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Multiple storage units burglarized

A Georgia man is facing 21 counts of burglary after his female accomplice told police she had been with him the night of the burglaries.

Sweetwater Police Officer Jarren Turpeinen said he was flagged down by an employee of American Self Storage just before 10 a.m. Sept. 4 who told him multiple storage units had been broken into.

Turpeinen said he talked the business owner and property manager who told him camera footage from 4:19 a.m. that day showed a man who typed in random numbers on the entrance keyboard until, amazingly, on only his 20th try, he opened the gate.

The camera footage showed the man and a woman pull up to the gate in a white Chevrolet Avalanche. Using the vehicle as a starting point, Turpeinen was able to find out the truck came from Walker County, Georgia.

Turpeinen said the Walker County Sheriff’s Office was contacted and the man was identified as Jared Allen Ball. Turpeinen then contacted the owner of the truck and she said it was her grandson who had borrowed the vehicle a few days earlier. She also said the woman was Ivy Kaiser.

A deputy in Walker County contacted Kaiser and she admitted it was her and Ball at the storage place before Sept. 4 and that she was only with him the first night when they stole an air compressor and some tools.

Overall, Turpeinen said Ball allegedly took $15,198 worth of items from the storage units.

Ball, 22, Veeler Road, LaFayette, Georgia, is facing 21 charges of burglary when he is brought to Tennessee.

Kaiser, 34, Highway 151, LayFayette, Georgia, is facing five charges of burglary.

Arwood working at Sweetwater High as part of SkillBridge program

Sweetwater High School has an active member of the military working as an intern as part of the SkillBridge program.

The SkillBridge program allows active duty military personnel to serve their last six months of service as an intern in various locations to strengthen and develop workforce skills necessary for acquiring a career upon completion of their service.

“The SkillBridge program allows him the opportunity to transition back into society or civilian life and get his feet on the ground,” said Sweetwater High School Principal Eric Weaver. “He is receiving active duty pay for the time that he is here, which is until January. You can do this for up to 180 days and it will allow him to decide if he wants to be a teacher or a coach.”

Eli Arwood completed his first week at Sweetwater High School last week and he has been participating in a variety of jobs at the school.

“So far I have been learning the ropes and learning all kinds of stuff,” Arwood said. “I’ve been helping out in the office, I’d run errands for the school, letting everyone know who I am so everyone in the school can get adjusted before I start helping out in the classrooms, participated in lunch duty, and in the afternoons I’ve been helping out with varsity athletics.”

Arwood stated that everything has been going great, so far, and is grateful for the SkillBridge program.

“Things have been a lot smoother than I thought it would be,” Arwood stated.

“Arwood is now home and he gets to be home for five months with his mother, father and grandparents. He gets to watch his niece play soccer that he wouldn’t get to watch otherwise,” Weaver added. “That is the biggest thing and it hasn’t even hit him yet that he is home and he has time to prepare himself for whatever is coming next in his life.”

Arwood stated he learned about the program through a “side conversation” he had with another member in his command.

“He stated that he had heard about it from somebody and he is getting out a year after me, so I did a little bit of research and found they had the ‘TAPS class,’ which is Transitional Assistance Program, so I went through that, which you can take, I believe 18 months before you separate, and I asked more questions through that,” Arwood said. “I got set up with the program manager for my base and we started talking about it and looking at companies that were already a part of the program. What Coach Weaver did for me was get Sweetwater enrolled into the program as well so that I can participate here at the school through that program.”

Weaver noted the Arwood family is known for their abilities in football in Sweetwater and go back four to five generations.

“I have coached Arwood and had him in class and we have kept in touch,” Weaver said. “He’s been all over the world with the Navy and we are tickled to death to have him back. Finding people who want to stay in the community is harder than ever and I just want him to be successful and have an opportunity at Sweetwater High School.”

Weaver had known of similar programs in the military but learned of the SkillBridge program after being contacted by Arwood.

“We applied through the Department of Defense and based on the application that we did we made basically a syllabus to say what he will do and what he is expected to do,” Weaver stated. “He can leave at anytime or I could fire him if I needed to and he would report back to duty, however I don’t think that will happen because he is doing such an amazing job. It is really hard to find anybody to work and you know if they are coming from the military then they have a work ethic and standards.”

Arwood believes this program is great for helping military personnel set a career in mind prior to the end of their service.

“Once you get out you may have a month of still getting paid so you only get that month to figure everything out,” Arwood expressed. “They are going to work you until your last day, so you don’t really have a lot of time to think about everything like where you are going to go, finding a house, so this is a huge benefit to me as far as transition time and getting to see family that I haven’t really seen in years. Sweetwater is a great town with a great community and when you go away from it you start to appreciate it more and it is good to be back here.”

Arwood is currently looking into different avenues for his career after leaving the military.

“I had a lot of good mentors and leadership growing up and as you get older you kind of start to think about giving back and what you want for the next generation,” Arwood said. “There is definitely a draw to being a mentor and a coach and giving back to the next generation because that is what this is all about.”

Arwood and Weaver would like for more military personnel to learn about the SkillBridge program.

