News from Madison County...

MARCH 31, 2004


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OPINIONS
Farnk Gillespie
Supporting the primary cause for which the Confederate States of America was formed
“I feel a sense of pride in the history and heroic deeds accomplished by my forebears, and shall endeavor to so live that my State will be proud of me for doing my bit to make my State a better Commonwealth for future generations.” — The Georgia Creed

Zach Mitcham
Vigilance over contamination should accompany deal
With $1 million to spend soon on water expansion, talking about the contamination that led to those dollars for the county has become a non-issue and an obvious nuisance for some.


SPORTS
Coile steps down as Lady Raider head coach after two seasons
On the heels of a change in football coaching ranks, Madison County High School is now searching for a new girls’ basketball coach.
Latana Coile, who’s been the girls’ team head coach for the past two seasons, officially tendered her resignation from her post last Tuesday in a letter to MCHS principal Wayne McIntosh.


News from
BANKS COUNTY
DFACS investigated 259 child abuse cases in 2003
Pinwheels to represent cases to be placed at courthouse April 9
In 2003, the Banks County Department of Family and Children Services investigated 259 child abuse and neglect reports and substantiated 62 incidents.

Upcoming events
Spring Fling ahead Sat. in Alto
The city of Alto is planning a “Spring Fling” to celebrate Georgia’s Cities Week from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, April 3.


News from
JACKSON COUNTY
Arcade wants its own water, sewer service
JCWSA opposed to idea
The Jackson County Water and Sewerage Authority may be headed for another power struggle with the board of commissioners, this time over water service in the Arcade area.

Qualifying ahead week of April 26
It’s a major election year in Jackson County and most local seats are up for re-election. Three of the five seats on the Jackson County Board of Commissioners will be on the ballot. They include: District 1, held by Stacey Britt; District 2, held by Sammy Thomason; and chairman, held by Harold Fletcher.

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Members of the county industrial authority and board of commissioners listen last Wednesday to BOC chairman Wesley Nash discuss plans for a water system expansion project, which will include nearly $1 million from a pipeline company that contaminated deep well water in a neighborhood just south of Danielsville
Making the deal

IDA, BOC discuss nearly $1 million contract for water services to contaminated area
The county industrial development authority (IDA) met this morning (Wednesday) to approve a deal with the petroleum company for approximately $947,000 for water service to the Colbert Grove Church Road area off Hwy. 29, which the petroleum company contaminated with oil spills.
The authority plans to use the Colonial money for more than just supplying water to the Colbert Grove Church Road area south of Danielsville off Hwy. 29.
The broader plan is for an estimated $1.7 million water system, with 10 miles of 12-inch lines and two miles of six-inch lines. The new system would essentially link Madico Park, Colbert and Danielsville water systems — if the town councils approve hooking on. (The Danielsville council, which heard from the IDA Monday, will consider the issue at its upcoming Monday meeting.)
IDA members say the water system will lead to a boost in county growth and revenues, with fire protection improvements for nearly 200 existing homes on the proposed route, as well as providing water to potential subdivisions also in the path.
Critics say the new lines will lead to unwanted suburban growth in rural areas of the county.
The deal follows private negotiations between Colonial representatives and industrial authority chairman Tom Joiner, non-voting IDA member Wesley Nash — also the county commission chairman — along with IDA secretary Marvin White and attorney Victor Johnson.
No other IDA or BOC members have been a part of those recent negotiations. And the public was not allowed to attend those meetings.
BOC District 5 member Bruce Scogin appeared before the IDA last Monday to say that the commissioners have not been kept informed about the negotiations. And he requested a meeting between the two groups before any deal was approved by the IDA.
So the IDA and BOC met for over two hours last Wednesday to discuss the proposed deal with Colonial. No petroleum company officials were on hand.
Scogin was by far the most vocal local official at the meeting. He repeatedly spoke of his disdain for the pipeline company that spilled petroleum products from its booster station off Colbert Grove Church Road.
Scogin urged the IDA to force Colonial to pay more than $947,000.
“They’re getting out for a paltry amount,” said Scogin.
Colonial has offered to pay water hookup costs for 85 households in its triangular contaminant zone — which extends from the intersection of Hwy. 29 and Colbert Grove Church Road, up Hwy. 29 to Double Branch Road, then down Double Branch Road and Pine Tree Road to Colbert Grove Church Road.
For the rest of this story see this weeks Madison County Journal.


