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Top Stories
June 10, 2004 Issue

The Survivor Game is one of several events at Friday night's continuation of Jefferson County's 10th Relay for Life cancer fundraiser. Several hundred residents turn out to share the fellowship of the occasion and learn that Jefferson raised more than $1 million over 10 years.

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Relayers regroup










Other Top Stories
Candidates meet public in Mitchell
Officers injured in accident caused by drunk driver
Suggestions for future of county solicited June 17

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Relayers regroup

By Ben Nelms
Staff Writer

It was a feat that seemed nearly impossible for a county of less than 20,000 people to accomplish. But on the other hand, this is Jefferson County.

The feat involved far more than the tenacity to continue the annual Relay for Life cancer fundraiser that had been rained out a month earlier. It involved far more than the astounding sum of money raised for the American Cancer Society over the past 10 years. It involved the faith, hope and love of those who have a special knowledge of cancer and for those whose lives are now precious memories.

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Unwilling to be defeated after rains forced a cancellation of the Relay for Life for three straight years, Jefferson County Relay teams and event co-chairs Karen Walden, Renae Borum and Doug O'Steen made the commitment to continue the event June 4. And by 8 p.m. Friday night several hundred people had gathered under partly cloudy skies at the walking track in Wrens. The slight breeze that blew on that warm summer evening could not compare to the whirlwind of love-driven emotion and celebration that completely permeated the setting. A part of the emotion came at the end of the event as Walden and O'Steen announced the fundraising total for 2004 and for the 10 years the event has been held here.

It was with more than joy that they announced that $117,900 had been raised this year. And it was with more than emotion, more than elation, that the 10-year total was announced.

"Jefferson County, you did it! You've raised $1,002,006!" shouted event co-chair Doug O'Steen. "This is an unbelievable total for 10 years. That's $100,000 per year and there are not many counties in America that can do that."

Though many had departed by the time the near-midnight announcement was made, the emotion in the voices, in the eyes and on the faces of so many was impossible to miss. The cheers reached the clouds. The tears began to flow.

A number of Relay events preceded the final announcement. Familiar events such as the survivor walk, the baby stroller parade, the survivor game, live music and other activities accented the evening. Through much of the evening, the bucket truck operated by Jefferson Energy Cooperative supplied endless trips high above the walking track, giving riders a bird's eye view of the event and the nearly 1,500 luminaries that lined the track and those that spelled out the word inherently tied to the Relay: HOPE.

Near the end of the event, Borum, O'Steen and Walden announced the awards.

The award for Individual Spirit went to Chris Anderson, Best Campsite went to Walden United Methodist Church, Most Money Raised by an Individual was awarded to Gene Williams, the Team Spirit Award went to First National Bank and the Street Award went to Walker Street in Wrens. First State Bank took the honors for Most Money Raised by a Company, Wrens Elementary School won for Most Money Raised by a School, Wrens United Methodist Church won for Most Money Raised by a Church and Matthews Community and Friends won for Most Money Raised by a Team and Most Money Raised by a Community.

Through it all, the upbeat crowd of families and friends watched the action, ate their picnic dinners, sat talking in lounge chairs, played catch football and horseshoes and simply enjoyed the occasion.

Yet all during the event another, deeper emotion could be seen. It was clearly visible to anyone when viewed with the eyes in their hearts. The hundreds gathered around the little walking track were there to celebrate the reality that cancer cannot become the victor when faith, hope and love are present. On that warm summer evening, hundreds came to say "no" to cancer, to its pain and fear, to what was once considered its supremacy over those whose lives it enters. And they came to say "yes" to the support and hope and celebration that comes from life's most simple, yet most powerful, force. They came to say "yes" to love.





Candidates meet public in Mitchell

By Ben Nelms
Staff Writer

Nearly 150 Glascock County residents and a host of local, state and Congressional candidates made their way to the Mitchell Depot Saturday afternoon for the first of what will likely become an annual "Meet the Candidates" event.

The setting was idyllic for summertime campaigning. The afternoon was warm and breezy.

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Candidates mingled with residents for more than two hours, enjoying hotdogs, drinks and homemade ice cream while local musicians entertained everyone.

Near 7 p.m. the candidates began speaking. Each was provided with three minutes to make their case to voters.

