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December 29-- The latest class of new Georgia Bureau of Investigation agents includes a Vidalian. 

According to a press release from the GBI, "On December 19, 2017, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) graduated five special agents during a ceremony at the Georgia Public Safety Training Center in Forsyth. The new agents completed approximately 600 hours of instruction over four months in preparation for their new assignments.  

They received in-depth training in death investigations, crime scene processing, elder abuse, crimes against children, officer-involved use of force investigations, responding to active shooter situations and much more.

gbiagentSpecial Agent Craig Pittman from Vidalia (center) was a member of the new class. Special Agent Pittman graduated from Georgia Southern College and previously worked with the Brantley County Sheriff’s Office. 

He is being assigned to the Eastman GBI office which provides investigators for the Vidalia area. Attending his graduation ceremony are  (L) Georgia Department of Corrections Commissioner Gregory Dozier and GBI Director Vernon Keenan.

Peter J. Skandalakis, Executive Director of the Prosecuting Attorneys’ Council of Georgia served as the keynote speaker for the event.

The GBI is comprised of three divisions: the Georgia Crime Information Center, the Crime Laboratory, and the Investigative Division.

The agency has approximately 878 employees and a budget of $108 million dollars.

billhonoredDecember 28--  Bill Mitchell (center) is honored by the Toombs County Board of Commissioners as he wraps up a 17-year career heading the Toombs-Montgomery Chamber of Commerce and the Toombs County Development Authority.

Mitchell says he is proud the community was able to diversify its jobs after suffering major setbacks with the departure of Oxford apparel manufacturing and the closing of Piggly Wiggly. 

He credits the recovery to cooperation between leaders in Vidalia, Lyons, Toombs and Montgomery counties.  "We convinced state economic developers we could deliver when they brought us prospects and a team approach among our local leaders made the difference," he said.

Mitchell urged continued cooperation to overcome current economic development challenges including infrastructure needs such as more natural gas distribution in the region and plentiful wastewater treatment capacity to accommodate a wide variety of industrial prospects. 


December 27--  Toombs County commissioners held a called meeting the day after Christmas and approved a $16.2 million dollar budget for 2018.

County Manager John Jones says the Maintenance and Operating budget of nearly $10.4 million is a $200,000 increase over this year.  The special revenue budget of $5.8 million is a one percent increase and includes funding for the county landfill, E-911, ambulance service, and projects funded by special purpose local option sales taxes and transportation sales taxes.

At its regular December meeting, the commission demonstrated support for  Brewton-Parker College by endorsing its efforts to refinance a federal loan which would save the college an estimated $300,000 in interest payments.

It set qualifying fees for county-wide elections in 2018.  The seats of District 1 Commissioner Alfred Cason and and District 4 Commissioners Jeff McCormick will be up for election.  Qualifying fees for commissioners are $180. 

Four seats on the Toombs County Board of Education are up for election including that of Board Chairman Clint Williams and members Russ Benton in District 1,  Mitch Bellflower in District 3 and Jonathan Holland in District 5.   It will cost $108 to run for the school board chairman's seat and $72.30 for the school board seats.

Clarence Pittman was appointed to the county board of Family and Children's Services to succeed the late Donnie Mann. 

A used fire truck was purchased for the Cedar Crossing Volunteer Fire Department.  Jones says the 2007 model pumper truck was a bargain at $56,000.

The commissioners are also considering an environmental conservation ordinance mandated by the Georgia Department of Community Affairs.  The law would make the county health department responsible for the approval of septic tanks in the county. 

December 27-- Members from Southeastern Technical College's (STC) Dental Hygiene Program showcased their program at the Georgia School Counselor Association's Annual Conference at Jekyll Island.

On the second day of the conference, the Technical College System of Georgia (TCSG) sponsored a Manufacturing Expo and Technical College Cornucopia. During this time, technical colleges from across the state were able to set up exhibits and promote what some of their top programs have to offer. These programs ranged from Welding and Timber Harvesting to Bioscience and Nuclear Engineering.

stcdentalThe Dental Hygiene Program was selected by the TCSG to showcase for STC. Four STC staff members, including Dental Hygiene Program Director, Dr. Jennifer Gramiak, and three students, Callie Johnson, Abby Lynn, and Landon Stuckey represented STC at the Expo.

"This event provided a unique opportunity for school counselors to interact directly with students enrolled in the dental hygiene program," said Gramiak. "The students answered questions about program admission requirements and discussed reasons for choosing a career in dental hygiene. Based on the positive response from the school counselors, the students did an amazing job promoting technical education."

The Georgia School Counselor Association (GSCA) is a non-profit association made up of counselors, guidance directors, and other administrators in Georgia school systems. Over 1,000 counselors were at this year's conference.

For more information on the Dental Hygiene Program and other opportunities at STC, visit or call 912-538-3100 or 478-229-2200.

December 26--  Vidalia Police Chief Frank Waits reports the following arrests.

Williams, Evan Matthew- W/M- 41 YOA- 3074 Stallings Rd. Valdosta, GA- 1st Driving While License Suspended or Revoked (Bench Warrant)

Mason, Candy - B/F 49 YOA/ 505 E. Sixth St. Vidalia, Ga./ Warrant Served (Baltimore County PD)

Eason, Jeremy Devonair- B/M- 27 YOA- 603 Cedarwood Drive Bonaire, GA- Simple Battery/Cruelty to Children (FVA), Warrant Served (TCSO)

Wilkes, Logan Chaz-W/M- 18 YOA- 416 1st Street Uvalda, Ga- Possession of marijuana less than a ounce

Wilkes, Luke Michael-W/M-18 YOA- 416 1st Street Uvalda, Ga- Possession of marijuana less than a ounce

Harrington, Malique- B/M- 28 YOA- 724 E Seventh St. Vidalia, GA- Theft by Taking

Stewart, Sammie Willis- W/F- 57 YOA- 302 Mosley St. Vidalia, GA- Theft by Taking/Forgery- 4th Degree

Mendez, Luis Aturo - H/M 27 YOA/ 319 27th St. West Palm Beach, Fl./ Criminal Trespass

McCoy, Michael – W/M- 46 YOA- 302 SW Main St. Vidalia, Ga./ Willfully Obstruction Of Police Officer Simple/Verbal, Simple Assault

Lyons Police Chief Wesley Walker reports the following arrests.

Linda and Bobby Rewis, Lyons, Disorderly conduct, maintaining a disorderly home

Christian Lewis, Dublin, DUI. driving with suspended license, wrong side of road, failure to dim headlight, false name to law officer

Brittany Whitaker, Lyons, possession of drug related objects

Ronald Phillips, Lyons, possession of drug related objects, open container

Kamarie Ayeni, Lyons, DUI, speeding

Jamel Brewer, Tifton, sale, manufacture and distribution of cocaine, possession of methamphetamines

James Black, Tifton, DUI, possession of marijuana and theft by receiving stolen property

Parker Dennison, Collins, DUI, failure to maintain line and to stop at stop sign

Elena Santiago, Collins, driving unlicensed, tinted window violation

Jaelyn Outlaw, Vidalia, obstruction of a police officer

Jessica McKinney, Lyons,obstruction of a police officer

Sheryl Bowen, Vidalia, DUI, driving unlicensed

Robert Brown, Richmond Hill, possession of marijuana, tail light/tag light requirements, no tail lights on trailer

Tayana Parker, Lyons, possession with intent to distribute cocaine and non-contrilled substances

Kendall Sanders, Vidalia, Warrant served

Brian Mobley, Lyons, warrant served, driving unlicensed

Calvin Keel, Statesboro, DUI, failure to maintain lane

Charles Love, Twin City, DUI, driving with suspended/revoked license

Toombs County Sheriff Junior Kight reports the following arrests.

Tom Livingston, III, Uvalda, Pointing gun at another

Jackie Macneil, Lyons, probation violation

Steven Mathews, Screven, Warrant for Wayne County

Shauntele Mitchell, Vidalia, No insurance, speeding

Heather Patrick, Pooler, theft by taking

Stacey Allen, Uvalda, driving with suspended/revoked license

Bobby Arnold, Reidsville, driving while license suspended/revoked

Joseph Barr, Uvalda, DUI, failure to maintain lane

Beverly Dawson, Vidalia, DUI, expired license

Joshua Gilchriest, Vidalia, Burglary

Roberts Green, West Palm Beach, driving with suspended license

Gregory Hester, Lyons, aggravated assault

Danny Knight, Jr., Vidalia, aggravated battery, failure to appear

Montgomery County Sheriff Doug Maybin reports the following arrests.

