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January 6, 2011 Issue

DAJC signs agreement with Wrens
Harrell helps train Iraqi police
Man tied to pole, beaten, robbed

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DAJC signs agreement with Wrens

By Carol McLeod
Staff Writer

The City of Wrens and the Development Authority of Jefferson County reached an agreement last week that will allow both agencies to access water from a well at the Kings Mill Commerce Park just south of the city.

Bill Easterlin, the DAJC chairman, and Edie Pundt, the DAJC clerk, signed the contract Thursday, Dec. 30, during a called meeting.


Besides the DAJC, Wrens Mayor Lester Hadden and Wrens City Administrator Arty Thrift attended the meeting. Hadden said he had already signed the contract after it had been approved by Wrens city council during its December meeting.

The agreement requires the DAJC to construct a well on the property. The well is projected to yield a water production capability of at least 400,000 gallons daily, the contract states.

The law allows development authorities to own things but not operate them. The DAJC will pay the City of Wrens to operate the well and the city will buy the water from the DAJC. The costs for each will be the same, which means neither one will make a profit, said a source.

Providing water to the city will allow the city to deactivate one of its wells, the Northgate well. The agreement will allow the DAJC to provide water to any industry that moves into the park.

The contract states the city will operate the well and the DAJC will bear the cost of construction and improvements to the well.

The contract states the DAJC will construct a deep water supply well and well house in the park as well as waterlines from the well northward along King’s Mill Road to Purdue Road, terminating with a bi-directional meter pit. The meter pit will have two separate meters, one registering flow from the DAJC to Wrens and the other registering flow from Wrens to the DAJC.

Wrens will construct a waterline northward from the meter pit to existing waterlines near the Wrens Industrial Park where the project will connect to the existing Wrens water system, the contract states.

Wrens will also construct a booster pumping station at the end of Jordan Avenue and other connecting lines to make water from the project available to all of the Wrens system.

Funding includes a One Georgia Authority grant to the DAJC for $500,000 to be used for capital improvements within the park and a Georgia Environmental Finance Authority grant of $500,000 to be used to improve the existing water system inside and outside the park.

Additionally, Wrens will use a loan from GEFA of $721,000 to improve the water quality and quantity for the Wrens water system.

The loan, at 3 percent or less interest, will be paid over 20 years with the DAJC paying $500,403.52 quarterly for the first eight years and Wrens making the payments for the remainder of the loan.

The development authority will also contribute $61,000 to the project.

This is a 40-year contract and allows either party to terminate after the first five years with a three-year written notice.

“The City of Wrens is proud to be a partner in this,” Hadden said.

“We’ve come up with a big win for Wrens and the development authority,” said Tom Jordan, the executive director of the DAJC.

“I think it’s a significant step for us,” Easterlin said.

Thrift said the City of Wrens has also addressed the energy needs of large industrial customers with a contract that will provide natural gas to the Kings Mill Park as well.

“This provides options to these large industrial customers that make it more attractive to locate to Wrens,” Thrift said. “The natural gas energy needs of a large industrial customer would be based on the volumes consumed and a separate agreement with the city. With the DAJC Kings Mill Park getting built, we can now offer a large industrial natural gas user a separate agreement if needed.”

While there are currently no gas lines or a gas delivery system in place to Kings Mill Park or plans to build one, with the right industrial customer, Thrift said it could be a point of negotiation.

(Staff writer Faye Ellison contributed to this story.)

Harrell helps train Iraqi police

By Faye Ellison
Staff Writer

Jefferson County native Colby Harrell may have had a career as a deputy in Richmond County, but now he is showing others how to protect and serve.

“For the last 15 months Colby has used the experience and expertise that he has gained working as a deputy sheriff in Richmond County to train, mentor and advise the Iraqi police,” Harrell’s sister, Miranda Youngblood, said. “While working as a police tactical operations and firearms subject matter expert, Colby has given the Iraqi police the knowledge necessary to protect those they serve.”


