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DECEMBER 4, 2002


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OPINIONS
Jackson County opinion page

Angela Gary
A lesson in patience
Turkey and dressing, country ham, pork chops, creamed corn, sweet potato soufflé, rice, salads, pecan pie....

Shar Porier
Cats and baths
Actually, I did not start out a cat lover. Growing up, my Grams’s mean, old Tomcat was not a good representative for the felines of the world. Nope, he was a grumpy old cuss that never wanted to do anything but catch mice.

Frank Gillespie
What’s truly divisive
It never ceases to amaze me how the big Atlanta media can pass on quotes from anti-south bigots without bothering to question the accuracy of their statements.

Margie Richards
Animal shelter becomes a reality
The word by definition means a place of sanctuary, protection, safety and security.


SPORTS

Dome-ward Bound?
Commerce hopes to be breaking out the turf shoes—not basketball shoes—next weekend.
A trip to the Georgia Dome for the state semifinal playoffs is the prize on the line for the Tigers this Friday night when they meet 6-6 Dooly County in the quarterfinal round on the road in Vienna.

Panther Invitational this weekend to provide early season tests
JACKSON COUNTY WILL host one of the larger wrestling tournaments around this Friday and Saturday as some 20 teams come to town for the annual Panther Invitational at JCCHS.

Strong out of the gate
Following a march to the finals of their annual shoot-out tournament, the Jefferson girls will take some time to recuperate this week and work on any weaknesses they may have before heading to Apalachee this Saturday at 6 p.m.


Neighboorhood News ..
MADISON COUNTY
Madison-Oglethorpe Animal Shelter opens its doors
The long-time dream of an animal shelter in the county is finally a reality.
The Madison-Oglethorpe Animal Shelter began accepting animals this week.

Shriners provide local teen a prosthetic hand
Blake Pulliam will remember the day he met Julian Davis in a McDonald’s restaurant near Hull.

Christmas in Comer set for this Saturday
The city of Comer will hold its annual day-long Christmas celebration this Saturday, Dec. 7.


Neighborhood News...
BANKS COUNTY

DA to seek indictment for arson

District attorney Tim Madison plans to seek an indictment on Jay Scott Ballinger for setting the 1998 fire that killed Banks County firefighter Loy Williams Jr.

Gillsville approves tower and zoning ordinances
The Gillsville City Council voted unanimously Tuesday to approve the new zoning ordinance and telecommunication tower ordinance.

Planners approve disaster ordinances
The county may be one step closer to having a set of ordinances to aid citizens in times of disaster.

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THREE ACRES DAMAGED IN FOREST FIRE

Three acres of forest were damaged in a fire Saturday night. Firefighter Kevin Vermillion is shown at the scene. Mark Duke of the Jefferson Fire Department said that recent high winds knocked down a 60-foot oak tree on Otis Holman Road. The tree hit power lines which caused the fire that burned the three acres of woods.

Animal control vote falls short
Beshara to again make motion on ordinance Dec. 16
Did it pass or not?
That was the question at the Jackson County Board of Commissioners meeting Monday night after a 2-1-1 vote on an animal control ordinance recommended by commissioner Emil Beshara.
Beshara made the motion to approve the ordinance and it was seconded by chairman Harold Fletcher. The two then voted in favor of the animal control ordinance, while Tony Beatty voted against it. Sammy Thomason abstained from voting and Stacey Britt wasn’t present for the meeting.
At first, Beshara said the ordinance had passed, but county attorney Daniel Haygood said later in the meeting that the county regulations require that at least three members vote in favor of something before it passes.
Beatty and Thomason had both asked that they first be given a copy of the budget for animal control before a vote is taken. But Beshara said that he had already outlined what would be covered and said the maximum funds would be $100,000 and it would come from funds not used in this year’s budget.
Beatty and Thomason said they wanted to see the actual budget figures before voting. Beshara said he would call for a motion again at the Dec. 16 BOC meeting.
“It was no secret that I wanted to vote on this tonight,” he said.
Thomason said: “It’s too controversial an issue not to contemplate it...I want to support it, but I want to fully understand it. It is so controversial.”
Beatty said: “I think we need to see the whole package. If we vote on the ordinance tonight and we vote on the funding later, that is useless. I like to see everything at one time. It’s a big issue.”
Before the vote was taken Monday night, the proposed ordinance was discussed for almost 45 minutes. Several citizens spoke, including Walter Barnett of Nicholson, who said he is concerned about the nuisance violation. He questioned whether the portion of the ordinance addressed at barking dogs applies to cattle. Beshara said that it is specifically about dogs and not cattle.
Barnett also questioned how the program would be funded.
“We’ve got so many programs going on now,” he said. “...We’ve got more schools and more taxes. We’re going to overload our wagon. We’re not going to be able to fund all of that.”
Terry Archer, Center, asked whether the ordinance could be enforced in towns. Beshara said the ordinance is only for the unincorporated areas, but that it could be enforced in the towns if the councils approve it.


