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'Remember the Titans' offers a deeper side of football
Leaving the theater Sunday, the gridiron was calling my name.
Adrenaline was pumping and wild thoughts of football glory raced
through my head while . . .
Only 81 days...
I don't know about you, but I'm finished. Everything is neatly
written out on my master list and packed up in a spare room.
I've . . .
SEE THIS WEEK'S PIGSKIN PICKERS!
Mistakes lead to Leopard defeat
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.
Instead, the Vikings left Homer with a 38-18 win.
Water Wise owner indicted by feds for 'bid-rigging'
Water Wise owner Jerry Wickliffe has reportedly
been indicted by a federal court over a bid-rigging scheme in
Water Wise was the firm pursuing a sewage business in Jackson
County last year until county officials condemned land, forcing
Wickliffe out of the sewage business locally.
Maysville festival to celebrate 33rd year
The city of Maysville is gearing up for the
33rd annual Maysville Autumn Leaf Festival to be held October
6, 7 and 8. The event is sponsored by the City of Maysville and
the Maysville Community Improvement Club.
Chris NeSmith replaces Booth as Comer mayor
Chris NeSmith has been named mayor of Comer
to complete the term of Kevin Booth. NeSmith was chosen by the
city council at their regularly scheduled meeting
Two school buses collide
At least 20 Madison County students were
transported to area hospitals after two county school buses collided
on Hwy. 98 near the Madison County Service Center (Fine Finish)
at approximately 7:55 a.m. Wednesday.
The Banks County News
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Banks County High School twirler Maggie Elrod twirls fire during
halftime of the Banks County Leopard and East Hall Viking football
game Friday. The Leopards lost 38-18.
Social Security, Medicare, taxes
The Banks County courthouse was the setting for
a town hall meeting given by State Representative John Linder
(R) Saturday afternoon that covered topics facing legislators.
Speaking to the small crowd, Linder did his best to field questions
from the audience. Right from the start, he was put on the defensive
by people who have disabled family members who said federal cuts
in spending by the Republican congress has caused hard times
for these families.
One woman, concerned over her father's care, said, "I want
to know why it's so hard for people who have worked all their
lives to get Social Security when they need it. They get sick
and can't work anymore and Social Security won't help them."
Linder asked if she had contacted his office for help. She said
"I can't tell you why Social Security makes these rules,"
he said. "All I can tell you is that if he is disabled,
he is entitled to get disability. If he has been turned down,
he can go through an appeals process and my office will help
you do that."
Another woman wanted to know why so much money is given away
to foreign aid, when the money could be used to help the disabled.
Linder's reply was that the government gives "less than
one percent of the budget" to foreign aid.
Though talking about billions of dollars, Linder supports the
concept of foreign aid, saying he sees "foreign aid as an
"It's less expensive in the long run [to give aid],"
he said. "If we can prove in the soviet bloc nations that
free enterprise works, it'll will save us money."
Linder then discussed the problem facing people with disabilities.
"We spend a lot of money," he said. "My problem
is that it's too easy to get for [people with] moderate disabilities.
So, someone with a very moderate disability can get $450 a month
for their family."
Attention Deficit Disorders (ADD), he claimed, "are too
easy to fake."
"Mothers have taught their children to misbehave in school
in order to collect money from the government," he said.
He said he would rather see moderate disorders harder to get
government subsidy so that more money would be available for
the profoundly disabled.
"When I was a child, our families took care of them,"
he said. "We didn't have people lining up at the government
window for a share of the pie."
He recommended the "disabled community get together on their
own volition, their own initiative and come to terms" with
handling the situation of the profoundly disabled. He said that
as a group they could wield more influence.
C.N. Hillis, from Barrow County, questioned Linder about
the Fair Tax Act. Linder introduced the act in 1999 that would
abolish income tax - business, corporate, and individual, capital
gains and gift taxes. His plans propose an across-the-board national
retail sales tax.
"We've been around the states talking about this issue,"
he said. "And we have to continue selling the American people
on this idea."
The people are responding favorably to it, he added.
Hillis was also looking for some definitive relief from taxes
he pays on his Social Security income.
He stated, "I am sick and tired of paying war effort taxes.
If they've got all that surplus money up there, why don't they
use it to cut taxes across-the-board. It's my money."
Linder replied, "We cut the tax. The president vetoed it.
We eliminated the death tax and the president vetoed it. We eliminated
the marriage penalty tax; the president vetoed it."
Hillis wanted to have some assurance that there wouldn't be a
"bunch of other stuff tacked on to the bill," causing
a veto from the new president.
He explained that every bill that passes through congress is
actually a number of bills all added together and placed under
one number. It is a method used to get one action passed benefiting
one group, while pacifying another with something else. Presidential
vetoes have often been due to these other aspects included in
the bill, Linder said.
