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Gary Eyes State Crown
Commerce senior Casey Gary is heading to the state tournament
to throw the shot put and the discus. The tournament will be
held Thursday, Friday and Saturday in Jefferson. Gary finished
first in the shot and discus in the region tournament.
30th Georgia Olympics begins Thursday
Jefferson High School will host the 30th annual Georgia Olympics
Thursday through Saturday at Bryan/Keen track at Memorial Field.
The event will determine boys' state individual and team champions
in all five classifications.
The five schools in the Mainstreet Newspapers coverage area will
be represented by 11 athletes and two relay teams in 11 separate
events during the three-day meet.
Neighboorhood News ..
Bypass to go west of Danielsville
Local leaders met with DOT commissioner Tom Coleman Friday and
learned that the state is planning to construct the Danielsville
bypass west of the city.
Sartain's zoning request sent back to planners
Madison County commissioners sent a controversial zoning request
back to county planners last Wednesday.
Sarah Sartain appeared before the board of commissioners requesting
the rezoning of 6.08 acres on Tarpkins Road from A-2 to R-R to
subdivide into two parcels.
Gainesville man charged in bank robbery
A Gainesville man has been charged with the armed robbery Monday
of Regions Bank at Banks Crossing.
Joel Casey Ledford, 22, was arrested late Tuesday by the Banks
County Sheriff's Office. A hold has also been placed on him in
connection with the recent armed robbery of a bank in Murphy,
N.C. He is also a suspect in a recent bank robbery in Dawsonville.
Commissioners ask for change in zoning at Banks Crossing
The Banks County Planning Commission started its meeting Tuesday
by hearing a request from board of commissioners chairman Kenneth
Brady that the 19.35 acres the county owns behind the Banks Crossing
Wal-Mart be rezoned.
The Jackson Herald
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man arrested on federal drug charges
A Nicholson man and wife were arrested by the Georgia Bureau
of Investigation and the Federal Bureau of Investigation Wednesday
morning on charges of trafficking in methamphetamine.
Some 29 state and federal agents supported by five drug dogs
and aerial surveillance raided the auto salvage yard of Samuel
Wayne Rylee, 41, of 283 Cedar Drive, Nicholson early Wednesday
The operation followed an investigation in which GBI agents allege
Rylee sold almost two and a half pounds of methamphetamine to
an informant who himself had been arrested in December and charged
with trafficking. That source alleged that he purchased approximately
40 pounds of the illegal drugs from Rylee before the source was
Rylee's wife, Kathy, was charged because officers executing the
search warrant reportedly found approximately a half ounce of
the suspected drug in her possession.
The FBI says Rylee, who is a partner in a Madison County salvage
operation on Duncan Swindle Road and is owner of Rylee Motors
in Commerce, "has an extensive criminal history of both
drug use and violent behavior." Rylee is also subject to
having parole revoked from a 1996 conviction in Madison County
for shooting into his girlfriend's mobile home. Because of his
past record, he is likely to receive a life sentence if corrected,
Rylee gained prominence in Nicholson when he became involved
in the anti-zoning movement and was an ardent supporter of Ronnie
Maxwell, Nicholson mayor. Maxwell said he had very little dealings
Rylee following the defeat of the zoning ordinance.
"I assumed he was just a guy who wanted to do something
for his community," Maxwell said, although he acknowledged
that he had known Rylee had a prison record. Within the past
year, the suspect had acquired 20 acres and started an auto salvage
business at his Cedar Drive residence.
Rylee was denied bond following a hearing Friday in Gainesville,
and the FBI has indicated it intends to seize his Nicholson property.
At a preliminary hearing in U.S. District Court in Gainesville
Friday afternoon, FBI agents showed videos of alleged drug buys
made at the Nicholson property. Over the course of the investigation,
the informant allegedly made three puchases totaling more than
two pounds of methamphetamines, for which he paid Rylee $14,000.
