A cross to bear...
All week, April 17 to 23, from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. the Wrens United Methodist Church youth will be carrying a cross through Wrens along U.S. Highway One. They will be walking from Jac’s Restaurant to Ingles back to Wrens UMC. “We will carry the cross to remind everyone about the importance of this week,” said Trish Mooneyham, the church’s youth director. “Palm Sunday was on April 17 and we celebrate Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem. This week we remember Jesus carrying his cross while being beaten and tormented...We decided to carry the cross to hopefully reach people who may never step foot into church understand the sacrifice Jesus made for us... We will sacrifice our time and energy to minister to everyone willing to listen.”
Wrens changes utility billing date
By Faye Ellison
At the April 12 regular council meeting for the city of Wrens, new council member Herman Wright was sworn in for his first meeting.
Wright will fill in for the unexpired term of former council member Willie Huntley who resigned. Wright will serve until Dec. 31, 2013.
Citizens in Wrens have recently seen a change in their utility billing. City Administrator Arty Thrift said the billing date changed from being due on the 15th day of each month to the first day of the month.
First, around Feb. 15, all meters were read and the data was checked for accuracy and processed by the city’s software system.
The data was then uploaded to have utility bills printed and mailed around Feb. 22, so that the payment was due on March 15. Once all utility meters were read again around March 1, to have the bills sent out around March 13. That cycle’s payment was the first one to be due on the first of the month, which was April 1.
Thrift said the city will continue to read meters around the first of each month, so that bills can be mailed around the 13th day of each month. The April 1 bill may be smaller than previous ones citizens received, but it only included 15 days of utility usage.
“This change is an effort by your city to better manage our city business on a true monthly basis,” Thrift said.
The city of Wrens also recently added two job descriptions for the waste water treatment plant, including a water system technician and waste water treatment plant certified operator.
“Those positions they are part of the staff out there,” City Administrator Arty Thrift said.
While Thrift said that the city’s budget has not changed much from the previous year, the city continues to try to find ways to cut back expenses.
“We’ve already done a lot of that in the previous years, but we continue to cut our expenses every chance we get,” he said. “We don’t have a choice.”
He also added that property tax collections have been slower this year than in the past. Taxes were due on Dec. 20, 2010.
Louisville votes to address saggers
By Bonnie Sargent
Last week Louisville became the third local city to vote to make wearing pants that sag to such a degree as to expose a certain amount of skin or undergarments a crime.
The issue was brought to the council’s attention April 14 duirng the city’s regularly scheduled council meeting by Josephine Cowart of Wadley.
City Attorney John Murphy had prepared a copy of the ordinance to present to council members. He said it was essentially the same as he had prepared for Wadley, an ordinance that city passed in its March meeting, and had been done at the request of the same citizen.
“Again, I’m not really in favor of this, of making the wearing of baggy pants essentially a criminal offense,” Murphy told the council.
Murphy said if the council decided to pass an ordinance, it should fall in with the state’s law on indecent exposure.
“I think Wadley has had a little success with the ordinance,” Murphy said. “You’re not looking to arrest people or put them in jail for wearing baggy pants. It’s more of a preventative measure.”
Cowart approached the council to say why she thought the ordinance should be passed and share her experience. She was the same citizen who requested action be taken in Wadley.
Cowart said she and another lady were in the Jet Store one day and were at the register to pay when a man stepped in front of them who had his pants and belt down around his ankles.
“It just made us both sick,” she said. “Every bit of his underpants was showing.”
Cowart said Sheriff Gary Hutchins had asked her to come to the Louisville City Council to discuss passing the ordinance. She said Wrens and Wadley have both adopted an ordinance to combat saggy pants and she hoped to eventually make it a county-wide ordinance.
“The county hasn’t voted on it yet, but they said they would vote during their next meeting,” she said.
The ordinance for the city of Wadley went into effect on Friday, April 1.
“I wish you could see the difference in us just passing the ordinance,” Cowart said.
Louisville Mayor Larry Morgan said he has spoken to Herman Baker, the mayor of Wadley, and he had agreed it had really made a difference.
One councilman asked if they had been arresting people in Wadley. The citizen said she had spoken with Wadley police officers and they hadn’t arrested anyone yet.
“But the ordinance says we can,” Cowart emphasized.
The councilman said he thought it was a little excessive, arresting people for the way they wear their pants.
Murphy said he doubted anyone would be arrested. He said the court would determine fines for offenders. He said there was also the possibility of offenders doing community service.
"It may have a preventative effect and it may be worth trying,” Murphy said.
He also said passing an ordinance allowed them to keep the issue within the city, in the municipal courts.
The council invited Police Chief Jimmy Miller to give his opinion on the ordinance. Miller said they hadn’t had a lot of problems with it. He said if officers see anyone with their pants down below their waist, they just ask them to pull up their pants and generally they comply.
