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February 12, 2001


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SPORTS
Wrestlers roll in area tournaments

The prep wrestling season that began in early November will end Saturday, as the Georgia High School Association presents its five state championship tournaments. In preparation for this weekend's state meets, teams from Jefferson and Jackson County enjoyed a great deal of success in last weekend's respective area tournaments.

Seven Tiger Wrestlers Qualify For State Tourney
The Commerce High School wrestling team picked a good time to do their best work of the season. Now, if they can do just as well next week.




Neighborhood News...
MADISON COUNTY
Supreme Court upholds Madison Co. conviction
The Supreme Court of Georgia has affirmed the convictions and sentences of Randy Lamar Gordon, in connection with the Oct. 31, 1984, beating death of Raymond Conway.

Interviews begin in school head search
Madison County may have a new superintendent of county schools by early March, according to school board chairman Robert Haggard.




News from
BANKS COUNTY
Judge denies Baldwin's move to take over water treatment plant from Demorest
In a court ruling by Judge James E. Cornwell Jr. on Monday, Baldwin has been denied its effort to take over operations of the water treatment plant from the city of Demorest.

BOC looks at new county flag
A new county flag could soon be flying over the Banks County courthouse and other county facilities.


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Jefferson wins 5th state wrestling title

In one of the most competitive state wrestling tournaments in years, the Jefferson Dragons edged Bremen and McIntosh County Academy last weekend to claim their fifth state wrestling championship.
The outcome was not decided until Hunter Garner's win in the 140 pound finals, the sophomore's second state championship in as many tries.
Blake Gooch earned gold at 130, the junior turning in one of his best career performances in the title match.
Jeremy Smith downed defending 152-pound champion Sterling Sebek of Brookstone to claim Jefferson's third individual crown.
Second-place finishers were Jeremiah Wilson (119) and Brendon Kemp (215).



 

 

Councilman Thomas Gary, left, Mayor Ronnie Maxwell, center, and council woman Margaret Ward, right, conducted a minimum of city business at the first regular Nicholson City Council meeting since September.

Nicholson's First Meeting A Breeze
Nicholson's small town's government is back on a regular meeting schedule for the first time since September, but don't expect much activity from the government until at least April.
That's when two new town councilmen, elected March 20, will join the city government. Until then, it appears that the Nicholson government will do very little.
Mayor Ronnie Maxwell and council members Thomas Gary and Margaret Ward held their first regularly-scheduled council meeting since September Monday night, but it was entirely scripted by city attorney Wanda David and lasted only nine minutes.
But the council did what it came to do; by a unanimous vote and with no discussion following a six-minute closed to the public session, the council voted to hire Judy Kesler as city clerk. Ward made the motion and Gary provided the second.
The council had nine applicants and interviewed five of them, according to Gary.
In the only other item on the agenda, David told the council she would meet with the attorney for the Jackson County Water and Sewerage Authority (JCW&SA), which has requested that Nicholson change the method by which invoices for its special purpose local option sales tax (SPLOST) are approved for the Nicholson Water Association (NWA).
"I will meet with him and report back to you at the next regular meeting," she said.
The NWA reportedly has several thousand dollars' worth of invoices awaiting payment. David indicated that after she briefs the council on her discussions with the county authority's attorney, a meeting will be set up with NWA officials.
The JCW&SA has requested that the town council either vote on each invoice or appoint someone to sign off on invoices. Nicholson gets from $70,000 to $89,000 per year in SPLOST funds for water or sewer work. The money passes through to the NWA, which provides water to the community.
In spite of its brevity, the meeting attracted about a dozen citizens and even a reporter from Channel 32, Toccoa. But there was no room for deviation from the agenda prepared by David, who prior to the meeting gave Maxwell step-by-step instructions for conducting the meeting.
"I'm not going to let it get bad, I promise you," she told the council.


