News from Jackson County...

May 11, 2001


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SPORTS
Tiger Girls' Golf Wins Region Tournament

The Commerce girls' golf team surprised the region, taking first place in the region tournament and having the low medalist, Heather Tiller, on the team. The tournament was played at Hamilton Mill May 1.

Jackson County wins season finale, 9-8
The Jackson County baseball team finished its season on a high note Friday, winning the final game of the year 9-8 over Franklin County. The victory was particularly sweet for the team because an earlier loss to the Lions was the catalyst for what became a rocky Region 8-AAA road for the Panthers.

Jacobs does an about-face; to stay at JHS
Just over two weeks after being approved by the Buford City School Board as that school's new head girls' basketball coach, Jefferson's Kevin Jacobs has reversed course and decided to stay with the Lady Dragons for the coming school year.


Neighboorhood News ..
MADISON COUNTY
Madison Co. Relay for Life raises $116,000 in fight against cancer
At least 125 cancer survivors, along with their caregivers, family and friends, took to the track at the county recreation department last Friday evening to begin Madison County's third annual Relay for Life.

Fortson trial opens Monday
The murder trial of Tracy Fortson is set to open Monday, beginning with jury selection. Fortson is accused of killing her ex-boyfriend Doug Benton of Colbert, leaving his body encased in cement in a wooded area in Oglethorpe County, then attempting to burn his house down to destroy evidence


Neighborhood News...
BANKS COUNTY
Drug bust: Harold Ballew Jr. charged
A Banks County man was arrested Friday after law enforcement officials found evidence of a moonshine still, a methamphetamine laboratory and a stash of firearms, including a machine gun, at his residence.

Computers, new employees, salary increases among requests at hearings
Computers, additional help and salary increases for employees are among the requests the Banks County Board of Commissioners heard Friday when it began budget hearings.


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DAISY FESTIVAL FUN

Sibling pair Maegen and Tyler Ledbetter took their turns spinning the prize wheel, one of the activities at the Daisy Festival this weekend. The festival is held on the grounds of Benton Elementary School and is sponsored by the Jackson County Volunteer Rescue and the Nicholson Area Fire Department. For more Daisy Festival photos, see this week's Jackson Herald.



FILLING OF BEAR CREEK Reservoir is under way.
Water from the Middle Oconee River is being pumped into the reservoir at the rate of 60 million gallons a day.


Water Not Coming Until October...Maybe
JEFFERSON -- Any thought Jackson County had of getting water from the Bear Creek Reservoir in July has been put to rest.
The water will not be available to the Jackson County water system unitl October at the earliest.
Until recently, the Upper Oconee Basin Water Authority has held fast to its July 1 deadline by which treated water will be ready. A week ago, the engineer overseeing construction conceded that it would probably be some time in August before water could flow. Now, the contractor building the water plant at the site says it will be at least Sept. 23 before purified water will be processed at the treatment plant.
Even if the water plant is finished that day, water won't flow to Jackson County customers for several weeks, says the Jackson County Water and Sewerage Authority's engineer.
Charlie Armentrout pointed out at the authority's meeting Thursday night that once the water plant is operational, it will take "several weeks" to test, flush and sanitize the 36-inch line bringing the water to the county system. Flushing, said Arementrout, requires 10,000 gallons per minute, and before the water can be released, it must be fed into a holding pond to declorinate before it can be released to drain into area streams.
Delays in the reservoir are a concern because county officials planned to use revenue from selling the water to make the county's bond payments on its share of the $63 million project. The county's first payment is in January. Annual payments are $2.1 million.

Woman dumped on roadside
A woman was abducted at a Clarke County night spot in the early hours of Sunday morning by a man she didn't know who put her in the trunk of a car and beat her before dumping her on the roadside in Jackson County.
Jackson County Sheriff's Department chief investigator David Cochran said the woman crawled onto the porch of a Hwy. 82 residence and screamed for help. She was taken to an Athens hospital for treatment after receiving "extreme injuries."
"She was beaten and assaulted," said Cochran. "There was some sexual assault, but it was not rape...She was beaten severely."
The victim said that she was hit in the face by the man while she was on a sidewalk at Boulevard Street in Athens. She said that he then stuffed her in the trunk of a dark vehicle. She told a Jackson County deputy that the man then took her out of the trunk at a Hwy. 82 location and hit her in the face and threatened her with a shotgun or rifle and said that he would kill her. She said he then dumped her on the side of the road and left.
The woman described her abductor as a black man in his late 20 to early 30s who is 5'8'' to 5'10'' with a "long face and ears which do not stick out."
The Clarke County and Jackson County sheriff's departments are investigating the abduction.
In a separate incident, Cochran said Jackson County is also investigating a sexual assault case that occurred in the Pendergrass area over the weekend. A woman reportedly left the drag strip at Banks Crossing with a man that she didn't know to go to a nearby store and was assaulted by him in Pendergrass. Cochran said she voluntarily left the track with the man. The incident is still under investigation.


