News from Madison County...

APRIL 9, 2003


Madison County
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Madison County H.S.
RAIDERS WEEKLY 


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OPINIONS
Frank Gillespie
Much to learn over Georgia flag debate
By observing the debate over the Georgia flag, one can learn about many related subjects.
For example: The Atlanta news media is capable of learning. When the debate first appeared, most of Atlanta’s TV announcers insisted on calling the image on the ’56 flag the “Stars and Bars.” It is, of course, the Southern Cross.

Margie Richards
The tale of the shelter’s first cat
He didn’t look like much when I first saw him. Covered from head to tail in scratches, with broken teeth and looking the worse for wear, I remember thinking, ‘well I don’t know what kind of fellow he’s going to be.’


SPORTS

Directions to Area Schools

Looking to get back on track
It’d be fair to call the diamond Raiders a “streaky team” through 13 games this season.
But right now, the streak isn’t the one they want.
After rebounding from an 0-3 start with wins in six of seven ball games, Madison County is currently mired in another three-game slide.


Neighboorhood News ..
JACKSON COUNTY
Citizens give BOC low grades
While the Jackson County Board of Commissioners gave themselves high marks on a recent self-graded “report card” for 2002, many citizens in the county have a different opinion of that board’s work.

Courthouse project should stop, Britt says
Likening the Move forward on a new Jackson County courthouse to “beating a dead horse,” commissioner Stacey Britt has proposed a halt in the project.
Commissioner Tony Beatty supported Britt’s suggestion during the Jackson County Board of Commissioners’ meeting Monday night, saying he, too, is “tired of it” and doesn’t see “a bunch of support for it.”

Maysville’s Jackson Co. Residents Steamed Over 4.9-Mill Tax Hike
Maysville residents living in Jackson County spoke out against a tax increase at a public hearing held Monday night on the budget for 2003.

Commerce Set To Award Sidewalk Contract Monday
A long-planned city project should get the official go-ahead when the Commerce City Council meets Monday night at 6:30 at the Commerce Civic Center.


Neighborhood News...
BANKS COUNTY
Armed robber hits three hotels
Less than 10 hours after a man robbed three Banks Crossing hotels at knife point, sheriff’s deputies had a suspect in custody for the crimes.
David Edward Browner, 28, Maysville, was charged with four counts of armed robbery and three counts of false imprisonment in connection with the robberies. Banks County Sheriff Charles Chapman said Browner is in jail awaiting a bond hearing.
Ballinger indicted for felony murder
The man accused of setting the fire that killed local firefighter Loy Williams Jr. in 1999 will stand trial for murder in Banks County.
Monday, the Grand Jury indicted Jay Scott Ballinger on one count of felony murder. District Attorney Tim Madison said the earliest possible date for a trial will be this fall.
BOC to hold budget hearings next week
The Banks County Board of Commissioners will hold budget hearings the first four days of next week.
Chamber seeks sponsors for ‘picnic on the lawn’
Board members of the Banks County Chamber of Commerce are looking for sponsors for the second annual “Picnic on the Lawn” to be held at 6 p.m. on Thursday, May 8.
BCHS prom planned Sat.
It’s that time of year again when Banks County High School students begin looking for the perfect dress, finding a limousine and asking for a date.

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Searching for answers

Don Mosley of Jubilee Partners told a Tuesday night gathering at Mt. Hermon Church in Ila about what he witnessed in Iraq during trips in recent years.

