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Mosley Tire Contribution PhotoL to R: Jason Mosley, Barron Mosley, Nancy McDonald (co-founder), Pennie Cook Sterling (President and co-founderSeptember 30--  In an effort to give back to the community, Mosley Tire Company has made a $500 donation to Diamonds in the Ruff, a non-profit animal rescue that serves Toombs and surrounding counties.

Area Police Blotter Reports

September 30--  Vidalia Police Chief Brian Scott reports the following arrests.

Powell, Jason Jacob- W/M- 19 YOA- 200 Reedy Creek Circle Lyons, GA- Possession of Marijuana Less Than Ounce

Smith, Tyreece Anthony- B/M- 19 YOA- 706 Loop Rd. Apt. 606 Vidalia, GA- Forgery-1st Degree, Possession of Marijuana Less Than Ounce, Carrying Concealed Weapon, Possession of a Controlled Substance, Theft by Receiving Stolen Property

Poole, Jerry Paul- W/M- 28 YOA- 508 W. North St. Vidalia, GA- Warrant Served (Toombs County SO- Probation)  

Moody, Robert James- B/M- 53 YOA- 1003 W. Church St. Vidalia, GA- Simple Battery (FVA)

Corley, Kenyaata- B/F- 26 YOA- 706 Church St. Apt. C Vidalia, GA- DUI- 1st Degree

Davis, Mary Cristal- B/F-32 YOA- 1208 Easter Dr. Apt. 1 Vidalia, GA- Disorderly Conduct

Copeland, Carlton Earl-B/M- 55 YOA- 202 Patrick St. Vidalia, GA- False Report of a Crime

Lyons Police Chief Wesley Walker reports the following arrests.

Singleton, Tyron Gerald, Lyons, Obstruct, Hinder, Law Enforcement Officer

Yeomans, Michael Ladon, Lyons, Driving While License Suspended/Revoked (Third)

Earles, Regina Calhoun, Locust Grove, GA Obstruct, Hinder, Law Enforcement Officer

Moore, Phillip M., Lyons, Dui, Open Container, Accident, Failure to Maintain Lane

Higgs, Michael, Lyons, Driving While License Suspended/Revoked (First), Georgia Hands Free Law

Reyes, Abraham, Lyons, Failure to Maintain Lane, Georgia Hands Free Law, Driving While Unlicensed, DUI

Moore, Tyler Carl Jason, Vidalia, Pointing a Gun or Aiming a Pistol at Another, Pedestrian Under the Influence

Ortiz, Jesus A, Lyons, Possession of Marijuana Less Than Ounce, Following Too Closely

Toombs County Sheriff Junior Kight reports the following arrests.

Boyd, Jarvis, Albany, Probation Violation Felony

Brown, Mary, Lyons, Driving While License Suspended, Probation Violation-Misdemeanor

Coleman, Britany, Vidalia, Battery, Misdemeanor Arrest Warrant

Conner, Jaymie, Vidalia, DUI, Endangering Child Under 14 While Under DUI, Probation Violation Felony, Failure to Maintain Lane, Turning Movements and Required Signals

Edenfield, John, Vidalia, Driving While License Suspended/Revoked, Removing or Affixing License Plate for Purpose of Concealing Identity of Vehicle, Wireless Telecommunications Device Use Prohibited, No Seat Belt

Green, Brandon, Lyons, Grand Jury Bench Warrant-Burglary 1st Degree

Ramirez, Sebastian, Lyons, Probation Violation Misdemeanor, Driving While Unlicensed, Operating Motor Vehicle with Registration or Valid License Plate

Thrower, Sedrick, Lyons, Probation Violation Felony, Theft by Taking, Theft By Taking 7 counts, Deposit Account Fraud/Bad Checks

Tyson, Alex, Lyons, Child Support Pick Up Order

Montgomery County Sheriff Doug Maybin reports the following arrests.

09/23-Tiffany Letreece Hayes, Dallas, Ga., Items Prohibited for Possession by Inmates

09/24-Maureen Meredith Metcalfe, Hazlehurst, Possession of Controlled Substance (2 counts), Possession of Drug Related Objects, Drugs Not in Original Container

09/26-Dawson Everett Hale, Mount Vernon, Conspiracy to Commit a Crime, Use of Communication Facility in Committing or Facilitating a Drug Transaction

09/27-Rodney Dewayne Hall, Baxley, Possession of Marijuana <1oz., Possession of Drug Related Objects

09/27-Tina Marie Perry, Baxley, Stop Sign Violation, Possession of Marijuana <1oz., Possession of Drug Related Objects

Gabby PicSeptember 30-- Vidalia Communications Corporation was recognized Saturday night at the 57th Annual Georgia Association of Broadcasters “Gabby” Awards ceremony at the Grand Hyatt in Buckhead by bringing home 5 awards.

The following awards were received in the Radio Class AA division:

Best Team Weather Coverage – Hurricane Coverage Team at WVOP

Best Team Political Coverage – Team at WVOP

Best Community Service Project – United Way Service Project Team at WTCQ

Best Reporter – Zack Fowler WTCQ

2019 Best of the Gabby’s Award – WVOP

John Koon and Jeff Raiford of Vidalia Communications accepted the awards on behalf of the stations.

Court of Appeals 2September 30-- A few times each year the Court of Appeals of Georgia travels around the state holding oral arguments on cases so that citizens can get to see firsthand what they do without traveling to Atlanta. Last week 3 judges on the court held their meeting at Vidalia High School. They were Judge Amanda Mercier, Judge Carla Wong McMillan, and Chief Judge Christopher McFadden.

Judge McFadden explained, “We are a single intermediate appellate court for the entire state of Georgia and we are all elected statewide and are responsible to all the voters in the state of Georgia and our cases come from all over Georgia. We only have one court room for the Court of Appeals and that is in Atlanta next to the Capitol. This sort of thing allows us to travel around the state and let the whole state see what we do,” said McFadden.

He added, “The advice we give to aspiring students is to read, write, and study hard. The law is a demanding profession. Ability and diligence are clearly rewarded. It’s really a great career for those who have the aptitude and for those who that type of work suits them.”

McFadden explained the real purpose of the Court of Appeals. “To explain it in kind of crude terms is imagine you’re in court in front of that single judge and it’s a bad judge. We don’t have many bad judges in Georgia but they are occasionally found. And the judge says I don’t really care about what the law says I’m just going to do whatever I want and what are you going to do about it. Most of the time, the answer to what you’re going to do about it is our court.”

September 27--  Notes from Senator Jack Hill.


We wrote in last week's column about the state Revenue Report and touched on the calculation of the RSR or rainy day fund. Turns out that Georgia is doing very well in saving up over 11% of previous year's revenues for the latest RSR, $2.9 Billion.

Nationally, according to the National Association of State Budget Officers (NASBO), rainy day funds are growing as a percentage of state budgets due in part to the longest economic recovery period in history following the recession 11 years ago.

Although some states have recovered better than others according to research by the Pew Charitable Trusts. NASBO says that the biggest change in states' financial position has been the increase in rainy day funds which has risen to 7.5% of general funds, up 2.7% from before the recession.


There's a wide difference in the level of rainy day funds around the country. California has put aside $17.8 billion while 3 states, Illinois, Kansas and New Jersey have no reserves at all. You may remember Georgia's RSR stands at $2.9 Billion before the midyear adjustment for Education.

Some states have a process to automatically set aside revenues for their rainy day funds. Two years ago, North Carolina set up a process of setting aside part of their forecasted revenues to build up their rainy day fund.

Some states with oil and gas deposits set aside part of those severance tax revenues for reserves.   Georgia has no set process beyond the requirement that lapsed agency funds go into the RSR at the end of the Fiscal year.


We reported a while back about Moody Analytics study that found 23 states had reserves sufficient to survive a moderate recession and 10 more were close to that total. Georgia was one of those states with a satisfactory reserve to get through a moderate recession.

A follow up report later this year will bring those figures up to date.

States' tax profiles can be a factor in their ability to withstand a recession. California's dependence on high income taxpayers would take a hit during a recession as they did during the Great Recession.

Florida's dependence solely on sales taxes makes it very dependent on tourism and subject to the whims of the economy and peoples' travel plans.


State services like Medicaid go up during a recession along with education costs as many return to school when jobs are lost. State constitutions like Georgia's require a balanced budget so there is pain involved when states have to cut budgets due to falling revenues.

August of 2019 brought the highest level of concern for a recession sparked by fears of the US/China trade war, global business slowdown and the inverted short term and long term interest rates. A Fed rate cut and that inverted yield curve that returned to normal has eased fears somewhat.

The former head of the Congressional Budget Office recently said "The household sector remains nearly ¾ of the U.S. Economy and displays a healthy mix of low unemployment and rising wages. As long as that continues, we will avoid a recession."

Another factor forestalling a recession is the fact that technology has a positive effect on the recession model.


As a percentage of total state expenditures, Wyoming has the largest FY 2019 Rainy Day Fund balance at 109% according to the Spring 2019 Survey of the National Association of State Budget Officers Fiscal Survey of States.

California, while having the largest total rainy day fund at $17.8 billion only shows this as 12.4% of the states total expenditures for the year. Georgia's RSR is 11.6% of state general fund receipts but is 9.3% of the state's budget.


States vary in how rainy day funds are replenished after being appropriated. Alabama, for example must pay back its General Fund rainy day fund within 10 years of withdrawal.

North Carolina has a more involved process where the Fiscal Research Division and the Office of State Budget & Management jointly develop an annual evaluation of the adequacy of the fund and then estimate the target for the Savings Reserve Balance sufficient to cover two years of 9 of 10 scenarios involving a decline in general fund operating budget appropriations excluding dept. receipts.

In South Carolina, the General Reserve Fund must be restored within three fiscal years based on a rate of not less than 1% of general fund revenue until the fund reaches 5%. The Capital Reserve Fund is raised 0.5% until it reaches 5% of general fund appropriations for the prior fiscal year.   At the end of the fiscal year, lapsed funds in the Capital Reserve Fund are credited to the general fund.

In Georgia, the lapsed funds at the end of the fiscal year are automatically sent to the RSR. So, the Revenue Estimate is vitally important in that it remain a fiscally conservative estimate when used to base a proposed budget. Setting a moderate, conservative revenue estimate keeps the state from spending at a dangerous level if revenues were to drop during the year and this conservative spending allows more accumulation of revenues by the end of the year to lapse into the RSR.

John EllingtonSeptember 27-- This week the Vidalia-Toombs County Library was excited to have Vidalia native and Treutlen County resident Justice John Ellington of the Georgia Supreme Court come and speak to the Friends of the Library meeting.

Ellington was elected to the position in 2018 and has enjoyed his first year on Georgia’s highest court. “I’ve really enjoyed it. I work with great people. I was fortunate to work for 20 years on the Court of Appeals and serve with good folks. There are 9 of us on the Supreme Court and I enjoy the work,” said Ellington.

Becoming a judge on the Georgia Supreme Court was not what he had planned while in high school. Ellington said, “I wanted to play safety for the Miami Dolphins but that didn’t work out for me so I think the law was a good backup plan for me.” He added, “I’m very fortunate to have had the background and the training that I have had and as I go to Atlanta I try to take those values and experiences with me.”

Local influences helped shape his career. “I was very fortunate of Judge Marvin Hartley here in Vidalia and Toombs County. I worked with him for a great number of years and he had a great influence on me. And Judge Carlton Warnock in Soperton was the State Court Judge that I followed had a great influence on my life, both as a lawyer and also in the community,” said Ellington.

Ellington really enjoys his travels throughout Georgia. Ellington stated, “You know we have a great state with wonderful people. We’re a diverse state in geography and people and background and it’s really one of the fun parts of my job to travel around and see people from all walks of life.”

JD Dickerson Students of the MonthSeptember 26-- J. D. Dickerson Primary School would like to celebrate the Students of the Month for September.

First Row (left to right) I’ryanna Nichols, Sawyer Faircloth, Payton Reynolds, Mia Treichel; Second Row (left to right) Journey Coggins, Teagan Allen, Eli Morris, Trinity Tompkins, Mattix Holley; Third Row (left to right) La’Miah White, Riley Roundtree, Jy’mere McKinney, Addie Parrish, Stella Brimeyer; Back Row (left to right) E’niyah Ockletree, Nyla Williams, Trinity Crumbley, Annisten Smith, Zumoria Butler, and Annalise Hodge (not pictured)

September 26--  The Georgia Forestry has announced a burn restrictions for Toombs and Montgomery Counties due to the dry weather we are experiencing. There will not be any burn permits issued until this burn restriction has been lifted. This means outside burning is prohibited; therefore a fine can and will be incurred if you burn anything during this burn restriction.

September 26-- The Lyons City Council met in a called meeting on Thursday, September 19th to vote on a property tax increase of 1 mil which it passed. The increase along with budget cuts were needed to offset a recent reduction in revenue coming into the city.

Lyons Mayor Willis Nesmith said, “Going over our budget for next week we realized we were going to be having a shortfall. Revenue’s are down. It’s not expenses, expenses are actually very much in line it’s our revenues that are way down.” He added, “We’ve had to do some cutting in places and for a last ditch effort we had to look at going up 1 mil on our millage rate.”

