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I'm going pro in badminton
Last summer, I made an effort to join the pro Putt-Putt golf
circuit. Unfortunately, that effort...
Team basketball camp starts Monday night
High school basketball will return to the Leopards' Den next
week. Hosting two legs of the Jackson County...
BJC closing clinics in Nicholson, Jefferson
Residents of Nicholson will once again have to go out of town
to seek medical care. BJC Medical Center announced this week
that it will close its...
Teen in NJ stabbing not indicted by grand jury
A Jackson County grand jury decided Monday not to indict Brandon
Cody Self, 17, in the May 17 stabbing death of Warren Albert
Martin Jr. near Pendergrass.
Comer hires police chief, city clerk
Two new city employees were introduced at the Comer City Council
meeting Tuesday night. New Police Chief Barry Reed will take
County shows slight drop on grad tests
Madison County's rising seniors didn't fare as well as the MCHS
class of 2000 on the state-mandated graduation tests for students...
The Banks County News
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READY TO RECYCLE
Bill Jackson, a realtor with The Norton Agency, had a pickup
truck full of articles to recycle at the grand opening of the
new recycling center in Banks County. He also won the giveaway
and got to take home his own composter.
watering ban in place
A mandatory outdoor watering ban has been
put in place for all Banks County water customers.
The outdoor watering ban is in place from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. and
it includes watering uses such as recreational, lawn and garden
and non-commercial car washing.
Customers violating the ban will receive a written citation.
County officials say the ban will be in effect until further
ask to slow speeders
By Shar Porier
Baldwin resident Marlo Mulligan asked
the city council at Thursday's work session for help slowing
She and other residents of the Templeton Subdivision are concerned
for the safety of the children living in Kitchens, Heartwood
and Sampling Roads. "They come flying down the streets,"
she said. "We have a lot of children six-years-old and under.
And we're worried."
Mulligan said the city had erected "Slow Children"
signs, but that did not help to deter the speeders. The residents
would like to have both speed limit signs erected and speed bumps
installed on those streets.
Councilman Kevin Gaddis said they would need a petition from
the residents agreeing with the installation of the speed bumps.
Mulligan replied that "getting signatures would not be a
Mayor Mark Reed added that it would be helpful to have the signatures
giving consent from the area's residents, in case of complaints.
The council agreed that getting the speed limit signs up would
not be a problem and could be done quickly.
The area is patrolled frequently by the Baldwin Police, according
to Mulligan and Police Chief Frank Andrews. Andrews said he would
"step up the patrols" and asked if she recognized any
of the speeders in particular.
Mulligan will acquire the signatures and present them at another
work session so the council can proceed with the speed bumps.
gives bleak outlook for summer crops
By Shar Porier
Agriculture commissioner Tommy Irvin told members of the Banks
County Chamber of Commerce Thursday that he is concerned about
the drought conditions that have led to serious problems for
farmers across the state.
"We're going through some of the most trying times right
now, than I have seen in my 31 years as agricultural commissioner,"
As he addressed a full crowd at the chamber breakfast, he expressed
deep concern over the conditions farmers across the state are
dealing with in the wake of the drought that began in the summer
of 1998. Irving said he has gone to several events in the last
several weeks dealing with what can be done and what kind of
plans can be formulated to avoid the disaster that "seems
to be looming over our heads."
He told of how stream and river flows have diminished. The aquifer
that runs from Macon into Florida "seems to be in pretty
good shape," he said. He pointed out, though, that irrigation
is not enough.
"Crops need rain," he said.
He is also concerned that farmers had to begin irrigating sooner
this yearearlier than in any time of history in the state.
Before even tilling the baked ground, farmers were forced to
irrigate, he added. Then to get the seeds up, more water was
Compounding the difficulty of the farmer is the regulation that
farmers must have their seed in the ground prior to June 1 in
order to qualify for disaster relief, if needed.
"Some of our farmers were forced to sow seed in dust,"
Wherever he goes and to whomever he speaks, he asks, "Please
pray for rain," as he did at the chamber meeting.
He continued by saying rain may be the only way to save Georgia's
two most important cropspeanuts, and cotton. Georgia ranks
number one in peanut production and number two in cotton in the
"They are the most stressed crops at this time," he
And the problem will be with farmers for some time. According
to forecasts, the drought will continue through the winter of
Irvin said that Georgia farmers are no longer growing corn because
of the huge amount of water it consumes. Jokingly, he told of
an experience many years ago. He was asked how many bushels of
corn is grown per acre up there? His reply, "Bushels? Our
folks sell by the gallon."
