Use the form below to filter for articles containing certain key words. Use the calendar on the right for articles published during a certain Month, Year.


June 29--  The arrest of a Lyons man may have solved at least six burglaries according to Lyons Police Chief Wesley Walker.

efrembaileyThe chief said Efrem Bailey was captured after being spotted by an employee in the office of M&T Farms.  He is being charged with other burglaries in June at Andy's Home Center, NAPA Auto Parts, Broad Street Formals. Mina's Embroidery plus a 2017 burglary at the Toombs County Board of Education office.

June 29--  CrimeStoppers is offering rewards for information regarding two June armed robberies in Vidalia.

Anyone with information regarding the holdups at Michael's Coffee and Tobacco on West 1st Street and the Onion City Package Store on Green Street is asked to call the CrimeStoppers Hotline at 912-386-4480.   Callers do not have to give their names.

The robberies occurred within three days of each other and police believe they may be related.

June 29--  Vidalia police have arrested a man accused of stealing jewelry from K.E. Butler Jewelers earlier this month.

swainTwenty-eight-year-old Darren Swain, Jr. of Sand Spur Lane in Toombs County was arrested June 22 when Vidalia police assisted by deputies from Toombs and Appling Counties and officers from the Georgia State Patrol were conducting an operation in Vidalia looking for subjects wanted on various warrants.  Officers attempted to stop Swain's vehicle and a chase ensued.  It ended when he wrecked the car on Broadfoot Boulevard and fled into the woods where he was captured and arrested.

After he was booked, it was discovered he was wanted in Henry County for a probation violation.  He was picked up by Henry County officers June 26 and will be returned to Toombs County to face robbery charges once the Henry County case is adjudicated.

Police have video of Swain casing the jewelry store on June 7. He later returned and asked the proprietor to show him a tennis bracelet and diamond ring.  Once they were removed from the display case, he took them and fled the store.  The police report said they were valued at $10,169.00.

 

June 29--  A Toombs County jury has found a man guilty of felony murder.

guerreroarrestChief Assistant District Attorney Tripp Fitzner reports 25-year-old Jesus Guerrero was convicted after a week long trial.

After deliberating several hours Thursday night and again Friday morning, the jury found Guerrero guilty of the shooting death of his girlfriend, 26-year-old Shiann Nicole Cray, at her apartment in Santa Claus May 5 of 2016.

At the time of the crime, Toombs County Sheriff Junior Kight reported Guerrero went into hiding with another girlfriend and her two small children.  He was later captured by U.S. Marshals as he attempted to enter Mexico from Texas.

The jury also found Guerrero guilty on two counts of cruelty to children, aggravated assault and possession of a firearm during commission of a crime.

Judge Robert Reeves is expected to sentence Guerrero on July26.

June 29--  The Lyons Corporate Center industrial park on U.S. Highway One has an empty "spec" building just waiting for a client, however, a lack of natural gas capacity is a disadvantage when industries come to look at the property.

The Toombs County Development Authority is asking the Georgia Public Service Commission to approve a $10 million project for more natural gas in this area, but at the same time is considering the option of using propane gas in the Lyons Corporate Center, according to Development Authority Executive Director Michelle Johnson, "What we would consider is the construction of a bulk tank and service lines throughout the center to supply propane to industrial users."

A Development Authority committee has met with Conger Gas President Dan Richardson of Tifton who is researching a propane project for consideration.  Meanwhile, Johnson says it would be ideal to have both propane and more natural gas capacity in the center.

"In the long term, we hope to provide customers with a choice of natural gas or propane.  We could also do an and/or option so that companies who choose the natural gas option can choose an interruptible rate as opposed to an uninterruptible rate and save a lot of money by using propane as a backup," she said.

The Authority has tried unsuccessfully twice before to get Atlanta Gas Light to increase its capacity to businesses and industries to five counties in the area including Toombs, Emanuel, Montgomery, Wheeler and Treutlen.

"It's always better if you can offer customers options," Johnson says, "and that's what we're trying to do."

June 28--  The Vidalia Rotary Club has a new president. 

angietresWednesday Angie Holsinger-McDaniel accepted the President's Gavel from outgoing club president Tres Herin. 

The new president works at Oxford Industries in Lyons and has been a member of the Vidalia Rotary Club for the past four years. 

Tres Herin, a lending officer at Altamaha Bank and Trust, completes a year-and-a-half at the helm.

June 28-- Georgia Labor Commissioner Mark Butler said Thursday that the Heart of Georgia region posted across-the-board positive numbers for the month of May. 

The area saw a drop in the unemployment rate and increases in labor force and the number of employed residents.

“Georgia’s economy remains very strong,” said Butler. “Across the board, the state’s numbers are very positive for the year and many areas continue to set records.”

The number of employed residents in the region grew to 113,168. This represents an increase of 1,167 for the month and an increase of 1,196 for the year.

In May, the unemployment rate in the Heart of Georgia region fell 0.2 percent to 4.3 percent, down from 5.5 percent a year ago. The rates vary from a low of 2.9 percent in the Georgia Mountains to 4.5 percent in the River Valley region.

The Heart of Georgia labor force ended May at 118,240. That number is up 939 over the last month but down 276 over the last year. 

In the Heart of Georgia region, initial claims for unemployment were down by about 6 percent for the month and down about 8 percent overall 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 530 active job postings in the Heart of Georgia region for May.

June 27--  Twelfth District Congressman Rick Allen today joined 301 other congressman voting against the Border Security and Immigration Reform Act in the U.S. House of Representatives. Only 121 lawmakers voted for the proposal.

Allen issued the following statement.

"I’ve said it before and I will say it again – I believe our immigration system is broken, but the legislation brought before the House today did not go far enough to address the significant issues we are facing at our borders,” said Congressman Allen.

 “Moving forward, we must come together to enact substantive changes to our immigration laws to end chain migration, reform our agricultural worker visa program, and transition to a merit-based immigration system. Simply put, we need solutions that work for America.”

June 27--  Two area school systems are sharing a $500,000 grant from the Georgia Department of  Education.

Middle schools in Appling County and Wheeler County are among schools in 17 systems receiving $25,000 each for computer coding programs.  Each grant includes funding for equipment, training, curriculum and teacher professional development.

June 27--  Education is in the news and you can learn more by tuning to the Southeast Georgia Today morning show Thursday and Friday mornings at 8:05 a.m. on NewsTalk WVOP, AM 970 and FM 105.3.

Thursday morning's edition features Straight Talk with Wilson Johnson and his guests, Vidalia School Superintendent Dr. Garrett Wilcox and Assistant Superintendent Lucy Claroni, discussing the move to the new Vidalia High School this summer.

Friday morning the Executive Director of the Southeastern Early College and Career Academy in Vidalia, Shelly Smith, will discuss the recent recognition by the Georgia Municipal Association of the Academy's Great Promise program which gives young people a chance to work and explore career opportunities with local businesses and industries.

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

White, Dale Herbert - W/M 66 YOA/ 410 Josephine Rd. Waycross, Ga./ No Driver’s License, Failure To Obey Traffic Control Device

Dailey, Scott Anthony W/M 25 YOA/ 263 E Madison Street Apt 2 Lyons, Ga. 30436/Theft By Shoplifting 1st Offense

Beasley, Jabari Tyrek B/M 18 YOA/ 281 Geiger St Mount Vernon Ga, 30445/ Possession Of Marijuana Less Than Ounce, Give False Name To LEO, Warrant Service (Montgomery County Sheriff Office)

Bell, Theron Elijah B/M 18 YOA/ 385 Old Dairy Rd. Ailey, Ga. 30410 / Seat Belt Violation/Possession Of Marijuana Less Than Ounce

Lockhart, Nicola Jaqueena B/F 25 YOA/ 809 Debbie Circle Vidalia, Ga. 30474 /Theft By Shoplifting 1st Offense

Peeples,Clifford Junior W/M 51 YOA 674 Reidsville Rd Lyons, Ga 30436/Driving While License Suspended Or Revoked (Misd)/No Insurance/Operating Motor Vehicle Without Registration Or Valid License Plate

Jones, Brandon Tarell- B/M- 29 YOA- 301 Epstein St. Vidalia, GA- Driving While License Suspended or Revoked (Second)

Snell, Jacqueline Mincey- B/F- 64 YOA- 411 Bay St. Vidalia, GA- Theft by Shoplifting 1st Offense

Day, James Otis- B/M- 42 YOA- 204 Dexter St. Vidalia, GA- Warrant Served (Toombs Co SO- Probation)

Brown, Tetio Jermaine- B/M- 41 YOA- 311 Epstein St. Vidalia, GA- Possession of Marijuana with Intent to Sell, Distribute/Willfully Obstruction of Police Officer Simple/Verbal

Hawkins, James Le’kei - B/M 30 YOA/ 902 Morris St. Vidalia, Ga. / Criminal Trespass, Possession of a Controlled Substance, Possession of Firearms by Convicted Felon, Give False Name, Address, Birthdate to Le Officer, Willfully Obstruction of Police Officer Simple/Verbal

Flowers, William Alvin Jr. - B/M 42 YOA/ 517 E. Jenkins St. Vidalia, Ga. / Battery (FVA)

Adamson, Joshua Lamar - W/M 40 YOA/ 304 S. Philpot St. Cedartown, Ga. / Warrant Served (Clayton Co.)

Lyons Police Chief Wesley Walker reports the following arrests.

Rolando Hernando, Lyons, traffic violations

Efrem Bailey, Lyons, burglary

Zachary Hitchcock, Uvalda, DUI

Rhett Davis, Glenwood,  sale, manufacture and distribution of cocaine, possession of marijuana

Bobby Joe Mencey, Lyons, DUI, traffic violations

Caroline Brazell, Vidalia, DUI, traffic viiolations

Jasper Sharpe, Lyons, DUI, traffic violations

Toombs County Sheriff Junior Kight reports the following arrests.

Bobby Brigman, Vidalia, probation violation

Octavano Espinoza, Glennville, driving unlicensed

Anthony Holloway, Vidalia, no insurance, suspended vehicle registration

Robert Southerland, Vidalia, probation violation

Darren Swain, Vidalia, fleeing police officer

Montgomery County Sheriff Doug Maybin reports the following arrests.

06/18-Ethan Bryer Turner, Mt Vernon, Possession of Marijuana <1oz.

06/19-Patricia Ann Blair, Soperton, Bondsman Off Bond

06/19-Katie Marie Thigpen, Alamo, Felony Probation Violation

06/19-Jacob Alexander Nasworthy, Swainsboro, DUI, Speeding, No Tag, Open Container

06/20-Johnnie Len Guinn, Alamo, Failure to Maintain Lane, Driving w/Suspended License

06/24-Jerry Wayne Jacobs, Uvalda, Obstruction of LEO

 

 

June 27--  A young woman who grew up visiting her grandparents in Vidalia is using what she learned about small town cuisine to pitch a food show to media outlets in Atlanta and nationwide.

skyeSkye Estroff studied nutrition and diet at the University of Georgia and is combining her schooling with media marketing skills for a pilot video show shot on location at Benton Lee's on the Altamaha River and Rialto's in Vidalia.

