News from Madison County...

APRIL 14, 2004


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OPINIONS
Farnk Gillespie
Love of reading lasts a lifetime
A proposal in Georgia to require students to read 25 books a year is drawing some criticism for being “too much.”

Zach Mitcham
What I mean by ‘liberal’
Liberal — “a.) Not limited to or by established, traditional, orthodox, or authoritarian attitudes, views, or dogmas; free from bigotry. b.) Favoring proposals for reform, open to new ideas for progress and tolerant of the ideas and behavior of others; broad-minded.”


SPORTS
Good enough
Diamond Raiders move to 10-2 in region after taking two against Eastside
It wasn’t the perfect picture of Raiders baseball this past weekend, but this fact remains: Madison County’s wins over struggling Eastside mean the Raiders (12-4, 10-2) are still right on stride with Newton County in the race for the top spot in 8-AAAA.


News from
BANKS COUNTY
Road named for Garrison
DOT honors Buster Garrison at ceremony Mon. in Homer
The Homer Bypass in Banks County was officially dedicated by the Georgia Department of Transportation on Monday as the M.E. ‘Buster’ Garrison Bypass.

Qualifying coming up for county offices
Dates set April 26-30
Qualifying for several Banks County offices will be held from 9 a.m. on Monday, April 26, through noon on Friday, April 30.


News from
JACKSON COUNTY
Pat Bell to run for chairman of BOC
Former state representative will run as Republican candidate
Pat Bell has announced her intentions to run for chairman of the Jackson County Board of Commissioners. She will run as a Republican and likely face incumbent chairman Harold Fletcher in the July balloting.

JCWSA opposes HB 489 ‘erosion of service area’
The Jackson County Water and Sewerage Authority voted 3-1 Thursday night to issue a notice of its opposition to the erosion of its service area under House Bill 489 service delivery negotiations.

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OPENING DAY OF YESTERYEAR

Jacob Denton (right) and Devin Ford of the Madison County 5-and-6-year old T-ball Red Sox wait on the bench during opening day of baseball in 2001.

Let’s play ball!
Opening day of youth baseball, softball set for Saturday
Have the gloves been broken in?
Have the eyes been trained to watch the ball meet the bat?
Are infielders dreaming of diving backhanded grabs in the dirt?
Let’s hope, yes, to all of the above.
Because it’s time to put on the new jerseys and wash off the old cleats. Baseball and softball seasons are finally here, with Little League and recreation ball seasons opening Saturday.
“I’m ready; I’ve been looking forward to baseball,” said recreation department director Dick Perpall. “Everybody’s been cooped up inside and they’re ready to get outside and see some spring sports.”
There are 40 Little League teams this year, including three mini league squads, eight minor, eight major, six junior and four senior league teams in baseball. In Little League softball, there are four minor, four major and three junior/senior league teams.
“We’re close to last year’s numbers,” said Perpall.
In recreation play, there are 14 T-ball squads, four girls’ pitching machine teams, eight boys’ pitching machine outfits and nine men’s church league teams. There are currently not enough women signed up to form a women’s softball league.
While kids are chasing foul pops and trying to lay off the bad pitches, parents may be glancing at new signs in the park. County commissioners recently passed a “code of conduct” for the recreation department, which spells out penalties for those who misbehave on the premises. Use of tobacco products is also restricted now to the recreation department’s parking lot.


Madison County BOC adds member to tax board
Tax assessor chairman, chief appraiser write letters to the editor concerning ongoing conflict.
Madison County commissioners added a member to the county board of assessors following a brief closed meeting Monday.
The action was the latest development in an ongoing conflict between the county commission chairman’s office and the tax assessor’s department, a standoff that has become one of the county government’s most politically volatile matters in years.
The board of commissioners approved Samantha Garland, a real estate appraiser with Properties Unlimited in Danielsville, to the board of assessors Monday without removing any of its three current members, meaning the tax board now has four members.
Assessor board chairman John Bellew, who has run ads in this newspaper declaring his intention to run against commission chairman Wesley Nash in November, approached the commissioners’ table after the meeting, saying that, according to state law, chief appraiser Rebecca Duncan should have been next in line on the tax assessor’s board.
But county attorney Mike Pruett told Bellew that state law does not include such a requirement.
Bellew also called in to question the legality of increasing the total number of tax board members without an official vote on the matter. The commissioners met for 15 minutes in closed session in Nash’s office to discuss “personnel,” then approved Garland to the assessor’s board after resuming their open meeting. No vote was taken to increase the total number of tax board members before Garland was named to the board. The BOC did not offer an explanation on why they voted to approve a new member to the board.
Bellew said most all other counties in northeast Georgia have three members on the assessor’s board and he questioned why the BOC would break from the norm.
For the rest of this story see this weeks Madison County Journal.


