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June 1, 2011 Issue

Memorial Day Service
Teenager shot in back in Wrens
Arrington dancing in contest to raise money/awareness
Assessors send tax notices to all property owners

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Memorial Day Service

By Carol McLeod
Staff Writer

Honoring those who gave all…

Members of the American Legion Post 229 pay tribute to their fallen comrades during a Memorial Day service at Wrens Memorial Cemetery Monday. Guest speaker for the event was Rev. Billy Duncan of Mount Horeb Baptist Church. A wreath was placed there by the Legion post to honor the men and women of the armed services who have given their lives to protect the rights and freedoms of their fellow Americans.

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Teenager shot in back in Wrens

By Carol McLeod
Staff Writer

A 16-year-old suspected of shooting another man turned himself in, a spokesman with the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office said Tuesday.

The victim was identified as Tyree Smith of Wrens.

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A spokesman with the Wrens Police Department said last week Smith had been shot one time in the back with a small caliber weapon Wednesday, May 25, in Wrens.

The suspect turned himself in about 10 p.m. that evening.

The suspect’s name is not being released by law enforcement officials because of his age. He won’t be tried as an adult and, after turning himself in, was taken to a Youth Detention Center.

“It was an argument that apparently resulted in this young man shooting him,” the WPD spokesman said.

“What the basis was of the argument, I don’t know. The investigation is ongoing. The charges are aggravated assault and possession of a firearm during the commission of certain crimes.”

The spokesman with JCSO said he was last told by hospital officials where the victim was taken that the victim was sitting up and talking.




Assessors send tax notices to all property owners

By Faye Ellison
Staff Writer

Jefferson County Chief Assessor Katherine Perry said Tuesday that all assessment notices, which are not tax bills, were sent out last week and all citizens owning property in the county should get them in the mail soon. “They have 45 days from the postmark to appeal,” Perry explained, adding that the deadline should be July 11.

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In years past, notices went out in June only for property owners who had changes, like those who had building permits, ownership changes or adding a new plat.

“These are things that we would normally mail assessments for,” Perry said. “But this year everyone is getting an assessment, and this is true across the state of Georgia.”

Because of Senate Bill 346, Perry said that the state now requires assessors to revise any provisions regarding ad valorem taxes; to require annual notice regardless of changes; to provide for uniform notice forms and uniform appeal forms; and to provide for powers, duties and responsibilities of the state revenue commissioner and of the Department of Revenue regarding training of certain local tax officials and staff.

Perry said the notices are not bills, and property owners should not send any money to the Assessors Office at this time. These are estimates because the county has yet to set a millage rate for the coming year.

Assessment notices will show this year’s value and the previous year’s as well. It will show an estimated tax based on this year’s value using last year’s millage rate.

Property bought in 2010, will have their value based on the sale price for one year, if the sale price was lower than the Assessors Offices. Anything sold in 2011 will use the sale price in 2010 if it is not lower than the Assessors’ value.

Citizens have called the Tax Assessors office with concerns that the county has billed them for county taxes as well as taxes for the cities in which they reside.

“The city assessment is on the notice,” Perry said. “People are thinking they are being billed for the city and the county, but we are required by law to show all taxes, including city taxes if it applies to that property.”

Perry said city taxes are not included in the estimate for the county, and those citizens living within city limits will receive a bill from the city and from the county.

Tax bills for this year will be mailed in the fall, Perry said. Those bills will include the millage rate set for this year.

“They will be in the mail by Oct. 20,” she said. “Dec. 20 is the due date for taxes.”

Another change this year is the variety of ways that taxpayers can take to appeal the assessment.

“There are more routes that they can take to appeal the notice,” Perry said. “They are explained on the assessment notice and they have to choose which way they are going to go.”

Assessments may be appealed on the grounds of value, uniformity, taxability, exemption denied, breach of covenant and denial of covenant.

An appeal may go to the county Board of Equalization with appeal to the superior court on any and all grounds; arbitration without an appeal to the superior court, only for valuation; a hearing officer for a parcel of non-homestead property with a FMV in excess of $1 million, to a hearing officer with appeal to the superior court for value and uniformity only; or directly to the Superior Court, which requires consent by the Board of Assessors on any and all grounds.

The appeals process will also be on the website www.qpublic.net/ga/jefferson by the end of the week Perry said.

