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July 18 Election Results
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We still have decisions
This year has undoubtedly been the final straw in the voters'
minds. The effect of negative campaigning has taken intelligence
and information out of the race for the last time.
Women's lib: Not a bad idea
I always thought I was one of those women who longed for the
days when women were "ladies." Doors were held open
for her. No one dared utter a crass word in her presence and
"yes, mam" was standard fare.
SEE THIS WEEK'S PIGSKIN PICKERS!
Leopards look to tame Wildcats
Two weeks ago, the Banks County Leopards went into the mountains
of North Georgia and nearly came away with a win. In fact, they
played one of their better games of the season against Lumpkin
Taste Of Jackson Set Thursday At Civic Center
It's billed as the "Taste of Jackson County/Business Showcase,"
but it's really a party with beverages, food and giveaway items
covered by the $5 admission charge.
Taxes, water the major issues, according to House candidates
Incumbent Rep. Scott Tolbert (R) said the most important issue
facing Jackson County is increasing taxes. His opponent, Pat
Bell (D) said access to water will be the most important issue
facing county residents in the coming years.
Amendments, referendums to be on Tues. ballot
The following proposed constitutional amendments will appear
on the Nov. 7 general election ballot . . .
County to pick favorites in 11 contested local elections
After months of listening to the candidates, voters will have
their turn to speak Tuesday.
The Banks County News
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Four-year-old Makayla Rylee twirls her baton during halftime
of Friday night's Banks County High School football game.
concerned about implications of zoning ordinance
Should the owner of car lot operating in a residentially zoned
area of Homer have the right to rebuild if 75 percent of the
business is damaged in a fire or tornado?
This question plagued the Homer City Council at a public hearing
Thursday night on the proposed zoning ordinance. City attorney
David Jones questioned the council about the validity and fairness
of prohibiting rebuilding.
"They should be able to rebuild the same size," Jones
said to the council and several local citizens. "I don't
think it's right. I don't think it's fair."
Jones explained that if the property is destroyed by 75 percent,
there is still 25 percent left, but that the value of that 25
percent is nothing if the city does not allow the owner to repair
it. Besides which, he said, it isn't fair that one business owner
can be put out of business because of a disaster while another
business owner can keep his business and operate it.
James W. Brown, who owns Brown's Used Car Lot, agreed with Jones,
as did all of the other local citizens.
Tom O'Bryant of Georgia Mountains Regional Development Center,
who has assisted Homer in creating the ordinance and the map,
said that it will be up to the city council whether the statement
should be left in or taken out, but that public feedback is exactly
what the council needs before making its final decision. Mayor
Leon Ray said that the council will consider rewording the statement
at its next council meeting.
Several citizens wanted to know the procedure for rezoning property
once the zoning is established. Ray and city clerk Carol Ayers
explained that anyone wishing to establish a business in a residential
section would apply to the council for a business license and
the rezoning and it could be approved.
O'Bryant explained that the zoning map is expected to change
monthly, if not weekly, as the community changes. Nothing about
the map is static.
"What we're looking for is a starting point," said
Mack Garrison, a member of the planning committee. "We've
tried to make everything conforming. Twenty years from now, it
could be totally different, but you've got to have a starting
point. Let's get it done and deal with the changes as they come
Council member Roy Broom said, "I've dreaded zoning like
I've dreaded the seven year itch, but it's here."
Two requests were made at the hearing to change the zoning of
a property so that the present use would be conforming. Jones
requested that the property where his duplexes are located be
changed from single-family residential to multi-family residential.
James W. Brown requested that his car lot property be changed
from single-family residential to commercial. The commission
and the council explained that it is their intention to zone
everything appropriately and that the two incidents were merely
negotiating new contract with Aqua Source
The City of Baldwin and Aqua Source are beginning negotiations
on a contract on the management of the water plant now that the
ownership issue with Demorest has been resolved through arbitration.
At last week's city council meeting, city attorney David Syfan
asked Aqua Source official Richard Bryant for the company's new
proposal for the contract. Bryant didn't have a copy of the proposal,
which he said is on a disk and has not been printed. He also
said there are some figures that need to be added to complete
Aqua Source official Gene Brown said that he had experienced
difficulty in getting actual figures as to the number of gallons
pumped out of the river as compared to the number of gallons
Demorest was actually selling. He said Aqua Source had based
their original contract figures on a 1998 audit of Demorest records.
Bryant added that there had been too many gallons a day used
this year compared with the audit totals. The company requested
help from the council in getting current records to complete
their contract figures.
Syfan recommended that the council authorize city engineer Fred
Hawkins, and city auditor Beth Grimes to review the contract
once it has been completed.
Baldwin Mayor Mark Reed said he is concerned with the definition
of the language used in the contract and asked that definitions
be specified in the next one.
In other business:
·sealed bids were opened for the purchase of snow chains
for the fire department trucks. The bid from Harliss, who holds
the warranty on the newest fire truck, came in at $5,750 and
was approved by the council. Money will come from the SPLOST
fund. The chains will be installed by Harliss.
·the council approved the purchase of a new transmission
for one of the police cruisers.