Linder said that George Bush is in favor of a tax cut. Hillis
wanted to know if he would do as Nixon did in the 70's and revert
to taxing retirement income.
"Is he gonna turn around and add something else?,"
he asked. "I'm 78-years-old, I need tax relief yesterday!
If we've overpaid our taxes to the extent that there's a surplus,
I don't want that money just thrown away in different programs.
I need my relief now!"
Linder said Bush would provide that relief.
Another young woman from the audience was dismayed over the vote
on partial birth abortion.
"You shouldn't be surprised by that," replied Linder.
"Abortion is a tough issue. It's hard to believe that we
are a nation that allows this."
He said the president vetoes the abolition of the practice when
they try to pass a measure on it, saying that the process is
already considered illegal.
Questions about whether or not the death tax or marriage penalty
tax will come up again next year were posed to Linder. He replied
that they would, but if Al Gore is elected, he implied the measures
would not pass.
"The government currently collects 20.6 percent of your
income as tax," he said. "Letting people keep more
of what they earned is not selfish. Individuals will invest that
money, create more jobs and create more tax payers. But this
crowd at the White House won't let go of a nickel!"
Bonnie Johnson, president of the Banks County Chamber of Commerce,
asked about the future of Social Security, wondering if it would
indeed remain in a "lock-box," as voted by the House,
and would remain untouched for any reason.. Though Clinton and
Gore say they both want the measure passed, Linder claims that
the bill has stalled in the Senate due to a filibuster by democratic
senator, Tom Daschle, from South Dakota.
"If we had a critical press in this country, at the national
level, they would expose that," he said.
Other topics of discussion included religious freedoms, prayer
in schools, homosexuality, budget forecasts and illegal immigration.
On the subject of immigration, Linder said, "I welcome all
He said that illegals should be returned home and the borders
should be guarded with more men and patrols. He also told the
audience that the standard of living is improving in Mexico and
he sees that as a good sign.
"A large part of that has to do with the increase in trade
and NAFTA," he said.
Linder also discussed the drop in welfare recipients and considers
it a huge success story.
"It will get even better because people will get into the
habit of working," he said.
Concern over the current state of the military was also a topic
of discussion. According to Linder, Bush has declared the military
in "dreadful shape" because of bad morale, inefficient
or inoperable equipment, fuel shortages, parts shortages and
poor retirement benefits. If a major conflict arose, Linder said
the country would be unable to respond quickly and with necessary
force. Bush wants to spend more on the
military to bring it back up to standards of the 80's and the
Another topic of interest was the prescription problem facing
"About two-thirds of American seniors have health prescription
benefits," he said.
That leaves one-third who have only partial help with pharmaceuticals.
"A significant majority of seniors, maybe two-thirds, on
Medicare have a Medi-gap," he said.
Medi-gap is the new catch phrase for the difference seniors must
make up on their own between what the drug companies charge and
what Medicare will pay.
"What we discovered is, for those people who have no insurance
for their co-payment, and have to pay it out of their own pocket,
pay on the average $1,400 less than those who do [have coverage],"
he said. "That's an economic dynamic. They have to pay out
of their pocket, so they're a little bit more cautious about
how they use their health care. If people don't have to pay out
of their pocket, they can go whenever they want for whatever
"If we were to raise the deductible from $500 to $675, and
make it unlawful to insure against the deductible, the savings
would be enough to pay up to $5,000 a year for pharmaceuticals.
Because people would use less of their health care plan. That
first $675 has to come out of their check."
Linder also touched on environmental problems, saying that, "The
environmental protection agency is trying to enforce codes that
have no scientific proof of causing environmental harm."
He would like to see the EPA follow the procedure used by OSHA.
OSHA gives a warning and a waiting period to correct the problems,
the EPA does not. One of the problems with the EPD, according
to Linder, is that as new technology makes equipment that detects
smaller amounts of toxins and by-products of industry, they re-write
"OSHA wants to help business, EPA just wants to penalize,"
to qualify to vote in Nov. 7 election
Countians who want to cast a ballot in
the Nov. 7 General Election who are not already registered to
vote have less than a week to do so.
The deadline for registering to vote is Tuesday, Oct. 10. Countians
can register by going by the voter registration office at the
county courthouse in Homer, the Banks County Public Library,
the Banks County Department of Family and Children Services or
at the Georgia Department of Transportation driver's license
Four local races will be on the ballot in November, including
sheriff, board of education Post 4, board of commissioners chairman
and chief magistrate judge.
Banks County's state representative and senate seats are also
up for re-election.
