News from Jackson County...

July 6, 2001


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Summer Recreation Activities In Commerce
The Commerce Parks and Recreation Department has announced its schedule of summer activities.

Chateau Rodeo Classic to visit Braselton July 27-29
THE FIFTH annual Chateau Rodeo Classic will be held July 27-29 at the Château Élan Winery & Resort Equestrian Center. The show will begin at 8 p.m. on the 27th and 28th, and 2 p.m. on the 29th.

New manager has Lanier on the pole
Lanier National Speedway manager Stan Narrison has no doubt had his critics during the first few months of his tenure, as all new guys on the job will.


Neighboorhood News ..
MADISON COUNTY
Ila considers legal action to collect license fee
The city of Ila may soon be forced to take a business to court for refusing to purchase a business license.

Danielsville to try speed 'humps' for Madison St.
In an ongoing effort to remedy school traffic problems on Madison Street, the Danielsville City Council voted unanimously Monday to equip the road with speed humps (not bumps), if they can receive approval from property owners on the street.


Neighborhood News...
BANKS COUNTY
Wetland site planned by DOT for 85 acres in Banks County
Banks County is the location of one of the Georgia Department of Transportation's re-created wetland sites.

BOC approves new position for 911 department
The Banks County Board of Commissioners agreed Friday to spend $1,730 for a computer server to back up files and a new employee to cut down on overtime at the 911 dispatch center in Banks County.


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FIREWORKS LIGHT UP THE SKY


The fireworks display lit up the Jefferson sky Saturday to conclude the Jefferson Area Business Association's July 4 festivities. A street dance, featuring the BTUs, games and activities for children and food concessions were part of the celebration.
For additional photos see this week's Jackson Herald.


Photos Now Available to Order Online
MainStreet Newspapers Inc. announces that photos from its four newspapers available for the ordering of prints on-line at its website, mainstreetnews.com. Based in Jefferson, MSN owns The Banks County News, The Commerce News, The Madison County Journal and The Jackson Herald.

"We get a lot of demand from readers in all three counties to have prints made," said Mike Buffington, editor of The Jackson Herald and one of the owners of MSN. "This service allows readers to access an on-line catalogue that shows thumbnails of each photo. From that, prints of various sizes can be ordered."

In addition to photos that run in the four newspapers, companion photos from events that are not published are also available on-line.
"For example, we may not have printed a photo of your daughter at a basketball game, but she may be in another photo that was taken, but not published," Buffington said.

Access to the photos catalogue will be available from a button on the mainstreetnews.com web site. The photos are hosted by DotPhotos Inc., a firm which specializes in making prints from digital photographs and which manages photos for a number of newspapers across the country.

There will be around a one week delay between the time photos are published and their availability at the on-line site. Click HERE to view photo albums.


County to pitch animal control plan to towns
The Jackson County Board of Commissioners took the first step Monday night toward bringing animal control to the county.
The BOC unanimously agreed to approach the nine municipalities in the county with a proposed animal ordinance presented by commissioner Emil Beshara. It was made clear that the proposal could be amended before final action is taken on it.
The proposal calls for the creation of a county animal department to handle complaints. The ordinance also calls for all cats and dogs over age four months to be registered with the county on a yearly basis. The owner would have to provide a current rabies certification from a licensed veterinarian, along with such information as breed, age, physical description, address and phone number of owner and reproductive status of the animal. The county would provide a tag to be worn by the pet.
The ordinance also allows for a registration fee to be charged. The fee would be established by the BOC. Beshara said the fee would be a "potential mechanism to fund the department," but would not be the sole source of funding it.
The ordinance also states that pet owners must not let their animals go on another person's property without permission.
"It's not a leash law," Beshara said. "It merely requires the owner of domesticated animals to maintain control of their pets and keep domesticated animals on their own property. It provides a mechanism for people who might otherwise have their property rights violated by a neighbor..."
The ordinance also outlines how abandoned and dangerous dogs would be handled and the procedures and violations for dangerous dog violations. Copies of the ordinance are available in the county manager's office for review.
The BOC didn't discuss details on funding for the department at Monday's meeting, with Beshara saying that would be "premature." He said the first step in the process should be to determine the "scope of the ordinance" and get acceptance of it from all nine towns in the county.
Beshara also spoke on how the Humane Society of Jackson County would be involved in the county's animal control plans. He said the group could possibly provide volunteer labor to handle adoptions and other services.


