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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2000 Building Permits
2000 Property Transactions
Bear Creek Project
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Tigers Keep Postseason Alive With Pair
Of Big Wins At Sectionals
Sure, regular season wins might make the stat book look nice,
but victories in the post- season are the ones that get you places.
Softball teams head to Columbus Thursday
The fact that five softball teams within the Mainstreet Newspapers
coverage area qualified for last year's state finals in Columbus
was nothing short of incredible.
Neighboorhood News ..
Mother arrested for 'false statement' in child's death
The mother of a 16-month-old Colbert boy whose Sept. 29 death
was ruled a homicide was arrested on Wednesday, Oct. 10, in connection
with the crime.
Planners tied up on controversial variance request
County planners were evenly split Tuesday night on a controversial
zoning issue that earlier caused a mother and daughter who own
neighboring property to storm out of the meeting.
Rec. director charged with embezzlement
Banks County Park and Recreation director Barry Brooks, 35, was
charged with embezzling over $10,000 from recreation funds and
Beatty speaks to chamber on video poker, redistricting
State Senator Mike Beatty spoke on video poker and redistricting
at the Banks County Chamber of Commerce breakfast Thursday.
Beatty praised the way Georgia Democrats and Republicans got
together on the video poker bill to ban the machines.
The Jackson Herald
Telephone: (706) 367-5233
Fax: (706) 367-8056
NEWS / ADVERTISING
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MainStreet Newspapers, Inc.
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PLANT DESTROYED BY FIRE
The Porter Truss plant on Storey Porter Road in Jefferson was
totally destroyed by a fire Tuesday evening. The Jefferson, Harrisburg,
North Jackson and Jackson County Correctional Institute fire
departments responded to the fire. The cause of the fire has
not been determined. Fire personnel stayed at the scene all night
and into the early morning hours Wednesday.
Residential Cleanup Is Next Week
It's time for Commerce's annual fall yard and house cleanup.
All next week, the city's Public Works Departments will pick
up from the roadsides and take to the county transfer station
all manner of junk, trash and debris that the rest of the year
it refuses to remove.
As a result, citizens who have stockpiled old tires, demolished
furniture, spent appliances, decaying lumber, spoiled carpet
and shredded bedding rather than paying a tipping fee at the
county transfer station may unload that material free of charge
simply by hauling it to the roadsides, starting Saturday.
True, some people have been lining the roads with trash already,
but City Manager Clarence Bryant asks that residents put the
trash to be picked up out this Saturday. Pickup will be next
Monday through Friday, Oct. 22-26.
There are some materials the city will not pick up, and anyone
who puts those items out by the road will be made to dispose
of them themselves. They include hazardous materials and tires
with the rims still attached. Tires and rims will be picked up
but not if they're attached, Bryant says.
The city will also refuse to pick up commercial debris, and Bryant
specifically notes that the restriction includes landlords who
try to clean up an entire apartment complex or trailer park via
the residential cleanup week. Anyone caught bringing trash from
outside the city into the city for removal will be prosecuted.
The city asks residents to get all of their materials out to
the roadside at once so that city workers won't have to make
multiple visits to the same addresses.
Texfi shuts down;
160 lose jobs
For the second time in as many weeks, a local textile plant is
shuttering its windows. Texfi Industries in Jefferson shut down
Friday, according to plant manager Tim Harris. A small crew is
finishing up some work at the plant, said Harris. Within a couple
of weeks, however, all 160 employees will have lost their jobs.
The firm is closing its other location in North Carolina as well,
with a total job loss of around 500 people between the two operations.
The closing of Texfi leaves only two textile manufacturing plants
in Jackson County: Buhler Yarns in Jefferson and Mt. Vernon Mills
in Commerce. Wilkins Industries announced the closing of its
Jefferson plant last week with the loss of 135 jobs.
Harris said officials from the Georgia Department of Labor would
be at the plant starting Tuesday to explain training and other
benefits available to employees.
Texfi Industries had been operating under Chapter 11 bankruptcy
proceedings for the last year, but had recently found a prospective
buyer. But the events of Sept. 11 scuttled financing for the
deal and sales orders fell.
The Jefferson plant had been on short-time since July, said Harris,
but earlier in the year had more work than it could produce.
The plant made a polyester/rayon blended fabric for clothing.
