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September 4, 2008 Issue

Two charged with cruelty to children
Inspector pleased with county landfills
System granted unitary status, released from 1969 court order

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Two charged with cruelty to children

By Carol McLeod
Staff Writer

Two Wadley residents have been charged with three counts each of cruelty to children, Wadley Police Chief Paul Jordan said Monday, Aug. 25.

Jordan said the Department of Family and Children Services called the WPD about a home on Foster Circle regarding the living conditions there.

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“There were three different children,” Jordan said, adding the conditions were very severe.

“There was human waste in different places where it shouldn’t be,” he said.

Jordan said the charges stem mainly from the children’s living environment and conditions.

“The smallest child did not have on a diaper,” he said.

Tina Jones, 26, of Foster Circle in Wadley was arrested just after midnight on Saturday, Aug. 23, and Phillip Gladden, 32, also of Foster Circle in Wadley, was arrested just prior to 9 p.m. the previous day, Friday, Aug. 22, according to law enforcement documents.

“The living conditions were really unbearable,” Jordan said. “There was no running water, no food to eat and the food that was in the house was rotted.”

Jordan said the officers who arrived on the scene found rotten food in the refrigerator.

DFACS workers arrived on the scene first and called Wadley Police Department, Jordan said.

He did not know how DFACS became involved.

The children are aged 1, 3 and 5, the chief said.

It was unclear as of press time if Jones and Gladden live in the same home or side by side.



Inspector pleased with county landfills

By Carol McLeod
Staff Writer

Recent EPD inspections of the active landfill and the closed landfill show both are being operated in accordance with EPD guidelines. The EPD holds periodic, random inspections of all landfills. The most recent ones locally were in May for the active landfill and in July for the one that is closed, Joe Sills said.

Sills, an inspector with EPD, said his office in Augusta is responsible for inspecting the landfills in 17 counties.

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Sills performed the EPD inspections in May and July.

“There’s basically two landfills we’re talking about, one is active and operating and the other is closed,” he said. During the most recent inspection, Sills said one of the commissioners, Tommy New, was at the landfill.

“We were delighted to run into him,” Sills said. “We would have been there on July 8. We were there to inspect the closed landfill. But in order to inspect the closed landfill, we go the office, which is at the active landfill. That’s when I met the commissioner, July 8.”

Sills said the inspectors rotate which sites they visit and the next inspector will probably be someone else.

“I have been there before for an inspection,” Sills said, adding EPD has a goal regarding the number of inspections in they perform in a year.

“We prefer to get out there every six months,” he said.

In July, the EPD inspected only the closed landfill, Sills said.

“That place is being run well, too,” Sills said. “We were pleased.”

Sills said the active landfill, which was inspected in May, met the requirements.

“Where the actual garbage was being deposited from the garbage trucks was acceptable,” he said.

“One of the things we look at is for adequate vegetation on the landfill cap. The cap is the covering over the cell once it’s reached its capacity; this is soil and vegetation,” he said. “What I’m looking for is vegetation. It does meet the minimum requirements, but that’s all we’re looking for.”

Sills said adequate is the highest mark given.

“My impression was is the landfill is being managed well. I was pleased with its condition,” he said. “The people of the county should be pleased.”

New said the EPD never announces their inspections in advance. The inspector arrives at the site and inspects it. Whatever is out of compliance is required to be fixed by the next inspection.

New, whose district includes the area where both landfills are, said he was proud of the results of the inspections and proud of the county workers.

New pointed out a cell where trash was being dumped by a garbage truck and worked into the soil.

“That trash has to be covered up every night,” he said. “If it doesn’t get covered up with the dirt, they cover it with a tarp.”

When the landfill was being built, the county could have either a retention pond or a leachate tank, New said. The county chose to have the retention pond, but because the EPD changed the requirement, the county had to add a leachate tank, New said.

“The metal that comes in, we sell,” he said, adding that metal input has decreased since the price of metal has risen. People are taking their metal to sell rather than taking it to the landfill.

“You can bet there ain’t no copper coming out here,” New said.

Wood that is brought in is chipped and used to stabilize the soil.

“County residents can get it (wood chips) at no cost; but, they have to load it themselves,” the commissioner said.

The active landfill opened in December of 1998, and is about 109 acres. The area for household garbage is 44 acres and inert material, such as limbs, goes to an area that is 65 acres, New said.

Shawana Brown, supervisor at the active landfill, has been there 10 years. EPD requires a certified operator to operate a landfill. Being certified requires six months on-hand training landfill experience, a one-week training course and passing a test, Brown said.

Jefferson County Commission Chairman William Rabun is also proud of the landfill and how clean the site is.

“They all work together. That’s why it looks the way it does out here,” Rabun said. “They’re doing a good job.”

New said a lot of work is performed by prison labor.

“The state sends us $20 a day per prisoner,” he said. The money is to offset the cost of housing and feeding state prisoners.

New said having prisoners work at the landfill saves the county from having to hire workers.

New said when the county was first considering building the landfill, there was a controversy about where to build it. An option being discussed was to send the garbage outside of the county.

“At the price of fuel, where would we be now?” New said.

“Don’t you really think it’s our responsibility to take care of our own trash? Somebody’s got to take it and I feel that we should take care of our own garbage,” he said.



System granted unitary status, released from 1969 court order

By Carol McLeod
Staff Writer

Jefferson County School Board Superintendent Carl Bethune announced recently that the county’s school system has been dismissed from a 1969 desegregation case.

The order was issued by US District Court Judge Dudley Bowen in July, Bethune said.

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“Some of the things that the feds look at when they discuss doing away with the civil action (are) facilities and resources. They concluded that our facilities are nondiscriminatory and that the renovations of our facilities have been done in a nondiscriminatory manner,” Bethune said.

“Resources are distributed in a nondiscriminatory manner, transportation is made available to all students regardless of race, that administrative staff maintains racial diversity, extracurricular activities are implemented in a nondiscriminatory manner, faculty assignments we continue to recruit minority teachers and we encourage racial diversity at all levels of diversity and all areas of the district,” he said.

Bethune also said students are able to attend any school they choose in the district.

The seven areas reviewed in such cases are facilities, resources, transportation, administrative staff assignment, extra curricular activities, faculty assignments and student assignments.

“Those are seven areas that the Justice Department looks at to be sure that we are in compliance and there is no discrimination,” Bethune said. “They deemed that Jefferson County is in compliance.”

Bethune said these areas are the basis for the civil action filed about 40 years ago.

Over the past several years, the Jefferson County BOE has created a plan to improve the county’s school system, he said.

“The board saw the need to capitalize on being a small system and wanted to function more as one entity, rather than as six separate schools,” Bethune said in a press release.

He credited not only the school system but community members as developing a new vision, mission and beliefs.

“The hard work and difficult decisions that have been made over the past 40 years by the Jefferson Board of Education and the superintendent have allowed us to achieve unitary status by agreement with the United States Department of Justice,” said Jimmy Fleming, chairman of the county’s school board.

“This is a great day for the Jefferson County School System and is the culmination of years of planning, implementation and much hard work. We should all be very proud of the school system’s progress,” he said.

“We’ve got to continue to do the right thing. We’ve got to do the right thing always and we’ll be OK,” Bethune said.




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