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Gov't should return more of our money
A number of people have expressed their approval of the Bush
Thinking about P.U.P.
He was just a half grown dog.
Friendly yet shy, he wound his way in and out of the parade at
the Hull Spring Festival last Saturday, wagging his tail and
making many folks, including me, smile at the sight.
Directions to Area Schools
Swann helps guide diamond Dogs to NCAA Super Regionals
If the University of Georgia baseball team's postseason journey
finds its way to Omaha, Neb., former Raider Adam Swann will surely
be remembered for doing his part to clear the path.
Historical society wants back in old courthouse
Members of the Banks County Historical Society made clear at
a meeting Thursday night their intent to be part of the future
of the historic courthouse and hold their meetings in it.
BCHS graduation planned Friday
It's cap and gown time at Banks County High School. Graduation
will be held at 7 p.m. Friday at Leopard Stadium, located at
the middle school.
Chamber To Support School SPLOST Renewal
Hoping to help the three school systems in the county snare up
to $43 million over five years, the board of directors of the
Jackson County Area Chamber of Commerce has endorsed extension
of the special purpose local option sales tax for education.
Grad test a struggle for some students
Science and social studies remained problematic for local high
school juniors this year.
The Madison County Journal
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Ila Elementary School teachers donned fake teeth, straw hats
and overalls Thursday as they performed a Hee Haw sketch to entertain
students. See more pictures in this week's Madison County
MCHS tassels to be
Approximately 210 Red Raider seniors will "turn their tassels"
this Friday night, beginning a new chapter in their lives as
they leave high school behind.
The Madison County High School graduating class of 2001 will
hold commencement exercises beginning at 8 p.m. at the Classic
Center in downtown Athens. Doors will open at 7 p.m. Each senior
will be given eight (8) tickets for family members and friends.
(Tickets are required to attend the ceremony.)
Students selected to speak during the ceremony are: valedictorian
Shelley Bates, salutatorian Drew Perry, Rebecca Booker, Drew
Brantley, Brad Kirk and Jason Chappell.
Seventy seniors in the Class of 2001 will end their high school
careers as honor graduates. They are: Jane Aaron, Jana Ackerman,
Laura Adams, Maria Adams, Shamekia Allen, Charity Askins, Julie
Atkinson, Shelley Bates, Rebecca Booker, Amy Booth, Drew Brantley,
Arrie Brown, Nikki Browning, Marianne Bryant, Nicole Cavanaugh,
Jason Chappell, Jamie Christian, Sara Duceatt, Aaron Duncan,
Tonya Epps, Brittney Escoe, Josh Ferguson, Sara Fitzpatrick,
Preston Fortson, Erin Gaines, Leannah Hamman, Tessa Hollis, Aiyana
Hunter, Cynthia Jones, Heather Jones, Adam Jordan, Rodney Kesler,
Brad Kirk, Michael Mann, Sheena Mason, Renee Mathews, Mira May,
Megan McCay, Ellie McCoy, Steven McDonald, Crystal McGinnis,
Molly Menken, Josh Miller, Travis Moak, Lori Moon, Candace Morgan,
Ashley Myers, Crystal Nicholson, Valerie Norman, Drew Perry,
Marlana Phillips, Ashley Poole, Stacy Reese, Angela Rice, Lacinda
Royston, Lara Sanders, Ashley Shubert, Bonnie Simmons, Christine
Simmons, Jonathan Smith, Phillip Smith, Stacie Smith, Donny Stamper,
Matthew Steed, Alice Stone, Lauren Stopczynski, Ashley Waller,
Will Wilkerson, Leigha Willoughby and Kelly Wynn.
Doug Kesler was reinstated as Madison County fast-pitch softball
coach at a called meeting of the board of education Monday night.
Fifth district member Ric Power first moved to rescind the board's
earlier unanimous vote to approve supplements to all coaches
except Kesler. At a suggestion from chairman Robert Haggard,
Patton amended his motion to have Kesler added to the list of
coaches who receive a pay supplement for their extra work as
Power, along with Jim Patton and Chairman Robert Haggard, voted
for the motion. John Mason and Elaine Belfield voted no.
Belfield told the large number of players and parents in the
audience that she has not received answers to some of her questions.
"I just want you to know why I am voting this way,"
Kesler, whose teams have gone 72-27 over the past three years,
said he will accept the board's vote to reinstate him.
"I am pleased with the decision and look forward for the
opportunity to work with the girls again this fall," said
Kesler Wednesday morning.
In other business, the board heard an appeal from Gerald Ingram,
chairman of the Friends of the Library, for funds to cover a
shortfall of $32,850 covering the period of July 1 to Dec. 31,
2001. In previous years, the board of education and board of
commissioners have split the local contribution to the library.
