Place A Classified Ad
Madison Opinion Page
Madison Obituary Page
Send A Letter
List Your Business
Madison County Stats
Go to Jackson County
Go to Banks County
Church and state separation not in Constitution
The first line in the Bill of Rights reads, "Congress shall
make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting
the free exercise thereof..."
For Mother's Day
Mother's Day is this Sunday, and although my mother is no longer
alive, I still think of her often.
Boys end season in Elite 8
The Madison County boys' tennis teams advanced to the state's
Elite 8 for the first time in school history last week, before
falling to Westminster Monday.
Drug bust: Harold Ballew Jr. charged
A Banks County man was arrested Friday after law enforcement
officials found evidence of a moonshine still, a methamphetamine
laboratory and a stash of firearms, including a machine gun,
at his residence.
Computers, new employees, salary increases among requests
Computers, additional help and salary increases for employees
are among the requests the Banks County Board of Commissioners
heard Friday when it began budget hearings.
Woman dumped on roadside
A woman was abducted at a Clarke County night spot in the early
hours of Sunday morning by a man she didn't know who put her
in the trunk of a car and beat her before dumping her on the
roadside in Jackson County.
Adamson rules in favor of county on sewerage line dispute
Judge Robert Adamson issued a declaratory judgment Friday morning
permitting surveyors from the Jackson County Water and Sewerage
Authority to go onto the property of three residents fighting
the new county sewerage line.
The Madison County Journal
Telephone: (706) 367-5233
Fax: (706) 367-8056
NEWS / ADVERTISING
® Copyright 2001
MainStreet Newspapers, Inc.
All rights reserved.
Copyright / Terms / Privacy
Fortson trial postponed
The murder trial of Tracy Lea Fortson, which was scheduled to
start today (Monday) in Madison County Superior Court, has been
postponed because reports from the GBI crime lab were not received
in time to proceed with the case.
No new trial date has been set, but Superior Court Judge Lindsey
Tise is expected to decide within a week when the case will be
held. The judge said the case will be rescheduled for no sooner
than 30 days and no later than 60 days. Tise has not ruled on
whether the case will be held in Madison County. Fortson's attorney,
Tom Camp, filed a change of venue request earlier this year,
asking that the proceedings be moved up to 150 miles away due
to pre-trial publicity. Tise reserved a ruling on the change
of venue request until jury selection.
Fortson, a former Oglethorpe County sheriff's deputy, is accused
of killing her ex-boyfriend, Doug Benton of Colbert, leaving
his body encased in cement in a wooded area in Oglethorpe County,
then attempting to burn his house down to destroy evidence. She
pled not guilty in November to malice murder, felony murder,
attempted arson and two counts of aggravated assault. Fortson
is being on a $500,000 bond.
The web site will be updated as more facts are available.
'OUR BIGGEST CHEERLEADER'
Relay for Life chairperson Louise Watson (R) presented
a plaque to honorary chairperson Augusta Jenkins, a cancer survivor,
at last weekend's Relay event to raise funds and support for
the fight against cancer. Watson called Jenkins the county's
Madison Co. Relay
for Life raises $116,000 in fight against cancer
At least 125 cancer survivors, along with
their caregivers, family and friends, took to the track at the
county recreation department last Friday evening to begin Madison
County's third annual Relay for Life.
This year's Relay for Life, which wrapped up Saturday morning,
raised more than $116,000 for the American Cancer Society, as
well as heightening awareness about cancer and honoring those
who have survived and those who have died from the disease.
The event also raised well over the $100,000 goal set by event
Louise Watson, who was serving as event chairperson for a second
time, credits the hard work of many Relay teams and individuals
for surpassing this year's fund-raising goal for the second year
in a row.
The county collected $92,000 last year, almost doubling its goal
Honorary chairperson for this year was Miss Augusta Jenkins,
a cancer survivor whom Watson dubbed as the county's "biggest
"Her biggest fight was cancer," Watson said.
"You're here to walk proudly with friends and survivors,"
Jenkins said, speaking to the crowd at the Relay's opening ceremonies
Friday evening. "I am among the most dedicated, compassionate
and giving folks there are."
"To matter, to count, to stand for something - is everything,"
Watson said there were many more people coming to the Relay "just
to visit," participating in activities and patronizing the
many team tents set up inside the Recreation Department's quarter-mile
For information about the relay awards, see this week's Madison
County to take over
Athens water lines in Hull in August
Madison County's new water system will take operational control
of the portion of the Hull water system currently operated by
Athens on Aug. 1 of this year.
