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August 18, 2011 Issue

Meth labs seized
School systems fail to make AYP
Two found guilty of child molestation

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Meth labs seized

By Carol McLeod
Staff Writer

Jefferson County deputies looking for suspects in a burglary case found not only the burglars but a meth lab as well.

Lt. Clark Hiebert, an investigator with the JCSO, said last week the drug bust occurred Monday, Aug. 8, from about 5 p.m. to about 11 p.m.

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Officers arrested Brandon Holley, 25; Tammy Bargeron, 50; and Dennis Hammons, 53. All were charged with trafficking in methamphetamines and child endangerment.

“Both are felonies,” the investigator said.

“Investigators and other deputies executed a search warrant,” Hiebert said in an interview Tuesday, Aug. 9, adding the search warrant was for a residence in the county with a Bostic Mill Road address.

“The initial reason for going to the residence was because of a burglary that happened on old U.S. 1,” he said.

Hiebert said a person called the sheriff’s office and reported the burglary giving the tag number and a description of a vehicle and a description of two suspects.

“Sheriff’s deputies ran the tag and got an address in Columbia County,” Hiebert said.

“Officers contacted Columbia County. It was learned that the owner of the vehicle had moved to Jefferson County. One of the officers knew where the individual lived,” he said.

The investigator said that address matched an address where officers had been told there was a meth lab.

“Officers did go to the residence, found the vehicle, found the property,” he said. “Officers obtained a search warrant, seized the meth.”

One week later on Monday, Aug. 15, deputies were following up on an anonymous tip about another meth lab, this one outside Stapleton.

Hiebert said the main two arrests were made against Christina Hicks, 36, and Joseph Ashley, 32, of Dearing.

“Both were charged with trafficking in methamphetamines and one count each of child endangerment,” he said.

Hiebert said the child endangerment charges in all of the cases were because the subjects had violated a prohibition against the presence of children during the manufacture of methamphetamine, which he stressed is a felony and carries a potential sentence of no less than two years and no more than 15 years in prison.

In this case, deputies were made aware of the lab by a caseworker with the Department of Family and Children Services.

Hiebert said a caseworker accompanied them in order to remove the children from the home.

The investigator said the caseworker picked up two minor children when they got off their school bus that afternoon.

Additionally, an 18-year-old, Christopher Bryce Hicks, was arrested during the event. He was charged with possession of marijuana, less than an ounce, Hiebert said.

“We received a call from DFCS. The caseworker advised the JCSO she had received a call about a methamphetamine lab within a residence where some children were living and that the lab had been in operation over the weekend,” he said.

The investigator said the caseworker had been told there was a very strong odor at the home.

“Officers followed the caseworker to the residence,” Hiebert said.

“Mrs. Christine Hicks came to the door. Officers told her there had been a report regarding the lab; and, she said there was a lab there,” he said.

Officers obtained consent from Hicks to search the residence, Hiebert said.

“They searched the home and seized the lab,” he said.




School systems fail to make AYP

By Faye Ellison
Staff Writer

While CRCT results were recently announced, on the heels of those tests comes the announcement of Adequate Yearly Progress for area school systems. Neither school system in Jefferson or Glascock counties made AYP this year.

AYP, is a measurement defined by the U.S. federal No Child Left Behind Act that allows the U.S. Department of Education to determine how every public school and school district in the country is performing academically according to results on standardized tests. All schools in the United States and their students are supposed to be at 100 percent by 2014.

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Test scores from CRCT and the Graduation High School Tests, along with attendance and graduation rate also help determine if a school or school system earns AYP for the year.

Glascock County School Superintendent Jim Holton pointed out recently that with the No Child Left Behind criteria, the annual measurable objectives (AMOs) have begun to increase at dramatic rates in order to reach the 2014 goal. Glascock County and Jefferson County schools, as well as the rest of the nation, are trying to reach these goals that some say are unattainable.

“We are very concerned with No Child Left Behind,” Jefferson County Assistant Superintendent Donnie Hodges explained. “Now the annual measurable objectives are just going up. At first the bars were small increments, but now at the end, the leaps are huge at eight, nine or 10 points a year to get to that point. It is so difficult to meet annual measurable objectives.

“They keep talking about rewriting No Child Left Behind and making it a growth model. Instead of everyone meeting 100 percent, which is very unrealistic for children with disabilities, you have a growth model to show that you are making progress. It is so difficult to meet 100 percent with every single child. Perhaps that will be a change, but they have not done it yet. Right now we really don’t know what the consequences of not meeting No Child Left Behind will be because so few schools will meet 100 percent.”

In Glascock County, Superintendent Holton said that the school system failed to meet AYP because of its graduation rate indicator. The school system was behind .2 percent.

“We had an 84.8 percent graduation rate,” he said, noting that the graduation rate AMO was raised to 85 percent for 2011.

Last year, Glascock County’s system met AYP, even in the graduation rate area. The 2010 AMO was 80 percent and with the state’s multi-year averaging, Glascock County was at above the 80 percent needed.

The school also did not meet AYP in the economicly disadvantaged subgroup for CRCT mathematics.

