New space, new faces: Morgan County High School opens the doors of its $2.94M-plus, new classroom building, to house Freshman Academy, to incoming ninth graders this school year.

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  By Kathryn Schiliro Managing Editor Morgan County High School’s (MCHS) incoming freshmen will be treated to new digs come August, as the school will open the doors of its new classroom building, which will house the Freshman Academy, this school year. The building is 25,000 square feet and holds 10 classrooms and two science labs. Planning began in 2011, and construction, by Kevin Price General Contractors, has been in progress for a year. Along with the classrooms and fully equipped labs, the large room at the front of the …

Teen allegedly shoots a man after dice game goes wrong: Officers confiscate cash, dice, bullet upon arrest

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By Patrick Yost Editor A 16-year-old Madison teen remains detained at the Sandersville Youth Detention Center after allegedly shooting a man three times during an argument over a dice game. According to Carl Jones, assistant police chief, Madison Police Department, Raymond Coats, Jr., 27, Madison, was shot after he argued with the teen during a craps game at the Orchard Grove Apartment complex. Jones said Coats was transported to Athens Regional Medical Center following the 3:30 a.m. shooting last Wednesday, July 10. The teenager was arrested at his Sulgrave Drive home …

Girls hospitalized after being hit by truck: One remains in induced coma following accident

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By Patrick Yost Editor A 10-year-old and her 11-year-old sister suffered serious injuries when their John Deere utility vehicle was struck by a truck on Seven Islands Road. Reagan Elizabeth Nash, 10, and her sister, Allie Noel Nash, 11, were both transported to Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta (CHOA) following the Wednesday, July 10 collision. According to Georgia State Patrol reports, a truck driven by Paul Christian, 64, Buckhead, struck the left front side of the utility vehicle driven by Reagan Nash near the 3000 block of Seven Islands Road at …

Commission opposes plan to move house from city’s College Drive to Pearl Street

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By Stephanie Johns Staff Writer Members of the Madison Historic Preservation Committee (HPC) offered negative comments regarding a plan the Downtown Development Authority (DDA) has to remove and relocate an historically African American home from the city’s historic district. As HPC Staff Ken Kocher explained, the DDA is required to seek comment from the HPC but is not required, either by state law or local ordinance, to get the HPC’s approval. He said the structure, identified as an American small house built between 1941 and 1951, “is a contributing resource …

Parallel Housing agreement progressing: Council addresses protocol when two dissenters don’t sign agreement at meeting

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By Stephanie Johns Staff Writer During a work session of the Madison City Council held last Friday, July 12, Mayor Bruce Gilbert asked City Attorney Joe Reitman to talk about whether or not precedent had been set with the recent Parallel Housing development agreement. The council voted three to two in favor of signing the agreement at their June meeting. Following the meeting the two dissenters did not sign the agreement. Reitman said that the manner in which the resolution arose was a bit odd: it wasn’t on that night’s …

Woman arrested after alleged attempt to get contraband to inmate

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By Patrick Yost Editor A woman has been arrested and a jail supervisor has resigned over an alleged attempt to get drugs and tobacco to a prisoner at the Morgan County Detention Center. According to Capt. Chris Bish, Criminal Investigations Division, Morgan County Sheriff’s Office, Shunise Frenchette Reid, 21, Madison, was arrested on June 28 and charged with possession of marijuana with an intent to distribute and crossing the guard line with contraband after she allegedly brought a pack of playing cards to the Morgan County Detention Center that attempted …

Zoo will boost economy, educate region about conservation

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To the Editor: The passing of the text amendment by the BOC allows zoos in Morgan County. This will add an important component of agritourism to help our local economy. This project however is more than just a boost to the economy of the region. It represents a major element to educating our citizens and their families about the importance of the conservation and protection of wildlife and its value to the natural world. We are working hard to make the dream of a world-class part for rare and endangered …

Man stabbed 10 times during argument, survives

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By Patrick Yost Editor A 54-year-old man survived being stabbed 10 times during an argument outside a Budget Inn Motel room. Robert James Higgins, Madison, suffered stab wounds to the chest, left arm, left side and back area after he allegedly engaged in a fight with Butler Heard, 50, Madison. Reports state that officers arrived to a distress call at the motel and found Higgins covered with blood sitting in a chair next to a room. A small fixed–blade knife was at his feet, reports state. Higgins told officers that …

City Manager addresses last week’s letter

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To the Editor: As a local government official I resist responding to letters published in our local newspapers. Ms. Manning’s letter in last week’s edition of The Morgan County Citizen regarding the City of Madison utility bad debt write-offs begs to be an exception. Allowing Ms. Manning’s letter to go unanswered would permit misinformation to stand as fact. As stated in the Mayor and Council meeting writing off these bad debts does not mean attempts to collect all amounts due the City will be abandoned. These terminated and delinquent accounts …

Nunnsense: Gut bomb!

