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Waynesboro, GA
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Fire Sunday afternoon damages downtown
Waynesboro building
By Ben Roberts
True Citizen Staff Writer
A fire in downtown Waynesboro that could have potentially
destroyed an entire block of Liberty Street property, instead only claimed two businesses housed in one building.
The Waynesboro Fire Department (WFD) received a 911 call reporting a fire at 3:45 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 3, at the back of a store located at 639 North Liberty St. The JC Penney Catalog store and Waynesboro Finance are both housed in this building. The building is one block south and across the street from the city fire station. According to WFD Deputy Chief Robert Parrish his two engines were on the scene three minutes later at 3:48. Parrish, who was off duty at the time, heard the call on his radio and headed to the scene. While en route, Parrish could see smoke in the sky above downtown and called the Burke County EMA to ask that they stand by as backup if needed. EMA sent one engine company and an ambulance to the scene. WFD Fire Chief Ronnie Baxley said the fire began in the rear inside portion of the JC Penney side and was caused by an electrical short at a receptacle.

WFD had 15 people on hand to assist with the fire, this number included full-time personnel, reserve firefighters and volunteers. While the JC Penney side of the building sustained heavy fire, smoke and water damage, WFD was able to contain and extinguish the fire before it reached the roof. Had the fire reached the roof, it could have easily spread to the other businesses down Liberty Street. Waynesboro Finance, which occupies the other half of the building, suffered fire damage in the rear portion of their store, and heavy smoke and water damage in the remainder of their half of the building.

The two businesses are separated by a firewall, which Parrish said did its job in containing the fire to only one side of the building. The fire spread to the Waynesboro Finance side at the rear of the building, essentially going around the firewall on the outside of the building.

(See Rest of The Story in The True Citizen).

State Cadet

Madeline Sheppard, a senior at Burke County High School, proudly shows off her plaque designating her as the Air Force Association State of Georgia Outstanding Air Force Junior ROTC Cadet of the Year. The award was made recently at the State Air Force Association Awards banquet in Pooler by Thomas McKee, national chairman of the Board of Air Force Association and Col. Steve Westgate of the Georgia Air Force Association. She was recognized for her work both in and out of the classroom. She has received many awards while a member of the school’s AFJROTC, according to MSgt. John Goodman, the school’s ROTC instructor. She is the daughter of Phil and Evelyn Sheppard of Millen.

County landfill users now paying charges
By Jimmy Ezzell
The True Citizen Editor
Last Friday, Nov. 1, the Burke County landfill began collecting tipping fees from users of the facility – a first for the county. Through Tuesday, Nov. 5, Ralph Hankerson, the landfill manager, said the new procedure has gone fairly smooth. He said there has been some confusion because some users indicated they were not aware of the new charge – even though there had been several news stories in The True Citizen and notification by the county to the public. Actually, the fees were to have gone into effect on Oct. 1 but the county delayed implementation of the fees until Nov. 1 at the request of the City of Waynesboro who wanted to notify their customers and their private collector.

County administrator Merv Waldrop says the fees will help offset the cost of operating the landfill, which is about $1 million annually. This includes $818,000 being charged off to the transfer station operation whereby the waste is transported to a Savannah site for disposal.

Before the tipping fee was approved, county taxpayers bore the entire cost of its operation.
The fee is anticipated to produce about $200,000 annually. Waldrop said besides helping offset some of the cost, it also gives the county more control over who uses the landfill.

Most affected by the charge are the commercial haulers who will now pay $35 a ton where they used to pay nothing. Residents who bring refuse to the landfill to be disposed of, other than household garbage, must pay a charge, which will be on a graduated scale up to $5 per pickup truck load.

Community concert season opens Nov. 19
The Waynesboro-Burke County Community Concert Association will open its season on Tuesday, Nov. 19, with the presentation of the musical “Forever Plaid.”

This marks the association’s 25th year. All the concerts will be held at the Burke County Office Park.
“Forever Plaid” will be performed by the popular School House Players of Bartow. The performance will begin at 7:30 p.m.

“Forever Plaid” is characterized as a “deliciously goofy revenue” centering on four young eager male singers, killed in a car crash in the 1950s on their way to their first big concert, and now miraculously revived for the posthumous chance to fulfill their dreams and perform the show that never was. It includes more than 30 hit songs for those golden years.

As usual, the association will present three concerts during the 2002-2003 season.
The second one will be Jan. 16, 2003 and will feature 22-year-old April Verch and her fiddle. Even though she is young she is in demand for performances, and the local association considers itself fortunate to be able to get her this season. Besides performing, she is in demand to teach the fiddle. Her concert also will be at the office park and starts at 7:30 p.m.

The final concert of this series will be on March 11, 2003, featuring Three Hits and a Miss in “High Fidelity Harmony.” This group has toured throughout Europe and the United States and they feature music from the ’40s and ’50s.

Persons desiring additional information about the association or any of these programs can call Louise Fortson at 554-2854 in Waynesboro or Bobby Cobb in Millen at (912) 589-7854. As usual, students and children are admitted to these performances free when accompanied by an adult member of the association. Although the season’s membership drive concluded this past May, those interested in memberships can contact either Fortson or Cobb, an association spokesman said this week.
Legal Organ of Burke County, Waynesboro, Sardis, Midville, Keysville, and Girard