Youngblood said securing Iraqi judges and other senior officials is critical to the establishment of the rule of law in their country.

"These judges can now decide on critical cases, such as terrorism acts, without the fear of retribution,” she said.

Harrell’s mother, Wilma Tawney, said that after hearing about the program that would allow him to train Iraqi residents, he applied, was accepted and trained for six weeks in Virginia.

“He went over there in 2009 and he is still there,” his mother said. “He comes home for 28 days every six months.”

Before training the Iraqis, Harrell was a deputy on the SWAT team in Richmond County, like his father before him who was a deputy sheriff in Jefferson County for 12 years.

“He trains them like the SWAT trained him,” Tawney said. “He teaches them to look for bombs and teaches them how to shoot different weapons.”

“Although specializing in tactical operations, Colby also imparts his knowledge on Iraqi investigative officers,” his sister said. “Working daily with the Iraqi police allows the advisors to follow investigations, mentor the officers on proper case management and promote the importance of collection, preservation and processing of physical evidence.”

Though Harrell’s work as a police advisor can be challenging and dangerous, to him it is rewarding.

“The Iraqi Police yearn for the knowledge the American advisors have to offer; you can see the spark in the eyes of the officers when they master a skill previously unknown,” Harrell’s sister relayed. “The partnership between American and Iraqi police will continue to use the knowledge passed on by dedicated advisors such as Colby, to better their future and provide safety and security for the people of their country.”

While he was more than ready to help Iraqi officers, his mother was not as sure.

“I had mixed emotions about it,” she said. “But it was something that he really, really wanted to do, so I had to support him in it.”

Even his daughter, Baxleigh Mae Harrell, 7, knows that her father is helping teach another country how to keep its citizens safe.

“She misses him so much,” Tawney said of Harrell’s daughter. “And any mother misses their children. This will be the second Thanksgiving and Christmas without him. When he comes home we will have a big dinner.

Harrell grew up in Louisville, and graduated from Jefferson County High School in 1996.

Harrell is also the son of Mickey Tawney and the Late Charles Harrell.

Man tied to pole, beaten, robbed

By Carol McLeod
Staff Writer

Wadley police have arrested four men and a juvenile they say tied a man to a pole with his own shoelaces, beat him and robbed him.

Chuckie Jaquez Anderson, 17, Damien Vashoun Simpkins, 18, James Cunningham Jr., 17, Jessie Brown Jr., 17, and a 16-year-old unnamed juvenile, all from Wadley have been charged with battery, false imprisonment, robbery and participation in criminal street gang activity.


Police were called to the scene of an incident on Ruby Street in Wadley Saturday, Jan. 1, about 8:24 p.m.

They discovered the victim lying on the ground. The officers’ report states the victim was conscious and alert but appeared to be drifting out of consciousness from time to time.

The report states the victim, 33, was not coherent. Officers detected a strong odor of alcohol from the man.

Officers state the victim appeared to have several large contusions on both sides of his face and swollen lips that appeared to have been bleeding but no longer were.

Witnesses stated they observed the man about 45 to 50 minutes before the discovery of the assault sitting on the front porch of an apartment drunk and talking to himself.

EMS arrived and transported the victim to Jefferson Hospital. He was later transported to the trauma center at the Medical College of Georgia in Augusta.

In a supplemental report by one of the investigators, the suspects stated the victim was drunk, cursing and fell to the ground.

One of the suspects tried to help him up. Two of the suspects hit the victim. A third suspect hit the victim with the victim’s shoe. The suspects then tied the victim to a pole with his shoelaces.

One of the suspects said prior to the assault the victim approached two of the subjects asking for $20 of crack cocaine. The suspect told the victim he didn’t have any.

After the assault, the suspects said they left the scene and left the victim on the ground, bleeding in the rain.

The report states the suspects said they belong to a gang known as the 304 Boyz.

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