Saturday, December 19, 2009


Shaw University cornerback Quintez Smith, the CIAA's Defensive Player of the Year, was named First Team All-America by both the American Football Coaches Association and Daktronics, Inc. Wednesday.

The senior out of Dublin, Georgia is the first Shaw player named to the AFCA's All-America squad. The AFCA squad has been selected by college football coaches since 1945.

Smith received the highest number of votes among cornerbacks in the Daktronics selection, which is made by sports information directors of NCAA Division II members. This is the 17th year for the poll.

The honors are piling up for Shaw. In addition to being named the CIAA's defensive player of the year and the dual all-America selections, he was named to the East Coast Bowl and the HBCU Bowl, which will pit players from the CIAA and MEAC against players from the SIAC and SWAC Dec. 19 in Montgomery, Alabama.

During the 2009 season, Smith tied a Division II record when he intercepted and returned four passes for touchdowns. He finished the year tied for first in Division II with nine picks. He accumulated 302 return yards, made 49 tackles and recovered two fumbles for scores as well, leading Shaw to a record of 8-2 (5-2 in CIAA).

In the first week of the season, against Elizabeth City State, he set a new Division II single-game record with 194 interception return yards and set the single-game mark of three interceptions returned for touchdowns.


Smith, the AA 2002 defensive player of the year,  led the Dublin Irish (14-1) to the championship game of AA in 2002.  He led the team to its first Georgia Dome victory over Laney.

Sunday, December 13, 2009



Jack Walker’s heart is where his home is. And, that home is right here in Dublin, Georgia. If you ask him, he will probably tell you he’’d rather be in his home town enjoying life with his family and friends than living and working in New York or Hollywood. No longer does he dream of being a movie star. Today, Jackson Walker dreams of great movie roles and seeing Dublin growing into an even more wonderful place to live.

"I'm proud of Dublin. I was born here and I'll probably die here. Hopefully, a long time from now," he aid.Walker wants to see Dublin grow and offer more of what people expect of a quaint southern town. He would like to see that aggressiveness directed towards more progressive ideas.

"Accomplishing progressive ideas while maintaining the quaint charm of a southern town is attractive to everyone and could help Dublin become a place that people want to return to or retire to," Jack added.
When Jack and his family returned from the fast paced life in Hollywood, he had a dream. And, that dream was to build downtown Dublin into a place where people, not only locals, but travelers as well, wanted to come to. "We need businesses like The Freckled Frog, a hair salon, boutiques etc. to move there," Jack maintains.His first fun project was to open The Blackbird, a coffee shop with a personal touch, and not just another cookie cutter Starbucks in a plain space. "Old buildings provide something you cannot get anywhere else in town," the former architect said. "I think I helped to start something great,”” but regretfully added, "I just couldn't afford to hang on long enough for it to catch on."

Promoters of downtown Dublin will tell you that the current wave of revitalization efforts are due in a big part to Jack’’s investment and dedication to his dream. "I've heard that a few times recently, that I started something downtown. I hope that's true because that would be something I would be proud of," he adds. Happy with what is going on downtown, Jack credits Josh Nichols,Morris Bank, and Townsend Funeral home for their efforts in improving the new commercial viability which evolved from the opening of the Blackbird."I would like to be more involved in the revitalization efforts of downtown Dublin. Though owning a business requires a lot of time and makes it a bit difficult," Walker says."I'm going to do what I can."

In "Madea Goes to Jail"

"Brutal" is the word Jack uses to describe balancing his business interests with his acting career. With a flood of new opportunities, Walker wants to take advantage of a surge in his film roles, but at the same time wants to be involved in operating his businesses here by adding, "Regardless, we won't be moving away from Dublin. This is home and we love it here." Being not far from Atlanta and through the use of technology, Jack plans to continue a dual career. "I do some auditions at home on video and email them to casting directors for different projects. It takes all the awkward part out of the audition process," as he relates how hard it is to be away from home, believing that he would have more time with his kids than if he were living in New York or LA.

With Forest Whitaker, right, in "The Great Debaters."

With no less than seven films being released in 2009, this year has been a breakout one for Walker, who sees the doubling of his lifetime roles as a fluke. "It's unheard of to do this many films in a year especially in this market. I know that because from November until this mid July I have done nothing at all in film," he added. Walker credits his increase in work to his appearance as a pig farmer in The Great Debaters. "That film propelled me to a different level. Both Madea Goes To Jail and The People vs. Leo Frank happened specifically as a result of Debaters," said Walker, who, in Tyler Perry’’s latest Madea movie, portrayed Mr. Brackman, an amoral employer who gets his just deserts from co-star Keshia Knight Pulliam, of Cosby Show fame.

In three of this year’s roles, Jack Walker portrays historical characters. In the PBS production of We Shall Remain, Jack portrays Daniel Ross, a Scottish trader and the father of future Creek Indian chief, John Ross. "I was speaking Cherokee with a Scottish accent. I am fortunate that no one knows what that should sound like," Jack said in relating his fortune in part of a challenging and rewarding project. The film is available for viewing on the American Experience web site. In PBS’s The People vs. Leo Frank, Jack plays the role of John Black, the lead detective in the investigation of Leo Frank, an employee of an Atlanta pencil factory, who was convicted of the brutal child murder of Miss Mary Phagan in 1913. He enjoyed the experience of portraying a real person, though he was the one who bungled the investigation, thereby causing a lot of trouble. The movie is scheduled to premiere on PBS in February 2010.

In the role of Terry Walker, a real life hero, Jack Walker (no relation) took on the role of a Carroll County, Georgia man, who with his father find a missing toddler Joe Simpkins. In June of this year, Walker hosted a premiere of the film at Theater Dublin, a red carpet event attended by many of the movie’’s actors and the real persons they portrayed.

Perhaps Walker’s most notable 2009 role comes with the release of The Final Destination Four, which is scheduled to run in Dublin. In the action packed 3D horror film, Jack portrays Jonathan "The Cowboy" Groves, one of the film’’s many characters who actually die twice.

In the end, Jack Walker has learned that you can make a movie in your own back yard. Not really, but he starred as Rusty Rozier in 12 FL OZ., written and directed by Dublin native Dalton Harpe and scheduled to be shown on the film festival circuit very soon. Shot in Dublin and Dexter on a shoestring budget, "the movie is dark allegory of the spiritual journey of some very angry people, " in the words of Walker, who added, "I can't wait to hear the audience reactions. I expect to hear everything from hate to love. No one will emerge without an opinion."

Jack Walker loved the challenge of playing the racist in The Great Debaters, finding the role as a challenge in its body position, walk and dialect. His favorite character so far is a short film produced by the Doorpost Film Project as a metaphor for rescuing abused and neglected children. In the film due to be released on the studio’’s web site in September, Jack plays the role of a man who wakes up next to his burning car in purgatory, where he finds a little girl who helps guide him through to the other side, only to ultimately rescue her.

As the Hero in "Awake O'Sleeper"

Jack Walker can’t see very far into his future. "Life is never what we plan so I will be surprised at whatever it delivers," Jack said. Though he hopes to continue doing great roles in TV and film and do them more often, he has put aside his youthful dreams of being a star. "Having children, being in love, experiencing incredible loss, loving a community, all of that changes things.

Poster from "That's Magic"

I have always loved the craft of acting and film making but now I'm free to pursue and to fail," he related. In the meanwhile, Jack Walker and his family are back home, happy with life, and right where they belong.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009


Thanksgiving Celebration Warms the Hearts of Less Fortunate


By Ben Koconis - Special to the Informer

Thursday, December 03, 2009 06:41 PM

Bishop Imagene Stewart Provided Food, Fun for the District’s Poor

Bishop Imagene Stewart was in the kitchen on Thanksgiving Day boiling chicken gizzards for giblet gravy, stirring industrial-sized pots of string beans and keeping a watchful eye over the turkeys.

Bishop Imagene Stewart, right, shares a laugh with several volunteers in her home in Northeast on Thanksgiving Day as she prepares to feed the homeless in her Northeast neighborhood. Stewart, who has held the annual Thanksgiving Day feeding program for 45 years, said this year may be her last. Photo by Khalid Naji-Allah

The stalwart for the District’s poor hosted her 45th annual Thanksgiving dinner in Northeast to ensure that those who would not otherwise enjoy a turkey dinner feasted on a home-cooked meal with all the trimmings.

About 20 volunteers showed up at the House of Imagene, a shelter for battered women at 6th Street and Florida Avenue, early Thu., Nov. 26; to help bake turkeys, carve hams, set up tables and to ensure that the music jibed with the community members who turned out in droves to participate in the Thanksgiving Day festivities.

