News from Madison County...

AUGUST 18, 2004

Madison County

Madison County

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Frank Gillispie
The beauty in the old way of doing things
In 1954, my father scraped up enough money to purchase a two-acre lot on the Dogsboro Road near Hull. As he could find the money, he dug a well, had a septic tank installed purchased a blueprint from a magazine devoted to rural America, and began accumulating building supplies.

Margie Richards
Memories in a box
Looking back through old photos is like taking a trip back through your life.
How did people remember things, and when they happened, before photography?

Rivalry game serves as back drop for Owens’ debut
Coaches on both sides expect another pressure-cooker
Randell Owens said it hasn’t been hard to get his new team’s attention in practice this week.
With his Madison County coaching debut coming against Franklin County this weekend, the first-year Raider coach explained that he conducted a poll of his players this week to see just how many went to church with someone from the border county to the north.

News from
$3.2 million jail built with SPLOST funds
Open house set for Saturday
Sheriff Charles Chapman will open the doors to the $3.2 million jail Saturday, August 21, from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. for Banks County citizens to tour the new facility, before prisoners are housed there.

Lula to begin maintenance on water system
The Lula City Council voted unanimously at Monday’s meeting in favor of several items aimed at clearing up some of the city’s water quality problems.

News from
BOC approves more debt for courthouse
$2.3 million added to ACCG lease
The total cost of the new Jackson County courthouse continues to grow.
The board of commissioners approved a $2.3 million “supplemental lease” with the Association County Commissioners of Georgia at its meeting Monday. The BOC already has a 30-year, $25 million lease agreement with the ACCG for the new courthouse.

Talks continue on IDA funding for road projects
The county board of commissioners and industrial development authority were still at an impasse this week over financing for the two overdue Toyota roads and several other economic development road projects in the county.
The Madison County Journal
Danielsville, Georgia
Telephone: (706) 367-5233
Fax: (706) 367-8056

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Newspaper man recognized

Mr. Jere Ayers (left), long-time editor and owner of The Comer News and Danielsville Monitor, was recognized by the Georgia Press Association (GPA) Tuesday morning with a “Golden Club” medal for a lifetime of service in the newspaper business. Mr. Ayers, who began working for his family’s newspaper as a child, has been in the newspaper business for over 80 years. “That’s a great record,” said GPA president Sam Jones (right), publisher of The Newnan Times Herald. “I don’t think it’s surpassed by anybody in Georgia. Congratulations to you.” Also pictured is Robin Rhodes, GPA executive director. Mr. Ayers treated the GPA officials to a tour of his newspaper facilities in Comer, showing them printing machines used over the past century, such as the Chandler and Price Job Press (pictured) in the front of The Comer News office. (The Comer News and Danielsville Monitor are not affiliated with The Madison County Journal.)

County zoning
Plans rejected
The county planning and zoning board told a local developer they didn’t like the idea of his plan to place a major three-quarter acre lot subdivision in an area slated for larger tracts on the county’s current land use map.
Planners voted 6-0 at Tuesday night’s zoning public hearings to recommend that the board of commissioners deny former county planning commission member Gerry Burdette’s request to rezone a 45.78-acre tract on Neese-Commerce Road from A-1 (agricultural) to R-1 (.75 acre minimum lot sizes with community water) for a major subdivision of 30 to 35 homes.
Zoning chairman Jeep Gaskin pointed out that the area is currently listed as “medium density” in the county’s land use plan and that three-quarter acre lots are designed for the high density areas of growth.
But Burdette said he felt that the nearness of county water and the need for such a subdivision in the area warranted the commission’s approval of the rezoning.
“I could do two acres with modular homes right now, but I’d like to do a quality long-term development that’s beneficial to the county,” Burdette said.
But the commission felt they should avoid approving such a rezoning until the county’s land use plan has been revised.
“I think we should stay pretty loyal to the land use plan until high density moves outward to this area. I don’t think we can take it upon ourselves to do it,” Gaskin said.
Burdette told the commission that plans for the subdivision include site-built brick homes between 1,600 to 1,900 square feet in size. The homes would most likely sell in the $140,000 to $180,000 price range.
For the rest of this story see this weeks Madison County Journal.

