What ELSE Happened at the Dade Commission Meeting?

The Dade Planet covered the larger issues that arose at last week's April 6 meeting of the Dade County Commission in separate articles previously posted in this space. But besides liquor by the drink, the state of Dade's roads and the Festival of Life, a few other items of interest arose, to wit:

The commission reminded anyone interested that there will be an open house this Thursday, April 13, for the Northwest Georgia Trails Study's presentation of a draft feasibility study for a bikeway and pedestrian trail system. "Some of the counties are a lot larger but it does touch Dade County," said County Clerk Don Townsend.

Funding for the project is provided by the Lyndhurst Foundation and several other nonprofit organizations as well as the Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT). The open house is at 5 p.m. Thursday at the Colonnade Center, 264 Catoosa Circle, Ringgold. For more information, contact Terry Reynolds or Julianne Meadows, treynolds@ragansmith.com or jmeadows@nwgrc.org.

Also on Thursday, at 2 p.m. in the Commission Room of the Dade Administrative Building, there will be a public hearing and presentation of the Trenton-Dade Joint 10-Year Comprehensive Plan update. Officials and volunteers have brainstormed for months about Dade's near future and should have interesting concepts to unveil at the hearing.

Gary Gross (left, standing) of the New Salem Volunteer Fire Department asked for and was granted SPLOST (special purpose local option sales tax) funds in the amount of $32,411.25 for 15 sets of fire turnout gear at $2167 a pop. "Fifteen will not get everybody," said Gross, but it's a start.

The commission also briefly discussed Georgia House Bill 146, which would require counties to purchase a separate cancer insurance policy for its firefighters. Some larger counties oppose the bill, said Commission Chairman Ted Rumley, but at $1 a day per firefighter, the new requirement didn't raise much consternation in the commission's for-information-only discussion.

All Dade's fire departments are staffed by unpaid volunteers. The county pays only for equipment, vehicles and incidentals like this insurance, and is generally happy to do so. "They don't get paid a dime," reminded Rumley.

Chairman Rumley also got approval for a maximum of $5000 as the county's share of repairing a bridge on Newsome Gap Road. He explained that GDOT was springing for the rest, having selected it as eligible for a state program. "That's really good news," said Rumley. He said fixing the bridge on its own would have cost the county $500,000 or so.

On the subject of insurance, Rumley made a plug for emergency helicopter insurance. A lot of people pay $30 to $36 a month for the assurance they'll be airlifted to the hospital if they happen to need it, he said, and now some counties are partnering with the insurers who sell such policies. "It's something to think about," he said. "We'll keep you up on that on Evan's station," he added, anointing a local news outlet while he was at it.

District 3 Commissioner Robert Goff said SPLOST collections last month were lower than any month since 2009, and he reiterated the county's desire to find out why. "It just never makes sense," he said. County Clerk Don Townsend in his financial report also mentioned the dismal SPLOST situation, and the effect it would have on some of the Dade projects SPLOST was supposed to pay for. "It's going to get tough deciding which ones are going to get 100 percent funded," he said.

District 4's Allan Bradford admitted Highway 136 is getting "very bad and dangerous" but said all he can tell his constituents is what GDOT tells him.

Shannon Ledford (right) reported for county 4-H.

Marshana Sharp of the Dade County Public Library reminded all to come out for the "Glow Run" child abuse awareness run/walk Dade First and the library are cosponsoring on Friday, April 28, at Dade High. Preregistration is over, she said, but people can still sign up; they are just not guaranteed a T-shirt in their size. Ms. Sharp also invited the community to drop by and have a look at the library's "Captured" exhibit of Dade photos.

Cheryl Painter of the Dade Chamber of Commerce announced that this year, the annual "Dade Days" festival the Chamber used to sponsor will merge with "Music between the Mountains," the benefit gala the Dade Sheriff's Department has planned for May 6, 10 a.m.-10 p.m.

Another date the commission brought up is Dade's annual Law Enforcement Day, on which Trenton and Dade honors their police officers, sheriff's deputies and state troopers. That is at noon on May 2 this year, in the large courtroom of the new courts facility.

Before an audience swelled by Festival of Life volunteers and Concerned Citizens Who Voted Yes to Distilled Spirits, the commission's consecration of April as "Confederate History Month" was more muted than last year's Bonny Blue extravaganza.

In 2016 (above), speeches were made about the history of the Confederacy and "the emulation of its virtues," Sons of Confederate Veterans members waved the Stars and Bars and up-for-reelection commissioners swarmed for photo opps in front of a flag that had been lowered by many states after it was associated with a horrific slaughter of black worshipers in a historic Charleston church the year before, and which consequently seemed more popular in Dade than ever.

This year (below) there were only a few Sons of Confederate Veterans present and the only Confederate flags were insignia on their clothing.

"This is something we do every year," said Rumley.

In fact, 2016 is the first one witnessed by The Planet.

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