News from Jackson County...

SEPTEMBER 25, 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

Zach Mitcham
The hair/gut ratio
Pythagorous had his theorum.
Maybe I can establish Mitcham’s theories and observations.

Phillip Sartain
Just let me explain
At least once every 12 months or so, I have to explain myself. And while I sometimes feel as though the explanation should have been obvious from the beginning, there are times when maybe a little more would help.

Frank Gillespie
Time to turn off your TV and go to the fair
Once upon a time a young man was walking alone in the woods when he heard a voice coming from a mud hole. He looked down and saw a frog looking back at him.

Kerri Graffius
Technology and apologies
Technology, lately, has been a source of apologizes for me.
When we all started surfing the Internet and using personal e-mail accounts several years ago, many people thought it was the “revolutionary” way to keep in touch with friends and family members. Instead, it has made us into a bunch of slackers—and I’m sorry for that.


SPORTS

Tigers Hold On For 10-3 Victory Over Morgan County Fri.
For the second week in a row Commerce dominated the final stat sheet.
And for the second week in a row, Tiger miscues kept their foes within striking distance.

Lady Panthers win again, look ahead to potential region title showdown Tuesday
WINDER- While awaiting another try at region leader Madison County, the JCCHS fast-pitch team took care of business against the other contending team in Region 8-AAAA North on Tuesday.

Lady Dragons sweep week, win tourney
The Jefferson softball team got their feet wet in area play Tuesday by outclassing Lincoln County in a pair of home games.


Neighboorhood News ..
MADISON COUNTY
Athens man charged in Smith murder
Henry Mckisey Bolton, Jr., 33, of Old Church Road, Athens, has been arrested and charged with the Sept. 14 shooting death of Willie Frank Smith.

Madison County takeover of Colbert park may have to wait
The county recreation department’s takeover of the Colbert City Park may have to wait.
County commission chairman Wesley Nash reported Monday that the county will be on a tight budget in 2003 (see related story above) and may not be able to take on maintenance of a fourth county park.

Conditions of settlement spelled out at BOC meeting
The conditions of a legal settlement between local developers and the county commissioners were spelled out at a Monday board meeting.


Neighborhood News...
BANKS COUNTY
BOE making moves on athletic complex
At a special called meeting last week, the Banks County Board of Education approved a $67,310 expenditure to begin grading and road work for the athletic complex at the high school.

Pruitt pleads ‘not guilty’ to murder
One of the men charged in the May shooting death of Cornelia businessman Phillip “Bobby” Fain pled not guilty in Banks County Superior Court on Monday.

BOC still holding off on spray field issue
The Banks County Board of Commissioners is going to hold off just a little longer on making a decision about putting a wastewater spray field at the county farm.

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Jefferson, Georgia
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BIG AUCTION

The Jackson County Sheriff’s Department held an auction Tuesday morning, with surplus items, including vehicles, items seized in drug busts, tools and equipment, up for bid. The auction brought in thousands of dollars. At right, Windall Puckett, Hoschton, checks out a truck for a friend.

Update: Friday, September 27
Planning commission denies industrial
rezoning for Possum Creek Properties
A rezoning request for an industrial development on Wayne Poultry Road was denied by the Jackson County Planning Commission Thursday night.
Possum Creek Properties asked to rezone 157 acres on Wayne Poultry Road from A-2 (agriculture/rural farm district) to I-1 (light industrial) for a business park. The votewas 3-1 with Billy Norris, Randall Duck and Wayne Wilbanks voting for denial. Tom Smith voted that the request be approved.
The Jackson County Board of Commissioners will consider the request at a public hearing planned for 7 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 3, at the Administrative Building in Jefferson. The BOC will take action on the request at its meeting planned for 7 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 21.
At the planning commission meeting on Thursday, Debbie Hardy spoke on behalf of Possum Creek Properties and said plans are for a "sister company" of MACI to locate on the property. MACI, which is associated with Toyota, recently announced plans to locate a business on a nearby tract of land.
Hardy said plans are for the 157 acres to become part of the Valentine Farms Business Park, a regional office/distribution and industrial park. The firm already owns 550 acres that is zoned as industrial.
Hardy said the 157 acres is in an area where industrial development is taking place and the property would be better suited for industrial use than agriculture use. She also spoke on several recent road improvements in the area and others in the works, including the Pendergrass Bypass, Concord Road and the four-laning of Possum Creek Road.
Several people spoke against the request, including Darrell Smith, who said he represented the Stockton Farm community. He said the request does not comply with the county's comprehensive land use plan. He also spoke on the traffic conditions in the area.
"The improvements on Wayne Poultry Road... are needed now for existing traffic volume and flow," he said. "Any development that would bring more traffic to Wayne Poultry Road defeats the purpose of the proposed Concord Road. We shudder to imagine the consequences of more traffic using the Wayne Poultry/129 bypass intersection. That is a fairly treacherous intersection."
Smith also addressed the development in the area.
"The area is undergoing a transition which includes not only the industrial use but considerable residential development as well," he said.
He also pointed out that the applicant owns other property in the area that is already zoned industrial and future development could go there.
"(We) don't see the need for industrial zoning on this side of Wayne Poultry Road," he said.


