News from Banks County...

 April 26, 2000


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OPINION
Time to clean up
Banks Countians need to take note of the clean-up day planned by the City of Baldwin Saturday and join in.


Neighborhood News...
JACKSON COUNTY
Several Industrial Prospects Considering Jackson Sites
JEFFERSON -- A company has signed a lease to occupy a 102,000-square-foot building for a distribution center, Pattillo plans to build yet another spec building and a deal is in process that could open up the 600,000 square feet of Mitsubishi buildings in Braselton to industry.

Bell To Challenge Tolbert
County Commissioner To Make Run For State Representative's Job
JEFFERSON -- A week ago, the Democratic Party was so desperate for a candidate to take on Rep. Scott Tolbert that it ran newspaper ads seeking a candidate.

Duke-Weeks holds WJ groundbreaking
More than 50 people gathered under a white tent Monday afternoon in Braselton to celebrate a new industrial development venture by the Duke-Weeks company.

County BOC opposes Pendergrass annexation
A request from the McEver estate to annex a 191-acre tract into Pendergrass is on hold following opposition from the county.


News from
MADISON COUNTY
Let the races begin
Qualifying opens for local posts, ends Friday
As of Wednesday morning, a number of candidates had qualified for local offices.

Storm water restrictions still up in the air
Proposed restrictions on storm water management in Madison County were discussed at Monday's commissioners' meeting, but no action was taken.

Architect firm hired for new county jail
An architectural firm was hired for the proposed Madison County jail Monday night.


SPORTS
BCHS golfers take 2nd, 4th

Lady Leopards runners-up in region; GAC, Providence take boys' state tourney berths
Banks County's run at a third straight Region 8-A golf title slipped away Monday on the Leopards' home Scales Creek Course.

Gridiron Leopards set for 2000
After all the changes of realignment, the Banks County's football schedule for next fall is official.


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SCIENCE FUN AT BCMS

Zackery Overacker is shown trying his luck at the river tributary experiment at Family Science Night held Thursday at Banks County Middle School. The event was held to give parents an opportunity to see the educational activities students have done throughout the year. Other activities included the "electricity center," the "balloon rocket" and the star lab. Photo by Angela Gary

LOCAL GOVERNMENT

Probate judge and sheriff races heat up
Qualifying ends at noon on Friday
BY ANGELA GARY
After two days of qualifying, the sheriff and probate judge races in Banks County are the ones with the most interested candidates.
In the sheriff's race, four Democrats and one Republican had qualified as of press time Tuesday afternoon. The Democrats include incumbent Charles Chapman, Cecil Calloway, Ray Seabolt and David Dunson. The only Republican candidate to qualify so far is John Arnold.
In the probate judge's race, the candidates who have qualified so far include: Billy Poole, Carol Ayers, Ben Whisnant and David Gunter, all Democrats.
Others who had qualified as of Tuesday night include: Kenneth Brady (D), chairman of the board of commissioners; incumbent Tim Harper (D), clerk of courts; incumbent Tommy Herbert, coroner; incumbent Margaret Ausburn (D), tax commissioner; incumbent Neal Brown (D) and Kathleen Hooper (D), both for post 1 on the board of education; incumbent Ron Gardiner (D), post 2 on the BOE; Dottie Morris (D), post 4 on the BOE; and incumbent Henry David Banks (D), magistrate judge.
Qualifying ends at noon on Friday. Qualifying will be in probate judge Milton Dalton's office for both Republican and Democratic candidates.
As for the state races, incumbent Jeanette Jamieson (D) and Bill Grant (R) have qualified for the District 22 seat in the Georgia House of Representatives. In the District 47 Senate race, incumbent Eddie Madden (D) is the only one to qualify so far.
For updates on qualifying, check our web page each day at www.mainstreetnews.com.
The primary election is set for Tuesday, July 18, and, if a run-off is necessary for the primary, it will be held on Aug. 8. The general election will be Nov. 7 with the run-off scheduled for Nov. 28.


