News

Wed
15
Nov

Causey found guilty of murder; sentenced to life without parole

Frank Don Causey was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole for the Dec. 2, 2016, murder of Lydia Ivanditti in her Eatonton home. The murderer was sentenced by Superior Court Judge Alison T. Burleson in Putnam County Superior Court Wednesday afternoon.

The trial lasted seven days, but the jury deliberated only 50 minutes to find Causey guilty on all three charges – malice murder, felony murder and aggravated assault.

The sentencing came immediately after dismissing the jury around 4:15 p.m. Wednesday. Eleven of the 14 jurors (including the two alternates) remained in the courtroom to hear the sentencing. 

Attornies for the state and defense rested their cases Tuesday, and closing arguments began Wednesday.

Please look at next week's edition (Nov. 23) of The Eatonton Messenger for more detailed coverage and photographs. 

Sun
12
Nov

Man killed in fire still unidentified

Putnam County authorities are investigating the death of a man whose body was found in the remains of a shed that caught fire Sunday morning. 

The victim's name still was being withheld Sunday night pending positive identification, according to Putnam Fire Rescue Chief Shane Hill. A positive identification of the person killed will not be made by authorities until a medical examiner has confirmed it. The body was burned beyond recognition.

The fire broke out about 6:30 a.m. in the yard of a mobile home on Riverview Road near Lake Sinclair in the south end of the county, Hill said. The man, who is believed to be in his early 30s, reportedly was visiting friends and spent the night in the shed. They had planned to go deer hunting Sunday morning. A resident of the mobile home awakened and saw the shed on fire and called 911. 

Thu
09
Nov

Shots fired as homeowner finds burglars

UPDATE, Nov. 9 – Thursday morning, Eatonton Police Chief Kent Lawrence said a homeowner on Grove Street came home from work to find four burglars inside his house. The homeowner was carrying a handgun in his vehicle. The four burglars fled out of the house out the back door and a back window as the homeowner fired shots in the air above them, Lawrence said. One of them ran toward Grove Street and the others toward Church Street and Hudson Road

Eatonton Police officers, EPD Chief Kent Lawrence, EPD Investigator Howell Cardwell and Putnam County Deputy Sheriff Chris Donovan and K-9 officer, Aska, responded to the scene and searched the area for several hours, but to no avail.

Some jewelry was taken from the house by the burglars.

No one was injured.

Wed
08
Nov

Police, K-9 team searching Grove Street area following shooting

UPDATE, Nov. 9 -- Thursday morning, Eatonton Police Chief Kent Lawrence said a homeowner on Grove Street came home from work to find four burglars inside his house. The homeowner was carrying a handgun in his vehicle. The four burglars scampered out of the house out the back door and a back window as the homeowner fired shots in the air above them. One of them ran toward Grove Street and the others toward Church Street and Hudson Road.

Eaotnton Police Officers, EPD Chief Kent Lawrence, EPD Investigator Howell Cardwell, and Putnam County Sheriff's Deputy Chris Donovan and K-9 officer, Aska, responded to the scene and searched the area for several hours, but to no avail. 

Some jewelry was taken from the house by the burglars. 

No one was injured.

The case remains under investigation and the burglars are still being sought by authorities. Anyone with information about the case is asked to call Eatonton Police Department at 706-485-3551.

 

Wed
25
Oct

Another implosion at Plant Branch scheduled as demolition continues

Georgia Power to remove Plant Branch coal hopper structure October 28

 

Sun
22
Oct

Shady Dale roadwork continues through Oct. 27

On Oct. 21, Georgia Department of Transportation contractors began a $680,000 micro-seal surface treatment project to preserve State Route 142 from the State Route 16 intersection to the Jasper County line.

Expect delays in the 6-mile work zone from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. when workers are present. The current plan allows Monday through Saturday work with this initial phase finishing Friday, Oct. 27. Contractors will return for more finishing activity in the coming weeks.

Chip seal and a final micro seal asphalt layer will complete the roadway preservation, fixing any cracking or other surface issues identified in the corridor.

