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Suspect Arrested in Multi-Area Car Thefts

Savannah-Chatham Metro Police Monday night arrested a suspect in several car thefts after catching up with him at a service station on Ogeechee Road.

Suspect Lemar Neil Robinson, 24, was wanted in connection with car thefts that began Dec. 19 in Effingham County and later occurred in Chatham County and in Bulloch County on Jan. 5. Police say the suspect was dressed as a woman when arrested, but gave no further details on his attire.

The arrest occurred just before 8 p.m. after SCMPD dispatch received a call about a wanted person in a stolen vehicle heading southbound on Ogeechee Road.

Police charged Robinson with theft by conversion, theft by receiving, and numerous other traffic violations. Robinson was transported to the Chatham County Detention Center and will also be held for the Bulloch County Sheriff’s Office.


Carl William Behlen, Jr., 61, of Savannah was born July 7, 1950 in Washington D.C. and spent a life time loving his family and being at home in the great out-doors. He loved hunting and fishing as well as giving his love to his wonderful children and grandchildren. He retired after eighteen years as a district manager with Rent-to-Own and was southern Baptist by faith. He passed away January 6, 2012 surrounded by his loving family.

Mr. Carl Behlen was preceded in death by his parents Carl Sr. and Gladys, his brothers, Larry and Dennis Behlen.

He is survived by his three daughters; Sarah Mae Rowe of Savannah, Holly Behlen of Midway, and Sherry Haynes of Maryland. His four brothers; Ricky Behlen, Ronnie and Robert Moore, and David Dudding. Also his two sisters; Janet Moore as well as Linda Behlen.

A memorial service will be held at the Silk Hope Baptist Church on Tuesday, January 10, 2012 at 11:00 am.

Services by Fairhaven Funeral Home & Crematory, Garden City, GA (912)964-2862

Education, Prisons and Creating a Business Climate Dominate Deal’s ‘State of the State’ Address

Governor Nathan Deal delivered his ‘State of the State’ speech Tuesday night at 7:00 p.m. at a joint session of the Georgia General Assembly, providing insight on what is contained in his budget that will be released Wednesday.

Deal highlighted the dramatic improvement in Georgia’s financial position, including restoring the State’s financial reserves, “now with $328 million in Georgia’s ‘rainy day’ fund. I am committed to continuing to build up this strategic reserve,” Deal said, through working to cut the State budget.

“And, we did it without raising taxes,” he added, reminding listeners that Georgia is one of only eight states with a Triple A bond rating, which :saved Georgia over $11 million last year in bond payment rates.” He also committed to implementing zero-based budgeting in 10% of all State programs in the 2012-2013 budget, “bringing a new level of accountability.”

“But, we have other mountains to climb. Our schools are the front line in our effort to create prosperity,” said the Governor.

Deal’s budget fully funds K-12 enrollment growth projections for the year ahead, he said. And, he is proposing increasing funds for public school systems by $111 million to fund this growth. He is also proposing adding $3.7 million for additional school nurses.

His budget includes $55.8 mil for teacher salaries, based on training and experience, he explained, and increases the pre-k school year by 10 days up to 170 days. “This will begin the process of restoring pre-K teacher salaries,” Deal added.

Another goal is to focus on students achieving reading at grade levels by the completion of the 3rd grade. Research indicates that students that are not on track by the 3rd grade are more level to drop out and end up with criminal backgrounds. He is adding $ 1.6 million in new funding for a Reading Mentors program.

To spur innovation, he is committing $8.7 million for State-chartered special schools. “These schools are key to Georgia’s educational success,” he said. “However, this is not the long-term solution.”

He also addressed the quality of higher education in Georgia. “Our post-secondary institutions must maintain a focus on employability,” he said, “abandoning the ‘ivory tower model’, and focusing on business preparedness.”

The Governor announced a new program called ‘Go Build Georgia,’ aimed at educating students and the public at large about the skilled trades, jobs that pay 27% more than the average Georgian currently earns. “We are on track to replace only one of every four retirees in Georgia,” Deal said.

He announced what he termed three ambitious goals regarding medical education in Georgia, as well. First, he said that it was a priority to have the Georgia Health Sciences University in Augusta to become among the top 50 nationally. Second, he is seeking to create a second Georgia-based cancer institute in addition to the Winship Cancer Institute at Emory University. And, his budget also includes money to fund 400 new residency slots to keep new doctors in the state. “We must insure that no doctor trained in Georgia is forced to leave the state to complete their medical education,” Deal said.

The Governor also said that Georgia has fallen behind many othe states in infrastructure strength due to a lack of investment in the State’s transportation system, and called on the public to support the TSPLOST sales tax.

Regarding the high level of the State’s prison population, Deal said his budget reflects the findings of his Criminal Justice Council, created last year. His budget includes $1.4 million for additional parole officers, providing supervision to released offenders; and $35.2 million for additional prison beds, including conversion of three prisons to substance abuse residential centers. The funds will also include a new youth detention center.

There is also $10 million for the creation of new accountability courts, including drug courts, DUI courts and mental health courts, similar to programs in place in Chatham County. And, he called on churches and non-profit organizations to help with the problems of re-entry into the community.

And, he concluded by talking about improving Georgia’s business environment through tax incentives, and strategic business tax reforms, to attract new jobs.