Banks County Opinions...

December 20, 2000

By Adam Fouche
The Banks County News
December 20, 2000

County could be volatile in new year
The first few months of 2001 could be a very volatile time for Banks County.
A new Board of Commissioners chairman will take office, and with him will come new ideas and new inspirations. Kenneth Brady, who will take over for reigning chairman James Dumas, will have his hands full as he is forced to quickly learn the methods of county government.
But as a newcomer to the post, Brady will no doubt lack knowledge in some areas. And he can't be blamed. After all, he is taking on a huge responsibility, one that requires the expedient learning of large amounts of information.
The BOC office will assume the great task of offering support and information to the new chairman, who will need to be informed quickly and watched closely.
Several employees within the county administration must step up in order to ensure smooth operation of county business.
Avis Lewallen, county clerk and know-all within the BOC office, will no doubt be called upon with great frequency. Lewallen will be essential to Brady's success as the county's new head.
She has an expanse of knowledge covering nearly every Banks County issue. Lewallen will likely be a key to the county's stability over the next few months.
Financial administrator Michael Fischer will also take on a greater role. He will be commissioned with the task of monitoring the county's financial position and ensuring successful fiscal operation. Brady will undoubtedly call on Fischer often to interpret the convoluted rules governing the county's funding.
Both current commissioners, Pat Westmoreland and Ernest Rogers, will likely assume a greater leadership role in the county. Both have been active and instrumental in the county's government since their election.
However, as Brady assumes office, Westmoreland and Rogers' posts will become more vital. They will be looked upon to continue to carry the county in its present direction, encouraging industrial and commercial expansion along I-85 while maintaining the rural atmosphere at the county's heart.
The commissioners have a proposed Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (SPLOST) to wrestle with and must undertake completion of the SPLOST breakdown with great diligence and discretion to ensure its passage. And on the horizon looms the budget process, a monumental undertaking for any board, much less one with a new leader.
Indeed, Westmoreland and Rogers will have a larger work load. But they have the background of the issues and the experience to guide Brady, while at the same time allowing the new chairman to express his own thoughts and beliefs.
Brady will also rely on county attorney Randall Frost. Frost's legal counsel will keep the county out of trouble until Brady becomes comfortable in his position and learns some of the intricacies of government law.
Even though he will soon be leaving office, Dumas may continue to act on the county's behalf. Dumas has already expressed his willingness to cooperate with Brady and help him become comfortable in his new position.
It is a promising sign, indeed, when two election opponents can place their differences aside and work together for the good of the entire county. Certainly, Brady will need Dumas' input and background on some issues. Hopefully, the two can continue to work together as they already have.
The department heads must be ready to lead as the county enters 2001. With Brady's hands full trying to learn how to run the county, the department heads must undertake the responsibilities of their office with more control.
They will have to keep close tabs on their departments to keep the county in a secure position and they will have to be ready to resolve conflicts, prepare a conservative budget and stick with the budget.
Finally, the citizens of Banks County must understand the change that is about to occur. The county will have a new leader with new ideas and a new personality. He will be a busy man.
Brady will need support and patience from the county's citizens. All too often, citizens seek what they want when they want it and become enraged when they don't get it.
Government is a slow machine, progress and change do not happen overnight. It is important, for Brady, for the BOC and for the county, that the citizens develop understanding and patience.
Citizens should also take a more active role in county government. Attendence at county meetings is vital to develop knowledge of current issues and ensure that elected officials are hearing the citizens' voice.
Banks County will be fine. But it will take cooperation and a great deal of work to keep the county moving toward a promising future.
Adam Fouche is a reporter for MainStreet Newspapers. His e-mail address is


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The Banks County News
December 20, 2000

