Area holiday events abound
By Jennifer Flowers
As December draws near and Thanksgiving dinners transform into a week of leftovers, it is time for each community to welcome the holiday season with special events of their own.
The City of Wadley kicked off the holiday season for Jefferson County with its tree lighting on Friday, Nov. 18, at 5:30 p.m.
Citizens were able to pay $5 to buy a light for the tree in the name of a loved one.
At the lighting, attendees enjoyed the music of various churches, schools and daycares.
Still, Wadley is not finished celebrating the holidays. On Dec. 3, it will liven up the season with a Christmas parade starting at 11 a.m.
They hope to have the Jefferson County High School band and other local entertainers perform at the event. The grand master for the occasion will be Melvin Williams of Augusta.
Starting at the old middle school on College Street, the parade will make its way through downtown Wadley before culminating with a small program.
Glascock County will hold its first annual Winterfest on Saturday, Nov. 26. The event will be a combination of three seasonal events celebrated in the past.
"We put together three separate events, the festival, parade and tree lighting, to make one grand celebration," said Glascock County Camber Executive Director D'Ann Simpson.
Arts and crafts vendors will be selling their wares from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. Approximately 45 arts and crafts vendors will be present, offering a variety of items. There will be birdhouses, pocketbooks, homemade photo frames, jewelry, quilts, blankets, collegiate items and yard arts, among other things.
Around 12 food vendors have already agreed to provide a number of edible delights from peanuts to turkey legs to collard greens, assuring that attendees will not have to head home for a good meal.
Food will also draw attention in the form of a cake, pie and preserve contest.
Musical entertainment will play a role in the festivities with a program that features local singers and church choirs.
Children's activities will be going on throughout the day as well. Kids can bounce the day away in the bouncing room, learn about fire safety in the McDuffie County Fire Department's fire safety house, or whistle around on the children's train. Many of the vendors will provide additional games for young ones to enjoy.
At 2 p.m. people can take a break from their purchasing to watch as the parade passes through.
Santa Clause will be on hand for photos from 4 to 6:30 p.m., so Glascock County residents will not have search out a shopping center Santa for precious Christmas memories.
Winterfest will also provide an opportunity for residents of Glascock County to celebrate the 100th birthday of their bank with good food and entertainment beginning at 5:30 p.m.
The day of fellowship, food and fun will culminate at 7 p.m. in the lighting of the square by the Rolling Hills Garden Club.
"I'd like to invite everybody to come out and visit," Simpson said.
The City of Wrens will welcome the holiday season with its annual Christmas parade and other celebratory festivities on Saturday, Dec. 3.
The parade itself will begin at 2 p.m.
After the parade, several activities offered by Wrens Better Hometown will spice up the rest of the evening.
There will be a talent show on a stage downtown featuring various musical acts and other entertainers.
Food and craft vendors will also line the treats, offering a mix of delicious foods and eye-catching handmade products.
The tree lighting will take place at 5:30 p.m.
A self-guided tour of homes will also be on the agenda from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., featuring the dwellings of Parish and Tiffany Howard, Joe and Alice Gore and Sydney and Maurice McGahee. Tickets for the tour can be purchased from any Better Hometown member for $8.
The annual Christmas parade sponsored by the Louisville Lions Club will take place on Saturday, Dec. 10, beginning at 9 a.m.
Vendors will set up on Broad Street first thing in the morning. There are enough spaces for thirty vendors, to be filled on a first come, first serve basis.
A variety of arts and crafts will be available, from wood carvings to paintings and more. Food booths will also be set up. Many will be run by churches and civic groups trying to raise money.
At 12 p.m., the parade line-up will begin at Louisville Academy. There, the floats will be judged before the 30-minute long parade begins.
Santa Clause will also make an appearance downtown, so parents should bring cameras if they'd like to capture a magical moment with Santa and their child.
Wrens chief will face no criminal charges
• District Attorney finds no reason for action after reviewing results of GBI inquiry
By Parish Howard
Wrens Police Chief David Hannah will not be facing any charges related to the complaints filed by a former officer, District Attorney Steve Askew said Tuesday.
The results of an inquiry into the complaints levied by former officer Lt. Willie Nelson Jr. were recently turned over to the District Attorney's Office of the Middle Judicial Circuit by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI).
"I have reviewed the file and determined that there is nothing there to warrant any further action on my part," Askew said. "I don't see anything here of any further interest."
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In a letter to the GBI's Special Agent S.W. Foster, dated Nov. 22, Askew said he has reviewed the information regarding Nelson's charges against Chief Hannah, thanks the GBI for its "thorough investigation" and states that he has found no grounds to press any criminal charges.
"I am therefore closing my file on this matter at this time," he writes.
The letter was also sent to Chief Hannah and the city's attorney. A copy was obtained from the city through the Georgia Open Records Act.
When contacted Tuesday, Wrens City Administrator Donna Scott Johnson said that she had just received word of the letter.
"I think it confirms what the city found in its investigation, that these claims are wholly without merit," Johnson said.
The charges, which involved a hand-written list of more than 20 complaints against Chief Hannah, were turned in to the city attorney's office in June by then Wrens Police Officer Nelson. The complaints alleged policy violation and crimes including theft by extortion, bribery, violation of oath and sexual harassment.
In August, the Wrens City Council announced that it had completed its investigation and had found the allegations "wholly without merit." It then unanimously voted to put Lt. Nelson on leave until they could determine the extent of the disruptions the complaints caused in the city's police department. A week later the city unanimously voted to dismiss Lt. Nelson from duty.
According to a statement read by the mayor at that time, the city's investigation showed the complaints disrupted working relationships within the department, interfered with its operation, undermined the chief's authority, effected morale, created the potential for disrespect of leadership, and damaged the department in the public eye.
In her motion, councilmember Sydney McGahee said the dismissal was based on Lt. Nelson's insubordination and gross misconduct.
"Lt. Nelson refused to provide documents to the city in the course of its investigation into the complaints relating to Police Chief David Hannah," McGahee said in her motion. "Also, Lt. Nelson committed gross misconduct for recklessly filing complaints/charges against Chief Hannah."
In related news, Lt. Nelson filed a charge of discrimination with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) in September. In the document, obtained from the city through the Open Records Act, Nelson details his termination and alleges he was discriminated against because of his race.
The city preferred not to comment on this case, but confirmed that it is set for mediation later this month.