Some were in contested races while others were on hand to show their appreciation to those who made the time to attend. And though the venue included no questions from the audience, voters had ample time to ask individual questions and candidates had time to respond.

Candidates speaking at the event included 12th Congressional District Democratic candidate Tony Center, state Senate candidates Joey Brush (incumbent) and Jim Whitehead, state Court of Appeals candidate Tom Rawlings and Toombs Circuit Superior Court Judge candidates Hal Hinesley, Jimmy Plunkett and Chad Hammond, brother of candidate Britt Hammond.

Local Democratic candidates for sheriff included Bryan Bopp, Larry Blair and Cary Deal. Republican James Stephens could not attend but furnished a letter that was read at the event.

School board candidates included James Moore, John Raley and Tracy Bopp. County commission candidates included incumbent Chairman Thomas Chalker, incumbent Johnny Crutchfield, Anthony "Ant" Griswell and D'Ann Simpson.

Also addressing the audience were Glascock County Magistrate Judge Misty May, Tax Commissioner Sharon Lyons, Coroner Connie Kitchens and Clerk of Superior Court Carla Pittman. Probate Judge Denise Dallas could not attend but sent a letter.

A runoff election will be held Aug. 10 if necessary.





Officers injured in accident caused by drunk driver

By Ben Nelms
Staff Writer

A 24 year-old Sandersville man was charged Saturday with multiple violations in a car crash that left two Jefferson County deputies with minor injuries.

Rodriguez T. Poole was charged with DUI, suspended license, failure to stop, leaving the scene of an accident, improper tag, open container and driving too fast for conditions in the incident, according to Sheriff Gary Hutchins.

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The incident occurred near 11 p.m. when a caller notified 911 about the presence of an erratic driver on Friendship Church Road in south Jefferson County. Sgt. Mike Patton and Deputy Barrow Walden, who were patrolling together in south Jefferson, responded to the call. Patton left Bartow traveling north on SR 221 toward Friendship Church Road. The officers had not made contact with the driver so they determined to turn left on Friendship Church Road, believing that the driver had turned around and proceeded to retrace his route. As Patton approached the intersection preparing to turn left, his vehicle ran over a power line suspended just above the roadway. Patton saw the power line in the darkness just before making contact with it but was unable to break fast enough to prevent running over it, said Hutchins.

Contact with the line, determined later to have been caused after Poole's car clipped a large power pole only moments earlier, resulted in the patrol car being jerked off the roadway from the rear after running over it and then slamming down onto the ground. Both officers were dazed and received only minor injuries, including a bruised abdomen suffered by Patton, said Hutchins.

Responding to the accident, Sgt. Chip Evans arrived at the scene and proceeded north on Friendship Church Road for approximately three miles where he found Rodriguez with his vehicle along the side of the road. The vehicle had been disabled after hitting the power pole, Hutchins said. Rodriguez was arrested at the scene.





Suggestions for future of county solicited June 17

By Ben Nelms
Staff Writer

Plans for the way Jefferson County will look over the next 20 years are close to being finalized. Public input to review the Jefferson County 20-year Comprehensive Plan and provide additional suggestions will be solicited at a June 17 public meeting that will be held at 6 p.m. at the courthouse in Louisville.

A group of residents from around the county have met for more than a year to assist CSRA Regional Development Center (RDC) representatives in developing the plan. Though behind schedule due to personnel changes at RDC, the plan is due for submission to Georgia Dept. of Community Affairs (DCA) by June 30. A deadline extension has been requested to provide enough time to solidify the plan.

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The local group and RDC recently developed numerous goals and objectives to accompany the plan categories that include economic development, housing, natural and historic resources, community facilities, land use and intergovernmental coordination. A sampling of the plan calls for the establishment of a countywide water authority, securing funds to adequately address child abuse and domestic violence, passage of a one-percent sales tax to provide firefighters with needed funds that the cities and the county cannot afford to provide, expansion of the water/sewer/natural gas infrastructure and committing to protect the county's natural and historic resources.

Both group members and RDC representatives said at the most recent meeting that residents are urged to attend the public meeting to review the goals and objectives and offer their input and suggestions on the critical issues facing Jefferson County over the next 20 years.


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