Our Time and Place:
A History of
Jackson County, Ga
A complete history of Jackson County, Georgia
from 1796 to the present. Written in narrative style for easy
reading. Includes material not found in other books about Jackson
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Start It Up
Tigers To Start 2001 Season Against Young Franklin Team. If experience
is the best teacher, then Friday's season opener against Franklin
County will be day one of class for a host of Tiger players.
Let the pigskin begin
Leopards to take on Panthers Friday. The beginning of football
season only happens once each year. And for Banks County, it
will happen on Friday.
Pigskin teams set to begin Friday
Area teams to start at home. All three of Jackson County's high
school football teams will open the 2001 season Friday at home,
and all three games are set for an 8 p.m. kickoff.
Neighboorhood News ..
BOC to seek help with plans for Hwy. 98
Madison County commissioners want help in determining how to
develop the Hwy. 98 corridor.
House fire under investigation for possible arson
An early morning house fire is under an investigation by the
state fire marshall for possible arson, according to Hull Volunteer
Fire Chief Frank Edwards.
Alto sets qualifying for election
The Town of Alto has set qualifying for the November 2001 election.
Qualifying will be on Monday, September 10, through Friday, September
14, with the office being closed on Wednesday.
State probe of fire unit completed
Inmate admits to sex with woman at fire station. The Georgia
Department of Corrections has completed its investigation of
allegations of misconduct at a Jackson County Correctional Institute
fire unit that was stationed at Banks Crossing.
The Jackson Herald
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Fax: (706) 367-8056
NEWS / ADVERTISING
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GYM RENOVATIONS UNDERWAY
The Jefferson High School gym is getting a major
renovation. Here, two men are shown painting the inside of the
gym. Jefferson has used funds from the current special purpose
local option sales tax to renovate most of its high school. Numerous
other projects have been funded with the SPLOST funds as well.
Math a major weakness
on CRCT results
Local middle schools struggle most on new state test
Like their peers across the state, local students were weakest
in math on last spring's Criterion-Referenced Competency Tests
(CRCT). At some local schools, over one-third of fourth, sixth
and eighth graders failed to meet state standards in math competency.
Statewide, 38 percent of the fourth graders failed to meet state
math standards, but the averages of local schools show that fourth
graders generally performed better here than the rest of the
state. In fact, all local elementary schools had results that
were better than the overall state average.
That trend did not hold, however, for local sixth and eighth
graders, where two of three school averages were at or above
the state failure rate. At both East Jackson Middle School and
West Jackson Middle School, sixth and eighth graders exceeded
the state rate for underperformance.
Language arts was another weakness in local schools, again mostly
at the middle school grades. Forty percent of EJMS sixth graders
and 35 percent of its eighth graders failed to meet state standards
in language arts, both of which exceeded the state rate. Some
36 percent of WJMS eighth graders failed to meet state standards,
a rate that was also higher than the rest of the state.
While local schools were generally stronger in reading, students
at Jefferson Middle School did worse than other students in Jackson
County and were at, or above, the state failure rate. Some 27
percent of JMS sixth graders failed to meet state reading standards,
a number which was above the state failure rate of 24 percent.
Eighteen percent of JMS eighth graders failed to meet standards
in reading, a number which matched the overall state results.
Unlike other standardized tests, the CRCT is not a national normed
test where students are compared to their peers across the nation.
The CRCT is a Georgia test designed to measure student performance
against state standards. Eventually, the CRCT will be used as
a "gateway" exam students will have to pass at certain
grade levels in order to advance to the next grade.
For the rest of this story see this weeks Jackson Herald.
Planners Pass Bigger
For R-3 And R-4Proposal Would Limit Developers to Maximum Of
Four Units Per Acre. A proposal to decrease the density of duplex
and multifamily housing goes to the Commerce City Council with
a "do pass" recommendation from the Commerce Planning
Meeting Monday night, the planning commission voted to recommend
that the city increase the lot size per dwelling unit in zoning
classifications R-3 (duplexes) and R-4 (multifamily) to 10,500
square feet. The amendment proposes a maximum of four dwelling
units per acre.
The zoning ordinance currently requires 6,250 square feet per
dwelling unit for duplexes and 5,500 square feet per dwelling
unit for apartments or other multifamily housing.
