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JANUARY 14, 2004


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OPINIONS
Farnk Gillespie
New immigration proposal doesn’t add up
I have been trying to “do the math” on President Bush’s new immigration proposal, and I just can’t make it add up.

Zach Mitcham
An ‘I voted’ sticker for the politically jaded
The sticky paper will be placed over many hearts in November, the “I voted” tag that many put on their clothing after they leave the ballot booth.


SPORTS
The drought is over

MCHS boys’ beat Jackson Co. for first time since 1998, continue sub-region slate this week
It’s a safe bet that December 11, 1998, wasn’t registering in anyone’s minds as the Raiders walked triumphantly off the court as 60-54 victors Tuesday night


News from
BANKS COUNTY
BCMS may be ready in August
BOE hears construction, technology update
Work is continuing on the new Banks County Middle School and the board of education hopes students can fill the classrooms this August.
In a construction update given at Monday’s BOE meeting, officials reported that the new middle school seems to be on track for the next school year.

BOC approves Tanger advertising co-op program
County’s cost for second year of participation will be $25,000
The Banks County Board of Commissioners decided Friday to participate in the Banks-Jackson-Georgia Department of Industry Tourism and Trade-Tanger advertising co-op program for the second year.


News from
JACKSON COUNTY
Sikes seeks EPD permit for garbage transfer station
Residents concerned, mayor says he was unaware of plans
Arcade business owner Joe Sikes is applying for an EPD permit for a garbage transfer station to be located at his property on Rock Forge Road, but the news came as a surprise to area residents and city officials who just learned about the plan on Monday.

Judge to speak at MLK Jr. birthday event on Sunday
Jackson County will hold its 20th annual Martin Luther King Jr. birthday celebration at 4 p.m. Sunday, January 18, at the Jackson Electric Membership Corporation auditorium, Jefferson.

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Charter members of the local Red Hat Society are also members of the Senior Center. They are (L-R) Allene Ingram, Dellene Kehm, Marie Sparks (chairperson) and Evelyn Tucker. Not pictured is Eloise McCurley.

Red hats required
Madison County Senior Center members join group for fun-loving, hat-wearing women
Four ladies, dressed in glowing purple and varying styles of flamboyant red hats were busy at the Senior Center last Friday afternoon making plans for their own local chapter of the “Red Hat Society.”
It all started, they say, with an article Senior Center director Eloise McCurley read in a Southern Living magazine last fall about the burgeoning movement of Red Hat Societies around the country.
“Eloise thought it would be fun and so did we,” Evelyn Tucker said.
Red Hat Societies, according to the organization’s website, are made up of “fun-loving women over 50.”
The society is based on a poem by Jenny Joseph called “Warning.” The poem begins,
“When I am an old woman I shall wear purple with a red hat that does not go, and doesn’t suit me, And I shall spend my pension on brandy and summer gloves and satin sandals and say we’ve no money for butter...”
“Basically, it’s just a way for us to get together to have some fun and be a bit outrageous,” Tucker said.
“Leave it to Eloise, she comes up with all the bright ideas,” Dellene Kehm said.
“And we do what she says, she’s the boss,” Allene Ingram added jokingly.
And doing what McCurley says is usually a lot of fun, the ladies agreed.
NO RULES- JUST FUN
“The only rule is there are no rules,” Society chairwoman Marie Sparks said of the Red Hat Societies.
The Society website agrees, saying the spirit of the society “forbids making rules,” but does have a few suggestions for getting started and keeping some order, or disorder as the case may be, such as attending all Red Hat functions in full regalia (red hat and purple outfit).
This Chapter of the Red Hat Society plans to hold its first meeting on Friday, Jan. 23, at 1 p.m. at the Senior Center, but they emphasize that the meeting is by no means for Senior Center members only.
“The more the merrier,” Sparks said. “We want ladies from all around to come and join us.”
And that also means those under age 50. “If you’re under 50, you can wear a pink hat and a lavender outfit, instead of red and purple,” Tucker said.
The website refers to those under 50 as “ladies-in-waiting” who on their fiftieth birthdays may wish to have a “red-uation” ceremony, when they officially don the red and purple.
But be warned. These ladies “take no prisoners” when it comes to having a good time. They say they’ll gather for teas, lunch, or an occasional outing — which as far as Tucker, 77, is concerned could include learning to square dance or even skate.
“It’s all very silly,” Dellene Kehm said. “But that’s why we love the idea.”
Suggested chapter sizes are around 20, but Sparks says she hopes to have at least 24 members in their chapter.
“If we get over that, we’ll just break off a new chapter!” she said, laughing.
While teas and parties are a staple function of Red Hat Societies, each chapter is encouraged to go where their ideas lead them, and the ladies at the Senior Center are already thinking about some ideas they would like to introduce at their first meeting.
“Seriously, I would really love for us to learn old-fashioned square dancing,” Tucker said. “It’s been years since I’ve done that. I hope we can get someone to volunteer to teach us.”
“One thing we had thought was that perhaps each member could take a month to plan an event for the next meeting,” Sparks said.
McCurley says the group will start with one meeting a month at first, adding more as they go along if that’s what everyone wants.
As Kehm said, “The main thing is we just want to have a good time.”
The only cost to join is a $1 registration fee for each member, which the chapter will use to register with the National Red Hat Society.
“We want to be eligible to go to national conventions and the like,” Sparks said.
Besides a chairperson, who can be called by other names such as “queen bee” (Sparks’ preference), chapters may choose other offices such as “hysterian” (instead of historian) who keeps a scrapbook of group functions; ‘sergeant-in-gloves,’ who ensures ‘proper’ behavior, whatever that is; and anti-parliamentarian, whose job is to make sure no one makes any rules.
SOCIETY HISTORY
The Red Hat Society began inadvertently by Sue Ellen Cooper of Fullerton, California, when she and a few friends took inspiration from Joseph’s popular poem “Warning,” according to the website.
The poem goes on to mention a red hat and purple attire, so she and her friends formed a group that began meeting publicly on a regular basis for tea all decked out in red hats and purple dresses.
After Romantic Homes magazine featured the group in their July 2000 edition, they began hearing from other women who wanted to start their own groups.
Often referred to as a “disorganization” the chapter website says a degree of order has been implemented over time.
For more information on this new local chapter of the Red Hat Society, call the Senior Center at 795-6250 or Evelyn Tucker at 548-9831. The national website address for the Red Hat Society is www.redhatsociety.com