"Why Rialto?  Number one Chris (the owner) is awesome and the food is fantastic.  I love their downtown location and I think they have a great facade, it's really nice and we wanted to feature someplace that's downtown.  I've eaten there several times and thought that it really captures that neighborhood feel of Vidalia.

"I've eaten at Benton Lee's several times, too and their food is just big and bold and country comfort food.  It's going to look great on camera and it's delicious.  It gives us a different style with something you can't find in a big city," Skye said, and added, "They need this exposure.  There's an extraordinary amount of culinary talent in small towns and someone needs to talk about it."

She's hopeful her show will inspire travelers to get off the interstate highways, "Drive that extra 15 to 20 minutes into a small town and try real authentic food and see what these towns are bringing to the culinary scene.  We want them to come enjoy the real deal in small towns across Georgia and the country."

Although she grew up in Atlanta, Skye learned a lot about South Georgia visiting her grandparents, Anita and Donald Estroff, and she hopes to pass some of it along to her viewers, "That's something I'm going to work on in my segment, too.  How to pronounce everything.  No more VI-DOLL-YUH.  We've got to say VI-DAY-YAH and say it right and loud and proud." 

 

 

 

June 25--  Early in-person voting for Georgia's July 24th runoff election starts Monday, July 2 and ends Friday, July 20.

There are four statewide runoff elections including Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Secretary of State and State School Superintendent.

Governor

Lieutenant Governor Casey Cagle and Secretary of State Brian Kemp are running for the Republican nomination.  Cagle got 39% and Kemp received 26% of the vote in the primary. The winner will face former metro Atlanta Democrat State Representative Stacey Abrams in November.

Lieutenant Governor

Republicans  David Shafer (48.9% in the primary) and Geoff Duncan (26.6% in the primary) are in the Republican run-off to face Democrat Sarah Riggs Amico in November. 

Secretary of State

Republicans Brad Raffensperger (34.9%) and David Belle Isle (28.5%) face off  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.

State School Superintendent

There's a Democrat Party run-off between Otha Thornton, Jr. (43.8% in the primary) and Sid Chapman (36.4%).  The winner will face incumbent Republican Superintendent Richard Woods who got 60% of the Republican Primary vote against former Superintendent John Barge.

AREA RUN-OFF

The only run-off in the immediate area is the race for Montgomery County Magistrate Judge.  Ashley Thornton garnered 49.4% of the vote in the primary and faces John Morrison who pulled 26.9% of the primary vote.

 

June 25--  A U.S. Supreme Court decision last week means Georgia residents will have to pay sales tax on nearly all online purchases.

The court voted 5-4 in a South Dakota case which overturns two earlier decisions that said if a business was shipping a product to a state where it didn't have a physical presence, the business didn't have to collect the state sales tax.

Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote, "Each year the physical presence rule becomes further removed from economic reality and results in significant revenue losses to the states."

The Georgia legislature enacted enabling legislation this year in anticipation of the Supreme Court ruling.  Senator Chuck Hufstetler of Rome, chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, helped guide the bill through the Senate which takes effect January 1, 2019.  He told the Rome newspaper this will give the Georgia Department of Revenue time to put a collection system in place.

The decision is expected to be a shot in the arm for local governments and school boards who use sales tax revenue to supplement property tax receipts.

 

 

 

 

June 25-- Vidalia and Lyons were recognized by the Georgia Municipal Association at its annual conference today in Savannah.

The GMA presented its "Great Promise Partnership Cornerstone Community - Bronze Level" award for "outstanding efforts addressing high school graduation and workforce development" in support of Southeastern Early College and Career Academy (SECCA) in Toombs County.  The Great Promise Partnership program pairs high school students with local business and industry for work experience and insights on potential careers.

SECCAAWARD

Community leaders joined Vidalia Mayor Ronnie Dixon, SECCA Executive Director Shelly Smith and Lyons Mayor Willis NeSmith for the award presentation. (Photo courtesy Garrett Wilcox)

June 25--  A trial date has been set for the five people accused of a burglary at the office of Montgomery County Sheriff Ladson O'Connor the night he was killed in June, 2015.

At a calendar call Monday in Montgomery County Superior Court, Judge Mike Johnson set Monday, August 20 as the date for the start of the trial.

Accused in the case are Montgomery County Manager Brandon Braddy and his brother, Brent; Mount Vernon Mayor Joey Fountain; the late sheriff's former secretary Kathy Rudd and Matt Waller.

toddyanceyheadA previous defendant in the case, former Deputy Sheriff Todd Yancey, will not be tried because a Montgomery County grand jury refused to re-indict him after the original indictment was quashed by the Georgia Court of Appeals.  Vidalia attorney Susan Shook argued her client was denied his right as an on-duty police officer to testify before the grand jury which returned the indictments in 2016.

Friday District Attorney Tim Vaughn sought to re-indict Yancey and the former deputy made a statement to the grand jury which returned a "no" bill in the case.  Afterwards, Yancey said the District Attorney's decision to prosecute the case is malicious.

"There was no criminal intent from  nobody.  We'd lost our sheriff.  There's a difference between stealing and securing files.  This ain't nothing but malicious, that's all it is."

The District Attorney said he respects the decision of the grand jury and would make no further public comment.

The night Montgomery County Sheriff Ladson O'Connor died in a police chase wreck, his office was broken into and a lock box removed.

Sheriff O'Connor's chief administrator Hoppy Sikes earlier said they were looking for records regarding an investigation Sheriff O'Connor was doing on the Montgomery County Probate Judge's office.

After his first year in office, Sheriff O'Connor was concerned about a discrepancy between how many citations his office issued versus the number of fines collected in court.  He asked Sikes for an accounting and Sikes reported 569 citations with fines totaling $136,327.00 had been disposed of by the court with no fines collected.

Informed sources say the Sheriff had confided in County Manager Brandon Braddy, Mayor Joey Fountain and friend Matt Waller about the investigation and told them to protect the information if anything ever happened to him.  

Ironically, the investigation information was not in the lock box, but in a file on Sikes' desk, "Rather than it being in the Sheriff's office, it was is my office in a particular file on my desk," Sikes reported.  He was out of town on vacation the night Sheriff O'Connor was killed.

Before he died, Sheriff O'Connor had asked the state's Judicial Qualification Commission to investigate his suspicions regarding Probate Judge Rubye Nell Sanders and later met with investigators.

After his death the Commission dismissed his complaints regarding Judge Sanders and said she did not violate the Judicial Code of Conduct.

Judge Sanders had always denied any wrongdoing and said she disposed of all cases based only on the merits of each case.

 

 

June 22--  A Montgomery County grand jury refused to re-indict a former Montgomery County Deputy Sheriff after hearing his testimony Friday morning at the Montgomery County courthouse in Mount Vernon.

Former Deputy Todd Yancey had been indicted along with five others for an alleged break-in at the office of Montgomery County Sheriff Ladson O'Connor the night he was killed in a police chase wreck on June 15, 2016.

toddgrandjuryYancey exits Grand Jury Room after testifying.

Last year the Georgia Court of Appeals agreed with a motion by Yancey's attorney Susan Shook to quash his indictment because he was denied his legal right as an on-duty police officer to testify before the grand jury.

Because of the Appeals Court decision, District Attorney Tim Vaughn attempted to re-indict Yancey on the burglary charge, but this time he was given the opportunity to make a statement to the grand jury.

After Superior Court Judge Sarah Wall announced the "no bill," an emotional Yancey said, "I'm just glad they're seeing justice.  There was no criminal intent from  nobody.  We'd lost our sheriff.  There's a difference between stealing and securing files.  This ain't nothing but malicious, that's all it is."

The District Attorney said he respects the decision of the grand jury and would make no further public comment.

Meanwhile, calendar call is scheduled Monday in Montgomery County Superior Court for the other five people accused in the burglary of the sheriff's office including Montgomery County Manager Brandon Braddy, Brent Braddy, Mount Vernon Mayor Joey Fountain, Kathy Rudd and Matt Waller.

June 22--  A Montgomery County man died Thursday night in a car-pedestrian accident.

Nineteen-year-old Zachary Williams of Conway-McDonald Road was killed when he was hit by a car on Thompson Pond Road near Blocker's Chapel church.

According to Georgia State Patrol Corporal Brian Screws, driver Velma Williams of Soperton crested a hill and was unable to avoid the young man who was walking down the center of the road in the darkness.

Investigation of the case is continuing.

 

chihuahua

June 22--  This little dog showed up at a home in the Loop Road area of Vidalia this week and the family is trying to find his owner. 

If he's yours or if you know the owner, please call Richard Helms, 293-1874.

June 22--  Students in three area high schools have a chance to study the Bible and Christianity when they sign up for elective courses this school term.

gadyyoumansThe classes are taught off-campus during the school day with students from Vidalia, Toombs and Montgomery County high schools given the opportunity to take part, according to Gady Youmans with the Sweet Onion Christian Learning Center, "Many researchers point to the fact that when the Bible and prayer were taken out of our public schools, that's when you saw an immediate cultural decline over the past 40 to 50 years.  By putting the Bible and prayer back into the public schools, I'm seeing on a micro level lives transformed morally, spiritually and holistically.  If this expands into more public schools, you'll see this expand on a macro level and that will affect our entire society."

Youmans has been teaching the course for the past five years, "Most of the students tell me it's their favorite class.  They're telling me like this class is actually something they can use and will help them where they're at.  I got called to the ministry when I was a teenager and when I saw that most students were not going to church, but they were going to school, I prayed for an opportunity to get into the public school system where the students were, and this christian learning center ministry was literally dropped into my lap."

Youmans believes the course offers students an opportunity to change the direction of their lives and he's encouraged with enrollment, "For the past couple of years I've looked at the graduation list at Montgomery County High School and about 20 percent of those students have been taking our class and about ten to fifteen percent of those students bodies are saved because they got saved in our classes.  We are also having students coming back after college saying I graduated debt free and my family is saved now because I was able to share the gospel with them, and that I have a plan and a future and I'm not going to struggle with some of the things financially or spiritually that I've seen others doing because I learned in your class who God is and his purpose for me.  I learned that in a Bible class in a public school."

Part of the course is about how to manage finances, "We're teaching them everything from how to balance a checkbook to how to save for emergencies in the future so that when the opportunity arises to serve others you have the means and the resources to do your part.  Whether its doing or giving or going, you have it in your pocket to be able do," Youmans said.

June 20-- Georgia Senator Blake Tillery of Vidalia announces that project contracts have been awarded to three District 19 counties by the Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT).