The Commerce City Council will make a decision on the recommendation
at its Sept. 10 meeting at 6:30 at the Commerce Civic Center.
What the planning commission hopes to do is to make Commerce
less attractive for such developments. As the ordinance now reads,
a developer could put six or more (depending on the number of
acres) dwelling units of duplexes on an acre or almost eight
apartments or townhouses per acre.
Vice chairman Greg Perry made the motion to approve the amendment.
Doug Newcomer seconded it, and the matter passed unanimously
In other business Monday night, the planning commission voted
to recommend that a couple's request to rezone a lot for duplexes
Beverly and Warren Toney wanted a change from R-2 to R-3 for
an oddly shaped lot fronting on Park and Troy streets.
"We felt like the only way we could do anything with it
was to put a duplex on it," Mrs. Toney explained.
Real estate agent Susan Harris supported the Toney's request.
"This would conform with everything else in the area,"
she said. "Everything else is small residences or duplexes."
The planning panel didn't see it that way.
"If we grant their request, developers will be coming in,
tearing down those houses and building more duplexes," complained
Perry, who noted that the city's comprehensive land use plan
calls for the area to stay single family.
Newcomer made the motion to deny the request. Kenneth Suber provided
a second and the vote was unanimous.
In its only other action, the planning commission accepted the
final plat for the first phase of Belmont Park subdivision. That
phase has 72 lots; there will be 112 in the completed subdivision.
plan gets nod in Braselton
Request to go before mayor and council.
At its first-ever meeting, the Braselton Planning Commission
recommended annexation petitions and C-2 rezoning requests for
a new restaurant and a commercial village project.
The newly formed commission, which elected William Braselton
as its chairman, also includes Stephanie Braselton, Rita Herren
and Kathy Schaaf. Attorney David Kirk serves as the commission's
acting officer and Aaron Whelchel remains the town's planning
With an audience of more than 30 people, the commission met Monday
afternoon at the Braselton Community Center.
COMMERCIAL VILLAGE REQUEST
Tom Bowen, speaking on behalf of Frank Duncan, described the
commercial village proposed for 50.19 acres to be annexed into
Braselton from Hall and Gwinnett counties. The existing property
is zoned residential and agricultural and is located at the intersection
of Spouts Springs, Friendship and Thompson Mill roads. It would
need both water and sewage services, with maximum sewage projections
given at 100,000 gallons a day. City Clerk Jennifer Scott reported
that the city will have a sewage line that will run to the Barrow
County line and already has a water line that will run through
the intersection in question, but that the developer would be
responsible for connecting to the town's lines.
The preliminary drawings presented by Bowen show a number of
commercial developments - from one large facility down to a number
of smaller ones - clustered together within a greenspace and
all within walking distance. Bowen proposed keeping 20 percent
of the property in greenspace and calls for a 100-foot setback
from Duncan Creek.
"This is purely commercial, no residential, with first priority
to retail, then to professional offices," he said. He emphasized
that there have been no contracts signed, but gave examples of
Target, Applebee's, a mini-hospital and a golf-pro shop, as the
types of commercial ventures that could locate in the proposed
"It's an upscale area, so we will put upscale commercial
buildings there," he said. "It's a loose translation
of Vinings at Jubilee."
Whelchel's report called for protection of wetlands, that the
developer work with the town on water and sewage issues, that
all erosion and stormwater requirements be met and that an approved
wastewater treatment facility be established.
The commission agreed to recommend the request to the mayor and
town council with the conditions that the final site plan approval
by council be required for the commercial ventures and that 20
percent of the property be kept in green space.
Phil Carter requested that 1.56 acres located at the current
site of Pure Oil Station near the southbound ramp of I-85 at
5845 Hwy. 53 be annexed into Braselton and be rezoned from agricultural
to C-2 for construction of a restaurant with a parking lot. The
site is now in Jackson County and utilizes wellwater and a septic
tank, but Carter's proposal calls for use of Braselton water
"I can't disclose what type of restaurant, but it'll be
a nice one," Carter said, adding that the restaurant would
have 85- to 110-person seating.