12/19-Marcia B. Curry, Mt Vernon, Disorderly Conduct

12/19-Samantha Phillips, Mt Vernon, Aggravated Assault

12/21-Tabitha Meeks, Tarrytown, Criminal Damage to Property-2nd





December 26--  The November term of the Toombs County grand jury returned 29 indictments when it met in early December.  It also reappointed Carolyn Robinson to the county Board of Equalization and named Sylvia Dennis as an alternate member.

kimtaylorA former director of the GED program in Vidalia was indicted for stealing funds from the program. Kim Taylor of Lyons was dismissed from the Southeastern Literate Community Program in January, 2014 after she disclosed she had been diverting funds for her personal use. 

Vidalia police were called to investigate and asked the GBI to conduct an audit.    According to the indictment, Taylor started taking money from the program she supervised starting in 2010 and took $51,794.14 over a four-year period.

Other Indictments:

Drugs--  Rigoberto Mata for the sale and trafficking methamphetamine.

James Browder and Ranae Davis for possession of marijuana with intent to distribute plus Browder was indicted for  DUI and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.

David Allen Jackson, Jr. for sale of cocaine; Stephanie Roundtree for possession of methamphetamine, fleeing police and driving while license suspended; Loriana Ridley, Briana Shugart and Torian Sordelet for conspiracy to obtain a controlled substance by forgery and possession of codeine; :Phillip Berry for possession of cocaine with intent to distribute; Kelly Garner for possession of methamphetamine and DUI; Tevin Blount, possession of cocaine.  

Synna Coglin for welfare fraud.

Jayla Didio and Justin Smith for aggravated battery and cruelty to children.

Sheila Riner, shoplifting' Ravin Brown, burglary at All Body Fitness in Vidalia; Brett Teston, aggravated battery and obstruction of an officer; Vernincia Gillis and Damian Jones, theft by taking money from Arby's in Vidalia; Dustin Love and Dillon Phillips for burglary; Matthew Holley for theft by receiving stolen property; Wykebia McKinney for executing fictitious checks; Terry Gordy for aggravated sexual battery and child molestation; Michael Kelley, computer/electronic pornography; Brookly Phelp and Everette Stewart for burglary; Landon Mosley, aggravated child molestation and sodomy; Tony Lee Swain for burglary;  James Douglas Moye for obstructing an officer and shoplifting; Aaron Coleman for rape, burglary and aggravated stalking and obstructing an officer; Aaron Mullinax, Burglary.




Robert Toombs Christian Academy held its second annual Elf Parade for students in grades Kindergarten through Fifth grade who are assigned a theme to use for their float.

This year, the floats had to reflect a ‘Storybook’ theme. Students were to use their math and reading skills that they learned throughout the year to meet the requirements for the Elf Floats. Once the students made their float, they were to bring them to school for judging, where each grade would have a winner. The winners were announced at the end of the parade and were given gifts from our grand marshals, Assistant Headmaster Hayne Brant and Tracey Adams.

rtcaelvesPictured L-R:

Front Row- Karsyn Parham 5th grade, Leighton Williams 3rd grade, Isaac Holton 4th grade, Annabelle Coe 1st grade, Peyton Williamson Kindergarten, Kinsley Kennedy 2nd grade

Back Row- Assistant Headmaster Tracey Adams, Assistant Headmaster Hayne Brant, K-4 ParaPro Will NeSmith, Second Grade teacher Leslie Wiggins

December 22--  Two Southern Nuclear engineers were guest speakers at Toombs County High School.  Tyler Edenfield, Electrical Engineer, and Eric King, Mechanical Engineer, spoke about their careers and job responsibilities as engineers at Plant Hatch. 

Students of Peggy Snow, Sabrina Campbell, and Attallaka Harris-Williams enjoyed the presentation.  Students learned about career benefits and drawbacks, working conditions, salary range, required education, and college choices and locations.

tchsplanthatch(L-R)  Lexie Martin, Maggie Waller, Principal Barry Waller, Eric Clay, Assistant Principal Joseph Depenhart, Chad Guthrie, Tyler Edenfield, Southern Nuclear, and Eric King, Southern Nuclear


December 21--  Vidalia attorney Howard Kaufold has been appointed Superior Court Judge in the Oconee Judicial Circuit by Georgia Governor Nathan Deal.

howardkaufoldThe veteran trial lawyer will fill the unexpired term of Judge H. Frederick Mullis who resigned due to problems with his vision. 

"It's always been something I aspired to do.  I'm very appreciative of Governor Deal giving me this honor to have the ability to serve the people of the Oconee Circuit and it's a real honor.  I think my 39-plus years of being in the courtroom will help me deal with the people's situations," he said.

In addition to his private practice, Kaufold is the county attorney for Toombs and Montgomery counties.

He earned a bachelor's degree from Mercer University and his law degree from the Walter F. George School of Law at Mercer. 

He and his wife, Sherri, have three children and five grandchildren and live in Montgomery County.


December 20--  The Lyons Mayor and City Council held a work session Tuesday night to discuss options regarding upgrades to the city's wastewater treatment plants.

Even though the city has been approved for a $14.8 million federal loan to increase the capacity of its North plant and to upgrade its East plant, the lowest bid for the North plant is about $3 million dollars more than the loan amount and an estimated $2 million more would be needed for the East plant, according to city manager Jason Hall.

Councilman Rick Hartley estimated upgrading the North plant's equipment without a major expansion of capacity would increase its efficiency and generate an additional 200,000 gallons per day in capacity.  He said that might be enough to attract some new industry to the industrial park north of Lyons.

CLARIFICATION:  City manager Jason Hall sent us a clarification to the above paragraph:

"I just wanted to help clarify this statement a little.  Rick did mention capacity of 200,000 gallons per day.  However, that is the approximate excess capacity at the plant today, not after any work on the plant. 

There is an ongoing perception that the City cannot handle any new industry in the Lyons Industrial park. 

That is definitely not true.  In the past 16 months, the Development Authority has received interest from two prospects that were very satisfied with the amount of water and sewer treatment available to them.  However, there were issues with natural gas, educated workforce, and tax abatement.  I hope this helps clear the air about sewer capacity in Lyons."

The county has a new "spec" building in the park which is sitting vacant and needs more wastewater treatment capacity to make it competitive to some industries like food processors who require large amounts of wastewater treatment.

The council plans to meet again in January.  In the meantime, the city's engineering consultant, Hofsteader and Associates, is continuing to work with the contractor to see if costs can be reduced.  Hall was authorized to pay $500,000 to Hofsteader for work on the project thus far.

A street project the city is considering is also $300,000 over budget and its scope is being reexamined prior to the meeting in January.

Sunday Sales of Alcohol Now in Effect

The council okayed an amendment to the city ordinance authorizing the Sunday sale of alcohol in retail stores and by the drink.  Effective immediately in Lyons, Sunday sales are authorized starting at 12:30 p.m.

In other actions, the council okayed a 10.2% increase in workers compensation insurance premiums and granted a 1.6% increase to Republic Services for trash pickup in the city.

It passed a proclamation regarding the city's participation in the Greater Promise Partnership to encourage workforce development in Toombs County and thanked retiring council members Wayne Hartley and Charles "Spec" Nobles for their service.

New Officers Recognized

Police Chief Wesley Walker introduced three new Lyons police officers and commended them for their performance at the state Police Academy which he likened to military basic training.

lyonscadetcops(L-R) Officer Tyler Wimpey, Officer Cory McCoy and Officer Ken Patel. 

Wimpey won the Police Academy "Top Gun" award for weapons qualification while McCoy was the "Top Cadet" in the class, class president and fastest on the physical fitness obstacle course.


December 20--  The Montgomery County Board of Commissioners held a called meeting and named two local citizens to local boards. 

Charlie Williams, Sr. was reappointed to the Heart of Georgia Altamaha Regional Commission and Mildred Tuck was named to the Montgomery County Board of Health.

All commissioners voted in favor with the exception of Commissioner Greg Palmer.

December 22--  Vidalia Police Chief Frank Waits reports the following arrests.