Texfi Industries was part of a long history of textile manufacturing
in Jefferson that goes back to 1899 when the first cotton mill
opened. It soon went broke, but by 1916, the facility had been
purchased by several Athens businessmen, including Morris Bryan
Sr. In the ensuing years, Jefferson Mills grew into a large operation
with plants also in nearby Royston and Lexington. By the 1940s,
Jefferson Mills employed around 1,200 people and was becoming
both an industry leader and a powerful community institution.
In 1966, the modern Southworth Plant was built next to the "old"
mill. The plant incorporated innovative operations and was one
of the most modern textile plants in the nation for the next
decade. From that facility, 17 patents for various inventions
But as machinery made production more efficient, the workforce
needed for textile manufacturing fell. By 1986, only 325 people
were needed to run the operations and the Lexington operation
was incorporated into the Jefferson plant the year before. The
Royston plant had been sold in the late 1940s.
By 1990, imported textiles and an economic recession began taking
their toll on the textile industry, including Jefferson Mills.
In August 1990, the Bryan family, which had retained ownership
of the mill over the years, sold half ownership to Texfi Industries.
At the time, Texfi was a fast-growing company and had purchased
plants in the Southeast and Northeast to a total of 15 manufacturing
facilities and 3,500 employees. The workforce at Jefferson had
climbed to 570 during the late 1980s and early part of 1990.
The following year, the firm began a series of layoffs. There
was some speculation that the plant would shut down completely.
Layoffs had already caused the loss of 363 jobs in nearby Commerce
when other textile firms closed or slowed production.
In October 1991, Texfi closed its finishing plant in Jefferson
and began a restructuring of the operations. By early 1992, the
operations had been split into two divisions, with Marion Fabrics
operating the "old" mill facility and Texfi Blends
the Southworth plant facility.
In 1995, Texfi closed the Marion Fabrics division in the "old"
mill, leaving 168 employees at the Texfi Blends plant across
the road. The impact of international trade agreements and the
move to Mexico and offshore operations were cited as the main
reason for the Marion Fabrics shutdown.
Texfi had continued to operate in the Southworth plant until
To Complete Water Projects
JEFFERSON -- The chairman of the Jackson County Water and Sewerage
Authority wanted to make one thing crystal clear at last Thursday
night's meeting: The authority is not backing down on its commitments
for water projects funded by the special purpose local option
Chairman Elton Collins went out of his way to make that point
in response to concerns raised by the Jackson County Board of
Commissioners and some citizens following the August meeting,
when the board voted to halt engineering work on SPLOST projects
not yet under construction.
"We are not stopping any of the projects. All work is continuing,"
Collins insisted, adding that stopping engineering work temporarily
"doesn't necessarily delay the project" because of
the "lead time" allocated for getting the engineering
The chairman reiterated the authority's reasoning for putting
engineering work on SPLOST projects in the Old Hoods Mill Road,
Georgia 15 and southeast Jackson County areas on hold. They include
the delay in the completion of the Bear Creek Reservoir, which
means the authority must make the $149,000 monthly payments without
the revenue from selling Bear Creek Water; $70,000 monthly bond
payments to cover the up-front financing of the SPLOST projects;
and reduced income from the SPLOST.
"The last month of the sales tax, we got just $6,000 more
than these two (Bear Creek and bond obligations). The month before
that, we didn't receive as much (as the two monthly payments),"
And while Collins said he is "optimistic" about the
ability to finish the SPLOST projects, he also repeatedly called
the current slump a "recession," noted that the Sept.
11 terrorist attacks "kind of threw us into a recession,"
and predicted that sales tax revenue would continue to decline
before it improves.
"We just need to be very cautious and not stretch ourselves
out," Collins warned. "We are not going to stop doing
anything ... (but) the last thing we want is to get into a liquidity
"We're optimistic, but we're also being realistic,"
Manager Jerry Waddell pointed out that the authority has eight
ongoing projects, including the Jefferson and Pendergrass bypasses,
SPLOST projects one and two, the connection with Braselton, the
upgrades of two pump stations, the upgrade of system telemetry,
and the Doster Creek extension, which is funded by a $500,000
community development block grant and some $400,000 of authority
All of the SPLOST projects are based on projections of sales
tax collections. As of Sept. 1, when 15 of 60 months of the sales
tax checks are in, collections are $84,031 over what was projected.
But the most recent eight checks were all under the $248,185
projected income, and checks representing post-terrorist attack
sales have yet to come in.
