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February 13--  The Montgomery County Commission has filed its answer to a lawsuit regarding the use of the county's insurance premium sales tax.

Attorneys for the county's insurance company filed a 14-page response January 31 in Montgomery County Superior Court.

Montgomery County Superior Court Clerk Keith Hamilton wants a judge to decide if the commission has been properly using the sales tax to pay for fire protection and solid waste collection in the unincorporated parts of the county as required by state law.

Hamilton claims expenditure of the funds has been unlawful and that a tax refund should be ordered for himself and other rural residents of Montgomery County.

The county's answer denies Hamilton's allegations and says Insurance Premium Sales Tax proceeds were used in accordance with state law.  It claims property taxes would have been insufficient to pay for fire and solid waste services without adding the Insurance Premium revenue to the budget.

The county also claims Hamilton, who is paid by Montgomery County taxes, has a conflict of interest and should not be permitted to lead a class action suit against the county.





February 12--Here's the latest closing info as a result of the winter weather in Southeast Georgia.

*  If you are a shift worker at Chicken of the Sea in Lyons, the company has cancelled the second and third shifts tonight and the 1st shift Thursday.

*   US Pet has cancelled their second and third shift for Wednesday. First and Second shifts have been cancelled for Thursday. Third shift will report at 10:00 p.m on Thursday night. 

Vidalia City Schools are closed Thursday.

Toombs County Schools are closed Thursday.

Robert Toombs Christian Academy will have school Thursday starting at ten a.m.

Vidalia Heritage Academy is closed Thursday. Elementary School Open House has been cancelled and will reschedule for a later date.

Treutlen schools are closed Thursday.

Montgomery County schools are closed Thursday but staff will report at ten a.m.

*  The Region 3-A basketball tournament scheduled for Thursday in Soperton is cancelled. Tournament play is expected to resume Friday.

*  All STC classes on campuses in Vidalia and Swainsboro are cancelled Thursday.  Staff will return to work Thursday at noon.

*  Brewton-Parker College in Mount Vernon is closed until Monday, February 17.

* The Toombs County Health Department is closed until noon Thursday.

February 12--  Vidalia-area Georgia Power Manager B.J. Davis provides the following company update on weather-related power outages in the state.  There have been none in Vidalia "so far.


-     vOver the past 24 hours, Georgia Power has restored power service to more than 88,000 customers throughout the state.

-        Also over the past 24 hours, service has been temporarily interrupted to a total of220,000 customers due to the snow and ice. The majority of these outages have occurred since 6 a.m. this morning.

-        As of 2:45 p.m. on Wednesday, there were more than 133,000 active outages in Georgia. The majority of these outages are concentrated in Metro Atlanta, central, coastal and eastern Georgia.

Georgia Power customers can report new outages, or check the status of an outage, by phone at 888-891-0938. 

Tammye Vaughn of the Altamaha EMC in Lyons reports the following info on area EMC outages.

As of noon Wednesday, Altamaha EMC is reporting less than 500 outages system wide with the majority of the outages being in Emanuel County.  We also have scattered outages in the eastern portion of Laurens County. 

The rain is quickly turning to ice on trees causing limbs to bend and touch power lines.  Our crews will work around the clock to restore outages as safely and efficiently as possible. 

Please remember to stay away from any downed power lines and report all outages to Altamaha EMC by calling 912-526-8181.  We will continue to update the status of outages on our website, Facebook page and through local media outlets.







February 12--  The Montgomery County Commission has hired a new county attorney.

After an executive session at its monthly meeting Monday, the commission voted to terminate its longtime agreement with Vidalia attorney Macky Bryant and picked another Vidalia lawyer, Howard Kaufold, as Bryant's successor.  Kaufold is also the county attorney for Toombs County.

Montgomery County pays the county attorney $150 an hour for legal services rendered.

February 12--  Vidalia police have made an arrest in last weekend's murder.

Police Chief Frank Waits reports 21-year-old James Daquan Mitchell, Jr. of Vidalia is charged with the shooting death of James Green early last Saturday at 700 Sly Street.  He's also accused of burglary and aggravated assault.

{mosimage}Mitchell was out of jail on parole at the time of the killing.  When he was 18, he was arrested for auto theft in Vidalia and had been accused in connection with an armed robbery at the Dairy Queen in Mount Vernon.

Police have released no information regarding circumstances surrounding the shooting and say their investigation is continuing. 

February 12---Magdelene Whitaker Wilkes, age 86, passed away Tuesday, February 11, 2014, at her home in Vidalia, GA, with family and friends at her side.

She was a member of the Church of God of Prophecy for over 60 years and a dedicated servant of God.

She was a mother to seven, grandmother to seventeen, great-grandmother to fifty, and great-great- grandmother to eighteen; for a total of ninety-two children.

Our mother was preceeded in death by her husband, Kenneth C. Wilkes, of Vidalia, GA, and two daughters, Loretta H. Jones of Portal, GA, and Nancy LaGrone Collins of Vidalia, GA.

Survivors include; two daughters, June C. Jones (Troy) of Portal, GA; GilleyLaGrone of Vidalia, GA; three sons Marvin Farris Hutcheson (Kathy) of Grandview, TX, Johnny E. Hutcheson (Debra) of Dearing, GA,  and William Pete LaGrone of Dearing, GA.

We can’t forget her best friend- she was by my Mothers side always, even to the very end “Patches” her beloved dog.   Patches laidwith Mother as she moved into peace and tranquility that God had prepared for her.

Magdelene Whitaker Wilkes was born to Lem and Hattie Whitaker of Kibbee, GA.  Magdelene was a country girl and a hard worker, who has been known in her younger years, to pick over 400 pounds of cotton in a day.  She was a Mother who carried a wicked left hook when need be, but with a loving soul of kindness and humility. We always knew we were in for it when she started the conversation with “I don’t mean no harm, but”.

She was a Mother with great compassion and forgiveness for all. There are many, great adjectives than can describe Magdelene Whitaker Wilkes but the word that comes most to mind is what she was best at “LOVE”.

Pallbearers: Thomas Avery, Marvin Farris Hutcheson, William Pete LaGrone, Howard Williamson, Bobby Wolaver, and Joey Woods.

Funeral Services for Magdelene Whitaker Wilkes will be held Friday, February 14, 2014 at 2:00 pm at Stewart-Rosier Funeral Service Vidalia Chapel with Reverend Albert White officiating. 