According to court documents, Rylee did not require the informant
to pay for the drugs at the time Rylee gave them to the informant,
but accepted payments spread over several days.
LONG CRIMINAL RECORD
Rylee's criminal history is extensive. In addition to the 1996
arrest for which he was last in prison, Rylee has a rap sheet
that covers more than 17 different arrests on more than 38 charges
in Georgia alone. They include a homicide by vehicle arrest in
1987, multiple charges of driving under the influence of intoxicants,
arrests for possession of marijuana, possession of cocaine, possession
of methamphetamine with intent to distribute, terroristic threats
and acts, numerous counts of driving with a suspended license,
a case of theft by taking, two counts of habitual violator, and
counts of criminal trespass, leaving the scene of an accident,
violation of the Controlled Substances Act, weapons offenses,
giving false name to a police officer and obstruction. He has
been arrested by authorities in Banks, Jackson, Madison and Clayton
counties and by the Georgia State Patrol and Commerce Police
Rylee was also charged in North Carolina and South Carolina on
charges of conspiring to traffic in cocaine, a charge that was
dismissed, as was a charge of attempted armed robbery.
Rylee's wife Kathy, 36, also has a record, She has been arrested
at least four times on offenses including from bad check, theft
by conversion of leased or rented property, driving with a suspended
license and one unspecified drug-related charge.
LADY DOGS AT JCES
Members of the Lady Dogs basketball team visited third graders
in Fran Allen's class at Jackson County Elementary School Tuesday.
Senior Tianna Briggans (L) and freshman Christi Thomas (R) are
shown giving the students autographs. The basketball players
also answered questions from students in a school-wide assembly
held in the gym. The Lady Bulldogs won 27 games and were the
still on hold
Planners table rezonings for two landfills
Two landfill requests before the Jackson County Planning Commission
were tabled Thursday night.
The board of commissioners had asked the planning commission
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.
At Thursday's planning commission meeting, county leaders said
the developer had asked that the request be tabled. The BOC also
earlier 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.
A request from CKS Properties for an I-2 zoning for 195.08 acres
on Cedar Grove Church Road for a landfill was also tabled. It
was tabled because the Northeast Georgia Regional Development
Center had not yet reviewed the possible impact on the region
and state. This report is expected to be ready by the May planning
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 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 bench trial was held Friday.
See separate story in this weeks Jackson Herald.
Bear Creek Not
Likely To Be Open On Time
The Group Building The Regional Reservoir Maintains It Is On
Schedule For July 1 Completion, But There Is Some Evidence To
The ContraryEver since construction began, the owners of the
regional $63 million Bear Creek reservoir and water treatment
project have insisted and been told that the project will be
completed on time.
But the man in charge of construction at the site says the project
will be late.
"I think it will probably be closer to an August starting
date than a July date," reports Jim Wrona, project manager
for Jordan, Jones & Goulding, the company overseeing the
The July 1 deadline is seen as crucial in Jackson County, where
revenue from the sale of Bear Creek water must start coming in
so the county can make its $2.1 million annual payments. Those
payments begin in January.
The owners of the project the Upper Oconee Basin Water
Authority, made up of Jackson, Barrow, Oconee and Athens-Clarke
counties have yet to publicly state that the project will
fail to meet the July 1 deadline.
But at its Wednesday, April 25, meeting, the authority saw the
evidence. Beers Construction Company, which is building the water
plant, asked for a 10-day contract extension because of inclement
weather and a 32-day extension because of flooding at the reservoir
pump station. The authority granted the first extension but,
reasoning that the work at the pump station should have already
been completed when the flooding occurred, denied that request.
The largest part of the delay, Wrona says, is at the filter building,
and the contractor is trying to catch up.
"They're planning on running double shifts on the filter
building and wherever possible," he noted, although he added
that using a double shift at the pump station is not practical,
because working at night there would be dangerous.
