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September 1, 2011 Issue

Two fires in 12 hours at complex
Wrens teen shot, killed
Suspect named in Wadley shooting, officers seek help
Wrens asks Gold Cross to pay rent

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Two fires in 12 hours at complex

By Carol McLeod
Staff Writer

Wrens firefighters were called to two separate structure fires less than 12 hours apart at the same apartment complex this week.

The first fire was reported Sunday, Aug. 28, at 9:24 p.m. Reports from the Wrens Fire Department state a driver passing the structure, which is a duplex on Hill Street in Wrens, knocked on a neighbor’s door and said an air conditioner was on fire. The driver called 911.

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The report states that upon arrival firefighters saw the structure was on fire with fire showing from the window with the air conditioner and smoke was showing from the eaves of the house.

No one was at home. The report also states the fire primarily damaged the bedroom area and there was smoke throughout. The fire scene was cleared at 10:59 p.m. Fifteen firefighters had responded to the call.

On the morning of the next day, Monday, Aug. 29, at 8:56 a.m., Wrens Fire Department received a call about a structure fire on Highway 17 in Wrens.

The report of this incident states firefighters arrived on the scene to find heavy smoke coming from the peak of the roof.

After forcing entry into the structure, firefighters could not detect any smoke and opened the attic access where they discovered heavy smoke and fire.

Firefighters entered the attic in one apartment and found there was fire in a second apartment attic behind the dividing wall. Firefighters vented the roof and extinguished hot spots. The scene was cleared at 10:23 a.m.




Wrens teen shot, killed

By Parish Howard
Editor/Publisher

A Wrens teenager was shot and killed early Tuesday morning in an alleged accident, investigators say.

Javoris Marques Lay, 18, of Wrens, was pronounced dead Tuesday afternoon after spending several hours on life support at the Medical College of Georgia in Augusta.

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According to an investigator with the Wrens Police Department, Lay, along with several friends, were gathered at an Oak Street home late Monday evening playing video games.

At some point, the investigator said, Anthony Rodrick Jordan, 21, of Wadley, another guest at the Oak Street home and an acquaintance of Lay’s, started “playing with a handgun.”

“From what we’ve gathered he pointed the gun at Lay in a playful manner and the gun discharged,” the investigator said.

A bullet struck Lay in the back of the head.

The emergency call came in at 12:40 a.m. Tuesday morning, the investigator said.

Lay was airlifted to MCG.

A friend of the family said Lay, a 2011 graduate of Jefferson County High School, planned to enter the military.

The investigator said that while no charges had been filed as of Tuesday, Jordan could face criminal charges of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and felony murder.

“It’s felony aggravated assault to even point a gun at another person,” the investigator said. “Felony murder is charged when someone is killed during the commission of a crime.”




Suspect named in Wadley shooting, officers seek help

By Carol McLeod
Staff Writer

Jefferson County sheriff’s deputies are still looking for a 21-year-old they say shot three people at a club last week.

A spokesman said Monday that Willie James Price Jr. from the Bartow Wadley area shot three men, aged 32, 25 and 22. All three men were taken to the Medical College of Georgia. One has been released. The others are in intensive care at MCG, the spokesman said.

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The incident occurred about 2 a.m. Sunday, Aug. 21, at Lincoln Park Club on Lincoln Park Road outside the city limits of Wadley.

“The shooter also shot in a car which had three females in it. They were ducking the bullets. I don’t know if the shooter thought one of the guys he was trying to shoot had gotten in the car, I don’t know. He shot through the back window as if he was trying to shoot somebody in the car. The bullet went all the way through the window,” the spokesman said.

No one in the car was hurt, he said.

The spokesman said one of the three victims seems to be doing fairly well.

“He’s been released from the Medical College of Georgia. He was shot twice in the buttocks area. One victim was shot in the rectum, which entered his lower abdominal area and has done extensive damage,” he said.

“The last time I spoke with the doctor, the doctor reported the bullet had done extensive damage in the abdominal area. He is in stable condition but critical and in intensive care. The third victim was shot in the side. The bullet entered the stomach and did extensive internal damage in the stomach area. He also is in intensive care. He still was not able to talk,” the spokesman said.

The sheriff’s office has not closed the club at this time, he said.

Whether the victims were bystanders or intentionally shot is still being investigated.

“Possibly more arrests will be made as the investigation unfolds,” he said.

Price is described as a black male who weighs approximately 145 pounds and is about 5 feet, 8 inches in height.

Price is believed to be in the Statesboro area, the spokesman said, adding family members said last week he would turn himself in to authorities; but he has not done so as of press time Tuesday.

Anyone with information should contact the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office at (478) 625-7538.




Wrens asks Gold Cross to pay rent

By Carol McLeod
Staff Writer

The City of Wrens has asked Gold Cross EMS, Jefferson County’s ambulance service, to pay $350 monthly rent or buy the building in Wrens the company uses as a sub-station.

In a letter dated Aug. 16 and addressed to Tom Schneider, a Gold Cross representative, Wrens City Administrator Arty Thrift states the city would like for Gold Cross to consider one of two options.

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“The City of Wrens can sell Gold Cross the building and property outright or we need to start getting a rent of $350 per month,” Thrift states.

Thrift writes in the letter, the city “appreciates the presence, safety and service provided by Gold Cross in our community.”

He also states that because of budget needs, the city is reviewing all city owned buildings and property.

He points out the city has never charged rent to an ambulance service at the Cannery Row building location.

He states the city is considering all rent factors at all city buildings.

“We have done our best to maintain repairs at the building and just recently remodeled and painted the entire outside of the building and Kool Sealed the roof. The cost of maintenance, insurance and supplies for all our properties requires us to analyze our options,” he states.

Dr. Frank Lindley, Gold Cross’ CFO, said in an interview Tuesday he would not be responding to the letter.

“It would be inappropriate for us to respond,” he said.

“We do not have any contractual arrangement with the city of Wrens. Our contract is with Jefferson County,” Lindley said.

“The disbursement of our ambulances throughout the county is at the request of the county. Where we have substations is a county matter,” he said.

Jefferson County Administrator Paul Bryan said he planned on discussing this with the county’s board of commissioners during a called meeting scheduled for Wednesday, Aug. 31.

Bryan said the contract between the county and Gold Cross includes two 24-hour ambulances.

“One 24-hour ambulance stationed in Louisville; and, one 24-hour ambulance stationed in Wrens,” he said.

Bryan said the City of Wrens had previously asked the county to pay the $350 monthly rent.

“We pay $38,931 a month, plus the facility at Louisville,” Bryan said. “Bartow provided space at no cost to the county or Gold Cross, same thing at Wrens.”

One of the county’s big issues is the budget has already been adopted, Bryan said.

“We are in a cash flow crunch and cannot afford any unbudgeted items,” he said. “Once you start the flood of money contingency-wise, it will hardly ever get stopped. We have never paid any rental fees for housing the ambulance service; but, we have paid utilities.”

Bryan said the current contract between the county and Gold Cross is not renewable until May 1, 2012.

“We do want to continue to serve all citizens in the county; but, this unexpected cost will be hard to work through,” he said.




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