Inmate-built items found in trashcan
• Handmade lamps, tables and picture frame discovered at inmate worksite in county Armory
By Ben Nelms
A discovery made Feb. 15 at Jefferson County's recently created county shop building on SR 24 in Louisville revealed that areas at the old National Guard facility were being used by inmates from the county prison camp to manufacture items such as lamps, tables and picture frames and then using them in an, as yet, unspecified method of exchange.
An investigation of the incident by prison work camp Warden William Evans is underway to determine the extent of the activity, the recipients of the goods, the person or persons who possibly had knowledge of the activity, the extent of that involvement and whether the method of exchange included items being bartered, sold or otherwise.
Responding Feb. 15 to a report of suspicious activity at the county shop, Police Chief Jimmy Miller discovered two stained, wooden lamps wrapped in paper and enclosed in dark-colored trash bags in a crate on the east side of the building and a wooden picture frame wrapped in paper inside a trash can in front of the building. Police were told that an unknown person or persons had placed three jars of instant coffee in a trash can in front of the building earlier in the day and that another unknown person or persons had removed the items later that day.
A search of the county shop premises by Miller and prison camp Lt. Calvin Oliphant revealed another lamp in the paint shop recently painted black and drying, drawings with measurements for lamps and several different lamp parts that had been made into additional lamps. Also discovered during the search was weightlifting equipment made from materials at the shop, food, a hot plate, pornographic magazines, cigarettes, letters and photographs. The items have since been removed and taken to the prison camp.
Evans said Monday that inmates working at the old armory had been discovered to have made the items and that an investigation into the incident was being conducted. Inmates found to be involved will be punished, he said.
Evans said Department of Corrections regulations forbid the manufacture and sales of items by inmates.
He said the investigation had thus far revealed no evidence that any of the merchandise had been sold or that any guards or civilians had been involved in the incident.
The inmate cabinet-making detail has been relocated to a restricted area at the prison camp, Evans said.
"We have recognized the flaw in the system and we have changed it," he said.
Citing possible knowledge and participation by guards or civilians, Evans said the investigation should reveal the scope of involvement, if any. If prison camp guards are found to be involved, they will be subject to appropriate personnel actions.
Evans said the presence of the coffee found in a trash can in the front of the building was likely not tied to the manufactured items discovered. Family and friends of inmates will sometimes attempt to slip items past security measures.
In this case as in so many others where prisoners come in some proximity to the public, the old armory could have functioned as a drop off point for contraband items such as coffee.
"This is commonplace where people are incarcerated and when family or friends try to get contraband to inmates," said Evans.
County Administrator James Rogers said Monday he was made aware of the problem once the discovery was made.
He advised commissioners that Evans had begun the investigation.
Woman stabbed man in throat
• Bartow woman charged with disorderly conduct
By Ben Nelms
A Bartow woman was charged Sunday with disorderly conduct in the domestic violence stabbing of her step-father at their Noah Heggs Road residence.
Annette Bass, 36, of Bartow, was charged after stabbing Charles Gilmore in the throat during a late afternoon incident at Gilmore's home, according to a Sheriff's office incident report.
Gilmore told officers at the scene that Bass was very intoxicated and had approached him outside the residence, attempting to provoke an argument. He said he tried to distance himself from her by going into the residence.
Gilmore said the woman followed him inside where she became more upset and began throwing and tearing up items.
He told her to leave and attempted to push her out the door, at which point Bass pulled a knife and stabbed him twice in the neck and then exited the house.
Gilmore reacted by following her outside where he produced a knife and cut Bass several times on the shoulder and neck. Neighbors separated the two until officers arrived.
Officers were initially told of the presence of only one knife. While examining the area around the residence, officers were approached by a woman who produced a pocketknife, saying that Bass had apparently placed a knife in her sweater pocket after the incident.
Bass and Gilmore were treated and released at Jefferson Hospital. Bass is being held at Jefferson County jail. No charges were filed against Gilmore.
Louisville teens arrested after brawl
• Officers were struck and bitten during scuffle
By Ben Nelms
An early Saturday morning altercation at the Huddle House restaurant on the US Hwy 1 bypass in Louisville between three Louisville men and law enforcement officers resulted in multiple charges against the three.
Maurice Reese, 17, of Louisville, was charged with aggravated assault on a sheriff's deputy, disorderly conduct and resisting arrest. Quincy Fields, 19, of Louisville, was charged with felony obstruction, disorderly conduct and resisting arrest. Christopher Jordan, 18, of Louisville, was charged with disorderly conduct and possession of alcohol by a minor, according to Louisville police and sheriff's office reports.
