News from Jackson County...

DECEMBER 18, 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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Bill Shiipp
Our new man in the Senate
Saxby Chambliss probably wishes he had skipped Sen. Strom Thurmond’s 100th birthday party. But he didn’t. So now the Georgia senator-elect is asked to do much more explaining than he intended.

Kerri Graffius
Seeing orange in the toy store
A few weeks ago, James and I were in a local toy store looking for a birthday gift for my two-year-old niece. It didn’t take long for us to realize that we were actually spending more time playing with the toys than finding her a present.

Frank Gillespie
Lott has put final nail
in political coffin
Trent Lott has put the final nail in his political coffin. First, he angered the radical left by suggesting that Southern values expressed in Strom Thurmond’s 1948 election would have made this a better nation.

Phillip Sartain
Wishful thinking
There is only one item on my Christmas Wish List this year. It’s not expensive but it’s essential to my mental and physical well being—all I want for Christmas this year is a private, uninterrupted moment in the bathroom.


Tigers To Get Back In Basketball Mode Over The Holidays
After a five-day crash course last week to prepare for this past Saturday’s opener with Banks County, the Commerce basketball team will now have a bit more breathing room in its preparations for the Dec. 28 and 30 WJJC Holiday Classic.

Catfight set for Friday at Apalachee
WHEN JACKSON COUNTY travels to Apalachee this Friday, the Panthers are hoping that facing off against an opponent not in their region will mean that victory is finally headed their way.

Late Wildcat spurt dooms Dragons
THE JEFFERSON BOYS were involved in their most exciting game of the season thus far Tuesday night, but infortunately for them, they came out on the wrong end of the result.
Despite leading by 17 points at the half, and 14 points at the end of the third quarter, the Dragons were outplayed in the game’s final eight minutes and fell 56-55 following a thrilling series of events.

Neighboorhood News ..
Madison Co. BOC talks SPLOST
Madison County voters will decide in March whether to renew a one-cent sales tax for county improvement projects. So commissioners met Monday to discuss what projects to put on the referendum.

Schools reach agreement on parents’ Civil Rights complaint
Madison County Schools have reached a final agreement with the Office of Civil Rights addressing a complaint filed last spring by disgruntled parents.

Schools closed Monday due to water leak
Students were back in class Tuesday after a water leak on school property in Danielsville led to class cancellations countywide Monday.

EPD says Trus Joist must stop ‘unpermitted discharge’
The EPD has ordered Colbert’s Weyerhauser Trus Joist plant to stop their storm water detention pond from leaking polluted water into an adjacent stream, and given them until today (Dec. 18) to prepare a plan to do so.

Luminarias, live nativity set for Sat.
The 18th annual Booger Hill-Moon’s Grove Road luminarias and live nativity scene is set for Saturday Dec. 21 from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m.

Neighborhood News...
High winds knock out power, topple trees

Shearing winds downed trees, littered streets with debris and left thousands without power in Banks County Friday morning.

Thirty years of service
If the old saying that a man’s wealth is judged by the number of his friends is true, then Banks County Extension Agent John Mitchell is one of the county’s wealthiest residents.

Lula studying sewer
Lula Mayor Milton Turner said Monday that a study of the city’s sewer system capacity is under way and he hopes to have the reports on the figures as soon as the council’s January meeting.
The Jackson Herald
Jefferson, Georgia
Telephone: (706) 367-5233
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Ebony Martin performed a solo during the “Christmas at St. Paul” program held during morning worship service at the Jefferson church. See page 1C for more photographs of Christmas programs and activities at other local churches.

