News from Jackson County...

AUGUST 28, 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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Shar Porier
The apartment
As I put the key in the door, I dreaded what awaited me inside.
With a sigh, I pushed the door open and before me lay the remains of a life that had gone on for 83 years.

Phillip Sartain
Signs: The sequel
For the last several weeks, I’ve been hearing a lot about a movie starring Mel Gibson and a cornfield. It has something to do with weird signs supposedly left by aliens.

Frank Gillespiie
State has no business financing partisan politics
Many democrats in Atlanta are upset because so many republicans crossed over during the recent primaries and helped vote Cynthia McKinney out of office.

Kerri Graffius
Thinking about life after college
Something happens to you after you graduate from college. You start, well, thinking.


Tiger Softball Team Wins Four Of Six, Looking For More Offense
With his team nabbing four wins in six games in the season-opening Oconee tournament Saturday, Tiger softball coach Donnie Drew said his squad has a solid start from which to build on.

Panthers prowling Bulldoggs
After weeks of preparation both on the field and off, the 2002 high school football season begins Friday as JCCHS hosts Winder-Barrow at 7:30 p.m. at Panther Field.

Dragons’ demanding schedule begins Friday with ‘Cats
Talent, speed and experience are three things that come to mind when describing the Apalachee Wildcats, and if the Jefferson Dragons hope to win their first game of the season they’re going to have to overcome all three of those attributes Friday.

Neighboorhood News ..
Bit finally removed from well
The drill bit that remained stuck in a Hwy. 72 well most of the summer was finally removed Thursday evening.

County commissioners deny subdivision plans
Plans for a six-lot subdivision off James Holcomb Road were shot down by commissioners Monday.

Settlement reached in zoning lawsuit
A settlement has been reached in a zoning lawsuit concerning a proposed subdivision across from Trus Joist on Hwy. 72.

Neighborhood News...
County keeps free health insurance
County employees breathed a huge sigh of relief Friday morning, thanks to water department head Gary Harper.
Drought dangers
This year’s drought is building an exceptional fire load, said Perry Dalton, Banks County Fire Chief.

Synthetic Industries plans special September 11 observation
Synthetic Industries has planned a special observation on Sept. 11 in recognition of the tragic events of last year.
The Jackson Herald
Jefferson, Georgia
Telephone: (706) 367-5233
Fax: (706) 367-8056


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Jackson County Water and Sewerage Authority manager Jerry Waddell knows first-hand the impact the drought has had on water availability. He has to haul in 1,000 gallons of water to his Skelton Road home every week. His spring is dry and county water isn’t yet available at his home.

Drought forcing water capsComplete outdoor ban may be on horizon
The Bear Creek Reservoir has barely come on line and already officials are having to impose water restrictions because of the ongoing drought.
The reservoir has dropped 10 feet since the first week in June. Because the flow of the Oconee River is so low, no water has been pumped from that river into the reservoir since June 2.
Because of the low lake level, Jackson County Water and Sewerage Authority customers are required to follow the ban on out-door watering from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Watering during the other hours must be done on an odd-even basis, according to 911 addresses. The restrictions are also in place for other municipalities which purchase water from the county, which includes Jefferson, Hoschton and Braselton.
But officials predict that by next week, the reservoir will have reached a “stage three” condition that will require a total ban on outdoor watering county-wide.
If the reservoir reaches a “stage four” level, which is 50 percent of its full capacity, industrial water use will be restricted.
“We’ve got our guys going around and if they see somebody watering on the wrong day, they give them a written notice,” said Paul Mims, water superintendent. “If we find them watering again, it’s a $250 fine. The third time, we pull the meter (terminate water service).”
At a board of commissioners meeting Tuesday, water authority chairman Elton Collins and manager Jerry Waddell asked that the sheriff’s department notify the water department if they see anyone violating the restrictions. The BOC asked county manager Al Crace to send a letter to the sheriff requesting the assistance.
“It is getting serious and we need to keep an eye on the water situation,” Collins said at the BOC meeting. “We’re about to go into the driest part of the year so it may get worse before it gets better...We need to conserve water usage as much as we can...We’re not at a panic stage yet, but we’re at a serious stage...I believe that very soon we will be banning outdoor water use.”
Although Jackson County is barely using two million gallons, or 15 percent of its daily BCR allotment, Athens-Clarke County has been withdrawing 100 percent of its daily allotment, some days even drawing more water than allowed. Seven times between August 1 and August 18, Athens-Clarke drew more water than its 23 million gallons per day allotment.
Some Jackson County officials have indicated that since Athens-Clarke is such a big user of the reservoir, it should take more drastic measures to conserve usage by imposing a total outdoor watering ban now.
The City of Jefferson is attempting to reduce its water usage by 25 percent by going to a 10 a.m. to midnight odd/even outdoor watering ban. If city water usage is not reduced by 25 percent, city leaders said more restrictive actions would be taken. The first violation of the watering ban will be a warning; the second violation will be a $500 fine and the third violation will be a $500 fine and service disconnected.

