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I am my grandfather's grandson
My grandfather likes to talk. In fact, my grandfather likes to
talk a whole lot, even more than I like to talk. Usually, he's
got something pretty good to say.
BCHS teams prepare for 2000-01 season
Banks County High School is still two months away from starting
the next year of classes.
$681,500 in construction permitted by Commerce in May
The city of Commerce issued nine building permits during May
for construction valued at $681,500, according to a report...
Judge orders picketers to stop
A Superior Court judge has ordered two women who had recently
picketed at a West Jackson subdivision to not hold another display
until the county...
Arrest made in brutal murder of Colbert man
An arrest has been made in the murder of
a Colbert man, who was found Monday encased in cement in Oglethorpe
School budget up 3 percent
Madison County school superintendent Dennis Moore says that no
property tax increase is planned to support the Madison County...
The Banks County News
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A FAMILY TRADITION
At her potter's wheel with 2-year-old grandson Eli, Hewell
family matriarch, Grace Nell Hewell, is determined to pass-on
the long family folk pottery tradition to yet another generation.
With his hands immersed in Georgia red clay, young Eli is all
too happy to oblige.
BOE doesn't anticipate hike in millage rate
Local school board officials won't be seeking a tax hike from
Banks County property owners for the coming fiscal year, but
the 12.4 millage rate won't be going down either.
School board members got their first look at next year's proposed
$14.3 million budget during a called meeting June 21. They have
until Oct. 31 to approve a budget for the upcoming fiscal year.
The deadline was extended due to passage of education House Bill
The proposed budget, up from 13.7 million last year, includes
funding for six additional teaching positions, added to accommodate
current growth and prepare for a state-mandated class size reduction
to be phased in during coming years.
The budget also includes a three-percent raise for all school
system employees, down from a four-percent increase the previous
year. Local teachers will not receive a raise above the thtree-percent
approved and funded by the state, superintendent Deborah White
The budget also includes $200,000 in state funding and $25,000
in local funding to construct and equip an agriculture barn at
the new high school.
The proposed budget would result in an estimated $124,000 fund
balance at the end of the next fiscal year not enough to
construct a field house at the high school practice field, White
The proposed field house could be included in the tentative budget
until school officials learn whether the tax digest will increase
enough to bring in additional revenue, White said.
State funding for the ag barn will cover installation of an 8,000
square-foot metal building, including a poured concrete floor,
handicapped accessible restrooms, a concession area, animal wash
area, show ring and an animal housing area. Local dollars would
fund bleachers, concessions equipment and other finishing expenses.
The budget also includes funds to replace the carpeting in the
kindergarten gym and classroom area.
About $25,000 is earmarked for new vocational department text
books. New books are purchased in each subject every seven years,
according to state guidelines.
White is now projecting the school system will end the current
fiscal year with a $75,000 balance, $70,000 more than officials
anticipated when they adopted the budget last year.
hired as principal of 4/5 school
BY BETH L. CHESTER
School officials haven't formally adopted a name for the county's
new upper elementary school, serving fourth and fifth grade students,
but they have chosen a leader for the new administration.
Board members named Barrow County native Janice Allen principal
of the school in a called meeting on June 21, following a 30-minute
session closed to the public.
School superintendent Deborah White presented the recommendation
that Allen be hired, saying she did not wish to delay a hiring
decision until the board's next regular meeting.
"We have (teaching) positions to be filled (in the grade
4/5 levels) and we need to get started," she said. "If
we wait on the principal, it will be August before we can get
new teachers tied down."
At County Line Elementary School in Barrow County, where Allen
has served as principal for the past five years, administrators
showed initiative in conferencing with 100-percent of students'
parents, White told the board.
"They took a bus to a housing project and used the community
center there to meet with parents (because some parents did not
have transportation)," White said.
County Line Elementary is a "pay for performance" school
system, White said.
Board member Bo Garrison made the motion to enter into closed
session and discuss the proposal. When the meeting was re-opened,
Garrison made a motion to accept White's recommendation.
Recent state legislation forced the school system to provide
a separate administration for fourth and fifth grades. The state
is providing funding for the principal's salary, White said.
Allen, who oversaw 450 students and 60 staff members at County
Line, earned her elementary education and master's in reading
degrees from the University of Georgia. She holds a specialist's
degree in education leadership and is a certified reading specialist
for grades K-12.
Allen taught second, third and fifth grades prior to becoming
assistant principal and then principal at County Line. She has
24 years of education experience.
Allen looks forward to concentrating her efforts in the two-grade-level
school and will focus on curriculum and instruction, she said.
"I just look forward to working with you," Allen said,
thanking the board for their confidence.
Allen has not decided whether she will relocate to Banks County
but laughingly told the board she thought she would "live
longer" if she made the career move to a school system farther
north of the growth Barrow County continues to experience.
The Banks school system is "like Barrow used to be,"
Allen said, "a small system where everybody knows everybody."
Homer to seek architect
for new town hall
The town of Homer is seeking an architect
to help the town go forward with plans to construct a joint city
hall/fire department on the vacant lot next door to The Banks
County News office.
Council members discussed the project at the city council meeting
last week. Property was purchased for the project several years
ago. Homer business has been conducted at Hill Business Services,
instead of town hall, for years, according to city clerk Carol
Ayers, because town hall is too small. With zoning likely on
its way, the city will need more space, officials said.
