PLANS ECLIPSED

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By Tia Lynn Ivey managing editor A massive recall of eclipse glasses threw a wrench into the school system’s plans to allow students to view the nationwide solar eclipse this past Monday. The Morgan County Charter School System had procured eclipse safety glasses through Amazon to ensure the students of Morgan County could view the eclipse at school. However, just one week before the eclipse,  Amazon issued a massive recall of the glasses. “The Amazon recall affected many school systems across Georgia,” lamented Superintendent James Woodard. “There were no other sources …

Suit filed in dangerous dog case

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By Tia Lynn Ivey managing editor A lawsuit has been filed against a Madison couple whose dogs attacked a man in May of 2016. The lawsuit comes on the heels of a drawn out public battle, a dangerous dog designation issued by the City of Madison, and an ongoing appeal process from the owners. Now the owners, Jeff Davis and Carrie Christie face a civil lawsuit over the incident. In 2016 the couple appeared before the Madison City Council for three public hearings since on the matter before ultimately appealing …

Cops: Teen stabs woman

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By Patrick Yost editor A 15–year–old male teen was taken into custody last Thursday, August 17 after he allegedly stabbed a woman in the arm and held a knife to the throat of his 5–year–old brother as he dragged the brother through a parking area. According to Madison Police Department reports, a 29–year–old woman told officers that the teen and the 5–year where arguing at approximately 7 p.m. in a East Jefferson Street residence. The victim told officers that she was at the residence watching the children for a friend …

Rutledge man dies in truck wreck

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By Patrick Yost editor A 49–year–old Rutledge man died Sunday night after the truck he was driving on Brownwood Road left the road and overturned. According to Georgia State Patrol reports, Richard Lowell Messer was pronounced dead at the scene by Morgan County Coroner Adam Carter after the 2015 Ford F 150 pickup truck Messer was driving left the right shoulder of the road and, eventually completely left the road. The truck began to spin, struck a culvert, overturned and struck a decorative wagon wheel and wooden support posts in …

Is city’s mood changing on alcohol sales?

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By Tia Lynn Ivey managing editor The Downtown Development Authority (DDA) facilitated a Town Hall meeting last week to give the new owners of the Canaan Corner Store the chance to make their case to be allowed to sell alcohol. Originally, the DDA held a Town Hall meeting at which only 25 people attended with the majority against the sale of alcohol in the Canaan neighborhood. But the owners argued that 25 people do not represent 350 households in the area and wanted a second Town Hall meeting to get …

North Main request gets OK from city

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By Tia Lynn Ivey managing editor The Madison Mayor and City Council unanimously approved a variance application submitted by Everett Royal to alter the minimum lot requirements on two out of three tracts of land on North Avenue in order to build two more houses along side an existing house currently on the property. Royal requested an 18-foot reduction in lot size requirements in order to build the two houses along the “historic” house line that currently exists in the neighborhood. During the public hearing portion of Monday’s city council …

Fake shooting scrambles police

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By Patrick Yost editor Several law enforcement agencies scrambled to what turned out to be a fake emergency on Double Bridges Road last Thursday morning. According to Capt. Chris Bish, Investigations Division, Morgan County Sheriff’s Office, Morgan County Dispatch received a phone call at approximately 2:52 a.m. from a man who claimed he had been fighting with his mother and he had shot his mother and would “shoot any law enforcement officers that came to the residence…” Bish said authorities were able to determine an address based on the call …

STATE OF MORGAN COUNTY

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By Tia Lynn Ivey managing editor Local and state leaders gathered in Morgan County Tuesday morning for the annual State of Morgan County Forum to update the public on latest happenings in the community. The Morgan County Family Connection facilitated the event, which featured reports from Morgan County Commissioner Chairman Donald Harris, Madison Mayor Fred Perriman, Georgia Senator Burt Jones, State Representative Dave Belton, School Superintendent James Woodard, Morgan Memorial Hospital CEO Ralph Castillo, President of the Madison-Morgan Chamber of Commerce Bob Hughes, Madison Police Chief Bill Ashburn, and County …

CITY COMES TOGETHER

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By Vivian Hodges staff If you’ve been driving downtown this week, you have most likely seen the brand new, bright, orange-colored flags placed at crosswalks all over Madison, and citizens waving them as they cross the street. This new method of safety is just another way the City of Madison is looking to improve the daily lives of citizens and tourists across town. According to City Manager David Nunn, The flags are “a low-tech, low-cost method by which pedestrians may be more visible to oncoming cars and trucks. Their purpose …

Perps cut hole through brick wall

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By Patrick Yost editor While authorities aren’t sure how long a group of burglars stayed inside the Dollar General store on Eatonton Highway, they are sure that the persons responsible for the theft knew what they were doing. “It was a very organized crew,” said Det. Wes Thompson, Madison Police Department. Reports state that sometime around 2 a.m. on Wednesday, August 2 persons smashed a hole in an outer brick wall of the business on the Fairground Road side. In creating a hole in the brick, reports state, a cutting …

