News from Jackson County...

JULY 10, 2002


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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
Glad so many criminals are
not very smart
A lot of criminals are stupid...and I’m glad.
You always hear true stories about bank robbers who go to the bank where they do business to rob it. A friend of mine was working as a bank teller years ago when a man she went to high school with came in to rob the bank.

Phillip Sartain
Middle school is all about spit
When I think about my middle school career, one of the first things I remember is spit. Nasty brown spit all over the sidewalks between the school building and the trailers.


SPORTS

Softball All-Stars Take Third In District, Junior League Boys Finish Fourth
The Commerce softball and junior baseball all-star seasons are now in the books with the girls’ squad using a four-game run through the loser’s bracket to secure a third place finish while the boys’ team picked up a win in tournament action to give them a fourth-place showing.

JCCHS runner wins age division at Peachtree
After posting an eighth-place finish in the state in cross country during the school year, Panther runner Daniel Elder added another highlight to his distance-running resumé Thursday.


Neighboorhood News ..
MADISON COUNTY
Rec board dismayed with reprimand
Madison County’s recreation board voiced their dismay Monday with a recent reprimand issued by county commissioners to recreation director Dick Perpall.

Complaint alleges Ralph Hudgens isn’t
legitimate candidate
A complaint filed with the Secretary of State’s office alleges that Senate District 47 hopeful Ralph Hudgens is not a legitimate candidate because he doesn’t actually live in the 47th district.

Man shot by deputy booked into county jail
An Ila man, shot last Thursday by a deputy during a domestic disturbance call, was recovering from his injuries enough to be booked into the Madison County Jail around mid-day Tuesday.


Neighborhood News...
BANKS COUNTY
Armed robber hits Banks Crossing motel
At approximately 7:40 p.m. Monday evening, a man walked into the Hampton Inn at Banks Crossing and robbed a clerk at gunpoint.

Cheek named new Homer mayor
Doug Cheek, a Homer town council member, was named mayor on Tuesday following Sandra Garrison’s six-week term as mayor pro tem.

BOC, Baldwin reach fire contract deal
After more than a month of negotiations, Banks County and Baldwin have struck a deal on fire service.

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MAKING HER MOVE

Morgan Anderson, 7, put a lot of thought into this move at a chess camp Monday at Jefferson Elementary School. The camp was held for students in kindergarten through eighth grade. International Master Carlos Perdomo was the instructor.

Man wanted in South Jackson murders arrested in California
A man wanted in the murder of a South Jackson couple has been found in California driving the vehicle that belonged to the victims.
Jackson County Sheriff's Department chief investigator David Cochran said that David A. Hodges was arrested in California Saturday. Authorities will be bringing him to Jackson County as soon as possible. He is facing two counts of murder and theft by taking a motor vehicle charges.
Hodges was arrested in Heyward County, Calif., after authorities spotted a 2001 blue Ford Expedition parked in an industrial area after a burglar alarm sounded, according to Cochran. He said the authorities ran a check on the tag and found the vehicle was stolen in Jackson County. Cochran said authorities watched the vehicle for several hours and arrested Hodges after he returned to it and attempted to drive away.
Hodges is being charged in the February 2002 murders of Sherry Elaine Brady, 46, and her husband, Alfred Lewis Brady Jr., 58, at their Ethridge Road residence. Both appeared to have died from gunshot wounds to the head.
At the time of the murder, Jackson County Sheriff Stan Evans said Hodges is believed to have worked for Mr. Brady in his construction business. He had reportedly lived in their home for three weeks.