“We are all just regular people coming to help out,” Stewart said. “You better be nice because you don’t know when your day is coming.”

Stewart, 67, a self described “Georgia Peach” known for her warm heart and charismatic personality grew up in Dublin, Ga., but moved to the District in the 1960s. Early on she was a victim of domestic violence and understands the consequences of life on the street for women and their children. Today, she’s a staple in the District’s social services community.

Since 1972, Stewart has run the House of Imagene, Shelter and Women’s Center. Each year the soft-spoken minister hosts annual Thanksgiving and Christmas Day dinners for the District’s less fortunate. Stewart has received numerous awards for her humanitarian efforts and has been acknowledged by former Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush.

Wayne Ireland, Stewart’s son, a 51- year -old builder who lives in Northeast, said that he has helped his mother to organize the Thanksgiving Day dinners for the past 15 years. Ireland said that he and his mother worked all night to prepare for this year’s celebration.

“We have been cooking for what seems like forever,” he said.

Ireland has fond memories of past Thanksgiving dinners.

“People always come with big smiles on their faces. You are always smiling when your stomach is full,” Ireland said.

Harvey Hall, a 61-year-old friend of Stewart, has shown up to volunteer for the past 12 years. This year was no exception. It’s one of his traditions.

“I love it around here. There’s good music, good food and good people,” he said.

Hall said that in the past, Stewart has served Thanksgiving dinner to more than 200, this year, due to the economic downturn; he was certain that other charities also pitched in and served dinners to the less fortunate.

The Northeast resident said folks are experiencing difficulty trying to make ends meet nowadays.

“It is hard times. The older you get the harder it is. It doesn’t matter what kind of trade you’re in.”

Hall, Stewart and other guests danced much of the morning away; they listened to the Godfather of Soul, James Brown and Chicago crooner Tyrone Davis compliments of Lucius McInnis, a local disc jockey from Maryland.

“This is my way of contributing,” said McInnis. McInnis said that he brings [Tyrone] Davis’s music every year because its Stewart’s favorite.

Volunteer Thandi Myeni, a 33-year old ophthalmologist who hails from Swaziland, Africa but who now lives in the District came out with her girlfriend to lend a hand.

“I think it is great when individuals take it upon themselves to make a difference. We have an obligation to help the less fortunate,” she said.

Although much of Thursday’s Thanksgiving celebration was positive and upbeat, Stewart expressed her concern for society’s lack of interest in social causes.

Stewart said people like herself are a dying breed. “The youth just are not interested.”

“The atmosphere has changed,” she said. “People think they have arrived -- everyone wants to go to Harvard University, but people who go to Harvard also get sick and die. Many people who thought they were doing ok are now coming over here to eat. There is no such thing as doing all right. You never know what tomorrow may bring,” Stewart said.

Donaye Fleming, a 16- year -old student who attends Suitland High School in Forestville, Md., served plates to guests during the event.

She agrees with Stewart about the indifference of youth.

“I don’t think people my age appreciate things like this. People should try it. It will change the way you think,” Donaye said.

Stewart who recently suffered a stroke said that she isn’t sure how long she can continue her annual dinner.

“This may be one of the last years,” she said.

For further information on volunteer opportunities or to make a donation to Bishop Stewart’s ministries, visit

Tuesday, December 1, 2009


Demaryius “Bay Bay” Thomas, former star West Laurens star was named to the 2009 All-ACC First Team.   Thomas, an NFL prospect in the 2010 draft, was named to the NCAA Division I, All American third team.  Thomas so far this season has accumulated 1,077 yards season, 4th most in Georgia Tech history, on 44 receptions. His 24.5 yds. per reception leads the ACC and the nation (more than 30 receptions). In his career, Thomas has average 19.169 yards per reception (118/2262).

The junior receiver is 2nd in Tech history for a single game reception total with 230 in 2008.

Thomas is poised to become the all time Georgia Tech leader in yards per reception per game in a single season and a career as well as setting the record for most yards receiving in a career and a season with one final bowl game to be played.

Friday, November 20, 2009


Georgia’s Oldest Lawyer

On Friday, September 4th, Col. Lucian A. Whipple, would be one hundred and twenty years old. If he was alive and healthy, he would probably still be practicing law. Next to his family and his community, it was the love of is life - and a long life it was. When Col. Whipple retired, he was the oldest practicing attorney in the United States. He was 98 years old.

Lucian Adolphus Whipple was born on September 4, 1878 on the Whipple family farm on Turkey Creek - a few miles east of the present city of Dudley. When the M.D. and S. Railroad came through in 1891, the community was given the name of Whipple's Crossing. Whipple's father, Stephen Bennett Whipple, was of New England stock. The elder Whipple served as an officer in the Confederate Army during the first year of the Civil War. Whipple and his brother Allen were awarded a contract to furnish salt to the Confederacy for the duration of the war.

After the war, Whipple went west to California to seek a fortune. Within a year, he returned to Georgia. He bought the James Thomas Place about ten miles west of Dublin. Whipple and his wife, Sarah Holliman Whipple, knew the value of an education. Whipple himself had attended Mercer University before the War.
Whipple and his neighbor David Ware built their own schoolhouse. Whipple and Ware chipped in to supplement the teacher's small state salary. Whipple decided to move to Cochran where the New Ebenezer Baptist Association was located.

Whipple left the farm and became one of Cochran's most influential businessmen. Stephen and Sarah raised eight sons. William was a physician. Ulysses V. was Judge of the Cordele Superior Court circuit and a legislator. Allen P. was a teacher and a farmer. Robert L. practiced medicine for fifty eight years and died while administering care to a patient. Clifford was a practicing pharmacist for more than fifty years. Stephen T., the oldest son, never married and worked in the family business for many years. Oliver J. practiced dentistry for more than fifty years.

Lucian A. Whipple was eight years old when his family moved to Cochran. He attended New Ebenezer College for six years. Whipple transferred to Gordon Institute in Barnesville where he was elected senior class president. In 1895, he again transferred, this time to the University of Georgia, where he was again
elected senior class president. Whipple graduated with first honors in 1898. From Georgia, Whipple returned to the homeland of his paternal ancestors and enrolled in Harvard University Law School. He graduated from the prestigious school in 1901.

Whipple returned to Cochran to set up his law practice. Before he was through, Col. Whipple would practice law for seventy-two years. The title of Colonel was honorary. It was a tradition in the South to give a lawyer the title, which was derived from the days when counties were divided into militia districts.

Before and during the Civil War, the militia district provided military security to the county, as well as providing justice of the peace courts and election precincts.

In 1907, Col. Whipple formed a partnership with a Cochran printer, Royal A. McRae. The duo founded the "Cochran Journal." Whipple served as editor of  Cochran's first weekly newspaper. Ironically, after only a short period, he moved his law practice to Hawkinsville. Col. Whipple served his country in World War
I as a second lieutenant in the Quartermaster Corps. After the war's end, Whipple taught one year at Mercer University in Macon. Whipple decided it was time to come home to Cochran. When he came back, he brought his new bride with him. On the last day of the 1919, Col. Whipple and Lella Jackson Dillard were united in marriage. Mrs. Whipple's father, the Rev. Miles Hill Dillard, was a well-known minister in the North Georgia Conference of The Methodist Church. Mrs. Whipple was well educated in the arts. She taught school in Sparks, Oglethorpe, Jackson, and Hawkinsville. Mrs. Whipple was the first principal of Druid Hills High School.

Col. Whipple, in addition to his love of the law, valued the importance of education. He served as Superintendent of the Bleckley County School System from 1921 through 1925 and from 1929 to 1933. Whipple was appointed by the governor to the State Board of Education in 1931. He served until 1937, when he was elected to the General Assembly of Georgia. Representative Whipple served in the
legislature until 1945. He was responsible for the law allowing non jury trials in Georgia.

The First Baptist Church of Cochran was the beneficiary of Whipple's leadership and generosity. During his life, Col. Whipple served as deacon, church clerk, church treasurer, Sunday school teacher, and Sunday school superintendent.

The Whipples had four children. Lucian, Jr. served as a decorated B-24 gunner in World War II and this year celebrates his fiftieth year in the office machine business in Dublin. Fielding served in the U.S. Navy Reserve in World War II and as an officer during the Korean War. Stephen also served his country
during the War in the Army Air Corps. Anne followed in her mother's footsteps, graduating with honors from Wesleyan College and making teaching her career.

She married Louis Alderman, well-known educator and former President of Middle Georgia College in Cochran.

