Rape charges against a Hispanic man who spoke little English were thrown out Thursday after several problems with the prosecution’s case and investigation arose in a magistrate court hearing.
Chief Magistrate Judge Allen Wigington ruled that Benjamin Chavez, 56, should be released due to lack of probable cause. Wigington said from the bench that probable cause is a very low threshold to meet, but in this case they had failed. Probable cause is based on a what a reasonable person would consider ample proof that a crime had occurred.
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Holiday Gift Guide:
While some local retailers reported better than normal Black Friday sales this year, others said Small Business Saturday brought more people into their stores. And overall, retailers said they are seeing similar numbers from last year.
An interesting observation made by two downtown merchants was that out-of-town shoppers made a noticeable impact in their holiday weekend sales.
At the Bargain Barn, Cynthia Spriggs said their advertised firearm specials left them “quite pleased” with Black Friday results. Spriggs said they were up a little from previous years at this point in the holiday season.
By Diane Wagner
Legislation banning the use of cellphones while driving is being drafted for the upcoming Georgia General Assembly session and, this time around, Rep. Eddie Lumsden expects wide support.
Texting while driving was banned in 2010, but the Armuchee Republican — who serves on the House Distracted Driving Study Committee — said the compromise bill failed to stem the rise of accidents with injuries or fatalities.
“The texting law is really ineffective,” Lumsden said Wednesday. “The penalties aren’t stringent enough and there are many loopholes.”
David Laws lost his daughter Laura to a drug overdose when she was 17. Laws helped get the Georgia 911 Medical Amnesty law passed and wants to keep overdoses from happening to other families.
For Pickens County resident David Laws, opioid overdoses aren’t just statistics. Four years ago, Laws lost his daughter to an overdose and he has dedicated his life to keeping them from happening in the future.
His daughter Laura’s battle with drugs began like so many others who become substance abusers. She was prescribed a liquid opioid after she broke her jaw playing sports in high school. That was when she was 15. It was just two years later when she OD’d at a friend’s house. Laura had been in and out of recovery, including detox and a 30-day residential treatment program, but her addiction finally won.
Angela Reinhardt / Photo
Pickens High School’s special education students take turns adding ingredients to make a batch of cookie dough for the Dragon Snack program, funded in part by the state’s Innovation Fund Tiny Grant.
On a recent afternoon, the smell of fresh baked cookies filled the Dragon Snack Shack at Pickens High School, where special education students were busy measuring, pouring, and mixing up the week’s batch of goodies - oatmeal peanut butter cookies.
“We’ll do muffins, cookies, and other types of treats each week,” said special ed teacher Diane Hicks, who along with teacher Darya Schmidt wrote and received a $6,500 grant through the Governor’s Office of Student Achievement for their Dragon Table program, which has four project areas where special ed students develop a variety of life and business skills.