News from Banks County...

May 2, 2001


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OPINION
Shar Porier
Which boots?
As I started to get ready for my recent day trip to Tallulah Gorge early one morning, I found myself with an unexpected dilemma. Which boots do I wear?

Banks County Letter
Believes emergency personnel deserve salary increase

I am writing this article on behalf of all emergency personnel in the county. The question has come up many times about raising emergency personnel pay in the county. Well, I strongly support the recommendation.


SPORTS
Diamond Leopards going to state
Banks has two regular season games remaining. For the first time in Mike Williams' coaching career, he's taking a team into the state playoffs. "This is my first playoff game and I'm just as excited as the kids," Williams said. "These kids have earned it and it's something special for them."



Neighborhood News...
JACKSON COUNTY
Landfill requests still on hold
Planners table rezonings for two landfills

Two landfill requests before the Jackson County Planning Commission were tabled Thursday night.
The board of commissioners had asked the planning commission to take another look at the request from Earth Resources for a conditional use permit to locate a construction and demolition landfill on 94.84 acres on Lanier Road that is zoned I-2.

Bear Creek Not Likely To Be Open On Time
The Group Building The Regional Reservoir Maintains It Is On Schedule For July 1 Completion, But There Is Some Evidence To The ContraryEver since construction began, the owners of the regional $63 million Bear Creek reservoir and water treatment project have insisted and been told that the project will be completed on time.


News from
MADISON COUNTY
Bypass to go west of Danielsville
Local leaders met with DOT commissioner Tom Coleman Friday and learned that the state is planning to construct the Danielsville bypass west of the city.

Sartain's zoning request sent back to planners
Madison County commissioners sent a controversial zoning request back to county planners last Wednesday.
Sarah Sartain appeared before the board of commissioners requesting the rezoning of 6.08 acres on Tarpkins Road from A-2 to R-R to subdivide into two parcels.


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TEE-BALL TIME

The Phillies' Caleb Maddox took time from the game to chat a bit with Devil Rays' Cailynn King about the finer points of Tee-Ball apparel. The 4-year-olds played last Thursday. The teams are part of the Banks County Recreation Department's summer baseball/softball program.

Gainesville man charged in bank robbery
A Gainesville man has been charged with the armed robbery Monday of Regions Bank at Banks Crossing.
Joel Casey Ledford, 22, was arrested late Tuesday by the Banks County Sheriff's Office. A hold has also been placed on him in connection with the recent armed robbery of a bank in Murphy, N.C. He is also a suspect in a recent bank robbery in Dawsonville.
Sheriff Charles Chapman said that after the arrest was made, Banks County officers met with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation in Hall County and then conducted two search warrants-at Ledford's residence and at his girlfriend's home.
"We were looking for clothing items and any money," the sheriff said. "There was a shirt that he was believed to be wearing. It was taken from his girlfriend's house."
No money has been recovered.
The sheriff said Ledford was driving a Jeep in Blairsville approximately three to four hours after the robbery occurred in Banks County.
"He was stopped by a Union County deputy," he said. "He was stopped on a lookout that had come out of Murphy, North Carolina, on that particular vehicle. At the time of his stop, he was wearing the same kind of clothing that was described to us by the bank officials and a white ball cap. At that time, he had more money on him than people normally carry."
The sheriff said he was questioned at the time, but that officials in Union County were not aware of the Banks County bank robbery.
"With all of the information we had compiled at the time of the robbery and the information we were exchainging with other law enforcement agencies and with the help of the GBI and FBI, we had enough information to take warrants on him and charge him with armed robbery."
The robber entered the Banks Crossing branch of the Regions Bank around 3:10 p.m. Monday and gave a teller a note, according to the sheriff. Chapman said the note said, "This is a robbery. Give me your money. I have a gun. I will shoot you." He left the bank after taking the money, he added.
"He implied that he had a gun, but he never produced one," the sheriff said.
Deputies were called to the bank after 911 received a phone call from the bank's alarm company. Patrol units were nearby and were at the bank shortly after the incident occurred, but the robber had already fled the scene.
The description given by bank employees of the suspect was a white man in his early 20s and who is 5'5'' to 5'7'' tall and weighs between 155 to 170 pounds. He had brownish-blonde hair and was wearing a white baseball cap, dark-colored Tommy Hilfiger pull-over shirt and blue jeans.




