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Top Stories
November 4, 2010 Issue

Powerline to cross county
Hands-on history
Two Stapleton council seats overturned
Jefferson County mails out tax bills

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Powerline to cross county

By Faye Ellison
Staff Writer

Georgia Power Company recently announced their intentions to construct an electric transmission line with a design operating at a voltage of 500 kilovolts, which will be known as the Thomson-Vogtle 500 kV Transmission Line.

This line is similar to one finished recently by Georgia Transmission, which is owned and operated by the Electric Membership Corporations of Georgia, from Warthen to Thomson.

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According to Konswello Monroe, a media relations spokesperson with Georgia Power, the current infrastructure in place cannot support the power which will be generated by the newly constructed Units No. 3 and No. 4 at Plant Vogtle.

“This transmission line is needed to reliably transport the additional electrical power that will be generated,” Monroe said. “This new line is needed in order to get the power out of the plant and to all of our customers.”

Monroe said the power coming from the Thomson-Vogtle line will serve the Augusta area and counties surrounding it, as well as other residents in Georgia.

The preliminary route is 55 miles long and begins at the Thomson primary substation.

“The line will end at Plant Vogtle in Burke County,” Monroe said.

While the EMC transmission line crossed Glascock, Washington, Warren and McDuffie counties, the new Georgia Power line will cross McDuffie, Warren, Jefferson and Burke counties.

“The existing transmission line corridors were used for 13 miles of this route,” she said.

The preliminary route was planned and finished by April 2010.

“Notifications to land owners were finished being sent last week,” She said. “This transmission line will also transport energy to new electrical lines.”

In a legal notice sent out by Georgia Power, the company explained that the route follows the newly constructed 500 kV transmission line corridor from the Thomson substation south for a distance of 6.0 miles then continues south along the existing 46 kV line a distance of 3.1 miles.

The route then leaves the existing 46 kV line to traverse cross country avoiding active mining operations a distance of 2.3 miles where it again joins the existing 46 kV line and proceeds 4.5 miles south and turning east before leaving the transmission line corridor at GA Hwy. 47. The proposed route then traverses cross country a distance of 3.1 miles where it joins an existing gas line corridor and proceeds east along the existing gas line corridor a distance of 1.9 miles reaching U.S. Hwy. 1.

The route then leaves the gas line and proceeds cross country in a southeasterly direction.

The proposed route then traverses 32.7 miles in a southeasterly direction staying south of the town of Keysville and north of the town of Waynesboro.

The route crosses GA Hwy. 88, U.S. Hwy. 25 and GA Hwy. 80 before joining up with the existing 500/230 kV corridor west of Plant Vogtle. The route follows the existing transmission line corridor a distance of 1.6 miles to the 500 kV substation at Plant Vogtle.

Georgia Power’s notice said it is proposed that self -supporting, steel tower design structures will be used along the route to accommodate the transmission line. The rights being sought are 150 feet of right of way in cross country applications and less in areas where the line will parallel existing transmission line right of way.

“The line involves 150 property parcels,” Monroe explained. “Most of the land is large farm land. We need to acquire an easement of 150 feet for the line and we inform property owners of public meetings, and also request permission to survey. Once that is done, the route will be determined. As for easements we have to talk to property owners. We will have independent land appraisers to give a fair market value for property.”

Monroe also said that Georgia Power has a good success rate with communicating with property owners in the past and hopes this time the success will continue.

“When there is no way we could move the route, it is possible to go through legal actions,” she said.

The Jefferson County portion of the transmission line is 12 miles of the route and will pass through the county totaling 35 land parcels.

“This is approximate and pending results of the field survey,” Monroe said.

While many property owners are concerned with health risks high voltage transmission lines may entail, Monroe said that years of research has found no link to disease.

“Electric and Magnetic Fields or EMFs are present wherever electricity is used and come from a variety of sources such as the wiring in houses and businesses, home appliances, office equipment, and the transmission and distribution lines that deliver our electricity to us,” she said. “After more than 30 years of research, the scientific community has not found that exposure to power-frequency EMFs cause or contribute to any disease.?While scientific research has not demonstrated that EMFs cause any health effects, Georgia Power recognizes that there are some people who remain concerned.

“Southern Company, the parent company of Georgia Power, has contributed a substantial amount of money to support EMF research.?We will continue to support this research, monitor the issue, provide information about EMFs to our employees and customers and conduct EMF measurements when requested. As designed and constructed, our facilities comply with the National Electric Safety Code and applicable guidelines set by the federal government.”

Also many property owners have voiced concerns over the potential line passing over their chalk rich property currently being mined or have mining contracts with kaolin companies in the area.

“There are portions of the preliminary route that pass through areas where there are kaolin mines and mineral rights,” Monroe said. “Georgia Power will work with the land owners of these properties to work out a solution that is acceptable for both parties.”

The legal notice from Georgia Power said meetings to be held by the company are intended to provide public notice of the intent to construct the transmission line for which the right of eminent domain may be exercised.

The meetings will be held on Thursday, Dec. 2, from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Warrenton Cultural Center in Warrenton; Monday, Dec. 6, from 2 to 4 p.m. and 6 to 8 p.m. at Augusta Technical College auditorium in Waynesboro; Tuesday, Dec. 7, from 6 to 8 p.m. at Thomson-McDuffie Depot in Thomson; and Tuesday, Dec. 14, from 6 to 8 p.m. at Wrens Community House in Wrens.

Georgia Power also considered alternative construction approaches to transport the power from Plant Vogtle, while they said there are no alternative construction approaches available to transport 500 kV bulk power across long distances.






