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September 25, 2014 Issue

Maze and more
Second attempted kidnapping reported
Lemon indicted for murder

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Maze and more

By Parish Howard

For Chris and Lori Rogers expanding their family farm to include a way to share their love of agriculture with the community was always a dream.

“Lori and I had been considering the idea of opening a road-side market and U-pick operation for a long time,” Chris said. “But every bit of road frontage we had was irrigated land. So when the opportunity came about to get this piece of property, it gave us the chance.”


For the last several months the Rogers have been putting together a special project on Highway One north of Louisville. Sunny Day Farms held its ribbon-cutting and grand opening last week. Not only does it offer an out-door farmer’s market area offering fresh produce grown on-site, but it also hosts an entertainment and educational attractions.

The 125-acre site offers attractions like a corn maze, pumpkin patch, jumping pillow, cow train, hay rides, pig races, petting zoo and more.

The Rogers moved to Jefferson County is 2007 and started Champion Turf Farm.

“We still row crop around 1,100 acres of everything you can think of, we actually grew canola for the first time this year,” Chris said. “We wanted to diversify our farm and a landowner from across the road approached us this winter about buying some farmland that has a good bit of road frontage property.”

That’s when the plan for Sunny Day Farms began to come together for real.

“Seems like the Lord puts things in place,” Chris said.

First they put up a roadside stand.

“We always have a garden, that’s one reason we decided to add the produce,” Lori said. “I know a lot of people work and don’t have time to garden and grow their own fresh vegetables. So we decided to make our garden a little bigger.”

Most of the produce sold at Sunny Day Farms is grown by the Rogers. But they complement it with items from the farmers’ market.

“Most everything we sold this summer was grown here,” she said. “If they wanted a certain amount of tomatoes we’d go out and pick them right in front of them. They really liked the idea of having it grown right here on the farm.”

This summer they planted you-pick-it blueberries and blackberries and expect their strawberry crop to be in next year. The sweet corn also sold well, they said.

The Rogers also grew and sold squash, zucchini, watermelon, cantaloupe, a variety of peppers, eggplant, cucumbers and okra. This fall they plan to have some winter greens available.

“We are affiliated with Georgia Grown and so we also buy from a local farm that sells shelled butter beans and peas,” Lori said.

Not long after the stand was completed they began work on their 1,800 foot store.

“Our idea is to have an open market store that will be open to the community all year long,” Chris said. “We want to stay with that farm fresh idea. We want to carry a line of grass-fed beef products. We already have some cheeses and butters, but we will carry local products.”

The store currently carries an assortment of locally produced salsas, jams, jellies, sauces and dressings as well as local honey and other products.

“There are a lot of families that are wanting more locally grown products and we want to be able to offer that,” Chris said. “Along with that we want to entertain children. We feel like it is important to be able to educate children on agriculture.”

The couple currently serves as the sixth district young farmer chairs for Farm Bureau. Through their involvement with that organization they have hosted several field trips to their personal farm during harvest seasons.

“Seeing the lack of knowledge they have about crops kind of inspired us to gear it toward education,” Lori said. “We wanted it entertaining but also educational for the kids.”

“Some think peanuts grow on trees,” Chris said. “They just aren’t making the connection between food production and the food that is on the shelf in the grocery store. We want to be able to show them how we harvest our crops and have question and answer sessions that will help put agriculture in perspective for them.”

Their opening weekend the Rogers allowed teachers in free of admission and booked several field trips.

“The idea is to have a good time and teach them where their food comes from,” Lori said. “We’ll have different stations set up so they can stop and learn a little something at each one.”

The subjects of the stations include bee pollination, the uses of the corn plant, animal care, row crop harvesting, etc.

“We see the importance of what we do, the importance of agriculture, see how it affects the community and we want to share that,” Chris said. “For that school kid out there who dreams of being a farmer, there are successful first generation farmers out there. We want to be able to share our story.”

Special events at Sunny Day Farms scheduled through Nov. 15 include a corn festival, breast cancer awareness day, hometown heroes day, 4-H and scouts day, pumpkin festival and fall costume contest, an antique tractor day and fall vendor and craft day.

General admission is $10 plus tax for ages 3 and older. The farm is open Thursdays and Fridays 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. and Saturdays 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. School field trips are made by reservation only during weekdays.

For more information see the Rogers’ website at www.sunnydayfarms.net or give them a call at (706) 360-5051.

Second attempted kidnapping reported

By Carol McLeod
Staff Writer

For the second time in nine days, Jefferson County juveniles have reported what law enforcement has called potential attempted abductions.

Lt. Tim Moore of the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office said he is investigating a report filed Sunday about an incident three Louisville-area juveniles say occurred on Thursday evening.


Moore said a 16-year-old girl and two 11-year old boys were walking home Sept. 18, about 7:30 p.m. in Louisville when they say a van stopped in front of them and two men got out. When the two men, described as black and stocky, approached them, the children say they ran.

The van has been described as white, full size, with dark tinted windows, black wheels and double doors on the passenger side.

A little more than a week before, on Sept. 9 a 13-year-old girl in Wrens reported being approached by a stranger while waiting for her school bus.

“It was a little before 7 a.m.,” said a spokesman for the Wrens Police Department. “None of the other kids had shown up yet.”

The girl said she saw a car pass by, turn around and come back again, make a U-turn and stop.

The girl said a white, blonde female got out of the vehicle, ran towards the girl and attempted to grab her arm, the spokesman said.

“The girl ran and the offender got back in the car and left the scene,” he added.

The girl ran next door to a relative’s house and 911 was called.

Officers from several law enforcement agencies, including JCSO and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) met Tuesday morning. Information about the meeting has not yet been released.

A spokesman for the sheriff’s office said Tuesday evening there is “absolutely no evidence pointing to a connection between these two reports. No connection whatsoever.”

The spokesman said that local law enforcement continues to look into the reports.

In the meantime, they are encouraging anyone who notices something or someone suspicious around areas where children gather or play to report this immediately to law enforcement. Louisville Police Department can be reached at 478-625-8897; and, the number to JCSO is 478-625-7538. Calls can also be made to 911.

Lemon indicted for murder

By Carol McLeod
Staff Writer

Jefferson County Grand Jury indicted Anthony Mereal Lemon, 37, of Wadley in the death of 29-year-old Jamillah Mia Holmes of Sandersville.

An inmate on a work detail found Holmes’ body at a dumpster site on River Road about 3 miles outside Wadley Monday, May 12.


A woman who came to dump her trash contacted Wadley police. Because the body was discovered outside the city limits, the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office (JCSO) was contacted. An investigator with the JCSO asked the Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) for assistance.

Holmes’ body was not identified until the next day.

“Lemon has been in custody right after the murder on a failure to properly register as a sex offender,” District Attorney Hayward Altman said in June.

Lemon has a prior conviction of rape and served 10 years, Altman said.

Lemon has been charged in Holmes’ death with eight counts. They include malice murder, kidnapping, rape, aggravated assault and aggravated sodomy.

During a preliminary hearing, Altman told Superior Court Judge Bobby Reeves he is seeking the death penalty against Lemon.

The district attorney said this week the next step for Lemon is an arraignment.

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