News from Madison County...

January 09, 2002


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OPINIONS

Frank Gillespi
Problems with the federal education bill
As I write this, our president is traveling around the country promoting and signing the latest federal education bill. I have real problems with this bill.


Rochelle Beckstine
Snow Day
It still amazes me after 22 years how everything shuts down when snow flies.
Iım a native Georgian yet I canıt help but wonder right along with the Michigan transplant why Georgians run from a few flurries.


SPORTS

Directions to Area Schools

Raiders enter subregion play on high note
The ball finally seems to be rolling.
The question now is, can the Raiders keep it moving once the ³real season² starts?
Madison County (4-9) enters 8-AAA North Subregion play on the heels of a 10-point win over Athens Christian Tuesday and perhaps their strongest showing of the year in a nine-point loss to fifth-ranked Winder-Barrow Saturday.


Neighboorhood News ..
JACKSON COUNTY

Hoschton moves forward with city planning board
But action will take time to jump through legal hoops
Like several other Jackson County municipalities, Hoschton officials have decided to begin the legal procedure to form the townıs own planning commission.

Child injured in accidental shooting
A child was injured in an accidental shooting Tuesday afternoon at a Harold Phillips Road, Jefferson, residence.


Neighborhood News...
BANKS COUNTY

Winter storm creates havoc on county roads
Though the snow and cold temperatures moved quietly into Northeast Georgia and Banks County early Wednesday morning, what soon transpired on county roads was anything but quiet.
For Banks County emergency personnel and road crews, it was the beginning of a long 48 hours as they braved snowy, icy roads and cold winds to rescue stranded drivers and clear roads.

Homer council mulls over yearıs projects
City hall, dog ordinance among plans. Shortly after being sworn into office Tuesday, the Homer City Council began the new year by addressing several ongoing and upcoming projects throughout the community, especially the townıs effort to locate a permanent city hall and the establishment of a possible dog ordinance.


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The Madison County Journal
Danielsville, Georgia
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FUN IN THE SNOW

Elijah Cook, 4, and the family dog, Morgan, share a moment of affection while playing in the snow together during last Thursdayıs snowfall. Photo by Charles Richards

Freeze put on apartment planning
Danielsville issues temporary ban on multi-family developments. No apartment complexes will be planned in Danielsville anytime soon.
The Danielsville City Council approved a 60-day ban on conditional permits for multi-family developments Monday.
The action came moments before a request by local developers Gerry Burdette and Phil Munro for a conditional use permit for 17 duplexes behind the Huddle House they opened off Hwy. 29 in Danielsville.
City officials recently issued a permit for duplexes for another developer. But council members said Monday that city water services must be reviewed before more permits for apartments are issued. They said that adding the new jail and the Fine Finish facility on Hwy. 98 to city water and sewer systems could strain city services.
³This (moratorium) is to give us time to study sewage and water impact on Danielsville,² said Mayor Glenn Cross. ³...Right now we donıt know the capacity of the sewage pond. We have to do an engineerıs study on how much we put in and take out.²
Council member Nina Hitchcock asked city attorney Victor Johnson if the council could go ahead and deny the request from Burdette and Munro during the meeting. Johnson said the council could deny, accept or postpone the proposal. Soon after, Burdette and Munro withdrew their request.
Munro, an engineer, questioned the council about the city well, asking how deep the well is — 305 feet — how much water is in the well — 260 feet of water — and how long it takes the well to recover when water is down — about eight hours.
Munro said he felt the city has a productive well and shouldnıt face a water problem with the addition of the development.
But council members maintained that an engineerıs study is a necessary precaution.
³We donıt want to end up without water if we keep burdening the system down,² said council member Kimsey Austin.
The council agreed later in the meeting to spend $3,000 to $5,000 on an engineerıs study of the cityıs sewer and water systems.
ATTORNEYıS PAY
In a separate matter Monday, the council agreed to raise Johnsonıs rate as city attorney from $125 per hour to $150. Johnson works on a month-to-month basis.
NO ONE-WAY
The council agreed not to make Sam Groves Street a one-way roadway after road department head Charles Temple told council members that making the street a one-way road will create traffic troubles instead of solving problems.
OTHER BUSINESS
The council also approved a beer and wine license for Royal Food Store. The group approved an amendment to the insurance license fees, reducing the rate from $35 annually to $15. The council approved an employee discipline procedure which establishes that discipline actions against employees should be ³taken in degrees of increasing severity.² And the council met briefly in closed session to discuss personnel but took no action.


