Lanier County News

Lanier County News The Lanier County News was originally established in 1913 as The Milltown Advocate and is the second oldest surviving business in Lanier County.

The Lanier County News (USPS 304-780) is published weekly by Cook Publishing Company, Inc. and is located at 20 W. Thigpen Avenue in Lakeland, Georgia 31635. Postmaster: Send address changes to The Lanier County News, P.O. Box 216, Lakeland, Georgia 31635-0216. Periodicals postage is paid at Lakeland, Georgia. President: Robert E. Tribble General Manager and Editor: Charles Shiver Advertising Manager: Maria Hardman Ad Representative/Reporter: James "Buck" Buckner Graphics: Sherry Sirman Composition: Kayla Holton Production: A.J. Adkins Social Media: Kayla Holton SUBSCRIPTION RATES: Inside Lanier and adjoining counties . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .$20.00 Elsewhere in Georgia . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .$27.50 Outside Georgia. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $35.00 Senior Citizens (In Lanier County only). . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $18.00 OUR POLICIES: • Letters to the Editor are welcome. Please sign and include address and telephone number. • Liability for an error in advertising will not exceed the cost of space occupied by the error. • All pictures are filed after publication, but may be picked up by their owner at The Lanier County News office in Lakeland. DEADLINE: The deadline each week for all block advertising copy is Friday at 5:00 p.m. The deadline for classified line ad copy is noon on Monday. For more information, call us at 229-482-8230.

Mission: The Lanier County News is created proudly for the citizens of Lanier and adjoining counties by the Cook Publishing Company in Adel, Georgia. Our goal is to produce quality, profitable community oriented newspapers that you, our readers, are proud of. We will reach that goal through hard work, teamwork, loyalty, and a strong dedication toward printing the truth. Our slogan is, "Serving Our Community with Honesty and Integrity for 101 Years."


GBI investigates death in Clinch County

On Monday, May 27, 2019, the GBI’s Douglas Regional Office received a request by the Clinch County Sheriff’s Office to assist with a death investigation.
On Sunday, May 19, 2019, the Crisp County Sheriff’s Office received a missing person report regarding Cameron Fontaine, 21 years of age. Fontaine was last heard from on Saturday, May 18, 2019. The GBI Region 3 Americus Field Office was requested by the Crisp County Sheriff’s Office to assist in the missing person investigation. Fontaine’s vehicle was later found on Highway 441 by the Clinch County Sheriff’s Office. On Monday, May 27, 2019, the Clinch County Sheriff’s Office discovered human remains in a wooded area. The remains were less than 2 miles from where Fontaine’s vehicle was recovered. The preliminary investigation indicates the remains are likely those of Fontaine, however final identification, as well as cause of death, will be determined during the autopsy by the GBI Medical Examiner’s Office in Macon.
The investigation is active and ongoing. Anyone with information is encouraged to contact the Clinch County Sheriff’s Office (912) 487-5316 or the GBI Region 4 office (912) 389-4103.



A theft and a burglary which occurred from a Grand Bay residence in late March and early April resulted in the property owner losing nearly $15,000 in items ranging from a washer and dryer to a 24’ boat and motor along with tools, athletic equipment and other assorted items.
The Lanier County Sheriff’s Office was aware that one of the suspects, who had been living in the residence, was wanted on charges out of Lowndes County and had been seen in the company of two people attempting to sell items that were believed to be stolen. The owner of the residence spotted several of his items being listed for sale on-line and that information was consistent with what Lanier County investigators and Lowndes County were beginning to put together.
On Friday night, April 5, the Lanier County Sheriff’s Office requested that Lowndes investigators go to a specific residence in Lowndes County to see if the stolen items were there, and when they arrived several of the items were in plain view on a trailer in the yard. Lanier County Sheriff Nick Norton sought out the victim in the case and brought him to the scene where he identified the items as his stolen goods. A discussion with the homeowner led to the discovery that one of the original suspects had arranged for the items to be taken.
All the items originally taken were returned to the rightful owner and the only item left missing was a boat, motor and trailer. A lookout had been issued by Lanier County for the boat, and during the weekend it too was recovered. Lanier County investigators arranged for it to be picked up by the owner to avoid tow and storage fees.
Arrests are pending in the case for multiple offenders and on multiple charges according to investigators. One of the suspects is currently in jail on unrelated charges pending the issuance of warrants on the new charges.
Sheriff Norton commented: “This was a prime example of everyone working together, the victim and the agencies, to achieve a near perfect outcome. 100% of the items taken have been recovered. The victim in the case kept a watch for his items on-line and let us know when he saw them, he had good information concerning who several suspects might be, our investigators cooperated well with Lowndes investigators and swapped a large amount of information back and forth quickly and the crime has been solved. No doubt, other crimes will be solved as a result as well. We can’t be this fortunate in all cases, but we definitely received some blessings in this case.”