Mayor Nesmith added that the funds will go directly into the general fund to address the revenue shortfall. “It’s a problem that most small towns like us have is that you don’t really have enough revenue streams for your general fund. City Hall and the police department come out of the general fund. Those two in itself can drain a general fund and the only revenue coming into the general fund is property taxes,” added Nesmith.

“We’ve actually already made the cuts. We’re consolidating a little bit. We haven’t laid anyone off and haven’t fired anyone. Jobs of people who have left for whatever reason are just not being filled right now. With what we’ve done with the budget and cuts, it’s looking good for next year,” said Nesmith.

20190925 ChickFilA SECCA POM

Back Row - L to R Britt McDade, Owner/Operator; Ethan Wright, Carson Smith, Walker Wheeler, and Reagan McDonald, WBL Students/Employees

Front Row - L to R: Marissa Brown, Senior Director; Hannah Sikes, WBL Student/Employee; Mindy Morrison, Senior Director

Sept 25-- Southeastern Early College and Career Academy (SECCA)  is proud to recognize Chick-fil-A as the October 2019 Business Partner of the Month. 

Students from area schools have the opportunity to learn valuable work ethics in an environment they love.  Mrs. Donna Collins, SECCA WBL Coordinator, states, "It is easy to recognize WBL students working at Chick-fil-A.  From 'It's my pleasure' to 'How may I serve you?' students are learning valuable customer service skills needed in the workplace." 

SECCA is thankful to Chick-fil-A for their dedication to train a strong, productive workforce in our community!

September 25-- A woman awaiting trial for murder was found dead in a church cemetery on Tuesday according to the Emanuel County Sheriff’s Office. Priscilla Riner Hooks’ body was found in a church cemetery off Highway 56 in Emanuel County. The investigation is ongoing by the Emanuel County Sheriff’s Office and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation and officials have not ruled out suicide or foul play at this time.

Sheriff J. Tyson Stevens says investigators believe the 46-year-old woman was killed somewhere else and then brought to that location where many of her relatives are buried.  Riner Hooks was on bond awaiting trial in connection with the shooting death of her estranged boyfriend Dustin Wilson. Orders from the judge in that case had her barred from Emanuel County except for court appearances. Her temporary residence had been in Bulloch County, where her vehicle and ankle monitor where found. Authorities do not believe she came to the cemetery on her own, no vehicles were found at the scene and as yet no weapons either.

Riner Hooks is accused of killing her ex-boyfriend in June of 2018. A grand jury indicted Riner Hooks of multiple charges including malice murder, aggravated assault, felony murder, voluntary manslaughter and four counts of possession of a firearm in the commission of a felony. Riner Hooks was granted a bond of $65,000 in July of 2018.

Greg RiekhofSeptember 25-- This week marks the 10th anniversary of the Chicken of the Sea facility in Lyons, GA. The plant opened in 2009 after operations at their American Samoa plant was closed to make the move to Lyons. On Monday they had a celebration to commemorate the event.

Lyons General Manager Greg Riekhof is excited about how far the facility has come. “This facility was placed in Lyons, Georgia largely due to the port of Savannah and Brunswick being such a good source for the frozen tuna loins that we receive in and then we can that tuna. We only produce canned tuna in this facility and we have seen large growth over time,” said Riekhof.

Riekhof added, “For the next ten years, I think that people want a healthy protein in their diet. Tuna provides that at a reasonable cost and packs a lot of protein in. It tastes good. It’s good for you. I think people are becoming more aware that canned tuna is not just the everyday chunk light water that you may make chicken salad out of but we also make a while albacore product that goes good with salad and pasta.”

Chicken of Sea MercyL to R: Thiraphong Chansiri, Global President & CEO, Thai Union Group PCL: Greg Riekhof, Lyons General Manager: Clint Hutcheson, Mercy Ministries: Valentin Ramirez, President & CEO Chicken of the Sea International“Technology does play a big part of it. If you consumer wants a pouch or a plastic cup, consumers like that convenience,” he added.  During the ceremony Chicken of the Sea made a donation of $10,000 to Mercy Ministries who just celebrated their 10th anniversary last week.                    

September 24--  The nation's largest publicly held hospital group is buying Meadows Regional Medical Center in Vidalia.

Meadows Chief Executive Officer Alan Kent says Meadows Health has signed a letter of intent with the Hospital Corporation of America for the sale which could become final next Spring.  The exact purchase price will be determined after a period of due diligence and will cover the $65 million outstanding loan which Meadows currently has with the federal government for construction of the new hospital several years ago.

Even though Meadows is making money, Kent says the financial woes plaguing rural hospitals made it imperative to plan for the future, "There's a sense of relief knowing we have a company we're joining that's very secure, that employees are going to have jobs, we're not going to have massive layoffs and we're not going to close services.  As they've come to us, they've said we would like to keep employees and I'm planning on staying as well."

HCA has committed to guarantee jobs for one year after the deal is completed, and, according to Kent, the company brings a lot to the table, "They now operate 185 hospitals, they have many urgent care centers, they employ almost 5,000 physicians, they employ over 250,000 people and operate hospitals in 21 states and Great Britain."

HCA has nine hospitals in Georgia and, as a for-profit hospital, will contribute to the local tax base.

Meadows issued the following press release regarding the sale.



September 23--  Vidalia Police Chief Brian Scott reports the following arrests.

Southerland, Robert Jamar- B/M- 23 YOA- 309 Arlington Dr. Vidalia, GA- Driving While License Suspended or Revoked (First)

Smith, Jacqueline Mae- W/F- 30 YOA- 1026 Turner Bridge Rd, Uvalda GA- Theft by Shoplifting 2nd Offense

Mills, Malacia Shazaria- B/F- 18 YOA- 402 Rigsbee Dr. Vidalia, GA- Reckless Driving

Hooks, Takeisha Lovanda- B/F- 36 YOA- 186 McLendon Rd. Vidalia, GA- Improper, Illegal Parking/Driving While License Suspended or Revoked

Corouthers, Justin Allen- B/M- 25 YOA- 907 Scott Dr. Vidalia, GA- Theft by Shoplifting 1st Offense

Gonzalez, Marcus T. - B/M- 21 YOA- 303 Poe St. Vidalia, GAObstruct, Hinder Law Enforcement Officer/Theft by Shoplifting 1st Offense

Jackson, Cavarus Damatress- B/M- 40 YOA- 800 Estell Dr. Apt. A Vidalia, GA- Murder

Gardner, Henry- B/M- 27 YOA- 725 Bostwick Dr Vidalia, GATheft by Taking (Motor Vehicle)

Jones, Salquan Tybee- B/M- 33 YOA- 344 East Grady Apt 1  Lyons, GA- Driving While License Suspended or Revoked (First)

Higgs, Michael L. - W/M- 49 YOA- 1102 Orange St. Vidalia, GA- Speeding, Driving While License Suspended or Revoked (First)

Ballard, Michelle Lynn- W/F- 44 YOA- 321 Jerriel St. Vidalia, Ga- Driving While License Suspended Or Revoked

Smart, Jerry Jerome- B/M- 21 YOA- 1208 Easter Drive Apt. 13 Vidalia Ga- Possession of Marijuana Less Than Ounce

Wright, Tabitha Ann- W/F- 43 YOA- 221 Comanchee Rd. Lyons, Ga- Theft by Taking

Lyons Police Chief Wesley Walker reports the following arrests.

Renita Harris, Lyons, DUI, child endangerment, possession of marijuana

Anthony Miller, Lyons, driving while license suspended/revoked

Shredrick Brown, Vidalia, speeding, warrant served

Billy Courson, Lyons, aggravated assault

Timothy Leggett, Lyons, DUI,  traffic violations

Shontavia White, Lyons, theft by taking

Joshua Carlo, Vidalia, warrant served

Dempsey Wheeler, Lyons, cruelty and abandonment of animals

Regina Earles, Locust Gove, obstruction of a law enforcement officer

Toombs County Sheriff Junior Kight reports the following arrests.

Hollis Bryant, Lyons, battery, cruelty to children

Isauro Castro, Lyons, battery, cruelty to children

Marcus David, Vidalia, probation viiolation

Aaron Easter, East Dublin, probation violation

Kyle Foreman, Vidalia, driving while license suspended/revoked, brake lights and turn signals

Allen Herrington, Lyons, DUI, failure to maintain lane, wireless device use prohibited

Jason Johnson, Vidalia, Meth purchase, possession, manufacture, distribution and sale; theft by receiving stolen property

Terry McCoy, Vidalia, battery, terroristic threats, probation and parole violation

Michael Prevatt, Dublin, DUI, speed restrictions, tires

Derrell Ruth, McDonough, probation violation

Kendell Stern, Metter, DUI, failure to maintain lane

Robert Taylor, Jr., Ailey, theft by receiving stolen property

Montgomery County Sheriff Doug Maybin reports the following arrests.

09/19-Jack Ryan Bass, Fairfax, VA., Possession of Marijuana <1oz., Open Container

09/19-Esco Mark Walker, Charlotte, NC, DUI, Underage Consumption

09/20-Triston Miranda Braswell, Mount Vernon, Felony Probation Violation

 09/22-Katishma Michelle Eason, Alamo, Speeding, Driving w/Suspended License

September 23--  Residents on Emanuel Circle east of Lyons and Victoria Circle north of Vidalia may get their roads paved in 2021 if an initiative by the Toombs County Board of Commissioners is successful.

At its September meeting, the Commission voted to seek a $750,000 community development block grant from the Georgia Department of Community Affairs to pave the two dirt roads.  The county will find out next year if the request is approved.

In other actions, the Commission named two new members to the Toombs County Development Authority.  Tim Truxel will succeed Donnie Alderman of Vidalia and Andy Kimbell of Lyons will succeed Trent Williams when their terms expire the end of the year.

It also appointed county clerk Helen Harris and Sheriff's Department employees Marilyn Heard and Heather Bell to serve as open records officers for the county.

A $250,000 economic development loan was approved for L.G. Herndon, Jr. Farms, Inc. to increase the company's produce processing production by an estimated 40%.  The low interest loan will help the company buy new equipment.  The funds come from the county's revolving loan fund provided by the state to spur local economic development.

September 21--  Toombs County State Court Judge Tommy J. Smith is running for Superior Court Judge of the Middle Judicial Circuit.

Incumbent Judge Kathy Palmer is not running again for the position she has held since 2000.

tommyjsmithIn a campaign statement, Judge Smith said, “With years of experience serving as a State Court Judge, this is a natural next step. I have spent my career focused on treating everyone fairly, using common-sense in judicial decisions, and delivering justice for all in my courtroom.”

Toombs County State Court Solicitor Justin Franklin said, “Judge Smith has been tough on crime but makes sure everyone is treated the same in his courtroom. He has the experience, values, and fairness we need in a Judge.”

Judge Smith earned his law degree from the University of Georgia School of Law and was admitted to the State Bar of Georgia in 1997. He has served twelve years as State Court Judge and eighteen years as Municipal Court Judge. In addition, Judge Smith has served Brewton Parker College as a Professor of Business Law.

The Middle Judicial Circuit includes Candler, Emanuel, Jefferson, Toombs and Washington Counties.

The race is non-partisan and will be decided in the election May 19, 2020.

September 21-- A Toombs County senior citizen died in a Friday night wreck.

According to Toombs County Sheriff Junior Kight, 74-year-old Walter Thomas Copeland of Normantown was killed in a head-on collision between eight and nine p.m. on the Old Normantown Road.

The sheriff says it appears the vehicle driven by Copeland crossed the center line and collided with the vehicle driven by 19-year old Shane Hadaway, also of Normantown.  He was injured and taken to Meadows Regional Medical Center in Vidalia.

September 21--  A Vidalia man is being charged with murder in a fatal shooting Friday morning.

cavarusjacksonVidalia Police Chief Brian Scott reports 40-year-old Cavarus Jackson (left) is charged with felony murder for the killing of 20-year-old Charveil McNeal of Claxton.

Police responded to a call at Raymonia Apartments on Easter Drive Friday morning about 10:50 a.m. and found McNeal dead in the parking lot.  He died of multiple gunshot wounds.

Chief Scott says detectives and the GBI worked throughout the day but have yet to determine a motive for the killing.

The investigation is ongoing and anyone with information is asked to call Vidalia police at 537-4123 or the GBI at 478-374-6988.

United Way Kickoff 2019September 20-- The local United Way held their annual campaign kickoff on Thursday at the First Baptist Church in Vidalia. Executive Director Patricia Dixon is excited about this year’s campaign and the new goal.

“I’m very excited. We’ve got a great campaign team again this year just like in the past. Good leadership and we’re going to have a fantastic year changing the game,” said Dixon. She added, “Our goal is $550,000 this year. We had a general training at the beginning of the campaign and each division sets their own goal, that way their invested in making sure they hit their goal. Add that all up and it’s our grand total.”

While the goal is the same as last year, the hope is to exceed that and they’re off to a great start. “We feel like we’ll hit it. We’re off to a great start but we’ve still got a lot to raise,” Said Dixon. Approximately 65% of the goal has been raised through events and large donors called “Pacesetters.” The golf tournament raised $16,000, Dancing for the Stars - $16,000, Vidalia City Schools - $25,000, Meadows Health - $30,000, Chicken of the Sea - $20,000, DOT Foods - $44,000, Trane - $181,681.

