News from Madison County...

MAY 28, 2003


Madison County
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OPINIONS
Frank Gillespie
Diversity movement is for ‘politically correct’
The new word for left wing social projects is “diversity.” It takes its place along with “affirmative action” and “politically correct” as a way of determining who deserves to sip from the government’s cup of plenty.

Zach Mitcham
On getting married
My best friend from high school gave me some advice the other day about mine and Jana’s wedding vows this Sunday.
“Make sure to tell your preacher to speak slowly,” Dean said.


SPORTS

Directions to Area Schools

The end of the road
In 16-years at the Raider helm, Charlie Griffeth has seen his share of special teams.
Add the 2003 outfit to the veteran coach’s list.
The diamond Raiders were ousted from in the second round of the AAAA state tournament Saturday with a pair of losses to East Paulding on the road, but Griffeth said the overachieving group had a memorable 31-game run with the hurdles it cleared this year.


Neighboorhood News ..
JACKSON COUNTY
Planning board approves Holiday Cemetery Rd. homes
A Jackson County developer got the go-ahead Thursday night to locate a subdivision on Holiday Cemetery Road, but it will not have as many homes in it as he had hoped for.

Odd-Even Water Restrictions Begin Here On Sunday
In spite of an annoying abundance of rainfall in Georgia this month, starting Sunday, new state-wide water restrictions go into effect.

BOC to meet with courthouse architect Fri.
The Jackson County Board of Commissioners will meet with courthouse architects Friday.

New ‘shared services’ talks could spark controversy
In what could be the first round of some serious local government infighting, the county government and nine municipalities are set to meet next week to discuss updating the local “shared services” agreement.

10th annual Relay for Life ahead
The 10th annual American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life in Jackson County will kick off at 6:30 p.m. Friday at Peach State Speedway, with activities continuing throughout the night.

State water limits to take effect June 1
Beginning June 1, residents on county and city water systems statewide will have new voluntary water restrictions to abide by, despite the record amounts of rain recently.

TOO WET: Like The Drought, Rainfall Causes Problems
Who would have thought a year ago that we'd be complaining about having too much rain?

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


Neighborhood News...
BANKS COUNTY
A ‘super’ pick

After a six month long search, Banks County has a new school superintendent.
The school board voted Tuesday morning to hire Christopher Bell Erwin to fill the position to be vacated by retiring superintendent Deborah White.

County looks at plan to put more water in northwest
The Banks County Board of Commissioners is considering a plan to boost the county’s water system in northwestern Banks County.

Trim Time
After examining initial projected revenues, the board of commissioners is seeking more expense cuts to make up for nearly $700,000 to balance next year’s budget.

Statewide voluntary water restrictions take effect June 1
Beginning June 1, residents on county and city water systems statewide will have new voluntary water restrictions to abide by, despite the record amounts of rain recently.

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Graduation good cheer

Madison County Class of 2003 graduates tossed their red caps high into the air at the end of Friday’s commencement ceremonies at the Athens Classic Center.

Class of 2003 says goodbye to MCHS
The red graduation caps were finally flung into the air in the Athens Classic Center Friday, marking the end of the high school journey for the Madison County Class of 2003.
Friends and family members of 216 MCHS graduates packed the Classic Center for the commencement ceremony, listening as six seniors took the podium to reflect on their years at MCHS.
They noted that the departure includes a mix of joy and sadness.
“Some of us have been counting down the days since we got back from Christmas break,” said “Good Citizenship Award” winner Sallie Fitzpatrick in her speech. “The general consensus was that everybody was so happy and excited to finally be leaving high school that they didn’t have any time to be sad. But now that graduation is upon us, I’m sure that there will be more than a few tears. Some of us have been together since kindergarten...”
Salutatorian Stephanie Moore said each senior faces a new set of challenges with the end of high school.
“Right now, paths are being laid out for this year’s graduating class that will have to be navigated successfully to get to our final goal in five or 10 years,” said Moore. “From the realization that every decision will always count, no matter its significance, this momentous night we will ask ourselves ‘how much does everything in life mean to us?’”
Katie Phillips spoke of the various paths that her classmates will take.
“Some of us will go on to be doctors, saving many peoples’ lives,” said Phillips. “Some will become teachers, educating the next generation of Americans; some will become chief executive officers who will assist in running various corporations; still others will pursue a technical career and become mechanics or electricians, helping our daily lives run smoothly. Regardless of our career choice, we will become a small part of the miracles that take place every hour.”
Valedictorian Joseph Jones offered humor for the occasion, noting that one person told him that graduation speeches “were invented largely in the belief that high school students should never be released into the real world until they have been properly sedated.”
Jones said the seniors will look back on the days at MCHS and remember the good times.
“When we’re all off in college, or working our jobs, or still living off our parents, and we look back at our time at MCHS, we’re not going to remember the tests we aced, or the classes we took, or the endless nights at the computer screen,” said Jones. “But instead we’re going to remember the good times we had with each other, the parties, the laughs we shared, but most of all, we’ll remember the people we knew.”
Chad Coulter was the evening’s introductory speaker. He thanked teachers, administrators and family members for their influence on the class of 2003 over the years.
“Brothers, sisters, cousins, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and of course, mom and dad, there is an endless list of things to thank you for,” said Coulter. “Thank you for the continuous encouragement, the help with those difficult homework problems, the carpools to, from, to, and from the rec. department, and oops, one more time back when we forgot our shoes, all in the same day.”
Brooke Kesler also thanked the high school staff and the families who helped the graduating class.
“To our teachers, coaches and administrators: You have taught us more than just school,” said Kesler. “You have taught us about life. You have taught us more than we realize and one day, we will look back and say, ‘My teacher in high school mentioned something about this once,’ or ‘I wish I could tell my teacher thank you for always telling me I could do the things I thought I couldn’t.’ When you were pushing us harder, we thought you were the bad guys, but now we look back and know you’ve made us stronger.”
The theme of Friday’s graduation was “These Are Days” and the audience and graduates watched as a screen was lowered on the stage, showing snapshots of the graduates, while Natalie Merchant’s “These Are Days” played over the PA system.
Several seniors were also acknowledged Friday for their attendance achievements. Kandace Fitzpatrick was recognized for having perfect attendance for 13 consecutive years, while eight students were recognized for having two years of perfect attendance: Kimberly Barrett, Pamela Bowen, Andrew Branyon, Melanie Elrod, Sallie Fitzpatrick, Jonathan McElroy, Christina Odom and Tony Tittle.


