News from Madison County...

MAY 29, 2002


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OPINIONS

Frank Gillespiie
The story of the DeLorian
This past Saturday at the Hull Spring Festival, we were treated to a rare event. Among the antique automobiles in the parade was a DeLorian DMC-12. While this amazing car was highly advanced for its time, it was a dramatic failure. Seeing this car started me thinking about failure, and its place in our lives.

Zach Mitcham
Forget ‘Field of Dreams’
Forget “Field of Dreams,” with Kevin Costner creating a field so the ghosts of baseball past can emerge from the cornstalks to play the game they love.
That sentimental stuff is for the movies.


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Neighboorhood News ..
JACKSON COUNTY
BOC buys Darnell Road site for courthouse
$2.1 million paid for 150-acre site. In a 3-2 closed-door vote, the Jackson County Board of Commissioners agreed Tuesday night to spend $2.1 million to purchase 150 acres on Darnell Road to locate a new courthouse.

Bear Creek water to flow next week
With The water plant finally permitted and running, Jackson County water customers should begin drinking water from the Bear Creek Reservoir next week.

Braselton nixes three big projects in budget
Items trimmed from departments ‘wish list’ for fiscal year 2003. Nixing funds for three big projects next fiscal year, a revised budget for Braselton proposes to generate more than $1.3 million in revenues while expenses will top $1.1 million.


Neighborhood News...
BANKS COUNTY
Jail will be on county farm
Brady pushed for Banks Crossing location. Work can soon begin on Banks County’s new jail and sheriff’s office.
The Banks County Board of Commissioners voted Friday to locate the jail on the county’s Windmill Farm at the end of Thompson Road.
The jail will sit atop a knoll across the new Hwy. 441 bypass just over a quarter mile from the senior center.

Homer Mayor Ray dies
Garrison to fill in until election. Homer Mayor Leon Ray, 62, died Tuesday, May 28, after a lengthy illness.

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The Madison County Journal
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AT THE L.Z. FRIENDLY CAMP-OUT
Doug Capps, veteran and L.Z. Friendly vice president, pauses for a picture Saturday evening at the L.Z. Friendly camp-out.

Wymbs to stand trial again for Harris murder
A second trial is scheduled to open Monday against Albert Wymbs, who is charged with the 1996 murder of 24-year-old Angela Harris.
Wymbs was tried last June for the murder, but the jury couldn’t agree on a verdict, with 11 voting to convict and one voting for acquittal.
The second trial will be held in Elbert County, with jury selection beginning Monday.
Wymbs is accused of stabbing Harris to death at the doublewide mobile home she lived in with her parents on the corner of Creekwood Drive and Hwy. 106 at the Madison/Clarke County line.
The prosecution in the first trial held in the Madison County Courthouse focused on footprints left outside of the victim’s home which led to Wymb’s grandmother’s house. District attorney Bob Lavender said the prints belonged to Wymbs.
He also pointed to the testimonies of two witnesses — Wymbs’ ex-girlfriend Shlion Dious and long-time friend Terrell Young, who said Wymbs admitted to murdering Harris.
“The evidence says he did it and he says he did it,” Lavender told the jury last June.
But defense attorney Scott Davis said the accusations against the defendant were a shaky solution to a five-year-old murder.
The defense attorney said Wymbs didn’t have a motive to commit the crime, that there were several inconsistencies in the testimony, that the footprints were not solidly linked to Wymbs. Davis maintained evidence against Wymbs had been tainted by sloppy police work.


Hudgens to seek state senate seat
State Rep. Ralph Hudgens (R) has announced that he will be a candidate for the 47th State Senate seat, which is all of Banks, Elbert, Hart, Oglethorpe, and Taliaferro counties and parts of 11 other east Georgia counties, including Madison County.
For six years Hudgens has been the State Representative for all of Madison County and a portion of Clarke County.
Following last year’s reapportionment session, the current senator for the 47th District, Mike Beatty, decided to run for the office of Lt. Governor. This left the new Senate district with no incumbent and Hudgens has decided to run for this open seat.
Hudgens has a degree in agriculture and worked for the Agricultural Division of Shell Chemical Company for 18 years. He has also raised broilers and row crops giving him first-hand knowledge of the problems facing the family farmer, officials said. In the first Bush administration, Hudgens served as the state executive director for ASCS, which is now the Farm Service Agency.
“I hope to give good sound representation and take my philosophy of less government, lower taxes, more personal responsibility, greater individual freedom and stronger families to Atlanta and craft legislation that will accomplish those things,” he said.


