Winder officials honor residents, employees for courage

WINDER - City Administrator Bob Beck, Mayor Chip Thompson and other city leaders recognized several Winder residents and employees for outstanding acts of courage Tuesday evening.

Fire Chief Ray Mattison honored two of his firefighters for answering a call for help from South Georgia during the raging wildfires that left more than $65 million in damage in their wake.

Firemen Barry Garrett and William Reidling received certificates of commendation from Thompson and words of praise from Mattison.

"When the Georgia Mutual Aid Group called for additional firefighters, these men were on the road within two hours. This was a nine-day deployment," said Mattison of his men. "They gained some valuable experience down there."

Police Chief Stanley Rodgers recognized two Winder-Barrow High School students Tuesday for possibly saving the life of a fellow student recently. A young man was choking on a "fireball," a piece of hard candy, when senior Rodney Morris began to perform the Heimlich maneuver on the distressed boy.

When Morris could not free the candy from the boy's throat, sophomore Jared Kay stepped in and performed the same life-saving maneuver. After about 30 seconds, the young man was able to dislodge the candy.

"We wanted to recognize these two young men for doing a good deed," said Rodgers. Morris and Kay received certificates of appreciation from Thompson.

Two public works employees were also honored Tuesday for assisting an elderly woman they spotted walking her dog on March 13. According to Michael Sams, a foreman with the city Public Works Department, Michael Martin and Cody Skelton stopped to offer help to the woman because she appeared to be having "a hard time walking."

When they approached the woman, she told them that she had an inner ear problem and did not think she could walk back to her home. The two men asked her if she wanted to go to the hospital, and she said that all she needed to do was get to her husband. Martin and Skelton waited with the woman until her husband arrived to take her home.

"What these men did was a noble and good deed," said Sams. "I'm proud to serve with them."

Beck also presented City Clerk Sabrina Wall with a plaque in recognition of her completing the M.Ed. program in city administration and related studies.

Pawn shop owner asks for license fee reduction

Pawn shop owner Michael Burnette asked council members Tuesday for a reduction in his 2008 license fee of $1,200. Burnette paid $200 for the same license last year.

"This is a 600 percent increase. I'm struggling out there trying to make a living," said Burnette.

Councilman Sonny Morris told Burnette that, based on the information that council members have to consider, "it costs the city a lot of money to manage these pawn shops. There's a lot of negative associated with them." Morris said Winder has 10 or 12 pawn shops, and "that's enough."

Burnette's request was denied by a council vote.