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April 19, 2000


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OPINIONS
More Donors Of Organs And Tissue Are Needed
By an act of Congress, this week, April 16-22, is officially "National Organ and Tissue Donor Awareness Week," the idea of which is to make more people aware of the need for organ and tissue donors and the great amount of good that such donors accomplish.

Incentive pay idea is heresy in academia
One should forgive Jackson County Board of Education Chairman Barry Cronic for believing an incentive pay plan for teachers would be accepted.


Neighborhood News...
MADISON COUNTY
New MCHS principal named
Bob Rhinehart is Madison County High School's new principal.

Public meeting held on charter school proposal
About 15 citizens, including two school board members, came out for the first of four public meetings to be held around the county on a proposed charter high school for Madison County.


News from
BANKS COUNTY
Qualifying ahead for county offices
Qualifying for several Banks County offices will be held from 9 a.m. on Monday, April 24, through noon on Friday, April 28.

Lula council opposed to railroad request on bridge
Lula city council members are opposed to requests by Norfolk Southern Railway that it be permitted to demolish the Lula overhead wooden bridge.


SPORTS
Landmark claims Jefferson Relays crowns
Local athletes claim four events
The Landmark Christian War Eagles flew into Jefferson Saturday for the Jefferson Relays, and flew out with a pair of team titles.

Lady Dragons head to region meet beginning Monday
Jefferson's girls' track team will compete in the region 8-A meet Monday and Tuesday at GAC.

Can Panthers make state?
The Jackson County Panthers take a 10-2 overall boys' tennis record into this week's region 8-AAA tournament, as the tournament's third seed from the north subregion.

Parr finishes at home
She saved the best for last.
Jackson County's Carly Parr ran her best time of the season Tuesday in the 3200-meter run, in her final appearance at home.


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PALM SUNDAY PARADE

The Sunday morning service at Jefferson Presbyterian Church featured a "March of Palms" by the children. Shown are Jackson McCreery and Summer Shaw. Similar religious events have been held at area churches in the past week and numerous others are planned in the coming days. Photo by Travis Hatfield

Easter Chicks

Maggie McClung and a baby chick get to know each other during last Thursday afternoon's Story Hour at the Commerce Public Library. Gold Kist Hatchery brought several dozen chicks in for children to inspect and even handle. The kids enjoyed it, even if the chicks were a little nervous.


Hoschton business association proposes amendment to city's dumpster ordinance
Council to meet with attorney on matter Thurs.
By Jana Adams
A handful of Hoschton business owners concerned with the city's dumpster ordinance met with the city council Thursday evening in a called meeting to discuss the matter.
Although no conclusion was reached Thursday, a suggestion that the city's business association work with the council on keeping dumpsters clean was met with some interest on the part of council members.
The council will meet with the city attorney at 9 a.m. Thursday to discuss whether or not the ordinance can be amended to apply in this manner. To date, the ordinance requires all business owners to put up fencing, whether or not their dumpster is clean and in good condition or surrounded with loose trash.
City business owners each received a letter after the ordinance was passed in December, giving them 90 days to put fencing around their dumpsters, screening the receptacle from public view. Business owners attended the April council meeting to object to the ordinance, which many said they did not know about, and to the council requiring them to pay for fencing.
Amoco station owner Phillip Gailey pointed out that in a year and a half, he had never had a complaint about his dumpster, and that he pays someone every week to pick up garbage.
Another business owner added: "We want to do what we can (to help), but it is hard. We would have to keep (the dumpster) up, too. It's just people saying 'You either do this, or else,' that is the problem."
"Would the city council be willing to work with the business owners association?" Sam Ward, acting president the Hoschton business association, asked.
Ward proposed that the ordinance apply only to those who need it - to those whose dumpsters are in violation - rather than to all business owners. He suggested that the business association would back up the council in the instances where fencing is needed, and would go to the business owners in question, if necessary.
While Mayor Billy Holder said the ordinance can always be amended, council member Paul Turman said it could not be applied on an individual basis and that the council would need to discuss the matter with the attorney.
In response to a resident's question about how business owners are to know what the council will do next, and why the business owners weren't notified earlier when the ordinance was under discussion, Turman responded: "This was done here in council meetings over four months' time. We couldn't tell you to come to the meetings. This was done according to law."
Council member Jan Buchanan added: "It took three to four months for us to come to the agreement for what would work best for all of us. The reason this even came before council was that we had citizens come to a meeting concerned about dumpsters."
Turman suggested that the business association have a representative at every council meeting, and said the council plans to go online with a web site in the future.
"If you people will have the ability to deal with this (getting dumpsters cleaned up), that would be a load off our back," Turman said, adding that he doesn't want anyone to feel this is an adversarial situation.
Buchanan said: "We're just trying to make the town a nicer place to live. I don't understand the opposition. If the letter offended you, I apologize. Let's work together."