In September of 1976, Col. Whipple decided to make that last trip to the courthouse. He had been going there for the last seventy five years. He had witnessed a radical change in the way lawyers tried their cases. Cases were tried faster and lawyers and judges were much better educated. Fittingly, Col. Whipple
won his last case. He was ninety eight years old and his health was beginning to fail. During the last two years of his life, he was honored as the oldest alumnus of Harvard School of Law, Middle Georgia College, and the University of Georgia, and the oldest former member of the Georgia House of Representatives. Col.
Whipple passed away on August 24, 1979, eleven days shy of his 101st birthday.

Friday, November 6, 2009


McRae enjoying Yellow Jackets’ success
By Coley Harvey -

For now, Nick McRae may not be the most game-used member of Georgia Tech’s offensive line. Just a redshirt freshman, the versatile player is still learning the Yellow Jackets’ spread option system and is hoping to be a key contributor in future seasons. Somewhat pleasantly surprised by the success his team has had, the former Dublin standout is excited to be along for the ride. The Telegraph’s Coley Harvey caught up with the lineman to talk about his current role at Georgia Tech, as well as his high school alma mater:

QUESTION: To begin, just how has this second year at Georgia Tech progressed for you?

ANSWER: Everything has been going real well. We’re 8-1, so we’re winning games, and we have a chance to win the ACC championship if we keep winning games.

QUESTION: What is it like just to be around all of this? The atmosphere has been pretty exciting all year.

ANSWER: It feels great — and not trying to boast about my old high school football program or anything — but I’m used to winning. So it’s kind of like where last year we were so disappointed about the way we played in the bowl game (a 38-3 loss to LSU in the Chick-fil-A Bowl), we’re really trying hard to make up for it this year. It’s just all about keep moving forward and keep going full steam ahead, just like our motto (this year) says.

QUESTION: Of course you were one of those players who was recruited when head coach Paul Johnson and his offense first arrived at Georgia Tech. While some recruits thought about avoiding the transition, you stuck with it. Did you foresee this type of season to happen so quickly?

ANSWER: I thought we could do well back then. But really, I didn’t think the success would be this early. I thought we’d win games, but not quite like we did last year. But you know, our offensive system is so unique, and not very many people understand how to defend the triple option. It’s a hard offense to defend if you don’t hit the right man and watch your keys. So I knew eventually we were going to have great success, but I really didn’t think it was going to be this early. It’s just been great so far.

QUESTION: Nagging injuries and banged up players have been issues lately on the offensive line. Coach Johnson has talked about it just being part of the 10-week straight grind you guys have been under. How has all this affected you, and the rest of the line?

ANSWER: We’re holding up pretty good, everyone is getting better and better. I think if somebody goes down, we’ve got good enough players to step up and take their spot. Even the injured players are helping the other players out like us young guys who aren’t playing that much. Everyone has been stepping up and practicing hard, and the whole O-line as a group is getting better. Because, you know, everybody was talking at the beginning of the year about how the O-line was weak, so we just had to show what we were about.

QUESTION: You had almost 600 yards of total offense last week, and senior guard Cord Howard and center Sean Bedford have received weekly ACC honors this year. Have you silenced the critics?

ANSWER: People are starting to respect us more. We don’t have the respect we want, but we’re starting to get it more and more every week. People are starting to respect our offense and can see that we can put up a lot of points.

QUESTION: I’m sure some Georgia Tech fans back in Middle Georgia are jealous that you have shared huddles with players like Josh Nesbitt and Jonathan Dwyer. What do you tell people about playing with guys who could be serious Heisman hopefuls and NFL prospects?

ANSWER: It’s great. They’re great people, and they work hard. Nesbitt is silent, but you know when he says something that he means it. People respond to that. He’s a silent leader, but he leads by action. And Dwyer is our best player, so when he gets himself fired up by making a long run, it just gets the energy up for the rest of us. We all feed off him; all the players.

QUESTION: Do you still talk to some of your former Dublin teammates? (McRae was part of four Fighting Irish teams that went to the GHSA playoffs. The 2006 team won a co-state championship).

ANSWER: Oh yeah, of course.

QUESTION: What about Rashard Smith? (Smith starred at quarterback for the Fighting Irish before receiving a scholarship this fall to North Carolina State. A defensive back for the Wolfpack, he was lost for the season after suffering a game-related injury a few weeks ago).

ANSWER: I spoke with Rashard earlier in the year when he got hurt, and was telling him to just keep his head up. He’s still young, and just make sure you come back from that injury healthy. Of course he was disappointed, but stuff like that happens. He’s just got to figure out how to respond to it. I know he’s going to bounce back. I know what kind of player he is.

QUESTION: Even though Dublin is 7-2, for some down there, this start hasn’t quite been what some fans there are used to. How can you convince them that that there is still a chance they can return to Atlanta and the Georgia Dome this year?

ANSWER: I mean, look at my senior year. We lost the opening game to West Laurens. We were almost in the same boat — except it wasn’t two region games. But they can come back and win from two losses. I remember my ninth-grade year, we had three games and we came back and were able to go to the Dome (for the semifinals). Anything is possible; you just have to keep getting better every week. They’ll be fine. Coach (Roger) Holmes is a good coach; he’s going to have them ready.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009


You can bank on his word: TB’s humanitarian ‘contagious with doing good for others’

Kathy McCarron

Scott Beasley, 2009 Tire Dealer Humanitarian. Tire Business photo by Kathy McCarron

DUBLIN, Ga.—“He’s the role model that every man needs to be. From his family involvement to business to community, he’s the ideal role model.”

That’s Jep Craig’s take on his longtime friend, F. Scott Beasley. And that sentiment is echoed by many of the townspeople in Dublin, where Mr. Beasley has built up a thriving tire dealership for the past 40 years.

So when Mr. Beasley, president of Duncan Tire Co., recently was named the 2009 Tire Dealer Humanitarian Award winner by Tire Business, many viewed it as a testament to the decades of good will and generosity of time and talent he has given to the community.

In addition to overseeing the operations of two retail locations and a commercial tire center, Mr. Beasley has served on numerous boards and committees for city and county economic development, the local American Red Cross chapter, the local technical college, the local bank, the local chamber of commerce and the Georgia Tire Dealers & Retreaders Association (GTDRA).

He has donated and distributed meal vouchers to the homeless, cooked and given away hundreds of free turkeys at Thanksgiving and Christmas, offered donuts and coffee to St. Patrick’s Day parade participants in front of his dealership every year and sponsored the annual St. Patrick’s Festival golf tournaments, Industry Appreciation Day events and school booster clubs.

He also has shared his charity on a personal level by waiving costs for tire and auto service for financially strapped patrons, donating free meals, hiring students fresh out of school and helping out at rescue shelters during a hurricane.

As one of many examples, Mr. Craig recalled a visit to Mr. Beasley’s office one day: “He had heard that a family had to take their child 90 miles away for chemo (therapy) in Augusta. And he immediately—I mean without the first hesitation, it was like the second sentence—he told (his store manager and son-in-law) David, ‘We need to find out where that family lives, go get their family car, make sure the tires are good on it, change the oil and make sure that mom can transport that child to chemo and not have to worry about it.
“She’s got enough to worry about. We need to make sure that vehicle is road worthy.’ And that’s how he thinks. It’s second nature to him.”

Another long-time friend, Don Daily, related how after a Dublin High School football game, late at night, Mr. Beasley opened up his shop to change a flat tire on the car of some teenagers who had traveled to the game. They didn’t have the money to pay for the new tire that night so he let them mail it to him later.

A few years ago Mr. Beasley sought help for an employee addicted to drugs. He arranged for the man to enter a treatment program on two different occasions, provided him with clothes and other necessities and kept tabs on him after he moved on to another job.

“Had it not been for his tenacity in trying to help this young man, I do not believe ‘John’ would be sober today,” wrote Frank Fields, CEO of River Edge Behavioral Health Center, who assisted Mr. Beasley in finding the treatment programs.

“Scott is many-faceted and one facet that truly stands out is his love for his fellow man, no matter their station in life,” wrote Tommy Walker of Walker Tire Co. in Sandersville, Ga., in his recommendation of Mr. Beasley for the award.

Mr. Walker related how after his 17-year-old son and his girlfriend died in a car accident, Mr. Beasley, who was scheduled to drive to a convention four hours south of Mr. Walker’s home, instead drove out of his way to visit him and offer his condolences before heading to the convention. “That, to me, speaks volumes of a friend and caring fellow tire dealer,” Mr. Walker said.

Mr. Beasley essentially married into the tire business when he decided to work for his father-in-law and dealership founder, Bill Duncan, in 1970. Now his two sons-in-law, David Polhill and Robert Miller, are working with him and sharing in his community involvement.

