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Top Stories
July 26, 2012 Issue

Man shot at Wrens area nightclub
Polls open next week
Marching across America
Battle Lumber plans expansion

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Man shot at Wrens area nightclub

By Carol McLeod
Staff Writer

A 21-year-old Stapleton man is recovering from a gunshot wound he received in the early morning hours of Sunday, July 22.

Lt. Robert Chalker, an investigator with the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office, said Monday the victim, identified as Robert Lee Hannah, had a gunshot wound to his left thigh.

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“9-1-1 got the call at 2:11 Sunday morning,” Chalker said, adding the shooting took place at the parking lot of the Wanda’s Inn located outside the city limits of Wrens just off Kings Mill Road.

Chalker said law enforcement does not know a reason for the shooting.

“We picked up at least a dozen shell casings,” he said. “I don’t know if they’re all from that night. We found two types so if they were all from the same night, we have two different weapons. But I don’t know if they were all from the same night.”

Chalker said Hannah was conscious when the ambulance arrived. He was taken to Georgia Health Sciences University, formerly the Medical College of Georgia, in Augusta.

Chalker said he had been informed Hannah had undergone surgery and was recovering.

“Nobody saw anything. So far no one’s cooperating with us,” Chalker said.

Law enforcement is asking for anyone with relevant information to contact Lt. Chalker at the JCSO at 478-625-7538.




Polls open next week

By Faye Ellison
Staff Writer

Candidates have been hitting the streets and knocking on doors to drum up votes for the upcoming primary election to be held on Tuesday, July 31. While voters may only cast a republican, democratic or nonpartisan ballot, many of the upcoming races will be decided in this election, and other races will be decided in the general election on Nov. 6.

Both counties will have a special purpose local option sales tax (SPLOST) on the ballot that calls for a 1 percent sales and use tax in the Central Savannah River Area for the counties’ transportation systems and transportation network. The sales tax would fund special transportation projects and programs in the counties for a period of 10 years.


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Funds would be used in Jefferson County to convert Hoyt Braswell Road to a truck route, on the Louisville bypass, and sidewalks, curbing, gutters and resurfacing of Walker Street from U.S. Highway 1 to Young Street.

Funds would be used in Glascock County for a Glascock County School Access Road.

All voters will need identification, which may include a Georgia’s driver’s license, even if it is expired; a voter identification card; a valid employee photo ID from any branch, department, agency, or entity of the United States government, Georgia, or any county, municipality, board, authority or other entity of the state; a valid United State passport ID; a valid United State military photo ID; or a valid tribal photo ID.

Voter identification cards may be obtained at the Glascock County Extension/Registrar’s Office for Glascock County residents and at the Board of Elections Office for Jefferson County residents.

To obtain a voter identification card, citizens must have a photo identity document or approved non-photo identity document that includes full legal name and date of birth; documentation showing the voter’s date of birth; evidence that he applicant is a registered Georgia voter; and documentation showing the applicant’s name and residential address.

Jefferson County
On July 31, all eight precincts will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. for Avera, Bartow, Louisville, Matthews, Stapleton, Stapleton Crossroads, Wadley and Wrens.

Early voting will continue until July 27 from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. at the Board of Elections Office, 415 Green Street, Louisville.

Absentee ballot applications will also be available to be mailed or picked up. There will be 12 ballots for the county, one democratic, one republican and one non-partisan for each of the four districts. Sample ballots are available upon request at the Board of Elections Office.

In Jefferson County, all but one partisan candidate qualified with the Democratic Party.

For Sheriff, incumbent Gary Hutchins and Johnny Lee Nelson will face off in July.

In the Probate Judge race, incumbent Judge Ashlynn Lampp was the only candidate to qualify and is running unopposed.

For County Commission Chairman, incumbent William W. Rabun did qualify along with Mitchell McGraw and Robert Dwayne Morris.

Clerk of Superior Court incumbent Mickey Jones chose not to seek re-election, but Anne Durden, Amy Howard and Richard “Ricky” Sapp will face off in the general primary.

Also for Tax Commissioner, incumbent Jenny Gordy had already announced her intention to not seek the position this year. Running will be John Brent Dye, Nancy W. McGraw and Albert Young.

