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

Saturday, November 26, 2011

State patrol: Warren County's 'boring landscape' leads to high rate of I-20 traffic deaths

You've heard of the dangers of "distracted driving"? Well, apparently, the Georgia State Patrol has a new theory for the high rate of traffic deaths on Interstate 20 in Warren County: Undistracted driving.
From a story published today in the Augusta Chronicle:
DeKalb County, which has seen 13 fatal incidents in the five-year span, averages 0.77 fatalities per mile. Warren County, situated between McDuffie and Taliaferro counties, averages 0.93 fatalities per mile.
“There is a tremendous problem (in Warren County) and we’re aware of it,” said Lt. Donnie Smith, assistant commander of the Georgia State Patrol’s Troop E.
Smith attributed that problem to several theories. The “boring landscape” in the rural area tempts drivers to brave texting and talking on their cellphones.
The area is also 45 to 50 minutes between Augusta and Madison, both cities with lots of restaurants. It gives travelers just long enough to get sleepy after filling their bellies, Smith said. It’s also one of the first counties on the stretch from the state line that does not have a restraint cable dividing the highway.
“Most of our fatal accidents are crossover accidents,” he said.

For those of you who have not traveled through Warren County in some time, there is still no commercial development at any of the three interstate interchanges in the county. (The UPS facility outside Camak is not terribly far from the Camak exit, but that's more industrial development than commercial.)

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

TRW Automotive, Georgia-Pacific on federal polluters list

TRW Automotive's Warrenton Casting Center and Georgia-Pacific's Warrenton plant appear on a federal watch list of nearly 500 industrial polluters nationwide.

The list was the subject of a joint investigation by the Center for Public Integrity and National Public Radio.

TRW's facility at 1117 Thomson Highway was for many years owned by Wheland Foundry. It was built some years ago, as I recall, as a facility for Georgia Iron Works, though I don't know if GIW ever actually operated the facility or whether it ran for very long. It sat largely unused for many years during my childhood.

TRW's health risk ranked three out of five, according to the report, while Georgia-Pacific rated just one out of five.

Other sites in surrounding counties also on the list:

McDuffie County: HP Pelzer Automotive Systems and Temple-Inland, both of Thomson
Wilkes County: Anthony Forest Products, Washington
Jefferson County: Glit-Microtron, Wrens
Washington County: Trojan Battery, Sandersville; Lamson Pipe Co.

Photo by flickr user aimeeorleans, used under a Creative Commons license. 

Monday, November 14, 2011

Warren superintendent, principal pass lie detector tests about coach's beating in Sparta

Warren County's school superintendent and high school principal have taken and passed polygraph tests regarding the beating of the county's high school football coach at a game in Sparta, Channel 6 reports.


Sunday, November 13, 2011

Washington, Ga.'s racial-political rift profiled in Washington Post -- yes, *that* Washington Post

The hard-fought mayoral race between former state trooper Willie Burns, who is African-American, and businessman Ames Barnett, who is white, is profiled in depth in the Washington Post as part of its "Views from Washington" series. Burns lost a re-election bid to Barnett 837-747.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Warrenton's Travis Burley plays starring role in Jamestown College basketball victory

He had 27 points and 18 rebounds to help Jamestown come back in overtime to beat Doane College 80-78, the Jamestown Sun reports.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Warren had state's fourth-highest unemployment rate in September

Warren County had the fourth-highest unemployment rate in the state in September, according to data from the state Department of Labor.

The county's unemployment rate was 16.8 percent, compared to the statewide rate of 10.2 percent for September.

Topping Warren County's rate were Hancock County (22.6 percent), Jenkins County (18 percent) and Coffee County (17.7 percent).

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Open Meetings Act violated as cameras shut out of public meeting about football coach beating

Hancock County officials wouldn't let cameras into a public meeting at a local church about the recent beating of Warren County High's football coach, an incident that has made national headlines. (Reports from Channel 6 and Channel 12)

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Hancock Co. players ambush Screaming Devils players, beat Warren County coach

Warren County High football coach David Daniels now has broken bones in his face and metal plates in his head after being beaten by Hancock County players in an ambush after Friday night's game.

From the Associated Press:

SPARTA, Ga. — A high school football coach and his team were ambushed by opposing players after a game, and helmets were used as weapons in the ensuing brawl, Warren County's school superintendent said.
Superintendent Carole Jean Carey said she was with Warren County High School Coach David Daniels and the team when they returned to their locker room after Friday's game against Hancock Central.
Carey says they found the locker room doors locked, and their players and coaches were cornered. "It seemed like they were just waiting there," she said in an interview with WRDW-TV.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Interactive map of 45 Georgia post offices being considered for closure

Camak, Jewell post offices being considered for closure

The post offices in Camak and Jewell are being considered for closure, the U.S. Postal Service said today.

The two towns are on the list released today of 3,700 post offices the USPS could close, a list ironically titled the "Expanded Access" program.

