaw allegedly went to the high school on Oct. 17, 2016, entering at about 6:30 a.m.

He allegedly posted printouts of the nude photos in restrooms using zip ties. At the time, sheriff Brad White said Kershaw was spotted by a janitor and sent to the office but passed himself off as an employee of an outside company working on maintenance at the school.

Several male students, removed the photos and took them to the office. A review of surveillance video led to Kershaw’s arrest, according to Sheriff White.

At the hearing  earlier, attorney Selwin Patterson argued for a bond reduction, noting Kershaw was not a flight risk. Kershaw testified he had a home here, operated a local business and his wife wanted him back in the home. He said he could also live in a motel or camp out.

The prosecution countered that the wife had contacted Kershaw only for certain passwords she needed. The wife did not appear in court and Kershaw expressed surprise that she was
not there.

Sgt. Stephanie Melton testified Kershaw had been ordered not to contact the granddaughter but was somehow getting letters to her despite jail personnel monitoring his mail.

That testimony seemed to make up Judge Fears’ mind and he denied the bond reduction motion. Kershaw went back to the Lamar jail in chains.

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

Pike County Sheriff Jimmy Thomas had advised WKEU news that  his Investigators have charged a juvenile in reference to a vandalism case at the Old Mt. Calvary Outreach Center in Concord.  The staff had discovered damage that was done to the interior and exterior of the facility including broken windows and food items that were strewn about the building.  The juvenile that had been charged is awaiting a court date and has been charged with Criminal Trespassing , however the charge could be upgraded to a more serious charge once a tally of the damage is complete. The Outreach Center provides various after school and community programs for youth in Pike County and will continue to do so as repairs are made.

 

Units of the Griffin Police Department resounded to a two vehicle accident Near the Roses Shopping center on Friday about 1:00 pm.  The collision tied up traffic until investigators could get debris and the vehicles moved from the scene. Only Minor injuries wee reported from the accident.

The Spalding Fire Department was dispatched to Minter road about 7:25 AM Friday Morning to a reported home fire.  Upon arrival firefighters found the double wide building with smoke and fire showing.  Firefighters quickly extracted the one resident of the structure an elderly lady who was taken to Spalding Regional and later transported to the Grady Burn unit in Atlanta  Assistant Chief Jamie Clark said the incident remains under investigation and more information is expected to be released later.

The Butts County Sheriff’s Office Counter-Narcotics Division closed a one-year investigation this past Monday. Sheriff Gary Long said agents conducted a undercover investigation into the distribution of methamphetamine at a location on Forrest Avenue in Jackson. The investigation revealed the occupants at the Forrest Avenue home were operating a multi-county methamphetamine distribution ring.

The Sheriff also aid the drugs were distributed in Butts, Monroe, Pike, Henry, Clayton and Spalding counties.  

He identified those arrested as William David Carter of Jackson, Anthony Craig Scott of Jackson, Brent Bruce of Riverdale, Victoria Winters of Jackson and Amanda Chambers of Jackson.

Agents searched the Forrest Avenue home around 1 a.m. Monday and found more than 6 ounces of methamphetamine, a gallon of GHB, also known as the date rape drug, multiple hits of LSD, marijuana, prescription pills and anabolic steroids.

The Sheriff added Taking down this distribution ring, we have greatly reduced the methamphetamine flow not only throughout our county but many others.  I will see that anyone that thinks Butts County is a safe haven for the distribution of illegal narcotics will be identified, investigated and arrested. I will see that strong justice is served. I want to commend my entire Counter-Narcotics Division and the C.A.G.E Team for their outstanding work and their relentless pursuit to rid our county of illegal narcotics and its dealers. There are more arrest to follow related to this investigation. Said Sheriff Long”

 

 

The Griffin Commissioners will met Tuesday July 25, 2017 at the City Offices at 1000 South HIll Street at 6:00 PM

During the meeting the Comm9issioners will:

Recognize Jennifer Freeman, Associate Planner with Planning & Development Department, as the June 2017 “Strongest Link” award recipient.  Toussaint Kirk, Director of Planning & Development, will address.

