Members of Jefferson Cub Scout Pack
158 and local war veterans met Monday to raise a new flag in
front of the Jackson County Courthouse in honor of Veterans Day.
Veterans will place 128 small flags around the courthouse Thursday
in honor of the 128 local men who died in wars this century and
World War II veteran Gene Yearwood will be at the courthouse
Thursday to speak with school groups and others interested in
Photo by Travis Hatfield
186 county students
schooled at home
Byers said he is 'concerned' about the quality of some
BY ANGELA GARY
Some 348 students who live in Jackson
County are attending private schools or being home-schooled.
Of that, 186 are being home-schooled, according to Jackson County
School System superintendent Andy Byers.
Despite the apparent growth in home-schooling's popularity, Byers
told the Jackson County Board of Education that he is concerned
about the quality of education some of the home-schooled students
"I am concerned about this," he said. "Fifty percent
are concerned parents, but there are some who don't value education.
They use home-school to keep their kids at home."
In the county school system, there are 186 students being home-schooled
in 111 homes. That does not include students in the towns of
Jefferson and Commerce who must report to school systems in those
Byers said that several parents have been taken to court this
year because they are claiming to be home-schooling their children,
but are not. No tests are required of home-schooled students
and diplomas are not given. Those who want to continue their
education on the college level must take the SAT.
"You have some parents who are sincere and some who are
not," Byers said. "In my experience, it is one way
On a related matter, Byers reported that 162 county students
are attending 15 private schools, the majority of which are religious-based.
There are two private, religious schools serving Jackson Countians,
but they have not provided statistics to Byers as is required
by state law.
On another matter, Byers reported on a recent problem of a student
whose parents found out their property is not in the county school
district. Byers said the student had already bega
Gause to be at
Winder Thurs. for Veterans Day program
Damon Gause of Jefferson will make his
first area appearance promoting the book on his father's World
War II experiences on Veterans Day, Thursday, Nov. 11.
Gause will be at Barrow County where he will be featured at the
Veteran's Day program at the civic center in the former Duck
Head building in downtown Winder. He will be in Winder from 5
to 7 p.m. on Nov. 11 and copies of the book will be available
On Wednesday, Nov. 17, Gause will be at the Commerce Public Library
On Thursday, Nov. 18, Gause will be at the Crawford W. Long Museum
in Jefferson where he will give a reading and book signing from
noon to 1:30 p.m.
The local appearances will follow a whirlwind week-long tour
by Gause promoting the book in New York and Washington, D.C.
He left Jefferson Saturday to begin promoting "The War Journal
of Major Damon "Rocky" Gause: The Firsthand Account
of One of the Greatest Escapes of World War II." The book
is being published by Hyperion Press and tells the story of Gause's
escape from the Bataan Death March and journey to Australia in
a small boat.
The book is available at amazon.com on the Internet. It will
be available after Nov. 11 at Barnes and Noble, Athens, and Chapter
11 in Gainesville and Snellville. It can also be purchased by
calling Gause at 367-1107.
BOC hears pros and cons about 'conservation
To take action Tues.
BY ANGELA GARY
Supporters of a proposed "conservation community" in
south Jackson County point to the developer's plans to preserve
more than 85 percent of the 380 acres as a reason to approve
the project. But those against the project said that 200 more
new homes in the area would cause traffic problems on the road.
Some are also worried that the "city folks" moving
into the area will complain about odors from the numerous chicken
houses already located on the road.
Last week, the Jackson County Board of Commissioners heard from
both supporters and opponents of a rezoning request that would
lead to the planned unit development (PUD) on Cane Creek Road.
The BOC was to meet at 7 p.m. Tuesday to vote on the request
from Georgia Sheep Enterprises, the company set to purchase the
property from Hilton Bik if the rezoning is approved. The county
planning commission recommended in a 3-2 vote approval for the
plans. (Results from this week's BOC meeting were not available
at press time due to the early deadlines).
At a "work session," last Wednesday, the BOC heard
from Greg Ramsey of Village Habitat, the land preservation company
developing the project for Georgia Sheep Enterprises. The project
will include a mixture of residential and commercial projects.
It would be the second PUD to be approved for the county. The
BOC approved 1,550 homes in Mulberry Plantation earlier this
The community would be developed in seven phases of 30 homes
each and would be "pedestrian-planned" and less car
dependent. Plans include the homes being located in a village-type
setting, along with neighborhood activity buildings, a small
school and a commercial building to include a country store,
craft shop and a produce stand. Plans also call for preservation
of more than 85 percent of the existing farm land.
The unbuilt areas of the property would be protected by a permanent
agricultural conservation easement which restricts how the property
may be used. Water for the community would be provided by either
the county or community wells. Sewage would be provided by either
a community wetland system or drip-line irrigation.
Millard Braswell, Jefferson River Road, spoke at the BOC meeting
in support of the project, stating that more "conservation-use"
type projects are needed in the county.
"This is the type of development Jackson County needs,"
he said. "...I would very much be in favor of this."
Another Jefferson River Road resident, Les Steffe, also praised
"It is a very astute plan," he said. "I would
like to maintain the sense of presence and the natural beauty
in the area. If this doesn't go, it will be total development."
Angelina Scarborough, Chandler Bridge Road, said she is cautious
about development, but believes this project is the best option
for the area.
"We can develop it to the max, or do something like this,"
she said. "We have to make a choice and I'd love to see
the land conserved."
On the other side of the issue, John Braswell, Cane Creek Road,
said he is concerned about what would happen if all of the phases
aren't developed. He questioned whether the undeveloped land
would continue to be classified as conservation use.
Another resident of the road, Rhonda Carpenski, said she is concerned
about the narrow road and that the plans are not definite enough.
Eugenia Stevens, who lives adjacent to the property, also spoke
on concerns of the additional traffic the project would bring
to the "curvy" road.
Ramsey said that the type of people who are attracted to "conservation
community" developments are those who want to preserve farmland.
"The types of people who are attracted to this are people
who are inspired by the preservation of farm land," he said.
"They are not the average person who just wants to live
in rural areas but not be bothered by farms. They are going to
be the best people to understand that living around farms has
BOC chairman Jerry Waddell questioned the plans to reducing driving
and asked what percent of the homes would be sold to those who
work from their home, who commute or who are retired. Ramsey
said this would not be regulated but it would be encouraged.
Bik also spoke on plans for his land and said the goal will be
to avoid the "urban sprawl that has gotten out of hand"
in other counties.
Water Wise, Pendergrass appeal condemnation
The private waste water firm Water Wise Inc. and the City of
Pendergrass have filed appeals to a condemnation ruling over
a sewage plant in Jefferson.
In the recent condemnation hearing, special master Greg Perry
ruled that Jackson County owes Water Wise $1.478 million for
the old Texfi sewage plant in Jefferson it had condemned from
Perry also ruled that Pendergrass had no interest in the action.
Pendergrass contends that the town has ownership in the project
due to a "trust indenture" Mayor Mark Tolbert signed
with Water Wise. The town objects to Perry's ruling that the
mayor acted without authority and that actions at three council
meetings were not proper. The city also appealed the ruling that
a quit claim deed filed the day of the condemnation hearing was
PrinVest, a New York company handling the financing for Water
Wise on the deal, also filed an appeal to the ruling. A court
date has not been set.
In Water Wise's appeal, the company objects to the amount awarded
to the company. Owner Jerry Wickliffe said in the court proceedings
that he believes the plant is valued at $8 million to $10 million.
The condemnation move put Jackson County into the sewerage business,
a move county leaders said is needed to meet growth demands.