School year will start without spring test results-CRCT, Stanford 9 scores delayed
It may be two months after school starts before local educators have results from the spring CRCT and Stanford 9 testing in hand.
Although they are two separate tests — the CRCT is a Georgia standardized test and Stanford 9 is a national norm-referenced test — the results of both have been delayed, possibly until September or October.
“I knew we’d be late with the other grades, but I thought we would get the CRCT scores for fourth, sixth and eighth grade immediately,” said Dr. Mary Leuzinger, testing coordinator for Jackson County schools. “We use (the CRCT scores) for placement in Title programs.”
Dr. Leuzinger said she suspected the CRCT scores have been delayed by “one-on-one” matching of students and their identification numbers to make sure every student was tested.
“They haven’t told us when we’ll get (the scores),” she added. “I really feel we will see them in September or October, which is not helpful at all...Teachers will not have any data at the beginning of school, except for reading scores. It’s not easy for teachers to start out without historical data, but I suspect they will go two months without it and do a good job anyway...It will be a level playing field, because every school system (in the state) will be in the same situation.”
STANFORD 9 SCORES BEING REFIGURED
Accurate scores from the Stanford 9 test given to students in the spring also won’t be received until well after the coming school year starts.
Some local parents of third, fifth and eighth graders may have received a letter from Harcourt Educational Measurement, the testing company for the Stanford 9, alerting them to the changes in the ways of equating test scores and the resulting delays in reissuing the correct test results.
“There’s a problem with the scoring — it’s with the testing company, not the state,” explained Jefferson City Schools superintendent Dr. John Jackson. “There was an error in translating the scores and they had to declare all they had sent out this spring as invalid. So we’re waiting on the revised test scores...“This will throw us late in getting information for diagnostic purposes.”
During a recent Jefferson Board of Education meeting, Dr. Patricia Rooks, formerly curriculum director, had reported that schools might not see the scores until September. This week, Dr. Jackson said the revised scores might not be received until even after that.
“We use these scores for gifted qualifications and may use them with other scores for placement, but other than just a lot of confusion, it won’t affect us a lot,” Dr. Leuzinger added of the effect on the school system of the Stanford 9 delay. “But the national test is important for referencing how we compare to others across the nation, and parents like to have those.”
According to the letter issued for parents, Harcourt is refiguring the scores in a way that will be comparable with last year’s test and will “accurately portray student performance.” The testing company will work with the state department of education to reissue the scores.
Dr. Jackson and Dr. Leuzinger said local schools will send out the corrected version of the scores when they are received locally.
Dr. Leuzinger pointed out that the governor and state school board had already proposed “loosening up norm-referenced testing,” allowing for voluntary administration and fall administration, as well as for school systems to choose their own testing company.
While the Stanford 9 is not as much of an issue as the Georgia test results — the CRCT — Dr. Jackson said late test scores could really become a problem in coming days.
In the future, the CRCT will be used to assess student retention, as well as for school system “grades.”
“On down the line, I think this will be an issue that will have to be addressed,” Dr. Jackson said. “It’s not just the Stanford 9, it’s also the CRCT. By the time we get the scores, we already have the students placed for the next year. It’s kind of like water under the bridge.”


