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May 31--  Vidalia High School Principal John Sharpe reports, "The front parking lot of Vidalia High School will be closed for the next few weeks due to construction.

"Please use Oxley Boulevard to enter the student parking lot. You can enter the office through the back door  near the student parking lot."

May 30--  More than 25 students in the third through fifth grades took part in the Second Annual Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Camp hosted by the Toombs County High School Technology Student Association advised by Engineering teacher Attallaka Harris-Williams.  The students learned about coding, guided research, engineering and other hands-on science activities.

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1st Row (l-r) Miguel Guzman, Top Peterson, Katie-lee Brodnax, Samuel Escalante, Russell Smith, Addison Smith, Tyler Williams.

2nd Row (l-r) Jack Williams, Sarah Ellis Walker, Grayson Smesney, Colby Whittaker, Chad Irie, Tyler Reese, Casey Owens, Sophie Tillman, Attallaka Harris-Williams (TSA Advisor)

3rd Row (l-r) Matilda Wilcher, Clay Hart, Tucker Brodnax, Slade Holland, Tradence Mitchell, Reaegan Hart, Amelia Richter, Vick Moore, Collin Milligan, Thomas Borland

4th Row (l-r) Ivan Martinez, Mary Lopez, Cameron Asbell, Matthew Stembridge, Margarita Gonzalez, Rebekah Corbitt, Jose Yescas

(not Shown Nicholas Matthews and Drew Woodruff)

May 30--  Vidalia Police Chief Frank Waits reports the following arrests.

Harden, Davon Kendell- B/M 19 YOA/ 566 Henry Snow Road East Dublin Ga./ Hit & Run

Grinder, Misti- W/F 39 YOA/ 128 Cross Creek Cir Macon, Ga 31210/ Driving While License Suspended, Defective Equipment

Mosley, Gregory Van - W/M 62 YOA/ 701 Laurel Dr. Vidalia, Ga. / No Insurance 1st, Driving While License Suspended or Revoked 1st, Failure to Obey Stop/Yield Sign

Bohannon, Wanda Gail - W/F 43/ 318 Birchwood Rd. Alma. Ga. / Bench Warrant Possession of Marijuana

Moye, Latyal Michelle - B/F 35 YOA/ 406 Ward St. Vidalia, Ga. / Theft by Shoplifting 3rd Offense

Bertholde, Tyler - W/M 44 YOA/ 300 McIntosh St. Vidalia, Ga. / Theft by Taking

Wright, Azirian - B/M 17 YOA/ 510 Washington St. Vidalia, Ga. / No Driver’s License, Failure to Obey Stop/Yield Sign

Joiner, Jeffery - W/M 22 YOA/ 903 Adams, St. Apt B. Vidalia, Ga. / Warrant Served (Toombs Co.)

Martin, Demarcus Antonio- B/M- 20 YOA- 306 Jenkins St. Vidalia, GA- Warrant Served (Bulloch County SO)

Lyons Police Chief Wesley Walker reports the following arrests.

Brandon Rogers, Baxley, disorderly conduct

Melisa Johnson, Dublin, criminal warrant

Rea Grider, Lyons, warrant service

Jose Garcia, Lyons, DUI, open container, reckless driving, driving unlicensed

Cheryl Martin, Vidalia, DUI, failure to maintain lane

Ronald O'Neal, Lyons, DUI, open container, seatbelt, license suspended, registration suspended, no insurance

Gretta Gillis, Lyons, criminal warrant

Jessica Resendiz, Cobbtown, license suspended/revoked, giving false info to police

Deangela Anthony, Lyons, DUI, ran stop sign, failure to maintain lane, obstruction of police, driving with no license on person

Juan Mendez, Lyons, possession with intent to distribute cocaine, DUI, obstruction

Mark Conner, Reidsville, license and registration suspended

Adrian Fields, Uvalda, warrant served

Cindy Holmes, Claxton, criminal warrant, ran stop sign, license suspended/revoked

Mahalika Crawford,  Vidalia, warrant served

Milton Carter, Lyons, warrant served, possession with intent to distribute non-controlled substance, headlight, terroristic threats

Christopher Barrow, Lyons, DUI

Gerado Gomez, driving unlicensed, seatbelt

Selestino Quintero, Lyons, license suspended/revoked, vehicle registration suspended

Joshua Stewart, Lyons, warrant service

Serena Calhoun, Cobbtown, possession of marijuana

Kayla Willis, Vidalia,  DUI, possession of methamphetamine, possession of drug related objects, no brake lights, expired license, expired tag

Efrem Bailey, Lyons, possession of methamphetamine

Melcolm Burley, Lyons, license suspended/revoked, no horn, headlights, tail lights

Carlea Foster, Thomaston, possession with intent to sell/distribute non-controlled substance

Justin Evans, Thomaston, possession with intent to sell/distribute non-controlled substance

Huston Harvey, Yatesville, possession with intent to sell/distribute non-controlled substance

Drusilla Dabney, Cobbtown, battery

Adrienna Mincey, Lyons, disorderly conduct

Toombs County Sheriff Junior Kight reports the following arrests.

Paige Cauley, Lyons, probation violation

Christian Conley, Uvalda, DUI, safety belts, failure to maintain lane, no license on person, brake lights and  turn signals, headlight requirement

William Douglas, Swainsboro, purchase, possession, manufacture, sale and distribution of methamphetamine and controlled substances, prescription drugs not in original container

Mathew Douglas, Lyons, cruelty to children, battery

Jesi Harden, Lyons, burglary

Jason Helmly, Lyons, criminal trespass

Remae Helmly, Lyons, dogs at large

Felix Leyva-Avarca, Soperton, speeding, driving unlicensed

Christopher McKenzie, Mitchell, probation violation

Jonathan Morris, Uvalda, probation violation

Landon Oliver, Vidalia, probation violation

Jakori Ricks, Vidalia, disorderly conduct, no seat belt

Harry Scott, Nichols, criminal trespass

Montgomery County Sheriff Doug Maybin reports the following arrests.

05/22-Bryan Aaron Conrad, Glenwood, DUI

05/23-Tonya LaGail Widdowson, Mt Vernon, Driving w/Suspended License, No Valid Insurance, Suspended Registration

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

May 30--  A business technology instructor at Southeastern Technical College in Vidalia is the SkillsUSA "State Advisor of the Year."

tinajerniganSkillsUSA is a national organization helping students refine their workplace skills and recognized Tina Jernigan at its state conference and competition at Atlanta Technical College.

“I love being a part of SkillsUSA,” said Tina. “For me it’s all about the students.”

“It was an honor to be chosen as the state advisor of the year by the state planning committee. As an advisor, my joy comes from seeing our students compete each year at the state competition with a chance to advance to nationals. It’s always exciting to see them do well and to showcase their skills they have learned by attending STC. I always look forward to this conference each year.”

This year, STC had several students representing the college at the state competition in Atlanta including Jace Lairsey, Katie Seabolt, Tabitha Hooks, Brenda Herrera, Michael Harden, John Cross, Mirran Brown, Latrelle Mercer, Michaela Rigby, Susan Wilkerson and Yachi Garrett.

 

 

tabithaandkatieJace Lairsey from Lyons, won first place for his outstanding work in Electronics. Katie Seabolt  (right) from Helena and Tabitha Hooks from Hazlehurst won first place for their exceptional skills in Esthetics. Brenda Herrera from Hazlehurst won third place for her excellent work in Cosmetology.

Jace, Katie, and Tabitha will be heading to Louisville, KY on June 25-30, 2018 to compete at the SkillsUSA National Conference and Competition where they will compete with more than 6,000 exemplary students from across the nation.

Tina Jernigan, Tony Criswell, David Standard, Chip Greene, Althea Telfair, Cleo Hansley, Kay Wilson, Travis Akridge, Peggy Braswell, Maxine Garnto, and Linda Hairr worked as advisors and mentors for these students as they polished their skills in preparation for this competition. These advisors are looking forward to seeing their students succeed at the national level.

SkillsUSA works to empower students and educators to become world-class leaders. As these students prepare themselves for the National Conference, they also prepare for their future as exemplary workers with outstanding skill and determination.

 

May 30--  The men and women who provide ambulance service in Toombs and Montgomery counties answered 7,230 calls last year and were recognized for their service at the annual recognition ceremony of the Toombs-Montgomery Emergency Medical Service (EMS).

emswinners1 emsdelgado
L-R: Toombs County Commission Chairman David Sikes, Jordan Ellis, Dusty Findley and EMS Director Drew James. L-R: Brock Williams, Karrie Page, Meadows Health Trauma Coordinator, Manny Delgado and Laurie Holland.

The Paramedic of the Year is Lieutenant Dusty Findley and the Emergency Medical Technician of the Year is Jordan Ellis.

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The Howard Hill Distinguished Service Award was presented to Vidalia Fire Department Captain Robert Tillman by Barbara Hill and Laurie Holland.

Clinical Excellence Awards were presented to EMT's Laurie Holland and Brock Williams.  The two were credited with saving the life of wreck victim Manny Delgado who attended the ceremony and said he is alive and walking today because of their quick response.

Jim Jones received the Excellence in Education Award and Rachel Craft was named the EMS Week poster winner.

May 29-- Vidalia Coastal Plains Charter High School held its first commencement exercise last  Thursday with a graduation ceremony at Southeastern Technical College.

coastalgradsPictured left to right are the first ten students to graduate from Coastal Plains:  Derrick Bernard Toby, Jr, Cassey Nicole Reese (Highest GPA, Vidalia site) , Joshua William Raper, Nekita Deavion Pierce, Destiny Rose Marie Murray, Brandy-Joe Ashley Graham, Sarah Joan Gillis, Alyssa Dawn Dykes, Mark Anthony Deardorff-Snow, and Brittany Madison Bullard (District - Valedictorian) and Armondo Quintino (not pictured).

Coastal Plains Education Charter High School is a non-traditional night time high school. The school provides flexible evening classes to students wishing to obtain an accredited Georgia high school diploma but may need an option outside of the traditional day high school.

Credit Recovery and Credit Advancement courses are also offered to local students. Tuition is free to students who enroll full-time and all teachers are Georgia certified. We currently have 140 students enrolled at the Vidalia site.  There are various sites throughout Southeast Georgia. For more information, please visit www.coastalplainscharter.org or call our Vidalia/SECCA site at 538-3254. 

May 28--  For the first time since the Vietnam War, a new name has been added to the list of war dead honored each year from Toombs County.

wrightflagAt the Memorial Day program hosted by the local VFW and its Auxiliary, the name of Army Special Forces Staff Sergeant Dustin Wright was called out as the 83rd Toombs County native to die in service to his country. 

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His sacrifice and that of three of his team members last year in Niger was noted by the keynote speaker, Major Charmeon Robinson, from the 3d Infantry Division at Fort Stewart. (Here with Shirley Curl from the VFW Auxiliary)

"I thought this would be something special to mention in the speech to give it a personal feel for the hometown and that he be recognized today in this ceremony," she said.

 

 

 

Some members of Staff Sergeant Wright's family have just returned from Fort Bragg where he and his fellow soldiers were memorialized at the home of the Army's Special Forces.

suegrishamHis grandmother, Sue Grisham, was among those attending the Memorial Day service in Vidalia, "All we can do is try to remember the happy times.  Our happy times with Dustin were astronomical.  We never thought this was going to happen.  We thought he was in a safe place to help the natives in that area and it was a total shock when we found out he had been killed, ambushed, but know that he stood strong and I'm saying that if he was man enough to die for us, I'm man enought to live for him.

"He was bigger than life.  His Dad always said he was like John Wayne walked in the room, a great big huge blue-eyed hero who wanted everybody to be laughing.  That's why I'm wearing his happy face on my lapel today so we can honor him with a happy thought.  He was a big brave soldier, we know that, but he was just our Justin," she said.

The winner of this year's VFW Voice of Democracy competition, Briley Braddy, also spoke and called for national unity in honor of those who have died for America's freedom.

May 28-- Casen Jones, a 7th grade studentat Vidalia Heritage Academy, was honored by the Duke University Talent Identification Program, (Duke TIP) for his exceptional scores on the ACT at a ceremony held at Georgia Southern University.

casenjonesCasen with GSU President Dr. Darin Van Tassel.

Duke TIP’s 7th Grade Talent Search identifies students across the nation who have scored at or above the 95th percentile on a grade-level standardized test. As part of the program, these academically talented students take above-level college-entrance exams to learn more about their abilities. Duke TIP then hosts annual recognition ceremonies to honor the seventh graders who scored the highest of these ACT or SAT exams.

“We are extremely proud to recognize our remarkably talented students who have demonstrated key aspects of their academic potential by achieving scores on the ACT or SAT commensurate with half of all college-bound high school seniors,” says Shawna Young, Executive Director of Duke TIP. “We cherish the opportunity to celebrate each of our ceremonies honorees for such an outstanding accomplishment.”

VHA Headmaster, Jeff McCormick agrees. “Casen is an incredibly gifted student and his academic future is very bright. His score on the ACT was equal to that of 75% of all college-bound high school seniors this year. We also had six other 7th graders who participated in the program. And while there was no official ceremony for them, they collectively averaged a score commensurate with 35% of all college-bound high school seniors this year. That is simply amazing for 7th grade students.”

In addition to the 7th Grade program, Duke TIP also offers a similar program for 4th-6th grade students across the nation who have scored at or above the 95th percentile on grade-level standardized tests. These students take the PSAT. “Altogether we had 40 of our 4th-6th graders qualify for this program. Duke TIP works with these students, their families, and our teachers to discover, explore and celebrate students’ academic interests at a time when it is important to foster curiosity and build confidence,” says McCormick.

May 27-- Toombs County High School members of the Toombs Association of Educators (TAE) recently congratulated member Sabrina Campbell on her retirement from the Toombs County School System. Mrs. Campbell has served in education for over 30 years and positively impacted the lives of many area students. As a tireless advocate for Georgia's public schools, the teaching profession, and students with special needs, Mrs. Campbell has never lost her passion for education.

TAE President Dr. Kip Hart noted "Sabrina has always been the first to advocate for students' needs and the important role of the educators on the front line, including teachers, bus drivers, cafeteria staff, and custodial personnel. Her willingness to bring creativity and energy to professional settings with the goal of building community and engaging individuals has made her an invaluable part of the education community for many years".  

Sabrina Campbell has twice been named TCHS Teacher of the Year and once as Toombs Special Education Teacher of the Year. Under her instruction as CTI Coordinator, her students have won numerous state awards including the Georgia Department of Education’s Award of Excellence.

sabrinacampbell (L-R) Technology instructor Attallaka Harris-Williams, Dr. Kip Hart (TAE President), Sabrina Campbell, Suzanne Smith (TAE Secretary/Treasurer), and Special Education instructor Brad Braddy

The Toombs Association of Educators is the local association of the Georgia Association of Educators (GAE), which is a subset of the National Education Association (NEA). For over 125 years, GAE has worked for better teaching, learning, and working conditions. Together, it's members have stood up for the rights of students, needed resources, and teacher workplace protections.

tonyaandpaulaMay 27--  For nearly 20 years Paula Toole has been leading the Downtown Vidalia Association as Executive Director.  She announced her retirement plans in the DVA newsletter and welcomed Tonya Green Parker (left) as her successor.

"When I became director in 1999, we simply had to create a work plan for day-to-day operations and a long-range plan of action for goals and our mission, as well as focus on economic development for our HISTORIC DISTRICT & BEYOND. It began on a small scale but MY how it has grown over the years. When I arrived, there were no records or files to build from and TODAY we are technology driven and FULL SPEED.

As I near the end of my journey as Director, it is bitter-sweet. I have had many goals and dreams, but “it takes time” and patience; it is my hopes that they will continue as I leave the scene of action. MY DREAM & HOPES now will be for our community and downtown to continue to move forward and build a bright future for many years to come."

Love you all, Paula

As of this week, we have a new DVA “Main Street” Executive Director… we are so thrilled to have Tonya Green Parker as our new Executive Director! As we plan for future growth, we know you will continue to support and be a part of this great organization. Our membership has grown over the years and we assure you getting “Main Street” connected WORKS! Your partnership and participation helps you accomplish your goals…TOGETHER WE will make a difference.