Searching for answers
Children dying of leukemia for lack of enough drugs for sustained chemotherapy treatments.
Babies in broken incubators, placed there only to keep the flies off them.
Hospitals where mothers come in to care for their children, because the nurses have all left.
A kind, generous and accepting people who are the victims not only of a ruthless dictator, but of a world whose sanctions and whose bombs, have left them in a broken country without the most basic of needs.
This is the Iraq Don Mosley and Will Winterfeld of Jubilee Partners in Comer, say they have seen on their visits to that country in recent years.
And 50 or so Madison Countians gathered Tuesday night at Mt. Hermon Church in Ila to listen to them speak about Iraq, and to participate in a discussion on the war.
Many hoped to find solutions on how to protest the war while supporting the troops and expressing concern for their safety.
Mosley, one of the founders of Habitat for Humanity, and Winterfeld, have both visited Iraq on several occasions. Mosley was one of the first Americans in the area after the first Gulf War in March, 1991.
He and Winterfeld went back to the area in 1998 to deliver medical supplies to hospitals there and were struck by the sad state of affairs in the country that they say were due to economic sanctions imposed by the United Nations.
Mosley explained how sanctions have harmed the Iraqi people, preventing them from receiving the most basic of items, while actually helping Saddam, allowing him to control a black market of supplies and the media, which Mosley said he then used to blame the sanctions for all the people’s problems.
They also shared a number of personal experiences of encounters with the Iraqi people, whom they described as kind, helpful, accepting and generous.
Afterwards, during a discussion period, the group’s concern turned to U.S. soldiers currently in Iraq. Many were worried about the soldier’s exposure, not to Iraqi chemical or biological substances, but to depleted uranium, a substance used in missiles and bombs and as a protective shield on tanks.
Mosley pointed out that many of the children stricken with cancer lived in areas in southern Iraq where most of the bombing took place during the first Gulf War. It was mentioned that a number of Gulf War veterans are now on disability, many suffering from “Gulf War Syndrome,” a mysterious ailment that has afflicted some soldiers since their return from the war.
“If this is true (danger from exposure to uranium), then we have placed a curse on this country (Iraq) in a sense, that will last for years to come,” Winterfeld said.
LOOKING FOR ANSWERS
Mosley said his visits to other countries have convinced him that anti-American sentiment is at a danger point and the U.S. attack on Iraq has raised the danger level for Americans worldwide.
“I’m not a total pessimist on the outcome of all this, but we’ll have to work like crazy to come out of this OK..it’s an exciting time to be alive, but it can be a fatal time if we don’t get to work for peace,” he said.
“Saddam is a bad man, everyone is in agreement on that, but there are bad men all over the place, some with the mother lode,” Scott Edwards commented. “What do we do about them?...I think we need to look inside ourselves (for answers) and at the way we live and at our addiction to our lifestyles.”
“The U.S. is willing to spend incredible amounts of money on war but are willing to spend far less money in going to the root of problems that involve social and economic issues....that’s true naivete,” Mosley said. “...It’s not unpatriotic to say war is wrong, true patriotism is thinking clearly and being ready to stand up against a bad decision.”
“Many of our young people are over there fighting, doing the job they were trained to do and they’re doing a good job, but we need them to come back safely,” Mosley added.
Many expressed concern on how to get their opinions and thoughts on the war out in the community in a non-confrontational way.
“How can we say ‘I love you’ - can you listen to my opinion?” Will Winterfeld said. “We have to keep peace on our tongues and in our minds.”
Several expressed the desire to see meetings of this type continue, expanding to include discussions with more of those who have different opinions.
“Supporting peace efforts is supporting the military; we don’t want any more of them to die or be exposed to things over there, we want them home working on other things, like their college degrees,” Rev. Susan Regan, pastor of Mt. Hermon said.
“I often don’t feel represented by anti-war protesters on TV,” said David Des jardine. “I think it’s good to let people here know what’s going on and the feelings of their neighbors right here.”
“It’s good to ask people what they think will come next, after the war,” Winterfeld said.
Many of those who attended signed their signatures to an ad published in The Journal last month protesting the war. Winterfeld remarked that he believed it was the first time such a statement had been made in such a way in local papers.
Several of those attending the meeting had relatives who are veterans, or someone currently serving in the war.
A ‘LOST’ OPPORTUNITY
Chip Chandler and his wife Dena were traveling in Europe on Sept. 11, 2001.
“We were so moved that the flags in the various countries we visited like, France, Germany, Switzerland were immediately lowered to half-staff...people everywhere were grieving with us...church services were held to pray for our country -we attended many of them,” Chandler said.
“I have felt like we have since lost the opportunity to build on our friendships with other countries through the sympathy that they felt for us during 9-ll,” he continued.
“It seems some people have allowed nationalism and patriotism to replace their Christianity in many cases,” he added. “I believe in serving one’s country, but as Christians, we cannot stop serving others at the border of that country. There’s no difference between an Iraqi and an American in Christ’s eyes.”


