News from Madison County...

AUGUST 20, 2003


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OPINIONS

Frank Gillespie
The battle over America’s soul
As this is being printed, another battle in the war for America’s soul is being fought in Montgomery, Ala.

Zach Mitcham
Whoomp, there’s ‘No Child Left Behind’
Like every pop song, every education reform initiative needs its hook.
I hear “No Child Left Behind” and I don’t think of kids suddenly smarter.


SPORTS

Directions to Area Schools

Madison County football program to return to region play next season
Madison County’s four-year stint in non-region football will end with this season, according to Raider head coach and athletic director Tom Hybl.


Neighboorhood News ..
JACKSON COUNTY
County goes ‘wet’ with BOC vote
Beer and wine ordinance approved
In a 3-2 vote, the Jackson County Board of Commissioners made history Monday night in voting to allow the sale of beer and wine in unincorporated areas of the county.

Braselton sued over proposed apartments
A development company that has been effectively denied its request to build 16 apartment units an acre on Ga. Hwy. 124 has filed a lawsuit against the Town of Braselton.


Neighborhood News...
BANKS COUNTY

Truck full of ‘coke’ found
Bust yields 210 pounds, $9.5 million in illegal narcotics
A safety checkpoint along I-85 in Banks County last week netted one of the single largest drug busts in the county’s history.

Heritage Days Festival planned
Aug. 30-31at horse arena
Heritage Days will be held Saturday-Sunday, Aug. 30-31, at the Banks County Horse Arena and Park on Eaglenest Road.

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Chaz Perry (front left) and several Madison County Raiders watch from the sidelines as their teammates scrimmage Tuesday afternoon. The preseason is winding down for the Raiders, who will kick off their season Aug. 29 at Franklin County. For more football coverage, see this weeks Madison County Journal

Planners pummel park plan
BOC to consider proposed IDA rezoning of Hwy. 72 property Monday
County planners soundly rejected the Industrial Authority’s plans to rezone a portion of the Hwy. 72 business park from A2 (agricultural) to Industrial at Tuesday night’s public hearings of the planning and zoning commission.
The planning and zoning commission voted 5-0 to recommend denial of a request by Marvin White, representing the IDA, to rezone a 32.97-acre parcel on James Holcomb Road off Hwy. 72 from A-2 (agricultural) to Industrial for light industrial/business use.
Commission member Walter Searcy, who served on a citizen’s park committee to develop a plan for the property, recused himself from the vote.
The property, located on the western side of James Holcomb Road, is a portion of the 80 acres purchased by the IDA and was recommended for business/light industrial use by the IDA’s business park planning committee last year. White told the commission that the IDA plans to abide by the committee’s recommendation for noise, light and other restrictions and to divide the property into six lots.
Commission member Jeep Gaskin challenged White, asking him if the authority planned to follow the committee’s other suggestion to sell most of the property located in the eastern portion of the tract.
White replied that no decision had been made on the matter due to concerns over leaving a buffer for the backup well for the county water system, which is located on that portion.
Commission member Nick Paski told White and IDA chairman Tom Joiner that he believed all the park land needs to be sold.
“I’d like to see this (property) sold and wiped off the county’s books, personally,” Paski said.
“As a business owner I wouldn’t want to locate a business there,” he added, pointing out its location off of Hwy. 72, CSX trains blocking access to James Holcomb Road and the proximity of neighborhoods.
“...I’d like to have seen some of that money spent on Madico Park instead,” Paski continued.
“We’re just trying to turn over some of that property to pay down the debt on it,” White told the commission.
Gaskin told White and Joiner that he’d like to see a plan of the land’s overall cost to taxpayers and a projection of its payback.
“I wish I felt like the IDA was doing their homework,” said Gaskin. “The purchase of this land appears to have been ‘flighty’ without much thought or a cost analysis done — the IDA needs to provide answers to taxpayers. Show me some stats that says this is going to work (as a business park).”
The board of commissioners will consider the matter, along with the planning and zoning commission’s recommendation at its regular business meeting next Monday night beginning at 6:30 p.m.


