News from Madison County...

 August 23, 2000


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OPINIONS

Frank Gillispie
Time to de-annex Atlanta?
An interesting conversation has emerged on the Internet among traditional Southerners. A suggestion was made that Georgia de-annex Atlanta, declare that the city is no longer a part of Georgia and allow them to form their own state. Those proposing the move say that Atlanta is so far out of step with the rest of Georiga that both sides would be better off . . .

Ben Munro
As race heats up, Gore resorts to stupid antics
Sometimes I wonder whether if these presidental candidates want to run our nation or the local chapter of the Sigma Chi fraternity.
Just the other day, I opened the Atlanta Journal-Constitution to find an article about Al Gore embarking upon some sort of riverboat "party" campaign where he's supposedly drumming up support with the usual political song and dance act to show us "hey man, I'm a cool guy."
This is not surprising . . .


SPORTS
Raiders hope to turn program with first non-region season
This opinion is generally accepted in these parts: The problem with Madison County football isn't what's on the field; it's what's off the field. Low turnout usually puts the Raiders at a disadvantage against like-sized schools.


Neighborhood News...
BANKS COUNTY
Lula may have broken law
Lula's discussions in closed session questionable
The Lula City Council may have violated state law after discussing several broad personnel issues in a closed session Monday night. By law, the council may only discuss issues in closed session related to a specific employee, not a range of employees.

Banks County students turned away from Baldwin Elementary due to lack of space
Banks County students planning to attend Baldwin Elementary School when classes began on Friday found out last week that they would not be able to due to a lack of space at the school.


News from...
JACKSON COUNTY
Tuesday forum to kick off fall election season
State rep., probate judge races to be featured
A forum set for Tuesday in Hoschton will kick off the final dash of local candidates for the November General Elections.

Survey Shows Companies Like Doing Business Here
A survey of 31 local manufacturing plants and other businesses shows that while the companies may have problems getting qualified labor, they all like Jackson County as a place to do business.


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Madison Co. school superintendent resigns
Madison County school superintendent Dennis Moore has resigned from his post on the fourth day of the 2000-2001 school year. His resignation takes effect Sept. 1.
Moore informed the county school board of his decision Tuesday night in a closed meeting, following a heated meeting with parents over busing problems. He announced his resignation to the schools Wednesday morning.
"He told us there was a business opportunity he could not turn down," said school board member Elaine Belfield.
Moore, who still has 10 months left on his contract, did not return a call to his home Wednesday evening and was not at his office Thursday morning.
The superintendent told an Athens reporter Wednesday that his resignation had nothing to do with the busing dilemma currently facing the system - many kids aren't getting home until late in the afternoons.
He also told the reporter that he has been eligible for retirement for a long time and cannot turn down his current opportunity, though he would not give any details about his business venture, saying it was personal.
The resignation has caught many off guard, including board attorney Lane Fitzpatrick, who said he knew of Moore's decision before Tuesday.
"I was floored when he told me," said Fitzpatrick.
Asked for specifics on Moore's plans, the attorney said the superintendent just said he had a business opportunity he couldn't pass up.
Fitzpatrick said there is no truth to rumors that Moore will receive a large severance package.
The school board will meet Tuesday to discuss the issue. New assistant superintendent Allen McCannon is expected to be named the interim superintendent.
Moore was hired as superintendent in May of 1998, replacing longtime school head Jim Perkins.

RIDING THE BUS

Madison County eighth grader Reginald Mathis, 13, of Hull, boards a bus at the middle school Monday afternoon.

