The county’s first solar farm could be functional by the end of the year.
Madison County commissioners gave the go ahead Monday to Alpharetta-based United Renewable Energy representing Patton Land Partnership to put a solar farm on 42 acres at Hwy. 98 and Hwy. 172, commonly known for the old Gholston Stand store. Commissioners voted unanimously in favor of a conditional use permit that paves the way for the project.
United Renewable Energy LLC has solar farms in Toccoa, Jefferson County, Mansfield, Edenton and Murray County. The company’s director of operations, Amber Penland, spoke to commissioners about the plans Monday.
“We develop solar farms, construct them and do maintenance on them,” said Penland. “We’re really involved from the ground up. We work throughout the southeast, but Georgia is our predominant home state. And we’ve worked with a number of different counties and cities. I’m very proud of the opportunity it brings for some of the underused rural lands throughout the state. Georgia, in terms of sunshine and because of its southern location, is a really strong, consistent source for solar.”
Penland said she thinks renewable energy will be more of a force in Georgia in years to come. [Full Story »]
NICHOLSON - Wendell Todd Barnett, 57, died Thursday, April 6, 2017, at his residence. Mr. Barnett was born in Commerce, the son of the late Otis and Quida Mildred Wilson Barnett. He was in the electrical business. Survivors include sisters, Agnes Peterman, Nicholson, Walla Mae Butler, Danielsville, and Gail Edwards, Hull; brothers, Mickey ...
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COLBERT – John Edward Smith, 64, passed away on Saturday, April 1, 2017. Survivors include his wife, Vanessa Smith; a son, Justin Smith; sisters, Sarah McGuire, Earlene Scott, Henrietta Smith, Ann Vincent, and Morine Freeman; brothers, Joe Henry Smith and Johnny Floyd Smith; and a host of other relatives and friends. Funeral services will be ...
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My deepest political belief is fairly simple, and it comes from personal experience. It is to the left of most folks, but it’s not born out of some “commie” or “giveaway-of-your-hard-earned-cash” wish. Yet, it’s deeply passionate. And it takes offense at certain attitudes, just as you surely are deeply troubled in your own way at times. And my offense is at code red.
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Every week, Danielsville Police Department Captain Jonathan Burnette makes a trip over to Danielsville Elementary School to deliver school supplies, along with T-shirts, socks, shampoo and other personal items to Principal Angie Waggoner to give to students in need.
From there, Waggoner and school counselors distribute the items where they are most needed, some at Danielsville, while other items are sent to the county’s five other elementary schools.
This is all part of “Operation Backpack,” a program started in January by Burnette, who approached Chief Brenan Baird and the Danielsville City Council with his idea.
“I just think as a police officer, we should do more than just write tickets and I wanted to find a way to have a positive impact on the community, especially with the children,” Burnette said. “If we can do that, then we are really doing our jobs.”
The primary donators to the project are probationers with the Northern Judicial Circuit Probation Office in Danielsville.
In cooperation with the probation office, probationers are offered the option to “write off” some of their fines/fees and community service by purchasing school supplies.
Chief Baird says the probationers turn in their receipts to the probation office to get the reductions. The reduction rate is based on a 40-hour work week at minimum wage. [Full Story »]
Madison County commissioners appointed members to three local boards March 27.
Derek Doster of Colbert was named as a new member of the county industrial authority. Doster is a professional engineer and a member of the American Society of Civil Engineers, who has provided project management services to the Athens-Clarke County government.
The commissioners also named Terry Chandler to the county planning commission. Chandler formerly served on that board, including as chairman from 1996 to 1997. He is a local farmer and extensively involved with local agriculture organizations. The group named Katie Moody, a registered veterinary technician, to the animal control board.
While three new members were named to local boards, Madison County resident Steve Massey approached commissioners at the end of the meeting March 27 to ask the group to give more citizens an opportunity to serve on local boards by making them aware of vacancies and providing a clearer picture of the nominating process.
Commissioners assured Massey that they intend to do exactly that. The county recently put out a request in this newspaper for contact information for anyone interested in serving on local boards. Scarborough said a number of people responded. He said the BOC sometimes needs to move quickly on nominations so that boards can have a quorum and take legal votes.
Former Madison County Sheriff Kip Thomas and Chief Deputy Shawn Burns paid for hotel and food expenses during their private security training in the fall with a county credit card. Thomas was defeated for re-election July 26. His last day in office was Dec. 31. Burns also left the office at that time.
County credit card records show that between August and November of last year, the sheriff’s office spent $6,909.70 on hotel, food and gas expenses related to training. Of that, $3,805.62 was for hotels, $2,699.10 was for food, $205.55 was for gas and $140 was for a training registration fee for the Georgia Sheriffs’ Association fall conference training. Not all training was related to Thomas and Burns, nor was it all tied to private security training. Some of the training was for officers still with the department. And it is not uncommon for food and hotel expenses to be covered for law officers attending training sessions.
However, The Madison County Journal received a tip that the former sheriff and chief deputy had used county credit cards in their final days in office to pay for training in Florida that was not to benefit the county but to serve the two after their county employment, such as in private security work. The Journal subsequently filed an open records request with the county commissioners’ office for 2016 training expenses with the department following the July 26 runoff to see what was charged. There were no July expenses turned in after the election and no December expenses. But there were 73 credit card receipts received through the records request. Some of the receipts received had illegible spots. [Full Story »]