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Facts should be focus of Almond issue
Answers are few, but two things seem clear in the suspension
of Comer Elementary School principal Mac Almond.
North Georgia is growing fast
The National Aeronautical and Space Administration has published
a composite picture of earth made at night.
30-0 1981 season was the peak of a remarkable MCHS girls'
The old banner that hangs from the Madison County gym ceiling
is lifeless to those who don't know the stories behind the cloth.
New county flag leads to emotional debate
A new county flag resembling the former state flag will soon
fly over Banks County. The Banks County Board of Commissioners
began the process Tuesday night for approving a county flag.
SPLOST vote coming up Tuesday
Banks County voters will go to the polls on Tuesday to cast their
ballot on extending the special purpose local option sales tax
(SPLOST) for five more years.
Polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. for the special called
Zoning Central Issue In Nicholson
555 Can Vote To Fill Two Vacancies On Nicholson City Council
-- The question of whether Nicholson will have zoning or will
not have zoning will likely be settled next Tuesday when the
town holds a special election to fill two vacancies on its four-member
Rep. Bell opposed to landfill
Rep. Pat Bell said in a letter to the Jackson County Board of
Commissioners that she is opposed to a proposed landfill in North
The Madison County Journal
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Keith Cowne (seated) signed a contract Wednesday as the new
superintendent of Madison County schools. He is pictured with
school board members (L-R) Elaine Belfield, Ric Power, Jim Patton
and Robert Haggard.
Comer Elem. principal
suspended Large crowd shows support for
Almond, anger toward BOE for unspecified allegations.Comer Elementary
School principal Mac Almond has been suspended with pay for unspecified
According to interim superintendent Allen McCannon, "Georgia
law says the superintendent has the authority to suspend certified
staff for up to 10 days with pay."
McCannon said he could not comment on the cause of the suspension.
The interim superintendent said a termination hearing has been
"tentatively" set for March 28.
According to Georgia law, governing boards must meet in the open
when "receiving evidence or hearing argument on charges
filed to determine disciplinary action or dismissal of a public
officer or employee." However, the law stipulates that a
board may meet in private to talk about what action to take.
McCannon said that charges against Almond will not be announced
at the board's regularly scheduled meeting Tuesday, March 20,
as some have speculated, but at a hearing on the matter.
Almond did not return calls to his home Monday and Tuesday.
SHOW OF SUPPORT
Many at Comer Elementary School are confused and outraged over
Approximately 150 people attended a meeting, which was held off
school grounds at the Comer Lions Club building following a PTO
meeting at the school earlier that evening, to work out a plan
of support for Almond.
PTO president Beth Scott Brown opened the meeting, telling those
present of Almond's suspension "pending an investigation
on several items the school board brought up."
Brown said the BOE had so far responded to questions about the
suspension by saying they could not reveal the allegations yet.
"We are gathered as a community tonight in support of our
children," Ms. Brown said as to the primary reason for the
Many expressed their displeasure with the school board's handling
of the matter, saying they were more concerned with that than
Almond's guilt or innocence of any charges against him.
"Part of the reason this is happening is because enough
of us don't go to the BOE and BOC meetings - a lot of stuff happens
in a vacuum there....there's a lot of underlying stuff and a
lot us here probably have an inkling of something," Chip
Chandler, a former BOC member, said, adding that most were frustrated
because of a lack of information. "We need to be informed
about what board members are doing all the time."
Plans were made to "come out in force" to support Almond
at the March 20 meeting of the BOE at the Madison County High
School media center.
School board addresses and phone numbers were also passed out
and parents were urged to express their opinions.
The group also agreed to establish a "defense fund"
for Almond to assist him with possible legal costs and a petition
drive was circulated which read, "We the undersigned citizens,
taxpayers and voters of Madison County, Georgia, do oppose the
suspension and possible termination of Robert Mac Almond as principal
of Comer .
For the rest of this story, see this week's Madison County
3 arrested in carjacking incident
Two Athens men and a Colbert man have
been arrested for alleged involvement in a carjacking and kidnapping
incident in Madison County last week.
Allah Blakley, 20, of Athens, and Christopher Scott Andrews,
19, also of Athens, remain in the Madison County Jail this week
and were denied bond during a Superior Court hearing.
