News from Madison County...

MAY 21, 2003


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OPINIONS
Frank Gillespie
Remember and honor those who sacrificed for you
What holiday are we celebrating on Monday, May 26? Far too many of you only know it is a holiday because the banks and post office are closed. Others of you care only that you get a day off with pay.

Margie Richards
An important ‘milestone’
I passed another milestone a few weeks ago, one that comes yearly for me now.
No, I’m not talking about a birthday, although that certainly comes faster and faster every year, it seems.


SPORTS

Directions to Area Schools

Lion Tamers
The classification may be a notch higher this year, but the diamond Raiders’ results haven’t wavered.
Madison County, which made it to the second round of the AAA state tournament a year ago, is back in the Sweet 16 in AAAA after taking two of three games from Westlake this weekend, rebounding with 14-3 and 15-5 wins after dropping the opener 7-5.


Neighboorhood News ..
JACKSON COUNTY
BJC Loses Top 2 Administrators; Interims Hired
The BJC Medical Center Authority replaced its two top officials Monday afternoon, one through a firing and the other hired away by a competitor.

High schools to hold graduation ceremonies Fri.
After years of preparing for tests, working on homework and participating in extracurricular activities, graduates from two local high schools will be receiving their diplomas on Friday night.

526-home subdivision denied by Braselton PC
A rezoning request seeking to construct 526 homes on 122 acres on Zion Church Road was recommended for denial by the Braselton Planning Commission on Monday.

KOA Annexation Would Open Door To Annex Apartments
The Commerce Planning Commission will consider a request for rezoning for annexation of part of the Kampground of America (KOA) on Mt. Olive Road.

Pendergrass discusses benefits
But closed-door meeting violated state law
The Pendergrass City Council’s personnel committee held a closed-door meeting on Thursday to prepare a proposal for a benefits package for full-time city employees.

Memorial celebration planned
The Jackson County Board of Commissioners and the City of Commerce will hold a Memorial Week celebration on Thursday, May 29.

411 homes approved in Jefferson zoning
The Quad Cities Planning Commission approved preliminary plans Tuesday night for four subdivisions that will bring 411 new homes to Jefferson.


Neighborhood News...
BANKS COUNTY

BOE unsure about art camp at BCPS
Citing questions about personal gain, the Banks County school board Thursday tabled a request for an art camp at the primary school.

BJC loses top two officials; CEO Lawrence terminated
The BJC Medical Center Authority replaced its two top officials Monday afternoon, one through a firing and the other hired away by a competitor.

30th annual Memorial Day service to be held Monday
The 30th annual Memorial Day service will be held at 10 a.m. on Monday, May 26, at Veterans Park in Homer.

Lula council receives requests for annexations
The Lula City Council discussed two separate annexation requests that would bring 200 acres in Banks County into the city limits at Monday’s meeting.

A Day at the Fort planned
A Day at the Fort will be held from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, May 24, at Fort Hollingsworth/White House.

Republican party to meet Tuesday
The Banks County Republican party will meet at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, May 27, in the courthouse. The guest speaker will be Sen. Ralph Hudgens. All registered voters are invited to attend, leaders say.

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Madison County High School’s Class of 2003

Madison County High School’s Class of 2003 gathered for a picture early Wednesday morning.