“We will have it on the website as quick as possible,” she said. “It is done through an outside group, so we are at their mercy.”






Glascock commission addresses 911 issues

By Faye Ellison
Staff Writer

During the May Glascock County Commission meeting, commissioners were alerted of a problem with the 9-1-1 system in place.

Commission Chairman Ant Griswell said that those living on county lines’ may face a longer response time for emergency services because of their landline phone prefixes.

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“At the most recent meeting, we had some requests to look at ambulance services and addressing some 9-1-1 and ambulance issues,” Griswell said.

Griswell pointed out that those who have a 598 prefix will have calls sent to the McDuffie County 9-1-1 center, which is the correct center for Glascock County. He said that the McDuffie County has handled Glascock’s jailing, 9-1-1 calls and ambulance services for years.

“Some places in the county have a 547 number, and it has created some response errors in response time,” Griswell admitted. “This has always been a problem, especially for the people that live on a county line.”

Though not only 547 prefixes face problems, so do Glascock County landlines that hold a Warrenton prefix as well.

“This causes a problem as to where the 9-1-1 call is directed,” Griswell said. “If it goes through a 598 prefix, our first responders are paged out and I put them up against anyone as far as response to emergency assistance. Our first responders will be there without a doubt. This seems to be a communications error.”

The calls from the 598 prefix that go to McDuffie County have not resulted in any problems for the county, but a 547 prefix may be directed to Jefferson County or other calls may go to Warren County, delaying the response time for law enforcement, fire fighters, EMS and first responders.

“We have a good working relationship with McDuffie County,” Griswell said. “We just signed a new contract with them. We just need to get some issues worked out with the phone service providers.”

Griswell said commissioners have contacted their local service provider about the problem, but the issue has yet to be corrected.

“We are working to get those in our county a Gibson prefix,” Griswell said.

At the May meeting, commissioners also addressed the need for more recreation services for children in the community.

“We are trying to improve our recreation programs,” Griswell said. “Hopefully we will work through things and come up with something better than what we have in place. It all hinges off of the county having to work within a budget.”

While there are usually grant monies available for funding, Griswell said many are grants that require the county to match the funds given by 50 to 25 percent.

“We are looking at that and to improve our programs,” he said. “We have a lot of interest from parents and citizens wanting to be involved in our programs. We are trying to put it all together so everyone can participate and have the best program we can for young people.”

Griswell said those looking to help or to sign-up for recreation activities can contact the County Commission Office or Tammy Cash.

Glascock County Recreation Department will hold opening ceremonies for all summer sports teams Saturday, May 28, at 6:30 p.m. at Braswell Park.







Arrington dancing in contest to raise money/awareness

By Carol McLeod
Staff Writer

At an age when most teenagers spend Friday nights hanging out with friends, 18-year-old Megan Arrington of Matthews, has spent hours preparing to spend a special Friday raising funds to help the Alzheimer’s Association Augusta Region.

The event begins at 6 p.m. Friday, June 10, at the Bell Auditorium in Augusta with cocktails and dinner. Afterwards there will be a dance program. There will be 10 couples dancing for a chance at one of two awards, a People’s Choice Award and a Judges’ Award, Arrington said.

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Arrington teaches ballroom dancing at The Ballroom Dance Center in Evans.

“I’ve been dancing there for three years and last fall I went through the teacher training program and I started teaching there in January of this year,” she said.

“Our studio is partnering with the Alzheimer’s Association of Augusta. They asked us to partner with them in doing this event. This is the first time that they’ve ever done this in Augusta. They’ve had one in Spartanburg, S. C., and I think they had one in Columbia, S. C. The Augusta Alzheimer’s Association decided this would be a good fundraiser to do for the Augusta area,” she said.

Arrington said when the studio was approached to participate, the celebrities had already been chosen by the association.

All of the professionals at the studio are part of the program, Arrington said. Each of the local celebrities will be partnered with one of the 10 instructors.

“My partner is Austin Rhodes,” Arrington said. Rhodes is a radio personality with Beasley Broadcasting.

“I’ve taught him a few things,” she said.

“What happened was, I think it was in February, we had the meet and greet at the Partridge Inn,” she said, referring to a location on Walton Way in Augusta.