·the council approved the closing of Light Street at certain
times of the day to serve the Head Start Pre-K facility located
on the street. The road will be one way for 30 to 45 minutes
twice a day during drop-off/pick-up times. The Head Start director
had requested the council do this to protect the 150 children
getting out of cars and the school busses during those congested
·heard thanks from the Reed Family to everyone for their
donations, gifts and prayers offered to their son, Mark Jr. Mayor
Reed's son was recently diagnosed with a rare form of cancer.
He has undergone surgery to remove a tumor and is receiving chemotherapy.
Mayor Reed expressed his heartfelt appreciation for "everything
everybody has done. It has helped us through this difficult time."
He asked that people continue to think of his son and all the
other children at Egleston Children's Hospital in Atlanta. Donations
for medical expenses can be made to the Mark Reed Jr. Family
Fund through any of the branch offices of Habersham Bank.
Sheriff, BOC chairman
among key local positions on ballot Tuesday
Banks County voters will be filling two top local positions when
they go to the polls on Tuesday, Nov. 7.
The sheriff and chairman of the board of commissioners are among
the races to be decided Tuesday. The other local race is for
the probate judge's seat.
Banks County's state representative and senate seats are also
up for re-election. Other state races on the ballot include several
public service commissioner seats. County voters will also join
those across the country in casting their ballot in the president's
Banks County voters will also decide one local referendum and
vote on several other state referendums and amendments next week.
The local referendum will ask county voters if they favor increasing
the homestead exemption for those over 65 and the disabled. The
passing of this referendum will increase the homestead exemption
from $12,000 to $16,000.
In the sheriff's race, incumbent Charles Chapman (D) will face
challenger Michael Boyle (R).
In the BOC chairman's race, incumbent James C. Dumas (R) will
face Kenneth Brady (D).
Incumbent chief magistrate judge Henry David Banks was the winner
in the non-partisan primary election. However, Ray Seabolt has
qualified to be a write-in candidate for the seat.
State races to be decided include the District 22 House of Representatives
seat where incumbent Jeanette Jamieson (D) will face challenger
Bill Grant (R). In the District 47 State Senate race, incumbent
Eddie Madden (D) will face Republican Mike Beatty.
Banks Countians who live in Maysville also have a city election
slated for Nov. 7. This will be a separate ballot which will
be available at city hall.
Incumbent Mayor Richard Presley will face former mayor Jerry
Lewis in the Maysville city election set for Nov. 7.
The incumbent council members in Ward 1 and Ward 3 will also
face challengers in the election. In Ward 1, incumbent Jim Saville,
former councilman Andrew Strickland and Todd Dorsey qualified.
In Ward 3, incumbent Andy Martin, Richard Parr and Frank Chesonis
In Ward 2, former mayor Marion Jarrett was the only one to qualify.
Ward 2 incumbent Scott Harper qualified for the Ward 4 seat because
he is moving to that district. Harper is the only candidate for
the Ward 4 council seat.
Polls will be open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
still at odds over water plant
Winning the arbitration was just the first step of an uphill
climb by Baldwin officials to wrest control of the water plant
Baldwin officials say they have been kept in the dark as to what
has or has not been done up at the pumping station. City leaders
say they have not seen any bookkeeping records, maintenance logs,
plant records or expens reports.
To proceed, the Baldwin City Council needs to meet with the Demorest
City Council. The meeting is set for this Thursday, Nov. 2, at
6 p.m. So far, the council has yet to receive a confirmation
that the Demorest City Council will attend.
At Monday night's council meeting, city attorney David Syfan
spoke on a few issues that he believes needed to be addressed
quickly. One of his main concerns is the status of an intake
pump. He said he had spoken with city engineer Fred Hawkins who
recently had a discussion with the Demorest engineer.
"It is my understanding in talking with Fred that Demorest
is not taking any action to install the large pump at the intake,"
Syfan reminded the council that the pump had burned up and was
supposed to have been repaired. The pump is important to the
running of the plant, he said. It is one of two pumps that were
to run alternately on 12-hour shifts. For a yet unknown reason,
one of the pumps was improperly wired and never came on, city
leaders said. The other pump ran 24 hours a day, seven days a
week for 13 months before burning up. Demorest workers did not
notice the problem until the pump had burned out, according to
Council member Mitchell Gailey said that the motor from the pump
may have been removed and taken to Midway Electric for repair.
He said he had learned from Midway that the company is awaiting
parts to complete the repair.
Gene Brown, of Aqua Source, said that from what he understood
the pump's motor "had been repaired and has been sitting
on the floor of the shop on a pallet. This was last week."
Baldwin Mayor Mark Reed said: "They [Demorest] tried to
get [Midway Electric] to fix it. They tried to get the company
that wired the pumps to fix it. But isn't the operator responsible
for the inaction on the problem? Does this come back like everything
else? That we have to pay for it?"
The council decided that the exact situation on the pump is still
to be determined since there are two different stories being
The council asked Syfan if Demorest is going to do anything about
the pump or not. Syfan replied, "I don't know if it's an
intentional desire not to take action. The version I got was
that they were a little stunned about the outcome of the arbitration.
