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Milner citizen’s driver’s license renewal stymied

By Kay S. Pedrotti Helen Elizabeth Buchenau Riggs, naturalized as a United States citizen in 1959 in Ohio, has become fearful that she will no longer be able to drive in Georgia — or even may be declared an ‘illegal.’ A Milner resident since 1995, Riggs said, ‘Something told me to go early to the driver services, just in case.’ All of her documentation of birth and residency was accepted as valid — but the Department of Driver Services computers rejected her naturalization paper because it did not have enough certificate numbers. Riggs’ certificate has seven numbers but the computer declares she is not a citizen because the paper does not have a nine-digit number, she said. While she is now in possession of a valid Georgia driver’s license, her 84th birthday is today, Nov. 13, when she is supposed to have her license renewal completed. ’They promised to solve the problem in five business days,’ she said. ‘Then when I went back, nothing had been done and they asked for another five days. I will not drive without a legal license and they didn’t give me anything temporary until they solve the problem.’ Riggs said it was her understanding older citizenship papers had been deleted from the computer for lack of storage space. Georgia’s requirements for license renewal are said to be among the more stringent in the country. A member of Milner United Methodist Church, Riggs lives independently and raises poultry and exotic birds. She must travel to Perry to find the specific feeds for some of the birds. At the moment, Riggs’ friends at church and in her neighborhood are helping her with transportation and with trying to find ways to get through government red tape. ’I just cannot believe that this would happen,’ she said. ‘I came here after spending time in a refugee camp in Germany after the Communists took over my homeland and named it Yugoslavia. I am happy and proud to be here but I can’t figure out why anyone would do this to me.’ Because of the federal holiday Monday, DDS representatives could not be contacted for comment.

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