2019-01-09 / Front Page



Two Georgia girls, two kindergarten teachers, two neighbors, all being the same two Hahira, Georgia residents, were in New York City last week, and did these two girls have a blast!

Joanna Richardson from Colquitt and her friend, Ashley Austin, formerly of Huntsville, AL, are both kindergarten teachers at Scintilla Charter Academy in Valdosta as well as neighbors in Hahira went to the city last week and took in a good bit in a week.

The two teachers were winding up summer vacation by flying to the Big Apple (New York City) Monday, June 25, and stayed through Friday, June 29.

The Miller County 10 and under All-Star Team is headed to play in the state tournament that will begin on Tuesday, July 10, in Hazelhurst.

The All-Stars were chosen from the three 10 and under teams at the end of the regular recreation season which ended in May.

After the All-Star team was picked, the girls began practicing, preparing for the district tournament. This tournament was held in Fitzgerald and started Saturday, June 23.

The tournament was a double elimination. The Miller County girls started off by facing Fitzgerald.

The Miller County team was down 5-0 at the end of the first inning, but their bats came alive, and the game was called at the bottom of the fifth inning due to the run rule. Miller County won the game, 16- 8.

For many years Bennie West of Colquitt has been known as the Gator Man. He caught, sold skins and meat of nuisance alligators and disposed of bad alligators for the Georgia Game and Fish Department. I guess he still is a licensed gator catcher, but he doesn’t do much of it anymore since the hide market has gone south and isn’t worth getting a finger or an arm eaten off, so he went to milking another of our products of southwest Georgia, the deadly rattlesnake, to sell the venom.

Then that market went bad, and they quit buying venom.

Bennie said if you hear of him going into another business, run from it. It should be heading south if he gets into it.

Most of the businesses Bennie gets into, no one else is too interested in trying.

Some Miller County residents woke up on Wednesday morning, July 4, with no electricity and downed trees on their property.

A line of strong winds and heavy rain hit the county and surrounding counties that had over 1900 homes without service, according to Three Notch Electrical in mostly Miller and Early and an area of Seminole counties, according to Brooks Wade. There were mostly trees down that toppled power poles. Storms were reported Tuesday, July 3, in Springfield, Mayhaw, Cooktown areas and back toward Damascus.

There was lightning damage all over the area that damaged air conditioners, computer systems and other electrical appliances as the lightning came through the area.

The extent of damage to crops and irrigation system has not been determined at this time due to the rain, wind and lightning. Some vehicles and structures were damaged by falling trees in Decatur County. Ponds filled low areas in fields and if the rains continue could damage peanuts in low areas.

On Saturday, July 14, at about 6:00 p.m., a Mayhaw resident, Beverly Richardson, had a most unusual visitor. She was sitting on her screened-in back porch when her two small dogs started violently barking. She looked up and saw a tall, thin (male) raccoon running from the woods toward the house as if “he’d been sent for.” The raccoon stopped at the chain link fence, which was about four feet from the screened door and peered at her and the hysterical dogs.

After a short pause, the animal proceeded to climb the fence, and came and reared up on the screened door, trying to get into the porch. She and the dogs were just on the other side with her yelling at the dogs as they barked uncontrollably.


July has been a very busy month for three year old Evan Vickers.

On Monday, July 16, Evan and his parents returned to Egleston’s Children’s Hospital in Atlanta for numerous back to back appointments. The oncology department decided his labs had improved enough for him to start his next immunotherapy treatment from home. “Evan is handling it well but getting a three-year-old to swallow four pills a day is difficult,” said his mother.

He was also scheduled for a hearing test but a nasty ear infection prevented him from testing.

Back in March, Evan was diagnosed with severe hearing loss as a result of the chemotherapy drugs given to him during transplant. His latest test diagnosed him with hearing very little. His parents were told that it was permanent damage but they still have their fingers crossed for improvement.

In the July 24 Primary Runoff Election, held last Tuesday, July 24, 2018, Southwest Georgia voters selected Henry Balkcom to serve as the next Superior Court Judge of the Pataula Circuit. Balkcom, with 3679 votes defeated challenger Chip Stewart, who received 2,994 votes. However, voters in Miller County favored Stewart over Balkcom receiving 423 votes to Balkcom’s 366. Voters in Seminole County also favored Stewart who received 1,108 votes to Balkcom’s 423. But, voters favored Balkcom by a large majority in the five remaining counties in the Pataula Judicial Circuit. In Clay County, Balkcom tallied 300 votes to Stewart’s 90; in Early County, he received 808 to Stewart’s 692. In Quitman County, Balkcom received 509 to Stewart’s 52. In Randolph County, Balkcom received 708 to Stewart’s 351 and in Terrell County, Balkcom topped Stewart 565 to 261.

