Activist says shooters sought him out

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James "Butch" Palmer was using some angry rhetoric last week.

Even more so than usual.

The founder of HONGKONG -- Harrisburg Organization Networking for Gentrification to Keep Our Neighborhood from becoming a Ghetto -- says two hooded teenagers fired pistols at his house early Jan. 18 after the candlelight vigil for shooting victim Daniel McGee , and he believes they targeted him because of his stated goal of running "trash" out of the neighborhood.

"This wasn't randomly. This was selectively," Mr. Palmer said. "People like that, even if they are minors, need to die, and it needs to be bloody."

He said he watched through a window as the teens took aim and fired at his Tuttle Street home. He said he heard three or four shots while crouching low and trying to find the shotgun he usually keeps by the front door.

Mr. Palmer said he heard a thud during the shooting, but he didn't realize his house had been struck until the next morning, when he saw that a bullet had gone through an outside wall, striking a piece of furniture and box with a Cadillac tail fin part in it.

According to a police report, a deputy found bullet tips on the floor of the house and on the hood of an undamaged vehicle, and across the street he collected six .25- caliber shell casings and one 9 mm shell casing.

Mr. Palmer, a 49-year-old ex-hairdresser, formed his splinter group from the neighborhood association in 2007. On his Web site and in interviews, he's called people roaches, riffraff, parasites, crack whores and welfare queens, causing him to be both loved and loathed in Harrisburg.

Later on the day of the shooting, Harrisburg-West End Neighborhood Association President Iain Crawford said, a homeowner who's active in his and Mr. Palmer's groups asked him to hold a news conference declaring that Harrisburg isn't going to tolerate this stuff anymore. Mr. Crawford declined, opting to let the sheriff's office investigate first.

"I think it would just edge people on more," he said, though he did send out a mass e-mail alerting people to what happened.

AND SO IT BEGINS: Since seven Augusta Commission members gave Limelight Cafe back its Sunday alcohol sales licence -- through a circulated letter, not a vote in an open meeting -- three bars have contacted the Licence and Inspection Department asking if they can sell on Sundays, too, Director Rob Sherman said.

Two have called, and another, Finish Line Cafe, wrote a letter and is on Monday's Public Services committee meeting agenda.

Finish Line lost its Sunday license because only 35 percent of its revenue came from food, and now its owner, Robert Prescott III , wants the same treatment Limelite Cafe got.

Under state law, 50 percent or more of a business's sales must come from food if it wants to serve alcohol on Sundays. Limelight had only 23 percent, but its attorney, Ben Allen , got commissioners to sign a letter authorizing a probationary license in time for the NFL playoffs.

TAKE THIS HANDOUT AND SHOVE IT: Mayor Deke Copenhaver has been trying to proceed with refined dignity in his efforts to route some of President Obama's proposed $825 billion in economic stimulus funds to Augusta. But how he's going about it is drawing heat from commissioners at both ends of the ideological spectrum.

Commissioner Betty Beard has asked why projects cut from the current special purpose local option sales tax list aren't being compiled into a request for stimulus funds. Mr. Copenhaver points to the bloated, poorly received document by the U.S. Conference of Mayors that included $4.8 million for a polar bear exhibit.

At Thursday's meeting, the mayor asked commissioners to get behind the National League of Cities' and the Georgia Municipal Association's lobbying efforts to have the stimulus money sent directly to cities.

Joe Bowles told him it's a mistake for the board to support borrowing from future generations.

"I think by voting for this, we're saying to the federal government, go ahead and print money," Mr. Bowles said.

A WARM-UP PITCH: On Thursday, Augusta-Richmond County Coliseum Authority member Johnny Hensley gave what might have been his most fervent pitch yet to spend $39,000 on ads in Atlanta and Nashville, Tenn., newspapers geared directly to megastar artists.

Speaking at an Entertainment/Marketing Committee meeting that didn't have a quorum, Mr. Hensley said that by his calculations, the civic center complex loses about $39,000 every 12 days. If that same amount draws even one of the names on his ads to the James Brown Arena, "the floodgates will open," he said.