Fire chief Mike Garrison said the new building shouldn't be constructed
like the facility operated by the City of Maysville because the
structure would not allow for a drive-through teller lane and
handicapped accessibility. When constructed, the new facility
should be built with the future in mind, with space for at least
four fire trucks, he said. Space must allow for drive-through
bays for those trucks, Garrison said, and officials would have
to work closely with the Georgia Department of Transportation
in placing access points to the site. The facility would also
need space for three fire department offices, showers and living
quarters for up to four paid staff per shift, to accommodate
future growth of the department.
The city also needs a new pumper truck, Garrison said, pointing
out that he is uncertain whether the 1971 model pumper would
satisfy mandated service testing. A new truck and completion
of the city's water project would help the city obtain a better
ISO rating, leaders said.
Theft of city water
on the rise in Alto
Alto leaders have made a move to get tough on people stealing
water from the town following the loss of thousands of gallons
The city council agreed in a meeting last week on a fine of $2,500,
plus court costs, for those found guilty of stealing the water
from the town. Those caught a second time could face a fine of
up to $5,000.
City attorney Jim Acrey reminded the council that the perpetrator
would have the right to due process of law and that it would
involve a court case and a conviction. He was asked to set up
an ordinance outlining the fines and process for handling those
cited for water theft. Acrey said that state law would allow
the violators to be tried in Baldwin.
Mayor Jack King said the thieves are making away with 5,000 gallons
at a time from the water tank off Crane Mill Road. The culprits
have not been caught taking the water. King said it is costing
the city money and asks that residents in the area keep a lookout
to discover who is doing it.
Another problem is that residents along Crane Mill Road end up
with dirty water due to the method by which the water is released
from the tank, according to council member Susan Wade.
Zoning still in
the works in Homer
The town of Homer still has work to do on a few points of the
city's proposed zoning ordinance before they can vote whether
zoning should come to town.
A planning committee this week to try and iron out last minute
points of contention addressed by citizens when the city held
the first official reading of the ordinance earlier this month.
Planners will likely revisit whether zoning will put a time frame
on the continued use of existing structures which do not conform
to permitted uses allowed in any given zoning category.
Town officials have not set a date for the second reading of
The Banks County Chamber of Commerce will host a political forum
featuring candidates in the upcoming election. It will be held
at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, June 27, at the Banks County High School
auditorium. Dennis Robarge will moderate the forum. Everyone
is invited to attend, leaders say.
For more information, call the chamber office at 677-2108.
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Stray dogs cause
concern in Alto
A group of Alto residents gathered at the town council's last
meeting asking for help to control vicious, stray dogs roaming
Ronnie Johns, of Cook Street, said: "We have animal control
problems and we're here to let the council know about it."
He went on to describe sleepless nights he has experienced because
of the dogs and the killing of his pet dog on his own property
by these strays. He said for the past two months he has been
calling on several Habersham organizations with no action being
taken on his complaints and concerns for safety.
Mayor Jack King said that he had been on the committee to draft
the county's animal control ordinance.
"The third day after hiring an animal control officer, they
took his pad (for fines) away because someone called and scared
them to death," he said. "And they're not doing anything.
They've watered down that resolution so much it doesn't mean
The group brought with them animal control specialist, Norman
Blackwell, who provides services to Demorest, Cornelia and Baldwin.
He explained how the use of his service would be of help in ending
the problem. Blackwell would respond to calls about stray animals,
try to find the owner, and if that was not possible, the animal
would be taken to the Habersham Animal Shelter run by the Humane
Society. The owner would have five days to claim the dog, at
which point it would either be put up for adoption or euthanized.
City attorney Jim Acrey recommended the council adopt a resolution
and hire Blackwell to take care of the problem.
Wade said he would not vote for it. He would abstain. When asked
why, he said "because I have dogs and I don't chain them."
Trying to explain how his service works, Blackwell told the council
that the only way he would even come to someone's house was if
there had been a complaint made about the dogs.
King suggested that they all go to a Habersham County Board of
Commissioner's meeting to discuss their concerns.
Johns said that he paid tax dollars to Habersham County and to
Alto and that some of that money should go to animal control.
The council decided to put it on the agenda for the next meeting,
Lula to be tough
on water violators
Lula city water customers caught violating outdoor watering restrictions
three times will face disconnection and a $250 fee to get their
water flowing again. The first offense warrants a written warning;
the second offense a $50 fine.
City council members voted 3-2 Monday night, in favor of penalizing
those who violate the outdoor watering guidelines.
Penalties will go into effect sometime next week, after the system's
600-plus customers are notified in writing.
No outdoor watering is permitted between 10 a.m. and 10 p.m.,
according to Mayor Tim Allen. In addition, the city is on an
odd/even watering plan.
Those who live at odd-numbered addresses may water on odd-numbered
dates, even addresses on even dates, he said. The allotted watering
time frame applies on permitted watering dates.
Even though Lula buys backup water from the White County Water
Authority to supplement its own wells, Allen said city residents
still need to conserve. Drought conditions could bring shortages
to White County's system, Allen said, causing officials there
to limit the water flowing into Lula.
Demand for water from Lula's system was up about 1.3 million
gallons in May, compared to the same period in 1999.
At the same time, local water sources aren't able to keep up
with the need. Combined, the town's wells had produced about
180 gallons per minute. Now, they produce about 106 gallons per
The MarJac plant previously used Lula water for back-up only.
Now, city water is the plant's primary water source. The plant
used about 500,000 gallons of city water last month, the mayor
Several additional homes have been added to the water system
since last year, also increasing demand, he said.