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March 28, 2013 Issue

Taming poverty
Widow awarded millions
Got booze? Not on Sunday in Wadley

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Taming poverty

By Carol McLeod
Staff Writer

“When you were petting that lion and that cheetah, were you scared?” asked an audience member.

“Yes, ma’am,” she said without hesitation.


She is Maria Scarlett, a registered nurse who has gone all over the world doing mission work.

Scarlett grew up in Louisville, attends church in Wrens and now lives in Hepzhbah.

She has just gotten back from a mission trip to Zambia with Maranatha Volunteers International.

She talked about her trip to an audience at her church, Seventh Day Adventist Church in Wrens on a Saturday in February.

When not on mission trips, she works as in the float pool at Doctors Hospital and in the emergency room at the VA, both in Augusta.

“Which means I work wherever they send me,” she said. “I also do some short-term traveling assignments, as I set my own schedule.”

Scarlett said this gives her the flexibility to do mission work without worrying about having to take off from her job.

Scarlett said she’s more than an RN.

“I’m a medical missionary,” she said. “Anybody can be a medical missionary. You don’t have to be an RN. In 1988, one of my nursing courses was transcultural nursing. Part of that course we went to Haiti. That was my first mission trip. I love to travel. It whet my appetite.

This was Scarlett’s second mission trip with Maranatha. The organization’s home office is in California.

“If you have a group of people, you can do your own mission project,” she said.

“You come back changed.”

Scarlett said after her first mission trip to Haiti, she was with patients who complained about such things as their food was cold.

“I was thinking, ‘Be thankful you have food,’ because I just got through ministering to people who had no food. I was cutting a peanut butter sandwich six ways,” she said.

Scarlett said the average salary in Zambia is about $1 a day.

“It’s something that you cannot understand,” she said. “We have so much to be thankful for.”

The nurse has been to 36 countries; although, not all have been mission trips.

Her mission trips have included visits to Kenya, Ethiopia, Honduras, Venezuela, Mongolia, Nicaragua, Jamaica, Haiti and India.

The most memorable visit was to India, she said; while, the most rewarding was to Ethiopia.

She said she had not been on a mission trip in 10 years.

“It’s hard sometimes to have the time and the money,” she said, explaining that people who go on such trips must pay their own way and a participation fee.

Additionally, depending on the country visited, there are immunizations. You may need a visa as well as a passport.

“A current passport that’s good for six months after you’re supposed to come back,” she said.

She said what strikes her about the places she’s been is how different the people are and how different the houses are.

“Travel is an education,” she said. “I can travel and see the world.”

Her dream is to visit every continent. Left on her list are only Antarctica and Australia.

She said her typical mission trip takes about 10 days.

Besides work, she was able to travel in the area and went to a national wildlife preserve where she was allowed to pet a lion and a cheetah.

One of the other workers who was with her, a woman in her 80s, challenged her to ride a zip line. Scarlett said she went from Zambia into Zimbabwe on the zip line.

She also rode over Victoria Falls in a glider and visited a national park in Batswana.

“It was an experience,” she said of her trip.

She sees her trips as a means to allow Christ to use her however He sees fit.

She has been to many places, including Mongolia, Japan, Egypt and Jordan.

On the Zambia trip, Scarlett and the people she was with helped to build a school.

“Schools that can be built in one day,” she said of the structure. “We put the tops up and then the local communities build the rest. The concrete pad is already built.”

Another crew had finished putting in the plumbing before Scarlett and the others with her arrived.

“We did not complete the project,” she said. “Another team will go in.”

She said the school built in Zambia was named for Terry Schwartz who, along with his family, is heavily involved in Maranatha.

“The cost of a building now is about $1,500,” she said.

Scarlett said the children who attend the school will have to share text books.

The building she helped build had eight classrooms on the outside that they actually erected. The big building will have 11 classrooms when it is finished. It will also have an office and a large meeting area.

This was in Livingstone.

“In Africa, all building materials must be termite proof,” she said.

Scarlett said during one trip several people with her pointed out a crocodile; but, she never saw it.

“About three people are killed every week by crocodiles,” she said.

Although she said she never saw a snake she did see a lot of bugs, including ones she had never seen before.

“While I was gone, I thought about y’all every day,” she told the congregation.

Supplies come by donations.

An audience member asked her if children have an opportunity to learn where there is no school.

“No,” she said, shaking her head. “Not really.”

Scarlett was asked what was needed most in Zambia.

“Everything,” she said.

Scarlett said in every village she saw different problems; although, there was a lot of ringworm.

She showed a video during the presentation. In it, she is seen petting a cheetah and a lion.

She said baboons are everywhere.

“They can be very aggressive and dangerous,” she said.

During her visit to Victoria Falls, she said she saw something she had not before – a moonbow, which she said is a rainbow seen at night.

Scarlett’s brother-in-law, Ray Scarlett, said he is organizing a mission trip to Surinam.

“If you haven’t been on a mission trip, you don’t know how lucky we are in this country,” he said.

He said he is working with people to help them establish a bakery and make their own fruit juice. He said there is mission work needed in the United States.

He said there are families here who have difficulty getting a meal every night before they go to bed.