Interment will follow in Pinecrest Cemetery.   The family will receive friends at the funeral home Thursday evening from 6:00 – 9:30 pm. Stewart-Rosier Funeral Service Vidalia Chapel is in charge of funeral arrangements.

February 12--  According to Toombs County manager John Jones, the Toombs County government will continue to operate with normal business hours.  Employees reporting directly to the Commissioners are encouraged to use their best judgment when deciding whether to travel to their posts.  The Courthouse will be open from 8:30am-5:00pm.

Should weather events warrant closing of the Courthouse, citizens will be notified via local news outlets.  County employees will be notified via email.

All convenience centers will be closed except for the Gibson Road location.

The Toombs County Road Department has already sanded all county bridges and will continue to monitor their status throughout the day.  A system-wide bridge inspection has been ordered for 3:00 a.m. Thursday morning.  Toombs County has one emergency road crew on 24 hour standby to address any potentially hazardous condition. 

Two trailer crews and equipment are already loaded and ready for deployment throughout the county to remove downed trees or branches caused by icing.  County management is meeting with local EMC officials at 2:00 p.m. to offer assistance and discuss joint use of resources if needed.

Should any citizen notice a hazardous road condition caused by the storm, please report that directly to the Commissioners’ office at 912-526-3311 or after hours to E-911.

February 12--  Here's the mid-morning weather update courtesy of the Toombs County Emergency Management Agency.

Morning Update...

A strong wedge of cold air continues to spread in across the forecast area from the east this morning...  with ample overrunning moisture resulting in widespread rain... snow... sleet and freezing rain across much of the forecast area this morning as expected.
Warnings/Advisory: No significant changes were made to the forecast concerning expected snow and ice amounts... if anything they were increased slightly for some areas. Therefore... no changes were made to the Winter Storm Warning... Ice Storm Warning... and the Freezing Rain Advisory.  Their locations and timing remain unchanged from Tuesday evenings issuance. 

Temperatures: We've been receiving reports of snow... sleet and freezing rain across much of North Georgia since midnight and current observations show freezing temperatures have now spread in across most of north Georgia to include the Atlanta Metro area. Although the far western sections of North Georgia around Rome... Cartersville... Dallas and Carrollton to name a few are still around 33 to 34 degrees... expect even these areas to see freezing temps by 6-7 am this morning. The freezing temps are still expected to spead as far south as La Grange to Thomaston to Macon to Dublin and Swainsboro by late this morning. This while precipitation continues to spread northward from a surface low pressure system along the North Central and Northeast Gulf Regions.

Threats: Still expecting mainly snow from Rome to Cleveland and northward... and although Cherokee County is currently seeing mainly freezing rain this morning with numerous power outages reported... we still expect the freezing rain to transition over to mainly snow across at least the northern portions of Cherokee county sometime this morning as a deeper layer of cold air spreads in from the northeast.

Freezing rain remains the main threat for areas along... north and south of the I-20 Corridor from Carrollton to Atlanta to Augusta... with latest model runs showing just over 1/2 inch of ice in Atlanta... and 3/4 to 1 inch or more east of Atlanta from around Covington and Madison to Augusta, generally along the I-20 corridor but with the most significant impacts anywhere between I-85 and I-16 east of Atlanta. Many areas will see crippling amounts of ice with wide spread power outages still likely.

Freezing Rain Advisory: A light glaze of ice... sleet and possibly some light snow is still possible through early Thursday morning across the far southern counties in the advisory area... and mainly between 10pm this evening and 9 am Thursday morning when temperatures fall to around freezing. Black ice on bridges and overpasses still appear to be the main threat tonight in this area... but will monitor potential for more widespread accumulations of ice closely today as freezing temps try to surge further southward. 

February 12--  Even after State Representative Delvis Dutton of Glennville entered the 12th Congressional District primary race, former congressional aide John Stone of Augusta is optimistic about his chances in the primary.

One reason is that his fundraising went up the end of last year while that of his opponent Rick Allen, an Augusta businessman, went down.  Allen still has more cash on hand but Stone is encouraged by the trend.

"Regular people across South Georgia are responding very favorably to our campaign.  We have over 2,500 individual donors to our campaign and a lot of those folks are writing $5, $10 and $15 checks as opposed to the $2,000 checks that the large donors put in.  I'd rather have a whole bunch of people giving me small amounts than the other way around and we wound up being basically tied in cash on hand. We've got a great race going on here for the 12th District," Stone said during a visit to Vidalia.

Stone thinks another advantage he has is his declaration to vote for a new Speaker of the House if elected.

"In all 19 counties, people are saying you guys, the Republicans, have got to stand up to the Obama agenda, stand up for the Constitution and start offering something positive.  To do that we've got to have new leadership to pull the party together," Stone said.

Whomever wins the Republican primary will need to raise a lot more money to compete with incumbent Democrat John Barrow who has more than $1.2 million on hand to fight his Republican opponent in November.

February 11-- Governor Nathan Deal has expanded the state of emergency to include 43 additional counties, bringing the total to 88.

The additional counties are: Baldwin, Bibb, Bleckley, Burke, Butts, Clayton, Columbia, Coweta, Crawford, Emanuel, Fayette, Glascock, Greene, Hancock, Heard, Henry, Houston, Jasper, Jefferson, Jenkins, Johnson, Jones, Laurens, McDuffie, Meriwether, Monroe, Morgan, Newton, Peach, Pike, Putnam, Richmond, Rockdale, Screven, Spalding, Taliaferro, Treutlen, Troup, Twiggs, Upson, Warren, Washington and Wilkinson counties.

The governor declared a state of emergency in the following counties yesterday: Dade, Walker, Catoosa, Whitfield, Chattooga, Gordon, Floyd, Bartow, Polk, Paulding, Cobb, Fulton, Gwinnett, Barrow, Haralson, Carroll, Douglas, DeKalb, Clarke, Oconee, Oglethorpe, Wilkes, Walton, Rabun, Habersham, Stephens, Franklin, Hart, Madison, Elbert, Lincoln, Murray, Fannin, Gilmer, Union, Towns, Pickens, Dawson, Lumpkin, White, Cherokee, Forsyth, Hall, Banks and Jackson counties.

February 11-- It's going to be wet and cold in our area the next two days, but North Georgia and parts of middle Georgia are bracing for much worse.