Two students hit in two days near schools
A 9-year-old girl was in “fair” condition Wednesday following a Monday pedestrian traffic accident in front of Jefferson Elementary School. In a separate incident on Tuesday, a 9-year-old boy was slightly injured about 100 yards from Monday’s accident when he was hit by a car while crossing the street on his bike.
Both incidents happened as school was letting out for the day, a time when traffic in the area is heavily congested.
Ashley Fox, a fourth grader, was hit by Clifford Ernest Jones, 37, Monday as she attempted to cross Hoschton Street in front of the school.
She was airlifted by Emory Life Flight to Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, formerly Egleston Children’s Hospital. She suffered a broken arm and is in good condition, according to a family member. She is being kept in ICU in order for doctors to monitor her condition because she did have some internal bleeding, according to the family member.
According to the incident report, vehicles southbound on Hoschton Street were stopped for school traffic and the girl went between two cars and into the path of Jones’ vehicle, which was northbound on the street. Fox was attempting to reach her father’s vehicle, which was parked across from the school.
Jones and his daughter, who was in the car with him, went to the Jefferson Police Department after the wreck. An officer gave Jones a blood and urine test, as is done whenever there are serious injuries in a wreck. According to the report, Jones told the officer that he had smoked marijuana recently and it would likely show up in the urine test. He did test positive for marijuana and was charged with driving under the influence of intoxicants/drugs.
On Tuesday, Cole Griffen was shaken up after being hit while riding his bike about 100 yards south of Monday’s accident. The boy had reportedly already gone home from school and was riding his bike back toward the city library across the street from the school when the accident happened.
A traffic officer said he told Griffen to stay on the sidewalk as he rode back toward the school, but after topping a rise in the road, apparently turned left into the street in an attempt to enter the library parking lot. He was struck by Danielle Austin of Winder when he went in front of her car. Griffen was transported to Athens Regional Medical Center following the incident.
School officials have attempted various traffic patterns in the area over the last couple of years to address the school “rush hour” traffic problems. Growth in the school system, especially at the elementary school, and additional residential development around the area has increased the traffic in recent years.
Because of Monday’s accident, the City of Jefferson banned parking across Hoschton street where many parents had begun to park and walk to pick up their children. School officials are also contemplating other changes in the student drop-off and pick-up routines to increase safety in the area.

BOC affirms courthouse will be on Darnell Road
Despite repeated protests from one of its members, the Jackson County Board of Commissioners agreed Tuesday night to proceed with interviewing the top architect candidates for the new courthouse. The action came after the board voted 4-1 to officially declare that it was planning to build a courthouse on 165 acres along Darnell Road.
The vote came when commissioner Stacey Britt repeatedly asked his fellow commissioners to take an official vote on whether they are building a courthouse on the Darnell Road site. He said that an earlier vote was taken to purchase the land, but no vote had yet been taken on actually building a courthouse on the site.
Britt also wanted the board to discuss financing for the project, but that was not taken up at Tuesday’s meeting. Chairman Harold Fletcher said the financing could be discussed at the next BOC meeting.
“We voted to buy the land (on Darnell Road),” Britt said. “I want to talk about the cost and then vote to proceed. There is no need to interview these architects....until we vote whether we are going to build a courthouse on the Darnell Road site...There is a world of dissent that I’ve heard and I don’t think we’ve addressed that properly...We need to at least vote and everyone knows that is what we are going to do.”
When the vote was taken to proceed with the planning, engineering and design of a courthouse site on the Darnell Road property, Britt voted against it. He said he wanted to consider another site.
Commissioners Sammy Thomason, Emil Beshara, Tony Beatty and Fletcher voted in favor of proceeding.
“We’re selecting a design team,” Beshara said. “It doesn’t mean we have to accept the design. It doesn’t mean they can design anything on this property. We’re talking about retaining the services of a professional planner and architect...and not commit anything further. It means spending the money to get the master plan.”’
Britt asked: “Isn’t that site specific?”
Beshara said that it would be. “Stacey, no matter where we go, this property or the property I still have to do...a master plan, the geo-technical work and the preliminary study...You can’t do it any other way. It has to progress whether it’s this property or not.”
The BOC agreed to meet Friday, Sept. 6, to begin interviewing the architect candidates. Staff members reviewed the 28 applicants and suggested six to be interviewed. The commissioners are also going to review the applicants.
Also at Tuesday’s meeting, the BOC met with Tom Gunnels, courthouse administrator for a 21-county area, on the project. This discussion centered around the judicial offices and the courthouse architect and design team.
Gunnels said a programming and needs assessment should be done with county employees giving input. Current space needs and growth, traffic flow, parking and access, security, square footage needs, level of finish, schedule and budget should all be included in this study.
The BOC also discussed whether a project manager should be hired on a consultant basis, or whether the architect could handle these duties. No action was taken, but Thomason said he favored hiring a local person to serve as project manager.
Gunnels also briefly addressed the funding options and said they include a special purpose local option sales tax referendum, a bond referendum or a lease-purchase agreement with the Association County Commissioners of Georgia was another option discussed.

