Friday, March 22, 2019

NO RULING FRIDAY IN JQC HEARING ON JUDGE CRAWFORD

ATTORNEY VIRGIL BROWN TOLD ZOOM NEWS FRIDAY HE FEELS “PRETTY GOOD “ ABOUT THE WAY AN ETHICS HEARING BY A PANEL OF THE STATE JUDICIAL QUALIFICATIONS COMMISSION CONCLUDED FRIDAY ON SUSPENDED SUPERIOR COURT JUDGE ROBERT MACK CRAWFORD. THE JQC IS SEEKING TO REMOVE JUDGE CRAWFORD FROM OFFICE BASED ON CHARGES OF THEFT OF $15,000 FROM THE PIKE CO. SUPERIOR COURT REGISTRY THE JUDGE CLAIMS WERE HIS LEGAL FEES FROM A REAL ESTATE CASE WHEN HE WAS A PRIVATE ATTORNEY. THE JQC THREE MEMBER PANEL DID NOT MAKE A RULING FRIDAY—BUT ATTORNEY BROWN SAYS HE EXPECTS IT SOON.

JUDGE CRAWFORD, ATTORNEY EUGENE DABBS , AND PIKE COUNTY PASTOR BILLY SMITH WERE AMONG THOSE WHO TESTIFED AT THE CONTINUED HEARING IN HENRY COUNTY. A COBB COUNTY JUDGE DENIED A MOTION FOR INJUNCTION EARLIER IN THE WEEK—THAT CONTESTED THE COMPOSITION OF THE JQC.



MEMORIAL AT SPREWELL BLUFF FOR THE LATE JOHNNY HAMMONDS

Mr. Johnny’s Bench
Mr. Johnny Carthan Hammonds more affectionately known as “Mr. Johnny” was one of the first employees at Sprewell Bluff Park. On March 12th the Upson County Board of Commissioners presented his wife Sylvia Hammonds and his son John Hammonds with a Proclamation to place a memorial plaque on Mr. Johnny’s Bench. He began his employment with Upson County on May 8th, 2015 as a Parking Attendant until December 24th, 2018 when he passed.  Mr. Johnny would spend many long hours and had sold hundreds of parking passes on the bench that sits across the road from the Park Overlook Deck.  That bench will be always be remembered as Mr. Johnny’s Bench to those who had the privilege of meeting him while passing through the park, or even sitting alongside him for a friendly chat.
The park will be holding a dedication ceremony for Mr. Johnny Carthan Hammonds on March
24th at 7:00pm at the Park Overlook. Anyone who would like to attend his dedication ceremony,
share a story, or honor his memory is all invited to sit on “Mr. Johnny’s Bench”. 

EVANS FOOD GROUP BUYS TURKEY CREEK SNACKS

March 21, 2019

Turkey Creek Joins Forces with Evans Food Group

Evans Food Group acquires leading pork rinds manufacturer

Chicago, IL, March 21, 2019 – Wind Point Partners and portfolio company Evans Food Group (“Evans” or the “Company”), a leading global producer of branded and private label pork rinds, are pleased to announce today that Evans has acquired Turkey Creek Inc. (“Turkey Creek”). Turkey Creek, founded in 1977 and headquartered in Thomaston, Georgia, is a leading national producer of pork rinds.  
The pork rind market is the fastest growing and one of the most attractive in all of salty snacks.  The combination of Evans and Turkey Creek creates the opportunity to leverage both companies’ complementary product and brand portfolios and distribution networks. Turkey Creek also enables Evans to secure a strong position in the strategic convenience channel and adds a manufacturing platform in the southeast. 
Jose Luis Prado, Evans Chairman and CEO, expressed, “I am delighted to welcome the entire Turkey Creek team into the Evans family. Both companies share a passion for delighting our customers with delicious and high-quality products and being great partners to our customers and distributors for many decades. We are also excited to leverage Turkey Creek assets to expand our product portfolio with more product solutions and brands. The combination also increases our capacity to keep up with this fast-growing market."


“We are excited about the combination of Evans and Turkey Creek. Both companies are intensely focused on growing the pork rinds category."

Joe Lawler, Principal


The acquisition of Turkey Creek continues Wind Point’s long history of partnering and working with family-held businesses. Joe Lawler, Principal with Wind Point Partners, stated, “We are excited about the combination of Evans and Turkey Creek. Both companies are intensely focused on growing the pork rinds category. From a strategic perspective, the acquisition of Turkey Creek will give Evans a launch pad to grow in the large convenience channel and enhance our manufacturing capacity and capabilities in a new geography.”
Gail and Laddie Fulcher, the founders of Turkey Creek, commented, “The merging of Turkey Creek and Evans, with the support of Wind Point, is a win-win for our customers, our team members and for our town.  All three organizations share common values.  Leveraging Evans’ national manufacturing footprint will allow us to serve Turkey Creek’s clients across the country in a much better way. The combination will also enable expansion of the Thomaston plant.  We are excited to remain involved in supporting a successful transition.” 
Wind Point Partners acquired Evans in April of 2016 in partnership with Jose Luis Prado, a more than 30-year veteran of the global snacks industry.  Turkey Creek is the second complementary acquisition for Evans.  Evans acquired Gaytan Foods in 2017, which strategically enhanced the Company’s West Coast presence.  In cooperation with Jose Luis and Evans management, Wind Point will seek to continue growing the Evans platform through a combination of organic growth and innovation, as well as additional acquisitions. 
The Wind Point investment team has considerable experience in the consumer products and food space, an area of focus for the firm since its founding in 1984, with Evans representing the firm’s 7th platform investment in the food space over the last decade.
BMO Harris Bank N.A. and Antares Capital led financing for the transaction. White & Case served as legal counsel to Evans.

Thursday, March 21, 2019

UPSON CO GRAND JURY INDICTMENT FOR VEHICULAR HOMOCIDE

ACCORDING TO GRIFFIN JUDICIAL CIRCUIT DISTRICT ATTORNEY BEN COKER THE UPSON COUNTY GRAND JURY RETURNED A TRUE BILL OF INDICTMENT ON BRIAN KEITH LOGAN FOR VEHICULAR HOMOCIDE, WEDNESDAY.


LOGAN IS ACCUSED OF BEING RESPONSIBLE FOR THE DEATH OF MICHAEL SMALLWOOD—HE ALLEGEDLY TURNED IN FRONT OF SMALLWOOD'S MOTORCYCLE AT 36 EAST AND TRICE CEMETERY ROAD.  

SPALDING SO ARRESTS THOMASTON MAN FOR METH

On March 19th, 2019, members of the Spalding County Sheriff’s Office Special Operations Division and C.A.G.E. Unit concluded an investigation that lead to the arrest of Dustin Darville a white male, 37 years of age, from Thomaston, Ga. 

As part of their investigation, agents were conducting surveillance on Darville that included following his movements. On the 19th, shortly after he crossed in to Spalding County, Investigator Cameron Arnold conducted a traffic stop on the vehicle Darville was operating. Once stopped, Darville was asked for consent to search his vehicle, and of course he refused to consent to the search. 

