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dont realize just how tough we are
The terrorists dont realize just
how tough we are. America has been made powerful by adversity.
We have overcome hundreds of challenges.
A dog story
We found Jack, like we find most of our
pets, on the side of a road somewhere.
His sad puppy face told us all we needed to know hed
been thrown away like he was nothing.
MCHS clinches sub-area title, high seed
The sweep, the one-upmanship in the rivalry that was all
fine and good.
But when Madison County downed Jackson County in a 6-4 extra-inning affair this past Thursday night in Jefferson, the victor definitely left with the spoils.
case numbers on the rise
92 cases investigated
The Banks County Department of Family and Children Services staff
is seeing a marked increase in the number of reported cases of
Director Renota Free gave the sobering statistics at the recent board meeting. Some 31 reports of child abuse were reported in August, including six for physical abuse, three for sexual abuse, one emotional abuse and 21 for neglect.
Banks SAT scores
below state average
Banks County students taking the SAT
during the last school year fell slightly below the state average.
Students in Banks County averaged a 959 total score, while the
state average was 987. Banks County students averaged a score
of 475 in math and 484 in verbal.
BOC adopts $32
Millage rates set at 8.69 and 9.77
By again tapping into its dwindling reserve funds, the Jackson County Board of Commissioners added the annual lease payment on the new courthouse when it adopted its 2005 budget last week.
An earlier draft of the budget had omitted the $1.1 million lease payment.
County BOE term
limit change to be on ballot
Voters in the Jackson County School System district will be asked when they go to the polls on Nov. 2 to consider changing the term limits for board of education members.
The Madison County Journal
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Fall, fun and the fair
Addie Dellinger, 22 months, rides the Merry-Go-Round
at the Madison County Fair in Comer Tuesday night as her dad,
Bryan Dellinger, watches.
The 56th annual Madison County Agricultural
Fair will continue through Saturday at the Comer Lions Club Inc.
Fair Grounds off Hwy. 22, Comer.
There are 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 Thursday night and during the
Saturday matinee, and for $12 on Wednesday, Friday and Saturday
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
Grandstand show times are as follows: 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.
the tax controversy
Year-long conflict leaves taxpayers in
So how much of an increase will county property owners actually
see in their tax bill this year?
Well, thats like asking how much is X plus Y?
The equation is incomplete.
First of all, a total county land value a tax digest
must be set. And that process is ongoing. Plenty of property
owners were upset about the increase in their land value assessments
this year. And, according to board of assessor chairman John
Bellew, some 1,400 assessment notices about 10 percent
of the total parcels of taxable land in the county were
appealed this year to the county board of assessors.
ON TARGET OR BEHIND?
Bellew said he feels the assessors can resolve enough tax notice
appeals to submit this years tax digest by mid October.
He said that if the board can get the number of unresolved appeals
below five percent of total parcels in the county approximately
700 out of the total 14,000 parcels then the state will
accept this years digest.
We are still basically on target, said Bellew. Hopefully,
by mid October, well get the appeals below 700.
But county commission chairman Wesley Nash doesnt seem
Well see on that, said Nash when asked if he
believed that the appeals process could be done by the middle
of next month.
County clerk Morris Fortson said Bellews statement just
doesnt make sense, noting that property owners are given
21 days to appeal a second assessment notice and that completing
the appeals process in Bellews proposed time frame is not
He keeps telling commissioners that everything is on track,
but I tell them to watch what they (the assessors) are doing,
dont listen to what they say, said Fortson.
Fortson told commissioners at a budget meeting last Tuesday in
the county EMS meeting room that the assessors will be handling
appeals this time next year at their current rate.
So Fortson, who is also the county finance officer, developed
a preliminary 2005 budget based on last years digest.
SCHOOL TAX RATES?
If a new digest is scrapped in favor of the old one, it will
prove significant, not just for the BOC and its 2005 budget,
but perhaps for county schools as well.
The preliminary 2004 digest showed an approximate 29 percent
increase in the overall county property values. So if tax rates
set by the BOC, BOE and IDA stayed the same as last year, overall
tax revenue would grow significantly because of the increase
in land values in 2004.
The school board, which is waiting to set its tax rate until
the digest is finalized, has planned to keep its tax rate steady
and use the expected digest increase to help cover an increase
in local revenue needs the schools have faced a significant
slash in state funding.
Superintendent Keith Cowne said Monday that without a digest
increase meaning if last years digest is, in fact,
used instead of a new one the school system could be forced
to raise its tax rate by about two mills, or it may dip into
reserve funds to cover some costs.
A point worth noting: The school system is on a different budget
cycle than the BOC and the BOE sets its fiscal-year budget in
the summer, then typically approves its tax rate in the fall.
For the rest of the story see this weeks Madison County journal.
County residents seek assistance after storm
Madison County residents affected by last
weeks violent storm can still file for government financial
assistance for property damage.
A temporary disaster relief center was set up in the Madison
County government complex this past week, closing Monday with
33 county residents visiting the center, according to the Federal
Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) public information office.
