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Time for asparagus patch
It is still sort of cold here on the knob on the ridge overlooking
the Hudson River. But the sun's rays have a different slant to
them that is teasing the grass to begin greening up and coax
the crocuses and daffodils to push up out of the ground.
Officials' image is becoming tarnished
Since the very infancy of modern sports, officials have been
criticized. Either they make the wrong calls, don't make enough
calls or need to have their eyes checked.
Leopards clawing for third seed
Crucial playoff seeding for both the Leopards and Lady Leopards
relies on the outcome of Friday night's game with Dawson County.
Juvenile with pellet gun apprehended at high school
No one was injured late Friday afternoon when a male juvenile
brought a pellet gun onto Jefferson High School grounds.
Pike Co. murders echo from the past
The arrest last week of two area men on murder charges from Pike
County echo deep into one of the darkest times of Jackson County's
Supreme Court upholds Madison Co. conviction
The Supreme Court of Georgia has affirmed the convictions and
sentences of Randy Lamar Gordon, in connection with the Oct.
31, 1984, beating death of Raymond Conway.
Interviews begin in school head search
Madison County may have a new superintendent of county schools
by early March, according to school board chairman Robert Haggard.
The Banks County News
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TIME TO PROMENADE
Patricia Fricks and Bill Jones are shown promenading with
style at the Homer Square Tracker get-together Friday night.
The group, which meets on the first and third Fridays of the
month, is seeking new members.
Judge denies Baldwin's
move to take over water treatment plant from Demorest
In a court ruling by Judge James E. Cornwell Jr. on Monday, Baldwin
has been denied its effort to take over operations of the water
treatment plant from the city of Demorest.
Cornwell ruled that Demorest's appeal to the State Supreme Court
prevents Baldwin from moving forward in changing operations of
In his ruling he states, "The court has not been apprised
of any substantial breakdown of service or in quality of water"
for the past 14 years. Further, he gave comsideration to the
over $1 million that Demorest has paid in retiring Baldwin's
1987 construction bond debt of the water plant.
Cornwell was concerned that Baldwin would be able to operate
the plant maintaining the same standards due to information disclosed
by Demorest attorneys Jim Weidner and Bart Gary.
They say that the company Baldwin has chosen to operate the plant,
Wayne Miller Inc., is not qualified to do business in Georgia,
according to a review of the secretary of state's records. Weidner
also states that "no information has been offered as to
its experience, financial strength or what rates or compensation
it will expect for running the plant."
The disclosures were enough for Cornwell to rule in favor of
Demorest to ensure that the water customers of Baldwin and Demorest
not suffer any interruption of water service.
Baldwin will now have to wait until the appeal process has been
After Baldwin and Demorest officials were unable to reach an
amicable agreement on operation of the water treatment plant,
they went before Cornwell Thursday as Baldwin sought a court
order to begin operations at the facility. Cornwell chided the
two cities for being unable to reach a diplomatic conclusion.
"I'm not particularly pleased to have this in court,"
he said. "I have tried mediation. I have tried arbitration.
And now we're back in litigation."
The granting of the court order Baldwin seeks is contested by
Demorest attorney Jim Weidner earlier initiated an appeal of
the October 2000 arbitration ruling favoring Baldwin. At the
hearing last week, flanked by Atlanta attorneys T. Bart Gary
and Stuart W. Gray, Weidner claimed that the appeal supersedes
the issuance of a court order and suggested the court has no
power to rule in favor of the order.
Baldwin's attorney David Syfan argued that since Demorest had
fully agreed to abide by the decision of the arbitrator, Judge
G. Grant Brantley, and since that ruling favored Baldwin, the
town has the legal right to begin operation of the plant.
Cornwell was most concerned about the water customers served
by the two cities. He requested some sort of assurance that there
would be no interruption of service if Baldwin began managing
When all the issues under litigation were listed by Cornwell,
Syfan was surprised to hear of a counterclaim Demorest had filed
against Baldwin. Weidner said he had mailed Syfan a copy. Syphan
said he had not received it. Cornwell granted Syfan until last
Friday to form a response to the counterclaim.