"As your new Executive Director, I am honored and so excited! Vidalia is a piece of my heart. I want to do what I can for us to continue to make it a great place to live. Together we can do so much, and I look forward to working with all of you."

Blessings, Tonya

 

May 26--  Area high school graduations are complete and the top graduates in each high school have been named.

TOOMBS COUNTY HIGH SCHOOL

toombsval18jpg Salutatorian Lauren Floyd (left) and Valedictorian Brooke Morris

MONTGOMERY COUNTY HIGH SCHOOL

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 Salutatorian Jansen Killian (left) and Valedictorian Brittany Braddy.

 

 

 

TREUTLEN HIGH SCHOOL

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Valedictorian McKenna Love (left) and Salutatorian Griffin Beall

 

 

 

ROBERT TOOMBS CHRISTIAN ACADEMY

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Salutatorian Wil Duvall (left) and Valedictorian Emily Hutcheson

VIDALIA HERITAGE ACADEMY

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Valedictorian Katie Dawson (left) and Salutatorian Garrett Mitchell

May 25--  On Wednesday Betty Mclain, 66, of Montgomery County pled guilty to aiding and assisting the preparation of a false tax return before Senior U.S. District Court Judge Dudley H. Bowen, Jr.

According to the evidence presented at the plea hearing, Mclain operated Betty’s Tax Service next to her home in Uvalda. To increase her business and attract more clients, Mclain prepared tax returns that falsely claimed the taxpayer and dependents attended and spent money on colleges at which they were never enrolled. The vast majority of the 2,000 returns filed by Mclain since 2011 claimed these education tax credits.  

Following an investigation by the IRS Criminal Investigation Division into the accuracy of the returns, a grand jury in Savannah charged Mclain in February 2018 with twenty-four counts of preparing false tax returns for others and three counts of filing her own false tax returns. In each count, Mclain was alleged to have prepared a tax return that claimed education credits to which the taxpayer was not entitled.

As a result of the fraudulent tax returns she prepared, Mclain defrauded the IRS out of nearly $1,000,000.

Mclain pled guilty to one count of aiding and assisting the preparation of a tax return for a client whom she falsely claimed was entitled to education credits totaling $5,119. In pleading guilty, Mclain agreed to never again prepare tax returns for anyone else.

Mclain faces a statutory maximum sentence of 3 years in prison, 1 year of supervised release, and a $100,000 fine. Parole has been abolished in the federal system.

United States Attorney Bobby L. Christine stated, “Teamed with our dedicated partners at IRS, our Office will work to ensure that corrupt tax return preparers are put out of business and behind bars. Tax cheats have no place in the Southern District of Georgia.”

"Mclain's plea is a victory for the United States Taxpayer. Not only did Mclain admit to the allegations against her, but she also agreed to never prepare tax returns again," said Thomas J. Holloman, Special Agent in Charge, IRS Criminal Investigation. "IRS, Criminal Investigation will continue to utilize its resources and stop these fraudulent return preparers in their tracks".‎

 

UPDATE:  Crews worked all day Friday and the crossing was reopened late Friday afternoon.

May 25--  A Georgia Central train derailed in Vidalia this morning.

railroadThe train was hauling utility poles from Atlantic Woods when an apparently defective rail track caused the derailment of at least two cars.  The result is mangled track on the Thompson Pond Road crossing just north of Highway 292 near Tammy's convenience store.

Railroad officials are bringing in a heavy crane from Tifton to move the derailed cars and estimate it will take up to 24 hours to clear the crossing.

Motorists are advised to avoid the crossing until further notice.

May 24--  Top students in the Class of 2018 at Vidalia High School are Valedictorian Alisa Velazquez and Salutatorian Reba Warnock.  They head a list of 48 honor graduates in the class of 173 graduates.

Alisa and Reba are best friends and both are flutists in the Vidalia Sound Tribe band.

vhsvalalisaAlisa is starting her college career at Georgia Southern and plans to transfer later to Georgia Tech for a degree in electrical engineering.  She's the daughter of Jose and Cintya Velazquez of Vidalia.

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Reba will attend East Georgia State College and University for her Associates Degree then plans to attend either Georgia Southern or Brewton-Parker for her degree in early childhood education.  She hopes to return to Vidalia as a kindergarten teacher.  She's the daughter of Rickey and Belinda Warnock of Tarrytown.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

VHS HONOR GRADUATES

1              Velazquez, Alisa Carolina

2              Warnock, Reba Marie

3              McKenzie, Rena Brandon

4              Foskey, Kenlee Grace

5              Carter, Autumn Lee

6              Cager, Anitrea Nakiyah

7              Stanley, Samantha Kathryn

8              Yarbrough, Cameron Lindsey

9              Harn, Sarah Ann

10           Spivey, Justin Bryce

11           James, Walker Macon

12           Yawn, Lydia Ruth

13           Manning, Logan Taylor

14           Mateo, Saul Alberto

15           Warnock, Sarah Claudia

16           Page, Rebecca Lynn

17           Collins, Bailey Lynn

18           Cross, Tristan Joseph

19           Brantley, Newman Tate

20           Chesser, Douglas Wade

21           Braddy, Mitchell Cory

22           Hutcheson, Haley Marie

23           Grace, Mahaylee Breanne

24           Combs, Claire Renee

25           Velasquez, William

26           Moses, Anna Elizabeth

27           Kirby, Brandon Matthew

28           Smith, Roper Thomas

29           Patel, Radhika Mahesh

30           Cook, Jase Kelly

31           Brantley, Aleesa Danielle

32           Wheeler, Rebekkah Michelle

33           Stephens, Jonathan Bobby

34           Collins, Daniel Matthew

35           Hodge, De'Ja Sharisse-Ann

36           Waller, Thomas Ray

37           Coleman, Courtney Leigh

38           Bennett, Dylan Thomas

39           Ricks, Jamie Dawson

40           Rawlins, Baleigh Jois

41           Frost, Millicent Joy

42           Evans, Jacob Robert

43           Corbitt, Mason Joshua

44           Kight, Aaron Ray

45           Davis, Emily DeAnn

46           Perez Torres, Henry

47           Poole, Hannah Katelyn

48           Day-Scott, Aviya Imani

 

 

May 24--  Ten area citizens from three counties have completed an economic development course offered by the Georgia Academy for Economic Development.  The program introduced graduates to the complexities of economic development on the local, regional and state levels.

econtoombs

Toombs County graduates are (L-R) Debbie Griggers, Larry Griggers, Tres Herin, Lauren Ryals, Richard Smith and Nickie Muzafarov (not pictured). 

Course facilitators are, far left, Mickey Daniell from Georgia Power and, far right, Araina Reaves, Georgia EMC.

 

 

 

econmontgomeryMontgomery County graduates Donnie Daniels, Ben Maybin and Steve McLeod.

econtreutlenTreutlen County graduate Robert Tucker (middle). 

May 24-- "As a part of my contribution to the agriculture industry, I want to foster a love for agriculture in my students that will carry on into whatever path they may choose in life,” Brittany Braddy wrote recently in her application for the Courtney Wilkes Ag & Vet Scholarship. Now, with a little help from Courtney Wilkes’ friends and family, and the Vidalia Onion Business Council (VOBC), Brittany is a little closer to that dream.

brittannybraddyBraddy’s desire to be an agriculture educator manifested at an early age. Her fondest memories take place on her family owned farm where she was raised. She gained a deep interest and love for the agriculture industry from working with her father, grandfather, and farm employees.

Brittany’s involvement in the National FFA Organization fostered her desire to advocate for the industry and make others aware of its importance. FFA helped Braddy realize her calling for agriculture education.

Braddy plans to attend Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College to obtain her Bachelor’s degree in Agriculture Education with a double major in Agricultural Communication. Afterwards, she plans to move back home to Mt. Vernon, Georgia to teach agriculture education courses and advise the FFA chapter at Montgomery County High School. “By inspiring a passion for this industry in my students, I am helping to do my part in creating awareness for agriculture and ensuring that youth will continue to be knowledgeable about not only the farm to fork experience, but about all of the skills and qualities needed to be successful in the industry,” said Braddy.   

courtneywilkesThe scholarship is in its seventh year and is available to graduating seniors in the Vidalia onion region who plan to pursue a career in the agriculture or veterinary industry. The program was created in honor of Courtney Wilkes, a Lyons, Georgia native whose life was taken in June 2011. Today, supporters of Courtney Wilkes and her family have donated enough to award at least one $1000 scholarship to students every year, for several years.

Having read about Courtney Wilkes, Braddy said she and Courtney share several characteristics, qualities, and interests. She is number one academically in her class, a devout Christian and loves sports, animals, and the outdoors. “I enjoy working with my livestock and take pleasure in all aspects of the agriculture industry,” said Braddy.

Braddy is also highly involved in her community and extracurricular activities. In addition to her involvement in FFA, she is an active member of First Baptist Church of Mt. Vernon where she is a youth ministry leader and participates in community service projects like volunteering at the nursing home, women’s rehabilitation center, and beautifying college campuses. She is also a part of her high school’s golf team and varsity football cheerleading squad, Dual Enrollment Program, BETA Club, 21st Century Leaders, Toombs Montgomery Youth Leadership Team, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Montgomery Livestock Show team, and the Georgia Junior Swine Boosters Junior Advisory Board.

As a scholarship recipient from the VOBC, Braddy is expected to serve as an ambassador for the Vidalia Onion industry. Braddy said her experience managing a fifty-acre Vidalia Onion crop for Braddy Farms gave her a unique perspective of the Vidalia Onion industry. “I will strive to share my knowledge [of the Vidalia Onion industry] with others and continue my involvement with the Braddy Farms Vidalia Onion crop,” said Braddy.

May 24-- U.S. Senator Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., chairman of the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, applauded today’s Senate passage of bipartisan legislation that will strengthen healthcare services at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) while streamlining the department’s community care programs to ensure veterans receive efficient, timely and quality care, whether inside the VA system or from providers in their communities.

S.2372, the John S. McCain III, Daniel K. Akaka and Samuel R. Johnson VA Maintaining Internal Systems and Strengthening Integrated Outside Networks (MISSION) Act, called the VA MISSION Act for short, includes some of the most significant reforms proposed to-date to improve the VA’s current healthcare delivery system and help provide veterans with more choice and fewer barriers to care.

“The Senate passage of the VA MISSION Act is a major victory for our nation’s veterans who will benefit from more choice and fewer barriers to care,” said Isakson. “I’d like to thank House Chairman Phil Roe, Senator Tester and our committee members from both chambers and on both sides of the aisle for passing this legislation through Congress so quickly. I look forward to sending this to the president’s desk to be signed into law ahead of Memorial Day as a small token of ‘thanks’ to our nation’s veterans for answering the call and defending the freedoms we enjoy today.”

The VA MISSION Act builds on legislation previously introduced by Isakson to consolidate and improve VA community care programs, which allows veterans to receive healthcare services provided by private hospitals and doctors. The legislation also includes provisions to improve VA’s ability to hire high-quality healthcare professionals, expand VA caregiver benefits to veterans of all eras and establish a process to evaluate and reform VA’s existing facilities to best serve veterans.

The bill also authorizes and appropriates funding for the VA to continue the Veterans Choice Program until the new, streamlined ‘Veterans Community Care Program’ established in this legislation is implemented. Acting VA Secretary Robert Wilkie notified Congress that funding for the program will run out as early as May 31, 2018.

In addition, the legislation will help improve existing VA health care and services by removing barriers for VA healthcare professionals to practice telemedicine, strengthening processes for opioid prescribing by VA and community care providers, and eliminating impediments to hiring and retention of VA healthcare professionals.

The VA MISSION Act received broad support from leading veterans groups that represent millions of veterans in the United States. A group of 38 veteran and military advocacy organizations wrote to the House and Senate in support of the VA MISSION Act. Read a copy of the letter here.

Both the White House and Acting VA Secretary Wilkie support the bill.

The full title of the legislation was amended on Tuesday, May 15, by House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs chairman U.S. Rep. Phil Roe, R-Tenn., to honor the lasting impact that U.S. Senator John McCain, R-Ariz., the late Senator Daniel Akaka, D-Hawaii, and U.S. Rep. Sam Johnson, R-Texas, have had on the lives of our nation’s veterans.

The VA MISSION Act was passed by the full U.S. House of Representatives by a vote of 347-70 on May 16. Following the 92-5 vote by the full Senate today, it now advances to the president’s desk to be signed into law.

A one-page summary of the VA MISSION Act is available here, and a section-by-section summary is available here

May 23--  An assistant superintendent in the Bryan County schools is being hired to be the new superintendent in Treutlen County.

The Treutlen school board held a called meeting at noon Wednesday and selected Dr. Brad Anderson, the Assistant Superintendent for Teaching and Learning in the Bryan County school system, for the job.

bradanderson"We had 25 people to apply and we interviewed six people," said school board chairman Alvin Heath, "Dr. Anderson was the top candidate.  He's been in the school system down there for quite a while and he really had a standout application.  For the criteria we were looking for, he matched almost everything."

Dr. Anderson will succeed Dr. Cheryl Conley who has been the Treutlen superintendent for the past five years, "We've gone through a lot together with the new building, test scores and adopting a new curriculum, but I think where we are right now is that we've come together and we have one vision and one goal and I'm truly excited about where Treutlen County is heading.

"I'm very appreciative that I was able to be part of Treutlen County and I hope we've made a difference.  Anything the staff has done to make me look better, it wasn't me, it was the staff and I'm so blessed to have been part of a wonderful team," she said.

Dr. Conley is retiring after more than 31 years in public education, "It takes a lot of prayer and it takes a lot of faith to do what we do everyday.  People don't see what teachers do to make the education and life in general better for children.  Used to we could teach, go home and get up in the morning and go teach again.  Now it's to the point where we're the nurses and we're the parents to the children," she observed.

May 23--  Montgomery County citizens are invited to public hearings on the school system's budget coming up in June.  A copy of the budget and the public hearing notice is below.

mcboebud

 

 

May 23--  Here are highlights of Tuesday primary elections regarding statewide offices.

There will be four statewide runoff elections in July for Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Secretary of State and State School Superintendent.

Governor

Lieutenant Governor Casey Cagle and Secretary of State Brian Kemp will be in a July 24th runoff for the Republican nomination.  Cagle got 39% and Kemp received 26% of the vote Tuesday. The winner will face former metro Atlanta State Representative Stacey Abrams in November.  She defeated another State Representative, Stacey Evans, in the Democrat primary.

Lieutenant Governor

There's also a Republican runoff between David Shafer (48.9%) and Geoff Duncan (26.6%) to face Democrat Sarah Riggs Amico in November.  She got 55% of the vote over Triana Arnold James.

Secretary of State

Republicans Brad Raffensperger (34.9%) and David Belle Isle (28.5%) will face off in a runoff to challenge former Democrat Congressman John Barrow in the general election.  Barrow got 51.5% of the vote in a three-way race in the Democrat primary.

Attorney General

Incumbent Republican Attorney General Christ Carr is opposed by Democrat Charlie Bailey in November,.  Both were unopposed in their primary races.

Commissioner of Agriculture

Incumbent Gary Black was unopposed in the primary and will face Democrat Fred Swann in the general election.  Swann had no opposition in the Democrat primary.

Commissioner of Insurance

Republican Jim Beck won a three-way race with nearly 60% of the vote and faces Democrat Janice Laws in November.  Laws pulled nearly 63% of the vote in her race with Cindy Zeldin.

State School Superintendent

Incumbent Republican Richard Woods got 60% of the vote against former Superintendent John Barge.  He will face the winner of a Democrat runoff between Otha Thornton, Jr. (43.8%) and Sid Chapman (36.4%).

Commissioner of Labor

Incumbent Republican Mark Butler was unopposed and faces Democrat Richard Keatley who beat Fred Quinn with 51.5% of the vote.

Public Service Commission

Two seats on the Commission were up for election.

