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Local vaccination rates around 20%

The total number of residents who have received at least one dose of the COVID vaccine in Braselton’s four-county area is around 20%.

Gwinnett County has the highest rate of resident vaccinations in the area, with 21% of residents getting their first dose, according to the state reporting website. That’s followed by Jackson County, 19%; Hall County, 18%; and Barrow County, 16%.

But Jackson County has the highest percentage when looking at residents who are fully vaccinated, coming in at 14%. That’s followed by Gwinnett and Hall, both 13%, and Barrow at 11%.

Those totals fall below the state average of 30% who’ve received their first dose and 17% who are full vaccinated.

In each of the four counties, women had a higher vaccination rate.


Meanwhile, the total number of COVID patients at Northeast Georgia Health System remained low over the past two weeks.

As of April 12, the hospital system was treating 37 COVID patients with 11 at Northeast Georgia Medical Center Braselton.

Since the start of the pandemic, the following totals have been reported in the Braselton area according to the Department of Health:

•Barrow: 8,487 confirmed cases; 127 confirmed deaths and one probable death

•Gwinnett: 84,536 confirmed cases; 1,032 confirmed deaths and 68 probable deaths

•Hall: 24,659 confirmed cases; 422 confirmed deaths and 24 probable deaths

•Jackson: 8,387 confirmed cases; 135 confirmed deaths and 11 probable deaths

A night view of the front of the new Jackson County High School in West Jackson. The facility is almost completed with plans to move into the building in June and to hold a ribbon-cutting during the summer. The new state-of-the-art school is designed to accommodate growth in the West Jackson Area and is part of a campus on Skelton Rd. and Hwy. 332 that will eventually have a middle school and elementary school.

Local schools to get stimulus funding

Braselton area schools will receive funding from the recently signed federal American Rescue Plan.

The Barrow County School System will get $19.9 million from the one-time funds. Gwinnett County schools will get $282.4 million, Hall County schools will get $49.7 million and Jackson County schools will get $9.4 million.

Among other items, the funds may be used for:

• Avoiding devastating layoffs and hiring additional educators to address learning loss, providing support to students and existing staff, and providing sufficient staffing to facilitate social distancing.

• Implementing strategies to meet the social, emotional, mental health, and academic needs of students hit hardest by the pandemic, including through evidence-based interventions and critical services like community schools.

• Funding crucial summer, after-school, and other extended learning and enrichment programs.

• Hiring additional school personnel, such as nurses and custodial staff, to keep schools safe and healthy.

• Providing for social distancing and safety protocols on buses.

• Funding for Wi-Fi hotspots and devices for students without connectivity for remote learning and supporting educators in the effective use of technology.

"This pandemic has taken an extraordinary toll on students, parents, educators, and schools, and we know that our schools, students, and communities need help now to reopen safely and quickly, and to stay open," said Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona. "These funds from the American Rescue Plan and the extraordinary steps the Department is taking to get these resources to states quickly will allow schools to invest in mitigation strategies to get students back in the classroom and stay there, and address the many impacts this pandemic has had on students—especially those disproportionately impacted by the pandemic."

Man arrested for aggravated assault, obstruction following standoff

A man was recently arrested following a standoff in West Jackson.

According to a Jackson County Sheriff's Office news release, deputies were called or a report of shots fired on April 11 around 3:30 p.m. on Cecil Clark Rd. in Braselton. The caller said a father was shooting at his son and another person.

Raymond Russell Sr., 57, was arrested following a standoff and brought to the Jackson County Jail. He is charged with two counts of aggravated assault and willful obstruction of law enforcement officers.

Officers with the Braselton Police Department arrived first and saw a man standing on the front porch with an AR-style rifle. Deputies arrived and also observed the white male with the rifle, walking back and forth on the porch.

He was given multiple commands to drop the weapon and put his hands up but refused to comply. He also reportedly made comments about being a good shot, saying he "wouldn't miss."

"Deputies observed him then get behind a column on the porch, still with the rifle," according to the JCSO. "They observed him fall on the porch, rolling around and then he retreated back inside the residence. The suspect advised the deputies at one point he was loading his sniper rifle, that we better be good shots and shoot him first, stating he wanted to die."

