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April 25, 2001


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SPORTS
Jefferson's Kevin Jacobs bound for Buford

Just six weeks after his Lady Dragons won the state Class A basketball championship, head coach Kevin Jacobs is headed down Interstate 85 and across Region 8-A to assume the head coaching post at Buford. The Buford school board voted to hire Jacobs Monday evening, but the coach said he didnít make up his mind about the job until late Monday night.

Panthers Kubiak, Birdette qualify for state meet
Jackson County qualified two members of its track and field team for next week's Georgia Olympics during this week's Region 8-AAA meet at home.



Neighboorhood News ..
MADISON COUNTY
Ila Festival set for Sat.
The Ila Festival 2001 will be held Saturday, April 28, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. in Ila.
The theme of the festival is "Promoting Unity in the Community." Eagle's Nest Christian Fellowship will host the event, which will be located at the ballfield adjacent to the Mt. Hermon Cemetery across from Ila Elementary School.

Uncovering the past Family in Shiloh Community works to restore old cemetery
For many years, a clump of trees and weeds in an otherwise open field was all that marked an old run-down cemetery near the corner of Faye Carey Road and Hwy. 174 in the Shiloh Community.



Neighborhood News...
BANKS COUNTY
Planned burn gets out of control
When Chuck Brown, of 151 Beaver Dam Road, Commerce, started a fire last week to burn off some of the logs from his cleared land, he soon found he could not control the blaze.

BJC Authority honors Barnett, Griffeth
The Banks-Jackson-Commerce Medical Center Authority honored its two "emeritus" members during a brief meeting Monday night.
The authority presented resolutions honoring William Barnett, who served on the board from 1989 until just recently, and Dr. Joe L. Griffeth, who served from 1979 to 2000.


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WARMING UP


Members of the Jackson County Comprehensive High School Jazz 2 band are shown warming up for a band festival held last week at the school. Shown are senior Daniel Waters (front) and sophomore Ashley Minor (right).


Lanier Road landfill going back before planning board
A request to locate a landfill on Lanier Road will go back before the Jackson County Planning Commission when it meets at 7 p.m. Thursday at the Administrative Building in Jefferson.
The planning commission was asked by the board of commissioners to take another look at the request from Earth Resources for a conditional use permit to locate a construction and demolition landfill on 94.84 acres on Lanier Road that is zoned I-2. The planning commission had earlier recommended denial of the request, but it was asked to look at the request again because one of its reasons for recommending denial was the impact on Lanier Road. The developer has reportedly agreed that the entrance will not be on that road.
The BOC has tabled the matter at the request of the developer. County attorney Daniel Haygood said that the applicant had asked that the request be tabled until further discussions on the conditions and surcharge paid to the county are discussed.
As for a request to locate a landfill in the South Jackson area, it will be another month before it goes to the planning commission. A request from CKS Properties for an I-2 zoning for 195.08 acres on Cedar Grove Church Road for a landfill had been earlier slated for this week's meeting, but has been postponed to the May meeting. The request must first go to the Northeast Georgia Regional Development Center to review the possible impact on the region and state.
A committee of the RDC will meet at 2 p.m. Monday, April 30, at the center in Athens to review the request. The office is located at 305 Research Drive in Athens.
The regional review is required by state law and calls for the RDC to declare if the project is "in the best interest of the state" or that "it is not in the best interest of the state." The review is based on "potential impacts on environmental and natural resources, the economy of the region, public facilities of the region, availability of affordable housing and potential inter-jurisdictional conflicts."
The report will be forwarded to the planning commission to review before taking action on the request. The May meeting of the planning commission will be at 7 p.m. on Thursday, May 24, in the Administrative Building in Jefferson.
The partners of CKS include: Kelly Henderson, Winder, Scott Appling, Winder, and H. Carson Smith IV, Flowery Branch. Plans call for one building, 15 feet high, to be located on the property, along with six parking places.
Henderson is also one of the applicants for another landfill request that was denied by the BOC last year. He had applied for a rezoning for 117 acres on Hwy. 53 from PCFD to I-2 to locate a construction and demolition landfill. Henderson later filed a lawsuit against the county over the request being denied and a court date has been set for 9 a.m. on Friday, April 27, at the Jackson County courthouse.



