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December 12, 2013 Issue

Here comes Santa...
Prince wins runoff for District 127
Caring for the dead
Help keep wild birds healthy

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Here comes Santa...

Wadley held its annual Christmas tree lighting and parade recently. See more parade pictures on page 9A. The Wrens, Louisville and Glascock County parades will all be held this Saturday, Dec. 14. The Louisville parade is scheduled for 1 p.m., Wrens parade for 3:30 p.m. and Gibson for 4 p.m.


Prince wins runoff for District 127

By Carol McLeod
Staff Writer

Brian Prince won a runoff last week against Diane Evans.

Prince will fill the remaining unexpired term of Rep. Quincy Murphy who died in August. Prince, a democrat, will be the state representative for District 127. Much of Jefferson County is in this district.


Election records show less than 17 percent of registered voters in Jefferson County cast ballots in the runoff, which was held Tuesday, Dec. 3.

In Richmond County, where the rest of District 127 is, voter turnout was reportedly less with just 6.69 percent of voters going to the polls.

Evans, also a democrat, did well in Jefferson County where she lives.

She received 874 votes to Prince’s 304.

But in Richmond County, that trend was reversed. Prince received 1,140 votes with Evans receiving 237.

In the end, the total votes district wide for Evans was 1,111. Prince had 1,444. This gave Prince the win with 56.52 percent of the votes. Evans came in with 43.48 percent of the votes.

Caring for the dead

By Carol McLeod
Staff Writer

It comes to each of us, dying. For those who are left behind falls the responsibility of maintaining the site where our loved ones rest.

When cemeteries belong to a city or to a church, workers or volunteers with the city or church usually look after the property, making sure to trim the grass, pull the weeds, straighten headstones and whatever else becomes necessary.


But the cemetery in Bartow has a problem.

To begin with, the cemetery is private property. It doesn’t belong to a church, nor does it belong to the city.

Legally, then, the city is not supposed to provide workers, or even equipment, to care for the graves.

Some of the graves are hundreds of years old.

“It’s a burden on Bartow to keep it up,” Bartow Mayor Dwayne Morris said. Councilmembers have been discussing the increasing cost of the upkeep.

People who bury loved ones there either already own a plot or buy one from the owner. The problem is trying to discover who owns what.

Jefferson County Chief Tax Assessor Katherine Perry said recently that all cemeteries are tax exempt. Therefore her office does not send anyone a bill to pay taxes on any cemetery, whoever owns it.

Some of the people who were buried in the cemetery in years past, no longer have family in the area.

Gravestones are broken or chipped, tilt to one side or have fallen. Grass and weeds seem to cover everything.

“Citizens that pay taxes ask why the grass hasn’t been cut. They get upset,” Morris said.

“Nobody comes to clean it up. The people that own plots don’t give anything to help keep it up, help pay for the cost of keeping it up,” he said.

One suggestion from a concerned citizen is for the city to condemn the property. Then take over its care.

The city could then charge a fee to assist in the upkeep. People having to do community service could work on maintaining the cemetery.

The family would have to pay the city a certain amount to bury someone there.

For now, city leaders are trying to figure out what to do.

Help keep wild birds healthy

By Carol McLeod
Staff Writer

While many birds fly farther south in winter, many others visit our area throughout the year.

Several local birdwatchers have observed certain birds having problems with their eyes.


Mary Rhodes said she regularly puts out birdseed for birds to attract them to her yard.

She started noticing the eye problem several months ago, she said, adding this started in June with a yellow finch.

“Now other birds have it, a brown bird, maybe a sparrow and two red birds, cardinals,” she said.

She is aware of at least two other birdwatchers who have noticed this problem with wild birds.

“The birds can’t see,” Rhodes said. They flutter around, unable to find the feeder or a place to land. She found one bird still alive, but covered in ants. Her husband shot the bird.

Pat Leonard with Cornell University said there is a finch eye disease that has been around for a number of years.

She said the brown birds described were probably female finches.

Her recommendation to anyone who has seen this type of problem with birds in their yards is to take down the feeders and clean them thoroughly with bleach.

“They do recover from it, unless they can’t find food,” Leonard said, adding this type of disease has been seen throughout the country.

Susan Monteith, another area birdwatcher, said she has found dead birds scattered about in her yard

“It’s such a sickening sight,” she said. “You figure that you get most of your population back, year after year. We just don’t have the same number of birds.

“I’m seeing a lack of House Finches and Purple Finches and the American Gold Finches. A lot of the birds that we have don’t migrate. I feed all year round.”

Billie Jean Smith, another area birdwatcher, said she had seen birds unable to find her bird feeder.

“They couldn’t light. They couldn’t see. I watched them go straight into the garage, just hit the building. They’re pitiful.”

Smith said she would like to know if there is anything else to do other than wash the feeders and bird baths thoroughly with Clorox and rinse well.

“I’d just love to know; because, I love the birds,” she said.

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