School systems across the state are bracing for serious budget cuts in light of Georgia's expected $2 billion revenue shortfall due to the sagging economy. State tax revenues and corporate tax collections are down.
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Sixty balloons were released into the air in front of the Pike County courthouse Wednesday, Jan. 21 to mark the 60th birthday of the late John W. Hollis, chair of the development authority and founding member of the United Men of Pike for Progress.
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A Pike County couple was displaced after a Jan. 5 fire gutted their modular home on Misty Lane in Zebulon.
Diane and Jimmy Scott returned from a trip to a local store that evening and saw smoke coming from the eaves of their one-story house. They had left around 7 p.m. and went to a Zebulon convenience store to pick up a couple of items and their two house dogs rode with them.
When she saw the smoke, Mrs. Scott called 911; then called her sons.
She said her son J.J. arrived quickly, before firefighters were on the scene. As she prevented him from entering the house, her husband threw the breaker to turn off the electricity and turned off the propane gas. He also used his tractor to move a non-working pickup truck.
Firefighters arrived on the scene and extinguished the fire but the home was severely damaged. The Scotts' bedroom and a bathroom were standing, but furniture was damaged and everything was blackened by smoke and fire.
Before the Scotts went to the store, she had cooked supper and washed a load of clothes. Firefighters asked her about use of the stove, but she insists she turned it off before she left.
She said earlier in the evening they smelled a peculiar odor in the house so they called their son Justin, who lives next door, to investigate. She said he looked under the house and in the attic and could find nothing. The odor dissipated after they turned on the ceiling fan.
The Scotts have lived in their house since 1985 and Mrs. Scott has lived on the property all her life. She suspects the fire could have been caused by an electrical problem but that has yet to be determined. The case is still under investigation.
A Red Cross representative came to the scene and provided them a care package. They refused the offer of lodging in a motel because they stayed at their son's home next door.
She said the fire flared up again around 6 a.m. the following day from hot spots that continued to burn throughout the night. It was quickly extinguished.
The Scotts have insurance and their claims representative was on the scene last week to assess the damage, but they have immediate needs such as towels, bed linens and kitchen items. Mrs. Scott also wants to purchase a used laptop to replace her computer lost in the fire.
Those who want to donate household items to the Scotts may call 770-567-3121.
There will be no revaluation of any property in Pike County in 2009.
"Unless there's some huge boom in the market, we should be all right with the (current) values," said assessor Paula Nalley at the Jan. 6 meeting.
Assessors agreed last year at a called meeting to withdraw the 2008 property revaluation that drew more than 500 appeals from property owners. Chief assessor Jeannie Haddock said it was brought to their attention there were inconsistencies in the methods an outside firm used to set property values on rural Pike County land parcels and a lack of uniformity.
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