Chamber Honors Community Leaders
JEFFERSON -- The Jackson County Area Chamber of Commerce honored one of Georgia's premiere nurseries, the chairman of the Industrial Development Authority, the chairman of the Jackson County Water and Sewerage Authority and the owners of Jackson County's two newspapers at its annual banquet Saturday night.
The presentation of the four annual awards honoring the business of the year, volunteer of the year, citizen of the year and the William H. Booth Award highlighted the evening, which also featured a talk by Ninth District Rep. Nathan Deal.
GardenSmith Greenhouse and Nursery, owned by Denise Smith, was declared "business of the year," for its contributions not just to the chamber, but to the county as a whole. President Pepe Cummings pointed out that the nursery "is the most diverse vegetable producer in the United States. In 1999, the business grew 169 varieties of tomatoes and 100 peppers. As a result, people from all over the country make GardenSmith a destination," Cummings said.
Smith hosted the sixth annual Herbal Faire at the Commerce Civic Center, serves as a guest on Walter Reeves' radio program, and provides plants for a number of school and other organizations.
Scott Martin was named "volunteer of the year" for his work as head of the chamber's Economic Development Committee for the past four years. Martin also chairs the IDA, is past president of the Commerce Kiwanis Club and coaches T-ball. He works for Jackson EMC.
Cummings called Martin "the volunteer that every other volunteer looks to to actually do the work."
For his effort heading the Jackson County Water and Sewerage Authority, Alex Bryan won the "citizen of the year" award. Cummings noted that not only has Bryan led the county's efforts to take "clean, pure water" throughout the county, but he was also one of the leaders in wresting control of the sewage system last year from a private company, one of whose principals recently was sentenced to jail.
The chamber presented its William H. Booth Award to husband-wife team of Herman and Helen Buffington, who purchased The Jackson Herald in 1965 and now own MainStreet Newspapers Inc., a four-newspaper group with more than 18,000 weekly circulation and a modern job printing operation.
Cummings noted that Mrs. Buffington "was booted out of the first county commission meeting she attended," but in the long haul, led local officials to become accustomed to press coverage.
The chamber also presented awards to past president Jim Shaw and to outgoing directors Ray Vaughn, Pat Bell, Larry White and Don Shubert.
DEAL SPEAKS
Deal's keynote address began with a light look at privacy issues made relevant by technology. He suggested that the mapping of the human genome could lead to DNA profiles of Americans being misused by business.
"Why should your life insurance company have a copy of your gene profile?" he asked. He gave the audience a "paranoia test," asking how many believed companies were selling their telephone numbers, if they used a paper shredder and if they thought someone might be listening in on their cellular phone conversations.
"Some of those concerns you have are concerns the federal government is wrestling with," he said.
Deal, a Republican, also pushed President George W. Bush's $1.6 trillion tax cut plan, saying that government "has reversed the course of the financial future of the country in the past six or seven years," from generating a deficit to generating a surplus.
That change, he said, "places us in a stronger economic and strategic posture in the world community," which he said a few years earlier "wondered if we could get control" of the federal deficit.
"The good news is we have rounded the bend," Deal said.



