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JAN 5 - JAN 18, 2012 VOL. 02 NO. 01
JAN 5 - JAN 18, 2012
VOL. 02 NO. 01

COPPER THEFTS

p. 2

How local LEOs are responding to theft increases Local ordinances impede selling stolen copper

increases Local ordinances impede selling stolen copper Other features: Community Calendar Pet of the Week Kick

Other features:

Community Calendar Pet of the Week Kick @$$ Job of the Week

6

p. 5

p.7

p.

Copper thefts lead local alarm specialist to HVAC protection invention

lead local alarm specialist to HVAC protection invention After experiencing damage to 56 of his air

After experiencing damage to 56 of his air conditioning units at rental properties, Dan Dunson, owner of Direct Alarm, used his knowledge to create an alarm device specifically designed to protect against HVAC copper theft.

SHEILA A. MARSHALL

sheila@the-grip.net

Necessity is the mother of invention.

This adage certainly proved true for local businessman Dan Dunson, who is seeking to patent The Whip – a unique alarm system for heating and air conditioning units.

As the owner of numerous residential rental properties in Griffin, Dunson was all too familiar with the scourge of copper thefts that leave HVAC units destroyed.

“When you’re paying anywhere from $2,000 to $3,000 to replace them, it gets

very expensive when you’ve lost 56 of them,” he said of his financial losses due to copper thefts at rental properties, which he does not consider unusual. “There are many other landlords who can tell you similar stories. The copper thefts aren’t going to get any better; they’re going to continue to grow. With the economy the way it is and these losses added to it, it was a real setback. I knew I had to get on top of this. I knew I was smarter than these thieves, and I had to figure out a way to stop this.”

With nothing on the market at that time, Dunson opted to utilize previous product design

experience and electronics manufacturing expertise to devise his own solution. His result was The Whip, an alarm that is simple to install and functions with practically all security systems currently on the market.

Dunson added that The Whip was designed to detect the type of tampering that must occur with any HVAC copper theft.

“It’s a pressure system that detects the pressure of the coolant,” Dunson explained. “It’s impossible to steal the copper from an air conditioning unit without releasing the pressure. When that happens, it actuates the alarm system it’s attached to.”

The ensuing alarm may be programmed to produce

either a silent or audible alarm at the owner’s request. While both will be promptly reported to local law enforcement officials by the owner’s alarm monitoring company, the silent alarm may enable responders to arrest copper theft perpetrators, with an audible alarm serving as an immediate deterrent, causing the would-be thief to flee.

One additional feature Dunson included in his design is an electronic system that prevents alarm tampering.

“It’s a secure device,” he said. “The electronics don’t allow thieves to jump the wire to disable the alarm. But, it’s simple. Most of the best ideas are simple.”

But, it’s simple. Most of the best ideas are simple.” CONT , invention, pg 2 »

CONT, invention, pg 2 »

WATCHDOG

VIEWPOINTS

LIFESTYLE

BUSINESS

City Commissioner Doug Hollberg

pushes legislation to allow saggy pants

ban

p. 3

Officials respond

to reader's inquiry regarding what to do about Griffin's

gang problem

p. 4

Always wanted to kick the habit? Electronic cigarettes may be the

final answer

p. 5

The revival of Kick @$$ Job of the Week - recovering planes from their

crash sites

p. 7

CORRECTIONS:

The Griffin Area Concert Association has issued a correction to the earlier published date of the Emily Hearn concert. The original article [Dec. 15] stated the

concert would be held on Thursday, Jan. 17. The correct date for her performance is Tuesday, Jan. 17, not Thursday.

In the Dec. 15 article "Commissioners respond to

conflict of interest concerns," The Grip incorrectly reported that the county BOC voted to raise the minimum acreage of the Conservation Use Land tax exemption to 25 acres by a 4-1 vote. The actual vote was 3-2,

with Chairman Freeman and Flowers-Taylor dissenting.

Corrections policy: If you find an error in The Grip, we will gladly publish a correction in the next issue. Please e-mail concerns to jessica@the-grip.net.

First anniversary issue comes

out January 19

First anniversary issue comes out January 19 Be on the - lookout for something special! Spalding

Be on the

- lookout for something special!

out January 19 Be on the - lookout for something special! Spalding meets Work Ready goals

Spalding meets Work Ready goals

JESSICA GREGORY

After working for two years to become a Georgia Work Ready Certified community, Spalding County reached the benchmark goals set by the Governor’s Office of Workforce Development (GOWD) in December 2011. Goals were set in six workforce categories: private and public sectors, unemployed individuals, and high school, GED and college students.

The certification process began in June 2009, but didn’t gain momentum until late 2010, when the school system and several local companies asked students and employees to take the tests.

Still slightly lacking in October 2011 in the private and public sector categories, the Griffin-Spalding Georgia Work Ready Committee upped the ante by offering an

CONT, work ready, pg 7 »

2011 Year in Review

January 2011

Griffin Board of Commissioners elected Joanne Todd mayor for 2011.

The Airport Advisory Committee finalized the EPA draft for the primary site proposed for the new airport to submit to city and county officials.

February 2011

City commissioners voted on Feb. 8 to store the historical Sixth Street bridge after the GDOT dismantles it in Sept.

offer to serve as permanent manager at the end of 2010.

March 2011

On March 30, local governments all over Georgia submitted a list of all the transportation projects they wish to be considered for funding by a regional transportation sales tax (TSPLOST).

The Spalding County animal shelter reopened its doors after being shut down by the Georgia Dept. of Agriculture due to chipping paint.

by the Georgia Dept. of Agriculture due to chipping paint. Thousands of Spalding County citizens had

Thousands of Spalding County citizens had to piece their lives back together after the April 28 tornado.

County commissioner Bob Gilreath was censured at the Feb. 7 meeting for acts of misbehavior, unprofessional behavior and discourtesy to employees.

With a reported 137 tornados across the nation, April 27 was one of the deadliest tornado days in the United States since 1925. A level 3 tornado ripped through Spalding County with 165 mph winds, causing 371 damaged homes, 105 destroyed homes, 18

William Wilson is chosen by the commissioners to replace interim county manager Tim Whalen, who declined an

April 2011

CONT, review, pg 6 »

by the commissioners to replace interim county manager Tim Whalen, who declined an April 2011 CONT

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2 Jan. 5 - Jan. 18, 2012 top StorieS
2 Jan. 5 - Jan. 18, 2012 top StorieS
2 Jan. 5 - Jan. 18, 2012 top StorieS

Jan. 5 - Jan. 18, 2012

top StorieS

Increase in Griffin copper thefts pose challenge to police

SHEILA A. MARSHALL

sheila@the-grip.net

Local law enforcement

agencies face an ongoing struggle as they fight

a difficult uphill battle

against increasing numbers of copper thefts.

