Friday, April 20, 2018

A 1999 REZONING NEVER HAPPENED AT LOGAN'S LANDING

THE UPSON COUNTY COMMISSIONERS HAVE A ZONING ISSUE FROM 1999 ON TUESDAY'S MEETING AGENDA. BACK THEN THE COMMISSIONERS HELD A PUBLIC HEARING TO REZONE LOGAN'S LANDING SUBDIVISION FROM AR TO R-2, BUT THERE IS NO DOCUMENTATION THAT IT WAS EVER APPROVED.

A RESIDENT OF THE 35 LOT SUBDIVISION—JEFF LEWIS URGED THE PLANNING COMMISSION TO RECOMMEND THE RE-ZONING AT THE APRIL MEETING—STAFF AND DEVELOPERS RONNIE AND DONNIE TYLER ALSO SUPPORT IT --- AND THE PLANNING COMMISSION PASSED-ON THEIR RECOMMENDATION TO THE BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS.


THE ITEM CAME TO LIGHT WHEN THE TYLERS WANTED TO OPEN-UP 10 ADDITIONAL LOTS—BUT WILL HAVE TO WAIT UNTIL ITS REZONED.  

UPDATE ON GBI PROBE OF JUDGE CRAWFORD

A GBI INVESTIGATION OF GRIFFIN JUDICIAL CIRCUIT SUPERIOR COURT JUDGE ROBERT MACK CRAWFORD DATES BACK TO A LAND TRANSACTION LAW SUIT IN 2001 –BEFORE HE WAS APPOINTED TO THE BENCH--- WHEN CRAWFORD WAS PRACTICING LAW IN PIKE COUNTY.

DISTRICT ATTORNEY BEN COKER WHO HAS RECUESED HIMSELF FROM THE CASE— BECAUSE HE COULD BE A WITNESS—SAID AT ISSUE IS A CHECK FOR $15,600 WRITTEN TO THE JUDGE ON DEC. 11TH 2017 BY PIKE COUNTY CLERK OF COURT CAROLYN WILLIAMS FROM THE COURT REGISTERY—AFTER THE JUDGE ADVISED IT SHOULD BE DISPERSED TO HIM.

THE CASE STAYED ON THE BOOKS TILL NOVEMBER 2009 WHEN JUDGE TOMMY HANKINSON ISSUED AN ORDER THAT DISMISSED THE PLANTIFF'S COMPLAINT AND THE DEFENDANTS COUNTER CLAIM—A PLANTIFF REPRESENTED BY CRAWFORD . THE JUDGE 'S ATTORNEY VIRGIL BROWN SAYS THE PLANTIFF IS DECEASED AND THE MONEY BELONGS TO JUDGE CRAWFORD, BECAUSE IT WAS HELD OUT FOR HIS LEGAL FEES.





Thursday, April 19, 2018

BARNESVILLE BBQ & BLUES FRI AND SAT

THE 14TH ANNUAL BARNESVILLE BAR B Q AND BLUES FESTIVAL FRIDAY AT RITZ PARK—GATES OPEN AT 5;30 ADMISSION $10.

MEN IN BLUES OPEN AT 5;45PM—AND ZOOM RADIO SALES MANAGER CARL PRUETT AND HIS BAND CROSSROADS PERFORM AT 8;30—FOLLOWED BY HEADLINERS—TRIBUTE--THE OFFICIAL ALLMAN BROTHERS TRIBUTE BAND.

BAR B QUE AND ALL THE TRIMMINGS BEGINNING AT LUNCHTIME FRIDAY .


SATURDAY IS COOK-OFF—COMPETITION STARTING AT 11AM WINNERS AT 4;30 --- MUSIC BY BLUESFISH AND THE GARRETT COLLINS BAND.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

JUDGE ROBERT MACK CRAWFORD UNDER GBI PROBE

THE FAYETTE COUNTY NEWSPAPER AND THE UPSON BEACON REPORTING—GRIFFIN CIRCUIT SUPERIOR COURT JUDGE ROBERT MACK CRAWFORD IS UNDER INVESTIGATION BY THE GBI AFTER HE ALLEGEDLY DIRECTED THE PIKE COUNTY CLERK OF COURT TO WRITE HIM A CHECK FOR OVER $15,000 FROM THE COURT REGISTRY AND HE'S ACCUSED OF DEPOSITING THE CHECK IN HIS PERSONAL ACCOUNT.

THE STATE ATTORNEY GENERAL'S OFFICE REQUESTED THE INVESTIGATION AFTER DISTRICT ATTORNEY BEN COKER RECUSED HIMSELF FROM THE CASE—AND THE A.G.'S OFFICE WILL BE HANDLING THE CASE.

JUDGE CRAWFORD HAS RECUSED HIMSELF FROM ALL CRIMINAL AND CHILD SUPPORT CASES IN THE CIRCUIT BUT IS HEARING CIVIL CASES. HE HAS RETAINED FORMER GA. GOVERNOR ROY BARNES AS LEGAL COUNSEL.


A SENIOR JUDGE WILL SIT ON ALL JUDGE CRAWFORD'S CRIMINAL CASES IN UPSON COUNTY ON MAY 21ST AND JUDGE FLETCHER SAMS WILL HANDLE CRAWFORD'S FAYETTE AND UPSON COUNTY CASES AND CHIEF JUDGE CHRIS EDWARDS WILL PRESIDE IN THE PIKE AND SPALDING COUNTY CASES.  

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

STATE HONOR FOR TU SCHOOLS SHELLEY DANIEL

On Saturday, April 14, at the GA School Nutrition Association's (GSNA) Annual Conference in Savannah, TU Director of School Nutrition, Shelley Daniel, received the 2018 GSNA President's Award. 

The GSNA President’s Award is given to the District President who best illustrates the journey that was taken by him/her to provide support and guidance to all local chapters. The Plan of Action for Districts outlines activities that must be conducted by the District in order to strengthen GSNA at all levels. The President's Award seeks out the District President who has accomplished those goals and has gone the extra mile to ensure that his/her local chapters are well-informed of relevant issues and are provided materials and resources. The President's Award winner is that person who creates opportunities for networking, for the exchange of ideas, and for learning from one another. 

This exceptional District President finds fun, creative, and/or unique ways to reach and educate the local chapters. Shelley has served as the 2018 GSNA Sixth District President, representing the following school districts: Thomaston-Upson, Bibb, Butts, Carroll, Carrollton City, Clayton, Coweta, Crawford, Fayette, Griffin-Spalding, Heard, Henry, Jones, Lamar, Meriwether, Monroe, Pike, and Troup. 

Congratulations to Thomaston-Upson School System's Shelley Daniel, Sixth District President and GSNA State District President of the Year!

Monday, April 16, 2018

TU SCHOOLS K-REGISTRATION FRIDAY APRIL 20

Kindergarten Registration Friday, April 20

Kindergarten registration for the 2018-19 school year for children who are NEW to Upson County or who DO NOT attend one of the area day cares/Pre-K centers will be held on Friday, April 20, at Upson-Lee Primary School, between the hours of 8:30 a.m. - 3:00 p.m. Parents should contact the school at 706-647-7540 to schedule an appointment. The parent must bring the child and all required documentation to the appointment.
 
The following documents are required for registration:
  • Child’s certified birth certificate (Child must be 5 years old on or before September 1, 2018.)
  • Child’s Social Security Card
  • Immunization certificate on proper GA form #3231(obtained from your child’s doctor or the Upson Co. Health Dept.)
  • Hearing, Vision, and Dental Screening Certificate # 3300 (obtained from your child’s doctor or the Upson Co. Health Dept.)
  • Proof of Upson County residency and your photo ID (Acceptable proof of residency includes a rental/lease agreement, mortgage document or current real property assessment document in the parent/guardian’s name or a utility bill for water, electricity, or gas in the parent/guardian’s name and a valid Upson County address.)
    
If you know of a family member, friend, or neighbor who has a qualifying kindergarten child, please share this information with him/her.

25,000 LOSS AT FLASH FOODS NORTHSIDE

UPSON COUNTY SHERIFF'S OFFICE INVESTIGATING A THEFT OF $25,000 WORTH OF PROPERTY AT THE FLASH FOODS CONVIENCE STORE BEING RAZED AT 19 NORTH AND JEFF DAVIS ROAD.


4 H-VAC UNITS, A $9000 ICE MACHINE AND OTHER ITEMS ARE MISSING FROM THE PROPERTY. 

Sunday, April 15, 2018

EX-MAYOR ARNOLD TO BE HONORED

FORMER THOMASTON MAYOR HAYS ARNOLD WILL BE HONORED BY THE BOYS SCOUTS OF AMERICA FLINT RIVER COUNCIL—THURSDAY EVENING—RECOGNIZED AS THE 2018 HONOREE AT THE UPSON COUNTY GOLDEN EAGLE DINNER AT FIRST UNITED METHODIST CHURCH.


