News from Jackson County...

October 16, 2000


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The Jackson County Greenspace Steering Committee seeks input that would better prepare the Committee for developing the Jackson County Greenspace Plan. Please take a moment to answer four questions and return them on the form provided here.


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SEE THIS WEEK'S PIGSKIN PICKERS!

Timely Play Overcomes Miscues
Commerce lost three fumbles but gained more than 300 yards from senior tailback Monté Williams to down Athens Academy 20-15 Friday night.

Panthers fall to 0-3 in region play
In many sporting events, the scoreboard can only tell part of the tale. Such was the case Friday as the Jackson County football team endured its fourth straight loss, a 29-7 decision at the hands of region opponent Eastside.

Jefferson edges Oglethorpe County 21-18
Maybe it was Jefferson's solid defensive stands inside the red zone.
Or maybe it was the extra point attempt Blake Gooch blocked in the first quarter.
Either way, it was a strong Jefferson defense that came through in the clutch to help the team to a 21-18 victory over the Oglethorpe County Patriots Friday night.


Neighborhood News...
MADISON COUNTY
Fortson hearing set for Thursday
Tracy Lea Fortson's legal counsel is scheduled to appear in the Madison County courthouse at 3 p.m. Thursday in hopes of getting the accused murderer's bond lowered, District Attorney Bob Lavender confirmed Wednesday.

$25,000 contract approved for drug counseling program
A contract was approved Monday night for a drug and alcohol counseling program, but not without some tense moments.
The board of commissioners voted 4-1 to approve a contract for Rev. Jess Martin's proposed Northeast Georgia Alcohol/Drug Addiction Prevention Program and Aftercare Services (AADAPP).




News from
BANKS COUNTY
Dry ice burns child on bus
A parent upset over an older student burning her son with dry ice while on a school bus put the Banks County Board of Education on the hot seat at Thursday night's work session.

Package store hit by armed robbers
Three armed robbers held up a Banks County business Monday night, taking cash and cigarettes.
Banks County Sheriff Charles Chapman said the three men went into County Line Package Store, located on Hwy. 59 on the Banks-Franklin County line, around 8 p.m. Monday with two deer rifles and a shotgun.


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Like An Early Christmas


It was like an early Christmas for the Commerce Public Library this week when four new computers arrived. The Gateway computers being unboxed by Anna Hoover and Sandra Holliday of the Piedmont Regional Library and Susan Harper, Commerce library director, were given to the library by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. In fact, libraries in Jefferson, Maysville and Nicholson also received four computers apiece. The library will be closed Thursday and Friday so staff can be trained on the computers, but an open house and demonstration will be held Thursday from 4:00 to 5:00.



UPDATE:
Jefferson agrees on areas for 'green space' designation
Jefferson leaders met briefly Wednesday night to allocate areas of the city they would like to be allocated as "green space."
Mayor Byrd Bruce, council members Jim Joiner and Steve Kinney and county green space committee member Grant Seibert met to discuss the program. They decided that all rivers and streams with a buffer, the city park, the I-85 and Central City sewer plants, flood plain areas and wetlands should be allocated as "green space."
The city and county are working toward designating 20 percent of its land as "green space" in order to qualify for state funds. These funds can be used to purchase additional and for "green space" or for other recreation uses.
The group agreed to seek additional information on the specifics as to what the state money can be used. for. Walking areas are one project city officials have mentioned for possible use with the funds.