“Four or five years ago, we really didn’t have this problem. It really wasn’t an issue,” said Capt. Dwayne Jones, of the Griffin Police Department. “Now, I would classify it as a major problem. It’s a weekly problem now. In other words, I can’t remember a week passing by when we didn’t receive a report of a copper theft.”

This crime affects both residents and business owners alike, with losses for some exceeding

$100,000.

“It’s [copper] obviously going for enough money to risk going to jail, or in the case of a recent

Spalding County incident, risk their lives, to steal it,” Jones said.

He explained that copper thefts are a particularly challenging type of property crime because of the difficulty officers face in identifying recovered copper as having been stolen from a particular incident.

Jones said there are steps

that can be taken that may reduce the likelihood of

a theft occurring. Some,

such as neighbor looking after neighbor, is basic, yet effective.

“People know who typically comes and goes in a neighborhood

– routine activities,” he

said. “I would much rather take a few minutes for an officer to respond to a call of potentially suspicious activity than see someone victimized.”

Even as scrap copper prices incite thieves to take great risks to obtain the material, some residents go to great lengths to protect their property.

Jones also suggested one proactive step that can be taken to make their air conditioning units less than ideal for thieves.

“One thing some people will do is they’ll actually spray paint portions of their copper pipes a fluorescent orange. If we make a routine traffic stop, it certainly makes it easier to identify, and the copper thieves know that. Metal recyclers will also sometimes call us if they see that and believe it may be stolen,” he said. “Some people are going so far as using alarms or even putting cages on their air conditioning units. They’re

hoping to reduce the possibility from a deterrent standpoint.” Ω

Inability to identify copper

a hindrance in prosecuting copper thieves

SHEILA A. MARSHALL

sheila@the-grip.net

While seeking to bring those responsible for copper thefts to justice, Griffin Judicial Circuit District Attorney Scott Ballard also has very strong personal opinions regarding those who victimize his constituents by committing this

particular type of crime.

“When we get these cases, we really like to pop them because it’s just a mean crime,” he said. “These thieves are only getting a small amount of money for these crimes that are costing the victims thousands, and that’s just mean.”

However, despite his desire to prosecute copper thieves, Ballard said both law enforcement agencies and his office face challenges throughout the process.

Ballard said the initial

difficulty comes in linking suspects to reported incidents due to the nearly impossible task of identifying copper once

it has been removed from

a business or residence,

but the work does not end there.

“For one thing, there’s the statute of limitations. You have to prove it wasn’t stolen five years ago. Then, there’s also the question

of jurisdiction. You have to prove where it was stolen

– that it was actually stolen

in your jurisdiction,” he said.

The current laws regulating Georgia’s metal recycling

industry also concern Ballard.

“One thing that’s frustrating to me is how quickly the copper is

is if more people had video surveillance. There’s nothing better than walking into court with video of the crime itself,” he said. “Anything that allows

of the crime itself,” he said. “Anything that allows Copper thieves can cause thousands of dollars

Copper thieves can cause thousands of dollars worth of damage to procure the small amount of copper located inside an HVAC system.

recycled. I wish the law would require a waiting period,” he said. “That

might at least allow law

enforcement time to identify copper that has been stolen. As it is now, the copper is recycled immediately, and that makes it impossible to tie it to a theft.”

Ballard said he realizes the cost may be an impediment to some, but

he said one of the best prosecutorial tools is cold hard proof.

“One thing that would help in all kinds of prosecutions

us to catch these thieves in the act is invaluable.”

He said he recognizes the frustration victims experience in copper theft cases, but sought to reassure them that local officials are striving to combat the thriving epidemic.

“I think if the general public

could see law enforcement efforts in this, they would be very proud,” he said. “It’s not a glamorous crime to deal with, but untold hours are spent trying to put a stop to it.” Ω

untold hours are spent trying to put a stop to it.” Ω National database helps S.O.

National database helps S.O. connect dots on local theft cases

Despite the difficult nature of metal theft cases, personnel of the Spalding County Sheriff’s Office are seeing positive results from the use of Leads Online,

which links local officials with a national database.

numerous metal theft cases.

“All the scrap metal businesses are cooperating with us on that, too. It works,” Ranieri added.

“We went only with Leads Online, which is a national Web page. Based on our county ordinances, it allows us to go into that system and check names of, I guess you could say, frequent flyers for scrap

metal recycling,” said Capt. Tony Ranieri, of the SCSO Criminal Investigation Division. “When we enter

Leads Online is also connected online with GCIC, the Georgia Crime Information Center, which all state law enforcement officials use in the course of their investigations.

Spalding County Attorney Jim Fortune said the Board of Commissioners has also instituted local ordinances covering scrap metal

a

name into the system,

recyclers that are intended

it

shows everywhere in

to make it more difficult for thieves to sale stolen copper.

the nation that individual has gone to recycle scrap metal.”

Ranieri said Leads Online has proved to be highly beneficial to investigators, contributing to the successful resolution of

“The pawn shops have to electronically report everything they get in everyday. It’s the same

thing with the scrap metal businesses,” Fortune said.

“Sellers have to provide their names and show identification.”

Sheriff Wendell Beam also said additional support must come from the state legislative branch, in the form of more stringent

laws.

“They’re working on that. They’re trying to put more regulations on both the people who sell and buy it,” he said. “Lawmakers are attempting to close the loopholes.” Ω

« invention, cont.

To describe The Whip as simple is perhaps an understatement, considering that the installation involves only one nut and two wires. Professional installation is required, Dunson said, but any alarm company is qualified to do so.

The Whip entered the marketplace in May 2011, and has taken the home security industry by storm with its manufacturing company, Starlite Security Devices LLC, now boasting 200 distributors across the United States and Canada. Further expansion and sales increases are anticipated, as 2012 will mark the beginning

of European distribution.

The Whip retails for $249, compared to the average $1,000 insurance deductible most copper theft victims must pay, Dunson said.

