More News & Features
By Matthew Burgoyne
Morgan County’s first agriculture cooperative is becoming more of a reality as the citizens of Morgan County have begun mobilizing the effort.
The Agricultural Zoning and Land Use Discussion Group spent the entire meeting on May 1 discussing every facet of the new agricultural cooperative idea. The cooperative would centralize agricultural efforts in the county, with the hopes of stabilizing market prices and increasing the power of agriculture in the county.
More than 25 citizens met with Allison Moon, Senior Planner for Morgan County, to share their knowledge of the business with her. The information Moon gathered at the meeting will be presented to the Board of Commissioners to see if this is a project the county wants to undertake. The cooperative, because it is in its beginning stages, offers numerous possibilities and opportunities to the county. The cooperative would bring community agricultural leaders together to sell their products. An advantage to a cooperative is that members can fix prices according to demand in the area rather than prices in the market.
According to the Capper-Volstead Act of 1922, an agriculture cooperative can fix prices no matter what the current market prices are.
The group discussed every aspect of a cooperative including inspection frequencies, distribution, and up front cost. Local agricultural leaders provided information and personal stories to help the county move forward with this project.
By Matthew Burgoyne
Local merchants and chain restaurants have the highest risk of being victims of credit card fraud according to a workshop hosted by Taylor-Busch Law Firm and the Georgia Restaurant Association.
Charles Hoff, representing Taylor, Busch, Slipakoff, &Duma, LLP, and Ron Wolf, Executive Director of the Georgia Restaurant Association, gave a workshop on credit card fraud in Eatonton on Monday, April 28. The workshop focused on the injustices to small businesses and what these businesses can do to protect themselves and their costumers.
Small businesses and restaurants that use credit cards become victims of credit card fraud because of their point of sale, or POS, systems. When a card is swiped through the machine, the information on the magnetic strip is read and stored into the establishment’s POS system. From there, a hacker can break in and steal credit card numbers and identities.
“Every time a hacker steals, trust is lost. People do not want to return to places where their number was stolen,” said Hoff, who represents a dozen small businesses who are facing this growing problem. Not only are businesses losing money, they are also losing costumers.
Hackers are normally part of a highly sophisticated group. During each compromise, a hacker steals an average of 40,000 card numbers. Credit card fraud costs American businesses $50 billion per year. Because merchants are still held responsible for fraudulence, many have to front this bill or close their doors, Hoff said.
HRC Grand shows off at Morgan County’s Burnt Pine Plantation
story by Greg Sullivan
photos by Angelina Bellebuono
By Ann Cantrell
Morgan County local, Kristy Akins, brought home a national championship win with the University of Georgia Equestrian Team.
The UGA Equestrian Team competed in Waco, Texas for the Varsity National Championship. The team placed second in western riding and third in Hunt Seat but their overall points in the different disciplines gave them the national champion title.
Akins, who competes in Western horsemanship, grew up in Morgan County and will soon graduate from the UGA.
Since she was young, her mother had her and her sister on horseback, riding with their mother.
“I was probably on the horse by the age of two or three,” said Akins.
When she was eight, she began competing and was eventually recruited to the UGA Equestrian Team.
Since her time at UGA, the Equestrian team has been undefeated at home. After securing the SEC title against Auburn and University of South Carolina this year as well, Akins said finishing off her fourth year with a national championship has been wonderful.
This win came after a couple of meets where the team came close to winning but lost by a little. These almost wins made the national championship win all the better, said Akins.
She described her time with the team as a great experience but also a very competitive one. Due to school regulations, the UGA riding team has 70 riders while only 20 riders actually show in each competition. Ultimately, the coaches decide who will ride in each competition.
“You have to be on your top game,” said Akins.
By Matthew Burgoyne
Morgan County Planning and Development held its last Lakeshore Zoning and Land Use Discussion Group on Monday, April 28, discussing land use changes that will take affect this summer.
Allison Moon, Senior Planner for Morgan County, has held these discussion groups to help inform her on what the citizens of Morgan County are looking for in terms of land use. At the last meeting, she summarized what changes can be made and which changes can never be made based on what she heard from citizens at the discussion groups.
As a planner, taxes and infrastructure are not in Moon’s direct responsibility. Many citizens at the lakeshore discussion groups expressed concerns with high tax rates on lakeshore properties. They were also concerned with the infrastructure of the lake, including sewage and road access. These are changes that Moon and Morgan County Planning and Development can not change alone. These changes require the work of numerous government entities, so Morgan County Planning and Development could not do this on their own.
However, changes that can be made are the ordinances concerning land use. Throughout the next few months, Moon will better define the different land types in Morgan County and their uses. This is to better service the community and the land being used.
Many of the problems lakeshore residents are having can be addressed with a Home Owner’s Association. A community effort is needed in order to tackle some of the issues concerning lakeshore property, Moon said.
Morgan County Planning and Development hopes to also keep a better dialogue with the other groups with jurisdiction in area including Georgia Power, the Department of Natural Resources, and the Army Core of Engineers. Maintaining an open line of communication will keep everyone on the same page in terms of the concerns of the citizens of Morgan County.
By Ann Cantrell
After 25 years, The Rutledge Beautification Committee is still holding their Country Fair to provide not only entertainment to the community, but also funding for different improvements.
Every dime from the Rutledge Country Fair, which comes from renting space to the various vendors, will go towards improving the community ballpark.
“The most important thing is that we are contributing money to get the ball park in shape,” said Dottie Spann, committee member.
The ball park, she said, is playable but the dugout and bleachers are in bad condition.
The fair started 25 years ago as a talent show on Friday night and a parade on Saturday afternoon. It has also fluctuated in its size over the years. This year Spann expects the fair to be a good size, with about 3000 people to participate in the parade.
So far about 45 vendors plan to participate. These vendors are mostly local artisans who sell all handcrafted objects ranging from handbags, to baskets, to carved gourds. Spann said that even within each craft there is a lot of variation, particularly with jewelry.
“You never know what will show up with these people, never,” said Spann.
Several local performers will also take the stage during the fair. In recent years, talent has been recruited for the fair from areas such as Atlanta. This year, the committee decided to bring in local talent. One of these local performers will be the Barefoot Hookers.
Entertainment and the fair will start at 9 a.m on May 10 and will continue until around 5 p.m. The parade will begin at 11 a.m. through downtown Rutledge. The parade will cover a short distance in Rutledge but will involve a large number of participants.