The Jackson Herald
August 9, 2000
You've probably heard about Governor Barnes' greenspace initiative.
An article in last week's edition of The Jackson Herald indicated
that our newly-formed 12-member greenspace steering committee
is seeking public input concerning their "visioning process."
As with most issues, this writer has some strong opinions about
the governor's program. But let's set the pros and cons of the
overall program aside for now, and concentrate on some of the
things our committee should look in to.
Here for the committee's consideration are a few areas that should
have easily accessible greenspace:
The Bear Creek reservoir. Properly managed, the Bear Creek area
could not only accomplish its main goal of meeting water needs,
it could also become Jackson County's most utilized recreation
area. The Department of Natural Resources (which will also oversee
the greenspace initiative) has already indicated it will stock
the reservoir for fishermen. Camping, picnicking and swimming
areas should also be built and maintained, and walking trails
could easily be added.
Hurricane Shoals Park. One of the county's most visited sites,
the park could become a much bigger attraction with a significant
monetary investment. Since it is situated on the Oconee River
watershed, the park could be expanded along the waterway to allow
for nature trails.
The US 129 bypass. With the bypass paralleling the North Oconee
River, it would provide easy access to this tremendous resource.
Rest and picnic areas accentuated by a connecting trail would
be a cost-effective means of helping meet the committee's goals.
Such a trail could also connect to a bike trail extending to
the nearby West Jackson Middle School area, making the greenspace
easily accessible to the huge number of families that will soon
inhabit that area.
In addition, the committee should consider projects that include
surrounding counties. Such projects would be mutually beneficial,
and cost less to bring about. The Mulberry River area provides
an excellent opportunity for such a cost-effective cooperative,
particularly since it serves as such a large portion of the county's
boundary. The Sandy Creek watershed could also be home to a substantial
The program should also include parks in or near our major cities.
The entire length of Curry Creek in the City of Jefferson begs
a park, and though talk has come up of creating one, it still
doesn't exist. Commerce has its share of opportunities, as well.
If there happens to be a free thinker on the committee, here's
a really wild proposal for you. What about a joint effort with
the state to acquire land for a Wildlife Management Area? Jackson
County's deer population is quite large, and the populations
of other game animals could easily support a WMA. Our area was
once known for its excellent quail hunting. The DNR's Bobwite
Quail Initiative, concentrating on south Georgia, could find
a quality North Georgia environment in a Jackson County WMA.
Additionally, since there are no WMAs in the immediate area,
a significant amount of land could be preserved, while bringing
in retail sales from non-residents. The governor and his advisors
have said green space areas should be separate from WMAs, but
failed to provide an adequate reason why.
The toughest part of the committee's job will be coordination
with other groups. In accumulating greenspace, the county will
have to work together with city governments, the DOT, the EPA,
wildlife groups, landowners and the proverbial host of others
in order to be successful. That level of cooperation won't come
And then there's the question of funding. That's another column
Tim Thomas is a reporter for The Jackson Herald.
The Jackson Herald
August 9, 2000
vs. House, 8-0
In February, I contracted to buy a house in Winder that was barely
under construction. I spent hours with my husband choosing colors
for walls, carpets, vinyl and cabinets. We spent an entire morning
choosing lighting. Every weekend we drove up from Gwinnett and
watched the progress that had taken place during the week. We
closed on the morning of April 28 and moved in that afternoon.
I was so in love with being in the house. Because it was brand
new, I fought to keep it that way. I think I washed my white
cabinets five times in that first weekend and I mopped the floors
before Sunday night. I washed every dish, every pot, every pan,
before I would put it in the cabinets.
But I had a curious notion. I believed that every house is never
a home until it has a dog. Less than a week after we closed,
I dragged my husband to Winder's animal shelter and we chose
to take home the little ball of fur that was in cage #1. From
her coloring I could tell that she was part Rottweiler, but she
was all hairthick, puffy black hair that stood two inches
away from her body. At 8 weeks old, she weighed eight pounds.
The first thing I noticed when we got home was her utter lack
of respect for my new carpet. She peed more than any dog I've
ever known. I would take her out, she would pee, we'd come back
in. She would run quickly to her water dish, lap up several mouths
full, then walk off the easy-to-clean linoleum onto my carpet
and squat, right in front of my eyes. She often looked right
at me with a happy look on her face. It took a month before she
figured out how bathroom time was supposed to work. And she still
makes mistakes. If we're upstairs, she hasn't quite figured out
how to tell us she needs to go downstairs to the bathroom. She'll
just find a convenient spot, do her business, and then hide.
It amazes me that she knows to hide, but not to whine until someone
takes her out. I can't figure it out.
The first time I had to leave her at home, I placed her in the
basement with her food and water and all of her toys. I was gone
four hours. I came home, opened the door and found that she had
managed to rip up the carpet on the landing for the basement
steps. There was a nearly invisible seam there, but I discovered
that the carpet was now peeled back and the fibers had been chewed
off of the carpet strings. She threw herself at my feet, licking
and wiggling all over. The wiggling must have upset her stomach
because she threw up all of her breakfast mixed with carpet fibers.
I scolded her and went out and bought a baby gate.
The next time I left, I put the baby gate up on the basement
stairs. She chewed a hole in the gate and again attacked the
carpet. So, I blocked the hole. She managed to climb over the
gate like a little squirrel. I gave up. I just started to leave
the basement door open so that she could go to the bathroom down
there while I'm gone, but she has the run of the house. I open
the front door praying every night that she hasn't damaged something
that can't be fixed. She throws herself at my feet, licking and
wiggling, so glad that I'm home and I'm ready to forgive her
anything. Several pair of shoes have fallen victim to her. She
chewed through a baseboard that we'll have to replace and, in
her pursuit of a cricket, she pulled the carpet away from one
of the stairs going to the second floor. My husband vacuums daily
to rid our carpet of all of her furry black hair. Soon, I'll
have to rent a rug doctor to deep-clean all of our carpets. My
yard, though bereft of grass, boasts six rather large and oddly
shaped holes. But I was right. A house isn't a home until it
gains that lived-in look. Addie has sure helped us attain that.
Rochelle Beckstine is a reporter for MainStreet News.
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