News from Jackson County...

MAY 5, 2004

Jackson County

Jackson County

Jackson County

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Two For The Trophy Case
Tommy Eason Wins Region Discus And
Shot Put Titles; Gary Saxon Qualifies
For State

Inspired JHS teams move on to second round of state tourney
It’s been a tough past few weeks for the Jefferson tennis program, but some recent success on the court is allowing for at least a small portion of healing as the Dragon family deals with a life-threatening situation off the court.

Panthers finish track and field season after hosting region meet
The Jackson County boys track and field team saw their season come to an end last week at the Region 8-AAAA meet at Panther Stadium. Plagued by inexperience and some depth problems, the Panthers managed just four points in the meet and finished in 11th place out of 12 teams.

News from
Brady to seek re-election
Kenneth Brady to run for second term as BOC chairman
Chapman, two others, qualify for Banks County sheriff’s race
Banks County Board of Commission chairman Kenneth Brady will be running for another four-year term.

Bond option discussed for reservoir project
A Buckhead investment banking firm came to a called Banks County Board of Commissioners meeting Tuesday afternoon to talk about selling bonds for the new reservoir project. Instead, BOC chairman Kenneth Brady quickly cut the discussion short and said funds are not available for the reservoir project.

News from
The campaign begins
Qualifying sets stage for six contested county races in Madison County
Madison County's qualifying ended Friday at noon, setting the stage for six contested races this year.

Cities approve link to county water system
Danielsville and Colbert water systems will be linked to a new county water system to be constructed in the next year.
City councils for both towns agreed Monday night that their municipal water systems can serve as emergency backup sources for a new county water system, which is under the supervision of the county industrial development authority (IDA).

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.

Order this book online
The Jackson Herald
Jefferson, Georgia
Telephone: (706) 367-5233
Fax: (706) 367-8056


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Braxton Standridge joined in the March of Dimes WalkAmerica held in Jefferson on April 24. He is the son of Kay and Kirk Standridge, Commerce. See this weeks Jackson Herald for more picutres.

Three qualify for BOC chairman’s race
Four to seek Britt’s District 1 BOC seat
Let the races begin!
The green flag dropped on the 2004 election season when qualifying closed at noon Friday. When the dust had settled, a handful of high-profile races were on track, and there were even a few surprises.
In the race for chairman of the board of commissioners, incumbent Harold Fletcher and challenger Pat Bell both qualified for the Republican Primary. But in an unannounced move, former Republican candidate Roy Grubbs qualified for the position as a Democrat. Grubbs ran for the chairman’s seat in 2000, losing out in a three-man race. All three candidates are from Jefferson.
In the BOC District 1 seat being vacated by Stacey Britt, four people qualified to run as Republicans. Rick Braham and Tom Crow had earlier announced as candidates for the post and they were joined last week by Phillis Holland and Chris Chapman. Chapman is a business associate of Britt and was one of the key landowners who sold property to the county for a new courthouse on Darnell Road.
In the District 2 BOC seat, a surprise candidate qualified for the position to face incumbent Republican Sammy Thomason. Jody Thompson, a political newcomer, will face Thomason in the July 20 Republican Primary.
Another race that garnered a surprise in opposition is for magistrate judge where long-time incumbent Billy Chandler will face opposition from Jefferson attorney Barry King. Both are Republicans.
In the clerk of superior court race, Camie Wilkes Thomas and Michael Carroll both qualified as Republicans. Incumbent Reba Parks is not seeking re-election.
In the sheriff’s race, incumbent Republican Stan Evans will face Democrat Eugene Brogan, the county marshal, in November’s General Election.
In the coroner’s race, incumbent Republican Keith Whitfield will face Democrat Sammy Qualls in November. Qualls has run for sheriff several times in Jackson County.
Two state races will be on the local ballot this election year. In Senate District 47, incumbent Ralph Hudgens will face Bill Healan Jr. in the Republican Primary.
In House District 31, incumbent Chris Elrod will face Tommy Benton. Both are running as Republicans.
Two candidates qualified for both seats on the county board of education that are up for re-election. In Post 1, Luis Romo, Hoschton, and Randall Skelton, Braselton, both qualified as Republicans. Incumbent Stephanie Kitchens is not seeking re-election.
In the Post 4 race, Lynne Massey Wheeler, Nicholson, and Kenneth Cotton, Jefferson, both qualified as Republicans. Incumbent Ed Tolbert is not seeking re-election.
Several incumbents will not face any opposition in the elections and will serve for another term. They include: Tom McCall, House District 30; Casey Cagle, Senate District 49; Don Elrod, tax commissioner; Margaret Deadwlyer, probate judge; Donald Moore, county solicitor; Tim Madison, district attorney; and Joe Booth, Bob Adamson and David Motes, Superior Court judges.
Dan Venable was the only one to qualify for county surveyor. Incumbent Al Venable is not seeking re-election.
The primary election will be July 20, with a run-off set for Aug. 10. The general election will be Nov. 2, with a run-off set for Nov. 23.