In response to Herren's concern about traffic on Hwy. 53 and
the lack of turn lanes at the site, Carter said the plans call
for a decel/accel lane and would have to be approved by the department
of transportation. He said construction could begin as soon as
Carter was also amenable to S. Braselton's suggestion that the
building's aesthetics be carefully considered.
"Since Waffle House, this will be the first restaurant to
be built and will really dictate what comes next," Braselton
After discussion, the commission agreed to recommend Carter's
request to the town mayor and council, which will have the final
decision on the matter. Conditions for the recommendation are
that a decel/accel lane be included in the plans; the developer
will work with the town on aesthetics and site plans; and that
an adequate grease trap will be installed. Whelchel's report
also called for removal and clean-up of old gas tanks, proper
restaurant parking and that the developer work with the town
on establishing water and sewage.
City clerk Jennifer Scott pointed out that if the restaurant
would use more than 350 gallons a day of sewage capacity, it
would have to be added to the town's waiting list.
SPLOST vote on
education coming up Sept. 18
A referendum will be held Sept. 18 on extending the special purpose
local option sales tax (SPLOST) for education.
That tax is due to expire June 30, 2002, but because collections
will hit the $28 million cap earlier, it will end three to five
months before then. If the Sept. 18 referendum passes, the tax
would continue without interruption.
The three superintendents have been speaking at area meetings
about plans to spend the expected $45 million in SPLOST revenue
over the next five years.
Commerce City school superintendent Larry White said the funds
would be used to finance a $6 million bond, proceeds of which
would go to build a new middle school to house 450 students,
for new concession stands, restrooms and a visiting team's dressing
room at the high school football field, an addition to the CHS
gym to provide practice space for wrestling and cheerleading,
a new central office facility, upgraded locker rooms for girls'
sports and miscellaneous heating and air conditioning and plumbing
"This is the best way in the world for us to take care of
our capital needs without being a burden on the property owners,"
said White, who also pointed out that SPLOST funds "allow
us to access" state funds that require a local match. The
school system hopes to get $3 million in state funds to help
with the middle school construction.
White said the accomplishments with SPLOST funds from the first
round included the renovation of Commerce High School, the seven-room
addition at Commerce Elementary School and the four-room addition
at Commerce Middle School, plus a host of other improvements
from new floors, ceilings or roofs and wiring for technology.
"A lot was accomplished with that penny the first time around,"
Jackson County School System superintendent Andy Byers said that
the Tanger II outlet alone provides more than $2 million per
year to the system.
As for the current SPLOST, "We did what we said we would
do," Byers said, reducing the millage rate for bonded indebtedness
from 4.53 mills to one mill. "That is a tremendous savings
to the taxpayers," he added.
The system also built 10 new classrooms at North Jackson Elementary
School, 10 new classrooms at South Jackson, nine at Jackson County
Elementary School, built an intermediate school in Hoschton and
bought 147 acres near East Jackson Middle School, where grading
has started on what will be the East Jackson Elementary School.
"We've got $4.5 million in the bank for the new school we're
grading on," Byers marveled.
If the voters approve the extension, Byers said the Jackson County
Board of Education will increase the capacities of the two middle
schools to 880 students; they're currently at 650 capacity. The
system will also build an East Jackson High School on the same
site where the EJES is under construction, will keep the millage
rate for the 1994 bonds at one mill or less and will buy more
land for new schools as the need arises.
"The sales tax allows us to buy $1 worth of brick and mortar
for every $1 in taxes paid," he said, noting that to pay
for the same amount of construction, the system would have to
issue $100 million in bonds.
"I pledge to you the continued wise use of the sales tax
money," he concluded.
Jefferson City School superintendent Dr. John Jackson said that
when it comes to providing classroom space, the school systems
have no choice but to provide it.
"When these kids are here, we've got to educate them,"
he said. "We can't close the door and say we don't have
With funds from the current SPLOST, Jefferson has reduced its
bond obligation, renovated most of its high school, added six
classrooms at the elementary school, upgraded computers and done
major renovations to its middle school and gym. It is currently
building a new middle school.
If the tax is extended, the city system will continue reducing
its bonded indebtedness, saving $1.75 million in the process,
will split Jefferson Elementary School into two schools, will
do more renovation at the middle school, re-roof its art/computer
center and make additions to the new middle school now under
Jackson also alluded to the percentage of the tax paid by non-residents.
