News from Madison County...

April 18, 2001


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OPINIONS

Frank Gillespie
Let's honor the Confederate soldiers

The Madison County Greys, Camp 1526, Sons of Confederate Veterans invites you to attend a memorial service for the 400 Madison County men who served in the Confederate Army.

Margie Richards
The best things about vacation

A warm, soft breeze blowing, the sound of waves hitting the shoreline and shrimp boats on the horizon.
When I close my eyes I can still experience those sensations, but it's back to reality this week.


SPORTS
MCHS captures third state title in four years

Madison County is Georgia's best when it comes to rifle shooting.
No qualifiers - no ifs, ands or buts - are needed to support that statement.


Neighborhood News...
BANKS COUNTY
Ballinger pleads guilty to arson
Arson counts include December 1998 fire at Banks County church.
Jay Scott Ballinger, an admitted Luciferian, pled guilty Friday on five counts of arson, including the December 31, 1998, fire at a Banks County church.

DA discusses ordinances for county property at Banks Crossing
The Banks County Development Authority is apparently gearing up for future growth behind the huge Wal-Mart store at Banks Crossing.
At a meeting Thursday morning, the DA discussed covenants and ordinances for the 19.35 acres behind Wal-Mart at Banks Crossing that the county owns.



News from...
JACKSON COUNTY
Overtime pervasive in Jefferson pay
An Analysis
BY MIKE BUFFINGTON
Pay scales in the City of Jefferson have been controversial for years. That's especially true for department heads, where infighting and bickering over compensation has led to a number of heated council meetings.

Commissioners Kill Steel Plant Rezoning, Endorse Apartments
JEFFERSON -- A request to rezone 30 acres on Hwy. 441 in Center for industrial use was denied by the Jackson County Board of Commissioners Monday night, but the commissioners voted to endorse a proposal for a 120-unit apartment complex on Progress Road near Commerce.


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THIRD TITLE IN FOUR YEARS

Crystal Dove (pictured) and the Madison County rifle team captured their third state title in the past four years Saturday, firing a new state record score.




Search under way for new Comer principal
A committee headed by Robert Harrison has received over 20 applications for the job of principal of Comer Elementary School.
The committee used the local RESA organization, and the "teachgeorgia.org" web site to recruit applications. Harrison told school board members Tuesday that the committee will review the list and recommend several candidates to the board at its May 15th meeting.
Former principal Mac Almond resigned after being accused of financial wrongdoing and other misconduct.
Also Tuesday, Comer Elementary received good news. The Gholston Trust has presented a check to the board for $68,900 for use by Comer Elementary. The money will be used to establish a computer lab at the school.


Madison County man to teach others how to build log cabins
'An American experience'Madison County man to teach others how to build log cabinsFriends of Watson Mill Bridge State Park is sponsoring a one-day workshop Saturday, April 21, from 9 a.m. - 4 p.m. on how to build a log cabin.
Taught by log cabin expert Chip Chandler, this hands-on workshop will feature such topics as: choosing the best trees, use of a draw knife and proper notching.
Chandler has constructed several log cabins in the Athens area, including his own, and has demonstrated his skills at the Northeast Georgia Folk Festival at Sandy Creek Park and the Colbert Fourth of July Festival.
The cost of the workshop is $5 per person, but is waived for members of the Watson Mill Friends group.
Bring a bag lunch and wear sturdy clothes, organizers say. The number of participants is limited.
Call the park office at (706) 783-5349 to reserve your space.
Watson Mill Bridge State Park is located south of Hwy. 72 between Comer and Carlton in Madison County.




