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Dodge Sheriff Sorry for Early-Release Error

The Dodge County sheriff says he's sorry for a clerical error by his staff that let an infant's killer go free a year early.

Tim Vaughn, District Attorney of the Oconee Judicial Circuit said Monday that a woman convicted of killing a Dodge County infant she was babysitting was released from prison one year early due to the clerical error.

In December 2009, Amy Rogers Jones was convicted of killing Jaci Rogers. A GBI investigator called it a classic "shaken baby" case.

Amy Rogers Jones could have faced up to seven years in prison. But Judge Sarah Wall gave her a five-year sentence, with at least two in prison. She was ordered to report to custody on Jan. 4, 2010.

Vaughn says that's where the error happened.

Lady Royals Softball Coach Steps Down

Christie Bergh, who has coached the Lady Royals softball team for the past three seasons, resigned last week. 

Bergh, who is expecting her first child in July, compiled a 59-30 record highlighted by this year's team advancing to the Sweet 16 of the AA state playoffs. 

Reschedule Dates for BCHS Drama Department show, High School Basketball Game

The BCHS Drama Department show "Broadway Best's" originally scheduled for January 10 has been moved to January 27. 

Start time is 6 p.m. in the high school auditorium. 

The Bleckley-East Laurens High School basketball game scheduled for January 11 has been moved to Febuary 12 at East Laurens.

Cochran Man In Serious Condition After Curtains Catch Fire

A man suffered severe burns and was airlifted to the Augusta Burn Center Wednesday morning after a space heater set curtains on fire at his Cochran home.

Cochran-Bleckley County Fire Chief Glenn Lord says curtains caught on fire around 4:30 a.m. at Marshall Johnson's home. That's at 1073 Highway 87 North.

Lord says the curtains fell on a space heater in Johnson's daughter's room, and he ran in to grab them and try to throw them in the bathtub. He said there was little damage to the home, other than the curtains.

He says Johnson was burned on most of his body from the chest down, and had to be airlifted to the Augusta Burn Center.

Olena Scarboro, spokeswoman for the burn center, says Johnson is in serious condition.

Hawkinsville Fire Victims Spend Holiday with Family

The two teenagers airlifted to Augusta Burn Center after a house fire in Hawkinsville earlier this month are doing well.

That's according to their mother, Lori Howard.

Howard says 16-year-old Doug Howard and his younger sister, Kimberly, are now being treated at Shriners Hospital for Children in Ohio.

She says friends and family visited the teens over the holiday.

She's expecting her son, Doug, to return home in about two weeks, but there's no word, so far, on when Kimberly will be released from the hospital.

The kids are both being treated for third-degree burns.

Hawkinsville High School is organizing a school drive to help the family out. The school is collecting furnishings, food, clothing, bedding, household goods, and anything a family would need to start over.

For more information on how you can help or to donate, you can contact the school at 478-783-7210.

Hawkinsville Writer Profiles Pulaski People, History

Central Georgia writer and journalist Sam Crenshaw says for him, writing is all about sharing memories. He puts Pulaski County's stories to paper each week to preserve its history.

Crenshaw, who was born in Hawkinsville in 1938 and raised there, began writing a weekly column for the town's Hawkinsville Dispatch and News nearly ten years ago. He writes about everything from well-known Pulaski people to the muddy Ocmulgee River.

"Not everybody can say that their town grew up literally around the river, our town did," Crenshaw said.

He says one of his favorite assignments is writing about people in his feature column "Pulaski profiles."

"It's almost like taking a history course on our community," Crenshaw said. 

Crenshaw transformed his passion for writing from a hobby into a job after he retired from a career as a salesman.

Cochran Family Hosts Christmas Light Extravaganza

Hundreds of thousands of bulbs light up the Tripp family's home in Cochran every Christmas season and the display has become a holiday destination for thousands of Georgians.

"One...two...three," says Joey Tripp on Thursday night as he snaps one of the thousands of photographs he'll take this year of children on Santa's knee.

He says when he was growing up, impressive exhibits like the one on display at his childhood home weren't part of the family's tradition.

But things changed when he was diagnosed with bone cancer at the age of 10. Doctors told Tripp's family he had only months to live.

"During my cancer battle Christmas was coming up," says Tripp. "I asked my Dad, Dad I want to see the Christmas lights. And that Christmas, he made my Christmas wish come true."

Now Joey Tripp is 26 years old and his cancer has been in remission since 2001.

But the legacy of that Christmas about fifteen years ago continues today.