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October 31, 2001


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Tues., Nov. 6
ELECTION RESULTS

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OPINIONS
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Tigers-Dragons To Add Latest Chapter To Old Series
Commerce-Jefferson Contest Full Of Region Implications This Year.
They've been "going across the river" to play each other since Harry Truman was in the White House and the Hudson car ruled the road.

Panther duo qualify for state cross country meet
For the first time in the history of the program, Jackson County Comprehensive High School will be represented by two participants in Saturday's boys' state cross country meet in Carrollton.


Neighboorhood News ..
MADISON COUNTY
Comer to elect new mayor Tuesday
Two city council seats up for grabs.
Comer residents will elect a new mayor and two council members Tuesday, while no other municipal elections are planned for Madison County.

County commissioners discuss personnel policy at budget meeting
BOC says employees in depts. not under policy won't get 1% increase.
A discussion over the benefits of the personnel policy to county employees dominated a work session held by board of commission members Tuesday night to discuss the proposed county budget for 2002.


Neighborhood News...
BANKS COUNTY
BOC rolls back millage rate
The Banks County Board of Commissioners has once again rolled back the millage rate.

Maysville's Banks County residents to see a 1.07 mill fire tax
The Maysville City Council has decided to initiate a fire tax on Banks County residents within the city limits to pay for fire service.


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Jefferson, Georgia
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PATRIOTIC DISPLAY

David Hoss and other members of the VFW Post 4872, Jefferson, placed 118 American flags and two MIA/POW flags along the courthouse lawn in Jefferson Friday afternoon in honor of Navy Day on October 27. VFW members on hand Friday to help included Alfred Cooper, Fred Wilson, post commander Lamar Langston, Pete Doster and Eugene Whitfield.

Town elections set Tuesday
Two long-time mayors face opposition in Tuesday's city elections.
Jefferson Mayor Byrd Bruce, who has been in office for 26 years, will face challenger Jim Joiner, a former city council member. In Braselton, Henry Edward Braselton is pitted against Patricia Graham in the mayor's race.

Tues., Nov. 6
ELECTION RESULTS

A mayor's race will also be held in Nicholson where incumbent Ronnie Maxwell will face James Kesler.
Polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday for the city elections.
Several other city council and board of education posts will be on the ballots Tuesday. A breakdown on those who qualified for the town elections is as follows:
BRASELTON
Those to qualify in Braselton include: District 3, incumbent Pam Jackson and Elise Cotter. Those in Braselton returning to office because they face no opposition include: District 1, incumbent Bruce Yates; District 2, Tom Clark; and District 4, incumbent Dudley Ray.
COMMERCE
In Commerce, those who qualified are: At-large Post 2 city council, incumbent Archie Chaney and Neal Smith; Ward 1 city council incumbent, Riley Harris and Oliver Pittman; and District 2 board of education, incumbent Mary Seabolt and Curtis Stowe. Those facing no opposition include: Ward 2 city council Donald Wilson and District 1 BOE Arthur Lee Pattman.
HOSCHTON
Those to qualify for the Hoschton council seats include: Post 1, incumbent Roslyn Clark and Brian Boehmer; Post 2, Benjamin Davis, Glenn Evans and Larry Stancil; and Post 3, incumbent Joyce Peppers and Sandi Romer. Mayor Billy Holder faces no opposition. Gary Titus had qualified to run against him, but he withdrew from the race.
JEFFERSON
Those to qualify in Jefferson include: Ward 2, incumbent Marcia Moon and Bobby Patterson. In Ward 1, Jack Seabolt and Philip Thompson will be on the ballot, but Seabolt has withdrawn from the race. Ward 4 councilman incumbent Bosie Griffith faces no opposition.
Only the incumbents qualified for the board of education seats up for re-election. They include: chairman, incumbent Ronnie Hopkins; Ward 2, BOE, incumbent Steven Hix; and Ward 4, BOE, incumbent Derrell Crowe.
NICHOLSON
Those to qualify in Nicholson for the four at-large council seats include: incumbents Chuck Wheeler and Billy Kitchens and Howard Wilbanks, Lamar Watkins, Paul Cartledge and Deborah Moore. Bobby Crawford had also qualified for a council seat, but he was disqualified over an annexation issue.
TALMO, ARCADE
Elections won't be necessary in Talmo and Arcade because only the incumbents qualified. In Talmo, the incumbents are: Mayor Larry Joe Wood; Post 3, Jill Miller; and Post 4, Trapper Brissey. In Arcade, the incumbents are: Mayor Doug Haynie and council members Dean Bentley, Tom Hayes, Cindy Bone, Polly Davis and Ron Smith.


