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July 14, 2011 Issue

The Gallery Trio
Thermo King will close next year
Georgia Bureau of Investigation begins interviews in brutality case
Board selects Motorola bid

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The Gallery Trio

By Bonnie K. Sargent
Apprentice

If you have visited The Fire House Gallery in Louisville recently, you may have noticed some new faces among the staff. Casey Sullivan, who began working at the art gallery at the end of August last year, was recently joined by two new interns, Philip Muller and Jordan Pilgrim. Sullivan, who is from Suwanee, attended college at Georgia College and State University in Milledgeville, where she majored in studio art. Sullivan said she wanted to continue working in art and had been working with children at camps.

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“I like that the Fire House does a lot of work in the community with children,” said Sullivan. “I really like the creative elements of this job.”

Sullivan was the curatorial fellow for the gallery, but her job title recently changed to community design fellow.

Sullivan said her favorite type of art is print-making.

“Not only because that is what my main focus was in school but because I really like the thought of art producing multiples,” said Sullivan. “The dissemination of information and how that relates to print.

“I have fallen in love with Jefferson County. So far it has been an incredible experience. I learn something new every day from this passionate and engaged community,” Sullivan said. “The Fire House Gallery team is constantly challenging me to grow as a professional as well as encouraging my artistic development. I feel a strong commitment through the Fire House Gallery team and our supporters toward working to foster the arts in our community and am delighted and proud to be part of that effort.”

The new curatorial fellow for the Fire House Gallery is Philip Muller. Muller is from Columbia, S.C. He attended the University of South Carolina where he majored in print-making.

Muller said his job at the gallery entails mostly working on getting exhibitions set up, talking with artists and working on other projects with Sullivan and Pilgrim.

Muller’s internship started Monday, June 27, and will last for a year.

Muller’s favorite medium of art is screen-printing because it is very versatile and has a very graphic quality.

He said his favorite part of his job so far is working with and meeting so many different people.

“I like Louisville,” he said. “And I’m really excited to meet everyone.”

Jordan Pilgrim is the new documentary fellow, taking the place of Rob Yates who left the gallery a few weeks ago with plans to attend Cambridge University.

Pilgrim is from Dallas, which is north of Atlanta. He attended Bryan College in Dayton, Tenn., where he majored in film. Yates also attended Bryan College.

Pilgrim’s job includes doing the filming and editing at the gallery and working with Fire Team Productions. Pilgrim also edits the artist profiles they video.

“And I water the plants out front,” he added with a laugh.

Pilgrim said his favorite media of art are photography and videography.

“Videography is kind of like an orchestral version of photography,” he said. “It’s basically using images, like you do with photography, to create something more…”

Pilgrim said he has enjoyed working in Louisville. He interned in Louisville for a few weeks last year, helping Yates with a project.

“I’ve enjoyed meeting all the fascinating people,” Pilgrim said. “I’ve met some really interesting people.”

The Fire House Galley has also taken on three interns from Jefferson County High School. Aaron Watson and Jasmine Kelley have both been working at the gallery for several months. Christopher Roberts started working at the gallery in March. Sullivan said the three interns are off for the month of July so they can have a summer vacation before school starts back.

Sullivan said the gallery fellows have been working on their non-profit business, called the Friends of Historic Downtown Louisville.

The focus of the Friends of Historic Downtown Louisville is community outreach to businesses and education outreach through the Art of Thinking and the Builders’ Club. Sullivan said they have been working with the Kiwanis Club to start a Builders’ Club at the local middle school.

“The Builders’ Club is like a middle school version of the Key Club,” Sullivan said. “And Kiwanis is basically an adult version of the Key Club.”

Sullivan said the Builders’ Club will do community service projects.

If you’ve seen the Fire House Gallery team at work around downtown Louisville and wondered what they are doing, they have recently started working on a Visitors Center/Design Studio on Broad Street.

The Fire House Gallery is closed for the month of July, as usual, so that the various fellows can take vacations. But they won’t all be gone at once.

“There will always be someone around so anyone can come up and knock on the door and talk to one of us,” said Sullivan. “We just won’t have an exhibit for the month of July. Our next exhibit should be set up the first week in August.”




Thermo King will close next year

By Carol McLeod
Staff Writer

About 235 people will lose their jobs over the next year.

Employees of Thermo King in Louisville were told Tuesday, July 12, the plant will close in the next year.