Republican incumbent Chuck Eaton was unopposed for the District 3, Metro Atlanta seat in the primary and faces Lindy Miller in November.  Miller garnered 65% of the vote in a three-way Democrat primary race.

Republican incumbent Tricia Pridemore beat John Hitchins III with 53% of the vote for the District 5, Western seat.  She will face Democrat Dawn Randolph in the general election after Randolph downed Doug Stoner with 79% of the vote.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

May 22--  Here are election results reported Tuesday night on NewsTalk WVOP, AM 970 and FM 105.3, and Your Favorite, 98Q (97.7 FM).

Toombs County

County Commission, District 4:  Former Toombs County Development Authority Chairman Tommy Rollins rolled up 491 votes and defeated Eddie Toole who had 220 votes and Randall Clark with 97.

Both incumbents were re-elected to the Toombs County school board. Russ Benton beat Sonya Eason 93 to 80 for the District One seat and Jonathon Holland defeated Stephen Hutchinson 202-115 in District Five.

Montgomery County

There will be a July 24th runoff to determine the new Magistrate Judge.  Ashley Thornton garnered 49.4 percent of the vote, just shy of the 50.1 percent needed to avoid a runoff.  She will face attorney John Morrison who got 26.9 percent.  Craig Snead ran third with 23.4 percent.

In the race for the District 3, post 2 seat on the school board, Debra Gay won 509 to 139 over Linda Page.

Treutlen County

Incumbent District 2 County Commissioner Homer Rivers lost his bid for election to Quinn Mullis 118 to 62.  The District 5 Commission seat went to Thalia Gillis 142 to 125 over Phillip Lewis.

State Representative, House District 156

Veteran State Representative Greg Morris of Vidalia won re-election easily over Lee Burton with more than 70% of the vote in the four-county district which includes Appling, Jeff Davis, Montgomery and Toombs counties.  He won his home county 1,624 to 683.

12th Congressional District

Congressman Rick Allen jumped to an early lead of more than 80% of the vote over Republican challenger Eugene Yu and will face Democrat Francys Johnson of Statesboro in the November general election.

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

King, Clarence Henry- B/M 22 YOA/ 390 Brobston St Unit 704 Baxley, Ga 31513/ Driving While License Suspended

Mercer, Chiquita Denise - B/F 40 YOA/ 105 W. Fifth St. Vidalia, Ga./ Disruption Of Public Schools, Battery

Edge, Justin Randall - W/M 30 YOA/ 582 Jack Collins Rd. Lyons Ga./ Stalking

Bertholde, Tyler - W/M 44 YOA/ 300 McIntosh St. Vidalia, Ga. / Theft by Shoplifting 1st Offense

Caswell, Rahquion Jamune - BM 17 YOA/ 360 E Liberty Ave. Lyons, Ga /Criminal Trespass

Stowers, Nassir- BM 17 YOA/ Rabun St. Mt Vernon, Ga / Criminal Trespass

Tetro, Jordan Rae- BM 17 YOA/174 Hutcheson St. Reidsville, Ga / Possession Of Firearm By Person Under 18YOA/Criminal Trespass/ Possession of Pistol, Revolver By Person Under 18/ Warrant Service (Tattnall County)

Winton, Robyn Brianne - B/F 25 YOA/ 808 E Fifth St. Vidalia, Ga/ Possession Of Marijuana

Robinson, Jarryl Kerrie - B/M 39 YOA/ 1066 Hyman Ave Soperton, Ga/ Possession Of Marijuana

Caple, Devona Corella - B/F 31YOA/1749 W Gumleaf Ct Rentz, Ga /Aggressive Driving/ Improper Backing

Scarboro, Kacey- W/F 17 YOA/ 341 Woodhollow Rd Vidalia, Ga / DUI- Under Age Of 21, Violation Of Class CP License, Headlight Requirements

Brown, Jessica Nicole – W/F 19 YOA/ 250 Woodhollow Rd, Vidalia, Ga / Possession Of Controlled Substance/Drug Related Objects

Trull, Marcus Hester- W/M 22 YOA/ 220 Cauley Rd. Lyons, Ga./Bench Warrant (Driving While License Suspended Or Revoked)

Wheeler, Brandon Kent- W/M 22YOA/ 6421 Hwy 297 N Vidalia, Ga./ Driving While License Suspended Or Revoked (First), No Proof Of Insurance

Lyons Police Chief Wesley Walker reports the following arrests.

Takeisha Hooks, Vidalia, possession of marijuana, ecstasy and a controlled substance, DUI, no insurance or tag, defective equipment

Marissa Losolra, Lyons, DUI, expired tag, license suspended/revoked

Jesus Ortiz, Lyons, underage purchase, possession and consumption of alcohol, no insurance

Amanda Bohannon, Uvalda, DUI

Tyreece Smith, Lyons, disorderly conduct

Andrea Mitchell, Lyons, shoplifting

Johnny Smith, Mount Vernon, possession of methamphetamine & marijuana, DUI, speeding, driving unlicensed

Wanda Burton, McRae, possession of methamphetamine & marijuana, permitting unlicensed driver to drive

Kendall Conrad, Mt Vernon, possession of methamphetamine, marijuana and drug related objects

Lewis Driggers, Garden City, possession of methamphetamin, marijuana and drug related objects

Cheryl Martin, Vidalia, DUI, failure to maintain lane

Toombs County Sheriff Junior Kight reports the following arrests.

Iesha Anthony, Vidalia, speeding, license suspended/revoked

Caleb Beasley, Lyons, DUI, possession of marijuana

Jeremy Carter, Vidalia, probation violation, DUI, speeding, failure to maintain lane, no registration/valid license plate, license to be carried and exhibited on demand

Tiara Chamblee, Soperton, probation  violation

Dominick Conner, Vidalia, probation violation

Antwan Fisher, Moultrie, rape-statutory rape

Vivian Funderburke, Lyons,  battery

Charles Graham, Jr., Lyons, public drunkeness

Allen Griffen, speeding, driving unlicensed

Katonga Mitchell, Alma, criminal trespass

Tabitha Mulling, Vidalia, battery

Randy Prather, Ashburn, probation viiolation

Jimmie Sanders, Vidalia, DUI, failure to maintain lane

Michael Sims, Baxley, driving unlicensed

David Williams, Hazlehurst, failure to appear

Montgomery County Sheriff Doug Maybin reports the following arrests.

05/16-Kevin Anthony Coursey, Lyons, Possession of Methamphetamine, Possession of Drug Related Objects, Bench Warrant

05/18-Theron Sutton Grady, Mt Vernon, Aggravated Assault

05/19-Heather Sheleigh Douberly, Mt Vernon, DUI, Expired Tag

05/19-Steven Kenneth Garrett, Alston, Obstruction, Fleeing/Attempting to Elude

05/20-Kyonia S. Lane, Vidalia, Misdemeanor Probation Violation

 

 

 

May 22--  Toombs County High School Principal Barry Waller reports a new graduation tradition was started this year with the first annual "Senior Letter" Writing Campaign to the Class of 2018. 

The schools and teachers within the system were challenged to write a small letter of encouragement to the members of the graduating class of 2018.

Many teachers from all of the schools wrote letters to encourage and congratulate their former students on completing their journey.

Toombs County High School Principal Barry Waller said, "This was a small but worthwhile letter to celebrate a huge accomplishment. This shows what a family we are in our school system for former teachers and administrators to be a part of this memory for our graduates. When these letters were given to the graduates after their graduation practice, it was moving for these kids to see all of the folks who have been praying and thinking of them during their journey through our Toombs County Schools."

In this first year, more than 2,200 letters were written to our graduates. We hope each year to build on the year before and this new tradition could be celebrated not just in our school system but in our community as well.

May 21--  The school superintendent in Toombs County is moving to a new job June 1.

richardsmithRichard Smith has been hired as Executive Director of the 1st District Regional Education Services Agency (RESA) in Statesboro which provides instructional support and logistics to 18 area school systems in southeast Georgia.

"I'm looking forward to the challenge and the opportunity to do some things at that level to help bring some good things, not only to the district, but to Toombs County as well," Smith said.

Smith is wrapping up his third year leading the Toombs County school system, "The people here are wonderful.  It's been a really good time for me to learn and grow.  Hopefully we've done some good things while I've been here and done some things to help students be more successful. 

"I think we've got things in good shape.  We've got everybody hired unless somebody resigns between now and June 1st.  We've got the tentative budget adopted and the budget hearing set for next month.  So everything is in place and we've got a good staff here to keep things going and they'll be in good shape."

School board chairman Clint Williams says Superintendent Smith has done an excellent job, "If you scaled it from one till ten, it would be a real close nine or ten.  He's done a great job here to get a lot of things in order, our finances, our curriculum and everything to get us on the right path to carry us down the road to a better school system, that's what he's done."

Smith thanks members of the community for their support and says, "If anything has gone right, it's been because of a team effort.  I can't thank Mr. Williams enough for his leadership as chairman and our other board members.  We have some great people here in Toombs County and we've got great students.  I'm very blessed to have been part of it and very humbled by anything we've been able to accomplish."

Williams says he expects the school board to appoint an interim superintendent in June to serve until a permanent successor can be found.    

May 21--  A former director of the GED program in Vidalia has been sentenced for stealing money from the program. 

kimtaylorKim Taylor entered a guilty plea in Toombs County Superior Court Monday and was sentenced to 30 years probation with 120 to 180 days to serve in a probation detention center.

Chief Assistant District Attorney Tripp Fitzner said Judge Robert Reeves sentenced her as a first offender and ordered her to make restitution of $77,756.

She was fired from STC's adult literacy program four years ago after she disclosed she had been taking money for her personal use starting in 2006.

Robert Toombs Christian Academy held its annual Middle School Honor’s Day, Thursday, May 17, in the RTCA gym. Eighth graders Ashvi Sinha and Jackson Newton received perfect attendance for the school year. Students who participated in the Spelling Bee, Junior Beta Club and Chess Team were awarded with certificates of their achievements.
 
Students who made the Headmaster’s List include sixth graders Sydney Smith, Emmie Davis, Caley Anna Braddock, Caroline Thompson, Cole Masterman-Smith, Sukumar Paidi, seventh graders Mary Claire Wolfe, Emma Tapley, Emma NeeSmith, Kate Kennedy, Nicole Acosta, Andrew Tuck, Sebastian Holmes, eighth graders Ashvi Sinha, Ellie Graham, Marli McCraine, Ansleigh Toomer, Jackson Newton, Cheyenne Anderson, Bailey Holland and Maggie Standard.
 
This year’s Honor Roll students were: sixth graders Alli Hart, Kristen Chong, Hayden Kight, Kayleigh Sanders, Lauren Bell, Evan Adams, Trent Smith, seventh graders, William Soto, Chase Moye, Britton Botelho, eighth graders Trevor Wheeler, Rileigh Robinson, Clayton Meadows and Madison Williams.

Middle School teachers awarded students with Awards in English, Science, Math, History, Band and Art. English awards were given to sixth grader Caley Anna Braddock, seventh grader Emma NeeSmith and eighth grader Ellie Graham. Science awards were accepted by sixth grader Caroline Thompson, seventh grader Emma NeeSmith and eighth grader Ashvi Sinha. Math awards were given to sixth grader Caley Anna Braddock, seventh graders Emma NeeSmith, Carleigh Miley, eighth graders Trevor Wheeler and Ashvi Patel. Social Studies awards were given to sixth grader Caroline Thompson, seventh grader Andrew Tuck and eighth grader Ellie Graham. Mrs. Trowel, Band coordinator, awarded sixth grader Kate Kennedy Outstanding Musician and sixth grader Owen Belcher Most Valuable Player. Sixth grader Alli Hart, seventh grader Kate Kennedy and eighth grader Maggie Standard were awarded the Character Awards.

Overall Academic Average Awards were awarded to middle school students who received the highest and second highest overall averages. Sixth graders Caley Anna Braddock and Cole Masterman-Smith tied for highest overall and Caroline Thompson received second highest overall average. Emma NeeSmith received highest overall and Nicole Acosta received second highest overall average for the seventh grade class. Highest overall average for eighth grade was Ellie Graham and second highest overall average was Ashvi Sinha.
 
Middle School Teacher of the Year was awarded to Mr. Tommy Patrick. Mr. Patrick has taught in the public school system for 30 years, and has been teaching Middle School at R.T.C.A. for two years.  "I am so proud to work with such excellent teachers.  As you can to tell from the standing ovation he received from his students, he is a beloved teacher who always puts his students first.  They love his classes and I am so happy to have him as a member of our faculty," states Tracey Adams, Assistant Headmaster of Academic Affairs.

6thGraders 7thGraders
L-R: Sixth Graders Caley Anna Braddock (Highest Overall Average), Caroline Thompson (2nd Highest Overall Average), Cole Masterman-Smith (Highest Overall Average) L-R: Seventh Graders Emma NeeSmith (Highest Overall Average) and Nicole Acosta (2nd Highest Overall Average)
8thGraders TeacherOfTheYear
L-R: Eighth Graders Ashvi Sinha (2nd Highest Overall Average) and Ellie Graham (Highest Overall Average) Mr. Tommy Patrick-Middle School Teacher of the Year

Robert Toombs Christian Academy held its annual Elementary School Honor’s Day, Thursday, May 17, in the RTCA gymnasium.  Fifth grader Kylin Miller opened the ceremony with a welcome to family and friends. Fifth graders Bishop Lampp said the invocation and Savannah Moore led the Pledge of Allegiance.
 
The ceremony began by Janna Parks and Marissa Brown of Chick-fil-A recognizing these students for Winshape Scholarships: first grader Jackson McCarty, third graders Julie Edenfield, Zachary McLeod, J.J. Scott, Brody Randdall, fourth grader Mandy Johnson and fifth grader Karsyn Parham.
 
Third grade teachers, Mrs. Sue Brewton and Mrs. Tiffany McKinney, began the awards ceremony by awarding academic achievements to their third grade class.  Luke Smith, Lawson Mobley, Cody Smith and Josie Kight were awarded the Character Awards. Third grade students who made the Yearly Headmaster’s were: Maggie Bowers, Kailen Brantley, Tristan Toomer, Adam O’Neal, Eleanor Martinez, Billie Parker Ford, Addisyn Dasher, Josie Kight, Rylan Keene, Caiden Beasley, Kailey Dismuke, Nathan Hollis, Judith Hussey, Clayton Williams and Julia Yacovella. Honor Roll students for the third grade are Thomas Mills, Amelia Moore, Carson Raines, Leighton Williams, Elly Haygood and Anderson Moore. Mrs. Brewton and Mrs. McKinney awarded students with Academic Subject Awards in Math, Science, Social Studies, Spelling, English and Reading. Highest Average for Math went to Maggie Bowers and English went to Josie Kight. Highest Average for Science went to Kalen Brantley and Caiden Beasley. Highest Average for Reading was a tie between Caiden Beasley and Josie Kight. There was a three-way tie for the Highest Average in Social Studies with Maggie Bowers, Kailen Brantley and Caiden Beasley.

Fourth grade teachers, Mrs. Heidi Peterson and Mrs. Valerie Tapley, awarded Isaac Holton and Lily Cauley the Character Awards. Students who received Yearly Headmaster’s were: Lily Cauley, Autumn Moore, Vick Moore and Ava Grace NeeSmith. Yearly Honor Roll students were: Grayson Smesny, Isaac Holton, Samantha Greenhouse, Cayden Nance, Ella Kate Adams, Mekhia Bell and Kylie Whitney. Highest Academic Subject Awards for Social Studies, Science, Math, Reading, English and Spelling were awarded to students. Autumn Moore was awarded Highest Average for Reading, English and Spelling. Vick More was awarded Highest Average in History, Math and Science.
 
Fifth grade teachers, Mrs. Carrie Kennedy and Mrs. Leigh Ann Walden, awarded Jadyn Morris and Kaydence Murrary the Character Award. Fifth grade Yearly Headmaster’s were: TJ Stanley, Macy Kennedy, Kylie Acosta, Benton Page, Ella Newton, Justin Bowers and Seth Carelock. Yearly Honor Roll Students were: Gage Brantley, Meredith Durden, Jacob Sanford, Madalyn Joyner, Hannah Williams, Lily Grace Maybin and Katie Thompson. Kylie Acosta received Highest Average for Reading and Vocabulary.  Ella Newton received Highest Average for English, Spelling, Social Studies, Science and Math.

