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January 23, 2002


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Panthers upend top-ranked Bulldoggs; ladies can clinch subregion Friday against Monroe
Jackson County will host Monroe Area Friday in what will be a crucial game for both Panther basketball teams. Chad Pittmanıs Lady Panthers can clinch the 8-AAA south subregion title with a win, while Ron Smithıs boys can tie for the top subregion spot if they win out.
The Panthers will travel to Eastside Saturday to make up a prevously postponed game, and host the Eagles Tuesday to close the subregion slate. Madison County will welcome the Panthers next Friday in the regular-season finale.

Dragons dominate area duals; at Social Circle Saturday
Jeffersonıs varsity wrestling team took another step toward making history this week, pounding Social Circle and Wesleyan in Saturdayıs Area 4-A duals to qualify for the state duals Feb. 16 at Adairsville. Wesleyan finished second and also qualified.

Tigers Look To Regain Shooting Touch
After shooting blanks this weekend, the Commerce Tiger basketball team wants to come out firing bullets during this weekıs crucial region stretch.
Commerce, which hit a scant 31.3 percent (31-99) of their attempts from the floor in contests against Wesleyan and Buford, will look to regain their shooting touch heading into key 8-A contests against Tallulah Falls Friday, Rabun Gap Saturday and Providence Academy Tuesday.

Neighboorhood News ..
MADISON COUNTY
The industrial divide
Large crowd voices views on proposed Hull commercial park on Hwy. 72. There was a large crowd, a lot of talk, a lot of emotion shown, but no action on a proposed industrial park off Hwy. 72 Monday.

EPD schedules public hearing on Trus Joist
Citizens concerned about possible contamination. Concerns over air, ground water and environmental quality in the community surrounding Colbertıs Trus Joist plant prompted the Georgia Department of Natural Resources Environmental Protection Division (EPD) to set up a public hearing next week to allow citizens to speak out about those concerns.


Neighborhood News...
BANKS COUNTY
Funds down, Baldwin loses money in 2001
But cityıs budget balances. The City of Baldwin cut into its general reserve funds in fiscal year 2001 with a $137,300 net loss. But that was close to the amount city leaders had planned in its budget for the year.

Rattletrap Road home gutted by blaze early Saturday
A double-wide mobile home on Rattletrap Road was gutted by fire early Saturday morning.
No one was in the home at the time of the 3 a.m. blaze.
Owners Travis and JoAnn Brown said they had purchased the home and had been working on it since November.


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JEFFERSON BYPASS PROJECT

James Burrowbridge, a driller for PSI and the Georgia Department of Transportation, is shown testing a site on Hwy. 129 near Arcade to see if the road can be expanded. This is part of the Jefferson bypass project that is under way in the South Jackson area.


County canıt handle unsafe animals, says Humane Society
The county doesnıt know how to handle animal control issues, according to members of the Jackson County Humane Society.
³The county is not trained for animal control,² said Sandy Wells, treasurer of the Humane Society. ³They have one pair of gloves, two cages and one dart gun and thatıs what they take when thereıs a dangerous animal loose.²
Felton Rainey, a member of the society as well as a qualified animal control specialist, said only one person actually knows how to use the dart gun.
³They are not trained to handle dangerous animals,² said Wells.
But that doesnıt mean those cases should be referred to the Humane Society, she said.
Sandy and Bob Wells said several people have called them lately about animal control issues: stray dogs, dumped kittens and one chained and abandoned dog.
³Apparently, local law officials have been giving our name out as someone who can handle animal control issues instead of dealing with it themselves,² said Bob Wells. ³We need to draft a letter or something and explain that the Humane Society, by law, cannot handle animal control issues.²
Sandy Wells said that right now the animal control officer is the county marshal, yet several members of the Humane Society who have called the county about animal control issues are told there is no one to help them.
³You should tell [the police] that you have an animal control problem and that you know the county marshal is the official animal control officer and you need someone to come out,² she said. ³But they will only respond in two cases if itıs a case of a dangerous or potentially dangerous animal or if itıs a case of animal cruelty. I tell people that if the county marshal does not respond, then he should call Harold Fletcher and let him know. He needs to know the number of cases that are not being handled.²
Someone from the audience asked what the county marshal would do when he came out.
³He fills out a report,² said Wells.
Frank Scapala said he called about four dogs roaming his neighborhood and told the law officials there were many children playing outside in the street. The police came and filled out a report, but left the dogs.
The society decided to create a scrapbook of all the animal-related cases in the county and surrounding area to take with them to different events.
³There were nine to 11 cases in the paper last week,² said Sandy Wells. ³It really is a problem.²
Bob Wells said the county is in the middle of a transition period between when there was no animal control and the answer was to just shoot the problem and when there will be animal control with a shelter to house animals and trained animal control officers.
³Weıre going to have to work at this until the transition period is over,² he said. ³This is not a situation that will be resolved in the next two months or the next year or even two years.²
OTHER NEWS
In other news, the society agreed to hold a board of directorsı meeting sometime in February.
Bob Wells said he planned to invite several business and civic leaders to join the board of directors.
³They wonıt be helping at the events necessarily, but they will be on the phones getting the word out,² he said.
In an unrelated matter, the society collected $1,212 between Novemberıs meeting and Januaryıs meeting.
State Farm gave the group a grant for $500 and they had one gold membership renewal at a cost of $500. Maddox Feed and Seedıs Santa pictures brought the Humane Society $106. The society was given $1 for every picture made. Emil Beshara, county commissioner and a member of the society, matched Maddoxıs donation, giving the society a total of $1,212.
The society has saved $15,341 for its shelter.
Bob Wells said he plans to further the societyıs plans to build a shelter by compiling a book of all the necessary equipment for a shelter with prices and photos of the equipment. He wants to pass these around to all of the businesses in the area and ³flood the market² with them in hopes to get some financial backers.
OTHER BUSINESS
In other business, the society:
€received a response back from Mike Beatty for its letter dated November 25, 2001. Beatty asked the society to form a prospectus, which would include an estimate for the cost of building a new shelter, an estimate for the equipment needed to run the shelter and have in writing on the county letterhead what the county will commit to do. Bob Wells said at this point he did not want to involve the county.
€discussed purchasing an ad in the paper to thank those who assisted the society in 2001.
€asked for feedback from the members on which events the society should participate in in 2002.