“The way I see it, the jail is already full,” he said. “If you go about it the right way, you should be able to get them to conform without making arrests.”
The council agreed to pass the ordinance which redefines certain acts as indecent and thereby improper in any place where a person should reasonably expect to be in view of the public.
It will go into effect on Sunday, May 1.
In other news:
• Chief Miller made his report to the council. In his report, Miller stated 883 calls had been made to the Louisville Police Department through 911 in the past month, which he said is more than they have had in the past few months.
“It gets warmer out, people get more active,” he said.
Miller also spoke briefly about Box Office Videos in Louisville, which closed in the past month after an armed robbery took place. Miller said the robber was apprehended within 20 minutes.
Other items the council approved were:
· To allow the Georgia Department of Transportation’s to draw up preliminary plans and see if federal money was available to put two roundabouts in Louisville. The GDOT had been considering putting two roundabouts, one at 9th and Peachtree streets and 24th and Peachtree streets. Rhodes said if the GDOT decides to do it, it would be completely federally funded. He said it was possible the GDOT may decide they can’t do it after they do the preliminary plans;
· To allow the location of the polling place to be moved from the old city hall to the new city hall;
· To appoint two new members to the zoning commission;
· To borrow money in the amount of $750,000 from the Georgia Environmental Finance Authority, which the city would be obligated to pay back over a 20 year period at no interest. The money would be used to work on the municipal well;
· To try and assist the Downtown Development Authority financially in their plans to open a visitors center and community design studio downtown. Rhodes said the development authority had asked for $3,000 but the city would probably only be able to do about half of that with monthly payments. Councilman Phil Polhill said he heard it would take about $20,000 a year to run the visitor center and studio, so the city was only being asked to help a little. He said he thought it was a very worthy endeavor. Rhodes said when they were preparing next year’s budget they would have to take that into consideration. He said he thought they would be able to squeeze out $1,500 this year, but couldn’t make any promises;
· To repair the roof of city hall, which had been leaking. Rhodes said they knew they would face this problem when they moved into the new building, but had hoped they would get more use from it before they had to repair it. Rhodes said it was about three-fourths of the roof that needed to be repaired;
· To allow the mayor to sign a resolution that would proclaim Arbor Day in Louisville. The mayor said they would have to do if the Louisville Garden Club decided to pursue letting Louisville become a Tree City USA;
· To allow the mayor to sign the TE Project Contracts that Rhodes had just received Thursday. Rhodes said they were still waiting on the categorical exclusion; and
· To claim Oakwood Drive, an undeveloped street in Louisville, as recommended by the city attorney.
The council also discussed but tabled an ordinance for dilapidated houses that would be revisited during the May meeting.
Fire Chief Lamar Baxley told council members and the police chief they were all invited to a Fireman’s BBQ which will be held on Wednesday, May 4, at 7:30 p.m. at the multipurpose building.
After all items on the agenda had been discussed, the council was addressed by a woman who said her son was being harassed by a police officer. After hearing the citizen’s reports on the several accounts of harassment her son had received, the council said they would let Miller handle it. The citizen said she believed he would do his best to handle the issue.
The next council meeting will be Tuesday, May 10, at 6 p.m. at city hall. All regularly scheduled meetings are open to the public.
Glascock star student chosen
By Bonnie Sargent
Glascock County Consolidated School recently announced their STAR (Student Teacher Achievement Recognition) student for the 2010-2011 school year.
Emily Kate Williams is the STAR student for GCCS. She is a resident of Stapleton and is the daughter of Lamar and Tonya Williams.
For her STAR teacher, Williams picked Leslie Tucker.
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“I picked Mrs. Leslie Tucker because she always made me feel like she cared about me as a person, not just a student,” Williams said. “She is such a compassionate person and a great role model. I always felt like she wanted me to succeed and would do whatever she could to help me be successful.”
When asked what made her strive to become STAR student, Williams replied that she didn’t start out with a plan to become STAR student.
“I just went into it with the attitude to do my best,” Williams said.
Williams said the people who have supported her the most are her parents.
“My parents always pushed me to strive to be successful and do my best,” she said. “They both value a good education, and I could easily see firsthand how much of a positive impact it has made in their lives.”
Williams said the help of a small town school was a big part of her education.
“I like the feeling of family,” she said about GCCS. “Everyone knows and cares about each other.”
Williams’ advice for students who want to succeed includes studying hard.
“Don’t skimp on the little things or opportunities to learn,” she said. “Remember that so much of your future can depend on how well you apply yourself in school.”
Inside of school, Williams is involved in the National Honor Society, Beta Club, Christian Club and is a member of the Yearbook Staff. Outside of school, Williams is an active member of Reedy Creek Baptist Church.