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An Internet-only news site devoted to issues regarding Warrenton, Ga., and its environs.

Thursday, June 30, 2005

Warrenton growing; Camak shrinking; Norwood holding steady

The Census Bureau's latest population estimates are out, and they show these growth rates between the 2000 U.S. Census and July 1, 2004:
  • Warrenton has gained 45 people, up to 2,058, a growth rate of 2.24%;
  • Camak has lost 6 people, down to 159;
  • and Norwood is still at 299 people, same as in 2000.

I remember covering a Camak City Council meeting once years ago. City Hall was in a little building under the water tower. I don't mean it was in the shadow of the water tower. I mean it was literally under the water tower. It looked to be about half the size of my freshman-year college dorm room, as I recall. (Not sure if it is still there or not.)

Some growth rates for some neighboring cities:
  • Thomson lost 41 people, for a total of 6,787;
  • Gibson gained 19 people, up to 713, and a growth rate of 2.74%;
  • Louisville lost 80 people, now down to 2,632;
  • Sandersville lost 96 people, up to 6,048;
  • Sparta lost 53 people and now stands at 1,389. Sparta also had one of the state's largest drops in population between 2003 and 2004, according to this Journal-Constitution story.

Chronicle reporter sits in while chief fires his only officer

Now here's an experience you don't get often as a journalist ... From Midville in Burke County.

Sparta among the state's biggest population-losers

... Between 2003 and 2004, according to new estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau reported on today in the Journal-Constitution. Sparta's population shrank by 3.7% during that time, the newspaper says, even though Georgia's small towns are seeing the biggest population jumps.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Army sergeant threatens to jump from Thomson bridge

He didn't, and you can see the photo of him being wrestled to the ground by authorities in The Chronicle. The soldier, who is from Oklahoma, was apparently distraught over not being allowed to see his son.

Friday, June 24, 2005

Bear steals the show in downtown Sandersville

"I'm like, OK, it's time to go," one woman told WMAZ-TV in Macon. The bear was tranquilized and will be taken back to the wild.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Warren Co officials take part in regional economic development effort

Commission Chairman John Graham is quoted in this McDuffie Mirror story about the recent meeting of five Clarks Hill-area counties. They're exploring ways to help each other through tourism and other economic development methods.

Jefferson Co 1-cent sales tax passes by nearly 3-to-1 margin

Proceeds are earmarked for fire and rescue, parks and recreation and economic development, The Chronicle reports. Only 1 in 10 registered voters went to the polls.

Monday, June 20, 2005

Biking to beat Huntington's disease

Two women are biking from Thomson to Washington today as part of a longer trip from Wilmington, Del., to Atlanta, The Chronicle says. They're doing it for the Huntington's Disease Society of America. The disease causes degeneration of the brain, and among its victims was folk singer Woody Guthrie, who wrote This Land is Your Land. Read more about it from the National Insitutes of Health Web site.

Saturday, June 18, 2005

Beware of flying bottles of cologne in Augusta

A new form of hate speech, perhaps? An African-American Richmond County driver told authorities that a man pulled up beside him at an intersection, yelled racial epithets at him, and then threw a bottle of cologne at him and hit him in the head, The Chronicle reports in the third item down. The brand? Passion for Men by Elizabeth Taylor.

Friday, June 17, 2005

Study: East Central GA 2nd-highest use of marijuana in the state

A new federal study is the first to try to identify pot usage in areas smaller than states. How did this area rank? In East Georgia, which included Warren, McDuffie, Wilkes and Jefferson counties, the survey said 5.1% of the population 12 and older had used marijuana in the previous month. Central Georgia, which they defined as including Washington and Hancock counties and the areas closer to Macon, rated 3.7%. The whole study is on the Web site of the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration, but you'll also need to see this appendix if you want to make sense of what county is in what region and the actual raw figures used in the chart are here. The area with the highest incidence of marijuana use in the state was Atlanta, ranking 5.96%. The nation's highest rates were in Boston and Boulder, Colo.

Decision next week on 10-digit calling?

The Georgia Public Service Commission may decide next week about requiring 10-digit calling in the 706 area code when it "overlays" a new area code on top of the same geography, the Athens Banner-Herald reports. The PSC plugs the overlay idea on its Web site. (Want to sound off? Here's contact info for the PSC.) How bad off are we? The people who keep up with area code info for the U.S. and Canada are the North American Numbering Plan. They say there are 77 prefixes left in the 706 area code as of June 1, and we're in "jeopardy" of running out (link goes to PDF on their site).

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Hazardous sites in our area

Officials in Glascock County are thinking of trying to get the county landfill, which is contaminated with mercury and dichloroethene, on the state's Hazardous Sites Index to help pay for its cleanup costs, the Jefferson News and Farmer reports. So what other places in this area are on the HSI? Here's a list from the state's Web site. You can see the complete list, organized by county, as a PDF file here, and you can use the "site numbers" on that list to go here to look up details about the pollution at each location and what's being done about it.

