October 8, 2009 Issue


Middle schoolers don’t belong at high school campus

Dear Editor:

I often have opinions about what happens in our county, but I have never been moved to write a letter to express them until today.

I realize that economic times are bad and that every measure to cut back has to be made. However, I am convinced that these cut backs should not involve the welfare of our county’s middle school students. I appeal to Mr. Carl Bethune, as our superintendent and all educators to truly consider the consequences of placing middle school students with high school students.

For many middle school students, adolescence can be a time of considerable anxiety. Students not only grapple with puberty, but also with disruptions of previous friendships, interaction with new teachers, and higher academic expectations.

Not only do we need to consider the specific needs of our middle school students, but we also need to consider how ludicrous it is to think that the county can borrow its way out of this financial mess. I have been taught that you cannot borrow your way out of debt. I believe that this truth applies in business as well.

The proposal, shown on the Board of Education website, paints a dramatic picture of the enormous savings that would result from closing both of our middle schools, placing seventh and eighth graders at the high school and moving sixth graders back to the elementary schools. What it doesn’t show, for comparison, is the cost of the new wing construction, or the length of time this new, additional debt would exist.

Louisville Middle School, in a former life, was a high school. If it isn’t big enough to accommodate sixth through eighth grade, then place the sixth graders with the elementary schools and use the facility for seventh and eighth grade students. Our schools have the capacity to do this now, without incurring new debt, and without jeopardizing the welfare of middle school students.

Rumor has it that this is being called “A Done Deal.’’ If you are a concerned parent, or a taxpayer in this county, I urge you to let your voice be heard, not only on a local level, but at the state level as well. We have to be a united community and not allow our school board to operate as if it is not accountable to the citizens of this county.

Please visit the Jefferson County Board of Education website at www.jefferson.k12.ga.us to read the proposal and complete the survey. Mark your calendar for Oct. 19 from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at Jefferson County High School for the next meeting to discuss the future of our middle school students. Additionally, call your Board of Education representative and let them know how strongly you feel about this situation.


Renee Copeland



Cook supports spec building

Dear Editor:

Jefferson Energy Cooperative has always supported the communities in our service territory, but especially so in our home county, Jefferson County. We have a special interest in the economic development and support any efforts to create new industry in the rural area. In the past, we have helped to expand Jefferson Hospital, Physician’s Health and other industries through the Rural Economic Development Loan and Grant program. Most recently, we have constructed the power lines and assisted with other electrical infrastructure to meet the energy needs of prospective projects at the Kings Mill Commerce Park.

The Georgia Department of Economic Development (GDED) and other statewide developers work every day with industrial prospects considering our state. GDED notes that over 80 percent of the prospects they consult each year initially are interested in property that has an existing or speculative building. Spec buildings are a time-proven marketing tool that increases prospect traffic for communities that have them in place. It is very unlikely that a prospect will even visit our county without an existing building to consider. If the site has no existing structure, the developers look elsewhere.

Speculative buildings are especially attractive to developers. They provide the prospective company an opportunity to finish the building to their exact specifications in a much shorter time frame than building a new building from scratch on a greenfield site. This saves a prospect both time and money which can play a critical role in choosing one community over another.

In 2005, Jefferson County voters, through the SPLOST, approved the issuance of public funds for the purchase of an industrial site complete with a spec building. Through the foresight of the voters, Jefferson County, with the Kings Mill Commerce Park and its recently constructed spec building, is better prepared to attract companies that have an interest in our region and provide much needed jobs for our citizens.

We at Jefferson Energy stand ready to provide any assistance to the Development Authority in its efforts to attract jobs for our county.


Kenneth Cook,
President & CEO
Jefferson Energy

Kelley proud of Action Partners

Dear Editor:

I would like to say hats off to the Glascock Action Partners, Inc. of Glascock County for the great play they brought to our county this past weekend. If you missed it, you missed a great play. The Prodical was a moving play. The actors were exceptional. They do this on the side, in addition to their everyday jobs. If you ever get a chance to see this play, please go. It will move you in a special way. I only hope that the GAP, Inc. will bring more plays to our area.

The staff of the GAP, Inc. did a wonderful job, getting it all together. The concessions were good. With this being the first play for them, there were a few things that maybe could have been done different, but this too was a learning experience for them also. Be patient with them. Unless you have a loved one that who there, or know of someone who does, no one knows how many extra hours it took for them to pull it all together.

So if you see any of the staff, be sure to thank them for a job well done.

Thanks again,

Nickie Kelley

Gordy mourns Brown’s passing

Dear Editor:

I read in your Sept. 30 edition of the death of Mrs. Ruth Hubbard Brown, 95, of Atlanta. This item brought memories of my early childhood.

