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Dale Earnhardt was a true Southerner
The South has lost another hero. Dale Earnhardt embodied within
his life all the best characteristics of a traditional Southerner.
'More access' a good move
Making the county government complex more accessible to the public
was a good move by county commissioners, if for no other reason
than this: A taxpayer-funded building should be open to the taxpayers.
Madison Co. falls in region championship, looks to rebound
at state tourney
Regardless of a trip to state, it was a night of heartbreak and
Kleenexes Saturday for the Lady Raiders.
Banks to receive $1.7 million in state funds for school
Banks County will receive $770,313 in state funds to go toward
the construction of new classrooms.
Baldwin not a speed trap
An inspection conducted by the Georgia State Patrol found that
the Baldwin Police Department is not setting speed traps within
city limits on Highway 365.
Jefferson, Jackson school leaders upset over state
Jefferson and Jackson County school systems leaders expressed
outrage this week over state funding formulas that they said
shortchange local school construction efforts.
Authority to ask county to manage airport
The Jackson County Airport Authority plans to ask the board of
commissioners to take over the day-to-day operations of the Jackson
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TIME FOR THE BIG DANCE
The Madison County girls' basketball team will open the
state tournament at Jackson County Comprehensive High School
Saturday night at 7 p.m. against Haralson County. The Lady Raiders
lost 33-31 in the Region 8-AAA finals to Franklin County Saturday
night. Several Lady Raiders are pictured cheering during the
team's win over Loganville in the region tournament last week.
Pictured (L-R) are Brooke Kesler, Brittney Escoe, Ashley Collins,
Valerie Norman, Stacie Beard, Heather Jones and Sheena Mason.
Flag fight not
over in Madison Co.
Many Madison Countians were angered by the state legislature's
approval of a new Georgia flag. And some county residents are
vowing to continue the fight to keep the 1956 flag.
Carlton resident Dennis Bellew has scheduled a rally for March
3 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. outside the old county courthouse in
His aim is to draw people together to show their outrage over
the way the flag issue was handled by Governor Roy Barnes and
other state leaders.
"We want to send a message that we're not going to take
this laying down," said Bellew. "We feel we've been
wronged by the way the Governor changed the flag. We're not going
to accept that yellow streak of Georgia (the new flag)."
He said the new flag is a slap in the face to his ancestors.
"I got about 60 ancestors who fought in the Civil War,"
said Bellew. "It's a disgrace what the governor has done
to us and their memory....We'll remember the governor and all
the turncoats who helped him in the next election."
Bellew said the featured speaker will be Stanley Lott, a "black
Confederate" from South Carolina. Also scheduled to speak
are local radio announcer John Breffle and R.W. Moore of the
"Take Back Georgia" organization and the "Truth"
Bellew said he is also asking state representative Ralph Hudgens
and state senator Mike Beatty to attend the rally. Both Hudgens
and Beatty opposed the flag change. He is also asking Tim Reynolds,
former commander of the state Sons of Confederate Veterans, to
Local SCV members and Civil War re-enactors will attend the rally.
Bellew said the event will begin with speeches, followed by the
placing of flags on the Confederate graves in the old Danielsville
cemetery. This will include a 21-gun salute.
Bellew said he is hoping 500 to 1,000 people will attend the
Others in Madison County share Bellew's disgust. On Monday, the
Madison County Sons of Confederate Veterans Camp #1526 passed
a resolution denouncing the new flag and saying that the group
will continue to recognize the 1956 flag as the true state banner.
"The governor and legislature of the state acted to change
the Georgia flag without giving the people of the state any voice
in the decision," wrote SCV adjutant Frank Gillispie, who
authored the resolution. "The (SCV) considers the action...unconstitutional
and invalid....The Madison County (SCV) will continue to recognize
the 1956 Georgia flag as the legitimate Georgia flag."
NASCAR legend's death
hits home for many Madison Co. residents
Plenty of Dale Earnhardt racing memorabilia, posters and photos
have decorated the wall of Zeb's Place north of Danielsville
And now, following the tragic death of the racing legend, there's
a real feeling of sadness for the Osley family, which owns the
"We are just so shocked, we loved Dale," Pam Osley
said after learning of the racer's death on Sunday during the
Osley's mom Janet Crowe agrees.