Mrs. Tracey Adams, Lego Robotics Club Director, awarded Grayson Smesny the Master Builder Award. Mrs. Donna Belcher, art teacher, presented an art award to Fifth grader Macy Kennedy, who received second place in the Altama Gallery Student Art Show and Second grader Henry Adams, who received third place in the Altama Gallery Student Art Show. The Bible award was awarded to Meredith Durden because “she is very attentive and excited about each lesson, eager to answer questions and has a positive, Christian attitude,” state Ms. Trowell, Elementary Bible teacher.
Overall Highest Academic Averages Awards were awarded to elementary school students who received the highest and second highest overall averages. Third graders Caiden Beasley received highest overall and Maggie Bowers received second highest overall average. Fourth graders Vick Moore received highest overall and Autumn Moore received second highest overall average. Fifth graders Ella Newton received highest overall and Kylie Acosta received second highest overall average.
 
This year, R.T.C.A. is proud to announce the Lower School Teacher of the Year is Mrs. Lisa Williamson. Mrs. Williamson taught in the public school system for 31 years and has taught Second grade English Language Arts at R.T.C.A. for two years. “Lisa Williamson is an amazing educator.  Her knowledge of curriculum, strategies for different types of learners, and her amazing energy in the classroom results in leaps and bounds academically.  Her number one focus is always her students and encouraging them to love learning,” states Tracey Adams, Assistant Headmaster of Academic Affairs.

3rdGraders 4thGraders
L-R: Third Graders Caiden Beasley (Highest Overall Average), Maggie Bowers (2nd Highest Overall Average) L-R: Fourth Graders Vick Moore (Highest Overall Average) and Autumn Moore (2nd Highest Overall Average)
5thGraders TeacherOfTheYear
L-R: Fifth Graders Ella Newton (Highest Overall Average) and Kylie Acosta (2nd Highest Overall Average) Mrs. Lisa Williamson-Elementary Teacher of the Year

Wayne BrantleyMay 18-- The Toombs County Commissioners held their May meeting at the Cedar Crossing Community Center on Tuesday, May 15th at 5:30 p.m.

During the meeting the commissioners recognized Wayne Brantley for his 31 years of service to the Cedar Crossing Fire Department. Brantley and his family starting the department back in 1987.

In other business, the commission approved a bid from Dykes Grassing for $717,000 to pave three roads, Bud Jordan Road, Robbie Williamson Road, and Blaxton Road. Attempts in the past to secure bids for the paving of these roads were unsuccessful. This time two bids were submitted with Dykes being the lower of the two.

County Manager John Jones also gave an update of the replacement of the bridge on Green-Tippett Road with construction planned for July of 2019. The widening of 6 miles of the Lyons-Center Road is scheduled for completion during the second half of 2019.

Lauren Adams UpdatedMay 18--  According to the American Red Cross, volunteers in their younger years benefit communities in several ways. A recent study of youth development indicates that youth volunteers are twice as likely to get better grades in school, twenty-five percent more likely to positivity contribute to their family and community and twice as likely to continue their volunteer efforts as adults.

Recently the American Red Cross of Southeast and Coastal Georgia hosted the Youth Heroes Awards in Savannah, Georgia and a junior at Vidalia Heritage Academy was one of just thirteen honorees from across the region. Lauren Adams, the daughter of Alan and Tracy Adams was honored for her dedication and volunteerism in the community.

Adams says she received the award for "community service and being passionate about changing my community."

Adams says among many benefits to community volunteerism, her greatest purpose comes from her faith. "I see it as a way to share Christ with others and share his love with the community and share hope" said Adams.

When it comes to the influences in her life, her greatest has been her grandfather, John Adams. She recalled, "I have seen my grandfather help in the community and as part of the Lyons Club. He has always been an example of how to be a part of the community."

Adams has just completed her Junior year, but already has plans after graduation in 2019 to become a mentor while pursing her collegiate goals.

May 17-- The Vidalia Police Department reports the following arrests:

Willis, Joseph Albert - B/M 24 YOA/ 203 Maple Dr. Apt D. Vidalia, Ga. / Driving While License Suspended or Revoked 1st, Seatbelt Violation

Leverson, Willie D. - B/M 45 YOA/ 410 Randolph Dr. Apt 9A Vidalia, Ga. / Theft by Shoplifting 1st

Harrington, Malique Rheem Jr. - B/M 19 YOA/ 724 E. Seventh St. Vidalia, Ga./ State Warrant (Murder)

Nobles, Nicole Ladawn- B/F- 34 YOA- 307 Thompson St. Apt. A Vidalia, GA- Driving While License Suspended or Revoked Second/Theft by Receiving Stolen Property/Possession of False Identification Cards/Warrant Served (Reidsville PD)

Boston, Antonio – B/M 29 YOA / 404 Mosley St. Vidalia, Ga./Theft of Services

Cauley, Paige – W/F 25 yoa / 404 Mosley St. Vidalia, Ga./ Theft of Services / Interfering with property of Public company.

Bertholde, Tyler - W/M 44 YOA/ 300 McIntosh St. Vidalia, Ga./ Theft By Shoplifting 1st Offense

Contreras, Navor Gonzalez H/M 56 YOA/ 111 Arrowhead Trail Lyons, Ga 30436/ No Drivers License, Driving With Expired Tag

Mote, Mckenzie Dianne - W/F 21 YOA/2302 Marvin Church Rd. Lyons, GA./ Possession Of Marijuana Less Than Ounce/ No Proof Of Insurance / Driving While License Suspended Or Revoked (First)

Allen, Stacy Boyd - W/M 44 YOA/ 4878 Cedar Crossing Rd. Uvalda, Ga./ Warrant Service (Probation Violation VPD)

The Lyons Police Department reports the following arrests:

Carroll, April Michelle – Driving while license suspended or revoked (first)

Lane, Rodney Lee – Aggravated Sexual Battery, Child Molestation

Dismuke, Roger – Possession of marijuana, less than an ounce, wreckless driving, fleeing, attempting to elude arrest, 1st offense

Collins, Michael Berry – Warrant Service

Losolla, Marissa Nicole – DUI-less safe-drugs, expired tag, driving while license suspended or revoked (first)

Ortiz, Jesus A – Underage possession, purchase, consumption of alcohol

Bohannon, Amanda G. – DUI-less safe-drugs

The Toombs County Sheriff’s Office reports the following arrests:

Castillo, Sonni – Probation – Felony warrant, probation violation – felony

Chubb, Caitlynn – Citation Arrest warrant – possession of marijuana less than an ounce

Foskey, Christopher – Probation – Felony warrant, probation violation – felony

Green, Earl – Probation violation – misdemeanor

Lanum, Jeffrey – Driving while unlicensed, DUI/alcohol/less safe, safety belts required usage

McDaniel, Robert – Driving while license suspended or revoked-misd, speeding in excess of maximum limits

Moore, Larry Sr. – Revoked bond – violated bond conditions, battery

Ogletree, James C. – Possession of marijuana less than one ounce

Parker, Kenneth – Deposit fraud/bad checks, failure to appear

Raper, Joshua – Possession of marijuana less than one ounce

Staton, Ashley – Probation violation-misdemeanor, probation violation-felony

Stephens, Trenton – Burglary-forced entry-residence

Stewart, Chandler – Possession of marijuana less than one ounce

Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office reports the following arrests:

05/07-Robert Mitchell Taylor, Jr., Ailey, Theft by Taking

05/08-Channing Christopher Chapman, Rome, Ga., Reckless Driving, Obstruction of Officer, Fleeing/Attempting to Elude, Headlight Violation

05/09-Mayce Fernando Langston II, Uvalda, Battery, Bondsman Off Bond

05/09-Dustin Corbin Tarver, Vidalia, Bondsman Off Bond

05/12-Michael Allen Coley, Mt Vernon, Felony Probation Violation (Sex Offender Conditions)

05/12-Karmen Roosevelt Smalls, Anderson, SC, Possession of Marijuana w/Intent, Possession of Firearm During Commission of Crime

RTCA K grad 2018Pictured L-R: Front Row: Bella Betsil, Elin Haygood, Nell Adams, Bentleigh Lockley, Faith Smith, Emma Kennedy, Ella Kate Braddock, Eva Jo Collins Back Row: Joel Hussy, John Smith, George Smith, Cooper Hardman, Hudson Wheeler, Tucker Absher, Jace Calhoun, Eli Sanford, Peyton WilliamsonMay 17--  The Kindergarten classes at Robert Toombs Christian Academy graduated on Tuesday, May 15. This year’s graduation theme was Georgia on My Mind. Students were dressed as different symbols of Georgia such as Julia Roberts, Jimmy Carter, Margaret Mitchell, Yumion Braves baseball player, University of Georgia football player, Coca-Cola and much more. Students then changed into their caps and gowns to receive their Kindergarten diplomas from Assistant Headmaster Hayne Brant. Kindergarten teachers are Mrs. Debra Moncrief and Mrs. Sonya Vaughn.

Chad KenneyL-R, Laura Meadows, Director, Carl Vinson Institute of Government Dave Willis, Executive Director, Association County Commissioners of Georgia Chad Kenney, Commissioner, Montgomery County Board of Commissioners Allen Poole, President, Association County Commissioners of GeorgiaMONTGOMERY COUNTY COMMISSIONER CHAD KENNEY RECOGNIZED FOR ACADEMIC ACHIEVEMENT IN LIFELONG LEARNING ACADEMY

ACCG presents education certificates to county officials

ATLANTA, Ga. (May 8, 2018) - ACCG, Georgia’s County Association, recently awarded county officials with certificates for completing requirements in the Lifelong Learning Academy. Recipients were presented with their achievement certificates during the 2018 ACCG Annual Conference at the Savannah International Trade & Convention Center. Montgomery County Commissioner Chad Kenney was honored for successfully completing requirements to become a certified county commissioner.

The Lifelong Learning Academy has been essential to providing opportunities for county officials to enhance their knowledge in various areas while providing practical lessons that are applicable to situations in their respective counties.

“ACCG is fortunate to have a relationship with the Carl Vinson Institute of Government, an educational partner with a stellar reputation” said Dave Wills, ACCG’s Executive Director. “The partnership affords Georgia’s county government officials learning experiences tailored to help meet the specific needs of those working in local government and leading Georgia’s communities.”

For more than two decades, ACCG and the Carl Vinson Institute of Government at the University of Georgia have worked in concert to provide supplemental training and educational tools for county officials. Members work to complete core requirements and can then choose from the abundant course options in a number of specialty tracks, such as intergovernmental relations and disaster and emergency preparedness.

Commissioner Chad Kenney said, “The opportunity to attend this training is a great way for new county commissioner to quickly get up to speed on core knowledge in various areas so that we can better serve our local counties. The things that I learned during these core training classes were things that I used immediately in situations I faced here at home.”

The Association County Commissioners of Georgia (ACCG) is Georgia’s county association and works on behalf of county officials and their communities by providing public policy and legislative advocacy, leadership development, civic and community engagement initiatives, insurance and retirement programs that specialize in local government needs and other cost-saving programs. Formed in 1914 when county officials came together to help fund the state’s first highway department, ACCG today serves as a catalyst for advancing Georgia’s counties. For more information, go to www.accg.org.


May 17-- Malique Rheem Harrington turned himself in to Acworth Georgia Police Department on May 15, 2018. Harrington is charged with the murder of 21-year-old Jerry Lee Clark, Jr. that occurred on May 10, 2018. Harrington will be transferred to the Toombs County Detention Center.

20180510 VPDWarrent MaliqueRheemHarrington Murder

RTCA Tessa GibaseRobertson handing Senior Tessa Gibase this year’s BibleMay 17--  Robert Toombs Christian Academy held their annual Baccalaureate Service for the Class of 2018 on Sunday, May 13 in the R.T.C.A. gymnasium. Cassi Heath opened the service with a prayer and was followed by Alex Mathews introducing this year’s speaker Mrs. LaRee Findley, High School History teacher. Mrs. Findley spoke about the affect R.T.C.A. has had on their lives through academics, athletics, activities and acquaintances. "RTA - Remember the academics, Remember the Athletics, Remember the Activities, Remember the Acquaintances, Remember the Advice. But our school has four letters RTCA. We can't leave out the C. So RTCA - Remember the Christian Atmosphere. You have been exposed to the gospel message and to many Christian examples, so as you go out into your new life, I pray that you have received a new life in Christ. I guess my most important piece of advice is to 'Remember thy Creator in the days of thy youth'. Ecclesiastes 12:1." After Mrs. Findley spoke, Senior Kameron Reeves sang “Remind Me, Dear Lord.” Coach Robertson presented this year’s Bibles to the Senior class, a favorite tradition for the Seniors. Anna McComas closed out the service with a prayer, followed by the recession of Seniors. The R.T.C.A. Class of 2018 will graduate on May 19th at 10 a.m. located at Southeastern Technical College.

May 16-- At its April meeting, the Toombs County Commission voted to become part of ongoing lawsuits around the state against the opioid manufacturers that are causing serious problems for poorer counties and its citizens. Below is the press release regarding the lawsuit.

Toombs County Files Lawsuit Against Opioid Manufacturers and Distributors

ATHENS, Ga. – (May 15, 2018) – Toombs County filed a lawsuit today against multiple manufacturers and distributors of opioids, seeking to hold them responsible for their role in creating the opioid epidemic. The county is represented by Blasingame, Burch, Garrard & Ashley, P.C. (BBGA), of Athens.

BBGA continues to lead the way statewide in the filing of opioid lawsuits, with more Georgia filings than any other firm. The litigation team expects to file similar lawsuits in the coming weeks on behalf of many other Georgia cities, counties and hospitals.

The lawsuit targets more than 20 companies that manufacture and distribute opioids, and alleges the defendants misrepresented the addictive risks of opioids, fraudulently marketed opioids as a treatment for chronic pain, and did not follow federal laws regarding the reporting of excessive opioid sales in certain areas.

The case was filed in federal court and is expected to be transferred to the national multi-district litigation in Ohio regarding the opioid epidemic, where more than 400 are currently pending.

“With this lawsuit, we hope to help stop the opioid epidemic and secure the resources that local governments need to combat it,” BBGA partner Jim Matthews said.

BBGA has filed lawsuits on behalf of more than 40 Georgia counties, cities, and hospital authorities.

“We’ve made presentations to dozens of local governments across Georgia and anticipate presenting to many more,” Matthews said. “We have extensive experience in multi-district litigation (MDL) and are pleased to continue filing for counties.”

BBGA is nationally recognized in MDL litigation in Georgia and across the country. The Athens-based firm has been lead counsel or co-lead counsel in at least five national MDL proceedings and currently represents the State of California in two major drug price-gouging cases. The firm’s MDL experience spans across multiple complex MDL cases, including transvaginal mesh, talcum powder, and hernia mesh cases.

“What distinguishes us from the other law firms involved in opioid litigation is, we are a Georgia law firm that will be lead counsel in representing our clients,” said firm partner Drew Hill. “We are not associated with out-of-state counsel in the handling of our clients’ business, and we file the lawsuits in their local jurisdictions.”

Military signing VHS 5 14 18May 16-- We see and hear in the news all the time about high school students signing letters of intent to play sports at the next level. We hear about students receiving academic scholarships to college.

This week for the first time ever, Vidalia High School chose to recognize 13 high school s students that will be taking their talents to the next level as well, in the military.

Vidalia High School Principal John Sharpe, “We celebrate a lot of their academic and athletic achievements, but just as important are those that choose a career in the military. We have several cadets or students that are signing or enlisting in the military to enhance their college education.” Sharpe added, “This is a way of celebrating their service to our country and also realizing this is a part of that goal to have something after high school that they can have an opportunity to excel at.”

