News from Jackson County...

August 9, 2000


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Wednesday Morning Accident
A Cobb County man was transported to a local hospital for treatment Wednesday morning after wrecking his Isuzo Trooper while trying to avoid hitting a deer on Interstate 85. Witnesses said the victim was traveling north at the 147 mile marker when a deer came into the road. The vehicle swerved, went onto the median, came back onto the northbound lane, then re-enntered the median, where it flipped. The vehicle came to rest in the southbound lane, but the driver, whose identity has not been released, was not seriously injured. The mishapped blocked the southbound lane of I-85 for approximately 45 minutes.



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SPORTS
Volley Cats to kick off 2000 fall sports
A year after a successful season that saw them qualify for the state sectional tournament, Jackson County's volleyball team has a quite a few big shoes to fill.

Tony Bennett and Love in victory lane
Tony Bennett's dream season continued Saturday night at Lanier National Speedway as he took the lead with eight laps to go in the 50-lap Coca-Cola Pro Late Model feature enroute to his seventh win of the season.

Gridiron Tigers Among Decades' Best in Class A
With just more than three weeks before the first game of the season, Commerce coach Steve Savage said hisTigers still have "a long ways to go."
Now that the 1990s are over, it's time to look at the aughts - '00s that is. But before we go too far into the present and future, it makes some sense to regard the recent past.


Neighborhood News...
MADISON COUNTY
'Tiny' Hanson credits strong faith for his successful transplant surgery
David "Tiny" Hanson, of Madison County's Paoli Community, says he knows what it's like to "be carried by God."
For over a year, he and his wife Debra waited for the call that could save Tiny's life. The call came - three times - but it wasn't until the third time that Tiny received the transplant organs he needed to survive.

Nash, Dickinson win run-offs
Democrat Nelson Nash and Republican Phyllis Dickinson won runoffs for the county commission chairman and coroner's seats by wide margins Tuesday.




News from
BANKS COUNTY
Thomas wins probate seat
Garnering just over 62 percent of the vote, Betty Jean Evans Thomas defeated Ben Whisnant in the run-off Tuesday for probate judge.
"I'm just elated," Thomas said the votes were totaled. "I thank God and I thank the voters of Banks County for turning out again and electing me as their probate judge. Your votes have been a mint to me."

Fire dept. seeking $2.2 million
Banks County fire officials are hoping to receive an early Christmas present from the Banks County Board of Commissioners-a $2.2 million funding burst.


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Bye, Mom!


Malik Turner was all smiles on the first day of kindergarten at Jefferson Elementary School Friday as he waved good-bye to his mother.


Beshara trounces Tolbert in District 3
They were supposed to have been two close races.
They weren't.
With a small turnout of only 2,291 voters countywide, about 15 percent, former county commissioner Harold Fletcher handily won the seat for chairman of the Jackson County Board of Commissioners for the next four years. Fletcher rolled over Tommy Stephenson for the seat 64 percent to 36 percent. Fletcher lost only one voting district, Wilson, on his road to victory.
In the North Jackson and West Jackson District 3 race, political newcomer Emil Beshara trounced Pendergrass Mayor Mark Tolbert for the Republican nomination 64 percent to 36 percent. Beshara will face former county commissioner Fran Thomas, a Democrat, in the November General Election.
CHAIRMAN'S RACE
"I want to turn the attention to the future," Fletcher said Wednesday. "We have to look to bring about the realization of a new form of government."
The chairman's race had become bitter in the two weeks following the primary as Stephenson slammed Fletcher's real estate business and Fletcher in turn highlighted Stephenson's history of personal financial problems. But Wednesday, Fletcher said the campaign was over and wished to put those issues behind him. The chairman-elect said he would now turn his attention to getting "back up to speed" with specific issues affecting the county.
"I've been out of county government for 12 years," he said. "Things have changed."
DISTRICT 3
Beshara carried all but Tolbert's home area of Pendergrass on his route to victory. In the final days of the campaign, Tolbert unleashed two direct mail attacks on Beshara, saying he was pro-landfill and that he wanted to tax dogs in the county.
Beshara responded to the attacks only on his campaign web site, which is one of the first political web sites to be used in a local campaign.
"We are very pleased with the results of the runoff this evening," said Beshara Tuesday night. " The credit for the success of this campaign goes to all of the people who chose to support my candidacy through their personal desire for a more responsible and responsive government.
"I thank each and every voter who chose to inform themselves of the issues and vote for the candidate that they felt was the most qualified.
"I look forward with great anticipation to continuing this campaign into November and will continue to focus solely on the issues and the qualifications of the candidates."
The winner of the Beshara-Thomas contest will serve a two- year term on the board.



