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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The Tiger Road Gets Tougher
Tigers To Face Washington-Wilkes After 34-7 Loss To Athens Academy
Washington-Wilkes isn't exactly the best gridirion remedy for
a team who suffered a 27-point loss the previous week.
Panthers host Loganville Friday
Turnovers demolish JCCHS at Eastside.
The Jackson County Panthers will host Region 8-AAA opponent Loganville
(1-4/1-2) Friday at Panther Field. Kickoff is set for 8 p.m.
Dragons rediscover winning touch against Oglethorpe
After two consecutive loses, Jefferson needed a win.They got
it at home Friday night against Oglethorpe County, 42-20.
Neighboorhood News ..
Convicted kidnapper escapes from Madison Co. jail.
A convicted kidnapper is on the loose after breaking out of the
Madison County jail early Tuesday morning.
Tate appears before Comer council
Former city clerk Elaine Tate had her say at the Comer City Council
meeting Tuesday night. Tate made it clear that she was not trying
to change anyone's mind.
Commerce teen charged in armed robbery
A Commerce teenager has been charged in the recent armed robbery
at the Waffle House at Banks Crossing.
County convention and visitors bureau has full-time staff
Sherry Ward to serve as executive director; Bonnie Johnson to
serve as president. The Banks County Convention and Visitors
Bureau, which was formed several years ago, now has a full-time
The Jackson Herald
Telephone: (706) 367-5233
Fax: (706) 367-8056
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'DEADLY FORCE TRAINING'
Members of the Jackson County Sheriff's
Department received "deadly force training" last week
with the Toccoa Police Department's professional range instructional
simulator. The mobile simulator features virtual reality training
designed to put a high level of tension and stress on the officer,
officials said. Deputy sheriff Chip Grant is shown above testing
BOC to seek new county
BY ANGELA GARY
In a 3-2 vote, the Jackson County Board
of Commissioners voted Monday night to begin searching for a
new county manager.
County manager Skip Nalley was hired in January and given a one-year
contract. The BOC was to review his performance in nine months
and decide whether to offer him another contract. This evaluation
was apparently discussed in a 30-minute closed-door session Monday
night. No discussion was given when the meeting was open to the
public as to why Nalley isn't being offered another contract.
Commissioner Stacey Britt made the motion to seek applications
for a new county manager. Tony Beatty secnded the motion and
Sammy Thomason also voted in favor of the move. Commissioner
Emil Beshara and BOC chairman Harold Fletcher voted against the
The three commissioners voting for the motion made no comments
at the meeting even after Beshara asked that they explain their
action. Beshara also asked the three to comment on whether the
county had given Nalley any "guidance or direction"
on his job duties. Fletcher said Beshara's request was "out
"I'm sure it is," Beshara said.
After the meeting, Britt would only say: "I think this is
in the best interest of the county at this time." He said
there are no specific reasons for the motion he made.
Nalley was hired in January by the new commissioners and is the
first county manager Jackson County has had. He had served as
county manager in Upson County and city manager in Perry, Cartersville
feed mill request
Mar Jac threatens legal action after council denies rezoning
The Jefferson City Council rejected a rezoning request for a
feed mill to be located off Holder Siding Road Monday. But Mar
Jac, the companay seeking to build the mill, isn't backing down.
"We have filed constitutional objections with city attorney
Ronnie Hopkins so we can pursue our rights in court if you deny
this," Mar Jac attorney Jane Range said just before the
A large crowd packed the meeting room and overflowed into the
hallway at city hall Monday night to express objections to the
proposed rezoning of about 73 acres on Holder Siding Road and
Benton Road from R-1 to M-1.
"Our opinion here is that we represent the people,"
Mayor Byrd Bruce said. "I'd like to entertain a motion to
deny the rezoning."
Councilman Steve Kinney made the motion to deny the rezoning
request. The motion was unanimously approved.
Two weeks ago, the Jackson County Planning Commission voted to
recommend denial of the rezoning. The Jackson County Board of
Commissioners also passed a resolution last week supporting the
planning commission's decision. Commissioner Stacey Britt said
the area is not in the county but is in the county's sphere of
Range said the area planned for the feed mill was suitable for
"The feed mill is along the railroad track," she said.
