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May 20, 2010 Issue

Praying for our leaders
SCLC plans march in Wadley
Horse owner pleads guilty to animal cruelty
Man who killed child while running from law to be sentenced

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Praying for our leaders

By Carol McLeod
Staff Writer

About 75 to 80 people participated in the National Day of Prayer Thursday, May 6, at the Veterans Park in Wrens.

Deborah Everett, a member of the Community Home Group, organized the event.

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Everett said she listens to a Christian radio station and the announcers had been talking about the day for about two weeks.

She said they discussed a Wisconsin circuit judge’s ruling that the event was unconstitutional.

Everett said Franklin Graham, son of the famous evangelist Billy Graham, had been invited to speak at the Pentagon on the National Day of Prayer.

“Then they dis-invited him because they said he was not inclusive enough in his faith,” she said.

“That was probably about three weeks ago. And the more I thought about it I thought nobody that I knew of was doing anything about it in Wrens. I thought, ‘Somebody needs to do something in Wrens.’

“The Holy Spirit told me, ‘Well, you’re somebody, you do something.’ I talked to several pastors in the area and to my home group also.”

The Community Home Group is a group of about 16 people who meet once a week for Bible study. Everett said there is no specific church affiliation and members are from a variety of churches.

She talked to the other members of the group Wednesday, April 21, and told them she wanted to do something to recognize the day.

“They agreed. I got a flier together and I got it out to all the churches in the area or as many pastors as I knew. I got fliers to them to hand out on the 25th. They reminded their congregations every time they met,” she said. She also had announcements made in the newspaper and on the radio.

“I didn’t want to have any speeches or anything,” she said. “I just thought it was important that the community get together and pray for the country, the state, the county and city and the military and all of the leaders.”

Everett said she was pleased with the turnout.

“We thought there was a good representation of churches and the community. There were a lot of things going on, Dixie Youth baseball, a choral event at the high school. There was something going on there and then everybody getting ready for The Relay for Life also,” she said.

Everett said she would like to continue to observe the day every year.

“We thought the Veterans Memorial Park would be a good place to have that and the city graciously let us have it there,” she said.

Everett said the Community Home Group meets at 7 p.m. every Wednesday night at the home of Bill and Brenda Newsome at 303 Peachtree Street in Wrens.

“We have people from the Baptist church, the Methodist church, the Church of God,” she said. “We try to put action to our faith. If we know of a need in the community, we try to meet that need if somebody brings it before us.”

Everett said the group has Bible study for about an hour to an hour and a half.

“Then we fellowship afterwards. Different people bring snacks. Every year for the last three or four years, we’ve had a community dinner in the August time frame where we’ve had entertainment from local churches. The first year, I think it was 100 to 120 people. Last year, it was 180 people and we fed everybody and it was at no cost to anyone who came. It’s just to try to draw the community together in any way we can,” she said.

“We were pleased with the turnout and it’s certainly something the community needs. It’s something the country needs,” Everett said.

“The Home Group’s not looking for recognition, nor am I. We just want to give God all the praise, honor and glory. It’s about Him, it’s not about us,” she said.

“It doesn’t matter what your politics are because the nation needs prayer. We’re in a crisis situation,” Everett said.




SCLC plans march in Wadley

By Carol Mcleod
Staff Writer

After hearing complaints from citizens about the Wadley Police Department, James Ivery said he plans a protest march Saturday, June 19, at 10 a.m.

Ivery, president of the Jefferson County chapter of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, said in an interview Tuesday he plans to schedule a meeting with Wadley Police Chief Wesley Lewis, one of the officers named in the complaints.

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“I have to listen to his side, also,” Ivery said. “We’ve gone to Mayor (Herman) Baker’s house, the (chapter) vice president and I and asked him about Mr. Lewis and he had nothing but good things to say about him.”

Ivery said he had scheduled a meeting with Lewis for Friday, May 14, but had to cancel because of a family emergency.

“I will set up another date with Mr. Lewis and listen to what he has to say and see what he has to show us,” Ivery said.

Because the scheduled march is planned on a state road and will require the road’s closing, Ivery has to get permission from the Georgia Department of Transportation as well as the city.

During its last meeting, the city council voted to allow the march.

Baker had said during the meeting he had spoken with DOT and there was enough time to request permission, if the council approved the request.

Ivery said he has not yet heard from the DOT; although, he has called them and indicated he was confident he would get the agency’s approval.

Ivery said he and his organization have received complaints for some time and he has been talking with the citizens about those complaints.

“What it involved was talking to the citizens of Wadley,” he said, adding he received such complaints for almost a year and a half.