Jackson Pittman from the Paul Anderson Youth Home thanked everyone for their support of the United Way and how it affected his life. “I was blessed with the opportunity to come to the youth home because without it I would not be half the man I am today. I would still be in jail, I would still be an addict, a criminal, a liar, angry at the world, I wouldn’t have a family to support me and above all I wouldn’t know Jesus Christ,” said Pittman.

He added, “Without the help of the United Way and everything you do for us, the Paul Anderson Youth Home wouldn’t have the resources they need to help guys just like me. So on behalf of myself and everyone else who have and will be helped by the home, thank you for your continued support.”

September 19--Young women, from across the state, came to compete for the prestigious titles of Miss Georgia Jr. High, High School, and Collegiate America 2020. In addition to these titles, thirteen Elementary titles were awarded during the fifth annual pageant for girls in Preschool through 5th grade. The state pageant was held this September 13-15 at the Henry County Performing Arts Center in McDonough, GA. One hundred and ten contestants participated in a 3-day event that included rehearsals, a disco party, and competition areas of interview, fashion runway, school wear, and formal wear. The national pageant organization and Julie and Anna Barnes, producers of the state pageant, make it a goal to provide outstanding elementary high school, junior high and collegiate girls the opportunity to compete in a pageant system that has the highest of moral values. The competition exists for the purpose of providing personal and professional opportunities for young women.

Crowning the new titleholders were last year’s winners, Shayla Jackson – Miss Georgia High School 2018 and the Miss High School America 2019 (Valdosta, GA) and Callie Rice – Miss Collegiate America 2020 (Fortson, GA). Siara Caspari (Cartersville, GA) was crowned Miss Georgia Junior High. Emma Grace Kelley (Buford, GA) was crowned Miss Georgia High School and Sarah Weeks (Canton, GA) was crowned Miss Georgia Collegiate.

Local Elementary Titles include:

Little Miss Georgia Preschool: Ashtyn Hartley (Tarrytown, GA)
Little Miss Georgia Kindergarten: Ava Carpenter (Uvalda, GA)
Dani Lyn
Little Miss Georgia PreK-2nd Grade Mini-Supreme: Dani-Lynn Williams (Vidalia, GA)
Little Miss Georgia PreK-2nd Grade Grand Supreme: Anberlin Carpenter (Uvalda, GA)

Other Elementary Titles include:

Little Miss Georgia First Grade: Adelyn Hollifield (Tiger, GA)
Little Miss Georgia Second Grade: Emma Charles Townsend (Statesboro, GA)
Little Miss Georgia Third Grade: Kenley McKinnon (Denton, GA)
Little Miss Georgia Fourth Grade: Blair Summerlin (Moultrie,GA)
Little Miss Georgia Fifth Grade: Brailyn Bailey (Thomasville, GA)
Little Miss Georgia PreK-2nd Grade Supreme: Tanala Rahmaad (Tucker, GA)
Little Miss Georgia 3rd-5th Grade Mini-Supreme: Ella Katherine Kennedy (Homerville, GA)
Little Miss Georgia 3rd-5th Grade Supreme: Addison Wells (Kennesaw, GA)
Little Miss Georgia 3rd-5th Grade Grand Supreme: Amelia Jeffery (Alma, GA)

The newly crowned titleholders will be traveling throughout the state of Georgia, making appearances and speaking on behalf of the national platform B.R.A.V.E. (Building Respect and Values for Everyone), an anti-bullying campaign. The winners will go on to represent Georgia and compete for the National titles of Miss Jr. High School America, Miss High School America, and Miss Collegiate America to be held in Little Rock, AR in June 2020.The national pageant awards the new queens with a $95,000 prize package including a $10,000 cash scholarship.  Our Elementary winners are eligible to join them during the week for the Crown Academy and the Miss Elementary America Pageant where winners will receive a $5,000 cash prize, a modeling contract with MMG, a cruise and much more. This is a mentorship/sister experience to show young girls the positive impact of pageantry, community service, and the pageant sisterhood!

For further information about Miss Georgia Elementary, Jr. High, High School, and Collegiate America Pageants, please visit or the national website

Superintendent Student Advisory Council 2
Left to Right: Zoey Alvarez; Andrew Norfleet

September 19--  Two J.R. Trippe Middle School students have been selected to the 2019-2020 GaDOE State Superintendent Student Advisory Council according to Principal Sandy Reid.  Zoey Alvarez and Andrew Norfleet were selected from more than 1,000 students who applied for the Student Advisory Council this year. "It is an honor to have been selected and these two are perfect candidates to represent the Vidalia City School System and community," said Reid.

The State Superintendent of Schools Student Advisory Council is a group of students in grades 7-12 who discuss how decisions made at the state level are affecting students throughout Georgia. Members meet three times throughout the school year with State Superintendent Woods and are advisors who act as liaisons between the Department of Education and the students of Georgia. Members were chosen by a committee of Georgia Department of Education representatives based on the applicant's response to questions. 

September 18--  All but two area high schools exceeded the state's average graduation rate in 2019 and six area schools are among 71 high schools with a graduation rate of more than 90%.

Vidalia High School is ranked ninth in the state with a graduation rate of 96.3% and has a goal of 100%, according to School Principal John Sharpe, who believes graduating every student is the most important thing a school can do, "We know a diploma doesn't guarantee success, but it does open doors and we want every student to be successful in what they choose to do.  I think everyone realizes now that it's the door that opens a pathway and I'm excited to see our other area schools having their graduation rates go up and if we're all focusing on that then maybe it will make families tell students the importance of getting that degree."

The second highest graduation rate in the area is at Montgomery County High School with a 94.6% rate, five points higher than last year.  School Principal Dr. Scott Barrow says it's due in large part to the personal attention which can be applied in a smaller school, "At a small school, we have a chance to build a lot of relationships and to get to know our students and their career goals.  For example, I met with every senior this past year and went over their transcripts and what we call their Individualized Graduation Plan.  We had a plan for graduation and then we monitored that throughout the year with our teachers and advisers, so it was a real team effort across the board."

Four area schools with graduation rates about 90% are Toombs County High School, Appling County High School, Emanuel County Institute and Metter High School.

Two other schools exceeded the state average, Jeff Davis High School and Tattnall County High School, while two schools graduated less than the state average, Swainsboro High School and Treutlen High School.

2019 Area High School Graduation Rates




Vidalia High School



Montgomery Co HS



Metter High School






Appling Co HS



Toombs Co HS



Jeff Davis Co HS



Tattnall Co HS



Treutlen HS



Swainsboro HS



State Average



September 18--  A former Bulloch County sheriff’s deputy has been indicted by a federal grand jury with possession of child pornography.

Travis Tuenge, 43, of Statesboro, had explicit images of children on his phone and is charged with one count of Possession of Child Pornography, said Bobby L. Christine, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Georgia. The charge carries a penalty of up to 20 years in federal prison, and there is no parole in the federal system.

“Exploitation of children through child pornography is a despicable crime that will not be tolerated in the Southern District of Georgia,” said U.S. Attorney Christine. “In cooperation with our law enforcement partners, we will find and prosecute these cases no matter the status of those engaging in this exploitation.”

Criminal indictments contain only charges; defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

The case was investigated by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation with assistance from the U.S. Marshals Service Southeast Regional Fugitive Task Force, and is being prosecuted for the United States by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Joshua S. Bearden and Marcela C. Mateo.

September 21--  Vidalia Police Chief Brian Scott reports the following arrests.

Forrest, Patrick- B/M- 39 YOA- 408 Dickerson Dr. Vidalia, GA- Warrant Served (Probation)

Whorley, Christopher Scott-B/M-47 YOA- 3647 E Louisiana Dr. Soperton , GA- Warrant Served( Bench)

Harvey, Sonia Marie- W/F- 30 YOA- 704 Mike St. Vidalia, GA- Warrant Served (Toombs County SO- State)

Edwards, Michael Anthony- B/M- 22 YOA- 659 Paul St. Macon, GA- Warrant Served (Toombs County SO- State)

Harden, Bernard Jr. - B/M- 24 YOA- 509 Bay St. Vidalia, GA Possession of Marijuana Less Than Ounce

Brown, Keaundre Deshawn- B/M- 18 YOA- 136 N. 10th Street Apt. 709 Lyons, GA- Give False Name, Address, Birthdate to

LE Officer (State Warrant)/Give False Name, Address, Birthdate to LE Officer

Mcleod, Octavia Nicole-B/F- 36 YOA- 611 Largo Dr. Vidalia, GA- Driving While License Suspended or Revoked (Second)/ Tail Light and Tag Light Requirements

Cronan, Brian Wayne- W/M- 46 YOA- 508 W. North St. Vidalia, GA- State Warrant (Lyons PD)

Phillips, Jaron Quanell- B/M- 37 YOA- 920 Allen Dr. Vidalia, GA- Tail Light and Tag Light Requirements (Bench Warrant)

Smith, Earl Mathew- B/M- 28 YOA- 248 GA Hwy 19 North Glenwood, GA- Seatbelt Violation, Possession of Marijuana Less Than Ounce, Possession of Firearms by Convicted Felon

Jospeh, Ji-Yonekair-B/M-17 YOA- 301 E Jenkins St. Vidalia, GA- Prowler

Bluitt, Dave Mack- B/M- 32 YOA- 405 Twelfth Ave. Vidalia, GA- Warrant Service (Washington County SO- State)

Artis, Jomarion- B/M- 18 YOA- 705 E. First St. Vidalia, GA Loitering or Prowling, Criminal Attempt to Commit Burglary

Holmes, Michael Leonard- B/M- 18 YOA- 705 E. First St. Vidalia, GA- Loitering or Prowling, Criminal Attempt to Commit Burglary

Thompson, Bernard- B/M- 31 YOA- 708 Mike St. Vidalia, GABattery, Interference With 911 Call, Cruelty to Children 3rd Degree- FVA (State Warrant); Willfully Obstruction of Police
Officer Simple/Verbal

O’Neal, Dorian Chase- W/M- 28 YOA- 1670 Bud Jordan Road Uvalda, GA- Theft by Shoplifting 1st Offense

Lyons Police Chief Wesley Walker reports the following arrests.

Curtis Matthews, Lyons, DUI, traffic violations

Albert Goodman, Lyons, DUI, driving unlicensed

Martin Lupercio, Lyons, DUI, open container, driving unlicensed, failure to maintain lane

Nathan Anthony, Jr., Augusta, seat belt, driving while license suspended/revoked

Eric Lane, Vidalia, DUI, possession of firearms by a convicted felon, controlled substance and drug related objects, warrant served

Toombs County Sheriff Junior Kight reports the following arrests.

Jamie Allen, Uvalda, theft by receiving stolen property, probation violation

Maryls Clark, Ailey, probation violation

Markevious Johnson, Lyons, burglary

Kenneth Jones, Soperton, possession of marijuana and drug related objects

Antoine Miller, failure to appear

Marcos Rodriguez, Reidsville, DUI, driving unlicensed

Keith Williford, Vidalia, probation violation

Charles Willis, Jr., theft by conversion, failure to appear, probation violation

Montgomery County Sheriff Doug Maybin reports the following arrests.

09/09-Orbey L. Gibbons, Vidalia, Misdemeanor Probation Violation

09/10-Nolan Marshall Hutchinson, Vidalia, DUI

09/12-Christopher Scott Whorley, Soperton, Driving w/Suspended License, Expired Tag

09/13-Rebecca Denise James, Kibbee, Criminal Trespass

09/14-Daron Vernard Berry, Mount Vernon, Battery (Family Violence)

September 17--  The Montgomery County School System is one of 90 school systems in Georgia to win a "Farm to School" Golden Radish Award this year.

The awards program was started four years ago by Georgia Organics to raise awareness for Georgia's "Farm to School" programs. The awards ceremony was held Tuesday at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta.

radishaward(L-R) Dr. Beverly Faircloth, Regina Harris and Ursula Spence

Regina Harris, Nutrition Director for Montgomery County schools, says School Superintendent Hugh Kight recommended using a courtyard space at the elementary school to help students learn how to garden, "They learn how to prepare the ground, they plant the produce and then harvest it.  We're trying to build better nutrition habits in our kids so they don't think the best way to eat is at fast food restaurants. We want them to experience a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables.  It tastes better and it's better for you."

In addition to the garden, School Principal Dr. Beverly Faircloth says some chickens, rabbits and goats also share the farmyard, "The children actually look outside and hear the rooster crowing each morning and it's not unusual to see either Dixie or Lilly, one of our goats, sticking their heads up to the window to see what the children are doing inside.  They know the hard work pays off for taking responsibility for what we eat and what we grow.  They've fallen in love with the animals and they love to help take care of them."

Ursula Spence of Vidalia works with Community Health Works and collaborated with Georgia Organics to include the Montgomery County School System in the statewide recognition program which is also supported by the Georgia Departments of Agriculture, Education and Public Health, the UGA Cooperative Extension Service and the Department of Early Care and Learning.

September 16-- Conservationists with the Georgia Department of Natural Resources are tracking Argentine Tegu Lizards which can grow up to four feet long.

teguThe Tegus love to eat eggs and are a threat to other species according to Matt Elliott, Assistant Chief of Wildlife Conservation, "They are a real generalist predator with a particular like for eggs. Any kind of ground nesting bird, turtles, gopher tortoises or things like that are prey for Tegus so we don't want them to become established. They eat almost anything, from fruit to small animals, but they love eggs."

