Griffin High School will be the host of the school system’s first job fair of 2017.  It begins at 4pm on Thursday and last until 6:30pm.  Teachers and other certified personnel are welcome to attend and no registration is required.  The school system may be looking to fill 150 or more teaching positions for the 2017-2018 school year.  For more information, please call 770-229-3700 or humanresources@gscs.org.  Interested persons may also apply to positions that have been posted at the school system website, spalding.k12.ga.us.  Griffin High School is located 1617 W. Poplar Street in Griffin.

A major building project at the University of Georgia-Griffin has neared completion, as the school will host a ribbon-cutting for it’s new Food Product and Innovation Center at the end of this month.  The center facilitates commercialization of food products by providing intellectual resources and physical facilities for both start-up ventures and existing food companies.  Groundbreaking was held in the fall of 2014 on the campus, where University of Georgia president Jere Morehead says the center now plays a leading role in the success of the food industry. Small and large businesses alike have come to the center to get assistance.  Some of those larger businesses that have utilized FoodPIC include Chick-fil-A, Coca-Cola, and Boar’s Head, among others.  Once the center opens, the University president says it signifies a valuable partnership with the school, the community, and the industry as a whole. The state of the art facility, located at the southeast corner of the Melton Building, will house pilot plants and lab spaces for hot and cold temperature work; wet and dry processing; quality control laboratories; refrigerated, frozen, and dry storage; a demonstration kitchen and administrative offices.  Main players in the project, whether through funding or leadership, were Georgia governor Nathan Deal, members of the General Assembly, the university system of Georgia chancellor and board of regents, the Griffin-Spalding Development Authority, the US Economic Development Administration, and UGA.  The ribbon cutting for the new building comes up on January 30th at 3pm.

According to reports from the Department of Natural Resources, the body of a missing 9-year old girl at Jackson Lake has been recovered.  Rescue crews searched for close to two days near the Turtle Cove area of the lake, after receiving reports of a boating accident around 2:30am Sunday morning.  DNR advised that an adult in the boat was thrown out while traveling, and he was able to make it to shore.  Rescue crews deployed sonar equipment to aid in the search for the child.  The exact cause of death has not been released by the coroner at this time and names are currently being withheld until further notice.

Lieutenant General David Poythress

 

On January 15 th Georgia lost one of its favorite sons.  A former Secretary of State, Commissioner of Labor, Vietnam Veteran, Adjutant General of the Georgia National Guard, and former Candidate for Governor 3 star General David Poythress.

I got the very sad news about 11:00 on Sunday.  It was my honor to have known General Poythress as a Commander, Comrade in Arms, and dear friend.  I found it so unusual when he ran for Governor, that I never heard anyone to include Democrat or Republican Party member ever say a bad word about David Poythress but what a honest and great individual he was.

He served as Adjutant General of the Georgia National Guard from 1999 until 2007, initially appointed by Governor Roy Barnes a Democrat, and subsequently reappointed by Republican Governor Sonny Perdue. He was an excellent Commander of Soldiers, loved and respected each member of the armed services and veterans had a special place in his heart.  He also had that same feeling toward youth and youth programs State wide. Under General Poythress Georgia was one of the first National Guard Bureau sponsored Youth Challenge program for Georgia’s assist at-risk kids ages 16 to 18 to help them in a new direction for their life, and get their GED General Poythress took a keen interest in the program to insure its success.

It was not long before many of Georgia’s Major industries signed on to support the Youth Challenge foundation as they saw the huge success of the program under the direction of General Poythress, and now Retired General Frank Williams.  The success rate of the school under General Poythress became 98 percent of those successfully attending the program to become good Georgia Citizens and family men. Many have gone on to own their own businesses, or highly professional workers for Local, State, and National levels.

Shortly after the success of the pilot Youth Challenge Program based at Fort Stewart, Georgia, and under General Poythress leadership, a second campus was established at Fort Gordon near Augusta.