For the County Commission District 2, incumbent Johnny Davis qualified, along with Charles Washington.

The County Commission District 4 race, it will not be determined until the November election. While incumbent Tommy New qualified as a democrat, Jefferson County Election Superintendent Susan Gray said Russell Logue does intend to qualify as an independent, sometime between July 30 to Aug. 3, which is when independent candidates can qualify at the Jefferson County Board of Elections and Registration Office.

For the County Solicitor, incumbent Mickey Moses announced that he too would not seek reelection, but those that did qualify include Brannen Bargeron and Dalton Dowdy.

In the Coroner race, incumbent Edward James qualified along with Jerry Lee Taylor.

For the Magistrate Judge seat, incumbent Murry Bowman qualified and Betty Williams Kirby.

In the State Court race, John Murphy is running unopposed.

Also for the Board of Election seats in District 1, District 2 and District 4 all current seat holders are running unopposed. Incumbents Farlyn Hudson for District 1, Charlie Brown for District 2 and Bobby Butts for District 4 were the only candidates to qualify.

A run-off will be needed if none of the candidates receive 50 percent or more of the votes cast. The top two candidates will face a run off on Aug. 21 if necessary.

Glascock County
All four precincts will be open on July 31 from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., which includes Mill, Mitchell, Edgehill and Gibson. Early voting will continue until July 27 from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. at the Glascock County Extension/Registrar’s Office, 676 West Main Street, Gibson.

Those seeking an absentee ballot may request one from the Registrar’s Office and it will be sent in the mail. There will be three ballots for the county, one democratic, one republican and one non-partisan. Sample ballots are available upon request at the Probate/Magistrate office and are also on display at the Glascock County Courthouse.

In Glascock County, partisan candidates qualified in both parties, Democratic and Republican.

For the Democratic Committee Member, incumbent Donald Kent was unopposed, as well as incumbent Denise Dallas for Probate Judge, incumbent Carla Stevens for Clerk of Superior Court and incumbent Sharon Lyons for Tax Commissioner. Stevens and Lyons qualified as democrats, with Dallas’s seat being nonpartisan.

In the Sheriff race, incumbent Dean Couch qualified as a democrat, while current County Commission Chairman Ant Griswell qualified in the race as a democrat as well. Brian Pritchett also qualified, but as a republican, with the race being decided in November.

For the Gibson District in the County Commission race, incumbent Mike Neal qualified as a democrat, with Cary Deal and Lori Boyen qualifying as republican candidates. This seat will also be decided in the November election. Incumbent Ant Griswell will be running in the Sheriff’s race.

Audrey Chalker qualified as a democrat and Danny Cantrell Jr. as a republican in the County Commission Mitchell/Edgehill District. This race will be decided in November, as well as the race for County Commission in the Mill District, with incumbent Wayne Williford qualifying as a democrat and Barbara Hadden as a republican.

In the Board of Education races, incumbent Michael Gilmer did not have any opposition for the Mill District, as well as incumbent John Raley running unopposed in the Gibson District.

The Board of Education At-Large seat that was left vacant by the passing of the late board member James Moore. Qualifying in the nonpartisan race are James Stephens Jr. and Robin Usry.

In the Coroner race, incumbent Connie Kitchens-Jackson will run unopposed.

The last race is for County Treasurer, with Judy Deal qualifying as a democrat and Linda Usry as well. This race will be decided in July.




Marching across America

By Carol McLeod
Staff Writer

He’s come a long way in less than a year; but, he has so much farther to go. In all, Dale “Mac” McQuown thinks it will take more than 15,000 miles and a total of six years to complete his walk; but McQuown, a former Marine, is a man on a mission.

The 51-year-old took a year and a half to plan this journey, a trip that will take him to the steps of the capitol of each of America’s 50 states.

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“When I first started marching, I had no non-profit, $50 in my pocket, no sponsors,” he said.

Now, he has a business partner, Patrick Sherlock; a 501 (c) 3 non-profit named Project Foot; and nine sponsors.

He started his journey on Sept. 11, 2011, leaving his hometown of Stafford, Va., and heading for Ground Zero in New York.

Then he headed south.

He wears Marine Corps fatigues, carries a United States flag and pulls a cart. The cart contains a two-man tent, a sleeping bag and plenty of water and food.