Schrenko tells Rotary Education reform bill needs changes made next year
State School Superintendent Linda Shrenko told members of the Jefferson Rotary Club Tuesday she wasn't completely opposed to H.B. 1187, the Education Reform Act, she just wanted to modify it.
"Of course, it's the law and of course we're going to implement it," Shrenko said. "But parts of it are not good for our kids and we've got to get the legislation to change it."
Shrenko told Rotary members the biggest problem wasn't the lack of resources, but the way those resources were being utilized.
"We need to take from those programs that don't work and give to the ones that do," she said. "If you don't use what you have, then there's no use having it."
Shrenko addressed three main parts of H.B. 1187 that she believes do not take the best interest of Georgia's children into account: class size, school safety and improving accountability.
First, Shrenko said limiting class size didn't attack the real problem of poor teacher training. She also said it wasn't fair to reduce class size at the expense of important non-vocational lab programs.
"I think we can reform education without stealing from one program and giving to another," she said.
Shrenko said she was also concerned about the school safety aspect of the bill. She said the bill mandates one nurse per school, but only provides funding for one nurse per school district.
Shrenko also said putting a nurse in schools wasn't going to take away guns and she proposed allotting wasted lottery profits on more bus monitors and school safety equipment.
As for accountability, Shrenko disagreed with the method of accountability. She said a student's background should be factored into the evaluation of a teacher's effectiveness to prevent all of the state's good teachers from going to the schools with the best students. She also said more testing was not going to cause students to learn more.
"This bill is predicated on the fact that if we give our kids more tests, they'll do better," said Shrenko. "More testing does not equal more learning."
In a questioning session, Jackson County school superintendent Andy Byers and Jefferson school superintendent Dr. John Jackson both said they were concerned about not knowing how much, if any, funding they were going to receive from the state for certain programs.
"We have implemented parts of the program that are not in our budget because we have been promised they will be in the supplemental budget," Jackson said. "We are operating on blind faith. If it doesn't come through, we've got a real problem."
Shrenko said school boards throughout the state were dealing with the same problem. Some, she said, were cutting programs and hoping the funds would materialize, while others were raising taxes at the expense of their seat on the board.
Shrenko offered little hope, besides saying she was going to work to get legislators to change the parts of the bill that don't make sense. She also said the problem could worsen as H.B. 1187 continues to be phased in.
"We are only in year one of a four-year plan," she said. "So conceivably, year two could be worse. I'm not against reform. We just need to fix what is broken."


