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Fall sports teams prepare for 2001
CHANGE is in the air.
Across Jackson County, school is beginning in early August for
the first time ever. In the sports world, the transition from
summer into the fall seasons has begun.
Tigers Put On Pads And Begin 2001 Workouts
The Tigers have had spring workouts and spent the summer in the
gym. They went through the Northeast Georgia Offensive Camp and
had a week of conditioning. Finnally, the eager tigers put on
their pads and began hitting.
Neighboorhood News ..
A day in the life of a Madison County deputy
The mention of a ride-along with a cop often evokes thoughts
of high-speed chases and high-dollar drug busts.
Crew shoots for Dec. 25 completion of prison
The company in charge of construction of the new Madison County
jail off Hwy. 98 hopes to complete the project by Christmas.
124th Sunday School celebration held
Gray clouds provided a welcome relief and cooler temperatures
than the usual 90 degrees on the last Saturday of July for the
several hundred people gathered in Homer's Veteran's Park for
the 124th Sunday School Celebration.
School council members attend training last week on objectives,
Members of the newly formed school councils attending a training
session last week at Banks County High School found out what
their role will be.
The Jackson Herald
Telephone: (706) 367-5233
Fax: (706) 367-8056
NEWS / ADVERTISING
® Copyright 2001
MainStreet Newspapers, Inc.
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AT SITE FOR NEW DEVELOPMENT
Jackson County leaders are shown at the site for
a new Haverty's distribution center in Braselton. Shown are:
(L-R) board of commissioners chairman Harold Fletcher, county
manager Skip Nalley, chamber of commerce president Pepe Cummings,
industrial development authority chairman Scott Martin, chamber
of commerce president Randall Pugh and Braselton Mayor Henry
Haverty's to locate
distribution center in Braselton
Haverty's Furniture Companies Inc. has announced plans to locate
a $25 million regional distribution center in Braselton next
to Mayfield Dairy. The business is expected to bring more than
300 jobs to the county.
John W. Rooker and Associates Inc., Atlanta, will develop the
site and lease the facility. The 932,000-square-foot facility
is expected to be completed and in operation by the fall of 2002.
The $25 million development includes the land and building, with
the potential for another $25 million in furniture and equipment.
The building will replace two existing regional distribution
centers, one in Atlanta and one in Charlotte, N.C. Both have
reached the limits of their capacity and expansion is not possible,
"We are very pleased to make this announcement of a new
regional distribution center that will accommodate future growth
for Haverty's," said Clarence H. Smith, chief operating
officer of Haverty's. "It will contribute to our goal of
constantly increasing our operational efficiencies and strengths...
Braselton, Ga., is an ideal location and a wonderful employment
base for the jobs this endeavor will create."
Jackson County Chamber of Commerce president Pepe Cummings praised
the team effort it took to bring the company to the county.
"Everyone worked together real hard," Cummings said.
"It was really pretty impressive."
Braselton Mayor Henry Edward Braselton said: "We are happy
to welcome Haverty's to the town of Braselton. We are pleased
that they chose the Braselton site over other locations in Georgia
and South Carolina. With 108 stores in 14 states, Haverty's is
one of the top 10 companies in the United States in sales of
quality furniture and accessories."
Haverty's narrowed its initial search to four locationstwo
in Jackson County, one in Anderson, S.C., and one in Gwinnett
County. Cummings said the Jackson County sites were the top two
choices. He added that the main reason for selecting Braselton
was the accessibility to I-85.
Jackson County Industrial Development Authority chairman Scott
Martin said the effort to bring Haverty's to the county was a
joint effort by the cities of Jefferson and Braselton, school
officials, the chamber of commerce, the board of commissioners,
the county manager and the IDA.
"We all worked together as a team to come up with a package,"
he said. "Everybody rose to the occasion and we came out
on top. I'm real pleased with the partnership that we have here...It's
a tremendous shot in the arm for Jackson County."
center planned in Braselton
The Trammel Crow Company wants to annex 160 acres at Hwy. 53
and I-85 into the Braselton city limits and rezone it in order
to build a distribution center that would serve the Atlanta area
and the Carolinas.
The center would be composed of five buildings totaling more
than 2.6 million square feet of warehouse space. It would be
similar to the Sears building on Hwy. 124 and Hwy. 211.
At a rezoning and annexation hearing in Braselton on Monday,
project coordinator Dwayne Wood from Trammel Crow estimated that
the project would bring in 1,500 to 2,000 jobs to the Braselton
area and up to $200 million of tax base.
