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Early voting underway in District 146 race

125 people cast ballots Monday on the first day of early voting in the House District 146 race.

Shaw Blackmon, Kelly Burke, and Larry Walker III want to succeed Larry O'Neal. O'Neal stepped down to take a judgeship.

Early voting is at the Houston County Board of Elections Office on Main Street in Perry this week from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Next week, voters can cast ballots at the Board of Elections Office from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday, June 29 through Thursday, July 2.

Election day is Tuesday, July 14.

New Houston County development will make voting easier

The Old Houston Mall is getting a major overhaul.

Thanks to a partnership between county and city leaders, part of the renovated space will become a new voting precinct. Those involved hope this will make voting easier.

Part of the old mall is serving a new purpose.

"Move it toward a mega-precinct," says Andy Holland with the Houston County Board of Elections.

The new location will allow voters to go to the same place to vote in both city and county elections.

"We like the idea of having the voters only have to go to one place," he says. "After these changes are adopted, everybody above Watson Boulevard, if you vote at the mall, that's going to be your precinct for all elections."

The space was originally bought by Houston Healthcare to use exclusively by the hospital, but it expanded to serve more of Houston County.

Warner Robins church raises money with afternoon tea

All Saints Episcopal Church in Warner Robins is keeping its fundraising tradition alive for the 18th year.

The church hosted its annual English afternoon tea fundraiser Sunday. Those who attended enjoyed the tastes of England.

The money raised will go towards buying backpacks and school supplies for students at Westside Elementary School, along with other local outreach projects.

"We like to serve four sorts of sandwiches, traditional things like sausage rolls, cheese straws, scones, and a variety of sweets," Anne Sanders, the chair of the fundraiser said.

Guests were also able to sample three different kinds of English tea. Sanders has organized the event for many years and believes it is so successful because it's so different from other fundraisers.

Houston Co. D.A. to seek death penalty in 1994 murder case

A Houston County district attorney is seeking the death penalty on Homer Ridley III, the man accused of murdering a Warner Robins woman in December 1994.

According to a news release, George Hartwig, the Houston County district attorney for the Judicial Circuit, has filed notice of intention to seek the death penalty and notice of statutory aggravating circumstances on Ridley.

Ridley was indicted by a Houston County grand jury on May 19, 2015. Ridley is being charged with one count of malice murder and two counts of felony murder.

Ridley is accused of drowning her in a bathtub while her wrists and ankles were bound, according to the indictment.

Former WRALL vice president facing more charges

New charges have been brought against the former president of the Warner Robins American Little League.

The Houston County Sheriff's Office says Joseph Stella now faces seven counts of fiduciary theft. Police say those charges involve as much as $6,500 missing from the league's cash fund.

Captain Jon Holland said they've found evidence Stella used the money for personal gain. Last week, Stella was charged with 26 counts of felony theft by taking.

That was for alleged unauthorized purchases he made, including items bought for his home and a renovation project. The league's former vice president Darin McDowell also faces six theft-by-taking charges in the case.

Stella's being held without bond in the Houston County jail.

Houston Co budget proposal shows employee pay raise

Houston County is looking at a proposed $110 million budget for the next fiscal year.

That is about $150,000 more than the current year.

The proposed general fund is about $2 million more than it is now at $54 million.

Commissioner Chairman Tommy Stalnaker says Fiscal Year 2016 will include a pay raise for county employees.

"We are going to give the employees a three percent cost of living raise, and that is directly attributed to the cost savings the employees in the departments have created, not only in the current fiscal year, but in previous fiscal years that we're able to do that."

He also notes a couple of large-scale projects that can be expected.

Warner Robins man accused of domestic violence

Houston County Sheriff deputies arrested a man Tuesday night around 7:15 after he was allegedly involved in a domestic dispute with his wife.

According to a news release, Keith Hanson locked himself in his home with an assault rifle.

Deputies learned that Hanson had fought with his wife, and she had injuries to her head, face and neck. Along with the GBI and Warner Robins Police Department, deputies made it into the home and arrest Hanson accordingly, the release states.

He faces aggravated assault and aggravated battery charges. Other charges are also pending, according to the release.

Anyone with information on this case can call Sgt. Pat Lange or Lt. Dave Carrick at (478) 542-2080 or (478) 542-2085.