Thursday, December 14, 2017

U-L BAND STUDENTS MAKE HONOR BAND

Upson-Lee High School band students Dawson Fleming, Eve Balding, and Coy Kirkland have been chosen for the Georgia Music Educators Association District 11 Honor Band. The students participated in a rigorous audition process at Perry High School during which they were required to perform eight major scales; the chromatic scale; a prepared etude displaying advanced techniques and abilities; and a site-reading piece that the students were given 30 seconds prior to performance. Judges ranked the students, and those scoring the highest in the GMEA district were invited to participate in the District Honor Band. Congratulations to these talented young musicians!

D.A. COKER TO PROBE REMOVAL SPALDING CO. COURT CLERK

GEORGIA GOVERNOR NATHAN DEAL HAS ISSUED AN EXECUTIVE ORDER SUSPENDING SPALDING COUNTY'S CLERK OF COURTS MARSHA NORRIS FOR 60 DAYS. THE ORDER WAS SIGNED TODAY(THURSDAY DEC. 14TH.)

THE GOVERNOR ALSO ORDERED GRIFFIN CIRCUIT DISTRICT ATTORNEY BEN COKER TO REVIEW THE REPORT OF AN INVESTIGATIONS COMMITTEE AND ASCERTAIN IF A REMOVAL FROM OFFICE PETITION SHOULD BE BROUGHT AGAINST CLERK NORRIS BASED ON THE COMMITTEE'S REPORT.

THE GOVERNOR'S ORDER SAID THE COMMITTEE COMPOSED --OF CLERKS OF COURT IN TWO OTHER GEORGIA COUNTIES AND STATE ATTORNEY GENERAL CHRIS CARR—CONCLUDED THAT DUE TO THE WILLFUL FAILURE OF CLERK NORRIS TO FULFILL HER DUTIES AS CLERK OF THE SUPERIOR AND STATE COURTS OF SPALDING COUNTY, SHE SHOULD BE SUSPENDED FROM OFFICE FOR 60 DAYS AND FURTHER RECOMMENDED THAT THE D.A. BRING A REMOVAL PETITION AGAINST MS. NORRIS.

DISTRICT ATTORNEY COKER, SPALDING SHERIFF DARRELL DIX AND OTHER COURT OFFICIALS WROTE THE GOVERNOR WITH CONCERNS ABOUT THE OPERATION OF THE CLERK'S OFFICE AND GOVERNOR DEAL ORDERED THE INVESTIGATION IN AUGUST.


ONE ALLEGATION INVOLVES FAILURE TO REPORT ON A TIMELY BASIS, CRIMINAL CONVICTIONS IN THE COURTS OF SPALDING COUNTY TO THE GBI CRIME DATA BASE .

NEW SCHOOL SUPERINTENDANT SEARCH

THOMASTON-UPSON SCHOOL SYSTEM BEGINS SUPERINTENDENT SEARCH The search for the next Superintendent of the Thomaston-Upson County School System is underway. On Tuesday, December 12, 2017, the Board held its first planning session with a representative of King-Cooper and Associates, a Georgia firm that will assist the Board with the search. The Board approved a tentative timeline for the search that includes a deadline of February 2, 2018, as the last date to accept applications. King-Cooper and Associates will be mailing vacancy announcements about the search next week. The search announcement will also be posted on various internet sites. The Board is developing a survey to receive input from employees and community members related to the qualities desired in the next superintendent. It is the Board’s desire to conduct a thorough search process that involves the community and employees while maintaining the necessary confidentiality of applicants until finalists are selected. In the coming weeks, the Board will also be developing a leadership profile that includes the skills and competencies desired of the next Superintendent. The profile will be important as the Board determines the best candidates to consider and interview for the position. Interviews are expected to begin in late February and continue through March. The need to conduct a search for a new Superintendent was created when Dr. Maggie Shook announced her upcoming retirement at the end of the current school year. It is anticipated the search will take four to five months. Potential candidates may find additional information on the Thomaston-Upson Schools website at www.upson.k12.ga.us.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

A NEW SIT DOWN RESTAURANT FOR THOMASTON?

AN ATLANTA DEVELOPER SUBMITTED THE ONLY BID TO THE CITY OF THOMASTON FOR THE TRIANGLE OF PROPERTY AT THE CORNER OF WEST GOODRICH AVE. AND U.S. 19—HALF A MILLION DOLLARS.

THE UPSON BEACON REPORTS---CHARLES MIXON/ROB BEAUCHAMP PROPERITIES OF ATLANTA PROPOSE A SIT DOWN RESTAURANT AT THE SITE.

FOR IT TO WORK—CITY HALL WOULD HAVE TO CLOSE PARK DRIVE—AND THE 1.179 ACRES MUST BE REZONED COMMERIAL AND COULD BE COMBINED WITH THE ROGERS PROPERTY THAT FRONTS ON PARK DRIVE. CITY OF THOMASTON GOT THE PROPERTY IN AN EXCHANGE WITH THE BF GOODRICH COMPANY YEARS AGO.

