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GBI investigating Roberta mayor


The GBI says it is investigating several reported clashes between the mayor of Roberta and her family and the city's police.

That comes after a Roberta police officer claimed he was fired filing a compliant after a traffic stop involving the mayor's daughter.

J.T. Ricketson, the special agent in charge of the GBI's Perry office confirmed they are investigating the Mayor Becky Smith.

"We started yesterday, at the request of District Attorney, David Cooke," Ricketson said.

"We are checking into an October traffic stop and the subsequent actions by the Mayor and the officer," Ricketson said. 

He said he couldn't comment further because the investigation is ongoing. 

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Warm December may affect Ga. peach crop


Cooler temperatures are finally coming to Central Georgia, which the folks at Dickey Farms in Musella are happy about.

Right now, the peaches are in the form of tiny buds on the branches.

In order to grow juicy and flavorful for the summertime months, they need to go through a chilling period.

"They come out deformed and they don't grow right. ," explains Robert Dickey.

He says peaches need about 650 to 1000 hours of cold weather under 45 degrees That's about 27 to 40 days between mid-November and February.

However, Dickey says this year's warm December brings up fears from the last time this happened.

"One year back in the 70's, he says, "We had almost a complete failure by not having enough cold weather."

Roberta PD officer claims he was fired for complaint


A Roberta Police officer claims he was fired after filing a complaint against Mayor Becky Smith. Bobby Daniel field a complaint on Dec. 1. He said he filed the complaint for several reasons, including the traffic stop that is linked to this story after the mayor's daughter was pulled over.

The video shows a traffic stop by Crawford County deputy Dennis Ballard. Daniel was called in for backup. That traffic stop was one of the reasons Daniel filed his complaint against the mayor.

He said he was fired the next day for "losing a body camera and a flashlight" eight months earlier.

When he lost the equipment he said he was "never written up or reprimanded."

After several days, Daniel said he was rehired, but "never put back on duty."

Daniel said he was terminated a second time on Dec. 10. When he asked city officials why,, he said they replied, "We didn't have to have a reason."

Seven hurt, five kids ejected in car crash on I-75 in Byron


UPDATE 12/26/15 12:44 P.M.:

Lt. Bryan Hunter with the Byron Police Department says three children are still in critical condition. He said there is no other information available on the other victims at this time.

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UPDATE 12/26 5:15 AM: According to Byron police, all lanes are open on I-75 Northbound. They re-opened shortly after midnight. There is no further information at this time on the cause of the crash or status of the children. 

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Byron businesses to remain closed due to flood


A pair of Byron business owners are frustrated by the response to the rising waters.

The Peach Crossing shopping center on Highway 49 is currently underwater.

Property owner Iyad Alhusein and his business partner say they improved drainage behind the parking lot to avoid a situation like this.

Weather causing black rot in pecan crop


Many pecan growers in Fort Valley say the quantity of nuts this year was good, but one pecan shelling company says the quality of some of the pecans is low because of the weather.

Rick Sasnett is the owner of Sasnett Fruits and Nuts.

"Cracking and shelling is the main part of the business right here," Sasnett said, "We do sell a few of our nuts right here that we crack and shell."

The company carries pecans for growers and the public.

Lately, Sasnett says his growers in South Georgia, from Cordele down to the Florida line, are seeing black rot.

He says wet weather combined with the Georgia heat may be the reason why.

"They said that their quality was not quite as good. The percentage of meat was down from the low 50s to the high 40s," said Sasnett.

Fort Valley Police increasing patrols for holidays


James Khoury is the owner of Khoury's menswear in downtown Fort Valley.

He says while the holidays bring in more shoppers, some of them can be dishonest.

"This is our busy season of the year. It's also a busy time for the shoplifters," said Khoury.

To help, the Fort Valley Police Department is sending out more officers to patrol around homes and retail businesses during the holiday season.

"We've had a program such as this in place for a number of years. What has happened is over the years, we've refined it," said Police Chief Lawrence Spurgeon, "We've learned what worked and what didn't work."

Spurgeon says now the patrols include detectives dressed in plain clothes and using unmarked vehicles.

He says the city, like many others, sees more robberies and burglaries during the last two months of the year.