News from Madison County...

 September 27, 2000


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OPINIONS

Frank Gillispie
Absurd federal bureaucracy strikes again

Another example of our absurd federal bureaucracy
The big headline this week is: "Georgia to lose millions in federal funds." Why is our state . . .

Margie Richards
Worthy of remembrance
There've been a lot of birthday parties to go to recently.
There was my great-nephew Brody's first birthday party and his dad, who is approaching that portal to . . .


SPORTS

SEE THIS WEEK'S PIGSKIN PICKERS!

Raiders now 6-0
The Madison County Red Raiders remained unbeaten on the season with a 20-7 win on the road at Warren County Friday.
With the win the Raiders clinched their fourth winning season in school history and became the first Madison County team to start 6-0.


Neighborhood News...
BANKS COUNTY
Dalton to serve as head of EMS and fire departments
The Banks County Board of Commissioners has named fire chief Perry Dalton to also serve as the head of the emergency management services department.

Traffic up in Baldwin, police chief says
More motorists are traveling through Baldwin than in the past.
Baldwin police chief Frank Andrews presented the city council at Monday's meeting with statistics about the increase in traffic going through the city.


News from...
JACKSON COUNTY
JCCI warden, three officers fired by BOC
Jackson County Correctional Institute warden Joe Dalton and three administrators at the facility have been fired by the Jackson County Board of Commissioners over allegations of time cards being falsified.

Natural Gas Prices High As Heating Season Nears
So you think gasoline prices have gone up over last year? That's nothing. Natural gas prices have doubled, and that could result in some very high winter utility bills.


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FUN AT THE FAIR!

Jenna Chitwood, 3, of Ila, was all smiles during a kiddie ride during the first night of the 52nd annual Madison County Fair. The fair, held at Comer Lions Club fairgrounds in Comer, will run nightly through this Saturday, Sept. 30. Gates open at 6 p.m. with a special Saturday matinee from noon - 4 p.m.


Bond set for Fortson
Tracy Lea Fortson, the former deputy accused of killing her ex-boyfriend, Doug Benton of Colbert, and encasing him in cement, could be set free on bond - though she remained in jail as of Tuesday.
Northern Judicial Circuit Judge Thomas Hodges set bond Friday at $500,000 for Fortson, who will go before a Madison County grand jury Oct. 16. Even if she is indicted, she could still post bond.
Georgia law allows bond to be set in cases where no indictment has been made within 90 days of an arrest. Fortson was charged with the murder in June.
Madison County only holds grand jury twice a year. And District Attorney Bob Lavender said he didn't feel a special grand jury should be called just for Fortson.
"We try not to have a special grand jury for just one case," said Lavender, adding that such action would cost the county a "couple of thousand" dollars.
Authorities allege that Fortson shot and stabbed Benton to death, leaving his body encased in cement in a watering trough in a wooded area in Oglethorpe County.
GAG ORDER ISSUED
On Monday, Hodges issued a "gag order," which restricts those involved in the proceedings from talking about the case.
A gag order is rare, usually issued only in high-profile cases. The Fortson case has drawn considerable media attention, including a recent story in a national tabloid magazine.
While the judge issued the order to keep those involved in the case from making prejudicial statements, he made it clear that certain information will still be released.
"The foregoing (gag order) shall not be construed to preclude any attorney or court officer from quoting or referring without comment to public records of the court in the case, from announcing the scheduling or result of any stage in the judicial process, or from announcing without further comment that the accused denies the charges..." Hodges wrote in his order.