Based on their knowledge of Darville and his drug distribution, Investigator Sheldon Mayfield who is also one of our K-9 handlers, deployed his K- 9 “Ludo”. Ludo alerted on the car and during the subsequent search that was conducted, the methamphetamine was found in a soccer ball that had been cut open that was laying in the back seat. 

Darville has been charged with possession of methamphetamine, possession of methamphetamine with the intent to distribute, trafficking methamphetamine and possession of marijuana less than one ounce. He is currently residing in the Spalding County Jail. The Spalding County Sheriff’s Office would like to thank the Upson County Drug Task Force for their assistance during the investigation.

GSP SGT. MAURICE RAINES OF THOMASTON PROMOTED TO LT.

GEORGIA STATE PATROL SGT. MAURICE RAINES HAS BEEN PROMOTED TO LT. AND WILL BE THE GSP LIAISON REPRESENTATIVE IN THE GOVERNOR'S OFFICE OF HIGHWAY SAFETY WORKING WITH DIRECTOR ALLEN POOL AND HIS STAFF TO BRING TRAFFIC SAFETY AWARENESS TO GEORGIA.


LT. RAINES IS A RECENT GRADUATE OF THE FBI ACADEMY IN QUANTICO, VIRIGINA AND TOLD ZOOM NEWS HE IS GRATEFUL TO THE STATE COMMISSIONER OF PUBLIC SAFETY FOR BEING NOMINATED TO ATTEND THE FBI ACADEMY, AND HE IS GRATEFUL THE FBI NATIONAL ACADEMY ACCEPTED HIM—A 10 WEEK PROGRAM OF ADVANCED COMMUNICATION, LEADERSHIP, AND FITNESS TRAINING.

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

MURDER INDICTMENTS RETURNED BY UPSON GRAND JURY

MURDER INDICTMENTS WERE RETURNED BY THE UPSON COUNTY GRAND JURY, WEDNESDAY ON CAMERON JONES, AGE 20 OF THOMASTON AND KIERA WILLIAMS, AGE 18 OF ELLENWOOD FOR THE SHOOTING DEATH OF RODERICK CRAWFORD OF LAMAR COUNTY , ACCORDING TO DISTRICT ATTORNEY BEN COKER.

DR. DERICO THANKS PUBLIC FOR ESPLOST VOTE

Superintendent Dr. Larry Derico stated, "On Tuesday, March 19, voters in Upson County approved a 5-year, $15 million renewal of the Education SPLOST for Thomaston-Upson Schools. 

I am both humbled and honored by the support of our community. On behalf of the Thomaston-Upson Board of Education, our 4,068 students, and our 708 employees, I offer sincere thanks to everyone who reinvested in our schools and our students by casting a vote in favor of this ESPLOST. 

Your vote will help to improve the future of the Thomaston-Upson School System and the future of our community."

MOTORIST FLEEING THE LAW AND A TROOPER INJURED

IN PIKE COUNTY EARLY TUESDAY, A MOTORIST RUNNING FROM A ROAD CHECK AND A STATE TROOPER CHASING HIM WERE BOTH INJURED WHEN THEY FLIPPED OVER ON HIGHWAY 362.

ACCORDING TO GSP POST 26 IN THOMASTON---THE DRIVER OF A 2002 TAHOE, 44 YEAR OLD CLEVELAND DORSEY OF AMERICUS ROLLED OVER SEVERAL TIMES , WAS EJECTED AND AIR FLIGHTED TO GRADY HOSPITAL IN ATLANTA.

TROOPER JACOB OLIVER FLIPPED IN HIS PATROL UNIT AND WAS TREATED AND RELEASED AT SPALDING REGIONAL HOSPITAL.

PROPERTY DAMAGE FROM THE WRECK CAUSED A POWER OUTAGE IN THE AREA AROUND OLD FAYETTEVILLE ROAD.


DORSEY FACES SEVERAL CHARGES INCLUDING DUI , FLEEING, AND SUSPENDED LICENSE.  

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

UPSON TSPLOST AND ESPLOST PASS BY WIDE MARGINS

THE TRANSPORTATION SPLOST AND THE EDUCATION SPLOST CONTINUATION BOTH PASSED WITH OVER 70% OF THE VOTE IN UPSON COUNTY, TUESDAY.

THE TSPLOST FOR ROAD PAVING 73.52% TO 26.48%, 755 VOTES TO 272.

THE ESPLOST 77.21% TO 22.79%, 796 VOTES TO 235, WITH A 7% VOTER TURNOUT.


MURDER CASE BEFORE UPSON CO GRAND JURY

GRIFFIN JUDICIAL CIRCUIT DISTRICT ATTORNEY BEN COKER SAYS EVIDENCE WILL BE PRESENTED TO THE UPSON COUNTY GRAND JURY WEDNESDAY ON TWO DEFENDANTS CHARGED WITH THE MURDER OF A LAMAR COUNTY MAN.


CAMERON JONES, AGE 20 OF THOMASTON AND KIERA WILLIAMS, 18 , OF ELLENWOOD ARE CHARGED WITH THE SHOOTING DEATH OF RODERICK CRAWFORD OF BARNESVILLE, WHOSE BODY WAS FOUND IN LINCOLN PARK JAN 3. AUTHORITIES SAY CRAWFORD MADE CONTACT WITH WILLIAMS ON A ESCORT WEBSITE AND THE TWO ALLEGEDLY TRIED TO ROB CRAWFORD WHEN HE SHOWED UP . THE TWO ALSO FACE MURDER CHARGES IN THE ATLANTA AREA.

FATALITY IN UPSON CO. MONDAY

ACCORDING TO POST 26 GA. STATE PATROL A PEDESTRIAN AT HER MAILBOX WAS KILLED WHEN STRUCK BY A CAR IN THE 3200 BLOCK OF YATESVILLE HIGHWAY MONDAY AFTERNOON.

THE VICTIM—78 YEAR OLD SUE SELF GRUBBS OF 3280 HIGHWAY 74 EAST WAS DECEASED AT THE SCENE.

A MACON MOTORIST—34 YEAR OLD DARRYL TOLEN WAS WEST BOUND AND APPARENTLY LOST CONTROL OF HIS 2005 SATURN VUE, CROSSED THE HIGHWAY AND STRUCK MS. GRUBBS. THE CAR THEN OVERTURNED AFTER HITTING A CULVERT BETWEEN TRINITY ROAD AND THE ROCK ROAD.

TOLEN WAS TRANSPORTED TO URMC WITH NON-LIFE THREATENING INJURIES. MS. GRUBBS IS THE SISTER OF THOMASTON SURVEYOR GARY SELF.


THE GSP ACCIDENT INVESTIGATION TEAM HAS BEEN CALLED INTO THE INVESTIGATION BY POST 26.  