"That's not something to be ashamed of," he said. "When
you go to Gwinnett or you go to Athens-Clarke and spend money,
you help their educational system with the SPLOST they've got
Go to Jackson
Public Meeting Dates
Auto Parts &
Retail Stores & Outlets
Galilee Preschool Flyer
Authority Can't Elect Commerce Member
The Banks-Jackson-Commerce Medical Center
Authority will have to hold a special meeting after its apparent
election of a replacement for the late Thomas Benton was ruled
It was to be a simple election Monday night. All the eight members
of the authority had to do was cast their votes for the Rev.
Tom Lewis, Rick Massey or Tommy Stephenson. Those were the candidates
submitted by the Commerce City Council as potential replacements
On the first ballot, Lewis and Massey each received three votes
and Stephenson two.
"I think this is positive. It indicates to me that we had
three qualified candidates," declared Chairman Charles Blair.
Blair then asked for a second round of voting, instructing members
to cast ballots for either Lewis or Massey.
When the ballots were counted this time, Lewis had four votes,
Massey three and Stephenson polled one vote.
Blair expressed the opinion that since Stephenson was not officially
on the second ballot that the vote for him was void, making Lewis
the winner. Dr. S.J. Shirley agreed, as did Jimmy Hooper, who
deadpanned, "We can't read the intention of the person who
voted for Tommy Stephenson."
Administrator David Lawrence agreed to check with the hospital's
legal counsel to make sure Lewis was indeed the winner of the
vote. The authority's attorney said no, advising that the winner
had to have a "clear majority," which with eight members
would be five votes.
It should be noted that there were no hanging chads in either
round of balloting.
denies motion on landfill lawsuit
The State of Georgia Court of Appeals has denied an appeal by
Kelly Henderson over a Jackson County judge's ruling on his lawsuit
against the county related to a landfill rezoning.
Judge David Motes ruled against Henderson in July in his attack
on the county's zoning codes. Henderson had filed a lawsuit against
the county contending that the zoning codes were not correctly
approved in 1974. The lawsuit was part of his effort to develop
117 acres on Hwy. 53 as a construction and demolition landfill.
The board of commissioners denied his request to rezone the property
from PCFD to I-2 for the development.
In a separate matter, Henderson had also filed a motion asking
that Judge Motes be recused from the case. This was denied by
Judge T. Penn McWhorter. If the court of appeals had ruled in
favor of Henderson, the case would have proceeded to trial.
Jackson County is also facing two other lawsuits related to zoning
matters. Earth Resources and CKS Properties, of which Henderson
is a partner, have filed suit over the county's denial of their
rezoning requests for landfill projects.
State probe of
fire unit says inmate had sex at Banks Co. fire station
The Georgia Department of Corrections has completed its probe
of the Jackson County Correctional Institute fire unit stationed
at Banks Crossing, concluding that an inmate had sex with a woman
while on duty at the site.
The fire unit included three inmates from the JCCI facility and
a guard from the Banks County Fire Department. The guard has
since resigned his position.
The Department of Corrections looked into the allegations because
state inmates were involved. Their report includes findings that
one of the inmates had sex with a woman who came to the Banks
Crossing fire station six times. The incidents occurred at the
fire department, but the guard said he was not aware that it
occurred. The woman and the inmate both admitted what happened.
The inmate also admitted that he had a cell phone sent to the
woman through the mail and he had a cell phone.
The guard admitted in an interview to having unauthorized cookouts
for the inmates, allowing family members to visit the inmates
and allowing one of the inmates to drive to a nearby business
in order to pick up a tool. The guard also said he knew the inmates
The JCCI firefighting unit had been shut down by the state for
several weeks, but it is now in operation again. Jackson County
leaders say one of the restrictions will be that the inmate firemen
will not be allowed to leave the county to go to fires and will
not be allowed to return to the Banks Crossing fire station.
"Ultimately, they (the department of corrections) want to
do what is best for the community," county manager Skip
Nalley said. "Part of the reason the DOC was of the mindset
they were when they closed the program is that, including Jackson
County, there are only two other correctional institutes that
have fire departments. The newness of the program and the uncertainties
involved with liabilities played a role in that. The DOC is very
supportive of the program."