News from Madison County...

OCTOBER 23, 2002


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OPINIONS

Frank Gillespie
Proposed amendments show weakness in constitution
When you go to vote on Nov. 5, you will be faced with a series of constitutional amendments concerning property tax exemptions. I have a real problem with these questions.

Margie Richards
Some marks of a true Southerner
Recently my pastor, Wayne Douglas, read an amusing piece in church concerning what it means to be a “true southern person.”

Jana Adams
Atari, anyone?

If you are around my age, you’ll remember being called “Generation X” and puzzling over what that meant. I still don’t know, really.

Rochelle Beckstine
Society encourages weight gain
Is it too many carbs? Or is it too much fat?
For years, “experts” have been urging America to cut this or avoid that in order to slim down; yet the truth is cutting one food group out of your diet is not good for your body.


SPORTS

Directions to Area Schools

Making it to next week
The AAAA fast-pitch postseason can best be described as a battle of the fittest. And Madison County’s softball team has lived to fight another day.


Neighboorhood News ..
JACKSON COUNTY
County tax rate to stay the same
But net property tax income to climb by $1.2 million
The Jackson County Board of Commissioners is poised to set this fall’s tax rate the same as last year’s millage numbers. But even though the rate may be the same, the county will still sweep in over $1.2 million more in property tax income, thanks to growth in the tax digest.

Officials Celebrate Completion Of Bear Creek Reservoir Project
The weather was perfect and the atmosphere festive as approximately 100 people gathered under a big tent on the shore of the Bear Creek Reservoir last Friday afternoon. The occasion was the dedication of a $60 million project that has been in the works for a decade and a half.

Property owner rejects courthouse site terms
Although the Jackson County Board of Commissioners agreed Monday night to take an option on a second potential site to locate a new courthouse, the property owner has rejected the deal because he doesn’t want a jail to be located within a specific distance of property lines on the site.

County alcohol referendum on hold
County commissioner Emil Beshara agreed Monday night to hold off on calling for an alcohol referendum until the county seeks input from those supporting the action.


Neighborhood News...
BANKS COUNTY
County’s solution to festival fee dispute may not work
Though the county has taken a step to solve a horse arena fee conflict with the chamber of commerce, the solution may not work at all.

American Indian festival, horse show planned Saturday
An American Indian festival and horse show is planned for Saturday, at the county’s horse arena.
The Banks County Horse Association and the newly-formed Winter Hawk Clan of Georgia, Cherokee are sponsoring the event.

Local candidates come together for forum
The candidates running in four contested seats within the county came together in a political forum at Banks County High School Tuesday night.

Lula to issue ultimatum
Members of the Lula City Council voted unanimously Monday night to issue an ultimatum to developer Barry Wikle to fix the road into a subdivision on Victoria Lane or be fined $2,500 per day until the road is properly repaired meeting city codes.

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Down-home fun in Danielsville

The Southern Stompers of Royston take the stage at the Danielsville Fall Festival Saturday.

Senate 47 hopefuls face off in forum
Candidates for the State Senate District 47 post, which represents most of Madison County, faced off at a political forum in Banks County Tuesday evening.
Ralph Hudgens, a Madison County Republican, is facing Robert Banks, a Democrat from Canon.
In his opening statements, Banks said he believed in public service, good government and in helping people. He said he has upheld those ideals and would continue to do so. Banks identified the need for affordable health care and prescription costs for seniors as a key concern. He also said promoting sensible economic growth in rural counties like Banks was important. He added that he supported measures to make Georgia’s public education system the best in the nation.
Hudgens in his opening said four words described himself: Christian, family man, business man and conservative. He also said he had five beliefs that he used to evaluate legislation: less government, lower taxes, more personal responsibility, greater individual freedom and strong families.
In response to a question on how his background had prepared him for the post, Hudgens said he had been involved in business and understood the importance of free enterprise. He also said government should be operated like a business. He pointed to a term in the U.S. Department of Agriculture that helps him understand bureaucracy and his work in the House of Representatives gives him an understanding of the legislative process.
Banks said he is a political newcomer but believes his employment in state and local government over the past 10 years has prepared him for the Senate seat.
One question asked the candidates to identify key issues facing the state and how to address them. Banks pointed again to health care, saying companies were overcharging for medication and forcing some to forgo medicine purchases and end up hospitalized. He also said education, quality water and sensible economic growth were key concerns.
Hudgens said the primary issue is education.
“When we’re 50th in the U.S. in SAT scores, we are not educating our children,” he said.
Until the state improves education, he said Georgia could not attract some businesses to come here. He also said he had a proposal to handle rising prescription costs that he would present if elected.
Hudgens said keeping Atlanta from taking Northeast Georgia’s water was a also a key concern. Hudgens pointed to an idea to pump water out of the Savannah River basin into the Chattahoochee River basin in order to “fulfill Atlanta’s insatiable thirst for water.” He said he’d like to prohibit that.
Banks said educating the workforce was important to keep graduates in the district. He said sensible economic growth in rural counties would keep the workforce in the area.
Another question asked the candidates’ plans to make it easier for third party candidates to get on the ballot.
Banks said everyone should have the opportunity to serve in public office, whether rich or poor and regardless of party.
Hudgens said he saw several proposals for third-party reform while in the House of Representatives, but rejected them because he saw them as slanted. He said the Democratic proposals favored the Libertarian party and would take votes away from Republican candidates. However, he said if the proposals were balanced, he’d be in favor of reducing restrictions. Hudgens said he was the best man for the Senate seat because of his age, maturity and experience in business, bureaucracy and government.
Banks said he was a good cross section of the voting public and was a working man.
“What Mr. Hudgens didn’t tell you is that he has the financial freedom to do this full-time,” he said. “I am appalled that that is what we now have as the standard for public office.”
Banks went to explain that he works for a living and knows what it’s like to make it ends meet.
In his closing remarks, Banks said he wanted to serve the public and not himself. His views on education also earned him an endorsement from the Georgia Association of Public Educators, he said. He added that he was young, but felt a diversity of young and old within the Senate was necessary.
In his closing, Hudgens reminded the voters of the five ideals he uses to evaluate legislation. He also said he is a member of the National Rifle Association, that he supported the Second Amendment and has been endorsed by the NRA in the past.


