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October 26, 2006 Issue

Sheriff gets over $48K in grants
Dump truck vs school bus
Ghost society hopes to stir up spirits at Market House

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Sheriff gets over $48K in grants

• Grants cover radios, lights, DVD cameras and radar units

By Faye Ellison
Staff Writer

Glascock County Sheriff Dean Couch said he sees his office getting better and better since his installment as the county official.

The Glascock County Sheriff’s Office recently purchased a new patrol car and uniforms with money from drug seizures and has received nearly $50,000 in grants. The new car was also painted and striped using the funds from drug seizures. “Over the past year and nine months, we have made several drug related seizures including cash and vehicles,” Couch said. “We’ve used it to purchase a 2001 Crown Victoria and had it painted and striped with all drug funds and all new uniforms for deputies and myself.” The Sheriff’s Office received a $5,000 grant from The Governor’s Office of Highway Safety. Chief Deputy Lamar Baxley said the funds were used to purchase items from the incentives store offered by the Office of Highway Safety. Items purchased included new LED lights, alkali sensors and power packs to run the lights and radio systems on patrol cars.

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“They were just certain items available to improve safety,” Baxley said. Through a state approved grant sponsored by Georgia Senator Jim Whitehead who represents Glascock County, the Sheriff’s Office received an $18,000 grant. Sheriff Couch said funds from that grant were used to buy five new 110 watt mobile radios for the cars, five new portable walkie-talkies with spare batteries, two new in-car video DVD cameras and two new radar units.

The Georgia Emergency Management Agency and the Department of Homeland Security for local agency assistance gave the Sheriff’s Office $25,382.25 to purchase a Livescan fingerprint device and mugshot interface and camera.

“Now we can send the fingerprints and mugshots to GCIC,” Sheriff Couch said. “We don’t have to use ink anymore. This helps identify suspects quicker.”

All of the equipment purchased through the grants was money from other agencies.

“It did not cost taxpayers any money,” Couch said. “We are trying to keep the cost down and get everything updated. We’ve come a long way in building the Sheriff’s Office with newer and better equipment without costing taxpayers any additional funds.

“We continue to improve everything we do to better serve citizens of the county.”



Dump truck vs school bus

By Faye Ellison
Staff Writer

There was a nightmare on Highway 296 Tuesday morning after a collision between a school bus and dump truck left one man injured. Rural Metro EMS received a call around 10:15 a.m. Tuesday and arrived on the scene at 10:20 a.m.

“We got the call as a dump truck versus a school bus,” Jefferson County Rural Metro EMS Director Mike Bennett said. “While responding to the accident, 911 advised that there were no kids involved.” Bystanders said it appeared the dump truck pulled out in front of the school bus causing the accident, however an official report from the Georgia State Patrol was unavailable at presstime.

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One bystander of the accident, helped to rescue the driver, Charles Radford, 25, of Swainsboro. As the dump truck flipped over on its side, it left Radford trapped. “He was initially trapped inside,” Bennett said. “A bystander helped him out.

We found him lying on the bank of the road.” Bennett said that Radford suffered a large laceration to his head and was transported to the Medical College of Georgia trauma center, where at 11:25 a.m. he was listed in stable condition. Jefferson County Assistant Superintendent Curtis Hunter said the driver of the bus was Rickey Sheely of Louisville.

Sheely drives a bus that serves Louisville Middle School and Jefferson County High School.“He had left the high school headed back to Louisville when the accident happened on Highway 296,” Hunter said. “He was okay. He was fine.

I took him by the hospital and had him checked out and then I took him home.” Hunter said it was customary when a bus driver is in an accident like this to take them off of the route for 24 hours or more. “He will have to go through a test at the hospital. We will keep him off the bus for today and tomorrow,” Hunter said Tuesday afternoon.



Ghost society hopes to stir up spirits at Market House

• Georgia Ghost Society will be investigating rumors of spectral activity downtown

By Faye Ellison
Staff Writer

The center of Louisville for years, the old Market House is now at the center of an investigation by the Georgia Ghost Society just in time for the spookiest time of year.

The Georgia Ghost Society is a non-profit organization dedicated to continuing ghost research.

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“I have been doing this for 16 years,” said Robert Hunnicutt, founder and director of the society. “This is something I take extremely serious. It is not a club, not a hobby, it is more like a second calling.”

