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Qualifying means it's time for campaigning
Plenty of candidates have already thrown
their hat in the ring for the positions up for grabs in the elections
coming up this year.
Grant To Provide Computers To Four Jackson Libraries
The world's richest man has probably never
heard of Jackson County, but each of the county's four public
libraries will get more than $16,000 worth of computer equipment
from his foundation.
Trio in robbery, stabbing of cab driver plead guilty during
Judge calls actions a 'definition of violence'
A Jackson County judge called the attack on a
Gainesville taxi cab driver "the very definition of violence"
Tuesday morning when three people were sentenced in the attack
after changing their pleas to guilty.
Qualifying For County Elections Is Next Week
JEFFERSON -- It's put up or shut up time
for Jackson County residents seeking political office.
Duke-Weeks groundbreaking planned Monday
Groundbreaking ceremonies will be held at
2 p.m. on Monday, at the site for the first Duke-Weeks development
New MCHS principal named
Bob Rhinehart is Madison County High School's
Public meeting held on charter school proposal
About 15 citizens, including two school board
members, came out for the first of four public meetings to be
held around the county on a proposed charter high school for
BCHS hosts shot at third straight golf title
When Banks County High School co-hosts the
Region 8-A golf tournament Monday at Scales Creek Country Club,
there will be more than homefield pride at stake.
Diamond Leopards close 20-5 year
Dawson Co. downs BCHS for playoff spot
If it isn't the most, it's got to be close.
The Banks County High School baseball team turned in what is
surely one of the best baseball seasons in the school's history.
The Banks County News
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CHECKING OUT THE
Shkeya Daniels is shown checking
out the Banks County High School prom Saturday night at the Georgia
Mountains Center in Gainesville. The theme was "Never let
Photo by Travis Hatfield
Baldwin may add
drug dog to offset rising crime
By Shar Porier
Police chief Sheriff Larry Andrews told the Baldwin City Council
Thursday night that drug arrests are up in the town when he presented
figures on the rise in crime in the first four months of this
The main areas of increase are arrests for driving under the
influence of intoxicants and drugs. So far in April, there have
been seven drug arrests, involving marijuana, cocaine, and methamphetamines.
"We have major problems coming and we need to head them
off", he said. "There is an increasing influence of
drugs coming here and through here. And they are finding new
hiding places that are hard to detect with normal seach procedures."
Andrews proposed that the department utilize a dog trained to
sniff out drugs. Officer Eric Cook has been researching drug
dogs and has found two trainers offering dogs from $4,000 to
$7,000, depending on the level of training.
The canine would literally be Cook's partner and would be considered
an officer of the law, complete with badge. The partners would
patrol together during duty hours and the dog would be housed
at Cook's residence when off-duty. Cook estimated the cost of
feeding and vet care to be around $500 per year. He went on to
say that he prefers a dog, like a Labrador, that would not be
frightening to children.
When a drug arrest is made, the seizure of vehicles and other
items, which can be worth thousands of dollars, are placed in
a special seizure fund which is separate from the city's operating
budget. Andrews proposes using the seizure fund to acquire and
care for the canine officer. In a recent seizure, two vehicles
worth around $6,000 were acquired. Cook feels the dog would pay
its own way in this respect.
Under current law, known as the "Free Air Act," if
an officer stops a car and smells marijuana or crack cocaine,
an officer with a canine partner has the legal right to circle
the vehicle with the dog to detect if and where the contraband
may be located. Once the dog senses a drug, the officer has probable
cause to search the vehicle.
Councilman Kevin Gaddis added that with the influx of people
out of Atlanta, the problem will only get worse.
Tractor trailers may
be in for citations in Baldwin
By Shar Porier
Eighteen-ton tractor trailers have been "tearing up the
roads" in Baldwin, according to police chief Frank Andrews.
After looking into state laws on the subject, he disclosed to
the Baldwin City council at Thursday night's work session that
signage can be placed on certain roads to restrict use. By using
either "No Through Trucks" or "Weight Limit"
signs, the roads can be protected from damage by haulers using
back roads. An exception would be made only for deliveries. Drivers
parking their tractor trailers at home would no longer be permissible,
he said. Tractors by themselves pose no problem and this new
proposition would not apply to them, leaders said.