Receive comments regarding a request to rezone the property located at 866 E. Solomon Street consisting of 0.3 +/- acres from Medium Density Residential (MDR) to Planned Industrial Development (PID), submitted by Newton Crouch, Inc. Director of Planning and Development Services Toussaint Kirk will address.

Receive comments regarding a request to rezone approximately 0.79 +/- acres located at 1663 W. McIntosh Rd. from High Density Residential-B (HDR-B) to Planned Commercial Development (PCD) submitted by Pilkenton-Murray, LLC.  Director of Planning and Development Services Toussaint Kirk will address.

Receive comments regarding a variance request to subdivide property located at 527 S. Hill

Receive comments regarding a request to rezone approximately 0.33 +/- acres located along S. 8th Street from Low Density Residential-B (LDR-B) to Planned Commercial Development (PCD). Director of Planning and Development Services Toussaint Kirk will address.

Consider Minutes of the following:  June 13, 2017 Workshop and Regular Meeting, June 19, 2017 Joint Meeting with Spalding County, June 20, 2017 Special Called Meeting.

Consider approval of Task Order Form for the Pre Engineering of Community Development Block Grant Application 2018 to Paragon Consulting Group in the amount of $8,300.00 for the City of Griffin. Director of Public Works and Utilities Department Brant D. Keller will address.

Consider approval of Task Order Form for Engineering and Design of Lift Station #5 to Paragon Consulting Group in the amount of $25,000.00 for the Water and Wastewater Department of the Public Works and Utilities Department. Director of Public Work and Utilities Brant D. Keller will address.

Consider approval of Task Order Form for the Engineering and Design of Lift Station #7 to Paragon Consulting Group in the amount of $25,000.00 for the Water and Wastewater Department of the Public Works and Utilities Department. Director of Public Works and Utilities Brant D. Keller will address.

Consider approval of a Task Order Form for the Bidding and Construction Management for the Downtown LCI Project to Paragon Consulting Group in the amount of $241,235.00 for the Public Works Department.Director of Public Works and Utilities Department Brant D. Keller will address.

Consider approval to purchase Aluminum 18N Culvert from Contech Engineering Solutions for the 12th Street Culvert in the amount of $29,500.00 for the Public Works and Utilities Department. Director of Pubic Works and Utilities Brant D. Keller will address.

Consider approval of the Bid and Work Contract for the 12th Street Culvert to Crawford Grading & Pipeline, Inc., in the amount of $178,959.99 for the Public Works Department of the Public Works and Utilities Department. Director of Public Works and Utilities Department Brant D. Keller will address.

Consider approval of the purchase of  a R-900 V4 Gateway Collector from Delta Municipal Supply Company in the amount of $19,750.00 for the Water and Wastewater Department of the Public Works and Utilities Department. Director of Public Works and Utilities Department Brant D. Keller will address.

Consider agreement with United States Geological Survey for Stream Gauge Montioring Stations in the amount of $60,499.00 for the Water and Wastewater Department of the Public Works and Utilities Department. Director of Public Works and Utilities Department Brant D. Keller will address.

Consider approval to award the purchase of seven (7) Ford F150s in the amount of $170,476.00 to Speedway Ford and declare certain listed vehicles as surplus. The vehicles will be assigned to the following departments:

General Fund: Public Works/Streets ($23,248.00) and declare surplus unit 427, a 1999 Ford F150 with 227,201 miles (VIN# 1FT2F1824XNA48681);
Stormwater ($25,960.00) and declare surplus unit 1108, a 1994 Ford F150 with a defective odometer (VIN# 2FTDF15Y7RCA79550);
Electric Utility Fund – Technical Services (2) units totaling $46,638.00.
First vehicle ($23,319.00), and declare surplus unit 3875, a 2008 Dodge 1500 with 168,886 miles (VIN# 1D7HA16K38J179886);

Second vehicle ($23,319.00) and declare surplus unit 3811, a 2008 Dodge 1500 with 148,047 miles (VIN# 1D7HA16K58J179887).