WASHINGTON — As more customers choose to conduct their postal business online, on their smart phones and at their favorite shopping destinations, the need for the U.S. Postal Service to maintain its nearly 32,000 retail offices — the largest retail network in the country — diminishes.
To that end, the U.S. Postal Service announced today that it will be taking the next step in right-sizing its expansive retail network by conducting studies of approximately 3,700 retail offices to determine customer needs. As part of this effort, the Postal Service also introduced a retail-replacement option for affected communities around the nation.
“Today, more than 35 percent of the Postal Service’s retail revenue comes from expanded access locations such as grocery stores, drug stores, office supply stores, retail chains, self-service kiosks, ATMs and usps.com, open 24/7,” said Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe. “Our customer’s habits have made it clear that they no longer require a physical post office to conduct most of their postal business.”
For communities currently without a postal retail office and for communities affected by these retail optimization efforts, the Postal Service introduced the Village Post Office as a potential replacement option. Village Post Offices would be operated by local businesses, such as pharmacies, grocery stores and other appropriate retailers, and would offer popular postal products and services such as stamps and flat-rate packaging.
“By working with third-party retailers, we’re creating easier, more convenient access to our products and services when and where our customers want them,” Donahoe said. “The Village Post Office will offer another way for us to meet our customers’ needs.”
With 32,000 postal retail offices and more than 70,000 third-party retailers — Approved Postal Providers — selling postage stamps and providing expanded access to other postal products and services, customers today have about 100,000 locations across the nation where they can do business with the Postal Service.
“The Postal Service of the future will be smaller, leaner and more competitive and it will continue to drive commerce, serve communities and deliver value,” Donahoe added.
The list of offices being studied and additional information, including video, audio soundbites, b-roll and JPEGs, can be found at http://about.usps.com/news/electronic-press-kits/expandedaccess/welcome.htm.
The Postal Service receives no tax dollars for operating expenses, and relies on the sale of postage, products and services to fund its operations.
Photo: Camak's water tower in December 2010. Photo by Jennifer Peebles/Warrenton Watch. Keep up with all the latest news from Warrenton Watch on Facebook at this link

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Warren County deputies train to prevent dog attacks

WAGT-Channel 26 has the story. (Disclosure: Though he's not in this video, the county sheriff is my father. Yeah, I know, the six people who read this blog already know that.)

Monday, March 21, 2011

Warren County's abysmal unemployment rate, or, 'Brother, Can You Spare a Dime?'

If you live in Warren County and you're looking for work, you're in the wrong place.

Warren County and Hancock County had the two worst unemployment rates in the entire state for January 2011, the most recent month for which county-level stats appear to be available on the Georgia Department of Labor's Web site as of today.

Warren County's unemployment rate was 19 percent. As I recall from freshman economics, generally speaking, if you lined up every person in Warren County who is able to work and who wants a job, about one person out of five would be unable to find a job.

Hancock County's rate was 24.9%. In other words, if you lined up the same group of people in Hancock County, about one person out of every four would be unable to find a job.

Consider this: The national unemployment rate in 1932, at the height of the Great Depression, was 23.6%.

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Sunday, March 6, 2011

Warren County sheriff's deputy recovering after post-chase wreck

From WRDW-Channel 12:

Warrenton, Ga.-- Warren County Sheriff's Deputy Trevor Franklin is recovering after a car crash while on a high speed chase.

It happened Saturday morning after the deputy was trying to help DNR rangers catch a 19-year-old convicted felon.

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Friday, March 4, 2011

In memoriam: Mr. Jewell 'Bullet' Gray, a true car guy

The gas station of the modern era, it seems, is almost more Wal-Mart than gas station: Sleek, shiny Exxons and BPs advertising gourmet coffee to morning commuters and nearly everything you could want on your way home from work, from dijon mustard to toilet paper to fresh pastries and multiple exotic flavors of Jelly Bellies.

Gray's on Main Street in Warrenton is not among those.

Gray's is a service station. You came in, Mr. Bullet would pump you some gas, or fix your fan belt, or change your oil. Notice I said he would pump gas. This isn't a self-service operation.

You didn't ask Mr. Bullet what aisle he kept the dijon mustard on. Or the gourmet coffee. He was a car man. The last time I was in his station, I think he may have had a couple of brands of candy bars for sale on the rack, but had a much greater selection on offer of chewing tobacco, along with several sizes and types of fan belts.

I'm sad to report that Mr. Bullet passed on a couple of weeks ago. You can read his online obituary from the Augusta Chronicle at this link.

Mr. Bullet had serviced my family's vehicles and pumped tanks of gasoline for a long, long time. He fixed tires on my car and changed the oil on my grandmother's Toyota, and dutifully jumped off her battery when it went dead, over and over again, from disuse.

Like I said, he was a car man. They just don't make them like him anymore.

I never did think to ask him how he got the nickname "Bullet."

Monday, January 10, 2011

My homage to the Jebco mailbox

Jebco says it has made 750,000 of those blue U.S. Postal Service mailboxes. They deserve a place of honor. So I made one in Cyberspace: I Love Jebco Mailboxes.

As you travel the land, let me know where you see a Jebco mailbox. Take a picture. Send it to me. Let's try to find as many as we can.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Cardinals in the snow

Red birds in the snow in Warrenton, Dec. 26, 2010.
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