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Work Ethic As Important As Education, Training
Jackson County business leaders found themselves
drafted into an impromptu panel discussion last week at Jackson
County Comprehensive High School...
New courthouse annex effort full of hard choices
What kind of courthouse annex should Jackson
County build and how should it be paid for?
New Ingles to open April 15
The long-awaited replacement for the outgrown
Ingles Market at Dogsboro will open on Saturday, April 15.
Charter school proposed
Superintendent not in favor of the measure
A charter school is being proposed for Madison
County, aimed primarily at reducing the county's dropout rate,
one of the worst in the state.
Bennett among five finalists for state 'teacher of year'
Madison County High School's Sabrina Bennett
is among the five finalists for Georgia's 2001 "Teacher
of the Year," state school superintendent Linda C. Schrenko
Baldwin mayor charged with DUI
Baldwin Mayor Mark Reed was charged with
driving under the influence of intoxicants at 12:32 a.m. Wednesday,
Annexation bill tops session, Jamieson says
The "anti-annexation" bill, a resolution
to increase homestead exemption, education and the state budget,
topped the list of highlights for state representative Jeanette
Jamieson during the 2000 legislative session.
Firing range noise a concern for DNR
A representative of the Georgia Department of Natural Resources
said officials are working to improve the noise level around
the firing range at Wilson Shoals Wildlife Management Agency.
Final Games To Feature Tough Foes
Commerce will face three tough opponents in its final five games
of the season.
Realignment Slims Region
8-A To Return 10 Schools; Only Four Play Football
Commerce will play three region football games
next season after the realignment by the Georgia High School
Diamond Dragons win then lose upper hand in
The past week was an up-and-down one for
the Jefferson baseball team, literally.
JHS glides over Spartans
Varsity track teams from Jefferson blasted
Athens Academy last week.
Birdette leads Panthers in win
With their season nearing its midpoint, the
Jackson County track teams continue to look stronger and faster
with each week.
Jackson County to petition for move to 7-AAA
Jackson County Comprehensive High School
athletic director and head football coach Greg Lowe said this
week that he will file an official request with the Georgia High
School Association to move Jackson County from region 8-AAA and
into region 7-AAA.
The Jackson Herald
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City Stops Construction
The city of Commerce ordered construction
to stop Monday on Heritage Hills Apartments, located on Minish
Drive near Commerce Elementary School. Building inspector David
Lanphear issued the order, citing violations of the city's soil
sedimentation and erosion control ordinance. Heavy rains Monday
washed mud from the bank behind the Commerce High School football
field into the apartments' parking lot, and similar erosion occurred
on the slope between the apartments and the creek. "The
issues are silt fences, compaction, runoff of storm water, ratio
of slopes and grassing and vegetation," he said.
concept by The Leo Daly Firm of a Jackson County courthouse annex.
The existing courthouse would remain (to the right) and the main
entrance to the new facility would face the current Randolph
Street, between the two facilities. While officials generally
liked the overall design, it will be subject to change as other
issues, such as parking, are worked out.
Arcade to submit
BY TIM THOMAS
Paving projects continue to be one
of the major topics of the Arcade City Council.
With less than two weeks remaining before the April 21 submission
deadline, city officials have obtained right-of-way waivers from
all but six landowners in regards to eight projects. If the remaining
six are not acquired prior to the deadline, the council is likely
to condemn the rights-of-way.
"We're not going to let six folks stop us," Mayor Gary
Black said at Monday's meeting.
All rights-of-way have been obtained along Double Bridges Road,
and four of the remaining six property owners have been directly
Additionally, council member Polly Davis reported she had discovered
that the Georgia Department of Transportation already has plans
in place to pave the area of Arcade Park Road at its intersection
with the Hwy. 129 bypass. As a result, the council removed the
road from its DOT request list.
Regarding other issues, the council:
·heard from member Ron Smith concerning the preliminary
draft of a new ordinance pertaining to underage patrons of bars
and taverns. Council members agreed to schedule a work session
to complete the proposal, so that it could be addressed during
the May meeting.