Citizens clash over mobile home rezoning
Despite a neighbor's protests, the Jackson County Planning Commission approved a Braselton man's request to subdivide 2.153 acres on Edanville Road to locate a mobile home.
Property owner Ronnie Richardson asked the commission to split the land into two one-acre tracts so he could conform to the county zoning laws to keep a single-wide home that he had already placed on the property.
But John Van Allen, who lives adjacent to Richardson's property, claimed the mobile home had been illegally placed in the location.
He said Richardson shouldn't have placed the single-wide there before the property was subdivided and alleged that a mobile home hadn't been there in the past five years. According to zoning laws, mobile homes cannot be replaced if one has been absent more than two years.
Van Allen also said the home was "practically in his back yard" and would affect the value of his property and his family's "quality of life."
Furthermore, Van Allen said that Richardson had illegally gone ahead and started installing all utilities for the single-wide. Van Allen said he had to call the county marshall twice to halt Richardson's work on the mobile home.
Richardson said he was given permission by the zoning office to start with the work.
Van Allen said that he learned that planning director David Clabo had allowed Richardson to set up the mobile home, alleging that Clabo told him "he'd went out on a limb to do this for Mr. Richardson."
Van Allen then further hinted that there might have been possible favoritism in the deal-claims Clabo strongly denied-by telling the planning commission that Richardson had bought several pieces of property in the county and was involved in a nearby subdivision
"I don't know what the relationship is there," he said.
Richardson responded by saying "he had no relationship" with anyone on the planning commission and then added that he'd obtained mobile home location and occupancy permits from the zoning office prior to purchasing the mobile home and had met all requirements.
Clabo then said a permit was issued to Richardson because a mobile home had, in fact, already been on the site before and added that he "took great offense to the accusation that I have acted unprofessionally for anyone who has come in for an application-that's not my way of doing business."
He said that Richardson was under the understanding that if the subdivide didn't go through, the home would have to be removed from the property.
Clabo also said he and the marshall "weren't together" on Richardson's permit because he was out of town at the time Van Allen made the complaints.
Further action on this request will not be necessary.
For the rest of this sory, see this week's Jackson Herald.


City Lights 2001 Believed To Be Best One So Far
It keeps getting bigger and better. The 2001 City Lights Festival ran smoother, created more excitement and involved more people than ever, say those who organized and put on the three-day event.
It will be a matter of weeks, however, before officials can determine exactly how much money was made to be put toward the construction of the Bill Anderson Center for the Performing Arts.
By far, the musical end of the concert was the biggest hit.
"The only one that might have been as big was the year Steve Wariner came (1999)," said Rob Jordan, "but I'm not convinced it was as big."
Both Charley Pride and Little Jimmy Dickens had followings to complement Bill Anderson's loyal fans, who arrived from all over the country.
"The artists all loved it and were very pleased with the way they were treated by the city and by everybody," Jordan noted. "Bill was ecstatic as always. He stayed around until the very last person was given an autograph or whatever they wanted. It was a good day, a good weekend."
It began with an 18-team golf tournament Thursday afternoon, followed by Dinner with the Stars that night. If there was a glitch in the process, it was the enviable one of having more people than expected for the dinner.
But two days later, those who attended were still talking about it ­ particularly about Jeannie Seely's comment that she and her husband divorced over religious differences.
"He thought he was God. I didn't," she said, breaking up her audience.
Friday night's concert drew between 4,000 and 4,500, Jordan estimated, and the old-time music provided by the artists seemed to strike a chord with the audience. It also made for smoother transitions between sets; virtually no time was lost between The Jordans and Anderson, Anderson and Dickens, and it took only 15 minutes to make the transition between Dickens and Charley Pride.
"It went beautifully, there were a bunch of people," noted Jan Nelson, executive director of the Downtown Development Authority.
And the rains held off. Organizers worried that the National Weather Service's 50-50 chance of rain might spoil the concert, but Mother Nature cooperated.
"I could see the lightning, but it never got close enough that I could hear the thunder," Jordan noted. "I thought it was a really good show. I haven't heard any complaints."
SATURDAY
On Saturday morning, more than 50 groups and vendors manned booths in the downtown, up 20 percent from last year, according to Nelson.
And while the threat of rain (it sprinkled three times, but did not shower until 2:00) seemed to have made the crowd smaller, Nelson said preliminary reports from vendors suggest that they did well.
"As I was talking to everybody, they seemed happy," she said. "Gems by Jim had a very good day. The Friends of the Library said they brought twice as much stuff as last year and they'd sold more than half of it by the time I saw them, so I think they were doing very well. Rainmaker Studio had a very good day, Riverwood Farms in the park brought many more things than last year and they were all selling, and the First Baptist Church music ministry seemed to be doing real well. Sno Biz was doing well; I kept seeing people with their cups all over the downtown."
As for the music, having two stages provided room for more musicians, not to mention more variety, and Nelson said the children from Commerce School of Dance and T-n-T Dance brought parents and grandparents in to the event.
As for the festival's inspiration, Bill Anderson is already thinking about the 2002 event, according to Jordan. Anderson has also written a song soon to be released by Kenny Chesney, Jordan said.
"That doesn't mean Chesney's coming next year, but everyone's expecting that this will be a big hit," Jordan commented.


