News from Jackson County...

November 14, 2001


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Tues., Nov. 6
ELECTION RESULTS

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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 County.

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Hoops 01-02
Banner season ahead for Panthers, Dragons?
COMING off a 6-for-6 year in terms of playoff appearances, how can Jackson County's basketball teams improve in the coming season?
How about a final four sweep? According to coaches at Jefferson and Jackson County, the 2001-02 basketball season could be their most successful ever.

Tigers Get 'Extra Game' Friday Against Morgan Co.
Don't be surprised if you see a few trick plays and some new faces Friday night at Tiger Stadium.


Neighboorhood News ..
MADISON COUNTY
Health dept. offices to combine
Madison County will soon have only one county health department office.

Bioterrorism:Health official talks about need for local preparedness
The medical director of the Northeast Health District told Madison County Board of Health members that the country needs to be better prepared for bioterrorism outbreaks.

 


Neighborhood News...
BANKS COUNTY
Who will move the dead?
Coroner, EMS in verbal brawl over who will transport. An argument over who was responsible for the removal of a body from a home earlier this month was the center of another heated dispute during Friday's meeting of the Banks County Board of Commissioners.

Architect chosen for jail
The architectural firm of Pieper, O'Brian, Herr has been chosen by the Banks County Board of Commissioners to do the architectural design of the county's new jail.

 


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HOME DESTROYED BY FIRE


The home of Katie and Joshua Key on Hwy. 82 Spur was destroyed by a fire Monday afternoon. The fire started as a brush fire, according to reports. Another brush fire Sunday afternoon in Jefferson in the Hickory Hills subdivision led to a homeowner receiving second-degree burns while trying to put out the fire. Like much of the state, Jackson County is under an outdoor burning ban because of extended dry weather this fall.

Jefferson may OK conditional use zoning
Jefferson residents wanting conditional use of their land in ways not congruent with their zoning may soon have a route to take.
The Jefferson City Council voted unanimously Monday night to give it the right to grant conditional use permits in residential zoning. The Jackson County Planning Commission will vote on the amendment at its December meeting. Then, the city council will have to approve the planning commission's recommendation before the amendment becomes effective.
The council's decision stemmed from Freddie and Shirley Pethel's request to rezone 0.75 acres on Benton Road from R-1 to C-1 to locate a model home and beauty shop. The planning commission voted last month to recommend denial of the rezoning, and city council members said they would not permit C-1 zoning in that residential area.
The council considered allowing the Pethels to operate their business in the R-1 zoning as a home occupation. However, because the business did not meet some of the home occupation requirements, the council abandoned the idea.
Councilman Steve Kinney suggested adding conditional uses to the city's residential zoning ordinances, which would allow the council to approve the Pethels' business as a conditional use in R-1.
"I'd like to add conditional uses to our zoning ordinances so we can set conditions that they must follow, and if not, they get rejected," Kinney said. "This will come up again. We need to address it."
Martin Roberts, a Benton Road resident, spoke in opposition to the rezoning and to the council's decision to add conditional uses.
"Even with a conditional use, what is to prevent a welding shop from coming in," Roberts said. "It opens up a whole can of worms."
City attorney Ronnie Hopkins explained that conditional use permits only allow a specific use with requirements set up by the city council. Any violation of the requirements or sale of the property voids the permit.
"Conditional use is specific," Hopkins said.
But Roberts said the council was deliberately trying not to act on the Pethels' rezoning request..
"We have no conditional use right now," he said. "You are trying to stall it in order to accommodate the Pethels. You are trying not to deny it even though people are here against it."
After the council voted to amend their zoning ordinance, the Pethels withdrew their rezoning request and agreed to begin the application process for a conditional use permit.


BOE pushes for JMS to open in Jan.
All the Jefferson Board of Education wants for Christmas is for its new middle school building to be ready when students and staff return in January.
Whether the board will get its wish remains to be seen, but there was little doubt at the BOE meeting Thursday that getting that wish will be a close call.
During the meeting, board members questioned Southern A&E representative Mike Raeisghasem about progress on the project.
"January 3 is when the kids come back," BOE chairman Ronnie Hopkins said. "Our goal is to have fire marshal approval, have the certificate of occupancy in hand...Mid-December is basically it. We need to know 'Yes' or 'No' when we leave for Christmas vacation."
BOE member Willie Hughey added: "The kids need to know when they leave for Christmas (Dec. 19) where they will go when they come back in January."
"It will be very close," Raeisghasem replied. "It can be done. It can physically be done, but they're going to have to crack the whip."
Raeisghasem said contractors believe the classroom wings will be ready by the first of December for new furniture to be moved in. However, he cautioned that he would like to do the punch lists for those wings before anything is moved.
Other furniture and technology equipment will be moved later in the month. Teachers will also have to set up their classrooms before students return, if the building is to be open at the start of second semester, superintendent Dr. John Jackson pointed out.
In addition to the classroom wings, the cafeteria and administrative wings would also need to be completed for school's start. When questioned about the school's gym, Raeisghasem said he was told it might be done in mid-January, but he cautioned that "they will push so on the rest of the building, the gym may be pushed back...If they fall behind on the classroom wings, the push behind the rest of the wings you'll have to have."
During the discussion, Hughey questioned the progress of the project, saying, "They first said it would be done in November; now we're not sure it will be done in January. It doesn't look like it."
Hopkins reiterated the need for the project to progress as rapidly as possible.
"We're really under the gun here. We've got to know. I know in construction, things happen, but we've got to know. We need to be through."
In related matters, Dr. Jackson reported that work is progressing on what has been a troublesome sewage system at the site, but added that he is still withholding $65,000 until the system is functional and approved. He also voiced some concern about dirt accumulated in front of the building from the excavation work required for the sewage system.
Raeisghasem arranged to sit down with Dr. Jackson, Tony Salloum and anyone else available to discuss the project.
In other construction matters, Dr. Jackson reported that paving has begun at the middle school site, that the fire marshal was to visit the high school gym Friday for a final certificate of occupancy check and that the University of Georgia School of Landscaping and Design will develop a landscaping concept for the new middle school.
The BOE approved payment of construction bills, including $4,583 to Southern A&E, $93,853 to Driver Construction and $385,643 to Salloum Construction Company.




