News from Jackson County...

October 24, 2001


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Lady Dragons' repeat bid falls short
Going in to last weekend's state Class A slow-pitch softball finals, there was little doubt as to who the top contenders were. Defending champ Jefferson returned virtually all of its team from 2000, and runner-up Bryan County was likely the only team that could stand in the Lady Dragons' way.

Panthers pick up region win, 21-14
Homecoming this week
The Jackson County Panthers claimed their first varsity football win in more than a year Friday, with a 21-14 victory at Franklin County. The win was also Jackson County's first in region competition since the 1997 season, when the Panthers finished 3-4 in Region 8-AA and 4-6 overall.

A Successful Run
Softball Team's Postseason Journey Ends With Fourth-Place Finish. The clock struck 12 on Commerce's Cinderella post season run Friday, but not before they made an impression in the big dance.


Neighboorhood News ..
MADISON COUNTY
County taxpayers feel the pinch
Mill rate up 19% in unincorporated areas.Taxpayers in unincorporated areas of Madison County will face a 19 percent tax rate increase for the county government.

School board passes 17% tax rate increase
Madison County's Board of Education adopted millage rates for the 2001 tax year. The Maintenance and Operations assessment is 16.94 mills, up 2.97 from the previous year, or 17 percent. The bond tax was set at 1.26 mills, a reduction of .33 mills from 2000.


Neighborhood News...
BANKS COUNTY
Gridlock on I-85
Tractor-trailer fire snarls traffic Friday afternoon.
A tractor-trailer fire on I-85 North Friday afternoon caused a back-up of traffic on the expressway for miles.No one was injured.

Commissioners to again seek bids on construction of two fire stations
The Banks County Board of Commissioners agreed Monday to throw out four bids on the construction of two new fire stations and seek new bids.
The four companies who submitted bids will be invited to rebid and other companies will also be allowed to submit bids, leaders said.


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ONE FATALITY IN I-85 WRECK

One man died in an eight-vehicle wreck Tuesday afternoon on I-85. Six people were also injured in the wreck that led to both lanes of I-85 being closed for several hours. Scott Mock, 34, Mt. Airy, N.C., who died in the crash, was driving a tractor-trailer truck that rear-ended a flatbed tractor truck driven by Willie Mack Jr., 46, York, Ala., who received minor injuries. The crash between the two trucks caused a chain reaction with several more vehicles becoming involved in the wreck, according to Sgt. Mark Cox of the Georgia State Patrol. All of those who were injured were treat at the scene and released. Mack's truck, which was carrying gallons of paint and aerosol cans, began to burn and exploded after the wreck occurred. The second truck was carrying long boards. A portion of I-85 was closed until 4:30 a.m. Wednesday.


Hearing on landfill set for Thurs.
A public hearing on a request to locate a construction and demolition landfill in the county will be held Thursday.
The Jackson County Board of Commissioners will hear the request from Kelly Henderson and several other zoning requests when it meets at 6 p.m. Thursday at the Administrative Building in Jefferson.
Henderson is asking to rezone 117.1 acres at 8146 Highway 53 from PCFD to I-2 for the landfill project. He also requested a conditional use permit for the property. This is the second time Henderson has requested these changes for the property on Hwy. 53. The Jackson County Board of Commissioners denied his requests earlier and the matter went to Superior Court after Henderson filed a lawsuit. Judge David Motes ruled that Henderson would have to re-apply for the changes because he didn't present all of the necessary information in his earlier application.
Other items on the agenda include:
·I.V. Young to rezone 1.83 acres at 3984 Athens Highway from A-2 to B-2 for general commercial use. Young said he plans to locate a real estate office on the property.
·Matrix Development to rezone 50 acres on Brockton Loop Road from A-2 to R-1 to locate 36 single-family site-built home lots. Terry Powell of Brockton Loop spoke on concerns about the water table in the area.


Jefferson Halloween Walk Oct. 31
The Jefferson Area Business Association plans to hold its annual Halloween Walk on Wednesday, Oct. 31.
Area children are invited to stop by participating businesses in the downtown area from 4 to 6 p.m. to get candy or other treats.
JABA members will take photographs at the Dutch Petaler on Washington Street, located beside of the First Baptist Church of Jefferson.
The group will also sponsor a decoration contest for businesses. A pizza party for the staff will be given as a first place prize. A second place prize will also be given.


