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August 1, 2002 Issue

Lt Col. A.P. Little, Jr following D-Day invasion of France, 7 June 1944, just two months before he died a hero.

WWII hero honored in France

• Jefferson County native Colonel Pat Little died in combat in 1944; this year he was honored again

By Luke Moses

A.P. "Pat" Little, Jr. was born on the corner of Seventh and Mulberry streets in Louisville, in a house his father built. He grew up two doors down, the son of the city manager, a hometown boy.

He was only 29 when he died in France while trying to rescue injured soldiers just months after the invasion of Normandy.

On May 7 his heroism was recognized again in the country he fought to free, at Le Bourget Airport where he was wounded, not far from the cemetery where his body still lies.

Little graduated from Louisville Academy with honors. A soldier from the start, after two years at the University of Georgia, he attended West Point where he eventually graduated eighth of 298, the highest any Georgian had graduated from the academy at the time.

He was assigned to the Army Corps of Engineers and in 1940 received a master's degree in civil engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

When World War II commenced, Little was recognized as a fine soldier and was promoted in rank rapidly. He commanded regiments that built airfields, often in hostile fire and served with honor in North Africa, Italy and France.

Little was given command of the 922nd Engineer Aviation Regiment.

The regiment participated in reconnaissance missions and the construction and maintenance of airfield that supported the Allied forces.

On D-Day, June 6, 1944, Colonel Little landed on Omaha Beach and one of his battalions built the first airstrip in Normandy after the invasion.

On Sunday, Aug. 27, 1944, only days after the liberation of Paris, Col. Little and several soldiers were inspecting conditions of the Le Bourget Airport when their car came under enemy machine gun fire.

Disregarding their own safety, Little, who survived the initial attack, heroically went to the aid of his fallen companions and was caught in the enemy fire.

Seriously wounded, Col. Little was able to pull his driver to safety and administer first aid, saving the man's life.

French troops took the American soldiers to a nearby hospital where Little died two days later.

Little's heroism was recognized posthumously by the United States Army who awarded him the Silver Star and by France with the Croix de Guerre (War Cross) with Palm, which was given for especially meritorious conduct during the Second World War.

The French government honored Little and another soldier with a marble plaque placed in the Le Bourget airport.

Since the mid-1950s various members of Little's family have visited France to see the plaque and his grave in the Normandy American Cemetery overlooking Omaha Beach.

Le Bourget Airport was transformed into an Air and Space museum in the 1970s. During the renovations of the airport, the plaque was removed and accidentally destroyed.

Yet in France, one person continued to remember the plaque honoring Little and Hall.

Christian Wannyn, a former employee of the airport, noticed after returning to the airport after several years that the plaque had been removed.

Wannyn began a search for the plaque that lasted 15 years and ended in January when he found its broken pieces.

As president of the local Lions Club, Wannyn sponsored a project to produce an exact replica of the plaque, which was placed in the same location as the original.

Finally, on May 7 it was dedicated in a ceremony honoring Little and a Col. Gilbert Hall.

In attendance at the ceremony were 40 French and Americans, representatives of the American Legion Post One in Paris, a military attaché from the American Embassy in Paris, the Chief of Staff of the French Air Force, members of the local Lions Club, and a nephew of Colonel Little, Lou Lesesne of North Carolina.

The Air and Space Museum's director, General Marc Alban gave a speech honoring Little and Hall saying that, "although foreigners, they died for France."

Alban noted Cols. Little and Hall were very worthy of the memorial and the United States recognizes them as heroes.

Toxic plume from old landfill headed toward creek

• EPD gives county an Oct. 31 deadline to submit a corrective Plan

By Ben Nelms
Staff Writer

The phrase "dead and buried" may pertain to people but not always to the trash they create. Unlike humans, some of the trash that is buried doesn't always stay put. It comes back with a life of its own.

Jefferson County commissioners have been faced in recent years with allocating increasing funds to meet stricter environmental standards while attempting to address the outcome of more than two decades of dumping in the county's former, unlined landfill on Clarks Mill road near US Highway 1 that closed December 31, 1998.

Problems were identified in a July 2 letter from Georgia Environmental Protection Division (EPD) over the corrective measures assessment relating to the remediation of the underground plume containing a number of industrial chemicals originating at the landfill that continues to move under adjacent private property west of the site.

EPD gave the county an October 31 deadline to submit a corrective action plan or face a consent order and a $100 per day penalty.

