Madison County Opinion...

 June 7, 2000


Column
By Frank Gillespie
The Madison County Journal
June 7, 2000

Frankly Speaking

More Dogsboro traffic improvements needed
Efforts to improve highway safety in the Dogsboro area are appreciated by area residents. The latest welcome addition is the turn arrows on the Hwy. 29 sides of the traffic light. Now we can make a left turn without being run over by oncoming traffic.
However, another developing problem has not been addressed: the growing amount of traffic on Glenn Carrie Road. Homes and churches line the entire two-mile length of the street. Side streets lead to a series of subdivisions, making Glenn Carrie the most heavily populated part of unincorporated Madison County.
Additional traffic on Glenn Carrie comes from shoppers going to the retail stores and restaurants located in the Dogsboro Intersection. The Dollar General Store, CVS Drug Store and the new Ingles MegaMarket are drawing customers from the Winterville area. Winterville shoppers find easier access and less traffic in the Hull/Dogsboro area than on the Lexington Highway in Clarke County. All of this new traffic uses Glenn Carrie Road.
The danger on Glenn Carrie is greatly increased by a steady stream of pedestrians. Housing along Glenn Carrie and its side roads includes a number of mobile home parks and duplexes that serve lower income people. These people, walking from the subdivisions to the intersection, must use the shoulders of the road because of the lack of sidewalks. With the end of the school year, an increasing number of children and teens are joining the hikers.
Glenn Carrie clearly needs to be upgraded. That would be an expensive proposition. Both sides of the street are filled with underground utilities. Water lines, gas lines and underground cables would have to be moved in order to widen the street. Because it is a county road, the county would have to bear most of the cost.
It would be better for the local residents if a new connector street could be built parallel to Glenn Carrie, but that would likely require the removal of several homes or businesses. That also would be expensive. In either case, county officials need to start thinking of measures that will improve or divert traffic on Glenn Carrie.
One thing that can be done fairly easily with minimal expense is the constriction of sidewalks along key portions of the street. A sidewalk from Joy Baptist Church to the Dogsboro intersection would greatly enhance safety of pedestrians.
Turning lanes are badly needed on that section of Glenn Carrie currently occupied by businesses. This would extend from the intersection to the back entrance to the Ingles Complex on one side and to Clarke Glass on the other. Turn lanes on this short section of the street would go a long way toward improving traffic flow in the most congested areas.
The expressed goal of many county leaders is to boost retail sales in the Dogsboro area, creating greater sales tax income for the county. We all agree with that. But the safety and convenience of residents along Glenn Carrie Road will have to be addressed as well.
Frank Gillispie is founder of The Madison County Journal. His web page can be accessed at www.mcga.net.


Letter To The Editor
The Madison County Journal
June 7, 2000

Says BOE refused to obey
law at senior's expense

Dear editor:
Jacob Allen Lee was one of the Madison County High School graduates who was listed as "not pictured" in last week's Madison County Journal. I don't know why the other students were not pictured, but Jacob was on that list because Madison County's Board of Education refused to obey the law until past time for Jacob to be included in most senior activities.
Jacob was one of the students caught by Madison County's attendance policy that refused credits to students who were absent more than 10 days per semester whether those absences were excused or not. Georgia state policy allows that children cannot be refused credits in the case of excused absences and lists reasonable excuses. All of Jacob's absences were excused. He was denied credits in two classes. Jacob contacted a lawyer to find out if he had any rights as a student.
In the April 14, 1999 issue of this paper in the "Raider Weekly" section, a writer questioned the attendance policy. The answer given indicated that MCHS has established its policy in line with the state's policy because the state "sets up rules and regulations that school systems have to comply with."
The following week the paper announced that Jacob was suing the school board, claiming that the attendance policy was "unlawful."
Another family challenged the legality of Madison County's policy. With a lawyer's assistance they were given the hearing they requested and were then able to take their complaint to the state board. The state board upheld the state attendance policy. So, apparently, Madison County's attendance policy was never in line with state policy.
Forced to accept the truth and comply with state board policy, the Madison County school board decided to settle with Jacob. He was moved to a senior homeroom. He was allowed to order his cap and gown. It was too late for his picture to go in the yearbook as a senior. He was not asked if he had a picture to put in the paper.
Jacob's settlement with the board of education also required that the board change its attendance policy to comply with the state's policy and that credits be restored to all students whose credits had been illegally withheld.
Jacob's family is proud that Jacob persevered and received his diploma. We have the utmost respect for this young man who fought not only for his rights, but also for the rights of his fellow students.
Congratulations, Jacob!
Submitted by the family and friends of Jacob Allen Lee.

