Mayor, city council persons
sworn in for new terms
January 6 – At Monday evening’s Donalsonville City Council meeting Donalsonville Mayor Ron Johnson, along with Mayor pro tem Ed Bond, and council person Flossie Smith, were officially sworn in for new terms. The oath of office was given to each by Seminole County Probate Judge Michael Jon Rogerson. Council person Lindsay Register was sworn into office earlier in the day.
Newly elected and former council person Mitzy Moye was officially sworn in to represent District 1, Post 1 in a ceremony held earlier this week. Moye defeated former council person Moses James in last November’s election.
Donalsonville News makes special delivery to national title game
January 13 – A Donalsonville News special delivery was made last Monday night to Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis for the college football national championship game between the Georgia Bulldogs and the Alabama Crimson Tide.
For multiple reasons the newspaper’s editor David Maxwell, a Red and Black bleeding University of Georgia School of Journalism graduate, could not make it to the game, so as far as he was concerned, he did the next best thing.
“I could not make it to Indianapolis,” commented Maxwell, “so I poured what I hoped to be some good luck mojo into a front-page design with a graphic message and statement of my hopes and dreams for the Bulldogs to accomplish on that night.” To avoid any chance of putting a jinx on the Dogs’ chances in the game, Maxwell shared his project with only his special delivery mailmen and women, Seminole County die-hard Georgia fans Becky and Wayne Worsham and Sheryl and Royce Cannington,
Well, as we all know, the game went Georgia’s way and the Bulldogs defeated the Crimson Tide 33-18 for the 2021 College Football National Championship.
Will Pace is the 2022
STAR Student for SCMHS
January 13 – Seminole County Middle/High School proudly announces William Hilton Pace (Will) as its 2022 STAR Student. Pace, selected on the basis of his SAT scores, class standing and scholastic averages, has chosen Ms. Gay Williams as his STAR teacher.
Will Pace is the son of John and Amanda Buckhaulter and Wes Pace. He has attended Seminole County Schools since kindergarten. Will is honored to be named the 2021-2022 STAR student and would like to thank his teachers, friends, and family for supporting him throughout his journey.
Will has served as the local parliamentarian, secretary and president of Future Business Leaders of America and currently serves as the State Vice President of Communication. He has served as the local treasurer, secretary, and president of FFA and served as the Area 5 Reporter his Junior year. He is the current chapter president of the National Honor Society and a member of Family Career and Community Leaders of America.
Will was the recipient of the Hugh O’Brian Youth Leadership Award and also served on the state school superintendent’s advisory council in 2019-2020. This past Summer Will was selected as one of two delegates to represent Georgia at Boys Nation hosted by the American Legion. In addition, he has also achieved many awards and accolades for public speaking and various competitions. After high school, Will plans to attend the University of Georgia, majoring in International Affairs.
Donalsonville Church of God to dedicate new Family Life Center
January 20 – When Bishop Phillip Kirkland began pastoring at the Donalsonville Church of God (DCOG) in March 2015, he brought a vision for reaching people, young and old, by letting them know we love them. He quickly realized his vision aligned with that of the church, which originated when Pastor Althia Chandler organized the church over 75 years ago. This same vision has continued with each pastor since that time, keeping the church alive and vibrant in the community.
Pastor Kirkland, along with the church council, began preparing to build a Family Life Center. The Family Life Center is comprised of Sunday School classrooms, Children’s Church room, Youth Center, Evangelist’s Quarters, industrial kitchen, fellowship hall, and a full court gym. In the Fall of 2020, a groundbreaking ceremony was held to begin the building process. Donalsonville Church of God was blessed to have Campers on Mission set up camp in December 2020 to get the building underway. Campers on Mission is a group of retired Christians from all over the United States who love to camp and have turned camping into a ministry. The group assists organizations with building projects at no cost for labor. Their only request is to be provided one meal per day. The Campers on Mission completed their work in May 2021. Since that time, the finishing touches have been applied to the facility. In November 2021, the church enjoyed the first Thanksgiving meal in the new fellowship hall. The children’s church and youth are now enjoying holding weekly services in the Family Life Center.
On Saturday, January 29th at 2 p.m., Donalsonville Church of God will officially dedicate the building to be used now and in the future for God’s work. Pastor Phillip Kirkland will lead the dedication service, with South Georgia’s State Bishop, Dr. Gary Lewis, serving as the guest speaker.
The Boots & Roots Rodeo
has a new home!
January 20 – The Donalsonville-Seminole County Chamber of Commerce’s annual Boots & Roots Rodeo has a new home. At last Thursday’s meeting of the Development Authority of Seminole County and Donalsonville a motion was made and unanimously approved to grant the chamber permission to stage this year’s rodeo event on property located within the authority’s new Industrial Park East. The park is located just east of Donalsonville off Ash Crossing Road, and north of U.S. Highway 84.
So mark your calendar for Friday and Saturday, March 18 and 19 and get ready to kick up some dust and experience the return of a professional rodeo right here in Seminole County.
Peanut Commission presents
Innovator of the Year award
to Lewis Carter
January 27 – Lewis M. Carter, Jr. was honored last week with the Georgia Peanut Commission’s first ever Innovator of the Year award at the 45th annual Georgia Peanut Farm Show and Conference, held at the University of Georgia Tifton Campus Conference Center in Tifton, Georgia. Armond Morris, Chairman of the Georgia Peanut Commission presented the award.
LMC, with its leadership in density separation, has become the leader in industrial separation equipment using sizing, aspirating, and applying color sorting systems. Basically 100% of the US peanut crop is processed in LMC systems and on LMC machinery. Almost 70% of the US almond and pistachio crops use LMC equipment and techniques. LMC also has a strong presence in the edible bean/pulse industries and in other crops. Seed conditioning, where dead and damaged seed, as well as weed seeds, are removed; guaranteeing the farmer is receiving a strong, viable seed to sow. These seeds include soybeans, all cereal grains, including rice, canola, lentils as well as grass seed.
LMC is now beginning its 81st year. There are two LMC sister companies. LMC Ag, located in Albany, Georgia, designs and manufactures spraying and short line equipment, as well peanut dryers and pecan harvesting equipment. LMC Canada, located in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, provides sales and service to bean and seed plants throughout western Canada. As a rule, LMC generally exports around 25% of its annual production throughout the world.
Ameris Bank makes $50,000 HEART gift to Donalsonville Hospital
February 17 – Ameris Bank has pledged $50,000 to Donalsonville Hospital through the Georgia HEART Rural Hospital program.
“Ameris Bank recognizes Donalsonville Hospital’s value to our community. Providing our residents access to quality care close to home allows us to attract and retain businesses in Seminole County and the hospital itself is a significant employer of more than 300 quality jobs,” stated Tracy Pickle, President of Ameris Bank
“The generous contribution of $50,000 from Ameris Bank will go a long way in supporting our mission of providing high quality, cost-effective healthcare, and promote wellness throughout our community,” stated Chuck Orrick, Donalsonville Hospital Administrator. Orrick added, “Ameris Bank’s generous contributions over the past four years have allowed us to make important and necessary investments in people, technology and programs for positive health outcomes in Seminole County and our surrounding area.”
Currently, 56 rural hospitals are eligible to receive these tax credit-eligible contributions from individuals and businesses across the state.
Georgia income taxpayers who are interested in participating in the HEART program are encouraged to visit www.georgiaheart.org to learn more and submit a 2022 HEART tax credit application.
Iron City awarded $2,165,063
for water system improvement
February 24 – On February 22, 2022, Governor Brian P. Kemp, joined by members of the Water and Sewer Infrastructure Committee and state leaders, announced more than $422 million in preliminary awards which will ensure communities in high-need areas have reliable and safe drinking water and wastewater systems. $2,165,063 of that $422 million has been awarded to the Town of Iron City for use in completing improvements to the community’s water system to provide adequate water quantity and quality to residents.
Iron City requested the additional $2,165,063 in SFRF grant funds to complete the improvements to the water system and allocated the loan and grant funds as leverage for the project. The target area for the proposed project includes the entire city limits, benefiting the total population of 312. The goals of the project include the installation of 6” and 8” watermains with fire hydrants and valves, construction of two new deep wells with chemical feed buildings and generators, abandoning its two existing wells, construction of a 100,000-gallon elevated water storage tank, and installation of radio read water meters for all service connections
Angela Hagen, Moses James selected as 2021 Co-Citizens of the Year
March 3 – One of theme for last Friday’s Donalsonville-Seminole County Chamber of Commerce annual membership meeting was all about working together to make today just a little better than yesterday. That theme was echoed by the selfless actions of this year’s Citizen of the Year co-recipients, Angela Hagen and Moses James. Multiple nominations were received and a submission packet on each was delivered to our three out of town judges who selected two finalists as this year’s honorees.
