News from Madison County...

January 23, 2002

Madison County

Madison County

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Frank Gillespi
The rest of the redistricting story
Last week you read the story about Senator Mike Beattyšs refusal to support the Madison County Board of Education reapportionment plan. Today, with apologies to Paul Harvey, I will tell you the rest of the story!

Margie Richards
Living the Œgood lifeš in Madison County
I took a walk through our woods Sunday afternoon with my little dog, Crickett, and several cats in tow.


Directions to Area Schools

.Lady Raiders needing complete game
If high school basketball games were 16 minutes — not 32 — the Lady Raiders would have gone 2-1 last week.
Instead the squad dropped three more contests to fall to 4-13.
Second-half meltdowns led to two of those setbacks.

Neighboorhood News ..

BOC member says individual contact on zonings illegal
Public hearings only place for comments, Beshara says
If you want to make a comment about a local rezoning matter, don’t pick up the phone and call a county commissioner — that’s illegal, says one member of the board.
Suits filed against Braselton
Barrow County, Gainesville question town’s earlier decisions. Citing violations of a Georgia law, the city of Gainesville and Barrow County have filed two separate lawsuits against the town of Braselton for allegedly stepping beyond the town’s right when it supposedly connected to a south Hall County water line and for the recent annexation of Strickland River Farms’ 499-home development.

Neighborhood News...

BOC moves forward on water contract with Baldwin
The Banks County Board of Commissioners and the Baldwin City Council are negotiating swapping water customers.
The matter was discussed for more than one hour in a called meeting Friday morning.

Coalition seeks Lula intervention on feed mill
Residents still hot under the collar over issue
Lulašs city council may have thought the Mar Jac feed mill controversy was over as far as they were concerned, but a few dozen Lula residents and members of the East Hall Coalition brought the subject before the city council for the fifth time in three months.
The Madison County Journal
Danielsville, Georgia
Telephone: (706) 367-5233
Fax: (706) 367-8056

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Madison County’s “Teacher of the Year” Shirley Aaron stresses the importance of parents taking an active interest in their kids. She also is a strong supporter of the county mentoring program.

Madison County
‘Teacher of the Year’ was....Born to teach
Shirley Aaron finds joy in instructing MCMS students. Shirley Aaron says she never doubted what she was supposed to do with her life. She has always known with unshakable certainty that she was meant to teach.
Now in her sixth year in that profession — her fifth teaching eighth grade language arts at Madison County Middle School — Aaron has been chosen by her peers as this year’s system-wide “Teacher of the Year.”
“I have always known I was born to be a teacher,” Aaron said. “Although I waited 46 years for my childhood dream to come true, it brought me the contentment for which I had always yearned.”
And realizing her desire to teach was reinforced by the teachers who profoundly influenced and encouraged her, Aaron says it is her hope that she will someday be remembered as fondly by one of her students.
“Just as my teachers gave a love of knowledge to me, I want to pass on their legacy by making contributions to education. My gifts are given to one child at a time,” she said. “To implant a love for learning and to give personal support are my goals each day.”
Aaron feels she is amply rewarded for her efforts when she sees her students’ achieve their goals — both personally and academically.
“Having a student return for a visit years after leaving to say ‘I’m still writing’ makes me know that yes, finally, I am a teacher,” she said.
Every year teachers at each of the county’s seven public schools vote for their school’s “teacher of the year.” Aaron, as the middle school’s choice, along with winners from each of the other schools, then submitted a detailed application about themselves and their teaching goals.
From these submissions a committee of past “Teachers of the Year” select a system-wide winner, who is then eligible to become Georgia’s “Teacher of the Year.”
“Because of the exemplary company I keep (with other teachers), I feel humbled to have been chosen to represent my school, and county, as ‘Teacher of the Year,’” Aaron said.
By making a special effort to get to know her students, Aaron believes this gives her the unique opportunity to sometimes discover special needs they may have.
And if she finds she can’t meet those needs in the classroom, she works to find assistance from other sources, such as the mentor program, a project she has long sponsored.
First piloted at Madison County Middle School in 1998, the mentoring program is now in operation at each school in the county.
Aaron, along with the Madison County Chamber of Commerce Education Committee and other volunteers, began the process of recruiting adult mentors to pair with children in need of some extra “one-on-one” attention.
If selected later this year to represent the state as Georgia’s “Teacher of the Year,” Aaron says her main message would be a recruitment plea for more mentors to fulfill what she sees as a “desperate need” in many students’ lives.
“Every child needs attention,” she said, adding that she is often frustrated by a lack of parental involvement.
Aaron also spearheaded the middle school’s first “Career Day” last spring, inviting a number of adults in the community to share a little about their careers with the students.
“Students need to be exposed to different areas of employment as they begin to make decisions about classes to take in high school,” she said.
A second Career Day is planned for this spring.
And she is excited about a new “peer mediation” program being started at the middle school that is designed to help children, with the aid of teacher supervision, work out problems between themselves in a productive way.
Although Aaron didn’t officially obtain her teaching degree from UGA until her mid-40s, she says her preparation for the classroom began long before.
While an elementary school student herself, she helped younger children with their reading and began teaching Sunday School classes at church while in middle school.
In her first career as a banker, Aaron says she often trained new employees.
And while she enjoyed her job, she says she always had the nagging feeling that it was not what she was supposed to do.
After her four children were born, she continued to teach Sunday School and later served as a substitute teacher before taking a job as a secretary/ bookkeeper at the middle school.
Finally, with the total support of her husband Kenney, and children; Christy, Enoch, Gracie and Jane, she began her goal of obtaining a teaching degree.
“It took me longer than four years because I sometimes took quarters off to be with the kids, but with the family’s help and support, we got it done,” she said of completing that degree at age 45.
These days, Aaron says she is happy and content in her life, surrounded by her family which now includes Christy’s husband, Richard Hanson, and their four children.
As for her other children, son Enoch, 23, is a senior at UGA, Gracie is a sophomore at Emmanuel College and Jane is transportation secretary at the board of education office in Danielsville.
Kenney continues his career as owner of an oil recycling company.

