Madison County Opinion...

 June 21, 2000

By Frank Gillespie
The Madison County Journal
June 21, 2000

Frankly Speaking

New Yorkers do it again
Well, the people of New York City are at it again. Two news articles illustrate just how ugly our Yankee friends can be.
The first story concerns a mass attack on some 40 women in Central Park by a group of Hispanic men. This ugly crowd threw water on the women, most of whom were white. They ripped off their clothes and committed various sexual assaults. One of the victims was a newly wed from France. The villains held her husband and forced him to watch as they molested his bride.
After the event, the Rev? Al Sharpton brought forth two black girls who accused the police of being responsible for the assaults because they did not react fast enough. That was strange since it is Sharpton, the nation's number one bigot, who has often led anti-police riots in the city.
The second story, which has received little coverage, are the insults being thrown at injured talk show host Don Imus. Imus was seriously injured at the Arizona ranch operated by himself and his brother for the benefit of children with cancer.
According to a New York Post article, the most despicable Howard Stern was quick to insult the injured Imus. When his co-host asked "What was he doing on a horse?" Stern responded "Doing what he always does. Nothing. It would be funny if he ended up like Christopher Reeve in a wheelchair."
The insults continued on the "Opie and Anthony" show, where one of the inconsiderate scoundrels imitated Imus as saying "Good thing I didn't fall on my face, it woudda hurt the ground. Going to be in a body cast, yeah baby. Well, it's not like I move anyway."
The heroic Imus is expected to leave the hospital later this week. He plans to be on hand to welcome a group of cancer-suffering children to the ranch on Monday.
With these two recent examples of just how ugly the people of New York can be, John Rocker deserves applause for his ability to accurately describe the negative aspects of our largest city.
Frank Gillispie is founder of The Madison County Journal. His web page can be accessed at

Letter To The Editor
The Madison County Journal
June 21, 2000

Allegations against Royston
are no 'smear campaign'

Dear editor:
It has been alleged by county probate judge and elections superintendent Mr. Donald "Hoppy" Royston and a journalist that the allegations we brought to light concerning Mr. Royston's actions as elections superintendent are simply a "smear campaign" and perhaps a generated scandal. It would be a convenient conclusion for a journalist who chooses not to investigate the facts or question the parties involved in the matter. For a politician, this conclusion would be a convenient method of keeping the public from focusing on the facts surrounding the allegations.
We are executive officers of the Madison County Republican Party. Are we partisan? Of course. But is this simply a smear campaign or a generated scandal created to undermine the re-election attempt of Mr. Royston? If that was the intention of bringing the matter to light, it would have made more sense to call public attention to the matter a week prior to the November election. It may be hard to believe, but as officers of the Madison County Republican Party, we are offended that the elections superintendent violated his oath of office and ignored the state election code to enhance the position of the Democratic Party.
The law allows parties to question or poll its members on any ballot questions it sees fit. These questions may range from proposed state legislation, party platform issues or issues pertaining to local government. We chose to exercise the right of ballot initiatives on this year's primary. Although it may be nice to know how members of the opposite party feel on these issues, we do not have the authority, nor should we, to place these questions on another party's ballot. While the political wisdom of adopting another party's ballot initiatives would be questionable, it can be done, if it is done, in a legal manner. This adoption was illegal.
Mr. Royston said that it had been a long-standing agreement to contact the other party if one of the parties had submitted ballot questions. Mr. Royston's notification policy is not allowed for by state law. The notification policy only extended to Democratic party officials. Mr. Royston's statements to the local press about his notification procedures show a violation of his oath of impartiality as elections superintendent. Mr. Royston has not publicly answered as to the specific timing of the Democratic request. Mr. Royston never answered as to why he did not inform us that he had notified or intended to notify the local Democratic Party of our ballot request.
The blanket request made by the local Democratic Party is not a valid submission of questions. The election code (O.C.G.A 21-2-284-d) does not allow blanket requests. The law is clear that specific questions must be certified by the elections superintendent. No specific questions were submitted by the Democratic Party, only a blanket request. The acceptance of that request by Mr. Royston is a violation of state law. Mr. Royston brought forth the names of other individuals involved in the Democratic request. None of these individuals were mentioned in our press releases last week. Mr. Royston's attempt to publicly use them as a shield we find pathetic.
We thank the local Democratic Party leaders for the confidence they have in the Republican Party by adopting the questions we authored. We believe the confidence will translate into votes for the Republican ticket in November. We hope local Democrats will also adopt the strong principles of ethics, individual freedom and less government intrusion that are the bedrock of the Republican Party. We also hope they follow our lead in nominating candidates grounded with a solid moral compass. There are a number of ideas and principles we would be glad to share with Democrats. Next time, maybe they should consider asking.
It is our belief that the integrity of the elections process is vital to the protection of the fundamental rights of all citizens. Any violation of the laws instituted to protect the integrity of the process must always be exposed and corrected. It is unfortunate some members of the local media choose not to recognize the importance of that integrity. Just as we have choices in the political parties and candidates, we also have choices in local newspapers. Despite Mr. Royston's actions as elections superintendent, we do believe that ultimately the elections process in Madison County will run fairly and efficiently due to the efforts of the pollworkers and pollwatchers who have an exemplary record of honesty and impartiality in past elections. We have confidence in them.

