News from Jackson County...

DECEMBER 25, 2002


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OPINIONS
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SPORTS

Still Scorching
Lady Panthers ready for holiday tourney following sixth-straight win
A month ago anyone taking a glance at the record of the Jackson County girls might very well have suspected that the team was headed for a particularly rough ride this season.

Dragons decimate field at Starr’s Mill tourney
Jefferson prepares to host Keen Classic on Friday
WRESTLERS FROM 12 different schools will hit the mat this weekend for the annual Keen Classic at Jefferson High School beginning at 9 a.m. on Friday.

Tiger Grapplers To Open Season In Keen Classic Friday
The Commerce matmen surely won’t ease their way into the 2002-2003 season.
The Tiger wrestlers are set to face defending state champion Jefferson and a host of other solid wrestling outfits in the Keen Classic Friday.


Neighboorhood News ..
MADISON COUNTY
A true holiday blessing
“Before I shocked him (Nale) the first time, I said a prayer...
I remember thinking his guardian angel was surely with him that day.”
— Paramedic Millie Temple
Man who helped bring 911 to the county credits 911, EMS for saving his life

Planners vote to stick with uniform water system standards
Future developments will have to adhere to the Industrial Authority’s new water system standards, no matter where they are located in the county.
The commission didn’t have any rezoning hearings to deal with last week, so the group focused on the possibility of having a different set of standards for small (nine or less) lot subdivisions not connected to the county’s expanding water system.


Neighborhood News...
BANKS COUNTY

Spreading Christmas cheer
Couple works with seniors in Christmas spirit
Though they’ve lived in the county only two years, Paul and Michelle Skeggs have showed they are concerned with the welfare of the residents

BOC approves fire contract for Bold Springs area
The Banks County Board of Commissioners approved a five-month fire contract for the Bold Springs area in a brief called meeting Friday morning.

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TOYS COLLECTED FOR CHRISTMAS

Patty Standridge (L), resource developer for foster care and adoption, and Brenda Cross, family service worker, both employees with the Department of Family and Children Services, are shown with some of the toys collected for foster children and those in need this Christmas. Holiday Connection, a project of Family Connection, also collected gifts for families and children. DFACS employees were still delivering gifts on Monday.

Christmas gifts provided by Holiday Connection, DFACS for hundreds of children this year
The hallways at the Jackson County Department of Family and Children Services office in Jefferson were lined with toys, bicycles, clothes and boxes of food last week as caseworkers and volunteers readied to play “Santa” for hundreds of children in Jackson County.
Pieces of paper with children’s names were taped all along the wall on the hallway outside Patty Standridge’s office, with toys and clothes stacked on the floor below to be given to that foster child.
Standridge explained that local churches made donations for the foster children, including Commerce Presbyterian, Commerce First Baptist and Commerce First United Methodist. Antioch United Methodist Church held a Christmas party on December 15 for the foster children and their foster families, and the Nicholson Post Office donated gifts for the children currently in the child protective services program.
And even more gifts were on the way — at least two carloads, Standridge said, adding that Clark Howard’s Secret Santa program was also sending presents for children in foster care.
Most of the gift pick-up and delivery was planned for Monday, just before Christmas, Standridge said on Thursday.
HOLIDAY CONNECTION
In the meantime, Jackson County Family Connection, in cooperation with Action, Inc., SolarTech and volunteers, had also been collecting gifts, some of which were among the presents and packages lining the DFACS office hallway.
DFACS director Jerry Payne said Thursday that, in its second year, the Holiday Connection program had received more than 600 requests for Christmas assistance for children. The Holiday Connection group linked individuals, churches, businesses and organizations wanting to help out with those in need this holiday season, making a real effort to avoid duplication so that everyone could be served.
Additionally, gifts and toys that were “left over” from Holiday Connection were set up in a room in the middle of the DFACS office as a room for those in need to “shop,” Standridge said. Those who visited the office for gifts and toys also received one of the boxes of food provided by the food bank, she added.
“(Holiday Connection) had a lot of response and there have been a lot of groups that have served families this year,” Payne said. “This is their second year, and they are developing a process to get a network set up across the county.”
Payne said that the Christmas “adoption” of a family is one way area churches can learn who may need some assistance year-round.
“It’s a good way to start — a relationship to build,” he said.