Site of Hull backup well now in question
The site of the backup well drilled earlier this year for the Hull-Sanford Water System is now in question. County leaders may be forced to continue their search for a secondary well.
The system, which includes a water tower, drilled well, chemical feed house, backup well, and water lines for Hull-Sanford Elementary School and the new Ingles supermarket, was recently dedicated to the county by Madison County Industrial Development and Building Authority (MCIDBA) members.
County commissioners chairman Wesley Nash confirmed that there is a problem with the well's location.
"There's no telling where this is going to take us," he said of the situation.
The well, which was supposed to be drilled on land owned by Helen Fortson, who had agreed to donate the site to the county, apparently does not meet the 250-foot setback requirement from neighboring property which is required for public wells, according to Nash.
"It's closer than the 250 feet, or maybe so close as to split the well (with neighboring land)," Nash said.
He also said he doesn't know when the backup well site was surveyed.
"That information has not been supplied to me," Nash said.
Authority attorney Pat Graham said Tuesday that the well site is split between land owned by Fortson and neighbor Billy Chandler. He said he expects the authority will negotiate with Chandler on the purchase of the well site.
Graham said the well does not contain a pump or any pipe structure and has been drilled for backup purposes only.
It is not certain that the well even contains a usable water supply, according to Nash. The well apparently failed an earlier test by the Environmental Protection Division, but is scheduled to be tested again at a later date.
He added that the Authority also has the option of seeking another site for a backup water supply.


Forum to feature candidates for four Madison Co. posts
A political forum in the county courtroom at 7 p.m. Monday night will feature candidates for four Madison County posts.
Races highlighted in this forum will be the chairman of the board of commissioners, probate judge, clerk of court and coroner.
Candidates for the BOC chairman's post are incumbent Wesley Nash, a Republican; and Nelson Nash, a Democrat. Those seeking the probate judge's post are incumbent Donald "Hoppy" Royston, a Democrat; and Lynn Smith, a Republican. Those seeking the clerk of court position are incumbent Michelle Strickland, a Democrat; and Mike Sales, a Republican. Candidates for the coroner's position are Democrat Michelle Cleveland and Republican Phyllis Dickinson.
The third forum will be for candidates seeking district seats for the county commission and school board. It will be held Tuesday, Oct. 10, at 7 p.m. in the county courtroom.
Those participating in the forums will include: BOC District 1 - incumbent Democrat William "Bill" Taylor and Republican John Brueshaber; BOC District 2 - Republican Larry Stewart and Democrat Johnny Fitzpatrick; BOC District 3 - Republican Danny Andrews and Democrat Michael Youngblood; BOC District 5 - incumbent Republican Bruce Scogin and Democrat Edwin Baker; and BOE District 5 incumbent Democrat Jimmy O. Patton and Republican Richard Power.
The forums, sponsored by the Madison County Chamber of Commerce and Madison County Farm Bureau, include a three-minute opening statement by each candidate, written questions from the public that will be asked by the forum moderator and a one-minute closing statement by each candidate.


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Sorrells resigns as authority chairman
Madison County Industrial Development and Building Authority (MCIDBA) chairman Steve Sorrells resigned earlier this month and fellow board member John Scoggins was chosen as his replacement in a called meeting Tuesday morning.
Tom Joiner was chosen as vice chairman of the group.
In a brief letter to Board of Commissioners Chairman Wesley Nash, dated Sept. 6, Sorrells said, "Please accept this letter as my resignation from the (Industrial Authority). I would like to express my sincere appreciation to members of the Board of Commissioners, both past and present, who have allowed me to serve on the Authority."
No reason was given in the letter for his departure, but Sorrells said Monday morning that he was no longer "able to give the authority the attention that it really deserves."
"I'm pleased with what we have accomplished," Sorrells said of his five-year stint as chairman.
Acting chairman Paul Minish also resigned from his position on the board last week, citing increased business demands which left him little time to devote to the authority.
In other action, the Board of Commissioners approved the appointment of Kenny Beck, of Jackson Electric Membership Corporation, and Roger Tench, of Georgia Power, as new authority members. Beck was also chosen by the authority to serve as secretary treasurer.
BOC chairman and authority ex-officio member Wesley Nash, who recommended the two for the posts, asserted that both men are trained in industrial growth issues and "get paid to take an interest in this type of thing." He added that both had committed to attending all meetings and agreed to cut back on other civic activities to "move forward with the work of the board."
See this week's Madison County Journal for more information related stories.