Wrens man killed in downtown shooting
• Donyeal Lane and Travis Walker charged with murder in slaying of Samuel Tremble
By Parish Howard
An altercation in downtown Wrens around noon on Tuesday left one man dead and two facing charges of murder.
According to Wrens Police Chief David Hannah, the incident began as a "verbal altercation" between Samuel Damon Tremble, 30, and Donyeal Lammoris Lane, 22, at the corner of U.S. Highway One and King Street.
The cause of the argument is still under investigation, Hannah said, but added that several witnesses saw the two men "scuffling" over a handgun.
"It was then that the second suspect (Travis Jermaine Walker, 25, also of Wrens) pulled up and tried to break up the fight," Hannah said. "It was determined that this suspect had a weapon in his vehicle."
Moments later, several shots were fired, Hannah said, and Lane and Walker fled the scene in Walker's vehicle.
Hannah said that he was on the seen within two minutes of the call going out, and when he arrived Tremble was unresponsive.
Lane turned himself in a few minutes later, and Walker was apprehended without incident shortly afterwards.
According to Mike Bennett, EMS Director for Jefferson County Rural Metro, Tremble was placed in the ambulance in "unstable" condition, but once loaded went into cardiac arrest and was transported to Jefferson Hospital.
EMS provided trauma treatment for multiple gunshot wounds. Bennett said his personnel counted three possible entry/exit wounds. One was to the left hand, one to the left part of the chest and one to the back, which, according to Bennett, appeared to be another entry wound.
Tremble was pronounced dead by hospital personnel around 12:30 p.m.
According to a Jefferson County Sheriff's Office Investigator, both Lane and Walker are believed to have fired shots, one from a revolver and the other with a semi-automatic hand gun.
Both guns have been recovered, the investigator said, and both men have been charged with murder and possession of a handgun during the commission of a crime.
Chief Hannah said that the Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) and Jefferson County S.O. are leading the investigation, and as the matter is still under investigation, no other information was available at press time.
JEMC using pennies to grant wishes
• Jefferson Energy's Operation Roundup is granting wishes and changing lives in our community
By Jennifer Flowers
Jefferson Energy Cooperative is using pennies to change lives.
Through its new Operation Round Up program, which costs participating members less than a dollar a month, it has helped a Louisville man come a step closer to getting a kidney, remodeled a Wrens playground, improved Louisville Middle School's science lab, assisted the Jefferson County High School chorus in purchasing risers and a lot more.
While it has been providing electricity to its members for many years, it just completed its first year of Operation Round Up, a fundraising program designed to serve people in need in the areas to which it provides energy.
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Jefferson Energy Cooperative brings new meaning to its role as a power provider by giving its members the "power" to choose whether or not to round up their monthly bills for the betterment of their community.
The program is the brainchild of Tom Upshaw, president and CEO of Palmetto Electric Cooperative in South Carolina. It began in the late 1980s and provided a way for Upshaw to carry out his desire to provide assistance to families and organizations in need within his electric cooperative's service area.
Today, more than 300 electric cooperatives nationwide participate in Operation Round Up.
The program is straightforward. For those who choose to take part, the cooperative simply rounds up the electric bills to the nearest dollar.
"The success of the Operation Round Up program is directly related to the participation of our members, and they have certainly responded in a grand fashion," said Kenneth Cook, president and CEO of Jefferson Energy. "Our members are to be commended for their desire to improve the quality of life in the communities where they live and for their compassion towards their neighbors."
The average member only contributes 50 cents a month, or six dollars a year, to the program. The most anyone could spend is 99 cents a month, or $11.88 a year. According to the cooperative, 93 percent of Jefferson Energy's members currently participate in Operation Round Up. Over time, these pennies add up.
All the money collected each month goes into the Jefferson Energy Cooperative Foundation, a 501C-3 corporation established specifically for the program.
The Foundation is governed by a nine-member Board of Directors composed of cooperative members, each of whom is chosen to serve for a three-year-term. The Board makes all the decisions regarding the disbursement of the funds.
From Sept. 1, 2004 to Aug. 31, 2005 the Jefferson Energy Cooperative Foundation took in $164,000 from the rounded-up power bills and paid out just over $123,000 to local charities and community improvement projects.
An additional $25,000 was set aside in an Emergency Reserve Fund in case of a major disaster.
Groups that have received assistance from the funds collected through Operation Round Up include Able Disable; Jefferson County High School Chorus; Quality of Life Association; Sunshine House Children's Advocacy Center; Warren County Sheriff's Department; Wrens Kiwanis Club; Good Samaritan Food Pantry; Family Counseling Center the CSRA; Brotherhood of Jesus Christ; Louisville Food Pantry; Mt. Moriah Campground; Louisville Middle School; Manna, Inc. Food Pantry; Walk for Autism; Woodmen of the World; Alzheimer's Association; Safehomes of Augusta; McDuffie County Partners for Success and Self Help for the Hard of Hearing.
Individuals requesting assistance from the Operation Round Up program must be sponsored by a charitable organization that will see to it that the funds reach the person and that he or she is using them properly.
Robert Starley, a Louisville man in need of a kidney transplant, was able to get the financial assistance he needed from the Operation Round Up program when the Rotary Club of Jefferson County agreed to sponsor him.
Before he could be eligible for a kidney transplant, he had to have $10,000 in the bank to pay for the medicine he'll need during the recovery process. Even after months of fundraising, Starley didn't have half of the money he needed to get the transplant.
With the more than $6,000 he received through the Operation Round Up program, Starley was able to meet his goal.
"It's helped me out a lot," Starley said of the program. "It's helped other people, too."
Jefferson Energy Cooperative Foundation also provided funds to assist 13 families who lost their homes as a result of fire.
While Jefferson Energy Cooperative's service territory serves parts of 11 different counties, citizens from Jefferson County are among those who have benefited from Operation Round Up.
One such organization is the Jefferson County High School Chorus. It received $7,635 for seated risers for the classroom.
"We've been working for three years to raise money for those risers," said Margie Story, who directs the choral program at the school. "I couldn't say enough good things about Jefferson Energy and what they've done for us."
Louisville Middle School was also a recipient. Catherine Massey, a former teacher at the school, put in the application to receive $2,500 to enhance the science lab.
"They do a lot of hands-on activities," said Principal Samuel Dasher, highlighting the importance of the lab.
The Louisville Food Pantry received $5,000 to help stock its shelves. Each of the two days that it is open weekly, it serves between 25 and 45 families. On average, it provides around 100,000 lbs. of food yearly.
"That was a tremendous boost to our program," said C. H. Cofer, who operated the pantry until recently. He cited that the need for monetary support is important to the food pantry, as is the help of volunteers who are willing to serve on Tuesday and Thursday mornings.
Considering all that has been accomplished through this unique donation opportunity, its organizers and supporters are understandably pleased with what it has been doing in the community.
"The Operation Round Up program has turned out to be everything we thought it would be and more," Cook stated.
To apply for help through the Operation Round Up program, contact Jefferson Energy Cooperative at 1-877-JEFFERSON.