Jail open house set for July 4 weekend
Madison County residents will be able to look inside the new county jail this Independence Day weekend with the freedom of no cell door clicking shut behind them.
The long-awaited Madison County jail is nearing completion and county commission chairman Wesley Nash is planning an “open house” at the jail — that is, of course, before the inmates come.
“I’m looking forward to having the public come by on the weekend of July 4 — Friday, Saturday and Sunday — to see their new jail,” county commission chairman Wesley Nash said Tuesday.
The BOC took care of more jail furnishings Tuesday, approving proposals by volunteer adviser and Sheriff Clayton Lowe for kitchen equipment and utensils.
Nash also reported that security cameras are now being set up in the jail and that all floor tiling and carpet have been installed.
The chairman also reported that the new EMS office in the old Fine Finish building is nearly complete and that an open house will be scheduled soon for that building.
TAKEOVER DEADLINE
TO BE SET FOR DEC. 1
In other business Tuesday, the commissioners heard that the date for the county industrial authority’s takeover of the Athens-owned water line in Hull is expected to be postponed until Dec. 1. Chamber of Commerce president and IDA chairman Marvin White said he does not anticipate any problem with Athens approving the postponement, adding that Madison County may have to pay about $6,000 in interest. The water line takeover will allow the IDA to connect its two wells in Hull and serve more customers. ZONING AMENDMENTS
APPROVED
County commissioners approved seven pages of amendments to the county zoning ordinance. The amendments addressed such issues as the length to width ratio requirements of private access drives and guidelines on perimeter landscaping and buffer areas. Contact the planning and zoning office at 795-5375 to request a copy of the amendments.
PUBLIC COMMUNICATIONS
COMMITTEE SET
The commissioners approved a nine-man committee to determine the most effective ways to use $500,000 in sales tax money to improve public safety communications in the county. The committee includes Clayton Lowe, representing the sheriff’s department; Dwayne Patton, representing EMS; Marc Perry, representing county firefighters; Johnny Bridges, representing the county Rescue services; Charles Temple, representing the road department; David Camp, representing 911; and Wesley Nash, Mike Youngblood and Bruce Scogin of the county BOC.
OTHER BUSINESS
In other business, the commissioners approved preliminary plans for Tumbling Creek Subdivision, agreed to refund Keith and Natalie Nix $1,219 for overpayment of taxes and agreed to renew a computer hardware maintenance contract for the tax commissioner’s office. The commissioners agreed to advertise the sale of two properties seized due to the owners failure to pay taxes. The BOC approved renewal of a public defender’s contract for the Northern Judicial Circuit and agreed to look at lowering the speed limit on Poss Road.

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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.


BOE hires construction firm
County school board members hired Charles Black Construction Company as the school system’s management firm on sales tax funded construction projects Thursday.
Charles Black Construction, which was one of three companies considered by the school board, most recently worked for the system when it oversaw the building of the Hull-Sanford Elementary School.
Madison County Assistant Superintendent for Facilities and Operations Mitch McGhee said the contract involves two pay structures: a construction management fee, which has been set at four percent of construction costs; and a general condition and reimbursement percentage, which can range from about 10 to 16 percent of the construction costs. McGhee said this fee is not set in stone yet and is determined by the amount of work the company does for the school system as the projects proceed.
McGhee and other school leaders were scheduled to meet with a representative from Charles Black Construction this morning (Wednesday) to discuss the contract and a timetable for getting projects underway.
“We’ll ask for a hard and fast schedule by early next week,” said McGhee.
County voters approved in March the renewal of a one-cent sales tax for improvement projects, which include eight new classrooms at Ila Elementary, five new classrooms at Comer and Colbert Elementary schools, expanded cafeterias at Danielsville Elementary and Madison County Middle School, an athletic complex across the street from the high school, new flooring at Comer, Colbert and MCMS and a 180-seat amphitheater at MCHS.
McGhee has said the schools’ first construction priority is to “get the flooring issues complete” by the beginning of the 2003-2004 school year. Leaders will strive to have structural additions completed within the first six to eight weeks of the next school year, while portions of the sports complex, which do not include grass fields — such as the track and tennis courts — are expected to be completed by next spring.