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FRONT PAGE - OCTOBER 20, 1999 - JEFFERSON, GA

Students, teachers from Scotland spend nine-day visit in community, at JHS
A group of nine Scottish exchange students and three teachers spent a whirlwind nine days last week visiting historic sites, meeting community members, attending classes and even helping to cheer on the Jefferson Dragons during homecoming football...

CRIME

Arrest made in hit-and-run
Witnesses say cars didn't stop to help child
BY ANGELA GARY
A 45-year-old Arcade man has been charged in the hit and run incident which killed a young girl early Tuesday morning.
Michael Wayne Randall, 496 Davis Road, was charged with vehicular homicide and leaving the scene of an accident in the death of Tierra Wilson, 9. His occupation is not known, but he has reportedly told people he is an ex-CIA agent. He was born in Pennsylvania.
Arcade Police Chief Dennis Bell said other charges are pending. Randall is at the Jackson County Jail and does not have bond.
The accident occurred on Hwy. 129 South at Martin Lane at 7:05 a.m. Tuesday. It is not yet known why the young girl was in the road, but Bell said the impact occurred in the highway.
Randall didn't stop after hitting the child with the left front corner of his mini-van, but apparently went to the Arcade Police Department and told officer Tony Holcomb that a child had been hit. He did not give his name or say that he had been involved in the accident in any way.
"Mr. Randall did not indicate that he was involved in the accident," Chief Bell said at a Wednesday morning news conference. "He did not return to the accident scene. He did not leave any information except that there was an accident on Hwy. 129 and a child had been hit."
Officer Holcomb said Randall pulled up to the police station blowing his horn and "hollering and screaming."
"He knocked on the door," Holcomb said. "He was upset that a little child had been hit. He just said a child had been hit and somebody needed to be up there."
The arrest came after an all-day investigation by the Arcade and Jefferson police departments. Arcade Police Chief Bell said officers received numerous tips during the day that led to the suspect's vehicle, a 1995 Ford Windstar van, being found at his residence. Randall was arrested around 6 p.m. Tuesday at his home. Bell said Randall walked down the driveway as the patrol car pulled into his home.
"He didn't say anything," Bell said. "He started to and then he clammed up. At that point, I believe he didn't know what to say."
Troy Rowell, a member of the Jefferson Police Department's Serious Traffic Accident Reconstruction (STAR) investigation team, said evidence found at the scene matched Randall's vehicle. This evidence included pieces of amber lens cover and marker lights from the vehicle.
"As the phone calls came in, we dispatched officers out," he said. "We literally went door to door. Citizens of Jackson County and Arcade were very helpful in giving us as much information as they could. We followed very lead that we got."
Rowell said he spoke with members of the Wilson's family after the charges against Randall were made and they were pleased that the suspect had been arrested.

AT ACCIDENT SCENE
Billy Clark of Hoschton was the first person to stop at the accident scene early Tuesday morning. He said he could tell from the road that it was a child that had been hit. He was also very upset that so many people passed by without stopping to help.
"People are the sorriest I have ever seen in my life," he said. "They were going around that baby--going into other lanes. I bet there were 15 or 20 cars that went over in the other lane and didn't even stop. I'm about half blind...I know they could have seen that child. That was the saddest thing I have ever seen in my life."
Clark said one woman who was parked behind him asked him to direct her around the wreck since she was late for work. He doesn't remember what he said but one of his employees in his truck with him said he just cursed at the woman.
"I don't even remember her asking me," he said.
Clark said he was nervous and doesn't recall every detail.
"I just started trying to dial 911 from my truck phone," he said. "They said I called Jackson County too. I don't remember...Dennis Bullock came up and tried to give her mouth to mouth...I just went blank up there. I've never seen nothing like that in my life. I just can't get over...All them cars were just going around that baby."
Jefferson Elementary School principal Pam Smith also stopped shortly after the accident occurred. She said it was dark and she couldn't tell what was in the road, but she saw other cars stopped.
"I saw a man in the road waving his arms," she said. "...I know CPR, so I checked the child's pulse. There wasn't one. I went to the mother then and tried to comfort her...The police came then. He also checked for a pulse...He had a raincoat in the car and he covered her with it."

LOVED CHURCH, SINGING
Relatives of Tierra's say she was an intelligent child who loved church activities, including singing with the choir and participating in programs. Laverne Mack, the aunt of Tierra's mother, Denise Wilson, said the young girl was active at New Salem Baptist Church in Jefferson and Bush River Baptist Church in Homer.
"She was well-spoken," Mrs. Mack said. "She loved her churches. She was real talented. She loved singing and being in the programs. When people asked her to be in the programs, she loved to be in them."
She was a fourth grader at South Jackson Elementary School and was apparently waiting for a school bus when the incident happened.
"She loved her school," Mrs. Mack said.
She also loved animals, including her pet poodle that was killed earlier this week when a car hit it.
"It's been a sad day here in Arcade," said Mayor Gary Black at the Wednesday news conference. "Chief Bell did a good job on the investigation yesterday. He made some decisions that I'm proud to say helped solve this case. It's a sad day when someone hit and killed a little girl and don't stop."