Four drug charges result of 'interstate interdiction'
BY BETH L. CHESTER
Area law enforcement officials netted four felony narcotics arrests and several misdemeanor citations during a multi-agency alcohol and narcotics interstate interdiction last week.
Banks County Sheriff Charles Chapman organized the check-point, which began around 10 a.m. Thursday, April 20, along the I-85 off-ramp at Martin Bridge Road.
After agents reportedly located several plastic bags of a green leafy substance behind the dash of one vehicle, officers arrested Cedrick Lamonte White, 25, and Alomie Lisa James, 28, both of Florence, S.C., charging them with felony possession of marijuana with intent to distribute.
"The marijuana was packaged for sale," said Sheriff Charles Chapman.
Officers also charged two other out-of-state motorists with felony possession of illegal narcotics, when they reportedly located a small quantity of a substance believed to be ecstasy in a vehicle occupied by two Maryland teenagers, 18-year-old Josepth Michael Sullivan and 17-year-old Gloria June Flanders. Officers also charged Sullivan with misdemeanor possession of marijuana.
Canine units played a key role in narcotics seizure during the day, authorities said.
If a narcotics detection canine "hits" on a vehicle, indicating the presence of a controlled substance, case law allows a thorough roadside search of the vehicle, without a warrant or occupant consent, according to Northeast Georgia Drug Task Force Commander Chance Oxner.
Guidelines covering roadside searches are less restrictive than those outlined for searches of homes, Oxner said, because a vehicle may be easily moved.
Officers are not allowed to walk narcotics detection canines around vehicles detained at road checkpoints unless officers are able to articulate reasonable cause for suspecting illegal narcotics possession.
"We look for certain indicators, including conflicting stories, which may lead us to believe a crime is being committed," Oxner said.
Officers also made one arrest for driving under the influence, two arrests for driving on suspended or revoked licenses and one arrest for no proof of insurance.
Chapman said his office organizes interstate check-points several times each year. Past interstate interdictions have been more successful, according to the sheriff, who said similar efforts since 1997 have resulted in the seizure of more than 100 pounds of marijuana and at least $120,000 in United States currency.
Thursday's cooperative effort teamed agents from the Northeast Georgia Drug Task Force, the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, the Georgia Public Service Commission, the Georgia Department of Public Safety and the Banks County Sheriff's Department.
Canines certified in narcotics detection were on hand with handlers from Lee Arrendale State Prison in Alto and the local drug task force.


Alto council to bring zoning to town
BY BETH L. CHESTER
Zoning is on its way to the City of Alto - on its way, that is, unless any local residents who may be opposed to the move are able to sway their representatives' thoughts.
During a work session Monday night, Alto town council members made their positions clear: They want zoning in Alto as soon as possible.
Members unanimously adopted a resolution that Mayor Jack King begin proceedings aimed at drafting a binding zoning ordinance.
With the council's endorsement, King asked Georgia Mountains Regional Development Center (RDC) planning director Larry Sparks to place the city on the short list of cities and counties in need of assistance for zoning ordinance development.
Sparks attended the work session at the council's request, giving members an overview of typical zoning regulations.
Council members of the one-mile-wide city, split along railroad tracks between Banks and Habersham counties, are tired of being left behind in the race to attract quality growth, King said following the meeting.
The city will begin courting good growth once zoning is in place, he said.
"We are trying to make the town attractive," he said. "We don't want to be left out because we did nothing."
With zoning in place, council members are hoping adjacent property owners will want to join the city, King said, expanding its size and giving it room to grow.
The mayor doesn't expect dissension within the council.
"We are all of one mind," he said.
Council members may agree with zoning, but RDC planning director Sparks told the council it should expect complaints from citizens.
"Some say zoning is telling people what to do with their property," Sparks said, "but at the same time, it protects residents who thought they were building in a quiet area."
Under authority of the state's Constitution, city and county governing boards are empowered to implement zoning without putting the issue before the voters, Sparks told council members, recommending they utilize that authority.
In other jurisdictions where citizens were given the opportunity to vote, zoning measures failed, Sparks said, pointing to White County as a recent example.
"You have the power to plan and zone your community," Sparks said.
"Inevitably, people complain, and you will have to deal with that if you decide to do this," he said, adding that many believe the benefits of zoning out-weigh the draw-backs.
"Zoning can also enhance and protect property values by preventing undesirable uses from coming in right next door and hurting your property values," he said.
If zoning is enacted in Alto, the city's future land-use map must be updated, Sparks said.
In reviewing the map, council members pointed to an area which was designated for agricultural use. It has since been developed for another purpose, members said.
Without zoning, the future land-use map is useless, Sparks told board members, because there is currently no city ordinance which authorizes the city to regulate the usage of land.
Sparks told the council to begin forming a committee of citizens to draft a proposed ordinance with the RDC's assistance.
The committee could remain in place and become the city's planning commission, which would hear requests for rezonings, variances to the ordinance and conditional use permits. State law requires such a board be in place.
Zoning would not be retroactive, Sparks pointed out.
"You pretty much have to live with what you've got," he said.
Existing uses of land which fall outside approved land-use in any given area will be grandfathered and allowed to continue, Sparks said.
The council has wide discretion in determining whether grandfathered uses may continue indefinitely, passed on when the land is sold or conveyed through wills, for example, or whether new owners must conform the land to permitted usage.
In other business during the work session, council members unanimously accepted an employee handbook, which includes numerous employee policies. Copies of the handbook will be presented to each city employee.



