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July 11, 2002 Issue


Storm damage...

Local residents survey the damage after a Saturday storm scattered hail and knocked over trees in West Wrens. High winds and falling limbs took down power lines and lightning strikes started woods fires.







Pressure bombs explode in Wrens

By Parish Howard
Editor

Wrens Thomson Street resident Ted Johnson was in bed Monday night when he was awaken by loud explosion.

"It was really too loud to be a gun shot, but I didn't even think of an explosive device at the time," Johnson said. "It was loud."

He was one of several area residents who called the police to report the sounds.

The next morning bomb detection dogs from Richmond County and Georgia Bureau of Investigation Bomb Squad experts were called in to examine the scene which was roped off after local police discovered the remainders of homemade explosive devices. One device had not been detonated.

The devices, called over-pressure devices, are made from common household items.

While they are predominantly noise makers, the devices can cause extensive damage to property or serious injury in tight quarters.

"These are considered to be explosive devices and so making them is considered a felony. A lot of kids don't realize that." said Special Agent Craig Rotter with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation's bomb squad.

The agent said that since Atlanta hosted the Olympic Games laws pertaining to the production or detonation of explosive devices have been strengthened and made very strict.

If arrested and convicted, those connected to the construction of such a device could face fines and up to five years of jail time.

"This is serious. We can't have this," said Wrens Police Chief David Hannah. "People need to know that this is serious. With everything that is going on in the world today, we have to take everything like this seriously."

Richmond County explosive detection canine units did not discover any other accelerants in the area.

"They don't signal on the things used in these bottles because they were entirely made from common household items," Hannah said. "But we had to be safe and call them in."

If anyone has any information on this or any other crime in the Wrens area, he is encoraged to call Chief Hannah at the police station at (706) 547-3000.





Development authority requests increase

Authority asks board to consider .27 mill increase in tax-based funding

By Ben Nelms
Staff Writer

Representatives from the Development Authority of Jefferson County (DAJC) took a request before county commissioners at the July 1 work session, asking the board to consider approving a .27 mill increase to 1.0 mills in the development authority's tax-based funding when the commission formally adopts the budget and sets the millage rate in coming weeks. If granted, the increase would amount to approximately $75,000-80,000.

DAJC board member Lee Woods and economic developer Brad Day told commissioners the requests stemmed from the June 13 development authority meeting.

Woods used an analogy of the DAJC's current status to that of an individual business to make the point that the development authority needs the assistance of the county commission to continue with its mission of recruiting industry to provide jobs within the county and to expand the tax base.

"We want to go to 1.0 mill because, quite frankly, we want to open the store," said Woods. "We have tried to set things in place to bring industry here to the county but we have no goods in the store to open up for any customers to come in. We have no land, no property to show them, no sites available now that are in our name."

If approved by the board, DAJC would use the .27 mill increase to help fund both land acquisitions throughout the county and the costs related to the various planning phases associated with the acquisitions, said Day.

Woods referred to the recent Georgia Tech study, "Recommendations for a Strategic Plan for Economic Development in Jefferson County," which advised the county to continue to explore potential industrial park sites throughout the county but to focus its efforts on one location.

Researchers emphasized the urgent need for a publicly-owned industrial site in the county and recommended that DAJC purchase the Louisville Airport Industrial Park property on the Louisville bypass due to its central geographic location, the availability of utilities and other on-site improvements. Addressing commissioners at the work session, Woods outlined DAJC's intention to initiate movement on three fronts based on research recommendations.

"As a result of (the recommendations) the development authority has moved forward to make recommendations to acquire the existing Louisville airport development park that is in place on Highway 1," said Woods. "We have also moved forward to acquire property in Wadley at the Shake Rag Industrial Park and to take possession of the existing recreation site in Wrens for possible future expansion there. To acquire these things we do need funding and that is why we have come forward today to ask for an additional increase in millage from .72 mills to 1.0 mills."

Day told commissioners the development authority's intention to follow the Georgia Tech recommendation to purchase the Louisville property, which would be the county's first completely, publicly owned industrial park, did not preclude the pursuit of developments in other areas of the county.

