News from Madison County...

NOVEMBER 13, 2002


Madison County
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Madison County H.S.
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OPINIONS

Frank Gillespie
Flag bit Barnes, will Perdue do better?

It was amazing to watch. Soon to be former governor Roy Barnes spent $20 million on a campaign for governor. He lost to a $10 scrap of cloth!

Zach Mitcham
The ‘ESPN-ization’ of sports
I will not spike the ball. (So 80s).
I will not flap my arms like a chicken or other dirty bird. (So 1998).

Angie Gary
Phil Vassar show
full of fun and energy
He runs and slides across the stage and then jumps on top of his piano. He makes several more laps across the stage without missing a beat before jumping into the middle of the audience. He runs into the crowd, going up and down several aisles and stopping to serenade a few fans.

Rochelle Beckstine
Swimming in October?
For the second time in my life I found myself in a pond because of Ole’ Agnes Scott.


SPORTS

Directions to Area Schools

Stellar swan song
Madison County’s bruising running backs Richard Stowers and Tony Freeman ended their careers in high gear Friday, combining for 251 yards on the ground as the Raiders plowed by Cross Keys 52-18.


Neighboorhood News ..
JACKSON
COUNTY
Sheriff points to need for new jail during BOC tour
Sheriff Stan Evans led members of the Jackson County Board of Commissioners through the cramped jail Friday morning pointing out the need for a new facility.

BOC approves 2003 $30 million budget
Tax rates to hold steady
For the first time ever, the total Jackson County government budget will top $30 million next year. But tax rates will remain basically the same, owing in large part to a growing tax digest that will reap $1 million in additional revenue for the county.

Deal Near On Building For Lanier Tech
City, Jackson County, BJC Medical Center Hope To Get Old Wal-Mart Building

Kids’ Christmas photos taken through Dec. 2
The annual children’s Christmas section will be published in The Jackson Herald, The Commerce News and The Banks County News on Wednesday, December 18.


Neighborhood News...
BANKS COUNTY
Loss of chief appraiser delays county’s tax digest
The county’s tax digest will come a little late this year.
After a six-month stint without a chief tax appraiser, the tax assessor and tax commissioner’s offices are working to play catch-up on getting the digest ready.

Clark accepts Baldwin police chief position
The Baldwin City Council approved the permanent appointment of interim police chief Lamar Clark at Monday’s meeting.

White resigns as superintendent
Banks County School System superintendent Deborah White announced Monday that she would be leaving the system after 28 years when her current contract expires in June.

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‘A veteran’s salute’

Merritt Segers offers a salute to the crowd at Danielsville Methodist Church Saturday morning. Segers was presented with a Bronze Star Medal Saturday for his service to his country in the Second World War.

Local veteran honored Sat.
World War II veteran Merritt Segers was awarded a Bronze Star Medal for his valor in the line of duty in a brief ceremony at Danielsville United Methodist Church Saturday morning.
He was met with smiles and applause from friends and family.
LCDR Gary Locke Jr. USN (ret). spoke to the audience about Segers’ experience in the war.
“Merritt Segers is my hero as were all of those who served in WWII — those who returned unscathed, those who returned battered in mind, body and spirit, and those who did not return at all,” said Locke. “For I strongly believe that if it hadn’t been for the Merritt Segers in this country in the early 40s, we would be speaking German or Japanese today. They secured for us the freedom and prosperity which we enjoy today.”
Locke noted that Segers’ service to his country began when he was drafted into the U.S. Army for a one-year tour of duty in 1941. As he neared the end of his tour, America was drawn into WWII and he was in for the duration.
Merritt spent the early years of the war in Tennessee as an instructor for new recruits on the 30-caliber water-cooled machine guns. In early 1944, Segers was assigned to a platoon of 24 men and sent to England as a contingent of Company M, 319th infantry regiment to prepare for the invasion of France.
On June 13, 1944, Segers was thrust into battle, landing in France at St. Lo. He successfully led his platoon through the battles to liberate France and into the Rhineland. During one skirmish as he was leading his platoon across a plowed field, the soldiers came under intense machine gun fire. Throwing himself into a ditch, he narrowly avoided becoming a casualty when he took two rounds in his backpack.
On Nov. 18, 1944, while engaging the enemy in the Rhineland, Segers’ platoon was closing in on a small village and came under sniper fire. He deployed his platoon to safe cover and unhesitatingly crawled forward to see if he could locate and eliminate the sniper. But the sniper located him first and Segers was wounded, ending his combat duty. He was shipped back to the United States where after months in the hospital recovering from wounds, he was discharged in February 1946. For wounds received during enemy action, he was awarded the Purple Heart Medal.
Through all of his months in combat he only lost two members of his platoon to enemy action.
“For his courage in the face of the enemy, effective deployment of his troops, and the exemplary leadership he displayed, he is awarded the Bronze Star Medal,” said Locke, who also read a letter from French consul general Rene´-Serge Marty thanking Segers and other American soldiers for their service in the liberation of France.
University of Georgia Professor of Military Science LTC Gregory D. Diehl was on hand to pin the medal for Segers.
Other awards Segers received for his war-time service included: African, Middle Eastern Service Medal with two Bronze Battle Stars, American Defense Medal, American Service Medal, WWII Victory Medal, Good Conduct Medal and Combat Infantry Badge.
His wife, Eunice, also attended the ceremony.


