The following articles were authored by LeAnne

Jefferson school bus driver arrested on sexual battery charge


A 10-year veteran Jefferson City Schools bus driver is out on bond after his arrest on a sexual battery charge involving a child under 16. He is also no longer driving a school bus.

Surveillance video captured 51-year-old Timothy Harrison inappropriately touching a male Jefferson Elementary student, according to Jefferson Police Chief Joe Wirthman, who said additional video is being reviewed to determine if there may have been other victims.

Wirthman said he hopes the incident was a one-time situation but obtaining a warrant for other surveillance may provide the assurance needed by parents who put their children on a bus for safe transport to and from school. Violating the trust of a child and parents cannot be tolerated, said the chief, who called the act “sickening.”

Developer wants to bring housing, retail, man-made river to South Hall


Atlanta-River-WalkBy Jeff Gill

Regional staff

A Peachtree City developer hopes to bring a 508-acre waterfront development featuring homes, restaurants and offices to a now largely undeveloped section of South Hall.

“We will create a one-of-a-kind destination by constructing a man-made feature similar to a river and surrounding it with world-class mixed-use development,” said Jorge Duran, principal of ARW Group LLC.

The $700 million Atlanta River Walk is planned off Old Winder Highway/Ga. 211 at Union Church Road. Its property line also would abut the Road Atlanta racing course in Braselton.

The proposed development would include some 265 single-family homes, 215 townhomes, 600 multi-family units, 242,000 square feet of retail space and 424,000 square feet of office space, according to the Georgia Department of Community Affairs, which is reviewing ARW Group’s plans through the Gainesville-based Georgia Mountains Regional Commission.

Plans also call for a 200-room hotel, 20,000-square-foot convention center, 50,000-square-foot grocery store and 60,000-square-foot theater.

A substantial part of the project would be residential development, including mid-rise apartments and active living communities for seniors, according to a press release on the project.

“The Atlanta River Walk will be a first-class attraction and a unique live-work-play mixed-use development,” Duran said. “It will increase the prominence of Atlanta as an international destination city and add a new year-round attraction for local, out-of-state and international visitors.”

Continue reading Developer wants to bring housing, retail, man-made river to South Hall

Learning a language is free with Piedmont Library’s Mango Languages


Piedmont Regional Library System is pleased to announce its Mango Languages online language-learning system is popular with its patrons. Beth McIntyre announces the Piedmont Region is one of the most active regions in the state since the service began in July 2016.

Mango is free for all library patrons and can be accessed anywhere with an Internet connection. Each lesson combines real life situations and audio from native speakers with simple, clear instructions. The courses are presented with an appreciation for cultural nuance and real-world application by focusing on the four key elements of language learning: vocabulary, pronunciation, grammar and culture.

Mango offers access to 60 foreign language courses and 17 English courses taught completely in the user’s native language. Some courses are just for fun, like “Talk Like a Pirate.” Each month, a specific language is highlighted. For example, in April, learn Shakespearean English to help in English class. May is the month to begin learning Spanish so we all can celebrate Cinco de Mayo in style. Mango can be accessed at the library, remotely, or even on-the-go with apps for iPhone®, Android™, Kindle® and Nook®.

“We are so proud of our patrons. Since we joined the growing list of libraries across the country that offer Mango, statistics show our patrons at the top of the activity list.” said Beth McIntyre. “Some people need to learn a second language for business or travel. Others want to learn for personal or professional development. No matter the reason, learning a language should be fun. With Mango, it definitely is.”

To learn more about Mango, stop by your library in Banks, Barrow or Jackson County (Banks County in Homer, Auburn, Statham, Winder, Braselton, Commerce, Jefferson, Maysville, Harold S. Swindle in Nicholson or Talmo), and ask for an introduction. Library card holders can access Mango free through the library website at



Fire reports: Week of April 29-May 1


An April 29 structure fire was reported at 4:45 p.m. at 1097 Old Collins Road in Hoschton, and units from Jackson Trail, West Jackson and the Jackson County Correctional Institute Fire Departments.

Upon arrival, responders found a two-story, single-family residence with heavy smoke showing. The fire was quickly extinguished and listed as having moderate damage.

The cause of the fire is under investigation by the Jackson Trail Fire Department.

The occupants were home at the time of the fire but no injuries were reported.

Units from South Jackson, Arcade and the Jackson County Correctional Institute Fire Departments responded to 590 Masters Way in Athens just after 8:30 p.m. on May 1 to a reported structure fire.

A single-family residence with smoke showing was located and the fire was contained to the kitchen area with smoke damage throughout the structure. The home sustained moderate damage.

The cause of the fire was accidental caused by cooking on the stove.

The occupants were home at the time of the fire but no injuries were reported.

Go Ask Alice about the kindness, love she is getting after rescue


Fundraising is under way to provide care for mama dog and her soon-to-arrive puppies

Alice with Holly Cripps, Jefferson Police officer Jay Parker, Dr. Kelly Anderson and Kealy Burel of Galilee Veterinary Hospital, See more scenes of Alice below.

Alice with Holly Cripps, Jefferson Police officer Jay Parker, Dr. Kelly Anderson and Kealy Burel of Galilee Veterinary Hospital, See more scenes of Alice below.

Alice, named by Kealy Burel of Galilee Veterinary Hospital for Alice in Wonderland, is alive and well – thanks to the caring of the Jefferson community, and beyond.

A call about a dog on the side of the roadway of Hog Mountain Road near Valentine Industrial brought Jefferson Police Officer Jay Parker to the scene. A woman whose husband runs the catering truck into the construction area notified authorities about the canine because the situation pulled at her heart strings. Animal Control was not available and it was communicated the dog may have been struck by a vehicle and would need to be put down.

When Parker arrived, he located a dog lying down near the roadside but the canine was an exhausted pregnant boxer mix whose feet were injured from being out on her own for some time. She was hungry and thirsty. She was transported to the Jefferson Police Department and given food and water.

Parker, who is the handler for K-9 officer for the department, began contacting animal rescue volunteers and local veterinarians. He reached Galilee Veterinary Hospital and the canine was transported there by another officer. A $500 fundraising goal was set up for the dog’s care.

Parker also contacted Holly Cripps of We Ride to Provide, a nonprofit which conducts the Georgia K-9 Memorial Event. He met her when a 2010 ceremony was held for his previous K-9 partner.

Continue reading Go Ask Alice about the kindness, love she is getting after rescue