Word spread like wildfire Tuesday afternoon, with various sports media sources reporting that Georgia quarterback Jacob Eason has made a decision regarding his future; and all sources point to Seattle. Several sports reporters speculated on twitter last night, following the Alabama victory in the national championship game, with many mentioning the rumor mill had already begun and barring any last minute “change of heart” – Eason would be a Huskie next season. No official word has been given as of yet.
A native of Lake Stevens, Washington, it comes as no surprise that the talented quarterback would consider returning to his home state. Only 20 years old, he would be required by the NCAA to sit out the 2018 season before making an impact for the University of Washington. While at Georgia, Eason completed 55.1% of his throws for 2,430 yards and 16 touchdowns, with eight interceptions.
A knee sprain forced Eason to the sidelines for the Notre Dame game this season, where freshman Jake Fromm took the helm and never looked back. With Fromm’s success, Georgia will apparently lose arguably one of the best quarterbacks in the SEC to the Pac-12.
BKP speaks with Rita Kirby about the recent case involving Mark Thomason, Russell Stookey, and her involvement with “the checks.”
In light of a recent political ad by an opponent, voters have many questions Sheriff Dane Kirby.
Below are some of the most frequently asked. Please read his answers carefully.
1. Q. Is there a morale problem in the Sheriff’s Office that has led to the highest employee turnover rate in the history of the organization?
A. The morale of the Sheriff’s is actually very impressive. Everyone works together, communicates, and functions as one big family. One particular indicator of good morale is employees spending off time together, which occurs frequently among our employees. As far as the turnover rate is concerned, from 1992 until 2009, 104 employees left the Sheriff’s Office for various reasons. During the term of this administration only 31 employees have left. These numbers actually prove an approximate 33% decrease in employee turnover.
2. Q. Who are the part time drug agents from other counties that your opponent claims you have been paying?
A. Since elected as your Sheriff, illegal narcotics enforcement has been at the top of our agenda. One of the things we do is participate in and utilize a circuit wide program called the Zell Miller Mountain Parkway Drug Task Force. Our participation in this program is only one small but important part of the overall effort to fight illegal drug activity. In addition, we frequently conduct narcotics investigations with other regional drug task forces, as well as the GBI and DEA. We also conduct independent investigations from our own criminal investigations division.
3. Q. Explain the accusation that you are misspending thousands of taxpayer dollars in your current program dealing with the fight against drugs and please include dollar amounts in your explanation.
A. Just as Sheriff’s across the state rely on support agencies such as the Georgia State Patrol and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation to assist in specialized areas, Sheriffs Offices statewide participate in multi-agency Drug Task Forces such as our Zell Miller Mountain Parkway Drug Task Force to concentrate totally on narcotics investigations in their counties. Here in the Appalachian judicial Circuit, our program is funded partially by a federal grant award of $159,000 annually. These funds are matched by funds from Fannin, Gilmer and Pickens Counties in the amount of approximately $40,000 from each county annually. This task force alone is responsible for 469 narcotics arrests in Fannin County alone since 2009 that would have otherwise never been made.
4. Q. Do you feel that using the funds to finance your current Drug Task Force would be better spent on training for our local agents as alleged by this ad?
A. Absolutely not. I can guarantee everyone that our local investigators are already very well trained in the area of narcotics investigations and are very able and frequently do conduct successful narcotics investigations. Our office already has in place a very adequate training line item incorporated into our annual budget which allows all our officers to receive almost 3 times the state required training annually. I see absolutely no sensible logic to adding $40,000 in that area, making it 3 times the amount that it needs to be.
5. Q. Campaign promises are being made by several opponents to eradicate drugs and initiate drug programs. Can you give facts demonstrating that you have already delivered on these promises?
A. One of my top priorities after taking office in 2009 was to concentrate on the problem of illegal drugs coming into Fannin County, and the toll it takes on not only our children but on entire families. From day one, my deputies and I have worked diligently in pursuing drug offenders within our County and have been successful. I quickly saw the need for programs mentioned above and have began expanding the programs within our detention center. We now offer educational and faith based counseling six days a week in an effort to assist and encourage inmates to rise above their addiction and take advantage of the opportunity to live productive and fulfilling lives upon release. I am also constantly in touch with representatives of the Drug Court program making referrals and scheduling evaluations to assist in helping people into the programs offered there as well.
So while other candidates are making campaign promises to try to eradicate drugs and initiate programs, I as your Sheriff have already delivered on those promises and will continue to make sure that these programs are as effective as they can possibly be. One particular candidate has had the opportunity for the last 20 years to do the things he is promising you now, but I am yet to see any evidence that he has. If it hasn’t happened in 20 years, why should anyone believe that it ever will?
To put this into perspective, in 2015 the Fannin County Sheriff’s Office made 81 felony drug arrests. The Blue Ridge Police Department made six felony drug arrests. Of the 81 felony drug arrests made by the Sheriff’s Office, 17 of those were made INSIDE THE CITY LIMITS OF BLUE RIDGE. Numbers do not lie and these records prove that your Sheriffs Office has been almost 3 times more effective fighting the war on drugs inside the city limits of Blue Ridge than the Blue Ridge Police Department has.
6. Q.What is your opinion as to why this candidate chose these specific areas of the Sheriff’s Office to target since the facts given in your answers are all easily researched and publically available?
A. Candidates are printing ads without doing any research, which is resulting in information being provided that is completely false and inaccurate. Maybe they have adopted the current philosophy used in national campaigns where statements are “thrown out to see what will stick to the wall”, no matter whether they are true or not. We all hoped this kind of negative campaigning would not occur in Fannin County, but it seems to have already begun. Our citizens prefer positive campaigning here, and they deserve to get it instead of mud slinging. All candidates should work toward making the people proud of their campaigns.
I want to make sure that everyone has access to accurate information so feel free to contact me anytime. I can always be reached at 706-633-8269. I am available to talk to or meet with anyone.