But others may still apply for aid, which could include low interest
loans and grants, by calling the FEMA emergency assistance number,
1-800-621-FEMA (3362), which is operated 24 hours a day, seven
days a week.
Anita Westervelt, FEMA public information officer, noted that
federal aid isnt designed to take the place of insurance
or return homes to a pre-damaged state. Rather, she said the
assistance is offered to help people with immediate needs.
This (assistance) is to help people get back on their feet,
said Westervelt. Were here to help on the road to
A FEMA handout shows that assistance can include temporary housing
for up to 18 months, with lodging or rental expenses covered
for those displaced by storm damage. Homeowners can receive up
to $5,100 for repairs or up to $10,200 towards the
purchase of a new home. Loans through the Small Business
Administration are also available to homeowners, Westervelt said.
According to the FEMA press office, as of Wednesday morning,
the federal government had provided $867,930 in housing assistance
funds to Georgia storm victims. Another $226,145 had been distributed
to cover various expenses, such as clothing and medical needs.
Westervelt encouraged those with property damage to call the
FEMA assistance number. However, she noted that those who call
may need to be persistent, pointing out that the agency is swamped
with calls due to extensive damage through the southeast from
the recent hurricanes.
Westervelt said a FEMA damage inspector will schedule an appointment
to assess damaged property within seven to 10 days. After the
inspection, a homeowner may find that hes eligible for
federal aid or he may receive a loan application in the mail.
Westervelt said its very important to fill out the loan
application, noting that without that application the assistance
process will come to a halt.
Everyone needs to fill out the loan application and mail
it back in, she said
materials plant plans to locate in Madico Park
A large building materials plant may soon
be coming to Madison Countys Madico Industrial Park.
According to Industrial Development Authority executive director
Marvin White, the IDA board approved the sale of six lots in
the park totaling 32.7 acres to the company in a called meeting
White said the company, who wants their identity to remain confidential
until the deal is closed, could employ 30 or more people. White
would not identify the company by name.
The IDA also approved the sale of two lots in the Hwy. 72 Business
EKIM International, LLC, an electronics manufacturing company,
plans to build a 10,000-square-foot facility on 2.5 acres at
the site that will employ 30 to 40 people, half of whom will
be sales people with the other half located on site. The deal
was negotiated through Century 21 Burdette Realty. Gerry Burdette,
who sits on the IDA board, abstained from voting on this issue,
Guest Manufacturing, currently located in Colbert, has also agreed
to purchase five acres in the park in order to expand its operations.
For the rest of the story see this weeks Madison County Journal.
Auto Parts & Service
Garden & Agriculture
Industry & Manufacturing
Health and Fitness
Retail Stores & Outlets
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.
Head of the
A few weeks ago, The Journal featured
Madison County School Systems overall Teacher of
the Year, Ila Elementarys Carol Perpall.
The following is a look at those educators chosen by their peers
as teachers of the year from each of the countys other
And while each teacher is different, its clear they all
have a couple of things in common: a love of teaching and a responsibility
toward the students they teach each day that goes beyond that
SMILES AND HUGS
Colbert Elementarys teacher of the year, Tammy Strickland,
didnt always know she was going to be a teacher. In fact,
she started out her career in the field of banking. But after
working with children in her church for a while, she went back
to school for her teaching degree.
It was always there in the back of my mind, and I finally
decided to do it, she said.
In fact, her husband, Keith, whom she met at the bank where she
worked, followed her into the teaching profession a few years
later. Now Keith teaches at Hull-Sanford.
This is Stricklands second year in fourth grade teaching
everything but science; before that she taught fifth
grade for five years.
And math is my favorite subject, she said.
Strickland was surprised, and of course honored, to be chosen
as Colberts teacher of the year.
And as much as she enjoys teaching, shes concerned about
children who struggle in the classroom, many because of situations
There are a lot of issues out there that can sometimes
cause a lack of family support, and communication between the
school and family is key...it makes a big difference in helping
the child, she said.
Strickland is proud of the support she and other faculty receive
at Colbert from the community and from the schools
numerous Partners-In-Education, who help with many school events.
I grew up on Hwy. 72 in Colbert and this is home and it
will probably always be home, she said. ...I look
forward every day to seeing the smiles on childrens faces
in the mornings and giving and getting those hugs good-bye in
Susan McCormick is in her fourth year of teaching music full-time
at Comer Elementary.
Its really like being on vacation, its so much
fun, McCormick said. We just have a good time dancing,
singing, doing programs for the school.
McCormick was chosen as this years teacher of the year
at Comer and says shes delighted with the award.
I just couldnt believe it and I was very honored,
she said. It lets me know that my fellow teachers really
appreciate what I do.
McCormick teaches music class to every grade and each class has
a music lesson at least once a week on a varying schedule.
For the rest of the story see this weeks Madison County Journal.
Candidates forum set for October
The Madison County Chamber of Commerce will host a political
forum on Oct. 12 at 7 p.m. in the high school theatre. All candidates
for contested races in the county have been invited to participate.
Each candidate will be given time for a short statement of their
platform and the audience will have the opportunity to submit
questions for candidates response. All interested voters
are invited to attend.