And it has thrown them into chaos. They are drifting. They don't
know what to do."
Tuesday morning, Baldwin city clerk Stacey Jacobs called Midway
Electric to find out about the motor. Jacobs said she was told
that a new motor had been shipped to Midway. Midway officials,
though, had no idea what or who the motor was for. Demorest had
not contacted them about ordering or installing the motor, she
said. Company officials told her that they did not know who to
bill for it. The motor, so large that it has to be installed
by a crane, has been at Midway for three weeks. They figured
out on their own that the motor was for the Baldwin/Demorest
water plant. Jacobs said.
Syfan said he is also concerned about Phase II of the water project.
The council had given authorization to a sub-contractor to proceed
forward with identification of the plant's problems.
"Evidentially, that authorization is being treated in the
same fashion by Demorest," he said. "They're kind of
lost and no action is being taken on that either."
He said that the $300,000 grant from Appalachian Regulatory Commission
could be pulled.
"We don't need to let the inactivity of the current management
to cause us to lose that grant," he said.
He suggested that the council send a letter to the Demorest council
and state their questions and concerns. That way, he felt, the
ARC would see that Baldwin was moving forward on the project.
Council member Robert Bohannon added that the fencing Baldwin
paid for last year, that was to be installed around the plant
but was not, be included in the letter.
Go to Banks
Public Meeting Dates
& Convenience Stores
DFCS awarded $2,000
The Banks County Department of Family and Children's Services
has been awarded a $2,000 grant for software to upgrade its computer
Director Renota Free made the announcement at the October board
meeting. She said that Rep. Jeanette Jamieson was instrumental
in obtaining the grant from the state.
Free said that the staff is undergoing training to learn the
program. It will allow the department to build a thorough data
base, she said.
In other business:
·it was reported that Temporary Assistance to Needy Families
continues to decline.
·it was reported that the department conducted four new
physical abuse cases and eight neglect cases. Of these, seven
were substantiated, one was closed and two were found to be unsubstantiated
and were closed. The rest are pending.
·it was announced that a new staff member, Jeannie Cartell,
had been hired.
Suspect in armed
robbery denied bond
A teenager charged with the armed robbery of the County Line
Package Store on Hwy. 59 in Banks County was denied bond.
District Attorney Tim Madison said Eston Curtis Hooper was denied
bond at a bond hearing Tuesday morning.
Two other suspects in the armed robbery, including a 16-year-old
juvenile, have yet to appear in court for a bond hearing.
Bed and breakfast
rezoning on planners' Monday agenda
The Banks County Planning Commission will consider several rezoning
matters, including one that would bring a bed and breakfast lodge
to the county, when it meets at 7 p.m. Monday in the courthouse.
Max and Judy Chosewood are asking to rezone property at 2152
Apple Pie Ridge Road from ARR (Agricultural, Rural-Residential)
to C-2 (General Commercial) to locate the bed and breakfast lodge.
Other items on the agenda include:
·Ki Suk Free to rezone property at 30037 Highway 441 North
from C-1 (Neighborhood Commercial) to ARR (Agricultural, Rural
·Lonzo Dodd for a conditional use application to relocate
a 1987 manufactured home from Habersham County to 695 Oscar Rucker
The Banks County Board of Commissioners will hold a public hearing
on the recommendations of the planning commission at 7 p.m. Tuesday,
Nov. 14, in the courthouse.
Wilbanks asks for
new trial in home invasion
A man found guilty in a 1999 home invasion in Banks County has
asked for a retrial.
In December 1999, a Banks County jury found Bobby Wilbanks, Nicholson,
guilty of kidnapping, false imprisonment, aggravated assault
with a deadly weapon and burglary in the home invasion at the
residence of Sam and Georgia Thurmond. Wilbanks was sentenced
to life in jail without the possibility of parole.
Wilbanks' attorney, Tim Healy of Toccoa, filed a motion Tuesday
in Banks County Superior Court asking for a retrial for his client.
Superior Court Judge David Motes is expected to review the case
and make a ruling within 30 days.
Among Wilbanks' reasons for asking for a new trial are the following
·the trial court erred in denying Wilbanks' motion for
a separate trial. He was tried along with Paul and Michael Kozachyn,
who were also found guilty in the incident.
·the trial court erred in denying Wilbanks' motion for
a mistrial after numerous jury members saw him in handcuffs.
·the trial court erred in failing to grant a mistrial
after improper remarks were made by the district attorney during
his cross-examination of a witness.
·the trial court erred in allowing a witness to testify
on Wilbanks' involvement in a similar crime.
·the trial court erred in failing to excuse a jury member
after she said she would judge the Thurmonds' credibility differently
than others because she had known them for a long period of time.
·the trial court erred in allowing Sam Thurmond to testify
about his identification of Wilbanks at a prior hearing.
·the trial court erred in allowing the state to call a
witness after the state affirmatively stated that he would not
be called, thereby causing Wilbanks not to explore potential
juror bias regarding the witness.
·the trial court erred in sentencing Wilbanks after the
state failed to rebut his evidence that his plea was not freely,
voluntarily and knowingly entered.