“Glascock County Consolidated School could still make AYP for this year after retests and summer graduates are figured into final AYP calculations in late September,” Holton said. “However as the AMOs continue to increase to 100 percent by 2014, most school systems across Georgia and the nation will fall short of the mark.”

Holton said the Glascock County system has restructured its middle school schedule to allow for additional remediation for struggling students, a move expected to help improve mathematics CRCT scores.

“Considering the method by which the Georgia Department of Education uses to establish the graduation rate, we are proud of the 84.8 percent graduation rate achieved at GCCS last year, as it is the highest we have achieved in recent years and would have exceeded the AMO for every year the AYP system has used up until this year,” Holton said.

While the school system as a whole in Jefferson County did not meet AYP, several schools did, including Carver Elementary, Wrens Elementary, Louisville Middle and Wrens Middle. But overall, schools in the county showed improvement over the 2009-2010 school year in several areas.

“The Georgia Department of Education is now including CRCT and Georgia High School Graduation Test (GHSGT) retests for second round AYP determinations,” Superintedent Dr. Molly Howard said. “These retests were given in June for elementary and middle schools and in July for high school. The AYP determinations after the retests will be announced in September.”

Currently, the school system did not make AYP for the students with disabilities subgroup. Dr. Howard said Louisville Academy made AYP for all groups of students and for all subgroups in the area of reading and English/language arts, but did not make AYP in the area of mathematics for African American students and economically disadvantaged students.

“We are hopeful that the retests will bring positive results for the school system and the Louisville Academy AYP determinations,” Dr. Howard said.

Of the 18 areas assessed for AYP in 2010-2011 in grades three through eight, nine areas showed improvement or stayed the same. The system scores for grades seven and eight exceeded the state averages in mathematics. Carver Elementary exceeded the state average in third grade reading, English/language arts and mathematics, as well as fifth grade English/language arts. Wrens Elementary matched the state average in fourth grade mathematics while Louisville Middle School exceeded the state average in eighth grade reading, and seventh and eighth grade mathematics.

Jefferson County High School did not make AYP for 2010-2011 for all students and for some subgroups in the areas of English/language arts and mathematics, however, the school did show a significant increase of 8.4 percent in the graduation rate.

Because of failing to meet AYP last year, JCHS will not come off the Needs Improvement List because it takes two consecutive years of making AYP.

Dr. Howard said the school will offer public school choice, if available, and supplemental educational services for the 2011-2012 school year. Parents will be notified of these opportunities by mail, while the school will be in NI-4 Corrective Action for the 2011-2012 school year.

“In spite of the promising results for 2010-2011, we know that much work must continue to meet the NCLB bar as it moves up to 100 percent by the year 2014,” Dr. Howard said. “We have a number of countywide efforts in place to improve student performance including professional development, benchmark assessments, formative assessments and more collaboration and consistency across grade, school, and system levels. We are committed to our mission: Every Child, Every Day.”

Wrens Elementary achieved the Title I Distinguished School by making AYP for its 10th year in a row, while also making Title I Distinguished status were Carver Elementary for making AYP its eighth year in a row, and Wrens Middle School for making AYP for the sixth year in a row.

“We are particularly proud of our mathematics scores, which exceeded the state averages in grades seven and eight,” Dr. Howard said. “The new Georgia Performance Standards for mathematics are much more rigorous and challenging. We now have mathematics support teachers in the elementary and middle schools. This emphasis on mathematics has really paid off.”




Two found guilty of child molestation

By Carol McLeod
Staff Writer

Two men who faced juries in separate trials last week were found guilty of child molestation.

In the first case, which lasted four days, Roy Gene Nichols from Glascock County, was sentenced by Jefferson County Chief Superior Court Judge Kathy Palmer on Monday, Aug. 15.

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District Attorney Hayward Altman said the case was tried in Jefferson County because that is where the offense occurred.

“That was a tough case,” he said Tuesday, adding Tony May handled the case for the prosecution.

“He was charged with one count of child molestation,” Altman said.

“The jury did an excellent job sifting through the complex issues that existed to arrive at what I consider an excellent verdict and justice for a little girl,” he said.

Altman said Palmer sentenced Nichols to 20 years.

“Which is the maximum sentence for this crime,” he said. “Ten of which will be served at a penitentiary, with the remaining 10 years on probation.”

The second trial, which lasted a day, was against Jimmy D’Lewis Lane Sr. of Jefferson County.

Altman said Lane has not been sentenced but will appear before Palmer for sentencing.

A jury found Lane guilty of child molestation and public indecency, Altman aid.

“He will be sentenced as soon as the probation office finishes the pre-sentence investigation, which helps provide certain information to the judge as far as sentencing is concerned, background checks, work history, prior criminal history, education level, just a general background check,” he said.

“He had been convicted of a similar offense about 10 years ago. That evidence was used in the course of this trial. Tripp Fitzner, chief assistant district attorney, tried the case for the prosecution,” the DA said.

“The jury took a little more than an hour to find him guilty,” Altman said.






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