News from Jackson County...

December 12, 2001

Jackson County

Jackson County

Jackson County

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 County.

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20 Years Ago...
Memories Of ‘81 Season Still Strong, Even After Two Decades . For two decades, “1981 AA State Champions” has been as much a part of the proud east end zone Tiger mural as the ol’ snarling Bengal itself.
And for those who brought home that state crown, time hasn’t dulled the memories—even after 20 years.

Gurley resigns; Panthers get new coach same day
THERE MAY NOT BE MUCH in common between the Jefferson and Jackson County school systems, but one thing is for sure: Both will have new head football coaches in 2002.
Just hours before the Jackson County Board of Education approved Westside (Macon) offensive coordinator Brent Brown to lead the Panthers, Dragon coach Bob Gurley submitted his resignation.

Neighboorhood News ..
BOC votes no on business licenses
There’s no requirement for a license from the Madison County government to operate a business in the county.
And county commissioners voted to keep it that way Monday.
The board voted 3-2 against implementing a business license in the county.

A friend for those in need
Local pastor collaborates with doctor on counseling ministry
Charity begins at home for evangelist, minister and pastoral counselor Jon Ainbinder of Colbert.

Neighborhood News...

Saving a life
Two students, bus driver recognized by BOE for saving the life of local woman.Two students and a bus driver were honored by the Banks County Board of Education Thursday night for saving the life of a local woman.

Statham man charged with armed robbery at Zaxby’s
A Statham man was charged in the armed robbery Saturday of Zaxby’s at Banks Crossing. Timothy Edward Adams, 40, was charged in the incident after an investigation by the Banks County Sheriff’s Office.
The Jackson Herald
Jefferson, Georgia
Telephone: (706) 367-5233
Fax: (706) 367-8056


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Michael Rubio is shown on the Jackson County government float in the Jefferson Christmas parade Saturday. The theme for the float was “I’ll Be Home For Christmas...If Only In My Dreams.” The parade was sponsored by the Jefferson Junior Women and the Jefferson Area Business Association. See additional photos in this weeks Jackson Herald.

Five indicted on murder charges
Five people were indicted by a Jackson County Grand Jury last week with murder. Another man was indicted for vehicular homicide and the three people charged with the recent robbery of a Jefferson bank were also indicted.
Manuel Rosillo, 17, Jefferson, was charged with felony murder, five counts of aggravated assault and burglary in the Sept. 29 murder of Juana Gonzalez, 38, Jefferson. Another woman, Florinda Dye, Jefferson, was seriously injured in the incident. It was apparently a domestic dispute.
Robert Steven Turpin, 22, Maysville, was charged with felony murder and aggravated assault in the July 6 stabbing death of Ralph Douglas Stockton, 56, Commerce. The stabbing occurred in a field off Walnut Street in Commerce.
Kenneth Augustus Mills Jr., Riverdale, was charged with felony murder, vehicular homicide, five counts of aggravated assault and failure to stop at or return to the scene of an accident in connection with a road rage incident August 12 on I-85. Christopher Robertson, 38, Hampton, died following the two-vehicle wreck. His wife and three sons had minor injuries.
Frankie Bishop Burns, 42, and Nancy Hancock were charged with felony murder and aggravated assault in an Oct. 21 drug-related incident in Commerce. James Gregory Patrick, 29, Commerce, died after being shot in the altercation.
Henry Lee Miller was charged with two counts of vehicular homicide and driving under the influence of intoxicants in connection with a June 5 one-vehicle wreck on Hwy. 129 North. The victims were Johnny Louie Hurt, 42, Talmo, and Deborah L. Overy, 45, Talmo.
The Grand Jury also indicted three suspects in the bank robbery at Community Bank and Trust in Jefferson on Nov. 26. James Robert Hamms was charged with two counts of armed robbery, three counts of aggravated assault, nine counts of false imprisonment, possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. Kari Ann Ross was charged with two counts of armed robbery, three counts of aggravated assault, false imprisonment and possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime. Barry Craig Smith was charged with two counts of armed robbery, two counts of aggravated assault, false imprisonment, possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime and fleeing an officer.

