Mishelle Holdaway, 11, of Stapleton and 10-year-old Kim Stevens of Louisville share the magic of the season's first Christmas lights with one-year-old Kayle Usry at Stapleton's Christmas tree lighting Saturday. Cities throughout Jefferson and Glascock counties are planning their lightings and parades to take place over the next few weeks.
Cities plan seasonal events
• Glascock will hold the next lighting Nov. 30 at 7:30 p.m.
By Regina Reagan
Stapleton's Tree Lighting
Carols and tinsel and twinkling lights are just around the corner and cities throughout Jefferson and Glascock counties are planning their annual Christmas tree lightings and parades to kick the season off right.
Stapleton got an early start celebrating the Christmas season with its tree lighting on Nov. 22.
The massive 30-foot cedar was lit with strains of colorful lights around 6 p.m.
There was a short prayer followed by all types of homemade goodies and snacks.
The tree now stands in the middle of the town across from the bank.
This year makes the third year in a row that Stapleton has held a Christmas tree lighting.
A Glascock Christmas
Glascock County will be holding its annual square lighting on Nov. 30 at 7:30 p.m. in the heart of Gibson.
Hot chocolate, coffee and doughnut holes will be available.
The lighting is sponsored by the Rolling Hill Garden Club.
Glascock County will also have a Christmas parade on Dec. 13 at 2 p.m.
Confirmed entries include the Boy and Girl Scouts, church floats, fire engines, horses and much more. A lot of local participation is predicted.
The Shriners, who were unable attend last year's parade, are expected to make their come back this year. Also, the Wrens Recreation Department Cheerleaders will take part in the parade.
Entries in the parade should be at the line-up no later that 1:30 p.m.
The parade is sponsored by the Glascock County Chamber of Commerce and entry forms can be picked up at county or city locations.
For more information concerning the parade call (706) 598-0835 or 598-3122.
On Dec. 13 at 1 p.m., downtown Louisville will once again be filled with the joy and cheer of the holiday spirit. The theme for this year is "Let Freedom Ring."
Line-up begins at noon on West 9th St. off of Peachtree St. near Louisville Academy.
Arts and Crafts vendors will be downtown beginning at 9 a.m. Also around 9 a.m., parents can bring their children to get their pictures with Santa Claus at the market house.
The parade will include cloggers, churches, the JCHS band, Sandersville Tech truck, GA Power trucks, Jefferson Energy trucks, fire trucks and much more. The parade is open to whoever wants to participate.
For more information call Reggie Morgan at (478) 625-3319.
On Dec. 5 at 6 p.m. Wrens is lighting its Christmas tree.
"We'd like everyone to come down and help us get the holiday spirit kicked off," Walter Hannah said.
On Dec. 6 Wrens will then have its Christmas parade.
Hannah said to expect some new and old things this year. There will be fire engines, the air force, drill teams, old cars, motorcycles, step teams, tons of floats and new bands just to name a few.
Line-up is at 1 p.m. at the Wrens Elementary School and the floats will be judged from 12-1:30 p.m.
For more information call Walter Hannah at (706) 547-3000. The entries have been pre-lined up but anyone interested can still get an entry in the parade just near the end.
"I just want everyone to come and enjoy."
On Dec. 5 at 5:30 p.m. the city of Wadley is holding a Christmas tree lighting. Everyone is invited to attend.
Those attending can expect a memorial type service, choirs, prayer and refreshments.
The lighting will take place in the city parking lot across from the police department.
Just a day later on the 6th Wadley will also host its Christmas parade.
The Savannah and Jefferson County High School bands will be in the parade this year along with the Carver Elementary Dancers, cars and much more.
Line-up is at 10:30 a.m. at college and main st.
Caretaker arrested for theft
• Officers believe Angel Williams of Louisville stole $35,000 over a two year period from an 80-year-old woman
By Ben Nelms
The caretaker of an 80 year-old Louisville woman was charged Nov. 21 with the theft of more than $35,000 over a two-year period.
Thirty-two year old Louisville resident Angel Williams was charged with felony theft by deception in the case, according to Louisville Police Chief Jimmy Miller. The case was turned over to Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI). The investigation of the woman's financial records by Special Agent Doug Parker revealed that Williams had received more than $35,000 in funds in excess of her salary, according to police reports.
