News from Banks County...

February 21, 2001


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OPINION

Shar Porier
Glad about the flag

Oh, my! The legislature changed the state flag and now, the whole state's a-flutter!

Rochelle Beckstine
Give me the heat

I always hear people complaining about being pregnant in the summer months because of the heat.


SPORTS
Leopards to face Coosa

The Banks County Leopards will have their work cut out for them in the upcoming state basketball tournament. But you'd better not tell them that.


Neighborhood News...
JACKSON COUNTY
Jefferson, Jackson school leaders upset over state construction formula
Jefferson and Jackson County school systems leaders expressed outrage this week over state funding formulas that they said shortchange local school construction efforts.

Authority to ask county to manage airport
The Jackson County Airport Authority plans to ask the board of commissioners to take over the day-to-day operations of the Jackson County Airport.


News from
MADISON COUNTY
Flag fight not over in Madison Co.
Many Madison Countians were angered by the state legislature's approval of a new Georgia flag. And some county residents are vowing to continue the fight to keep the 1956 flag.

County schools $900,000 over budget
Madison County's school system overspent last year's budget by just under $900,000, according to audit figures released by acting superintendent Allen McCannon Tuesday night.


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DANCING FOR A GOOD CAUSE


Janice Reiselt, physical education teacher at Banks County Primary School, handed out stickers and bracelets to the students at their celebration for the end of the "Dance for the Heart" 10th annual fund-raiser for the American Heart Association.



Lula council rejects offer for alleged water theft
The Lula City Council voted unanimously Monday night to reject an offer made by the owners of CMW Pipeline, a well boring company, to pay a small amount for water allegedly stolen from the city's hydrant on Belton Bridge Road.
The council voted unanimously to reject the offer from the company owners to pay $5.25 for two truck loads of water, totaling around 1,500 gallons. They, then, unanimously approved sending a letter to the firm stating that the council would accept a payment of a $250 fine, plus the $5.25 for the 1,500 gallons the company acknowledged stealing and warn that should a theft happen again the company would be prosecuted.
At last month's meeting, it was revealed that a Lula resident had come forward as an eye witness to two thefts of water in one week in January. The resident had followed the truck in order to identify ownership from the tag and said he would testify to the fact.
The company owners, Payton and Shannon Crawford, of Banks County, sent the council a letter saying that the matter had been recently brought to their attention "that CMW has been stealing water from hydrants." Shannon Crawford states in the letter that her husband, Payton, has "been out of town and had no knowledge of the situation." The letter says that notice has been given to each employee that no water is to be taken from the Lula water system and that "any employee found guilty of taking water from the Lula system will be dismissed immediately."
Mayor Tim Allen explained that CMW has a meter through the city of Gainesville and pays them for water used. The workers thought they could use the hydrants throughout Hall County, he said. The letter states that a translator explained to the workers that "this could not continue."
Allen asked what the council wanted to do about accepting their offer. Council member Mike Ostrander said, "No. We've told them before not to get water out of our hydrants. If they have to pay Gainesville for water, why wouldn't they think they had to pay us for water? And why did they do it at night, so nobody knows?"
Ostrander wanted to charge the company for 800,000 gallons of water, but was told by Allen that they only had absolute proof of the one instance.
Council member Milton Turner reminded the council that the theft occurred during the water ban, thus making it a $250 fine for each theft.
"I believe it would cease," said council member Perry Bridgeman, "if we let them know that they have broken the law and there is the possibility of prosecution for stealing the water. This is not fair to the citizens of Lula. This is our well water that they're stealing."


Baldwin not a speed trap
An inspection conducted by the Georgia State Patrol found that the Baldwin Police Department is not setting speed traps within city limits on Highway 365.
The request for the inspection came from the office of state representative Ben Bridges who said in a letter written in October to Colonel George Ellis, Commissioner of Public Safety, that many of his constituents were complaining of a speed trap in Baldwin.
"It is thought that they are using this solely for revenue rather than to protect the public from excessive speeders," Bridges wrote in the letter.
He requested that the matter be addressed and see whether or not the department was using their radar properly.
The matter was turned over to G.M. Lloyd, Special Investiga-tions Division of the DPS. Lloyd assigned Corporal Jeff Glenn to look into the matter. Glenn rode with police chief Frank Andrews in December.
Glenn states in his summary that Andrews attributes the reduction of accidents on Hwy 365 to Baldwin's use of radar detection and his officers enforcement of the 65 mile-per-hour speed limit on Hwy. 365.
Glenn looked into the traffic records and said that the Baldwin police department "is operating radar within all guidelines set forth by the Department of Public Safety and the State of Georgia." Further that "the amount of revenue from speeding citations for 19 miles or less over the speed limit totaled $16,382, less than one-percent of the total budget, well within state laws."
He also reported that all of the radar equipment is in proper working condition, that all the officers had been properly certified, and that the radar test logs are properly kept.
A letter from Lloyd was sent to Bridges stating "the investigation did not reveal any evidence to sustain the complaint and it is, therefore, unfounded."
Andrews said after Glenn completed his investigation, "He couldn't believe how fast some of the drivers were going on 365. He said we need to slow them down."
Andrews said he was not worried about the results of the inquiry because his men "do a good job out there."
"We follow procedure," he said.

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Banks to receive $1.7 million in state funds for school system
Banks County will receive $770,313 in state funds to go toward the construction of new classrooms.
The money is part of a $468 million supplemental budget approved by the governor last week to go toward public school systems. The funds are to be used to provide additional classrooms to meet the state's new lower student-teacher ratios required under the governor's education reform legislation passed last year.
Banks County will also receive an additional $402,382 in entitlement funds from the state's supplemental budget for a total of $1.7 million.
"This money is in addition to the normal funding Banks County schools receive from the state," said Rep. Jeanette Jamieson, who chairs the House education committee. "I have long been an advocate of more money for classroom construction, and this supplemental appropriation helps us to begin replacing crowded classrooms and trailers with new brick and mortar."
The 2001 supplemental budget includes $468 million for the construction of nearly 7,000 new classrooms statewide to help Georgia's public schools meet the smaller class sizes required by last year's education reform act.
"I am delighted that we are going to be able to provide this funding together for the children of Georgia without increasing taxes," she said. "I am confident that generations to come will benefit from the commitment we are making to education today."


Water ban continues in Lula
The water ban is still in place in Lula.
At the city council meeting Monday night, Mayor Tim Allen said that the city's water ban was still in place. The announcement was made to avoid confusion since Hall County has lifted its ban.
Allen said that since Lula has a permit from the state, they must follow state mandates. The state has not indicated a lifting of the water ban.