News from Madison County...

October 10, 2001


Madison County
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OPINIONS
Frank Gillespie
A look at Madison County redistricting

It is Madison County's turn. Now that the Georgia legislature has finished their fiasco of redistricting, city and county governments have to do the same.

Margie Richards
Walking among the 'spirits' of Savannah
My husband Charles and I decided to "get away from it all" last weekend, so we packed a few clothes, a couple of lounge chairs and our bikes and headed for Tybee Island.


SPORTS

Directions to Area Schools

Crunch time
25-5 Raiders set for state sectionals after grabbing area title
The object is simple - win two before you lose two and pack your bags for the state finals in Columbus.



Neighboorhood News ..
JACKSON COUNTY
Jefferson rejects feed mill request
Mar Jac threatens legal action after council denies rezoning application.
The Jefferson City Council rejected a rezoning request for a feed mill to be located off Holder Siding Road Monday. But Mar Jac, the companay seeking to build the mill, isn't backing down.

Ho-Hum; No Comment As City Sets 16.3-Mill Tax Rate
After three public hearings in which only one question was asked, the Commerce City Council officially set its 2001 ad valorem property tax rate Monday night.


Neighborhood News...
BANKS COUNTY
Commerce teen charged in armed robbery
A Commerce teenager has been charged in the recent armed robbery at the Waffle House at Banks Crossing.

County convention and visitors bureau has full-time staff
Sherry Ward to serve as executive director; Bonnie Johnson to serve as president. The Banks County Convention and Visitors Bureau, which was formed several years ago, now has a full-time staff.


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The Madison County Journal
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NATIONAL TREASURE

George Bugg and grandson Chap Bugg look over some letters written over a century ago by their ancestors, Oscar Maxwell and Annie Sarah Coombs Maxwell. The love letters have received national attention since they were rediscovered by Bugg in an antique shop. Bugg, Chap and granddaughter Amanda Bugg recently read excerpts from the letters for a segment of the NBC Nightly News.

Jail break
Convicted kidnapper escapes from Madison Co. jail.
A convicted kidnapper is on the loose after breaking out of the Madison County jail early Tuesday morning.
Darrell Lester, 31, of 125 Cotton Circle, Colbert, should be considered armed and dangerous, according to Sheriff Clayton Lowe.
The escapee had not been caught as of press time Wednesday morning.
Lester was awaiting sentencing after being convicted last week on multiple charges involving the kidnapping of a Belhaven Lane woman last March.
Lester is described as a black male, 5 foot 8 inches tall, 250 pounds, last seen wearing a dark-colored, hooded sweatshirt.
He may be in the company of his wife Angela D. Lester.
The sheriff's office said anyone with any information or contact with either of these persons should call 911.
Warrants have been issued on both parties, according to Investigator Buck Scoggins.
The couple could possibly be driving a 1995 Ford U-Haul enclosed truck with Arizona license plates AA68181 which was rented to Angela Lester.
Darrell Lester escaped the jail about 2 a.m. Oct. 9 after overpowering a jail officer and striking him in the head repeatedly with a blunt object, according to Scoggins.
The officer was treated and released at an Athens hospital for head and hand injuries.
Lester was found guilty last week on charges of armed robbery, motor vehicle hijacking, kidnapping and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.
Chris Andrews and Allah Blakeley, accomplices in the crime, pled guilty to the charges, according to Scoggins.



Police chief suffers broken leg
Danielsville police chief Joe Merk suffered a broken leg Thursday at Madison County High School after a fall near the student parking lot.
Merk, who has been employed by the city for 13 years, said he was investigating recent break-ins in the lot and he jumped down a three-foot embankment while looking for stolen items. He landed wrong on his left foot and broke his leg in two places just above his ankle.
Merk had surgery to repair the injury. Doctors told him it will probably be at least six weeks before he can put any weight on the leg.


