News from Madison County...

February 21, 2001


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OPINIONS
Frank Gillispie
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.

Zach Mitcham
'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.


SPORTS
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.


Neighborhood News...
BANKS COUNTY
Banks to receive $1.7 million in state funds for school system
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.



News from...
JACKSON COUNTY
Jefferson, Jackson school leaders upset over state construction formula
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 County Airport.


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The Madison County Journal
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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 downtown Danielsville.
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" newspaper.
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 speak.
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 rally.
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 for years.
And now, following the tragic death of the racing legend, there's a real feeling of sadness for the Osley family, which owns the restaurant.
"We are just so shocked, we loved Dale," Pam Osley said after learning of the racer's death on Sunday during the Daytona 500.
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 well.
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 racing days.
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 death.
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 added.
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 he loved."
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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County schools $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 Journal.


Field narrowed to two
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 school system.
"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 them."
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 personnel-wise."
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.