News from Jackson County...

SEPTEMBER 4, 2002


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OPINIONS
Jackson County opinion page

Jana Adams
Nothing if not contradictory
Obesity, obesity, Americans are increasingly obese. It’s the cry of the media these days, with sidebars on related health problems such as diabetes and heart disease and how children and adults today are more overweight than they’ve ever been.

Rochelle Beckstine
Wives’ Tales abound even in 2002
Any pregnant woman can attest that everyone has an old wives’ tale to impart about how best to tell the sex of the baby they’re carrying.

Frank Gillespiie
Bureaucrats mess up
our educational system
King Roy has to be troubled by the latest education news. After all, he is spending a great deal of money bragging about his education policy. Now, we learn that Georgia is now last of 50 states in SAT scores. Only the District of Columbia has a lower figure.

Zach Mitcham
Looking back
at ‘Ground Zero’
The breakfast customers left their food to evacuate the Bankers Trust building next to the World Trade Center.


SPORTS

Tigers Look To Tame Rejuvenated Lions
If last week is any indication, Commerce won’t be facing the same breed of Lions that they methodically thumped 29-13 a year ago when the two lineup this Friday night in the Tigers’ opener.

Panthers roughed up in opening game of season
Momentum in high school football is more important now than it ever has been according to Jackson County head coach Brent Brock. Case in point was Friday night’s 34-0 loss his team suffered at the hands of Winder-Barrow.

Rushing game powers Jefferson past AA Appalachee in opener
Although forecasters were predicting rain last Friday night, the only downpour on the evening came in the form of Appalachee fumbles, as Jefferson capitalized on mistakes and eventually held on for a 27-13 home win in the first game of the season for both teams.


Neighboorhood News ..
MADISON COUNTY
Never seen it so dry
The “dry weather” pond in one of Charles Hart’s pastures is not much more than a muddy puddle these days.
Designed to catch rain water, the pond, like others all over the area, just hasn’t had much rain to catch lately.

Arrest made in Paoli Junction armed robbery
An Elberton man was arrested in connection with a Labor Day armed robbery at Paoli Junction at the intersection of Hwy. 98 and Hwy. 172 around noon.

College prep SAT scores up, overall totals down
The SAT scores of the 2002 Madison County High School’s college preparatory graduates were up by some 50 points over the scores of the previous class.


Neighborhood News...
BANKS COUNTY
Banks County SAT scores up again
For the second year in a row, Banks County has seen a jump in its average SAT scores.
The county’s math score increased 12 points while the verbal score was up three points over the 2001 scores.

Voters to decide state races Tuesday
Mike Beatty of Jefferson will face Steve Stancil in a run-off election Tuesday in the lieutenant governor’s race.

Remembrance services planned around county for September 11 anniversary
Remembrance services are being planned throughout Banks County on Sept. 11 in observance of the tragedy a year ago in New York City and Washington, D.C.

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The Jackson Herald
Jefferson, Georgia
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TESTING THE EQUIPMENT

The Jefferson Fire Department tested its hoses out at Crow’s Lake on Thursday.

