News from Jackson County...

December 4, 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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OPINIONS
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SPORTS

Tigers Outlast Georgia Military College
Clutch Defense, Clutch Drive Give Commerce 3-0 Win.
Commerce's 3-0 win over Georgia Military might not look pretty in the scorebook, but for a team in the playoffs, it was a smashmouth work of art.

Jefferson ­ Jackson County: Time to play
Call it bad blood, hard feelings or just plain spite, Jefferson and Jackson County just can't seem to come together.

JCCHS to host 8th Panther Invitational this weekend
Jackson County Comprehensive High School will host the 8th annual Panther Invitational wrestling tournament Friday and Saturday.


Neighboorhood News ..
MADISON COUNTY
Brave new world
The threat of terrorism affects even rural communities like Madison County. The threat of terrorism is affecting the lives of everyone, even those who live in rural areas such as Madison County, according to some local officials.

Supt. seeks district changes to keep BOE members from facing off
Madison County school superintendent Keith Cowne is asking for two minor changes in proposed county district lines to prevent members of the current board from having to compete for a seat.


Neighborhood News...
BANKS COUNTY
Lula residents speak against proposed Mar Jac feed mill
Second public hearing set on annexation, rezoning request.
Residents of Lula made known their fears about Mar Jac's proposed feed mill at a public hearing Monday night. No action was taken by the city council, but a second hearing was scheduled.

Baldwin takes no action on West Airport Rd. rezoning
A proposed planned unit development (PUD) rezoning on West Airport Road in Baldwin has stalled.
The Baldwin City Council decided Monday night not to take any action on a request to rezone 55 acres to PUD zoning.


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The Jackson Herald
Jefferson, Georgia
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THE CRASH

Three suspects in a bank robbery Monday in Jefferson crashed near Hoschton after a high-speed chase. The car they were in, shown above, is believed to have been carjacked in DeKalb County Sunday.

Al Crace named county manager
Al Crace has been named the new county manager for Jackson County. Crace's salary will be $95,000 annually.
The board of commissioners unanimously agreed Monday night to hire Crace and he began work immediately. He joined the commissioners at the table for the BOC meeting and participated in the discussion. He was also at the Administrative Building early Tuesday morning meeting with county officials.
Crace replaces Skip Nalley, who has served as the interim manager since Jan. 1. Nalley was Jackson County's first county manager and the BOC decided in October not to renew his contract. No reason was given.
Crace comes to Jackson County after having served as the manager in Gainesville and Athens.
"The opportunity to be the manager of Jackson County offers much from my perspective," Crace said in his application. "Because Jackson County is a rapidly urbanizing area along the vibrant Interstate 85 corridor, it offers significant challenges and opportunities in a number of positive ways. My experience and training have provided me with a wide range of tools and skills to work as a key member of the Jackson County team."
Crace served as the manager of the unified government of Athens-Clarke County from 1995 to 2000 and as the city manager of Gainesville from 1988 to 1995. He has also served as the city manager of Rome, Waycross and Alma. He has a bachelor of industrial and systems engineering degree from Georgia Tech. He is married and has two sons.
Fletcher said that Crace was at the top of the list of the 37 who applied for the post and that all of the commissioners agreed on his selection. He added that Crace will be moving to Jackson County and becoming a part of the community. Crace now lives in Athens.
"When we looked at those, one resume stood out above all the others," Fletcher said. "That was the one from Al Crace. We look forward to having Al on board and seeing Jackson County move forward. Al brings to the table a great deal of experience that I think will benefit Jackson County tremendously."
Crace was one of the top three candidates when Jackson County hired Nalley.


Jefferson narrows city manager search to top three
The Jefferson City Council has narrowed its search for a city manager to the top three candidates.
Jackson County's director of planning and development, David Clabo, is one of the candidates. The others are Charles "Tony" Hammond of Jacksonville, N.C., who is town manager of the resort community of North Topsail Beach, N.C., and Albert Mitchell of Athens, who is assistant facilities management administrator for the unified government of Athens-Clarke County.
The city manager is expected to be in place by the first of January. This will be the first time that Jefferson has had a city manager. The action comes after legislation was created earlier this year.