The News Wins Eight Awards In GA Newspaper Contest
The Commerce News was recognized as one of Georgia's top weekly newspapers by the Georgia Press Association. The News received eight awards Friday night at the awards banquet for the GPA's 2001 Better Newspaper Contest for newspapers published in 2000.
Among the awards was second place in "General Excellence," the top award category, among newspapers with circulation of 4,000 or less.
The News also captured first-place awards in the categories of editorial page, for a photo essay by Travis Hatfield, for headline writing and for coverage of religious news. It won second place for the Dec. 16 special section after the Commerce Tigers won the Class A state football championship, second place for sports coverage and third place in sports writing.



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Rogers seeking earnest funds in home sale effort
Country music star Kenny Rogers believes he should get the $634,250 in "earnest money" for the purchase of his Oglethorpe County home, Beaver Dam Farms.
A Jackson County man, Thomas Threatt, and his brother, James, were the high bidders, at $6.3 million, for the property in November 1999, but the purchase was never finalized. Rogers has filed a lawsuit against the Threatts and their attorney, George Butler, over the deal.
The Threatts originally gave the $634,250 check to Pat Graham, a lawyer both sides agreed on, but they later stopped payment on that check and gave a second check to their attorney. The Threatts' attorney eventually gave that second check back to his clients instead of to Rogers.
A hearing was held Monday morning in Jackson County Superior Court over the actions filed against Butler. Rogers is seeking the $634,250 from Butler and alleging that he acted irresponsibly in the transaction. Neither Rogers nor the Threatts attended Monday's hearing.
Judge David Motes heard testimony for two hours Monday morning, but no ruling was given. Attorneys for each side have 15 days to file a brief on the issue. Another hearing has been set for July 23 in Jackson County Superior Court.
At this week's hearing, Butler and his attorney, Tyrone Brown, spoke at length about their motion for summary judgment on the motions filed against him. Brown said that the first check given to Graham was canceled because of concerns the Threatts had about the contract. He said the second check was given to Butler to hold until the matters were resolved.
Rogers' attorneys, Donald Harkleroad and Timothy McGaughey of Atlanta, said that Butler should have turned over the check to their client as of Dec. 6, as the contract stated. They said another option would have been to turn the check over to the court.
There was also much debate over whether Butler had served as an escrow agent in the deal. Brown said he had not, but Rogers' attorneys pointed out that he referred to himself as an "escrowee" in a document.


Herald wins 15 state awards
The Jackson Herald won 15 awards in the Georgia Press Association's 2001 Better Newspaper Contest, including third place in the coveted "General Excellence" category. The Herald competes in the large weekly newspaper category for newspapers over 7,000 circulation. It was the third time since 1997 The Herald placed in General Excellence.
The awards were presented last weekend in Savannah during the association's annual summer convention.
First place awards won by The Herald were: best sports section, best editorial writing, best hard news writing and best spot news photograph.
A second place award was won for best spot news photograph.
Third place awards were won for best lifestyle coverage, best feature writing, best local news coverage, best headline writing, best page one, best sports photograph, best humorous column, best editorial page and best newspaper web site.


Maysville postpones meeting
The Maysville Town Council has postponed its July meeting.
The meeting will be held at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, July 16, at the Maysville Public Library.
The regular schedule for the council meetings is on the first Monday of each month.


Blood Drives Upcoming In Commerce, Nicholson
The American Red Cross will hold a blood drive from 1 to 6 p.m. Tuesday, July 10, at the First Baptist Church of Commerce.
Officials say that most healthy people age 17 or older, who weigh at least 110 pounds, can donate blood. Blood donors of all types, especially O and B, are urgently needed by the American Red Cross blood services southern region, leaders say.
"The regional blood supplies for O negative and O positive blood are at a critical level," said Cammie Barnes of the American Red Cross. Supplies of these blood types are currently insufficient to handle potential emergencies. Right now, there is less than one-third of a day's supply of O negative blood and less than one day's supply of O positive blood in the inventory at the main donor center on Monroe Drive in Athens.
Approximately 1,200 units of blood are needed each day to supply hospitals throughout the region, officials say.
The American Red Cross blood services southern region provides blood and services to approximately 140 hospitals and health care facilities, including BJC Medical Center, St. Mary's and Athens Regional Medical Center. For more information, call 1-800-GIVE-LIFE.
ANTIOCH DRIVE
The Antioch United Methodist Women will sponsor a Red Cross blood drive from 1 to 6 p.m. Wednesday, July 11, in the church fellowship hall. The blood drive will be in honor of church member Toni McGinnis, who is undergoing treatment for cancer.
The church is located at 885 Antioch Church Road, Nicholson. For information or to donate, call 757-2531 or 546-0681.