"There are issues in there that I have concerns about and
I would like you to respond to all of them," he said. "I'm
not sure whether or not some of the issues in this counterclaim
could have or should have been raised or [are] affirmative defensives
to the underlying action that has already been litigated."
Demorest was bound by the Comprehensive Management Agreement
and the three modifications the two cities entered into, according
to Syfan, with the arbitrator's and Judge Cornwell's final ruling
in Baldwin's favor. The modifications gave Baldwin the legal
right to assume plant operations. "The notice of appeal
does not act as a stay preventing Baldwin from assuming plant
operations," Syfan argued and presented case laws to that
effect. He said that Baldwin should have its right to do so upheld
by the court.
Speaking for Demorest, Gary said that the city's main concern
is its 4,000 customers and that service not be interrupted. He
also said that he was not sure that the arbitrator had the power
to grant or deny Baldwin's request.
Cornwell told Gary that the "parties agreed to this manner
They came before this court saying that [they] proposed to resolve
this through binding arbitration. So, I don't think you can tell
me he didn't have the authority to do what he did, since they
agreed to that."
Asking the Demorest counsels just what is the city appealing,
Weidner's reply was "the arbitrator made mistakes and made
a completely different decision than what the pleading started
Getting back to the issue at hand, who will operate the plant,
the judge reiterated his concern that his decision would not
impact the customers level of service. He asked if there had
Syfan replied that plant inspections had found problems and that
there were operational issues. He also brought up the $246,000
that Demorest had allegedly misappropriated from the water fund
He assured Cornwell that Baldwin had a licensed staff ready to
take on plant operations so there would be no interruption of
service to the customers. He said Baldwin was prepared to take
care of all water customers.
Weidner asked why Baldwin had not made Demorest aware of the
problems so they could be dealt with.
Cornwell suggested that the counsels meet together in private
chambers for one hour to come up with some sort of agreement
rather than "butting heads and pointing fingers."
At the start of the session, as Syfan began to speak, Gary said,
"I don't think it's appropriate to discuss this in front
of the press." and closed the discussion to the press representatives.
Their talk disclosed that Demorest's real concern is that Baldwin
would cut them off as a customer, denying them water, according
to one Baldwin official They talked about drawing up a contract
insuring the continuance of a water supply to Demorest from Baldwin,
Go to Banks
Public Meeting Dates
& Convenience Stores
BOC looks at new
A new county flag could soon be flying over the Banks County
courthouse and other county facilities.
The Banks County Board of Commissioners is looking at a design
for a county flag that would include six stars, one representing
each of its towns, and a small depiction of the former state
flag that was changed last week by the state legislature. The
county has not had its own flag and BOC chairman Kenneth Brady
said this is a project he would like the commissioners to undertake.
Commissioners Pat Westmoreland and Ernest Rogers both spoke in
support of the proposal and said they want to ensure that the
former state flag is a part of the county's design.
On a related matter, Westmoreland said he is disappointed with
the way the state handled changing the flag that has been controversial
in recent years. He said the matter should have been put on the
ballot for voters across the state to consider.
"We're getting away from the foundation of our country,"
he said. "It is eroding day by day."
He commended Sen. Mike Beatty and Rep. Jeanette Jamieson for
voting against the flag change. He added, "I"m glad
we've got a few people willing to stand up for what is right."
Brady said he took the flag that was in front of the courthouse
down after the change was made and took it to the Banks County
Chamber of Commerce. He said officials there agreed to put it
on display in the historic courthouse.
County office locations
Banks Countians going to the courthouse on county business will
find a few changes.
The planning department has moved its office across the hall
to the former county extension office. The probation office will
be relocated from the old jail to the area where the planning
department was located.
The county extension office is now in the former health department,
which was vacated when the new facility opened last year. The
former health department, which also houses the Family Connection
office and coroner's office, will now be known as the courthouse
These changes were discussed at a called meeting of the Banks
County Board of Commissioners Friday morning.