News from Madison County...

DECEMBER 18, 2002

Madison County

Madison County

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Frank Gillespie
Lott has put final nail
in political coffin
Trent Lott has put the final nail in his political coffin. First, he angered the radical left by suggesting that Southern values expressed in Strom Thurmond’s 1948 election would have made this a better nation.

Phillip Sartain
Wishful thinking
There is only one item on my Christmas Wish List this year. It’s not expensive but it’s essential to my mental and physical well being—all I want for Christmas this year is a private, uninterrupted moment in the bathroom.


Directions to Area Schools

A Raider rout in Apalachee
They won.
Not just that.
They dominated.
Madison County took first in a 12-team tournament at Apalachee this past weekend, compiling a 320.5 team total, with the next closest team, Class AA’s second ranked Oglethorpe County, tallying 230.

Neighboorhood News ..
Jefferson landmark to close Sunday
Bruce’s Fine Foods sold; to become a Mexican restaurant
Nearly 40 years after it began serving hot dogs, hamburgers and small-town political conversations, Bruce’s Fine Foods in Jefferson will close its doors on Sunday.

Beshara Makes Good: Animal Control Plan Passes
JEFFERSON -- District 3 commissioner Emil Beshara made good on a campaign promise he made two years ago Monday night when he got an animal control ordinance approved.

BOC to review county authorities
But move may be an effort to wrest control of Jackson County water/sewer agency
In what may be the first move from county leaders want-ing to abolish or take control of the Jackson County Water and Sewerage Authority, the board of commissioners agreed Monday night to name a two-man committee to study “adjustments” in the various county authorities.

County road equipment to be replaced
Britt says board wasting ‘serious money’ in move
Despite vocal opposition from commissioner Stacey Britt, the Jackson County Board of Commissioners voted 3-2 Monday night to spend $763,000 to replace the county’s heavy road paving equipment in a lease arrangement.

Planners approve rezoning for Kroger at Hwy. 11
Jefferson to vote on request Jan. 13
Plans to locate a Kroger grocery store in Jefferson passed the first hurdle Tuesday night.

Neighborhood News...
High winds knock out power, topple trees

Shearing winds downed trees, littered streets with debris and left thousands without power in Banks County Friday morning.

Thirty years of service
If the old saying that a man’s wealth is judged by the number of his friends is true, then Banks County Extension Agent John Mitchell is one of the county’s wealthiest residents.

Lula studying sewer
Lula Mayor Milton Turner said Monday that a study of the city’s sewer system capacity is under way and he hopes to have the reports on the figures as soon as the council’s January meeting.

Chamber announces nominations for executive board
Chamber of Commerce members will have four candidates to chose from when they get ready to select two new executive board members in January.
The Madison County Journal
Danielsville, Georgia
Telephone: (706) 367-5233
Fax: (706) 367-8056

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A show of force

The Madison County Raider wrestling team dominated a 12-team tournament this past weekend at Apalachee. Pictured, Raider wrestler J.J. Brueshaber outmuscles an opponent in recent action.

