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Tigers Finish Second Week of Spring Practice On 'A Good
Note,' Savage Says
The Commerce Tigers' football team finished up its second week
of spring practice Friday, May 25. The Tigers continued to run
through many of the drills they had started the week before and
continued to work on conditioning.
Jefferson falls to Bowdon in state semifinals
It was a good run, but it came up just a bit short. The Jefferson
baseball team completed its 2001 season Saturday in Bowdon with
a pair of losses in the state Class A semifinals. The Red Devils
came from behind to win both games, 7-4 and 11-10, but Jefferson
mounted serious rallies late to keep fans on their feet, particularly
in game two.
JCPRD begins tournament play this week
The Jackson County Parks and Recreation Department began its
end-of-season spring baseball and softball tournaments Tuesday,
and play will continue for some divisions through June 11.
Neighboorhood News ..
Cowne says schools must restore reserve funds
Superintendent Keith Cowne told school board members that as
well as meeting the financial needs of the system, the board
will need to restore the system's reserve fund.
Kesler reinstated as coach
Doug Kesler was reinstated as Madison County fast-pitch softball
coach at a called meeting of the board of education Monday night.
Historical society wants back in old courthouse
Members of the Banks County Historical Society made clear at
a meeting Thursday night their intent to be part of the future
of the historic courthouse and hold their meetings in it.
BCHS graduation planned Friday
It's cap and gown time at Banks County High School. Graduation
will be held at 7 p.m. Friday at Leopard Stadium, located at
the middle school.
The Jackson Herald
Telephone: (706) 367-5233
Fax: (706) 367-8056
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PEARL HARBOR SURVIVORS
These three local Pearl Harbor
survivors were honored along with other area veterans during
a Memorial Day program held Friday evening at Jackson County
Comprehensive High School. Pictured are: (L-R) Gene Yearwood,
corporal with the U.S. Marine Corps, Mack Abbott, staff sergeant
leader with the U.S. Marine Corps, and Vernon Carter, staff sergeant
with the U.S. Army. For more on the Memorial Day program,
this week's Jackson Herald.
UPDATED: JUNE 1, 2001
Chief Dies Friday
Commerce police chief George Grimes died
early Friday afternoon following a massive heart attack. A spokesman
for the Commerce Police Department said Grimes, 55, called Jackson
County 911 at about 6:00 a.m. for assistance. He was taken to
BJC Medical Center for stabilization prior to transport to Crawford
W. Long Hospital in Atlanta for further treatment.
But en route to Atlanta, Grimes went into cardiac arrest. The
ambulance, also carrying a doctor and nurse, was diverted to
Gwinnett Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead just after
Grimes had been chief of police since September, 1987.
It was not his first heart attack. Several years earlier, staff
members found him on the floor at the police station. He underwent
angioplasty. Grimes also suffered from diabetes.
"He was a professional in every sense of the word. He brought
professionalism to the police department that Commerce had never
had before," said Mayor Charles L. Hardy Jr. "He could
deal with the public as well as the people his officers arrested.
He will be greatly missed."
Chamber To Support
School SPLOST Renewal
Hoping to help the three school systems in the county snare up
to $43 million over five years, the board of directors of the
Jackson County Area Chamber of Commerce has endorsed extension
of the special purpose local option sales tax for education.
The current tax is scheduled to expire Dec. 31, but will likely
expire two to three months earlier after meeting its $25 million
revenue cap, Jefferson school superintendent John Jackson told
the chamber's board of directors at its Friday meeting. If the
voters approve an extension, the tax would resume without a break.
The board voted to draft a resolution endorsing the passage Sept.
18 to continue collection of the tax. If the referendum passes,
the formula provides that the Jackson County School System will
receive 64.57 percent of the receipts, Jefferson will receive
18.92 percent and Commerce 16.51 percent. The breakdowns are
based on student populations of the three school systems.
If the $43 million cap is reached, the county system would receive
$27.8 million, Jefferson would get $8.1 million and Commerce
would receive $7.1 million. The projections include annual growth
of eight percent. The current tax has grown by 10 percent per
"At the rate we're growing, we've got to create classroom
space one way or the other," Jackson observed. "It
(the current SPLOST) has been a godsend for Jefferson, no doubt
"Why would anyone vote against it?" asked Wayne Parker
of Alltel. "Give me a good, solid reason."
"There is no good, solid reason," responded Jim Joiner.
"I can't think of a good solid reason," Jackson added.
"But that's what makes a surprise a surprise."