THE CHAIR OF THE EVENT, CURRENT MAYOR J.D. STALLINGS SAYS ITS ONE OF UPSON COUNTY'S PREMIER FUND-RAISING EVENTS WITH THE 2018 FRIENDS OF SCOUTING CAMPAIGN. 

DA COKER SAYS NEW EVIDENCE FOUND IN COLD CASE MURDER

GRIFFIN JUDICIAL CIRCUIT DISTRICT ATTORNEY BEN COKER SAYS ITEMS OF EVIDENCE WERE FOUND WHEN A SEARCH WARRANT WAS SERVED THURSDAY RELATING TO A WELL ON THE PROPERTY OF A DEFENDANT IN THE TIMOTHY COGGINS COLD CASE MURDER IN SPALDING COUNTY.

THE D.A. TOLD US ONE OF THE DEFENDANTS FRANKIE GEBHARDT ONCE LIVED ON THE PROPERTY ON PATTERSON ROAD IN GRIFFIN —AND WORKING WITH THE GBI AUTHORITIES RETAINED THE SERVICES OF CONTRACTORS WHO VACCUMED -OUT THE CONTENTS OF THE WELL—CONTENTS PROSECUTOR COKER SAID WILL BE USEFUL IN THE CASE AGAINST GEBHARDT AND CO-DEFENDANT WILLIAM F. MOORE SR.

BOTH ARE IN JAIL WITHOUT BOND AND SET FOR TRIAL JUNE 18TH IN SPALDING COUNTY—THREE OTHERS ALSO WERE ARRESTED IN THE CASE.


AUTHORITIES HAVE SAID THE MOTIVE COULD BE COGGINS AN AFRICAN AMERICAN—SOCIALIZING WITH A WHITE FEMALE.  

Thursday, April 12, 2018

THEFT AT SPEEDI LUBE

THOMASTON POLICE INVESTIGATING A THEFT AT SPEEDI LUBE NORTH CHURCH AT THE RAILROAD OVERNITE WEDNESDAY WITH A LOSS OF $5500.

SOMEONE DAMAGED A GATE--- HITCHED-UP A TRAILER BELONGING TO THE BUSINESS AND A LOAD OF PINESTRAW AND LEFT THE PREMISIS.


POLICE ARE STUDYING A SECURITY VIDEO OF THE THEFT.  

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

QBE FULLY FUNDED-EDUCATION

CALL IT THE CHERRY ON TOP OF THE 2018 SESSION OF THE GA. GENERAL ASSEMBLY—FOR THE FIRST TIME SINCE THE QBE EDUCATION FORMULA WAS CREATED—THIS YEAR IT WILL BE FULLY FUNDED FOR K-12.

STATE REPRESENTATIVE JOHNNIE CALDWELL WHO REPRESENTS, UPSON, PIKE, AND LAMAR GIVES LOTS OF CREDIT TO HIS SEAT-MATE—MONROE COUNTY HOUSE MEMBER ROBERT DICKEY—CHAIR OF THE EDUCATION COMMITTEE.

IT WILL INCREASE QBE FUNDING IN UPSON COUNTY $444,000, IN PIKE COUNTY $324,000, LAMAR COUNTY $255,000 AND IN SPALDING COUNTY ONE MILLION, 44,000.



Tuesday, April 10, 2018

WESTWOOD MERGES WITH SKIPSTONE

A NEW tribe of WARRIORS is headed to Upson County! - Skipstone Academy of Griffin to establish a second campus at Westwood Christian Academy. 

Following two months of discussions, a lot of prayer, and unanimous support from the Boards of Directors from both schools, Skipstone Academy, a thriving non-traditional Christian school in Griffin, will add the Warriors of Westwood Christian Academy to their own tribe of Warriors at Skipstone this Fall. Together they will establish new territory at 96 Pickard Road in Thomaston and will open in August as Skipstone Academy - Westwood Campus.

The new effort brings the exceptional success of Skipstone’s unconventional model of an innovative, hands-on, experiential approach to education to the Westwood Campus, which has served students in the five county area since 1971. 

When asked what makes Skipstone so much different than any other school, Co-Founder Chip Moody says “My wife, Shondi, had this crazy dream that we could be a part of creating a place to learn that didn’t involve sitting in a desk all day, that we could help create an environment where kids could be creative, and use their imagination, instead of immersing themselves in busy work all day. She was determined to make Skipstone a place where learning could be FUN, a place where kids would WANT to go to school every day.” 

As it turns out, that crazy dream would become a reality in a way no one could have expected! In September of 2007, Chick-fil-a founder Truett Cathy, who had heard about this vision for a different kind of school, surprised the Moody’s with an unannounced visit and asked about Skipstone. A week later Mr. and Mrs Cathy followed up that surprise visit with an unsolicited gift for the purchase of the former Flint River Baptist Camp, a beautiful 64 acre campus with 13 buildings, a small lake, and a swimming pool, which was the perfect environment for a non-traditional school like Skipstone. 

Skipstone Academy started that first school year with 32 students in 5th through 11th grades and went to work developing a school and ministry that was like no other school in the area. They also went to work renovating the 50 year old facilities of the camp, which were mostly concrete block structures in poor condition. 

When their unconventional approach started producing unprecedented results, the community quickly took notice and Skipstone experienced exponential growth, expanding to serve 152 kindergarten through 12th grade students in their second year. Now in its 11th school year, Skipstone has continued to experience growth each year and presently serves almost 400 students, with waiting lists for nearly every class. 

This next adventure for Skipstone in Thomaston also started unexpectedly. Mark Davis, the current Headmaster at Westwood Christian Academy, had a providential visit with Chip Moody, Co-Founder of Skipstone on January 29th when the two schools met at Mt. View Baptist Church for a middle school basketball game. What began as a simple conversation of encouragement, brought to light an unexpected opportunity for Skipstone and Westwood to begin a conversation about the future. 

“I was just making small talk with the guy running the clock at the game that day”, said Moody, “then I realized that he was the Headmaster of Westwood, so we talked a little about where they were and some of the challenges they were facing. I didn’t leave the game that night with anything like this in mind, but God started opening up doors for us to have a bigger conversation and here we are. Skipstone has been a “God authored” story from the very beginning and this is just the NEXT CHAPTER. We aren’t in the business of writing our story, that’s God’s part.” 

The transition from Westwood to Skipstone will begin immediately as Skipstone will be opening an office on the campus of Westwood on Monday, April 16th. For those interested in learning more about Skipstone Academy and enrollment for the 2018-2019 school year, a “SCOOP on SKIPSTONE” meeting for the whole community is scheduled for April 23rd at 6:30pm in the gym at Westwood. 

Current Westwood students will see a slight decrease in tuition & fees with Skipstone’s tuition set at $4950 for elementary, $5050 for middle school, and $5150 for high school and $500 in total fees for the 2018-2019 school year. Fees for new students total $550. 

Skipstone will also offer a full range of competitive sports for middle and high school students in the Georgia Independent Christian Athletic Association, where the Warriors have recently brought home State Championships in varsity football, varsity girls basketball, and middle school track & field, along with a host of region titles in several other sports.

“We couldn’t be any more excited than to be a part of the story God has been writing at Westwood for so many years” said Moody, “And now here’s this crazy new chapter, where the plot thickens and the story takes an unexpected turn. That’s the stuff that stories really worth reading are made of! We trust the next chapter, because we know the author!” 

Major renovations of the Westwood Campus are planned, with many improvements scheduled to be completed this summer in time for the grand opening in August of 2018. 

More information about Skipstone Academy can be found atwww.skipstoneacademy.org 







Whatever It Takes,
Chip Moody
Co-Founder & COO, Skipstone

Monday, April 9, 2018

SOLE FINALIST FOR UPSON COUNTY MANAGER IS OUT

UPSON COUNTY'S SOLE FINALIST FOR COUNTY MANAGER RON RABUN OF GRIFFIN IS OUT BEFORE HE WAS IN.

INTERIM COUNTY MANAGER BILLY BECKETT –POINT MAN IN THE HIRING PROCESS --TOLD ZOOM NEWS MONDAY AFTERNOON THE BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS WERE UNABLE TO REACH AGREEMENT ON A CONTRACT WITH MR. RABUN. MR. BECKETT SAID THERE'S NO ANIMOSITY ON THE COUNTY'S PART —NO HARD FEELINGS—THEY JUST COULDN'T COME TO TERMS.

RABUN HAS SERVED IN SEVERAL GOVERNMENT ADMINISTRATIVE POSTS INCLUDING COUNTY MANAGER OF LEE COUNTY, GA.

ACCORDING TO INTERIM MANAGER BECKETT—THE COUNTY COMMISSIONERS ARE EXPECTED TO DISCUSS THE VACANT POSITION OF COUNTY MANAGER AT TUESDAY'S REGULAR MEETING—BUT IT COULD BE IN EXECUTIVE SESSION.

THE COUNTY RECEIVED 37 APPLICATIONS AND INTERVIEWED 5 CANDIDATES. GEORGIA LAW REQUIRES GOVERNMENTS TO RELEASE THE NAME OR NAMES OF CANDIDATES ONCE FINALISTS ARE SELECTED—BUT CANNOT RATIFY A CONTRACT FOR 14 DAYS AFTER THAT.