Elliott says they've trapped eight of the lizards in the Toombs-Tattnall County area, "The Argentinian black and white Tegu has become quite popular as a pet and for a few years now have established themselves in Florida and recently we have a small population that may be established in southeast Georgia in the Vidalia area.

According to Elliott, the lizards are not aggressive to humans and he's seeking the public's help in mapping their locations.

If you see a Tegu, call the DNR at 478-994-1438 or send a picture to

September 16--  The Toombs County Board of Education recognized faculty and staff at its September meeting.

tcboemilesep19Meredith Broadnax (center) was presented the "Extra Mile Award" for certified staff by Toombs County High School Principal Marissa Morris and School Superintendent Barry Waller.


The "WOW Award" for classified staff was presented to para-professional Teresa McDonald (center) by Lyons Primary School Principal Chris Bell (left) and Superintendent Barry Waller.

By Senator Jack Hill, Reidsville


State revenues came in at a negative -2.8% for August, taking in $50.3 million less in August this year than last. Total revenues were $1.753 billion for the month.

Individual Income Taxes were down $59.3 million or -6.3% for the month. Inside those numbers, Individual withholding payments were down $90.9 million and Individual Income Tax Refunds were down $26.4 million. Individual Tax Return payments were up $4 million.


Sales Taxes account for a little less than one third of state revenues when including the auto fees. In August, net Sales Tax Revenues continued pretty strong, increasing 3.4% or $17.3 million.


Corporate Income Taxes, which finished strong at the end of FY 19, finished negative for the second month down -$12.7 million. Title Ad Valorem Fees and Tag, Title and Fees were both negative at -1.3% and -0.5% respectively.

Tobacco Tax revenues were negative at -5.5% and alcoholic beverages were positive at 9.2%.


Motor Fuel Taxes, Impact Fees and Hotel/Motel fees were up only $3.1 million altogether or 1.8% for the month.


Two months is not necessarily a trend, but it is hard to be enthusiastic with the Year to date (YTD) totals after July and August. Here's a list of categories:

Total Revenues

Up $5.3 million

Total Revenues by percent

Up 0.2%

Individual Income Taxes

Up $13.1 million

Individual Income Taxes by percent

Up 0.7%

Corporate Income Taxes

Down $44.09 million

Net Sales Taxes

Up 2.7%

Tag, Title and Fees

Up 6.2%

Title Ad Valorem Tax

Up 2.7%

Tobacco Taxes

Down -4.5%

Alcoholic Beverages

Up 1.5%


It's just the beginning of the Fiscal Year, but you can readily see why Gov. Kemp is being cautious about proceeding to spend the budget passed last session and is calling for 4% cuts in the current fiscal year and 6% cuts in the FY 21 year.

After two months, the state is under budget by some $97 million. The current budget is only showing an increase of a little over 3%, but the state needs about $50 million in new revenue monthly to meet this budget.

Just looking at current revenue numbers from adjoining states that we can access, we can see that not every state is sharing Georgia's lethargic revenue activity.


Year to Date Revenue Growth (From states that we could get data from at this time.)










0. 9%



12 Month Trailing Average through August













Whether it is the Income Tax Cut passed last year that started in January or some other factor adversely affecting Georgia's revenue growth, there is little doubt at this point that Georgia has something amiss in its revenue collections.

September 16--  Toombs County Middle School students for the month of August have worked hard by having good grades, attendance and citizenship.

tcmsstudentsAugust19First row from the top: Evan Adams, Sidney Smith, and Megan Clements, 

Second row from the top:Josue Lara, Memphis Soles, Aidan Barton: 

Third row from the top: Mahalia Hutcheson, Aubrey Gay: 

Fourth row: Mason Curl, Jamari Thomas, Citali Zamorano; 

Fifth row: Ella Kate Adams and Keegan Pittman. 

Not pictured: Ethan Heath.    

September 16--  The  J.R. Trippe Middle School chess team in Vidalia took first place in its first chess tournament of the year.

The Chiefs beat six other teams in the Ogeechee River Scholastic Chess Association tournament Saturday in Statesboro led by first place finisher Alexander Muzafarov, Connor Higgs in second place and Sukamar Paidi in fourth place. 

The Chiefs have won first place in the middle school division division for the past two years.

chiefschessPictured Left to Right: 

Back Row: Sukumar Paidi, Ryan Hadden, Ethan Hart, Om Patel, Olivia Taylor, Annika Haynes, Landry Wheeler

Middle Row: Gracie Green, Solan Swanson, Cullen Jackson, Kingston Ryals, Aiden Harvill

Front Row: Alexander Muzafarov, Spencer Mosley, Jude Collins, Nathan Britton, Aidan Ellis

Not Pictured: Connor Higgs

Carly BentonSeptember 16-- The Mercy Ministries is tens year old and they held a big celebration last week at their clinic in Lyons. Executive Director Carly Benton is excited about now far the clinic has come in ten years.

“We are celebrating a decade of serving patients in Toombs and surrounding counties that are uninsured, low income adults with chronic disease and just celebrating all that the Lord has done here in the last decade. We started out as a walk in clinic in the bathroom of the Jesus Inn and we are now what I call a full-service, holistic medical ministry where we offer medical care, dental care, and Mercy University classes where we offer to help people with their finances and work life,” Benton said.

Benton added, “Another thing we are celebrating is opening our second clinic site in Graham, Georgia to serve Appling, Jeff Davis, and Bacon counties. “

“One of the things going forward is to increase our capacity here in Lyons. We’ve been staying about a 500 active patients and our goal next year is go increase to about 600 active patients at a time and we want to deepen our impact,” said Benton.

Benton said, “We could not be here without all of our community partners. We have a great partnership with Meadows Health. We also rely on over 30 volunteers to help keep the doors open.”                                                 

September 12--  The Vidalia Police Department issued the following press release regarding a recent armed robbery at Dollar General.

On Tuesday, September 10, 2019, at about 9:30 p.m. officers with the Vidalia Police Department responded to a report of an armed robbery at Dollar General, 109 McIntosh Street. Two black males, wearing masks over their faces and armed with handguns, entered the store, confronted employees, and stole a cash drawer and bank bag. The two males fled the scene on foot. A K-9 Team from the Georgia Department of Corrections responded to conduct a track, but was unsuccessful in locating the offenders. Several customers were in the store and parking lot just prior to and while the robbery was occurring, but left before police arrived.   

If you were at or near the Dollar General at the time of the robbery or have information about this incident, please call the Vidalia Police Department – Criminal Investigations Division at 912-537-4123.  

911 Speaker photoSeptember 11-- The Downtown Vidalia Association held it’s 9/11 Memorial “Lest We Forget” Wednesday morning at 9 a.m. at Meadows Street Park in Vidalia. The guest speaker for the well attended event was Baxley native and retired Army Sergeant Leo Peeples.

Sergeant Peeples recalled that fateful day. “September 11th, 2001, the single deadliest attack in human history as well as the single deadliest incident for firefighters and law enforcement officers. 343 firefighters died that day. 72 law enforcement officers died that day. 2,996 innocent people perished.   As a result over 3,000 children lost their parents and over 6,000 people were injured,” said Peeples.

Peeples added, “Today there have been numerous 9/11 related deaths due to respiratory disease and cancer. Forty two minutes, two thousand five hundred and twenty seconds changed our lives forever. Our infrastructure was reshaped; a toll was taken on the economy. Strict travel regulations were implemented and domestic relations were drastically affected. But the United States of America is the greatest country in the world.”

Sergeant Peeples talked about the unity within the country after the attack. “We the people did not break in light of this tragedy. We banned together. Every sex, every race, every creed. And like a phoenix from the ashes and the unity of the citizens of the United States of America began to restore and rebuild,” said Peeples.

In closing Peeples stated, “Today we are grateful of all those who rendered aid and professional and private citizens. Today we thank our armed forces for their diligence in crisis. Today we pray for the survivors of every man, woman, and child effected that day. It has been echoed time and time again; all gave some, some gave all. Today we honor the memories of the victims of 9/11.”

September 11-- On this week’s Vidalia Today radio program Vidalia City Manager Nick Overstreet discussed the upcoming census and its importance to the City of Vidalia and its citizens.

“The census really means money for our community. The impact that the census can have on our funding, grants, things of that nature that we apply for are tremendous and it’s all because you took the time to complete it and it may not even be five minutes,” said Overstreet.

“We are partnering with the Chamber of Commerce and I’m looking forward to that and the business relationships that they have. We just want to make a tremendous impact and we are planning and strategizing now to be ready April 1st,” added Overstreet.

Unlike years past, the census is not all about going door to door. Now it’s online and there are options for people without internet access. Overstreet said, “You fill it out online, but if you don’t they will come around door to door. A lot of businesses, the chamber, the library have partnered together so there will be plenty of opportunities to get online for free and fill it out.”

The magic number for the county is thirty thousand and that can be reached if everyone in the county is counted. That’s the magic number to get big businesses to start coming.

September 10--  Vidalia City Council Ward 4 Candidate Loyd Mobley filed the response below in regards to the Ethics Complaint filed against him.


Mr. Robert Lane

200 Piedmont Ave SE

Suite, 1416 – West Tower

Atlanta, GA 30334

RE: Case #2014-0045

Mr. Lane,

My name is Loyd Mobley and I am running for the 4th Ward on Vidalia City Council. Thank you for the opportunity to respond to the allegations brought by Mr. Lawrence on August 28th, 2019. I believe the facts will clear up this issue and resolve these accusations.

On June 19th, 2019, Lisa Chesser announced that she was not running for reelection to city council. Around August 10th, I began to have some discussions with my friends, family, and coworkers about possibly running for this city council seat. One of the people I spoke with is Margie Beasley who does some of the graphics work for our office. She was excited about my running for this seat and on August 17th, without any prompting from me and without my knowledge, worked up a couple of logos that she thought I may want to use. She printed them out on some left-over paper from a previous job and brought them to me to consider. I took them home that night and put them on my kitchen counter. My granddaughter came over the same night and, being excited that I was running for city council, snapped a picture of one of the cards and posted it on her Facebook page without my knowledge or permission. On August 19th, I qualified to run for the city council seat and filled out all required paperwork.

As I hope you can tell from these events, there was never any purchase of any campaign materials. This was simply a friend excited about me running for city council and a proud granddaughter. Also, as you can see from my letterhead and any other campaign materials, we are not even using this original logo idea in my campaign.

The statute states, “Neither a candidate who is not a public officer nor his or her campaign committee may lawfully accept a campaign contribution until the candidate has filed with the commission a declaration of intention.” I never accepted a campaign contribution and I believe that my opponent knows this since he has multiple posts on Facebook announcing his candidacy, press releases, and news stories about his candidacy before he filed his DOI (see attached). This is just an attempt to create chaos and distract the voters from real issues.

I hope that this clarifies what happened and will put this issue to rest. It was not my intent to break any rule and I do not believe that I have. I would ask that this Commission close out this complaint as soon as possible. Again, thank you for the opportunity to respond to these allegations.


Loyd Mobley

September 10--  Vidalia Police Chief Brian Scott reports the following arrests.

Kight, Ronald Lee- W/M- 54 YOA- 714 Racket Town Road Lyons, GA- Obstruction, Hinder Law Enforcement/Warrant Served (Probation)

Jordan, April Denise- B/F- 36 YOA- 901 Fifth Ave Vidalia, GA- Simple Battery, Cruelty to Children (FVA)

Giles, Amanda D.- W/F- 38 YOA- 5111 Ga Hwy 178 Lyons, GA- Criminal Trespass, Simple Battery (State Warrant)

McCall, Eric Sheron- B/M- 27 YOA- 2208 Clifford Rogers Rd. Lyons, GA- Warrant Served (Toombs County SO- Probation)

Moye, Felton Leon- B/M- 52 YOA- 213 Fifth Ave Vidalia, GA- Simple Assault (State Warrant)

Pittman, Jeremy Brandon- W/M- 23 YOA- 3765 Old Normantown Rd. Vidalia, GA- Theft by Shoplifting 1st Offense 

Richardson, Christopher S. - W/M- 25 YOA- 118 Falcon Trl. Swainsboro GA- Warrant Served (Emanuel County SOBench)  

Wert,Todd Alan-W/M -(56) YOA-321 Jerriel Str. 10 Vidalia,Ga-Theft By Taking. 

Lyons Police Chief Wesley Walker reports the following arrests.

Joshua Stallings, Lyons, DUI-Less Safe Drugs, Headlight requirements, driving without license on person, windshield violation, improper display of license plate

Eddie King, Lyons, Driving while license suspended or revoked (first), No tag

Darin L. Hollis, Lyons, Theft by taking

Tameka Mesha Travis, Lyons, Georgia Hands Free Law, driving while unlicensed

Toombs County Sheriff Junior Kight reports the following arrests.