Nicholson woman charged in Pike County murder
A third arrest has been made in the double murder in Pike County in January.
Brenda Gail Williams, 42, Nicholson, has been charged with party to a crime and felony murder. Her husband, Hubert Ray Williams, 59, Nicholson, and Daniel Warren, 64, formerly of Nicholson, were charged earlier with malice murder.
The three are charged in the Jan. 16 murder of two men at a quail hunting preserve in Pike County. Tony Benefield and Hugh M. Gibson, both age 60, were found shot to death execution-style in a lodge building at the preserve. A hunter arriving for a hunt found the bodies and called authorities.
No motive for the killings have been released by authorities.


Pike Co. murders echo from the past
The arrest last week of two area men on murder charges from Pike County echo deep into one of the darkest times of Jackson County's history. Arrested were Hubert Ray Williams, 59, of New Kings Bridge Road, Nicholson, and Daniel Warren, 64, of Winterville on charges of killing two men Jan. 16 at a quail hunting preserve in Pike County.
According to published reports, Tony Benefield and Hugh M. Gibson, both age 60, were found shot to death execution-style in a lodge building at the preserve. A hunter arriving for a hunt found the bodies and called authorities.
Williams and Warren were arrested last Tuesday in connection with the murders. Williams was arrested at Athens Regional Medical Center where he was being treated for pneumonia and Warren was arrested at his place of employment in Winterville. Both are being held in the Pike County jail charged with malice murder, a possible death penalty offense. No motive for the killings have been released by authorities.
ECHOES OF THE PAST
Ironically, last week's arrest was not the first time Pike County authorities had seen Warren. In a sensational 1973 case, Warren was convicted along with "Dixie Mafia" kingpin A.D. Allen of Commerce and another man in the kidnapping of a Pike County banker and his family. Allen, Warren and their accomplice cut the phone lines to the banker's home and broke in using a sledgehammer. Wearing ski masks and wielding sawed-off shotguns, the three held the banker, his wife and young son hostage during the night until they drove to the bank at 5 a.m., a time when the bank vault was scheduled to be open. Once inside the bank, the three men took two bank employees hostage as well.
The three men robbed the bank of $18,000 and fled in the banker's station wagon. After a police chase, the three fled on foot. Allen and the third man were arrested the next day and Warren was arrested several days later. None of the hostages were injured.
In the sensational trial that followed, the courthouse was covered with 75 law enforcement officials and the Pike County sheriff and his family had to move into the jail because of death threats. Both the judge and district attorney were assigned bodyguards.
During the trial, Warren's wife, Barbara, was arrested for kidnapping the wife and daughter of a Jonesboro minister. She told authorities the two would be killed if Warren wasn't released. The two were found in a wooded area unharmed.
For the rest of this story, see this week's Jackson Herald.