One life
The imagery of the Christ Child being born in a stable beneath a bright star surrounded by both learned Wise Men and humble shepherds is one of the most powerful pictures in human history. Humble by birth, He became a shepherd of men, a king of kings and the light of humankind.
Yet, for all His impact on this world, little is known about the man we call Jesus. Relative to others of his era, his known words are few. And virtually nothing is known of His childhood after the birth in Bethlehem.
Some of that may change. One archeologist in Israel believes he has found the site of an ancient wine press in Nazareth, the tiny village that was Jesus' boyhood home. Excavations could yield further clues as to the nature of the village 2,000 years ago and perhaps shed some light on how the boy Jesus would have lived.
Many of Jesus' parables revolve around the common things He observed, and it isn't too much to imagine that those well-known stories may have come from the things he saw as a child, say scholars who wish to study the area.
Perhaps it is by design that we know so little about His childhood. But what we know of His later life was destined to change the world.
One unknown writer said it best:
He was born in an obscure village.
He worked in a carpenter shop until he was 30.
He then became an itinerant preacher.
He never held an office.
He never had a family or owned a house.
He didn't go to college.
He had no credentials but himself.
He was only 33 when the public turned against him.
His friends ran away.
He was turned over to enemies and went through the mockery of a trial.
He was nailed to a cross between two thieves.
While he was dying, his executioners gambled for his clothing, the only property he had on earth.
He was laid in a borrowed grave.
Nineteen centuries have come and gone, and today he is the central figure of the human race.
All the armies that ever marched, all the navies that ever sailed, all the parliaments that ever sat, and all the kings that ever reigned have not affected the life of man of this earth as much as that One Solitary Life.

The Banks County News
December 20, 2000

'Yes, there is a Santa...'
It was first published 100 years ago in the New York Sun, but it still rings true today. The "Yes Virginia" editorial, written by Francis P. Church, is perhaps one of the most famous editorials ever printed. It is also most likely the most reprinted editorial ever written. We reprint it this Christmas season for your enjoyment and ours.
We take pleasure in answering at once and thus prominently the communication below, expressing at the same time our great gratification that its faithful author is numbered among the friends of the Sun:
Dear Editor:
I am 8 years old.
Some of my friends say there is no Santa Claus. Papa says, 'If you see it in the Sun, it's so.' Please tell me the truth, is there a Santa Claus?
Virginia O'Hanlon
115 West 95 Street
Your friends are wrong. They have been affected by the skepticism of a skeptical age. They do not believe except what they see. They think that nothing can be which is not comprehensible by their little minds. All minds, Virginia, whether they be men's or children's, are little. In this great universe of ours, man is a mere insect, an ant, in his intellect, as compared with the boundless world about him, as measured by the intelligence capable of grasping the whole truth and knowledge.
Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy. Alas!
How dreary would be the world if there were no Santa Claus! It would be as dreary as if there were no Virginias. There would be no child-like faith then, no poetry, no romance to make tolerable this existence. We should have no enjoyment except in sense and sight. The eternal light with which childhood fills the world would be extinguished.
Not believe in Santa Claus! You might as well not believe in fairies. You might get your papa to hire people to watch in all the chimneys on Christmas Eve to catch Santa Claus, but even if they did not see Santa Claus coming down, what would that prove? Nobody sees Santa Claus.
The most real things in the world are those that neither children nor men can see. Did you ever see fairies dancing on the lawn? Of course not, but there's no proof that they are not there. Nobody can conceive or imagine all the wonders that are unseen and unseeable in the world.
You tear apart the baby's rattle and see what makes the noise inside, but there is a veil covering the unseen world which not the strongest man that ever lived could tear apart. Only faith, fancy, poetry, love, romance can push aside that curtain and view and picture the supernal beauty and glory beyond. Is it all real? Ah, Virginia, in all this world there is nothing else real and abiding.
No Santa Claus? Thank God? He lives and he lives forever. A thousand years from now, Virginia, ten times ten thousand years from now, he will continue to make glad the heart of childhood.
Francis P. Church
The New York Sun
Dec. 21, 1897
The Banks County News
Homer, Georgia
Telephone: (706) 367-5233 Fax: (706) 367-8056

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