News from Madison County...

APRIL 24, 2002


Madison County
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OPINIONS

Frank Gillespiie
Time to stop pork barrel
federal spending
Citizens Against Government Waste has released their annual Pigbook. The document list thousands of federal spending projects added to the federal budget by congressmen and senators and designed to enhance their chances of reelection. According to the report, Congress will spend over $20 billion on 8,341 local projects.

Margie Richards
Pet cloning? Give me
a break!
Nobody loves animals more than I do. Not just my pets - all animals.
But a recent article in a magazine and several TV news stories have really gotten my dander up - the subject is pet cloning.


SPORTS

Directions to Area Schools

Raiders red-hot in late April again
Second-place Madison County enters crucial region stretch on heels of five-game winning streak. If the rejuvenated diamond Raiders have been experiencing a bit of de ja vu lately, there’s a reason.


Neighboorhood News ..
JACKSON COUNTY

Note payment due, but who will pay?
Water board chairman calls for ‘an end’ to BOC sniping
A $150,000 note payment on Jackson County’s share of the Bear Creek Reservoir is due Thursday and that could lead to a showdown between the Jackson County Board of Commissioners and the county water and sewer authority.

Escapee caught after running from court Fri.
A Jackson County man appearing in State Court Friday escaped from custody and led officers on a chase on Hwy. 15 before wrecking.
Eric Keith Carter allegedly ran from the State Court auditorium and up Lee Street where he got into a car that had been parked in front of Regions Bank.

Pendergrass council member dies
Pendergrass city council member Joyce Wilkerson, 63, passed away Saturday, April 20, following a long battle with cancer.


Neighborhood News...
BANKS COUNTY

Test Time
First through eighth graders tackle the CRCT
What is the range of 10, 10, 20, 30 and 40?
What verb best completes the sentence, “The cat _____ fluffy”?
All of the following are arthropods except....

Action for a Clean Environment plans
‘Mobile Chernobyl Caravan’ this weekend
The 16th anniversary of the deadly Chernobyl nuclear disaster is Friday-Saturday, April 26-27.
“Radioactive fallout from the explosion at that reactor contaminated land, plants, animals and people hundreds and even thousands of miles away,” Adele Kushner, Action for A Clean Environment leader said.

Baldwin to seek increase for fire and rescue contract services
Banks County and the City of Alto will be receiving requests from the Baldwin City Council for a big increase in fees for contracted fire and rescue services.

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The Madison County Journal
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ALL SMILES

Two year old Allison Puckett, of Comer, was all smiles as she clutched her new “doggie” balloon made for her by “Be Bo” the clown at Saturday’s Spring Fling in Danielsville.

‘Keeping it green’
Meeting focuses on conservation subdivisions proposalKeeping the county green.
That’s the aim behind an alternative subdivision proposal which would allow tighter clustering of home lots in subdivisions as long as developers agreed to keep large tracts of land on the property undeveloped.
But some local developers are concerned that mandating more environmentally-focused subdivision guidelines would strip them of another kind of green — cash. They also questioned whether it would be appropriate for the local home-buying market.
“It’s a good concept,” said local developer Gerry Burdette. “If a developer wants to go with this, that’s great. But I don’t want it mandated. This is not what the market dictates.”
As it stands, there’s no apparent plan to implement any such measure on a countywide basis, but the county may look at requiring developers to stick to conservation subdivision guidelines for any major residential developments along the Broad River corridor. Leaders may also give developers the option of using conservation subdivision plans instead of current guidelines.
On Thursday, county commissioners sat in the audience as county planner Jay Baker outlined the positives of a conservation subdivision plan. Along with helping protect the rural character of the land, the subdivisions would require less infrastructure and maintenance costs and allow for greater flexibility in lot configuration, Baker said.
He also said such conservation-minded plans are needed as the population continues to grow and open space becomes more and more precious. And he pointed out that conservation subdivisions have been successfully developed in surrounding counties, such as the Kenny Ridge subdivision in Athens.
Audience member Charlie Jameson spoke up in favor of the conservation guidelines, saying that Athens is crawling toward Madison County and that county citizens will be grateful in years to come for actions now to protect rural areas.
But developer Coleman Whitehead likened proposed conservation restrictions to “socialism.”
“We’re restricting our children’s options,” he said. “We don’t need to be restricting future generations by adding more and more bureaucracy...Socialism is creeping in.”
Jameson retorted that “socialism” isn’t the problem.
“Our lives are becoming more and more restricted because more and more people are moving in,” he said.
Concerns were also expressed about who would own, maintain and pay taxes on the designated green space.
Baker said a homeowners’ association is a key component in conservation subdivisions. He said such an association would foot most of the responsibilities of the upkeep of the conservation subdivision and may jointly own and pay taxes on the shared green space.
But some audience members voiced skepticism about the likelihood of a homeowners’ association taking charge in a conservation subdivision.
“You can’t mandate somebody to pick up trash,” said one citizen.
Commissioners took no votes Thursday, but the meeting may have been a prelude to more debates to come.
“I’d like to see conservation,” said county commission chairman Wesley Nash. “But I’ve got concerns (about the proposal).”