The projects, located in Tattnall, Treutlen and Wayne counties, are collectively worth over $2.4 million, and are part of the more than $112.6 million awarded for projects statewide.

The project in Tattnall County, worth over $959,000, will address six miles of resurfacing on SR 144 from east of SR 121 to west of SR 23.

The project in Treutlen County, worth $590,000, will address eight miles of resurfacing on SR 15 from the Montgomery County line to south of I-16.

The project in Wayne County is worth over $939,000 and will address four miles of reconstruction and widening on Rayonier Road.

All three projects are estimated to be completed by March 31, 2019.

“This would not be possible without the hard work of our great men and women at GDOT, our state house colleagues, local elected officials who saw the need for improvements to the roads in these areas and the taxpayers of Georgia,” said Sen. Tillery. “Ensuring that these roads are both free of potholes and other hazards, as well as guaranteeing the roads are up-to-code, is important to the safety of riders and drivers. I look forward to the completion of these projects for the citizens in these counties and all those who travel on these roads.”

Details on all projects awarded can be found through the Award Announcement Downloads link at https://gallery.mailchimp.com/80dbe14272ec0b5e1a1bf5b4e/files/4e5fc74f-9164-4b99-af74-2deafde40def/Combined_award_announcements.pdf.

June 20-- E-911 Dispatcher Samantha Oglesby has been selected as the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office Employee of the Month. Ms. Oglesby is a native of Montgomery County and has been an E-911 Dispatcher since January 2017. She is a loyal and dedicated employee who is an asset to our office operations.

Sheriff Maybin thanked her for all she does in the daily operations of the Sheriff’s Office and assisting the public we serve.  

samantha

 

Sheriff Maybin presented Samantha with a $50 gift certificate (courtesy of a Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office supporter).

June 20--  Vidalia Police Chief Frank Waits reports the following arrests.

Moody, Robert Truman / 45 YOM/993 Mile Field Rd Glennville, Ga. 30427/ Theft By Shoplifting First Offense

Reddish, Ethan Travor W/M 22 YOA/ 3792 Hwy 280 E Lyons Ga, 30436/ Seatbelt Violation, No Insurance, Operating A Vehicle While Registration Is Cancelled, Failure To Register Vehicle Within 30 Days

Foreman, Kylan Juwan B/M 21 YOA/ 509 Durden St, Vidalia, Ga 30474 / Expired Tag/ Driving While License Suspended Or Revoked First Offense

Courouthers, Shandrika Sherell B/F 24 YOA/ 410 Randolph Dr Apt 7F Vidalia Ga, 30474/ Aggravated Assault, Criminal Damage To Property (1st), Cruelty To Children, DUI- Child Endangerment (1st), Aggressive Driving, Hit & Run- Property Damage Or Injury- Fail To Stop, Leave Scene, Child Restraint Violation Under 8 (1st)

Jorden, Kenneth- B/M- 54 YOA- 809 E. Fifth St. Vidalia, GA- Battery/Cruelty to Children (FVA)

Hawkins, James Le’kei - B/M 30 YOA/ 902 Morris St. Vidalia, Ga. / Criminal Trespass, Possession of a Controlled Substance, Possession of Firearms by Convicted Felon, Give False Name, Address, Birthdate to Le Officer, Willfully Obstruction of Police Officer Simple/Verbal

Flowers, William Alvin Jr. - B/M 42 YOA/ 517 E. Jenkins St. Vidalia, Ga. / Battery (FVA)

Adamson, Joshua Lamar - W/M 40 YOA/ 304 S. Philpot St. Cedartown, Ga. / Warrant Served (Clayton Co.)

Carroll, Andrew Wade W/M 32 YOA/508 North Street W Vidalia. Ga 30474/ Aggravated Sodomy

Odom Jr, Caleb Richard W/M 23 YOA/ 417 BA Pittman Rd Lyons, Ga 30436/ Possession Firearm, Knife During Commission Of Attempt To Commit Crime, DUI (1ST), No Insurance (1st), Seatbelt Violation, Possess Of Marijuana With Intent To Sell, Distribute

Sparks, William Kenneth, B/M 30 YOA 700 Bay Street Vidalia, Ga 30474/ Willfully Obstruction Of LEO Simple / Verbal

Seidel, Debra W/F 54 YOA/ 1804 Aimwell Blvd Vidalia Ga, 30474/ Warrant Served (Toombs Co.)

Brooker, Orlando Mario B/M 28 YOA/ 706 Loop Rd Apt 506, Vidalia Ga, 30474/ Seatbelt Violation, State Warrant (Montgomery County)

Williams, Sara Ann W/F 38 YOA/ 504 W Second St Vidalia Ga, 30474/ Warrant Served (Coffee County), Driving While License Suspended Or Revoked (2nd), Driving With Expired Tag

Lyons Police Chief Wesley Walker reports the following arrests.

Chester Cribbs, Lyons, DUI

Seirran Cady, Lyons, DUI, possession of marijuana, tail & tag light violations

Lisa Godwin, Twin City, possession of a controlled substance and drug related objects

Steve Strickland, Swainsboro, DUI, no insurance, improperly transferred tags, tail & tag light violations

Caelan Elrod, Uvalda, DUI

Adrian Murphy, Vidalia, warrant served

Dayvell Spikes, Lyons, possession of cocaine and marijuana with intent to distribute, obstruction

Toombs County Sheriff Junior Kight reports the following arrests.

Caleb Beasley, Lyons, DUI

Tina Griffin, Lyons, Dogs at large

Hannah Little, theft by taking and by receiving stolen property

Kenneth Moore, Lyons, parole violation, fleeing police officer

Ascencion Morales, Lyons, running stop and yield signs

Luis Murillo, Vidalia, turning movements and required signals

Harley Pennington, Vidalia, Judge's detainer

Jerrad Pfifer, Cobbtown, probation violation

Williams Poole, Lyons, family violence, cruelty to children, battery, deposit account fraud/bad checks

Juan Rosales, Cobbtown, driving unlicensed, seat belt violation

Montgomery County Sheriff Doug Maybin reports the following arrests.

06/13-Michael Joel Rozier, Collins, Speeding, Driving while Unlicensed

06/13-Daniel Montford, Vidalia, Contempt of Court

06/14-Jonathan Smith, Glenwood, Felony Probation Violation

06/14-James Lee Faircloth, Soperton, Misdemeanor Probation Violation

06/15-Brandon Antron Scott, Ailey, Parole Violation

06/15-Darrick Jarrod Sneed, Adrian, Speeding, Driving w/Suspended License, Giving False Name

06/15-Orlando Mario Brooker, Vidalia, Felony Probation Violation

06/17-Gary Demetrius Carswell, Hinesville, Speeding, Reckless Driving, DUI, Obstruction of LEO, Fleeing/Attempting to Elude

 

 

June 20--  Montgomery County Sheriff Doug Maybin says his office is trying to put the pieces together that will lead to an arrest in a Saturday night shooting incident in Ailey.

According to the sheriff,  two vehicles were speeding east on Martin Luther King Drive between Mount Vernon and Ailey late Saturday night.  Gunshots were exchanged between the two vehicles and the sheriff believes gunfire first erupted from the trailing vehicle on Broughton Street in Ailey wounding two people in the lead vehicle.

Authorities said a white woman identified as Haley Cardell of Glenwood and a black man identified as Servia Brantley of Vidalia were shot and taken to Meadows Regional Medical Center in Vidalia.  Cardell was later transferred to a hospital in Savannah.

The GBI is assisting Sheriff Maybin with the investigation of what has been described as a gang-related shooting.

June 20--  Voters in Toombs County will vote in November on whether they want to authorize the Sunday sale of alcoholic beverages at county establishments.  The Toombs County Commission voted to put the question on the ballot at its June meeting Tuesday.  Sunday sales are already in effect in Vidalia and Lyons.

alvinhitchcockThe board also recognized Alvin Hitchcock for his 31 years of service to Toombs County.  Hitchcock is retiring this month after serving 12 years as a county commissioner followed by 19 years as the Chief of Building Maintenance.

(L-R) Commissioner Wendell Dixon, Alvin Hitchcock, Chairman David Sikes, Commissioners Alfred Cason and Darriel Nobles.

In other actions, the board:

*approved a contract to McLendon Enterprises of Toombs County for $637,891.69 to pave Pendleton Creek Road, Deer Run Road and Oscar Cruz Road.  The project is funded by a $500,000 state grant and the balance by sales tax revenue.

*renewed the county's property, liability and auto insurance with Bishop-Durden Insurance for an annual premium of $189,113.00.

*awarded a $11,230 contract to Alexander Brothers Heating and Air for replacement of a ten-ton air conditioning unit at the county's Human Resources building and a $11,500 contract to DBM Construction of Lyons for roof repairs on the Department of Family and Children's Service building.

*renewed at $79,000 contract with the Treutlen Probation Detention Center for prisoner work details.

*agreed to start the process of closing the Ben Wolfe Road in southern Toombs County.

County Manager John Jones informed the board that:

*the county is currently operating at five percent under budget.

*the project to stripe 26 miles of county roads is about 75% complete.

*a pre-construction meeting has been held with Dykes Grassing for the paving of the Bud Jordan, Bobby Williams and Blaxton Roads.  He expects the work will be completed within a year.

*the Georgia Department of Transportation is expected to hold a bid opening later this month for the widening of six miles of the Lyons-Center Road.

 

June 20--  If you have a four-year-old child, one of the most important things you can do to help them succeed in life is enrolling them in a pre-kindergarten class.

Scott Stephens is the principal at J.D. Dickerson Primary School in Vidalia and says an early start gives children the tools they need to learn to read, "It's the building blocks to be able to read fluently later in life.  By starting in Pre-K, we're insuring early success."

Statistics show that Pre-K kids are more likely to graduate from high school, "The children who attend a Pre-K program are three times more likely to graduate than their peers and if they are living in poverty that goes up even more," he notes.

Principal Stephens is appealing to parents to enroll their four-year-olds before school starts in August, "It's free to enroll.  We'll have them Monday through Friday during normal school hours.  We're going to teach them socialization skills, how to play well and get along with other kids and we're going to teach them the basic skills to learn how to read.  On top of that we're going to feed them breakfast and lunch everyday and there are all kinds of positive outcomes to this with no negatives.  I encourage any parent of a four-year-old child to get them enrolled because it will help them on down the line."

J.D. Dickerson Primary School takes part in the Governor's Office of Student Achievement and it's kindergarten reading instruction has been listed number one among schools enrolled in the program.

"I have the best kindergarten teachers, I believe, in the state of Georgia.  They work extremely hard.  They are dedicated to what they do. They love their children and they treat them that way.  It's just quality instruction by ten ladies and their para-professionals.  Those twenty ladies do a phenomenal job day-in and day-out and it's because of their hard work and dedication that  we achieve the success that we do," Stephens said. 

