News from Jackson County...

April 26, 2000


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Jefferson Elementary School 3rd grade students visit MainStreet Newspapers Fri.


OPINIONS
Dukes-Weeks plans a sign of the times
Monday's groundbreaking in Braselton for the first phase of a 500-acre warehouse project is another sign that the west side of Jackson County is on the verge of massive changes.

Public Skeptical Of Justification For Raid
U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno rolled the dice early Saturday morning ­ and this time she won.


Neighborhood News...
MADISON COUNTY
Let the races begin
Qualifying opens for local posts, ends Friday
As of Wednesday morning, a number of candidates had qualified for local offices.

Storm water restrictions still up in the air
Proposed restrictions on storm water management in Madison County were discussed at Monday's commissioners' meeting, but no action was taken.

Architect firm hired for new county jail
An architectural firm was hired for the proposed Madison County jail Monday night.


News from
BANKS COUNTY
Probate judge and sheriff races heat up
Qualifying ends at noon on Friday
After two days of qualifying, the sheriff and probate judge races in Banks County are the ones with the most interested candidates.

Four drug charges result of 'interstate interdiction'
Area law enforcement officials netted four felony narcotics arrests and several misdemeanor citations during a multi-agency alcohol and narcotics interstate interdiction last week.

Alto council to bring zoning to town
Zoning is on its way to the City of Alto - on its way, that is, unless any local residents who may be opposed to the move are able to sway their representatives' thoughts.


SPORTS
Tiger Track Teams Set For Region Meets

McFadden Qualifies For State In 3,200
Rain held up some of the schedule at the girls' Region 8-A track meet at Greater Atlanta Chrisitan this week.

GHSA Finalizes 5-Class Realignment
Class A Keeps Own Slow-pitch Softball Championship
While final adoption of the new alignment was the biggest news...

Jackson scores ace in region tournament
JEFFERSON golfer Sanford Jackson enjoyed a thrill that many hackers never experience.

Local teams begin football practice
JEFFERSON football players will begin spring practice Monday.

Krystal Britt signs with Emmanuel College
Jackson County senior Krystal Britt signed a basketball scholarship with Emmanuel College Thursday.

Lady Panthers send two to state meet
One was expected. The other was a most pleasant surprise.


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Ready For The Parade

Gordon Purcell and his sister Emma are ready to start the Easter parade last Saturday. The son and daughter of Mr. and Mrs. John Purcell of Commerce, their battery-powered Jeep was equipped with balloons and a bubble maker.

THE SWING OF THE SEASON

Brandon Mullins gets into the swing of the spring baseball season during a recent game in Hoschton. All over Jackson County, youngsters are taking to the field in a variety of youth league baseball programs. Mullins plays for the Hoschton Devil Rays in the boys' 7-8-year-old league.


Pendergrass mayor reports on request for alcohol license
BY ANGELA GARY
A North Jackson man reportedly plans to seek an alcohol license to operate a business at the corner of Hwy. 129 and Wayne Poultry Road.
Pendergrass Mayor Mark Tolbert reported at the April 24 council meeting that Rob Joyce had approached him about a license to sell beer, wine and liquor at his planned business. Tolbert said he advised Joyce to begin the application process which includes submitting his request in writing and advertising his intentions in the newspaper.

GROWTH

Braselton water in works
Davenport Road lines set for construction
BY DREW BRANTLEY
The Braselton Town Council approved separate measures to fund and supply water lines to its residents April 24 at a called meeting for that purpose.
The council voted to close the $1.84 million USDA loan for Phase III water line projects, which included water line work on several roads, a water tank and a new well for the town.
"Phase III includes work done at several areas," town clerk Jennifer Scott said. "New water lines were put in on Liberty Church Road, Duck Road and through most of the old part of Braselton. A new water tank was put on Liberty Church Road, and a new well was put in."
The town also accepted a $468,387 bid to install lines to homes on Davenport Road as a separate project because of the residents' urgent need for water.
"We took that out of Phase IV and made it a separate project because there are 22 homes on Davenport Road without water," Scott said.
The council voted to accept the bid of Rider Construction Company Inc. of Toccoa for the Davenport Road work after Precision Planning's Jerry Hood recommended the company to the council.
"I'd give them an 'A,'" Hood said. "Their top notch. I think you'll be very pleased with them."
A portion of the money to fund the Davenport Road project will come from the USDA loan for Phase IV. The rest of the funds will come from a $50,000 Community Development Block Grant and a yet to be determined amount of money left over from a Georgia Environmental Facilities Authority loan the town used to put in water lines in Gwinnett County.


