News from Madison County...

FEBRUARY 26, 2003

Madison County

Madison County

Madison County H.S.

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Frank Gillespie
The ‘truth’ and ‘reality’ of the flag issue
Reality television is all the rage now. But most of what they show is very unreal. The same can be said about arguments about the Georgia flag. Here is a list of realities for your consideration.

Zach Mitcham
Courthouse regaining its
My old county courthouse experience is limited.
When I started with The Journal in 1998, the government had already moved to the old Danielsville Elementary School.


Directions to Area Schools

Diamond Raiders gear up for AAAA
Five region crowns, six trips to the state tournament, two runner-up finishes, seven 20-win seasons — all these accomplishments made Madison County a AAA baseball powerhouse during the last 11 seasons.

Neighboorhood News ..
Judge questions layout plans for courthouse
Senior judge Robert Adamson outlined numerous concerns Tuesday that he and other Superior Court judges have about a proposed layout for a new courthouse.

Planners Say No To Mobile Home Upgrades
Two couples who hope to improve their housing by upgrading mobile homes in areas zoned for site-built houses are hoping the Commerce City Council will not listen to the Commerce Planning Commission.

Prime blasts BOC rumors
There was no hunting trip, says president of firm
The president of Prime Engineering last week blasted rumors that the firm had hosted a Texas hunting trip for members of the Jackson County

1,600 acres sold in South Jackson
What is believed to be Jackson County’s single largest undeveloped land transaction took place last month when 1,600 acres in South Jackson was sold to a Gwinnett County investment group.

Neighborhood News...
Preserving history

Gillsville’s oldest buildings are about to get a major face-lift as the final plan for their restoration has been completed.

County government to change?
Changes could be in store for Banks County’s form of government, but commission chairman Kenneth Brady said he won’t go along with it.

BOC close to signing off on spray field
Banks County and the National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) have apparently reached a deal on a proposed wastewater spray field at Banks Crossing.

Homer makes move on property lease
A complicated dispute between the Town of Homer and a property owner seeking higher rent has been settled, at least for now.

Chamber board asks Moores to leave post early
Banks County Chamber of Commerce executive director Carole Moores had planned to resign from her position as of March 28, but the board of directors has asked her to leave one month earlier.
The Madison County Journal
Danielsville, Georgia
Telephone: (706) 367-5233
Fax: (706) 367-8056

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Bringing the old courthouse back to life

The Madison County Chamber of Commerce celebrated the opening of its new office in the old county courthouse, which had been vacant since 1997, in downtown Danielsville with a ribbon cutting ceremony last Thursday. Local citizens and dignitaries were on hand to get a look at the renovated downstairs interior of the courthouse that will serve as the Chamber office. Many at the ceremony commented on the elegance of the new office, with its old wood and its polished sheen. Pictured in the ribbon cutting are (front row, L-R) Wesley Nash, John Terrell, George Nale, (back row, L-R) Jerry Riley, B.J. Smith, Randy Wilson, Roger Tench, Allen Lapszyinsky, Melvin Drake and Linda O’Neal.

Schools burglarized
Three area schools were burglarized late Monday night and early Tuesday morning.
According to a press release from the Madison County Sheriff’s office thieves entered Colbert, Comer and Ila Elementary schools taking valuables and causing damage to the buildings and offices.
The suspects forced their way into the schools by prying open doors or windows then rummaging through offices.
Principals at all three schools said that very little was taken. One principal estimated “less than $100” was taken from the school.
Damage seemed mainly confined to office areas and cafeterias at the schools, not classrooms, principals said.
No arrests have been made in the burglaries as of press time. The Georgia Bureau of Investigation is assisting the sheriff’s department in the investigation.
In a separate incident during the same time frame, Billy Meadows Hot Dog Stand on Hwy. 72 near Colbert was robbed. Two juveniles have been charged in the burglary. The suspects forced the lock off the front door, entered and took candy, drinks and some change.
Both juveniles have been charged with burglary, according to chief deputy Bill Strickland.

Board delays decision on naming asst. director for county transfer station
County commissioners discussed at length but took no action Monday on promoting a current transfer station employee to the position of assistant director.
County commission chairman Wesley Nash told board members that all departments in the county, apart from those manned by one person, have an assistant director, except for the transfer station.
He said that someone should be designated with authority of the department in the absence of director Sandra Webb, who has proposed Mary Jane Ledford as her assistant.
The money for a salary raise would not require additional funding from the county’s general funds. Instead, Webb had proposed cuts in her department’s budget. The transfer station director had gone to a funeral visitation in Winder Monday evening and was unable to discuss her proposal with the commissioners.
Commissioner Mike Youngblood said Webb, and any department head who proposes budget adjustments to fund a promotion, should meet with commissioners in person to discuss their proposal. He suggested that the board hold a work session to discuss the matter. But the board agreed to postpone the issue until its next meeting on March 10. The board also postponed a decision on two promotions in the recreation department.
In a separate personnel matter, two part-time workers were approved for the EMS department.
Also Monday, the board approved the purchase of a vehicle for the assistant EMS director for $19,880. The group agreed to meet Tuesday, March 11, with zoning advisor Leo Smith to discuss commercial driveways. The BOC approved a contract with the Department of Transportation for the construction of a culvert on Shoal Creek Road.
District 4 member Melvin Drake asked to discuss a culvert on Cherokee Road. Nash said that he has been receiving complaints about the board taking action on road problems without placing the issues on the agenda. The board agreed to discuss Cherokee Road at its next meeting.
Personnel coordinator Connie Benge announced that the county will hold an appreciation ceremony for 30-year road department employee Freddie McGee at 3:30 p.m., Friday, Feb. 28.
Nash opened the meeting by asking the audience to pray for the family of Oglethorpe County commission chairman Charles Matthews, who died this week.
“He was a real good fellow and I liked him a lot,” Nash told the audience.

