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January 5 Online Edition

January 5 Online Edition

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Griffin's Regional Independent Press
Griffin's Regional Independent Press

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Published by: Jessica Williamson Gregory on Jan 06, 2012
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Necessity is the mother o invention. This adage certainlyproved true or localbusinessman Dan Dunson,who is seeking to patent The Whip – a unique alarmsystem or heating and airconditioning units.As the owner o numerousresidential rentalproperties in Grin,Dunson was all too amiliarwith the scourge o copperthets that leave HVACunits destroyed.“When you’re payinganywhere rom $2,000 to$3,000 to replace them, itgetsvery expensive whenyou’ve lost 56 o them,” hesaid o his nancial lossesdue to copper thets atrental properties, which hedoes not consider unusual.“There are many otherlandlords who can tell yousimilar stories. The copperthets aren’t going to getany better; they’re goingto continue to grow. Withthe economy the way it isand these losses added toit, it was a real setback. Iknew I had to get on top o this. I knew I was smarterthan these thieves, and Ihad to gure out a way tostop this.”With nothing on themarket at that time,Dunson opted to utilizeprevious product designexperience and electronicsmanuacturing expertiseto devise his own solution.His result was The Whip,an alarm that is simple toinstall and unctions withpractically all securitysystems currently on themarket.Dunson added that TheWhip was designedto detect the type o tampering that must occurwith any HVAC copperthet.“It’s a pressure systemthat detects the pressureo the coolant,” Dunsonexplained. “It’s impossibleto steal the copper roman air conditioning unitwithout releasing thepressure. When thathappens, it actuates thealarm system it’s attachedto.” The ensuing alarm may beprogrammed to produceeither a silent or audiblealarm at the owner’srequest. While both will bepromptly reported to locallaw enorcement ocialsby the owner’s alarmmonitoring company, thesilent alarm may enableresponders to arrestcopper thet perpetrators,with an audible alarmserving as an immediatedeterrent, causing thewould-be thie to ee.One additional eatureDunson included in hisdesign is an electronicsystem that prevents alarmtampering.“It’s a secure device,” hesaid. “The electronics don’tallow thieves to jump thewire to disable the alarm.But, it’s simple. Most o thebest ideas are simple.”
Ater working or two years to become a Georgia Work Ready Certied community, Spalding County reachedthe benchmark goals set by the Governor’s Oce o Workorce Development (GOWD) in December 2011.Goals were set in six workorce categories: private andpublic sectors, unemployed individuals, and high school,GED and college students. The certication process began in June 2009, but didn’tgain momentum until late 2010, when the schoolsystem and several local companies asked students andemployees to take the tests.Still slightly lacking in October 2011 in the private andpublic sector categories, the Grin-Spalding GeorgiaWork Ready Committee upped the ante by oering an
 JAN 5 - JAN 18, 2012 VOL. 02 NO. 01
work ready, pg 7 »
invention, pg 2 »
Officials respondto reader's inquiry regarding what todo about Griffin'sgang problem p. 4 Always wantedto kick the habit?Electronic cigarettesmay be thefinal answer p. 5The revival of Kick@$$ Job of theWeek - recoveringplanes from theircrash sites p. 7
The Grin Area ConcertAssociation has issued acorrection to the earlierpublished date o the EmilyHearn concert. The originalarticle [Dec. 15] stated theconcert would be held onThursday, Jan. 17. The correctdate or her perormance isTuesday, Jan. 17, not Thursday.In the Dec. 15 article"Commissioners respond toconict o interest concerns,"The Grip incorrectly reportedthat the county BOC voted toraise the minimum acreage o the Conservation Use Land taxexemption to 25 acres by a 4-1vote. The actual vote was 3-2,with Chairman Freeman andFlowers-Taylor dissenting.
Corrections policy: I you nd anerror in The Grip, we will gladly  publish a correction in the next issue.Please e-mail concerns to jessica@the-grip.net.
Spalding meets Work Ready goals
 January 2011
Grin Board o Commissioners electedJoanne Todd mayor or 2011. The Airport AdvisoryCommittee nalized the EPAdrat or the primary siteproposed or the new airportto submit to city and countyocials.
February 2011
City commissioners voted onFeb. 8 to store the historicalSixth Street bridge ater theGDOT dismantles it in Sept.County commissioner BobGilreath was censured at theFeb. 7 meeting or acts o misbehavior, unproessionalbehavior and discourtesy toemployees.William Wilson is chosen bythe commissioners to replaceinterim county manager TimWhalen, who declined anoer to serve as permanentmanager at the end o 2010.
