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Georgia's darkest hours depicted in new book
I have been a mystery fan for many years. From Nancy Drew books
as a child to John Grisham novels as an adult, I have been fascinated
by mysteries. I go . . .
Gardening is good therapy
That gardening is an enjoyable and practical pursuit is a given.
However, its therapeutic values for the mind, body and soul are
immeasurable. A case in point happened this past week in the
waiting room of a pain clinic at a hospital in Gainesville.
SEE THIS WEEK'S PIGSKIN PICKERS!
Girls' and boys' basketball teams look to seniors to lead
Talent, experience and leadership will all head up the Banks
County Leopard and Lady Leopard basketball teams this year.
Combined, the two teams bring 12 seniors to the court. Senior
experience coupled with the youthful aggressiveness of rising
underclassman should mix for an effective season for both teams.
Commerce Schools To Start Earlier In Fall
The Commerce City School System has joined what seems to be the
trend of northeast Georgia schools by approving a calendar for
2001-2002 that starts and ends the school year early.
Florida ballot flap similar to Jackson in '84
The ballot recount controversy in Florida over the outcome of
the presidential race may seem like deja vu all over again for
some Jackson County citizens.
Drug counseling program up in the air as Martin continues
fight for credibility
The saga surrounding a proposed drug counseling program in the
county continued Monday. Jess Martin and his wife Anna stood
before the county commissioners trying to convince the group
that Martin is a respectable man and should be allowed to run
the proposed Adolescent Addiction Prevention Program and Aftercare
DFACS workers face long hours, tough choices
Donnie Morgan spent half a day recently crawling under all the
bridges along or near Hwy. 72 in Madison County on a tip that
an indigent family with kids might be living under one of them.
The Banks County News
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WORKING ON ZONING
Larry Sparks of the Georgia Mountains Regional Development
Center is helping Alto City Council members Jerry Terrell, Susan
Wade, Carol Gulley and Audrey Turner and Mayor Jack King determine
the zoning districts.
Alto zoning ordinance
in the works
The Alto City Council took the first steps
in developing a zoning ordinance last week at its first Development
Under the guidance of Larry Sparks, of the Georgia Mountains
Regional Development Center, council members Jerry Terrell, Susan
Wade, Carol Gulley and Audrey Turner got a glimpse of what lies
ahead in determining Alto's future.
Sparks gave the council members a copy of an ordinance from another
city and went over it sentence by sentence, restriction by restriction.
He told them that they should use the ordinance as a sample for
He said there could be three zoning district designations - R-1,
single-family dwellings, stick-built homes only, no mobile homes;
R-2, duplexes, triplexes, townhomes, and mobile homes; and R-3,
apartment complexes, condominiums and mobile home parks.
He asked the council about the city's needs for industrial and
agricultural zones. The council did not think they would need
those designations at this time.
Mobile homes were a long topic of discussion. Sparks said that
there are a number of ways to limit the increase of mobile homes
by restricting roof pitch and square footage. He said many property
owners recognize the loss of property values when a mobile home
is added to a neighborhood. He added that some counties require
the mobile home to be less than seven years old. Mayor Jack King
said that Alto currently has a 10-year age limit on mobile homes.
King said he did not think that restricting mobile homes was
fair to residents or prospective residents.
"They are making mobile homes better and better," he
said. "Many people just can't afford anything else."
Council member Susan Wade said, "I live in a mobile home,
but I wouldn't want one next to me if I lived in a $200,000 home."
The group discussed how it might include small home-run businesses
within the designations. City clerk Barbara Reynolds pointed
out that there are more than 25 businesses operating in Alto.
The council is concerned about how they fit in the districts.
Sparks said that as long as the business did not take up more
square footage than the home-area, they could be allowed in all
three zones. He also told them that they must come up with size
limits for signs and take parking into consideration. In other
cities, ordinances state that when a business has been closed
for 12 months, it cannot be re-opened.