Pendergrass to get police dept.
After years of failed attempts, Pendergrass will finally have its own police department soon.
On Tuesday, mayor Monk Tolbert told the city council that Pendergrass was approved for a federally-funded grant to bring two full-time police officers to the town.
“We’re just going to try as quickly as possible,” Tolbert said of the town’s effort to hopefully open a police department by the end of the year.
Two weeks ago, the U.S. Department of Justice awarded a Cops Grant to Pendergrass to fund the two police officer positions over a three-year period. The town has applied for the grant two previous times.
But, the grant won’t allow Talmo to benefit from Pendergrass’ police department, as the mayors of the two towns recently discussed doing in a joint North Jackson effort.
“There are so many restrictions in this thing of ‘do’s and don’ts’ that we’ve got to read all of this to make sure we’re doing this right because if you mess up, you can lose the grant,” Tolbert said. “And they do state that it is for your jurisdiction only.”
Another issue Pendergrass will have to deal with quickly is how it will fund the vehicles, weapons, uniforms, desks and everything else that comes along with establishing a new police department that aren’t provided for by the grant.
Tolbert didn’t have an estimate of what that might cost the town.
During the next few months, the city council is expected to hold several called meetings to discuss just how it plans to adjust its budget for the new department, he said.
For the first year, the grant will fund 75 percent of the officers’ salaries, while Pendergrass will pay 25 percent. By the end of the third year,


Nicholson Leaders Want Say In City Water
NICHOLSON -- Saying they felt "buffaloed" by the old Nicholson water board, Nicholson city leaders now want a say in the business of its city water.
In its first meeting with the newly-appointed Nicholson Water Authority, the Nicholson City Council told the new board members Monday night in a called meeting that it had a right to have some influence over the decisions concerning city water matters when the city's lease with the authority is renegotiated.
Nicholson's original lease with the water authority was drawn up in 1986 but expired in 2001.
The town contends that it owns four wells and eight to 10 miles of pipeline.
"There's no way we're not in the water business," Nicholson mayor Ronnie Maxwell said.
However, the details of such a partnership will be worked out this Monday in an additional called meeting with the water board. The council members did say they envisioned a system where the water authority would be kept and make the final decisions but that the council would carry some clout as well. Maxwell even suggested having a liaison from the council on the board to attend water authority meetings but have no voting power.
New water authority chairman Tully Westmoreland, vice chairman Gene Wood and the rest of the board expressed no problems in having a working relationship with the council.
"I assure you, as chairman, we'll work with the city," Westmoreland said.
Though the meeting lasted just over an hour and 45 minutes, the city council's expanded role in the water business was touched on only briefly since the new water board spent the first hour and a half of the meeting behind closed doors appointing its officers and, according to city clerk Jennifer McNeil, getting engineer Chris Quigly's aspect of what's going on in the water system.
This closed session was a violation of the Georgia Open Meetings Law, which states that meetings can only be held for specific reasons relating to personnel, real estate acquisition and pending litigation. The legal reasons for closing a meeting to discuss personnel include the hiring or firing of employees. Appointing officers clearly does not fall under the Georgia Opening Meetings Law, according to Georgia Press Association attorney David Hudson.
"There is no exception that allows closed discussions on appointment of officers of a public body from among its own members," Hudson said.
TO MEET NEXT WEEK
Since a two-hour time limit was set for the meeting, both the council and water board decided to delay in-depth discussion of new arrangements until next week. That meeting will be held at 7 p.m. in city hall.
Maxwell felt it was important the city council work with the new water board since several in Nicholson have voiced concerns with water service.
Nicholson residents in the audience at the meeting said they'd confronted such problems as faucets clogged with sand and low water pressure.
Among the ideas that the water board and council said they'd like to implement is a complaint notebook in city hall for water customers to document such problems with service.
Four on the board — Westmoreland, Wood, Clar-ence Shope and Charles Keenan—were sworn in at the beginning of the meeting. A fifth member, Daniel Sailors, was not present.


