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Update on Telfair County’s Classic-Car Craigslist Killing: The Former Coroner Speaks Up, No Gun Found, Family Mostly Mum, No New Arrests

By Dave Oedel

I first spoke with Raford Horton on February 10, 2015, when I visited Telfair County to explore the setting, cause and meaning of the killings of retirees Bud and June Runion. As reported nationally, as well as in this local newsweekly, the Runions were lured to Telfair County on Thursday, January 22, 2015, in hopes of having their Craigslist ad answered in Bud’s quest for a 1966 Ford Mustang to match the one that he bought upon his release from service in Vietnam. But the Runions found no Mustang in Telfair. Instead, they met single bullets to their heads. Their bodies ended up lying some yards apart in Telfair’s piney woods.

Raford Horton has seen something of death in Telfair County, having served as its coroner from 2000 to 2008. Horton might have examined the bodies of the Runions himself, except that … Continue Reading

Why Did Maher Do Macon? Looking Back on Maher’s Macon Performance, and Why He Really Came

By Dave Oedel

On February 10, 2015, Craig Stephen Hicks, 46, executed three fine, promising Muslim Americans, Yusor Mohammad Abu-Salha, 21, Razan Mohammad Abu-Salha, 19, and Yusor’s husband, Deah Shaddy Barakat, 23, in a Chapel Hill, North Carolina apartment complex. It was partly over a parking dispute, but probably also because of Hicks’ anti-Muslim, anti-religion rage.

Three days before the North Carolina massacre, Bill Maher made a surprising appearance 400 miles away in Macon, Georgia, before about 1,500 people at Macon’s City Auditorium. Attending Maher’s Macon show were people from all over the southeast, including some from the Chapel Hill area, because Maher scheduled only two southeastern performances this year. One, on February 8, 2015, in a fancy, big Orlando theater, was predictable. More eye-opening was Maher’s choice of a tired Macon venue on February 7. … Continue Reading

Cold Blood in Georgia’s Heart — McRae’s Craigslist Classic-Car Killing

By Dave Oedel 

Macon, Georgia continues to be afflicted by a steady drip of black-on-black murders, three alone from a heated Bloomfield Road barroom melee among rival gang members in December, 2014. Then there was the point-blank murder of a 20-year-old in East Macon by a gun-toting 16-year-old in January, 2015. Leaders like former Macon Mayor C. Jack Ellis, himself African American, asked local people to refocus their attention from the Ferguson and New York City police controversies to help quell destructive violence locally among younger African Americans.

But black-on-black violence is hardly the only crime problem in Middle Georgia. White-on-white murder is pulsing along at a disturbingly steady pace right alongside black-on-black murders. Whether the victims and their murderers are black or white, the blood of every victim is uniformly red. … Continue Reading

GEICO: Partnership, Progress, and the Road Ahead — Macon’s Largest Private Employer Grows On

By Dr. Carl Findley III

Mark your calendars: February 19th is coming. Last year, Mayor Robert Reichert officially declared February 19th GEICO Appreciation Day in Macon. Reichert even presented GEICO with a key to the city of Macon after the company raised over $1 million for United Way. The key and honorary name day were a symbolic gesture underlining the reality that the past, present, and future of Macon and Middle Georgia are intertwined with this national insurance powerhouse.

Warren Buffet, a self-made businessman who bought his first stock at 11 years old and is now the second richest man in America and one of the most respected voices in American investment circles, originally invested in GEICO stock in 1951 as a young and eager 21-year-old business student at Columbia University. The original price for one share of publically traded GEICO stock back in 1948 was $27. Today, a share in Berkshire Hathaway, the parent company of GEICO, is worth over $224,000. Buffet is one of America’s great success stories, and that success can be traced to a decision that Buffet is quick to admit “changed my life,” the buying of GEICO stock.

GEICO—its official name is Government Employees Insurance Company—was actually founded in the thick of the Great Depression in 1936 by Leo and Lillian Goodwin, targeting insurance to just about the only people who had any money at the time: government and military employees. GEICO has a privileged relationship with federal employees that continues today and is reflected in GEICO’s strong ties to Washington, D.C. Because of GEICO’s historic ties to insuring military employees, Macon’s proximity to Robins Air Force base, and the pool of potential customers there, the base was a major factor in GEICO’s move into Middle Georgia.

GEICO’s beginnings in our community, however, were very humble compared to the sprawling complex tucked away about 5 miles from downtown Macon just off I-16 that few people ever see. Back in 1974, the company started out in downtown, on Poplar Street in the old First National Bank office building. An office that started with 150 employees has now grown to 5,646, a story of growth and development that any city in America would fight to call their own. … Continue Reading

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