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July 10, 2000


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OPINIONS
Jackson County opinion page


SPORTS
Jackson County drops first district tourney

The Jackson County Parks and Recreation Department all star teams endured a pair of losses in their first district tournament appearance of the season. The 13-14 boys' baseball team coached by Darren Glenn was eliminated...

Ryan Crane back in action this weekend
Jefferson teenager Ryan Crane will join his racing counterparts Saturday at Montgomery Motor Speedway in Montgomery, Ala., for the eighth stop on the 2000 NASCAR Slim Jim All Pro Series.


Neighborhood News...
MADISON COUNTY
Drought hits county cattle farmers hard
The summertime blues have hit Madison County farmers once again - ponds are low, pastures are dying and some...




News from
BANKS COUNTY
BCN wins 10 state GPA awards
The Banks County News won 10 awards in the annual Georgia Press Association's "Better Newspaper Contest," including placing among the top three newspapers in the state in its category.


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NARROW PATH

Jefferson police believe Cheryl Newton may have fallen asleep at the wheel Friday afternoon before threading the needle between two large trees along US 129 south. Newton was treated for minor injuries at a local hospital and released Saturday.

Bell attacks Tolbert's actions in forum
BY ANGELA GARY
The gloves came off in the District 25 House of Representatives race at a political forum Thursday night as Democrat Pat Bell called incumbent state Rep. Scott Tolbert's actions "bait and switch." She also pointed out that he received an Atlanta newspaper's "sleaze award" during the recent legislative session.
Tolbert didn't respond to any of the comments, saying only that he plans to run a "positive campaign."


PAT BELL



The comments from Bell were the only fireworks in a two-hour forum in which candidates were given two minutes to give opening introductory comments and one minute to make closing statements. The comments from Bell were the only direct attack made by a candidate.
"Five years ago, Mr. Tolbert promised our senior citizens 70-years-old and older school tax relief," she said. "Now, five years later, the same promise, but now it's 75. Ladies and gentlemen, this is called bait and switch."
Bell also spoke on Tolbert's relationship with Water Wise, a private firm which made an effort to privatize sewage service in the county.
"Water Wise ­ a client of Scott Tolbert's ­ wanted utility status...to condemn your property or mine without being regulated," she said. "This company could have controlled the growth of this county. To keep Water Wise alive, when the county options ran out, he turned to Pendergrass where he had family connections."
She also spoke of Tolbert's action in trying to gut Senate Bill 343, which limits condemnation rights of private utilities like Water Wise.
"For this action in the House of Representatives, Tolbert was awarded the "Golden Sleaze" award for self interest ­ a blatant conflict of interest," she said. "His client was more important than his constituents. I take no pleasure in what I tell just said. It's sad. Ladies and gentlemen, you deserve better."
As for his change to a Republican she read a quote from Tolbert saying that he "did it for spite more than anything else."
"To me, it is more than dishonest when you represent something that you're not," she said.
For his part, Tolbert outlined his campaign platform and said that he wants to run a "positive campaign."
"Unlike my opponent, ladies and gentlemen, I want you to join me in a positive campaign," he said. "A campaign that puts results over rhetoric. A campaign that wants to eliminate the school tax for the elderly, a campaign that wants to examine the possibility of floating exemptions in Jackson County."
Other goals included: eliminating the sales tax for volunteer fire departments; resolving the debt problems in the state of Georgia; and "real education reform." He said his campaign will be one "that believes in real education reform ­ not one that blames the educator and fires paraprofessionals."
"One that in which we actually do something," he said. "One in which we can institute better curriculum; more intensive education funding; better incentives; more parental involvement. I want you to join me in a campaign that puts people above power. A campaign that puts principles above politics."


Hoschton discusses city square project
At a work session Thursday morning the Hoschton City Council discussed several issues including progress on the pending city square project and options involved with the Panther Creek sewer problem.
The city square project is continuing on schedule and a proposed plan will be on display at the city hall as soon as the rendering is complete. The council made provisions for a few parallel parking spaces on the main square for trucks with trailers to park without obstructing the view of those people attempting to pull into the traffic of Highway 53.
The Hoschton City Council is working closely with the EPD to settle Panther Creek's sewage problems and the council expects that the issue will be resolved and construction complete in eight or nine months. Hoschton's Engineer Charles Armentrout met with EPD on Wednesday and he said they are receptive to any plan Hoschton adopts as long as the situation is rectified in a timely fashion.
The council has yet to make a firm decision between replacing the existing grinder pumps or installing a new gravity flow system. Because of the prohibitive cost of a gravity system, the council favors replacing the grinder pumps. However, because the pumps were improperly installed by the developer with most of them below ground level causing surface water intrusion, many of the houses will have to have new holding tanks dug before their new pumps can be installed.
A public meeting will be held in approximately thirty days to explain to the residents the steps that need to be taken and their responsibilities in regard to that system. Any decision by the council will result in a surcharge paid by the residents every month on their water and sewage bill. The council also plans to arrange for maintenance and repair of the new sewage system either through city hall or through a private contractor.
At their work session, the council also announced their intention to have new zoning guidelines finalized and established in ninety days. The zoning regulations will be discussed further at the Monday night council meeting at 7 p.m. as will the issue of Garner Plumbers, Lengrin Maddox's re-zoning request from C1-C2 and the annexation request of New Hope AME Church.


