2019-01-09 / Front Page

2018 year end review

SEPTEMBER 5

The Burke County Board of Commissioners has selected a new coroner following the recent resignation of Susan Salemi.

In a called meeting last Wednesday, the board unanimously voted to appoint deputy coroner Val Prescott, citing him as the one with the most experience for the job.

One local man fears the county’s spending habits could eventually lead to a burden for taxpayers.

During a budget hearing last Wednesday, the board of commissioners heard from local resident Bill Hargrove, who asked them to reconsider adopting a proposed $98 million budget for the 2019 fiscal year.

“It’s intoxicating to have all this revenue,” Hargrove said, adding that the budget has gotten out of control since 2017, which was the last year late commission chairman Wayne Crockett had any input in its management. “It really just blows my mind.”

Obituaries included; Emily Bazemore Lee, Carolyn Patricia Jackson, Howard David Moore, Clara Yvonne Baker and Roy Waltower.

SEPTEMBER 12

A Statesboro man is behind bars after lifting a piece of fried chicken from Popeyes in Waynesboro.

Quantavious Carter, 24, was arrested Monday evening for theft by taking, disorderly conduct and carrying a weapon without a license.

The Greater Augusta Family YMCA broke ground on Tuesday, Sept. 11, on its 11th branch facility. Joining representatives from the Y were county commissioners and other civic leaders. The $6.3 million facility is a collaboration with the Burke County Board of Commissioners with support from many other donor organizations, including Georgia Power Company, Dalton Utilities, Oglethorpe Power and Ingevity Inc.

Obituaries included; Dorothy Ann Hayes James, Peggy Brinson Langham and Larry L. Allen.

SEPTEMBER 19

Bigger spaces have allowed for better service, as shown by the increased patient traffic through two extensions of Burke Medical Center.

The BMC Rehabilitation Center moved out of the hospital and into its own facility in August, and Amie Elliott, who serves as the center’s director, says business is booming.

Now housed in the building which initially housed Medical Specialists, and later Dr. Bonnie Jenkins, the therapy group that once had one small gym area and four treatment rooms now has separate gyms for both occupational and physical therapy, eight private treatment rooms and more equipment to help serve their growing clientele. According to Elliott, the center’s normal caseload prior to moving was between 650-700 sessions per month. That number has now increased to more than 830.

Obituaries included Antonio Bonner.

SEPTEMBER 26

The owners of Plant Vogtle voted Monday to continue the project, but with an added provision that would shift more of the risk of future cost overruns to the Southern Company.

Oglethorpe Power, which owns 30 percent of the entire project, said that its approval depends on Georgia Power accepting liability for any additional cost overruns in excess of the $2.3 billion approved Monday.

One of the drivers involved in a potentially deadly accident Monday cited “road rage” as a possible cause, and law enforcement officers appeared to agree when they issued a citation for “aggressive driving.”

According to a report from the Burke County Sheriff’s Office, Chris Wayne Casey of Martinez was driving a 2015 Chevrolet Silverado north on Highway 25 near McManus Road when he lost control and veered into the oncoming southbound lane and overturned in a ditch. The camper trailer his was pulling was completely destroyed and the pickup appeared to be a total loss as well.

A witness to the accident told officers that prior to the crash, Casey was driving aggressively, waving his hands out of the window and driving close to the rear of other vehicles.

Obituaries included; Jewel Gwendolyn Watkins Sapp, Joe Elbert Freeman, Shayna Usry Redd, Rosa Mae Gilchrist and Shelia Renee Birdine.

OCTOBER 3

His law enforcement career spanned more than three decades, and the sexual harassment complaints are peppered throughout. Now, a former sergeant for the Burke County Sheriff’s Office has been charged with child molestation.

Gene Boseman resigned from the BCSO on Sept. 9 and turned himself in to the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office Monday morning, where he was arrested and charged with felony child molestation involving a child investigators say Boseman knew personally.

Jessica Hood, who has served as Executive Director of the Development Authority of Burke County for the past three years, has resigned to accept a position in Effingham County.

Obituaries included; Rufus “Gene” Hall, Jr., Rashawn White, Jr., Carol Woodyard, Frances Hebbard Dye and James Andrew “Andy” Claxton.

OCTOBER 10

It’s the first of its kind in the county, and the Midville Garden Club is blooming with excitement over the announcement.

