More News & Features
By Colby Dunn
Madison City Council has received their first request for an impact fee waiver since adopting the fee plan in April.
Morgan Memorial Hospital, which is planning to erect a new modular building as part of their emergency department overhaul, has asked for an exemption, due to their public service to the community
The council didn't act on the request, saying they needed more time to consider the information, a last-minute addition to the agenda.
Madison does have provisions for waiving fees which were put into place in June, but even with a fee waiver, the money will still be paid, but from the city's - not the developer's - pockets.
Council members voted to table the issue, giving them time to consider the proposal and ensure that it meets their exemption requirements. Council members also wanted to be certain that a precedent for waiving all impact fees for government buildings wasn't being set.
"I want to be able to handle each one on an ad hoc basis," said council member Michael Naples.
To meet their early January deadline for the proposed emergency room revamp, hospital officials must pay the impact fee to secure a building permit. If the council then approves the exemption, the fee could be refunded, according to City Manager David Nunn.
Mayor Tom DuPree also bid the city council a fond farewell, at the close of the meeting, which will be one of his last. DuPree praised the city and council and wished his successor, long-time mayor Bruce Gilbert, success.
By Kathryn Schiliro
A visitor with Congressional ties visited Morgan County Wednesday. She came to visit each of the local schools, and left with information to pass to Senator Johnny Isakson.
Part of an effort to visit schools in each of the 21 counties in Isakson's district, Tate Izlar, an Isakson field representative, called on Board of Education member Dave Belton, who was on her list of contacts for Morgan County. Belton then arranged an all-day tour of the Morgan County schools. "He showed me the great work all of the schools are doing," Izlar said. "It's charter schools at their best, working."
The day began with an hour-long visit each to Morgan County Primary School, Morgan County Elementary School and Morgan County Middle School.
At noon, Izlar and Belton had lunch at Morgan County High School, prepared by the Culinary Arts class.
They were joined by county leaders: Commissioners Mack Bohlen, Andy Ainslie and Ellen Warren; Sheriff Robert Markley; Madison City Council member Michael Naples; and Jerry Caldwell and Ricky McGinnis. According to Belton, the menu included a quiche appetizer; "exquisite," homemade tomato soup; ratatouille; a beef entree; and a French crepe for dessert. "The food was excellent--everyone raved about it," Belton wrote, in an e-mail.
Following lunch, Izlar toured MCHS and spoke to the school's Young Conservatives club before meeting again with DeJarnett.
Reflecting on her visit, Izlar was most impressed with the technology in the county's schools.
By Kathryn Schiliro
The Holiday Tour of Homes made for a busy downtown Madison weekend.
According to Andy Wiliams, CVB project coordinator, around 3,000 people attended the Madison-Morgan County Chamber of Commerce/CVB-sponsored Holiday Tour of Homes, which lasted from last Thursday, Dec. 3 through Sunday, Dec. 6.
The Tour brought in about $66,000, according to Williams. The funds will be used to operate the Chamber of Commerce, the Convention and Visitors Bureau and the Welcome Center, and is used to maintain the historic building that houses them.
"The Tour was received extraordinarily well by visitors, locals and homeowners," Williams said, in an e-mail. "In fact, we had overwhelming positive response. We consider the 2009 Tour to have been a great success and look forward to the 2010 Fall Kitchen Tour next September."
The Morgan County Grand Jury convened last week and returned several indictments. The following persons were indicted.
• Samuel D. Bernard, 27, Supply, N.C., one count trafficking in cocaine, one count trafficking in Ecstasy, one count driving while license suspended.
• Jeremy Jawan Hewett, 28, Supply, N.C., one count trafficking in cocaine, one count trafficking in Ecstasy.
• Larra Gayle Meyer, 22, Supply, N.C., one count trafficking in cocaine, one count trafficking in Ecstasy.
• Fabian Carreon, 46, Corpus Christi, Texas, one count trafficking in cocaine, one count possession of a vehicle with a secret compartment.
• Erick Espinoza, 27, Roanoke, Vir., one count trafficking in cocaine.
• Lilliana Torres, 23, Dobson, N. C., one count trafficking in cocaine.
• Steven Anthony Watson, 31, Harlem, one count possession of marijuana, one count driving while license suspended.
• Marquitta Renee Nesbitt, 25, Stone Mountain, one count theft by receiving stolen property, one count transporting stolen property into the state.
• Brian Footman, 25, Jacksonville, Fla., one count possession with intent to distribute Ecstasy, one count trafficking in cocaine, one count possession of marijuana, two counts speeding, one count giving false name, one count giving false date of birth.
• Davetta Shakena Wright, 25, Huger, S.C., one count possession with intent to distribute Ecstasy, one count trafficking in cocaine, one count possession of marijuana.
• Steven Anthony Kennedy Jr., 28, Decatur, one count possession of marijuana, one count obstruction of an officer.
Tonight, Dec. 10, come celebrate one of Madison’s newer events, “Caroling by Candlelight,” at Town Park. Festivities will begin at 6 p.m.
Performances will consist of choirs from multiple downtown Madison churches, with the Morgan County High School Chorus leading the show. Several soloists will also be included. If you’ve got a sweet tooth, be sure to participate in the marshmallow roast and two different cookie contests. The first will be the “Best Decorated Cookies,” where participants are asked to submit three matching cookies for judging.
The second competition? The “Greatest Cookie Ever.” Entrants should bring one dozen cookies to compete, although decorating is optional for this contest. After the caroling is over, cookie contest winners will be announced and winners will receive a prize of $50 Downtown Dollars.
All leftover cookies from both contests will be packaged up and distributed to residents at Madison House Assisted Living later in the evening. The Morgan County Sheriff’s Office's Empty Stocking Fund will also have a tent set up alongside the caroling activities. Attendees are encouraged to bring an unused and unwrapped toy to contribute to the fund.
“We hope this will be a new tradition for families, and will grow into a holiday tradition every year," Madison Main Street's Ann Huff said, of the event.
Huff said they decided to utilize Town Park and separate downtown caroling from the annual Christmas Parade because “it [Town Park] has more space than the streets. It was built as a facility for Main Street events like this one.”
Get yourself into the spirit of the season with the Madison-Morgan Cultural Center’s annual Community Holiday Concert, which will benefit The Caring Place.
The event will be held on Sunday, Dec. 13 at 7 p.m.
“Madison has so many talented people, this concert gives them an opportunity to be seen at a great time of year,” the Cultural Center's Elsie Monk said. The list of performers is vast as usual, though some familiar names are on it: the Morgan County High School Jazz Band and the Morgan County High School Chorus.
Hoyt Jackson will be emceeing the concert. Monk also added that the traditional audience sing-a-long will be interjected between each performance.
Drawings for prizes will happen throughout the evening.
Concert go-ers are urged to come early, as only 400 seats are available. As far as admission, be prepared to empty your pantry, not your wallet.
To enter the concert each person must have at least one item of canned food; all donations go directly to The Caring Place.
The Caring Place, run by husband-and-wife team Jack and Nancy Pluckhahn, is one of Morgan County’s oldest food banks. It is completely non-profit and averages about 10 volunteers, though they are always looking for more.