MR. BECKETT'S LAST DAY IS APRIL 19TH—BUT HE TOLD US HE IS WILLING TO PROVIDE ADDITIONAL HELP IF ITS NEEDED BY THE COUNTY.  

SHERIFF DAN KILGORE IS HOLDING 2 CHURCH SECURITY WORKSHOPS

In today’s society our churches are not exempt from attack from crime or in some cases even active shooters. I have recently had many inquiries concerning church safety and security. As a result, we will be conducting two Church Security and Active Shooter Preparedness workshops. This training is designed for and provided at no cost to pastors, church leaders, childcare workers, church security team members, greeters or ushers The dates and locations are as follows:

April 17, 2018 (Tue) 6:00 – 8:00 pm 

First United Methodist Church Fellowship Hall 132 Cherokee Rd. Thomaston 

Call 706-647-3335 for reservations

April 25, 2018 (Wed) 6:00-7:30 pm 

St. Mary’s AME Church 601 N. Hightower St. Thomaston

Call 706-647-8576 for reservations

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

DR. LARRY DERICO FINALIST TU SCHOOL SUPERINTENDENT

After a lengthy search that began in November, the Thomaston-Upson County Board of Education has named Dr. Larry Derico as the finalist for the position of Superintendent of Thomaston-Upson County Schools. Dr. Derico, has twenty-four years of public education experience, and the past four years has served as Assistant Superintendent in the local school system.  He has also been a teacher, assistant principal, and central office administrator.

Dr. Derico is a graduate of Columbus College with Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degrees in both Social Science and in Middle Grades Education.  He holds a Master’s Degree in Early Childhood Education from Troy State University and a Specialist in Early Childhood from Columbus College. In 2009, he received the Ed.D. in Education Leadership from South Carolina State University.

He began his educational career as an elementary teacher in 1994 in Meriwether County.  From 2002-2005, he served as assistant principal at Upson Lee Middle School and Woodbury Elementary School. From 2005-2010, he was Director of Federal Programs in Thomaston-Upson Schools, and from 2010-2014 he was Director of Curriculum and Instruction.  Since 2014, Dr. Derico has served as Assistant Superintendent. He is married to Vernecia Derico, and they have a daughter and a son.

Dr. Derico has been very involved in the local community. Currently, he is a member of Unite Upson, the Thomaston-Upson Development Authority, the Industry Roundtable and is a graduate of Leadership Upson.  He is Past-President of the Upson County United Way and a former member of the Education Alliance Committee, the Upson County Board of Elections, and the Upson County Archives Board.

Dr. Derico and his wife are members of New Life Church. Through the church, he and his family are involved in numerous community ministries and services, to include Children’s Church.

Keith Rohling, Chair of the Board of Education, stated, “We are pleased to have someone of Dr. Derico’s experience and ability chosen to be our next superintendent.  He has served the Thomaston-Upson County School System well for many years, has a record of successful leadership, and is committed to Thomaston-Upson County. We have had a very deliberate and thorough search process, and I appreciate how well the Board has worked together throughout this process.”

The naming of the finalist concludes five months of intense search activity by the Board of Education. With the help of King-Cooper and Associates, the position was advertised, thirty-seven applications reviewed, candidates screened, and lengthy interviews conducted.  With the naming of the finalist, the Board must now wait at least fourteen days before taking an official vote to employ Dr. Derico.




UL HIGH HONOR GRADS

Upson-Lee High School Principal Tracy Caldwell has announced the Class of 2018 Honor Graduates. Bayleigh Sinclair Jackson is the 2018 Valedictorian and Leah Paige Colligan is Salutatorian. Bayleigh is the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Larry Jackson. Leah is the daughter of Sherry Colligan.

Valedictorian is the senior with the highest overall numeric average who has also completed all available Honors courses and at least three of the Advanced Placement (AP) courses in different core areas. 

Salutatorian is the student with the second highest overall numeric average who has completed the same courses described for eligibility of the Valedictorian. 

The ULHS Class of 2018 has 56 honor graduates. Congratulations to all of these students!

Friday, March 30, 2018

THOMASTON POLICE ARREST

On March 27, 2018 Officers from the Thomaston Police Department responded to a disturbance call at DayLight Donuts located at 1102 Hwy 19 North, Thomaston, Georgia. As a result of the incident Edward Rodriguez of Thomaston was arrested for public intoxication, obstruction of an Officer and interference with government property.

Once in custody, Rodriguez became combative and began to resist the officer. His resistance necessitated the help of additional officers. During his resistance, an officer’s body camera was displaced and broken and Rodriguez attempted to bite another officer. In an effort to avoid being bitten, the officer forced Rodriguez to the ground. Due to Rodriguez’s resistance he sustained a laceration to his head on the pavement. EMT’s were immediately dispatched. Mr. Rodriguez continued to be very combative and aggressive to the EMTs while being treated in the ambulance and an officer had to assist in restraining Rodriguez while he was transported to Upson Regional for medical attention.

Due to the nature of the incident a further review is being conducted to ensure all appropriate procedures were taken during the arrest of a combative individual.

Thursday, March 29, 2018

WESTWOOD MERGER ON THE TABLE

BIG NEWS FROM WESTWOOD CHRISTIAN ACADEMY ON PICKARD ROAD IN UPSON COUNTY---THE WESTWOOD BOARD IS SCHEDULED TO VOTE ON A MERGER WITH SKIPSTONE CHRISTIAN SCHOOL IN GRIFFIN NEXT TUESDAY—AND HEADMASTER MARK DAVIS SAYS IT APPEARS THE VOTES ARE THERE TO DO IT.

SKIPSTONE HAS BEEN OPEN FOR 12 YEARS AND
CURRENT ENROLLMENT IN GRIFFIN K-12 IS 450 WITH A 200 STUDENT WAITING LIST—MORE CLASSROOMS ARE NEEDED AND WESTWOOD FILLS THE BILL.

MARK TOLD ZOOM NEWS—PLANS CALL FOR SKIPSTONE TO MAKE A MAJOR INVESTMENT TO GIVE THE WESTWOOD CAMPUS A FACELIFT WITH THE CURRENT ENROLLMENT OF 107 TO MORE THAN DOUBLE BY NEXT SCHOOL TERM.

SKIPSTONE STUDENTS RECEIVED ACADEMIC AND ATHLETIC SCHOLARSHIPS TOTALING $1.4 MILLION LAST YEAR AND THEY HAVE A FULL RANGE OF ATHLETIC TEAMS THAT HAVE WON CHAMPIONSHIPS.

THE NEW NAME WOULD BE SKIPSTONE CHRISTIAN SCHOOL AT WESTWOOD CAMPUS—AND MARK DAVIS WOULD BECOME ELEMENTARY SCHOOL PRINCIPAL AT BOTH CAMPUSES.





Wednesday, March 28, 2018

NTSB REPORT RELEASED ON PIKE PLANE CRASH 2016

THE VICE-CHAIR OF THE GRIFFIN-SPALDING AIRPORT AUTHORITY, RONALD ALEXANDER, 74 AND A PASSENGER LARRY ENLOW, 68 AN FAA OFFICIAL—PERISHED IN A PLANE CRASH AT PEACH STATE AIRPORT IN PIKE COUNTY NOVEMBER 2016—AND THE NTSB INVESTIGATION REPORT SAYS THE WORLD WAR ONE TRAINER HAD PROBLEMS GOING BACK TO 2013.



A WITNESS TO THE CRASH SAID THE PLANE SEEMED TO HESITATE FOR AN INSTANT ON TAKE-OFF—AND THEN THERE WAS SILENCE. SOMETHING IN THE BUILDERS POST IN 2014—DESCRIBING THE ENGINE AS RUNNING ROUGH WITH HESITATION AND BACKFIRING FOR A FEW SECONDS WHEN ACCELERATING.

THE AUTOPSY REPORT REVEALED ALEXANDER DIED FROM EXTENSIVE THERMAL INJURIES AND ENLOW FROM BLUNT FORCE INJURIES TO THE HEAD AND TORSO.


ALEXANDER FOUNDED THE CANDLER FIELD MUSEUM AT THE AIRPORT IN 2005. 

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

POST 26 GSP STOPS SPEEDING FEMALE MOTORIST

A 100 MILE PER HOUR CHASE FROM UPSON COUNTY INTO PIKE COUNTY RESULTED IN THE ARREST OF A FEMALE MOTORIST—YOLANDA YOUNG, AGE 43 OF MILLEDGEVILLE –SUNDAY AFTERNOON.

SHE DROVE AROUND STOP-STIX AND WENT EAST ON 18 AT THE PIKE COUNTY COURTHOUSE.

STATE TROOPER MIKE KNIGHT EXECUTED A PIT MANEUVER AND PIKE DEPUTY CHARLES HALL BLOCKED HER IN—BUT YOUNG HIT THE LEFT SIDE OF THE S.O. UNIT CAUSING SOME DAMAGE—BUT NO INJURIES.