Janeth, Aguilar-Garcia, Lyons, Citation Arrest Warrant-Driving while unlicensed

Franklin Boone, Lyons, Bench Warrant-Cruelty to children (1st degree)

Mark Bryant, Lyons, Citation Arrest Warrant-Driving while license suspended or revoked(2nd or 3rd)

Tommy Bryson, Vidalia, Misdemeanor Arrest Warrant-Theft by Receiving Stolen Property

Samantha Deen, Lyons, Misdemeanor Arrest Warrant-Interference with custody, reckless conduct, cruelty to children (2nd degree)

Justin Jarriel, Reidsville, Probation-Misdemeanor Probation violation

Quanvonte Kent, Lyons, Citation Arrest Warrant-Driving while unlicensed, fleeing or attempting to elude a police officer, stop signs and yield signs

Lanoriss Lawson, Gainesville, GA Probation-Felony Warrant Probation Violation Felony

Daniel Roundtree Jr., Vidalia, Bench Warrant Failure to appear

Montgomery County Sheriff Doug Maybin reports the following arrests.

09/04-Justin Paul Jerriel, Dahlonega, Aggravated Assault, Burglary

09/05-Kenneth Bradley Clifton, Anderson, SC, Bench Warrant Served

09/07-Steve Galbreath, Ailey, Aggravated Assault, Aggravated Battery, Possession of Firearm/Knife During Commission of Crime

September 9--  Medical employers from all across Southeastern Technical College’s (STC) service area will be present for a Medical Job Fair on the Vidalia campus September 18, 2019 from 9 am -12 pm.

This event is open to the public. Students and graduates are strongly encouraged to attend this great opportunity to network. Attendees will be given the opportunity to be face-to-face with employers in their desired profession and company representatives will have a chance to meet STC’s talent.

Director of Career Services Lance Helms said, “This is the opportunity to meet with a company in a way candidates might otherwise not get by traditionally completing an application at a place of business. Many of these employers have positions that need to be filled.”

Helms says attendees should approach the event as an interview opportunity. Job seekers should dress professionally and bring resumes in the event that a company ask for a copy.

STC is committed to supporting local businesses and maintaining alliance with community partners. Planning to attend this year are: Affinis Hospice, Azalea Health & Rehabilitation, Bacon County Hospital and Health System, BB&T Bank, Coastal Home Care, CORE Credit Union, CoreCivic-Wheeler Correctional Facility, Eagle Health & Rehabilitation, East Georgia Healthcare Center, East Georgia Regional Medical Center, East Georgia State College Department of Nursing, Federal Correctional Institution-Jesup, Hazlehurst Court Care and Rehabilitation Center, HCA Healthcare, Meadows Health, Meadows Park Health & Rehabilitation, Oxley Park Health & Rehabilitation, ResCare HomeCare, Right from the Start Medical Assistance Group, Rogers State Prison, Telamon Corporation, The Oaks-Bethany, The Sunshine House, Toombs County Health Department, TRACE Staffing Solutions, Troy University.

Medical employers who would like to participate may email Lance Helms at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

For more information on Southeastern Technical College, call 912-538-3100 or 478-289-2200, or visit

September 7--  The first ever "Rotaract Club"in Vidalia was introduced at a community-wide meeting hosted by the Vidalia Rotary Club.

roteract(L-R) Treasurer Anna Humphrey, Rotary President Steven McComas, Rotaract Liaison Chad Richey, Rotaract President Marissa Brown, Secretary Dana Brown, Outreach Leader Evan Riekhof, Vice-President Irene Alamilla-Castro and Rotary Assistant District Governor Greg Hudgins. Not pictured, Rotaract President-elect Matt Helms and Membership Director Anna Helms.

Rotaract focuses on developing new leaders according to Chad Ritche who acts as the liaison between Vidalia Rotarians and the new club, "This is going to be a great opportunity for young professionals who don't necessarily know where they belong as they start their careers to find a place where they can network together, get leadership development and find ways to serve our community."

Marissa Brown is with Chic-fil-A and is the Vidalia Rotaract Club's first president, "We're looking for a lot of young professionals who are going to be part of helping transform this community and be able to follow in the footsteps of really great leaders who have built this community but also be able to bring in some new ideas to help serve this community well."

Vidalia Rotary Club President Steven McComas sees initiatives like Rotaract as vital to the future of rural Georgia, "Looking at the statistics being published by the Toombs-Montgomery Chamber of Commerce and state and local analysis, if we don't invest in our young people, we're not going to have a future.

"Our forefathers thought way ahead with our airport, our infrastructure and growth and the diversification of our industries.  We need to do the same now.  Now it's our turn to step up and be part of the solution, as Marissa was saying, and grow this community.

"Without our young professionals this is not going to happen.  We need to grow in our agri-business area, we need to grow in manufacturing, we need to grow in our schools and we need to grow in our faith. 

"Without these young people getting the support of our leadership and the mentoring we can offer, not only through the Vidalia Rotary Club, but frankly through the leaders in this region, it's not going to happen.  That's what makes this place a beautiful place to live, our willingness to step up and help these young professionals succeed," McComas said.

Roteract was founded more than 50 years ago by a Rotary Club in Charlotte, North Carolina and now has nearly 11,000 clubs in 184 countries.

Pre k August
L to R: Cade Biddle, Eli Calhoun, Adriana Ibarra, Natalie Limon Confessor, and Bryson Sunshine.
kindergarten August
Back row L to R: Gavin Martinez, Isabelle Johnson, Allie Lawson, Jakaylee Mincey, Danny Zamorano, Charles Johnson, Easton Altman.
Front row L to R: Emma Dyess and Melissa Quintana
1st Grade
1st grade august
Back row L to R: Elijah Clark, Lamar Palle, Jaylin Cardwell, Nelson Ramirez Lopez, Cole Schuchman.
Front row L to R: Jaiden McCullough, Macenzie Burton, Isabel Zamorano.
2nd Grade
2nd grade August
Back row L to R: Brycen Landrum, Cason Bell, LeNiya Bobbit, Alexis Brunson, Ava Paul.
Front row L to R: Kaylee Dingle, Serenity McClendon, Leo Martinez.

September 6--  The August term of the Toombs County grand jury returned 23 indictments.

Drug-Related Indictments

Zacheriah Wright for possession of methamphetamine.

Paul Harden for possession of methamphetamine.

Dayvell Spikes for possession of cocaine, methamphetamine and marijuana with intent to distribute.

Chad Clark for possession of cocaine.

Alonzo Kirkland for possession of cocaine with intent to distribute.

Brett Youmans for possession of methamphetamine.

Indicted for other alleged crimes are:

Charles Carter for aggravated assault for choking John Sheppard and for threatening him with murder.

Nyque Price for the aggravated battery of Danny Lee Webb.

Danny Lee Knight, Jr. for aggravated assault of his wife.

Michael Scott, Jr. for theft by receiving stolen property, a Honda 4-wheeler.

Kenneth Clay, Sr.and Robert Beckworth for failure to register as a sex offender.

Andrew Carroll for aggravated sodomy.

Lonnie Davis for aggravated assault of Moses Holloway, attempted aggravated assault against Vidalia Police Officer Matthew Bell and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.

Markuise Powell for possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.

Rasheeda Fowler and Andre Govan for the aggravated battery of Michael Roche.

Steven Sanchez for threatening to kill Toombs County Deputy Sheriff Derrick Powell.

Lisa Nesbitt and Cardell Sweat for theft by receiving stolen property, a 2015 Polaris Sportsman 570 stolen from Jay Orres.

Brandon Green, Markevious Johnson and Waylon Waters for burglary at the home of Tommy Kirkley in Vidalia.

Gregory Hester for aggravated assault and battery of his daughter.

Lorrey Lynn for burglary, battery of Carolyn Harden, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon and possession of methamphetamine.

Justin Wyant and Darius Kee for computer pornography.

By Senator Jack Hill of Reidsville


Everything today seems to have two sides. The question of whether there is a recession ahead has been floating around for the past year. In fact, a year ago, I was ready to write about the reasons I thought a recession was eminent. So that didn't happen.

Today, there are signs that point towards a slowdown of some kind in the near future. But there are also positives that detract from that conclusion.

So, here are my takes on the signs of a coming recession and the positive signs that may delay or keep one from occurring.


1. This is the longest length of positive economic growth on record. So, just that fact alone leads one to the conclusion that a recession must be around the corner.

2. The U.S. is not an island....As good as the U.S. economy is chugging along, America is not immune to the faltering world economy and sooner rather than later, its effects will bring down our economy as well.

3. The tariffs war is damaging to the U.S. economy. As noble as the aims of bringing China to some sort of honest trade policy, the current tariff war is crippling agriculture and hurting many manufacturing businesses. Many believe that pressure will lead our economy into recession.

4. Factory production is basic to every economy. A report in the Wall Street Journal recently noted that U.S. manufacturing shrank last month for the first time in 3 years citing the U.S. economy and increasing trade issues with China.

5. GDP of course is the ultimate measuring stick of the economy. The U.S. Commerce Dept. recently reported that GDP rose at a seasonally adjusted rate of 2.0% in the second quarter, less that the 3.1% in the first quarter.

6. The Institute for Supply Management reported slippage in the manufacturing index. Then they referred to the Inverted Yield Curve as a can't miss predictor of recessions citing the yield on the 10 year Treasury bonds dipping below that of the two-year bonds....a reliable predictor, they say, to the last three recessions.

There is a counter argument (isn't there always today?) that Europe's and Japan's banks' negative bond rates and purposeful bond buying are indirectly depressing the U.S. long-term rates.

7. Explaining the rise and fall of the dollar and the whole world-wide currency market is somewhat like explaining what pass interference is...although the NFL will take additional time this year to get it wrong... according to which team you are for. Maybe the simplest way to explain it is that the rise in the value of the dollar follows the uncertainty of the world economy, the unrest over tariff wars imports/exports and other nations' currency instability.

8. There's consumer buying, which is strong and then there's the measurement of consumer sentiment, maybe a better predictor of times to come. The University of Michigan publishes a widely known and regarded index of Consumer Sentiment. In August this Consumer Sentiment Index posted its largest monthly decline since December of 2012, almost 7 years ago. The index reflected fears of rising taxes and decreasing government spending and included negative references to the tariffs war, a problem noted by one third of respondents.


1. Consumer confidence means everything. That is why it is measured and reported regularly. One of the high spots of the U.S. economy has been the continuing strong showing in consumer spending and the shows of confidence by consumers. Reports from the Commerce Department for July show a seasonally adjusted increase of 0.6% in household spending from June, an increased rate from April and May.

2. It's hard to argue with the historically low unemployment rate both nationally (3.7 %) and in Georgia (3.6%) and with the solid continued job growth. While some many argue about how many are still not in the job market, the fact remains that there are plenty of jobs.

3. The August Non-Manufacturing ISM Report on Business showed economic activity growing for the 115th straight month in the U.S. The Growth in the non-manufacturing sector registered 2.7% higher than the July reading. The Non-Manufacturing Business Activity Index jumped 8.4 percentage points from July increasing for the 121st month.

4. On Sept. 3, Boston Federal Reserve head Eric Rosengren turned a deaf ear to the sounds of a coming recession. He doesn't buy the bond-market palpitations predicting a downturn, preferring to focus on how policies should continue to support and "achieve the Fed's congressionally mandated goals of maximum employment and stable prices." While he sees risks, he still does not see the level mandating aggressive action by the Fed.

5. The Bureau of Labor Statistics report for July showed an increase in non- farm payroll employment of 164,000 jobs with rises in professional and technical services, health care, social assistance and financial activities.

6. The same report showed that hourly earnings have increased 3.2% over the year.

7. Today, September 6, the U.S. Labor Department reported 130,000 non-farm jobs were added in August, that's good but not great, but the unemployment rate stayed at 3.7%.


There is just a swirl of activity and countermanding statistics flowing back and forth concerning the state of the economy. There are certainly signs of a slowing economy, but even so, there continue to be plenty of positive factors at play. And too, what will be the effect of an expected additional cut in the Fed rate? The glass is half full but gurgling!

Sept 9--Altamaha EMC’s Operation Round Up program provides assistance to charitable organizations and agencies in the seven counties served by Altamaha EMC.

All Operation Round Up donations are administered through the Altamaha EMC Foundation, an independent organization governed by a board of directors made up of community leaders. Each quarter, this board evaluates all applications for funding and determines how the funds will be distributed. The Altamaha EMC Foundation Board recently awarded grants to benefit six local agencies.

