News from Madison County...

May 2, 2001


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OPINIONS
Frank Gillespie
Dam on Broad River is a bad idea

In a search for water, some Madison County officials have suggested that a dam be constructed on Broad River to provide water Madison and several bordering counties. I think this is a bad idea.

Zack Mitcham
A travel story

As the world turned its eyes to the Olympics in Atlanta in 1996, I crossed the Atlantic to see six countries in 30 days.


SPORTS
Region champs!

Girls' tennis squad wins 8-AAA crown; boys' team takes second.
The cards were stacked against them at times last week, but the Madison County girls' varsity tennis team showed all aces in winning their first ever Region 8-AAA title in Hartwell.


Neighborhood News...
BANKS COUNTY
Gainesville man charged in bank robbery
A Gainesville man has been charged with the armed robbery Monday of Regions Bank at Banks Crossing.
Joel Casey Ledford, 22, was arrested late Tuesday by the Banks County Sheriff's Office. A hold has also been placed on him in connection with the recent armed robbery of a bank in Murphy, N.C. He is also a suspect in a recent bank robbery in Dawsonville.

Commissioners ask for change in zoning at Banks Crossing
The Banks County Planning Commission started its meeting Tuesday by hearing a request from board of commissioners chairman Kenneth Brady that the 19.35 acres the county owns behind the Banks Crossing Wal-Mart be rezoned.




News from...
JACKSON COUNTY
Landfill requests still on hold
Planners table rezonings for two landfills

Two landfill requests before the Jackson County Planning Commission were tabled Thursday night.
The board of commissioners had asked the planning commission to take another look at the request from Earth Resources for a conditional use permit to locate a construction and demolition landfill on 94.84 acres on Lanier Road that is zoned I-2.

Bear Creek Not Likely To Be Open On Time
The Group Building The Regional Reservoir Maintains It Is On Schedule For July 1 Completion, But There Is Some Evidence To The ContraryEver since construction began, the owners of the regional $63 million Bear Creek reservoir and water treatment project have insisted and been told that the project will be completed on time.


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GOING FOR A SLIDE


Heather Bridges, 10, of Ila, tries out the fun slide at the Ila Festival Saturday.
 




Bypass to go west of Danielsville
Local leaders met with DOT commissioner Tom Coleman Friday and learned that the state is planning to construct the Danielsville bypass west of the city.
"They definitely want to go to the west of Danielsville," said state representative Ralph Hudgens, who met with Coleman, along with BOC chairman Wesley Nash and commissioners Bill Taylor and Johnny Fitzpatrick. "It's virtually locked in."
Hudgens said the DOT has not determined a specific route, adding that the department is still trying to determine how to route the bypass around a number of historical sites on the proposed path.
Many county residents have spoken out against a west route, saying a bypass on the east side of Danielsville would help alleviate school traffic congestion.
Hudgens said the DOT's traffic counts show that a west side bypass would handle many more cars a day than one on the east side.
The Friday meeting between Coleman and local officials included other issues besides the Hwy. 29 bypass. The county officials also sought funds for the widening of Neece-Commerce Road and Nowhere Road.
But Coleman turned down these requests. And he informed local leaders that the county has been receiving too much from the state for road projects.
He said the county should receive approximately $142,000 this year from the state for road improvements. The county has received three times that much from the DOT in recent years.
Coleman told local leaders that the previous DOT head Wayne Shackleford made promises to local governments that cannot be kept.
"In speaking with commissioner Coleman, he stated that the previous commissioner had $16 million of unfunded promises on the books," said chairman Nash. "And some of those promises were made to Madison County. And he (Coleman) stated that he was not in a position to honor unfunded promises."
Coleman told local leaders that Madison County has already received more than its alloted share of funds for road assistance this year. But he did agree to provide more funds for the paving of Johnny McElroy Road since the project is already under way.




Sartain's zoning request sent back to planners
Madison County commissioners sent a controversial zoning request back to county planners last Wednesday.
Sarah Sartain appeared before the board of commissioners requesting the rezoning of 6.08 acres on Tarpkins Road from A-2 to R-R to subdivide into two parcels. Sartain originally planned to divide the land into three parcels but amended her request due to considerable opposition from nearby landowners.
The board held a lengthy discussion on whether it could accept the amended plan or whether the zoning board should consider the new proposal before the commissioners vote. The BOC voted 4-1 to let the planning commission hear the amended request, with commissioner Bruce Scogin voting against this measure. Sartain's request will be considered again by the planning commission in June.
This action followed a motion by commissioner Johnny Fitzpatrick to approve the rezoning on the condition that one parcel be no more than 3.99 acres and the other no more than 2.09 acres. This was meant to ensure that Sartain would not divide the property further to place additional homes on the site. This motion died due to a lack of a second from other board members.
Sartain, who owns a number of mobile homes in the county, said she does not intend to put rental homes on the property. But she said she didn't feel the people in the area believe her.
A number of neighboring landowners spoke against Sartain's request, pointing out that her proposal will cause drainage problems due to the lay of the land. They said that two more homes in the area could strain the water table. Concerns were voiced about the type of people who might move onto the property. And those against Sartain's plans said that approving the request would damage the rural integrity of the area, in essence "changing the community" for the worse.
"I don't believe this is compatible with what's in the area," said Brent Escoe, a neighboring resident.
Brenda Watkins, who lives across from Sartain's property, said she could accept the proposal if Sartain intended to make personal use of the land - such as building a home for herself or a family member. But Watkins said she is disturbed by the fact that Sartain doesn't plan to make such use of the property. And she maintained that the rezoning would constitute spot zoning (zoning which is out of character with surrounding areas).
Sartain said she was upset by suggestions that tenants in her mobile homes aren't reputable. She said she feels she's doing a service to the county and feels "sorry for people who've got so much hate for renters."
"If it was left up to these people (opponents of the rezoning), what would people do when they can't afford a house?" asked Sartain. "They've got to rent."
For the rest of the story see this weeks Madison County Journal.