"I would like to remind everyone that the railroad itself
is industrial and clearly serves an industrial function by taking
goods to and from industrial parts."
However, Boling DuBose, a Holder Siding resident, didn't buy
"Is every piece of land in the United States next to a railroad
supposed to be industrial?" he said. "It's a classic
case of spot zoning. The area is residential and agricultural.
Not a single piece is industrial land."
In her argument, Range said the proposed feed mill would not
disturb surrounding residential property and would be similar
to the Wayne Farms feed mill in Maysville.
However, David Oppen-heimer, who lives near the Maysville feed
mill, contradicted Range's claims on behalf of several Jefferson
"There will be lots of noise, 24 hours a day, six days a
week," he said. "Those of you who have a cat or dog
and have bags of food, rip the top off of it and stick your head
in-that's what it smells like. Don't do to these people what
the city council of Maysville did to me and my family."
Other property owners also expressed concerns about noise, increased
truck and train traffic, rodents and night lighting.
"Can 911 service be delivered if the (train) tracks are
blocked for any amount of time?" Benton Road resident Deborah
Range added that the feed mill would be a $15 million tax base
investment and would be an important business for Jefferson and
"If you're saying no to this, you're saying 'We don't want
your business in Jackson County,'" she said. "To end
industrial growth in Jefferson is to damage not only Mar Jac's
prescence in Jackson County but also the railroad's prescence."
Dubose added that the residents weren't opposed to growth in
"We know the bypass will spur some industrial and commercial
growth," he said. "But it will also spur residential
growth...None of us are against growth or expanding the tax base.
But the reason we have industrial areas around I-85 is so you
can put them there and not bother anyone."
Ho-Hum; No Comment
As City Sets 16.3-Mill Tax Rate
After three public hearings in which only one question was asked,
the Commerce City Council officially set its 2001 ad valorem
property tax rate Monday night.
The rate is 15.3 mills for schools and one mill to operate the
city. The total levy is expected to bring in $1.86 million, $1.745
million of which will go to the schools.
A mill is equal to $1 of taxes for every $1,000 of assessed property
The 16.3-mill levy represents a 4.09 percent increase over last
year, when the combined total levy was 15.66 mills.
The motion to set the tax rate, which had been advertised for
two weeks, was made by Councilman Richard Massey and seconded
by Archie Chaney. It passed unanimously without discussion.
But Mayor Charles L. Hardy Jr. pointed out that for the first
time in years, city tax bills will go out on time for collection
by Dec. 20. While Dec. 20 has been the target date for final
payment of taxes for decades, in the past several years Jackson
County has been so late completing the tax digest upon which
the rates are passed that the city was lucky to get the bills
out by Dec. 31.
For the due date to be Dec. 20, the bills must be mailed by Oct.
In other business Monday night, the council changed its utility
cutoff ordinance to specifically allow it to terminate all utilities
if a customer fails to pay for one or more of the city services.
That has been the practice in the city, but it has not been the
written policy, officials said. The change was approved unanimously.
The council also:
·approved an amendment to its insurance premium tax ordinance
which allows it to charge $50 (instead of $40) per agency to
out-of-town insurance agents doing business with city residents.
The change was allowed because Commerce grew beyond 5,000 population.
·heard City Manager Clarence Bryant report that paving
will begin next week on its community development block grant
project in the Cedar Drive - Woodbine Street area, virtually
completing that project. The city last week went to Savannah
to pick up a $500,000 check from the Georgia Department of Community
Affairs for another grant to do similar infrastructure upgrades
in the same general area.
·heard Bryant report that the upgrade of the State Street
electrical circuit is under way.
discovered in Clarke County
A teenage suspect in a Jackson County murder was found last week
in Clarke County.
Manuel Rosillo has been charged with murder in the death of Juana
Gonzalez, 38, Borders Street, Jefferson, on Saturday, Sept. 29.
He is also charged with two counts of aggravated battery in connection
with the domestic dispute at the home he and his father live
in on Brockton Road. Other charges are expected, officials said.
Jackson County Sheriff's Department chief investigator David
Cochran said the office received information on the early morning
hours of Thursday, Oct. 4, from someone who said Rosillo was
in Clarke County in a mobile home park on the Atlanta Highway.
