News from Jackson County...

MAY 19, 2004


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OPINIONS
Jackson County opinion page


SPORTS
Eason Does It
Tiger Senior Wins State Discus; Second In Shot Put
Tommy Eason’s strong right arm has been steadily improving for four years.
Unfortunately for his foes, it’s impressive launches came Thursday.

Out with a bang
Host Jefferson claims Class A state track title
There was some confusion following an overall disappointing performance in the field events Thursday, some frustration following the 1,600-meter relay's qualifying heats Friday, but after Saturday's improbable ending to the GHSA boys' state track meet, nothing but elation was found among the Jefferson boys' track team.


News from
BANKS COUNTY
NHRA Southern Nationals bring 100,000 to Banks Crossing Sun.
McClenathan, Bazemore, Anderson and Savoie earn series victories
Cory McClenathan snapped a two-year winless streak Sunday at the Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Southern Nationals presented by Pontiac at Atlanta Dragway.

Lula proceeds with sewer plans
The Lula City Council plans to expand its sewer system, build a new treatment plant and increase its sewer system delivery system to 400,000 gallons per day. The council has received environmental protection division approval for the expansion.


News from
MADISON
COUNTY
For MCHS seniors...A day to celebrate
About 250 Madison County seniors will turn their tassels Friday night in Athens.
The class of 2004 Madison County High School graduation ceremony is set for 7 p.m. in the Classic Center in Athens. Scheduled speakers include valedictorian Nicole Temple, salutatorian Casey Allen, Sara Jones, Lauren Sapp and Kevin Cash.

Hwy. 29 to be widened?
Talk of such a project revived
Will Hwy. 29 south of Danielsville be widened from two to four lanes?
Perhaps, maybe even as early as 2011, but those wanting a definitive “yes” or “no” may continue to be frustrated for some time.

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

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STATE CHAMPS

Jefferson’s Travis Reed (center) runs in the 110-meter high hurdles Saturday during the Georgia Olympics at Memorial Stadium. After an improbable conclusion to the meet, the Dragons captured the school’s first track and field state title since 1983.

Mayors to ask BOC for tax equity study
The mayors of Jackson County’s nine municipalities want to find out if their citizens are getting a fair share of county services for the tax dollars they pay.
To find out, they plan to ask the Jackson County Board of Commissioners to sponsor with them a “tax equity study” that would be performed by the Carl Vinson Institute of Government at the University of Georgia.
The mayors broached the subject at the annual county “roundtable” meeting of elected officials May 11 in Commerce, said Commerce Mayor Charles L. Hardy Jr.
Only two commissioners, chairman Harold Fletcher and District 2 commissioner Sammy Thomason, were present.
The subject first came up at the monthly meeting of Jackson County mayors May 3, Hardy said.
“Hall County and its municipalities did one,” he said. “They found the major inequity was in the sheriff’s office and how much time deputies spent patrolling the county and not in the cities. The result was that Gainesville got a tax rollback of a half million dollars.”
Hardy said he felt that the most likely place to find a tax inequity in Jackson County would also be in the sheriff’s office. Part of the property tax money from all residents goes to support the sheriff’s office, but deputies do little patrolling in the communities that have police departments – which includes all of the towns except Nicholson and Talmo. And while city prisoners are housed in the county jail, the cities pay the county for that service.
Gainesville and Hall County spent $33,000 on the study. Hardy speculated that the cost of a Jackson County study would be apportioned among the governments according to population.
“We (city officials) have always complained that we get double taxation here,” he said. “This will say yes or no and we’ll find out.”
Neither Fletcher nor Thomason committed to supporting the study, Hardy said.


Britt to get $4,300 bill
JCWSA seeks payment for 663,090 gallons of water, tampering fee, illegal meter fine
Jackson County Commis-sioner Stacey Britt will be billed approximately $4,300 to cover water he allegedly stole from the county water and sewerage authority, a penalty for tampering with the line and a charge for replacing the illicit meter.
The Jackson County Water and Sewerage Authority voted last Thursday night to seek recovery of money lost in connection with the discovery of an illicit meter on Britt’s Ethridge Road property.
Prosecution will be left up to District Attorney Tim Madison, who has promised to forward a letter from the authority to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation seeking an investigation of the issue.
Payment of the bill for the use of 663,090 gallons of water, a $500 fee for tampering with a county water line and a $500 charge for replacing the meter will not remove the threat of prosecution, officials noted.
“If you can collect what the public has lost on this, then you should do so,” advised authority attorney Julius Hulsey. “The decision of whether to go further ought to be in somebody else’s hands. That way you take the politics out of it...I just think you should make an attempt to collect the money that has been lost, and if y’all have done that, you have protected the public purse.”
Britt has tried on two occasions to make restitution. He paid $36 the day after the meter was discovered and came back May 3 to ask what he owed after officials discovered that the usage indicated on the meter was much higher than first thought. Superintendent Jerry Waddell refused to accept payment at that time.
“He’s contacted this office twice in an attempt to pay,” Hulsey noted. “He’s made the effort and, that being the case, I think it’s appropriate we send him the bill.”
“We don’t promise him anything; we just send the bill,” said Member Elton Collins.
Dean Stringer made the motion “to send Mr. Britt the bill for the water, the tampering and meter removal, and get this behind us and get on to water business.” The motion passed unanimously.