Miller said the theft occurred during the two-year period that Williams was employed as a caretaker. He said officers were told that Williams was paid approximately $315 per month as a part-time employee.
A bank employee where the woman has an account noticed that some of the signatures on checks recently cashed by Williams looked suspicious and that the number of checks cashed by Williams each month were increasing, according to police reports. Miller said the amounts of the checks cashed by Williams during the past 20-24 months ranged from $600 to nearly $4,000. The amount of money received by Williams beyond her monthly salary during that period equaled more than $35,000.
The woman told officers Williams recently had her sign a statement stating that Williams had never stolen anything from her.
Miller said the adult children of elderly persons who require the care of others should take the necessary precautions to ensure their physical, financial and emotional well-being.
"There should be some sort of check and balance system used by family members of elderly citizens who live alone or have caretakers," he said. "Families need to make sure their loved ones are not taken advantage of financially or any other way."
Louisville child illegally taken out of state
• Child is safe, officers said Tuesday night
By Ben Nelms
Augusta resident Joseph Paul Bradley along with his aunt, Janice Johnson, faced pending charges of kidnapping Tuesday in the non-custodial abduction of Bradley's nine month-old biological daughter. Bradley fled the state with the child Friday in violation of an agreement with girl's mother, a Louisville resident.
Bradley and the child were located Tuesday in Idaho. Jefferson County Sheriff's investigators and the child's mother planned to travel there Wednesday to take custody of the child.
A pending warrant for kidnapping was initially issued Monday for the 21 year-old Bradley for the abduction. Bradley's aunt, 44 year-old Augusta resident Janice Johnson, was arrested at her home Monday after interviews with Jefferson County Sheriff's investigators and Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) agents.
The circumstances that led to the abduction began approximately one month ago when Bradley and Johnson initiated contact with the child's mother. They asked if the child could accompany them on Nov. 21 to Johnson's family reunion in Portal. The mother eventually agreed, with the understanding that her daughter would be picked up Thursday and returned late Sunday afternoon.
Bradley had maintained no contact with the mother or their child since her birth, said investigators. The mother has retained full custody of the child since birth.
She contacted Louisville police Sunday evening when her daughter was not returned on time. Jefferson County Sheriff's investigators and GBI agents became involved Monday after Magistrate Judge Murray Bowman filed charges in the matter.
Investigators traveled to Augusta later Monday to interview Johnson at her home. She was arrested subsequent to the interview and transported to Jefferson County jail where she faces a pending charge of kidnapping. The arrest was made because Johnson was attempting to conceal the facts relating to the child's abduction, investigators said. During the interview Johnson told investigators she had accompanied her husband and her son to the family reunion in Portal. She said Bradley and the child left her residence Friday with a couple driving a small white Ford sedan.
Bradley's mother, Idaho resident Sharon Wallingford, called the mother's residence after learning that her sister had been arrested. Wallingford spoke initially with the child's grandmother and later with the mother. During the call Bradley came on the line, saying he would contact an attorney Tuesday morning and then call to relay the lawyer's advice. During a portion of the call the child could be heard playing in the background, investigators said.
Investigators spoke with Bradley on Tuesday and arranged to travel to Idaho to take custody of the child.
Contacted late Tuesday, both Bowman and Sheriff Gary Hutchins said the main objective now is to have the child returned safely to her mother.
Stapleton mayor Harold Smith rescinds resignation
By Ben Nelms
Anyone who sits still for very long in Stapleton could miss a lot. That was certainly the case with the recent resignation of Mayor Harold Smith and his decision days later to rescind it.
Smith surprised many of his constituents the day of the Nov. 4 election by resigning. He left a letter to that effect at city hall along with his keys and the city credit card. Yet before the city council met to officially discuss the resignation Smith rescinded it. Concerning his decision, Smith said it was due to the number of people who contacted him, requesting that he not leave office.
"A lot of people called me and a lot of people came to see me about it," he said. "I thought about the decision I made, but with the support I got I decided to rescind my resignation."
Smith's resignation came on the day that he would have been elected for another term as mayor. He was running unopposed for his second term.
When contacted, city attorney Chris Dube said nothing in the city charter prevented Smith from rescinding his resignation.
When contacted the evening of the election, Smith said he had no comment other than to say that he had "decided to call it a day."