Panther Creek woes continue in Hoschton
Is it a pump design flaw? Are the lines too small for the pressure of a 29-house subdivision? Or maybe the plat is wrong?
Those questions and more were raised by Panther Creek subdivision residents Wednesday night when they met with representatives from Po Boys Plumbing and the Hoschton City Council. Although the meeting was originally planned for discussion with city engineer Charlie Armentrout, he was unable to attend.
After explaining that determining the layout of the sewage lines is not their business, Darian Wilson of Po Boys Plumbing said “the probabilities are endless” as far as the possible sources of the subdivisions ongoing sewage system problems is concerned. Despite a recent renovation and upgrade of the sewage system — now under city ownership — residents are still reporting pump failures, with at least one home having raw sewage overflowing from sinks, tubs and toilets.
The next step is to do a peak use time pressure test over the weekend, explained Wilson, saying that they did a 24-hour pressure recording before the new pumps were put in, but that might not account for peak times, such as the weekends.
“When everyone is home on the weekend, there are a lot of pumps kicking on at once,” he said.
Wilson also said he would talk to Armentrout about the possibility of making cycle times longer for the system.
As residents gathered around the council’s table, Michelle Wonsey voiced concern that a representative for the engineer had been at her house earlier in the day and “he had the subdivision sewage plat that shows where the lines are supposed to be. It was the same plat we have already gone over and it is not right.”
Council member Paul Turman added: “So we may not be working with a diagram that shows existing lines?”
Wilson said the system revisions were put in “according to the map.”
Dale Wilson added: “If there are problems with the lines, it will be a long, tedious process to determine where.”
The council requested that the city clerk look back at the minutes of previous meetings to determine if the engineer had seen the plat of the sewage lines and understood that it was not correct.
“Why, if he knew that, wasn’t it addressed?” Wonsey asked.
On the matter of pump problems, when asked by council member Rosemary Bagwell, Darian Wilson said that some of the problems have been mechanical – more specifically, problems with the floaters in the pumps. But he added that the manufacturers took back one pump and two floats have been replaced.
“And there were some installation problems with PVC pipes and breakers, but except for some of the floats, I think most of the installation problems are resolved,” Wilson said. “The manufacturers spoke as if they’d be willing to try a different float system. They have five years to stand behind this; they don’t want to replace pumps all the time.”
The next question was, once there is a problem, who is responsible and what can homeowners do?
When the city took ownership of the sewage system, residents signed an agreement saying they would not tamper with the pumps. As a result, when a pump fails, the residents have not felt they were allowed to turn off power or do anything to stop the sewage from backing up. Instead, they have been calling the city for maintenance services, per the contract. The problems arise on weekends and in the evenings, when no one is at city hall to call. And that’s a moot point because the city doesn’t have anyone who is qualified to fix the system. So the residents have been calling Po Boys Plumbing instead.
“We don’t know who to call,” said Toni Hope.
“I stop using any water and call Po Boys,” added resident Walter Schindler. “But if it’s flowing in my house, there’s nothing I can do because the (outdoor breaker box and pump) are locked. I’m subject to having sewage in my house.”
Wonsey added: “Our contract with the city says we can not touch the system...There is no first level of response, although it is stated in our contract; you haven’t implemented a first level of yet.”
Bagwell pointed out that the city engineer has drafted a maintenance contract — separate from the existing ownership contract — that will establish one-, three- and eight-hour response times with Po Boys in the event of pump failures.
“Charlie has in the works a maintenance contract; they are trying to do the right thing,” Darian Wilson said. Determining what problem warrants which response time has been the challenge so far, he said.
“What steps can they do immediately around the house when (the system) fails?” asked council member Paul Turman.
While the Wilsons said they were uncomfortable with the idea of — and in fact, cannot be responsible for — “someone going out in the dark and punching buttons,” they did have a couple of suggestions. While the existing ownership contract calls for residents to remain hands-off, Darian Wilson said it would be possible for the homeowner to switch the breaker inside the house to stop the pump from running once there is a problem. The idea is that they should not touch the locked electrical panel outside, he said.
He also agreed to check the original pump specifications to see if an overflow vent should have been included on the tank. If not, he said, those can be added to keep overflow from going from the system into a home.
Resident Heath Romer also suggested a manual valve on the line between the house and tank — homeowners’ property, not the city’s — as a possibility for slowing down the problem until the plumbers can arrive.
The Wilsons pointed out the importance of keeping grease, plastic and other clogging materials out of the tanks and lines, and of regularly de-greasing the system. The council agreed for the city clerk to send out notices stating what items should not be flushed.
As the discussion meeting came to an end, Bagwell restated that she wants to see a maintenance contract in place by the beginning of the year, and that “we want to get the (overflow) vents (on the tanks), one way of the other.”