Action is expected on the requests at the council's regular meeting
at 7 p.m. on Monday, Aug. 13, at the town hall.
At Monday's hearing, a crowd of more than 30 residents attended
the meeting in opposition of the project.
The Trammel Crow Company officials focused much of their presentation
of the project on road improvements they would propose for the
area. Company officials proposed that Zion Church Road be rerouted
so that it would be made more safe. The Georgia Department of
Transportation has reportedly said that Zion Church Road will
become right turn in and right turn out only from Hwy. 53 because
of growing safety concerns at the intersection.
Another focus of rerouting would be to make Zion Church's overflow
lot, which is across the road, be on the same side of the street
so that the church's property is not bisected.
City council member Kit Braselton said that because of the lack
of a straight intersect over Hwy. 124 in Braselton, the influx
of traffic would be a "headache" for the town.
Trammel Crow representative Jason Williams said they "might
address this as part of the rezoning."
Speakers in opposition to the proposal brought up various arguments.
Hari Purugulla, owner of the Best Western motel, was concerned
that the rerouting of Zion Church road would make his business
Others expressed concern about potential over development.
"I appreciate improvements (concerning roads), but I don't
think that will be enough" said Phillip Davis. "I just
moved from Gwinnett County and I hate to see this area go the
way that did, selling out the countryside."
Some others expressed concerns about possible noise.
Trammel Crow representatives reiterated that the roads would
be safer and that with only two percent office space, the impact
on water and sewer would be negligible. They also stressed that
there is not a subdivision adjacent to the property and thus
noise pollution would not be as much of a problem.
Bear Creek Dedication
Moved To Next Spring
Scratch the plans to dedicate the Bear Creek Regional Reservoir
Because of concerns over when the project would actually be done,
the possibility of bad fall weather and the inability to get
an access road paved, the Upper Oconee Basin Water Authority
voted Wednesday to postpone its dedication until the spring.
With the contractor scheduled to complete the water plant Oct.
29, the four-county group had planned to hold a dedication ceremony
early in November with Gov. Roy Barnes as the speaker.
But at Wednesday's monthly meeting, a number of board members
worried that a November ceremony might be a little optimistic.
For example, the completion date is hardly etched in stone. Originally
scheduled to be done this past July 1, the date has been moved
back several times. And as it rained heavily outside, members
were reminded that the date could be further pushed back if there
is any significant bad weather.
It didn't help that the Georgia Department of Transportation
refused a request to pave sections of New Savage Road that will
provide access to the site.
"We haven't been able to get the DOT to fund any,"
said George Byrd of Moreland Altobelli, the project program manager.
"And to get any paving done by the end of October, we've
got to advertise for bids this week."
The DOT is reluctant to have the road paved until the new bridge
over Bear Creek is built on Savage Road.
"The staff just flat-footed said no, it can't be done,"
said Jimmy Conners, Moreland Altobelli's liaison with the DOT.
If the road is to be paved early, the authority would have to
spend the $300,000 to $400,000 itself.
Athens mayor Doc Eldridge then broached the subject.
"Are we pushing too close to the dedication?" he asked.
"We've got road issues, funding issues and other issues.
If we had more time, would that improve our odds of DOT funding?"
"Probably," Conners replied.
"This is the biggest crowd at one time we'll ever have.
Paved roads would help," observed chairman Eddie Elder,
who chairs the Barrow County Board of Commissioners. "You
wouldn't show off a new car without the fenders."
The group wanted to avoid conflicts around Thanksgiving and Christmas
and once the new year starts, the legislature is in session.
Board member Elton Collins, Commerce, has always favored a later
"It looks like to me, by April, we'll have the bridge built,
the road paved, the lake will be full, everything will be green
and the weather will be beautiful," he said.
"It's been 10 years in the making, 25 years in talking.
We've got one opportunity to showcase it not only to the state,
but the entire southeast, what can happen when several jurisdictions
pull together," said Eldridge. "It should be our day
in the sunshine."
Oconee County banker Amrey Harden made the motion to delay the
opening until spring; it passed unanimously.
For the rest of this story, see this week's Commerce News.
Blacks Creek Road
Residents Sign Up For Water
Residents of the Blacks Creek Church area began voting with their
wallets Tuesday night on whether to have water from Commerce
piped into their neighborhoods, where wells are no longer dependable.
