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 June 28, 2000


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OPINION
Angie Gary
A tale of two cats and one tail

Quincy lazily walks through the house, stretching and yawning. He is the king of the house. He does whatever he wants to, whenever he wants to.

Drew Brantley
Addresses label schools as much as mascots, colors
The summer heat slows down the pace every year. The easiest thing to concentrate on is not thinking too much. With that thought...


SPORTS
BCRD diamond teams set for district tourneys

The Banks County Recreation Department all-stars are already into the district tournament season. But plenty more action is set to come. The BCRD 13-14 boys' baseball all-stars are in the middle of the...


Neighborhood News...
JACKSON COUNTY
City Lights' to be on this weekend
Commerce will turn on the City Lights this week. The City Lights
festival, that is. It grew from a 40th anniversary celebration to an annual benefit concert and, starting Thursday, the City Lights Festival has become a three-day event...

Independence Day festivities ahead this weekend
The Fourth of July will be celebrated a little bit early in Jackson County this year, with festivities planned this weekend in both Jefferson and Commerce.


News from
MADISON COUNTY
Investigators believe Tracy Fortson committed murder, cover-up without help
Investigators believe Tracy Lea Fortson acted alone in murdering her ex-boyfriend Douglas Benton in his Colbert home, encasing him in cement in a water trough and leaving the body in a wooded area in Oglethorpe County.

Lopez murder trial opens
Was it murder, self defense or something in between? A Madison County jury is being asked to decide. On Saturday night, October 9, 1999...


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BANKS CO. ELECTIONS 2000

CHAIRMAN CANDIDATES SPEAK

The candidates for the Banks County Board of Commissioners chairman's seat expressed their stand on several issues at a candidate forum Tuesday night at Banks County High School.

BOC chair candidates address growth
One candidate called for keeping Banks County as rural as possible, while another said leaders need to work on a long-term plan to handle growth.
Banks County Board of Commissioners incumbent chairman James Dumas (R) and challenger Kenneth Brady (D) were among the candidates speaking at a political forum Tuesday night in Homer. The Banks County Chamber of Commerce sponsored the forum.
Brady called for an effort to keep Banks County rural and attract businesses into the industrial park that would not tax resources such as water and discharge pollutants into the sewer system.
"I would like to see Banks County stay as rural as possible," he said. "I would also like to see the farmers stay farmers. I don't want to see any more restrictions put on farmers."
Brady said he would like to see the sewer system development remain around I-85. He also said he would support programs aimed at promoting the economic development of the county.
"I would support most anything that would better our tax base as long as it doesn't hurt our environment, our water, our sewer system and our people," he said.
Dumas called for a continued effort for long-range planning.
"You can not get somewhere that you do not have a map for," he said. "...Long-range planning is essential. We need to stop and think about our sense of community. What do we want Banks County to look like in 20 years? Then, we need to go back and structure our zoning to make it look like we want it to look like­not what the developers want it to look like."
Dumas also said that development of Martin Bridge Road should be an emphasis of the county leaders.
Dumas also said there is a need for a change in county government. He supports a five-member board with a full-time chairman. The other commissioners would come from four designated districts. Brady didn't address this, but he did say that all three commissioners should have equal responsibility. He said the chairman should handle the day-to-day operations.
As for their qualifications for the position, both pointed to their work experience. Dumas said his three and a half years with county government would be a benefit, while Brady spoke on his management experience throughout his career.
Dumas gave highlights of his term as BOC chairman, which he said includes lowering the millage rate two times, improving services on roads, upgrading the 911 system and settling the annexation issue at Banks Crossing.
Brady outlined his career background, including a manager/supervisor position at Seaboard.


