News from Madison County...

August 29, 2001


Madison County
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OPINIONS
Frank Gillespie
State gov't shows hypocrisy

The word of the day is hypocrisy. For those who are not sure what the word means, it refers to those who accuse others of doing the same thing they do.

Margie Richards
Shhh...appreciating the sound of silence

The older I get, the more I appreciate the times when it's quiet.
And those times are really getting to be quite rare.


SPORTS

Directions to Area Schools

On to Apalachee
Raiders hope to rebound Friday from season-opening loss. Madison County's hopes of perfection took a heavyweight punch to the chin in a Friday loss to South Forsyth. Now the Raiders are eager to offer a counterpunch.


Neighborhood News...
BANKS COUNTY
Old railroad bridge in Lula to be opened
Residents will soon be able to use the old one-way, overhead bridge in the the heart of Lula once Norfolk and Southern Railroad finishes the structural repairs.

Test scores released
Some Banks County students fall below state, national averages,
Results of tests taken last spring by third, fifth and eighth graders at Banks County schools have been released by the board of education.



News from...
JACKSON COUNTY
Math a major weakness on CRCT results
Local middle schools struggle most on new state test
Like their peers across the state, local students were weakest in math on last spring's Criterion-Referenced Competency Tests (CRCT).

Planners Pass Bigger Lot Sizes
For R-3 And R-4Proposal Would Limit Developers to Maximum Of Four Units Per Acre. A proposal to decrease the density of duplex and multifamily housing goes to the Commerce City Council with a "do pass" recommendation from the Commerce Planning Commission.


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HOLDING UP THE BANNER

Madison County cheerleaders hold up the banner for players to run through before Friday's game with South Forsyth. Pictured (bottom to top) are Abbi Osley, Sallie Fitzpatrick, Kimmie Porterfield, April Scarboro and Cortney Yarbrough.

BOC to seek help with plans for Hwy. 98
Madison County commissioners want help in determining how to develop the Hwy. 98 corridor.
The board voted Monday to seek bids from architectural firms for a "conceptual master plan" for the Hwy. 98 county properties, where county facilities such as the recreation department, new jail, library, Fine Finish, road department and senior center are located.
County commission chairman Wesley Nash told the board Monday that he would like to seek grant money to relocate the health department in that area.
But this will not be the only change planned.
Due to road expansion, the old Strickland House, which has served most recently as the home of the Chamber of Commerce, will likely be moved from the south to the north side of the road.
Nash has also talked about expanding the recreation department and moving the road department to the opposite side of Hwy. 98. He mentioned the possibility Monday of moving the county ambulance service from Crawford Long Street to the old Fine Finish building on Hwy. 98.
Commissioner Bill Taylor asked what will happen to the old jail when the new jail - which is now scheduled to be completed by Jan. 5 - is opened.
Nash said the county could use the space for probation offices or filing space. But he said he would prefer tearing the building down and selling the property. He proposed the idea of relocating Danielsville City Hall to the current ambulance office and selling the tract of land across from the old courthouse which includes the city hall, jail and large parking lot.
"I'd like to sell that property and take some of that money and put it toward debt relief - i.e., the jail," said Nash. "That property should be on the tax digest."
In other matters Monday, the board approved a travel policy setting guidelines for county employees while traveling on county business. The commissioners agreed to add approximately $3,600 to the probate office for personnel, voting machine maintenance and travel expenses. The board approved Rita Russum as a clerk in the tax assessor's office. The board approved $3,800 for a copier for the extension office. The commissioners settled a tax appeal with a county property owner. The owner agreed to pay back taxes on the property and the county agreed to waive penalties on the condition that the property owner's complaint be withdrawn.
The board approved a 45-mph speed limit sign for Homestead Road. The commissioners agreed, at the request of commissioner Taylor, to grade down a bank in the the Roger's Church area to improve traffic safety. The board agreed to meet with the recreation department at 7 p.m. Sept. 4 in the government complex conference room.
Commissioner Bruce Scogin agreed to talk with county fire chiefs who are not satisfied with how a contract between the departments and the county is worded.
The board met briefly in closed session to discuss "potential litigation" but took no action.


House fire under investigation for possible arson
An early morning house fire is under an investigation by the state fire marshall for possible arson, according to Hull Volunteer Fire Chief Frank Edwards.
The home, located at 2065 Thomas Drive, off Garnett Ward Road, was fully engulfed and spreading to surrounding trees by the time firefighters arrived on scene on Sunday, Aug. 19.
Hull VFD responded to the call around 4:30 a.m., with Neese Sanford serving as backup.
Edwards said neighbors on either side of the home called 911 after the power went off on the street and they looked out and saw the flames coming through the roof of the home.
Edwards declined to give details of how and why the fire may have started, or the names of the homeowners, due to the investigation, saying only that he requested the state's involvement in the matter.
No one was at home at the time of the fire and no one was injured while battling the blaze.
Edwards said he ordered his firemen to dump the first 1,000 gallons of water over the home and trees using a water cannon as soon as they arrived to prevent further involvement of the surrounding area.
"It's extremely dry and we didn't want to take a chance on it spreading," he said.
Edwards said fortunately the closest home was about 150 feet away across the street and homes on either side were a little further away.
On a separate note, Edwards added that his department has been busy these past few days with a couple of "nasty wood fires" due to people burning things despite the outdoor burn ban - which remains in effect until Oct. 1. The burn ban allows for no outdoor burning of any type due to the extremely dry conditions in the area.
He urged county residents to adhere to this restriction.



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Comer council to review applications for new city clerk
The Comer City Council was scheduled to hold a called meeting Wednesday, Aug. 29, at 7:30 p.m. to discuss the hiring of a new city clerk.
According to councilwoman Laquita Bridges, the mayor and council have received more than 20 applications for the clerk's position since the firing of former clerk Elaine McGee-Tate on Aug. 9.
Tate, who had worked there a year, was fired due to alleged discrepancies in the city's financial records and unpaid bills. The city's records have been turned over to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation in order to find out if there was any criminal wrongdoing.
Bridges said the city's bills have been caught up, but there is approximately $20,000 in city funds unaccounted for right now.
Tate replaced long-time city clerk Steve Sorrells.
All of the council, with the exception of the mayor, were to be at the called meeting. However, a vote on a new clerk is not expected until next week's regularly scheduled council meeting, if then, according to Bridges.
In the meantime, two part-time workers, Carol Dennis and Jean Stewart, are helping to man the city hall office, with the assistance of council members Bridges, Allene Pendleton and Virgil Morrow.


'Doing business in Madison County'
Water, sewer, education and labor-related issues are the main concerns on the minds of Madison County business owners, according to a recent survey sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce.
The results of the survey, entitled Business Retention and Expansion Process (BREP), were discussed at a breakfast meeting of Chamber and county leaders last week.
The survey contains a summary of responses of representatives from 14 manufacturing firms in the county. Its goal is to provide information for help in developing long-term ways to retain existing businesses and assist them in growth strategies, according to Mac Brown, of the Georgia Department of Industry, Tourism and Trade, who presented the results of the study.
For the rest of this story see this weeks Madison County Journal.


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.