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Happy New Year! See highlights from 2014

Pike County made some long-awaited strides forward in 2014 as an animal control ordinance was passed in March, a facility for dangerous and vicious dogs was completed in November, the Crapemyrtle Garden Club’s water fountain on Highway 19 south was installed, a STEM lab for PCHS students was put into use and two murals featuring compilations of local canning labels were painted to promote the Pike Pathways app. See an entire section highlighting the top stories of 2014 in this week’s Journal Reporter. Several high profile arrests were made in 2014, including the Oct. 15 arrest of Concord mayor and Molena police chief Jim Roberts. He was investigated by the GBI and charged with sodomy solicitation of juveniles under 17, theft by conversion, violation of oath of office and making false writings. A controversial proposed housing development on Hughley Road in Zebulon was approved by Zebulon in August after it was sued regarding prior approval of plans for the development. The Pike Concerned Citizens Council developed and filed an injunction to try to prevent developer Brent Scarborough from placing a total of 450 houses and multi-family apartments on a 335-acre parcel of land across from the middle school. A shocking April 9 murder in Meansville killed one man and severely injured another when alleged gang members opened fire during a rumored drug deal gone wrong in front of a foreclosed home on Ray Drive several miles off Highway 19 south. The GBI and Pike sheriff’s office arrested three suspects, Gregory Twymon, 23, and Mylidah Harris, 25, of Barnesville and Thaddeus Holmes of Thomaston. They will appear in court to face multiple charges ‘“ including felony murder ‘“ in 2015. Pike County investigators arrested Thomas Montgomery, 39, in connection with several disruptive bomb threat calls in the county. He was sentenced to prison time for making bomb threats against the courthouse in Bartow County and was imprisoned from 2004 to 2008. Investigators believe he was also responsible for many bomb threats at the Pike and Upson County school systems in 2014. Pike bundled up against record-breaking cold weather early in 2014 ‘“ including snow and ice storms ‘“ and many residents experienced what was dubbed the ‘˜Snowpocalypse’ when freezing conditions shut down interstates and roads in Atlanta, preventing commuters from returning home. Vehicles ran out of gas, snarling traffic on major thoroughfares. Many spent the night in retail stores, emergency shelters or in their vehicles. Pike voters approved of the Nov. 4 liquor by the drink referendum by a 60% to 40% of votes. Currently, there is only one restaurant ‘“ Barnstormer’s Grill ‘“ established in the county that is not in one of Pike’s five cities. Commissioners must draft and approve an alcohol ordinance before the establishment may sell liquor drinks. Pike became one of a limited number of communities to be recognized as the home of a World Series champion. Citizens celebrated Hunter Strickland’s success by declaring Dec. 14 as Hunter Strickland Day in Pike. The parade featured around 90 floats and entries and he was presented with the key to the city of Zebulon. His jersey was also retired at PCHS and he stayed to sign hundreds of autographs at the courthouse.

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