The city did publish an agenda on their website.Continue reading
George Boston Rhynes interviewed Brooks County Commissioner James Maxwell outside the courthouse in Quitman on a rainy day:
Mistrial! Another mistrial.
And the prosecutor wants to schedule another trial. George asked the Commissioner how much another trial would cost Brooks County.
It will cost quit a bit of money. We could use that money on a day like today to repair roads. People can’t get in and out and here we are wasting the taxpayers on another mistrial.
No evidence! No evidence! And another mistrial.
Here’s Part 1 of 3:
George says witnesses today talked about voter intimidation and some said they would not vote again because of this investigation on the Quitman 10+2. He says the GBI agent was asked how they were trained before they were sent to Brooks County, and they had little training in voting investigations, plus they took ballots home from the Board of Elections, including some with no addresses for any of the persons they were investigating.
George also reported WCTV had a camera in the courtroom, after you may recall Continue reading
9 people were arrested just across the Florida line in Madison on charges similar to the Quitman 10, but on trial all charges have been dropped except for 2, as George Rhynes pointed out.
Interviewing one of their lawyers 20 December 2012, George heard that at least her clients refused to accept plea bargains.
The Madison 9 were arrested in November 2011, and the obvious question came, as Trymaine Lee wrote for Huffpo 18 January 2013, Nine Election-Related Arrests In Florida: A Case Of Voter Fraud Or Voter Suppression?
As soon as Judy Ann Crumitie answered the banging on her door one November morning Continue reading
Trials for the Quitman 10+2 have finally started. George Boston Rhynes is covering them every day on YouTube.
The only other reporter George has seen there was one from the Valdosta Daily Times. George is waving a copy of the VDT here as he discusses what the case is about: the Quitman 10 registered enough voters that several black people got elected to the school board in Brooks County for the first time ever.
It’s not so much what you know as what you can prove, says a concerned father, and the mother wants better representation for others whose children like her daughter have gotten caught in a felony with little if any evidence at school.
Mrs. Watkins said after her daughter was tackled at school be a deputy, she found “there are a lot of children in the judicial system that may not have good representation.” She and Mr. Watkins and George Boston Rhynes are starting an organization to at least show concern. George said in one visit to juvenile court he encountered two families with problems with probation and law enforcement knocking down doors and searching without search warrants.
Mr. Watkins wants to help people know their rights. Things we older folk may have done as children now there are laws against, and the children and their families need to know things like the difference between a felony and a misdemeanor, and the importance of writing things down. “Details is all that matters.” Later he noted that Continue reading
Mrs. Watkins said a sheriff’s deputy used excessive force against her daughter and despite no evidence her daughter was charged with a felony. George Boston Rhynes asked:
If your child would have been been caught with what her child have experienced, wouldn’t you want somebody in Valdosta and Lowndes County and the state of Georgia and the state and the nation to know what had happened to your child?
According to Mrs. Watkins, between 11AM and noon on 14 May 2013 she Watkins was called by the principal of Pine Grove Middle School saying her daughter had assaulted her. When Mrs. Watkins got there Deputy Robert Adkins told her he was going to charge her daughter with several charges, even though he had no statement from anyone. When she got home, she found a facebook video of two children attacking her daughter, who wasn’t attacking anyone, and the teacher was never struck, which the deputy also confirmed he had not heard happened. Yet Mrs. Watkins said none of the other children were charged and her daughter was charged with a felony. See for yourself what she said, in a lot more detail:
Here’s the video:Continue reading
The South Georgia Regional Library Board of Trustees will be meeting Tuesday, March 19 at 1PM in the Folsom Room of the Valdosta-Lowndes County Public Library to conduct regular business.The meeting is open to the public and all are welcome to attend. For more information call 333.0086.
Yes, that says March, but the calendar entry says May 21, today. And it says “open to the public and all are welcome to attend”. But are all welcome to record? Or do all have to stay inside an 8×4 foot blue rectangle next to a loud air cleaner? Was that just Kay Harris’ policy and will it change now that she has resigned as chair and from the board?
If there’s anything about this meeting on the library’s website, I can’t find it.
The VDT has apparently decided the City of Valdosta is to blame for the Withlacoochee Wastewater Woes, and has made its case in a story and two editorials. They seem to have forgotten about the overflow in 2012 already. And the VDT seems to have forgotten about it and its editor's own apparent roles in the loss of the recent SPLOST election that would have funded a new wastewater plant.
Jason Schaefer wrote for the VDT today, Money saved at river's expense: EPD investigates cause of sewage release as waters recede,
When the flooding occurred in April 2009, the City made extraordinary efforts to hold back the flooding, bringing in dirt and heavy machinery to build a berm around the influent pump station and other treatment equipment, working round the clock.
The efforts were successful. The treatment plant remained on during the duration of the flood, and Valdosta's raw sewage remained contained, though the facility incurred damages to its electrical and biological purification systems, according to Utilities Director Henry Hicks.
This year, the City opted for a different approach—cut electricity to the underwater portions of the plant, submit to the flooding and clean up afterwards.
The plant was “taken offline” Thursday at 9 a.m. “to prevent further damage to equipment and associated electrical and control systems,” according to a statement issued by the Department of the City Manager.
The City stated that as a result of the shutdown, “untreated sewage will be discharging directly into the river” at a rate of between five and six million gallons of raw sewage per day.
In addition, the floodwaters were allowed into the plant and around the remaining portions of the berm that was constructed in 2009 during the rising flood. Only half of the berm now remains, as the other half was removed to allow access to the lower portions of the plant, Hicks said.
So far, this year's response strategy seems to have saved the City money. In 2009, about $500,000 was spent in manpower, equipment and supplies to build the berm alone, and the plant, kept running, incurred significant damages though raw sewage was kept out of the river. This year, the money was not spent on the berm or to prevent the flooding, and at least 15 to 20 million gallons of raw sewage will have been released into the Withlacoochee by the time the plant is back online.
There's more in the story, which is well worth a read. Also note this inserted in the middle of the story:
Editor Kay Harris contributed to this story.
The VDT cites the EPA report, National Enforcement Initiative (FY 2011 – 2013) Keeping Raw Sewage and Contaminated Stormwater Out of Our Nation’s Waters, (more about that EPA initiative here) and continues:Continue reading
Received today. To quote a VDT editorial of 3 March 2012:
When officials act like they have something to hide, they often do….
Here’s George’s Open Records Request. -jsq
February 7, 2013Continue reading
George Boston Rhynes (229-251-8645)
5004 Oak Drive
Valdosta, Georgia 31605
TO: Valdosta-Lowndes County; South Georgia Regional Library Director/Chair person along with Board Members Respectively, Georgia News Media Outlets concerned about open government and the sunshine brightness…
SUBJECT: An open records request on behalf of the general public right to know…