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Nab 17 Ribbons At League Meet
State Meet All Thats Left For Local
The Commerce Tiger Sharks capped their regular season by collecting
17 ribbons through either individual or team relay competition
at this past Saturdays North Georgia Swim League championship
meet in Gainesville.
Last area teams
bow out of state tourney
The last two area all star teams still
alive in Georgia Recreation and Parks Association state play
were eliminated in their respective tournaments during the past
The 10-and-under boys and the 12-and-under boys, both from Jefferson,
were each playing in Class B action in Carrollton and Americus
Pro Late Model checkered flag at LNS
Joey Senter of Jefferson started on the
pole and established leads of nearly two seconds twice before
being forced to hold off Dwayne Buggay in the closing laps to
win this past Saturday nights Pro Late Model 50-lap feature
at Lanier National Speedway.
Club on probation for six months after
BOC looks into ordinance violations
The Steel Horse was given six months probation after the Banks
County Board of Commissioners held a hearing Tuesday morning
to discuss several ordinance violations associated with a male
review that took place at the business on July 3.
department awarded $74,000 Homeland Security grant
Baldwin fire chief Joe Roy was all smiles
as he informed the city council at a meeting last week of the
departments Homeland Security fire grant award of $74,082.
BOC denies rezoning for major shopping
center at Hwy. 98 and Hwy. 172 for a second time. But smaller
version of development may still be on horizon.
Madison County leaders again axed a planned major shopping development
in a rural area of the county Monday night. However, a smaller-scale
version of the proposed shopping center could be on the horizon.
Yes, its school
County students back to the books Aug.
Its already time for school bells to ring around the county
once again. All students in the Madison County School System
head back to class on Thursday, Aug. 5.
The biggest changes at the start of this year are the completion
of several SPLOST-funded construction projects, including new
wings for three elementary schools and the completion of the
new sports complex across from the high school.
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NEW TEACHER GETS READY FOR CLASS
Stacy Sheridan, a second grade
teacher at North Jackson Elementary School, prepares her desk
for the new school year. Sheridan is one of several first-year
teachers at the school. Students return to class in the county
school system on Tuesday, Aug. 3. See this weeks Jackson Herald
for more back-to-school news.
to ring next week
City, county school systems begin classes
Students in the Jackson County and Jefferson City school systems
are returning to class next week.
The Jefferson City School System will hold its first day of class
on Monday, Aug. 2, while the Jackson County School System will
begin its first day for students on Tuesday, Aug. 3.
The Jackson County School System is expecting to welcome an additional
250 students when classes begin. Superintendent Andy Byers estimates
that 5,600 students will be enrolled in the county school system
this school year.
Weve got growth all over (the county), but the middle
schools and West Jackson are growing the fastest, Byers
Dr. John Jackson, superintendent of the Jefferson City School
System, said student enrollment is expected to jump from 1,681
students last school year to 1,845 for the 2004-2005 school year.
The high school and middle school have grown substantially,
Jefferson Middle School is expected to welcome an additional
60 students this school year for an estimated total of nearly
450 students, Jackson said. Jefferson High School is planning
to welcome an additional 70 students for an estimated total of
Byers said the county school system isnt planning too many
changes for the new school year.
Were opening school just about the same as we closed
it, he said.
The county school system will continue to emphasize academic
achievement to meet adequate yearly progress and
funding from the state will remain an issue for educators, Byers
But, there are some notable changes for students this school
New bus transportation schedules are planned and students will
be held accountable if they miss more than five days of class.
A new state law establishes a truancy committee through superior
court that will punish students it finds not attending school,
he said. High school students could lose their drivers
license if they are absent too often.
Construction projects were sparse during the summer, but both
middle schools received new weight rooms, and an additional warehouse
and maintenance facility were built at the board of education
The new school year will mark the first year the city school
system is charging tuition for its new elementary students that
live outside the Jefferson city limits.
The Jefferson City School System has also named full-time music
teachers at each of its three schools and a part-time drama instructor
at the high school has been hired.
Were excited about the advancements in those areas,
After being suspended for a year, due to budget cuts, the Spanish
program at JMS will be re-instated this school year. School leaders
hope to offer high school credit for eighth graders taking Spanish
I, Jackson said.
The city school system also opened its eighth kindergarten class
this school year, he added.
Were looking forward to another good year,
Jackson said. We greatly appreciate the kind of support
we get in Jefferson.
Bond vote tops school system concerns for year
Jackson County School System students
wont notice too many changes this school year, superintendent
Andy Byers said.
Parents, however, will encounter an educational process
about the proposed $70 million bond package, slated for a vote
on Sept. 21, he said.
And should voters approve the ambitious funding package, changes
will begin to happen quickly for the growing school system.
If this passes, youre going to see a good part of
construction in Jackson County, Byers said Thursday.
Top priority for the county school system is a new high school
in East Jackson and a third middle school in South Jackson.
Construction on the new high school was slated to begin this
year, but when the economy soured last year and SPLOST funds
waned, the project was delayed, he said.