Blakley is charged with aggravated assault, armed robbery, motor
vehicle hijacking, possession of a firearm during the commission
of a crime and kidnapping.
Andrews is charged with armed robbery, aggravated assault, kidnapping,
carjacking, and possession of a firearm during the commission
of a crime.
A third man, Darrell Demetric Lester, 30, of Colbert, was arrested
on Friday in Oconee County after deputies there acted on a lookout
posted by Madison County.
He is being housed in the Franklin County jail and has not undergone
a bond hearing as of press time.
Lester is charged with possession of a firearm during the commission
of a crime, motor vehicle hijacking, kidnapping, aggravated assault,
and armed robbery.
The three are accused of the robbery and kidnapping of a 51-year-old
woman and stealing her car as she arrived at her Bellhaven Lane
residence near Hull about 1 a.m. on March 7, according to an
They allegedly locked her in the trunk of the car while driving
around for several hours looking for a place to rob.
The woman's 15-year-old grandson called 911 after witnessing
the crime from inside the residence.
A Madison County deputy spotted the car on Fortson Store Road
and pursued the men onto Bedford Drive where they abandoned the
The woman was found in the trunk, shaken but unharmed.
Go to Madison
Public Meeting Dates
Cowne signs superintendent's
Keith Cowne signed a three-year contract Wednesday as superintendent
of Madison County schools.
His contract runs from April 1, 2001, to March 31, 2004. His
annual salary is $90,262.
Cowne met school personnel Wednesday and took a tour of the county's
seven schools. Cowne ended his tour with a reception in the library
of Madison County High School, where he signed the contract.
Cowne replaces Dr. Dennis Moore, who resigned unexpectedly shortly
after the start of the school year. Assistant superintendent
Allen McCannon has served as interim superintendent since that
"I can't think of a better way to start out," Cowne
said of his tour. "I was impressed by the enthusiasm, energy
and professionalism of the faculty, and the kids appeared busy
and happy...I look forward to working for you and with you to
help the children have the most productive experiences they can....Thank
you for your welcome, I hope this is the beginning of a beautiful,
fruitful, productive and professional relationship."
School board member Jim Patton told the group of school system
employees, citizens and media that selecting Cowne was the result
of "a lot of long hard work and a lot of time put into this."
Madison County may add a new class of development to its land
Citizens attending the third meeting on future land use agreed
that environmentally sensitive areas should be limited to "Conservation
Subdivisions." These subdivisions would be required to keep
at least 50 percent of the land undeveloped to provide green
space and wildlife habitats within the development. Former commissioner
Burton "Chip" Chandler said that the new class of subdivision
should be required for any development within the river corridor
protection sites and adjacent to agricultural areas.
Audience members said that the present river corridor areas should
be maintained and possibly increased in the new plan. Currently,
a wide strip of land along Broad River and a narrower strip along
South Broad River are marked for special protection.
Leo Smith proposed a change in the high-density area. He pointed
out that measuring a three-mile circle from Dogsboro covered
agricultural land around Sanford. He suggested that the zone
be modified to end at the Helican Springs Road. For the rest
of this story, see this week's Madison County Journal.
on Comprehensive Plan rescheduled
The public hearing to present a draft of the joint city/county
Comprehensive Plan for Madison County and the cities of Carlton,
Colbert, Comer, Danielsville, Hull and Ila, with the assistance
of the Northeast Georgia Regional Development Center (RDC), has
been rescheduled for Thursday, March 29 at 6 p.m. at the Madison
County Government Complex courtroom. The public hearing previously
scheduled for March 15 is canceled.
The purpose of this hearing is to brief the community on the
contents of the plan, provide an opportunity for residents to
make suggestions, additions or revisions, and notify the community
of the expected date the plan will be submitted to the Northeast
Georgia Regional Development Center and the Department of Community
Affairs for review and comment.
All interested parties are invited to attend. Draft copies of
the plan are available for review at each respective city hall,
the Madison County Board of Commissioners, Madison County Planning
and Zoning, the Madison County Library, and the Northeast Georgia
Regional Development Center.
For more information, call Lee A. Carmon, AICP, Planning Director
at (706) 369-5650 or email email@example.com.