“These young men and women that commit to the military have an opportunity to make a profession or at least learn a skill that they can come back and have a career in after they finish that training,” said Sharpe.

Miyah Middleton is heading to the US Army. “It makes me feel wonderful to be recognized as an individual joining the U.S. Military instead of getting recognized as only sports. It’s just serving the country and letting people know that we’re trying to protect you and living an awesome life,” said Middleton.

The students recognized were:

US Army

Felipe Angeles

Marsha Haynes

Miyah Middleton

Tyriece Starks

Elijah Thornton

Georgia Army National Guard

Mason Corbitt

Mikaela James

Saul Mateo

Christen Nichols

US Army Reserves

Brandon Kirby

Henry Perez Torres

US Navy

Lake Allen

Cameron Victoria

RTCA Academic Signing Day 2018Pictured L-R: Front Row: Tye Lewis, Catherine Thigpen, Sadie Moser, Hannah Coursey, Wil Duvall, Rose Bishop, Jarron Guy, Ansley Scott, Ansley Spivey, Cassi Heath, Andi Brinson Middle Row: Addison Wingate, Hannah Foskey, Dylan Mulling, Heath DeFee, Alex Mathews, Jalin Harris, Sterling Damron, Francie Stanley, Tessa Gibase, KD Frost, Anna McComas Back Row: Torrey Patterson, Zack Pendergrass, Brandon Mainer, Kameron Reeves, Landon Dukes, Jackson Jones, Evan Venable, Emily Hutcheson, Zoey Thomas, AJ Stewart, Kate SullivanMay 16--  Robert Toombs Christian Academy held its second annual Senior Academic Signing Day on Wednesday, May 9, in the R.T.C.A. gymnasium. The seniors, dressed in their graduation gowns and regalia, were celebrated by the elementary students. The seniors paraded through the elementary hallway where they were greeted with high-fives, cheers, signs, and goody bags.  The seniors then gathered in the gym for the Academic Signing to their postsecondary education. Thirty-three students have committed themselves to attend an institution of higher learning. After signing their name and the name of their postsecondary education choice, the students were presented with shirts from their selected institutions. “I am so proud of the accomplishments of our graduates. They are a determined and gifted group of students and I am so excited to see what they will accomplish at the collegiate level,” states Mrs. Tracey Adams, Assistant Headmaster of Academic Affairs.

Recognized were the following graduates:

Emily Hutcheson-Valedictorian

Emily is the daughter of Mickey and Dana Hutcheson.  After graduation, Emily plans on attending Georgia College and State University pursue a PHD in pediatrics.

Wil Duvall-Salutatorian

Wil is the son of Bill and Lindi Duvall.   After graduation, Wil plans on attending Mercer University and play college football while pursuing a degree in law. He hopes to one day become a lawyer and maybe become involved in government or politics.

Evan Venable-Honor Graduate

Evan is the son of Shan and Gail Venable and Connie and Mike Lothridge.  After graduation, Evan plans on attending the University of Georgia where he plans to pursue a bachelor’s degree in finance. Upon graduating from UGA, he plans to continue his education and obtain his MBA. After college, he plans to become an entrepreneur.

Kate Sullivan-Honor Graduate

Kate is the daughter of Sam and Susan Sullivan.  After graduation, Kate plans on attending University of Georgia and major in Entertainment and Film Studies with hopes of working in the film industry.

Hannah Coursey-Honor Graduate

Hannah is the daughter of Alan and Tanya Coursey. Hannah has been accepted to Southeastern Technical College where she plans to pursue a degree in pharmacy technology.

Cassi Heath-Honor Graduate

Cassi is the daughter of Will and Alice Heath.   After graduation, Cassi plans on attending University of Georgia for 4 years then attend graduate school to become a physical therapist.

Anna McComas-Honor Graduate

Anna is the daughter of Steven and Jennifer McComas.  After graduation, Anna plans on attending University of Alabama pursuing a degree in Nutrition with pre-med concentration then attend medical school to become a physician.

Ansley Scott-Honor Graduate

Abigail is the daughter of Sean and Heather Scott.    After graduation, Ansley plans on attending Georgia Southern University and pursue a degree in interior design.

Hannah Foskey-Honor Graduate

Hannah is the daughter of Chuck and Lisa Foskey.  After graduation, Hannah plans on attending East Georgia State College and pursuing a degree in nursing.

Tessa Gibase-Honor Graduate

Tessa is the son of Dr. Frank and Maria Gibase.  After graduation, Tessa plans on attending Georgia College and State University and to pursue a degree in nurse anesthesia.

Francie Stanley-Honor Graduate

Francie is the daughter of Vince and Donna Stanley. After graduation, Francie plans on attending Florida State College and eventually transfer to the University of North Florida to pursue a degree in exercise science.

Andi Brinson-Honor Graduate

Andi is the daughter of Glenn and Patricia Brinson.   After graduation, Andi plans on attending Georgia College and State University to pursue a degree as a doctor of pharmacy.

Rose Bishop

Rose is the daughter of Max Bishop and Karen Bishop.  After graduation, Rose plans on attending  Georgia Southern University where she will major in Law with a minor in Psychology.

Sterling Damron

Sterling is the son of Dwayne and Sherry Damron.  After graduation, Sterling plans on attending Georgia Southern University. After college, he plans to pursue a career in the US Air Force as a search and rescue pilot.

Heath DeFee

Heath is the son of Lane and Jane DeFee.  After graduation, Heath plans on attending Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College and pursue a degree in forestry. He would eventually like to work for a private timber company and own his own logging company.

Landon Dukes

Landon is the son of Oren and Leisa Dukes.  After graduation, Landon plans on attending East Georgia State College for one year then transfer to Georgia Southern University to pursue a degree in business.

KD Frost

KD is the daughter of Kenton and Phillisa Frost. After graduation, KD plans on attending College of Coastal Georgia and pursue a degree in business.

Jarron Guy

Jarron is the son of LM and Carmen Guy.  After graduation, Jarron plans on attending Georgia College and State University then eventually transfer to the University of Georgia to major in Theater.

Jalin Harris

Jalin is the son of Kateza Harris.   After graduation, Jalin plans on attending Southeastern University to pursue a degree in sports management and eventually join the Air Force.

Jackson Jones

Jackson is the son of Craig and Stephanie Jones.  After graduation, Jackson plans on attending Georgia Southern University and pursue a degree in business management. He would eventually like to own his own business one day.

Tye Lewis

Tye is the son of Mike Lewis and Joanna Mock.  After graduation, Tye plans on attending Georgia Southern University and pursue a degree in business. He would like to own his own business.

Brandon Mainer

Brandon is the son of Antonio Brown and Sherese Mainer.  After graduation, Brandon plans on attending Georgia State University and pursue a degree in Accounting. After college, Brandon would like to be an accountant for his father’s business.

Alex Mathews

Alex is the son of Nick Mathews and Charlotte Mathews.   After graduation, Alex plans on attending Trident College and pursuing a degree in business and welding.

Sadie Moser

Sadie is the daughter of Johnny and Jennifer Moser.  After graduation, Sadie plans on attending Georgia Southern University for her core classes then transfer to Ogeechee Technical College to earn a degree in mortuary science to become a mortician and funeral director.

Dylan Mulling

Dylan is the son of Scott Mulling and the late Crystal Mulling. After graduation, Dylan plans on attending Southeastern Technical College and pursue a degree in the electrician program.

Torrey Patterson

Torrey is the son of Treneica Patterson.  After graduation, Torrey plans on attending Mesabi Range College to play football while pursuing a degree in wielding. 

Zack Pendergrass

Zack is the son of Key McBride and Tyrone Stewart.  After graduation, Zack plans on Maryville College to play football while pursuing a degree in civil engineering. He would then like to return to college to become biochemical engineer.

Kameron Reeves

Kameron is the son of Danelle White and the late Dusty Reeves.   After graduation, Kameron plans on attending East Georgia State College and  pursue a degree in English. 

Ansley Spivey

Ansley is the daughter of Stacy and Eva Spivey.  After graduation, Ansley plans on attending University of North Georgia and eventually transfer to the University of Georgia to attend Veterinary school.

AJ Stewart

AJ is the son of Carolyn Stewart.   After graduation, AJ plans on attending Dean College to play football while pursuing a degree in animal science.

Catherine Thigpen

Catherine is the daughter of Alan Thigpen and the late Christy Thigpen.   After graduation, Catherine plans on attending Ogeechee Technical College and pursue a degree in dentistry. She would eventually like to own her own practice.

Zoey Thomas

Zoey is the daughter of James and Michelle Thomas. After graduation, Zoey plans on attending Southeastern Technical College then eventually transfer to a larger college to pursue a degree in physical therapy.

Addison Wingate

Addison is the daughter of Jason Wingate and Kelly Wingate.  After graduation, Addison plans on attending Southeastern Technical College to pursue a degree in nursing and eventually become a neonatal nurse.

RTCA 2018 Val SalSalutatorian Wil Duvall and Valedictorian Emily HutchesonMay 16--  Robert Toombs Christian Academy held its annual Honors Day, Monday, May 7, at the R.T.C.A. gym. This year’s valedictorian is Emily Hutcheson and salutatorian is Wil Duvall.  After graduation, Emily plans to attend Mercer Univeresity and pursue a PHD in pediatrics. Wil plans on attending Mercer University to play college football while working pursuing a degree in law.  Honor graduates from the class of 2018 are Emily Hutcheson, Wil Duvall, Andi Brinson, Hannah Coursey, Hannah Foskey, Tessa Gibase, Cassi Heath, Anna McComas, Ansley Scott, Francie Stanley, Kate Sullivan and Evan Venable.

Various scholarships were awarded to RTCA seniors. Senior Hannah Coursey received the Scott Meehan Scholarship. The Coca-Cola Scholarship and the Mercer University Scholarship was awarded to Senior Wil Duvall. Senior Emily Hutcheson received the Stewart Family Scholarship and the Larry’s Giant Subs Scholarship. The Georgia Association of FSA Scholarship was awarded to Senior Jarron Guy. Senior KD Frost received the Soap Box Derby/Beauty for a Cause Scholarship. Winner of the Miss R.T.C.A. pageant, Senior Catherine Thigpen, was also awarded a scholarship.

Senior Beta club members were corded by advisor Mrs. Leigh Ann Walden. The Beta members are: Freshmen Carleigh DeFee, Carolina Mead, Kaitlyn reaves, Ashton Sowell, Sophomores Landon Botelho, Hunter Brotman, Kaitlyn Corner, Riley Corner, Christa Fields, TJ Jackson, Cade Jones, MiKayla Manning, Madison Moncus, Sam NeSmith, Samantha Threlkeld, Analise Williams, Fernando Zayas, Juniors Makenzie Harper, Hannah Keene, Cody Masterman-Smith, Jacob McMillan, Shane Moore, Jarod Robertson, Sarah Tuck, Seniors Hannah Coursey, Wil Duvall, Hannah Foskey, Cassie Heath, Emily Hutcheson, Anna McComas, Ansley Scott, Kate Sullivan and Evan Venable.

RTCA provides Dual Enrollment courses for eligible students that wish to take college level coursework for credit towards both high school and college graduation requirements. Move On When Ready students are: Juniors Jarod Robertson, Travis Williams, Cody Masterman-Smith, McKinnley Phillips, Hannah Keene, Roya Adkins, Payton Nance, Mary Hayes Palmer, Sarah Tuck, Claire Walden, Blaine Miller, Shane Moore, Jacob McMillan, Baylee Williamson. Seniors are Anna McComas, KD Frost, Emily Hutcheson, Tessa Gibase, Ansley Scott, Andi Brinson, Francie Stanley, Cassi Heath, Kate Sullivan, Evan Venable, Wil Duvall, Heath DeFee, Jackson Jones and Landon Dukes.

This year’s Honor Roll students included Freshmen Carleigh DeFee, Anna Cuevas-Ortes, Ashton Sowell, Sophomores Analise Williams, Kaitlyn Corner, Madison Moncus, MiKayla Manning, Juniors Hannah Keene, Jacob McMillan, Shane Moore, Kara Sanders, Seniors Hannah Coursey and Ansley Scott. Students who made Yearly Headmaster’s List were Freshmen Austin Akins, Kaitlyn Reaves, Abigail Tapley, Sophomores T.J. Jackson, Landon Botelho, Riley Corner, JJ Jones, Samantha Threlked, Fernando Zayas, Juniors Makenzie Harper, Sarah Tuck, Cody Masterman-Smith, Seniors Kate Sullivan, Cassi Heath, Evan Venable, Emily Hutcheson and Tessa Gibase.

Teachers awarded students with Subject Awards in History, English, Math Science, Art and Spanish. History awards were given to Freshman Kaitlyn Reaves, Sophomores MiKayla Manning, T.J. Jackson, Juniors Makenzie Harper, Cody Masterman-Smith, and Seniors Wil Duvall and Evan Venable. English awards were given to Freshman Katie McDuffie, Kaitlyn Reaves, Sophomores MiKayla Manning, T.J. Jackson, Landon Botelho, Juniors Kara Sanders, Sterling Damron, Cody Masterman-Smith and Senior Evan Venable. Math awards were accepted by Freshman Abigail Tapley, Kaitlyn Reaves, Analise Williams, MiKayla Manning, Juniors Cody Masterman-Smith, Makenzie Harper, Seniors Kate Sullivan and Zack Pendergrass. Science awards were accepted by Freshman Trey Brant, Austin Akins, Sophomores JJ Jones, Samantha Threlkeld, Juniors Fernando Zayas, Makenzie Harper, Sarah Tuck, Seniors Sterling Damron and Emily Hutcheson. Sophomore Samantha Threlked was awarded the Art subject award. Juniors Fernando Zayas and Sarah Tuck were award the Spanish subject awards.

Overall Academic Average Awards were given to high school students who received the highest and second highest overall averages. Freshman Kaitlyn Reaves received the highest overall and Austin Akins received second highest. Sophomores Fernando Zayas received the highest overall and T.J. Jackson received the second highest. Sarah Tuck received the highest overall and Cody Masterman-Smith received the second highest over for the Junior class. For the Seniors, Evan Venable received the highest overall and Wil Duvall and Emily Hutcheson tied for second highest overall.

Terry KennedyTerry Kennedy - Teacher of the YearThe Upper School Teacher of the Year is Mrs. Terri Kennedy. She is in her 38th year of teaching, 13 years in Toombs County, 20 years in Vidalia City and 5 years at RTCA.  Mrs. Kennedy received her Bachelor of Science in Ed (K-8) and Master's in Education from Georgia Southern College.  She also received her Ed Specialist Degree from Georgia Southern University. She has taught Pre-Algebra, Algebra I and Algebra II throughout her teaching career and continues to encourage students to always do their best.

Sarah Tuck, Cody Masterman-Smith, Hannah Keene and Jarod Robertson were recognized as Junior Marshalls.

R.T.C.A. is very proud of this year’s Seniors and looks forward to their many achievements in their postsecondary education choices.

May 15-- The Toombs High School Graduation ceremony has been moved from the Pit in Lyons at 8:30 a.m. Saturday to the Toombs County High School Gym at 8:30 a.m. Saturday.

Each graduating student will receive 8 tickets. The doors will open to ticket holders only from 7:15 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. At 8:00 a.m. the doors will open to the public. Any overflow will be able to move to the auditorium where it will be streamed on video.

Keep checking back for any weather related changes to other area graduation ceremonies.

May 15--  The Montgomery County Board of Commissioners held its regular meeting, Monday, May 14, 2018, at 5:30 PM.  The meeting was held at the Montgomery County Adult Literacy Center.

The Commissioners approved a one-year service agreement for the County’s election equipment with Election Systems & Software, LLC of Omaha, Nebraska.  The County’s cost of the service agreement is $3,985.00.

The Commissioners approved the Board of Education’s request to perform site work at the Montgomery County High School’s track and field area to correct safety and drainage issues.

County Manager Brandon Braddy reported that the County’s health insurance renewal is expected to increase by 10.3% costing an estimated $27,000 in additional premiums.  Manager Braddy informed the Commissioners he is obtaining additional quotes for the Commissioners to consider.

