Place A Classified Ad
Banks Legal Page
Banks Opinion Page
Banks Obituary Page
Send A Letter
List Your Business
Banks County Stats
July 18 Election Results
Go to Jackson County
Go to Madison County
Take time to talk to strangers
Random acts of kindness.
This catch phrase has been around for a long time now. I don't
know who strung those four wonderful words together, but I sure
wish I did. Whoever it was gave the world a touch of mercy and
taste of grace.
GHSA football playoffs 2000: everybody in?
Professional hockey and basketball are often
criticized for letting too many teams into the postseason. More
than half of each league makes it to the playoffs. Teams with
losing records make it in most years.
Leopards open 2000 with bang
For a first day's practice, ending with a
bang may have seemed too much to ask for. But Banks County High
School's football team combined its play with the weather to
end its first day with a lightning bolt.
City School Board To Close On New School Site Friday
The Commerce Board of Education plans to close Friday on the
purchase of 63 acres off the Jefferson Road where it intends
to build a new elementary school.
BOC sued over WJ landfill denial
It looks like Jackson County officials will be going to court
again over zoning decisions made by the board of commissioners.
Two lawsuits have been filed against the county over denials
by the BOC to rezone property for an inert landfill and a day
Planning Commission OKs Wilson Subdivision
What a difference a month makes. In June,
the Commerce Planning Commission pushed developer Daniel Wilson
to rearrange the "green space" in a proposed 15-acre
subdivision, threatening to reject his plat if he didn't. But
Monday night the same panel approved virtually the same plat
with a shrug of resignation.
Sunday winds destroy chicken houses, cause power outages
A storm ravaged parts of Madison County Sunday
afternoon, causing power outages for about 2,500 residents, with
wind damage putting at least one county chicken farmer out of
Counseling program proposed for Madison County
Madison County's Jess Martin wants county
commissioners to put $70,000 into a program he believes could
change many lives in a positive way. But the board made no decision
on the matter during its Monday meeting.
The Banks County News
Telephone: (706) 367-5233
Fax: (706) 367-8056
NEWS / ADVERTISING
® Copyright 2000
MainStreet Newspapers, Inc.
All rights reserved.
Copyright / Terms / Privacy
CLEARING DEBRIS LEFT BY STORM
Volunteer Battalion Chief Jeff Taylor of Banks County Fire District
4 is shown cutting a tree to clear the road which fell after
a tornado touched down in Banks County. Jerry Macko and other
volunteers are shown helping clear the cut wood, saving it for
the coming winter.
drug dealer cited
Authorities seized approximately four pounds of marijuana from
a Banks County man last week during an undercover operation that
turned dangerous for law enforcement.
Toledo was charged with three counts of sale of marijuana; possession
of marijuana with intent to distribute; possession of a firearm
during the commission of a crime; possession of a firearm by
a convicted felon and use of a communications device to facilitate
a drug transaction.
Authorities say Aeruro Pompa Toledo, of a Commerce address, was
armed with a 9 mm handgun when an undercover agent went to Toledo's
Hwy. 59 home to make the last of three drug buys from the 23-year-old.
Before the third buy took place, Toledo apparently became suspicious
and "went for his weapon," according to Banks County
Sheriff Charles Chapman.
"The officer had to take him down and place him under arrest,"
Authorities had reportedly captured two previous marijuana sales
by Toledo on tape. Agents from the Northeast Georgia Narcotics
Task Force and the Georgia Bureau of Investigations conducted
"This individual was a major marijuana distributor who had
moved into Banks County some time ago," the sheriff said.
"He had been moving a lot of marijuana."
The arrest will "drastically" reduce the volume of
marijuana distribution in the area, the sheriff said.
Toledo, who was already on probation, and faces outstanding warrants
from other counties, is being held without bond in the Banks
Tax bills expected
to go out late again; may be in the mail by Dec.
Property owners in Banks County may be
happy to hear the news: Ad valorem tax bills will not be going
out on time this year.
Bills need to go out around the end of October, with taxes due
in mid-December, said Banks County tax assessor Andy Scroggs.
But this year, Scroggs said he will be happy if bills go out
Banks County school officials won't be happy to hear the news.
Without operating funds in reserve to carry the school system
until property tax revenues flow in, the board of education (BOE)
has to borrow in the interim.