Snow is falling in the North Georgia mountains and the Georgia Emergency Management Agency (GEMA) along with more than a dozen state agencies and organizations are closely monitoring these winter weather conditions from the State Operations Center.  

Georgia remains under a State of Emergency for 45 counties for the duration of this winter weather event.

A National Weather Service (NWS) winter storm warning is in effect for more than half the state through Thursday. A wintry mix of rain, snow, sleet, and ice will result in hazardous driving conditions, particularly as temperatures fall below freezing later Tuesday.

A winter storm warning is issued when there is at least an 80 percent chance for winter storm conditions occurring within the next 36 hours.

In anticipation for this winter storm, state agencies began pre-staging equipment and personnel Monday. Shelters and warming centers will open as necessary – information on shelters is available on the GEMA website

Information on how you can prepare, plan and stay informed for winter weather is at


  • Include adequate clothing and blankets in your Ready kit to keep you warm.
  • Keep an extra Ready kit in the trunk of your car. In addition to the basic essentials such as food, water and medicines, consider adding an ice scraper, extra blanket, sand for traction and jumper cables.

Make a Plan

  • Plan to stay inside and make it on your own for at least 72 hours.
  • Winter storms are often accompanied by power outages. Always exercise caution when using alternative light and heating sources.

Stay Informed

  • Listen to NOAA Weather Radio and monitor commercial radio, television and the Internet to stay informed of winter weather watches and warnings.

GEMA encourages Georgians to plan, prepare, and stay informed for updates on current and developing weather conditions. For preparedness information, go to  




February 10--  The Vidalia city council observed a moment of silence before its Monday night meeting for two local teenage girls killed Sunday in an auto accident.

Reverend Kevin Hicks led the council in prayer for the family and friends of Amber and Mary Beth Mosley, both students at Toombs County High School and members of the school band.

Band members formed a memorial heart formation for their bandmates Monday at the school and students signed a sympathy wall created at the school for the girls.

In actions at its meeting, the council agreed to pay half the cost to run about 300 feet of water and sewer lines to a proposed optometry clinic on Highway 280 East across from Walmart.  If the project proceeds, it will cost the city about $60,000 for the infrastructure.

The city also agreed to seek a $50,000 state grant to landscape greenspace on Highway 280 West across from Thompson's Service Center.

The decision to start selling alcohol in Vidalia on Sunday's is apparently paying off for the city's coffers.  According to City Finance Director Bill Bedingfield, alcohol sales tax collections in January were up nearly 19% over January of last year.

The local motel tax also increased in January by nearly 12%, however, retail sales tax collections were down about 3%.

February 10--  The city of Lyons has agreed to act as fiscal agent for the Southeast Georgia Soap Box Derby. 

At its February meeting, the city council passed a resolution committing the city to handling the Derby's accounting and to provide needed resources for the annual event in conjunction with the Lyons Merchants Association.

Two new members appointed to the Lyons Recreation Board are Jeremy Joyner and Paul Graham.

The council is also considering city ordinances to make city facilities smoke free and to address removal of "blighted" properties in the city.

It also agreed to consider a request from councilman Ivy Toole, Jr. that all city vehicles be affixed with the city logo.

February 10---Miss Beth Mosley, age 16, of Cedar Crossing and Register, died Sunday, February 9, 2014 from injuries received in an automobile accident near Toombs Central.  She was a lifelong resident of Toombs County, was a sophomore at Toombs County High School, and was a member of the RedCoat Marching Band.  She was preceded in death by her paternal grandfather, Johnny Mosley; and maternal grandmother, Vauda Lee Jones.

Beth is survived by her father, John Mosley of Cedar Crossing; mother, Denise Gray and husband Alton of Register; paternal grandmother, Mary Fowler and husband W.J. of Cedar Crossing; maternal grandmother, Brenda McDaniel of Mt. Vernon; maternal grandfathers, Benny Jones of Dallas, Georgia and John Gravaly of Register, and numerous aunts and uncles.

The funeral service will be held Thursday, February 13th at 2:00 pm in the Family Life Center of the Cedar Crossing Baptist Church with Pastor Reece Mincey officiating.  Burial will follow in the Cedar Crossing Cemetery. 

The family will receive friends at the Family Life Center on Wednesday evening from 4:00 until 8:00.

Those desiring may make memorial contributions to the Cedar Crossing Baptist Church, P.O. Box 157, Uvalda GA 30473.

Ronald V. Hall Funeral Home of Vidalia is in charge of arrangements.

February 10---Miss Amber Mosley, age 19, of Cedar Crossing and Register, died Sunday, February 9, 2014 from injuries received in an automobile accident near Toombs Central.  She was a lifelong resident of Toombs County, was a senior at Toombs County High School, and was a member of the RedCoat Marching Band Flag Corp.  She was preceded in death by her paternal grandfather, Johnny Mosley; and maternal grandmother, Vauda Lee Jones.

Amber is survived by her father, John Mosley of Cedar Crossing; mother, Denise Gray and husband Alton of Register; paternal grandmother, Mary Fowler and husband W.J. of Cedar Crossing; maternal grandmother, Brenda McDaniel of Mt. Vernon; maternal grandfathers, Benny Jones of Dallas, Georgia and John Gravaly of Register, and numerous aunts and uncles.

The funeral service will be held Thursday, February 13th at 2:00 pm in the Family Life Center of the Cedar Crossing Baptist Church with Pastor Reece Mincey officiating.  Burial will follow in the Cedar Crossing Cemetery.

The family will receive friends at the Family Life Center on Wednesday evening from 4:00 until 8:00.

Those desiring may make memorial contributions to the Cedar Crossing Baptist Church, P.O. Box 157, Uvalda GA 30473.

Ronald V. Hall Funeral Home of Vidalia is in charge of arrangements.

February 10--  Two Toombs County High School students are dead after their car collided with a log truck late Sunday afternoon on U.S. Highway One  about a half-mile north of Toombs Central Elementary School.

According to Toombs County Sheriff Junior Kight, 19-year-old Amber Mosley, a senior, and her sister, 16-year-old Mary Beth Mosley, a sophomore, were travelling south and the log truck was heading north.

"It looks like the log truck lost control and crossed into their path. He ran off the road there and it looked like it kind of jack-knifed and the trailer kind of came sideways and crossed the road right there in front of them.  That vehicle was just demolished.  It's the worst vehicle I've seen like that in a long time in a wreck," Sheriff Kight said.