 

 

 

June 18--  Two veteran teachers at Toombs County Elementary School retired this year after 30 years in the classroom.

tcretirees

 

Mrs. Traci Brown (left) and Mrs. Celetta Aultman (right) with Toombs Central Principal Tonowanda Irie.

June 18--  Vidalia's new aquatic center is open for business on Airport Road.

Monday was opening day and City Recreation Director Homer Waller is inviting families and swimmers to come enjoy the nearly $1.7 million swimming complex, "You know the weather put us behind schedule.  I've been telling people we're behind the eight-ball so to speak because we're into the summer and just now getting open.  I want to thank the public for being patient with us and we invite everybody to come out and enjoy this new facility.  I'm excited about it and want it to be something the community can be proud of," he said.

pool

 

Lifeguard Lee Humphrey says there's no comparison to the old city pool on Bay Street, "It's a nice eight-lane pool where we had a six-lane at the old pool.  Now we have eight lanes and brand new diving blocks, it's very nice.  It's a great upgrade.  There's a lot more for smaller kids to do.  We've have a nice little splash pad area with some toys they can play with and an area where parents can come sit and relax," he said.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

pool2

 

A couple of moms who brought their children to opening day agree.  According to one, "We enjoyed it very much and had a blast.  I'm excited that it's here and I'll be bringing the boys more this summer." And another Mom said, "I think it's really great.  The life guards were very aware.  My daughter fell a couple of times and they got down and were there even though I was right there with her.  There's plenty of space and I really like the fact there's a separate pool especially for the toddlers."

June 18--  Another armed robbery occurred over the weekend in Vidalia.

Vidalia police report two armed black men entered Michael's Coffee and Tobacco at 600 West First Street late Saturday afternoon and robbed the store clerks at gunpoint.

After the robbery, a customer outside pumping gas saw the two men run from the store and head south down Kenworth Street.  Police say they cut across a yard leading to West Second Street.

Police say one man was wearing a black hoodie with black jeans and dark shoes.  The other wore a blue hoodie with gray sweat pants.  They wore face masks and gloves.

The man wearing the black hoodie pulled a black and nickel semi-automatic pistol and demanded clerks Hasmukhkumar Patel and Chintankumar Patel open the cash register.

H. Patel opened it and removed the cash tray at which time the man in the blue hoodie went behind the counter and both robbers grabbed cash from the tray and the blue hoodie robber took loose checks inside the register.  The estimated total stolen is $9,058.00.

It's the fourth robbery in Vidalia in the last month and came only three days after a holdup last Wednesday at Onion City Package store.

Anyone with information on any of the crimes is asked to call Vidalia police at 537-4123.

June 18--  State Senator Jack Hill of Reidsville reports the state senate passed a resolution in its last session dedicating that portion of U.S. Highway 1 which runs through Toombs County as the "Staff Sergeant Dustin Michael Wright Memorial Highway." 

dusatin1A native of Toombs County, Staff Sergeant Wright was killed last October when his Army Special Forces Team was ambushed in Niger.

The Resolution reads:

"WHEREAS, the State of Georgia mourns the loss of one of its most noble, patriotic, and selfless citizens with the passing of Special Forces soldier Staff Sergeant Dustin Michael Wright on October 4, 2017;

and WHEREAS, Staff Sergeant Wright was serving his third deployment in Niger when he lost his life in the line of duty while on a Special Forces mission;

and WHEREAS, Staff Sergeant Wright of Lyons, Georgia, was 29 years old at the time of his passing and a beloved son of Arnold Edgar "Ardie" Wright and Terri Trull Criscio;

and WHEREAS, he attended Georgia Southern University and Fayetteville State University and was a partner of Southern Rain Control with Rick Grisham before taking over ownership of the business;

and WHEREAS, he joined the United States Army in 2012 to continue his family's military legacy, graduated from Advanced Individual Training, and completed Army Airborne School training, the Special Operations Preparation Course, and the Special Forces Assessment and Selection Course;

and WHEREAS, Staff Sergeant Wright earned the status of United States Army Special Forces and was awarded the coveted Green Beret in 2014;

and WHEREAS, a compassionate and courageous man, Staff Sergeant Wright will long be  remembered for his love of family and friendship, fidelity to country and the Constitution, and heroism in the face of enormous adversity;

and WHEREAS, Staff Sergeant Wright will be missed by all who had the great fortune of knowing him, his legacy will serve as an inspiration to countless men and women, and his noble sacrifice resounds in history as a shining example of patriotism in defense of these United States of America;

and WHEREAS, Staff Sergeant Wright embodied the spirit of service, willing to find meaning in something greater than himself, and it is abundantly fitting and proper that the outstanding accomplishments and sacrifices of this remarkable and distinguished American be honored appropriately by dedicating a road in his memory."

June 18--  The principal of Vidalia High School is the latest recipient of the Vidalia school board's "Indian Star" award.

indianstarjnohnSchool Superintendent Dr. Garrett Wilcox made the presentation to John Sharpe (right) at the June Board of Education meeting, "Myself and the board wanted to recognize John for all his efforts during the last year of giving people an opportunity to see the new high school.  He's gone over and above, a lot of it on his own time, taking people through the building to give them a chance to see the progress of the building over the course of time."

John Sharpe says it's been a labor of love, "One of the reasons it's so easy for me to give back to the school is because of what this school and community has meant to me.  I realize that we're not building a school just for our students, but for our community and one that will be here for a long time.  I think about all the students and parents that our staff and faculty will have the opportunity to touch through that building.  It's quite an honor just to be acknowledged and I appreciate the recognition.  It meant a lot to me.

Meanwhile, keys to the building have been turned over to the school system and Superintendent Wilcox reports construction of the school is coming in on time and under budget, "We started off with a guaranteed maximum price of about $28 million and we're going to come in about $250,000 less.  We were also able to do a few add-ons and still come in under budget like the chair back seats in the gym which I hope people will find more comfortable that the old bench-style seats of old and we've actually done some upgrades and managed to stay under budget, too."

The school system is planning a ribbon cutting and open house in late July before students return to class in early August.

 

 

June 15--  Organizers are finding it difficult to hold a charity golf tournament when you no longer have a hometown golf course.

First the United Way had to fine a new venue after the owners of Hawk's Point Golf Course in Vidalia closed it down.  Then bad weather delayed the planned May event a month at Willow Lake Golf Course in Metter.  Now, weather conditions have contributed to less than satisfactory greens at Willow Lake and the United Way is moving next Thursday's tournament to Brazell's Creek Golf Course in Reidsville.

Lunch will be served at noon and a shotgun start for the 18-hole scramble will be at one p.m.

There are still openings for golfers and sponsors. Call Patricia Dixon at the United Way, 537-2776, for information.

June 13--  The long-awaited marquee on the newly renovated Historic Pal Theater in downtown Vidalia has been installed.

marqueeWorkmen have been attaching the marquee to the building and installing a support beam this week.  The marquee lights were turned on late Thursday afternoon.

City Finance Director Bill Bedingfield reports design, acquisition and installation of the marquee cost the city $75,812.

June 13--  A man wanted for a killing in Dublin was apprehended Wednesday in Vidalia.

According to Vidalia Police Chief Frank Waits, 46-year-old Mitchell Mackey of Dublin was captured by U.S. Marshalls at a residence in north Vidalia near the new fire station.

Chief Waits says Mackey is accused of pistol whipping a man in Dublin who fell, hit his head and later died.

June 14--  The city of  Vidalia has had three robberies in the last month.

Last week two black males cased K.E. Butler's Jewelry at Palmer Place on East First Street.  A few minutes later, one of the two returned to the store and fled with more than $10,000 worth of jewelry after it was handed to him for inspection from the display case.

Wednesday a lone black man held up Onion City Package store on Green Street and stole an unreported amount of money at gunpoint from the store clerk.

On May 22nd, two black males held up the Enmark convenience store next to Palmer Place on East First Street and stole money from the cash register.  The robbery happened at 1:30 a.m. and one of the men fired a pistol inside the store prior to the robbery while the store clerk was in the rear of the store cleaning coffee brewers.  Police recovered a spent bullet inside the store.

June 14--  Vidalia police are looking for a black man who held up the Onion City Package Store on Green Street late Wednesday afternoon.

According to police, a slim black man wearing a baseball cap and black  coat entered the store with a gun and told the clerk, "Gimme the money, hurry."

The robbery was witnessed by a delivery man.

The robber is still at large.

June 14--  Three area students have been selected for college scholarships by the Vidalia Rotary Club.

ROTARYSCHOLARS

(L-R) Club President Tres Herin, Doug Chesser from  Vidalia High School wins the Presidential Scholarship, Lauren Floyd from Toombs County High School receives the Frank Moore Scholarship, Evan Venable from Robert Toombs Christian Academy is awarded the Smitty Snell Scholarship.

 Sixteen students applied for the scholarships .

 

 

 

NEW MEMBERS

NEWROTARY

 

New members inducted into the Rotary Club are (L-R) Teresa Coleman, Blythe Wilcox and John Tyson by club President Tres Herin.

June 13--  Toombs County's Wardlaw Brothers new album has hit the top of the Gospel charts.  See the story below and their video detailing brother Tony's journey from prison back home.

 

Lyons, GA -- Tony, Martin Luther, Jamie, Carl and Rodney are the five harmonizing Wardlaw siblings from Lyons, GA who over the past few years have been giving the Gospel Quartet genre a contemporary sound, with a fashionable swag, while ministering the undeniable, unchangeable Word of God.  In follow up to the huge successes of their GOD’S BEEN THERE release in 2013, The Wardlaw Brothers (TWB) have released their highly anticipated STAND THERE album in the midst of some of their most challenging times.  But, faith and perseverance have manifested through family restoration and their first #1 Billboard Album. 

STAND THERE snags the #1 Billboard Top Gospel Albums spot this week and the #5 position on the Top Christian/Gospel Albums Chart.  STAND THERE is produced and written by Martin Luther Wardlaw and includes Grammy®, Dove and Stellar Award winning songwriter Fred Hammond on "Heaven" and The Rose of Gospel  Dorinda Clark-Cole on "Highest Praise".  This marks the brothers' fourth album released under their own indie label TWB Records

TWB's current Top 30 Gospel Radio single God Has Kept Meis a powerful song that was written to  encourage anyone going through tough times.  The brothers have also released the official music video for the single that outlinesthe story of the four Wardlaw Brothers pressing onward as the family supported their eldest brother Tony Wardlaw through a most uncertain time.  

Listen on to "God Has Kept Me" on Spotify

“God Has Kept Me" is directed by film-maker Aaron Williams (On Angels Wings, Preaching To The Pastor, Mama I Want To Sing) and premiered and was added to rotation on BET HER and on Aspire TV this month.  This emotionally gripping video chronicles the real life fight for freedom, trial and court case of brother Tony and the challenges endured by the entire Wardlaw family throughout this  2-year ordeal.  