Returning to the subject later in the meeting, board of commissioners
chairman Harold Fletcher called for "more dialogue"
between his board and the authority. He was accompanied by Commissioner
Fletcher said newspaper accounts and the authority's minutes
referring to the "halt" of some SPLOST projects
"gave rise to our concerns."
He asked the authority to "as quickly as possible to come
up with a time line to reassure the people of this county that
we are going to in an expediential manner as possible, get back
on track. It would be good for all of us if we have some kind
of understanding where we were going and when we will get there."
Fletcher also told the authority that the county marshal is checking
to make sure sales tax from all Jackson County businesses is
being attributed to the right county. He said there has been
preliminary talk of a joint effort with the county school system
to pursue the issue.
"We feel, too, that there's some money escaping and there
is a need to do something about it," Fletcher said.
Collins told Fletcher that the authority would "have a better
feel" for a timetable as it develops its 2002 budget.
"We will come up with what you have asked for in the next
couple of weeks," he said.
Anthrax scare leads
to reports of 'suspicious mail' in county
Public on edge as nation deals with terrorism.
Reports of a piece of suspicious mail being delivered to a Jefferson
River Road residence Friday led to fire, rescue, emergency medical
service and law enforcement officers being called to the home.
The FBI and the Center for Disease Control were also notified
of the mail, but they determined it was "probably a hoax,"
according to Mark Duke of the Jackson County EMA.
At least two other suspicious mail calls came into Jackson County
public emergency agencies this week, but both were also unfounded.
As for the Jefferson River Road incident, a woman called the
Jackson County 911 center Friday and said she received a letter
that had an odor and made her eyes burn. It had no powder in
it. The woman and her daughter were checked out at an area hospital,
but nothing suspicious was found, Duke said.
The letter was picked up by an official with the post office
where it is being held in a "secure location" until
it is picked up to be inspected.
The letter came from Pensacola, Fla., and reportedly outlined
traffic conditions there.
The increased number of possible anthrax terrorist cases reported
across the country has led to a heightened awareness of suspicious
"The actions of Sept. 11, 2001, are being felt by all that
live within this country and abroad," Duke said. "Because
of those events, everyone in America is sure to be on edge and
a little scared of what might be to come. We, in Jackson County,
are no different to these effects and feelings."
Duke said the county routinely has bomb threats in the county
and a policy is in place to handle these calls.
"These calls are handled with the utmost care to the lives
of our personnel and the citizens of Jackson County," he
said. "Our policy to handle bomb threats and routine hazardous
material incidents are not much different than that of a chemical
or biological threat to our community...It is unfortunate that
in this day and time these things happen; however, in the event
they do, we would request that everyone be patient, remain calm
and allow us to carry out our job."
The county EMA has released several tips for citizens who may
encounter a terroristic threat or attack, including the following:
·Remain calm. These problems are limited and are likely
·Only if you suspect or experience a possible terroristic
act should you call 911.
·All other questions and concerns should go to the special
hotlines set up by the Centers for Disease Control and FBI.
·After you have called 911, expect a lot of questions.
This is normal for the agency to carry out an operation of this
type. Help is already on the way after you call.
·The 911 communications officer, or a member of the EMA
staff, may ask you to conduct several tasks prior to their arrival,
including: give as much information as possible about their condition
and the scene; isolate the immediate area they are in along with
all persons involved; cover or place in a closed container or
bag the item in question; take down the names, information and
symptoms of everyone present; remove all contaminated clothing
and secure it in a closed container or bag; take a warm shower
using soap (no bleach) to remove any chemicals; and be prepared
to go to an emergency room for further evaluation.
·If you live in the incident area, do not call 911 unless
you are involved.
For more detailed questions, call the CDC at 1-800-311-3435 or
the FBI at (706) 549-6477.
Go to Jackson
Public Meeting Dates
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seek new county manager
BOC splits 3-2 in vote to find a replacement for Skip Nalley.
County manager Skip Nalley technically wasn't fired Monday night,
but he still got the proverbial axe by the Jackson County Board
In a 3-2 vote, the BOC agreed to begin searching for a new county
manager to take the county's helm. Nalley was hired in January
and given a one-year contract. Monday's action came following
a nine-month review by the board of Nalley's job performance.
