Wednesday, May 24, 2017

MESSAGE FROM UPSON TAX COMMISSIONER ANDY CHASTAIN

The tax commissioner's office will be filing FiFas (tax liens) on June 1st which will include any unpaid 2016 taxes on real and personal property. Unless you've already made arrangements with the tax commissioner's office to settle you past due tax bill, these delinquent taxes have been turned over to a collection agency and a tax lien will be recorded in the clerk's office. Delinquent taxpayers are urged to come in and settle your tax bill to prevent a tax lien from going against your property. This tax lien will not only go against your credit, but any past due taxes that go unpaid can result in wage garnishment, a bank levy, or your property being sold at a tax sale. Tax sales have already been scheduled for August 1st, Sept. 5th, and Oct. 3rd., with a mobile home sale scheduled for Dec. 5th.

Monday, May 22, 2017

CITY OF THOMASTON SEWER OVERFLOW

Public Notification Sanitary Sewer Overflow at Collection System Tanglewood Drive County: Upson Date of Release: 5/21/2017, 8:40 pm Contact Person: Brian Kelly Phone: 706-646-8031 Mailing Address: 340 N Center Street City: Thomaston Zip: 30286 On May 21, 2017, ESG responded to a costumer complaint of sewage escaping from a manhole. As part of our investigation we walked the sewer line and discovered sewer leaking due to a line blockage. The leak was discovered at 8:40 pm and ceased at 10:40 pm when our crews cleared the blockage. There was approximately 1200 gallons of wastewater released. The sewage discharged into Potato Creek. The leak was estimated at 10 gpm from the time it was discovered. The Georgia Department of Natural Resources has been notified and the affected area has been treated within the regulations of the Georgia Department of Natural Resources. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to call the above listed contact persons.

FEDERAL LAW SUIT FILED AGAINST TENCATE

In an order issued last Friday, a federal judge in Macon rejected an effort by Southern Mills, Inc, doing business as TenCate Protective Fabrics, to dismiss the federal Clean Water Act lawsuit filed last September by two sets of local property owners and the Flint Riverkeeper.

The lawsuit alleges that TenCate has and continues to discharge pollutants into tributaries of the Flint River and onto the owners’ properties from its fabric dyeing and finishing plant near Molena, Georgia.

TenCate is an international manufacturer of protective fabrics, synthetic turf, and other products with its corporate headquarters and multiple facilities in Georgia. The chemicals used at the Molena plant are partially treated and then discharged to spray fields pursuant to a land application system (“LAS”) permit issued by Georgia Environmental Protection Division (“EPD”). A LAS (also called a “sprayfield”) is designed for pollutants to be removed by plants and soil before entering adjacent water bodies. A properly designed and operated LAS produces a percolate water of high quality that protects ground and surface water resources. A spray irrigation system is typically used to apply all or a portion of the treated wastewater to approved sites.

In the lawsuit filed last September, the Riverkeeper and private property owners, however, allege that the overburdened and oversaturated LAS at TenCate’s Molena Plant has discharged and continues to discharge still polluted industrial process wastewater overland and directly into streams on private property and springs that feed to these streams which are tributaries of the Flint River, including Cox Branch and Hardy Branch, in Upson County. These discharges have polluted the streams with salts, nitrate, arsenic, chromium, and other pollutants, and increased the conductivity of stream water in several locations, including clear-water branches and formerly clear-water wetlands with high-quality gum and oak flats. Additionally, noxious odors and overspray have been observed by local citizens and confirmed by the Riverkeeper on many occasions.

The suit seeks an injunction from the court to stop the illegal pollution and impose penalties for past and ongoing violations, among other remedies. In October 2016, TenCate filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuit, arguing that the alleged discharges of still polluted industrial process wastewater from its LAS are exempt from the Clean Water Act.

Last Friday, however, Senior U.S. District Judge C. Ashley Royal rejected the textile company’s arguments and held that the Clean Water Act applies to the alleged discharges and pollution. The Court held that the Clean Water Act applies to discharges of still polluted industrial process wastewater from the LAS to the streams on private property through groundwater that connects the LAS to the streams.

In addition, the Court held that the Act also prohibits discharges of still polluted industrial process wastewater from irrigation spray heads on the LAS, overland through ditches and seeps, and into the streams.

Finally, the Court held that permits issued to TenCate by the State of Georgia do not permit discharges of still polluted industrial process wastewater mixed with stormwater. The case will now move forward to discovery.