Sincerely, Paul Boatwright, Chairman of the Madison County Republican Party and Hank Burnham, Secretary/treasurer of the Madison County Republican Party


Front Page Article
The Madison County Journal
June 14, 2000

Republicans accuse judge of violating election code

Republican leaders may seek a state investigation of county probate judge and elections superintendent Donald "Hoppy" Royston, claiming the 23-year incumbent violated state election law...

By Zach Mitcham
The Madison County Journal
June 14, 2000

County sees first gusts of election storm

If 2000 holds a major political storm for Madison County, this week provided the first good gusts of the election season.

Letter To The Editor
The Madison County Journal
June 14, 2000

Royston responds to accusations

Dear editor:
The point in question is that the political parties can place non-binding questions on the general primary ballot. The Republican Party chose to place four questions on the July 18, 2000, ballot.

Send Us A Letter

By Ben Munro
The Madison County Journal
June 21, 2000

Former Raiders in prime time
Well, let's see here: On one coast of our nation during this past week we had a former Raider out of the class of 1997 playing against the likes of Tiger Woods and Fred Couples in one of the most important golf tournaments in the world - the U.S. Open. On the other coast, a Raider from the class of '96 was pitching in the cathedral of baseball, Yankee Stadium, to the likes of sluggers like Frank Thomas.
And both were roaming the halls of a Danielsville high school with many of us just a few years ago.
The recent exploits Madison County's Jedd McLuen, who competed in the U.S. Open this past Thursday and Friday, and Jake Westbrook, who made his Major League pitching debut this past Saturday against the White Sox, have done much to bolster community pride within the county. It's a classic case of the local boy done good, the guys who started out in the close-knit Madison County community and got a taste of the big time while we stayed at home and cheered them on.
And while neither of the two's first taste of big-time sporting action went as they would have liked, the fact that they were there competing on such a lofty level was enough to instill a sense of pride in all of us who call places like Carlton, Colbert, Comer, Danielsville, Hull or Ila our home.
Their accomplishments are a testament to hard work and dedication. They put in hours of practice each day of their lives out here in Madison County to help make it to the fields were the greats and legends roam.
You could find Jedd McLuen practicing for hours and hours each day just off Hwy. 72 while he was growing up, chipping, putting and driving day in and day out at Whispering Pines Golf Course in the hopes that his efforts would one day land him in a PGA tour event.
Jake Westbrook, who could be found at the Madison County Recreation Department with hundreds of other boys with the same ambitions, took his dreams in hand when he first picked up a ball and glove and mowed down batters in Little League, then later at Red Raider Stadium in the prep ranks.
From an easily won spring golf match in Colbert or a shutout Red Raider victory at the ballpark in Danielsville, they dominated the fields at home far away from the bright lights of the big cities and pushed themselves and moved from one level to the next.
And they reached the destination of their journeys when they got to play with the big boys, the road from Madison County to the big time became complete. Even if it is the only taste they ever get of the prime time, they have reached the pinnacle of athletic competition and made a comunity proud.
But Jedd and Jake aren't the only Madison County boys to make a name for themselves in the athletic world.
You could go on and on about the accomplishments of Colbert's Ryan Hybl. As great as Jedd's accomplishment was, McLuen wasn't the only Raider to have competed in a PGA tour event. Hybl, who was ranked number one in the nation during his junior golf days, actually did that last year, playing in the Greater Hartford Open and missing the cut by just two strokes. The 1998 AJGA player of the year and the 1999 AAA Individual State Champion will also look to power the Dawgs' golf team as the UGA signee should be an integral part of that squad next year.
And who can forget Adam Swann? The Raider who obliterated the MCHS offensive record books has gotten off to a solid start in the college ranks, nailing down a starting job in right field in his sophomore season while hitting .305 with nine homers in Divison I competion for the Georgia Bulldog baseball team. Swann even tied a UGA record with three grand slams this past season.
Adding to this list is former Raider fireballer Scott Tolbert, who recently wrapped up his senior season at the high school and has heard the professional ranks call his name as he was selected by the Cleveland Indians in the ninth round in the recent Major League draft.
Madison County has started a fine tradition of athletes garnering the spotlight at larger levels. Who knows where there athletic endeavors take them? But no matter how far they go, there careers all started out here in this community on the same fields and courses that we all played on.
May they go far in their athletic pursuits and have them know that there is a entire county behind them.
Ben Munro is a reporter for The Madison County Journal.