In addition to providing protection to prevent victimization, Dunson said The Whip also meets another growing need.

“A lot of insurance companies are now requiring air conditioning units to be protected to be covered,” he said. “The Whip does that.”

For additional product information, visit www. thewhip.co or call Griffin- based Starlite Security Devices at 770-467-6873. Ω

Head Creek Reservoir reaches full pool; drought restrictions rescinded

SHEILA A. MARSHALL

sheila@the-grip.net

Recent rains have left the Head Creek Reservoir at full pool, which has resulted in the outdoor water ban being rescinded.

According to Dr. Brant Keller, Griffin director of public works, said residents may now prepare for the upcoming spring planting season under the previous odd/even watering schedule.

The Georgia Water Stewardship Act went into effect statewide June 2, 2010. It allows daily outdoor watering for purposes of planting, growing, managing or maintaining ground cover, trees, shrubs or other plants only between the hours

of 4 to 10 p.m. by anyone

whose water is supplied by

a water system permitted by the Environmental Protection Division.

Outdoor water use for any purposes other than watering of plants, such as power washing or washing cars, is still restricted to the odd/even schedule.

Odd-numbered addresses may water on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays; even-numbered and unnumbered addresses may water on Mondays, Wednesdays and Sundays.

“We have to wait and see about the weather we get, but as far as conservation is concerned, residents should use water responsibly,” Keller said. “But as long as we have water, people can use it.” Ω

“But as long as we have water, people can use it.” Ω Bling in the New
“But as long as we have water, people can use it.” Ω Bling in the New
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w a t C H d o g Jan. 5 - Jan. 18, 2012 3

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3

w a t C H d o g Jan. 5 - Jan. 18, 2012 3 Animal

Animal Care & Control Advisory Board explores pet licensure options

ROYCE DRAKE

royce@the-grip.net

At the close of 2011, Spalding Animal Care and Control Advisory Board (ACCAB) and the County Board of Commissioners discussed a new set of animal living condition policies, the most controversial of which is a proposed license for owners of dogs and cats.

measures, such as limits on the number of household pets and the county animal shelter.

"If we see that there are several households with six pets who have never had a complaint issued against them, then that supports the claim that six animals in a household is acceptable,” said Palmatier.

tethering or chaining of dogs and a new minimum enclosure sizes.

Unattended tethering is already restricted in over a dozen states and banned in more than 40 municipalities, including six in Georgia.

The new restraint and enclosure

ordinances would be county-wide, in order to ease confusion

for residents.

“In some cases it varied from one side of a street to another,” Palmatier said.

The new rules would mandate minimum enclosures based on the size of dogs divided into small, medium, and large.

on the size of dogs divided into small, medium, and large. You've got questions? We'll find

You've got questions? We'll find the answers. Curious about some rumor you heard about local government, what an organization does, or who paid for what? Send an e-mail to watchdog@the-grip.net.

Kelly Palmatier, the current chair of ACCAB, stressed that the proposed policies are to protect the animals and human inhabitants of the county.

The license would increase owner responsibility by identifying pets with their owners and encourage spaying and neutering, as the fee would be reduced for fixed animals.

The license would also help the county gauge animal control

According to Palmatier, the county animal shelter takes in 4,000 animals each year, but there is no way to estimate if the county is improving or not.

“For example,” she said, “if the number of animals residing in the county increases each year, and our intake to the shelter remains the same or goes down, that shows progress.”

ACCAB also proposed banning the

Commissioner Bob Gilreath also expressed concern with the transportation of dogs in the back of pick up trucks. Dogs are generally recognized by the Humane Society and several states to be safer in the cab of trucks.

Palmatier stressed that the discussion regarding licensing is not official and the Animal Care and Control Board welcomes input from residents.

“It is very important to us to balance the needs of our residents and the needs of our county’s animals.” Ω

residents and the needs of our county’s animals.” Ω Hollberg moves forward with efforts to legally

Hollberg moves forward with efforts to legally ban saggy pants

SHEILA A. MARSHALL

sheila@the-grip.net

Residents who claim those who wear baggy pants are committing indecent exposure may soon have relief, thanks to the Griffin Board of Commissioners.

Mayor Joanne Todd said she has twice previously initiated discussion at BOC meetings on the subject, and Commissioner Doug Hollberg had discussed it once, but upon legal advice, no further action was taken at those times.

“Our attorney (Drew Whalen) advised that it wouldn’t hold up in court,”Todd said.

“That’s the only reason we didn’t pursue it – that any ordinance we passed wouldn’t hold up if challenged in court. It would have no legal standing.”

Hollberg’s interest in passing a local ordinance banning saggy pants led him to present the BOC with information regarding similar action taken by other municipalities.

“I presented to the commissioners an article from another jurisdiction about what they’ve done,” he said. “The city of Albany, in one year, received $3,916 from citations issued to individuals

wearing saggy pants, but Drew (Whalen) said we couldn’t do it. His interpretation is that we cannot pass an ordinance. We value Drew’s legal opinion, and he said it wouldn’t hold up in court because it’s unconstitutional under Georgia law. So, we had two choices:

A, pass an ordinance and wait for it to be challenged in court, or B, wait until the legislature changes the law.”

Rather than wait until the legislature makes the necessary changes that would enable the city of Griffin to pass an ordinance of its own, Hollberg now says he is going to work to effect

that change by having Whalen draft potential legislation to be presented to Rep. David Knight.

“It’s something we’ve discussed before and it’s something I want to push through this legislative session,”

he said. “It’s definitely something I want to research. I would like to see legislation drafted and presented within the next 30 days that would allow us to pass an ordinance forbidding saggy pants, or for the law to be statewide forbidding saggy pants.”

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4

4 Jan. 5 - Jan. 18, 2012 v i e w p o i n t

Jan. 5 - Jan. 18, 2012

viewpointS

Letters to the editor concerning any subject relevant to Griffin citizens are en- couraged and welcomed, as are cheers & jeers. Any comments or letters must be signed and should be e-mailed to jessica@the-grip.net or posted to P.O. Box 2251,

Griffin, Georgia 30224.

during interview so they have to acknowledge that these problems do exist. I would like to know what they feel is more important- -using this money to better staff and equip our police department and sheriff departments or wasting it on the golf course and other trivial expenditures.

