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July 18 Election Results
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A day in the life...
Having some free time is a wonderful thing! You get to do what
you want or take care of some needed chores or go shopping!
Well, I chose shopping. That seemed to be . . .
Need for officials only growing
This past weekend I upgraded my cable to get more channels. It
is fun to get 40 kinds of HBO.
But I also get the ESPN Classic channel. I never thought . .
Team working three sessions per day during camp week
While the season is still three weeks away, the Banks County
High School football team is working hard to be ready for Jackson
County Sept. 1, coach Rance Gillespie said.
Beshara trounces Tolbert in District 3
They were supposed to have been two close races.
With a small turnout of only 2,291 voters countywide, about 15
percent, former county commissioner Harold Fletcher handily won
the seat for chairman of the Jackson County Board of Commissioners
for the next four years.
Nicholson Mayor Resigns, Clerk Reinstated
The town of Nicholson got back its city clerk
but lost its mayor during the past week. Last week, . . .
'Tiny' Hanson credits strong faith for his successful
David "Tiny" Hanson, of Madison County's Paoli Community,
says he knows what it's like to "be carried by God."
For over a year, he and his wife Debra waited for the call that
could save Tiny's life. The call came - three times - but it
wasn't until the third time that Tiny received the transplant
organs he needed to survive.
Nash, Dickinson win run-offs
Democrat Nelson Nash and Republican Phyllis Dickinson won runoffs
for the county commission chairman and coroner's seats by wide
The Banks County News
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NEW PROBATE JUDGE
BettyJean Evans Thomas (L) hugs Brad Welborn after
learning voters had elected her as probate judge in a run-off
Thomas wins probate
Garnering just over 62 percent of the
vote, Betty Jean Evans Thomas defeated Ben Whisnant in the run-off
Tuesday for probate judge.
"I'm just elated," Thomas said the votes were totaled.
"I thank God and I thank the voters of Banks County for
turning out again and electing me as their probate judge. Your
votes have been a mint to me."
In numbers, Thomas received a total of 1,024 votes to Whisnant's
"There's always a winner and a loser," Whisnant said.
"I'd like to come out and say that I wish her well. I believe
the best interest of the citizens in the county will be served."
Before the votes were totaled, Thomas said she was ready for
everything to be over with.
"It's been a stressful three weeks," she said. "I'm
nervous but excited. Win or lose, it's been wonderful."
Whisnant said he felt both canidates had run a good campaign.
"It's been a good clean race," he said. "It was
a very quiet race."
Voter turnout Tuesday was a bit higher than expected. Twenty-five
percent of Banks County's registered voters, or 1,666 of 6,618,
cast a ballot. Thomas was predicting a 15 percent voter turnout
while Whisnant was expecting about a 20 percent voter turnout.
Thomas said she look's forward to serving the citizens' of Banks
County as their probate judge.
"I will strive to always provide superior service with dedication
and comittment," she said of her new position.
Whisnant said his only immediate plans were to rest now that
the election is over.
"I'm going to take off an rest a while," he said. "Then
Tuesday's run-off came after no candidate in the July election
recieved a majority vote. Thomas and Whisnant gained the two
highest vote counts to make it to the run-off.
Fire dept. seeking
Banks County fire officials are hoping
to receive an early Christmas present from the Banks County Board
of Commissioners-a $2.2 million funding burst.
The fire department is hoping to receive the funds from a proposed
five-year Special Purpose Local Option Sales (SPLOST) expected
to come up for a vote sometime before the current SPLOST expires
in Sept. 2001.
The fire department's request is almost 18 percent of the expected
tax revenue from the proposed SPLOST. The BOC will not take action
on any SPLOST requests until they have completed evaluation of
the all the county's needs.
"We put together two committees, vehicle and building, to
assess our needs and find our priority," assistant fire
chief John Creasy told the BOC at a meeting Friday. "Vehicles
are our largest area of need. Some are old and requiring a lot
Department officials are seeking approximately $1.7 million to
replace old engines, service trucks, tankers, four-wheel drive
trucks and ambulances and to purchase a used snorkel/aerial truck
for an estimated $200,000.
Creasy and fire chief Perry Dalton pointed to several current
fire engines which are more than 30 years old. Some of the vehicles
are deteriorating and have cost the county nearly $100,000 over
the past several years in repairs.