Plans call for warnings to be given at first and then a citation
if the hauler persists. Mayor Mark Reed agreed that a resolution
needs to be drawn up on the matter, as well as deciding which
streets to include.
City of Baldwin
discusses leash law
By Shar Porier
An ordinance for "nuisance animals"
was discussed at the Baldwin City Council work session Thursday
evening. Police chief Larry Andrews invited certified animal
control specialist, Norm Blackwell, to the meeting to present
the city council with suggestions on how to go about addressing
Blackwell is contracted by the City of Cornelia for animal control
where an $83 fine is imposed on owners who let their animals
roam. Blackwell charges a fee of $15 per pick-up which could
be assessed to Baldwin in a weekly billing.
Blackwell explained the procedure for animal pick-up and how
they would be cared for at the county animal shelter. Animals
that are in good health and are considered adoptable would be
fed and housed for five days. If the animal fails to be adopted
in that time period, it is euthanized. Non-tagged aggressive
animals that are difficult to control may not be that lucky,
Andrews noted that Baldwin has no leash ordinance in place at
this time. His force is unable to respond to complaints about
stray animals unless the animal bites someone. Blackwell would
be unable to provide the services described above unless such
an ordinance exists. Should an ordinance be adopted, the city
could regain the pick-up fees and any fines they set from the
owners of the animals.
"It would place the responsibility back on the owners and
help relieve the city of the problem," Andrews said.
Mayor Mark Reed added the possibility of requiring Baldwin residents
to purchase a city tag for their animals to help off-set costs.
The council asked that Blackwell provide some sample ordinances
to look over. They will then draft and offer the ordinance for
for county offices
Qualifying for several Banks County offices
will be held from 9 a.m. on Monday, April 24, through noon on
Friday, April 28.
Seats up for grabs on the Banks County Board of Education include:
Post 1, currently held by Neal Brown; Post 2, held by Ron Gardiner;
and Post 4, held by Len Dalton. The qualifying fee for posts
1 and 4 is $51 and the fee for Post 2 is $57.
Other offices and qualifying fees are as follows: commission
chairman, $900; tax commissioner, $838.83; probate judge, $1,000.83;
clerk of court, $982.35; sheriff, $1,112.67; magistrate judge,
$744.03; coroner, $126.75; and surveyor, $18.
Both Democrat and Republican candidates are to qualify in the
office of probate judge Milton Dalton.
The primary election is set for Tuesday, July 18, and if a run-off
is necessary for the primary, it will be held on August 8. The
general election will be November 7, with the run-off scheduled
for November 28.
EPD hearing set Thurs. in Homer
The Georgia Environmental Protection Division
will hold a public hearing at 7 p.m. Thursday at the courthouse
in Homer on what air quality regulations apply to the Banks County
EPD officials will be present to hear comments from residents
on anything that applies to air quality: odors, dust, methane
and other chemicals that affect the health of residents.
Lula council opposed
to railroad request on bridge
BY BETH L. CHESTER
Lula city council members are opposed to requests by Norfolk
Southern Railway that it be permitted to demolish the Lula overhead
During the council's regular meeting Monday, council members
asked that city attorney Brad Patton draft a letter to the railroad
clarifying the city's position.
City officials want the overhead bridge to remain intact and
open to traffic, even if it cannot be repaired for use by heavy
Currently, weight limits restrict use of the bridge to lightweight
automobiles and small trucks.
The railroad argues repairs to the bridge are too costly and
should not be made.
The city attorney told the council that he investigated reports
that a 1980s court order required the railroad to maintain the
bridge but said he found no such order.
Patton said he did locate a complaint filed by the city in 1980
and a subsequent response by the railroad. However, the city
attorney said court records indicate the case was dismissed without
an order having been filed.
"I am trying to get in touch with Bobby Lawson to see if
an agreement was entered consensually between the city and railroad,"
Many of the same issues raised by the city and the railroad in
current discussions were also cited as concerns in 1980, he said.
"We know the bridge means a lot to the people," a council
member said, citing the historical significance of the bridge.