WINGSWINGS of Dublin, GA received a $2,500 grant to purchase supplies needed for their prevention program which is offered to middle-school, high-school and college students. WINGS supports families of domestic violence by providing safe shelter for victims and their children. (Pictured L-R: Heather Mullis, WINGS Executive Director and Tammye Vaughn, Altamaha EMC Foundation Coordinator)

SECCASoutheastern Early College and Career Academy (SECCA) is an educational partnership among four local school systems and Southeastern Technical College where high school students participate in courses directly relevant to their career choices. SECCA received a $5,000 grant to help create an Energy Industry Pathway to prepare students for careers in the energy industry. (Pictured L-R: George McLendon, Altamaha EMC Assistant Manager; Romanous Dotson, Altamaha EMC General Manager; Mack Griffin, Altamaha EMC Foundation Board Chairman; Kip Hart, SECCA Energy Pathways Instructor; David Avery, SECCA Director of High School Programs; and Tammye Vaughn, Altamaha EMC Foundation Coordinator)

Vidalia City SchoolsVidalia City Schools received a grant for $2,500 to help sustain the 21st Century after school program for the upcoming school year. (Ginger Morris, Vidalia City Schools Assistant Superintendent; Jared Sharpe, Vidalia Learning Center Site Coordinator; Paige Williamson, Vidalia Learning Center Program Manager; Mack Griffin, Altamaha EMC Foundation Board Chairman; and Romanous Dotson, Altamaha EMC General Manager)

Toombs County Family Intervention CenterThe Toombs County Family Intervention Center was formed in 1980 to provide after school programming to Toombs County youth ages 12 – 17. Their goal is to help youth develop life skills and build strong character. The Center received a $5,000 grant to help purchase a van to transport their students. (Pictured L-R: Mack Griffin, Altamaha EMC Foundation Board Chairman; Maude Anderson, Family Intervention Center Executive Director; Wesley Walker, Lyons Police Chief; Tracy Johnson, Family Intervention Center; and Romanous Dotson, Altamaha EMC General Manager)

Toombs County Boys & Girls ClubA $2,000 grant was awarded to the Toombs County Boys & Girls Club to establish and reading and STEAM curriculum to enhance learning for the 250 plus children and teens who attend the club. (Pictured L-R: Mack Griffin, Altamaha EMC Foundation Board Chairman; Wes Chapman, Boys & Girls Club of Toombs County Board Chairman; Ralph Goethe, Boys and Girls Club of Toombs County CEO; and Romanous Dotson, Altamaha EMC General Manager)

Muscular Dystrophy AssociationA $1,500 grant awarded to the Muscular Dystrophy Association will help fund the costs for two local children with muscular dystrophy to attend the MDA summer camp at Camp Twin Lakes. (Pictured L-R: Vivian Stewart, MDA Development Coordinator; George McLendon, Altamaha EMC Assistant Manager; and Bridgett Monroe, MDA Executive Director)

Interested charitable organizations and agencies can apply for funding by completing the required application which can be found on Altamaha EMC’s website at For more information, contact Tammye Vaughn at 912-526-2120.

September 6-- This morning, prior to his Georgia Children’s Cabinet meeting in Macon, the Council of Probate Court Judges of Georgia honored Georgia State Senator Blake Tillery of Vidalia as one of three recipients of the 2019 Legislative Recognition Award.

For the first time since its inception, the Council awarded the honor to three recipients: Senator Tillery, Georgia State Representative Chuck Efstration and Jones County Probate Court Judge Mike Greene.

tilleryprobateTreutlen County Probate Judge T. J. Hudson (right), the Council’s current president, and Dooly County Probate Judge Rooney Bowen, III (left) presented the award to Senator Tillery on the Council’s behalf.

“Senator Tillery has always been a friend to our Council and on matters of importance to our class of court, he has always made sure we had a seat at the table,” said Judge Hudson. “Senator Tillery is respected among our judges and we thank him for his tireless work on behalf of the citizens of our state.”

The Legislative Recognition Award is an honor awarded on an annual basis, as selected by the Council’s Executive Committee and leadership.

Last year’s recipients of the award were Georgia State Senator Jeff Mullis and Georgia State Representative Barry Fleming.

September 6--  The City of Vidalia has some 5,500 water customers and about 50 of them were shocked when their water bills arrived this month to see they had bills in the thousands of dollars.

City Finance Director Bill Bedingfield says it was a perfect storm that caused the bad billing, "We're up against some bad reads from the handhelds which came in and our ability to handle the edits.  Some of the edits slipped through the system and for that we apologize.  Usually we get it done before we send the bills out and for that we are very sorry."

Bedingfield says the city has some new meter readers who made mistakes reading meters.  In one case, a local bank got a bill for $400,000, "It was huge number and when you get some bad numbers put in the system and they come through, that's what it looks like and that's what got billed out."

Compounding the erroneous meter readings was the distraction of more than 800 meters which are turned off and have to be checked to insure no one is stealing water. Bedingfield reports the focus on checking those idle meters allowed the bad meter readings to get through the system, "We had idle meter reads that came in without a reading on any of them and we had to manually go in and try to put a read in there before we could even process bills."

Bedingfield urges customers who haven't already called to call City Hall to get their water bills corrected and also says those who pay online should have already had their online bills adjusted.

September 6--  The Lyons City Council has approved a tentative raise of one mil to the city's property tax rate and is looking at ways to cut expenses to dig its way out of what City Councilman Larry Griggers has called a fiscal crisis.

Lyons City Manager Jason Hall says, "Kudos to our council.  They took almost two months in evaluating this budget and they did not look at just one thing. They looked at expenditure cuts, they looked at revenues and they looked at ways to make our processes quicker and more efficient.  They did a really good job and spent a lot of time on this process.  We are making good use of not only the tax dollars but the revenue dollars we receive."

The city manager says both employee levels and services are being evaluated, "All of our departments have evaluated their personnel and are making adjustments as we speak.  They're not massive cuts and most citizens will not see a difference in what employees are out on the street," and regarding services, "We're still going to do the same jobs for the services, we're just becoming more efficient and leaner."

Public hearings on the property tax rate increase will be held Thursday, September 12 at noon and six p.m. at City Hall and again on Thursday, September 19th at six p.m.  A called council meeting will be held immediately thereafter at 6:30 p.m. to vote on the increase.

In other actions at its September meeting, the city council:

* Approved a Memorandum of Understanding with the Toombs County Board of Education allowing city use of school athletic fields for $15,000 annually.

* Hired attorney Jess Clifton to be the part-time city court prosecutor for $400 a month.

* Approved a zoning variance allowing Mona Jones to build mini-warehouses for storage and a residence on three-and-a-quarter acres at 721 South State Street.

* Hired the engineering consulting firm of Carter & Sloope to apply for grants extending city water and sewer to a site north of Highway 130 and another for infrastructure improvements at a site to be determined.

September 5--  The Higgston dog breeder who made national headlines in January for animal cruelty has had a new indictment returned against her by a Candler County grand jury.

angelapowellmcshoAngela Powell was indicted on three additional charges of aggravated cruelty to animals after veterinarians at the University of Georgia examined dog bones found on her property. She now faces a total of 35 counts in the case.

Powell was arrested in January after more than 160 dogs were recovered from her property in Candler County. 

She's also facing animal cruelty charges in Montgomery County where 91 dogs were found living in mud, feces and urine at her kennel in Higgston.

September 5--  Vidalia Police Chief Brian Scott reports the following arrests.

Holder, Anthony Dewayne – 41 YOA – W/M – 1055 Goodhope Rd NE Dalton Ga. / DUI

Smith,Tayniesha Chivon- 36 YOA-B/F -704 Stuart St Vidalia- Driving While License Suspended

Brown, Angelia Denise – B/F- 54 YOA – 611 Washington St Vidalia / Financial Transaction Card Fraud/ Financial Transaction Card Theft

Hagan, Davion Antojun- B/M- 17 YOA- 2317 Cadillac Dr. Vidalia, GA- Controlled Substance not in Original Container

Stephens, William Kyle- W/M- 27 YOA- 1222 Orange St. Vidalia, GA- Warrant Served (Montgomery County SOProbation)/Possession of a Controlled Substance

Collier, Krista M. - W/F- 21 YOA- 128 Collins St. Reidsville, GA- Theft by Shoplifting 1st (Probation Warrant)

Harden, Bernard Jr. - B/M- 24 YOA- 509 Bay St. Vidalia, GAPossession of Marijuana Less Than Ounce (Bench Warrant)

Smith, James Dean- W/M-54 YOA- Homeless, Vidalia, Ga- Criminal Trespass/ Theft of Services/ Possession of Controlled Substance

Wooden, Sheena L. - B/F- 27 YOA- 207 B Locke St. Vidalia, GA- Probation Warrant

Burley, Andrae Devon- B/M- 37 YOA- 504 Madison St. Vidalia, GA- Driving While License Suspended or Revoked (Second)

Collins, Quintarius- B/M- 22 YOA- 1139 Temple St. Mt. Vernon, GA- Warrant Served (Montgomery County SOProbation)

Wright, Brittany Mercedes- B/F- 24 YOA- 264-1 E. Liberty Ave. Lyons, GA- Criminal Trespass, Willfully Obstruction of Police Officer Simple/Verbal

Ogrodoski, Anthony Paul – W/M – 55 YOA – 303 Jerriel St Apt F8 Vidalia – Theft by Shoplifting / Disorderly Conduct

Scott, Brandon Antron- B/M- 31 YOA- 618 Old Dairy Rd Ailey, GA- Give False Name and Birthdate to LEO

Smith, Tyreeca A.- B/M – 19 YOA- 706 Loop Rd Apt 606 Vidalia – Theft by Shoplifting

Lyons Police Chief Wesley Walker reports the following arrests.

Donnie Martin, Vidalia, warrant served

Scott Dailey, Lyons, warrant served, giving false info to officer

Jackson Graham, Lyons, DUI, traffic violations

Pamela Cook, Uvalda, warrant served

Thomas Martin, Claxton, DUI, traffic violations

Toombs County Sheriff Junior Kight reports the following arrests.

Sonya Clifton, Lyons, driving while license suspended/revoked, stop and yield signs

Christian Conley, Uvalda, possession of marijuana; purchase, possession, manufacture, distribution and sale of controlled substance

Steven Copeland, Lyons, probation violation

Joseph Harden, Lyons, probation violation

Connor McCoy, Vidalia, possession of marijuana; purchase, possession, manufacture, distribution and sale of controlled substance, possession of firearm or knife during certain crimes

James Odom, Lyons, requesting ambulance service when no need exists

Sherrie Wilkerson, Vidalia, probation violation

Montgomery County Sheriff Doug Maybin reports the following arrests.

08/27-Cameron Sloan Sapp, Claxton, Theft by Deception

08/27-Sonny Moore, Uvalda, Possession of Methamphetamine, Possession of Drug Related Objects, Expired Tag

08/27-Steven Dewayne Tanner, Soperton, Criminal Damage to Property-1st

08/28-Peyton Ray Page, Mount Vernon, Theft by Taking

09/01-Quintarius Jaquan Collins, Mount Vernon, Felony Probation Violation (x3)

September 4--  A teacher at Sally Meadows Elementary School in Vidalia has been on pins and needles all week at Hurricane Dorian moved ever so slowly through the Bahamas and brought devastation to the island where her family lives.

Ashley Driggers of Tarrytown got a message relayed from her Dad,  "When I got the call on Monday morning, my Dad got word to someone to get a message to us that they were all safe.  It was the biggest relief because we had absolutely no idea whether they made it or not.  We'd just seen the decimation everywhere else and we're definitely thankful to hear that," she said.

greencay1Ashley learned today that her Mom and Dad's home suffered roof and water damage, but is still livable.  However, the same is not true about her brother's home, "His house is totally gone.  It's looks like possibly a tornado hit his house. They were finally able to fly over today and take some aerial shots and his house is totally flattened and he lives probably a quarter of a mile down the road from my parents.  So, it was probably a tornado because their house was left standing but his is totally gone," she said.

Ashley grew up on a small island in the Bahamas before attending  Valdosta State where she met her husband, Matt, "Our island is called Green Turtle Cay.  Approximately 500 people live there.  It's three miles long by one mile wide at its widest point, so it's a very, very small community.  If anybody goes on Facebook, they can friend me and see some of the pictures I have shared showing just how they have banded together since Monday to clean it up.  They definitely need a lot of help in rebuilding because so many people have lost their homes.

"There is a 'Go Fund Me' to just benefit this community itself with building needs, generators, tarps to start off with and as time goes on just help building their homes back." she reported.

Two ways to help-

Go fund me specially for Ashley's brother and his wife.

Go fund me for Green Turtle Cay -

September 4--  A Lyons City Councilman says the city is facing a fiscal crisis after the city council voted to raise the city's property tax rate by one mil at its September meeting.

Ward One Councilman Larry Griggers talks about the evolution of the situation in a blog posted below.

I Hate To Say I Told You So

Screenshot 2019-09-04 16.54.49At the regular meeting of the Lyons City Council held on September 3, 2019, I, along with all the other members, voted to amend the budget and increase the millage rate in Lyons from last year’s 2.89 to 3.89 mills. While still significantly below the statewide average city millage rate of 5.0 mills, it is nonetheless disappointing to have to raise taxes, but I saw it coming.

Those of you who follow this blog will remember the city’s struggle to repair our aging water and sewer (W&S) system. The two 30-year old sewage treatment plants were in bad need of repair or replacement. Those city elected officials that preceded me had been working on the problem for years. Adding urgency to the problem was the Toombs County Development Authority (TCDA) urging Lyons to increase the size of the north sewage treatment plant to provide additional capacity to the Industrial Park located on US # 1 North.

The TCDA had told Lyons that they had several prospects of industrial food processors that were interested in locating in the park, but they were worried about the sufficiency of the excess capacity of our existing north plant to meet their needs. If we built a bigger plant this time on the north side, they argued, industrial clients would beat a path to our door and the W&S revenue from these new industries would more than pay for the system. Everyone would be happy.

I was skeptical. The industrial park has only managed to attract and keep only one industry in its 20 years of existence … Chicken of the Sea (COTS), and it has only been there 9 years. One other industry, a dog food processing plant, did not last long enough to begin paying property taxes (the TCDA normally exempts new industries from paying any property taxes for their first 10 years as an incentive to get them to locate here). There was no guarantee that new industries would come or that COTS would remain.

