Counting the Days...
Thomas Jefferson Academy prekindergarteners count out 100 cereal hoops as they slide them onto necklaces on the 100th day of school. Other students celebrated by doing 100 jumping jacks and other counting exercises.
Shotgun wielding robbers caught
• Two charged with kidnapping, aggravated assault and criminal intent in attempted robbery of convenience store
By Ben Nelms
Two Wadley men face multiple charges after a failed late night armed robbery attempt Jan. 22 at the Jet convenience store on the Wadley bypass.
Jermichael Strowbridge, 18, was charged with kidnapping, aggravated assault and criminal intent to commit the offense of armed robbery, according to a spokesman for the sheriff's office. Anthony Brown, 16, faces identical charges in the incident. Investigators said Brown was charged as an adult due to a prior conviction of a sex crime and is currently serving a 10-year probation relating to the conviction. Charges are pending on a 16 year-old male who initially acted as a lookout in the incident.
The attempted robbery occurred shortly before midnight Jan. 24 at the Jet convenience store at the intersection of US Highway 1 and SR 78 on the Wadley bypass.
Strowbridge and Brown entered the Jet after leaving the juvenile near a wooded area behind the store acting as a lookout.
Brown brandished a 12-gauge semi-automatic shotgun while Strowbridge forced the clerk behind the counter to the cash register, investigators said.
Standing in front of the counter, Brown pointed the shotgun at the clerk and began yelling at her to open the register.
Though he had no weapon, Strowbridge held his fist to the clerk's neck as if it were a weapon, also demanding that she produce the contents of the register.
Investigators said the clerk was nervous and was unable to open the cash register.
Brown and Strowbridge fled the store after the clerk was unable to open the register.
Wadley police and sheriff's deputies and investigators worked through the night and the following day, ultimately locating the two men based on images caught on the store's video tapes and on information provided by the clerk who believed she recognized Strowbridge.
After speaking with an individual at Strowbridge's residence, officers learned that the man had arrived at the residence with another male subsequent to the time of the attempted robbery and had changed clothes.
Officers found a set of clothes used in the attempted robbery in a washing machine and located a pair of shoes outside the residence.
Strowbridge was subsequently located and admitted his participation in the attempted robbery.
Another officer located and interviewed Brown as he approached Strowbridge's residence on foot.
After questioning Brown, he admitted taking part in the incident and showed officers where he had hidden the shotgun and the clothes used in the attempted robbery. The items were located approximately three blocks from the Jet store.
Investigators later located the 16 year-old male who acted as lookout for Strowbridge and Brown. The juvenile got cold feet and left his position behind the Jet store, investigators said. He had removed the outer layer of black clothing and hidden them under a car in the neighborhood.
The shotgun used in the armed robbery attempt had been stolen in a Wadley burglary two weeks prior to the incident. Based on information provided by Brown, officers found a 30-30 rifle, also taken in the burglary, at the residence of the juvenile in his bedroom. Charges on the juvenile are pending, investigators said.
The sheriff's spokesman said the district attorney would be asking for a minimum sentence of 10 years for Strowbridge and Brown with the expectation that both would be required to serve the majority of the time prior to parole.
2003's fight against cancer begins
• Organizers and teams are raising money for Relay events
By Ben Nelms
They are at it again.
There may well be a host of counties in Georgia and across America that can match the intent of Jefferson and Glascock counties' participation in the American Cancer Society's annual Relay for Life fundraiser, but very few can match the outcome.
The annual Relay event is somewhat deceiving because it is actually the final event in a process that began almost as soon as the previous Relay ended.
Both Couch and O'Steen acknowledged the real emphasis and outcome built into the annual Relay event in their respective counties. They said that the event actually is a vehicle to celebrate cancer survivors and their lives.
A second aspect of the event is to simply have fun. The event itself is the culmination of the yearlong fundraising effort and serves as a time to unwind and fellowship with family, friends and visitors.
O'Steen and Couch stressed that regardless the amount of money raised, the celebration of life is the real objective.
In its ninth year, the Jefferson County Relay for Life will repeat its theme from 2002, "The Spirit of the USA is to Relay."
The decision to keep the same theme stemmed from the cancellation last year as a result of personal tragedies and a severe lightning storm at the beginning of the event, said O'Steen.
Jefferson County placed #8 in the nation last year for counties with a population of 15,000-20,000 and has placed in the top 10 for the past five years.
Jefferson County teams to date include Disciples for Life, First National Bank, First State Bank, Glendale Nursing Home, Glit, J. M. Huber, Matthews Community and Friends, Regions Bank, Wrens Elementary Schoolhouse Rockers, Walden United Methodist Church, Wrens United Methodist Church, Friends for Life, Ingles, Jefferson County High School Beta Club, Heritage of Old Capital and new teams from Jefferson Energy and Keysville Nursing Home.
Keeping with their standard, Glascock County teams elect to determine their themes individually.
Glascock began its participation only three years ago, but their entry into Relay fundraising shattered national per capita records.
The county of little more than 2,500 people placed #1 in the nation for each of the three years in per capita fundraising.
The 2003 Glascock County teams include the Headhunters, Fellowship Baptist Church, Bethel Methodist Church, Glascock County Consolidated School Panthers and the Sidewalk Gang.
Couch said Glascock is working on securing a couple of new teams for this year's event. Both counties are currently working on corporate sponsorships.
Commitments for corporate sponsorships are not due for a few more weeks.
O'Steen and Couch requested that those interested in participating either as a team or corporate sponsor contact the appropriate Relay staff in their county.
O'Steen, Karen Walden and Renae Borum are the co-chairs in Jefferson County. Couch and team captain coordinator Melissa Rogers are the contacts in Glascock County.
The Jefferson County Relay will be held May 2 &3 at the walking track adjacent to Wrens Middle School.
The Glascock Relay at Brassell Park will be held June 6 & 7. The first captains' meeting will be held Feb. 20 at 7 p.m. at the community house.
Herbert Anderson displays Only In America, the book he wrote chronicling his life growing up poor and becoming a successful local businessman.