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October 20, 2011 Issue

More than fair...
Early voting begins this week
Zoning hearing for potential Wadley plant Oct. 26
Former Gibson mayor, funeral director dies

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More than fair...

Crowds filled the midway at the 54th Annual Louisville Lions Club Fair held last week, filling up on sweets, testing their luck on games and their nerve on rides.


Early voting begins this week

By Carol McLeod
Staff Writer

Of the eight area cities that could have held municipal elections this November, only two will.

Not enough candidates qualified in Avera, Edgehill, Gibson, Louisville, Mitchell or Wrens for there to be an election.


Wadley and Stapleton will hold city elections Tuesday, Nov. 8.

Jefferson County Elections Superintendent Chandrel Evans said last week her office, which is located at 415 Green St. in Louisville, will be open that day from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m. and will not close during lunch.

Evans said the time to register to vote in this election has passed.

“The cutoff was Tuesday, Oct. 11,” she said.

Evans said that even if the county is not contracted to work a city election, the county office is required to be open on Election Day.

Gail Berry, Stapleton’s city clerk, is also the city’s election superintendent.

She said the city will hold early voting beginning Thursday, Oct. 20.

“There is an application that the voter has to complete; but, there does not have to be a reason for early voting,” she said. Voters may come to city hall during normal business hours to vote during this time.

“The last day of early voting will be Nov. 4, the Friday before the election,” Berry said.

In Stapleton, two council seats, Jason Irby’s and Paul Beckworth’s, and the mayor’s position are expiring.

“Running for mayor are Paul Beckworth, Frank Parrish and Harold Smith,” Berry said.

“The ones running for council are Jason Irby, Cushena Jordan, John T. “Tommy” McGahee, Tara Parrish and June Rooks,” she said.

The two candidates for city council with the most votes will be elected and the one with the most votes for mayor will be elected. There will be no need for a runoff.

Early voting in Wadley began Monday, Oct. 17, and ends Friday, Nov. 4.

Two council seats are open, Albert Samples’ and Edie Pundt’s.

The candidates are Samples, Anthony Dixon, Elizabeth “Beth” Moore and Cathy Moye.

The two candidates with the most votes will be elected, with no need for a runoff.

Wadley voters who want to vote during early voting should go to city hall during normal business hours, said Sallie Adams, the city’s clerk and elections superintendent.

All city elections will be held in the city limits on Tuesday, Nov. 8, from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m.

Staff writer Faye Ellison contributed to this article.

Zoning hearing for potential Wadley plant Oct. 26

By Carol McLeod
Staff Writer

A zoning request has some citizens asking questions.

The Development Authority of Jefferson County has requested a zoning change for a parcel of land on Highway 319 just outside of Wadley. The request is to change the parcel from AR to C-3.


One such hearing was held in September. About 20 citizens attended the meeting, which ended with the request tabled until this month’s meeting, scheduled for Wednesday, Oct. 26, at 4:30 p.m. in the Jefferson County Courthouse grand jury room.

Larry Morgan, the planning commission chairman, said in an interview the request was tabled in order to allow the members to study the request.

"The development authority purchased some property in the south of the county for industrial purposes; but, it needs to be rezoned for that,” he said.

“All we do is have a hearing to hear public opinions and make a recommendation. It’s advertised in the paper; and, it’s a public meeting,” Morgan said. “You’ll have a pro side and a con side. You’ll have an opportunity to speak for a few minutes and then we’ll move on.”

The planning commission votes on the zoning request but makes only a recommendation to the county’s board of commissioners. The county commissioners then vote on whether to approve the request, Morgan said.

Tom Jordan, the development authority’s executive director, said a project that may locate at the site will still have to have EPD approval.

“The project still has to go through EPD,” he said. “We’re asking for light-, medium- and heavy industrial to include renewable energy projects.”

Morgan said he thought about 20 people attended the meeting that was held on this issue in September.

“They just had a lot of questions,” he said. “We tabled it.”

Morgan said of the five members, two were absent.

Arty Thrift, a newly appointed member, said the September meeting was his first; and, he wanted time to study the request.

Thrift said he thought the people attending the meeting just wanted more information.

“Their main concerns were environmental,” he said, adding, “Anybody that puts any kind of industry anywhere has got to satisfy EPD.”

Environmental issues are just some of the concerns people in the area have.

Jim Hall and his wife, Julia Hall, are two such people.

The Halls own property adjoining the parcel being considered for rezoning.

Julia Hall said they were concerned about the type of industry the new zoning, if approved, would allow.

She said she asked the planning commission for a copy of the zoning book, which they provided.

The information for C-3 she said states, “These uses generate limited emissions and noise, which make them incompatible with other commercial or residential use.”

“We’re very, very concerned; because, I’ve got a piece of property, 108 acres, next to this property,” Jim Hall said. “I think they’re trying to take part of my property, which would be 228 feet, and that has railroad on my property.”

Julia Hall said, “They’re wanting to put a spur from the railroad track. I don’t see how they can take your land.”

She said the C-3 zoning is one of the broader zoning categories.

“We’re zoned residential-agriculture. But they’re trying to rezone this to C-3, which would allow anything to come there,” she said.

In the Aug. 25 edition of The News and Farmer / The Jefferson Reporter, it was reported that a potential biomass renewable energy project might locate at the site.

“I said we have two other industrial properties,” Julia said. “There’s other properties they’ve purchased. It’s far enough outside of the city. But here, our land is inside the city limits. I’m concerned about what they’re going to put there because I have breathing problems.”

Hall said she asked several questions of the planning commission.

“We asked, ‘Is this spot rezoning consistent with Jefferson County’s comprehensive land use plan?’” she said.

Other questions included, how far away is the next property that’s zoned for this purpose; what are the uses that this type of zoning allows, why wasn’t a site selected in the existing industrial area of Wadley and if studies had been done on the environmental impact this type of zoning would have on surrounding property and on Williamson Swamp.

Julia also said the parcel has a cemetery on it.

“We don’t know what it’s going to do to the value of our land. We’re also concerned about what it’s going to do to our taxes, the noise level, the environmental impact that it’s going to have on us,” she said.

Another citizen who no longer lives in Wadley but still lives in the area said she’s concerned, too.

“I’m a concerned citizen,” said Donna Lamb.

“I don’t live in Wadley anymore; but, I care very much about the town and that is the last thing they need if it is biomass. I care about Bartow because Bartow is only a mile down the road. Crops are growing right down the road,” she said.

The meeting scheduled for Wednesday will be open to the public.

Former Gibson mayor, funeral director dies

By Faye Ellison
Staff Writer

Former mayor of Gibson, James Markins, passed away on Tuesday, Oct. 11, from a reported heart attack at the age of 57.

Markins was a native and lifelong resident of Gibson, as well as a graduate of Glascock County High School. Markins was probably best known as the funeral director at Sheppard Funeral Home, a business he bought in 1988.


“Earlier, he worked with Mr. Henry and helped with funerals,” Carol Markins said of her late husband and the former owners of the funeral home. “He decided that that is what he wanted to do and he got his license.”

Markins went to school at Gupton-Jones College of Funeral Services to become Sheppard Funeral Home’s owner and funeral director. He was also a member of the Georgia Funeral Directors Association, the Independent Funeral Directors of Georgia and the Academy of Graduate Embalmers.

“We are going to keep the funeral home open,” Carol Markins said. “I plan to continue running the business and we will continue serving the community.”

Service to the community was something very important to Markins. Markins served as mayor of Gibson from 1986 through 1992, and also served on the city council before becoming mayor. He was a member of the Glascock County Lions Club, and Mitchell Full Gospel Church. He served on the boards for the Glascock County Housing Authority, Glascock Action Partners, Inc., and the Glascock County School Council.

Markins was the chairman of the Glascock County Health Department as well.

“He was chairman of my Board of Health for more than 13 years,” Glascock County Health Department Nurse Manager Nona Lord said. “His are a pair of shoes that will never be filled. He was such a good person. It is just a shocker to think that he is not here with us. He has done everything he could for the Health Department. He was a wonderful person.”

Markins also served on the Board of Directors of the Glascock County Developmental Authority.

“James Markins has been a devoted member of the Glascock County Development Authority since its reactivation in 2005,” Chairman Lori Boyen said on behalf of the board. “His service to the community and business skills made him an invaluable asset to the Development Authority. His wonderful people skills and genuine desire to see success for Glascock County made him a treasured leader in the community. Mr. James’ warm smile will be missed by all who knew and worked with him.”

His wife said she would like to thank everyone for the prayers, visits, calls, flowers, food and other acts of kindness during the family’s bereavement.

“He just loved everybody and loved to do everything that he could to help people and be involved,” she said. “He loved the school. He was at every ball game, whether it was basketball, baseball, football. That was just who he was. He just loved the community.”

Funeral services were held at 11 a.m. on Saturday, Oct. 15, 2011, at the Glascock County School gymnasium, Gibson, with Rev. Mann Kirkland and Rev. Jacky Downs officiating. Burial was in the Mitchell Full Gospel Church Cemetery.

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