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FRONT PAGE - NOVEMBER 17, 1999 - JEFFERSON, GA

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RIDING THROUGH BRASELTON

Braselton mayor Henry Edward Braselton's granddaughter, Lydia Miller, Suwanee, is shown riding the carousel at the holiday celebration Saturday. The festivities included carnival rides, a parade hosted by grand marshal TV weatherman Ken Cook and a visit from Santa Claus. A street dance and the lighting of the Christmas tree were also part of the celebration. Photo by Travis Hatfield

UPDATE
Three Jackson fire district rates increased for next year
Three fire districts in Jackson County have increased their millage rate for next year, while one reduced the tax rate.
West Jackson, South Jackson and East Jackson all have millage rate increases next year, while only Nicholson decreased its fire tax rate. All other fire districts are holding their tax rates the same as 1998.
Fire district rates were approved by the Jackson County Board of Commissioners Thursday. All districts are required to submit a proposed rate and budget to the BOC, which has final authority to set the rates. All of the districts did submit a recommended millage rate but only four of the 10 turned in a budget by the county deadline. The county received budgets from the Arcade, Harrisburg, Plainview and Jackson Trail fire departments.

MILLAGE RATES
   1999  1998
 Nicholson 1.25 
 West Jackson  1.75  1.25
 Maysville  1.33 1.33 
 Arcade  1.75 1.75 
 Harrisburg
 South Jackson  1.5 1.3 
 Jackson Trail 1.5  1.5 
 North Jackson .75  .75 
 Plainview  1
 East Jackson 1.9  1.6 

Jackson BOC credits SPLOST with keeping millage rate same
BY ANGELA GARY
The Jackson County Board of Commissioners credit approval of a one-cent special purpose local option sales tax as the reason they were able to leave the millage rate the same again for the third year in a row.
In a called meeting Thursday morning, the BOC set the millage rate for the unincorportaed areas of the county at 7.58, which is the same it has been since 1996. The rate for the incorporated areas of the county will be 9.0, which is up only slightly over 8.98 last year.
The BOC was able to take $400,000 out of the road budget which had been put in place to fund projects already planned. A percentage of the SPLOST revenue will now be used to fund these road projects.

Rankings' Put 3 City Schools In Top Half
According to the Georgia Public Policy Foundation rankings of public schools released last week, the three schools in Commerce all rank in the upper half or better among the state's public schools...

Christian School To Fight Commerce Zoning Order
Providence Academy has been ordered to move "immediately" its portable classroom, but director Ray Morris has no plans to contact a mobile home moving company just yet...

EDUCATION

EJMS parents fume over dress code
But one teacher tells parents to 'quit making excuses' for kids
BY ADAM FOUCHE
A stricter dress code at East Jackson Middle School had some parents fuming Tuesday night at the monthly meeting of the Local School Advisory Council. But one veteran teacher told parents to quit making excuses for kids who won't take responsibility for their appearance.
"It doesn't matter if the kids are A students, or B students, or C students, you people have got to quit making excuses for the kids," said teacher Tommy Benton. "We have rules here at the school and the kids need to follow the rules. That is as clear as you can make it right there."
EJMS principal Andy Goodman said the need for a stricter dress code is obvious when public schools are compared to private schools.
"There is no question in anybody's mind or in my mind that parochial schools, religious schools, private schools outperform us," said Goodman. "It's a proven fact."
According to Goodman, the fact public schools are unable to demand self-discipline causes them to be outperformed. He added that the dress code helps the faculty regulate discipline.
Some parents had complained about the newly implemented dress code, especially about a requirement that students wear belts with pants and that shirts be tucked in.
"This is more than a private school," one parent said. "This is control."
A common argument was against the school's policy requiring a belt be worn with all pants or shorts that have belt loops.
"They are just sixth graders and my child is scared to death that if he forgets his belt or something else he will be in so much trouble when he gets to school," said a parent.
Some parents also argued the belt policy, along with the policy requiring shirts be tucked in, unfairly caused embarrassment to overweight children.
But Benton pointed out the need for students to take some responsibility for themselves.
"You want them to grow up but you won't let them take responsibility," he said. "They have responsibility to come to school dressed appropriately. You can't go into an institution and dress contrary to their rules. It's that simple. There shouldn't be any argument at all."
Not all parents opposed the dress code.
"I think the belts look nice," said Kim David. "I really like the dress code. My older son is setting an example for my younger son."
Some parents said that inconsistencies between teachers' interpretations and enforcements of the rules was unjust. Minor alterations in the dress code since the beginning of school also came under attack.
"No one should be opposed to a dress code," said Kelley Lomonof. "I think there were minor changes from the beginning of school to now and those changes and wardrobe modifications are the biggest reason for concern."

