News from Banks County...

 October 3, 2000


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OPINION

Shar Porier
The Homer tree
Ok Homer ! You keep asking: "When's there going to be something about Homer in the paper?" Well, there
doesn't . . .

Drew Brantley
Mouse Trap fights rat race blues
Life is not fair. I figured that out at least a year or two ago. I don't expect life to be fair. But I still expect life to make some sense. But it doesn't. This week
I . . .


SPORTS
SEE THIS WEEK'S PIGSKIN PICKERS!

East Hall downs Banks County
Take away two turnovers and a blocked punt and the Banks County Leopards' football game against East Hall last Friday night would have turned out a lot differently.


Neighborhood News...
JACKSON COUNTY
Natural Gas Prices High As Heating Season Nears
So you think gasoline prices have gone up over last year? That's nothing. Natural gas prices have doubled, and that could result in some very high winter utility bills.

Nicholson's City Government Can't Function
There are seven candidates qualified to run for mayor in the November special election, but the recent resignations of the mayor and two city councilmen leave Nicholson without enough public officials to conduct business.


News from
MADISON COUNTY
Bond set for Fortson
Tracy Lea Fortson, the former deputy accused of killing her ex-boyfriend, Doug Benton of Colbert, and encasing him in cement, could be set free on bond - though she remained in jail as of Tuesday.
Northern Judicial Circuit Judge Thomas Hodges set bond Friday at $500,000 for Fortson, who will go before a Madison County grand jury Oct. 16.

Sorrells resigns as authority chairman
Madison County Industrial Development and Building Authority (MCIDBA) chairman Steve Sorrells resigned earlier this month and fellow board member John Scoggins was chosen as his replacement in a called meeting Tuesday morning.


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NEW DEPARTMENT IN PLACE

Maysville police chief Ricky Armour directed the placement of the department's new home behind the Maysville Fire Department. The used mobile home was donated by the Georgia Emergency Management Association. The police department will be relocating in the next few weeks.


Maysville Police Department gets new home last week
The Maysville police chief and his men were all smiles as their new home was delivered and set up behind the Maysville Fire Station last week.
The used mobile home, donated to the department by the Georgia Emergency Management Association, made the long trip through Atlanta up to Maysville Wednesday afternoon.
According to police chief Ricky Armour, it took longer to go through the paperwork and get the mobile home out of the compound than it did to drive it to Maysville.
The old office is too small to keep up with the growing number of files and additional equipment, the chief said. It is also in a deteriorating state, with one wall unstable.
Armour said that over the next two to three weeks, considerable work will be done to adapt the trailer to its new purpose and to meet county and city codes.
Underpinning and laying the concrete block foundation will take a couple of days. Sewer and water lines and an underground electrical line will be installed. An air conditioning system and possibly a heating system will also be installed. Armour said a porch off the back door would also be built.
There will be parking in front for police cruisers and cars.


BANKS CO. GOVERNMENT

Dalton to serve as head of EMS and fire departments
The Banks County Board of Commissioners has named fire chief Perry Dalton to also serve as the head of the emergency management services department.
The BOC had named Perry to temporarily serve as EMS department head two weeks ago while it looked into a discrepancy in the maintenance log kept at the ambulance station at Banks Crossing.
Former EMS director Doug O'Neal now handles administrative and shift duties for the department. His salary has also been decreased and he is now paid on an hourly basis. Dalton's salary has not been changed.
On a related mater, the BOC promoted paramedic Jim Crisp to be battillion chief and oversee the day-to-day activities of the EMS department.
The personnel changes came after the BOC discovered a discrepancy in the maintenance log. Commissioner Pat Westmoreland visited the Banks Crossing station several weeks ago to check the maintenance log and found only one entry. This led him to request that all maintenance logs be turned in for review.
The log later turned into the county from the Banks Crossing station that was submitted had eight to nine entries. Westmoreland questioned why it had been changed since he saw it at the station. O'Neal said that he made the additional entries by going back and estimating when the maintenance was done on the equipment since it was not written in the log at the time.
County leaders also checked the repair records for the Banks Crossing station. It was reported earlier that the records don't include any specifically listed for routine maintenance.


