Russell going back to HPC: Will again address plans for old Mapp-Gilmore building

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By Nick Nunn, Staff Writer More than a dozen citizens attended a meeting of the Merchants Hall Preservation Society (MHPS), held by Kathi Russell on Thursday, Aug. 22 at the Madison Tea Room, to discuss the condition of Merchants Hall – formerly the Mapp-Gilmore Funeral Home, located at 200 West Washington Street – and her plans to go before the Historic Preservation Commission (HPC) during their September meeting in order to resubmit her plan, which she stated during the meeting, “has never changed.” Russell’s plan, as outlined during the MHPS …

Group home at Camp Twin Lakes recommended

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By Leila Dycus, Intern The Planning Commission met last week to explore, among other items, a proposed text amendment for Agricultural Residential (AR) zoning and a conditional use permit at Rutledge’s Camp Twin Lakes, in order to build a group home at their property at 1391 Keencheefoonee Road. “The object is to build a group home for adults with developmental disabilities,” said Charles Baldwin, a Camp Twin Lakes board member who presented the request to the planning commissioners, along with representatives from Jewish Family and Career Services and Hand in Hand …

Candidates qualify for local offices this week

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By Nick Nunn, Staff Writer As of noon Tuesday, only five candidates for public office had qualified for elections at the Morgan County Board of Elections and Registration. Chris Hodges and Michael Naples, incumbent, qualified for the Madison City Council District 5 race, which is the only contested race at this point. Madison Council Member Fred Perriman has qualified for the position of Mayor of Madison. Mayoral incumbent Bruce Gilbert announced earlier this month that he will not be seeking reelection for office. In Rutledge, Joellen Artz has qualified to …

Incumbent Michael Naples running for Dist. 5

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By Nick Nunn, Staff Writer Michael Naples, incumbent, has announced that he is running for reelection for the District 5 seat on the Madison City Council. Naples, who has served on the council since 2005, stated that he has “done a conscientious job for both the city at large and [his] district in particular” while living up to his original campaign promises, which included: coming prepared to every meeting, speaking up for his district, pursuing impact fees as a way of keeping down taxes and urging the hiring of a …

Seven precincts for county

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By Nick Nunn, Staff Writer After considering a precinct consolidation plan that would reduce the number of voting precincts to five from the current 11, the Morgan County Board of Elections and Registration (BOER) voted 3-1 in favor of adopting a seven-precinct plan. The adopted plan aligns precinct boundaries with current Morgan County district lines. Single precincts are slated for Districts 1, 2, 3 and 4; two precincts for District 5; and a single precinct to cover areas of Districts 2, 3, and 4 in or near Madison city limits. …

Concern about open windows

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By Nick Nunn, Staff Writer During the Aug. 13 meeting of the Historic Preservation Commission (HPC), concerns were expressed about missing windows on the Mapp-Gilmore building at 200 West Washington Street. Marti Jessup, chair of the HPC, stated that open spaces in the building, such as the missing windows, will accelerate the breakdown of the building, which is already in poor condition. “Is there anything we can do to make them cover the windows?” asked Jessup during the meeting. Demolition of the building was denied by the HPC in March …

DDA OKs $155k acquisition loan

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By Nick Nunn, Staff Writer The Downtown Development Authority (DDA) voted in favor of a resolution for an acquisition loan to buy the Star Drug/NBC building at 150 West Washington Street, Madison. The loan principal will amount to $155,000 and an interest rate of no more than 3.75 percent will be negotiated for a one-year, interest-only loan. The DDA will put up an additional $5,000 in earnest money for the total purchase price of $160,000. The building is being purchased as part of the city’s BoomTown Block Initiative. “This is …

Peters-Reid to run for Dist. 1 seat

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By Nick Nunn, Staff Writer Carrie Peters-Reid has announced her intent to run for the position of District 1 representative on the Madison City Council. The District 1 seat will become vacant during this election cycle when current Council Member Fred Perriman gives up the position in order to run for Mayor. Peters-Reid, wife of Morgan County Deputy Sheriff Derrick Reid, is a lifelong resident of Morgan County and has been a small business owner for 24 years, including 17 years in Morgan County. She is currently the co-owner of …

Belton opposes high school economics text

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By Kathryn Schiliro, Managing Editor Morgan County Board of Education (BOE) member Dave Belton is opposed to the approval of a proposed textbook, “Krugman’s Economics for AP,” for use in the high school’s Advanced Placement Economics course due to the politics of the writer on whom the book is based, Paul Krugman. In a rare, non-unanimous vote at the BOE meeting last Monday, Belton opposed a motion to approve a list of Morgan County High School textbooks – there is also an International Baccalaureate Economics textbook and a Latin book on …

2012 crosswalk fatality: No criminal charges filed

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By Patrick Yost, Editor Based on the results of a more-than-150-page Special Collision Reconstruction Team (SCRT) investigation of a fatal crosswalk incident in Madison, Ocmulgee Judicial Circuit Assistant District Attorney Alison Burleson said Monday that no criminal charges will be filed in the incident. On Jan. 26, 2012, Joan Deaver, 76, was struck and killed by a vehicle driven by Kah’deem Hashawn Chisholm, then 19 years old, at the intersection of South Main Street and Burnett Street, north of Madison ChopHouse Grille. Deaver’s husband, Carl Deaver, 81, sustained serious injuries …

Triplett takes over for White: Former MCES principal now named interim assistant superintendent, per BOE

