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December 27, 2012 Issue

LA gym razed as part of phase one
County gives employee raises
Officers end crime spree

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LA gym razed as part of phase one

Faye Ellison
Staff Writer

The view of the future for the new Louisville Academy is coming to fruition with demolition beginning last week on the lot adjacent to where the elementary school is currently located. The old gymnasium, bleachers and lights are gone from the site where the original Louisville Academy once stood.

“We are in Phase I of the construction now,” Jefferson County Superintendent Dr. Molly Howard said. “We are doing the site work right now, which includes the demolition of the existing building on the site, utilities, ground work and water drainage. This is Phase I type preparation. Every building on that lot will be gone. Everything will be gone but the water tank.”

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State funding and the Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax, a one cent sales tax, will fund the construction of the new structure that will face Peachtree Street in Louisville.

“Every five years the state requires a facility study and we knew the problems we had at Louisville Academy,” Dr. Howard explained. “For one thing, no matter where the child is in class, the child has to leave the building and actually walk exposed to the elements, though we do have covers. It is kind of a hodgepodge of construction.”

The original building which sits behind the school’s office and houses fourth and fifth graders, as well as art classes, was built in the 1950s.

“All the rest of the buildings were added on with time,” Dr. Howard said. “The state has a problem with the children even going across the road to the gym. There have been so many new requirements over time.

“That original building has steps, and we can’t have those inside without a ramp. We couldn’t even make it handicap accessible without spending a lot of money and it still would not be that good. We also have a lot of electrical problems with the old 1950s building and it can’t handle the technology.”

The state told school officials that while they would assist the school system up to $3.1 million to build a new structure, it would give little to no money for a renovation.

“There actually was very little difference in what it would take to build the new facility and the renovations,” Dr. Howard added. “We are completely building everything new. The gym is gone and now we will have a physical education facility, which will have some bleachers and basketball goals, but it is not like a high school gym. It will be more of a P.E. facility than a gym.” The land from the old football field is expected to be used as green space.

“The lights and bleachers are gone,” Dr. Howard said. “Our insurance liability carrier deemed them unsafe and said they would have to come down anyway. We are going to be very protective of the arches that have been there with Louisville Academy and any historical aspect of the property. None of that will be touched.”

The actual school building construction will begin by the end of January.

“We will decide on what part of the existing Louisville Academy we will use closer to time when the school is built,” Dr. Howard said. “Portions of it we will use, possibly for professional learning or staff development.”

Dr. Howard wanted the community to know that the school system does not intend to leave the current building vacant as an eye sore to the town.

“Currently we don’t have a place for a large crowd if we need training for the teachers and staff,” she said.

Phase II of the construction, which will include the new Louisville Academy building will not be bid on until January. Dr. Howard said they plan to have the school open and ready to be moved in by December 2013.

“I think that the whole community will be proud of the design,” Dr. Howard said. “We want this to be built with the integrity of the Louisville Academy that sat on that very footprint, and it will be designed with some of those architectural details. It will be an addition to the Louisville community and benefit the children who will go to school in it.”

Dr. Howard said preliminary drawings are at the board office and citizens are welcome to take a look.




County gives employee raises

By Carol McLeod
Staff Writer

The Jefferson County Board of Commissioners voted to give county employees a 5 percent raise, effective Jan. 1.

Jefferson County Administrator Adam Mestres will receive a raise of $3,000, slightly less than 5 percent. His salary will increase from $62,000 to $65,000.


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The commission, which met Tuesday, Dec. 11, heard a heartfelt note of gratitude from exiting chairman, William Rabun. Mitchell McGraw will begin his term as commission chairman Jan. 1.

“I just want to tell the people here that I appreciate their support and ask this board to continue their support for the new chairman as they gave me these eight years,” Rabun said.

The commission made a resolution to appoint Mestres the County Legislation Coordinator, which means he will act as a liaison between the commissioners and the Association County Commissioners of Georgia or ACCG.

Mestres said it is typical for this position to be held by the county administrator.

David Gunn was appointed to the county’s board of health.

During citizen comments, Ruth Harrison asked if the commissioners had given any thoughts to restoring a public restroom outside the county’s courthouse.

“That never was a public restroom, was it, Tommy?” Rabun said, directing his question to Commissioner Tommy New.

“No,” New said but pointed out to the citizen if she could let the commission office know how many people would be attending a meeting, rally or other event on courthouse grounds, Porta-Lets could be provided.

During the committee reports, when EMS Director Maj. Carl Wagster was giving his report on emergency services, New talked about a recent event.