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By Nick Nunn A stereotype about British cooking spreads the belief that their food is often boiled, bland, or otherwise unappetizing, but rarely does one hear that it can also be deadly. Even explosive. But Margaret Goodwin, 66, of Henley-on-Thames, UK, recently had an experience to support theories that the British are preparing new ways to wage culinary warfare on the rest of the civilized world. Goodwin, who may or may not be a member of MI6 working in close conjunction with Special Agent 007 himself, received a jar of …

Commission looks at Ga. Trust’s Fall Ramble, “Madison Unseen”

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By Nick Nunn Staff Writer On Wednesday, July 10, the Morgan County Resource Preservation Advisory Board (RPAB) met to discuss The Georgia Trust 2013 Fall Ramble: Madison Unseen!, which will be held in Madison on Oct. 4-6. After approving the minutes, the members of the RPAB perused the itinerary for the Fall Ramble, noting the fact that a number of the sights and locations mentioned in the plans are either not in Madison or not historical sites. In addition to several sites on the tour within city limits, including Hilltop, …

Dairy Queen coming back to Madison

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By Stephanie Johns Staff Writer Dairy Queen (DQ) has plans to come to Madison, according to City Planning Director Monica Callahan. Callahan shared this information during the July 8 meeting of the Madison City Council. She said DQ will go in between Zaxby’s and the old car lot on Eatonton Road. In addition to ice cream treats, such as Blizzards and sundaes, DQ also offers hamburgers, chicken strips, hotdogs, fries and salads. According to plans prepared by Watkinsville-based ABE Consulting, the restaurant will have 2,612 square feet with 72 seats. …

Columnist on outcome of trial of George Zimmerman: “Crying wolf”

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By Greg Morin The acquittal this week of George Zimmerman in the death of Trayvon Martin has been divisive to say the least. It has re-opened old wounds with respect to race and justice in this country. Although these wounds had long since scared over, the self-flagellation of the professional racism-baiters has managed to incite conflict where none existed. Like the boy who cried wolf, warnings against racism are weakened when applied to every event involving hetero-race conflict. Martin’s death was a tragedy, but not because he was black and …

Commission strives for consistency

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By Stephanie Johns Staff Writer Members of the Madison Historic Preservation Commission (HPC) approved a change in roofing material, tabled the replacement of windows, and denied replacement of the front door of the house located at 1091 Eatonton Road. Applicant Kaleb Smith said the windows there now are “afterthoughts along the way.” He also said the windows had been caulked and the sills had been cut at an angle on the inside. Also, boards were nailed along the perimeter of window exteriors. “The only thing you’d keep is the glass …

Government fails citizens once again

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By Fred Johnson As we know, the last two attempts by terrorists to bomb an airliner were stopped by passengers who tackled the “shoe Bomber” and the “Underwear Bomber” as they attempted to setoff their devices. Investigation showed that the terrorists should never have been allowed on the planes because relatives had warned they were radicalized or they purchased one way tickets with cash and no luggage. Now, after the crash of Asiana flight 214, we learn that passengers are pretty much on their own after an airline crash. The …

Town Hall meeting about Gilmore House draws 20-plus

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By Stephanie Johns Staff Writer More than 20 people showed up for the Town Hall meeting put on by Madison last Thursday, July 11. Planning Director and Downtown Development Authority (DDA) Executive Director Monica Callahan began by thanking the Rev. Cedric Cotton of St. Paul’s AME Church for their generosity in allowing them to make use of their facility for free. She then shared details about a couple of projects going on in the Canaan neighborhood. The first, a stormwater project, will address water that collects around residents’ homes and …

Law Enforcement: July 18, 2013 edition

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Madison Police Department On July 3 a larceny from auto complaint was filed at a South Main Street location after a man reported that someone had entered his unlocked Ford Focus and removed a $850 laptop computer. On July 13 a larceny from auto complaint was filed at a Churchill Avenue location after a woman reported that someone entered her unlocked Honda Odyssey van and removed a debit card, driver’s license, $30 in cash and $1,400 in jewelry. The woman reported that someone had used the debit card at four …

Council discusses safety concerns, sets millage rate hearings: MCSO representatives on hand to address comment from deputy about taking neighborhood back

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By Nick Nunn Staff Writer During a meeting on July 15, the Rutledge City Council held a meeting to set the millage rate hearing dates, update citizens on the development of the Fairplay Park, and address questions from “concerned citizens” directed at the Morgan County Sheriff’s Office. First, the council set dates and times for millage rate hearings. The first will take place at 6:30 p.m. on July 25, and the second will follow at 7 p.m. on July 25, at which time the millage rate will be adopted. According to …

Gifted program policy change brings Morgan in line with state

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By Kathryn Schiliro Managing Editor The county Board of Education (BOE) unanimously elected to OK revisions to the school system’s policy as it relates to students in the Gifted program. The policy change calls for a support team of teachers to be formed should the grades of a Gifted program student slip below the program’s required averages. The student is then placed back in the regular classroom until his or her grades are brought back up, at which point they can be admitted back into the Gifted program. The support …

School board ends the year with $2.18M-plus in general fund

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By Kathryn Schiliro Managing Editor At the completion of fiscal year 2013 last month, the county school system had more than $2.18 million in the general fund, Superintendent Dr. Ralph Bennett told the Morgan County Board of Education (BOE) at their meeting Monday, July 9. “We’re in good shape for bringing the year to a close,” Bennett said. The system began June with close to $3 million and, through the month, counted receipts of $1.5 million-plus and expenditures of more than $2.3 million. The system was able to conclude June …