The club, which is a member of the Azalea District, has teamed up with the Garden Club of Georgia Inc., the American Legion Post 120, the City of Midville and the Midville Lions Club to install a Blue Star Memorial Marker at the Historic Midville Cemetery.

OCTOBER 10

Obituaries included; Dorothy Belle “Dee Bee” Macaulay, Dan F. Wilson, Jr. and Patricia Gardner.

OCTOBER 17

Corina Stan says her home away from home is her classroom, and on Friday evening, she was honored for her dedication as one of Burke County’s finest educators.

Stan, who was selected as Teacher of the Year by her peers at Waynesboro Primary School, was named the district winner during halftime festivities at the Bears’ football game on Friday. She will now move on to represent Burke County in the Georgia Teacher of the Year program, which announces its own finalists in 2019.

Fans of the famous Frosty shall look no further – Wendy’s is coming to town.

According to a news release issued by the company, construction on the restaurant began this week and the franchise is set to open in early 2019 “with revitalized d├ęcor, comfortable seating and other modern amenities.”

Obituaries included; Mary Nell Dixon, Lt. Franklin Donald Stephens, Sr., Thomas J. Bugg, Jr., Ronald “Ronnie” T. Brown, Thelma Evans McGee, Faye Phillips, Bonnie Rhodes Tidwell and Jeanette Anfield-Lewis.

OCTOBER 24

Just six months after announcing plans to build in Waynesboro, a new dealership has opened its doors.

In April, Thomson Chrysler- Dodge-Jeep-Ram-FIAT confirmed the rumors that they were coming to Burke County. Their expansion, Waynesboro Chrysler-Dodge-Jeep-Ram, is a 13,000-square foot building perched on a 7.5-acre lot just north of Waynesboro on U.S. Highway 25.

A jury of eight women and four men heard opening testimony Tuesday in the murder trial of Kalvin Smith Jr., accused of the May 2016 shooting of Paul Golden III of Waynesboro.

Though their responsibilities are minimal, the City of Waynesboro has decided to look into helping with some of the issues plaguing Jones Lake.

Obituaries included; Ruth Holland Glisson Sheppard and Willie B. McKelton.

OCTOBER 31

Kalvin Smith Jr., 20, will spend the rest of his life in prison after shooting another man.

After approximately three hours of deliberation on Thursday afternoon, a Burke County jury found Smith guilty of malice murder, felony murder and possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime in the June 2016 shooting death of Paul Golden III. Judge Sheryl Jolly presided over the case and sentenced Smith to life without the possibility of parole plus five years for the firearm conviction.

Obituaries included Billy Wess Register, Jr.

NOVEMBER 7

Rogers Field was a sea of red as the Edmund Burke Academy family celebrated following a 48-7 victory over Briarwood on Friday night. Not only did the Spartans win the Backyard Battle against one of their biggest rivals, they also earned the region championship trophy for the fifth time in the school’s history.

The Spartans finish out their regular season with a five-game winning streak and a record of 8-3.

Burke County voters aligned with the state of Georgia on Election Day, favoring Republicans in most races.

In the race for House District 126, incumbent Democrat Gloria Frazier barely beat out her challenger William Harris, garnering 4,296 (50.50 percent) of local votes compared to Harris’ 4,211. John Barrow is the only other Democrat who won the support of the county. In the race for Secretary of State, he had 4,685 votes, while Republican Brad Raffensperger had 3,880 and Libertarian Smythe Duval had 74. On the state level, Frazier again appeared victorious, but this time by a much larger scale: she tallied 68.74 percent of the vote while Harris had 31.26. Barrow’s numbers, however, were lower with Georgians, and he had earned 45.67 percent compared to Raffensperger’s 52.17 at press time.

Locally, 143 votes separated Republican Brian Kemp and Democrat Stacey Abrams in the bid for governor. Kemp had 50.58 percent with 4,410 votes, while Abrams’ 4,267 votes garnered 48.94 percent. Ted Metz, a Libertarian, had 42 votes. Statewide, Kemp had 53.47 percent of votes while Abrams had 45.58 at press time.

Obituaries included Daisy Mae Crumbley.

NOVEMBER 14

It’s been the site of touchdowns and scraped knees, stolen bases and ceramic vases. In 50 years, so much has changed but the staff’s dedication has stayed the same.

Monday afternoon the staff of the Burke County Recreation Department celebrated a milestone – On Nov. 12, 1968, a half century ago, the Burke County Board of Commissioners adopted a resolution forming a new recreation commission with the City of Waynesboro – thus establishing a sound program for all the citizens of Burke County to enjoy.