Solid Waste director ($25,794.00), transferring unit 928, a 2011 Ford F-250 (VIN# 1FT7W2B64BEC16630) to Landfill and declare surplus unit 958, a 1996 Ford F150 with 211,034 miles (VIN# 1FTFEF15N4LB48511).
Water-Distribution Division ($26,898.00) and declare surplus unit 803, a 2005 Dodge Ram 3500 with 210,981 miles (VIN# 3D7MR46C95G863422).
Water-Meter Division ($21,938.00) is a new unit needed for the Meter Division.
Director of Central Services Phill Francis will address.

Consider approval to award the purchase of one (1) Ford F350 from Speedway Ford in the amount of $36,566.00 for Public Works, Streets division and declare surplus unit 445, a 2002 Ford F350 with 162,000 miles (VIN# 1FDWW36F62EB53036). Director of Central Services Phill Francis and Director of Public Works Brant Keller will address.

Consider the purchase of eleven (11) Dodge Chargers from Akins Ford Dodge Government Sales in the amount of $264,481.25 ($24,043.75 per vehicle);  approve additional equipment/installation by Dana Safety Supply in the amount of $119,482.99 ($10,862.09 per vehicle) and declare identified vehicles surplus. Police Chief Mike Yates will address.

Consider purchase of a 53′ bucket truck for the Electric Department in the amount of $159,674 from Altec under the NJPA (National Joint Purchasing Alliance) purchasing program. Electric Director Dan Thompson will address.

Consider renewal of Standard Office Lease between the City of Griffin and Tru Check, Inc. for Suite 114 of One Griffin Center in the amount of $6,837.48 for a one-year term. City Staff Attorney, Jessica Whatley O’Connor, will address.

The Regular Agenda includes items on which the Commission will individually consider and possibly take action.

Consider approval of a request to rezone the property located at 866 E. Solomon Street consisting of 0.3 +/- acres from Medium Density Residential (MDR) to Planned Industrial Development (PID), submitted by Newton Crouch, Inc.  Director of Planning and Development Services Toussaint Kirk will address.

Consider approval of a request to rezone approximately 0.79 +/- acres located at 1663 W. McIntosh Rd. from High Density Residential-B (HDR-B) to Planned Commercial Development (PCD) submitted by Pilkenton-Murray, LLC. Director of Planning and Development Services Toussaint Kirk will address.

Consider a variance request to subdivide property located at 527 S. Hill Street. Director of Planning & Development Services Toussaint Kirk will address.

Consider approval of a request to rezone approximately 0.33 +/- acres located along S. 8th Street from Low Density Residential-B (LDR-B) to Planned Commercial Development (PCD), submitted by John T. Newton, Jr. Director of Planning and Development Services Toussaint Kirk will address.

Consider execution of agreement with Allen-Smith Consulting to prepare the City of Griffin’s FY2018 Community Development Block Grant application to the Georgia Department of Community Affairs (DCA) in the amount of $10,000. Planning and Development Director Toussaint Kirk will address.

Consider Resolution determining the necessity for acquisition of two temporary construction easements for the 2017 Dewey Street Sewer Lift Station Replacement Project; determining a public use for said easements; establishing an initial offer for the easements; authorizing the City Manager or his designee to negotiate with land owners; and for other purposes. City Attorney Drew Whalen will address.

Consider approval of a Memorandum of Understanding with Spalding County to provide for reimbursement for the housing of City of Griffin pre-trial detainees and inmates at the Spalding County Detention Facility.  Staff Attorney Jessica O’Connor will address.

Consider approval of a Purchase and Sale Agreement between Atlantic Fiber Networks, Inc. (AFN) and the City of Griffin, Georgia, for acquisition of the fiber network owned by AFN in Spalding County to provide services to the Griffin-Spalding County School District; and a Data Transport Service Agreement with Education Networks of America, Inc. (ENA) for information services (data) though the above-described network to the School System and a resolution amending the FY 17-18 Budget accordingly to create the Telecommunications Fund and reflect the AFN-ENA transaction. Jack Poland, IT Director, Finance Director Markus Schwab, and City Attorney Drew Whalen will address.