Jefferson landmark to close Sunday
Bruce’s Fine Foods sold; to become a Mexican restaurant
Nearly 40 years after it began serving hot dogs, hamburgers and small-town political conversations, Bruce’s Fine Foods in Jefferson will close its doors on Sunday.
The eatery, located on Athens Street, will become the second La Hacienda in Jackson County in early February.
Operated by former long-time Jefferson mayor Byrd Bruce and his wife, Ann, the restaurant first opened in July 1963.
But with the 40th anniversary nearing, daughter Cindy Davis said it was time for her parents to retire.
The 73-year-old patriarch and former Jefferson mayor recently underwent jaw surgery for cancer, but is doing well, she said.
When Bruce’s closes its doors this weekend, an epicenter of Jefferson politics will be altered as well.
Virgil Adams, a columnist for The Jackson Herald and frequent Bruce’s customer, said the restaurant offers a unique openness for conversation about Jackson County politics.
Practically every morning, after the restaurant opens its doors at 6 a.m., a small group of local residents gather to grab a bite to eat, discuss politics and talk about whatever is on their minds.
The group itself has become a part of Bruce’s. Davis said she calls them the “Coffee Club,” while Adams says they’ve been called “the university” or even the “center of continuing education in Jefferson.”
Regardless of what they call themselves, the group has dished up its own flavor of political atmosphere at Bruce’s for years.
“It’s been a long time since I’ve seen a politician in there,” Adams said. “They can’t take the heat.”
Local politicians are invited to sit in on the group’s conversations, but none have accepted the offer, he added.
But, Bruce’s does still see its share of local leaders in the restaurant’s banquet room.
The Rotary Club meets on Tuesdays, the Jefferson Lions Club holds its meetings every other Monday and the Giddeon’s gather on Saturday mornings.
And just like those organizations, Adams said the early-morning gatherers at Bruce’s will have to find a new meeting place.
“They’re going to be grieving for awhile,” Adams said of the group’s members.
Although the group discussed a possible new meeting place on Monday, the estimated 25 members still haven’t decided where to talk about taxes, schools and politicians, he said.
“The conversation is up-to-date,” Adams said. “That’s the place to be.”
The Jackson Herald, he joked, would have to be published more than once a week, just to keep up with the pace of conversation fostered at Bruce’s.
The restaurant, however, didn’t start out as Bruce’s Fine Foods; instead, it was called the Humdinger when Byrd Bruce rented the building in 1963. At the time, it was a walk-up window snack shop.
Serving hot dogs, hamburgers and milkshakes, Bruce purchased the restaurant in 1967 and later made about six additions to the building for dinning needs. It was re-named Bruce’s Fine Foods that year.
Bruce won his first bid as mayor in 1975 and continued to serve until 2001, when he lost the election to Jim Joiner.
Davis said her family had been trying the sell the business for two years.
Commerce-based La Hacienda will hold a one-year lease on the building, with an option to purchase it, Davis said. The Mexican restaurant will first remodel the building before opening in early February.

Beshara Makes Good: Animal Control Plan Passes
JEFFERSON -- District 3 commissioner Emil Beshara made good on a campaign promise he made two years ago Monday night when he got an animal control ordinance approved.
Beshara has been working on this ordinance throughout his first term in office and has made several revisions to the proposal. He made several changes after meeting with a citizen's committee, comprised of citizens who had concerns about his first proposal.
At last month's meeting, Beshara made a motion that the ordinance be approved, but it didn't pass. At Monday's meeting, his motion passed 4-1, with commissioner Stacey Britt casting the only dissenting vote. Tony Beatty, Sammy Thomason and Harold Fletcher voted in favor of the ordinance.
"I realize there are a lot of people who are passionate about this," Britt said. "But what we are starting here tonight is just barely going to cover it. Next year, it will be $200,000. It will just grow and grow and grow. I understand there are stray dogs and cats...I'm struggling with it. It's a huge expense."
Britt also said he had concerns about the animal control officer being called if someone's dog wanders onto a neighbor's property.
"Dogs are going to cross the lines," he said.
Beshara said the ordinance is aimed at people who continue to let their dogs go onto neighbor's property.
Beshara also said he had made several revisions since the last meeting, including taking livestock out of the "domesticated animal" definition. He said this refers to cats and dogs and not cows.
Beshara also took "barking" out of the passage on what defines a nuisance animal.
There was some discussion on whether the ordinance could be implemented in the cities. Beshara said the county and towns could approve intergovernmental agreements that would allow this to happen. Thomason asked that the county pay for the sheltering and disposal fee if the towns agree to the ordinance.
The budget is $85,000 and the money will come from unreserved funds from the 2002 budget. The funds will cover the costs of 800 animals. Beshara asked for Crace's assurance that he wouldn't hire anyone for the animal control services except for the animal control officer. Crace agreed.
The ordinance will go into effect on Jan. 1 and is a one-year trial. Beshara said the commissioners can decide a year from now whether to continue or if any adjustments need to be made.
The commissioners have yet to decide where stray animals will be taken and housed or what will be done with them. Presumably, bids will be taken for the destruction and disposal of unclaimed dogs and cats.
Several members of the audience applauded after the vote was taken.

