News from Madison County...

 March 1, 2000


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OPINIONS
Officials should keep public informed
When a person runs for an elective office they are putting in a job application. They want to be hired for a particular job. They expect to be good employees. The only difference is that they have all the voters as bosses.


Neighborhood News...
BANKS COUNTY
Low voter turnout expected Tues. for Presidential Primary
A low turnout is expected Tuesday when Banks County voters go to the polls to cast their ballots in the Presidential Preference Primary.

Bush, Gore win in 'mock election'
Banks County Middle School students favor Republican George W. Bush and Democrat Al Gore as the top two candidates in the presidential race.

Volunteers help New Salem UMC rebuild
In a gesture of good will, teenagers and adults from three northeastern states spent last week helping to rebuild New Salem United Methodist Church.


News from
JACKSON COUNTY
Two ambulances wreck Sat. night
Nine injured from three county wrecks in less than 30 minutes
In less than 30 minutes Saturday night, nine people were transported to area hospitals as the result of three wrecks, two of which involved ambulances rushing to the scene of the first accident.

Construction to begin soon at Freightliner in Jefferson
Freightliner is set to begin construction on a new $13 million truck dealership in Jefferson.

Marketing Survey Says Commerce Should Concentrate On Restaurants And Retail
By the year 2003, Commerce could support possibly seven downtown restaurants, according to the authors of a $10,000 marketing study conducted for the city at the request of the Downtown Development Authority.

Ho-Hum: Not Much Interest Seen In Presidential Primary
JEFFERSON -- A low turnout is expected Tuesday when Jackson County voters go to the polls to cast their ballots in the Presidential Preference Primary.


SPORTS
Near perfection
Raiders' Tolbert falls three batters short of second perfect game
Armed with a 90-plus mph. fastball, the Raiders' Scott Tolbert flirted with perfection in his domination of the Cedar Shoals lineup Tuesday night.


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RIDIN' IN STYLE

The Madison County Recreation Department's 10-and-under boys' all star basketball team rode in high style - a chauffeured limousine - to last week's region playoffs in West Jackson County. The team, coached by Bart Smith and Adam Reynolds was defeated 38-30 in a close match-up against the Habersham Two team last Thursday night. Parent Jeff Couch said they wanted to do "something special" for the team for making it that far.
Photo by Margie Richards

LOCAL GOVERNMENT

Keep it rural!
BY ZACH MITCHAM
A controversial rezoning request on Floyd Road was withdrawn Monday after neighboring residents voiced fears that the zoning change would spark more residential development in the agricultural area.
Property owner James W. Brock Jr. withdrew his application to rezone three acres west of Floyd Road from A-2 to R-R. The action came after a lengthy discussion with the Madison County Board of Commissioners about the property.
Brock, a local preacher, sought the rezoning so Conrad Westbrook and his wife could locate a home on the property. Westbrook works with Camp Maranatha and wants to live close to the camp.
"My heart is with Camp Maranatha," said Westbrook.
But the minister said he didn't want to push for anything that "sticks in the craw" of surrounding property owners. He said maintaining the good will of neighbors is important.
"We'll find some other way to get Conrad a house," said Brock. "People are more important than property."
The rezoning request hit a nerve with surrounding property owners who want to maintain the rural character of the area.
While Floyd Road residents said Westbrook would make a good neighbor, they said approving the rezoning would set a bad precedent, opening the door for more property to be reclassified as residential instead of rural.
Chip Chandler spoke against the proposal, saying the proposal is not in line with long-term county plans.
"Does this rezoning follow the county's comprehensive (land use) plan?" he asked. "In my opinion, no."
Mike Sales said he would like to see the property remain A-2 to "keep the integrity of the neighborhood."
Planning commission chairman Pat Mahoney said she did not believe approval of the request would lead to a rush of rezonings or a "domino effect" in the area.
"There is not a history of the domino effect happening here (in Madison County)," said Mahoney.
But commissioner Nelson Nash said he would have a hard time turning down another request to rezone land from agricultural to residential status in the area if Brock's proposal was approved.


No county coverage
BOC says 'no' to health insurance for county's elected officials
BY ZACH MITCHAM
Madison County's elected officials will continue to seek health insurance apart from the county.
The board of commissioners voted 3-2 Monday to turn down a proposal by board member Melvin Drake to offer health insurance to the county's elected officials, effective 2001.
The health coverage would have cost the county roughly $30,000 annually.
Nelson Nash, Patsy Pierce and Bruce Scogin opposed the action, while Drake and Bill Taylor voted for the measure.
Drake said surrounding counties provide health coverage for their elected officials and that he would like to see the benefit reinstated in Madison County when this year's elected officials take office.
But Scogin said surrounding counties have more revenue and more flexibility in providing benefits. He said the public would not approve of the coverage.
"This is simply a form of a pay raise," said Scogin.
Commissioner Nash opposed the action, pointing out that some elected officials make nearly twice as much as their subordinates.
Taylor said after the meeting that he supported the measure because it is offered in surrounding counties.
In a separate matter Monday, the board agreed to increase the holiday pay of county workers on 12-hour and 24-hour shifts. Those workers had received an eight-hour rate on paid holidays. Under the new plan, those who work 12-hour shifts will receive a nine-hour rate on holidays and those on 24-hour shifts will receive a 10-hour rate.
EMS director Dwayne Patton addressed the board on the matter, pointing out those who work for 24 hours every third day spend over 800 hours a year more on the job than those who work eight hours a day, five days a week.
In other business, the board renewed the county's health insurance plan with a $9 increase per month, per county employee. The commission also approved the purchase of a 1999 Crown Victoria for the EMS department.


County voters to show presidential preferences
Madison Countians will get their turn to select their favorite party hopefuls in the race for president Tuesday.
Polls will be open Tuesday in Madison County from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. The Republican candidates in the presidential primary are John McCain, George Bush and Alan Keyes. Democrats seeking their party's nomination are Al Gore and Bill Bradley.
QUALIFYING OPENS APRIL 24
While the presidential race is heating up, locals with political aspirations will soon throw their hats in the ring.
Qualifying for county offices will be from 9 a.m. Monday, April 24, through noon Friday, April 28, for all but three county seats - the school board District 1 and 2 posts and the magistrate's seat.
All five district seats and the chairman's post on the county commission will be decided as well as school board members districts three through five, the state representative, state senator, probate judge, clerk of court, tax commissioner, sheriff, coroner and surveyor.
Candidates will qualify with their political party in the county.

 
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