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January 8, 2004 Issue

Former Wrens Mayor Juddy Rabun and City Administrator Donna Scott Johnson swear in the city's newly elected mayor Dollye Ward.







First female mayor sworn in

Dollye Ward is sworn in as the new mayor of Wrens

By Ben Nelms
Staff Writer

The accolades were non-stop Friday at Wrens City Hall as the packed house watched former council member Dollye Ward take the oath of office as mayor. Cameras flashed around the room as nearly 100 relatives and supporters beamed as Ward and long-time council members Ceola Hannah and Sydney McGahee were sworn in. Ward complimented retiring mayor J. J. "Juddy" Rabun on his love and dedication for the City of Wrens and his 38 years of service to the community.

"We have a good record here and I hope to continue with that good record," Ward told the audience, asking for residents' continued support and prayers.


Responding to questions Sunday, Ward acknowledged that she is the first woman to be elected mayor in Jefferson County. That reality, she said, is far less significant than the real reason for running for the post.

"I don't think it means anything. I just believe it will be an honor to serve the citizens of Wrens," she said. "What's important is being dedicated to serving. That comes from caring and having a love for the people and the community."

Many of her supporters stressed that Ward was related to the founder of Wrens, William John Wren. In a conversation Sunday afternoon, Ward confirmed that Wren was her great, great uncle but quickly moved to the business of the near term future of her city.

The concerns for that future crossed a range of areas including a greater community participation in local government, a new look at business and employment and an appropriate recreation facility to serve the city's needs.

The new mayor spoke positively about her desire to have more citizen participation with city government and at council meetings.

The importance and impact of that participation cannot be underestimated, she said.

Ward said she will explore the possibility of having a citizens' committee comprised of representatives from the various neighborhoods to function as liaisons to the city council.

"It's the people's community," Ward explained. "We represent them, but they need to know what's going on as it happens, not after the fact."

Another area of concern for Wrens is good, quality business growth that will serve both city residents and those from north Jefferson County. Wrens would also benefit from having a unique variety of businesses, those that would draw people from surrounding areas, said Ward.

Complementing and perhaps helping to inspire that growth would be the formation of a downtown development authority, she said.

Soon to be announced will be the location and layout of the city's new recreation facility. Ward said the city intends to have a top-notch facility for residents to use and enjoy. The city obtained $250,000 in grant money for the project through the Development Authority of Jefferson County in 2003 in a land swap for the Glit expansion. She added that additional funding will be sought to outfit the facility in the manner envisioned by the city.

Ward was raised in Wrens, moving away in 1957. She returned for sporadic periods until coming home for good in 1989. She served one and one-half terms on the city council prior to her election as mayor.

War declared

Two Wrens gasoline stations enter what one local fuel distributor has called "an old fashioned gas war"

By Parish Howard

Vehicles lined U.S. Highway One through Wrens Monday afternoon as motorists rushed to the pumps to benefit from what one local fuel distributor has called an "old fashioned gas war."

With the rain that blew in Monday, Wrens police officers had to park in the turning lane in front of each store to direct the lines of traffic to the gasoline pumps and pass the word that there was more than one station with such low prices.

Over the weekend and into the first of the week motorists passing through town saw prices drop from $1.37 per gallon for regular unleaded on Friday to $1.19 on Monday morning and then as low as 98 cents per gallon on Tuesday.

The price war began on Friday, according to south Wrens Jet Food Store #16 employees who say they received a call from their district manager saying to keep the price one cent below that of the North Amoco station.

"Yesterday, we changed the price seven times between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.," one Jet #16 employee said Monday night while vehicles filled their parking lot and people ran through the rain to get to the register.

Around 6 p.m. Monday the Jet store received another call from their district manager telling them to continue dropping the price but not to go below 99 cents that night so they would not run out of fuel before the supply trucks could come in the morning to refill their tanks, employees said.

Two Jet Food Stores, #16 just three tenths of a mile from the North Amoco/Sprint Foods station on U.S. Highway One , and #66 on Highway 80, took part in the price war.

"It's just an old fashioned gas war," said Henry Jones, owner of M.B. Jones Oil Company which supplies the Amoco station. "Every now and then one will pop up."

Jones said that it "has been a while" since the last one he remembers, maybe even 20 years.