·denied a request from Roxanne Rose, 1874 Rambler's Inn,
to rezone her property to allow horses. Rose turned down an offer
from the council to issue a conditional use permit.
development in Braselton
BY ANGELA GARY
A huge Gwinnett County real estate firm will break ground this
month on its first industrial project on a 600-acre tract it
owns in Braselton.
The first building is in Barrow County but it shouldn't be long
before the development moves into Jackson County as the majority
of the land, some 500 acres, is in Jackson County. The first
building will be at the intersection of Hwy. 124 and Hwy. 211.
Jackson County Area Chamber of Commerce president Pepe Cummings
said Duke-Weeks plans to construct a 500,000 square foot distribution
center as its first development on the site. The Braselton Town
Council has planned a groundbreaking ceremony for 2 p.m. on Monday,
April 23, for the new facility at the Braselton Business Park.
Cummings estimates that as soon as this first speculative building
is occupied, the company will move on to developing its Jackson
"For them, sooner is better than later because they're a
real estate investment trust," he said. "...They have
to have buildings producing money and get moving. That is going
to be their incentive to move...If they market moves on this
first building, they will be in Jackson County."
Cummings said the move into Jackson County is also contingent
on Braselton getting the next phase of its sewer expansion in
line which is slated for June.
Cummings said Duke-Weeks' plans are good for Jackson County as
it will focus more attention on the I-85 corridor.
"What this says is that the I-85 corridor is a strong market
and that the best positioned properties for industrial growth
are Jackson County," he said. "It's going to help us
to balance the tax base with industrial."
Cummings said the project is also important because of Duke-Weeks'
position in the industry.
"Industrial developers like Duke-Weeks are market leaders
and this says Jackson County is the place you need to be in that
market," he said. "It will focus a lot of attention
on Jackson County...It's a good sign for Jackson County that
a quality company like Duke-Weeks would have made that decision
to invest here."
denies plans for bed and breakfast business
BY ANGELA GARY
The Jefferson City Council denied a rezoning request Monday night
that would have enabled a bed and breakfast business to be expanded.
Marcia Spencer requested the rezoning in order to offer a restaurant
and seating for up to 125 people at special events. She asked
that her 2.37 acres at 216 Storey Street be rezoned from R-1
and R-2 to C-2 to allow for the expansion.
Mayor Byrd Bruce said the city received a petition with the signatures
of 36 people opposed to the plans. The Jackson County Planning
Commission had earlier recommended denial of the request.
The city council gave Spencer a conditional use permit in 1996
to operate the bed and breakfast operation in the historic home.
It is valid for as long as she owns the property.
In other business, the council:
·approved a garbage rate increase of 2.6 percent which
brings the monthly rate to $11.76. The increase is outlined in
the city's contract with United Waste Service.
·heard an update from engineer Jerry Hood on water and
sewer projects, including the Parks Creek Reservoir. He said
the city would receive a list of questions this week from the
Georgia Environmental Protection Division on the project. In
other news, Hood said the bypass utility relocation is 95 percent
complete and all permits have been issued for the west side sewer
project. He also said that the city has received a $169,000 grant
for the Freightliner project.
·tabled a $2,000 request from Hilda Corbett for the summer
day care program. In the past, the city has provided a donation
of $500 but Corbett said donations for the program are down.
Corbett said the average daily attendance for the three-week
program is 60 children. Mayor Byrd Bruce asked for the matter
to be tabled until the full council is present. Two members were
absent for Monday's meeting.
·tabled a proposed amendment to the city's subdivision
·approved an amendment to the City of Jefferson zoning
ordinance calling for excluding residential uses in C-1 and C-2
districts. This amendment is also to revise Section 8.11 to state
that the minimum lot sizes shown are allowed when public water
and sewer are available and to establish the minimum lot size
in the R-1 District as 21,780 square feet.
·agreed to proceed with getting an easement to dredge
a creek that is backing up onto property owned by five Brockton
·heard from Brockton Road residents about speeders on
the road. The mayor agreed to ask the police chief to patrol
·tabled a request from Dr. Gary Wytiaz for a variance
on his zoning to allow residential use of two units in a three-office
building he is purchasing.