Tate appears before Comer council
Former city clerk Elaine Tate had her say at the Comer City Council meeting Tuesday night. Tate made it clear that she was not trying to change anyone's mind.
"I wouldn't have this job back on a silver platter," she said.
Tate hinted that she was fired to clear the way for the return of Steve Sorrells as city clerk. She pointed out that Sorrells resigned his job at the board of education the same day she was suspended. She further argued that she was given no supervision and no warning that her work was unsatisfactory. In fact, she had been given a pay raise earlier in the year.
Mayor Chris NeSmith responded by denying that the suspension and firing were to return Sorrells. He reiterated the charges against Tate, including failure to maintain bank accounts and pay bills in a timely manner. After saying, "It is not my job to baby-sit you," he acknowledged that he had probably failed to properly supervise Tate's work due to his own heavy schedule. He said that was one reason he was not seeking re-election.
After the hearing, NeSmith ruled that the firing stands.
In other business, Stacy Strickland approached the council about purchasing an unused alleyway adjacent to her home.
For the rest of this story see this weeks Madison County Journal.


Radio station planned for Madison County
A new low-power FM community public radio station is being planned for southern Madison County. The non-profit station will be located at 88.1 FM with a power of 250 watts and an antenna height of 30 meters.
Depending on the exact location of the transmitter, the station will be available to listeners from Danielsville to north Athens, including the Neese-Sanford area, Colbert and Winterville. Station manager Lowell Jackson described the programming as "family oriented in the Judeo/Christian tradition."
The station will join several other low-power stations in Georgia and South Carolina. Already on the air are 88.3 FM in Jasper, 88.7 FM in Carrollton and 88.1 FM in Simpsonville, S.C. Their programming is also on the Internet at www.CPRmusic.com
Jackson said that the organization, Community Public Radio Inc., also plans to build their central studio in Madison County, using a satellite to relay programming to other stations.
The station's low power and antenna limitation is necessary due to the available space on the radio spectrum. The station will not be allowed to interfere with existing stations on the same and adjacent frequencies. That does not mean the station will have a small audience, Jackson said.
If a good location for the transmitter can be found, the station will cover up to 100,000 potential listeners in Madison, Oglethorpe and Clarke counties.
Jackson is negotiating with the Madison County Industrial Authority for permission to place the antenna on the Hull-Dogsboro water tower, although that is not the ideal location. The water tower is a fall back site, Jackson said. It would require a more expensive directional antenna than a site along the Hwy. 72 corridor between Hull and Colbert.


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Lost and found
Hull man receives national attention after he finds lost box of grandparents' century-old love letters.
George Bugg, of Hull, wasn't "looking for love" on a Sunday afternoon ramble earlier this year, but that's what he found when he stumbled across a box of old letters in an antique shop as he searched for old car tags to add to his collection.
He wasn't looking to appear on national TV either, but that miraculous find led him and two of his grandchildren, 14-year-old Chap Bugg and 17-year-old Amanda Bugg, to do just that a few weeks ago.
It all began that Sunday afternoon when he stopped to admire the elegantly scripted old letters, each one bagged and tagged for sale, on his way out the door of Reed's Odds and Ends in nearby Oconee County.
"I told the lady running the store 'What beautiful handwriting this is, my grandfather had handwriting like this,'" he remembers.
"Was your grandfather Oscar Maxwell?" the proprietor asked, and when a very surprised Bugg answered that indeed he was, she told him that the letters he was looking at were 103 samples of his grandparents' correspondence, written to each other and to their eldest son between 1879 until grandmother Annie's death in 1918.
Only three of the collection had been sold.
Bugg had been given the carefully saved letters of Oscar Maxwell and Annie Sarah Coombs Maxwell several years earlier by his mother, Mary Ella Maxwell Bugg, but had loaned them to a friend who later informed him that the letters had been stolen in a robbery.
His mother died last year and Bugg hadn't given much thought to the letters since then.
For the rest of this stsory see this weeks Madison County Journal.


Carlton Festival set for Saturday
Carlton will hold its first Harvest Festival this Saturday, Oct. 13, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Hamburger and hot dog plates will be available from Carlton Baptist Church and Shiloh Baptist will serve barbecue plates.
There will be craft vendors, children's amusements, face painting and pony rides.
The event will also feature blue grass and gospel music performed by Billy Fowler, Nancy Seymour, Old Time Sounds and the Journeymen.
A quilt raffle will be held with proceeds going to benefit youth programs at Carlton Baptist Church.


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.