Advanced Search

09/23/00 - Wendell's world wanders way of World Wide Web


Local-State                September 23, 2000

Wendell's world wanders way of World Wide Web


By Kevin Conner Staff Writer

WATKINSVILLE -- He may be leaving his office at the end of the year, but Oconee County Commission Chairman Wendell Dawson says he'll stay informed enough on county issues to keep his new Web site up-to-date. ''I won't know all the day-to-day (issues), and won't try to, but when there are major issues in the county I want to get things in that some papers won't print.''
His new Web site -- www.anothervoicefromoconeecounty.com -- offers Dawson's perspectives on county issues, as well as statistics on various facets of Oconee County. Dawson also produces a monthly newsletter, which he distributes to 1,700 people. 
He says his site will offer an in-depth dissection of county issues.
''Facts can be detailed and boring and the news media does not have the time or space to present a lot of the dull facts,'' he said. ''However, the devil is in the details and a factual, well-written report has more effect than some think.''
Among the items now on the site is a complete account of Dawson's early August decision not to seek re-election, and his take on the firing of former county recreation board director Al Epting. Also available on the site are maps of Oconee County and statistics which document the county's population and tax revenue.
One of the issues that Dawson said he plans to continually address on the site is the plan to upgrade Georgia Highway 316, a four-lane link between Athens and Atlanta, to an interstate-style route.
The state Department of Transportation has indicated an intent to upgrade the highway by 2015, but some state legislators and local officials along the corridor want to have the improvements in place at least seven years sooner than that. Dawson says that goal is unrealistic.
''Anybody who thinks we're gonna get the funding for a billion dollars for improvements to 316 with all the competition we have in the region for state transportation funding, you'd have to believe in the tooth fairy,'' he said Friday. ''It's not gonna happen overnight. I don't care how much noise you make.'' 
Another issue Dawson will address on the site is competition between surrounding counties and Atlanta for water supplies. He mentioned as examples an effort by Walton County to withdraw water from the Apalachee River and a Greene County initiative to withdraw from Lake Oconee. ''We need to be looking at what they're doing in Walton County,'' he said. ''We can't afford to be left out if they use the Apalachee, which is right next to us. My thinking is we need to look down the road for 15 years and get our claim for Lake Oconee before Atlanta pressure hits there. Oconee County has to be an active enough partner that it won't be left out.''

Oconee County reporter Kevin Conner can be reached at kconner@onlineathens.com or (706) 769-9126.