For Sale?
Commerce Gets Appraisal On Old City Hall Building
Does the city of Commerce have a potential buyer for The Chamber Building?
Officials would not say, but at Monday night's work session in preparation for next Monday night's regular meeting, the city council looked over copies of what City Manager Clarence Bryant said was an appraisal on the building, which formerly housed City Hall.
The appraisal apparently came in higher than Bryant expected at over $350,000.
"If I wanted a building, before I paid that much, I'd go out and build one," he stated. Bryant declined to let a reporter view the document, saying it wasn't a public record yet because the city had not paid for it.
The document suggests that the city has someone interested in buying the building, but officials declined to discuss the matter.
The city recently renovated the building, which the Down-town Development Authority operates as a “small business incubator.” The Jackson County Area Chamber is the anchor tenant under a multi-year, no-cost lease.
The city council will hold its December meeting Monday at 6:30 p.m. at the Commerce Civic Center. Items on the agenda include appointments to the city's Board of Appeals for the Ward 3 and Ward 4 positions currently held by Barry Lord and Allen Lacey respectively; the position on the Jackson County Airport Authority currently held by Bryant; and the seat on the BJC Medical Center Authority held by Rick Massey.
Other items to be considered Monday include:
•approval of a contract with Alcohol and Substance Abuse Prevention Programs Inc. for a drug testing program, which will include random drug screening. Bryant reminded the council that it had insisted on being tested along with city employees.
"We'll put you all on that list," he said.
"I think we ought to be the first," said Councilman Archie Chaney.
•a budget amendment for the recreation department to cover new lights at the tennis courts at the Veterans Memorial Park complex, plus additional lights around the city pool.
•a resolution on its short-term program of work.
•a decision to close at noon Dec. 24 for Christmas (with Dec. 25 a holiday too).
•discussion with City Attorney John Stell about condemning access to the city's 18-acre former reservoir off Waterworks Road. Access is needed so the city can sell the tract at some point in the future.
Bryant has also announced that the city has postponed from Monday to a later date a public nuisance hearing regarding Pardue's Mobile Home Park and that the attorney for the owner plans to visit the trailer park at the request of the city.
"I think this guy's going to be shocked," said Mayor Charles L. Hardy Jr.
"I do too," said Bryant.
Having conducted inspections and found more than 80 code violations, many of them major, the city appears to be moving toward declaring the neighborhood a public nuisance and removing all of the trailers. Many residents have already moved out.


Ice tonight?
You knew it was colder than normal for early December. Now forecasters are predicting sleet and freezing rain for the Jackson County and Northeast Georgia area Wednesday night and Thursday morning.
While ground temperatures are too warm for significant icing on roads, a sheet of freezing rain could cause problems with trees and power lines over the next 18 hours.
A cold rain began falling early Wednesday and was predicted to continue as a strong cold front moved into the area. The low Wednesday night was predicted to be around 32 degrees.

With this first blast of icy winter weather, Jackson County road department leaders say they are ready.
Road superintendent Larry Guthrie said Wednesday morning that the equipment is ready to go and his crew is on call.
Guthrie said that the county road department had a trial run on all of the winter equipment last Wednesday, the day before Thanksgiving. He said they began getting the equipment ready for the icy weather as soon as the forecast came in early this week.
“We went ahead and got our salt boxes put on and scrapers and tested and made sure everything was ready,” he said. “We have everything loaded with our salt and gravel mix in the drive waiting,” Guthrie said. “Right now, it is a waiting period.”
“We’re going out and pre-salting our bridges and any bad spots that we think there are,” said. “At least, we’ll have that salt on the road.”