Clinch County man pleads guilty to aggravated assault, drug and gang charges

Damian Terrell Lovelady, age 27, pled guilty to aggravated assault, possession of narcotics with intent to distribute, possession of marijuana with intent to distribute and violating Georgia’s gang statute.
At the Clinch County Courthouse, Lovelady pled guilty to the charges and admitted to committing the crimes in the name of his criminal street gang, the Bloods.
Chief Superior Court Judge Howard McClain presided over the plea and sentenced Lovelady to 30 years, with the first eight years to be served in the Georgia state prison system. Upon his release from prison, Lovelady will be banished from the counties of Clinch, Atkinson, Berrien, Cook and Lanier for the entire term of his sentence. Lovelady will also be subject to search by law enforcement at any time, will be subject to curfew and will be barred from being around other gang members.
District Attorney Dick Perryman stated, “I’m proud of this conviction and glad that we were able to send this dangerous man off. Lovelady committed crimes in the name of his gang and he will now serve eight years in prison for his actions. I hope this will serve as a reminder to others out there that my office will continue aggressive prosecution of violent crimes, drug dealers and criminal street gangs in our circuit. The Clinch County Sheriff’s Office did a great job in this matter, and we could not have secured this plea if it were not for their skillful investigation. I am especially proud of the hard work that Assistant District Attorney Jennifer Smith put into this case.”


Man sentenced to prison for sexual battery and enticing a child for indecent purposes

Charlie Ben Curry, Jr., age 50, pled guilty to enticing a child for indecent purposes and to sexual battery against a person under 16 years of age in Clinch County.
The sentence handed down was for 30 years, with the first eight to be served in the Georgia prison system.
Curry pled guilty to the charges stemming from his sexual contact with a 14-year-old girl. If Curry completes his prison sentence, then he will spend the remainder of his life on probation including sex offender registration and sex offender probation conditions. Curry will also be banished for the full term of his sentence from 10 south Georgia counties including Clinch, Atkinson, Lanier, Cook and Berrien.
Curry was sentenced by Chief Superior Court Judge Howard McClain.
“The things this man has done are inexcusable and I am proud we have been able to secure a lengthy prison sentence and his complete banishment from our community. It is a top priority of my office to prosecute people who harm children. I am grateful for the hard work and effort from my staff including Assistant District Attorney Annika Register. I must also commend the work of the Homerville Police Department. While the innocence lost at the hands of this man can never be recovered, I am pleased with the outcome of this case,” stated District Attorney Dick Perryman.


Development Authority invites county boards to a “Lanier County Conversation, a County in Crisis”

The Development Authority of Lanier County board of directors has invited the Lanier County Board of Commissioners, the Lanier County Board of Education, and the Mayor and Council to a “Lanier County Conversation – a County in Crisis.” This meeting is set for Thursday, 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. at The Threatte Center.
The development authority board has asked Scott Purvis, a leadership facilitator with Georgia Power, to manage the conversation.
The public is invited; however, there will be no public comment period during this meeting. While majority members of the each of the boards are expected to attend, no votes will be taken.
The board of the development authority is seeing declining retail, negative trained employee base, rising taxes, sales tax decline and more. “State leaders are also hinting at county consolidation – we are 148 out of 150,” says Board Chairman Bob Jones. “We need to talk about our future.”


Gov. Deal declares state of emergency ahead of Hurricane Michael

Based on the latest forecast for Hurricane Michael and acting on a recommendation from Georgia Emergency Management and Homeland Security Agency (GEMA/HS) officials, Gov. Nathan Deal today issued an emergency declaration for 92 Georgia counties. The emergency declaration is effective for seven days and makes all state resources available to local governments and entities within the impacted area of the hurricane.
“The state is mobilizing all available resources to ensure public safety ahead of Hurricane Michael,” said Deal. “In light of the storm’s forecasted track, I encourage Georgians in the affected counties to be prepared and remain vigilant. We will continue to monitor Hurricane Michael’s path and GEMA/HS is leading our preparedness efforts. We are also working with federal, state and local officials to provide public shelter and accommodate those evacuating from other states. I ask all Georgians to join me in praying for the safety of our people and all those in the path of Hurricane Michael.”
The 92 counties under emergency declaration are: Appling, Atkinson, Bacon, Baker, Baldwin, Ben Hill, Berrien, Bibb, Bleckley, Brantley, Brooks, Bryan, Bulloch, Burke, Calhoun, Camden, Candler, Charlton, Chatham, Chattahoochee, Clay, Clinch, Coffee, Colquitt, Cook, Crawford, Crisp, Decatur, Dodge, Dooly, Dougherty, Early, Echols, Effingham, Emanuel, Evans, Glascock, Glynn, Grady, Hancock, Houston, Irwin, Jeff Davis, Jefferson, Jenkins, Johnson, Jones, Lanier, Laurens, Lee, Liberty, Long, Lowndes, Macon, Marion, McIntosh, Miller, Mitchell, Montgomery, Muscogee, Peach, Pierce, Pulaski, Quitman, Randolph, Richmond, Schley, Screven, Seminole, Stewart, Sumter, Talbot, Tattnall, Taylor, Telfair, Terrell, Thomas, Tift, Toombs, Treutlen, Turner, Twiggs, Upson, Ware, Warren, Washington, Wayne, Webster, Wheeler, Wilcox, Wilkinson and Worth counties.

