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COVID cases higher than reported

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Morgan County’s coronavirus case count is estimated to be four times higher than previously thought, according to a new report from the AJC By Tia Lynn Ivey Managing Editor  A new report released by the Atlanta Journal Constitution (AJC) estimates that Morgan County’s official current coronavirus case count is most likely four times higher than reported by the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH). Statewide, the report estimates coronavirus cases are a third higher than the current official tally.  “In Morgan County, 60 miles east of downtown Atlanta, the most …

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Car chase ends in one man’s death

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By Patrick Yost Editor   A Madison man has died of injuries sustained after a car chase that exceeded 130 mph ended with a crash. According to Georgia State Patrol reports, Octavious Dionte Clark, 29, was pronounced dead at the scene of the culmination of a car chase that began near the intersection of Ward Road and Rutledge Highway and ended when the driver of the 2003 Ford Mustang lost control of the vehicle near the intersection of Hollis Harris Lane and Dixie Highway. The Mustang left the roadway and struck …

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Final recount wraps up

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By Tia Lynn Ivey Managing Editor  Just two Morgan County election officials are conducting a machine recount of all ballots cast in the 2020 Presidential Election this week.  As of press time on Tuesday, Dec. 1, Elections Director Jennifer Doran was halfway done tabulating more than 11,000 votes cast in Morgan County.  “There are two of us – me and a scanner operator scanning the ballots,” said Doran Tuesday afternoon, estimating the recount would be done before the state’s deadline on Wednesday, Dec. 2 by midnight. “The process is going …

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‘Manna from heaven’ falls on Morgan

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By Tia Lynn Ivey Managing Editor  After more than 30 years of orchestrating the Community Thanksgiving Meal, in which a Thanksgiving feast is served to needy families in the community at the high school, Calvary Baptist Church was forced to cancel this past Thanksgiving due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. However, the leaders of Calvary Baptist Church would not be deterred in their mission to do good in the community, believing that when God closes one door, He opens a window leading to someplace new. Calvary Baptist Church of Madison …

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Recount resumes

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Second ballot recount to begin next week By Tia Lynn Ivey Managing Editor After a tedious statewide hand-recount of nearly 5 million votes cast in the 2020 Presidential election last week, local election officials and poll workers will soon be back at it again.  Georgia counties are slated to conduct a second recount that must be completed by Dec. 2, this time by machine, despite state officials already certifying the election results–awarding Georgia’s 16 electoral votes to President-Elect Joe Biden.  President Donald Trump exercised his legal right to request a …

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Morgan vote recount now complete

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Numbers remain virtually unchanged as national spotlight lands on Georgia By Tia Lynn Ivey Managing Editor  Morgan County has completed a by-hand recount of all ballots cast in the 2020 Presidential Election—yielding virtually identical results to the outcome tabulated on Election night on Nov. 4.  According to Morgan County Elections Director Jennifer Doran, the recount results differed by just two votes when poll workers completed the process on Monday, Nov. 16.  “The audit results were just two votes short of the certified results,” said Doran of the completed manual recount …

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Veterans honored at MCHS last week

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By Tia Lynn Ivey Managing Editor  “You may not know me the first time we meet. I’m just another you see on the street. But I am the reason you walk and breathe free. I am the reason for your liberty.” Those were the words that rang out last Wednesday beneath Morgan County High School’s flagpole as a JROTC student read the stanzas of the famous poem, “I am a Veteran,” written by Andrea Brett in 2002.  While the annual Veterans Day Ceremony was cancelled due to the ongoing coronavirus, …

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Man shoots girlfriend at Madison’s Hampton Inn

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By Tia Lynn Ivey Managing Editor A Covington man was arrested and charged with aggravated assault after allegedly shooting his girlfriend in the chest at the Hampton Inn in Madison. According to Sergeant Detective Wes Thompson with the City of Madison Police Department, officers were dispatched to the Hampton Inn in the early afternoon of Wednesday, Nov. 11 in response to a 911 call reporting a Madison woman having trouble breathing.  When authorities arrived at the Hampton Inn, they made their way up to the third floor where they found …

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Belton blasts vote count

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State rep criticizes outcome while local officials remain confident in election results By Tia Lynn Ivey Managing Editor  As the national spotlight falls on Georgia once again with a statewide vote recount looming and two pivotal U.S. Senate run-off races this January, Morgan County finds itself at the center as one of two Georgia counties that experienced voting machine glitches on Election Day, Tuesday Nov. 3.  As President Donald Trump seeks a recount in Georgia after narrowly turned “blue” for the first time since 1992, Georgia election officials are facing …

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Unity Vigil aims to combat racism

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By Tia Lynn Ivey Managing Editor  In an effort to combat racism and hatred, local community members are organizing a Unity Vigil in response to the recent racist text messages exchanged between Morgan County High School Students that were exposed online last week.  The vigil will be held this Thursday, Nov. 16 at 6 p.m. outside of Bethlehem Baptist Church in Madison.  Shockwaves rippled through the local community after screenshots were posted on Facebook exposing a private group chat between Morgan County High School boys, filled with racist and violent  …