The sands of time slowly slip away when you turn your car down the city of Carlton's First Street. The road becomes rough, unpaved and seemingly impassable if it's been raining. The wilderness soon greets you and just when you think civilization has reached its end, a two-story, double roof, 2,600 square-foot pine log cabin that sits just off this rocky dirt path, reaches out and snatches your eye.
The structure is tucked as far away in the backwoods as possible from the four-lane, fast-paced life that has sprung up in northeast Georgia over the past decade. The cozy abode is striking because it harkens back to a time more fitting of the Daniel Boone era when trails were being blazed and a man made his living through the strength of his hands and the sweat from his brow. But beyond the appearance of this impressive structure actually lies a story that celebrates the American experience of our forefathers.
Burton "Chip" Chandler sits comfortably in his cabin now, over two decades removed from its construction and enjoys a bowl of cereal on a calm but slightly overcast Friday morning while he pets a massive but gentle Great Pyrenees dog. It's just part of the peaceful, relaxed country life that he's found at this location- a place he has called home for half his life. In fact, he's almost linked inexorably to it. "The only way I'd sell this place is if Wal-Mart moved next door," Chandler explains.
And that would probably be hard for him to do given the sentimental value of this log cabin. Chandler didn't move into this lodge or even hire someone to build it for him. He followed in the grand tradition of American pioneers of centuries gone by and constructed his home by himself with his bare hands.
For the rest of this story, see this weeks Madison County Journal.



Fortson case set to open May 14
The trial of accused murderer Tracy Fortson is scheduled to begin May 14 in Madison County. But a change of venue could still be in the works.
Northern Judicial Circuit Judge Lindsay Tise has chosen to wait until jury selection to make a decision on moving the case out of the county, most likely to see if an impartial jury can be found in the county.
Fortson's attorney, Thomas Camp, filed a motion for a change of venue in January, claiming the jury pool in the county may be biased against the defendant due to local media coverage of the case.
Earlier this month, Tise denied the defendant's motion to dismiss the case as well as motions to suppress evidence recovered in Fortson's home and vehicle.
Fortson is accused of killing her ex-boyfriend, Doug Benton of Colbert, encasing his body in cement, leaving him in a wooded area in Oglethorpe County and attempting to burn his house down to cover up her alleged crime. She faces one count of malice murder, felony murder, attempted arson and two counts of aggravated assault.

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Band boosters seek financial assistance
Greg Bleakley of the Madison County Band Boosters appeared before the school board Tuesday night to ask for assistance in financing upcoming events.
The boosters face a financial crisis following the arrest of the group's former treasurer, Greg Moore, for allegedly stealing about $28,000 from the boosters.
Bleakley told the board that efforts to recover the money would take time. Immediate needs of the bands are an honors banquet, a summer band camp and the cost of sending a band member to the state band program. Boosters need $12,000 in the near future to finance these projects.
The board asked Superintendent Keith Cowne to see if there is any way to assist the band boosters and let them know as soon as possible.




Let the games begin
Youth baseball, softball get rolling Saturday.It's time to get the ball rolling, the bats cracking and the mitts popping.
Madison County's youth baseball and softball season gets under way Saturday and recreation leaders say the turnout is good this year.
Approximately 500 kids have signed up to play Little League baseball and softball. This includes 42 teams - two minor league, two major league and two senior league fast-pitch softball squads; as well as six mini league, eight minor league, 12 major league and seven junior league baseball teams.
Though played at recreation facilities, Little League is separate from the league operated by the recreation department, where another 500-plus kids will suit up for baseball and softball action. This includes 20 T-ball teams, 10 boys' pitching machine squads, four girls' pitching machine teams, six 10-and-under slow pitch softball teams, four 12-and-under slow pitch squads and one 14-and-under slow pitch team.
Also, adult softball is in the works, with four women's open league teams, six women's church league squads and 15 men's church league teams.
"We're excited," said county recreation director Dick Perpall. "It seems like it gets bigger every year."
The recreation department currently has 45 employees to help prepare the facilities and accommodate the kids, parents and coaches.
Perpall warned that parking will be a problem again this year.
"I don't know any park that has enough parking," said Perpall.
But a number of improvements have been made to the recreation facilities since last season, including remodeling the restrooms, the installation of steps down to the track, more paved areas to make dugouts more handicapped accessible and additional landscape areas - all at the main park. Paving was also done around bleachers at Diamond Hill Park, as well as the construction of a retaining wall, which recreation leaders say will help improve the landscaping and appearance of the park.