March 2011
On March 30, localgovernments all over Georgiasubmitted a list o all thetransportation projectsthey wish to be consideredor unding by a regionaltransportation sales tax(TSPLOST). The Spalding County animalshelter reopened its doorsater being shut down by theGeorgia Dept. o Agriculturedue to chipping paint.
April 2011
With a reported 137 tornadosacross the nation, April 27 wasone o the deadliest tornadodays in the United Statessince 1925. A level 3 tornadoripped through SpaldingCounty with 165 mph winds,causing 371 damaged homes,105 destroyed homes, 18
2011 Year in Review
Copper thets lead local alarm specialist to HVAC protection invention
 After experiencing damage to 56 of his air conditioning units at rental properties, DanDunson, owner of Direct Alarm, used his knowledge to create an alarm device specifically designed to protect against HVAC copper theft.
Thousands o Spalding County citizens had to piece their lives back togetherater the April 28 tornado.
review, pg 6 »
First anniversary issue comesout January 19 - Be on the lookout for something special!
City CommissionerDoug Hollbergpushes legislation toallow saggy pantsban p. 3
Other features:
Community Calendar...p. 6Pet of the Week... p. 5Kick @$$ Job of the Week... p.7
How local LEOs are responding to thet increasesLocal ordinances impede selling stolen copper
p. 2
Local law enorcementagencies ace an ongoingstruggle as they ghta dicult uphill battleagainst increasing numberso copper thets.“Four or ve years ago,we really didn’t have thisproblem. It really wasn’t anissue,” said Capt. DwayneJones, o the Grin PoliceDepartment. “Now, Iwould classiy it as a majorproblem. It’s a weeklyproblem now. In otherwords, I can’t remember aweek passing by when wedidn’t receive a report o acopper thet.” This crime aects bothresidents and businessowners alike, with lossesor some exceeding$100,000.“It’s [copper] obviouslygoing or enough moneyto risk going to jail, orin the case o a recentSpalding County incident,risk their lives, to steal it,”Jones said.He explained that copperthets are a particularlychallenging type o property crime because o the diculty ocers acein identiying recoveredcopper as having beenstolen rom a particularincident.Jones said there are stepsthat can be taken that mayreduce the likelihood o a thet occurring. Some,such as neighbor lookingater neighbor, is basic, yeteective.“People know whotypically comes andgoes in a neighborhood– routine activities,” hesaid. “I would much rathertake a ew minutes or anocer to respond to a callo potentially suspiciousactivity than see someonevictimized.”Even as scrap copper pricesincite thieves to take greatrisks to obtain the material,some residents go to greatlengths to protect theirproperty.Jones also suggested oneproactive step that canbe taken to make their airconditioning units lessthan ideal or thieves.“One thing some peoplewill do is they’ll actuallyspray paint portionso their copper pipes auorescent orange. I wemake a routine tracstop, it certainly makes iteasier to identiy, and thecopper thieves know that.Metal recyclers will alsosometimes call us i theysee that and believe it maybe stolen,” he said. “Somepeople are going so aras using alarms or evenputting cages on their airconditioning units. They’rehoping to reduce thepossibility rom a deterrentstandpoint.” Ωparticular type o crime.“When we get these cases,we really like to pop thembecause it’s just a meancrime,” he said. “Thesethieves are only getting asmall amount o moneyor these crimes thatare costing the victimsthousands, and that’s justmean.”However, despite hisdesire to prosecute copperthieves, Ballard saidboth law enorcementagencies and his oce acechallenges throughout theprocess.Ballard said the initialdiculty comes in linkingsuspects to reportedincidents due to thenearly impossible task o identiying copper onceit has been removed roma business or residence,but the work does not endthere.“For one thing, there’s thestatute o limitations. Youhave to prove it wasn’tstolen ve years ago. Then,there’s also the questiono jurisdiction. You have toprove where it was stolen– that it was actually stolenin your jurisdiction,” he said. The current laws regulatingGeorgia’s metal recyclingindustry also concernBallard.“One thing that’srustrating to me is howquickly the copper isrecycled. I wish the lawwould require a waitingperiod,” he said. “Thatmight at least allow lawenorcement time toidentiy copper that hasbeen stolen. As it is now,the copper is recycledimmediately, and thatmakes it impossible to tie itto a thet.”Ballard said he realizesthe cost may be animpediment to some, buthe said one o the bestprosecutorial tools is coldhard proo.“One thing that would helpin all kinds o prosecutionsis i more people hadvideo surveillance. There’snothing better thanwalking into court withvideo o the crime itsel,” hesaid. “Anything that allowsus to catch these thieves inthe act is invaluable.”He said he recognizesthe rustration victimsexperience in copperthet cases, but soughtto reassure them thatlocal ocials are strivingto combat the thrivingepidemic.“I think i the general publiccould see law enorcementeorts in this, they wouldbe very proud,” he said. “It’snot a glamorous crime todeal with, but untold hoursare spent trying to put astop to it.” Ω
