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March 1, 2007 Issue

Alcoholic drink sales approved
Two charged in string of south end burglaries
Flyovers debated
Reviewing the request for change

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Alcoholic drink sales approved

• Beer and wine can now be served in Wrens area restaurants with the correct licensing

By Parish Howard
Publisher

As of Monday, beer and wine may be served by the drink in Wrens restaurants, providing they meet the terms of the city’s newly revised alcoholic beverage regulation ordinance.

With little preliminary discussion of the topic during a called meeting Monday, the Wrens City Council held the second reading of the proposed ordinance changes and voted unanimously to allow the drink sales. City Attorney Chris Dube said the council had asked him several weeks ago to look into the subject and the changes constituted an almost entirely new ordinance. “It still prohibits any sales of distilled spirits (liquors), package or by the drink, anywhere in the city,” Dube said.

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“That is something that is governed by state law and would have to go on a referendum to be voted on by the citizens.”

The new ordinance would allow malt beverages, including beer, and wine to be served in restaurants, that is “any public establishment kept, used, maintained, advertised and held out to the public as a place where meals are actually and regularly prepared and served.”

It goes on to define a restaurant as an establishment which “must contain an adequate and sanitary full-service kitchen and related equipment including a three-compartment pot sink, a stove or grill (permanently installed), a refrigerator and a dining room.”

The ordinance requires the restaurant to have a “complete place setting of metal cutlery and dishware in regular use for a minimum of 30 people…shall have the ability to seat a minimum of at least thirty customers at one time”…and “shall derive at least 50 percent of its total annual gross food and beverage sales from the sale of prepared meals or food.”

Restaurants that meet this criteria may apply for a city issued license to include malt beverages or wine on its menu.

These beverages may be sold “by the drink” for on premises consumption in restaurants only. The ordinance underlines the fact that it remains against the city’s laws “for any person to be drunk or to drink, consume or possess an open container of any alcoholic beverage on any sidewalk, street, road, alleyway, right-of-way, commercial parking lot or any other public place” within the city without the council’s approval of a temporary permit.

The ordinance restricts the sale to Monday through Saturdays, from 7 a.m. to 12 midnight, with no alcoholic beverages being sold on Sundays.

The city has maintained its prohibition against private clubs selling any alcoholic beverages and restricts any establishment from allowing customers to “brown bag” alcoholic beverages into their restaurant.

In the meeting Dube expressly pointed out that the city will prohibit any establishment within 100 yards from any school building, alcoholic treatment center operated by the state, housing authority property, or 250 feet from any polling place on election day from selling alcoholic beverages.

The ordinance goes on to address other related issues, including happy hours and similar promotions, the use of open areas, patios or decks.

After reviewing the ordinance Councilman Willie Huntley moved that it be adopted, seconded by Ceola Hannah. The vote was unanimous.



Two charged in string of south end burglaries

• Brown and Gladin allegedly broke into two churches, a home and a business

By Faye Ellison
Staff Writer

Two men were arrested last week in connection with burglaries in the South end of Jefferson County Tuesday, Feb. 20.Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office Investigator Clark Hiebert said that Christopher Brown, 23, of Louisville and Nicholas Gladin, 28, of Swainsboro were both arrested and charged with burglarizing two churches in the Bartow area, the Clean and Wash in Louisville and a home in Johnson County.

Beginning Tuesday around 10 to 10:30 a.m., Brown and Gladin broke into Freedom Fellowship Church on Highway 221 South near Bartow.

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Hiebert said one entered through a rear window, while the other served as lookout. “Once one of them was inside they broke the doors and tore them off the frame,” Hiebert said.

“While they were in there, they stole two guitars.”

Later in the day between noon and 1 p.m., the duo entered Old Bethel Baptist Church in Bartow through a door and stole a 19-inch color television, Hiebert said.

Later that night, sometime between 8 p.m. and midnight, Brown and Gladin allegedly gained entrance through a back window twice, while stealing change.

