Meth lab discovered
By Ben Nelms
Information received by the Glascock County Sheriff's Office led to the Labor Day arrest of a Mitchell man and his brother on charges of possession and manufacture of methamphetamine.
Jeremy Scott Carroll, 22, of Mitchell, and Charles John Carroll, 19, a Tennessee resident, were charged with possession of methamphetamine and manufacture of methamphetamine, according to Sheriff Bryan Bopp. Charles Carroll has prior arrest charges in Tennessee relating to methamphetamine, the sheriff said.
Bopp said his office was advised that a meth lab was operating at the SR 102 residence west of Mitchell. After obtaining permission from the residents early Monday afternoon, a preliminary search by Bopp and Dep. Chuck Cason revealed a number of empty packages of pseudoephedrine and plastic gloves coated with a red substance.
Bopp contacted Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) agents in Thomson, who arrived at the residence near 5 p.m. Agents requested a truck from Gibson Fire Department and an EMS unit to be at the scene for the duration of the search.
A further search of the residence and yard revealed an undisclosed quantity of residue and empty containers of Liquid Heat, iodine and hydrogen peroxide. Also found at the residence were muriatic acid, lye, a quantity of matches sometimes used to obtain phosphorus and nail polish, coffee strainers and brake fluid, Bopp said.
As it had since mid-afternoon, a soaking rain persisted throughout the night. Shortly after midnight a GBI chemist from Macon arrived, followed shortly by a second GBI chemist from Atlanta and the members of the Clandestine Laboratory Response Team. In conjunction with GBI agents already at the scene, response team members completed the separation, cataloguing and photographing of evidence collected earlier. Near 1 a.m., a Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) Hazardous Materials unit arrived from Columbia, South Carolina to retrieve and dispose of the substances. The incident that began in early afternoon ended at 2 a.m.
Other agencies assisting throughout the multi-hour investigation included Glascock County Emergency Management Director Mike Lyons, Gibson and Mitchell firefighters, Georgia Department of Natural Resources and McDuffie County Ambulance Service.
Bopp said Tuesday he appreciated citizens alerting law enforcement to situations involving illegal drug activity and other crimes. It takes the efforts of everyone working together to continue to eradicate drugs in Glascock County, he said.
Bopp said anyone with information pertaining to methamphetamine or any drug is encouraged to contact the sheriff's office at (706) 598-2881.
Frances sends bad weather our way
• Weather downs trees, knocks out power and cancels classes
By Ben Nelms
Hurricane Frances did not force the evacuation of untold thousands through Jefferson and Glascock counties as did Hurricane Floyd a few years ago. But the downgraded hurricane sweeping through Georgia Monday and Tuesday brought heavy rains, damaging wind, power outages, downed trees, school closings and a tornado watch to both counties .
Jefferson County schools, Glascock County Consolidated School and Thomas Jefferson Academy were all closed Tuesday due to power outages and uprooted trees blocking roads.
Jefferson Energy CEO Kenneth Cook said the cooperative had 250 meters affected in Glascock and 650 in Jefferson. Power had been restored to all but approximately 150 meters by mid-afternoon Tuesday and was expected to be restored to the remaining meters, barring additional bad weather, by late Tuesday evening, Cook said. A Georgia Power representative in Atlanta said the company could not provide specific information on local outages.
Planning for Frances
Areas around both counties were subject over Labor Day to significant rainfall and sporadic high winds that felled trees and caused intermittent property damage and blocked roads. WPEH radio in Louisville received 5.15 inches of rain between 8 a.m. Monday and 2 p.m. Tuesday. Seven inches was recorded at a residence on Grange Road during the same period while a residence in Glascock recorded 6.5 inches. Sporadic areas of both counties received wind gusts Monday and Tuesday sufficient to uproot and topple large trees and cause damage to homes and vehicles.
Road crews from both counties worked into the afternoon Tuesday to clear roadways of fallen limbs and trees. Crews in Glascock cleared 25-30 blocked or partially blocked roads by mid-afternoon Tuesday. Jefferson County crews re-opened 30 blocked roads during the same period. Their quick response, said Jefferson Emergency Management Director Lamar Baxley and Glascock EMA Director Mike Lyons, was efficient and rapid.
Jefferson County did experience an estimated 20-25 percent increase in traffic late last week, much of which was heading north along U.S. Highway 1, local officers said. Some gas stations and restaurants reported a 40-50 percent increase in business during the same period.
Remembering the influx of evacuees fleeing Hurricane Floyd a few years ago, agencies from around Jefferson County met Sept. 2 and 3 at the request of Baxley and county administrator Paul Bryan. The meetings were called to discuss the local response in case a similar wave of evacuees made their way in and through the county. A concurrent discussion about preparations in the event the effects of the hurricane directly impacted Jefferson County was also held. A main topic of conversation was the use of shelters during the Floyd evacuation. Baxley told the group that Wrens Baptists Church had been designated to be the first shelter to open if conditions warranted. Any overflow would be handled by Mt. Moriah followed by Louisville United Methodist Church.
