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The Monroe County Reporter
Forsyth, Georgia
May 30, 2018     The Monroe County Reporter
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May 30, 2018

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May 30, 2018 Page 7A ,Reporter By Will Davis UGA quarterback Jake Fromm told a Middle Georgia audience on May 8, including several Monroe County residents, that while they probably want to hear about Geor- gia football, he'd rather talk about his relationship with Jesus Christ. Fromm was the featured speaker for a Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA) fund-raiser on Tuesday, May 8 at the Museum of Aviation in Warner Robins. The former Houston County High star, who attended Hubbard Elementary School when his family lived in Forsyth, spoke to a crowd of 500. In the audience wereFCA representa- tives April Willingham and Landon Sparks, Monroe County residents who minister to students at Mary Persons. Fromm, who as a freshman was barred from speaking publicly by coach Kirby Smart for most of the season, said he sees football as a platform that allows him to talk about Christ. Fromm came off the bench to lead UGA to the SEC title and the national championship game last season. But he said it's more important to talk about his personal testimony of how he came to faith in Jesus. Fromm, whose family was in the audience, said he grew up in a great family that was always at their church, Southside Baptist in Warner Robins. But he said he was guilty of a spiritual "false start" when he was 12, Fromm recalled that his younger twin brothers had decided to get baptized and that he, being the oldest, decided he needed to set a good example and wanted to get baptized too. But Fromm said it wasn't due to a spiritual change in him. "I just got dipped" said Fromm. "For me, it wasn't because I wanted to follow Jesus? Soon after that, though, said Fromm, he met his high school football coach Von Lassiter, who made a big impact on him. "We clicked" said Fromm. "He's done more spiritual things in my life than anyone else" That, said Fromm, set the table "for real change in his heart. Fromm said it happened one Sunday when he was in the 10th grade. They were late for church, "as usual" added Fromm, but were there in time to hear the guest speaker, Vietnam veteran Tim Lee. He was in a wheelchair, but had a strong mes- sage from the Book of Revelation about the rapture and the coming judgment for all. Lee quoted Rev- elation 3:16 where Jesus says, "So, because you are lukewarm--neither hot nor cold--I am about to spit you out of my mouth." '`i'm scared" said Fromm. "Be- cause I was lukewarm." Fromm said that was the day he gave his life to Christ. Fromm said he's a little ashamed of his testimon)n He said he doesn't share it often, but said it's worth sharing and encouraged his audi- ence members to make their own commitments to Christ. Now, said Fromm, he and his roommate, UGA tight end Charlie Woerner, attend church every Sunday and enjoy man-to-man conversations about Christ. He said coach Lassiter sends him a Bible verse every moming by text, encouraging him to read it, and that he's added lots of teammates to the group text. Lassiter is now at Bleckley County High but introduced Fromm on Tuesday night. "Most people know me as Jake Frornm's high school coach" said Lassiter. He called Fromm a remark- able football player and "an ever better person". FCA officials thanked Charlie Cantrell, owner of Five Star Automotive in Macon, and his friends for giving the money to launch FCA in Middle Georgia in 2008. New Veter- ans High football coach Mi- lan Turner thanked support- ers for enabling his team to go to FCA camp each summer. He said he's seen hundreds of play- ers give their lives to Christ at those camps. He also thanked FCA for providing Chris- tian coaches and students an umbrella under which they can pray and teach the Bible in public schools despite the litigious, anti-God atmosphere in popular culture. UGA quarterback Jake Fromm talked about his relationship with Jesus Christ at a fundraiser for the Fellowship of Christian Athletes on May 8 in Warner Robins. Funds raised will help FCA efforts in Monroe County and at Mary Person High School. (Photo/W',ll Davis) D Reporter publisher Will Davis presents Jim Conner with his AR-15 on Tuesday after he won the raffle. wins 15 from Jim Conner's annual subscription to the Reporter wasn't up until Octo- ber, but the 76-year-old Bolingbroke resident told his wife Elaine to go ahead and renew now. "I want a chance to win that AR- 15!" he told his wife. A retiree from Georgia Farm Bureau and the Georgia National Guard, Con- ner collects military surplus guns. He had almost every gun in his collection, except for the popular AR-15. "It's on my Bucket List;' said Conner. And on Monday, Conner's name was drawn as the winner of the AR- 15 in the Reporters gun giveaway for the month of May. "In 76 years;' said an excited Conner, "I've never won anything!" Conner picked up his new Bushmas- ter AR-15, valued at around $1,000, from Ventures Guns in Forsyth after passing the required background check. Reporter publisher Will Davis thanked everyone who subscribed or renewed to the newspaper in May, and said any profits from the raffle would go to the Reporter's Norris Memorial Scholarship. By Will Davis publisher@ Monroe Countians will continue to be shut out of the Georgia House after two Ma- conites made the runoffin the race for Dis- trict 141, the seat being vacated by Macon's Allen Peake. Macon real estate men Dale Washburn and Gary Bechtel led the field with 34 per- cent (2,403 votes) and 27 percent (1,918) of the vote respectively for House District 141, which includes north Bibb and south Monroe counties. Monroe County's Todd Tolbei-t carried his home county with 50 percent of the vote, but came in third overall with 22 percent (1,577 votes). New- comer Shane Mobley came in fourth with 17 percent (1,170). Tolbert said he was disappointed but