KAY HIGHTOWER—CHAIR OF THE GREATEST GENERATION MEMORIAL PARK COMMITTEE —EXPRESSED RESERVATIONS ABOUT SELLING THE TRACT AT A RECENT MEETING---INSTEAD SUGGESTING IT REMAIN A GREEN SPACE ENTRANCE TO THE PARK.

CITY OFFICIALS TOLD HER THE INTENT IN SELLING THE SITE IS TO PROMOTE COMMERCIAL GROWTH—THE HIGHEST AND BEST USE FOR THE SITE.


THE ITEM IS EXPECTED TO BE ON NEXT TUESDAY'S CITY COUNCIL AGENDA.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

EX-STATE HOUSE MEMBER JOHN YATES HAS DIED

Mr. John Yates, age 96 of Griffin, Georgia passed away on Monday, December 11, 2017 after several months of declining health.

A visitation for Mr. John P. Yates will be on Saturday, December 16, 2017 from 12:00 PM until 2:00 PM at Conner-Westbury Funeral Home. Following the visitation, a funeral service will be conducted at 2:00 PM in the Chapel of Conner-Westbury Funeral Home. Reverend Gene Walton will officiate. Interment will follow at Griffin Family Cemetery.

Friday, December 8, 2017

INTERIM PRESIDENT NAMED GORDON STATE COLLEGE

University System of Georgia Chancellor Steve Wrigley has named Dr. Stuart Rayfield interim president of Gordon State College.
Rayfield has been serving as the interim president of Bainbridge State College since June 1, 2016. She will assume her post at Gordon State on January 1, 2018, replacing President Max Burns who has previously announced his plans to retire, effective December 31, 2017.
“Dr. Rayfield has done an outstanding job leading Bainbridge State through a period of significant change over the past year and a half,” said Chancellor Wrigley. “As we move forward with the consolidation of Bainbridge State College and Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College, I am grateful to Dr. Rayfield for her willingness to shift her focus, qualifications and expertise to the deserving students, faculty and extended community at Gordon State College.”
Prior to her role as interim president at Bainbridge State, Dr. Rayfield served as the Frank D. Brown Distinguished Chair in Servant Leadership, associate professor and director of the Servant Leadership Program at Columbus State University.
Rayfield previously served as interim associate provost for Undergraduate Education at Columbus State in 2015. In this role, her areas of responsibility included the Academic Center for Excellence, dual enrollment, Faculty Center for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning, and co-leadership of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges accreditation reaffirmation.
She has previously served as an instructional designer at TSYS and student affairs consultant at Auburn University in Alabama. Prior to her service at Auburn University, she held positions at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tenn., Middle Tennessee State University in Murfreesboro and the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa.
Rayfield earned a doctorate in leadership, policy and organizations from Vanderbilt University, a master’s in higher education administration, student affairs from the University of Alabama and a bachelor’s degree in political science from Rhodes College in Memphis, Tenn.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

RAIN, SNOW MIX POSSIBLE OVERNIGHT THURSDAY

MARTHA ANNE MACARTY—UPSON E.M.A. DIRECTOR SAID THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IS WARNING OF POSSIBLE SNOW SHOWERS OVERNIGHT, BUT GROUND TEMPERATURES SHOULD REMAIN ABOVE FREEZING, SO ANY FROZEN PRECIPITATION SHOULD MELT AWAY.


MARTHA ANNE SAID ONE CONCERN IS BLACK ICE ON ROADWAYS FRIDAY NIGHT. ANY WET PATCHES COULD FREEZE AND CAUTIONED MOTORISTS TO BE CAREFUL.

THOMASTON'S CITY MANAGER SEEKS GUIDELINES

AT TUESDAY'S MEETING----THOMASTON'S CITY MANAGER RUSSELL THOMPSON ASKED THE MAYOR AND COUNCIL FOR SOME GUIDELINES ON FREE ALCOHOL AS A HOSPITALITY GESTURE BY A RETAIL BUSINESS .

LAST WEEK HE DISPATCHED CODE ENFORCEMENT OFFICER BOBBY ELLINGTON TO A DOWNTOWN BUSINESS—RESCUE ME MARKET—TO STOP IT FROM SERVING FREE SAMPLES OF GA. CRAFT BEER AND GA. WINE -- AT A FARM TO TABLE HOLIDAY EVENT. THE OWNERS SAY NONE WAS SERVED .

TURNS OUT—CITY HALL HAS NOTHING ON THE BOOKS AGAINST IT—AND COUNCIL ATTORNEY JOEL BENTLEY SAYS STATE LAW IS VAGUE AND NOT WELL DEVELOPED.

THE MAYOR AND COUNCIL DIRECTED THE MANAGER, ATTORNEY AND SOLICITOR MARK IRVIN TO COME-UP WITH SOME REGULATIONS TO LIMIT FREQUENCY.