Murder Suspects Turns Self In
Tuesday Afternoon

Frankie 'Chunk' Burns Charged In Drug-Related Slaying Sunday
The suspect in a shooting death that occurred early Sunday morning in Commerce surrendered Tuesday afternoon to a Jackson County deputy.
The Commerce Police Department alleges that Frankie Bishop Burns, 42 who goes by the street name "Chunk," shot and killed James Gregory Patrick, 29, of 1083 Ila Road at about 2:00 a.m. on Cedar Drive.
The incident was paged out as a one-car accident on Cedar Drive, but Patrick was found to have been shot once, Gaissert said. His body was in the driver's seat of his blue Ford Mustang as the vehicle was headed toward Homer Road.
"It appears that there was apparently a confrontation on Cedar Drive resulting in shots being fired. One round struck the victim," said Gaissert. "The investigation indicates that the event was drug-related."
Cedar Drive is known as an area where drugs are bought and sold
Apparently using information provided by witnesses at or near the scene, officials identified Burns as the primary suspect. A warrant was issued on Monday, and on Tuesday at about 2:00 p.m., Burns surrendered to a deputy at a location outside of the city.
The Georgia Bureau of Investigation and the police are continuing the investigation, said Gaissert, who asked that anyone with information about the incident contact the police or GBI.


Mike Beatty To Run For Lt. Governor
Mike Beatty has served two years in the Georgia House of Representatives and two years in the Georgia State Senate. Now he's looking forward to serving four years as Georgia's second-ranked elected official.
Beatty filed papers this week with the secretary of state to form a campaign committee to seek the office of lieutenant governor in the 2002 election.
Widely regarded as the legislative leader in the successful campaign to make video poker illegal in Georgia, Beatty hopes to use the exposure he got in that effort to propel himself to higher office.
"The people were way ahead of the politicians in the video poker debate," Beatty said in a written statement. "The people spoke and the politicians finally heard them."
The early theme of the campaign seems to be inclusiveness.
"We need to open the door of government to the people. There is a difference between governing and dictating," said the Jackson County Republican. "Government shouldn't be some kind of 'members only' club that mandates and dictates things that affect people's lives without their input. I look forward to meeting with the people of Georgia as we begin this effort to restore an open and responsive government."
State Senator Corey Cagle has agreed to serve as Beatty's campaign chairman and Senator Tommie Williams will serve as the campaign treasurer. Cagle is from the north Atlanta area and Williams is from south Georgia.
Beatty served one year in the Georgia House of Representatives in 1991-92, found himself locked in the middle of a school merger effort in Jackson County and did not seek re-election. He ran for the 47th District Senate seat last year, easily defeating long-time incumbent Eddie Madden.


County to accept applications for new manager through Nov. 15
The Jackson County Board of Commissioners will accept applications for a new county manager through Nov. 15.
BOC chairman Harold Fletcher said ads have been placed in several government publications and websites and area newspapers on the position. The BOC will screen the applicants and interview the top candidates.
The BOC agreed last week to seek a county manager to replace Skip Nalley, who has been serving as interim county manager since Jan. 1. Fletcher said the new manager will not be hired on an interim basis as Nalley was.
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. The commissioners have not said why Nalley isn't being offered another contract. He is the first county manager Jackson County has had.
Beatty to run for Lt. Gov.
Sen. Mike Beatty filed papers last week with the Secretary of State forming a campaign committee that will allow him to raise funds for the 2002 lieutenant governor race.
Beatty was the legislative voice in the effort to ban video poker in Georgia during the regular session and the second special session of the General Assembly earlier this year.
Senator Casey Cagle has agreed to chair Beatty's campaign. Senator Tommie Williams will serve as treasurer of the campaign.


