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AUGUST 4, 2004


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OPINIONS
Jackson County opinion page


SPORTS
CHS Runners Hit The Trail
Tiger Cross Country Team Opens First Week Of Workouts
Commerce cross country coach Mark Hale isn’t sure what kind of numbers his team will put up as far as times go this fall but he is happy about one number already — 11.

A few faces have changed, but Lady Panther expectations remain the same
Some of the faces may have changed, but when the Lady Panthers take on Apalachee this Tuesday to start the fast-pitch softball season, their season goals will remain the same.

Building a solid foundation
Inaugural season of Lady Dragon fast-pitch softball begins Monday
The Jefferson fast-pitch team do more than just take the field Monday when they travel to Clarke Central, they’ll be forming a new tradition.


News from
BANKS COUNTY
Run-off elections ahead Aug. 10
Schaefer, Caudell in Aug. 10 run-off
Nancy Schaefer and Chan Caudell are headed for a run-off race for the District 50 Senate seat that covers Banks County.

Popphan, Mote face off
Winford Popphan and Ivan Mote will be facing each other in a run-off for the magistrate judge’s seat on Tuesday, Aug. 10.
Popphan came away with 912 votes in the recent primary election, while Mote had 750.


News from
MADISON
COUNTY
IDA awards $2 million water expansion contract
Madison County’s Industrial Development Authority awarded contracts to Raco, Inc. of Getna, Va., today (Wednesday) on a $2 million water expansion project that will link Madico, Colbert, Danielsville and South Madison water systems, while providing water to an area off Hwy. 29 contaminated by petroleum spills.

Runoffs slated for Tuesday
Bellew, Chandler to face off in BOC chairman’s race; Mason, Skipper seek BOE seat
Madison County voters will hit the polls Tuesday for two local runoffs — the Democratic nomination for the BOC chairman’s race and the election of a District 5 school board representative.

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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COLORING ON THE FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL

Jefferson Elementary School kindergartners Patrick Madden, Cesar Colin and J.P. LaMaison work on coloring early Monday morning as other students come into Nicole Martin’s class. Jefferson City School students returned to class on Monday. See this weeks Jackson Herald for Jackson County back-to-school photos.

Student population numbers up 6% to 9%
Judging by the number of students starting a new school year this week, the county and city school systems are continuing to see rapid growth.
The Jefferson City School System reported a nine percent jump in student enrollment for the first day of school on Monday, compared to the beginning of class last year. The Jackson County School System showed a six percent increase.
Dr. John Jackson, superintendent, said the Jefferson school system counted 1,816 students for the first day of class. Last school year, there were 1,660 students the first day.
Jefferson Middle School saw its student population increase the most with 60 additional students this school year.
Jefferson Elementary School reported 915 students and Jefferson High School opened its doors to 459 students this week, Jackson said.
JACKSON COUNTY
Likewise, the Jackson County School System is seeing considerable gains in student population this year.
The county school system said its student population rose by six percent when classes started on Tuesday, compared to last school year.
The Jackson County School System reported 5,615 students for the first day of class, versus 5,300 students last year. That figure doesn’t include students enrolled in the alternative school, evening school and pre-kindergarten.
Jackson County Comprehensive High School is accommodating the most new students in the county school system with an additional 106 students. The high school now has 1,541 students.
Other considerable student population gains in the county school system were reported at West Jackson Primary School with 53 new students, West Jackson Middle School with an additional 30 students and Benton Elementary School with 29 new students.


IDA to meet Mon. on Toyota roads
A meeting of the Jackson County Industrial Development Authority has been scheduled for Monday at 5 p.m. in the Grand Jury room to discuss the possible financing of road projects for the $100 million Toyota project for the board of commissioners.
IDA chairman Scott Martin said this week that his board wanted to further discuss details of the financing and to get some additional information from county officials about the status of the road projects and the county’s financial health.
The move comes after a cancelation of a meeting scheduled last week between the IDA and the Jackson County Board of Commissioners to discuss a larger financing package involving several industrial roads and other BOC projects.
The BOC had initially requested several months ago that the IDA finance some $24 million in various county projects, including the Toyota roads. But IDA leaders concluded that several of the BOC projects didn’t meet the criteria as “industrial development” projects and took those items off the BOC’s wish list.
For the rest of this story see this weeks Jackson Herald.