“God Has Kept Me is my personal testimony that I hope will inspire and encourage anyone going through a crisis," Tony explains.  "I’ve been through an overwhelming storm that took me away from my family and I know that only God was the one who removed the shackles, opened the cell door and healed when all hope seemed to be gone,” he transparently continues.  “My brothers and I have chosen to tell our story in this video and through it send a message of reassurance that God will keep his promises and will keep you!”

Watch and share "God Has Kept Me" Official Music Video

TWB's poignant album is masterfully written and produced but serves as their evangelism tool to minister hope and healing through stories that so many people are dealing with today. The brothers are a living testimony that God keeps His promises and will restore any situation that we may face.

STAND THERE is available now on all digital music stores and streaming sites and is available at Lifeway Christian Stores.

"God Has Kept Me" Official Music Video

June 13--  Some area citizens are being victimized by what is being called a "Sweetheart Scam."

Lisa Strickland is the branch manager of Ameris Bank in Vidalia, "I would venture to say that ninety percent of them are in the senior citizen category and the majority we seem to have dealt with are widows," she said, and added  "It can reach into the thousands of dollars.  I would say in our local area it's more than $100,000. It's so sad for someone who has worked all their life and their money is just flying out the window.".

According to Strickland, the victims have been contacted on-line or via telephone and are drawn into a relationship over a period of time, "Obviously they're not going to start out asking for money or asking for help.  They carry on these communications and it develops and once they know they've got them emotionally invested, it's very hard to deter anything.  You try to persuade them that this person is not being honest, but they're already invested emotionally or they're embarrassed that they could have been the victim of such a scam," she said.

Strickland says the bank is alerted to possible scams when a large withdrawal is made from an account or when money is wired overseas, "The scam is usually when that person is out of the country or they tell the victim they are out of the country  and they need to get home or their luggage is out of the country and they need to get it home.  There are different scenarios and it may start out as a small dollar amount and then it just adds up," she reports.

The branch manager estimates up to ten of their customers have been scammed in the last year, "It was so on our hearts here at the branch.  We're just so saddened by the victims who have fallen to this because they have worked all their life and what they thought they had was this relationship," she said.

And she has some advice if you have family members living alone, "If you have a loved one or know of someone who is computer savvy, I would caution them about on-line relationships, period!"

 

 

June 13--  Vidalia Police Chief Frank Waits reports the following arrests.

Cochran, Tasha Lee W/F 33 YOA/ 292 Green Oak Rd Lyons, Ga 30436/ Driving While License Suspended Or Revoked 1st, Give False Name, Address, Birthdate To LE Officer, No Business License

McGowan, Dale Robert W/M 58 YOA/605 Bay St Vidalia, Ga. 30474/Warrant Service (Vidalia Pd)

Garner, Madgalen Rayane W/F 26 YOA/ 402 Madison St Vidalia, Ga 30474/ Seatbelt Violation, Warrant Service

Nuci, Ignacio Marales - H/M 24 YOA/ 2698 Hunter Trl. Metter, Ga./ Speeding, No Driver’s License

Mikel, Michael A.- B/M- 28 YOA- 709 MLK Ave. Vidalia, GA- Possession of Marijuana/Theft by Shoplifting 2nd Offense (x2)

Williams, Deremmus Dashod - B/M 27 YOA/ 1208 Easter Dr. Apt. 66 Vidalia, Ga./ Warrant Served (Toombs Co. Probation)

Lyons Police Chief Wesley Walker reports the following arrests.

Christopher Devries, Twin City, possession of drug related objects, tail light/tag light violations

Latoria Murphy, Vidalia, battery, possession of marijuana, controlled substances and drug related objects

Francis Griffin, Lyons, driving unlicensed, tail light/tag light violations

Elijah Gaffney, Roselle, NJ, criminal warrant

Jose Gutierrez, Lyons, affray

Sosan Diaz, Lyons, affray

Toombs County Sheriff Junior Kight reports the following arrests.

Patricia Blair, Soperton, purchase, possession, manufacture, distribution and sale of methamphetamine, possession of drug related objects

Derick Corley, Vidalia, purchase, possession, manufacture, distribution and sale of methamphetamine, possession of drug related objects

Sandra Diaz, Vidalia, driving unlicensed

Jaciel Gonzalez-Ruiz, Doraville, driving unlicensed, speeding

Tyler Kight, Vidalia,  purchase, possession, manufacture, distribution and sale of methamphetamine, possession of drug related objects, parole violation

Jeanna Moxley, Vidalia, purchase, possession, manufacture, distribution and sale of controlled substance

Montgomery County Sheriff Doug Maybin reports the following arrests.

Gregorio Delgado Lopez, Vidalia, No Valid Driver’s License, Failure to Maintain Lane

Evan Daniel Arnold, Vidalia, Aggravated Assault(x2), Possession of Firearm during Commission of Crime(x2), Terroristic Threats and Acts, Obstruction of Officer(x2), Aggravated Assault on Peace Officer(x2)

Jonathan Devonn Adams, Glenwood, Speeding, Driving w/Suspended License, Seatbelt Violation

Cardell Russell Sweat, Lyons, Felony Probation Violation

 

 

 

 

 

June 13--  Vidalia Fire Chief Brian Sikes reports the department responded to 35 calls in April and May.

6- House Fires

5- Building  Fires

4- Auto Fires

5- Grass/Woods Fires

13- False Alarms

2- EMS Assist.

June 12--  Vidalia police are warning drivers they may face fines and loss of drivers license points if they hold cellphones while driving when a new state law takes effect July 1st.

On the radio program "Vidalia Today" Tuesday, Police Chief Frank Waits said, "We're going to have people who get very angry because they're not wanting to accept it.  It's kind of like back when they did the seat belts, i.e., this is my ship, I drive it and if I want to wear a seat belt, I will, and if I don't, then I won't.  You are going to have people with the same mentality, it's my car and I want to use a cellphone I will.

"The only thing about it, this is way worse than the seat belt law because it has points attached to it.  First offense, $50 fine and one point off your drivers license. Second offense, $100 fine and two points.  Third offense and more is $150 and three points.  Those add up quickly," he noted.

The police department has no grace period for drivers after July 1st, however, Chief Waits says tickets will be at the discretion of individual patrol officers,"This law falls under officer discretion.  If the officers thinks a warning will suffice, he or she will write a warning , or they can write you a citation, it's officer  discretion."

The department has pamphlets will full details on the new law that you can pick up at the police department or you can see one on line at http://www.vidaliaga.gov.

 

June 11--  A man wanted for aggravated assault in Soperton is in custody after a week-long search.

Treutlen County Sheriff Tommy Corbin reports Robert Parker, Jr. was apprehended after fleeing from police in Soperton Friday, June 1, "He was captured Friday in Valdosta.  U.S. Marshals, the Treutlen Sheriff's Office and Vidalia police worked together to follow the leads and track him to Valdosta where he was taken into custody without incident."

Police were attempting to arrest Parker for beating up his girlfriend last March when he ran into a wooded area of Soperton and eluded police overnight.  The sheriff said he made his way to Valdosta with the help of friends.

He's charged with aggravated assault and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.

 

June 11--  One person was killed and another injured Sunday in a Toombs County motorcycle accident.

motorcycledeathAccording to the Toombs County Sheriff's Office, 58-year-old Russell Ray Stevens was killed and a 13-year-old female family member was injured when their motorcycle collided with a pickup truck on Lent Stephens Road near Allen Drive.

The girl was air lifted to Memorial Hospital in Savannah and is expected to recover. 

Sheriff Junior Kight says she was in town from Ohio visiting her grandmother and had been scheduled to return home next week.

June 11--  A Toombs County man is in critical condition following a Friday motorcycle accident. 

The Toombs County Sheriff's Office reports 54-year-old Hunter Conner was air-lifted to Navicent Hospital in Macon after his motorcycle collided with a vehicle on Old River Road.

The Georgia State Patrol, Toombs Sheriff's Office and EMS plus Air Evac responded to the accident in addition to volunteer firemen from the Cedar Crossing and Yancey fire departments.

June 11-- The senior member of “The Wardlaw Brothers” singing group is back with his brothers and telling his story of God’s role in his imprisonment.

tonywardlawstudioHear Tony Wardlaw’s story Thursday morning on the Southeast Georgia Today morning show at 8:05 on NewsTalk WVOP, AM 970 and FM 105.3.

Toombs County's Wardlaw Brothers have a new album out and Tony is writing a book about his trial and conviction on conspiracy to commit Medicaid fraud in November, 2016 in Richmond County Superior Court.

 

mammographyJune 9-- Meadows Regional Medical Center is excited to announce the installation of the latest technology for mammography: GE Healthcare’s Senographe Pristina new 3D digital mammography unit.

The new technology, appropriate for women of all breast densities, provides greater clarity and detail than a 2D mammography unit. As a result, the number of callbacks for additional imaging following screening mammography are significantly reduced. It also improves breast cancer detection by 27-50%, detecting breast cancer at the earliest possible stage when it’s most treatable.

Left to Right: Dr. Susanna Meredith, Vidalia Women’s Center Physician; Dr. Anna Franklin, Meadows Regional Medical Center Radiologist; Tracey Kennedy, Meadows Regional Medical Center Director of Radiology.

Tracey Kennedy, Director of Radiology at Meadows Regional Medical Center, says the machine is more accurate than earlier machines, and a lot more comfortable for the women who are having mammograms.

“The main reason women don’t have a mammogram is because of anxiety from pain and discomfort,” Kennedy said. “The Senographe Pristina offers pristine image quality for accurate diagnosis, which results in early detection of breast cancers. It also has rounded corners and redesigned armrests for a more comfortable, relaxed position, and it also delivers less radiation than other systems.” Kennedy also added, “When women are relaxed and comfortable, there is less movement, which enhances the quality of the image, improving our ability to catch and diagnose abnormalities.”

The American Cancer Society suggests women age 40 and over have a breast exam annually. Mammography may be performed on younger women when there is a strong family history of breast cancer.

For more information about 3D mammography or to schedule a mammogram, call Meadows Regional Medical Center Scheduling at 912-535-5679.

June 8--  Vidalia police are on the lookout for two men wanted in connection with a theft late Thursday afternoon at K.E. Butler Jewelers in the Palmer Place shopping center on East First Street.

According to the police report, two black males entered the store and looked at merchandise.  A short while later one of the two came back and asked to see a tennis bracelet and a diamond ring. Once he was handed the items, he ran from the store to a waiting car at a nearby gas station.

Salesman Mark Butler said the man who fled was wearing a white bucket style hat, white shirt, black shorts and white tennis shoes.  He told police the other man was wearing a red and black baseball cap with a red "A," a gray Jordan T-Shirt, black sweat pants and gray sneakers.  Butler said the thief entered a silver or gray car that may have been a Hyundai.

Total value of the items stolen is $10,169.00.

