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 This week's Journal
 This week's Journal


Patty Brantley of Booger Hill Road was just one of many area residents with strong opinions about a proposed Hwy. 29 bypass and road reconstruction project. Brantley was on hand at last week's public information meeting in the MCHS cafeteria to talk with representatives from the DOT.

The path ahead
Hwy. 29 residents voice views on proposed bypass plans
Sue Smith enjoys listening to the hoot owls on her family's wooded property just west of Danielsville.
But she wonders if the sound of bulldozers and other heavy equipment may replace those owl sounds in a few years, if the Department of Transportation okays a west bypass route around the city of Danielsville that will slice through part of her 35 acres.
Members of the Smith family were just a few of the more than 200 residents of the area who showed up for a DOT public information meeting held last Thursday at the high school cafeteria in Danielsville.
The purpose of the meeting was to give the public an opportunity to speak with DOT officials and view several large scale maps of the proposed bypass and reconstruction/widening project of Hwy. 29. Attendees were also encouraged to fill out forms or talk with a court reporter about their opinions.
Smith's husband, James "Butch" Smith, said the family moved to the middle of the property in 1980 to enjoy the rural area and its peace and quiet.
And another concern for Mrs. Smith, who works at the Danielsville post office, is that while she now drives just one mile to work, that drive may turn into five if the bypass becomes a reality and no access is provided near her home.
The Smith's daughter-in-law, Karen Smith, who lives on the same property, says her son Josh enjoys roaming the land and fishing the creek.
"I'm really afraid of what impact it (the bypass) will have on the wildlife in the area," she said.
But the Smiths may not have to worry after all, as an alternate eastern route around the town is up for consideration.
This would not, however be good news for Steven Brown and some of his neighbors, who own farmland along the proposed eastern route, and says the 250-foot swath of right of way for a bypass in this direction would "do nothing but split up several farmlands and not help the schools (traffic problems) either."
The alternate route was proposed due to public opposition to a bypass situated on the opposite side of town from several county schools, including the high school, according to DOT communications specialist Terri Pope.
Danielsville mayor Glenn Cross said he feels the eastern route might be the best for Danielsville to help alleviate heavy school traffic.
Patty Brantley, who lives on Booger Hill Road south of Danielsville, is in favor of the eastern alternative and said she doesn't understand the DOT's reasoning about placing the bypass on the west for those trying to get to I-85, saying most people in the county use Hwy. 106 for that purpose. Many others agreed.


County pay plan passed
After nearly a year of discussion, Madison County officials finally approved a wage system for county employees Monday, a move aimed at ensuring fair pay for all.
The board of commissioners voted 3-2 Monday to accept a plan that includes a two percent pay increase for all county employees in 2000, with some underpaid employees receiving more than two percent to bring them in line with their appropriate wage.
The county's constitutionally elected officers - such as the sheriff, probate judge and clerk of court - may choose to accept or deny the pay plan for their employees. However, the raises in next year's budget include all employees of constitutionally elected officers.
Commissioners Bill Taylor, Melvin Drake and Bruce Scogin voted for the plan, while board members Nelson Nash and Patsy Pierce opposed the move.
The pay system will cost the county $120,000 in 2000, with about $80,000 in expenses expected the following year as salaries are balanced with job duties and tenure.
For years, county employees complained that wages were unfair. Officials agreed, noting that an employee with more time under his belt may make less than a new employee with the same responsibilities.
So the county conducted its own pay study, comparing salaries of similar jobs in comparable sized Georgia counties.
The county then proposed a pay system that divided workers into classifications based on job skills and responsibilites. The plan is to ensure fair pay and give employees the incentive to learn new skills and move up the pay scale into a better pay bracket.
The two commissioners opposing the system - Nash and Pierce - said the proposal didn't accomplish its intended aim. Both were critical of how the pay brackets were set.
"I can't prioritize one job as more important than another," said Pierce. "They are all important."

UGA basketball coach Jim Harrick speaks in Ila
First-year University of Georiga men's basketball head coach Jim Harrick spoke Monday night at the Ila Resturant, sharing the experiences of a successful two-decade head coaching career in an event sponsored by the Madison County United Way.
Harrick expressed his thoughts on this year's Bulldog squad while also reflecting on his past tenures with Rhode Island and UCLA, which he claimed the national title with in 1995.
Harrick said he was impressed with the resilence of this year's Georgia squad thus far, praising the team for being able to rebound from an 0-3 start and claim five consecutive victories, including victories over Georgia Tech and then-18th rated Wake Forest.
The coach elaborated on the Georgia basketball team's improbable 68-67 victory over Wake Forest this past Saturday, which the Bulldogs came back to win with a buzzer-beating three-pointer by Adrian Jones.
"We were not playing well at all in the second half," Harrick said. "We were down by 13 points with eight minutes left to go in the game. I don't know how in the world we did it."
Harrick said Jones' winning shot was "nothing short of a miracle," but he was impressed nevertheless with his squad's resilience to just put themselves in a position to win, which he says has been something that has been characteristic of this year's team so far.
"It was devine intervention," Harrick said of the shot. "But if I'm Wake Forest's coach I'm asking myself 'How in the word did they even get in that situation?'"
Harrick told the crowd that he hopes the team's recent winning ways can give the team confidence for the rest of the season.
"Our goal is going to the NCAA tournament in our first year," Harrick told the crowd. "When you come to watch us play, know what we are playing for. Hopefully there's a pot at the end of the rainbow."
The coach also said that the attitude of the 1999-2000 squad is the quality that impresses him the most.
"These guys listen," Harrick said. "That's what I appreciate the most. If they can do that then they can go along way."
Harrick also told those on hand, which included both the Madison County High School boys' and girls' basketball squads, what he looks for in a basketball player and what qualities can make a player successful.
"I look for size and speed, but I also look for character in a player," Harrick said. "When I tell a guy to do something, I want to know that he will do it. That's the type of guy I want on my team. I'm into people."

Inside This Week's Printed Edition of The Madison County Journal...
Republican legislative leaders say they are fed up with the Democratic governor, and they're canceling any talk of an encore of last year's bipartisan love feast in the General Assembly.

Madison County commissioners approved the sale of tarps for $5 apiece at the county transfer station, part of an effort to keep trash from blowing off of trucks onto county roads.

Raider and Lady Raider basketball teams hit the hardwood this weekend, with the girls winning one and losing one and the boys dropping two contests.

Madison County football players were honored with a dinner and awards ceremony in the school cafeteria Monday night.

The MainStreet Newspapers staff makes predictions on upcoming bowl action to close out months of pigskin picking.

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The Madison County Journal - Danielsville, Georgia
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