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August 29, 2007 Issue

Rabid fox attacks child, grandmother
STC science center ground breaking will be Sept. 5
Replacing water pipes

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Rabid fox attacks child, grandmother

• Other weekend animal attacks include two feral cats and a hawk

By Faye Ellison
Staff Writer

Over the weekend, a number of area animals went wild. Cases of two separate cat bites, a rabid fox attack and a hawk bite were reported in Jefferson and Glascock counties.

The fox bite was the second the area has seen in the past four months.

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Three-year-old Harley Robinson and her grandmother Betty Sue Stavely were both bitten after a rabid fox chased Harley from her grandmother’s yard into her home Saturday between 8 a.m. to 9 a.m.

Stavely said that morning, the child left her Old Bethel Church Road residence in Bartow to go right behind her house to her daughter’s, the child’s mother Jennifer Robinson's, house.

“She spent the night with me,” Stavely said. “I had her in the living room watching cartoons while I cleaned the bathroom. When I came out she had went home through the woods and I called and Jennifer had her. Then she got away from her mother and came back.”

The child traveled from her mother’s front yard to her grandmother’s back yard carrying a DVD. The next thing Stavely knew, the child was opening the door screaming, “It bit me.”

“I thought our cat had bit her,” Stavely said. “She ran by me and I saw a streak of gray run behind her. I stuck my foot out to kick the cat out of the house and the fox bit me on my toe.”

Stavely kicked the fox across her linoleum floor and noticed then it was not the family pet. The fox then ran back at Stavely grabbing her by the ankle.

“I couldn’t shake it loose,” Stavely said as she described herself looking for a weapon to use against the animal. “I was looking for my grandson’s baseball bat. Out of all the days it is not in the house. I noticed a big blue throw pillow and I got it and tried to smother the fox.

“It finally let my foot loose. The fox was kicking and jumping. Harley was behind me screaming. I told her we were going to have to get help.”

The phone-smart Harley picked up the phone and hit the speed dial number to her mother’s house and began screaming, “It bit me,” while Stavely screamed for help in the background.

Stavely then told her granddaughter to get in the bathroom and lock the door.

Jennifer said when she answered the phone, multiple ideas went through her head, not knowing that a fox had bit her daughter.

“I just got this phone call with all this screaming,” Jennifer said. “I thought it was a snake that bit her. She just hollered, ‘It bit us. It bit me.’ I just kept thinking it was a snake because she was in the yard, I mean I’ve never seen a fox in my yard.”

Jennifer said she jumped in her car to drive to her mother’s house, where she found her still holding the fox on the floor.

Time quickly passed by and Stavely said family friend Tim Cox came. Jennifer said she told Cox to go outside and retrieve her father’s axe. Cox came back in and bludgeoned the animal in the head.

“He hit it in the head and killed it,” Stavely said. “He took the fox outside where the Sheriff’s Department found it.”

Stavely said she held the fox down with the pillow for 20 minutes, while she tired and worried that the fox would get free from her grip and attack again.

The first to respond on the scene according to Jennifer was Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Chip Evans.

Jennifer went to check on her daughter in the bathroom after the ordeal was done.

“She had calmed down, but locked herself in the bathroom,” Jennifer said. “When I got in, she was cleaning up her wounds with toilet paper.”

The fox had also bitten Harley twice, just like her grandmother. One bite was on her hand tracing the crevices beside her middle finger where the fox tried to grip its teeth on her.

The fox also bit Harley on her foot. Her grandmother believes that the DVD the child was bringing to watch helped save her life. After hitting the fox with it, it let her 26-pound body go long enough for her to run inside for help.

Jennifer took Harley and Stavely to Jefferson Hospital where they were given antibiotics and released later that afternoon.

Jennifer said she noticed Harley began to run a fever that night and Sunday. Monday she took Harley to a pediatrician, where they feared her infection from the bite had worsened and admitted her to Doctor’s Hospital, in Augusta.

“Her leg has a really bad infection and she walked on her foot at first, but can’t walk on it now,” Jennifer said. “They are doing tests to make sure she is not toxic and called in two other specialists to assist with her treatment.”

“When I was up there, the doctor said they would take her case hour by hour,” Stavely lamented. “She has to take antibiotics every six hours. We are just taking it day by day.

“I just look back and know I have never been so afraid in my life. The community has got to watch out for this. We’ve seen foxes at the edge of our woods, but they are scared off when we yell at them. This is a terrible experience. One I hope nobody else ever has to go through.

“When I heard about Jason McGraw’s baby being bitten by a fox, I never figured it would ever happen to us.”

McGraw's 3-year-old daughter Graci was attacked by a rabid fox while standing in the family's yard on March 15.