Adamson rules in favor of county on sewerage line dispute
Judge Robert Adamson issued a declaratory judgment Friday morning permitting surveyors from the Jackson County Water and Sewerage Authority to go onto the property of three residents fighting the new county sewerage line.
In a 20-minute hearing in the judge's office, Adamson found that the authority is empowered to condemn land and that state law allows the authority to enter that land prior to condemnation to survey and make appraisals.
None of the property owners submitted a serious challenge to the authority's request.
All of the property owners ­ Dwight Delaperriere, Alma Armstrong and Susan Phillips ­ were present, but only Delaperriere had an attorney on hand.
Delaperriere's attorney, Marie Bruce, told Adamson that her client did not object to the sewer line going across his property, but "would like to have some say over where it is going on his property," in part because he plans to build a lake on the land sometime in the future.
Adamson told her that the court did not have jurisdiction to limit the surveying or to impose conditions upon negotiations.
Armstrong complained that the construction of the sewer line was "an invasion of my privacy." Adamson recommended that "a lay person is best advised to seek legal advice," pointing out that a condemnation of her property is likely.
"You will be best equipped to respond with a legally trained person to advise you," he said.
Susan Phillips appeared to take a patriotic approach. She wore a flag sticker, presented documents with American flag stickers on them and carried a small American flag. She told Adamson she wanted to know the impact of the sewer line on her property, but the judge said those issues could not be addressed until surveying and engineering are done. He also advised her on the need to retain legal counsel to deal with the likely condemnation.


Rylee arrested on drug charges following GBI, FBI raid
A man who took a high profile during the recent controversial elections in Nicholson was arrested last week on drug charges.
Samuel Wayne Rylee was 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 owned by Rylee, 41, of 283 Cedar Drive, Nicholson, early Wednesday morning.
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 arrested.
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 convicted, officials say.
For the rest of this story, see this week's Jackson Herald.


City To Decide On Developments Monday
Developers who want to build rental housing in Commerce will find out Monday night if they'll be able to proceed with their projects.
At its 6:30 p.m. meeting at the Commerce Civic Center, the Commerce City Council will rule on recommendations from the Commerce Planning Commission on those issues.
At its April 23 meeting, the planning commission voted to recommend that the city council deny three such requests.
They include two developers' proposals to build duplex housing off Stark Street and a request to change zoning on the bypass so it would be suitable for multi-family housing.
The proposals include:
·a zoning for annexation on a 4.14-acre tract on Stark Street, requested by Doug Dorsey for the Wheeler Estate. Dorsey's son planned to build 10 duplexes on the site, half of which is already in the city.
·a zoning for annexation on a tract on Poplar Road. That tract, owned by Vivian Haynes, is also half in the city and is adjacent to the Wheeler tract. If zoned R-3 as requested, it could accommodate 20 duplexes.
·a request by Dorsey on behalf of Harold and April Pendergrass to rezone from AR and R-3 to R-4 16 acres on the bypass. Dorsey said there were no immediate plans for the tract. An R-4 zoning would allow apartments.
The council will also act on matters the planning commission recommended for approval. They include a conditional use permit for Crying in the Wilderness Baptist Church to locate a church on Harris Street; a conditional use permit for Mitch Seymour to locate a towing service at the intersection of Georgia 98 (Ila Road) and Madison Street; and a conditional use permit for the Commerce Board of Education to locate mobile classrooms on its three school campuses.
Also Monday night, city manager Clarence Bryant expects to have the first draft of the city's 2001-2002 budget available and Mayor Charles L. Hardy Jr. is expected to reappoint Geneva Johnson to another five-year term on the Commerce Housing Authority.