Decision Due Soon On
Appointment Of Judge
A panel is expected to make a recommendation to Gov. Roy Barnes sometime next week on who should be the newest Superior Court judge in the Piedmont Judicial Circuit.
Tracey Foster of the Judicial Nominating Commission said nomination questionnaires from attorneys nominated for the judgeship currently held by Penn McWhorter are due in today (Wednesday) at 5:00.
"The nominees will be interviewed by the commission next week and the commission makes a recommendation to the governor," said Foster. Barnes, presumably, will make an appointment prior to leaving office Jan. 20 rather than leaving the appointment to Gov.-Elect Sonny Perdue.
The commission could recommend one candidate or narrow the field to more than one.
Foster said that by law she is prohibited from releasing the names or even the number of nominees for the vacancy.
Local attorneys Joe Booth, Donna Golden and Greg Perry are all said to have expressed interest.
When McWhorter announced his impending retirement, the Georgia Bar Association sent out a notice to all attorneys in the circuit, which comprises Barrow, Banks and Jackson counties. Nominations to fill the vacancy could be made by attorneys, and also by the general public. Additionally, interested attorneys could nominate themselves, Foster noted.
The Judicial Nominating Commission then mailed the questionnaires to all nominees.



Armed robber hits SJ store
A clerk at a Nicholson convenience store said a man with a “shiny black handgun” robbed the store while she was counting the money in the cash drawer Friday.
The woman said the man entered the Quick Pantry, located on Hwy. 441 South, around at 8:20 p.m. She said he had the gun in his hand and ordered her to get on the floor. She said then he held the gun to her head and said that he wouldn’t hurt her if she gave him the money.
The woman said he took money from the safe and put it in a briefcase. He allegedly told her to get in the cooler before he left. More than $2,000 was taken.
The woman said the robber was dressed all in black, including a black leather jacket and a black stocking hood.


County govt. opposes Talmo annexation
But city plans to move forward anyway
Despite objections raised by the Jackson County government, the Talmo City Council is moving forward with plans for its first annexation in 13 years.
A hearing on the annexation and rezoning will be held on the matter at 7 p.m. Jan. 7 by the Talmo council. Prior to that, the matter will go before the Quad Cities Planning Commission on December 17 for a recommendation.
At issue are four Mountain Creek Church Road parcels ranging from 19.57 acres down to 2.24 acres in size wanting to move from A-2 in the county to R-1 in Talmo.
But in a letter from Jackson County planning director B.R. White, the county said it “objects to the proposed annexation.”
The letter included a statement that the county “would reserve the right for further comments” if the city could answer questions regarding city services, development plans and road maintenance.
Specifically, the letter from White asked what services the city could provide that could not be provided to the development without the annexation; whether the density of the development conforms to the comprehensive land use plan; if the county would be provided with plans for development; and whether the city would maintain the portion of Mountain Creek Church Road adjacent to the proposed annexation.
‘WE’RE GOING FORWARD’
But Talmo Mayor Larry Wood told the council Tuesday night that, despite the objections raised by the county, “Talmo will proceed” with the annexation hearing.
“Our attorney says services have nothing to do with annexation,” he said. “We’re going forward with it.”
Wood sent a letter to White regarding the county’s objections and to notify that department that the city will proceed with the hearing.
“Your objections were duly noted, however, there was not a clear objection to the land use,” the letter states. “The City of Talmo will proceed with the annexation hearing. This residential land use clearly meets the Jackson County Comprehensive Land Use Map classification as medium density residential.”
The letter also referred to questions about whether the city would maintain portions of Mountain Creek Church Road, saying that there would be no change in the status of the road – that it would remain classified as County Road #199. The city would be responsible for maintenance on any “interior public roads,” the letter ended.

