News from Madison County...

AUGUST 4, 2004


Madison County
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OPINIONS
Frank Gillispie
Gov’t should never compete with private enterprise
An old friend of mine has a problem with local government. He has spent a great deal of time and effort to build a private soft ball park in Colbert.

Margie Richards
Here come the armadillos
There are various signs along our driveway, you know the yellow kind shaped like a caution sign that warn about dogs, cats and other critters crossing your path as you enter our yard. (There was a sign that said ‘monkey crossing’ at one point, but that’s another story.)


SPORTS
Getting acquainted
MCHS players getting used to new football coach, vice versa
The comparison between parenting and coaching has gotten its share of mileage.
But first-year Raider head coach.


News from
BANKS COUNTY
Run-off elections ahead Aug. 10
Schaefer, Caudell in Aug. 10 run-off
Nancy Schaefer and Chan Caudell are headed for a run-off race for the District 50 Senate seat that covers Banks County.

Popphan, Mote face off
Winford Popphan and Ivan Mote will be facing each other in a run-off for the magistrate judge’s seat on Tuesday, Aug. 10.
Popphan came away with 912 votes in the recent primary election, while Mote had 750.


News from
JACKSON COUNTY
Student population numbers up 6% to 9%
Judging by the number of students starting a new school year this week, the county and city school systems are continuing to see rapid growth.

IDA to meet Mon. on Toyota roads
A meeting of the Jackson County Industrial Development Authority has been scheduled for Monday at 5 p.m. in the Grand Jury room to discuss the possible financing of road projects for the $100 million Toyota project for the board of commissioners.

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Southern football in August

The Madison County High School Raider football team is preparing for the upcoming 2004 season in the August heat. The first game under new head coach Randell Owen is scheduled for Aug. 20 at Franklin County. See this weeks Madison Cournty Journal for coverage of the Raider football team.

IDA awards $2 million water expansion contract
Madison County’s Industrial Development Authority awarded contracts to Raco, Inc. of Getna, Va., today (Wednesday) on a $2 million water expansion project that will link Madico, Colbert, Danielsville and South Madison water systems, while providing water to an area off Hwy. 29 contaminated by petroleum spills.
The project has been divided into two phases: “Division A,” which will run from Madico Industrial Park to Hwy. 29 via Colbert Grove Church Road, and connect with the Danielsville water system on the Colbert-Danielsville Road, is scheduled to be completed by Feb. 4 2005. “Division B,” which will be along Hwy. 172 and Hwy. 72 and connect to the Colbert water system, will be completed after “Division A.”
The base bid for “Division A” is $914,952, and for “Division B” is $1,121,876. Raco was the low bidder for both divisions. Other companies offering bids were Griffin Brothers of Maysville, Gary, Grading and Pipeline Co. of Monroe, and Buckeye Construction, Co. of Canton, N.C.
Carter and Sloope Inc., consulting engineers for the industrial authority reported that they had never worked with Raco, Inc, and requested references from them prior to recommending them for the project. After reviewing the references, Carter and Sloope concluded that Raco, Inc was “qualified to complete the required construction in compliance with approved plans and specifications and within the allowable time period.”
BACKGROUND ON
THE PROJECT
The major water expansion project was set in motion after IDA representatives met in private, non-quorum meetings with Colonial Pipeline earlier this year. The groups agreed that the pipeline company would pay approximately $950,000 to the IDA for the installation of a water line from Madico Park to serve 85 households in the Colbert Grove contaminant zone, where deep well water still tests positive for benzene — a cancer-causing contaminant — 25 years after the last reported Colonial Pipeline spill.
For the rest of this story see this weeks Madison County Journal.