My husband and I won't stay here--its not worth living through that kind of shift.

If our own local government doesn't want to give the necessary attention that is needed to this snowballing problem--they can have it.

As for "creating dialogue" that was quoted in your article--that is just bunk. You don't give them the opportunity to present themselves as equal players in the justice system.

I could go on and on. Would you please do this story and put the pressure on and get real answers?

Thanks,

Julie Brandenburg

pressure on and get real answers? Thanks, Julie Brandenburg Reader asks: Should we divert funds from

Reader asks:

Should we divert funds from golf course to the effort to fight gang activity?

Dear editor: I read the paper copy of The Grip today and was absolutely stunned at the number of gangs we have now and how it is predicted to get worse in the near future. I am one of those city tax paying Griffinites who is completely against losing money on the golf course. I am against wasting money period.

I would like to see our local commissioners interviewed-- with the statistics in hand

“GET A GRIP”: POLL OF THE WEEK

Each week at www.the-grip.net a “Get A Grip” poll will be posted. The results and any related content will be published in the consecutive print edition of The Grip. Visit www.the-grip.net to vote today!

Last week's poll results:

Do you plan to vote for or against the School SPLOST?

20% FOR (4 VOTES)
20%
FOR
(4 VOTES)

AGAINST

80%

(16 VOTES)

This week's poll:

Should pet licensure be used by Spalding County as an animal control measure?

VOTE NOW AT WWW.THE-GRIP.NET

as an animal control measure? VOTE NOW AT WWW.THE-GRIP.NET Valid Concerns and Helpful Solutions: The $1,000

Valid Concerns and Helpful Solutions: The $1,000 Meatloaf

This is a semi-regular column devoted to addressing issues, tackling problems and giving all-around good advice to the leaders and citizenry of the greater Griffin-Spalding County area.

DIRT MCGIRT

In today’s fast-paced and technology-fueled world one of the best ways to gather

the family together is around

a home cooked meal. Since

the cook hopes to repeat this event many times a week,

it is very important that the

meals are both delicious and original. The pressure to produce mouth watering

entrées often leads many

home cooks to venture from their standard meatloaf recipe and seek advice from professional chefs.

Despite the fact that these culinary explorers lack the training, years of experience, top of the line appliances, state-of-the-art kitchens, well- stocked pantries and trained sous chefs that professional chefs have at their disposal, they are convinced that they can also produce world class cuisine. As with many ill-fated attempts at home improvement, the driving force behind this culinary experimentation and false sense of cuisine competence can be traced to television.

Cooking shows used to be simple with the chef showing the audience how to prepare

a delicious pot roast or apple

pie using ingredients readily available to the average person. The proliferation of competition cooking shows has changed this traditional format. These shows feature world-famous chefs battling each other to create the most amazing dishes using ingredients flown in from all corners of the world. The winner has often made something like Black Truffle infused Kobe Beef tenderloin braised in 200-year-old champagne and topped with caviar, a South American quail egg and gold shavings.

his local stores do not carry truffles, caviar and quail eggs and thus heads off to Atlanta in search of these prizes. Nine farmer’s market, six specialty stores and $589 later, the chef has finally gathered all of the ingredients except the 200-year-old champagne, crème fraiche and gold shavings.

Upon returning home, the

chef realizes that his kitchen lacks the necessary appliances to infuse the Kobe beef. He

then travels back to Atlanta and purchases the $300 beef infuser from the laughing sales clerk who explains that it is so simple to use it doesn’t matter that the instructions on the box are written in Chinese. He also spent $80 to refill his car with the gas burned by the two 100-mile round trips.

Once home, the chef begins preparing the meal just as he remembered the chef doing on television. However, things begin to deteriorate immediately as the $6 bottle of champagne from the fridge he used as a substitute for the expensive bubbly catches fire and scorches the beef. As the chef takes the batteries out of the smoke detector, the dog pulls the bag containing the black truffle off the counter and consumes it in one bite.

The chef cusses the sales clerk when he realizes that there is no such thing as an infuser when he opens the box only

to find an electric toothbrush. When the chef badly cuts his hand using a cheese grater to shave gold from his wedding ring to top the burned beef he has finally had enough.

The dejected chef then trudges back to the local grocery store and spends $31 buying the ingredients for a meal he can cook. That night his family gathers around the table and enjoys what only the chef knows is the world’s first $1000 meatloaf. Ω

As is so often the case viewers of these shows convince themselves that they can also prepare that dish and that they can do so in the thirty minutes it took the professional chef.

The amateur chef first heads to the store to be the

ingredients

necessary

to prepare

such a

meal. The

chef soon

realizes that

to prepare such a meal. The chef soon realizes that »»» »»» »»» LETTERS TO THE

»»» »»» »»» LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

We reserve the right to edit for space.

I am thinking of the Sixth Street pocket park and the fancy new screen

they just got for it. I am a constituent of Joanne Todd.

I am requesting that she

specifically be interviewed on the subject because she is the main supporter of that golf course.

Griffin deserves better than this. The ones who want to ignore the gang issue

need to look no further than Clayton County. I lived in the same house for 26 years -- born and raised there. It was a fabulous, safe, and very convenient community to live in.

I have wonderful memories growing up there. I remember when the Target/ Home Depot plaza on

Mt. Zion Blvd. was a cow pasture. But now it has been under gang control for a number of years, and

well, it speaks for itself. The

government and school board are both full of corruption. Big companies are pulling out. Toys R Us is shutting its doors and moving to McDonough, into the same area that Kohl's is

located.

coming is to be ignorant. If you do not plan--you will fail.

To ignore what is

Officials respond:

Griffin Police Department Chief Frank Strickland:

"It's not a question of throwing more money at the issue, this is not a new problem in Griffin, it has been a problem since the 1980s. We have a very good nucleus of officers who are very knowledgeable of the numbers of different groups and their members and we work every day to limit their criminal activity and make arrests of them.

We have made several attempts at educating parents, teachers and others in the community with a program Sgt. John Hayes and Lt. Morris Pike put together last spring. It was offered several times at the police department and was aimed at getting the community involved to assist the department in stopping it neighborhood by neighborhood. The response was not what we had hoped for from the community, parents or others. So we continue to try and work through the court system to deal with the problem."

