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Panther girls, both Jefferson teams advance to state basketball
IT'S NOT every year that an area basketball team qualifies for
the second round of the state tournament otherwise known
as the Sweet 16 but it's rarer still for five area teams
to accomplish the feat.
Sweet Sixteen: Lady Tigers Advance, Play Spartans Thursday
They were one of 32 teams. Now they're one of 16, and by the
end of the weekend, the Commerce Lady Tigers hope to be one of
the four remaining Class A teams left in the state girls' basketball
Residents look to keep the 'rural character' of county
Combating residential "sprawl" and protecting the county's
rural character were the focus points of last week's first of
two meetings on future land use.
Details unavailable on Guest settlement
Madison County commissioners settled a case Monday with a developer
who sued the county, but leaders are not yet releasing details
on what the settlement stipulated.
Republican Party to hold county convention Saturday
The Banks County Republican Party will hold the county convention
at 10 a.m. on Saturday, March 3, at the Banks County courthouse
Deadline ahead Monday for vote on county flag
Banks Countians interested in casting a ballot for the three
proposed designs for a new county flag have only a few days to
The Jackson Herald
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Fatal Fire in Commerce
Members of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation Crime Scene
Unit search for clues as to the cause of a fatal fire Wednesday
morning at the residence of Michael Austin, 348 Cherry Street,
Commerce. Responding to the fire at 5:10, the Commerce Fire Department
discovered a body under debris from a collapsed loft near the
front door. Steve Kelley, investigator with the Commerce Police
Department, said it could be days before the identity of the
victim is known.
County's Feet To Fire On Sewer Line
The Jackson County Board of Commissioners will support its water
and sewerage authority's plans to create a county sewerage system,
if for no other reason than it has to.
In a called meeting of the commissioners Thursday night, members
of the Jackson County Water and Sewerage Authority wrung an official
endorsement from the commissioners for a project that includes
a sewer line that has generated a small firestorm of opposition.
In effect, the authority held the commissioners' feet to the
fire for the purpose, as commissioner Harold Fletcher put it,
"to get us all singing from the same page."
By showing the commissioners that they had no choice unless
they were willing to fund the $12 million project themselves
and defend a lawsuit from the developers of Mulberry Plantation
the water authority hoped to end any opposition the commissioners
had to the project.
It did not appear to be a meeting the commissioners wanted. The
meeting was scheduled and changed five times. After the time
was finally established at 5:00 Friday afternoon, only Fletcher
and Emil Beshara were present at that hour from the board of
commissioners. Fletcher called a "work session" to
order 43 minutes later, and at 5:49, commissioners Tony Beatty,
Sammy Thomason and Stacey Britt finally arrived together.
The authority did want the meeting. Fletcher has grumbled repeatedly
about Jerry Waddell being named superintendent and hinted that
the county might restructure the authority. Beshara seemed to
be encouraging opposition to the Mulberry Plantation line when
he told residents all they needed to do "to stop this project
is find an Indian grave."
Facing a Jan. 1 deadline to get the line to Mulberry Plantation,
the authority decided it was time to remind the commissioners
of what is at stake.
Jaime Wilson, the authority's financial consultant, explained
that the $12.7 million bond issue to finance the purchase and
upgrade of the old Texfi plant and the construction of the sewer
line is funded by a bond issue. The bonds were sold based on
an engineering report "that laid out what we were going
to do," he said.
"That was the representation made to the investing public.
If there is a deviation, there has to be a good reason for it,"
Wilson said, adding that the county would have to certify that
any change would not adversely affect its ability to pay off
In other words, the project cannot be substantially changed without
In addition, the county has guaranteed the bond payments. If
the authority cannot make the payments from its own revenue,
the commissioners and the taxpayers would have to
make the payments.
In response to a question from Fletcher, Wilson said the county
has the right to make changes.
Officials of the water and sewerage authority believe developer
Doug Elam is already preparing to seek legal action if the line
is not ready by Jan. 1.
