More volunteers needed to help with Sunday's world record attempt at PCMS

World record-breaking attempt organizer Pam Lancaster, far left, assists volunteers signing up at a meeting Thursday evening, including, continuing from left, George Pirie and Clay Lowery, both of Eatonton. (Photo by Don Richeson.)

By Don Richeson / Staff

EATONTON -- Plans are moving forward to gather 4,201 or more people at Putnam County Middle School's Al Reaves Field at 1:30 p.m. Sunday in the hopes of breaking a world record. But organizers still need more volunteers.

The Ethen Richardson Foundation, an Eatonton-based organization that helps fight childhood cancer, is assembling the people at the PCMS field then, so that they can hold up colored placards that form the shape of a huge gold cancer awareness ribbon. The goal is to top the current record of 4,200 people. A camera-equipped drone will fly over and snap a photo of the giant human ribbon.

Most of the thousands of people forming the ribbon will need to be bussed in to PCMS and organizers need "bus hostess" volunteers to assist in the effort, as well as parking attendant volunteers and others.


Putnam commissioners vote to increase property taxes

By Don Richeson / Staff

EATONTON -- The Putnam County Board of Commissioners voted this month to increase millage rates for coming fiscal year, thus effectively increasing property taxes. But the approved rate hike -- .85 mills -- is less than the 1.0 mill increase the county earlier proposed.

The board voted 4-1 at its Sept. 2 regular meeting to increase the incorporated millage rate to 8.851 after the rollback, up from the current 8.038 millage rate. It also voted 4-1 to set the unincorporated millage rate at 8.287 after the rollback, up from the current 7.419 millage rate.

District 2 Commissioner Janie Reid cast the lone no votes, saying she couldn't support city residents being charged more than county residents. However Commission Chairman Steve Hersey said the different incorporated and unincorporated rates were because the city kept a rollback as revenue, rather than using it to reduce taxes.


Chief: Long arm of law catches Eatonton Walmart shoplifters in Baldwin County

Brandon Marshall Bloodworth

Malcolm Kennaugh-Easterby

By Lynn Hobbs / Staff

BALDWIN COUNTY -- Social media helped capture two Milledgeville men who reportedly were videoed by security camera stealing a compound bow and two car stereos from the Eatonton Walmart store, according to Eatonton Police Chief Kent Lawrence.

Walmart management called Eatonton Police to report a store employee saw two men walk into Walmart on Sept. 8, pick up two car stereos and leave the store through the garden center without paying for the items. The associate said the men got in a late model burgundy Ford Flex being driven by a third person and left, according to a police report. The manager said the two men had been with another man around 11 p.m. the night before, who had walked out the door with a compound bow that he did not pay for.


Longtime Lake Country radio executive Craig Baker dies unexpectedly

Craig Baker

By  Hobbs / Staff

EATONTON -- Twenty-one years ago, a northerner named Craig Baker moved to Eatonton, where he caught the listening ears of the radio world and won the hearts of thosge who met him. Baker, owner of WLRR Star Station 100.7 FM, suddenly died Sept. 11.


Ga. First Lady visits writers museum

Georgia First Lady Sandra Deal, standing, gives an anecdote to the Georgia Writers Museum crowd on what life is like in the Governor's Mansion. Sharing in the laugh are her co-authors, Jennifer Dickey, left, and Catherine Lewis. (Photo by Don Richeson.)

Click on link below to access a related Messenger online photo gallery:


By Gwen Ralston / Special to The Messenger


Boy, 13, found dead in Lake Oconee

By Jackie Gutknecht

LAKE OCONEE -- A 13-year-old Athens boy was found submerged in Lake Oconee in Greene County on Labor Day and pronounced dead at Saint Mary’s Good Samaritan Hospital that evening.

Jawan Evans, of Athens, was at 1491 Parks Mill Road, the Parks Ferry Public Recreation Area, when a call came in at 6:14 p.m. reporting a drowning, Greene County Coroner Jeff Smith said.

Old Salem Fire Rescue, Greene County EMS, Greene County Sheriff’s Office and the Department of Natural Resources responded to find Evans submerged. First responders and EMS made first contact with him at 6:40 p.m. and started treatment. He was then transported to the hospital, where he was pronounced dead at 7:25 p.m.


State Route 44 widening should begin in 2019

By Lynn Hobbs / Staff
PUTNAM COUNTY -- Putnam and Greene counties residents should keep in mind that, although U.S. Highway 441/State Route 24 between Eatonton and Madison is on the docket to be resurfaced this year, and to be widened in 2020, another major roadway overhaul is slated to happen between those two projects.
Lake Oconee Parkway -- State Route 44 -- will be widened and redirected/realigned in early 2019 between Eatonton and Greensboro, according to officials with the Georgia Department of Transportation.
The project will widen Route 44 from two to four lanes, and includes a bike lane on the shoulder, according to GDOT District Communication Specialist Kyle Collins.
The Putnam County portion will be an estimated $55 million construction project.


EPD: Beaten child seeks refuge at police station

Nakia Shonte Ash

By Lynn Hobbs / Staff

EATONTON -- An Eatonton woman was arrested after her 11-year-old daughter ran into Eatonton Police Department crying for help Saturday, Aug. 20. The child had red/bruising around her eyes, on her arm and shoulder and scratches/bite marks/broken skin on her arm and shoulder, according to a police report by Officer Elijah James.

The girl has lived with a guardian since “as far back as she can remember,” she reportedly told officers. She was spending the night at a friend’s house, with permission from her guardian to do so. EPD Investigator Howell Cardwell later reportedly confirmed with both the guardian and the friend’s mother that the girl had permission from both to be there.


E-P Chamber's Blackwell receives Georgia Chamber awards

Eatonton’s Roddie Anne Blackwell is a 2016 recipient of the Georgia Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives Legacy Award. (Contributed photo.)

JEKYLL ISLAND -- Longtime Eatonton-Putnam Chamber of Commerce President Roddie Anne Blackwell recently was presented two awards from her peers in the Georgia Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives.

She was presented the organization’s top award, the GACCE Legacy Award, July 21 at the 2016 GACCE Executive Leadership Conference at the Jekyll Island Club Hotel.

The association’s most prestigious award, the Legacy Award, recognizes long-term executives who have excelled over a period of years in leading and innovatively building their chamber. It is based on the demonstration of excellence in chamber leadership, organizational management, service to the profession, community reputation/involvement, and personal attributes.


Teen charged this week in fatal Putnam crash

Courtney George Perry was charged Tuesday with homicide by vehicle and driving under the influence of drugs/alcohol in connection with a July fatal crash in Putnam. 

By Don Richeson / Staff

EATONTON -- Test results in a Putnam County fatal crash case came back this week and resulted in the arrest of a driver involved in the July 16 wreck. Courtney George Perry, 19, of Stockbridge was charged Tuesday with homicide by vehicle and driving under the influence of drugs/alcohol. She was booked into the Putnam County Jail Tuesday and later released on property bonds totaling $10,000, according to Putnam County Sheriff's Office reports.

"Perry’s blood test came back this week and her blood alcohol content was .077 grams," Putnam County Sheriff Howard Sills told The Messenger via email Wednesday. As a person younger than 21, Perry should not legally have had any alcohol in her blood.


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