According to Sheriff Kight, the girls had been to see their mother in Register and were returning to their father's home in Cedar Crossing when the accident happened.

The driver of the log truck was not injured, Sheriff Kight reports.

Toombs County High School principal Dr. Tosha Middlebrooks issued the following letter of sympathy regarding the loss of the students, both of whom were members of the high school band.

{mosimage}Members of the band formed a memorial heart for their bandmates at the school Monday morning.

"It is with deep sadness that we, the faculty, staff, and students of Toombs County High School remember the lives and contributions of senior Amber Mosley and sophomore Mary Beth Mosley.  The tragic loss of two of our students reminds us of the fragile nature of life and the value of each student within our student body. 

"As students deal with the sudden passing of these two young ladies, Toombs County High School counselors and response teams will be available to provide needed grief counseling to our students, both individually and in small groups.  Please know that the faculty and staff of Toombs County High School will be fully engaged in monitoring our students for signs of needed support and encouragement.

"Our students have initiated, through our unit of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, moments of prayer for the family.  Further, class assemblies will be held on the morning of February 10th to inform students of available support services. 

"With regard to the memorial services, students will be permitted to sign-out, with a parent permission note, to attend.  This will be an understandable and excused absence. 

"Our students have constructed a memorial wall for each of these two precious souls and all are encouraged to stop by to write expressions of sympathy."




February 9--  Vidalia police and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation are investigating a fatal shooting this weekend.

Police were called to 700 Sly Street about three a.m. Saturday where, according to Toombs County Coroner Ron Hall, 32-year-old James Tremaine Green had been shot and killed.

Police say no arrests have been made and the investigation continues.

Green's body is being taken to the state crime lab in Savannah for an autopsy.

February 8--  State Representative Greg Morris of Vidalia provides information on the current session of the state legislature in his "Capitol Report."

"Events at the State Capitol are moving at a rapid pace. We are on target for the fastest session in recent history.  With a session as fast-paced as this, it means I can’t get back home as much as I would like. Hopefully this communication helps you know what is going on. 

{mosimage}Anna Bullard and her daughter Ava were in Atlanta as we continue to work to help families with autistic children by passing “Ava’s Law.”  I co-sponsored House Resolution 1222 to recognize Ava’s accomplishments by not just coping, but thriving with autism.  She and her family were warmly received by the members of the General Assembly. Ava is an inspiration to all and a hope to families across Georgia affected by autism.

Issues to watch over the next week are:

1)  Budget – As a member of the Appropriations Committee, I’ve been working with other members on the FY 2015 Budget.  Our goal is a balanced budget without raising taxes. Hopefully the budget will be ready for a vote this week.

2)    HB 875 – This bill would greatly increase the areas you would be allowed to carry a concealed weapon in Georgia. There have been questions raised about the mental health language in the bill.  The bill has been amended to help resolve this and I would ask my constituents to read the newest version and let me know your thoughts.  This bill has been endorsed by the NRA and Georgia Carry.

3)    HB 702 & HB 772 – My bills relating to the placement of the 10 Commandments on the Capitol grounds and drug testing for food stamp recipients are undergoing some changes and tweaks as I meet with other legislators and lawyers to produce the best version possible.  I expect to have committee hearings on both very soon 

Remember you can go to and watch committee hearings and floor debate live for the issues that matter to you. If you have questions on our fight to maintain conservative principles, you can email me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Please call me in Atlanta at 404-656-5115 or on my cell at 912-293-0725. I’m honored to represent you and your values at the Capitol.



February 7-- Senate Bill 288, a bill preventing Georgia public schools from interacting with any interscholastic sports body that does not release annual financial statements, passed the Georgia Senate today by a vote of 54 to 0. Sen. Charlie Bethel (R – Dalton) sponsored the bill to ensure Georgia students participate in extra-curricular athletics in a transparent environment.

“These organizations are subsidized by taxpayers who deserve to know how these dollars are being used,” said Sen. Bethel. “By requiring the release of comprehensive annual financial reports, we are increasing the level of accountability for all involved in the management of student athletic activities.”

SB 288 amends current law to define ‘athletic association’ as a body that governs, writes rules, sanctions or organizes interscholastic athletic events in which Georgia public schools participate. In order for an athletic association to participate in an interscholastic event, SB 288 requires the annual distribution of the previous year’s financial report to all members. The report must cover all activities and include a summary of assets, liabilities, incomes and operating expenses.

SB 288 now moves to the House of Representatives for consideration.



February 7--  The Toombs-Montgomery Chamber of Commerce kicked off its new year at its annual meeting Thursday night.

{mosimage}Outgoing chairperson Susan Taylor passed the gavel to Howard Hill who's been on the chamber board for the past six years.

"Our goal this year is to improve the marketing of all of our members.  We've got a great marketing committee that's working on that," Hill said.


{mosimage}The chamber also unveiled a rebranding effort for its shop at home gift certificates.  It's called "Community Bucks" and has a new logo developed by David Roberts of Vidalia High School who won a logo design contest in area schools sponsored by the chamber.  He was introduced by Tiffany Faulk and Dr. Wayne Williams of the chamber's retail committee.

The 2014 board of directors includes chairperson-elect B.J. Davis and executive board  members John Koon, Celeste Robison, Ginger Morris and Gary Campbell and board of directors members Russ Bell, Elaine Dixon, Bryan Frederick, Chris Hopkins, Angela Lane, Richard Lawrence, Cassie Neal, Al Ross, Lynn Rowland, Tix Truxel, John Tyson and Dr. Wayne Williams.

February 7--  Vidalia Police Chief Frank Waits reports the following arrests.