9/11 remembered
Remembrance services are being planned throughout Jackson County on Sept. 11 in observance of the tragedy a year ago in New York City and Washington, D.C.
The Jackson County government will hold a service to commemorate the events of September 11, 2001, at 8:30 a.m. Wednesday, September 11, at the Jackson County Airport.
The brief service will feature the presenting of the colors by the Jackson County Comprehensive High School ROTC program, the National Anthem presented by the Maysville Baptist Church Choir and a moment of silence at 8:46 a.m.
Everyone is invited to attend, county leaders say.
NEW LIBERTY UMC
New Liberty United Methodist Church and citizens of Jackson and surrounding counties are planning a service for 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 11, at Braselton City Hall. In case of rain, the event will be moved to New Liberty U.M. Church.
Plans include the singing of patriotic songs, a prayer for the nation, a candlelight vigil and community participation.
The church choir will lead the community singing followed by special musical guest from Gainesville and a trio from Jackson County Comprehensive High School.
After the singing, a unity candle will be lit by representatives of EMS, police, fire and rescue personnel, military and other public servants. They will light the candle during the playing of “Taps,” which will be performed by Alex Weaver, a Jackson County native.
After the candle lighting, there will be a moment of silence, followed by a prayer for the nation. Then, those present will join in singing “God Bless America” in which the children will release red, white, and blue balloons into the air. The participants will receive a free small flag and fresh lemonade will be served.
“My goal is to provide a memorial service with a small town flare,” said Jamey Prickett of New Liberty U.M. Church.
For more information, call 654-2406.
JEFFERSON UMC
A special service to honor local firemen will be held at 11 a.m. Sunday, Sept. 8, at Jefferson First United Methodist Church.
Special offerings were taken August 25 and September 1 for presentation to the firemen for one of their projects.
Jefferson First UMC is located at 188 Martin Street.
LEBANON UMC
A special memorial service honoring those involved in the September 11 attacks will be held at Lebanon United Methodist Church on Wednesday, Sept. 11, at 6:30 p.m.
Participants are asked by church officials to bring a flag for the event. Everyone is welcomed to attend, leaders say.
Sandwiches and hot dogs will be served.
The church is located on Lebanon Church Road, Arcade. For transportation, call the Rev. Charles Morrison at 335-6891, Harold Whisnant at 367-2510 or Craig Thompson at 367-4938.
BETHANY
A remembrance service will be held Wednesday, Sept. 11, at 7 p.m. at Bethany United Methodist Church.
“You are invited to join us as we remember the tragedy of September 11, 2001,” church organizers stated. “We will remember and we will pray.”
The church is located at 4659 Brockton Road, Jefferson. The Rev. Hulon Hill is pastor.
For more information, call 367-8042.
COMMERCE FIRST BAPTIST
A Commerce community 9/11 remembrance service will be held at 7 p.m. Tuesday, September 10, at the First Baptist Church in Commerce, 1345 S. Elm Street.
The service will remember 9/11/01 and will also serve as an opportunity to recognize local public safety heroes.
HOLLY SPRINGS UMC
Holly Springs United Methodist Church will hold a September 11 remembrance service Wednesday evening September 11.
Church supper will be served at 6 p.m., followed by a special service at 7 p.m.
The church is located on Hwy. 82 north of I-85, Holly Springs Exit, at 7441 Holly Springs Road. For more information, call (770) 538-0310.
The Rev. Bob Lewis is pastor.
WOODMEN OF THE WORLD
Woodmen of the World Lodge 264 will sponsor a community ceremony to pay tribute to the victims and heroes of September 11. The ceremony, “In Honor and Remembrance — Woodmen Salutes America’s Heroes,” will be held at 11:30 a.m. Wednesday, September 11, at the Banks Crossing Fire Station #310.
The ceremony, which will be open to the public, will include representatives from the fire department, sheriff’s department and the American Legion, state representative, the mayor of Homer, a Tanger Mall representative, the CVB and others.
President George W. Bush has designated September 11 as “Patriot Day” and has called upon all Americans to observe the occasion with patriotic activities. On September 11, more than 600 Woodmen lodges across the nation will hold dedication ceremonies to present flagpoles, U.S. flags and commemorative plaques to their communities.
For more information, contact Pat Westmoreland at 677-4927 or Phillip Holcomb at 336-8104.
TANGER
On Wednesday, September 11, a day of remembrance will be held at the Tanger Outlet Center in Commerce. Tanger has announced it will fly their United States Flag at half mast from sunrise to sunset on that day as a tribute to those that lost their lives on September 11, 2001.
“We will never forget what changed our lives and our nation on September 11, 2001,” stated Stanley K. Tanger, chairman of the board and chief executive officer of Tanger Factory Outlet Centers Inc. “We will always remember and honor the courageous and remarkable heroes and the innocent victims of this tragedy.”
The Tanger Outlet Center will also remember the events of September 11 by giving its shoppers a complimentary United States Flag or Flag Lapel Pin. Flags and pins will be available beginning September 4, at any Tanger Outlet Center store and the Tanger customer service center while supplies last. There is no purchase necessary.
Tanger Outlet is located at I-85, exit 149, and US Hwy. 441 in Commerce.