A look at the school system’s‘Teachers of the Year’
The Journal highlighted Madison County High School’s Latana Coile, this year’s system-wide Teacher of the Year in a feature story earlier this year.
The following is a look at the other six teachers from each school chosen as “Teacher of the Year” by their peers for this school year.
SANDY CLARK
MCMS
Sandy Clark is in her 30th year as a teacher. And this is the third time she was chosen the middle school’s “Teacher of the Year.”
“I’m delighted to receive the honor,” Clark said.
Clark came to Madison County’s school system in 1980, teaching at South Madison Middle School until the middle schools were consolidated in the late 1980s. Although she began her career in special ed and elementary education, she moved to the middle school level in 1977.
But Clark admits she didn’t start out with a desire to be a teacher. The desire came when she took a pre-school job in Reston, Va., after her freshman year of college.
“After working at that pre-school, I knew I wanted to be a teacher,” she said.
And her philosophy of teaching is simple. “An investment of time is the best thing you give children — you can teach any kid that’s ‘on your side’ and the way to do that is to give them some attention,” Clark said. “Put your child’s face on every child you teach.”
And Clark follows this philosophy both in and out of the classroom — she mentors to an eighth grade boy, spending time with him each week.
And that’s something she hopes all her students remember about her — that she spent time with them and tried to give them the attention they needed, and deserved.
MISSY ANDREWS
ILA ELEM.
For the rest of this story see this weeks Madison County Journal.


Qualifying time approaches
Candidates to enter race April 26-30
Those seeking to hold elected offices in Madison County will soon have an opportunity to throw their hat in the ring for the 2004 elections.
Positions up for grabs this year include the district attorney, sheriff, clerk of court, probate judge, tax commissioner, coroner and chairman of the county commissioners. Five county commission posts and three school board seats will also be determined.
Qualifying fees are set at three percent of each position’s annual base salary. Those qualifying for a Madison County elected seat in 2004 can do so between 9 a.m., April 26, and noon, April 30, with elections superintendent Donald “Hoppy” Royston in the probate office at the county government complex.
For more information, call 795-6365.

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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.


BOC considers free ambulance rides for county volunteers
County commissioners are torn on whether to provide volunteer firemen, first responders and their immediate families with free ambulance services.
The board took no action Monday on a proposal by Johnny Fitzpatrick to provide free ambulance service to county volunteers and their immediate families. Fitzpatrick said such an exemption to volunteers would be a nice token of appreciation for their service to the county.
Commissioner Mike Youngblood, a Hull volunteer fireman and first responder, also said he felt the county could do more to support volunteers.
“I don’t think we do enough for our volunteers,” he said.
But District 5 commissioner Bruce Scogin, chief of the Colbert Volunteer Fire Department, said he opposed such an exemption. He said if a volunteer or one of their family members has an emergency, the cost of the ambulance ride shouldn’t be waived at the public’s expense, particularly if the injury wasn’t suffered during the volunteer’s service to the county.
“So you don’t want to do anything for the volunteers?” Fitzpatrick asked Scogin.
Scogin replied that there are many poor, elderly people who must pay for ambulance services and that waiving fees for volunteers would be unfair to those who can’t afford such services. Scogin added that the money for ambulance rides must come from somewhere and he questioned whether such a perk for volunteers might shift the cost burden to others.
“It’s not that I don’t want to do anything for volunteers, it’s the fact that they’re volunteers,” said Scogin.
NEW FILING SYSTEM
In other business Monday, the commissioners approved the purchase of a software system for $6,750 to improve the county’s filing system. The File Vision system will allow the county to scan papers that need to be filed and save them to a computer.
For the rest of this story see this weeks Madison County Journal.