Tag Archives: Hahira

Hahira subdivision proposed near Big Branch of Franks Creek @ GLPC 2022-04-25

Update 2022-04-25: LAKE Videos.

According to the survey plat, the north boundary of this 72-acre subdivision parcel is a creek called Big Branch that runs into Franks Creek (which runs into the Little River, then the Withlacoochee, and the Suwannee).

[SURVEY plat]
SURVEY plat
PDF

The lot layout appears to stay well back from that branch and its surrounding wetlands. It’s inside the Hahira City Limits, and likely to be recommended by the Greater Lowndes Planning Commission at its meeting this evening. For more information, see Big Hahira rezoning, 4 small Valdosta @ GLPC 2022-04-25. Continue reading

Federal water grants funneled through Georgia to Suwannee River Basin

The Georgia Governor’s office yesterday announced grants to many cities and counties for water projects. The funds come from the federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) of 2021.

Of the eighteen awardees in the Suwannee River Basin, adding up to $57,285,314.00, no surprise, Valdosta got the most. No, it’s not to fix some more of those sewer and manhole problems. It’s to build a new drinking well system, “southwest of the City limits, west of I-75 on Highway 84 near exit 16…”

Hahira, with about 5% of Valdosta’s population, got the second most, to fix its wastewater treatment plant and some stormwater drainage. Maybe that will stop Hahira from leaking E. coli into Franks Creek and the Little River.

[Treatment Plant Flow Diagram]
Treatment Plant Flow Diagram

Ray City got a substantial amount to fix its aging wastewater treatment plant, which should be good for Cat Creek and the Withlacoochee River.

Unfortunately missing is Quitman, which wanted $482,000 to top off local funds for fixing its lift stations. So no ARPA help to Quitman for stopping sewage spills into Okapilco Creek and the Withlacoochee River.

Here are those awardees, most to least: Continue reading

Sprawl in an aquifer recharge zone back on the Lowndes County Commission agenda 2022-02-08

The same proposed rezoning in Lowndes County that WWALS E.D. Gretchen Quarterman spoke against in November will be back on the Lowndes County Commission agenda for a decision at 5:30 PM February 8, 2022.

That’s 5:30 PM, Tuesday, February 8, 2022, on the second floor at 327 North Ashley Street, Valdosta, GA 31601.

Remember, this is upstream on the Little River from Florida and Brooks County Georgia, as well as Lowndes County. Because it’s a rezoning, anybody from anywhere can speak during the public hearing at that meeting. However, they will only allow a few people to speak for a few minutes.

So even better would be to send a written objection before the meeting to commissioner@lowndescounty.com. You can also try emailing the Commissioners individually, https://lowndescounty.com/directory.aspx?did=19 Beware that some of the Commissioners do not read their county email addresses, so best to also copy the County Clerk, belinda@lowndescounty.com.

Gretchen spoke against the new version of this rezoning (bigger lots) again Monday at the Greater Lowndes Planning Commission, this time pointing out that when community wells fail, their owners hand them over to the county, which puts the taxpayers on the hook for fixing them, so we don’t need any more community wells. A room full of opponents raised their hands at that meeting, and more than 300 signed a petition against the rezoning.

[Gretchen Quarterman at Planning Commission, aquifer recharge zone, sinkholes]
Gretchen Quarterman at Planning Commission, aquifer recharge zone, sinkholes

The subject property is also near some notorious sinkholes, the Myers Bluff Sinkhole on the Little River, and the Shiloh Road Sinkhole that fortunately did not take down that road or a nearby house. The Snake Nation Road Sinkhole, a bit farther south, forced the county to reroute that road to the tune of about half a million dollars. Continue reading

Videos: Wells Road remains open, Folsom Bridge Landing on the Little River 2021-10-12

Good news: the Lowndes County Commission yesterday unanimously denied the request to close Wells Road. This means the road stays open, and with it access to Folsom Bridge Landing on the Little River, and to the Mary Turner Lynching Site memorial.