The Commissioners approved to purchase a Land Mobile Radio (LMR) device in the amount of $4,300 from AT&T.  The Sheriff’s Office will demo the technology.  The LMR device will provide the Sheriff’s Office with Enhanced Push-To-Talk (EPTT) capability through AT&T’s LTE Network.

The Commissioners have scheduled a work session at 6:00 PM this Thursday, May 17 at the Board of Commissioners Office, 310 West Broad Street, Mount Vernon, Georgia.  The purpose of the work session is to discuss road projects, road equipment and the County’s Key Policy.

Chick fil A scholarships 5 14 18Jenna Grace Morrison and Malik Thornton receive checksMay 15-- Britt McDade, owner/operator of the local Chick-fil-A restaurant in Vidalia presented two of his Chick-fil-A employees with $2,500 scholarships each on Monday.

“Our founder, Truett Cathy, has always had a heart for helping winners succeed so this is just another extension of what he started,” said McDade.

McDade added, “Malik and Jenna Grace have not only stepped up here in the restaurant but continue to lead in opportunities outside the restaurant. Both of them continue to set the example of what we are looking for out of leaders here,”

May 14--  The Vidalia school board has approved the tentative budget for fiscal year 2019 for Vidalia City Schools.

At its May meeting, the board okayed a total budget of $36.6 million including general fund expenses of $23.5 million, about a half-million more than this year's budget.

School Superintendent Dr. Garrett Wilcox says an additional allocation of $248,000 from the state gave the school system some welcome relief from austerity cuts in the past few years,

"This is the first time in quite some time that we haven't had to spend an inordinate amount of time discussing cuts.  This is close to a balanced budget that we've had and we were able to add a few positions back," he said.

The new budget includes some new positions, "One was a new teaching position.  We're going to a block schedule next year at the high school and the numbers dictated a need for another history teacher.  We will for the first time have a nurse at each school.  We've historically operated with two teachers, but now we'll have four nurses, one at each school.  We were also able to get a little help with technology.  We deal with so much more technology today in schools that we have a real need to have somebody day-to-day to keep things up and running," Dr. Wilcox said.

The school system's property tax rate is capped at 15 mils and Dr. Wilcox says that is adequate, "I'm not so sure any community should endure more than a 15 mil millage rate.  Citizens here have always done their part to support the schools with property tax income and there's no threat of anything happening with the millage rate."

The projected fund balance at the end of the fiscal year is $3.7 million dollars.

May 11--  Meadows Regional Medical Center has received the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association’s Get With The Guidelines®-Stroke Gold Quality Achievement Award. The award recognizes the hospital’s commitment to ensuring stroke patients receive the most appropriate treatment according to nationally recognized, research-based guidelines based on the latest scientific evidence.

Meadows Regional Medical Center earned the award by meeting specific quality achievement measures for the diagnosis and treatment of stroke patients at a set level for a designated period. These measures include evaluation of the proper use of medications and other stroke treatments aligned with the most up-to-date, evidence-based guidelines with the goal of speeding recovery and reducing death and disability for stroke patients. Before discharge, patients should also receive education on managing their health, get a follow-up visit scheduled, as well as other care transition interventions.

“Meadows Regional Medical Center is dedicated to improving the quality of care for our stroke patients by implementing the American Heart Association’s Get With The Guidelines-Stroke initiative,” said Karrie Page, a RN/Trauma Stroke Coordinator. “The tools and resources provided help us track and measure our success in meeting evidenced-based clinical guidelines developed to improve patient outcomes.”

Meadows Regional Medical Center additionally received the association’s Target: StrokeSM Honor Roll award. To qualify for this recognition, hospitals must meet quality measures developed to reduce the time between the patient’s arrival at the hospital and treatment with the clot-buster tissue plasminogen activator, or tPA, the only drug approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to treat ischemic stroke.

“We are pleased to recognize Meadows Regional Medical Center for their commitment to stroke care,” said Eric E. Smith, M.D., national chairman of the Get With The Guidelines Steering Committee and an associate professor of neurology at the University of Calgary in Alberta, Canada. “Research has shown that hospitals adhering to clinical measures through the Get With The Guidelines quality improvement initiative can often see fewer readmissions and lower mortality rates.”

According to the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association, stroke is the No. 5 cause of death and a leading cause of adult disability in the United States. On average, someone in the U.S. suffers a stroke every 40 seconds and nearly 795,000 people suffer a new or recurrent stroke each year.

May 11--  Notes from the Senate (Jack Hill)

GOVERNOR VETOES 21 BILLS

Governor Deal released his list of 21 pieces of legislation he vetoed on the very last day he could do so.  Here's a brief synopsis of each.  See a link at the end for further reference.

Veto No. 1-HB 354-Would have reconstituted the Georgia International Maritime Trade Center Authority in Savannah as a public corporation and instrumentality of the state. The Governor cited lack of built-in oversight and unlimited bond capacity as the reasons for caution.

Veto No. 2-HB 410 would have capped fees homeowners associations can charge for certain information.  The Governor questioned the cap and cited possible burdensome responsibilities the bill might have created.

Veto No. 3-HB 441 has to do with spendthrift trusts or self-settled asset protection trusts.  The Governor cited unintended consequences and questioned the need for the trusts.

Veto No. 4, 5, 6 & 7-are all local bills vetoed at the request of the authors due to a date error.

Veto No. 8-HB 586-Also a local bill vetoed for dating error.

Veto No. 9-HB 600-Local bill that was vetoed because of Governor's concerns over the changes in the balance of power in City Council

Veto No. 10-HB 754-Allowed insurers in Georgia to subdivide into two companies. Governor questioned the need and lack of safeguards.

Veto No. 11-HB 795-would have placed the Workers compensation Board under the Georgia Administrative Procedures Act.  Governor questioned the need given the existence of the Advisory Council and that the bill might have increased legislative control.

Veto No. 12-HB 870-Annexed the Fulton County Industrial District into the City of South Fulton.  Governor believed the citizens of Fulton County should first vote on the repeal of the constitutional amendment.

Veto No. 13-HB 912-Allowed Spalding County State Court to implement a technology fee.   Governor saw this as an unnecessary burden on court filers.

Veto No. 14-HB 942-Would have created the Savannah Farmers Market Commission as a political subdivision of the state. Governor saw this as an unnecessary level of government displacing local control.

Veto No. 15-HB 995-had to do with government contracts with private consultants.  The Governor seemed to object to the language being lifted from DOAS standard form contracts.

Veto No. 16-HB 1039-Created the big Canoe Water and Sewer Authority as a political subdivision of the state and public corporation.  House sponsors requested the veto.

Veto No. 17-HB 1047-Permitted State Court of Washington County to implement a $15.00 fine surcharge for technology.  Governor cited lack of necessity and that those types of expenses should be paid through the local appropriations process.

Veto No. 18-SB 315-Made computer hacking or unauthorized access a crime.  Objections were raised about hindering government and industry in their efforts to prevent hacking.  Governor suggested more collaboration on a future bill,

Veto No. 19-SB 338-Changed the process for the legislature to suspend agency rule changes.  Governor cited the unnecessary transfer of power from the Executive Branch to the Legislative Branch.

Veto No. 20-SB 342-Would have allowed a vehicle owner to retain possession of the automobile after being cited for out of date sticker if owner presented the court with a current sticker.  Governor cited the existing exception if the sticker was purchased prior to the traffic stop and seizure of the automobile.

Veto No. 21-SB 357-Results of Senate Study Commission on Healthcare policy that created a health Coordination and Innovation Council assigned to the Governor's Office of Planning and Budget.  Governor objected to the head of OPB not having any functional authority over the Council.

Veto overrides are common in many states but not in Georgia. I can only remember one time the Legislature overrode a Governor's veto.

Want to read the Governor's veto message? Go to this link:

https://gov.georgia.gov/press-releases/2018-05-08/deal-issues-2018-veto-statements

Full transcripts of bills may be found at http://www.legis.ga.gov/en-US/default.aspx . Simply type the bill number into the box at the top left-hand corner of the screen and specify if it is in the House or the Senate. The FY 2019 budget (H.B. 684) may be found at http://www.senate.ga.gov/sbeo/en-US/AppropriationsDocuments.aspx. As always, I welcome any questions you may have.

I may be reached at

234 State Capitol, Atlanta , GA 30334

(404) 656-5038 (phone)

(404) 657-7094 (fax)

E-mail at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Or Call Toll-Free at

1-800-367-3334 Day or Night

Reidsville office: (912) 557-3811

Toombs County ScholarshipsL-R, Gracey Stephens, Nick Eason (Guest Speaker), Brittany BeckumMay 10--  Two Toombs County High School Students received New York Life Grief and Sensitivity Scholarships. Gracey Stephens and Brittany Beckum both received $1000.00 scholarships on Monday night May 7th in Savannah at the New York Life Scholarship Banquet.

Toombs County High School Principal Barry Waller states, “Both of these amazing young ladies experienced the loss of their mothers way too soon. However, they have a tremendous support system as well as resolve to continue the legacy instilled in them by their moms."

The New York Life Scholarship is given annually to young people who have experienced the loss of a parent or loved one. Gracey and Brittany were two of the twelve students honored at the banquet.The guest speaker at the banquet was former pro football player as well as Toombs County Bulldog Nick Easton who shared story to losing his own mom way too soon.

Lane AveryLane Avery, Meadows Regional Medical Center Peds/Med/Surg RN, receives the March DAISY Award Monday, April 23May 10--  Lane Avery, Meadows Regional Medical Center Peds/Med/Surg RN, received the March DAISY Award for Extraordinary Nurses on Monday, April 23.

The award is part of the DAISY Foundation’s program to recognize nurses who go above and beyond in providing excellent care to their patients every day. Meadows Regional Medical Center, a proud DAISY Award hospital partner, recognizes one nurse each month to receive the special award.

Avery was nominated by a family member of one of her patients. The nomination mentioned her compassion and empathy as reasons why she was nominated.

“Lane is an extremely talented registered nurse who always puts patients and families first,” said Meadows Regional Medical Center Interim Chief Nursing Officer, Jeffrey Harden. “We are delighted to honor her with the March Daisy Award.”

Avery has been employed with Meadows Regional Medical Center for eight years and currently resides in Vidalia.

The Daisy Award was established in memory of J. Patrick Barnes, who died at 33 of complications of Idiopathic Thrombocytopenic Purpura (ITP), a little known but not uncommon auto-immune disease. The care Patrick and his family received during his hospital stay inspired this unique means of recognizing extraordinary nurses who make an enormous difference in the lives of patients.

May 10--  From State Representative Greg Morris (R-Vidalia)

Distracted Driving/Cell Phones. What little suspense about whether Gov. Deal would sign H.B. 673 ended last Wednesday. The Governor signed the bill that would prohibit drivers from handling cell phones while driving. The law will take effect July 1st of this year. Supporters of the bill hope that H.B. 673 will make our roads safer, something that banning texting in 2010 failed to do. Last year, 1549 people died on Georgia highways which is an increase of more than one third than in 2014. Again, I didn’t vote for the bill because I don’t believe talking with a phone in your hand while driving is an imminent danger if your eyes are on the road. I believe the law as written could be an undue burden on small business people. Think of a real estate agent driving around town to show properties. Or a sales rep for home security systems. Professions like these spend at least half their time in vehicles and are reliant on mobile phones to conduct business. Small businesses may want to discuss with their attorneys or insurance agents about what new liability H.B. 673 may pose in regards to employee use of cell phones while driving during working hours. The Governors Office of Public Safety has a new website called headsupgeorgia.com you can refer to for more detail. Overall the prohibitions are holding or supporting with any part of the body a wireless telecommunications device while driving unless you are law enforcement, a first responder, or a utility worker on duty.

Rural Economy/Healthcare. Gov. Deal signed two more bills last week that stemmed from the work of House Rural Development Council formed to improve the economy in rural Georgia. H.B. 769 calls for the creation of “micro hospitals” in small rural counties that would have at least two beds but a maximum of seven and would provide emergency services 24 hours a day , seven days a week. The bill also includes a provision that increases the state income tax credit for contributions to rural hospitals from 90%, to a full dollar-for-dollar credit. The other bill is H.B. 951 that creates the Center for Rural Prosperity and Innovation. This will be a state funded department that will focus solely on rural economic development. It will be a resource for local governments and development authorities in working to bring new jobs to rural communities. The Center will be located at Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College in Tifton.

2019 Budget. On the subject of rural economic development, the upcoming budget has many good features but none probably more important than the education component. For the first time since 2002, QBE, the formula used to pay for public schools is fully funded. That means public schools will receive 166.7 million more than we expected in the upcoming budget year. Economic development cannot happen without a trained workforce, and a trained workforce is impossible without a thriving public education system. I really enjoy seeing the growth of dual enrollment and what it means for increasing the chance of all our students having a college or technical education degree.

May 10--  Southeastern Technical College is proud to announce their 2018 spring semester President's List. These students earned a 3.75 GPA or higher for the semester:

Appling

Charlotte O'Quinn

Trent Varnadore

Morgan Yawn

Candler

Emyshia Boatwright

Karneisha Holloway

Emanuel

John Adams

Kiera Allen

Abby Brinson

Jacolby Gibbons

Antoina Jones

Rachel Lovett

Jodi Miller

Jonathan Scott

Virgil Swinney

Victoria Waters

Glynn

Gina Wallace

Jeff Davis

Christen Campbell

Jasper Johns

Lidia Morales

Vennessa Roland

Hayli Sellers

Hayden Sinquefield

Luderia Worthington

Lorrie Wright

Johnson

Susan Wilkerson

Laurens

Michaela Rigby

Montgomery

Tanner Hattaway

Julie Smith

Jada Thompson

Jacob Walls

Tattnall

Joel Arroyo

Jennifer Chandler

Araceli Clemente

Nia Dailey

Diamond Jackson

Rayann LaChance

Eujenia Moore

Jimmy Morgan

Jada Morris

Guadalupe Ramirez

Makayla Spells

Telfair

William Holland

Daniel McNeal

Rebecca Swain

Toombs

Brittany Bauer

Zella Cray

Steven Foskey

Felix Gomez

Christina Grobler

Kelsey Guerra

Janie Jernigan

Shannon Kirby

Michael Manning

Kensee Martin

Melissa Orellana

Hannah Ray

Treshan Salem

Cynthia Toby

Treutlen

Elizabeth Barrow

Whitney Hinson

Wayne

Jennifer Hayes

Wheeler

Andrea Connell

Keaton Smith

May 10--  Vidalia Police Chief Frank Waits reports the following arrests.

Madison, Latosha Renee Chance- B/F 42 YOA/ 702 Stuart St Vidalia, Ga./ Driving While License Suspended Or Revoked/ No Brake Lights/ Seatbelt Violation

Stanley, Heather Nichole - W/F 34 YOA/ 1406 Aimwell Rd, Vidalia, Ga./ Theft By Shoplifting 1st Offense

Murphy, Lashey Juanita - B/F 26 YOA/ 109 Sanford St. Vidalia, Ga./ Failure To Obey Stop/ Yield Sign, Driving Without License On Person, No Brake Lights, Warrant Served (Toombs Co. Probation

Allen, Scottie Wade - W/M 24 YOA/ 211 Emanuel Cir, Lyons, Ga./ Theft By Shoplifting 1st Offense/ Possession Of Methamphetamine/Possession Of Drug Related Objects

Martin, Jazmine Annette B/F 25YOA/203-B MLK Jr Ave. Vidalia, Ga./Cruelty To Children 1st Degree (FVA) x2 Counts

Brownlee, Kenneth Sentel- B/M 36 YOA/ 806 Martin Luther King Ave Vidalia, Ga./ Headlights And Other Lights Required

Lyons Police Chief Wesley Walker reports the following arrests.