Warren County:
  • One site, Martin Marietta:
    "This site has a known release of trichloroethene in groundwater at levels exceeding the reportable quantity. This release has resulted in suspected human exposure. Other substances in groundwater: toluene; dichloroethylene, N.O.S.; naphthalene; carbon disulfide; vinyl chloride; 1,1-dichloroethene."
McDuffie County:
  • The Hoover wood plant
  • United Technologies Automotive
  • Williams-Mesena Road Landfill
  • Martin Marietta Aggregates (same plant as in Warren Co.)
Washington County:
  • Washington County Landfill-Kaolin Road
  • Washington Manufacturing Co.
Wilkes County:
  • Wilkes County-County Road 40 Municipal Solid Waste Landfill
Jefferson County:
And Glascock and Hancock counties currently have no sites on the list. And none of the counties listed above have any sites that are actually in the federal Superfund program right now, according to the EPA.

As for what's doing at the Glascock landfill, dichloroethene can harm the liver, kidney, lungs and central nervous system. It also may cause cancer. Mercury can harm the human nervous system.

15-year-old slaying case finally solved

For 13 years, the family of Glenda Tarver didn't know what had happened to her. When she went missing in 1991, they assumed she skipped town, the Sandersville Progress says. When her parents died, her siblings hoped she'd show up at the funeral, but she didn't. Last year, they finally found out what happened: She had been killed in '91 by a friend following his birthday party. The killer, Hosea Griffin, led authorities to her remains in the woods near a Sandersville church. Griffin has now pleaded guilty in her death and will have to serve 15 years, The Progress says. The Chronicle also wrote about his confession here.

According to the state prison system's Web site, Griffin, who was born in 1963 and is either 41 or 42 years old, has previous convictions for motor vehicle theft, forgery and burglary. It says that Griffin had just gotten out of prison in September 1990, which would have been about seven months before he killed Tarver. He actually went back to prison following her death on the motor vehicle theft charge from 1993-96, when he was held at Central State Prison. His offender number is 0000174258 if anyone wants to read more.

Warren Co kids on the National Honor Roll

I count 15 Warren County High School kids on the list in The McDuffie Progress. Check out the National Honor Roll site here.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Soldier from Thomson wins $1 million in GA Lottery

Sgt. 1st Class Willie Kendrick, who is stationed at Fort Gordon, won the million bucks on a scratch-off ticket. Says he won't quit the Army. He bought the ticket in Harlem, Ga., the Chronicle reports.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Today is Flag Day

Some places where you can find out more about the flag and Flag Day:

St. Joseph's Hospital may close

Or be downsized, or sold, The Chronicle reports. When my mother was in labor with me there, the nun came to visit with her. Things sure were dragging on her. "We will pray for the speed," the nun said. And they did. I can't remember how much time elapsed before I arrived. If Mama were still alive, I'd ask her.

Sunday, June 12, 2005

Prominent people from East Georgia

For no real reason: An attempt to compile a complete list of prominent, famous, infamous, notorious and otherwise well-known people who hail from Warren and the nearby counties. Here's the first try, grouped by topic area:

The arts
Oliver Hardy - Actor, born in Harlem, lived in Milledgeville
James Brown - the Godfather of Soul; from Augusta
Erskine Caldwell - Author of Tobacco Road and God's Little Acre; grew up in Wrens
Flannery O’Connor - a good man is hard to find, but you can find her home in Milledgeville
Pat Mitchell - Head of the Public Broadcasting System and former chief of CNN; from Swainsboro, where she went to high school with my dad
Alice Walker - Pulitzer Prize winner for The Color Purple; from Eatonton
Joel Chandler Harris - author of the Uncle Remus stories; from Eatonton

Politics and religion
Woodrow Wilson - president, founder of the League of Nations; lived in Augusta from about age 4 to 14
Elijah Muhammad - leader of the Black Muslims; mentor of Malcolm X; from Sandersville
William Lowndes Yancey - Confederate leader from Alabama; born in Warren County
Alexander H. Stephens - Vice president of the Confederacy; from Crawfordville

Ray Guy - maybe the best punter ever in pro football; went to Thomson High School
Chris Mohr - current punter for the Atlanta Falcons; from Thomson
Eddie Lee Ivory - former Green Bay Packer, from Thomson
Garrison Hearst - current Denver Broncos running back; played for Lincoln County
Herschel Walker - Heisman Trophy winner as a Bulldog; from Wrightsville
Horace Grant -- NBA player from Sparta

If you know of others to be listed, please comment!

