Wendy Osborne, 29, Nicholson, was indicted Monday by a Jackson County Grand Jury on two counts related to the Sept. 2 death of 9-month-old Jessica Scovil. Osborne was indicted for involuntary manslaughter and reckless conduct in the death of Scovil, who was in foster care at the Osborne home at the time of the incident. Scovil died of heat ...
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A fire whipped by gusty winds destroyed a large 4,000 sq. ft. two-story home on Jefferson River Road Tuesday. Several Jackson County fire departments responded to the blaze, which happened about midday. The fire happened at 8825 Jefferson River Road in South Jackson. The house was listed for sale in September and was reportedly built in 1976.
Barrow County Judge David Motes has dismissed a 2007 lawsuit filed against the Town of Braselton by the developers of a high profile commercial project in Barrow County on Hwy. 211, saying the developer’s lawyers had engaged in judicial “misconduct.” [Full Story »]
7:45 p.m. State is reporting early results from Oglethorpe County with Sen. Ralph Hudgens having a heavy lead. Other counties not reporting yet.
8:10 p.m. All three state amendments, including the TAD amendment which is being promoted by Braselton leaders, are receiving a heavy "No" vote in early statewide results.
8:17 p.m. Early results have Jackson County US Representative candidate Bobby Saxon trailing incumbent Paul Broun 65% to 35%.
8:36 p.m. State is reporting Jackson County has 7 of 18 precincts reporting for the presidential race with McCain leading the county 2,058 to Obama's 670.
8:50 p.m. Early results in Banks, Barrow, Jackson and Madison hold few surprises so far. In Banks County, long-time incumbent Democrat state representative Jeanette Jamieson is trailing Republican challenger Michael Harden 1,869 to 1,113. She is also trailing in Franklin and Stephens counties.
8:59 p.m. With 2 of 5 district precincts reporting in Barrow County, incumbent county commissioner Bill Healan is trailing Republican challenger Steve Worley 555 to 375.
9:11 p.m. In Madison County, the race for sheriff is very close with 6 out of 14 precincts reporting; incumbent Clayton Lowe is leading by less than 50 votes over challenger Kip Thomas.
9:22 p.m. It doesn't pay to be a Democrat in Banks, Barrow, Jackson and Madison counties.... Republican lead in most races 2-1 or 3-1. The only exceptions with about half the votes cast are the race for sheriff in Madison County where incumbent Democrat Clayton Lowe has a very small lead and the tax commissioners race in Banks County where incumbent Margaret Ausburn has the lead. In the BOC District 3 race in Barrow County incumbent Democrat Bill Healan is trailing by a small margin to Republican Steve Worley in a race Healan was expected to carry easily. More precincts to come on that race, however.
9:35 p.m. Looks like longtime Democratic state Representative Jeanette Jamieson will fall to Republican challenger Michael Harden. The District 28 House seat appears to be solidly Republican now, based on the returns so far tonight. If the trend holds, the state will lose one of its most colorful legislators.
9:40 p.m. Madison County incumbent sheriff Clayton Lowe has just fallen behind challenger Kip Thomas with 9 of 14 precincts reporting. Thomas is the Republican in the tight race.
9:45 p.m. One of the few local Democrats to fare well so far tonight has been incumbent Madison County tax commissioner Louise Watson who has a comfortable lead over Republican challenger Kathy Stamps.
9:46 p.m. BANKS COUNTY COMPLETED: McCain led Obama 5,114-1,026; Chambliss led Martin 4,264-1,512; Broun led Saxon 4,455-1,503; Harden led Jamieson 3,826-2,243; Ausburn (the only winning Democrat) led 3,474-2,568; and Brown led Kenedy 4,055-1,861. The BOC change passed 4,070-1,869.
10:05 p.m. Worley continues to lead Healan in the Barrow County in the District 3 BOC race, but absentee votes are yet to go. This race could be very close at the end.