Meetings changed due to Labor Day
Several governmental meetings have been changed due to the Labor Day holiday on Monday.
The Jackson County Board of Commissioners will hold its work session meeting at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 3. The regular meeting will be on Monday, Sept. 16. Both meetings will be held in the Administrative Building in Jefferson.
The Jefferson City Council will hold its work session meeting at 6 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 5. The regular meeting will be on Monday, Sept. 9. Both meetings will be in the town’s clubhouse.
The Hoshton City Council will hold its work session meeting at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 5. The regular meeting will be at 7 p.m. on Monday, Sept. 9. Both meetings will be at city hall.
The Nicholson City Council will meet at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 3, at city hall.
The Maysville City Council will meet at 7:30 p.m. on Monday, Sept. 9.

Early deadlines for next week
The Jackson Herald will have early deadlines for next week’s issue due to the Labor Day holiday.
The deadline for classified and display advertisements will be noon Friday. The news deadline will be 5 p.m. Friday.
The Herald office in Jefferson will be closed Monday in observance of the Labor Day holiday.
The paper will be delivered on schedule next week.


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Commerce DDA Has Contract To Buy Old Oxford Building
The Commerce Downtown Development Authority has signed a contract to purchase more than two acres off State Street for a parking lot.
The DDA has agreed to pay Doug Cheek $375,000 for the property most recently used for King's Closeouts, but once host to Oxford Industries, an apparel industry.
The 2.26-acre site includes a 60,000-square-foot building, part of which will be razed for the project.
"The two-story historic section will remain," explains Jan Nelson, executive director of the DDA. "It is a historically significant building. We hope to sell that portion."
The two-story section is about 25,000 square feet. The one-floor section is from 32,000 to 35,000 square feet, Nelson said. The property is adjacent to Little-Ward Funeral Home and runs from State Street back to Homer Street.
According to Nelson, the city will seek demolition and grading help from Jackson County once an environmental study has been completed.
The number of parking spaces will depend on the layout of the parking lot, which has two levels. In addition, there is not yet a time frame for the completion of the project, which is not in the city's current budget.
When it is done, the parking lot will provide off-street parking for downtown businesses as well as parking for the Commerce Civic Center. Since it opened, the civic center has relied heavily on Little-Ward Funeral Home's parking lot, but that lot is available only when there is nothing going on at the funeral home. When the funeral home has a funeral or visitation that coincides with a large event at the civic center, there is not enough convenient parking to handle the crowd.

Remembrance service planned for Sept. 11
A remembrance service is being planned in Jackson County on Sept. 11 in observance of the tragedy a year ago in New York City and Washington, D.C.
The service will be held at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 11, at Braselton City Hall. Plans include the singing of patriotic songs, a prayer for the nation, a candlelight vigil and community participation.
The service is being planned by New Liberty United Methodist Church and citizens of Jackson and surrounding counties.
For more information, call 654-2406.

Special feature planned for 911 anniversary
As the first anniversary of the deadliest terrorist attack in the nation’s history nears, The Jackson Herald staff is working on a special feature.
What are your thoughts on this event? How have your lives changed? Our readers are asked to send us their thoughts about this tragic time in America’s history.
If you or a friend or a relative were in New York City or Washington, D.C. on Sept. 11, we would like to hear from you as well.
Written responses can be mailed to: Angela Gary, The Jackson Herald, P.O. Box 908, Jefferson, Ga. 30529 or emailed: