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Sunday, April 19, 2009

County Commission Meeting Overview

Meeting of April 14, 2009
By Sid Riley
At Tuesday morning’s regular meeting of the Jackson County Board of Commissioners, the following actions were taken:

● Agreed to waive fees for use of Citizens Lodge on May 6 for function honoring Senior Citizens Day.

● Adopted the 2009 Interlocal Agreement for Public Schools Facility Planning and School Concurrency. These plans create procedures for imposing impact fees on new housing projects for the construction of expansions needed by the school system as population grows in the county, as legislated by the State Legislature. (Senate Bill 360)

● Approved designation of April 12-18 as Telecommunications Week, per request from Sheriff’s Office.

● Approved initiation of bidding by Melvin Engineering for improvements at industrial park related to “Project Springs”.

● Approved acceptance of grant funds of $57,720 from U. S. Dept. of Energy for Weatherization Low Income Energy Assistance funding. This is a social program for spending up to $6,500 to accomplish energy saving repairs on homes for low income families.

● Approved including Pike Pond Road in previously approved projects for chipseal paving, cost estimated at $145,000.

● Approved submitting Fillmore Road, Old Spanish Trail, Bridge Creek Road, and Butler Road for funding for 2010/2011 State SCOP resurfacing programs.

● Approved taking legal civil judgment action and foreclosure of lien action against two property owners for code violations. Tracy and Sandy Brunson of Overpass Road in Campbellton, and Robert Navon of Highway 73 in Marianna both set up trailers without permits, in flood designated zones, with no mobile home stamp. Code enforcement has been attempting corrective action from owners for approximately two years with no results. Action was recommended by Code Enforcement Board.

● Approved allowing request for Federal Assistance from Natural Resources Conservation Service for road damages created by storm activity.

● Approved allowing Director of Parks and Recreation, Chuck Hatcher, to apply for grant for purchase of land fronting on Merritts Mill Pond across from Spring Creek Park.

● Approved annual ad valorem tax exemption for Family Dollar Services, per initial agreement for first ten years of operation.

● Approved award of surveying contract for Sylvania Plantation Road Paving Project to Mona Martin Surveying per low bid not to exceed $15,000.

● Authorized re-bid of purchase of communication equipment for new EOC Facility.

● Discussed approach county should take in attempting to participate in Federal Assistance Recovery Act (Stimulus Act). Decided to meet with group which is forming a regional coalition of panhandle counties for submission of projects. Meeting will be as soon as possible.

● Approved use of lawn of Court House for Tea Party demonstration on April 15.

● Approved creation of contingency fund for east landfill requirements, per EPA request. Set up fund of $15,500.

● Received report from County Manager, Ted Lakey, relating to purchase of building adjoining existing County Administration building. Commissioners turned down asking price of $350,000 for consideration.

● Denied request from Apostle Mary Johnson for free use of space for counseling.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Jackson County Sheriff's Office News Media Release

On 3/30/09 the Jackson County Sheriff's Dept. recieved Sexual Abuse allegations involivng a minor child under 12 years of age. During the investigation, it was revealed that Clyde Williams, Sr. had molested a child under the age of 12. It was also revealed that Clyde Williams' wife, Kristi Williams had knowledge of these acts and failed to notify authorities to get assistance for this child. As a result of the findings revealed during this investigation, Clyde Williams, Sr. was charged with Lewd & Lascivious Molestation and Child Abuse. Kristi Williams was charged with Child Neglect. On 4/07/09 Clyde Williams, Sr. W/M, 53 years of age and Kristi Williams, W.F, 30 years of age of 7740 Highway 90 Sneads was arrested and lodged in the Jackson COunty Correctional Facility. Clyde Williams, Sr., is also a Registered Sex Offender in Jackson County Florida.
Anyone with any information about these subjects is asked to call the Jackson County Sheriff's Office @ 482-9664 or CRIMESTOPPERS @ 526-5000.

Jackson County Sheriff's Dept.

Malone- On Tuesday, April 7, 2009, the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office arrested Mr. Charles Russ of 5106 Eighth St. in Malone, Florida. Mr. Russ was arrested after arriving at the residence located at 5120 Eighth St. and confronting and assaulting a deputy sheriff who was engaged in a separate incident with Mr. Russ’ son, Tony Michael Russ.
The incident began when members of the power company requested protective assistance to disconnect the power from the residence. Earlier attempts to disconnect the service had been met with threats of violence to the power company employee. A deputy acting upon the request met members of the power company at the address to conduct the disconnect procedure. Mr. Tony Russ made contact and began to yell and curse the employees. Mr. Russ was then asked by the deputy to return to his home and let the men do their work. Mr. Russ responded with threats to shoot the deputy with an “AK-47”, returned to his house, and made additional threats to shoot the deputy. The deputy sheriff, fearing imminent danger, ordered Russ into the open with empty hands so the incident could be stopped. Instead, Russ retreated into the house which created what appeared to be a barricaded individual with a high powered rifle. Additional members of the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office responded including the Emergency Response team and secured the area for public safety. A tactical search of the house and area revealed Mr. Tony Russ had immediately left through a rear window when he retreated into the house.
Mr. Charles Russ has been released from the Jackson County Correctional facility on bond and is awaiting further judicial process on charges of Resisting and Officer without Violence, Assault on a Law Enforcement Officer, and Aggravated Battery on a Law Enforcement Office. Charges are pending against Mr. Tony Russ who shall be taken into custody upon the issuance of the warrants which include Resisting an Officer with Violence and Assault on a Law Enforcement Officer.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Jackson County Development Council…Invest a Penny, Get a Dollar In Return.

For a Small Economic Development Investment, Jackson County Has Realized Huge Benefits
By Sid Riley

The Jackson County Development Council was initiated in Jackson County in 1994, as a part of a federal program initiated under the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture during the Clinton Administration. At that time, certain rural communities which were deemed to be in an economically distressed situation due to significant declines in the employment which were primarily caused by reductions in the textile and farming industries, were made eligible for special financing programs. These programs could be used to improve conditions in those designated areas. Portions of Jackson County met their criteria for being "distressed", with a poverty rate in excess of 30%.
This led to the establishment of the J.C.D.C. which was initially armed with $3,000,000 in federal funding for a ten year period, to be used for establishing a locally funded, self-sustaining function which would continue to work to increase jobs and reduce poverty in the area. In our case, that goal was achieved.
Through coordination with "Enterprise Florida", other state economic development agencies, and local businesses and political officials, the JCDC has been able to achieve economic gains for our area which earned them national recognition.
When the federal funding ended in 2004, the City of Marianna and Jackson County provided $250,000 in annual funding to continue the economic development effort, which was headed by Bill Stanton. That has proven to be a very wise investment for our area. Several examples of the wisdom of this decision which was made by our County Commissioners and the City of Marianna Commissioners are shown below. The industries listed below are a partial listing of the accomplishments of the JCDC thus far. These industries represent significant additions to our local industrial community and are here as a direct result of the work of the JCDC Director Bill Stanton and the local project teams which were formed for each project. In combination, they are currently having a tremendous impact on our local jobs availability, our local tax revenues, and the general health of our communities. Without the impact of these economic development successes, our area would be sinking much deeper into the recessionary sink hole.

The Chipola Is Coming! Commissioners Declare 7 Day "State of Emergency" for Jackson County

Major flooding certain….disastrous flooding possible
By Sid Riley
A special meeting of the Jackson County Commission was called at noon on Monday, March 30, 2009 for the purpose of hearing a briefing from Emergency Operations Director, Rodney Andreasen, regarding the flooding which was occurring as a result of last week’s storms, and the potential problems we might face if forecasted storms also add to the existing problems.
The last major flooding of the Chipola River occurred in 1975, when the river’s water level rose to 27 feet. As a result of last week’s rains, the Chipola is projected to crest at near 23 feet. That level has already caused numerous road closings, and has flooded low laying properties throughout the county. The real threat is in future storms which are scheduled to begin impacting our weather on Wednesday and Thursday. If these storms duplicate the weather we just experienced, the Chipola would become a real threat to many areas of Jackson County.
In order to qualify for FEMA assistance, should this situation actually occur, our county must already be under a declared state of local emergency. Thus, in order to assure our county is eligible for these funds and assistance, our officials have taken the precaution of declaring a 7 day state of emergency for Jackson County. Let us all hope this was only a precautionary step and is not actually needed.

Greg Lewis Seeking Re-Election to City Council

Sneads City Councilman Greg Lewis has announced he will be a candidate for re-election in the April 14, 2009 town election. Lewis, 47, has served two terms since he was first elected in 2004. He has served as Council President for the past two years.
Lewis also serves on several other local boards, including East Jackson County Economic Development Council, the Jackson County Tourist Development Council, the Jackson County Development Council and the Jackson County Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors.
Lewis cited some of the accomplishments from his four years on the council so far. "We were able to get our water system upgraded with a 10 - inch water line extension on Highway 90 east," said Lewis, "which allowed us to bring in Lake Seminole Inn and will help us further develop Seminole Commerce Park."
"This upgrade was fully funded by state grant money with no additional cost to our residents," Lewis added.
We were also able to bring Peoples South Bank to Sneads after Wachovia closed their Sneads Branch. "Having a bank in town is not only a convenience for our residents it is also vital for our existing businesses and those businesses who may wish to locate here," Lewis stated.
Lewis, a lifelong resident of Sneads, has owned and operated a business in Sneads since 1996. "I believe that my business experience and years on the Town Council have prepared me to help lead us through the difficult economic times we now face," Lewis concluded.