Ban on outside watering begins Friday
As Georgia’s four-year drought worsens, mandatory water conservation measures go into effect this week in Jackson, Barrow, Oconee and Clarke counties.
The Jackson County Water and Sewerage Authority will impose a ban beginning Friday on all outdoor watering due to the drought.
Meeting last Wednesday, members of the Upper Oconee Basin Water Authority learned that the water level in the new Bear Creek Reservoir will fall to the 70 percent mark this week, requiring the cessation of all “non-essential” outdoor water use in the four counties.
The third phase of the authority’s drought contingency plan, which was required by the state as part of the reservoir permitting process, was automatically implemented when the reservoir level fell to 684 feet (above sea level). Full pool is 695 feet.
The mandate affects only those whose water comes from the Bear Creek Reservoir. Water customers of Commerce, Nicholson, Maysville and Jefferson, which have their own water systems, may still continue water use under the odd-even restrictions already in place.
But Jackson County Water and Sewerage Authority customers may no longer water yards and wash cars at all and could be subject to a $250 fine for violating the ban.
The fourth stage, which occurs when the water level falls another eight feet and the reservoir is only half full, will restrict industrial water use, including commercial car washes and laundries, and all public water use not required for public safety, according to the drought management plan. That could occur within another month, barring some significant rainfall.
The reservoir gets its water from the Middle Oconee River, but under its permit with the Environmental Protection Division, the authority cannot pump water unless the flow in the river surpasses 67 cubic feet per second (cfs). The authority was last able to pump from the river June 2; as of last Wednesday, the rate was 18 cfs.
“We wanted to make the authority aware that when the water level hits 684 feet, we would go to the third stage, a ban on non-essential outdoor water use,” explained Jon Walker, chairman of the authority’s Operations Committee.
The Bear Creek reservoir was designed to pump 53 million gallons per day for the four counties for 90 days. During the drought of 1986 and 1987, the North Oconee and Middle Oconee rivers were under the state’s “7Q-10” minimum flow levels for six weeks, according to Ken Jordan, Clarke County commissioner.
That 90-day benchmark passed yesterday (Tuesday), but the authority’s four members are withdrawing water at a rate of only about 30 mgd.
The reservoir still contains about 3.2 billion gallons, according to Mike Hewitt, project manager for Azurix-JJ&G, the company managing the reservoir.
“But we’re entering the historically driest period in the state of Georgia,” Hewitt noted, referring to fall.
As part of getting the withdrawal permit, Athens-Clarke had to surrender its right to take water from the Middle and North Oconee rivers during low-flow periods, but authority members voted to ask the EPD about the possibility of reinstating that right if the situation gets bad enough.
“Is it not time to begin (asking)?” asked Oconee County member Melvin Davis.
“Then the people downstream won’t have anything,” observed Chairman Eddie Elder of Barrow County.
“Until there’s a dire need, they won’t even consider it,” said George Byrd, whose engineering firm serves as the project manager.
Nonetheless, the authority voted unanimously to begin feeling out the EPD on the possibility.


