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Top Stories
June 3, 2010 Issue

Teen arrested for lewd act in front of children
Heading South
Candidates narrowed to three
Fiscus celebrates 100th birthday

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Teen arrested for lewd act in front of children

By Carol McLeod
Staff Writer

An 18-year-old Wadley man has been charged with one count of public indecency, a misdemeanor, and aggravated child molestation, which is a felony.

Wadley Police Department investigated a report of a man revealing himself in a lewd act outside the window of a restaurant in Wadley. He was observed by a woman and one of her children, a 5-year-old.

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The incident occurred Sunday, May 23, police said.

The incident was first reported to the Jefferson County’s Sheriff Office but was turned over to WPD because the location is inside city limits.

WPD Investigator Leroy Morgan identified the man as Jorge Jacobo Estrada, an employee at the restaurant.

The officer who responded reported the complainant said she and her two daughters, ages 4 and 5, were seated in a booth facing the rear of the restaurant and facing a rear door with a window. The woman described the man she saw and said he was peering through the window looking at her and appeared to be committing a lewd act.

She told the deputy her 5-year-old said she saw the man, too. The deputy spoke with the restaurant owner and obtained the suspect’s information.

The incident was turned over to WPD, Morgan said.

“At first, he denied it,” Morgan said. “After further investigation, he admitted he did do it.”

The investigator said he asked the man if he had a problem.

“He said, no, he didn’t have a problem. I asked him if he had done that before at that particular restaurant and he just laughed.”




Heading South

Scenes from rural Georgia exhibit to open at Fire House Gallery this week

By Kelsey McMillan
Correspondent

It’s not hard to understand why so many people prefer driving the back roads around Jefferson County and the rest of rural Georgia. Expansive fields of snowy white cotton in the fall, large pastures with cows roaming around and grazing on fresh green grass, and old cars and historic barns slowly decaying on the side of the road are all common sights that testify to the unique beauty of the rural south.

Even outsiders who are unfamiliar with the land and its history can appreciate the sheer beauty of a golden sunrise over crops still draped in early morning mist, or the somewhat comical juxtaposition of hundred-year-old crumbling farmhouse across the street from a brand new shopping center.

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These are the images that make driving long distances through rural Georgia so breathtaking, and what inspires so many artists to photograph, draw, paint, print, and sculpt the landscape. Chad Cole, Shannon Evans and Allison J. Smith are three artists who have each recently created a series of artwork focusing on the unique draw of the rural South, and will be exhibiting their work in the June exhibit at The Fire House Gallery entitled, Heading South - Scenes from Rural Georgia.

The exhibit, Heading South: Scenes from Rural Georgia, will be on display at the Fire House Gallery from June 2 through June 27. The opening reception will take place Saturday, June 5, from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. It is free and open to the public.

Cole, who teaches art at a preparatory day school in Martinez, is most notably a painter and woodblock printmaker who studied art at both the University of Texas at Austin and at Augusta State University.

He often finds his inspiration for his artwork while driving around the back roads of Georgia in search of architecturally unique structures such as aging tobacco barns, or old historical landmarks like Flannery O’Connor’s farmhouse, Andalusia, in Milledgeville.

“I like that there is a sense of both the past and present,” he said, “the buildings I paint are historically significant because they tell the history of the South and those who lived here.”

For Cole, one of the most memorable groups of paintings he worked on was of an old falling down building that was directly in front of a Wal-Mart.

“It’s the old and new coming together,” he explained, “It’s fascinating because the old building is representative of everything the Wal-Mart is trying to eradicate.”

Along a similar theme, Shannon Evans also plays with the concept of old and new in his artwork. Evans, who also studied art at Augusta State University, recently completed a series of photographs taken outside of Waynesboro.

Each photograph in the series reveals similar cropped images of old cars and rusted farm equipment from decades past that have been abandoned in a field of overgrown grass and shrubs. Most strikingly, Evans covers his developed photographs with a layer of silver enamel paint, turning them into monochromatic images that are only visible at certain angles with light. With the reflective layer of silver covering the photographs, the rust on the cars and farm equipment disappears and once again allows them to shine as they did many years ago.

Allison J. Smith, the third artist participating in the upcoming exhibit, Heading South, is a Georgia native who received her BFA at Massachusetts College of Art and Design in 1999 and later returned to her home state in part, she says, because of the “unbearable winter” up North. In regards to her artwork, Smith’s oil paintings are unlike that of Cole’s and Evans’ because her paintings are completely abstract.

As she describes it, “My subjects come from my imagination but are directly influenced by my visual and emotional experiences with nature.”

Indeed, Smith’s work is strongly impacted by her adoration of Georgia and its unique beauty.