Monday, March 18, 2019

THOMASTON MAYOR AND COUNCIL MARCH 19 AGENDA

CITY OF THOMASTON
MEETING OF THE MAYOR AND CITY COUNCIL – AGENDA
MARCH 19, 2019 – 7:00 P.M.
City-County Meeting Room, Main Floor, R. E. Lee Building

A. Call Meeting to Order / Invocation / Pledge Allegiance to the Flag.

B. Approval of Minutes of March 5, 2019.

C. Adoption of Agenda.

D. Public Comment and Announcements.

E. Introduction of the City’s New Web Site.

F. City Attorney’s Report.

G. Assistant City Clerk’s Report.

H. City Engineer’s Report.

I. City Manager’s Report.

1. Amendment to Cemetery Ordinance.

2. Approval of 1888 Demolition Permit.

3. Discussion of Water Service on Goshen Road.

4. Officials Compensation.

J. Other Business.

K. Executive Session.

L. Adjournment.

Friday, March 15, 2019

5TH JUDGE APPROVED FOR GRIFFIN JUDICIAL CIRCUIT

THE GA. HOUSE AND SENATE HAVE APPROVED FUNDING FOR A 5TH SUPERIOR COURT JUDGESHIP FOR THE GRIFFIN JUDICIAL CIRCUIT THAT INCLUDES PIKE, UPSON, FAYETTE, AND SPALDING COUNTIES.


THE BILL NOW GOES TO GOVERNOR BRIAN KEMP FOR HIS SIGNATURE AND THE GOVERNOR IS EXPECTED TO SIGN IT AND APPOINT THE 5TH JUDGE PRIOR TO JAN I, 2020 WHEN THE NEW JUDGE WILL BEGIN A 4 YEAR TERM.  

EARLY VOTING TOTALS FOR TUES TSPLOST AND E-SPLOST IN UPSON CO

EARLY VOTING ENDED FRIDAY FOR A $17 MILLION TRANSPORTATION SPLOST AND A $15 MILLION CONTINUATION OF THE EDUCATION SPLOST IN UPSON COUNTY—AND A TOTAL OF 529 VOTES CAST, 8 OF THOSE BY MAIL FOR TUESDAY'S REFERENDUM.


IN LAMAR COUNTY A NEW JAIL AND SUNDAY LIQUOR SALES WILL BE ON TUESDAY'S BALLOT AND 416 EARLY VOTES WERE CAST.  

EXTRA SECURITY AT UPSON CO COURTHOUSE FRIDAY

SHERIFF DAN KILGORE ORDERED EXTRA SECURITY OUTSIDE THE UPSON COUNTY COURTHOUSE AND INSIDE THE COURTROOM FRIDAY WHILE SOME MOTIONS WERE HEARD BY SUPERIOR COURT JUDGE FLETCHER SAMS ON ALLEGED GANG MEMBER ANGELINA GARCIA. MS. GARCIA FROM NORTH CAROLINA IS SUSPECTED TO BE A MEMBER OF THE BLOODS GANG INVOLVED IN A SHOOTING INCIDENT ON A. STREET—A CASE THAT HAS 6 DEFENDANTS IN ALL.

DISTRICT ATTORNEY BEN COKER SAYS MS. GARCIA IS SCHEDULED TO GO ON TRIAL IN UPSON COUNTY ON MONDAY, MARCH 25TH. AUTHORITIES BELIEVE THE GANG MEMBERS CAME TO THOMASTON WITH INTENT TO CARRY OUT A HIT ON GANG MEMBER XTAVIA BRYANT—WHO WAS SHOT DURING THE INCIDENT, BUT SURVIVED.
SHERIFF KILGORE SAID THERE HAVE BEEN NO DIRECT THREATS BUT AS A PRECAUTION HE POSTED DEPUTIES ON ALL CORNERS OUTSIDE THE COURTHOUSE AND ADDITIONAL DEPUTIES INSIDE THE COURTROOM.


D.A. COKER SAID TWO DEFENDANTS IN THE CASE ARE FROM THOMASTON, GREGORY LAWSON AND JADE BRADSHAW.

SCHOOL BOARD APPRECIATION WEEK

The week of March 18-22 is School Board Appreciation Week in Georgia. 

The weeklong observance calls attention to the contributions of local board of education members to their school districts and to their communities. “Citizens elect board members to represent the community’s voice on education matters and to set the vision for the school district.

We are extremely fortunate in our community to have board members who embrace and embody our vision for the future of Thomaston-Upson Schools,” stated Superintendent Dr. Larry Derico. “I want to thank the members of the Thomaston-Upson school board for the countless hours they spend in service to our schools, our students, and our community to ensure that we always provide excellence in education for every individual, every day.” 

This week we want to give special recognition to our local school board members: Chairperson Ms. Jacqueline Hollis, District 2; Vice-Chair Mr. Jaye Eubanks, District 7; Ms. Angeline McGill, District 1; Ms. Sheila Hall, District 3; Mr. Brian Salter, District 4; Mr. Leon Fowler, District 5; Mr. Stephen Sadler, District 6. 

Thank you for your service!

TSPLOST AND ESPOST ON THE BALLOT TUESDAY IN UPSON

A SPECIAL ELECTION IS SET FOR TUESDAY, MARCH 19TH FOR A $17 MILLION TRANSPORTATION SPLOST FOR THE COUNTY OF UPSON, AND CITIES OF THOMASTON AND YATESVILLE, MONEY THAT CAN BE USED FOR ROAD PAVING AND SIDEWALKS.

THE COUNTY WOULD RECEIVE $9.5 MILLION, THE CITY OF THOMASTON $7.3 MILLION AND YATESVILLE $170,000. IF APPROVED UPSON COUNTY WANTS TO BOND $6 MILLION TO BEGIN ROAD PAVING ASAP. THE COUNTY HAS ABOUT 422 MILES OF ROADS AND MAYOR PRO TEM DOUG HEAD SAYS THE CITY OF THOMASTON HAS 67 MILES OF ROADS. TO RESURFACE ALL OF THEM WOULD COST THE COUNTY $60 MILLION AND THE CITY OF THOMASTON OVER $14 MILLION.

ALSO ON THE BALLOT TUESDAY, THE THOMASTON-UPSON COUNTY SCHOOLS WANT TO CONTINUE THE CURRENT EDUCATION SPLOST WITH $15 MILLION. THE BIGGEST AMOUNT $5.1 MILLION WOULD BE FOR BUILDING UPGRADES, $3 MILLION FOR COMMUNICATIONS EQUIPMENT , AND THERE'S MONEY FOR TEXTBOOKS, VEHICLES AND HALF A MILLION FOR SECURITY.



Wednesday, March 13, 2019

NEW PRINCIPAL AT UL HIGH

At the March 12th meeting, the Thomaston-Upson Board of Education approved Dr. Jarvis Price as Principal of Upson-Lee High School, as recommended by Superintendent Dr. Larry Derico. 

Dr. Price currently serves as Assistant Principal at ULHS and is completing his second year at the school. He holds a Doctor of Education degree in Educational Leadership from Georgia Southern University along with the following degrees: Bachelor of Science in Education with a major in Middle Grades Education (Georgia Southern University); Master of Education in Educational Leadership (Georgia College & State University); Education Specialist in Educational Leadership (Georgia College & State University); Education Specialist in Curriculum & Instruction (Liberty University). 

Dr. Price has worked as a middle grades teacher in the Thomaston-Upson and Bibb County School Systems and served as Assistant Principal of Baldwin High School for two years prior to coming to ULHS as Assistant Principal. Dr. Price’s wife, the former Ashley Favors, is a school counselor at Upson-Lee Middle School. Both Dr. and Mrs. Price were born and raised in Upson County and graduated from Upson-Lee High School. They are expecting their first child in July of this year. 