Suspects denied bond in bank robbery
Suspects fire at deputies during high-speed chase.
Jackson County Magistrate Court Judge Billy Chandler denied bond Wednesday morning for three suspects in the Monday bank robbery at Community Bank and Trust in Jefferson.
The three suspects in the armed robbery are James Robert Hamm, 23, Tucker; Kari Ann Ross, 24, Monroe; and Barry Craig Smith, 30, Stone Mountain.
They appeared briefly before the judge in a preliminary hearing in the State Courtroom in Jefferson. All three said they would not need a public defender and would hire their own attorney. They were dressed in orange prison clothing and had wrist and ankle shackles on.
Ross was charged with armed robbery, party to the crime of aggravated assault and theft by receiving. Hamm was charged with armed robbery, aggravated assault, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime and theft by receiving. Smith was charged with armed robbery, party to the crime of aggravated assault and theft by receiving. All of the charges are felonies.
The suspects were to appear in federal magistrate court later Wednesday. Their arraignment hearing in Jackson County Superior Court will be at 9 a.m. on January 11. At this hearing, they will appear with their attorney and enter a plea of guilty or not guilty.
The three were taken into custody Monday morning following the bank robbery and an ensuing high-speed chase through West Jackson. In the chase, deputies were reportedly fired at by one of the suspects.
A fourth suspect, Brian Smith, who is the brother of Barry Craig Smith, was taken into custody Monday night and is being held in DeKalb County. Jefferson Police Chief Darren Glenn said he is suspected of being the "lookout" in the bank robbery. He is expected to be charged with party to the crime of armed robbery.
The four are also suspects in other bank robberies and car- jackings in Georgia, according to Major David Cochran, chief investigator with the Jackson County Sheriff's Department. He said numerous other charges from those areas are also likely.
The Jefferson bank was robbed at approximately 10:30 a.m. on Monday. The three suspects reportedly went into the bank with guns drawn and dressed in all black and wearing masks. They pepper-sprayed two employees in the bank, including one pregnant woman, Cochran said. Neither women received serious injuries.
The suspects jumped over the counter, took cash from the drawer and then left the bank, according to law enforcement officials. A small amount of cash was taken in the robbery, according to reports.
A woman at a neighboring business made the first call to law enforcement officers when the three were spotted entering the bank, Cochran said. A lookout was placed on the vehicle and a Jackson County Sheriff's Department investigator, Kelly LaCount, spotted the vehicle at the intersection of Hwy. 124 and Hwy. 11. One of the suspects reportedly fired at LaCount during the high-speed chase. Cochran said LaCount was fired at five or six times but neither h, nor his car was hit.
The chase ended on Hwy. 53 in West Jackson after the suspects wrecked. A Barrow County law enforcement vehicle reportedly bumped the suspects' car as it sped along Hwy. 53 near the Jackson-Barrow County line. Cochran said a "pit maneuver," a trained technique to disable vehicles, was used. He said the three suspects were taken into custody without further incident.
Jefferson police chief Darren Glenn and officer Jon Ward from his department were reportedly at the bank within "90 seconds," but the suspects had already left. Glenn and the officer headed toward Barrow County and were at the scene when the crash occurred.
"We appreciate the work of the county deputies and the Barrow County Sheriff's Office and the job they did," Glenn said.
As many as 12 law enforcement vehicles were involved in the chase.
Inside the vehicle, automatic weapons, cash, two-way radios, pepper spray and bullet-proof vests were found.
"We were very fortunate not to have some of our officers hurt," Cochran said.
The vehicle used by the suspects was reportedly stolen from DeKalb County Sunday. Cochran said all three have a previous record. Hamm has a very lengthy criminal record, including theft and assault charges, according to reports. Smith has a history of simple battery charges, which were dismissed. Ross also has a previous charge filed against her.
A fifth suspect was arrested Tuesday night in connection with another bank robbery the gang is suspects in. This bank robbery occurred Oct. 12 in Stone Mountain. This man is not a suspect in the Jefferson bank robbery.


Tax assessor board appeals three rulings of board of equalization
The Jackson County Board of Tax Assessors has filed an appeal in Superior Court over three recent decisions by the county's board of equalization.
The appeals were filed because the tax assessor board disagrees with the value of the property being lowered. The board of tax assessors is seeking a jury trial in the cases.
"The value was dropped so much that the board of assessors disagreed," county tax assessor Cathy Johnson said.
The appeals filed at the Jackson County courthouse state that the value given to the three tracts is not equal or comparable to other property in the area.
The appeals are on decisions of the board of equalization concerning property owned by Michael and Deborah Housworth on Berea Road in Commerce, Steven and Deborah Donaldson in Quail Crossing in Hoschton and Walter Cook.
At least one of the cases deals with the board of equalization combining two tracts of property for the evaluation. County leaders say this is not allowed under state law.
County leaders are also concerned that the actions of the board of equalization are threatening the overall accuracy of property evaluations in the county.
"The state wants us to try to be as close to 40 percent as possible (on overall property evaluations)," commissioner Emil Beshara said. "Before the board of equalization started fooling around with this, they were at 40.3 percent and now they are down to 38.2 overall. Once we get down to 36 percent, we're back in trouble again."
Beshara said all of the work the county has done on property re-assessments is being compromised by the board of equalization.
"The board is appointed by the grand jury and they answer to nobody," he said. "They also don't have to give any justification for their decisions while the tax assessors have to give reasons."
Members of the board of equalization are: Yvonne Wilkes, Tom Crowe, Sammie Rucker, Jerry Fletcher, Willie Hughey and Pat Hodsdon. Members of the board of tax assessors are: Bill Dundore, Edna Sell and Alan Parks.


