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November 21, 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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Hardcourt Dragons, Panthers enjoy tournament success
Both local high schools were in the midst of season-opening basketball tournaments at press time Tuesday. Jackson County played host to the Pepsi Tipoff Challenge, and Jefferson was to compete in day two of the four-day Sonny's Smokin' Shootout.

Wrestling teams gear up for 2000-01
When the last regular-season touchdown has been scored and the uniforms washed and hung in storage, it's just about time for wrestling season. Practice began at Jackson County last week, and at Jefferson Monday.

Tigers To Try Trion Friday
After relatively easy wins on both sides, the Commerce Tigers and Trion Bulldogs will match running game against running game in round two of the Class A playoffs Friday at 8:00 at Tiger Stadium.


Neighborhood News...
MADISON COUNTY
Rural tax rate up 18 percent
Rural Madison County residents will see their tax rates go up about 18 percent this year, owing to a jump in county school taxes. The change will mean an increase of $147 on a $100,000 house.

Fortson pleads not guilty
Tracy Lea Fortson of Winterville pled not guilty Wednesday to malice murder, felony murder, two counts of aggravated assault and attempted arson.




News from
BANKS COUNTY
Baldwin, Alto, Homer and Maysville have festivities coming up
Special celebrations are planned throughout Banks County in observation of the Christmas holiday. The Town of Baldwin will hold its Christmas tree lighting at 7 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 27, at city hall.

Chamber plans Christmas decorating contest for area homes, businesses
The Banks County Convention and Visitors Bureau is sponsoring the 2000 Christmas decorating contest. The two categories are residential and business/municipality. The number of votes called in to WJJC radio will determine the winners in each category. The contest will begin Nov. 24 and end Dec. 15.


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RETURNING HOME WITH PECANS

Willie B. Macky of Jefferson is shown on his way home with a load of pecans. He spent Monday evening gathering them in the cold weather that hit Jackson County recently. Macky said that he doesn't mind the cold weather as long as there is no ice or snow. He also said that there seemed to be fewer pecans than last year, but that the wind had really helped them fall on Monday.


BOC to hire interim county manager
Screening and decision will be made by incoming board
For the past couple of weeks, members of the newly elected Jackson County Board of Commissioners have been meeting to plan for what looks to be a major transition in the county government.
Last week, the current BOC agreed to a proposal from the group to go ahead and advertise for an interim county manager. The applicants for the position will be interviewed by the incoming board and a final recommendation forwarded to the current board. Plans are for the current board to hire the interim manager recommended by the incoming board before the end of the year.
"We want to assist you in any way that we can," said current BOC chairman Jerry Waddell. "...You pick somebody and we'll be glad to hire that person."
Incoming chairman Harold Fletcher said the incoming board wanted someone to handle day-to-day operations until the position is filled permanently next year.
"We want to be very deliberate in our process in securing a permanent one, so we're going to follow this course of action," Fletcher said.
Fletcher asked the board to send the applications to his post office box and said the new BOC members would conduct interviews and make a recommendation on the interim manager.
SANDERS NAMED INTERIM
RECREATION DIRECTOR
In a similar move, former Jackson County recreation director Ricky Sanders has been named as the interim recreation department head until a permanent replacement can be found. Sanders was hired by the county at the recommendation of incoming BOC member Tony Beatty, who has been selected by the incoming board as the contact person for county recreation department actions.
Some 20 applications have been received for the position of county recreation director, which is vacant following the recent resignation of John Hoos. The incoming board plans to screen those applications and if a decision is made before the end of the year, the current board has agreed to hire the person recommended for the job.


Jackson County man charged in Athens serial rape cases
A Jackson County man has been charged in three Athens rapes.
Sylvester Deon Collins, 21, was charged with three counts of rape, two counts of false imprisonment, one count of aggravated sodomy, one count of criminal attempt to commit aggravated sodomy and one count of possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime. The charges stem from three sexual assaults that took place in Athens on July 30, Aug. 27 and Oct. 22, 2000. Law enforcement officers say physical evidence from Collins has linked him to all three crimes.
The break in the case came after an arrest of Collins on Wednesday, Nov. 15, by uniformed patrol officers of the Athens-Clarke County Police Department. He was implicated in an aggravated assault that day, according to a release from the police department.
In that incident, a 19-year-old Bogart woman was traveling on West Broad Street in Athens when she noticed an older model black Firebird pass her, according to the incident report filed with the Athens-Clarke County Police Department. The woman told law enforcement officers that she traveled on to Hawthorne Avenue and again saw the Firebird. She said the driver pulled in front of her three or four times and cut her off before stopping across both north bound lanes and blocking her car. She said a man got out of the car and pointed a gun at her. It was a BB gun, but looked like a 9 mm gun.
The woman told officers she was scared, so she put the car in reverse and hit the gas. She drove to a gas station on the Atlanta Hwy. and contacted law enforcement officers. The Firebird had followed her to the station, but didn't stop, according to the report. An officer caught the suspected car and took the man back to the gas station where the victim identified him as being the person who had pointed a gun at her.
Collins is reportedly AWOL from the United States Armed Forces.