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

June 8--  A Warner Robins company has won two bids for technology equipment in the Vidalia City School System.

Micro Technology Consultants will supply 52 75-inch interactive panels for $252,185.00.  Two other companies submitted lower bids, however, the school board voted for MTC because it said the brand offered by the company is already being used in the system with no operational problems.

The company will also provide 120 desktop computers and monitors for $111,663.60.  Three other companies submitted lower bids, however, the school board chose MTC because it is installing the technology infrastructure in the new high school.

Both contracts are being funded with sales tax revenue.

 

June 8--  Vidalia Police Chief Frank Waits reports the following arrests.

Marquez, Ashley Rene - W/F 29 YOA 379 Regency Rd, Vidalia, Ga /Warrant Served (Jeff Davis County)

Thigpen, Billy Dale - W/M 30 YOA 379 Regency Rd, Vidalia, Ga./ Possession Of Methamphetamines

Andrews, Sammy Lee- W/M 37 YOA 1243 Altamaha Rd Hazlehurst, Ga 31539/ Theft By Shoplifting (1st)

Bowden, Allen Kenneth - W/M 55 YOA/ 1307 Loop Rd. Vidalia, Ga. / Simple Battery (State Warrant)

Wagner, Nafis - B/M 22 YOA/ 902 Georgia St. Vidalia, Ga. / Give False Name, Address, Birthday to Le Officer, State Warrant Served VPD (Forgery 1st)

Barwick, William Randall - W/M 55 YOA/ 211 W Pine St Vidalia, Ga./ Warrant Service (Montgomery Co.)

Clark, Brandi Nicole - W/F 31 YOA/ 304 Victory Dr Lyons, Ga./ Warrant Service (Jeff Davis Co.)

Foskey, Joey Nicklous - W/M 25 YOA/ 304 Victory Dr Lyons, Ga./ Driving While License Suspended Or Revoked

Wallace, Arlesia Josephine - B/F 37 YOA/ 833 Firetower Rd Claxton, Ga./ Possession Of Marijuana

Koneman, John Dean - W/M 31 YOA/1500 Stella Ave Vidalia, Ga./Theft By Taking

Pittman, Joel Jordan Matthew - B/M 24 YOA/ 148 S Gwinett St Lyons, Ga./ Failure To Maintain Lane

Matthews, Billy Douglas - B/M 39 YOA/ 607 Old Dairy Rd Lot 25 Ailey, Ga./ Simple Battery (FVA)

Clay, Joshua Ali - B/M 19 YOA/ 473 T.H. Tippett Rd Vidalia, Ga./ Possession Of Marijuana , No Insurance1st, Operating A Vehicle While Registration Is Suspended, Canceled Or Revoked, Registration, Failure To Maintain Lane, Violation Of Class CP License

Anthony, Clifford - B/M 64 YOA/ 824 Five Point Rd Lyons, Ga/ DUI (3RD Offense), Open Container, Driving In Violation Of Conditions Of Limited Permit

Deen, Ned Daniel - W/M 50 YOA/ 240 W. River Rd. Baxley, Ga. / Seatbelt Violation, Driving While License Suspended or Revoked 2nd

Bowers, Victoria Jasmine - B/F 25 YOA/ 1208 Easter Dr. Apt. 49 Vidalia, Ga. / Entering an Auto (State Warrant)

Rubio, Pedro - W/M 47 YOA/ 169 E. Grady St. Lyons, Ga. / Driving While License Suspended Or Revoked 1st, Expired Tag, No Insurance 1st, Alteration of Tag

Thomson, Sonia Renee- W/F- 47 YOA- 705 E. First St. Rm. 138 Vidalia, GA- Give False Name, Address, Birthdate to LE Officer

Lyons Police Chief Wesley Walker reports the following arrests.

Lisa Murphy, Vidalia, Warrant Served

Brenda Vera Leon, Lyons, possession of marijuana, seatbelt, license suspended/revoked, giving false info to officer

Mare Mancha, Reidsville, possession of marijuana, seatbelt

Toombs County Sheriff Junior Kight reports the following arrests.

Lorenso Corodova-Lima, Bluffton, SC, driving without a license, DUI

Lucas Dees, Uvalda, burglary

Randall Douglas, Vidalia, DUI, methaphetamine purchase, possession, manufacturing, distribution and sale

Justin Frederick, Cobbtown, driving without a license

Jose Gonzalez, Hilton Head, driving unlicensed

Jackson Graham, Lyons, cruelty to children, false imprisonment

Donald Gutherie, Vidalia, aggravated assault

Brett Hutcheson, Lyons, simple battery

Divante Lloyd, Swainsboro, probation viiolation

Travis Spencer, Glennville, probation violation

Jessica Thompson, Swainsboro, hold for Laurens County Sheriff's Office

Montgomery County Sheriff Doug Maybin reports the following arrest.

Corey Fields, Uvalda, probation violation

June 7-- Plant Hatch, Southern Nuclear and Georgia Power are partnering with four local school systems, Southeastern Career and College Academy (SECCA) and Southeastern Technical College to host a one week Summer STEM Camp for 20 rising seventh and eighth grade students.  

Students from J.R. Trippe Middle School in Vidalia, Toombs County Middle School, Montgomery County Middle School and Treutlen Middle School are participating this week in a project-driven learning environment that will inspire future success in STEM related pathways.

The camp is located on the campus of SECCA and runs from 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. each day.  The goal is to create a supportive environment where students feel encouraged to join in the fun of discovering the STEM world around them. The experience will also help build communication, teamwork, leadership skills, and maximize individual potential to help ensure students are well-equipped to meet the challenges in the world ahead of them. This will be accomplished by creatively fostering critical and analytical thinking through STEM problem-based learning activities. Southern Nuclear/Plant Hatch is providing all materials, curriculum, food and instructors. There is no cost to the student.

Research shows that students (especially girls) start losing interest in math and science during their middle school years, but summer programs that focus on involvement in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) can help play an essential role in improving the way students develop their STEM abilities and identity. The target is students who have an interest in math or science, but may not attend a four-year college. 

The hope is to generate interest in a new pathway SECCA will offer beginning in 2019 – The Energy Pathway.

Each morning begins with an opening session where that day’s volunteers will share insight on why STEM is important and share information about their STEM career.  After the opening sessions, students break into two smaller groups to participate and rotate through two hands-on project workshops. At the end of the day, students come back together again to work on a group project.  According to Nora Swanson, SNC Workforce Development Coordinator, this is a fantastic opportunity for students in our area.

stemvidalia

Pictured left to right: Front Row: Vidalia and Toombs County students Trenton Corbitt, Meghan Onate-Leon, Emily Moran, Jada Clements, Sophia Cabe, and Anevya Vann.  Back Row:  Joshua Stephenson, Southern Nuclear Electrical Engineer, Nora Swanson, Workforce Development Coordinator for Southern Nuclear,  and Shelly Smith, CEO of SECCA.

 

 

 

stemmontgomerhy

Pictured left to right:  Nora Swanson, Workforce Development Coordinator for Southern Nuclear, Montgomery County students Zaire Nobles, Ayden Wade, Damon Jones, Aidan Harbuck,  Declan Harbuck, and Joshua Stevenson, System Engineer for Southern Nuclear.

 

 

 

stemtreutlen

Pictured left to right:  Joshua Stevenson, System Engineer with Southern Nuclear, Treutlen County students Stacy Adams, Spencer Strowbridge Kayla Baker, Jadyn Jackson, Justice Nelson, Maidson Noble and Nora Swanson, Workforce Development Coordinator for Southern Nuclear.

June 7--  Here are the rules on Georgia's new cellphone law which takes effect on July 1st.

House Bill 673- “Hands Free Law”

House Bill 673 also known as the “Hands Free Law” was passed by the Georgia General Assembly and signed into law by Governor Nathan Deal.  The Hands Free Law will take effect on July 1, 2018.  The following is a brief description what the law states and some frequently asked questions.  A link to the complete law can be found at www.gahighwaysafety.org.

  • A driver cannot have a phone in their hand or use any part of their body to support their phone.  Drivers can only use their phones to make or receive phone calls by using speakerphone, earpiece, wireless headphone, phone is connected to vehicle or an electronic watch.  GPS navigation devices are allowed.
  • Headsets and earpieces can only be worn for communication purposes and not for listening to music or other entertainment.
  • A driver may not send or read any text-based communication unless using voice-based communication that automatically converts message to a written text or is being used for navigation or GPS
  • A driver may not send or read any e-mails, social media or other internet content
  • A driver may not watch a video unless it is for navigation.
  • A driver may not record a video (continuously running dash cams are exempt)

Exceptions to the law are as follows:

1.    Reporting a traffic crash, medical emergency, fire, criminal activity or hazardous road conditions.
2.    An employee or contractor of an utility service provider acting within the scope of their employment while responding to an utility
       emergency.
3.     A first responder (law enforcement, fire, EMS) during the performance of their official duties. 
4.     When in a lawfully parked vehicle—this DOES NOT include vehicles stopped for traffic signals and stop signs on the public roadway.

Commercial Motor Vehicle Operators

1.    Commercial Motor Vehicle Operators can only use one button to begin or end a phone call
2.    Cannot reach for a wireless telecommunications device or stand-alone electronic device that it no longer requires the driver to be a seated position or properly restrained by a safety belt

School Bus Drivers

1.    The driver of a school bus cannot use a wireless telecommunication device or two-way radio while loading or unloading passengers.
2.    The driver can only use a wireless telecommunication device while the bus is in motion as a two-way radio to allow live communications between the driver and school and public safety officials

ENFORCEMENT

When the Hands-Free law takes effect July 1, the Georgia Department of Public Safety and local law enforcement have the option to issue warnings for violations as part of the effort to educate and to help motorists adapt to the new law.  However, citations can and will be issued starting July 1 for any violation of the Hands-Free Law, including those where the violation involves a traffic crash.  There is not a 90-day grace period provision in the Hands-Free Law.  

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Why is this law needed in Georgia?
Our state has seen significant increases in vehicle traffic crashes, fatalities and bodily injury. The vast majority of these increases have been in rear-end crashes, single-car crashes and crashes by drivers from 15 to 25-years-old. State and local law enforcement have stated that these incidents are a clear indication of driver inattention. The 15 states that have passed hands-free driving laws saw a 16 percent decrease in traffic fatalities in the two years after the law was passed. In addition, traffic fatalities were reduced even further in subsequent years.

Could I still talk on my phone while driving?
Yes, as long as it is done hands-free. Drivers would be able to use their phone’s speakerphone, Bluetooth technology, an earpiece, a headphone or other device to allow them to communicate on a hands-free basis. 

Could I touch my cellphone to dial a number or receive or end a call?
Yes. The law would simply prohibit drivers from holding or supporting the phone.