School superintendent Deborah White has been concerned about
the timing of tax bills for several months, she told BOE members
during two recent meetings. Last year, bills went out in January,
with taxes due in mid-February, which was about two months late,
officials have said.
The school system paid about $50,000 in interest on funds borrowed
last year, White estimated. To avoid borrowing, the school system
would have to hike its portion of the millage rate for at least
one year, in order to put away enough funds in one school year
to meet the demands of the first half of the next year.
The Banks County Board of Commissioners has operating revenue
built in to the budget to meet county expenses until property
tax revenue is in the bank, county officials have said.
The tax bill delay can't be helped, assessor Scroggs said. The
tax commissioner can't send out bills until all assessment values
and tax amounts are calculated by Scroggs' office. Scroggs and
his staff are working as fast as possible, the assessor said,
but the office got off to a late start due to no fault of its
"Last year, we went through a complete revaluation (of all
property values in the county), and that put us behind,"
Unlike some other tax offices, who hire outside firms for the
revaluation process, the staff of the Banks County assessor's
office handled the revaluation in house, Scroggs said.
"We tried to do it ourselves, which saved the county money,"
the assessor said.
The board of assessors made the final decision on how to handle
the revaluation, he confirmed.
See this week's Banks County News for the rest of the story.
Tornado hits southwestern
A tornado touched down in southwestern
Banks County Sunday afternoon with trees being uprooted and a
chicken house flattened.
Around 2:30 p.m. Sunday, the sky darkened across Banks County
and the much-prayed for rain began to fall. But there was no
reason to rejoice in it, for within minutes high winds whipped
across the southwestern section of Banks County uprooting trees
with root-balls the size of small cars, tearing drought-weakened
branches and barely-living leaves off trees and shearing the
tops of trees off leaving twisted trunks lit ghostly in the myriad
flashes of lightening. The air became heavy, the sky black, hail
fell and then the funnel cloud touched down.
The storm traveled northeasterly out of Hall County where the
first funnel cloud had been reported, according to Banks County
Sheriff Charles Chapman. Tornado warnings were issued for Banks
around 2:30 p.m.
"The storm hit the western side of Banks and began moving
towards Gillsville," the sheriff said. "It passed just
south of Homer, where shortly after, another funnel cloud was
Trees were down, blocking several roads, according to Chapman,
and the volunteer fire and rescue crews were out clearing as
soon as it was safe.
Georgia Power and Jackson EMC trucks were also out cutting trees
that had caught on electric wires strung across roads.
Sheriff Chapman was out in the storm himself and had to pull
off the road because he was unable to see the road through all
the wind-driven rain and hail.
"We were all very fortunate that no one was injured in this
storm and damage was minimal," he said. "The winds
were very powerful, very serious. And as they moved across wooded
areas you could see where the tops of trees had been twisted
out and snapped off."
As of Monday morning, all roads were cleared and all power restored.
LOSES CHICKEN HOUSE
George Simms on Simms Road lost a breeder/pullet building to
the tornado. It was squashed nearly flat to the ground. Inside
were 11,000 chickens, some trapped in the debris and some dead
from the force of the pressure. Just how many survived would
remain unknown until the next day, explained John Hass of Gold
Kist, the poultry company Simms contracts with.
On Sunday, Hass was on a cell phone trying to find a new home
for the chickens left alive. The birds are valued at $6 each.
It could mean a loss of $66,000 to Simms' operation. Hass said
that he did not know of a company policy that reimbursed poultry
farmers for such losses.
A spokesman for Gold Kist field operations manager Zeb Bost,
said that since Simms is a pullet producer, he is paid weekly
for the eggs gathered. He will be paid for the time up to the
date of retrieval of the birds.
Simms has had a run of bad luck this year. His house burned down
in March and he is still in the process of re-building.
Now with this loss, even though the building was insured, he
said that he would not receive enough to rebuild and continue
in the chicken business.
He said that most of the tin would be unsalvageable - that it
had been bent and twisted in the high winds. Some he could re-use
but it would not be enough to rebuild even with the insurance
Also damaged on the Simms property was a tin shed his son, Glen,
had built for his pick-up truck, deer hunting and fishing gear
and his tools. His truck, gear and tools were all fine; but the
metal shed was wrapped around a nearby tree. Roofing and pieces
of tin littered the area around the spot where the shed used
A downed tree also smashed Simms' satellite dish. And branches
covered his yard. No one in the Simms family was injured. They
were also fortunate to have many friends that were there Sunday
to help in the cleanup.
