Breaking Away

Twion Shealer (41) breaks away from defenders during a Commerce Tiger scrimmage this week. Fans and family are invited to come to this Friday's practice session and to attend a watermelon cutting at its conclusion. More Sports

Growing Pains
Rezoning Requests For Industry, Subdivision And Mobile Home Park Likely To Spark Controversy Before Planning Commission
There should be no shortage of controversy when the Commerce Planning Commission meets Monday night at 7:00 at the Commerce Civic Center.
The agenda includes three proposals that all have citizen opposition.
The first is a request by Bobby J. and R. Frank Caudell to have rezoned from R-1 (single-family residential) to M-1 (manufacturing) about 60 acres at Wilbanks Way and the Maysville Road. The land is surrounded by R-1 zoning, according to David Lanphear, city code enforcement officer.
Neighbors are opposed, says Lanphear.
The second item on the agenda includes a request by Cochran Properties Inc. for land on the Mount Olive Road to be rezoned from AR to R-2 PUD. A previous attempt to get an AR-PUD (planned unit development) were shot down by the Commerce City Council on the grounds that Cochran's plan violated the city's ordinance relating to PUDs.
The proposal also generated public outcry, largely related to population density and possible traffic congestion.
But the developer, Broughton Cochran, following a recent "work session" with the planning commission, reduced the number of houses planned from 150 to about 80, according to Lanphear, and eliminated a six-acre commercial tract. The plan still contains approximately 50 townhouse units.
Also, the developer seeks approval of the site plan for the property.
Larry Bramlett will ask the planning commission to rezone more than 100 acres off old U.S. 441 across from Ashworth Mobile Home Park from AR to AR-5, so he can build a mobile home park.
This issue involves a threat of a lawsuit. Bramlett bought the property when it was zoned R-4, but in 1995 the city re-wrote its zoning ordinance, changing the land to AR in the process. Bramlett is threatening to sue on the grounds that the city did not properly advertise its intent to change the zoning.
The Commerce Planning Commission makes recommendations to the Commerce City Council, which makes the final decisions. Recommendations made Monday night will go before the city council for final action at the council's Sept. 13 meeting.
Two new members of the panel will assume their responsibilities Monday night.
Greg Perry will replace Allen Lacey, and Doug Newcomer succeeds Henry Slocum. Neither Lacey nor Slocum wished to be reappointed.

Nursing Home Files Its 'Plan Of Correction' With State Panel
Without admitting that a scathing state inspection accurately described conditions at BJC Nursing Home, the facility has submitted to the Department of Health and Human Services a "plan of correction" that purports to address all of the allegations made last month.
In fact, the nursing home plans to present its defense in a face-to-face meeting next Wednesday with state officials.
Medical center officials were embarrassed two weeks ago when a report from the Office of Regulatory Services not only ripped the cleanliness and care offered at the nursing home, but also recommended that it be fined as much as $3,000 a day since mid-June for the violations. The report listed numerous allegations of failure to respond to medical needs, doctors not being notified when patient conditions worsened, chronic staff shortages, inattention to incontinent residents, foul odors and unsanitary conditions.
BJC officials say they will release their answer to the report in the near future, but do not want it to compromise their meeting with the inspection team, says Oscar Weinmeister, a public relations official.
"We view the face-to-face meeting as a very positive thing for us. We don't want the state to accuse us (if the defense is vigorous) of bad faith," Weinmeister stated.
In essence, the first step in response to the report is to assure the state that BJC Medical Center is providing good care. Once that is done, an effort will be made to convince the inspection team that there were mitigating factors to the situations cited in the team's report.
And while nurses and certified nurses' assistants have been fired or hired since the report, Weinmeister says he has no indication that any of the personnel moves were in response to the report.
"We have nearly 400 positions. We virtually hire and fire every day," he stated.
According to the plan of action, the facility began working on responses to the alleged deficiencies immediately, doing in-service training, reviewing or improving protocol, creating new methods of documentation and cleaning up areas the inspection team found dirty.
Part of the plan represents new activity, while part is the protocol already in place when the team visited.
Reading the report, however, one gets a glimpse of what may be the facility's defense. The team reported numerous housekeeping-related deficiencies when it visited. The plan of correction notes that three additional housekeeping staff have been hired since the survey, and two others who were ill at the time are back on the job.
The plan details improvements or maintenance of the environment ("The facility is free of urine odors"), point by point with the report, indicating where obstacles have been removed, unsafe items repaired or removed, dirt and grime cleaned and safety items installed. It indicates a new "weekly environmental round" to be conducted by a housekeeping supervisor to assure that compliance is maintained and efforts to get resident input on reducing the noise.
Responding to specific care complaints, the report stated that one resident in the report is being "closely monitored by the nursing staff and physician" and all changes "noted in the medical record and 24-hour report." The plan of correction notes the condition of and care given to patients cited in the team's report.
Regarding one patient who died, the plan says, "Nursing notes and the ADL record for the resident revealed that this medically compromised 93 year old resident ate poorly from the time she was admitted to the nursing home following a total hip replacement. The physician was aware of her fluid and nutritional intake based on the progress notes."
In another case, where the team found an open wound on a patient's heel, the nursing home's plan of action notes that the resident "frequently removes the dressing, shoes and socks." But in a third case, the document reveals that a LPN involved in the resident's care "was terminated for failing to contact the resident's physician in accordance with facility policy and procedure," while the "administrative member was counseled regarding the failure to provide assistance to the charge nurse."
The report indicated that the medical center called in consultants. One, from Marriot Environmental Services, provided recommendations on a clean environment. Two nursing consultants were hired following the survey to help implement corrections for each deficiency.
The nursing home agreed to hire an additional full-time staff member to the care plan coordinator's office, and the facility has hired five new nursing staff members since the survey, the plan notes, and the facility meets and exceeds the required number of nursing hours per patient.
The action plan also includes new forms generated to document the following of policy and procedure.


Sales Tax Decision Set For Friday
JEFFERSON -- The Jackson County Board of Commissioners is expected to set the formula for a November vote on a Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax when it meets at 10 a.m. Friday, Aug. 20, in the Administrative Building in Jefferson.
"I've thought long and hard about these decisions," commissioner Pat Bell said. "I know what I want. As for the formula, we aren't there yet."
The board of commissioners met with representatives from city councils and other interested citizens Thursday morning to receive input. Water and sewer, roads, recreation and a fire training facility are among the areas being considered to receive a portion of the sales tax revenue. It appears that the courthouse issue won't be a part of the SPLOST vote. The courthouse committee has sent the board of commissioners a letter asking that it be funded through other sources.
At the SPLOST meeting, Commerce Mayor Charles Hardy said water and sewer are the biggest needs for his constituents. He also asked that the funds be used to purchase equipment for capital outlay projects.
Hoschton city clerk Cindy Edge attended the meeting but didn't comment. There were no representatives from Arcade, Braselton, Jefferson, Maysville, Nicholson, Pendergrass and Talmo.
Jackson County Area Chamber of Commerce chairman Richard Cathey spoke on his disappointment that more officials didn't attend and said it is a "disservice to their voters" that they didn't.
Cathey also said $12,500 in private funds has already been collected to help market and advertise the sales tax referendum in November.

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