Braselton’s moratorium lifted Tues.
Braselton should begin booming once again when it hears annexation and rezoning requests in August.
On Monday, the town council decided to allow the moratorium, which ended Tuesday, to be lifted. But that decision didn’t come easy for the council members.
When the 120-day moratorium was passed in March, the council said it was doing so because the Braselton Land Use Plan Advisory Committee needed the time to complete the future land use plan. With the future land use plan unanimously approved just moments before discussing to lift the moratorium, several Braselton officials said extending the moratorium could mean the town might face legal challenges.
“Moratoriums generally should be narrowly-written, they should correspond to a certain aspect and should be very limited in time,” town attorney Gregory Jay said.
Jay said he felt “a little cautious” about extending the moratorium for a new reason.
The new reason, the council members debated, was the ongoing work by the Braselton Planning Commission to revise the town’s zoning ordinance. Since work began, the planners have covered three topics the mayor and council asked the planning commission to reconsider.
So far, the planners have reconsidered parking space requirements and minimum building setbacks but no recommendation has been passed on to the council for a vote. The planners have six more topics to discuss.
“If we could look at our ordinances and our zoning and try to get them up to date and that way when the new developers start coming in we’ll have some more guidelines to go back to other than just a road map for land use,” council member Tom Clark said.
Council member Elise Cotter also said she favored extending the moratorium “to get as much in place as we could.”
“That’s what we said last time,” council member Bruce Yates said. “And now we find something else? I think we need to identify everything that we need to do. If we do this again, we need to make sure we get everything in one big pile and say, ‘this is what we need to do.’”
Moratoriums, Jay explained, are often passed to allow a municipality to study specific issues, such as sewage capacity. If Braselton had outlined its moratorium had dual goals, and one wasn’t accomplished, then extending the moratorium would be easier, he said.
“And we could change our ordinances again two or three times and still have difficulty with them,” Yates said. “I’m concerned about the challenge.”
As annexation and rezoning requests are heard, conditions applying to the planning commission’s ongoing work could be attached to new requests, mayor Pat Graham pointed out.
“I don’t see a benefit,” she said.
Although no vote was taken to extend the moratorium, it effectively ended on Tuesday. Developers will have one week to submit their rezoning and annexation requests to be heard by the Braselton Planning Commission in August. Council member Dudley Ray didn’t speak during the debate.
In a related matter, the Mulberry River Associates submitted a letter to the town council concerning Braselton’s future land use plan. The letter was entered into the Monday’s meeting minutes, but wasn’t read to the public.
According to the letter, the owners of 61 acres at the intersection of Hwy. 211 and Liberty Church Road said they “express our extreme protest to” the plan, which calls for their property to be medium-density residential in the future.
Some of the reasons debating the plan include: a traffic light to be installed at the intersection; adjourning property zoned high-density residential, industrial and commercial; and proximity to Château Élan.
Grover Swilley, who signed the letter, states some Château Élan homeowners support the property being part of the corporate campus of the community.
OTHER BUSINESS
In other business, the Braselton Town Council:
• appointed its members to the town’s zoning board of appeals. They are: Tom Clark, Kenneth Bray, Jim Leben and George Moen. Moen will no longer serve on the town’s planning commission, instead, he will be replaced by Alan Slovin. Council member Yates said he will name his appointee later.
• voted unanimously to amend the architectural control ordinance to send variance requests to the town’s zoning board of appeals. Previously, variance requests were heard by the planning commission.
• voted 3-2 to hire Michael Wayne DuBose as the town’s building inspector at $38,000 a year. Graham, Yates and Ray voted in favor of the hiring; Cotter and Clark voted in opposition. Cotter said she wanted to meet DuBose before he was hired; Clark said all newly hired people should be presented to the public during meetings.
• voted unanimously to give Don Seagraves, the town’s current building inspector, an award for his service to Braselton.
• voted unanimously to begin advertising for a town planner
.



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See Galilee Preschool Flyer


New industry announcement set Monday
An announcement on a major industry locating in Jackson County will be made Monday.
A special ceremony featuring Gov. Roy Barnes and local and state officials will be held Monday morning at Jackson Electric Membership Corporation in Jefferson.
Jackson County officials have been working for several months in luring the company to the county. No details have been given on the project.


Jackson County ends 2001 in the red
But county’s finances strong. By dipping into its accumulated cash reserves, the Jackson County government ended 2001 $2 million in the red. But while the red ink was planned, the county still managed to take in more money than it anticipated and spend less than budgeted. The result left a more positive financial balance than anticipated in the original 2001 budget, according to the recently released county audit.
In late 2000, the then Jackson County Board of Commissioners cut the county’s general government millage rate by five mills. The one-time property tax cut was in response to higher property re-evaluations that year. Some $4.5 million in reserve funds was expected to be used to fund the millage rate drop.
The tax cut was hotly criticized by the new five-member board of commissioners when it took office in early 2001, with some BOC members claiming the new board’s hands had been tied by the outgoing board.
But according to the 2001 audit, the Jackson County government ended the year exactly where financial standards suggest it should. The Government Finance Officers Association recommends that 15 to 25 percent of of anticipated revenues be held as reserves and at the end of 2001, Jackson County was at 26.7 percent. That number had been around 40 percent prior to the 5-mill tax cut.
In addition, rather than using $4.5 million in reserve funds, the county only had to use a little over $2 million of its reserves to fund 2001 expenses.
Overall, excluding the county water authority, the county government showed revenues of $23.7 million in 2001 and another $1.2 million in income from outside financing sources. Expenses for the year were $27.1 million, leaving a deficit of $2.2 million for the year.