Lighting the holidays
By James Watson
The spirit of Christmas is back, and Jefferson County is gearing up for another great season.
The first event to kick off the season was the annual Tree Lighting Ceremony that was held in Wadley on Saturday, Nov. 17. More than 100 people gathered to witness the event.
The Master of Ceremonies of the program was Rev. Willie Dawson. City officials took part and Carver Elementary School Choir contributed several songs. Wadley Mayor Herman Baker lit the tree.
Glascock County also welcomed the season with its annual WinterFest, held on Saturday, Nov. 24.
Events included cake, preserve and relish contests, as well as entertainment from Whitney Mathis Jones, the Thompson Family from Avera and Ken and Janice Wydner from Augusta.
This was the county’s third annual WinterFest. It was also a celebration of the 150th anniversary of Glascock County. The celebration included a parade and the lighting of the square, sponsored by the Rolling Hills Garden Club.
Glascock County will also show its spirit on Dec. 1 in Edgehill with the illumination of their new Christmas lights, beginning at 5:30 p.m. The event is sponsored by the Edgehill Frolic Committee.
On Saturday, Dec. 1, Wadley and Wrens will have their Christmas festivals, both of which include parades. The Wadley parade will begin at 11 a.m., after the lineup at 10:30 a.m. The parade will include a float contest, with prizes for the top three floats. The JCHS Marching Band, a music academy and the NJROTC Exhibition Drill Team and a Color Guard will be marching in the parade. The festival will include numerous food, arts and crafts and clothes vendors. The festival will also feature a miniature petting zoo that will be open after the parade.
The Wrens parade will begin at 5 p.m., with lineup beginning at 3:15 p.m. The parade will also feature a float contest. The JCHS Marching Band and NJROTC Exhibition Drill Team and a Color Guard will be in the parade. Following the parade, there will be a downtown tree lighting.
Louisville will hold its Christmas Festival on Saturday, Nov. 8, beginning at 9 a.m. The festival will include food, arts and crafts and jewelry vendors. There will also be a car exhibit.
The parade will begin at 1 p.m., with lineup beginning at noon. It will include farm tractors, exotic cars, and the Shriners, who will be driving miniature carts. It will also feature a float contest. Anyone interested in participating needs to have a float ready and present by noon. The parade will also feature the JCHS Marching Band, as well as the NJROTC Exhibition Drill Team and a Color Guard.
Santa Claus will also be making an appearance during the festivities, which are sponsored by the cities of Wrens, Louisville and Wadley.
Missing teacher found dead
By Carol McLeod
The body of Mary Elizabeth "Beth" Newsome, 58, of Warrenton was found Friday, Nov. 23, about 2 p.m. by two hunters. She was found in the woods off a four-wheeler trail on Highway 123 in Warren County, according to information from the Glascock County Sheriff’s Office.
Newsome, who was reported missing by her husband, Gaynor Newsome, the day before, Nov. 22, was a teacher at Thomson Middle School in Thomson. Newsome had also been reported missing to McDuffie County dispatch by her son-in-law.
According to records from the sheriff’s office, the couple’s son said he saw his mother leave in her car around 9 a.m. or 9:30 a.m. on Nov. 21.
Her husband said he and his wife had had an argument prior to that about some money. She reportedly said she was going to Good Will and left carrying about 40 to 50 nerve pills prescribed to her husband.
Newsome was born in Omaha, Nebraska, and moved to Georgia in 1962. She lived in Glascock County since 1979.
She had been an educator in several counties in Georgia, including McDuffie and Glascock. She had been named a Star Teacher in both. She had received other recognition, including being Teacher of the Year for Thomson Middle School for 2006-2007.
“The only thing that we can really tell you on (the case) right now, based on the examination of the location where she was found, there was no evidence of trauma being committed on her or any type of injury,” said Special Agent in Charge Gary Nicholson with the Thomson office of the Georgia Bureau Investigation. The GBI is assisting in the investigation and performed the autopsy.
“The autopsy itself did not show any type of injuries to her body,” Nicholson said. “We are still waiting on lab reports and toxicology reports. It will be 45 to 60 days on that.”
downtown holiday events
By Carol McLeod
Merchants in downtown Louisville hope to increase interest in shopping locally by extending hours once a week.
Randi Beckworth, owner of Randi’s Inc., said this is the third year businesses have stayed open later on Thursdays in December. A Broad Street Business Partners group formed last year, she said.
“The group is trying to figure out a way to bring more traffic to downtown Louisville without bringing in outside vendors to take away from hometown sales,” Beckworth said.
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“We want to showcase what we’ve already got, to show people you don’t have to shop out of town to get what you want. And so we came up with the idea of the extended hours on Thursday nights but we wanted a way to kick it off and make it more exciting. And so we came up with a downtown kickoff the Saturday after thanksgiving. We’re hoping this will turn into an annual event. We have lots of ideas that we plan to add over the course of the next few years if this takes off but because of the downtown renovations we just chose to keep it simple this year.”
Beckworth said the group hopes to carry the theme of Bustlin’ on Broad throughout the year.
“That is why we chose it,” she said. “Obviously the hustle and bustle of Christmas is where it originated but as we thought it through we decided bustling is what we wanted to see our downtown area turn into.”
The group has also arranged to have entertainment for the next four Thursday nights, starting on Nov. 29 with a 7 p.m. performance by the Jefferson County High School Marching Band. On Dec. 6, Pinecrest Mennonite Youth Choir will perform, beginning at 7 p.m. The First Baptist Church Children’s Choir will perform at 7 p.m. on Dec. 13. Louisville United Methodist Children’s Choir will perform at 7 p.m. on Dec. 20.
In addition, Vince Dooley, former athletic director of the University of Georgia, will hold a book signing on Thursday, Dec. 13, from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. This is a change in time from the initial announcement. This event will be at the Civic Room in the Queensboro Building. Entrance is through Pansy’s. Fans who attend this event are invited to bring cameras.
There will be live remotes with WPEH, including one on Dec. 20.
“Don Rhodes and the city of Louisville, Lil Easterlin at the Jefferson County Chamber of Commerce, The News and Farmer, and WPEH have all been extremely helpful in working with the merchants in coordinating these events,” Beckworth said.