“I heard about it in January or February of this past year and by the time I left I’d known probably six or seven other people who were applying for the program just in that short time frame, so it is becoming more prevalent especially with this transition program,” Arwood said. “I would say there are a lot of people that don’t know about it and I think this program is a huge benefit. There are still certain requirements that you have to meet and, for example, my command could call me back if they needed me or they could have denied it depending on operational requirements.”

Arwood has served in the Navy since 2014 and worked, most recently, in the underwater construction team for the Navy.

“My current goals are getting re-established into my community, I want to finish my degree, and by the end of my time here my plan is to have a dead set thing where I know that in February I’ll be starting A, B or C and that is what I’m doing,” Arwood expressed.

Applications open for Leadership Monroe program

The Monroe County Chamber of Commerce is currently accepting applications for its Leadership Monroe educational course.

Leadership Monroe is a nine month program with class days being on the third Thursday of each month.

“The class members spend each date moving to different locations within Monroe County that coincide with that day’s theme,” Chamber President Brandy Gentry said. “We have different class days like state government, which is an overnight stay in Nashville and we meet with our legislators, museums, etc, then we have have county government, city government, education, health care, agriculture, tourism, economic development and community service which is with our non-profit organizations.”

Gentry believes this is a good way for people to see the work that goes on behind the scenes.

“You might get to see a new wing at the hospital that is just now getting built or get to see equipment you haven’t used or experience something that you haven’t before, so it gives you an inside view of Monroe County,” Gentry expressed. “On city and government day you get to see what makes us different and even see things you didn’t know or understand.”

The number of available spaces is limited to around 15 people for the Leadership Monroe class.

“This is important for people who are interested because you get to learn more about Monroe County and where you live,” she said. “We are trying to shape leaders in Monroe County so they network primarily within the group and they get to know each other better. We feel like leaders cannot be good leaders without knowing what assets we have in the county, the assets we are lacking in the county and just being able to come together with another group of people to have visions, class projects together and several lessons about exploring themselves and how they can be the best leaders.”

Another benefit to participating in Leadership Monroe is that interested people can see how fast things change.

“You may think you know how an organization works or they think they know how somebody operates or the details of them, they will learn that things change rapidly just like everything else in the world,” she noted.

The program has been around in Monroe County for years. Though they don’t know exactly how many years the program has been in place, Gentry has found records that date back to the 1970s.

The cost to participate in the program is $250 and people can sign up for the class by visiting their website at monroecountychamber.org/leadership- monroe

“This is a valuable program that we offer, so we are really excited to do this here at the chamber of commerce,” Gentry expressed. “We think this is one of our biggest assets.”

Archer to be honored for pandemic assistance

Volunteering in the local neighborhoods has been considered part of the foundation to getting through the COVID-19 pandemic and Kenneth Archer is being honored for offering his services to help the people of Monroe County.

He used his healthcare skills to administer vaccines to the community in a time where volunteers were desperately needed and, because of his actions, Archer has been chosen as the 2021 Donald M. Lorton Community First Award Honoree by Cleveland State Community College.

Archer is a retired pharmacist who worked in his family’s pharmacy for almost 40 years. He attended the University of Tennessee in Knoxville for pre-pharmacy, then graduated fifth in his class at the University of Tennessee Pharmacy School in Memphis.

His family’s pharmacy has served Monroe County for decades and he knows what the community needs in a time of care.

As vaccines started to roll out, the Monroe County Health Department saw the need for volunteers to help administer the vaccines. Archer decided to take his skills out of retirement and put them to a much needed use.

He worked the front lines for three months and, in that time, he saw his community go from distressed to stable as more people received the vaccine.

“I volunteered to assist the Monroe County Health Department administer COVID-19 vaccines because I saw a great need and I possessed the skill set to do such,” stated Archer. “Volunteerism has always been a part of my giving back to society, my country and my God for all the many blessings I have received in my life, and acknowledging my efforts for these endeavors is greatly appreciated.”

Colleagues who worked alongside Archer at the Monroe County Health Department said his work was a big help to their efforts, especially his experience in pharmacy. According to Monroe County Health Department Director Teresa Harrill, he was the only volunteer in the state that is a retired pharmacist.

Being raised in Sweetwater, Archer knows the importance of lending a hand in a small community. He believes that taking care of others in local communities should be a first priority and he has done so by participating in numerous mission trips both in America and abroad.

Even though Archer is retired and not taking mission trips these days, he saw his efforts with the health department as his duty to give back.

“I am a retired pharmacist so volunteering to administer the COVID-19 vaccine did not affect my job. On the other hand, it became my job,” he explained. “The blessings I received from working with the team at the health department and the great appreciation from the patients receiving the vaccine made it very easy to show up for work daily.”The award Archer is receiving was named after Donald M. Lorton, the first winner of the Community First Awards for Volunteer Service in 2016, along with Nancy Casson. After Lorton’s passing in 2018, the college chose to honor him by naming the award in his memory.

Lorton was a long-time member of the CSCC Foundation in addition to numerous other community organizations.

Archer will be honored at the Community First Awards Gala hosted by Cleveland State Community College this month at the Barn at Faith Farms in Athens.

To purchase a ticket or for more information, contact the Foundation office at (423) 614-8700. Tickets for the gala are currently on sale online at mycs.cc/communityfirst

All proceeds from the event will go to the CSCC Foundation Annual Campaign.