Jackson native former head of Fla. Supreme Court
Calls presidential dispute a 'tragedy' for the country
A Jackson County native who served as chief justice of the Florida Supreme Court said the dispute over the president's race is a "tragedy" for the country and called for a move to a uniform voting system.
Joseph Boyd, who was born on a farm near Hoschton and served on the Supreme Court of Florida for 18 years, said this week that he believes the situation in the president's race is unfortunate, but that it can be resolved.
"I think the same as most people across America," said Boyd, who lives in Tallahassee, Fla. "That it is an unfortunate situation. It can be resolved because the Constitution to the United States and the constitutions of the various states and the statutes set precedent to be relied upon...I know all of the seven (Florida) justices and I have great confidence in their integrity and knowledge of the law...It's a tragedy and it ought to be overcome somehow."
The long-time judge also called for a new system of voting across the country.
"I think there has to be a better system of voting," he said. "We ought to have a uniform system of voting. This would be good for America. When you walk in to a voting machine in Centerville, Utah, and somebody walks in to a voting machine in Oregon, that the system of voting is the same and would be simple and easy to do."
One of Boyd's early memories is of a story his grandfather told him about voting in a Jackson County election just after the Civil War ended.
"He walked to vote," Boyd said of his grandfather. "He had voted there before the year before. He was a great big fellow. The man in charge of the voting asked his name...He said your name is not on the list. My grandfather...said, 'Why is it not there? It was there last year.' He said the man grabbed a pencil and wrote his name on the list and he voted. That is how they voted in those days."
For the rest of this story, see this week's Jackson Herald.


Nicholson Mayor's Race Boils Down To Question Of Zoning
To zone or not to zone, that will be the question when Nicholson voters go to the polls Tuesday in a run-off election for mayor.
Originally called for Nov. 21 and changed to Nov. 28, the election pits two former city councilmen, one on each side of the issue of zoning. Stanley Fouche, who believes the community needs orderly growth, will take on Ronnie Maxwell, who believes people should be able to use their land as they please.
Fouche led a seven-candidate race Nov. 7 with 115 votes. Maxwell was right behind with 100. The polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. at the Nicholson Fire Station. The winner fills the unexpired term of Steve Wilbanks.
Zoning has been the only real issue confronting the city. For more than a year, the Northeast Georgia Regional Development Center has been working with the city to draft a zoning ordinance. The ordinance and the maps are finalized, awaiting only a city council vote for enactment.
Implementation of the ordinance would not affect any current residence, business or farm, but it would affect future development. Currently, anything goes in Nicholson in terms of land use, a situation that has led to placement of auto junkyards next to houses and has lured developers of mobile home subdivisions who find it easier to develop land in Nicholson than anywhere else in the county. Nicholson is the only community in the county not protected by zoning.
Nicholson's government has been virtually shut down pending the mayoral election. Wilbanks resigned, Fouche resigned to run for mayor and Daniel Sailors resigned from the council to seek election to the Jackson County Board of Commissioners. That leaves the council with only two elected officials, Margaret Ward and Thomas Gary. It takes three to have a quorum.
It also means that Nicholson will have another called election, in March, to fill the unexpired terms of Fouche and Sailors.

Nov 7 Election Results

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



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Fitzpatrick resigns as county attorney
The new Jackson County Board of Commissioners will have one more position to fill when it takes office in January following the resignation last week of county attorney Lane Fitzpatrick.
The BOC will also be naming a recreation department head and filling the new county manager position.
Fitzpatrick, who was appointed by the current BOC in February 1997, submitted his letter of resignation on Nov. 16. It is effective Dec. 31, 2000.
"Since a new board of commissioners has been elected and a county manager will be appointed, I feel it is appropriate to submit my resignation at this time," Fitzpatrick wrote. "The new board of commissioners should have the opportunity to appoint an attorney of their choice."
Fitzpatrick said that he would "cooperate fully" in assisting the new BOC during the transition time.
"Also, I will be available to consult with the new county attorney to ensure that Jackson County's legal needs continue to be taken care of," he said.
Fitzpatrick said that during his three years with Jackson County, he witnessed "unprecedented cooperation between the county government and the cities."
"Your cooperation with other county authorities exemplifies your dedication to improving the quality of life for all citizens of Jackson County," he said. "The project I am most proud of having worked on with you is the sewer project which could not have happened without your leadership. If you have done nothing else, your leap of faith in getting Jackson County into the sewer business and your persistence in following through to obtain the sewer plant will provide Jackson County with a tremendous advantage in attracting industry to the county, thus providing a greater tax base for the county."


Pendergrass run-off set for Tues.
A run-off election will be held on Tuesday, Nov. 28, with the polls to be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
The run-off election will be held to fill a seat on the city council. The council seat vacated by Harold Beck will be determined in a run-off between Joyce L. Cooper and Rebecca Danner.
Fifty-four percent of the registered voters voted in the Pendergrass city election Nov. 7 giving Cooper 37 votes and Danner 45.


Architectural Steel Firm Eying Jackson
Jefferson and Jackson County are working jointly to lure a large manufacturer of architectural steel products to John B. Brooks Road.
Pepe Cummings, president of the Jackson County Area Chamber of Commerce, told those gathered at the chamber's board of directors meeting meeting on Friday that the manufacturer is number two in the world for expansion joints and has worked on many local projects, including the Mall of Georgia and Turner Stadium. Cummings said the new company would be a "quality employer" for Jackson County residents.
Jefferson and Jackson County have agreed to extend John B. Brooks Road in order to provide an appropriate site for the new company.
Cummings said the manufacturer has the contract from Jackson County and he expects word on their decision to reach him any day.
The company is deciding between Jackson County and one other location in the area that Cummings knows of.
For the rest of this story, see this week's Commerce News.