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Ryan Crane top rookie at Caraway
PENDERGRASS' Ryan Crane continued to chip
away at Casey Yunick's lead in NASCAR Slim Jim All Pro Series
rookie points Saturday with a 12th-place finish in the Caraway
200 in Asheboro, N.C. The finish was the best among only three
rookies competing in the $41,750 event at Caraway Speedway.
Local softball, football teams preparing for season
Softball teams from Jefferson and Jackson County were scheduled
to join their football counterparts in preseason practice this
week. Early-week rains, though a welcome sight, washed out much
of the teams' much-needed practice time.
Family drops suit against Madison County school board
A local family has filed for dismissal of
its legal challenge of the Madison County Board of Education's
school attendance policy. But the county school system still
wants a judge to rule on whether the schools' policy is lawful.
Confederate grave registration project begins
The local camp of the Sons of Confederate Veterans has launched
a drive to locate and register the graves of Confederate veterans
in Madison County. The drive is part of an international effort
to build a database of Confederate burial for memorial and genealogical
Planners deny zoning request in split vote
The county's planning board of appeals will likely hear its first
case in more than a decade in coming weeks, following the planning
commission's contentious Tuesday night denial of William Jackson's
New gym floor to be replaced at BCHS
The Banks County Board of Education stood firm in its demand
for a gym floor to replace the one at the new high school, and
it looks like it will pay off.
The Jackson Herald
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Jefferson Police Sgt. John Ward (L) holds a piece of wood two
unidentified men used to knock Tim Smith (C) unconscious as he
came out of the building in the background at the Jackson County
Wastewater Treatment plant. Smith said the men took money and
prescription medicine from him.
worker attacked, robbed Wednesday
A Jackson County wastewater treatment plant employee was hit
in the head with a piece of wood and robbed Wednesday afternoon.
Tim Smith said he was sitting in the office at the facility when
he noticed the top of a black pick-up truck pass by the office
window. Smith said he waited several minutes for someone to come
knock on the office door, but when no one did, he got up and
"When I opened the door, someone came up behind me and hit
me in the back of the head with a piece of wood," Smith
said. "I hit the ground and came to about 15 or 20 minutes
The suspects, described as two white males in a loud full-size
black pick-up truck, ransacked Smith's car and took some prescription
medication and money from his wallet, Smith said.
"Whoever did this was after something they knew I had,"
As of press time Wednesday, the two males and the pick-up truck
had not been located.
District 3 to see
Beshara vs. Tolbert
Voters will again head to the polls Tuesday to decide two key
county board of commissioners seats.
In a race that has become increasingly acrimonious since the
July 18 Primary, Republicans Harold Fletcher and Tommy Stephenson
will face-off for chairmanship of the Jackson County Board of
Commissioners. With no Democrat in the race, Tuesday's voting
will decide the top spot in local government for the next four
In the two weeks since the Republican Primary, Fletcher and Stephenson
have attacked each other's qualifications. Stephenson has blasted
Fletcher's real estate business, suggesting that having such
a business is a conflict-of-interest for the chairman. Fletcher
has attacked Stephenson's personal financial problems and his
previous record as a mayor, commissioner and legislator.
In the District 3 (West Jackson and North Jackson areas) BOC
race, Republicans Emil Beshara and Mark Tolbert will face each
other in the run-off. The winner will face Democrat Fran Thomas
in November. Beshara was the top vote-getter in the July Republican
Primary which featured four candidates. The winner of the District
3 contest will serve only two years before another election in
that district. The short term was created in order to stagger
seats on the restructured BOC.
Pay for the part-time chairman's position is $15,000 per year
and the district seat is $10,000 per year.
There are no run-off elections in the other three BOC districts,
but each has one Democrat and one Republican who will face-off
Polls will be open Tuesday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Those who voted a Democratic ticket in the July 18 Primary will
not be allowed to vote in the two Republican run-off races. Voters
are not permitted to switch parties after the primary and vote
in another party's run-off race.
Registered voters who failed to vote in the primary can, however,
vote in the run-off next week.
