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October 11, 2000

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Frank Gillispie
Traffic in front of new school still a problem

Several readers have called me about the intersection of Hwy. 106 and Sanford Road. This is the intersection adjacent to the new Hull-Sanford school. They, like me, are . . .

Zach Mitcham
A civic sermon
A warning: this is a civic sermon.
In years past I groaned whenever people spoke of the importance of voting. Face it, there is . . .



Softball team smashes its way to state
Could this be the year of the Raiders?
In years past Madison County has often stumbled against local heavyweights, missing out on opportunities for state tournament glory.

Neighborhood News...
Dry ice burns child on bus
A parent upset over an older student burning her son with dry ice while on a school bus put the Banks County Board of Education on the hot seat at Thursday night's work session.

Package store hit by armed robbers
Three armed robbers held up a Banks County business Monday night, taking cash and cigarettes.
Banks County Sheriff Charles Chapman said the three men went into County Line Package Store, located on Hwy. 59 on the Banks-Franklin County line, around 8 p.m. Monday with two deer rifles and a shotgun.

News from...
Tolbert threatens suit over Bell campaign sign
The hotly contested race for the District 25 House seat got another dose of gasoline last week after incumbent candidate Rep. Scott Tolbert threatened to sue a supporter of his opponent, Pat Bell, over a campaign sign.

Charter School Proposed For Area
Because school systems do not adequately prepare young people for jobs and careers, a new charter school is expected to open next year in northeast Georgia.
The Madison County Journal
Danielsville, Georgia
Telephone: (706) 367-5233
Fax: (706) 367-8056

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Madison County's Sheena Mason whizzes the ball to the plate during Area 8-AAA fast-pitch softball action Thursday. The Raiders captured the tournament without allowing a run. The team will travel to Rome this week with their eyes on a state final berth.

Fortson hearing set for Thursday
Tracy Lea Fortson's legal counsel is scheduled to appear in the Madison County courthouse at 3 p.m. Thursday in hopes of getting the accused murderer's bond lowered, District Attorney Bob Lavender confirmed Wednesday.
Fortson, who is accused of murdering her ex-boyfriend Doug Benton of Colbert and encasing him in cement, faces a $500,000 bond. She is scheduled to appear before a Madison County grand jury Monday, Oct. 16.
Fortson was originally denied bond in the case, but a legal loophole allowed bond to be set.
According to Georgia law, bond may be set when no indictment has been made within 90 days of an arrest.
Fortson, who was arrested in June, was awarded bond late last month.

BOC, BOE candidates tell why they deserve your vote
Candidates competing for the Board of Commission district seats and one Board of Education seat were given the opportunity to answer questions from county voters at Tuesday night's fourth and final political forum before the November elections one month away.
Republican and Democratic contenders for Districts 1, 2, 3 and 5 at the Board of Commission table and Board of Education District 5 opponents were on the agenda for this forum.
Those on hand included BOC District 1 Democratic incumbent Bill Taylor and challenger Republican John Brueshaber; District 2 Republican contender Larry Stewart and opponent Democrat Johnny Fitzpatrick; District 3 opponents Democrat Mike Youngblood and Republican Danny Andrews; District 5 Republican incumbent Bruce Scogin and challenger Edwin Marion Baker; and BOE District 5 Democratic incumbent Jimmy Patton.
Only one candidate, Ric Power, the Republican candidate running against Patton, was not present at the forum. Power informed the Chamber of Commerce, which sponsored the forum, along with the county Farm Bureau, that he had to work Tuesday night.
The bulk of the questions were addressed to BOC candidates and included a variety of issues.
Taylor said in his opening statement that he is proud of the fact that in the three years and nine months he has served as a commissioner, county taxes have not increased.
"We (the county) was in the red when this board came on and we're in the black today. I would like to continue serving you," Taylor said.
Brueshaber told the audience that he strongly supports county fire departments, the need for a third ambulance station in Ila and more money for the sheriff's department, including equipping patrol cars with radar.
Brueshaber said this was the better answer to recent requests by citizens to lower speed limits on some county roads.
"The board also needs to quit micro-managing county departments; let department heads manage their departments," he said.
He said he brings "out of the box" thinking, youth and enthusiasm to the table for this office
Fitzpatrick said he first became interested in running for a BOC post when he took a county leadership class.
"That really opened my eyes," he said. "I wanted to become involved (in county government)."
Stewart said his campaign for the District 2 post was about "trust, leadership, good common sense judgment and the wise efficient spending of tax dollars."
And paving as many of the county's dirt roads as possible is a top priority, he added.
"I intend to work as a team player with the new board," he said.
Andrews likened the county government to a business and not a "benevolent benefactor."
"We need to be good stewards of your money," he said.
His platform includes planning for future growth in District 3, which he says is the fastest-growing area of the county, attracting industry to offset taxes, working to increase the sheriff's resources - including more deputies, patrol cars and a canine unit - and the hiring of a paid professional fire chief to oversee the county's volunteer fire departments.
Youngblood said he is also concerned about the growth in the county, particularly in the Hull area, and feels the county needs to expand the water system there as well as developing a sewer system. He would like to see the BOC begin to address water for residential areas in the county as well and work to keep agricultural areas intact.
For a breakdown of the other districts and races, see this week's Madison County Journal.

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$25,000 contract approved for drug counseling program
A contract was approved Monday night for a drug and alcohol counseling program, but not without some tense moments.
The board of commissioners voted 4-1 to approve a contract for Rev. Jess Martin's proposed Northeast Georgia Alcohol/Drug Addiction Prevention Program and Aftercare Services (AADAPP).
The contract includes $25,000 in county funds to support the program.
Commissioners Nelson Nash, Patsy Pierce, Melvin Drake and Bruce Scogin voted to approve the contract, while District 1 commissioner Bill Taylor provided the lone vote against the measure.
Taylor said he had received a lot of phone calls from citizens concerned about taxpayer money being handled by a private AADAPP board.
Taylor said that before he approved the contract he wanted Martin to name the AADAPP board members who would be in charge of the funds.
Martin offered a couple of names but said that setting up the board would be done at a later time. He said he didn't think the commissioners should roadblock the project just because a board hasn't been finalized.
The county recently approved the old tax assessor's office on Crawford W. Long Street as a site for the program. Martin said Monday that AADAPP no longer plans to use the building. He stood at the podium after the board's vote and asked to speak more about his proposal.
But chairman Wesley Nash said Martin could not speak further on the matter, saying that he was following Robert's Rules of meeting protocol.
The board voted 3-2 to "suspend the rules" to allow Martin and others to speak on the matter. Commissioners Nelson Nash, Patsy Pierce and Melvin Drake voted for this measure, but chairman Nash said a vote to suspend the rules must be unanimous.
On Tuesday, Martin declined comment on the decision not to use the old tax assessor's building. He said he would meet with the press later to discuss the change of plans.
See this week's Madison County Journal for the rest of this story.