Ex-educator charged with rape

Tia Lynn Ivey News

A former assistant principal at Morgan County High School, Ryan Rickard, has been arrested and charged with rape, sexual assault, and sexual battery, against three victims, all of whom were students of his and one of whom is from Morgan County. According to a press release from the Georgia Bureau of Investigations (GBI), Rickard, 34, was arrested on Friday, July 6 on multiple counts of sexual assault and sexual battery and one count of rape. The charges also claim Rickard, held “supervisory or disciplinary authority” over his alleged victims at …

Council approves elderly facility

Tia Lynn Ivey News

A proposed large-scale senior living continuum of care campus, The Wellbridge Community, is underway in Madison. The project has earned public support, but with one caveat of hesitation due to a nearby “dangerous” intersection that has long earned the ire of city officials and Madison residents. While the Madison Mayor and City Council unanimously approved a map amendment to accommodate the proposed project, which aims to construct about 250 housing units and an 80-bed memory-care facility to be built on 74 acres between Bethany Road and 441, officials, along with members …

Tragedy strikes at Lake Oconee

Tia Lynn Ivey News

A tragic accident occurred at Lake Oconee last weekend, when Tyler Hall, 21, dove into a shallow portion of the lake on Saturday, July 7. When he resurfaced, he yelled that he couldn’t feel his legs. After hours of waiting for rescue, Hall was airlifted to Augusta University Hospital Trauma Center where he underwent a four-hour surgery to repair three cervical breaks in his neck. After surgery, Hall had a stroke that damaged his brain stem and is not expected to live. “He is not currently breathing on his own …

Morgan Fire Council works on 5-year plan

Whit Carpenter News

The Morgan County Fire Chief’s Advisory Council discussed a 5-year strategic plan to address needs within the department on Monday, June 25, at 7 p.m. in the Public Safety Complex. Brittany and Brandon Maxey, co-chairmen on the recruitment and retention committee, presented programs to attract more volunteers. They are planning to partner with schools in the area, according to Brittany. “We have hopes of starting that in the Fall of 2019,” she said. Other committees focused on the condition of the 16 stations in the region, truck, fire engines and …

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Bostwick City Council cleans up ordinances

Whit Carpenter News

The Bostwick City Council voted unanimously to adopt recommendations to changing its zoning ordinances during a regularly scheduled meeting on July 2. “We’re updating our ordinances,” said City Councilor Angie Howard. “We were quite fragmented with what the county had and what the other cities had. It didn’t really line up.” The proposed changes will make the zoning ordinances resemble the corresponding regulations in other areas of the county. “We adopted what the county set forth so that the county and all the cities are streamlined with the same square …

Massive development could affect Morgan

Sarah Wibell News

Plans for Covington Town Center, an extensive development along Alcovy Road and City Pond Road in Covington, are moving forward on a 179.5-acre mixed-use project consisting of 78 acres of rental retail space, 770,470 square feet for restaurants, 264,000 square feet of office space, 52,500 square feet for entertainment, roughly 400 residential units on 16 acres, 5.2 acres for hotels, and 18.6 acres of greenspace. A developer from Foxfield Co., located in Bluffton, S.C., is heading the project that broke ground in January. Build-out is expected to take five years …

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Drug arrests increase in Morgan County

Whit Carpenter News

Twenty-seven drug-related arrests have been made in Morgan County this year with 14 in the month of May, according to information from the Morgan County Sheriff’s Office. Twenty-three involved the possession of marijuana or methamphetamine. “I don’t think there is an increase in drug usage,” said Chief Deputy Keith Howard. “There’s a new philosophy in our Criminal Investigative Division, and they’ve been collaborating more with patrol.” Of the 27 arrests, six originated from traffic stops. The other 19 stemmed from investigations. “Whenever they’re out on patrol and see something odd …