Obituaries included George Cecil Page.

NOVEMBER 21

The Burke County Commission has taken the next step in the construction of an animal shelter.

Last week, the board approved the location site for the shelter, an approximately 4,000-square foot building that will be located on Highway 24 South, just beyond the EMA headquarters. It will share the property with the new Emergency Operations Center (EOC).

She’s been the face of Burke County Extension for three decades and now she’s clearing off her desk for the last time.

“I am not one to sit and watch TV every day,” Louise McClain says of her impending retirement, which includes spending more time with her husband and grandchildren. She plans to stay active. In her church. In her garden. In the kitchen. She also enjoys sewing and plans to take a painting class.

Those who have worked with her over the years say she deserves it, but they are sad to see her go. Louise began her career with UGA Cooperative Extension Service in June of 1985.

Obituaries included; Jennifer “Jenny” Gunter, Mary Jackson, Willie Herman “Bill” Kearson, Christina M. Oliver and Frankie Kirby Counts.

NOVEMBER 28

“We beat Terrell. We just didn’t win the game.”

Those were the words of Spartans head coach Aaron Phillips following Friday night’s heart wrenching loss to Terrell Academy in the third round of the GISA AA State Playoffs. Edmund Burke fell to the Eagles in the last two minutes of the game, 17-14.

She gets up every morning, puts on her lipstick and does her hair. She’s afraid if she doesn’t make the effort that she could succumb to the devastation that comes with being told she hasn’t much time left.

But that is the reality Kandace Dewberry faces each day as the functioning percentage for her one working kidney continues to drop. Today, two years after she was first diagnosed with kidney disease, she’s at a lowly 15 percent.

Now, she needs someone to step forward and give the gift of life. She needs a kidney and she needs it fast.

Obituaries included; Jeffery Scott Lewis, Lucy G. Devine and Neely Jones.

DECEMBER 5

An officer who was fired for an alleged attempt to organize a mass resignation at the Waynesboro Police Department has filed an appeal with the city.

Lt. Theodore Jackson was released from his duties at the WPD on Nov. 16, following a nearly month-long investigation. In a termination letter to Jackson, WPD Chief Augustus Palmer wrote, “Based on preliminary information provided by several employees, I requested an internal affairs investigation be conducted to determine if you were involved in organizing a work action designed to adversely affect the morale, operations and/or efficiency of the Police Department … Your conduct is egregious, unprofessional and constitutes conduct unbecoming an officer.”

He’s been a mentor to many, and because of the role he played in the courtroom, judges from the Augusta Judicial Circuit, as well as a number of Augusta attorneys, are requesting that Burke County name its new judicial center in his honor.

While many have expressed their desire to see the building named for Judge William M. Fleming Jr., a number of local residents have expressed disdain over the idea on social media.

Obituaries included; Cicero Garner, Jr., Betty A. Pellerin, Louise Clark and Jimmy L. Oglesby.

DECEMBER 12

No action was taken Tuesday night on the naming of the new Burke County Judicial Center in honor of veteran Superior Court Judge William M. Fleming.

At the request of current Chief Judge Carl Brown the proposal he had made in a letter to the commission was postponed until the February meeting.

The City of Waynesboro is now officially a Purple Heart City. The declaration was made during a ceremony at the regular city council meeting on Dec. 3.

Obituaries included; Josie Maria Smith Rangler, Johnnie Lee Ellison and Melvin McBride.

DECEMBER 19

State Representative Gloria Frazier is looking into ways to reduce the number of accidents on the Burke Veterans Parkway.

Frazier said last week she has contacted the Georgia Department of Transportation and requested a study of the five-mile stretch of highway that has been the site of 15 accidents so far this year, including several involving 18-wheelers.

“I have spoken with DOT board member Don Grantham about the possibility of the department lowering the speed limit from 55 to 45 on the entire bypass,” Frazier said. She has also discussed the problem with Burke County Sheriff’s Office.

Obituaries included; Jason Jay Jenkins and Shirley Ann Harden.

DECEMBER 26

A little more than a year after it was announced, the merger between Southern Bank and SRP Federal Credit Union is off. In a brief announcement this week, the two financial institutions said they had mutually agreed to terminate the agreement which was dated Nov. 28, 2017. It had recently been announced that the merger would be effective on Dec. 31.

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