News from Jackson County...

MAY 01, 2002

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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Tigers Gear Up For Finish
Commerce Blasts Tallulah, Set To Finish Season With Lakeview And Wesleyan This Week
Fresh off a 9-4 thrashing of Tallulah Falls Monday, the diamond Tiger baseball team will look to close a shaky regular season with a solid finish this week.

JHS boys 2nd in region; qualify for state in nine events
JEFFERSON High School’s boys’ varsity track and field team finished second this week in the Region 8-A meet, behind Buford.
A week after the girls’ team accomplished a virtually identical feat, Jefferson’s boys qualified six individuals and one relay team for next week’s Georgia Olympics in their home stadium.

Kubiak to make third appearance in state meet
For the third straight year, Jackson County senior Chuck Kubiak will represent the Panthers in the discus throw competition at next weekend’s all-classification state championships at Jefferson.

Neighboorhood News ..
MCHS girls’ coach headed to Northgate
Madison County will have a new head girls’ basketball coach next season.
Tim Cook says he will step down as the Lady Raider coach after nine years to take the girls’ head coaching post at the new Northgate High School in Coweta County.

BOC considers hiring second detainee crew
Madison County may hire a second work crew from the Whitworth Detention Center.
“It’s the most economical work force we’ll ever get,” said county commission chairman Wesley Nash. “Twelve men for $3,500 a year.”

Neighborhood News...
CVB raises $4,300 at golf tournament
At last week’s meeting of the Banks County Convention and Visitor’s Bureau, co-chairperson Alicia Andrews announced the organization had raised $4,369 at the golf tournament held in April.

Chamber plans picnic for May 9
The Banks County Chamber of Commerce will hold its first annual “Picnic on the Courthouse Lawn” Thursday, May 9.
The Jackson Herald
Jefferson, Georgia
Telephone: (706) 367-5233
Fax: (706) 367-8056


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Students across Jackson County prepared for the CRCT in recent weeks. The tests are being given this week in the Jackson County and Jefferson school systems. Sheila Gregory, a second grade teacher at West Jackson Primary School, is shown with her class last week.

Update: May 3, 2002
Public hearing set on update of land use plan
A public hearing is planned Thursday for the Jackson County Planning and Development Department to get input from business representatives, developers, builders, city officials and others on the update of the county comprehensive plan.
An all-day work session is planned for Thursday, May 9, with the various groups attending throughout the day. Consultant Bill Ross, who is overseeing the update for the county, will conduct the meetings.
At 9 a.m., a presentation will be given to the business community and at 2 p.m., a session will be held for developers, builders and others who work in the industry. Sessions will be held at 10:30 a.m. and 4 p.m. with representatives from the municipalities in the county. A public forum will be held at 6:30 p.m.
All of the meetings will be held in the EMS training room, adjacent to the Administrative Building in Jefferson.
The comprehensive plan guides the development of the county for the future, leaders say.

BOC to get proposed rec ‘master plan’ Monday
$39 million plan calls for three new complexes over 10 years
A plan for increasing recreation facilities and services in Jackson County over the next 10 years will be unveiled at the board of commissioners meeting Monday night. The BOC will meet at 7 p.m. in the Administrative Building in Jefferson.
Recreation director Rick Sanders will present the recreation master plan, which has recommendations to be implemented over the next 10 years. The plans call for land acquisition, improvements to existing recreation sites, development of three new parks and facilities and a capital improvement program.
The estimated cost is $39 million and funding recommendations include increasing the portion of the special purpose local option sales tax for recreation to 25 percent, up from the current 5.5 percent.
The study calls for the addition of 335 to 395 acres in new facilities in the coming decade.
Among the facility recommendations are:
• proposal to add three new recreation complexes in the county; one in West Jackson, one in North Jackson and one in South Jackson. Each would be around 100 acres in size. Each park would have lighted baseball fields, soccer fields, tennis courts, playgrounds and picnic areas. The proposal calls for the North Jackson park to have a BMX track, community building and a walking/jogging trail.
• proposal to add 20 acres to the current Lamar Murphy park for its expansion. Among the proposals for that land are an indoor recreation center with basketball courts, racquetball courts, community rooms, and fitness rooms; an aquatics center for competitive swimming and diving; six additional baseball fields; a lighted soccer field; four lighted tennis courts; and other improvements.
• transfer the ownership of the Hoschton Park and Center Park to the county for expansion and upkeep.
• the purchase of land bordering the new Bear Creek Reservoir for recreation use. The land would have a hike/bike trail system, fishing dock, campsites, picnic areas and other facilities.
• the addition of a nature trail at Hurricane Shoals Park and the purchase of additional land for expansion.
• The continued development of the new Sells Mill Park in West Jackson for “passive” recreation.