So far, he’s been to five state capitols – Annapolis, Md.; Trenton, N.J.; Richmond, Va.; Raleigh, N.C.; and Columbia, S.C.

He’s been to New York and is now in Georgia but hasn’t made it to those state capitols yet. His plan is to walk to Tallahassee, Fla., and then come back to Georgia and walk to Atlanta.

After Atlanta, he plans to go to Dalton because he went to high school there and has friends there he wants to visit. After that, he is scheduled to walk to Montgomery, Ala.

“Then I’m going to start walking west to California,” he said.

All of this is to increase awareness for wounded and fallen veterans, to remember all who are or ever were POWs and/or MIAs and to raise funds for homeless veterans.

McQuown sees this journey as a mission, one more mission to complete, perhaps his most important one. He said he is determined to see it through.

“I’ll take off two weeks for Christmas and New Year’s,” he said. “Sometimes during the week, I might have a speaking engagement or interview. Or if my feet start giving me an issue, I’ll take a couple of days off.”

McQuown said he walks at a pretty good pace, about 3 miles an hour, and puts in 8 to 10 miles a day in this weather. In cooler weather, he said he averages 15 miles a day.

So far, McQuown’s speaking engagements have been at high schools and VFWs. His sponsors include Rocky Mountain Survival Gear, Tommie Copper, Pro Travel Vacations and Debbie Noel, an author.

He’s also sponsored by the American Diabetic Foundation, Injinji, Stateside Man Goods, Body by Bison and Sabo, an Army veteran McQuown describes as an up and coming hip hop artist.

“He wrote a song about me,” McQuown said. “It’s on the website.”

Although McQuown is committed to walking to each state’s capitol, he’s planning on making the trip to Juneau, Alaska, and to Honolulu, Hawaii, by ship.

The plan is to take a cruise from Washington to Alaska and from California to Hawaii.

“I will be walking around the deck of the ship as it sets sail,” he said. “I’ll probably walk four or five hours a day.”

Then he smiled. “I’m guessing. It hasn’t been confirmed yet,” he said.

McQuown is not married and has one child, a daughter named Katie Pietrusza who is 23 and lives in Maryland.

“She is the best thing that ever happened to me in my life,” he said. He and Katie celebrated their first year anniversary Wednesday, July 18.

He said he didn’t know he had a child until a year ago. Katie, who had been told all her life her father had died, was looking on the internet to find out something about her father and discovered he was alive.

“She found me on Facebook,” he said. “I call her every day.”

Both of McQuown’s parents have passed away. He has a brother, Jerry, who’s 48 and lives in Delaware, and a sister, Sunshine who’s 52 and lives in Florida.

McQuown started his military life as an Army reservist, following in his father’s footsteps. His father retired from the Army after 20 years.

However, after 18 months in the reserves, McQuown said he requested an inter-service transfer to the Marine Corps, as he felt the Army was not enough of a challenge.

He told his father, he said, by telephone from a state away. He stayed in the Marines for five and a half years, was out for five months and then re-enlisted.

He was an armor tank crewman in the Army reserves, then became a field radio operator in the Marines. That inter-service transfer cost him a stripe.

As a self-proclaimed Army brat, he was born in Germany and lived, he said, practically everywhere.

“With my time in the service, and as a civilian, I’ve traveled extensively,” he said.

He lived his first four years in Germany and then lived all over the United States.

After being stationed in Parris Island, S.C., Twentynine Palms, Calif., he served duty in Hawaii and then Camp Lejeune, N.C.

He volunteered for embassy duty and was sent to Budapest, Hungary; Warsaw, Poland; Moscow, Russia; Zurich, Switzerland; and Vienna, Austria. He speaks Hungarian.

After the Marines, he said he has done everything from being a construction worker, iron worker, cross country truck driver to owning his own business.

“When 9/11 happened, it affected everyone in a different way,” he said.

The vets who went to war and then came home, were forgotten about, he said.

“I think all of veterans just want to be thanked. You’ll hear about Michael Jackson and Lindsay Lohan for months,” he said.

McQuown said he had an interview with a television station up north. The interview itself took 20 minutes and was edited down to a minute and a half.