Hunnicutt said for the past eight years, he has dealt heavily with working cases in private homes, “the bad ones.”

“This wasn’t something I set out to do,” he said. “It is something that landed in my lap.”

But in 1999, Hunnicutt founded the Georgia Ghost Society to start paying attention to historical locations in the state.

“I had gotten tired of hearing about the historical hauntings in the northeast and California,” he said. “Georgia had just as much to offer, it was one of the original 13 colonies. The first gold rush was in north Georgia, there were pirates in Savannah.

“It is such a wonderful and beautiful state with so many facets. I got tired of it being passed over. There is no doubt that Georgia has just as much to offer in the paranormal as any other state.”

With the help of other members of the non-profit group, Hunnicutt and the others find interesting historical buildings to investigate for supernatural or paranormal activity.

The Georgia Ghost Society has already investigated the Gator Plantation in Covington, The Pirates House in Savannah and the Green Manor Restaurant in Union City.

The Georgia Ghost Society’s Historical Director Julie Dye and Case Manager Leann Boggs visited Louisville where they heard of the unsettling spookiness and sometimes kookiness surrounding the old market house.

“These two young ladies will search for locations in the Georgia area,” Hunnicutt said. “If there is any history at all, they try to find out if there are reports of haunting activity. If someone has experienced something, we try to gain permission to come in. A lot of times it is because we look for the places that may be haunted. Most of these locations have had some experience of some sort or another that raises questions in their mind.” Hunnicutt said members of the society plan to travel to Louisville to conduct their investigation in November, though no date has been set yet.

Hunnicutt said the members do come into the investigation with an open mind, because the first thing that they do rule out is natural causes.

“There can be something in the environment or in the structure that is related to the suspicion of a haunting,” he said. “If we can’t find a natural reason for it like something in the atmosphere, environment or structure, we go in with an open mind to decide if we are dealing with something that is paranormal or supernatural. We don’t come in to disprove it, we just try to rule out natural causes first because in reality sometimes it has a natural cause.”

To Hunnicutt and his ghost society members, any location has the possibility to be haunted.

“As far as I’m concerned any place that has had people work or live in, face life or death in has a potential, it doesn’t have to be a structure,” he said. “We go in and try to gather as much information from people who live there or work there, to find out if the people who built it lived there or died there. We use a lot of electronic equipment such as infrared video, night vision, cameras and digital audio.”

While investigating, Hunnicutt said the team will spend ample time on the location by trying to stay for days or doing a follow-up and going back.

“You can’t make a determination on anything in less than 18 hours,” he said. “Lots of television shows go in for one day or night. If you are dealing with something with intelligence, if it doesn’t want to be seen, it won’t show you.”

While there, Hunnicutt said, they work with the owners or residents, explaining that oftentimes spirits can become attracted to the family. Hunnicutt also explained that families often become fond of spirit.

“Families begin believing in it so much,” he said, adding that one family he worked with became attached. “I had a couple that live in central Georgia, they did so much research that they believe they know who the ghosts are. A lot of people really fall in love with the atmosphere of a Southern haunting. The Old South especially had a Southern elegance and grace. It is sort of a romantic type thing.”

While investigating, there are two rules that the ghost society members go by, the rule of attraction that a ghost or spirit is attracted to someone or something in that location and the law of indication, where people evoke spirits.

“We do not advocate or endorse new age methods,” Hunnicutt said. “Ouija boards and seances can be very dangerous. When you evoke the spirits, you are inviting them to come in. You may be trying to get in touch with an uncle and you don’t know what will come in. Once you open the door, you can’t close it when you want.

“Today in the 21st century, people can be so cavalier when it comes to this. You can get caught up in something real quick that can go over your head.”

After the investigation is finished, the property owner receives a certificate and a copy of any positive photographs and video captured. Hunnicutt also uses the time after the investigation to find other places that people might believe to be haunted in that community.

“These places become popular,” he said. “Even though we cannot legally certify that they are haunted, we can help them promote it by featuring it on our website or going back there and doing a talk or a lecture for them.

“We do not charge for investigations. We work solely on donations and 99 percent of the money comes out of my pocket. I don’t feel right charging people for something that really frightens them and disrupts their life. We are there to help them with that situation.”

For more information, contact information is on the website at www.georgiaghostsociety.com.




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