Go to Banks
Public Meeting Dates
& Convenience Stores
Teen accused in
Wendy's armed robbery caught
Former Wendy's assistant manager Carolyn
Swain said she didn't know what was going to happen when a man
came through the back door of the Banks Crossing restaurant early
Wednesday morning with what appeared to be a handgun.
"I thought, 'What is going to happen? Are we going to die?"
Swain said. "I was trying to cooperate as much as possible."
Banks County Sheriff Charles Chapman said Deattrice Antwoin Owens,
18, Palm Beach, Fla., has been charged with armed robbery in
connection with the crime.
According to police, an employee opened the back door of Wendy's
between 12:30 and 12:45 a.m. Wednesday morning to take out the
trash. Chapman said a black male wearing a jacket and black hood,
who is believed to be Owens, confronted the employee with an
object that appeared to be a handgun.
Chapman said Owens forced the employee back into the store where
three other employees were working.
"He told us what he wanted," Swain said. "He said,
'If you cooperate, you will go home safely.'"
Owens then allegedly forced Swain, an assistant manager at the
store, into the office and made her open the safe. Chapman said
Owens took two money bags with approximately $1,600 in cash and
"When he was getting the money, he told us to lay down,"
Swain said. "We never did."
According to Swain, Owens went out the back door and told the
employees to stay where they were.
"He told us to wait when he went out the back door,"
Swain said. "I thought he was going to come back and put
us in the freezer. He did tell us we had cooperated with him
Chapman said Owens went out the back door and jumped over a wall
behind the restaurant. He said some coins and a Wendy's hat were
found where investigators believe Owens jumped.
Chapman added that police dogs were brought to the scene shortly
after the robbery but were of no avail.
Owens was apprehended at a motel in Manchester, Tenn., Thursday
night when police discovered the pickup truck he was driving
had been stolen from Florida.
After searching the truck, Chapman said officers with the Manchester
Police Department found two money bags with the name of a Commerce
bank on them. Chapman said the Manchester Police Department called
the Banks County Sheriff's Office to ask about the bags and learned
of the robbery in Banks Crossing two nights earlier.
Investigators with the Banks County Sheriff's Office traveled
to Tennessee and met with police and interviewed Owens. Chapman
said Owens confessed to the crime and gave a detailed account
of the robbery.
Owens will be extradited to Banks County after facing several
charges in Tennessee, including possession of a stolen vehicle
and possession of marijuana, Chapman said.
Swain was terminated from her job at Wendy's for violating company
policy by opening the back door. She said she was just glad no
one was hurt.
"We cooperated to save our lives," Swain said. "We
could have been killed."
Only $200 of the stolen money was recovered.
between Baldwin and Demorest over water plant ownership
An arbitration hearing between Baldwin
and Demorest over ownership of a water plant was held this week.
A ruling on the matter is not expected for several weeks.
One year ago, Demorest filed suit against Baldwin over the ownership
of the water treatment plant. The conflict arose when Baldwin
entered negotiations with Aqua Source, a private firm, to handle
the plant and the water department.
Demorest and Baldwin had a 1986 contract that gave Demorest a
50-year agreement to handle water operations at the water treatment
plant. The contract included a clause for the right of Demorest
to renew plant operations for another 50 years. It also designated
Baldwin the sole owner of the land the plant occupies, the plant
and the water lines running from the pumping station to J. Warren
Road. A part of the agreement guarantees Demorest 75 percent
of the water reserve.
When the arbitration hearing began Monday, Demorest city attorney
Jim Butterworth had difficulty in remembering the chain of events
and whether or not he was contacted by Baldwin city attorney
David Syfan about making changes to the contract. Attorney James
Weidner is now representing the city of Demorest in the arbitration.
Also taking the stand Monday was Syfan and he came under fire
from Weidner as to how the modifications were handled and his
knowledge of the events which led up to the third change to the
contract. Further, Weidner asked why Syfan had not gone through
Butterworth to make the Demorest council aware of the changes
Syfan said he had tried on numerous occasions to reach Butterworth.
When Butterworth failed to return his calls or faxes, Syfan said
he felt he had no other option than to contact the Demorest council
on his own. He said he also sent letters to Butterworth stating
the proposed changes.
On Tuesday, Baldwin Mayor Mark Reed, city council member Robert
Bohannon and former city manager Graham Owens testified.
Chan Caudell was also called by Weidner to testify about comments
made by Syfan about the third modification to the contract. Caudell
had worked for the same firm as Syfan at the time. The judge
also didn't allowed any testimony from Caudell, citing attorney-client
Weidner also attempted to add a clause to the original suit to
include his attorney fees. The judge denied his request.
The judge will consider the case for about 10 days. He will give
his opinion on the suit and recommendations to another judge,
who will make the final ruling. That may take as long as two
to three weeks.
See this week's Banks County News for more on this arbitration.