Dr. Price will take over the position of ULHS Principal following Mr. Tracy Caldwell's retirement at the end of this school year.

MOLENA, GA , A PURPLE HEART CITY

On April 27, 2019, at 11:00 am, at the City Pavilion/Fire Station, the City of Molena Georgia will celebrate becoming a Purple Heart City. The designation is given by the state Military Order of the Purple Heart as a thank you to our veterans and a reminder to the community of the sacrifices servicemen and women have made for us.

A Purple Heart is awarded to any armed forces member wounded or killed in combat.

If you are a Purple Heart recipient, we invite you to contact the City of Molena at 770-884-9711 so that we may recognize you at our ceremony.

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

TEACHERS OF THE YEAR T-U SCHOOLS

. Schools announced their 2019-20 Teachers of the Year last week. Congratulations to Mrs. Lauren Hall, Upson-Lee Primary Teacher of the Year; Mrs. Amanda Waters, Upson-Lee Elementary Teacher of the Year; Mr. Tim Bosworth, Upson-Lee Middle School Teacher of the Year; and Mrs. Bethany Norris, Upson-Lee High School Teacher of the Year. These teachers will now advance to the Thomaston-Upson School System Teacher of the Year competition, where a panel of community judges will evaluate the teachers based on their written applications, personal interviews, and classroom observations

TWO KILLED IN HENRY CO. WRECK

On March 12, 2019, at approximately 1:27 am, HCPD Officers were notified of a possible stolen vehicle (Silver Mazda CX9 SUV with broken headlight) out of Chamblee Georgia being tracked in the McDonough area by a Global Positioning System. A HCPD Officer spotted the suspect vehicle in the parking lot of a hotel off of Mill Road at Jonesboro Road and attempted to stop the vehicle. The suspect vehicle struck the driver’s door of our officer and a vehicle pursuit began. The suspect vehicle entered I-75 North Bound from Jonesboro Road and exited at Jodeco Road, performed a U-turn and continued down the exit ramp in the wrong direction. As the suspect vehicle entered onto to I-75, our Officers did not continue the pursuit and slowed on the exit ramp. The suspect vehicle entered onto the North Bound lane and collided with a  white F150. The driver of the F150 died as a result of the collision. The driver and the passenger of the Mazda were pulled to safety by HCPD Officers. The driver of the Mazda was transported to Grady Memorial Hospital where he was later pronounced deceased. The passenger of the Mazda was transported to an area hospital and his condition is unknown. The suspect vehicle was confirmed stolen by Chamblee P.D. and reported around 11:35 pm. It is believed the suspects were in the McDonough area to commit entering auto thefts. The Georgia State Patrol is the lead agency on the vehicle fatality. HCPD Officers dashcam footage of the pursuit cannot be released to the public until the HCPD Pursuit Report is completed.

Deceased Driver of stolen Mazda: Adolphus D. Knight, 19 y.o.a of Riverdale
Deceased Driver of F150: Kalif B. Patterson, 38 y.o.a of Dalzell South Carolina

CLASSES RESUMED IN GRIFFIN

CLASSES RESUMED TODAY IN GRIFFIN AT REHOBOTH MIDDLE SCHOOL AND SPALDING COUNTY HIGH AFTER THE SCHOOLS WERE EVACUATED AND SEARCHED BY LAW ENFORCEMENT.


THE SCHOOLS HAD RECEIVED SOME TYPE OF THREAT ON SOCIAL MEDIA, ACCORDING TO SPALDING COUNTY S.O.

TWO SCHOOLS IN SPALDING CO EVACUATED

 A threat over social media has led officials to evacuate two schools in Spalding County.
According to the Griffin-Spalding County school system, administrators evacuated Spalding High School and Rehoboth Road Middle School after a threat was made toward both schools on social media.
While officials have not said whether they think the threat is valid, they evacuated both schools so that law enforcement could search both schools.
School officials say all students and staff members are safe.
Investigators have not yet provided the details of the threat or whether anyone will be charged

Friday, March 8, 2019

PRESS RELEASE SPALDING CO SHERIFF DARRELL DIX

Spalding County Sheriff Darrell Dix in cooperation with the Spalding County Fire Department will be conducting a series of town hall meetings across our community. Each week in April Sheriff Dix and his Command Staff will be setting up meetings at Spalding County Fire Stations in each district. Command staff from the Spalding Fire Department will also be present to address your concerns, and how together we can promote public safety across the county. According to Sheriff Darrell Dix, “Our hope is that through the face to face town hall meetings we will have an open discussion about your concerns, answer questions, and hear your ideas about crime and other public safety issues that are affecting you and your quality of life. It has been one of my beliefs from the beginning that rather than going in to a community and telling them what their problems are, we should spend time listening to the community and hearing their ideas about issues that they view as problems. There are many occasions that what law enforcement may see as a problem in the community may not be the problem that the community sees as a priority. It doesn’t do any good for someone to come in to your house and tell you that they are going to come in and paint your walls when you don’t have a roof to protect them from the rain. It’s about listening, prioritizing, and solving problems while being tough on criminals, crime, and enforcing the law. By working hand in hand with citizens we can address the issues and continue to move us forward in making Spalding County better place to live, work, play, and raise our families.” This is one of the many programs that the Spalding County Sheriff’s Office has pledged to do, and will continue to do, that will allow us to work with and be a part of the Spalding County community while building relationships and trust. If you cannot attend a meeting at a fire station near you, you can attend any other meeting that will be held.

MARCH 11 AGENDA UPSON PLANNING COM

UPSON COUNTY PLANNING COMMISSION Since 1995 – 25 Years REGULAR MEETING AGENDA Thomaston-Upson County Government Administration Complex 106 East Lee Street – R.E. Lee Building City/County Meeting Room, #140 Monday, March 11, 2019, 5:30 P.M. (Please silence all audible alarms.) 1. Call to Order and Roll Call 2. Adoption of Meeting Minutes - February 11, 2019 Regular Meeting - Minutes Provided 3. Old Business A. Speaker: Animal Ordinance Development – Adrian Releford, Upson County, Director of Animal Control Discussion of Residential Animal Ordinance – No Materials B. Discussion of Solar Ordinance – Materials Previously Provided 4. New Business A. Speaker: Fair Housing/Group Home Issues – Shane Wellman, Director, Altrus Inc. – Materials Provided B. Application for Variance – VAR2019-01, James E. Burnette; 134 Lanier Road, Parcel 071 060, For A-R Second Dwelling on Less Than Four (4) Acres - Materials Provided 1. Public Hearing 2. Commission Discussion C. Application for Rezoning – REZ2019-03, W. Shaun Benton, 32 Old Alabama Road, Parcel #042C 003, From C-2 to R-2 - Materials Provided 1. Public Hearing 2. Commission Discussion 5. Other Business 6. Planning Commissioner Issues and Announcements 7. Secretary’s Issues and Announcements a. TRRV Program Update b. Manufactured Home Ordinance Update 8. Adjournment (OVER) \\ucboc-vmdc2\dcurrier\planning commission\agendas\2019 pl comm ag\3 - march 11, 2019 - pl comm ag.docx (Commissioners: Please cal

MONDAY DEADLINE TO REGISTER RV'S IN UPSON CO

MONDAY 5PM IS THE DEADLINE IN UPSON COUNTY TO REGISTER YOUR RV IF YOU ARE LIVING IN IT FULL TIME—BUT U MUST OWN IT TO LIVE THERE.