The engineer had designed a new sewage treatment plant for the north site and a refurbishment of the east plant and the city had put it out for bids. The low bid was an eye-popping $17,538,000! On my second city council meeting, on February 6, 2018, I moved to reject all bids and start over. That motion passed. After a long search for a better way, I suggested we just refurbish the two existing systems and connect them together. That way, we could give the industrial park access to both treatment plants and increase the available capacity without expanding the size beyond what Lyons could afford. On March 5, 2019, I seconded Councilman Rick Hartley’s motion to award a bid to McLendon Enterprises, Inc. to do just that, for $6,706,948.36. Almost an $11 million dollar savings from the original plan!

But more trouble was unfolding.

Screenshot 2019-09-04 17.00.46When we were in the process of preparing the 2019 budget, I discovered that we had another growing funding problem. Four years ago, presumably when the city was preparing to replace its aging sewage treatment facilities and its W&S infrastructure, the city council voted for a rate increase for W&S customers. It was designed to be greater than the current needs for maintenance and operations, I understand, to build in a surplus to pay down the debt the city would incur when it borrowed the money for the new system and to replace the aging pipes throughout the city, which were bursting at an ever increasing rate as they got older. (I should note that I was not there for these discussions and am just basing this on what I have been told.)

The new rate structure indeed generated about $200,000 to $300,000 more than was needed to cover ongoing maintenance and operation of the W&S system, but rather than put the excess funds in a sinking fund for future use as originally planned, the city started transferring the surplus to the general fund to pay for expansion of the other departments (primary the police department, but also the recreation department, street maintenance department and administration department).

I questioned the legality of these transfers and the Mayor agreed to have the city attorney look at it. He opined that it was legal. I then asked the city auditor whether the practice was consistent with generally accepted accounting practices. He opined that it was not only consistent, but common among cities.

I was disappointed. But while it may be legal and common, I argued at our workshops that it wasn’t prudent for the city of Lyons’ financial circumstances. I told the Mayor and Council that the practice was going to come back to bite us.

And it did.

Our largest water user, Chicken of the Sea, put in new equipment and procedures not too long ago and started recycling their water. Their water bill dropped in half and the city lost more than $30,000 a month in water revenue. With that, coupled with the loss of the dog food processer, the surplus in the W&S fund changed to a deficit that was growing at a rate of about $484,000 a year.

By the end of this calendar year, the W&S fund deficit was projected by the City Manager to be about $231,000. The city had lost the surplus from the W&S fund and was now facing having to supplement the fund from the General Fund. Overall, we were facing a $330,000 deficit over and above what we budgeted in 2018. While there were other contributing factors (for example, there was a 33% decrease of $49,272 in fines and forfeitures collected by the police department), that one industry alone changing its water usage pattern was the major factor that had thrown us into a fiscal crisis.

I had seen this when I was heading up the Property Tax Division of the Georgia Department of Revenue before I retired. Counties and cities would take on huge debt to lure supposed job-producing industries to their communities, only to have those industries adopt new technologies that reduced the promised jobs significantly. Additionally, since NAFTA and free trade has driven most of our industrial production to China, India and other countries, it was not uncommon for industries to leave the country before the community where they were formerly located could collect enough revenue from them to offset the cost of building out the infrastructure necessary to serve them. Adding to the woes, modern industries were offering fewer jobs compared to the industries of old. Most are now automated, and when you figure in the property tax exemption incentives they get, it is not uncommon for a city or county to find, after all the smoke has cleared, that it costs more to attract industry than they get out of the industry in the form of jobs and taxes. Local taxpayers are effectively supplementing the industry’s bottom line.

So, here we are. The city has expand its other services using revenue from the W&S fund that turned out to be temporary and the TCDA turned out to have no tenants waiting in the wings after all (at least not yet). We are now in the throws of a fiscal crisis. Just like I predicted.

Screenshot 2019-09-04 16.55.04The Finance Committee (I don’t serve on that one) met to figure out what to do. One mill only produces about $98,000 in our city, so they were looking at a 3.41 mill tax increase to balance this year’s budget at the current level of spending. After weeks of struggling with the problem, that committee decided the best course of action was to increase the millage rate by 1 mill, draw some funds from the city’s reserves, and make dramatic cuts in budgets of the city departments.

The Council voted to approve this recommendation of the Finance Committee. It is not going to be easy. Virtually all of the part-time employees and some of the full-time employees are going to have to be let go, which is not going to help employment opportunities in our community. Repairs are going to be delayed, services are going to be cut back and purchases are going to be postponed.

These are temporary fixes to get us through the end of 2019. Later this year, the Mayor and Council will need to sit down and figure out a more permanent solution as we prepare the 2020 budget. We will need to look again at further spending cuts and for new sources of revenue, along with a new look at the level of services we provide the citizens, and whether these align with the needs and wishes of the community we serve.

Rest assured I will be advocating for a W&S rate schedule that provides what we need to maintain and operate the system, have a reasonable reserve for the replacement of our aging infrastructure, and to pay down the debt for the refurbishment of our sewage treatment facilities. I will strongly oppose any effort to use any accumulated surplus funds for anything other than being maintaining in a contingency fund to replace our infrastructure as it wears out. I will certain resist any move to transfer surplus funds, if we have any, to the general fund to support the other departments which should be funded by sales taxes, fees, fines, forfeitures and property taxes.

Screenshot 2019-09-04 16.55.35There is a happy balance between what level of services the citizens need and want and what they are able to afford. I will be comparing our level of services to those offered by other cities of comparable size and comparable circumstances to help strike that balance. Stay tuned and stay involved …

September 4-- Contraflow for vehicle traffic on I-16 was removed today, and I-16 has returned to normal east/west operation.

However, according to the Georgia Department of Transportation, removing the contraflow is not an invitation to return to potentially impacted areas.

The public should continue to heed the governor's emergency declaration for affected counties and is encouraged to evacuate immediately as storm conditions are expected to continue to deteriorate and evacuation may become difficult or dangerous.  

September 4--  Robin Builders in Lyons is partnering with Southeastern Early College and Career Academy in Vidalia to provide part-time employment for the school's students.

Robin Builders manufactures storage buildings, greenhouses, screen rooms and play houses and owner Wayne Hartley says, Robin Builders is proud to support the students and staff at SECCA.  As a local manufacturer, we need students to be aware of our local career opportunities and we need them prepared for those jobs.  We’re thankful for SECCA’s efforts on behalf of our future employees."

SECCAROBIN(L-R) Don Betts, SECCA board member, David Avery, SECCA Principal, Wayne Hartley, Shelly Smith, SECCA CEO, and Chris Hartley.  

September 4--  This morning Georgia Governor Brian Kemp issued an executive order adding nine southeast Georgia counties to the Hurricane Dorian emergency declaration which was initially issued August 29.  This brings to 21 the number of counties covered by the declaration.


WHEREAS: The National Hurricane Center forecasts Hurricane Dorian will produce excessive rainfall and damaging winds, causing extensive flooding, fallen trees, and power outages in Georgia; and

WHEREAS: This storm system has the potential to produce catastrophic impacts to citizens throughout the southeast region of the United States, including the state of Georgia; and

WHEREAS: Due to downed trees, power lines, and debris, Georgia’s network of roads may be rendered impassible in the affected counties, isolating residences and persons from access to essential public services; and

WHEREAS: Assistance from the state of Georgia is necessary to provide for public safety, protect private property, and restore the social and economic welfare of the affected counties; and

WHEREAS: Georgia law vests the Governor in O.C.G.A. § 38-3-51 with the authority to bring emergencies under control by issuing orders, rules, and regulations to protect the safety and welfare of the public; and

WHEREAS: On August 29, 2019, a State of Emergency was declared in twelve (12) Georgia counties: Brantley, Bryan, Camden, Charlton, Chatham, Effingham, Glynn, Liberty, Long, McIntosh, Pierce, and Wayne.


The State of Emergency declared on August 29, 2019, as defined by O.C.G.A. § 38-3-3, is hereby expanded and declared to exist in the following nine (9) Georgia counties: Appling, Bacon, Bulloch, Clinch, Echols, Evans, Screven, Tattnall, and Ware.

IT IS FURTHER ORDERED: That all resources of the state of Georgia be made available to assist in preparation, response, and recovery activities throughout the affected area, and the Georgia Emergency Management and Homeland Security Agency activate the Georgia Emergency Operations Plan for the aforementioned counties.

IT IS FURTHER ORDERED: That during preparation, response, and recovery activities for Hurricane Dorian, price gouging of goods and services necessary to support these efforts would be detrimental to the social and economic welfare of the citizens of this state, and thus O.C.G.A. § 10-1-393.4, prohibiting price gouging, remains in effect and is extended to the additional counties mentioned above.

This Executive Order shall be valid for a period of five (5) days, beginning on September 4, 2019, and ending at 11:59 PM on September 9, 2019.

This 4TH day of September 2019, at 5:32 AM.

A Message from
Franklin Graham

Airlifting Relief to the Bahamas

Samaritan's Purse has loaded our DC-8 full of emergency supplies to airlift to the Bahamas following Hurricane Dorian’s catastrophic strike on the islands. The deadly Category 5 storm pummeled the archipelago with sustained winds of 185 mph, destroying thousands of homes and inundating entire communities. At its full strength, Dorian was one of the most powerful Atlantic storms on record.

We are in the midst of a historic tragedy. The devastation is unprecedented and extensive.” —Bahamas Prime Minister Hubert Minnis

Our plane is loaded with emergency shelter material, household water filters, and two community filtration units that turn saltwater into drinking water.

Still a dangerous Category 2 storm, Dorian is threatening the East Coast from Florida to the Carolinas. Our staff and entire fleet of disaster relief units are ready to respond in Jesus' Name as soon as the storm passes. Once we're on the ground, our volunteer teams will begin tarping roofs, cutting trees, and cleaning out flooded homes.

Please pray for the thousands of people who have already lost so much and for those who are still in Dorian's path. Pray also for our teams as they work around the clock to bring relief and to share the hope of the Gospel.


Franklin Graham
President, Samaritan's Purse

Franklin Graham, President

© 2019 Samaritan's Purse
PO Box 3000, Boone, NC 28607

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September 3--  A candidate running for the 4th Ward city council seat in Vidalia has filed a complaint alleging his opponent violated the Georgia Government Transparency and Campaign Finance Act.

Logan Lawrence believes Loyd Mobley violated the law when Mobley's granddaughter posted campaign material on social media three days before he declared his candidacy.

Lawrence says he first learned about the law at a candidate's training session conducted by the state, "We learned that no candidate should be accepting or spending money towards his or her campaign before signing a declaration of intent.  That includes spending towards a campaign, taking money from a supporter or donating to your own campaign.  Whether the material was purchased through a professional vendor or Mr. Mobley printed the material himself, the material still constitutes an expenditure prior to signing that required declaration of intent.

"I believe in honesty and transparency and adherence to the rule of law.  I hope that my integrity and keen awareness and understanding of that law will benefit the people of this city if they decide to elect me in November," Lawrence said.

mobleyfacebookMobley says he has done nothing wrong, "The lady here in the office made me a couple of different designs on some cards to give out.  I carried them home and was looking at them and my granddaughter saw one of them and put it on Facebook.  It was an innocent thing for her to do, but that's all this is about.  That was before I qualified to run and I had not bought anything or done any spending, it was just something I was looking at.  Anyway, that's where this came from and I've done nothing wrong."

"This is to me a childish act by someone who would rather run on 'gotcha' politics and drama than issues which matter to the citizens of Vidalia. I'm going to run my campaign with a focus on the issues that affect taxpayers and that the citizens of Vidalia are truly concerned with, not all this kind of stuff here," Mobley said.

Mobley has 30 days to respond to the complaint with Transparency and Campaign Finance Commission.

September 3-- — The American Red Cross opened evacuation shelters in Georgia overnight to accommodate residents along the Southeast coast in the path of Hurricane Dorian. While the storm’s track is still uncertain, thousands from Florida through the Carolinas are looking to escape the wind, rain, flooding and high storm surge that Dorian may bring.

Some 1,600 trained Red Cross volunteers from all over the country were mobilized to help Georgia volunteers over the weekend, along with emergency response vehicles and supplies that are staged in key areas to support sheltering. The Red Cross works closely with emergency partners to identify areas that can best accommodate large numbers of people evacuating and is prepared to add more shelters as demand increases.  

The following Red Cross Evacuation Shelters are Open in Georgia
(as of 9-3-19 at 10:00 a.m.)

  • Trinity on the Hill United Methodist Church, 1330 Monte Sano Ave., Augusta, GA  30904 (Richmond County)
  • Westside High School, 1002 Patriots Way, Augusta, GA  30907 (Richmond County)
  • Columbus Civic Center, 400 4th St., Columbus, GA 31901 (Muscogee County)
  • Coffee Square Complex, 216 S. Madison Ave, Douglas, GA 31533 (Coffee County)
  • East Laurens High School, 920 Highway 80E, East Dublin, GA 31027 (Laurens County)
  • Dublin High School, 1127 Hillcrest Parkway, Dublin, GA 31021 (Laurens County)
  • Liberty Park Community Center, 1040 Newmantown Rd., Grovetown, GA 30813 (Columbia County)
  • South Bibb Recreation Center, 7035 Houston Rd, Macon, GA 31216 (Bibb County)
  • Sweetwater Park Gym, 180 Sweetwater Road, Thompson, GA  30824 (McDuffie County)
  • Ware County High School, 700 Victory Drive, Waycross, GA 31503 (Ware County)

Red Cross shelter locations may change daily. Updated Red Cross information is available at, by calling 1-800-RED CROSS or by downloading the free Red Cross Emergency App for real-time weather alerts, open shelters and expert advice on hurricanes.

