News from Madison County...

SEPTEMBER 24, 2003


Madison County
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OPINIONS

Frank Gillespie
Why is erroneous knowledge so widely accepted?
The trouble with most folks isn’t so much their ignorance. It’s know’n so many things that ain’t so.”
— 19th century humorist Josh Billings.

Margie Richards
My youngest is about to be 18
My baby’s turning 18, Sept. 30.
Three years ago, his sister, Miranda, turned 18 (she just turned 21 about a month ago!).


SPORTS

Directions to Area Schools

Last year’s MCHS-Jefferson Co. game still remembered for its dramatic finish
Sean Walker is Jefferson County’s most visible player as a 6’0” 160-lb. Division I prospect at wide receiver who snagged 28 catches for 471 yards last year.


Neighboorhood News ..
JACKSON COUNTY
Judge rules in BOC’s favor in courthouse lawsuit
Citizens to appeal
The Jackson County Board of Commissioners won the first round in a battle with a group of citizens who filed a lawsuit over the proposed financing for a new courthouse.

Sam Brown Critical After Heart Attack
Commerce Ward 3 city councilman Sam Brown is in a coma and unresponsive at Crawford W. Long Hospital in Atlanta following a major heart attack at his home last Thursday night.


Neighborhood News...
BANKS COUNTY
Half-mile fitness trail to open Saturday
Dedication ceremony planned at horse arena on county farm
Banks County residents will soon have one more reason to visit the county farm land near the horse arena.

Let the paving begin
Concrete planned to go down this week on Hwy. 441 Homer bypass
Progress on the Hwy. 441 Homer bypass could soon begin progressing rapidly.

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Flyin’ fun in Comer

Fair continues through Saturday
The 55th annual Madison County Fair is being held nightly through Sept. 27 at the Comer Fairgrounds, opening each evening at 6 p.m.
James Gang Amusements is on hand with unlimited Midway Rides for $10 Thursday and for $12 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 is awarded for each pair of usable eye glasses donated to the Comer Lions Club, with a limit of one pair per ticket.
Prizes are being 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.
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.


Shelter seeks more funding
Director tells BOC the facility could face shut down next year
The Madison-Oglethorpe Animal Shelter is in danger of shutting its doors sometime next year unless it finds more money to cover expenses.
That was the message Madison-Oglethorpe Animal Shelter director Sara Matthews presented to county commissioners Monday night. The shelter is requesting that the board increase its annual funding from $3 to $6 per person in the county to cover the facility's operating expenses. This would boost Madison County's annual contribution to the shelter from approximately $77,000 to $154,000.
"We are in trouble and we need your help," Matthews told the commissioners.
The board made no decision on the matter Monday, but agreed to meet with shelter leaders at 6:30 p.m., Monday, Oct. 6, to discuss the shelter's finances.
Matthews explained that the shelter's operating costs were greater than anticipated during its first year of service — revenues totaled $121,314, while expenses were at $157,954.
Matthews explained that the shelter opened last year with a "nest egg," but that extra money has been depleted.
"Over the months those (nest egg) funds have been depleted with the day-to-day operating costs," said Matthews. "On average, it costs us between $20,000 to $25,000 per month to operate the shelter, far more than we had at first projected."
The director said the shelter has made numerous cuts to reduce expenses.
"We have looked at our operation from all angles and have made many changes, including cutting some staff, hours and reducing our animal population — trimming every corner we could think of," said Matthews.
The director said the commissioners' approval of more funding would "literally keep the shelter doors open." She added that the Madison-Oglethorpe shelter operates on less funding than most like-sized rural shelters.
"Without additional funding, there is a very real possibility of having to close our doors next year around this time," she said. "...This increase will not cover every cost at the shelter, but would help us have a more realistic budget to work with next year, along with watching our overall cost."
Commissioner Johnny Fitzpatrick asked Matthews if the shelter intends to ask Oglethorpe County for additional funding. Oglethorpe also provides $3 per capita, per year for the shelter.
Matthews said that the shelter has not planned on asking Oglethorpe for more money, noting that Madison County residents have brought far more animals to the shelter than Oglethorpe citizens. She said approximately 80 percent of the animals brought to the shelter since it opened have been from Madison County.
Madison's contribution so far this year is about $45,000 for the first seven months of operation, with approximately $30,000 coming from Oglethorpe.
County commissioners met last week to discuss the 2004 budget. The group does not plan to raise its tax rate, but it faces limited funding for 2004, with an estimated $245,000 in reserves, a new jail to operate and plans to move forward with an EMS station in Hull.

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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.


Helping kids stay on target’
Preschool screening helps detect developmental delays
When her grandson Caleb couldn’t say much more than “daddy” or “mama” after his second birthday, Shirley Epps knew something was wrong.
“I’ve raised five children and I knew it just wasn’t right for him not to be talking any more than he was,” she remembers.
“I told his dad, ‘Caleb’s not talking,’” she said, but her son, Darien, thought he was just being a ‘little slow’ in developing speech skills.
But shortly afterwards, Epps spotted an announcement for a preschool health screening coming up at the middle school.
“I told him (Darien) about it and said, basically, ‘if you don’t take him, I will,’” she remembers.
Mr. Epps did take his son and during the screening it was determined that Caleb could not hear well.
From there, Mrs. Epps took him to ear, nose and throat specialists in Athens who performed further tests on his hearing and then installed drainage tubes in his ears (a common procedure) to remove fluid build up from ear infections.
“The doctor said it was no wonder he couldn’t talk well, he couldn’t hear much more than sounds - he couldn’t distinguish words well at all,” Mrs. Epps said.
“The doctor told us it might take two weeks or so to tell a difference, but I noticed a difference in Caleb almost immediately,” she remembers.
In fact, at Caleb’s one week check up he pointed out the window and said “Doc, doc, truck, truck.”
“I was thrilled and so was his doctor,” she remembers.
To help Caleb catch up on all he’d been missing, school officials suggested Caleb attend the school system’s special needs preschool - which he did for the rest of the year.
“It’s all really helped and he’s come such a long way,” Caleb’s grandmother says today.
These days Caleb, now 4, attends Madison County Head Start pre-K program along with his sister, Gracie.
Next year Caleb will be right on target to begin kindergarten classes at Ila Elementary.
“If we would have waited until kindergarten, he would’ve been so far behind the other children, but now he’s getting close to where he needs to be,” Mrs. Epps said. “The preschool screening program really helped us - it’s a great program.”
For teacher Mary Wildes, coordinator of the special needs preschool, Caleb’s story is not a new one.
The preschool is a division of the county school system that provides evaluation and help for children ages three to five who have some type of developmental delay.
For Wildes, it’s all about early intervention before kindergarten, which she says can make all the difference to a child - just as it did for Caleb.
The screenings are held annually and are free for all pre-school age children in the
For the rest of this story see this weeks Madison County Journal.