mcc

Belton backs county vote

Staff Written Front Page, News

Managing Editor  State Representative Dave Belton is backing a controversial vote of the Morgan County Board of Commissioners to take over the appointment process of the county’s election board. The vote caused an upset at last Tuesday county commissioner meeting, with attendees denied the opportunity to issue public comments prior to the vote.  Amidst groans, in a 3-to-1 vote, the county commissioners voted to appoint all future members of the county election board, taking away the role of the local Republican and Democratic parties in the process. The appointment process …

mcc

Buckhead next epicenter of development?

Staff Written Buckhead News, Front Page, News

By Tia Lynn Ivey Managing Editor  A controversial proposal currently being considered would nearly double the size of the Town of Buckhead and create a new zoning district that would allow for massive residential and commercial developments.  On Tuesday evening, the Morgan County Planning Commission considered three separate, but related, proposals from five land owners, seeking to annex .68 square miles into the Town of Buckhead, pass a new text amendment to create a new Interstate Mixed Use zoning district, and to rezone the annexed land in that new zoning …

mcc

Plant seeks OK by GEDP

Staff Written Front Page, News

By Tia Lynn Ivey Managing editor  Monitoring ethylene oxide emissions has been on the forefront of Georgia’s radar for over a year, after a firestorm of criticism was levied again Georgia companies using the carcinogenic gas, including Becton Dickinson (BD), which operates plants in Covington and Madison. Last year, the Covington plant was temporarily shutdown while an investigation into emission levels was conducted and the company entered into a consent agreement to make several technological  changes and upgrades.  This week, BD and the Georgia Environmental Protection Division (GEPD) released statements …

Democrats bemoan BOC election vote

Staff Written Front Page, News

By Tia Lynn Ivey Managing Editor  Partisan tensions flared at Tuesday night’s Morgan County Board of Commissioners meeting. Local Democrats accused commissioners of making corrupt “backroom deals” and denying the citizens their right to be heard before a vote on how members of the Board of Elections and Registration (BOER) are selected.  Much to the chagrin of the local Democratic party, they will no longer have a say on who sits on the Morgan County Board of Elections and Registration (BOER),  From now on, county commissioners will appoint all members …

mcc

Paper ballots back in court

Staff Written Front Page, News

By Patrick Yost Editor  Georgia’s voting system has garnered national scrutiny since the 2018 Midterm Election, with critics accusing old and new voting machines of posing security risks, vote count inconsistencies and constitutional violations.  Paper ballot advocates are headed to federal court this Thursday, Sept. 10 to argue against Georgia’s new $120,000 voting system, which is comprised of Dominion Ballot Marking Device (BMD) voting machines and to advocate for more voter protection, paper ballot backups and election oversight.  “The State’s intended use of the Dominion BMD system in upcoming elections …

mcc

COVID-19 cases eclipse 400 in Morgan County

Staff Written Front Page, News

By Tia Lynn Ivey Managing Editor  Morgan County is up to 440 reported coronavirus cases as of press time on Tuesday, Sept. 10. Since the beginning of the pandemic, Morgan County has only reported two coronavirus-related deaths, but hospitalizations are on the rise, coming in at 32 total hospitalizations.  Statewide, The Georgia Department of Public Health reported 1,595 new cases just on Tuesday, Sept. 8 by 3 p.m. The agency also reported 26 new deaths and 51 new hospitalizations for the day.  Since the beginning of the pandemic, Georgia has …

Rickard released on $25k bond

Staff Written News

By Tia Lynn Ivey Managing Editor  Ryan Rickard, the former Morgan County educator charged with a slew of sexual assault charges across three counties, is out of jail on bond in the amount of $25,000. At a hearing in August, Morgan County Superior Court Judge Brenda Trammell set Rickard’s bond at $25,000. Rickard bonded out of the Morgan County Detention Center on August 22, now awaiting trial.  Rickard, the former assistant principal of Morgan County High School, will still face charges of rape, sexual assault, and sexual battery against minors.  …

Downtown Madison gets new business

Staff Written Front Page, News

By Dianne Lively Yost Staff Nestled on the corner of South Main Street and West Washington Street in downtown Madison is a striking new retail destination that exclusively focuses on men’s fashion.  T.J. Bishop’s Men’s Shop, which opened last Thursday, exudes masculinity and style from its curated brands and personalized customer service to the meticulously restored and designed interior.  The shop has a spacious, fluid and comfortable feel complete with leather chairs, an Oriental rug and large-screen television tuned to the golf channel. Beautiful shelving and antique tables are carefully …

mcc

House shot on Aqua

Staff Written News

By Patrick Yost Editor  Morgan County Sheriff’s Office investigators are following leads in an alleged drive-by shooting on Aqua Road. According to Morgan County Sheriff’s Office reports, an Aqua Road couple told a Morgan County deputy on Aug. 27 that two days prior someone had driven by their house and fired a single shot, possibly from a .22 caliber weapon, into their house. Reports state the couple told the deputy that on Aug. 25 they were watching television at approximately 9:30 p.m. when “they saw a flash of light and …

mcc

Zoo faces tough questions at BOC

Staff Written News

By Tia Lynn Ivey Managing Editor  The Georgia Safari Conservation Park (GSCP), known locally as the coming-zoo in Morgan County, is moving forward, but could be another three years out from the first phase of the park opening. GSCP leaders won over the Morgan County Board of Commissioners Tuesday for approval of two requests related to the long-awaited project. But first, County Commissioner Ben Riden grilled GSCP leaders over funding gaps and delays stalling the project. GSCP leaders appeared before the Morgan County Board of Commissioners (BOC) to request renewal …