Saturday, June 11, 2005

Happy birthday to Gen. Joseph Warren

The Revolutionary War hero for whom Warren County was named was born on either June 10 or June 11, 1741, depending on which Web site you believe. So if he were alive today, he'd be 264 years old ... or something like that. Gen. Warren, who was a doctor by trade, was killed at the Battle of Bunker Hill outside Boston. An interesting piece of trivia: Warren had been a friend of Benedict Arnold, who people often forget was a big hero to the patriots before he became a turncoat.

Read more about the general:

Friday, June 10, 2005

The pyramids are crumbling ... before the sheriff's backhoe

They're tearing down the place in Putnam County built by the Nuwaubians, the eccentric quasi-cult-religious-group that mostly made local folks scratch their heads. A developer from Milledgeville has bought the place for a million bucks, AP reports.

Georgia-Pacific pensions underfunded

That's the word from the Journal-Constitution, which says several of Georgia's biggest companies have underfunded employee pension plans. GP is one of Warren County's largest employers.

Warren Co loses Washington-Wilkes as a competitor

But we're gaining a few new ones in its place. The Georgia High Schools Association is redrawing its districts and redoing its size classifications, according to the Journal-Constitution. Warren County's Region 7a will lose Washington-Wilkes, which is moving up to the AA size classification. (Washington-Wilkes who beat the Screaming Devils 27-6 in football last fall.) But the region is gaining a few others schools, too. Monticello is one, dropping down from AA. Also, three schools are being moved into 7a from 4a: Twiggs County, Wilkinson County and the Georgia School for the Blind in Macon. See the new lineups and the old lineups on the GHSA Web site.

Thursday, June 9, 2005

Cows, bobcat, peanuts: Crime report from Emanuel County

A woman hits a bobcat; a man reports his neighbor's cows are loose again; an ex-spouse took the kids to Soperton without the father's permission; and a man says someone drove through his peanut field. And, "A Soperton man reported he left his wallet in his car in Palm Springs and someone stole it. Car was unlocked." (From the Forest-Blade)

Warren officials invited to meeting on how to use Clarks Hill Lake

The June 14 meeting at the Thomson airport is to talk about regional economic development and how to get more tourism for their communities out of Clarks Hill Lake, the McDuffie Mirror reports.

Wednesday, June 8, 2005

Six-foot-long snake ... in your oven?!

It happened to a lady in Thomson, according to The McDuffie Progress. The police fished it out. The reptile is a black snake, the newspaper said. The species, also known as the black rat snake or rat snake, eats rodents and doesn't have venom.

Tuesday, June 7, 2005

Thomson, Swainsboro, among 'Cities of Ethics'

The mayor of Macon wants the city to be named a "City of Ethics" while City Hall is being probed by a grand jury, The Telegraph reports. The designation comes from the Georgia Municipal Association, which has already given the honor to cities including Thomson, Swainsboro, Madison, Sandersville, and a whole bunch of others. Warrenton isn't on the list but you can look for yourself on the GMA Web site. See what a City of Ethics is in The Telegraph.

Summer road construction for the state: None in Warren Co

But GDOT will get started this summer replacing the Highway 16 bridge over the Oconee River in Hancock and Putnam counties. Projects already underway in our part of east Georgia: widening U.S. 1 south of Swainsboro, between north of I-16 and north of Sandhill Road; and repaving and shoulder work for U.S. 221 in Jefferson, Johnson and Emanuel counties. (Link goes to PDF)

A north-south four-lane for East Georgia

Much of State Route 15 has been added to Gov. Perdue's Governor's Road Improvement Program for eventual four-laning. The section now in the GRIP starts in the north at U.S. 441 in Watkinsville, runs down to Greensboro, through Siloam and White Plains, then to Sparta, to Werthan, on to Sandersville, to Tennille, Wrightsville, Soperton and finally ends at U.S 1 in Vidalia. Read more about GRIP here.

Need grits? Ogeechee River Mill for sale

The mill and adjacent Riverview Farm are for sale for $1.25 million. Includes more than 200 acres of land. The big house at Riverview is 4,000+ square feet and includes a Jacuzzi, so you can rest after those long days at the mill grinding cornmeal.

Monday, June 6, 2005

Is Interstate 14 on the horizon?

It might be, and it might run from Augusta to Sandersville, then on to Macon, Columbus and on through Alabama and Mississippi, according to the AP. Read more here about the proposal, including how it fits in with the planned Fall Line Freeway.

1932 railroad timetables for sale now on e-Bay

They're for three local shortlines of years past, the Wrightsville & Tennille Railroad, the Wadley & Southern Railway and the Louisville & Wadley Railroad. Someone in California has them for sale now. The starting bid is $49.99. I believe the Wadley & Southern is the railroad that used to run past my grandparents' home in Blundale, but I could be wrong about that.