[Folsom Bridge Landing 2021-05-18]
Folsom Bridge Landing 2021-05-18

Here are videos courtesy of Lowndes Area Knowledge Exchange (LAKE). Continue reading

Don’t close Folsom Bridge Landing, Little River, Wells Road –WWALS to Lowndes County, GA 2021-10-12

Update 2021-10-13: Videos: Wells Road remains open, Folsom Bridge Landing on the Little River 2021-10-12.

October 12, 2021

To: Chairman Bill Slaughter
Commissioner Joyce Evans
Commissioner Scottie Orenstein
Commissioner Mark Wisenbaker
Commissioner Demarcus Marshall
Commissioner Clay Griner

Cc: Chad McLeod, Director of Engineering Services
Belinda C. Lovern, County Clerk

Re: Please don’t close Folsom Bridge Landing on the Little River at Wells Road

[Wells Road closed, Folsom Bridge Landing, Mary Turner Lynching Site memorial]
Wells Road closed, Folsom Bridge Landing, Mary Turner Lynching Site memorial

Dear Chairman, Commissioners, and Director,

Related to your agenda for this evening:

6.a. Abandonment of a portion of Salem Church Road (CR #68) and Wells Road (CR # 68 & CR #69)

According to the description and map in the board packet, the intent is to close Wells Road completely. That would also close access to Folsom Bridge Landing, which turns off of Wells Road. That is one of only two public access points on the Little River in Lowndes County. Please do not close it. Continue reading

Pictures: Hahira Honeybee 2021-10-02

First time we were a dignitary in the parade at the 40th Annual Hahira Honeybee Festival.

[Parade Float, WWALS Booth]
Parade Float, WWALS Booth

Here’s a video Gretchen took:

Continue reading

Owen Smith Cemetery near Boys Ranch, Hahira, GA 2021-04-26

This is the family cemetery of an early settler family. Starting in 1835, Owen Smith owned land on both sides of the Withlacoochee River and east to Cat Creek and at least briefly across that, too, totalling more than 3,000 acres, according to the Wiregrass Region Digital History Project. It is called the Owen Smith Cemetery by FindaGrave.com.

[Iron fence, 14:31:07, 31.0265649, -83.2880907]
Iron fence, 14:31:07, 31.0265649, -83.2880907

Or earlier, since according to the apparently well-documented Smith-Gray-Dupree family tree on ancestry.com, Owen Smith married Jemima K. Mathis in Lowndes County, Georgia. They were not original settlers, since Lowndes County was established by the Georgia General Assembly in 1825, but they were apparently the first settler holders of much of that land.

The tallest remaining headstone is for Jemima Mathis Smith. The broken one near it was apparently Owen Smith’s. He was born 26 February 1810 in Columbus, North Carolina, died in Valdosta, Lowndes County, Georgia, 8 September 1901. Continue reading

2020 ANNUAL REPORT, Lowndes County Impaired Streams Monitoring 2020-04-07

Some good news: “Low level mercury levels are well below acute standards at all sampling points.”

Some bad news: “fecal coliform sampling results indicated all sampling points exceeded water quality standards for the June and September sampling events.”

[Cover, Franks Creek and Mud Creek]
Cover, Franks Creek and Mud Creek

That’s in the 2020 ANNUAL REPORT from Lovell Enginnering Associates to Lowndes County for its Impaired Streams Monitoring project that the Georgia Environmental Protection Division (GA-EPD) required the county to do.

Thanks to Lowndes County Engineer Mike Fletcher for sending this report in response to a WWALS open records request. I don’t know why Lowndes County did not publish this report themselves. Maybe they did, and I just haven’t found it online yet.

Working through this data, so far it seems that Franks Creek, which comes down west of Hahira to the Little River, shows spikes in Fecal coliform after rains. Those spikes usually occur downstream of Hahira’s wastewater treatment facility. Continue reading

Victory on Georgia Constitutional Amendment 1, and more voting for clean water

Voters in every county in Georgia approved Amendment 1, to dedicate state fees and taxes to their stated purposes. The statewide victory was 81.6%.