Mrs. Brown’s father was the late Jefferson County Sheriff Jim Hubbard. Despite holding an elected office that at times required a no-nonsense approach to his duties, Sheriff Hubbard was surprisingly mild mannered.

Besides Mrs. Brown’s parents receding her in death and her husband, so, too, did her brother Louis, who was around 20 when he was killed.

Sheriff Hubbard was planning a raid on a liquor still and was shorthanded. Reluctantly, the sheriff allowed Louis to go on the raid. Sadly, the young man died of a fatal bullet wound and was killed instantly.

The authorities were unable to determine if Louis died of “friendly fire” or a bullet from the bootlegger’s guns.

For some years the Buddy Hubbard Award was given to that member of the graduating class of Louisville Academy who best demonstrated the highest degree of character.

Sheriff Hubbard’s wife, it was said at the time, met those at the door who came to tell her of her only son’s death, that she already knew it.

“I dreamed Louis is dead,” she said.


Bob L. Gordy

Neighbor supports corn maze organizers

Dear Editor:

Most of us have heard the maxims, “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade,” or “When life gives you scraps, make quilts.” Well, I could be wrong but I don’t think sour grapes would even make good wine! Since I have lived on the Middleground/Zebina Road, not far from the Gough Road, for a major portion of my life I would like to add my thoughts to the brouhaha stirred up concerning the corn maze and Kackleberry Farm run by my friends Mitch and Lisa Vaughn.

1.I resent their endeavors being labeled a carnival. The word carnival in the worst case of the word brings to mind traveling shows which visit communities for a while and then depart having pocketed a good portion of money spent by persons who can ill afford to spend their living on cheap thrills of no edifying or lasting value. However, my dictionary does list as the fourth meaning, “an organized program of festivities, contests, etc.” and lists as an example a winter sports carnival.

Anyone who knows Mitch and Lisa knows that they are well-organized, thoughtful, caring people who are an asset to our county. Each of them has a heart for young people. They strive to provide wholesome activities and instill old-fashioned work ethics and values in their family and others within the realm of their influence.

2. As for the widening of the road and the quote, “I’m no longer living in the country. I’m just so angry.” I can sort of sympathize with that statement because I often say that there are some people who won’t be satisfied until the whole world is paved over. (You should see the rape of the North Georgia mountains and the construction of four-lane highways there!)

I grew up here in the country when all of Middleground, Zebina, Gough and Black Jack roads were red clay and sand. They became practically impassable after a good rain. The sand beds could be pretty treacherous in any season. The bridge over Big Creek was a one lane wooden one which had to be negotiated with care. Much more often than now, county work crews scraped the roads and “pulled the ditches” about every month to six weeks. Chain-gang members cut back the weeds and bushes with sling blades. If memory serves, these area roads first began to be widened and paved in the early sixties after Felton and I married and were living in Augusta. I’m as nostalgic as the next person and sometimes yearn for some aspects of the “good ole days,” but I appreciate the convenience and improved safety of these local paved roads and I still consider myself to be living in the country!

3. As for safety—racing, trashing, Halloween pranks, etc.—that sort of thing is nothing new, is often perpetrated by “home folks” and is certainly not a recent result of persons visiting the corn maze. Doesn’t widening and maintaining the road make things safer for residents as well as the visitors who come contributing to our poor county economy?

The corn maze is Christian oriented. Visitors are expected to conduct themselves in an exemplary manner or be escorted off the premises. The Vaughns have provided work, training and encouragement for hard-working young people. As stated in the newspaper article, they hire their own security officers. Area restaurants and other businesses agree that the visitors spend money in our county. I know of two similar, but more commercialized, enterprises in Rabun County which have been recognized in their county paper for promoting tourism and boosting county economy. Mitch and Lisa don’t ask for recognition, don’t go around blowing a trumpet before doing good deeds, but a large percentage of their corn maze profits are returned to non-profit organizations which help feed and house Jefferson Countians who are less fortunate. Members of my family and I are happy to join Tommy and Rosie Dye in endorsing their efforts and thanking God for people like Mitch and Lisa who give so much of themselves to Jefferson County and provide wholesome educational activities for families. Can I get some amens on that?!