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Students’ racist rants spark outrage

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By Tia Lynn Ivey Managing Editor  Racist and violent threats among Morgan County High School students were discovered in a private social media chat group and then posted publicly on Facebook last week, sparking outrage from the local community as screenshots from the conversation were shared over 115 times by angry parents and concerned citizens. The incident led to more allegations throughout last week, as at least three parents called the Morgan County Sheriff’s Office to report rumors circulating Morgan County High School, alleging students were claiming to have guns …

Early voting explodes in Morgan County

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By Tia Lynn IveyManaging Editor  The phone rang nearly 10 times before a frazzled employee answered the phone at the Morgan County Board of Elections and Registration. “We’re swamped right now,” the employee said as Morgan County voters were pouring in to cast their ballots early for the 2020 Presidential Election on the second day of early voting.  The rate of early voters is shattering previous early voting records.  On the first day early voting opened, Monday Oct. 12,  704 people cast their votes in-person at the election office in …

Faith & Blue shine through

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Faith, Law come together at food distribution event By Tia Lynn IveyManaging Editor  If you drove by the original Middle School in Madison last Saturday, you would have seen a sea of light blue t-shirts and the sounds of gospel music. A special Faith and Blue event was held at the weekly Grocery Giveaway Saturday morning, drawing over 100 people to volunteer and to celebrate. Local law enforcement agents partnered with community leaders to distribute food to families in need. The event was in honor of a national movement called …

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ESPLOST passage crucial, BOE says

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By Tia Lynn IveyManaging Editor  The Morgan County School System is banking on the voters of Morgan County this election cycle to pay off part of its debt for the $50 million new schools projects. If the one penny sales tax is voted down by voters, the school board says it will have no other choice than to raise property taxes.  “If it is voted down, the school system still has to pay its debt. If it is not passed the only way we will have to pay our debt …

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Waffle House dust up

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Officers arrive to find men on the floor, arrests made By Patrick YostEditor  Two men who allegedly hurled racial slurs at a group of high school students at Waffle House were arrested Oct. 2 after fighting with the students. According to Madison Police Department reports, Eric Lee Cook, 38, Madison, was charged with disorderly conduct, public drunkenness and DUI. Robert Mitchell, 38, Madison, was charged with disorderly conduct, public drunkenness and interference with a business. Reports state that at 11:51 p.m., Cook and Mitchell entered the Waffle House at 1941 …

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No new COVID at local schools

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By Tia Lynn Ivey Managing Editor  Morgan County schools celebrated a milestone last week, with no new cases of COVID-19.  “It’s a first since the school year began,” said Dr. Virgil Cole, superintendent of Morgan County Schools. “We ended last week with no new cases in either students or staff and nobody having to quarantine.” The downward trend is welcome relief to schools officials, students and family. At the peak of infections in late August, over 20 students and school officials were infected in one week with 165 students and …

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County touts low COVID case count

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By Tia Lynn Ivey Managing Editor  Morgan County officials touted the downward trend of coronavirus cases at Tuesday’s regular meeting.  “We are at a low spot right now,” said Adam Mestres, county manager. “We are still in the middle of a pandemic, but Georgia’s cases have been slowly decreasing over time, and we are seeing the same kind of decrease here in Morgan County.” Newly reported coronavirus cases have slowed down in recent weeks. According to the Georgia Department of Public Health (GDPH), as of press time on Tuesday, Oct. …

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Missing man is found

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By Patrick Yost Editor  A man reported missing from Henry County since Sept. 15 was found last Thursday, Oct. 1 walking westbound on Dixie Highway.  According to Rutledge resident Jo Ellen Artz, she found the man walking round noon. Artz said she noticed a “scruffy guy” walking westbound and called 911 and advised them to send deputies to “check this guy out, he meets the description.” Artz said a few minutes later while she parked near the entrance of Gralan Farms and observed the man deputies arrived. “An officer looked …

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Cotton Gin Festival canceled

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By Patrick Yost Editor  The nearly 200 tractors that rumble down Bostwick’s Main Street every fall will be silent this year. Because of fears of COVID-19 organizers for the annual Bostwick Cotton Gin announced last week that the event, the largest annual festival in Morgan County, has been canceled this year. “It is with great sadness that the City of Bostwick has declared that it will not host the annual Cotton Gin Festival this year on Nov. 7, 2020,” Chairperson Angie Howard said in an email. “This decision comes as …

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Woman waving gun is charged

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By Patrick Yost Editor  A woman allegedly waving a handgun during an intersection confrontation has been arrested and charged with aggravated assault and others involved in the fray also face various charges, including possession of methamphetamine charges.  Durcilla Monique Williams, 29, Madison was arrested and charged with aggravated assault, possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime, possession of marijuana, less than an ounce, possession of schedule IV drugs and cruelty toward children in the third degree. Williams arrest came after Morgan County Sheriff’s Office deputies responded to …