“A lot of people have lived here their whole lives and have never given back,” said Kathy Jones, director of the Dublin Downtown Development Authority. “Scott wants to give back to the community that’s been so good to him and in turn he wants to be good to the community. Obviously that’s why he won the award—because he’s a great humanitarian and wants to see our community prosper as well as the people in it.”

“It’s not that I have to do anything,” Mr. Beasley said. “But when you live in a community and you can go, ‘I’m in my 40th year and 38 of those 40 years have been profitable’—now that’s from the community that has supported Duncan Tire Co.

“So if somebody comes in here and needs some help or needs us to sponsor them or help promote them or be part of that, then we need to try to do that. That is nothing more than pay back.

“There are a lot of individuals I’ve done things for that didn’t have anything to do with business. But this town, as far as the growth of this town and this community and this county, is important to me because that is the stability of my business,” he said.

He talked with Tire Business while seated in his dealership office with large windows that provide an expansive view of the downtown area he has helped rehabilitate, including the new farmers market building and landscaping next door.

“The real motivation would be if I can do it, then my family, my daughters and my sons-in-law, maybe will see what it takes or maybe they’ll see what happens when you become involved.

“You can’t sit on the park bench. You just can’t sit on the park bench and just be there.… Somebody built the park and built the park bench. You got to give a hand to help these people whether it’s one-on-one or whether it’s being part of a board that’s helping somebody,” he said.

Rusty Moses, owner of Georgia Tire Co. in Vidalia, Ga., called Mr. Beasley an “unsung hero,” noting that “instead of writing a check, he goes out and orchestrates it. He’s a one-man workhorse.”

“I think because of his continued ambition to be involved and to help people is why he serves on so many boards,” Mr. Craig said. “They see that he’s truly interested in not only helping people but Scott is genuinely interested in helping his community grow…. They know he’ll do what he says he will do. You can bank on his word.”

“He is truly the type of individual a community has to have in order for volunteer organizations to go forward,” said Johnny Payne, who worked with Mr. Beasley as a volunteer basketball league referee.

“He’s not a wanna¬be, he is someone who is a ‘workabe.’ He’s someone behind the scenes more so than sometimes in the front.”

Mr. Payne described Mr. Beasley as “a man’s man but yet has the chivalry that is needed by a true Southern gentleman. Not many of us can distinguish between the business world and so forth, but Scott is very level-headed, interested, loves his community. He loves his family and all those things are tied in and that is why he and this company have been so successful.”

Those who know him praise Mr. Beasley’s friendly personality. “He has a huge heart. He’ll do anything for anybody,” Mr. Miller said. “It doesn’t matter who you are, he’s going to treat you the same. He’s going to give you help, whether it’s the Red Cross or helping out veterans,” Mr. Polhill added.

“Scott is the type of person that acknowledges other people around him,” Mr. Payne said, “and he does things for people without seeking any type of glory but for his own good feelings inside of him.”

“When I walk down the street, if I see a stranger it’s, ‘OK, that’s a stranger walking by.’ And I may not speak to that stranger because they are a stranger,” Mr. Craig said. “Scott never meets a stranger. He’s going to make that person speak to him or even carry on a conversation with him. And he’s always looking for, ‘Does that person need any assistance?’ not, ‘What can that person do for me?’ but, ‘What can I do for that person?’”

He added, “Scott does not brag about what he does. And he gets other people involved.” Mr. Craig gave an example of when Mr. Beasley started distributing meal vouchers to the homeless last year.

“In the beginning, it was only he, Rob and David. But then, all of a sudden, he had engaged all of his employees. They wanted to help. He’s contagious. I think if I had to pick a word to describe Scott, he is contagious with doing good for others.”

Mr. Beasley was chosen for the Tire Dealer Humanitarian Award by judges from the United Way of Summit County (Ohio) Volunteer Center in Akron, which promotes volunteerism in local communities.

“Scott Beasley has been involved and continues to be involved with many community activities both by way of volunteer and philanthropic support,” noted the judges, citing his various charitable activities and involvement with numerous agency boards. “His contribution to the betterment of his community goes on and on.”

Tire Business presented Mr. Beasley with the 16th annual Tire Dealer Humanitarian Award—an engraved medal and a $1,000 donation to a charity of his choice—during the Tire Industry Association’s “Tire Industry Honors” event Nov. 2 on the eve of the Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) Show in Las Vegas.

Scholarship fundraising

Mr. Beasley said he is giving the award donation to the GTDRA Foundation, which awards scholarships every year to qualifying association member employees or their children.

Mr. Beasley continues to be involved with the foundation he helped create about 20 years ago, serving on the board of trustees and helping raise funds from association members during the group’s annual meetings.

“One of the things I truly love is the Georgia Tire Dealer scholarship foundation,” Mr. Beasley said. “I am not a public speaker. That’s something I can’t do. But there is one thing that motivates me every time there’s a Georgia Tire Dealers annual meeting. I’m going to get up and tell you why you need to give me some money for scholarships and that’s the one time I don’t get upset or get uptight. And I guess that’s because I believe in it.”

Mr. Beasley has served as president, vice president and treasurer of the GTDRA, as well as having held a seat on the board of directors. His sons-in-law are now involved in the leadership of the association with Mr. Miller as president and Mr. Polhill as second vice president.

Helping the homeless

After reading a series of newspaper articles on Dublin’s homeless population last fall, “Scott said, ‘You know, we need to see if there’s something we can do,’” Mr. Miller recalled. “He decided what we would do as a business is we’ll go out to a couple of different restaurants and buy some meal coupons. That lets you take the coupon in there and you get a hot meal,” he said.

Mr. Beasley originally planned to host a dinner at a local church and invite the homeless for a meal but was told the homeless may not show up.  “Even though they have nowhere to live, they still have their pride. They don’t want to be seen by people taking pictures,” Mr. Miller said. “So we scratched that plan and that’s when we came up with the idea of buying the coupons and just taking them and distributing them.”

A couple of buffet-style restaurants gave the dealership a fair price on more than $2,000 worth of coupons, according to Mr. Miller.  Local law enforcement officials drove Mr. Beasley around the county in December to where they knew the homeless stayed so he could hand out about 100 coupons.

In addition to the dealership employees, a couple of churches donated some money to offset the cost of the coupons. “It was a little something that got folks involved,” he said.

“For the most part, the people were very appreciative and it made him feel good and it made us feel good and it gave us a little good publicity, but that’s not what we did it for,” Mr. Miller said. Duncan Tire is planning on conducting a similar charity project this winter. “It’s something I think we’ll continue to do as long as we can afford to do it because there is definitely a need out there.”

While distributing coupons, Mr. Beasley also paid a past-due electric bill for a local non-profit shelter for homeless veterans.

Belief in community

“I do believe in my community. I really do,” said Mr. Beasley, who grew up in Dublin, a town in the middle of Georgia with a population of about 17,000. “I do believe it is my responsibility to support anybody that supported me. And this community, this wonderful community, not only my father-in-law but Dave and Rob and I have really benefited from a wonderful community. So we’ve got to pay it back.”

Mr. Beasley served as chairman of the Downtown Development Authority in 2006-07 and was instrumental in the construction of the town’s Market on Madison, an open-air multipurpose structure that houses a farmers market, meetings and other events near downtown. He donated shrubbery to be planted on the grounds.

He also was “instrumental” in ensuring that a downtown parking lot was repaved and outfitted with lights to make it safer for downtown shoppers, according to the Authority’s Ms. Jones.

“He loves Dublin and Laurens County. That is just so obvious,” she said. “…(T)hat’s the great thing about Scott. You can tell he wants every aspect of our community to be successful, whether it’s the downtown, whether it’s the north side, the east side. He’s just dedicated to ensuring that our community is the best it can be and that’s obvious in everything he does.”

After his stint with the city development board, Mr. Beasley was appointed vice chairman and is serving as secretary-treasurer of the county industrial development authority that tries to lure new business and industry into the area.

He served as chairman of the Dublin-Laurens County Chamber of Commerce in 1997 and is still active with the organization, according to Chamber President Willie Paulk.

Under his leadership, the chamber began an annual retreat that involves 50 people who meet for two days to discuss how to improve the community. Mr. Beasley also was involved with the chamber’s long-range planning committee when it decided to build a 3,500-sq.-ft. conference center to host chamber and development authority meetings as well as outside social events. Mr. Beasley chaired a fundraising committee to raise money for the facility, which opened in 2006.