UPSON PLANNING DIRECTOR DOUG CURRIER REPORTED AS OF 5PM FRIDAY ONLY 30 WERE REGISTERED AT THE ZONING OFFICE AND PROJECTS THERE ARE PROBABLY HUNDREDS LIVING IN RV'S THAT COULD BE SUBJECT TO CITATIONS.

THOMASTON MAN DIED IN HENRY CO WRECK TUES

ACCORDING TO THE HENRY COUNTY POLICE DEPARTMENT, A THOMASTON MAN AND ANOTHER MOTORIST FROM MCDONOUGH WERE KILLED TUESDAY NIGHT IN A BAD WRECK ON 1-75 NEAR HUDSON BRIDGE ROAD –AND 3 VEHICLES CAUGHT FIRE.

THE FATALITIES—LELAND D. WILSON AGE 40 OF THOMASTON DRIVING A HONDA ACCORD AND THE DRIVER OF AN AUDIE COUPE , SYLVIA P. WELCH 59 , OF MCDONOUGH, DIED AT THE SCENE AND SEVERAL OTHER VICTIMS WERE TRANSPORTED TO THE E.R.

THE POLICE REPORT SAID WILSON'S HONDA WITH NO LIGHTS ON BROKE DOWN IN THE RIGHT-HAND LANE AND A TRACTOR -TRAILER HIT TWO OTHER CARS ,THEN THE HONDA-- AND THE TRUCK AND OTHER VEHICLES BURST INTO FLAMES.


THE ACCIDENT REMAINS UNDER INVESTIGATION.

WORKER IN GRIFFIN KILLED THURSDAY

ACCORDING TO SPALDING COUNTY CORONER SONNY FOSTER A CONTRACTOR FOR COMCAST DIED THURSDAY AFTERNOON WHEN HE CAME IN CONTACT WITH OVERHEAD POWER LINES WHILE WORKING ON COMMUNCATION LINES IN A BUCKET TRUCK IN A FIELD ALONG SIDE HIGHWAY 16 WEST OF GRIFFIN..

THE NAME OF THE 60-YEAR OLD MAN FROM THE TYRONE AREA HAS NOT BEEN RELEASED PENDING NOTIFICATION OF NEXT OF KIN.

THE CABLES AT THAT POINT RUN THROUGH A WOODED AREA AND IT SEEMS HE GOT TOO CLOSE TO LIVE POWER LINES AND WAS ELECTROCUTED .
.
FEDERAL AUTHORITIES AT OSHA ARE INVESTIGATING THE ACCIDENT.


CORONER FOSTER CALLED IT A SAD SITUATION.

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

UL/LAMAR CO TEACHER DONNA ANDREWS GOES NATION WIDE

THE STORY ABOUT UPSON-LEE / LAMAR CO HIGH WORK-BASED LEARNING TEACHER DONNA ANDREWS WINNING $10,000 -- HAS BEEN PICKED-UP BY THE WIRE SERVICES AND HAS GONE NATION-WIDE.

MS. ANDREWS WON THE CASH BY READING THROUGH A CONTRACT BY TRAVEL INSURANCE COMPARISON SITE SQUAREMOUTH—AND THE COMPANY WAS SO IMPRESSED WITH HER DEDICATION TO READING THEY ADDED $5000 FOR EACH HIGH SCHOOL.


SHE WON THE CONTEST 23 HOURS AFTER IT WAS LAUNCHED.  

THE LATEST ON UPSON COMMUNITY HEART AND SOUL

These statements will eventually be adopted by the city, county, school board and other organizations to be a compass to help guide our leaders in future decision making and be an addition to our Community’s Comprehensive Plan.



Arts & Culture--We have an appreciation for and a commitment to the arts and our local culture. We value organizations like Flint Rose Studios, Thomaston-Upson Arts Council, and Upson Lee Fine Arts Center for bringing us together to celebrate the visual arts, music, and traditions unique to our community.
Downtown Thomaston---Downtown Thomaston captures and conveys the spirit of our community because it is home to many of our one-of-kind locally-owned businesses, historic structures, and events. We appreciate the walkability of the Courthouse Square and the art-deco design of the Ritz Theater. We value being able to shop, eat, and visit with each other downtown at the local shops, the theater, and during various concerts and events.
Flint River/The Bluff---We believe the Flint River and Sprewell Bluff are two of the greatest assets our community has because they collectively provide us with magnificent scenic views and endless outdoor recreation opportunities that unite residents and attract visitors.
Local Assets---We appreciate the diversity and caliber of our unique local assets that range from The Rock Ranch to the Upson Regional Medical Center and directly impacts our overall sense of place and wellbeing.


Local Economy---Our community is fortunate to have a diverse base of small businesses investing in our community and that motivate us to support our economy by eating and shopping locally.
Natural Assets---We appreciate that overall our community has an abundance of natural resources which create beautiful open country views, clean fresh air, and offer residents and visitors a variety of outdoor opportunities to connect with nature and each other.


Parks & Recreation---We take pride in all of our local parks and recreation opportunities that they provide. Residents feel a special connection to the Greatest Generation Park and our strong recreation programs.
Public School System---We take pride in our local public school system because we understand and appreciate how it impacts the community by providing quality education and after-school programs. We cherish that we are recognized for and united by our school’s successful sports programs.

Small Town Feel ---We value the convenience, peacefulness, and safety of small-town life where relationships are built and maintained making this family-friendly community a great place to live.
The People---We value the people in our community who, through compassion, support and connectedness, lend to a sense of place, family, and belonging. We encourage our values being put into action through both individual and organized efforts.


Jennifer G. Rogers
Project Coordinator
Thomaston-Upson Community Heart & Soul


NEW BUSINESS COMING TO PIKE CO.

AT WEDNESDAY'S MEETING, THE PIKE COUNTY DEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY VOTED TO SELL TRACT 4 OF THE PIKE COUNTY INDUSTRIAL PARK TO F J PROPERTIES FOR $135,000. THE INITIAL INVESTMENT ESTIMATED AT $2 MILLION ACCORDING TO EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR GINNY BLAKENEY.

THE COMPANY IS PROPOSING A 40,000 SQUARE FOOT BUILDING WITH A SECOND PHASE OF ANOTHER 40,000 SQUARE FOOT BUILDING , RELATIVELY SOON AFTER THEY ESTABLISH THE FIRST BUILDING—A FIRM THAT SUPPLIES AND MONITORS MACHINES IN GAS STATIONS THAT FUND THE LOTTERY SYSTEM. THE FIRST YEAR ITS ANTICIPATED $25,000 WILL BE ADDED TO THE TAX DIGEST AND AFTER PHASE TWO—ABOUT $45,000 PER YEAR.

THE COMPANY IS CURRENTLY LOCATED IN SPALDING COUNTY BUT TOLD THE PIKE DEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY THEY NEED MORE LAND TO DO BUSINESS.