Evans, Jenarra Rod’Drae- B/M- 29 YOA- 126 Linton Forest Drive Sandersville, Ga- Driving While License Suspended or Revoked (First)

Guyton, Cassandra-B/F- 36 YOA- 326 W Church St Swainsboro, Ga- Theft by Shoplifting (Felony)

Newberry, Donald Randal- W/M- 56 YOA- 304 Pine St. Vidalia, GA- Warrant Served (Parole)

Mack, James E. - B/M 50 YOA/ 609 Green St. Vidalia, Ga./ Loitering/ Prowling

Tillman, Clyde Lachun- B/M- 20 YOA- 553 Taylor Rd. Lyons, GA- Theft by Shoplifting (Felony)

Knight, Danny Lee Jr- B/M- 31 YOA- 406 Ward Street Apt A Vidalia, Ga- Aggravated Battery (State Warrant)

Burch, Tony Orlanda- B/M- 52 YOA- 2105 Charlotteville Road Uvalda, Ga- Warrant Served (Montgomery County Probation), Driving While License Suspended or Revoked (First)

Cobb, Ladarius Devonta- B/M- 25 YOA- 704 Kelley Street Vidalia, Ga- Hit & Run/No Driver’s License, Warrant Served (Toombs County Probation)

Trull, Marcus Hester- W/M- 22 YOA- 220 Cauley Rd Lyons, Ga- Driving While License Suspended or Revoked (1st Offense)

Brown, Ricky Recardo- B/M- 37 YOA- 181 Cardinal Road Lyons, Ga- Failure To Obey Traffic Control Device, Driving While License Suspended or Revoked 2nd, Warrant Served (Lyons Probation)

Brewton, Danielle Leona- B/F- 24 YOA- 404 Winona Street Vidalia, Ga- Warrant Served (Toombs County Probation)

Lyons Police Chief Wesley Walker reports the following arrests.

Marty Chapel, Claxton, Driving while license suspended/revoked

Tristan Beasley, Uvalda, possession of marijuana

Carla Carr, Lyons, DUI, failure to dim headlight, driving while unlicensed, no insurance, suspended vehicle registration

Carlton Bell, Lyons, criminal trespass

Tracy Caswell, Lyons, DUI, failure to yield, open container

Sheryl Bowen, Vidalia, DUI, Driving unlicensed

Robert Brown, Richmond Hill, possession of marijuana, no working brake lights on trailer, tail light and tag light violations

Tayana Parker, Lyons, possession with intent to distribute cocaine and non-controlled substance

Toombs County Sheriff Junior Kight reports the following arrests.

Ryan Allen, Hazlehurst, probation violation

Travis Badie, Vidalia, theft by taking

Benjamin Blackshear, Soperton, Driving with suspended/revoked license, safety belt

David Burkhalter, Claxton, DUI, open container, safety belt

Jennifer Forbus, Vidalia, Purchase, possession, manufacturing, distribution and sale of marijuana

Richard Kelly, Uvalda, Battery, family violence

Guillermo Lopez, Lyons, immigration hold, driving unlicensed, unlawful use of license or personal ID

Teresa Maddox, Lyons, disorderly conduct, simple assault and battery

Princess McRae, Lyons, probation violation, safety belts, child passenger restraining system

Kierston Nesbit, Reidsville, hold for Tattnall County Sheriff's Office

Anthony Ogrodoski, Vidalia, Purchase, possession, manufacture, distribution and sale of cocaine, drug related objects

Natasha Staton, Glennville, probation violation

Terry Tootle, Reidsville, probation violation

Eric Williams, Vidalia, DUI, possession of marijuana, safety belt, failure to maintain lane, license violation

Montgomery County Sheriff Doug Maybin reports the following arrests.

12/14-Christopher Nathan Mullins, Vidalia, Aggravated Assault

12/14- Jerry Matthew Rich, Mt Vernon, Aggravated Assault

12/15-Bento Mendez, Higgston, Battery (FVA)

12/16-Christopher Shawn Shealy, Reidsville, Items Prohibited for Possession by Inmates

12/16-Lea Marie Bates, Dawson, Ga., Items Prohibited for Possession by Inmates

12/16-Clint Eugene Hart, Uvalda, Appling County Warrant Served






December 20-- The Georgia Department of Economic Development (GDEcD) today announced that Modutek International, manufacturer of modular buildings and power systems, will create 70 new jobs and invest more than $6 million in Treutlen County. This new manufacturing and distribution facility in Soperton will produce modular power systems for data centers and other technology companies.

“We look forward to watching an innovative company like Modutek International reach its goals through this expansion in Soperton,” said GDEcD Commissioner Pat Wilson. “This is an incredible win for Treutlen County, as these jobs represent an important step in increasing job growth in rural Georgia and new opportunities for the regions highly-skilled workforce. Congratulations to all partners involved.”

Modutek International’s new facility will manufacture and distribute plug and play modular power systems for both domestic and international installations. Modutek packaged systems are provided to prime mover manufacturers, data centers, retail facilities, health care facilities and energy producers.

“I am confident that our new headquarter location in Soperton, Georgia will serve our firm and the community well. Modutek International LLC is committed to provide opportunities for residents interested in the manufacturing field,” said Carl Trent, President of Modutek International. “This location was chosen in large part because of the available local talent pool. We look forward to building our Soperton team consisting of design engineers and production staff.”

Modutek International LLC will acquire and renovate a former textile building located on twelve acres in Treutlen County Industrial Park in Soperton. The selected facility has been vacant for more than five years. The new Georgia location will provide the necessary infrastructure for transporting products by truck, rail and ship.

“It has been our privilege to partner with Modutek International with its new headquarters in the Soperton-Treutlen Industrial Park,” said Executive Director of the Treutlen County Development Authority Chris Kight. “The Treutlen County Development Authority stands ready to assist Modutek International as it seeks to become an established industry in Treutlen County and abroad, and we look forward to the prosperity and opportunities that this new industry can bring to our local community and its citizens.”

Ryan Waldrep, GDEcD regional project manager, represented the Global Commerce division in partnership with GDEcD’s Workforce Division and the Heart of Georgia Workforce Development Board.

December 19--  Twelfth District Congressman Rick Allen released the following statement following passage in the House of Representatives of a tax bill. 

"The day has finally come! After 30 years with no major reforms to our broken tax code, the House just passed the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. Congressman Rick W. Allen (R-GA-12) released the following statement after House passage of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act:

“During this blessed Christmas season, I am so grateful for the opportunity to cast a historic vote to cut, simplify and reform taxes for middle class families and small businesses. The hardworking people of Georgia-12 and across America deserve to keep more of their paychecks and have the opportunity to grow their businesses.”

“Not only will this legislation cut taxes for individuals and businesses, but it also preserves many credits important to my constituents and Americans across the nation. This includes the expansion of the child tax credit, preservation of the adoption tax credit, preservation of the mortgage interest deduction and expansion of the charitable contributions deduction – just to name a few. Now it is up to our Senate colleagues to deliver tax reform to President Trump’s desk!”

For Individuals and Families, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act:

  • Lowers individual taxes and sets the rates at 0%, 10%, 12%, 22%, 24%, 32%, 35%, and 37% so people can keep more of their hard-earned money.
  • Significantly increases the standard deduction.
  • Continues to allow people to write off the cost of state and local taxes – up to $10,000.
  • Expands the Child Tax Credit from $1,000 to $2,000 for single filers and married couples to help parents with the cost of raising children.
  • Preserves the Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit to help families care for their children and older dependents such as a disabled grandparent who may need additional support.
  • Preserves the Adoption Tax Credit so parents can continue to receive additional tax relief as they open their hearts and homes to an adopted child.
  • Preserves the mortgage interest deduction – providing tax relief to current and aspiring homeowners.
  • Provides relief for Americans with expensive medical bills by expanding the medical expense deduction for 2017 and 2018 for medical expenses exceeding 7.5 percent of adjusted gross income, and rising to 10 percent beginning in 2019.
  • Continues and expands the deduction for charitable contributions so people can continue to donate to their local church, charity, or community organization.
  • Eliminates Obamacare’s individual mandate penalty
  • Provides support for graduate students by continuing to exempt the value of reduced tuition from taxes.
  • Retains popular retirement savings options such as 401(k)s and Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs) so Americans can continue to save for their future.
  • Provides immediate relief from the Death Tax by doubling the amount of the current exemption to reduce uncertainty and costs for many family-owned farms and businesses when they pass down their life’s work to the next generation.

For Job Creators of all Sizes, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act:

  • Lowers the corporate tax rate to 21% (beginning Jan. 1, 2018).
  • Allows businesses to immediately write off the full cost of new equipment to improve operations and enhance the skills of their workers.
  • Protects the ability of small businesses to write off interest on loans.
  • Eliminates the Corporate Alternative Minimum Tax.
  • Modernizes our international tax system.
  • Makes it easier for American businesses to bring home foreign earnings to invest in growing jobs and paychecks in our local communities.

December 19--  Habitat for Humanity is being rejuvenated in Vidalia.  It's been three years since a "Habitat" house was built in Vidalia, but a new board of directors chaired by David Parker has plans to start a new house in January.