County road equipment to be replaced
Britt says board wasting ‘serious money’ in move
Despite vocal opposition from commissioner Stacey Britt, the Jackson County Board of Commissioners voted 3-2 Monday night to spend $763,000 to replace the county’s heavy road paving equipment in a lease arrangement.
“Y’all are fixing to waste some serious money that doesn’t need to be spent,” Britt said before the vote. An earlier motion from Britt to not spend the funds was turned down 3-2. Both Britt and Emil Beshara voted to not spend the funds while commissioners Sammy Thomason and Tony Beatty voted to spend the money. Chairman Harold Fletcher broke the tie by voting with Thomason and Beatty.
The recommendation from engineer Stan Brown calls for replacing the equipment every three years.
Thomason emphasized that the money didn’t have to be spent and that a vote would be taken again before anything is done. He said the motion was just to make the money available for the program. Bids would have to be taken before any money was spent, he added.
Britt said there is no need to commit to spending the money when some of the equipment doesn’t need to be traded.
The vote also called for “blending” the equipment lease with other purchases, including a GSIS mapping system, a digital system for the E-911 department, 12 patrol cars for the sheriff’s department and other equipment, for a total of $1.4 million.
Thomason said the 2003 budget could be amended to include all of these items, but the BOC would come back and vote on each item when bids are taken.
A third vote was taken to allocate $55,000 for solid waste equipment and $56,000 for maintenance equipment. Thomason made the motion to do this and Beatty seconded it. Britt and Beshara voted against the motion. Beshara said he would like to have had the proposal on allocating these funds before 5 p.m. on the day of the meeting. Fletcher broke this tie by voting in favor of allocating these funds for this equipment.
After this, Britt said he would like to go ahead and purchase the GSIS system and not make it part of the ACCG lease agreement. There was a 3-1 vote to do this, with Beshara voting against it. He said he wants more information before doing that.

Medical Center Courting A
Pediatrician In Memphis, TN
Two representatives of BJC Medical Center will travel to Memphis, TN, this week with a contract that would bring a pediatrician to Commerce by mid-2003.
Oscar Weinmeister, assistant administrator, and Howard Smith, a member of the BJC Medical Center Authority, will present an "income guarantee contract with Dr. Eddie Thomas, chief resident of the University of Tennessee-Memphis LeBonheur Children's Hospital."
"We have yet to sign the contract, but the negotiations of the terms have been completed," said Weinmeister. "He will be a sole practitioner and will practice in Commerce."
The terms of the contract were not made available, but Weinmeister called them "typical."
"We're very excited," he said. "I think the ratio of pediatricians to children under 18 is less than .1 per 1,000. The doctors (BJC's medical staff) told us we needed a pediatrician."
The only other local pediatrician on staff is Dr. N.S. Shetty, who is operating a practice at less than full-time.
Thomas, said Weinmeister, is from Rockmart and is anxious to return to Georgia when his term as chief resident ends in June. He is a graduate of Mercer University's School of Medicine. He and his wife, Sabrina, have a daughter, Christina, 3, and are expecting another baby in February.
In other matters discussed at Monday's meeting of the BJC Medical Center Authority:
•Officials reported on a successful visit by the Joint Commission on Accreditation, for which the hospital will receive a good report. "We did really well," said David Lawrence, administrator. "It is preliminary at this point, but there were no patient findings at all. We scored really well and we're just real proud of our people for the great job they did."
•Lawrence also reported that the facility has hired Pat Minor as its new laboratory director and Sonya Kennedy as the new business office director.
•The authority approved the Pfizer Prescription Card, a prescription drug plan offered for low-income people by the company. It is a national program.
•The authority learned that Sherry Nash, obstetrics coordinator, received her qualification to teach childbirth classes.
•The authority "reapproved" a $78,000 "scope" used for laproscopic procedures. The approval was for $8,000 more than previously approved, but will get the facility the latest model available.
•The authority approved a $37,000 bio-medical services contract to cover repairs and maintenance.