Elderly county couple victims of construction scam
An elderly Jackson County couple was the victim of a construction scam last week that cost them more than $1,000.
Two men stopped at the couple’s Jefferson residence on Friday and offered to do some vinyl siding repairs and to pressure wash the home, according to reports from the Jefferson Police Department. The two men reportedly separated the couple and got cash from both of them. They also got a blank check with $90 written in as the value. The men said they were going to eat and get supplies and would return to finish the job. Instead, they reportedly went to a local bank and cashed the check for $1,290.
The Jefferson Police Department is warning other countians to be on the alert for similar scams.
“They are predators,” Robert Larocque of the Jefferson Police Department said. “They are looking for victims. They don’t care who it is. They don’t care if they take your life savings.”
One of the suspects used the name of Arnold Mullins at the Jefferson couple’s home. He reportedly told the couple that he was from around the area, but officials say he is actually from the South Carolina area.
“This is the time of year when a lot of scam artists come to your homes and offer to do work that they notice needs to be done,” Larocque said. “They are very persuasive and tricky, so please be careful.
“If you are going to let someone that you do not know do work on your house, please do not pay them until the work is done. If they are reputable people, they will do the work first and have you check the work before asking for their pay. If you have any contact with someone trying this type of scam, please call the Jackson County 911 Center and report the situation.”
Anyone with information on this incident or other scams is asked to call the Jefferson Police Department at 367-5231 or their local law enforcement agency.


BOC seeks public input on alcohol referendum
The Jackson County Board of Commissioners will seek public input on a proposed alcohol referendum when it meets at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 3, at the Administrative Building in Jefferson.
Jackson County commissioner Emil Beshara has said that he will introduce a motion calling for a pair of alcohol referendums at the meeting set for 7 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 21, at the Administrative Building in Jefferson.
If the motion passes, voters would decide in March whether to allow the sale of alcohol by the package and by the drink in Jackson County.
The Oct. 3 meeting will be the “work session” meeting for the BOC. It was rescheduled from Oct. 7. This meeting is usually held on the first Monday of each month. The second regularly scheduled BOC meeting is held on the third Monday of each month.


Hoschton’s fall festival is this weekend
The City of Hoschton will hold its 31st annual fall festival this weekend, starting with a pageant on Friday evening and wrapping up with gospel singing all Sunday afternoon.
In between, there is a full day of events planned for Saturday, including karate demonstrations, a parade, a horseshoe contest, a cakewalk and a dance, and there will also be refreshments and arts and crafts booths.


Qualifying set for Hoschton, Pendergrass council posts
Qualifying for city council posts in Hoschton and Pendergrass will be held next week.
In Hoschton, post 6 is vacant following the resignation of Genoria Bridgeman. Qualifying for the post will be held from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 2, through Friday, Oct. 4, at city hall.
The office will be closed at 12:30 p.m. each day for a one-hour lunch break.
The qualifying fee is $15.
In Pendergrass, there will be two posts on the ballot. One is the seat held by the late Joyce Wilkerson. The other is the seat held by Sandy Beck, which is up for re-election. .
Qualifying will be held from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 10, through Friday, Oct. 12. The office will be closed for lunch from noon to 1 p.m. each day.
The qualifying fee is $35.
A called election will be held on Nov. 5 in both towns to fill the council seats.


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See Galilee Preschool Flyer


County officials say plans are to extend runway 5,000 feet
County officials denied rumors this week that plans are in the works to extend a runway at the Jackson County Airport to 7,000 feet, which would allow some small commercial planes to land there.
Sources have told The Herald in recent days that some county officials have been having behind-the-scenes discussions about extending the runway more than the planned 5,000 feet.
But assistant county manager Andy Newton said Tuesday that was not the case.
“Lord, no,” Newton said when asked about the reports “I can tell you categorically that it’s not 7,000 feet.”
Newton said the plans call for the largest type of aircraft allowed at the facility to be a mid-range air cargo type of carrier.
“Not a passenger carrier,” he said. “...The longest thing we have on the plans is 900 additional feet on the runway that will take us to 5,000 feet. That’s on the northern end of the runway where the church is.”
But county manager Al Crace said Wednesday that long range plans for the facility over the next 10 to 20 years do call for extending the runway more than 5,000 feet. He added that the master plan is being developed and would have more details on the expansion. He added that extending the runway more would not be an effort to bring commercial aircraft to the facility.
“Somewhere in there (6,000 to 7,000) is probably what it might look like in the long term future,” he said. “You’re talking about 10 to 25 years out. We’re just trying to get the last parcel bought so we can get it expanded to 5,000 feet. If you’re going to get into big jets, you’re going to need 150 feet width. We only have 75 feet width. The whole ground configuration is different. I don’t think a large airport would be in our best interest.”
County officials do have plans for a major road off I-85 at the Dry Pond exit to come near the airport and then connect to the proposed site for a new county courthouse.


Investigator injured in fire
Jackson County Sheriff’s Department investigator Kelly Lacount was injured in a car fire on Monday.
Lacount was preparing for a county auction planned for Tuesday when a car he was working on backfired and he caught fire. He was reportedly putting gas in the carburetor when it backfired. He received severe burns on his chest, neck and face.
Lacount was air-lifted to Grady Memorial Hospital. He remains hospitalized.