Nunnsense: Need some bones?

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By Nick Nunn Columnist Hard times have befallen the Council Bluffs, Iowa chapter of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows (IOOF). Apparently, IOOF – pronounced “ih-OOF” – decided that Council Bluffs isn’t odd enough to keep their chapter open any longer and revoked the branch’s charter. In an attempt to boost Council Bluffs’ odd-factor, Dave Burgstrum attempted to sell an antique oak coffin, which had been used during the chapter’s initiation rituals to represent death, on a website for $12,000. Oh, I forgot to mention that the coffin comes with …

Ideas are not property

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By Greg Morin Columnist The US Supreme Court ruled unanimously this past week that human genes may not be patented. That was a good decision. However those in support of this ruling are by and large hypocrites. They vociferously decried the negative consequences of upholding such patents (limiting research, higher costs, limited choice) but then fail to acknowledge these same deleterious consequences occur for ALL patents. It’s not like these bad things don’t occur for “legitimate” patents but do occur for “illegitimate” ones. Patents are the problem, not their “legitimacy.” …

Zoo in Morgan County?

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By Kathryn Schiliro Managing Editor You heard right: a zoo is being proposed for Morgan County. The county Planning Commission, this Thursday, will hear a proposal for both a text amendment allowing zoo facilities in the county as well as a proposal, submitted by Michael Vaden, 1021 River Farm Run, Madison, on Highway 83, south of the Williams Dairy, for a conditional use request allowing him to put a zoo on his 33.5-acre property, which currently houses his private aviary and taxidermy business for exotic animals as well as his …

Insider Threat Program hearkens to ‘1984’

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By Fred Johnson Columnist When I was in high school, we studied Halley’s Comet which passes near earth every 75 years. In 1910 the view was spectacular because the comet came so close, the earth passed through its tail. Our teacher told us, “You students will see this spectacular sight again in 1986.” But when 1986 came, the comet and the earth were on opposite sides of the sun creating the worst viewing circumstances in 2,000 years. Most people, including me, never even spotted the comet. Another thing we studied …

Body hears proposal to move College St. house to Pearl St.

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By Kathryn Schiliro Managing Editor Madison’s Downtown Development Authority (DDA) has been approached by IV Henry and Leon Peters about repurposing the house at 787 College Street, Madison, near the water tower, City Planning Director Monica Callahan told the body at their meeting last Thursday, June 20. An asbestos survey report and quote to remove asbestos-laden materials from the property was prepared for the DDA by Norcross-based Peachtree Environmental. For $8,500-plus Peachtree Environment would remove and dispose of the transite siding – $3,100-plus of the total – and wall board and joint …

Depot relocation depends on power easements, zoning change

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By Kathryn Schiliro Managing Editor Progress on moving the Central of Georgia Railroad depot continues as Madison’s Downtown Development Authority (DDA) voted to endorse a $67,000 contract with Curtis Whitsel, contractor, to move the depot across the railroad tracks. The contract includes relocation of the depot onto a new foundation and stabilization, and doesn’t exceed what the authority has already reviewed as far as this aspect of the project, City Planning Director Monica Callahan told the DDA at their meeting last Thursday, June 20. Related to the move, topsoil will …

We love you too, MCMS band!

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To the Staff at Morgan County Citizen: Thank you so much for covering the events and activities of the band program this year. I appreciate the positive support and the press for the benefit of the students. They are always excited to see their picture and/or name appear in the paper. I know there are many events for you to cover but I wanted to express my gratitude for the coverage this school year. Your articles have helped make our program a more visible entity in the community. Thank you …

Country music star Trisha Yearwood films in Madison

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By Dianne Lively Yost Staff Writer Trisha Yearwood, one of the highest-selling female artists in country music, two-time New York Times bestselling cookbook author and Georgia native, was in Madison last week filming an episode of TLC Network’s “Who Do You Think You Are?” at The James Madison Inn. TLC spokesman Dustin Smith confirmed the local star’s visit to Madison via email. TLC has ordered eight new hour-long episodes of the Emmy-nominated reality series “Who Do You Think You Are?” which reveals the hidden backstories of today’s biggest celebrities. Smith …

Former educator sees odd priorities of state legislators

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By Patricia Stokes Nothing is more precious to me than my children and my grandchildren. Second to that, the children who attend public school in Morgan County have been precious to me since 1996 and always will be. I know that since 1996 some of the Morgan County High School graduates are now young adults who run our banks, work in our healthcare facilities, invest our money, and generally keep our fabulous cities and county moving forward. We have long heard that investing in our children is investing in our …

Local woman goes missing while kayaking, found 20-plus hours later

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By Patrick Yost Editor After more than 20 hours, a Buckhead woman who had become separated from a companion while kayaking on the Apalachee River was found near the Greene County line by rescue workers last Sunday. According to Capt. Chris Bish, Criminal Investigations Division, Morgan County Sheriff’s Office, Jacqueline Bernard, 48, was found by rescue workers at approximately 11:30 a.m. on Sunday. Bish said a man who had been kayaking with Bernard on Saturday reported near Apalachee Road and Trimble Bridge that his companion was missing at 8 p.m. …

Independence Day events around the county set for July 3 and Fourth of July: Celebrations in Madison, Bostwick, Buckhead

