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Reagans three-legged chicken story
I met Ronald Reagan once, if a few words and a handshake at a political rally count as a meeting. I was living in Savannah in 1976 when Reagan was seeking the Republican nomination for president against Gerald Ford. His comments consisted of elements from the speech.
Our version of Animal house
Home would not be the same to me without a pet or two - or in our case, ten.
Warning if you dont like animals, you wont want to read any further.
Westbrook and Indians coming to Atlanta
Jake Westbrook will have a homecoming of sorts a week and a half from now when the Cleveland Indians and Atlanta Braves meet in interleague play June 18-20 at Turner Field.
BOC loses methadone clinic lawsuit on zoning
To appeal ruling
The Banks County Board of Commissioners lost the lawsuit Sylvanus Memorial Treatment Center filed against it for the zoning decision that denied the companys request to locate a methadone treatment center in the countys industrial park.
Commissioners still discussing county agent option
The Banks County Board of Commissioners met with a representative from the University of Georgia Cooperative Extension Service Thursday to once again discuss the opportunity of having a county agent placed in the county.
3rd Graders Excel On Critical CRCT Exam
Commerce Elementary School third graders did extremely well on the Criterion-Referenced Competency Tests (CRCT) that play a role in determining advancement into the fourth grade.
Waddell paid $96,000 to leave
BOC, JCWSA approve termination contract
After three-and-a-half-years of political controversy, the Jackson County Board of Commissioners finally succeeded in getting rid of Jerry Waddell as county water superintendent. But it cost taxpayers nearly $100,000 for them to remove Waddell from his position.
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Brad Griffin, Athens-Clarke Planning Department Director, addresses a crowded meeting room Monday night at the county government complex.
Road widening a distant possibility
But no immediate plans on the table for widening Hwy. 29
Hwy. 29 might be widened one day in Madison County through Danielsville.
It might not.
And a meeting Monday did little to shed light on an answer, leaving some irritated that they even bothered to attend a public forum for citizens to offer input on long-range road plans in the southern portion of the county.
Mondays forum was held by representatives of MACORTS a committee composed of leaders from Madison, Athens-Clarke and Oconee counties. That group studies the Athens metro area and determines, among other things, which roads are candidates for federal urban transportation funding.
Brad Griffin, Athens-Clarke Planning Department director, led the forum, first asking for a show of hands for how many in the crowded meeting room were in attendance to hear about the potential widening of Hwy. 29.
Nearly everyone raised their hand.
Griffin informed the audience that there is no funding currently available for widening Hwy. 29. He said there is no established timetable for such a project.
MACORTS has simply established the widening of Hwy. 29 as a potential project for the state Department of Transportation to consider in years to come. (No federal funding for Athens metro-area roads can be appropriated to the state without going through MACORTS the Madison Athens-Clarke Oconee Regional Transportation Study.)
Board of commission chairman Wesley Nash said MACORTS serves the function of keeping the county out of the dark on state road decisions that could have enormous local impact. He said public officials and county citizens were blindsided by DOT plans to widen Hwy. 29 five years ago, adding that the DOT would probably be at work on widening that road right now had the economy not taken a nosedive and forced the DOT to drop the plans.
Im so glad to be a part of MACORTS, said Nash, one of the countys two representatives on the MACORTS committee. At least this way, well know three to five years out if this thing (the widening of Hwy. 29) is coming. At least weve got time on our side now...Theyve got to stand up and wave before they shoot at us now.
For the rest of this story see this weeks Madison County Journal.
Explosive growth expected for Comer
If current trends continue, Comers population can double in the next five years, according to the citys zoning administrator Gerald Kemp.
The city council approved preliminary plats for two proposed subdivisions at its scheduled meeting Tuesday night. Royal Oaks Subdivision near the junction of Brickyard Road and Hwy. 98 will contain 68 lots. Current plans are to use city water and septic tanks. A new lift station would have to be installed before the development can reach city sewage. City manager Steve Sorrells will look at the figures to see if a sewage extension is practical. Contractors are not required to use city sewage unless a line is within 200 feet of their development.
The second project now called Village Station, formerly Comer Landing, will contain 50 homes and is located on Railroad Avenue. While this project is across the railroad from Hwy. 72, the crossing is well-maintained and has appropriate traffic and safety controls, city leaders said.
The already-approved Hill Street Subdivision was brought back to the council for clarification. This project is being built along an unimproved city street. It is zoned rural residential requiring two acre lots. Gerald Kemp wanted everyone to understand that the street is an existing city street.
Neither the developer nor the city will be required to pave the street. The city will be required to maintain it. Kemp wanted it made clear that the street will be muddy during rain and dusty during dry weather. The council agreed that people purchasing these lots should be made aware of the road conditions before purchasing.