MORE ON THIS STORY AT PIKE COUNTY TIMES.COM

Friday, March 23, 2018

UNPROFESSIONAL CONDUCT ALLEGED AT USO AND TPD

UPSON COUNTY SHERIFF DAN KILGORE AND THOMASTON POLICE CHIEF MIKE RICHARDSON HAVE RELEASED THE NAMES OF THEIR OFFICERS INVOLVED IN WHAT APPEARS TO BE A DRUG ARREST WITH ALLEGED UNPROFESSIONAL CONDUCT MARCH 15TH AT THE WALTHAL TRUCK STOP ON 36 EAST.

SHERIFF KILGORE SAID THE GBI IS INVESTIGATING SGT. CODY KENNEDY AFTER HE AND THE CHIEF REVIEWED THE INCIDENT WITH DISTRICT ATTORNEY BEN COKER. SGT. KENNEDY HAS BEEN SUSPENDED WITHOUT PAY DURING THE PROBE.

THE CHIEF SAID SGT. BRUCE GILBERT WAS TERMINATED AND PATROLMAN MATT ALLEN WAS SUSPENDED A WEEK WITHOUT PAY AND MUST UNDERGO ADDITONAL TRAINING.


THE TWO TOP COPS HAVE BEEN GUARDED IN THEIR COMMENTS TO THE MEDIA—BUT SHERIFF KILGORE TOLD ZOOM NEWS—THE INCIDENT STARTED WITH A TRAFFIC STOP FOR SPEEDING AND SUSPECTED METH WAS FOUND. 

Thursday, March 22, 2018

David Scott Batchelor entered a non-negotiated guilty plea in front of the Honorable W. Fletcher Sams.

BENJAMIN D. COKER
DISTRICT ATTORNEY
Griffin Judicial Circuit

PRESS RELEASE

On March 21, 2018, David Scott Batchelor entered a non-negotiated guilty plea in front of the Honorable W. Fletcher Sams. The defendant was charged with 30 counts of Sexual Exploitation of Children. On Counts 1-29, Judge Sams sentenced the defendant to 20 years with the first 18 to be served in prison. On Count 29, the defendant was sentenced to 20 years probation to run consecutively to his prison sentence and on Count 30, the defendant received 20 years, consecutive probation. His total sentence was 60 years with the first 18 years to be served in prison.
District Attorney Coker said of the plea and resulting sentence, “child pornography is not a victimless crime. Every time someone views or downloads these images, the children depicted are revictimized. This sentence sends a strong message that if you choose to engage in this kind of conduct, then the consequences will be severe. I would like to thank my staff, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, the Upson County Sheriff’s Office, and the witnesses in this case. If we all continue to work together as a team, we can get these predators off of the streets and keep our children safe.”

TU SCHOOL BOARD CALLED MEETING MONDAY

THE THOMASTON-UPSON BOARD OF EDUCATION WILL HOLD A CALLED MEETING MONDAY TO CONDUCT MORE INTERVIEWS TOWARD HIRING A NEW SCHOOL SUPERINTENDANT—ALL INTERVIEWS ARE HELD IN CLOSED SESSION.

THE MEETING SCHEDULED 4PM AT SSS FARMS CABIN ON WEST MOORE'S CROSSING ROAD . ZOOM NEWS HAS BEEN TOLD 7 APPLICANTS HAVE BEEN INTERVIEWED THUS FAR. SUPERINTENDANT DR. MAGGIE SHOOK IS RETIRING AFTER THIS SCHOOL YEAR.


RETIRED SCHOOL SUPERINTENDANT DR. FRANK KING HAS BEEN RETAINED BY THE BOARD TO FACILITATE THE HIRING PROCESS.  

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

SILVERTOWN TRIANGLE PROPERTY OFF THE MARKET

THE THOMASTON CITY COUNCIL HAS TAKEN THE TRIANGLE PROPERTY IN SILVERTOWN OFF THE MARKET—ONE ACRE AN ATLANTA COMMERCIAL DEVELOPER OFFERED HALF A MILLION DOLLARS—FOR LAST YEAR— THAT COUNCIL TURNED DOWN.

FOLLOWING AN EXECUTIVE SESSION AT THE BEGINNING OF THE MEETING TUESDAY LAKEITHA REEVES MADE A MOTION THAT IT NOT BE OFFERED FOR SALE—BUT ADDED AT SUCH TIME CITY HALL RECEIVES AN OFFER COUNCIL FEELS IS IN THE BEST INTEREST OF THE COMMUNITY -- IT MAY GET FURTHER CONSIDERATION.


COUNCILMAN DON GREATHOUSE ABSTAINED DUE TO FAMILY CONNECTIONS TO THE NEAR-BY ROGERS PROPERTY—IT WAS A 4-ZERO VOTE IN FAVOR OF THE MOTION SECONDED BY COUNCILMAN RYAN TUCKER. COUNCIL OFFERED NO OTHER EXPLANATION FOR THE MOVE.

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

MARCH 20 UL RUNNING KNGHTS DAY

BIG TURN-OUT ON THE COURTHOUSE SQUARE FOR A CEREMONY TO SALUTE THE REPEAT STATE CHAMPION UL RUNNING KNIGHTS BASKETBALL TEAM—FOLLOWING THEIR PARADE—TUESDAY.


THOMASTON MAYOR J.D. STALLINGS AND UPSON COUNTY COMMISSION CHAIRMAN NORMAN ALLEN READ A PROCLAMATION DESIGNATING TUESDAY—MARCH 20TH—UL RUNNING KNIGHTS DAY. 

$700,000 THEFT IN PIKE COUNTY

Pike County Sheriff’s Office Investigators concluded a five month long investigation into a scam operation which has resulted in the arrests of two men. Billy Daniels Sr. , 70 years of age from Zebulon, and George Veal, 52 years of age from Milledgeville, were arrested yesterday and charged with Violation of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization Act (RICO). Daniels has an additional charge of theft by deception.

The investigation into the men’s activities began after a complaint from a local citizen about investing money with the suspects in which their was to be a return paid that was never received. Victims were found as far away as Minnesota and throughout Georgia, after numerous interviews with victims a pattern of getting them to invest in nonexistent companies was found. The suspects even provided documents and had incorporated a fake company to make the business dealings appear legitimate to the victims. Veal is an attorney and money was commonly sent to his accounts by the victims at which time he was found to keep portions of the proceeds for himself.

The suspects had a wide array of victims that included elderly people, cancer patients and lawyers. All of which were swindled out of varying amounts of money.

A total of over $700,000 was found to have been taken in by the two suspects. Both men are in the Pike County Jail and Daniels has a bond of $300,000, Veal’s bond has not been set yet. Daniels is currently on probation from Monroe County where he was convicted for Theft by Conversion in 2013, he also has a prior federal court conviction for embezzlement and theft from a health benefit plan in 1997.

It is possible that more unknown victims exist. If anyone has had any investment business with either of these two suspects you can call an Investigator at 770-567-8431.

SANITARY SEWER OVERFLOW WALMART LIFT STATION

Public Notification Sanitary Sewer Overflow at Collection System Walmart Lift Station Force Main County: Upson Date of Release: 3/13/2017 Contact Person: Brian Kelly Phone: 706-646-8031 Mailing Address: 340 N Center Street City: Thomaston Zip: 30286 On March 13, ESG was checking the force main behind the Walmart department store due to low flows at the wastewater plant. After investigating, we found the pipe leaving the Walmart lift station was compromised, allowing sewage to leak when the pumps were running. The leak was found at 11:14 am. As a result we shut the lift station down and started repairs. We were able to get the leak stopped at 12:38 pm when the force main finished draining. We contacted Upson County Water and Sewer department asking if they could shut down their lift station that feeds the Walmart lift station to reduce the incoming flow. They were able to comply. The repairs were made, and the station was brought back on line at approx. 3:40 pm. There was a release of 35 gallons per minute for 84 minutes for a total of 2940 gallons due to the broken pipe. The release reached a tributary of Potato Creek. A spill notice sign has been posted at the site. Should you have any questions, I can be reached at 706-910-9506. The Georgia Department of Natural Resources has been notified and the affected area has been treated within the regulations of the Georgia Department of Natural Resources. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to call the above listed contact person

Thursday, March 15, 2018

SCHOOL THREATS IN TALBOT AND SPALDING SCHOOLS WED.

SCHOOL THREATS IN TALBOT AND SPALDING COUNTIES WEDNSDAY.

THE TALBOT COUNTY SCHOOLS WERE CLOSED THURSDAY AFTER A BOMB THREAT WENT VIRAL ON SOCIAL MEDIA WEDNESDAY THAT DISPATCHED THE FBI GBI AND LOCAL LAW ENFORCEMENT –A REPORT THAT 10 BOMBS WERE PLANTED IN SEVERAL LOCATIONS AROUND THE SCHOOL.

