News from Madison County...

 September 20, 2000


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OPINIONS

Frank Gillispie
Honoring our Confederate dead

Madison County, Georgia, contributed heavily to the Confederate Army, sending over 450 men into some of the heaviest fighting of the war. Now several groups are . . .

Zach Mitcham
When guitar had soul

My first guitar was a reddish brown Epiphone, basically a cheap replica of the rock favorite Les Paul. My dad left it in my room one night when I was 17 and I felt like I had a year earlier when I finally had car keys in my hand. Plugging the guitar into . . .


SPORTS

SEE THIS WEEK'S PIGSKIN PICKERS!

Senior running back rumbles for five touchdowns, 263 yards in 42-6 thrashing of North Hall
Just call it a bit of foreshadowing.
Moments before kickoff in Friday night's Madison County-North Hall match-up, the overhead announcer at Red Raider Stadium mispronounced senior Raider running back Donny Stamper's name as Donny "Stomper."


Neighborhood News...
BANKS COUNTY
Go-cart track owner gets approval to operate business
A Banks County man finally has approval to run his go-cart track on Otis Brown Road. The board of commissioners approved Mitchell Payne's request in a meeting Friday morning to rezone seven acres from agriculture to C-2 (general commericial).

Dalton named temporary head of EMS
The Banks County Board of Commissioners has named fire chief Perry Dalton to serve as the temporary head of the emergency management services department.
The action was taken in a called meeting Friday morning after the BOC met behind closed doors for 15 minutes to discuss "personnel."


News from...
JACKSON COUNTY
JCCI Warden, 3 Others Are Suspended
Four administrators with the Jackson County Correctional Institute, including warden Joe Dalton, have been put on administrative suspension by the Jackson County Board of Commissioners.
The action comes after county officials uncovered what they said was evidence that one prison employee had turned in falsified payroll time cards.

Hoschton's fall festival ahead this weekend
Hoschton's annual fall festival will be held on Friday through Sunday, September 22, 23 and 24, on the city square. The event will begin Friday when booths open at 8 a.m.


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The Madison County Journal
Danielsville, Georgia
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HAPPY REUNION

Little Emerald Prather is held by her mother, Pam, Monday as the baby's aunt Laura Jennings-Hudson looks on with paramedics Tammy Bird (L) and Michelle Cleveland (back). Bird and Cleveland removed a bottle top from Emerald's windpipe Aug. 16.

Emergency workers rescue choking infant
Little Emerald Eveion Prather loves marshmallows.
And when the 9-month-old baby saw her sister's white soft drink bottle top lying on a nightstand around 8 p.m. Aug. 16, she put it in her mouth, perhaps expecting the familiar soft, sweet treat.
Instead, the bottle top moved down her windpipe and began to choke her.
Her sister, Diamond, 5, who had been watching cartoons with her sister, saw Emerald struggling to breathe and rushed the infant to their grandmother, Alma, who tried unsuccessfully to dislodge the cap. Their mother, Pam, was at work. But their aunt, Laura Jennings-Hudson, was in another room checking her email at her parents' Thomas Heights home off Hwy. 29 in Madison County. And she too tried to remove the bottle top with no luck.
The situation was becoming grave.
Alma and Diamond called for the children's grandfather, Robert, who was outside working on his car. He ran inside and grabbed the baby, but failed to remove the object.
"Call 911!" he cried to Alma.
Dispatcher Donna Maisonet answered the call and tried to calm down the frantic grandmother - no easy task when a baby's life is threatened.
"You have to focus on the job and on the caller," said Maisonet. "You have to get them to help you, so you can get help for them."
Maisonet assured Mrs. Jennings that help was on the way and paged an ambulance from the county's Emergency Medical Services (EMS). Paramedics Michelle Cleveland and Tammy Bird got the call. Bird's shift was nearly over and she was getting ready to leave, but the call of a baby swallowing a bottle top put thoughts of home on hold.
As the ambulance raced to the Jennings house, Robert Jennings decided his granddaughter couldn't wait on help.
So he and his daughter, Laura, got in the car with Emerald and headed to Hwy. 29. With his granddaughter's feet and hands turning blue, Mr. Jennings stopped the car and began flagging down traffic, hoping a doctor or nurse would come to the rescue.
A crowd of "about 25 to 30" people stopped to offer assistance.
Cleveland and Bird said an unknown person stopped to help and held the baby upside-down with her mouth open, holding the cap off the back of Emerald's throat and allowing some air in.
"I really wish we knew who that was so we could thank them," said Bird, noting that the stranger's action helped keep the baby alive.
Bird and Cleveland stopped on Thomas Road just off Hwy. 29 where a crowd had gathered around Emerald, who clearly was in bad shape.
"Her pulse rate was down to 60," said Cleveland, adding that normal is about 150.
Bird added that the baby was fatigued and "pretty limp" when they got there.
The two could see the bottle cap in the back of the baby's throat, but they couldn't reach it with their hands.
So Cleveland held Emerald's chin down as Bird reached in with forceps and pulled out the cap. Bird said that as soon as the bottle top was removed, the baby drew in a big gasp of air.
Still, the rough edges of the cap had cut up the child's airway, so the paramedics had to suction out a large amount of blood and sputum.
"Her pulse came back up immediately," said Cleveland.
And the baby's condition steadily improved as the ambulance rushed to St. Mary's Hospital, where her mother is an intern.
Two days later, little Emerald was home again.
Paramedics often see life at its most tragic, arriving on scenes where there's little to smile about. All involved said it's exciting to be involved in one of the rare good calls.
"She had an angel watching out for her," said Maisonet. "It's a miracle."
"I'm thankful for those that turn out good," said Cleveland,"It really makes you know there's someone looking out for you."
Bird added: "It's wonderful. I've never had an experience like that. We were all hugging and crying."
On Monday, there were more hugs and tears as Cleveland and Bird - along with EMS director Dwayne Patton - had a happy reunion with Emerald's family, exchanging their memories of the event.
The paramedics took turns holding Emerald, who grabbed at everything that caught her eye - Bird's glasses, Patton's badge, a reporter's camera.
"She gets into everything," her mom said, smiling.
Cleveland presented Pam a bottle top with a plastic emerald pasted on it, explaining that the cap that Emerald swallowed was a horrible, bloody sight when it was removed. She said she wanted to replace that image with something positive. And she made bottle tops for herself, Bird and Maisonet, so all could remember how a life was saved.
"It's something we'll never forget," Cleveland said. "She (Emerald) will always be with us."
Emerald Prather may love the taste of marshmallows, but thanks to county emergency workers she'll taste something sweeter Dec. 10 - her first birthday cake.


