This week's Commerce News

This week's Commerce News

This week's Commerce News


New Security Measure At CHS

Commerce High School assistant principal Mary Evans, right, shows freshman April Stephenson the new temporary identification badge she and all students, teachers, staff and even visitors must wear at CHS. Permanent badges, with photographs, will arrive soon. Part of the school's new safety plan, the badges are designed to help staff spot any strangers who may appear on campus. Students must wear the badge above the waist, and any who forget will get detention.


City To Fight Proposed Mobile Home Project
If a 500 to 900-unit mobile home park locates in Commerce, it will be after a court fight, Commerce officials indicated this week.
As of Monday afternoon, the city had yet to be contacted by the attorney for a developer planning such a subdivision on old U.S. 441.
Discussing the issue at its Aug. 23 meeting, the Commerce Planning Commission asked that developer Larry Bramlett and his attorney John Lindsay negotiate with Commerce officials on a proposal for a mobile home park. Bramlett seeks an R-5 zoning classification on 121 acres near Ashworth Mobile Home Park, and Lindsay has indicated that if the city does not grant the zoning change he will go to court to try to get R-4 status under the pre-1995 zoning ordinance, a move he says could result in a 910-lot trailer park.
A choice between 500 mobile homes or 910 is not much of a choice, say Mayor Charles L. Hardy Jr. and city manager Clarence Bryant.
"Of course I am opposed to it," the mayor said. "And we have plenty of stuff to take to court to say this would be the death of Commerce. It would destroy our school system, our police department and take up all of our utility capacity. As the mayor, I am definitely opposed to anything like that that will destroy our community as we know it."
The fact that the proposal is a mobile home park is part of the problem, said the mayor, but the sheer number of units are the greater problem.
"It would use up our sewer capacity and overwhelm our school system. It would certainly overtax everything we've got."
Bryant's position is similar.
"It would have a major impact. We don't have but 1,800 households in the city as it is," he stated. "I'm not sure we have the sewer capacity to hook up 500 mobile homes. We've already got 300-some (housing units) on the drawing board right now. According to my numbers, we would not have the sewer capacity."
Among the developments on the drawing board for Commerce are a 108-unit mobile home park on the Mount Olive Road proposed by another of Lindsay's clients, a 140-lot subdivision of houses on the Mount Olive Road, 80 units of apartments across from Commerce Elementary School, and a 100-plus lot development proposed by Daniel Wilson.
"These developments will take all of our sewer capacity," Bryant said. "You figure 100 gallons per person per day and all of the sudden all of the sewer capacity is gone."
As for the possibility of 500 to 910 more units, the city manager is adamant that the city cannot accommodate such a development. To do so, he said, would require not only an addition to the city's sewage plant, but also massive construction projects at the Commerce School System to handle the children.
Even without such a development, the city is running out of sewer capacity.
"We could be looking at a sewer moratorium in the next two years," he said.
The city is currently trying to expand its sewage plant, but the process could take years just to win state approval.


State Says BJC Nursing Home Is In Compliance
Having presented its defense and straightened up all of the problems found by a team of state inspectors, BJC Nursing Home awaits word from the state on what, if any, punishment will be meted out.
After finding the facility to constitute "an immediate and serious threat to resident health and safety" during an inspection in late July, the state Office of Regulatory Services' inspection team recommended a fine of up to $3,000 per day since mid-July.
But last Friday, in a follow-up visit after the nursing home spent three weeks addressing issues from the first report, the ORS concluded that BJC Nursing Home is "in substantial compliance" with state regulations.
What that means is that all complaints registered during the initial inspection have been remedied to state satisfaction. What remains is to see the final version of the state report, which supposedly takes into consideration any ameliorating factors offered by the nursing home about the alleged infractions.
Bob Burns, nursing home administrator, said he and his staff presented the BJC perspective on the initial report in a face-to-face meeting, supported by some written documents. He expects the state's response to come later this week or early next week.
"We have met with state officials. We are awaiting their reply," Burns said, adding that he was "not at liberty to discuss" the arguments put forth by the nursing home administration. "We hope for a positive outcome. The meeting went well," he concluded. "David Dunbar, head of the Office of Regulatory Services, listened well and attentively to what we had to say."
The report was the result of a regular, annual inspection by ORS. It alleged that during the inspection of the 167-bed nursing facility the inspection team found filth and odors and evidence that residents received inadequate medical care.

Jackson Unemployment Rate Up Slightly
What goes down must come up. Jackson County's unemployment rate, which has hovered just above three percent for three months, rose by half a percentage point to 3.7 percent during July, according to the Georgia Department of Labor.
July figures are the latest available. The 3.7 percent compares to 3.2 percent the month before and 4.5 percent for July 1998.
The figures are based on Department of Labor estimates that of its labor force of 23,954, some 881 workers are seeking employment.
Jackson County's numbers ran contrary to the state. Georgia on the whole maintained its 4.1 unemployment rate for the second consecutive month, and the United States stayed flat at 4.3 percent.
Other area counties and their unemployment rates include Banks, 4.1 percent, up from 3.9; Barrow, 2.9 percent, up from 2.5; Athens-Clarke, 3.0 percent, down from 3.1; Franklin, 3.3 percent, down from 3.5; Gwinnett, 2.6 percent, unchanged; Hall, 2.7 percent, up from 2.4; and Madison, 3.3 percent, unchanged.

News Office To Be Closed For Labor Day
The Commerce News office will be closed Monday for Labor Day, but all newspaper deadlines will remain the same.
The Banks County News and Madison County Journal offices will also be closed, but The Jackson Herald office in Jefferson will be open. Persons may contact The Jackson Herald (367-5233) to place classified ads until 3:00 Monday afternoon for the Sept. 8 edition.

The Commerce News - Commerce, Georgia
Telephone: (706) 367-5233 Fax: (706) 367-8056

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