Parents concerned about school system's transportation plans
Over 100 parents gathered at a called meeting of the Madison County Board of Education Tuesday night to express their concern over the school bus schedule. At issue were whether county buses would transport kids to a local day care and the length of time busing kids has taken so far this year. According to parents, buses aren't getting some kids home until 5:30 p.m.
Jan and Steve Filkins of Busy Box Day Care complained that a 30-year program of picking up and dropping off students at their facility was being canceled at the last minute. Steve Filkins reported that he received a call from new transportation director Steve Sorrells on Thursday, the day before school started, informing him that the buses would not stop at his Booger Hill Road facility. He later agreed to make the stops until the board had a chance to hear the issue.
Board attorney Lane Fitzpatrick was asked for an opinion on the legality of using school buses to transport children from and to a private business. He said Georgia law forbids county-owned buses from being so used, supporting his position with several other code sections and opinions.
The board decided that it had been unfair to the Filkinses to inform them so late in the season that the rules had changed, and voted to override Fitzpatrick's suggestion and allow the buses to run to Busy Box Day Care for this term. Their decision was greeted with applause by the parents.
This is the second time recently the board has voted against the legal advice of Fitzpatrick. In an earlier meeting, they voted to continue funding the Madison County Library for this year even though such actions are illegal, according to Fitzpatrick.
Following the vote to support Busy Box, a number of parents complained about the new bus schedules, arguing that children were spending too much time waiting for buses, and riding buses to and from school. Typical of the problems is that of Aleta Nalley. She told the board that her children had to spend up to 45 minutes waiting for the bus alone. She is a single mother who cannot afford to jeopardize her job by being late.
Charles Hooten angrily joined in, saying that he had to leave his job and take his child to school because the bus was not on schedule. He asked if the board was going to compensate him for time lost from work.
Superintendent Dennis Moore admitted that there were problems with the bus schedule. He attributed the problems to the opening of the new Hull/Sanford school and new rules from the state board of education. Moore said that the staff was working hard to correct the problems as they arise and promised that all problems would be solved within 10 days. He urged all parents with problems to come in and talk to him. Nalley said she couldn't afford to leave work to visit his office. Moore responded that he is in the office as early as 5 a.m.
Hooten demanded that they be solved now and angrily left the room.
Nalley said that the schools should make sure the problems are solved within four days. Board Member Elaine Belfield, presiding in the absence of chairman Jimmy Patton, agreed that quick work was needed and offered to stay after the meeting to discuss specific problems with parents.


Municipal qualifying begins Mon.
Qualifying for city council elections begins this week in Madison County.
DANIELSVILLE
Post 3 on the Danielsville city council, currently held by Don Delay, will be up for election Nov. 7. The term of office will be from Jan. 1, 2001 to Dec. 31, 2002.
Qualifying will begin Monday, Aug. 28, at 8:30 a.m. at city hall and end Sept. 1 at 1 p.m. The qualifying fee for council persons is $40.07.
ILA
Council seats held by Don Freeman and Nathaniel Hobbs will be up for election Nov. 7. The term for council positions is four years. Qualifying will begin Monday at 9 a.m. at city hall and end at noon Friday, Sept. 1. The qualifying fee is $24.80.
COLBERT
Two posts on the Colbert city council will be up for election Nov. 7: the offices currently held by Julian Davis and Jeffery Dale Roberts. Both seats are two-year terms. Qualifying for both posts will be held Monday, Aug. 28, to Wednesday, Aug. 30, from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. each day. The qualifying fee is $39.
HULL
Two city council seats will be up for election in Hull Nov. 7: the offices currently held by Mark Cronic and Ken Murray. Both posts hold four-year terms - from Jan. 1, 2001, to Dec. 31, 2004. Those wishing to qualify should file a written notice of candidacy with city clerk James Norton at 250 Oak Drive, Hull, Ga. 30646. The qualifying period will begin Monday, Aug. 28, and end Friday, Sept. 1. The qualifying fee is $24.80.
CARLTON AND COMER
No elections are planned this year in the cities of Carlton and Comer.

 
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Comer mayor resigns
Kevin Booth has resigned as the mayor of Comer, effective Sept. 1. He turned in his resignation Aug. 15.
"As an elected official of the city of Comer, my primary concern has been to see as much accomplished for the city as possible," Booth wrote. "However, current circumstances and conditions in the office of mayor and council no longer allow me to function in this capacity. For these reasons I wish to resign my position as mayor of the city of Comer, effective Sept. 1, 2000."
Booth, who took office Jan. 1, and the council have had longstanding policy disagreements over various issues, primarily over budgeting for the police department.
The mayor had no comment about his resignation but said he would write a letter to the editor in next week's paper to explain his action.
The Comer City Council had not announced a meeting as of press time Wednesday morning to discuss Booth's resignation or replacement.


Madison County BOC to hold Sat. budget meeting
The Madison County Board of Commissioners will meet Saturday, Aug. 26, with county department heads to discuss next year's county budget.
The all-day meeting will begin at 9 a.m. at the county government complex.
Other special meetings planned by the commissioners include:
·Monday, Aug. 28 - The commissioners will meet at 6 p.m. - 30 minutes prior to their regular 6:30 p.m. meeting - to discuss a storm water management ordinance. (See page 2A for the agenda for Monday's meeting.)
·Monday, Sept. 11 - The commissioners will meet at 6 p.m. - 30 minutes prior to their regular 6:30 p.m. meeting - to receive public input on the proposed amendment to the zoning ordinance to eliminate the Plan Commercial Farm District zoning classification.