Shaken baby case appeal denied

Staff Written News

By Tia Lynn Ivey managing editor The Georgia Court of Appeals ruled to uphold the conviction and sentencing of Donald Justin Lee, 26, a Morgan County man convicted of aggravated assault in relation to the death of a baby boy.   “This was a tragic, gut-wrenching case,” said Stephen Bradley, the district attorney for the Ocmulgee Judicial Circuit who presented the overview of the State’s case against Lee in 2016.  After Lee was convicted, he appealed the courts for a new trial, but that motion has been denied.  “The Georgia …

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Madison receives Midas touch

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By Tia Lynn Ivey managing editor The Madison-Morgan Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB) joins an elite group of Georgia CVBs by earning a top ranking that only seven other CVBs across the state have received.  The Georgia Association of Convention & Visitors Bureaus (GACVB) announced this week that the Madison-Morgan CVB is now designated with a Gold Level Status Certification, the highest level given by the GACVB.   “We are proud to award our member Madison-Morgan CVB with the Gold level status certification as GACVB’s eighth Benchmark of Excellence (BEC) recipient,” …

Madison police seeking sexual assault suspect

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By Patrick Yost editor  Madison officials are asking people to help them identify a man wanted for questioning in an alleged sexual assault that occurred at Wal Mart, Eatonton Road. According to Madison Police Department reports, a 55-year-old woman told authorities that sometime between 9 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. on July 2 she was shopping in the sheet and comforter aisle when an unknown black male wearing a jersey shirt and jeans approached her from behind. The woman alleged that the man “pushed himself into her (rear)” and then made …

County searching for replacement fire truck

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By Tia Lynn Ivey managing editor  Morgan County is on the hunt for a new fire truck, anticipating to spend upwards of $300,000 to replace the truck that was totaled in a wreck last December, which left a Savannah woman dead and a firefighter injured.   “We had an incident back in December involving the loss of one of our trucks and the process to get a new one has been going on,” said Fire Chief Jeff Stone to the Morgan County Board of Commissioners at the last meeting on …

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‘Lights for Liberty’ vigil at Town Park Friday

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By Tia Lynn Ivey managing editor  This week Madison Town Park will join hundreds of nationwide demonstrations planned for the same day advocating for the human rights of migrants detained at the Southern Border. Organizers are calling the event “Lights for Liberty: A Vigil to End Human Detention Camps.”  On Friday, July 12 at 7:30 p.m., the vigil will be held in Madison’s Town Park to bring attention to humanitarian crisis currently unfolding as a barrage of recent investigative news reports have revealed inhumane conditions at migrant detention facilities, for …

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Board of Ed approves $35.5 million fiscal year budget

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By Sidhartha Wakade staff writer The Morgan County Board of Education approved a 2 percent budget increase for fiscal year (FY) 2020, falling at $35.5 million budgeted expenditures expected for the year. The budget was proposed during a public hearing, detailing the process for how the new budget was put together. The expected revenue for FY 2020 has also increased to almost $39 million, up just over 4 percent from the last year. The increases in both revenue and expenditures comes from an increase in teacher and staff salary as …

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County seeking sanitation solution

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By Tia Lynn Ivey managing editor  As prices continue to rise each year to dispose of county residents’s trash, county leaders mull over alternative to revamp the   overloaded sanitation system.  “Anything we do to change it is going to be costly, but the system now is costly and ineffective,” said County Manager Adam Mestres to the Morgan County Board of Commissioners (BOC) at the last regular meeting on July 2. “Right now we are spending almost three-quarters of a million dollars a year on our sanitation system.” In recent …

High speed chase ends on Speed Lane

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By Patrick Yost editor A Madison man faces a host of traffic violations and other charges after he allegedly led a Madison Police Department on a high-speed chase that began on West Washington Street and ended when the man’s 1998 Jeep Grand Cherokee quit running near Speed Lane. Justin Wade Parker, 30, was charged with habitual violator, DUI, fleeing and attempting to elude, reckless driving, driving while license suspended or revoked, possession of open container, failure to stop at a stop sign, Georgia hands free act, improper passing and failure …

Man jumps off bridge

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A 68-year-old man jumped off of a bridge on Price Mill road by the Morgan County line, hitting the rocks below and landing in the river. According to reports, the man was holding a knife and exited his vehicle by the bridge. Two witnesses saw the victim head over to the bridge and put one leg over the rail, reports state. After one of the witnesses asked if the victim was all right, the man put his other leg over the railing. He paused on the lip of the bridge …

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Sales tax rate rises

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By Tia Lynn Ivey managing editor  A new one-percent sales tax took effect in Morgan County on July 1, raising the local sales tax from 7 percent to 8 percent. The new Transportation Special Project Local Option Sales Tax (TSPLOST) was passed during a special election in March to garner more revenue exclusively to fund transportation-related projects and expenses, such as road repairs, paving, and maintenance, as well as purchasing and maintaining equipment and buildings used for transportation needs.  County officials are warning local businesses to be sure to update …

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Evans to grasp the gavel?