And to update a couple of other e-Bay auctions mentioned here, the old Methodist church ledger book went for $9, and the old Coke bottle from the Swainsboro plant went for $16.

Sunday, June 5, 2005

Tax increases, budget cuts facing local voters

It's tax time again. Not for you and me -- that it's in April. But it's the time of year when state and local governments decide on their budgets for the coming fiscal year, and that includes deciding whether to raise taxes.
  • Jefferson County residents are slated to go to the polls June 21 to vote on a one-cent sales tax increase to fund additional fire protection, economic development and recreation, according to the News and Farmer. The $3M in fire money would buy eight new fire engines, five tanker trucks, two rescue trucks and other equipment.
  • Putnam County is looking at a sales tax increase to fund several local projects; this story in the Eatonton Messenger specifically talks about improvements to the local hospital.
  • The Washington County school board is trying to trim its budget proposal. They'll have to pay out more this year because of a state mandated raise for teachers; at the same time, they've lost $500,000 in state and federal funding, and the kaolin companies are fighting to pay less property taxes, according to the Sandersville Progress.

Strange case: Jefferson Co. man and his grown daughter charged with incest

The father is 63 and the daughter is 35, according to the Jefferson News and Farmer. The man's wife and the woman's mother fatally drove her Cadillac into a nearby pond about two months ago, and police are now investigating whether the possible suicide was related to the incest case. They live near Moxley, Ga. Read WJBF-TV's version of the story here.

Saturday, June 4, 2005

Sunken CSS Georgia may be brought back to land

But it sounds like there's not much left of it. It's been sitting in the Savannah harbor since it was scuttled there in 1864 to avoid Sherman taking it. It was an ironclad.

Seems like there's a big push in the past few years to bring up old ships on the sea bottom. Made me wonder about what happened to some others:
+ They resurrected the Confederate submarine the CSS Hunley a few years ago off the South Carolina coast and buried the remains of its crew.
+ The most famous of the Civil War ironclads, of course, were the Union Monitor and the Confederate Merrimac, also called the Virginia. It sounds like The Monitor is being brought to the surface one piece at a time over the course of several years -- the Mariners' Museum is planning to open the U.S. Monitor Center in Newport News, Virginia, where the Monitor sank, in 2007. You can buy your own "Property of the U.S.S. Monitor" t-shirt through their online gift shop. As for the Merrimac, it didn't last too much longer after its famous battle with the Monitor; its crew blew it up to keep the Union from getting at it. It was salvaged not long after the Civil War ended. Some parts of it are at the Mariners' Museum, some at the Museum of the Confederacy in Richmond, and other pieces are elsewhere. The Museum of the Confederacy Web site is here.
+ The Titanic was found in 1985 off the coast of Nova Scotia. Wikipedia says more than 6,000 artifacts have been removed from it. A team from NOAA visited the wreckage in 2003. For an interesting piece about someone upset that people would make money off the removal of Titanic artifacts, check this out.
+ The Edmund Fitzgerald, made famous in song by Gordon Lightfoot, is still on the bottom of the big lake they call Gitcheegumee, er, Lake Superior, where it sank in 1975. In 1995, a consortium of the Great Lakes Shipwreck Historical Society, the families of the Fitz's crew and others had the ship's bell removed and brought back to the surface, where it was rung in honor of the dead at a memorial service. Divers put a new bell back on the shipwreck with the names inscribed of those who lost their lives on the ship. (This was done with the permission of the Canadian government and the ship's owners.) Who was Edmund Fitzgerald, anyhow? He was the head of an insurance company. That and other interesting facts here.

Warren County 2nd-highest unemployment rate in state

Our rate was 10.5%, just under Macon County's at 10.4%, for April of this year. That's twice the statewide average of 4.7%. Warren and Macon appear to be the only counties in double-digits. Some of our neighbors: McDuffie, 7.4%; Washington, 5.9%; Hancock, 7.3%. (Link goes to PDF file from the state Labor Dept)

Oral arguments later this month on small schools lawsuit

McDuffie, Jefferson counties are among 51 rural school districts suing the state over how it doles out education money. The hearing had been put off because of the big courthouse shooting in Atlanta.

Friday, June 3, 2005

Warren County has more cows than people

Warren County had 6,860 cattle and calves when the last federal Census of Agriculture was taken, and had 6,336 human inhabitants when the last federal people-census was taken. The numbers are a tad outdated; the Ag Census was last taken in 2002, and the people-counting was done in 2000.
Meanwhile, we also had 531 goats, 316 horses and ponies and 157 hogs and pigs. (Link goes to PDF file)

Wednesday, June 1, 2005

Five members of one family killed in Greene County holiday weekend wreck

The members of the Carter family, from Atlanta, were on I-20 on their way back from Myrtle Beach when the driver apparently fell asleep at the wheel.