The federal Clean Water Act empowers citizens to file lawsuits when regulators are either unable to or refuse to step in to stop pollution. Despite efforts of the Riverkeeper and local citizens to address the ongoing problem at Ten Cate with the Georgia EPD, the facility continues to allow pollution from its spray field to run off and seep into protected streams. Said Flint Riverkeeper Gordon Rogers, “We are very heartened that the Court agreed that the Clean Water Act prohibits the discharges and pollution from the LAS, and we believe that we will be able to prove the discharges exist. We are pleased that the case has been allowed to move forward, but we remain profoundly disappointed that we had to file suit on this issue in the first place. We seek only to stop the pollution. TenCate could work with us at any point to do such.”

The Riverkeeper is represented by GreenLaw a non-profit environmental law firm in Atlanta. “The Riverkeeper’s primary objections continue to be ceasing the discharge of chemicals into tributaries of the Flint River,” said David Paule, Executive Director of GreenLaw. “We still remain hopeful that this problem can be settled without a trial, but we are prepared, if necessary, to see this through.” The Riverkeeper and local property owners are also represented by Donald D.J. Stack and Tyler J. Sniff of Stack & Associates, P.C., an environmental law firm in Atlanta. Said Don Stack, “We believe that the thing for the company to do is install a modern wastewater treatment system, returning clean water directly to the Flint system. In this way the basin will be protected and our clients’ property damage problems will be addressed.” “Polluted industrial process wastewater discharged directly to tributaries of the Flint River without a Clean Water Act permit is illegal. We seek to protect the health of the community, property values, and the River,” says Gordon Rogers, the Flint Riverkeeper. “We want TenCate to make the necessary investments, so that their important product for our safety and national security continues to be marketed, jobs are preserved, private property is cleaned up and protected, and our public waters have their quality and flow restored.”

Interested parties wanting to follow the issue may visit the Flint Riverkeeper website at www.flintriverkeeper.org, the GreenLaw website at www.greenlaw.org, and Stack & Associates, P.C. website at http://www.stackenvirolaw.com/.

ABOUT THE GROUPS Flint Riverkeeper – Founded in 2008, Flint Riverkeeper is the only organization which has the sole mission of restoring and protecting the waters of the Flint River, Georgia. The long term goal of Flint Riverkeeper is to insure enough clean water for all uses: fishing, swimming, drinking, agriculture, and industry, and all other reasonable uses. Supported by nearly 3,000 Georgia citizens, Flint Riverkeeper has amassed a steady record of meaningful policy and legal victories for the Flint and her citizens. GreenLaw - As a 501(c)(3) law firm, GreenLaw advocates to preserve Georgia’s unique natural places and enforces compliance with environmental law through the court system. GreenLaw was founded in 1992 by attorneys, law professors, and judges committed to providing community groups in Georgia with the legal and technical tools needed to protect their environment and public health. For more information, please visit www.greenlaw.org. Stack & Associates, P.C. - Founded in 1993 through the vision of Donald D.J. Stack, Esq. is a premier environmental law office serving citizens, municipalities and corporations throughout the entire Southeast region.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

UPSON COURTHOUSE ANNEX CLOSED TUES.

THE UPSON COUNTY COURTHOUSE ANNEX WILL REOPEN THIS MORNING AFTER IT WAS CLOSED TUESDAY MORNING FOR THE REST OF THE DAY WHEN THOMASTON WATER DEPARTMENT CREWS STRUCK A NATURAL GAS LINE BEHIND THE ANNEX AROUND 9AM.


ALL BUILDINGS IN THAT BLOCK WERE VACATED BY THE THOMASTON FIRE DEPARTMENT AS A PRECAUTION—BUT THE ALL CLEAR WAS GIVEN ABOUT AN HOUR LATER.

UPSON S.O. NEW K-9 UNIT

The Upson County Sheriff’s Office has a new member. Millie, a police dog specially trained in tracking and narcotics detection.. K-9 Millie and her handler, Sgt. Mario Cromer, recently completed a four week training class in North Carolina. She reported to work and immediately helped make an arrest. Sgt. Cromer and Millie assisted with the execution of a search warrant at 316 Sheila Circle early Tuesday morning (May 16, 2017). The resident, Jody Mayo, 47, had methamphetamine hidden in two different locations at the residence. Millie alerted on a vehicle that had a hidden drug container  underneath the hood and on  a hollowed out log used to hide narcotics. She also alerted on a small amount of marijuana inside the residence. All total there was 56 grams of methamphetamine and less than one ounce of marijuana located during the search.  Mayo is charged with Trafficking methamphetamine. Mayo is being held without bond in the Upson County Jail.