7,000 Gallons Of Raw Sewage Spill Into Creek
A city of Commerce sewage line stopped up with grease from Banks Crossing restaurants caused about 7,000 gallons of raw sewage to spill into Crooked Creek at the city's Banks Crossing oxidation pond.
Bryan Harbin, the city's director of water and sewerage, said city workers had been by the pond earlier that morning but discovered the spill when they returned at about noon. The line serves all of Banks Crossing.
"The influent line going into the oxidation pond clogged up with grease. Sewage backed up through the manhole cover and got into Crooked Creek," Harbin explained.
The pond is located about a mile north of U.S. 441 on the west side of Interstate 85.
Under regulations of the Environmental Protection Division, Harbin was required to alert the media. However, since the EPD threshold for "major" spills is 10,000 gallons, Harbin said this is considered a "minor" spill.
"The blockage was cleared using the sewer jetting machine and line clearing solvent. The area has been cleaned and disinfected," Harbin told the EPD in a memo on the subject.
According to Harbin, the city has been studying the pond for some time in an effort to improve its performance.
"We know we've got a grease problem with all of the restaurants," he explained. "We're undertaking several things to try to solve it. We will change some of the operating procedures of the pond and inspect the line more frequently. Ironically, yesterday Stephenson and Palmer, our engineers, sent a draft copy of a new sewer ordinance, which is going to be very, very strict. We'll probably implement that later in the year."
Commerce has two oxidation ponds at Banks Crossing. The EPD has been trying to get the city to work with Banks County to close the one on the opposite side of the interstate, and the city is operating the one where the spill occurred under an EPD consent order, under which it pays a $250 monthly fine.



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Downtown To Be Filled With Ghosts And Goblins Wednesday
Goblins and ghouls will stalk the streets of downtown Commerce next Wednesday night in the Commerce Area Business Association's annual Downtown Trick or Treat.
From 4:30 to 6:00 children will solicit treats from the 40-50 merchants participating in the 2001 event, which customarily draws 1,500 to 2,500 costumed children into town.
Many of the merchants wear costumes as well, creating the spectacle of witches and hunchbacks handing candy to Power Rangers, angels and a weird array of creatures great and small, cute and hideous.
The Commerce Police Department will provide traffic control and security.
In addition to the downtown businesses, the event draws other groups into town to give away candy. Prior to the downtown event, the Commerce Public Library will host a Halloween party for its Story Hour participants at 3:30.


EJMS teacher receives $25,000 award
An agriculture technology teacher at East Jackson Middle School went to an assembly last week not knowing that he would walk away with a $25,000 award.
Ronald "Micah" Story received the award in a surprise ceremony Wednesday at EJMS with state school superintendent Linda Schrenko making the announcement. He is one of two educators in Georgia to receive the Milken Family Foundation National Educator Award this year. In 2001, only 120 educators nationwide will receive the award, which is an unrestricted $25,000 financial award.
"Micah Story makes learning fun," Schrenko said. "He is a remarkable teacher who completely captivates you when you walk into his classroom. He is exceptional in every way and knows how to relate to his students. He makes you want to learn and it is more than obvious that he is committed to making a difference in the lives of his students."
She added that he is one of those teachers that "exhibits his love for teaching in every day situations."
"It is obvious to anyone who meets Micah Story that he was born to teach," she said. "The students at East Jackson Middle School truly have been given a gift in the talents of Micah Story."
In addition to the $25,000 financial award, Story will receive an all-expense-paid trip to Los Angeles in June 2002 for participation in the annual Milken Family Foundation National Education Conference. They also become part of the Milken Educator Network, a group of more than 1,770 educators who have access to a variety of professional resources to help cultivate and expand innovative programs in their classrooms and schools.
The recipients of the award are recommended to the foundation by an independent panel that is appointed by the Georgia Department of Education. Criteria include: exceptional educational talent as evidenced by outstanding instructional practices in the classroom, school and profession; outstanding accomplishments and strong long-range potential for professional and policy leadership; and engaging and inspiring presence that motivates and impacts students, colleagues and the community.
Story is the second Georgia educator to receive the Milken award. Several years ago, Janet Adams received the award.


Time to change clocks
Insurance and Fire Safety Commissioner John W. Oxendine is urging Georgians to change the batteries in their smoke alarms at the same time they change their clocks when daylight-saving time ends on Sunday, October 28.
Daylight-saving time ends Sunday, October 28, at 2 a.m. when clocks are set back one hour.