Tuesday, March 5, 2019

LIGHT TURN-OUT EARLY VOTING FOR E-SPLOST & T-SPLOST

COUNTY MANAGER WILLIAM WILSON JR. ANNOUNCED, MONDAY, THE TRANSPORTATION SPLOST PLANNED FOR NOVEMBER OF THIS YEAR BY SPALDING COUNTY AND CITY OF GRIFFIN HAS BEEN POSTPONED UNTIL MARCH OR MAY OF 2020—TO AVOID CONFLICT WITH AN EDUCATION SPLOST ON THE BALLOT FOR NOVEMBER 2019 BY THE GRIFFIN-SPALDING SCHOOLS.

UPSON COUNTY, THE CITY OF THOMASTON, AND CITY OF YATESVILLE HAVE A TRANSPORTATION SPLOST ON THE BALLOT MARCH 19TH—THE SAME DATE AS THE THOMASTON-UPSON SCHOOLS EDUCATION SPLOST. ACCORDING TO THE REGISTRAR'S OFFICE , A LIGHT TURNOUT SO FAR FOR EARLY VOTING—AS OF TUESDAY 251 VOTES CAST FOR THE T-SPLOST AND E-SPLOST IN UPSON.



RED CROSS BLOOD DRIVE IN THOMASTON

RED CROSS BLOOD DRIVE AT THE CIVIC CENTER IN THOMASTON TUESDAY, MARCH 12, 2;30PM TO 7;30PM. DONORS ARE NEEDED, BLOOD SUPPLY IS CRITICAL. PLEASE DONATE THE GIFT OF LIFE.

NEW VA FACILITY IN PIKE COUNTY

MAX KIRBY A FIELD REPRESENTATIVE OF U.S. 3RD DISTRICT CONGRESSMAN DREW FERGUSON SPOKE TO THOMASTON KIWANIS TUESDAY ABOUT THE VA OUT-PATIENT CLINIC PLANNED FOR PIKE COUNTY.

THE SIZE—GROUND UP NEW CONSTRUCTION OR LEASE OF AN EXISTING BUILDING, LOCATION AND BUDGET IS STILL TO BE DETERMINED—BUT IT WILL HAVE 350 PARKING SPACES AND PROVIDE 150 JOBS. CURRENTLY THREE SITES ARE IN THE RUNNING —ONE SOUTH OF ZEBULON, ONE NORTH ON 19 AND ONE IN THE CITY OF ZEBULON .

KIRBY SAID THE SIZE WILL BE BETWEEN 33,000 AND 49,000 SQUARE FEET WITH A BUDGET OF 20 TO $50 MILLION AND A LEASE TERM OF 15 TO 20 YEARS. THE BID WILL BE ANNOUNCED IN LATE SUMMER, AND A TOWN HALL MEETING WILL BE HELD ON SERVICES TO BE PROVIDED PROBABLY IN JUNE OR JULY.

A SIMILAR-SIZED FACILITY IN HUNTSVILLE, ALABAMA ATTRACTS OVER A MILLION PATIENTS A YEAR.



Talbotton Donations Accepted

A donation drop-off has been set up at the Talbotton Fire Department, 40 Monroe Street in Talbotton for anyone interested in donating items to the victims of Sunday's tornado.

For Thomaston and Upson County residents local drop-off locations have been set up at The Upson Beacon located downtown at 108 East Gordon Street, Century 21 Realty at 614 North Church Street and World Finance at 1059 Highway 19 North.

Century 21 Realty will be delivering to Talbotton on Wednesday.

Monday, March 4, 2019

T-U REC PRACTICE CANCELLED MONDAY

ACCORDING TO THE THOMASTON-UPSON RECREATION DEPARTMENT --DUE TO WET CONDITIONS SOCCER PRACTICE AND BASEBALL AND SOFTBALL PRACTICE MONDAY HAS BEEN CANCELLED.  

Talbot And Harris County Schools Closed

Talbot County schools will be closed until further notice due to Sunday's tornado.

Harris County has also closed schools for Monday due to damage and downed power lines from the storm, teachers and staff will report at 10:00 am. No decision has been made on reopening the schools on Tuesday.

Sunday, March 3, 2019

Tornado Strikes Talbotton And Southern Upson County

Photo Courtesy of WSB TV
The largest tornado outbreak of the year moved through south and central Georgia Sunday.

One of the strongest struck the city of Talbotton, destroying homes and overturning vehicles. Four residents were transported to area hospitals by EMS while many reported minor injuries that did not require medical assistance.

The tornado was first reported on the ground just east of Tuskegee, Alabama and was the first of two that tracked through Smiths Station in Lee County where the local coroner has requested help from the state to deal with at least 23 fatalities reported at this time.

The storm cell crossed into Georgia north of Columbus before entering Talbot County and intensifying as it struck the city of Talbotton. Veteran storm chasers believe the storm may be at least rated as an EF-3 and with additional inspection of the damage tomorrow could possibly reach EF-4 strength.

Damage in Talbotton may be viewed on the Live Storms Media Website here.

Upson EMA director Martha Ann McCarty reported that trees were down on Adams Ferry Road and a piece of a roof blown off of a home in Talbot County traveled over 20 miles and landed in Upson County.

After surveying the damage in Upson County, director McCarty and EMA personnel responded to a request for assistance in Talbot County where search and rescue efforts are still underway.

Friday, March 1, 2019

TRAFFIC FATALITY IN PIKE CO. FRIDAY

Pike County Deputies responded to a vehicle accident on Highway 19 at Gresham Road today at 11:46 a.m. A Chevrolet pick up truck was traveling westbound on Gresham Road when it ran the stop sign at Highway 19 and struck a Chevrolet passenger car.

The driver of the truck, Adrian Hampton , 28 years of age from Zebulon, was deceased at the scene. Jeffery Brown , 57 years of age, was injured in the other vehicle and transported to Grady Hospital by ambulance. Traffic investigators continue to look into this accident.

SPALDING CO. DEPUTY FIRED

On February 27, 2019, former Spalding County Deputy Charles Bentley was arrested and charged with one count of reckless conduct stemming from his actions during a domestic dispute with his live-in girlfriend that occurred on February 22, 2019.

According to the findings of our internal and criminal investigations, at some point during the dispute, Bentley allowed his girlfriend’s 11-year-old daughter access to his issued patrol rifle that was kept secured in a locking rack in his marked patrol unit. Bentley escorted the girl to his marked patrol unit, instructed her on how to unlock the rifle from its electronic rack, allowed her to handle the loaded rifle both outside and inside the residence before he unloaded it, instructed her on how to activate the optical sight, and told her to point the weapon toward her mother, who was standing in the kitchen at the time, by using the red dot. The child’s mother reported to responding deputies that when she realized what was happening the rifle was pointed at her.

The child’s mother waited until Sunday to report the encounter. No shots were fired, and no one was injured during the incident. According to Sheriff Darrell Dix, “After learning of the situation I immediately ordered simultaneous criminal and internal investigations to be conducted by our Criminal Investigations Division and Office of Professional Standards to determine criminal actions and policy violations.

Tuesday morning, I met with the assigned investigators separately, and each briefed me on the status of their own separate investigations. I met with Mr. Bentley at approximately 4:30pm on February 27, 2019 in my office. I informed him that he was fired based on the internal investigation and that he was under arrest for reckless conduct due the findings of the criminal investigation. Even though requested, I did not allow him to resign or retire in lieu of termination. Bentley was handcuffed and taken to the Spalding County Detention Center. He was booked in, processed, and posted bond later that night.”

