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Top Stories
July 1, 2010 Issue

Six arrested in two-state burglary ring
Drivers beware, traffic laws stricter
Market sales
The search is on for a new hospital administrator

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Six arrested in two-state burglary ring

By Carol McLeod
Staff Writer

Law enforcement officials last week announced arrests of six men in connection with a string of burglaries occurring throughout several counties and two states. The press conference was held at the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office Wednesday, June 23.

Lt. Robert Chalker, an investigator with the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office, said there have been at least 50 burglaries involving the men, Darren Marquise Reeves, 21; Adrian Demond Jones, 25; Joseph Eugene Henley Jr., 22; Rodriquez Deterio Jones, 24; and Dillion Jones, 18; all of Augusta; and Desmond Sanjuan Sapp, 23, of North Augusta, S.C.

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Carla Wynette Jones was arrested with Dillion Jones and has been charged with possession of Diazepam and hindering the apprehension of a wanted fugitive, Capt. Scott Peebles of the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement.

Other agencies involved in the investigations besides JCSO and RCSO are the Aiken County Sheriff’s Office, the Burke County Sheriff’s Office and North Augusta Department of Public Safety.

The burglaries that have been linked to the men so far occurred over the last six months in Georgia and South Carolina. Officials have called the group one of the most active burglary rings in local history.

In a statement, investigators said they have recovered thousands of dollars in stolen firearms, electronics, jewelry and other items taken during the burglaries.

Chalker said the victims have been notified.

“We’ve already contacted all of them,” he said Tuesday, June 29. “We’ll start sorting stuff out this week. Whatever belongs to them they’ll probably get back either this week or in the next week.”

The value of items taken during the seven burglaries in Jefferson County totaled an estimated $39,500, Chalker said.

In the joint statement, officials said the cases have been presented to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for federal prosecution.




Drivers beware, traffic laws stricter

By Carol McLeod
Staff Writer

Two new traffic laws take effect Thursday, July 1.

One focuses on cell phone use by teenage drivers and the other addresses texting while driving.

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The laws will make it illegal for any drivers to text, whether that is writing, reading or sending a text message, while driving. Drivers under the age of 18 will also be prohibited from talking on cell phones. Penalties for violating either law include a fine of $150 and one point on the driver’s license. Another new law went into effect when Gov. Sonny Perdue signed the bill on June 3. This law requires drivers and passengers of pickup trucks to wear seatbelts. An exception has been made for certain farming vehicles.

“Georgia has reduced its yearly average crash deaths from over 1,600 to fewer than 1,300 in 2009 and the numbers have continued to decline in 2010,” stated Bob Dallas, director of the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety, in a June 11 press release.

In an interview Monday, June 14, Dallas said he recommends all drivers to restrict their use of cell phones and anything else that can be distracting while driving.

“If you can reduce the distractions, then you can improve your driving behavior,” he said.

Dallas said people 18 and older can still talk on cell phones while driving, but suggested limiting that or pulling over to use the phone.

“Minimize cell phone use,” he said. “If you’re under 18, you can’t use it. So don’t.”

For more information, visit the agency’s website, www.gahighwaysafety.org.



Market sales

Locals sample local fruits, veggies, honey and baked goods at the Farmers’ Market off-Broad in the parking lot of the old Wren Hardware in downtown Louisville. The market, sponsored by the Louisville Garden Club and Friends of Historic Downtown Louisville, is open Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m.

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The search is on for a new hospital administrator

By Faye Ellison
Staff Writer

Jefferson Hospital in Louisville is currently searching for a new CEO to replace Heyward “Sonny” Wells who left the position on Friday, June 4.

“I have been presented with a career opportunity that is more appropriate for me and my family at this time and after prayerful consideration I must pursue this path,” Wells said of his decision to leave after three years.

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While at Jefferson Hospital, Hospital Authority Chairman Raymond Davis said Wells completed the renovations begun under his predecessor, Rita Culvern.

“He served the indigent healthcare needs of our county, strengthened our financial position with appropriate reinvestment into care and services, recruited several highly qualified professionals and maintained and improved our quality of care as evidenced in customer satisfaction surveys and continued Joint Commission accreditation,” Davis said. Davis added that annual community service reports on these achievements were issued and are available from administration.

Davis said that though no new CEO has been chosen yet, Jefferson Hospital is currently being managed by an interim management team composed of Mike Sombar, chief financial officer; Tina Biggers, assistant administrator; and Teresa Salter, RN, chief nursing officer.

“These three have assumed direction of the functional departments most closely related to their expertise,” Davis explained. “They report directly to the authority and advise the authority chairman of any situations which go beyond day-to-day management.”

While the interim team is in place, Davis said the hospital authority uses the services of the Georgia Hospital Association, which it is a member of, to help find a new administrator.

“We are currently in contact with a professional recruiter,” he added. “We have already received input from friends of the hospital who are aware of our need.”

Currently, Davis said, the hospital authority is in the process of finalizing the expected qualifications for a candidate, formulating interview questions and developing a written position description.

“We now have in hand six resumes from both internal and external applicants,” he said. “We will evaluate those against the expected qualifications within the next week or so while remaining open to additional applicants. Interviews could follow in two to three weeks.”

In 2006, the search to replace Culvern lasted for about six months, Davis said. At that time Culvern contributed greatly to contacting potential candidates, he added.

“This process is very much like a church searching for a new pastor, a situation very familiar to many of our citizens,” he said. “It cannot be rushed and the objective is to find and employ that person already selected by God. God has blessed Jefferson Hospital with direction and favor since its founding and we are again trusting in His guidance and wisdom.”




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