Reservoir Water To Flow Nov. 12?
End Of Project Said To Be Less Than A Month Away
ATHENS -- The one question members of the Upper Oconee Basin Water Authority ask every time they meet on the fourth Wednesday of each month is: "When will the water begin flowing from the Bear Creek Reservoir?"
With any luck, by the time the authority holds its November meeting on Wednesday, Nov. 28, that question should finally have been put to rest.
At last Wednesday's October meeting, engineers in charge of the project said the water plant at the site should be up and running by Nov. 12.
"So, hopefully by the next time we meet, we'll be providing water," said Jim Wrona, senior project engineer for Jordan, Jones and Goulding.
The $63 million project, more than a decade in the planning, was to have been completed July 1. It will provide water to Jackson, Barrow, Oconee and Clarke counties.
Actually, while the reservoir is less than half full, Athens-Clarke, which will take raw water from the 505-acre lake, could begin taking water now if it has a need. The other three counties will have to wait until the water plant is completed.
For the Jackson County Water and Sewerage Authority, which buys most of its water from Commerce, there will be a three-week delay between the time the water plant begins producing water and the time Jackson County customers begin receiving it, because the county must test and sanitize the line from the water treatment plant to the connection point with the Jackson County system.
"It'll take at least three weeks," predicted Elton Collins, who chairs the Jackson County Water and Sewerage Authority and serves as finance chairman of the basin authority.
Beers Construction Company, builder of the water plant, has set Nov. 12 as its date for "substantial completion."
Beers must also train the employees who will operate the plant, something scheduled to be done by early December.
In a related matter, the authority authorized a contract with JJ&G-Azurix, a company created to manage the plant, to pay $10,233 per week starting Nov. 12 for the "preoperational phase" of plant management. Once the plant is fully operational, the price goes to $55,600 per month.
Also last Wednesday, the authority:
·approved its 2002 operations budget, unchanged since the rough draft was presented at the September meeting. Collins called the $5.98 million budget "the best we could come up with," considering the authority has no track record for producing water.
·agreed to check the bond documents for the $63 million in bonds sold to finance the project, to see if the authority could take advantage of lower interest rates to refinance.
·voted to solicit bids for an "event planner" to coordinate the dedication ceremony for the project. That event is planned for a yet-to-be-determined date next spring.
·authorized a $6,447 change order in its $300,000 contract with Maxey Brothers to do miscellaneous work on Georgia 330 and Savage Road. The change represents the company's extra expense in complying with a demand from the Department of Transportation to change driveway pipes from steel to concrete.
·voted to solicit information on a request by Ted Thurmond, who sold his land, house, pool and business for the project, to purchase up to 1.5 acres back from the authority if the authority has no used for the land.
·re-elected Barrow County Board of Commissioners chairman Eddie Elder as chairman, Jackson County Board of Commissioners chairman Harold Fletcher as vice chairman and Mott Beck, administrative assistant at the Northeast Georgia Regional Development Center, as secretary-treasurer.


Laid off: What comes next?
Former Wilkins, Texfi employees look for jobs, consider school .
Martha Baker sat in the sun on the front step of her former workplace on a recent Thursday morning, smoking a cigarette and trying to get her "thoughts together." Baker was one of the Wilkins Industries employees who lost their jobs when the Jefferson sewing plant announced plans to shut down earlier this month. Baker had returned to the plant to attend a job fair held by Wilkins and the department of labor to give the laid-off workers a chance to meet with other area employers, to fill out unemployment forms and to say good-bye.
"I've been here five years, and I've only missed five days in that time," Baker said. "I don't know what I will do next. I've got to do what I've got to do and I don't know nothing but this. But there're not any of these plants left."
Baker and the other Wilkins employees are not alone in experiencing the shock of having their workplace shut down. Located just a mile or so down the road, the Texfi Blends textile mill also recently announced plans to shut its doors. In fact, by October 19 only 15 employees remained at work over the mill's three shifts. Labor Department representatives from Athens had met with Texfi employees the Tuesday before to fill out forms and discuss options.
Plant closings and layoffs are not limited to Jackson County. Including Texfi, seven textile plants in northeast Georgia have closed in the past year and, according to a "Crisis in U.S. Textiles" August 2001 release from an American textiles publication, nationwide at least 256 textile plants have closed since 1997.
In 2001 alone, some 90 textile mills have shut down, and that doesn't include sewing plants and related industry. Many closings - both textile and apparel - can be tied to continued foreign and NAFTA-related competition, with American manufacturers often unable to successfully compete in a global market where workers in Mexico are paid $2.20 an hour and those in Pakistan earn 37 cents an hour.
In Jefferson, in addition to poor market conditions, failed refinancing negotiations also contributed to Wilkins' demise, while failed merger negotiations with another company aided Texfi's decision to shut down. Wilkins had some 135 employees laid off, while Texfi had 160. The aftermath of the terrorist attacks on September 11 - a drastic slowdown in business - didn't help either company.
Because business had been slowing down over time at both Wilkins and Texfi, some former employees said they weren't surprised when the word was given that their plant was closing.
"We were not surprised," said Vickie Crane, who had worked nearly 13 years at the sewing plant and who was filling out job applications at the job fair on Thursday.
"Not surprised, but disappointed," added Rhonda Whisanant, a four-year employee with Wilkins. "But that doesn't make it any easier to start over."
But even with the slowdown, the closing came as a shock to most Texfi employees, said Judy Greer, human resources director, whose husband, Robert, was plant manager for the company.
"Business had slacked off at the end of July, but up to that time we were running the weaver seven days a week," Greer said. "We've been operating under bankruptcy for the past year and a half, but we thought that would improve. But all the foreign trade can pay people for a week what our people could make in an hour...I think it was a surprise to the employees here. In textiles, you always have slow times, then push times. We felt like this was a slow time, but would pick up...Orders had dropped, but after September 11, they completely stopped. With that and the merger falling through, we couldn't survive."
At Wilkins, too, some employees said they hadn't expected the plant to close.
"We had ideas, but we didn't think it would shut down," said Delores Looney, who worked at the sewing plant for 15 years as a bundler. "It was a shock."
Whether they saw it coming or not, the former employees are concerned with what comes next.
For the rest of this story see this weeks Jackson Herald.