Sewer line change proposal taken to water board
It seems nothing is easy about the Jackson County Water and Sewerage Authority's first sewer project.
Last Thursday night, acting at the request of the county commissioners and with the endorsement of its engineers, the authority changed part of the route of its sewer line headed to Mulberry Plantation.
The route change covers approximately 5,000 feet of sewer line along the Middle Oconee River, moving it out of the wetlands and onto the bank of the river ­ which is exactly where the engineers had projected it for the original route.
Commissioners Sammy Thomason and Stacey Britt appeared at an authority work session Thursday night an hour before the authority's regular meeting to explain why they thought the line should be moved.
"I was under the understanding that you could serve some of this area (pointing to a map) easier," Thomason stated. "Also, I assumed that because Bob (engineer Bob Sutton) originally planned it that way, he must have had a reason."
The commissioners' concern was twofold; first, they wanted to make sure the line could serve the intersection of Georgia highways 11 and 124 ­ an area likely to see commercial development ­ and they wanted to reduce the amount of wetlands affected.
But the exact route is still not a sure thing. Superintendent Jerry Waddell pointed out that it will be the first week in May before the engineering company's wetlands expert walks over the route to determine exactly which parts are wetlands and which parts are not.
Still, changing the route made the authority uneasy.
"We had a hearing and agreed to look at an alternate route," noted Larry Joe Wood. "We came back with an alternate route, now we're going back."
"If we switch over, are we going to create another public nightmare?" asked member Elton Collins.
"You'll find out when you walk in the door at 7 p.m.," answered Waddell.
But there was no outcry at the regular meeting when the change was proposed and voted upon. Alma Schell and Susan Phillips, who live further up the proposed route of the line, each reiterated their objections to the route and even proposed an alternate route along Georgia 124 in the vicinity of their properties, but no one spoke against the latest change.
Both have thus far refused to allow surveyors on their property. Bryan suggested to each that the authority could make no decision on the potential of their proposed route without being able to get on their property to survey, but neither offered to allow that.
"It's not fair to what our responsibilities are to give you an answer without looking at the whole thing," Bryan responded.
The change in routes is likely to create at least one more opponent to the project, a property owner whose line was affected by the change. It will also delay construction of the line, which has a Jan. 1 deadline imposed by the county's contract with Mulberry Plantation. A schedule presented by engineer Mary Kay Jackson of Metcalf & Eddy projects the project being completed in three phases, the first by mid-December, the second by mid-January and the final phase by the end of March 2002. Developer Doug Elam's response remains to be seen, but Bryan hinted that there are issues with Elam that provide some room for negotiating.
"As our engineers, are you telling us this is what we should do?" Wood asked during the work session.
"Yes," said Jackson.
Asked the same question, Waddell also answered affirmatively, pointing out that the change avoids some wetlands and that no one was "lied to" in regard to the route.
"We told people all along that we didn't know where the line would be until we got the surveyors in there," Waddell pointed out.
In the meeting, conducted in the State Courtroom, the motion to change the pipeline layout was made, seconded and approved with no explanation of what was involved, other than noting that the engineers recommended it. Collins made the motion, Keith Ariail provided a second and the vote was taken with no discussion.
The motion also included a request that the authority try to get "dry easements" from some of the property owners. Such easements would make service of the affected areas easier in the future when they are developed.
In other business:
·the authority received its audit, and CPA Duane Schlareth said it contained a "clean opinion" of authority operations.
·the authority approved a change order to an existing contract to provide water service to the first phase of Forest Lakes subdivision. The service was requested by homeowners there who complained about the quality and safety of the private water system. The authority will provide meters at the end of the public road, to which residents on private roads may connect if they're willing to run lines from the meters to their residences.
·the authority authorized Waddell and attorney Julius Hulsey to make a proposal to Hoschton to operate its sewer system, a proposal requested by Hoschton. In addition, the authority will look into a way to treat Hoschton's wastes at its Texfi plant while Hoschton upgrades its facilities.
·the authority voted to pursue a community development block grant to provide water to residents of Creek Nation Road, Harold Phillips Road and part of Skelton Road. Officially, Jackson County is the applicant, but the $500,000 grant would go toward the $773,570 cost of the project.
·the authority agreed to Waddell's request that they pass on to developers the authority's cost of reviewing subdivision plans and to develop criteria for having pre-approved contractors' lists for installing water and sewer lines in subdivisions.
·the authority approved three quit-claim deeds on the abandoned Jefferson-Texfi line for Jeffco Investment Properties, Pot Luck Properties Ltd. Partnership and one other owner. The move stems from the county's condemnation of the Texfi plant.
·the authority agreed to serve Hurricane Shoals Park with water. Maysville currently serves the park, but does not wish to incur the expense of replacing lines following road work near the park.