But school board attorney Lane Fitzpatrick has said that, according
to law, school money cannot be used to finance non-school agencies.
This led the board of education to withdraw future support. The
library funding shortfall was created due to the difference between
the board of education's fiscal year and that of the board of
The commissioners have agreed to fund the entire local share,
amounting to approximately $130,000. In turn, the BOC has started
collecting the 2.5 percent commission from all board of education
tax collections allowed by state law.
Elaine Belfield said that since the BOC is already taking out
the tax commissions, they should make up the shortfall. She suggested
that she might speak to the BOC to make her point.
In other actions, the board selected a business person to sit
on each school committee. They chose Bart Combs for the Colbert
Elementary committee; Harry Cannon or Linda Freeman, whichever
can serve, for Comer Elementary; George Allen for Danielsville
Elementary; Melanie Berryman for Hull Elementary, Dr. Robert
Hooper for Ila Elementary; Cathy Bryant for Madison County Middle
School and Dr. Michael Cobb for Madison County High School.
contract with Colbert for old gym
Madison County commissioners gave final approval Monday to a
lease agreement with the city of Colbert for the use of the old
Colbert school gym by the county recreation department.
The lease is for $10 per year. A new provision in the contract
states that the county will cover any repairs to the building
costing up to $2,500. Anything over $2,500 will be turned over
to the Colbert city council, which will then decide whether to
do the repairs or terminate the contract.
The commissioners officially approved an $87,000 lease with Wachovia
for two Ford pickup trucks, one for the BOC chairman and one
for the recreation department. The lease agreement also includes
a gravel spreader for the road department. The three-year lease
requires a $2,588 monthly payment. The money for the purchases
was included in the 2001 budget.
The BOC approved a matching grant for lighting improvements for
the county library. The grant covers half of the projected $7,698
expense of the project, while the county will cover the remaining
portion with funds and labor.
The board also approved a lease agreement with the Poca Fire
Department for use of the old AT&T building, renewed a copier
maintenance agreement for 911, approved a contract with the state
Department of Transportation for the paving of Johnny McElroy
Road, and postponed approval of a revised contract with the county's
11 fire departments for services the departments provide to the
The BOC agreed to hold a public hearing at 6:30 p.m., June 26,
in the county government complex on the proposed closing of Harold
Payton Road. The board also planned a meeting with the sheriff,
the magistrate judge and any interested citizens to discuss a
new noise ordinance. The meeting will be held June 11 at 6 p.m.
in the county government complex.
BOC chairman Wesley Nash asked the commissioners to drive to
Payne Drive in Comer to look at a homeowner's gate which encroaches
on the county's property.
The board also met in closed session to discuss several litigation
issues but took no action after returning to the open session.
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Cowne says schools
must restore reserve funds
Superintendent Keith Cowne told school board members that as
well as meeting the financial needs of the system, the board
will need to restore the system's reserve fund.
"We will likely have to borrow money again this fall,"
he said. "But I don't want that to happen next year."
Madison County school leaders began work on the 2001-2002 fiscal
year budget Monday.
Cowne gave board members copies of documents covering expected
income and expenses for the new school year along with a list
of options covering things that need to be done. He pointed out
that the budgeting process was delayed this year due to the system's
recent financial problems, and his recent employment as superintendent.
"We will not be this late next year," he said.
Madison County can expect to receive $20.61 million in state
funds next year, an increase of $1.7 million. But the Governor's
program mandates a 4.5 percent pay increase for school employees
that will use up most of that increase.
The county's tax base has not been determined, but Cowne estimated
that new state-mandated exemptions for timber and other categories
will keep the digest from growing substantially. In addition,
the Madison County Board of Commissioners has instructed the
tax commissioner to withhold a 2.5 percent collection fee from
school taxes, reducing local funds by over $100,000.
Board members must pass a new budget by July 1 or pass spending
resolutions to cover expenses until a budget is completed.
Fortson case set
for July 9
The murder trial of Tracy Lea Fortson is set for July 9 in Madison
Fortson is accused of killing her ex-boyfriend, Doug Benton of
Colbert, last June and leaving his body encased in cement in
a wooded area of Oglethorpe County.
The case, which was originally set for May 14, was postponed
because crime lab reports were not available in time for the
trial. Fortson's attorney filed for a change of venue earlier
this year, but Judge Lindsay Tise reserved a decision on that
motion until jury selection.
Fortson is being held on a $500,000 bond.
To read more about the local events in
Madison County, including births, weddings, sports news and school
news, see this week's Madison County Journal.