City Manager Kenny Smith via e-mail to city commissioners on Monday, Jan. 2:

. We cannot deny that

we have gangs in the city and cannot contradict the information the officers provided (without my knowledge or direction). [Editor's note: Smith is referring to the reported statistic of 75 percent of crime in Griffin being gang-related in the article entitled "Griffin's great and growing gang problem" that ran in the Dec. 15 edition]. I will be meeting with Chief Strickland and his staff Tuesday morning to discuss this issue. I do not

believe that more money to the police department is the answer but better use of the resources we have.

. . I will provide more info

after I return to the office on Tuesday and after I meet with the police department

command staff. [Editor's note: This e-mail was edited for space, as the e-mail below reiterates much of what was cut.]

City Manager Kenny Smith via e-mail to city commissioners on Tuesday, Jan. 3:

Our police department is adequately staffed, well trained and effectively equipped. We have more

officers per population than most jurisdictions due to our high poverty rates, rental percentages and crime rates. Although we acknowledge the presence of gang activity in the city we do not believe that activity is responsible for three of every four crimes committed as stated in the Dec. 15 edition of the Grip (our police department cannot produce any statistics that confirms that statement and The Grip will not release where they got that statement from).

Our police department is fully staffed with 95 sworn officers, 14 of whom have college degrees at the Masters level, and 24 with bachelors or associates degrees. There are 152 advanced certifications in our department. Last year the police department completed 13,436 hours of training. Our department is state certified and nationally accredited. Although our crime rate exceeds the national and state averages, the violent crime rate has decreased 46 percent in the last 10 years. Property crimes have decreased 20 percent in the same time frame. From 2009 to 2010 alone, incidents reported to the department decreased by more than 19 percent.

Do we have a gang problem? Yes. Is it worsening? Probably. Can the police department or the city government cure the problem alone? No way.

Over the past years/ months we have attempted to integrate the Gang Resistance Education and Training (GREAT) program in the local schools but were told there was not enough classroom contact hours available for the class.

The department has

attempted to have gang educational and informational meetings for community education and input with approximately only seven people attending.

The department has used the Georgia Code that relates to the prosecution of gang activity to its advantage in prosecuting acts that could be proven to be gang related.

The department has used and continues to use clandestine methods and operations to gather gang intelligence and infiltrate gangs and gang activity. Although we cannot divulge our investigative techniques, our operations are and will continue to be enhanced to address the problem.

It is important that the public understand that the police department nor the city government can solve this problem. Social agencies, churches, educational professionals, parents, grandparents, neighbors, and citizens must get involved. There appears to be many agencies with resources that could be targeted toward this issue but we cannot seem to identify or collaborate so that the entire community is working toward the same goal.

Our police department will continue to use every person and resource available to combat all crime and keep our citizens, businesses, visitors and their property safe.

City Manager Kenny Smith via e-mail to Grip publisher on Wed. Jan. 4:

I appreciate your paper and think it is wonderful. However, I feel the article headlined “Griffin’s Great and Growing Gang Problem: 75% of Crime in Griffin is Gang Related” is not only inaccurate but detrimental to the economic growth and well- being of the city. The police department has certain gang intelligence (which they may not be able to share publicly) and certain statistics, but statistics are not kept that will show that three of every four crimes committed in the city are gang related. In fact, I would bet that if you reviewed the statistics, you would find that a small percentage are actually documented as “gang related.”There was probably an assumption made on someone’s part that a certain assault, or robbery, or shoplifting may have stemmed from gang activity, but with no firm knowledge of that fact and no documentation. I would suggest you get with me, along with Chief Strickland to look at statistics.

Mayor Joanne Todd:

There is no stealing money from one department to another – be it the golf course (which is enterprise) and public safety, which is police and fire.

Also as I told Ms. Marshall in her interview with me several weeks ago, we have several programs that don’t carry their weight as far as meeting their budget – the airport traditionally loses as much money as the golf course

– to her specific question

about diverting money from the golf course to fund public safety – I responded “that the city would never sacrifice the safety of its citizens for any program.” The golf course loses money – but it is an amenity that citizens enjoy much like what ball fields cost for your youth and other issues. Recreation for your community is important and it does not

pay for itself either.

The city maintains the Park at Sixth Street. The county built this park with hotel/motel money – which is designated for tourist attraction. The city purchased the sound system. So as much as those who are unhappy campers that want to complain – it is an asset. The same goes for the improvements to the dry detention pond at Ashton Place – the city has had to maintain it for years due to contractor failure – those citizens only wanted it maintained – it abuts their properties. So the city is going to plant shrubbery and flowers that maintain themselves and mow the walking track. We will benefit in the long run due to less maintenance.

One can pick and choose whatever bugs them – but it doesn’t change reality; and the more one tries to compare apples and oranges, the same conclusion will be drawn. Other than being fruit, they taste differently and look different. Both are good for you. I think there is a message there.

In conclusion – I will repeat – public safety of our citizens is not being sacrificed; our policemen are aware of all criminal activity, however, it never hurts to publicly give this reassurance. Ω

LiFeStyLe Jan. 5 - Jan. 18, 2012 5
LiFeStyLe
Jan. 5 - Jan. 18, 2012
5
LiFeStyLe Jan. 5 - Jan. 18, 2012 5 Bad habit goes up in smoke Question: I

Bad habit goes up in smoke

Question: I have wanted to quit smoking cigarettes for years. I know they’re bad for me, but quitting the habit is tough. What is the story on the electronic cigarettes? Do they work? Are they safe?

As a non-smoker, I have to rely on experience of other folks sometimes. I have learned to be thankful for my smoke allergies that removed all temptation to either smoke or associate with smokers, as they only made me sneeze and cough more. Seriously, it affected my choices of friends because my allergy was that bad.

You are right about the difficulty in quitting. Nicotine has been shown in some studies to be more quickly addictive

has been shown in some studies to be more quickly addictive DR. BOB HAYDEN DC, PhD,

DR. BOB HAYDEN DC, PhD, FICC

than heroine. It is a powerful stimulant drug that increases heart rate and causes blood vessels to narrow, promoting higher blood pressure. It greatly increases risk of cardiovascular disease, cancer, and lung disease, as you know. Also, as you know, a pack per day will cost you nearly $2,000/ year for cigarettes alone.

The electronic cigarettes are becoming a popular option for many who seek freedom from their habit. The one with which I am most familiar is comprised

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and graduated doses of nicotine available so that you can literally wean yourself off the addictive drug. They even come in regular and menthol flavor.