Historic depot undergoes rehabilitation

Tia Lynn Ivey Featured, News

  Bill Peacock—just an unknown name faintly scribbled across an old freight scale in the historic Central of Georgia Depot in Madison. It’s one of many faded names written across planks and walls inside the freight room of the depot, which was built in 1901.  But it wasn’t just trains that came through the depot, but people. Each name left behind represents a life that partly unfolded in Madison’s busy depot during the early 1900s. Most of their stories have been lost to time. But Joe Smith, the architect overseeing …

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Business licenses granted in Madison, Morgan

Dianne Yost News

May 2018 Morgan County • Danny Greenwalt, Owned by Danny Greenwalt, Home Office, 2001 Brownwood Road, Madison, Remodeling, New Construction, Storm/Fire Damage • Feed the People Farms Ltd., Co., Owned by Nathaniel Cullen Brown, Home Office, 2921 Dixie Highway, Madison, Agriculture. • Weekend Warrior Outfitter, LLC, Owned by Jeremy McCart, Home Office, 2170  Sugar Creek Trail, Buckhead, Online business, selling hunting, fishing, boating, camping, hobby supplies, outdoor equipment and vehicle accessories. • Lamar Lawn Care, Owned by Wanda Eubanks, Home Office, 6411 Seven Islands Road, Madison, Yard Services. • Camex …

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Real estate sales more than $3 million

Dianne Yost News

June 29, 2018 • R&D Properties GA, LLC of Monroe to Ronald J. Bednarick of Madison, 3861 Brownwood Road, $382,250. • Weyerhaeuser Company of Seattle, Wash. To Mathis Land Group, LLC of Monroe, Sandy Creek Road, Madison, Timber, 74.22 acres, $491,708. • Ivy Hammonds F/K/A Ivy Bryant of Rutledge to Lisa Moore of Monroe, 177 Wlliams St., Rutledge, $23,000. • Bruce Bara as Trustee of Bruce Bara Revocable Trust of Milan, Minn. to Karrah Howell of Madison, 1210 Westminster Way, Madison, $329,000. • R&D Properties GA, LLC of Monroe to …

Former MCHS assistant principal Rickard arrested, charged with sex crimes

Tia Lynn Ivey Featured, News

A former assistant principal at Morgan County High School, Ryan Rickard, has been arrested and charged with rape, sexual assault, and sexual battery, against three victims, all of whom were students of his and one of whom is from Morgan County. According to a press release from the Georgia Bureau of Investigations (GBI), Rickard, 34, was arrested on Friday, July 6 on multiple counts of sexual assault and sexual battery and one count of rape. The charges also claim Rickard, held “supervisory or disciplinary authority” over his alleged victims at …

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Facebook deal gives Morgan $375,000

Tia Lynn Ivey News

As Facebook is setting up shop in Stanton Springs for the multibillion-dollar company’s newest state-of-the-art data center, Morgan County is set to receive a big chunk of change from the $15 million land sale to the largest social media site in the world. Facebook’s development plans for the site at Stanton Springs is an historic deal with a hefty price tag of up to $42 billion. Morgan is poised to receive an initial $375,000—a 15 percent share of the $2.5 million the Joint Development Authority (JDA) voted to distribute among …

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Man dies in farm tragedy

Patrick Yost News

A 57-year-old Buckhead man died tragically last week in a farming accident. According to Sgt. Brandon Sellers, Investigations Division, Morgan County Sheriff’s Office, Thomas Henry Tietjen was pronounced dead at the farm where he was employed. According to Sellers, Deputy Morgan County Coroner Jeff Rogers said Tietjen died of “blunt force trama” after he was caught in a hale baler. Sellers said authorities were called to the Mt. Zion Road farm at 11:36 a.m. He said the farm’s owner, Joseph Larman, 84, and Tietjen were both working in the field …