The authority asked the commissioners to endorse the upgrade
of the Texfi waste plant and the acquisition of easements and
the construction of the initial phase of the sewage collection
system, which includes the gravity line extending along Doster
Creek and the Middle Oconee River. It also asked the board to
participate in "long-range strategy meetings" about
the development of the county sewer system, including allocation
of sewage treatment capacity among residential, commercial and
Faced with the consequences, the commissioners agreed. In return,
the authority agreed to keep the commissioners advised about
its public relations efforts among affected property owners and
to try to improve those efforts.
For the complete story, see this week's Commerce News.
Planners say 'No'
to NJ landfill
A Carnesville company trying to bring a construction and demolition
landfill to the North Jackson area failed the first step of the
process Thursday night when the Jackson County Planning Commission
recommended denial for a conditional use permit.
But it will be the Jackson County Board of Commissioners that
will have final say on the matter. The BOC will receive input
on the request at its work session at 7 p.m. on Monday, March
5. The BOC will vote on the request at its March 19 meeting.
At Thursday's planning commission meeting, the vote was unanimous
to recommend denial to the request from Earth Resources for a
conditional use permit to locate the landfill on 94.84 acres
on Lanier Road that is zoned I-2.
Attorney Bob Lovett spoke on behalf of Earth Resources. He said
it includes a 200-foot buffer and that only "non-putrescible,
construction demolition waste" would be accepted. He added
that no household garbage, asbestos or hazardous material would
be accepted. He said that the applicant has met all of the criteria
under the county zoning ordinance and would have additional safeguards
in place through the state permitting process. He added that
the Georgia Environmental Protection Division would permit and
monitor the landfill.
Lovett said a traffic survey found that there would be an increase
of six to eight truck trips per hour with the hours of operation
at the facility being 8 a.m. to 5 p.m..
Lovett said there is a need for a C&D landfill in Jackson
County and that 1,000 building permits were issued last year
in the county. He added that 100 citations were issued last year
in the county for improper waste disposal.
Planning commission chairman Keith Hayes asked Lovett several
questions, including whether the permit could be upgraded to
allow for a solid waste landfill. The attorney said that the
applicant would have to again go through the application process
in order for this to occur. He also told Hayes that the county
could place load restrictions on the road.
Lovett also reminded the planners that the Georgia law requires
landfill operators to pay $1 per ton of waste to be used to offset
the impact of the development.
Planning commission member Larry Benton said this wouldn't be
a benefit to the county since it would go toward overseeing and
monitoring the landfill.
OPPOSITION TO LANDFILL
Seven people spoke in opposition to the project and a petition
was presented with the signatures of 238 people who are against
Shelly Casper, who helped organize an earlier citizens' meeting
on the proposal, spoke on her environmental concerns with the
She also spoke on concerns with wood waste on the site.
Other concerns she spoke of included metal waste, concrete contamination.
sediment run-off and odors.
Clint Paschal questioned the zoning classification given to the
property. He said the I-2 zoning was given with the condition
that it only be used as a private airfield.
Lovett was given the opportunity to speak again after all of
the opposition had been given.
There was applause in the standing-room only crowd when Brant
McMullan made the motion to deny the request. More than 100 people
crowded into the Administration Building for the discussion,
which took more than one hour.
For the complete story, see this week's Jackson Herald.
One Doctor But Getting Another
BJC Medical Center is getting one new doctor and losing another
after less than two years on the staff.
Reporting to the BJC Medical Center Authority at its February
meeting Monday night, chief of staff Dr. Robert Marshburn announced
that Dr. Ed Bailey is leaving the staff and getting out of medicine
altogether. He will work through March.
Marshburn said Bailey "melded well with the staff"
and had "been happy working here," but was "looking
at a different occupation."
Bailey was heavily recruited by the hospital and opened his practice
in 1999 in the building vacated when Dr. Paul Sergent retired.
He will continue to practice through March.
The good news for the medical center Monday night was the announcement
that Dr. Fareha Rahim will open an internal medicine and rheumatology
office Thursday near the hospital.
