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October 20, 2005 Issue

Firefighters from two departments work to save the life of a fellow Wrens volunteer fireman after a wreck on Highway 88 between Stapleton and Wrens early Saturday morning. Brandon Prescott died Saturday and fire engines from his departments led the procession at his funeral Monday.

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Two die in weekend wrecks



Other Top Stories
• Grant secured for new health science building at STC campus
• Burglars caught in the act
• Officers take drugs off the streets

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Two die in weekend wrecks

• Wrens firefighter is killed in wreck early Saturday; a three-year-old child from Wadley was killed later that night

By Ben Roberts
Staff Writer

Separate, single-car accidents claimed the lives of two Jefferson County males last weekend.

Brandon Robert Prescott, 20, of Stapleton, was pronounced dead Saturday at the Medical College of Georgia as the result of an accident shortly after midnight that morning.

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According to Georgia State Patrol (GSP) reports, Prescott was traveling west on Georgia Highway 102 near Country Club Circle when he lost control of his 2002 Ford Mustang. The vehicle hit a culvert, becoming airborne and rolling, ejecting Prescott from the car.

Units from the Stapleton and Wrens' fire departments were the first to arrive on the scene to aid Prescott, a fellow-volunteer firefighter from the Wrens Fire Department for almost three years. Among the first to respond were Prescott's father, Robert Prescott, a member of both the Stapleton and Wrens departments, and Prescott's uncle, Jeff Norton, a certified first responder with Wrens.

"It was difficult for a lot of people - his dad, his uncle, me. I've known him since he was a child," said

Wrens' Fire Chief Larry Cheely, in reference to finding out the crash victim was one of their own. "He was a good kid, a good young man, a good firefighter."

Prescott's fellow firefighters from Wrens and Stapleton served as honorary pallbearers at the funeral, which was held Monday. He was buried in Wrens.

Jeremy Blake Meadows, 3, of Wadley, was killed in an accident around 7:45 p.m. Saturday night, east of Midville.

According to GSP reports, the child was in the backseat of his parents' mini-van with his father driving and his mother in the front passenger seat, while they drove down Georgia Highway 17.

The younger Meadows apparently unbuckled himself and was moving around the vehicle, distracting his father, when a deer entered the roadway. While attempting to avoid the deer, Meadows was thrown between the two front seats and injured.

He was taken to the Emanuel County Hospital in Swainsboro by individuals who stopped to assist the family, where he was later pronounced dead.

GSP says the accident is still under investigation but there are no charges pending at this time.

Meadows was buried in the Wadley cemetery on Tuesday.



Grant secured for new health science building at STC campus

• Public hearing this week will address how the building will be used to provide career opportunities for the community

By Parish Howard
Editor

There's good news concerning jobs, health, education and opportunity in Jefferson County.

Two years of research, meetings and grant writing recently paid off for a group of collaborating agencies when word was spread that the county will be receiving a half-million dollars to help further grow its own medical professionals.

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The money, one of 75 Community Development Block Grants (CDBG) awarded this year, will go towards the construction of a 5,000 square foot Health Science Center on the Sandersville Technical College campus near Jefferson County High School.

"This is just wonderful," said Rita Culvern, Jefferson Hospital's Director and CEO. "It means so much for our county."

The facility, which will be owned by the county and leased by Sandersville Tech, will house a state of the art Licensed Practical Nursing (LPN) lab, two classrooms, a multi-purpose room and administrative offices.

Sandersville Tech.'s Jefferson County director Matt Hodges said there is a "desperate" need for the additional lab and classroom space the center will provide.

"Our current lab is very inadequate," he said. "All of our students can't do their lab work at the same time. They have to schedule all sorts of hours to come in as it is."

The Jefferson County campus currently has around 75 students working in its Certified Nursing Assistant, Pre-Practical Nursing, Medical Assisting and Healthcare Technician programs. The school's first class of LPNs graduated in June with 100 percent passing their boards and currently there are between 45 and 50 students enrolled in some of the other programs working towards that goal.

"Ultimately we'd love to put all of these students into jobs in our community," Hodges said. "But there are so many opportunities out there now. Many of these students may work in Thomson, Waynesboro or Sandersville, but still live in Jefferson County."

The school's night-nursing classes grew around a need Culvern and a few others saw growing in these rural areas as the population of nurses ages and more and more good, well-paying, benefit-carrying jobs become available. The school's night program was developed as a way for local people, already rooted into this community but lacking medical training, to get what they need while continuing to hold down the current jobs that support their families.

The new science center will allow for more opportunities for these students, as well as the school's many day-programs, Hodges said.

"Hopefully, this means we'll be able to add some programs," he said. "There are some fields now where students can take most of their classes on our campus, but have to go to Sandersville for portions of it.

This could make a big difference in those classes."