The Comer Historical Society sought and received permission to begin a study to determine the feasibility of returning the old depot building to a site near its original location. The building is currently located on Sunset Boulevard. It was moved several years ago when CSX Railroad informed the city that the building had to be moved or torn down.
Relocating the building will make it more accessible to the public and would help in the effort to protect and restore Comers historical district, city leaders said.
The Society reports that in order to obtain a TEA-21 grant to help finance the move, the building will have to be located within sight of the railroad, but not necessarily at its original location. Several sites, including the old recycling site, could be used.
A TEA-21 loan was established in 1991 as the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act and is designed to enhance surface transportation. Any loan would require a 20 percent matching fund from local governments. In-kind donations or labor would count toward the fund.
Athens Tech currently has a five-year lease on the building, but that is not likely to be a problem, according to Historical Society officials. They expect the study and request for the grant to take up to two years, and the lease will likely expire before the move can be arranged.
In other actions, the council voted to deny a Habitat for Humanity request for assistance in obtaining a CDBG grant until they have developed a better plan of action, and reviewed the 2003 audit.
BOC District 1 candidates talk local issues at first county forum of the political season
About 25 residents many of them also political candidates or county officials showed up for the countys first political forum sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce Tuesday night.
The forum, which was held for board of commission District 1 candidates, was held in the gym of Hull-Sanford Elementary School.
The forums this was the first of three are designed to give citizens a chance to meet and hear from candidates in contested races for local seats.
In District 1, second-term incumbent Bill Taylor will face two Republican opponents, Stanley Thomas and Wayne Douglas, who must first face off in the July 20 primary election.
Each candidate, including Taylor, was given a five-minute opportunity to introduce himself and briefly touch on issues he is concerned about before the floor was opened to written questions from the audience.
Taylor spoke first, citing his nearly two full terms as District 1 commissioner, his involvement in developing the countys comprehensive plan, his support of the recreation departments expansion, a grant for a new health department, as well as road improvements and other SPLOST-funded projects.
I would like to continue to work for you in District 1. Ive tried to do a good job, Taylor concluded.
Stanley Thomas, a retired postal service employee, spoke next. Thomas said he has lived in Madison County most of his life, raised a family and seen a lot of changes.
Ive received no contributions from anyone; no ones backing me and I have no grudges, Thomas said. I just want to be a part of making decisions for our county and Im running on my own feelings.
For the rest of this story see this weeks Madison County Journal..
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Ila city council terminates garbage service contract
Ilas mayor and council voted Monday night to terminate their garbage pick-up service contract, effective immediately.
The council terminated its contract with Bolton Enterprises on the advice of city attorney Pat Graham, due to the companys failure to provide proof of workmans compensation insurance.
City clerk Susan Steed told the council that an audit by the citys insurance company two weeks ago required her to obtain workmans compensation certificates from each of the citys service providers. Steed reported that Bolton Enterprises had failed to provide the required documentation, despite numerous requests, adding that the company failed to return calls on the matter.
Graham then advised the council to terminate Boltons services based on this breach of contract, since the city could be held liable in the event of an injury to one of the companys workers. Graham will send a certified letter to Bolton Enterprises informing them of the contracts termination.
The council advised Steed to contact Georgia Waste Services about a contract for services beginning next week.
In another matter, the council voted to ban any type of solicitations at the four-way stop in Ila (intersections of Hwy. 98 and Hwy. 106) for public safety reasons. The council is concerned that recent regular solicitations for fund-raisers have gotten out of hand and could result in an injury.
In other business, the council:
heard from Mayor Mike Coile that Lord Street has been accepted for repaving under the states LARP program.
signed an intergovernmental agreement with the county for them to provide building inspection services to city residents.
A taxing issue:
Bellew to address BOC on postage dilemma
The chairman of the county board of tax assessors, John Bellew, wants tax assessment notices mailed to county citizens pronto. He said the county needs those notices in the mail as soon as possible, noting that waiting any longer means the county will risk penalties for failing to meet a deadline on submitting the county digest to the state.
Others say, not so fast.
A state report on the performance of the county tax assessors department is due any day now. So should the county wait until the findings of that report are available before notices are mailed, or should commissioners approve the $4,000 in postage for the assessment notices?
Either way, Bellew, who is running for the Democratic nomination for the BOC chairmans post next month, wants the commissioners to take an official stance. And he says hell stand before the board Monday night to ask for such a vote. Bellew is on the agenda to discuss assessors office issues.
Last week, the BOC informally turned down a county board of assessors request for $4,000 to cover postage for the tax assessment notices. Chairman Wesley Nash polled the commissioners by phone to see if they were in favor of releasing the money for the notices.
The answer was no.
County clerk Morris Fortson said that holding off on the postage is a matter of common sense, noting that it would be poor business to issue $4,000 for postage, then receive the states report on the assessors office and be forced to mail assessment notices a second time due to errors in the digest.
For the rest of this story see this weeks Madison County Journal.