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Connecting with the past
You know you're getting older when you hear your kids sitting
around reminiscing about "the good old days" and some
of their sentences start with "Remember when we...."
Enemies of Southern culture feel the heat
The enemies of Southern culture are apparently feeling the heat
of rejection by the voters. Many of the same people who led the
sneak attack on our beautiful state flag have now endorsed a
resolution recognizing April as "Confederate History and
Heritage Month" in Georgia.
Tennis teams capture Gainesville tourney
Madison County tennis teams proved they are among the elite programs
in the area this past week as both boys' and girls' squads took
first place in the 17-team P.J. Holcomb Tennis Tournament in
Residents question Maysville's fire board members about
Fire capt. gives explanation of contract
with Banks County. A number of Maysville residents, including
concerned citizens and volunteer firefighters, came before the
Maysville Fire Board Monday night at the fire hall to talk about
services the city's fire department offers.
Banks grows by 39%
Banks County grew by 39 percent during the
last decade and climbed to a population of 14,422 in 2000, according
to recently released census numbers. Banks' growth was higher
than all surrounding counties except Hall, which had a growth
of 45 percent.
Cochran guilty of murder in Warren case. Sentenced
to life without parole
Emory Wayne Cochran, 52, was found guilty of murder by a Jackson
County jury Saturday afternoon and sentenced to life without
The jury found Cochran guilty on counts of felony murder, malice
murder, burglary and aggravated assault after a little more than
one hour of deliberation Saturday afternoon.
Jackson grows 38% during '90s
Jackson County added over 11,000 people during the last decade,
growing to a population of 41,589 according to early results
of the 2000 census. That amounted to a growth of 38 percent for
the decade in Jackson County, a strong performance, but not the
highest growth rate in the Northeast Georgia area.
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Madison County interim superintendent Allen McCannon explains
why he suspended Mac Almond as principal of Comer Elementary
School to a large audience at the Comer Lions Club Monday night.
BOE turns to standards
commission, DA Outside investigators to
look into financial management of Almond, Moore
The state Professional Standards Commission will be summoned
to investigate the fiscal practices of two former school leaders
- Comer principal Mac Almond and superintendent Dennis Moore.
Information regarding Almond's handling of school funds will
also be turned over by the county school board to the Northern
Judicial Circuit's District Attorney's office.
The Madison County Board of Education unanimously approved both
measures Tuesday night following a closed meeting that lasted
approximately an hour.
Almond resigned this month after he was suspended by interim
superintendent Allen McCannon for alleged unauthorized salary
supplements as well as excessive and inappropriate reimbursement
practices. Almond was also accused of hiding and disposing of
financial records that may have incriminated him, falsifying
leave records for himself and teachers, allowing out-of-county
students to enroll in school in violation of school system policies
and missing an excessive amount of time at school.
Moore resigned in September shortly before a financial crisis
was revealed to the public. The county school system was forced
to borrow money and raise taxes to cover expenditures and many
citizens have complained that Moore was let off the hook without
proper questioning about where school funds had gone.
Proposed county water
moratorium draws criticism
Several people stood before commissioners Monday to voice their
dismay with a proposed moratorium on water expansion in unincorporated
areas of Madison County.
No action was taken on the proposal Monday.
Madison County commission chairman Wesley Nash said the moratorium
would allow the county to set guidelines on water expansion before
more systems are put in place. He said a primary reason for the
moratorium is to "set up standards as far as fire protection."
"It takes a certain pipe size to provide fire protection,"
said Nash. "...Systems are going in that don't meet those
Nash said the guidelines could be set within 15 to 45 days and
would be lifted at least by July 29.
The most outspoken critic of the proposal was realtor Bill Fleeman,
who described the moratorium as a "power and control grab."
Fleeman said the county should hold a referendum on water expansion
and on disbanding the water authority, which he says has too
much power for an appointed board.
"The public has not asked for water and sewer services,"
"An item this big needs a referendum."
