News from Jackson County...

September 22, 2000

Jackson County

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Walhalla To Visit Tigers For Homecoming 2000
Commerce's 2000 homecoming opponent will be a state away from home Friday night. The Tigers will welcome Walhalla (S.C.) to Tiger Stadium for the first meeting between the two teams. Walhalla is ranked in some South Carolina Class AA polls. The Razorbacks finished 5-5 last season, losing in the first round of the South Carolina playoffs.

Which Volley Cats will show up?
Jackson County's Volley Cats will travel to Hart County Thursday, in a rematch of Tuesday's tri-match at Madison County. Also on this week's agenda is a trip to Winder, to face the Bulldoggs and Cedar Shoals.
Head coach Robin Potter said the Cats presented two strikingly different teams to their opponents Tuesday in Danielsville.

JHS hopes to slow Red Raider roll
The Madison County Red Raiders have rolled over each of the four opponents they've faced this year.
But if the Jefferson Dragons have a say in the matter, Madison County's roll will stop Friday night. The Dragons are slated to take on the Red Raiders Friday at 8 p.m. in Danielsville.

Neighborhood News...
Emergency workers rescue choking infant
Little Emerald Eveion Prather loves marshmallows.
And when the 9-month-old baby saw her sister's white soft drink bottle top lying on a nightstand around 8 p.m. Aug. 16, she put it in her mouth, perhaps expecting the familiar soft, sweet treat. Instead, the bottle top moved down her windpipe and began to choke her.

52nd Madison Co. Fair opens Tuesday
The 52nd annual Madison County Agricultural Fair is set for Tuesday through Saturday, Sept. 26-30, at the Comer fairgrounds. The fair will be open from 6 to 11 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and from 12 to 4 p.m. Saturday. The fairgrounds will be closed from 4 to 6 p.m. Saturday.

News from
Go-cart track owner gets approval to operate business
A Banks County man finally has approval to run his go-cart track on Otis Brown Road. The board of commissioners approved Mitchell Payne's request in a meeting Friday morning to rezone seven acres from agriculture to C-2 (general commericial).

Dalton named temporary head of EMS
The Banks County Board of Commissioners has named fire chief Perry Dalton to serve as the temporary head of the emergency management services department.
The action was taken in a called meeting Friday morning after the BOC met behind closed doors for 15 minutes to discuss "personnel."
The Jackson Herald
Jefferson, Georgia
Telephone: (706) 367-5233
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This 80-foot poplar tree in the Holly Springs community was struck by lightning around 8 a.m. Thursday. Debris from the tree was scattered in all directions over a 200-foot radius. "It scared me to death," said Mary Nichols, in whose yard the tree stands.

Kiwanis Club Installs Officers

The Commerce Kiwanis Club installed new officers at its 75th anniversary banquet last Thursday night. Left to right are Scott Martin, immediate past
president; Chas Hardy, treasurer; Jeff Geisler, vice president; Ronnie Silva, president; Gary Freeman, president elect; and Oscar Weinmeister, secretary. Martin was also honored as "Kiwanian of the year."

Seven to be on ballot in Nicholson mayor's race
Nicholson residents will have seven candidates to choose from for the mayor's seat when they go to the poll on Nov. 7.
The candidates include: Stanley Fouche, Carl Bergeron, Ronnie Maxwell, Billy Kitchens, Bobby Crawford, Ray Hancock and Clark Kesler.
Fouche submit his resignation as a member of the city council in order to run for mayor. Councilman Daniel Sailors also resigned because he is a candidate for the Jackson County Board of Commissioners. This will leave the council with only two members, Margaret Ward and Thomas Gary, until a special called election is held in March.