There are small

Have a question for Dr. Bob? Send it to IrisCity@aol.com.

There are oral drugs (pills and chewing gum) that can also help you wean yourself from nicotine, but many report that the act of putting something up to the mouth is itself a habit that is hard to break after years of doing it. The electronic cigarette offers the opportunity to slowly break the physical habit as well as the chemical habit.

I was introduced to this product by Tim, one of our patients who came

to see us one day to say goodbye. Tim had been

a lifelong smoker, up

to two or three packs per day, and was facing

surgery for a throat lump that was nearly certain to be cancer. His heart and lungs were ruined, so chances of making

it through surgery

were slim. Even then, a malignancy loomed as his reward for his habit.

Tim sported a new electronic cigarette, though, and proudly stated that he had kicked the habit that had ruined

him. He had to travel all the way to a truck

stop to get his supplies, though, because no one

in Griffin had them.

demonstrated that he could inhale normally as the electronic cigarette delivered a measured dose of nicotine and mist. He exhaled harmless water vapor. It looked and felt realistic to him, but there was no smoke and nothing to give him cancer or make me sneeze.

On Tim’s recommendation,

I researched this product

and ordered some. We have tried them with some

patients with great success.

I can’t tell you how great

it is to hear of people breaking this habit and turning to health. We hear from them as they begin to breathe better, taste food again, and even smell flowers that they could not enjoy as smokers.

One told me just this morning that she is already going to the smaller dose of nicotine on her way to breaking the addiction altogether. Her next order

of electronic cigarette filters will be nicotine-free, and she will have kicked the habit. Her lungs will begin the long process of

self-cleaning and repair after the assault they have sustained.

If you need help to stop smoking, give us a call or drop by the clinic for coffee and a chat. I will be glad

to drop everything except patients to talk with you about how you can quit and do it cleanly. By the way, you’ll save a lot of money that won’t go up in smoke.

And Tim’s tumor was benign—this time. Ω

He

in smoke. And Tim’s tumor was benign—this time. Ω He The importance of a Southern MeeMaw

The importance of a Southern MeeMaw

ANNE HENDRICKS CHILDRESS

We all love our grandmothers, and when they are gone we miss them. I recently visited my husband’s paternal grandmother’s grave (he called her MaMaw) and we spent a lovely five minutes in a one-sided conversation. I told her how well she reared her grandson. Just like my own grandmother, his grandmother lived with his parents for over 20 years and helped rear him.

He adored her, as all Southern boys love their MaMaws. I think Southerners come up with the best names for their grandmothers.

Yankees do not seem to get the entire Southern method of naming a grandmother. Mrs. Louise Parks—a dear elderly friend—once told me, “Southern grandchildren often name their grandmothers.” Moreover, it is true – she nailed it.

I personally had a Kentucky MeeMaw whereas my David had a Tennessee MaMaw. In my 40 years,

I have heard “Grandma,”

“Nana,”“Wanna,” and “Yannie.” My personal favorite is the name my best friend, Gwenna White Maddox, is called –

“Gwennie!”

I had five grandmothers in my everyday life – one was a step, one was a biological, two were great grandmothers who influenced my rearing and physical appearance, and my maternal grandmother,

Mrs. Aliene Pillow Carman.

If you knew her, you’d

remember her as my sassy and spunky “MeeMaw.” In addition, yes, she was redheaded. MeeMaw could cook anything, grow anything, smoked like a chimney, and, most of all, tore my bottom up to “save me.”

My other grandmother was a step-grandparent. She was college educated, of Eastern Kentucky stock, and made an art form out of marrying well. In other words, she had been my grandfather’s mistress before he married her. However, this woman became the best friend I have ever had.

She paid for both my college degrees, and

was available 24 hours

a day, 7 days a week for

advice, love, uplifting, and

laughter. And, of course,

she never spanked me. I called her “Grandma,” and losing her at the age of 98 still brings tears to my eyes. There is not one day that goes by that I do not start crying over the

death of my paternal step- grandmother.

Southern grandmothers they often provided the free childcare our mothers utilized when they burned their bras and went to work. My mother was a working mother, and until recently,

I was a working mother

and librarian. Just about everyone in my family has been a working mother. My mother continues to care for my son, Ian, in the afternoons when I do volunteer work or writing assignments. Nevertheless, our grandmothers kept us, fed us, watched us like hawks, and wore our seats out. My own Kentucky MeeMaw worked in a war plant during World War II (making bullets to kill the Axis Powers, as she used to say), and my mother’s Kentucky MeeMaw kept her children on the family farm.

With me, one grandmother

was a parental figure, the other my best friend. My grandmothers are buried

in Western Kentucky.

I visit them yearly and

have lovely one-sided conversations with them.

I visited my MeeMaw last

fall, and yes, she is doing fine. She’d be ashamed

I ventured to her grave,

on a beautiful hillside in a Missionary Baptist

cemetery, without flowers. Instead, I employed a method gleaned from my Jewish heritage: I placed a rock on her grave.

We had a lovely conversation with my husband, David, right there. My reddish hair must have glistened in the sun

because it was from her that it came. He noticed the date of her death – June of 1995 – and commented his MaMaw died the previous year (his MaMaw, like my MeeMaw, had had Alzheimer’s). We just stood there quietly, emotionally bonding yet again. “I still can’t talk about it,” I told him. And he kissed me, right there, in front of my MeeMaw.

I have not decided on

how I will be known to my grandchildren, but I think MaMaw Childress or MeeMaw Childress has a nice ring to it. What recently tickled me was how my new mother-in- law, Geneva Childress, was debating on what Ian was to call her. She is a first time

grandmother, becoming

the step-grandparent to an 11-year-old boy. He mentioned that he liked “Grandma” to honor

my own beloved step grandmother.

I love it. Ω

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HOMETOWN BULLETIN BOARD

January 10; Tuesday; Ceramics class; 5-9:30 p.m.; Spalding County Parks and Recreation

main office; for additional information call 770-467-

4750.

January 11; Wednesday; La Leche League of Griffin; 10 a.m.; provides breastfeeding information, help and support; for additional information call Mercy at

770-228-3972.

January 12; Thursday; Chamber of Commerce Annual Dinner; 6:30 p.m.; Griffin Welcome Center; awards presented to Small Business of the Year, Organization of the

Year, Outstanding Citizen, Good Corporate Citizen, Ambassador of the Year, Member of the Year, and General Griffin 2012 will be named.