“The backstage people and the judges were there. After the meet and greet, they scheduled their practices so they’ve been coming in since February or the middle of March. The funny thing with Austin, he came in for a couple of lessons. And we decided he was going to cut our music so we didn’t hear from him for several weeks. It was about seven or eight weeks we didn’t hear from him.

“Now he’s been coming in just about every day, these past two weeks. I’m going to make sure he’s going to be coming in just about every day for these next two weeks. So we’ve been working pretty hard,” she said.

Rhodes said he gets approached regularly to take part in different fundraisers and community events.

“I try to help out when I can; but, schedule limitations often come into play,” he said.

“This was a project that intrigued me, even though the time commitment was extraordinary. My wife, family and many friends have been fans of the original show, so I decided to give it a try. Also, the charity in question, The Alzheimer’s Association, is an organization we all need to support,” Rhodes said.

The talk show host said the practices have been great.

“I’m a big believer in a concentrated rehearsal schedule versus the same number of rehearsals over a longer period; and, I appreciate Megan for working with me on that,” he said.

“As far as how we will do versus the other couples, not sure how my talent stacks up against the other celebrities; but, my partner is top of the line,” Rhodes said.

“And our routine will certainly have the crowd talking,” he said.

The routine, Arrington said, is a surprise.

She said Emilie Tobias, the owner of the dance studio, had a meeting with each of the dance instructors. When the celebrity came in, he or she did some dances with their partner from the studio to decide the dance each couple would perform during the event.

“We based our decisions on how each person moved in the orientation,” Arrington said.

“Mine and Austin’s, she put in the program as a mystery dance. So it’s going to be a surprise what dance Austin and I do,” she said.

Arrington said her favorite dance to perform is the Cha Cha.

“I enjoy doing all of them,” she said. “But I enjoy doing the Cha Cha for performances. It’s very upbeat; and, people enjoy watching it.”

When it comes to watching others dance, she said it’s difficult to pick a favorite.

“They have the smooth dances and they have Latin dances. The smooth dances, they make the big shape with their frame and I think it’s cool to watch the partnering when they dance together. With their partnering they’re able to communicate, especially the guy to the lady, where he wants her to go and how to maneuver around the floor. I enjoy watching all of it. It’s hard to pick a favorite,” she said.

Besides teaching others to dance, Arrington is attending Augusta Technical College.

She said she hasn’t decided on a major yet and is currently taking her core classes. She is enrolled in the technical communications program, she said.

Her mother home schooled her and Arrington said it was a change attending a traditional class.

“It was different,” she said. “I enjoy having classmates to study with. I still live at home and I drive over there every day. I go to class in the mornings and I go to work in the afternoons.”

Arrington said each of the celebrities is committed to raising $5,000.

“For the ballroom dance instructors, we gave each of the celebrities 10 free lessons, so we didn’t charge them to come in. We gave 100 free lessons,” she said.

“The event is going to be fabulous,” said Dee Dee Kurilla, the director of development with the Alzheimer’s Association Georgia Chapter.

“It’s going to be a fun event. It’s going to be a huge event; but, it’s a huge cause. We don’t have time to do small, little events. We’ve got to think globally,” she said.

Anyone interested in supporting a team or learning more about the event can visit the website www.dancingstarsofaugusta.com.

Rhodes said he has never had ballroom dancing experience before being a part of this event.

“This is totally new,” he said. “But to be honest, there is very little traditional ballroom dancing in our final routine.”

Rhodes said Arrington has worked the routine they will perform to play to his strengths and avoid his weaknesses.

“And (she) goes along with the comedic aspects of the routine like a real trooper. She has been a blessing and a joy,” he said.

“Megan has been a tremendous joy and inspiration to work with. When we were introduced, I was concerned that her youth would put us at a disadvantage; but, that was pure ignorance on my part,” Rhodes said, adding that Arrington is 18 and turns 19 the same day his radio show turns 19.

“Megan is two years younger than my daughter Christine; but, she is incredibly mature and wonderfully gifted,” Rhodes said.

“I’m excited about this event,” Arrington said. “This is one of the bigger things that I’ve done in my dancing. So I’m excited that I get to do something I love to do and also help out the Alzheimer’s Association.

“I’m really, really nervous,” she said. “The closer it gets, the more anxious I get. Go online and vote. Vote for Team Austin.”




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