“He’s a very generous person, not only of his time and talent but through his business as well. He’s always trying to help others. When he believes in something, he gives it 200 percent,” Ms. Paulk said.

Tech college booster

Mr. Craig, vice president of economic development for the Heart of Georgia Technical College in Dublin, called Mr. Beasley “an enormous proponent of technical education.” He served on the college’s auto mechanic advisory committee that comprises four to five business owners who meet twice a year. They review the curriculum and the automotive equipment used at the school and make recommendations for any upgrades or changes.

“We try to have our students one step ahead of the industry, that way it is much easier for them to get placement,” Mr. Craig said. The school’s diesel department is the only ASE-certified program in the state, he said, and the automotive repair program is undergoing the review process for its certification.

Mr. Beasley has been involved with the program for the past 10 years, and after serving on the advisory committee he has recommended some of his employees to serve on the board at different times.

He has hired some of its students and has sent employees to the school for training, which he pays for if they pass the class.

Keep Red Cross afloat

Mr. Beasley was “a very active” board member of the local American Red Cross during his term in 1998-2000. When he joined, the local chapter was planning to close. With Mr. Beasley’s involvement, the board conducted active fundraising to keep the chapter afloat, according to the Magnolia Midlands Chapter’s executive director, Debbie Wynn.

In 1999, when Hurricane Floyd spurred one of the largest evacuations along the U.S. coast, many sought refuge in the Dublin area where the Red Cross set up several shelters. “Scott and his wife went over to one of our shelters and helped with the meals, without me knowing it until later,” Ms. Wynn said. The couple helped serve meals, bring supplies and run errands.Even after his stint on the board, Mr. Beasley continues to be involved.

As a Red Cross Hero, Mr. Beasley agrees to raise at least $1,000 for the Red Cross’ annual fundraiser. He displays banners in his shops and raffles prizes as incentives for customers to donate to the cause. He fixes and maintains the chapter’s vehicles at no charge. He also has recommended other volunteers to serve on the board over the years. “There needs to be more people like Scott,” Ms. Wynn said, adding, “His word is as good as gold. He doesn’t make idle commitments.”

A referee with heart

During the 1980s Mr. Beasley, a former high school basketball player, was a volunteer referee for an interdenominational church basketball league that provided a venue for high school students who weren’t on school teams. Mr. Beasley was one of three officials who refereed two or three games a night, three days a week.

“We tried to do everything in the spirit of unity and the officials were a key part of it,” said Mr. Payne, who organized the league from 1980-89. He said he could remember only one time when Mr. Beasley called him to say he couldn’t referee a game night. “So he rearranged his schedule in such a manner, as the professional that he is, so that he could be this volunteer for no compensation except within the heart and in the mind. That, to me, is what a true volunteer is and he exemplified that in his mannerisms,” Mr. Payne said.

“Refereeing basketball was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done in my life,” Mr. Beasley said, noting that it wasn’t just because of the need for physical stamina, but for emotional stamina when dealing with overzealous parents on the sidelines.

“I actually said to a parent one time, ‘Look, I am not a professional basketball referee and odds are you are not a professional basketball player. So let’s find some common ground here.’”

Juvenile court advocate

As if he wasn’t busy enough, Mr. Beasley has begun a new venture—training to become a court-appointed special advocate (CASA) for the juvenile court system. Once his many hours of training are complete, he will serve as an advocate for children who come under court monitoring, usually due to abuse or neglect.

“They call you to be a witness to how visitations are going between children and parents, between children and children, or between the court system and children or between (the child welfare agency) and children. You got to be a mentor,” Mr. Beasley said.

“Why I do it is because I think I did a decent job with my own two children and hope to get a chance to be a mentor for my grandchildren…. CASA is strictly volunteers. I think it’s because I feel good about how I raised my children that I could share something relevant with a parent,” he said.

“The last place we need to be sending people is to prison. We need to find some help for these children. If you volunteer you can start with young folks and maybe make a change. And that’s the reason I like CASA,” Mr. Beasley said.

“Part of my training for CASA is a book, 600 pages and the most boring reading I’ve ever done, and attend 10 hours of juvenile court proceedings. I have three hours to go.” ‘You just make time’

“I’m not the person that can sit out here and write a check for a lot of money to do this or do that. But my time and a little effort to help people—I feel like that’s what I have to do.

“This community has supported me for 40 years. My family will continue to support the community,” Mr. Beasley said.

How does he find the time for all his activities?

“You just make time,” Mr. Beasley said. “It’s not that much time. It’s an hour here or a lunch time here. If I’m involved in something, I try to find the most agreeable time for everybody to meet.”

“I make time because all these organizations don’t meet every day. In the course of a month there’s one week a month I have four meetings. The other weeks I have maybe one meeting a week.”

But first and foremost, Mr. Beasley is devoted to his wife, Lynn, whom he married 39 years ago.

“She is my best partner. Anything that I’ve done, she has signed off on. Whenever I’m doing something I feel like, first and foremost, I got to represent my family.

“And I got to represent my community,” he said, adding, “If I take on something, I want to do my very best job. My wife is my No. 1 supporter.…I would not be anybody, I wouldn’t have the things I have, I wouldn’t be somewhat successful if it were not for my wife and two children…. She is the most important person in my life.”


Weight: 157 Senior
Previous Affiliations
Dublin HS
Dublin, Ga.


Release: 07/16/2007

CHATTANOOGA: Two-time NCAA qualifier and one of five returning SoCon champions ... should be a strong competitor for the Mocs at 157.

2008-09 • JUNIOR SEASON: Southern Conference Champion at 157 ... All-Southern Conference ... NCAA qualifier ... finished with a 21-12 record ... 3-1 in SoCon matches ... spent part of the season ranked in the top-20 ... nine of his 12 loses came against NCAA qualifiers ... third place at the Kaufman Brand Open in Omaha, Neb.

2007-08 • SOPHOMORE SEASON: Wrestled at 149 with a 21-11 overall record ... NCAA Qualifier ... was 10-4 in duals ... second on the team with 13 decisions to go with four major decisions and four pins, which tied for second on the team ... fourth place at Midlands defeating No. 4 Brandon Carter (Central Mich.) and No. 3 Mitch Mueller (Iowa State) along the way ... defeated then-No. 9 Will Rowe at Oklahoma 6-0...finished second at SoCon Championships.

2006-07 • FRESHMAN SEASON: Registered a 4-4 mark wrestling at 149 and 157 pounds ... All competition came in tournaments ... Was 2-2 at the Missouri Open with victories over Mark Dickman and Central Oklahoma's Wes Ruth ... At the Southern Scuffle, scored a 10-1 major decision over Boise State and pinned a UNC Greensboro wrestler.

2005-06: Redshirted his first collegiate season with the Mocs.

HIGH SCHOOL DUBLIN : State Champion as a junior and senior ... Placed second as a sophomore and fourth as a freshman ... An eighth-place finisher at Junior Nationals in back-to-back years.

PERSONAL: Joseph Kenneth Knox ... Born Feb. 20, 1986 ... Son of Susan Cremering and Mike Knox.

Friday, October 30, 2009


A College Student from Dublin Will Be One of 20 Americans Carrying the Ollympic Torch, Prior To the 2010 Winter Games.

Crystal Hardy

The following is from a News Release from Georgia Southern University.

Hardy will carry the torch in Calgary, Canada on January 18, 2010. Hardy, a sophomore majoring in American Sign Language/Interpretation, was chosen by torch relay sponsor Coca-Cola for the honor because of her volunteer work in several areas, including environmental sustainability. Hardy co-founded the Laurens County Green Teens in her hometown of Dublin, Ga. and is active in recycling and sustainability efforts at Georgia Southern University.

"I hope this honor allows the things that I've done for others and for the environment to shine," Hardy said. "Its such an honor to go on to represent everyday champions of positive living, and hopefully my story will inspire others to give back in any way they can."

Hardy's efforts with the Laurens County Green Teens led to a recycling program at area schools. PET 1 bottles were collected, recycled, and used to manufacture carpet. Money raised from the recycling went back to schools in the Dublin and Laurens County area.

Hardy also organized a community-wide volunteer project. Under Hardy's guidance, more than 150 volunteers tore down an old playground and re-built a new one at a Laurens County shelter for abused women and their children. In addition to re-building the playground equipment, Hardy's group water-stained the wooden fences, built a rain shelter, and put together several sitting benches.

At Georgia Southern, Hardy has volunteered for the massive campus re-lamping project where traditional incandescent bulbs are being switched to energy-efficient, environmentally-friendly CFL's. Hardy also volunteers during Georgia Southern home football games to collect items for recycling that might normally be thrown away after tailgating.

