New store will bring 25-30 jobs
• Company is looking to have building complete Sept. 1, and open Oct. 1
By Ben Nelms
It has been described a mini Wal-Mart. Descriptions aside, the fact remains that Louisville and Jefferson County are about to see a new retail store in the community.
The announcement of the construction of a Fred's store on the US Highway 1 bypass and School Street in Louisville was made Friday by Douglas real estate developer Bill Elliot.
Speaking to city and county officials at the Chamber of Commerce office, Elliot said the 16,000 square-foot retail store will feature a range of up to 12,000 brand name, off-brand and private label products, including pharmaceuticals, household goods, clothing, health and beauty aids, food and tobacco products.
The store will provide 25-30 jobs initially and at least 25 jobs in the long-term, depending on sales.
The addition of Fred's to the retail-shopping venue in Jefferson County enables more dollars to turn over locally as well as creating more jobs and enhancing local buying power, said economic developer Brad Day.
"For some time we've been losing dollars to retail establishments outside the county," he said. "Sometimes people say they have to shop outside the county because they can't get certain things here. With Fred's opening here, it allows our consumers to get more of the things they need locally."
Elliot said the company expects to complete closure on the property and begin the permitting process in the next two weeks.
The target date for the completion of construction is Sept. 1 with the opening anticipated Oct. 1.
Elliot added that various aspects of construction activities will be open to participation by local bidders. Contact numbers posted on signs at the property are available for those potentially interested, said Elliot.
Headquartered in Memphis, Fred's opened its first store in Mississippi in 1947. The company operates 522 discount stores in 14 southeastern states, primarily in small communities. Fred's has a new distribution center in Dublin that will serve the Louisville store and many of the additional 275 Fred's expected to be built in the near future, said Elliot.
Site location and planning assistance for the project was provided by Development Authority of Jefferson County and First National Bank and Trust.
Four charged in raid
• Officers found 13 ounces of marijuana, a loaded handgun and moonshine at the residence
By Parish Howard
Four people were arrested on drug charges Friday when Wrens Police Officers served a search warrant at a house where they had recently bought both marijuana and crack cocaine.
Wrens Police Chief David Hannah and officers from several local agencies converged on 201 and 203 Howard Street Friday afternoon. While officers entered the front door with the no-knock warrant, Hannah, wielding a shotgun, slipped around back where he met 23-year-old Robert Lee Davis Jr. on his way out the back door.
"His hand was on the screen door and he was on his way out when he saw me standing there," Hannah said. "He had almost $400 in cash and several bags of marijuana on his person."
Officers also detained and later arrested 53-year-old Robert Lee Davis Sr., 33-year-old Janice Marie Lockhart and 52-year-old Coriene Simpkins, all residents of adjoining apartments.
Not long after removing the drugs from the younger Davis's pockets, officers discovered more marijuana, a loaded Colt .22 handgun and scales in a dresser drawer. In the same room officers discovered a bottle of what appeared to be moonshine.
A later sweep by Wrens Police Department's K-9 narcotics officer uncovered a gallon-sized ziplock bag with several individually wrapped ounce-sized bags of marijuana stuffed inside an altered sofa cushion.
All together, officers confiscated around 13 ounces of marijuana which had been divided into nickel, dime and ounce bags, what Chief Hannah believes could have gone for as much as $5,000 on the street.
"We had bought twice from that house in the last week," Hannah said. "We've been getting complaints about drug activity there from residents and we watched it for a while and saw people going in and out at all times of the night. We waited and watched the house for about two months, waiting for the right time to hit it."
Hannah used the State troopers, Richmond County drug dogs, and Jefferson County Sheriff's officers who were in town for a license check as extra backup and a show of force.
All four suspects taken into custody were charged with possession of marijuana with intent to distribute, possession of drug related objects and possession of a firearm during commission of a crime.
"There will definitely be more arrests like this to come," Hannah said. "We've heard threats from several informants that some local drug dealers are saying they've bought new guns just for our officers. Well, this is their notice that we're coming for them, and when we come, we're going to come hard and heavy. We don't take these threats lightly. We're coming, and we won't be coming alone."
Chief Hannah encourages citizens to call his department with tips on suspected drug activity in their area. He can be reached at (706) 547-3000 and he assures that all tips will be kept confidential.
Group forms new Republican party of Glascock County
• Members plan to attend 12th District Convention on Saturday, April 3
By Jessica Newberry
The political scene in Glascock County gained the presence of a newly organized party with the recent establishment of the official Glascock County Republican Party. On Saturday, Feb. 28 Republicans from throughout the county gathered at the courthouse to establish the county's first permanent Republican Party.
Although there have been previous Republican organizations in the county, they have not survived. An organization was established in the 1960s, and an additional effort was made in the 1990s by 12th District Republican Representative Leroy Lewis of Louisville and Senator Joey Brush of Columbia County.
The counties without organized parties are the responsibility of the district. Therefore, as a 12th District Committee member, Lewis was appointed to organize the Glascock County Republican party.
"The organization has depth now and outstanding citizens who will make it successful," said Lewis.
As part of the Grass Roots party, the new organization will hold elections every two years. Each Republican office must have elections every two years, according to Lewis.
"In 2005, all county, district and state offices must hold reelections," said Lewis. "The organization will call for a meeting which will be held at the same time on the same day in every Republican organization throughout the state."
The Glascock County party elected officers during the Feb. 28 meetings. Those elected were Party Chairman James V. Stephens, Vice Chairperson Etta G. Wilcher, Secretary Judy A. Deal and Treasurer J. H. Usry, Jr.
Several of those attending this meeting are expected to qualify with the Republican Party for the July 20th Primary, according to Stephens.
The Georgia Republicans' beliefs include that the strength of the nation lies within the individual and that each person's dignity, freedom, ability and responsibility must be honored. They also believe in equal rights, justice and opportunity for all regardless of race, creed, sex, age or disability.
The Georgia Republicans agree with the ideas of free enterprise and that the most effective, responsible and responsive government is the government closest to the people.
The Glascock County members will attend the 12th district convention on Saturday, Apr. 3. They will have breakfast with Congressman Max Burns at Cross Creek High School.
"We have to see what we need to do to get our party back on track and running strong," said Stephens. "We will be holding a local meeting to contact party members in the county and new members."