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January 7, 2010 Issue

Wadley man shot, home invaded
Rebuilding more than homes
Suit names judge, sheriff, police chief, county and city of Louisville
Relay For Life kicks off 2010 event planning

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Wadley man shot, home invaded

By Carol McLeod
Staff Writer

Wadley police officers responded to a call Sunday, Jan. 3, about 9:42 p.m. regarding a home invasion and shooting on Waters Street, officials said Tuesday.

Wadley Police Chief Wesley Lewis said officers secured the scene and searched for suspects.

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Lewis said several people live in the home but only one was shot. Lewis said he did not have a motive for the shooting at this time.

Police also notified the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, the chief said.

“Due to the seriousness of the incident, Chief Wesley Lewis with the Wadley Police Department requested GBI assistance, not only for processing the scene but assisting in the investigation,” said Pat Morgan, the assistant special agent in charge with the GBI’s Thomson office.

Morgan said officers are looking for two black males, with slim build who are approximately 6 feet in height or taller.

The men had on masks and were dressed in all black clothing.

“Even the jeans were black,” Morgan said.

Morgan confirmed one of the victims was shot and said he was taken to an area hospital for treatment.

“Anyone with information should contact the GBI at 706-595-2575 or Investigator Leroy Morgan at the WPD at 478-252-5214,” the GBI agent said.

Lewis said four or five Hispanics live in the home where the incident occurred and that Hispanics are being targeted.

Any Hispanics who are having problems should contact the police department, Lewis said, adding if language is a problem, victims should bring an English speaker with them.

“They don’t need to be afraid to report anything to the police,” the chief said.

“We’re not worried about immigration status. There is someone in this area who is targeting Hispanics. Anyone who is a victim of a crime should feel free to contact us. If they are in a situation where someone’s broken into their home, if they can’t get out safely they need to try to get into a room, secure the door and call us or somebody and let us know,” he said.

The victim’s condition was not known as of press time Tuesday.




Rebuilding more than homes

By Sabrina Littleton
Intern

A group of area residents, concerned about neighbors in need, opened a chapter of The Fuller Center for Housing last year and have since completed five projects.

Volunteers work on one project at the time and are currently repairing a home’s ceiling and replacing its flooring. They have already put a new metal roof on the home.

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The chapter meets at Shekinah Baptist Church in Louisville, the church where Mitch Vaughn is pastor.

The center relies on volunteers and donations. Most recently, a local church made an anonymous donation and Jefferson Energy Cooperative Foundation donated $2,500.

Vaughn, a founding member of the Jefferson County chapter and the current board president, said all donations and help is welcome.

“We could definitely use more volunteers and donations,” he said. “And the donations don’t have to be large.”

William Irwin, manager of marketing for Jefferson Energy, said the company’s foundation gave the grant because of the difference the center makes.

“They offer a program that would improve the quality of life to individuals who live in our service territory,” Irwin said.

Irwin said the foundation provides grants of this sort from funds created when their customers donate to a project called Operation Round-Up.

“This Operation Round-Up program certainly would not be a possibility if not for the customers of Jefferson Energy who contribute to the program every month by having their bills rounded up to the next dollar,” he said. “And we have our customers to thank for that.”

Candidates for help complete an application, which is reviewed by the center’s committee.

Applicants must meet financial needs requirements and funding must be available for work to be done.

The center, headquartered in Americus, is a non-profit organization that builds and repairs homes for low-income families and individuals. The local chapter only repairs homes at this time.

People who receive help have 12 months, at no interest, to pay for the costs associated with their homes’ repairs if they are able to pay. These funds are paid to the center to help cover the costs of other projects.

Vaughn said they hope to be able to build new houses at some point in the future.

The Fuller Center for Housing began in 2005 when Millard Fuller, who had founded Habitat for Humanity, separated from that organization because of disagreements.

Although Fuller died in February 2009, his vision continues.

“In Wrens, we took a house that was partially burned and made it livable again,” Vaughn said. “We remodeled the kitchen and repaired the roof.”

When Vaughn started the local chapter, he was joined by J.C. Farrington, the current vice president; Tommy Dye, treasurer; and Ron Warnock.

Other board members are Laura Gibbons, Ray Garrer, Lee Shellman, Lena Patton and Felton Miller. MaryAnn Miller is the center’s secretary.

Vaughn said in repairing homes, the center’s main goal is to ensure people in poverty have a place to live.

“Everyone deserves to live in a warm, dry home,” he said.



