News from Madison County...

JULY 10, 2002


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OPINIONS

Frank Gillespiie
The corporate power structure
“Power corrupts,” someone said. “And absolute power corrupts absolutely.” The more power is concentrated in the hands of a few, the more corrupted those powerful men and women will become.

Zach Mitcham
On hard feelings and the rec. dept.
There’s no quick fix to the hard feelings surrounding the recreation department these days. Resentments are running deep.
So where do we go from here?


SPORTS

Directions to Area Schools

Senior team splendid in title run
The late “splendid splinter” probably would have been proud of the great batsmanship.
The Madison County Senior League all stars batted over .400 as a team, while claiming the District 7 tournament this past week, winning four games by a combined score of 59-4 in just 22 innings of action.


Neighboorhood News ..
JACKSON COUNTY
Man wanted in South Jackson murders arrested in California
A man wanted in the murder of a South Jackson couple has been found in California driving the vehicle that belonged to the victims.
Jackson County Sheriff's Department chief investigator David Cochran said that David A. Hodges was arrested in California Saturday.

School year will start without spring test results-CRCT, Stanford 9 scores delayed
It may be two months after school starts before local educators have results from the spring CRCT and Stanford 9 testing in hand.

Braselton’s moratorium lifted Tues.
Braselton should begin booming once again when it hears annexation and rezoning requests in August.


Neighborhood News...
BANKS COUNTY
Armed robber hits Banks Crossing motel
At approximately 7:40 p.m. Monday evening, a man walked into the Hampton Inn at Banks Crossing and robbed a clerk at gunpoint.

Cheek named new Homer mayor
Doug Cheek, a Homer town council member, was named mayor on Tuesday following Sandra Garrison’s six-week term as mayor pro tem.

BOC, Baldwin reach fire contract deal
After more than a month of negotiations, Banks County and Baldwin have struck a deal on fire service.

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The Madison County Journal
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ALL DECKED OUT

Mary-Michael Chasteen, 2, and her mom, Resnell Chasteen, of Comer, were all decked out in red, white and blue, for last Thursday’s Colbert Fourth of July parade.

Rec board dismayed with reprimand
Madison County’s recreation board voiced their dismay Monday with a recent reprimand issued by county commissioners to recreation director Dick Perpall.
On June 24, the board of commissioners acted to override Perpall’s decision to close two baseball fields several days before all-star tournaments so that the fields could be prepared for tournament play. The commissioners voted to order the fields open so all-star players could practice for tournaments and the BOC issued a reprimand to Perpall in writing, while maintaining that Perpall should make the facilities more accessible to the public.
On Monday, Howell Seagraves, chairman of the recreation board, opened the meeting and welcomed Richard Lindsey, chairman of the Little League board and other board members. Lindsey immediately disavowed one of Perpall’s most ardent critics, junior league coach Frank Strickland. Lindsey said Strickland was one of 25 Little League board members and did not speak for the board. He said that if he remains on the board he would oppose Strickland’s presence on the board next year.
Lindsey praised Perpall saying that, “Dick has bent over backwards to meet our requests.”
Strickland, who was coaching the junior league National All-Stars’ game Monday, was not at the meeting, but he said Tuesday that he does not have a “personal vendetta” against Perpall.
“Basically, I have nothing personally against Dick,” said Strickland. “I just want to keep the fields open...With the amount of money we spend on the recreation department it should, in my opinion, be open 24 hours a day, seven days a week....I think our recreation department wants to work a 9 to 5 job. And that’s not the way a recreation department should be run. I’ve been involved for eight years and it’s gotten progressively worse.”
Recreation board member Doug Epps urged all board members to talk to their commissioners to find out why they issued the letter of reprimand. He wanted to know if commissioner Bruce Scogin was serious when he suggested that “we fire them all,” referring to the Recreation staff.
Perpall told the group that the letter of reprimand that covered himself and his senior staff, along with Scogin’s comment had affected the morale of his workers.
“They took the wind out of our sails,” he said.
New board member Bill Chandler reported that he had listened to the tape of the BOC meeting and that Commissioner Mike Youngblood was the instigator of the action. He said that Scogin’s comment was in response to Youngblood’s criticism of the department.
Chandler said that Youngblood was trying to micro-manage maintenance of the fields, which Chandler felt was not appropriate. “We have great pride in our fields,” he said. “They are beautiful and need to stay beautiful.”
Little League officials agreed saying that the Madison County fields were far better than those of any other county in the district.
Chandler suggested that the board’s bylaws be rewritten to clearly indicate the powers and responsibilities of the board. As they exist, he said, the bylaws are worthless.
Chandler called for unity on the recreation board urging all members to declare their support for Perpall and his staff. All six members stated their support. Epps, a frequent critic of Perpall, said that he was offering his full support, but that “doesn’t mean that he always agrees with Perpall.” He said he would back any decision of the board.
Epps added that the board needs to find out what the problem is and called for a work session with the board of commissioners to determine why they acted as they did. He said that if the recreation board finds that the commissioners’ actions were uncalled for, he would support a demand that the reprimand be rescinded.
Perpall was pleased with this move, but asked if they would include a demand for an apology. Several board members agreed that an apology was probably needed.
The board voted to seek a work session with the commissioners and representatives from each sport as soon as possible to work out problems.
“We need things to work smoothly for the children,” Epps said.