New industrial park, subdivisions planned
Pendergrass requests submitted again for state review
Plans for new subdivisions and an industrial park in Jackson County have been submitted to state officials for review as “developments of regional impact.”
The largest of the projects is a proposed industrial park on Ga. Hwy. 82 (Holly Springs Road) and I-85.
The Holly Springs Road Industrial Park will have 300,000 square-feet of industrial space located on 270 acres, according to documents submitted to the Georgia Department of Community Affairs.
Billy Norris, Jefferson, is developing the site for the Estate of Harvey C. Lowery, which owns the property.
The project is expected to cost $70 million, once complete. An amendment to Jackson County’s future land use plan will be needed to make the project happen, according to the request.
Two requests submitted last week to bring at least 500 houses to Pendergrass were submitted in previous months, but have been “re-tooled,” according to Pendergrass planning and development supervisor Rob Russell.
REL Properties, Decatur, is seeking to bring a 425-lot subdivision to 153 acres on the Pendergrass Bypass (U.S. Hwy. 129) and Wayne Poultry Road. A plan for 321 houses at the site was submitted in April.
Russell said Monday that through “intense negotiations,” the development company and city officials are now looking at 350 houses at the site.
Another project that Pendergrass officials have been re-tooling is a plan submitted by Scott Tolbert for 150 houses on Hwy. 332 and John B. Brooks Road.
Tolbert, who is the son of Pendergrass mayor Monk Tolbert, first submitted plans in September 2003 for about 200 lots on the 59-acre site. Russell said Tolbert’s plans were never specific about the exact number of houses.
Pendergrass officials are now requiring new houses to have at least 1,600 square-feet and lots have a minimum of 7,000 square-feet, Russell said. City officials are also requiring limited vinyl siding, “traffic calming devices” and sidewalks on both sides of residential streets in new developments, he added.
And since Pendergrass withdrew from the Quad Cities Planning Commission last month, the city council will establish a zoning board at its meeting next week, Russell said. The council will also pass zoning ordinances and hire a building inspector, he said.
Russell will remain the city’s police chief while handling planning and zoning matters.
A third request submitted last week for a new subdivision is located on the Brockton Loop.
Robert Bowman, Buford, plans to build 180 lots on 182 acres for the project being called the “Brockton Loop Road Tract.”
Since the proposed development doesn’t match Jackson County’s future land use plan, an amendment to the plan will be submitted, documents show.


Plans call for 212 homes
Rezoning for four subdivisions approved
Four rezoning requests that would lead to 212 new homes locating in the county were approved by the Jackson County Board of Commissioners Monday night.
A request from Jack and Rebecca Lindsay to locate a 34-lot subdivision on 66 acres on Jefferson River Road was unanimously approved. The Lindsays asked that the property be rezoned from A-2 to R-1 for the development.
Their son, attorney John Lindsay, spoke on the request at the meeting Thursday. He said the property is located next to a retreat that is used by Boy Scouts and Christian-oriented organizations.
Mark Johnson, who owns property adjacent to the site, spoke in opposition to the plans. His concerns include the increase in traffic the development would bring to Jefferson River Road and the impact to the septic systems on his well.
One of the conditions to the approval is that the developer pay for Johnson to hook on to county water, if he chooses to do so.
The BOC also unanimously approved a request from Maude K. Jacks to rezone 66 acres on Galilee Church Road from A-2 to R-1 to locate a 66-lot single-family residential subdivision. Billy Norris presented the plans for this project.
Randy Johnson spoke in opposition and said he is concerned about the impact the development would have on his sister’s canine and dog training business.
“People come there for the environment, not to see the back door of a subdivision,” Johnson said.
The approval came with the condition that there be a 50-foot buffer between the site and Johnson’s property.
Also, the BOC unanimously approved a request from Tom Hardy to rezone 50 acres on Brock Road to locate a 50 lot single-family residential subdivision. No one spoke in opposition to this request.
A request from Phillip Waldron to rezone 107 acres on W.H. Hayes Road from A-2 to R-1 to locate a 65-lot subdivision was also unanimously approved. No one spoke in opposition to this request.
OTHER BUSINESS
In other planning business, the BOC:
•unanimously approved a request from Larry Titshaw to change the conditions in the R-1 zoning of 19 acres on Davenport Road. He wants to divide the property into four lots.
•in a 3-1 vote, approved a request from Darrell and Patricia Hogan to rezone four acres on Hwy. 124 West from R-1 to R-3 to locate a single-family residential home. Mr. Hogan spoke and said his wife’s parents plan to live in the new home on two acres. Commissioners Tommy Beatty and Emil Beshara and chairman Harold Fletcher voted in favor of this request. Sammy Thomason voted against it. He said it would create a “flag lot.”
•approved a deed of conservation easement for Grandview Subdivision.