The authority received its withdrawal permit last Wednesday from
the Georgia Environmental Protection Division. That document
will allow the authority to remove up to 60 million gallons per
day from the Middle Oconee River. Currently, the reservoir is
impounding water naturally from Bear Creek. Wrona expects that
pumping can begin as early as Friday.
"At that point, we will be pumping full bore," Wrona
At Wednesday's meeting:
·The board learned that the contract for the earthen dam
and spillway should come in almost $300,000 under budget.
·The authority authorized spending of up to $50,000 for
landscaping around the treatment plant. That is the amount budgeted
for the work, but the cost is expected to be about $30,000.
·The authority learned that with the settlement of a condemnation
suit, it now owns all of the property being used for the project.
·The authority authorized Jordan, Jones & Goulding
and Azurix North America (the firm that will manage the plant)
to proceed on the preoperational phase of the project.
BOC looking to
Jefferson for new courthouse input
The Jackson County Board of Commissioners wants to know what
the City of Jefferson will do to keep the courthouse in the downtown
Legally, the courthouse must remain in the city limits since
Jefferson is the county seat, but some commissioners are apparently
interested in locating a new facility outside the downtown area.
The BOC met Monday night for two hours with the courthouse committee
appointed three years ago to plan a new facility for the county.
The committee strongly recommended that the BOC approve the plan
it presented in July 1999 to the former commissioners. It calls
for locating the courthouse adjacent to where the current facility
BOC chairman Harold Fletcher said his "initial opinion"
was to put the facility somewhere other than downtown. He said
the committee members made "some roadway" Monday in
convincing him to leave it downtown.
"I'm open to considering this site," he said. "I'm
open to looking at other sites too. The selling job has begun,
but it's not finished...This is an option. It is a good option,
but I don't want to close out any others."
Fletcher said that Jefferson should participate in the project
if the courthouse is to remain downtown.
"The question is what kind of cooperation are we going to
get from the City of Jefferson," he asked. "What are
they willing to do...Without that input, we are dealing with
a hypothetical situation."
He didn't elaborate on whether this cooperation would include
Other commissioners also questioned locating the new courthouse
in downtown. Commissioner Emil Beshara asked what the benefits
would be to keep the facility downtown.
"It's not so much as what's going to build up by leaving
it here, but what will go away," Tom Bryan said.
Janice Wilbanks, the volunteer coordinator of the Jefferson Better
Hometown Program, spoke of the convenience to those who go to
the courthouse or working for the county in having banking, restaurants
and other businesses nearby.
The commissioners agreed to come to a final decision on the courthouse
plan by Sept. 1. Commissioner Stacey Britt agreed to approach
Jefferson leaders about assistance with the project. An update
on progress made on the courthouse project will be given at 6
p.m. on Tuesday, June 18, proceeding the regular board meeting.
Superior Court Judge David Motes, who has served as chairman
of the courthouse committee, began the meeting by encouraging
the BOC to move forward with the July 1999 proposal. Three representatives
of the Leo Daly Firm also elaborated on the proposal and answered
numerous questions from the commissioners on the plans.
"A lot of work went into that plan," said Motes. "We
have a good plan."
Motes said that the committee and the architects looked at seven
sites and believe the one in downtown to be the best site. He
added that no one had come up with a better plan and asked the
BOC not to "second-guess" the committee.
Original estimates were that it would cost $16 million, but architects
with the Leo Daly Firm said Monday that the costs would actually
be closer to $14.5 million.
county zoning codes
Landfill developer says zoning map not
legal since 1974. The developer trying to locate a landfill in
West Jackson is attacking the county's zoning codes in court,
contending they were not correctly approved in 1974. If upheld
by the courts, the suit filed by Kelly Henderson against Jackson
County could cast doubt on 28 years of county zoning decisions
that extend far beyond the 117 acres on Hwy. 53 that Henderson
wants to develop as a construction and demolition landfill.