Talmo zoning up-in-the-air
A work session to consider forming Talmo’s own planning commission turned up more questions than answers during the hour-long discussion Tuesday night.
“What I’m hearing is that we’re not 100 percent sure about where to go,” said Mayor Larry Wood.
Following the recent shake-up within the Jackson County Planning Commission, the Talmo city council was advised to consider forming its own planning board. Up until now, the county’s planning commission has recommended development changes for the town.
While cautious not to speak negatively about the situation, Talmo city council members acknowledged the recent changes at the county-level creates some unanswered questions for the town.
“We’re not trying to bash the commission in any way,” said Wood. “With the changes, I really don’t know where that leaves us.”
Tuesday’s work session was held simply to discuss the various options for the city council in forming a planning commission—it was not held to make any formal decisions at this time.
Among the most notable options city council members discussed was the leadership of the possible planning commission. Members largely discussed a planning commission consisting of three or four members, who cannot serve on the city council as paid officials.
According to Wood, city attorney Ronnie Hopkins said the town could approve one person to essentially be the planning commission. That person, called the zoning administer, can’t be a paid member of the city council, but would be appointed by the city council.
At this point, however, the Talmo city council has decided the best option for the town in developing its own planning commission would be to seek the advice of other Jackson County municipalities that have their own planning commissions, such as Braselton and Maysville.
“We need to investigate more,” said council member Jill Miller. During the next few weeks, city council members will further investigate their possibilities in forming the new commission and will continue to publicly meet to discuss their options.
Initially, Talmo officials wanted to have the matter settled by January, but meeting that deadline now seems unlikely.
“It’s pretty obvious that will not happen,” said council member Michael “Trapper” Brissey. With the Jackson County Blueprint 2002 deciding its land use plan in June, Talmo officials could possibly wait until then to ultimately decide what to do next.

Grease Traps To Be Regulated In Ordinance Change
With the "second readings" completed Monday night, the Commerce City Council amended its sewer ordinance to require and manage grease traps and amended its city charter to allow it to get into the telecommunications business.
The first matter has extensive ramifications starting Jan. 1; the second relates to possible plans in the distant future.
The sewer provision relates to "grease, oil and sand interceptors" in the sewer system and will affect every business that prepares food or deals in grease and oil, from restaurants to auto repair shops. It provides specific requirements for grease traps, including the frequency of pumping and manifests that must be kept by the owner regarding servicing and disposal of wastes.
The ordinance becomes effective Jan. 1, but the city has indicated it will work with its commercial sewer users to phase in the various provisions.
The amendment to the city charter is effective immediately. It clears the way for Commerce to offer telecommunications services, including high-speed data transmission lines, something the city has long considered through the Georgia Municipal Association.
Also on Monday night:
•The council approved both Monday, Dec. 24, and Tuesday, Dec. 25, as holidays for city workers.
•The council voted to advertise requests for proposals from auditing firms for the next city audit. The move reflects the council's disenchantment with Ross Lane & Co., LLC, for not preventing the embezzlement of funds from the police department.
•City manager Clarence Bryant reported that a mild November was a poor month, financially, for the city, but that he expects a turnaround in December, mainly because property taxes are coming in. However, with taxes due Dec. 26, city clerk Shirley Willis reported that the city has collected only $283,000 of the $1.9 million expected.
•Bryant reported that Robertson Sanitation, the city's current garbage contractor, will make its last pickup Thursday, Dec. 27, after which it will remove its containers. The new company hopes to put all new containers out before its first scheduled pickup Friday, Jan. 4. The new company plans to pick up garbage from half the town on Tuesdays and half on Fridays, but will not pick up on Tuesday, Jan. 1, which is a holiday.

Jefferson rips new planning structure
The Jefferson City Council bashed the new structure of the Jackson County Planning Commission Monday night as it reappointed Larry Benton to represent the city on the board, albeit in a greatly weakened position.
The council agreed to send a letter to the Jackson County Board of Commissioners stating its concerns about how the county abolished the planning commission and created its own board. City leaders were especially critical of the new rules which state that city representatives are only able to vote on city matters and are not eligible to be chairman or vice chairman.
The BOC took action earlier this month to abolish the planning commission and then restructured the organization and named five members. There had been no prior public discussion about the “Joint City-County Planning Commission,” which was another point with the Jefferson council.
“It’s really a shame the way this thing came about ... and that our representative only votes for city matters,” Jefferson councilman Bosie Griffith said at Monday’s meeting.
Jefferson council members want the city representative to be able to vote on all planning matters, not only those in the city limits. Officials pointed out that city residents pay county taxes and should have some input on developments that impact all of the county.