Nicholson Council Sets 2 Meetings
NICHOLSON -- The mayor and city council will meet this Thursday at 7:00 p.m. and next Monday at 7:00 p.m.
The first meeting is a "work session" designed to go over items on the agenda for the second meeting, which is the regular monthly meeting of the mayor and council.
Items on the agenda include:
·a possible contribution to the Always Remember 911 Fund, sponsored by the Georgia Municipal Association.
·an ordinance which would allow the city to charge insurance companies more for business licenses. The rate, if the ordinance is approved, would go to $25 per year; it is now $15.
·discussion of the possibility of a Christmas dinner and Christmas bonuses.
·the possibility of providing cable television to the Harold S. Swindle Public Library.
·a proposal by a company to use the city library to hold computer classes.
·a possible contribution to the convention expenses of the Jackson County Comprehensive High School chapter of the Future Farmers of America (FFA).



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2001 City Cleanup 'A Mess,' Manager Says
The 2001 Commerce Residen-tial Cleanup Week brought out so much in building materials that those items will probably be eliminated next year.
"It was a mess," said city manager Clarence Bryant Monday. "There is still about as much out there this Monday as there was last Monday. We never did get all the way around last week, plus there are more piles put out since last week."
The volume of materials was "extremely high," said Bryant, particularly in building materials.
"People are tearing down everything they've got and piling it on the streets. I expect we'll be eliminating that before next year. It's the worst I've ever seen by far. You've got three truck loads in front of several houses. We've probably got a lot of people remodeling houses. We're going to have to eliminate that."
City crews worked until 2:00 Saturday and will continue to pick up the piles this week.
"If we didn't have all of the building materials, we'd have been through by the end of Friday," the city manager stated. "We've got lumber, cabinets, anything you can tear out of a house."
The annual Residential Clean-up Week is popular with residents and with the city council. During that one-week period, people may put out for curbside pickup items that the city's brush truck normally would not haul off and there is no charge. But one of the apparent drawbacks is that some people hoard tires, wood and other debris all year to take advantage of the cleanup week. Others put material out at the road two or three months early, creating an unsightly situation. Many put a pile out one day and after it is picked up put out another one.
"We give everybody one weekend and the next five working days. That ought to be enough," said Bryant.


Animal control on hold, says Humane Society
No decision will be made by the Jackson County Board of Commissioners on animal control, said Bob Wells, chairman of the Humane Society, at Monday night's meeting.
"The animal control ordinance is on the back burner for right now," said Wells.
"There are things taking place among the leadership of Jackson County. They are not working together. They're not looking at all of the problems. Let's say there are some special interests being pushed forward."
Wells told the society that as a private organization, it can move forward with plans for a shelter.


Probe continues into death of child in Hoschton
The Hoschton Police Department and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation are looking into the death of a child on Thursday at a Hoschton day care center.
Emergency medical personnel were called to ABC 123 Daycare Center on Hwy. 53 at 3:45 on Thursday. They found Samuel Tabor, son of Mr. and Mrs. Mark Tabor, unresponsive, according to a press release from Hoschton police chief Dave Hill. Jackson County assistant coroner Dean Stringer pronounced the child dead at the scene.
"This is a very sensitive and unfortunate case in which several parties are affected," Chief Hill said. "The department is prepared for this and will walk through the investigation accordingly."
Hill said his department and the GBI are working on the case to create a "clear report of the afternoon's events." An autopsy was performed Friday at the GBI crime lab.