2018-01-10 / News

True Citizen 2017 year end review


Here we continue to share what we found to be the most impactful, interesting or important news stories covered by The True Citizen in 2017.

November 1

The Bear Den erupted with celebration on Friday night as the 3-AAAA Burke County Bears (9- 0, 4-0) defeated 3-AAAA Thomson Bulldogs (7-1, 3-1) by 27-24, securing the region title and head coach Eric Parker’s 100th career win.

November 8

Waynesboro Mayor Greg Carswell has reimbursed the city for $4,337.99 after being called out for filing a falsified travel itinerary and using a city vehicle and credit card for unauthorized purposes. In advance of Monday night’s city council meeting, Carswell turned over the vehicle and credit card to city manager Jerry Coalson. Coalson had recently completed an investigation, ordered by the council, into Carswell’s travel and spending activities.

A packed council chamber heard Coalson and city attorney Chris Dube list violations of state law, city ordinances and city policies committed by Carswell since he assumed office in May of this year.

At the outset of the meeting, Carswell read a letter in which he apologized for the “distraction” and offered to repay $2,601.94 and said, “All other trips, meetings or anything I must attend will be paid out of my own pocket.”

November 15

Burke County Sheriff Alfonzo Williams and Santa Claus will share top billing on Dec. 2, in Midville's first Christmas parade in several decades.

Midville Mayor Samuel Cummings said this week the event has more than 50 entries so far, including as many as 10 floats.

November 22

In two days, the narcotics division of the Burke County Sheriff’s Office made five arrests that resulted in the confiscation of numerous drugs, thousands of dollars in cash and dozens of stolen firearms.

Last Thursday, Nov. 16, deputies arrested David Austin Hammond, 46, and Stephanie Belanger, 36, on Black Road in Sardis. While the two had methamphetamines and a firearm illegally in their possession, a search of Hammond’s residence on Hancock Landing Road later that evening resulted in more drugs, firearms and money. In total, the BCSO found 56.3 grams of meth, 357.5 grams of marijuana, 3.5 grams of shrooms (psychedelic mushrooms), 23 firearms (some which were listed as stolen) and more than $7,000.

******************** Waynesboro city councilwoman Alberta Anderson was warned during Monday’s council meeting that her behavior has created a hostile work environment and could lead to possible litigation.

During the meeting on Monday evening, city manager Jerry Coalson presented council with a recommendation to deny Anderson’s Oct. 23 request for GPS reports and gas receipts on nine city employees. Coalson said the request was a tactic to harass and intimidate employees and that over the last nine years, Anderson has submitted 25-40 similar requests but never followed them with a legitimate finding of any wrong doing by himself or any other employees. “There’s been no credible evidence given nor an explanation as to why she wants the information,” he explained, adding that the particular nine employees, including vice mayor Brenda Lewis, are her “favorite people to target.”

Coalson went on to say that Anderson has been “gossiping and fraternizing” at the Public Works Department, creating a large distraction within the department.

Following Coalson’s report, Anderson said she’d had no idea that she was being intimidating and that she was sorry. “If it seemed like a target on certain employees, I offer my apologies to them.”

November 29

Mrs. Josephine “Jo” Goodson Knight, 86, entered into rest Sunday, Nov. 26, 2017, the daughter of the late Hoyt Mayfield Goodson and Lillie Lively Goodson. Mrs. Knight was born in Augusta and lived most her life in Burke County. She was a member of Green’s Cut United Methodist Church, serving as the Church Historian, taught Sunday School and was a member of the Sunshine Club. She was a member of DAR and the UDC. She retired as President and CEO of Augusta Industrial Credit Union. Mrs. Knight was a historian and author compiling information for “Burke County Folks.”


The Burke County Bears finished their season on Friday night after being defeated by Marist 28-6.

December 6

The City of Sardis will be under new leadership come the new year.

Carol Edmonds secured the mayoral position in the city’s runoff election on Tuesday night by 11 votes and made history as the first woman to ever be elected mayor in Sardis. She garnered 101 votes compared to Preston Conner’s 90.


SRP Federal Credit Union announced last week that the company has signed an agreement to buy Southern Bank.

In a press release issued Wednesday, Nov. 29, Harry Gunsallus, president and CEO of SRP FCU, said, “We are delighted that Southern Bank has agreed to join with SRP Federal Credit Union, to help strengthen and expand our presence in the thriving CSRA region.”

******************** According to a report by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, analysts appointed by the Georgia Public Service Commission to evaluate progress at Plant Vogtle in Burke County say the project should be cancelled as Georgia Power failed to manage it in a “reasonable manner.”

The report said that completion of the project is no longer economical “given the additional costs and schedule delays.”

December 13

Instead of the smiling faces of a familiar couple, church goers at First Baptist Church of Waynesboro were greeted Sunday morning by white roses hugging the cushion of the pew where Doug and Sherri Cates sat during worship services.

The couple was found in their Dogwood Drive home Thursday, Dec. 7, after a call came in to the Waynesboro Fire Department just after midnight.

December 20

Though partially blinded by the blood in his eyes, Henry Daniel Jr. grabbed a loaded shotgun from his truck and fought back against the men who tried to rob him. He says he was protecting his rights and upholding the Second Amendment to the Constitution, but the avid outdoorsman is now being lauded as a local hero after bringing the two assailants down with a round of buckshot.

About 8:30 p.m. Dec. 12, the 68-year-old president of C.P. Daniel’s Sons locked his Perry Street office and was heading to his truck when two black males “came out of the shadows and pushed [him] up against the wall.”

They demanded money and guns, and Daniel said they threatened to kill him if he didn’t comply.

Return to top