That evaluation was apparently discussed in a 30-minute closed-door
session Monday night. When the meeting was reopened to the public,
the board made its vote with virtually no discussion.
Commissioner Stacey Britt made the motion to seek applications
for a new county manager. Tony Beatty seconded the motion and
Sammy Thomason joined those two in voting for the move. Commissioner
Emil Beshara and chairman Harold Fletcher voted against the action.
Beshara asked that Britt, Beatty and Thomason explain their action.
Beshara also asked the three to comment on whether the board
had given Nalley any "guidance or direction" on his
job duties. Fletcher said Beshara's request was "out of
"I'm sure it is," Beshara said.
After the meeting, Britt said of the vote: "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.
On Tuesday, Nalley released the following statement: "I
agreed to come on board for 12 months as interim county manager
to help organize a manager-council government for Jackson County.
As I see it, my work in that regard is essentially complete.
The board of commissioners has decided to seek additional applications
for the county manager job and I think they should. I'm moving
on to explore other opportunities. Jackson County is a beautiful
community with wonderful citizens. I have enjoyed working with
community leaders here and wish you well in the future."
Nalley was hired in January by the new commissioners and is the
first county manager Jackson County has had. He had also served
as county manager in Upson County and city manager in Perry,
Cartersville and Thomaston.
Mar Jac looking
While Mar Jac Poultry officials have threatened to file a lawsuit
over a rezoning denial that would have led to a feed mill locating
in Jefferson, company leaders are apparently moving forward with
plans to construct a plant in Lula.
Mar Jac reportedly wants to build a feed mill in Lula behind
the firm's hatchery on Hwy. 52. Lula Mayor Tim Allen has been
in contact with company representatives who said the current
plant in Gainesville is in disrepair and "they're looking
to move it up here."
"I haven't talked to any of the property owners," he
said. "No one has contacted me yet. But I know they know
it's coming. The people from Mar Jac have already gone out and
talked to a few of them."
Mayor's race off
A candidate in the mayor's race in the City of Hoschton has decided
not to seek office.
Gary Titus announced last week that he had dropped out of the
mayor's race in the west Jackson town. Long-time incumbent Mayor
Billy Holder is now the only candidate in the Nov. 6 election
to drop tax rate
The preliminary budget for the City of Jefferson plans for a
27 percent drop in the city's general fund tax rate, a 1.5 mill
decrease over last year. But to fund the decrease will force
the city to use $272,500 of its reserve funds. Last year, the
city used $511,400 of its reserves to fund city operations, mostly
to cover some expenses for the town's two new fire stations and
The budget and millage rate are expected to be set at a called
meeting of the Jefferson City Council Oct. 25 at 6 p.m. The proposed
millage rate is 4.15 mills, not including taxes for the Jefferson
City School System.
At the proposed rate, the city will collect $236,000 less in
taxes this year than it did last year. Total property tax income
to the city is set at $842,500 under the proposed rate compared
to $1.07 million collected last year.
Overall, the city budget is expected to climb from $2.7 million
to $3 million. In addition to using some reserve funds, the city
also anticipates $100,000 additional from franchise tax income,
$29,000 more in garbage collection fees, $40,000 more in probation
collections and $12,000 more from city court fines.
On the expense side, the city administrative department is expected
to increase spending by $84,000, mostly to cover expenses to
hire a city manager.
A major change to the budget for 2002 is the growth of a city
recreation department with a budget of $119,700. The department
was created earlier this year, but the 2001 budget only had $25,000
allocated at the beginning of the year. The department has spent
far more than that in 2001, but the city does not usually amend
its budget to show changes during the year.
The city fire department will see a $142,000 increase in expenses,
most of which will go to purchase new equipment.
The city street department shows a $146,000 drop for next year,
but that was due to $208,000 in that department's expenses being
moved to the "non-departmental" category. The $208,000
is allocated to pay for garbage disposal and had previously been
put in the street department budget.
Under the non-departmental category, the city has no funds allocated
as a contingency fund for 2002 while $152,800 was allocated during
the current year. The city also projects interest expenses to
drop by $36,000, but group insurance costs to climb by $55,000
Not counting the city's water department, which operates under
a separate fund, Jefferson had a debt liability of $2.77 million
at the end of last year. Most of that, $2.2 million, is for bonds
issued to build and equip the new fire stations. Some $477,700
of the debt is to pay back a 1993 loan in which the city consolidated
all its earlier debts into one account.