IN GRIFFIN—TWO FEMALE STUDENTS WERE TAKEN TO METRO JUVENILE DETENTION AFTER A THREAT TO SHOOT-UP CARVER ROAD MIDDLE SCHOOL.


SHERIFF DARRELL DIX SAID THE POSTING ON SOCIAL MEDIA COULD ALSO INVOLVE A 7TH GRADER WHO HAS BEEN QUESTIONED BUT NOT YET DETAINED. HE TOLD OFFICERS THEY WOULD NEED A SEARCH WARRANT TO SEARCH HIM AND HIS CELLPHONE.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Two U-L Knights Make All State Team

Senior Tye Fagan and junior Travon Walker were named to the AAAA All State First Team today.

Fagan led the Knights in scoring while Walker controlled the boards with 12 rebounds in last weekend's state championship game. The Knights win streak now stands at 63 games.

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Upson-Lee Wins 4A Championship

The Upson-Lee boys defended their 4A state championship by defeating St. Pius 70-54 at McCamish Pavillion on the campus of Georgia Tech Saturday.

Tavias Fagan led the running Knights with 21 points and grabbed 10 rebounds, Jarrett Adderton added 16 as four of the five starters were in double figures. Zyrice Scott scored 14 while Travon Walker dropped in 11 and led the team in rebounding with 12.

Cameron Traylor had 6 points and Alejandro Lockhart rounded out the scoring with 2.

The Knights winning streak now stands at 63, the third longest in Georgia high school basketball history. MaxPreps’ Xcellent 25 has the Knights ranked as the number 13 team in the country.

Friday, March 9, 2018

UPSON CANDIDATES IN THE MAY 22ND PRIMARY

QUALIFYING ENDED FRIDAY FOR THE MAY 22ND PRIMARY AND IN UPSON COUNTY TWO COUNTY COMMISSION SEATS ARE CONTESTED AND ONE SCHOOL BOARD POST.

DISTRICT THREE COUNTY COMMISSIONER INCUMBENT RALPH ELLINGTON OPPOSED BY PLANNING COMMISSION CHAIRMAN PAUL D. JONES—BOTH REPUBLICANS.

COUNTY COMMISSION DISTRICT 4 THE SEAT HELD BY VETERAN COMMISSIONER FRANK SPRAGGINS WHO IS NOT SEEKING REELECTION. AARON S. DAWSON DEMOCRAT AND BENJAMIN WATSON THE 4TH, REPUBLICAN.

SCHOOL BOARD DISTRICT 4—CHAIRMAN KEITH B. ROHLING AND BRIAN SALTER.


STATE HOUSE DISTRICT 131, UPSON, PIKE, LAMAR, INCUMBENT JOHNNIE CALDWELL AND KEN PULLIN BOTH REPUBLICANS AND DEMOCRAT CHRIS BENTON.  

Thursday, March 8, 2018

UL RUNNING KNIGHTS LOOK TO REPEAT AS STATE CHAMPS

THE UPSON LEE RUNNING KNIGHTS WILL MEET ST. PIUS OF ATLANTA SATURDAY 4PM AT THE GA. TECH BASKETBALL ARENA TO DEFEND THEIR STATE CHAMPIONSHIP—A TITLE THEY WON OVER ST. PIUS LAST SEASON BY 5 POINTS.
ZOOM 105-9/101-1 PRE-GAME COVERAGE BEGINS AT 2PM.

HIGH SCHOOL BASKETBALL EXPERTS LIKE KYLE SANDY SAY THIS GAME COULD BE CLOSER


SANDY TEAMS UP WITH THOMASTON SPORTS WRITER WES MCCARD ON A PODCAST ABOUT THE GAME , AVAILABLE ON THE WEBSITE SANDYSSPIEL . COM. 

THOM COUNCIL LOOKING AT A STORMWATER FEE SYSTEM

THE CITY OF THOMASTON'S PROPOSAL TO IMPLEMENT A STORMWATER FEE PROGRAM TO ADDRESS DRAINAGE ISSUES HAS FIRED-UP SOCIAL MEDIA—AND MOST POSTS OPPOSE IT. AT A PUBLIC MEETING TUESDAY THE CITY COUNCIL GOT QUESTIONS FROM SEVERAL CITIZENS INCLUDING GARY SELF, BRYAN SALTER, JULIAN BETHEL AND FORMER WATER/SEWER EMPLOYEE GARFON JUNG WHO TOLD THE MAYOR AND COUNCIL THE 1949 WASTE-WATER TREATMENT PLANT NEEDS REPLACING.

CITY ENGINEER TRAY GAVIN AND A REP FROM AN ATLANTA FIRM TOLD THE PUBLIC THOMASTON'S STORMWATER SYSTEM IS 100 YEARS OLD AND WATER RUN-OFF GENERATES LOTS OF COMPLAINTS FROM CITIZENS ON FLOODING AND SUCH.

$350,000 A YEAR IS DRAWN FROM THE GENERAL FUND TO DEAL WITH IT—BUT COUNCIL IS LOOKING AT CHARGING HOMEOWNERS 3.95 A MONTH, AND COMMERCIAL PROPERTIES MORE—SOMETHING TO GENERATE $460,000 A YEAR. SURVEYOR SELF SAID HE CALCULATED UNITED BANK'S BUILDING AND PARKING LOT SQUARE FOOTAGE AND CONCLUDED IT WILL COST THE BANK $1000 A YEAR.

BIG BOX STORES COULD PAY $900 A MONTH, SCHOOLS $500 A MONTH, SUPERMARKETS $350 AND CHURCHES MIGHT BE INCLUDED AT $60 A MONTH.


THE FEE PLAN COULD BEGIN SEPT. IST IF APPROVED BY COUNCIL.   

Monday, March 5, 2018

TWO UL KNIGHTS ARRESTED FOR POT

TWO MEMBERS OF THE UL KNIGHTS BASKETBALL TEAM WILL NOT PLAY IN SATURDAY'S STATE CHAMPIONSHIP GAME AT GA. TECH BECAUSE OF A SATURDAY NIGHT MARIJUANA ARREST.

STARTER JACOREY JAMAL SMITH AND A RESERVE OTIS JAVEON WALKER , BOTH 17 YEARS OF AGE WERE ARRESTED NEAR THE GREATEST GENERATION PARK ALONG WITH TWO 18 YEARS OLDS, RODNEY RAINES AND HAMILTON HARRIS HARRISON.

THOMASTON POLICE CHIEF MIKE RICHARDSON TOLD ZOOM NEWS A 911 CALL ABOUT SUSPICIOUS VEHICLES DISPATCHED OFFICERS , WHO DETECTED A MARIJUANA ODOR AND A K-9 OFFICER FOUND POT IN 3 OF 4 VEHICLES.

ALL FOUR POSTED BOND OF $982 AND WERE RELEASED AT THE UPSON COUNTY JAIL.


ITS THE POLICY OF THE THOMASTON-UPSON COUNTY SCHOOLS TO PROHIBIT PARTICIPATION IN SCHOOL ACTIVITIES FOLLOWING AN ARREST UNTIL THE INVESTIGATION IS COMPLETED.

Friday, March 2, 2018

MORE PUBLIC COMMENT ON THE TRIANGLE PROPERTY TUES.

THE ITEM IS NOT ON TUESDAY'S AGENDA FOR THE THOMASTON MAYOR AND COUNCIL —BUT THREE CITIZENS HAVE SIGNED-UP FOR PUBLIC COMMENT ON THE TRIANGLE PROPERTY AT SILVERTOWN—GREG WILSON, CHASE FALLIN, AND DEANN HOPKINS.

THE REGULAR MEETING STARTS EARLIER THAN USUAL—AT 6PM WITH A PUBLIC MEETING TO DISCUSS ADDING A MONTHLY STORM-WATER CHARGE TO UTILITY BILLS.



Thursday, March 1, 2018

GA. GEN. ASSEMBLY APPROVES TAX CUT BILL

STATE HOUSE MEMBER JOHNNIE CALDWELL TOLD ZOOM NEWS THURSDAY —THE $5 BILLION TAX CUT BILL HAS BEEN PASSED BY BOTH HOUSES AND IS HEADED TO GOVERNOR NATHAN DEAL FOR HIS SIGNATURE—A BILL THAT STRIPPED A $40 MILLION TAX BREAK FOR DELTA AIR LINES.

REPRESENTATIVE CALDWELL SAID THE BILL DOUBLES THE STANDARD DEDUCTION FOR GEORGIANS STARTING IN 2018 AND REDUCES THE STATE INCOME TAX RATE STARTING IN 2019 FROM 6% TO 5.75 PER CENT AND IN 2020 IT FALLS TO 5.5%.


CANDIDATE FOR GOVERNOR---LT. CASEY CAGLE WENT OFF ON DELTA WHEN THEY CUT TIES WITH THE N.R.A. AND SAID HE WOULD KILL THE INCENTIVE UNLESS DELTA RESTORED TIES WITH THE NRA. GOVERNOR DEAL RECOILED AND SAID HE WAS FRUSTRATED BY THE ANTICS OF REPUBLICANS SEEKING HIGHER OFFICE—BUT THE SUPPORTED TAX RELIEF FOR GEORGIANS.  