Residents oppose plans for 45-homes
A request for a rezoning on Hwy. 332 near Talmo for a 45-home subdivision has upset some of the area's neighbors.
Billy Norris is asking that the 62.8 acres be rezoned from A-2 to R-1 for the project. He spoke on the plans at a work session of the Jackson County Board of Commissioners Monday night. The BOC will take final action on the request when it meets at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Feb 15, at the Administrative Building in Jefferson. The Jackson County Planning Commission has recommended approval of the request.
At the Monday work session, several nearby property owners spoke in opposition to the request.
Barry Breitbard, who operates a poultry farm on the property adjacent to the site, said: "I moved to rural Georgia to be rural...What this county doesn't need is willy-nilly growth."
Eric Fontain, who lives on the Belmont Highway, said he is concerned with the increase in traffic the project would bring to the area.
Norris responded to the comments by stating that the property had been for sale for some time and was available to any of those who wanted to purchase it. He also pointed out that the Breitbard property has a for sale sign on it.
Commissioner Sammy Thomason asked what recourse people who might move into the subdivison would have if they had complaints about the poultry businesses. County attorney Daniel Haygood said that the law protects the existing chicken house, but would not protect any additional chicken houses.
In another request, neighbors also spoke in opposition to a request from Wendell Butler to rezone 81.20 acres on Hwy. 60 from A-2 to R-1 for an 81-home development. The planning commission also earlier recommended approval of this request.
Boyd Carlyle, who lives on Hwy. 60, said he is concerned about the availability of water and the impact of additional traffic on the road and the ambulance service.
"Let's make sure our infrastructure is prepared for this growth," he said.
A request from Select Brokers Inc. to rezone 52.5 acres at 8142 Jackson Trail Road from A-2 to R-1 to locate 42 site-built homes also brought comments from area residents. The planning commission recommended approval of this plan.
Sonny Nelson, who lives in Antrim Ridge, said she wants larger homes than the proposed 1,400 square feet. She suggested that they be a minimum of of 1,600 square feet. She added that homes in the neighborhood are in the 1,800 to 2,200 square foot range.
Eric Scoggins, a resident of Antrim Glen, agreed.
"I don't see any need to start lowering the standard," he said.
Realtor Jean Hale of Select Brokers pointed out that Hunters Run has been in the area longer than Antrim Ridge and it has homes in the 1,300 square foot range. She presented photographs of other homes and mobile homes in that size range.
For the rest of this story, see this week's Jackson Herald.


Anderson Taps Country Hall Of Fame For 'Lights' Concert
When the fifth annual City Lights Concert opens Friday night, June 29, three members of the Country Music Hall of Fame will go on stage.
In a press conference Tuesday morning, country music legend and Commerce favorite son Bill Anderson announced that Charley Pride and Little Jimmy Dickens will join him on stage.
Pride, in his mid-60s, is best remembered for "The Snakes Crawl at Night, "Before I Met You," "All I Have to Offer You (Is Me)" and "Every Heart Should Have One," among his 36 number one country singles. On RCA records, Pride is second in sales only to Elvis Presley.
Dickens, called "Little Jimmy" because of his four-foot, 11-inch stature, is remembered for songs like "A-Sleeping at the Foot of the Bed," "Take an Old Cold Tater," "Little, But I'm Loud," "Wabash Cannonball" and others. In 1964 his "May the Bird of Paradise Fly up Your Nose" topped the country charts and reached number 15 on the pop charts.
Pride, Dickens and Anderson are all members of the Country Music Hall of Fame.
Other artists to be featured include country comedian "T. Bubba" Bechtol, Grand Ole Opry performers Billy Walker and Jeannie Seely and The Jordans from Commerce.
The concert will anchor a three-day City Lights Festival that Anderson said will start with a celebrity golf tournament Thursday morning, June 28. That evening, the "meet and greet" dinner with the stars will be held at 7:00 at the fellowship hall of the First United Methodist Church.
Tickets for that session will be $50, and about 250 seats will be available. A buffet meal is included.
Walker and Seely, both members of the Grand Ole Opry, will perform with Anderson.
On the following Saturday, the Commerce Area Business Association and the Downtown Development Authority will have a festival downtown featuring music, arts, crafts and food booths.


 January 24, 2001
2000 Jackson County Building Permits

All permits issued in Jackson County in 2000.