EDUCATION

Grant To Provide Computers To Four Jackson Libraries
The world's richest man has probably never heard of Jackson County, but each of the county's four public libraries will get more than $16,000 worth of computer equipment from his foundation.
Nancy Ray, director of the Piedmont Regional Library, announced Monday night that the region will receive a grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to put four Gateway computers, a hub, a server, and a printer in each of the region's branch libraries. The grant will also include training, a $500 wiring allowance, a full year of free telephone technical support and a variety of software.
There are four branch libraries ­ Commerce, Jefferson, Maysville and Nicholson ­ in Jackson County, one in Banks County and one in Barrow County. The "book deposit" libraries in West Jackson and Pendergrass did not qualify for the grant.
Gates is co-founder and the largest single stockholder in Microsoft, the computer software giant.
"That's excellent. This should take care of this library's (computer) needs for years," noted Don Fischer, chairman of the Commerce Library Board. The grant will bring the Commerce library's total number of computers available to the public to 10.
According to Mrs. Ray, staff training for the computers begins May 5 in Athens. Library director Susan Harper and assistant director Claudia Markov plan to attend.
The equipment is expected to arrive in August.
While the grant is good news for the Commerce library, it is even more crucial for some of the smaller libraries where there are few computers available to the public. The Harold S. Swindle Public Library in Nicholson, for example, has but two computers. The grant will bring its total to six.


Patsy Lentz hired as Jefferson Elementary principal
By Jana Adams
A veteran educator who has served both Commerce and Jackson County school systems will return to this area next year as the new principal for Jefferson Elementary School.
Patsy C. Lentz was hired Thursday by the Jefferson Board of Education to serve as JES principal for the 2000-2001 school year.
"I feel really good about this," said Jefferson Board of Education chairman Ronnie Hopkins. "She is an experienced administrator."
Lentz will begin work as JES principal on July 1, a little over a month before the new school year begins. She will replace Pam Smith, who was approved for resignation by the board Thursday.
"I am extremely pleased to be coming home," Lentz said. "I am very pleased to be working with Jefferson City Schools, they have always had such support from the community. Dr. (John) Jackson has a vision for Jefferson City Schools that is impressive and he and the board of education seem to work together well to do what is best for the children. It is a growing school system and they are making a lot of progress. I am looking forward to working with them."
Lentz has served as principal of Whit Davis Elementary School in Clarke County since 1994. She was Benton Elementary School principal from 1990 to 1994 and was special programs director for Jackson County Schools from 1985 to 1990. She was speech pathologist for Commerce City Schools from 1974 to 1977 and has worked for the Northeast Georgia RESA and several other school systems.
Lentz lives in Athens with her husband, Mac, who works at the University of Georgia. They have two children, Walter and Charlotte, both of whom are Jefferson High School graduates.

CRIME

Trio in robbery, stabbing of cab driver plead guilty during trial
Judge calls actions a 'definition of violence'
BY ANGELA GARY
A Jackson County judge called the attack on a Gainesville taxi cab driver "the very definition of violence" Tuesday morning when three people were sentenced in the attack after changing their pleas to guilty.
Archie Frodl, Bobby Lafleur and Donna Loggins had first pled not guilty and the trial began Monday afternoon with four hours of testimony being heard. The most crucial evidence came from the victim, Juan Pablo Alfaro, who said Frodl stabbed him and Lafleur hit him with his fist and rocks. He had taken the two, along with Loggins, to a Pinetree Circle, Maysville, residence after picking them up at Wal-Mart in Gainesville at 1:45 a.m. Loggins admitted after changing her plea to knowing about the planned armed robbery in advance. She was inside the Pinetree Circle residence when the attack occurred, according to testimony given.
Frodl and Lafleur were both given life sentences on the charge of kidnapping with bodily harm and 10 years each on charges of armed robbery and hijacking.
"The three acts that you've been convicted of are the very definition of violence in our society," Judge David Motes said. "They are attributes our society most fears. Mr. Alfaro was just going about his job...you left him for dead...Hopefully, you'll have some time to reflect on your actions."
He added that he hopes the prison authorities hold the three for a long enough time that they are no longer a danger to society.
Loggins was given a 15-year sentence on charges of aggravated assault and robbery.
Lafleur and Frodl had at first attempted to place blame on each other in the incident. Lafleur's attorney, Walter Harvey, said in his opening statement Monday that his client's only part in the crime was to hit Alfaro in the face with his fist after he thought the taxi driver was attacking him. Frodl's attorney, Donna Avans, said in her opening statement that Lafleur was responsible for the stabbing and beating. Harvey and Avans were both appointed by the court to represent the suspects. Chris Elrod was appointed to represent Loggins.
In his opening statement, district attorney Tim Madison outlined the attack which began in the cab (a mini-van) when Lafleur began hitting Alfaro and Frodl began stabbing him with a 99-cent paring knife they had purchased earlier at Wal-Mart. He said Alfaro was pulled outside onto the ground where the two continued to beat and stab him. When Alfaro was unconscious, the two put him back in the van, drove him a short distance away and left him. They also damaged his CB radio wires. Lafleur also admitted to taking his money, more than $800 in cash and change. The two then walked back to the residence where the incident occurred.
Alfaro, who testified through an interpreter, pointed to scars on his back and stomach and said his medical bills were over $12,000. He said he still has headaches and vision problems and no longer works the night shift.
He said Frodl and Lafleur beat him for at least 15 minutes until he lost consciousness. He said when he awoke in the van, he put the wires together on his CB radio and contacted a fellow cab driver, Pedro Arellano. Arellano and two other cab drivers headed to Jackson County to search for him. They met up with law enforcement officers at Pinetree Circle who were also searching for Alfaro. They told the victim to blow the horn which they heard from the residence. They found him shortly afterwards.
Others to testify included Jill Holderman, who called 911, who was inside the Pinetree Circle residence and heard the fight outdoors; Lisa Jones, a neighbor; Arellano and David Cochran, chief investigator with the Jackson County Sheriff's Department.