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By Tia Lynn Ivey managing editor Local Madison Attorney Brad Evans announced his candidacy for the Superior Court judgeship this week. The position is currently held by Judge Terry N. Massey.  Evans is hoping to rally support from the local community.  “In the coming months, I look forward to speaking with each of you about my candidacy for this Superior Court position and I hope that I can count on your support and your vote,” wrote Evans in his announcement letter.  Evans began his legal career about 16 years ago, …

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Elections supervisor deposed

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By Tia Lynn Ivey managing editor Morgan County Election Supervisor Jennifer Doran was summoned to testify last week for an ongoing lawsuit against the Governor of Georgia Brian Kemp and Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger. The case, launched by the Coalition of Good Governance, revolves around the issue of switching to paper ballots due to election security concerns in the State of Georgia and “missing votes” in the Georgia Lieutenant Governor race during the November 2018 Midterm election.  Doran’s testimony comes on the heels of  subpoena served to the Morgan …

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Migrant detention vigil set for July 12

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By Patrick Yost editor  A barrage of investigative reports detailing claims of inhumane conditions at migrant detention facilities, for both children and adults, have dominated the national news media in recent weeks, prompting nationwide protests, demonstrations and vigils.  One such event will be held in Madison’s Town Park on Friday, July 12 at 7:30 p.m. in conjunction with other demonstrations planned at the same time across the country. Organizers are calling the event “Lights for Liberty: A Vigil to End Human Detention Camps.” According to Jeanne Dufort, a local member …

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Madison City Council says no to ATV sales

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By Tia Lynn Ivey managing editor  The Madison City Council voted down a text amendment that would have allowed the sale of “recreational vehicles,” like ATVs and motorcycles in the Commercial 2 District, which is considered a “buffer zone” comprised of businesses and residential neighborhoods.  The proposed text amendment was requested by Richard Adamcik of Complete Auto Sales, currently located at 1331 Atlanta Highway in Madison. The company is looking to relocate to 871 North Main Street, the old Dairy Queen lot, which resides within a C2 zone of the …

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Jury says not guilty on drug charge, others sentenced

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By Patrick Yost editor  Several persons were adjudicated in Morgan County Superior Court last week, the Hon. Judge Terry Massey presiding. • Conrad Stanley Burnham, 41, Bishop was found not guilty by a Morgan County Jury following a trial. Burnham had been charged with one count possession of marijuana with the intent to distribute, one count possession of marijuana, more than an ounce and one count possession of drug related objects. According to arrest warrants, Burnham was arrested on July 3, 2018 by a Morgan County Sheriff’s Office (MCSO) investigator …

When girls played pro baseball

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By Jim Halloran columnist By 1943 the full impact of World War II was being felt in all American homes.  Young men were at war, and women had taken their place in the workplace. Gasoline, home heating fuel, food items, and household goods joined a list of goods being rationed; with the exception of a multitude of war movies and newsreels, there was not much to see at the local movie theatre.  Most Americans were staying close to their home gathered around the radio listening to programs such as Tom …

When a man goes to war

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By Patrick Yost editor In 1968, the day after he and his wife Denny graduated from the University of Georgia, Doug Ewing walked to the mailbox. He opened the box and took out a notification from the United States Selective Service. “Oh, hell.” He was 23-years-old with a newly minted college degree and a newly minted marriage certificate and he had been commanded to serve his country in Vietnam.  And like thousands of men before him, he left family and country, joined the U.S. Navy and found himself on the …

Rock Eagle reopens after virus outbreak

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By Tia Lynn Ivey managing editor The Rock Eagle 4-H Center in Putnam County reopened Tuesday afternoon after a stomach virus swept through the campgrounds last week infecting more than 50 overnight campers. The popular summer camp was hosting over 960 campers that week, when 54 suddenly fell ill with vomiting, diarrhea and stomach pains. According to the North Central Health District, after collecting samples and sending them off to the Georgia Public Health laboratory, tests results came back positive for Norovirus as the culprit for the swift outbreak. “Norovirus is a …

Happy China gunmen jailed?

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By Sidhartha Wakade staff writer Three men were arrested in connection with the armed robberies targeting Asian restaurants in the metro Atlanta area and across at least four counties. Local officials believe these men could be the gunmen who robbed Happy China in Madison a couple of weeks ago.  Emmanuel Rakestraw, 26, Decatur, Shaquille Rucker, 22, Decatur and Earnest Sims, 19, Jenkinsburg, were arrested in connection with the robberies.  Detective Wes Thompson, Madison Police Department, said the three were caught thanks to video footage from previous robberies and convenience store …

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High marks for project

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By Sidhartha Wakade staff writer The Canaan Crossing residential development was rated the highest scoring non-urban project in the state, according to reports by Woda, the construction and management company in charge of the project. Canaan Crossing is being developed in the historic Canaan area as a form of workforce housing for people like teachers, government personnel and first responders, according to Monica Callahan, planner, city of Madison..  It is estimated to be affordable for people with an income of $24,000-$38,000 a year. “This is in their price bracket,” she …