BJC approves staff privileges for five new doctors
The BJC Medical Center gave "courtesy" staff privileges to five new doctors Monday night, four of whom will work in the emergency room.
The emergency room physicians include Dr. Sherry Brock, Dr. James Corpus, Dr. Fred Gose and Dr. Oguguo C. Okoye. In addition, Dr. Shiv Raj Khandelwal, an oncologist associated with an Athens practice, was given courtesy staff privileges.
In other business during the 10-minute meeting, the authority re-elected member Don Brown to another term representing Banks County on the nine-member board. He was elected unanimously from a slate presented by the Banks County Board of Commissioners that included Danny Maxwell and Willene Dyer.
Also Monday night:
·administrator David Lawrence reported that the average daily census for August was 11.4 patients. "That's up from the past two years," he said. "We're seeing an overall increase in the census. We hope that will help us further along."
·at the suggestion of Charles Blair, the board agreed to draft and sign a resolution honoring Jim Mertz, whose retirement was to start Tuesday, for his service to the medical center.
·Henry Webb of the BJC Medical Center Auxiliary reported that his group earned $1,400 from its annual jewelry sale. The money will be used on a project benefiting the obstetrics section of the hospital, Webb indicated.


Traffic up in Baldwin, police chief says
More motorists are traveling through Baldwin than in the past.
Baldwin police chief Frank Andrews presented the city council at Monday's meeting with statistics about the increase in traffic going through the city.
The survey by the Georgia Department of Transportation showed that in a 12-hour period at Willingham and Hwy. 441, 15,000 cars passed through.
"Most of the time, when you think of a population of a city, you're only thinking of the people who live here," Andrews said at Monday night's meeting. "But, we have to also provide services like fire, rescue, and police to those who pass through here."
He estimated that, from those figures, 35,000 people could be passing through the Baldwin area each day.
"When you add the increased traffic on Hwy. 365, we're talking about a lot of people," he said
This influx can mean an increase in accidents, theft and fraud, he added.
The police chief also gave the council a report on statistics compiled over July and August showing the number of accidents, traffic warnings and arrests, which are also on the increase in some cases. Andrews said he wants to make the council aware of the future needs of his department and the fire department.
OTHER BUSINESS
In other business:
·it was reported that residents of Baldwin will be getting a quarterly newsletter about the city business and important dates starting this month. The newsletter is called the Baldwin Buzzer and the first issue will be going out this week.
·it was reported that a dirt median on Hwy. 441 will soon be filled with flowering trees and plants..
·the council voted to build a road side park along an abandoned section of the old Hwy. 441.
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UPDATE:
DFCS moves ahead on new building
Renota Free, director of Banks County Department of Family and Children's Services, told the board at last week's meeting that the commissioners have given her the go-ahead on a new building with more space and offices.
The department has outgrown its current facility, she said, and the staff has to juggle limited office space to get their work done. Sometimes, the break room is the only available place for part-time regional DFCS employees who have reports to complete concerning Banks County, she added. Free said there is also a pressing need to have a confidential conference room for the families who come for help to discuss their needs and difficulties.
Free said she recently met with BOC chairman James Dumas to go over the details of the department's needs as far as the number of offices and space required.
"Since the meeting, they have sent me a proposal as to the size and number of offices, which I approved and sent back," she said.
The next stage is to meet with the county commissioners and architects to make final decisions and have the initial plans developed. Free said she hopes to have the new plans for the board's approval by the October 26 meeting.
The building DFACS now occupies is for sale.
OTHER BUSINESS
In other business:
·it was reported that the department is receiving three radios for staff in the field, so that they can stay in touch with the main office.
·it was reported that the reception honoring XX Bell, who had been with the DFCS for 31 years, has been planned. The event will be held at the Garrison Civic Center on Thursday, Oct. 26, at 3:30 p.m..


Boys and Girls Club up and running
Forty five children are now participating in the Boys and Girls Club of Baldwin.
Thanks to the work of police chief Frank Andrews, latch-key kids now have a safe place to go after school until their parents come home from work.
The club meets at Baldwin Elementary School from 3 p.m. until 6 p.m. Mondays through Fridays, for a fee of $3 per day.
For the past few years, Andrews and the city council have wanted to start a Boys and Girls Club in Baldwin. Recently, an advisory board was formed and work has begun to try to raise money for supplies and equipment for the children. Serving on the board are: councilman Kevin Gaddis, Mayor Mark Reed, assistant police chief Chad Smith and Erford Harrison, a member of the Baldwin impact fee advisory committee.
Parents wishing to enroll their child may call Gerald Roach at (706) 778-6463.