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Water and sewerage authority reconsidering sewage line route
Property owners enraged over plans to build county sewer lines through their property got at least a temporary reprieve Thursday night.
After hearing from about 25 owners of land along Doster Creek and the Middle Oconee River who were upset about plans to run a sewer line from the old Texfi treatment plant to Mulberry Plantation, the Jackson County Water and Sewerage decided to go back to the drawing board.
"We should go back and regroup and sit down and re-look at what we're doing," said member Elton Collins, whose remark was greeted with applause. "We can't start doing this with this kind of atmosphere."
The proposed sewer collection system would cross 37 parcels of land. Twenty-nine of the property owners have signed documents authorizing representatives of the authority to go on their land for surveying and doing assessments. But Collins' motions suggests the authority will consider alternate routes.
Several of the property owners suggested that the authority run the lines along the road rights of ways instead of along the creek and the river. That route is feasible, agreed Bob Sutton, the authority's sewerage consultant, though it would involve more pump stations, whereas the proposed route is largely based on gravity flow.
Most of the same people had appeared Monday, Feb. 5, at a board of commissioners work session to voice their opposition. The primary spokespersons Thursday were Susan Philips, of Creek Nation Road, E.R. "Sonny" Pruitt of Highway 124 and Audrey Hudson, of Georgia 11, each of whom read a prepared statement.
Phillips said she was "hugely opposed" to the project, alleging damage to wetlands, odors, "constant disruption" of land, and the encouragement of "over-growth" in the county. She proposed that using existing road rights of way would be easier and that the developers could pay any extra cost.
Pruitt read a petition in opposition to surveying and getting assessments "until it is proven" that the plan "is the most prudent overall." He said conversations with authority personnel were "misleading, to say the least."
Hudson asked "why should the interest of Mulberry Plantation be put ahead" of the interests of the property owners, suggested that the line be put along existing roads, and said raw sewage leaking from the lines would affect thousands of people and destroy wildlife and streams.
The review of the route could affect the authority's pledge to have the system installed for Mulberry Plantation by the end of the year, Sutton said after the meeting.
Indeed, residents seemed to resent the 1,400-home subdivision almost as much as the sewer line.
The developer has already paid $1 million to the authority for 400 sewer taps. The project would also serve West Jackson Middle School and eventually sections along Interstate 85.
Chairman Alex Bryan went to great lengths to assure the group that the authority's concern "is what's best for Jackson County. We're going to try to do the right thing," he said.


Pattillo park generated $2 million in taxes
Industries located by Pattillo Construction in the Walnut Fork Industrial Park in Jefferson generated some $2 million in property taxes in 2000, according to the firm's leaders. In addition, 1,400 jobs have been created since the firm began its investment in 1986.
Those were some of the topics discussed last week when members of the new Jackson County Board of Commissioners got a crash course in the workings of Pattillo Construction in Jackson County.
Pattillo representatives gave the county officials the history of the industrial park and discussed future plans for another park, McClure Industrial Park situated off Jett Roberts Road and Hog Mountain Road in Dry Pond. Pattillo also took the group on a van tour of Walnut Fork and a walking tour of Shiloh Industries/Jefferson Blanking Division.
All commissioners but Tony Beatty attended. Also in attendance for the meeting and plant tour were Chamber of Commerce president Pepe Cummings, road superintendent Sam McClure, Jefferson councilman Jim Joiner, Industrial Development Authority members Ron Bond and Scott Martin, Jefferson council attorney Ron Hopkins and county manager Skip Nalley.
TAX MONEY, INDUSTRY
BROUGHT TO COUNTY
In an economic analysis of Walnut Fork, Rusty McKeller of Pattillo listed three ways in which the park generates income for the community: salaries that "stimulate the economy," real property tax and personal property tax.
In the past 12 years since the first spec building was put up on what had been a poultry farm, Walnut Fork Industrial Park - a $200 million capital investment - has created more than 1,400 jobs. It generated $1.3 million in real and personal property tax in 1999, Pattillo leaders said, adding that projections for 2000 show an estimated $2 million generated in taxes. Some $2.7 million in tax revenue is projected for 2005 for the park and $3.5 million within nine years, McKeller said, adding that these are conservative figures.
Pattillo first purchased 250 acres of property in North Jackson back in 1986. After the Jefferson City Council extended water and sewage capabilities to the area, Walnut Fork Industrial Park got its start in 1988 when the first spec building was built, explained John Drake of Pattillo. Since then, Pattillo has continued to build "shell" buildings available for users from all over the United States and the world.
For the rest of this story, see this week's Jackson Herald.