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February 7, 2002

Extension Agent Nancy Bates greets former Jefferson County agent Ray Hicks who attended her going away party last Thursday.

Extension Agent Nancy Bates says goodbye

By Parish Howard

Last week University of Georgia Extension Agent Nancy Bates recorded her last monolog on Jefferson County's WPEH radio. She recorded several radio spots, short advice columns that will run throughout the month of February.

"The last one I did was on clutter and how to get it under control," she said Friday, surrounded by boxes of material she has collected over her 17 1/2 years here, about an hour after recording the spot. "Nothing new can come in until you get rid of something old...hmm."

She grinned, looking around at her things she would soon be moving out the door.

"I didn't even plan it that way."

She has been making those recordings the entire time she has been in Jefferson County.

Bates, her husband Richard and daughter Bonnie became local citizens in 1984 when she took a job with the local extension service.

At her going away party Thursday afternoon former extension agent Ralph Brown told her that he still remembered her coming up those steps on her first day at the old extension office.

Even at that point, she had been involved in cooperative extension for years, ever since she joined 4-H when she was 9 years old.

Her first 4-H leader made a huge impression on her.

"Marjorie McDonald, oh yes, I remember her," Bates said. "She was so classy, so orderly, so self-reliant and confident. I wanted that."

And she got it, partly, she believes, from her life-long involvement with the extension service and 4-H.

"The club's motto is 'learning by doing,'" she said. "That's what it takes to be self reliant, to learn that you can do so many things yourself."

She took her first job with cooperative extension service in North Carolina in 1969.

"It was a really tough job," she said. "I worked in the inner city and we went into people's homes to give programs on things like food preparation, child care and money management."

She has been giving similar programs, educating the people of Jefferson and Burke counties in their homes, offices, churches and civic clubs, in person, over the radio and through the newspaper.

Over the years she has watched the content of her programs gradually shift from "production home economics" to "family and consumer sciences" and beyond.

"At first we were aiming at taking what we had learned in college back to the homes, to the people who chose to stay at home (and be homemakers)."

She said now many of the skills she addresses are more directly involved in businesses, so that people can make a living providing services for people outside of the home.

Scientific advances have also changed the way she does her job.

"I remember when we taught home health care," she said. "There was a time when 'Mom' took care of illnesses and we didn't go to the doctor."

Still, looking back, her favorite part of the job has always been helping people get what she received from her first extension agent.

"It's about knowledge," she said, "about helping people learn how to change their own lives. Self reliance is the key."

She remembers several students she feels got that message and one in particular who has gone on to teach and has become a member of the local 4-H advisory board and a volunteer leader.

No one who knows her is immune to Bates' infectious energy and enthusiasm.

Her secrets for them sound an awful lot like what she has been preaching for years in her seminars.

"Exercise. Drink plenty of water," she said. "Keep a positive attitude and eat right. A supportive and loving family are important. And don't forget self control."

Her last day in the office was Tuesday, but her lessons will continue to be impressed on everyone she meets.

"I just want to thank the people of Jefferson County," she added. "You really have been wonderful to me, my husband and my daughter."

15 plead not guilty in arraignments

Inmates plead guilty to escape

By Ben Nelms
Staff Writer

Fifteen of 18 people arraigned at Superior Court of Jefferson County Feb. 1 entered pleas of not guilty to charges against them. Two men plead guilty and received consecutive sentences to time being served and the plea of one woman could not be determined due to her failure to appear in court.

Dennis Aubrey Tate, an inmate at Jefferson County Correctional Institute, plead guilty to escape and theft by taking. He was sentenced to one year consecutive to time currently being served.

Martin Chaplain Barrett, an inmate at Jefferson County Correctional Institute, plead guilty to escape and was sentenced to one year consecutive to time currently being served.

The following individuals entered pleas of not guilty:

Stephanie Estelle Beavers, of Conyers, for aiding escape; Lorenzo Thomas, Sr. for obstruction of an officer; Andrea S. Poole, of Jackson, S.C., for theft by conversion; Janet Lynn Wasden, of Louisville, for theft by conversion; Toni Michelle Smith, of Wadley, for aggravated assault and cruelty to children; Chantless Luther Wheeler, of Louisville, for sexual assault against a person in custody; Jeremy Thomas, Jr., of Wadley, for four counts of burglary; Robert Lynn Wilcher, of Wadley, for five counts of burglary; and Derryl Lewis Heath, II, of Wadley, for two counts of burglary, attempted theft by taking and entering an automobile.

Also entering pleas of not guilty were:

Walter Lewis Farmer, of Wrens, for armed robbery and aggravated assault; Lee Edward Hodges, of Wadley, for possession of a firearm by a convicted felon; Jeffery Leon Little, of Wrens, for burglary; Theotis Mountain, Sr., of Bartow, for theft by taking; Isiah Mike Martin, Jr., of Wadley, for burglary; and Maurice Clark, of Garfield, for armed robbery and aggravated assault.

