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One arrest made, another suspect sought in home invasion
 lhobbs  / 



A pair of gunmen confronted a 21-year-old woman Saturday afternoon outside her home near Cate Road in western Glynn County, forcing her inside at gunpoint where they stole guns and electronics, according to a police report.

Glynn County Police quickly arrested one man in connection with the home invasion and are seeking the public’s help in locating the second suspect. The woman was not injured, police said.

Police arrested Nigil Keith Butler, 19, of Brunswick, late Saturday afternoon and charged him with home invasion, kidnapping, possession of a firearm in the commission of a crime and use of a communication facility in the commission of a crime.

Butler remained in the Glynn County Detention Center as of Tuesday, according to jail records.

Additionally, police have issued a warrant for 20-year-old Jeremiah Shaw, charging him with home invasion, kidnapping, possession of a firearm in the commission of a crime and use of a communication facility in the commission of a crime, according to Brian Scott, Chief of Staff of the county police department.

According to a police report, the woman had just been dropped off at her home in the 200 block of Willow Road shortly after 2 p.m. Saturday. She was carrying groceries inside through the back door when two armed men approached her, the report said.

The men forced her inside at gunpoint, stealing firearms and electronics, police said.

Butler allegedly was carrying one of the guns stolen from the home at the time of his arrest, police said.

Anyone with information about the whereabouts of Shaw is asked to call the police department’s investigations unit at 912-554-7802, the 911 center at 912-554-3645, or Silent Witness hotline at 912-264-1333.

Volunteers sought to help keep Fort Frederica clean during shutdown
 lhobbs  / 

Fort Frederica has only one man standing, but the national monument on St. Simons Island has not fallen to the pressures brought to bear from Washington, D.C.

Fear not, Steve Theus, the cavalry is on the way. Keep Golden Isles Beautiful is seeking volunteers to help with cleanup at Fort Frederica National Monument, as well as the national Bloody Marsh Battle Site.

Both Fort Frederica, at 6515 Frederica Road, and the Bloody Marsh Battle Site park, located in the bend on Old Demere Road, have managed to remain open to the public despite the government shutdown. With the federally-employed staff who work the two sites home on furlough until the budget dispute between President Trump and Congress is worked out, site manager Theus alone is performing the basic minimum work necessary to keep the gates open to the public he serves.

That is why Lea King-Badyna of Keep Golden Isles Beautiful decided to lend a hand. The nonprofit organization is seeking volunteers to help with basic cleanup at the two sites, she said. The volunteers’ efforts would include emptying trash cans and litter patrols on the grounds at both locations, she said. KGIB will provide gloves and trash bags.

“It’s the right thing to do,” said King-Badyna, executive Director of KGIB. “They’re our neighbors and this is our community. We’re all in this together.”

Theus welcomes the offer of assistance from KGIB and, by extension, the public. Fort Frederica’s gift shop, museum and restrooms have been closed since the shutdown on Dec. 22. Theus has remained at his post, unpaid, doing what is necessary to keep both locations open.

“We are very thankful for the support and help that Keep Golden Isles Beautiful has offered,” Theus said. “The work that they are going to perform will make sure that Fort Frederica National Monument will remain a clean and beautiful place to enjoy.”

Fort Frederica is the site of the British settlement established in 1736 in conjunction with the founding of the Colony of Georgia by Gen. James Oglethorpe. Some ramparts from the fort remain standing and archaeological expeditions at the site have revealed various numerous homes and trade shops that made up the colonial community.

Bloody Marsh Battle Site National Monument is believed to be the grounds where Oglethorpe’s forces defeated invading Spanish forces, ending Spain’s attempts at colonizing north of Florida. The site consists of shaded parking, a gazebo, historical plaques and an overlook of the marsh that is a favorite of working folks on their lunch hour and other visitors. No staff is on site, but its trash is maintained by the Fort Frederica park service.

King-Badyna said volunteers would concentrate mostly on ensuring that trash cans at each location are empty and fresh bags inserted in each. KGIB would ask any volunteers to conduct brief litter patrols. KGIB consists of King-Badyna and her staff of one, assistant Christy Trowbridge. The organization promotes anti-litter and recycling campaigns in the community, as well as initiatives to be better stewards of our environment.

“We are going to be assisting Fort Frederica and Bloody Marsh with garbage removal and litter collection throughout the duration of the shutdown, and we need volunteers to help us,” King-Badyna said. “It will be a matter of emptying the cans when they are full and placing it in the dumpster at Fort Frederica. We will ask volunteers to then just go and scan the area and see if there is any litter on the grounds that needs attention.”