"We do have a few positives."' he said. We had one
of the finest Vidalia onion crops we've ever had in the history
of Georgia farming. We started off with a good peach crop, and
if we get a little rain, it'll be a good season."
Irvin said some of the future ideas and plans in the works to
assist Georgia farmers will be opening up the world market, into
Europe, Russia, and even China. The Federal Agricultural Bureau
has an office in Brussels, Belgium, which acts as a go-between
to get Georgia's crops and meats to European markets.
China is an important market that may soon be open again to sell
cotton, and chicken imported form Georgia. he added. With one-third
of the world's population in China, it could help the Georgia
farmer prosper. Irving is traveling to China in the near future
to help pry open the doors to commerce and trade from Georgia
markets. At one time, China was a big buyer of cotton and tobacco,
($80 million per year), from Georgia. Irving hopes to re-introduce
Tobacco presents a problem these days, he explained, with all
the restrictions and health problems. Consequently, Georgia tobacco
farming has been reduced by 40 percent over the past four years.
The trade with China could help re-establish tobacco as a top
One other problem facing Georgia's farmers comes from the federal
mandates of the Department of Natural Resources "Clean Water
Act". Irving said, "I don't see eye-to-eye" with
the DNR on some of their regulations. Too many restrictions can
be harmful to the agricultural farmers."
When the floor was opened for questions, he discussed topics
about blueberry production, gasoline metering and supermarket
scanning, all which fall under the agricultural department. He
referenced one instance where a $450,000 fine had been placed
on a major gasoline company for scrimping on their meters. Though
it was just a small amount the customers were being shorted,
over a period of time it added up, he explained. He would like
more monitoring to go on at the supermarkets, but more staff
would be needed and the funds have not been available to his
The popular Farmer's Market Bulletin was also brought up. This
is an indispensable tool for farmers across Georgia. It was almost
eradicated due to the Republicans voting to refuse the funding
for it, he said. The FMB has been around for a long, time and
all rural residents and farmers are able to receive it free of
charge. Irving reassured the audience that its publication would
not be stopped.
Third graders improve,
graders drop in ITBS results
Banks County third graders this year showed improvement over
last year's class in the annual ITBS testing results.
But the school's fifth graders had a significant decline from
last year's class, falling below the average results nationwide.
Helped by both rising reading and math scores, third graders
pulled a composite score of 63 on this year's ITBS, up from last
year's class at 58.
The results are measured as a percentile compared to all other
students in the nation who take the test. A score above 50 means
that students generally did better than their peers across the
nation, while scores below 50 mean that students generally did
While Banks County third graders were making improvements, the
fifth grade class had a composite score of only 46, down from
last year's class score of 57.
Fifth graders scored poorly in all areas of the test, with the
science part getting the highest score with a 50.
Banks County eighth graders scored the same overall as last year's
class with a 61 composite score. Eighth grade reading results
remained marginal, however, with a reading score of 51 for the
second year in a row.
While elementary and middle school students were struggling with
the ITBS this spring, Banks County 11th graders were making a
stab at the state-mandated Graduation Test.
As with their peers statewide, Banks County students had the
most trouble with the science part of the test, with 27 percent
of the students failing that part on their first attempt. That
is the same number who failed the science part statewide this
Some 18 percent of Banks County students failed the social studies
part of the test, compared to 15 percent of students statewide.
Students will have five chances to pass all parts of the test.
Banks County students had less trouble with the English part
of the test, with only five percent failing, and the math part,
with only six percent failing on their first attempt. Those numbers
are in line with the overall state results as well.
On the high end of the graduation test results were two students
who had perfect scores on the English part of the test and five
students who aced the math part.
One student also had a perfect score on the social studies portion.
Sunday School Celebration
to be held
Plans are underway for the annual Banks County
Sunday School Celebration.
It will be held Saturday, July 27, at Veterans' Park in Homer.
Further details will be announced prior to the event.
coming up Thursday
A candidate forum will be held at 7 p.m. Thursday, June 8, at
the Banks County American Legion Hall in Homer.
All candidates are invited to participate and state their platform,
leaders say. Audience members are asked to have questions for
candidates ready. Refreshments will be provided.
The event is sponsored by the Coalition for Taking Banks County's
Rights Back Inc. For more information, call 677-3838 or 677-4937.
Go to Banks
Public Meeting Dates
& Convenience Stores
tassels at BCHS
It was a time to share the memories of the past 13 years, from
the new friendships in kindergarten to the relationships in high
school. It was a time to solemnly remember and honor the loved
ones they had tragically lost. And it was one last time to gather
together with the classmates they had grown so close to.
