5,000 gallons of diesel stolen: Two Atlanta-area men arrested, charged with theft

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By Patrick Yost Editor Two Atlanta-area men have been arrested and charged with the theft of nearly 5,000 gallons of diesel fuel from the Pilot Truck Stop on Eatonton Road. Quentin Anthony Harris, 42, and Oland James Stevenson, Jr., 40, were both arrested on Thursday, July 25 at approximately 3:30 a.m. at the Pilot Truck Stop and charged with two felony counts of theft by taking and four misdemeanor counts of theft by taking in relation to more than 10 thefts of diesel fuel. According to Madison Police Department reports, …

School board approves rollback millage rate

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By Kathryn Schiliro Managing Editor The Morgan County Board of Education (BOE), with little discussion, voted unanimously to approve both the fiscal year (FY) 2014 budget and the current year’s rollback millage rate of 18.213 at a called meeting Thursday, July 25. The budget calls for expenditures of near $26.6 million, most of which goes to direct instruction, or teachers’ salaries, and revenues of more than $25.8 million, with an estimated more than $13.8 million coming from state sources and a projected more than $11.6 million coming from local property …

Rutledge goes rollback rate of 3.734

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By Leila Dycus Intern The Rutledge City Council, at a meeting July 25, voted unanimously to set the city’s millage rate to the rollback rate of 3.734. “We really have had no discussion of raising it or anything,” said Mayor Pro Tempore Brenda Thompson, who officiated over the meeting as Mayor Spencer Knight was absent. “And also we’ve already done the budget based on this millage rate, and everything looks good so we don’t see any reason to bother it.” “We’re in good shape for who we are, for a …

Councils OK millage rates: Bostwick approves 1.47 mils; Buckhead, 3.331

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By Les Bessenger Intern The Bostwick City Council voted to set their millage rate to the previously discussed and advertised rollback rate of 1.47 mils at a meeting July 25. At a meeting earlier this month, Mayor John Bostwick said that the approval of the rollback rate will bring in the same amount – $10,010 – of funds that last year’s millage rate did. Council Member Ken Johnson motioned for the new millage rate and Council Member Damon Malcom seconded the motion. The new millage rate was approved unanimously with no objections …

Citizens express concerns with minority performances at Morgan County schools

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  By Nick Nunn Staff Writer A dozen Morgan County citizens expressed concern about the performance of African-American students at Morgan County schools during a Morgan County Board of Education (BOE) District 1 town hall meeting held at Calvary Baptist Church on Friday, July 26. Erica Veasley, the representative for District 1 on the BOE, began the meeting by describing some of the training sessions that she has attended since being voted into her seat on the BOE last November, including the required 15 hours of training for all new …

MMH exceeds expected income for June by more than $250k

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By Nick Nunn Staff Writer Despite the Morgan Memorial Hospital Authority’s (MMA) June budget showing an expected loss of more than $24,000, the hospitals’s actual net income for June 2013 came to more than $227,000, a net difference of more than $250,000, the MMA learned at their July 25 meeting. In addition to net patient revenue being approximately $26,000 more than budgeted for June, there was an almost $220,000 jump in “other revenue” from the Indigent Care Trust Fund payment, which has been received by Morgan Memorial Hospital (MMH), and …

DDA moves forward with plans for 787 College Drive despite HPC comments

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By Nick Nunn Staff Writer During the meeting of the Downtown Development Authority (DDA) on July 25, the DDA showed its intention to continue with the collaboration with I.V. Henry and Leon Peters to move the building at 787 College Drive to the Canaan area of Madison. Despite comments by the Historic Preservation Committee (HPC), which stated at the July 9 meeting that it would prefer that the building remain where it is, the DDA made the first step in the plan to relocate the building by voting to approve …

Nunnsense: Animals where animals shouldn’t be

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By Nick Nunn When I was in Germany last year, I was frequently surprised when people would bring their dogs into restaurants or department stores, even though that practice is perfectly acceptable in that culture. I simply was not used to seeing them there and had to get used to it. Now, however, it seems that West Virginia and the U.K are trying to one up the shock factor on the animals-where-animals-shouldn’t-be front. In West Virginia, a man entered a pet store looking for an alligator. I know, it isn’t …

Weighing in on potential precinct reductions, Jeanne Dufort

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To the Editor: To my fellow Morgan County citizens, The Board of Elections is considering reducing the number of polling places in our county from 11 to five. They estimate potential cost savings at $19,000 to $35,000 annually in years with general elections. Early voting options have been embraced by local voters – the reason cited for making the change is that 53 percent of votes cast in the 2012 general election were either early or absentee, and the Board projects the number could be 60 percent in the near future. Morgan …