Nicholson Mayor Resigns, Clerk Reinstated
The town of Nicholson got back its city clerk but lost its mayor during the past week.
Last week, city clerk/city manager Dana Wilbanks submitted a letter of resignation, effective Sept. 1. This week, Mayor Steve Wilbanks submitted his resignation, effective Aug. 31, Mrs. Wilbanks withdrew her letter, the town council discussed plans for a special election and one member announced his plans to run for mayor.
Mayor pro tem Stanley Fouche read the mayor's letter of resignation at Monday night's city council meeting: "Due to unfortunate circumstances beyond my control, I have no choice but to turn in my resignation as mayor of Nicholson effective Aug. 31, 2000. I have fully enjoyed my term in office and working with each council member over the years."
Steve Wilbanks was in his second term and seventh year as mayor. Prior to that, he had served three years on the town council.
But during that time, he and Mrs. Wilbanks divorced, and he recently remarried and reportedly moved to Athens. Mrs. Wilbanks had cited difficulty communicating with her ex-husband about city business as her reason for resigning.
The council never acted on Mrs. Wilbanks' letter, so she agreed to withdraw it.
The council voted to accept the mayor's resignation, and Fouche announced that Mrs. Wilbanks had agreed to stay on as city clerk.
"That's wonderful," commented councilman Daniel Sailors.
"I am delighted she has re-considered and am grateful for the work she has done for the city of Nicholson," added councilwoman Margaret Ward.
The council also voted to rescind its recent vote making Mrs. Wilbanks city manager, but increased her authority, making her, in effect, the city administrator.
The mayor's term will expire Dec. 31, 2001, so the city must hold a special election to fill the unexpired term. While the council cannot officially call the election until the position is vacant, members agreed to try to get the matter on the Nov. 7 General Election ballot and to hold qualifying the Thursday, Friday and Monday following Labor Day (Sept. 7, 8 and 11). The qualifying fee is $10.
After the meeting, Fouche said he would seek the office. To do that, he must resign, which means Nicholson voters will likely return to the polls the second Tuesday in March for a special election to fill his unexpired term.



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Maysville Moving Toward Better Pay For Mayor, Council
The next elected Maysville City Council may get a heftier compensation for its time.
The council voted Monday night to begin the process to raise the mayor's salary from $450 to $2,500, the mayor pro tem's salary from $260 to $1,250 and the council's salary from $240 to $1,000. Now, the council must advertise its proposed raise, and will meet again Sunday, Aug. 27 at 2 p.m. to take final action before candidate qualifying Aug. 28.
"I think we need more money, whether it's us or someone for the next term," councilman Scott Harper said.
Mayor Richard Presley said the funding for the raises will come from excesses in the city's general fund. The raises will not take effect until the next term begins.
The council took action after evaluating the time spent on city business and comparing its pay with salaries made by other councils of similar size.
Presley suspended the meeting briefly to allow the citizens at the meeting to discuss the matter among themselves and give the council input.
"We haven't got a problem with an increase in salaries," said Guy Baker, who was speaking on behalf of several citizens. "We think y'all deserve it."
The council's original increase changed the mayor's salary to $2,000, the mayor pro tem's salary to $1,250 and the council's salary to $1,000 per year. However, after discussing the issue with citizens, the council decided to give the mayor $2,500 per year. After the meeting, Presley announced that he will seek re-election.
"Most of us are not in it for the money, but the mayor needs a salary, so it makes it at least worth a little bit of his time," councilman Jim Saville said. "I would even say to cut my salary and give it to him."
Baker, however, disagreed with Saville's idea.
"It's admirable what you're saying, but there's not a citizen in Maysville that would want the council to cut their pay to give to the mayor," Baker said. "But, as an elected official, we all need to understand what you get into when you take on this responsibility."


Local families featured in Ga. textile book
Members of two prominent Jackson County families - the Hardmans and the Bryans - are included in the narrative and photographs of a book about the history of the textile industry.
"For One Glorious Purpose: Georgia Textiles, Our Heritage, Our Future," written by Jan Pogue for the Georgia Textile Manufacturers Association, Inc., follows the history of the Georgia textile industry from the days of the old mill villages to the global competition of the present day.
Members of the Bryan family of Jefferson, and longtime owners of The Jefferson Mills, are featured heavily in the history book.
One "Profile of a Leader" in the book focuses on Morris M. Bryan, Jr., who became president of The Jefferson Mills after his father's death in 1948. He later became the youngest president of the Cotton Manufacturers of Georgia in 1955 at age 37.
His two brothers, Southworth and Tom Bryan, were also involved in the mill, with Tom becoming president in later years before selling to Texfi Industries.
Three members of the Bryan family are still active in the textile industry: Southworth F. Bryan, Lee S. Bryan and Morris M. Bryan III. All three were also featured in the book.
The Harmony Grove Mill, founded in 1893 by Lamartine Griffin Hardman, remained in the Hardman family for nearly 100 years, passing in leadership to former governor Lamartine Hardman Jr. and then to Lamartine Hardman III, who sold the mill to Mount Vernon Mills in 1991.