Mr. Hensley plans to ask the full authority Tuesday to authorize him to spend the money. Some feedback he got Thursday might indicate what he's up against.

Member Booker Roberson said he's concerned the artists listed on the Nashville ad might cause people to think Augusta only wants to see white country artists.

Mr. Hensley said black Nashville residents understand those are the top acts in their city.

Kayla Ott , the marketing director for civic center complex management company Global Spectrum, said that though Widespread Panic would likely sell out in Augusta, some of the other names on the Atlanta ad play 20,000-seat arenas with ticket prices that this market can't bear.

"It's just a very different way of thinking," Ms. Ott said.

"Bingo!" Mr. Hensley replied.

GOODBYE, FRAN: Fran Stewart , a community activist in Augusta for more than two decades and an advocate for beautification, is leaving for Lake Oconee later this week.

Mrs. Stewart said she and her husband, Charles , wanted to be closer to their two sons and five grandchildren in Atlanta. They found a house in Del Webb, a 55-and-older resort community in Greene County.

A retired nurse, Mrs. Stewart became president of the Brookfield Neighborhood Association in 1988, was appointed to the Augusta Canal Authority in 1999 and formed the West Augusta Alliance -- neighborhoods banded together to lobby the Augusta Commission -- in 2004.

Her lasting mark on the city is the popular Brookfield Park, where a playground is named for her.

She spent 15 years petitioning the Richmond County Commission and then the consolidated government until the park got built with $1.13 million in sales-tax funds and opened in 2003.

"What impressed me about Fran," former Mayor Bob Young said in an e-mail, "was that every time she brought you a problem -- and she brought many -- she would bring a potential solution. Sorry to hear she's leaving."

Comments (46) Add comment
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SargentMidTown
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SargentMidTown 01/25/09 - 03:00 am
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Thank goodness for the stand

Thank goodness for the stand your own grown law. It is the most important piece of legislation that has been done in the past decade. All law abiding citizens need a gun permit to make an "equal plying field" with criminals.

Cheech1
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Cheech1 01/25/09 - 03:38 am
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Butch, keep it going! Don't

Butch, keep it going! Don't give up the good fight.

justus4
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justus4 01/25/09 - 05:41 am
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Mr Palmer should not be
Unpublished

Mr Palmer should not be talking tough to the "trash" in that neighborhood. That approach won't work with these young guys. Most are extremely loose cannons (without a clue about death)that require a carrot & stick agreement or some give & take. You will not scare them away or kill them all. Its a terrible situation being shot at in your home, but try a creative approach and lower the tough talk.

politicallyNcorrect1
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politicallyNcorrect1 01/25/09 - 09:02 am
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Butch..This assualt pointed

Butch..This assualt pointed out a major mistake in your planning.(quote)trying to find the shotgun he usually keeps by the front door.(unquote) From this day forward you need to remove words like, trying, usually. From this day forward, you better KNOW where your firearm is & make sure it's no more than several feet at ANY given time. A firearm is useless if you don't know it location or can not get it in hand QUICKLY when needed. This was your wake up call & the call is saying this is not a game of words anymore. The next time could possibly be your LAST time, if your not prepared!>

curly123053
4969
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curly123053 01/25/09 - 10:11 am
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I am behind Mr. Palmer all

I am behind Mr. Palmer all the way....no need to appease the pieces of trash in the neighborhood as justus would do. If they are old enough to shoot at you they are olod enough to have their lights put out forever.

BakersfieldCityLimits
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BakersfieldCityLimits 01/25/09 - 10:34 am
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All problems that will be

All problems that will be solved by President Obama, sit back and relax, he will save us all.

curly123053
4969
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curly123053 01/25/09 - 10:35 am
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I am just sitting back and

I am just sitting back and waiting.....but....not holding my breath.