DDA Office Among Decorating Contest Winners
The Commerce Garden Club Council has announced the winners of its annual decorating contest. Judging was Tuesday night, Dec. 17, and winners are as follows.
Commercial: Downtown Development Authority, 1645 South Elm Street, first; Harber House Inn, 2280 North Broad Street, second; Mount Vernon Mills, 821 South Elm Street, third.
Door, permanent: Brenda Puckett, 228 Harmony Street, first; Carolyn Perry, 134 Delia Drive, second; Juanita Gardiner, 293 Smallwood Drive, third.
Door, fresh: Wanda Beituni, 306 Northview Drive, first; Cynthia Newbury, 50 Forest Hill Court, second.
Whole house, permanent: Jan Owensby, 154 LeMarr Drive, first; Roger and Joan Campbell, 315 Ridgeway Church Road, second.
Lighting: Jean Edwards, 2140 North Broad Street, first; Becky Vickery, 89 Andrew Jackson Street, second; Tommy and Carol Pace, 54 Paula Street, third.


County BOE facing $700,000 in state cuts
The Jackson County School System will be feeling the effects of a two percent cutback in state funding, implemented last month, for quite some time, according to superintendent Andy Byers.
Jackson County stands to lose an estimated $700,000 according to Byers, a figure that includes any mid-term adjustments that may be made in the spring.
“It really is about as serious as anything I’ve seen,” Byers said. “We’re going into our fund equity that we were building for next year and we will do our best to meet our contractual salary obligations.”
The state office of planning and budget informed Georgia agencies and local school systems in November that because of reduced revenue collections, a two percent cut in state funds will be necessary for FY 2003 and FY 2004.
The problem for the school system, like many others throughout the state, is that the reductions come at a bad time. The systems are waiting for the collection of local taxes to begin coming in next month, creating a cash flow problem.
Meanwhile, they are forced to find a way to pay employee’s salaries and other projects that have already been allocated.
“We have no place to go except to the local taxpayers,” Byers said.
“It puts us in a tough position. The state ought to be coming up with those funds instead of asking the local school systems and the taxpayers to make up the difference.”
The cuts are especially troubling because they come in the form of direct funding and although the state acknowledged the difficulty local school systems will have in implementing the reductions little has been done to aide them thus far.
However, the state did say that proposals to allow local systems flexibility in implementing the reductions are in the works.
In addition to these latest reductions, Byers stated that there is the possibility that the state could cutback again in the future, an action which would again place systems in a very grim position.
Besides dipping into reserves to make up for the losses, the school system also plans to find as many ways as possible to save money, according to Byers. However, the problem is that the majority of their costs are tied up in honoring contracts that they already have with teachers.
“We have to honor those agreements,” Byers explained.
In addition many of the system’s other costs (supplies, power, water, etc.) are fixed and cannot be changed at this point, Byers said.


