News from Banks County...

May 23, 2001

Banks County

Banks County
Banks County

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Phillip Sartain
Jiggle Theory

We live in an old house. It does have indoor plumbing, but it's old indoor plumbing. And because of that, we have a problem with running toilets.

Todd Simons
Eating glass is cool, but I don't think it's a sport

I had never been to a rodeo, but when I was a kid I did try to ride my dog's back, hoping it would suddenly buck my weight high into the air and I'd grab the hair on the back of its neck just to hang on.

'Incredible year' ends at Sweet 16

The Banks County Leopards made it to the Sweet Sixteen and the best season in the school's history before they met defeat in the rubber game against Calhoun Wednesday, May 16.

Neighborhood News...
Salute to 'The Greatest Generation' planned Friday
More than 100 Jackson County veterans who served during World War II, known as "The Greatest Generation," will be among those honored at a special Memorial Day program planned for Friday.

BOC seeks sit-down with BOEs, fire districts
The Jackson County Board of Commissioners agreed Monday night to seek joint meetings with two other groups.

News from
Kesler dismissed as softball coach
Doug Kesler is no longer Madison County High School's fast-pitch softball coach.

Hull Festival set for Saturday
The third annual Hull Spring Festival gets under way this Saturday.
The festivities begin at 7 a.m. with a 5K Fun Run beginning at Joy Baptist Church on Glenn Carrie Road.
The Banks County News
Homer, Georgia
Telephone: (706) 367-5233
Fax: (706) 367-8056


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Chigger Mountain Saw Mill on Yonah-Homer Road was destroyed in a fire early Friday afternoon. Firefighters and engines from across the county and Lee Arrendale Correctional Institution were called to the location. Volunteer Deputy Fire Chief John Creasy kept the teams working the hot spots for over 30 minutes after a propane tank and an acetylene tank exploded and sent fire racing through the mill. See this week's Banks County News for more photos.

Chigger Mountain saw mill burns
Chigger Mountain Saw Mill, on Yonah-Homer Road in northwest Banks County, burned to the ground Friday afternoon.
District 2 first responders Paul Bedgood and Lt. Doug O'Neil were heading to gas up the service truck after a medical call to Abernathy Road Mobile Home Park, off Garland-White Road, when they spotted the fire. As they turned the corner onto Yonah-Homer Road, they noticed black smoke coming from behind a tree line. They turned into the saw mill, located behind the residence of Ricky Davidson, and saw the rear of a tractor trailer with its tires on fire, said Andy Kitchens, battalion chief.
Davidson's son, Chris, had already spotted the fire and was trying to put it out with a garden hose when the men arrived.
As the firefighters donned protective gear and breathing apparatuses, O'Neil called in to 911 for help and water. The service truck does not carry water.
O'Neil and Bedgood said they were told by Davidson that saw- dust was in and under the trailer, which was parked next to the small office and the mill. They asked the young man to step back away from the blaze and they tried to use the hose to keep water on the fire. The rear side of the trailer had melted through from the heat and flames were shooting up from the tires and coming out from the rear and top of the trailer.
The low pressure from the small garden hose was no match for the heat radiating from the burning tires. The tires were whistling as air escaped. Small popping sounds could be heard. The men emptied a fire extinguisher in an effort to lower the temperature. But the flames grew higher and billowing clouds of thick, black smoke rose from the site.
Davidson moved two vehicles away from the scene and reportedly asked if he could go into the office to retrieve important office equipment. The firefighters said they would not allow him to enter. The fire was spreading rapidly, fed by swirling winds, and had begun to burn into the office's exterior, they report. The flames licked skyward spreading to the roof. In minutes, the office roof collapsed as flames twisted and melted the metal building.
Engines from all districts in the county and from Lee Arrendale Correctional Institution had been called to the scene. But before the first engine could begin pumping water, an explosion occurred and flames engulfed the entire saw mill. According to Creasy, a propane tank and an acetylene tank had exploded, igniting the entire building.
Bedgood and O'Neil fell victim to heat exhaustion during the fire. They lay in the shade of a small tree and were treated by paramedics. They were soon joined by others as the 90-degree temperatures and heat from the fire sapped them of their strength. The Mobile Support Unit brought drinks for the men.
On Yonah-Homer Road, engines were being emptied into a tank where water could be pumped onto the fire from another direction. Hundreds of feet of hose and thousands of gallons of water were being used trying to battle the blaze. As one engine was emptied, it would head for the hydrant and refill. Three engines were being shuttled back and forth for 30 minutes. In the end, the fire left the saw mill in smoldering ruins.
"We did the best we could with what we had," said Creasy. "With the conditions at the mill, all the dry wood, the sawdust, the heat, we just did the best we could."
Creasy is investigating the cause of the fire. He said the trailer was parked upon a deep bed of sawdust, which may have been where the fire began. He took samples from underneath the trailer to try to determine if some sort of accelerant had been present that could have led to combustion. He said he had been told the operations at the saw mill had ceased on Thursday.
"It's possible the sawdust could have lay smoldering until it finally reached a hot enough temperature to burn," he said.