“From that day on I had been getting complaints that I wasn’t ignoring but I was doing some fact finding on Wrens, Louisville and Wadley. Most of the complaints were coming out of Wadley. Myself and other members of the organization, the SCLC, took tours around the city of Wadley, just like we did in Wrens Quarters. And we talked to different citizens about what was going on with the city police department,” he said.

Complaints were made about an incident when a shoplifter was shot and killed by a police officer.

“From there, it escalated. We kept a sharp eye on what was going on. Then we had other incidents,” Ivery said.

Ivery said he also wants to ask Lewis about an incident last year when an officer who responded with others to a domestic violence call shot a man who later died at an area hospital.

“From what I understand the cameras weren’t on during that incident,” Ivery said, referring to cameras all city police officers have in their cars that provide video of stops.

“Something of that magnitude, the camera should have been working. There were three or four cars working,” he said.

Ivery said he also plans to schedule a meeting with the city’s attorney, John Murphy.

In a press release, Ivery said the march is a non-violent direct action campaign on the WPD. He stated in the press release, “(T)he department is plagued with violence, harassment and police brutality on the citizens of Wadley which has plunged the city into a hostile environment.”

The march is scheduled to begin at the old Wadley School on West College Avenue and North Main Street. It is to end at the parking lot adjacent to the WPD. A protest rally is scheduled after the march.



Horse owner pleads guilty to animal cruelty

Carol McLeod
Staff Writer

Terry Alfred Trexler, 44, of Sumter, S.C., on Friday, May 7, pleaded guilty to four counts aggravated cruelty to animals in Jefferson County Superior Court, the county’s district attorney, Hayward Altman, said last week.

Trexler and his mother, 70-year-old Hazelene F. Trexler, also of Sumter, S.C., were charged with numerous counts in a case that involves more than 70 horses.

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An investigation that involved law enforcement officials with Jefferson County, the Georgia Department of Agriculture and South Carolina resulted in the discovery the horses were left with no food and little water. They were malnourished and one law enforcement official referred to the lack of care as “severe and barbaric treatment.”

Altman said Trexler pleaded guilty to four counts and was sentenced to 20 years of probation, five years for each count to be served consecutively.

“He is banned from the state of Georgia for those 20 years,” the district attorney said.

“He can have no livestock. He can own no livestock and he cannot be the caretaker of any livestock. And livestock is defined by Georgia law as horses, cows, sheep, goats, pigs, farm animals more or less,” he said.

“He has to pay a $5,000 fine and pay restitution to the Georgia Department of Agriculture in the amount of $5,000.”

He was sentenced in Jefferson County Superior Court by Judge Kathy Palmer, he said.

“(Trexler’s) mother was to check into Georgia Regional for an evaluation by Friday, May 7. They will notify us eventually if she has or if she hasn’t. But it may take a couple of weeks for them (hospital officials) to notify us,” Altman said. “They still have pending charges in South Carolina.”

Altman said Trexler was sent back to South Carolina on the day he pleaded guilty to the charges.

“He can drive his mother down here to court,” Altman said. “That’s the only exception for him to be in Georgia.”




Man who killed child while running from law to be sentenced

Carol McLeod
Staff Writer

Miller Lee Smith Jr. entered a guilty plea in Superior Court in Jefferson County Friday, May 7, District Attorney Haywood Altman said last week.

In an interview Friday, May 14, Altman said Smith pleaded guilty to a charge of vehicular homicide, one of serious injury in a vehicular accident, one of DUI and one of fleeing and eluding.

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The charges stem from an incident in November of 2009.

A Jefferson County deputy observed Smith driving erratically in a residential area outside Louisville and attempted to make a stop Friday, Nov. 6, about 8:30 p.m.

A press release the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office issued at the time stated Smith stopped his vehicle and appeared to be getting out, but then sped away.

The deputy pursued the vehicle before losing sight of it several minutes later on Middleground Road. Deputies searched for the vehicle and located it overturned in the woods about five miles outside of Louisville. A passenger told deputies the driver had run from the scene and added there had been two children in the vehicle.

Neither child had been restrained and both were ejected from the car. A 2-year-old girl, identified as Smith’s daughter Alike Milan Smith, died at the scene. The other child, his 3-year-old son whose name was not released, was airlifted to an area hospital.

Deputies requested tracking dog assistance from the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office to search for the driver. Smith was taken into custody after a brief struggle in a wooded area less than a mile from the accident scene around 11:30 p.m., a JCSO spokesman stated at the time.

He is scheduled to be sentenced Friday, June 18, at 1:30 p.m. in front of Judge Kathy Palmer, Altman said.




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