Nicholson 'City Manager'
Her promotion to city manager shot down by the city attorney
and her ability to do her job hampered by bad relations with
her ex-husband, Nicholson city clerk Dana Wilbanks has resigned.
Mrs. Wilbanks handed in her letter of resignation at a called
meeting of the town council Monday night, but Mayor Steve Wilbanks
declined to discuss the issue at the meeting. It will likely
be a topic of conversation at the council's regular meeting Monday
night at 7:00 at city hall.
At the crux of the issue seems to be strained relations between
Mrs. Wilbanks and the mayor, Steve Wilbanks, her former husband.
"I brought to the council issues that they have refused
to deal with, so I don't feel like I have any choice," Mrs.
The resignation is effective Sept. 1.
Mrs. Wilbanks says the problems stem from her inability to get
Wilbanks to perform functions necessary to the operation of the
city. She says he has temporarily moved out of the city, changed
his telephone number and his pager number and seldom drops by
city hall to sign checks or perform other job-related duties.
Wilbanks is a fireman with Hall County and has two other jobs,
making contacting him harder, Mrs. Wilbanks said. He also recently
The city council tried to avoid the conflict by naming Mrs. Wilbanks
city manager, which would have given her the authority to perform
most of the mayor's duties, she said. But the day after the council
took action, members consulted Wanda David, the city attorney,
who told the council that its action was ill-advised.
"She told them they should have declared it a new position
and advertised it," Mrs. Wilbanks said.
David said Monday night that the council could have simply added
the new duties to Mrs. Wilbanks' job description, rather than
creating a new job title altogether.
"If she leaves, it'll be tough for us," commented Councilman
Daniel Sailors after the meeting. "She's been running things
here more or less for several years. I hope she'll change her
Jefferson students return to classes Friday
It may still be the middle of summer, but one area school system
is ready to break out the textbooks for another year.
The Jefferson City School System will open its doors Friday,
having added 20 more teachers to meet growth demands.
Among the highlights of the new year is an addition to the elementary
school of six new kindergarten classrooms, an expanded Spanish
program at the middle school and an apprenticeship and internship
program at the high school.
Last year, the school system began capping numbers in some grades
due to growth demands. As of Monday, there were still 14 out-of-district
kindergartners on waiting lists as a result of grade size capping.
Jefferson Elementary School Principal Patsy Lentz said the school
would like to admit everyone, but class size must be maintained
at 20. Even with the new addition to the school, there is no
more classroom space. Adding another class could only be done
with a mobile unit.
"Everything depends on registration and the number of in-city
kindergartners who come Friday and Monday," Lentz said.
While growth has squeezed some class sizes, school leaders said
the impact isn't all bad.
"Every year brings a whole new set of opportunities due
to growth itself," Superintendent Dr. John Jackson says.
"So, of course we're excited about growth."
Another change for students this year comes as a result of Governor
Barne's Education Reform Bill which focuses primarily on those
students in need of more instruction in reading and math. An
Early Intervention Plan (EIP) will replace the present SIA program.
The support will work in the same way although the funding is
A second ramification of the governor's bill is 20 days of additional
instruction for remedial purposes. This will be done by offering
assistance after-school, on Saturdays and during the summer.
Although not on tap for this year, administrators are planning
to open a fifth grade academy next year after the new middle
school building is complete. When the middle school moves, the
current middle school building will be vacant, so the system
plans to move fifth graders into that building as a separate
"academy." This will give JES more room and provide
fifth graders with a unique opportunity to prepare for middle
school away from the elementary grades, officials say.
See this week's Jackson Herald for the rest of this story
and others that discuss the upcoming school year.
Fletcher Vs. Stephenson, Round 2
Voters will again head to the polls Tuesday to decide two Jackson
County primary races, but a lot of Commerce voters can't participate.
Republicans Harold Fletcher and Tommy Stephenson will face each
other in a run-off election August 8 for chairmanship of the
Jackson County Board of Commissioners.
That means the more than 1,000 voters who participated in the
Democratic Primary will not be able to vote Tuesday, including
some 597 Commerce area voters who cast ballots in the District
2 Democratic race for the board of commissioners.
There is no Democratic candidate, and an independent candidate
failed to qualify for the ballot (see separate story), so the
winner Tuesday will be unopposed in November.
