News from Madison County...

MAY 26, 2004


Madison County
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OPINIONS
Frank Gillispie
Education is a life-long endeavor
Congratulations graduates. You have worked hard and earned your diplomas. You are ready for the real world. That means that your education is about to begin!

Margie Richards
Tips for staying safe
Like many of you, I have a daughter whose safety I worry about a lot, especially when I know she’s going somewhere alone, or somewhere she’ not familiar with.


SPORTS
Elbert County wrestling coach takes Madison County post
Richie Houston’s drive to work will be a lot shorter than it used to be.
A resident of Danielsville for the past two years but head wrestling coach at Elbert County High School during that span, Houston is now Madison County High School’s new wrestling coach, taking the spot of Steve Mason, who recently resigned after three seasons to take the head wrestling job at Chestatee.


News from
BANKS COUNTY
Sewer issues
Illegal dumping causes problems at Baldwin’s treatment plant
Someone has apparently been illegally dumping some nasty stuff in Baldwin’s sewer system and it’s causing problems at the wastewater treatment plant.

A Day at the Fort coming up Saturday
A Day at the Fort will be held from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, May 29, at Fort Hollingsworth/White House


News from
JACKSON COUNTY
Tentative School System Budget Up 5.9 Percent
School Board Seeks 3.9 Percent Increase In Local Money
Though a new school is opening in Commerce next year, the proposed 2004-2005 school system budget shouldn’t strain local dollars.

Tentative School System Budget Up 5.9 Percent
School Board Seeks 3.9 Percent Increase In Local Money
Though a new school is opening in Commerce next year, the proposed 2004-2005 school system budget shouldn’t strain local dollars.

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The Graduates take the stage

Dante Montgomery stops to have his tassel turned during Madison County High School’s graduation ceremony Friday night. Montgomery was recognized with enthusiastic applause earlier in the evening for 13 years of perfect attendance.

Update 5/28/04
Escaped inmate caught by patrolman
A Madison County inmate, who escaped from custody while being treated at a local doctor's office last Monday, was apprehended by a Georgia State Patrolman last Wednesday.
Trooper Alton Wilkins of the Athens post of the state patrol, acting on information from a lookout posted by Madison County deputies, stopped a car Wednesday afternoon on Glenn Carrie Road in Hull. The vehicle was driven by escaped Madison County inmate Richard Dwayne Flanagan. Arrested with Flanagan and charged with aiding in his flight was his friend, Janelle Angelique Teran, Colbert.
Flanagan fled from a deputy May 24 as he was being returned to jail from a doctor's office.
Flanagan was being held on a theft of a motor vehicle charge from two years ago in Madison County and a recent probation violation charge in Ohio.
Flanagan now faces escape charges as well as burglary of the Madison County Middle School. The trooper also charged Flanagan with driving without a license.


MCHS seniors reflect on high school days
See The Journal’s special graduation section and a full page of MCHS commencement pictures in this weeks Madison County Journal.
Kevin Cash remembered how an enormous tarp covered with soap and water is loads of fun for high school seniors, how taking a teacher’s car and skipping school to get barbecue is “the best, if you don’t get caught” and how one woman can amazingly make 1,870,655 copies for a high school in one year.
Cash and some 250 classmates, joined by their families and friends in the Classic Center in Athens Friday night, reflected on their days at Madison County High School during the school’s 48th commencement ceremonies.
“I’ve learned that high school is not just about studying the Pythagorean Theorem; it is not just about learning the bones of the body; it’s not about passive voice,” said Cash, who had the crowd laughing with his colorful speech, which included one “can I get an amen?” “It is not just a building; it’s a place where you create friendships and bonds that last forever.”
Five other members of the MCHS class of 2004 also took the podium Friday night.
Salutatorian Casey Allen remembered that since the 8 a.m. bell “rang for class to start on the first day of kindergarten, each and everyone of us has been looking forward to the end.”
“Not knowing what obstacles stood before us, we charged through each day taking in stride the unpredictable tomorrows,” said Allen. “...Up until now, we have spent our time wishing for the end, but now that we’ve reached this day, we find ourselves searching for a new beginning.”
Speaker Sara Jones recalled the long road to independence for Madison County seniors and the many tasks that parents performed out of love for their children who took the stage Friday night.
“As young children, our parents did everything for us,” said Jones. “They packed peanut-butter and jelly sandwiches in our lunches everyday, they cleaned and put a kiss on every scraped knee and elbow, and they spent countless hours on the road driving us to school, from school, to practice, to the next practice, and then finally home again...Eventually, we had to start doing things for ourselves, without our parents constantly watching over us...”
Josh Collins spoke of the complexities of life, noting that life’s difficulties make people stronger. He remembered long days of football practice and balancing time between track and drama practices, while trying to maintain good grades.
“The complexities of life make the journey all the sweeter when you get to the end,” said Collins. “Because every hardship teaches you an important lesson that will remain with you forever. For the rest of this story see this weeks Madison County Journal.