Letter To The Editor
The Madison County Journal
June 21, 2000

Upset that road hasn't been paved
Dear editor:
We the taxpayers of Sailors Road in Hull would like the citizens of Madison County to know how our road commission has lied to us.
Four years ago at election time, the county came and widened our road in what was supposed to be the preparation for pavement. By widening the road all they did was make it wide enough for cars to travel at a speed as high as 65 miles an hour up a dirt road. There are 17 homes, plus access to five chicken houses, on this one-mile stretch of road, which connects two paved roads and is traveled frequently as a shortcut between the two paved roads.
One of our residents was told a year ago that we were next in line to be paved. Since this time a road that only has two homes on it has been paved on one side of us and another on the other side is being paved now that only has three homes on it.
At least five of the property owners gave up huge trees for the widening. Either we want to be reimbursed for our trees or we want the road paved as we have been promised time and time again.

Sincerely, Betty Jo Barrett, Jason Mize, Richard Barrett, Kenneth Pullium, Steve McDaniel, Wayne Barrett, Terry Meeler, Randall Bolman, Richard Douglas Barrett and Jerry Brown

By Carl Varnadoe
The Madison County Journal
June 21, 2000

When purchasing gardening
tools, buy the best

Gardeners may not agree on the best mulch or the perfect fertilizer, but there's one thing that every gardener agrees on: When it comes time to purchase tools, buy the best. Quality garden tools are an investment that yields dividends over time. Here are the top 10 gardening tools every gardener should own.
·Trowel. A well-made trowel is your most important tool. From container gardening to large beds, a trowel will help you get your plants into the soil.
·Hand fork. A hand fork helps cultivate soil, chop up clumps and work amendments into the soil. A hand fork is necessary for cultivating in closely planted beds.
·Hoe. A long-handled hoe is a gardener's best friend. Keeping weeds at bay is the purpose of this useful tool.
·Shovel. The sharper the better, a shovel is a requisite tool for planting large perennials, shrubs and trees. The most basic act in the garden is breaking ground, so it stands to reason that a sharp shovel will be a key player.
·Spading fork. You can't dig and divide perennials without one (and some dividing methods even suggest you own two!).
·Watering can. Haws are the best in the business. This English watering can creates a fine, even stream of water that delivers with a gentleness that won't wash seedlings or sprouting seeds out of their soil.
·Hand pruners. Invest in a pair of quality pruners such as Felco. This sturdy pruner is used for clipping rose canes, cutting back perennials and other trimming jobs that need to be done.
·Loppers. For large pruning jobs that can't be accomplished with a hand pruner (such as pruning fruit tree limbs), use a sharp pair of loppers. Keep sharpened with a whetstone so that you make a clean, healthy cut each time.
·Gloves. Unless you want to wear your favorite hobby under your nails, use gloves. Leather gloves hold up best. If you have roses, get a pair that resist thorn pricks.
·Hose. This is the fastest way to transport lots of water from your water source to your garden.
Now that you have the top 10 tools, you'll want to make them last. Here are some tool care tips that keep your garden tools happy. And remember, a happy tool is a useful tool.
·Clean up. Always clean all soil from digging tools after each use. If soil has dried, use a wire brush or even a knife.
·How to handle handles. If wooden tool handles are damp, set the tools in the sun to dry before storing. At the end of each gardening season, rub linseed oil or tung oil into handles.
·Stay on the cutting edge. Don't forget to sharpen cutting tools and blades of shovels, spades and hoes during the gardening season. Frequently used tools dull quickly, so keep a whetstone or a sharpener in your tool arsenal.
·Chase rust away. Damp tools welcome rust. After each use, wipe down metal parts of all tools (pruners, shears, loppers, hoes and shovels) with an oily rag. This will help keep rust at bay.
Carl Varnadoe is Madison County's extension coordinator.
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