Would I be required to purchase a hands-free accessory, such as a mount or bracket?
No. The proposed law simply states that a driver cannot hold or support a mobile phone. A phone can be left on a vehicle’s console, a front seat, etc. However, for the safety of all Georgians, state and local law enforcement recommend the purchase and use of a hands-free device if using a mobile phone while driving.

My vehicle does not have Bluetooth technology/capability. How could I comply with the law?
Many online retailers offer a Bluetooth adapter for vehicles without Bluetooth or similar technology built into the vehicle. These adapters can be found at local retailers or online by searching “Bluetooth hands-free car kit” in an internet search engine. 

What would the fines/penalties be?
 First conviction: $50, one point on a license; 
 Second conviction: $100, two points on a license; 
 Third and subsequent convictions: $150, three points on a license. 

Could I listen to online radio apps while driving?  (Updated information)
A driver cannot touch their phone to activate or program a radio app while they are on the road (the road includes being stopped for traffic signals and stop signs).  A driver can activate a radio app before getting on the road and listen to the programming.  A driver can also listen to programming from their app if it is connected and controlled by the vehicle's stereo (radio), and the driver is not touching their phone while driving.   The rule of thumb here is you can listen to your radio app as long as you do not touch your phone when driving on the road.     

Could I listen to music stored on my mobile phone, thus not requiring an internet connection?
Yes, as long as the driver is not holding or supporting the phone.

Could I talk to someone via video telephony apps, such as FaceTime or Skype, if doing so “hands-free?”
No. The proposed hands-free driving law states that a driver shall not “record or broadcast a video” on any mobile phones, iPads, computers, etc. while operating a vehicle.

Submit specific questions about the Hands-Free Law to:  https://www.gahighwaysafety.org/contact/

June 6--  A victim of a shooting last night in Vidalia is reported in stable condition at Memorial Hospital in Savannah.

According to a police report, Vidalia police were investigating reports of shots fired in the Epstein Street area about one o'clock Wednesday morning when they were notified a shooting victim had arrived at the emergency room at Meadows Regional Medical Center.

Police say a man identified as Freddie Taylor collapsed on the floor of the emergency room after telling the attendant he had been shot. 

He was treated for two gunshot wounds and transported to Savannah by helicopter.

Officers say no one was seen dropping Taylor off at the hospital nor did they know where the shooting occurred.

 

June 6--  The Toombs County Board of Education has named Barry Waller as the interim Toombs County School Superintendent succeeding Richard Smith who moved to a new job in Statesboro this month.

barrywallerWaller served this past school year as the interim principal at Toombs County High School after working briefly as the school system's Director of Human Resources.  He grew up in the Toombs County school system and has been working as an educator for 20 years including jobs with Robert Toombs Christian Academy, Toombs County schools and schools in Jeff Davis County where he was a middle school principal for six years.

"The number one thing is the direction of the school system.  Mr. Richard Smith was here for several years and things have moved forward and been going really well. I don't think the board wanted to shake things up with the interim appointment so we're just going to continue the great things going on in the Toombs County school system.  Being a hometown guy, I know a little bit of the in's and out's of the community and that will help me continue to push the positive things of our school system.  We're just looking forward to making our school system be the best that it can be," Waller said.

June 6-- The Georgia Department of Education announces its policy for free and reduced-price meals for children unable to pay the full price served in schools under the National School Lunch Program and/or School Breakfast Program. Local school officials have adopted the following annual family size and income criteria for determining eligibility.

FAMILY SIZE

COLUMN I

FREE MEALS

If Family Income is Within

COLUMN II

REDUCED-PRICE MEALS

If Family Income is Within

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

           0           to       15,782

        0           to         21,398

       0             to         27,014

      0             to         32,630

      0             to         38,246

           0           to         43,862

      0             to         49,478

      0             to         55,094

         15,783     to         22,459

         21,399      to           30,451

         27,015      to         38,443

         32,631      to         46,435

         38,247       to       54,427

         43,863       to         62,419

         49,479     to         70,411

         55,095     to         78,403

FOR EACH ADDITIONAL FAMILY MEMBER, ADD $5,616 PER YEAR TO THE INCOME LEVEL FOR FREE MEALS AND $7,992 TO THE INCOME LEVEL FOR REDUCED PRICE MEALS.

Parents should contact their local school district for pricing.

Application forms are being sent to all homes with a letter to parents or guardians. To apply for free or reduced-price meals, households should fill out the application and return it to the school. Children from families whose income is at or below the levels shown are eligible for free or reduced-price meals. Foster children may also be eligible for these meals. Families with foster children should contact the school for information regarding benefits. Additional forms are available at the principal's office in each school. The information provided on the application will be used for the purpose of determining eligibility and may be verified at any time with each school district required to verify a sample annually. Applications may be submitted at any time during the year.

For school officials to determine eligibility, households receiving Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) or Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) must list the child's name, their SNAP or TANF case number and the signature of an adult household member. Households not receiving SNAP or TANF must list: child's name, names of all household members, the last four digits of the social security number of a parent or guardian (or an indication that neither possesses a social security number), the amount of income received by each household member, identified by source and frequency, and the signature of an adult household member certifying that the information provided is correct. The information provided by the household is confidential and will be used for the purpose of determining eligibility and verifying data. We may inform officials connected with other child nutrition, health, and education programs of the information on your form to determine benefits for those programs or for funding and/or evaluation purposes.

If a household member becomes unemployed, or if the household size increases, the household should contact the school. Such changes may make the children of the household eligible for benefits if the household's income falls at or below the levels shown above.

Under the provisions of this policy, a school official will review applications and determine eligibility. If a parent is dissatisfied with the determination, he/she may contact the school either orally or in writing.

 

 

 

June 5--  Four years ago this week, 49-year-old Chris Wiggins was gunned down during an armed robbery at his convenience store in Santa Claus.

chriswigginsThe reward in the case continues to grow and is now $7,100 dollars plus another $2,000 a family member has pledged for information leading to an arrest in the case.

Chris' mother, Dale, in convinced somebody knows who killed her son, "It's like this, if you've got a friend, then you're going to tell that friend and that friend is going to tell another friend.  So, those two people who committed this crime, there are people out there who know who did it.  They may be too scared to say so, but there are people who know," she said.

"I know when we start talking reward money, people start calling and everything has to be checked out.  I know that's a lot of work for the sheriff's office, but that's their job and we want to know," Dale Wiggins said.

Toombs County Sheriff Junior Kight is hopeful that the more than $9,000 in reward money will lead to information needed to break the case, "We certainly would love to use the money and we encourage anybody who knows anything about the case to come forward.  If you've heard something and feel it's important, please come forward.  Even if we've heard it before, we don't mind hearing it again.  It could be some little piece we haven't heard, so we encourage anybody to come forward.  We feel like that's the only way we're going to get this case solved," he said.

Chris Wiggins would have celebrated his 54th birthday next week.

If you know anything about the Chris Wiggins case, please call CrimeStoppers at 912-386-4480.

June 4--  The City of Soperton is testing the use of digital water meters.

According to Mayor Royce Fowler, Georgia Power has installed 20 meters for testing and is expected to report the results of the testing at the July meeting of the city council. 

The mayor expects Georgia Power will evaluate the old manual meters and point out efficiencies the city can expect with digital meters.  One advantage he already knows is that  digital meters provide readings once every 24 hours as compared to the manual models which are read monthly.  This could help the city save water and customers save money by more timely correction of leaks and the like, the mayor said.

His main concern with a conversion to digital is the costs involved and whether the city should buy the system or lease it from Georgia Power.

Meanwhile, four water customers in Soperton were surprised when they got their water bills this month.  Two had bills of $59,000 each, one was for $12,000 and the other for $3,000.  Mayor Fowler investigated and reports there were several reasons for the mistakes and that corrections have been made.  None of the four were related to the Georgia Power testing.

June 4--  Treutlen County authorities are on the lookout for a man who escaped arrest Friday night.

robertparkerjrAccording to Treutlen County Sheriff Tommy Corbin, Robert Parker, Jr. is wanted for aggravated assault of his girlfriend and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.

His vehicle was spotted in Soperton Friday evening and pulled over in the parking lot of the Dollar General by Soperton police.  Parker fled the scene and a manhunt ensued in the neighborhood around the store.  The sheriff says police dogs picked up his scent twice, but a thundershower washed away his odor and darkness enabled him to evade police.

Anyone with information on Parker's whereabouts is asked to call the Treutlen County Sheriff's Office, 529-3220.

June 4--  The following students earned a grade point average of 3.6 or more and are on the Dean's List for the Spring Semester at Brewton-Parker College in Mount Vernon.

TOOMBS COUNTY

Grace Alma Jones, Zoe Allena Jones, and Carolina Grace Murray, all from Vidalia, and Julia Toole of Lyons.

MONTGOMERY COUNTY

Zachary Thomas Fletcher, Candace Naledi Lilford, and Morgan Marie Page, all from Mount Vernon, and Jessica Grace Allen and Megan Hart, both from Uvalda.

WHEELER COUNTY

Amy Diane Harris of Alamo

EMANUEL COUNTY

Austin Ray Pounds of Adrian

 

 

 

June 4--  Meadows Regional Medical Center in Vidalia needs your vote according to this appeal issued by the hospital administration.

"We are pleased to announce that Meadows is a finalist for the 2018 Most Beautiful Hospitals in America! Winner will be announced by popular vote, it takes two seconds to vote,  Vote for Meadows and vote often!

"Voting is between June 1 and June 29 – cast yours as many times as you want and be sure to rally friends, family members, and coworkers to vote Meadows as the MOST BEAUTIFUL HOSPITAL IN AMERICA. Ready, set, VOTE!

https://www.soliant.com/hospitals-2018/

"Thank you for your continued support of Meadows! "

June 4--  State Senator Jack Hill of Reidsville reports in his "Notes From The Senate" that voters will see a  constitutional amendment on the November ballot regarding funding for conservation of certain property in the state.

LAND STEWARDSHIP BILL TOPS NATURAL RESOURCES LEGISLATION

There has always been an effort by private land conservation groups and the state to purchase land that all agree should be protected.  Some examples would include wilderness areas, lands along wild rivers and other resources that if not protected could and would be developed and lost forever.  Funding is always an issue, but the state has come up with purchase funds when valuable lands were available for sale as in the lands along the Altamaha River which were sold by paper companies. But a steady consistent fund is seen as advantageous over time.

--HB 332-- This enacting legislation, and a constitutional amendment, HR 238, was a joint effort by the Georgia Conservancy and leaders in the Legislature to provide a dedicated source of funding to purchase conservation properties when they were available.  If approved by the voters in November, some 40% of state sales tax funds collected by sporting goods stores would be dedicated to this fund.  There is a provision that would reduce this assignment if state revenues took a dive during a slowdown in the economy.  There are several uses for the funds besides the purchase of conservation lands:  the funds could be parceled out to local governments as grants, used to fund parks and trails and to acquire critical areas to protect water, wildlife or recreation.  There is also a loan provision to assist with costs of conservation land or conservation easements.

