News from Madison County...

December 27, 2000


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OPINIONS
Frank Gillispie
Time to take a serious look at the future
As the new century dawns, it is time for all citizens of Madison County to take a serious look at our future.

Zach Mitcham
The tormenting brother

Over the Christmas holidays a lot of families surely ask the same question: What is it that makes brothers such tormentors?


SPORTS
Lady Raiders win Christmas tournament

The warm-up was nice, but now the real obstacle course begins for the Lady Raiders. After closing out the first half of the 2000-2001 basketball season by winning the Athens Academy Christmas Tournament this past week, girls' head coach Tim Cook said the real challenge now lies ahead for his squad with the start of region play.


Neighborhood News...
BANKS COUNTY
BOC allows saddle club to host rodeo
The Banks County Board of Commissioners unanimously approved the Banks Crossing Saddle Club's request to host a rodeo at the county's horse arena off Jolly
Street. ...

Ambulance billing proposals under BOC review
The Banks County Board of Commissioners is considering three proposals from companies wishing to provide ambulance billing services to the county. ...


News from...
JACKSON COUNTY
Candidate Calls Nicholson 'Town Hall' Meeting
A former candidate who got two votes when he ran for mayor in November has called a "public town hall meeting" for next Wednesday evening to discuss zoning.

County Gets $800,000 To Rebuild Covered Bridge
The Jackson County Board of Commissioners approved a resolution to contract with the state and federal departments of transportation for over $800,000 in grant money to help replace the covered bridge over the North Oconee River at Hurricane Shoals.


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TEACHING BY EXAMPLE


Priscilla Harrison (L) and Susan Risler share a common bond besides their love of teaching children. Risler gave one of her kidneys to Harrison, the victim of a genetic kidney disease, earlier this year.



Holiday season special for organ donor, recipient
Both Priscilla Harrison and Susan Risler say their lives are particularly blessed this holiday season by the bond they share.
Priscilla, because she received the life-saving gift of a kidney transplant earlier this year, and Susan, because she gave that kidney so that her friend and colleague might live.
Both long-time Madison County teachers, the pair became acquainted when they taught across the hall from one another at Colbert Elementary School.
Priscilla, who had been suffering the symptoms of a genetic disorder known as polycystic kidney disease since 1990, was placed on a national waiting list for an organ transplant when she was forced to begin undergoing peritoneal dialysis in 1998.
Because the disease is genetic, none of her siblings were able to donate a kidney and no other match was found within her family. In addition, four siblings also have the disease and an older brother is currently on dialysis.
As Priscilla's condition worsened, Susan said she found herself thinking about her friend a lot.
And when she found out her blood type, B positive, was a match, Susan began to ask questions about what someone needed to do in order to become a living donor.
She remembers staying up late one night, an unusual thing on a school night, and catching a story on the 11 o'clock news about a fireman donating a kidney to a fellow fireman.
"I remember thinking there must be a reason I'm up to watch this," Susan said. "And I thought - this is something I can do."
After approaching Priscilla's doctors, Susan was told she needed to discuss the matter with Priscilla to see how she felt about the idea.
She broached the subject to Priscilla while they were taking a break together at school one day.
"I couldn't believe it. I was shocked," Priscilla said of the moment Susan told her she was being tested as a possible donor. "When I think of Susan, I'm in awe."
"I remember she said, 'Are you sure there's anything besides a heart in there?'" Susan said, her voice breaking with emotion. "I said, 'Yes, I have two kidneys - and I can live with only one.'"
But as Susan continued the testing process, Priscilla's condition continued to deteriorate.
Two days before Thanksgiving in 1999, she became gravely ill with peritonitis from the dialysis and was hospitalized in intensive care.
"I don't remember much about it at all," Priscilla said of the experience, "I only know some thought I might not make it."
But she did, and was able to return home before Christmas. To celebrate her recovery, she married her fiancé of two years, Larry Harrison, on Dec. 26.
But her physical condition continued to deteriorate and she was forced to undergo hemo-dialysis every other day, which required many hours at a facility in Athens. This process left her physically drained.
"I would have loved to give her the kidney last Christmas, but she was too ill," Susan said.
As time began running out for Priscilla, Susan got the green light as an organ donor.
She said that usually the entire process - from all the testing to the actual transplant surgery - is done at the convenience of the donor and his or her family, but because Priscilla's situation was becoming so grave, surgery was scheduled in Augusta at the Medical College of Georgia as soon as Priscilla was strong enough to undergo it.
The date was set for Feb. 23, 2000. Priscilla had been unable to teach since her bout with peritonitis and Susan arranged leave time from her classes.
For the rest of this story, see this week's Madison County Journal.