2 J. 5 - J. 18, 2012
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While seeking to bringthose responsible orcopper thets to justice,Grin Judicial CircuitDistrict Attorney ScottBallard also has verystrong personal opinionsregarding those whovictimize his constituentsby committing this
Increase inGrin copperthets posechallenge topoliceInability toidentiy coppera hindrance inprosecutingcopper thieves
 To describe The Whipas simple is perhaps anunderstatement, consideringthat the installation involvesonly one nut and two wires.Proessional installationis required, Dunson said,but any alarm company isqualied to do so. The Whip entered themarketplace in May 2011,and has taken the homesecurity industry by stormwith its manuacturingcompany, Starlite SecurityDevices LLC, now boasting200 distributors across theUnited States and Canada.Further expansion and salesincreases are anticipated, as2012 will mark the beginningo European distribution. The Whip retails or $249,compared to the average$1,000 insurance deductiblemost copper thet victimsmust pay, Dunson said.In addition to providingprotection to preventvictimization, Dunson said The Whip also meets anothergrowing need.“A lot o insurance companiesare now requiring airconditioning units to beprotected to be covered,” hesaid. “The Whip does that.For additional productinormation, visit www.thewhip.co or call Grin-based Starlite SecurityDevices at 770-467-6873. Ω
Recent rains have let theHead Creek Reservoir at ullpool, which has resultedin the outdoor water banbeing rescinded.According to Dr. BrantKeller, Grin director o public works, said residentsmay now prepare or theupcoming spring plantingseason under the previousodd/even wateringschedule. The Georgia WaterStewardship Act wentinto eect statewideJune 2, 2010. It allowsdaily outdoor wateringor purposes o planting,growing, managing ormaintaining ground cover,trees, shrubs or other plantsonly between the hourso 4 to 10 p.m. by anyonewhose water is supplied bya water system permittedby the EnvironmentalProtection Division.Outdoor water use orany purposes other thanwatering o plants, such aspower washing or washingcars, is still restricted to theodd/even schedule.Odd-numbered addressesmay water on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays;even-numbered andunnumbered addressesmay water on Mondays,Wednesdays and Sundays.“We have to wait andsee about the weatherwe get, but as ar asconservation is concerned,residents should use waterresponsibly,” Keller said.“But as long as we havewater, people can use it.” Ω
Head Creek Reservoir reaches ull pool;drought restrictions rescinded
Despite the dicult natureo metal thet cases,personnel o the SpaldingCounty Sheri’s Oce areseeing positive results romthe use o Leads Online,which links local ocialswith a national database.“We went only with LeadsOnline, which is a nationalWeb page. Based on ourcounty ordinances, itallows us to go into thatsystem and check nameso, I guess you could say,requent yers or scrapmetal recycling,” said Capt. Tony Ranieri, o the SCSOCriminal InvestigationDivision. “When we entera name into the system,it shows everywhere inthe nation that individualhas gone to recycle scrapmetal.”Ranieri said Leads Onlinehas proved to be highlybenecial to investigators,contributing to thesuccessul resolution o numerous metal thetcases.“All the scrap metalbusinesses are cooperatingwith us on that, too. Itworks,” Ranieri added.Leads Online is alsoconnected online withGCIC, the Georgia CrimeInormation Center, whichall state law enorcementocials use in the course o their investigations.Spalding County AttorneyJim Fortune said the Boardo Commissioners has alsoinstituted local ordinancescovering scrap metalrecyclers that are intendedto make it more dicultor thieves to sale stolencopper.“The pawn shops haveto electronically reporteverything they get ineveryday. It’s the samething with the scrap metalbusinesses,” Fortune said.“Sellers have to providetheir names and showidentication.”Sheri Wendell Beam alsosaid additional supportmust come rom the statelegislative branch, in theorm o more stringentlaws.“They’re working on that. They’re trying to put moreregulations on both thepeople who sell and buyit,” he said. “Lawmakers areattempting to close theloopholes.” Ω
National database helps S.O.connect dots on local thet cases
Copper thieves can cause thousands of dollarsworth of damage to procure the small amountof copper located inside an HVAC system.