Sparks also touched on a highway business zone which would allow
for shopping malls and stores and an industrial zone that includes
larger business entities. He plans to bring sample ordinances
of commercial districts to the next council meeting.
The council has to check with the health departments of both
Banks and Habersham counties to find out the regulations on acreage
size for septic systems. Alto currently has no sewer system which
means that all new building and development will have to follow
septic system guidelines.
Sparks also asked the council to produce up-to-date tax maps
so they can determine where the districts will be. He said the
current property lines and city limits have to be clearly distinguished.
The council now has to take all the information and begin the
long process of hashing out what's in the best interest of Alto's
future development. Another meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. Tuesday,
Nov. 28, at the Alto City Hall.
Parents air complaints
about BCHS band director to BOE
A series of parental complaints were aired Monday night against
Banks County High School band director Rebecca Smith. The complaints
were made to the Banks County Board of Education during its monthly
meeting. Smith was not in attendance.
Most of the complaints revolved around what parents said were
bad interactions with band students and their perception that
there had been a lack of proper oversight of band students while
on bus trips.
Parent Beth Gooch said that the problems began following a dispute
between Smith and the band parent organization. Smith's name
was removed from the group's bank account following disagreements
in how the money was being spent, said Gooch.
Since that action, however, Gooch said Smith had been demanding
payment for giving students missed work, cursing at students
and doing other inappropriate things.
Another parent told the board that her daughter was out of school
sick for three days and when she returned, she had missed a worksheet
and a piece of music. Smith reportedly told the woman's daughter
that if she wanted to make up the work, she must pay a quarter.
"My daughter told her that she wasn't giving her a quarter,"
said the mother. "My child is not paying for work. I'm sorry.
She took a zero."
Junior majorette Maggie Elrod told the board that Smith cursed
at her and of other disputes with the band leader.
Gooch also said students weren't being properly supervised during
"From the time they leave that school until the time they
got back, she needs to know what is going on," said Gooch.
"They're your responsibility.... They're allowed to scatter
like flies when they get off those buses."
Gooch said that a recent incident involving her child having
purchased an over-the-counter medication on a band trip led to
him and another student having to take off their uniforms and
leave them on the bus. The students then had to sit in T-shirts
and shorts in the stands at last week's game in Rabun County.
"They were shivering in shorts and T-shirts until two cheerleaders
gave them their jackets," said Gooch.
Gooch also feels Smith was out of line when she discussed the
matter with the Rabun County band director.
"Don't go to somebody else that I don't know, that doesn't
know my child and discuss what happens with my child to somebody
else," Gooch said. "She got on the bus and told me
that she had discussed the situation with the Rabun County band
Gooch said the board should get a handle on the situation.
"I'm sorry, but we've got to do something about getting
a rein on this," she said. "This is the kind of thing
we're going to send to Daytona? I mean, kids scattered all over
Daytona? I don't know what is going to have to happen before
we can get a rein on this."
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Kids' photos deadline
The deadline for turning in photographs of children for The Banks
County News' annual special Christmas kids section is set for
Friday, Dec. 1.
Photographs of children ages 8 and under are featured free of
charge in the special section planned for the week of Christmas.
The children must live in Banks or Jackson counties. The name,
age, address and parent's name must be listed on the back of
Photos may be turned in at The Banks County News office in Homer.
They may also be mailed to: The Banks County News, P.O. Box 920,
Homer, Ga., 30547.
memories sought for publication
The Banks County News is seeking special recipes you and your
family prepare for the holiday season, as well as any stories
you have about those recipes - were they handed down from a grandmother
or mother? Why are they favorites? Why do you like to make them?
If you would like to share your favorite holiday season recipes
in the November 22 issue of The News, contact Angie Gary at 367-2490
or mail them by Thursday, November 16, to: The Banks County News,
P.O. Box 920, Homer, GA 30547, Attn. Angie Gary.