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

IDA MEETS AT SOLUTIONS PEST AND LAWN

Press Release
Solutions Pest and Lawn

Solutions Pest & Lawn manufactures and distributes professional pest control products out of our Thomaston facility. 

The process begins with EPA approval for our formulations. Extensive testing and scientific research goes into getting each product approved to control listed insects. Our products are tested for safety, efficacy and residual control. We are strategically located 20 minutes south of the primary pesticide testing facility in the United States, Snell Scientific.

After approval raw materials are sourced from suppliers both locally and around the globe. Ingredients are blended together following the approved methodology and a finished product is tested before being packaged off into and use packaging destined for distributors and for shipment directly to consumers.

Our ecommerce division operates two websites selling directly to pest control companies and homeowners across the country.

Solutions sells excess capacity on our equipment to other companies in the pest control industry providing formulating, packaging, and shipping services.

“Locating in Thomaston has been extremely beneficial for Solutions Pest & Lawn”, said Solutions Pest and Lawn CEO Zach Colander. He added “it is strategically located for shipping and key suppliers and the city has been extremely accommodating throughout the search process. One of our concerns throughout the site search was personnel. Working with the development authority, Solutions has been able to recruit and develop a talented workforce that executes at a high level. The benefits that the Thomaston facility provides are a competitive advantage allowing Solutions to compete with and supply much larger companies.”

Kyle Fletcher, Executive Director of the Thomaston-Upson IDA, says “Solutions Pest and Lawn has been a great addition to our local industrial base. It’s exciting to see the facility so active and we look forward to the next phase of their production line. The incentive package for Solutions Pest and Lawn totals $150,000 over a 5 year period. There is a 5 year breakdown of the job creation and investment for each year. For year one, the job creation is 17 FT employees and a $3.2 million investment. The IDA partnered with the City of Thomaston for $50,000 and the IDA added $100,000 for this project.”

“We are excited to continue our investment into the City of Thomaston as we continue to grow our manufacturing and ecommerce”,  said Colander. We highly recommend the City of Thomaston and Upson County as an ideal location for any manufacturing or ecommerce business.

Monday, February 26, 2018

IDA PLEDGES TRIANGLE PROPERTY STATEMENT

THE CHAIR OF THE THOMASTON-UPSON DEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY—CARSON GLEATON SAYS THE IDA WILL HAVE A STATEMENT ON THE PROPOSED SALE OF THE TRIANGLE PROPERTY IN SILVERTOWN AT THE MARCH MEETING. SHE WAS RESPONDING TO A QUESTION FROM ZOOM RADIO NEWS AT THE CLOSE OF MONDAY'S FEBRUARY MEETING—HELD AT SOLUTIONS PEST CONTROL.

IDA EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR KYLE FLETCHER TOLD THE BOARD DURING THE MEETING—HER STATEMENT TO THE THOMASTON MAYOR AND COUNCIL LAST WEEK WAS AIMED AT EDUCATING THE PUBLIC ON THE ISSUES ON WHAT POTENTIALLY COULD BE A COMMERCIAL VENTURE AT THE SITE.



PIKE CO. CLASS OF 1969 TO BE HONORED

PIKE COUNTY GOT A BIG WRITE-UP IN THE SUNDAY AJC ABOUT A GRADUATION CEREMONY SET FOR SATURDAY AT 10AM AT THE PIKE COUNTY AUDITORIUM FOR THE CLASS OF 1969 AT PIKE COUNTY COMPREHENSIVE HIGH SCHOOL—THE SCHOOL FOR MINORITY STUDENTS AT THE TIME. STUDENTS WHO NEVER RECEIVED A DIPLOMA.

THE AJC SAID THE STUDENTS WERE DENIED DIPLOMAS BECAUSE THEY TOOK TO THE STREETS AND PROTESTED THE WAY THE COMMUNITY WAS HANDLING DESEGREGATION.

ACCORDING TO AJC POLITICAL WRITER JIM GALLOWAY—AS PUNISHMENT THE CLASS OF 1969 WAS BARRED FROM GRADUATION AND NEVER RECEIVED DIPLOMAS.


THE PIKE COUNTY BOARD OF EDUCATION PASSED A RESOLUTION LAST YEAR AUTHORIZING DIPLOMAS FOR THE STUDENTS --31 STILL LIVING 13 DECEASED.

Friday, February 23, 2018

UL RUNNING KNIGHTS ON THE ROAD WED.

THE UL RUNNING KNIGHTS WINNERS OF 60 IN A ROW LOST A COIN TOSS AND WILL TRAVEL NEAR THE TENNESSEE LINE TO PLAY LAFAYETTE HIGH WEDNESDAY AT 7PM HERE ON THE ZOOM. THE KNIGHTS BEAT SALEM HIGH OF CONYERS WEDNESDAY 52-44 TO ADVANCE TO THE ELITE 8.

CONVICTION IN A GRIFFIN INCEST TRIAL-D.A. COKER REPORTS

BENJAMIN D. COKER
DISTRICT ATTORNEY
Griffin Judicial Circuit

2/23/2018

PRESS RELEASE

This week, Chief Assistant District Attorney Marie Broder and Assistant District Attorney Kathryn Lenhard with the Spalding County District Attorney’s Office tried the case of the State of Georgia vs. Steven Keith Spires in front of the Honorable W. Fletcher Sams and a Spalding County jury. The jury convicted Spires of Aggravated Child Molestation, Incest, 2 counts of Sexual Exploitation of Children, 3 counts of Child Molestation, Sodomy, and Statutory Rape. Judge Sams sentenced the defendant to Life in prison plus 120 years followed by 10 years on probation. Spires was convicted of engaging in sexual intercourse and other acts with his 12-year-old biological daughter over the course of 2 years. The defendant also filmed two of the interactions with his daughter. This evidence was presented to the jury.
The victim testified along with members of law enforcement, including the lead investigator, Carrie Williams-James, with the Spalding County Sheriff’s Office. Also presenting testimony to the jury were members of the Southern Crescent Sexual Assault and Child Advocacy Center, Dr. Angela Guidry, and two, now adult, prior victims of the defendant.
Chief Assistant Marie Broder said: “This case was difficult and emotional for all parties. Kate and I could not have done this without the support and work of a very dedicated team with our office, law enforcement, and Southern Crescent. The bravery shown by the victim and the two other women who took the stand and testified, is inspiring. I am so proud of them and everyone who worked diligently to bring about a just result. Let the sentence be a message to those who prey upon the most vulnerable in our society. We will continue to fight to bring justice for those victims in our community.”
District Attorney Coker stated, “I’m extremely proud of the work that Chief Assistant Marie Broder and ADA Kathryn Lenhard put into this case. I am also proud of law enforcement, members of the Southern Crescent team, and everyone else who testified throughout this week. This was an emotionally draining case for all parties involved, but my team worked tirelessly to ensure that a sexual predator will never victimize another child.

Thursday, February 22, 2018

PLANNING COMMISSION NEEDS MORE TIME ON CHICKEN HOUSES

THE CHAIRMAN OF THE UPSON COUNTY PLANNING COMMISSION PAUL JONES SAYS IT WILL TAKE MORE DISCUSSION BEFORE A NEW PROPOSED CHICKEN HOUSE ORDIANCE IS READY TO BE PRESENTED TO THE UPSON COUNTY COMMISSIONERS.


AT THE FEBRUARY MEETING, THE BOARD HEARD FROM POULTRY HOUSE BUSINESSMAN BILL THOMPSON AND JULIE WEATHERFORD WHO OPPOSED HOUSES ON REST HAVEN ROAD, THAT THOMPSON LATER MOVED TO ANOTHER LOCATION.

THREATS HAVE TWO STUDENTS IN TROUBLE TU SCHOOLS

AN ALLEGED THREAT AT UL HIGH CAUSED PANIC AND DISRUPTION IN THE THOMASTON-UPSON SCHOOL SYSTEM AND THE COMMUNITY—ON WEDNESDAY—BUT IT WAS APPARENTLY JUST AN INTERNET HOAK.

SHERIFF DAN KILGORE TOLD ZOOM NEWS— AN INVESTIGATION UNDERCOVERED THERE WAS NO THREAT JUST SOME UNTRUTHS POSTED ON SOCIAL MEDIA.

TWO OTHER INCIDENTS FOLLOWED THAT SOCIAL MEDIA EVENT AND GOT TWO STUDENTS IN TROUBLE AT THE HIGH SCHOOL AND MIDDLE SCHOOL.

SCHOOL SYSTEM SPOKESPERSON KAREN TRUESDALE SAID A HIGH SCHOOL STUDENT WAS SUSPENDED AND SHERIFF KILGORE SAID HE WAS ALSO CHARGED WITH DISRUPTION OF A PUBLIC SCHOOL—AFTER HE STOOD-UP IN CLASS AND YELLED OUT—HE'S GOT A GUN—BUT NO WEAPON WAS FOUND.