Fortson guilty...again
Second jury finds former deputy guilty of murdering Madison Co. man
Tracy Lea Fortson took the stand in her own defense during her retrial for the murder of Doug Benton last week.
From the witness stand, Fortson denied having anything to do with Benton’s murder and concealment. At the end of the day, the jury did not believe her, finding her guilty on four of the five charges.
Before allowing her to take the stand, Judge Lindsay Tise advised Fortson that she was under no obligation to testify and that anything she said could and probably would be used against her by the prosecution. Fortson said she understood but still wanted to testify.
Fortson testified that on June 4, 2000, the day witnesses placed her truck at the Benton house, she was shopping with her daughter. She described taking the teenager to the mall to meet friends, visiting a farm supply store to purchase a watering trough for her horse and a supply of Sak-Crete to build a pad under her dog’s pen. She described unloading the supplies onto her carport then returning to the mall. After picking her daughter up from the mall, they went to Wal-Mart to shop for household supplies, including a new shower curtain, she said.
Fortson testified that she spent the day of June 3 with Benton visiting a motorcycle show. She said that they had a dispute that evening and she left the house, but later returned. She said she spent the night in the master bedroom and Benton slept on the couch. She returned home early in the morning.
She said on June 4 she did not see Benton until approximately six p.m. when she went to his house to help feed the birds. Benton was not talkative, she said, and she left after the birds were fed.
The next day, Fortson said, she had to go to court to testify about cases left over from her time as a deputy sheriff in Oglethorpe County. When she returned home, she found the things she had left at Doug’s house had been placed in her storage shed and the horse trough and concrete were missing.
This was a common occurrence, she said. Every time she had a fight with Doug, he would bring all her things back from his house and pick up anything he thought was his. She was not surprised that he took the trough and concrete.
Fortson testified that she went to Doug’s house that evening to help feed the birds but he told her he didn’t need her help. After 30 minutes, she left. That was the last time she saw him, she said.
On Tuesday, June 6, Fortson said, she found a message from Doug on her voice mail service telling her not to call or come around again. He said that he didn’t need a woman in his life at that time.


Principals named at Colbert, MCMS
Both Colbert Elementary School and Madison County Middle School now have new principals.
Jodi P. Weber, the current assistant principal of Malcom Bridge Elementary School in Bogart, was named the new principal of Colbert Elementary School.
And Dewey E. Carey, who teaches P.E. and health at Washington-Wilkes Middle School, has been named the new principal of Madison County Middle School.
“I have heard nothing but wonderful things about the school and faculty,” said Carey of Madison County Middle School. “I look forward to leading MCMS as we focus on learning and student achievement. In addition, as we capitalize on the numerous strengths and varied areas of expertise of our instructional team, I believe that our school will become a recognized school of excellence.”
Carey, who received his bachelor’s in education and masters in administration degrees from Georgia Southern, earned a specialist of education degree from Augusta State University. The new MCMS principal has 23 years of education experience.
He has been a health/ P.E. teacher at Washington-Wilkes Middle School this year and taught at Nickajack Elementary in Cobb County from December of 2002 to May of 2003.
Carey served in administration from 1994 to 2002 in the Columbia County School System as principal of Grovetown Elementary and assistant principal-registrar at Greenbrier High School.
Weber, who earned her bachelor of science in education degree from Bowling Green University, has a masters of education degree from the University of Illinois, as well as a specialist in education degree and leadership certificate from the University of Georgia.
She has served as assistant principal at Malcom Bridge Elementary since 2002. She was assistant principal/interim principal at Winterville Elementary the previous year and served as assistant principal at David C. Barrow Elementary in Athens from 1994-2001.
Weber also has 14 years of teaching experience, including nine years as an emotional behaviors disorder teacher at Winder-Barrow High School, 1985; Gaines Elementary in Athens, 1985-90; and Fourth Street Elementary in Athens, 1990-1994.
“I am so excited to be part of the Colbert Elementary family,” said Weber. “Colbert Elementary School has a wonderful reputation of being a very special place made up of a faculty and staff that do an incredible job of educating and nurturing their students, as well as a school that is embraced by the community. I look forward to carrying on these Colbert Cougar traditions.”
Weber offered some additional personal background in a response to a Journal email about her hiring.
“To tell you a little about myself I grew up in Ohio and have lived in Georgia for the past 20 years,” said Weber. “My husband, Eric, is a research chemist at the Environmental Protection Agency. We have two children, Joel, 17 and Sarah, 14, two yellow labs, Eli and Cody, and two cats, Hobbes and Kitty Kitty.

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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.


MCHS hires Owens as new head football coach
Randell Owens officially became Madison County’s newest head football coach and athletic director this past Wednesday and if the name sounds familiar, there’s a reason.
The former Heritage High School coach, who replaces Pierce County-bound Tom Hybl, has walked the Raider sidelines before, serving a stint as an assistant under Dale Smallen back in 1997.
Now he’ll have the task of taking over a Madison County program that’s returning to region play after a four-year hiatus in non-region football.
“He’s the man who can come in here and do what we need him to do,” Madison County High School principal Wayne McIntosh told Madison County coaches Friday as he introduced Owens.
The hiring became official at the Madison County school board’s March 24 meeting and Owens was in town Friday to meet with Raider coaches and players.
The 47-year-old Owens — who becomes the 19th head football coach in the school’s history — and McIntosh are old acquaintances, having worked together as semi-pro football coaches 21 years ago.
The prospect of working with McIntosh again was one of the deciding factors in Owens wanting to return to Danielsville.
For the rest of this story see this weeks Madison County Journal.