News from Jackson County...

February 20, 2002


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Our Time and Place:
A History of
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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
Jackson County opinion page

Angela Gary
Valentine memories
In the back corner of the closet in my bedroom is a shoe box covered with white tissue paper. It has red construction paper hearts pasted on it and ³Happy Valentineıs Day² scrawled across the side of it.

Frank Gillespi
Madison County needs economic development
Two recent studies reflect existing problems for Madison County. Let us start with some figures, and then see how they affect life in our community.

Margie Richards
Looking for our family Œrootsı

A cousin I hadnıt heard from in years called me one afternoon last week.
Agnes is my motherıs first cousin and my mother often spoke of her, mentioning how they played together and often spent the night together as little girls.


SPORTS

Directions to Area Schools

Dragons claim sixth wrestling title
Team sets new scoring mark with 273 points. The Jefferson varsity wrestling team entered last weekendıs state tournament as a heavy favorite to win the Class A state title, and Dragon grapplers didnıt disappoint their followers.

Jackson County fourth in Class AAA; Powers, Kubiak win gold
Jackson County wrestlers Jason Powers and Chris Kubiak each brought gold medals home from last weekendıs State Class AAA tournament at Westminster, and the Panthers finished fourth in overall team points. Powersı title makes him the only two-time champion in the history of the Jackson County program.

Milford Closes Commerce Career With State Title
Hames Impressed With Wrestling Teamıs Fifth-Place At State. Itıs been a four-year journey, but Commerce wrestling standout Blake Milford can now call himself a state champion.

Neighboorhood News ..
MADISON COUNTY
Jail project halted
County finds over 100 problems with construction.Madison County officials suspended construction of the new county jail off Hwy. 98 last week after months of delays and building problems.

County schools ranked by state
Several Madison County schools ranked in the top third of the state in a recent comparison of standardized test results for 2001


Neighborhood News...
BANKS COUNTY
Armed robbery reported at Regions Bank. South Carolina woman charged;
warrant issued for second suspect
Warrants have been issued for a South Carolina couple in the armed robbery Thursday at Regions Bank at Banks Crossing.

Fire department reps travel to New York
Firefighterıs widow presented with $23,000 check. Three Banks County firefighters traveled to New York last week to present a check for $23,000 to Cathy Tetgmeier, the widow of a firefighter killed in the collapse of the World Trade Center.
S COUNTY


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The Jackson Herald
Jefferson, Georgia
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CRIME SCENE

Crime scene tape surrounds the South Jackson home where a couple were murdered Friday. Sherry Elaine Brady, 46, and her husband, Alfred Lewis Brady Jr., 58, both of Jefferson, were found Saturday in their home after a relative called the Jackson County Sheriffıs Department after not being able to contact the couple. The sheriffıs department has a warrant for the suspect in the case.

UPDATE ON MURDER CASE: 2-20-02
Another murder rocks county
Homicide has been ruled in the death of a woman found in a burning home early Saturday morning on Holly Springs Road in Pendergrass.
Breanna Moses, 25, also known as Breanna Moses Funderburk, was found in the burning home around 5 a.m.
Chief investigator Major David Cochran said that the Jackson County Sheriff's Department would be seeking arrest warrants Wednesday afternoon for the arrest of Moses' ex-husband, Brian Gene Funderburk, 25, in connection with the incident. The charges to be filed against him are murder, arson and burglary.
"There is an extensive, well-documented history of domestic violence between these two," Cochran said.
Fire officials found Moses in the living room of the home. The cause of death has not been released.
Jackson County Sheriff's Department chief investigator Major David Cochran said that the state crime lab used dental records to identify the woman.
Cochran said the fire has been determined to have been set with accelerates used.
The state fire marshal and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation crime scene unit are assisting the Jackson County Sheriff's Department in the investigation.
This is the third murder in Jackson County in the past week. Earlier, a South Jackson couple was murdered in their home.

UPDATE ON MURDER CASE: 2-14-02
The Jackson County Sheriff's Office has suspended its search for a murder suspect to Arizona.
David A. Hodges, 23, who is wanted in the murder of a Jackson County couple was reportedly in Tucson, Arizona on Tuesday.
Hodges is wanted in the murder of Sherri and Junior Brady, who were shot in their Ethridge Road home Friday night.
Jackson County Sheriff's Office Investigator David Cochran said Hodges called his grandparents in Florida on Tuesday. He reportedly hung up the phone after learning that law enforcement officials are searching for him.
Cochran said the grandparents called law enforcement officials and the call was traced to a Waffle House in Arizona.
The investigator said he doesn't know if Hodges has a direction, but that law enforcement agents across the country have been notified to be on the lookout for the suspect.
Since the area the phone call was made from is a one-hour drive to Mexico, the border control and the Federal Bureau of Investigation have also been contacted by the Jackson County Sheriff's Office.
Officers say Hodges should be considered armed and dangerous.
Cochran said the sheriff's office has been receiving new leads in the case every day. Officials were in Gwinnett County Wednesday interviewing witnesses there. Items stolen from the Brady home were found in Alabama and Jackson County officers have been there to receive the items.
"We're working all of the United States," Cochran said. "We are sending out updates to local sheriff's departments every couple of hours. We are exploring all options for locating him. We have a good case."
Hodges had been working for the Bradys' construction business for several weeks. The Bradys reportedly rented him a room in their home after finding he was sleeping in his truck at night. They reportedly met him at a local restaurant.
Hodges is described as a white male, six feet tall, 155 pounds, with brown hair and hazel eyes. Anyone with information on him is asked to contact the Jackson County Sheriff's Department at (706) 367-8718.