“I love the quiet subtleness that is found in moist climates,” she said, “It’s a cool, eerie calming atmosphere that happens in the evening and early morning. I find it very meditative and I want to bring that kind of calmness and clarity into my paintings.”



Candidates narrowed to three

Carol McLeod
Staff Writer

The Jefferson County Board of Education announced the selection of three candidates for the position of school superintendent.

The position became vacant when Carl Bethune retired last month.

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The board met last week in a called meeting and held an executive session to discuss the applications they had received for the post. After the executive session, the board voted for the finalists, who are Robert W. Brown, Molly P. Howard and Delacy W. Sanford.

The applications are on file at the BOE office and can be viewed during business hours.

Robert W. Brown
In his application, Robert W. Brown states he currently works for the Douglas County Board of Education as the executive director of high schools. He holds a leadership certificate at the L-6 level. He has been in his current position for two years.

Brown has classroom experience from 1996 through 2001 when he became an assistant principal, a position he held until 2005 when he became the principal. He was at that position through 2008 when he was promoted to the position he holds now.

He holds a BS in physical education and health, a BA in psychology, a master’s in education administration, an educational specialist degree in education administration and a doctorate in education administration.

He holds numerous awards and is active in his community.

Under the category, Education Philosophy, Brown’s statement includes, “I believe a successful school system is one that provides students with diverse opportunities for educational success and prepares them for the post-secondary option of their choice. A successful school system provides a safe, supportive environment in which students can be molded into productive citizens.”

Molly P. Howard
In her application, Molly P. Howard states she currently works for the Jefferson County Board of Education as a principal. She holds a leadership certificate at the L-7 level. She has been in this position for 15 years.

She has classroom experience from 1977 until 1990 when she became the director of the CSRA Regional Educational Service Agency. She held this position until 1994, when she became principal.

She holds a BS in education, a master’s in education, an educational specialist degree in leadership and a doctorate in administration and supervision.

She has authored two articles, received numerous awards, addressed a variety of conferences and conducted several workshops. Her community activities include church and supporting civic groups throughout the county. She said her main focus is promoting and supporting Jefferson County High School where she is principal.

Under the category, Education Philosophy, Howard’s statement includes, “The most valuable resource to a successful school system is the people who work every day to provide educational opportunities and success for all students. Keeping that in mind, the key element of a successful school system is how staff are used, empowered, mentored and provided opportunities to develop professionally.”

Delacy W. Sanford
In his application, Delacy W. Sanford states his most recent contract expired last year. He had been the superintendent of Jasper County in South Carolina. He holds a leadership certificate at the L-7 level. He held this position for more than two years.

He has 15 years of classroom experience. He was a case manager and youth advocate from 1989 through 1993, an instructor at an alternative school for four years, a program leader for one year, an assistant principal for two years and a principal for seven years. He worked as an interim superintendent for several months, then was an assistant superintendent for four years and a superintendent for Jasper County from 2007 through 2009.

He holds a BS in social science education, a master’s degree in American history and a doctorate in recent American history. He has received numerous awards.

His community activities include membership in the Ridgeland Rotary Club, the Hardeeville Chamber of Commerce and the Christian Renewal Church. He is a board member of the Glynn County Health Department and the Katz-Whittle Foundation.

His comments under the category, Education Philosophy, include, “I believe that each child is a unique individual who needs a secure, caring and stimulating atmosphere in which to grow and mature emotionally, intellectually, physically and socially. All children can learn. It is the responsibility of the school district and the community to provide the necessary tools for all children to succeed.”

In a press release, Assistant Superintendent Dr. Donnie Hodges the board had cancelled their regular monthly meeting for Tuesday, June 8, and will hold a called meeting instead.

During that meeting, the board is expected to go into executive session to discuss the candidates and then vote in public.

Regular business will be discussed in a called meeting Tuesday, June 15, at 7 p.m.




Fiscus celebrates 100th birthday

Jared Stepp
Apprentice

“I’ve never been bothered with having time on my hands,” said Louisville resident Lloyd Fiscus. The 100-year-old man has done plenty in his time, from getting his first car that required a crank instead of a starter and delivering one of the first loads of liquid chocolate to the rise and fall of the economy and listening to one of the first sound playing devices, the Victrola.

The century-old man begins each day at 6 a.m., reading his Bible and working at his desk. He walks around three blocks a day after one of his three daily naps. He also is sure to make it to every meal.

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“He doesn’t miss a meal,” Grace, his wife, quipped.

He loves watching the stock market on television, which he said most of the time makes him sad. His favorite thing to watch is sports, preferably golf, football and the Atlanta Braves.

He was an avid golfer, up until he was 92, living near places where he could play golf as much as he could.

