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November 13, 2000

Jackson County

Jackson County
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Smashing The Record

The Commerce side of Tiger Stadium was packed. There were 1,000 or more football fans on the hill. They were there not just to watch Commerce play cross-county rival Jefferson in the annual grudge game, but also to witness history being made.
They were not to be disappointed.

Parr, Freeland run in top 20 at state meet
Jackson County runners Kelly Parr and Sara Freeland each finished in the top 20 in their respective 5K races Saturday at the state cross country meet, held in Carrollton.

Neighborhood News...
Incumbent Patton toppled
In the Madison County school board District 5 race, Republican challenger Ric Power defeated incumbent Democrat Patton with 56.5 percent of the vote (803 to 617).

Comer mayor calls for change in how council vacancies are filled
Future vacancies in Comer's mayor and council posts will be filled by special elections, if new mayor Chris NeSmith has his way.

News from
Brady edges out incument Dumas; Chapman to stay
Beginning in January 2001, the Banks County Board of Commissioners will be under new leadership. Political newcomer Kenneth Brady narrowly defeated incumbent BOC chairman James Dumas by just over 300 votes.

Council member concerned about hazards at pumping station
At a recent visit to the pumping station along the Chattahoochee River, Baldwin council member Mitchell Gailey was dismayed at Demorest's failure to provide safety measures at the plant's site.
The Jackson Herald
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County may revive recreation board
Basketball signups to proceed as planned
Officials with the Jackson County Parks and Recreation Department fielded a number of questions and suggestions from area sports booster club presidents during a meeting Thursday evening at the county administrative building.
Among the proposals put forth by the club representatives was the revival of a county recreation board. Each of the six clubs would designate a board representative, with the county recreation director serving as chairman.
Jackson County BOC chairman-elect Harold Fletcher, who was in attendance, indicated he was in favor of the proposal.
"When we have people who want to volunteer, we need to take advantage of it," Fletcher said. "I'm all for taking work off the commissioners."
Club representatives also voiced several concerns over the department's upcoming youth basketball leagues, particularly the hiring of officials. Parents were asked to officiate a number of games last year, when officials didn't show up.
Club officials were in agreement that an outside association should be contracted to officiate games, but the more experienced officials would require more money. Acting Executive Assistant John Hulsey said the money would be available.
"It's not going to be a problem," Hulsey said. He also indicated that the recreation department had a large sum of money available in the 2000 budget, but that much of it had sat unused. That information came as a surprise to club representatives, many of whom had apparently been told by former department head John Hoos that funds were not available for a number of needed projects.
Hulsey also said several improvments would be getting under way at the department's Lamar Murphy Complex in the near future, including the addition of lights to the soccer fields and paving the walking areas between baseball fields.
Hulsey told the group that the county hopes to hire a new department head by the end of the year.
"We're willing to spend the money to get a professional director," Hulsey said.
Rec staff sacked
Gambling, porno sites found on county computer; no charges expected
Allegations of gambling at the Jackson County recreation department has led to three employees resigning this week.
Recreation director John Hoos, athletic coordinator Clayton Munnell and part-time employee Sandy Bond all resigned after county leaders found evidence of gambling on college football games and pornography on a computer at the department.
BOC chairman Jerry Waddell said a computer at the recreation department was confiscated Monday. Jackson County Sheriff's Department chief investigator David Cochran said Wednesday that criminal charges are not expected to be filed in the incident.
An investigator with the sheriff's department went to the recreation department Monday to look into the allegations after Waddell learned of the matter over the weekend. Hoos was in Savannah, but was called back Monday to discuss the matter. He resigned shortly afterward. Munnell and Bond resigned Tuesday.
The presidents of all Jackson County recreation booster clubs are expected to meet at 6 p.m. Thursday at the county administrative building to make plans on handling basketball registration, which is scheduled to begin this weekend.
Hoos and two asisstants resigned last week, after being confronted by county officials about allegations of using the department's computers for gambling and viewing pornographic materials online. Hulsey said, however, that county officials had been considering making changes in the department prior to those allegations coming forth.
"There's been nobody looking after the shop out there. That's another thing that led up to this."
Longtime department employee Brenda Cantrell was named interim department director after the resignations. Maintenance supervisor Ricky McElroy also remains with the department. A temporary employment agency has been hired to assist the pair during the department's transition.
Cantrell indicated at the meeting that basketball signups previously scheduled for this week would proceed as planned.


Pat Bell looks over some of the results during Tuesday night's ballot count. The final number didn't come in until nearly 3 a.m. Wednesday.