During budget discussions at the meeting, Mayor Tim Allen told
council members that approximately $101,000 will remain for special
projects in fiscal year 2001, based upon projected revenues.
Allen suggested those funds be allocated among four areas. Council
members tentatively agreed to fund $20,000 in cemetery improvements,
$20,000 in unspecified capital improvements, $25,000 in unspecified
equipment purchases, and $36,000 in street and road improvements.
The funds fall under a general government heading and can be
reassigned as necessary.
Total city revenue for the current fiscal year is now expected
to be approximately $334,000, representing a $10,000 increase
The increase is likely attributable to local option sales tax
increases, Allen said.
The first reading of the budget will be held in May and must
be passed in June.
In other business, council members:
·learned that the Georgia Mountains Regional Development
Council has approved the city's short-term program of its five-year
comprehensive plan. The council adopted the new plan.
·agreed to ask the city's auditor to review records of
ownership at the city cemetery and agreed to obtain price quotes
from surveyors interested in surveying the cemetery.
·heard from the mayor that the commercial mower approved
in March has been purchased and is expected to significantly
reduce the mowing time.
·heard from the mayor that the city is awaiting a plat
description of land approved for purchase in March.
·heard from the mayor that after July 1, the city should
receive $7,000 from the county, due to taxation inequities identified
by the state last year. Through increased property taxes, city
residents had paid for services not provided to them by the county,
·agreed to have the city attorney draft a letter of concern
to a logging company. City officials fear the company may be
planning to use Tallant Drive, a paved city road into a subdivision,
as an entrance and exit for logging trucks. Mayor Allen said
he will ask the Georgia Department of Transportation to enforce
"no through truck" signs.
Alto receives GEFA money for replacing residential
BY BETH L. CHESTER
Additional funding has been authorized for a $510,000 project
to replace many of the water lines serving City of Alto residents.
Last week, Mayor Jack King announced that the Georgia Environmental
Facility Authority (GEFA) has approved a loan to fund water line
construction not completed last year.
The deteriorating 30-year-old water lines had been constructed
with a material which contained asbestos. The funding announcement
was made during the city's regular meeting, April 11.
Water lines have already been replaced from Apple Pie Ridge Road
to Crane Mill Road. New construction should begin soon along
B.C. Grant Road to the city limits and from the post office to
the water tower.
City officials are hopeful the additional lines will be in place
within three months. Blue Contractors is responsible for the
Council members told concerned resident Grover Stewart that funds
have not yet been approved to replace remaining asbestos water
lines along Smokey Road and Crane Mill Road.
In other business, the council:
·heard a report from council member Susan Wade that parents
of Banks County students who wish to attend Habersham County
schools should begin now making arrangements for permission for
their children to do so, under guidelines set forth in recent
legislation. Parents should notify superintendents of both schools
of their intentions now, according to a report from State Representative
Carol Jackson, and request vouchers.
·received a rough draft of a proposed city employee handbook.
·approved a motion to redefine industry as any business
or individual who uses at least 100,000 gallons of water in one
month, agreeing to charge the commercial rate beyond that usage.
·agreed to hold a called meeting April 24 at 7 p.m. in
order to meet with Georgia Mountains Regional Development Council
planners to work on the city's zoning ordinance.
·approved the repair of Smokey Road, where the water line
had been replaced and the road had been patched.
·approved the installation of five additional speed bumps.
·agreed to install more lights at the playground.
·voted to deem Good Friday a holiday for city employees.
·agreed that council members will determine where street
lights need to be placed along B.C. Grant Road.
Go to Banks
Public Meeting Dates
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'World's Largest Egg Hunt' ahead Sun.
Plans are under way for the "World's
Largest Easter Egg Hunt" sponsored by the Garrison family.
The event is set for Easter Sunday, April 23, at 2 p.m. at the
Garrison home on Hwy. 51 in Homer.
There is no age limit and no admission fee. Leaders say the only
thing those who attend need to bring is a very large Easter basket
as there will be approximately 100,000 eggs to find.
There will also be 125 prize eggs bringing lucky winners live
rabbits, stuffed toys and filled Easter baskets, according to
Sherry Ward, executive assistant at the Banks County Chamber
For more information, call the chamber office at 677-2108.