THERE WAS TALK OF A $25 PERMIT THAT WOULD ALLOW A RETAIL BUSINESS WITHOUT AN ALCOHOL LICENSE TO SERVE IT FREE ONCE OR TWICE A YEAR.

Friday, December 1, 2017

JERRY BISHOP OF THOMASTON WON A MILLION IN THE GA. LOTTERY

THE GA. LOTTERY HAS ANNOUNCED THE WINNER OF THE MILLION DOLLAR TICKET SOLD AT THE SUNOCO ON THE BARNESVILLE HIGHWAY—JERRY BISHOP OF THOMASTON CLAIMED A $1,087,219 PRIZE FROM THE NOV. 17 FANTASY 5 DRAWING.


FEW DETAILS ARE KNOWN, A LOTTERY SPOKESMAN SAID BISHOP DECLINED PUBLICITY.

Thursday, November 30, 2017

TWO DEFENDANTS BOUND OVER TO SPALDING CO. GRAND JURY

TWO DEFENDANTS CHARGED IN A 34 YEAR OLD RACIALLY CHARGED MURDER CASE IN GRIFFIN WERE BOUND OVER TO THE SPALDING COUNTY GRAND JURY ON MURDER CHARGES—THURSDAY—FRANK GEBHARDT AND WILLIAM MOORE SR.

THE VICTIM—TIMOTHY COGGINS WAS STABBED TO DEATH AND HIS BODY DRAGGED BEHIND A TRUCK WITH A LOGGING CHAIN IN SPALDING COUNTY IN 1963. THE MURDER CASE WENT COLD FOR DECADES UNTIL OCTOBER WHEN NEW WITNESSES CAME FOWARD—A MURDER COMMITTED ALLEGEDLY BECAUSE COGGINS, A BLACK MAN, WAS SOCIALIZING WITH A WHITE WOMAN.

GRIFFIN CIRCUIT DISTRICT ATTORNEY BEN COKER CALLED ONLY ONE WITNESS DURING THE PRELIMINARY HEARING BEFORE SPALDING COUNTY CHIEF MAGISTRATE JUDGE RITA CAVANAUGH---GBI SPECIAL AGENT JARED COLEMAN WHO TESTIFIED THEY HAD BRAGGED ABOUT THE MURDER FOR YEARS.


D.A. COKER SAID GEBHARDT AND MOORE COULD GO TO TRIAL IN THE SUMMER OF 2018.

THREE OTHERS WERE ARRESTED IN CONNECTION WITH THE CRIME—GREGORY HUFFMAN,LAMAR BUNN AND HIS MOTHER SANDRA BUNN.



S.C.T.C. GOAL WINNER

THE GRIFFN EXCHANGE CLUB HOSTED THE ANNUAL GOAL LUNCHEON AT SOUTHERN CRESCENT TECHNICAL COLLEGE AND A STUDENT FROM SPALDING COUNTY --- CHANEL NICHOLSON—A PARAMEDICINE STUDENT WAS SELECTED FOR THE GA. OCCUPATIONAL AWARD OF LEADERSHIP.

SHE W AS NOMINATED BY HER INSTRUCTOR JAMIE ANDERSON.

A SCREENING COMMITTEE OF S.C.T.C. ADMINISTRATORS SELECTED THE 4 GOAL FINALISTS FROM THE 33 NOMINATED AND A COMMITTEE OF COMMUNITY LEADERS CONDUCTED THE INTERVIEWS OF THE FINALISTS.



Wednesday, November 29, 2017

DAVID SCOTT BATCHELOR INDICTED ON 30 COUNTS

ACCORDING TO GRIFFIN JUDICIAL CIRCUIT DISTRICT ATTORNEY BEN COKER—THIS WEEK THE UPSON COUNTY GRAND JURY RETURNED INDICTMENTS FOR 30 COUNTS OF SEXUAL EXPLOITATION OF CHILDREN ON DAVID SCOTT BATCHELOR— RELATED TO IMAGES ON HIS COMPUTER--27 OF THE COUNTS BY SPECIAL PRESENTMENT .

BATCHELOR—AT THE TIME OF HIS ARREST IN FEBRUARY WAS REGION 4 VICE-PRESIDENT OF THE ADOPTIVE AND FOSTER PARENT ASSOCIATION OF GEORGIA.

HE WAS FREED AFTER HE POSTED BOND OF $15,000 BUT SUPERIOR COURT JUDGE FLETCHER SAMS REVOKED HIS BOND AFTER AN INVESTIGATION INTO HIS I-CLOUD ACCOUNT SHOWED HE HAD TRIED TO VIEW OTHER IMAGES.

D.A. COKER SAID ARRAIGNMENT FOR BATCHELOR WILL PROBABLY BE SCHEDULED DEC. 11TH IN UPSON SUPERIOR COURT.