At Long Last, Commerce Opens New Middle School
Facility Is First New Commerce School In 30 Years
A short rainfall outside didn’t dampen the spirits inside as the long-awaited opening of the new Commerce Middle School took place Sunday afternoon.
Students will enter classes there for the first time Friday morning, although an open house was scheduled for this (Wednesday) evening from 6:00 to 8:00. Teachers reported for pre-planning Monday and the annual system-wide breakfast was held in the new school Monday.
The 2:00 ceremony was the culmination of months of planning and a lot longer than anticipated time of construction. Hampered by weather and by a plumbing contractor who went bankrupt, the construction of the Jefferson Road facility ran about seven months late.
None of that mattered Sunday. It was time to celebrate the first new school built in Commerce in 30 years (the last was the old middle school).
“By opening a new school, we’re changing the future,” declared Steve Perry, chairman of the Commerce Board of Education, speaking in the atrium as a light rain fell outside.
Perry – and Superintendent Larry White who followed him in the short program – thanked a number of people from construction workers to school staff – and the voters who approved the special purpose local option sales tax (SPLOST) that is paying the $4 million plus local part of the school’s cost.
“Who knows what the future of the students who walk these halls will be or what they will achieve?” Perry asked.
“It’s not every day you build a new school in Commerce, Georgia,” White observed. “In fact, it’s been 30 years ... It’ll serve the youth of this community for years to come.”
White noted that the building was constructed to hold almost twice the number of students who are expected to arrive Friday, a SPLOST-funded luxury; expressed gratitude for the Department of Education in providing $3 million in funds and recognized Mrs. Joe Griffeth, who with her husband, the late Dr. Joe Griffeth, sold the school system the 65-acre tract right across from the Griffeth home. White thanked the city of Commerce for its assistance in utility-related matters and the Jackson County Board of Commissioners for road work he said “probably saved $100,000.” He praised architect Greg Smith and project manager Tom Graham for their day-to-day assistance and singled out numerous staff members for their work related to the project.
“This is a great moment for our school system and community,” White declared.
As of the ribbon cutting, there were still punch-list items that remained to be done, classes to be set up and supplies to be made ready. Principal Mary Evans pointed out.
“Come Friday, when those 360 students arrive, we will be ready for them,” she declared.
Students will find the wings color coded: blue for sixth grade, green for seventh, purple for eighth and a cream color for the hallway leading to the administrative area, gym and cafeteria and containing the media center and classrooms for chorus, band and health/physical education.
The school system purchased the property in July 2000, traded 29 acres of non-buildable land to Deer Trail Country Club for 10 acres of land suitable for construction and awarded the bid to Aldridge Inc. Oct. 24, 2002, for $6,546,600, a price that includes six extra classrooms in anticipation of growth. The project was funded by $3,076,000 in state funds and a $5.5 million SPLOST-backed bond issue. Ground was broken Monday, Nov. 25, at which time it was believed the system would occupy the 75,000-square-foot building by Jan. 1, 2004. That date was moved to August in the spring of 2003 after weeks of rain.


Two state races to be in run-off election Tues.
Two state races will be on the ballot in the Aug. 10 run-off election.
On the Democrat ballot, voters will be asked to choose from Denise L. Majette and W. Cliff Oxford for the U.S. Senate seat.
In a non-partisan race for the state court of appeals, Debra Berns will face Mike Sheffield.
The polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Tuesday. Advance voting is under way through Friday of this week at the courthouse in Jefferson.
If a person voted in the Democratic primary, they can only vote in the democratic/non-partisan run-off.
Those who voted in the Republican primary, cannot vote for the Democratic race, however, they can vote for the non-partisan race. Those who didn’t vote in the primary, can vote in either run-off.
Site plans are submitted for Kroger center
By Jana A. Mitcham
Site plans have been submitted to the City of Jefferson for a development that will include Kroger as its major tenant.
City manager David Clabo told the Jefferson City Council Monday night that he has the plans available from Gipson Properties for review for the development, which will be located on nine acres at “Loggins Corner” at the intersection of the bypass and Old Pendergrass Road.
The Kroger grocery store will be just under 70,000 square feet, Clabo said. In addition to a delivery area for the grocery store and parking, the development will also include gas pumps, several attached sites and two to three detached sites.
There is no timeframe yet for the development, but Clabo said the city has been told that the closing on the property is scheduled for “sometime this month.”
The developers have been doing some engineering work for the roadway, as well as some work on the site itself, he said.


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Coming Wednesday, August 11


Water, sewer plan urged for Jefferson ‘hot spot’
Some 3,000 lots planned for SR 11, bypass, Middle Oconee areas
Approximately 3,000 lots are planned, or at least conceptualized, for development in what the city engineer calls Jefferson’s “hot spot” — the western areas of the city near the bypass, SR 11 and the Middle Oconee River.
Jerry Hood recommended to the Jefferson City Council Monday night that a water and sewer “mini master plan” be developed for that area.
Hood’s engineering report states: “Large demands for water and sewer service are anticipated in this area. Close coordination with prospective developers regarding the infrastructure will be important in the coming months.”
The engineer pointed out that while some of the sewer area may be covered by the Jackson County Water and Sewerage Authority, all of the water service will come from the city.
SEWER USE ORDINANCE UPDATE
In a review of a list of other projects in the works, Hood said the updates to the city’s sewer use ordinance is complete, including a new industrial user surcharge system for non-compliant BOD, TSS, ammonia nitrogen, pH and oil and grease levels.
The council clarified that the new fines system may be applied to outstanding 2002 and 2003 surcharges for industries within the city.
MLK JR. ROAD EXPANSION
Hood also touched upon cost estimates for an MLK Jr. Road expansion project.
Preliminary cost estimates are for nearly $1 million and would include $677,000 for realignment of that road. The project would also include improvements on a portion of Galilee Church Road and a cul-de-sac for the industrial park.
City manager David Clabo said the work would benefit industry in the city.
WEBSITE
In other business, the council learned that a city website — www.cityofjefferson.ga.com — is being developed by Bobby Lacey, with a launch date of August 31.
The website will include pages on the mayor and council, as well as on each city department and links to other related websites.