Medical Center Goes To The Philippines For Nurses
BJC Medical Center is going abroad to help solve its perpetual shortage of nursing help.
The authority, which operates BJC Hospital and Nursing Facility, voted Monday night to spend $70,000 to recruit seven nurses from the Philippines.
"It is our first attempt in recruiting foreign nurses in some years," explained administrator David Lawrence.
The money goes to the recruiting company and will be repaid by the nurses, who are guaranteed to be available for three years. Lawrence explained that it could take as long as a year to get the nurses aboard; but they could also be available as early as May.
"We can go back and stagger them (additional nurses) if they turn out to be the quality people we think they are," said Lawrence.
Assistant nursing director Maura Cobb recently flew to the Philippines to interview the prospects. The facility selected 10, with the hopes of getting seven of them into the States. Two of the nurses would work in the hospital and the rest in the nursing home. All are RNs.
More than 20 years ago, BJC tapped the Philippines for nurses. The small contingent that arrived in Commerce was generally well-received.
BJC Medical Center, like medical facilities all over the country, has struggled to keep a full nursing staff. It has spent a lot of money recently on more costly "agency" nurses to alleviate shortages.
In a somewhat related move, Charles Stills, administrator of the nursing facility announced that Nancy Warner, the nursing director for the nursing facility, had resigned. Darleen White has been named interim nursing director and the facility is accepting applications for the permanent position.
"We were aware some months ago (that Warner might quit), but I had hoped she would stay. She was very well qualified, I think. She just got burned out," Lawrence said.
In other business, the authority voted to borrow $690,000 for 30 days. This is the facility's obligation to the Georgia Indigent Care Trust Fund; the good news is that when the trust fund pays out, BJC Medical Center will receive a total of $1.38 million, exactly doubling its money, according to Tommy Patey, chief financial officer.
For the current year, the facility's obligation (and return) to the trust fund was $390,000.
The authority also:
·approved the expenditure not to exceed $225,000 to replace monitors and the telemetry for the monitors in the intensive care unit, emergency room and northeast wing. The wireless devices will enable staff to monitor patients wherever the patient may be in the facility. Six of the units will go in the ICU, two in the emergency room and four in the northeast wing. There will also be a central station.
·heard Lawrence announce that the average daily hospital census for October was 12.4 patients and Stills report that the census in the nursing home was 161, with three more admissions expected this week.

 



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See Galilee Preschool Flyer




Christmas Parade Set Sunday At 2:30
Commerce will officially open its Christmas season Sunday when the Commerce Area Business Association and the Downtown Development Authority hold their Christmas parade.
Two high school bands, floats, a group doing precision maneuvers with shopping carts and Santa Claus riding on the city's antique fire truck will be among the 30 or more entries. The parade begins at 2:30.
"I've got 22 confirmed entries, but it's going to get bigger," said Jan Nelson, executive director of the DDA and coordinator of the event. The deadline for entry is Friday; Nelson will be out of town, so contact Terry Minish at Jay's Department Store (335-4300) for an entry blank.
The theme is "City Lights," in tribute to Bill Anderson's first country music hit, which Anderson wrote in his room at the Andrew Jackson Hotel (now Community Bank and Trust) during a stint as a disc jockey at WJJC. Anderson, a member of the Country Music Hall of Fame, puts on the City Lights Concert annually in Commerce.
Judges will award $300 to the first-place entry, $200 for second and $100 for the third-place entry.
Groups wishing to be judged for the prizes should be at the staging area at Commerce High School by 1:00, Nelson said. All entries should report to CHS, entering at the entrance by the tennis courts. Use of the Commerce Presbyterian Church parking lot is not available this year, due to a church function.
The parade will travel down Lakeview to Jefferson Road, turn right, then left onto Washington Street. It will turn right on Elm Street and proceed south to the First Baptist Church of Commerce, where it terminates. Refreshments will be available for participants at the church.


Kids' photos for Christmas edition due Fri.
The annual children's Christmas section will be published in The Jackson Herald, The Commerce News and The Banks County News on Wednesday, December 19. The newspapers will be accepting photographs through 5 p.m. Friday to be published in the section.
Black and white or color photos can be used, but no Polaroids or photographs printed out from a computer onto laser paper will be accepted, as they do not reprint well.
Please submit the following information along with the child's photo: the first and last name and age of the child, as well as the parents' names, their city of residence and phone number. The photos may be dropped off at or mailed to any of the newspaper offices and may be picked up there after the publication runs in the paper.


BOC set to kill planning commission
New group to be created with new members. A major shake-up in the Jackson County Planning Commission is planned for Monday night.
The Jackson County Board of Commissioners plans to take action at its meeting Monday to abolish the planning commission, according to those close to the matter. The BOC then plans to re-create the board and appoint its own members by district. The terms of service of the planning commission members and other changes are also likely.
The BOC meeting will be held at 7 p.m. Monday in the Administrative Building in Jefferson.

Commissioners to again discuss moratorium on rezonings
The Jackson County Board of Commissioners will hold a public meeting to discuss a possible temporary moratorium on new zoning.
The meeting will be held at 7 p.m. Monday in the State Court auditorium at the Administrative Building in Jefferson.
The public hearing will be followed by the monthly work session of the board of commissioners.