Lanier Emergency Management Agency

Lanier Emergency Management Agency

Hurricane Michael
October 8, 2018
Lanier County Georgia

National Weather Service Tallahassee Florida is warning that this storm will be a major hurricane by landfall. For Lanier County, we are under a tropical storm WARNING with possible wide spread power outages with approximately 3-5 inches of rainfall.

Tropical force winds will most likely reach Lanier County around daybreak on Wednesday and possible hurricane force winds by midday Wednesday clearing out by midday Thursday.

With all of this, tornado risk is elevated for Lanier County beginning Wednesday and continuing into Thursday.

Any Questions Call 229-482-2595 or visit

Randy Patten, GaCEM, EMHP


According to unofficial and incomplete returns, incumbent Phillip Connell won the District 3 Board of Education runoff election today with 57.14 percent of the vote (248 votes), as compared to 42.86 percent (186 votes) for challenger Jay Jay Strickland.


Senior Superior Court Judge H. Arthur McLane released his decision this afternoon to deny District 3 Board of Education candidate Jay Jay Strickland’s request to prevent the holding of a second run-off election. The run-off election is scheduled to proceed on Tuesday, Aug. 21, 2018, with incumbent Phillip Connell and Strickland as candidates.



Charles E. Peeler, United States Attorney for the Middle District of Georgia, announces that on August 15, 2018, Wallace H. “Wally” Hendley, age 55, of Lakeland, Georgia, was sentenced to 65 months in federal prison for Manufacture of Methamphetamine before Senior U.S. District Judge Hugh Lawson in Valdosta.
At his plea hearing, Mr. Hendley admitted that a search warrant was executed at his home on March 30, 2017. The search warrant was related to a Lanier County Sheriff’s Office (LCSO) investigation that the property was being used to manufacture and sell methamphetamine. In the kitchen, officers found items used to produce methamphetamine. A pickle jar filled with a clear liquid with white particles was also found, and the liquid tested positive for methamphetamine. Officers also found a loaded Remington, model 597, semi-automatic rifle in a bedroom.
On April 7, 2017, Mr. Hendley was taken into custody, waived his Miranda rights, and gave a recorded statement. Mr. Hendley stated that he lived alone and everything in the house belonged to him. Mr. Hendley admitted to intentionally manufacturing methamphetamine.
“People who manufacture methamphetamine are producing poison,” said United States Attorney Charles E. Peeler. “I appreciate the efforts of the Lanier County Sheriff’s Office and the FBI to halt the further production of such poison and to send Mr. Hendley to federal prison.”
The case was investigated by the Lanier County Sheriff’s Office and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Assistant United States Attorney Sonja Profit is prosecuting the case for the United States.


Highlights from this afternoon’s weather briefing:

At 2:30 PM the NWS Tallahassee held a weather briefing for Emergency Managers in our area.
There is a high chance (90%) that storms in the western Caribbean will develop into a tropical cyclone in the next few days. The impact form the storm known as Invest 90L will most likely impact our area on Saturday night.
The slow movement will most likely bring heavy rains east of the storm. Flash flooding is possible for some parts.
Lanier County is in the 5 inch range as of today. This is subject to change if the storm “*Wobbles.”
· Primary Impact is expected to be heavy rainfall – 4-5 inches for Lanier County

· River Flooding is not expected but Flash Flooding will be possible during heavy rains

· Wind threat is extremely low – highest gusts anticipated are 20-25mph

· Impacts likely to begin in Lanier County on Sunday

· Regardless of development, Invest 90L will affect local weather through mid-week

Follow “Lanier Emergency Management Agency” on Facebook for official local updates.
Randy Patten, Director


Former Atkinson County Probate Judge indicted

On January 17, 2017, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation was requested by Superior Court Judge Howard McClain of the Alapaha Judicial Circuit to investigate the possible theft of funds from the Atkinson County Probate Court’s Office.
As a result of the investigation, former Atkinson County Probate Judge Marjorie O’Brien was arrested on January 27, 2017 and charged with one count of theft by taking. It was determined that O’Brien had stolen approximately $430,000 from the Atkinson County Probate Court’s Office between 2010 and 2016.
On Monday, April 2, 2018, O’Brien was indicted by an Atkinson County Grand Jury on two counts of racketeering and 81 counts of theft by taking. The case is being prosecuted by the Georgia Attorney General’s Office.


