News from Madison County...

APRIL 21, 2004


Madison County
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OPINIONS
Frank Gillispie
Season of celebration and remembrance is here
The patriotic season is upon us. Every spring and summer brings about a series of holidays celebrating key events and ideas in our nation’s history. Several of these celebrations involve state or federal holidays.

Zach Mitcham
Standardized test mania is a sickness
Airplanes are known for those ever-so-awful bags designed to catch mid-flight, intestinal yuckiness. But Georgia schools apparently have a similar kind of package for perhaps an equally unnerving ride — the standardized test.


SPORTS
Region showdown
First-place teams to clash in Danielsville
The scoreboard watching will end Friday and so might much of the speculation over who’s the region’s top dog.


News from
BANKS COUNTY
Dedication held for Baldwin fire tower
When firefighters respond to a call, they need to be able to size up the situation in a matter of seconds. Experience and training lead them to take command and deal with it.

Residents protest more speed bumps
Several residents of Narramore Way appeared at Monday’s Lula City Council meeting to protest the planned installation of another speed bump on the road and the video taping of drivers done by resident Tony Whitfield.


News from
JACKSON COUNTY
Fletcher, Thomason to make re-election bid
Britt bows out in District 1 as Crow announces plans
In what is expected to be the most closely-watched political contest of the season, Jackson County Board of Commission chairman Harold Fletcher announced during Monday night’s BOC meeting that he would be running for re-election.

Historic Opera House To Be Open To Public Soon
If Robert and Ling House have their way, the old Commerce Opera House will again see live stage performances.

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Swing, batter, swing!

Ryan Greene of the Madison County boys’ pitching machine Yankees gets a helping hand from coach Rowdy Escoe during the opening day of baseball and softball action at the county recreation department.

Third grade retention policy to hit home
New state mandate says all third graders must pass reading test
Madison County third graders who fail the reading portion of a standardized test this week could be forced to repeat third grade.
However, failure of this week’s reading portion of the Criterion-Referenced Competency Test (CRCT) doesn’t automatically lead to retention.
Those third graders who fail the reading test can get remedial classes, a second shot at the test and a review of their school performance by a committee — which includes their parents — before being retained.
State legislators wavered this year on whether to impose a reading mandate on third grade students, but finally decided that third graders must meet a minimum reading level before being passed to fourth grade.
The new policy is part of a highly-publicized and controversial effort to end social promotions, the practice of passing a child to the next grade level before he or she is academically ready.
Critics of the plan say increasing retentions has negative side effects, including increasing dropout rates in upcoming years as kids who fall behind their peers choose to quit school. They say the measure is a simplistic move and that real progress is made with smaller classes and individual attention.
Many Georgia third graders are likely to be affected by the new mandate. According to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, “about 20,000 third-graders statewide failed the test” in 2002.
Though the mandate comes with very little notice from the state, county school curriculum director Jane Fitzpatrick said Madison County is well prepared to handle the new policy. She said county school leaders have been planning for the change for the past year, knowing that it may or may not be implemented.
“I think we’re as prepared as anybody could be,” said Fitzpatrick.
The curriculum director said she expects CRCT results to be returned to the county by mid-May. Parents of those third grade students who don’t pass the reading exam will be sent a letter explaining their child’s status.
Fitzpatrick said the schools hope to hold about a week of tutorial work before the end of school for the third graders who fail the test. She said the schools have already set up a tentative summer class schedule for those third graders in need.
After the remedial work, the students will be given a second chance to pass the reading test. If they fail that test, the student’s grade status will be discussed in a “placement committee meeting,” which will include the child’s parents, the student’s reading teacher and principal. The group will then decide whether to pass or retain the student, with the parents getting one vote and the teacher and principal each getting one vote. A unanimous vote of approval is required for the child to be promoted to the fourth grade.
For the rest of this story see this weeks Madison County Journal.


Share and share alike
A Madison County organ donor story
Like most couples with long marriages, George and Linda Kaye Holloman have shared a lot of living in their 32 years together — in some ways more than most.
This sunny Saturday morning, they both sit relaxed in their living room, and one would never know that in February they both underwent major surgery.
Two months ago, Linda Kaye became a living donor for George, giving him one of her two healthy kidneys so that he could avoid dialysis and ultimately, death, from a viral disease that had ravaged his own kidneys.
George, a career fireman with Athens-Clarke County, was diagnosed several years ago with chronic “focal segmental glumerulo — sclerosis” a disease of the kidneys believed to be caused by a virus.
George had been having vague symptoms of feeling unwell, such as fatigue, episodes of gout, nausea, headaches and achy joints. Lab work showed an increase in creatin levels, a sign that the kidneys were having a harder time doing their job, filtering the blood of waste products and further testing revealed the disease.
Since his condition was not acute, his general physician, Dr. Philip Morris, decided to monitor George’s condition, keeping a close eye on the disease’s progress. George said he felt well generally, even continuing sideline work roofing houses, until a couple of years ago, in addition to his career as a full-time firefighter, which he continued to do until just recently.
Then last November he began to feel worse and tests indicated the disease was beginning to seriously affect kidney function and that, failing a transplant, dialysis would soon be necessary.
Although George had been placed on the national kidney transplant list in January 2003, the Hollomans knew there were no guarantees a donor would be found. And the couple had already talked about other options when the time came for dialysis.
“I knew that if I were a compatible donor this was something I wanted to do....it just didn’t make sense not to,” Linda Kaye says of her decision to give one of her kidneys to her husband. “I only did what anyone would do for a relative.”
So in January, Linda Kaye went into Atlanta’s Piedmont Hospital, where the transplant would be performed, for a two day evaluation. Like her husband, she was given a full health screen and tests were done to determine tissue and blood compatibility. They received a thumbs up on all counts and began to prepare for the surgery.
The Hollomans have two grown daughters but Linda Kaye maintained that her kidney was the best option. “I just thought about it logically - I was older, although not too old to be a donor - and my kidney might wear out and then there would be other options for George,” she reasoned. Although the youngest of 11 brothers, all George’s brothers were older than 55, which made them less likely to be considered donor candidates for health reasons.
A date was set for surgery, and both checked in to Piedmont on Wednesday, Feb. 18, with surgery scheduled for the following day.
Once the surgery began, remarkably Linda Kaye’s kidney was out of her body and beginning to function in George’s in only 45 minutes. All went well, and Linda Kaye was able to be discharged from the hospital in five days. 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.


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, surveyor 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., Monday, April 26, and noon, Friday, April 30, with elections superintendent Donald “Hoppy” Royston in the probate office at the county government complex.
For more information, call 795-6365.