Dan Kilgore, Sheriff
May 16, 2017

Monday, May 15, 2017

FULL BLOWN FIRE ARMS MEETING IN SPALDING

NO DECISION ON FULL BLOWN FIREARMS COMPLIANCE WITH ITS HOME OCCUPATION PERMIT AT A CALLED MEETING OF THE SPALDING COUNTY BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS MONDAY MORNING.

THE COUNTY'S ZONING ATTORNEY NEWTON GALLOWAY ANNOUNCED THE PUBLIC AND FULL BLOWN FIREARMS ON NORTH ROVER ROAD CAN ADDRESS THE ISSUES AT A MEETING OF THE PLANNING COMMISSION AND COUNTY COMMISSIONERS MAY 25TH AT 6PM.

THE PLANNING COMMISSION WILL HEAR TESTIMONY AND MAKE A RECOMMENDATION TO THE COUNTY COMMISSIONERS—BUT IT COULD BE JUNE BEFORE A DECISION.

NEIGHBORS HAVE REPEATEDLY COMPLAINED TO THE COMMISSIONERS ABOUT SHOOTING NOISE AND FLYING LEAD FROM THE SHOOTING RANGE—THEY SAY IS DISRUPTING THEIR WAY OF LIFE.

TWO CONSULTANTS HIRED BY THE COUNTY TO INVESTIGATE GAVE SKPE REPORTS DURING THE MEETING—AND PLANNING DIRECTOR CHAD JACOBS ALSO REPORTED THE FIRING RANGE HAS NOT COMPLIED WITH ALL COUNTY CONDITIONS.

CONSULTANTS SAID SOME NEIGHBORS TREES HAD BEEN DAMAGED BY SHELLS AND LEAD ON THE GROUND IS IN VIOLATION OF EPA REGULATIONS.

FULL BLOWN OWNER BRAD WARD AND SOME NEIGHBORS TO THE SHOOTING RANGE WERE PRESENT—BUT NO PUBLIC COMMENT WAS ALLOWED BY THE COMMISSION.



Friday, May 12, 2017

GORDON STATE COLLEGE GRADUATION FRIDAY

Dr. C. Thomas Hopkins, chair of the University System of Georgia Board of Regents, delivered the commencement address to graduates of Gordon State College Friday morning.
An estimated 4,000 people gathered on Lambdin Green at the center of campus to watch as 315 graduates, faculty members and administrators marched to their seats led by Piper Michael Grest and Dr. Andrew Osborne, Grand Marshal. The piper is a long-held tradition for Gordon graduations and nods to its Scottish roots while the Grand Marshal carries the Mace that contains Gordon’s official seal.
Hopkins told the graduates that their education was an investment.
“You, together with your parents and your family, are not the only ones who have made an investment in your college education,” Hopkins said. “The citizens of Georgia have also invested in you, because the college graduates of this state represent the future of Georgia.”
“Even as you invest your time and energy in building your careers, you will be building our economy and helping our state and its communities to thrive. But it is important to understand that ‘earning’ by itself is not ‘living.’
“Your degree is more than just an item of currency to be traded on the job market,” he said. “The largest investment of your life – the grand challenge, if you will – should be to develop yourself as a person.
Among Friday’s graduates were four area high school students enrolled in Gordon’s Move on When Ready program. MOWR gives high school students an opportunity to jump start their college education while still in high school. Each student was awarded an Associate degree with three awarded Summa Cum Laude – with highest honors. The students were Lamar County residents Riley Behre Fuller and Brannon David Waller, both Summa Cum Laude, Peyton Alexandra Lewis, Henry County, Summa Cum Laude and Jordan Danielle Smith, Butts County.
Among the Friday’s graduates was Chastity Smith who graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Early Childhood Education/Special Education degree.
“We are very proud of her,” said her parents Janice and Ricky. “This is a big accomplishment especially after she was delayed in completing her education because of medical issues.”
After the main ceremony, graduates of the nursing program held an emotional pinning ceremony during which they also lit their Nightingale lamps.
“Never give up, never stop learning,” Anne Purvis, Dean of the School of Nursing and Health Sciences, told the 31 graduates.
Graduates honored during the ceremony were Mitzi Oden, Clinical Excellence; Penny Hawkins for overall Excellence in Nursing and Lauren Berger for Outstanding Perseverance.
Gordon graduated a total of 650 students this academic year in ceremonies held at the conclusion of Fall and Spring semesters. 

D.A. BEN COKER SAYS THANKS TO LAW OFFICERS

How do you truly thank a hero? How do you say thank you for the nights spent away from family responding to calls? How do you say thank you for taking care of the car wrecks, the violence, and the horrors that we don't have to see? Is there any way to repay them for sacrificing so much to keep us safe each day? The answer is no. There is nothing we could ever do to adequately say thank you. But sometimes, a simple act of kindness scratches the surface of what our law enforcement deserves.