Class of 2003 to graduate Fri.
Members of the Class of 2003 will end their high school careers Friday night at a graduation ceremony at the Classic Center in Athens.
The commencement ceremony begins at 7:30 p.m. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. and those attending must have tickets.
Speakers from the senior class of approximately 200 are: valedictorian Joseph Jones, salutatorian Stephanie Moore, Sallie Fitzpatrick, Brooke Kesler, Katie Phillips and Chad Coulter.
HONOR GRADUATES
This year’s honor graduates and their class rank are: Anna Lee Adams, 16; Summer Christina Adams, 19; Robin Marie Andrews, 46; Kimberly Ann Barrett, 53; Elizabeth Joy Bartlett, 8; Amy Christine Beck, 44; Shauna Elizabeth Bell, 39; Matthew Todd Berryman, 30; Alan Aaron Bond, 22; Pamela Lynn Bowen, 33; Stefanie Bray Carr, 42; Ashley Jean Caudell, 38; Robert Jack Chandler, 34; Jennifer Laura Costyn, 5; Susan Diane Couch, 23; Chad Johnson Coulter, 7; Alicia Leanne Crane, 25; Daniel Robert Crocco, 14; Deidre Leigh Davis, 29; Scott Daniel Dills, 15; Candace Lynn Ellard, 37; Melanie Nicole Elrod, 20; Tonya Michelle Evans, 17; Jenna Marie Faulkner, 55; Sallie Elane Fitzpatrick, 10; Trevor Alton Floyd, 40; Autumn Nicole Fowler, 32; Caitlin Beth Galloway, 36; Ashley Nicole Graham, 41; Matthew Thomas Hall, 52; Jonathan Barrett Hardy, 44; Nathan Douglas Hatcher, 49; Megan Joanna Holloman, 47; Kelly Christine Huff, 54; Tammy Leigh Jackson, 50; Joseph Reuben Jones, 1; Ashley Brooke Kesler, 4; Kristin Adair Kesler, 24; Robert Boyce Lane, 50; Christopher Scott Luera, 48; Lindsey Loraine Mason, 56; Caleb Nathaniel McCants, 35; Ralph Leon McCay, III, 57; Stephanie Ann Moore, 2; Sarah Heath Owen, 13; Katie Renee’ Phillips, 9; Amanda Beth Rebitch, 58; Matthew David Self, 59; Candice Elaine Smith, 27; Rebecca Leigh Sovine, 31; Rebecca Elaine Strickland, 28; Cole Bradford Tonge, 6; Paul Alan Wildes, 26; Trenton James Wilkes, 3; Allison Mary Wilkes, 18; April Michelle Williams, 21; Mary Elizabeth Willoughby, 51; Tamiya Lee Wood, 43; Adam Matthew Wynn, 11 and Peter Gabriel Zorbanos, 12.


Planners nix Athens couple’s plans in Poca
The Madison County Planning Commission nixed an Athens couple’s plans Tuesday night to place a doublewide mobile home on a small lot in the Poca community.
Planners voted 6 -1 to deny a request by Richard and Eve Mayes, representing property owner Jim Warren (Mrs. Mayes’s father) for an area variance on a 1.03 acre parcel on Wesley Chapel Church Road. The Mayeses need an area variance because zoning requires a two-acre minimum for a residential lot.
Commission member Walter Searcy provided the lone “no” vote on the denial.
Mr. Mayes said he had obtained the necessary paperwork for a septic tank and well on the property and met all set back requirements.
But neighboring property owners Betty and Banister Sexton protested the variance, saying they do want to see a doublewide mobile home placed adjacent to property that they currently have for sale.
Mrs. Sexton said potential owners had declined to buy the property they have for sale once they found out a doublewide was planned for Warren’s lot.
“I don’t think you’d want that (type of residence) in your neighborhoods, especially if it’s like what his father-in-law (Warren) lives in,” Mrs. Sexton told the commission, referring to Warren’s homesite, which is located on 50 acres nearby.
However, the Mayeses maintained that they need the small lot due to Mr. Mayes’s deteriorating health.
Mr. Mayes presented a letter from former zoning administrator Lee Sutton in 1999 stating that he foresaw “no obstacles” in locating a dwelling on the small tract, provided it met the setbacks and other requirements.
In another zoning matter, the commission voted 5-2 to approve a request by Evelena Cooper for an area variance on a 1.82-acre tract on Noble Road.
Commission members Wendell Hanley and Jeep Gaskin voted against the variance.
Mrs. Cooper, who has owned the property since 1977, needs the area variance in order to locate a home there, since the zoning ordinance calls for a two-acre minimum for the residential lot.
A number of neighbors showed up to protest the variance, stating they had heard rumors that two mobile homes were to be located on the lot instead of one, that a mobile home had been “buried” on the property; they also called into question the character of Mrs. Cooper’s husband.
Many of the property owners also protested the small size of the lot, even though zoning adminstrator Kim Butler pointed out that several area lots are as small or smaller.
On rebuttal, Mrs. Cooper disputed remarks about her husband, stating that he had been ill since a stroke a number of years ago. Cooper also said that a man she had hired to clean up the property and remove an older home, had “cut corners” by demolishing and then burying the home without her knowledge, but that code enforcement officer Jack Huff has since ordered the man to remove the home.
Butler explained that in asking for the variance, Cooper was not trying to create a new, smaller lot, since the lot has been recorded at that size for a number of years.
The board of commissioners will have the final say on these and other zoning matters at its next business meeting, scheduled for Tuesday, May 27, beginning at 6:30 p.m.


