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Jefferson remains perfect in duals at 11-0
THE JEFFERSON wrestling team will travel to Lexington Saturday
to participate in the Patriot Classic at Oglethorpe County High
Jackson County starts 2-0 in 8-AAA south
BOTH THE girls' and boys' basketball teams from Jackson County
Comprehensive High School got past Loganville Tuesday, improving
both teams to 2-0 in subregion 8-AAA south play.
Dragon Defense Wears Out Tigers, 65-58
For all of the scoring potential, last Friday night's match-up
of the No. 4 Jefferson Dragons and the No. 7 Commerce Tigers
turned into a defensive battle.
Clerk of Court questioned on deed fees
Madison County commission chairman Wesley Nash has asked Clerk
of Court Michelle Strickland to provide details about what she
does with deed fees collected by her office.
County attorney resigns
John McArthur has resigned as Madison County's attorney.
BOE rejects all bids for ag barn
After a recommendation from superintendent Deborah White, the
Banks County Board of Education unanimously agreed at its meeting
Monday night to reject all bids on the high school agriculture
barn as they are all above the budget.
Nursing home employee charged with patient abuse
A 28-year-old man has been charged in connection with reports
of abuse of two patients at Scenic View Health Care Center in
The Jackson Herald
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The Commerce branch of Regions Bank was robbed
Thursday afternoon in what is
believed to be the first bank robbery ever in Commerce.
The suspect was described as a black male from five feet eight
inches tall to six feet, in his late 20s to early 30s wearing
brown pants, a camouflage jacket and a black hat and wearing
sunglasses. He entered the bank at 2231 North Elm Street shortly
after 2:00, handed a note to a teller, collected the
money and walked out, making his getaway in a silver and brown
Buick, according to Commerce police. "He did not show a
weapon, but he kept his hand in his pocket," said Commerce
investigator Steve Kelley. "He wasn't in the bank but maybe
a minute or so." The teller activated the alarm as the suspect
left. "They did everything just exactly the way they were
supposed to," said Kelly of the bank's staff. "Nobody
got hurt. They did what they'd been trained to do. When nobody
gets hurt, you always come out ahead." The robber was captured
on the bank's video surveillance system, Kelley said, but it
didn't help much. "The quality is pretty poor. There is
just so little you can tell about his face," he said. Under
federal banking protocol, the bank closed for the day. The Commerce
Police Department FBI and Georgia Bureau of Investigation are
investigating the incident. Kelley said the FBI had advised police
not to reveal how much money was taken. The bank reopened at
the usual time Friday morning."Everyone is fine and positive,"
said Jackie Whitfield, manager. "We were all a little shook
up yesterday, but it's business as usual today."
NEW TANK GOES UP
The City of Jefferson is placing this new
water treatment tank at its plant. A work crew from Precon Corp.
is shown stressing the tendons, metal cables around the exterior,
to 4,150 pounds of tension per cable to equalize the internal
water pressure and external water pressure. The one-million-gallon
tank is expected to be completed in about three weeks if the
weather cooperates. The dropping temperatures of late have already
delayed progress as the company has used heaters and put a liner
with hay on the roof of the tank to prevent the concrete from
plans get EPD approval
Plans for an improved sewage system at Hoschton's Panther Creek
subdivision have gotten the go-ahead from the Environmental Protection
City engineer Charles Armentrout reported to the Hoschton City
Council Monday night that the EPD has approved plans for a revamped
gravity flow system in the subdivision, which has had sewage
problems for years. The plans call for some gravity flow pumps
to be replaced and others to be renovated, with the city taking
over ownership of the system. Residents have been asked to sign
a contract that gives the city ownership and seals their agreement
to paying a monthly maintenance and loan payback fee.
The city has agreed to pay $150,000 in SPLOST funds toward establishing
the functional system, with the understanding that a loan will
be used to supplement the rest of the construction cost. Project
estimates show a total cost of $161,000, so it is possible that
each household will pay $15 a month until $11,000 is paid off.
The maintenance contract requires residents to pay a $5 per month,
per household, maintenance fee for the first year, with the amount
to be assessed after the first year by the council, as well as
$15 a month loan repayment fee until a construction loan is paid
Armentrout reported Monday that he had received 13 signed agreements
from homeowners. The project requires 100 percent participation
from all 29 homeowners for the system to function correctly,
"I would like to have 20 or more (agreements signed) by
the time we start bidding," Armentrout said during Thursday's
work session. "I would like to start advertising bids next
week, advertising for 30 days while we continue to work with
During the December council meeting, the city council agreed
that turning off the water to the subdivision is a necessary
option if homeowners do not agree to the plan.
NUNLEY QUESTIONS SEWAGE
Alice Nunley again came before the city council Thursday about
city sewage issues, saying that she believes the city has more
sewage capacity than the city engineer's report reflected. Nunley
was denied a C-2 rezoning for Hwy. 53 property in November with
the council citing the lack of sewage capacity as the reason.
