News from Madison County...

SEPTEMBER 17, 2003


Madison County
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OPINIONS

Frank Gillespie
A culture set on avoiding responsibility

Evidence of our lack of responsibility continues to pile up. We are now so intent in avoiding responsibility for our actions and decisions that we throw away vast amounts of valuable resources rather than take proper care of them

Zach Mitcham
The scene of a first pet experience
(Editor’s note: In writing this, I am relinquishing any future claim to macho-manhood. I am doing the unthinkable...I am writing a flowery cat column — during football season!)


SPORTS

Directions to Area Schools

Distractions aside, Raiders roll 13-7
MCHS forces seven turnovers in gutting-out 13-7 win over Athens Academy


Neighboorhood News ..
JACKSON COUNTY

BOC moves to ‘study’ water authority
Action could pre-stage a new takeover attempt
In a move that may set the stage for another takeover attempt by the Jackson County Board of Commissioners to dominate the county water and sewerage authority, the BOC voted Monday night to hire a consultant to do a “needs assessment study” of the authority.

Concerned citizens plan rally Thurs.
County awaits judge’s decision on lawsuit


Neighborhood News...
BANKS COUNTY

Remembering 9/11
Homer Baptist Church holds 9/11 memorial service
“Amazing grace, how sweet the sound, that saved a wretched like me. I once was lost, but now I’m found...”

Lula considers new regulations for zoning requests
Lula council members Vicky Chambers and Mordecai Wilson presented a new set of regulations Monday for the town to consider on handling variance and rezoning requests.

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The Madison County Journal
Danielsville, Georgia
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Madison County High School head football coach Tom Hybl congratulates his squad after they turned in an inspired performance in a 13-7 win over Athens Academy Friday.

No evidence to support claims against coach Hybl
A county judge has found no evidence to support parents’ claims that Raider head football coach Tom Hybl assaulted their son during a practice last month.
Tim and Angela Hughes alleged that Hybl abused their son, Gabe, a sophomore at MCHS who is no longer on the football team, during a Raider practice on Aug. 25. They said Hybl grabbed their son off the ground by his face mask after he suffered a knee injury and forced him to rejoin the huddle and continue practicing.
Hybl declined to comment on the matter.
Madison County Magistrate Judge Harry Rice ruled Sept. 12 that there was no evidence of any “criminal attempt” or “criminal neglect” on the part of the sixth-year coach. Rice heard from both Hybl and the Hughes family at a hearing last Wednesday to determine whether a warrant would be issued for Hybl’s arrest.
“Based on the testimony presented, the Court does not find existence of probable cause for the issuance of an arrest warrant against the accused in this matter,” wrote Rice in his disposition.
The matter was presented to authorities when Tim Hughes filed a report with the Madison County Sheriff’s Department on Aug. 25, claiming Hybl had lifted his son “off the ground using the face mask on his helmet,” before beginning “to shake him violently.” (That report was not provided by the sheriff’s department to the newspapers during the weekly release of county crime reports to local reporters. However, it was released this week by the sheriff’s department when it was specifically requested by The Journal.)
The issue became a matter of much public discussion in the county after Mr. Hughes contacted television stations in Atlanta and Toccoa, with WSB channel 2 airing a piece last week outlining the accusations.
Mr. Hughes said Monday that he was disappointed with Rice’s ruling but that he does not intend to file suit against Hybl.
“A lawsuit would hurt the county,” said Hughes, who also said he is terminally ill with six to 12 months to live. “It would take money away from the kids...This has nothing to do with money. I don’t want to hurt the county. I just want the right thing done, which is to remove that man (Hybl) from his position.”
Hughes said his son is a good kid and that he is disappointed by the negative reaction he has faced due to the allegations. Hughes said the backlash has included nails in their driveway and threats at school.
“I love Madison County,” said Hughes. “But I’m ashamed to be associated with Madison County right now. Parents will turn on you at the drop of a hat.”
Madison County school superintendent Keith Cowne said he is satisfied that the matter has been reviewed and ruled on by a judge and he sees no reason to pursue any further investigation.
“We do take allegations seriously, but in this case the justice process has come in to play and we have faith that this is a just and fair finding,” said Cowne. “We hope this puts that incident in the past.”
Though the allegations were certainly not forgotten by those on hand during Friday night’s game, Madison County’s football team responded with an inspired 13-7 win (see page 1B) over Athens Academy, a team that shut them down 16-7 last year.


Prisoners moving to new jail
Approximately 25 prisoners were expected to be moved late Tuesday afternoon from the old jail in downtown Danielsville to the new jail facility on Hwy. 98 west of Danielsville, according to sheriff Clayton Lowe.
County workers were busy hanging signs with warnings, visitation rules and “guard line” markers on Tuesday in anticipation of the move.
Lowe said Monday that the move has been delayed recently as various problems with the facility have been corrected. For instance, he pointed out that a jail lobby toilet, which was mounted to the bathroom wall, had to be repaired after it collapsed and fell onto the floor — no word on who occupied the toilet at the time of the fall.


