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Hall schools try to revive Special Olympics

Short cancellation had prevented finding another host

POSTED: April 16, 2008 5:00 a.m.

Hall County school officials began working Friday to restore this spring's Special Olympic games for schools in Northeast Georgia.

The games had been nixed because of a short cancellation notice from Hall County Parks & Leisure Services, which helps organize the regional games.

"No other county or facility was able to offer to host the event in either April or May," said Rachel May, regional manager for Special Olympics Georgia. "Since we were unable to secure a location in Area 2 for the games, we were forced to cancel."

Katherine Culver, special education director for Hall schools, said Friday she was unaware the games were canceled and would try to see if Special Olympics Georgia would allow the games to be rescheduled. She was informed of the cancellation when interviewed Friday for this story. She said that previous dates that had been planned at Johnson High School wouldn't work, including Friday, which was an early release date.

Culver is hoping to reset the games for April 29 or 30 at Johnson, last year's site.

May said before Friday that some programs in Area 2 - comprising 13 counties, including Hall -- have been invited to attend Area 5 Games in Madison County this month. She said she learned about the cancellation in the first week of March when she contacted Fenton Morris, who served as Hall County Parks & Leisure Services' athletic coordinator until his departure on March 28, to ask him the date of the games.

"At that time, Fenton stated that they would not be hosting the games," she said. "There was no reason given for canceling. Apparently, a date was not set in the fall for the games and when facilities were contacted in the spring, the facilities were no longer available."

Morris, asked about why and how Area 2 games were canceled, replied in a March 28 e-mail: "This is not a local Hall County event. It is a (Special Olympics Georgia) Area 2 event that consists of 13 ... counties. ... SOGA runs this event."  He referred further questions to May.

Area Games typically are held before the state games. The State Summer Games are set for May 30-June 1 at Emory University in Atlanta.

"Hall County has typically hosted these games in the past," including last year, May said. "... (It) is a central location for the games, making it easy for surrounding counties to attend."



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