County water
Authority discusses water project bidding complications
Madison County Industrial Authority members met in closed session Monday night to discuss threatened litigation in connection to bidding procedures on a major water project. But the group took no action after the closed meeting.
The IDA is planning a two-phase water expansion project: the first phase, “Division A,” will provide water to the Colbert Grove Church Road area, where petroleum spills from Colonial Pipeline contaminated deep well water. The second phase, “Division B,” will link the water systems of Madico, Colbert, Danielsville and South Madison with approximately 12 miles of 12 inch water lines.
Initial bids on the project put the overall cost around $2 million. The IDA split the project into two bid requests — one for Division A, one for Division B. On Aug. 4, the authority awarded both bids to Raco, a Virginia-based company.
But the IDA decided to rescind its decision last week after realizing a mistake had been made by Carter & Sloope, Inc Consulting Engineers in evaluating the low bidder for Division B.
IDA attorney Victor Johnson said a Maysville company, Griffin Brothers, threatened a lawsuit since their “alternate” bid for Division B came in at $1,113,857, approximately $8,000 lower than Raco’s “base” bid of $1,121,826.
Johnson advised the authority last week to rescind the bid award to Raco and award the second half of the project to the “true” low bidder, Griffin Brothers.
But the IDA decided to re-bid the “Division B” portion of the project, agreeing that a new bid document would be re-worded to eliminate confusion over how the low bidder will be determined.
Those new bids will be opened at 9 a.m., Sept. 17, in the old county courthouse in the center of Danielsville. IDA executive director Marvin White said he believes the authority can then award the Division B contract at its regular monthly meeting, at 6 p.m., Monday, Sept. 20.
Raco has also threatened to sue the authority over the bidding procedures. Johnson told IDA members Monday that he had spoken with Raco representatives and needed to update the authority on the threatened litigation. The group then closed its regular meeting to the public to discuss the potential suit. (Governing bodies can meet in private to discuss legal strategies when threatened with a lawsuit.)
The IDA adjourned without taking any action on the matter.
In a separate issue Monday, the authority agreed to provide water to the planned 77-lot Brad Howard subdivision on Garnett Ward Road. IDA non-voting member and county commission chairman Wesley Nash added that the authority needs to have its engineer determine whether putting a bigger line, potentially a 12-inch water line, in the Garnett Ward Road area would prove “the most economical avenue” for the authority, since the area is growing so rapidly.
Nash told the authority that he received word from the state that the county has been turned down in its request for grant money to provide water to Piedmont Road. He said the Department of Community Affairs awarded 78 grants out of approximately 150 requests and that the Piedmont Road request was 106th on the list. Nash added that most of the awarded projects went “below the gnat line” to south Georgia communities. He said that the authority might look to the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) for possible grant assistance.
In other business Monday, authority members discussed but took no vote on a request by Millbrook Subdivision residents for the IDA to take over water services in the neighborhood, where a community water system is currently being operated by Fortson Well Drilling. Nineteen homeowners signed a petition seeking the IDA’s water services. IDA members agreed that the locale of water lines in the neighborhood, as well as who owns the rights of way to those lines, must be determined before the IDA can take action.
In other business, the industrial authority heard from White, who said the authority has received one commitment from an existing business planning to re-locate at the park as soon as water is available and that another new business, which would have about 30 employees, is also interested in locating at the park.
The group heard a financial report from treasurer Bruce Azevedo, who told the group that the IDA had a cash balance of $252,106 as of Aug. 10.
Utility director Tyson Culberson reported that the South Madison water system has billed customers a total of $40,221 in seven months of operation. He said the system has added 32 customers under the IDA and now has a total of 227 customers. Culberson said the IDA will need a new billing system probably within the next six months due to an increase in customers. IDA member Roger Tench agreed to help look for computer software for billing.
An article in last week’s Journal should have stated that Raco's base bid was $1,121,876 and Griffin Brother's base bid was $1,134,711. Griffin's alternate bid was $1,113,857 (not $1,123,857 as stated in the article). We apologize for the error.

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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.

Madison County Ten Commandments group in the works
The Madison County Ministerial Association has announced that the Madison County Chapter of Ten Commandments — Georgia, Inc. (TCG) is now being organized.
“TCG believes that the Ten Commandments are the foundation of America’s system of law and justice,” organizers stated.
“It promotes the right to have the Commandments displayed in government buildings such as city halls, courthouses and schools,” they added. “It also promotes the right of municipal, county, and state governments, as well as individual citizens, to publicly recognize God as the Author of our freedoms.”
Recently, a federal judge in Alabama ordered the removal of a monument of the Ten Commandments placed in the rotunda of that state’s Judicial Building by Alabama Supreme Court Justice Roy Moore.
The ACLU, on behalf of an anonymous plaintiff, is suing Barrow County, Georgia to force the county commissioners to remove a large, framed copy of the Ten Commandments from the courthouse in Winder.
(The Ten Commandments are on display on the wall of the meeting room of the Madison County Board of Commissioners.)
Dr. Jody Hice, president of TCG, Inc., said, “We are in a contest to determine what kind of people are going to govern this nation. Will it be those who despise God’s laws? Or will it be those who reverence God and want our laws to rest upon the moral foundations of the Ten Commandments? We believe that Georgians want it to be the latter. And we are encouraging people to become active in this cause.”
For more information, visit or call 1-888-STAND-4-GA.
For additional local information, contact Pastor Robby Brown, president of the Madison County Ministerial Association, at 795-3718.

Community profile
Rain or shine
Madison County mailman remembers 30 years of service
It was July 6, 1974, when young Jerry McElreath was hired by then postmaster Howard Floyd as a substitute mail carrier for Rural Route 3 in Danielsville.
He worked sometimes two or three days a week for veteran mail carrier Charlotte Bond, becoming full time when Bond retired several years later. Since then, McElreath has delivered the mail in fair weather or foul — often on nearly impassable dirt roads.
Since many of the roads were dirt and there were no such things as cell phones, McElreath, like his fellow carriers, depended on the kindness of those along his route to help him out when he got stuck or broke down.
“When something happened, I’d walk to the nearest house and someone would always pull me out so I could continue on,” McElreath said.
McElreath estimates that he’s worn out about a dozen vehicles over the years, but says he’s proud of the fact that he hasn’t had an accident while on the job.
Many things have changed about carrying the mail over the years; most of the roads are paved these days and help is mostly just a phone call away.
But other things have not changed, McElreath maintains.
For instance, several of his patrons along Rural Route 3 have shown their kindness to him in a variety of ways over the years — like leaving cookies, apple pies or other goodies as a treat and to say “thank you,” not just at Christmas, but all through the year.
“It’s things like that that really make you feel appreciated,” he said.
And then there was the time several years ago when his mother was dying of cancer.
“I’ve got a stack of cards Mrs. Johnnie Beatenbough left me to let me know she was thinking about me,” he said emotionally. “It’s things like that you don’t forget.”
Recently, McElreath was presented a silver pin and service award to commemorate his 30 years of service to the United States Postal Service.
But McElreath says he has no plans to retire and he still enjoys his job — rain or shine.
“I just like being out driving and meeting folks,” he said. “And I just hope I’m able to help somebody and be a blessing to someone.”