Planners deny rezoning for take-out restaurant
A Black's Creek Church Road restaurant owner may have to close his take-out business if the board of commissioners follow a recommendation by county planners to deny his rezoning request.
The planning commission voted 3 -2 to recommend the BOC deny a request by Edward Duncan, representing Brenda Duncan, to rezone a portion of a 1.04 acre parcel from R-1 to B-1. The Duncans need to subdivide the small lot into two, one for an existing home and the other to bring their take out restaurant business into zoning compliance for this use.
Mr. Duncan told the commission that he opened the 12 foot x 12 foot restaurant three years ago, not realizing that he needs a rezoning to do so.
Duncan presented more than 1,000 names on a petition from area residents supporting the rezoning so that he can continue to operate the business. He also told the commission that he had approval from the health department and from the state to operate the facility.
Chairman Bill Holloway told the commission that the situation pointed out the lack of good coordination between state and county laws.
Neighboring farmer Ronald Allen came before the commission, saying he didn't object to the restaurant, but was concerned about the B-1 rezoning which would allow for other business uses in the future.
Commission member Jeep Gaskin made the motion to deny, saying he "didn't like making the motion," but felt the commission had no choice since they recently denied a nearby landowner's request for a transmission repair shop on his residential property.
Commission member Walter Searcy said his primary concern was the small size of the lots.
Nick Paski and Holloway voted
For the rest of this story see this weeks Madison County Journal


Colbert man killed during domestic dispute
A Colbert man died Tuesday evening from a gunshot wound he reportedly received during a domestic dispute at his Madison Boulevard residence.
Jonathan “Scott” Pittman, 27, allegedly died after he was shot by a 9 mm handgun during a domestic dispute with his wife, Debra Ann Pittman. The couple’s three children were present during the dispute but were not injured, according to a press release.
Deputies responded to the scene around 10 p.m. to find Pittman lying in the yard near the home with a gunshot wound to his upper torso. Chief deputy Bill Strickland said Pittman was evidently shot while struggling with his wife during the dispute.
Agents of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation are assisting the sheriff’s office with the investigation, which is ongoing at this time.
According to Strickland, Mrs. Pittman has not been charged with any crime. However district attorney Robert Lavender has been evaluating the case to determine if any charges will be levied.


Proposed EMS station a focus of budget meeting
Madison County could have a new EMS station open in Hull by October of next year, but commissioners have numerous budget hoops to leap through before they can make that a reality.
County commissioners met for four hours Monday night to discuss the 2004 budget, with much debate centering on when to move forward with the Hull EMS station, which will be constructed with future sales tax funds.
Commissioner Mike Youngblood wants to have the station functional mid-way through next year, but other board members said October may be more realistic, considering budget restraints.
Youngblood said it would be a deceptive gesture to the public to propose an EMS station to voters on a sales tax ballot and not move forward with the plans immediately.
“People in this corner of the county are waiting for an EMS station,” he said.
But commissioner Bruce Scogin said he thought county citizens should understand that the money raised for the station is collected through a five-year sales tax and that it may not be feasible to get it up and running in the first year before money is available. The county has yet to receive any new SPLOST funds.
The primary hitch in the plan to open the station next year may not be as much the question of how to fund construction, but how to pay for the station once it opens.
The projected annual operating cost for the station is around $400,000. And finding that money in a tight budget will prove a challenge for the board.
The BOC was presented with a 152-page printout of budget spreadsheets Monday, showing an overall projected budget of $11.1 million, with no plans for a BOC tax rate increase. (The board will advertise the county’s five-year tax history over the next two weeks, then meet at 6 p.m., Oct. 6, to set the tax rates.)
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.


55th Madison County Fair set for Sept. 23-27
The 55th annual Madison County Fair will be held Sept. 23-27 at the Comer Fairgrounds, opening nightly at 6 p.m..
James Gang Amusements will again be on hand with unlimited Midway Rides for $10 Tuesday through Thursday and for $12 Wednesday, Friday and Saturday nights. Gate prices are $4 for ages 6 and over; those under 6 get in free. Fifty cents off the admission price will be awarded for each pair of usable eye glasses donated to the Comer Lions Club, with a limit of one pair per ticket.
Prizes will be given away nightly, but participants must be present to win. Gate tickets can be deposited in the barrel under the shelter. Fair goers can save their stubs for a 10 p.m. nightly drawing.
Free entertainment will be provided nightly, with sound by Tim Pritchett, M.C. BW Coile and Roscoe Pughcannon. There will be cattle shows starting at 6 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday and 1 p.m. Saturday.
A Saturday matinee, with a gate admission of $1 and unlimited Midway Rides for $10 per person, will be held from 12 to 4 p.m., with the grounds closing from 4 to 6 p.m.
Featured performers include The Lewis Family and Little Roy, performing at 7:30 and 9:30 p.m. Tuesday. The drawing that evening will be for two recliners.
On Wednesday, Southern Gospel will perform, along with The Hicks Family and The Songsters, with the show starting at 7 p.m. The drawing that evening will be for a gas grill and patio bench.
Bluegrass music will be performed Thursday night by The 5th String Band, with the show starting at 7 p.m. The Thursday drawing will be for a washer and dryer.
On Friday night, Dennis Troy and Double Shot will perform at 7 p.m., with the drawing that evening for a large screen TV.
On Saturday evening, The Tony Pritchett Band will perform, along with singer-songwriter Mike Dekle. The drawing that night will be for a 20 HP 48” cut John Deere lawn tractor.