Townsend, Calvin Ted Jr.-W/M 40 YOA-8915 Pine Tree Circle Gainesville, GA-DUI 1st Offense


Harris, Khalil Marcqwon-B/M 18 YOA-1208 Easter Dr. Apt 80 Vidalia-Driving While Unlicensed


Harrell, Casey Vashone- B/M- 39 YOA- 302 Peachtree St. Vidalia, GA- Theft by Shoplifing (MISD) 1st Offense (Citation)

Roberson, Tara Shevon- B/F 33 YOA- 302 Peacock St. Vidalia, GA- Theft by Shoplifting (MISD) 1st Offense (Citation)


 Rogers, Mary Jo- W/F- 59 YOA- 168 Long Bay Dr. Twin City, GA –Theft by Shoplifting

Pryor, Deandre Terrell- B/M- 30 YOA- 207 Locke St. Vidalia, GA- 2nd Driving While License Suspended or Revoked/Warrant Served (Probation)

Strickland, George William- W/M- 53 YOA- 724 E. Seventh St. Vidalia, GA- Disorderly Conduct



February 7--  Pharmacists Trent Akins and Bert Driggers of Allcare in Lyons have opened a second pharmacy in Mount Vernon.


The Toombs-Montgomery Chamber of Commerce hosted an official ribbon-cutting for the new pharmacy Thursday morning at the new location on Highway 280 in Mount Vernon across the road from the DQ.

February 7-- Georgia Insurance Commissioner Ralph Hudgens will have representatives from his Fraud Investigation Unit in Toombs County On Wednesday, Feb. 12, to assist consumers with questions or concerns about insurance transactions they have made with LLC Insurance Agency of Lyons, Ga. 

Representatives from Commissioner Hudgens office will be available for consumers from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., in the Durden Log Cabin building at Partin Park in Lyons. Anyone unable to attend the meeting can call Hudgens’ Consumer Services Hotline at 1-800-656-2298 for assistance.

The Commissioner’s staff includes representatives that are fluent in Spanish should callers request help in that language.


February 7--  The pregnancy clinic run by the Rachel's House ministry in Vidalia is beginning its fourth year and reports it has saved 87 babies from abortion.

Katy Sammons with the First Choice Georgia Pregnancy Clinic reports that 60% of abortion-minded women they've counselled have changed their minds after visting the clinic.

"The ultra-sound is the key in us helping them to make a life affirming decision because when they see that image it's hard for them to deny there's a life at stake.

"Many people who have abortions have some serious psychological effects and often they say if I had only known, if I had only had more information, I might have made a different decision," Sammons says.

The clinic offers free pregnancy tests and has seen more than 700 women in the past three years.

"Our goal is try to reach women who have an unplanned pregnancy and don't know what to do.  When they come in, we provide them a free pregnancy test and, if they are far enough along, we offer a free ultra-sound test.  The ultra-sound is important because they don't know if they have a viable pregnancy and they may not know how far along they are.

"We use that ultra-sound to provide them with information and we also have  additional information about fetal development and about abortion procedures and the risks associated with those procedures.

"We talk with them about their circumstances and why they are considering having an abortion and just help them think through the decision.  They're in crisis and may not be thinking clearly and sometimes they just need someone to talk to who will listen to them," she said.

The clinic is located on Meadows Street in downtown Vidalia and may be reached on the phone at 538-0762 and on the web at .

February 6—It’s been a busy week for VHS senior Tra Hardy. On Tuesday he was named to his third post-season team when the GACA named him to their All State AA first team defense. Then on Tuesday night he helped lead the Indians to a 74-48 win over Bacon Co, scoring 13 points. Wednesday morning he signed a letter of intent to play football at Western Carolina University in Cullowhee North Carolina for the next four years.


Hardy Signing Letter of Intent for Western Carolina on Tuesday

Front Row L-R: Andrea Durden (Aunt), Constance Durden (Mom), Tra Hardy, Theresa Durden (Grandmother), Miranda Durden (Aunt).  Back Row L-R: Asst. Coach Jason McBride, Head Coach Lee Chomskis

“This a great opportunity for me, it is everything that I wanted. I liked the school when I went up there and visited. I want to thank my family and coaches for pushing me and giving me this opportunity to play college football,” Hardy said.

“ We are really excited for Tra at Vidalia High School. He is another young man that is getting an opportunity to pursue his dreams and I think Western Carolina is very fortunate to get Tra Hardy. He has been selected to three different All-Star teams, First Team All AJC as a running back, First Team All Middle Georgia as an athlete and First Team GACA as a defensive back. Tra also did a good job in the classroom and that is what opens up doors for those who are athletic.” VHS Head Coach Lee Chomskis said.

The Western Carolina Catamounts are part of the FCS Southern Conference.


February 6--- With regret we announce the death of Rosa Bell Summersett-Hodges whose death occurred on January 28, 2014 at Island Health & Rehab in Merritt Island, FL.

Native of Mt. Vernon, Montgomery County, FL. Member of Summersett Temple Church in Vidalia. 

She is survived by her daughters Janet Daniels and Malinda Hogan of Atlanta, son Jimmie Hogans, Jr. of Glennville, sisters Jessie Golden of LYons, Jeannie White of Vidalia, brothers Willie Summersett of Miami, James Summersett of Charleston, SC. Isiah Summersett of Glennville, David Summersett of Jacksonville, John Henry Suommersett of Vidalia, step-daughter Brenda Hodges of Mt. Vernon, step-sons Willie Edward Hodges and Willie-John Hodges both of Mt. Vernon. Also a host of grandchildren and other loving relatives and friends. 

Funeral service will be held on Saturday (2-8-14) at 11:00 p.m. at Phillips Temple Ministries Church in Vidalia, Georgia.

Interment will be held at East Park Cemetery in Vidalia. 

Visitation will be on Friday at thje funeral home. Wake hours 6:00-7:00 p.m. 

Vidalia Funeral Home is in charge of the arrangements of Mrs. Rosa Bell Hodges of Vidalia, Georgia. 

February 6--  The Albany Herald reports on efforts in the state legislature spearheaded by Anna Bullard (shown with Senator John Albers) of Toombs County to get insurance coverage for treatment of autism.  The bill is named after Anna's daughter who was diagnosed with autism at age 3. 

"State Sen. Tommie Williams and three other General Assembly members Tuesday urged their colleagues to pass legislation this year that would require private health insurance companies in Georgia to cover treatment for autism.

“It’s time to fix this problem,” said Williams, a Republican from Lyons. His niece’s daughter, Ava Bullard, is the inspiration for the proposed legislation, called Ava’s Law. The issue has been raised at the Legislature for the past five years, Williams said. “We should pass this bill,” he said.

{mosimage}Williams was joined by Rep. Scot Turner (R-Holly Springs), whose son suffers from autism; Sen. John Albers ( R-Roswell); and Rep. Ben Harbin (R-Evans) at a news conference that was part of Autism Day at the Georgia Capitol. Albers and Harbin are lead sponsors of the Ava’s Law bills in their chambers.