Oscar Weinmeister, recently promoted to assistant administrator
in charge of X-Ray, the lab and physical therapy, said the native
of Pakistan would locate in Commerce in part to fulfill conditions
of a student loan.
She is relocating from New York while her husband completes a
fellowship at Emory University.
Also related to staffing, the authority accepted the recommendation
of the medical staff and voted to grant courtesy staff privileges
to Dr. Carl Leum of Toccoa, who sought gynecological privileges.
For the rest of this story, see this week's Commerce News.
Go to Jackson
Public Meeting Dates
County Volunteer Opportunties
damages city property
The daughter of Jefferson Mayor Byrd Bruce was investigated last
week following a domestic dispute that resulted in damage to
Around 12:30 a.m. last Wednesday, Wanda Herndon allegedly drove
a pickup truck into an overhead door at the Jefferson City Barn
and ran through a fence gate that surrounds the facility. The
incident was in connection with a domestic dispute between Mrs.
Herndon and her husband, Gary Herndon. Mr. Herndon is employed
by the City of Jefferson as supervisor for the Jefferson Street
Department. The city stores vehicles and equipment at the city
Mr. Herndon reported that he was at the scene when the incident
occurred. He has reportedly set up living quarters in the city
barn while separated from his wife.
Police reports state that Mrs. Herndon had left the scene by
the time officers arrived. A short time later, Mayor Bruce reported
that his daughter was uninjured and should remain in his custody.
Mrs. Herndon has not been charged in the incident, although officers
did recommend four possible violations. The case is still under
investigation, according to officials.
want growth moratorium
More than 100 residents gathered in Braselton's Town Hall Monday
asking for a moratorium on zoning and annexation.
Several members of the group asked for the moratorium during
a public hearing on the annexation and rezoning of 196 acres
at I-85 and Charlie Smith Road in both Jackson and Barrow counties.
The council will take action on the application at its March
"You have the chance to develop Braselton along the lines
of quality growth," Château Élan Homeowners
Association president Chuck Stevens said. "We are on the
absolute verge of an industrial and residential explosion. If
you don't do something now, there will be problems."
Stevens asked the council to declare the moratorium until the
town's new planning and zoning board becomes functional. His
comments drew applause from the crowd.
A representative of Delk Road Partnership, the group looking
to annex and develop the property, said a light distribution
warehouse was planned for the land.
"The development will be similar to the Duke Weeks development,"
Steve Stewart said. "The property complies with Jackson
County and Braselton's land use plan."
Rhonda Ellis, a resident of Charlie Smith Road, spoke against
the annexation and rezoning, saying the development would add
too much traffic to Charlie Smith Road.
"Charlie Smith Road is dangerous, it's one-way and it's
in bad shape," Ellis said.
She also said the development would lower area property values.
Stevens assured the council that the property would be a quality
industrial development. Jackson County Area Chamber of Commerce
President Peppy Cummings supported Stevens' claims.
"The track record of Stevens and his interests is long term,"
Cummings said. "I believe he will be a good corporate citizens
and will set a high standard."
Cummings also confirmed that the property would conform with
Jackson County's land-use plan.
James McGowan, another resident, expressed concerns about the
25 foot buffer zone between the proposed development and area
"I don't think 25 feet or even 50 feet is too good for industry
or commercial or whatever," he said. "It needs a larger
Before the public hearing was ended, Braselton zoning attorney
David Kirk asked called for a vote from the residents on several
of the issues.
The residents overwhelmingly said they would support a moratorium
on zoning and annexation and agreed that Charlie Smith Road should
not be used as the primary access to the property.
The residents also said they favored a larger buffer and stricter
assurances of the quality of the development.
In an unrelated matter, the council held a public hearing on
a request for a time extension on the rezoning of nearly 62 acres
on Hwy. 211 at Thompson Mill Rd from PCFD to C-2.
Most of the citizens at the hearing agreed that the developer
should be given more time to modify the plans for the property.