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January 29, 2004 Issue

Sharon Nelson stands on the porch of her Wrens home where the sound of falling trees awoke her Monday morning. She and her mother watched a pine tree fall across two of their family's vehicles, narrowly missing the front porch.





Icestorm hits counties

Storm hit Glascock and north Jefferson county hardest

By Ben Nelms
Staff Writer

It may not have been an arctic blast but it was enough to knock out power to large portions of Glascock and north Jefferson counties. The ice storm that hit late Sunday was all but gone by Tuesday morning, but in its wake trees buckled, power lines came crashing down and school days were shortened or cancelled.

The National Weather Service issued a freezing rain advisory Sunday night that turned into an ice storm warning Monday. Paved roads were largely spared but the same could not be said for trees, power lines, houses, cars and most everything else.


The northern one-third of Jefferson and all of Glascock felt the brunt of the storm. In large part, it was Glascock that was hit the worst with nearly 80 percent of households and businesses affected. Jefferson EMC, which serves nearly all of Glascock, reported that the county's peak outage totaled 1,700 customers.

The Town of Mitchell was without electricity by mid-morning Monday and at press time Tuesday the power was still off. Portions of Gibson and areas throughout the county met a similar, albeit temporary, fate. By mid-day Tuesday EMC reported that 1,100 of its Glascock customers had their service restored. Glascock County Consolidated School cancelled classes Tuesday and Wednesday.

Large outages in the northern one-third of Jefferson County found 2,100 EMC customers without power, though by mid-day Tuesday all but 100 had their power restored. Georgia Power, the area's other electric provider, was unable to furnish information on the number of customers affected by the storm.

Jefferson County schools closed at 2 p.m. Monday and opened at 10 a.m. Tuesday. A portion of Wrens Elementary School was temporarily without power Monday morning. Thomas Jefferson was also closed Tuesday.

Jefferson and Glascock counties formed a portion of the southern fringe of a system of moist air that surged northeast from the Gulf of Mexico and collided with much colder air that moved in from the north. Georgia counties from metro Atlanta eastward to the Carolinas and beyond took the hit.

Wrens honors long-time mayor J.J. Rabun

Join councilmembers, friends and family Sunday as they celebrate J.J. Rabun Day at city hall's civic room

By Parish Howard

For as long as any residents under 40-years-old can remember, John Judson "Juddy" Rabun has been more than the mayor of Wrens, he's been as emblematic a symbol of the growing small town as the battered old water tower that leans over the city hall he helped build.

In January, after 38 years leading the city's council, Mr. Rabun passed his position on to Dollye Ward, the daughter of J.H. "Buck" Wren, a Wrens councilman who helped teach Rabun the ropes when he was first elected in 1965.

On Sunday, Feb. 1, Ms. Ward and some of the other people whose lives he has touched hope to give something back as the city celebrates "J.J. Rabun Day."

The public is invited to attend a reception from 2 to 4 p.m. in the city hall's civic room.

In his time

During his 38 years of service to the people of Wrens, Mayor Rabun saw the city change and grow.

In 1965 a lot of city streets were still raw, unpaved dirt.

"This town was just sitting here while a lot of towns around us were starting to grow," he said. "When I looked at Wrens, I saw potential here."

He may not have forseen it all, but he knew the future was coming.

During the 10 terms and 38 years he has served he has seen the city hall be built, the Wrens airport take shape, businesses and industries come and grow.

"We're blessed," he said, "with having six major highways come into Wrens. Growth is coming, especially with this Fall Line Freeway, it's coming."

He fondly recalls the group of a dozen or so people who helped create the nonprofit, that turned the empty cottonfields on U.S. Highway One into Northgate.

"I'm proud of the people of Wrens," Mr. Rabun said. "We have people here who are really care about the city and want to see it at its best."

After a bout with cancer this past year, Mr. Rabun says he decided that it would be best to pass on his seat as mayor.

"Fourteen months ago I was lying in an Augusta hospital with cancer," he said. "I'm 78 years old now and I want to spend some time with my family. If it wasn't for my age and my health, I wouldn't be going anywhere. I love this town."

Rabun's wife, Lena, said she thinks his retirement was on time.

"It's good for him, for his mental, emotional and spiritual attitudes," Ms. Rabun said. "He has had tough year with the surgery. Things have bothered him this year that wouldn't have in the past. But he didn't want to leave the city until he knew there would be someone to take his place that would really look out for the city, be for the city."

It's partly his love for the city that has gained him respect from the people he has served it with.

"He's a good man and he's done a lot of good work," said R.G. Rabun, a former councilman who spent 12 years on the council with Mr. Juddy.

"I have a lot to learn and will be talking to him when I need him and going to him for advice," said Dollye Ward, the city's newly elected mayor. "Daddy admired Mr. Juddy as I do. He has served this community well for the last 38 years. He has a great love for our city and he wants it to prosper."

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