The superintendents of the three systems plan to develop a joint
plan to promote passage of the tax, and the chamber board asked
that the superintendents make a recommendation on how the chamber
One of the major selling points of the education SPLOST is that
more than half of the income is derived from purchases made by
travelers along Interstate 85, particularly in the Tanger II
outlet centers. The alternative to the sales tax, the educators
say, is to fund the necessary classroom construction with bonds
paid off with ad valorem taxes. The taxpayers benefit additionally,
they say, because SPLOST-funded work carries no indebtedness,
reducing its overall cost.
Jackson County already has another elementary school on the drawing
board, while Commerce plans to construct a new middle school
so it can split its elementary school into a primary school and
an elementary school. Jefferson, Jackson says, has more renovations
and additions in its plans.
For the rest of this story, see this week's Commerce News
or the Jackson Herald.
Time Friday At CHS, JCCHS
Sixty-five Commerce High School and 213 Jackson County Comprehensive
High School seniors will take the final steps in their high school
careers Friday night.
The CHS graduation will be at 8:00 at Tiger Stadium and the JCCHS
graduation will be at the same time at Panther Stadium.
After receiving their diplomas from school board chairman Steve
Perry and the traditional changing of the tassel from the left
side of their caps to the right, the seniors' post-secondary
educations will end.
The ceremony starts at 8:00. Students, the high school faculty,
board of education members and city council members will march
in caps and gowns onto the field. In the event of rain, the ceremony
will take place in the gym.
Christy Westmoreland is the valedictorian, Brody Bearden is the
salutatorian and will both speak, as will honor graduates Chris
Rhoads and Laura Dinsmore. Their theme will be the Ralph Waldo
Emerson poem, "What is Success?"
Other honor graduates will include Chris Balthazor, Michael Collins,
Candice Dailey, Leigh Davidson, Monique Diamond, Vans Randell
Kinsey, Stephanie Markov, Wes Massey, Joseph Pinson, Jennifer
Reece, Alma Rodriguez, Elizabeth Roller, Holly Saxton, Tiffany
Smallwood, Joseph Turpin, Washeka Wheeler and Keo Wood.
The speakers will include valedictorian Augustin Luna, whose
speech is entitled "Space Monkeys," and salutatorian
Abby Spruill, who will speak on "Leave Your Mark."
Others on the program include: Tim Murphy, senior class vice
president, pledge; Christie Smith, senior class treasurer, welcome;
Alex Rudio, senior class president, present the senior class;
Shumira Smith, senior class secretary, conferring of diplomas;
and Blake Wilson, honor graduate, moment of silence. The JCCHS
band will provide music and the JCCHS marshals will present the
Honor graduates include: Christopher Charles Adams, Sheena Leigh
Borders, Andy Nelson Brock, Margaret Anna Brock, April Michelle
Cantrell, Cecilia Montez Davis, Adam Gene Doss, Crystal Rae Edge,
Megan Elizabeth Elliott, Sara Marie Freeland, Rosalind Marie
Golob, Justin Craig Gunter, Travis Joel Hewell, Shianne Cirae
Jackson, Haley Boldt Johnson, Marcus Blake Kenny, Crystal Lynn
Kinney, Augustin Luna, Amanda Joyce Meeler, Lindsay Elizabeth
Mims, Cynthia Renea Nation, John Devin Phillips, Rebecca Elizabeth
Puckett, Heather Rae Randazzo, Ashley Nicole Ray, Steve Rosales,
Alexandra Marie Rudio, Megan Elizabeth Rundell, Michael James
Savage, Anita Marie Smith, Christie Latasha Smith, Shandra Shumira
Smith, Abby Elizabeth Spruill, Sarah Louise Stark, Shannon Lee
Stephens, Christopher Michael Tullis, Misty Roxanne Turpin, Samuel
Coy Veal, Shannon LaShae Watson, Beatrice Belinda Wilburn, Michael
Allen Wilburn, Christopher Blake Wilson, Fallon Leeann Winn and
Kong Meng Xiong.
Water may not
flow until Jan. 1
The latest completion date for the Bear Creek Reservoir is Sept.
4, but Jackson County members of the Upper Oconee Basin Authority
say they're not counting on getting water from the reservoir
until Jan. 1.
At last Wednesday's meeting of the authority, which is building
the regional reservoir in southwest Jackson County, engineer
George Byrd made the Sept. 4 estimate. But Harold Fletcher, chairman
of the Jackson County Board of Commissioners, did not sound convinced.
"When can we reasonably expect to begin getting treated
water out of that project?" he asked. "Can we reasonably
expect to get any treated water this year?" "Yes,"
But at the close of the meeting Fletcher and Elton Collins, Commerce,
both agreed not to expect water before Jan. 1.
That view of the completion date provides a worst-case scenario
for financial planning. In theory, Jackson County has to begin
making monthly payments of $149,000 for debt service starting
July 1 and monthly payments for operating expenses once the water
plant is running.
