News from Banks County...

 August 30, 2000


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OPINION

Shar Porier
'Ya gotta have heart!'

On a recent weekend, I covered the Banks County Fire Department's Boot Drive. What a job they had! There they were risking life and limb­on Hwy. 441 at the I-85 interchange no less­collecting money for children with Muscular Dystrophy.

Drew Brantley
Region 8-AA takes to the field this Friday
Banks County is in a new region this year for football. The realignment shook things up last spring. But now is the time to see what those changes will mean in real competition.


SPORTS
See this week's Pigskin Picks!

Leopards, Panthers to open regular season Friday night
Friday night's football foes will be fighting over the gas pedal and the brake.
The Banks County Leopards will host the Jackson County Comprehensive High School Panthers for the opening game of the 2000 football season with a pair of very different streaks.


Neighborhood News...
JACKSON COUNTY
Bell presses Water Wise issue; says Tolbert skipped legislative committee meetings
The atmosphere was tense Tuesday night as the two candidates vying for state representative for District 25 met for the second time in a public question and answer session.

City Making Little Annexation Progress
A committee working to convince people to have their property annexed into Commerce appears to be making little headway toward its first target.


News from
MADISON COUNTY
Moore's departure surprises county
Madison County school superintendent Dennis Moore retired from his post on the fourth day of the 2000-2001 school year. His resignation takes effect Sept. 1. Moore informed the county school board of his decision Tuesday night in a closed meeting, following a heated meeting with parents over busing problems.

Money, building approved for counseling program
Madison County commissioners promised $25,000 and the use of the old registrar's office for a drug and alcohol counseling center in the county Monday.


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AGRICULTURE OPERATION


Shown at Home Place, a wholesale plant business in Banks County, are (L-R) county extension agent John Mitchell, board of commissioners chairman James Dumas and owner Tom Harden.


BANKS CO. GOVERNMENT

Impact fee advisory committee named by Baldwin City Council
An impact fee advisory committee of five people has been nominated by the Baldwin City Council. The committee is required under the town's impact fee ordinance.
Those nominated were: Lamar Wilbanks, Charlie Miller, Elsie Sumner, Jim Wilke and Erford Harrison. The members must agree to serve before the action becomes official.
Experience in development and real estate is a requirement for committee members. The committee will serve in an advisory role and help the council make decisions on impact fees.
When discussion about the committee began at this week's city council meeting, Harrison voiced concerns about the members being from outside the city of Baldwin.
Mayor Mark Reed tried to alleviate any concerns of the residents present at the meeting by emphasizing that it would only be an advisory group making recommendations to the council. He added that it sometimes can work for the betterment of the city to have an outside party with experience in development matters and no "vested interest."


Banks County top in state in agriculture production
Banks County officials got some good news last week when it was announced that the county leads the state in agriculture production.
Banks County farmers added $264 million to the Georgia economy in 1999, according to county extension agent John Mitchell.
It's been nine years since Banks was at the top of the agriculture list. Since then, Banks has ranked in the top five agriculture counties in the state.
"If we added up every type of business enterprise, including Tanger, the pottery and Wal-Mart, agriculture would still be the biggest producer of revenue for the county," Mitchell said.
Banks County Board of Commissioners chairman James Dumas said the revenue from farming surpasses all retail sales. He added thanks to the agriculture community for "doing such a great job to push us to number one."
"We've got a lot to be proud of as a county," Dumas said. "Farming provides a lot of jobs and revenue­a tremendous amount."
Poultry and cattle are two of the main types of farms in the county. Mitchell said that the close proximity of Banks to some of the major processors of chicken makes poultry an economically viable commodity.
Dumas added that more poultry houses are being built this year. However, with rising interest rates, that surge could spiral down, he said.
In addition to helping the Banks County economy, poultry litter has also been a boon to the regeneration of topsoil for pastures and fields.
Cattle and foraging crops are also on the increase in Banks County as hay production accounted for $2.2 million and put Banks in fourth place in the state for that commodity.
Other agri-businesses have been cropping up as well, according to Mitchell, such as nurseries, greenhouses and turf grass operations.
Mitchell said that Banks really isn't suited for row crops.
"We had crop production in the past and it just eroded the topsoil away," he said. "It's also an extremely expensive enterprise with all of the equipment needed to manage the large parcels of land."
A new crop that could be grown in northern Banks County is grapes, which could lead to wine-making being established in the county. Mitchell and Dumas both said that there has been talk of state financial encouragement for grape production.
The wine industry is already making money in Habersham, Jackson and White counties, both as a sales commodity and as a tourist attraction. The grape industry leaders are hoping that the commodity will catch the interest of other farmers as well.
The extension agent said that consumers sometimes have misconceptions about what actually goes into the production of crops, poultry and cattle. He said it takes more hard work and more money than most people realize.
Dumas said, "It's a business worthy of our protection. The county commissioners have worked hard to protect the agriculture community through strict re-zoning regulations. We want to do all we can to help the farmer and help the residents preserve the natural beauty of Banks County."

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Man killed in four-wheeler accident
A Smyrna man was killed Friday when a four-wheeler he was riding overturned on Hwy. 51.
According to Banks County Sheriff Charles Chapman, Deward Cash, 74, and his wife were visiting a residence they owned on Hwy. 51 N. Chapman said Cash left his home around 4 p.m. Friday to ride along his property line.
When Cash didn't return after several hours, neighbors began searching for him and the sheriff and fire departments were notified.
After a search of the property, Chapman said Cash was found about 10:30 p.m. with his four-wheeler lying on top of him.
"We don't have anything from the autopsy," Chapman said. "But foul play is not suspected."


Several qualified for Maysville council seats
Several familiar names will be on the ballot in Maysville when a city election is held on Nov. 7.
Qualifying isn't over yet, but several former council members had qualified as of Tuesday.
Qualifying will be held through 4:30 p.m. Thursday at city hall.
In the mayor's race, the only one to qualify so far is former mayor Jerry Lewis. Incumbent Richard Presley hasn't qualified.
In Ward 1, former councilman Andrew Strickland has qualified. Incumbent Jim Saville hasn't qualified.
In Ward 2, former mayor Marion Jarrett has qualified. Incumbent Scott Harper has qualified for the Ward 4 seat because he is moving to that district. No one else has qualified for Ward 2 or 4.
No one has qualified for Ward 3, which is now held by Andy Martin.
The qualifying fee is $7.20 for members of the council and $13.20 for the mayor.