The pipes, meters, fire hydrants and contracts with 180 customers
in the city of Hull and along Glenn Carrie Road are being purchased
from Athens-Clarke County for $507,000. Water for the system
will be supplied from the new water tank behind the Hull/Sanford
During the Industrial Authority's Tuesday morning meeting, chairman
John Scoggins said up to 63 requests for new water service are
in hand and more are expected.
He told commissioners Monday night that he expects the system
to pay for itself by the time the system has 400 customers, which
he believes shouldn't take long.
Athens-Clarke has refused to add any new customers to the line,
making it clear that they wanted out of Madison County.
Athens-Clarke will take readings of meters on July 31. These
readings will be used to determine final bills from Athens-Clarke
and the starting point for Madison County's records.
As part of the agreement with Athens-Clarke, the Industrial Authority
will assume the unpaid debt and interest due from the city of
Hull. The $36,000 principle will be considered a part of the
Negotiations with the city will determine the terms for repayment
of the $19,000 in accumulated interest.
Required intergovernmental agreements between the Industrial
Authority, the city of Hull and Madison County Board will be
completed by the end of May.
For the rest of this story, see this week's Madison County
Officials hope new
well will solve Colbert's water pressure problems
Colbert's water problems should be solved shortly by bringing
a new well on line. The well is being installed by Piedmont Water
off the Foote-McClellan Road.
The company is waiting for approval from EPD for the design of
pipes to connect it to the system. Mayor John Waggoner said the
addition of the new well to the system should eliminate the late-afternoon
periods of low water pressure.
Other efforts to increase the city's water supply were not as
successful. Redrilling of the failed well at the city park failed
to produce usable water. To replace the well, Piedmont Water
will connect two nearby wells, each yielding approximately 30
gallons per minute. By connecting the two, only one well house
and treatment facility will have to be maintained. EPD approval
will be required before the combined wells can be put on line.
Mayor Waggoner asked for any suggestions of locations where new
wells may be constructed within the city limits. According to
Waggoner, new Madison County rules will prohibit the city from
drilling new wells outside the city.
In other actions, a contract with the Madison County Recreation
Department for use of the old Colbert gym is near completion.
Work has started on grinding off old paint from the Colbert Depot
in preparation for repairing and repainting.
Go to Madison
Public Meeting Dates
Auto Parts &
Retail Stores & Outlets
Fortson trial opens
The murder trial of Tracy Fortson is set to open Monday, beginning
with jury selection.
Fortson is accused of killing her ex-boyfriend Doug Benton of
Colbert, leaving his body encased in cement in a wooded area
in Oglethorpe County, then attempting to burn his house down
to destroy evidence.
Attorneys were in court Tuesday arguing the legality of a judge's
Feb. 28 decision to close pre-trial hearings in the case.
As of press time, presiding Judge Lindsey Tise had not issued
a ruling in the matter.
Tise, District Attorney Bob Lavender, defense attorney Tom Camp,
and attorney James Ellington, representing Athens Newspapers,
Inc., met in Madison County Superior Court Tuesday morning to
argue the legality of a ruling from Tise to close all pre-trial
hearings in the case in an attempt to help ensure a fair trial
Fortson's case has garnered considerable attention from both
the public and area media since she was charged last June with
killing Benton at his Colbert residence.
Fortson, who was in court for part of Tuesday's proceedings wearing
an orange Franklin County jail jumpsuit, pled not guilty in November
to malice murder, felony murder, attempted arson and two counts
of aggravated assault.
The judge made the closure ruling in the case at the Feb. 28
pre-trial hearing to hear a "Motion to Suppress" request
by the defense.
Camp admitted that other issues were also heard during the closed
hearing, including a request for a "Change of Venue"
for the trial.
According to court papers filed by Ellington, the closed meeting
lasted more than three hours.
For the rest of this story, see this week's Madison County
Several county agencies
to new offices
Several Madison County agencies will be moving to new offices
over the next few weeks.
The Industrial Authority - Chamber of Commerce offices will move
from the Strickland House to the old courthouse. The move is
being made necessary by plans to widen Hwy 98 to accommodate
traffic in and out of the recreation department, library, senior
center, Fine Finish and the new jail.
The Strickland House will be moved across the road from its present
location and restored for future use.
The Clean and Beautiful office will be relocated from its present
location on Hwy. 29 North of Danielsville to the new building
at the transfer station. The new county water and sewage office
will be located in the old Clean and Beautiful office.
"We need an occupant for the old courthouse," said
Commission Chairman Wesley Nash. "An empty building is hard
The new tenants will use the old probate judge's offices. Nash
said he would encourage other civic organizations to renovate
and utilize other rooms in the building.