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July 19, 2012 Issue

Wrens doctor’s office burglarized
Scam artists threaten citizens with jail time
Tree taken down...
Louisville Red Raider coach to be recognized

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Wrens doctor’s office burglarized

By Faye Ellison
Staff Writer

A Wrens Physicians Health Group employee came to work Friday morning to find the doctor’s office had been broken into sometime since the building was closed at the end of business on Thursday.

“We responded to the doctor’s office in reference to a burglary Friday, July 13,” Wrens Police Chief Garry McCord said. “We believe it must have happened over night. The case is still under investigation.”


Jefferson Hospital Administrator Ralph Randall said the rural health clinic that is operated by the hospital was ransacked before the employee who discovered the burglary made it to work that morning.

“They took a small amount of cash, one laptop and a number of personal items,” he divulged. “That was all that was stolen. It doesn’t appear any patient information was disturbed, but of course it is still under investigation.”

Randall said that it appeared the burglars opened many drawers and doors, “looking at things randomly.”

“They just kind of went through the whole place,” he said. “It just looked so random.”

He did say that no medications or drugs on the premises had been disturbed.

“They were still locked up,” he said.

The back door entrance was broken into, with what Randall said he believed to be a pry bar.

“The first person on the scene, when they realized it was broken into, immediately called the police,” Randall explained. “By the time the police got there, everybody was waiting outside.”

Randall said the office was closed on Friday because law enforcement was still investigating and obtaining fingerprints from the scene.

“We canceled appointments, and moved those to Louisville who needed to be seen,” Randall said.

The atmosphere Friday at the office was not that of fear, but Randall said it seemed Dr. Brandy Gheesling, Physician’s Assistant Jennifer Tanner and other employees were more concerned about the patients and wanting to get to work as soon as possible.

The office reopened on Monday.

“I think it is very important to let our patients know that no medical records were disturbed,” Randall expressed.

Randall said the hospital is looking to security right now.

“We are doing a review to see what we could do to improve the security of the building,” he said. “We also want to let the Wrens Police know how much we appreciate them coming in for us and helping us. They really did a very professional job.”

Chief McCord said the Wrens Police Department was also aided by the quick response of Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office Investigator Sgt. Barrow Walden and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation’s Crime Scene Tech.

Scam artists threaten citizens with jail time

By Carol McLeod
Staff Writer

Maj. Charles Gibbons of the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office wants citizens to be careful about giving any personal information, especially financial information, to anyone calling on the telephone.

Gibbons said some citizens have received calls about returned checks. The caller claims the check was returned and if the citizen doesn’t pay $500 immediately, the caller will send the citizen to jail.


“The statute of limitations on a returned check is two years,” Gibbons said. He said he isn’t certain how the callers get the contact information or if the checks are real.

“The people who are calling now are telling citizens the checks are from 2002,” he said.

Gibbons advises anyone who receives a call of this nature to write down all information the caller provides.

“Write down the number they’re calling from,” he said. “If you can get the caller’s name, the name of the company or whatever they tell you, write that down. But don’t give them any of your information.”

Gibbons said an individual who received a call Tuesday was so scared she provided her debit card information for the caller to access her account the next day.

She had written the caller’s telephone number down and the major called it.

“They got very defensive on the phone,” he said.

Anita Thompson, a Jefferson County magistrate, is concerned about this issue, too. Citizens have told her they’ve gotten these calls, she said.

“I don’t know how it’s happening. I just know it is,” she said Tuesday.

“They do this in cycles. We’ll get six or seven calls for two or three days and then they’ll stop. They start back up again in a few months,” Thompson said.

The magistrate said the statute of limitations on a bad check is two years.

“The two years start from the day a merchant or whoever the payee is gets a check back from the bank saying it’s been returned,” she said. “You have that amount of time to get it to the magistrate court to collect.

“If you take a partial payment on a bad check, you’ve created a civil matter. You now have four years because you’ve extended credit. But you can’t take it to court at that point.”

She said you can sue for whatever’s left on the balance of the value of the check.