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By Kathryn Schiliro, Managing Editor The Morgan County Board of Education (BOE) Monday night unanimously, with Board Member Keith Howard absent, approved a measure making former Morgan County Elementary School (MCES) principal, Jean Triplett, a half-time interim assistant superintendent. The decision to name Triplett to the position came following a sudden decision by Assistant Superintendent for Teaching and Learning Debra White to retire. Her resignation letter states that her decision was made because of “personal reasons beyond my immediate control.” Her retirement went into effect July 31. White was employed …

$1.63M to reroute wastewater? Council hears plan to decommission Northside plant and divert wastewater to Southside for $1.63M

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By Nick Nunn, Staff Writer During the Aug. 12 meeting of the Madison City Council, City Manager David Nunn and Wayne Haynie, professional engineer with Burns & McDonnell, described to the council a potential wastewater project, which would involve converting the city’s Northside Wastewater Treatment Plant (WWTP) to a pumping station, which would feed Madison’s Southside WWTP, a project that would total approximately $1.63 million. Northside WWTP, located at 1330 Hayes Street, was built in the early 1970s and currently serves the northwest portion of Madison by processing approximately 140,000 …

Arrest in fraudulent check scam at Walmart: “Massive theft ring” brought in about $300,000; all checks totaled $498.80

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By Patrick Yost, Editor Madison Police Officer Corp. Phillip Malcom arrested a College Park woman that, reports state, may be involved in a massive theft ring concentrating on fraudulent checks cashed at Walmart. According to reports, Latiffany Taylor, 25, was arrested by Malcom soon after she allegedly attempted to cash a fraudulent $498.80 check. The check, Malcom reported, was a payroll check ostensibly from a Nashville, Tenn., medical supply company. After Taylor was apprehended attempting to leave the store by Officer Elliot Kline, Malcom notified an officer with Walmart Global …

Zoned for a Zoo: It’s all in black and white – board OKs zoo proposed on Vaden’s Highway 83 property

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By Patrick Yost Editor After a 90-minute hearing on a request to allow a conditional used permit for a zoo on more than 30 acres of River Farm Road, Ellen Warren, chairwoman, Morgan County Board of Commission, broke tradition. As chairwoman she is not tasked with offering motions either for or against a request.Tuesday at the regular meeting of the Morgan County Board of Commissioners she did. “I strongly recommend this project,” she said. Two other members of the board, Ron Milton and Donald Harris, agreed. Commissioners Andy Ainslie and …

Second suspect is arrested in Bostwick beating incident

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By Patrick Yost Editor A second suspect has been arrested and charged in the brutal beating of a 70–year–old Bostwick man. David Gunner McCullough, 19, Greensboro, was arrested and charged with aggravated battery and robbery in relation to the beating of Thomas Gary Etris. Etris was found in a pool of blood in the carport area of his Bostwick Highway residence on July 23. According to Morgan County Sheriff Robert Markley, McCullough was also charged with burglary in relation to a August 14, 2012 burglary at Etris’ residence. Markley said …

Mayor Gilbert wants out, Perriman wants in

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By Patrick Yost Editor Madison Mayor Bruce Gilbert said Tuesday that he would not seek another term. The announcement came on the heels of current Madison Mayor Pro Tem Fred Perriman stating that he would seek the position. Perriman, 65, has been a 30-year Madison City Council member. Gilbert, 67, has served as Madison’s mayor for 20 total years and as a city council member for 15 years. “Things have changed,” said Gilbert. “I won’t miss the bickering but I will miss the camaraderie, I’ll miss being a part of …

String of thefts from cars plagues Madison

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By Patrick Yost Editor In two days five different vehicles were entered and items were stolen last week. According to Madison Police Department reports, the thefts, which occurred on July 31 and August 1, had a recurring theme. None of the vehicles were locked. “It’s imperative that citizens are proactive when it comes to protecting their property,” says Madison Police Chief Bill Ashburn. “When a person leaves their vehicles unlocked and unattended it allows a criminal simple access to valuable items.” Three of the larceny reports were all filed at …

CRCT scores hit five-year high, White credits Common Core: Grades 3, 4, 6, 7, 8 break records for exceeding required score in reading

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By Kathryn Schiliro Managing Editor CRCT, or Criterion-Referenced Competency Test, results are in, and Morgan County test-takers hit some five-year highs last school year. On the Reading CRCT, third, fourth, sixth, seventh and eighth grade students broke five-year records as far as percentages of students exceeding the required score on the test. If you include the students that met, but didn’t exceed, the required score on the CRCT Reading portion, those numbers jump to five-year highs in grades three, four, five and seven. Ninety-seven percent of third graders met or …

Precinct reduction a divisive issue

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By Patrick Yost Editor A proposal by the Morgan County Board of Elections to consolidate voting precincts from 11 locations to five was met with both derision and affirmation at a public hearing on the plan last Thursday. More than 50 people attended the hearing at the Board of Elections office to hear both the specifics of the plan and what is driving the board to consider eliminating six voting precincts. Board Chairman George Holt said voting had changed dramatically recently with the introduction of early voting (currently 21 days prior …

Hodges announces candidacy for council seat

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By Nick Nunn Staff Writer Chris Hodges announced her candidacy in the Madison City Council District 5 race on Monday, July 29. Hodges, the daughter of City of Madison Mayor Bruce Gilbert and Judy Gilbert, was “born and raised” in Madison and has been an agent for Madison Realty, Inc. since October of 1995. Running for public office is something that Hodges says she has “been thinking about for a long time.” Hodges stated during an interview Monday afternoon that Madison needs to “look at what we are doing right …