State representative Ben Bridges presented
M.L. and Flora Harrison with a flag that was flown over the state
capital in their honor on their 70th wedding anniversary. The
celebration was held Sunday at the Old Banks County Jail.
70 years together
BY SHERRY LEWIS
Hundreds of family and friends filed through the Old Banks County
Jail on Sunday to offer congratulations to M.L. and Flora Harrison
for 70 years of marriage and for their service to Banks County.
The couple grew up in the Maysville area, where they were neighbors,
then sweethearts, before becoming man and wife on January 19,
Over the years, the couple say they have just "drifted along"
and months turned to years and years to decades.
"We've just been drifting along together," said Mrs.
Harrison. "We've had a happy life."
A good portion of their lives has been in public service.
Mr. Harrison was a truck driver, a mail carrier, mayor of Maysville
and a Banks County deputy before being elected sheriff in November
1960. He served as sheriff of Banks County for 16 years.
The very room where they sat on Sunday was where they lived for
13 years while Mr. Harrison was sheriff. They spent the remainder
of their time at the jail that is still in operation today.
"We were the last ones to live in the old jail and the first
ones to live in the new jail," Mrs. Harrison remembered.
Being the sheriff and the wife of the sheriff was a full-time
job, seven days a week, 24 hours a day, she explained. While
Mr. Harrison patrolled the roads and helped to make Banks County
a safer place to live, Mrs. Harrison was cooking up some of the
best food prisoners and law enforcement people ever ate, according
to some who attended the anniversary celebration.
"You been cooking any biscuits lately?" was the first
of many statements made about Mrs. Harrison's biscuits.
Mrs. Harrison replied: "If I only had a dollar for every
one of them biscuits, I'd be doing good."
Former state patrolman Bill Grant praised Mrs. Harrison for her
"You really took care of us when we were working over here,"
said Grant, referring to the home cooking.
Mrs. Harrison said it was no bother, the law enforcement people
were like family.
"The state patrol was just like our family and, if we needed
anything, they were there to help us out," she remembered.
Mrs. Harrison not only cooked but wore many hats. In fact, she
was Deputy Flora Harrison at that time.
"I cooked, kept the books, locked them up and let them out,"
After serving as sheriff for 16 years, Harrison went to Jackson
County as a deputy, where he worked another 16 years before retiring.
"I was out that door at 7 and done deputized to go to work
in Jackson County," Mr. Harrison remembered.
State Representative Ben Bridges read a proclamation he had written
to the couple praising them not only for their personal accomplishments,
but for their public service. He also read a proclamation from
Gov. Roy Barnes and from secretary of state Cathy Cox. The proclamation
from Cox stated that a flag in honor of the Harrisons flew over
the state capitol on Thursday. Bridges presented the couple with
that flag on Sunday.
Bridges also reminisced about what the Harrisons had meant to
him. Bridges operated a barber shop, now home of The Banks County
News, when he became friends with Mr. Harrison. At that time,
there was only one road deputy and Harrison on staff, so Bridges
rode in the patrol car with the sheriff at night.
"One night, in 1965, he said, 'Ben, do you like law enforcement?
Would you like to get on with the state patrol?'
"I said, 'I can't get on with the state patrol. That's way
over my head.' I grew up on a farm and I didn't have my goals
set that high. He helped me open that door."
Today, the couple resides in Maysville. They have two daughters,
Lois Harper and Rachel Wilson, both of Maysville. They also have
six grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren.
Child injured when
truck hits school bus
A 12-year-old child was transported to
Northeast Georgia Medical Center complaining of neck pain following
a school bus accident Monday.
Bus driver Amy O'Kelley was traveling on Hwy. 98 when a 1995
Ford F-250, driven by Stanley Phillip Morris, 46, Jefferson,
rounded a curve at the Reed Street intersection and hit the bus
in the rear, according to Banks County Sheriff Charles Chapman.
The Georgia State Patrol is investigating the cause of the accident.
The child was treated and released Monday afternoon, according
to Doug O'Neal, director of emergency medical services. None
of the other children were injured in the accident. Approximately
50 children were on the bus.
Census to be taken
Banks County will soon be canvassed by
people gathering information for the census.
The census data is important to counties and cities because it
is used to determine grant eligibility and funding for social
welfare programs. It is also used to calculate how many state
and national representatives a state is entitled. Leaders say
that inaccuracies in the 1990 census led to Georgia missing out
on two addtional represntative allocations for Congress. Salaries
for county officials are also based on census information.
In 1990, only 65 percent of the people in the United States participated
in the census.
The population of the county has not been counted in 10 years.
All the information on the census is confidential and will not
be disclosed to anyone, leaders say. It is not reported to the
Internal Revenue Service nor will it be sold to telephone solicitors.
Those hired by the census bureau will be visiting homes to hand
out forms. These forms are to be filled out and mailed in to
the census bureau. Some countians will be given the short forms,
which only ask for the number of residents per household and
similar questions, while others will be given a longer form asking
for more information.
Those who miss the census counters may pick up forms at area
pharmacies, banks and grocery stores. Display boxes will be placed
in participating businesses to provide these forms and a place
to drop them off.
Les Norton of the census bureau will be taking interviews for
census-takers at the Banks County Public Library on Tuesdays
and Thursdays at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. for the next several months.
Motel owners appeal
BY SHERRY LEWIS
Two Banks County motel owners agree that Banks Crossing doesn't
need another economy motel but say that an upscale hotel could
be an asset.
Gordon Eanes, owner of Days Inn, and Chandra Patel, owner of
Holiday Inn Express and Dollarwise Inn, met with the Banks County
Board of Commissioners on Friday to express those concerns. No
action was taken.
Last month, the BOC discussed a request by some motel operators
to place a moratorium on motels in the area. On Friday, the men
said they were interested in limiting economy motels and vying
for a full-service hotel which could bring conventions to the
area. This could be done by adding requirements for motels, such
as elevators, an interior entrance, larger lobby areas and a
minimum amount of meeting space, according to Eanes.
A 200-room Marriott, a full-service hotel, would bring conventions
to the area and bring additional business to the economy motels
as well, Eanes continued.
This scenario happened in Gwinnett County on Pleasant Hill Road,
Eanes continued. Many motels were struggling until the Marriott
built in that area.
Patel agreed said: "We need an upscale hotel with full facilities.
Those were barely surviving until the Marriott came to Pleasant
Presently, Banks Crossing has small economy motels and no meeting
rooms, said Patel. When new economy motels are built, they take
the revenues from other motels.
"There is not enough profit to upgrade and you have distress
hotels which become weekly hotels," Patel said. "People
come and bring their families and put a burden on the school
system. It is extremely important that a hotel remain profitable
to maintain itself."
Eanes said: "This is a scenario I've seen firsthand. Suddenly,
you've got five or six people living in a room. It could impact
the school by three bus loads in the morning."
BOC chairman James Dumas suggested addressing the problem with
additional ordinances that require kitchens and a square-foot
minimum for weekly motels.
The BOC must still deal with motels in the area which would be
grandfathered in, Patel reminded Dumas.
BOC member Ernest Rogers agreed with Dumas.
"I believe in free trade," he said. "Competition
will make motels upgrade instead of downgrade. It is up to the
board to set regulations to limit these monthly stays."