Several Industrial Prospects Considering Jackson Sites
JEFFERSON -- A company has signed a lease to occupy a 102,000-square-foot building for a distribution center, Pattillo plans to build yet another spec building and a deal is in process that could open up the 600,000 square feet of Mitsubishi buildings in Braselton to industry.
Pepe Cummings, president of the Jackson County Area Chamber of Commerce, reported on those activities to the chamber's board of directors at its April meeting last Friday at Galilee Christian Church.
"Thank goodness for the Pattillo Company," said Cummings, reporting that QSP has signed a lease on Pattillo's 102,000-square-foot building in the Walnut Fork Corporate Center. The company, a subsidiary of Readers' Digest, will distribute items related to fund-raising and incentive programs from the site, Cummings said.
Having leased that building, Pattillo apparently plans to either build an 80,000-square-foot building expandable to 160,000 square feet, or a custom-made building for a manufacturing company.
"There's probably going to be some good news about the Mitsubishi site soon," Cummings added.
According to Cummings, an investor has a contract on the site, which, if a multitude of details can be worked out, would be divided up for industrial use. There are two buildings with a total of 600,000 square feet. Mitsubishi continues to use part of the larger building for a warehouse.
Not to be outdone, Harold Fletcher, chairman of the Industrial Development Author-ity, announced that the IDA would close on Tuesday, April 25, on the sale of seven acres in the Central Jackson Industrial Park.
"That will leave us debt-free with 60 acres to sell," Fletcher said, adding that the IDA is working with two other companies, one interested in the East Jackson Industrial Park, and the other in the Central Jackson Industrial Park, and with the Jackson County Airport Authority, which plans an 80-acre expansion.
Other good news for the directors was a report from Jim Shaw, chairman, that the group's membership drive has surpassed its goal of 100 new members. Winners of the membership drive competition will be announced Saturday night at the chamber's annual banquet.
Cummings also reported that more than 30 firms had sent in their BREP (Business Retention and Expansion Program) surveys to the Department of Community Affairs for tabulation. "By and large, industry is happy here and business is happy," said Cummings. "Only one of the 30 businesses who responded listed something other than labor as being the number one concern."
·Shaw reported that a committee is making progress toward implementing a Leadership Jackson County class in August.
·Cummings reported that the chamber has a draft copy of a lease from the city of Commerce for its office.
·Keith Ariail, chairman of the Retail Task Force, discussed efforts to bring together the Commerce and Jefferson merchants' groups to coordinate events and to work on a "buy in greater Jackson County" theme.
·Cummings reported that the committee working on a 24-hour day care center in Commerce is getting close to making its final recommendation on what kind of facility to build. Shaw called the project "one of the most exciting things ever done in the chamber, one of the most value-added things the chamber has ever done."


Duke-Weeks holds WJ groundbreaking
BY ANGELA GARY
More than 50 people gathered under a white tent Monday afternoon in Braselton to celebrate a new industrial development venture by the Duke-Weeks company.
Although it was planned as a groundbreaking ceremony, a downpour led company leaders, along with city and council officials and Braselton residents, to the tent for the brief ceremony.
Braselton Mayor Henry Edward Braselton welcomed those gathered and said the occasion was the culmination of efforts town leaders have made for years.
"Duke-Weeks has found the prize egg in purchasing and committing to developing this wonderful piece of land," Braselton said.
The first building will be on a 100-acre site in Barrow County and will be 503,000 square feet, according to Eben Hardie, Duke-Weeks' senior vice president. It is expected to be completed by December and will be the largest spec building in the I-85 corridor.
"It will be the best building of its type in the metro Atlanta area," he said. "...This exit will be the premier distribution center in this corridor for the next 10 years.
Bob Chapman, Duke Weeks' executive vice president, called Monday a "milestone day" and said the company is excited about the project and looks forward to a 15 to 20 year development.
While the first building will be in Barrow County, it shouldn't be long before the project moves into Jackson County since the majority of the land to be developed, some 400 acres, is in Jackson County. Over the next 10 to 15 years, company leaders estimate five million square feet of space will be covered.


County BOC opposes Pendergrass annexation
A request from the McEver estate to annex a 191-acre tract into Pendergrass is on hold following opposition from the county.
Councilman Monk Tolbert reported at Monday's council meeting that city attorney Walter Harvey had received a letter from the county stating several reasons it opposes the property being annexed into the city. Under House Bill 489, the county must agree to annexation requests in cities. If the city and county can't resolve the matter, a mediator will be called in to make a decision on the request.
County attorney Lane Fitzpatrick sent the city a letter April 5 outlining objections to the annexation, including that the tract is within the water and sewer service area designated to the Jackson County Water and Sewer Authority. Fitzpatrick also pointed out that the land is designated as A-2 zoning by the county and the city doesn't have a compatible zoning designation.
The McEver family approached Pendergrass in March about annexing the property, which is located behind North Jackson Elementary School. Development plans for the property have not been disclosed.

