News from Madison County...

October 17, 2001


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OPINIONS
Frank Gillespie
Anarchy of change

America is facing an anarchy of change. Things are changing so rapidly that we are all becoming disoriented. If this uncontrolled and undirected change continues, our culture will be unrecognizable within a few years.

Rochelle Beckstine
Don't forget to give to cancer research

At a time when Americans are opening their pocketbooks to the many victims of the September 11 terrorist attack, cancer awareness month has all but disappeared.


SPORTS

Directions to Area Schools

Overachieving Raider softball team looks for state gold in Columbus
The words "rebuilding year" apparently aren't in the Madison County softball team's vocabulary.
Instead "state championship" is the catch phrase that resonates among the young Raider outfit these days.


Neighboorhood News ..
JACKSON COUNTY
Commerce's Annual Residential Cleanup Is Next Week
It's time for Commerce's annual fall yard and house cleanup.
All next week, the city's Public Works Departments will pick up from the roadsides and take to the county transfer station all manner of junk, trash and debris that the rest of the year it refuses to remove.

Texfi shuts down; 160 lose jobs
For the second time in as many weeks, a local textile plant is shuttering its windows. Texfi Industries in Jefferson shut down Friday, according to plant manager Tim Harris. A small crew is finishing up some work at the plant, said Harris.


Neighborhood News...
BANKS COUNTY
Rec. director charged with embezzlement
Banks County Park and Recreation director Barry Brooks, 35, was charged with embezzling over $10,000 from recreation funds and arrested Friday.

Beatty speaks to chamber on video poker, redistricting
State Senator Mike Beatty spoke on video poker and redistricting at the Banks County Chamber of Commerce breakfast Thursday.
Beatty praised the way Georgia Democrats and Republicans got together on the video poker bill to ban the machines.


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READY FOR SOME FUN

Little Savannah Evans, 19 months, of Carlton, catches the excitement of her town's Harvest Festival last Saturday.

Mother arrested for 'false statement' in child's death
The mother of a 16-month-old Colbert boy whose Sept. 29 death was ruled a homicide was arrested on Wednesday, Oct. 10, in connection with the crime.
According to the sheriff's office arrest report, Hope Bertha Buie, 21, Colbert, was arrested by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation in cooperation with the Madison County Sheriff's office and charged with giving a false statement to authorities. The crime is considered a felony.
According to Sheriff Clayton Lowe, Buie remains in the Hart County jail on a $5,000 bond. Madison County jail has limited facilities for women prisoners.
Lowe said no one has been arrested as of yet for the baby's death, but the investigation is continuing.
Buie's 16-month-old son, Ceasar Bolton Jr., was transported to Athens Regional Medical Center after sheriff's deputies and emergency medical personnel responded to the Madison Boulevard address in Colbert around 11:30 p.m. that Saturday night. The boy was found to be bruised and unresponsive.
Evidence resulting from an autopsy performed at the state crime lab led authorities to determine that the little boy's death was a homicide.
According to a press release from the sheriff's office, the cause of death was said to be "peritonitis, which was the result of a severed intestine."
Rick Chamberlin, Madison County Department of Family and Children Services director, said Tuesday that Buie's 2- year-old child has been taken into DFACS custody and placed in a county foster home.
Chamberlin said the older child was taken from the home on Oct. 1, after his office was notified by the county coroner of Bolton's death and the autopsy results.
The child will remain in state custody at least while the criminal investigation continues. Relatives in Florida have expressed an interest in assuming custody, but certain procedures between the two state offices will have to be conducted before, or if, such a request is granted.
DFACS reportedly dealt with the home in an earlier case involving the now-deceased child.
According to Chamberlin, Athens Regional Medical Center contacted his office about a concern of "medical neglect" and lack of supervision involving an accidental injury on Feb. 1 of this year.
According to Chamberlin, the hospital was concerned about a two-day lapse in the time the child was brought to the emergency room for treatment on Jan. 31, and the time of the injury, which was said to be two days earlier.
A Child Protective Services investigation was conducted and after further discussions with the family, it was determined that no malicious neglect was involved. The case was found to be unsubstantiated and closed at that time.



