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One killed, another injured in Oct. 29 wreck

One person was killed and another seriously injured in a single-vehicle wreck in West Jackson.

The wreck happened Tuesday, Oct. 29, on New Cut Rd. when a Nissan Titan driven by Jorge A. Medina, 33, of Braselton, failed to maintain lane, ran off the road and struck a number of trees before coming to a rest.

Medina was partially ejected and seriously injured in the wreck and taken to Northeast Georgia Medical Center Gainesville.

A passenger, Stephanie M. Wheeler, 27, of Roswell, was ejected and died.

No seatbelts were used, according to the Georgia State Patrol report.

The specialized collision reconstruction team is assisting in the investigation. Charges, if any, are pending the outcome of that investigation.

Proposed rail project could impact Jackson

A proposed high-speed rail linking Atlanta to Charlotte, NC could pass through Jackson County with a potential rail station in Commerce.

While the idea is in the early stages, one of the routes considered for the project would have it parallel I-85 through Jackson County.

Another proposed route would have it go south along the Hwy. 316 corridor through Barrow County to Athens, then through the edge of Madison County into South Carolina.

A third route would have the rail go further north through Gainesville and Toccoa before entering South Carolina.

The project is currently in a Phase 1 environmental study and is being done by the Federal Railroad Administration.

"The exact alignments and routes for the termini of the alternatives have not yet been finalized and will be further defined in a future Tier II EIS; however, each of the alternatives will include service to downtown and airport stations in both Atlanta, GA and Charlotte, NC," says the FRA website about the project. "In particular, the project will consider connectivity between a downtown Atlanta passenger station and Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport in Atlanta, and between the proposed Charlotte Gateway Station and Charlotte-Douglas International Airport."

The project from Charlotte to Atlanta is an extension of a 1992 rail project for a system from Charlotte to Washington D.C. That link has not yet been completed.

The Georgia Department of Transportation is a partner in the project and is accepting public comments through Nov. 4 about the plans.

Comments about the project can be made online here: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/AtlCha19

"Georgia DOT will base the preferred alternative decision on feedback and comments from the public and agencies, performance of each corridor alternative and the potential environmental impacts of each corridor alternative," states a GDOT website about the project.

Vandals cause substantial damage to Sells Mill

Jackson County authorities are seeking information on a vandalism incident at a local park that caused over $10,000 worth of damage.

According to a news release, the Jackson County Parks and Recreation Department found Nov. 4 that someone had caused substantial damage to the Sell’s Mill at Sell’s Mill Park.

Jackson County Sheriff Janis Mangum said the vandals broke many of the building's windows. The suspect also reportedly forced in the door. A fan had also been ripped down from a pavilion and thrown into the woods.

The incident occurred sometime between Saturday, Nov. 2, through Monday, Nov. 4.

"A reward is being offered for the capture and conviction of the responsible parties," according to a Jackson County Sheriff's Office news release. "The suspects when located will face multiple felony charges."

Anyone with information is asked to contact Capt. Dale A. Dillow at 706-387-6043 or the anonymous tip line at 706-367-3784.

Braselton area schools show mixed results on CCRPI

Braselton area schools showed mixed results on the CCRPI.

The Georgia Department of Education recently released the 2019 CCRPI results, the state’s school report card that scores school districts on several areas, including standardized test scores and graduation rates.

The Town of Braselton is split between four county school districts. And some Braselton area students attend two local city school districts (Jefferson and Buford).

Between those six school districts, only one fell below the state’s overall average of 75.9. The Hall County School District scored a 72.4 overall, but that’s still an improvement over last year’s score of 71.6.

The Barrow County School System also improved its score, up from 68.7 in 2018 to 76.7 in 2019.

The remaining school districts all saw a dip in scores from last year including: Jackson County, down from 81.7 to 78.9; Gwinnett County, down slightly from 83 to 82.5; Jefferson City, down to 90.3 from 91.2; and Buford City, down from 91.7 to 88.6.

Many school-wide scores fell below the state average within their individual grade clusters. See school-wide results below:

2019 CCRPI Scores

State scores

Elementary schools 77.1

Middle schools 72.1

High schools 77

All schools – 75.9

Jackson County – JCCHS cluster

Gum Springs Elementary 80.3

*North Jackson Elementary 67.6

*West Jackson Elementary 76.8

West Jackson Middle 80.4

Jackson County Comprehensive High School 84.2

Gwinnett County – MCHS cluster

Duncan Creek Elementary 86.4

Fort Daniel Elementary 97

Harmony Elementary 78.6

Ivy Creek Elementary 96.8

Puckett’s Mill Elementary 96.5

Jones Middle 88.4

Osborne Middle 87.3

Mill Creek High 89.4

Hall County – Braselton area

*Myers Elementary 63.6

Spout Springs Elementary 88.7

Chestnut Mountain Elementary 77.4

*Cherokee Bluff Middle 69.1

*Cherokee Bluff High 73.9

*Friendship Elementary 67.7

Martin Elementary 81.2

*Davis Middle 70.8

Flowery Branch High 78.5

Barrow County – WBHS cluster

Bramlett Elementary 91.9

County Line Elementary 81.7

*Winder Elementary 70.6

Holsenbeck Elementary 82.1

*Statham Elementary 71

Russell Middle 81.9

Bear Creek Middle 74.9

*Winder-Barrow High 74.3

Jefferson City

Jefferson Elementary 87.7

Jefferson Academy 92.6

Jefferson Middle 88.6

Jefferson High 88.3

Buford City

Buford Elementary 80.2

Buford Academy 83.5

Buford Middle 94.8

Buford High 91.2

Big changes and a runoff

The Braselton and Hoschton town councils will see some big changes — and a December runoff — following the Nov. 5 election.

In Hoschton, Shantwon Astin and Adam Ledbetter handily defeated incumbent Mindi Kiewert to secure the two at-large city council seats. Astin had 233 votes and Ledbetter had 236 votes, while Kiewert garnered 129 votes. (Incumbent Susan Powers did not seek re-election.)

In the Braselton Town Council District 3 race, challenger Jim Joedecke overwhelmingly beat incumbent Tony Funari, with 207 votes to Funari's 46.

But in the Braselton District 1 race, none of the three candidates secured 50-percent of the vote, forcing a runoff.

Incumbent Becky Richardson got 86 votes (44.5 percent), followed by challengers Richard Mayberry with 58 votes (30 percent) and Joy Basham with 49 votes (25.4 percent.)

There will be a runoff between Richardson and Mayberry on Dec. 3.

Madison Dix, Lanie Jane Dix and Wyatt Dix pulled inspiration from Mary Poppins for their Halloween costumes.

Rocco Grosso, 5, and Wilder Grosso, 3, show off "The Office" inspired Halloween costumes.