When she saw the smoke, Mrs. Scott called 911; then called her sons.
Firefighters arrived on the scene and extinguished the fire but the home was severely damaged. The Scotts' bedroom and a bathroom were standing, but furniture was damaged and everything was blackened by smoke and fire.
The Scotts have lived in their house since 1985 and Mrs. Scott has lived on the property all her life. She suspects the fire could have been caused by an electrical problem but that has yet to be determined. The case is still under investigation.
The Scotts have insurance and their claims representative was on the scene last week to assess the damage, but they have immediate needs such as towels, bed linens and kitchen items. Mrs. Scott also wants to purchase a used laptop to replace her computer lost in the fire.
January is widely known as the start of the flu season, but so far, there have been no reports in Pike County schools.
Pike schools have joined a host of others across the state implementing preventive measures to stave off flu and cold viruses. This includes hand-washing, hand sanitizer and disinfecting classrooms and other parts of school buildings when illness is reported.
Most importantly, children and adults who are sick should stay home. No one should return to work or school until they have been fever free for 24 hours, Callaway said.
District IV public health information officer Hayla Hall said there have been four positive results for the flu from state laboratories this month but this doesn't mean those are the only cases. Influenza is not a notifiable disease and no one is required to report it.
The flu cycle is still sporadic and there has been no large activity, she said. There have been no pediatric deaths or major outbreaks reported.
Preventive measures recommended by the CDC include a flu vaccination, covering the nose and mouth with a tissue when coughing or sneezing, throwing the tissue in the trash after use and washing hands often with soap and water, especially after you cough or sneeze.
Flu vaccinations are still available at the Pike County Health Department. The cost is $25. There is no flu mist vaccine available, but there are a few children's vaccines. Those with private insurance are not eligible.[Full story »]
"Unless there's some huge boom in the market, we should be all right with the (current) values," said assessor Paula Nalley at the Jan. 6 meeting.
Assessors agreed last year at a called meeting to withdraw the 2008 property revaluation that drew more than 500 appeals from property owners. Chief assessor Jeannie Haddock said it was brought to their attention there were inconsistencies in the methods an outside firm used to set property values on rural Pike County land parcels and a lack of uniformity. [Full story »]
Personnel policy, execution of board directives and improving customer service were on the minds of commissioners during the first workshop of the new year Jan. 7 at the United Bank lake house.
Commission chairman Doug Mangham and commissioners Don Collins, Parrish Swift and Roosevelt Willis met in the morning and were joined by commissioner Tommy Powers and county manager Steve Marro after lunch.
Marro agreed to send the same communications to commissioners as he does to department heads. He noted much of the work is turned over to county attorney Rob Morton, who performs it on a priority basis.
As county manager, Marro heads county personnel with the authority to hire and fire.
There was also concern about if employees have adequate training to perform their jobs.
"I for one don't know all the qualifications of the people who work here," Marro said.
Department heads have the authority to hire and fire their employees.
Finance technician Sean Townsend recently attended training to become a certified finance officer level one.
Willis said he may be going to learn what he should already know.
"You're in charge of that budget," Willis replied.
Collins asked Marro to address customer service by county employees.
To aid the flow of information to citizens, commissioners asked Marro to post monthly financial reports and meeting minutes on the county website. Powers said commissioners voted to have the information posted.
"You're dumping more and more work on people who already have too much for a 40 hour week," Marro said.
Citizen interference was among Marro's concerns. He said there are problems with the budget process because of citizen interference. He said they also display a disrespectful attitude toward commissioners and fail to understand a county manager form of government.
Rep. Billy Maddox joined his colleagues at the capital in Atlanta Monday for the start of the 2009 legislative session.
Spending cuts were ordered by Gov. Sonny Perdue last year and state agencies had to cut their budgets and freeze salaries.
He has with him this session local legislation he plans to introduce.
Maddox is being asked to move legislation to rename state highways in Pike in honor of prominent citizens. One is naming part of Highway 19 for the late Shi Holmes, a local historian and former clerk of superior court who died in 1999. Commissioners passed the resolution in January 2003 and revisited it last fall.
There may be other legislation Maddox will be asked to sponsor.
Earlier this year the school board agreed to move forward with senior tax relief to increase the exemption from school taxes for citizens 65 and older to $50,000 and provide a total exemption from school taxes for citizens age 70 and older. They would apply only to the school portion of property taxes.
Maddox said he hopes the legislature can minimize the effect on local school budgets.
Affecting not only Pike but the entire state are transportation, school vouchers and a proposal to cap the rate at which home assessments could rise.
The new year brings more money for Pike County constitutional officers who have served one or more terms, but there is no cost of living raise this year.
The following are elected officials' salaries for 2009.
• Sheriff Jimmy Thomas' annual salary is $67,336, which includes a supplement for serving as an officer of the court, a longevity supplement and cost of living adjustments from 2007 and 2008. His 2008 salary was $64,276.
• Tax commissioner Donna Wynn makes $61,675 a year. Her salary includes a supplement for serving as ex officio sheriff because she presides over property and sheriff's sales and a longevity increase for having served three terms.
• Clerk of superior court Carolyn Williams will make $66,622, including a supplement for serving as juvenile court clerk and a 25% longevity increase.
• Probate court judge Lynn Brandenburg receives an annual salary of $67,206. He gets supplements for serving as election superintendent and presiding over traffic court and a 15% longevity increase for having served three terms.
• Coroner Terrell Moody, serving his third term, receives an annual salary of $3,080, including a longevity increase and previous COLAs, and a death investigation fee of $175 if he is the coroner on record for a call. Deputy coroner Harold Callaway is paid $175 per call.
The application was filed last week by a North Pole toy maker who signed the paperwork Kris Kringle. Reindeer named on the permit are Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donder, Blitzen and Rudolph. [Full story »]