IDA seeks extension on water takeover
County industrial development authority (IDA) leaders are seeking an extension from Dec. 1 of this year to June 1 of next year on the takeover of Athens water lines in Hull.
The $500,000 purchase of the lines is part of the IDA’s development of a water system in Hull to help foster commercial growth in that area. Many say such growth is crucial in lowering the tax burden on county property owners.
The hitch in the takeover of the Athens lines has been establishing a required backup well for the Hull system. The rehabilitation of an old Hwy. 72 well was held up for months due to a technical problem — a drill bit broke loose in the well and could not be recovered for months.
Now, engineers say the establishment of water lines from that backup well will take until May 1 to construct.
“We know we won’t meet the Dec. 1 deadline,” said industrial development authority chairman Ed Brown, regarding the use of the backup well.
Brown said he doesn’t anticipate a problem with getting an extension from Athens on the takeover, but he said he would like to have the extension in place before the new year, when a new administration takes office in Athens.
NO ILL EFFECT ON
SURROUNDING WELLS
After months of frustration surrounding rehabilitation of the old well off Hwy. 72, the IDA is finally getting some good news on the project.
Brown reported Monday that a 36-hour pump test on the renovated well revealed no negative impact on seven surrounding wells.
“No drilled wells within a 1,500-foot radius were negatively affected by pumping the well at 100 gallons a minute for 36 hours,” said Brown. “I feel comfortable with that well....Everything looks good.”
Brown said the IDA is still waiting for results from water sample tests from the Environmental Protection Division to ensure that the water from the well is potable.
BECK RESIGNS FROM IDA
Kenny Beck has resigned from the industrial authority, citing personal reasons.
“He (Beck) had personal commitments that made it difficult to continue as a member of the IDA,” said Brown of the authority’s former treasurer.
The BOC appoints industrial authority members. And Brown said that anyone interested in filling Beck’s position on the authority should write a letter to the county commissioners’ office, expressing their interest and their qualifications.
WATER SYSTEM HIRING DISCUSSED
The IDA met behind closed doors Monday to discuss hiring a utilities director to manage the Hull water system. IDA member Roger Tench said the group has several candidates in mind and no final decision has been made.
On a related note, Brown said the authority should put off making decisions on water system billing practices until a utilities director is hired so that he or she can have a voice in how billing is handled. The utilities director will also help in hiring a second water system employee to serve as office manager.


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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.


Home near Colbert destroyed in fire
A Tuesday night, Oct. 18, fire left a home on Hardeman Morris Road a “total loss,” according to Colbert volunteer firefighters Dwayne Patton and Tony Mattox.
Mattox said Colbert VFD received the 911 call to the fire at 11:15 p.m. and that the structure, a doublewide mobile home, was fully involved very quickly.
The residents of the home were Thomas Allen and Mark Hanson.
No one was injured in the blaze and Mattox said the cause of the fire was unknown.
“They lost pretty much everything - we did manage to save a few items such as a Bible, some pictures and a pair of pants with a resident’s wallet,” Patton said.
Colbert received back up from Comer and Hull fire departments.
“We had plenty of good help on the scene,” Patton added.