Is growth good?
Do Madison County residents want to attract business growth into the county?
"That's the big question," Chris Olmer, a planner with the Regional Develop-ment Commission, told the small group of citizens gathered recently for the fourth in a series of meetings with the RDC to update the county's Comprehensive Land Use Plan.
"There doesn't seem to be a consensus on whether this is wanted or not," he said, adding that it appeared that half the people speaking out on the issue don't want industrial (or any) growth in the county and half the people do want business growth to help with the tax burden.
Local developer Morris Bullock told the group that 21 new subdivisions have come into the area between Hull and Colbert the last two years.
"That's where the population base is and that's where the growth will be," Bullock said. "We can't control that."
John Scoggins, Industrial Authority chairman, said there are 144 subdivisions in the county and 29 trailer parks.
According to the RDC, residential development is very costly because of the associated community facilities and services each new homeowner brings into the county. To offset this, it seems county residents must look to some type of retail sales and light industrial growth to produce tax revenue.
In other discussion, those present agreed that:
·Citizens should first determine the type of growth wanted in the county and then promote it (i.e., residential, industry, retail, tourism).
·Different types of development should be promoted.
·There is a need to develop a model to maintain the tax digest based on the costs of different types of development.
·Future land use must take into consideration the cross routes for major highway corridors (such as land between Hwy. 72 and Hwy. 29 at Hull, and land between Hwy. 29 at Hull and Hwy. 106 and connecting roads.)
·Population densities should be determined in order to plan where public utilities are needed.
·A third meeting will be held on Jan. 18 at the county complex to discuss a draft of the goal and policies developed in the past two meetings.



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Conflict over legal expenses remains
A conflict over payment of legal fees continued last week as former county commissioner Ken Clark submitted a written request to be on Thursday's BOC meeting agenda to discuss legal expenses. But that request was denied by BOC chairman Wesley Nash.
At issue is a Nov. 27 vote by the BOC not to allow payment of attorney's fees for commissioners fighting recall efforts. These bills included a $4,568 bill for Patsy Pierce and a $2,684 bill for Clark.
Pierce was not at that meeting and in her absence, chairman Nash cast the deciding vote to deny payment of those expenses, as well as any other future funding of commissioners' recall defense.
Following that vote, Pierce and commissioner Melvin Drake submitted written requests to be on the Dec. 11 agenda to discuss the issue, but their requests were turned down.
Chairman Nash responded to the two commissioners with a letter explaining his denial. And he also answered Clark's request with a letter.
"Please be advised that I have instructed County Clerk Morris Fortson to not include your agenda request concerning 'payment of any and/or all unpaid legal fees which pertain to the Madison County Board of Commissioners,'" Nash wrote to Clark. "The issue of unpaid recall legal fees was settled at our meeting Nov. 27 when a motion was approved 'that we deny the payment of these expenses and that we deny any further submission for payment of any recall expenses.' There are no other unpaid legal fees that pertain to the Madison County Board of Commissioners."
Clark maintains that the bills in question are not related to the recall efforts, but to litigation filed by Jerry Mattox against Clark, Jack Fortson and Patsy Pierce. Mattox filed suit against the three in 1999, attempting to force the former county officials to reimburse the county for approximately $51,000 in legal fees.