Jackson County Comprehensive High School, which was designed
to handle 1,200 students, will face more overcrowding this school
year with at least 1,670 students, Byers said.
And for the first time in the schools history at its Winder
Highway location, portable classrooms will be used for regular
classes, he said.
JCCHS has been using the Gordon Street Center in recent years
as an overflow location, but even that facility is no longer
able to handle the growing student population, Byers said. The
school system had to ask that the GED classes be moved to the
Lainer Technical College campus in Commerce to make room for
The county high school isnt the only facility that will
be using trailers to handle regular classes this year
East Jackson Middle School and Maysville Elementary School are
doing the same, he added.
Byers said voters of the bond referendum have a choice on whether
to fund several new schools and additional classrooms or allow
students to continue meeting in portable classrooms.
Also included in the proposed bond package is one new elementary
school and quite possibly a second.
The county school system has two areas of concern when it comes
to the rapidly-growing student population.
The first concern is Traditions of Braselton, where Byers said
that more younger families with children are purchasing lots
than was previously anticipated. Traditions of Braselton will
have 1,550 homes and demographics show the population will be
similar to Hamilton Mill, he said.
The second concern is the number of large developments on the
drawing board for Pendergrass. Hundreds of houses have been proposed
for the city in recent months.
The county school system already has enough land near West Jackson
Middle School for a new elementary school, but it hasnt
purchased property for a school in North Jackson, Byers said.
Schools leaders will continue to watch the growing populations
in West and North Jackson to determine which area will need an
elementary school first, he said. And they hope enough money,
along with state funds, will be available for a second elementary
Were going to be suffering a good bit before those
schools open, Byers said.
But, new schools arent the only items in the proposed bond
South Jackson Elementary School and MES are slated to receive
additional classrooms, he said. West Jackson Primary School will
have a new bus loading area, while additional money will be used
to purchase land for future school sites. The school system has
purchased land on New Kings Bridge Road for the third middle
use map amended for industrial park
Proposed 264-acre industrial park on Holly
Springs Road still has to be rezoned
A request to bring a 264-acre industrial park off I-85 on Holly
Springs Road received approval from the board of commissioners
at a called meeting on Friday.
Commissioners Stacey Britt and Emil Beshara voted in favor of
the request and chairman Harold Fletcher also voted to give the
green light for the project. Commissioners Sammy Thomason and
Tony Beatty werent present for the meeting.
Billy Norris asked the commissioners to amend the county land
use map from urban residential and gateway corridor to industrial
workplace for the site located near Freightliner.
The county planning and development department advised denial
of the request to build three million square feet of warehouse
space, while the Jackson County Planning Commission recommended
B.R. White, director, said the planning department recommended
denial of the request after an extensive process to amend the
countys future land use plan was completed.
Commission chairman Harold Fletcher asked Norris to help ease
the fears of nearby property owners about the proposed
development. The project still has to be rezoned for industrial
use; Fridays vote just approved a change to the countys
land use map.
Commissioner Britt said some of the concerns of nearby property
owners can be addressed during the rezoning process.
And one nearby property is the site of Cave Springs Baptist Church,
where Fletcher is a deacon. The church has been at the site for
120 years, he said.
I could envision that there could possibly be some things
that would be detrimental to our development and our continual
use of our properties, Fletcher said. I will, however,
feel that those can be worked out to the satisfaction of everyone
in the rezoning process.
Commissioner Beshara said he opposes many permitted uses in the
industrial zoning district, because of the proximity to residential
Norris project will use 75,000 gallons per day of sewage
treatment capacity in the Jefferson system that is owned by the
Jackson County Water and Sewerage Authority. According to a letter
from David Clabo, city manager, Jefferson officials approve the
IDA, BOC meeting on road work cancelled
Two roads critical for the Toyota/MACI plant
Is more debt on the horizon for the Jackson County Board of Commissioners?
The board of commissioners has been pushing for approval of an
approximately $20-million-plus financing package from the county
industrial development authority for a series of roads and other
projects. Included in the deal are the two roads for the Toyota
The IDA members have reportedly been hesitant to agree to the
full $20 million bond resolution and have instead wanted to fund
part of the projects.
There have been some behind-the-scenes negotiations, which apparently
have become controversial. A joint meeting of the BOC and IDA
had been set up for Wednesday, July 28, to discuss the matter
but it was cancelled less than two hours before it was scheduled
to be held.
Pat Bell, who beat incumbent BOC chairman Harold Fletcher in
the recent primary, planned to attend the meeting, as well as
over 100 concerned citizens.
The two groups had met on the matter in February, and the IDA
appointed members Jim Dove and Jim Shaw in March to a committee
to review the issue and report back.
off the JCWSA
BOC fills post with West Jackson resident
Elton Collins is no longer a member of the Jackson County Water
and Sewerage Authority.
The Jackson County Board of Commissioners decided at a Friday
afternoon called meeting to end Collins three-year term
on the JCWSA, following several recent spats between the two
And according to commission chairman Harold Fletcher, Collins
wont challenge the move to name his replacement and approves
the BOCs decision.