“If the bill gets to the floor of the House and Senate, it will pass,” Harbin said.

To bolster their case, the legislators noted that Gov. Nathan Deal supported first-time funding for coverage of autism in the State Employee Health Plan. The proposal allocates $2.4 million for treatment.

Still, neither Ava’s Law nor the governor’s proposal would mandate payment for treatment under Medicaid and PeachCare for Kids, the plans covering children of the state’s poorest families.

Ava’s Law also would not apply to large companies that self-insure employees’ coverage. But Shelley Hendrix, director of grassroots development at Autism Speaks, noted that many employers such as the Southern Company, Home Depot, Sun Trust, IBM, Time Warner and the Southern Baptist Convention already provide “meaningful coverage” for those with autism.

The CDC says about 1 in 88 children has been identified with an autism spectrum disorder, and that the number among boys is 1 in 54. The disorder is characterized by difficulties with social interaction, verbal and nonverbal communication and repetitive behaviors.

Although expensive, autism treatment has been effective, researchers say. Autism Speaks, a national autism science and advocacy organization, says nearly half of autistic children who receive early intervention with applied behavioral therapy will recover “typical function” and another 40 percent will make “significant improvement.”

Hendrix said the annual cost of the treatment ranges from $50,000 to $75,000 per patient. The estimated average cost for private health insurance plans, she added, would be $0.32 per member per month.

In a recent guest editorial in the AJC, Albers said that during the next 10 years, autism treatment is expected to cost $200 million to $400 million, but that early diagnosis and intervention can reduce the cost of lifelong care by two-thirds.

With appropriate treatment and clinical intervention, Georgia is projected to save more than $1 million per child, Albers said.

Georgia is one of 16 states that does not mandate coverage for autism.

Of the 34 states that do mandate private health insurance coverage for autism, only Vermont also provides funding for treatment of children under Medicaid, according to Autism Speaks.

Ava’s Law, which was filed during the 2013 General Assembly session, was presented for review last November to the Governor’s Special Commission on Mandated Health Insurance Benefits. The commission recommended that the Legislature not require private health insurers to cover autism treatment.

Rep. Richard Smith (R-Columbus), who chairs the commission and the House Insurance Committee, cited the cost of the proposed new coverage at the November commission hearing, Morris News reported.

“That is an issue, especially when you consider the uproar that we’ve been listening to concerning people whose premiums have doubled and tripled,” Smith said.

He also pointed out that large employers that self-insure would not have to follow the coverage mandate if it were approved.

The Georgia bill would require coverage of evidence-based treatments for autism such as applied behavior analysis.

Turner said he was fortunate that his private employer’s health insurance covered autism treatment when his son was diagnosed at age 3. “We were able to give Sam a fighting chance to become a productive citizen.”

Ava’s mother, Anna Bullard, also participated in Tuesday’s news conference and made a plea for adoption of the legislation. She said Ava, now 9 years old, is functioning normally because of the applied behavioral therapy, which she started at age 3.

“We are so blessed Ava got the treatment she deserved,” Bullard said. “But for everyone [like Ava] there are thousands of children who cannot speak. I will not give up. If it’s not this year, we will be back.”

Charles Craig is with Georgia Health News.

February 5--  A fourth candidate is running in the Republican primary election in Georgia's 12th Congressional District.

{mosimage}Two-term state Representative Delvis Dutton made the announcement Wednesday afternoon in his hometown of Glennville where he was introduced by his high school history teacher at Pinewood Christian Academy, Pastor Joe Eason (Left) and joined by his wife, Danielle, daughter, Carrington and son, Bryson.

"This is a man who loves people.  He loves his family.  He loves his God and he loves his church and he loves this country," Eason said.

Dutton made a short appeal to supporters to help him go to Washington, "We all know that Washington is broken and we're not going to fix it by sending the same people to the table," he said.

The young state representative believes he is called to run for Congress.

"I ran for the House because of a calling I had.  I started a well drilling company when I was 22 years old while going to Georgia Southern and working at UPS.  All I ever wanted was to be the Daddy that I had and run my business.

"Dealing with the red tape and the government involvement in the business everytime you turn around, I finally had a calling to it that I had to answer to at least be able to look at my children for the rest of their lives and know that I did everything I could.  We'll take the same thing we've been doing in Atlanta and take that to D.C. and try to do the best thing for this district.

"I want to address the problems we have with the federal budget, the $17 trillion dollars in debt and the destruction of Obamacare," he said.

Dutton joins Macon nurse Diane Vann, who announced her intentions to run last week, businessman Rick Allen and former Capitol Hill staffer John Stone, both of Augusta, in the May 20th Republican Primary.

The winner will face Democrat incumbent John Barrow in November.

February 5-- Sen. William Ligon ( R – Brunswick), surrounded by a crowd of parents, children, and grassroots leaders holding "Stop Common Core" signs, held a rally and press conference at the Georgia State Capitol on Tuesday, February 4, 2014.

Sen. Ligon and others called on the Governor as well as the State Legislature to withdraw Georgia from its participation in Common Core national standards and forego any testing associated with these standards.

“Today, I had the opportunity to join many Georgians from around the state at the “Stop the Common Core” Rally at the State Capitol,” said Sen. Ligon. “I am looking forward to the day when Georgia is out of the Common Core and our state asserts its complete autonomy over our own educational decisions.”

During the press conference, Sen. Ligon outlined two of the bills he is sponsoring, Senate Bill 203 and Senate Bill 167, to reassert Georgia’s constitutional autonomy over education. The bills, on file from last year, are being revised to ensure a more detailed process for the adoption of standards and to provide specific prohibitions on data collection and tracking.

Senate Bill 203, “An Act to Restore Educational Authority to Georgia Citizens,” would provide an orderly process to withdraw the state from Common Core and would ensure a more transparent process for the adoption of Georgia's educational standards.  Senate Bill 203 would also create the Curriculum Content Standards Advisory Council, which is to be comprised of 24 members, including parents, teachers and college professors, to advise the State Board of Education on revising and adopting content standards. The bill would also allow school systems the local option to conform their curriculum and instruction to the previous Georgia Performance Standards while the process of revising math and English language arts standards occurs over the next two years.

