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January 20, 2011 Issue

Community asked for concerns
MLK Day celebrated
Duo kicks in door and robs game
Officials share their hopes for the new year

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Community asked for concerns

By Carol McLeod
Staff Writer

Jefferson County School Board Superintendent Dr. Molly Howard recently announced a community-driven strategic planning meeting at the Jefferson County High School for Monday, Jan. 31, from 6 p.m. until 9 p.m.

Howard said she is hoping for community participation and input during the meeting as this will help develop a three- to five-year plan for the school system, including where to focus funding and resources.


The meeting is scheduled to begin with Howard giving a state of the school system address. The Georgia School Board Association will facilitate discussion and later break participants into discussion groups.

“We hope that before we leave that our broad areas of interest will be determined,” Howard said. “Then we will be able to create working groups or action teams that will develop the objectives and develop action steps to achieve these goals.”

Howard said she wants to include accountability measures the community wants.

A comprehensive plan was last made in 2007, Howard said.

“We have used the voice of the community in the past and we listened,” she said, adding she feels community input is vital in creating such a plan.

There will be an online survey available after the meeting is held. It will be available for two weeks and will be anonymous. Hard copies will be available at each school after the meeting.

Howard said the information will be reviewed and a plan will be submitted in August or September to the board.

“All of that will be taken to the school board for formal approval,” she said. “That’s when the magic starts to happen. Individual school improvement plans will be drawn up to reflect the districts’s goals. Every school may have its own, individual way of getting there, but all of our schools will have a shared purpose. We want to be a school system instead of a system of schools.”

Howard said with the recent severe cuts in state funding and the increased competition for grants, she wants to make certain she has a firm understanding of what the community wants for their schools and how best to focus the school system’s resources.

“I think it’s an important process for our system to move forward,” said Jimmy Fleming, the school board’s chairman. “It needs to be complete and thorough and have as much input as possible.”

Howard encourages all to attend, whether they have children in the schools or not.

“We need the community,” Howard said. “I don’t know how to say it stronger except to beg for it.”

MLK Day celebrated

By Bonnie K. Sargent

The Jefferson County chapter of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference held its first Martin Luther King Jr. parade and activities on Saturday, Jan. 15, in Louisville. James Ivery, president of the Jefferson County chapter of the SCLC, said this will become an annual event.

The parade started at 11 a.m. and ended around noon when the route had been traveled and the parade returned to the football field at Louisville Academy. The parade featured local marching bands, floats and cars.


After the parade disbanded, an after-parade event was held in the Louisville Academy gym. The event started with the introduction of the Jefferson County Chapter SCLC King and Queen, Michael Johnson and Tiara Gibbons. Johnson and Gibbons are both students at Jefferson County High School and were awarded their titles of King and Queen for the essays they wrote responding to the prompt, “Where do we go from here?”

Gibbons read her essay, which was about coming together to stop violence and crime in the community. Ivery then presented Gibbons with a $50 prize. Johnson would have read his essay as well, but he was unable to attend the event. His prize was accepted by a family member who was in the audience. Ivery said that both Gibbons and Johnson would be made honorary members of the SCLC.

Several guest speakers attended the event, including Gerald Rose, founder and CEO of the New Order National Human Rights Organization, a non-profit organization that assists individuals, businesses and organizations with the resolution of violations to their human rights.

Other guest speakers were Cynthia Cuyler, the executive secretary of the Jefferson County chapter of the SCLC, and Larry Worthen, the president of the Fall-line Alliance for a Clean Environment, or FACE. Worthen spoke on the harmful effects the proposed coal-burning Plant Washington would have on the people in the area. Worthen said pollution from coal plants can contribute to asthma, cancer respiratory problems, high blood pressure heart attacks and congestive heart failure. He said coal plants also produce waste that is toxic to the air and water. Representatives for FACE also took part in the parade.

“Thank God for FACE,” said Ivery after Worthen’s speech. “That they are doing something so we and our kids can have clean air to breathe and clean water to drink.”

Bobby Adams, vice president of the Jefferson County chapter of the SCLC, then presented the awards for best float and best band. The first place best float award went to Albert Samples, a councilmember from the city of Wadley. Second place went to the float from the seniors at Jefferson County High School.

The first place band award went to the JCHS marching band. Second place went to the WCP Drumline.

G. W. Boatwright, the Grand Marshal of the parade, presented Ivery with a surprise award for leadership.

The keynote speaker Larry Morgan, the mayor of Louisville, made his speech after the presentation of the awards. Morgan talked about King’s dreams and ideals.

“I think if Dr. King could be here now he would be proud of how far we’ve come,” Morgan said. “But I also think he would shed a tear for the lack of Christianity and the lack of tolerance in the world.”

After the mayor’s speech Sherri Combs, the first African American woman to be on the Louisville City Council, made some closing remarks. Ivery then said he would like to thank several people who helped with the parade, including two members of the Wadley City Council, John “Tubby” Maye, who Ivery said came through for the SCLC and for the people in the county, and Dorothy Strowbridge.

Duo kicks in door and robs game

By Carol McLeod
Staff Writer

Two suspects, described only as a black female about 5 feet tall and a black male, broke into a home inside the Wrens city limits about 11 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 16, Wrens Police Chief David Hannah said Tuesday, Jan. 18.

“A friendly card game was going on at the residence,” Hannah said.