Complaint alleges Ralph Hudgens isn’t
legitimate candidate
A complaint filed with the Secretary of State’s office alleges that Senate District 47 hopeful Ralph Hudgens is not a legitimate candidate because he doesn’t actually live in the 47th district.
The complaint, filed by Robert Johnson of Hartwell, includes a request that Hudgens’ name be excluded from 2002 election ballots. Johnson says Hudgens does not actually live at 509 Clover Avenue in Comer as stated on his declaration of candidacy.
Secretary of State Elections Division director Linda Beazley said she has forwarded the complaint to the Office of State Administrative Hearings. She said Tuesday that she has yet to be notified of a hearing date on the matter.
Hudgens maintains he has followed the law and suggests that the complaint is an election-year scheme to take the choice of representative out of the hands of voters.
“I’ve complied with the law,” said Hudgens. “I’ve crossed all the ‘T’s’ and dotted all the ‘i’s.’ Let’s let the voters decide who will represent them without resorting to these tactics.”
Hudgens resided for years in a Hwy. 106 house in Hull, which is now in the senate’s 49th district — Republican incumbent L.S. Casey Cagle will seek election to the 49th post.
But the candidate says his official residence was 1699 Old Kincaid Road, Colbert, Georgia from October 2001 to June 2002, and has been at 509 Clover Avenue, Comer, Georgia, since June 2002.
Hudgens is scheduled to face 30-year-old Democrat Robert Banks of Canon in the November general election for the newly drawn District 47 seat, which includes most of Madison County, all of Banks, Oglethorpe, Hart, Elbert and Taliaferro counties and parts of Jackson, Franklin, Habersham, Wilkes, Lincoln, Oconee, Greene, Warren and McDuffie counties.
The senate hopeful said Tuesday that he has set up a temporary residence at the Clover Avenue locale until he can finish work on a two-bedroom, two-bath, business/residence at 1955 Center Street in Comer. He notes that there is a similar business/residence setup nearby.
The Madison County Board of Registrars met July 1 and ruled that Hudgens could not list the Center Street locale as his residence since “intent to move into a residence did not warrant voter registration.” The registrars did approve the Clover Avenue residence, noting in their minutes that Hudgens had “spent two nights” there.
“As far as I’m concerned, he’s O.K.,” said county registrar board chairman Patricia Carey. “He’s met every requirement he has to now.”
But Johnson maintains that Hudgens fails to meet a state constitutional provision that requires that a person live at least a year in a place before running for office in that district. He also maintains that Hudgens claimed a homestead exemption for his Hull property last year and that state law stipulates that because of this exemption, Hudgens’ official place of residence is in District 49 in Hull.
“I ask that you request the appropriate hearing as required by law, determine that Mr. Hudgens is not qualified to be elected to the state senate from...District 47...and withhold his name from the ballot,” wrote Johnson in his complaint.
But Hudgens’ attorney Robert S. Highsmith Jr. said Hudgens does meet the one-year requirement.
“In late October 2001, Representative Hudgens established residence at 1699 Old Kincaid Road, Colbert, Georgia, also in Madison County, so that as of the Nov. 5, 2002, general election, he will have been a resident of the newly configured State Senate District 47, for which he is a candidate, for one year,” wrote Highsmith to the registrars’ board.

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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.


Man shot by deputy booked into county jail
An Ila man, shot last Thursday by a deputy during a domestic disturbance call, was recovering from his injuries enough to be booked into the Madison County Jail around mid-day Tuesday.
Mark Rice, 42, was charged with two counts of aggravated stalking, aggravated assault on a peace officer and felony obstruction. He may also face other charges.
Rice was shot in the leg by the deputy on July 4 when he tried to attack the officer with a butcher knife.
The incident occurred at the Hwy. 174 home of Rice’s ex-wife and son late Thursday. Rice was at the home despite a temporary restraining order against him.
According to Sheriff Clayton Lowe, Rice pulled out the phone lines in the residence and cut himself in the throat with a butcher knife from the kitchen before his ex-wife escaped and ran to her father’s home next door to call 911.
Rice was admitted to a local hospital after the shooting where he underwent surgery to place a pin in his leg. He was released into custody Tuesday.
The deputy remains on administrative leave while the Georgia Bureau of Investigation performs an evaluation of the incident, as is routine in law enforcement cases involving a shooting, Lowe said.


Hull city hall sale comes with ‘unusual’ conditions
If Hull’s mayor and council sell the town’s city hall, it will be under a set of unusual conditions.
The council decided to sell the city hall building at last month’s council meeting after a 15-minute closed session with city attorney Pat Graham to discuss the matter.
The council voted 2-0 to sell when the meeting returned to regular session, with councilman Ken Murray abstaining.
According to minutes of the closed session, the conditions on the sale include that the mayor and council retain possession of the building for just over 10 years - through 2013 - that they have the right to use the grounds for one Saturday per year in May for the town’s festival; and that the buyer be required to pay insurance and upkeep on the building for the 10 years the city is using it. The city reserves its right to reject any and all bids.
An appraisal obtained before the closed session from Jack Thornton of Smith, Boley, Brown by councilman Ken Murray, set the building’s value at $85,000. However, the council estimates that the building, sold with the conditions, would have a fair market value of around $42,000.
Graham asked that the building be reappraised with those conditions taken into consideration.
Mayor B.W. Hutchins said last month that the council considered the property to be “no longer needed” and therefore “surplus.”
The council purchased the building on Old Elberton Road, formerly a residence, several years ago for $55,000, and currently owes a loan balance of approximately $30,000 on it to BB&T Bank.
The city will now advertise the sale, with the above-listed conditions, for 30 days. Bids will be opened during next month’s regular council meeting on Monday, Aug. 12 beginning at 7 p.m.