Industrial park planned
The Madison County Industrial Authority (IDA) has purchased approximately 80 acres off Hwy. 72 to establish a ³commercial/ light industry park.²
The property is located approximately one mile east of the city limits of Hull. The authority purchased five parcels totaling 79.79 acres for approximately $425,000 with a loan from Merchants and Farmers Bank of Comer. A 50-gallon per minute well is also planned for the property to ³support the development of a county water system.² The well will serve as a backup well for the Hull water system.
Authority members say the establishment of a second county industrial park will help ensure smart business growth in Madison County, while shifting the tax burden off homeowners.
³The industrial authority has been reactive to economic development in the past,² said authority chairman John Scoggins. ³This helps us become proactive in economic development.²
Scoggins said there arenıt any businesses locked in to locating on the property, but he said the land should be attractive to manufacturers seeking railroad access.
He also allowed that a cold storage plant could locate on the property. The authority recently pushed for a cold storage processing facility in that area. The IDA maintained that the business would bring jobs to the county and improve the countyıs tax base. But the BOC turned down the project after hearing complaints from those who live near the proposed facility.
³Itıs a possibility,² said Scoggins of the cold storage facility.
Authority members say the development of a commercial/ industrial park is ³in compliance with Madison Countyıs Future Land Use Plan.²


Ila mayor resigns
Ila mayor Robert Hooper has resigned.
Mayor pro tem Mike Coile read a letter from Mayor Hooper stating his resignation as of Jan. 7.
Hooper resigned because he has built a home and moved outside the city limits.
In his letter, Hooper thanked council members and city clerk Susan Steed for their hard work.
The city will hold a special election to complete Hooperıs remaining two-year term on March 19.
The council will issue a call for the candidates at their February council meeting and qualifying dates will be Feb. 12, 13, and 14.
In a separate matter, the council approved an amended one-year intergovernmental agreement contract with the county for zoning and building inspections.
At the suggestion of councilman Nathaniel Hobbs, the council voted to amend the agreement to have the Georgia Soil Erosion and Sedimentation Ordinance be controlled by the county as well.
All rezoning requests and other related issues in Ila will now be administered by the county, with the county retaining all fees associated with such requests.
In other business, the council:
€voted the following city appointments for 2002: mayor pro-tem - Mike Coile; city clerk - Susan Steed; city attorney - Pat Graham; bank - BB&T; water superintendent - Troy Butler.
€voted the following city department heads: water - Coile; streets - Don Freeman; fire - Coile and Freeman; and public safety - Butler and Nathaniel Hobbs.
€discussed discrepancies in the cityıs water usage and agreed to check the system for a possible water leak.
€heard from Steed that the company that maintains the cityıs water tank has increased its yearly maintenance fee by $724, from $4,830 to $5,554. Steed told the council they will need to amend the water budget next month to allow for this.


