News from Madison County...

DECEMBER 11, 2002


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OPINIONS

Frank Gillespie
Time for column
on chicken manure
I have been writing this column for 16 years now. In that time, I have never before found it necessary to address the subject of chicken manure. But the time has come to do so.

Rochelle Beckstine
Republican majority could mean limits on rights to sue
Legal reform may be closer than we think, but don’t be surprised if it’s not called that.


SPORTS

Directions to Area Schools

Raiders looking to buckle down defensively
Note: Due to deadlines, Tuesday night’s basketball results were not available.
Madison County’s defensive mission won’t be complex this week: limit the other team’s go-to guys.


Neighboorhood News ..
JACKSON COUNTY

Byers contract extended through 2006
It looks like Jackson County School System superintendent Andy Byers will be around for a few more years.

Commerce To Sell Old 18-Acre Reservoir Site
The City of Commerce is preparing to sell its old city reservoir.
The city council voted Monday night to authorize City Attorney John Stell to begin condemnation proceedings to give the city a 30-foot right of way into the 18-acre tract on the south side of Waterworks Road.

Two men get life on rape charges
Two men were sentenced to life in Jackson County Superior Court last week in separate rape cases involving young victims.

Wrecks kill local teen, leave Fla. man injured
Two separate wrecks last week killed a local teenager and left a Florida man seriously injured.


City To Open Bids On Sidewalk Project Thursday
The city of Commerce will open bids at 2:00 Thursday on a long-awaited major sidewalk project.

Neighborhood News...
BANKS COUNTY

Banks BOE to lose $297,000 in state funds

Recent state education cuts could force Banks County to dip into its reserve funds to balance out the budget this year

Talking security and immigration
Rep. John Linder told area residents attending the town hall meeting Saturday in Homer that the White House administration and President George Bush would be focusing more on the state of the economy and homeland security over the next year.

Baldwin sets millage rate
The Baldwin City Council voted unanimously to approve the first reading of the city’s millage rate, which was set at 5.25 mills, the same rate as last year.

Mitchell to retire from county
Banks County extension coordinator John Mitchell is retiring after 22 years of service. A reception for Mitchell will be held from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Monday, December 16, at the county extension office on Evans Street in Homer.

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The Madison County Journal
Danielsville, Georgia
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SOUTHERN STYLE SANTA

It was too warm for reindeer this year, so Santa Claus showed up in a red convertible for his annual appearance in the Comer Christmas parade.

Hull wants more sales tax funds
As future growth continues along and around four-lane Hwy. 72, Hull’s mayor and council remain hopeful they will be able to obtain more Local Option Sales Tax (LOST) funds from the county’s coffers.
The council voted Monday night to approve a resolution giving Hull the option to re-negotiate the amount of LOST funds it receives—currently 1.5 percent of the county’s total annual income from the tax.
Counties in the state must decide how they will distribute the state funds every 10 years, using the newest Census to guide them.
Madison County government and city officials recently held a series of meetings to determine how the LOST funds will be distributed in both incorporated and unincorporated areas.
“I had hoped in those meetings to obtain at least two percent for Hull, due to our expected growth,” Mayor B.W. Hutchins told the council. “Our district commissioner, Mike Youngblood, fought hard to get us the extra money, but he was able to get an agreement with the county to re-negotiate at a later date if it becomes necessary.”
In other business:
•the council heard that city clerk Janet Seagraves has deposited the remainder of the funds from the sale of city hall to Hull Baptist into interest-bearing CDs. Hull had about $20,000 left from the sale once the loan on the building was paid off.
•agreed to pay the $1,000 invoice for annual legal services from Graham Law Firm.
•adopted an amendment to building codes from the Georgia Department of Natural Resources.
•Mayor Hutchins congratulated the Madison-Oglethorpe Animal Shelter on its opening. “We’re very proud of this facility,” Hutchins said.
•the mayor and council wished Hull citizens a Merry Christmas.