Wreck claims life of JHS senior, two others
A large crowd of Jefferson High School students and parents held white candles as they sang hymns Tuesday night in a service at the school honoring the senior student killed in a wreck Monday.
Two Jackson County men, Daniel Goza, 18, and Timothy Lee Parker, 28, were both killed in the accident on Ga. Hwy. 82 at the intersection of Bowman Mill Road in Barrow County, four miles east of Winder. Also killed in the wreck was Kevin Musgrove, 23, Athens.
Coach Chuck Cook, who attended Faith Baptist Church with Goza, opened the ceremony in the JHS gymnasium Tuesday by reading from the Book of Isaiah. The home side of the gym was packed with several guests having to stand on the gym floor.
A number of family and friends came to the microphone and spoke about Goza. Various photos and basketball awards of the athlete were displayed. A large portion of the student body crowded around the family to offer condolences and share tears.
The crowd moved to the parking lot, holding candles, while singing hymns. They stopped to kneel for a moment at Goza's parking space.
JHS principal Pat Blenke said Tuesday that everyone is "heartsick" about the tragedy.
"Daniel was a very popular young man, and very well-liked, so it's been a very difficult day at Jefferson for students and teachers as well," he said. "We've had several counselors and youth ministers here, and I appreciate everybody's effort. I think that has at least helped some of the students. Some have been so upset they've had to check out, and others couldn't even come to school, and we understand that. It's a tragedy to have someone so young with such promise in their life to have it end so abruptly."
Goza was a two-year starter for the Jefferson boys' basketball team for Coach Bolling DuBose. He was the leading rebounder and second-leading scorer in 1999. He also played golf. He has three sisters, including JHS sophomore Annie, a two-year starter and one of the top players for the Jefferson slow-pitch softball team and girls' basketball and track teams.
"I think that is probably the hardest for us at school is that you've lost a really good kid," DuBose said. "It's been really somber and quiet all day. You rarely see a kid who has an impact on that many students."
The coach said Goza was a joy to teach and coach.
"He worked extremely hard," he said. "He was the kind of kid you'd love to have in a school, even if he didn't play any sports. The hardest thing is that they're such good people. It's just sad. We had a lot of colleges call and express an interest in him, and he was really looking forward to basketball season coming up Oct. 23. We've lost a good kid from a really good family. I don't know that you ever get over that. As a coach, you lose kids to graduation every year. When they leave due to graduation, you get over it. This is a really hard way to lose one."
The two-vehicle wreck occurred around 11 a.m. Monday when Parker reportedly failed to stop at a stop sign and struck the truck driven by Daniel Wayne Thornton, 26, Athens. Both trucks caught on fire and Parker's truck ended up upside down. Goza was a passenger in Parker's truck and Musgrove was a passenger in Thornton's truck.
Parker worked for Goza's family's business, Goza Fence Company, and the two were reportedly doing a job in Barrow County Monday. It was a student holiday and Goza had agreed to help Parker out.
Parker was to have been married within two weeks. His fiance is Christy Fowler. He was a member of Arcade Community Church.
See this week's Jackson Herald for information on the funeral arrangements.


Jefferson denies action for duplexes, office complex
In a 4-1 vote, the Jefferson City Council approved a zoning classification Monday night for 9.9 acres on Washington Street that would not allow the duplexes and office complex developers had planned for the site. The city council zoned the property, owned by Marsha Hunter and Dale Overstreet, to R-1. The developers had asked that the property be zoned to C-2 and R-2 to locate a commercial office building and eight duplex lots.
Council member C.D. Kidd III was the only vote against the zoning classification.
The vote came after much discussion from area property owners opposed to the C-2 and R-2 zoning and the developers.
Overstreet said her office, which is located next door, and a beauty shop are both commercial. She added that Bell's Grocery Store, located across the street, is also a commercial district.


County BOE may roll back millage
County residents may get a break on their school tax bills this year.
Jackson County schools superintendent Andy Byers said the Jackson County Board of Education may be able to roll back its millage rate if the county's tax digest has grown as expected.
"There has been some indication that there will be a substantial increase in the digest on new and unbefore-reported properties," Byers said at a work session Thursday. "I will recommend we roll back the millage if everything looks like the estimates (tax commissioner) Don Elrod gave me."
Byers said he was told reassessments and tax from the new Georgia Power plant will also add to the anticipated digest.


