More News & Features
By Stephanie Johns
Members of the Morgan County Board of Tax Assessors voted unanimously to continue the potential breach process against Nancy W. Ward regarding a Conservation Use Value Assessment (CUVA) she had.
Prior to their vote the board heard from Wilson DuBose, Ward’s attorney, and also spent time in closed session with the county’s attorney, Christian Henry.
During his remarks DuBose noted that the alleged breach took place in 2004. He explained that Ward originally had 124 acres and in 2005 sold 27 acres to Randall York, who in turn sold it to Montana Partners Limited Inc., which sold the land to Montana Development Inc. in 2007.
Chief Appraiser Chuck Anglin explained that the breach occurred when acreage sold to York transferred into ownership of Montana Development Inc. in 2007.
“This was a development company whose primary purpose is to develop real estate properties and not for farming,” he said.
Anglin explained that the original covenant signed by Ward in 2004 was a 10-year covenant to keep the entire 124.29 acres in conservation use, devoted to agriculture.
By Stephanie Johns
During last Friday’s special called meeting and work session, members of the Madison City Council dealt with a couple of meeting particulars: the location of the May 13 and the rescheduling of the May 29 meeting.
The May 13 meeting, which originally was relocated to the Morgan County Courthouse, has been relocated to its regular meeting location at the city’s Municipal Complex.
Kathi Russell, who owns Madison Tea Room & Garden as well as the historic Mapp-Gilmore Building on Washington Street, had appealed the decision of the Madison Historic Preservation Commission to deny her request to tear down the building and replace it with a building in a similar style.
Russell has requested a continuance and so her appeal will not be on the agenda for the May 13 meeting.
The council then moved their May meeting from its regular day, which falls on Memorial Day this year, to May 29.
During that meeting they most likely will discuss plans by Athens-based Parallel Housing Inc. to build apartment homes for those age 55 and older.
According to Madison Planning Director Monica Callahan, Parallel must submit its plans and any supporting documents such as a traffic study to the city by May 8 so that the public will have two weeks to review it.
It would then go before the Morgan County Planning Commission on May 23 for the second time – the commission tabled Parallel’s requests during its April meeting.
The Corridor Design Commission would look at the plans for a second time on May 28. This group regularly looks at plans twice: first at a preliminary level and a second time to vote its approval or disapproval.
The city council would then review Parallel’s plans on May 29, she said.
By Stephanie Johns
Four elected officials for the state of Georgia came together Tuesday night to share details about the 2013 General Assembly during a multi-county Republican event.
Officials included State Senator Burt Jones as well as State Representatives Mickey Channell, Susan Holmes and Rusty Kidd.
Republican parties from five local counties – Baldwin, Greene, Jasper, Morgan and Putnam – sponsored the event, which was held at the Putnam County High School.
Putnam County Commissioner Billy Webster served as moderator. He noted that during the recent legislative session the House had 447 votes while the Senate had 409 votes.
Channell said a total of 811 bills were introduced and 185 were passed, which puts passed bills at 23 percent.
“An important part of what we do prevent bad bills from becoming law,” he said.
Jones said balancing the budget was the biggest thing accomplished: “We have learned not to spend more than we take in.”
He added that education, economics, and ethics were at the forefront of the session.
“On the education front, local schools were hit hard,” he said. They added $2.6 million to the school nursing program and $146 million to counter enrollment growth. Also, they restored $1.3 million to the school nutrition program and $7.2 million to the charter school system.
Channell pointed out that about 55 percent of the budget goes to education. He added that eligibility requirements for the HOPE Grant, which benefits students in technical school, were returned to their original grade point average requirements of 2.0.
By Stephanie Johns
All 10 fifth-grade classes at Morgan County Elementary School (MCES) visited Camp Twin Lakes in Rutledge last week.
Dan Mathews, director of camping services at CTL, shared via e-mail, “The intended benefits for campers is to enhance their classroom learning in an outdoor setting, and more disability awareness by exposing them to programs designed for children with illness and disability.”
As noted on the CTL website, “Camp Twin Lakes is a network of camps providing life-changing programs to Georgia’s kids with serious illnesses, disabilities and other challenges.”
Stacy Dearing, school counselor at MCES, said this has been “a wonderful partnership opportunity.”
The camp had students visit from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. each day and paid all expenses, including lunch.
“What an incredible opportunity for us,” she said. “How nice of them to do that.”
This year two classes went to CTL each day last week while last year only two of the 10 classes were able to go.
Mathews said last year’s pilot program included some students in the special education program.
“Since our mission is around children with illness and disability, that was the most logical place to start,” he shared. “The funding from the Morgan Fund allowed us to expand the program to all of the 5th grade – and with two trips!”
A grant from the Morgan Fund of the Greater Atlanta Community Foundation supported the program; CTL subsidized it as well, he wrote.
Mathews shared that CTL worked with teachers prior to having students visit to ensure the program met educational standards but in a camp setting.
He said this experience would be offered to the students in the spring and again in the fall.