“But it has become a civil matter and cannot be taken to criminal court,” she said.

“Don’t give them your debit card numbers,” Gibbons said.

“Don’t give them your information; don’t give them your credit card numbers,” he said.

Gibbons stresses that everyone should beware of providing any information, personal, confidential and financial, to anyone you don’t know.

“Write down the number they’re calling from, bring it by the sheriff’s office and let us try to make some contact with them,” he said.

“You’ve got to verify people who are asking for your information. Be very careful about giving out your Social Security Number or banking information, especially if you’re not face to face,” he said.

The Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office is located at 911 Clarks Mill Road in Louisville. The number is 478-625-7538.

Tree taken down...

James Gay, of Gibson, works to saw limbs from the old Live Oak tree that stood over the Wrens Memorial Veterans Park Tuesday morning. Gay, contracted by Otis Tree Service, was lowered by a crane to each tree limb. The removed limbs were then hoisted over flag poles to the adjacent parking lot to protect the park’s memorial veterans bricks, monuments, benches, etc. City officials have said that the tree was in ill health and posed considerable threat to citizens utilizing the park as well as the thousands of dollars worth of landscaping and construction put into the park over the last several years. Mayor Lester Hadden said the city had attempted to treat the tree, but that it continued to show signs of decay.


Louisville Red Raider coach to be recognized

By Bonnie K. Sargent

The Louisville Academy Red Raiders will hold a gathering for Coach Melvin Johnson, who will soon be 81 years old. Johnson was head coach for the Red Raiders from 1962 to 1967 with an overall record of 32-26-2.

The gathering is a drop-in event planned for Saturday, July 21, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Foster’s Restaurant in Louisville. There will be finger foods and beverages provided by Foster’s. Donations to defray the cost of the food would be appreciated.


Former Red Raider Mike Cofer played under Johnson from 1964-1966. Cofer played football all four years of high school and graduated in 1967.

“Coach Johnson was a good Christian man, a good Christian coach,” said Cofer. “He was very knowledgeable of the sport, he was patient with his football players and he was diligent in everything that he did.”

The idea to host the event came from Cofer and Spike Jones. Cofer said he then solicited the assistance of John Gordy, Gordon Mays and Bob Hayes.

“All of us are getting older, our coach will soon be 81 years old, and this might be the last time we can all get together. We’re trying to get everybody that played with him during the years he coached. He was head coach from ’62 to ’67 and in 1960-62 he was assistant coach under Kenneth Kelley,” Cofer said. “We’re just trying to get everybody together and have some good fellowship.”

In addition to players who played under Johnson, the committee also invites football players before 1962 that played under Kelley as head coach and had Johnson as assistant coach. Cheerleaders, band members, radio personnel and Red Raider fans for that era and before are also welcome.

"We know that without the student body support, cheerleaders, past Red Raiders, band members, radio announcers and supportive fans, our teams would not have had the motivation to achieve the best records that we could, with the talent that we had,” said Mays. “We thank you all and specially Mr. Melvin Johnson for his years of teaching and coaching us football in a professional manner and methods.”

Cofer said during the event they will show old films and any paraphernalia that any of the men have from the old days, from pictures to programs, out of Louisville Academy that they might have kept.

“And we’re going to talk a lot of old football, tell some old stories. You know football stories are like fish stories, we embellish them with time,” Cofer said with a laugh. “Primarily we just want to see each other and it might be the last chance for some of us to see our old coach.

“He did so much for us and this is just a little something that we can do for him. He was such a good man to us, he did so much.

“He gave up his time and expertise and we’d just like to be able to give a little back to him and show him how much we care and love him.”

Cofer said he is happy that they can do this for their old coach. It gives them a chance to remember a good man and a good coach and also bring back some of the old memories from the 1960s.

“And maybe we’ll get a chance to be 17 and 18 again when we walk in that room,” Cofer said. “I’m hoping and praying that we will have a great turnout for our coach and for ourselves. I think we’ll have a great time.”

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