Veterans' Park to be included
• Streetscaping to become a reality
By Parish L. Howard
Seven years ago the City of Wrens was awarded $700,000 toward a $840,000 project promising to redesign downtown, making its expanses of intersecting roadways more pedestrian-friendly.
Wrens Better Hometown, Inc. began work on the Georgia DOT Transportation Enhancement Act grant project right away, helping to plan benches and tree-lined medians, new downtown lighting features and selling commemorative and memorial bricks etched with the names and service dates of area veterans. For seven years the project has been bounced back and forth between governmental agencies for different approvals.
But, Thursday, Sept. 27, the city held a special reception in what will soon be the long-awaited Veterans' Park to break ground on the project some citizens were afraid they would not live to see completed.
“This is one of the happiest days of my life,” C.W. ‘Speakie’ Stephens told those gathered Thursday. Stephens, a long time member of the Wrens American Legion Post 229, has been one of the more vocal citizens pushing for the Veterans’ Park portion of the project and working with both the city and its engineers in determining how the park could best honor the area’s past, present and future veterans.
After a preconstruction meeting Tuesday afternoon, Mayor Dollye Ward said citizens can expect work to begin on Oct. 9 and the project should be completed within 180 days, which falls around March of next year. “We are so excited to see this finally coming together,” Mayor Ward said. “American Legion Post 229 is very excited and so is Wrens Better Hometown.”
On Broad Street, the project will involve widening and planting trees in the currently mostly concrete median. The sidewalk will be ground down and restored using tiles reminiscent of those on the sidewalks 60 years ago. New crosswalks, bump-outs and landscaping are hoped to not only beautify the downtown area, but also should help slow traffic.
Construction prices have continued to rise every year, and while the original project would have encompassed Broad Street from the U.S. Highway One intersection past City Hall, including a remodeling of the antique watertower, the same funding will now reach to Cotton Street, about a third of the original plan.
Mayor Ward said that while they plan to complete the entire plan, possibly going back to the Georgia Department of Transportation in search of more grant money, she and the council felt strongly that this first portion should include the veterans’ park that will utilize the 365 some-odd memorial bricks that have already been purchased.
Between 75 and 100 citizens and dignitaries gathered for the groundbreaking Thursday.
“I know we all thought this would never happen,” Ward told those gathered, “but we are here today in what for many is the most important part of this project, the veterans park, to celebrate the groundbreaking of this project.”
She later introduced Stephens who called the park “hallowed ground.”
Engineer John McClellan, who designed the project, later described the changes the park will see.
“There will be a monolith, reading ‘In honor of those who have served our nation to preserve our freedom’ that will be visible from the main intersection,” McClellan said. “And there will be flagpoles for each branch of service, a pad for an artillery piece which Mr. Stephens is working on obtaining for the park and a foxhole with a fountain.
The memorial brick will be placed around the old skating rink in the center of the park, on a slant that will allow for viewing without those looking for their family members’ names having to walk on the bricks.
Jim Cook’s JHC Corp. of Peachtree City has been awarded the contract and work should begin within the next week.
Glascock is 17th in the state in SAT scores
By Faye Ellison
The Glascock County School System recently announced that it ranked 17th among 176 school systems in Georgia for their 2006-2007 SAT scores, according to 2007 SAT results released from the Georgia Department of Education.
“The SAT is a three-hour exam designed to measure a student’s chance of academic success in the first year of college,” Glascock County Superintendent Jim Holton said.
“Most colleges in America accept the SAT as part of the admission process. The SAT is typically taken by high school juniors and seniors, with more than 2 million students taking the SAT every year.”
During the 2006-2007 school year, Holton said that 16 students from Glascock County Consolidated School took the SAT. The average score of the students was 1,511, the same as the national average.
“I believe that our students' SAT scores are very good,” Holton said. “They are a reflection of the excellent programs and staff we have and of the Glascock County Board of Education’s commitment to preparing our students for education beyond high school.”
The state’s average SAT score was 1,472, which dropped five points from the previous year. The state was ranked as 46th in the nation, but was highlighted for the high participation on the SAT, overall, and high participation among minority students. It was also noted that the state’s minority students scored at or above the national average of their peers.
Sixty-nine percent of Georgia’s seniors took the SAT, the 13th highest participation rate in the nation. Over 59,500 Georgia seniors took the SAT, which is a 2 percent increase from 2006.
More than 26 percent of Georgia’s test-takers were African-American, the highest participation of any state. Georgia also saw participation among Hispanic students increase more than 17 percent in 2007.
The SAT was first introduced in 1941 as a reasoning test that measures critical thinking skills. It also assesses how well one can analyze and solve problems. The multiple choice test is intended to let students demonstrate their verbal and mathematical abilities without regard to the kind of schooling they’ve had.
According to the College Board, the nonprofit educational association that sponsors the SAT, the test looks for a student’s ability to understand and analyze written material, to draw inferences, to differentiate shades of meaning, to draw conclusions and to solve math problems. Each section of the SAT-verbal, math and writing is scored on a scale of 200 to 800.
to meet area
• Hear from the 10 candidates running
for office in Wrens Oct. 11, and the
three Louisville candidates on Oct. 15
By Carol McLeod
For those residents still unsure which area candidates will earn your Nov. 6 vote the Jefferson County Chamber of Commerce is once again sponsoring a candidate forum and a meet and greet for candidates in Wrens in Louisville.
These are the only two cities in the county which will have contested local elections on the ballot Nov. 6.
The first candidate forum will be held Thursday, Oct. 11, from 6:30 p.m. until 8:30 p.m. for the Wrens mayoral and city council elections. The Meet the Candidates forum will be held at the Wrens Middle School Cafeteria.
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Mayoral candidates include incumbent Dollye Ward and Lester Hadden. For the city council regular election, incumbents Ceola Hannah and Sydney McGahee will be on hand along with Wayne Favors, Wylie Prescott and Earnest Rozier. For the special election for Lester Hadden’s city council seat that will also be held on the same day as the regular election, Tomasenia Jackson, Spence Norton and Jack Templeton will be present.
Each candidate will have equal opportunity to address the crowd, share their opinions and tell the voters why they should be elected.
“We carefully structure these events to meet the special needs of each community,” Chamber of Commerce Director Lil Easterlin said.
The doors will open at 6 p.m., with a reception following the candidate’s comments. Editor/Publisher of The News and Farmer/The Jefferson Reporter Parish Howard will be the moderator for the Wrens forum.
The chamber will host a “meet and greet” at The Fire House Gallery on Mulberry Street in Louisville on Monday, Oct. 15 from 5 p.m. until 7 p.m.
City council candidates who will be on hand are Tom Watson, who is running unopposed, Larry Atkins and Elmo Hutchinson who are both after the seat that was vacated by Councilman James Davis.
The Chamber wants the Louisville “meet and greet” to be a relaxed forum where candidates and citizens can exchange informal conversation about the city.
“With so many candidates in Wrens, we felt it was important to make sure the voters heard a clear statement from each candidate, whereas in the smaller election in Louisville, a less formal approach seemed more appropriate.”