"At Georgia Southern University, we work everyday to teach our students how important it is to be a part of the global community and to give back to others," said Vice President for Student Affairs and Enrollment Management Teresa Thompson. "We are so proud that Crystal's outstanding contributions to society and the environment are being recognized on the world stage."

Hardy is one of only twenty people from the United States chosen by The Coca-Cola Company to carry the Olympic torch as an example of positive living. Others include U.S. Olympic gold medalists Shawn Johnson (Women's Gymnastics) and Steven Lopez (Taekwondo).

Wednesday, October 21, 2009


In God She Trusted

Sara Perkins trusted God. During times of tumult, tempest and trial in her life, Sara could always trust in the Almighty. During her terms as a political prisoner in China, God was the only one she could trust to get her through the quagmire of confinement to believe that one day she would breathe the air of freedom.

Sara Emily Perkins was born in Tennille, Georgia on the 23rd day of January 1892. Orphaned at an early age, Sara lived with her married sister. In her early years, Sara wanted to become a musician. She attended the College of Music in Washington, D.C. and taught piano in Shanghai, China in a school for children of American missionaries. After two years, Sara knew that teaching music was not what she wanted to do for the rest of her life. Everywhere she looked, Sara saw poverty, disease and ignorance. She wanted to help change that, so she embarked on a course in the study of medicine half way around the world, where she began her studies of nursing at Peking Medical College. As a registered nurse, Perkins performed mission work for a year before returning to the U.S. to work as a public health care nurse in Charleston, S.C..

Learning the Chinese language was the first order of business after Sara's return to China as she was assigned to train Chinese nurses. It wasn't very long after she arrived back in China when the Japanese army invaded the country in 1937. During the early months of the fighting, Sara worked in the war relief efforts before she was taken as a prisoner by the Japanese. As an American, she was treated somewhat better than prisoners of other nationalities. In 1940, Perkins was granted a furlough and was sent to the United States. Knowing that her place was back in China, Sara returned to the war ravaged country, just six weeks before the attack on Pearl Harbor. It was only after the Japanese government learned that Japanese Americans were being interned in the United States that Sara and her fellow medical workers and missionaries were also confined in camps until an exchange of prisoners was completed in 1943. Sara returned to America on a ten-week trip on a slow boat from China. As she and her colleagues entered New York harbor, they began to sing The Star Spangled Banner. Tears streamed down their faces.

After the end of World War II, once again Sara left South Carolina and returned to her adopted homeland in 1946 on a 47 day trip aboard a Norwegian freighter. Once again, war returned to the Chinese mainland when the Chinese Communists launched a bid to take over the government. Sara had paid little attention to the Communists before, thinking of them not as a mighty force but a maladroit band of malcontents and fanatics. Sara and her colleagues heard reports of the Communists coming into their city and began to hide all their medical equipment. When the Chinese Nationals abandoned the city, the Communists conducted an orderly take over and for the second time in a dozen years, Sara once again found herself as a political prisoner.

Conditions in the prison camp slowly began to deteriorate. There was little contact with the outside world. When the captors were not around, Sara and her fellow prisoners listened to a homemade radio on a radio station in Hong Kong to keep up with the happenings in the war in Korea.

Sara recalled, "March 2, 1951, was a cold night. I had a little wood-burning stove in my room, and in order to conserve the heat, I had encircled it with chairs draped with various garments. Behind the chairs I placed a little tin tub and in it I took my last 'tub bath' for the next four and one half years." That's when things got worse. The guards came into her room and removed nearly all of her possessions. With little clothes to wear, Sara spent most of her days in bed. She was allowed to keep four copies of the Gospel of John, although her Bible was confiscated. She gave away three copies of her gospel tracts and kept the other close to her at all times.

The American prisoners were taken to Ku Kong prison, a dark dank moldy dungeon. To help pass the time and keep their sanity, Sara and the others recited Bible verses and played mind games with each other through their cell walls. Her room was furnished with a saw horse, which she used for a table, and two saw horses, which she planks on and used for a bed.

This was a time when Sara's faith took over and kept her going from day to day. She began to sing verses of This is My Father's World as she combated rats, mosquitos and oppressive heat.

In early 1952, Sara was taken to a larger prison in Canton, China. There, and especially on Sundays, Sara and the others were subjected to loud Chinese music and propaganda. Though she rated the prison food as "good and sufficient," the sight of a spider on the top of big bowl of rice never left the back of her mind.

It was in June 1954, when Sara began to have contact with her family. Her first letter and care package from her sister came on New Year's Eve. The Chinese took the good things and left her with the insignificant contents, though they were highly significant to Sara.

The year 1955 would be the last year she would be confined. As summer came to an end, Sara wrote in her autobiography, Red China Prisoner, "The bolt was slipped back and my cell door swung open to admit the messenger of my release. I was told to prepare to leave quickly. The admonition was unnecessary, my things had been ready for days." Sara's Chinese captors had kept her possessions intact, albeit her clothes were mildewed and currency was rotted. Her last meal was rice and chicken, but after eating rice twice a day for four and one half years, she ate the chicken and left the rice for the birds. As she rode through the Chinese countryside, Sara looked out the window of her train coach to see how much the landscape had changed. The train stopped at bridge. As she walked across the bridge toward the British guards on the other side, Sara saw no water, just the vision of freedom as she felt the hand of God helping her to walk.

On October 9, 1955, Sara boarded the President Cleveland for the long awaited trip back home. She knew she could never return to China and accepted her banishment as God's will as she recalled, "The night was glorious and I went up on deck to see the harbor of Hong Kong for the last time. It was beautiful in the starlight and I felt that I was standing between two worlds. The one I was leaving behind had been filled with an amazing adventure with God. The one toward which I was moving, though very different, would be filled with a continuation of that adventure, but the wonder of it would be measured by my faith."

Monday, October 5, 2009


By Amy Leigh Womack -
as published in the Macon Telegraph, October 4, 2009.

@ Beau Cabell

Stephen Grieser enjoys talking with people and teaching them how to be safe on the road. As a Dublin police officer, he hopes he can make a difference as he patrols the streets looking for violators.

Grieser, 34, is scheduled to be honored at the International Association of Chiefs of Police convention in Denver as one of 13 officers recognized by the association and Parade Magazine.

While a San Antonio police officer will be named 2009 Officer of the Year, Grieser and 11 other officers will be awarded with honorable mentions, according to an article appearing in today’s Parade Magazine, which appears in The Telegraph.

“He’s very conscientious about his job and dedicated,” said Sgt. James Champion, Grieser’s supervisor. “He really has a passion for helping the community as far as traffic goes and making the community safer.”

Police Chief Wayne Cain said national recognition speaks highly of Grieser and the police department. After seeing Grieser’s dedication, Champion said he wanted to find a way to reward him. The Officer of the Year award seemed to be a good fit, so he nominated Grieser.

Grieser said he never thought his application would go any further than the submission. “You’re taking about something national, across the country,” he said.

Grieser graduated from Dublin High School in 1994 and enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps. Four years later, he returned to Dublin and worked at a factory and as a construction worker.

Nothing really fulfilled him, he said, until 2004 when he joined the Dublin Police Department as a patrolman. “I always had an interest in law enforcement,” Grieser said.

Two years later he applied to work on the department’s HEAT team, which patrols the roads looking for aggressive and dangerous drivers. Since then he’s taught classes for parents and teenagers to help better prepare young drivers.

Champion said Grieser has taught about 40 classes at local schools and civic clubs in the past year. Assigned to a statewide older driver task force, Grieser created a form to be used by police officers when they encounter older drivers on the road.

Previously, there was no set standard other than a required vision test to ensure older drivers were fit to drive. Using Grieser’s form, police officers who encounter older drivers driving dangerously can write up a synopsis of the circumstances and send the form to the Georgia Department of Driver Services, he said.

A review board will look over the form and may send the case to a doctor to further examine if the driver is fit to get behind the wheel, Grieser said. “We’re not just trying to take their license away,” he said. Instead, Grieser said, the aim is to make the roads safer for everyone.

To contact writer Amy Leigh Womack, call 744-4398.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009


The Namesake of Brantley County, Ga.

Nearly every county in Georgia is named after a president, state-wide elected official, Indian chief, military officer/hero, physician, or lawyer. This is a story of a self-made man who was honored by the state of Georgia, which named one of its last counties in his honor. On August 14, 1920, the new county of Brantley was created and named in honor of one of Pierce County's founding fathers and leading citizens, Benjamin D. Brantley (formerly of Laurens County.) Brantley County was carved out of the larger counties of Pierce, Wayne, and Charlton. Brantley joined Gov. George M. Troup and James Walker Fannin as the only Laurens Countians to have Georgia counties named in their honor.