I was greatly honored to serve food to the law enforcement of our Judicial Circuit for law enforcement appreciation week. My offices in Fayette, Spalding, Pike, and Upson Counties provided hamburgers and hot dogs to law enforcement in each county throughout the week. In all, we served over 350 law enforcement officers a hot lunch. It wasn't much, but it was the least we could do to say thank you to these real-life heroes in uniform.

Thank you to my amazing staff who understood the importance of what we were doing. Thank you to the citizens for your support. Most of all, thank you to the law enforcement officers in this circuit, and across this Country. Thank you for wearing that uniform every day.  Thank you for fighting. Thank you for caring. Thank you for protecting us. Citizens, please, thank a law enforcement officer today. Trust me, they don't hear thank you enough. 

Benjamin D. Coker
District Attorney
Griffin Judicial Circuit

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

THREE INJURIES 19 N. WED AM

ACCORDING TO POST 26 GA. STATE PATROL, THREE MOTORISTS WERE INJURED IN A HEAD-ON CRASH INVOLVING THREE VEHICLES EARLY WEDNESDAY MORNING ON U.S. 19 NORTH NEAR THOMPSON ROAD.

AMBER ELLINGTON, 24 OF THOMASTON WAS AIR AMBULANCED TO A MACON HOSPITAL, RHONDA GRUBB, 44 , OF THOMASTON WAS TRANSPORTED TO MACON BY EMS AND 19 YEAR OLD REKEMMA ELLIS OF GRIFFIN WAS TRANSPORTED TO URMC, GRUBB AND ELLIS WITH NON-LIFE THREATENING INJURIES.


TROOPER TRE HOWARD SAID MS. ELLINGTON APPARENTLY CROSSED THE CENTER LINE—HIT MS. GRUBB HEAD-ON AND HER LEXUS FLIPPED AND MS. ELLIS STRUCK MS. ELLINGTON'S CAR.

WATER SERVICE OFF TONIGHT W. GOODRICH AVE. THOMASTON

THE CITY OF THOMASTON WATER SYSTEM WILL CUT-OFF SERVICE TO THE WEST GOODRICH AVE./PARK DRIVE AREA TONITE AT 10PM FOR ABOUT 3 HOURS FOR MAINTANCE AND REPAIR.


CITY OF THOMASTON SYSTEM OPERATOR---ESG OPERATIONS SAYS A FIRE HYDRANT LEAK HAS CAUSED THE PROBLEM. ANYONE WITH QUESTIONS CALL THE THOMASTON WATER DEPARTMENT AT 706-646-8031.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

UPSON CO. VICTIM OF HOUSE FIRE ON 19 SOUTH

ACCORDING TO UPSON COUNTY SHERIFF DAN KILGORE, A RESIDENT OF U.S. 19 SOUTH PERISHED IN A HOUSE FIRE EARLY TUESDAY.

74 YEAR OLD RONALD CARPENTER OF 6565 19 SOUTH WAS UNABLE TO GET OUT OF THE DWELLING WHEN IT CAUGHT FIRE.
A ROOMMATE, LARRY “GOAT” BROWN REPORTED SMELLING SMOKE AROUND 1;30AM AND WAS ALERTED BY CARPENTER THAT THE HOUSE WAS ON FIRE AND BROWN MANAGED TO ESCAPE.

WHEN FIRE UNITS ARRIVED THE HOUSE WAS COMPLETELY ENGULFED IN FLAMES –UNITS FROM SALEM, YATESVILLE, ROCK HILL, AND NORTHSIDE FIRE DEPARTMENTS RESPONDED.


CARPENTER'S BODY WAS SENT TO THE STATE CRIME LAB FOR AUTOPSY.  

Friday, May 5, 2017

CITY OF THOMASTON SEWER RELEASE

Occurrence: On May 4th, 2017, ESG responded to a sewer release call and discovered a sewer lateral had collapsed allowing debris to flow into the line causing a blockage downstream. The release was discovered at 3:22 pm and ceased when the blockage was cleared at 3:36 pm. The discharge was determined to be at a rate of 30 gallons per minute. There was a total of 420 gallons of wastewater that escaped from the sewer system. An estimated value of 300 gallons was recovered by utilization of a vacuum truck, while approximately 120 gallons made it into the waters of the state. The Georgia Department of Natural Resources has been notified and the affected area has been treated within the regulations of the Georgia Department of Natural Resources. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to call the above listed contact person