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Around 3:45 Saturday morning, a Monroe County Sheriff’s Office deputy discovered a one vehicle auto accident on Georgia Highway 42 near Sidney Woods Drive that had just occurred. A Jeep Wrangler with three occupants had left the roadway while traveling north. The Jeep went down a culvert, struck several small trees, and overturned multiple times, ejecting all three passengers. The Jeep ignited into flames, and the deputy was able to pull two of the three occupants away from the immediate proximity of the engulfed vehicle. One occupant was transported to Macon Medical Center by ambulance, another was airlifted to Macon Medical Center, and the third was airlifted to Grady Hospital in Atlanta. The occupants in the vehicle were Tristan Anderson age 19 of Forsyth, Patrick Carter age 20 of Macon, and Devin-Michael Day age 19 of Macon. Devin-Michael Day was pronounced deceased at the hospital.
The exact cause of the accident remains under investigation by the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office.
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A Griffin man has been jailed in Gulf port Mississippi in relation to the theft of mail and the use of stolen identities to make counterfeit checks for purchases at Wal-Mart in Gulf port. 47 year old Charles Slaton of Griffin was sentenced to 25 months in Jail, and three years probation in U.S. District Federal Court.  The US Court Judge also ordered Slaton to repay $9,000 for purchases with stolen IDs.  Slaton pled guilty in the October Conspiracy to commit mail, theft, and identity fraud. The Bogus Checks were used at Wal Mart in Biloxi, Pass Christian,and Crowley Texas. Prosecutors said that the fake checks were used to purchase gift cards, prepaid credit cards, electronics, food, and clothing.  

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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.

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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

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With the announcement that Congressman Lynn Westmoreland will not seek re-election to the 3rd Congressional District seat, there has been speculation as to several possible candidates that include Senator Mike Crane of Newnan, who announced on the 27 th he would seek the post.  At his announcement were Senator Josh McKoon of Columbus, and State representative Matt Ramsey, who had announced 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 or Labor Commissioner, Mark Butler, Georgia Chamber of Commerce President, Chris Clark of Peachtree City, Chip Flanagan who ran against Westmoreland in 2014 and received 30.5 percent of the votes,  Kent Kingsley of Barnesville who against Westmoreland in 2012 and received 13.8 percent of the votes. The deadline for qualifying is march 11, followed by the primary of May 24 th, and the General Election on November 8 th.
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Southern Crescent Technical College, along with the Culinary Arts Advisory Committee, will be presenting Pairings, a food and wine event, for the benefit the Culinary Arts Scholarship Fund.
The event will be held Thursday, April 14, at the SCTC Campus Event center from 5:30-7:30 PM. Tickets are $40 per person and are available by calling (770) 229-3417 or can be obtained by visiting their website: foundation@sctc.edu. Checks should be made payable to the SCTC Foundation and are tax deductible.
Seating for the food and wine pairing is limited with an overflow crowd expected.

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On Thursday afternoon units of the Griffin Police were on routine patrol on Solomon Street when a  Lexus SUV at DEFACS saw the officers patrol car and immediately sped away from the officers taking a left on 4 th street at Solomon after running thee red light, the driver then proceeded south to Taylor and 4 th Streets intersection. The vehicle then ran the red light at that intersection at Taylor and struck a Toyota in the drivers side.  The impact spun the Toyota out of control and pinned the driver inside the vehicle.  The female driver was pulled from her vehicle and Spalding Regional EMS personnel transported her to the hospital for treatment.
The accident occurred close to the old Coca Cola building. The Lexus ran into the shrubs at that location and the driver attempted to elude officers on foot but was caught within a half block. Griffin Police are still investigating the incident and told WKEU’s Larry Johnson at the scene that they had no idea at that time why the driver ran from them as they were not looking for his vehicle he just ran when he spotted them.  The driver is in custody and the investigation is continuing. More information is expected to be released later by the Griffin Police Department. Griffin Police, and Spalding Regional responded to the scene.

 

griffin pd badgeThe 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.

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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.

Belittia Reid.

Shaheer Byah

Raymond Jordan

Cornelius Daniel

Zack Holems

Robert L. Taylor Jr

Jeffery Benoit        Activist with National Action Network (from Rex Ga)

Wendell Bell

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”.