Mr. Bentley had been employed by the Spalding County Sheriff’s Office for more than 20 years before being fired and arrested. “Mr. Bentley’s arrest was the result of bad choices that were of his own doing, and he, like others, are personally responsible for their own actions and choices with no excuses made or accepted for violating the law. At the time the rifle was pointed at her, the child’s mother had no idea if the weapon was loaded or not, all she knew is that the rifle was pointed at her. Whether it was loaded or not, it is still a violation of departmental policy and criminal law as he was not acting in his official capacity.

In this day and time, law enforcement officers who make bad choices or commit crimes must be held accountable for their actions just as the citizens we serve would be held accountable given the same circumstances. We fight every day to build the trust and confidence that our communities should have in us. One of the ways we can continue to build those relationships is to make sure that we, as a profession, are held accountable and we will do all we can do to accomplish it.

NEW ORDER ISSUED IN JUDGE CRAWFORD CASE

VIRGIL BROWN—ATTORNEY FOR SUSPENDED SUPERIOR COURT JUDGE ROBERT MACK CRAWFORD TOLD ZOOM NEWS ON FRIDAY A RESTRAINING ORDER WAS ISSUED AGAINST THE STATE JUDICIAL QUALIFICATIONS COMMISSION— IN COBB COUNTY SUPERIOR COURT.

ACCORDING TO ATTORNEY BROWN-- THAT ORDER WILL POSTPONE THE CONTINUED ETHICS HEARING SET FOR MARCH 22ND UNTIL A COBB COUNTY JUDGE RULES ON A MOTION THAT MEMBERS OF THE J.Q.C. ARE IMPROPERLY APPOINTED --- INCLUDING THE PANEL HEARING THE CASE.

THAT MOTION COULD BE HEARD IN LATE MARCH— IN COBB COUNTY , THE LAWYER TOLD US.

ONE OF THREE ALLEGATIONS FILED BY J.Q.C. AGAINST JUDGE CRAWFORD HAS BEEN DISMISSED AFTER A HEARING FEB. 25TH. PIKE COUNTY CLERK OF COURT CAROLYN WILLIAMS TESTIFED SHE WAS NOT ORDERED OR PRESSURED BY JUDGE CRAWFORD TO PAY HIM $15,000 FROM THE COURT REGISTRY—SO THAT CHARGE WAS DISMISSED. ITS MONEY THE JUDGE CLAIMS HE WAS OWED FROM A REAL ESTATE CASE WHEN HE WAS PRACTICING LAW.



PRESS RELEASE ON ULMS LOCKDOWN FRIDAY

Upson-Lee Middle School went into lockdown status today after a possible intruder was identified inside the school. It turns out that the person was an employee of a company working at the middle school, but school officials followed proper procedures and handled the lockdown proficiently following the report of a possible threat. “This was an example of what proper training can accomplish,” stated Superintendent Dr. Larry Derico. “We have stressed to students and staff that if you see something, say something. In this case, someone saw something that did not look right, and they reported it. A school lockdown followed while the report was investigated. Everyone did what they were supposed to do to keep students and staff safe at school.”

Due to their close proximity to ULMS, Upson-Lee Pre-Kindergarten also went to lockdown status during this time.

APPOINTMENTS BY T-U BOARD OF ED

At the Wednesday, February 27, school board meeting, the Thomaston-Upson Board of Education approved the following personnel appointments, effective for the 2019-20 school year:

Dr. Jeff Kelly, Director of Human Resources
Dr. Cristina Cunningham, Director of Federal Programs and Student Services
Mrs. Jessica Watson, Director of Student Information Systems
Mrs. Jenna Dunaway, Assistant Director of Special Education

Thursday, February 28, 2019

SEN. HARBIN INTRODUCES RELIGIOUS LIBERTY BILL

STATE SENATOR MARTY HARBIN —WHO REPRESENTS, PIKE, LAMAR, SPALDING, AND FAYETTE COUNTIES HAS INTRODUCED A RELIGIOUS LIBERTY BILL—A PROPOSAL SIMILAR TO WHAT GOVERNOR BRIAN KEMP HAS SAID HE WOULD SIGN INTO LAW.

SENATOR HARBIN SAID SENATE BILL 221 WOULD REQUIRE THE GOVERNMENT TO HAVE A COMPELLING INTEREST BEFORE IT COULD INTERFERE WITH SOMEONE'S RELIGIOUS PRACTICES.


OPPONENTS OF THE MEASURE INCLUDING BUSINESS BOOSTERS AND GAY RIGHTS GROUPS—SAY IT COULD BE USED TO DISCRIMINATE.

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

ULHS TEACHER DONNA ANDREWS WINS $10,000


Today was a fun day at ULHS as work-based learning teacher Mrs. Donna Andrews was awarded a personal check for $10,000. When the company sponsoring the prize discovered that she is a teacher, they also awarded ULHS and Lamar County High School $5,000 each. I am pasting the story below and attaching a photo. Have a great night, and remember to ALWAYS read the fine print!
Karen

ULHS Teacher Mrs. Donelan (Donna) Andrews Wins $10,000 and ULHS Receives a $5,000 Donation
ST. PETERSBURG Fla. February 27, 2019 — Travel insurance comparison site, Squaremouth, understands most travelers don’t read their policy documentation. In an effort to highlight the importance of reading a policy from start to finish, Squaremouth hosted a top-secret national contest that ended in a $30,000 payout. 
Squaremouth launched the Pays to Read contest on February 11, 2019, with the aim of rewarding $10,000 to the first person to read through their policy documentation. The contest was slated to last 12 months. If a winner came forward in that time, Squaremouth would give them $10,000, and donate an additional $10,000 to Reading Is Fundamental, a children’s literacy charity. If there wasn’t a winner, Squaremouth would still donate $10,000 to Reading Is Fundamental. 
To find the contest winner, Squaremouth hid the contest details in its policy documentation.Much to Squaremouth’s surprise, Mrs. Andrews, a school teacher from Georgia, read her entire policy and claimed the prize in just 23 hours. “When we first spoke with Donelan, her dedication to reading and teaching stood out immediately,” says Squaremouth CEO Chris Harvey. “Her enthusiasm inspired us to make additional donations.” 
To honor Andrews’ commitment to her schools, Squaremouth gave an additional $5,000 to each of the schools where she teaches in Georgia: Upson-Lee High School and Lamar County High School. The money will be used to contribute to each of the school’s work-based learning programs and to buy new textbooks. 
About The Winner 
Mrs. Andrews teaches high school students important life skills as part of Georgia’s work-based learning program, such as work ethic, how to find jobs, and how to interview. One of the skills she emphasizes to all of her classes: the importance of reading contracts. 
“Teaching students to read their contracts has always been close to my heart because of my consumer economics background,” Andrews says. “I always read every contract I sign. It really paid off for me this time!” 
The prize will fund a special vacation for Andrews and her husband: a trip to Scotland to celebrate their 35th wedding anniversary and her upcoming retirement. She applied for retirement through the state of Georgia a week before winning the Pays to Read contest. “We were on the waitlist for the trip of a lifetime to Scotland, and they just called us and said a spot has become available if we want it,” Andrews says. “This will certainly pay for almost all of that trip!” 
 

