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November 10, 2005 Issue

Wrens K-9 handler Robert Cowart poses with more than 240 grams, or eight ounces, of marijuana and a little more than 33.7 grams of cocaine the department has confiscated in the last month.

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Chief takes threats seriously



Other Top Stories
Incumbents retain mayoral seats
Wadley to get half million for housing

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Chief takes threats seriously

Wrens chief says threats against officers' live are coming from "known drug dealers"

By Parish Howard
Editor

"Officers' lives have been threatened and it's time to make a strong statement," Wrens Police Chief David Hannah said Monday. "The drug dealers in this town need to know that we're coming, we're coming hot and we're prepared to defend ourselves."

The statement came after word from known drug dealers reached the chief regarding a plan to injure and possibly kill city police officers who have been taking thousands of dollars worth of drugs off the streets over the last couple of months.

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"What we hear is that they plan to set up a call and then make our officers chase them through the woods and then they're going to have a bunch of guys waiting there with sticks and rocks," Hannah said. "They say they might possibly shoot some of them.

"They need to know, when we come we'll come in droves and we're coming hot."

The chief said dealers are targeting officers who have taken large amounts of marijuana and cocaine off the streets.

"We're hurting them bad now," he said. "And we're going to take every threat very seriously. Our officers do have a right to defend themselves."

A lot of the drugs they have confiscated they have found in the Pine Valley and Green Meadows area. Chief Hannah believes that some of this activity is by outsiders coming into the area attempting to "set up shop."

Wrens K-9 Handler Robert Cowart said that while walking through the area he found a shoe box lying on the ground that someone had apparently only recently dropped. In it was 91 grams, or over three ounces, of marijuana and a small amount of cocaine.

He and other officers found another 77 grams, or 2.75 ounces, of marijuana hidden in a wooded area under brush and discarded tin over the last two weeks.

In the last week, Chief Hannah said he got a call from someone who had found a bag of white powder in an apartment in the area. After a field test, he determined it to be 33.7 grams of powdered cocaine.

"That's a lot," he said. "If it is cooked and cut right (as crack) that alone could have a street value of around $10,000."

Another recent bust took another 72 grams of marijuana off the street.

Friday evening, Cowart along with Investigator Jamie Kitchens and Ofcr. Patrick Paquette made the department's most recent drug bust on Kings Mill Road.

While searching a 20-year-old Wrens man for possible weapons, Chief Hannah said they felt something "lumpy" in his coat.

There was a tear in the liner, he said, and after looking inside the lining of the jacket they found 38 individual bags of marijuana inside a gallon zipper bag.

In all, the chief guesses that his department has taken $20,000 to $25,000 in illicit drugs off the street in the last two months.

He encourages anyone who suspects drug activity is occurring in their neighborhood to contact his department. All calls, he said, will be kept confidential.



Incumbents retain mayoral seats

Mack loses seat to Moore in Wadley; Council members in Wrens keep their positions; Peebles fills vacant spot in Gibson

By Ben Roberts
Staff Writer

In the end there were very few changes, and few surprises, in Tuesday's four municipal elections in Jefferson and Glascock counties.

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Louisville

Byron Burt held on to win his second term as Louisville's mayor, beating Lloyd Long 414 to 191.

Burt led Long both at the polls and in advanced/absentee ballots. His win of 223 votes is slightly smaller than his 2001 defeat of Long by 278 votes.

Louisville had a voter turnout of 45-percent, with 488 voters casting ballots at the polls and 117 advanced or absentee ballots cast.

Wadley

Incumbent Mayor Herman Baker beat former city councilman Jerry Powell in a close mayor's race 390 to 378.

Wadley's city council will see one change with the addition of Elizabeth "Beth" Moore, who won the third council seat over incumbent Izell Mack. Mack was the only incumbent to lose a local race.

Incumbent John Maye led the council votes with 480, followed by Moore's 460 and incumbent Randall Jones' 407. Mack had a total of 357 and Patrick Bell had 245.

Wadley boasted the highest percentage of voter turnout in the four elections at 62-percent, the only local race with a turnout above 50-percent.

There were a total of 562 ballots cast at the polls and 276 advanced or absentee ballots for 838 total votes.

Wrens

The city of Wrens won't see any changes to their current city council with its three incumbents beating out two challengers.

William Lester Hadden led the group with 339 votes; Willie Huntley, 279; Erskine Lane, 257; Spence Norton, 160; and Dave Hastings, 53.

Wrens had 409 voters at the polls and 16 advanced or absentee ballots for a total of 425, which is a turnout of 37-percent.

Gibson

Incumbent Carol Markins held on to her Gibson City Council seat with 75 total votes, while Marilyn Peebles will take over the seat vacated by Lester Hadden with 51 votes. Chester Chalker had 32 votes.

Gibson had the lowest voter turnout, 26-percent, of Tuesday's elections with just 87 voters casting ballots - 77 at the polls and 10 advanced/absentee ballots.



Wadley to get half million for housing

Grant will address housing issues for approximately 16 families

By Ben Roberts
Staff Writer

The city of Wadley will soon get a much needed home makeover to the tune of $500,000.

City officials picked up their check in September after being awarded a Community Block Development Grant (CDBG) to address housing issues in the city.

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John Wheeler of Wheeler Consulting Services, Inc., in Alma, wrote the grant for the city, which will pay for repairs to 16 homes throughout Wadley.

While those repairs can cover a wide range - from new roofs and structural problems to improved plumbing and bathrooms - Wheeler said the improvements must help a home meet Section 8 of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) code for minimum property standards. That code calls for residences to be "safe, decent and sanitary."

Wheeler said each of the prospective homes are owner-occupied and that the city ran ads looking for homeowner candidates last fall. From that, Wheeler was able to create a list of suitable homes that showed a need for the grant in the city.

While there is no specific amount set for each home, Wheeler expects the average cost of repairs to be up to $20,000 per residence. Homeowners will be required to come up with between $500 and $1,000 on their own in matching funds, depending on their income level.

Wheeler will soon begin advertising for bids for the work, which the city has two years to complete under the grant.

Wheeler said he hopes the program will go well and lead to future housing grants to address the city's needs.

Wadley was awarded a similar grant in the amount of $250,000 three and a half years ago through the Community Home Investment Program (CHIP). Wheeler wrote that grant as well, resulting in assistance for 12 families.

Wheeler prefers the CDBG grants over CHIP grants which call for 50-percent matching funds. Wheeler says that results in much larger sums being required of the homeowners, which are oftentimes too difficult for them to round up.

Wheeler hopes to create a waiting list for other families for future grants as well.




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