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School systems lining up SPLOST support
The three school systems of Jackson County made their first stop Friday toward lining up support for a five-year extension of the special purpose local option sales tax for education.
Jefferson superintendent James Jackson and Jackson County superintendent Andy Byers spoke on the virtues of the sales tax to the board of directors of the Jackson County Area Chamber of Commerce.
Jackson took the lead, reminding the board that four years earlier, the three school systems got together to pass a SPLOST referendum.
"With regard to the Jefferson School System, that is the best thing that could have possibly happened," Jackson said. Jefferson used its share of the proceeds to renovate its elementary and high schools and is building a new middle school, all without increasing property taxes.
The Jackson, Jefferson and Commerce boards of education are scheduled to meet jointly May 14 to approve a resolution calling for a September vote for five more years ­ and up to $50 million in proceeds ­ of sales taxes.
Jackson called the sales tax "a wonderful opportunity for all three systems to keep up with the growth we're experiencing without going to the (property) taxpayers."
Byers pointed out that the $25 million estimate for the current education SPLOST, which began April 1, 1997, turned out to be conservative. The result is The districts also eased tensions among the three school systems.
"It is certainly nice for the three boards of education to be at peace with each other," commented Commerce Mayor Charles Hardy, whom Byers praised for his leadership in helping get the Commerce-Jackson County district established. "That certainly wasn't the case before. Now we present a united front."
Vice president Charles Blair agreed.
"As we look back in history, I think that's going to be one of the finest things to happen in Jackson County," he stated.


Health dept. reviews budget
The Jackson County Health Department reviewed a $745,364 budget for fiscal year 2002 when it met last week, but no action was taken due to a lack of a quorum.
The proposed budget is up six percent over the previous budget of $706,364. It includes $110,560 in county funds, which is up considerably over the $64,842 the county contributed to the health department last year. The county had cut back on the funds it allocated for the department in recent years due to a surplus in health funds. County health officials say these extra funds have now been depleted. The county didn't contribute any money to the health department in 1999 and 2000.
In other business at the meeting, Dr. Claude Burnette spoke on recent statistics on teen pregnancy rates for Northeast Georgia and the state.
"Teen pregnancy in our district is down dramatically," he said.
Also at the meeting, it was reported that Shad Slocum has been hired to serve in the environmental health department. He will begin his duties May 1 and will replace John Hinson.
On a related matter, the health board discussed a third position for the health department - a manager for the staff. There are now two staff members. Roger Cooper is the other staff member and he is close to retirement, it was reported.
The new position would be funded with fees that were increased last year. The increases were made in part to fund a third position due to the work load of the department.




Planning Commission Rejects Rezoning For Rental Housing Units
Monday night was not a good night to bring issues before the Commerce Planning Commission relating to rental housing.
The planning panel rejected three rezoning requests that could have resulted in the construction of 30 duplexes (60 housing units) and turned down a request for a rezoning on the bypass that could have resulted in the construction of 100 units of apartments.
But the planning panel's actions amount to recommendations only; the final determination on the requests will be made by the Commerce City Council at 6:30 p.m. May 14, when it meets at the Commerce Civic Center.
For the second meeting in a row, the panel voted to recommend against a proposal by Doug Dorsey, who represented the trustees of the Wheeler Estate, in regard to property on Stark Street.
Dorsey sought annexation of the half of a 4.14-acre tract that is in Jackson County (the other half is already in the city) and an R-3 (multi-family housing) zoning so his son Eric could develop 10 duplexes (20 rental units) on the site. The planning commission had voted against the proposal at its March meeting, only to have the city council send the matter back for reconsideration.
"I don't know why we should allow rental units in a neighborhood of single-family homes," observed member Greg Perry, who made the motion to deny the request.
In a related move, the planning commission voted to deny a request by Barbara Davis, who represented Vivian Haynes, who lives on Poplar Road.
Haynes owns a tract adjacent to the Wheeler tract and proposed