Chamber banquet set Sat.
The Jackson County Area Chamber of Commerce will hold its second annual awards banquet from 6 to 8 p.m. Saturday at Galilee Christian Church Family Life Center, Jefferson.
A reception to welcome new members will be held from 5:30 to 6 p.m.
The keynote speaker will be Neely Young, editor and publisher of Georgia Trend Magazine. Awards to be given include: Business of the Year, Volunteer of the Year, Citizen of the Year and William H. Booth Citizenship Award.

Metal firm to locate in Jefferson
The Jefferson Industrial Development Authority approved a $5 million inducement resolution Thursday afternoon for a new company locating in Walnut Fork Industrial Park at I-85 and Hwy. 129.
MM Systems Corp., headquartered in Tucker, will locate in the industrial park. The company manufactures specialty metal products for the construction industry, such as expansion joints and column covers.
In other business, Tommy Healan was welcomed as the newest member of the IDA. He replaces Jim Joiner, who resigned after being elected to serve on the city council. Roy Stowe was named to serve as secretary/treasurer.




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LOCAL GOVERNMENT

Bell To Challenge Tolbert
County Commissioner To Make Run For State Representative's Job
JEFFERSON -- A week ago, the Democratic Party was so desperate for a candidate to take on Rep. Scott Tolbert that it ran newspaper ads seeking a candidate. This week the Democrats' prayers were answered as county commissioner Pat Bell announced plans to try to unseat Tolbert from the District 25 post.
Rumors had Bell running for the position long before the Democrats ran their ad, but she made it official this week.
"I'm about service, not self," she said. "That will be my campaign theme. I think I've demonstrated in the past 30 years that I care about this county. It's not for personal gain. I really care about the county."
Bell is serving in her fourth year as a member of the Jackson County Board of Commissioners.
Bell said the accomplishments she is most proud of during her term in office include the county being in the black for the past three years and her openly campaigning and working for a five-member board of commission. She is also proud that water needs in the county will be taken care of over the next several decades through the Bear Creek Reservoir.
"As for quality growth, I'm proud of some of the ordinances we've approved, such as no subdivisions on dirt roads and the tower ordinance that is in place," she said. "I'm proud that a farmer can take his land and square it off in 10 to 15 lots and get a return for his investment."
Bell said her concerns for the future include "children who can't read in the third grade, teachers that are frustrated with being bogged down in paperwork, the average person who struggles to survive and senior citizens who are on fixed incomes."
"I'm concerned about these people," she said. "I'm also concerned about people who think we don't need farmers because we have grocery stores. Another major concern I have is our current representative who puts his own interests and his client, Water Wise, ahead of the people of this county."
Bell worked for 30 years as a University of Georgia Extension Service agent with 23 being as director in Jackson County. During this time, she supervised and assisted over 1,000 4-H'ers per year, including 81 state and 19 national 4-H winners. She also worked one year at Apple Tree Farms in Cornelia as retail store manager.
Bell has a B.S. degree in home economics with a minor in biology from Western Carolina University. Her adult leadership work includes the Beautification through Conservation program, working with 18 Jackson County Homemaker Clubs, conducting an economic profile for Jackson County, helping organize the Human Resource Council, assisting with the Regional Evening School, handling various programs for the Farm Bureau, serving on the committee for a Floyd Hoard memorial and the Jackson County mentoring program. She has also provided leadership toward the development of Hurricane Shoals Park and served on the Northeast Georgia Governor's Economic Development Program and helped write grants to obtain funds for the county Administration Building.
Bell is a member of the Jackson County Human Resources Council and the Tumbling Waters Society and has received numerous awards and honors for community service.


3 Running For District 2 Board Of Commissioners Post
JEFFERSON -- Several races are set after two days of qualifying for county and state offices up for grabs this election year.
In the District 1 (Jefferson area) seat on the Jackson County Board of Commissioners, three Republicans, Travis Boles Sr., Felton Rainey and Stacey Britt, have qualified. Democrat Thomas H. Benton has also qualified for this post.
In District 2 (Commerce area) on the board, Democrats Sammy Thomason and Thomas H. "Tommy" Ford and Republican Don Blalock have qualified.
In District 3 (North Jackson), Republican Emil Beshara is the only candidate to qualify so far. Qualifying ends at noon Friday.
No one has qualified for the District 4 (Nicholson/South Jackson) seat on the board of commissioners, and Harold Fletcher is the only candidate to qualify for the chairman's seat. He is a Republican.
Others to qualify for county seats include: Stan Evans (R), sheriff; Billy Chandler (D), chief magistrate judge; Reba Parks, clerk of courts; Don Elrod, tax commissioner; Keith Whitfield (D), coroner; Al Venable (R), county surveyor; Don Moore (R), state court solicitor; Jerry Gray, nonpartisan, state court judge; and Ed Tolbert (D), Jackson County Board of Education, district 4. All are incumbents.