Relay for Life set for this weekend
The Madison County Relay for Life will be held Friday and Saturday May 4-5 at the track at the recreation department off Hwy. 98.
The Relay for Life is an annual event in Madison County to raise money for the fight against cancer.
Here is a schedule of events:
FRIDAY
11 a.m. Track opens for setup of campsites
5:30 p.m. Hospitality tent opens for cancer survivors, luminaria sales begin, relay store opens, children's corral
6:30 pm. Opening ceremonies, Survivor's Lap, Caregiver Lap, Team Lap
7:30 p.m. Relay for Life begins, Children's Corral, Giant Moonwalk for children and adults (cost $3), Cancer Education/Advocacy, Erica Conwell performs.
8:30 p.m. Entertainment
9 p.m. Gospel group
9:30 p.m. Luminaria service
10 p.m. 4th Day Band to perform, turn in "Best" awards sheet to the accounting van
11 p.m. Games and recreation: limbo contest, biggest foot contest and potato golf
11:30 p.m. "Miss Relay 2001 Contest"
SATURDAY
12 a.m. Crowning of Miss Relay 2001, karaoke (signups at the DJ booth), midnight pizza buffet, hairiest legs contest, interactive team bingo
1-2 a.m. Country music hour, line dancing, karaoke begins, three-legged race, sack race and tater relay
2-3 a.m. Beach music hour, nutrition twister, hula hoop contest, bubble gum blowing contest and shag contest
3-4 a.m. Swing/Latin music, "Do the Macarena" and limbo contest
5-6 a.m. "Best of the Best" music hour, pajama contest and bad hair contest
6-7 a.m. Wake Up Little Suzy and 50s music, scavenger hunt begins
7-8 a.m. Breakfast, luminaria lap cleanup and newspaper fashion show
8-9 a.m. Last of the games for the Relay bucks: Simon Says, jump rope contest, water balloon toss, cross country skiing and Life Saver relay. Turn in Relay bucks (each team needs to add how much they have accumulated through the night).
9-9:30 a.m. Closing ceremonies and awards
9:30-10 a.m. Clean up campsite
Relay for Life organizers ask that teams "commit to being at the relay and not tearing down your campsites until the relay ends at 10 a.m."


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God and government
BOC approves resolution supporting Ten Commandments
R.W. Moore of Eastanollee is on a mission to get "God back in government."
And he plans to approach commissioners in all 159 Georgia counties to get leaders to support a resolution supporting the Ten Commandments.
Last Wednesday, Madison County commissioners unanimously approved that resolution (see box). It was the second Georgia county - Franklin County was the first - to approve Moore's request.
"I believe if we had prayer and the Ten Commandments back in schools, we would not have the trouble with school shootings and armed guards in our schools that we have now," Moore told commissioners. "...For almost 200 years we did not have school shootings, but we had the Ten Commandments and prayer in schools. Our country was the greatest country on earth."
Moore said the U.S. Constitution supports his resolution. He pointed out that the First Amendment states that Congress shall make no law "prohibiting" the free exercise of religion.
County attorney Mike Pruett advised the board that having the Ten Commandments on display must be justified by a "secular purpose and not simply to promote a religious purpose."
"A resolution like this could undermine the county's ability to articulate and assert that there was no religious intent," said Pruett.


Ten Commandments resolution
"We, the below signed sitting commission of Madison County, in consideration of our biblical history of Georgia, both in constitution and devotional activities in our heritage, hereby acknowledge the importance of the Ten Commandments of almighty God and wish to go on record in support of this magnificent document and state that we will defend our right to display to the limit of our ability, against all enemies, domestic and foreign, public and private.
"In enacting this resolution, we hereby petition the God of Heaven to preserve the peace which he has so graciously extended to us by our ancient acknowledgement of the Ten Commandments and beg his continued protection and alleviation of ills which come to those who forget him and his law."