Runoffs slated for Tuesday
Bellew, Chandler to face off in BOC chairman’s race; Mason, Skipper seek BOE seat
Madison County voters will hit the polls Tuesday for two local runoffs — the Democratic nomination for the BOC chairman’s race and the election of a District 5 school board representative.
In the county commission chairman’s race, John Bellew will face Burton “Chip” Chandler for the opportunity to face Republican incumbent Wesley Nash in the November general election.
Bellew received 968 votes — or 47.6 percent of the overall vote — in the July 20 primary election. Chandler had 581 votes for 28.6 percent of the vote. Both candidates are former commissioners. Current District 4 commissioner Melvin Drake finished third with 421 votes. Wendell G. Williams, who withdrew at the last minute, received 64 votes.
Madison County polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday. Those who voted in one party’s primary July 20 cannot vote in the other party’s runoff Tuesday. For instance, if you voted in the Republican primary, you cannot cast a ballot in the Democratic race for the BOC chairman’s nomination. However, registered voters who did not vote in the July 20 primary are eligible to vote in the runoffs.
ABOUT THE CANDIDATES
In an interview published in the July 14 Journal, Bellew said he feels he has the skills to lead Madison County.
“Having served the county for the past four years, I have had the opportunity to observe how our county commission deals with issues,” said Bellew. “I realized that there was a lack of leadership and direction with our county commission. Many important issues that affect Madison County are being passed over and left undone. I feel as chairman of the board of commissioners, I have the leadership capabilities that are required to carry Madison County into the future.”
Chandler said he’s running for office to ensure that the county handles growth wisely.
“I have spent my life in business and in public service,” said Chandler in an interview published in this newspaper last month. “I believe this is a make-or-break election for the future of Madison County. Either we go with the flow and lie down and let urban sprawl roll over us, or we work together to find creative solutions to this county’s growing pains.”
BOE RACE
A tight three-way race for board of education District 5 left incumbent John Mason with 242 votes and 36.7 percent, Melissa Skipper with 211 votes and 32 percent and Robert Fields with 205 votes and 31.1 percent. Mr. Mason and Ms. Skipper will face each other in the runoff for the office. The board of education is a non-partisan race with the winner of the runoff taking the office.
Skipper said she feels the BOE should keep personal agendas out of decision making.
“I am seeking election to our school board for a multitude of reasons, but primarily because I feel that some have used their positions on our school board to carry out their own personal agendas and vendettas and not focusing on how to improve our schools for our children and school staffs,” said Skipper in an interview published in the July 14 Journal.
Two-term BOE member Mason says he feels he has the experience needed to make wise decisions at the board table.
“It takes awhile to learn how a school system works,” said Mason in an interview last month. “I don’t pretend to know everything about it, but when you are first elected, you feel kind of lost at the meetings. I have seen many changes during my terms. I believe our system has made many improvements and my hope is that this continues.”
STATE RACES
Two state races will be on the ballot in the Aug. 10 runoff election.
On the Democrat ballot, voters will be asked to choose between Denise L. Majette and W. Cliff Oxford for the U.S. Senate seat.
In a non-partisan race for the state court of appeals, Debra Berns will face Mike Sheffield.


School starts Thursday for Madison County students
The August heat remains, but the summer break is over for about 4,500 Madison County students, who will hit the books Thursday morning for the first day of school.
The biggest changes at the start of this year are the completion of several SPLOST-funded construction projects, including new wings for three elementary schools and the completion of the new sports complex across from the high school.
In addition, four schools have new principals at the helm. Former Comer Elementary principal Cathy Gruetter has moved to Hull-Sanford Elementary; Pam Crisohon has stepped from the middle school into Gruetter’s position at Comer Elementary; Jodi Weber joins the school system as principal at Colbert Elementary replacing long-time principal Doris Dickson, who retired last year, and Dewey Carey comes on board as the new middle school principal.
ENROLLMENT FIGURES
Approximately 1,417 students will attend the high school on the first day of school, about the same number as last year. Enrollment stands at approximately 1,140 this year at the middle school, the same as last year at this time. Colbert Elementary’s enrollment stands at 340 this year, down just slightly from this time last year. Comer’s enrollment is 317, up from the 300 at the start of school last year. Ila Elementary’s enrollment is 422 students, down from the 450 on roll at the start of school last year. Enrollment stands at 485 this year at Danielsville Elementary, down from the 575 on the school’s roster this time last year. There are 430 students on the school roll this year at Hull-Sanford Elementary, down slightly from the 450 students at the start of school last year.

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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.


Hull store employee robbed at knife point
The Golden Pantry Convenience Store on Hwy. 72 in Hull was reportedly robbed by a lone man with a knife around midnight Monday night, Aug. 2.
According to Madison County chief deputy Bill Strickland, the suspect was a black male wearing a baseball hat and armed with a knife. After obtaining a small amount of cash from the clerk, the man fled the scene on foot.
No one was hurt in the incident.
The man is described as five feet 10 inches tall and approximately 200 pounds. Anyone with any information on this incident should call Madison County 911.


Water, garbage price increases expected for Ila residents
Ila water and garbage residents can expect a slight increase for both services on their monthly bills next year.
The council discussed increases for both services during a budget work session Monday night following the regular business meeting. A budget hearing will be held on Sept. 13 beginning at 6:30 p.m. just prior to the regular council meeting. The council is expected to vote on the 2005 budget during regular session.
The mayor and council discussed raising base water rates by one dollar — from $9 to $10 per month — for customers who use less than 2,000 gallons each month.
For those who use over 2,000 gallons per month, the cost will be an additional $3.25 per thousand gallons used, up from $3.00 per thousand this year.
The increase is expected to bring an additional $7,171 in revenue to the water system, which the council says has lost money for the past two years, primarily due to repairs to the system.
The city has 17 more years to pay on a 40 year loan from Farmer’s Home Loan Association for the water system, which is 23 years old.
The council discussed the aging water system at length, trying to think of ways to pay off the system earlier.
For the rest of this story see this weeks Madison County Journal.