Rabid Dog Bites Commerce Man
A Commerce man is receiving treatment to protect against rabies after being bitten by a rabid dog last week in Banks County.
Charles Vickery of Wood Street said he was helping his son work on a poultry house at a Route 3, Carnesville address in Banks County when he was bitten on the leg by a beagle.
"It kind of slipped up behind me," said Vickery, a retired Commerce mail carrier, Monday. "It gave me a pretty good bite."
The dog was a stray and because of its strange behavior, Vickery's grandson shot and killed it.
"We called the Banks County Health Department and they came and got it and sent the head to Atlanta. They were real cooperative. It came back positive the next day," said Vickery, who termed the incident "just one of those things."
Vickery went to Dr. Sam Vickery, who referred him to St. Mary's Hospital for treatment. Vickery received the first six shots Friday, got the seventh shot Monday and will receive three more over the next 28 days. He's had no ill effects from the bite or the shots.
"The doctor checked it this morning and said it was doing fine," C. Vickery said.
Meanwhile, veterinarian Dr. Kinsey Phillips reported that a local man came in to Commerce Veterinary Hospital Saturday morning and reported that he'd been bitten by a bat.
"Since he didn't have the bat, I told him he definitely had to take the rabies shots," said Phillips, who did not identify the man.


Mother of murder victim
charged in Lance arson

The mother of a 1997 murder victim in Jackson County has been charged in connection with a fire at the home of the man convicted in the killing.
Shirley Ann Love, 60, 265 Wayne Poultry Road, Pendergrass, has been charged with first degree arson in the fire that destroyed the home of convicted killer Donnie Lance. A warrant has also been taken for her daughter, Jill Love, in connection with the arson.
Jackson County Sheriff's Department chief investigator David Cochran said the two are not accused of being participants in the fire, but knew of it beforehand and made the arrangements. He also said that the mother allegedly promised to give money to someone for burning the home.
Two men were charged in September 1999 in the fire at the home of Lance on Wayne Poultry Road. Thomas Roy Matthews, 43, Gillsville, and Jeffery Scott Watson, 28, Pendergrass, were both charged with first degree arson.
The Sept. 9, 1999, fire totally destroyed the Lance home. Lance was convicted earlier in 1999 on murder charges for killing his estranged wife, Joy Lance, and her boyfriend Butch Wood. Donnie Lance was sentenced to death for the killings.



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Jury finds local man guilty of sixth DUI
Convicted drunk driver Jeffrey Stinchcomb was sentenced to one year in jail and given a $1,000 fine by Judge Jerry Gray in Jackson County State Court Thursday after being convicted for his sixth DUI.
A six-person jury found him guilty of one count of driving under the influence of alcohol (DUI) and one count of operating a vehicle with a blood alcohol content of 0.10 grams or more. He was found not guilty of one count of reckless driving.
The conviction was Stinchcomb's sixth DUI since 1980, including a conviction earlier this year in Hoschton City Court on a charge from an arrest that happened nine days prior to the current case. In Hoschton, Stinchcomb was given probation and fined $1,150.
In 1980, he pled guilty to vehicular homicide following a head-on wreck that killed three people in Braselton. He served two and one-half years of a five-year sentence for the deaths.
Judge Jerry Gray didn't allow Stinchcomb's previous record to be admitted in Thursday's trial.


Political forum set Thursday
The Jackson County Area Chamber of Commerce and Farm Bureau are planning a political forum featuring candidates in the upcoming election.
The forum will be held at 7 p.m. Thursday at the Jackson Electric Membership Corporation auditorium.
Each candidate in a contested race will be given two minutes to introduce themselves. Following this, each candidate will be given an additional one minute to make follow-up comments.
The moderator will then pose questions to the candidates. Written questions will be solicited from the audience and will be reviewed by a panel of Farm Bureau and chamber members.