"It was such a sad thing," she said.
And it's more than being racing fans of the long-time NASCAR
legend that's affecting them; there's a family connection as
Earnhardt, a native of Kannapolis, N.C., was married briefly
to a cousin there and the two had a son, Kerry Dale Earnhardt,
now 31, who is also involved in car racing.
The elder Earnhardt even paid a visit to Zeb's during his early
Osley said some of the family were watching the Daytona 500 on
television on Sunday, when they got a call from another cousin
in North Carolina around 5:30 p.m. informing them that the crash
they had seen just shortly before had resulted in Earnhardt's
Family members drove up to Kannapolis on Monday to be with their
cousin Kerry for support while funeral and other arrangements
were being taken care of.
They have been amazed at how many phone calls they have received
and how many customers have stopped to speak about their personal
grief over his loss.
A COMMUNITY GRIEF
Local mechanic Mike Dudley was busy at his garage on Tuesday,
but it's clear thoughts of the tragedy aren't far from his mind.
Besides being a long-time fan, he and some friends were in attendance
on Sunday - his first Daytona 500.
"It feels like a family member has died," he said.
"I just couldn't believe it."
He said they waited for about an hour after the race was over
before leaving the track, but didn't hear that Earnhardt had
been killed until someone told them when they got outside. The
fact was confirmed when he turned on his car radio.
"It was a sad way to end it (the day's excitement),"
he said. "It's hard to believe, when you watch somebody
on TV every Sunday and see their interviews, you feel like you
know them. I expect a lot of folks feel that way."
Danielsville resident Darlene Boldin says she and her husband
also felt the loss of the racing legend personally.
She was watching the race Sunday and said she felt immediately
that something was seriously wrong.
"I thought it was strange that there was no information,
no comment on his condition. I saw Dale Jr. running toward his
dad's car," Boldin remembered.
"I was raised around racing since the day I was born,"
Boldin said. "My Dad and uncles drag raced in South Carolina."
"My husband had only one idol - and that was Dale,"
She met Earnhardt at the Atlanta Dragway about 10 years ago where
he autographed a Ford T-shirt for her.
"Everybody got a kick out of that because he was a Chevy
man," she said.
Boldin reflected tearfully on Earnhardt's death: "I feel
like a piece of me went with him. At least he died doing what
Boldin said she can't help but wonder about how the sport of
racing will change because of Earnhardt's passing.
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$900,000 over budget
Madison County's school system overspent last year's budget by
just under $900,000, according to audit figures released by acting
superintendent Allen McCannon Tuesday night.
McCannon told the board of education that the system's budget
was overspent by $888,975 in the last fiscal year. McCannon said
later that only a few budget amendments were requested and most
of the spending was without the approval of the school board.
The over-budget spending forced the board to borrow operating
funds to begin the current school year. The board authorized
three loans, to be repaid from local property taxes. McCannon
reported that the first loan of $895,000 plus interest of $12,777
has been repaid. The second loan of $500,000 should be paid soon.
A third loan was never used.
Local taxes are finally flowing into the system, McCannon reported.
For the rest of this story, see this week's Madison County
Two remain in the hunt for the superintendent's job in Madison
County - Keith Arthur Cowne, principal of Jackson High School;
and Carson Michael (Mike) Stanton, principal of Dalton High School.
The Madison County Board of Education, which narrowed the field
to Cowne and Stanton Monday, expects to name a superintendent
by March 10, according to board chairman Robert Haggard.
Neither candidate has experience as a superintendent, but Haggard
said he feels that both are qualified to lead the Madison County
"What they lack in superintendent's experience they make
up in enthusiasm and effort," said Haggard. "Both have
really good people skills and both are really enthusiastic about
educating kids. Both are just solid people with good character,
morals and honesty. Those things came through strongly in the
interviews. There didn't seem to be any pretense to either of
Haggard said that the candidates "have a lot of knowledge
of how the school system should be run" and the two job
hopefuls are "well aware of our situation financially and
The chairman said the board will now begin salary negotiations
with the two candidates. He said both candidates have expressed
an interest in finishing the school year in their current jobs,
but added that whoever is chosen will be involved in drafting
next year's budget, perhaps working on nights and weekends.