Hands-on history

Special Report

The official opening of the Bartow Museum takes place Saturday, Nov. 6, and Sunday, Nov.7, from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Admission is free.









Videos, panoramas, exhibits of rare artifacts and amusing reminders of Bartow’s colorful past fill the galleries of the Bartow Museum.











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Located in the town’s historic 1859 depot, four galleries take visitors from the days of the Creek Nation to Bartow’s beginning at the end of The Revolutionary War, then on to the present.

“We feel our museum will appeal to anyone interested in Georgia history, especially historical organizations and history students of all ages,” said Patsy Jordan, the driving force behind this latest project of The Bartow Community Club. “Even people who grew up here learn information they didn’t know.”

Assembling the museum has been a series of surprises and revelations for Jordan and her faithful team of helpers, including Clark Evans, Charles Josey and John Mancin. For example, when The Bartow Community Club’s plan for a museum was initially announced in The News and Farmer, within days the first item for this collection arrived by mail: the bell from General Wood’s 1784 blockhouse fort. For decades, the bell was assumed to have been lost.

Following its arrival, item after item appeared, including two more “lost” bells: the bell that originally hung in the belfry that topped the 1890s school house and the 1850s bell from the Bedingfield plantation. Railroad memorabilia, antique farm equipment, rare documents (such as the 1840 grant of right away through Bartow for laying railroad tracks), an 1860 daguerreotype of General Francis S. Bartow, an amazing exhibit of American Indian artifacts from digs within Bartow’s town limits and hundreds more items create a history mosaic that is entertaining and illuminating.

A schedule of regular visiting hours is being finalized. In the meantime, tours for civic organizations, historical organizations, students and individuals may be arranged by calling Patsy Jordan at 478-364-4030.



Two Stapleton council seats overturned

By Faye Ellison
Staff Writer

In the city of Stapleton three council seats were up for election on Tuesday. Incumbents were Helen Landrum, Sybil Sheppard and Kevin Prescott.

Prescott was the only incumbent to keep his spot on the council, and he received the most votes with 65. The two new council members will be Willie Moss with 60 votes and Lisa Cranford with 55.

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Jefferson County In Jefferson County there were 4,972 ballots cast.

In the race for U.S. Senate, Michael Fermin took the most local votes with 2,276. For governor, democrat Roy Barnes took the lead with 2,653 votes. For U.S. House 12, John Barrow had 2,961 local votes. In the Jefferson County race for State Senator from the 23rd District, Jesse Stone had 2,494 votes and there were 890 write-ins.

Glascock County In Glascock County there were 860 ballots cast.

In the race for U.S. Senate, incumbent Johnny Isakson took the most votes with 712. For governor, republican Nathan Deal took the lead with 638 votes. For U.S. House 12, Raymond McKinney took the Glascock County lead with 597 votes. For State Senate seat 24, incumbent William Jackson received 699 votes. In State House 124, incumbent Sistie Hudson received fewer votes than Charles Ashfield who got 563 votes.

Also on the ballot in Glascock County was the fourth Special Local Option Sales Tax (SPLOST) for the Board of Education, which was passed with a vote of 584 votes to 218.

This SPLOST will be used for educational purposes, raising no more than $2,000,000.

The final results of all state races were not available at press time.

See next week’s edition for a full breakdown of local votes for all candidates in this week’s election.




Jefferson County mails out tax bills

By Carol McLeod
Staff Writer

Tax bills to property owners in Jefferson County and its cities have been sent.

In Avera, bills were mailed Oct. 20, said city clerk Amy Hadden.

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“The payments are due into the office Dec. 20,” she said.

“The total billed is $13,656.89. Last year, it was $14,690.68. The mill rate’s the same,” Hadden said.

Bartow’s city manager, Susan Scarboro, said that city’s bills were mailed Oct. 25.

“The total amount that we billed is $35,954.26,” she said.

During a recent city council meeting, the city council discussed that the total would have been higher, more than $44,000, if the council had not lowered the millage rate.

Mayor Hubert Jordan said during the meeting the council can be proud of that.

Last year, the city billed out $36,160.58, Scarboro said. The payments are due Dec. 31, she said.

In Louisville, the city administrator, Don Rhodes, said last year’s property tax was $321,749.

“This year’s going to be $349,591,” he said.

“The millage went up one mill,” he said. “It was 7.49; and, it went to 8.49. If we had left the millage rate as it was last year, with the decrease in the digest, we would have received about $12,998.77 less money.”

Bills were sent out Oct. 15. Rhodes said payments are due Dec. 15.

Stapleton mailed its bills Sept. 24, said city clerk, Gail Berry.

“We were done and ready for them to be mailed out,” she said, adding payments will be due by Dec. 20.

This year, the city billed for $39,547.93. Last year, it billed $38,408.90. The millage rate stayed the same as last year’s.

In Wadley, bills were sent out Oct. 22. Payments are due by Dec. 31.

This year’s total is $509,754.71, said city clerk, Sallie Adams. Last year’s total was $490,916.13, she said. The millage rate remained the same.

Wrens city administrator, Arty Thrift, said the property bills were sent Oct. 20 and totaled $868,565. Payments are due Dec. 20, he said.

Last year’s total was $1,036,010. The millage rate went down and there were some adjustments in value, he said.

Jefferson County sent its bills out Oct. 1, said the county’s tax commissioner, Jenny Gordy. The due date for payments is Dec. 20, she said.

The county billed $4,556,045.87, slightly more than last year’s $4,520,517.75. The millage rate stayed the same.

Information regarding property tax bills in Glascock County will be in a future edition of The News and Farmer / The Jefferson Reporter.






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