The offices of the Morgan County Citizen, and the newspaper’s sister publication, Lake Oconee Living magazine, will be housed in a new location.
The Citizen office will move to 259 North Second Street, right across from the Brady Inn, still in downtown Madison.
You can still reach us by calling 706-342-7440, e-mailing email@example.com, or sending us a fax at 706-342-2140. You can also still send mail to our post office box: Morgan County Citizen, P.O. Box 708, Madison, GA 30650.
But if you want to send us a letter, or stop by and visit – please do! – you can find us at our new 259 North Second Street location.
Printed in the June 6, 2013 edition.
By Stephanie Johns
Baxter International Inc. offered members of the local media a sneak peek at its new development in Stanton Springs.
Trees have been cleared, dirt has been moved, concrete has been poured – 250 workers and 30 pieces of heavy equipment continued to change the landscape off of Highway 278 during the visit.
Alan Verner, chair of the Joint Development Authority (JDA) of Jasper, Morgan, Newton and Walton counties, said he went on tour there about three weeks ago.
“It was really something: a crow’s nest view,” he said. “The workers were like ants down there.”
During his ride-along tour he said he saw how the buildings will be positioned and what’s going to go in each one.
“It was pretty neat,” he said. “It’s just trailers up there like a small town– pretty amazing. It’s going to be fun watching it come up from the ground.”
Scot Thomas, engineering bioscience business director and project manager for the development, offered the Citizen an inside look at the project.
Thomas has a bio-engineering background – he studied at Texas A&M University and at North Carolina State University.
“I’ve been in construction my entire life,” he said, adding that for the past 20 years he’s been in the bio-engineering field. About one year ago he joined Baxter.
He noted that there are “significantly different regulations” for building a pharmaceutical building: “They’re tougher.”
“It’s not a typical manufacturing site,” he said. “It’s a nice facility.”
The $1 billion construction project will span five years and result in 1.2 million square feet under a roof.
Printed in the May 30, 2013 edition.
By Stephanie Johns
Morgan County employees’ new insurance may save $123,000, according to County Finance Director Lori Sayer.
Amy Meisch, the county’s insurance broker with Northwestern Benefit Corp., shared a document titled “Morgan County Insurance Renewal 2013-2014.”
In it she recommended the county switch its medical insurance from Blue Cross Blue Shield of Georgia to Aetna. She also suggested they eliminate the PPO option for a $30,000-plus annual savings.
Meisch said that while the county “started at a good point to begin with,” moving the county’s medical plan to Aetna would offer them “a significant savings.”
The HMO and POS options offer national networks and open access, which she said means the insured would not be required to designate a primary care physician nor be required to receive referrals.
She added that the voluntary disability options also represent a “significant savings for employees.”
Commissioner Andy Ainslie approved: “That’s good news.”
County Manager Michael Lamar agreed, as did County Finance Manager Lori Sayer, who said, “I was excited.”
Meisch said if the commissioners approve of this plan in June, she’ll be able to get new insurance cards ready by July 1.
By Patrick Yost
A 68-year-old Madison man died tragically last Wednesday, May 22, while he was attempting to change lawnmower blades on a zero turn-style lawnmower.
According to Morgan County Sheriff's Office reports, Sidney Lanier Hensler died at the Fairplay Road location where he was performing the work. Reports state that two men found Hensler under the lawnmower's deck. The men said they had last had contact with Hensler approximately two hours before he was located at 4:19 p.m.
Reports state that the front end of the lawnmower was raised on a jack and that Hensler appeared to have been changing the blades on the lawnmower.
Morgan County Coroner Adam Carter pronounced Hensler dead at the scene. While no foul play is suspected, the incident has been turned over to the Morgan County Sheriff's Office Criminal Investigation Division for further review.
According to Madison City Manager David Nunn, Hensler was a 14-year employee with the city of Madison, working as a truck driver. Nunn said Hensler was a "dedicated" employee who often went above and beyond normal work duties.
He also said Hensler was a popular cook and organizer at benefit and fund-raising barbecues across Morgan County. "He was very fastidious," Nunn said. "He was a behind-the-scenes worker and never cared about getting thanks. He just enjoyed helping and he helped a lot of people."
Printed in the May 30, 2013 edition.
By Kathryn Schiliro
The final payment for the new classroom building at Morgan County High School is set to be made this month, for a total spent of more than $2.94 million.
As the original bid for the structure from Kevin Price General Contractors was $3.029 million, construction of the building came in about $88,000 underbudget, according to Superintendent Dr. Ralph Bennett, who shared this news with the county Board of Education (BOE) at their May 13th meeting.
Education Local Option Sales Tax (ELOST, or the 1 percent sales tax collected by the system) kicked in more than $2.2 million of the $2.9 million-plus total, while state funds make up the more than $720,000 difference, according to Bennett's report.
Given this new information, the cost per square foot comes to almost $117. These totals include solely construction of the structure.