The Madison County Industrial Development Authority hosted a
meeting at which more than two dozen people put their names,
addresses and phone numbers on a list signifying their willingness
to pay the $600 to $900 it will cost to have municipal water
brought to their property.
Reticence about municipal water and dealing with Commerce and
desperation for reliable water represented two schools of thought
exhibited among nearly 100 people who met with the IDA and the
Madison County Board of Commissioners in the sanctuary of Blacks
Creek Baptist Church.
John Scoggins, chairman of the IDA, moderated, explaining the
options available to residents desiring city water. The first
alternative, he said, is to let Commerce build, operate and maintain
what would be an extension of the city system. The second option
is to let Commerce build and operate the system, with the IDA
purchasing it in five years. The third plan, the one favored
by the IDA, is for the IDA to install, operate and maintain the
system, buying water wholesale from Commerce.
According to Scoggins, Commerce is willing to extend its system
out the Blacks Creek Church Road as far as Red Hill Road, serving
residents of Mize Road and parts of Blacks Creek Church Road,
D. Williams Road and McGinnis Chandler Road about a mile into
"That's as far as they're willing to go," Scoggins
said. Beyond that point, "the size of the area served is
going to be determined by the number of people who sign up,"
he added. "You need a certain number of people per mile."
Scoggins proposed installing six-inch mains through an arc approximately
two miles out from the Madison-Jackson line and selling water
at a rate equal to the average of nine area water systems. He
estimated a base rate of $10 for the first 2,000 gallons and
$4.50 per 1,000 gallons thereafter.
"That's less than the citizens of Colbert pay and about
the same as people outside the city limits of Commerce pay,"
Scoggins estimated that customers would pay $350 to $450 for
a tap or connection fee during construction ($500 to $600 once
the pipe is buried), plus a meter fee and the cost of running
water lines from the meter to the house.
If enough households make the commitment, the project would take
four to six months from the time the IDA authorizes its engineers
to begin work, according to Scoggins. The IDA would borrow money
to build the lines, which Scoggins said would cost about $22
Not all of the residents seemed thrilled at the prospects of
water lines. A number questioned the "control" Commerce
would have over the water and water rates, the effect of municipal
water on development, zoning or property taxes or grumbled about
Wesley Nash, chairman of the Madison County Board of Commissioners,
seemed surprised by what appeared to be some opposition.
Nash explained how he was first approached by Commerce mayor
Charles L. Hardy Jr., who had reported getting a lot of requests
for water service from Madison County residents. Later, those
people began contacting the Madison County Board of Commissioners,
which turned the matter over to the IDA.
The problem, Nash said, is that area wells are running dry and
costly new wells don't always produce sufficient water. He spoke
of a constituent who "drilled a 500-foot well and got a
whopping three gallons per minute."
Nash also pointed out that water lines would be accompanied by
fire hydrants, which he estimated would result in a 50 percent
reduction in annual fire insurance premiums.
Scoggins said he will contact the people who signed the list
Tuesday night "in two to three weeks" to consider the
For the complete story, see this week's Commerce News.
SPLOST for schools
vote set Sept. 18
Local schools may be just opening for the new year, but education
leaders are gearing up for the next five years in major construction
projects. The key to those projects, leaders say, is the continuation
of the one percent sales tax for education.
Jackson County voters will be asked Sept. 18 to approve extending
that sales tax another five years or $43 million, whichever comes
first. Approval of the sales tax will allow additional construction
to accommodate a growing student population and will save millions
of dollars in interest payments on existing bonds, school leaders
The tax was approved in 1997 for $25 million which was split
between the county's three systems. Approval of the sales tax
has to pass voters in all three school districts since sales
taxes are collected countywide.
Superintendents from all three school systems in Jackson County
spoke on the issue at the Jefferson Rotary Club Tuesday and again
before the Jackson County Area Chamber of Commerce Wednesday.
The chamber has already passed a resolution in support of continuing
the sales tax for education. Chamber president Randall Pugh said
at the breakfast this week that it is extremely important to
continue the tax.
"You can't separate the needs for quality education from
all of the other things we are doing in economic development,"
he said. "It all goes hand in hand We have to be educating
our children to fill these jobs we are attracting in the community."
Jefferson Board of Education chairman Ronnie Hopkins also made
a pitch for continuing the tax at the city school system's annual
community breakfast Tuesday morning.