Cochran said he was found asleep in a bed in the home.
Another woman, Florinda Dye, Railroad Street, Jefferson, who
was critically injured in the incident, is still in serious condition,
according to Cochran. She is at Athens Regional Medical Center.
At the time of the murder, a motive was not known. Cochran said
that Rosillo has said in interviews that he had been drinking
and was angry at his father because he had refused to let him
call his mother in California.
Deputies were called to the scene of the murder early on the
morning on Sept. 29. The two victims were found in a back bedroom
of the residence. Gonzalez, who had massive head injuries and
was shot, was dead when the officers arrived. Dye was found bludgeoned
about the head and in serious condition.
Cochran said the suspect allegedly entered the residence at 7356
Brockton Road where he lives with his father, Serbando, around
2 a.m. Saturday.
"It appears that the son entered the back bedroom where
Serbando and Juana were sleeping," Cochran said. "He
was armed with a firearm. Serbando attempted to wrestle the firearm
out of his hands. They struggled through the house and out into
the yard. At that time, Manuel fired two shots at his father,
not striking him. The father then fled into the woods and attempted
to get away from his son."
The suspect then allegedly went back into the home and kicked
in a back bedroom door where the two victims were.
District attorney Tim Madison said Tuesday that he has not made
a decision as to whether he will seek the death penalty in the
case. An investigation is under way into Rosillo's exact age,
which he said would be a determining factor. He is believed to
be 17 or 18 years old, but he has an identification card that
is believed to be fake that lists him as 21 years old.
Wilkins to close
135 employees to be laid off when plant closes after 43 years
Wilkins Industries, an Athens-based apparel designer, marketer
and manufacturer, has begun closing its Jefferson plant with
135 workers being laid off.
The Jefferson facility, which has been in operation since 1958,
manufactures elastic waistband pants for Wal-Mart stores. The
company also owns a facility in Athens, which is also being shut
"We are very sad about this sudden turn of events,"
said Wilkins president John J. Wilkins III. "Wilkins Industries
requests that the Athens and Jefferson area communities keep
these employees and their families in their thoughts and prayers
during this difficult time."
Company leaders say the closing is largely a result of continued
foreign and NAFTA-related competition.
"It is impossible to compete in a global marketplace in
which American apparel workers are paid $9 to $12 an hour while
workers in Mexico make $2.20 per hour and those in Pakistan make
only 37 cents per hour," said Ellen Wilkins, human resources
When Wilkins' customers began selecting Mexico's NAFTA-related
lower costs, the company found itself making over 60 percent
of its product in Mexico, according to company officials. Inability
to keep customers interested in American manufacturing reportedly
resulted in the 1999 closure of the company's Athens facility
on Oneita Street, where over 400 people were employed. In the
spring of 2001, the decision of another customer to move production
to Asia forced the closure of Wilkins' McRae plant, with a job
loss of over 150 employees. The past year saw several customers
go into bankruptcy, leaders say.
The closings are also due to the sudden collapse of six months
of negotiations that involved a refinancing of the company and
the sale of the apparel business, according to a release issued
Tuesday by the company.
"Because of financial stress caused by poor market conditions
and international competition, the continued operation of the
company relied completely on the successful conclusion of the
sale and the refinancing," the release reads.
The Jefferson operation is expected to be closed by next week.
The Athens plant, which employs 58 people, is expected to be
closed by the end of December.
Vice president of operations John J. Wilkins IV said that the
company will finish the orders in process and ship the remaining
goods. All work that is still in the manufacturing process is
planned to be completed and continued orders that are either
in production or are based on existing inventory are planned
for normal shipment.
Company leaders say the company is "focusing efforts on
helping the employees with benefits they are eligible to receive."
Employees who lose their jobs due to foreign competition may
be eligible for education and extended unemployment benefits
under NAFTA and TAA programs. These programs assist workers who
lose their jobs as a result of trade with Canada or Mexico. The
benefits allow employees to engage in long-term training while
receiving income support. Employees in the Athens facilities
are already approved due to a March 2001 petition. Wilkins Industries
is in the process of applying for aid for the Jefferson employees
and they feel the approval is likely.
A team of specialists from the Athens Department of Labor's career
center have been pulled together to work with the Jefferson employees.