At the close o 2011, Spalding AnimalCare and Control Advisory Board(ACCAB) and the County Board o Commissioners discussed a new seto animal living condition policies,the most controversial o which is aproposed license or owners o dogsand cats.Kelly Palmatier, the current chair o ACCAB, stressed that the proposedpolicies are to protect the animalsand human inhabitants o the county. The license would increase ownerresponsibility by identiying pets withtheir owners and encourage spayingand neutering, as the ee would bereduced or xed animals. The license would also help thecounty gauge animal controlmeasures, such as limits on thenumber o household pets and thecounty animal shelter."I we see that there are severalhouseholds with six pets who havenever had a complaint issued againstthem, then that supports the claimthat six animals in a household isacceptable,” said Palmatier.According to Palmatier, the countyanimal shelter takes in 4,000 animalseach year, but there is no way toestimate i the county is improvingor not.“For example,” she said, “i the numbero animals residing in the countyincreases each year, and our intake tothe shelter remains the same or goesdown, that shows progress.”ACCAB also proposed banning thetethering or chaining o dogs and anew minimum enclosure sizes.Unattended tethering is alreadyrestricted in over a dozen statesand banned in more than 40municipalities, including six inGeorgia. The new restraint and enclosureordinances would be county-wide,in order to ease conusionor residents.“In some cases it variedrom one side o a street toanother,” Palmatier said. The new rules wouldmandate minimumenclosures based on thesize o dogs divided intosmall, medium, and large.Commissioner Bob Gilreathalso expressed concernwith the transportation o dogs in the back o pick uptrucks. Dogs are generallyrecognized by the HumaneSociety and several states to be saerin the cab o trucks.Palmatier stressed that the discussionregarding licensing is not ocial andthe Animal Care and Control Boardwelcomes input rom residents.“It is very important to us to balancethe needs o our residents and theneeds o our county’s animals.” Ω
J. 5 - J. 18, 2012 3
 You've got questions? We'll nd theanswers. Curious about some rumoryou heard about local government,what an organization does, or whopaid or what? Send an e-mail towatchdog@the-grip.net.
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770-467-0025130 South Hill Street
“The Weaver”
and other works by Teresa Thurstonnow on display 
CelebratingGriffin’s richheritage as amill town
Thank you to all the localbusinessesandresidentsthat we have served over the past 10 years.We look forward to being yoursource for IT services in the future.
Residents who claimthose who wear baggypants are committingindecent exposure maysoon have relie, thanksto the Grin Board o Commissioners.Mayor Joanne Todd saidshe has twice previouslyinitiated discussionat BOC meetingson the subject, andCommissioner DougHollberg had discussedit once, but upon legaladvice, no urther actionwas taken at those times.“Our attorney (DrewWhalen) advised thatit wouldn’t hold upin court,” Todd said.“That’s the only reasonwe didn’t pursue it –that any ordinance wepassed wouldn’t hold upi challenged in court.It would have no legalstanding.”Hollberg’s interest inpassing a local ordinancebanning saggy pantsled him to present theBOC with inormationregarding similaraction taken by othermunicipalities.“I presented to thecommissioners anarticle rom another jurisdiction about whatthey’ve done,” he said.“The city o Albany,in one year, received$3,916 rom citationsissued to individualswearing saggy pants,but Drew (Whalen)said we couldn’t do it.His interpretation isthat we cannot pass anordinance. We valueDrew’s legal opinion,and he said it wouldn’thold up in court becauseit’s unconstitutionalunder Georgia law. So,we had two choices:A, pass an ordinanceand wait or it to bechallenged in court, or B,wait until the legislaturechanges the law.”Rather than wait untilthe legislature makesthe necessary changesthat would enable thecity o Grin to pass anordinance o its own,Hollberg now says he isgoing to work to eectthat change by havingWhalen drat potentiallegislation to bepresented to Rep. DavidKnight.“It’s something we’vediscussed beore andit’s something I wantto push through thislegislative session,he said. “It’s denitelysomething I want toresearch. I would like tosee legislation dratedand presented withinthe next 30 days thatwould allow us to passan ordinance orbiddingsaggy pants, or or thelaw to be statewideorbidding saggy pants.
Hollberg moves orward with eforts to legally ban saggy pants
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Animal Care & Control Advisory Board explores pet licensure options

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