Planners tied up on controversial variance request
County planners were evenly split Tuesday night on a controversial zoning issue that earlier caused a mother and daughter who own neighboring property to storm out of the meeting.
The commission had a tie vote of 3-3 on whether or not to recommend allowing an area variance for three non-conforming lots of record, each zoned R3, and each containing approximately 1.3 acres. (The minimum required lot size for R-3 is 1.5 acres with a well and septic system located on the property.)
Billy Vandiver purchased the three tracts, located on Piedmont Park Road, a graveled county road off Garnett Ward Road, with an understanding from the zoning office that building permits could be purchased for each tract since they were recorded lots that had been "grandfathered" in before zoning laws came into effect.
Zoning administrator Kim Butler said she did tell Vandiver that permits could be purchased because Madison County has "always issued building permits to lots of record."
But Butler said she was later advised by county attorney Mike Pruett that owners of such tracts should be required to have an area variance on the property before being allowed to build.
"In other words, this was a change of policy after the fact," commission member Roy Gandy said.
Barbara Paul and her daughter Lori Bragado, who both own homes across the road from the land in question, objected at length to allowing the variances.
Paul said that allowing three lots with mobile homes on them would devalue her property and that she believed the three small lots should be recombined into two.
Bragado agreed, also citing a belief that the three small lots, if given variances for homes, would decrease property values further in the area.
The pair later angrily left the meeting after acting chairman Bill Holloway refused to allow Paul to ask a question during a special session. (According to meeting rules, public comment is not allowed once a public hearing is closed.)
On rebuttal, Vandiver maintained that the requests meet all the zoning ordinance's requirements for area variances and argued that the controversy had already caused him to lose a sale on one of the tracts.
"These lots are on your tax records and we were told what we were told when we purchased them - that's why we bought them. We weren't told about having to have a variance approved until after the fact," Vandiver said.
Gandy agreed, saying the matter had caused a hardship on Vandiver as the result of an "unfortunate change of policy that came after the fact." Gandy also maintained that any such change in policy should, in his opinion, have been done in written form with the public's knowledge.
"But it is also unfortunate that they (the three lots) are smaller than the required lot size," he added.
"I'm not comfortable with this situation at all," commission member Jeep Gaskin said. "The road (Piedmont Park) is sub-standard and you're putting more people in there and ultimately diminishing the county in the long run."
Butler agreed, but pointed out that the situation was not being created by the commission, but that they were in fact dealing with tracts that already existed.
The board of commissioners will consider this and other zoning matters after a second round of public hearings during their regular business meeting next Monday night.
In other rezone requests, the commission unanimously recommended approval of:
·an amended request by Re-Max realtor Joan Sloan, representing property owners Steve and Stephanie Zucker, to rezone a one-acre tract and a 7.4-acre tract that adjoin each other on Veteran's Drive from A2 (agricultural) to RR (rural residential, two-acre minimum). Sloan agreed to condition the request so that the property can only be split once. The Zuckers, who have the property up for sale, want to first combine and then re-subdivide it into two different parcels; one containing approximately 4.8 acres and the other about 3.6 acres.
·a request by Ervin J. Burke, representing his son, Michael Burke, to rezone a 5.08 acre tract on Hwy. 191 from A1 to RR in order to subdivide it for another homesite.
Two other items on the agenda: a request by OK Soon Myung to rezone a 10.75-acre parcel on Della Slaton Road from A2 to RR and a request by Harold Gaulding, representing Eloise McCurley, to rezone a .47-acre parcel on Hwy. 72 from R1 to B2 (commercial), were postponed until next month's public hearings.