Updated 2-15-02
Courthouse plans call for complex on Darnell Road
Jackson County Board of Commissioner Sammy Thomason unveiled a plan Wednesday night to locate a county government complex on Darnell Road near the county farm.
More than 35 people attended the hour-long meeting in the Administrative Building in Jefferson. Most of those in attendance were county and city officials and area attorneys. This was the first time the board of commissioner spoke publicly on the courthouse proposal.
Thomason said the site would house a 5,000 to 6,000 square feet facility, which would be built first and be used for office space. This facility would house some of the departments from the Administrative Building, including probation office, extension service, Action and voter registration.
"This would open up some space in this Administration Building where we could possibly relocate some of the entities that need additional space," he said.
Next, a much larger judicial facility would be built to house court-related offices.
The site would also include a park area with a lake. The proposal also calls for two new roads to make the site more accessible. Thomason said these two roads would be developed whether or not the complex is located on the site.
Thomason said this is just a proposal and no final action has been taken. The BOC has taken an option on purchasing the 157-acre site at a cost of $2.1 million.
Thomason said the benefits of the site is that it is centrally located, most county services would be available in a single location and it would be in close proximity to the jail. He said there would also be room for future expansions.
Thomason said the estimated cost for the land and judicial facility would be $10 million. He said short term financing for the project could be a tax anticipation note and the long term financing could be a bond issue, lease purchase agreement with the Association of County Commissioners of Georgia or a special purpose local option sales tax in 2005.
The time line for the project calls for land acquisition to begin in 2002 and construction of the judicial facility in 2003. The judicial facility would be complete by 2004 and construction of the administrative facility would be in 2005.
Thomason also addressed the current courthouse and said the BOC would seek grants for it to be used by the chamber of commerce or historical society.
BOC chairman Harold Fletcher also spoke and said concerns with a site selected in downtown Jefferson by a citizen's committee include traffic and the cost.
"No matter where this facility may be placed, there are going to be those who like the idea," he said. "There will be those who dislike the idea."
Fletcher also pointed out that Thomason had been asked to spearhead the courthouse proposal and had discussed the plans in one on one conversations with the other commissioners in order not to have been accused of holding secret meetings.
The BOC will take written comments on the courthouse proposal for the next 30 days, through March 13, and then another public hearing will be set. Written comments may be mailed to county manager Al Crace at 67 Athens Street, Jefferson, Ga., 30549.
Fletcher said the proposal is not necessarily the final choice.
"We welcome serious recommendations from anyone for any other alternative site," he said. "We will be willing to meet and review any presentations anyone or any group would like to make."
A public hearing will be held after the written comments are taken. Fletcher said a decision on the matter is expected to be made in the next few months.
"That decision will be made based on the facts and not on emotions, not on any perceived advantage for any particular area."




South Jackson couple murdered in their home
Live-in helper sought in killings. A South Jackson couple was killed in their home on Ethridge Road Friday and a man renting a room from them is the suspect in the double murder.
Sherry Elaine Brady, 46, and her husband, Alfred Lewis Brady Jr., 58, both of Jefferson, were found Saturday in their home after a relative called the Jackson County Sheriffıs Department after not being able to contact the couple.
The Jackson County Sheriffıs Department is seeking warrants for David A. Hodges, 23, Indianapolis, Ind., on two counts of murder and one count of auto theft.
Sheriff Stan Evans said that law enforcement authorities believe that the Bradys were shot sometime Friday evening in their home. Both appeared to have died from gunshot wounds to the head, the sheriff added.
Evans said that Hodges is believed to have worked for Mr. Brady in his construction business. He had reportedly lived in their home for three weeks.
³The Bradys were apparently good Samaritans, having given Hodges not only a job, but a place to stay,² Sheriff Evans said.
Hodges is described as a white male, six feet tall, 155 pounds with brown hair and hazel eyes. Law enforcement officers say he could possibly be driving a 2001 blue Ford Expedition that belonged to the Bradys. The vehicle has Georgia license plate, 282DFC, but could possibly be bearing plates of another state, possibly Indiana, law enforcement officers say.
³Hodges should be considered armed and extremely dangerous and is believed to possibly be headed to the Florida area,² Sheriff Evans said.
Anyone with information on Hodges is asked to contact the Jackson County Sheriffıs Department at (706) 367-8718.


