Madison County Opinion...

SEPTEMBER 18, 2002

By Frank Gillespie
The Madison County Journal
September 18, 2002

Frankly Speaking
New Athens mayor
may impact Madison Co.
The recent election of Heidi Davison as the new mayor of Athens is likely to have a major impact on Madison County. Davison’s platform has created uncertainty among many of Clarke County’s businessmen and developers. If her policies are put into effect, it is likely that many of them will be looking for opportunities to move their businesses out of Athens.
Currently, those fleeing Athens are going to Oconee County. But Oconee is a small place that has fears of over development. They are likely to take actions to limit growth. That leaves Jackson, Madison and Oglethorpe counties for possible sites for fleeing Athens businesses.
Of the three, Madison has the nearest population base that businessmen want to provide workers and customers for their businesses. The Hull-Dogsboro area is the fastest growing residential area in Madison County and one of the fastest growing in Northeast Georgia. Current estimates are that the county will be able to take over the Hull water system in December, allowing for an expansion of the system. More water will allow more growth.
In the next few years, these businessmen are likely to look to Madison County as a prime location for moving or expand their operations. New residential areas are already on the drawing boards, including a new thirty one home development in the city of Hull. The only holdup to rapid development on the southside of Madison County is lack of sewage.
It is interesting to note that a major part of Madison County’s recent population growth has come from homeowners fleeing Clarke County’s already high taxes. Davison’s program will likely increase the county’s tax collections even more. These facts suggest that Athens developers will also be looking to Madison County for future projects.
We in Madison County have to make a couple of key decisions. First, do we want the growth that flight from Athens may bring? Will we simply go along as we have been going and hope they don’t come? Will we pass anti-growth ordinances to keep them out? Or will we get busy and prepare the county for the influx of homes and businesses that are likely to come our way?
If we want to prepare for growth, we have to start now developing plans for sewage, more water, better roads, sidewalks and traffic control in the Hull/Dogsboro area. We need to look at basing an ambulance and crew in the area.
If we don’t want growth, we had better get busy rewriting our zoning and subdivision rules in a way that will keep growth out.
The one thing we cannot afford to do is nothing. We have seen the results of no action in several nearby counties, and it is not pretty.
Madison County, decision time is here!
Frank Gillispie is founder of The Madison County Journal. His web page can be accessed at His e-mail address is

By Zach Mitcham
The Madison County Journal
September 18, 2002

From the Editor's Desk
The hair/gut ratio
Pythagoras had his theorem.
Maybe I can establish Mitcham’s theories and observations.
Here’s a start:
1.) The male hair/gut ratio: This is defined as follows: “The acceptable length of hair on a man’s head grows shorter as his waist expands.” As my waist grew in my mid-20s, I recognized that I just started to feel sloppy as my hair got longer. So, for me, hair squared plus waist squared equals youth gone square.
2.) Flannery O’Connor wrote “A good man is hard to find.” But how about a good shoe? Heck yeah, a good shoe is hard to find. And yes, I am a shoe loyalist. There’s this old brown pair that I’ve worn pretty much everywhere, everyday for over five years. I’ve bought other pairs and I’ll give ‘em a chance, try to break them in, but they never make the cut. And days later, I’ll be back to that trusted, old pair as sure as Otis hits the bottle. Remember Otis, don’t you? From Andy Griffeth.
3.) The more a guy talks about his golf game, the less you have to fear him on the course. That goes for any other sport or endeavor.
4.) The elimination of the “small” choice of fries or drinks in some eating establishments is just the first wave of a vast conspiracy to eliminate traditional sizes from our vocabulary. Soon we will no longer have medium or large, or even extra-large. There will just be biggie, big-biggie, Oh-my-biggie.
5.) The one-finger wave means a different thing in the country than in the city.
6.) Kindness is helping overkill. You know what I mean. That nice lady sees you put your fork down to try to breathe between shovels full of food, then insists that you “take out” for a fourth or fifth time.
7.) Love seems inversely proportional to credit taken. (No I didn’t rip that off of a fortune cookie.)
8.) Letting a person in front of you in traffic is not a tremendous act of kindness. However, it always warrant a “thank you” wave of the hand or nod of the head. Anything less is very irritating to the one who has been polite.
9.) Snoring is shocking when you hear yourself do it. Sometimes I wake and open my eyes, then snort with an inward blast of air, alarming myself.
10.) Speaking of sleep, nobody cares about your dream unless they’re in it. Tell one of your dreams to somebody and get a little long-winded with it. Unless, it’s about how that person saved your life or hit a home run, I guarantee their mind will drift.
I know my lame “proofs and theorems” won’t stand up like “a squared plus b squared equals c squared.”
But — at least for this week — it beats writing about Iraq.
Zach Mitcham is editor of The Madison County Journal.

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