The Madison County Journal
August 4, 1999
Journal has hard workers behind the scenes
I had the privilege of accepting some awards for The Madison
County Journal this past week.
It was nice for the paper to get some recognition, because there
are a number of people who work really hard to make The Journal
a quality publication.
There's Margie Richards, who handles a heavy writing load while
serving as the paper's office manager.
There's Journal founder Frank Gillispie, who writes a weekly
column as well as various news stories.
There's receptionist Pat Little, who greets people with a smile,
keeping up with numerous requests and a constant flow of paperwork.
There's ad salesman Charles Richards and saleswoman Argie Gillespie,
who maintain The Journal's relations with local businesses.
There's Jim Smith, who - with the help of his wife, Vickie, and
son, J.R. - delivers the paper, making sure The Journal is prominently
displayed in stores and that nobody is messing with our news
There's Ben Munro, who has done it all over the past year - sports
and feature writing, crime coverage, photography, page layout,
writing columns and working in the press room.
There's April Murphy, who handles church news and obituaries
for all four of MainStreet Newspapers publications - The Journal,
The Jackson Herald, The Commerce News and The Banks County News.
April is also legals editor for the Jackson and Banks County
There's Mary Ann Robinson, who types submitted news articles
and helps lay out Journal news pages on the computer, while also
putting together pages for the other papers. Adam Fouche and
Jana Adams, who occasionally contribute stories to the Journal,
also aid in the paper's production.
There's photographer Travis Hatfield, who handles photo reproduction
for all four papers, making adjustments to color and black and
white pictures to make sure they look right in the paper.
There's Sharon Hogan, who "dummies" The Journal, meaning
that she determines where each ad will be placed in the paper.
She also keeps up with billing for each paper. Sharon and Cathy
Krusberg also proofread Journal pages, saving us from a number
of embarrassing errors.
There's Debbie Bass, who handles the classifieds and subscriptions
for each paper.
There's Pam Moree, who creates ads for each paper, along with
ad production assistants Dana Brown and Kathy Brooks.
There's Betty Wilbanks, who keeps up with the money from newsrack
There's Alex Stewart and Bobisue Strickland, receptionists in
MainStreet News' Jefferson office, who field some Journal calls
when the Danielsville office is closed.
Once a strange machine called the "imagesetter" prints
a negative of a news or ad page, a new process begins with a
crew that prepares that page for the presses, then prints the
paper and gets it headed to the stores and homes.
Those working full-time in the press shop include Julius Mack,
shop foreman; Garnett Smith, job shop supervisor; Tony Phillips,
web shop supervisor; Larry Norman, maintenance; Maurice Sanford,
press helper; Brad Smith, printing; and Lisa Lyles, pre-press.
And of course there are the Buffingtons - Herman, Helen, Scott
and Mike, the family that owns MainStreet Newspapers. They've
created a system that produces four quality publications and
they've opened the door for a lot of young people to learn what
journalism is all about.
The Madison County Journal has a lot going for it and a lot of
people working to keep it that way.
Zach Mitcham is editor of The Madison
County Journal. Email
The Madison County Journal
August 4, 1999
- Frankly Speaking
for a change
It is not often that I agree with State Rep. Tyrone Brooks, but
this time I am endorsing a bill he and two Republicans have introduced
in the Georgia House of Representatives.
House Bill 672 - the Voter Choice and Election Access Reform
Act of 1999, will change state voting law so that third party
and independent candidates have a far better chance of getting
on the ballot. Georgia currently has one of the most restrictive
ballot access laws in the nation. If you wish to represent a
minor party, or run as an independent, you will run into roadblock
As a result, 29 of 56 state senators and 107 of 180 state representatives
ran unopposed in the 1998 elections. The voters of those districts
were denied an opportunity to express their political will by
choosing between candidates with different ideas and programs.
Madison County was denied a choice in the State House because
Rep. Ralph Hudgens had no opponent.
This is wrong. When only one major party offers a candidate,
and state law makes it virtually impossible for a minor party
or independent candidate to gain a place on the ballot, then
the person appointed (if there was no opponent, there was no
election) may be more indebted to the party than to the people.
I am one of many Americans who have become dissatisfied with
the current political system that allows two major parties to
dominate political life. I firmly believe that our first president,
George Washington, was right when he warned against party politics
in his farewell address. Georgia's restrictive ballot laws are
exactly the kind of thing he was warning us about. With apologies
to our current chairman I say, "It is time for a change!"
We must take back control of our government from the two major
parties and give it to the voters, where it belongs. To do that,
we must make it possible for minor party and independent candidates
to gain access to the ballot. Once our elections become a means
for voters to express their opinions by having a chance to choose
between a variety of candidates with a wide spectrum of views,
we will finally know the "will of the people", not
the dictates of a hand full of political bosses.
Contact your State Senator and State Representative and insist
that they support HR 672.
Then look up the Voter Choice Coalition (http://www.voterchoice.org)
to see who is supporting and who is opposing this effort to bring
truly free elections to Georgia.
Frank Gillispie is founder of The Madison