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MARCH 3, 2004

Madison County

Madison County

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Farnk Gillespie
BOC makes zoning board look like a waste of time
“The issue today is the same as it has been throughout all history, whether man shall be allowed to govern himself or be ruled by a small elite.”
— Thomas Jefferson

Zach Mitcham
Health care, a truly important moral issue
for our nation
For many, the argument over gay marriage has come to represent the issue of the soul in this election year.

MCHS golfers prep for Apple Mountain Invitational after snow wipes out Thursday match
It might feel like spring, but winter weather has already wiped out a Madison County golf match.
The team was slated to play defending Class A champion Athens Academy this past Thursday before snow blanketed Northeast Georgia.

News from
Tax bills to be mailed this month
Banks County residents won’t have to wait much longer before receiving their 2003 property tax bills.
According to Banks County’s chief appraiser Connie Garrison, the bills should be mailed by the end of the month.

Edwards wins in county primary
Nearly one-third of the 6,600 registered voters in Banks County turned out for the Super Tuesday primary election.

News from
Citizens blast request for extended rock quarry hours
Residents who live near Martin Marietta rock quarry filled the clubhouse at Monday’s Jefferson City Council meeting to oppose a request for extended hours at the Academy Church Road business.

Gas Pains
Gas Line Relocation For U.S. 441 Widening To Cost $3.1 Million
The city of Commerce expects to have to pay more than $3 million to remove and replace gas lines along U.S. 441 as the widening of the highway takes place later this year.
The Madison County Journal
Danielsville, Georgia
Telephone: (706) 367-5233
Fax: (706) 367-8056

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Madison County schools were closed last Thursday as snow blanketed the county in the early morning hours. Pictured is snow-covered farm equipment and an homeplace off Commerce-Neese Road.

Long division
A look at how the lengthy redistricting process could affect Madison County
A proposed redistricting plan, put forward by the State House Democrats would split Madison County into four sections.
The current district map, recently rejected by a three-judge federal panel, divides the county into three segments. A proposed Republican plan would keep the present split.
If it were adopted, the Democratic plan would put northern Madison County in the 23rd House District along with Hart County and a portion of Franklin County. The Fork district in southeast Madison County would join the 78th District along with Elbert and others to the south. Southern Madison County, including Hull, would join east Clarke and Oconee counties to form the 76th District, while the Western area, including Sanford and Ila would join Jackson County to make up the 25th House district.
The Democratic plan only slightly improves the population deviations that caused the courts to throw out the present map. It also includes 24 multi-member districts, a feature that Governor Sonny Perdue said he will not accept. The previous state legislature, dominated by the Democrats, drew district lines that were just inside the five-percent population deviation. Their goal was to pack Republican voters into as few districts as possible, giving the Democrats a better chance of maintaining their control.
The current map has deviations of plus or minus 4.99 percent, and creates 23 multi-member districts. The Democrats’ revised plan lowered the deviations to plus 4.01 percent to minus 4.4 percent and adds another multi-member district. The Republican plan cuts the deviation to plus 1.96 percent to minus 1.76 percent and eliminates all multi-member districts.
The Republican-controlled Senate has passed a new map and sent it to the House where it sits in a committee. The Senate map will reunite Madison County into a single senate district.
For the rest of this story see this weeks Madison County Journal.

Edwards carries Madison County
But Kerry the victor in Democratic primary
John Edwards carried Madison County in Tuesday’s Democratic primary. But the victory went against the state and national totals, which showed Democrats supporting John Kerry as their presidential candidate.
Incomplete totals show that Edwards received 793 of the 1,504 Democratic votes cast, for a 53.69 percent win in Madison County. Kerry picked up 544 votes for 36.83 percent. Al Sharpton found 35 supporters and Dennis Kucinich collected 31.
Statewide, Kerry claimed 46 percent of the vote with 288,332, while Edwards claimed 42 percent with 256,708. Sharpton was third, taking six percent of the state-wide vote.
Overall, Kerry carried nine states on Super Tuesday and Edwards was expected to drop out of the race Wednesday.
President George W. Bush, running without opposition, gathered 664 votes in the Republican primary in Madison County.
The Perdue Flag easily carried the referendum in Madison County with 1,698 votes, or 79.53 percent of the vote. The Barnes flag received 437 votes. Eighty-three voters chose not to take part in the referendum.
Local turnout was low, with only 18.56 percent of voters bothering to go to the polls.
A missing computer cable prohibited county vote counters from including 40 absentee ballots in the early count. An official count was conducted on Wednesday. County poll workers reported a number of problems with the new touch screen voting machines, but low turnout prevented any significant delays due to technical problems.