Numerous other aspects of handling large numbers of evacuees or local residents included the provision of food and drinks, posting of signs to direct evacuees to shelters, medical and health-related issues, games and other activities for children, housing for pets, the establishment of alternate shelters and the staffing of a command center at the old National Guard Armory in Louisville. Though not intended to be conclusive plans, the group was able to assess a starting point from which emergency services to those in need might be accomplished.
The exhaustive list of agencies responding at the meetings included local EMA, Jefferson County Roads, Transit, Seniors, and Recreation departments, Jefferson Hospital, SHIPS for Youth, Georgia Dept. of Family and Children's Services, Jefferson County Sheriff's Office, Georgia Dept. of Transportation, Jefferson County Health Dept., Rural Metro Ambulance, representatives from Wrens and Louisville Fire departments and the county extension office.
Jefferson County SHIPS for Youth offers community new destination
• Offers training to collaborative partners to better serve the community
By Ben Nelms
Building strong relationships and establishing strong partnerships facilitates strong leadership. This is the vision and the intention of a growing collaborative in Jefferson County that will accept nothing less than a positive future for its citizens.
That collaborative, Jefferson County Community SHIPS for Youth, recently incorporated in March after expanding its provision of service to the community and to the number of people served over the past several years. What began as Family Connections underwent a metamorphosis, now existing in the form of a multi-faceted initiative consisting of a variety of public, private, faith community and business partners from across the county, said SHIPS Executive Director Carolyn Swint. Current SHIPS programs include efforts through Family Connection, Safe Schools Healthy Schools, SPRANS abstinence education, Communities in Schools-Abstinence is the Best Choice (ABC), programs at the alternative school and, in conjunction with Washington County, a delinquency prevention program funded by the Children and Youth Coordinating Council. Grant applications have also been submitted for programs such as Adolescent Family Life, Early Learning Opportunities and mentoring.
Training for collaborative members was held Aug. 24 at the old National Guard Amory in Louisville. The appointment of the new board of directors, the Developmental Cabinet, will occur in late September. As the staggered terms expire new board members will be elected by the collaborative membership from collaborative members. Nominating and fundraising committees will also be formed.
SHIPS is not just a collaborative effort of a group of people looking for something to do. It is a growing community effort with its eyes on a positive future for its citizens, a future where possibilities can turn into realities and where the word "impossible" no longer holds significance.
"That's what community is all about," said Swint. "It's about work and play. It's about relationships and partnerships and leadership. It's about meeting the needs of one another."
Eight teams are designed to be the driving force behind the SHIPS collaborative. These include Academic Development, Child & Emotional Development, Family Development, Mental Development, Physical Development, Youth Development, Youth Safety and Board and Resource Development. The tandem effort of these teams is intended to provide a long-term benefit to every citizen of Jefferson County.
The Academic Development team will address areas such as student retention, high school completion, truancy, overage 3rd grade students and assessment testing. The Early Childhood and Emotional Development team will work with the Teen Fatherhood Initiative, Babies Can't Wait program, Early Intervention programs and the Jefferson County Prenatal Center.
Involvement with the Family Literacy Initiative and activities related to early childhood education, intensive parent training, family support services and parent/family involvement and alternative strategies are the charge of the Family Involvement team. The Mental Health team will target substance abuse counseling, individual, group, family and crisis counseling, individual and family therapy, conflict resolution and Corrective Thinking Training for students that demonstrate cognitive needs and are prone to use responsibility avoidance tactics.
The Physical Health team will work with Jefferson County Health Department, Jefferson County school nursing and Prenatal Center, the Family and Consumer Science program at Jefferson County High School and the Healthy Start program coordinated through Medical College of Georgia. The Youth Development team will focus on ATOD (alcohol, tobacco and other drugs) prevention, life skills and career development, recreation, service learning and community service, mentoring and juvenile delinquency, male involvement and pregnancy prevention.
The efforts of the Youth Safety team will include school violence prevention, truancy, ATOD prevention, juvenile arrests and teen violence deaths. The Collaborative Development team will address systems change relating to improving policy and practices in decision making, service delivery, financing and budgeting and ongoing collaborative development relating to strengthening and sustaining the governing body.
The continuing transition of SHIPS and the growing number of local collaborative partners is making a difference in the communities of Jefferson County, said Swint. Those homegrown assets will usher communities into a much more positive future.
"I'm excited that we've finally gotten to the point of not just focusing on what we're bringing in from outside the county, but now we're focusing on what we can develop inside as well," said Swint. "This says a lot about our community, about meeting the needs of our own citizens and making the best use of the resources we have here."