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Misty Zelent, director of external communications with Ingersoll-Rand, Thermo King’s parent company, said in an interview the closing of the plant will take place between now and the second quarter of 2012 or through June of next year.

“Some employees may be offered an opportunity in other company facilities,” she said, adding all would be encouraged to apply for any openings the company might have.

“The decision to close the Louisville facility was not an easy decision,” she said. “It was made in an effort to improve all of the Ingersoll-Rand plants and to consolidate manufacturing where it makes sense.”

In a statement released Tuesday, Ingersoll-Rand said, “We do not make these decisions easily, particularly where colleagues and friends are affected. We are making every effort to handle these reductions fairly and sensitively.”

Tom Jordan, executive director of the Development Authority of Jefferson County, said Tuesday that the announcement is “a powerful blow economic impact-wise.”

In a statement released Tuesday afternoon, the development authority said, “This closing represents a devastating loss to the economy of the community and to the families in Jefferson County and surrounding areas.”

The authority was notified Tuesday morning in a conference call with corporate managers. The call included Larry Morgan, the mayor of Louisville, and members of the county administration.

“We were told that the decision was made based on the Thermo King-Ingersoll Rand’s customer base, production lines and expansion capabilities,” the statement said.

“The decision to close the Louisville facility did not reflect on the local workforce, the quality of work being produced here or the support of the community. We were assured that the corporation was preparing severance packages for its workers and would be offering transfer opportunities to some of the specialized positions,” the statement continued.

The development authority has offered to assist Ingersoll-Rand in finding a new owner.

“The Georgia Department of Economic Development, in partnership with the Georgia Resource Center, maintains a website of state-wide industrial facilities and sites. Having the Thermo King building listed on this website will increase its visibility to companies searching for expansion opportunities,” the statement said.

“On a more personal level, the loss of these jobs affects all of us in the county. These families are our friends, our neighbors and our colleagues. Many of them have worked their entire adult lives in this facility and have demonstrated a pride and professionalism that all of us can aspire to,” it said.

Morgan said the closing also effects tax revenue.

“A decline obviously,” he said. “It’s a substantial amount. Just something we’ll have to deal with; but, it will affect our budget next year. It’s a sad occasion.”

Morgan said this will affect not just Louisville but the county.

“Everybody,” he said. “They’ve been here 47 years; and, this is really a big blow. A lot of people’s lives depend on that place.”

The mayor said everyone will have to buckle tighter and work to bring in a new business.

“It’s a nice facility,” Morgan said.

William Rabun, the chairman of the Jefferson County Board of Commissioners, said Tuesday, “I hate to see them go; but, they’re downsizing.”

The plant, which is located on Highway 24, is in the county.

Jenny Gordy, Jefferson County tax commissioner, said the company pays a little more than $100,000 in taxes annually.

“It’s about $120,000,” she said. “That’s what it was for last year.” Gordy said that figure is after the county’s Freeport tax exemption had been applied.




Georgia Bureau of Investigation begins interviews in brutality case

By Carol McLeod
Staff Writer

The Jefferson County Chapter of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference held a press conference Wednesday, July 6, in Louisville to demonstrate the group’s support of a man who they say was the victim of police brutality.

About 80 citizens attended the event, which took place at the corner of Broad and Caldwell streets in Louisville, the location where James Ivery, the president of the county’s SCLC chapter, said the alleged assault occurred. Ivery said in a statement last week two Louisville police officers who grabbed a man and used excessive force against the man who Ivery said was not resisting.

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Two citizens said in an interview at the press conference they had concerns about the officers.

One woman, who identified herself as Michelle Reaves, said she was a Louisville citizen who has made a complaint to Louisville Police Chief Jimmy Miller about one of the officers.

She said she went to the city council in April to complain that the officer had been harassing her son. She said nothing has changed.

“It’s time for it to stop,” she said. “It needs to stop.”

Ivery began the conference and said, “We’re gathered here today to stop brutality. Don’t let nothing remain unseen.”

Citizens held signs and sang, “We Shall Overcome.”

Ivery said, “This thing that happened here and happened on my watch and I will not stand for it.”

When it began to rain, Ivery said, “That’s OK. Dr. King marched in the rain.”

In an interview after the press conference, the second citizen said she witnessed the end of the confrontation between the man and the two police officers.

She said the officers were pushing the man’s face into the pavement.

“He was handcuffed,” she said, adding he wasn’t fighting.

“He couldn’t fight. (The officers) had already Tased him,” she said.