Madison’s Kate Booker in COVID vaccine trial study

Staff Written News

By Tia Lynn Ivey Managing Editor  Kate Booker, of Madison, is one of 30,000 people worldwide volunteering to test out a new vaccine for COVID-19, the highly contagious and potentially lethal coronavirus currently sweeping the globe.  “I am a guinea pig now,” laughs Booker, employed with Piedmont Healthcare.  Booker decided to sign up for the clinical trial to be part of the solution in ending the coronavirus pandemic. “I did this so people can go back to church without worrying. I did this so grandparents can hug their grandkids again. I …

mcc

Commandments placed inside courthouse

Staff Written News

By Tia Lynn Ivey Managing Editor  State and County leaders unveiled a set of historical documents on display at the Morgan County Superior Courthouse Tuesday morning.  Georgia Congressman Jody Hice and State Representative Dave Belton joined the Morgan County Board of Commissioners and the Madison-Morgan Chamber of Commerce for an early morning celebration and presentation on the history of the nine documents on display, which include the Ten Commandments, the Magna Carta and the Declaration of Independence.  Hice unveiled the new “Foundation of American Law and Government” display Tuesday morning. …

mcc

County considers event facility crackdown

Staff Written News

By Tia Lynn Ivey Managing Editor  County staff is looking to revise the ordinance regulating event facilities in the county to close exploitable loopholes and tighten restrictions for Agricultural zones of the county.  Morgan County has enacted a 60-day moratorium on new event facilities, while the Morgan County Board of Commissioners (BOC) mull over new proposed restrictions designed to crackdown controversial event facility ventures. Staff is proposing event facilities be restricted to the commercial zones of the county (C1 and C2) and banned from the agricultural zones (AG and AR). …

mcc

Criminal sentences given in Superior Court

Staff Written News

By Patrick Yost Editor  Morgan County Superior Court held criminal court last week. The following cases were adjudicated. • Clifton Smith, 40, Decatur pled guilty to one count flee dint and attempting to elude a police officer, three counts aggravated assault on a peace officer and one count reckless driving. According to court documents, Smith was sentenced to a total of 15 years with the first three years to be served in confinement and the remainder to be served on probation. He was also fined $1,000. • Curtis Leon Bolden, …

City ponders use of $66k CARES Act grant

Staff Written News

By Tia Lynn Ivey Managing Editor  The City of Madison is poised to receive a federal grant in the amount of $66,000 through the CARES Act, which aims to fund local governments to pay for coronavirus-related expenses. These federal funds will be Madison’s slice of the $2 Trillion Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act that was passed in late March. But city officials aren’t sure they can spend that much.  “This is the first time in history we might have trouble spending money,” said Madison City Manager David Nunn. …

mcc

Rep. Belton: ‘I hope everyone wears a mask’

Staff Written Front Page, News

By Tia Lynn Managing Editor  The annual State of Morgan forum was held virtually last week to give local citizens an update on the developments of Morgan County from various local and state leaders. State Representative Dave Belton was this year’s keynote speaker, giving key updates on happenings across the state in the areas of education, business development, the state’s budget, and measures taken to handle the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.  Belton praised Morgan Medical Center’s response to the pandemic and Morgan County choosing to reopen schools. Belton noted the state …

mcc

Threats over kids noise lead to arrest

Staff Written Front Page, News

By Patrick Yost Editor  An 81-year-old Madison man was arrested and charged with disorderly conduct after he allegedly threatened a family at Cracker Barrel because of a crying child. According to Madison Police Department reports, Joe Frank Jordan was arrested at his Apalachee Road residence after officers and Cracker Barrel employees identified Jordan and a truck he had driven to the restaurant. Reports allege that at approximately 10 a.m. Jordan approached a man with two children at the restaurant. One of the children was crying, reports state. “Can your kids …

mcc

School quarantine number rises

Staff Written Featured, Front Page, News

By Tia Lynn Ivey Editor  A total of 165 Morgan County students, across all four schools, have been sent home to quarantine after being exposed at school to COVID-19, the highly contagious coronavirus. Since school reopened on Aug. 6, a total of 21 students and seven staff members have tested positive for coronavirus.  According to school officials, everyone who has come into “close contact” with infected individuals have been sent home to quarantine for two weeks. Close contact is defined as coming within six feet of an infected person for …

COVID claims Tony Atwater’s life away from home

Staff Written News

By Tia Lynn Ivey Managing Editor  A 53-year-old Madison man, Tony Lewis Atwater, has died of COVID-19. Before his death, Atwater spent the last two weeks of his life hours away from his family and loved ones in a South Carolina hospital. When Atwater was first hospitalized with the coronavirus on Aug. 6, there was a temporary shortage of ICU beds across Georgia. Morgan Medical Center was unable to secure him a bed in Athens or Augusta hospitals, or anywhere else in Georgia, according to the Atwater family.   Atwater’s …

mcc

Second Corona death reported in Morgan

Staff Written News

By Tia Lynn Ivey Managing Editor  The second COVID-19 death has been reported in Morgan County by the Georgia Department of Public Health this week as COVID-related deaths soar past 5,000. Confirmed coronavirus cases continue to rise in the county and all across the state of Georgia.  While coronavirus cases have been on the rise in Morgan County, the reported death toll remained at zero until last week. COVID-19 is the highly contagious and potentially lethal upper-respiratory coronavirus currently sweeping  across the state, country and most of the world.  As …