“I don’t recommend this to anybody; but, my niece had a bad wreck,” New said, adding he got to see the county’s EMTs, firefighters and other emergency personnel in action.

“My niece had to be cut out of the car with the Jaws of Life,” he said. “I saw the helicopter land; and, I saw the helicopter take off. I saw the volunteers and the ones we pay.”

New said he was impressed.

“Thank you,” he said.

The next regular monthly meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, Jan. 15, at 7 p.m. at the commission office at 217 East Broad St. in Louisville. This meeting is open to the public.




Officers end crime spree

By Carol McLeod
Staff Writer

In a single night, two men went through a neighborhood taking a car, tires, gas cans and leaving behind a package of sausages and some pork chops.

A second car reported stolen from Wrens was also tied to the two men.

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Investigators spent six hours in the woods on a cold night to put an end to the crime spree.

It began on a Friday morning, Dec. 14, with a report of a stolen vehicle. A victim in the Bermuda Drive area of Louisville told a Jefferson County deputy, Otis Blair, he had last seen his vehicle, a white 2002 Honda Accord, the night before, Thursday, Dec. 13, about 9 p.m.

The vehicle had been parked in the driveway of the man’s residence. He said he was unsure if the vehicle had been locked.

While the deputy and a sheriff’s investigator, Sgt. Tim Moore, were processing a report of this theft, Blair was dispatched to another residence on that same street regarding a theft.

The victim there told the two deputies he had left his residence that morning about 7 a.m. and when he returned home he noticed some items lying on the ground next to a tree in his front yard.

The victim said the items were a package of sausage, a package of pork chops, a portable air compressor and binoculars. The air compressor and binoculars were taken from a vehicle that was parked in his carport. The sausages and pork chops had been in a freezer in a storage room under his carport. that was parked in his carport. The sausages and pork chops had been in a freezer in a storage room.

The victim told the officers he checked a second vehicle and found the glove box open but did not notice anything had been taken.

The deputies went door to door in the neighborhood checking for other victims. A third victim stated all the cabinets under his carport had been gone through and all the doors had been left open. The victim said he did not notice anything missing.

Deputies spoke with a fourth victim at a Vineland Road residence in Louisville. She said after checking her vehicle, she was missing an unknown amount of coin change and a set of keys. She said she checked with her husband who said he checked his vehicle and discovered about $50 had been taken.

A fifth victim on Bermuda Drive said he was missing two sets of tires and two 5-gallon containers from a storage shed in the yard of his residence. Also missing was another 5-gallon gas can from the bed of his pickup truck. During this check in the neighborhood, dispatch advised the investigator of a call from a citizen in Wrens reporting the theft of his vehicle, a black 2008 Dodge Charger.

Sgt. First Class Barrow Walden and Cpl. James Kitchens of the JCSO responded to this call.

The victim said the last time he saw the vehicle was about 7:45 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 13.

On Friday afternoon, Dec. 14, Moore received a call from a witness saying a family member had noticed a white vehicle parked in the wooded area between Golf and Bryant drives. Moore and Walden notified Lt. Clark Hiebert and Sgt. Frankie Lampp of the JCSO of this. Hiebert and Lampp went to the scene. Upon Moore’s and Walden’s arrival, Hiebert, Lampp and Louisville Police Chief Jimmy Miller had located both stolen vehicles.

Hiebert, Moore and Walden stayed in the area to see if anyone would come for the vehicles and the other officers left. The officers disabled the vehicles and waited in the woods for six hours before two subjects arrived and tried to crank one of the vehicles.

The officers showed themselves and announced, “Sheriff’s Office.” Both subjects began running. Officers caught the subject who had tried to crank the vehicle. He has been identified as Brian Santana Lane, 27, of Louisville. Officers were unable to locate the second subject, who remains at-large.

Investigators have identified this subject as Rashawn Lane, brother to Brian Lane, and who is in his early 20s and is known to frequent Louisville. Investigators have learned there are outstanding, pending charges against Rashawn Lane from Detroit, Mich., and possibly other locations.

Lane has been charged with two counts of theft by taking motor vehicle, three counts of burglary and four counts of entering an auto. All these charges are felonies, Moore said.

Officers received a report of a third subject who sold four of the stolen tires to another person. The investigation is ongoing and additional charges may be pending.

Officers have located many of the stolen items, which have been returned to their owners.

Anyone with information leading to the whereabouts of Rashawn Lane should contact their local police department or the JCSO at (478) 625-7538.







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