News from Madison County...

July 25, 2001


Madison County
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OPINIONS
Ben Munro
Hatchback pride

I'm sure you've seen that truck commercial that boasts, "Hey man, nobody ever wrote a song about their first hatchback?"

Frank Gillespie
Banning Confederate symbols denies free speech

Do school systems have the right to ban clothing with Confederate symbols? A federal judge is wrestling with this question.



SPORTS

Directions to Area Schools

Back to the grind
Raider football team starts summer practice Friday nights under the lights may be where the glories lie, but the players know they must first pay their dues in the summer heat.


Neighborhood News...
BANKS COUNTY
Banks County may get pilot program for recycling project
Banks County may be the site for a pilot program which will use recycled rubber from tires for paving roads.

Judge rules in favor of Baldwin in tax case
A Superior Court judge has ruled in favor of the City of Baldwin in a lawsuit filed by Banks County residents who have been fighting paying the city's property taxes.



News from...
JACKSON COUNTY
PD Theft Covered By City's Insurance
GBI Pegs Amount Missing At $227,000; Probe Almost CompleteIt appears that former Commerce chief of police George Grimes stole $227,000 from the city.

Public safety tops county spending again in 2000
Tax income up 17% over 1999
Public safety continued to be the number one area of county government spending in Jackson County, according to the 2000 audit. A little over 25 percent, nearly $7 million, of the county's expenditures in 2000 went to various public safety departments.


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NEEDING WATER

Angie Dorsey, Blacks Creek Road, is shown signing up for water. She is one of five families operating off one well and "very badly needs some water."


Water relief
Blacks Creek residents seek Commerce water. Residents of the Blacks Creek Church area began voting with their wallets Tuesday night on whether to have water from Commerce piped into their neighborhoods, where wells are no longer dependable.
The Madison County Industrial Development Authority hosted a meeting at which more than two dozen people put their names, addresses and phone numbers on a list signifying their willingness to pay the $600 to $900 it will cost to have municipal water brought to their property.
Reticence about municipal water and dealing with Commerce and desperation for reliable water represented two schools of thought exhibited among nearly 100 people who met with the IDA and the Madison County Board of Commissioners in the sanctuary of Blacks Creek Baptist Church.
John Scoggins, chairman of the IDA, moderated, explaining the options available to residents desiring city water. The first alternative, he said, is to let Commerce build, operate and maintain what would be an extension of the city system. The second option is to let Commerce build and operate the system, with the IDA purchasing it in five years. The third plan, the one favored by the IDA, is for the IDA to install, operate and maintain the system, buying water wholesale from Commerce.
According to Scoggins, Commerce is willing to extend its system out the Blacks Creek Church Road as far as Red Hill Road, serving residents of Mize Road and parts of Blacks Creek Church Road, D. Williams Road and McGinnis Chandler Road about a mile into Madison County.
"That's as far as they're willing to go," Scoggins said. Beyond that point, "the size of the area served is going to be determined by the number of people who sign up," he added. "You need a certain number of people per mile."
Scoggins proposed installing six-inch mains through an arc approximately two miles out from the Madison-Jackson line and selling water at a rate equal to the average of nine area water systems. He estimated a base rate of $10 for the first 2,000 gallons and $4.50 per 1,000 gallons thereafter.
For the rest of this story see this weeks Madison County journal.


Restaurant coming to Booger Hill Rd.
BOC approves rezoning for new eating establishment after lengthy debate. GeorgeAnna House restaurant will open in an old Booger Hill Road house near Hwy. 29 sometime in the fall. The owner says it will be an upscale eating facility comparable to Social Circle's Blue Willow or the Berryman House in Franklin County.
The Madison County Board of Commissioners approved a rezoning opening the door for the restaurant before a packed meeting room Monday.
Most of those on hand were in favor of the proposed restaurant. Nine audience members spoke in favor of the plans; two spoke in opposition.
At issue was an application from George Nenes and Jean P. Long to rezone 2.5 acres of a 9.92-acre parcel on Booger Hill Road from R-R to B-1.
Nenes said he wants to open a restaurant sometime in September or October on the house's first floor. Plans also include office space for "In His Name Ministries," a referral service for those in need, on the second floor.
After a lengthy debate on the proposal, the commissioners voted unanimously to grant the request on the condition that the house be restricted to a restaurant and office space.
The commissioners' unanimous vote for the restaurant was an about-face turn from the planning commission's denial of the proposal a week earlier.
Opponents of the plan voiced concerns about possible noise problems, increased traffic, possible sanitation problems, a potential negative effect on the area watershed and the possibility that the restaurant might fail and that a less attractive commercial development could take its place.
Nenes placed an artist's rendering of the house on a stand before the commissioners and addressed these concerns Monday, saying he didn't feel the restaurant would create much noise. He said the restaurant will use enclosed garbage cans superior to those most people have at their homes. Nenes said he has cut down on his original parking lot and agreed to a gravel lot, instead of a paved one. He said the restaurant will follow all codes in the county regarding sewage.
Nenes also estimated that the restaurant would bring in approximately $13,000 in sales tax revenue for the county per year and he said his proposal is a positive way to revitalize an historic home.
"This house is part of Madison County's history," said Nenes. "In my opinion the best way to preserve the house is to open it to the public."
Robert Lowery, of Booger Hill Road, spoke in favor of the proposal and pointed out that if the restaurant fails, the commercial uses for the property are limited because of the structure's close proximity to Living Word Church. He added that the restaurant won't generate traffic for Booger Hill Road because it's at the end of the road and traffic will be coming from Hwy. 29.
Others spoke in favor of the plans, saying they felt it could be a tourist site and a reason for people to keep their tax dollars in the county.
But six people at the meeting opposed the restaurant.
Dorinda Dallmeyer said she felt the proposal goes against the county's comprehensive land use plan.
"This is in part of the county that is designated for low density growth," she said.
Dallmeyer said the restaurant could also threaten the stability of the area's watershed.
"We don't have the regulations in place to balance the protection of the watershed with business," she said.
For the rest of this story see this weeks Madison county Journal.

 

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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.


School lunch prices raised 10 cents
Madison County's Board of Education raised the price of student meals Tuesday by 10 cents each for the upcoming school year.
These increases are intended to overcome an $8,000 to $10,000 operating loss from last year and to allow upgrading kitchen equipment at several schools.
In other business Tuesday, the board approved contracts for food with four companies. P.S.G. Milton of Oakwood and Samples Foods of Atlanta will provide basics. Flowers Bakery of Villa Rica will provide bread and Pet Dairies will provide milk.
The board voted to continue current banking arrangements. General funds will be deposited at Merchants and Farmer's Bank and Food Service money will be placed in Century South Bank.
The board adopted a spending resolution to operate the school system for the month of August. The BOE set a tentative date for a budget work session for Aug. 7 at 7 p.m.
The board also learned that all county buses have passed the mandatory Georgia State Patrol safety inspection.


Comer man drowns in pond
Seventy-nine-year-old James Edward Harper of Comer drowned in an Oglethorpe County pond Monday.
Harper, of Piney Grove Road, had been fishing in a small pond off the Lexington-Carlton Road near Sandy Cross when his boat began to sink. He reportedly swam back to shore, took off his pants, then swam back to retrieve the boat.
His wife was watching from the bank and saw him disappear on the far side of the boat.
Oglethorpe County coroner and diver James Mathews, using scuba gear, located Harper's body by feel in 12-14 feet of murky water.
Attempts to resuscitate Harper were unsuccessful.
Mathews said there did not appear to be anything in the water which may have hooked or held Harper underwater.