ASSISTANCE FOR COUNTIES WITH LARGE STATE ACREAGE

There is a provision in the bill to assist counties where an inordinate amount of acreage has been purchased and belongs to the state.  If there are 20,000 or more acres or 10% of taxable real property, off the local tax digest, annual grants from the state are authorized equal to the value of public services the county provides to DNR yearly.

BOARD OF TRUSTEES

HB 332 Establishes a Board of Trustees, consisting of 11 members to accept applications and evaluate project proposals.  Board approved projects must also be approved by DNR and by the House and Senate Appropriations Subcommittees on Natural Resources.  

OTHER LEGISLATION

--HB 735-- Exempts rail line rights of way from local fees imposed for the management of storm water runoff.

--SB 332-- Creates new code section defining outdoor mentees, outdoor mentors and an outdoor passport.  Creates an outdoor mentor program intended to spark interest in hunting and fishing but promoting safe and ethical practices.  Additionally, a nonresident youth, 15 years or younger, is eligible for a sportsman's license for $50 fee instead of the current $335. 

--HB 784-- Creates special license plates promoting the conservation and enhancement of waterfowl populations and their habitats.  Funds from these sales will go to the Wildlife Resources Division of DNR for waterfowl habitat restoration, research and management programs.

--HB 885-- Prohibits DNR from limiting or restricting burning over of any agricultural tract larger than 5 acres in an agricultural operation if the burning is consistent with the requirements of federal law and is limited to vegetative material.

FUNDING AFFECTING NATURAL RESOURCES

 --$720,000-- From new fees per HB 208 from 2017. Appropriated to Coastal Resources for public access and offshore fishery habitat maintenance

 --$2.72 million-From HB 208 for additional law enforcement rangers to address high-demand areas of the state

 --$4.32 million-From HB 208 to Wildlife Resources for additional public access and land management activities

BONDS APPROPRIATED FOR DNR

 --$15.6 Million-- For facility improvements and renovations statewide

 --$4.1 million-- For construction of two new boathouses and the replacement of Skidaway Island State Park and Red Top Mountain State Park Visitor Centers

 -- $1.19 million-- To EPD for dambreak routings for state-owned dams  

 --$2.0 million-- To renovate bathrooms at Unicoi State Park

 --$5 million-- To purchase a new helicopter

 --$4.5 million-- To design and construct a new conference center at Lake Lanier Islands

GA. ENVIRONMENTAL FINANCE AUTHORITY

 --$8.0 million-- for the Federal State Revolving Fund Match, Clean and Drinking Water Programs

 --$8.0 million-- For the State Funded Water and Sewer Construction Loan Program  

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.

June 3--  The May term of the Toombs County grand jury returned 17 indictments.

1.  Paul Jolly was indicted for possession of methamphetamine.

2.  Ashtin Beecher and Payne Herrera were indicted for burglary and Beecher was indicted for bringing Hydrocodone across guard lines at the county jail.

3.  Rodney Lee Lane was indicted on two counts of aggravated sexual battery and three counts of aggravated child molestation for, among other violations, sodomizing a girl under the age of 16.

4.  Ashley Henderson and Michael Smart were indicted for shoplifting at Walmart.

5.  Jamar Dent was indicted for possession of cocaine and DUI.

6.  Jonathan Lewis was indicted for the armed robbery last September at Personal Finance and Tax Service in downtown Vidalia.

7.  Bernie Yarbrough was indicted for the shooting of Lee Beck and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.

8.  Dillion Philips was indicted for possession of Hydrocodone.

9.  Tyrone Polke was indicted on two counts of selling cocaine.

10.  Kelly Carter and Devin Roundtree were indicted for the burglary of Kristy Walker's apartment on Loop Road in Vidalia  and Carter was indicted for the aggravated assault and battery of Walker.

11.  Stephanie Foskey was indicted for arson by setting fire to the house of Brian Underwood on Old Normantown Road.

12.  Former insurance agents Pamela Blount and Linda Smith who operated LLS Insurance in Lyons were indicted on racketeering charges regarding insurance fraud.  The two are accused of taking insurance premiums from the following customers and using the money for their own personal use from 2011 to 2014.

Date Victim Amount
September 26, 2011 Jacqueline Rodriguez $105.68
September 26, 2011 Jacqueline Rodriguez $105.68
February 03, 2012 Willie Mae Green $113.71
February 03, 2012 Willie Mae Green $113.71
July 03, 2012 Willie Mae Green $73.21
July 03, 2012 Willie Mae Green $73.21
August 03, 2012 Willie Mae Green $73.71
August 03, 2012 Willie Mae Green $73.71
August 31, 2012 Willie Mae Green $73.71
August 31, 2012 Willie Mae Green $73.71
January 03, 2013 Theron Faison $231.50
January 03, 2013 Theron Faison $231.50
January 14, 2013 Willie Mae Green $73.71
January 14, 2013 Willie Mae Green $73.71
February 01, 2013 Willie Mae Green $73.71
February 01, 2013 Willie Mae Green $73.71
February 12, 2013 Walter Ray Edge $1490.00
February 12, 2013 Walter Ray Edge $1490.00
March 01, 2013 Willie Mae Green $73.71

March 01, 2013 Willie Mae Green $73.71
March 07, 2013 Willie Mae Green $73.71
March 07, 2013 Willie Mae Green $73.71
July 09, 2013 Jacqueline Rodriguez $81.28
July 09, 2013 Jacqueline Rodriguez $60.50
July 09, 2013 Kyall Jones $208.41
July 09, 2013 Jacqueline Rodriguez $81.28
July 09, 2013 Kyall Jones $208.41
July 09, 2013 Jacqueline Rodriguez $60.50
August 13, 2013 Charles Conway $127.50
August 13, 2013 Charles Conway $127.50
August 19, 2013 Javier Rodriguez $197.00
August 19, 2013 Javier Rodriguez $197.00
August 26, 2013 Jacqueline Rodriguez $60.50
August 26, 2013 Jacqueline Rodriguez $60.50
August 29, 2013 Kyall Jones $208.41
August 29, 2013 Kyall Jones $208.41
August 30, 2013 Charles Conway $90.00
August 30, 2013 Charles Conway $90.00
September 05, 2013 Debbie Garrett $1052.00
September 05, 2013 Willie Mae Green $73.77
September 05, 2013 Willie Mae Green $73.77
September 05, 2013 Debbie Garrett $1052.00
September 12, 2013 Mirran Brown $420.00
September 12, 2013 Mirran Brown $420.00
September 22, 2013 Kyall Jones $208.41
September 22, 2013 Kyall Jones $208.41
October 01, 2013 Charles Conway $99.00
October 01, 2013 James Hall $133.77
October 01, 2013 Phillip Moore $811.00
October 01, 2013 Charles Conway $99.00
October 01, 2013 James Hall $ 133.77
October 01, 2013 Phillip Moore $811.00
October 08, 2013 Mikel Anthony $48.37
October 08, 2013 Jacqueline Rodriguez $87.00
October 08, 2013 Jacqueline Rodriguez $60.50
October 08, 2013 Mikel Anthony $48.37
October 08, 2013 Jacqueline Rodriguez $87.00
October 08, 2013 Jacqueline Rodriguez $60.50
October 23, 2013 Kyall Jones $208.41
October 23, 2013 Kyall Jones $208.41
November 01, 2013 Charles Conway $99.00
November 01, 2013 Charles Conway $99.00
November 05, 2013 Willie Mae Green $73.77
November 05, 2013 Willie Mae Green $73.77
November 07, 2013 Phillip Newsome $57.00
November 07, 2013 Phillip Newsome $57.00
November 15, 2013 Jacqueline Rodriguez $60.50
November 15, 2013 Jacqueline Rodriguez $87.00
November 15, 2013 Jacqueline Rodriguez $60.50
November 15, 2013 Jacqueline Rodriguez $87.00
December 02, 2013 Phillip Newsome $47.00

December 02, 2013 Phillip Newsome $47.00
December 06, 2013 Irving Frye $183.00
December 06, 2013 Irving Frye $183.00
December 06, 2013 Marcello Newsome $267.17
December 06, 2013 Mareello Newsome $267.17
December 09, 2013 Javier Rodriguez $216.36
December 09, 2013 Javier Rodriguez $216.36
December 10, 2013 Jacqueline Rodriguez $87.00
December 10, 2013 Jacqueline Rodriguez $87.00
December 19, 2013 Billy Poole $156.78
December 19, 2013 Billy Poole $156.78
December 20, 2013 - Jerry Mimbs $150.00
December 20, 2013 Jerry Mimbs $150.00
December 31, 2013 James Hall $133.77
December 3l,2013 James Hall $133.77
January 02, 2014 Phillip Newsome $47.00
January 02, 2014 Phillip Newsome $47.00
January 03, 2014 Charles Conway $99.00
January 03, 2014 Charles Conway $99.00
January 06, 2014 Billy Poole $156.71
January 06, 2014 Billy Poole $156.71
January 07, 2014 Willie Mae Green $73.30
January 07, 2014 Larry Cutler $283.00
January 07, 2014 Willie Mae Green $73.30
January 07, 2014 Larry Cutler $283.00
January 10, 2014 Javier Rodriguez $216.36
January 10, 2014 Javier Rodriguez $216.36
January 16, 2014 Marlena Morgan $59.75
January 16, 2014 Marlena Morgan $59.75
January 17, 2014 Javier Rodriguez $157.50
January 17, 2014 Javier Rodriguez $157.50
January 26, 2014 Sandra Alamia $217.15
January 26, 2014 Sandra Alamia $217.15
January 27, 2014 Jerry Mimbs $40.37
January 27, 2014 Jerry Mimbs $40.37
January 31, 2014 Phillip Newsome $57.00
January 31, 2014 Charles Conway $99.00
January 31, 2014 Phillip Newsome $57.00
January 31, 2014 Charles Conway $99.00
February 03, 2014 Beatrice Mainer $236.75
February 03, 2014 Beatrice Mainer $236.75

13.  Blake Holland was indicted for statutory rape and two counts of child molestation after exchanging explicit sexual photos with a girl under age 16. 

14.  Minh Nguyen was indicted on two counts of child molestation.

15.  Larry Jay Moore was indicted for child molestation and enticing a child for indecent purposes.

16.  Four people indicted for armed robbery and aggravated assault are Travis harden, Malisa James, Dre Jinks and Derrick Scott for taking money and cellphones two years ago from Rafael Gonzalez and Luis DeLeon.

17.  Jamel Brewer was indicted for possession of heroin and oxycodone, theft by receiving stolen property and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.   

 

 

    

  

June 3--  High winds which accompanied a severe thunderstorm late Saturday afternoon tore the roof off an outbuilding at Braddy Farms on Highway 221 north of Mount Vernon. (Photo Brandon Braddy)

braddyfarm2

braddyroof