More News & Features
By Chantel O’Neal
Half a dozen rib bones, picked clean by scavengers and dry from the heat, are scattered across the ground leading to the rotting remains of two wild hogs. After only two days under the hot sun, there is little left of the animal carcasses. The only indicators of their presence are the skeletons, a strong stench and a few buzzard feathers on the old dirt road.
This is the most recent incident of animal carcass dumping on Double Bridges Rd., according to resident James Thomas Mapier, who called to report this potential health and safety hazard.
“It’s just turned into a dumping ground; it has become a bad problem,” Mapier said citing the danger of diseases.
Mapier reported seeing a number of animal carcasses abandoned in the ravines on the sides of the road, everything from dogs and cats to armadillos and, more recently, wild hogs.
“People have absolutely no respect,” Mapier said. “They think they can take it all out on a dirt road and dump [carcasses] out.”
As a concerned citizen, Mapier has called local police for help, but all to no avail. “I couldn’t tell you the last time we’ve seen a Morgan County patrol car out here on this road – this part of the county has just been forgotten,” Mapier said.
Exactly how long this has been going on is uncertain, because the problem has come and gone over the years. “It’s hard to pin point; it’s not that it’s this time or that time – it’s just that it’s been going on for such a long period of time,” Mapier said. “But during the last couple of years in particular, since this wild hog thing… we don’t know if these animals are diseased or what.”
A Morgan County Grand Jury met for a June term. The following true bills were returned.
Tony Bynum, 33, Rocky Mount, N.C. one count trafficking cocaine.
Shermanuel Devon Wilkins, 27, Rocky Mount, N.C. one count trafficking cocaine.
Christopher Jamel Hawkins, 26, Durham, N.C., one count trafficking in cocaine, one count possession of marijuana, one count seat belt violation.
Shawn O. Davis, 25, Sumter, S.C., one count possession of marijuana, one count possession of Ecstasy.
John L. Moses, 23, Sumter, S.C., one count of possession of marijuana.
Devon E. Williams, 21, Sumter, S.C., one count possession of marijuana.
John C. Cummings, 26, Athens, one count of armed robbery.
Steve Freeman, 51, Rutledge, one count possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute, one count possession of marijuana less than an ounce, one count possession of firearm during the commission of a crime.
Amy Snipes, 36, Rutledge, one count possess of methamphetamine with intent to distribute, one count possession of marijuana less than an ounce, one count possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime.
Benjamin Jones, Jr., 47, Atlanta, one count forgery in the first degree.
Bernarda S. Foster, 39, Atlanta, one count of forgery in the first degree.
Marcus Antonio Smith, 32, Madison, one count possession with intent to distribute Ecstasy, one count possession with intent to distribute Ecstasy within a drug free commercial zone.
Pamela H. Smith, 32, Madison, one count possession with intent to distribute Ecstasy, one count possession with intent to distribute Ecstasy within a drug free commercial zone.
David Gregory Moss, 43, Bishop, one count driving while habitual violator, one count driving while license suspended, one count no proof of insurance, one count improper tag.
By Chantel O'Neal
According to last week’s article “BOC approves FY10 budget,” law enforcement topped the list of expenditures on the county budget for 2010. While it may be the largest departmental expense, it did not increase one million dollars from last year, despite the fact that the FY09 budget states law enforcement as $1.9 million and the FY10 budget states law enforcement as $2.9 million.
Where is the missing million? Exactly where it was before, well, almost. “This year [the county budget] just totals up the [law enforcement] budget,” Sheriff Robert Markley said. “Last year, the law enforcement and jail operations were two separate lines on the [county] budget.”
In 2009, jail operations equaled $990,843. If jail operations is added to the $1.9 million, the actual total becomes $2,904,575.
This year, instead of the two-part budget for law enforcement and jail operations, Markley’s budget is divided into five categories which include administration, $246,159; investigative, $302,119; uniform, $1,028,293; jail, $1,090,405; and court services, $191,725. These parts, however, are combined into one total under law enforcement on the county’s FY10 budget, equaling $2,858,701.
The difference between Markley’s total budget in 2009 and 2010 is a loss of $45,874, or a two percent decrease. “Long and short, we actually went down,” Markley said. To make matters interesting, Markley also noted the fact that he will be increasing staffing by six positions, regardless of the smaller budget he has received. “Overall, we’re actually decreasing a whole lot more than what it first appears,” Markley said.
By Tara DeRock Mahoney
Senior Staff Writer
For the next couple of years, those in the Morgan County community can log onto a new Web site that will give them up-to-date information on the progress of Morgan Memorial’s new hospital building. The new site, www.mmhnow.org, is up and running, and already holds a large quantity of information about the new facility, including elevation renderings, links to the 2008 Rural Hospital Study and a Georgia Hospital Association Economic Impact report, and information on how members of the community can support the hospital or make donations.
“Our newest Web site was created to provide the community with the most current information on our progress toward a new facility,” said Megan Morris, Morgan Memorials director of public relations. “This is such an important project that we felt it was necessary to create a second site dedicated specifically for this purpose.”
The hospital’s main site, www.mmh.org, Morris added, focuses on the services provided by Morgan Memorial, as well as employment opportunities. A detail that is not currently on the mmhnow.org Web site is information on how the new facility will be funded, as Morgan Hospital Authority members are still evaluating options vis-à-vis funding after the Morgan County Board of Commissioner declined to back $35 million in county bonds for the new building.
The Authority may opt to borrow money through loan programs offered by either the United States Department of Agriculture or the federal department of Housing and Urban Development. The new Web site does include information on the hospital’s Critical Access status, which could be key to its funding.