Stapleton police chief put on paid leave by mayor
By Carol McLeod
In a memorandum obtained by The News and Farmer, Stapleton Mayor Harold Smith notified the city’s police chief, Tim Taylor, that he was on paid leave as of Nov. 12.
In the document, the mayor stated Taylor would be on paid leave pending investigation of inefficiency, insubordination, willfully giving false statements to the mayor and council and disobeying a direct order from the mayor.
The council has scheduled a called meeting for Thursday, Nov. 19, at 6 p.m. at city hall in Stapleton.
It is expected council will go into executive session as the stated purpose of the meeting is personnel.
Although executive session allows the council and mayor to discuss certain issues in private, without citizens or media present, no vote may be taken. All votes, if any, will have to take place outside of the executive session and during a public portion of the meeting.
Taylor is the only law enforcement officer the city employs.
In an effort to ensure the citizens have law enforcement protection, Mayor Elect June Rooks said she contacted Jefferson County Sheriff Gary Hutchins.
“I had a citizen call me,” Rooks said. “She was upset because we didn’t have any police protection. She asked me would I call the sheriff and have him to have deputies up here to protect us and I said I would.”
Rooks said Hutchins did so as she has seen deputies patrolling the city.
“He said he would have some deputies ride up here off and on to let the people know that they are protected,” Rooks said.
Hutchins was not available for comment as he was training out of town.
Maj. Charles Gibbons of the JCSO said he had talked with Rooks and had talked with officers about patrolling Stapleton.
“That’s our job,” Gibbons said Tuesday.
“We’ve got statewide jurisdiction. It doesn’t matter if you have city police. Your sheriff’s office is your chief law enforcement agency in the county,” he said, adding Taylor’s leave makes no difference to what the sheriff’s office is already doing.
said, adding Taylor’s leave makes no difference to what the sheriff’s office is already doing.
“The whole county is our responsibility,” Gibbons said.
Gibbons said that although Rooks had spoken with them about the situation, he has not been contacted by the current mayor.
“I don’t know if he talked with the sheriff,” Gibbons said of Smith. “But he didn’t talk with me.”
The major said he understood there were internal problems the city needed to address and said Rooks didn’t go into any details.
“We told her we would (continue patrols) and they could call on us and we would respond. The deputies know they are to take care of the area,” Gibbons said. “It really is not an issue with us because we have to take care of it anyway.”
Citizens may attend the public portions of the called meeting.
By Sabrina Littleton
Excitement is in the autumn air for the Arts Guild’s Fourth Annual Fall Exhibit at The Fire House Gallery in downtown Louisville. Local artists, many of whom are members of the Arts Guild, will have work featured at the exhibit. A few artists from Augusta and Sandersville will have pieces present as well.
The exhibit will include art from Wade Franklin, Tim Goodson, Mary Reynolds, Sam Morgan, Letti Mohammad, Vicki Smith, Laura McNeely, Rob Hohmann, Karen Lewis and Diane Sharp. Other artists’ works will be shown as well and will further contribute to the variety of art media offered to the public.
There will be approximately 50 works of art on display at The Fire House Gallery.
This year’s show does not have a particular theme, but there will be photography, paintings, weaving, pottery and sculpture displayed and for sale.
The poster for the exhibit features weave work by Sharon Sasser and jewelry by Claire Booth Taylor.
Members of the Arts Guild including Lil Easterlin, Mary Reynolds, Betty Wasden and Tom Watson helped plan the show. The Fire House Gallery’s intern, Kelsey McMillan, also played a crucial role in the exhibition’s preparations.
Donna Borders, president of the Arts Guild, is enthusiastic about the upcoming event.
“We’re excited about the show,” she said.
The Arts Guild is able to have programs because of its sponsorship.
“We have a grant from the Grassroots Arts Program Greater Augusta Arts Council,” Borders said.
These funds have also helped the Arts Guild have a mural painted in Wadley, a summer art camp and this show, among other art activities, Borders said.
Borders is thankful that Jefferson County and the surrounding area have the artistic offerings that they do.
“We’re lucky to have the Arts Guild; and, The Fire House Gallery has done a lot to bring diverse art to the community,” she said.
The Arts Guild’s upcoming exhibit at The Fire House Gallery is an example of this diverse art and the gallery’s effort to showcase it.
Exhibit hours for the show will be Nov. 18-21 from noon until 6 p.m., Nov. 22 from 1 p.m. until 5 p.m., Nov. 25, 27 and 28 from noon until 6 p.m. and Nov. 29 from 1 p.m. until 5 p.m. The opening reception will be held on Nov. 21 from 7 p.m. until 9 p.m.
“People can come and visit with their Thanksgiving guests. It’s a good venue to take people to,” Borders said.
Expectations for the show are high.
“We’d like for everyone to come see the show. It’s going to be a really good exhibit,” Borders said.
Evans’ artwork featured
By Sabrina Littleton
When Willena Malone Evans died in February at age 80, her friends and family decided to share her artwork with the public.