As director of the McFadden Nature Center here in Seminole County Angela literally lives the McFadden Foundation’s mission statement, working daily, and tirelessly to preserve and protect the land, and its indigenous plants and animals.
Her unselfish philanthropic efforts are not just limited to the boundaries of the preserve.
As a self proclaimed animal advocate she has always had a vision to somehow help the unwanted, abandoned and neglected animals throughout the area.
Taking steps to transform her vision into a reality she has been and is one of the behind the scenes driving forces behind the construction and opening of Southwest Georgia’s Animal Rescue Alliance.
Moses has demonstrated an extraordinary active commitment to his community and is constantly engaged in efforts to make a positive difference in the lives of each and every person with whom he comes in contact with. He has been described as a man who has never met a challenge that he has not been able to overcome.
Moses works as the Superintendent for a Probation Substance Abuse Treatment Center in Bainbridge, and on his own time, regularly speaks and instructs individuals, groups, civic organizations and church congregations on drug addiction and recovery topics.
He and his wife have served as foster parents and he goes above and beyond in his efforts to assist the children and parents involved, always with the goal of reunification.
He is an active member of Macedonia Missionary Baptist Church, and along with his wife has served as co-chairman of the church’s youth department.
Let Seussical Jr. take you
on a trip to Who-ville
March 3 – Seminole County Elementary School and Seminole Middle High School’s Fine Arts Departments are putting the final touches on this weekend’s production of Seussical Jr. Seminole County Elementary and Middle School students have been rehearsing every day for months in preparation for their combined performance of Seussical Jr., beginning FridayMarch 4 and running through Sunday, March 6.
Under the direction of Tony and Joy Buczek and Maribeth Burke, Seminole County’s Seussical Jr. performance is the first of its kind, combining both schools’ Fine Arts departments.
Horton the Elephant, the Cat in the Hat and all of your favorite Dr. Seuss characters spring to life onstage in this fantastical musical extravaganza! Audience members will be transported to the Jungle of Nool and Who-ville, as the cast musically re-enacts the story of “Horton Hears a Who” by Dr. Seuss.
Remembering Roger Spooner
March 3 – We think we have experienced a lot throughout our lives thus far, but for some, the span of one’s lifetime far exceeds that of normal life expectancy. 99-year-old Navy veteran, war veteran and trucking veteran Roger Hern Spooner of Iron City, Georgia is one of those individuals who saw and experienced so much in his lifetime – way more than most of us can even fathom. He was a living piece of history, full of information, stories and, by definition, a time capsule.
Roger Spooner passed away Thursday morning, February 24. Funeral services for Mr. Spooner were held on Sunday, February 27 at 3:00 p.m. under the “Spooner Oak” on Bartow Gibson Highway in Seminole County, the site of the old homestead where his grandparents lived, then his parents, and where he grew up.
Edwina Skipper selected
Ag Person of the Year
March 10 – Each year the Donalsonville-Seminole County Chamber of Commerce and the Seminole County Young Farmers honor one individual who makes valued contributions to the agricultural industry of Seminole County and presents them with the Ag Person of the Year award.
At the chamber’s 23rd Annual Farmer Appreciation event, held as a luncheon last Thursday, March 3rd, Edwina Skipper was announced as this year’s recipient.
In receiving the award Edwina commented, “There is a difference between living on farm and being raised on a farm. I was raised on one and I know first hand the hard work it takes from before the sun rises to after the sun sets. I salute each and every farmer and thank each of you for keeping our community green and growing.”
Born in Decatur County, Edwina graduated from Seminole County High School and was raised in agriculture and has continued to be involved in agriculture in some capacity all of the life. From raising and showing pigs in 4-H and FFA to working with Cargill, Gold Kist, Banking and Livestock, agriculture is in her blood. She has been a strong supporter of the Seminole County 4-H, FFA and Young Farmers organizations, and she is a honorary member of the Seminole FFA Chapter.
Edwina worked at Commercial State Bank for twenty-five years before retiring and becoming co-owner and president of Seminole Stockyards in 1994, a position she held until 2020 when she sold the stockyard after the untimely death of co-owner and the 2018 Ag Person recipient, Bryant Garland. She still runs her own herd of cattle on Sycamore Farms, with the help of her son-in-law and grandson.
She has one daughter, Susan Braswell and son-in-law Jeff Braswell, as well as four grandchildren and five great grandchildren.
Farm Family of the Year award given as a memorial to all agriculture workers who lost their lives
March 10 – The term essential workers has been used quite a lot over the course of the past two years, and this community owes a great debt to the ones who never let the unparalleled pandemic obstacles stop them from doing their jobs. To Seminole County’s health care workers, first responders, law enforcement, essential services workers, etc., we thank and salute you for your personal dedication and sacrifice, working endless hours for the benefit of all of us during the COVID-19 pandemic.
With that said, there is another group of essential workers that needs to be recognized and thanked for their commitment to the betterment of the community – during this pandemic and every day – the Seminole County farmers and agriculture workers.
This year, instead of recognizing one local farm family in the community for the Farm Family of the Year award, the Seminole County Young Farmers and the Donalsonville-Seminole County Chamber of Commerce made the decision to pay tribute to local production agriculture essential workers who lost their lives during the COVID-19 Pandemic.
The plaque will hang forever in the lobby of the Seminole County Extension Office as a memorial to their commitment and their ultimate sacrifice.
SCMHS Literary Team wins
March 17 – The Seminole County Middle High School Fine Arts Department has done it again. The SCMHS Literary Team competed March 10 against five other schools in the Region 1A Literary Competition and walked away as the Region Champion for the 33rd year in a row. Team members on the 2022 team earned first place in almost all of the events.
Soloists Jonie Hicks and Zaravion Calloway, won first place in Girls/Boys solo. The trio of Jobeth Kelley, Hope Humphries and Jonie Hicks also placed first, and the team’s quartet which included Zaravion Calloway, Matt Burkett, Jaylen Brannon, and Caden Kearns placed first as well.
Caden Kearns also won first place in dramatic interpretation; he currently is the State winner in this category, having won first place last year in this as well as quartet, at Georgia Military School.
New to the team, Brian Sims and Quinton Chavers also won first place in duo interpretation, performing “The Audition” by Richard Morrell. The team also extends a big thank you to Ben Sasser for preparing these young men.
Brian Sims continued the winning spree by placing first in humorous interpretation. It was his first time competing and his first solo win.
Lillie Hornsby won first place in domestic extemporaneous speaking, Crystal Smith, Will Miller, and Lillie Hornsby wrote essays for the team and did quite well, placing second and third, respectively; and Rudra Patel placed third in international extemporaneous speaking.
Schools participating in the competition in addition to Seminole County included Miller County, Baconton Charter, Pataula Charter, Webster and Baker County. The competition was held on the ABAC/Southern Regional Technical College campus Campus, with the help of Susanne Reynolds and Kacee Holt.
American Peanut Ingredients
facility taking shape
March 31 – In November of 2021 American Peanut Growers Group (APGG) announced it would be investing $85 million in expanding operations in Donalsonville and Seminole County, creating 90 jobs. In addition to expanding its current Donalsonville shelling plant, APGG announced the opening of a new food processing facility on its 45-acre campus in Seminole County.
Today, just a little over four months later, construction of those projects is well on the way. APGG’s American Peanut Ingredients (API) and the construction of a 135,000 square foot facility adjacent to the its current facilities on Highway 39 North, will increase APGG’s shelling capacity as well as add further vertical integration by manufacturing Ready-To-Eat peanut products. These ingredients will include dry roasted split peanuts, dry roasted peanut granules, and dry roasted peanut paste/butter/variegate to be packaged in various bulk containers. Strategic advantages of API’s new facility will include an unique streamlined process from farmers’ stock peanuts to ready-to-eat finished peanut ingredients, food safety and sanitary design from inception, and an on-site research and development testing lab.
The total employee head count once the new facility is at full production will be just shy of one hundred employees.
Operations in the shelling plant are scheduled to begin in September and operations in the ingredient plant is currently scheduled to begin at the end of the year. Individuals interested in opportunities with APGG are encouraged to visit APGG.com/careers for additional information.