Benjamin Daniel Brantley was born on January 14, 1832 in Laurens County, a son of Benjamin Brantley and Elizabeth Daniel. Brantley's family came to Laurens County from North Carolina. His mother grew up in Laurens County. Born into a somewhat meager existence, his life was forever changed by the death of his father when Benjamin was only a few weeks old. Benjamin was originally born with the name of Joseph, in honor of his paternal grandfather. His name was changed to Benjamin Daniel in honor of his father and his mother's maiden name.

About five years after Benjamin Brantley's death, Mrs. Brantley and her three children moved to Montgomery County. Benjamin spent his early years working on the farm and learning the value of hard work. As he approached manhood, Brantley followed his brother William to Ware County where he worked as a clerk in his brother's store. Benjamin's sister married Judge John McRae, the founder of Alamo, Georgia. Benjamin married Jennette McRae, daughter of Christopher and Christian McCrimmon McRae. To this marriage were born seven children: Christian, Margaret, William, Archibald, Benjamin, John, and Jeanette.

Benjamin Brantley moved to Blackshear in Pierce County in 1857. He entered into a business partnership with Alex Douglas under the firm name of Brantley and Douglas. Brantley wisely got in on the ground floor in Blackshear just before the railroad came and established the town as a regional trading center. Brantley enlisted in the 4th Georgia Cavalry during the Civil War. He resigned from the service in 1864 when he was elected Clerk of the Superior Court of Pierce County for one four-year term.

In 1870, he entered into a new partnership under the name of Brantley and Company with William Sessions, Judge of the Brunswick Circuit. In 1873, Brantley was elected to represent Pierce County in the Georgia legislature. He served as County Treasurer, for eighteen years beginning in 1876. After Judge Sessions moved to Marietta and left the firm in 1878, Benjamin Brantley went into business with his sons, William and Archibald. William was admitted to the bar and Benjamin, Jr. took his place. The firm conducted business under the name of the A.P. Brantley Company. The company was a diversified one, conducting a bank, an oil mill, a tobacco warehouse, a potato warehouse, a cotton gin, a fertilizer plant, a general store, and several large farms.

Benjamin Daniel Brantley died at his home in Blackshear, Georgia on March 18, 1891. Interestingly, his home town was named in honor of the venerable Gen. David Blackshear of Laurens County. Benjamin Brantley, with only a meager education, knew the value of agriculture and timber in his community. He built and operated the first turpentine still in Pierce County. He was also a leader in the industrial, religious, and educational progress of his county. He was known to be a man of outstanding man of moral character - never drinking or smoking and never knowing one playing card from the other. Just what accomplishments Brantley would have made to his county had he lived beyond his 59 years will never be known.

William Gordon Brantley, son of Benjamin D. Brantley, graduated from the University of Georgia. He studied law in the office of former Congressman, John C. Nichols. At the age of twenty two, he was elected to the Georgia House of Representatives. He grew a mustache to make him look older and shaved it off after the election. After two terms, the young Brantley was elected to the State Senate and at the age of twenty six, was elected its president. He served as Solicitor General of the Brunswick Circuit for eight years.

In 1896, William G. Brantley was elected to the United States Congress from the old 11th District and served for sixteen years without opposition until 1913.  William Brantley served on the powerful Judiciary and Ways & Means Committees.

Cong. Brantley was instrumental in the building of the brick post office on East Madison Street in Dublin and in improvements made to Georgia's rivers, including the improvement of the navigation of the Oconee River.

William Brantley left the Congress in 1913 to set up a private law practice in Atlanta. Washington remained in Brantley's blood and after a short stay in Georgia, he returned to the capital city. Brantley became associated with the Federal evaluation of southern railroads. He also served as vice president and general counsel of the Fruit Growers Express Company and the Burlington Express Company. W.G. Brantley died in Washington, D.C. on September 12, 1934. His body was returned home for burial in Blackshear. Among the wreaths of flowers was one sent by Franklin D. and Eleanor Roosevelt.

The story of Benjamin Daniel Brantley and his son, William Gordon Brantley, is one which has been lost to those of us in Laurens County, but which has become an important part of the histories of Pierce and  Brantley Counties. Benjamin Brantley was justly honored by our state. He represented all of those men and women who dedicated their lives to the development of our state following the Civil War.

Sunday, September 20, 2009


Sheriff Ira Edwards, Jr. was born in Dublin, Georgia to the proud parents of the Reverend and Mrs. Ira Edwards, Sr. He is the seventh child of eight siblings and is a graduate of the University of Georgia where he received his B.S. Degree in Sociology with a focus in Criminal Studies. He received his Masters in Public Administration at Columbus State University and is a graduate of the National Sheriff s’ Institute where he was nominated class president. He is a graduate of the Georgia International Law Enforcement Exchange in Tel-Aviv, Israel, and also an Executive Certified Instructor for the National Sheriffs’ Association Homeland Security. Sheriff Edwards is a member of the Pi Alpha Alpha Honor Society and the Grand Boule Delta Chapter Sigma Pi Phi.

Sheriff Edwards is a 23-year law enforcement veteran, beginning his career with the Clarke County Sheriff’s Office in 1985. He would later transfer to the City of Athens Police Department where he served until he was elected as the first African American Sheriff of Clarke County. He also became the first African American to win a county- wide election in Clarke County. He is now serving his third term as Sheriff of Clarke County. One of Sheriff Edwards’ proudest accomplishments was when the Clarke County Sheriff’s Office became the recipient of the 2007 State of Georgia Law Enforcement Certification, becoming the 10th Sheriff’s Office in the State of Georgia to receive this prestigious award. This milestone was the first time in history for the Clarke County Sheriffs’ Office.

Sheriff Edwards has served in many capacities as a community servant and leader. Some of these capacities include: Co-hosted 2007 & 2008 Community Event, “Evening of Inspiration & Hope”, featuring renown speakers, Dr. Ben Carson and Dr. Wintley Phipps; Hosted 2002 & 2006 State D.A.R.E. Conference; Host annual Sheriff Edwards’ Charity Ride for youth; Clarke County School District Adopt a School Partnership; Boy’s Book Club Partnership with UGA Basketball Team and Fowler Drive Elementary School; and motivational speaker for youth groups.

Sheriff Edwards has served on several committees on a local, state, and national level. Some of these committees include: 2008 Appointee to the D.A.R.E. International Executive Law Enforcement Advisory Board, Chairman for the National Sheriffs’ Association Chaplain’s Committee, Board Member and Past President for the Georgia Sheriffs’ Youth Homes, President for Peace Officers for Christ of N.E. Georgia, Board Member for the Domestic Task Force, and Executive Board Member for the Boy Scouts of N.E. Georgia.

Sheriff Edwards is happily married to Teresa Pearson Edwards of 25 years and have three children: Lamar, Brandon, and Jasmine. He is also an ordained Elder at Timothy Baptist Church here in Athens.

From Athens-Clarke County Sheriff's website.

Thursday, September 17, 2009


FFA Feature

@FFA New Horizons

Regina Holliday
Meet the 2008-09 Southern Region Vice President

May 2009

Regina Holliday loves animal agriculture. A native of Dublin, Ga., she began showing beef cattle at an early age. When she joined FFA in ninth grade, beef quickly became the focus of her supervised agricultural experience program, and it’s continued to grow. Regina’s career goal is to finish her undergraduate degree at the University of Georgia and eventually become a veterinarian. But for now, she’s enjoying her year traveling the country as the National FFA Southern Region Vice President. Learn more about Regina.

Q What is your favorite part about being a college student?

A I love life at the University of Georgia! The best part about being a college student is getting to meet new people. Trust me; in a lecture hall of more than 400 students, you meet somebody new every day! Really, I was afraid of not being around people who were familiar to me. You get to college and you meet so many people that have the same interests as you. If you ever need a study buddy or just need a friend, you are certain to find somebody.

Q Why should FFA members consider joining Collegiate FFA after they finish high school?

A Collegiate FFA is a great way to continue involvement in such a great organization. You may go to schools outside of your state, but you continue to work with individuals who have the same belief in agriculture. Plus, it helps give you a heads up on what is going and how we as agriculturalists can help educate people on things that affect our everyday lives.

Q Animal agriculture is under attack by a lot of organizations. As a beef cattle producer and FFA member, what do you tell people when asked about our nation’s food supply and its safety?

A We have one of the safest – if not the safest – food supply in the world. Quite often, people don’t fully understand the issues in agriculture, so it’s important to educate people about our industry. That education starts as FFA members in our local communities and can even extend to our collegiate careers and beyond.

