News from Madison County...

MARCH 5, 2003


Madison County
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OPINIONS
Frank Gillespie
Bluegrass music, a snapshot of Southern culture
I am reaching the age where the past is more important to me than the future. Even embracing modern life and technology keeps bringing back old memories.

Zach Mitcham
Being a Georgia fan amid the scandal
The Florida fan next to me offered a handshake as he hurried out of the raucous Stegman Coliseum Tuesday night.


SPORTS

Directions to Area Schools

Glory Days
Aside from handful of middle school students clanking shots off a side-goal, the old brick gym that was once home to Raider basketball a generation ago sits silent on this lazy Thursday February afternoon.


Neighboorhood News ..
JACKSON COUNTY
Building authority bill on tap
Legislation would allow BOC to finance large projects without voter approval

Crystle Springs Has April 4 Deadline To Return To Compliance
A privately owned Commerce nursing home stands to lose its Medicaid and Medicare funding if it cannot meet an April 4 guideline for returning to compliance with state rules.

Sewer service not available at courthouse site
Jefferson near capacity at plant
Is the City of Jefferson setting the stage for denying sewer access to the proposed new county courthouse on Darnell Road?

City Wants SPLOST Funds Taken From Water Authority Control
JEFFERSON -- If the city of Commerce gets its way, distribution and custody of special purpose local option sales tax funds for water and sewer projects will switch from the county water and sewerage authority to the board of commissioners.

New congressional map would move Jackson County
A Republican-proposed Congressional map winding through the Georgia Legislature would move Jackson County back into the 10th district, if approved.


Neighborhood News...
BANKS COUNTY
Ashley Gowder named as BCHS ‘STAR Student’

Banks County High School has named its top student for the current school year.

Government change moving forward
The commissioners have gotten the ball rolling on a plan to change Banks County’s form of government.

EMS asks for phone numbers of families of elderly residents
Brad Seagraves, EMS Battalion Chief, is requesting that contact numbers of family members of elderly residents be posted in an easy to find spot.

Banks BOC meeting turns ugly
A meeting about a proposed form of government change turned into a political trial last week.

 mainstreetnews.com
The Madison County Journal
Danielsville, Georgia
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DR. SEUSS’ BIRTHDAY

Emma Bennett, 2, of Madison County, and Mattie Carmichael, 5, Athens, are pictured with Ronald Finch (Dr. Seuss) at the Dr. Seuss’ birthday celebration at the Madison County Library Monday.

Two SPLOST votes drawing near
County residents will hit the polls in just 13 days to determine whether to renew five-year, one-cent sales taxes for the county government and school system.
Referendums will be held for both county government and school special purpose local option sales tax (SPLOST) proposals from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., Tuesday, March 18 in Madison County.
Numerous improvements in the county hinge on voters saying “yes” to both referendums.
If the county government SPLOST is approved, commissioners plan to allocate approximately $8.4 million for needed road work in the county. Another $630,000 will go to an EMS/sheriff’s station in the Hull area, along with new patrol cars and a fingerprinting system, while another $500,000 will be tagged for upgrades in public safety communications.
The county school system plans numerous facility upgrades at county schools, with primary aims of reducing classroom overcrowding and moving forward with a long-awaited PE/athletic complex across from the high school and middle school. A 180-seat fine arts theater is also planned.
In November of 1997, the sales tax for schools passed with 78 percent of the vote. Most of the money raised from this tax funded the construction of the Hull-Sanford Elementary School, as well as new classroom wings at the high school and middle school.
In March of 1998 the county SPLOST was approved with 75 percent saying “yes.” That tax funded roads, the new jail, a 911 system and recreation improvements.


Stick-built permits down slightly in 2002
Fewer “stick-built” homes were constructed in Madison County in 2002 than the previous year, but mobile home permits increased slightly.
According to the Madison County Planning and Zoning office 2002 report, 137 residential building permits were issued last year, down from 145 in 2001, though revenues from residential permits increased from $19,000 to $31,000 from 2001 to 2002.
Mobile home permits increased from 212 to 222, with revenues increasing from $16,000 to $42,000.
Overall, the total number of permits issued by the zoning office dropped from 1,377 in 2001 to 1,282, but revenues from permit fees increased by 65 percent, from $86,000 in 2001 to $142,000 in 2002.
Electrical permits were down from 414 to 376. Home heating and air conditioning permits dropped from 168 to 147. Plumbing permits were down from 179 to 161. Commercial permits dropped from 17 to 10. There were no poultry house permits issued in 2002, compared to seven in 2001. Residential addition permits were down from 53 to 43. Timber permits were up from 27 to 50. Shop/barn permits were down from 155 to 136. Zoning applications dropped from 79 to 68.


Comer council approves water, sewer fees
A new water and sewage availability fee and revamped tap fees were imposed by the Comer City Council at its March meeting Tuesday night.
The new fees are intended to partially offset the future cost of expanding the city’s water treatment plant. The availability fee was set at $500 each for water and sewage taps. Water tap fees, including meters were set at $500. Sewage tap fees for residential services will be $500. Commercial sewage taps will be $500 or cost, whichever is higher.
Comer’s water treatment plant has a daily capacity of 90,000 gallons and is currently operating at 58 percent of capacity. Planned subdivisions will likely push use to 80 percent of capacity, triggering a required expansion.
Water use rates will not be affected by the new tap fees.
In other matters Tuesday, two restaurant owners appealed to the council for relief from new grease trap regulations contained in the recently revised regulations. They pointed out that neither existing facility had room for large tanks as required.
City attorney Victor Johnston found a paragraph in the regulations that allows water and sewage manager Gerald Kemp to approve any system that adequately protects the city sewage system. Kemp immediately approved a commercial grease interceptor system and monitoring system that should fully protect the system at considerably lower cost to the operators.
The council also voted to allow the city to purchase a new commercial mower as long as the price is within the budgeted amount. Two old John Deere mowers, a seized automobile and other items will be sold as surplus. The city will place ads in local papers concerning the sale.


