News from Banks County...

February 14, 2001


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OPINION

Angela Gary
Paisley deserving of Opry honor

Brad Paisley will officially join a host of country stars as a member of the Grand Ole Opry in a special ceremony Saturday night. It is fitting that this talented singer, songwriter and musician join other country music greats as a member of the Opry.

Phillip Sartain
Life below the gnatline

Being from North Georgia, I consider any trip below Atlanta to be risky.


SPORTS
Leopards going to state!

Call it drive. Call it willpower. Or call it old-fashioned well-played basketball.


Neighborhood News...
JACKSON COUNTY
Opponents Of Sewer Line Get Reprieve From County
Property owners enraged over plans to build county sewer lines through their property got at least a temporary reprieve Thursday night.

Jefferson votes to hire city manager
Despite the opposition from one city council member, and to the obvious dismay of Mayor Byrd Bruce, the Jefferson City Council voted Monday night to hire a city manager to run the town's government.


News from
MADISON COUNTY
BOC makes county complex more accessible
All county complex doors were unlocked for business Tuesday morning in an effort to make the building more accessible to the public.

Full-time county employees can receive dental coverage
Full-time Madison County employees and their families will now be offered dental insurance.


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'Mr. BCHS' crowned

Banks County High School senior Drew Reed was crowned Mr. BCHS at the first annual Mr. BCHS contest Saturday night. Reed was one of five finalist out of 14 contestants. The finalists included: Chris Ivey, Duran Belotte, Drew Gowder and Wes Dockery. The contest was sponsered by the BCHS baseball program and the Y-Club to help raise money for both organizations.



Probate judge calls for audit
Banks County's new probate judge presented a plan to the board of commissioners Tuesday night that will ensure that the financial records from her office are audited each year.
Probate judge Betty Thomas said that she will be turning in the fees paid in the office each month to the commissioners. She said she is making this move in an effort for accountability of these funds and to make sure they are audited each year.
The judge asked that these funds be earmarked by the BOC for the probate office with a decision to be made later as to how they will be used. State law allows the probate judge to keep these fees as personal income. Thomas didn't say whether or not she would keep the funds herself, but said there are several options for the money, including purchasing needed items for the office.
"I commend you for tracking the money that comes in," commissioner Pat Westmoreland said.
In January, Thomas said the office took in approximately $225 in fees for vital records.
On another matter, Thomas reported that the state legislature is considering a bill that would require counties to form a board of elections. At the present, the probate office is in charge of overseeing elections. She encouraged those present to consider the proposed legislation and give Banks County's senator and representative input on the matter.
"It could have a very costly effect to Banks County," she said.
Westmoreland commented that he doesn't favor any state mandates that are unfunded.


Lula Area Betterment Assn. names officers, plans festival
The Lula Area Betterment Association (LABA) has named its new officers and is making plans for the annual festival.
In January, LABA held its first meeting of the year with the following new officers presiding: Betty Jo Evans, president; Mordecai Wilson, vice president; Lou Ella Martin, secretary; Melissa Martin, treasurer; and Roy Savage, Clyde Moore, Nora Jones and Talmadge Pless, all directors.
The main fund-raiser is Railroad Days, which will be held May 18-20. This year, Lula will be celebrating the 25th anniversary of Railroad Days. The railroad director for this year is James E. Evans.
The association is a non-profit civic association that works toward the improvement, socially and aesthetically, of the Lula area.
In the year 2000, the LABA gave donations to the East Hall High School Band, East Hall Middle School Band, Lula Girl Scouts and Banks County Family Connection and delivered 22 Christmas dinners to shut-ins in the area.
Membership is open and encouraged to anyone who lives in the Lula area. All ages are welcome, leaders say. For more information, write to: LABA, P.O. Box 1192, Lula, Ga. 30554.


Alto Council agrees to re-open old well
An Alto well that has been closed for some time may be re-opened soon.
Mayor Jack King reported at Tuesday's council meeting that the cost to open the well is expected to be $7,000 to $8,000.
He also gave a report to the council on the progress made to re-open the benzene-tainted well. He said a test run had been done and the water had no odor. He also said he and the engineer ran it for one and a half hours and both drank a glass of water from it.
"It tasted all right," said King.
Samples of the well water have been sent off to be analyzed for the benzene content and other chemicals, he said. King said another test is planned for February 19. This testing period will run 24 hours and have samples taken every 30 minutes.
"If the well looks promising, we will have a meeting with the environmental protection department to apply for re-opening the well," King said.
The well is expected to provide 175 to 180 gallons per minute, he said, and will increase the city's needed reserve capacity.
In other business:
·King gave a report on the status of the proposed well drilling project. He said he has talked with several drilling companies trying to find the best price.
·the council approved a new charter of accounts for the general fund budget and the water fund budget.
·a resident complained of dirty water that is undrinkable and ruins clothing when laundered. The mayor said the pump is too powerful and is pulling sediment into the water supply. The city plans to replace it with a smaller horsepower pump to solve the problem. If that does not do the job, he said, the city may be required "to add a sequestering agent to the water."
·another resident asked about the city's ordinance on livestock raising within the city limits. She said her neighbors had built chicken coops and are raising chickens. She is concerned with the runoff polluting the spring on her property.


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Home and garden center gets approval
The Banks County Board of Commissioners approved a rezoning request Tuesday night that will bring a home and garden center to the county.
The commissioners approved a request from Walt Rowsey to rezone 8.86 acres on the corner of Ridgeway Road and Waterplant Road from ARR (agricultural, rural-residential) to C-2 (general commercial).
Rowsey said that he plans to sell the property to a company that will locate the home and garden center at the site.
In other business, the BOC recommended approval of a request from E.J. and Ella McDonald to relocate a 1985 manufactured home to Christmas Tree Road. This property is zoned ARR (agricultural, rural-residential). The approval comes with the stipulation that repairs be made to the home after it is moved to the county. These repairs include repairing a broken window, replacing insulation underneath the structure and repairing wiring.
On another matter, planning commission chairman Harold Ivey reported that the proposed subdivision ordinance has been prepared and is at the planning office for review.


Alto looks at raising water rates
The Alto City Council is planning to raise water rates.
At Tuesday's city council meeting, Mayor Jack King gave the council a rate sheet showing what other cities in Habersham County are charging for their water. The rise is necessary to help pay for the upgrades to the water system, including the drilling of at least one new well, he said.
The council will discuss the increase at a called meeting Feb. 23 at 7 p.m.




Homer to widen and resurface Evans Street
The Homer Town Council plans to widen and resurface Evans Street this summer.
Homer town attorney Gary Freeman told the council that he will have the title examination report in to the Georgia Deparment of Transportation by the end of this week. Then, Freeman said that the town will sign an agreement stating that they have obtained all rights of way necassary for the road project.
The DOT will enter into a contract with the town pledging to assist them with the widening and resurfacing. At this point, Freeman said, the project will open for bids.
Mayor Leon Ray said that the project must be completed during the school year break this summer.