The contribution of David Poythress and his dedication to Georgia, our Nation, and our youth will be felt for decades into the future.  His vision of leadership will be passed on from Officers that served under his Command.

Lieutenant General David Poythress has joined the ranks of so many that have become National Treasures.

To Elizabeth and the Poythress family we of WKEU and especially The Taylor family offer our sincere prayers.

WKEU’s Bill Taylor a retired Officer of the Georgia National Guard and US Army said it was a great honor for me personally to call him my Commander, Professional Solider, and most of all my Dear friend, advisor and mentor. Georgia has lost a Great citizen, a family a wonderful dedicated husband, father and grandfather.   For me and my family we have a huge great loss.

General Poythress died peacefully with the love of his life, Elizabeth, by his side. She would like to thank everyone for their thoughts and prayers. Details on a memorial will be announced at a future date.

On January 12th, 2017, the Griffin Police Department, United States Department of Agriculture- Office of Inspector General, Georgia Bureau of Investigation, Spalding County Sheriff’s Office and the Georgia Lottery Commission conducted a joint operation in which search warrants and arrest warrants were served concerning EBT card fraud, Financial Transaction Card Fraud, Commercial Gambling and lottery violations at two local stores, Ma and Pa Grocery, located at 1137 Meriwether Street, Griffin Food Mart, located at 888 Meriwether Street and the residences of both owners of the stores.

The Griffin Police Department and the USDA-OIG, started the investigation in September of 2016 concerning the EBT card fraud at the two stores. As the investigation progressed, other criminal activity concerning the coin operated amusement machines (gambling machines) and the Georgia Lottery came to light and the GBI Commercial Gambling Unit and Georgia Lottery Commission were called and joined the investigation.

The four month investigation ended this morning when all of the participating departments came together and served the search and arrest warrants.

The following people were arrested:

Khalid Mirza of 1147 Meriwether Street, Griffin, Georgia, the owner of Ma and Pa Grocery was arrested and charged with Racketeering- Influence and Corrupt Organization (RICO), two counts of financial Transaction Card Fraud, three counts of Fraud in Obtaining Public Assistance and four counts of keeping a Gambling Place.

Uzma Mirza of 1147 Meriwether Street, Griffin, Georgia was arrested and charged with Racketeering- Influence and Corrupt Organization (RICO), seven counts of Financial Transaction Card Fraud, eight counts of Fraud in Obtaining Public Assistance and one count of Commercial Gambling and three counts of Transactions in Drug Related Objects.

Rajendra Oza of 319 Crossing Place, Griffin, Georgia, the owner of the Griffin Food Mart, was arrested and charged with Racketeering- Influence and Corrupt Organization (RICO), eight counts of Financial Transaction Card Fraud, one count of Financial Transaction Card Theft, eleven counts of Fraud in Obtaining Public Assistance and two counts of Transactions in Drug Related Objects.

Further arrest are pending in this investigation.

 

State Representative Karen Mathiak (R-Spalding) was sworn into office as a member of the Georgia House of Representatives on Monday, January 9, 2017, marking her first day of the 2017-2018 legislative term. Monday was the first day of the first term of the 154th Legislative Session of the Georgia General Assembly.

“I am humbled to serve District 73, and I look forward to working closely with the people of Fayette, Henry and Spalding counties,” said Rep. Mathiak.  “The leadership of these great counties has an incredible vision for the future of Georgia, and I am honored to join their ranks as I serve in the Georgia General Assembly and work hard on behalf of our state.”

In addition to being officially sworn in, the Georgia House of Representatives’ Committee on Assignments named Rep. Mathiak to the Health & Human Services; Higher Education; and State Planning & Community Affairs committees.

“It will be with great pride that I serve on these committees under the leadership of Chairwoman Cooper, Chairman Jasper, and Chairman Jimmy Pruett,” added Rep. Mathiak. “What an excellent time it is to serve our great state!”

