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!