County Administrator James Rogers advised commissioners at the July 9 regular session that EPD is requiring the county to initiate corrective measures to address the issues involved.

He told commissioners he thought the costs associated with implementing the corrective action plan might be reimbursable. A portion of the corrective may involve the installation of mechanical devices on some of the wells to reduce some of the contamination contained in the plume, Rogers said Monday.

The plume consists of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that include cis-1,2-dichloroethene, vinyl chloride, trichloroethene, perchloroethylene and tetrachloroethylene, according to the letter's author, Geologist III Steve McManus.

He said Friday that while the overall concentration of VOCs in the plume is decreasing, the central portion of the plume remains significant and has moved approximately one-half mile southwest of the landfill as well as, to a lesser extent, the northwest. McManus also said the county may be eligible for a partial reimbursement provided the necessary requirements are met.

In the letter, McManus said corrective measures reported by QORE, Inc., the company placing the low bid to conduct the corrective measures assessment in 2000 after engineering consultant Moreland Altobelli discontinued serving the county, were lacking in a number of areas but that EPD had received enough information to warrant the county's preparation of a corrective action plan. Included with the letter was a seven-page addendum containing EPD's comments and questions relating to a Jan. 31, 2002 contamination assessment report submitted by consultant engineering firm QORE and the April 17 addendum to that letter. The county was instructed to address each issue.

EPD gave preliminary approval of measures designed to remediate some of the contamination caused by VOCs in springs and wells located on several properties adjacent to the old landfill. McManus strongly recommended that the county retain a consultant that has "successfully prepared and implemented a corrective action plan."

In the July 2 letter, McManus laid out a series of required steps that the county must meet by October 31. These include a public meeting where all corrective measures and contamination reports relating to the old landfill are presented. Documents presented at the meeting must be made available to the public at least two weeks prior to the meeting. Minutes of the meeting must be submitted to EPD within two weeks after the meeting and, once satisfactorily addressed, EPD can issue final approval of the assessment of corrective measures and the county can prepare and submit a corrective action plan, the letter said.

EPD established an Oct. 31 deadline for submitting the corrective action plan because "the county has had problems in the past meeting submittal deadlines." If not received by the due date, EPD will issue a notice of violation and a consent order, establishing a new due date and imposing a $100 per day penalty for each day the plan is delinquent after Oct. 31.

Rogers said QORE is currently addressing the corrective measures assessment and will likely be the firm used to respond to the EPD recommendation. He added that it was QORE that helped the old landfill receive placement on EPD's Hazardous Sites Inventory (HSI).

EPD also required that copies of certified letters sent to property owners affected by the plume behavior be included with the corrective action plan. The county notified those property owners last year that they could tie-on to city water and that the tap-on fee would be waived.

The old landfill received its first permit on Aug. 15, 1979, though the site had been used as a trash dump for several years prior to receiving a permit. The landfill ceased operation on Dec. 31, 1998, simultaneous to the opening of the county's Subtitle D landfill on Mennonite Church Road.

Students head back to class

By Ben Nelms
Staff Writer

That time is here again. Nearly 4,400 students in Jefferson and Glascock counties will begin their daily trek to class with the beginning of school next week.

Classes at Jefferson County School System's six schools begin Aug. 7. Students enrolled throughout the system total approximately 3,600.

New this year at Jefferson County High School is the High Schools That Work initiative.

The school reform model blends the essential content of college prep courses across a wide range of high school classes to promote high achievement for all students, not just some students, said Principal Molly Howard.

JCHS was one of eight schools in Georgia to receive the $191,000 three-year grant.

The school system will add new school councils at Wrens Elementary School, Louisville Academy and Wrens Middle School this school year, completing the installation of councils at all county schools.

School councils were initiated last year at Jefferson County High School, Louisville Middle School and Carver Elementary. Councils are composed of seven members, including the principal, two teachers elected by faculty members, two parents and two business partners.

Continuing from last year is the Governor's laptop computer project at Louisville Middle School and the America's Choice math and language arts initiative at Carver Elementary, Wrens Elementary, Wrens Middle School and Louisville Middle School.

New this year at Glascock County Consolidated School is a pre-K through fifth grade grant program designed to enhance reading skills and to promote a literacy-rich environment in the home.

The program is funded through a $630,000 Reading Excellence Act Grant awarded to 45 schools in Georgia.