·agreed to place a stop sign at the intersection of Westmoreland
·agreed to give a letter to the developers of a proposed
subdivision on 90 acres on Hwy. 82 and Darnell Road stating that
the city will offer sewer capacity for the project when it is
available. The developer will pay for the hook-up, according
to city leaders.
·agreed to a request from Russ Hambyka to put a marketing
sign on the right-of-way on Athens Street.
a topic for JABA
Daves discusses $30,000 grant application
By Jana Adams
The Jefferson Downtown Committee submitted a $30,000 grant application
to the Department of Community Affairs last week that, if approved,
would fund a master plan for downtown revitalization.
Priscilla Daves spoke on behalf of the downtown committee Thursday
at the Jefferson Area Business Association (JABA) meeting, encouraging
JABA members to get involved in adding new life to the city.
"There are two Jeffersons already - Jefferson North and
Jefferson downtown," Daves said. "We've got to get
ready and be ready for the new truck route (in 2003) that will
take off 40 percent of (downtown) traffic. We want to make downtown
more comfortable for walking traffic, and to keep businesses
from moving out to where the truck route will be."
Daves told JABA members that the downtown committee hopes to
get approved for at least $20,000 of their $30,000 grant request.
She said she expects to hear from DCA on the grant status by
the end of the month.
"We can start working once we know the check's in the mail,"
The initial grant would be used to establish an "intelligent"
master plan for the downtown revitalization, Daves said, adding
that progress will be incremental. Once a master plan is in place,
the downtown committee can apply for more funding.
NEW CITY PARK
A new city park at Curry Creek is one of the ideas for downtown
revitalization Daves discussed. The location is in a flood plain
and cannot be built on, but would be suitable for a park with
swingsets, slides, picnic tables and shade trees, she said.
Other ideas being discussed by the downtown committee include
establishing downtown crosswalks and sidewalk repairs and additions.
The group would also like to see the main "square,"
which was narrowed to its current shape in 1962, put back to
its original state.
At the suggestion of Chief Darren Glenn, Daves agreed to check
into whether the Coke company repaints for free old Coca-Cola
signs such as the one on the side of the Remax building.
"We've got everything here we need, we just need to put
a little polish on the apple," Daves said. "This is
an opportunity to make downtown alive, instead of (seeing it
with) blocked up windows. You all need to be a part of this."
JABA plans grocery,
gas giveaway for July 4 funds
By Jana Adams
The Jefferson Area Business Association (JABA) is planning a
giveaway of groceries, gas and other prizes to raise funds for
the July 4 celebration.
JABA members agreed Thursday to hold the fundraiser, with $100
of groceries from Bell's, $25 of gas and other prizes as incentives
for ticket sales. The members agreed to have tickets ready for
JABA's May 4 meeting.
As another fund-raising idea, JABA members talked about having
bunting, flags and other July 4 decorations available for downtown
merchants to purchase and put up in time for the event.
In other July 4 discussion, JABA members talked about whether
or not to keep the celebration downtown or to move it to another
location. The group agreed to keep the event in the downtown
Chief Darren Glenn told members that while a celebration in downtown
does create traffic concerns, he plans to detour traffic around
the town's center this Fourth of July.
He pointed out that the July 4 celebration had been held at the
Jefferson stadium before, but that a downtown event is good for
Member Aloise McNichols added: "If we really want to revitalize
downtown, we need to keep as many functions there as possible."
JABA members discussed having a work day sometime just before
July 4 to clean up the downtown area, and will seek volunteers
to help with the project.
get BOC nod
Architectural firm selected and financing
After two years of planning and research, Jackson County leaders
cast two key votes Monday for a new courthouse annex.
In two, 2-1 votes, the Jackson County Board of Commissioners
decided on both an architectural firm for the project and on
a system to pay for its estimated $10 million cost.
But while those decisions were made, some major issues remain
before the project can move forward. Chief among those issues
is finding enough parking for the facility. County codes call
for some 300 parking spaces for buildings the size of the proposed
annex, but the early plans didn't allot that much space.