Colquitt Miller County Chamber of Commerce has announced that KaCee Holt will no longer serve as president and will be taking on a new role as coordinator of the Wellness Center at Southern Regional Technical College Bainbridge Campus.

Board Chair Leigh Ribolzi stated that, “KaCee has played a vital role in our community, especially in the business sector. She developed many new marketing tools for the Chamber such as the community newsletter with our community calendar, redesigned the website and received grant funding for various projects to help Colquitt and Miller County overall. KaCee also initiated and oversaw Bless your Art Festival that has been the last two years on our downtown square, along with the Mayhaw Festival and events in the spring of each year. She also had a hand in the addition of the handicap ramp on the north eastern high traffic area of the square.“

LaDon and Kayla Calhoun have been named as one of four finalists for the Georgia Young Farmer’s Farm Family of the Year.

The Calhouns, along with their children, Jon Mason and Neely, own and operate CLC Farms in Colquitt.

The purpose of this award is to promote efficient management of land, labor and capital in farming; develop leadership necessary to propel the agriculture industry forward; advance the philosophy of community service; and to ensure the applications of sound environmental practices.

To be selected as one of four state finalists, Calhoun was evaluated on his farming progress, records management/application, farm safety, community service and involvement, environmental awareness and application, Young Farmer participation, and other leadership activities.

Colquitt Police Department Chief Hollis Smith has a new ride with a different look.

“Let me start with this. This DID NOT cost the taxpayers, a penny. The City Manager and City Council would have never approved this if the taxpayers had to pay for this,” stated Chief Smith.

Chief Hollis Smith went around to local businesses and asked for donations to help with the “wraps” for at least three vehicles for the city.

Those responsible for purchasing the wraps for the vehicles were Spring Creek Ford, Kelley Crop Insurance, The Meat House, CGM Construction, First State Bank and Clenney Insurance Agency. These businesses are fully responsible for the new look to some of the Colquitt Police Department patrol vehicles.

Tallahassee Community College baseball standout Cole Vann has signed a national letter of intent with Georgia Southern University.

Vann, a native of Colquitt, enrolled at Valdosta State University in 2015 and, after using a redshirt season with the Blazers, transferred to Tallahassee in 2016.

In two seasons with head coach Mike McLeod’s Eagles, Vann played in 109 games and batted .381 with 14 home runs and 99 RBI, helping Tallahassee to back-to-back appearances in the FCSAA State Tournament. Along the way, he was twice named First-Team All-Panhandle Conference and was a two-time FCSAA All- State selection (first-team in 2018).


On Wednesday, September 5, 2018, Deputy Garison Clenney was located on GA Highway 27 South in Miller County when he came into contact with a gold in color Toyota vehicle traveling at a high rate of speed. Deputy Clenney conducted a traffic stop on the speeding vehicle that was occupied by four individuals.

The four occupants in the vehicle were identified as Zabriel Auburn Black Sr. of 158 Ave. SW, Alachua, FL, Jessica Ann Green, of 13605 NW CR 235, Alachua, FL, William Hardy, 4006 NW 21st Ter., Gainesville, FL., and Jamie Golden, 18645 NW 282nd Drive, High Springs, FL.

On September 10, 2018, Georgia Power Area Manager Fred Rudbeck presented Melanie Williams, C.H.A.M.P.S. instructor, for Miller County, along with Sheriff Scott Worsley with a contribution for the Miller County Sheriff’s Office C.H.A.M.P.S. program.

C.H.A.M.P.S. is a 12- week recommended program that targets fifth graders and is taught by deputies who have successfully completed the C.H.A.M.P.S. instructor training. The program is dual and maybe shortened or extended to meet the needs of the Board of Education and the sheriff. This program was designed by the Georgia Sheriff’s Association in 2003 to address the urgent challenges that today’s youth encounter.

The reigning Miss Colquitt, Alyssa Pearce, will represent her hometown of Colquitt in the National Peanut Festival Pageant to be held in Dothan, AL.

The pageant is set for Friday, October 5, and Saturday, October 6, at the Dothan Civic Center.

There are 38 contestants from Georgia, Florida, and Alabama vying for the prestigious title of Miss National Peanut Festival. Contestants entering this pageant are girls who have won qualified preliminary pageants in peanut producing areas.

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