August 30, 2012 Issue


Voters thanked for passing TSPLOST

Dear Editor:

On behalf of the Georgia Department of Transportation and the State Transportation Board, I want to congratulate the voters of the Central Savannah River Regional District. Your vote to approve the Transportation Referendum, or T-SPLOST as it is known, was a courageous and visionary investment.

I know it was a difficult decision. Voting to pay additional taxes - even just a penny - in these struggling times for Georgia families and businesses is no small sacrifice.



In turn, I make a commitment to you. Georgia DOT will do our part. We will complete T-SPLOST projects efficiently, on time and within budget, period. One reason why critics said the referendum would fail was that voters would not be willing to invest in transportation. You proved them wrong. Another argument was that the Transportation Department would not be able to deliver. We are going to prove that wrong, too.

A clear implementation process is in place and already under way. The necessary intergovernmental agreements are being finalized and we will be meeting in the next week or so with your Central Savannah River Regional Commission members to finalize our strategy for delivering projects on time and on budget. A program manager and a Central Savannah Citizens Review Committee (to be appointed by the Governor, Lieutenant Governor and Speaker of the Georgia House of Representatives) will soon be in place. Collection of the referendum levy will begin this coming January and work on the first round of projects should begin next year. Full disclosure and absolute transparency will be the standard. Be it the $50 million widening of State Route 28 in Columbia County or the $500,000 school access road in Glascock County, complete and current information on project work status, schedules, budgets and monies spent will be provided to both the citizens review committee and the public in general through regularly updated reports and a dedicated website. We are committed to work with each county and municipality over the life of the program on a routine basis.

Finally, allow me to put to rest a continuing concern I hear from some in the three regions that approved the referendum – that somehow your T-SPLOST funds will be diverted to other projects elsewhere in the state, in areas which rejected the referendum. Let me state as clearly and emphatically as possible that this simply is not going to happen. State law prohibits it. The Transportation Board and I will not allow it – under any circumstance. It will not occur. This is your money and it will be spent on your projects in your communities. Further, we are going to continue our normal program investments in your region too, also as state law and fairness dictate.

This is your time. Governor Deal expressed it best when he commented after the election that the rest of Georgia now will “watch you grow.” Georgia DOT will be proud to help.

Keith Golden
Commissioner of the Georgia Department of Transportation

McGahee defends shooter, rebuts editorial

In rebuttal to the editorial in last week’s paper, “Would it Matter?”

Would it matter if he were running from the law? Yes! The car that Lane was driving was a lethal weapon that could have killed or gravely injured anyone on Campground Road that day. He was clocked at 120 mph by the deputy who was behind him. The car became airborne at least twice as shown on film. A driver, who had stopped at the stop sign at Highway 80 didn’t even see the speeding car coming, it was so fast. He heard a sound then saw the car hit the ground to his left, and then continue on. The driver who had stopped at the stop sign was thankful he hadn’t begun his left turn, or he and his passenger would likely have been killed instantly.

Yes, it would matter if the man who was shot lived and didn’t learn from his experience. This past November he committed burglary twice—the Huddle House in Wrens and the Wrens police chief’s house where he took the chief’s gun and bullet proof vest. Why he is not in jail is a mystery.

Does it matter if he said he didn’t hear Swan tell him to stop? Yes. However, he told a different story to the grand jury from what he told at the trial.

Does it matter if he said he was running from the shooter because the shooter had a weapon, but in fact he was running from Swan before he knew Swan had a weapon? Yes.

Would it matter if Swan told him to stop before he shot him? Yes.

Would it matter if a stray bullet had hit an innocent bystander or a police officer who was also pursuing the fleeing man? The lone police officer was quite safe—back at the scene of the car wreck—NOT pursuing the fleeing man! The tape could prove this except they “accidentally” lost parts of the film, the prosecution said. It is my belief it would not benefit us and would waste county money to have a second trial.

During the trial, Mr. Lane said that since being shot in the head it had caused a hearing loss and at times he couldn’t see, “my vision comes and goes.” I have been in the medical field but I am not a doctor, however never have I ever heard of anyone whose vision “comes and goes.” You can see or you can’t see, but your vision maybe blurred or otherwise impaired. As for problems with hearing, Mr. Lane answered all questions asked of him while he was on the witness stand without difficulty except one question. The question Mr. Lane asked to be repeated was because he did not understand the meaning of the questions, not because he didn’t hear the question! I was sitting in the courtroom and heard and saw this example of his supposed hearing loss!

Swan lives in Stallville, a small community where, for generations neighbors knew each other, cared about each other and helped each other. There were seven widows living within a half mile of the scene of the shooting—all in late seventies to late eighties. Swan said he couldn’t let Lane run loose in the community. On an extremely hot day Lane was running with super human strength. It was found that he did, indeed, have cocaine and marijuana in his system, when he was rushed to the hospital. There is not enough evidence to prove guilty on Swan’s part. Since part of the evidence has been lost according to the D.A., could Swan have a fair trial?

I have known Andrew Swan his entire life and cannot believe he would want to hurt someone for no reason. He is the kind of man who would rush to protect someone else without regard for his own safety. In fact, roughly 30 years ago, Andrew Swan saw lights under a bridge on a very cold night. When he went to investigate he saw car lights shining from underneath the water in a creek. He got in the icy water, talked with the man inside the car, then, when he was sure there was just the one man trapped inside, he opened the door against a wall of water and helped the man out, then took him home. Guess what? This man was black and Andrew was glad he could rescue him and take him back to his family. They didn’t even exchange names. A well-known man in the community was with Andrew, if proof is needed.

I hope the District Attorney will not see fit to put the county and Andrew Swan through any more of this redundancy.

Sydney Lamb-McGahee

Supporters of Mary E. Hill Day appreciated

The family and committee for the 3rd Annual Mary E. Hill Day would like to thank everyone that came out and participated in the day of food, fun and fellowship for celebrating the spirit of Mary E. Hill and the legacy of giving and sharing being a success.

Thank you Rev. Charles Washington, President Jefferson County SCLC for your words of power. We thank our partners that joined our celebration to help with education and supply of eco-friendly products. Felicia Phillips, Founder/Publisher, H30 Eco Magazine, for the cases of Caribbean Blue Water, Thomas Dermmitte, The Admit Program for the CDs of Evironmentality Project, Kim Weekes with the upcoming Healthy Hair Project Summit and Philip Mueller of the Jefferson County Information Center.

To the friends, family and community, we look forward to you joining us for the 4th Annual Mary E. Hill Day, fourth Saturday, August 2013. For opportunities to volunteer or support the upcoming Mary E. Hill initiatives, contact the Committee for Mary E. Hill Day at mareyhillday@gmail.com, www.facebook.com/4thAnnualMaryEHillDay or (404) 610-1499 .

Sharon J. Hill


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