The woman, who did not want to be named, said she and her daughter got out of their car.

“His eye was so big, it was shut,” she said. “You couldn’t even see the white of his eye. I don’t know him personally; I just knew he was somebody’s child.”

Ivery said at the press conference he would be getting in touch with the Justice Department to demand an investigation.

“All I ask of you all is to be behind me,” he said.

Rev. Dr. Alexander Smith, the president of the SCLC of Richmond County, said, “Richmond County stands behind Jefferson County in all its endeavors. We cannot do this without your support. As long as you’re behind us, we’ll support you.”

Mike Ayers, Special Agent in Charge of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation in Thomson, said in an interview Friday, July 8, Miller had contacted his office about the allegations.

“The chief’s requested us to look into the matter and we are,” Ayers said.

Ayers said his office’s involvement began Thursday, July 7, adding an agent had already started conducting interviews.

The SCLC had scheduled a nonviolent rally to be held at the Greater St. Matthew AME Church at 653 Hill St. in Louisville for Tuesday, July 12.

Additionally, they have scheduled a march for Saturday, July 17, beginning at 9 a.m. at Jefferson Hospital and ending at the county courthouse. The march is to protest injustice, unemployment and other issues that need to be addressed, the SCLC announced this week. The group is asking all elected officials and law enforcement officers to attend.




Board selects Motorola bid

By Carol McLeod
Staff Writer

The Jefferson County 911 Advisory Board voted last week to recommend a proposal from Motorola to the Jefferson County Board of Commissioners this week.

The proposal will bring the county’s emergency communications system in line with a change in FCC regulations that require all such systems to become narrow band systems.

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In its monthly meeting scheduled for Tuesday, July 12, the advisor board’s chairman, Robert Chalker, will recommend the commissioners approve the proposal, which will call for three tower sites at a base cost of $304,640.

Jefferson County Administrator Paul Bryan said in an interview Monday, July 11, the means of paying for the change will be up to the commissioners.

“But, I’d say it’s going to be split between the general fund and SPLOST,” Bryan said.

The other vendor’s proposal cost $470,000.

Chalker, who is also an investigator with the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office, said the two vendors had comparable systems.

“Both have good products,” he said in an interview.

“Everything was pretty even except for the money. That was the main thing. I also like the fact that with Motorola you have one number to call; whereas, Kenwood was going to have a third party to install and maintain part of the system. And that’s the wireless part. Apparently, they don’t have their own wireless division whereas Motorola has their own wireless hardwire.”

Chalker said another consideration for him was a maintenance contract.

“I know that Motorola is able to provide us with a maintenance schedule and agreement at a flat rate; whereas, with Kenwood we never got a definite answer on a maintenance agreement. In the past, we haven’t had an agreement; we’ve had a call as needed system. Those three things sold me,” he said.

Kenwood had representatives at the advisory board’s meeting where they made a presentation; but, Motorola had at least one representative at each of the meetings.

“That didn’t effect my decision,” Chalker said. “It showed they wanted our business; but, it didn’t effect my decision.”

There had been some discussion during the advisory board meetings regarding communicating with city agencies inside the county as well as with other agencies.

“We will still be able to talk to other counties just like we do now,” Chalker said.

“Unless they have a Motorola system, we will not be able to communicate on our primary channel; but we can flip over to another channel and talk to them just like we do now,” he said.

“We can’t talk with McDuffie County now. And there are other counties that we can’t talk to now, which is a good thing, kind of. I say it’s a good thing because that keeps everybody and their brother from your primary channel,” Chalker said, pointing out this keeps from tying up communication assets.

Chalker said the officers already have the information they need to communicate with other agencies.

“We all have that in our cars. We fix that when we program the radios,” he said.

Another topic discussed during the meetings was the possibility that the FCC would require digital communications in the future; but, Chalker said he didn’t think that was an issue.

“I don’t foresee the FCC telling anybody that they have to go digital,” he said.

Chalker said the radios the sheriff’s office has now are almost all narrow band already.

“The narrow banding is pretty much done. We wouldn’t have to buy five radios,” he said.

The proposal being recommended to the commissioners addresses the infrastructure for the communication system, Chalker said.

“That was just to put in the repeaters, the wireless network,” he said, adding the wireless network will create a better system.

“We’ll get rid of telephone lines, which is where we’re having the problems now,” he said, adding the county pays about $40,000 a year for those lines.




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