January 14; Saturday; Griffin's Got Talent; Moore Elementary School; 6 p.m.

January 17; Tuesday; Emily Hearn concert presented by Griffin Area Concert Association; Griffin Auditorium 234 E. Taylor Street, Griffin; for more information call

770-228-3229.

January 20; Friday; Comedy Night at Griffin Country Club; 8 - 11 p.m.; call 770-228-0710 for

more details.

January 21; Saturday; Zumbathon fundraiser for Stepping Stones ETC; registration at 9:30 a.m. Zumba starts at 10 a.m.; 141 Futral Road, Griffin.

February 16-26; "Tuesdays with Morrie" presented by the Mainstreet Players; the autobiographical story of Mitch Albom, an accomplished journalist driven solely by his career, and Morrie Schwartz, his former college professor. Sixteen years after graduation, Mitch happens to catch Morrie’s appearance on a television news program

and learns that his old professor is battling Lou Gehrig’s Disease. Mitch is reunited with Morrie, and what starts as a simple visit turns into a weekly pilgrimage and a last class in the meaning of life.

Our community calendar is sponsored by UGA Griffin Campus & 92.5 FM The Bear

is sponsored by UGA Griffin Campus & 92.5 FM The Bear « review, cont. damaged businesses
is sponsored by UGA Griffin Campus & 92.5 FM The Bear « review, cont. damaged businesses

« review, cont.

damaged businesses and two lost lives. Countless volunteers stepped up to the plate in the following months to help others piece their lives back together.

Though many citizens expressed their opposition at the joint city and county commissioners meeting on April 7, the commissioners voted to move forward with moving the G-S Airport to east Griffin between Jackson and High Falls roads.

May 2011

After failed motions to both table and deny the re-routing of Hwy. 155 down N. McDonough Hwy., County Commissioners Raymond Ray, Gwen Flowers-Taylor and Eddie Freeman carried the motion to approve.

On May 26, the Griffin Police Department responded to an apparent suicide attempt on Hwy. 16 bridge. Officers located 53-year-old Stephen Turner with a steel cable around his neck and attached to the bridge. Officers were eventually able to pull him to safety.

Griffin resident Vernon Thomas Young, 65, was arrested and charged with the murder of his 63-year- old wife, Olivia.

June 2011

Spalding County citizens continued to recover from April tornados, and preliminary damage figures were estimated to be over $450,000.

The Third Ward pocket

park opened with a ribbon cutting on June 18.

The Airport Advisory Board requested $98,000 from Spalding County to cover a funding gap. After county officials tabled the request, city officials stated they had adequate funds to meet the airport’s operational deficit.

July 2011

Spalding County Sheriff Dee Stewart passed away July 3 as a result of severe head injuries sustained in a June 23 wreck that occurred as he was patrolling the county.

City commissioners voted to raise the blighted property tax from three to seven times the set millage rate.

Spalding County commissioners rejected the Western Commercial Connector proposal made by Paulding County Commission Chairman David Austin. The toll road was proposed to ease traffic by providing another corridor around Atlanta.

August 2011

County Manager William Wilson announced the appointment of Kenny West as Spalding County Fire Chief.

Academy Award winner Billy Bob Thornton spent over a week in Griffin at the historical Bailey-Tebault house filming the movie “Jayne Mansfield’s Car.”

Preliminary numbers indicated that four G-S schools may not meet Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP). Final numbers were released in Nov. that showed 17 of 18 individual

CONT, review, pg 7 »

Community briefs

To have your information appear in the this section of The Grip, (space permitting) e-mail a press release to sheila@the-grip.net.

New photography club starts in Griffin

The newly formed Southside Photography group is meeting at Liberty Technology at 120 E. Taylor st. on the last Tuesday of each month at 7 p.m.

We are looking for new members that are just starting out in photography as well as those that have knowledge to offer. We have professional photographers all the way to the hobbyist.

The club will be having a

show for the whole month

of January at A Novel

Experience bookstore in Zebulon on the square. The members will showcase some of their photographs and offer them for sale.

A reception will be held at

the bookstore on January 14 at 7 p.m. serving a

southern cuisine. The event

is

open to the public.

If

you would like more

information send an e-mail to mcdaniel303@gmail. com. Ω

New era of marketing

On Tuesday, Feb. 7, The Griffin-Spalding Chamber of Commerce and the LEAF (Leading Entrepreneurs Advancing the Future ) program will host a free Lunch & Learn with guest speaker Gary Hermsmeier of TXT-COM Mobile Marketing.

The topic will be "Introducing a new era in marketing" and will cover

topics such as mobile marketing, social media marketing and mobile web design and optimization.

The lunch will be held from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Griffin Welcome Center at 143 N. Hill Street. Lunch will be provided, but reservations are required. Call 770-228-8200 or email nturner@cityofgriffin.com for more information. Ω

Entrepreneur Expo set for January 26

On Jan. 26, the annual Power Partners Expo will be held at Southern Crescent Technical College.

The Power-Packed Session will include local entrepreneurs and business owners leading an informative panel discussion from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m.

The Entrepreneur Expo will follow directly and last until 1:30 p.m. Representatives from national, state and local agencies that can provide help for start-up businesses,or businesses looking to expand will be available.

For more information, call 770-228-8200. Ω

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BUSineSS/edUCation Jan. 5 - Jan. 18, 2012 7

BUSineSS/edUCation

Jan. 5 - Jan. 18, 2012

BUSineSS/edUCation Jan. 5 - Jan. 18, 2012 7
BUSineSS/edUCation Jan. 5 - Jan. 18, 2012 7