"I am recommending to the development authority that there be marketable industrial properties in all our larger cities," said Day. "This is because they all have certain advantages to industry. While the Georgia tech study said to aggregate some resources into a major industrial park in Louisville it doesn't keep us from having very marketable sites in other parts of the county."

In illustration, he said properties in Wrens, Wadley and Louisville had been shown to potential industrial prospects within the last week.

Day referred the public-private partnership with Commissioner Wynder Smith at Shake Rag Industrial Park in Wadley. Smith donated a tract to DAJC to marketing and a second tract to provide roadway access into the park, which DAJC is currently showing to industry. He said DAJC has been working with only private landowners in Wrens due to the lack of industrial park development. He said the $2.5 million improvements made by the city to its water and sewer systems in the past five years makes the city no less attractive to industry than any other area of the county. He emphasized that local industrial development initiatives should be viewed from a perspective that benefits the entire county.

Chairman Gardner Hobbs told commissioners that, if approved by the board, the .27 mill increase would total approximately $75,000-80,000 above what DAJC is currently receiving. Throughout the meeting, each of the commissioners expressed the aim to have the county experience economic growth in a manner that would benefit the community without jeopardizing either specific communities or taxpayers.

Also discussed was the potential expansion of Glit, Inc. on property in Wrens that currently houses the city's recreation fields. The city council recently approved donating the property to DAJC for the industrial development on the property provided the process is completed within one year. An option in the agreement requires that the city receive $250,000 to replace the current recreation facility. Woods told commissioners the funds needed to replace the current facility were earmarked to come in the form of a grant from Georgia Department of Industry, Trade and Tourism.

Other requests by DAJC included future assistance with grading property at Shake Rag Industrial Park, Louisville Airport Industrial Park and other industrial projects in the county and for the commission's consideration in donating a tract of land on US Highway 1 in Louisville for potential development. tral geographic location, the availability of utilities and other on-site improvements. Addressing commissioners at the work session, Woods outlined DAJC's intention to initiate movement on three fronts based on research recommendations.

"As a result of (the recommendations) the development authority has moved forward to make recommendations to acquire the existing Louisville airport development park that is in place on Highway 1," said Woods. "We have also moved forward to acquire property in Wadley at the Shake Rag Industrial Park and to take possession of the existing recreation site in Wrens for possible future expansion there. To acquire these things we do need funding and that is why we have come forward today to ask for an additional increase in millage from .72 mills to 1.0 mills."

Day told commissioners the development authority's intention to follow the Georgia Tech recommendation to purchase the Louisville property, which would be the county's first completely, publicly owned industrial park, did not preclude the pursuit of developments in other areas of the county.

"I am recommending to the development authority that there be marketable industrial properties in all our larger cities," said Day. "This is because they all have certain advantages to industry. While the Georgia Tech study said to aggregate some resources into a major industrial park in Louisville it doesn't keep us from having very marketable sites in other parts of the county."

In illustration, he said properties in Wrens, Wadley and Louisville had been shown to potential industrial prospects within the last week.

Day referred the public-private partnership with Commissioner Wynder Smith at Shake Rag Industrial Park in Wadley.

Smith donated a tract to DAJC to marketing and a second tract to provide roadway access into the park, which DAJC is currently showing to industry.

He said DAJC has been working with only private landowners in Wrens due to the lack of industrial park development.

He said the $2.5 million improvements made by the city to its water and sewer systems in the past five years makes the city no less attractive to industry than any other area of the county. He emphasized that local industrial development initiatives should be viewed from a perspective that benefits the entire county.

Chairman Gardner Hobbs told commissioners that, if approved by the board, the .27 mill increase would total approximately $75,000-80,000 above what DAJC is currently receiving. Throughout the meeting, each of the commissioners expressed the aim to have the county experience economic growth in a manner that would benefit the community without jeopardizing either specific communities or taxpayers.

Also discussed was the potential expansion of Glit, Inc. on property in Wrens that currently houses the city's recreation fields.

The city council recently approved donating the property to DAJC for the industrial development on the property provided the process is completed within one year. An option in the agreement requires that the city receive $250,000 to replace the current recreation facility. Woods told commissioners the funds needed to replace the current facility were earmarked to come in the form of a grant from Georgia Department of Industry, Trade and Tourism.