Gause's book to be available Veteran's Day
BY ANGELA GARY
After months of anticipation, a book on the World War II adventure of Jefferson's Major Damon "Rocky" Gause is set to hit the bookstores. The book will first be available on Veteran's Day, Thursday, Nov. 11.
Jefferson's Damon L. Gause Jr., son of the World War II pilot and hero, will tour with the book compiled from his father's memoirs. He has been working for three years to get the book published.
"It is very emotional," Gause said of the book's release. "It's exciting and it's tiring. It hasn't all sunk in yet."
One of the first local stops will be from noon to 2 p.m. on Veteran's Day at the Commerce Public Library. Copies of the book will be available for $21.95. Gause will then travel to Barrow County where he will be featured at the Veteran's Day program at the civic center in the former Duck Head building in downtown Winder. He will be in Winder from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. on Nov. 11 and copies of the book will be available there too.
During the book tour, Gause Jr. will visit bookstores in Washington D.C., Baltimore, Md., and Huntington, N.Y., Monday and Tuesday, November 8 and 9. He will be at the Barnes and Noble Bookstore at North Point Mall, Alpharetta, November 10.
"The War Journal of Major Damon "Rocky" Gause: The Firsthand Account of One of the Greatest Escapes of World War II" is being published by Hyperion Press and tells the story of Gause's escape from the Bataan Death March and journey to Australia in a small boat.
Gause's son has made a life-long quest of researching facts about his father's life. He has made an attempt to meet everyone who served in the war with his father and even attends reunions of the 27th Bombardment Group. He pulled the manuscript out of a footlocker where it had been safely kept for over 50 years.
Gause wrote an introduction and an epilogue to his father's journal. He dedicates the book to "all American defenders of freedom, both the living and the deceased." The book also includes a forward by Stephen E. Ambrose.
The book is available at amazon.com on the Internet. It will be available after Nov. 11 at Barnes and Noble, Athens, and Chapter 11 in Gainesville and Snellville. It can also be purchased by calling Gause at 367-1107.
Gause's story has already been optioned by film company Miramax and is expected to be made into a movie. Gause said he hasn't been given a time line for the project. More on this story


New middle school design approved
By Tim Thomas
Although the Jefferson City Board of Education has now approved a preliminary design for a new middle school, two problems remain: Where to put it and how to pay for it.
The design for a new school was discussed along with plans for adding six new classrooms to Jefferson Elementary School at last Thursday's BOE meeting. The design for the middle school is virtually identical to the one used at Burney-Harris Middle School in Athens and is tentatively slated to be completed by the start of the 2001 school year.
The six classrooms at JES would be added behind the existing first wing of the school. Depending on financing, that project could get underway within a few months to be completed by the start of the 2000 school year.
At some point, JES would have to be divided and a new school built to house part of that population, said school leaders. Some school systems have a K-2 primary school and a separate 3-5 elementary school. Something along those lines is currently under consideration for the future in Jefferson as well.
While the time frame for the projects is to be within the next two years, the system must first find a location for the new facilities. Leaders said they would not be built on existing school property.
"All we have left are two little issues" said board chairman Ronnie Hopkins. "Where will it be (built), and how we will pay for it."

OTHER BUSINESS
Also during the meeting, the board recognized several exchange students visiting from Scotland. When asked if they had any questions, one student replied, "How do I get a green card?" When the response was met with laughter, the student said, "No, I'm serious."
Other items discussed at Thursday's meeting included personnel recommendations for October. The board accepted the resignations of JES cafeteria monitor Mandy Webb and associate superintendent's secretary Patricia Shirley. Employment was approved for Sabrina Pritchard (JES paraprofessional), William Puckett (1/2 time bus driver), Michelle Deleard (JHS custodian), and Lori Parsha (special education paraprofessional).


Water set to flow if SPLOST passes
BY ANGELA GARY
(EDITOR'S NOTE: This is the fourth part in a series of stories leading up to the Nov. 2 election.).

Of all the uses for a proposed special purpose local option sales tax, by far the single greatest use will be to expand water and sewer services in the county. Some 70 percent of the SPLOST is dedicated toward water and sewer projects in Jackson County and five of its nine towns.
A vote on the SPLOST measure will be on the ballot Nov. 2, along with a proposal to change the structure of the Jackson County government and several city elections.
At the county level, the Jackson County Water and Sewer Authority will get the bulk of the money, an estimated $17.3 million. Those funds will add 142 miles of water lines to serve 9,300 additional people, say county leaders. In addition, some 900 fire hydrants will be added in the county.
The City of Commerce will get around $3.3 million for water and sewer upgrades in that town while Jefferson will get some $2.2 million. Hoschton would receive $523,000, Nicholson $435,000, Braselton $313,000 and Maysville $242,000.
In the county, the Jackson County Water and Sewer Authority would prioritize the roads to receive water lines based on several factors, including: Water quality problems, water quantity problems, service to unserved fire departments and service to the greatest number of potential customers.
The county water authority would also use benefits from the five-year SPLOST to help retire the county's portion of the Upper Oconee Basin Water Authority debt service through water revenue and enhance the industrial and commercial development for the property tax base.
Municipalities with water systems get their share of the funds based on population.
A SPLOST that expired in June had been in place for five years and was also heavily dedicated to water and sewer projects in the county.


The Jackson Herald - Jefferson, Georgia
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