The money was secured through the combined efforts of the Jefferson County Commission, Sandersville Technical College, Jefferson Hospital, the county school system and health department who received the money to provide local residents with the opportunities to get the training to enter a number of health care fields.

The center will be available for classes and seminars for all of these agencies.

The county will hold a public hearing Monday, Oct. 24, at 10 a.m. at the Jefferson County Commissioners Office in Louisville. The hearing is being held to discuss the grant program, the amount of funds received and available for each activity and the amount that will benefit low and moderate income persons.

According to Hodges, the pre-construction phase has already begun and construction could possibly begin as early as the spring or summer of 2006.



Burglars caught in the act

By Ben Roberts
Staff Writer

Three would-be burglars are behind bars after the cooperation of several Wrens' area residents and one determined Jefferson County deputy.

Kyle Horton, 17, of Swainsboro, and Edward Eskew Jr., also 17, of Midville, have each been charged with burglary after being caught robbing a mobile home in northern Jefferson County.

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A third accomplice, a 16-year old Wadley juvenile, also faces a burglary charge as well as an aggravated assault charge for attacking an officer during his arrest.

According to Jefferson County Sheriff's investigators, Dep. Barrow Walden was at work at his family's business Monday afternoon in Matthews when a local resident approached him and said some men had just tried to rob her son's home. She said the three left when she confronted them.

Walden then began looking for the men, finally locating them on the Jefferson County side of Keysville, at a mobile home on the corner of Georgia Highway 88 and Noah Station Road.

Walden was suspicious of a black Pontiac Grand Am backed up to the home with its trunk open and the door to the house open as well.

Horton was behind the wheel of the vehicle and attempted to crank it in an effort to flee, but Walden blocked his path with his own vehicle and ordered him out of the car, taking him into custody.

Upon hearing a commotion in the home, Walden proceeded inside, fearing an elderly resident could be inside with the remaining suspects. Walden confronted the 16-year old, who resisted arrest, threatening Walden with a clothes iron. He then attacked Walden, who holstered his pistol and subdued the young man after an altercation.

An unnamed citizen, who had accompanied Walden during the search, detained the two men while Walden went after Eskew, who dove through one of the trailer's windows trying to escape. He was brought into custody without incident.

Investigators say all three of the suspects appeared to be under the severe influence of one or more unknown substances.

Horton is being held at the County jail, while the juvenile and Eskew, who was charged as a juvenile since he turned 17 on Tuesday, are both being held at the Youth Detention Center in Sandersville.

All three are expected to have bond hearings today (Wednesday).

Sheriff Gary Hutchins said he was proud of Walden's quick thinking and glad that no one was hurt in a potentially volatile situation.

"You don't know if there's a victim inside or if suspects have weapons, and he took a chance going in there (the mobile home)," Hutchins said. "He did a great job and will be commended, both for his professionalism and his bravery."

For his part, Walden says the thought of a long-time neighbor possibly being inside the trailer with the men was enough to make him go in without waiting for backup.

"I credit praying parents and grandparents," Walden said in a phone interview Tuesday. "It was their prayers that gave me the knowledge and quick thinking to do what needed to be done."

Investigators say they did find some electronics and jewelry in the boys' car and had expected to receive calls regarding more burglaries in the area. At this time, however, there is no evidence to prove the items were stolen.

Wrens Police Department sent deputies as backup while S.O. was enroute.



Officers take drugs off the streets

By Parish Howard
Editor

The Wrens Police Department has taken 51.5 grams of marijuana, 15.4 grams of cocaine and $2,600 in drug money off the streets of its community over the past couple of weeks, ending in the arrest of a 15-year-old middle school student.

“We definitely have a major drug problem in Wrens,” Chief David Hannah said Sunday morning with the take from the last two weeks in evidence bags spread out across a table in his department. “But we’re doing our best to clean it up. We have a great group of officers who are out there working on this problem and there will be more arrests like these to come.”

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Officers arrested the 15-year-old male in the Pine Valley Apartments area Saturday evening.

According to the chief the young man was walking by drinking from a cup and when asked what he was drinking, he told the officers wine. One of the officers on duty works with the school system and recognized him as a student at Wrens Middle who is currently in the alternative school program.

After taking him into custody on underage drinking charges, the chief said officers searched his pockets and found 19 dime bags of marijuana, a set of brass knuckles and $1,189 in cash. Carrying the 14 grams packaged to sale earned him felony charges of possession with intent to distribute.

Since the first of October, when the city held a two-day road check of vehicles passing through Wrens, the city has made 11 drug-related arrests and also confiscated crystal meth, as-yet unidentified pills, cocaine, marijuana, portable scales, pipes, cash and a loaded .45 caliber automatic pistol.

The chief thanked local citizens who have reported suspected drug activity in their neighborhoods and encourages anyone who sees unusual activity like this to call his department at (706) 547-3000. All calls will be kept anonymous.




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