For more information about Ray Scarlett’s missions, contact him through his church at 706-651-0412.

“Sometimes we just presume that everything is hunky dory,” he said.

Mariah Scarlett said it was hot in Zambia and the mosquitoes were bad.

“(They) were very bad,” she said.

She said Maranatha has family projects and is funded totally by donations. Anyone interested in more information about the organization can visit the website, www.maranatha.org.

“A mission trip is life changing. Life changing,” she said. “The poor will always be with us.”

Regardless of the hard work, the crocodiles and the bugs, Maria Scarlett said on the way home, she was ready for more.

“Coming back, I was saying, ‘Can we go to Ghana?’” she said, adding Ghana is the next trip scheduled.

She said, “You’re never too old and you’re never too young to be a part of Maranatha.

“Anybody can volunteer. They say the only qualification is a willing heart,” she said.

Widow awarded millions

By Carol McLeod
Staff Writer

The widow of a man killed several years ago has been awarded $10 million in a civil lawsuit filed against several defendants.

The man, Florentino Hernandez, was killed at Battle Lumber Company in Wadley Friday, Dec. 29, 2006. Hernandez, 53, had been employed by the saw mill since March 7, 2000. He was killed when he was crushed in machinery in a tragic accident.


Andrea Eslava Hernandez, Hernandez’ surviving spouse, originally filed suit against Hi-Tech Engineering Inc., Battle Lumber Company, Bonner Safety Service Inc., Bonner Safety Service II, Inc. and Timber Machine Technologies Inc. in Fulton County in 2008.

Hi-Tech Engineering Inc. filed a motion in Fulton County to transfer the case to Jefferson County in October 2011. Fulton County Superior Court granted the request.

A Jefferson County jury found last week Hi-Tech Engineering Inc. was at fault in the case at 100 percent, which effectively states the other defendants are not at fault.

The complaint states the case is one of personal injury and wrongful death arising out of the death of Hernandez while operating an industrial sawmill system.

The complaint states, in part, that Hernandez was acting in a reasonable and non-negligent manner.

"The death of Hernandez was a direct and proximate result of the defective condition of the subject machine and the negligence of all defendants,” it states.

There were three counts in the complaint. The first was one of strict liability. The second count was negligent design and manufacture. Both were against Baxley Equipment, Hi-Tech / Comact and Timber Machine.

The third count, against Baxley Equipment and Hi-Tech / Comact, was for negligent service and maintenance.

The fourth, against Bonner’s Safety Service, was for negligent training and inspection; and, the fifth was against all defendants for failure to warn.

“The jury entered a verdict of $10 million,” said Cale Conley, the attorney for the plaintiff, Andrea Hernandez.

Conley said the defense attorney could appeal.

“There’s a variety of post-verdict motions they could file,” he added. “I believe it’s 30 days to file either your notice of appeal or post-trial motion. We should know within the next 30 days.”

Conley said he talked during closing about what makes a life valuable.

“That’s the standard in a Georgia wrongful death case, the full value of a life. The cost of the machine at issue was right at $1.17 million. One thing we know for sure is that a good man is worth more than a defective machine.”

He said he told the jury it was up to them to decide how much more a good man’s life is worth over a defective machine.

Got booze? Not on Sunday in Wadley

By Carol McLeod
Staff Writer

If you want to drink on Sundays in Wadley, you’ll need to stock up Saturday night.

That is the message voters sent last week when they slapped down a referendum to allow package sales on Sundays.


Sales would have been for malt beverages, wine and distilled spirit on Sundays from 12:30 p.m. until 11:30 p.m.

When the poll closed Tuesday, March 19, 111 voters had said no and only 62 had said yes.

“We have more than 1,400 registered voters in the city,” said Sallie Adams last week. “It was quiet,” she said of Election Day.

City Councilman Albert Samples said he thought the turnout was low because it wasn’t advertised well enough.

“We’ll have a better turnout for our city general election,” he said. Samples said the issue will be placed on the ballot this November.

He said he has had only one or two people tell him they were against allowing Sunday sales.

“But it wasn’t really advertised good. That’s one of the factors. We didn’t really put a lot of effort into it like we do for councilmembers and mayor (elections).”

He said the city is just going along with some of the surrounding cities that allow Sunday sales.

“I’m for it,” he said. “I went to New York, 1957. You could buy whisky on Sunday and beer on Sunday and nightclubs were open on Sunday. You’re talking over 50 years ago.

“I’m not a drinker; but, I’m not going to tell you that you can’t drink on Sunday if you want to. I have nothing against it. To each his own.”

Councilwoman Dorothy Strowbridge who is working to become an ordained minister said she is happy with the outcome.

“The no was victorious,” she said. “I feel like the people went out and did their part and made their voices heard. Through their vote, they do not want the sale of alcohol on Sunday. I feel like the people went out and made the decision. The majority ruled. We have a say in what we want in our community. We don’t have to stand by and allow things we don’t want in our community.”

Strowbridge said she feels if the referendum failed, the city should wait before placing the issue before the voters again.

She would like to wait a year or two, she said.

“I don’t feel like it should go on the regular election in November. I feel like they had their chance, if they wanted to pass it,” Strowbridge said, adding she would study the issue some more.

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