Hiebert said the first time the team entered the Clean and Wash, they stole approximately $20 in change, and $7 the second time. Before heading to Johnson County, the two were pulled over between midnight and 1 a.m. by a Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office deputies, Hiebert said.

After searching the vehicle and the two men, deputies found a crack pipe in the vehicle. Hiebert said that Brown and Gladin were released and did not receive a citation for possession of drug paraphernalia.

Then two hours later, they entered a residence in Kite, where they stole some guns, Hiebert said. Johnson County Sheriff’s Office Investigator Robert Ryan said he and Jefferson County investigators were able to work together to apprehend Brown and Gladin. “We kind of worked together on this because one is from Jefferson County and one is from Swainsboro and he had family in the county,” Ryan said.

“They told they had spent about a week doing cocaine and buying it in Swainsboro. They had run out of money and this is how they were financing their operation.” While in Johnson County, Brown and Gladin allegedly burglarized a house in the Kite area, stealing a Playstation and two rifles which they told investigators they traded for $100 worth of cocaine. “Because they traded it for drugs, there is probably no chance that we will recover it,” Ryan said. Later Ryan said one of his deputies was responding to a call and saw a young man standing beside a truck at a residence on Highway 57. After returning to the Sheriff’s Office, Ryan said he was briefing deputies on road patrol about Brown and Gladin, the deputy said he saw the truck, but when deputies responded to the home, they were gone.



Flyovers debated

By Carol McLeod
Staff Writer

Territory above Jefferson County is currently being debated not only among citizens but also between the Federal Aviation Administration and the Air Force.

The county is part of a Military Operational Area known as Bulldog MOA. Bulldog MOA Alpha goes north into Glascock County, east towards Millen, south beyond Wrightsville and west beyond Sandersville. Bulldog MOA Beta extends east from Bulldog MOA Alpha. Beta includes Swainsboro, Millen and Waynesboro.

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“The current designated altitude for Bulldog A is 500 feet above ground level up to 10,000 feet mean sea level,” said Kathleen Bergen, Manager of External Communications for the FAA’s Southern Region. Bulldog B has a floor of 10,000 feet to a ceiling of 18,000 feet above mean sea level.

“The proposal combines the two into one MOA and will have a designated altitude of 500 feet to 10,000 feet,” she said.

“Once we take a look at it, maybe make some changes, meet with the Air Force as necessary, with the air traffic facilities, discuss the proposal, review it in the (Atlanta) office, hold an aeronautical review, then the proposal is put out for public comment,” she said.

The public comment period is 45 days.

Next, the state aviation director, who is not a part of the FAA, is asked for input, as are the airports that underlie the MOA and any interested industry group. Bergen said at that point the FAA is seeking valid aeronautical comments.

“Once we get the comments, we review them and make any necessary changes to that MOA,” Bergen said. “It’s not unusual for comments to bring to our attention issues that need to be mitigated. All the issues that have been identified throughout the process at that point must be resolved.”

Then the issue is submitted to the FAA headquarters with a recommendation for approval.

“Of course it’s reviewed there,” Bergen said. “If headquarters approves it then it is published on the aeronautical charts and it becomes an airspace action.”



Reviewing the request for change

By Carol McLeod
Staff Writer

The FAA is still considering the request by the Air Force to combine Bulldog MOA Alpha and Bulldog MOA Beta into one MOA. “The branch of the military, in this case it’s Shaw AFB, develops a proposal and then sends it to the various air traffic control facilities involved in that air space,” said Kathleen Bergen, a spokesman for the FAA. br>
“We also operate en route centers that handle high altitude flights.” The FAA reviews how the change may impact commercial traffic, business traffic and any other traffic that may be affected, Bergen said.

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“The military may refine their proposal, then send the refined proposal to the FAA.” Bergen said this is where the current proposal is now, in the reviewing stage.

Bergen said there are 10 changes to various MOAs, including the changes to the Bulldog areas. “It’s not unusual to change them,” she said.