I-85 exits to be renumbered
Directions to Jackson County will soon change. The Georgia Department of Transportation is slated to begin renumbering interstate exits throughout Georgia to a mile log system from the current exit number system. The project is set to begin in January and be completed by July 2000, according to Todd Long, a DOT engineer.
In a talk before the Jefferson Rotary Club last week, Long outlined a number of road projects in Jackson County, including the exit renumbering. The I-85 exits will be renumbered as follows: Exit 49 to Exit 129; Exit 50 to Exit 137; Exit 51 to Exit 140; Exit 52 to exit 147; and Exit 53 (Banks Crossing) to Exit 149.
In addition to the new exit numbers, Long said the DOT would soon begin design plans to widen I-85 from Gwinnett County to the South Carolina border, a stretch that includes Jackson County. That project will also entail replacing a number of bridges in the county, including a new bridge at Hwy. 53 and I-85 and Hwy. 82 and I-85. State Route 98 will get new ramps, but not a new bridge.
The other DOT project along I-85 will be the building of a rest area north of Hwy. 332. The existing Gwinnett County rest area will be closed when the Jackson County site is opened, said Long.
BYPASS STATUS
In addition to the pending interstate projects, two bypass projects in Jackson County are slated to begin in March. Both the Hwy. 129 Pendergrass bypass and the Jefferson bypass are scheduled to have contracts let in March. The Jefferson bypass will be a $29 million concrete highway due to the volume of large trucks, said Long. The Pendergrass project is a $9 million bypass.
Jackson County's two main north-south routes are also slated to be widened in the near future. Both Hwy. 441 south of Commerce and Hwy. 129 south of Jefferson are undergoing final design plans to be widened. A DOT hearing was held Monday night on the Hwy. 129 project.
Long said the DOT was continuing to consider alternatives for the Curry Creek Bridge in Jefferson. Earlier plans to replace the historic bridge were met with a lot of opposition.
The DOT is also watching the planned Mulberry Creek Plantation project to see what impact it will have on the western side of Jackson County, said Long. Although there has been some talk of creating an exit at Hwy. 60 and I-85, no plans are currently in place.
Long said the state would also like to widen the Hwy. 53 corridor if a way could be found to bypass the historic buildings in Braselton and Hoschton.
In a related matter, property owners got a chance Monday night to see the proposed route of Hwy. 129 after it is widened from Lavender Road in Clarke County to the Jefferson bypass. DOT officials met with landowners at South Jackson Elementary School to solicit comments on the project.
Comments on the project may be sent to: David Studstill, Georgia DOT, 3993 Aviation Circle, Atlanta, Ga., 30336.
The displays may be viewed at the DOT Area Engineer Office located at 450 Old Hull Road in Athens. The displays will be available until Nov. 29.

Mayfield upset over lack of sewerage
Company leaders won't rule out moving plant out of Braselton
BY ANGELA GARY
The lack of available sewerage in Braselton has one of the town's premiere businesses in a lurch. Mayfield Dairy is running only at partial capacity because Braselton can't take any additional sewage. Mayfield already uses 50,000 gallons per day of the town's 200,000 gallon capacity. Officials with the company say another 50,000 gallons is needed as soon as possible. Braselton engineer Jerry Hood said the town has several projects lined up that will increase the sewage capacity, but it may not be quick enough for Mayfield.
Mayfield president Scottie Mayfield said Wednesday that his company has been hurt by the lack of sewer capacity in the town and didn't rule out a possible closure of the plant.
"Braselton's sewer system is challenged with the growth in that area," Mayfield said. "It's behind and we have missed some opportunities and are in a point right now that we can not be as aggressive as we would like to be as far as taking on business."
He said Mayfield's Tennessee plant can produce the extra products needed for a short time.
"It is an economic burden on us," he said. "When I first visited all of the communities in that area to talk about locating there, our sewer needs were a main topic of conversation...I don't want to be too critical of the community because I know they are strapped with certain challenges, but we need to do something and we are going to have to do something."
Mayfield said leaving the county would be a last option for the company.
"Anything is an option, but we don't want to do that," he said. "We want to stay there. We want to grow and be a part of the community. We want to double our employment there. We are disappointed in these short-term problems and we hope the city might give us some priority over adding a new business. I hope they will be fair about that type of thing."
BRASELTON'S PLANS
Hood said the town will soon have more capacity, but he's not sure how it will be allocated.
"They are putting in two new drip fields right now," Hood said. "They should be online this week or next week. That would add 40,000 gallons a day. That could do it (for Mayfield); of course, everyone wants the sewer. The town has a waiting list of about one million gallons a day. It will be up to the city as far as how they divvy it up."
Hood says the town has also been busy correcting problems with the sewage system.
"We've certainly had some challenges over the last year, but I think they're very quickly getting into pretty good shape," he said. "The town had some infiltration problems with groundwater getting into the sewer system during the rains. They worked all summer on getting all of that corrected. That should help a lot."
Braselton is also working on the existing spray fields to give the town an additional 40,000 gallons per day of capacity.
"They also have a project which was funded through a grant and loan," Hood said. "That is down at Environmental Protection Division now with the final plans being reviewed. We hope to bid that project in December and have it online in June 2000. That would add 90,000 gallons per day."
The next project is a planned re-use quality treatment and land application system which would provide one million gallons per day. It is expected to be in place by fall.


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