DOT outlines Madison County projects
State officials outlined Department of Transportation plans for Madison County over the next three years in the government complex meeting room Friday morning.
Projects include: installing passing lanes at two locations on Hwy. 98 between Hwy. 29 and Hwy. 172 for 2.45 miles, widening Hwy. 72 east of Hwy. 172 to the west city limits of Comer from two to four lanes, for a total length of 2.93 miles, widening Hwy. 72 from the west city limits of Comer to east of the Broad River/ Elbert County from two to four lanes, for a total length of 9.82 miles and replacing bridges at Scull Shoal Creek, northeast of Danielsville, and at Hwy. 172 at the South Fork of the Broad River 2.5 miles west of Comer.
The DOT also plans a project to improve safety at the Hwy. 106 intersection near Hull-Sanford Elementary School, which involves moving the intersection of Sanford Road and the Hwy. 106 spur northward and leveling a hill crest to improve visibility.
ROAD FUNDING
Madison County voters recently approved approximately $8.4 million in sales tax revenue for road improvements over the next five years. Commission chairman Wesley Nash told DOT officials that there are still 141 unpaved roads in Madison County. He said the county plans an aggressive road improvement program over the next several years but that state funding assistance through the Local Assistance Road Program (LARP) is crucial in making significant progress. The county commissioners have yet to outline specifically how the SPLOST money for roads will be used.
“If we get matching funds to go along (with SPLOST) we could have a real aggressive program,” said Nash.
The chairman asked what kind of assistance the county might receive, but the DOT officials could not provide a concrete answer, noting that legislators are dealing with a budget shortfall and that the issue of whether bonds will be granted for the massive Governor’s Road Improvement Program (GRIP) is still up in the air. Todd Long of the DOT said the progress of the state’s projects in Madison County will hinge on whether bonds are granted.
Nash noted that the county received more money in road assistance when Wayne Shackleford was DOT commissioner than now under Tom Coleman — the county is getting approximately $130,000 a year now. Long noted that there was more money available during Shackleford’s tenure and that Madison County perhaps received “more than its fair share,” getting money that was left unused by other counties. Nash said his administration was simply taking advantage of the fact that other counties failed to pursue available money.
The chairman added that the limited road funding in the state is made worse by “limp-wristed” legislators who won’t introduce a one-cent sales tax on gas to help fund road improvements.


Comer council approves two alcohol licenses
Two Comer restaurants have received licenses to serve alcohol with meals.
Carmine’s Italian Restaurant applied for and received licenses for malt beverages (beer) and wine to be served in the building but not in the outside area. Los Hermanos Restaurant applied and received a license for beer only — again to be served only inside.
In other matters Tuesday, the council accepted bids on two surplus mowers. The group received $400 for one machine and $612 for the other.
The council agreed to have the city apply for a loan for sewer construction. The application will include a request to refinance existing loans at a lower rate.
The council approved three zoning requests and denied one. Approved without comment were requests from Patrick Singleton to rezone a building at 79 E. North Street from commercial to business/residential.
Anita Blaschak received approval to rezone property at 1914 Madison Street from industrial to business/residential. These two cases are a continuation of the recent wave of multi-use buildings in the downtown area.
A lot belonging to Kevin Booth on Clover Avenue was rezoned from residential to multi-family. Booth wants to build a quadraplex of townhouses on the lot, but current rules require that public sewage be installed before a building permit can be issued. Booth has requested that city ordinances be changed to allow the facility to operate on a septic tank. The council asked zoning administrator Gerald Kemp to compile a report on the impact of such a change. Booth can place two, single-family residences on the lot.
The council denied a request to rezone 2103 Madison Street from multi-family residential to commercial for the construction of a child care center. The center would have served up to 18 children. The city’s only child care center recently closed. Residents in the area objected to the change, arguing that they have invested considerable money to restore the homes in the area and they wanted it to remain a residential street.

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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.


County deputy fired, charged with assault
A Madison County Deputy was arrested last week on charges that he assaulted a prisoner at the Madison County Jail.
Dennis Lowell Harbison, 32, of Danielsville, was arrested by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation on one count of battery.
Chief Deputy Bill Strickland said the GBI was called to assist in the investigation of the incident.
The prisoner, whom Strickland called “unruly,” was reportedly treated and released with several stitches to his head. Strickland said the injury happened when Harbison struck him, causing the man to fall and strike his head on a table.
“It’s just an unfortunate situation,” Strickland said.
Harbison, who is out on bond, was fired from the sheriff’s office where he had served as a deputy for several years.


City of Ila may get new chain store
Ila may soon be the home of a new Dollar General Store.
Ila city council reviewed a rezoning request by Ann Davis at Monday night’s council meeting. Davis wants to rezone two lots totaling approximately 2.5 acres located on Hwy. 98 East in Ila from residential to commercial in order to lease the land to Dollar General for the construction of a new store.
On the request of city zoning chairman, Eric Sjoberg, the council has set a public hearing for May 5 at 6:30 p.m.
The property in question is located across from the fire hall and next door to city hall.
The council is expected to vote on whether to allow the rezoning following the zoning committee’s recommendation to them during their regular meeting at 7 p.m.