The county is considering expanding water services along the
Hwy. 72 corridor and the BOC-appointed industrial authority has
been the group overseeing county water developments in recent
years. An intergovernmental agreement between the commissioners
and the industrial authority has been proposed to allow the industrial
authority to provide residential water services.
Fleeman said a water system would cost millions, serve few and
tax many "out of house and home."
But audience member Richard Patrick said the county should seek
water expansions. He said the county is lagging behind surrounding
"We're really behind the power curve," said Patrick.
Colbert mayor John Waggoner questioned Nash about the moratorium
and described the proposed restrictions as "very bad."
Bob Pulfrey, a geologist with Fortson's Well Drilling, also opposed
the measure, saying people who own property can do what they
want with water on that property.
Audience member Chip Chandler warned the board that putting power
in the industrial authority's hands may be a bad idea.
"Don't give away some of the power that really belongs to
the elected board," said Chandler.
Madison Co. grows by
Madison County added nearly 4,700 people over the past decade,
growing to a population of 25,730, according to early results
of the 2000 census.
That amounted to a growth of 22 percent for the decade in Madison
The census results will have a tremendous impact on the county
in the coming years as adjustments are made in a variety of political
and financial arenas. The new numbers will be used this summer
in a special legislative session to adjust the boundaries of
the state and federal legislative districts. The numbers will
be used to reallocate how sales taxes are divided in the county.
A variety of state and federal grant funds are also tied to the
Carlton had a decrease of 49 residents from 1990 to 2000, from
282 to 233. Colbert had an increase from 443 to 488 residents.
Comer dropped slightly, from 1,079 to 1,052 citizens. Danielsville
increased from 318 to 457 people. Hull increased from 156 to
160 residents and Ila jumped from 297 to 328 citizens.
Go to Madison
Public Meeting Dates
School leaders meet with Comer
community to discuss the Almond issue. Approximately 100 parents,
teachers and concerned community members met Monday night, for
the second time in less than a week, with Board of Education
members and interim Superintendent Allen McCannon in an attempt
to gain understanding into the suspension and subsequent resignation
of long time Comer Elementary principal Mac Almond.
The group chose the neutral ground of the Comer Lions Club, the
site of their first meeting to discuss the issue two weeks ago.
An agenda with "ground rules" of civility for audience
members was handed out by Comer PTO members and the meeting proceeded
in a civil and orderly fashion with mediator Laura Myers, a Comer
"Your biggest obstacle is to convince people that you don't
have the living essence of a vendetta (against Almond),"
George Rett told McCannon and the board during a question and
McCannon agreed with him, but assured those present that he did
not have a vendetta against Almond. "Mr. Almond and I have
not shared a cross word," he said.
McCannon told the crowd that 99 percent of the decisions made
involving Almond were his alone and that most questions should
probably be directed to him.
"Are you telling us the board did not share in your decision
to go after Mac Almond?" Jim Baird said.
"Yes, it was my decision to suspend him," McCannon
replied, adding that it was a "judgment call" on his
part based on the serious nature of the evidence against Almond.
McCannon then gave the audience a step-by-step account of the
events that led him to suspend Almond on March 9.
He said that while looking over documents for state auditors
who were going over books on EIP (Early Intervention Program)
and Title funds for the 1999 - 2000 school year, McCannon said
he was "mortified" to discover documents bearing his
signature involving Comer Elementary School funds which he had
neither seen nor authorized.
After showing the documents to auditors and following their advice,
he presented these documents to the BOE.
McCannon stated that he had promised the board at the beginning
of his service as interim superintendent that he would present
all expenditures up front to them instead of providing documentation
McCannon said he was simply following the auditors' advice when
he began to pursue the matter further.
"That's the honest to God truth - I just followed it from
there," McCannon said.
McCannon also acknowledged that the Gholston Fund monies are
"a bone of contention right now" as to how, and by
whom, they should be administered, and he admitted that he had
not even known of the $22,000 funding Comer Elementary received
from the fund until after he began his investigation.
But he maintained that the entire matter boiled down to a "legal
For the rest of this story, see this weeks Madison County