“The next thing was seven minutes of a little girl who saved a beaver. Are you freakin’ kidding me? Veterans get trumped by a beaver?” he asked.

McQuown said he and his business partner have two messages.

“The primary is to bring a well deserved and overdue light to all wounded and fallen veterans. The second is to raise money for wounded and homeless veterans,” he said.

McQuown spent a night at the Wrens Fire Department and one at the Louisville Fire Department while in Jefferson County. He said 90 percent of all his nights so far have been spent in fire departments.

This past weekend was spent in a hotel in Wadley, sponsored by someone who wanted to remain anonymous, he said.

During a brief visit with Louisville Mayor Larry Morgan and Louisville City Administrator Don Rhodes, the men expressed their appreciation for what McQuown is doing.

Rhodes, a former National Guardsman and tank crewman like McQuown, spent several minutes discussing a variety of tanks.

Rhodes said he thinks there’s been a change and pointed out there are agencies building houses for veterans and modifying houses for disabled vets.

“What’s so mind boggling is so many committing suicide,” Rhodes said.

McQuown nodded. “Eighteen a day,” he said.

“A lot of veterans are denied benefits,” Rhodes said.

Anyone interested in following McQuown on Facebook can go to www.facebook.com/McQuownmcquownwalking.

McQuown’s also maintains a blog that can be found at www.projectfoot.org/marinewalking.htm.

“It’s been a blessing to me,” he said with a smile.




Battle Lumber plans expansion

By Carol McLeod
Staff Writer

The Development Authority of Jefferson County voted recently to support a Battle Lumber Company expansion by working with the company to issue industrial revenue bonds to help finance the project.

Before the discussion regarding the Wadley lumber company began, authority chairman, Bill Easterlin, said he and Edie Pundt, an authority board member, had a potential conflict of interest for the upcoming discussion.

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“Battle Lumber Company is planning an expansion,” Easterlin said. “We, the development authority, stand to gain a fee and due to the bank’s relationships to Battle Lumber Company, Edie and I must recuse ourselves.”

Easterlin is president of Queensborough Bank and Trust. Pundt is the vice president.

Because the bank and Battle Lumber have a business relationship, Easterlin and Pundt recused themselves from the discussion as well as the vote itself.

Easterlin said he is pleased the development authority can help local businesses; and, he and Pundt left the building.

Lee Woods, the vice-chairman, conducted the remainder of the meeting.

“This is a $10 million project,” Woods said.

“It’s a sawmill that can produce cross ties,” said Tom Jordan, the authority’s executive director. “It’s a high speed, high volume sawmill to produce dimension lumber, up to the size of cross ties.”

Woods said the authority wants the business to know it has the authority’s support.

“We, as the development authority, support their venture,” he said. “We back the process; but, we’re not backing the bonds.”

Jordan said the treatment for the cross ties will be done in Cordele.

“Providing a revenue bond is not providing any funds,” Jordan said.

Another board member said this could also provide a benefit to timber farmers in the area.

“It’s very exciting when we can assist growth in an existing industry in our county,” Jordan said.

In an interview this week, Jordan said the next step in the process is a public hearing required by Internal Revenue Code. The hearing will be Tuesday, Aug. 14, at 6 p.m. at the development authority in Louisville.

“That is the next local step here,” Jordan said.

“Once that’s done and approved by the county commissioners, it’s back in the lawyers’ hands,” he said.

“Then it will proceed to validation, closing and funding,” he said.

“That should happen sometime in early September,” Jordan said.

In other news, the authority discussed an intergovernmental agreement for the sewer lines in the Kings Mill and Commerce Park in Wrens.

During the meeting, Jordan told the board members the development authority will pay $2.25 per 1,000 gallons.

“That is for Wrens to take that and run it through their treatment plant. This will add some customers to Wrens,” Jordan said.

“It’s a forced main sewer line and will be between Kings Mill Commerce Park and the existing sewer in the City of Wrens,” he said this week.

“That is a formality between the city and the development authority because the development authority cannot operate it,” he said. “We could have hired somebody else to operate that; but, why do that when there are those who are certified in the city?”

This is the last step of a yearlong process.

The development authority received a grant for the construction of these lines. The EIP (Employment Incentive Program) grant is for $474,099. The total cost of the sewer is estimated to be $617,000.







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