News from Madison County...

March 27, 2002


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OPINIONS
Frank Gillespiie
Arts should be emphasized in schools
Once again two news stories caught my attention last week. I reported to you that a parents group supporting art education made a presentation to the Board of Education.

Zach Mitcham
Saddam, the combustible
Many feel Saddam Hussein is as combustible as the riches under his feet. Others see him as the inflated-head caricature of political cartoons, far less threatening than a destruction-minded despot of doomsday.


SPORTS

Directions to Area Schools

Girls’ track team takes second in two events
Madison County’s girls’ track team topped Winder, Eastside, Greene County and Athens Christian last week, but fell to Norcross and Oglethorpe County.
The Lady Raiders took second in a five-team tournament at Winder last Tuesday and finished second again in a tri-meet Thursday at Athens Christian.


Neighboorhood News ..
JACKSON COUNTY
No new ground broken at three BOC hearings
Final hearing set Thurs. on courthouse site plans
After three of four planned public hearings on the proposed Darnell Road location for a new courthouse, no new ground has been broken nor has the proposal been met with much support.

Area Lawmen Arrest Five Men,
Break Up Two Burglary Rings
Two years ago, Casey Gary was one of the heroes who helped bring a state football championship to the Commerce City School System.


Neighborhood News...
BANKS COUNTY
BCHS player enrages crowd
Player’s comments at banquet draw anger; Gordon asks audience to ‘forgive and forget’
Lady Leopards’ former head coach Mike Gordon has seen his share of controversy on the basketball court. And he probably expected it.

BOC to expand water system
The Banks County Board of Commissioners has approved plans to expand the county’s water system to meet future needs to the tune of $10.883 million.


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The Madison County Journal
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Train, truck collide

BIG COLLISION, no injuries
No one was injured when an 18-wheeler was plowed by a train in front of Trus Joist off Hwy. 72 around 6 p.m. Monday evening. The truck reportedly stalled on the track and the truck driver, Forrest Antonio Bolton of Atlanta, jumped from the vehicle before the collision. The accident remains under investigation.

DA won’t prosecute Almond
Lavender sees evidence of ‘sloppy’ bookkeeping, but no criminality
The state will not pursue criminal charges against former long time Comer Elementary principal Mac Almond.
District attorney Bob Lavender said last week that he will not present a case against Almond to the grand jury, which convenes in April, based on an investigative report he received from the Georgia Bureau of Investigation recently.
Lavender said while the GBI report stated Almond’s bookkeeping was “sloppy for sure” and that it contained “irregularities” it also stated there did not appear to be enough evidence to “meet the state’s burden of proving a case beyond reasonable doubt.”
Almond, who served as principal at the school for 26 years, resigned last spring amid allegations of embezzlement.
The county school board first suspended Almond for unspecified reasons last March, causing an uproar in the Comer community where many still support the former principal.
After Almond’s resignation, then school board attorney Lane Fitzpatrick released a 150-page document containing accumulated evidence to support the board’s charges.
Almond was issued a month-long certificate of suspension late last year, issued by the State’s Professional Standards Commission. The suspension lasted from Oct. 19 to Nov. 19, 2001.
The former principal also faces two years of monitoring by the Standards Commission if he returns to work at a Georgia school.


BOE may name new high school principal Wed.
Madison County may name a new high school principal today (Wednesday).
The county school board accepted the resignation of retiring principal Bob Rhinehart last week. The resignation takes effect at the end of the school year.
Superintendent Keith Cowne said he expects the county school board to name a new principal when the group meets Wednesday, March 27.
Cowne said the search for Rhinehart’s successor is nearing an end and that the list of possible replacements was recently narrowed to four. The superintendent and a committee of high school parents and teachers interviewed the applicants on March 15.
Cowne declined to name the four finalists Tuesday, but he said the board has pretty much decided which applicant will be offered the job.
Rhinehart, who has served as Madison County’s principal for the past two years, was unavailable for comment Tuesday.
OTHER
PERSONNEL MATTERS
The principal’s resignation was one of several accepted by the school board last week. The board also accepted resignations from Evelyn Wages, Comer Elementary; Sharon McDonald, Comer Elementary; Lori Skelton, Danielsville Elementary; and Connie White, Ila Elementary.
On Monday, the school board voted 4-0 to renew the contract of agricultural instructor Jerry Taylor after meeting in closed session. Board member Robert Haggard was not at the meeting due to a death in the family.
Taylor is one of six teachers in the country recognized this year with a National Association of Agricultural Educators Teacher Award.


Easter egg hunt planned
The Madison County Recreation Department’s 15th annual easter egg hunt will be held at 2 p.m., Saturday, March 30, at the recreation department.
The egg hunt is free of charge and open to all children ages 8 and under.
Children will be divided into four age divisions: 2 and under, 3 to 4 years old, 5 to 6 years old and 7 to 8 years old. There will be over 3,000 eggs and 100 prizes.
In case of inclement weather, the rain date is Sunday, April 7. For more information, call the recreation department at 795-2182.

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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.


Easement ban set until April 24
County property owners can’t get an easement to access their landlocked property at least until April 24.
On Monday, the Madison County Board of Commissioners approved a moratorium until April 24 on approval of plans that include residential easements.
In the meantime the county will work on revising guidelines to prevent developers from avoiding paving roads for subdivisions by taking advantage of an ordinance loophole on easements.
The ban does not apply to already approved plans for residential easements.