"We're getting ready to start a new house on January 12 and after that we have several houses that are in the offing, so we're looking forward to getting cranked up and going again," he said.

Habitat for Humanity originally started in Vidalia in 1991, "Since then we've had eleven houses that have been built.  We have eight homeowners who are still active and we have three who have completed the transaction and own their homes free and clear," Parker noted.

habitatDavid Parker, left, and Habitat Board Member Jimmy Kirby announced the building plans at the Vidalia Rotary Club.

The new house will be built at the corner of Roosevelt Street and 12th Avenue.

"It's designed from its original beginnings to be a partnership.  In that respect, we don't give a free home.  The homeowner has bought into the idea of partnering with us.  They volunteer their time to help us build the home and maybe for somebody else's house as well.  We spread the mortgage over about 20 years, but we don't have an interest rate on it.  It's affordable for most people and that's what it's designed to be, a partnership," he said.

Right now Habitat needs local volunteers to give time and effort to help build the house, "We need donations of any kind, but right now we're just looking for volunteers.  It doesn't matter if you've never held a hammer because there are plenty of things we can use help with.  We just need volunteers to get the house built and it's really fulfilling.  It just makes you feel good to know you're helping other people," Parker said.

If you'd like to help, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or visit their web page at



December 15--  Volunteers from Toombs County United Charities spent last Thursday in the parking lot of the Ed Smith Recreation Complex in Vidalia handing out $50 Bi-Lo gift cards to help folks in need have a merrier Christmas.

toombscharitySome of the recipients said it means, "That families can eat and be thankful" and "It's a good thing for people who need help and don't have money to buy groceries."

Jan Williams and Keith Dawson help organize the effort and Dawson reminds folks that Toombs United Charities is a United Way agency, "We're actually the oldest charity in Toombs County dating back to 1971.  I'm not sure all the people around here know exactly where all the money goes from the United Way but I can tell you we've been blessed by the United Way over the years and thousands of people have been blessed because of it," he says.

In some years, as many as 800 families have received assistance and  this year more than 450 families signed up during registration at the Vidalia First Baptist Church. "The need is still there and we give 100% of what we receive to those who need it.  They fill out an extensive questionnaire about income and need.  There's no science to it.  We pray about it and, based on the information given, we try to pick the most needy and give from there," Dawson said.

December 15--  The Toombs County Board of Education held its December meeting Thursday night.  Here are excerpts from the meeting's minutes.

School Superintendent Richard Smith asked Mrs. Woodruff to come forward and recognize the Debra Brantley Special Education Teacher of the Year. GLRS Director Jeannie Morris joined Mrs. Woodruff and honored Kathy Roberts with this prestigious award. Mrs. Roberts was recommended by her principal, Dr. Judy Helgren who commended Mrs. Roberts for her caring nature. Mrs. Roberts not only expressed gratitude for the presentation but she further noted how much she loved teaching young, special needs children and watching them succeed.

During the Superintendent’s Report, Mr. Smith shared and read the Cornerstone Community Partnership Proclamation with the Georgia Great Promise Partnership. This partnership seeks to advocate the productivity and success of young people. Toombs County is one of only seven communities in the state to be recognized with this partnership. Mr. Smith commended the board of education on their support of the community and this program.

Monthly enrollment was shared with board members. While numbers were up from last month, we were still down about 23 students from last year.

The board was presented with the November Financial Reports, including the October SPLOST and Current Account Balance Reports. SPLOST was down 8% from last October. Further, the board was presented with account balances as of December 2017; they were presented with the general fund budget standing, the monthly cash flow report, and the general ledger.

Mr. Smith noted that information had been gathered from teachers and leadership team members concerning Hurricane Irma make-up days. Mr. Smith recommended that Toombs County Schools make-up two days from the three days lost from the storm. On a motion by Mrs. Wilkes and a second by Mr. Grimes, the board approved that February 16, 2018 and March 15, 2018, previously holidays, be the days made up.

On a motion by Mrs. Wilkes and a second by Mr. Grimes, the board approved the following recommendations: Employment Recommendation: Angie Collins, pre-k teacher, TCES; Brittany Wheeler, Food Service Worker, TCHS.



December 14--  The City of Lyons held two bid openings for infrastructure work Thursday and was disappointed with both, according to City Manager Jason Hall.

The largest is a multi-million dollar project to expand the capacity of the city's wastewater treatment plant which serves the area north of the railroad tracks.  The city has secured approval for a $14.8 million federal loan for the project, however, the lowest of three bids came in well above that figure.  A Jacksonville firm said it could increase the plant's capacity to one million gallons a day for $16.3 million and to 1.5 million gallons a day for $17.5 million.

Hall says the city's engineering consultant will study the bids and verify the figures.  After that the options include accepting the low bid, accepting a comparable bid or re-bidding the project.  The latter option seems the most feasible since the city doesn't have the funds to cover the proposed costs, Hall noted.

The expansion has economic development implications.  Without more capacity, the industrial park north of Lyons will be unable to accept any industry which generates a significant amount of wastewater as part of the manufacturing process.  As an example, the vacant "spec" building in the park  is among five locations being considered by a Chinese company involved in food processing and adequate wastewater treatment is a project requirement.

The other bid opening Thursday was for street and storm drainage improvements in the Stewart Street area.  The apparent low bid from Sikes Brothers, Incorporated is $817,300.00.  The city has a state grant of $500,000 for the project and Hall says this bid, too, is higher than expected and more than the city is prepared to fund.  He says engineers will re-work the project and try to reduce its scope.

The council has a meeting next Tuesday, December 19th to consider its options.

December 11--  Vidalia Police Chief Frank Waits reports the following arrests.

Carter, Jeremy Michael- W/M- 37 YOA- 506 Brookwood Dr. Apt. H2 Dublin, GA- DUI-1st Offense/Failure to Maintain Lane/No Proof of Insurance

Leggett, Timothy Phillip- W/M- 38 YOA- 1913 Teston LN Vidalia, GA- Criminal Trespass

Wynn, Miranda Lynn- W/F- 33 YOA- 268 Ray Lively Rd. Collins, GA- Theft by Shoplifting (Felony)

Thompson, Morris Larry- W/M- 47 YOA- 3538 Allen Sikes Rd. Claxton, GA- Theft by Shoplifting (Felony)/Warrant Served (Claxton PD)

Sanford, Sha’mona Antonette- B/F- 26 YOA- 209 Jones Street Vidalia, GA- Driving While License Suspended or Revoked (First), Driving With Expired Tag

Wilds, Charles Daniel- W/M- 33 YOA- 21 Rudolph Way Lyons, Ga- Warrant Served (Soperton PD), Controlled Substance Not In Original Container, Possession of a Controlled Substance, Possession Of Marijuana Less Than Ounce

Jenkins, Vickie A.- W/F- 39 YOA- 379 Regency Road, No Insurance

Harris, Marquevous Dequan- B/M- 21 YOA- 700 NE Main St. Vidalia, GA- Warrant Served (Tattnall County SO)

Hooks, Takeisha Lovanda - B/F 34 YOA/ 186 Mclendon Rd. Vidalia, Ga./ Possession Of Marijuana

Martin, Brandon Rashad - B/M 21 YOA/ 304 Epstein St. A Vidalia, Ga./ Possession Marijuana With Intent To Sell, Distribute (Fel), Possession Of Drug Related Objects, Possession Of Tools For The Commission Of A Crime, Possession Of Firearms By Convicted Felon (Fel), Park Rec Center-Possess Marijuana W/Intent To Distribute W/In 1000 Ft. (Fel), Possession Of A Controlled Substance

Lopez, Briana L. - H/F-23 YOA- 145 Aiken St. Lyons, GA- Possession of Marijuana Less Than Ounce

Toombs County Sheriff Junior Kight reports the following arrests.

David Cruz, Collins, Deposit Account Fraud, Bad checks

Ivey Gillis, Vidalia, DUI, Open Container-Alcoholic Beverage-Passenger, Driving While License Suspended/revoked, Laying Drags

Austin Holcombe, Lyons, Entering Automobile

Lonnie Lawson, Warner Robins, Hold for Houston County

Brandon Martin, Lyons, Possession of Marijuana

Servando Rosas-Trujillo, Vidalia, DUI, Safety Belt, Open Container Violation, failure to maintain lane

Randy Taylor, Vidalia, Possession of firearm by convicted felon, child support

Christopher Ulmer, Vidalia, parole violation

Timothy Yates, Lyons, Pointing Firearm at another

Montgomery County Sheriff Doug Maybin reports the following arrests.