I-85 work to begin from 7 p.m.-7 a.m.
Anyone traveling between Banks Crossing and Château Élan on Interstate 85 during evening hours for the next 10 months should expect delays.
The Georgia Department of Transportation will close one lane on each side to reconstruct and resurface the roadway.
The project will remove the top three inches of existing asphalt and replace it with new base and asphalt.
“Nightly work will begin at 7 p.m. and continue to 7 a.m. Monday through Friday, explained district engineer Larry Dent. “Weekend work will begin at 7 p.m. and continue to 10 a.m. No work will be scheduled during holiday weekends, such as Memorial Day.”

Students tackling CRCT this week
Key state test will soon be used as pass/fail mandate
What is the range of 10, 10, 20, 30 and 40?
What verb best completes the sentence, “The cat _____ fluffy”?
All of the following are arthropods except....

These are the types of questions Jackson County and Jefferson City students are encountering this week as they once again put pencils to paper for a round of standardized testing.
Students in first through eighth grade at county and city schools have been spending mornings this week taking the Criterion-Referenced Competency Test (CRCT). With this year’s test, students in grades one through eight are being assessed in reading, English/language arts and mathematics; additionally, grades three through eight are tested in science and social studies.
One section of the test is given each morning, explained Kathy Elrod, assistant principal at North Jackson Elementary School.
The order in which sections are administered is set by the state. For Jackson County, Monday was the test date for reading, Tuesday for English and language arts and Wednesday for math. Students in third through eighth grade will test in science on Thursday and in social studies on Friday.
Likewise, at Jefferson schools, the tests are being given each day. At Jefferson Middle School, test administration begins around 9 a.m., with 100 to 135 minutes of testing allotted each day, explained principal Donna McMullan.
In the past, elementary and middle grade students may have taken the Iowa Test of Basic Skills (ITBS), and, more recently, may have taken the Stanford 9, but this is the first year students from first grade up through eighth are all taking the CRCT, a Georgia-specific test.
“The ITBS is a nationally-normed test,” explained Hilda Lavender, assistant principal at South Jackson Elementary School. “The CRCT is over Georgia’s Quality Core Curriculum.”
With that in mind, local administrators said there really wasn’t too much to be done at the last minute to prepare for the test, except to review some specifics and get students more familiar with the format of the CRCT.
“The main thing is to be sure we’re teaching the Georgia QCC,” Lavender said.
Elrod added that while NJES offered some after-school tutoring and remediation, “We’ve been preparing the entire year, making sure we teach the QCC as required by the state...We’d done a little bit more here at the last minute, but you can’t cram it in, it has to be a year-long effort.”
At JMS, students and teachers continued with regular classroom instruction, but also worked on “CRCT Coach” test prep materials as this week approached, McMullan said.
This year is a little different, she added, because tests in all content areas are being administered for all grades at the middle school level.
“Seventh grade didn’t test last year, but they are this year,” she said. “We’ll also have science and social studies this year for all three (middle) grade levels.”
County schools, too, administered CRCT “testlets,” or practice tests found on the Internet, “for the children to get used to the language and format of the test and not be so apprehensive,” Lavender said.
The first round of CRCT assessments was given in Georgia schools in the spring of 2000 — as required by the A+ Education Reform Act of 2000 — to students in grades four, six and eight in reading, English/language arts and mathematics.
The CRCT was initiated to measure how well students are meeting the state’s QCC, individually and at school, school system and state levels. Since that first administration in 2000, the stakes have gotten progressively higher.
This testing go-round is the first year for additional test areas and additional grades being tested; specifically, the science and social studies tests for grades three through eight, and testing in grades one through eight in reading, English/language arts and mathematics.
And within the next two years, the importance of the test will escalate further with the implementation of the “automatic retention” rule in Georgia.
According to a new promotion, placement and retention state mandate, in 2003-04 third graders who have not met their grade level scores on the CRCT in reading may have to repeat the third grade. Similarly, with the additional requirement of meeting grade level scores in math, fifth and eighth graders will fall under the automatic retention rule in 2004-05 and 2005-06, respectively. Students who fall below grade level will have remediation and re-test opportunities before they are retained (see sidebar on automatic retention).
At a national level, tests are also taking on a greater meaning, as education reform calls for schools to be judged and rewarded, or face resonstitution, based on annual testing in grades three through eight.

