News from Banks County...

 January 24, 2001


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OPINION

Angela Gary
King of the house

I've noticed those personality tests in women's magazines before, but have never taken one. I think I'm afraid to find out what category I fit into.

Jeanette Jamieson
Jamieson reports on legislative session

The first session of the 146th General Assembly began at 10 a.m. on Monday, January 8. All 180 members were sworn in, and elections were held for the leadership posts.


SPORTS
Leopards take top-ranked Tigers

In a stunning performance Saturday night, the Banks County Leopards outplayed Commerce both physically and mentally to take a confidence boosting 73-61 win.


Neighborhood News...
JACKSON COUNTY
New housing permits, property sales soar
For the first time ever, the total of new housing units permitted in Jackson County climbed above the 1,000 mark for a one-year period.

Airport expansion on hold The Jackson County Airport expansion will have to wait until the airport authority and the board of commissioners can figure out how to get $2.3 million to close on 78 acres of land.


News from
MADISON COUNTY
Change of venue sought in Fortson case
The attorney for accused murderer Tracy Lea Fortson filed a motion Jan. 15 to have the high-profile case moved out of Madison County.

County jail completion set for November
Completion of the new Madison County jail is expected for late November.


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WOMAN WRECKS ON HWY. 441


This van driven by Eve LaCount rolled on Highway 441 north of Free Drive Thursday afternoon. LaCount had her seat belt on and had properly installed child seats, which saved the lives of her children, 2-year-old Jason and 9-month-old Eveson, a rescue team member said. The family was taken to Habersham Medical Center for bruises and minor injuries.


Baldwin finalizes waste water treatment deal
Baldwin Mayor Mark Reed told council members Thursday that the contract with Lee Arrendale Correctional Institution on waste water treatment had been signed by all parties involved.
A $686,000 check will be delivered shortly, according to Reed. The city has to provide the prison with 210,000 gallons capacity of water treatment by December 1, 2001, according to the contract.
City engineer Fred Hawkins said he is moving ahead with the engineering part of the project expansion of the city's current waste water treatment plant.
"The engineering report is ready, the EPD (Environmental Protection Department) has been notified and will soon have the design development report," he said.
City attorney David Syfan said he is a bit concerned over the timeline involved to serve the prison and the procurement of a loan to begin construction.
Reed said that Larry Gray, with whom the city has been working to get a loan, had determined that the city could get the loan within 90 days for the Phase II prison expansion.
Sonny McNeil, provider of the plant equipment, said that the council should take into account what can be done with the money available. He said that site grading and building the concrete structures could be done in the next few months. If a time lag should occur in obtaining funding, there would be no risk, since no equipment would be on site at that time, officials said.
Hawkins said he hoped that the investors would not require the bidding process for Phase II and would take his estimates for the job as the basis for the loan.
"I believe in this project," Reed said. "We have to get something started. We're living on borrowed time right now. I promised the EPD that I would get the waste water plant up to code. I see no reason not to proceed."
In other business:
·a dog that lunged from under a mobile home and attacked a police officer who was serving a warrant was declared a "dangerous dog" pursuant to the animal control ordinance. The owner had asked for an appeal of the "dangerous dog" designation and was put on the agenda for a hearing at the work session. He did not attend. According to police, the dog had been moved to a friend's home out of the city limits. Council member Kevin Gaddis said, "Since the dog attacked the police officer without provocation, it should be affirmed that it is a dangerous dog." With no one there to offer any evidence in opposition to the council, the dog was designated as "dangerous" with full approval of the council.
·the council discussed whether resident John Lowe resides inside or outside the city limits. According to city maps, his property lies within city limits as established in 1986, according to Hawkins. He suggested that the city consider surveying the city limits to determine once and for all who is inside and who is outside the city limits. The council will take the issue up at the rescheduled regular meeting on Thursday, Jan. 25, at 7 p.m.




Charles Blair named BJC Authority chairman
The BJC Medical Center Authority elected its first new chairman in more than a decade Monday night.
At the recommendation of its nominating committee, the board elected First Commerce Bank CEO Charles Blair as chairman.
Blair succeeds Dr. Joe L. Griffeth, who recently retired from the board. Griffeth, who was granted emeritus status, still attends meetings.
Thomas Benton was re-elected vice chairman and Dr. S.J. Shirley was re-elected as secretary.
In other business, the authority accepted the recommendation of its medical staff in granting a change of staff status for Dr. Richard Davis from active to consulting.
According to Dr. Robert Marshburn, chief of staff, Davis will still practice orthopedics locally. The difference will be that most of those patients will be admitted by primary care physicians, who will then consult with Davis. As a result of the move, Davis will no longer be on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
In other matters:
·CEO David Lawrence reported that the average daily census for December was 13.3 patients, and that the census for 2000 at BJC Medical Center was up by 10 percent over the previous year. "I think we're seeing a trend, and it's a positive trend," he said.
·nursing home administrator Charles Stills reported that his facility continues to struggle to keep fully staffed with nurses. The nursing home, he said, had 155 residents and 12 vacancies. He also said the facility expects its annual state inspection in the near future.
·Lawrence invited board members to attend a luncheon Jan. 30 for a doctor the hospital is trying to recruit.
·Jo Totherow, director of nursing at the hospital, reported that the new obstetrics coordinator has started work and is getting the OB section fully staffed.
·Henry Webb, president of the BJC Medical Center Auxiliary, announced that his organization had donated a set of scales containing handles to support unstable patients. The cost was $1,895.

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BOC finalizes contract for ambulance billing
The Banks County Board of Commissioners finalized a contract Friday morning with Alpha and Omega to provide ambulance billing services to the county.
The county selected the firm a few weeks ago after reviewing proposals from three companies. Two representatives of Alpha and Omega were at the called meeting Friday morning to discuss the contract. In addition to new billing services, they are also going to work on sending out bills for past services that have not been billed previously.
The contract with Alpha and Omega is for 12 months with the possibility for renewal after that.
For the rest of this story, see this week's Banks County News.


Stolen vehicles found in Banks
Two stolen vehicles were found in Banks County last week, according to incident reports filed at the Banks County Sheriff's Office.
One vehicle was found Sunday night at an Apple Pie Ridge Road address. A deputy was called to the location on a wreck report, but found the car instead. Sheriff Charles Chapman said the vehicle had been vandalized with the windows broken and the top knocked in. Several cans of brake fluid had also been poured throughout the car.
"We don't know if it was the intention of the perpetrator to burn it," the sheriff said. "It was badly damaged."
The vehicle had been stolen recently from Habersham County. Nothing had been taken.
The other stolen vehicle was found early Monday morning at a Harden Road address. It had been stolen hours earlier from the parking lot of Arby's at Banks Crossing. An employee reported that he left the car there to go to another business and when he returned, around 2 a.m., it had been stolen.
The sheriff said when the car was found, it appeared that it had been wrecked. All of the windows were knocked out and someone had walked on the top of the vehicle. Two money bags from the restaurant, totaling over $2,500, were in the car, but were not stolen.