Braselton meets in closed session
The Braselton City Council met in a closed-door session Jan. 23 to discuss personnel matters, but didnıt take any action or publicly discuss what the members talked about.
Following the 55-minute session, however, Mayor Pat Graham told council members that after several discussions with Department of Transportation engineer Larry Dent, several streets in The Vineyards subdivision will be paved soon.
Chardonnay Trace and Reisling Drive will be paved soon, Graham said of her conversation with Dent.


Qualifying set July 29 for Aug. 20 elections
Qualifying for the Aug. 20 primary election will be held from 9 a.m. Monday, July 29, through noon on Friday, Aug. 2.
Local races on the ballot will include two board of commissioners seats – District 3 held by Emil Beshara and District 4 held by Tony Beatty.
Also on the ballot will be three county board of education seats – District 2 held by Tim Brooks, District 3 held by Kathy Wilbanks and District 5 held by Jill Elliott.
The state senate and house of representative seats and the governorıs post will also be on the ballot.
The general election will be Nov. 5.


Two NY terrorists were at county airport
Two of the men involved in the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks in New York and Washington, D.C., spent at least part of one day training at the Jackson County airport.
According to an article in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution on Sunday, Mohamed Atta and Marwan Al-Shehhi were in Jackson County last January training at the airport. They were reportedly taken to the facility by a Gwinnett County flight instructor they were taking classes from.
Atta is suspected of being the pilot that hit the north tower of the World Trade Center, and Al-Shehhi is believed to the pilot of the plane that hit the south tower.
At a Jackson County Airport Authority meeting Monday, chairman Clarence Bryant said he wasnıt aware that the terrorists had made a stop in Jackson County.


Jefferson hires new assistant superintendent
The Jefferson City Board of Education approved the hiring of Dr. Sherrie Gibney-Sherman to the post of assistant superintendent of curriculum and instruction during a called meeting Friday.
The board also approved the hiring of Bill Navas as the Dragonsı next head football coach (see related story on Page 1B).
Gibney-Sherman is currently employed as principal at Alps Road Elementary School, Athens. She holds a doctorate in curriculum and supervision and a masterıs in early childhood education.
Prior to the Alps Road post, Gibney-Sherman served the Clarke County School District in numerous capacities, including director of curriculum and assessment, director of research, planning and special projects and as a teacher for 12 years.
Gibney-Sherman has an extensive background in grant writing and is a K-12 teacher preparation instructor at Piedmont College.
In other action, the board voted to send a request to the state legislature regarding redistricting and board member compensation. Under the proposal, board members would be compensated $100 per month and $100 daily for attending board-authorized meetings outside regular monthly meetings. The chairperson would be compensated $150 under the same guidelines.
As for the redistricting, the proposal alters the makeup of Districts 2 and 5. Some of the voters in District 5 were taken out and placed in District 2. This was done in order to balance the number of voters in the districts. The other districts remain the same under the proposed map.


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Officials confirm two more rabies cases
Despite the ninth and tenth cases of rabid animals confirmed since May 2001, thereıs no need for the public to panic if residents take several precautionary steps, said Jackson County environmental health specialist Shad Slocum.
³Donıt panic, the rabies has always been out there—itıs just on the increase right now,² Slocum said.
³The best protection for people to do is to get their domestic animals vaccinated,² Slocum said while adding that the ten rabies cases confirmed so far have all been wild animals.
On Jan. 20, a Commerce police officer killed a skunk that was attacking two puppies at a Chestnut Street residence. The officer killed the skunk when it tried to attack him.
Test results from the Albany Regional Lab later determined the skunk was positive for rabies. As a precautionary measure, the two puppies were also euthanatized, Slocum said.
In the tenth rabid animal case confirmed since May for the county, a raccoon was reported by a Commerce resident on Wood Street as ³acting strangely.² When a police officer arrived on the scene, the raccoon appeared to be acting in a ³drunk² manner, Slocum said.
The police officer killed the raccoon and the animalıs tissue sample was sent to the Albany lab. On Tuesday, Slocum said the lab confirmed the raccoon tested positive for rabies.
³This is being a little liberal, but since weıve had a rash, weıve been sending off samples for peace of mind,² Slocum said.
³Right now, everything is pretty concentrated in the city limits of Commerce,² he said, but added that last year several confirmed rabid animals were reported outside the city limits.
Jackson County Environmental Health Department manager Richard Harrison also said that several rabid animals have been reported in or near the Jefferson city limits.
Slocum urges residents not to feed their pets outside, since wild animals will approach homes for open food. He also added that many people may not be aware that wild animals come near their homes, but by taking the precautionary measures, residents can reduce the likelihood of coming into contact with rabid animals.