SandyK2005
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SandyK2005 01/25/09 - 11:44 am
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"On his Web site and in

"On his Web site and in interviews, he's called people roaches, riffraff, parasites, crack whores and welfare queens, causing him to be both loved and loathed in Harrisburg." ----- Oh, Homer Simpson S-M-A-R-T. Even baiting others to "come after him", like it's some Iraq war. This is exactly the type of attitude Augusta doesn't need, as it's just more headaches for cops. You call if there's trouble. You try to be a POSITIVE influence. You show others you're a good, WISE, and thoughtful CITIZEN by example. Clint Eastwood is Hollywood. In real life to clean up a neighborhood is a community effort, with law enforcement and residents united to clean it up. Not discredit each by being some type of vigilante.

SargentMidTown
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SargentMidTown 01/25/09 - 12:19 pm
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SandyK2005 ....Yoo..brains a

SandyK2005 ....Yoo..brains a hood watch be mate of a group of vigilantes. That be it be best. Where yo skank as live ? Why you don't live in Harrisburg? Why you commet on erybody who be postin..what you know about the skreet ?

pofwe
5
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pofwe 01/25/09 - 01:37 pm
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SandyK, you are full of

SandyK, you are full of malarkey. Let someone shoot at your abode and see if you remain passive, (probably). Fight fire w/fire. Sarge, I believe you need more guns, ammo, personnel, police protection, etc ... in the Harrisburg neighborhood that has literally gone to the dogs since section 8.

SandyK2005
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SandyK2005 01/25/09 - 04:51 pm
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Let's see, my neighborhood

Let's see, my neighborhood has Section 8 and some misfit kids. But despite everything people aren't shooting each other. Why? Because if there's an issue you try to talk; you don't go to your neighbor and drop your drawers and show your real brain. You're just inviting trouble. Smart folks know when and how to use their brain cells, not their penises. Whatever happens to your "association", it's nobody else's fault, especially acting just as bad as who you criticize. No maturity; no "gentrification"; and certainly no respect. The later is what you need to deal with the kids, not more lip and telling the world that you live in some paranoid bunker, even. It's embarrassing to even watch you guys, who claim to be such big time gun owners and all, but living terrified even in your OWN HOME. It's no wonder why you have such riffraff, they feel AT HOME that you are terrified.

SargentMidTown
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SargentMidTown 01/25/09 - 04:56 pm
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SandyK2005 ..I knew a person

SandyK2005 ..I knew a person who sounded just like you. They found her body in a dumpster.

curly123053
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curly123053 01/25/09 - 05:14 pm
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LOLOLO......Sandy needs to

LOLOLO......Sandy needs to take herself back up north withb the rest of them.

SargentMidTown
8
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SargentMidTown 01/25/09 - 05:14 pm
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"especially acting just as

"especially acting just as bad as who you criticize. No maturity; no "gentrification"; and certainly no respect" you sound like the kind who will turn a blind eye to dope dealing on your street. One day you might wake to find that you are in total chaos. I sincerely hope that they don't gang rape, kill and put you too in a dumpster like they did Donna. What have you got against gentrification?
WOULD YOU PREFER TO LIVE IN A GHETTO?

SandyK2005
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SandyK2005 01/25/09 - 05:30 pm
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You guys are truly

You guys are truly embarrassing. They didn't need a gun, they should've brought a camera. As the comedy of bad talking "I'm a big man" types quivering in their own homes (despite it being a bunker -- to keep others out, or them in??) is really hilarious. You're even advertizing not only your Keystone Kops approach, but that you're so scared. You lose street cred guys. That means your efforts will harder to complete. Guns will never clean up a neighborhood itself.

SargentMidTown
8
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SargentMidTown 01/25/09 - 06:14 pm
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SandyK2005 "You lose street

SandyK2005 "You lose street cred guys" your reference to the street speaks volumes. I bet that you are well connected to "steet" or "skreet" "social" elements.