City Reports Sewage Spills To EPD
The city of Commerce has acknowledged a pair of "sewage spills" at its Northside treatment plant and its Davis Brothers oxidation pond at Banks Crossing.
The "spills" are violations of the city's operations permits for testing periods in January and February, said Bryan Harbin, director of water and sewer operations.
Notices of the spills must be made in The Jackson Herald for the Northside plant violation and in The Banks County News for the Banks Crossing violation. They will be published May 8. Notice has been sent to the Environmental Protection Division.
The problem at the Northside facility, which is the city's primary waste treatment plant on Beaverdam Creek in Jackson County, occurred Jan. 24 following a rainy period and was the result of infiltration of storm water into the sanitary sewer system.
"This occurred after several days of rainfall in excess of three inches, which created high flows into the plant due to collection system infiltration," Harbin stated. "The result was a washout of solids into the effluent."
The plant is permitted and designed to treat a million gallons (mgd) per day. During the test period, more than 1.37 mgd passed through. The result was that the weekly average limit of total suspended solids jumped to 46 milligrams per liter; the plant's limit is 30 mg/l.
In reality, like most cities' plants, the Commerce facility cannot adequately treat wastes during rainy periods because so much storm water enters the system. It's a problem the city is trying to correct as part of its new $7 million waste treatment plant project.
"We are fixing to start a project on Andrew Jackson Street that will alleviate some of the infiltration. Somehow, the systems (sanitary and storm sewers) are tied together," said Harbin. "That was discovered a year and a half ago with a smoke test."
Under an EPD consent order, the city installed flow monitors on major branch lines coming into the plant. The monitors indicated that three of those branches have infiltration problems.
"Now we're working our way back (in the branches) to find where they are," Harbin said.
The problem at Banks Crossing is related to grease and the age of the oxidation pond, which discharges into Crooked Creek in Banks County.
The EPD has been after Commerce since 1996 to repair the facility, which treats all city sewerage customers above Interstate 85 – primarily restaurants and motels.
Corrective measures are in progress, said Harbin. The city is phasing in a stringent grease ordinance which, among other things, requires not only that facilities have grease traps, but that they be inspected regularly.
"We have not completed all of the on-site inspections. As soon as we do, they (business operators) will know what they have to do to come into compliance," Harbin stated.
But grease isn't the only problem. The pond, which is permitted to treat 84,000 gallons of wastes per day, is old and not functioning properly.
"We have submitted our design development report to the EPD that addresses the steps we will take," Harbin said.
By Aug. 1, the city expects to have installed new treatment cells and baffles and begun using a new chemical enzyme. Currently, the city is removing the abundance of duckweed that, as it rots, contributes to the high bio-chemical oxygen demand (BOD), whose numbers triggered the violation.
That project, estimated to cost $96,000, will also result in a $4,000 higher per month operating cost – an increase of 25 percent, according to Harbin.