No plea was entered for Latisha Ann Lockhart, of Wadley, charged with aggravated assault. Lockhart failed to appear for the arraignment. Judge Kathy Palmer ordered that Lockhart be rearrested and her bond forfeited.

Trials are set to begin Monday, May 13 at the courthouse.

New Wadley council calls for audit of city

First order of business for Wadley's newly elected mayor and council

By Ben Nelms
Staff Writer

In the first meeting of Wadley's new mayor and council in January motions were passed to conduct an audit of the police department and an internal control audit of city finances.

Mayor Herman Baker referenced the police department audit initially called for in Oct. by the previous council and Mayor Pro-tem Albert Samples.

"The audit was something that was voted to be done and has not been finished," said Baker.

The previous council said in October that an audit would be conducted after former Police Chief Lindon James was dismissed Oct. 2 after he was unable to satisfactorily account for some of the money he received from cashing money orders made out to the police department by individuals paying city fines. His actions violated the procedure that required money orders to be turned in to city hall.

Baker said auditor Gary Pittman is currently gathering data for the audit. The anticipated cost of the audit ranges from $3,000-5,000 in addition to any related court costs.

Baker asked for and received a motion to conduct the audit. The council voted 4-1 to proceed. Council member Izell Mack voted against the motion.

James acknowledged Oct. 15 that he had not kept receipts for all the money orders he cashed. He said he was forced to resort to that method to purchase supplies for his department because requests for purchase orders were often denied. He also welcomed an audit and investigation by Georgia Bureau of Investigation.

"The GBI will do a thorough investigation," said James. "I admitted to the council that I had used the money and violated my oath of office since the procedure was to turn the money into city hall. And I feel if the GBI conducts an investigation it wouldn't just stop at the police department. It might also have to look at city hall."

Also financial item on the agenda was the question of conducting an internal control audit of city finances.

"I've been in touch with the Georgia Municipal Association," said Baker. "Regional Development Corporation has already recommended people who specialize in this (type of audit).

The internal control audit will examine the internal control structure maintained by the city to assess the system of checks and balances used to operate city affairs.

Also at the meeting, council members Izell Mack and John Maye were sworn in and council member Charles Lewis was voted unanimously to serve as mayor Pro-tem.

Baker concluded the meeting stating that he had contacted various county and state agencies to determine the appropriate course of action the city might take on the issues it currently faces. He said he had contacted the offices of Sen. Hugh Gillis and Rep. Jimmy Lord regarding the possibility of receiving state emergency funds, rather than discretionary funds, to help with the city's financial situation.

Baker ended the meeting with an acknowledgement of the assistance the new administration has received and the promise to turn the tide for Wadley.

"I appreciate the efforts of our employees and staff, the county and state and the community," he said. "You've been very patient and I appreciate it so very much. Give me a chance to continue to solicit your support and your help and we will make our town shine like gold."

Landfill advisory committee created

Group will examine and investigate options for the landfill's future

By Ben Nelms
Staff Writer

The unanimous motion in August by Jefferson County commissioners to search other avenues to stop the monetary loss at the county landfill moved closer to implementation Monday with the appointment of a committee of residents to examine all the options at the facility and bring recommendations to the board.

Chairman Gardner Hobbs appointed Charlie Evans, Commissioner Paul Boulineau appointed Dollye Ward and Commissioner Wynder Smith appointed Kay Heilig. Shirley Thompson Pierce was appointed by Commissioner Isaiah Thomas and Robert Clements was appointed by Commissioner Tommy New.

Commissioners charged Georgia Dept. of Community Affairs landfill consultant Randy Hartmann, who was present at the meeting, with heading the committee. Hobbs told Hartmann the group should examine all options regarding the facility and report the findings to the board.

Commissioners agreed among themselves that the scope of the committee's work should include a broad range of landfill issues, from the way waste is collected at the businesses and households, the process leading to the final disposition of the waste and options for reducing associated costs.

While no time limit was established for the committee, Hartmann said the committee's work should be able to produce results within a period of approximately months. The findings of the committee will be presented to the commission in the form of recommendations which the board can accept or reject.

The facility has operated at a deficit, significantly beyond its budget allotment during each of the three years since opening in Jan. 1999.

County auditors Walter Jones and Mark Davis suggested during each annual report to commissioners that the increasing operational loss at the facility should be addressed.

In its two and one-half year lifetime, from the opening of the facility to the year ending June 30, 2001, the landfill has operated at a $620,382 deficit, prior to the transfer of supplemental fund from the general fund.

This figure includes the actual loss, depreciation expenses and the current recognition of a portion of the future closure and post-closure care costs, Jones said.

The appointment of a citizens' group Monday came after commissioners decided to reverse their June 2001 decision to sell the facility in favor the August decision to search other avenues to stop the monetary loss.

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