The House Committee on Assignments, chaired by House Speaker David Ralston (R-Blue Ridge), is charged with making all House committee assignments for the members of the Georgia House of Representatives.

In Barnesville a  Lamar County man is dead and his wife hospitalized following a suicide attempt.
The Walter Geiger and the Barnesville Herald Gazette have reported that the incident began Christmas eve just after 9 p.m. when deputies responded to a mobile home at 1124 Hwy. 41 South where paramedics were treating an unresponsive male identified as Robert Jason Grammer, age 48.

His wife, Elizabeth Grammer, age 43, reported that her husband had been drinking beer and vodka all day. She noted she is a veterinarian and said her husband asked for some medication and she gave him .5 mil. of butorphanol, a Schedule IV narcotic, from her lockbox which he injected and almost immediately became unresponsive. She told Deputy. Bossie Davis that she knew she should not have done so but she did not think he would use the drug.

Robert Grammer was taken to the Monroe County Hospital then transferred to Macon Medical Center where he was placed on life support.

On December. 28 at 1 p.m. Deputy. Cynthia Patten was dispatched to the same residence, where she found Elizabeth Grammer unresponsive on a couch with an IV in her arm and the IV bag hanging from the ceiling as the result of a suicide attempt. She was also taken to the Monroe County Hospital where she was revived. She is in a psychiatric ward in Macon, according to Lamar Sheriff Brad White.

On December. 30, Robert Grammer was removed from life support and died a short time later. His funeral was held Jan. 2 at Coggins Funeral Home in Thomaston.

Elizabeth Grammer was employed at Southside Animal Hospital in Griffin. Sheriff White said the case will be handed over to district attorney Jonathan Adams to determine what charges, if any, will be filed against Elizabeth Grammer.
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

Local schools are gearing back up for class after more than two weeks of the Christmas break.  Teachers of the Griffin-Spalding school system are back at work and students return on Thursday, January 5th.  The next holiday comes up soon, as systems will close again on Monday the 16th for the observance of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.  New student orientation is ongoing at the University of Georgia-Griffin, with spring classes beginning Thursday as well.  Two other local colleges get underway after this week, as Southern Crescent Technical College has announced the beginning of spring classes for Monday the 9th.  Gordon State College in Barnesville will hold new student orientation on the 17th and 18th, and won’t begin classes for the spring semester until Thursday, January 19.

Storm systems over the new year have already brought substantial rain to the Griffin area.  According to accumulations from the weather station at the University of Georgia, Griffin received 1.15” of rain on January 1 and 3” of rain on the 2nd, bringing the total to over 4” of precipitation in the first two days of 2017.  While the rain saturated ground levels in a relatively short amount of time, officials continue to urge conservation of water to prepare for the upcoming year.  Griffin and surrounding areas suffered through dry months for most of 2016, with the exception of the first quarter of the year.  The extended forecast doesn’t show any significant rain coming into the area; however, meteorologists are closely watching a winter weather system heading towards the east and parts of the south that could bring a small accumulation of snow overnight Friday into Saturday morning.  We will keep you updated with those conditions as the end of the week nears.

 

Sheriff J.C. Bittick of Monroe County has advised WKEU news that on Wednesday, December 21, 2016, at approximately 6:00 pm, the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office responded to the 1000 block of Lassiter Road near Torbet Road in northern Monroe County regarding an auto accident with injuries. The responding deputies determined that a 2003 Chevrolet Trailblazer was traveling east on Lassiter Road when it left the roadway and struck multiple trees. The 56-year-old driver, Thomas Palmer of Forsyth, was ejected from the vehicle. Monroe County EMS transported Mr. Palmer to the Monroe County Hospital where he was pronounced deceased. Mr. Palmer was currently employed by the Henry County Sheriff’s Office, and was returning home following his shift when the accident occurred. The accident remains under investigation by the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office. We extend our sincere condolences to the family,friends,and co-workers of Mr. Palmer.

This is Monroe County’s thirteenth fatal motor vehicle accident in 2016.