Stephenson is a former mayor of Commerce and served briefly on
the board of commissioners before resigning to run for another
post. Fletcher is chairman of the Jackson County Industrial Development
Authority and is a former county commissioner.
In the primary, Fletcher edged Stephenson by just 42 votes, 1,233-1,191.
The keys to the election for both candidates are voter turnout,
which is expected to be low, and where the 614 primary votes
for Roy Grubbs will fall in the runoff.
In District 3, which is the West Jackson and North Jackson areas,
Republicans Emil Beshara and Mark Tolbert will face each other
in the run-off for a seat on the board of commissioners. The
winner will face Democrat Fran Thomas in November.
Polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Those who voted a Democratic ticket in Tuesday's primary will
not be allowed to vote in the two Republican run-off races. Voters
are not permitted to switch parties after the primary and vote
in another party's run-off.
Registered voters who failed to vote at all in the primaries
may vote in the primary run-off, however.
Go to Jackson
Public Meeting Dates
& Convenience Stores
For Good Cause
Sixty-eight people were willing to
shed blood last Thursday for the benefit of people they will
never know or see.
That's how many pints of blood the American Red Cross collected
during a drive at the First Baptist Church of Commerce Family
Fellowship Center, a drive that surpassed its goal by 36 percent.
Red Cross officials set a goal of 50 pints for the drive.
Helping surpass that goal were 18 employees of Southeast Toyota,
located on Georgia 334, Commerce.
Toyota employees who gave blood included Katie Williams, Diane
Patrick, Danny Dean, Louise Minish, Jeff Oyster, Chuck Waggoner,
Connie Duncan, Lloyd Alexander, Jeff Geisler, Kenneth Lord, Bobby
Bradberry, Susan Gordy, Jody Ferguson, Duane Dowaker, Leigh Ann
Watson, Jason Casey, Amy DeGeorge and Emily Bradberry.
Construction Of 3-5
Elementary School Planned In 3 to 5 Years
Some time in the next three to five
years, the Commerce Board of Education plans to open a new elementary
school for grades 3-5.
The board voted in a called meeting last Thursday night to spend
$480,000 for 64.05 acres on the Jefferson Road, then completed
the transaction with the owner, Dr. Joe Griffeth, Friday morning.
The board paid $7,500 per acre for the land.
Superintendent Larry White said the site has been approved by
the Georgia Department of Education facilities division and has
passed an environmental evaluation required by the DOE.
According to the board's facilities plan, the new school would
be built for 450 students. At one point, the board considered
using the current middle school as an elementary school and building
a new middle school. However, the cost of building a new middle
school would be higher, due to state requirements, according
In addition, the system is growing more rapidly at the elementary
level, and the Governor's Reform Education Act of 2000 requires
the reduction in class size in grades K-3.
Funding for the new building will come from a combination of
state sources and the renewal of the special purpose local option
sales tax for education.
The new site, adjacent to Deer Trail Country Club, could accommodate
"This should provide the school system with plenty of flexibility
and space for growth in the years to come as our student and
community population continues to grow," White stated.
In other business Thursday night:
·Following a closed session for the discussion of personnel,
the board voted to accept the resignation of Patti Bearden, a
middle school teacher and technology specialist, and Lesa Lewis,
secretary and clerk at the high school.
·The board hired Carol Wilkie as a special education paraprofessional
for CHS; approved the transfer of Kerri Drew from special education
teacher to social studies teacher at CMS; hired Shawanna Fitzpatrick
as a special education paraprofessional at CMS; hired Misty Cox
as a half-time speech language pathologist; hired Toni Mason
as a school psychologist, a position shared with Jackson County;
and named CMS teacher Melanie Matthews as the school's yearbook
bid falls short
Jackson County probate judge Margaret
Deadwyler said this week that a man seeking to run as an independent
chairman of the board of commissioners didn't have enough valid
signatures to be on the November ballot.
Jerry Presley, 26, submitted the signatures of 855 countains,
but 109 were declared not valid because the signees are not registered
voters, Deadwyler said. Presley needed 792 signatures in order
to be placed on the ballot.