Maysville again top tax district
Residents in the town of Maysville again have the dubious honor of paying Jackson County's highest tax rate - this year a combined 28.88 mills.
All across the county, tax rates went up dramatically this year, in large part due to an increase in county government tax rates after last year's one-time dramatic decrease. The largest increases were in the Harrisburg and Plainview Fire Districts where the overall tax rate rose 39 percent. Those districts doubled their fire tax rates in addition to the jump in the county government tax rate.
The smallest tax increase came in the town of Jefferson where the overall rate rose 23 percent. A drop in the city's tax rate offset some of the other increased rates, leading to the lower overall jump.
Because it has three school systems, nine towns and a multitude of fire districts, Jackson County's tax structure is among the most complex in the state. t


County schools' growth plan to be presented in Dec.
A proposed five-year growth plan for the Jackson County School System will be presented next month, according to consultant Charles Reeves.
Reeves told the Jackson County Board of Education Monday night that the plan will include additions and/or improvements at East Jackson Middle School and Maysville, North Jackson and South Jackson elementary schools, as well as plans for a new East Jackson high school.
Reeves also presented members with initial plans for a 20-classroom addition at West Jackson Middle School. The project, which will take the facility up to its projected enrollment of 900, could be completed by next fall.
"Hopefully, we'll let bid by early February," Reeves said of the projected eight-month contract. "By the time we finish it, we'll fill it up."
PERSONNEL CHANGES
The BOE also approved a number of personnel changes during its meeting. Among those changes were the approval of 16 substitute teachers.
Approved as substitutes were: Pam Stevens, Melissa Bruce, Misty Riordan, Sherri Shaw, Jennifer Wetherford, Samantha Wells, Michael Townson, Tina Lee, Mary Ann Ewing, Carla Rylee, Judy Cato, Kasey Sheridan, Jimmy Hembree, Brandy Shaver, Kristi Gavalier and Tiffany Ingle.
The board accepted five resignations: Brandy Logan Smith, BES reading aide; Janet Watson, BES reading aide; Carolyn Harper, NJES secretary/bookkeeper; Ronnie Garmon, MES bus driver; and Patricia Garrison, MES teacher.
Terry Tatum, Donna Huntsinger, John Feagins, Tammie Morrow and Julie Sanders were hired as substitute bus drivers.
Transfers were also approved for Debbie Smith (SJES bookkeeper to parapro), Teresa Dearman (NJES office clerk to secretary/bookkeeper) and Cynthia George (bus driver to substitute teacher).
Other personnel matters included the hirings of Virginia Cooper (JCCHS custodian), Rebecca Francis (BES reading aide), Cindy Bates (WJMS special ed parapro), Tommy Brooks (WJMS custodian) and Lucinda Chambers (JCCHS food service).

In other business, the BOE:
· met in a 90-minute executive session to discuss personnel and a student appeal of a Discipline Tribunal decision. After the session, the board voted unanimously to uphold the tribunal's decision.
· presented a commendation for Citizens for Better Education Committee members Rhonda Sailors, Stephanie Carroll and Tim Cornelison, regarding that group's support of the recently-approved SPLOST extension.
· held an election of board member Stephanie Kitchen as Legislative Liason.
· discussed a revision of the system's school day policy.

 

 

 

 



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Early deadlines given for next week
The Jackson Herald will have early deadlines next week due to the Thanksgiving holiday.
The deadline for news will be at 5 p.m. on Friday. The deadline for classified and display advertising will be 3 p.m. Friday.
The Herald will be printed a day early next week due to the holiday. The paper will go to press on Tuesday night and be mailed on Wednesday instead of Thursday. It will also be on the news stands late Tuesday night.
The Herald office will be closed Thursday, Nov. 23, for the Thanksgiving holiday.


Jefferson mayor charged with DUI
Jefferson Mayor Byrd Bruce was charged with driving under the influence of intoxicants (DUI) Friday.
Bruce, 76, was also charged with following too closely by the Georgia State Patrol. The charges came after he was involved in a wreck around 3 p.m. Friday at Washington Street and Old Pendergrass Road.
A trooper with the Georgia State Patrol in Gainesville said the accident occurred when Bruce hit a car in front of him that had stopped for traffic. The trooper said Bruce then backed up and struck the vehicle behind him.
He refused to take the Breathalyzer test and was then charged by the state patrol.