By Jessica Blomquist
Morgan County commissioners met Tuesday for their regular monthly meeting to discuss a petition received in regard to a variance request for property located in Morgan County.
Randall and Sherri Moss, who live at 1569 Price Mill Road in Bishop, wish to replace a single-wide manufactured home which burned down on the property with a newly purchased double-wide manufactured home for Randall’s father to live in.
The double-wide home was built in 1989 and purchased from outside the county, in Maysville. This makes placing the home on the property against the Morgan County Zoning Ordinance which says that “a mobile or manufactured home that was not registered with the County Tax Commissioner within the last 10 years may not be moved to or used as a residential dwelling in unincorporated Morgan County.”
The fire department donated money to help the Mosses buy a new mobile home, which is in fairly good condition. The Mosses also agreed to do maintenance and repair in order to bring the mobile home up to building code standards.
Chairman Mack Bohlen said that by allowing the mobile home to be moved onto the property they would set a precedent. He also said the extenuating circumstances considering the original mobile home having burned down makes the case special.
Sherri Moss, who attended the meeting, spoke in support of her petition.
“I need to move my father-in-law in there,” she said. “He’s living in a motor home on the property right now.”
Finally, the motion to allow the double-wide manufactured home was passed by Commissioner Samuel Cathey and seconded by Vice-Chairman Ellen Warren before being approved by the entire board.
By Matthew Burgoyne
The Corridor Planning Commission met with the planners of the new Holiday Inn Express to recommend some changes to be made to the future development plans. Members of the Corridor Planning Commission approved a majority of the plans for the new Holiday Inn Express, which will be located off of Interstate 20. The purpose of the commission was to give conceptual approval to the planners of the new building structure.
Everything from the number of parking spots to the placement and disbursement of trees was discussed to ensure a final approval at next month’s meeting. Kevin Hall, landscape architect with Williams and Associates, and Ranjit Banerjee, a representative with Sidlivi Hotels, will take the recommendations made by the commission and create a set of final plans.
Though there is no rush on the final plans, they are needed as soon as possible to complete the project. Monica Callahan, Senior Planner for Madison, needs the plans at least a week and one day prior to the next meeting. As the staff representative at the commission, Callahan will distribute the final plans to each of the commission members to be looked over for final review. At the next meeting, the commission will vote to either accept or reject the revised plans.
Some of the revisions or recommendations that were made by the commission deal with the aesthetics of the new structure. On the plans, the trees were distributed evenly throughout the property, but this is not necessary.
Also, the shape and entrances to the parking lot caused some concerns for the commission because of the odd shape of the lot. The designer of the new project will have to address these problems in the final plans.
Asks for Morgan Memorial to close in favor of Greene County facility
Armed robberies exploding in Madison
By Patrick Yost
An armed gunman robbed Burger King Saturday.
According to Madison Police Department reports, a black man, approximately 6’1”, entered the restaurant from the south side at approximately 11 p.m., waved a pistol at customers and employees and demanded money.
Reports state that the man emptied an undetermined amount of cash from the Eatonton Highway store’s registers, threatened two elderly customers in the restaurant to not move and then fled the restaurant from the same south-side door he entered.
Several employees and the customers at the restaurant said they observed the man flee the area in what they believed was a green Ford Taurus that had been parked at the Zaxby’s parking lot next door. Witnesses said the man drove northbound after leaving the Zaxby’s parking lot.
Witnesses also said the man was dressed in black, was wearing black gloves and had either a scarf or ski mask covering his face. An immediate search of surrounding roads was unsuccessful.
This marks the fifth armed robbery in Madison in the past six weeks. An arrest was made in two armed robberies but officers are still investigating an armed robbery at the North Main Street Golden Pantry convenience store and the West Washington EZ Bottle liquor store.
“We don’t see anything that leads us to connect the is to Golden Pantry or EZ Bottle,” said Det. Carl Jones, city of Madison Police Department.
By Kathryn Purcell
In a message sent to all of Georgia's local superintendents on Wednesday, State Superintendent of Schools Kathy Cox nullified the results of the Criterion-Referenced Competency Test (CRCT) in the area of social studies for sixth- and seventh-graders.
"After intense scrutiny of the standards and the assessment, we have come to the conclusion that these scores are not trustworthy measures of student achievement in social studies," the message, found on the state Department of Education (DOE) Web site, states. "Accordingly, the results will be invalidated...This decision is based primarily on the conviction that we need to revise the curriculum and the assessments to better evaluate the knowledge and skills that represent student achievement in social studies."
"In their opinion, there was not an alignment between the curriculum taught and the curriculum tested," Morgan County Assistant Superintendent for Teaching and Learning Ralph Bennett said, of the announcement by Cox. "It shows how inexact standardized tests can be in determinations that have to be made about students, schools and teachers."
The invalidation of the social studies results doesn't determine whether a sixth- or seventh-grader moves to the next grade level, according to Bennett. In fact, reading and math assessments determine promotion or retention.
The Morgan County School System has received preliminary CRCT results and is currently working on data verification before the results can be sent back to the state DOE and made official.
By Tara DeRock Mahoney
Senior Staff Writer
Morgan County commissioners determined at a work session last week to go forward with a study of the local work force, to determine where county residents are working.
“This is really an economic development study,” said Senior Planner Allison Moon. “We have put together a proposal…with the Carl Vinson Institute of Government at UGA to study the character of our work force in Morgan County.”
The study will determine “educational level, commuting patterns, residential location v. work location, under/over employment based on educational/skill level,” according to documents provided by the board of commissioners. The study will also analyze the need for improvements in the county, versus the perceived needs of the local workforce.
“Do we need more workers with certain skills in this county…do we have people with Masters degrees who [can’t find work]?” said Moon. “This study will help us determine that.”
The cost of the study has not yet been finalized; the county will put together a specification package for the Carl Vinson Institute of Government in the coming weeks, and the cost will be determined at that time, said County Special Projects Coordinator Monica Hayden. If the price is found to be acceptable, the study could begin this October.