LOCAL GOVERNMENT

Qualifying For County Elections Is Next Week
JEFFERSON -- It's put up or shut up time for Jackson County residents seeking political office. Qualifying for the 2000 elections in which members of the Jackson County Board of Commissioners' and other county offices will be chosen takes place next week.
Qualifying will be from 9 a.m. Monday, April 24, through noon Friday, April 28. The board of commissioners will have four commission posts and one chairman's seat following the November approval of an expanded board. The five people elected will then hire a full-time county manager to oversee the day-to-day operations of the county.
The salary for the chairman's position will be $15,000 and that for each of the part-time commissioners will be $10,000. The qualifying fee for the chairman's position is $1,946, and the fee for the four commission seats is $325 each. Qualifying is three percent of the salary based on the previous year's pay.
Two seats on the Jackson County Board of Education are also up for re-election this year. The terms of chairman Barry Cronic and Ed Tolbert will end in December. Cronic serves on post 1 and Tolbert serves on post 4.
Other offices to be on the ballot include: state representative, sheriff, probate judge, clerk of courts, tax commissioner, sheriff, chief magistrate, state court judge, state court solicitor, coroner and surveyor.
Candidates will qualify with their political party if seeking a partisan nomination. Republicans qualify with local chairman Candace Gunn, 652-2967, while Democrats qualify with local chairman Jack Davidson, 367-5264. Those running as non-partisan qualify at the Jackson County probate judge's office.
Candidates for positions on the boards of directors of local fire districts will be held at the same time. They are non-partisan elections and those interested must qualify with Margaret Deadwyler at the Jackson County probate court office at the courthouse in Jefferson.
The schedule for elections set for this year includes: the general primary July 18, the general primary runoff (if necessary) Aug. 8, the general election Nov. 7 and the general election runoff (if necessary) Nov. 28.


Planning Commission Meeting Postponed
The April meeting of the Commerce Planning Commission, which would have been held Monday night, has been postponed a week until Monday, May 1, at 7:00 p.m. in the Commerce Civic Center.
Items on the agenda include:
·a request from Kevin Henderson to rezone 60 acres on the Mount Olive Road from A-R to R-4. R-4 allows the construction of multi-family housing.
·a request from the Commerce School System for conditional use permits to locate a new mobile classroom at Commerce Elementary School, to keep two existing mobile classrooms at the school and to keep one existing mobile classroom at each of Commerce Middle School and Commerce High School.
·a request to rezone a lot on Homer Road from C-2 (commercial) to R-5 so a mobile home can be replaced.
The planning commission will make recommendations on these issues to the Commerce City Council, which has the final say on the requests.




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Egg Hunt, Parade Set Downtown Saturday

Several hundred children are expected in Commerce Saturday morning as the Commerce Area Business Association and the Commerce Downtown Development Authority host their annual Easter celebration.
The event begins at the drive-in of Community Bank and Trust on North Elm Street, corporate sponsor of the event, with a 10:45 parade of children through town to the First Baptist Church of Commerce on South Elm Street, where the city's annual Easter egg hunt will be held.
The egg hunt, featuring 20,000 candy eggs and 375 prize eggs, will begin as soon as the parade arrives and disperses. The front yard of the church will be divided for two age ranges.
"Parents whose children are not in the parade should make sure their children are at the egg hunt on time, because it's all over in about five minutes," warns Jan Nelson, executive director of the DDA.
Both events are open to children ages 2 to 12.
The parade typically features children dressed in Easter costumes or riding bicycles, wagons or electric carts decorated for the event. Prizes will be awarded to the children with the best-decorated bicycles, wagons and battery-operated vehicles.
Gas-powered vehicles will not be permitted.



GROWTH

Duke-Weeks groundbreaking planned Monday
Groundbreaking ceremonies will be held at 2 p.m. on Monday, at the site for the first Duke-Weeks development in Braselton.
The Gwinnett County real estate firm will break ground on a 503,000-square-foot distribution center located on 27.5 acres at the intersection of Hwy. 124 and Hwy. 211. It is expected to be completed by December.
Duke-Weeks' senior vice president Eben Hardie said the company, which is the largest landlord in the northeast I-85 corridor, decided to develop the Jackson County site because it needs a place for its tenants to grow.
"Once you look at what sites are available north of the mall (Mall of Georgia), we felt as we looked up the corridor that this is the best site for the next significant industrial park," he said. "We needed a significant mass of land because we want to do parks; we don't want to do individual developments."