County Preparing Sewer Bond Issue
Money Would Fund Acquisition, Upgrade, Expansion Of Sewer System
Seeking cash to expand its sewerage system, the Jackson County Water and Sewer-age Authority expects to issue $10-$11 million in bonds this fall.
At Thursday's meeting of the authority, board of commissioners chairman Jerry Waddell instructed lawyers for the county and the authority to "get a bond issue ready to go to market" by Nov. 2.
Meanwhile, the county government has been issued a wastewater discharge permit by the Georgia Department of Natural Resources. The permit is an updated version of an industrial discharge permit attached to the Texfi facility on Georgia 11 in Jefferson. The permit was issued Tuesday and will be modified as the county expands the sewage operations. Officials hope to eventually have up to 2 million gallons per day capacity.
The exact amount of the bond levy hasn't been determined, but it will go to repay the county's general fund for the $2.7 million acquisition of the old Texfi sewage treatment plant and for the plant's upgrade. It will also fund the purchase of 150 adjacent acres at a cost of $1.07 million and the expansion of sewage lines to Hwy. 124 for the Mulberry Plantation development.
Tuesday, county leaders met with Mulberry developer Doug Elam to discuss the financial arrangements for the sewage project. Because of its size, Mulberry is a key player in the financing of the sewage plant. Before the bonds are issued, Elam will issue $500,000 to the county and a letter of credit for additional funding. Those committed dollars will help the county get a higher bond rating, said officials.
County attorney Lane Fitzpatrick praised the county for its acquisition of the Texfi plant and the establishment of a sewerage system, calling it the county's "crown jewel" and suggesting, not in jest, that the plant be named for Waddell.
"It'd make both sides happy," Fitzpatrick said. "Both his critics and his supporters."
Authority attorney Julius Hulsey praised both commissioner Pat Bell and Waddell.
"Had not they stayed the course, we'd have never got this settled," he said. "The other side knew it and that gave us a little leverage."
Waddell said: "It would have been a tremendous loss if we'd sat down and let a private company take over."
Fitzpatrick said the acquisition left the county "less than an inch away from what I consider greatness. This is just the crown jewel of Jackson County, getting a sewer service going. ...You've now got all the pieces in place to bring in the tax base other counties would kill for. That (EPD) permit is absolutely worth its weight in gold. What was accomplished was absolutely great."
The authority's sewer engineer, Bob Sutton, said the county will initially seek a 450,000-gallon-per-day permit.
Earlier in the meeting, the water authority and county commissioners signed intergovernmental agreements concerning the sewerage plant, essentially conveying the plant to the authority. The agreement states that the authority will, "if funds become available," repay the money the county spent acquiring the facility.
The agreement treats other county sewerage matters as well, including ownership of the pre-treatment plant Mayfield Dairies maintains and rights to the capacity the city of Commerce gave the county in its treatment plant. It also pledges the county's backing on any future bond issues and gives the authority sole discretion over when and where sewer lines are installed.
After the authority voted to approve the document, Waddell called the board of commissioners into session and he and commissioner Bell also ratified the agreement.
Both parties also signed off on an agreement making the authority responsible for the sale of water coming from the Bear Creek Reservoir, which is scheduled to be completed in July.
The document states that the authority has "sole authority" as to when and where water lines are constructed.