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Commerce To Extend Water To
Joe Bolton Rd., Maybe Woods Bridge
Residents of one road seeking Commerce water got good news Monday night. Those on another road got a "maybe" in their quest to get city water.
The Commerce City Council voted Monday night to build less than a half mile of water lines along Joe Bolton Road at a cost estimated to be $44,000. The city can expect to recoup its investment in eight years, according to city manager Clarence Bryant.
Ward 3 councilman Sam Brown made the motion to approve the project.
The picture isn't so clear for residents of some 4,700 feet of Woods Bridge Road.
At its "work session" a week earlier, the council had appeared ready to deny the request for water because the cost, estimated at $111,600, would take about 70 years to recoup. In addition, the likelihood of running into a lot of rock could increase the cost by several thousand more dollars, officials said.
But something happened between the work session and the regular meeting Monday night, because Mayor Charles L. Hardy Jr. told residents of the road the city was looking at running a smaller line on the opposite side of the road.
"That wouldn't give you fire protection, but it would give you water," the mayor said.
Bryant said the city would probe the bank on the upper side of the road to see if the rock is a problem there too.
"I think if we can use the upper side and get three feet (depth), we'll drop a two-inch line. That would drop the price considerably," he said.
After being promised an analysis at the next regular meeting, resident Charlotte Johnson, who raised the issue, thanked the council for its effort.
That project has a maximum of seven customers over 4,700 feet, according to Bryant.

Braselton approves projects for 1,127 new homes
Mayor blasts election ‘traitors’ in meeting.
Three proposed developments axed by Braselton’s planning commission last month made it through city hall Monday night while action on two more was deferred until January.
During Monday night’s city council meeting, the town approved annexation and rezoning requests from Strickland River Farms for 499 residential lots on Hwy. 211; T & A Management for 218 residential lots on I-85 and Jessie Cronic Road; and 225 Delk Road Partnerships for 510 residential lots on New Liberty Church Road. All told, the projects will add 1,127 new homes to the town. All were “approved with conditions.”
Council member Kit Braselton voted against each item.
The council postponed until next month action on a rezoning request from Delk Road Partners who wished to rezone property at the current location of Oaks Mobile Home Park and their request to move 33 homes in the park to property on Ednaville Road and include 110 additional homes in that area.
The council also deferred action on an annexation and rezoning request made by Ruby Forest, a development community of 197 homes in Gwinnett and Hall counties. The development wished to seek water and sewer services from the town by being annexed.
Much of the citizen concern of last month’s planning commission meeting spilled over into Monday night.
Alan Slogan, vice president of the executive estates of Chateau Elan, warned the council that allowing an influx of homes without knowing its effect on the schools, roads and police could hurt the town in the future.
Councilman Braselton also addressed this concern by telling the council that the “phone calls received and stack of letters should alarm our conscience,” adding that “the requests for approval should at least be deferred until further investigation can be accomplished.”
Monday night’s meeting was the last for two long-time faces at Braselton city hall—Mayor Henry Braselton and councilman Kit Braselton.
Both took the time to convey some final opinions about the city.
Early in the meeting, Kit Braselton voiced his displeasure over a Nov. 18 article in the Gwinnett Daily Post.
The councilman and former mayor of the town said he felt slighted when the publication reported that Braselton only had three mayors since being incorporated.
Feeling he should have been included since he served as an interim mayor, the councilman asked the council to write a letter to express his displeasure over the article and also ask for a retraction and an apology.
After Kit Braselton finished, Henry Braselton, defeated in last month’s mayoral election, took a slap at those he called “traitors.”
The mayor likened the council meeting to the Last Supper, saying, “The Lord only had one traitor, but I certainly think I’ve had more than that. I just want those who were traitors to know that I don’t appreciate y’all. I’ve served Braselton for over 40 years and continue to serve it and do everything I can to help the town.”
In other business conducted Monday night, the council:
•approved the acquisition of two acres at $100,000 for a new library.
•presented plaques to Frankie Hulme and Jan Mulligan for their “civic leadership and patriotism” in coordinating the “Christmas in Braselton” program.
•accepted the landscaping plan for Braselton Village Shopping Center which was tabled at last month’s meeting.
•passed a motion to create a city park in the Vineyard subdivision if they buy the property.
•granted a business license to the Jordan Company for a real estate office on Hwy. 53.
•granted a business license for AGB Capital Properties on Hwy. 53.
•approved a business transfer license for Griz Graphics. The business is moving across Hwy. 124.
•granted a business license in the same location for a company called Drop and Ship—a place where people can leave packages for a shipping company to pick up.
•passed a motion to give a business license and alcoholic beverage license to Village Beverage.
•granted a business license and alcoholic beverage license to Duncan Corner Bottle Shoppe.
•approved final plat for tract A/lot 9 of The Legends at Chateau Elan.
•authorized the mayor to sign the contract for the Mulberry Park for the financing of the Mulberry River Sewer Inceptor project.
•approved the final plat for the Village Chateu Elan Phase IV.
•discussed the possibility of putting a red light on Hwy. 53.
•approved a demolition request from Frances Pruett.
•authorized the police department to buy used equipment.