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FRONT PAGE - NOVEMBER 10, 1999 - JEFFERSON, GA

NOTICE: Due to Veterans' Day, all of MainStreet's printed editions will be published today, Tuesday, November 9 instead of the normal Wednesday publication date.

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Veterans Day Salute

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 honoring veterans.
Photo by Travis Hatfield


EDUCATION

186 county students schooled at home
Byers said he is 'concerned' about the quality of some at-home programs
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 receive.
"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 communities.
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 or another."
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.
DISTRICT ISSUE
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 for $21.95.
On Wednesday, Nov. 17, Gause will be at the Commerce Public Library at noon.
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 community'
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 year.
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 the plan.
"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.
DEVELOPER SPEAKS
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 certain issues."
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 rulings
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 the firm.
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 not valid.
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.


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