School Board To Call For Tax Extension
The Commerce Board of Education will meet three times in the next week.
It will meet Thursday at 7:00 p.m. in the elementary school cafeteria for a "work session" devoted to the agendas of the next two meetings.
The other two meetings will be Monday night, May 14. The first, at 6:30 p.m., will be at Jackson EMC, a called meeting with the Jackson County and Jefferson boards of education to call for a referendum on a second round of the education special purpose local option sales tax.
Officials anticipate that a five-year extension of the current education SPLOST would generate $45 to $50 million for the three school systems.
Also at that meeting, Steve Perry, chairman, will present a letter from the Commerce board to the Jackson County board in appreciation for the loan of portable classrooms while Commerce High School was renovated.
At 7:30, the school board will hold its regular May meeting at the high school media center, at which time members will nominate and elect three local business people to serve two-year terms for the school councils at each of the three city schools.
Other items on the agenda include approval of the FY 2002 tentative budget, recognition of students for achievement in academics and sports, and acceptance of the FY 2000 audit.



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School council elections set
The elections for parents to serve on the school councils for the Jefferson City and Jackson County school system have been set.
The schedule is as follows:
·Maysville Elementary School, 6:30 p.m. Thursday, May 10, in the gym.
·North Jackson Elementary School, 7 p.m. Thursday, May 10, in the cafeteria.
·Jefferson High School, 6:30 p.m. Monday, May 14, at the high school auditorium.
·Jefferson Middle School, 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, May 15, at the high school auditorium.
·Jefferson Elementary School, 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, May 16, at the elementary school media center.
·West Jackson Primary (currently kindergarten through second grade at Jackson County Elementary School), 7 p.m. Tuesday, May 22, in the gym.
·West Jackson Intermediate (currently third through fifth grade at JCES), 7 p.m. Tuesday, May 22, in the gym.
·Benton Elementary School, 7 p.m. Thursday, May 24, in the gym.
·West Jackson Middle School, 7 p.m. Thursday, May 24, in the Jackson County Comprehensive High School auditorium.
Jackson County Comprehensive High School, South Jackson Elementary School and East Jackson Middle School held their elections on May 8.


WWII vets to be saluted
A salute to "The Greatest Generation" will be held at 7 p.m. on Friday, May 25, at Panther Stadium at Jackson County Comprehensive High School in Jefferson.
The focus of the event will be on World War II veterans, but veterans from other wars will also be honored.
WWII veterans, or those who know of one living in Jackson County, are asked to call the Jackson County Board of Education office at 367-5151 to give their name and address so they can be invited to the event.


Fletcher: BOC to make district appointments
One of the goals of the new board of commissioners will be to appoint members to various authorities by districts in the county.
Jackson County BOC chairman Harold Fletcher made a point at Monday night's meeting to say that those appointed to county authorities and boards will be considered on a district basis. The comments were apparently in response to a recent editorial in The Jackson Herald, which cautioned that the board had become too focused on district decision-making.
"This board, by virtue of its creation, represents the various areas of Jackson County," Fletcher said. "It is the policy of this board to make sure that all of the authorities and commissions that we have appointed power over represent the various segments of this county. This has not been the case in the past, but for the next four years, the citizens of this county can rest assured that the appointments to the various boards and commissions will be representative of all of the citizens of Jackson County."


Nicholson Council Wants Stronger Police Presence
NICHOLSON -- The government of Nicholson would like a stronger police presence in its town and, encouraged by a county commissioner, voted to ask the county to consider locating a deputy full-time in the city.
At the same time, the city council was careful to avoid obligating itself to any expense or liability should the board of commissioners and Sheriff Stan Evans fulfill that request.
The action took place at Monday night's regular council meeting, but it was at a "work session" last Thursday that Commissioner Tony Beatty encouraged the council to ask the commissioners for a deputy.
"My main concern is that 441 needs some policing," Beatty said Thursday night. "It's like a race track every morning, and you've got a school here that shuts down traffic every morning from 7:30 to 8:30."
Beatty explained that the commissioners could ask Evans to provide more help, "But the first thing Stan is going to say is you're going to have to go to the commissioners and ask for the money."
The commissioner proposed that the council volunteer in that letter that the town would provide office space and possibly a holding cell.
For the rest of this story, see this week's Jackson Herald.