County ranked second in STDs
By Carol McLeod
In a 13-county district that includes Jefferson and Glascock counties, Jefferson County is number two for sexually transmitted diseases, according to records at the office of the East Central Health District.
Other counties in our district are Richmond, Emanuel, Burke, Columbia, Jenkins, Lincoln, McDuffie, Screven, Taliaferro, Warren and Wilkes.
The county in the district with the highest incidents is Richmond.
In reviewing the past three years for which records are available, 2005, 2006 and 2007, the youngest age group for which STDs were reported in 2005 was 10- to 14-year-olds. The diseases reported were Chlamydia and Gonorrhea. Syphilis was not reported in the district during that year until the next age group, 15 to 19. There was only one reported case.
The only reported cases of Syphilis in Jefferson County for 2005 were one in the 25- to 29-year-old category and one in the 40- to 44-year-old category. There was a total of 38 reported cases of Syphilis districtwide for that year. Twenty-three of those cases were in Richmond County; two were in Jefferson County.
Syphilis was not reported in Burke County in 2005, nor in Glascock County.
The statistics for Chlamydia show 38 reported cases in Burke County, two in Glascock County, 16 in Emanuel County, 54 in Jefferson County and 809 in Richmond County. The total Chlamydia cases reported for 2005 in the district was 1,210.
During 2005, there were 672 cases of Gonorrhea reported in the district. Of those 11 were youngsters in the 10- to 14-year-old group. There were three cases reported in the 65 plus age group. Burke County had a total of 24 reported cases for the year. The total in Jefferson County was 22. There were no cases of Gonorrhea reported in Glascock County for that year. The total cases for the year in Richmond County was 490.
In 2006, a total of 1,280 cases of Chlamydia were reported districtwide. Of those, 818 were in Richmond County, 71 in Jefferson County, 39 in Burke County and three were in Glascock County. The youngest were again in the 10- to 14-year-old age group, with the oldest age group reporting cases being 55- to 64-year-olds.
That same year, a total of 763 cases of Gonorrhea were reported in the district. Of those, 493 were in Richmond County, 34 were in Jefferson County, 26 in Burke County and 25 in Emanuel County. No Gonorrhea was reported in Glascock County during 2006.
There were three cases of Gonorrhea reported in the district during 2006 in the 0- to 4-year-old age group, two of whom were in Richmond County. Two cases in the district were reported in the 65 and older age group.
Twenty-five cases of Syphilis were reported districtwide during 2006. Of those, 11 were in Richmond County. No Syphilis was reported in 2006 for Jefferson, Burke or Glascock counties. The youngest age group reporting Syphilis for 2006 in the district were in the 15- to 19-year-olds.
In 2007, Glascock County had two reported cases of Chlamydia, Emanuel County had 36, Jefferson County had 57, Burke County had 62 and Richmond County had 835. The youngest group reported to have this disease in these counties for the year was the 10- to 14-year-olds, who reported two cases in Burke County and five in Richmond County.
That same year, there were 445 cases of Gonorrhea reported in Richmond County, 37 in Emanuel County, 24 in Burke County and one in Glascock County.
The youngest age group for Gonorrhea was the 0- to 4-year-olds with one case, which was reported in Richmond County.
Richmond County reported 15 cases of Syphilis for the year, Emanuel County reported two and Burke County reported one. Jefferson and Glascock counties had no reports of Syphilis for the year.
The youngest group reporting a case of Syphilis was the 15- to 19-year-olds with one case in Emanuel County.
According to the 2005 census, the most current year the information is available, the population of Richmond County is 195,769. Burke County is 23,299; Emanuel 22,108; Jefferson 16,926 and Glascock is 2,705.
According to Terry Myers, communicable disease secretary with the East Central Health District, the agency has two Communicable Disease Specialists who travel the district.
“They counsel everyone who comes in through the Richmond County office, whether they have anything or not, they’re still counseled. We have the STD campaign that they do every year to make people aware and they targeted the high schools with their STD campaigns, too.”
Dr. Molly Howard, principal at the Jefferson County High School, said freshmen receive some information about sexually transmitted diseases in their health classes.
“There are definitely too few programs that bring that information to our citizens, that’s for sure,” she said. Howard said the high school provides a full unit of health class at the freshman level. It is a required state course, she said. “But that’s just one class (in the four years of high school).”