A MIDDLE SCHOOL STUDENT WAS TURNED OVER TO HIS PARENTS AND HIS CASE SENT TO JUVENILE COURT—AFTER HE REPORTEDLY SAID SOMETHING TO THE EFFECT—THERE'S GOING TO BE ANOTHER SCHOOL SHOOTING—AND IT WILL BE IN THIS SCHOOL—AND I WILL BE THE SHOOTER.


SHERIFF KILGORE SAID IT BEARS REPEATING OVER AND OVER—IF YOU SEE OR HEAR SOMETHING—DON'T POST IT ON SOCIAL MEDIA—CALL 911 SO LAW ENFORCEMENT CAN INVESTIGATE.  

SCHOOL THREAT AN INTERNET HOAX

UPSON COUNTY SHERIFF DAN KILGORE SAID HIS OFFICE CONCLUDED AN INVESTIGATION INTO ALLEGED THREATS BY A WHITE MALE STUDENT AT UL HIGH WEDNESDAY AND FOUND THE THREATS WERE BASELESS.

THE STUDENT WAS INTERVIEWED ALONG WITH 15 CLASSMATES AND NO ONE COULD CONFIRM ANYTHING WAS SAID BY THE STUDENT WHO WAS CALLED-OUT BY NAME ON SOCIAL MEDIA AS MAKING THEATS.

THE SHERIFF SAID THERE WERE TWO OTHER INCIDENTS WEDNESDAY AND A 17 YEAR OLD HIGH SCHOOL STUDENT WILL BE CHARGED WITH DISRUPTION OF A PUBLIC SCHOOL FOR MENTIONING A GUN IN SOME CONTEXT.

ANOTHER MIDDLE SCHOOL STUDENT MADE SOME COMMENTS THAT GOT HIM IN TROUBLE.

SHERIFF KILGORE WARNS THE PUBLIC TO AVOID SOCIAL MEDIA POSTINGS THAT ARE NOT TRUE. HE SAID THE POSTINGS WEDNESDAY CAUSED A PANIC AND DISRUPTION IN THE SCHOOL SYSTEM AND COMMUNITY.

THE SHERIFF URGED PARENTS TO SPEAK WITH THEIR CHILDREN ABOUT MAKING COMMENTS THAT COULD GET THEM IN TROUBLE WITH THE SCHOOL ADMINISTRATION AND LAW ENFORCEMENT. IF YOU SEE OR HEAR SOMETHING—CONTACT SCHOOL OFFICIALS AND CALL 911 TO GET LAW OFFICERS INVOLVED. DO NOT POST ANYTHING ON SOCIAL MEDIA THAT COULD BE RUMOR OR FALSEHOOD—AS HAPPENED WEDNESDAY—THE SHERIFF CONCLUDED.



Wednesday, February 14, 2018

TU NEW SCHOOL SUPERINTENDANT SEARCH

The Thomaston-Upson Board of Education continues to work on selecting a new superintendent of schools. Planning for the search began in December, as Dr. Maggie Shook is retiring at the end of the 2017-18 school year. The Board asked King-Cooper and Associates, a superintendent search firm, to serve as consultants for the search. The position was advertised with an application deadline of February 2, 2018, and information about the search and the application process was available on the school system website. The Board also conducted an online survey that was completed by over 460 community members and school district staff.

On Monday, February 19, the Board will review applications and begin planning the interview process. The first round of interviews will begin in early March and continue for several weeks. The Board will select a small number of candidates for a second round of interviews.

The Board received thirty-seven applicants for the position. Twenty-six have a doctorate, and all met the requirement of having a minimum of the six-year leadership certificate. Nine of the applicants are superintendents or have superintendent experience. Also in the applicant pool are twelve assistant superintendents or system directors, twelve principals, and four individuals in other education-related positions. Twenty-eight of the applicants are from Georgia school systems.

Board Chairperson Mr. Keith Rohling stated, “We are very pleased with the number of applicants. This is a critical decision, and the Board is committed to selecting another excellent leader for our school system.”

PLANNING BOARD GREEN LIGHTS SPECIAL EVENTS VENUE

HALF A DOZEN NEIGHBORS OPPOSED TO A SPECIAL EXCEPTION REQUEST BY STEVE HARPER AT 577 ROLAND ROAD FOR A SPECIAL EVENT VENUE—HAD THEIR SAY MONDAY—BUT THE UPSON COUNTY PLANNING COMMISSION VOTED UNANIMOUSLY TO RECOMMEND APPROVAL TO THE COUNTY COMMISSIONERS—WITH SEVERAL CONDITIONS.

HARPER TOLD THE BOARD RUMORS OF ROCK CONCERTS AND MOTORCROSS EVENTS WERE UNTRUE—HE PROPOSES WEDDINGS, BIRTHDAYS, FAMILY AND CLASS REUNIONS AT HIS NEW PAVILION.

ANNE CAROL DANIEL—CHARGED TRAFFIC CONGESTION WILL BE A PROBLEM—IT SHOULD BE ON A STATE ROUTE NOT A COUNTY ROAD. SHE CLAIMED IT WILL COST COUNTY TAXPAYERS BECAUSE IT WILL DECREASE PROPERTY VALUES. SHE TOLD THE BOARD SHE HAD A 90-NAME PETITION AGAINST IT.

EX-COUNTY COMMISSIONER STEVE HUDSON—A NEIGHBOR TO THE SITE—SAID HE SUPPORTS IT.


PLANNING COMMISSION CONDITIONS—A CAP OF 500 PATRONS, MUSIC STOPS AT 10PM—NO ROCK CONCERTS OR MOTORCROSS EVENTS AND SUCH—AND A PLEDGE FROM HARPER TO BUILD RESTROOMS IF THE COUNTY COMMISSIONERS GIVE FINAL APPROVAL NEXT MONTH.  

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

UPSON COUNTY HIRES NEW CODE ENFORCEMENT OFFICER

UPSON COUNTY COMMISSION CHAIRMAN NORMAN ALLEN HAS ANNOUNCED THE HIRING OF A NEW CODE ENFORCEMENT OFFICER---JEREMY BLOUNT—A FORMER SGT. WITH THE THOMASTON POLICE DEPARTMENT-- JEREMY'S -REPLACING SUSAN MORRIS WHO RETIRED LAST YEAR.

Friday, February 9, 2018

LOCUS GROVE POLICE OFFICER SHOT AND KILLED

ACCORDING TO THE GBI---A CITY OF LOCUS GROVE POLICE OFFICER WAS SHOT AND KILLED AND TWO HENRY COUNTY DEPUTIES WERE WOUNDED WHEN THEY WENT TO SERVE A CRIMINAL WARRANT FOR FAILURE TO APPEAR AROUND 11AM ON ST. FRANCIS COURT IN THE LINDEN PARK SUBDIVISION—LOCUS GROVE—FRIDAY AROUND 11AM.

ONE OF THE WOUNDED OFFICERS SHOT AND KILLED THE SUSPECT.

THE GBI SAID THE SLAIN OFFICER WAS 26 YEAR OLD CHASE MADDOX A 5 YEAR VETERAN OF THE P.D. -- MARRIED AND EXPECTING HIS 2ND CHILD ANY DAY NOW. OFFICER MADDOX DIED AT ATLANTA MEDICAL CENTER.

ONE OF THE WOUNDED DEPUTIES IDENTIFIED AS 49-YEAR OLD MICHAEL CORLEY—BROTHER OF PASTOR WADE CORLEY OF MT. ZION UNITED METHODIST CHURCH IN GRIFFIN. AT THE HOSITAL PASTOR CORLEY SAID A BULLET WENT THROUGH HIS BROTHER'S VEST AND CAUGHT HIM IN THE LUNGS. DEPUTY CORLEY HAS TWO SONS AGES 14 AND 11.

THE SNELLVILLE POLICE CHIEF SAID ONE OF THE DEPUTIES SHOT IS THE FATHER OF ONE OF HIS OFFICERS.

THE SUSPECT HAS NOT BEEN IDENTIFIED.



HENRY COUNTY SHERIFF KEITH MCBRAYER SAID THE TWO DEPUTIES WENT TO SERVE THE WARRANT ON THE MAN—AND AFTER SPEAKING WITH HIM—IT APPEARED HE WAS GOING TO GIVE TROUBLE—SO THEY CONTACTED LOCUS GROVE P.D. FOR BACK-UP AND OFFICER MADDOX WAS DISPATCHED.



Thursday, February 8, 2018

CHARGES DROPPED AGAINST RICKERSON IN PIKE CO.

GRIFFIN JUDICIAL CIRCUIT DISTRICT ATTORNEY BEN COKER HAS DISMISSED THE MISDEMEANOR CHARGE AGAINST RETIRED GRIFFIN FIRE FIGHTER RICK RICKERSON—STEMMING FROM AN ACCIDENT SCENE IN PIKE COUNTY IN OCTOBER 2017. THE D.A. TOLD US THURSDAY THERE WAS SIMPLY NOT ENOUGH EVIDENCE TO GET A CONVICTION IN THE CASE.