The cost of providing that extra parking could also impact construction
on the building and the amount of space left unfinished inside.
Hired by the county was The Leo Daly Firm, which beat out Carter
Watkins for the project. Commissioners Pat Bell and Henry Robinson
voted in favor of Leo Daly while BOC chairman Jerry Waddell voted
against the firm.
Also in a 2-1 vote, the board agreed to finance the new annex
with $10 million in 25-year general obligation bonds. About half
of the bonds would be repaid from taxes generated by the new
Georgia Power plant near Center. The remainder would come from
other property taxes. Bell and Robinson voted in favor of the
move while Waddell voted against. No referendum will be required
to issue the bonds.
One twist on the motion, however, is that it called for the county
to use its long-range fund account for the first two years to
help meet the payments. The board hopes Georgia Power will continue
to expand its plant and that by 2004, only a third of a mill,
or less, of an increase would be required to meet the payments
after that point. Another part of the motion states that the
surplus funds would be used only if doing so would not deplete
the long-range fund account.
Members of the courthouse committee, an advisory group appointed
two years ago, were also on hand during Monday's meeting. That
group had selected The Leo Daly Firm to do preliminary work on
the project and still favored the firm for the final selection.
Proposals from the two companies were considerably different
in the exterior design concept. Although the design is subject
to changes by county leaders, several members of the courthouse
committee said they liked the "longer" style of The
Daly proposal over the "boxy" style proposed by Carter
County gets state
permit for Hwy. 11 sewer facility
Action opens way for development of Mulberry
After months of legal and political wrangling, the Jackson County
government has received a wastewater discharge permit for its
sewage treatment facility on Hwy. 11 in Jefferson. The permit
was issued by the Georgia Department of Natural Resources Monday
and clears the way for the county to begin work on a key sewer
line to serve Mulberry Plantation, a 1,500-home golf development
on Hwy. 124.
Although the existing permit, which had belonged to the Texfi
textile company, was transferred to the county as an industrial
discharge permit, the county has applied for it to become a municipal
wastewater permit. The county hopes to get a municipal permit
for up to 2 million gallons per day treatment capacity.
Plans call for a gravity flow sewerage line to run up Doster
Creek, crossing Creek Nation Road and Skelton Road and ending
at Hwy. 124 near the intersection of Gum Springs Church Road.
Developers of the Mulberry project will have to locate a lift
station at the back of the property along Jackson Trail road
to pump effluent that won't gravity flow into the line.
The granting of the permit marks a major move by the county government
as it begins to get into the sewage business. The county got
the wastewater facility following condemnation proceedings against
Water Wise, Inc. which had purchased the plant from Texfi. A
key part of that action was to prevent Water Wise from getting
the permit transferred. Had that been done, the private company
would have had unlimited power to condemn land for sewerage lines
in the county, and in effect, play a major role in deciding where
future growth would occur.
Once in place, the county sewerage line will open up a large
amount of land between Jefferson and Braselton for development.
A significant portion of that area would gravity flow into the
line, covering an area bordered by Old Pendergrass Road on the
north and Hwy. 124 on the south. The addition of additional lift
stations would extend that southern end as far as W.H. Hayes
Road, covering a significant part of the Jefferson-Winder road.
The combination of sewerage and county water access would allow
for higher density development than is currently allowed in that
area. It was the fear of unregulated high density growth that,
in part, led the county into the sewerage business so as to exercise
control over that growth by deciding when and where sewerage
lines would be placed.
6 Candidates Announce
Plans To Seek Office
Fletcher, Beshara, Pritchett, Thomas,
Coker And Elrod Announce Their Plans
JEFFERSON -- Six people announced their
intentions of running for office in the upcoming elections, one
each for chairman of the board of commissioners, sheriff, tax
commissioner and three for the District 3 seat on the board of
Harold Fletcher announced that he will be a candidate for chairman
of the Jackson County Board of Commissioners in July's Republican
primary. Emil D. Beshara, Edward Pritchett and former commissioner
Fran Thomas announced that they will run for the commissioners'
District 3 post, Glenda Coker announced her candidacy for sheriff
of Jackson County, and Tax Commissioner Don Elrod became the
first incumbent to formally announce for re-election.