10:15 p.m. In the Madison County sheriff's race, challenger Thomas leads incumbent Lowe by a thin 71 votes with 13 of 14 precincts reporting.
10:30 p.m. With 76% of state precincts reporting, all three Constitutional Amendments are failing, but the TAD amendment (#2) is very close.
11 p.m. MADISON COUNTY COMPLETE: Thomas defeates incumbent Lowe for sheriff 5,576-5,505. More results at www.MadisonJournalTODAY.com.
11:01 p.m. CNN CALLS BARACK OBAMA THE WINNER OF THE PRESIDENTIAL RACE.
11:27 p.m. With one precinct left, it appears that Steve Worley has upset incumbent BOC District 3 commissioner Bill Healan with a 56%-44% lead. Jud Smith held a 3-1 lead over James B. Bonnemer, Sr.
Following a request from the Jackson County Board of Commissioners to cut each department’s budget by five percent, Sheriff Stan Evans has called for a two-day furlough for all of his employees. The employees will take two days off without pay before the end of the year.
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With two town hall meetings slated for the coming week, the head of Hoschton’s finance committee is again calling for the town to impose a property tax to fund city expenses.
The Hoschton City Council will hold two “town hall meetings” at the depot to discuss the proposed city property tax. The first will be held on Thursday, Oct. 23, at 2 p.m. A second meeting is set for Monday, Oct. 27, at 7 p.m.
Last week, Tom Walden, the head of the Hoschton City Council’s finance committee, called for the town to impose a 2.1 mill property tax — the first in the last 30 years — to fund city expenses. A few weeks ago, Walden initially proposed a 4 mill property tax.
The proposed Hoschton budget for 2009 calls for an 11 percent hike in city spending.
“With this, we are creating a reserve,” Walden said. “It is a minimal reserve, but it is a starter reserve.”
But councilman Jim Jester opposed the idea, saying the town should look at cutting its work week and other cutbacks to avoid imposing a property tax.
Mayor Bill Copenhaver said cutting the work week wouldn’t save much money.
“We will end up paying more because we won’t get the work done,” the mayor said.
But Jester disagreed.
“People take vacations and the work gets done,” he said. “People aren’t always here five days a week…I think we ought to not rule it out…I won’t vote for a property tax if this is all I have to work from.”
The debate over a city property tax is part of an ongoing problem the city has had for several years as it has faced severe financial problems and budget shortfalls in revenue.
In its current version, the proposed 2009 city general fund budget has expenses of $941,800, an 11 percent increase over 2008. The proposal eliminates pay raises for employees, patrol cars being taken home by policemen and some capital expenses.
On the revenue side, the proposal calls for $942,000 in income, including $111,500 from a 2.1 mill city property tax. The budget also calls for using $95,000 of its reserve funds.
The Commerce Police Department has confirmed that officers arrested a Braselton man wanted on charges related to an early morning crime spree in Winder.
Authorities had been seeking Waylon Robert Westbrooks, 17, of Kirby Circle in Braselton after he was identified as the perpetrator in an early morning vehicle theft from a Winder subdivision.
Westbrooks allegedly stole a 2006 F-150 truck from a Shenandoah Lane address between 1:00 a.m. and 6:00 a.m. The vehicle was later involved in a serious motor vehicle accident on I-85 in Jackson County.
Westbrooks was also listed as a suspect in a series of car break-ins overnight on Buena Vista Street and St. Ives Circle in Winder. According to police reports, the suspect acquired a large caliber handgun from one of the vehicles.
After being involved in the Jackson County car crash, Westbrooks reportedly stole another vehicle from a residence near the accident scene.
Westbrooks was apprehended after a pawn shop owner in Commerce noticed Westbrooks stealing money from the store cash register. As Westbrook fled the scene, the pawn shop owner made note of the license plate on Westbrooks' vehicle and called police.
Lt. Harmon of the Commerce Police Department said officers apprehended Westbrooks a short time later at a nearby gas station.
Westbrooks has been turned over to the Jackson County Sheriff's Department, according to Harmon.