Commissioners ask for change
in zoning at Banks Crossing

The Banks County Planning Commission started its meeting Tuesday by hearing a request from board of commissioners chairman Kenneth Brady that the 19.35 acres the county owns behind the Banks Crossing Wal-Mart be rezoned.
The property was originally zoned industrial, M-1, but the county would like the property to be zoned commercial, C-2.
"No one has inquired about buying the property," Brady said. "It needs to be commercial, not industrial. If the whole parcel were commercial, we (the commissioners) think we can provide a better tax base for Banks County."
The planning commission recommended approval of the request. The BOC will take action on this request and other planning matters when it meets on Tuesday, May 8, at the courthouse. A public hearing on zoning matters will be at 7 p.m. and the voting session will begin at 7:30 p.m.
In other business, the planning commission heard a request from Steve Ebbert of Buckeye Trails Development that his plat for a subdivision in Banks County be extended past the end of this month when construction was to be finished. Chairman Harold Ivey suggested that since Banks County has changed the ordinance for subdivisions that the Buckeye Trails Development be allowed to continue construction under the old rules. He said that the planning board has the discretion to allow a subdivision to have a consistent look. The board voted to allow work to continue through next month until the plat could be approved again by the commission.
On another matter, Julie Rafferty asked that she be allowed to move her 1986 trailer before the work that the building inspector had required is completed. She said that she and her husband could only work on the trailer on his days off and that it is going slowly. The commission denied her request but said that they would suggest that the home could be moved when the repairs are completed.
In other business, a representative of Green Mountain Estates requested that he be allowed to relocate a 1983 trailer to a spot where a trailer he is going to dismantle is located now. The commission recommended approval of this request.


Planners change fee structure
The Banks County Planning Commission passed a resolution Tuesday night that will impact the fees the county collects
The resolution ended the charge of two fees to businesses that move mobile homes. The county had been charging both a fee for a license for this business practice and a fee for a business license. The planning commission agreed to end charging the registration fee for mobile home movers.
On another matter, the planners approved a resolution that the county begin charging a $1,000 fee to companies or individuals that want to add an antenna to an already standing cell phone tower.
Both of these must be passed by the Banks County Board of Commissioners before they go into effect. The BOC will meet at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, May 8, at the courthouse.

 

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BOE hires new head football coach
Less than one month after losing head football coach and athletic director Rance Gillespie, the Banks County school board has hired a replacement.
The board voted unanimously at a called meeting Tuesday night to hire Habersham Central special teams coordinator Greg Moore.
"I'm proud to have the chance to work with the great people of Banks County," Moore said Tuesday night after the board's decision. "It will be a great opportunity for my family and me to get in touch with the community."
Moore has been an assistant coach at Habersham Central since 1994. Prior to 1994, he was offensive coordinator and track coach at Heard County High School for three years.
He has also coached football at Griffin High School and was the head baseball coach at Jefferson High School from 1986 to 1987.
Moore graduated from Oconee County High School, where he played football and ran track.
Moore was one of 25 applicants for the head coaching position at Banks County High School. Seven of the applicants were interviewed before the field was narrowed to two finalists, Moore and Worth County coach Cliff Heard.
The school board interviewed Moore and Heard during a lengthy closed meeting Tuesday before making its decision.
The head coach and athletic director position came open when Gillespie announced his resignation in early April to take a head coach position at Peach County High School.
The board also approved the hiring of several other personnel Tuesday night, including: Holly McShane, BCHS counselor; Elizabeth Dudley, BCHS language arts teacher; and Kellie Cronic, Banks County Primary School first grade teacher.


Judge dismisses DUI charge against Reed
Judge Alton Adams has dismissed a driving under the influence of intoxicants (DUI) charge filed against Baldwin Mayor Mark Reed.
Reed was arrested a year ago after a tip came in to the Habersham County 911 office from The Beef Baron where the caller said Reed had been drinking and was too drunk to drive.
A Baldwin police officer answered the complaint and video-taped the mayor's drive home. He stopped the car when it made too wide a turn and gave Reed a breath test which gave a positive reading for alcohol. The officer made the arrest on the results of the field test and the wide turn, records show.
Baldwin police chief Frank Andrews said he had requested that the case be heard in a state court rather than a county court so that "the mayor would have a fair hearing by a court that would have no interest in the case."
Adams ruled that the evidence supplied by the officer was insufficient to determine a state of non-sobriety.
Andrews explained, "The judge felt there was not enough probable cause from watching the video tape to pull him over."
Reed said, "I'm glad it's over and behind me."

 


Budget meetings to begin Friday
The Banks County Board of Commissioners will begin holding budget hearings at 9 a.m. Friday.
Department heads from various departments were on hand to discuss the budget at a called meeting last week, but the BOC agreed to begin reviewing budget requests Friday.
Commissioner Kenneth Rogers said: "We need to call department heads in and go through everything."
Brady then noted that: "We have all the requests in and it is 11 percent above last year. We are going to have to do some trimming."