County leaders look to slow down motorists
County leaders want motorists to slow down in Oakbend and Windsor Heights subdivisions.
Commissioner Mike Youngblood brought up the issue Tuesday night of speeding problems in those subdivisions. The commissioner said he has received many complaints about the matter. Last week, an 11-year-old girl was killed by a motorcycle in the Windsor Heights subdivision. Youngblood suggested that the county look at providing speed breakers in the neighborhoods.
“Needless to say, there should have been something done a long time ago,” said Youngblood.
Oakbend resident Louis Steed said that speeders in his neighborhood tend to be from out of the area. He said a paving company near his home brings in speeding trucks. And he asked that the county look at that business and whether those trucks should be allowed on residential roads. He said that speed breakers may not be the best solution.
No action was taken on the matter, but Youngblood agreed to set up a meeting to discuss options with residents of both neighborhoods. No date was set.
JAIL UPDATE
In a separate matter Tuesday, BOC chairman Wesley Nash gave a brief update on the county jail project. He reported that masons and electricians are working on the site, adding that there are anywhere from “16 to 26 people every day” working at the jail. He said there is still engineering work being done to determine “where we’re going to go and what we’re going to do” on remedying structure flaws. The jail construction was halted for months and Boatwright Construction Company was fired from the project after numerous structural flaws were discovered. The problems are now in the process of being corrected, but no completion date has been set.
BOC TO MEET MONDAY
The county commissioners agreed to hold two work sessions Monday evening in the county government conference room: a 6 p.m. meeting with the recreation board to discuss recreation by-laws and a 7 p.m. meeting with Leo Smith to discuss subdivision regulations.
OTHER BUSINESS
The board heard from Floyd Read, who said that he was disturbed that his neighbors had divided 35 lots zoned agriculture into seven, five-acre tracts to sell. He said neighbors essentially started a subdivision without approval from county planners and without surrounding property owners getting a chance to voice their opinions. He asked that the county revise zoning codes to close such “loopholes.” The board took no action on the matter, but commissioner Johnny Fitzpatrick told Read that a zoning committee on which he and commissioner Melvin Drake serve is reviewing such matters.
The board received a quarterly report from 911 director David Camp about 911. Those reports are available at the 911 office. The board approved the hiring of Scott Bradberry as a Saturday recycling attendant. Heath Baker and Nick Haley were approved as part-time EMTs.
The commissioners tabled a transfer of a beer and wine license at Tiny Town until county attorney Mike Pruett reviews the legality of beer and wine license transfers.
The commissioners agreed to provide another driveway for the Poca Volunteer Fire Department.
The board agreed to have county road department head Charles Temple look at the possibility of a “no through truck sign” on Clements Road.

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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.