SandyK2005
1
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SandyK2005 01/25/09 - 06:22 pm
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Unlike you, Middie, my dad

Unlike you, Middie, my dad has been a cop in Augusta for 30 years. Please, keep your Homer Simpson assumptions to yourself.

SargentMidTown
8
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SargentMidTown 01/25/09 - 06:23 pm
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Listen to SandyK2005 He or

Listen to SandyK2005 He or she is obviously not what decent people would want in a decent neighbourhood. Riff raff is a widespread problem in contemporary urbane culture. If it it not kept in check then all of the decent people will leave and nothing is left but a trashy ghetto/project culture.

SargentMidTown
8
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SargentMidTown 01/25/09 - 06:31 pm
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SandyK2005 ..I am sorry for

SandyK2005 ..I am sorry for your father to have invested so much into you and now you have turned out so common. Even in the best of families there are problem children. I bet that he is a great guy too. Maybe God will change your life. Prehaps it is your calling to move into Cheery Tree Crossing and be a "social worker"

SandyK2005
1
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SandyK2005 01/25/09 - 06:40 pm
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SandyK2005
1
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SandyK2005 01/25/09 - 06:48 pm
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curly123053
4969
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curly123053 01/25/09 - 06:50 pm
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Sandy...are you on your 1st 6

Sandy...are you on your 1st 6 pack or 1st 12 pack?

SandyK2005
1
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SandyK2005 01/25/09 - 07:11 pm
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Our Middie heading this

Our Middie heading this vigilante police force....
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OpVbBH9Ip8I

SargentMidTown
8
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SargentMidTown 01/25/09 - 07:35 pm
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curly123053 Two words can sum

curly123053 Two words can sum up SandyK2005 ....penis envy

SargentMidTown
8
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SargentMidTown 01/25/09 - 07:38 pm
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politicallyncorrect I agree

politicallyncorrect I agree with you.

SandyK2005
1
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SandyK2005 01/25/09 - 07:38 pm
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Our Middie, the ever grammar

Our Middie, the ever grammar nazi, at being a ruler of this Queen's Navee ...
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TpJ_IAUs8nI

TakeAstand
13
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TakeAstand 01/25/09 - 07:57 pm
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Too bad Mr. Palmer didn't

Too bad Mr. Palmer didn't find that shotgun in time, someones baby boy or not, I have no sympathy for these [filtered word]'s!!!! and lmaoooo curly, I think you hit the nail on the head!!!

mable8
2
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mable8 01/25/09 - 08:38 pm
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What's with all the

What's with all the highlighting of the names in this article? And, as for you, "Butch," promoting a BLOODY neighborhood feud will not resolve anything. And, as you were "peeking out the window" and watching the thugs take aim at your house, why weren't you on the phone then calling the police? Seems like you gave them plenty of time to get away!

FallingLeaves
27
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FallingLeaves 01/25/09 - 08:56 pm
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Is Sargent Palmer

Is Sargent Palmer surprised??? This is what they do! I'm just surprised it didn't happen sooner. They retaliate. Period. And if they don't shoot you, they sometimes find more subtle things to do that will destroy you one way or another and you might never even know why. Ways that are more deadly and torturous than getting shot. Harassment, slander, killing your pets, going after family members trying to get them involved in their "activities" or making things up, to get you or your loved ones in trouble with the law...use your imagination, it's probably been done in the local drug wars between law-abiders and the local drug-trafficking network. People that are dependent on drugs or drug money are not reasonable people. BTW The drug wars have been in 30906 (THE SUBURBS) for at least 10 years now. Why so slow recognizing it?

SandyK2005
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SandyK2005 01/25/09 - 08:59 pm
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"why weren't you on the phone

"why weren't you on the phone then calling the police?" ---- Precisely. BTW, were there any other witnesses? Because all those rounds (7 casings outside even) would've woke up the neighborhood in bunkers or not. If he didn't call the police, his neighbors would've (and if they didn't, he has more problems than just thugs, and probably explains why he's in the fix he's in).

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