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See Galilee Preschool Flyer

Nicholson’s Daisy
Festival On Tap
For The Weekend
The 26th annual Nicholson Daisy Festival is coming up Friday and Saturday, May 3-4, on the Benton Elementary School grounds. A softball tournament will continue on Sunday.
The event is sponsored by Jackson County Volunteer Rescue, the Nicholson Area Fire Department and the City of Nicholson. The annual fire department chickenque will be held on Saturday.
Highlights of this year’s festival will include an auction, karaoke, local musical entertainment, a craft show, children’s activities and the annual softball tournament. The karaoke event will include a $125 first place prize, $75 second place, $25 third place and a $25 “Best Entertainer” prize. To enter the contest, call 757-3382.
The schedule of events is as follows:
3 p.m. Booth setup
6:30 p.m. Cake walk
7 p.m. Softball tournament
8 p.m. New River Boys
9 p.m. Elvis impersonator
11 a.m. David M. Long, gospel singer
12 p.m. New River Boys
1 p.m. Down South
2 p.m. Crystal River Band
3 p.m. His True Believers and Teens
4 p.m. Folk music, Bill Pressley
4:30 p.m. John Michael Crowell
4:45 p.m. Auto extrication demonstration
5:45 p.m. Auction
9 p.m. Karaoke
1 p.m. Softball tournament finals

Pre-K slots filled for 2003-04
All 200 slots for Jackson County’s Pre-K classrooms in all three school sytems are already filled for the coming year, and some 115 four-year-olds are on the waiting list.
Gwen Hartman, Jackson County’s Pre-K director, has been fielding calls from parents whose child wasn’t picked through the lottery drawing process, wanting to know what the enrollment numbers have been in the past and why the county can’t get another classroom or two.
It comes down to funding and the determination of whether or not Jackson County is considered an “area for expansion,” Hartman explained.
The local Pre-K program, which is lottery-funded through the Office of School Readiness’ (OSR) Georgia Pre-K Program, has 10 classrooms this year, with no real expectations of increasing that number for 2003-04, Hartman said. Still, the number of applications for the local program continues to rise — basically at the same rate as the school systems’ growth. The requirements for applying for the program are that the child in question be four-years-old by September 1 and live in the attendance area for the school requested. The slots are filled by a random drawing of names per attendance area.
“Last year we did expand by three classrooms, but this year we are not in a targeted expansion area,” Hartman explained. “By their statistics, we have 50 percent of our four-year-olds enrolled (in the program) and are not in a rapidly growing area.”
Hartman said a point of frustration is that while the program is advertised as being for “all 4 year olds,” it can’t possibly be because there are limited classrooms funded.
“I’ve voiced concerns to the OSR that we still have a huge number on our waiting list,” she said, adding that this far into the current school year, the local waiting list still shows approximately 94 students; that list is not updated monthly and does not account for students who may have moved recently.
Hartman also said the figures released at this time for next year’s program is for the school systems and do not account for children who could be enrolled or enrolling in Pre-K through Head Start or day care centers.
The Pre-K program at the schools has continued to grow since it was first piloted locally in 1993, Hartman said. In that first year, a pilot classroom was located at Jefferson Elementary School and at Benton Elementary School.
“In the following year, we pretty much expanded to all schools,” she said.
The only possibility for adding a few slots for the 2003-04 school year is if the OSR decides in the fall that there are areas that warrant additional funding – and if there is extra funding available and if Jackson County is one of those areas considered, Hartman explained the odds.
“But that could be October or November, and we just don’t know,” she added. “If by chance there is more lottery money, maybe we’ll be lucky second go-round.”