Grace restored
The Frank Anthony homeplace in northern Madison County was a showcase home when it was built circa 1918, and thanks to the handiwork of Ferrell and Betty James, it’s a show place once again.
Entering through the original front door off the spacious front porch is like entering a bygone era. Period furniture graces the front sitting room, and pictures of Frank and Ida McGarity Anthony, the home’s original owners, don the mantle over the fireplace there. The sounds of some old song, such as “Carolina Moon” can be heard sometimes emanating from an old Victrola in the side parlor, which is also graced with period furniture that includes an old piano that belonged to Ferrell James’s mother.
The gracious old home had fallen into disrepair in recent years and was in danger of falling down when the Jameses purchased it several years ago.
Ferrell, who has restored numerous houses in North Carolina, says he was approached by the house’s previous owner, James Johnson, who thought he might be interested in restoring it, especially since he had already restored his grandfather Cleve James’s home on the adjoining property several years before.
“At first I said ‘no’ but then we kept talking and one thing led to another,” Ferrell said.
DEEP GEORGIA ROOTS
A retired airline pilot who grew up in North Carolina, Ferrell James nevertheless says his Madison County, Georgia roots run deep.
His parents were part of a “mass exodus” from Madison County to find work in the mills in Kannapolis, N.C. during the Great Depression.
“My parents moved from here two months before I was born and then tried to tell me I was from North Carolina,” he says, laughing.
Although his mother is gone, his dad, Reppard James, 93, (or “Rep” as he is known by family and friends) lives with his son and daughter-in-law these days - when he’s not spending time at one of his three remaining siblings’ homes.
A BEAUTIFUL PLACE
Ferrell spent his summers as a boy at his grandfather Cleve’s home next door and remembers riding by the Anthony home, admiring its clean lines and graceful front porch.
Frank Anthony, known as “Big Papa” to his grandchildren, was probably considered wealthy by the standards of the day; he owned a store (the building still stands and Ferrell has purchased it as well), and farm lands all around the area that he leased to sharecroppers.
The Anthony family and their six children had a large front portico with double swings, an attached ‘buggy run,’ a spacious cellar with a fireplace and even an upstairs parlor where Mrs. Anthony hosted neighborhood quilting parties.
Ferrell’s aunt, Annie Lou James Strickland, who grew up next door, says she remembers sitting in her family’s home in the evenings, lit only by the soft light of oil-burning lamps, waiting to see if the Anthonys would turn on their Delco electric lights, which were powered by a gas-operated generator in the smokehouse out back.
“We would sit there with our lamps burning and wait to see if the lights would come on,” Strickland said. “It was quite something in those days before electricity came to the rural areas.”
Another aunt, Irelle James Thompson, says she remembers visiting the Anthony home and that her mother stored her flowers in the Anthony’s cellar in the winter time.
“It (the home) was a beautiful place,” she said.
Evidently the Anthonys were good neighbors to the James family, because Mrs. Thompson says her mother told her that Mrs. Anthony came and helped out after her birth, bathing the newborn every day until she was three weeks old. When Mrs. Anthony was later taken to a nursing home, Mrs. Thompson wrote to her and visited.
She remembers that Mrs. Anthony frequently remarked on her faithfulness.
“I told her that I was paying her back for her kindness,” Mrs. Thompson said.
OPEN HOUSE
To celebrate the home’s restoration, Ferrell and Betty hosted an open house this past summer to coincide with the annual James family reunion and fish fry weekend.
According to Betty, about 135 of their friends and family came to see the home, which boasts four bedrooms - two upstairs and two down, three baths and four original working fireplaces. Sleeper sofas in the upstairs parlor allow for lots of sleeper-over room for guests.
All of the wood floors, plaster walls and tongue and groove ceilings are original, along with two magnificent built in cupboards, one in the dining room and another in the kitchen that still has the original glass and wire in its doors. A narrow staircase to the second floor has a shelf halfway up for quilt storage.
Another rarity - all the bedrooms have not one, but two, original built in closets. “In those days, it was unusual. People just didn’t have closets, they generally hung their few clothes on a nail on the back of the door, or strung a line across a corner of the room,” Ferrell said.
The home is furnished for the most part in “early attic and early yard sale” according to Betty, who said a great deal of the furnishings, which like the front rooms, are generally true to the early 20th century, were picked up at yard sales, auctions and estate sales in the area. And the couple agree that it’s all part of the enjoyment of the restoration.
“It sure was a lot of fun doing it, and we’re very proud of the finished product,” Ferrell said.