Rest stop opponents send 'loud and clear' message
More than 100 people gathered in the meeting room of the Jefferson Public Library Tuesday night to oppose a proposal to locate two rest areas along I-85 in Jackson County.
The North Jackson Neighborhood Watch, led by president Dennis Coté, planned the meeting and four officials with the Georgia Department of Transportation attended.
"The message is loud and clear," DOT project engineer Larry Dent said after numerous people spoke out against the plans. "We are certainly going to look. We can sit here and debate this all night long. I'm not going to try and defend the location. All I'm going to tell you is that we are going to look at all of our options."
Dent said the DOT will look at other potential sites along I-85 in the coming weeks with a decision to be made in approximately six months. The project will be completed in five years, state officials say. Dent said this didn't mean that the proposed site would be disregarded.
"This is not the final site," Dent said. "We are going to look at other sites, but we can't discount this one."
The two proposed sites are located between Hwy. 332 and Hwy. 129 on I-85. Both sites would be 35 too50 acres and would have 200 parking spaces ­ 100 for 18-wheeler trucks and 100 for other vehicles. They would be open 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. and would have two staff members on duty.
The proposed cost for both rest areas is $18.1 million, according to DOT communications officer Teri Pope. A figure of $30 million was given at the meeting, but Pope said Wednesday that the cost would be closer to 18.1 million.
Dent said the site was selected because it has water and sewer availability, which is one of the main requirements. He said the Gwinnett County rest areas each use approximately 15,000 gallons of water per day.
Several of those at the meeting, who live near the site, said they don't have county water or sewer. Dent said it is available at Walnut Fork Industrial Park and the state could hook onto it. Several people asked what the DOT would do if Jefferson and the county both refuse to provide water and sewer. Dent said the DOT has not contacted either governmental group because the state is in the preliminary stages of the project.
Concerns about all of the additional truck traffic and the problems it could bring, including crime, noise and air pollution, were among those aired at the meeting. One person in the audience said rest areas led to "gay communities taking over." Another said prostitution is high in rest areas.
"A rest area is not a high crime area," Dent said.
He added that in 15 years, law enforcement officers had been called to the Franklin County rest area only three times. A woman in the office added that the Gwinnett County rest area has more crime problems than that.
"That is what you are bringing to our county," she said.
Other concerns include the potential of a decrease in property values; run-off when it rains which would cause diesel fuel to go into nearby rivers; and interference on televisions from CBs.
One man asked the DOT officials what benefit Jackson County would receive from the rest areas locating in the county. He said the location of a housing unit for law enforcement officers, which could be used by the county sheriff's department or the state patrol, would be one benefit.
Several people also questioned the rest area is needed and pointed out that truck stop businesses are located in the county which have spaces for truckers to park overnight.

Election season on the horizon
Candidates are gearing up for the final stretch to the November 7 elections. In a little less than seven weeks, local voters will go to the polls to choose everything from a new president to a new county commissioner.
Voters have until Oct. 10 to register to vote for the November balloting if they are not already a registered voter.
Ten contests in Jackson County will be decided in the November balloting. High on the list of interest are the four new district board of commissioners seats. The chairman of that group will be Harold Fletcher, who was elected during the Republican Primary this summer. With no Democrat in that race, he is assured of taking the position January 1, 2001.
All four district seats, however, have both a Republican and Democratic candidate. In some areas of the county, interest in those BOC seats is high.
Also high on the interest list are two races for local representation in the state legislature. Republican Rep. Scott Tolbert is attempting to hold on to his seat in a heated race with Democrat Pat Bell, currently a Jackson County commissioner.
In the state senate, Democrat Sen. Eddie Madden is attempting to hold onto his seat against Republican challenger Mike Beatty. The candidates have already met several times - first at a Jackson County forum before the primary, at a recent forum in Hoschton and this week at a forum in Madison County. The candidates are also scheduled to meet several other times in the large Senate 47 district for forums and debates. No key issue has developed so far in that contest, but the Beatty campaign has it would show the "real" Madden to district voters.
City elections are set in Maysville, Pendergrass and Nicholson for Nov. 7. Voters in these towns will have a separate ballot for these races.
In Maysville, incumbent Mayor Richard Presley will face former mayor Jerry Lewis.
The incumbent council members in Ward 1 and Ward 3 will also face challengers in the election. In Ward 1, incumbent Jim Saville, former councilman Andrew Strickland and Todd Dorsey qualified. In Ward 3, incumbent Andy Martin, Richard Parr and Frank Chesonis qualified.
In Ward 2, former mayor Marion Jarrett was the only one to qualify. Ward 2 incumbent Scott Harper qualified for the Ward 4 seat because he is moving to that district. Harper is the only candidate for the Ward 4 council seat.
In Pendergrass, Rebecca Danner, Judy Carol Stowe and Joyce Cooper qualified for the vacant Post 4 council seat.
A called election will be held in March to fill the mayor's seat due to Mark Tolbert's recent resignation. Mayor Pro Tem Monk Tolbert will lead the council until that election is held.
A city election will be held in Nicholson to fill the mayor's seat following the resignation of Steve Wilbanks. Qualifying is under way this week. Those who have qualified so far are: Stanley Fouche, Carl Bergeron, Ronnie Maxwell, Billy Kitchens, Bobby Crawford and Ray Hancock.
A special election will be called in March to fill Fouche's vacant council seat.