Senate Bill 167, “The Student Right to Privacy Act," would protect personally identifiable student information. The bill strictly delineates the limited categories of data that can be collected and disclosed without parental consent and requires written consent for any other data-collection or data-disclosure. It prohibits the use of any student records for commercial purposes. It ensures that state agencies, local districts, and education institutions must disclose the nature of the information that they collect on students and give parents access to those records. It also prohibits the use of funds for constructing and maintaining any data system that is designed to systematically collect records on students beyond their K-12 and college education. 

The rally was sponsored by Concerned Women for America of Georgia with participation from American Principles in Action and many other organizations throughout the state including the Georgia Republican Party, the Georgia Baptist Convention, Americans for Prosperity Georgia, the North Georgia Tea Party Alliance, the Georgia Tenth Amendment Coalition, the Georgia Republican Assembly, Citizen Impact USA, and the Capitol Coalition of Conservative Leaders.

“I would specifically like to thank Governor Nathan Deal for hearing the concerns of parents throughout the state, and I look forward to working with him to achieve the highest possible standards for Georgia students,” said Sen. Ligon. “We’re optimistic that the Georgia General Assembly will have a bill that addresses the concerns of parents, and does the right thing for the students of this state.”

Mike Griffin, speaking on behalf of the Georgia Baptist Convention, stated, "When it comes to the battle for the heart and soul of our country, no battleground is more strategic and sacred than the one that deals with the education of our country's children." He stated that "any effort to nationalize standards and to centralize educational control" was not a policy that the Georgia Baptist Convention could support. "We believe that withdrawing Georgia from Common Core will be in the best interest of all Georgians, and will restore authority to our citizens, to our parents, and to our state elected representatives."

Sen. Ligon was also joined by Tanya Ditty, State Director of the Concerned Women for America of Georgia, who serves on their Legislative Action Committee and is a strong advocate for putting an end to the Common Core.

“I was proud to stand with Sen. Ligon today, as we work together to stop Common Core in Georgia. “He is a man of conviction, strong moral character and integrity. Sen. Ligon is fighting valiantly for our children’s future, and we appreciate his leadership during this trying time,” said Ditty.

Senate Bill 203 and Senate Bill 167 have been referred to the Senate Education and Youth Committee. Sen. Ligon expects his revised bills to be up for debate in committee next week.

A rally in support of Common Core was scheduled for Wednesday at the Capitol.

February 5--  The freeze that hit south Georgia the last month of January did some damage to the 2014 Vidalia Onion crop, however, it's too soon to know how it will affect this year's harvest.

Onion farmers and extension service agents met last week to discuss results of a crop survey done by the agents in the aftermath of the cold weather.

According to Bob Stafford with the Vidalia Onion Business Council, "We had a real good turnout with about 40 growers there.  We had the county agents who surveyed the crop in the production area and the damage we got.  It's their assessment that we had some damage, but at this point you can't tell exactly what the damage is, however, they see no reason why we can't have a very marketable crop."

Stafford said the agents were making sure the onion bulbs were still intact at this early stage of the crop.

"If you have a freeze, it's better to have it at this time than to have it later when the bulbs are bigger.  The farmers were tickeled to death to hear the county agents and to get a real good assessment.  They've asked us to do it again in a couple of weeks, " Stafford said.

Last year's crop was hurt somewhat by seed stems and farmers in the 20-county Vidalia Onion growing region are hoping for a rebound this year.


January 4--  The Montgomery County Sheriff's Office says charges have been filed against former Vidalia Police Lieutenant Tony Phillips.

Phillips was taken into custody Saturday night at his home in Higgston after a standoff with police instigated by a domestic dispute.

Montgomery County Chief Investigator Justin Fountain says Phillips is facing charges of aggravated assault against a law enforcement officer, obstruction and false imprisonment.

Fountain also reports the arrest January 24th of Adam Williamson of Higgston.  The Georgia State Patrol assisted deputies in subduing Williamson after he threatened them with a shotgun and derringer.  

He's charged with manufacturing methamphetamine and aggravated assault against a law enforcement officer. 

February 4--  The Georgia Insurance Commissioner has seized records from a Lyons insurance agency.

Lyons Police Chief Wesley Walker says his officers helped execute a search warrant at LLS Insurance on Southeast Broad Street Monday.

According to Sherry Mowell, Director of Fraud Investigations for the state Insurance Commissioner, her office is investigating allegations of insurance fraud by the agency.  She says records and computer files are being examined to determine if the agency was collecting premiums for auto and property insurance and not passing the payments to the insurance carrier, Aggressive Insurance Company.

Mowell says clients of LLS may not be insured and should meet with representatives of the State Insurance Commissioner Wednesday, February 12th between the hours of ten a.m. and four p.m. at the Durden Cabin in Partin Park in Lyons.

She says insurance fraud charges are pending completion of the investigation.

February 3---Robert Toombs Christian Academy split victories against region foe Citizens Christian Academy on Monday night in Lyons. The Lady Crusaders lost a hard-fought battle 55-21, while the Boys won 62-46 against the Patriots.

RTCA Boys and the CCA Patriots went back and forth in the first half, exchanging the lead multiple times, but the Crusaders led 27-22 at halftime. Starter Rico Rogers committed three costly fouls early in the game, and was forced to sit with scoring only seven points. Rogers took over the game in the second half, finishing with a team-high 25 points. The Crusader bench performed extremely well while Rogers was in foul trouble. Frankie Toole totaled five points while Toby Upshaw dropped six points off the bench. Other scoring leaders for the Crusaders included Shedrick Brown who added nine points, while Matt O’Conner contributed eight points for the Crusaders. The Crusaders took a commanding lead in the fourth quarter mainly due to their conditioning and endurance, both offensively and defensively, to secure a much needed region victory.

The Lady Crusaders fought hard on Monday night, but could not beat CCA’s relentless full-court pressure. The Patriots smothered the Lady Crusaders throughout the entire game, forcing multiple turnovers that led to quick, easy points for CCA. The Lady Crusaders gave it their best, but barely exceeded double digits in either half on Monday night. They scored ten points in the first half to trail 25-10 heading into the locker room.  The Lady Patriots continued to successfully stress the Lady Crusaders with their full-court pressure, and held RTCA to just eleven points in the second half. When executed properly, full-court pressure is awfully difficult to overcome, especially when the opposition is as disciplined as the Patriots were on Monday night. Scoring leaders for the Lady Crusaders were Emily Shaw who totaled eight points, Sydni Collins scored four points, Allie Collins added three points, and Caylie Burton contributed five points on the night.