What Lies Beneath...
An ongoing look at underground pipelines in Madison County
Petroleum spills — not worth mentioning?
Colonial contamination has never been included on state’s hazardous site list
Have a major petroleum spill in Georgia and you must report that to the Georgia Environmental Protection Division, right?
Not exactly.
According to the EPD’s response to a list of questions concerning petroleum spills by Colonial Pipeline in Madison County, such spills can be reported to the EPD, but it’s not a requirement by law.
The Journal questioned the EPD on the matter after discovering that Colonial Pipeline’s booster station just south of Danielsville has never been included in the state government’s annual listing of contaminated sites in Georgia.
This is despite the fact that Colonial Pipeline spilled enough petroleum in this county to force over 20 families to move from the Colbert Grove Church Road area, and despite the fact that deep well water in the area still tests positive for benzene, a contaminant that can cause serious illness, such as leukemia.
In 2003, 539 sites were included on the EPD’s “Hazardous Site Index.” Those sites receive one of four classifications, with Class I being the “most hazardous” and Class IV being the “least dangerous.”
Three sites in Madison County are listed for 2003: Williams Transco, a natural gas pipeline company with a station in Comer and North Georgia Agricultural Services Inc. in Comer are listed as Class II sites. The old Madison County Landfill off Colbert Danielsville Road is a Class IV site. (The Journal will offer more information on these sites later.)
So why is Colonial not listed on the “Hazardous Site Index?” Does its contamination zone in Madison County warrant a top 500 ranking in the EPD’s annual list of environmental dangers?
Because petroleum spills meet a special exemption from notification requirements.
“...Petroleum releases are excluded from the requirement to notify,” an EPD response to a Journal questionnaire stated (see page 3A for full text). “The release at the Colonial Pipeline Colbert Grove booster station falls under this exclusion. That’s probably why the owners did not submit a release notification and we did not evaluate it for listing on the HSI.”
However, Colonial did notify the EPD on June 28, 1995, that a residential well had been contaminated by petroleum products from its booster station, according to a timeline on the Colonial booster station from the EPD geology division. And a “corrective action plan” was instituted.
Strangely, the site still remained off the state’s annual listing of hazardous sites, perhaps because the EPD treats petroleum spills differently than other contaminant zones.
“Petroleum releases are regulated differently because they are easier to clean up than many other regulated substance releases, the cleanups generally take less time to complete, and there are so many of them,” according to the EPD response. “Most petroleum releases are addressed under the Rules for Underground Storage Tank Management.”
Though the EPD says petroleum cleanups “generally take less time to complete,” benzene contamination remains evident in deep well water in the Colbert Grove area some 25 years after the last documented Colonial spill in 1979.

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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.

A matter of growth
No decision made on measure that would change acreage requirement on multi-family developments in Danielsville
Would multi-family residential growth be good for Danielsville, ultimately bringing in more business and more tax revenue?
Or would such growth only prove costly, saddling the city with extra expenses and little gain?
The Danielsville City Council spoke at length with several city residents Monday about how — or if — the town should grow. Both pro-growth and anti-growth viewpoints were hashed out at length.
The discussion revolved around a proposal to lessen the lot size requirement on duplexes in the city.
Ultimately, no decision was made Monday.
Instead, the council agreed that more consideration is needed before a final decision is made on whether to allow duplexes and multi-family residences to have a minimum lot size of one-half acre per family, with at least one-fourth of an acre of designated green space per dwelling unit.
Likewise, the council discussed the need to revise its out-of-date zoning ordinance, drafted in 1978. The council has been alerted to the fact that the old ordinance provides little protection against unsightly growth. The council agreed to look at Royston’s zoning ordinance and consider revisions to its own ordinance in upcoming months. (A committee of city residents was established several years ago to review the town zoning ordinance, but interest waned and the group never made a proposal to the council.)
One opponent of the proposed reduction of acreage requirement on multi-family units is new council member April Watson. Watson passed out a study conducted by Jeffrey Dorfman of the Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics at the University of Georgia. She said the study shows that industrial and commercial growth can help towns. But residential growth in small towns only worsens the economy of small cities, because the cost of services exceeds the revenues generated by new homes.
“What we’re seeing in Madison County is sprawl from
For the rest of this story see this weeks Madison County Journal.