12/04 – Jerry Matthew Rich, Mt. Vernon, Ga., Expired Tag, Driving w/Suspended License

12/04 – Antonio Jerome Saunders, Vidalia, Ga., Burglary (x4), Forgery in the First Degree (x14)

12/09 – Anderson T. Davis, Uvalda, Ga., Misdemeanor Probation Violation




December 14--  The mayor of Alamo is not guilty of stealing money from the city.  According to The Advance newspaper, Debbie Joyce Fountain was acquitted by a Wheeler County Superior Court jury as was the former city clerk Gail Brown.

The two were indicted a year ago and Fountain says she plans to resume her duties as mayor after filing paperwork with the state regarding her acquittal.  She had been suspended by Governor Nathan Deal following her arrest.  Her term of office will expire in two years.

December 13--  The Vidalia City Council approved the city's 2018 budget at its December meeting.  The $8,531,663 budget is about $50,000 less than this year's operating budget.

The council awarded a contract for the striping of 14 city streets to Southeastern Centerline of Vidalia.  Most of the $27,976.50 contract is being paid for with a $25,000 state grant and includes work on Aimwell Road, MLK Avenue, South Maple Drive, Teston Lane, Tap Drive, West Street, Stella Avenue, Clydette Boulevard, Grand Drive, Brice Drive, Forest Lake, Bob Sharpe Road, Harris Industrial Boulevard and Pete Phillips Drive.

Earlier this year the city awarded a $213,610.70 contract to Sikes Brothers of Metter for resurfacing work on portions of 14 streets including Northeast Main, Cambridge Court, Leslie Street, Thompson Street, West 8th Street, Lee Street, White Street, Allen Drive, Queen Street, Woodlawn Circle, Everett Street, Ridgewood Place and Moseley Street.

In the new year, the city is planning on paving work on seven other streets including Pearl Drive, McDonald Drive, Commercial Loop, Meadows Lane, Ardella Court, Moses Drive and Mitchell Drive.  The estimated cost is $245,217.20 with all but $68,000 paid by the Georgia Department of Transportation.

The city accepted a bid from Wendell Metts to purchase 4.74 acres of land in Aimwell Road Estates for $5,055.00.

City manager Nick Overstreet announced the finishing touches are being put on renovation of the historic Pal Theater downtown and an open house will be held early in 2018.

December 13-- Two winning tickets sold in Omega and Lyons split the $453,450 jackpot prize from the Dec. 12 Fantasy 5 drawing. The winning tickets won $226,725 each.

Winning numbers from the Dec. 12 drawing were: 4-5-13-16-18.

Susie Q’s #4, located at 5499 N. Alabama Ave. in Omega, sold the ticket. The winner of the prize claimed Wednesday at the Georgia Lottery’s Tifton District Office.

 The Lyons ticket was sold at Parker’s #0046, located at 113 Oxley Drive.

 A winner has not come forward yet to claim the Lyons ticket.

 Fantasy 5 winners have 180 days from the draw date to claim prizes.

Since its first year, the Georgia Lottery Corp. has returned more than $19 billion to the state of Georgia for education. All Georgia Lottery profits go to pay for specific educational programs, including Georgia’s HOPE Scholarship Program and Georgia’s Pre-K Program. More than 1.8 million students have received HOPE, and more than 1.6 million 4-year-olds have attended the statewide, voluntary prekindergarten program.

December 12-- Robert Toombs Christian Academy’s "Pancakes with Santa" took place on December 9th. The annual event is becoming a fun holiday tradition many families are starting.

rtcasanta(L-R) 6th grader Marly Dismuke and 1st grader Morgan Dismuke with Santa!

Students, families and friends lined up to eat pancakes and sausage provided by RTCA’S Parents’ League. Children then spent quality time with Santa Claus, took pictures and told him what all they wanted for Christmas this year.

Christmas for the Troops

Robert Toombs Christian Academy’s freshman class gathered items for their class Christmas project to send to service men and women overseas. This year the class chose to send their items to where ‘Our Hometown Hero Dustin Wright’ was stationed. The class gathered canned goods and other items for the troops while the Elementary art classes worked on Christmas cards for them. Our local Dot Foods heard what the class was doing and showed up in their military-themed trailer with a pallet full of food to send over to the troops!

rtcatroopsPictured L-R:
Front Row: Foster Jones, Andrew Mead, Anna Cuevas-Ortes, Campbell Adams, Abigail Weeks, Madison Glisson, Kaitlyn Reeves, Carleigh DeFee, Carolina Mead, Maison Garbutt,

Back Row: Ashton Sowell, Trey Brant, Damon Schewe, Ashton Scott, Justin Johnson, Rob Moore, Nelson Thigpen, Hayden Wiggins, Jayden Robertson, Steven McDonald, Hunter Coley, Kaine Parham, Mason Moxley, Austin Akins

Crusaders at National Beta State Convention

rtcabetaRTCA's Junior Beta Club attended the National Beta State Convention at the Savannah International Trade and Convention Center.  Students competed in academic competitions as well as art competitions against hundreds of other Jr Betas from across the state.  The Advertising Design Team of (L--R) Ansleigh Toomer, Ellie Graham,Madison Williams and Bailey Holland placed 5th in their competition.  The Jr Beta Club sponsors are Carrie Anne Kennedy and Leigh Ann Walden.



Crusader Christmas Celebration

The Robert Toombs Christian Academy Band and Elementary students presented their Christmas program to parents, families and friends. The Crusader Band began the program playing Christmas music.

Kindergarten through First grade sang “Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer,” “Reindeer Hokey-Pokey,” and “Mele Kalikimaka.” Second through Fifth grade students performed the musical A Christmas Carol: Scrooge in Bethlehem. The Music and Band Director is Christina Trowell with Assistant Director Donna Belcher.

rtcamangerManger Scene Pictured L-R:
Back Row: Bishop Lampp (5th Grade), Gage Brantley (5th Grade), Savannah Moore (5th Grade), Meredith Durden (5th Grade)
Front Row: TJ Stanley (5th Grade), Jayden Toole (5th Grade), Isaac Holton (4th Grade), Noah Varn (5th Grade), Jayden Kirkland (5th Grade)





December 12-- Today the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia (USG) granted final approval for the creation of two new institutions through consolidation.

Georgia Southern University and Armstrong State University will be consolidated as the new Georgia Southern University. Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College and Bainbridge State College will be consolidated as the new Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College (ABAC).

The board approved resolutions making both consolidations effective Jan. 1, 2018.

The board’s action today follows the recent approval by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) of the Georgia Southern University and Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College consolidation plans.

With the board’s action, Georgia Southern University and ABAC will begin operating as new institutions with expanded missions and degree offerings.

With the completion of the consolidations, the number of institutions in the University System of Georgia is reduced from 28 to 26. Prior to the launch of the consolidation initiative in 2011, the University System of Georgia was comprised of 35 colleges and universities.

December 12--  Two longtime Vidalia leaders, Second Ward Councilman Eddy Tyson and Recreation Department Director Tommy Sasser, are retiring this month and attended their last regular meetings of the city council Monday night.

Later both were guests on the "Vidalia Today" radio program and Councilman Tyson, who has been in office for 20 years, says he's happy to see how local governments are cooperating.

edddytyson"The greatest thing I think that has happened to us is that we have strong governments now.  We have professional managers at the county level and in the cities.  Vidalia has had that for years and now the other two have managers.  They all meet, talk and share and keep in tune with each other and the three governments are working closer than I've ever seen them work.  That's going to be a big factor in the years to come," Tyson said.

The veteran councilman is optimistic and believes a local chamber program is paying dividends,"Leadership Toombs-Montgomery, with all the young people and the training they're getting is going to be a big plus.  That seed is just beginning to sprout and we need that.  It was hard for a while to get qualified people to run for office who wanted to see their community grow and do the right thing."

Tommy Sasser is retiring after 24 years and believes the example set by the original city rec director, Coach Ed Smith, has served him well and will do the same for his successor, Homer Waller.

"Coach Smith built a tradition of winning here and improving facilities.  We tried to pick that up back in the 90's and continue that.  I told Homer to continue.  Be himself, but go ahead and set goals for five, ten and fifteen years.  It's amazing when you set goals and get a group of people working with you how those goals come about.  That is what's happened to us in the last 24 years," he said.


checktastasDecember 12-- Team "Steppin 4 Ta Ta's," a local fundraising nonprofit for breast cancer, is proud to receive a check from the City of Vidalia Fire Department which raised $500 through the sales of their Breast Cancer Awareness T-shirts.

This money will go to aid local women currently in the fight against breast cancer.

