More News & Features
Local water systems offered detailed reports on local drinking water quality
By Jessica Blomquist
By Patrick Yost
The Bostwick City Council Monday took their first look at the proposed 2009 fiscal year budgets. Based on projected property tax collections, Bostwick Mayor John Bostwick said the city would keep it’s millage rate at 0.97 mills. The rate is expected to collect $10,007 from city property owners, the same as 2008.
“Our millage rate has been 0.97 since we’ve been here. I recommend we leave it the same.”
Projected revenues for the city’s general fund for the year are $87,582, a significant drop from 2008’s $177,557. The reduction comes, in part, from the completion of a $96,000 grant the city received in 2008. The city also expects to collect $11,000 from its alcoholic beverage excise tax, $27,200 from both the Local Option Sales Tax (LOST) and Special Local Option Sales Tax (SPLOST) and $16,000 from its insurance premium.
On the general fund expense side, the city expects to spend $48,459, which would result in a net positive balance for the city of $39,123.
In the city’s water fund, the city is projecting revenues of $67,200 for 2009 and expenses of $65,400 for a net profit of $1,750. In 2008 the city is showing a net loss in the water department of $46,800.
That loss is attributed, in part, to the $40,000 purchase of a water filtration system for the city’s drinking water. Repayment of the loan for the filtration system, Bostwick said, will be reflected as a $4,700 GEFA loan repayment on the water department’s expense budget for the next 20 years.
For the city’s Susie Agnes Hotel fund, the city is projecting a net profit of $6,700 for 2009, with an expected $20,200 in revenue expected from the annual Cotton Gin Festival compared to $13,500 in expenses for the festival. Funds made from the festival are used in the on–going renovation of the hotel.
By Malin Dartnell
Seven-year-old Madison Farmer had never had a real haircut before. She’d gotten it trimmed occasionally, but had basically been growing her hair her whole life. By the time she was ready to cut her hair, it was almost 14 inches long.
Madison wasn’t just cutting her hair because she felt like she needed a change, or a new summer ‘do, however.
Almost every summer, Madison visits a friend who was recently diagnosed with Leukemia.
When Madison learned of her friend’s illness, she was determined to help. Somebody mentioned the idea of "Locks for Love," a non-profit organization that uses donated hair to create wigs for financially disadvantaged children with permanent or long-term hair loss.
Many of the children helped by Locks of Love lost their hair due to chemotherapy, or a condition called Alopecia Areata. When Madison realized that she could give her hair to Locks of Love and that her hair would benefit a child that needed it, she made her decision.
Madison grew her hair for one more year, until it was long enough to send 10 inches to Locks for Love. Then, she put it in a ponytail and cut it off to be sent away.
While her parents played no part in Madison’s decision to cut her hair, they did reward her afterwards by taking her to get her nails done.
“We are so proud of her generosity and hope to encourage others by her story,” her mother, Amy Malcolm, said.
By Tara DeRock Mahoney
Senior Staff Writer
Morgan County election aficionados will have a new way to enjoy the election this year as local officials post real-time local results on the worldwide Web for the first time during the state-wide primary on July 15.
“Citizens can watch election results on the internet at www.morganga.org/elections,” said Elections Supervisor Bobby Howington.
Howington wanted to remind local voters of several things as they go to the polls a week from Tuesday.
First, remember that every ballot in the county will not look like the sample ballots, which list every person running for every race in the county (with the exception of candidates running as independents). Not every precinct in the county will vote on every candidate. For instance, Minnie Peek is running for the school board in District One, so her name will only appear on ballots in the Madison East and Apalachee precincts. A further example-Sammy Cathey is running for board of commissioners in District Five, so he will only appear on ballots in the Bethany Springfield and Buckhead districts; his opponent, Betty Straw Brown, is running as an independent and will not appear on the July primary ballot at all. Her name will appear on the general election ballot in November. Citizens should be aware of their districts, and if a name they are expecting to see is not on their ballot, ask a poll worker for clarification.
Second, know that former candidate for state Democratic senator Wilson “Ben” Mitcham withdrew from the race on May 14 of this year; he withdrew too late to have his name removed from the ballot, but he is no longer running and a vote for him will not be counted.
By Malin Dartnell
It’s not easy to be a hero, especially the type of hero that must navigate burning buildings, smoke and collapsing ceilings to save others. Firefighters must endure months of intensive training both in the classroom and on the training ground before becoming certified. For two and a half months this summer, Fire Chief Gene Porter his assistant David Harper will be teaching 25 men the art of being a firefighter.
This course, Module One, will give the men their first certification. It is required in order to become a volunteer firefighter and is the first step to becoming a career firefighter. Every Tuesday and Thursday nights, and many Saturday mornings, they learn about everything from fire behavior, CPR, search-and-rescue and “quick dress” to knot-tying and teamwork.
Last Saturday, the firefighters-in-training ventured out to the training ground for the first time, where they practiced a blind search and rescue. After practicing a quick dress, in which they had to fully equip in under two minutes, they lined up, were blindfolded and ventured, one by one, into the burn building, where they had to do a “left-handed search.” This consisted of crawling along the floor (still wearing almost 75 pounds of gear), keeping one hand on the wall at all times, until they reached a small tunnel called a “confined space simulator,” which they had to navigate through.
Later that day, the left-handed search was lengthened, as an “attic simulator” was added to the journey.
The confined space simulator is a small tunnel of sorts, built out of wood, with slits in the top where objects can be dropped in to simulate a collapse. The attic simulator mimics a narrow, angled attic where the ceiling meets the floor to create a triangle.
By Tara DeRock Mahoney
Senior Staff Writer
County Commissioners voted unanimously this week to approve a contract to complete a trail through the new Indian Creek Park in western Morgan County.
The $23,000 contract will encompass the installation and mulching of a six-foot-wide, one-and-a-half-mile plus walking trail that could be completed this fall. The county recreation commission expects to further utilize a $100,000 grant from the state to install restrooms, signage, and a paved drive at the Fears Road facility near Davis Academy Road, to be called “Indian Creek Park.”
At the county commissioners’ meeting, chairman Mack Bohlen was at pains to point out that the selected developer of the Fears Road trail, Piedmont Designs, is owned by Trey McMichael, whose father-in-law is on the county recreation board. Piedmont Designs was the low bidder on the project; the next-lowest bidder was local Vista Concepts, owned by county commissioner Sammy Cathey’s son. A third bidder, Watson Clearing and Grading, came in with a bid more than three times higher than that of low bidder Piedmont Designs. “I just want to be above-board about this, and disclose [these] relationships,” said Bohlen. “We don’t have any relations with Watson [Clearing and Grading]…but I don’t want to spend $80,000 on this trail.”
In other recreation news, the recreation commission hopes to let a contract in August for the construction of an indoor pool. No contractor has been selected, but recreation commission members are in talks with a couple of bidders.
“After that, we’re looking at a six to seven month construction time,” said Bill Wood, director of the Morgan County Recreation Department. “If all goes well, we could open [the pool] for business in March or April.”