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June 3, 2004 Issue

Georgia State Troopers and Marines form the Honor Guard at a solemn graveside service for Jefferson County Sheriff's Sgt. George Brown. The funeral was held Sunday at Stone Springfield AME Church.

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Officer honored

Other Top Stories
Future of landfill to be discussed
Relay events will continue Friday at walking track
Former Glascock magistrate judge awarded back pay

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Officer honored

By Ben Nelms
Staff Writer

One of Jefferson County law enforcement's most respected members was laid to rest Sunday at Stone Springfield AME Church.

Sergeant 1st Class George L. Brown, Jr., a 12-year veteran of the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office, passed away May 26 at Doctors Hospital in Augusta from medical complications.


The sanctuary at Stone Springfield was filled to capacity Sunday afternoon. The congregation heard colleagues and ministers recall the soft-spoken man who always maintained an air of professionalism, integrity and humanity towards those with whom he worked and those he served in his capacity in law enforcement. To Deputy John Hill, Sheriff Gary Hutchins and the others who spoke of him, Sgt. Brown was a man who gave freely of his time, his love and his honor.

The congregation moved to the cemetery after the service, where an Honor Guard composed of Georgia State Patrol troopers and Marines completed the ceremony by laying the casket to rest, removing and folding the flag draped over it. The folded flag was presented to Sgt. Brown's mother by Sheriff Hutchins. Afterwards, Hutchins placed a call to 911 operators, over the loudspeaker. That call signaled the dispatcher to place a final call to Sgt. Brown for which there could be no return. Tears flowed around the graveside as Brown's voice gave no response and the dispatcher released him to his home.

During the ceremony a bagpiper solemnly wailed his notes, memorializing the man who gave so much to others. And at the end of the graveside service a state trooper, positioned under a distance tree, split the air as Taps was released from his trumpet and met the ears of those positioned around the casket.

Sgt. Brown was survived by his mother, Mary Louise Brown, two brothers, Calvin Brown and Franklin Brown, and two sisters, Lorane McDonlugh and Sharon Brown and numerous other relatives.

Future of landfill to be discussed

Jefferson County Commissioners must decide new landfill's future before adopting their July 1 budget

By Ben Nelms
Staff Writer

Jefferson County commissioners will move closer to a decision about the future of the county's Subtitle D solid waste landfill at a public hearing June 30 at 7 p.m. at the courthouse in Louisville.

At issue are the four options now facing the board as they relate to the facility. Commissioners must quickly determine which option to take since the county FY 2005 budget set to begin in July is contingent on the decision.


Recent comments by the board and landfill consultant Robin Chasman indicate that the county cannot operate the Subtitle D landfill in a cost effective manner given the amount of trash generated compared to the costs associated with running the facility.

One option involves permanent closure of the solid waste landfill, continuing operation of the inert landfill for items such as limbs and leaves and construction of a transfer station from which household trash would be transported out of the county by a contracted hauler.

A second option calls for permanent closure of the solid waste facility, continuing to operate the inert landfill and providing residential trash pick-up. Under this option, household trash would be transported out of the county by a contracting company.

A third option calls for a delayed closure of the solid waste landfill for an as yet undetermined amount of time while maintaining the inert landfill and providing residential trash pick-up through contracted services.

A fourth option calls for continuing the operation of the solid waste and inert landfill as it exists today.

Mounting expenses since the opening of the facility in January 1999 have been an ongoing matter of discussion.

The only viable solution commissioners, auditors, consultants and the public have identified during the past few years is to introduce some type of user-based fee, especially in respect to property owners in the county's unincorporated areas.

Those residents fund the landfill operation through property taxes while city residents pay garbage pick-up fees in addition to funding the operation through county property taxes.

At the May 3 work session Chairman Gardner Hobbs said that commissioners want to hear what the public thinks about the issue.

The board, he said, will not vote on the issue at the meeting.

Relay events will continue Friday at walking track

By Ben Nelms
Staff Writer

Organizers and team member of the Jefferson County Relay for Life just refuse to quit. Though hampered by rain again this year, the 10th anniversary of the event will continue June 4 at 7 p.m. on the walking track in Wrens.

The June 4 Relay will be abbreviated but will still provide families and friends with a way to spend a few hours in fellowship and fun. Event co-chairperson Karen Walden said the event is expected to conclude near midnight, but during those few hours will be the Luminary Service, Survivor's Game, skits, music and other entertainment. She invited families to bring a picnic dinner and eat under the stars.


Relay teams will continue to sell raffle tickets and will hold all money until the event. Jefferson County is only a few thousand dollars away from raising $1 million during the 10-year fundraising effort for the American Cancer Society. But regardless of the amount raised, this year's Relay theme, Celebration: A Decade of Hope, A Decade of Love, will outshine any rainy weather the skies can produce.

Walden said continuation of the event after the rainout a few weeks ago was designed to honor the county's cancer survivors and bring closure to this year's effort. Continuing the event also provides a way to acknowledge the tremendous effort displayed by Jefferson County residents over the past 10 years, she said.

If made necessary due to inclement weather, the Relay will be held the following day at 6 p.m. at the same location.

Former Glascock magistrate judge awarded back pay

Grand Jury awards $13,500 in back wages to Terry Usry

By Ben Nelms
Staff Writer

For Terry Usry the two and one-half year wait paid off. He was awarded $13,500 by a Glascock County jury in a trial May 24 over back wages he claimed were due him while serving as Glascock County Magistrate Judge.

"I've been waiting a long time for this. The jury's decision really made me happy," said Usry. "I had a good, honest jury and I think they ruled n the evidence."


At issue was the number of hours per week Usry worked while serving as magistrate judge. Usry said he certified that he had not worked less than 20 hours per week. In a Dec. 6, 2001 letter to commissioners, county attorney Sammy Fowler said, "In order to receive his monthly income he would have had to maintain hourly time records and be able to document that he did in fact work 20 hours per week. It is my understanding that he did not."

Glascock County commissioners agreed Jan. 9, 2002 to pay Usry a total of $1,087.50 for wages due him during his tenure as magistrate judge from 1997-2000. Their decision was based on a recommendation from Fowler, who cited Georgia law 15-10-23 in determining that Usry was not due the entire sum he demanded.

Usry finally accepted the $1,087.50 but continued his suit, stating that the amount fell short of the more than $17,000 he was owed.

Representing Usry, attorney Shane Geeter said in a Dec. 18, 2001 lette referred to state law 150-10-23(a)(3), saying that the law does not require that Usry would have been responsible for maintaining hourly time records. He said Usry would have to certify his hours rather than keeping a time sheet.

"The fact that the statute only requires certification recognizes that Chief Magistrates are judges," he said. "The suggestion that Chief Magistrates have to keep a time clock reduces the honor and dignity of the position to being that of a check-out clerk at a grocery store."

Geeter maintained that Usry often performed his duties during hours other than when the courthouse was open, including through visits by citizens at his place of business, through telephone conversations after business hours and during on-call hours around the clock.

When all was done, Usry said last week he felt justified in bringing suit and in maintaining his stance without backing off.

"I wouldn't have filed suit if I didn't think I could win," he said.

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