Sarah Cowart, Lyons, Defective equipment, license suspended/revoked, registration suspended, false statements

Earenesha Lewis, Lyons, criminal warrant

Andria Dngirolamo, Metter, DUI, failure to maintain lane

John Lampp, Soperton, DUI, failure to maintain lane

Tasha Cochran, Lyons, seatbelts, license suspended/revoked. failure to appear

Marcos Lux, Cobbtown, driving unlicensed

David Fountain, Mt. Vernon, possession of methamphetamine, open container, tail light

Amin Odeh, Lyons, no insurance, driving unlicensed

Naviel Daphney, Lyons, Battery

Naviel Townsend, Lyons, Battery

April Corroll, Lyons, license suspended/revoked

Toombs County Sheriff Junior Kight reports the following arrests.

David Anderson, Lyons, probation violation

Channing Chapman, Rome, probation violation, fleeing police officer

Jerome Frazier, Savannah, probation viiolation

Britney Holland, Lyons, out of county hold - Bulloch County

Brett Hutcheson, Lyons, obstructing police

Montgomery County Sheriff Doug Maybin reports the following arrests.

05/02-Randall James Douglas, Vidalia, Possession of Marijuana w/Intent, Possession of Drug Related Objects, Trafficking in Methamphetamine

05/02-Pamela Howell Miller, Tarrytown, Possession of Marijuana w/Intent, Possession of Drug Related Objects, Trafficking in Methamphetamine

05/02-Patricia Ann Blair, Soperton, Possession of Marijuana w/Intent, Possession of Drug Related Objects, Trafficking in Methamphetamine

05/02-Herbert (Rusty) Hutcheson, Vidalia, Possession of Marijuana w/Intent, Possession of Drug Related Objects, Trafficking in Methamphetamine

05/04-Thelma Jane Turner, Mt. Vernon, Felony Probation Violation

05/04-Joshua Jacobs, Valdosta, Obstruction of LEO, Reckless Driving, Fleeing/Attempting to Elude, Driving while Unlicensed

05/06-Payne Andres Herrera, Uvalda, Battery (Elder Abuse >65yoa

 

 

 

 

 

 

May 10--  Vidalia police and the GBI are investigating a fatal shooting early today in Vidalia.

jerryclarkAccording to police, officers were called to investigate a report of "shots fired" this morning just after one a.m. at Raymonia Apartments, 1208 Easter Drive.

When officers arrived they found 21-year-old Jerry Lee Clark, Jr. of Vidalia on the ground with a gunshot wound to the chest.  He was later pronounced dead at Meadows Regional Medical Center.

He was a graduate of Vidalia High School where he played football and wrestled.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Vidalia police at 537-4123.

May 10--  A pageant queen from Swainsboro has been bullied since the 7th grade and is using her crown as a platform to help other victims of bullying.

"I was verbally bullied, physically bullied, emotionally bullied and cyber bullied during that time," says Sydney Dorsey, a former Junior Miss Vidalia Onion and the reigning USA National Miss Georgia Teen.

Sydney believes jealousy sparked the bullying by other kids in school and it led to her decision to be home schooled to get out of that environment.

"Now I've taken the time to grow my platform and spread it bigger and get it out there to more kids.  I have kids texting me daily telling me how I'm helping them through so much. It means the world to me from coming out of middle school not knowing if there was anymore I could do with my life to now inspiring others and telling them to be their selves. It's okay to be different and it's not going to matter when you get out of school.  Everything is going to be different because the same friends you have in school you're probably not going to even have when you get out of high school," she says.

Sydney's other advice to kids, open up to your parents, "They might not act like it, but your Mom and your Dad are your best friend and are there for you to help you along the way.  Tell them everything, and parents, ask your kids how was school today, how was this, how was that, did so-and-so text you?  Just ask them how their day was.  It honestly helps a lot.  When you think you don't have anyone, you have your grandma, your grandpa, your Mom and your Dad, you have them."

sydneydorseySydney explained her platform on the Southeast Georgia Today morning show with co-hosts Chester Proctor and Jeff Raiford.  The program is weekdays from 7:45 a.m. till 9 a.m. on NewsTalk WVOP, AM 970 and FM 105.3 FM and streamed live on www.southeastgeorgiatoday.com.

You can contact Sydney through Instagram at USA National Miss Georgia Teen Sydney Dorseyy (note there are two t's).

 

Autism AwarenessMay 9--  This past Saturday the Soperton Police Department held its 4th Annual "Outrunning Autism" event at Jean Gillis Park in Soperton.

The event was kicked off with a 5K road race at 8:00 am, with an even 100 runners participating. This was the most participants ever in the four years of hosting this event.

After the race, there were numerous vendors set up in the park cooking BBQ, funnel cakes, peanuts, pork skins, and more. Several local vendors had their merchandise on display and for sale.

The South Paw Band took the stage and provided some awesome entertainment for the participants in the park.

The first attempt at a Corn Hole Tournament was also a huge success with 20 teams participating and Kyle Rosen and Daniel Johnson winning first place. 

With all of the events, event sponsors, and pure generosity from the fine people in Soperton and Treutlen County Georgia, the event raised over $10,000 to help these wonderful children in Soperton and Treutlen County.

(L-R) Heather, Colton and Lance Hooks, Chief Jason McCoy and Mallie Hooks.

Soperton Police Chief Jason McCoy said, "I want to thank all of our sponsors, especially Treutlen County Board of Commissioners Chairman Lance Hooks, who donated his yearly salary earned as Commission Chairman for Treutlen County. We are still getting checks in the mail from donations, so the total will keep going up."

 

May 8--  Veteran State Representative Greg Morris of Vidalia has the endorsement of the Speaker of the Georgia House in his bid for re-election.

Speaker David Ralston flew into Vidalia Monday for a nearly two-hour campaign reception for Morris at the Vidalia Regional Airport.

davidralston"I've known Greg Morris for a lot of years and I know his commitment to working hard and to serving this community.  This community couldn't find a better advocate.  He is all about making sure his district gets taken care of.  He's a good member of our team and is really one of the more valuable members we have there," the Speaker said.

Even though many veteran Republican lawmakers are not seeking re-election this year, Speaker Ralston says he's confident Republicans will maintain their majority in the House, "I think we'll be fine on the majority.  You don't ever take anything for granted, but I feel pretty good that we're going to hold the majority and I'm trying to hold onto as many incumbents as I can.  That's going to be important as we go into the redistricting session in 2021.  I'm not so concerned about keeping the majority, but I would like for it to be as large as we can have it," he said.


Regarding statewide races coming up May 22nd, Ralston says it's important to get a good turnout among Republicans, "I hope people will recognize this is an important election.  We're going to have a new governor for the first time in eight years and a new lieutenant-governor for the first time in 12 years.  It's a transforming election with new leadership.  I hope people will want to be a part of selecting that leadership and will come out and vote to be a part of this state's future," he said.  

Morris has been in the Georgia House for 20 years and has opposition for the third straight time from Lee Burton of Toombs County in the Republican primary.

No one is running for the seat in the Democrat primary.

May 8--  The Vidalia Board of Education thanked four retiring personnel at its May meeting Tuesday with presentations of resolutions of appreciation to each retiree.

boeretirees(Front Row, L-R) Lori Wingate retires with 30 years of teaching and Belma Franklin departs after nearly 14 years as Secretary at Sally D. Meadows Elementary School. 

Gayle Corley has 36 years and Margaret Shell has 21 years, both teaching kindergarten, at J.D. Dickerson Primary School. 

(Back Row, L-R) Meadows Principal Tammy McFadden and Dickerson Principal Scott Stephens.

normaFor the third consecutive year, the Georgia Department of Audits presented its "Award of Distinction for Excellent Financial Reporting" to the Vidalia school system. 

Finance Director Norma Croft (L) accepted the award from Caroline James and said, "I am grateful that our school bookkeepers and central office accounting personnel take such pride in their work and choose to work hard to maintain a standard of excellence that has been the hallmark of Vidalia City Schools."

The state award was created in 2014 and is presented when financial reports are free of significant deficiencies, comply with all transparency in government requirements and receive unmodified audit opinions.

May 8--  Georgia HomePLACE and the Digital Library of Georgia are pleased to announce the addition of nearly 27,000 pages of South Georgia newspapers dating from 1863-1927 to the Georgia Historic Newspapers website.  

Cameron Asbell, Director of the Ohoopee Regional Library System, which includes Montgomery and Toombs counties, says “Making these newspapers available online provides a unique glimpse into a dynamic time when the area was transitioning from waterways to railways as the primary transportation of goods. This region was shaped by agriculture, timber, and transportation and we are fortunate that now much of the everyday history recorded in newspapers can be found online for everyone to read.”

Georgia Historic Newspapers includes some of the state’s earliest newspapers providing perspectives often missing in history books, including important African-American, Roman Catholic and Cherokee newspapers, as well as local and regional papers from across the state.

Consisting of six titles and over 4,000 issues covering Early, Montgomery, and Toombs counties, this newest digital collection provides historical images that are both full-text searchable and can be browsed by date. Issues are freely available online through Georgia Historic Newspapers.

“Newspapers remain the number one most frequently-requested digital primary source format in Georgia’s public libraries,” says HomePLACE Director Angela Stanley. “We tend to think of Facebook as our virtual community meeting place, but newspapers have been filling this role since the 17th century. We’re excited to be able to offer greater geographical coverage in communities across South Georgia.”

Georgia Historic Newspapers is compatible with all current browsers, and the newspaper page images can be viewed without the use of plug-ins or additional software downloads. Annually, the Digital Library of Georgia digitizes over 100,000 historic newspaper pages with funding from GALILEO, the Georgia Public Library Service, and its partners, and microfilms more than 200 current newspapers.

Georgia HomePLACE is a project of the Georgia Public Library Service that encourages public libraries and related institutions across the state to participate in the Digital Library of Georgia. HomePLACE offers a highly collaborative model for digitizing primary source collections related to local history and genealogy. HomePLACE is supported with federal Library Services and Technology Act funds administered by the Institute of Museum and Library Services through the Georgia Public Library Service, a unit of the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia.

Based at the University of Georgia Libraries, the Digital Library of Georgia is a GALILEO initiative that collaborates with Georgia's libraries, archives, museums and other institutions of education and culture to provide access to key information resources on Georgia history, culture and life. This primary mission is accomplished through the ongoing development, maintenance and preservation of digital collections and online digital library resources. The Digital Library of Georgia also serves as Georgia’s service hub for the Digital Public Library of America and as the home of the Georgia Newspaper Project, the state’s historic newspaper microfilming project.

May 7--  An attorney and pastor running for congress in the 12th Congressional District Democrat primary is taking aim at Republican incumbent Congressman Rick Allen.

johnsonStatesboro lawyer Francys Johnson believes he'll win the three-way Democrat race in the May 22nd primary and told about 30 people during a campaign appearance at the New Vision Baptist Church in Vidalia that, "If you support your community, any analysis of Rick Allen, who's not shown up once in Vidalia, not once in Lyons, not shown up once in Toombs County to give a general talk like I'm doing where anybody can walk in and ask a question.  No, he'll slip in to your Kiwanis meeting, he slip in to Rotary, but he won't show up to answer anything about the votes he's cast in Congress or the fact he's been there three-and-a-half years and hasn't written a single bill.

"Why would you go to Congress and not write a single bill?  He's not there to write bills for you.  He's there to cash checks from the lobbyists who sent him there and the corporate interests who are keeping him there.  The people, who because they are so bewildered by politics and how ugly it is, just simply say I won't even participate," Johnson said.

Johnson is past president of the Georgia NAACP and says he will not support Nancy Pelosi for Speaker of the House in the event Democrats win the majority in the November mid-term election.

"We need new leadership in both parties in Congress.  I deeply believe that I have less in common with Nancy Pelosi and the leadership of the Democratic Party than ever before.  I'm going to Congress to represent my neighbors in the 12th Congressional District.  I am hopeful that the Democrats as well as the Republicans would see that America is speaking loud and clear in the mid-term election.  If the Democrats happen to take over Congress, we need to make sure we have new leadership in place that reflects the values Americans say they believe in terms of balance of power in government," Johnson said.

May 6 --  One person was killed Sunday night in a Vidalia car wreck.

According to Vidalia Police Chief Frank Waits, 21-year-old Duncan Wallace of Ailey died in a two-car collision at the corner of Oxley Drive and Highway 292 West near Vidalia High School.

The driver of the other car, Bill Alexander of Toombs County, was treated and released after examination at Meadows Regional Medical Center.

Chief Waits says a fatal accident investigation team from the Georgia State Patrol is investigating the accident.

May 5—The 27th Annual Southeast Georgia Soap Box Derby was held Saturday at Derby Hill at Partin Park in Lyons. A total of fifty –seven cars competed in the Stock and Super Stock Divisions for an opportunity to race in the Soap Box Derby World Championships this July in Akron, Ohio.

Aidyn Driggers is this years’ winner of the Soap Box Derby in the Stock Division. Aidyn was the 2017 Rally Stock All American World Champion and a 2017 Stock Rally Champion.

Thayne Hayes from Summerville, South Carolina is this years’ winner in the Super Stock Division. Thayne is a previous winner of the Derby in the Stock Division and the older brother of last years’ Derby Stock Division Champion Cayson Hayes.

Both winners will receive a check for $1000 to help with expenses to Akron, Ohio.

For the third year, a Super Kids Race took place Friday to give special needs children a chance to race down Derby Hill with an experienced driver in the car. The winner of the Super Kids Race was E.J. Harvey from Wheeler County.

(Stock Division) 1st Place: Aidyn Driggers, 2nd Place: Cassidy Martin, 3rd Place: Cash Driggers, 4th Place: Joey Todd.5 5 18 Soapbox Stock

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(Super Stock) 1st Place: Thayne Hayes, 2nd Place: Alexie Carroll, 3rd Place: Alex Gordy, 4th Place: Ryan Gay. 5 5 18 Super stock

May 6-- Robert Toombs Christian Academy is proud to announce that fourth grade teacher Heidi Peterson received a $500 scholarship from Alpha Delta Kappa.

“I am very honored they chose me for the scholarship. I will be using it towards my Masters classes next fall,” states Mrs. Peterson.

Alpha Delta Kappa is a teachers sorority that was founded by teachers in the early 1900’s. The sorority gives recognition to outstanding women educators and promotes educational and charitable projects.

Alpha Delta Kappa sorority in our area is very involved with the local Dream Center and visit The Oaks-Bethany once a year where they play Bingo and have a Sunday social with ice cream and cake.

rtcaheidi(L-R) Heidi Peterson and Patti Feimster, Secretary and Scholarship Chairman for Alpha Delta Kappa

May 5--  Four people are under arrest following a drug bust in Montgomery County.  Last Wednesday officers from the Oconee Drug Task Force and the Montgomery County Sheriff's office searched a residence at 1372 Taylor Springs Road and seized methamphetamine, marijuana and drug paraphernalia. 

Montgomery County Sheriff Doug Maybin identified the four suspects as Herbert (Rusty) Hutcheson, Randall James Douglas, Pamela Howell Miller and Patricia Ann Blair.

All four are charged with Trafficking Methamphetamine, Possession of Marijuana with Intent to Distribute and Possession of Drug Related Objects.

Sheriff Maybin reports the arrests follow an investigation that has spanned more than two-years. During the period, deputies made traffic stops in the area that resulted in drug or drug related arrests.

He said the those arrests, along with complaints from concerned citizens, led to further investigation and Wednesday's arrests.  “I would like to thank the citizens that called concerning suspected drug activity on Taylor Springs Road. Often narcotics investigations materialize over several months or even years and we are glad to bring closure in this case, " he said.

mocodrugs1Officers seized 39 grams of methamphetamine, several ounces of marijuana, prescription narcotics, marijuana vapes, multiple scales, baggies and smoking devices during the search.