•The authority renewed its medical liability insurance for $115,293 for 2003. The premium is six percent higher than last year and the "stop-loss" ceiling is $50,000 instead of $45,000.



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BOC to review county authorities
But move may be an effort to wrest control of Jackson County water/sewer agency
In what may be the first move from county leaders want-ing to abolish or take control of the Jackson County Water and Sewerage Authority, the board of commissioners agreed Monday night to name a two-man committee to study “adjustments” in the various county authorities.
BOC chairman Harold Fletcher called for a two-member committee, comprised of commissioners Stacey Britt and Emil Beshara, to look into adjustments that may be needed to authorities appointed by the BOC.
“In our relationships with the various authorities, we have had the opportunity to observe and interact,” he said. “There has been discussion that there is a need for some adjustment to some of the authorities we have.”
Fletcher didn’t elaborate on what those adjustments might be, but there has been considerable behind-the-scenes discussions by some commissioners about changing or abolishing the county water and sewerage authority. Britt has been a vocal critic of the authority, both in how it lays water and sewer lines and in how the board is comprised. Britt was also vocal about how the authority spent some SPLOST funds to make payments on the Bear Creek Reservoir.
The chairman asked the committee to give a report on its recommendations at the January BOC meeting.

Planners approve rezoning for Kroger at Hwy. 11
Jefferson to vote on request Jan. 13
Plans to locate a Kroger grocery store in Jefferson passed the first hurdle Tuesday night.
The Quad Cities Planning Commission approved three rezoning requests from a developer who plans to locate a Kroger grocery store on three tracts of land across from Jackson County Comprehensive High School.
Maxwell Properties asked to rezone 3.30 acres at 1845 Winder Highway from R-1 to C-2, 1.69 acres at 1681 Winder Highway from B-1 to C-2 and 7 acres at the first curb cut on the Jefferson Bypass south of Georgia Hwy. 11 from A-2 to C-2.
The Jefferson City Council will hear the request at its work session at 6 p.m. on Monday, Jan. 6. The voting session of the city council is at 6 p.m. on Monday, Jan. 13.
At Tuesday’s planning commission meeting, Gary Wert said plans call for 81,050 square feet of retail space. The grocery store will be in 66,000 square feet of that space. It has not been announced what other stores will locate in the shopping center.
In other business for the City of Jefferson, the planning commission recommended approval of the following:
• a proposed amendment to the official zoning maps of Jefferson to reflect the Major Damon J. Gause Bypass Corridor.
•a proposed amendment to the city’s subdivision regulations to add the following text “and a disk containing a set of digitally formatted final as-built plans.

Early deadlines for next week’s issue
The Jackson Herald will have early deadlines for next week’s issue due to the Christmas holiday.
The deadline for news will be at 5 p.m. Friday, while the ad deadline will be at noon on Friday. The papers will be on the news stands Tuesday night. Mail deliveries will be on the regular schedule.
The Jackson Herald office will be closed Wednesday, Dec. 25, in observance of the holiday.