(L-R) Firefighter Luke Parker, Captain Nicky Ray,  Asst. Chief Ben Allen, Firefighter Chad Minter and Chief Brian Sikes presenting the check to Breast Cancer Survivor and team member of S4T, Diane Green, and Captain of S4T Robyn Banks.

December 12--  State Representative Allen Peake (R-Macon) today announced the results of a new poll, which shows that 77 percent of Georgia Republican voters approve of the use of cannabis oil to treat medical conditions.  Further, 71 percent of those polled favor the controlled cultivation of marijuana for medical purposes.

“The data shows that Georgians are compassionate people who do not want to see sick people suffer needlessly when a safe and effective treatment is available,” said Rep. Peake.  “There are almost 3,000 Georgians who have registered for the Low THC Oil Registry, and more than 450 doctors who have signed up to register patients in Georgia. We know that cannabis oil is bringing relief to those who are in pain, and we must take the next step and provide for in-state cultivation for medicinal use as quickly as possible.”

In 2015, Rep. Peake sponsored Haleigh’s Hope Act, House Bill 1, which allows those with certain medical conditions to register with the Department of Public Health and, under a doctor’s supervision, use cannabis oil to relieve pain and alleviate symptoms associated with their illness.  In 2017, Rep. Peake carried Senate Bill 16, which expanded the list of conditions that qualify for the regulated-use of cannabis oil in Georgia. 

Rep. Peake explained that, under current state law, in-state cultivation of medical marijuana is still prohibited.  He continued to say that it is a federal crime to transport cannabis oil across state lines, and families should not be faced with this risky choice for their loved ones. 

            “There are now 29 states that allow cultivation of marijuana within their own borders for medicinal purposes,” said Rep. Peake.  “Georgia is behind the rest of the nation, and sick people are suffering needlessly because we have not updated our laws to allow for in-state cultivation of this product.”

The poll was conducted by the Tarrance Group of Alexandria, Virginia.  From Nov. 27 – 29, 511 respondents who identified as likely Republican primary voters were surveyed by telephone.  The margin of error for the poll is plus or minus 4.5 percent.

Specific question and cross-tab data is provided below. 

Views on Medical Marijuana:

Do you approve or disapprove of the state allowing patients with a doctor’s approval and a state issued card to be able to use a form of medical marijuana oil to treat the symptoms of their diseases?

Strongly approve: 53%                      Strongly disapprove: 11%




























Extremely conservative




Very conservative




Somewhat conservative




















Born-again voter




Not Born-again voter




Views on Cultivation Proposal:

Currently, this form of medical marijuana oil that patients rely on cannot be legally produced in Georgia or brought across state lines under federal law.  Thinking about this issue, and a proposal to change this law –

Would you favor or oppose the state of Georgia allowing the cultivation of marijuana in the state for medical purposes only, in a regulated, restricted manner for certain medical conditions?

Strongly favor: 46%                           Strongly oppose: 16%




























Extremely conservative




Very conservative




Somewhat conservative




















Born-again voter




Not Born-again voter




Medical marijuana – Approve




Medical marijuana – Unsure




Medical marijuana - Disapprove





Representative Allen Peake represents the citizens of District 141, which includes portions of Bibb and Monroe counties. He was elected into the House of Representatives in 2006, and currently serves on the Appropriations, Health & Human Services, Rules, Small Business Development, and Ways & Means committees. For comments or questions, you may contact Representative Peake at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

December 11--  This is the last year the Salvation Army in Vidalia is operating out of its Jackson Street location because it's moving, however, the final push for Christmas is underway, according to Director Sandy Roberts.

blllringers"We're a little behind last year.  We were doing good up until the cold hit.  We've got our seniors and our kids signed up and we still need bell ringers.  We've got a couple of weeks left and we really need to push it so we do what we did last year," she says.

Most of the kids on the Angel Tree are spoken for, "We're down to just a handful of families.  Most of the churches and people in the community have already taken angels so we're really doing good with that.  We went through the schools a little bit this year and find kids who wouldn't come sign-up, but the teachers knew there was a need, so we're trying to reach out more for kids who need it."

Roberts says they have over a hundred senior citizens signed up this year, "We need money for them because we buy them gift certificates for things at Bi-Lo."

salhomeAfter Christmas, Roberts says they'll be opening at their new Salvation Army home, "We're going to be in our new location by December 27.  All end of the year donations will be in our warehouse there.  You go to 220 Mose Coleman, you turn next to Lowe's and go down on the left.  It's going to be twice as big with more warehouse space and we'll be able to do more programs, and not just financial assistance.

"We've been planning it for a few years.  We outgrew the facility we're in, we don't have parking and we only have two small offices.  As the economy gets better, you don't need as much financial assistance as you need more classes to help people manage what they have and do better in their lives," Roberts said.

The Salvation Army is always looking for volunteers and needs help even more this year due to the move.  If you can help, call Sandy at 245-0771.

December 11--A Vidalia man is in jail in connection with Montgomery County break-ins.  According to a news release from the Montgomery County Sheriff's Office.

"Several Montgomery County businesses was burglarized earlier in the year where business documents, checks, computers and tools were taken. American Income Tax Service, Vidalia Collision and Restoration Center, Chris Chem Company and Sweet Onion Truck Service Center were burglarized. As the Sheriff’s Office investigated the stolen checks, authorities discovered that many of the stolen checks had been cashed in New York and New Jersey.

"Chief Ronnie Bivins states, “In November, more stolen checks were received and these checks were also cashed in New York, New Jersey, and other upstate areas. On December 2nd, we received information from a concerned citizen that a person of interest was living at Wildwood Mobile Home Park. The concerned citizen provided enough information that we were able to obtain further information from the Southern District Fugitive Task Force which proved  Antonio Saunders was in New York during the times the multiple checks were passed. Once the Marshal’s Service provided positive identification, Chief Deputy Ronnie Bivins, Lieutenant Ben Maybin, and Investigator Justin Fountain went to Wildwood Mobile Home Park / Unit D-3 and met with Antonio Saunders of Vidalia.

sandersbooking"We spoke with Mr. Saunders and he denied any wrongdoing. After speaking with the family and consent to search given, Investigator Fountain located articles stolen from the Sweet Onion Truck Center and Vidalia Collision & Restoration Center. Antonio Saunders was arrested and charged with six counts of Burglary in the First Degree and fourteen counts of Forgery in the First Degree.”

"With the assistance of the business owners, a concerned citizen and the Southern District Fugitive Squad, the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office was able to make an arrest and recover stolen items while stopping a check scam operating in New York, New Jersey, South Carolina, and Georgia. Upon conclusion of the arrest, we determined that Antonio Saunders was also responsible for an unsolved burglary that occurred in Mt. Vernon. Most of the businesses he is accused of entering were within walking distance of his residence. Antonio Saunders remains in jail with a $60,000 bond."

December 8--  Forty-two people gave blood Thursday during a special holiday blood drive push by the American Red Cross.  Coordinator Biram Chapman says they missed their goal of 70 donors but noted the weather, a drive this past Monday in Lyons and another scheduled for next Friday at Meadows Regional Medical Center impacted the effort.

He thanked all who donated and commended the efforts of Irelynn Rose of Statesboro who came to the blood drive to encourage donors.  Irelynn has a rare blood disorder which has required her to have 113 transfusions in her seven years of life.  The good news is she is currently in remission and hasn't required a transfusion in the past seven months.

irelynnbloodmobile(L-R) Jeff Raiford of Vidalia Communications on-the-scene promoting the drive, Irelynn Rose and blood donor Chester Proctor.

December 8-- Sheriff Alvie (Junior) Kight wants to make the public aware of the importance of protecting yourself from becoming a victim of theft or a money scam. Law enforcement agencies are seeing a rise in thefts and money scams across the nation. There are several tips that can help reduce your chances of becoming a victim.

All valuables and keys should be removed from vehicles as much as possible. Always keep your vehicle locked. This includes when your vehicle is at your residence or place of work. If valuables are left in the vehicle make sure they are not visible.

Your residence should always be locked if you are not home. Any type of tool shed or storage building should always be locked. It is always a good idea to secure anything possible inside of a locked building such as power tools, power equipment, ATVs, lawn mowers, etc... Additional tips are to utilize motion lights for your residence and property where you have valuables. The use of game (deer) cameras may help in identifying unwanted persons/criminals on your property.

Make sure to record serial numbers for any items that you have. Pictures from game cameras and serial numbers are an asset to law enforcement in the event that you become a victim of a theft.

Additionally, various scams for money are continuing to grow. Criminals are utilizing any possible scenario to scam people for money.