Manufactured home permits up slightly in 2001
The number of permits for manufactured homes jumped from 162 in 2000 to 212 in 2001.
But the county has shown a decline in permit numbers over the past five years, with 1,282 mobile home permits issued between 1997-2001, compared to 1,732 issued between 1992-1996.
Meanwhile permits for houses increased over the past five years, with 735 permits issued between 1997-2001 compared to 591 permits between 1992-1996. One hundred forty five house permits were issued in 2001, up slightly from 143 in 2000.
Commercial permits were up significantly in Madison County over the past five years.
Seventy-four commercial permits were issued by the county planning department between 1997-2001, up from just 11 between 1992-1996.

Proposed rec. fee increase a source of contention
Five dollars more to play sports.
Not a large sum of money.
But an unfair tax on kids, according to some in the county.
The county recreation board has proposed a $5 user’s fee for all Madison County sports played at recreation department facilities.
County commissioners heard nearly two hours of discussion on the matter Monday, but took no action. The board will consider the issue again Monday.
While the $5 usage fee was the main focus of the meeting, much of the discussion Monday shed light on tensions and apparent communications problems between the Little League and the recreation department.
Frank Strickland of the Madison County Little League said the recreation department has a $600,000 annual budget but doesn’t have the time to make ball fields readily accessible to parents and kids.
“I want the fields available when needed, not at the convenience of the recreation employees,” said Strickland.
Strickland said the Little League already saves the county thousands of dollars annually with their extensive volunteer work. He pointed out that the Little League consistently provides upgrades to the recreation department, such as wind screens for batting cages.
He said the county already pays a usage fee in taxes that support the recreation department and Strickland maintained that any fee increase would be unfair to kids.
“This acts as a tax for the kids of Madison County,” said Strickland. “Are you going to pull a kid off the field for not paying the $5 usage fee?”
Audience member Mike Young shared Strickland’s view.
“If Madison County Little League has to play on fields in surrounding counties, then we should pay a user fee,” said Young. “But we already paid a user fee when everybody got their tax bill in December.”
Recreation department director Dick Perpall told the commissioners that the recreation department is the target of a “personal vendetta against us.”
“There’s some people spreading things that we have it in for Little League,” said Perpall, adding that such beliefs simply aren’t true and pointing out that the recreation department works hard to maintain the fields for the Little League and others. He said the weather is the primary obstacle in field maintenance.
“We’re just trying to provide a good facility,” said Perpall. “And it doesn’t get done by itself....The bottom line is I want to work with them (Little League), but they’ve got to meet us halfway.”
The proposed fee increase would help cover overtime expenses for the recreation department, which usually logs extra hours between February and April. One audience member said she couldn’t support such a hike for the sake of covering overtime, but she could if the money went for “something tangible for the kids.”
Madison County Youth Association vice president Arlen Johnson echoed this sentiment.
“We (the MCYA) are talking about things we’d like done to improve the park,” said Johnson, who mentioned construction of restrooms and a concession stand for the football fields. “I’d rather see us go in this direction.”
A suggestion was also made to have recreation employees go home when the weather is bad and come back when fields can be worked on, thus keeping employees off overtime. Some favored this suggestion, but others pointed out that it may be unfair to ask employees to give up weekend time because of poor weather earlier in the week.
Talk also focused on the allowance of out-of-county kids into youth programs in the county.
Some programs have allowed out-of-county kids in at no cost to boost participation numbers when the turnout is low.
BOC chairman Wesley Nash suggested that there be no across-the-board fee increase. However, he recommended that any out-of-county athlete allowed into Madison County sports be charged an extra $25 per sport played.

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Beatty blasts
video poker ruling
Sen. Mike Beatty has blasted the ruling by Superior Court Judge John J. Goger regarding video poker in Georgia.
“The people of Georgia have made it very clear to their elected officials that they do not want this illegal video gambling industry in our state,” Beatty said. “This industry preys upon our families and our economy.”
Beatty said the law would have allowed legitimate amusement companies to operate, but should have rid the state of “illegal commercial gambling operations.”
“It is my hope that the Georgia Supreme Court will quickly move to overturn this decision,” he said. “The people of Georgia have spoken. We, the legislators, have listened and acted. It is time for this illicit industry to leave our state.”

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.