Water and sewage committee chairman Rosemary Bagwell responded:
"We are committed for over 100 percent of our sewage. We
have to consider projects we are committed to, and we can't just
keep rezoning when we're over our heads."
Council member Genoria Ree Bridgeman also addressed Nunley, saying,
"I don't understand where you're coming from with these
sewage numbers. The engineers have been saying the sewage is
near capacity for a long time now."
Bagwell pointed out to Nunley that she will not be able to reapply
for rezoning until six months after her original application
date and that she should come back before the council then.
In a related matter, the city engineer reported that he has no
news so far from the EPD on the city's request to increase sewage
"I don't expect to hear about this for several months,"
They were heavily coached by the city attorney and had very little
to say, but Nicholson's mayor and two city council members had
an official meeting Monday night.
It was a called meeting, with a specific, narrow agenda spelled
out and agreed upon by all three of the feuding elected officials.
It was also the first time Nicholson's government has been able
to meet since September.
There were but three items on the agenda.
First, the council authorized council member Margaret Ward and
city attorney Wanda David, who conducted the meeting, to hire
a temporary worker to keep City Hall open while a clerk is hired.
They will negotiate with Etcon.
The second piece of business was to authorize Mayor Ronnie Maxwell
and mayor pro tem Thomas Gary to sign city checks, a move that
will enable the city to pay bills for the first time since Maxwell
was sworn in as mayor Dec. 4.
The final piece of action was to call an election for March 20
to fill the unexpired terms of Stanley Fouche and Daniel Sailors.
Fouche resigned to run for mayor and Sailors to run for county
Qualifying will take place from 9 a.m. Feb. 12 to noon Feb. 14.
The qualifying fee is $5 for terms of office that expire Dec.
How those seats are filled will tip the balance of power in a
community split over zoning. With Ward and Gary in favor of enacting
a zoning ordinance and Maxwell opposed, the election of two anti-zoning
candidates would end the effort to bring zoning to the only local
municipality without it. Election of just one pro-zoning candidate
would likely result in the ordinance being enacted.
There was no discussion of any of the agenda items, and neither
the council members nor the mayor had anything to say, other
than to make, second and vote on motions.
However, David indicated that the council's next meeting will
be at 7:00 p.m. Monday, Feb. 5, which is the regularly scheduled
2001 to be a
good year, says chamber president
Jackson County's economy will continue to grow during 2001, although
it will not grow as much as it has in the past.
Call it "Pepecast 2001," the predictions of Pepe Cummings,
president of the Jackson County Area Chamber of Commerce. Cummings
looked into his economic crystal ball during a program for the
Commerce Kiwanis Club last Thursday.
"We are going to create 350 to 400 new jobs and the economy
will grow from four percent to 4.5 percent," Cummings predicted.
He also speculated that some 300,000 new square feet of industrial
space will be added, including expansions from existing companies,
and that retail sales will be flat.
While the economy will be somewhat slower, Cummings said it will
continue to expand, likening it to a driver on Interstate 85
slowing down from driving 100 miles per hour to 80 mph.
"When you put the brakes on from six percent growth to 2.5
percent, it looks like you are slowing down," he said. "You
are, but you're still speeding."
The result may seem like a recession to some, he said, but since
a recession is "a sustained period of negative growth,"
that isn't likely to happen in Jackson County.
"We're going to be OK," he said. "Georgia is going
to do OK and the county is going to do 2.5 percent."
The chamber chief said most of the southeast has sustained economic
growth without a recession for the past 20 years, although there
is some argument that there was a recession in 1990-91.
Georgia's economy, he said, typically grows one point faster
than the United States, and Jackson County's a point above that,
which produced his prediction of 4.5 percent growth in the local
"We have faster growth and a better-performing economy than
one of the fastest-growing states," Cummings said.
Cummings' crystal ball also produced a prediction that the U.S.
Census will estimate Jackson County's population to be 40,500
when the figures come out in March, a figure that will be ultimately
modified to about 42,000. He also predicted that home construction
will slow down because there are 400 new site-built homes in
Jackson County that will take more than six months to absorb.
Floor Woes Delay
They're coming unglued at Commerce High School.
The floor tiles, that is, and it's become a sticky problem for
a school system trying to get a $2 million renovation completed.
"We're at a standstill now," reports Superintendent
Larry White. "The architect has sent letters of condemnation
to the construction firm, basically saying they have not performed
up to expectations."
What officials have found is that the glue used to put down new
floor tiles all throughout the school is bleeding up through
It is a major problem, because most likely, not only will all
the floor tiles have to be replaced, but there will also probably
be a need to grind down and reseal the concrete pads upon which
the buildings are built and possibly even to provide new drainage.
The problem, says White, is that the concrete pads hold moisture.