'A Day at the Fort' set Saturday
"A Day at the Fort" will be held at Fort Hollingsworth-White House Saturday, with events beginning at 10 a.m. The fort is located on Wynn Lake Road off Hwy. 441 between Cornelia and Homer.
Tours of the fort will be given throughout the day, and food, music, dancing, storytelling and old-fashioned arts and crafts will be offered.

10 a.m. opening ceremony
10:15 a.m. Cheryl Sumpter, gospel recording artist
11 a.m. Douglas White, banjo instrumentalist
11:15 a.m. Edith Goodson, storytelling, author of "White Tales from Hollingsworth"
11:30 a.m. Crystal River Gospel Bluegrass Band
12:30 p.m. Confederate soldiers re-enactment
1 p.m. Jennifer Hart, gospel recording artist
1:30 p.m. Sacred Harp Singers
2 p.m. Crystal River Bluegrass Band
3 p.m. Simply Southern Cloggers
3:30 p.m. Edith Goodson, storytelling
3:40 p.m. Brotherhood Quartet
4:20 p.m. Chosen, gospel singers
Everyone is invited to bring a chair and spend the day, coordinators say.
For more information, call 754-4538 or email



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Upcoming seniors score higher than state average on grad test
Banks County juniors scored higher than the state average in every subject on the high school graduation test.
"When scores exceed the state average in every area including 'pass plus,' the test results confirm that quality teaching and student learning is occuring consistently across the curriculum," said superintendent Debra White.
"Pass plus" is the percentage of students who scored above average on the graduation test.
"We are extremely proud of these results, especially in the area of science," said White.
The biggest margin between the state average and Banks County's results is in science, where 83 percent of Banks County students passed versus 68 percent of the state's high school seniors. The greatest improvement over last year's scores is also in science. Ten percent more students passed this year.
White said that science scores across the state have been below average, so Banks County teachers, administrators and students have focused on ways to improve the scores. Changes were made in the course content, assessment and review measures.
"The test results indicate that these changes were effective and student acheivement enhanced," said White.
Banks County students showed an improvement over last year's scores in all areas except for social studies, where scores declined by one percent. Of the students who took the test last year - this year's graduating class - five will receive certificates instead of diplomas when the Class of 2001 graduates June 1.

Patriotic display honoring veterans up in Maysville
Veterans Park in Maysville will have a patriotic display in it which will include a wall with the names of Maysville area veterans inscribed on it and flags.
The special display was put in place Monday and will be up through June 16. It is sponsored by the Maysville Community Improvement Club and area businesses.
A special Memorial Day program is also planned for 10 a.m. on Wednesday, May 30, in the Maysville park. Area veterans and Sen. Mike Beatty will speak.
Friends, families and neighbors will join members of the American Legion Post #215 at the Veterans Memorial Park, Homer, Monday at 10 a.m. for an annual Memorial Day program.
Flags will be given out to family members of deceased veterans during a program to honor those who sacrificed for freedom.
Those who attend are asked to bring their own chairs.