Nash urges ‘total’ rec dept. expansion plan
Says focus shouldn’t be just on newly acquired land
Madison County commission chairman Wesley Nash said he thinks the county should look at the entire recreation department when considering what to do with just over 30 acres of recently purchased property for recreation expansion.
“I see development of a piece of property that’s been purchased, but I don’t see development of the full park,” said Nash, after hearing proposals on what could be placed on the new property. “We should take the whole property old and new and see where we’ll move.”
Madison County commissioners made no decisions on recreation department expansion during a Thursday meeting on the matter, but the group agreed to seek input on plans by presenting a survey to the public. The county may also hire outside help soon to assist in developing an expansion plan. One local engineer, Abe Abouhamdan, was on hand Thursday to listen, while offering some suggestions, such as the benefit of placing walking trails close to creeks.
“That’s where you have your hardwoods,” he said.
The group also heard from recreation director Dick Perpall, who said the new land could be used for much-needed soccer fields, practice fields, an irrigation lake, nature trails, parking and picnic areas. He also mentioned a possible area for kids to skate and for people to walk their pets.
“There is a lot of potential,” said Perpall. “It’s pretty exciting.”
Nash pointed out that next year he plans to move the road department across Hwy. 98 and open up the current road department property for the recreation department.
He also emphasized the need for a main road through the park from Hwy. 98 to Brewer Phillips Road.
“I think there should be a road where you can turn off Hwy. 98 and drive all the way through the park and hit Brewer Phillips Road,” said Nash. “Accessibility to the public is important.”


Madison County Grand Jury makes recommendations
After touring Madison County school and government facilities and hearing reports from local officials, a Madison County Grand Jury made the following recommendations:
GENERAL RECOMMENDATIONS
•The hiring of four deputies to decrease the arrival time on the scene of emergencies.
•To purchase four police cars for use by these deputies.
•Hospital insurance of elected officials to be paid by the county.
•Evaluating heating/air conditioning system for tax commissioner’s office. Current system is controlled in the magistrate office.
•The air conditioning in the sheriff’s office and the jail to be repaired or replaced.
SCHOOLS
•For all schools visited: Carpets that were torn need to be replaced with new carpet or tile.
COLBERT ELEM.
•Seriously damaged ceiling tiles be replaced.
•The shattered window in the lunchroom to be replaced.
•New furniture to be purchased for use in the library for the safety of the children.
•Surface of the sidewalk to be repaired.
•A concrete pad to be placed underneath the dumpsters.
COMER ELEM.
•Repair unsafe playground equipment.
•Current parking insufficient.
•The lighting problem mentioned in the April 2001 Grand Jury presentations was resolved by painting the entire school a brighter color.
DANIELSVILLE ELEM.
•Expand the cafeteria.
•Current parking insufficient.
•Additional playground equipment to be purchased.
•Make repairs to the air conditioning units.
•Build an addition to the school for additional classrooms.
•Fast-growing shade trees to be planted in the playground area.
MCHS
•The front doors to be replaced.
•Repair surveillance cameras.
•Install locks on bathroom stall doors.
•Install a turning lane in front of the high school.
•Build an addition to the school to provide additional classrooms.
•Hire additional teachers.
•Repair the locks on lockers.
GENERAL COMMENTS
•For the county to set aside more SPLOST money for the construction of a multi-purpose building. This building would be used for proms, fund-raisers, banquets, concerts, a gymnasium, classrooms and county functions. The building would allow county residents to hold these events inside the county instead of using adjacent county facilities.
•The Grand Jury found that there are many problems with the construction of the new jail. The general contractor has been terminated and all work has been stopped. The Grand Jury recommended that future Grand Jurors closely monitor this project.
•The Grand Jury visited the jail and sheriff’s office and found the jail to be clean. “We questioned the jail inmates’ well being,” the Jurors’ report said. “We were told the food was being served to their satisfaction. They had no further complaints of their treatment. We found the jail to be extremely overcrowded.”
•The Grand Jury recommended that the Industrial Authority be reviewed by the county. “We the Grand Jury find that we do not believe the members of the Madison County Industrial Authority acted in the best interest of the citizens of this county when they purchased the Hwy. 72 property for $480,000,” the Jurors’ report said.
•The Grand Jury also appointed the following individuals to the Tax Equalization Committee: John Dunleavy and Alice Bullock.


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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.