No date set for Wymbs' re-trial
No new trial date for Albert Wymbs, accused in the Nov. 1996 stabbing death of 24-year-old Angela Harris, has been set as of yet.
District attorney Bob Lavender said Friday that Wymbs will most likely not face a jury again until after the first of next year.
Wymbs was originally tried for the murder last June in Madison County Superior Court, but the jury was unable to reach a verdict in the case.
Wymbs is accused of stabbing Harris at the doublewide mobile home she lived at with her parents on the corner of Creekwood Drive and Hwy. 106 near the Madison/Clarke County line.
Wymbs, who is currently serving time for several Athens-Clarke County burglaries, was charged in the Harris murder after police received new evidence in the case.


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Prisoner captured in Clarke; wife charged in escape
An escapee from the Madison County Jail who was considered "armed and dangerous" is back in custody, along with his wife.
The sheriff's department, along with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation Athens and Thompson Division, the Athens-Clarke County Police Department and the Wilkes County Sheriff's Department, captured Darrell Demetric Lester, 30, of Colbert, on Thursday, Oct. 11, and charged him with felony escape.
Lester's wife, 21-year-old Angela Dawn Lester, also of Colbert, was also arrested for aiding in her husband's escape.
Although Mrs. Lester was later released on a $5,000 bond, she was taken into custody again on Tuesday, Oct. 16, and charged with being a party to her husband's aggravated assault on the jailer at the time of his escape.
Also arrested in connection with the crime were: Richard Alla Gresham, 38, of Colbert, on one count of hindering the apprehension of a fugitive, and Dexter Daniel Foster, 18, Athens, aiding escape. Gresham was released on a $5,000 property bond.
Besides Mrs. Lester's arrest on Tuesday, the sheriff's office also charged Frederick Brooks, 27, of Danielsville, an inmate in the jail, with one count each of being a party to the aggravated assault on the jailer and aiding Lester in his escape.
According to the sheriff's department, Brooks allegedly supplied the iron bar that Lester used in the attack on the jailer when he made his escape on Oct. 9 around 2 a.m.
Mrs. Lester, who had rented a U-Haul and filled it with the couple's belongings, was allegedly waiting at the jail when Lester made his getway.
According to a sheriff's department press release, the couple was captured during the early morning hours of Oct. 11, without incident at the Nellie B Apartment Complex in Athens. The couple's U-Haul was found the day before their capture in the parking lot of Kroger in east Athens with all their belongings still inside.
Mrs. Lester returned to the sheriff's office last Tuesday afternoon to check on the return of some of her belongings and was taken into custody at that time on the "party to aggravated assault" warrant.
Lester was found guilty earlier this month on charges of armed robbery, motor vehicle hijacking, kidnapping and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.
At the time of his escape, he was awaiting sentencing on the charges, which stemmed from his involvement in the kidnapping of a Belhaven Lane woman last March.


BOC to set tax rate Oct. 22
The Madison County Board of Commissioners will meet Monday at 6 p.m. to discuss this year's proposed tax rate. The board will then officially set the millage rate and adopt the 2002 budget during its regular 6:30 p.m. meeting in the county government complex.


Danielsville Fall Festival set Saturday
The Danielsville Fall Festival, sponsored by the Danielsville City Council, will be held this Saturday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Madison County Park, located near the County Government Complex on Hwy. 29.
The festival will feature crafters, food vendors, raffles, and live entertainment, including several local bands. Proceeds from the festival will benefit ACTION, Inc. and the Madison County Parks Committee, Inc.
In addition, a rabies clinic, sponsored by the Madison-Oglethorpe Animal Shelter, Inc. (MOAS), will be held from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Proceeds from the clinic will go to benefit MOAS, a non-profit humane society.
For more information, call: Jerry or Grace Riley, 795-2826; City of Danielsville, 795-2189; Leah Lutz, 549-8779, or Tracy Dean, 789-3471.


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.