Fletcher previously served as a member of the Jackson County
Board of Commissioners (1977-1988) and is chairman of the Jackson
County Industrial Development Authority.
He is the son of Edgar and Ann Fletcher of Jefferson and is a
fifth-generation native of Jackson County He resides on Hog Mountain
Road (Jefferson area) with his wife, the former Guynelle Gaines
of Nicholson. They have three sons, Ray, Robin and Jon, one daughter,
Jan Carithers, and two grandchildren.
Fletcher is a graduate of Jefferson High School and Southern
Business University and holds BBA and MBA degrees from the University
of Georgia. He is a deacon and adult Sunday school teacher at
Cave Springs Baptist Church. He is a member and past president
of the Jefferson Lions Club and a member of the Commerce Kiwanis
Club. He is active in the Jackson County Area Chamber of Commerce
and serves on its executive board. The candidate is a member
and past president of the Banks-Jackson Board of Realtors and
holds designations in several professional national real estate
organizations. After 29 years in outside plant engineering management
at BellSouth, he is currently president of Piedmont Realty Services,
Inc., a real estate appraisal company located in Jefferson since
District 3 covers the Hoschton, Braselton, Pendergrass and Talmo
areas, as well as portions of the Plainview and Holly Springs
Beshara listed animal control as high on his list of priorities,
and said the county's land use plan should be reviewed annually
or biannually, the county should focus on attracting more retail
businesses, requiring higher standards in utility franchise awards,
and reviewing the county contracting policy.
Beshara is a civil engineer specializing in environmental engineering.
He obtained a bachelor's degree in agricultural engineering from
the University of Georgia, and moved to Jackson County in 1987.
Pritchett is the son of Ollie Mae Boyd and the late Edward D.
Pritchett. With the exception of five years when he lived in
Atlanta and Denver, CO, Pritchett has lived in the Pendergrass
area. He is a 1985 graduate of Jefferson High School and holds
an associate's degree in business management from Gainesville
College and a bachelor's degree in business management from North
Pritchett is a program analyst with Georgia U.S. Data Services,
Inc. in Norcross, where he plays an administrative role in the
development and implementation of business administration-oriented
software for third-party customers. He is married to the former
Shelly Kern of Denver, CO, and is a member of Pendergrass Baptist
Pritchett said he is excited about representing District 3 to
ensure that the district is the beneficiary of the county's overall
continued growth and not a casualty.
Thomas, Pendergrass, announced this week that she is seeking
the District 3 seat.
Thomas was elected in 1992 as the first female to become a Jackson
County commissioner. She served until the end of 1996. She also
became a certified county commissioner within the first two years
of her term, which was also a first for Jackson County.
Thomas lives with her husband of 39 years on their cattle farm
in the Holly Springs community. They also own and operate Thomas
Printing Company. They have two sons, Robin Thomas, Dacula, and
Rodney Thomas, Homer, and three grandchildren and attend Center
Grove Baptist Church.
Coker, 29, would be only the second woman sheriff if elected.
She is running on the Republican ticket.
She is a former employee of the Jackson County Sheriff's Department
and the Banks County E911 center. She attended Berkmar High School
through the 11th grade and received her GED from Lanier Tech.
She is married to Brad Martin and they have a 7-year-old son.
Elrod has announced that he will seek a fourth term as tax commissioner.
Elrod has served Jackson County in this capacity since 1989,
running unopposed in the last two elections.
Elrod is a graduate of Jefferson High School and attended Gainesville
College before serving with the Navy Seabees. He has been married
to the former Jan Nabors for 28 years. They have a daughter,
Amy, and a son, Jim. He is a member of Bethany United Methodist
Church, where he serves on the board of trustees, as treasurer
of the men's club and is a member of the finance committee.
Elrod is a member of the County Officers Association and Georgia
Tax Officials where he has been a district leader and is currently
serving as the association's photographer.