It is best to never give out your personal information when someone calls or sends you mail. A good practice is to obtain the person or business's contact information via internet or through other sources. Then utilize that information to call or write them back. Never use the contact information on the letter or given over the phone.  

Remember, if this situation does not seem right or is questionable you can always contact your local law enforcement for assistance. Contact local law enforcement if you receive a threat of being arrested if an immediate payment is not made.

Sheriff Kight asks that you please share this information with family and friends to help raise awareness.

vhschoirrotaryDecember 8--  The Vidalia High School Show Choir's Christmas Concert is Monday night at 6:30 p.m. at the high school cafeteria. 

The show features members of the All-State Chorus including Luke Stinnett who is one of 208 high school seniors from 49 states who are members of the All-National Honor Chorus.  John Morgan is the choir director.  Admission is $5.

shadowDecember 8--  "Shadow" is a nearly two-year-old German Shepherd who has been missing in Vidalia since last Sunday. 

He left his yard while his electronic fence collar was being re-charged and was last seen in the area near Brinson Road and Main Street. 

If you have seen "Shadow" or know his whereabouts, please call Nickie Muzafarov at 912-245-8732. 

December 7--  A 44-year-old conservative State Senator wants to be Georgia's next governor.

michaelwilliamsMichael Williams, a CPA from Forsyth County, represents the 27th Senatorial District in north Georgia and was the first Georgia politician to endorse President Trump in 2015, "We're ruffling some feathers.  We're out there calling a spade and spade and not kowtowing to what they want us to say, but saying what we're really seeing and what the people of Georgia really want to hear," Williams said during a visit to a meeting of the Toombs County Republican Party.

Williams says he was shocked at what he found during his first term at the Capitol. "Down at the Capitol, we the people of Georgia are not represented down there.  It's the lobbyists, the special interests, the wealthy elite and the big corporations," and says his first job will be to take on the process, "President Trump calls it the swamp, I call it the process."

According to Williams, the state budget is out of control and he will freeze spending, "It's gone from $15 billion to $25 billion in the past seven years, a 66% increase.  I ask people around the state if they've had a 66% increase in their household income and the answer I get is no, they haven't, but yet the state of Georgia has.  That means they're taking more of our money as a percent of our earnings and we haven't seen a 66% increase in services.  What are we doing with all of that money?  I believe we are wasting over $1 billion a year and we need to put constraints on our government to reduce its size instead of expanding it.  The best way to do that is to stop the inflow of money," he said.

Williams owned a chain of 18 barber shops before running for office and says his experience makes him want to level the playing field for small business owners, "For five years in a row, Georgia has been identified as the number one state in the country to do business, but I believe it's the number one state for "big" business because of the billions of dollars in tax credits which we give out each year. We need to focus on growing the small business, the guy and lady who are out there trying to grow their small business and provide for their families.  

Also, we've seen our earning per capita here in Georgia go down from 27th in the nation to 41st in the nation.  All these job that we're paying for to come to Georgia, they are less than the average job that is being created in other parts of the country.  We want to do more to helping develop and encourage hardworking Georgians who want to improve their lives," he said.

As an accountant, Williams has examined the financials of state agencies and claims there is little accountability for tax money.  For example, he understands the frustration of city and county managers who can't get information from the Department of Revenue on monthly sales tax distribution, "The counties and the cities don't know what they're collecting sales taxes on.  All they know is they get a check from the state and the state says this is your allotment for sales tax. There's no remittance advice and there's no itemization from where it came from.  There's no oversight.  One of the things I'd like to do with the Department of Revenue is to submit a remittance to the counties and cities so they can see where their sales tax is coming from so when it's up or down, they can see what's causing it.  Right now, they are completely blind to it," Williams says.

After getting an endorsement for Roger Stone, one of the advisers who helped President Trump win in 2016, Williams says he is undaunted by his lack of name recognition at this point.  He says more than 25,000 people have joined his campaign via social media in the past month and his goal is to be in a runoff following next summer's primary election.

December 7--  A Vidalia woman was killed in a Treutlen County wreck this morning.

According to Treutlen County Sheriff Tommy Corbin, 48-year-old Christy Clements Thigpen was killed in a head-on collision on Highway 29 north of Soperton near the railroad overpass.  The accident happened about 8:45 a.m.

The sheriff says her car crossed the center line and veered into the path of a truck driven by Treutlen County Magistrate Judge T.J. Hudson.  He was taken by ambulance to Meadows Regional Medical Center in Vidalia and later transported to Memorial in Savannah for treatment of his ankle which was broken in three places.

The Treutlen County Sheriff's Office and the Georgia State Patrol are investigating the accident.

December 6--  Leslie Seabury has wanted to be a teacher since she went to kindergarten and Wednesday she was named the Teacher of the Year for Vidalia City schools.

"I'm humbled and I love my job and what I do with these kids everyday, but I don't do anything different from every other teacher in this building or in this school system," she said.

Mrs. Seabury has been teaching special needs students at J.R. Trippe Middle School for the past eight years, " We work on skills they will need in life, their grade level to the best of their ability, life skills and that type of thing.  They are loving and kind and sweet and they want to learn.  They come everyday because they want to learn," she said.

A contingent of school officials headed by School Superintendent Dr. Garrett Wilcox and school principal Sandy Reid surprised Mrs. Seabury in her classroom to make the presentation, "Because of her compassion and her passion for what she does, Mrs. Seabury is one of those people who loves to come to work everyday.  She enjoys what she does with the kids and she gives 150% at all times.  She works in a small classroom of students who have special needs and she gives as much or more as any other teacher who has a classroom of thirty.  She understands the importance and power of what she does and she doesn't take that for granted," the principal said.

leslieseabory(L-R) Assistant Principal Brandon Boston, Superintendent Wilcox, Mrs. Seabury and Principal Sandy Reid.

Local support for the Teacher of the Year program is provided by Allen Morris of the local Farmers Insurance agency.

peoplesribbonDecember 6--  Wendell Dixon cuts the ribbon Tuesday for the newly remodeled branch of the People's Bank on Highway 280 East in Vidalia.

December 5--  A request to rezone commercial property to residential met community resistance and was turned down Monday night by the Lyons City Council.

Three women who live in the area around 168 Lakeview Drive asked the council to deny Allen Oglesby's request allowing construction of a multi-family dwelling on the property.  They claimed he wanted to build a 'bunkhouse" for migrant workers and that it would make their neighborhood unsafe.  The Lyons Zoning Board had recommended denial of the request and Oglesby did not attend the council meeting.

The council awarded a contract for $108,985 to Sikes Brothers for resurfacing of five city streets including Third Avenue and portions of Aiken Circle, Hilton Court, North Victory Drive and Nelson Avenue.

City Manager Jason Hall announced that two bid openings will be conducted next Thursday, December 14th.  One at ten a.m. will use funds from a $500,000  Community Development Block Grant for road improvements on Stewart Street, Alexander Avenue, Madison Street, Salem Drive and East Toombs Avenue . 

The second at two p.m. is for improvements to the city's two wastewater treatment plants.  Bids will be considered which could double the treatment capacity for the plant that serves the area north of the railroad tracks in Lyons.  The plant has a capacity of 750,000 gallons and the city will consider bids to increase it to a million gallons or double it to 1.5 million.  Another bid will be considered to renovate the East Lyons treatment plant.

In other actions, the council heard a first reading of an amendment to the city ordinance governing sale of alcohol in the city.  It's expected to approve the amendment which allow the Sunday sale of alcohol off the shelf and by the drink as approved by the voters in a November referendum.  The amendment will be on the agenda for a council meeting December 19.

It also okayed a one-time authorization for consumption on the premises for Kerrigan's on New Year's Eve which falls on Sunday this year.

The Macon accounting firm of Mauldin and Jenkins was awarded a $19,900 contract  to conduct the city audit next year.

In economic development news, Michelle Johnson with the Toombs County Development Authority reported the parent company of U.S. Pet has completed its five-year lease-purchase agreement of its building in the industrial park north of Lyons and the building will now revert to the property tax rolls.

She also said a Chinese company is still considering locating a condiment and sauce factory in the vacant "spec" building in the park.

The council bade farewell to longtime city councilman Wayne Hartley and one-term member "Spec" Nobles and welcomed incoming members Larry Griggers and John Moore, Jr. who will take office in January.



December 5--  Vidalia Police Chief Frank Waits reports the following arrests.