Administrator to retire
April 14 – The board of directors of Donalsonville Hospital has announced the retirement of Hospital Administrator Chuck Orrick after 30 plus years of loyal service and leadership. Mr. Orrick plans to retire at the end of 2022 and over the next month will transfer the administration of the hospital to current CFO, James Moody, effective May 1, 2022.
A University of Georgia graduate, Mr. Orrick has seen this 65-bed rural hospital through expansion, construction, changing economies, a Category 5 Hurricane and most recently a global pandemic and international healthcare crisis.
When announcing his retirement to staff, Mr. Orrick said, “I will never be able to put into words the appreciation for the opportunities this hospital has given me and for the incredible employees that I have worked with over the years. Donalsonville Hospital and Seminole Manor Nursing Home will always be very special tome and my family”.
Mr. Orrick will remain on the board of directors and help guide the new administration towards maintaining Donalsonville Hospital’s status of the number one medium sized primary care hospital in rural Georgia.
12 arrested, 27 dogs rescued in area’s largest dog-fighting bust
April 28 – On Sunday, April 24, at approximately 8:15 p.m., the Seminole County Sheriff’s Office received an anonymous tip of a dog-fighting ring off Jessie Mitchell Road in Southwestern Seminole County. It would turn out to be the most horrific and brutal dog-fighting ring ever discovered in Seminole County, and quite possibly anywhere in Southwest Georgia.
Upon arrival at the residence one officer observed a male subject take off running into the woods and heard another yell “Police”. The officers then noticed several other subjects scattering and running from the scene.
While checking the area, one pit bull covered in blood followed the officers around the year. Officers located several other dogs chained behind the residence. They also observed numerous dogs inside vehicles parked in front of the residence. These dogs had injuries to their faces, bodies and legs.
Twenty-seven pit bulls were recovered. Four were transported to the Port City Veterinary Clinic and one was transported to the Colquitt Animal Hospital for treatment. The others were released to the US Marshals specialized animal rescue group.
Officers continued to search the area throughout the night looking for the suspects who had fled the scene. Seven firearms were recovered and twenty-two vehicles were towed from the scene.
The following twelve arrests were made during the night: Brandon A. Baker, age 39, from Panama City, Florida, was charged with felony dog fighting; Christopher Brown, age 28, from Donalsonville, was charged with felony dog fighting; Herman Buggs Jr. age 54, from Donalsonville, was charged with felony dog fighting; Temichael S. Elijah, age 45, from Donalsonville, was charged with felony dog fighting, disorderly house, and convicted felon in possession of a firearm; Robert P. Fioramonti, age 35, from Donalsonville, was charged with felony dog fighting, disorderly house, and convicted felon in possession of a firearm; Terrell D. Ganzy, age 33, from Panama City, was charged with felony dog fighting; Cornelious A. Johnson, age 38, from Panama City, was charged with felony dog fighting; Ramar D. Lee, age 45, from Donalsonville, was charged with felony dog fighting; Kayla E. Stelle, age 22, from Panama City, was charged with felony dog fighting; Robert L. West, age 38, from Panama City, was charged with felony dog fighting; Fredricus White, age 34, from Panama City, was charged with felony dog fighting; Gary Hopkins, age 65, from Donalsonville, turned himself in later and was charged with felony dog fighting.
Five additional arrests
made in dog fighting case
May 5 – Five additional arrests have been made during the past week in this area’s largest dog-fighting bust which occurred on Sunday, April 24.
Fredrica J Buggs, age 34, Rodrecus D. Kimble, age 41, and Torris S. Kimble, age 29, were apprehended and arrested on outstanding warrants for dog fighting.
Marvin L. Pulley III, age 50, and Donnametric S. Miller, age 39, turned themselves in to Seminole County Sheriff officers on May 2. Pulley was arrested on an outstanding warrant for dog fighting, and Miller for outstanding warrants for dog fighting and parole violation. These five defendants, along with the twelve arrested last week, have each been charged with felony dog fighting and commercial gambling. All 17 continue to be held without bond.
Additional arrests are pending, and this case is still under active investigation. If you have any information, please contact the Seminole County Sheriff’s Office at 229-524-5115.
Burke, Worsham and Harrell’s Donalsonville office
May 5 – Burke, Worsham and Harrell (BW&H), a full-service accounting firm in operation since 1965, will soon be relocating its 230 Cherry Street downtown Donalsonville office to 201 South Woolfork Avenue, the former Georgia Power building, and most recently, the former First Port City Bank branch location.
After much thought and consideration, the decision to downsize was the best way for the firm to maintain a presence in Donalsonville. Over the past few years, the accounting industry has changed to the point that most accountants work remotely. BW&H has supported remote work for the past four to five years. With six staff currently working fully remotely it makes good financial sense for BWH to take a look at its footprint and overhead.
Lady Indians advance to the State Tennis Tournament’s Final Four
May 5 – The Seminole County Lady Indians tennis team continues to be red hot and on a roll. The Lady Indians served notice in the Elite Eight round that they are on a mission and have their sights set on the tournaments’ final in Rome.
Playing in the Georgia High School Association State Tennis Tournaments’ Elite Eight round last Monday in Donalsonville the number one seed from Region 1 Lady Indians defeated the number one seed from Region 8 Lake Oconee Academy, 3-0.
The Lady Indians will now travel to Trion, Georgia to play Trion High School for the chance to advance into the GHSA State Tennis tournament finals. Trion is the number one seed from Region 6. The Final Four match was scheduled to be played today, Thursday, May 5 at 1 p.m. Match results will be posted at donalsonvillenews.com and on the newspaper’s Facebook page.
In their journey to the Final Four the Lady Indians’ Sweet 16 victory came on their home courts Monday, April 25, with the Lady Indians defeating Georgia Military 3-1. The Seminole County girls aced their opponent in the tournament’s opening round defeating Metter High School 3-0.
This year’s Lady Indians are Arabella Touchton, Kendall Denham, Addie Holt, Ava Godwin, Hillary Bell, Sara Jo Fain, Maggie Palmer, and Ashlyn Thompson.
Both teams are coached by Tina Fain and Jim Palmer.
Lewis M. Carter, Jr. is the
Almond Alliance Associate
Member of the Year
May 19 – At the Almond Alliance’s 40th annual convention held recently in California LMC Manufacturing’s Lewis M. Carter, Jr. was presented with the Almond Alliance Associate Member of the Year award. Carter was recognized for his innovation and long-time contributions to the almond industry.
Carter commented, “It’s always an honor when an industry recognizes our work but I’m just the point of the spear and it’s really an award for the LMC team.”
Speaking at the convention, Carter also commented that he is glad that LMC has helped to grow the almond industry’s output from 400 million pounds to 3.2 billion pounds.
As a leader in producing World Class Machinery for more than 80 years LMC offers solutions tailored to not a specific industry, but also to a specific company. From gravity separation machines and destoners to vibratory conveyors, LMC produces custom-built industrial separation equipment for unique processing requirements.
Mitchell Blanks appointed to
PeoplesSouth Bank’s Board
June 9 – PeoplesSouth Bank, a community bank headquartered in Colquitt, Georgia with thirty-one full service locations in Alabama, Georgia, and Florida, has announced the appointment of Mitchell Blanks to the Bank’s Board of Directors.
Blanks, a Seminole County High School Alumni, is an entrepreneur and a driven community activist with one goal, to make the City of Donalsonville stronger. Over the years, he has been involved in the community in various ways. He regularly organizes food drives and recently successfully completed a Hurricane Relief drive for the victims of Hurricane Ida. He is the owner of Leon’s Cleaners, Co-owner of Coachman & Blanks, an active member of the Lions Club, and former chairman of The Downtown Development. Additionally, he is a City Council member, and sits on the Board of Donalsonville Hospital and Southwest Georgia Regional Commission.
ten awards from Georgia Press
June 9 – Friday, June 2 the Donalsonville News was a perfect ten in the Better Newspaper Editorial Awards Contests held during the 135th Convention of the Georgia Press Association at the Jekyll Island Club Hotel.
The Donalsonville News received 10 awards recognizing excellence in community service, local news coverage, lifestyle coverage, layout and design, feature writing, feature photography, religious writing, serious column, humorous column and photo essay.
“Awards are great, but to know that we served our community well with a quality designed and written product is icing on the cake. I am proud of each individual award, because each one received is a testament to the paper’s commitment to the community and to the hard work and long hours each and every member of the newspaper’s family has put in over the past year,” commented Managing Editor David Maxwell.
