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

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Stay off I-20 tonight: The Mega-Load is coming through

Photo by flickr user Miguel Tejada-Flores, used under
a Creative Commons license.
A 600,000-pound machine press will be hauled up Interstate 20 through Warren County Wednesday night, taking up both lanes. The equipment, which is being hauled to Bartow County, will leave Columbia County at 7 p.m. Wednesday, headed toward Atlanta,  the Journal-Constitution reports.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Warrenton's Candice Warthen to play pro ball in Finland

Candice Warthen on the court. Photo:
Arizona Athletics via
From ArizonaWildcats.com:

TUCSON, Ariz.--- Former Arizona guard Candice Warthen has signed a professional contract to play basketball with Finland’s Forssan Alku, the club announced on Monday ...
The Warrenton, Ga. native goes down as one of the top scorers in program history, as she ended her Arizona career with 1,128 points, which ranks 16th on the school’s all-time list. She also is responsible for one of the most iconic shots in recent UA history, as she knocked down the would-be game-winning jumper from the left side with three seconds remaining to give the Wildcats a 60-57 win over then-ranked No. 12 Stanford back on Feb. 8, 2015. The victory marked the Cats’ first win over the Cardinal since 2004.

Sandersville sixth-'worst' place to live in Georgia?

Washington County Courthouse. Photo by flickr
user Jimmy Emerson DVM. Used under a
Creative Commons license. 
A writer for the site RoadSnacks.net says he's worked up a formula to calculate the worst places to live in Georgia with populations greater than 5,000, and Sandersville comes in at No. 6 on the list. (Coming in at No. 1 is my father's hometown of Swainsboro.)

Thomson is tied for No. 19 on the list with Forest Park. Warrenton isn't on the list at all, as it doesn't fit the 5,000-resident threshold.

Writer Nick Johnson writes that his rankings are based on stats including unemployment rates, median income levels, education spending and home values -- all things that many Middle Georgia and East Georgia towns are struggling with.

But he also includes population density in that formula -- "the lower, the worse," his piece says. Taking a look at the numbers in his spreadsheet and how he did the math, it looks like he just averaged the rankings of the five criteria, so population density is a fifth of the final score. So, the ranking is pretty much built-in with the assumption that lower population density -- in other words, being rural -- is a bad thing.

Pieces like this tend to rile up people, such as the econ development director in Vidalia, who posted an impassioned defense of the Sweet Onion Capital of the World as a comment on RoadSnacks' piece. We should note that the piece bears a disclaimer that it's opinion and not fact. And RoadSnacks has published similar "worst places to live" posts on several other states, not just Georgia.

The data in the underlying spreadsheet show the same thing those metrics have shown for most of my lifetime: That there is a lot of poverty in little towns in Georgia -- unemployment is high, income levels are low, the schools aren't as fancy, often because there's not much tax base. Yes, a lot of people in rural Georgia have it tough. But a lot of people live in small towns because they like living there, because they feel the advantages outweigh the disadvantages. (Example: Sandersville may be No. 6 on RoadSnacks' list, but it had a better crime rate ranking in the spreadsheet than Smyrna, which RoadSnacks says is one of the 20 "best" places to live.)

If you really want to see how people did this kind of number-crunching for real and came out with something meaningful, check out the New York Times' "Hardest Places to Live" interactive from last year. The NYT analysis took into account "education (percentage of residents with at least a bachelor’s degree), median household income, unemployment rate, disability rate, life expectancy and obesity." Nearly all of Middle, East and South Georgia are colored in orange there -- the "doing worse" category.

(Note: This piece has been edited since it was originally published.)

Friday, April 10, 2015

State Rep. Brooks pleads guilty to federal charge, resigns seat

Some sad news: Former state Rep. Tyrone Brooks, one of the most prominent political figures in the state originally from Warren County, has pleaded guilty to tax fraud and resigned his seat in the state legislature. As a young civil rights leader, Brooks played a major role in leading the push to desegregate the Warren County schools and businesses in Warrenton and Crawfordville. (Story at AJC.com)

Monday, February 23, 2015

Learn to be a storm spotter

Want to learn more about the weather and have the chance to help the community? Warrenton Watch just spotted a listing for National Weather Service storm spotter training March 3 at Warrenton's Community Services Building. Honest disclosure: Warrenton Watch's editor once did the storm spotter training through the Nashville NWS office. The listing says 6:30-8:30 p.m.

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Gibson man lands 90-pound blue catfish

Jimmy Holbrook of Gibson reeled in the giant cat at South Carolina's Lake Moultrie on Jan. 2, reports southcarolinasportsman.com. It was just 19 pounds shy of the state's record for blue catfish. Read the story and see a full photo of Holbrook with his prize catch at this link.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Warrenton man gets nearly 20 years in robbery/chase case

A Warrenton man who used a shotgun to hold up a Thomson Dollar General store has gotten a federal prison sentence of nearly 20 years.

Jacky Ray Burley, 51, was given a 235-month sentence for possessing a firearm as a convicted felon, according to a press statement posted online by WJBF-TV.

The Dollar General robbery, which occurred in November 2013, was followed by a high-speed car chase into Warren County.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Former coach Guillebeau passes

Former Warren County coach and teacher Tommy Guillebeau has died, the Thomaston Times reports. After working in Warren County, he later served as head of the Georgia High School Association. (Photo: GHSA)