 

 


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See Galilee Preschool Flyer

Local holiday events coming up
The holiday season will kick-off in earnest this week, with community activities planned in Jefferson, Maysville, Hoschton, Braselton and Nicholson. Likewise, some Christmas concerts are also coming up over the next week.
•Dec. 5, 9 & 10, Christmas band concerts: The Jackson County band program will present three Christmas concerts during the next week. The West Jackson Middle School Band will perform a concert at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, December 5, in the school gym. The East Jackson Middle School Band will perform a concert at 7:30 p.m. Monday, December 9, in the school gym. The Jackson County Comprehensive High School Concert Band, Symphonic Band and Wind Ensemble will perform a concert at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, December 10, in the J.L. McMullan Auditorium at JCCHS. Admission to all concerts is free.
•Dec. 6, Santa Claus at Nicholson library: The Nicholson City Council and the Friends of the Harold S. Swindle Library have invited Santa Claus to drop in for a visit at the library on Friday, Dec. 6, from 6 to 8 p.m. There will also be a time of music and fellowship.
•Dec. 6-8, Château Élan tour of homes: Residents of Château Élan will hold a holiday tour of homes, “It’s a Wonderful House,” from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. December 6, 7 and 8. The tour will include five homes in the Legends development, with proceeds from the $25 ticket sales to benefit the Gwinnett Children’s Shelter. A limited number of tickets will be available. For advance tickets, contact (770) 307-4031.
•Dec. 7, Breakfast with Santa: The Jackson County Optimist Club will sponsor breakfast with Santa from 9 to 11:30 a.m. Saturday, December 7, at Jackson Electric Membership Corporation. The cost is $5 each and includes a photo with Santa.
•Dec. 7, Jefferson Christmas parade: The Jefferson Christmas Parade will be held at 3 p.m. Saturday, December 7. The theme for this year’s parade, sponsored by Jefferson Junior Women, is “Christmas Around the World.” The parade line-up will begin at 1 p.m. at Jefferson Memorial Stadium, with judging at 2 p.m. Floats will be judged for “Most Original,” “Most Christmas Spirit” and “Most Participation.” The entry deadline is December 6. For more information, contact Patricia Griggers at 654-1271.
•Dec. 7, Maysville Christmas Parade, Christmas in the Park: The Maysville Christmas parade will be at 4:30 p.m. Saturday, December 7, through efforts of the city, Community Improvement Club, Beautification Committee and Downtown Development Authority. Those who wish to participate should call 652-2274. The annual Christmas in the Park celebration will be from 6 to 8 p.m. that evening at Maysville Veterans Park, including entertainment, vendors, hot chocolate, a hayride and pictures with Santa Claus. Contact Ginger Smith at 652-3698 for more information. The third annual Christmas Decorating Contest for Maysville residents will be held. Call 652-2967 if interested in participating.
•Dec. 7, Santa at the Gazebo: Santa will make an appearance at the Hoschton gazebo from 10 a.m. to noon Saturday, December 7. Santa will have surprises for boys and girls and his helpers will be available to take photographs. Hot chocolate will be provided at the event, sponsored by Hoschton Women’s Civic Club.
•Dec. 8, Christmas Tour of Historic Homes and Churches and Downtown Holiday Festival: Four historic Jefferson churches and three private homes will be included in a Christmas Tour of Historic Homes and Churches from 2 to 4 p.m. Sunday, December 8. Refreshments and music will be offered at several sites. Proceeds from $15 ticket sales, sponsorships and donations will benefit Better Hometown Jefferson. Parking and shuttles will be available for those with difficulty walking distances.
A Downtown Holiday Festival in Jefferson is also planned from 1:30-4:30 p.m. Dec. 8, with carolers on the square and in front of the tour houses, a horsedrawn wagon will offer rides, and “Father Christmas” will be at the museum for photographs. The museum’s Pendergrass store building will be decorated for circa 1858 Christmas. Holiday music and other children’s activities will also be featured at the museum.
For more details, contact museum director Donna Bulter at 367-5307 or crawfordlong@alltel.net.
•Dec. 11 & 14, ‘Victorian Christmas’ programs a CWL Museum: A “Victorian Christmas Crafts” program will be held from 10 a.m. to noon Wednesday, December 11, at the Crawford W. Long Museum. Sherri Stephens, Athens, will demonstrate how to make inexpensive crafts with a Victorian touch. The program is free, but donations will be accepted. Reservations are suggested.
“Family Fun Day: A Victorian Christmas” will be held at the museum from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m., Saturday, December 14. The museum shop will be open for “Secret Santa Shopping,” with a 10 percent discount for all children. For more information, contact museum director Donna Butler at 367-5307 or crawfordlong@alltel.net.