Commissioners consider Hull, Madico EMS stations
Madison County commissioners are looking at expanding emergency medical services in the near future in the form of two new ambulance stations.
The board of commissioners held a work session Monday night at the recently converted Danielsville EMS station in the old Fine Finish building on Hwy. 98 West to discuss what to do with approximately $300,000 in sales tax revenue tagged for EMS over the next five years.
Voters approved the extra tax in March, which is expected to add $9.5 million to the county’s coffers for roads, emergency communications, EMS and the sheriff’s department.
Commissioners reviewed a map of Madison County showing the locations of medical emergency calls from July 2002 to July 2003.
According to assistant EMS director John Pethel, EMS responded to approximately 2,500 calls during the 12-month period, with 21 percent of those coming from the Hull area.
This figure did not include “10-22’s” (calls canceled en route).
Pethel said call volume to the ever-growing Hull area has more than tripled in the past four years.
“Hull is where our concerns are, that’s where water and sewer are going and that’s where growth will continue to occur at a rapid pace,” EMS director Dwayne Patton told commissioners.
HULL EMS STATION
The commissioners agreed that the county needs a new station in the heavily-populated Hull area and they are eyeing a two-acre parcel adjacent to Hull-Sanford Elementary School as the place to locate it.
Third District Commissioner Mike Youngblood, who serves the Hull area, said there have already been 255 First Responder calls within a five-mile radius of the red light in Hull in 2003.
“I think we’re all agreed that’s where we’re going to put it (new station), but the concern is salaries for staff and operating expenses, which won’t come from SPLOST funding...we’re going to be looking at a tax increase,” commissioner Bruce Scogin said. “But I think the people of Madison County want this service and I don’t think they would mind an increase in order to provide it.”
For the rest of this story see this weeks Madison County Journal.

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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 schools see increased enrollment
Madison County school attendance numbers show a slight increase in enrollment for the new school year. Preliminary figures show an increase of 19 students overall.
The numbers do not reflect special needs students who will continue to enroll over the next several days. The figures were released by the superintendent’s office at the Madison County Board of Education meeting Tuesday night,
Hull-Sanford and Ila elementary schools had the greatest growth. Figures for the fifth day of school, considered more accurate than the first day, shows Hull-Sanford jumping from 440 to 470 over the same day last year. Ila Elementary jumped 12.2 percent from 426 to 478. Madison County High School increased by 37 new students from 1,331 to 1,368.
Colbert and Comer schools lost enrollment in the same period. Colbert dropped from 349 to 325 and Comer slid from 324 to 290. Off-campus special need students dropped from 68 to 18. These numbers are expected to recover in the next few days as special needs students begin their school year.
The school system’s construction program, other than the new theatre at the high school and the sports complex, is now over half finished. The $2.5 million project is projected to be $30,000 over earlier estimates.
Madison County's "Teachers of the Year" were recognized at the county school board meeting Tuesday night. They were Lori Montgomery, Colbert Elementary; Debbie Hale, Comer Elementary; Lori Faulkner, Danielsville Elementary; Lisa Birdzell, Hull-Sanford Elementary; Missy Andrews, Ila Elementary; Sandy Clark, MCMS; and Latana Coile, MCHS.
Stats on the “No Child Left Behind” program show Madison County’s high school and middle school fell below the accountability goals. Only nine percent of the state’s schools achieved the goal; none of them were in this area. Both schools were only a few points below the targeted figures. Earlier reports that Hull-Sanford Elementary failed to reach the goals were the result of errors in the state figures.
The board of education approved a contract for services from RESA for health education programs. The price to the school system is $2,463.
Georgia’s Department of Transportation reports that work to rebuild the dangerous intersection at Hull-Sanford school will not begin until 2005.