Jones and his family own eight stations in Jefferson, McDuffie and Richmond counties.

While neither Jones nor Trevor Sheppard, the District Manager of the Jet Food Stores wished to comment on the causes for the recent competition, customers have been piling into the stations to take advantage of it while it lasts.

Monday alone the North Amoco/Sprint Foods store saw 1,800 customers and sold around $13,000 in gasoline. Jet #16, with its smaller pumping station, saw 367 customers and sold around $4,400 in gas, an employee said.

Customers were continuing to file into both stations throughout the day on Monday as prices dropped even lower, some commenting that they were coming back with additional vehicles.

Nearly dead center between the Amoco Station and Jet #16 sits one of the city's oldest service stations with its sign still reading $1.37 for regular unleaded.

Bobbie Reese of Reese's Chevron, a full service station situated between the two price warring stations, said their store did not plan on getting involved.

"We aren't a distributor and we can't afford to operate and lose money," Reese said. "We're just going to keep selling gas and providing the same service we have for the last 51 years."

Officials share resolutions for new year

By Regina Reagan and
Jessica Newberry


It's a New Year and with every New Year comes a New Year's resolution.

It's a time for looking both at the past and forward to the coming year. It's a time to reflect on what you want to change in order to make this year even better than the last.

Elected officials from across Jefferson and Glascock counties talked about what they would like to see happen in the upcoming year and how they hope to help make it the best ever for their communities.

This is what they had to say...

Dollye Ward, mayor of Wrens, said that one of the most important goals is to get the city's new recreation department up and running. She also wants to see continued progress with infrastructures like water and sewer lines. Lastly, she said that she is looking forward to doing streetscapes and hopes to get it started soon.

Tommy Sheppard, mayor of Avera, said that the New Year's resolutions for Avera are to complete water improvements in the city and to lower ISO rating on fire protection.

Harold Smith, mayor of Stapleton, also had some high goals set for his city saying that they wanted to continue to work on their park that they started last year and hoped to get a walking track. They are also looking forward to any other improvements that their city's budget will allow.

Gardner Hobbs, Jefferson County Commission chairman, said, "It is my desire that we will as a county strive harder to build the kind of leadership team that is necessary to enhance the quality of life for our citizens."

Herman Baker, mayor of Wadley, said, "Mine is very simple; I just want to do better than I did last year. I know that means I must work hard and I'm willing and ready to do that."

Durham Milburn, mayor of Edgehill, and Chuck Wimberly, headmaster at Thomas Jefferson Academy, seemed to agree that they wanted to see growth in and around their areas.

Milburn said that he would like to see a way for the city to grow. He also said that he would like to figure out a way to slow the traffic in his city because of the elderly and the small children.

Wimberly spoke for the whole county saying that he thought that industry was the biggest issue for the new year.

"More industry in the county would help rejuvenate a somewhat sluggish economy allowing students more of an opportunity to stay and work in the county and make the county better," Wimberly said.

He also that he thought that Jefferson County was headed in the right direction, mentioning the airport construction going on in Louisville and the sightings of more buildings. He said that growth in the industry would help the large businesses as well as the small businesses in the area and the schools by providing more finance and people, which would result in more money for education and the development of more places to work and live.

James (Jim) Holton, superintendent of Glascock County schools, shared some of the same views with Wimberly.

"In 2004 I hope to continue to work diligently to improve educational opportunities for the students of Glascock County and to spend more time with my family," Holton said.

Byron Burt, mayor of Louisville, said that first he would like to see the completion of the projects that were started last year, particularly the airport, complete the housing and recreational plans for the city and on the personal side he would like to continue in his education, personal and spiritual growth.

Glascock County will also be working on projects that it started last year.

Thomas Chalker, commission chair of Glascock County, said, "The main thing is we put in a t-grant for the people's house and we want to start it in the next month." He also said that on Jan. 20 they are going to be taking bids on renovating the courthouse and building a senior center.

Gregg Kelley, mayor of Gibson, said, "As we welcome the New Year, I am optimistic that the year ahead will be a strong year, one in which our city and governments will work harmoniously. My goal continues to be for our city to grow and prosper within a safe and clean environment. I look forward with great anticipation to serving the citizens of Gibson. Best wishes for a happy, healthy and prosperous New Year."


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