Arrest made in Wadley murder
By Carol McLeod
Wadley Police Chief Wesley Lewis said Monday an arrest has been made in the death of Anthony Holmes, 43, of Dublin. Holmes’ body was found behind a house on Martin Luther King Extension in Wadley last week.
Clifton Leandre Outler, 22, of Wadley was arrested Tuesday, May 17, and has been charged with felony murder in the case.
Jefferson County Coroner Edward James identified Holmes by fingerprints. Holmes’ body had been left in the wooded area where he was found about a week later, officials said.
Pat Morgan, assistant special agent in charge with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation’s Thomson office, confirmed Holmes’ cause of death as blunt force trauma and a gunshot wound.
Lewis said Monday Outler has been in trouble before.
“He’s done been in trouble a couple of times,” the chief said. “Yes, he’s been charged with all kinds of stuff over the years.”
Lewis said there was an incident recently in Dublin where Outler jumped out of a car and ran from the police.
“That was, I think, around the time that he (Holmes) came up missing. Within that time frame,” Lewis said.
“I had made contact with Mr. Outler the day the body was discovered and told him he needed to turn himself in, which he didn’t do it until the next day,” he said.
The chief said the murder is still being investigated.
“There will probably be some more arrests,” he said, adding that a motive is still not known at this time.
On Monday, Dublin Police Detective Sgt. Stacey Sapp said the Dublin Police Department has a warrant for Outler in connection to the incident Lewis mentioned.
Dublin PD has a warrant for Outler for obstruction of a police officer, carrying a concealed weapon and forgery, Sapp said.
The Dublin officer described Holmes as a man who pretty much kept to himself.
He was reported missing May 12, Sapp said.
“He had actually been missing since the 10th,” the detective said. “He was in the process of moving to Macon.”
The detective said the people who reported Holmes missing had thought he might have been out of contact because of the move. By the 12th, they had become concerned enough to report him missing.
“We would like to greatly thank the Wadley PD and its chief, the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office, the GBI in that region,” Sapp said.
“I had cell phone information that led to that area (Wadley) and they were a great help prior to finding the body,” he said of Wadley PD.
Principal hired to take over at GCCS
By Faye Ellison
Glascock County Board of Education members voted Tuesday, May 17, in a called meeting to hire Danny Lovering as the new principal of Glascock County Consolidated School, a position left vacant after Principal Sally Garrett announced her retirement after winter break.
Glascock County Superintendent Jim Holton said Lovering currently serves as the principal of the Baker County K-12 School in Southwest Georgia.
First a fan
“Miss Garrett informed me after Christmas that she intended to retire,” Holton said. “I talked with her a few times to make sure that was her intention. When I realized she did intend to retire, we began our search.”
Lovering was chosen from more than 50 applicants for the GCCS principal position.
“There were very few applicants who had administrative experience in all grade levels, kindergarten through 12th,” Holton said.
Holton noted that Glascock and Baker are two of only a handful of schools that house all public school grades together in the same building, under the same principal.
“Mr. Lovering’s experience, with all facets of a K through 12 school, cuts down on the learning curve and training time required to get up to full speed,” Holton said.
Principal Garrett’s last day will be June 30, while Lovering’s official start will be July 1.
Originally from Miller County, Lovering graduated from high school and went on to attend Bainbridge College. He also attended Georgia Southwestern University where he received a bachelors in education. He received his master’s and specialist’s degrees in educational leadership at Troy University.
Lovering has been principal in Baker County for the past two years.
“I am experienced in the same type of school,” Lovering said. “It is very similar to Glascock County.”
Seventeen years ago Lovering began his teaching career in Decatur County, followed by Early County, where he was a teacher as well as an assistant principal. Then he went to Seminole County, before Baker.
“I was a middle school teacher and I was over the alternative school in Seminole County,” he said. “I am still highly qualified in middle grades curriculum including math, science, social studies and language arts.”
Lovering said he began his search by looking for a school system that had the same vision as he did.
“I want to make sure kids get the best education they can, not just in academics, but in good character and ethics,” Lovering said. “I was so impressed with what I saw on the Department of Education website about Glascock County and the school’s website.
“I saw all the things already in place for students. They have so many extracurricular activities for the kids, even in the school with the Ag Program, FFA. They have so much to offer kids. I knew this school had things in place to make it a good school.
“I want Glascock County to be at the top of the list. I want to make it one of the schools that is the most notable in the state of Georgia and even the United States. And I believe we can do it.”
Lovering said after visiting the county and the school, he had found a place he could call home.
“I met with Mr. Holton and also went back a second time and met with the Board of Education members,” he said. “We had a good conversation. I was very impressed. Glascock County is in very good shape academically and moving in the right direction. But I was more impressed, that they really have education at the heart and do whatever it takes to not only meet AYP, but move Glascock County forward in academics and character.
“They have the same vision and this will be a great setup for myself and all. I can’t wait to get started. There are great people there. I am from a rural area, and know how to appreciate people.”
Lovering said he also spoke with Garrett, where she gave him advice as well as an open door to continue to make herself available to him if he needs help.
“She has done a wonderful job,” Lovering said. “I have some big shoes to fill there. But I think God has blessed me.”
Lovering said his final day will be June 17 in Baker County, and he plans to come to Glascock County, with his wife, Alacia, the following week to settle in and see what the school has in store for next year.
So long, Sally
By Faye Ellison
A career in education spanning 44 years, will come to a close on June 30 in Glascock County. Educator and Principal Sarah Veazey “Sally” Garrett will end her 12 year tenure as the leader of the K-12 school. She began as a teacher at Glascock County Consolidated School 31 years ago, shaping and molding the minds of children as they came through her school’s doors.