New zoning, building codes presented
A small crowd of developers, bankers, realtors and concerned citizens gathered at the Administrative Building in Jefferson last week for the unveiling of the proposed Jackson County Unified Development Code.
The 500-page book is a rewrite of the county zoning, land use and subdivision regulations.
Although the county has set a 45-day review period of the document before final adoption, the Jackson County Homebuilder’s Association, supported by the Jackson County Area Chamber of Commerce, has asked for that to be extended to 90 days. The next meeting about the document is slated for January 7.
The document has been in the works for more than one year. Consultants Bill Ross and Associates has held several meetings during the process and several more are planned before final action is taken.
Denise Abboud of Ross and Associates led last week’s called meeting of the Jackson County Planning Commission. Chairman Wayne Wilbanks was the only planning commission member present. Some 12 citizens attended, along with several county staff members.
The meeting held last Thursday night was the official public release of the code. The code is available in the county planning and development office. The cost for a “hard copy” is $45 and the cost for a CD-rom is $10. Copies of the proposal will also be at all of the public libraries in the county. The code will not be available on-line, but the land use map will be placed on the county’s website by the first of the year, Abboud said.
Abboud said all of the county’s codes on land use and zoning have been combined into the one document. She said all of the “inconsistencies and redundancies” were taken out and the information is now in an easier to use format.
One part of the code is the development of character areas that are connected with the zoning districts. These include: agricultural preservation, rural places, residential growth areas, urban residential, village centers, communities, gateway corridors, industrial workplaces and intensive industrial. Those people who own property that doesn’t meet the character area of where they live will have to get a “plan amendment.”
One of the areas of the code that was changed the most is the one on “subdivisions and master planned developments,” Abboud said. She added that the planned unit developments have been completely changed with a “master planned development” now being an option.
Another section that contains numerous additions is on trees and landscaping. Abboud referred to it as a “pretty vamped up chapter.” The proposal calls for a specific number of trees required in subdivisions and commercial developments.
Other sections of the code cover: use of land and structures, lot and building standards, parking and loading requirements, sign regulations, environmental protection, project design standards, land development, appeals, procedures and permits and administration and enforcement.
Some of the proposed changes include:
•pre-owned mobile homes moved into or relocated in the county can’t be more than five years old.
•new subdivisions must have at least 20 percent of “open space” for recreational use.
•the minimum building floor area for single-family homes is 1,500 square feet in a subdivision and 1,700 square feet in a master planned development.


Early deadlines for next week’s issue
The Jackson Herald will have early deadlines for next week’s issue due to the New Year’s Day holiday.
The deadline for news will be at 5 p.m. on 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, Jan. 1, in observance of the holiday.

 

 


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See Galilee Preschool Flyer

New Year’s Day Program ahead next week
The 75th annual New Year’s Day program will be held Wednesday, Jan.1, at 9 a.m.
The event, to be held at the Jackson County courthouse in Jefferson, will include the swearing into office of several elected officials.
Commissioners Emil Beshara and Tony Beatty will be sworn into another term during the event, along with Jackson County Board of Education members Tim Brooks, Jill McEver Elliott and Kathy Wilbanks. Although each official has been invited to the event, not all have confirmed they will be at the ceremony, said Jackson County Superior Court Judge David Motes.
This year’s keynote speaker will be Kevin Page, former pastor of White Plains Baptist Church on Highway 124.
Mary Williamson will sing “God Bless America” and Jack Davidson will lead the election of next year’s program officer.
Judge Motes, who coordinated this year’s program, said the event’s religious theme is the right way to start off the new year.
He explained the program is meant to thank God for His blessings from the previous year and to ask Him for His continued blessings.


Joe Booth appointed Superior Court judge
Jefferson attorney Joe Booth was appointed by Gov. Roy Barnes on Tuesday to fill the Superior Court judgeship held by Penn McWhorter, who is retiring.
Booth will serve the Piedmont Judicial Circuit, which includes Jackson, Banks and Barrow counties.
“I am very grateful for the governor’s confidence in me,” Booth said Tuesday morning. “I’m real excited about serving the people of this circuit. It’s a great place to live and work. It’s an honor to have been chosen. I’m really thankful and excited.”
Booth, 50, Commerce, is a partner in the law firm of Davidson, Hopkins and Booth, Jefferson. He has served as a municipal court judge for the City of Jefferson and also as a juvenile court judge.
He received his undergraduate degree from North Georgia College and his law degree from Atlanta Law School. He is married to Susan Allen Booth, and they have one child.
“I am pleased to be able to appoint this fine individual to the
bench,” the governor said. “His legal experience and commitment to public service will serve him well in the new position.”