not bitter. "I look at it like it was meant to be;' said Tolbert. "I ran the best race I could. I just wasn't real popular in Macon, which doesn't surprise me:' Tolbert wasted little time in endorsing Bechtel. Tolbert said he's known Bechtel for 15 years and that he ran a clean race and has done his best to help Bibb County grow as a county commissioner and school board member. However Tolbert acknowl- edged with Bibb County's problems that experience may not help Bechtel. "People don't understand what it takes to be on the board of commissioners or board of education;' said Tolbe . "He helped uncover some corruption down there and has tried to make it a better com- munity" Tolbert said Bechtel got beat up for his leadership in troubled Bibb County governments, and that helped Washburn, a former Jones County commissioner, come in first, which Tolbert said surprised him. But he added that Washburn worked Candidates for House District 141 at the Reporter's debate on May 1. Maconites Dale Washburn and Gary Bechtel have advanced to the runoff. (File photo/Diane Glidewell) veryhard and almost beat him even in his home precinct in Bolingbroke. Tolbert said he looks for Bechtel to defend himself and his record in Bibb County government more in the runoff. Tolbert said he and Bechtel will do a press conference this week in Forsyth announc- ing his endorsement. Despite not making the runoff, Tolbert said he is proud that he spent the least amount per vote, $15, in his campaign, and that he's very humbled by all the support and volunteers who helped him. As for Washburn, he said he's honored to have come in first place and said he's eager to point out in the runoffhow he and Bechtel have differing views and phi- losophies. He said the fiscal crisis in Bibb County, where Bechtel recently served on both the school board and the county commission, helped his campaign. He said he'll continue to talk about the need to cut spending in Bibb County rather than rais- ing taxes. At the same time, Washburn said Mon- roe County is also a very important part of the district and he looks forward to meeting with and getting to know more Monroe County leaders. For his part, Bechtel said he's going to stay positive about the solutions he can offer to District 141. "We're gonna fight like the dickens to get the issues out;' said Bechtel. He said Monroe County needs a representative who will pay attention to it and get things done for it. "This is not a Macon-centric district;' said Bechtel. "This is a total district that deserves that kind of representation in the state House" Mobley, who spent a lot of time in Mon- roe County, said Bechtel and Washbum's name recognition from years of election- eering and real estate work in Bibb County were simply too hard to overcome. "They deserve to be where they are7 said Mobley of the results. Mobley said he enjoyed his first run for office but said as a Monroe County taxpayer he was shocked by the way the "Monroe County political machine" went all in for Tolbert, with elected officials even making Facebook videos for him. "That is a very, very, very unethical practice;' said Mobley. "It's below any office they hold. Bibb County did not do that. That kind of collusion is the epitome of a swamp. Monroe County is better than that and it shows they didn't let the candidates have a fair shake" Mobley said in going "all in" for one candidate, who wound up losing, Monroe County officials have made it harder to work with whomever eventually wins. And Mobley said Tolbert's attacks on him, calling him an "idiot" and saying he had "evil in his heart" in a Facebook com- ment, were beyond the pale. Mobley said Tolbert was in the race for the wrong reason, simply because he wanted a position of power and to be in the limelight, and said the attacks on him sunk Tolbert's campaign. "Because he was ugly I spent more target- ed money because I was determined that I was going to deny him a win," said Mobley. '`if he had left me alone, who knows what would're happened? But he poked the bear. He never should've done that? SHERIFF Continued from Front Shalanda have two children, a daughter, Alaicha, 18, an education student at Mercer and a son Bernard, 13, entering the ninth grade at ME Penamon started his career as a prison guard with corrections but has been been with the sheriff's office since 2000, work- ing in almost every division including the jail, patrol, support services/911 and now investigations. Penamon said he's proud that when he was a lieutenant in the jail he upgraded the jail, saved taxpayer money and helped cut the number of repeat of- fenders in ha[fin part by establishing a GED program for inmates. Penamon said he has nearly 2,400 hours of Georgia PO.S.T. certified law enforcement training, and is a graduate of Columbus State's Command College in professional management, with a bachelors degree in criminal justice. Asked if he thinks he's ready to lead the office, Penamon responded: "I actually know I can" "People may talk about change" said Penamon. "But for me, it's about what I can take and make better." Penamon said he's all about transparency at the sheriff's office so people can see and trust them. He said he wants the sheriff's office to be proactively in the community building relationships. "We have a great group at the sheriff's office" said Penamon. "We do a lot of work people don't know about. It's all about community policing so people are getting to know our deputies. I don't want people saying 'there ain't no use in calling the sheriff's office because they ain't gonna do anything:' Penamon said he has no problem run- ning against so many candidates he knows personally, saying he doesn't throw mud so it won't be a problem. Asked if he's concemed about current MCSO policy which would require him to resign to run, Penamon said he's not. "It doesn't matter to me" said Penamon. "I won't let that dictate my decision. It's about the people of Monroe County. IfI have to lose [banked hours], that's what I have to do"