Judge rules in favor of county in lawsuit filed by Nicholson
Judge Penn McWhorter has ruled in favor of the Jackson County Water and Sewerage Authority in a lawsuit filed by the Nicholson Water Association over water service territory.
The judge ruled that the county can provide water service to citizens in a 32-square mile area centered in the downtown Nicholson area. Nicholson sought an injunction prohibiting the county authority from running lines in the territory.
The judge based his ruling, in part, on the Nicholson Water Association members not being legally appointed as required by the 1972 legislation creating the authority.
“The members of the Nicholson Water Authority have not been picked by the Jackson County Grand Jury due to the authority’s mistaken reliance upon its original bylaws, which pre-dated the 1972 enacting legislation,” the judge wrote in his ruling. “As a result of this error in selecting members of the Nicholson Water Authority, this court finds that the present members are without proper legal authority to maintain this present action.”
In a letter to Judge McWhorter, attorney Julius Hulsey questioned the legal status of the authority.
“We know that the Nicholson Water Authority board is not a legally constituted board since none have been appointed by the grand jury as the local act requires,” he wrote. “We know that its manager not only gets paid a salary, he also employs his wife and son in the business. We also know that there are no annual audits of the books and records...We also learned that conflict of interest prevails because the manager is not only paid a full salary, he also contracts with the Nicholson Water Authority to lay its piping in the ground.”
The judge also questioned whether the Nicholson authority can meet the needs of the area in question.
“Even if this court believed that the (Nicholson) had the proper authorization to file the instant action, the court would be troubled by (Nicholson’s) inability to properly provide water services to the area as defined in the 1972 legislation,” he wrote. “At the hearing of this matter, (the county) produced testimony that the (Nicholson) system, at present, is inadequate to meet the needs of its service area. The (Nicholson) water system utilizes only one 75,000 gallon storage tank at present.”
The judge also ruled that the 1972 legislation which created the Nicholson authority does not “provide any exclusive service territory.”
When the General Assembly created the Nicholson authority in 1972, it gave the new water authority a territory that ran four miles north and south and two miles east and west of a point where U.S. 441 and Georgia 335 intersect (at the traffic light) in Nicholson. A paragraph in the enabling legislation reads: “This act does not in any way take from Nicholson or any adjoining county the authority to own, operate and maintain water or sewer systems.”
Nicholson serves some 1,000 customers in the area which is where the water authority sought to establish a customer base, including providing service to the East Jackson Elementary School under construction and the planned East Jackson High School.


CHS SAT Scores Jump
Georgia's average on the Scholastic Assessment Test may have stayed flat at 860 and slipped to 50th among the 50 states, but the news is a lot better in Commerce.
Bolstered by a top score of 1,490 (including a perfect 800 on the verbal portion), the average SAT score for members of the Commerce High School Class of 2002 came in at 994, 46 points better than last year. It is also the fourth consecutive year CHS SAT scores have gone up and the first time since 1997 that the CHS numbers have been better than the state average.
"I knew when the scores started coming in that it would be a good year," said Elaine Roller, who as CHS counselor keeps up with such things. "Of course we had Amy Collette's (2001 STAR Student) 1,490, but we also had a couple of students in the 1,200s and several over 1,100."
Fifty of the 80 seniors, or 62.5 percent, took the test. They averaged 491 on the verbal portion and 503 on the math part, an increase of 26 and 20 points respectively.
The score for college prep students also went up for the fourth consecutive year to 1,042, an increase of 30 points. That marks the first time in four years that the CHS college prep scores have surpassed the national average for all students taking the SAT (1,020).
"We went from 948 last year to 994 this year and had more students taking it, so we're obviously pleased with that," commented Dr. Nancy Baird, assistant superintendent.
"We added an SAT prep class and last year was the first year. Perhaps there's a correlation there (with the improved scores), but we really can't say. Perhaps the parents and students are taking it more seriously since it's been in the news. And, our highest individual score was higher."