See all election results

Bell tops Tolbert
What a finish!
After eight long hours of ballot counting which saw the lead change hands several times, challenger Pat Bell has apparently defeated incumbent Scott Tolbert for the House District 25 seat with a razor thin margin. Over 13,000 votes were cast in that race.
But with such a slim margin, probate judge Margaret Deadwyler has scheduled a recount to begin at 10 a.m. Thursday. See recount results below.
It was at 2:55 a.m. Wednesday that the last Jackson County precinct of Newtown was finally counted. Although Newtown went to Tolbert, the margin wasn't large enough to overcome Bell's lead from all the other precincts.
The lead in the race changed hands several times during the night, at one point showing Bell with only a three-point lead. Overall, Bell won eight Jackson County precincts while Tolbert won six in addition to the absentee ballots. Tolbert also won the two Hall County precincts that are in District 25.
Except for the Hoschton precinct, Tolbert dominated the Republican stronghold of West Jackson and also won his home territory in North Jackson. But Bell dominated in the county's two largest precincts of Jefferson and Commerce and the large central Jackson precinct of Harrisburg.
It was a busy day at the polls across Jackson County Tuesday, with some precincts staying open until almost 9 p.m. in order to give all of those who were in line by 7 p.m. a chance to vote. The voter turnout was 70 percent, with 11,975 of Jackson County's 17,042 registered active voters casting a ballot. The total voter pool in Jackson County is 21,000, including inactive voters. Only active voters are counted in the turnout percentage. See results

See this week's Jackson Herald for a breakdown of local race results.

Bell/Tolbert Recount Complete - Bell Retains Victory

The recount of ballots in Jackson County was completed Thursday evening around 7:15 p.m.

Bell won by 56 votes over incumbent Scott Tolbert. Bell finished with 6530 votes and Tolbert had 6474.

Very little change occurred as Bell's 56 vote margin was 2 more for her than the results showed after the Tuesday night tally.

DIST. 25







Runoffs Scheduled in Pendergrass, Nicholson
Election season in Jackson County is not quite over. There are two municipal runoffs later this month. On November 28, Stanley Fouche will meet Ronnie Maxwell for a decision on the mayor's position in the City of Nicholson. Also on Tuesday, November 28, Pendergrass voters will decide between Joyce Cooper and Rebecca Danner for Ward 4.
See General Election results in these races.

Nov 7 Election Results

See All Candidates
See July 18 Primary Results
See August 8 Runoff Results

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It's Britt, Beshara, Beatty and Thomason on BOC
The new county government finally has some faces.
All four district seats on the Jackson County Board of Commissioners were filled Tuesday with no major surprises.
In the Jefferson area, Stacey Britt easily defeated Tommy Benton by a 60-40 margin. In West Jackson-North Jackson, Emil Beshara handily defeated former county commissioner Fran Thomas, also 60-40.
In South Jackson, Tony Beatty rolled over Daniel Sailors with a 61-39, margin while in Commerce and Maysville, Sammy Thomason won over Don Blalock 58-42.
The four new commissioners will join chairman Harold Fletcher in the first five-member board of commissioners in the county's history. They will take office January 1, 2001.
The four new commissioners all said Wednesday morning that they are looking forward to January.
"I'm looking forward to January," said Britt. I think there is a lot of hard work ahead, but I'm excited. I think the five-member board will be good for Jackson County."
Beshara said: "We were very impressed with the huge turnout in District 3. It was yet another sign that the people here care deeply about their government. We are so very proud of our county. I would like the residents of District 3 and the rest of Jackson County to know that, whether they supported me or Mrs. Thomas, I will work to the best of my abilities to represent their best interests on the board of commissioners. We will be taking action beginning on January 1, 2001, to move Jackson County into the future. We will address the growth issues that were discussed during the campaign season. We will work to protect the constitutional rights of the property owners of our great county. We will craft our zoning code and land use plan with the future in mind. Above all, we will work to maintain and improve our quality of life."
Beatty said: "Now that we have gotten the board established, we need to create a working relationship and get things started. I would also like to thank both of my opponents for running a positive campaign because I am just about sick of the negative campaigning going on."
Thomason said: "I look forward to the challenge of the job and pledge to the best I can for my district and Jackson as a whole to make it a better place."

Suspect in truck incident identified
Charges to be filed late Thursday

A warrant is being prepared this morning for the arrest of a Maysville woman in connection with an incident early Tuesday morning over political sign thefts.
Lisa Sue Latty, 34, Plainview Road, Maysville, is expected to be charged Thursday afternoon in the altercation. The truck that the suspect was driving in the incident is owned by Pruitt and Gee Auto of Pendergrass.
Greg Bell, son of state representative candidate Pat Bell, was struck by the truck at 4:20 a.m. after he stopped to confront a man he saw tearing down a political sign for his mother in Jefferson, according to an incident report filed at the Jefferson Police Department. According to Jefferson Police Chief Darren Glenn, the second suspect has not yet been identified.
An employee of Pruitt and Gee Auto told law enforcement officers that the truck had been loaned to a woman who stopped and volunteered to put up campaign signs for state representative candidate Scott Tolbert.
Greg Bell and his cousin, Larry Phillips, reported that they spotted a man tearing down a sign at Sycamore and Kalurah Street across from Kinney's Feed and Seed in Jefferson. Phillips called for a policeman while Greg Bell walked toward the man to confront him.
According to the police incident report, a female driving a blue Ford pickup truck then pulled over to the area and told the male suspect to get in and leave. Greg Bell then told the female driver to wait until the police arrived. She refused and putting the truck in reverse, backed up hitting Bell with the passenger-side door. Bell suffered minor injuries to his hip and left leg, according to the report.
Bell and Phillips gave officers a description of the two suspects and the tag number of the truck. They said the male is 17-19-years-old with stringy hair. See first story