A bench trial was held Friday before Judge David Motes on the
issue, which grew out of the denial by the county to rezone the
property from PCFD to I-2 for the proposed landfill. But unlike
most rezoning lawsuits, Henderson doesn't contend that the county
acted improperly in denying the rezoning, but rather that the
county's entire zoning plan is illegal stemming back to the county
zoning map approved in 1974.
After eight hours of testimony, Judge Motes gave county attorney
Julius Hulsey two weeks to prepare a post-trial brief in the
case. Henderson's attorney, Gibbson Dean II, will then prepare
At Friday's hearing, Dean said that state law requires three
signatures on zoning maps and that Jackson County's map does
not have them.
"They start out with a void ordinance," he said.
The county called former director of planning and development
Don Segraves to testify on that point. He said that the original
zoning map had the required signatures from county officials
and that the map Dean presented is a copy and is not the original.
The original has not been found in county files.
Dean said that Jackson County has nothing in its official records
that the zoning map was ever enacted. But Hulsey said that the
county has a valid zoning ordinance and has complied with all
Dean also questioned action by the BOC on April 11 of this year
to readopt the zoning map. He said that the second paragraph
of the amendment was not read out loud as part of the minutes.
The county contends that the entire document is part of the minutes.
Also at Friday's trial, Dean questioned whether the planning
commission is the entity legally required to hold public hearings
on zoning matters. He said it should be the board of commissioners.
The county contended that law specifies that a public hearing
be held and doesn't dictate which government body conduct it.
Dean also said that the county never has enacted policies and
procedures for the conduct of hearings by the board of commissioners.
He said they are in place for the planning commission, but not
Hulsey said that nothing in the zoning law states that the BOC
must hold the public hearing, only that it must provide for one
to be held.
"To construe that any other way is simply misreading the
ordinance," he said.
Henderson's original rezoning application stated that the rezoning
was for an industrial park. The county attempted to attack that
in a pre-trial brief, contending that Henderson had used "deceit"
in the application, but Judge Motes didn't allow that line of
inquiry to proceed Friday.
In the pre-trial brief, Hulsey addressed the issue as follows:
"Clearly, plaintiff has acted in a deceptive manner throughout
the rezoning application process...By concealing the purpose
behind his actions, the plaintiff sought to make an end run around
the zoning authority of the Jackson County community."
The county also contends that Henderson didn't get an impact
statement from the City of Braselton or the Northeast Georgia
Regional Development Center, as is required by law. This was
not a part of Friday's hearing, which only dealt with the validity
of the county's zoning procedures and map.
After Dean had presented all of his testimony, Hulsey asked the
judge for a directed verdict. He said that Dean had not shown
that the ordinances were inadequately approved or that the county
had not complied with the zoning ordinances.
"I can't say at this time that the evidence demands a directed
verdict," Motes said in denying the motion.
Go to Jackson
Public Meeting Dates
Auto Parts &
Retail Stores & Outlets
Line; Millions Of Gallons Lost
A contractor tearing down the old bridge
on Georgia 98 over Interstate 85 cut one of the two main water
lines feeding Commerce early Monday afternoon.
City officials are still trying to assess the damage, but it
includes the loss of two to three million gallons of water, according
to city officials.
"We'll be meeting with the contractor today," city
manager Clarence Bryant said Tuesday morning.
"It's going to cost us a lot of water," said Brian
Harbin as a city worker tried to shut a valve on the line near
Dink Wood's Garage.
The city called Griffin Brothers, Maysville, to help repair the
line and had the job completed by 6:30 Monday night.
"I did a job on it," admitted Shane Samples of Penhall
Company, a subcontractor hired to remove the old bridge after
the new one opened this week.
Water cascaded down the northwest bank of the old bridge, then
ran down I-85 to a culvert and eventually into the North Oconee
The break in the 14-inch line spewed water being pumped from
the city water tank in Banks County as well as water draining
out of the rest of the system. City workers could not shut off
the section of line containing the break because an old valve
could not be fully closed.