‘Water witching wizard’
Madison Co. man practices the ancient art of finding water. Madison County’s Jim Warren says he doesn’t know why some people have the ability to find water the old-fashioned way — with divining rods.
“It’s probably ‘personal magnetism,’” Warren said, laughing.
But finding water is a serious matter to the environmentalist, who is concerned about ever-increasing water demands and limited supplies.
So he practices the art of finding water by “divining” or “dousing,” which dates back to ancient times.
Some consider it a sin, but Warren sees it as using the natural magnetic properties of the earth to identify underground water sources.
The “tools” of the practice are traditionally a green forked twig (such as a peach limb), a set of metal coat hangers, or as in Warren’s case, a pair of slender brass rods.
“It’s the interruption of the earth’s magnetic field that causes the rods, or twig, to move,” Warren said. “The art comes in being able to interpret what’s down there; it’s not an exact science.”
For example, water, sewer lines or any other “interruption” in the ground beneath may cause a reaction in the rods.
“There is a magnetic force north to south in the earth, otherwise a compass wouldn’t work,” Warren explains. “However a compass is off up to 45 degrees in some places due to what’s in the earth at that point. Around here compasses are pretty accurate, but in places where there’s lots of iron ore, such as the Great Lakes area, you can’t really follow a compass exactly.”
“It (water divination) will work where a compass will work,” Warren maintains. “The twig or rods serve as conductors of the magnetic force.”
Warren grew up observing the practice, mostly by those who used green tree limbs to divine.
“I always heard of it, but could never get results out of the forked green limb,” he said.
“Since it seems to be a magnetic phenomenon, I decided I needed to use metal. Coat hangers worked pretty good, but I settled with several pair of brass rods because they are more of a conductor of magnetic forces.”
WITCHING FOR WATER
Warren recently set out to search for a new water source on a small piece of property located on Nowhere Road.
First he assembled his equipment, which is basically just the two brass rods, several stakes and some orange marking tape.
Sizing up the area for a likely starting point, Warren held the rods straight in front of him, one in each hand, and walked slowly forward. It wasn’t long before the rods began to separate, pointing hard in opposite directions. He stopped, saying this indicates he has probably found the path of an underground stream.
As he continued to work, Warren also used his interpretation skills to size up the situation.
For example, the adjacent small lot contains several wells: an old hand dug well (now filled in), an old bored well (now dry), and a newer bored well which was found by another person using the divination method.
The lot Warren was working on contains a bored well that is almost dry and a new drilled well which is unusable because of heavy mineral content.
Although he found no sign of water where the old bored and drilled wells are located; just 10 feet away he found where three underground streams appear to connect. But none of these streams flow through the existing wells, Warren said.
During the divination process, the rods seem to move on their own, pointing hard in opposite directions.
Warren said he has found water at depths of greater than 40 feet using this method.
SEEKING THE SIMPLE LIFE
Warren, who grew up in Wilkes County, has a degree in architecture and made his living by designing and building houses in the Atlanta, and later Athens, area.
But his interests these days seem to focus on the environment and government accountability.
Warren moved to Madison County in the 1960’s, fleeing the confines of the urban areas where he had been working.
“I wanted to move my children to a rural area, and I liked the fact that there was no zoning or other restrictions (in Madison County), at the time,” he said.
Of course, to his chagrin, much of that has changed, but Warren, who is now retired, says he still manages to live, think, and function pretty independently.
And while he loves the still rural atmosphere of Madison County, he is greatly concerned about the choices facing county officials.
Of course much of that concern centers around how he sees these officials handling, or not handling, water issues.
Warren is an outspoken critic of local government, and is a familiar face at board of commission, industrial authority and other county meetings.
But when he’s not busy keeping an eye on what’s happening at county meetings, he spends a lot of his time involved in the Broad River Watershed Association (BRWA) where he currently serves on the board of directors and produces a monthly newsletter.


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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.


Business owner will have to shut down shop
Charles Armour will have to find a new place to operate his vehicle repair business and junkyard, commissioners determined Tuesday.
The board voted to deny a request by property owners Wayne and Michael Reese to rezone a 4.73-acre parcel on Hardman Morris Road from A-2 to three different zoning designations — B-2, R-R and R-1. The Reeses wanted to rezone a .68 acre portion to B-2 for an existing car repair shop, a 1.5-acre parcel to R-1 for an existing home and a 2.5-acre parcel to R-R.
The Reeses rent the property to Armour, who lives in a home on the property where he runs a vehicle repair business and junkyard that does not comply with county zoning guidelines.
The commissioners heard from Wayne Reese and from Armour, who said they had made changes to upgrade the area, such as installing a fence, and were willing to do whatever was necessary to ensure the business could remain on the property.
But six people took the podium to oppose the plans, saying that a business is inappropriate for the residential area, that the property is aesthetically unappealing because of all the cars on it and that kids’ safety is at risk due to traffic in and out of the facility.
In other matters Tuesday:
•The BOC approved a request by Leon Swindle to rezone a five-acre portion of a 95.79-acre parcel on Duncan Swindle Road from A-1 to R-R and R-1 in order to subdivide the property into one two-acre lot and two 1.5-acre lots. Swindle wanted the rezoning in order to have three existing homes located on separate parcels.
•The board approved a request by Heath Hill representing owner Annie Kate Hill to rezone a 5.02-acre parcel on Power Road from A-2 to R-1. Hill wants to subdivide the property into three 1.5-acre parcels for two existing homes and one future home for her grandson. The rezoning was allowed since the properties are served by county water lines. Hill had originally requested one-acre lot minimums.
•The BOC approved a request by Chuck Mueller for an area variance for property located on Colbert Danielsville Road. Mueller wants to place a home on a 1.624-acre tract, which is less than the required amount of acreage for a homesite in an agricultural zone.
•The board approved request by Michael McDaris to rezone a 2.99-acre tract on Colbert Grove Church Road from A-2 to R-1 in order to subdivide the property into two parcels for existing homes.