News from Banks County...

 May 19, 2000


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OPINION
The door is open or the door is shut
Few sights are more distressing to some public officials than the citizen (or newspaper reporter) who comes into a public meeting, takes out a pad and pencil and takes notes-particularly notes about "controversial" matters.


SPORTS
Ivey competes in state track meet
Banks County's Chris Ivey finished out of the top six...


Neighborhood News...
JACKSON COUNTY
North Jackson man killed in Wednesday morning stabbing
A North Jackson man was apparently stabbed to death early Wednesday morning following a domestic dispute.

City Council Shows Interest In Impact Fees
Members of the Commerce City Council developed a sudden enthusiasm for charging impact fees...

JHS graduation set Fri. night
Jefferson High School will hold its commencement ceremony at 7 p.m. Friday, May 19, at Memorial Stadium.

ITBS results mostly good news for local schools
Results of the annual ITBS testing in Jackson County schools showed general improvement this year, according to school averages released last week.


News from
MADISON COUNTY
DOT debacle
Harold Gaulding says he believes in standing up for what he believes is right - even if it means being arrested.

Hull spring festival set for Saturday
The city of Hull will hold its second annual Community Spring Festival on Saturday, May 20, beginning with a parade at 10 a.m.

'One good call'
When Wendy Rice went into labor one night a few weeks ago, she and husband Brian knew they were probably not going to make it to St. Mary's Hospital in Athens for the birth.

County students above national average on ITBS
The 2000 Madison County ITBS report card closely resembles the 1999 results, with county students generally above the national average in basic skills.


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The Banks County News
Homer, Georgia
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GOATS CAN BE FUN

Arturo Orozco and Damien Abernathy pet a baby goat during the Banks County Elementary School's Farm Day last week. The Farm Day featured goats, sheep, tractors, a Georgia Forestry Commission display, a peanut butter display and various classroom activities.


Recent restaurant inspection reports listed
Scores for restaurants graded by the Banks County Health Department during March, April and May are listed below.
The health department scores on a 100-percent basis, with 85 percent and above passing. If an establishment receives a failing score, it will be re-inspected. After the second inspection, if it is still in violation, the health inspector schedules a meeting with management to assist in bringing the restaurant into compliance. Kitchens are required to post their current score within public view.
The most recent grades and the recommendations for improvement are as follows:
SONNY'S BAR-B-Q: 97
Clean the fans.
MCDONALD'S: 100
RYAN'S: 92
Clean can opener immediately after each use; clean under shelf on prep table; clean women's employee restroom; and label use of each sink.
WAL-MART RADIO GRILL/SNACK: 100
BANKS COUNTY HIGH SCHOOL: 100
BANKS COUNTY PRIMARY SCHOOL: 100
BANKS COUNTY ELEMENTARY SCHOOL: 100
WAFFLE HOUSE #717: 91
Don't leave bacon uncovered in cooler; clean utensils and equipment; do not stack anything wet; let cups dry before stacking; maintain good cleaning methods.
19TH HOLE-SCALES CREEK COUNTRY CLUB: 100
CAPTAIN D'S SEAFOOD: 91
Keep personal drinks in designated area; keep food covered in prep coolers and freezers; clean and check seals around ice machine; and clean around dumpster.

LOCAL GOVERNMENT


Baldwin advances
toward stricter animal control laws
By Shar Porier
Dog owners must now register their pets with the City of Baldwin.
The first reading of the new animal control ordinance was read at last Monday's meeting of the Baldwin City Council. The ordinance carries strict requirements and regulations for animal owners living within Baldwin's city limits. City attorney David Syfan used other local municipalities as a foundation for the ordinance.
Baldwin's new ordinance requires owners of dogs and dangerous animals to register them with the city. All owners will be required to obtain a tag from city hall at the cost of $2 for neutered or spayed dogs and $5 for all other dogs. Forms will be available at city hall for dog owners to fill out. Residents must bring a certification of current rabies inoculation with them, officials say.
The ordinance also specifies that dangerous dogs, potentially dangerous dogs, vicious animals or dangerous animals will not be permitted unless the animal is fully enclosed within a steel chain link fence made to withstand the animal's strength to protect the public from harm. Any animal, except for a dog, cannot be outside of the containment area at any time. Such a dog must be muzzled to prevent biting and restrained by a substantial leash if it is taken out of the enclosure, according to the ordinance.
In addition, the owner must obtain an additional license at a cost of $200; permit inspection of enclosure by the animal control officer; must post the premises with a clearly visible sign of warning; must carry an insurance policy of at least $200,000 issued by an insurer authorized in the State of Georgia; and post a surety bond in the amount of $200,000 issued by a surety company authorized in the State of Georgia. The resident must maintain these policies, or the animal control officer will impound the animal for three days. If proof of insurance is not provided within those three days the animal will be destroyed in an expeditious and humane manner, according to the ordinance.
Other highlights of the ordinance include:
·tags cannot be switched from dog to dog.
·trained attack dogs will not be permitted within city limits.
·residents will not be permitted to allow their dogs to roam at large.
·female dogs in heat must be kept confined and cannot come in contact with male dogs, except for controlled breeding purposes.
·new residents who own dangerous dogs, potentially dangerous dogs, vicious or dangerous animals will have three days to comply with the above restrictions.
·any animal confiscated under these provisions will be returned to the owner upon compliance with the ordinance and payment of confiscation costs, veterinary expenses incurred and charges for maintenance of the animal.
·upon the written complaint of three or more citizens living within 500 feet of an annoying or loudly barking dog, a determination of the municipal court judge of the City of Baldwin that the dog has created a serious annoyment or interference with the use and enjoyment of neighboring premises will be made and the owner will be liable for expenses incurred by the City of Baldwin plus the sum of $35 for court costs. If the owner fails to pay these expenses, the dog will be turned over immediately to the animal control officer for impoundment.
·wild and domesticated fowl are also subject to regulations: Limit of five animals per property; owner must not allow the fowl to roam on any property other than his/her own; they must be kept in an enclosure to prevent their escape, be placed in the rear of the yard, and be kept 20 feet from the property line; owner must keep enclosures, pens, and cages clean; a pit or bin must be maintained so that flies and other pests have no access to the manure.
A copy of this ordinance is on file at the Baldwin City Hall for residents to read, leaders say.


