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FRONT PAGE - DECEMBER 8, 1999 - JEFFERSON, GA

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Kids' Photo deadline This Friday
The deadline for turning in photographs of children for MainStreet Newspapers' 33rd annual special Christmas kids section is this FRIDAY, DEC. 10 at 5PM. No photos will be accepted after this time.
Photographs of children ages 8 and under are featured free of charge in the special editions planned for the week of Christmas. The children must live in Banks, Madison or Jackson counties. The name, age, address and parent's name must be listed on the back of each photo.
Photos may be turned in at any of MainStreet's offices in Jefferson, Homer, Danielsville, Braselton or Commerce. They may also be mailed to: MainStreet Newspapers, P.O. Box 908, Jefferson, Ga., 30549.



HOUSE DESTROYED IN BLAZE

The home of Kenneth and Jenet Meeks on Creekview Drive in Stone Creek Subdivision near Hwy. 332 was destroyed by a fire Thursday afternoon. Several area fire departments worked to battle the flames. Photo by Travis Hatfield
READY FOR Y2K!

County ready for Y2K, say leaders
BY ANGELA GARY
Doomsayers have been predicting for years that Jan. 1, 2000, will bring power failures, bank crises and all sorts of problems. When the clock strikes midnight, no one is sure what will happen, but Jackson County officials say they are prepared for the arrival of the year 2000.
New computer systems that are Y2K-compatible have been put in place in all county offices in preparation for the rollover to a new year.
"Most of our major systems have been replaced in the past two years," said county executive assistant David Bohanan. "The central office was done this year and the tax office was done last year. The software for the courts and things like that are state-owned, but the state has been working on that."
He said some departments may have stand-alone computers that might not be Y2K-compatible, but they don't contain any records that are time-sensitive.
911 director David Murphy said the computers in his department have been upgraded and tested and are ready for the new year.
"The 911 department is ready," he said. "We did all of the testing of the computers and we are compatible and ready to go. We had to upgrade our dispatch and our E-911 computer system, which cost the county roughly $20,000."
Murphy said extra people would be on duty Dec. 31 and Jan. 1 to handle calls and all off-duty personnel would be on-call during that time period. Murphy will be in charge of the night-time operations and Lou Ann David, his assistant, will be in charge of the day-time operations.
Sheriff Stan Evans said new computer equipment is being installed now at his department and it should be in place by the end of the year. He added that the sheriff's office has already been supplying off-duty officers to work security at area banks.
"They are providing extra security now," he said. "What everybody is trying to anticipate is people coming in and withdrawing their money, which would make them susceptible to a robbery or a sudden snatch."
Jackson County Water and Sewerage Authority superintendent Paul Mims said work has been under way for some time to replace some of the computers and upgrade the control system
"Hopefully, we'll be ready," he said. "All this Y2K stuff, nobody really knows for certain. Everybody can do all these tests, but when it actually rolls over is when we will know."
Public relations director Pat Kerley said Jackson Electric Membership Corporation is well-prepared for the transition into 2000. She said the cooperative took a system-by-system approach in preparing for the change-over.
"Jackson EMC has completed a Y2K compliance inventory and assessment of all distribution, telecommunication, computing hardware and software systems," she said. "All key systems related to the delivery of electrical energy are Y2K compliant."
Director of engineering services Greg Broussard said that Jackson EMC throughout the transition period, just as at any other time, employees in key positions will be available on a 24-hour-a-day basis.
"Jackson EMC is confident that its customers can look forward to the coming of 2000 with a sense of security and celebration," he said.
Swayne Cochran of the Georgia Power office in Jefferson said they are also ready for the change over to the new year. He said all of the computers are in compliance and have been tested.
"We are ready to go," he said. "We have done our trial runs and everything is perfect. We had no problems."
He said staff members would man the different facilities on Dec. 31 to make sure everything runs smoothly.
According to a report released by the state, all hospitals and health systems have met the necessary preparatory requirements for the anticipated Y2K-related computer bug. BJC Medical Center spokesman Henry Slocum said the hospital officials have checked out the generators to make sure that everything is ready for the new year.
"If the city has gas and electricity, we will be in good shape," he said. "But, of course, our generators would take over if there were any problems. We have been meeting for over a year working on this. Everything is ready today. We have been ready for more than six months."
Slocum said that all of the equipment has been tested and upgrades have been made in the X-ray and laboratory departments, as well as a state-of-the-art fetal monitor system to enhance the obstetrician care. Back-up supplies have also been stored. He added that the hospital has a well which could be used as a back up supply for water.
"We've had our water tested," he said. "It is ready."
Slocum said the hospital is always prepared for emergencies.
"We have to be ready for a disaster at any time," he said.

Request for another board of equalization on agenda
BY ANGELA GARY
The grand jury will likely be asked later this month to name an additional board of equalization for Jackson County.
The Jackson County Board of Commissioners will take action next week on a request from board of equalization chairman Willie Hughey to create an additional board to handle the expected increase in tax appeals next year due to a property re-evaluation. The meeting will be held at 7 p.m. Tuesday at the Administrative Building in Jefferson.
The BOC must formally ask the grand jury to name another board, which would act independently from the three-person board already in place. County officials will give the grand jury nominations of people who have agreed to serve. The grand jury will also name alternatives to this board.
The state law allows one three-member board per 10,000 parcels of property in the county. Jackson County has 18,392 parcels.
OTHER BUSINESS
In other business, the BOC will:
·fill a vacancy on the Jackson County Industrial Development Authority for the term of Jackie Tolbert which expires on Dec. 31 and is for a five-year period.
·fill a vacancy on the Jackson County Airport Authority for the term of Paul Christensen which expires on Dec. 31 and is for a five-year period.
·fill a vacancy on the Northeast Georgia Aging Services Advisory Council for the term of Lucille Law which expires on Dec. 31 and is a one-year term.
·fill a vacancy on the Jackson County Board of Health for the term of Dr. Keith Zimmerman which expires on Dec. 31.
·consider a resolution naming the county public safety weapons range in honor of commissioner Henry Robinson. Warden Joe Dalton asked the BOC to consider this to recognize Robinson, who worked to locate the range in the county in 1990. Dalton said the shooting range has been used by various law enforcement agencies, from the secret service on down, to get qualified for their posts. Robinson said the action isn't necessary, but BOC chairman Jerry Waddell said it is a good suggestion.

CHRISTMAS

Christmas festivities coming up
A Christmas Tour of Homes, breakfast with Santa and a town celebration are among the holiday events coming up in Jackson County this weekend.
The Tour of Homes will be held from 4 to 8 p.m. Saturday, December 11, in Maysville. Tickets will be available from any Community Improvement Club member or at the Maysville Golden Pantry or the Short Stop Convenience Store. They are $3 each.
Local children will also have a chance to have breakfast with Santa Claus in Jefferson Saturday, December 11. The Optimist Club of Jackson County will hold its third annual Breakfast with Santa from 9 to 10:30 a.m. at Jackson Electric Membership Corporation's auditorium. In addition to receiving a framed photograph of themselves with Santa, the children will have opportunities to participate in face painting, crafts and cookie decorating activities. Pokemon door prizes will be awarded.
The charge is a $5 donation per child, and adults who want to have breakfast will pay $3.
Santa Claus will be at the Hoschton gazebo from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Saturday, December 11. Children will be able to have a free photograph taken with Santa and will receive a surprise stocking.
It is sponsored by the Hoschton Women's Civic Club.


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