Lack of quorum leads to latest delay in water system expansion
The lack of a quorum at a state agency meeting — this is the latest delay in the county’s water expansion efforts in Hull.
County Chamber of Commerce president and industrial authority secretary Marvin White told IDA members Monday that the Georgia Environmental Facilities Authority (GEFA) failed to have a quorum at a meeting earlier this month in which two Madison County loan requests were to be considered.
White said he expects those loans — one for $507,000 and the other for $539,000 — to be approved at a special GEFA meeting later this month. He added that he doesn’t anticipate any problems getting the loans approved.
The first loan will be used to purchase a water line in Madison County from Athens-Clarke County; the second loan will pay for construction of a well house and chemical feed building, as well as a new water line that will connect Madison County’s current water system, which serves Hull-Sanford Elementary School, with the Athens-owned line.
Industrial authority chairman Tom Joiner said water expansion projects in Hull can proceed once the loans are approved.
“The minute we get that, they (construction workers) can start work (on the Hull system expansion),” said Joiner.
Once they begin, construction crews will have 120 days to complete the job. White said he anticipates that the crews may be able to get the job done in 90 days.
The IDA is also negotiating an extension of the water line takeover with Athens-Clarke County. White said the authority will try to have the extension agreement signed before the scheduled June 1 takeover date.
Joiner said the water expansion project has been frustrating, but he said the IDA is beginning to see progress.
“This has been a road that’s had more bumps in it than you can imagine,” said Joiner. “I don’t want to pre-judge anything, but it looks like we’ve got it smoothed out.”
The IDA chairman said he also anticipates a great demand for water once the expansion project is completed.
“Once we get two wells hooked together there’s going to be demands everywhere you turn,” said Joiner.
The IDA is developing a water system in the Hull area to lure more businesses to the area. Most leaders agree that commercial growth is essential in offsetting the growing tax burden on county property owners.
In other matters, White reported that the IDA will open bids at 2 p.m., June 24, for construction work on a new entrance drive from Hwy. 29 to the proposed Alewine retail site.
The IDA has also applied for a grant to fund the extension of a water line to the retail area on Hwy. 29 and beyond.
“The plan is to go as far up Hwy. 29 as the money will take us,” said White.
Also Monday, Joiner said all new meters are in place at Madico Park, adding that the industrial authority is sending letters to businesses informing them that the new meters may affect their water bills. He noted that one business in particular has used a lot of water in the past and may find an increased water bill.
Joiner said plans for a bulk water station — where customers will be able to discharge a significant amount of water — are being delayed until the IDA is in better shape financially.
County accounts payable coordinator Charlotte Kesler addressed the authority at the end of the brief meeting Monday, informing the IDA members that she anticipates the authority will be $16,000 in debt by the end of June if all expenses are paid. IDA members agreed not to pay fees to Carter and Sloope, the engineering firm overseeing water expansion efforts, until “we see some production on this (the Hull water system).” They said that loan money for the Hull water system project can be used to pay the engineering fees.
Joiner also welcomed new IDA member Gerry Burdette, saying that Burdette’s time on the authority “ought to be an interesting six or seven years.”

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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.


Hull Spring Festival set Saturday
The Hull Community Spring Festival will be held from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., Saturday, May 24.
Organizers say the event will be a “great day of family fun for all,” and will include a parade, food, gospel singing, children’s entertainment, an antique car show, crafters, community service booths and a 5K walk/ run and fun run.
For parade information, call David Owens at 549-7242, Kathy Cheek at 353-3488 or Minister King at 353-3751. For 5K walk and fun run information, call Theresa Bettis at 369-9270 and for gospel singing information, call O.P. Jones at 543-1819.