Madison Co. BOC talks SPLOST
Madison County voters will decide in March whether to renew a one-cent sales tax for county improvement projects. So commissioners met Monday to discuss what projects to put on the referendum.
No decisions have been finalized. And the board will meet again at 6 p.m., Jan. 6, to discuss how the county may spend special purpose local option sales tax money (SPLOST) over the next five years.
Several SPLOST project possibilities were discussed Monday, such as creating a new EMS station in Hull with a satellite sheriff’s office.
The BOC also discussed increasing the cell capacity of the new 60-bed jail being built off Hwy. 98. The jail, which has faced numerous delays, is expected to be completed this coming spring. (The construction firm on the project has projected March or April as a completion date, though county leaders anticipate that it may be closer to June.)
The commissioners talked about tagging money for improved communications equipment for county offices, such as radios for the sheriff’s department, EMS and other departments.
The board discussed allocating money for water and sewer infrastructure in the county’s high growth areas, particularly in the Hull/Dogsboro vicinity.
Improvements for roads and bridges were also deemed a priority.
County clerk Morris Fortson said that the county may bring in as much as $9.5 million in SPLOST revenue over the next five years, though he added that $9.5 million is an “optimistic” projection.
The BOC has not specified a dollar amount on any of the proposed projects. And chairman Wesley Nash was quick to point out that the proposals discussed Monday are subject to change.
In 1998, 12 percent of registered county voters turned out for the SPLOST referendum, with 75 percent voting in favor of the one cent tax. Of the estimated $6 million in revenue generated from that tax, $2.3 million was tagged for a new jail, $500,000 for recreation department improvements, $3 million for roads and bridges and $200,000 for establishing a county 911 department.
Voters will also consider renewing a separate one-cent sales tax for schools in March. The board of education plans numerous facilities upgrades if the school SPLOST is approved, including — but not limited to — development of a P.E./sports complex across from the high school and middle school and a 180-seat theater at the high school.

Schools reach agreement on parents’ Civil Rights complaint
Madison County Schools have reached a final agreement with the Office of Civil Rights addressing a complaint filed last spring by disgruntled parents.
The complaint included locker room access and publicity programs.
The parents complained that the boy’s basketball team had an exclusive locker room while the girl’s teams had to share their facility. They also complained that the published program for football was more extensive than that for girls’ sports.
The school system announced plans to correct these conflicts by having the boys volleyball team share the basketball locker room, beginning publication of three unified programs for each sport season, and securing the temporary fence used for girls’ softball games.
In other actions, the board of education received, for a 30-day study, policy revisions covering field trips, student assistance and graduation requirements. The proposed policies will be available for public review until the January meeting.
The board heard a report from Superintendent Keith Cowne that receipts from state and county taxes make it unnecessary for the system to borrow operating funds this year. This saves money by eliminating interest payments.
They heard a report from Phillip Todd on the school system’s vocational education programs. Renamed Career and Technical Education, the program offers job skill training to students who are not planning to attend college. Todd reported that 50 of 200 2001 graduates of the program are now attending Athens Tech. He hopes to double that figure in the near future.

EPD says Trus Joist must stop ‘unpermitted discharge’
The EPD has ordered Colbert’s Weyerhauser Trus Joist plant to stop their storm water detention pond from leaking polluted water into an adjacent stream, and given them until today (Dec. 18) to prepare a plan to do so.
The directive came last week after EPD representatives determined that “unpermitted discharge was occurring from the company’s site” following an Oct. 29, 2002 inspection of the pond and an adjacent stream belonging to Billy and Barbarianne Russell. The inspection yielded the discovery of a “dark and foamy discharge” in a culvert on the Russells’ property the day after a half inch rainfall, according to a letter to dated Dec. 4 to Trus Joist Area Regulatory Affairs Manager of Environment, Health and Safety Mark D. Johnson from Jeffrey H. Larson, Permitting Compliance and Enforcement Manager of the EPD.
The letter stated that “based on the findings of the inspection we have determined an unpermitted discharge was occurring from the company’s site. This discharge was creating objectionable conditions downstream.” The letter also cited a portion of Georgia’s Rules and Regulations for Water Quality that says that “all waters shall be free from material related to municipal, industrial or other discharges which produce turbidity, color, or other objectionable conditions which interfere with legitimate water uses.”
The stream on the Russell’s’ property in which the discolored foamy water was found flows into Beaverdam Creek, then through Watson Mill Park and on into the South Fork of the Broad River.
The South Fork was recently named one of a number of streams in the state targeted by federal officials for clean up of silt and other substances.
The discovery was no surprise to the Russells, who have complained to the EPD about changes in the stream for some time.
“That stream is now a ‘dead stream,’” Mrs. Russell said. “The fish and the beavers are gone from it...If the plant will stop the overflow and clean out the pond (on their property) perhaps the stream can be revitalized.”
“It is clear (from the letter) there has been a violation. They (Trus Joist) have been saying all along they’re not allowing polluted water into their pond,” Mr. Russell said. “If the EPD will insist on their cleaning up the pond, this will be accomplishing one of the main things we’ve been pushing for.”
The EPD has also requested that Trus Joist inspect the pond and other areas around the company for run off, particularly after a rainfall, take samples to be analyzed for contaminants and then report the findings back to them.
Janet McRanie, Communications Manager for Weyerhaeuser Corp., said Tuesday that the company has received no “technical data” that the storm water runoff from the plant is contaminated.
“There are a lot of things, particularly in a rural area that can cause brown water,” McRanie said. “And there’s a lot more than Trus Joist (runoff) going into that stream,” she maintained, citing the close proximity of agricultural operations in the area.
“We need to find out what the problem is (with the water) and make sure any action we take will actually alleviate it,” McRanie, said.
As to the letter from the EPD, McRanie said,
“We are evaluating the information we have received and are close to getting back with the EPD about a plan of action.”
McRanie also pointed out that Trus Joist has offered technical assistance to the citizens’ committee (Colbert Clean Air and Water) in evaluating the water quality downstream of the plant.
Trus Joist plant manager David Craft said Tuesday that he had not personally read the letter addressed to Johnson, but that he understood the “gist” of it was that the “EPD has asked us to do what we have already said we would do as part of upgrading our storm water control plan.”
Craft said to his knowledge that all water samples taken from the plant were within EPD’s permitted specifications.
“We have always operated within our permits and will continue to do so,” Craft said.