Fiscus has worked his whole life, since the early days at the farm in Iowa where he was raised with his sister and three brothers. He said he made a dollar a day at the farm.

“Right now, the people that don’t have jobs are 10 percent,” Fiscus said. “In the 1930s it was 30 percent unemployment.”

His first job outside of the farm was at a rice packing company in Waterloo, Iowa for two years. During his time there, he purchased a Ford vehicle for $600.

“Brand new,” he said. “It didn’t have a starter, just a crank.

“Can you imagine buying a car for $600?” he asked, “Now you can’t buy a hubcap with that.

“It’s just natural,” he said about the economic changes.

Fiscus talked about how much he studied, saying he often had to study in the college’s library because of his roommate inviting friends over to listen the victrola.

“In 1931 the room was full of the guys around it listening to music,” Fiscus said.

After graduating in 1928, he worked for John Deere for two years.

“I don’t know,” he pondered, “I always worked more than I had to work. Most people work until 5 p.m., but I usually leave around 5:30 p.m. to 6 p.m.

“Today everybody looks at the clock to see when they can go home. I don’t work like that.”

Fiscus sold his Ford that year for $500 so he could go to college at Northern Iowa University.

His most memorable time in college was spent on the university’s baseball team. He said he played in Chicago and Detroit and all over the country, traveling in a less than accommodating bus.

“The old bus we rode in only went 35 miles-per-hour,” he said. “One day, we were in Chicago, coach told us after the game we could leave and get home at 3 in the morning or stay and watch Babe Ruth play.” Fiscus said the team ended up not getting to see Babe due to a cancellation, but still got home at 4 a.m.

He said his uniform is hanging up in his honor at the Rath Museum in Iowa.

He worked 19 years at a meat packing company in Iowa, he said.

Soon after, he met his first wife, with whom he had a son that was born in Waterloo. As Fiscus was transferred around his children would be born in different areas of the country. His oldest daughter was born in Pittsburgh, followed by a son in Washington, D.C., and another son in the Philadelphia area. Fiscus said he was never drafted into any wars because he had too many children at the time.

His favorite job, he admitted, was at a chocolate company as a salesman.

“It was a sweet business,” he joked. He worked at the company for 27 years delivering chocolate all over America. His company was the first to sell liquid chocolate, which Fiscus says was his idea.

“They didn’t need refrigerating. They kept it liquid and we started tanking the chocolate.” He said he would carry 10 drums of the liquid chocolate in an old tank truck, traveling as far out as Florida and Texas.

In 1949, he moved to New Jersey with his wife and four kids. In that same month Grace moved to the same street with her husband and four kids. The two families often visited with each other and soon became friends.

When Fiscus’s wife passed, as well as the other family’s father, the two families found a comfort in each other. Not long after Grace and fiscus were married.

“We were the only Christians in town,” he said. “We ended up that way.” The couple knew each other for about 50 years before getting married. They have now been married 28 years.

The family eventually moved to Georgia from Florida for health reasons and have now lived in Louisville for two years.

Fiscus never had to go to the hospital once in his first 84 years, except to have a pacemaker put in. He said his health has been good lately, his only complaint being that his knees sometimes give way, but he did have another scare fairly recently.

“He is a cancer survivor,” said daughter Paula Stickle. In 2004, a mercacell was found on Fiscus. Stickle said it was a very aggressive cancer that hurts the nerve endings. But after 33 radiations, he was clear of any cancer.

“Dr. Polhill said he’s amazing,” Grace said.

When asked what he thought has gotten him this far, Fiscus said his abstinence from drinking and smoking have been a factor in him living more than 100 years. He said smoking made his throat hurt and drinking made him feel sick.

“Don’t even start smoking,” he advised.

“I don’t miss a meal either,” he said. Grace said he is able to keep his weight down, saying he weighed 160 last year.

Stickle described the philosophy her father lived by concerning money.

“If you give the first 10 percent to the Lord, have 10 percent for savings, and live on 80 percent, you’ll be OK,” Stickle recollected.

Fiscus had a party on April 10 for his birthday. More than 54 friends and family crammed into his house before the party.

“This little place was bulging,” Grace said. She said relatives came from all over America. She said they partied for a long time with their friends, but that Fiscus always managed to get his naps.

With eight children, 23 grandchildren, 42 great-grandchildren and one great-great-grandchild, Fiscus's wife still does her best to call her family when it’s their birthday.

“I can remember dates,” she said. “If I miss one, I have to make it up somehow.”

Fiscus and Grace are active in their church and community as they always have been. They still enjoy having company and going out to eat.

Through the years he has seen and done much but he knows that changes in all aspects of life aren’t always a bad thing.

“Don’t worry about if it’s going to change,” Fiscus said. “It will all work out.”




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