Other requests by DAJC included future assistance with grading property at Shake Rag Industrial Park, Louisville Airport Industrial Park and other industrial projects in the county and for the commission's consideration in donating a tract of land on US Highway 1 in Louisville for potential development.





Commission puts final touches on ordinance for manufactured homes

By Ben Nelms
Staff Writer

A small group of Glascock County residents, county commissioners and the county attorney put the final touches on the county's proposed manufactured home ordinance at the July 2 commission meeting.

The final version of the ordinance will be available for the commission's consideration at the August meeting.

Written by a volunteer group of residents who formed after a request by commissioners for citizen participation with the issue, work on the proposed ordinance was given high marks by County Attorney Sammy Fowler.

"What you've done here is straightforward," Fowler told committee members Kevin Simpson, D'Ann Simpson and Don Finch. "You've done a good job using a common sense approach."

Recommendations in the proposed ordinance addressed lot size, facilities, set-up and age requirements. The proposal suggested a maximum of one manufactured home per acre with a well and septic system.

The committee suggested, in keeping with federal requirements, that homes be required to have been constructed after June 16, 1976.

Also included were prerequisites setting standards for sanitation, electrical, ventilation, heating, smoke detection, overall construction and other health and safety requirements.

Regarding grouping of manufactured homes, the committee proposed a maximum of two homes, or a maximum of four baths, per one-half acre where a public water supply is used.

Under the arrangement the two homes would be permitted to use the same septic system.

Two doublewides cannot share a septic system, according to the proposal.

Recommendations for set-up included requirements that homes should be a minimum of 30 feet from any other dwelling or, for fire/safety access purposes, 15 feet from property lines.

Homes would be required to be blocked and tied down, underpinned and outfitted with a landing and handrail. Also addressed in the ordinance were manufactured homes used for storage, the application procedure and permit requirements and fees for moving manufactured homes.

"We need a manufactured home ordinance and one that is simple and one we can live with," said Chairman Thomas Chalker. "I'm proud that the people came together like they did and worked it through."

The results of the citizens' committee charged with designing a proposal for a manufactured home ordinance in Glascock County were presented to county commissioners at the board's May 7 meeting and were subsequently reviewed by Fowler.

The citizens committee was formed after the Feb. 12 public meeting to discuss the need for an ordinance for manufactured homes in unincorporated areas of Glascock County. Nearly all of the 30 residents who spoke at the meeting were in favor of some type of ordinance, including one that would be the least restrictive to the freedoms of residents. Commissioners asked volunteers from the community to examine the issues, concerns and options available to the county for possible inclusion in a manufactured home ordinance.





Newspaper receives seven awards in state press contest


From Staff Reports

Staff members of The News and Farmer / The Jefferson Reporter came home from the 116th Georgia Press Association Annual Convention with six awards last week, including a first place for investigative reporting for staff writer Ben Nelms' articles about leaking wastewater at the former Forstmann textile plant.

"In depth reporting and good details are the hallmarks" of Nelms' reporting, judges said. "It really put a spotlight on an important local environmental issue." Nelms' articles about the possible sale of the county landfill helped earn the newspaper a second place in community service.

"This piece shows how a community and its newspaper can cause change," judges wrote in evaluation comments.

Nelms also earned second place awards for hard news writing and spot news photography.

Editor Parish Howards' feature writing and Family and Friends sections earned second places as well.

"Howard's sheer volume of solid features were impressive," judges said and the paper's lifestyle coverage "move beyond the usual brides-and-babies fare." Good use of lists, calendars and briefs to provide quick-hit information were noted.

The newspaper's coverage of business news earned a third place award.

Judges commented on the timeliness of the coverage, noting that "overall business coverage has a real feeling of depth."

"One of the most rewarding things in my life is publishing a newspaper with the quality and integrity that this team exhibits week after week," Joyce Beverly, publisher, said. "And it is a team effort. Everyone on the staff pulls together to bring you the most news that we can afford, and then some. They care, and I have found over the years that you can't pay people enough for this. They either do, or they don't. It is an honor to be their 'boss-lady.'"


The News and Farmer P.O. Box 487 Louisville, GA 30434
(478) 625-7722 or (706) 547-6629 - (478) 625-8816 fax
E-mail us at: mail@thenewsandfarmer.com


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