Dr. Donnie Hodges, assistant superintendent for curriculum for Jefferson County said the health curriculum is being revised under the Georgia Performance Standards.
“They’re all being changed over but those haven’t been developed, yet,” she said.
Hodges said there are health classes in sixth, seventh and eighth grades, and usually in ninth, that contain components of sex education addressing sexually transmitted diseases. There are also other classes that may contain some of this information but those classes are electives.
“Abstinence is our primary platform for the school system,” Hodges said. “We’ve tried to incorporate, particularly in our middle schools, sex education in our family dynamics program. Parents can opt out.”
Hodges said the state mandates that the schools offer the program but parents are not made to have their children take the class.
There is a review committee made up of parents and educators who review this type of material and decide if it’s age-appropriate for the students, she said.
Hodges said students cannot be surveyed about sexual activity or about drug and alcohol use without parental consent.
“The state does a survey at certain grade levels. We have tried to be sensitive about these issues but help parents stay informed. I think our counselors and health instructors do a great job,” she said. “Mr. Emmett Walker from the East Central Georgia Health District came to the October board meeting and talked about health issues, including STDs. The board agreed to work with him but we would review all materials. It would follow our policy and any students who would be surveyed would be with parental permission. We have an abstinence-based policy. That’s pretty important to our board.”
STAR students recognized
By Faye Ellison
Recently the Jefferson County Chamber of Commerce hosted the STAR Student Banquet honoring the two students from the county who received the top honor from their schools. Will Clark and Mark Edward Bowles Jr. are the top SAT scorers and at the top 10 percent of their class in their respective schools.
Will Clark, son of Bill and Kristine Clark of Louisville, was named the STAR Student for Jefferson County High School and also the county STAR Student, while Mark Edward Bowles Jr., son of Mark and Tesie Bowles of Wadley, took the top billing as STAR Student for Thomas Jefferson Academy.
Clark chose Cheryl Sanford, who teaches language arts at Jefferson County High School, as his STAR Teacher. Bowles picked Thomas Jefferson Academy Coach Adam Brett as his STAR Teacher.
While attending Jefferson County High School, Clark participated on the football, tennis and track teams and also has been a part of the Math Team, Key Club, Beta Club and Captains Council. But Clark’s work does not stop there, he also is a part of M.A.D. (Make a Difference Youth Ministry) outside of his school activities.
Clark’s philosophy behind his success is simple; he attributes it to what God has given him.
“I wanted to do my best to use and honor the gift of intelligence that God has granted me,” Clark said.
As for influences and support Clark has found, he has pulled from just about everyone he has known in his life.
“There really is no one person and by that I mean that my parents, friends and teacher have all had a impact on my life so far and I am where I am due in part to their input on my life,” he said.
Remembering what he learned and enjoyed from being educated in Jefferson County, Clark offered words of wisdom for future students.
“I would encourage students to value hard work, honesty and integrity and also to use their gifts,” he said. “The most important thing, however, is a saving relationship with Jesus Christ, because without him, there is no life, much less success.
“I have enjoyed the experience and the challenge of going to a school with a variety of people from diverse backgrounds. I truly value the privilege of being able to make friends from several walks of life.”
Clark said he was proud to pick Jefferson County High School teacher Sanford as his STAR Teacher because he feels she deserves the recognition.
“I picked Mrs. Cheryl Sanford as my STAR Teacher because she has a passion for students and for teaching,” Clark said, adding, “I was glad to be able to reward her because she is one of the best teachers out there.”
Bowles too has found many activities to participate in academically and outside of the classroom and school. At Thomas Jefferson Academy, Bowles takes part in FCA and Beta Club, while in his own time he is a “Lead Team” member at First Baptist Church of Louisville, works part-time at Fulghum Industries in Wadley and is a co-founder of Social Hazard Paintball Ministry.
Bowles said he found himself in the position to be STAR Student while trying to make sure his SAT score was adequate to attend a college of his choice.
Whether in school or at work or home, Bowles has found encouragement from his family and others in the community in which he lives.
“My entire family has been very supportive throughout my entire life; every one of them has impacted my life in a positive way with their encouragement and love,” Bowles said. “I am positive that I would not be half the person I am today without them. My teachers have spurred me in every way to further my education and have always pushed me to reach my goals. My youth pastors have also been a huge part in my life, with their constant prayers and words of encouragement.”