No news yet on Britt investigation, D.A. says
District Attorney Tim Madison said he has yet to see a letter from the Jackson County Water and Sewerage Authority asking him to seek a Georgia Bureau of Investigation inquiry into a water meter found on Commissioner Stacey Britt’s property.
“It’s probably on my desk in Jefferson,” Madison said. “I’ll look it over and forward it to the GBI and request their assistance.”
Last week, the water authority announced that an illicit meter was found connected to an authority water line at Britt’s property on Ethridge Road, Jefferson. Because of the animosity between the authority and the Jackson County Board of Commissioners, the authority, on the advice of Sheriff Stan Evans, voted to ask Madison to seek a GBI inquiry. The authority’s attorney wrote the letter and sent it to Madison.
There is some question about the amount of water that went through the meter, since no one knows what the reading was when it was installed. Estimates have ranged from 66,000 gallons to more than 600,000 gallons.
Madison said he expects the GBI to look into the matter and send back a formal report of its findings, which would be made public.
“However, every now and then they come back and say ‘we’re not going to get into that,’” Madison said.
He also speculated that the upcoming G-8 summit in Savannah might force the investigation onto the GBI’s back burner.
“They’ve pulled all of their agents out for the G-8 summit. I don’t know how that might affect their timing with this,” he said.

Jefferson to consider courthouse annexation Mon.
The Jefferson City Council will consider a rezoning request for 4.37 acres on Darnell Road at the new courthouse site when it meets at 6 p.m. on Monday at the clubhouse.
While working on some plans for new sewerage lines to the area, Jefferson officials discovered that part of the courthouse sat on a tract of land that had not been annexed into the city limits. City officials brought the matter to the attention of the Jackson County Board of Commissioners, who then discovered that 30 percent of the building, which is still under construction on Darnell Road east of Jefferson, sat on unincorporated land. The part of the courthouse not in the city limits is a triangle shaped wedge on the back of the building where the corner of one unincorporated tract falls.
The council discussed the rezoning request at its work session meeting this week. Councilman Philip Thompson asked for a certified survey clearly outlining the property and what portion of it falls outside the city limits. County planning director B.R. White said he would get this information to the city leaders. Councilmen C.D. Kidd III and Bosie Griffith agreed that they want to see this survey before voting on the request.
Thompson said he also wants to see a legal definition of courthouse. State law mandates that a courthouse be within the city limits of a county seat, but it is unclear if that means all of the building or just part of it. City attorney Ronnie Hopkins said he would get this information to the council.
Griffith asked how the error occurred since the county surveyed the property. He said he didn’t understand how this matter wasn’t discovered earlier. White said it was an “oversight.”
“It was an assumption made at the time,” he said.
Thompson also asked about sewer service to the site. Mayor Jim Joiner said the county had agreed to tie onto the city’s sewer system.

Daisy Festival starts Friday
The Nicholson Daisy Festival is coming up, Friday and Saturday, May 7 and 8. This year’s daisy festival will be held at the new city hall on Lakeview Drive.
The schedule of events is as follows:

•All day - booth setup
•7 p.m. - cake walk
•8 p.m. - The Mitchells perform
•9 p.m. - Brittany and Tallulah River Band perform

•10 a.m. - parade
•Noon - political candidates
•1 p.m. - One Choice performs
•2 p.m. - New Revelations performs
•3 p.m. - Bridgeway performs
•4 p.m. - Sunshiners performs
•6 p.m. - auction
•9 p.m. - karaoke
BOC changes meeting time
The Jackson County Board of Commissioners has changed the time for its monthly meetings.
The meetings will begin at 6 p.m., instead of 7 p.m.
The BOC meets on the third Monday of each month in the Administrative Building in Jefferson.