7

BUSineSS/edUCation Jan. 5 - Jan. 18, 2012 7 « work ready cont. that once the official
« work ready cont. that once the official notification comes from GOWD, promotion of being
« work ready cont.
that once the official
notification comes from
GOWD, promotion of being
The designation will not
only help the community
entice industry to locate
iPod Nano and Kindle
Fire through a random
drawing as an enticement
for taking the Work Ready
assessment in November
and early December.
a Work Ready community
will begin.
in Spalding County, but
also help individuals who
took the test obtain quality
employment.
By mid-December, the
committee had reached its
goal.
Though GOWD has
not made an official
announcement, Steve
Hendrix, job profiler for
the Georgia Work Ready,
anticipates the release
of another list of Work
Ready communities in two
months. “They had just
released [a list] right before
we reached our goal, and
they only do it every few
months,” said Hendrix.
“We’re obviously going
ahead and letting people
know we’re a Work Ready
community, though.”
“The Work Ready
Committee focused so
heavily on reaching the
required numbers that any
promotion of attaining
the status as a Work Ready
Community was something
not fully developed. With
the official notification,
work will then begin on
what will be appropriate,”
said Pfrogner.
“It’s also helping the
individuals who have
earned that certification,”
said Hendrix. “There are
several businesses in the
area, not just Spalding, but
also from Pike and Henry
counties, that are going
to be looking for those
people with certifications
to help staff their open
positions.”
“What we do know is that
businesses and industries
looking at the different
areas are beginning to
inquire as to whether a
city or county is a Certified
Work Ready community
as designated by the state
of Georgia. This can be an
important recruitment tool
for our area and provides
an added incentive to
those working to bring
new business and industry
here,” she continued.
Businesses such as
Caterpillar in Spalding,
John Deere in Henry
and Southern States
in Hampton have also
completed job profiles
through Georgia Work
Ready, helping them
identify key information to
Griffin-Spalding Chamber
of Commerce Director
Bonnie Pfrogner states
look for on an individual’s
Work Ready certificate in
order to match them with
the correct position within
their company.

Kick @$$ Job of the Week:

Aircraft Recovery Manager

When an aircraft crashes in the Southeast, chances are that the Atlanta Air Recovery crew is on the site within 24 hours. It's Todd Thaxton's job to coordinate the recovery of those crashes.

Tell us a little about what Atlanta Air Recovery does. Thaxton: We transport aircraft when they can't fly for some reason. A large part of our business is crash recovery. When an aircraft crashes in the southeast, we are usually dispatched to the site to transport the wreckage back to our facility for storage and investigation.

wreckage back to our facility for storage and investigation. job where you hike and play in

job where you hike and play in the mud? Actually I have always loved airplanes and I have been a licensed aircraft mechanic for over 18 years. I learned about the company from working

at the airport and I thought

it sounded like something I would enjoy.

deployed and flew alongside the pilot's plane, finding it completely intact and abandoned. The pilot had intended for the aircraft to make it to the ocean but it crashed before it made it that far. It was

remarkably intact which made for an easy case against the guy after he was found.

Another interesting job was to store a huge piece of the titanic. We have large climate controlled storage areas which were perfect for this large piece of history to be stored when it wasn't on exhibit.

What does AAR do with the planes it recovers? Thaxton: They are stored for investigation. Sometimes there is litigation involved so some planes are with us for years. When there's no longer a need for storage the airplanes are destroyed or auctioned.

So after seeing all the wreckages, do you still fly? Thaxton: Sure I do. I think air travel is safe. There's going to be accidents in any mode of transportation. The biggest problems I see are people running out of fuel and flying in weather that they know they shouldn't be in. Ω

in weather that they know they shouldn't be in. Ω And what does a recovery manager

And what does a recovery manager do? Thaxton: As recovery manager I coordinate equipment and personnel. I'm the one who has my phone on 24/7 to take the call when something bad happens. I'm also the one who keeps up with our inventory of stored aircraft.

How did you get into this industry? Did you wake up one day and decide you wanted to fish airplanes out of swamps? Thaxton: Of course. Who wouldn't want to have a

What's the most interested recovery mission you've been on? Thaxton: It's hard to pick the most interesting. The details of every crash are interesting. One that comes to mind is the man who tried to fake his death and jumped out of his airplane with a parachute. After radioing in the reports of "damage" to his aircraft and pretending to lose radio contact, the pilot initiated autopilot and parachuted form the plane over Birmingham. Another plane was

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« reivew, cont.

G-S schools met AYP, with A.Z. Kelsey being the only school not meeting AYP standards.

September 2011

City and county officials asked the city and county attorneys to draft an intergovernmental agreement for the creation of a joint airport authority.

City commissioners approved the rezoning necessary for Kroger to relocate from the current location on North Expressway to Georgia Highway 16 near Lowe’s. The store will be

123,600 square feet and is projected to open in Oct.

2012.

October 2011

Maj. Wendell Beam was elected as the new sheriff of Spalding County in a runoff against Capt. Keith Duncan with 67 percent of the 6,928 votes.

Spalding County Correctional Institute inmate Roley Gabriel Faubion escaped on Oct. 18 while out on work detail and was later apprehended in Cobb County after ordering a pizza and stealing the delivery vehicle.

Three Rivers Commission Regional Transportation Roundtable approved a two-option plan for the

TSPLOST. Both options left the commuter rail as the first priority, but allocate different funding amounts to the project. This was done to protect funding in case other counties cut the commuter rail from their lists.

November 2011

Spalding County gained funding for an emergency notification system in response to the April 2011 tornados. The system allows each citizen to enter up to five points of contact information into a portal, and will automatically notify the citizens in the event of an emergency.

The G-S Board of Education adopted a 170-day school calendar for 2012-13, beginning on Aug. 13 and ending May 24. Each school day will be extended by 20 minutes in the afternoon so as to not loose any instructional time.

City Commissioners Doug Hollberg, City at Large, and Joanne Todd, District 4, were re-elected in the Nov. 8 election, while Will Evans, District 2, was unseated by former commissioner Cora Flowers. A city ordinance allowing Sunday alcohol sales also passed.

Griffin prepared for the worst-case scenario regarding water levels not meeting local needs by shifting water production

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from Head Creek Reservoir to Still Branch Reservoir, and estimates that there are 116 days of water supply left.

December 2011

The city of Griffin passed an ordinance allowing golf carts on most roads with

a speed limit of 35 mph or

lower. The ordinance was enacted in order to place limits to the new state ordinance allowing the use of golf carts on public roadways.

The Spalding County School Board approved the resolution to place a new school SPLOST on the

March 6, 2012 ballot. The three-year school SPLOST

is projected to raise $25

million with no bonded indebtedness, and would cover technology and building updates.

The Spalding County Board of Commissioners voted to raise the Conservation Use Land requirement from nine to 25 acres by

a 3-2 vote, with Chairman

Eddie Freeman and Gwen Flowers-Taylor dissenting.

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