Traffic will move about the area via a flagging operation.

Source: The Georgia Dept. of Transportation

Wed
18
Oct

Smith Communications acquires The Jones County News

Pictured in front of The Jones County News office are, from left, A. Mark Smith Sr., president & CEO; Josh Lurie, executive editor; Debbie Lurie-Smith, managing editor; and Matt Smith, general manager.

Photo by MARK SMITH JR./Staff

Smith Communications President and CEO A. Mark Smith Sr. announced the acquisition of The Jones County News Oct. 13, increasing the footprint of its community newspaper division.

The Jones County News has received numerous Georgia Press Association awards, including second place in General Excellent earlier this year.

The newspaper was owned by Josh Lurie and Debbie Lurie-Smith for 11 years. Both are staying involved in the business.

Lurie said keeping community journalism alive is imperative.

“This move is the best way to secure the future of The Jones County News and its role as a watchdog for our community,” he said. “The readers will notice little change, except for growth.”

Lurie said the advertising sales effort, which provides about 85 percent of a newspaper’s revenue, will provide financial stability for the future and more opportunities to tell the community’s story.

Sat
14
Oct

Graduation Rates By Lynn Hobbs

Graduation rates were released by the Georgia Department of Education Sept. 27, revealing all school systems in Georgia’s Lake Country exceeded the state average. “Georgia’s high school graduation rate has increased for the fifth straight year, from 79.4 percent in 2016 to 80.6 percent in 2017,” according to the media release. Putnam and Morgan counties, both of which are charter systems, are two of the 50 districts in the state to top 90 percent. Morgan County’s rate is 91.8 percent, and Putnam’s is 90.7. Morgan County School Superintendent Dr. James Woodard said he was “very excited” about Morgan’s rate. “The efforts of the students, teachers and staff of the Morgan County School System are paying off,” Woodard said in an email. “We have a focus on ensuring that all students graduate with a diploma.

Sat
14
Oct

County goes on a spending spree with DATE funds buying vehicles and building gyms By Shannon Sneed

The Putnam County Animal Control truck was purchased by the county using DATE funds. The message on the tailgate is one interpretation of drug education, according to county officials.

After a few years of rolling over drug abuse treatment funds, Putnam County officials were able to collect enough money to use the special revenues to purchase one or more vehicles in 2015. According to budget reports from the past few years, nearly $76,000 allotted by the state of Georgia specifically for Drug Abuse Treatment and Education (DATE) was spent on vehicles, while $38,000 was used to buy small equipment. Nearly $15,000 was spent on ground services and another $7,000 on program supplies. Out of the $130,000 collected from those drug and alcohol related fines, $7,000 was spent on education that year. A year later, another $35,900 was budgeted for small equipment. The interest rates for those years totaled $2,352, enough money to buy nearly 50 signs similar to the one purchased with DATE funds and placed at the Uncle Remus Golf Course reading “Weed Free Golf Course.” After a recently adopted budget showed the DATE funds were also being used to pay for a wellness center proj

Fri
13
Oct

Putnam couple killed on roadway Remembered by former coworkers By Lynn Hobbs

A Putnam County couple was killed in a tragic accident Friday night, Sept. 29, in Washington County, authorities say. John Lamon, 54, and his wife, Theresa Lamon, 53, are believed to have died instantly just moments after their motorcycle hit a deer and overturned, and an oncoming SUV hit them while they were still laying in the roadway, according to a report by Georgia State Patrol Sgt. David Holland. The Lamons were traveling along the 1800 block of Linton Road near Sandersville when their 2001 Harley Davidson motorcycle hit a deer and overturned in the roadway. Two residents of a nearby house heard the crash, called 911 and went out to the roadway to help. The witnesses later told the trooper that John was laying in the roadway and Theresa was kneeling over him, both were in the southbound lane, conscious and talking. The witnesses were able to flag down a pickup truck approaching from the south and prevented it from hitting the couple and wreckage.

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