On Wellborn Road another family's yard was littered with trees
that fell during the storm. Mr. and Mrs. John Cisson were gathering
odds and ends together to take up to a yard sale when the storm
hit. They were having the inside of their house redone on Monday
and wanted to get rid of some of their excess, non-used items
that had been in storage. When they heard the warnings, they
headed for the basement and listened to the sounds of crashing
trees and flying branches battering their home. They did not
know what they would find when they went up the stairs after
the storm passed.
Luckily, their home sustained little damage. It was almost miraculous
the way the trees had just missed their new car and their house.
In the back, a tree had been uprooted and was thrown into the
outside wall of a back room damaging a small portion of the roof,
but there was no structural damage. Their yard was littered with
the debris of downed trees and broken trees, and branches and
Go to Banks
Public Meeting Dates
& Convenience Stores
All voters allowed
to cast ballot in run-off
All registered Banks County voters, irregardless
of party, will be allowed to vote in the Aug. 8 run-off for probate
judge between Ben Whisnant and Betty Jean Evans Thomas.
An earlier article in The Banks County News mistakenly reported
that only those voters who cast a Republican ballot in the primaries
would be allowed to vote in the run-off.
The News regrets the error.
Peace march to
Oak Ridge passes through Banks County
The second annual Peace March to Oak Ridge
in Tennessee, the site of a Y-12 plant, quietly passed through
the tranquil countryside of Banks County over the weekend.
Following Hwy. 441, the solemn marchers chanted and beat upon
drums as they proceeded on their mission, finding relief from
the hot sun by merging their minds with the rhythm of the drums
and power of the chant or concentrating on the thought of their
mission and what the future would hold when they arrived.
The small group of seven began their march in Atlanta Sunday,
July 16, at the Martin Luther King Center in Atlanta. The group,
led by Buddhist Monks Brother Utsumi and Sister Denise Luffan,
makes the pilgrimage to Oak Ridge in order to keep awareness
of the destruction and contamination caused by nuclear weapons
and the environmental harm done through the by-products, like
spent uranium, in the minds of the public.
Other members of the group included: Michelle Blau of Ashville,
N.C.; Erin Atkinson of Atlanta; Halima Hutchins of Atlanta; John
and Martina Linneham; Amanda Hill of Atlanta; Jim Watkins of
Lawrenceville; and Janice Daves of Clarksville. Each has similar
views about the quest they are on and similar compassion for
the victims of the industry. They say they are appalled by the
"incomprehensible stupidity of the government-regulated
nuclear industry." All are of different faiths, but they
united in this one cause.
Some group members march only for an hour, others for few hours,
and others for a day. Some go all the way. As the march proceeds,
more and more people join the ranks.
Brother Utsumi, of Japanese origin, feels an especially intense
and heartfelt commitment to the abolition of all nuclear weaponry.
"Look at Hiroshima and Nagasaki," he said. "You
would think that my own people would have avoided nuclear production
at all costs. Yet, they participate in that industry. They shame
me...Oak Ridge stands for violence and death."
He is committed to walk the long path with other people who also
oppose the government's renewed endeavor to manufacture isotopes
for weapons. Great concern appears in his eyes as he speaks of
the escalation of India, Pakistan, Iraq, Iran, Korea and other
countries who are developing the techniques to build bombs of
the ultimate destruction of life.
"We would have killed each other by now if we did not have
an inherent love of man within each of us," he said.
In his optimism, he believes that the end of nuclear industry
will be seen in our lifetime.
"We are not stupid," he said. "We are survivors."
The group stopped late Friday afternoon just north of Homer.
At a predetermined location, a car picked them up to take them
to the home of Mary Ann Myers of Alto. Caring people who support
the movement take the marchers in for the night and provide a
healthy dinner, showers and a quiet place to rest. Myers became
involved through her friendship with Adele Kushner, also of Alto,
who knows Brother Utsumi and Sister Luffan and their quest to
stop nuclear proliferation.
Many citizens of Oak Ridge join the protesters from around the
country who attend the yearly event to make the government aware
that opposition to nuclear proliferation and radioactive contamination
still exists in the minds and hearts of Americans.
For the rest of this story, including pictures, see this week's
Banks County News.