“Known to some as Sally, but to most as Mrs. Garrett, she possesses so many intangible qualities that have made her a great mother, wife, teacher, principal and all around educator,” Glascock County Superintendent Jim Holton said at a tea held in her honor. “She always prefers to lead by example.”
Only two years into her teaching career, which began in 1967, Garrett was already known as a STAR teacher. She earned the title in 1969, but also garnered it again in 1995 in Glascock County. She was also awarded Teacher of the Year in 1997 in Glascock County.
“She told me just the other day that she had taught a student’s grandparent,” Holton said. “She is into her third generation of students. Through it all she has maintained her integrity and a value system that would rival that of our founding fathers. She has always maintained a positive attitude no matter the challenge at hand.”
While the students, faculty, staff and parents at GCCS, as well as the community, will miss seeing her walk the halls, attending football games and being a mainstay in Glascock County, Garrett shared the same sentiments.
“I will miss the students and the community,” Garrett said.
As an educator, Garrett said her achievement is making a difference in the lives of so many people.
“I use the golden rule, do unto others as you would have them do unto you,” Garrett said.
Holton said that whether it is former students or educators who had the chance to work with her, everyone has expressed sorrow in her departure.
“The Glascock County community is truly blessed to have had Mrs. Garrett these many years,” he said. “When I talk with her former students, all, and I do mean all, of them share fond memories of time spent with Mrs. Garrett, and they hold her in the highest regard.
“A former teacher, Mr. Pete Aycock, recently had this to say of Mrs. Garrett, ‘You have achieved the balance between mercy, grace and truth that only a few ever get close to. Including children and teachers, you have changed the lives of thousands for the better.’”
Garrett is a native of Sparta, where she graduated from Sparta High School, as well as Georgia College in Milledgeville with a master’s of education degree. She is married to Donald Garrett, and has two sons, Don and Bill, as well as three grandchildren, Samantha, Alexandria and Nolan. She is a member of Gaissert Methodist Church.
County hires new EMA/911 director
By Carol McLeod
The Jefferson County Board of Commissioners hired Adam Mestres in a called meeting Friday, May 20. Mestres started his new job as the county’s EMA and 911 director Monday, May 23.
Among other things, the director will develop plans and procedures and coordinate activities associated with preparation for, responses to and recovery from any disaster or emergency affecting the health, safety and welfare of county citizens, a job summary from the county states.
Mestres will supervise staff and make certain the departments comply with all codes, laws, regulations and standards for emergency management and emergency communications, Jefferson County Administrator Paul Bryan said.
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The complete job description, which was provided by Bryan, is seven pages and is available for public viewing during normal business hours at the county commission office under the general rules of open records requests, Bryan said.
Mestres’ cover letter lists a GPA of 3.97 for his master’s degree in public administration with an emphasis on homeland security.
Mestres currently lives in North Augusta, S.C. A condition of his employment was for him to move to Jefferson County, Bryan said, adding the county will not pay relocation expenses.
“In talking with the commission, I understand there’s some work that needs to be done to the communications system. They’re doing an upgrade,” Mestres said in an interview Friday, May 20.
“The upgrade is bringing the communication system into compliance with the FCC regulations. Basically, they’re going to a narrow band system,” he said.
Mestres said after that he wants to focus on fostering a level of communications where county and city agencies are able to talk with one another.
“This would be for fire, sheriff’s office, EMS and it’s really just about being able to work together where we can talk with one another on this new system,” Mestres said.
Communications will still be going through the dispatch system, he said.
“The goal is to have as many of the agencies able to communicate at some level with one another in order to reduce the response time to the scene of an incident,” he said.
Currently, an advisory board has been reviewing options to bring the county into compliance with a new FCC regulation requiring a narrow band system for emergency communications.
“Whichever system’s going to allow for whatever is going to work the best for the county,” Mestres said.
The director said he has worked in law enforcement since 2002 and has been involved with emergency management services since 1999.
He also said he wants to focus on getting Jefferson County to be a storm ready county.
“Currently there are 70 in the state of Georgia,” he said.
“That’s less than half. There’s a lot of criteria to be storm ready. Basically all the counties in the CSRA are storm ready; Richmond, Columbia, McDuffie and Burke counties are storm ready. It will be a good step forward. Warren County is storm ready. Glascock, Jefferson, Washington, Johnson, Emmanuel counties are not, according to the NOAA website,” he said.
Next, he wants to get the community as a whole involved in preparedness.
“In the event disaster does strike, the community knows what to do,” he said.
Bryan said Mestres will be earning $52,000 annually.
“He’s replacing those people currently make $43,000 a year, including overtime. He would not be drawing overtime. His position has a greater responsibility and additional duties and responsibilities,” Bryan said.
“We have had a good management team but I look forward to expanding the scope of our (team). He will bring an additional level of professionalism,” Bryan said after Friday’s vote to hire Mestres.
William Rabun, the county commission chairman, said, “He’s bringing in additional expertise and he’ll be an asset to the county.”
Mestres will also have a county car, which Bryan stressed will be for county use only.
“We feel this is a vital investment in the county’s future,” Bryan said.
“For the benefit of the county, including fire, rescue, law enforcement and EMS, this man will be on hand to make sure the operation is run properly,” said Jefferson County Sheriff Gary Hutchins Friday.
“I’m looking forward to working with him. I hope all agencies will join in, work together and welcome our new director,” he said.