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69 To Turn the Tassel At CHS On Friday Night
Sixty-nine seniors will receive their diplomas Friday night at the Commerce High School commencement exercises.
The ceremony will be at 8:00 at Tiger Stadium – or in the gym if rain threatens.
Anna Bearden is valedictorian and Acacia Wilson is the salutatorian. Both will speak at graduation, as will Cody Kujawa and Justin Martin, who are honor graduates.
Honor graduates include Bearden, Wilson, Kujawa, Martin, Katie Wilbanks, Minal Patel, Shay Klugh, Marty Matthews, Justin Howell, Melissa Hagan, Stephanie Rainwater, Ashley Brown, Haley Hargooa, David Evans, Chris Willard, Sneha Patel, Whitney Brown, Jamie Allen, Colin Harvin, Lauren Lance, Samantha Ingram and Heather Gravitt.
Other graduates are Amy Barrett, Derick Blalock, Skyler Bolton, Corey Bowles, Charmaine Chapman, Gary Cofield, Richard Dailey, Casha Daniels, Ty-Phillip Daniels, Thomas Eason, Ashley Evans, Zachary Fincher, Jonathan Goodner, Heather Gravitt, Courtney Harper, Joshua Haynes, Matthew Hill, Laura House, Joshua Howell, Ykita Lyle, Clayton McDaniel, Zane McElroy, Emmaline McEver, Courtney Minish, James Nee, Joey Nichols, Kristi Nigerville, Christa Parr, Avish Patel, Joseph Peek, Irina Petresku, Kelly Phillips, James Pittman, Trinity Pittman, Cassandra Pritchard, Rajk Reid, Amanda Riley, Michael Sailers, Kimberly Savage, Brandon Smallwood, Preston South-worth, Beverly Stephenson, Darren Volonte, Adam Weddington, Mary Wilbanks, Dennis Wilder, LaToya Wiley and Tania Zelaya.


High school graduations coming up
Local high school seniors are gearing up for their graduations, which are quickly approaching.
The Regional Evening School, housed at Gordon Street Center, Jefferson, will hold its graduation ceremonies at 7 p.m. Thursday, May 20. The commencement will be held outdoors at the Gordon Street Center stadium, weather permitting. In the event of rain, the ceremony will be held in the gym.
Fourteen RES students will graduate and nine of those students will march in the ceremony.
Jefferson High School will graduate 89 students on Friday, May 21, at 7 p.m., at Memorial Stadium.
Should bad weather occur, school officials will attempt to hold the ceremony at the stadium on Saturday, May 22, at 10:30 a.m.
A second rain date is slated for that day at 2 p.m., followed by a third time on Sunday, May 23, at 2 p.m. Both of those ceremonies, if needed, will be held in the gym.
Commerce High School will hold its graduation ceremony on Friday, May 21, at 8 p.m., at Tiger Stadium.
In the event of rain, the ceremony will be held in the gym and tickets will be distributed to students.
CHS officials expect to graduate 69 students this year.
Jackson County Comprehensive High School will hold its graduation ceremony on Friday, May 28, at 8 p.m., at Panther Stadium.
JCCHS officials anticipate 267 students will graduate.
Two rain dates have been announced, both of which would be held at the stadium. The first is Saturday, May 29, at 10 a.m. and the second is Saturday, May 29, at 8 p.m.