CORPORAL JETER OF THE GA. STATE PATROL FILED CHARGES OF OBSTRUCTION OF AN OFFICER AGAINST RICKERSON AFTER HIS REPORT SAID RICKERSON REFUSED TO MOVE HIS VEHICLE TO MAKE WAY FOR EMERGENCY TRAFFIC.

WITNESSES PRAISED RICKERSON FOR RENDERING AID TO AN ACCIDENT VICTIM AND CONTINUED A CAMPAIGN ON SOCIAL MEDIA IN SUPPORT OF HIS ACTIONS.

D.A. COKER TOLD ZOOM NEWS —TENSIONS, EMOTIONS, AND ADRENALINE RAN HIGH AT THAT WRECK SCENE—AND ESCALATED ON THE PART OF RICKERSON AND CORPORAL JETER TO A POINT WHERE RICKERSON WAS ARRESTED.

ACCORDING TO PROSECUTOR COKER—HIS OFFICE HAD NOT LOOKED INTO THE CASE UNTIL ABOUT A WEEK AGO—BUT HAD RECEIVED NUMEROUS CALLS FROM CITIZENS ABOUT RICKERSON'S ARREST .





UPSON SCHOOL BUS INVOLVED IN ACCIDENT

A MAN WHO RAMMED A UTILITY POLE AT 19 NORTH AND STAGECOACH ROAD LATE WEDNESDAY AND TOOK A BUSH BOND TO THE WOODS—IS STILL AT LARGE—ACCORDING TO UPSON COUNTY SHERIFF DAN KILGORE.

A PASSENGER IN THE CAR WAS DETAINED AT THE SCENE BY DEPUTIES—AND THE SHERIFF SAID HIS OFFICE HAS AN IDEA OF THE DRIVERS I.D.

AN UPSON COUNTY SCHOOL BUS INVOLVED IN THE WRECK HAD SOME FRONT END DAMAGE WHEN A GUY WIRE FROM THE POLE FELL ACROSS IT—BUT NO STUDENTS WERE INJURED.


THE S.O. TURNED THE WRECK INVESTIGATION OVER TO THE GSP

UPSONIANS AT THE STATE CAPITAL

STATE REPRESENTATIVE JOHNNY CALDWELL SAYS DR. REX KING-PASTOR OF MOUNTAIN VIEW BAPTIST CHURCH IN THOMASTON HAS BEEN INVITED TO THE STATE CAPITAL ON TUESDAY FEB. 20TH TO GIVE A DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYER.


HOUSE MEMBER CALDWELL HAS FILED AN INVITE RESOLUTION FOR THE U L RUNNING KNIGHTS BASKETBALL TEAM TO BE RECOGNIZED UNDER THE GOLD DOME ON MARCH 14TH AND REPRESENTATIVE CALDWELL AND COACH DARRELL LOCKHART WILL ADDRESS THE GA. HOUSE.   

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

THOMASTON CITY COUNCIL REJECTS BID FOR TRIANGLE PROPERTY

THE THOMASTON CITY COUNCIL FOLLOWED A RECOMMENDATION FROM CITY MANAGER RUSSELL THOMPSON AND REJECTED A BID FROM AN ATLANTA DEVELOPER TO PURCHASE THE TRIANGLE OF PROPERTY IN SILVERTOWN FOR HALF A MILLION DOLLARS, TUESDAY NIGHT.


BEFORE A STANDING-ROOM-ONLY CROWD---THE CITY MANAGER SAID THE BID DID NOT CONFORM TO CITY SPECIFICATIONS. COUNCIL FOLLOWED THAT MOTION WITH ONE TO RE-BID THE PROPERTY.  

STATE WIDE TORNADO DRILL POSTPONED

THE STATE WIDE TORNADO DRILL SET FOR WEDNESDAY HAS BEEN POSTPONED UNTIL FRIDAY.

UPSON EMA DIRECTOR MARTHA ANN MCCARTY SAID THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE WAS CONCERNED ABOUT A COLD FRONT MAKING ITS WAY ACROSS THE STATE AND OFFICIALS DID NOT WANT ANY REAL EVENTS TO COINCIDE WITH A DRILL EVENT.

EMA DIRECTOR MCCARTY SAYS DAVE NADLER OF N.W.S. SAYS UPSON COUNTY IS IN THE NEW TORNADO ALLEY FOR MIDDLE GA.--8 TORNADOS WERE RECORDED IN UPSON COUNTY IN 2017—CAUSING HUGE TIMBER DAMAGE BUT LITTLE BUILDING DAMAGE.


THE PUBLIC IS URGED TO REVIEW THE INFO ON THE EMA FACEBOOK PAGE TO USE IN PREPARATION PLANNING.  

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

UPDATE GANG SHOOTING IN THOMASTON

On January 25, 2018, Officers of the Thomaston Police Department were dispatched to Sixth Avenue in reference to a male subject with gunshot wounds. Upon officer’s arrival they located a male lying on the sidewalk between 525 and 521 Sixth Avenue. Officers identified the male as 17 year old Ectaviea Bryant from Rutledge, Georgia. Bryant stated he had been shot multiple times and gave a detailed description of the suspects that shot him and the vehicle in which they left. Officers observed injuries to the back of Bryant’s head, right bicep, right hand, upper right back and left buttocks. 

TPD Criminal Investigators were called to the scene to begin an investigation. Officers located the primary crime scene which was in the vacant lot across from A Street by the water tower. While processing both crime scenes officers observed a red SUV leaving the Willow Tree Apartments at a high rate of speed. The SUV matched the description given by Bryant so officers conducted a felony traffic stop. During the traffic stop Officers located five subjects inside the SUV all of which were detained for further investigation. 

The subjects were identified as Angelina GARCIA, 43 years of age from Conyers, Georgia, Quaneseia MASSENBERG, 18 years of age from Conyers, Georgia, Adrian PORTER, 22 years of age from Stone Mountain, Georgia, Jade BRADSHAW, 18 years of age from Thomaston, Georgia, and Gregory LAWSON 23 years of age from Thomaston, Georgia. 

During the investigation Officers located three firearms in the vehicle, a Taurus Judge .45 cal./410, a Ruger 22 caliber and a Smith and Wesson 9mm. The Taurus and Ruger were reported stolen out Newton County. A fourth handgun, a Smith and Wesson .40 caliber, was found at the secondary crime scene which was also confirmed stolen out of Gwinnett County. 

 After conducting multiple interviews with the subjects and witnesses it was determined that Bryant (the victim) was brought to Thomaston, Georgia by GARCIA, MASSENBERG and PORTER with the understanding that he would rob a drug dealer. Bryant was unaware that he was, in fact, the intended target of a gang related assassination attempt. While waiting at the water tower to conduct what he thought was going to be a robbery, Bryant was shot from behind by PORTER multiple times. Investigators also determined GARCIA, MASSENBERG, PORTER, LAWSON and the victim to be members of the Blood Gang. The victim was airlifted to an undisclosed hospital to be treated for his injuries and is listed in stable condition. Investigators were informed the victim is expected to recover from the gun shots sustained during the incident. 

As result of the investigation the following arrest warrants have been obtained; GARCIA: Conspiracy to Commit a Crime “Murder”, Party to a Crime Aggravated Assault and Party to a Crime Aggravated Battery; MASSEBERG: Conspiracy to Commit a Crime “Murder”; PORTER: Conspiracy to Commit a Crime “Murder”, Aggravated Assault and Aggravated Battery; LAWSON: Conspiracy to Commit a Crime “Murder”, Party to a Crime Aggravated Assault and Party to a Crime Aggravated Battery; BRADSHAW: Reckless Conduct. The investigation is still ongoing and more charges are expected to be filed on all subjects for the participation in a criminal street gang and firearms charges. They are all currently being held at the Upson County jail.

“This crime was a violent criminal street gang act by Blood gang members from outside our community with ties to other gang members and or associates within our community. We are not taking this incident or any other gang related acts lightly and will be charging all the parties involved under the Georgia Gang Act which requires an additional 10 years sentencing in addition to all other sentencing received if convicted. 

 Our detectives and officers have worked this case very aggressively and have done an excellent job in quickly apprehending all the parties, gathering evidence, and filing charges regarding this heinous crime. I have consulted with the DA, Ben Coker, along with Sheriff Kilgore, and we intend to work together to build the best possible case against these alleged gang members and any other potential gang members that would think about committing criminal gang acts in our community. These acts, not only unlawful but immoral and degrading to our community, will not be tolerated. 

 Thomaston and Upson County, if we intend to keep our community safe we must be willing to be aware of and report criminal activity. When we stay silent we not only tolerate but accept negative, evil influence to dictate the future of our community. We encourage you to stand with us and help fight these gangs by not being afraid to speak up, be a witness, and say something when you see something.”