News from Madison County...

March 20, 2002


Madison County
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OPINIONS
Frank Gillespiie
The government’s welfare bureaucracy
“We the people” are making a big mistake. We apparently think that any problem we have can and ought to be solved by government.

Adam Fouche
Advocate gun safety, not gun control
Accidental shootings caused when children play with guns are horrible, senseless and simply appalling.
But in the aftermath of such events, emotions will often push a community to adopt an anti-gun sentiment, fueling the gun control fire.


SPORTS

Directions to Area Schools

Diamond Raiders ready for region play
A clean slate.
That’s what the diamond Raiders are hoping for this week as they enter region play after a 3-5 start in 2002.
“Hopefully, it’s a fresh start, everybody’s 0-0 and everybody’s equal,” Raider head baseball coach Charlie Griffeth said.
And according to the coach, the 18-game region slate can either bring out the best or worst in a squad.


Neighboorhood News ..
JACKSON COUNTY
Boom town BraseltonTown may get 3 million-square-foot retail, distribution center warehouse
A request from three companies could bring a distribution center, warehouse and retail complex totaling more than three million square-feet to Braselton, along with a “Braselton parkway” to connect Highway 53 and Jesse Cronic Road parallel to Interstate-85.

South Jackson murder to be on America’s Most Wanted
A South Jackson County murder will be featured on an upcoming episode of the America’s Most Wanted television series.
Sherry Elaine Brady, 46, and her husband, Alfred Lewis Brady Jr., 58, both of Jefferson, were murdered earlier this year in their Ethridge Road home.


Neighborhood News...
BANKS COUNTY

Poisoning kills seven pet dogs
Residents look for help to solve antifreeze poisonings
At first, as one drives down the private road of the subdivision, things seem normal. But, then, one will notice the lack of barking dogs in the yards. It’s an eerie quiet.

Alto citizens air complaints in heated council discussions
Alto citizens filled the small town hall in Alto Friday night to ask the council a number of potentially sensitive questions.
The first concerned whether or not they would be holding an election for the vacant council seat.


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SUNDAY MORNING HOUSE FIRE

Six volunteer fire departments battled a blaze for over five hours at the home of Herman and Frances Guest on Paoli Road early Sunday morning. The home, which is located near Noble Road, sustained severe damage, according to Steve Sorrells of the Comer Volunteer Fire Department, one of the first units on the scene. The call went out just after 1:30 a.m. March 17 when someone called 911 to report seeing flames at the home. Mr. and Mrs. Guest escaped the fire unharmed. According to Sorrells, the heaviest damage to the single story wooden structure appeared to be on the north side near the carport, leading firefighters to believe this is where the blaze most likely started. A cause for the fire was not immediately known. Carlton, Comer, Collins, Danielsville and Colbert responded to the call. A call for mutual aid assistance for back up also went out to Glade Volunteer Fire Department of Oglethorpe County.

Recreation expansion
County purchases 31 acres for recreation department
Madison County has purchased 31.54 acres of land to expand the recreation department.
The land, purchased for $172,409 from Marianna Miller, is adjacent to the recreation track and county road department.
The county is paying for the purchase with special purpose local option sales tax money (SPLOST). In 1998, county voters approved up to $500,000 in sales tax funds to be used for recreation department improvements.
County leaders have yet to decide exactly how the land will be used. But they have discussed building additional soccer fields, an irrigation lake and nature trails.
The BOC voted last week in a closed session to purchase the property. Though voting behind closed doors is illegal in most all instances, commissioners may vote in closed session to buy land. However, once the deal is finalized, they must make details of the acquisition available to the public.
The board is expected to announce the purchase at its meeting Monday night.


Grocery store may locate on Hwy. 72
A grocery chain may be looking to locate a store along Hwy. 72 in the near future.
Realtor John Byram told the planning commission that a grocery store chain is currently eyeing a 20-acre parcel up for a business rezone along Hwy. 72. Byram declined to name the chain.
County planners voted 4 -2 to recommend approving the request by Byram, who was representing property owner Bobby Doster, to rezone a 20 acre portion a 71.7 acre parcel from A-1 (agricultural, five acre minimum) to B-2 (business) and adjoining .69 and .23 acre parcels from R-R (rural residential) to B-2. Byram also wants to rezone 1.5 acres of the large parcel from A-1 to R-1 to accommodate an existing home.
Chairman Pat Mahoney and Jeep Gaskin voted against the rezone, saying they felt the property should be rezoned to the more restrictive B-1, which would still allow a grocery store and retail shopping center to locate there, while restricting other types of businesses that the B-2 designation will allow, such as manufactured housing sales lots.


IDA terminates Scoggins’ contract
John Scoggins will no longer be employed by Madison County, effective April 3.
The Madison County Industrial Development and Building Authority voted 4-0 Monday to terminate a contract with Scoggins for help establishing a county water system. The action followed a 20-minute closed door meeting on the matter.
Authority member Roger Tench made the motion for termination, saying that the April 3 date of official termination was set because Scoggins must be given 15 days of notice prior to being let go.
Scoggins was recently removed as the industrial authority chairman by the Madison County Board of Commissioners. But he remained employed by the IDA as a consultant on establishing a water system. Scoggins turned in a resignation from that position, but the authority postponed accepting the resignation until Monday, pondering how his departure might set back the county’s work on a Hull water system, particularly as a June 1 deadline loomed for taking over water lines owned by Athens in Hull. The state mandates that the county have a second well running for the system before the transfer of ownership is allowed.
Consultant Tom Sloope told the authority Monday that completing all of the necessary steps prior to the takeover date is unlikely. He said it may take six months to complete the needed work. Authority attorney Victor Johnson said that Athens seems willing to allow an extension of the deadline.

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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.


Boatwright booted by Madison County
Madison County booted Boatwright Construction from the county jail project Monday.
The Hwy. 98 jail was originally scheduled for completion this past November. But construction work remains with no clear end in sight. An independent inspection firm recently found over 100 flaws in the jail’s construction, such as a failure to provide proper steel reinforcement in the cell area.
BOC chairman Wesley Nash said the county’s bonding agency on the project will now “determine if our termination has credence.”
Since the project was bonded, Madison County officials say the county won’t be responsible for costs above the $3.2 million tagged for the construction.
Madison County’s current jail houses an official total of seven inmates and consistently ranks as the county’s most overcrowded county detainment facility.
Some say the county is losing money while the jail sits unfinished. They point out that the county spends thousands of dollars annually in housing prisoners out of the county. But some county officials say the increased operating costs of a new jail will offset the savings from eliminating housing out expenses.