52nd Madison Co. Fair opens Tuesday
The 52nd annual Madison County Agricultural Fair is set for Tuesday through Saturday, Sept. 26-30, at the Comer fairgrounds.
The event is sponsored by the Comer Lions Club, which is dedicated to supporting the visually and hearing impaired.
The fair will be open from 6 to 11 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and from 12 to 4 p.m. Saturday. The fairgrounds will be closed from 4 to 6 p.m. Saturday.
Some of the highlights of the fair include: nightly prizes, with drawings held at 10 p.m. (you must be present to win); entertainment; amusement park rides; concession stands; exhibits and crafts; and cattle shows.
Entertainment show times are 7:30 and 9:30 p.m. each night. The master of ceremonies this year will be Rosco Puchannon and the sound man will be Tim Pritchett.
Tuesday is gospel night, with the Lewis Family and "Little Roy" returning for a performance again this year. Dennis Troy will provide entertainment Wednesday night, and a herd person competition will be held. Forgiven and the Songsters will perform Thursday, and Mike Dekel and the Tony Pritchett Band are slated for Friday night. Saturday is karaoke night and Barry Sartain and the Polynesian Review will also entertain with Hawaiian songs and hula dancers.
An FFA and 4-H cattle herdsman show will be held at 6 p.m. Wednesday and a cow judging competition will be at 6 p.m Thursday. A cattle show for adults will be at 1 p.m. Saturday. A junior cattle show is planned for noon to 4 p.m. Saturday and a rabbit show will be held at the same time.
Prizes to be given away at 10 p.m. each night include: Tuesday, a freezer and washer and dryer; Wednesday, a patio set with a grill and patio swing; Thursday, an Ingles gift card and an 18 cubic foot refrigerator; Friday, $200 for gasoline and a set of tires; Saturday at 3:45 p.m., a scooter with a helmet and a boom box; and Saturday at 10 p.m., a big screen TV and a recliner.
Admission is $4 and donated eyeglasses will be accepted at the gate for a reduced entry fee. Children 5 and under are admitted free at all times and those 15 and under will get in free from 12 to 4 p.m. Saturday. Rides cost $8 between 6 and 11 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday evenings and $6 for all ages between 12 and 4 p.m. Saturday.
For more information on any of the fair's special events, call the following: FFA/4-H cattle shows and rabbit show, Jerry Taylor, 795-2110; junior cattle show, Angie McGinnis, 795-2747 evenings; community exhibits, Nancy Bridges, 795-2281; commercial exhibits, Roger Tench, 783-5155, or Tim McCannon, 783-2242 or 783-5511. Community exhibits and community booths may be entered or set up prior to the fair between 2 and 4 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 24. Judging will be Monday, Sept. 25.


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BOE discusses search for superintendent
County school board members spoke Tuesday about finding a replacement for Dr. Dennis Moore, who recently resigned as superintendent of Madison County schools.
Interim superintendent Allen McCannon has requested quick action so that the new superintendent can have a voice in future budget and personnel decisions. The board agreed that chairman Jimmy Patton should contact various agencies such as the School Board Association or the Association of Superintendents of Schools to determine the cost of having them conduct a search. The board could chose to conduct its own search. Chairman Patton said that even if the search were started now, it would be at least February before a new superintendent could be hired.


Education top issue of local legislative races
If races for local Georgia General Assembly seats are wars, education seems to be the clearest battleground.
While candidates for the State Senate District 47 seat and State House District 24 post agreed that Georgia must make changes to pull its kids out of the cellar in rankings of students nationwide, they offer differing views on how to do this.
State senate candidates Eddie Madden, the incumbent Democrat, and Republican challenger Mike Beatty spoke at a Tuesday night political forum at the Madison County courthouse, along with state house hopefuls Ralph Hudgens, the incumbent Republican, and Douglas McKillip, a Democrat.
A number of topics were addressed, such as abortion, managing growth, taxes, hate crime legislation, health care, the state flag and support for farmers.
But the dominant issue of the night was education - specifically HB 1187, the controversial reform measure recently pushed through the state legislature by Governor Roy Barnes.
Madden told the half-full courtroom that the state must have an educational system "that's accountable." He said he supported the Governor's legislation, emphasizing that HB 1187 was a "beginning and not an ultimate end" and adding that legislators must "continue to tweak" the bill.
He stressed the importance of teaching children to read by third grade, as well as preparing students for the work force and reducing dropout rates.
Beatty, a former teacher, denounced Barnes' educational reform measures, saying that Madden has helped the Governor create a "tremendous amount of bureaucracy."
He said HB 1187 "demoralized teachers" and didn't deal with discipline issues. Beatty added that legislators must end social promotions and address educational issues in a way that empowers local officials.
For the rest of this story, see this week's Madison County Journal.