‘Homes for the Holidays’
Pretty, gentle, Beulah has seen some hard times. Left on the side of a road with no where to turn, Beulah almost immediately suffered the loss of three of her four pups when they perished under the wheels of passing cars.
One compassionate individual finally took pity on the coon hound mix and moved her and her remaining baby, Sisca, to a safer place, feeding the pair until he was able to bring them to the Madison-Oglethorpe Animal Shelter.
In fact, according to shelter co-director Catherine Lindsey, they were the shelter’s “first customers” when it opened on Dec. 2.
“And they’re both such good sweet dogs,” she said. “Beulah, in particular, has such a great personality.”
And although at least safe, warm and well-fed now, Beulah and Sisca still have a need.
“They need what every companion animal needs—a home where they can be loved and cared for,” Lindsey emphasized. “Sisca, we know, has never had that in her life—she’s never had a home at all.”
Meanwhile, in another part of the shelter, gentle Sam sits in his cage in the “Sunshine Room” for cats, putting out a tentative paw to those who come by to take a look at him, watching them quietly with soulful eyes.
Sam, like all the others, also has a story. Abandoned by his owner and left to die, a neighbor took pity on the beautiful gray and white tom and brought him to the animal shelter.
“The person who brought him in says he doesn’t like to hunt—so neighborhood birds will find him no threat,” Lindsey said. “He just wants to cuddle.”
These are just two of the stories that go along with all the animals hopefully awaiting a new home for Christmas at the animal shelter.
And to that end, the shelter is marking its first full week of operation by beginning a new campaign to help find homes for the more than 115 animals that have been taken in in just a few days.
Called “A Home for the Holidays,” the campaign is designed to place as many animals as possible into loving adoptive homes before Christmas.
A number of dogs and puppies, cats and kittens have already had their first vaccines, been spayed or neutered, tested for some common diseases and are now ready and  waiting to go home with a new owner.
And three of those who are “ready to go,” were featured on a float in last weekend’s Comer Christmas parade.
There’s six-year-old “Nubby,” a purebred Springer Spaniel who was surrendered because she “didn’t bark enough.” Also along for the ride last Saturday was “LBD,” (short for little black dog).
“LBD is adorable in every way,” Lindsey said. “He’s great with kids and has an excellent disposition. He would make a great pet for anyone.
And last but not least on last weekend’s float was “Girl,” another coon hound mix “who is sweet and ready to go home with someone,” Lindsey said.
Shelter staff and board members say they are very encouraged and pleased by the public’s response to the opening of the shelter.
“We’re so appreciative of everyone who has come by to visit, given donations of money or volunteered their time, and all those who have brought by or sent much-needed disposable items, such as paper towels, hydrogen peroxide or cleaning supplies,” Madison-Oglethorpe Animal Shelter chairperson Susan Fisher said.
Adoption fees are $50 for all animals, which includes the spay/neuter, vaccines, deworming and other routine procedures.
Shelter hours are: Mondays, closed; Tuesdays and Thursdays, noon to 7 p.m.; Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays,10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sundays, 1 to 5 p.m.
For more information on the shelter, or to adopt, drop by during operating hours or call the shelter at 706-795-2868.


BOC approves full-time custodian
The Madison County Board of Commissioners approved a new position Monday for a full-time custodian to maintain county property. 
The position is an upgrade from a current part-time slot. The position will cover cleaning and maintenance on the government complex, the old courthouse, health department and other county facilities for $10.06 per hour plus benefits.
Chairman Wesley Nash told the commission that the county is currently contracting out several maintenance projects that would be covered by the new position.  He said that the county will save money by the change, which was approved 3-2.
The county will purchase a new patrol car to replace one damaged in a collision with a deer.  The insurance payout for the old car is $18,000.  The county will pay an additional $5,560 for the new one.
Madison County has been approved for a $5,107 block grant to purchase new radios for the sheriff’s department. The commission accepted the grant and authorized the chairman to prepare the necessary documents.
The Georgia Department of Transportation has agreed to replace a culvert on Shoal Creek Road.  The cost to the county will be in kind work such as grading and gravel.
The commission approved 11 requests for beer and wine permits for 2003.
The BOC also heard a report that work is progressing on the new jail.  Each time they start repairing one area, they find new defects.  Chairman Nash said that no finishing date has been set, but he feels that the facility will be in operation by July 2003.
Chairman Nash closed the meeting by wishing everyone a good, safe happy holiday season..

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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.


Rec board bylaws under BOC review
The Madison County Board of Commissioners met with the recreation board prior to its scheduled meeting Monday night to continue a review of the board’s bylaws.
Under consideration at this work session was the recreation board’s authority to mitigate disputes between athletic clubs and the recreation department and eligibility of coaches to sit on the board.
Commissioner Bruce Scoggins reported that he was unable to find any authorization for the recreation board to act as a mediator.  The commission agreed that they cannot refuse any group the right to bring a question before itself, but they should recommend that the clubs work through the board to solve problems.  If no solution can be found, the commission would then address the problem.
The commission and board agreed that no more than two board members be coaches or team officials.  They felt that all the community needs to be represented and that if only representatives of the teams served on the board, there would be too many chances for a conflict of interest.
The commission instructed the county attorney to redraft the bylaws including items discussed in this and previous meetings for review at the Jan. 27 work session.