Cold snap
County hit with first significant winter weather of the season
Madison County and the surrounding areas experienced the first significant winter weather of the season last week.
Several inches fell in most parts of the county in a snowfall that began Wednesday afternoon and lasted through the better part of the day on Thursday.
School children still out on Christmas break rushed outdoors to enjoy the white stuff, building snowmen and fashioning make-shift sleds.
Many adults, however, were probably less enthusiastic, as they found themselves stranded in their own driveways, concerned with weather related reports of slippery driving conditions.
E-911 director Thomas Camp said dispatchers received six calls about weather-related accidents on Thursday and none on Friday.
³We also got three calls about people in vehicles cutting doughnuts in the snow,² Camp said.
He said people driving the roads during the winter storm generally seemed to be doing so with caution.
Local road crews with the county road department were out spreading a mixture of salt and sand over bridges and known ³trouble spots² on county-maintained roads.
Assistant road foreman Tony Mattox said the roads in the county were generally in ³good shape² throughout the snow event.
Road department foreman Charles Temple began treating some areas on Wednesday evening, Mattox said, particularly in the Colbert area where snowfall seemed to be somewhat heavier.
Later on Thursday, Mattox said road crews were out in force treating bridges.
³Our main objective is alwaysbridges, where most problems occur. A lot of the roads take care of themselves, except for troublesome spots, mostly in shady areas, that are the same year after year,² Mattox said. ³We learn what to expect in situations like that.²
Mattox said roads were generally clear by Friday morning, with bridges remaining in good shape from being treated the day before.
Department of Transportation crews are responsible for state thoroughfares, and DOT employee Floyd Phillips said crews were out spreading the salt/sand mixture over all bridges and overpasses on those roads.
And as usual in southern icy weather conditions, it was anything but ³business as usual.²
County government offices were closed on Thursday due to the weather, but resumed normal hours of operation on Friday.
School system teachers and administrative staff set to resume their schedules on Thursday ahead of their students, received an extra day of Christmas break. All system employees reported in at 11 a.m. on Friday.
School bells rang on schedule on Monday morning.
Many local businesses were also closed, at least on Thursday.
U.S. Postal Service employees were out delivering mail and local emergency services operations went on as usual.
Jackson Electric Membership Corporation representative Clifford Hudson said there were no weather-related power outages due to the snowfall.
Unlike ice, snow does not weigh down trees and power lines, which can sometimes cause widespread power outages, Hudson said.


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Beatty to introduce redistricting reform bill
Appalled by the actions of Democrats during redistricting, State Senator Mike Beatty plans to overhaul the way lines are drawn in Georgia.
Beatty, who represents District 47, which includes Madison County, said he has drafted a ³Representative Government Recovery Act.²
The legislation would set guidelines on future reapportionment, done every 10 years after the census.
The senator said he aims to do away with multi-member districts and to focus on keeping counties from being split into several districts.
³Iıd like to see parameters set for common-sense districts,² said Beatty, who will run for lieutenant governor later this year. ³People should choose the representatives, not vice-versa. Iıve been troubled by the process.²
District 24 state representative Ralph Hudgens of Hull shares Beattyıs disgust for the actions of state Democrats during redistricting, adding that the public hearings about new district lines held around the state ³were a farce and a waste of time.² Madison County passed a resolution asking that the county not be split in House or Senate redistricting. But the request fell on deaf ears.
³The Democratic party of Georgia should repay all of the money spent (on the public hearings),² said Hudgens. ³It (the redistricting) wasnıt for the good of the people but for the good of the Democrats.²
Hudgens said the new districts will create problems for Madison County.
³The new map creates total confusion for Madison County,² said Hudgens. ³Many (in the county) wonıt have the foggiest idea who their representatives are.²
This yearıs session could be the last for Hudgens as the District 24 House representative. New districts that split Madison County into three House and two Senate seats will likely hold firm, despite legal challenges.
Hudgens said he will run for a seat in the state senate if the current district proposals hold, but he would prefer that the current districts remain and for him to continue serving Madison County in the House of Representatives.
TAX BREAKS
With the economy in a downturn, both representatives say they will push for economic stimulus legislation when the Georgia General Assembly convenes this month.
Beatty said he will seek tax breaks for small businesses, family farms and senior citizens.
Hudgens said he too will seek tax relief for Madison Countians during the session.
³Iım looking for some tax freeze legislation for Madison County to protect property owners,² said Hudgens. ³But thatıs pretty much going to have to be statewide. I donıt know if it will get through the ways and means (committee).²
LOCAL
LEGISLATION
Hudgens and Beatty will also introduce legislation proposed by the Madison County school board to make BOE elections non-partisan and to create two multi-districts for the school board. This move is aimed at keeping current board members from facing off in future elections.
Hudgens explained that local legislators simply present the proposals of local boards and councils to the General Assembly, instead of those groups traveling to the Capitol with the requested changes.
ŒVANILLA
SESSIONı
Hudgens said he doesnıt expect fireworks in the 2002 Georgia legislative session.
He said many politicians will be too worried about holding on to their seats in an election year to risk alienating constituents with bold actions.
³I donıt see anything controversial coming up at all,² he said. ³(Roy) Barnes doesnıt want to ruffle more feathers. It will be a vanilla session.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.