Born and raised in Bartow, Evans always had a love for the arts. Growing up, she sang in the choir at Louisville Methodist Church.
Despite an appreciation towards art, Evans did not paint for the first part of her life. It wasn’t until the mid 1970s when her son, Don Evans, was taking an art class from Eunice Bryant that she began creating painted works of art. It was during one of these classes that Bryant said to Evans, “Sit down and paint a picture.” This was the nudge Evans needed to pick up a paintbrush for good.
“She had wanted to paint but was afraid to. That was the challenge she needed to do it,” Nan Gunn, former painting partner and friend to Evans, said.
As time progressed, Evans’ hunger for painting continued to grow. Bryant became her mentor in art, and they went on to become two of the founding members of the Bartow Arts Guild. The group met every Wednesday to paint and critique each other’s work. Louise Young, Evans’ daughter, recalls her mother’s growing dedication to art.
“We knew not to plan anything on Wednesday because we all knew she would be painting,” Young said.
When Evans visited her sister in Atlanta, the two of them spent time going to art shows and art museums.
As Evans grew as a painter, she developed her own styles and preferences. Gunn said that Evans’ preferred media were oils and acrylics. In her later years, she created works with only acrylic paints because they dry much faster than oils, Gunn said.
Through the use of these oils and acrylics, Evans’ imagination, talent and perseverance helped her paint numerous paintings.
“Her work was varied,” Gunn said. “She painted what she wanted to paint.”
Evans didn’t just live life to the fullest solely through her artwork. She enjoyed traveling, cooking, reading and being a member of the Arts Guild, United Methodist Women and the Louisville Coffee Club.
Evans could brighten not only a canvas with beautiful color, but family and friends say she could also light up a room with her personality.
“She was a very pretty woman. She had this wonderful laugh and she filled a room with her presence. I don’t think she ever met a stranger,” Gunn said with a smile.
“She always stood up for what she believed,” Young said.
For such a colorful woman on canvas and in reality, it is not surprising that Gunn and Evans’ family decided to showcase her work after her death.
"She was a wonderful friend and my mentor. We were looking for a way to honor her,” Gunn said.
“She remained active in the Jefferson County Arts Guild until she just couldn’t anymore. We are thrilled to show her work,” Young said. “Art really enriched her life. This is one last way to acknowledge and appreciate what meant a lot to her.”
On Saturday, Nov. 21, from 7 p.m. until 9 p.m. and Sunday, Nov. 22, from 1 p.m. until 5 p.m., the public may come to 102 East Broad Street in downtown Louisville to view many of Evans’ paintings.
“She had a storage building full of paintings. This provides others an opportunity to see a good representation of it,” Gunn said.
Despite not being a painter herself, Young said that her mother’s passion definitely had an impact on her life.
“By her doing art all those years, it made me really appreciate art,” Young said.
Even though Evans has passed on, she left behind a legacy of artwork that will live in the hearts of her family and friends for years to come.
Transmission line passing through Glascock Co. completed
By Faye Ellison
The news of a high voltage power line that was to pass through Glascock County in 2005, left many area residents a little weary of the proposed project. Since then property has been acquired and easements set for the 500-kilovolt transmission line to be completed ahead of schedule and below budget.
Georgia Transmissions, which ran the line across the county, is owned and operated by the Electric Membership Corporations of Georgia.
“Our job is to build the high power lines that bring the power to all of the EMCs across the state,” Senior Public Relations Representative Jeannine Rispin said. “The Georgia electric grid is supported by a network of major high voltage transmission lines. These lines form the backbones of the system that serve both the EMCs and Georgia Power.”
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With the help of Georgia Transmission, the EMCs put a 500-kilovolt line through parts of Glascock County. The line begins at the Warthen Substation across the county, slightly north of Mitchell and Gibson and ends at the Thomson Primary Substation.
According to Rispin, the project was released to Georgia Transmission in December 2004 to begin looking at a study area. Construction in Glascock County began in February 2008 and was completed in October 2009. This structure, Rispin said, is key to keeping citizens’ power on.
“Most of this transmission system was built before 1980,” Rispin said. “Georgia has experienced a lot of growth and that has placed an enormous strain on the current lines. It is time to build new lines to ensure the bulk remains stable.
“This is a project that is a part of a statewide effort to bolster the transmission grid in Georgia. There are quite a few large lines like this that will be built all over the state.”
Rispin said that the line, which was to be finished in 2010, will supply power to much of east central Georgia. The construction of the transmission line was to cost $53 million originally, but was completed for $48 million.
Rispin also said that Georgia Transmission Corporation will pay $106,956 in property taxes to Glascock County in 2010.
“These are taxes paid on the capital improvement,” she said. “We pay the taxes to the state of Georgia, who disburses them back to Glascock County.”
As the new transmission line is just one part of a statewide improvement effort Rispin said is needed to meet the growing demand for power in east central Georgia, it may go hand in hand with the proposed coal plant in Washington County.
“It was planned and constructed independent of the proposed coal plant in Washington County,” Rispin confirmed. “However, the new line will be connected to the new power plant if it is constructed in Washington County.”