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EPD hearing held on landfill permit
BY ANGELA GARY
A routine hearing of the Georgia Environmental Protection Division outlining new regulations for permitting for landfills Thursday night in Homer turned into a session for neighbors of Chambers/R&B Waste to air their concerns about the operation.
Jimmy Johnston, permit program director for the air protection division of EPD, said the meeting was held to discuss the new Title 5 permit that is required for landfills. He said the new permit brings no changes in the regulations for landfills but provides one document for all existing requirements. He said it is a method of additional monitoring and record-keeping.
"It doesn't bring in any new requirements for controling emissions," he said. "It doesn't allow them to do anything different that they don't already do...If we don't issue it, they can still operate."
A draft Title 5 permit for the landfill, which is located on Frank Bennett Road in Homer, was issued to Chambers/R&B on Jan. 13. A notice of this was placed in The Banks County News on Feb. 16, giving citizens 30 days to file concerns or request a hearing in Homer. Johnston said the EPD received a written request for the hearing, which is why it was scheduled. Other air and land quality experts and engineers were present to answer questions from those who attended.
The majority of the questions didn't address the new permit but dealt with concerns about odors and water quality and how testing for emissions is handled.
"We're looking at the impact as far as public health," Johnston said. "Odor, while it may be a nuisance, is not being monitored for public health."
A man who lives near the landfill said his lake is polluted with buzzards and seagulls.
"We don't regulate the birds that come into the landfill," Johnston said. "That is inherent with any landfill."
Several questions also dealt with what kinds of materials are being placed in the landfill. Harold Gillespie of the land protection branch said PCBs, batteries and hazardous waste are not allowed in the landfill. He said household and industrial waste are accepted.


Baldwin to hold annual clean-up campaign on Saturday
The City of Baldwin is seeking volunteers for its plans during the upcoming Great American Cleanup and Keep Georgia Beautiful month.
The city will participate in the clean-up planned for 9 a.m. Saturday, April 29. Residents are encouraged to participate by cleaning up. This is the third year the city has participated in the Great American Cleanup.
Hoping for a good turnout Saturday, Baldwin city officials have plenty of bags, gloves and free T-shirts ready for residents who want to help clean up the city. So far, 50 people have signed up and more are expected by Saturday. Following the clean-up, a barbecue will be held. For more information contact Baldwin City Hall at 706-778-6341.
The Great American Cleanup has been a part of the Keep America Beautiful program for 15 years. This year, residents of Baldwin will join more than two million volunteers in more than 10,000 communities in 35 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and Canada who are set to take part in the campaign.
Last year, volunteers across the country picked up millions of pounds of litter, collected recyclables, eliminated illegal dump sites, renewed parks, planted community gardens by the thousands and cleaned up lakes, rivers, seashores and roadsides from coast to coast.