Police and deputies arrived at the Huddle House at approximately 3 a.m., dispersing those in the restaurant in response to a reported fight.
Officers returned to the restaurant approximately 15 minutes later due to the reappearance of a crowd of people, many of which were not eating.
Incident reports from Louisville police and Jefferson County Sheriff's Office indicate that two Louisville police approached a booth where Reese and Jordan were sitting and told them to either order food or leave the restaurant. Officers also detected a strong smell of alcohol present in the area of the table.
Reese said he would order later and was told by officers to leave. Reese then began to argue with officers, becoming loud and belligerent.
Officers backed off and called for backup assistance from sheriff's deputies due to the number of people present in the restaurant and the attitude of the crowd, reports said.
Once backup arrived the officers and a deputy re-entered the restaurant to arrest Reese for disorderly conduct. Reese resisted and began fighting, striking one officer in the head and chest. Fields also began swinging at officers once the fighting started and was eventually sprayed with pepper spray to subdue him.
During the altercation Reese bit a deputy on the left forearm and later kicked out part of the containment cage in the police car, striking the officer in the head.
The deputy was treated and released at Jefferson Hospital.
Plans viewed and discussed for Historic Louisville project
• Group looked at conceptual plans and discussed central focus of downtown
By Ben Nelms
A group of nearly two-dozen residents and business owners interested in the future of the downtown Louisville business district met recently at the Jefferson County Historical Society building to discuss the proposals and make recommendations for the Historic Louisville project.
A presentation of two possible conceptual plans for the downtown area was made by Ryan Healan and Robert Bryant of Atlanta engineering and architectural firm Robert and Company. The presentation was made possible by the Jefferson County Chamber of Commerce and the Development Authority of Jefferson County in order to respond to community questions concerning the future of the Louisville business district.
Both plans call for modifications of some of the existing features along Broad Street's business district and, if realized, would make the downtown area more directly accessible to businesses, compatible with historic tourism and a more inviting venue for foot traffic.
A central focus of downtown would be the area around the Market House, listed as one of three sites within the county on the Georgia Historic Trails route that will follow Sherman's March to the Sea. Proposed features to be located in the area are an information kiosk for self-guided tours and a small Civil War Plaza diagonally across the street between Johnson's Cleaners and First National Bank. Planners said that location would provide visitors with a simultaneous view of the courthouse and the downtown area.
Many in attendance preferred that the proposed Monument plaza for the city's various monuments and historic markers be located behind the small brick building directly across from the Market House as called for in Plan B, rather than on the courthouse grounds as shown in Plan A. The group said the courthouse and surrounding grounds would be better left as they are now rather than planting additional trees and installing a cluster of monuments and an arbor area on the west side of the building, as suggested in Plan A.
In Plan B, the recommendation called for the city to purchase the building and convert it into a visitor's center or museum, locating the plaza in the open area behind the building. Options included leaving the building as it is or opening the center of the building completely to create a passageway through it, thereby visually connecting Broad Street to the plaza. An alternative suggestion by some in the group called for the city to purchase and remove the building completely and expand the plaza, providing both a visual and physical link between Broad Street and Pine Street.
Also included conceptually was the installation of marked parking spaces along Pine Street and the construction of an amphitheatre overlooking Rocky Comfort Creek. The result would be to bring more people to the rear of the buildings and provide a gathering place for city events, planners said. A suggestion from the group included the potential use of Pine Street as a vendor area during events such as the Christmas parade and the eventual use of the land beyond Pine Street as a green space or a park.
Healan and Bryant proposed other alterations in the downtown area designed to be visitor-friendly and safety conscious.
These included placement of a gateway sign at Broad and Peachtree streets identifying downtown's historic significance, the installation of inlaid brick or stone crosswalks placed strategically through the business district and the opening of some portions of the grass median between trees to serve as walkthroughs for shoppers and tourists. Other suggestions from the group included the need for adequate lighting, police protection and a clear designation for parking on Pine Street and handicap accessibility throughout downtown.
Suggestions and recommendations by the group will be evaluated in conjunction with the proposals to address the future of the historic business district and included at an upcoming meeting. A proposed project cost and the exploration of various sources of funding will follow.
Information on the project can be obtained by contacting the Jefferson County Chamber of Commerce at (478) 625-8134. The conceptual plans provided by Robert and Company are available for public viewing at the chamber office at 302 E. Broad Street in Louisville.