Locks
When her 6-year-old cousin Rebecca died last year of cancer, nine year old Kayla Calloway told her mom she wanted to do something in memory of her that would honor her life.
Not long after, Kayla heard about a girl at her church who had participated in the “Locks of Love” program. The program is designed to provide hair to make wigs for cancer victims who have undergone chemotherapy and lost their hair in the process.
“I thought about that for a long time and then I told my mom ‘I want to do this for Rebecca,’” she said.
Kayla’s mother, Donna Calloway, said she wanted Kayla to be sure she wanted to part with her long blond hair. Kayla insisted that she did, so she went to her hairdresser and had the required 10 inches cut off.
The hair was gathered into a pony tail and then braided and tied off. It was then snipped just above the band.
“I ended up losing 11 inches because it had to be styled afterward,” Kayla said.
Although she misses her long hair and plans to grow it back, she says she’s very glad she did it.
“I might do it again someday,” she says with a smile.
“I really did it for Rebecca, to make her happy,” Kayla said. “And it makes me feel a little less sad when I think about her.”
Kayla says she’s had lots of people ask her why she cut her hair and that gives her a chance to explain why she did it. She hopes it might encourage others to do the same.
Besides her family, Kayla has had lots of support from her teacher, Janna Bates, and her fourth grade classmates at Danielsville Elementary.
“They think it’s nice that I did that and they like my hair like it is now too,” she said. “They just like me for me.”
“I felt her story was just so compassionate for such a young person, and I thought she should be recognized,” Bates said of her student.
SOMETHING POSITIVE
Jana Cox Fountain cut off some of her waist-length red hair for many of the same reasons as Kayla.
An employee of St. Mary’s Hospital in Athens, the Madison County resident said she heard about the project on a news magazine program and thought it was something positive she could do to help cancer victims.
“I kept thinking about it - maybe three or four months. Then I went to their (Locks of Love) website and printed out the information,” Jana said. “When I saw how happy the kids were once they got their wigs, I knew then that I had to do it.”
Jana said the website answered all her questions about the program and even included a form to fill out along with instructions on how and where to mail the donated hair.
The decision to cut some of her hair was met with the full support of her husband David, her family, and her friends.
“My mama kind of hated to see me do it, she loves my long hair, but she was glad of the reason why I wanted to do it,” Jana said.
And Jana says she may do it again, once her hair grows out.
“It’s a good feeling,” she said.
Once the hair to be donated is collected, it can be mailed to the address listed on the website.
Those interested in participating in the “Locks of Love” program can find out more about it by going to the project’s website at www.locksoflove.com or by calling toll free 1-888-896-1588.

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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.


Madison County GOP convention set for Saturday
The Madison County Republican Party will hold its annual convention at 10 a.m. Saturday in the county government complex.
Delegates and alternate delegates to the congressional district convention and state convention will be elected. There will also be elections of officers for the Madison County Republican arty.
All Madison County residents who are legally registered to vote and believe in the principles of the Republican Party are urged to participate.
The ninth congressional district convention will be held Saturday, April 5, at 10 a.m. at Cateechee Golf Club, 140 Cateechee Trail (Hwy. 77) in Hartwell.
The Georgia Republican Party state convention will be held at 2 p.m., Friday, May 16, in Macon.
For further information, call Hank Burnham, chairman of the Madison County Republican Party at 706-461-3141.


Danielsville will seek negotiations over water charges
Danielsville city leaders plan to arrange a meeting with county commissioners to discuss $20,000 in overpayment by the county for city water and sewer services.
City council members agreed Monday to ask commissioners to their Tuesday, April 1, work session to discuss $20,746 in overpayment for water and sewage services between Jan. 1998 and Feb. 2002 caused by an error in the city’s billing system.
City attorney Victor Johnson said the council might consider negotiating a forgiveness of that debt in exchange for the city’s cooperation in hooking up county facilities on the Hwy. 98 corridor to the city sewage system.
The city also overcharged the county school system nearly $70,000 over the past several years. The city and school board agreed to let the schools pay half price for city water until the debt is paid off.
In other matters Monday, the Danielsville council officially approved a $2 increase in garbage collection fees in the city. Residences will now pay $9 per month for trash pickup, while businesses will pay $22 per month.
The council approved a resolution supporting legislation that would pave the way for municipalities in Georgia to hold referendums for a one-cent sales tax for city improvements.
Mayor Glenn Cross read a letter from school superintendent Keith Cowne thanking the council for reducing by $500 an abnormally large water bill, which resulted from a water leak on school property.


Still no arrests made in school burglaries
There have been no arrests in the burglaries of three county schools — Colbert, Comer and Ila Elementary Schools — last week.
Here is more information about the crimes from incident reports at the Madison County Sheriff’s Department:
•Colbert Elementary — The door to the main office was pried open and paperwork thrown about the office. The security tape had been removed from the VCR. The security camera in front of the school had been knocked down; the window in the door to the library had been broken out; the cash drawer in the main eating area of the lunchroom had been pried open and the cafeteria manager’s office had been broken into and several envelopes, containing approximately $100, had been opened and the money taken.
•Ila Elementary — The suspects entered through a window in a teacher’s room. An overhead projector was broken; two overhead cameras were shattered and the door glass was knocked out of a door in the principal’s office. The principal’s office was also ransacked.
•Comer Elementary — No details were listed on the incident report.