Charter School Proposed For Area
Because school systems do not adequately prepare young people for jobs and careers, a new charter school is expected to open next year in northeast Georgia.
The Technical Career Academy of Northeast Georgia will attempt to connect students to jobs and careers, according to Dr. Howard Ledford, director of planning. He addressed members of the Jackson County Area Chamber of Commerce at its monthly membership breakfast last Wednesday.
The school grew out of a survey taken for Family Connections in Oglethorpe County in which one of the main concerns turned out to be high school graduation rates. Ledford told the group that students found "little connection" between school and jobs and careers.
Ledford said the group's research showed that only 20 percent of new jobs will require a four-year college diploma, but 75 percent will require a high school diploma and specialized training. Meanwhile, 75 percent of the work force population either drops out before graduating or graduates but receives no other training.
Statewide, only 68 percent of high school students will complete high school on time, with eight to 11 percent dropping out prior to graduation.
And although most students do not go on to college, Ledford said 80 percent of the time they spend in high school "is directing them to the college preparatory seal." Thus, the lack of connectivity between traditional education and jobs.
High schools offer a college preparatory seal and a general education diploma, which Ledford called "a diploma to nowhere."
"They may leave high school. Some go to college. Some are incarcerated. Some hang around five or six years if they ever get linked (to a career)," he said.
The state's education "reform," he said, still buys into the notion that a college diploma is the American dream.
"We've all bought into that," Ledford declared.
One of the goals of the Technical Career Academy is to reach the potential workers who do not even show up in statistics. They're the "invisible workforce" that never held a job long enough to be considered part of the labor force or to qualify for unemployment.
"This is the work force we have to identify and develop to get industry and business to come in (to Oglethorpe County)," he said.
The TCA has more than 175 "partners" as it seeks its first campus. Where that will be located has not been determined, but Ledford indicated that work sites at industries in a 16-county area around Athens could be used as "academies" for training workers.
The school's mission will be to teach through hands-on work, including the teaching of work ethic and career skills and on-the-job training. It will instill, he said, such basic skills as reading newspapers, job applications, etc., provide math skills for the management of bank accounts and budgets, stress citizenship (paying taxes, voting), teach the need for teamwork and reliability and offer specific job training.
The school was chartered under the auspices of the Oglethorpe County Board of Education and will be managed by Athens Area Technical College. Ledford said it hopes to open its doors to students in the fall of 2001, pending funding next spring by the Georgia General Assembly.


City Council To Consider Helping DOT At Intersection
Helping the Georgia Department of Transportation put traffic warning devices at the intersection of Georgia 326 and the bypass will be on the agenda when the Commerce City Council meets Monday night.
The council will meet at 6:30 at the Commerce Civic Center. The meeting was postponed from this past Monday night.
The DOT has announced plans to make the intersection more visible but will not install a traffic light. The intersection already has raised warning stripes on the approaches of Georgia 326 and a stop/warning light that flashes red toward 326 and amber to U.S. 441.
City Manager Clarence Bryant said the DOT is interested in city assistance in adding other devices.



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UPDATE:
Health Dept. raise fees
After getting the approval of the board of commissioners, the Jackson County Board of Health voted to raise environmental health fees to match Barrow County.
Health board chairman Henry Slocum told the board during a called meeting Thursday afternoon that the commissioners had approved matching Barrow County's environmental fees.
"We want to increase fees to hire another environmentalist so that we would have three," Slocum said.
The board approved Slocum's request. The new fees will be advertised in The Jackson Herald before they take effect. They will be as follows:
·$150 for a small restaurant inspection and $225 for a large restaurant, an increase from $100 for either.
·$150 for a residential septic systems inspection, an increase from $60, and $225 for a commercial system, an increase from $70.
·$150 for "tourist courts" or motel and hotel inspections, an increase from $50.
·$55 for water samples inspection, an increase from $20.