Sheriff’s office reports drug bust
Madison County sheriff’s deputies and local narcotics officers searched a home on New Hope Church Road in Comer Tuesday evening, Dec. 17, and charged a man with trafficking in cocaine.
According to a sheriff’s office press release, Silas Ardell Kinley was arrested and charged with trafficking in cocaine and possession of cocaine with the intent to distribute scheduled narcotics. Law officers believe Kinley is a “major player in the local drug activity.” Kinley is being held in custody, awaiting a bond hearing before the magistrate judge.

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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.

Schools closed Monday due to water leak
Students were back in class Tuesday after a water leak on school property in Danielsville led to class cancellations countywide Monday.
But the rest of this week’s class schedule remains as planned, with students’ last day set for Thursday.
“We’re not going to turn around and tell them (students) you have to go Friday,” said superintendent Keith Cowne.
Cowne said that the board of education will probably wait until the end of February, when the threat of school cancellations due to snow diminishes, to decide whether to reschedule class time missed Monday. Local school boards can choose not to reschedule up to four missed days of school.
According to Mitch McGhee, Madison County’s assistant superintendent for facilities and operations, a leak in a pipe that supplies water to the high school field house concessions building was discovered. That pipe was shut off as maintenance employees worked Monday to repair the leak, which led to approximately 230,000 gallons of lost water, according to the city of Danielsville
Classes were cancelled because the leak had diminished the city’s water supply and the city needed a day to replenish its water level. A water level that dips below “safe capacity” creates fire protection concerns.
City employees said Wednesday that the water level was “back to normal.” A second city water pump, which was recently installed, was not functioning, but city workers said this may have been a non-factor, since a functioning pump may not have kept the water level at a “safe capacity” with such a major leak.
The superintendent praised those who helped get the word out Sunday to students and parents that school would be closed Monday. He said it was a well-organized communications effort.

Luminarias, live nativity set for Sat.
The 18th annual Booger Hill-Moon’s Grove Road luminarias and live nativity scene is set for Saturday Dec. 21 from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m.
This is a community tradition featuring luminarias at approximately 200 homes on a 10-mile route of country roads. The nativity scene includes live characters and animals, carolers and other Christmas scenes throughout the drive. The event will be canceled if the weather is bad.