In discussion with Mr. Collins, he expressed his desire
not to be re-appointed, Fletcher said at the meeting. Collins
served as chairman of the authority from June 2001 to February
Commissioners named Hunter Bicknell, Braselton, to the authority,
effective immediately. He will serve until June 30, 2007.
Hunter is very impressive when you meet him, hes
a very intelligent person, Fletcher said.
Fletcher said he looked around Jackson County for Collins
replacement and decided on the Liberty Crest North subdivision
resident. Fletcher said he met Bicknell a few months ago.
Bicknell said Tuesday that he met Fletcher at a meeting of the
Jackson County Area Chamber of Commerce. He has lived in Jackson
County for four years.
The 59-year-old native of Southeast Atlanta is now retired.
According to Bicknells resume, he holds bachelors
and masters degrees in marketing from Georgia State University.
He retired as vice president in April 2002 from Sky Climber,
Inc., a manufacturing construction company based in Stone Mountain.
Bicknell served as head of another Stone Mountain-based manufacturing
company, Sky Access, from 1998-2000. He was also a partner in
a commercial and residential construction company in Lilburn
For 22 years, Bicknell worked in various positions with the Sperry
and Hutchinson Company, which makes S&H Green Stamps.
Commissioners Sammy Thomason and Tony Beatty werent present
for the meeting.
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Coming Wednesday, August
Open House Set At New CMS Sunday
Workers are scrambling to put the finishing
touches on the new $7 million Commerce Middle School. Ready or
not, the school system will hold a ribbon-cutting ceremony and
open house on Sunday, a second open house on Wednesday and will
open the doors to an estimated 360 students on Friday, Aug. 6.
Were going to have some loose ends even while we
have school, said Superintendent Larry White. They
(the contractors) will come in after hours and work on those.
The state fire marshal was scheduled to make a crucial visit
Tuesday (results were not available by press time), but officials
were confident theyd get a certificate of occupancy contingent
on making any changes ordered by the fire marshal.
The main thing is getting his clearance. Then, on Wednesday
and Thursday the architects people will do a punch list
of things that need to be done for the building acceptance,
Originally projected to open this past January, the 75,000-square-foot
building has been plagued with delays that have made its opening
by Aug. 1 a sweat. Wet weather in late 2002 and a plumbing contractor
that went bankrupt in early 2003 extended the construction period
from an expected 16 months to more than two years.
The open house Sunday will begin with a ribbon-cutting ceremony
at 2:00, after which the school will be open for tours until
The second open house will be Wednesday night from 6:00 to 8:00
concurrent with open houses at the three other city schools,
and students will be able to view their classrooms and meet their
EAGER TO MOVE
Meanwhile, the staffs of the middle and elementary school anxiously
await the chance to move into their new space.
Were looking forward to having more space. Just moving
into the new building is such a wonderful thing, said CMS
Principal Mary Evans. Ive never been able to open
a new building. Its just a wonderful, neat experience to
Built for 600, the school will seem luxuriously spacious at least
for this year. Special education teachers will have full-size
classrooms, as will the English as a Second Language class, until
the school population grows enough to force them back into smaller
Furnishings have arrived and will be set up this week, White
said, while teachers moved their materials in earlier. Hopefully,
late this week theyll be able to begin setting up their
CES MOVING TOO
With the old middle school building becoming a grade 4-5 facility,
fourth and fifth grade teachers are also anxious to occupy their
space in their new building, while the Pre-K-3 teachers
at Commerce Elementary School are also ready to spread out as
the grade 4-5 teachers exit.
Weve moved one Pre-K class that was outside (in a
portable classroom) in and moved three special ed classes into
the building, moved a kindergarten class in and moved a fifth-grade
class in, said Principal Kim Savage.
Mrs. Savage, assistant principal Mona Seabolt and media specialist
Christy Johnson are all doing double duty in both buildings.
In fact, the system purchased a gas-powered golf cart to expedite
daily movement between the two elementary school buildings.
This is going to be good for the kids, Mrs. Savage
predicted. Well have to work out the kinks and the
traffic, but as far as the kids go, having more space can only
be better. The fourth and fifth grade kids will have lockers,
have a gym for PE, have an art-music classroom and have their
own computer class.
The abundance of space is only temporary. Like the Jackson County
and Jefferson systems the Commerce School System is experiencing
steady and increasing growth from the housing construction boom
throughout the county. While Commerce is not growing at the rate
of the other two systems, new housing developments suggest a
wave of growth that will build steadily for the foreseeable future.
After the final votes were tallied, Tommy
Benton of Jefferson was the winner in the District 31 Georgia
House of Representatives race.
Benton had 3,186 votes, while incumbent Chris Elrod had 3,109.
In Jackson County, Benton was the top vote-getter, but Elrod
had more votes in Hall County. The district also includes a small
portion of Barrow County.
Benton is a retired teacher and this is his first time to serve.
Elrod, a Jefferson lawyer, served one term.