Local cops ready for phone law

Tia Lynn Ivey News

Georgia is now a hands-free state as of July 1. Georgia drivers are no longer allowed to hold their phones while driving. The only legal way to use phones while driving is connect your phone to a bluetooth system that can be controlled through voice commands or the vehicle’s built-in radio controls. Local police forces are prepared to enforce the law, but plan to issue warnings initially until the public is well aware of the new law. “We have preprinted 1,000 warnings to give out when our officers start pulling …

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Criminal sentences given in Superior Court

Patrick Yost News

Criminal court was held last week in Morgan County Superior Court. The following persons were adjudicated in Superior Court. • Wesley James Alldredge, 41, Madison pled guilty to one count DUI (drugs) and one count driving while license suspended and was sentenced to one year with 48 hours to be served in confinement and the remainder to be served on probation. He was also fined $800. According to court documents, Alldredge was arrested by a Georgia State Patrol trooper on April 22, 2017 near the intersection of North Avenue and …

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BOE holds first hearing on $33m budget

Sarah Wibell News

The Board of Education held the first of two budget review public hearings required by House Bill 65 for fiscal year 2018-19 on Monday, June 25. Total expenditures are budgeted at $33,032,869 while total revenue is budgeted at $32,381,859. The $651K shortfall will be covered by reserve funds. “Typically,” commented Morgan County Superintendent James Woodard, “when we make these types of projections, we try to hold spending tight and we have pretty conservative projections on revenues so in reality we don’t anticipate pulling anything from the reserves but for budgeting …

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City considers tough regs for AirBnB sites

Tia Lynn Ivey News

Staying in a cozy AirBnB is one of the trendiest ways to find lodging while traveling to a new city.  However, Madison City Officials are currently evaluating the short-term rental ordinance to crackdown on homeowners renting out their properties to vacationers through popular vacation rental sites like AirBnB. City Planner Monica Callahan briefed the Madison Mayor and City Council at the last work session on June 28 about concerns over the growing trend adversely affecting the City’s established Bed and Breakfast businesses, as well as other hotels and motels. “We …

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Sentence includes $300,000 in fines, fees

Patrick Yost News

Two North Carolina men pled guilty to trafficking in methamphetamine and both were fined $200,000 each and sentenced to hefty prison sentences after pleading guilty to multiple charges in Morgan County Superior Court last week. According to court documents, Patrick Carlton Harrington, 39, Jackson Springs, was sentenced to 30 years with 18 years to serve in prison and the remainder to be served on probation. Harrington’s co-defendent, Gerald Allen Smith, 56, Ellerbe, N.C. was sentenced to 30 years with 10 years to serve in prison and the remainder to be …

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Real estate transactions total $11,971, 859

Dianne Yost News

June 11, 2018 • Jerry O. Smith of Madison to PEF Properties, LLC of Madison, 120 Spring Creek Dr. and 120 Hidden Falls Circle, Rutledge, $33,000. • Jeremy Everett Durden of Mansfield. to Christopher Malik Reid of Monticello, Atlanta Highway, Rutledge, 3.3 acres $24,750. • Stacy H. Farmer of Midland, Tex. to Redeemer Church of Madison, Inc. of Madison, U.S. Highway 441, Bethany Road, Madison, 7.68 acres, $68,268. • 1651 Morgan Drive, LLC of Athens, to Gregory Autry of Mansfield, 1651 Morgan Drive, Buckhead, $375,000. • Spencer B. Jones and …

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Morgan-Memorial earns awards for care and collaboration

Sarah Wibell News

Morgan-Memorial Hospital recently earned two awards for its care and collaboration. MMH was recognized as the number one critical access hospital in the state for reducing readmissions by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services with zero readmissions between July and September 2017. The Georgia Hospital Association’s Hospital Improvement Innovation Network lauded MMH for achievements such as having zero incidents of opioid control, infection prevention measures, falls, or pressure ulcers in the last year and a half. MMH was also awarded a plaque from the Georgia Health Information Management Association …