 

 

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

Childs, Derrick - B/M 42 YOA/ 3442 Red Bluff Church Rd. Soperton, Ga. / State Warrant (Theft by Deception)

Braddy, Barrett Dylan- W/M- 29 YOA- 168 Country Estates Blvd. Vidalia, GA- Warrant Served (Reidsville PD- Probation)

Durden, Gwain- 58 YOA B/M/ 810 Mosley St Vidalia, Ga./ DUI (2ND Offense), No Insurance (1st), Operating A Vehicle While Registration Is Suspended, Canceled, Or Revoked

Johnson, Quenten Benard- 41 YOA W/M, 602 W Bluff St Mt Vernon, Ga 30445/Driving While License Suspended Or Revoked

Cobb, Ladarius Devonte- 25 YOA B/M 704 Kelley St Vidalia, Ga 30474/ Warrant Service

Corouthers, Milton Junior- 42 YOA B/M 907 Scott Dr, Vidalia, Ga 30474/ Give False Name, Address, Birthdate To LE Officer (Misd), Theft By Shoplifting 3rd Offense (Citation) (Misd)

Evans, Jenarra Rod’drae- 29 YOA B/M 126 Linton Forest Drive Sandersville Ga 31082/ Warrant Service

Segura, Carla Karina - H/F 29 YOA/ 2073 N HWY 29 HWY Vidalia, Ga/ Failure To Use Due Care-Radio, Cell Phone, No Drivers License

Diaz, Juana Iberra - W/F 49 YOA/ 221 SE Jerrel St. Collins, Ga./ Warrant Served (Toombs Co. Probation)

Thompson, Bernard Tony- B/M- 30 YOA- 806 Debbie Cir Vidalia, GA- Warrant Served (Lyons PD- Probation)

Anderson, David A - W/M 56 YOA/ 131 Coleman Drive Lyons, Ga./ Theft By Shoplifting 2nd Offense

Gibbs, Rachquel Andrea- B/F- 17 YOA- 336 East Columbia Ave. Lyons, GA- Willfully Obstruction of Police Officer Simple/Verbal

Lyons Police Chief Wesley Walker reports the following arrests.

Ashley Barron, Lyons, warrant served

Kenyon Wright, Lyons, aggravated assault

Frankie Ybarra, Vidalia, warrant served

Charles Willis, Vidalia, probation violatioin

Juan Rodrigue, Lyons, theft by taking

Jesi Harden, Lyons, shoplifting,obstructing an officer

 Cameron Thomas, Lyons, warrant served

Andria Digirolamo. Metter, DUI, failure to maintain lane

John Lampp, Soperton, DUI, failure to maintain lane

Earenesha Lewis, Lyons, criminal warrant

Kameron McLemore, Vidalia, possession of marijuana, concealed weapon, possession of weapon during commission of a crime, obstructing an officer

Kayla Willis, Vidalia, DUI, possession of methamphetamine and drug related objectsw

Efrem Bailey, Lyons, possession of drug related objects

Boydaisha Davis, Baxley, DUI

Rodney Lane, Lyons, warrant

Amber Braddock, Lyons, DUI, possession of drug related objects

Christian Donley, Lyons, possession of drug related objects

Sarah Cowart, Lyons, defective equipment, no insurance, suspended registration, license suspended/revoked

Toombs County Sheriff Junior Kight reports the following arrests.

Amanda Allen, Soperton, theft by taking

Donnie Baisden, Portal, possession of marijuana, open container

Dennis Burkett, Lyons, probation violation

Sherod Cook, Valdosta, probation violation

Blake Holland, Lyons, child molestation, statutory rape

Kayla Josma, Vidalia, hold for Pooler Police

Maria Legrant, Ailey, out of county hold

Lamar McCall, III, Collins, theft by deceptiojn

Roosevelt McRae, Reidsville, probation violation

Juan Rodriguez, Lyons, theft by taking

Jacaqulyn Sharpe, Lyons, license suspended/revoked

 

May 4-- Toombs County Commissioner Darriel Nobles has been sworn in to serve on the 2018-2019 Association County Commissioners of Georgia (ACCG or Georgia’s County Association) Board of Managers to represent the association’s ninth district.

darriellnoblesNobles was sworn in during a special luncheon that took place during the 2018 ACCG Annual Conference at the Savannah International Trade and Convention Center in Savannah/Chatham County.

“On behalf of the association staff and our membership, I would like to congratulate the newly installed ACCG Board of Managers,” said Executive Director Dave Wills. “ACCG is very fortunate to have such a dedicated group of public servants offer their time and leadership to our organization. We look forward to serving the citizens of Georgia under the direction of our new Board.”

A Toombs County native, Nobles’ engagement in the community reaches beyond the county commission where he has served for the past five years. His previous community involvement includes president of the Lyons-Toombs County Chamber of Commerce, chairman of the Lyons development authority, and 16 years on the Toombs County School Board. He also served on the local hospital board. Nobles is an active member of the Oaks Baptist Church in Lyons, Ga. He was honored for his work in the community as the 2012 City of Lyons Citizen of the Year.

“I am honored to have this opportunity to serve on the ACCG Board of Managers for Georgia and represent the 9th ACCG District.” Nobles stated.


May 4--  A record crowd of more than 6,000 attended the 90th Georgia FFA Convention at the Macon Centreplex, April 26-28, 2018.

The convention featured seven general sessions full of award presentations, motivational speakers, FFA talent, and delegate business. The Convention kickoff speaker was Mr. Alex Sheen, founder of Because I Said I Would, encouraging FFA students to “make a difference and make a commitment to follow through.” Other speakers on the Convention docket included National FFA Vice President Ian Bennett and U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue,

The convention wrapped up on Saturday, April 28th, with the conferring of the prestigious State FFA Degree on X members and the election of the 2018-2019 State FFA Officer Team. The new team consists of State President Bryce Roland from Perry, Secretary Clay Parker from Lowndes County, North Region Vice-Presidents Dos Harper from Newton County Career Academy and Ava Jane Teasley from Eastside, Central Region Vice-Presidents Brittany Braddy from Montgomery County and Thomas Maddox from Veterans, and South Region Vice-Presidents Dawson Adams from Coffee County and Emily Leonard from Echols County.

ffaconventionFrom the Toombs County FFA Chapter, there were many people that received numerous awards for their participation in different events. There were three State Proficiency finalists: Jackie Swaringim placed second in the Nursery/ Landscape Division, Stormy Knight placed second in the Agricultural Mechanics Metal Fabrication division, and Lorren Herndon placed third in the Swine Production Division.

Nine students also received their State Degree on Saturday, April 28: Brittany Beckum, Caitlyn Conner, Emmett Denmark, Brooke Hadden, Olivia Johnson, Justin Lowe, Gerry Perez, Jarrett Stewart, and Karlie Wright. Toombs County Middle and High School also received an award for 100% FFA membership for the seventh consecutive year in a row!

May 3--  The chairman of the Treutlen County Commission came under fire from two county commissioners at the May meeting of the commission.

Commissioners Homer Rivers and Maynard Edenfield alleged Chairman Lance Hooks failed to pay property taxes on a piece of construction equipment and that would disqualify him from holding office.

During a heated exchange, Hooks informed the two he has only received assessments for the value of the property and has never been billed by the county Tax Commissioner. He suggested they take their concerns to that office.

Other info from the meeting:

 

*Soperton Mayor Royce Fowler's reappointment to the Treutlen Development Authority was blocked on a 3-2 vote by Commissioners Cashaunda Smith, Homer Rivers and Maynard Edenfield. Cali Hollis, who was not at the meeting  called in to vote yes along with chairman Hooks. Commissioner Smith then nominated Orlando Strickland to the authority board with Hooks and Hollis voting no.

*Renewal of the county's Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax will be on the ballot for voter approval in November.

*Health insurance premiums for county employees are increasing by 12.5%.

*The county will receive a $25,000 federal grant  to help pay for damages during Hurricane Irma last September.

*Commissioners agreed to pay an annual fee of $2,750 to enroll county residents in telephonic Code Red alerts in case of emergencies.

*Re-appointed Gary Walden to the Hospital Authority Board.

May 3-- Georgia Labor Commissioner Mark Butler said the Heart of Georgia region posted an excellent March as many critical job measures trended in the right direction. 

Butler noted employed residents increased in March. At the same time, the unemployment rate fell and claims were down.

“It’s good to see such a strong report in March,” Butler said. “So many of our local communities are trending in the right direction in terms of job creation and hiring. And, we are even seeing records in many places.”

In March, the number of employed residents in the Heart of Georgia region area climbed to 112,090. That total ranked 11th among the 12 regional commissions in Georgia.

Heart of Georgia added 250 employed residents for the month and 485 over the past year. Only four regions added more than 1,000 new employed residents for the month.

The Heart of Georgia labor force ended March at 118,158. That number is down 210 over the month and down 385 over the past 12 months. Only six regions saw their workforce grow in March.

At the same time, the jobless rate fell to 5.1 percent, a drop of .4 percent over the past 30 days. A year ago, the jobless rate was 5.9 percent. Areas served by Georgia’s 12 regional commissions had unemployment rates that varied from a low of 3.5 percent in the Georgia Mountains to 5.2 percent in the Heart of Georgia region.

In the Heart of Georgia region, initial claims for unemployment were up about 12 percent for the month and up about 14 percent for the year.

The Heart of Georgia region includes Appling, Bleckley, Candler, Dodge, Emanuel, Evans, Jeff Davis, Johnson, Laurens, Montgomery, Tattnall, Telfair, Toombs, Treutlen, Wayne, Wheeler, Wilcox

Employ Georgia, the GDOL’s online job listing service at employgeorgia.com showed 710 new active job postings in metro Heart of Georgia region for March.

May 2--  A resident of Florida is buying the former city hall in Lyons for $150,000.  The city council approved the deal at its May meeting and Mayor Willis NeSmith says he understands Matthew Shapiro plans to use the building to house and sell NASCAR memorabilia.

The council also redirected $158,000 in capital funding to fix an erosion problem at Partin Park.

Council members heard from Southeast Georgia Soap Box Derby Director Michael Williamson about plans for this weekend's 27th annual derby.

soapmikeWilliamson has been the Derby Director for the past seven years and this will be his last so he can spend more time with his family.  Mayor NeSmith said the Derby would not be what it's grown to be without Willliamson's leadership.

"He has built this thing from us having one race to having four different races now over a two-day period.  Last year we had three national champions and I think one was a world champion.  He and Gina have really built this thing and the committee has done a lot and that's what it takes.  Everybody has come together with it and that's what makes it the success it is," he said.

Williamson said the Derby's recent success is because of community support,"There's no way this thing is doing what it's doing without the community support we have here and as long as we have a small town community and its support, we won't have a problem making it grow."

One of the events the Derby started three years ago is the "Super Kids" race so children with disabilities can go down Derby Hill sitting next to an experienced driver, "When you can show up at a racetrack and see kids who normally wouldn't be able to take part in something like this and put them in a car and see them screaming and hollering going down the hill, not because they're scared, but because they're having such a good time, it's pretty amazing," Williamson said.

May 2-- Governor Nathan Deal made Georgia the 16th state in the nation to enact a law banning drivers from having a cellphone in their hand when he signed House Bill 673 Wednesday afternoon in Statesboro.

When the law takes effect on July 1 of this year, drivers will no longer be allowed to have a phone in their hand or supported by any part of their body.

“It’s second nature to pick up our phones when we are behind the wheel but if you have it in your hand when driving after July 1, you run the risk of getting a ticket,” Harris Blackwood, Director of the Governor’s Office of Highway said.  “While we encourage everyone to stay off their phones, we recommend drivers to implement now whatever they will need in order to place and receive calls without having the phone in their hands or on their bodies.”

Authored by Representative John Carson (R-Marietta) and passed during the 2018 Georgia General Assembly Session, drivers will have to have an earpiece, wireless headsets or smartphone watch in order to make and receive calls and to use navigational devices.

Texting, sending and receiving e-mails, posting on social media, and browsing the internet are all prohibited, but drivers can text if they are using technology that converts voice to text messages.

Watching and recording videos are not allowed except for videos that are used for navigational purposes and continuously running dash cams.

It is also illegal for drivers to have a phone in their hand when they are stopped for a traffic signal or stop sign.  It is legal to make a hand-held phone call or send a text, e-mail or social media post when the vehicle is lawfully parked.

Drivers are allowed to have a phone in their hand to make emergency calls to report a traffic crash, criminal activity, fire, medical emergency or hazardous road conditions.

Law enforcement officers, fire and EMS personnel and employees, and contractors of utility companies are exempt under the law providing the call is related to their official duties or while responding to a utility emergency.

While most state and local law enforcement officers will be working to educate all motorists on HB 673 in the first few months, drivers should not expect to automatically receive a warning if they are stopped for violating the Hands-Free law.

After July 1, law enforcement officers can and will issue citations in crashes caused by distracted driving and to drivers they feel should be issued a citation for the violation the officer observed.

“Our law enforcement community is ready to work with all drivers to help them understand and abide by the new “Hands-Free” law,” Blackwood said. “Putting our phones down when we are behind the wheel will make our roads safer for everyone to drive, walk and bike because it means we all be more attentive when we behind the steering wheel.”   

Governor Deal:  "Here at the home of Georgia Southern, I think is an appropriate place to sign this legislation.  The five young women, who you see pictures of before here you today, their lives were lost some three years ago.  They were all nursing students.  They were headed to a career that would save lives and aid the suffering of many people as a result of what they intended to devote their lives to.  It is indeed a great tragedy.  But it reminds us what can happen in an instant.  A life, a life full of potential and the joy it brought to their families is suddenly taken away.  I am honored to sign this Hands-Free legislation here in this community, the home of Georgia Southern.  It's aim is to decrease distracted driving by prohibiting the use of wireless telecommunication devices while on any public roads on our state.  Even more so, it's aim is to prevent the tyeps of tragic and avoidable deaths that occured on that stretch of I-16 on that horrible day in April of 2015.".  

Rep Carson "I think so many people saw a need for this issue.  I spoke to a number of the victims' families and we could have done this bill signing in Atlanta.  But after talking to the victims of the Georgia Southern nursing students crash and there has been other crashes unfortunately before and since.  As much as this issue is a statewide issue.  As much as this issue has affects everyone's public safety.  I will tell you it is a terrible issue in Atlanta traffic.  It is my understanding that this issue and these crashes have devastated the Statesboro community and devastated the Georgia Southern community.  I am very happy to be here today.  It is the end of an 18 month road.  Governor Deal thank you for your leadership on this."

May 1--  The Sweet Onion Animal Protection Society (SOAPS) in Vidalia is running out of money and needs community support to keep saving dogs and cats.

The organization, operated by non-paid volunteers, started 19 years ago with seed money from a local donor and since then has shipped thousands of dogs to homes out of state and around the world.

SOAPS President Therisa Ingley reports that last year 1,700 dogs were moved to rescue shelters and it costs at least $100 per dog, "We can move as many animals as we have resources.  If we have $500, we can move five animals.  If we have $5,000, we can move 50 animals," she said.

"We can't take in animals if we don't have the money to vet them.  We can't spay and neuter pets if we don't have the money to do it.  We don't have an unlimited amount of resources and we have to be able to work with what we can generate.  That's where the community has to step up.  If they want us to continue doing this, we're going to have to have the funding to be able to do it," Ingley said.

"We're just appealing to anyone who has a love of animals and an appreciation for what SOAPS has done to do what they can to help us maintain the work we're doing here," she said.

The organization currently has animals living in six foster homes and Ingley herself is caring for more than 30 dogs in a kennel at her home who are awaiting adoption.

SOAPS is a non-profit and donations are tax deductible.   For more information, contact Therisa at 293-3344.

 

May 1--  Eighty-seven racers are expected to compete in the 27th annual Southeast Georgia Soap Box Derby this weekend at Partin Park in Lyons.

soapboxlogoThirty "Super-Kids" will go down Derby Hill starting at 9 a.m. Friday. The "Run Whatcha' Brung" race for the "Big Kids" is Friday evening at 7 p.m.

Opening ceremonies are set for 8:30 a.m. Saturday followed by a full day of racing by 40 stock and 17 super-stock racers.

The opening ceremonies with a special tribute to outgoing Derby Director Michael Williamson will be broadcast on Your Favorite, 98Q (97.7 FM) and WYUM, Sweet Onion Country 1017 FM courtesy of Altamaha EMC.

Sports Director Bob Roberts will cover the race and report the winners following the race Saturday courtesy of Gordy Enterprises in Lyons.