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SEPTEMBER 8, 2004


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OPINIONS
Frank Gillispie
Poverty rate based on bureaucrats’ lies
There are three types of lies. They have been described as lies, damn lies and statistics. If you want proof that statistics are the most used method of lying, just look at the federal welfare system.

Zach Mitcham
Much omitted in all the talk of toughness
From the podium, there’s talk of toughness, strength, wisdom, freedom. And we cheer, we jeer, we love and we hate, we speak of faith in the man or our lack of trust in him, the good or bad feeling he gives us.


SPORTS
Region statement
Raiders air it out in first region win since 1999
The region win — yes it had been awhile since the last one.


News from
BANKS COUNTY
Proposed subdivision sparks dispute
Planners take no action on Brooks’ request
A rezoning application brought before the Banks County Planning Commission Tuesday night by Tim Brooks erupted into public dispute.

Vendors will need permits for Gillsville festival
Vendors who want to set up a stand during the annual Hewell Pottery Turnin’ and Burnin’ Saturday, October 2, will be required to have a vendor’s license, no matter where they set up.


News from
JACKSON COUNTY
Commissioners adopt tentative 2005 budget
No tax hike in plans, but no funds allocated for new courthouse lease payment
The proposed 2005 Jackson County budget may be more notable for what it doesn’t have as for what it does include.

Jefferson ties for top system SAT scores
JCCHS also shows increases in scores
With a score of 1077, the Jefferson City School system tied with Oconee County for the top system SAT score in the state. The top 10 list was posted on the Georgia Department of Education website. Jefferson High School was also named as one of the top 10 schools for math scores. With a score of 560, JHS ranked eighth in the state.

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Will Winterfeld packs his 20-second shipment of medical journals for doctors in Iraq with two of his sons, Eli, 15, and Misha, 13, at their home at Jubilee Partners in Comer last week.

Medical Mission
Local effort focuses on doctors in need in Iraq
Light bulbs, lead pencils, oxygen and medical journals.
These things may not appear to have much in common, but for the citizens of Iraq they all represented things in short supply during sanctions imposed by the United Nations following the Gulf War in 1992.
When Will Winterfeld and Don Mosley of Jubilee Partners, an internationally-known Christian service organization located in Comer visited Iraq in 1998 to take donations of truck loads of desperately needed medicines and supplies to hospitals there, they were overcome by the enormity of the suffering and poverty they encountered; much of it induced by sanctions.
The doctors, most of whom spoke excellent English as they had received their medical training in the U.S. and England, were thrilled by the supplies of pain medication, drugs, syringes and other much-needed items they’d brought.
Among the supplies were several thousand dollars worth of recent medical journals and texts, which caused excitement among the medical staff wherever they were distributed.
Winterfeld was astonished to find that most of the doctors had been cut off from such literature in the seven years the sanctions had been in place.
When Winterfeld asked several of the doctors what he could continue to do to help once back home in Comer, he got a specific answer:
“We need medical journals,” they said.
And they didn’t want just any journals; they desperately wanted specific and recent issues of such prestigious magazines like The New England Journal of Medicine and Lancet.
“They wanted reliable information so they could stay ‘up to speed’ on the latest medical news, they’d been without it so long,” Winterfeld said.
The sanctions implemented after the Gulf War in the early 1990s were depriving Iraqis of many essentials besides food.
“The sanctions had really de-stabilized everything. It was not unusual during our visits to drive by and see doors and windows out of homes stacked at flea markets where they had been sold by homeowners for food,” he said.
“Anything that authorities felt might have a dual military use was also banned,” Winterfeld said of the sanctions, which didn’t end until March, 2003, after Saddam’s government was toppled in the Iraqi war.
This meant that hospitals were often dark (not enough light bulbs) and unsanitary (very little disinfectant). Doctors and staff had to improvise constantly since there were very few functioning centrifuges, incubators, or other equipment. Records had to be kept by hand since there were almost no working copiers or computers; sometimes on the backs of old medical records of deceased patients since paper was also in short supply. Patients were in pain and often struggling for breath due to lack of pain medication and oxygen.
After witnessing all this first hand, when Winterfeld returned to Jubilee he didn’t forget the plea of the doctors he had met and soon sent out letters to numerous doctor’s offices around the country explaining their colleagues’ plight in Iraq and requesting their journals.
Soon responses to his requests came pouring in and Winterfeld set up quarterly shipments of several hundred pounds of journals.
For the rest of the story see this weeks Madison County Journal.