Speeders beware:
Speeding motorists on Madison County roads now face a greater possibility of being ticketed.
County commissioners approved a resolution Monday to allow the use of radar guns on county roads. Radar has already been allowed on state highways within the county.
Asked why the department didn’t already have radar for county roads, Sheriff Clayton Lowe said Tuesday that his department was told by the Department of Transportation (DOT) a couple of years ago that the permit needed to monitor county roads with radar would be a “great expense” due to the need for a DOT survey, etc.
“Frankly we just didn’t have the money to proceed with it,” Lowe said.
Since then, the sheriff’s office re-applied for a radar permit, doing the survey of county roads themselves which included road descriptions, details of traffic problems and traffic flow, agricultural businesses along the roadways and other in-depth information.
Lowe said the DOT accepted their application and told them they needed a resolution by the BOC, which was granted Monday night.
The department currently has four radar machines and Lowe hopes to be able to purchase more. The sheriff said he would like to see a couple of patrol cars equipped with radar units on each shift.
Each unit costs approximately $1,200 to $1,500 each and their purchase will need to be approved by the BOC.
“There have been so many people killed on county roads, mainly due to speed,” Lowe said Tuesday. “I counted 14 fatalities since I’ve been sheriff...We don’t want to make the county a speed trap, we simply want people to slow down and we’re hoping the fact that we have this (equipment) will help slow down traffic and save lives.”
He added: “Nobody needs to get a speeding ticket, they’re expensive and affect insurance ratings, we all know that. But speed can cause deaths. It’s one thing to hit a tree at 35 mph and quite another to hit one going 75 mph.”


County escapee eludes capture
A Madison County jail inmate escaped Monday from a Danielsville doctor’s office where he had been taken for treatment.
According to Sheriff Clayton Lowe, Richard Dwayne Flanagan, 32, of Hull, escaped Monday afternoon from Dr. James Haymore’s office on Hwy. 98 East. Lowe said Flanagan’s handcuffs had been removed for an X-ray when he ran from the office, crossed Hwy. 98 and fled into the woods there, losing his flip flops along the way.
A canine unit from the Lee Arrendale Correctional Institute, Alto, was brought to the scene to help in the search, along with all available sheriff’s officers, Danielsville and Comer police officers.
As of press time Flanagan had not been found, Lowe said. It is believed that he most likely had someone nearby waiting to pick him up.
Flanagan had been arrested on one count of theft by taking a motor vehicle under the Family Violence Act (FVA) for reportedly stealing a family member’s vehicle, according to Lowe.
Flanagan is described as a white male with brown hair and blue eyes, five feet seven inches tall and weighing approximately 150 pounds. He has multiple tattoos and has the nickname “Dink.” Flanagan is employed in the construction business.
Anyone with any information on Flanagan’s whereabouts is asked to call the Madison County Sheriff’s office at 706-795-6202.


Bowman woman killed in Monday afternoon wreck
A two-vehicle accident Monday afternoon on Neese-Commerce Road just south of Hwy. 98 claimed the life of a Bowman woman.
Nicole Baird, 41, died after she pulled her 1991 Mazda 323 into the path of a 1993 Mazda 929 driven by Tina Marie Wood, 40, Hull, according to a report from the Athens post of the Georgia State Patrol.
Wood suffered “visible injuries” and was taken to St. Mary’s Hospital, while two passengers in Baird’s car — Hubert McElreath, 18, and Edna Cain, 29, both of Bowman — were taken to Athens Regional Medical Center with “serious” injuries, according to the State Patrol.

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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.


County waits for state report
A state Department of Revenue performance review board concluded a three-day investigation of the Madison County Tax Assessor's office last Thursday, but their findings are not yet available.
Charles Willey, spokesman for the Revenue Department, could not give a specific date on when Madison County will receive a report on the committee's findings. But he said written reports from Revenue performance review boards are provided to counties "usually within 30 days" of an investigation and that such reports are generally "five to 10 pages."
Those reports include recommendations on how counties can improve their appraisal services. Willey said such reports can include suggestions on equipment and appraisal methods. Asked if the report could offer suggestions on personnel matters, Willey said that it might.
"It could include recommendations on increasing staff or decreasing staff," he said.
County commissioners voted in April to ask for an investigation of the county assessor's office by the State Revenue Commissioner after county clerk Morris Fortson said he found numerous errors in the past two county tax digests. Chief appraiser Rebecca Duncan and board of assessor's chairman John Bellew say there were some mistakes in the digest, but that there are errors in any digest, and that the mistakes don't exceed the state's allowed margin for error.


Hull Festival set for Sat.
The Hull Community Spring Festival will be held Saturday, May 29, adjacent to city hall from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., with a parade beginning at 10 a.m.
There will be gospel singing, featuring The Walker Brothers Gospel Group, arts and crafts, food, community service booths, door prizes and children’s entertainment.
“Make this Memorial Day special and come join us as we pay tribute to our veterans of past and present conflicts,” said organizers. “We have a great day of family fun planned at the Hull City Festival.”