If it makes those payments into a sinking fund, it will be able
to make its Jan. 1 share of the first bond payment $644,377.
Its cost will be slightly higher if it makes a single lump-sum
payment, to account for lost interest in the sinking fund.
The problem for Jackson County is that officials have counted
on being able to sell water from the reservoir to pay for both
capital and operating expenses. Fletcher's and Collins' assumption
that there will be no water available until Jan. 1 means that
they must plan to make those payments from other revenue.
Even if it is late, the $60.7 million project is winding down.
As of last Wednesday, the reservoir was more than one-third full
(by elevation) at the 650-foot level.
"We are getting close to the point where we'll be able to
provide Beers (builder of the water plant) with testing water
through the 36-inch line from Oconee County," said Jim Wrona,
project manager for Jordan, Jones & Goulding Inc., which
is overseeing the entire project. "Hopefully, next week
we will be filling and testing some of the concrete structures."
Once the water plant is operational, it can transport treated
water to Jackson, Barrow and Oconee counties. It will take those
counties some time to test and purify the large lines that transmit
the water to the counties, steps that must be taken before water
can go to customers.
Water can be removed from the lake as soon as the plant is ready,
even were the lake only one-third full. The filling process has
slowed down; the Safe Dams division of the Environmental Protection
Division will allow the lake level to rise at a rate of two feet
per week until the lake is two-thirds full, and then it can be
filled at the rate of one foot per week. In addition, the drought
may affect the speed with which the lake can be filled, since
that affects the flow rate of the Middle Oconee River, from which
the water is pumped.
"There are some people who don't believe in Santa Claus
and people who don't believe it'll ever be full of water,"
observed Eddie Elder, chairman.
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Grad test a
struggle for some students
Science and social studies remained problematic for local high
school juniors this year. Nearly 25 percent of juniors at Jackson
County Comprehensive High School and Jefferson High School failed
the science portion of the state graduation test the first time
they took it. About 15 percent failed the social studies portion
of the required test.
The students have four more chances to take the graduation test
before graduation next spring.
As a result of not passing a portion of the graduation test,
10 JCCHS students will not receive a diploma at graduation Friday
night. Two JHS students also did not receive a diploma at graduation
two weeks ago because they never passed all parts of the graduation
"Science and social studies remain low across the state,"
said Jackson County curriculum director Mary Leuzinger. "I
think we need to investigate why that happens. Are our courses
not aligned with the test? I don't have the answers, but I do
have a lot of questions."
Assistant principal at JCCHS Jan Scales said that the school's
low social studies scores are partly because of the block scheduling.
Students who take U.S. history during the spring semester do
not receive all of the information they need to score well on
that portion of the test, she said.
The highest percent passing a subject at JCCHS was in English,
where 98 percent passed. The highest percentage at JHS was in
math, where 97 percent passed.
Pat Blenke, principal at JCHS, said that six students had perfect
scores, four in English and two in math, but he said that the
school still has some improvements that need to be made. Both
he and Leuzinger said they plan to target raising the number
of students scoring in the pass plus category. Pass plus is the
number of students scoring above the state average.
The graduation test will be phased out in a few years to be replaced
by end of course testing.
Parent reps named
to local school councils
Parent representatives to the new local school councils have
been named at the Jefferson and Jackson County school systems.
Business and faculty representatives will also be named to serve
on these councils, which are a part of the governor's education
reform legislation approved last year.
Those named to the Jefferson High School Council were John Bryant
and Wayne Price. Parents serving on the Jefferson Middle School
council will be Anita Duck and Gay Blenke. Those serving on the
Jefferson Elementary School council will be Bart Richards and
Parents named to serve on the Jackson County school councils
include: David Freeman and Vicki Whitmire, Maysville Elementary;
Cynthia Williams and Nancy Greeson, North Jackson Elementary;
Terry Hill and Juli Wisotsky, South Jackson Elementary; Lori
Biddle and Sandy Bates, West Jackson Primary; Jim Becker and
Carey Waldrip, West Jackson Intermediate; Trent Strickland and
Jenny Sosebee, Jackson County Comprehensive High; Lisa Thompson
and Kenneth Cotton, Benton Elementary; Max Allen and Karol Powell,
West Jackson Middle School; and Tamara Head and Stephanie Potts,
East Jackson Middle.
EJMS has also named its other representatives and they are as
follows: business leaders Timothy Cornelison and Pam Watkins
and teachers Rachel Parr and Tommy Benton.
The councils will function as advisory boards for each school.
They are part of a trend in education of "site-based decision-making"
which attempts to include more parental and community input into