Connecting with Loved Ones

For Georgians with loved ones living in or around hurricane evacuation zones, encourage your friends and family to register on the Red Cross Safe & Well Website. This can help them stay connected and help relieve your stress and anxiety during the storm. Register at

About Red Cross Evacuation Shelters

Evacuation shelters are intended to get as many people out of harm’s way as quickly as possible and may not have resources such as cots or blankets found in longer-term emergency shelters. People who plan to stay in a Red Cross evacuation shelter are encouraged to bring prescription medications, extra clothing, pillows, blankets, hygiene supplies, other comfort items and important documents. Also, bring any special items for children, such as diapers, formula and toys, and for family members who have unique needs.

Red Cross shelters are open to everyone in need, regardless of race, religion, gender identity, sexual orientation or citizenship status. All disaster assistance is free. People are not required to show any kind of identification to enter a shelter — just their name and pre-disaster address.

If an emergency threatens your community, prepare to evacuate quickly and leave the area if local officials tell you to do so:

• Have your disaster kit ready. Review your emergency plan with everyone in your household.

• Plan your evacuation route and alternates, in case main roads are impassable. Where will you go and how will you get there? Will you go to a hotel, a friend or relative’s home, or an emergency shelter?

• Don’t forget your pets. If you must evacuate, make arrangements for your animals. Keep a phone list of pet-friendly hotels and animal shelters that are along your evacuation routes.

For more information on what to do before, during and after a hurricane, visit


The Red Cross depends on financial donations to be able to provide disaster relief immediately. Help people affected by Hurricane DORIAN by visiting, calling 1- 800-RED CROSS or texting the word DORIAN to 90999 to make a $10 donation. Donations enable the Red Cross to prepare for, respond to and help people recover from this disaster. This includes providing food, shelter, relief supplies, emotional support, recovery planning and other assistance. 

Eligible donors in unaffected areas are urged to make an appointment now to give blood or platelets to help maintain the nation’s blood supply. Appointments can be made by using the Red Cross Blood Donor App, visiting or calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767)

BECOME A VOLUNTEER Trained disaster volunteers are always needed. Join us at

September  3--  Toombs County Emergency Management Agency Director Lynn Moore issued the following information regarding Hurricane Dorian this morning on the radio stations of Vidalia Communications Corporation.

"It appears the hurricane is now moving one mile per hour, barely moving, headed north-northwest and it's going to stay outside the line of Hurricane Matthew which we had a couple of years ago.  That is a good report for citizens in Georgia because it means the hurricane is going to stay off the coast and the hurricane force winds are going to be further out in the ocean than they were.  It appears to be a good report for Georgia with the hurricane going up the coast of South Carolina and the latest landfall report has it barely skirting the city of Wilmington, North Carolina," Moore said.

When it comes to the whims of Mother Nature, nothing is 100%.

"Obviously if it goes up to Brunswick and takes a left, we're in big trouble, but none of the forecasters think that's going to happen.  Now Savannah is probably going to get some hurricane or tropical storm force winds and a surge up the Savannah River on Rivers Street, but it's not going to be as bad as expected.

"For us local folks, they're only predicting a 20% chance of rain on Thursday and maybe some wind gusts of 20 to 30 miles per hour.  As they say, we're going to escape this again."

September 3--  Three members of the Georgia Court of Appeals will be in Vidalia later this month to hear oral arguments.

Toombs County Magistrate Rizza O'Connor, immediate past President of the Young Lawyers Division of Georgia, reports Chief Judge Christopher McFadden, Presiding Judge Carla Wong McMillan and Judge Amanda Mercier will hear arguments in three different cases Wednesday, September 25 starting at 9:30 a.m. in the auditorium at Vidalia High School.

judgemcfadden(L-R) Chief Judge McFadden, judgemcmillan Presiding Judge McMillan and judgemercierJudge Mercier

Students from area high schools will be in attendance to witness the first time oral arguments before the Court have ever been held in Vidalia.

The public is invited.

September 2-- The Toombs County Fire Department and instructors at the Southeastern Early College and Career Academy in Vidalia organized a firefighter certification training program for the SECCA JROTC cadets.   

seccafireThe Toombs County Fire Chief and Captain are teaching the course along with the JROTC instructors.

(L-R) Chief Johnny Moser, Captain Leon Hayes and Lieutenant Jonas Blackwell. 

This program began during the 2019 fall semester and continues throughout the school year, ending prior to graduation.   The goal is to provide the cadets with training that is nationally recognized and can transfer into work with a fire department once they are graduated and turn 18 years of age. 

Upon completion of the course, the cadets will be certified in search and rescue training for recovery of lost and injured persons and evidence.   

During the fall semester, students will learn knots, rope rescue, first responder first aid/ CPR, land navigation, and search operations. 

During the spring semester, students will learn the basics of firefighter operations, including engine and rescue truck operation, appropriate wear of turn out gear and self-contained breathing apparatus, water hose operations, fire attack procedures, and vehicle extrication.

 Once students are 16 and have completed the course, they can get real world experience by volunteering with the fire department in search and rescue operations.   This benefits both the students and the community.  

August 30--  The August term of the Montgomery County jury has returned presentments and 42 indictments.

The grand jury reappointed James Days and W. Kenneth Clark to the county Board of Tax Equalization and recommended four people to serve on the Board of Registrars including Beverly Bell, Maureen Reynolds, John Boyd, III and Trinidy Aldrich.

Three Glenwood residents, Linda Higginbotham, Ronald Kight and Marcus Warren were charged with receiving a stolen vehicle.

The grand jury returned fifteen drug-related indictments.

Two Vidalia residents, Daniel Rountree, Jr. and Herbert Hutcheson for possession of methamphetamine who is also indicted for marijuana possession and receiving stolen property.

Amber Aldridge and Adam Sanders, both of Mount Vernon, were indicted for possession of methamphetamine and marijuana.

Zachary Connell of Ailey and Timothy Thomas were indicted for possession of marijuana with intent to distribute.

John Campbell, Jr. of Vidalia and Pamela Miller of  Tarrytown were indicted for possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute and possession or marijuana.

Mallory Partin of Vidalia was indicted for possession of marijuana.

Karmen Smalls of Anderson, SC for marijuana possession with intent to distribute.

Andreda Talamantez of Uvalda for possession of hydrocodone.

Stephanie Borden of Swainsboro and Marc Hodges of Soperton for possession of methamphetamine and marijuana with intent to distribute.

Timmy Jackson and Sabrina Wicker, both of Mount Vernon , for the sale of cocaine and possession of marijuana with intent to distribute.

Tammie Lynn Wilson of Vidalia for possession of marijuana

Hunter Clifton of Lyons for possession of a controlled substance and drug related objects and two counts of shoplifting.

Jordan Owens of Waycross for possession of methamphetamine.

Michael Hester of Soperton for possession of methamphetamine and furnishing prohibited cellphones and tobacco to inmates at Montgomery State Prison.

Terry Beach, Jr. of Baxley and Sharon Chambers of Uvalda for possession of cocaine and methamphetamine.

Lex Jordan of Mount Vernon was indicted for burglary, theft by taking and entering an automobile.

Amanda Harden of Tarrytown for debit card fraud.

Dustin Tarver and Britt Brannon, both of Vidalia, for theft by taking a boat from Monroe Goss.

Olivia McCoy for two counts of cruelty to children.

Shawn Martinez for burglary at Thompson Lumber Company.

Tyrese Madison of Mount Vernon for theft by taking, entering an automobile and criminal trespass.

Shandon Greene of Vidalia for burglary and theft by taking from Bondage Free Deliver Ministries in Ailey.

Joshua Jacobs of Vidalia for obstruction and fleeing a police officer.

Charles Ray of Uvalda was indicted for burglary and criminal damage to property at the home of Robert Johnson of Uvalda.

Hunter Rhymes of Mount Vernon for burglary, theft by taking and criminal damage to property at the home of Kim McCoy of Alston.

Adrian Fields of Uvalda for theft by taking a Ford truck from Wade Carpenter.

Latyal Moye of Mount Vernon for burglary and theft by receiving stolen property from the home of Lucy Hulett in Mount Vernon.

Michael Brown of Uvalda for theft by taking tools from Betty Fountain.

Jeremy Edge of Mount Vernon for aggravated assault by hitting Brandon Salter with a baseball bat.

Corey Hunt of Vidalia for furnishing prohibited items (tobacco) to inmates at Montgomery State Prison.

Brandon Moore of Adrian for two counts of child molestation, enticing a child for indecent purposes, sexual exploitation of children and electronically furnishing obscene materials to minors.

Rhonda Johnson of Suitland, Maryland for aggravated assault and give false information to a police officer.

Stephen Stafford of Mount Vernon for aggravated assault, family violence battery, DUI and open container.

Simon Ramos of Uvalda for burglary at the home of Shawn Powell of Uvalda.

Ashtin Beecher and Payne Herrera, both of Uvalda, for burglary at the home of Johnny Dixon in Uvalda.

Tony Anderson of Lyons for forgery and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.

Brent Jackson of Soperton for aggravated assault of Amber Smith.

Steve Atkins of Mount Vernon for three counts of burglary and three counts of vandalism at a place of worship including the Tarrytown Baptist Church, the Bear Creek Baptist Church and the Central Baptist Church and criminal damage to property.

John Mincey of Reidsville for executing fictitious checks.

David Thompkins of Mount Vernon for criminal damage to property, the home of Ricky Thompkins,  and obstructing an officer.


By State Senator Jack Hill of Reidsville


Last week, I mentioned those who claim state spending has increased billions of dollars as the state budget has increased over the years. They say this to infer that somehow spending has been out of control or it must have been for there to have been these increases.


Of course, 2010 was in the middle of the Great Recession and the state funds budget dropped to a low of $17 billion as budget writers reduced state spending to meet the dramatic decline in state revenues. Some $3.2 billion in Federal funds delayed some cuts until 2012 but even then the budget was less than before the recession.

State Funds Budgets- As Passed


$ 18,903,699,531


$  17,074,653,179


$  18,063,622,184


$  18,503,799,022


$  19,325,217,673


$  20,234,238,575


$  21,112,906,096


$  23,065,473,796


$  24,345,494,024


$  25,413,015,092


$  26,933,425,042


$  27,544,569,129


The staff of the Senate Budget and Evaluation Office went through budgets dating back to 2010 and analyzed where all of the increased spending each year went and categorized the expenditures. First, though, here are the categories of the areas where new expenditures are divided:

Non-Discretionary Spending

$ 11.157


(Entitlements, based on formulas)


$ -8.082


(Cuts during recession)

Discretionary Spending

$  3.727  


Other/State Funds

$         2.4  


ARRA (Federal Emergency

Funds)Net of spending cuts

$    -784.5


(Federal funds totaled $3.2 Billion)


$      -43.2



$ 8.373




PreK-12 (Discretionary Adds)



Merit Pay

$   501.3  


Natural Resources, Economic Development, Transportation (Discretionary Adds)

$   467.2  


Provider Rates, CoPays and Private

Disproportionate Share Adds

$   422.3  


Health & Human Services (Discretionary Adds)

$   465.4  


General Government (Discretionary Adds)  

$    98.4    


Higher Education (Discretionary Adds)

$   259.3  


Law Enforcement Pay

$   128.7  


Prisons, Courts, Public Safety (Discretionary Adds)

$   245.2  


Teacher Pay Annualize

$     60.3    


Judicial Pay

$       2.3      


Nurse Pay

$     13.1    


Revenue Compliance (Discretionary Adds)

$     52.2      






K-12 Needs



Medicaid Deficits, Growth, FMAP Needs    



Higher Education Needs

$   890.5  


Mental Health

(Hospitals, DOJ Agreement) Needs

$   441.5  


Corrections Needs

$   219.6  


Human Service Needs

$   340.8  


Juvenile Justice Needs

$    53.8    


Other Non-Discretionary Needs

$  617.6  


Tenet Replace

$    92.3    



$      2.9      


Non Discretion: Employee Benefits/Operations           

Retirement Needs

$   1.319  


SHBP/Regents Health Needs

$      286.7


Administrative or Other Benefits Needs

$      112.9



$          1.6      



$       45,137



$   1.723


Other State Funds (Lottery, Motor Fuel, Mortgage)

$   2.400




The final result is that of the net $8.3 Billion in new spending, the largest items of spending are Medicaid Deficits and Growth, $2.73 billion, and Education adds including PreK-12, $1.01 Billion, and K-12 needs, $2.728 Billion. Additionally Retirement obligations total $1.319 Billion. Just those four items above total $7.787 Billion of the increased spending.

The increase of $8.3 billion over 11 years represents only 2.6% of total spending. That's certainly not excessive in a period where the state grew at least 831,822 in population.

I may be reached at

234 State Capitol, Atlanta , GA 30334

(404) 656-5038 (phone)

(404) 657-7094 (fax)

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

Or Call Toll-Free at

1-800-367-3334 Day or Night

Reidsville office: (912) 557-3811