“A low pressure system is expected to develop over the northern Gulf of Mexico on Sunday, then track across north Florida and off the Georgia Coast through late Monday,” the statement said. “This system will begin spreading moisture into the state Sunday afternoon and continue through at least early Tuesday.” “They kicked the door in with shotguns and some type of weapon, a revolver, and demanded the money, an undisclosed amount. They took the money and they ran on foot,” the chief said.

“Nobody was injured,” he said.

Hannah said the suspects were wearing masks of some type and a bandana across the face.

“The female was carrying a pump shotgun. The male had the revolver. We are following some leads,” Hannah said.

“Anyone with any information, don’t hesitate to call myself or Dave Leonard, the investigator,” The Wrens PD number is 706-547-3000. All information will remain confidential, Hannah said.

“If you’re in your own home and someone comes into your home, brandishing a weapon, and you feel your life is threatened, you have the right to protect your home,” he said.

“If they’re inside your residence and you don’t have anything close by to protect yourself, I wouldn’t try to be a hero. I recommend you just be calm, if they want it, let them have the money or item and let them be out of sight. You want to talk to them calmly and get them out of your house as quickly as you can,” Hannah said.

Officials share their hopes for the new year

By Bonnie K. Sargent

With each new year comes new hopes, new goals and new projects for each of our cities and counties. The following are responses from some of the city and county officials on their hopes and goals for the year 2011:

“I hope that we have a safer city and that the city of Wadley will prosper and grow.”
-Chief Wesley Lewis (Wadley)


“A low pressure system is expected to develop over the northern Gulf of Mexico on Sunday, then track across north Florida and off the Georgia Coast through late Monday,” the statement said. “This system will begin spreading moisture into the state Sunday afternoon and continue through at least early Tuesday.” “I hope that we have a better year next year within the department and all the other departments. I hope that the economy gets better financially and I’m hoping for a better year for everybody all around.”
-Chief David Hannah (Wrens)

“We’ve got four goals we are hoping to achieve in 2011. One is we want to finalize a new policy procedure manual for the department. We want to finalize the cops grant we received that allowed us to purchase new equipment. We want to hire a couple more officers and we’re going to be aggressively combating the drug and alcohol problem that we have in certain areas of the city.”
-Chief Jimmy Miller (Louisville)

“Our hope is that our community, our state and our nation sees some recovery from these hard economic times we’ve seen these past few years and that we continue to see our county work together to help people.”
-Superintendent Dr. Molly Howard (Jefferson County)

“Our hope is that you and your family will have a safe and happy holiday. Our thoughts are of that first Christmas over 2000 years ago and that the true meaning of Christmas would be real in your homes. Our goal for 2011 is to keep Jefferson County citizens as safe as possible. We are here to protect and serve, and as always we have an open-door policy. Have a happy and prosperous 2011.”
-Sheriff Gary Hutchins (Jefferson County)

“My hopes for the New Year are that our national and local economy improves and that we attain world peace; end wars and bring our young men and women home. My goal is that we as board members continue to stay focused on our new vision, pertaining to how we are going to educate and improve our school system, so that the children will be better prepared for the 21st century with a strong community involvement.”
-Bobby Butts (Jefferson County BOE Member)

“I would like to take this opportunity to extend peace, joy and successfulness in the year to come. My vision for the year to come is to be especially watchful over our school budgets, as we look for creative ways to maximize the use of our school funds while maintaining the highest quality of education for all students in our schools.”
-Charlie Brown (Jefferson County BOE member)

“My future hopes and goals for the New Year are to help in planning as a team to reach the following for Jefferson County School System:

1. Continue to prepare students for the future. It is very important to get students ready for the new economy.

2. Providing new technologies to assist in both instruction and administration. All students should be prepared to use their imaginations to conceive new technologies that will have a positive impact on society in the future.

3.Developing mutual expectations among students and the community. Mutual expectations are essential for the success of students and the community.

The above goals are valuable in aiding each student in reaching their individual fullest potential.”
-Georgia Hunter (District 1 Board member)

“My hope for the city of Wrens for the year 2011, is economic growth.? ?I hope to see jobs coming to the community and the ones here continue to employ workers.??To make Wrens a place where people will locate and make their home and?the officials and citizens continue working to make Wrens a great place to live.”
-Ceola Hannah (Councilmember Wrens)

“I hope that our economy starts to turn around. I hope that we have more jobs to offer people. I hope our community will come together and help those that are less fortunate and I hope everybody will be able to prosper and do well.”
-Anthony Griswell (Glascock County Commission Chairman)

“I hope we continue to be financially sound, keep jobs secure for all city workers and provide the best of services to our citizens. Also, begin construction of a new fire station and continue to have a secure city thanks to our fire and police departments.”
-Don Rhodes (Louisville City Administrator)

“First I would like to thank our dedicated staff for their extraordinary efforts in helping our students make meaningful academic progress during this extended period of diminishing resources. Second, I would like to redouble our efforts in finding creative ways of supporting our students at school, in the community and at home, in reaching their full potential. Third, I would like to see a thorough and meaningful strategic plan completed to guide our short and long range planning. Fourth, I would like to see our educational SPLOST renewed so progress can continue being made in assuring adequate and updated building and physical resources for our students now and in the extended future.”
-Jimmy Fleming (Jefferson County BOE Chairman)

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