Fitzpatrick retires after nearly 30 years
Last week Margie Fitzpatrick ended more than a quarter century of working with handicapped adults in the community.
Fitzpatrick had worked for Advantage Behavioral Health Systems for 28 years and eight months to be exact when she retired last Tuesday.
“I’ve enjoyed it so much,” Fitzpatrick says of her job as an Instructor II, who trains Fine Finish’s handicapped clients who are physically and mentally able to work at outside employment.
When Fitzpatrick retired last week, she was supervisor to 19 clients working for outside employers in various places including hotels, grocery stores and offices.
“Things have just gotten better and better (for most) of our clients over the years,” she said. “Now they all get out in the community, and those that are able go to work and make their money. I’m really proud to be a part of it.”
Fine Finish director Bailey Grimes is full of praise for Fitzpatrick.
“She runs the whole community employment program and she’s so devoted we just won’t ever be able to replace her,” Grimes said.
“She goes out of her way to do things for all of them (clients) and that makes her a great advocate for them.”
“We’re more like family than co-workers and clients,” caseworker Judy Vaughn said of the staff and clients at the center, many of whom have worked together for many years.
“She’s very committed and with the years of experience Margie has — you just don’t find it again,” Grimes added.
“It’s going to be hard to fill her shoes,” Vaughn agreed.
And although it’s clear Fitzpatrick will miss everyone at her job, she says she’s eager to spend some time with her husband, Clyde, and with her grandchildren.
IN THE BEGINNING
Fitzpatrick remembers well how things were when she first came to work for the center in the mid-1970s. It was then known as the Madison County Service Center, which was located in an old church school building in Comer.
And the center didn’t just serve adults; there were handicapped children as young as six weeks also cared for there.
“I’ve always worked with the adults, then we had 10 or 15 and we taught them daily life skills, like bathing and dressing correctly...at the end of the week they would get ‘tokens’ for prizes in what we called a token store to buy things for themselves,” she said. “That’s before we got them out into the community.”
Soon after, children 21 and younger were integrated into the public school system, leaving the Center to work solely with adults.
In 1978, the center moved to Hwy. 98 West of Danielsville into the building now used as Emergency Medical Services Station One.
Soon Fitzpatrick and fellow employees began taking those clients able to do physical labor out as grass-cutting crews.
For the rest of the story see this weeks Madison County Journal.


Frances’ reveals Comer’s storm water problems
Storm water runoff has been a problem in downtown Comer since the 1940s, according to city officials. But the heavy rain from Hurricane Frances has revealed the extent of the problem.
At the Tuesday night city council meeting, local businessman Tim McCannon, owner of Comer Cleaners, described how storm water washed through one of his buildings.
McCannon appeared before the city council to seek a solution to the problem. He pointed out that recent construction in the alley behind his buildings may have contributed to the problem.
City Maintenance Director Gerald Kemp replied that the construction company that has recently installed a new water main in the alley has restored the site to its original condition, and that the lack of proper drainage is the problem.
City clerk Steve Sorrells reported to the council that a comprehensive storm water plan is being developed and that a request for a community development grant will be filed soon. City engineers are currently working on the problem and will develop a preliminary plan for use in the grant application. He predicted that it will take at least a year for the paperwork to be completed and construction started.
In other actions, the council voted to have Kemp check on prices for a new truck and trailer to move city equipment to work sites.
The city will seek an extension to their current sewer waste load allocation that is due to expire in November. The city will consider an additional court fee to help pay the salary of the city judge.
The council decided to hold a budget work session on Saturday, Sept. 25, at 10:30 a.m. in city hall.

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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 fair coming soon
The 56th annual Madison County Agricultural Fair will be held Sept. 28 through Oct. 2 at the Comer Lions Club Inc. fair grounds off Hwy. 22, Comer. There will be rides, shows, kiddieland, games, food and exhibits.
The fair opens nightly at 6 p.m., with a Saturday matinee from noon to 4 p.m.
The James Gang will be back in town with new rides. Unlimited rides can be purchased for $10 on Tuesday and Thursday nights and during the Saturday matinee, and for $12 on Wednesday, Friday and Saturday nights.
Prizes will be given away nightly. Winners must be present to receive their prize. Participants should deposit their ticket in the barrel under the shelter to be a part of the drawing. The drawings will be held nightly at 10 p.m. and at 3:45 on Saturday.
There will be grandstand entertainment nightly, with cattle shows on Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday afternoons. The gate price is $4 for ages 6 and over. Children under 5 are admitted free. There will be a 50-cent discount on tickets for each pair of useable eyeglasses donated to the Comer Lions Club. The Saturday matinee admission is $1, with free admission for children under 15.
Grandstand show times are as follows: The Lewis Family and Little Roy will perform at 7:30 and 9:30 p.m. on Tuesday night. Southern Gospel, The Jeremy Duggins Band and the Songsters will perform Wednesday night, with the show starting at 7 p.m. A karaoke contest featuring Barry Sartain will be held Thursday night, with cash prizes for the first, second and third place finishers. The first 25 applicants will be accepted. Sign up is at 6 p.m. Country band, Renegade, will perform after the karaoke contest. A “Seven 7” show will be held Friday night at 7 p.m. featuring 60s, 70s and 80s dance music. Bluegrass band, The New Dixie Storm, will perform at 7 p.m. Saturday.


Madison Co. BOC to meet Monday
The Madison County Board of Commissioners will meet Monday, Sept. 13, at 6:30 p.m. in the county government complex.
Agenda items include:
•County attorney Mike Pruett — amendment to the personnel policy for indemnification of employees for uninsured claims.
•Recreation director Dick Perpall — approval of the schematic design phase drawing for expansion project at Haggard Park.
•Chairman Wesley Nash — beer and wine continuance application for Bindiya A. Patel at Tiny Town.
•Chairman Nash — reschedule regular business meeting of Sept. 27 to Sept. 30.
•Chairman Nash — agreement with Jackson County to pave Sailors Road.
•Chairman Nash — road project update.
•Chairman Nash — approval of pre-disaster mitigation contract with Northeast Georgia Regional Development Center.
•County clerk Morris Fortson — 2005 budget.
•County clerk Fortson — proposal to change natural gas marketers.
•Commissioner Bill Taylor — Hope Thompson Lane.
•Commissioner Bruce Scogin — schedule a work session with the coroner’s office.
•Commissioner Scogin — personnel issues.
•Commissioner Scogin — closed session.