They will conduct on-site meetings Thursday in which all employees
will be informed of the programs the Department of Labor offers.
The state dislocated workers unit will also be on site as part
of this emergency response team. Plans also include information
sessions in the coming weeks to help the affected employees with
job searching assistance.
In an effort to help employees find new jobs, Wilkins Industries,
with the assistance of the Department of Labor, will hold a job
fair from 10 a.m. to noon on Thursday, Oct. 18, at the Jefferson
factory, at 65 Kissam Street. The company is asking Jefferson
and Athens area employers to participate. Job listings will also
be posted on the company bulletin boards.
Wilkins Industries had its beginnings in 1909 as the Bellgrade
Manufacturing Company in Winder. The company also included the
former Big Ace Corporation, which stood on the site where the
Athens' Classic Center now stands. John Wilkins III came into
the business in 1958 when he opened his first factory on Kissam
Street in Jefferson manufacturing for Sears Roebuck. Wilkins
expanded to Oneta Street in Athens in 1980.
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Disqualified In Nicholson
NICHOLSON -- Not only was Bobby Crawford disqualified from running
for the Nicholson City Council, but he was also disqualified
from voting in the election.
Nicholson election superintendent Shelby Chester ruled Tuesday
that Crawford was not a resident of the city. She also ruled
that the Nicholson City Council's 2-1 vote to "grandfather"
Crawford as a resident was illegal.
Crawford says he will appeal to the Superior Court of Jackson
A 10 a.m. hearing was continued to 4:00 p.m. while Councilman
Billy Kitchens found a surveyor to explain the measurement of
the city charter as amended in 1922. The document spelled out
the measurement in "chains" and "links,"
and Crawford and Kitchens hoped a translation of the measurements
would show that Crawford's land was in the city all along.
That didn't happen. Surveyor Barry Lord translated the numbers
to show that the 1922 charter provided essentially the same boundaries
as the original charter, creating a city one mile long by a half
A week ago, Crawford argued that his land had been annexed during
the tenure of the late Harold Swindle, but a search of city records
could find no evidence of annexation, even though Crawford has
been voting in Nicholson for 16-20 years.
The city was unaware of the discrepancy until someone contested
Crawford's candidacy to Chester. At that point, Chester also
became aware that three other longtime voters neighbors
of Crawford are also not residents. They include Rogers
Barnett, Mike Kesler and Deborah Kesler, according to Chester.
"I'd heard nothing about them. I'd just heard about Bobby,"
Chester said. "But to have a legal election, we'll have
to get that straightened out."
In the morning part of the hearing, Crawford threatened to file
a federal "discrimination suit" if he were disqualified
but the other non-residents in the same situation were allowed
Crawford owns two tracts on Cedar Drive. One 5.8-acre parcel,
upon which he lives, is entirely outside the city limits. The
other, nine-plus acres, has a small portion that is in the city.
Crawford's disqualification leaves five candidates for four city
council seats. The candidates are Kitchens, incumbent Chuck Wheeler,
Deborah Moore, Lamar Watkins and Howard Allen Wilbanks. In Nicholson
elections, all candidates run at-large and the top four candidates
win the seats.
Ronnie Maxwell will seek re-election as mayor and will be challenged
by James Kesler.
Seabolt will not
seek council seat
Jack Seabolt said this week that he has decided not to seek the
District 5 seat on the Jefferson City Council.
Seabolt said his name is already on the ballot and encouraged
voters to cast their vote for Philip Thompson.
Seabolt said his decision to seek the office was not thoroughly
thought out and doesn't fit into his future plans. He previously
served on the city council.
"For the past several years I have served and enjoyed every
moment and had always planned to retire at the age of 62,"
he said. "I tried, but failed, to get my name removed from
the ballot. I would ask you to support Mr. Philip Thompson, whom
I have known for quite some time. He is a very qualified young
man. He and his family will contribute many good years to Jefferson."
Seabolt thanked those who allowed him to serve the city in the
"I hope that my effort has been at least a small contribution
over these past almost 30 years off and on the council. For those
that helped me, I am grateful. For those I may have offended,
I'm sorry. At the moment, I probably thought it was not in the
city's best interest."