Having a reading specialist on staff will be very beneficial for students and their parents, said Superintendent Dorothy Reynolds.

GCCS teachers will receive ongoing professional development instruction and feedback from researchers from Georgia Southern University and the University of Georgia.

Glascock County Consolidated School will begin classes Aug. 5 with an enrollment of approximately 570 students.

Students arriving Aug. 7 at Thomas Jefferson Academy will find new additions both inside and outside the school.

Headmaster Chuck Wimberly said the school's library was completely renovated over the summer. New books, computers and multimedia equipment, desks, chairs and shelving are ready for use, he said. Also upgraded were the lunchroom and bathrooms and a newly painted gym. Outside the school, the exterior of a new 4,800 square-foot athletic field house is underway.

With completion expected by November, the facility will house three dressing rooms, a weight room and coaches' offices.

Wimberly said this year's enrollment of approximately 230 students is the highest in several years.

He said the school will begin a new bus route to Sandersville and will continue bus service to Wrens.

Assisted living facility planned for Louisville

• Development Authority secures option on property for business

By Ben Nelms
Staff Writer

County residents may soon see a new business on the Louisville bypass. An option giving the Development Authority of Jefferson County (DAJC) the ability to acquire and market approximately 30 acres of land currently owned by the county on US Highway 1 was granted by Jefferson County commissioners at the July 9 regular session. Negotiations are underway to build a 72-bed assisted living facility on a portion of the property.

During the discussion, economic developer Brad Day told commissioners that a current prospect is interested in approximately 10 acres roughly adjacent to the county extension office. He said making the property available to DAJC would be a way the board could both help the county's economic development program and create a new taxpayer that would employ 10-20 people and whose facility would be valued at $2-4 million, thus generating $20,000-40,000 annually in property taxes.

"We've been looking for different ways to generate some revenue for the development authority," said Day. "It's wonderful that this deal has come up coincidently as we have this need. What we're requesting is that this land be given to the development authority for whatever price you feel comfortable. Then we will market it and sell it, perhaps, to a prospect that we feel would make a $2-4 million investment, and possibly $6 million."

The option, according to county attorney Mickey Moses, gives DAJC the ability to own the property. The option does not include the immediate transfer of title to the property. In response to Moses' explanation to commissioners, Day agreed that the option gives DAJC the authority to continue discussions with the prospect.

The option looms all the more important because the window of opportunity to consummate a deal is rapidly closing, Day said. If negotiations are successful, DAJC would be required to gain final approval from the board before the deal can be concluded.

"A lot of the negotiation has already taken place," Day said, in answer to a question by Commissioner Isaiah Thomas. "Obtaining this option basically let's us put our money where our mouth is, in terms our sincere commitment to developing this project. If we don't do the option, it's a good sign to them of our lack of commitment."

Day said that once constructed, the facility would generate approximately $20,000-40,000 in tax revenue and provide 10-20 healthcare-related jobs.

An added benefit with the facility is that it would require a minimum of only 50-feet of highway frontage. He said DAJC should get above market rates for the property.

The property may bring up to $10,000 per acre in cash even though recent estimates from several appraisers put the value at $7,000-8,000 per acre.

The property targeted for the assisted living facility is part of two tracts of county-owned land on the west side of Highway 1 totaling 30-32 acres. The property is bordered on the south by the county extension office and Georgia Department of Transportation on the north and is divided by Clarks Mill Road. The larger portion south of Clarks Mill Road contains approximately 25-26 acres. The tract between Clarks Mill and the DOT office contains five to six acres. Day said the remaining acreage in the two tracts might also be marketed, thus generating additional jobs and tax revenue.

Responding to a question from Commissioner Wynder Smith, Day said DAJC had completed an initial financial review of the prospect, who has a net worth of approximately $4 million and a good cash flow. He said the depressed economic nature of the community provides the prospect with the ability to work with federal agencies to open the facility. The company expressed interest in discussing another local project if this deal can be worked through, he added.

All things considered, the move would provide several benefits that would serve the county and it residents, said Day.

"We feel like the prospect would be a modest employer, a good taxpayer and it would take this county land that has sat off the tax rolls back on the tax rolls and would generate revenue through property tax," he said. "We feel like it could begin producing revenue immediately if the deal were to go through."

Revenue from the sale, said Day, would help provide funding for other DAJC development projects throughout the county.

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