After several hours of communicating back and forth with the suspect, he eventually came out of the residence, unarmed with his hands up and was detained.

There was a domestic violence incident earlier in the week between the son, Raymond Russell Jr. and his father, at which time the son was arrested for terroristic threats against the father.

Braselton to host farmers market April 16

Braselton’s spring farmers market is set for Friday, April 16, from 4-7 p.m. on the outdoor patio of the Braselton Brothers Store building at 9924 Davis St. in Downtown Braselton.

Farmers, bakers and makers will have locally-grown produce, farm-raised meats, fresh eggs, assorted baked goods, local honey, pasta meal kits, empanadas, gluten-free items, pickles, jams, preserves, elderberry syrup, dry mixes, coffee, caramel corn, live plants and natural dog treats.

Free parking is available at the town’s parking deck.

Braselton seeks volunteers for cleanup day

Braselton is seeking volunteers to help with a downtown cleanup day, planned Saturday, May 1, from 8:30-11 a.m.

Teams will be assigned different parts of the historic district to pick up trash.

Check in will be held at the gazebo on the Town Green at 9924 Davis St. Parking is available on Davis St. and in the town's parking deck.

Supplies will be provided, along with coffee and donuts. Volunteers will receive a T-shirt (while supplies last).

Volunteers are encouraged to wear a mask, wash their hands and practice social distancing. Those who are not feeling well are asked to stay home.

Sign up to volunteer at https://downtownbraselton.volunteerlocal.com/volunteer/?id=53825.

For more information, contact Amy at apinnell@braselton.net.

Town defers action on Duncan Creek subdivision site plan

Braselton leaders deferred a vote this week on a final site plan for a residential development near Chateau Elan.

The Braselton Town Council voted unanimously to defer a vote on the final site plan for the Chateau Elan at Duncan Creek planned unit development at its April 12 meeting. Mayor Bill Orr was absent for the vote.

Meritage Homes of Georgia plans to construct 318 detached single-family homes on the 141 acre property, located off Duncan Creek Rd. The council approved the annexation and zoning request for the development last year.

Three homeowners later filed an appeal, challenging the zoning decision.

At the council’s April 8 work session, Jim Joedecke questioned whether it “made sense” to approve given the pending appeal. He ultimately made the motion to defer the request until the council’s May meeting.

“Obviously, we have litigation pending. It would be my hope that a continuance might get these parties talking about trying to resolve this matter,” he said.

Joedecke also requested clarification on the development’s proposed name.

Braselton gives nod for Ednaville Rd. subdivision

Braselton leaders gave the go-ahead for a subdivision off Ednaville Rd. this week.

The Braselton Town Council voted April 12 to approve a request to annex and rezone 55 acres off Ednaville Rd.

The applicant, Old Norcross Investments, requested an R-3 zoning to allow development of 106 detached single-family units.

Council members approved the project with a number of conditions. Among those conditions is a requirement to provide an amenity area, which will be shared by the adjacent proposed subdivision named Fox Creek Subdivision.


Also at its meeting, the council approved:

•an alcohol beverage application for Brian Shaw for beer and wine sales (including Sundays) at Twisted Axes 2345 Thompson Mill Rd.

•an alcohol beverage license for Julie Joy to include frozen consumables at Joy Company Market at 56 Henry St.

•appointing Dennis Still to the newly-formed Barrow County/Braselton Joint Development Authority and Donna Johnson to the town’s Urban Development Agency.

Braselton accepting applications for Citizens Academy Program

Braselton is accepting applications for the Citizens Academy Program.

"The Town of Braselton Government Citizens Academy Program is a unique opportunity for citizens to develop a better understanding about Town of Braselton Government," town leaders said.

Each month covers a different topic related to town service provision.

The Citizens Academy begins in May and is held for six months on the third Thursday of each month from 6-8 p.m. (except October which goes until 10 p.m.). for six months.

Space is limited to the first 10 qualified applicants and the classes fill quickly.

More information is available on the application, which can be downloaded on the town's website on the Get Involved page.