History on file
Willie Long’s life spanned almost a full century in Madison County.
And thanks to his daughter, Lula Thompson, his contributions to the county are now a part of a permanent pictorial record of the history of the area through the Madison County Library’s picture archive project.
“I’m very proud of my father, and of my family,” Mrs. Thompson said.
Her dad didn’t make it to his 100th birthday this past year, but he did live to his late 80s.
He was a farmer, owning and working over 100 acres of land near the corner of Hwy. 172 and Hwy. 72 for many years, while he and his wife, Lula Sims Long, reared seven of nine children (two died at birth). After he retired from farming, he became a house painter, painting hundreds of houses for people all over the county.
“Everybody knew my father, he was a great man,” Mrs. Thompson says proudly.
And she treasures an article written by a doctor several years ago. In it the doctor, Mark H. Ebell, describes a unique relationship he had with one of his patients during his practice in Colbert. That patient was her father.
Dr. Ebell said he looked forward to his regular “visits” with Mr. Long, describing the 88-year old man, who looked and acted much younger, as an “engaging storyteller” who taught him what it meant to grow up black in the rural South.
He also learned that Mr. Long was an important man in his community, who preached at his church regularly and spent a lot of time transporting his homebound friends and neighbors to their doctor’s appointments.
In fact, Dr. Ebell relates, Mr. Long “died as he had lived,” collapsing on the sidewalk as he was picking up a neighbor for her doctor’s appointment.
“Mr. Long was not a celebrity, statesman, or scholar, but his passing deserves to be remembered,” he wrote, adding that his patient had touched him in a special way.
“That article sums up my feelings about my father very well,” Mrs. Thompson said.
And it seems Mr. Long was something of a visionary as well, encouraging his children to broaden their horizons beyond what could be expected for a black person living in the rural south.
So it was with his blessing that young Lula, then age 16, left the farm for Savannah, where she attended beauty school; an unusual accomplishment for any daughter of a farmer during that time, black or white.
At 18, she broadened her horizons further, by moving to Chicago and later Akron, Ohio, where she lived for 50 years.
She met and married her husband soon after her move north and raised a family while working as a beautician.
“It was just time for me to retire and my mother needed me here,” she said of her move back to Georgia three years ago.
Her mother passed away last November, and Mrs. Thompson has assumed the role of family historian.
When she heard about the picture archives project at the Madison County library through an announcement at her church, she gladly presented some of her favorite photos to be copied into the archives computer file.
“I’ve read all my life and been curious about the outside world,” she said. “The library can open the doors to that world. Children of every race should take a part in their local library, it’s such a needed facility.”
According to library branch manager Suzie DeGrasse, the library received 100 photos from black families in the county during February as part of their celebration of Black History Month.
Seventy-five of these are on display in the library meeting room, and DeGrasse plans to place copies of all of them in a permanent photo album once the display comes down. Also, all the photos are recorded with their information in the archives computerized files.
Photos submitted for the archives are scanned into a computer and given back to the donor, unharmed.
The picture archives project, dubbed Vanishing Madison County, is a joint project with local historian John Barton, Friends of the Madison County Library, the Board of Trustees, the Madison County Heritage Foundation and several other interested individuals.
Those who would like to contribute pre-1945 photos of Madison Countians to this on-going project should contact library branch manager Suzie DeGrasse at 795-5597.
Pictured (left) is the boys' basketball team from Comer Colored High School, where Lenoir Tiller was coach and principal. Pictured (middle) is Bertha Carithers, the principal at Southside High School for 40 years. Both photos were submitted by R. Cedric Fortson. Pictured (right) is Mattie McElroy Powers in the early 1900s. The photo was submitted by Agnes Howard Appling.

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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.

Water director position could oversee county, city operations
County leaders may consider negotiating with cities to create a position that oversees county water operations and manages water services for Danielsville, Ila and Carlton
Outgoing industrial authority chairman Ed Brown proposed the idea to commissioners Monday, telling the BOC that the IDA has had trouble finding a qualified person to oversee county water operations.
“The IDA underestimated what it will take to get a qualified person on board,” said Brown.
Combining county and municipal responsibilities would allow the IDA to offer a higher salary to a water system director.
Brown presented board members with paperwork about the proposal. But the board took no action on the matter.
In a separate matter Monday, the board approved a $57,000 contract with Precision Planning to serve as the architect for the construction of a new health department building.