News from Madison County...

January 31, 2001


Madison County
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Madison County H.S.
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OPINIONS
Frank Gillispie
Sticking to the budget process is crucial

Someone has to have the authority and responsibility to oversee the collection and spending of all public funds.

Margie Richards
A typical January

Things are progressing in typical fashion at the Richards house this January.


SPORTS
Raiders breeze by Blue Devils

Madison County has had its shooting woes this year. But Friday, the Raiders put on a shooting show, burying shot after shot in a 78-63 win over Elbert County at home.


Neighborhood News...
BANKS COUNTY
Close encounters of the bear kind
When Cynthia Stevens found the large tracks in the horse paddock on her 50-acre Banks County farm a few weeks ago, she assumed they were from a large dog.

Baldwin moves forward on plant expansion
The Baldwin City Council voted unanimously Thursday night to begin construction on the expansion and upgrading of its waste water treatment plant.


News from...
JACKSON COUNTY
Bell, Beatty vote against flag change
Georgia has a new flag, but not everyone is happy about it.

Randall gets $1,500 fine in girl's death
An Arcade man charged in connection with the October 1999 hit-and-run accident which killed a young girl was sentenced Tuesday in Jackson County Superior Court to 24 months of probation and given a $1,500 fine.


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'TEACHER OF THE YEAR'


Dr. Elmer Clark, who teaches French and world history at Madison County High School, is Madison County's "Teacher of the Year."

'Teacher of the Year' named
Dr. Elmer Clark's enthusiasm is contagious.
And he uses this enthusiasm in his world history and French classes at Madison County High School to inspire his students to enjoy learning something about the world they live in, as well as about the need to give something back to that world.
Educating children successfully comes down to one basic thing above all else, Clark says - giving them a sense of community.
"It's what I call civic humanism," Clark said.
He was deeply honored to be chosen as MCHS's Teacher of the Year for the second time in his six- year stint there, and elated to find out recently that he was chosen as the systemwide teacher of the year.
GOALS OF EDUCATION
"The primary goal of education is not, in my opinion, to train youth for the workforce, but to make them an educated citizen of a democracy so they can make wise choices for their community," Clark said.
"It's a community thing - this education," he said, adding that young people must be taught by family and educators who they are and how they can serve the society they live in.
"They need to be taught to make their community an extension of their family," he said. "It's an old idea and one we need to come back to."
He begins by making his classroom a "community" - inspiring his students to earn his respect through class participation and cooperation.
He also teaches by example. He serves as Student Council sponsor. He coached wrestling for three years and performs other community services. He often stands in the halls to greet students and fellow teachers and ask about their day.
"My tenth grade history teacher Dr. Elmer Clark, is a teacher who cares not only about the education of his students, but the well-being of them," former student Bonnie Simmons said. "He is one who counsels his students in hard times and laughs with them in the good times....If it wasn't for Dr. Clark and his willingness not only as a teacher, but as a friend, I would have turned out very differently and high school wouldn't have been the same."
For the rest of this story, see this week's Madison County Journal.




Recreation dept expansion in works
Some major additions may be in the works at the Madison County Recreation Department in coming years, such as a multi-purpose building and more land for recreation activities.
The Madison County Board of Commissioners met with the new county recreation board Monday to discuss the future of the department.
BOC chairman Wesley Nash shared his visions of recreation improvements and the commissioners asked the recreation board to establish its goals for the department.
Nash said he would like the county to seek a $500,000 grant to establish a multi-purpose building to be located at Sammy Haggard Park - the county's main recreation facility on Hwy. 98. This grant would be matched with $500,000 in county funds.
The chairman said the county has some special purpose local option sales tax (SPLOST) money that could go toward the project, though he didn't specify a dollar figure.
Nash said the building could be used for athletic purposes, but he said it should serve as more than just a gym.
"I'd like to see us go to an after-school facility," said Nash.
He said a lot of county kids go home alone while their parents work and the multi-purpose building could give them a place to go.
"We got to do something that's going to reach these kids," he said.
Nash also said one of his main objectives is to "centralize" recreation activities.
Nash said that most families include more than one child. And he added that many county families face difficulties when one child is playing ball at Mize or Diamond Hill park, while another plays at the main park. He said he would like Mize and Diamond Hill Parks to serve those old enough to transport themselves to activities.
"My goal is to get all the kids back into the central park," he said.
Nash also discussed the possibility of expanding the recreation park with land purchases, particularly if a grant for a multi-purpose building isn't successful. He spoke of walking trails, a lake and more soccer fields for the main park.
"Soccer is a big deal," said Nash. "It's the coming sport."
The chairman also said the county must do something about the "atrocious" parking situation at the main park. He said that despite recent parking expansions, there aren't enough parking spaces at the complex during large events.
Nash also said he expects the Department of Transportation to widen Hwy. 98 and improve the traffic flow around the recreation department. To widen the road, the historical Strickland House, the current home of the Chamber of Commerce, might be moved to the other side of the road. Nash said the house's porch sits on the DOT's right of way on Hwy. 98.
He also said that once Fine Finish moves into its new facility on Hwy. 98, the county road department will be moved to the old Fine Finish building, leaving the vacated road crew space for the recreation department.
Nash took a moment to address concerns that county leaders are putting too much money toward the recreation department.
He said that the recreation department is a way to keep kids out of trouble. And he compared the price of keeping a man in prison to the cost of recreation improvements, pointing out that the county pays $36,000 per year to house one inmate.
"People say, 'You mean to tell me you're putting $100,000 per year on the recreation department?' and I say, 'You know, all we have to do is reach three kids (to save money on the investment)," said Nash.
Commissioner Bill Taylor echoed Nash's sentiment.
"I'm willing to put money into our children to keep them out of drugs and alcohol," said Taylor.



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DOT may widen portion of Hwy. 98
The Georgia Department of Transportation is looking at widening Hwy. 98 from the senior center to the forestry department to help improve traffic flow in the growing area.
But no contracts have been signed and no time frame has been set on the proposal.
Teri Pope, local spokesperson for the DOT, said the DOT would like to add a center turn lane and deceleration lanes in the short stretch between the senior center and forestry department.
However, two graves are located near the roadway along that stretch.
"Disturbing a grave is something we never like to do," she said.
Also, the location of the historic Strickland House, the home of the Madison County Chamber of Commerce, is a concern. The house may need to be moved to make way for the project. Pope said the DOT is now trying to determine if it meets federal guidelines for a historic structure.
"We cannot disturb historic assets," she said.
Pope said that the DOT is trying to determine a course of action, but she did not have an estimate on when a solution may be reached.
She added: "It's a priority for the county and for us."
In a related matter, state officials have yet to reach a decision on whether a proposed Danielsville bypass will be constructed east or west of the city.
Pope said that determining a route around Danielsville has taken more time than expected, noting that the DOT had hoped to have a route determined by the end of 2000.
She did not have an estimate on when a decision will be reached.
"We're still doing environmental studies," said Pope.
Pope said the decision has been delayed because the DOT has found "numerous historical assets" on the proposed routes.
The DOT plans to have the bypass completed by 2006.