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Compiled by Staff Independence Day celebrations around the county abound – beginning June 30 on through the big day itself, families can take part in a variety of festivities, from inflatables to bbqs to fireworks. Centennial Baptist Church in Rutledge will hold its Annual Starlight Spectacular beginning at 7 p.m. Sunday. The event will include local live music, food – hotdogs, drinks, popcorn, peanuts, and snow cones – as well as inflatables and fireworks. Be sure to take your own lawn chairs and blankets. For more information, call 706-557-2120. On …

County food hub could have $3.3 million impact

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By Stephanie Johns Staff Writer A food hub based in Morgan County could have a $3.3 million annual impact, according to Tommie Shepherd with the Center for Agribusiness & Economic Development at the University of Georgia. During their June work session, the Morgan County Commission heard about a food hub from Shepherd, an agricultural economist. He began by recognizing several contributors to the study: Bobby Smith, the county’s former extension agent, Lucy Ray, the county’s current extension agent, and Chris McCaulley, executive director of the Madison-Morgan Conservancy. He noted that …

County BOC will support city’s DDA

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By Stephanie Johns Staff Writer The Morgan County Commission unanimously voted to share surplus office equipment with the City of Madison to benefit work at the Gilmore House on Burney Street. The Madison Downtown Development Authority has been working to transform the house into a multi-use facility to include a corner grocery store, a cannery and commercial kitchen, residential space and incubator spaces for new businesses. County Manager Michael Lamar recommended support of this project. Chair Ellen Warren agreed: “What they are doing will help more than the city’s citizens.” …

Commission to hear argument for lighting on private tennis courts in city

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By Kathryn Schiliro Managing Editor On behalf of Madison property owners Von and Christy Freisen, attorney Ben Whidham has requested a change in the city’s zoning ordinance that will allow for the Freisen’s private tennis court, and future private tennis courts in the city, to include lighting. The Freisens have already constructed their tennis court “with illumination,” according to the Madison Staff Report, reviewed by the Morgan County Planning Commission at their work session last Friday, June 21. Windham submitted this application for the change on the Freisens’ behalf after …

Law Enforcement: June 27, 2013 edition

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Madison Police Department On June 23 Raphael Vanness Brown, 24, Hephzibah, Ga., was arrested and charged with speeding and felony possession of marijuana. According to reports, a vehicle Brown was driving east bound on Interstate 20 was stopped by an officer for speeding. Consequent to the stop, reports state, the officer reported smelling the odor of green marijuana coming from the vehicle. A search of the vehicle allegedly produced two marijuana cigarettes and a vacuum packed bag of suspected marijuana in the vehicle. On June 19 Pledge Keeley, no age, …

Ga. Military College move goes before Planning Commission

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By Kathryn Schiliro Managing Editor Georgia Military College (GMC) is slated to move into the former Morgan County Citizen building, 235 S. Main Street, Madison, contingent upon county Planning Commission’s nod and Madison City Council’s approval of their request for conditional use. The property is currently zoned Professional Limited Commercial, or P2, which could allow for educational facilities, including private schools, provided conditional use is OK’d. Further, the structure is located in the city’s Historic Preservation Overlay. The proposal, submitted by Michael Conrads, presented to the commission at their work …

No asbestos found on Burney Street’s Gilmore property: Gilmore property will be used to further marketing for Authority’s Madison Urban Renewal Area

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By Kathryn Schiliro Managing Editor Progress on the Gilmore property, located at 461 Burney St., Madison, is moving forward, as the city’s Downtown Development Authority (DDA) received a report that the property didn’t contain any asbestos. The report, submitted by Norcross-based Peachtree Environmental, was presented to the DDA by City Planning Director Monica Callahan at their meeting last Thursday, June 20. The property was purchased by the Madison City Council for $87,500 in October 2012 and subsequently transferred to the DDA. Harvest of the Heart Garden, a county non-profit organization …

Council OKs FY14 budget

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By Les Bessenger Intern The Buckhead City Council met at the Buckhead Volunteer Fire Department last Thursday, June 20 to discuss approval to the changes to the fiscal year 2014 budget. The changes to the budget, discussed previously in the council meeting on June 4, include increasing the general fund budget by $4,650 to a total of $71,890 as well as decreasing the incomes and expenditures in the water fund budget by $2,900. Jennifer Doran opened the motion to accept the changes to the budget, seconded by Drew Miller. The …

Commission hears draft of trail network study

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By Stephanie Johns Staff Writer Members of the Madison Greenspace Commission (GSC) reviewed a draft of the group’s “Founders’ Trail Network Study” during their June meeting. The document includes maps of trails as well as information about the trail, such as a highlight to see along the way or perhaps a historical piece of information associated with it. The network includes eight segments, according to GSC Staff Monica Callahan. She added that the historic Central of Georgia Railroad Co. train depot will serve as the trailhead. The group plans to …

Morgan Memorial Hospital losing CFO Courtney Moore

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By Stephanie Johns Staff Writer Courtney Moore, Chief Financial Officer (CFO) for Morgan Memorial Hospital (MMH), has accepted the position of Vice President of Taylor Health Care Group, which encompasses Taylor Regional Hospital in Hawkinsville and Bleckley Memorial Hospital in Cochran. She also will serve as administrator of Bleckley Memorial Hospital. She shared via email some of her thoughts about her time at MMH as well as her feelings about what this change means to her. “I would like to thank the Hospital Authority Board, the hospital staff and the …