Facility plan calls for new elementary, high school in East Jackson
Additional classroom units that would max out West Jackson Middle School at 900 students, as well as a new elementary and high school in East Jackson, are among the ³meat² of a five-year facility plan set for the Jackson County School System.
Facilities coordinator Charles Reeves presented the plan to the Jackson County Board of Education at Thursday nightıs work session and the board approved the plan Monday night. The plan includes details on square footage and inventory for each facility.
Reeves said the school system is required to use state figures to project forward. The state has Jackson County schoolsı population set at 5,655 for 2005-06, although the system is already at nearly 5,000, not including Pre-K, Reeves added.
SCHOOL PROJECTS PLANNED
In explaining ³the meat of the plan,² Reeves listed school projects planned for over the next five years.
³A new East Jackson elementary school is projected to go online in 2003; we are proposing units at North Jackson, South Jackson and Maysville elementary schools; 20 units at West Jackson Middle School are proposed; and then the new East Jackson High School,² he said.
A priorities list is established based on which projects will earn state funds because of most immediate need; the WJMS addition units tops the list, followed by the new high school, which is earning $4.2 million in state funds.
³The West Jackson additions will allow for 900 students,² Reeves said, adding that the school already has more than 700 students and will reach its maximum capacity with the added 20 units. ³What we would be looking at then is a new middle school.²
Although the new high school is second on the priorities list for the state, it wonıt actually be built until after the new East Jackson elementary school is completed.
³As soon as East Jackson Elementary is completed — and we are looking at this time next year — we want to be able to start the process for the new high school,² Reeves said.
The new high school is projected to cost $20 million and would take one and a half to two years to build, Reeves said. If construction began in 2003, the school could be ready for the 2005-06 school year, he said.
³That would fit right in with our SPLOST referendum,² superintendent Andy Byers added. ³If we hadnıt passed that, I donıt think weıd be able to pass enough bonds to build what we need to build.²
Reeves told the board that although the plan reflects ³the best thoughts and projections from where we sit now, in a year and a half, it will probably be administratively updated to capture growth and re-justify other locations.²
He added that the plan is being ³fast tracked,² saying that after Mondayıs local approval, it would go before the state BOE Wednesday.
³And then weıre ready to do some things,² Reeves said.


Unveiling Wed. to open courthouse location debate
A proposed new courthouse site east of Jefferson along Darnell Road was scheduled for unveiling Wednesday night at a meeting to be held by the Jackson County Board of Commissioners.
After months of closed-door meetings, the BOC decided two weeks ago to take an option on the land for a proposed site, which is reportedly being pushed strongly by commissioner Sammy Thomason, whose district is located on the east side of Jackson County.
Wednesdayıs meeting was to unveil the site plan to the public. However, the BOC made it clear that it would not take verbal comments from the public Wednesday night and would only accept written comments over the next 30 days addressed to the county manager.
The BOC refused a request by The Jackson Herald Tuesday for a copy of the site plan in time to be published in this weekıs edition. However, the site reportedly involves several tracts of land, one of which was recently annexed into the City of Jefferson for a subdivision. The status of that residential project were unclear at presstime this week.
By law, the county courthouse must be in the city limits of Jefferson.
Although the board has not publicly discussed its plans for a new courthouse, sources close to the discussions say the group will not pursue an earlier plan that would have put the facility in downtown Jefferson near the existing courthouse. A previous ³courthouse committee² of county citizens had recommend that location two years ago.
The proposed site is near the county jail, sheriffıs department and corrections institute. It is also close to the county senior citizenıs center, mental health center, health department and recreation fields.
The proposal was discussed briefly at Jefferson and Braselton city council meetings Monday night. Jefferson council members didnıt comment at length on the plans, but Mayor Jim Joiner told them of the Wednesday night meeting and encouraged each member to attend.
The Jefferson Area Business Association also met last week and its members agreed to oppose the courthouse being moved out of the downtown area.
³How would it impact the city if (the courthouse) is moved?² asked JABA member Guy Dean Benson. ³This organization needs to know that it may be moved toward Commerce.²
The group agreed to attend the commissioners meeting planned for Wednesday.


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Jefferson to purchase Wilkins for civic center
It looks like Jefferson will have a civic center earlier than expected.
The city council agreed Monday night to purchase the former Wilkins building in Jefferson to be used as a civic center. Earlier plans were to build a new facility to serve as a civic center.
The final price has not been determined yet, but the council gave Mayor Jim Joiner approval Monday night to proceed with negotiating for the final price for the building. The deal is expected to be finalized within a few days.
In other business, the council also agreed for Joiner to negotiate for the sale of ³surplus property² in the I-85 area. No further details were given on this matter.
These actions came after a 40-minute closed session at Mondayıs council meeting to discuss real estate and litigation. No information was given on the litigation discussion.
The closed session was also called to discuss personnel, but city leaders said afterwards that no personnel matters were
discussed.