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The Monroe County Reporter
Forsyth, Georgia
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October 17, 2018     The Monroe County Reporter
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October 17, 2018
 

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ii- ii! !ii! i! '~i the Monroe County STILL JUST $1 IN RACKS BUT ONLY 77 CENTS USPS 997-840 Join the Discussions FOR HOME DELIVERY www.MyMCR.net Vol. 47 No. 42 4 Sections 24 Pages Wednesday. October 17, 2018 on Friday SEE PAGE 1B TO THE FAMILY Billy Fak Susan Hano~r David NEW SUBSCRIBERS OF THE WEEK DUll4B -,6A Carl Franklin Travithan Jr. " Sara ~nr~t,~o~r~ Clara~eee C~nan~er ~ NEX ~i,i, i MCR VENT. 3A Opinion&Leffers 4A Sports 1B Community Calendar 4C Church News 5C Public Record 4D Classilied 1D Legals ~, a t, aO 03 --- ,- ku o5- - ; ,-, too -- T ~.~ ,~,--. . + "4 r j; O'~ ~' ~ oIIl!i!!!![llll!!l!!llill. ,lll!l!,lJIllU!!liklill~ Candidates for sheriff speak before a standing-room-only crowd on Tuesday. (Photo/Will Davis) CONTESTANTS SPAR BEFORE BIG CROWD brsyth@mymcr.net Five candidates vying to become the next sheriff of Monroe County engaged in a cordial two-hour debate in front of a standing room- only crowd of about 150 at the Monroe County commission chamber on Monday night. The debate was organized by the Reporter with editor Will Davis serving as moderator. Only one candidate, Ronnie "Jocko" Evans, skipped, as he had previously announced in last week's Reporter. The five candidates in at- tendance, Monroe County Lt. Lawson Bittick, Macon-Bibb Cpt. Michael Bittick, Navicent Police Officer Troy Copelan, M o oe County Cpt. Brad Freeman and Monroe County IZ Stacey Penamon, agreed on many key issues, all tiring the need .for more deputies and enhanced technolog~ Penamon said he grew up in Culloden, where he stayed out oftrouble as a child. He even- tually graduated from Mary Persons and embarked on a brief college football career at Georgia Southem before get- ting married after one year of college. Penamon, who joked that he and his wife of 22 years spent the first two nights of their marriage sleeping in a car, now has two children. Pena- mon has worked in a myriad of positions in the Monroe County Sheriff's Office (MCSO) over two decades. Freem said he started in the MCSO radio room backin 1986 when deputies " were asked to do a little bit of everything. Freeman said he has moved throughout the department, working in patrol, various task forces to catch speeders and DUI suspects and the drug interdiction unit. Freeman recently was tmns- ferred from being lieutenant over the patrol division to the Monroe County ]aft, where he is a captain. Copelan said he has been in law enforcement for about 15 years, starting in Clayton County before a pair of stints at MCSO. Copelan, who cur- rentty works for the Macon- based Navicent Health Police Department, said he wants to eliminate the "good ole boy system" he thinks has been prevalent at MCSO. Copelan, whose wife works for Monroe County Schools, said MCSO is currently about 10 deputies shy of capacity and said he fears crime from Atlanta and Macon will encroach upon Monroe County if the depart- ment isn't fully staffed. Michael Bittick, a captain in the Macon-Bibb County criminal investigations divi- sion, said he lost his parents and grandparents by the age of 17. Michael Bittick said those heartbreaks didn't stop him from pursuing careers both in law enforcement, first in See DEBATE Page 6A By Will Davis pubhsher@mymcr:net The video poker ma- chines at the Falls View PATEL Market in High Falls are under lock and key and the manager was arrested on Oct. 12 after authorities say an undercover sting found the store was using them for illegal gambling. Store manager Nileshikumar Patel, 36, of Locust Grove, was charged with operating a commercial gambling operation at the store at 4742 High Falls Road. Inv. Martin Ursitti of the Monroe County Sheriff's Office took out the misdemeanor warrant against Patel on Oct. 11 saying that he was illegally paying cash winnings on video poker machines, which is against state law, on See GAMBLING Page 7A By Diane Glidewell news@mymcr.net Democratic gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams told a Forsyth audience on Monday that Monroe County's long wait for her opponent to make a decision on the Bibb-Monroe county line dispute is another Rev. Antonio Proctor welcomes Stacey Abrams at St. James Baptist Church in Forsyth on Monday. (Photo/Richard Dumas) reason she should be promoted to governor instead of him. "I know Monroe County has been waiting on someone See ABRAMS Hedges is new county manager forsythemymcr.net Monroe County commissioners hired a former oil executive as the new county manager in a special called meet- ing on Wednesday. Commissioners HEDGES approved 4-0 hiring former Pelham city manager James "Jim" Hedges, who was selected over two other finalists. Commissioners also approved a $92,500 salary for Hedges with the op- portunity for a 3 percent raise after a six- See HEDGES Page 7A WESTERN CAROLINA CATAMOUNTS VS