Tolbert threatens suit over Bell campaign sign
The hotly contested race for the District 25 House seat got another dose of gasoline last week after incumbent candidate Rep. Scott Tolbert threatened to sue a supporter of his opponent, Pat Bell, over a campaign sign.
In an Oct. 6 letter to Dan Gunnels, a retired county extension agent and extension director, Rep. Tolbert said he would pursue a "restraining order, libel claim, punitive damages, court cost and attorney's fees allowed by law against you, your candidate or any other person attempting to use a 'staged phony photo op.'"
The threat revolves around an apparent coincidental meeting of Gunnels with a group of Republicans on a statewide bus tour Thursday afternoon. Gunnels said he drove to the Jackson County courthouse to see his wife, who works in the probate judge's office. In the back of Gunnels' pickup truck was a 4'X4' campaign sign slated to be put up this week that reads, "Republicans for Pat Bell." He parked the truck near a barber shop across the street from the courthouse.
But Gunnels said he didn't know at the time that on the northeast corner of the courthouse lawn was a small group of state and local Republican candidates doing a statewide courthouse tour. Although the event was primarily a push for state Senate candidate Mike Beatty, Tolbert was also on the lawn.
In the meantime, several Republican candidates, including Tolbert, called The Jackson Herald requesting a photographer make a photo of the Republican event. Rep. Tolbert apparently thought Gunnels' sign was an attempt to stage a photo that would indicate the Republican gathering supported his opponent Pat Bell.
"I must put you on notice now that any attempt to use a 'staged phony photo op' picture by you or your candidate will be met with swift rebuttal and legal action," wrote Tolbert in his letter to Gunnels.


Time To Take Out The Trash
It's a week for which Commerce residents have waited a whole year. It's time to take out the trash.
The annual citywide cleanup week will be held next week, Oct. 16-20, five days when city crews will pick up the accumulated unwanted junk and debris of hundreds of city residents ­ at no charge.
"We'll collect the 16th through the 20th," said city manager Clarence Bryant, who noted that the usual exceptions will be observed.
So, while the city will haul off scrap metal, furniture, appliances, bedding, anything biodegradable, glass, carpet and other materials, it will not accept hazardous materials.
Anyone who puts paint cans by the side of the road can expect them to be ignored as the city crews pick up the debris. The same goes for auto tires still connected to the wheels. Tires will be accepted and wheels will be accepted, but they must be separated.
Bryant asks city residents to put all of their materials out this weekend and to not put more out once the pickup has been made. He also asks that metal be separated from other items.
The cleanup week is one of the city's most popular events. Citizens like it because they can get rid of materials at no charge that they'd normally have to take to the landfill and pay to have disposed of. The city council members like it too, because their constituents have good things to say about it.


FB wants farm equipment exempt from local taxes
Group also wants $2,000 fee on all new homes in county
The Jackson County Farm Bureau called last week for support of a measure that would exempt farm equipment from property taxes. On the other hand, the group also called for action that would tax every new home in Jackson County $2,000 to go toward education. The call came during the bureau's annual meeting Thursday night in Jefferson.
If passed during the November 7 balloting, "Referendum A" would eliminate local property taxes on farm equipment. Farm Bureau president Tom Crow said the tax puts Georgia farmers at a disadvantage because eight of 10 Southern states don't have the tax. "Three-hundred and twenty-nine acres disappears every day in Georgia to a developer," said Crow. "Passing 'Referendum A' would help preserve the family farm. Every YES vote counts."
The Farm Bureau also called for a minimum charge of $2,000 for each new home built in Jackson County. Farm Bureau board member Dennis Sikes said the charge was necessary to help balance the burden Jackson County residents face in paying for education. Sikes said Jackson County does not have the facilities or the money to fund all of the growth necessary. He felt that the charge would give the budget the boost it needs to deal with the influx of new people.
The organization also called for legislation that would mandate disclosure to all buyers that their property borders agriculture land. Sikes said that such a law would clear farmers of liability should a homeowner claim noise pollution as a result of machinery, or foul odors as a result of a chicken house. The bureau has also supported legislation for an EPD advisory committee because the EPA and EPD have created regulations in the past that he said are detrimental to the farming community. The governor vetoed the legislation, however.