Remaining active in his education, Bowles has found that not giving up has allowed him to grasp what he wants out of life.
“Never become lazy,” he said. “The moment a person refuses to do his best is the moment he chooses not to achieve his goals. Also, live a life that has meaning; make intentional decisions that will lead to a better tomorrow.”
While attending Thomas Jefferson Academy, Bowles became thankful for the school’s size in improving his interaction in the classroom.
“I love the fact that I get to spend a lot of time developing relationships with my teachers,” he said. “This allows me to better understand exactly what it takes to be prepared for college.”
Bowles picked Brett for STAR Teacher because of his persistent encouragement to his students.
“I chose Coach Adam Brett as my STAR Teacher because his knack for pushing students to the limits of their abilities has led me to appreciate the hard work and determination it takes to succeed,” Bowles said.
Bond set for Trexlers on cruelty charges
By Parish Howard
Friday a Jefferson County judge set $50,000 bonds for a South Carolina mother and son accused of willfully neglecting to provide adequate food for a herd of horses they were keeping in a pasture outside of Louisville.
Hazelene Trexler told Judge Murray Bowman that she had received the horses from a sick relative in South Carolina who could not care for the animals. She said she saw the Jefferson County pasture advertised in the Market Bulletin and after visiting it “fell in love with the place.” But she claimed that within two weeks of moving the animals to the property the state had been called in on her.
“If the state can rehabilitate those horses, then I can,” she said.
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She said that she has been riding and raising horses for nearly 61 years and knows how to handle them.
“We had a veterinarian from Augusta look them over and he said that these horses were in excellent condition,” she said.
Ms. Trexler went on to maintain her “absolute” innocence, suggesting that someone else had been letting her horses out of the pasture and claiming that law enforcement was “lying.”
She also said there was plenty of grass in the pasture to feed the animals.
Terry Trexler, 44, and his 70-year-old mother, Hazelene, were transported to Jefferson County Jail from a Columbia, S.C., detention center where they had been held after being arrested on similar charges of animal cruelty.
The Trexlers appeared before Magistrate Judge Murray Bowman Friday where he read them their charges and set total bond for each at $50,000. The Trexlers each face the following charges in Jefferson County: one count of felony aggravated cruelty to animals, allowing animals to roam at large, 29 counts of misdemeanor animal cruelty and 25 counts of moving animals placed under state quarantine.
Judge Bowman explained that the felony charges involved a horse that Georgia Department of Agriculture officials seized. The animal wore a halter much too small for its head that had apparently grown into its face, disfiguring the animal and restricting the animal’s ability to open its mouth.
The misdemeanor counts of animal cruelty, Bowman explained, involved other horses in the Trexlers' care that the Department of Agriculture’s Equine Health Division found to be seriously underweight and which had “suffered physical pain” because of to the “withholding of food.”
Neither of the Trexlers were represented by legal counsel as of the hearing, but both said they would be represented soon.
Terry Trexler did tell the judge that other than trying to put up a fence and driving his mother to the pasture, he had had nothing else to do with the horses.
“I’m not involved in this,” he told the judge. “I am completely innocent of all of this.”
Judge Bowman said that since each of the Trexlers face a felony charge, all the charges will be moved to Superior Court.
“The public ought to know that we got them back in Jefferson County and they will be tried in Jefferson County,” said Jimmy Kitchens, the county’s code enforcement agent who has been working with the Department of Agriculture on the investigation since Oct. 25, 2007. “It feels good to know they will stand trial here for what they’ve done.”
As of Tuesday afternoon, Hazelene Trexler, the admitted owner of the animals, had been released on bond but her son, Terry, whom officers claim was the animals caretaker, was still in the Jefferson County Jail.
Officer Kitchens said that the matter was still under investigation and that with the Trexlers' admission that the mostly Arabian horses had originated in South Carolina, they could face additional charges for bringing the 74 to 80 estimated animals into the state without the requisite health records and Coggins test, which is used to identify carriers of Equine Infectious Anemia.
Officials with the Department of Agriculture said that all 29 animals seized and currently in impound facilities have regained full weight after being treated for malnutrition and parasites. None of the animals in Georgia, nor the 25 identified in South Carolina as having left the Louisville-area pasture, have tested positive for Equine Infectious Anemia.