Back to class
• "You have to accept the fact that you plant a seed today and it'll take a long time to grow into a mature tree."
By Faye Ellison
Amidst smiles and frowns, students in Jefferson and Glascock counties recently were heralded through the doors of schools.
Glascock County began its trek for the next 180 school days last Monday. They begin their school day at 7:55 a.m. and run until 3 p.m.
The school has made many changes to bring the school up to date with technology and performance.
"We have updated our technology lab with new computers," Superintendent Jim Holton said. "It is very nice, very modern. We've updated our middle school connections classes to include some enrichment studies."
Glascock County is also in the process of switching to the Georgia Performance Standards from the Quality Core Curriculum, which is the state's new curriculum.
"We have included some programs at our elementary school to help us address the new Georgia Performance Standards that will take the place of the Quality Core Curriculum," Holton said. "We are doing everything we can to become compliant with state curriculum."
Jefferson County students will see changes at the high school because of renovations during the summer. Renovations included adding a new security system, repainting, adding mosaic tiles on the columns in the commons and adding Greek key stripes down each hall.
But one change every student will notice is a difference in foods offered in the schools' cafeterias and vending machines. Diane Evans was recently hired by the Board of Education to be the schools director of Food Services.
The board became worried after a study of students at the school showed alarming, unhealthy results.
The Jefferson County School System projected enrollment for this school term at 3,328 students returning in the fall.
Carver Elementary School would have 309, Louisville Academy 588, Wrens Elementary School 605, Louisville Middle School 469, Wrens Middle School 352 and Jefferson County High School with a whopping 1,005 students.
The Jefferson County School System also has 236 certified teachers in the classrooms this year.
Thomas Jefferson Academy welcomed 273 students into the school this year. Students and parents were welcomed by many new changes to the façade of the school.
"We put on a new roof and new front sides on our school," Headmaster Chuck Wimberly said. "We added a new entrance way, new shrubbery and grounds. This is just the first phase of what we are trying to do. Next year we plan to do the back of the school."
In addition to the changes on the buildings and grounds, the school has added a new softball facility for the girls' softball program. It will be played on this year, according to Wimberly.
The school has added a religious class to their curriculum and hired six new faculty members.
Classes began last Wednesday and last from 7:55 a.m. to 2:40 p.m.
DCA director tours local poverty
• On an earlier visit local officials focused on our accomplishments, this time he came to see our needs
By Ben Roberts
Tom Jordan and Lil Agel readily admit, it's not a normal part of their everyday jobs.
As Jefferson County Economic Developer and Executive Director of the Jefferson County Chamber of Commerce, respectively, the two have the job of selling Jefferson County to others by promoting its many beneficial resources. It's rare that either makes an effort to show the hardships of life in Jefferson County. However, that's exactly what they did last Tuesday, Aug. 2, as the two played host to Georgia Department of Community Affairs (DCA) Commissioner Mike Beatty.
This was Beatty's second visit to Jefferson County in 2005. In late January Beatty toured the county and enjoyed a luncheon with numerous officials from the county and its various cities.
Jordan later learned that Beatty was surprised during the visit, explaining he had been prepared to see "Third-World poverty" that he had heard so much about, but instead saw how well the county was doing.
Worried that such an impression could affect grant funds awarded through DCA, Jordan arranged for Beatty to return to Jefferson County for the specific purpose of touring blighted areas in Wadley, Bartow, Louisville and Wrens. Jordan said a lack of time prevented them from showing Beatty any more.
Jordan explained they showed the commissioner examples of housing and infrastructure needs, like improvements to water and sewer lines and roadways.
"We've got the same issues across the county," Jordan said. "We have three similar towns as far as size, dealing with varying degrees of the same issues."
Both Jordan and Agel agreed they were fortunate to get Beatty to come back and that they think the visit will ensure that Beatty remembers the needs of the people in Jefferson County.
Jordan said he felt it was a positive step in alleviating some of the county's needs.
"Commissioner Beatty pledged his support and the support of DCA in working towards fixing some of the things he saw today," Jordan said. "At one point he said, 'It's DCA's job to help communities solve their problems. If we're not able to do that, then we should just pack up and leave,'" Jordan explained.
According to DCA, they have pledged or provided over $5.7 million in financial assistance to Jefferson County since 2000.
Those funds include monies used to purchase vehicles and equipment for public use as well as sewer system and water treatment improvements.
While in Wrens, Beatty took a few moments to talk about the goals of DCA and what it has done - and can do - for Jefferson County in the future.
"This is a great community, made up of great people who genuinely care about making it a better place to live and work," he said. "Our job at DCA, through a number of programs, is to assist Jefferson County in using its people and its resources to reach that goal."
Beatty went on to say the first step is to create a plan with specific goals and direction to map out where the communities need to be. Beatty said his department would soon be sending in a team to do a survey to assess the needs of each community specifically. That assessment would then be used to come up with a plan of direction.
"To borrow Home Depot's motto, at DCA we believe 'You can do it, we can help,'" Beatty said.
Agel said one advantage of working with DCA is that the department likes to view projects on a "county level" verses individual projects in different cities. She believes focusing on such an outlook will continue to grow the level of cooperation between the county's different cities.
"This was a good educational experience, not just for Commissioner Beatty, but for Tom [Jordan] and me, as well," Agel said. "Our work doesn't normally take us into many of these areas. We know that Jefferson County has so much to offer, but we also know there's still a lot of work to be done. We've made great improvements in recent years, but we still just can't seem to get over that hump. Hopefully, DCA will help us do just that."
Man stabs sister in back
• Willie James Terrell turned a leather-working tool on himself, stabbing his own chest three times after being confronted by officers
By Faye Ellison
A heated argument led to the arrest of Willie James Terrell after he stabbed his sister Diane Terrell at their mother's residence on 1845 T.E. Buchanan Road near Louisville, according to Jefferson County Investigator Clark Hiebert and EMS Director Mike Bennett.
Bennett said that a call came into 911 on Sunday at 6:52 p.m. reporting a female that had been stabbed during a fight.
When EMS arrived on the scene, Bennett said they found Ms. Terrell with a stab wound in her left shoulder blade.
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When EMS began to treat her, officers called to say they had caught the suspect, Mr. Terrell, on Highway 24 but that he too had suffered three self-inflicted stab wounds in the left part of his chest.
According to Hiebert, when Mr. Terrell was confronted with being arrested, he began to stab himself in the chest with a leather-working tool with a sharp tip in plain view of an officer.
Both brother and sister were transported to Jefferson Hospital, where Mr. Terrell was airlifted to the Medical College of Georgia and the victim was transported to MCG by ambulance.
Ms. Terrell was admitted to MCG in stable condition, while her brother was admitted in serious but stable condition.
Hiebert said that though Mr. Terrell is still at MCG as of Tuesday afternoon, he is being charged with aggravated assault.
Bennett said that Ms. Terrell was still at the hospital as of Sunday evening.