Weighing in on potential precinct reductions, Patsy Harris

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To the Editor: Some members of the Morgan County Board of Elections propose to cut the number of polling places from 11 to five. At least one of them would like for there to be only one place for voting in the entire county. This might go to a vote at their August meeting. Saving money was one of the main reasons the Board is looking into cutting polling places, and yet they admitted at their public hearing Thursday night that the county has not asked the Board to cut …

Writer suggests words used may be misleading

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To the Editor: In David Nunn’s puzzling response to my letter, he wishes that I had “checked the facts” of the City Council’s vote regarding its outstanding utilities debt, yet he ignores what Stephanie Johns wrote in her July 3 article. Mr. Nunn states that “writing off these bad debts does not mean attempts to collect all amounts due the City will be abandoned.” Ms. Johns wrote, “Members of the Madison City Council voted to write off a total of $185,414.16 in utilities.” According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, “write off” …

“Racism and problems in the black community are not the same thing”

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To the Editor: Racists and people with racist attitudes should never include themselves in any discussion on race. Mr. Morin’s article on the 18th of July absolutely proves why. Here’s a man who has done nothing but trash our black president the last five years. He constantly adds his voice to the choir of professional dissenters of conservative and libertarian syndics and race barriers who’ve done nothing but divide this country along the lives of race, class and politics. Yet he’s complaining about racial overtones with the Zimmerman trial. And …

Questions about business Deal-ings

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To the Editor: In 2010 Gov. Nathan Deal, then a congressman, resigned from the U.S. House under an alleged ethics violation. Deal was allegedly using his “influence” with Georgia state officials to secure exclusively the state’s salvage vehicles for his salvage business. This questionable practice and Deal’s large business debt were becoming potentially legal and political problems for him as he prepared to run for governor following his resignation from the U.S. House. A company, by the name of Copart, bought Deal’s company, thus relieving Deal of the legal and …

“Time to raise the hood” in government, columnist says

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By Greg Morin A common business practice is to require that all employees take some vacation time each year. It not only improves morale but also ensures that potential problems attributable to that employee will be brought to light in their absence (as co-workers unwittingly uncover latent issues). In other words, although it can be disruptive to the status quo, sometimes it is a good idea to raise the hood every now and again and make sure all is working as it should. This is nowhere more true than in …

“Do we have phony scandals or do we have a phony recovery?”

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By Fred Johnson President Obama recently asked that we ignore the “phony” scandals. Let’s see, what would those phony scandals be? We could start with “Fast and Furious,” where federal agents allowed the sale of a few thousand guns to suspected thugs tied to Mexican drug gangs. Eventually two of the guns turned up at the scene of a shootout in which a U.S. Border Patrol agent was killed. Then we have Benghazi, where four Americans, including our ambassador to Libya, were slaughtered? That happened almost a year ago and …

Writer speaks about “Government tax increases”

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To the Editor: I went to my boss last week and told him I had to have more money. I have analyzed my budget and just can’t make any cuts. My boss told me he was having a hard time making ends meet and had made cuts to his budget just so I could keep my job. At that time I had no choice. At gunpoint, I TOOK his property and sold it for for pennies on the dollar so I could continue spending money on the things I wanted. …

Writer appreciates column about Lois Harper

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To the Editor: Thank you for publishing the article by Mrs. Betty Edwards about her mom, Mrs. Lois Harper. It was bittersweet to see the photo of Mrs. Harper and remember all the wonderful columns she wrote. I enjoyed taking the walk with Betty around Rutledge. We need a writer like Betty to tell all the good things about Rutledge. Do you think you could add her to your staff? Thanks for considering this request. Sincerely, Mrs. Marie Hughes Rutledge Via e-mail

Festival makes for a “magical night in Madison”

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To the Editor: Saturday night was a magical night in Madison! Thanks to Main Street Madison, Presenting Sponsor Main Street Vet and Supporting Sponsors Paschal Orthodontics and Children Ferst Foundation of Morgan County for bringing the Sounds of Motown to our town as part of the Firefly Festival in Town Park… and a special thanks to that dedicated group of Madison leaders who had the dream of creating a beautiful city park that would be used, appreciated and loved by all people in our community! Saturday night their dream came true! Sarah Burbach Madison Via …

Madison launches crosswalk campaign

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By Dianne Lively Yost Staff Writer The City of Madison Advisory Board is launching a Crosswalk Awareness Campaign designed to encourage pedestrians to use the City of Madison’s downtown crosswalks and to urge drivers to stop at crosswalks for adults and children. “Our crosswalks are here for a reason: To keep people safe. It’s not just common courtesy. It’s the law,” said Ann Huff, City of Madison Main Street Director. “Many drivers don’t realize that a ticket for failing to allow a pedestrian to cross the street in a crosswalk …