KGIB is an affiliate of the nationally-recognized Keep America Beautiful national organization. The organization and its affiliates are reaching out across the country with an offer to lend a hand at national parks and monuments across the nation.

To volunteer in the local KGIB effort, call 912-279-1490 or email

Bills to discourage offshore drilling in the works
 wwolfe  / 

State Rep. Park Cannon, D-Atlanta, announced on a conference call Tuesday with reporters that she intends to file legislation at the beginning of the 2019 General Assembly session next week that would result in changes to state law discouraging the possibility of oil and gas drilling off the Georgia coast.

The call was organized by the National Caucus of Environmental Legislators, highlighting work by elected officials off the coasts to stop offshore drilling before it starts.

Cannon said that there are three different approaches she sees as dealing with the issue.

“The first of those is that there is still a $250,000 finder’s fee that the governor would be able to release from surplus or contingent funds for the first person, corporation or combination thereof, of finding commercial oil in the state of Georgia,” Cannon said. “We do not find that to be an appropriate use of funds these days.

“The second is the statement in the Oil and Gas Drilling Act of 2017, that we just passed in 2018, has a very political statement written into it. That political statement says that the Georgia General Assembly finds that we should continue to explore oil and gas in the state of Georgia. We believe that statement should be amended to include water as well as solar energy in the state of Georgia.”

She said the third part is the Public Service Commission is led by several people who backed Gov.-elect Brian Kemp in the last election. Kemp’s made statements saying he’s opposed to oil and gas drilling off the Georgia coast.

Because states only control the first three miles of water off the coast, state legislatures can’t stop a company from launching a drilling operation in federal waters, but they can make it more expensive.

“If Maine blocks offshore drilling along our state waters and our coast, something that’s off Georges Bank, we’re not going to have any impact on it — that’s absolutely correct,” said Maine state Rep. Mick Devin. “Having said that, if we have paired up with Massachusetts and New Hampshire, which we are doing, that’s going to cause someone, a company, a lessee, to travel all the way down to North Carolina or even further. It makes it cost prohibitive.”

Cannon’s legislation likely faces an uphill battle, though. In the last session, legislators introduced non-binding resolutions supporting coastal tourism and fisheries and opposing seismic testing and offshore drilling.

The House resolution — of which state Rep. Don Hogan, R-St. Simons Island, was one of the top six sponsors — advanced the furthest, which wasn’t much.

It received a 90-minute hearing in the House Energy, Utilities and Telecommunications Committee and stopped there.

At the hearing, Hogan said, “I’d just hate to see something happen to our coast that happened in Louisiana, Florida, Mississippi. And, I weighed the option of not signing the resolution, for a while, but after thinking about how much tourism meant to me and my life, I’d hate to see something happen to my area, for the coast, the salt marshes and how much it means to our community and to the state of Georgia.”

The Trump administration announced intentions to open up offshore oil and gas exploration along 90 percent of offshore territory controlled by the United States slightly more than a year ago, on Jan. 4, 2018.

Weather delays completion of paving project
 gjackson  / 

It’s going to take longer than anticipated to complete an estimated 10 miles of road improvements in Brunswick.

The work to repave, restripe and conduct drainage improvements started in October and was scheduled for completion by the end of February, but the date has now been pushed back to early spring, said Garrow Alberson, city engineer.

“There is still a good being of work to do,” Alberson said. “Rain and cold weather have delayed the work a bit.”

Alberson estimates two to three miles of road work in the city have already been completed. So far, there have been no surprises to make the improvements more complicated and costly than projected, he said.

Funding for the $1.5 million project is mostly with Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax revenue, as well as some state grant money.

The project is among the largest road improvement efforts in the city the past five years. Almost all of Norwich Street, Lanier Boulevard and Parkwood Drive will be resurfaced.

The roads receiving the work were selected through a process that ranked them based on the condition of the roadways, City Manager Jim Drumm said.

“It was not a difficult decision to prioritize the roads,” he said.

City officials identified what they believe are the city’s worst roads for the work by giving them a grade of “A” through “F.” In some instances, the work includes grinding old layers of asphalt and concrete before repaving begins.

Drumm said work crews coordinated with Southeast Georgia Health System and local merchants before work started that could potentially interrupt business.

“We try not to shut down an area for a long period of time,” he said.

A typical city block can be repaved in less than two days unless unexpected problems are discovered, Drumm said. Luckily, so far work crews have not found any surprises that will make the road improvements more difficult or costly.

The city also has two other road improvement projects planned in coming months on L Street and in Magnolia Park.