Bergen said the military has to file a flight plan as would any other pilot.

“The military gives us 24 hour notice,” Bergen said. “The FAA has to have a minimum of 24 hours notice. Normally the military would file a flight plan to the MOA. Once they get into the MOA, the flight plan is canceled and they’re conducting their training or exercises. They are in communication while they are in the MOA. The kinds of activities are not the type that can be tracked. There’s communications, but no tracking. They do appear on the radar but the air traffic controllers do not provide flight instructions to the military.”

This is one of the concerns for area citizens and local officials.

“This thing’s been going on now for between 15 and 18 years, from when this area was designated as the Bulldog MOA,” said Don Rhodes, Louisville’s city administrator. We’ve been actively involved since the beginning. We’ve gone to the hearings. The last one we attended was in Wadley about a year ago.”

Rhodes said the meeting included representatives from Shaw Air Force Base.

“They made a presentation about how they were going to change the ceiling.”

The ceiling refers to the top altitude pilots can fly. The bottom, or altitude closest to the ground, is called the floor.

The FAA, according to Bergen, has not participated in any of these meetings.

“All of us, as far as our main concern, is these fast-moving jets flying real low in our area,” Rhodes said. “If the floor was 10,000 feet or above, I don’t think there would be that much concern. But when you start talking about a plane going 600 mph at 500 feet, a lot of pilots in our area (have concerns).”

Rhodes pointed out that most small aircraft, such as those used as crop dusters, have only visual aids.

“They’re not as bad as they used to be,” he said. “It’s still a problem, but not as bad as it used to be.”

The Air Force is the main military user of this airspace; although, it’s open to any branch of the service. Typically, it is the Air Force’s F-16s that fly in this area.

Specs for the Lockheed Martin aircraft include a maximum altitude of more than 50,000 feet, a maximum air speed of 1,500 mph and a range of 2,425 miles. The single engine weighs 27,000 pounds, more than half the 37,500 pound takeoff weight of the craft.

“Our concern is we spent a lot of money on our airport lately and we want the flying public to use it,” Rhodes said. “When some of these pilots are in the Macon area and they find out they are approaching the Bulldog area, they don’t want to fly into it. They want to fly around it. So what does that do? That eliminates a lot of planes that might fly into our area. They’re going to fly around,” he said.

Crystal Paulk-Buchanan, External Communications/ Office of Communications with the Georgia Department of Transportation said the aviation section of the Georgia DOT is not in favor of the current proposal.

“Bulldog MOA occupies airspace above six Georgia public use airports: Louisville, Millen, Sandersville, Swainsboro, Waynesboro, and Wrens,” said a spokesman for the aviation division.

“The proposed expansion of Bulldog MOA would directly impact of these Georgia Airports: Swainsboro, Waynesboro, and Millen. The proposed Air Force initiative would drop the floor of the existing airspace from 10,000 feet to 500 feet above the ground. This proposal would negatively impact aircraft operating into this airspace and restrict access to these airports.”

The spokesman further stated that the Georgia Department of Transportation-Aviation is concerned about loss of access to the state’s system of airports, loss of usable airspace for civil aviation and the increased potential for collision between civil and military aircraft if the Bulldog expansion goes ahead as originally proposed.

“The Federal Aviation Administration, State of Georgia and local communities have invested millions of dollars to upgrade and develop airport facilities in these communities and loss of access to them would have a negative economic effect on the communities,” the spokesman said.

Another factor is the noise.

Jefferson County Administrator Paul Bryan is one of the many citizens on the other side. He appreciates the military, understands they have to train somewhere and is glad to see them, he said.

“I think it’s needed,” Bryan said. “I’m glad we have test areas. I wish they weren’t making noise. I appreciate the military protecting us. They need somewhere to practice.”

“We had one lady who called about that (noise),” Rhodes said.

“We want to be patriotic and we want to protect our country,” he said. “And a lot of people look at it that way. We feel like there are other areas that these planes could use for their training.”




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