Foster St. decision delayed

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By Tia Lynn Ivey managing editor The Madison Mayor and City Council were set to review a rezoning request from Brad Good, a local developer seeking to build a new subdivision behind the historic Thomason Miller House in downtown Madison, at the upcoming meeting this Monday, August 14. However, according to city officials, Good has requested the hearing be postponed until the council’s next regular meeting on Monday, Sept. 11. The proposed project, tentatively called Foster Park, has been a controversial and contentious public debate, with local Historic District residents …

Putnam authorities file charges in fatal wreck

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By Tia Lynn Ivey managing editor Tracey Rhodes, who was the driver in a fatal car crash last April, turned herself in Monday, July 31 to the Putnam County authorities and was charged with two counts of second degree homicide by vehicle. According to Putnam County Chief Deputy Russell Blenk, if convicted, Rhodes could face up to one year in prison and/or a fine up to $1000. “These are misdemeanor charges,” said Blenk. Rhodes, who is still recovering from critical injuries from the accident, bonded out of jail after turning …

City of Madison sets tax rate

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By Tia Lynn Ivey Managing editor The Madison Mayor and City Council unanimously voted last week to officially adopt the rollback millage rate for the new fiscal year. Madison includes three tax districts, each with their own millage rate: a citywide district, the Downtown District and the Corridor District. The citywide millage rate will be dropped to 5.908, down from 6.127. The Downtown millage rate will be dropped to 1.093, down from 1.187 and the Corridor millage rate will be dropped to 1.277, down from 1.286. Karen Stapp, chief finance …

BOC approves $15 million plan

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By Tia Lynn Ivey managing editor The Morgan County Board of Commissioners (BOC) approved a tax levy resolution for the Morgan County School System, as a constitutionally-required backup plan in case the system cannot collect enough revenue through ESPLOST to repay $15 million in bonds borrowed to build the new high school and transportation facility. The levy allows the Morgan County Board of Education (BOE) to adjust future millage rates (property taxes) to repay the bonds if needed. “The bonds are absolutely intended to be paid for by ESPLOST,” said …

BOE adopts budget

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By Tia Lynn Ivey managing editor The Morgan County Board of Education (BOE) officially adopted its budget for the 2017-2018 Fiscal Year (FY) in the amount of $32.6 million as well as approving the rollback millage rate of 14.718, down from last year’s rate of 15.264. Both were unanimously approved at the July 17 regular meeting. The BOE’s new budget reflects a 3 percent increase from last year’s budget, which came in at nearly $31.9 million. “We are about in the same range,” said Dr. James Woodard, superintendent of schools. …

JUVENILES, TEENS ARRESTED

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By Patrick Yost editor Three teens and three juveniles; ages 10–years–old, 11–years–old and 14–years–old have been arrested and charged with criminal damage to property and other charges in relation to the destruction of property on a Morgan County farm. According to Capt. Chris Bish, Investigations Division, Morgan County Sheriff’s Office, the six individuals were all arrested on July 12 after a nearly month–long investigation into the destruction of nine cabins on a large farm off Bethany Road. Bish said between June 20 and June 27 over several days authorities allege …

Bad month, good year for hospital

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By Tia Lynn Ivey managing editor Despite a $158,827 net loss for the month of June, Morgan Memorial Hospital is still coming out on top for the year, say hospital officials. “We are still in the black for the year with a Net Income of $626,233,” note Chief Finance Officer Kyle Wilkinson.  “The reason for the loss was mainly due to some annual journal entries preparing for the upcoming audit:  legal expenses related to the Validation Hearing, expensing the Employer Portion of the 457B plan, and accruing the interest for …

Foster Park project takes another hit

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By Patrick Yost editor “I want to look at my grandchildren one day and say I did what I could to preserve historic Madison,” said Madison Planning Commission member Cynthia Reed at a zoning hearing last week concerning the proposed Foster Park development. Reed made a motion to deny a zoning change request for nearly 11 acres of land behind the Historic Miller Thomason house that has been a flashpoint of controversy for the past eight months. Reed’s motion was seconded by member Joe Houston and the motion to deny …

New Facility Opens

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By Elizabeth Lanier staff writer After seven months of construction, the Morgan County School System celebrated the opening of the brand new transportation facility with a ribbon cutting last Tuesday, July 18. “The facility costs $4.1 million to construct, and the transportation center will serve as the hub for maintenance/repairs/fueling of the Morgan County Charter School System School Bus Fleet,” said Assistant Superintendent Sarah Burbach. Alicia Lord, Pupil Transportation Manager, opened up the ceremony by explaining how excited they were to have this new facility, “I’m going to borrow some …

High-speed chase in Madison

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By Patrick Yost editor A high–speed chase through downtown Madison last week ended with the arrest of a woman on stolen vehicle, DUI and other traffic related charges. A passenger in the suspect’s vehicle was tracked for an hour by a Putnam County Sheriff’s Department canine unit before he was discovered in a wooded area off Parks Mill Road. Christy Thomason, 36, of Mauldin, South Carolina, was arrested and charged with a slew of crimes after she allegedly led authorities on a high–speed chase that began on Interstate 20, ran …