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JCCI Warden, 3 Others Are Suspended
Four administrators with the Jackson County Correctional Institute, including warden Joe Dalton, have been put on administrative suspension by the Jackson County Board of Commissioners.
The action comes after county officials uncovered what they said was evidence that one prison employee had turned in falsified payroll time cards. An investigation continues into the department, which houses state prisoners.
Board of commissioners chairman Jerry Waddell said Friday that state corrections officials have agreed to run the prison until the county can sort out the matter.
In addition to Dalton, deputy warden Ken Ashley, Lt. Eddie Mullis and Gus Morris were suspended.
Those suspended will continue to be paid until their cases are resolved.

Hoschton's fall festival ahead this weekend
Hoschton's annual fall festival will be held on Friday through Sunday, September 22, 23 and 24, on the city square.
The event will begin Friday when booths open at 8 a.m. Afternoon music will be provided by Steve Stewart's Band and contemporary gospel music by Hope Christian Worship Center. Arts, crafts, food and games will be available.
The festival's annual talent contest will begin Friday at 7 p.m.
Festivities will continue Saturday with booths opening at 8 a.m. The parade is scheduled for 11 a.m. WIMO radio station of Winder will be on hand for live broadcasting with Verlon Deaton announcing. Cakewalks, bingo and clogging will be held throughout the day.
The West Jackson Fire Department will have fire trucks and equipment on display, along with Jackson County's DARE units and patrol cars and Hoschton's patrol cars.
At 3 p.m., Rudy Sanders will call the steps for the Jug Tavern Squares.
At 4 p.m., Jennifer Martin and the YMCA School of Performing Arts will give examples of the early years of dance.
A street dance featuring Kelsey DiMarco from Hartwell will begin Saturday at 7 p.m.
The festival will conclude Sunday after an afternoon of gospel singing coordinated by Van Welchel.
For more information, call Hoschton City Hall at 654-3034.

Nicholson Residents Get To Air Opinions About Zoning
More than 40 people crowded into the Nicholson Public Library Thursday night to air their views on zoning.
The city has been working toward bringing zoning to the town for two years and the public hearing was held to get citizen input before the council votes on the matter. Some 15 people spoke at the public hearing. Many of those who spoke didn't speak for or against zoning, but told the council what they want their property to be zoned.
City officials pointed out that all existing uses, including commercial or agriculture, will be "grandfathered" in and allowed to continue.
Howard Wilbanks, who lives on U.S. 441 South, said zoning is "one of the best things" that could happen to the town.
"It will protect the people," he said. "... It will stop a lot of this stuff that has been going on."
Tommy Palmer said zoning can control developers looking for a "quick profit."
"Nicholson is not staying small," he said. "It is going to grow ... I would like to see something we can all be proud of, not something that makes us hang our head ..."
Scherry Jackson said that with Nicholson growing, the city needs to have a way to regulate areas.
"Those people who chose to have a nice place ought to be able to have one and the value stay good," she said. "If you want to live in a mobile home, we have several areas that are designated for mobile homes."
Several others spoke in opposition to zoning and asked that a city-wide vote be held before it is implemented, including Chuck Wheeler, who pointed out that the council is down to only three members.
"Zoning will not get rid of trash next door to you," he said. "Zoning is the forerunner of segregation."
He said that zoning calls for putting some people in one section of the town and others in another section of the town.
The ordinance divides Nicholson into five zoning classifications, two residential, government, agriculture and commercial. The Jackson County Planning Commission will handle public hearings for the town and will make zoning recommendations to the city council.
A proposed zoning map is at Nicholson City Hall and can be reviewed by the public. Copies of the zoning ordinance are also at city hall.