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FRONT PAGE - FEBRUARY 2, 2000 - HOMER, GA

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MORE WINTER OR AN EARLY SPRING?

Will Banks County see six more weeks of winter or an early spring? Above, Ermain Corona, 6, colored a groundhog and glued it to its shadow to ensure an early spring. Ermain learned about Groundhog Day in Dana San U's kindergarten class at Banks County Primary School this week.
Photo by Sherry Lewis


EDUCATION

White chosen as superintendent
BOE decides against conducting a search
The Banks County Board of Education has declared that acting superintendent Deborah White is the best person for the job and decided not to conduct a search for a superintendent.
In a called meeting Tuesday afternoon, the BOE unanimously approved a motion to negotiate a contract with White. Before making the decision, they met in closed session for almost an hour.
"I move that the BOE declare that Deborah White is the best qualified person to be the next superintendent of the Banks County School System and that the board proceed to attempt to negotiate a contract of employment with her for that position," was the motion approved by member Len Dalton, seconded by Ron Gardiner and approved by Don Shubert, Herbert "Bo" Garrison Jr. and Neal Brown.
The BOE must wait 14 days to take a final vote on the matter.
In other action, the BOE voted not to conduct a search to fill the superintendent's position by a 3-2 vote. Gardiner, Dalton and Garrison voted not to conduct the search. Brown and Shubert voted against this motion.
White has served as acting superintendent since Dock Sisk resigned late last year. She has worked in the Banks County School System for 25 years. She has been a language arts teacher, gifted teacher and was named curriculum director in 1978. That title was later changed to assistant superintendent.
White has an education specialist degree in administration and supervision, a masters in education-administration and supervision and a bachelor's degree in language arts all from the University of Georgia. She has served on numerous educational committees during her years in education.
She is state president of the Georgia Association of Curriculum and Instructional Supervisors. She serves on the State Commission for Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) and the Regional Committee for Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.
White has served on the Georgia Association of Educational Leaders board of directors for three years. She also serves on the Piedmont Regional board of directors.
She was named Distinguished Curriculum Director by the State Curriculum Association in 1988, the region in 1987; and was named "Volunteer of the Year" by the American Red Cross in 1988.
White is a Banks County native. She is the daughter of Lila Duckett and the late Young Duckett. She is married to Tommy White and they have one son, Jason, 16, a junior at Banks County High School.


LOCAL GOVERNMENT

Baldwin under EPD deadline to start work on waste water plant
BY SHERRY LEWIS
Baldwin officials have got to act quickly to begin work on a proposed $1.4 million waste water treatment plant before the state permit expires.
The city is under a deadline by the Georgia Environmental Protection Division to complete a "significant" amount of work on the project by March 1 or the permit will lapse. If the project is not under way, the city must go through the permitting process again, costing an estimated $60,000, according to city attorney David Syfan.
Contractor Sonny McNeil estimates it will take $100,000 to show significant work at the site during February. The problem is that the city has yet to obtain financing for the proposed project.
The city will most likely use private revenue bonds for financing, which will take 90 days, Syfan continued. In the meantime, he suggests the city look at short-term financing.
"The city will be taking a bath, so to speak, if we have to start the permitting process again," Syfan said. "That should be enough work to vest the permit."
Financial consultant Howard Hutchinson said he has a verbal agreement to secure at least $100,000 to get the project under way or possibly for the entire project, according to Syfan.
"It makes economic sense to borrow the money to get man and machine out there working," he said. "You will come out ahead to pay a little bit of interest to avoid paying the permit expense again."
McNeil has made a commitment to get the project started, said Syfan.
"He is taking a leap of faith to get men, material and machine ready in expectation the city will tell him to get started on something in February," said Syfan. "If you don't get financing in place, he stands to lose a fair amount of money."
Syfan said it could be necessary to call a special meeting later this month to approve the short-term financing.


Baldwin mayor breaks leg in ice storm
Baldwin Mayor Mark Reed is resting at home this week after breaking his leg while helping public safety workers during the ice storm early Sunday morning.
A police car had slid off the road and other city vehicles were being used to get the car out of the ditch. Reed was assisting when he slid on the ice and broke his leg in two places. Reed had to be taken from the site off Hwy. 23 by a four-wheeler to meet an ambulance, where he was transported to Habersham County Medical Center.


Banks jobless rate remains at 2.9
The latest figures from the Georgia Department of Labor put the Banks County jobless rate at 2.9 percent for December, the same as it was during November.
For the same month, the Athens Metropolitan Statistical Area hit a record low of 2.0 percent. The unemployment rate for the United States was 4.1 percent and for Georgia it was 3.2.
Other area counties and their unemployment rates for December include Jackson, down to 2.3 percent from 2.6 percent; Barrow, up to 2.6 percent from 2.4 percent; Athens-Clarke, 2.0 percent, the same as in November; Franklin, 2.3 percent, down from 2.6; Gwinnett, 2.1 percent, down from 2.3; Hall, 1.7 percent, down from 1.8; and Madison, 2.7 percent, down from 3.2 percent in November.



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