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Developer drops $2.5 million Hoschton lawsuit
A $2.5 million lawsuit against the City of Hoschton has been dropped by the plaintiff.
David Healan, a developer and former Hoschton City Council member, filed the suit in June alleging racketeering of a rezoning request that was denied by the council in 2000.
Healan’s suit largely centered on claims that council member Paul Turman approached the developer in the spring of 2000 and solicited him for a bribe for Turman’s continued support of his residential project. When Healan declined to pay the bribe, Turman supposedly withdrew his support of the project and began to actively campaign against it, the suit claimed.
Healan told The Jackson Herald he did not want to comment on the lawsuit and instead referred all questions to his attorney.
Darren Hicks, Healan’s attorney, said the decision to drop the lawsuit came after “complications” arose from Healan’s first lawsuit with the City of Hoschton over the same property.
The first lawsuit filed by Healan against Hoschton was ruled in favor of the city by Jackson County Superior Court Judge David Motes in July 2001.
Both lawsuits involved 34.53 acres owned by the Jeannette Hayes estate near the Hoschton Ballfields. Healan was seeking to rezone the property from agricultural for 55 homes. The Jackson County Planning Commission recommended approval of the request, but it was later denied by the city council.
Later, a request by Ken Gary to rezone the property for 85 homes was approved by the city council in a 4-2 vote. The county planning commission, however, had recommended denial of the request and the request later had to be reheard by the planners when Gary attempted to change several conditions.
By giving approval to Gary’s project and not Healan’s request the suit contended Healan lost approximately $2.5 million in profits.
While Hicks said he couldn’t detail the “complications” involved in the second lawsuit, he did state “we didn’t agree with them.”
“The amount of attorney fees would have just been eaten up,” Hicks said on why Healan opted to drop the lawsuit.
After reviewing all of the technicalities involved in the case, Hicks said Healan decided to dismiss the case two weeks ago.
The City of Hoschton was notified of the dismissed case on Friday.
“It was kinda a shock,” said city clerk Cindy Edge. “The last time we talked, our attorney said everything was moving forward.”
In legal documents filed in the Jackson County Courthouse, Healan sought income tax returns since 1999 and campaign contribution disclosure reports for each Hoschton council member, who were all named as defendants in the lawsuit.
He further sought Turman’s bank account statements, including those he jointly owned, since 1998.
The suit, however, provided no evidence that Turman solicited a bribe from Healan. Instead, the evidence presented in a trial would have “just been witness testimony” with one witness stating testimony to the other’s testimony, Hicks said.
And while the case will no longer go to trial, Hicks said his client still contends the alleged facts are true.
“He doesn’t change any of the complaints,” Hicks said. “Even if this lawsuit had not been filed, I wish the city would look at the complaints.”


Run-off election ahead Tuesday
Mike Beatty of Jefferson will face Steve Stancil in a run-off election Tuesday in the lieutenant governor’s race.
Beatty was the top vote-getter on the Republican ballot in the primary election held Aug. 20 with 44 percent of the vote. Stancil had 43 percent of the vote.
Beatty carried over 100 counties in the primary election. He finished first in overall votes with nearly 200,000. In Jackson County, Beatty had 3,132 votes, or 86 percent, while Stancil had 389, or 11 percent.
The winner in the run-off will face incumbent Mark Taylor, a Democrat, in the Nov. 5 General Election.
Beatty has served in both the state House of Representatives and the Senate. He was the first Republican elected to the House of Representatives from Jackson County and was also the first Republican to win Senate District 47.
Beatty and his wife, Judy, have one daughter, Amanda, and two grandsons. He is a former school teacher and head football coach. He operated a cattle and poultry farm before opening his own business.
Republican voters will have one other race to decide in Tuesday’s run-off. In the secretary of state race, Charlie Bailey will face Vernadette Brooks. Bailey had 47 percent of the vote, while Brooks had 26.5. The third candidate, Jerry Wyatt, had 26.4 percent of the vote.
Democrat voters will only have one race to decide in Tuesday’s run-off. In the state school superintendent race, Barbara Christmas will face Joe Martin. Christmas had 38.3 percent of the vote, while Martin had 24.1 percent. There were six candidates in this race.