“It doesn’t get any better than this and I honestly love what I do. Working each day to tell the stories and to put the faces of the people in this community on the pages of their hometown newspaper is an honor. It has been the newspaper’s goal from day one to give our readers and advertisers exactly what they deserve – the absolute best.
“Recognizing there are still areas in which to improve, we are constantly upping our standards. We are committed to serving our readers, our advertisers and our community, and we believe that our best journalistic efforts are ahead of us.
“Receiving these honors tells us we are on the right track. We will never stop in our efforts to improve and expand our coverage as we work to become the best weekly community newspaper of our size in Georgia,” concluded Maxwell.
Farm Tour another huge success
June 16 – The 2022 Seminole County Farm Tour was held on June 8. This event was organized as a collaborative effort by the UGA Seminole County Extension/4-H, Seminole County FFA, and the Seminole County Young Farmers Association to provide the local communities with an opportunity to visit agricultural entities found here in Seminole County.
With over 50 in attendance this was an excellent opportunity for those who attended to learn about the stockyard, olives, the peach depot, and animal feed.
The tour began and ended at the Seminole County Agricultural Center.
The first stop was to learn about Seminole Livestock Exchange, one of only 16 in the state. The second stop was at Cook Redlands Corporation, a local olive farm of over 3,000 acres. The third stop was at The Peach Depot, a historic railroad station turned into a produce stand. The fourth stop was to visit AFG Feeds, a major producer of cattle feeds.
“This was a great event and we are already making plans for Farm Tour 2023. Hope to see you on it next year. A big thank you goes out to the sponsors of this year’s event; without them this event would not have been possible,” commented the tour’s organizers, Seminole County Extension Agents Cody Bowling and Cindy Meadows.
Williams to lead Baptist Campus Ministry at Valdosta State University
June 16 – Georgia Baptist campus ministers are guardians of the Christian faith on multiple campuses across our state. David Williams has joined their ranks as the new campus minister at Valdosta State University.
Williams completed his bachelor of arts in history at the University of Georgia and continued his education by earning a master of divinity degree at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and expects to complete his doctorate in ministry in Christian leadership at Southwestern in December.
For the past eight and a half years Williams has served as senior pastor of Iron City Baptist Church in Seminole County, where by God’s grace he has led in sustaining and reinvigorating a 120-year-old dying church in a declining community.
During his years in Iron City, Williams has been responsible for a large Fellowship of Christian Athletes ministry in the local schools.
Williams’ experience with students has helped to prepare him for the campus ministry he will have at Valdosta State.
PeoplesSouth Bank makes $50,000 Georgia HEART Donation to
June 23 – PeoplesSouth Bank has donated $50,000 to Donalsonville Hospital through the Georgia HEART Rural Tax credit program for 2022. This is the third year that the bank has invested in rural healthcare at Donalsonville Hospital.
“This is among the largest Georgia HEART PeoplesSouth donations our hospital has received since the program’s inception” said James Moody, Donalsonville Hospital’s Administrator. “The funds raised through this program directly impact our ability to deliver quality healthcare to our community. We truly appreciate that PeoplesSouth has chosen to honor us with this generous Georgia HEART contribution.”
The State of Georgia uniquely empowers its citizens and businesses to make 100% tax credit-eligible contributions to qualified rural hospitals of their choice and help enhance rural healthcare for thousands of Georgians. In other words, the state of Georgia is allowing taxpayers to ‘spend’ some of the taxes they must pay anyway to improve Donalsonville Hospital’s financial condition and patient offerings.
After June 30 of 2022, for so long as a portion of the $60 million cap on RHO tax credits is available, individual taxpayers may make unlimited contributions to RHOs for a corresponding 100% Georgia income tax credit.
Eloise Taylor named Lion of the Year
July 7 – At the Donalsonville Lions Club’s annual dinner and membership banquet held last Thursday evening, Lion President Katie Hatcher welcomed Lions and their guests, and during her final meeting as the 2021-2022 President, Lion Hatcher proudly named faithful and always-ready-to-lend-a-helping-hand community servant Lion Eloise Taylor as Lion of the Year. Lion Taylor was cited for her active and enthusiastic involvement in the club’s year-long activities, especially her valued service to the club as its longtime secretary-treasurer, and as a tireless worker at the club’s annual Chick-A-Que events. Lion President Hatcher commented, “Lion Taylor went above and beyond assisting with the club’s projects throughout the year and always with a positive attitude. She is the type of Lion described in the club’s mission statement which reads, “We serve . . . to empower volunteers to serve their communities, meet humanitarian needs, encourage peace and promote international understanding through Lions Clubs.”
The annual meeting evening concluded with the recognition and presentation of past president plaques to Lion David Maxwell and Lion Brantley Grantham. Maxwell served as President in 2019-20, and Grantham served as President in 2020 – 2021.
State Dixie Youth Baseball Tourney to be held here July 14-17
July 7 – The State Dixie Youth Baseball Tournament for 11 and 12 year olds will be held at the Seminole County Recreational Complex Thursday, July 14 through Sunday, July 17.
“In order to have a successful tournament it will take community support, so we are asking for volunteers from all of you – merchants as sponsors, workers as helpers, hostesses, etc. There is room for everyone to share in this event that will bring people to our great city of Donalsonville,” commented Seminole County Recreation Department Director Billy Fain.
In a effort to promote tourism and representatives of the Downtown Donalsonville Development Authority, along with concerned citizens for and against, attended a called meeting of the Donalsonville City Council on Tuesday, June 30 to discuss the use of the city’s RV hookup site.
The council voted in favor of allowing State Dixie Youth Baseball Tournament attendees to use the city’s RV hookup site located just west of the Donalsonville Fire Department facility on Crawford Street.
Windell Cross, Paul Hornsby honored with Community Hero awards
July 14 – On Thursday, July 7, at a reception held at the newspaper office, the Donalsonville News presented Seminole County citizens Windell Cross and Paul Hornsby with a Community Hero Award. The awards were presented to Cross and Hornsby in grateful appreciation for their acts of selflessness, compassion, bravery and sincere concern for others in their efforts to save the life and rescue Ashley Pace-Glass (Ashli) from a near-fatal car accident on June 3, 2022.
From this day forward, a Community Hero Award recipient can be nominated by local first responders and the award will be presented by the newspaper to all individuals as deserving as Cross and Hornsby.
The making of two heroes . . . On Friday, June 3, Ashli was traveling westbound on Burl Lane Road. She lost control of her vehicle and it traveled across all lanes of Burl Lane Road while turning in a counter clock-wise-manner. The vehicle then entered the south shoulder of the roadway and traveled approximately 91 feet before striking a ditch embankment. After striking the embankment, the vehicle vaulted 152 feet, crashed into the ground after vaulting, struck a fence and then began overturning. While overturning, the vehicle sideswiped a large standing tree. When the vehicle – which traveled approximately 176 feet while overturning – came to a final stop it burst into flames with Mrs. Glass trapped inside.
The two witnesses of the accident, Cross and Hornsby, without hesitation, approached the vehicle while it was on fire and began the life-saving process to rescue the driver.
“Without the quick thinking, heroic actions of Windell Cross and Phillip Hornsby, the outcome for Mrs. Ashley Cross would have been much more severe and possibly fatal,” commented Corporal Robert Corbin of the Georgia State Patrol.
Seminole County Allstars sweep state tournament
July 21 – This past weekend the Seminole County Recreational Department and the Seminole County Allstar team hosted the Dixie Youth 12U Baseball State Tournament.
It was all Indians from the first pitch on Thursday to the last out on Sunday afternoon. Seminole County swept the tournament, defeating Allstar teams from Lamar County, Crawford County and Wrens, Georgia in the process. Seminole County Allstars allowed only eight runs in five games while scoring fifty-five runs total for the Dixie Youth 12U Baseball State Championship. The ceremonial first pitch of the championship game was thrown out by E. C. Bridges.
The championship trophy was presented to the Seminole County Allstar team by National Dixie Youth Baseball Director Doug Kelley. The State Champion Indians will now compete in the Dixie Youth Baseball World Series in Anderson, South Carolina, July 29th to August 3rd. The World Series includes 11–12-year-old teams from Alabama, Georgia, Virginia, Florida, North Carolina, Texas, South Carolina, Mississippi, and Tennessee.
Head coach Michael Jon Rogerson commented, “I am so very proud of these boys and what they were able to accomplish during this State Tournament. They have worked very hard and dug deep to practice and prepare for this tournament. Something that we have tried to instill in the boys was always keep your head up no matter what and to always care for your brother and teammate – a we is greater than me mentality. During the first practice, I told the team I wanted this to be a player led team, and at the end of the day on Sunday, all 11 had boys stepped up to the challenge and proved that we have a team full of leaders. I am just so proud of this team and what was accomplished this weekend.”
1,345 students head back to school Thursday, August 4
July 28 – Seminole County School administrators, teachers and staff have announced they are ready to get back to school. The first day of school for Seminole County students is Thursday, August 4. The elementary and middle/high school principals and their staffs have about completed the scheduling process for all students for the new year, a task that takes a massive amount of time, energy and dedication for the approximately 1,345 students enrolled for the 2022-23 school year. This number includes an estimated 627 students enrolled at Seminole County Elementary and 718 enrolled at Seminole County Middle/High School.
At Seminole County Elementary School the school day will begin at 8:00 a.m. with the daily morning school bell and dismiss each day at 3:12 p.m. Kindergarten through second grade students will continue to be dropped off at the main office and third through fifth grade students will continue to be dropped off in front of the gym.
Seminole County Allstars place third in DYB World Series
Team presented with the World Series’ Sportsmanship Award for the second year in a row!
August 4 – After going undefeated and winning the Dixie Youth Baseball State Tournament, the Seminole County Recreation Department Allstars earned a spot in the Dixie Youth Baseball World Series, held in Anderson, South Carolina July 29 through August 3.
Representing the State of Georgia, the Seminole County Allstar team placed third out of ten teams participating in the World Series Tournament. In addition to Seminole County, the Georgia team, the tournament included teams from Alabama, Florida, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia.
Taking home the third-place trophy was not the only award Team Georgia received during the World Series. After the Championship game on Wednesday, Team Georgia was presented with the Sportsmanship Award. This is a very prestigious award and was voted on by all of the umpires that called games throughout the entire tournament. This is the second year in a row that Seminole County and Team Georgia has been presented with this award. After checking Dixie Youth Baseball’s historical records it appears the Seminole County All-star Team is the only team in history to be presented the Sportsmanship Award in back-to-back years for the “O”zone division in the Dixie Youth Baseball World Series.
Miller County Sheriff arrested;
GBI investigation results in
Sexual Battery charge
August 18 – Two arrest warrants were issued for Miller County Sheriff Ric Morgan for the offenses of Sexual Battery and Violation of Oath by Public Officer. The warrants were executed, and Morgan was arrested and processed on Wednesday morning, August 10 in Miller County, Georgia. Once complete, the case will be turned over to the District Attorney’s Office for review.
The Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) was requested to investigate allegations of Sexual Battery by Miller County Sheriff Ric Morgan on July 26, 2022, by Pataula Judicial Circuit District Attorney Vic McNease. The allegations stem from an incident that took place while on a 911 call in Miller County, Georgia, involving Sheriff Morgan. GBI Agents began the investigation and conducted interviews with the victim, multiple witnesses, and collected evidence related to the investigation and allegations. Agents then discussed their findings with the District Attorney and ultimately met with a Superior Court Judge to present their evidence and testimony in the case for the alleged offenses.
Sheriff Morgan was elected Sheriff in the November 3, 2020 General Election and took office on January 1, 2021.
In this election, the late Sheriff Scott Worsley (Democrat) received 52% of the votes in the two candidate race and Richard “Ric” Morgan (Republican) received 48% of the vote.
Based on the Georgia law and findings of the Supreme Court, it was determined that Morgan would be the Sheriff, as being the candidate that received votes without opposition since the Democratic Party did not offer a substitute name of a living candidate in the November 3, 2020 General Election.
Seminole State Park receives Natural Resources Enhancement Award
August 18 – Seminole State Park was awarded the Georgia Department of Natural Resources State Park and Historic Sites’ Natural Resources Enhancement Award at this year’s State Park and Historic Sites Managers Conference held in north Georgia. Park and Site managers from across the state attended the awards ceremony celebrating those who make more than 60 State Parks and Historic Sites outstanding destinations across Georgia. They also attended training sessions and shared ideas on park operations.
Under Manager Tyler Sims’ leadership, Seminole State Park has been exceptionally successful in protecting Longleaf Pine and Wiregrass habitat so crucial to southern Georgia’s ecosystem. Park staff safely burned more than 300 acres with prescribed fire, removed pervasive species such as the tallow tree, and removed invasive species such as Sweet Gum, Chinese Privet and Japanese Climbing Fern. The park’s focus on natural resource enhancement also included new trail signs explaining the importance of the Wiregrass ecosystem throughout the park.
Jordan Harris makes a move
to play basketball in Poland
August 18 – This season Seminole County and the University of Georgia’s basketball standout Jordan Harris will be taking his talents to Poland to join Asseco Arka, a Polish professional basketball team, based in Gdynia. Historically the team is one of the most successful in Poland, mainly because of the nine championships in a row the team won from 2004 to 2012.
The team competes in the highest basketball league in Poland, and is one of the best leagues in Europe. This will be Jordan’s second year playing professional.
Jordan Harris had a great season on the European dance floor spent in the United Kingdom during the 2021/2022 season. He joined Glasgow Rocks and he became the leading character of the team. Averaging 17.3 points per game, 5.2 rebounds per game, and 3.7 assists per game. He was also rewarded first team all-defense honors, and called MVP for the Rocks. In four playoff games, he averaged 22.3 points per game, 4.8 rebounds per game, and 3.3 assists per game..
One month later, Harris took a short deal to play with La Vega Reales in the Dominican Republic top basketball league. He averaged 16.5 points per game, 4.2 rebounds per game, 3.4 assists per game in just five games.
Harris, now 24 years old, stands tall at six feet, five inches. He is a 2016 graduate of Seminole County Middle High School where he was a four year basketball standout. Harris was a four year member of the All Region and All State teams, three time Region Player of the Year, State Player of the Year and a member of the 2015 Seminole County GHSA State basketball championship team.
After high school, he went on to play successfully in the NCAA for four years as a member of the University of Georgia Basketball Dawgs.
Jordan is the son of Erica Harris of Donalsonville.
Bryson Grantham announced
as Angler of the Year
August 25 – Bryson Grantham has been presented with the 2021-2022 Seminole Stix Angler of the Year award for Seminole County Middle High School. In order to receive Angler of the Year, one must fish all local tournaments and place high in each tournament to receive points. He earned the most points to receive this award.
Seminole Stix coach Brandon Ingram commented, “Bryson Grantham fished hard all year long. He shows a lot of determination and has love for the sport. I look forward to watching him defend his title in the new season.”
Maggie Miller crowned Junior
Miss Georgia Peanut Queen
September 1 – On Saturday August 26 the Sylvester – Worth County Chamber of Commerce hosted the 58th Miss Georgia Peanut Pageant in Sylvester. Forty girls competed for titles across the state of Georgia.
Maggie Miller, a fifth grade student at Grace Christian Academy in Bainbridge, was crowned the 2022-2023 Junior Miss Georgia Peanut Queen. She also won the Best Hair and Best Dress categories in the pageant.
Maggie will represent the peanut industry this year by attending many events which will include the Sunbelt Ag Expo in Moultrie, the Peanut Festival Parade in Sylvester, PB&J Day at the Capitol, and Ag Day at the Capitol.
Maggie currently lives on her family farm which is a sixth generation peanut farm. She is the daughter of Joey and Jessica Miller of Iron City.
Dee and Paige Miller selected as GYFA Farm and Family
September 1 – Dee and Paige Miller were selected as Georgia Young Farmers Association Farm and Family Regional Winners. The Miller’s are now state finalists and will await judging of their farm operation. The state winners of the farm family contest as well as all other GYFA state winners will be announced at the Georgia Young Farmers Association Convention being held January 20-21, 2023 at Jekyll Island.
Friendship UMC to transform cargo container into a medical clinic for the people of Ghana
September 1 – Friendship United Methodist Church is partnering with the community to construct and deliver a solar-powered medical clinic to those in need in Ghana, a country in West Africa.
The medical clinic will be built from a 40 foot shipping container, and will include a waiting room, a triage room and a state of the art labor and delivery room. Local Boy Scouts, led by Ashley Shingler, will be constructing a simple bathroom for the project.
The project is expected to take three to four months to complete and will involve local volunteers from the Methodist church and throughout our community.
This project will be the tenth transformed container sent to Africa, under the direction of Unto The Least of His Ministries. This ministry is a worldwide ministry that focuses on providing safe drinking water to locations that have none, and to building medical clinics with a focus on labor and delivery.
A brand new shipping container has been purchased by Friendship Methodist Church. It was delivered this week and is now parked on church property just south of Highway 84 along Woolfork Avenue. Production and construction teams for the project are being led by Nate Lehman, Billy Williams, Gabe Lowry, Jean Trice, Dr. Sarah Hampton, Sarah Avery and Larry Hornsby.
Lewis M. Carter Manufacturing
receives Top Tiger Award
September 8 – Donalsonville’s Lewis M. Carter Manufacturing was honored last week with the announcement that the company had been selected as a 2022 recipient of the Top Tiger Award. Awarded annually by Auburn University and the Harbert College of Business, the award recognizes businesses for exceptional growth, revenue and entrepreneurial spirit. In its eighth year, the “Top Tiger” honorees are among the fastest growing companies founded, owned or led by Auburn University alumni.
The recipients, divided into large, medium and small size company categories, were each selected based on their compounded annual growth rates as measured over a three year period. The rankings were according to the firm’s total revenue and for its operations in a manner consistent with the Auburn Creed.
Lewis M. Carter Manufacturing (LMC), with revenues over $30,000,000, was selected in the large company category.
Local drug bust results in five arrests
September 8 – Following up on a previous investigation, at approximately 8:30 a.m. on Friday, September 2nd, Seminole County Sheriff Officers, assisted by the GBI, executed a search warrant on Pugh Avenue in Donalsonville. Law enforcement officers recovered over 3,800 suspected fentanyl pills, 7.5 pounds of marijuana, other drugs, and a firearm.
Arrested and charged with multiple drug and firearm offenses were Casey Taylor age 37, Ja’marious Clemons age 19, Teagan Harden age 21, Prince Buggs age 24, and Shykirria Clemons age 21.
An arrest warrant has also been issued for Wallace Taylor age 30; however as of Wednesday morning that arrest had not been made.
The Seminole County Sheriff’s Office is committed to getting drugs off the street and making Seminole County a safe place to live, work, and visit.
Jimmy Holt appointed
Miller County Sheriff
September 15 – Following the recommendation of the committee he appointed, Governor Brian Kemp issued an Executive Order on Monday, August 30, 2022, suspending Miller County Sheriff Richard Morgan. The suspension will last for a period of sixty days and was effective immediately upon issuing the order.
Immediately thereafter Craig Earnest, Chief Judge of the Superior Courts Pataula Judicial Circuit, appointed Jimmy Holt as Sheriff of Miller County and he was sworn in. Holt has assumed the duties and responsibilities of the Office of Sheriff of Miller County for the time Sheriff Morgan is to be suspended.
Last month, Governor Kemp appointed a committee comprised of Attorney General Chris Carr, Colquitt County Sheriff Rod Howell and Lowndes County Sheriff Ashley Paulk. After an investigation, the three recommended the suspension to the Governor.
Sheriff Morgan was arrested on August 10 by agents from the Georgia Bureau of Investigation. They had been asked to look into sexual misconduct allegations involving the sheriff. The agency has said the charges stem from “an incident that took place while on a 911 call”.
Holt, the newly appointed Sheriff of Miller County, is retired from the Georgia State Patrol. He is also a retired Chief of Police for the city of Donalsonville.
Meredith Jolene Foster crowned
Junior Miss Back The Blue
September 15 – Meredith Jolene Foster participated in the Miss Back the Blue pageant September 11, in Bainbridge. She represented the community well and was crowned Junior Miss Back The Blue. Meredith also won in the pageant’s categories of People’s Choice, Best Smile and Best Outfit of Choice in her group.
Meredith would like to thank her family, friends and each of the local businesses in Donalsonville and Seminole County who supported her and who contributed to the pageant’s Captain Justin Bedwell Memorial Scholarship fund. “Thank you to everyone who helped me raise $705 for the cause,” Meredith commented.
Meredith, a fourth grade student at Seminole Count Elementary School in Donalsonville, is the daughter of Tom and Carla Foster.
Drug bust results in ten arrests
October 13 – After receiving multiple complaints from concerned citizens, Sheriff Heath Elliott launched an investigation on the sale of narcotics on Plain Street in Donalsonville.
On October 5th, the Seminole County Sheriff’s Office, assisted by Georgia State Patrol, conducted a probable cause narcotics search warrant on a residence on Plain Street in Donalsonville. Marijuana and crack cocaine were seized from the residence.
Jakarius Mitchell, 31, Samuel Smith, 19, and Traveon Weaver, 18, were charged with Possession of Cocaine with intent, Possession of Cocaine with intent within 1000 feet of a school, Possession of Marijuana with intent, Possession of Marijuana with intent within 1000 feet of a school and Obstruction of an officer, a misdemeanor.
Jaywana Stewart, 44, John Moore, 58, and Carolyn Harris, 57, were charged with Possession of Cocaine with intent and Possession of Cocaine with intent within 1000 feet of a school.
Jakarius Mitchell fled on foot from the scene and was apprehended a short time later. During the apprehension of Mitchell, Brenda Fudge, Kashina Fudge, Danmya Williams and Danisha Williams were charged with Disorderly Conduct and Obstruction of an officer, a misdemeanor, for interfering with the arrest.
Rejoice Run and Mom’s Mile to run in Memory of Betty Mims
October 13 – The 2022 Rejoice Run and Mom’s Mile event will be held in memory of Betty Mims, cancer survivor and co-founder of Seminole County Warpath on Cancer. She was scheduled to be this year’s feature speaker but lost her life in a tragic vehicle accident on September 26.
In her honor, the event’s speaker will be Angie Burke, Betty’s daughter, and the 5K race’s starters will be Carlee and Nicole Groomes, Betty’s granddaughter and great granddaughter. Additional members of Betty’s family will also be assisting with other aspects of the race
Everyone is invited to join the Mims family – along with Pat Carmichael who will be running with his family on his 90th birthday – running and walking in the October 15 event where proceeds will continue to support breast cancer services, resources and programs right here at home in Seminole County. The purpose of the event, as in each of the previous runnings of its predecessors is to raise awareness and funds for the fight against breast cancer here in Seminole County. Steffey’s mom, the late Anne Coirini, is the namesake for Mom’s Mile. Anne was diagnosed with breast cancer in November of 2004 after a routine mammogram.
“This annual fundraiser directly benefits our community by providing FREE Mammograms at Donalsonville Hospital every October,” added Vines.
Seminole County Graduation Rate
increases to the highest rate in SWGA – Tops the state rate!
October 13 – The Seminole County High School 2022 graduation rate has respectfully increased to the highest graduation rate in Southwest Georgia, outperforming all fourteen school systems that makeup the Southwest Georgia region.
The Seminole County High School graduation rate has hit a new high, with 93.9% of the Class of 2022 earning a high school diploma in four years. The SCHS graduation rate has steadily increased over the past four years from 86.5% in 2019 to 93.9% in 2022 and continues to exceed the state average of 84.1%, according to the Georgia Department of Education.
“We are proud of every student who graduates and achieves this important accomplishment,” Principal Shane Purdy said. “Our increasing graduation rate is a testament to the dedication of our teachers and staff, our students’ families, and our community partners and volunteers. We truly are the best school in Southwest Georgia.”
Increasing the graduation rate is a top priority in Seminole County School System’s strategic plan, with efforts focused on identifying new ways to ensure students remain engaged in learning and graduate prepared for future success.
Register selected as a Mercer School
of Medicine Nathan Deal Scholar
October 13 – Andrew Register (Class of 2026) was recently selected as a Mercer University School of Medicine (MUSM) Nathan Deal Scholar, announced MUSM Dean Jean Sumner, M.D.
Nathan Deal Scholars are selected based on their strong ties to rural Georgia, character, leadership qualities, community involvement and their likelihood of serving in rural, underserved Georgia after their scholarship obligations are met. The recipients receive 85-100% of tuition for up to four academic years. The mission of investing in students from rural Georgia so that they can return to their hometowns virtually debt-free and be educated to serve the rural, underserved communities of Georgia is what drew Register to the Nathan Deal Scholarship.
Register is the spouse of Annie Bridges Register, son of Brinson and Libby Register, and brother of Charles and Annie Grace Register.
Stewards of Lake Seminole
begins information and
membership drive campaign
October 20 – The mission of the recently formed organization, Stewards of Lake Seminole, is to secure funding as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, to manage invasive species in Lake Seminole, in a collaborative but timely manner with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, for the benefit of property owners on Lake Seminole, bordering communities, and the federal, state, and local governments that benefit from the recreation, revenue and taxes that the Lake Seminole resource generates.
Steve Dickman, Founder, President, Executive Director of Stewards of Lake Seminole offered the following.
“I fell in love with Lake Seminole when I first moved to South Georgia in 1977. It filled my heart and helped sustain my sanity as I traveled the world and dealt with the stresses of building a career. During that time, I watched that dynamic ecosystem grow, evolve and provide millions of hours of enjoyment to millions of people. Including me and my family!
The organization’s goal is to raise $250,000.00 by April 2023 to fund specific projects that demonstrate the capabilities of the organization, the support and resolve of the communities, and the value the organization will deliver. For the recreators, Stewards will endeavor to keep the channels navigable. For the property owners the group will endeavor to pursue management of grasses around boat docks not targeted by the Corps of Engineers. For the business owners and communities, Stewards will endeavor to provide leadership that will enhance tourism spending and the economic impact on the communities. Finally, we will begin to restore ecosystems being devastated by Cuban Bullrush, Hydrilla, Water Hyacinths and other invasives.
To join, or for additional information visit stewardsoflakeseminole.com or conmtact DIckman directly at firstname.lastname@example.org
Seminole County’s One Act Team wins region again!
October 27 – Wowing the judges for a thirty-point-lead, the Seminole County Middle High School “One Act” Drama Team won first place in its region competition last Saturday with its dramatic performance of Don Zolidis’s The Staggering Heartbreak of Jasmine Merriwether. The competition was hosted by Seminole County High School and included teams competing from Early County, Baker County and Pataula Charter School.
The 2022 Region Best Actress winner, Seminole County’s Leanne Pollock delivered an amazing performance as “Jasmine” as did her cast mates and All Star Cast winners Brian Sims and Ruby Deal. Chorus director Maribeth Burke choreographed five dances to supplement Director Ben Sasser’s dramatic vision of this evocative and emotional roller coaster production.
Grant awarded for
two downtown murals
October 27 – The Development Authority of Seminole County and Donalsonville in Seminole County was awarded a Vibrant Communities grant from Georgia Council for the Arts, a strategic arm of the Georgia Department of Economic Development, for fiscal year 2023. The Vibrant Communities Grant supports a variety of arts programming opportunities throughout the state. As part of this year’s Vibrant Communities awards, 44 entities in 38 counties will receive almost $200,000 in funding.
The local project for which the grant was awarded is for two murals to be painted on the historic Seminole-Hartzog Pharmacy building located in downtown Donalsonville at 111 East Second Street. To attract tourists to our downtown area, and provide a vibrant backdrop for photo opportunities, the project would first start with a larger, postcard style mural spelling out the town name Donalsonville. Inside the lettering of this mural would be images that reflect the history, local culture and quality of life of the small town of Donalsonville. The second, smaller mural would feature a vintage style advertisement for Seminole-Hartzog Pharmacy’s original namesake, Seminole Drug Co. with its original logo.
Retirement reception held for
former City Manager Steve Hicks
October 27 – A retirement reception was held at the Beall Center for retiring Donalsonville City Manager Steve Hicks. Former Mayor Dan Ponder, current Mayor Ron Johnson, and City Council members joined friends, co workers and family members to show their appreciation for Hicks’ work as City Manger and to thank him for a job well done.
Hicks began his tenure as the City Manager for Donalsonville in 2016 and served in that position until his retirement on September 30, 2022.
A excerpt from former Mayor Dan Ponder’s column reads, “Steve brought discipline and accountability to the city’s operations. He leaned on his financial skills to streamline the budgeting process and make it stick.
“When the right person is in charge, it can be amazing what can happen. What seemed impossible became routine. City Hall became a happy place, believe it or not. People got along, ate lunch together, helped each other out, and worked as a team. Steve was definitely the ‘right fit’ for the city at that time.”
Abigail Grantham crowned
Miss Troy University
November 3 – Donalsonville’s Abigail Grantham, a Junior Elementary/Collaborative Education major at Troy University, was crowned as the 50th Miss Troy University on Saturday, October 29th.
Eight students competed in the pageant, which was held in Claudia Crosby Theater on the Troy Campus. Candidates were judged on private interview, an on-stage question and social impact initiative speech, talent, and evening gown walk.
Miss Grantham commented, “Last semester when I competed, I earned first runner-up and tied for the talent award with the contestant that won Miss Troy University 2022. This year, I won the talent award and the social impact initiative speech award as well as the Miss Troy University 2023 crown.”
As the winner, Grantham receives a $7,500 yearly tuition scholarship to Troy, along with numerous other gifts donated by local merchants. She will now have the opportunity to represent Troy University at the Miss Alabama Pageant in next Summer. Finals night for Miss Alabama will be held on July 1st, 2023 at the Wright Center in Birmingham, Alabama.
Grantham added, “I am so excited to get the opportunity to continue to spread awareness for the Make-A-Wish Foundation as well as represent the student body of Troy University for the duration of my reign. I could not have accomplished this huge goal of mine without the support of my family and all of my supporters in Donalsonville. The Tiny Miss Seminole County that I was in 2007 is ecstatic about the 21-year-old Abigail being crowned Miss Troy University.”
Abigail, a Seminole County High School Graduate and former Miss Donalsonville, is the daughter of Holley and Bradley Grantham, and the granddaughter of Sylvia and Marlon James and Becky and Billy Grantham.
Donalsonville Police Officer
charged with witness influencing
November 3 – A Donalsonville police officer is suspended from her job and facing felony charges of witness influencing in Miller County.
Records show Rain’a Butler turned herself in to authorities and was arrested in the city of Colquitt. She was booked at the Miller County Jail and released on her own recognizance.
The Donalsonville Police Department has placed Butler on suspension without pay, according to Donalsonville Police Chief Woodrow Blue.
According to a report from the Colquitt Police Department, a statement on how the Donalsonville Police Department’s school resource officer allegedly influenced a witness in Colquitt states Corporal Rain’a Butler, who worked for the Donalsonville Police Department but lives in Colquitt, approached her neighbor and questioned him about providing a statement against her brother.
Butler admitted to the neighbor that she saw his name listed in relation to her brother’s case and that she would get his probation revoked for being a witness, the report states.
That conversation was then reported to the police.
Butler had been employed with the Donalsonville Police Department since 2020.
TSPLOST approved by
Seminole County Voters
November 10 – 53.73 percent of Seminole County’s 5,691 regular registered voters cast a vote in the November 8th General Election and a majority of them voted in favor of the TSPLOST referendum with 1,641 votes for yes to 1,226 votes for no.
TSPLOST will be a continuation of a special one percent (1%) sales and use tax collected over the next five years that will generate an estimated amount of $5,500,000.00 to be used for transportation infrastructure purposes in Donalsonville, Iron City and throughout all of Seminole County. 65.62% of that amount will be earmarked for use Seminole County, 30.97% for use in the City of Donalsonville and 3.41% for use in the Town of Iron City.
With no contested local races on the ballot Seminole County voters turned their attention and directed their voters to the candidates of their choice in district, state and Congressional races. In the race for U.S. Senate, Seminole County voters cast 2,151 votes for Republican Herschel Walker and 827 votes for Democratic Incumbent Raphael Warnock. As of press time this race was too close to call statewide with no candidate receiving 50 percent of the vote plus one vote margin of victory to avoid a runoff. Warnock with 49.4% of the statewide vote, and Walker with 48.5% are headed for a runoff set for December Tuesday, December 6.
DPD Officer Rain’a Butler
reinstated to office duty position
November 10 – Donalsonville police officer, Rain’a Butler, suspended from her job and facing felony charges of witness influencing in Miller County, has been reinstated to a paid clerical position within the police department.
The Donalsonville City Council met in Executive Session last week, and in a four to one vote, voted to immediately reinstate Officer Butler with pay to a administrative position within the department pending resolution of the charges in Miller County. Voting in favor of the motion were council persons Mitch Blanks, Flossie Smith, Travis Brooks and Ed Bond. Council person Mitzi Moye voted against the motion to reinstate.
Six, seven and eight year old
Recreation Department Indians
win Super Bowl
November 10 – The South Regional Football Conference Super Bowl games were held in Eufaula, Alabama on Saturday, November 5. The Seminole County Recreation Department’s six seven and eight year old team, the only team from Seminole County competing in the Super Bowl, defeated Houston County, 20-13, made history and won its first-ever Super Bowl championship. The Recreation Department’s mini cheerleaders and C team squad accompanied them.