Sheriff candidates promise to
put more deputies on the road

Putting more deputies on the roads was one of the main points made by most of the candidates for sheriff speaking at a political forum Tuesday night in Homer.
John Arnold (R) said he would divide the county into four districts with deputies on patrol in each one at all times­24 hours a day, seven days a week. He said he wanted the deputies to know their district so well that they would recognize when strange cars are at residences. He also said he would supplement the full-time staff with a citizen's auxiliary.
Mike Boyle (R) said he would have five deputies for each shift to cover four districts. This would include one supervisor and four deputies for each district. He said visibility of patrol cars and deputies in the communities will reduce crime.
Cecil Callaway (D) said the most important duties of the sheriff should be to "enforce the law in a fair and impartial manner and to protect and serve the people in this county and the ones who come through..." He said his plans would include expanding the DARE program beyond the fifth grade and possibly forming a junior police academy if funds are available.
Incumbent Charles Chapman (D) said one of the most important duties of the sheriff's position is the county jail, which is the greatest liability a county has. He said the fiscal affairs of the jail have never been better in the history of Banks County than now. He said that he has the county divided into a north zone and south zone with three to four on patrol, including one supervisor for each zone.
David Dunson (D) said he would have a more proactive department by dividing the county into sections and having four people on each shift. He said they should be more visible in problem areas. He added that the sheriff should better educate the public on the laws and how they can help themselves by doing things such as writing down the serial numbers of items they own.
Ronald Martin (D) said a main emphasis for him would be to put more deputies on the road to control the county and be of more service to the citizens. He said he would also have an open door policy, revive the neighborhood watch program and return all phone calls and monitor spending.
Ray Seabolt (D) said he would not have a chief deputy or person running the jail, which would give him more money to put into putting deputies in each school. He said that cutting manpower in the jail would provide money to put DARE in each school. He would also work with the fire departments to form a search and rescue team.
Allen Venable (D) said he would increase patrol and, if this can't be done, shift positions to increase patrol on the road. His other goals include school safety, commonsense spending and a community-oriented police program.

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Fireworks display planned July 4
The traditional Homer 4th of July fireworks display will get under way around 9:30 p.m. next Tuesday night.
"We usually say they start at dark-thirty," said Homer town council member Sandra Garrison.
Homer town firefighters raise funds to purchase the fireworks for the annual Independence Day celebration. Contributions from local businesses and individuals are matched by the town.
This year, about $3,500 was raised, including matching city funds, Garrison said.
Homer firefighters will suit up in protective gear to shoot off the fireworks from a field at Sandra and Mack Garrison's home off Hwy. 51.
Spectators usually fill parking areas of the county's schools and line the highway nearby, said city clerk Carol Ayers. The display is expected to last about 20 minutes.
Earlier in the evening, the Garrisons will host an annual appreciation dinner for town firefighters and their families, sponsored by the town of Homer.


BOE candidates speak on impact of new education bill
With a major overhaul impacting schools across the state, the new education legislation was a key issue addressed by board of education candidates speaking at a political forum Tuesday night in Homer.
Post 1 incumbent Neal Brown (D) said House Bill 1187 has brought many changes that school leaders will be addressing, including changes in class size and a cut in state funds for paraprofessionals.
A change in the way state funds will be allocated to schools is another impact of the new legislation, Brown added.
Post 1 challenger Kathleen Benton Hooper (D) said a key issue for her will be to always put the students first. She said her platform includes something that has been a motto for her family: "Always put the child first. Always stop and think what is best for the child."
Post 2 incumbent Ron Gardiner (D) said the new state legislation will bring a need for additional classrooms which will put a strain on the facilities and lead to the need for more buildings. He also spoke on concerns in attracting quality teachers due to more jobs opening up across the state.
Post 2 challenger Richard "Bud" Reiselt (D) also spoke on the recent education reform bill and the lowering of student-teacher ratios.
Post 4 candidate John Williams (R) said a key issue for him would be for more teachers to further their education and get a master's degree.
The other Post 4 candidate, Dottie Morris (D), was not present.
See the complete article in this week's edition of The Banks County News.