Five roads approved for resurfacing
Five county roads were approved for resurfacing Monday night, four with state funding and one with local sales tax money.
The commissioners approved the resurfacing of 4.98 miles with state funds, including Sanders Road (1.35 miles), Dove Drake Road (2.7 miles), Willis Glenn Road (.8 miles) and Colbert School Road (.135 miles). The roads will be resurfaced by the Georgia Department of Transportation through the Local Assistance for Roads Program (LARP).
The commissioners also agreed to seek bids for the resurfacing of Seagraves Mill Road. This project will be funded with special purpose local option sales tax (SPLOST)funds. Last March, county voters approved approximately $8.4 million in sales tax funds for road improvements.
COMMERCE-NEESE ROAD
In another road related matter Monday, the commissioners approved a state Department of Transportation proposal to straighten the intersection of Commerce-Neese Road and Hwy. 98 from an approximate 65-degree angle to a 90-degree angle. The intersection will be straightened when the portion of Commerce-Neese Road from Adams Clarke Road to Hwy. 98 is widened. No date for the road widening was given Monday.
PATROL CARS APPROVED
In a separate matter, the board approved the purchase of four patrol cars for the sheriff’s department with SPLOST funds. The lease-purchase agreement for the four vehicles will cost $105,000. Also Monday, the board approved a county vehicle maintenance department to oversee the upkeep of all county vehicles.
DRUG POLICY PROPOSAL AMENDED
In a separate matter, the board agreed to have county attorney Mike Pruett rewrite a proposed county drug and alcohol policy to allow employees to confess their drug problems to county officials and seek treatment without automatic dismissal from county employment. The commissioners agreed that those seeking help will be kept from safety-sensitive positions, such as law enforcement and driving jobs, for at least as long as they receive treatment. A specific probationary period was not determined Monday. The voluntary confession will not be accepted if the admission comes after an employee has been selected for random drug testing.
Commissioners said the change was necessary because the “zero tolerance” policy would keep employees from getting help if needed and could result in safety issues related to secret drug use.
OTHER BUSINESS
Also Monday, the BOC approved county policies for 2004, which includes a ban on employees installing any unauthorized software programs on county computers.
The commissioners also approved Bruce Scogin as vice-chairman.
The BOC approved contracts for maintenance of radio and 911 equipment, a 911 voice and date recorder, a Mita copier, an automatic dispensing system for laundry equipment at the jail and a service agreement for the financial office postage meter.
The board approved refunds of $312 and $1,902 to two county households for incorrect charges on their property taxes.
The board approved a promotion
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.


Talking educationState school supt. speaks at Republican breakfast
State school superintendent Kathy Cox described efforts to improve graduation rates, school attendance and the state’s core curriculum in a speech to Madison County educators and Republican activists in Danielsville Saturday morning.
“We will lead the nation in improving student achievement,” said Cox, who was the guest speaker at the monthly Republican breakfast.
In her remarks, Cox called for more involvement by local community educators. She described the state education offices as being “a best practice clearing house.” Cox said her job is to find out what is working for local school systems and pass these ideas along to other systems.
She called for an end to “social promotions” beyond the third grade. More emphasis needs to be put on remedial programs including summer school to help students keep up with their academic work, she said.
Cox described plans to enhance mathematic instructions by developing a “Georgiaized” version of Japanese mathematics programs. She admitted that teacher development funds will be necessary to prepare teachers to use the new programs, assuring questioners that she is working hard to find funds for staff development programs.
The next Republican breakfast, scheduled for Saturday, Feb. 14, at 8 a.m. at the Madison County Library, will feature Senatorial Candidate Herman Cain. Cain is one of four Republicans seeking to replace the retiring Zell Miller in the U.S. Senate.


Sale of city hall boosts Hull’s 2004 budget
Hull’s city council approved the town’s budget for the new year Monday night, which consists of $77,435 in revenue and expenses.
The budget contains a 47-percent jump in revenue over the 2003 budget of $41,105 due to the sale of city hall in the spring to Hull Baptist Church.
The city is holding these funds in certificates of deposit and a money market account and will use the majority of the money to purchase 10 street lights from Jackson EMC once rights-of-way permission is secured from the Department of Transportation and CSX railroad.
The council voted to purchase the lights last September at a cost of $24,310 and had hoped to have them installed before Christmas, but the purchase and installation have been delayed due to the rights-of-way issue.
Mayor pro-tem John Barber said Monday night that Jackson EMC officials stated that it could take several months to obtain the rights-of-way permission.
In a separate issue, the council reviewed a bid sheet for grass cutting provided by city attorney Pat Graham.
Bids for seasonal grass cutting (April to October) for the city will be advertised in local papers and the council will consider all bids at its March 8 council meeting.
In other business:
•Paul Elkins was sworn in to begin his four-year term as a council member. Elkins has served on the council since last spring filling the unexpired term of Mark Cronic.
•City clerk Janet Seagraves said council members Paul Elkins, Rebecca Elkins and John Barber will attend council member training at the Georgia Center for Continuing Education in Athens March 19-21. The city will pay for the cost of the required training.