Health Department officials recommend anyone bitten by any animal contact their office immediately as rabies is a potentially deadly virus.

Further information on the two cat bites and hawk bite reported this weekend were unavailable at press time.



STC science center ground breaking will be Sept. 5

By Jessica Newberry and
Carol McLeod
Intern and Staff Writer

After two years of planning, the Jefferson County Health Science Center will soon become a reality.

As a joint effort between Sandersville Technical College and the Jefferson County commissioners, the center will house additional lab and classroom space for medical training.

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“We already have a practical nursing program on the Jefferson County campus, so we will have more space for that,” said STC Jefferson County director Matt Hodges. “The center will also allow us to offer the medical assisting program in Louisville as well as a place for meetings and events.”

The center will house a nursing lab and adjoining classroom, two other classrooms and two faculty offices within approximately 3,900 square feet.

A groundbreaking ceremony is scheduled for Wednesday, Sept. 5, at 11. a.m.

“We hope to officially open the building sometime next spring, possibly in April for the spring quarter,” Hodges said.

The total cost of the project is estimated at $651,280, including $540,280 for the building construction. Engineering costs are expected to run $30,000, with reimbursables to run between $5,000 and $7,000. Equipment and furnishings will cost $50,000.

A Community Development Block Grant will provide $500,000 towards the project, covering the majority of construction costs and architectural fees. The CSRA Regional Development Center will charge $24,000 to administer the grant.

Jefferson County will provide a $10,000 cash match as well as site work, including utilities to the site, building and storm water monitoring totaling $34,000.

Sandersville Technical College will supply office furniture and computer systems, an alarm system and medical equipment for approximately $50,000. The county is currently requesting federal funding to pay the remaining balance, but if federal aid is unavailable, the county and the school board will split the remaining costs.

On Wednesday, Aug. 1, county administrator Paul Bryan met with general contractor J.W. Spratlin and Ben Carter of Carter Watkins Associates Architects to sign contracts to begin work on the center. CSRA RDC’s Anne Floyd was also present to oversee the signing of the 210-day construction contract.

“This facility will enhance development in our area by constructing a well-trained workforce for our local medical providers,” Bryan said.

“This is a wonderful occasion for the people of Jefferson County and it shows that Jefferson County and Sandersville Technical College have the best in mind for the people of Jefferson County,” said Hodges. “And this facility will enable the nursing students to better prepare themselves for the work force in health care.”

Dr. Lloyd Horodan, the president of Sandersville Technical College, said the college is excited about working with long standing partners such as the county commission and the board of education.

“This will allow us to better serve them with allied health programs and other instructional services that we’ve not been able to provide before because of the limitations of space,” he said. “We’re looking forward to expanding those services and looking for every new opportunity to make sure the people of Jefferson County get the preparation they need for their future.”



Replacing water pipes

Green Acres water line work nearly complete


• Operation manager says project is about 90 percent complete, resident claims it has been less disruptive than expected

By Carol McLeod
Staff Writer

According to Robert Barker, the operation manager for Harris Construction, the work to update the water system in the Green Acres subdivision of Louisville is almost complete.

“We’re about 90 percent finished,” Barker said Thursday, Aug. 16.

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“You can thank Murray Hadden and Joe Cox,” he said, referring to two government workers. Hadden is the Jefferson County Water Superintendent. Cox is Louisville’s Superintendent of Utilities. “This has been the best town we have worked with,”

Barker said. “We just ain’t never had this much help.”

Barker added that Paul Bryan, the county’s administrator, had been cooperative and helpful. “Everything’s been done on time and everything they’ve told me they would do, they’ve done,” Barker said.

Jeffery Harris, the company’s owner, said the work has gone well and added his thanks to the residents of the area.

The crew had been working two weeks when Barker and Harris made their comments. Barker said he expected there to be another week of work before they would be able to test the water lines.

“It’s not as bad as I thought it would be,” said Bob Holbert, a resident of the area. “It’s not as disruptive as I thought it was going to be. They’re doing a fine job.”

Barker had said during a meeting with residents in July that the majority of lines are 40- to 45-year-old galvanized pipes. “I will probably repair that two-inch line 200 times in 60 days,” he said at that time. “Those lines are very fragile.”

So far, the company has not cut any lines, Barker said.

“I’ve been out several times, looked at the work, met with neighbors,” said County Administrator Paul Bryan. “Everybody that I met with was very receptive to the work going on. They recognized that it was going to initially create a mess but also saw that as the pipe was laid past their houses that repairs were quickly made.”

Bryan said this week that work is scheduled to be complete Friday, Aug. 31.




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