Competing in the Super Bowl with the Seminole County Recreation Department were teams from Randolph/Clay, Houston County, and Eufaula.
The nine and ten year old team and the eleven and twelve-year-old team did not compete in the Super Bowl. However, both teams came in third place for the year, in the Conference. They had a great season and are looking forward to next season.
The Super Bowl Championship Seminole County Recreation six, seven and eight year old football team include Jeremiah Hilton, Kaheim Smith, Ja’Noah Cox, Landon Adams, Reid Smith, Abrin Johnson, Khaidyn Johnson, Chris Jackson, Jr., Sebastion Calloway, Caleb Key, Tommy Pollock, William Crosby, Silas Gravlee, Justin Hamilton, Mason Miller, Khalil Jones, Jakob Henderson, Joshua Brown and Braelyn Glynn. The team is coached by Quent Donalson, Jesse Smith, Jr., Alex Koonce and Tony Murphy.
The Seminole County Recreation Department C team Cheerleaders, pictured above left, include Marlaysia Pulley, Tristian Rambo, Brynlee Pitts, Haleigh Donley, Kinzlee Rogers, Ellie Houston, Charlotte Bradley, Peyton Pollock, Izabella Pumphrey, Brayle’ Harden, Savannah Chapman, Kyndall King, Josie Elmore and Madison Davis. Brenda George is the coach.
November 17 – In an effort to better serve the residents of Seminole County the Seminole County Commission announces the purchase of downtown properties located on Cherry Street and Wiley Avenue to be used as a courthouse annex. The sale of the properties, previously owned by Dan and Ernest Ponder of Ponder Enterprises and Compass Lake Properties, closed last Wednesday for a sale price of $875,000.
Total funding for the purchase was provided by revenue earmarked for future expansion and generated by the 1% Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax from two of the previous SPLOST collection periods, as well as revenue from the current SPLOST VI.
Originally the Commission had planned to use the SPLOST funds collected for expansion to construct a Courthouse Annex north of the Seminole County Courthouse. However, with the acquisition of this new property downtown, that project has been shifted to plans to construct a landscaped parking facility in the area previously planned for the annex – one which will accommodate Court and overflow parking.
With a targeted relocation date falling in the first week of December, the offices of the Seminole County Commission, County Manager and Clerk, Seminole County Tax Assessors, and Seminole County Code Enforcement, zoning and animal control will move into the more spacious accommodations available in the new Cherry Street offices – the former location of Burke, Worsham and Harrell CPA firm. All other county offices and services will remain in their current location in the Seminole County Courthouse located at 200 South Knox Avenue.
Lessors currently occupying offices within the newly purchased properties on Cherry Street and Wiley Avenue will remain and continue to operate as usual.
City of Forsyth to select
Blue as new Police Chief
December 1 – According to reports from the Monroe County Reporter the City of Forsyth, Georgia, approximately 25 miles north of Macon was scheduled to announce on Wednesday it had chosen Donalsonville Police Chief Woodrow Blue as the new City of Forsyth Police Chief.
The hire must still be formally approved by the Forsyth City Council, but all indications are that Blue will take the job starting in the new year. Blue had already announced intentions to retire as Donalsonville Police Chief at the end of 2022.
Blue, who has been Chief of Police in Donalsonville for the past seven years, previously spent 18 years as police chief in Hahira, nine in Milledgeville and two years as chief in East Point.
Blue was one of eight to interview for the position, and one of 40 to apply for the job. City manger Janice Hall hired consultant Kenny Smith for $8,000 per month to guide the search, and formed a committee with Smith, Forsyth police officer Terrence Thomas and Jackson Police Chief James Morgan to interview candidates and recommend a new chief to council.
Warnock narrowly defeats
Walker for Senate seat
December 8 – Hershel Walker was the preferred choice of Southwest Gerogia voters; however, statewide, incumbent Democrat Raphael Warnock narrowly defeated Republican Walker Tuesday in a closely fought race for Georgia’s U.S. Senate seat, giving Democrats a slim two-seat majority in the upper house in Washington.
Warnock was leading Walker 51.1% to 48.8% as of 11:50 p.m. Tuesday night, with 98% of precincts reporting. The Warnock victory in the final contest of the 2022 election cycle gave Democrats 51 seats in the Senate to 49 for Republicans.
48.2 percent, or 2,747 out of Seminole County’s registered voters cast a ballot in the runnoff election. In Seminole County Walker received 1,954 votes to Warnock’s 793. In Miller County Walker received 1,493 votes to 442 for Warnock. In Early County Walker received 2,009 to Warnock’s 1,651, and in Decatur County Walker received 4,872 votes to 2,079 for Warnock.
Though Warnock won around 38,000 more votes than Walker in the November general election, neither candidate earned more than 50% of the vote required by Georgia law to prevent a runoff, pushing the nationally watched race to a December rematch.
Donalsonville adopts new
nuisance animal ordinance
December 15 – The Mayor and Council of the City of Donalsonville, based upon citizen complaints and repeated code violations, deems it in the public interest to adopt certain changes and additions to its animal nuisance ordinance. In summary the new ordinance defines and prohibits nuisance animals and clarifies the procedures for the keeping and treatment of dogs by stating clarifying . . . (1) Any animal at-large will be deemed a nuisance animal; (2) Habitually noisy animals are prohibited and defined as excessive barking or howling for a period of 15 continuous minutes; (3) Outlines procedures for correcting a nuisance animal situation; (4) Limits the manner and method of tethering a dog; (5) Restricts the number of dogs at any one residential location to four; and (6) Prohibits the keeping of dogs at vacant residences.
The effective date of this ordinance shall be the 1st day of February, 2023.
The complete ordinance can be viewed at donalsonvillega.org.
Dr. Henry leaving to teach at
Morehouse School of Medicine
December 15 – Dr. De’smond M. Henry has accepted a position as Assistant Professor with Morehouse School of Medicine in Atlanta, Georgia. He will be supervising and teaching resident physicians and medical students working on the labor and delivery floor at Grady Memorial Hospital in Atlanta.
Before he starts his tenure at Morehouse he will be traveling to West Africa to provide gynecological services through LuccaHealth Medical Center to the women of Ghana.
Dr. Henry is excited about his future endeavors and he looks forward to making a difference in underserved communities. He would also like to thank the women and families of Donalsonville and the surrounding communities for entrusting him with their healthcare needs.
Pugh appointed interim Police Chief
for the City of Donalsonville
Donalsonville’s of Police
December 15 – Donalsonville Police Department’s Lieutenant Kem Pugh has been named Interim Police Chief for the City of Donalsonville by the Mayor and Council. Plans to name a permanent police chief and/or begin the search process for potential candidates will be addressed by the Mayor and Council during the January 2023 council meeting.
Pugh replaces Chief Woodrow Blue who has accepted the Chief of Police position for the City of Forsyth, Georgia. Blue had been Chief of Police in Donalsonville for the past seven years.
Officer Pugh has been employed by the Donalsonville Police Department for the past 18 years working to protect the citizens of this area. A native of Seminole County, he was inspired at a young age to help people and his community through teamwork and service.
Interim Chief Pugh is the son of Willie Fred and Susie Pugh. He graduated from Seminole County High School in 1980. He attended Basic Law Enforcement Training and has over 25 years in law enforcement.
Chief Pugh is married to Betty F. Pugh and he is the father of Kimves Pugh Hunter, Kemron Pugh., Mikel Wynn, Johnny Wynn and Schquanna Wynn.
New SWGA Farm Credit promotes
Southwest Georgia in
“Here We Grow” podcast
December 22 – Southwest Georgia Farm Credit, a cooperative agricultural lending institution, announced the launch of its new podcast. Here We Grow is a grassroots podcast focused on education and inspiring growth down on the farm, at home, and in rural communities.
Each podcast episode contains industry insights, advice, and resources for your agribusiness and rural living toolbox. If you are seeking information and understanding on topics like agronomy, farm equipment, financing, financial planning, homes with acreage, and southern lifestyles, our show is for you!
New episodes are released each month spotlighting Southwest Georgia Farm Credit services, local and regional businesses, and experts in their fields.
You can find Here We Grow on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and Amazon music. You can also find every podcast along with a transcription for each episode on Southwest Georgia Farm Credit’s website, SWGAFarmCredit.com/Podcast.