Homer makes move to regulate cell towers
BY BETH L. CHESTER
The Homer Town Council has made a move to regulate the location of cell towers in the city.
The town council signed a restrictive ordinance when it met on May 9 intending to regulate the placement and characteristics of communications towers. But the ordinance won't go into effect unless the town enacts a set of proposed zoning regulations up for consideration later this month.
A mandatory public meeting to hear citizen input on zoning is set for May 30 at 6 p.m. at the town hall. Council members received their copies of the proposed regulations at the council's regular meeting last week. Copies of the proposed regulations are available at city hall for $5.
City attorney David Jones was not present at the council's May meeting. When council members signed the cell tower ordinance Jones had drafted, they were uncertain whether it would go into effect immediately, or whether it too was subject to a hearing. Jones' assistant has since advised The Banks County News the tower ordinance is not yet in effect and will not take effect until/unless the city enacts zoning.
The zoning regulations were drafted by the Georgia Mountains Regional Development Commission (RDC) and call for implementing the following zoning classifications: Single family residential, multi-family residential, commercial highway business, community business, agricultural, institutional and industrial.
Town representatives have "plenty of studying to do" in preparation for the hearing, one member said.
"When questions start coming, we need to have an answer," said Mayor Leon Ray. "We need Larry Sparks [of RDC] and the attorney here."



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Homer ready to move forward on new city hall facility
By Beth L. Chester
It's time to get serious about a new town hall for citizens and officials of Homer, council members agreed May 9.
At the regular meeting, members adopted a resolution to move forward with a construction feasibility study.
Around the mid-1990s, Homer purchased a small tract next door to The Banks County News office, planning then to construct a facility which would house both the town hall and the fire department.
For years, town business has been conducted at Hill Business Services. Town hall was too small to accommodate office space, city clerk Carol Ayers said. The official town hall has been used for council meetings only.
"We've got zoning coming in and no spare table to even spread a map out on," Ayers said.
The council earmarked $50,000 for town hall construction during budget sessions last year.
Council members aren't certain whether the lot is large enough to house both departments, but a joint facility remains the goal if feasible.
"We need to get the fire chief and department together and see if we can't get something rolling," council member Sandra Garrison said.
The topic arose when Mayor Leon Ray announced a tentative agreement with chamber of commerce officials for the relocation of town hall to the historic courthouse. Under that proposal, Homer would sub-lease office space from the chamber at the rate of $200 per month, Ray said.
Chamber officials are excited about the possible move, he said.
Initially, town hall would have operated from one room in the historic courthouse, with more space available as old records stored there could be relocated.
"For hearings, we could go upstairs in the old courtroom," Ray said.
But council member Sandra Garrison voiced concern that chamber officials may not realize the potential impact of the move.
"I'm iffy on the courthouse myself," she said.
City clerk Carol Ayers agreed, saying city water and other customers would create "a lot of traffic in and out." Chamber staff are "used to being by themselves," Ayers said.
Garrison suggested members delay a move now and consider construction plans for a permanent facility instead.


Alto still dealing with water lines
By Shar Porier
The replacement of water lines through town continues to be a concern of the Alto Town Council.
At the council meeting Tuesday, May 9, Mayor Jack King said that some connections have not been completed. He said that payment of around $4,000 for some of the contracted work will be withheld until the job is finished.
Blue Contractors of Athens is the company working with the city to up-date the old asbestos lines.
On a related matter, council member Susan Wade commented on the condition of the roads where the work had been done, citing cracking in the roads from improper packing of the ground after the lines were laid.
Former mayor Grover Stewart also pointed out that the connection at the Holiness church has not been completed. He also questioned the mayor about the Apple Pie Ridge problem.
King said, "The Apple Pie Ridge well is not a good well. I'd rather not use it if we can avoid it."
However, King reminded the council that for two days last summer, they had no choice but to use the well to supply water to the community. Stewart said the new lines should be disconnected from it to prevent any backflow from the well into the new system.
"I don't think [anybody] wants to drink water from that well, nor their kids," he said.
When the job is completed, an inspector and engineer will check the project out. When they sign off on the job, Blue Contractors will be paid.
The council also discussed the $12,000 needed to run lines from the end of Cook Street to the end of B.C. Grant Road. King thought that cash flow funds could be used instead of a loan. He also gave an estimate of $17,000 to replace lines on Crane Mill Road from Hwy. 365 to Yonah Post Road.