Q A lot of other FFA members, like you, want to become veterinarians. What steps are you taking to prepare yourself for this career?

A I have realized the important of maintaining good grades, so studying is a must for me. The average GPA to get into vet school is a 3.8, so I have to hit the books! I also think it is important to build relationships with faculty and staff at your college or university. My advisor at UGA has been instrumental in helping me take the required courses and developing a plan of action so that I can go into vet school. And when in doubt about something, just ask.

Q Do you have a quote or saying you live by or that fits what you are currently experiencing as a national officer?

A I don’t think there are really words to describe the opportunities and the experiences of this year. Probably one of the phrases I’ve written a lot about in my journal is, “Do what you love, love what you do.”

Saturday, September 12, 2009

KARL SLOVER - Back on Stage

Karl Slover has spent most of his 91 years as a movie star.  Seventy years ago at the pinnacle of his career, Karl Slover went virtually unnoticed in a newly released movie from MGM.  The movie, The Wizard Oz, based on novels by L. Frank Baum is considered one of the most endearing films of all time.  Last Saturday night at theater Dublin, one can see why. 

When the film premiered at Graumann's Chinese Theater in August 1939, hardly anyone noticed Karl among the one hundred and twenty five other midgets and children playing Munchkins.  It wasn't until fifty years later, when Karl, a resident of the Sheridan in Dublin,  and his fellow Munchkins were accorded the fame they so richly deserved , a recognition which climaxed with the placing of a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in November 2007.

Karl had spent the earlier part of the day at Market on Madison signing autographs and having his picture taken with sixty year old fans and some nervous toddlers.  Tim Herrington and his daughter Heather, cultivators of prize winning day lillies,  stopped by to meet Karl and have him sign a photograph of one of their best varieties of Oz themed lillies.

The event was organized by Kathy Jones, Dublin Main Street director, to coincide with the performance of the play by the Emerald City Character Company at Theater Dublin.  The days activities included some of characters of the cast and carriage ride on a horse of a different color.

Before the last of three performances of the play directed by ECCC director, Chris Ikner, Karl was back at his card table signing and posing.  When the lights came up on the brilliantly decorated set of Munchkinland,  some eyes turned to Karl as he sat on the front of his seat, smiling and remembering the months seven decades ago when he was on a sound stage in Hollywood playing the role of the first trumpeter, a sleepy head, a soldier and one of the Munchkins who guided Dorothy down the Yellow Brick Road.

After the cast of local actors took their well deserved bows, Karl was honored with the presentation of one of posters for the event and  invited to lead the four hundred plus members of the audience and ensemble in singing "We're Off To See The Wizard." Karl commented, "It was wonderful to see those kids on the stage playing the part I once did."

Friday, September 4, 2009


Twiggs County Farm Boy Does Well

James Milton Smith, Jr. was born in Twiggs County, Georgia on October 24, 1823. Smith grew up in on the family farm, where he learned to plant cotton and corn. As a young man, Smith became proficient in the art of black smithing. Many thought he was the best "smithy" in the area. Smith attended school at Culloden in Monroe County. Smith became infatuated with the law and set out to make it his life's profession. At the age of twenty three, Smith was admitted to the bar, moved to Thomaston, and set up a successful practice. In his first try for political office, Smith lost the congressional election of 1855.

When the War Between the States broke out in 1861, Smith was elected Captain of D of the 13th Georgia Infantry, the Upson County Volunteers, on July 8, 1861. That same day, Capt. Smith was elected as Major of the regiment. On February 1, 1862, Maj. Smith was elected Lt. Colonel of the 13th Georgia Infantry. On the second day of the Seven Days Battles around Richmond, Virginia, Lt. Col. Smith received a severe wound at Cold Harbor, Virginia. During Lee's push to the north in September of 1862, Col. Smith and his regiment became heavily engaged in the Battle of Sharpsburg (or Antietam.) That day, September 17, 1862, was the bloodiest in the history of our country. Over 22,000 men were killed, wounded, or captured. One of those killed was Col. Marcellus Douglas commanding the 13th Georgia Infantry. The Brigade commander promoted James Smith to Colonel on the battlefield. Smith resigned his commission on December 14, 1863 due to his disability. Colonel Smith was elected to the Confederate Congress and served from May of 1864 until the end of the war.

After the war Smith returned home and formed a law partnership with Peter W. Alexander in Columbus. Smith spoke out publicly against the reconstruction policies of the Federal government. Smith, at the urging of many of his friends, decided to enter the political ring in 1870. This time he was successful. As the new state representative from Muscogee County, he quickly rose to the leadership of the house. In December of 1871, Rep. Smith was elected as Speaker of the House, garnering 135 out of 157 votes.

Gov. Rufus Brown Bullock's resignation left the office of Governor vacant. Smith, the new leader of the Democrats, was chosen to run in a special election. When the Republican candidate dropped out of the race, Smith became Governor with no opposition.

Gov. Smith entered office after the tumultuous years of Reconstruction. State finances were in shambles. The Governor instituted a policy of fiscal conservatism. The state's credit rating was increased and when Smith left office there was a surplus in the treasury. One of Smith's attributes was his ability to choose men of outstanding ability. Among those were school superintendent Gustavas J. Orr, and Supreme Court justices James Jackson and Logan Bleckley. In 1872, Gov. Smith was elected to serve a full four-year term.

During Smith's term as governor, new government agencies to aid Georgia farmers were created. The Agriculture School at the University of Georgia was established. In 1874, the Agriculture and Geology departments were created.

In 1877, Gov. Smith ran for the Senate of the United States. With the backing of former Civil War era governor, Joseph E. Brown, and Gen. John B. Gordon, Smith had a good chance. Smith bowed out of the race in favor of Benjamin Harvey Hill. As a sort of consolation prize, Col. Colquitt appointed James Smith as the first chairman of the Railroad Commission in 1879. Commissioner Smith served a six-year term and returned to his law practice in Columbus.

In May of 1887, James Smith was appointed a judge of the Superior Court of the Chattahoochee Judicial Circuit, by his good friend, Gov. John B. Gordon. Smith left his lucrative practice to take the office of Superior Court Judge, a position of great honor. Smith was elected to a four year term in the 1888 election. Judge Smith suffered a stroke in 1890 and died on November 25, 1890 after a long illness. Gov. Smith was buried in the Alta Vista Cemetery in Gainesville, Georgia, beside of his first wife, Hester Ann Brown Smith.

Gov. Smith was criticized by many for his association with the "Bourbon" faction of Georgia politics. While he did agree with the Bourbons, Smith did not practice all of their policies, especially the economic ones. Gov. Smith held strong opinions and often expressed them. His outspokenness was often resented, but overall, he was a popular governor of Georgia in its "Coming of Out The Dark Period." The Atlanta Constitution" described Gov. Smith as "one of the boldest and most fearless men in the history of Georgia."

Monday, August 31, 2009


Salt Lake Bees: Evans named to PCL team

Salt Lake outfielder Terry Evans was named to the 2009 All-PCL Team, which is selected by the league's managers and media representatives.

Evans, 27, is hitting .286 with six triples, 25 home runs and 86 RBI for Salt Lake, with a team-leading 32 doubles and 26 stolen bases. Evans was named to the 2009 PCL All-Star team for the second time and participated in the 2009 Triple-A Home Run Derby.

The Dublin, Ga., native made his major league debut with the Angels on June 17, 2007, hitting a home run in his first at-bat. He has appeared in a total of eight games for the Halos. Evans joined the Angels organization from the St. Louis Cardinals in exchange for Jeff Weaver on July 5, 2006.

SALT LAKE CITY (August 31, 2009) - The Pacific Coast League announced today that Bees outfielder Terry Evans has been named to the 2009 All-PCL Team. The All-PCL team is annually chosen by the league's managers and media representatives in recognition of outstanding achievement on the field.

Evans, 27, has appeared in 128 games for the Bees in 2009, hitting .286 with six triples, 25 home runs and 86 RBI. He also leads the Bees with 32 doubles and 26 stolen bases. He is currently tied for the fourth-most home runs in the PCL this season. Evans was named to the PCL All-Star team in 2009 for the second time in his career following his selection in 2007. He also participated in the 2009 Triple-A Home Run Derby.

The Dublin, Ga. native made his major league debut with the Angels on June 17, 2007, hitting a home run in his first at-bat. He has appeared in a total of eight games for the Halos. Evans joined the Angels organization from the St. Louis Cardinals in exchange for Jeff Weaver on July 5, 2006.