Suit names judge, sheriff, police chief, county and city of Louisville

Carol McLeod
Staff Writer

Two men have filed a complaint in federal court against several officials and a county deputy as well as against Jefferson County and the City of Louisville.

In their complaint filed Dec. 9, 2009, Dustin Myers and Rodney Myers, both of Berrien County, ask for compensation, the amount to be determined by a jury, for the deprivation of their rights. They are also asking for punitive damages in an amount to be determined by a jury.

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The complaint stems from an incident that occurred Thursday, Aug. 13, during which the complaint states the Myerses were pursued, handcuffed, seized and abused.

The defendants named in the complaint are Murry Bowman, chief magistrate of Jefferson County; Wiley Clark “Chip” Evans IV, a Jefferson County deputy; Jefferson County Sheriff Gary Hutchins and Louisville Chief of Police Jimmy Miller.

Part of the complaint states Bowman’s daughter, Kelly Bowman, and Dustin Myers had been engaged but ended the engagement prior to Aug. 13. On that date Dustin Myers and Rodney Myers were in Jefferson County to pick up items belonging to Dustin Myers.

As the Myerses were leaving, headed home, the complaint states Bowman began following them.

The complaint states there was no probable cause for the pursuit and that Bowman requested assistance in stopping the Myerses. The complaint further states Bowman, Evans and Miller pursued and stopped the Myerses without cause.

“We have forwarded the complaint to our insurance carrier to defend the allegations made against the county,” said Mickey Moses, the county’s attorney, in an interview last week.

John Murphy, the attorney for the city of Louisville, said he had no comment at this time.

A lawsuit represents only one side of an issue and does not indicate the guilt or innocence of either party.



Relay For Life kicks off 2010 event planning

Carol McLeod
Staff Writer

The American Cancer Society will hold a kick-off rally Tuesday, Jan. 19, at the Wrens Community Center at 101 McNair Street in Wrens, Lisa Bryant said this week.

Bryant is a community manager with the ACS in Augusta.

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Bryant said in a press release area citizens who have benefited from funds raised through the Relay events will speak during the rally.

“This also will be the first opportunity to register a team and select a campsite for the overnight event to be held on Friday, May 7, at the Wrens Walking Track,” she said. The Relay will begin at 6 p.m. and end at 11 a.m. Saturday, May 8.

The kick-off rally is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. and last through 8:30 p.m.

Bryant said Relay for Life began in 1985 when one man walked and ran around a track for 24 hours. He raised $27,000 for the ACS, she said.

“This year, Relay for Life will take place in nearly 5,100 communities in the United States and 20 other countries and will raise funds to support the society’s mission of saving lives by helping people stay well, by helping people get well, by finding cures and fighting back,” she said.

Anyone who wants to participate in the Relay should call Vicky McDonald at 706-361-2635. McDonald is the Jefferson County volunteer Relay event chair, Bryant said.

Registration can also be made online at www.relayforlife.org/jeffersonco.

Bryant also said the ACS hopes area businesses will join the Relay by becoming sponsors.

“Cancer touches everyone and involvement in Relay for Life is a great way for companies to demonstrate their commitment to help the American Cancer Society save lives and create a world with less cancer and more birthdays,” she said.

There are several ways a business can be a corporate sponsor, she said. Businesses can form teams, provide in-kind donations, purchase event sponsor signs to display at the track, encourage employees to volunteer and collect Relay donations at their business.

Bryant said this year she expects more than 87,000 will take part in 156 Relay events across Georgia.

Companies interested in getting involved should visit the website listed above or call Jennifer Davis at 706-466-1369, Bryant said. Davis is the Jefferson County volunteer Relay event co-chair and sponsor chair.

“As the nation’s largest non-governmental investor in cancer research, contributing about $3.4 billion, we turn what we know about cancer into what we do. As a result, more than 11 million people in America who have had cancer and countless more who have avoided it will be celebrating birthdays this year,” Bryant said.

“To learn more about us or to get help call us anytime, day or night, at 1-800-227-2345 or visit www.cancer.org,” she said.

Bryant said the deadline for entries in the T-shirt design contest for the county’s Relay is Friday, Feb. 12.

Eligibility requirements include a minimum age of 14 and a maximum age of 19.

For more information about the contest or to obtain an entry form, contact Linda Merritt at the Jefferson County High School. Merritt is the fine arts instructor at JCHS.

Although there will be no monetary award, the top three entries will be recognized. The first place winning design will be used as the T-shirt design for the county’s Relay.




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