Sincerely, Charles Allen Lee, Hull

Column
By Zach Mitcham
The Madison County Journal
June 7, 2000

My Pop
It's a vague memory, but I still recall years ago my dad telling me, "You can call me Pop."
So Judson Cofield Mitcham, who will turn 52 Monday, is Pop to me and the older I get the more thankful I am for that.
Pop is many things. He is the master of the knuckle ball. And as a kid I became better with a glove learning to snag the dancing baseball that lacked rotation when it left his fingers.
My father was a hot shot basketball player, Monroe High School's leading scorer his junior year, who missed most of his senior year after an ankle injury against Cauthan Westbrook and Madison County. But the story Pop tells most about his high school basketball days was when he slipped and fell down as he led the team through the line of cheerleaders before a tournament game.
Pop can pick tunes on his Martin guitar, using the "Travis" and "Carter" picking styles to play old songs. But he rarely shows off his skill. Rather, give him a guitar and without fail he'll put his ring finger on the D note on the guitar's B string and bend the note while making a horribly pained face. It's both sad and funny.
Pop is a jokester. And I am one of only three people who has seen his dinosaur routine, when he pulls the waist of his green sweat pants up near his chest, his arms held close to his side like useless appendages as he crouches and makes a high shrieking sound, then hops around the room. My sister and I laugh, but Mom is not impressed.
My father has been a psychology professor at Fort Valley State College for over 20 years. In recent years, he has also taught creative writing at the University of Georgia and Emory.
The latter positions came after his success as a writer. He has published two collections of poetry, "Notes for a Prayer in June," and the longer "Somewhere in Ecclesiastes," before winning Georgia's Townsend Prize for fiction for his first novel, "The Sweet Everlasting." He is nearly done with another novel, but he is cautious about sharing any of his work, even with his family, until it's done.
Pop's distant relative, Terry Tannen, wrote a screenplay based on "The Sweet Everlasting" and is currently trying to secure funding for the film.
If a movie is ever made based on his book, Pop plans to be like James Dickey on the set of "Deliverance," wearing a big hat and bossing people around.
"I ordered both sides blackened!" he'll yell when his toast doesn't have the familiar look of charcoal.
Unfortunately, I have inherited some of Pop's less spectacular traits, such as snoring. Asleep in his recliner - with a book on his chest and newspapers stacked high next to his chair - my dad sounds like a wounded beast. And I wake myself up sometimes startled that someone has let a hog loose in my room. Pop can sweat through the knot in his tie, while I can work up a substantial sweat in a fast food line. Mom will add that Pop moves like continental drift when we're in a hurry. And I've been known to do the same.
But I hope I can be like my father in many ways. Pop is wise. He recognizes angles where most see straight lines. My father is also a comforter. He clearly cares about my mother, my sister and me and wants to spend time with us all. My sister and I can count on one question from Pop every time we call, "When are you coming home?"
One weekend recently at my parents' house in Macon I looked in the refrigerator before leaving and saw one can of Coke.
"Can I have this?" I asked.
"You can have anything," Pop said in a matter-of-fact way.
But I knew he meant it, because that's how he's always been, willing to do anything for his family.
Except let them sit in his recliner. That's off-limits.
Zach Mitcham is editor of The Madison County Journal.



Letter To The Editor
The Madison County Journal
June 7, 2000

Says Fouche needs more
reason, simple ethics

Dear editor:
I realize that your young reporter Adam Fouche is trying very hard to be funny each week when he writes about what interests him and about his opinions. But in all honesty I feel this young man needs to really learn more reason and simple ethics in his writing.
His most recent attempt at humor implied that cows are preferable to any woman's company.
I'm sure Adam has a beloved mother? Probably sisters or other female relatives and co-workers? Maybe even a lady friend? Not just a girlfriend, a lady who is a friend and not a girl friend?
Surely this young man is capable of reading literature that is written by females, about females, but not just for females?
I think Adam has a slight communication problem and his self-esteem is not as steady as it should be.
Ladies, please try to help this poor young man.

Sincerely, Jo Anne P. White, Danielsville

Read Adam Fouche's column

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