DOT sets public hearing at JHS Thurs. on Curry Creek project
The Georgia Department of Transportation has set a public hearing open house to discuss the proposed improvements to State Route 15 Alternate/State Route 82 and Kissam Street (at the Curry Creek Bridge) in Jefferson. It will be held from 4 to 7 p.m. on Thursday, May 6, at Jefferson High School.
DOT engineers will be available to discuss the proposed changes to the intersection. The proposal includes the installation of a one-way pair system from the western intersection of State Route 15 Alternate/State Route 82 and Kissam Street to the eastern intersection of State Route 15 Alternate/State Route 82 and the proposed extension of Kissam Street. Also included is the realignment of the intersection at State Route 15 Alternate and State Route 82.
Anyone unable to attend the meeting may send comments on the project to: Harvey Keepler, Georgia DOT, 3993 Aviation Circle, Atlanta, Ga., 30336. All comments will be considered in the development of the final project design, according to Keepler, and must be received by May 17.
After the meeting, those who attend can view the displays of the project at the DOT District Office, located at 2505 Athens Highway in Gainesville. The phone number at the office is (770) 532-5526, and those who would like to see the displays are asked to call and make an appointment.

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City Council To Rule On Highland Estates Rezoning
Developer Proposes 6,000-Square-Foot Lots, Amenities
The Commerce City Council will decide Monday night whether to let the developer of Highland Estates subdivision reduce the size of lots so he can build more houses.
Highland Estates is located off State Street.
The Commerce Planning Commission turned down the request of Ken Gary to change the zoning from R-2 to R-2 with conditions, believing that the matter did not have to go before the city council for a final decision. However, the council will take up the matter Monday at 6:30 p.m. at the Commerce Civic Center. It can confirm the planning commission’s action, reverse it or modify it.
In his presentation April 26 to the planning commission, Gary proposed 6,000-square-foot lots, which would allow 7.25 houses per acre. R-2 under the current zoning ordinance requires lots of at least 11,000 square feet, which allows a developer to build almost four houses per acre. The change would allow him to build 106 houses instead of 70 on 35 acres. Houses would be a minimum of 1,200 square feet.
In exchange for the smaller lots, Gary promised a number of amenities that he’s not required to provide under the current zoning, including sidewalks, curbs, a storm sewer system, 10 to 15 acres of greenspace and restrictive covenants he says will keep the neighborhood neat and attractive.
Gary said the covenants would require homeowners to have weekly yard maintenance, provide for animal control and prohibit junked or abandoned cars. The subdivision would also have a homeowners’ association to provide enforcement of the covenants and maintenance of the common areas.
The council did not discuss the matter at its work session Monday night. There was no comment when City Manager Clarence Bryant explained the request and the planning commission’s action on the matter.

JHS community to raise funds Sat. for hospitalized student
The Jefferson High School community is coming together to aid the family of student Marc Baskett, 19, who has been in a drug-induced coma since he was a passenger in a car involved in an April 24 automobile accident.
A meeting on Sunday among Jefferson school officials and parents resulted in a fund-raiser scheduled for this Saturday beginning at 8 a.m. at the First Baptist Church of Jefferson. A truckload of cases of soda will be sold for $20 each with all of the proceeds going to The Marc Baskett Fund.
Because of the serious nature of Baskett’s injuries he remains in critical condition in the intensive care unit of Grady Memorial Hospital’s trauma center in Atlanta. His parents have remained by his side since the date of the accident and have been unable to work.
Baskett’s condition remained critical as of press time Wednesday, however he had improved considerably since a scare Saturday caused his temperature to rise to 106 degrees. Since then his temperature has dropped back down to around 102 and he opened his eyes Tuesday but was non-responsive, a friend of the family said.
In addition to this most serious condition, a head injury, Baskett also suffered injuries to his femur and ankle. Surgery has been completed to repair those injuries and no more are expected to be needed in the
One person died and three were injured during the head-on-collision in Hall County on April 24. The Georgia State Patrol’s Specialized Collision Reconstruction Team is investigating the accident and charges are still pending.
Baskett was airlifted from the scene on Ga. 52 between Ga. 365 and Brookton, west of Lula, in Hall County to Grady’s trauma center in Atlanta with a head injury, femur and ankle injuries. The wreck occurred on a curve in front of Clemons Chapel United Methodist Church, leaving the vehicles involved in shambles and forcing a portion of the highway to be closed for nearly three hours.
Within the past week, the Jefferson wrestling team, which Baskett is a part of, visited him in the hospital.
Baskett is also the No. 1 singles player on the Dragon boys’ tennis team, as well as a member of the boys’ track team. He was voted as the JHS Prom King on Saturday night despite not attending the event.
Contributions can be made to the fund supporting the family by sending donations to: The Marc Baskett Donation Fund, Attention: Donna Smith, c/o nBank, P.O. Box 210, Commerce, Georgia 30529.