Wreck threatens lives
By Parish Howard
Two Louisville women are still in critical condition after a near head-on collision on U.S. Highway One Friday afternoon just north of the high school's Warrior Trail.
In all, six people were endangered when the grey 2002 Honda Civic driven by Thaeisha Howard crossed over the center line and struck the black 1997 Mitsubishi Gallant driven by Joan Lewis Thompson.
According to the accident report prepared by the Georgia State Patrol, both vehicles were negotiating a curve, Howard's car traveling south and Thompson's north, when Howard crossed the center line. The two vehicles hit head-on forcing Howard's Civic to spin and travel seven feet four inches where it came to rest in the southbound lane facing west. According to the report, the impact forced Thompson's Gallant 13 feet and 11 inches backwards where it came to rest on the east shoulder.
Jefferson County's Rural Metro EMS Supervisor Mike Bennett said that one ambulance responded, but mutual aid ambulances were also called from Augusta and Burke County.
"When we arrived on the scene, the driver of the black car was still trapped in the car on the shoulder of the road," Bennett said. "The driver of the gray car had been moved by first responders and appeared to have suffered multiple compound fractures to both legs... The decision was made to call in the Life Net of Georgia Helicopter due to the extent of the other driver's injuries."
According to Bennett, the trauma from the wreck had caused both of Thompson's lungs to nearly collapse.
Ambulances also carried a 12-year-old girl and three-year-old child, passengers in Thompson's Gallant, to MCG's trauma unit where the girl was released and the child kept overnight for observation.
Bennett said that the last he heard from the families both drivers were in MCG's shock trauma unit where they were listed as critical but stable condition and undergoing surgery. The families, he said, were hoping for the best.
Mayors to meet with county
• Future of SPLOST and landfill to be dicussed
By Ben Roberts
The Jefferson County Commission will soon meet with the mayors of the county's six municipalities to discuss two major issues that would effect every citizen of the county: the renewal of the Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (SPLOST) and proposed legislation concerning the future of the county's landfill.
In their monthly work session on Monday, Jan. 31, county administrator Paul Bryan told the mayors present that in order to follow the letter of the law, he would need to have an official meeting with all of them to discuss the proposed projects under the renewed SPLOST. Bryan explained later that this meeting is required since the cities will be responsible for the upkeep and on-going costs of new fire equipment and/or new recreation department facilities in their jurisdictions.
Currently, the county intends to hold a special election for the new SPLOST referendum on June 21, 2005. If passed, the one-percent sales tax would continue for another five years and is expected to raise $10.1 million in anticipated revenues. Those monies would be used to fund projects in three areas: countywide fire protection, recreation and economic development.
Bryan said the county's current SPLOST collection is well ahead of original projections and that it will reach its monetary ceiling of $6.5 million before the end of this year, which is the biggest reason for getting the vote on a ballot as soon as possible.
Mayors also requested a meeting to discuss the county landfill after commissioners were given a copy of a proposed resolution requesting state Rep. Jimmy Lord and state Sen. J.B. Powell introduce local legislation that would require any sale of the landfill to be approved by the commission as well as two consecutive Grand Juries of the Jefferson County Superior Court.
Bryan explained that the resolution was drafted in an effort "to address the concerns that were brought up about the sale of the landfill."
County attorney Mickey Moses recommended commissioners read and study the resolution and not be hasty in taking any action regarding its adoption.
"This is very significant," he said. "Circumstances change and what may seem like a good idea today may not be five or 10 years from now." he said.
Jefferson County School Board member, Donald Hatcher, told commissioners he believed they should adopt the resolution.
"I think it's a good resolution and it will help ease the minds of the citizens. We just want to protect where our students learn," Hatcher said.
Bartow mayor Hubert Jordan specifically asked how the resolution pertained to the issue of keeping the landfill open, voicing concerns over what his citizens could be forced to pay private companies to haul their garbage elsewhere.
"I don't see how the county can not do it as cheaply as a private company, but I don't know the numbers," he said. Louisville mayor Byron Burt and Wrens mayor Dollye Ward both echoed Jordan's concerns for the county's future plans for the landfill.
The commission and mayors agreed that Bryan should set a meeting with the cities' leaders to discuss the specific numbers and cost for the landfill's monthly operation.
At the end of Monday's agenda, the commission voted unanimously to go into closed session to discuss personnel. The commission took no action after the 20-minute closed session and adjourned.
The following items were also discussed at Monday's work session and could be part of the agenda for the commission's regular meeting next Tuesday night, Feb. 8:
· Appointment to the Jefferson County Development Authority to replace vacancy left by Jim Horton's resignation.
· Commissioner's decision to wave $50 application fee for Indigent Defense per county attorney's recommendation.
· Annual renewal of fiscal year 2006 Department of Human Resources Coordinated Transportation Contract.
· Chairman's appointment to the CSRA Unified Development Authority
· Approval to revisions of the county's agreement with SHIPS for Youth of Jefferson County regarding the reimbursement for employees.
· Approval for Sandersville Technical College to apply for $500,000 Community Development Block Grant for construction of a new building to house the school's nursing program and serve as a meeting hall for the entire community.
Economic developer hired
• Tom Jordan began as the county's new developer this week
By Ben Roberts
When former Jefferson County economic developer Brad Day left his position in January, the county's development authority immediately formed a search committee to find his replacement. That search committee didn't have to look far, however.
Tom Jordan, a Jefferson County resident with over 15 years experience in the field of economic development, officially started as the county's second professional developer on Tuesday, Feb. 1.
"Given his level of experience, his residency in the county and his credibility within the state, we didn't feel we needed to go further in our search," said Bill Easterlin, development authority chairman and the head of the search committee. "I think he's an excellent fit for Jefferson County and he's been able to help us immediately with projects that we already had in the works. I think it would have been hard for us to find a better fit."
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Jordan has spent the last 15 years in economic development, first as a regional economic developer with Georgia Power, managing various divisions throughout the state, especially the southern half of Georgia. He retired from Georgia Power three years ago and moved with his wife, Nancy, from Macon to some family property between Louisville and Bartow.
It was around this time that Jordan took a position as a project manager, focusing on agri-business projects, with the Georgia Department of Industry, Trade and Tourism, now known as the Georgia Department of Economic Development.
It was through this position that Jordan first learned of Day's resignation and the idea of working in his home county interested him.
"Working out of Atlanta, I was spending a lot of time on the road, while my heart was in Jefferson County," Jordan said. "(This job) came together and it's been a positive situation for me. It's yet to be seen, but I certainly hope it's going to be good for the county, too."
Given his level of experience, Jordan thinks Jefferson County has a number of qualities that would prove beneficial to businesses and industries looking for sites in Georgia and the southeast.
"Property, we're working on adding to our infrastructure, good work ethic, a strong labor force, good technical and adult education and good quality of life," he says.
Jordan says he hopes to add to the positive work Day did during his time in Jefferson County, pointing out that Jefferson County could be on the verge of some exciting prospects.
"There's a flurry of activity right now, but that flurry does not guarantee landing a project. I've learned that the only guarantee in this business is that if you don't get out there and work those possible projects and play the game, then you're certainly not going to land any."
Jordan also stresses the importance of a "regional perspective" when it comes to economic development.
"We're not competing with our neighbors, we're competing with China and Asia in today's global economy. If an adjacent county locates a plant, then there could be some benefits to Jefferson County.
"We've also got to work to develop local incentives to compete with China. I'm a citizen of Jefferson County and a taxpayer, too, so I don't want to see us give away the store, but to be competitive, we've got to have some incentives to offer these companies."