Elrod is also a member of the Jackson County rescue and has been
a member of the Jefferson Volunteer Fire Department since 1979.
He is the assistant chief.
The Elrod family resides at 1224 Brockton Road just outside Jefferson.
Go to Jackson
Public Meeting Dates
& Convenience Stores
To Be Issue For City Council
Planning Commission Recommended That City
Council Deny Maysville Road Request
An Atlanta area woman whose annexation
request has been recommended for denial will get a chance to
plead her case to the Commerce City Council Monday night.
Christine Smith's plans to have two small parcels on the Maysville
Road across from Billy Cain Ford annexed hit a snag when the
Commerce Planning Commission voted to not recommend the annexation
or the zoning changes to the city council.
Mrs. Smith's spokesman, Robert J. Marsh, said one tract would
continue to be used for an auto recovery lot. On the other, the
owner plans to operate a bait store, tanning salon and general
store combination, and sell beer and wine. She sought M-1 zoning
in the city.
One parcel is zoned A-2 in the county and the other B-2. Together,
they comprise less than one acre.
The city council can accept or reject the planning commission's
The city council will also act on two other recommendations from
the planning commission, annexation requests from Annie Snelling
and Mary Hill. The planning commission recommended both for approval,
with R-1 zoning.
The city council meets at 6:30 Monday in the Commerce Civic Center.
Other items likely to be on the agenda include an update on the
status of the city's solid waste (garbage) contract after complaints
from council members last month about poor service, and a proposed
contract from the Georgia Department of Transportation for the
resurfacing of city streets under the LARP program.
I.W. Davis escapee
An escapee from the I.W. Davis Probation
Detention Center was recaptured Tuesday night at his mother's
home in Winder, authorities said Wednesday.
Jason Massey, 19, walked away from the minimum security center
while moving supplies around 11 a.m. Tuesday morning. Massey
was in jail on probation violation charges stemming from the
theft of a motor vehicle and failure to report.
Authorities said Massey made his way down Brockton Road where
he approached a homeowner to make a phone call. After making
three calls, Massey reportedly asked the man if he could be given
a ride to the bowling alley in Jefferson. He said he had been
left on a work detail by accident.
Massey was driven past the bowling alley and down Memorial Drive
to the Jefferson City Park, said officials. There, he got into
a black truck with a woman and the vehicle left going toward
Cochran gun plot
uncovered at Barrow courthouse
A man being held on murder charges from
Jackson County was apparently prepared to shoot his way out of
the Barrow County courthouse.
Authorities say Emory Wayne Cochran, who is charged in the 1998
murder of Kimberly Warren near her rural North Jackson home,
had apparently conspired with a Nicholson man to shoot his way
out of the Barrow County courthouse law library last weekend.
Cochran was sent back early this week to Jackson Diagnostic Center,
a state facility with high security.
Also charged in the apparent escape attempt was Dallas Presley,
35, of Nicholson. Authorities said Presley hid a loaded .38-caliber
revolver in a bookshelf in the law library.
The plot was uncovered when authorities were pursuing a tip about
another reported escape plan. Authorities discovered the gun
Friday, removed it, then brought Cochran to the room Saturday
where they said he searched for the gun.
Officials said Presley and Cochran became friends while the two
were housed in the Barrow County jail together.
"This underscores our lack of security in all our courthouses,"
said District Attorney Tim Madison. None of the court facilities
in Barrow, Jackson and Banks Counties, which make up the Piedmont
Judicial Circuit, have metal detectors or other security systems,
he pointed out. The Barrow County law library is on the fourth
floor of the courthouse and Madison said no gun would have been
put there had the facility had some kind of security system.
Cochran had been held at the high security Jackson Diagnostic
Center until early this year when Judge Bob Adamson allowed him
to be transferred to Barrow County. Cochran's court-appointed
lawyer, Walter Harvey, had asked the judge at a February hearing
to allow Cochran to be moved closer to Jefferson. Harvey said
the state's Jackson facility was a five-hour round trip drive
to meet with his client.
Jackson County sheriff Stan Evans suggested at the hearing that
Cochran be housed in Hall or Clarke County.