Peebles, Zachary D.- W/M- 21 YOA- 806 Hester Dr. Vidalia, GA- DUI-1st Offense

Travis, Cody Allanhart- W/M- 31 YOA- 309 Mosley St Apt# 13 Vidalia, GA- Theft by Shoplifting 1st Offense

Battleson, Kristi A. - W/F- 47 YOA- 110 W. Fifth St. Vidalia, GA- Warrant Served (Wilcox Co. SO)

Sossos, Victoria - W/F 21 YOA/ 1505 N. Cheney Dr. Vidalia, Ga./ Possession Of A Controlled Substance (Fel), Possession Of Marijuana Less Than Ounce, Controlled Substance Not In Original Container, Possession Of A Controlled Substance

Dodge, Jeffery Cooke- W/M- 46 YOA- 404 Marcliff Rd. Vidalia, GA- Warrant Served (Liberty County SO)

Waller, Yusef Akibulaan-B/M- 22 YOA- 909 Fifth Ave Vidalia, Ga- Possession of Marijuana Less than Ounce, Possession of a controlled substance

Bostic, Fondanius O’Brian-B/M-22 YOA-605 Orange Street Vidalia Ga- Possession of Marijuana Less than Ounce

Adamson, Joshua Lamar- W/M- 40 YOA- 503 Bay St Vidalia, Ga- Robbery

Smith, Brandon Patrick- B/M- 17 YOA- 605 E. Sixth St Vidalia, Ga- Obstructing or Hindering Firefighters

Rountree, Daniel Thomas- W/M- 47 YOA- 2792 Vann Rd Vidalia, Ga- Theft by Shoplifting (Felony)

Lyons Police Chief Wesley Walker reports the following arrests.

Curtis Ducksworth, Lyons, No insurance

Jerry P. Poole, Lyons, Warrant Served

Paulina Ybarra, Lyons, Public Drunkeness

Charlton James Bell, Lyons, Disorderly Conduct

Toombs County Sheriff Junior Kight reports the following arrests.

Marcos Augilar, Lyons, Contributing to Delinquency, Unruliness or Deprivation of a Minor

Kelly Carter, Soperton, Driving while license suspended/revoked, failure to maintain lane

Dominick Conner, Vidalia, Probation Violation

Antonio Contreras, Collins, DUI, Possession of Marijuana, Windshield & Wipers, Taillights, Stop and Yield Signs

O'Shea Hampton, Lyons, Possession of Marijuana

Ravia Horton, Wrightsville, Out of County Hold for Johnson County

Dalton Hughes, Soperton, Theft by Deception

Rodney Lane, Lyons, DUI, No license on person, Removing/Affixing License Plate to conceal identity of vehicle

Corey Mayes, Hinesville, Possession of Marijuana, Speeding, Obstructing Officer, DUI, tampering with evidence, prescription drugs not in original container

Juan Resendiz-Ramirez. Lyons, Driving While Unlicensed

Kyle Wiggins, Baxley, Probation Violation

Montgomery County Sheriff Doug Maybin reports the following arrests.

11/27 – Ariel Mundy, Summerville, SC, Simple Battery, Cruelty to Children-3rd

 11/28 – Erniest Franklin Curvin, Uvalda, Ga., Felony Probation Violation

12/03 – Tony Duane Sikes, Ailey, Ga., Improper Stopping in Roadway, Open Container, DUI




December 5--  Montgomery County's operating budget for 2018 is increasing by about $96,000.

County Manager Brandon Braddy reports the proposed county budget next year is $4,211,702 compared to $4,115,730 in 2017.  He attributes the increases to several factors.

2018 Budget Increases

Sheriff’s Office

  • Sheriff’s Office originally requested three new deputies.  The Commissioners and Sheriff agreed to fund two positions at a total cost of $86,880

 2% Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) Pay Raise

  • 2% COLA mandated by state for elected officials
  • Commissioners recommend 2% COLA for all County employees
  • Increase totals to $43,300


  • $25,000 to cover elections in 2018

Insurance Increase

  • $5,000 increase in Property & Liability Insurance 

Superior Court

  • $9,500 increase for Superior Court Judges in the Oconee Judicial Circuit

EMS Contract

$8,500 increase in the EMS contract with Toombs County

The budget increase coupled with a loss of county revenue caused the Board of Commissioners to increase the county's property tax rate by one mil, according to Braddy.

Reasons for Losses in County Revenue

2017 Tax Digest

  • The 2017 Net Taxable Digest was reduced by $2.5 Million from last year
  • There was a reduction in $2.0 Million in Motor Vehicle values
  • Timber values reduced by $1.9 Million
  • Exemptions increased by $1.5 Million

Sales Tax Collections

  • Local Option Sales Tax is averaging $2,000 less per month

Fines & Forfeitures

Projecting a $36,000 reduction in Fines & Forfeitures over a two-year period for years 2016 & 2017

December 2-- Saturday evening the 2017 Lyons Lighted Christmas Parade took place in downtown Lyons.  The winnings floats were as follows:

Category: Educational

1st - Robert Toombs Christian Academy

2nd - Dawgs Against Cancer

Category: Religious

1st - Cedar Crossing Baptist Church

2nd - Abundant Life Pentecostal Church

Category: Commercial

1st - Sons of Smoke

2nd - Chicken of the Sea

December 2-- Saturday morning the 2017 Vidalia Christmas Parade took place in downtown Vidalia.  The winnings floats were as follows:

Category: Commercial

1st - Robert Toombs Christian Academy

2nd - Chicken of the Sea

3rd - Southern Choices

Category: Faith Based (Religious)

1st - Cedar Crossing Baptist Church

2nd - Grace United Methodist Church

3rd - Abundant Life Pentecostal Church

December 1-- Congratulations to Luke Stinnett, a low bass singer from the Vidalia High School “Indian Express” Show Choir, who performed Tuesday night as a member of the prestigious All-National Honor Ensemble Mixed Choir.

lukeLuke, pictured with Vidalia choir director John Morgan, is the son of Eric and Michelle Stinnett of Vidalia, is a sophomore choral student at VCHS, and a 2017 All-State Chorus member.

While All-State Chorus is sponsored by the Georgia Music Educators Association (GMEA), it is GMEA’s parent organization, the National Association for Music Education (NAfME) that sponsors the All-National Honor Chorus. Because Stinnett made All-State Chorus, performing with that elite group in February of 2017, he was eligible to audition for All-National Honor Chorus.

Luke auditioned digitally in May, sending in an uncut video of his singing, performing the try-out’s required choral literature. He and his choral director, John Morgan, were notified in July that Luke had been awarded membership in the National Honor Choir. Luke is the second student from Vidalia City Schools to make All-Nationals, following Taylor Mosley’s membership in 2015.





nationalchoirIn the entire 280-member NAfME choir, 49 states were represented. Only 35 low basses from across the nation were awarded membership in the 2017 choir. Georgia public and private schools had fifteen representatives in the choir, placing Stinnett among the finest choral singers in the state and the nation.

These students came together Sunday in Orlando for the first time. Each student and their local choral director had already prepared the musical selections for the concert. The students then endured many hours of rehearsals with the group, but also took time to enjoy Disney Parks to unwind after rehearsals.

The culminating concert of the All-National Chorus was at Walt Disney’s Coronado Resort Theater, commanding long ovations from the thousands in attendance.

Luke sang under the baton of world-renowned conductor Dr. Z. Randall Stroope, Director of Choral Activities at Oklahoma State University, performing difficult choral works by Mozart, O’Regan, Stroope, Hughes, Brumfield, and Berg.

Congratulations to Luke Stinnett and to John Morgan, Choral Director at Vidalia Comprehensive High School.

December 1--  Toombs Central Elementary School has named its November Students of the Month.

tcstudentsnovFront Row:  Dannah Morris (Second Grade), Anberlin Carpenter (Kindergarten), Christian Garcia (Pre-K), and Jimena Arias (First Grade) 

Back Row:  Ana Rodrigues, Makenzie Kilgore, and Jordin Taylor

December 1--  Toombs County's budget for 2018 is expected to increase by nearly two percent.

County manager John Jones says the draft budget of $10,396,841 is an increase of $203,000 over 2017 and will not spark an increase in the county's property tax rate.

He expects a public hearing on the budget will be held Thursday, December 14 at 5:30 p.m. in the Toombs County courthouse.  The board of commissioners will consider approval of the budget the day after Christmas.

Jones also reports collection of Local Option Sales Taxes (LOST) is down so far this year by nearly 4%.

The Commission has approved the nomination of two members of the Toombs County Development Authority.  Reid Threlkeld, who was appointed to fill the unexpired term of Robert Green, was named to start his own term of office in January.  Chris Hopkins was approved to succeed Tommy Rollins whose term is expiring this month.