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

UPSON COM. CHAIRMAN ELECTED TO ANOTHER CHAIR

UPSON COUNTY COMMISSION CHAIRMAN NORMAN ALLEN WAS ELECTED CHAIR OF THE JOINT DEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY OF UPSON, PIKE, AND LAMAR COUNTIES FEB. 13TH—THE WEST CENTRAL GA. JOINT DEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY.


CHAIRMAN ALLEN AND CHASE FALLIN SERVE FROM UPSON COUNTY, JOHN EDWARDS AND DEE MCELROY FROM PIKE AND ROBBIE TINNEY AND COMMISSION CHAIRMAN CHARLES GLASS FROM LAMAR. THE GROUP DISCUSSED COLLABORATIVE EFFORTS FOR THE THREE COUNTIES AND THE NEED FOR FUNDING TO HAVE MORE IMPACT.

HEART AND SOUL SUMMIT FEB. 20

Last Wednesday, 7 members of the Orton Family Foundation from Vermont, Maine, and Colorado visited Thomaston to wrap up Phase 2 of the Thomaston-Upson Community Heart & Soul process. The Heart & Soul Summit hosted around 100 people for a lunch meeting to refine the value statements to involve everyone and determine what matters most to our community.

Each table was presented with actual data that has been collected from the community over the past year. The following themes were discussed: Arts & Culture, Downtown Thomaston, Flint River/The Bluff, Local Assets, Local Economy, Natural Assets, Parks & Recreation, Public School System, Small Town Feel & The People

To date, Thomaston-Upson Heart & Soul has connected with 6,060 citizens and collected 2,799 data points that will directly impact local decision making.

The work from the Summit was refining our value statements about what we love and value in the community and will be released on our Facebook page March 1 to be voted by the community and refined further for the next two months. These statements will eventually be adopted by the city, county, school board and other organizations to be a compass to help guide our leaders in future decision making and be an addition to our Community’s Comprehensive Plan.

Phase 3 will focus on our hopes and concerns for the community. Follow our Facebook page for upcoming events and dates!

STATE HOUSE MEMBER KEN PULLIN WEEKLY REPORT

The Georgia House of Representatives resumed our work on Tuesday, February 19 to begin the sixth week of the 2019 legislative session. We started this week by convening for a joint session with our colleagues in the Senate to hear the Supreme Court of Georgia’s Chief Justice Harold D. Melton deliver the annual State of the Judiciary address. In addition to hearing the State of Judiciary address this week, my colleagues and I met in the House Chamber for four legislative days, as well as in our committees, to consider and pass several important bills.

Accountability in the Georgia House of Representatives

I was one of 11 Representatives to sign a resolution on Friday asking for Speaker Ralston to step down. As elected officials we HAVE To and MUST hold ourselves more accountable. While his actions may be legal, they aren’t ethical or moral in my opinion.

You can read more here.

The State of the Judiciary

The recently appointed Chief Justice, Harold D. Melton delivered his first State of the Judiciary address before a joint session on Tuesday. This annual address recounts the accomplishments of Georgia’s judicial branch and the challenges it will face in the year ahead. Due to the great relationships built between the judiciary branch, the state legislature and the executive branch, Chief Justice Melton reported that Georgia’s judiciary branch stands sturdy, stable and strong and is poised to meet the inevitable changes that lie ahead.

HB 158 - Medicaid access for HIV-positive Individuals

On Tuesday, the House unanimously passed House Bill 158, legislation that would giveHIV-positive individuals on Medicaid access to the most effective antiretroviral medications on the market. This bipartisan legislation would require that all individuals suffering from HIV/AIDS, whether in the state drug program or on Medicaid, receive the same antiretroviral drugs, including single tablet regimens. The cost to treat an individual with HIV/AIDS under the state drug program is $338,000, whereas, the cost per individual without this program is $1.7 million. Our state has an extremely high number of new HIV diagnoses per year, and the proposed legislation seeks to ensure the health and well-being of all Georgians while combatting the spread of HIV/AIDS in our state.

Scouts at the Capitol

I got to spend time with the Scouts from Christ Chapel in Zebulon last week! They had a lot of good questions. Such a treat to host these young men at their State Capitol.

HR 37 - Georgia Commission on Freight and Logistics

On Thursday, the House adopted a resolution that would seize the potential of our coastal ports and expand our growing economy. Georgia is fortunate to have a range of deep water ports and transportation systems that are utilized by businesses across the nation. Our ports and freight industries provide 439,000 jobs a year, generate $25 billion in personal income and $2.9 billion annually in state and local tax revenues, and 10 percent of all exports in the country come through our ports. While these ports, rail systems and highways have great potential, the Georgia General Assembly must be proactive in implementing policies that will aide these industries as they grow.

House Resolution 37 establishes the Georgia Commission on Freight and Logistics, which would be comprised of members of the House and Senate, along with various area experts from the Georgia Municipal Association, Association County Commissioners of Georgia, Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce and the Georgia Ports Authority. The joint commission would spend one year analyzing, determining and recommending comprehensive public policy development and funding for the 2020 legislative session that would support our freight and logistics industries and keep our state economically competitive. The current and future economic health of Georgia relies on a thriving and productive freight industry, and through the work of the Georgia Commission on Freight and Logistics, Georgia will remain one of the top states to do business.

House Bill 186

My colleagues and I also passed House Bill 186 this week to continue in our efforts to provide quality health care to all Georgians. This bill ensures that the proceeds from the sale or lease of a hospital property are put into an irrevocable trust fund solely for the purpose of providing indigent care in our state. After selling or leasing hospital properties, hospital authorities in Georgia may have significant assets available, but, there is not a purposeful avenue for a hospital authority to use these funds to give back to the local community.

Currently, proceeds over $100,000 from a sale or lease are placed in a trust fund and used for hospital care for indigents, but HB 186 amends current Georgia law so that the interest on these funds can be used for health care purposes for indigents instead of for hospital only use. This change would allow local authorities to use the funds generated by the trust fund for a wide variety of healthcare purposes for indigents, including clinics and preventative measures. This important legislation would be economically efficient, provide better health care for indigent patients and ensure that citizens throughout Georgia can receive desired health care within their communities.

House Bill 59

HB 59 was passed last week to ensure that military families that move to Georgia have the same access to public education as Georgia residents. HB 59 would allow parents or guardians on active duty in the military to pre-enroll a student in a local school district when they receive official military orders to transfer to Georgia, instead of requiring the family to establish residency first. This legislation would expedite the enrollment process for these students so that they can continue to learn without interruption.

Mercer Medical at the State Capitol

Mercer's Student Pharmacists swarmed the Georgia State Capitol last week to advocate for HB 233 and HB 323. It was great to see Jasper Westbrook from home!

Page Recognition

Colby was my first page this year. Very impressive young man with a great family!

Our Capitol address:

504-F Coverdell Legislative Office Bldg.

18 Capitol Square SW

Atlanta, GA 30334

404.656.0188 - Office

Our District address:

P.O. Box 295

Zebulon, GA 30295