Water Restored at the SGMC Lanier Campus
The water has been restored at the SGMC Lanier Campus Hospital. The Emergency Department has reopened. This morning, patients who were moved to the SGMC Berrien Campus will be returned to Lakeland.
“The City of Lakeland and our plumbers have worked tirelessly to resolve this issue,” said Lanier Campus Administrator Richard Huth. “EMS, our physicians and staff have all been troopers doing whatever needed to be done to manage this unfortunate situation. All of their actions are appreciated!”


SGMC Lanier Campus Loses Water, Patients Moved to Ensure Safety

Lakeland, GA – Earlier today, Friday, March 23, 2018, the SGMC Lanier Campus lost its water supply. The issue is presumed to be a clogged line coming in from the street.

SGMC’s leadership team including Chief Operating Officer Dr. David Schott and Lanier Campus Administrator Richard Huth, after consulting with the City of Lakeland’s Water Department, made the decision to close the hospital and move six hospital inpatients to the SGMC Berrien Campus.

“We have notified the State of Georgia that we are going on diversion, meaning that patients in the area who would normally come here for care will be sent elsewhere,” said Schott.

“Moving patients ensures an appropriate continuum of care as the City and plumbing professionals correct the issue,” said Schott. “The comfort and safety of our patients and staff is our highest priority.”

Family members are being notified of their loved one’s change in facility location. According to Huth, the public will be notified as soon as the water issue is resolved.

The Lakeland Villa Convalescent Center is not affected by this issue and remains open.


Lanier County to receive $104,356 for nature trail

The Georgia Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has announced the award of 19 new grant recipients totaling $3.2 million for trails around the state. The selected projects will provide new outdoor recreation opportunities for a variety of trail user groups. A total of 51 eligible applications requesting approximately $8 million were received from state, federal, and local governments during this grant cycle.
“The Recreational Trails Program provides residents and visitors all across Georgia more opportunities to explore our state’s unique and diverse natural beauty,” said DNR Commissioner Mark Williams. “These new grants will give our local cities and counties greater access to construct and maintain a multitude of trails for various purposes. The DNR remains committed to preserving Georgia’s natural resources and expanding the opportunity for Georgia’s citizens and tourists to access and explore them, and we look forward to hearing the success stories from our new grant recipients.”
DNR administers the Recreational Trails Program locally under the guidance of the Federal Highway Administration. Funding for the program is appropriated by Congress in national highway legislation. Each grant cycle, the DNR offers awards through a competitive grant program. Agencies of state, federal, local government, and authorized commissions are eligible to compete. Every recipient is required to match the grant by providing at least 20 percent of the cost of the project.
The Recreational Trails Program funds hiking, biking, and horseback trails, in addition to canoe and kayak launches for water trail access. Funding is also available for trails that accommodate motorcycles, all-terrain vehicles and off-road light trucks.
Congratulations to these new grant recipients:
1. City of Dahlonega, Yahoola High Trestle Trail - $134,501.72
2. Dougherty County, Radium Trailhead - $200,000
3. City of Sasser, Sasser Trailhead - $100,000
4. Calhoun-Gordon County, Rivers to Ridge-Model Mile - $200,000
5. City of LaGrange, Thread-LaGrange College Connector - $200,000
6. City of Rockmart, Church Street Trailhead - $95,500
7. City of Hogansville, Hogansville Water Tower Trail Phase V- $200,000
8. City of Jackson, Jackson Trail - $200,000
9. City of Carrollton, Carrollton Greenbelt-Southside Spur - $200,000
10. Harris County, Harris County Rails to Trails Project - $200,000
11. USFS-CRD-Motor, CRD Motor Trails Maintenance - $48,600
12. USFS-Blue Ridge Ranger District, Blue Ridge Ranger District OHV Maintenance - $199,998
13. Lanier County, Lanier County Parks and Recreation Nature Trail - $104,356
14. Bremen City Schools District, Blue Devil Family Park Walking Trail - $200,000
15. City of Smyrna, Mountain Bike Park at North Cooper Lake Park-Phase I
- $200,000
16. City of Milton, Trails at Providence Park- $200,000
17. Whitfield County Board of Commissioners, Buzzards Roost/Grant Farm Mountain Bike Trail- $200,000
18. UGA Research Foundation, Orange & White Trail Enhancement and Realignment @ State Botanical Garden- $155,220
19. Wayne County, Jaycee Landing Trails-Phase I - $200,000
The mission of the Department of Natural Resources is to sustain, enhance, protect and conserve Georgia’s natural, historic and cultural resources for present and future generations, while recognizing the importance of promoting the development of commerce and industry that utilize sound environmental practices.


20 W Thigpen Ave
Lakeland, GA


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