News from Madison County...

December 26, 2001


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Madison County H.S.
RAIDERS WEEKLY 


Tues., Nov. 6
ELECTION RESULTS

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OPINIONS

Frank Gillespie
Reminded of my age
It is happening more often now. I am encountering events that remind me of my age. Most recently, I have been confronted with those magazine covers featuring George Harrison, and a two-word comment from one of my teenage co-workers.

Margie Richards
The heart of Christmas
Christmas is for kids.
It seems everywhere I turn this year Iım reminded of that more and more.
When our kids were little, Charles and I giggled conspiratorially and plotted surprises for them, enjoying their delight in Christmas lights and visits to Santa Claus.


SPORTS

Directions to Area Schools

Lady Raiders look for turnaround in Christmas tourney this weekend
Madison Countyıs 2001 girlsı hoops season hasnıt gone as well as planned.
The 1-8 team will try to reverse its fortunes in the Athens Academy Christmas Tournament this weekend, before taking a two-week break from action.


Neighboorhood News ..
JACKSON COUNTY

David Clabo named Jefferson city manager
David Clabo, Jackson Countyıs director of planning and development, has been hired by the City of Jefferson as its first city manager.
The city council unanimously agreed in a brief meeting Monday night to hire Clabo. Details of his contract, including the salary, were not given. City officials said the details are still being negotiated and are not finalized.

New planning board holds first meeting Jefferson conditional use permit approved
With the recent changes to the Jackson County Planning Commission occurring so suddenly, the three newest members were greeted at their first meeting Thursday with paper name plates, replacing the names of the men who sat there before them.


Neighborhood News...
BANKS COUNTY

Chamber wants changes in new year
The Banks County Chamber of Commerce is ready to embrace a new year, but with a few changes in mind.

BJC patients could get Internet
For a startup fee of $2,800 and $650 per month, BJC Medical Center could align itself with a medical Internet search engine that would give patients a powerful tool to research injuries and illnesses.


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HOLIDAY SPIRIT

Members of the community came out last Saturday evening to take part in the Live Nativity scene and luminarias on Booger Hill Road. Pictured (left)William Kitchens, 3, portrays a shepherd boy.

BOE approves Œmulti-districtsı
Patton says action is self-serving
Madison County school board members voted 3-2 Tuesday to create multi-districts on a new district map, a move aimed at keeping current BOE members from facing off in future elections.
Ric Power, John Mason and Elaine Belfield voted for the action, while Jim Patton and Robert Haggard opposed the move.
Patton vehemently opposed the plan, saying the change serves the interest of the board, not the public.
³This is not for the benefit of the kids or the voters,² said Patton. ³This is for the benefit of board members.²
But Belfield, Power and Mason maintained that creating multi-districts is the best way to maintain fairness and to ensure that voters, not line-drawing computers, decide who serves on the board.
The BOEıs proposal creates two, two-seat districts and one, one-seat district. Under the plan, districts three and five will be grouped together, as well as districts two and four. Board of commission districts will remain single-member districts.
³Iım sorry that itıs had to come to this, but I think that the multi-member districts are the best way to go,² said Belfield, who would be dealt the short straw without the change.
Because of the BOEıs staggered terms, Belfield would be forced off the board for two years before she could seek re-election.
But she can qualify to run again without a layoff thanks to the creation of multi-districts.
She said the way the district lines were drawn on the two proposed maps was simply unfair.
³Iıve done this 12 years and the computer squiggles these lines and they put me out for two years without an opportunity to run,² she said.
District lines are redrawn after each 10-year census. County leaders asked the legislative office in Atlanta to draw a district map that eliminates split precincts, thus simplifying election procedures in the county.
Two maps were presented to the county and both maps would move Belfield and Patton into one district and Mason and Powers into another.
Patton said he is worried that the multi-districts could last for 10 to 20 years, perhaps long after the current board is gone. He said that as populations in Danielsville and Hull grow, future school boards could have two representatives from each of these towns with other parts of the county having no representation.
Power told Patton that the board is not ³locked in² to the multi-districts, that a future board could change the BOE back to single-member districts.
The Georgia General Assembly will have the final say on the boardıs recommended plan during the 2002 legislative session. The BOEıs action Tuesday sets in motion a resolution seeking a vote from the General Assembly. The board also voted unanimously to ask legislators to approve non-partisan elections for BOE posts.


Almond served certificate suspension
Former Comer Elementary School principal Mac Almond received a one-month suspension of his certificate as an educator in the state of Georgia following an investigation by the stateıs Professional Standards Commission.
Almond resigned as principal of the school earlier this year after allegations that he illegally profited off school funds.
Apart from the suspension, the former principal also faces two years of monitoring by the Standards Commission if he is employed by another school system.
The one-month suspension, which he served from Oct. 19, 2001, to Nov. 19, 2001, according to documents from the Standards Commission office, barred Almond from teaching in a public school in Georgia, as well as prohibited him from serving as a paraprofessional, aide or substitute teacher.
Whether Almond will be prosecuted for his alleged wrongdoings has yet to be determined by District Attorney Bob Lavender.
Almond, who served as principal of the school for 26 years, received an outpouring of support after his suspension and resignation, but the former principal has not spoken out publicly about the allegations. The Professional Standards Commission investigative summary, printed in its entirety in this weeks Madison Couty Journal, includes statements from Almond and others involved in the issue.

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Ad in hand... Bird became a national champion
Saturday was certainly not a feel-good day for Madison Countyıs Brad Bird. But his college football career is surely a feel-good story.
The Carlton native finished his days on the college gridiron Saturday as his Georgia Southern Eagles fell to Furman 24-17. The loss ended Southernıs quest for a third straight national title in Division 1-AA football.
Bird said the setback hurt.
³As a senior I would have liked to have finished a little better,² said Bird,
But he recognizes too that his time on a two-time defending national champion team was once a long-shot dream. He went from a guy simply responding to an ad to a man with a title ring.
Bird showed up early one morning at the Georgia Southern football office with a copy of the school newspaper in his back pocket. The ad read: ³Long snapper wanted.²
The Eagles needed someone with accuracy hiking the ball over a long distance on punts and kicks. Itıs a duty that gets little attention, until the snapper sails the ball over a punterıs head and costs the team the game.
³I had been doing that since I was a little kid about 6 years old,² said Bird, adding that he would practice snapping the ball to his father in the hall. ³In recreation ball my team was the only team that could punt.²
The Georgia Southern coaches liked what they saw. And Bird soon had a spot on the team and a jersey.
He was finally back in action. Bird sat out his senior season after transferring from Madison County to Franklin County — he played for the Red Raiders his ninth through eleventh grade years.
The decision to answer the ad paid off in a big way for Bird, who along with fellow Madison Countian Paul Collins — out this year with an injury — earned a national championship ring as part of Georgia Southernıs 2000 national title squad.
³Winning the national championship, that was the highlight (of his college career),² said Bird.
The long-snapper will graduate in May with a degree in small-business management and plenty of football memories.
³(Bird) came in the program, worked hard and became consistent,² said Southern offensive coordinator Mike Sewak, quoted in an October Savannah Morning News article. ³That turned out to be one ad that paid off.²


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.