But most importantly, for the Banks County High School Class
of 2000, Friday night was a celebration of accomplishment and
hope for the future. It was the beginning of a new path in life.
"Up until this point, we've traveled the same road through
life," valedictorian Amanda Coley said in her speech. "Tonight,
we begin to create our own paths. If I could travel all over
the world and hand-pick 83 people to share this honor with, I
could not find a more wonderful group of young adults to be a
part of than this class, the Banks County High School Class of
Salutatorian Amanda Turpin also spoke to her classmates Friday
"It only feels as if we just took our first drink out of
the fountain of life, but when I look closer, several delicate
glasses have been drained," she said. "As we sip the
remaining water of life, we must take time and remember all that
is happening, and reflect on all that has passed."
From the opening bars of "Pomp and Circumstance" to
the turning of their tassels and rings to the tossing of their
hats at the close, the emotional ceremony made an impact on each
of the graduates. Many of them cried. Some sat quietly. Others
remembered the years that had passed by.
"Together we've triumphed over phenomenal odds, and together
we survived the loss of loved ones," Coley said tearfully.
"We will never forget the Miami Dolphin-loving assistant
principle, the tough yet kind-hearted Lady Leopards catcher,
and we all were touched in some way, whether we loved golf or
didn't know how to drive, by Mr. Morris and the fact that no
matter how busy he looked, he always had time to stop and ask
how you were doing."
Scott Harris read the poem "Dear Child in Heaven" to
his daughter Alana, who would have graduated Friday night. She
was killed in a car accident last year. Superintendent Deborah
White also called for a moment of silence to remember Alana and
coach Bobby Morris, who died last week.
After the solemn remembrance, the graduates looked to the future.
And as they move on, Coley asked her classmates to continue to
remember their time together.
"As we go our separate ways, never forget the long, long,
long thirteen years we have spent together to get to this day,"
By Shar Porier
The Development Authority of Banks County is looking at developing
a website to bring more exposure to the area.
At a meeting Thursday's morning, the authority discussed creating
of a website to bring more exposure to the property for sale
in what is now called the Banks Crossing Business Park.
Oglethorpe Power and Georgia Power have websites that give specifications
on available land, according to Horace Campbell. The authority
could have a link from their page to show what is available for
sale in the county.
Jerry Bolings said that with the two-year option on the acreage,
visibility of the land needs to be increased as soon as possible.
The area is in a prime location and a large company would be
ideal for the tract, officials said. He said that the ideal solution
is to be a part of the county's website, the state's website
and link with Oglethorpe Power and Georgia Power, as well.
A motion was approved to recommend that the county board of commissioners
initiate the contracts to secure the services of setting up the
county's website, with the Development Authority linked to it.
The link could include available building sites and information.
Permit information and applications could be included on that
Campbell pointed out that a decision needs to be made as to what
type of business would be acceptable at the Banks Crossing site.
"As long as land use and zoning requirements are met, everything's
fine, but we wouldn't want to go out and solicit a junk yard,"
Boling answered, "We can't exclude someone, but we don't
have to actively solicit such a business. In the meantime, realistically,
if we have it on the market for three years, someone is going
to come along and want it. It could be a business with high water
usage or low salaries and not much of a tax base."
Rather than be passive, Boling wants to actively pursue the kind
of business that would pay high wages, that would be easy on
our infrastructure and be high-tech boosting the tax base.
He said he has been looking into one company, which has a branch
called a logistics company. In that logistics company, distribution
warehouses are being built across the country through their real
estate division. This could be a good potential customer for
the property since it is high-tech and provides better salaries
and puts less pressure on the county's infrastructure, he said.
It would be a computer-based business that would create a possible
50- 70 jobs, not including the support job opportunities that
would be created. "Georgia Power has offered to perform
a survey of a new business to see if it would be a negative impact
or positive impact on our tax base," he added.
Banks said he had received a letter from a real estate firm stating
that a distribution business is looking for 30 acres of property.
He said the land would have to be sold for $32,000 per acre,
including the realtor's fee.
The company that needs a 40,000 square foot distribution building
creating possibly 70 new jobs. It could run off of a septic tank
and there would be little water usage, officials said. Banks
sent a picture of the property and additional information to
the real estate company.
He went on to point out a negative aspect of the project. The
road would have to be re-done to handle semi-truck traffic, since
it basically would be a truck terminal. Bolings commented that
such a business would not add much to the tax base.
Banks, Boling and Norman Cooksey all agreed that they should
set up covenants as to the possible property uses. Boling questioned
whether they had the authority to do this or whether it would
have to come from the county zoning board. But Campbell said
such a move would be "premature until we own the land."