It could be caused by poor drainage, could be related to the
fact that the buildings had no gutters to carry off rainwater
during the summer, or to the fact that during the summer the
windows were open and the air conditioning was running to protect
the new ceiling tiles, and it could be caused by the flooring
company's failure to clean off the floor when the old asbestos
tiles were removed.
"There are a lot of theories about what could cause the
problem," White acknowledged. "The main thing is, I
want the building finished. That's the bottom line, and I want
it done right."
When CHS was built, the ground was leveled and concrete slabs
were poured, from which the buildings were built up. In the east
and west wings, White says, the floors are lower than the ground
That did not create a problem with the old flooring, which was
asbestos, because water did not affect the glue used to hold
the tiles down. The new glue, which is required, is a latex glue.
Determining the problem has not been easy. The flooring company
ran some tests and decided that moisture was not the problem.
A representative of the company that made the glue, however,
had more tests run, which reportedly show high moisture content.
"I expect the glue man to come back with recommendations
on what to do to get the glue to stick to the tile," said
That will include removing the tiles now in place and could include
grinding the floor down and resealing it.
The school system has some leverage, about $300,000 left on the
contract. If no agreement on what is to be done is forthcoming,
the architect can "condemn" the work and the system
is free to hire another firm to do the floor work.
The problem with the floor has also put renovation of the special
education and vocational labs on hold pending reaching some kind
At Monday night's meeting of the Commerce Board of Education,
the system's architect, Greg Smith, set an April 15 deadline
by which the problem will be solved, the floor tiles installed
and the CHS renovation completed.
For the rest of this story, see this week's Commerce News.
Go to Jackson
Public Meeting Dates
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OKs New Zoning, Subdivision Rules
Developers and others planning to change the use of land in Commerce
now have new ordinances governing what they can do.
The Commerce City Council voted Monday night to approve a new
zoning ordinance and a new subdivision ordinance at the recommendation
of the Commerce Planning Commission.
Both documents were approved unanimously and without comment.
They are the result of about six months of work by the council,
the planning commission, the Northeast Georgia Regional Development
Center and The Georgia Group, LLC, a firm hired by the city to
draft the new subdivision ordinance. The city and the planning
commission held a number of work sessions and public hearings
on the ordinances.
Among the changes are increased lot size requirements for subdivisions,
a set-aside requirement for greenspace and an option for some
subdivision developers of "clustering" homes to create
Also on Monday, the council approved an amendment to its sewer
ordinance that will require Roper Pump Company to install a pre-treatment
system, abide by discharge limits and will provide a fine if
the company exceeds those limits.
"They will be required to put in pre-treatment. We will
monitor it," explained city manager Clarence Bryant.
The permit will cover bio-oxidation chemical demand, levels of
suspended solids, phosphate, nitrogen, oil and grease.
police budget for 2001
The Braselton Town Council voted unanimously Monday night to
allot more than $190,000 annually to its police force.
The move includes opening positions for two full-time officers
and at least two part-time officers, and provides a cost of living
increase of six percent for the town's police chief.
Other items in the police budget include $16,886 per year on
two financed police cars, $20,000 annually on gas and vehicle
repairs and $6,000 for four radar units.
$1.5 million awarded
by DOT for three local projects
"Transportation Enhancement" projects in Hoschton and
Commerce and at Banks Crossing have gotten a financial boost
from the Department of Transportation. Each was named as a recipient
for the DOT's Transportation Enhancement (TE) Program fiscal
year 2002-2003 funds.
The City of Hoschton Downtown Streetscape Enhancement project
sponsored by the City of Hoschton was awarded $550,000. The Commerce
Pedestrian Corridor project sponsored by the City of Commerce
was awarded $635,914. Phase three of the Banks Crossing U.S.
441 corridor work garnered $400,000.
The kinds of projects funded by the TE program include multi-use
facilities such as walking and biking trails and paths; streetscaping
and landscaping projects in cities and towns; historic preservation
of transportation-related facilities like railroad depots; and
scenic preservation of views and scenic byways. Of the 255 applications
submitted, 135 have been chosen to receive funding.
Up to 80 percent of the funds being used for the projects have
been provided by the Federal Highway Administration, with the
local government funding the remainder of the total project cost.
Half of the total funding will be distributed on October 1, 2001,
with the rest becoming available October 1, 2002. The local government
is responsible for implementing the TE project and obtaining
federal reimbursement from the Georgia DOT.
Bell, Beatty named
Jackson County's two new members of the Georgia General Assembly
received their committee assignments this week.
Rep. Pat Bell was appointed to the House Higher Education Committee,
Industry Committee and Transportation Committee.
Sen. Mike Beatty was appointed to the Senate Economic Development,
Tourism and Cultural Affairs Committee, Special Judiciary Committee,
State and Local Governmental Operations Committee and Transportation