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 …

Child molestation charge in Madison

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By Patrick Yost editor Another disturbing child molestation charge has been filed, the second one in two weeks. This time, a local Madison man was arrested and charged with a sexual crime, including the one count of child molestation. According to Capt. Chris Bish, Investigations Division, Morgan County Sheriff’s Office, Monte Jay Franks, 46, was arrested on Thursday, July 20 on one count of child molestation. Bish said the 17–year–old alleged victim told authorities that she had been abused since she was 15–years–old. “According to her its been going on …

HPC SAYS NO

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By Tia Lynn Ivey managing editor Madison’s Historic Preservation Commission (HPC) formally issued a letter denouncing a rezoning request for the resurrected Foster Park project, a proposed housing development behind the historic Miller Thomason House on South Main Street. Developer Brad Good originally sought approval for a Planned Residential Development (PRD) before the zoning designation was eliminated from the Historic District altogether last December. The nearly 11-acre plot of land is currently zoned as R-2 and could technically support 20 housing units. However, depending on needed infrastructure to go along …

Women Dies Six Days After I-20 Wreck

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By Patrick Yost editor A woman hospitalized with severe injuries following a single–vehicle car wreck on Interstate 20 has died from her wounds. According to the Georgia State Patrol Rhonda Goss, 45, Loganville, died on Friday, July 14 from injuries she sustained in an accident that occurred on July 8. Goss was a passenger in a truck hauling a travel trailer in the eastbound Interstate 20 lane driven by her husband Scott Sanders Goss, 46, when the front right tire of the vehicle failed. Georgia State Patrol reports state that …

Molestation charges filed by GBI

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By Patrick Yost editor The GBI arrested a 71–year–old Buckhead man on one count of child molestation last week. According to Special Agent In Charge Joe Wooten, GBI, Jerry Dean Thompson was arrested at the Morgan County Detention Center on July 11 for child molestation after he had spoken to investigators. Thompson reports state, bailed out of the Morgan County Detention Center on a $15,000 bail on July 14, three days after his arrest. Wooten said the GBI was contacted by Morgan County Sheriff’s Office investigators regarding an allegation of child …

Canaan store opens with fan fare, ceremony

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By Tia Lynn Ivey & Elizabeth Lanier staff City officials got a sneak peak of the Canaan Corner Store last Thursday before the grand opening on Tuesday, July 18.  The project five-years in the making has now come to fruition, open for business on the corner of Burney and Fifth streets in Madison. The store is owned by Rita and Henry Harris, with investor Marilyn Williams, who will create two fulltime jobs at the store.  The owners are seeking approval to sell alcohol out of the store and will make …

Sterilization backed out of new ordinance

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By Tia Lynn Ivey managing editor The Madison Mayor and City Council unanimously voted to pass the new animal control ordinance minus the clause stipulating mandatory sterilization.  The ordinance previously proposed mandatory sterilization of dogs and cats four months or older, unless they meet certain exemptions, such as owners being licensed for breeding through the Department of Agriculture, animals registered with a national or international club, or a licensed veterinarian deeming the animal medically unfit for sterilization. The council believed this went too far in regulating how people breed their …

City accused of ‘policy of obstruction’

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By Tia Lynn Ivey managing editor Citizens clashed with the Madison City Council members and city staff at Monday night’s regular meeting, accusing city leaders of purposely blocking the “free-flow of information” and imposing “undue burdens” on citizens looking to obtain public records. Elizabeth Bell appeared before the City Council to challenge the requirements of a new policy that mandates a Freedom of Information Act form be filed in order to get copies of public records and complained that complete zoning applications are not made readily available for public review …

Canaan Store town hall called

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By Tia Lynn Ivey managing editor The much-anticipated opening of the Canaan Store located on the corner or Burney and Fifth streets, is causing controversy after the owners, Henry and Rita Harris and Marilyn Williams, expressed a desire to sell alcohol out of their new shop. The City of Madison is setting up a Town Hall meeting sometime late in July to give the owners a chance to make their case, as well as people in the local neighborhood to oppose it. City Planner Monica Callahan filled in the Madison …

MULTIPLE SEVERE WRECKS

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By Tia Lynn Ivey managing editor Three back-to-back wrecks over the weekend resulted in several serious injuries and a laundry list of charges for one driver who led police on high-speed car chase before crashing. The first wreck happened after a truck hauling a travel trailer blew the front right tire while carrying a family of four on I-20.  The mother, Rhonda Goss, 45, and her 15-year-old son, Jacksen Goss, found themselves trapped in a flipped over truck, after crashing in the woods off the highway on Saturday afternoon. The …

MMH budget to increase by $689,000

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By Tia Lynn Ivey managing editor The Morgan Memorial Hospital Authority (MMHA) is confident that the hospital will finish the 2017 fiscal year in the black and approved the 2018 budget, with a total of $14.5 million set in Operating Expenses, which is an increase of $689,000 from the FY 2016 audit. “We compare the budgeted numbers to the most recent audit, rather than the previous year’s budget, to get a true reflection of the changes.  That is why you will see FY 2018 budget and FY 2016 Audited numbers.  …