"One truck caught fire responding to a fire the other day,"
Dalton told the board.
The fire department is also seeking an estimated $300,000 in
fire station upgrades. A capital improvements needs assessment
Dalton and Creasy presented to the board pointed to five fire
stations in need of improvements.
Station 240 at Mt. Carmel, Station 330 at Grove Level and Station
420 at Grady were all marked for replacement due to building
deterioration, lack of personnel quarters and the lack of room
for future expansions to accommodate growth in the county.
The assessment also showed the need for renovations at Station
220 at Rock Springs. Dalton said the building needed an addition
for an ambulance bay plus living quarters for full-time personnel.
The requested $300,000 also includes funds for the renovation
or relocation of Station 310 at Banks Crossing.
"The county is spending money and grants for improvements
and sidewalks at Banks Crossing and one of the worst buildings
over there is the fire station," Dalton said. "I hate
to say it, but when people think of the Banks County Fire Department,
that's what they
Dalton showed the BOC pictures of ceiling damage from roof leaks
and the presence of raw sewage draining into the building. Dalton
also told the board that the should the current building be kept,
the bay doors would need to be relocated to improve access to
Hwy. 441. He also said an addition would be needed to accommodate
a requested ladder truck and to enlarge the day area, kitchen,
sleeping quarters and training room.
Dalton also presented commissioners with the possibility of relocating
the fire station to Industrial Blvd. and selling the property
to a commercial developer.
"The sale of the property could bring enough money to pay
for a new station," Dalton said. "You'd also be making
Banks Crossing look better."
The remainder of the requested $2.2 million would go to fire
and rescue equipment, including new turn out gear, air packs
and a $14,000 hydraulic rescue tool.
"Make sure you understand we weren't trying to be lavish,"
Creasy said. "We were looking at a spark budget to provide
the best services to the citizens."
The BOC didn't say whether it would grant the fire department
all of its requested funds.
"There are things we need to do," BOC chairman James
Dumas said. "This is not excessive. Public safety is expensive."
Ultimately, Dalton said the department would make do with whatever
funds he was allocated.
"We are going to have to do with what ya'll allocate,"
Dalton said. "We feel 18 percent is fair."
Go to Banks
Public Meeting Dates
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as rec head
Ten-year Banks County Recreation Department
head Mickey Coleman resigned Friday to take a position in his
home town of Tallasee, Ala.
"This hurts," Coleman said near the point of tears.
"I've put a lot of blood and sweet in this program."
The Banks County Board of Commissioners unanimously approved
his resignation at a called meeting Friday and wished him good
luck with his next job.
"I personally hate to see him go," BOC chairman James
Dumas said. "He has taken the rec department from nothing
and built it into what it is now. We regret Coleman submitting
his resignation. He's done a good job and we've had a good relationship."
The BOC named assistant director Barry Brooks as acting director.
The board is planning to decide at the September meeting whether
to ask Brooks to stay in the position.
The BOC also accepted Brooks' recommendation to make program
coordinator Phillip Cronic the new assistant director. Tommy
Wilson will step into the program coordinator position.
In another recreation matter, the board raised the registration
fee for football from $30 to $35. The hike will cover the cost
of new jerseys, which each participant will get to keep. The
BOC asked Brooks to explore the cost of adding mandatory insurance
coverage for each participant.
Brooks also reported to the board he had received estimates for
the installation of an irrigation system at the resodding of
two fields at the Banks County Recreation Complex.
Work on the fields is scheduled to be completed before the end
of the month.
County to provide
temporary rescue services
The city of Homer and the Banks County
Board of Commissioners have yet to finalize an agreement over
the providing of rescue services within the city of Homer.
Officials from both bodies, as well as Banks County Fire Chief
Perry Dalton and Homer Rescue Chief Troy Segars, met Friday morning
to try and settle on terms of a service agreement.
Homer Mayor Leon Ray told the BOC he would like to talk with
members of the town's rescue squad before making a decision.
"I would like to go over this and see what it looks like
to them," Ray said. "I want the people of Homer covered."
Another meeting will be held in the future to revisit the matter.
For the rest of this story, see this week's Banks County News.