There is more work to do, to get the legislature to use this new law to stop taxes from being diverted to the general fund, so for example counties and cities can get more grants for tire amnesties. But now the mechanism is available.

That wasn’t the only good referendum news, and there is more voting for clean water to do.

[Victory: 82%]
Victory: 82%
Special thanks to the Suwannee River Basin cities of Adel, Hahira, and Valdosta, Atkinson, Lanier, and Lowndes Counties, for passing resolutions in support.
See also previous blog post.

The other good clean water news is that Amendment 2 passed with 74.5% Yes, also passing in every county. That’s HR 1023: people may petition for declaratory relief from certain acts of this state or certain local governments or officers or employees.

Dave Williams, Capitol Beat News Service, 4 November 2020, Georgia voters pass three ballot questions by wide margins,

The sovereign immunity amendment stems from a 2014 Georgia Supreme Court decision that essentially granted the state blanket immunity from citizen lawsuits in a case brought by the Center for a Sustainable Coast. The group had filed suit alleging the state Department of Natural Resources was illegally allowing alterations to private property in fragile coastal wetland areas protected by state law.

So that’s two victories for clean water by the people of the state of Georgia.

More voting for clean water to do

As everyone probably knows, there are Georgia runoff elections on January 5, 2021, with the usual early voting and absentee ballots. Both Georgia U.S. Senate seats are in the runoff.

A Public Service Commission runoff that was scheduled earlier will also be on January 5, 2021. WWALS has long advocated for GA-PSC to make responsible decisions on power plants and pipelines that affect all our waters, from water levels to coal ash to mercury.

Once again, we urge you to vote for clean water.

As an IRS 501(c)(3) nonprofit educational charity, WWALS cannot Continue reading

Please vote Yes on Georgia Constitutional Amendment 1: dedicate fees to their stated purpose

Update 2020-11-18: Landslide Yes on Georgia Amendment 1 to dedicate trust funds!

Update 2020-10-07: On Steve Nichols radio show, with video.

Don’t you think taxes and fees charged by a state should go to the purposes the state said they would? Well, in Georgia, many such funds have been mostly diverted to the general fund, and then who knows where. You can vote in this election to stop that: vote Yes on Amendment 1.

[Six cities and counties for Amendment 1]
Six cities and counties for Amendment 1: Adel, Hahira, and Valdosta, Atkinson, Lanier, and Lowndes Counties.

For example, the state of Georgia charges a fee on every tire sold, with funds supposed to go to cleaning up old tires and other waste management. Yet more than $50 million of those funds have been diverted to other purposes. It’s not just tires. Other examples of diverted funds include ones for indigent defense and judicial programs, peace officer training, and teen driver training.

There is no organized opposition to Amendment 1. Pretty much the only opposition stated during passage of the authorizing bill was about being able to use funds during an emergency. The bill explicitly allows that. The bill passed the Georgia Senate unanimously and the House with only one vote against.

Organized support for Amendment 1 includes six cities and counties in the Suwannee River Basin: the cities of Hahira, Valdosta, Adel, and Atkinson, Lanier, and Lowndes Counties, each of which passed a resolution in January 2019 in support of the bill that authorized putting Amendment 1 on the ballot for 2020. Also, the Valdosta Daily Times supported it in an editorial. WWALS supports Amendment 1, as do, so far as we know, all the Riverkeepers of Georgia.

Amendment 1 on the ballot

This is how Amendment 1 appears on the ballot:

Shall the Constitution of Georgia be amended so as to authorize the General Assembly to dedicate revenues derived from fees or taxes to the public purpose for which such fees or taxes were intended?

( ) YES

( ) NO

Please vote YES.

Addition to Georgia law

Below is the text that Amendment 1, when approved, will add to subparagraph (r)(1) to paragraph VI in section 9 of Article III of the Georgia state constitution: Continue reading