Marianne Miller

Clements on oil as fuel for the economy

Dear Editor:

While we the people struggle to meet the basic daily needs of our families, environmentalists and democrats fiddle, hem and haw and shake their fingers “knowingly” at us when we complain. It is now very obvious that lots and lots of those who voted for Obama are now asking themselves “What was I thinking?” An uprising never before seen since the Civil War is happening over the proposed Obamacare health issue and rightfully so. All of us, including most politicians, were caught off guard immediately after Obama was sworn in as he promptly began telling us on an hourly basis that we must immediately pass the “Stimulus package” if we were to survive. Just like the Obamacare bill everything had to be done yesterday. The purpose of this urgency was to “gitter done” before anyone actually read the bills. Most Americans are now aware that the stimulus/bailouts were for the Obama supporters (Think United Auto Workers, Big 4 Auto Makers minus Ford, Financial Institutions, ACORN, etc.)

The same Americans that have finally awakened to the healthcare and stimulus farces need to add the status of our natural energy resources to their “to do” list. Untapped natural energy resources may well be the answer to most of our prayers if we can get enough support to begin utilizing what we have in waiting. The U. S. Geological Service issued a report in April 08 that only scientists and oilmen knew was coming but it was huge. It was a revised report that hadn’t been updated since 1995 on how much oil was in the western 2/3 of North Dakota, western South Dakota and eastern Montana. The Bakken is the largest oil discovery since Alaska’s Prudhoe Bay and has the potential to eliminate all American dependence on foreign oil. The Energy Information Administration(EIA) estimates it at 503 billion barrels and if only 10 percent is recoverable at $107 a barrel we are looking at a resource base worth more than $5.3 trillion. This huge find is now the highest producing onshore oil field found in the past 56 years according to The Pittsburg Post Gazette. Bakken” stretches from Northern Montana through North Dakota and into Canada. This means that we now have access to 500 billion barrels and because it is light, sweet crude oil, those billions of barrels of oil would cost only $16 per barrel. That is enough crude oil to fully fuel the American economy for over 2000 years.

A few years ago another gigantic oil reserve was discovered. The Stansberry Report online on April 20, 2006 reported that 1,000 feet beneath the surface of the Rocky Mountains lies the largest untapped oil reserve in the world. It consists of over two trillion barrels. On Aug. 8, 2005 President Bush mandated its extraction but four years later none of this source has been extracted. With this motherload of oil why are we still fighting over offshore drilling? (Offshore drilling has been proven to be an environmentally safe operendi.) We Americans have more oil resources available inside our borders than all the other proven reserves on earth.

On a comparative basis official estimates of are as follows:

8 times as much oil as Saudi Arabia

18 “ “ “ Iraq

21 “ “ “ Kuwait

22 “ “ “ Iran

500 “ “ “ Yemen

How can it be that this monstrous blessing right under our feet is not being extracted? The answer is that environmentalists and others (including a democrat-controlled congress and president) have blocked all efforts to help America become independent of foreign oil. One can only imagine how this supersource would effect every American and what it would do to OPEC oil prices because the oil market is all about competition which is another major bonus. It is my opinion that OPEC is funding the environmentalists and the environmentalists, with help from the dems, are controlling this major, once-in-a-lifetime, answer to most of this country’s biggest problems.

If any of this interests you, please contact all your political representatives, local, state and federal and press for the lifting of the ban that has most of us in a severe bind.

This is all true. Check it out for yourself at www.usgs.gov/newsroom/article.asp?ID=1911

Robert Clements

Oppose power plant’s impact

Dear Editor:

Friends in Jefferson County, you will suffer if the proposed 850-megawatt plant is built in Washington County near the Ogeechee River.

My family lived and owned land on the Ogeechee River for over 100 years. I was raised at Fenn’s Bridge in the 50’s. We survived on fish caught out of the Ogeechee. It was known as one of the most pure rivers in the state.

However, if this plant is built it will emit 122 pounds of toxic mercury each year. This will make all fish from the Ogeechee and surrounding streams unfit for human consumption. It will only take 8.99 kilograms added to the river for this to happen.

Also, think of the agricultural and forest land. This plant will emit 678 tons of soot into the air, along with 1,896 tons of sulfur dioxide. This would be deadly to the beautiful forest as the years go by.

I want you to think about the 16 million gallons of water to be drawn from the cretaceous aquifer. I can imagine how this will affect wells. I have been in the water well drilling business for over 40 years and we are constantly lowering pumps because the water table is dropping.

Do not be fooled by the establishment that says this will be good for our area. The majority of the power will go the Atlanta area. No other county will take this plant so it is being pushed on Washington County.

Call your congressman or the EPD in Georgia and ask them to stop and think about the damage that will come because of a coal-fired plant.

It is our God given right to stand up and protect what he has so richly given us to enjoy.

Thank you,

Wm. Vernon Tooke


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