"This would be a continuation of the existing tax, not a
new tax," he said. "(It would give us) the ability
to continue to do what we need to do. It cannot be done without
SPLOST or a tremendous increase of ad valorem tax. We need your
help. This will be an opportunity for all of us to contribute
to the educational facilities for our children well into the
Jefferson School System superintendent Dr. John Jackson said
the major projects planned would include the addition of a primary
school for grades K-2, new buses and additional payments on existing
In the Jackson County School System, superintendent Andy Byers
said an expansion of the county's two middle schools, a new high
school in East Jackson and payments on existing bonds would top
the list of projects for the funds.
Commerce School System superintendent Larry White said plans
for the funds would include the construction of a new middle
school, restroom and concession stand improvements at the high
school stadium and adding practice rooms to the gym.
Since 1997, with SPLOST funds, the three systems have added dozens
of classrooms to existing schools, built new schools, done extensive
renovations to older facilities and made payments on older bond
issues to lower property taxes and to save on interest.
Go to Jackson
Public Meeting Dates
Auto Parts &
Retail Stores & Outlets
Trailer Wreck Closes U.S. 441 For Most Of Day Monday
The Georgia Department of Transportation blocked off a half mile
of U.S. 441 at Center most of Monday after a southbound tractor
trailer rig owned by Truck Service Inc., Forest City, NC, went
off the right shoulder of the road at about 10:35 a.m. and spilled
its load of insulation. Dink Wood used a chain saw to cut the
trailer into pieces to be hauled off. A crew from Waldrop's Tree
Service piceds up the load for disposal. The driver, who was
not identified, was taken to Athens Regional Medical Center,
according to the Georgia State Patrol at Gainesville.
up, but construction down
Although Jackson County hasn't been hard hit yet by the global
economic slowdown, there are signs that some of the local growth
boom has slowed.
During the first half of 2001, the estimated value of local construction
projects fell 37 percent, down $26 million from the first half
of 2000. Perhaps driving that downturn was a drop in permits
issued for single-family homes of 25 percent and a corresponding
drop in multi-family residences from the year before. Some $70.8
million in construction was estimated for the first half of 2000
compared to $44.8 million in the first half of 2001. Manufactured
home sales remained about the same during the period at 92 units
for 2001 compared to 90 units in 2000.
But while home construction may have slowed, property sales climbed
during the first half of 2001 by 34 percent. Property sales hit
$106.1 million during the first half of 2001 compared to $78.9
million the year before.
Total property sales for 2000 were $172.2 million while total
construction in 2000 was estimated to be $131.5 million.
For the graph, see this week's Jackson Herald.
schools to open Thurs.
Well, not really, but it may seem that way to several thousand
students and their parents as the Jackson County and Jefferson
City School Systems open their doors on the earliest date ever.
School for students in both systems will begin Thursday under
a new school calendar and amid a variety of facility changes.
And the traffic, well, plan for the worst as parents gear up
for drop-offs and pick-ups.
Some 5,355 students are expected in the county school system
while 1,500 are expected in the Jefferson system.
Among the highlights of the new school year are:
· New time schedules. Elementary schools in the county
system will have an 8 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. schedule. Jefferson Elementary
School will have a 7:50 a.m. to 3:05 p.m. schedule.
· A new calendar that has a week break in October and
again in February for students who don't need extra help.
· A new primary school in West Jackson for grades 3-5.
· A new math series in all county elementary schools.
· A new fifth grade program at JES called "Fifth
· Four new principals in the county school system and
one new principal in the Jefferson system.
School Starts August
8 at Commerce
Some 1,400 children are expected to walk through the doors of
the three Commerce City School System schools next Wednesday,
Aug. 8, when the 2001-2002 school year starts. The system ended
last year with 1,298 students and peak enrollment was 1,335.
"We're going to be ready," beamed superintendent Larry
White, who after two years is crawling out from under the pressure
of the renovation of Commerce High School.
Actually, the school year starts at 8:00 this Thursday morning
with a systemwide breakfast at Commerce Elementary School.
"It's basically kind of a welcome back," said White.
"We will introduce the new staff members at each school."
The three new school councils are also ready for the school year,
having received their training Monday night. They will make recommendations
to the Commerce Board of Education.
"The whole purpose is to get the community and the parents
involved, especially in improving student learning," said
White. "We had 20 of 21 council members there. I think we're
off to a good start."
As expected, the final touches on the Commerce High School renovation
are taking place this week. Most of the floor tile is down in
the academic areas and workers are preparing to install new floors
in the gym.
About the only thing that will be unfinished, said White, is
the installation of new bleachers in the gym, and that will be
done before basketball season arrives.