The Crusaders’ next game is this Friday, February 7th at home against David Emanuel Academy for Senior Night. Friday’s game will not only be significant for the Crusader Seniors and their families, but also for the 1989 State Champions who will be honored during a special ceremony. Come out and support you local Crusaders, both past and present!  

{mosimage}February 4--  Vidalia High School has established a Wall of Fame to honor alumni and the first honoree is Army Second Lieutenant Sam Galloway.

The Class of 1962 held a dedication for their classmate's memorial at the high school and heard January 31 proclaimed Sam Galloway Day in Vidalia by Mayor Ronnie Dixon.

"Lieutenant Sam Galloway paid the ultimate sacrifice on January 31, 1968 during the Tet Offensive in South Vietnam.  Whereas, the City of Vidalia desires to bestow honor and recognition upon Sam during a ceremony at Vidalia High School on this date, therefore; I, Ronnie A. Dixon, Mayor of the City of Vidalia, do hereby proclaim Friday, January 31, 2014 to be Sammy Galloway Day," the mayor read.

{mosimage}Classmate Jimmy Barfied recounted Galloway's growing up years in Vidalia and his death leading a platoon of the 101st Airborne Division.  He was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross for his heroism fighting off a Viet Cong attack.

"He set an example that should be followed by all of us, but particularly by young people as to how to live a life dedicated to service and to duty.  He saw his duty and he did his duty to the best of his ability and it cost him his life.  That's a tragic thing but the way his legacy can live on is by inspiring other people in the future.

{mosimage}Junior ROTC cadets at Vidalia High School assisted with the ceremony and presented the American flag which covered Lieutenant Galloway's coffin at his funeral in 1968 to the high school for inclusion in the memorial.

His class also helps support an annual scholarship in his name.

"Every year the high school grants a scholarship to a young man who has similar qualities that Sammy had and we hope that tradition is going to continue on in to the indefinite future," Barfield said.


February 3--  A man wanted for murder in Florida has been captured in Vidalia.

{mosimage}According to Toombs County Sheriff Junior Kight, 26-year-old Lavell Terrell Mucherson of Opa Locka, Florida was arrested Saturday.

Captain Kenny Clark says Toombs Deputies assisted U.S. Marshalls.  They apprehended Mucherson in the parking lot of Shoney's in Vidalia and took him to the Toombs Detention Center to await extradition to Florida.

He's wanted in Miami for murder with a deadly weapon on Wednesday, January 29.  

Captain Clark says Mucherson has family living in this area.

February 3-- The Brewton-Parker College Board of Trustees welcomes six new members according to Dr. Ergun Caner, BPC President.

The new board members are Janie Lore of Newnan, Cliff Morris of Dublin, Scott Rudd of Mt. Vernon, Mike Spivey of Soperton, Brad Waters of Hazlehurst, and Richard Wernick of Alpharetta.

Morris and Wernick have previously served on the BPC Board of Trustees. The following are short biographical sketches of the newest members.

Janie Lore is a retired educator and former director of the Brewton-Parker Campus in Newnan. She resides in Newnan where she is a member of First Baptist Church.

Scott Rudd is owner and vice president of J&S Produce, Inc. in Mount Vernon. He and his wife, Kathy, reside in Mount Vernon, where they are members of First Baptist Church.

Mike Spivey and his wife, Molly, reside in Soperton, where he is pastor of First Baptist Church. After earning a Bachelor of Science in Christianity from Brewton-Parker, he earned a Master of Divinity in Missions, Evangelism, and Church Growth from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. “As a Brewton-Parker College trustee, I hope to be a positive voice for Jesus and His gospel throughout this campus.”

Brad Waters and his wife, Cheryl, reside in Hazlehurst, where he is pastor of First Baptist Church. He earned a Bachelor of Science in Christian Studies from Southwest Bible College. 


February 3--  Vidalia Police Chief Frank Waits reports the following arrests.

Wiggins, Felicia A – B/F 42 YOA/ 1400 Aimwell Rd. Vidalia/ Disorderly Conduct

Atkins, Jay Parrell-B/M 49 YOA-607 Old Dairy Rd Ailey-Warrant Served (Vidalia Probation)


Jordan, Willie-B/M 55 YOA-1504 Forest Hill Cir. Vidalia-Disorderly Conduct


Miller, Elroy-B/M 53 YOA/ 105 Sanford St./ Possession Of Marijuana Less Than Ounce/ Obstruct, Hinder Law Enforcement/ Expired Driver’s License


Barras, Anitquell Randell- B/M- 19 YOA- 809 Barksdale Dr. Vidalia, GA- Disorderly Conduct

Garcia, Alma Isabel- H/F- 34 YOA- 254 Clifton Ave.  Lot# 25 Lyons, GA- No Driver’s License

Harper, Shawn Michael- W/M- 33 YOA- 3005 Johnson Corner Rd. Lyons, GA- Obstruction of Law Enforcement Officer

Peacock, Mallory Elyse- W/F- 28 YOA- 3005 Johnson Corner Rd. Lyons, GA- Possession of Controlled Substances/Original Container Required


Diaz, Victor Hugo-H/M 37 YOA-404 Carter St. Vidalia-Theft by Shoplifting

Wilson, Tammie Lynn-W/F 46 YOA-733 Leman Rd. Vidalia-Theft by Shoplifting


Jordan, Valerie-B/F 39 YOA-204 Davis St. Vidalia-Warrant Served (Tattnall Co.)

Byrd, Don Marquis – B/M 26 YOA/ 1389 New Normantown Rd. Vidalia/ Warrant Served ( Lyons Probation)




February 2--  A police standoff in Montgomery County Saturday night was resolved without injuries.

Dal Canady covered the story for WTOC-TV and tells us a domestice dispute between former Vidalia Police Lieutenant Tony Phllips and his wife at his home on Sawmill Road in Higgston sparked a call to the Montgomery County Sheriff's Office.

After Phillips refused to come out of his house, a response team from the Georgia State Patrol entered the residence and reportedly used tear gas to subdue Phillips.  His wife was not in the house at the time and was not injured.

Two years ago Phillips was arrested in Treutlen County for sodomy with a female juvenile.