The city kept its water plant feeding into the system at a rate
of about 2,400 gallons per minute, trying to keep up with the
loss of water that otherwise would have drained all of the city's
tanks. To help, the city asked several key customers, including
BJC Medical Center and J.M. Huber Corp., to switch to reserve
A section of line from Dink Wood's Garage to the Old Harden Orchard
Road was out of water the entire time. The rest of the city experienced
reduced water pressure and after the line was repaired
some degree of muddy water and air in lines.
The situation would have been worse but for the fact that in
1995 Commerce built a second main line from the water plant into
town following a construction break at Gary Motors. At the time,
Bryant said the line was needed to provide redundancy in case
the Maysville Road feed was severed.
But that redundancy did not work as planned. While the city was
able to continue pumping water into the system, the inability
to cut off the section of line with the break meant water from
the city backflowed to the break.
For the rest of the story, see this weeks Commerce News.
Hearing set on
county's effort to survey land for Texfi sewerage line
The Jackson County Water and Sewerage Authority is seeking a
court order to conduct surveys and appraisals on three sites
where property owners have refused access.
The county had tried to gain permission to conduct the surveys
on property belonging to Alma Armstrong, Dwight Delaperriere
and Inez Phillips. A hearing on the matter will be held at 9
a.m. Friday, May 4, at the courthouse.
The county is conducting the surveys and appraisals as part of
an effort to locate sewer lines from the Texfi Wastewater Treatment
Plant to serve certain areas of the county.
"Georgia courts have consistently held that a prospective
condemning body has the right to enter private property in order
to survey, inspect and appraise the property," the county
suit reads. "This right may be exercised without having
to institute condemnation proceedings to compensate property
owners before entry. The prospective condemnor need only provide
notice and an opportunity to be heard, both of which are provided
by the filing of a declaratory judgment."
Armstrong and Phillips filed a motion to dismiss the county's
suit. It says the two women are "respondents, not defendants"
and refers to Proverbs in the Bible.
"The above named respondents are not artificial corporate
persons," the response reads. "Proverbs 24:8 KJV The
The response also refers to the United States Constitution, the
Georgia Constitution and the Black's Law Dictionary, as well
as several other Biblical references.
Daisy Festival ahead this weekend
The Nicholson Daisy Festival will be held Friday and Saturday,
May 4-5, on the grounds of Benton Elementary School.
Festivities will begin at 6 p.m. Friday and will continue through
Saturday night. A car show will be held Saturday morning with
judging at noon for antique and classic categories. Singing groups
and dance groups will highlight the day and a craft show will
The annual fire department barbecue will be held, along with
the softball tournament, which will continue through Sunday afternoon.
The Nicholson Daisy Festival is sponsored by Jackson County Volunteer
Rescue and the Nicholson Area Fire Department. Proceeds will
be used to purchase equipment for the rescue and fire departments.
SCHEDULE OF EVENTS
Friday, May 4
3 p.m. Booth set-up
6:30 p.m. Cake walk
7 p.m. Softball tournament begins
7:30 p.m. Music and entertainment
8:15 p.m. Crystal River will perform
9 p.m. Kontagious will perform
Saturday, May 5
8 a.m. Softball tournament continues, booths open
11 a.m.-2 p.m. Classic and antique car show
11:30 a.m. Barbecue chicken sales begin
12 p.m. Car show awards
12:15 p.m. Threads of Hope will perform
1:15 p.m. TBA
2 p.m. Clogging
3 p.m. Threads of Hope will perform
4 p.m. New River Boys will perform
6 p.m. Auction begins
8:30 p.m. Country music
9 p.m. Karaoke singing contest, $150 first-place prize, $75 second-place
and $50 third-place
Other entertainment will be offered all afternoon and into the
night. There is no charge for admission. During the evening,
the volunteer rescue department will give away a 1986 Cadillac.
Sunday, May 6
1 p.m. Softball tournament finals begin
For more information, contact Dwain Smith at 757-3382.