News from Banks County...

June 20, 2001


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OPINION
Jo Evelyn Dean
Teaching responsibility

Teaching kids to take responsibility is a parent's job. When parents show through their words and actions that they take responsibility for their own behavior, they become effective and powerful role models for their children.

Todd Simons
The pump house, the trees and my dog

Summer for me today is not much different than it was 15 years ago. When I was thirteen I was left to decide what to do on my own, and any activity might just pass as recreation.


SPORTS

Directions to Area Schools

Father and son both victorious on eve of Father's Day
It couldn't have been scripted any better for two Maysville residents. The father is a former late model driver and NASCAR regional champion who recently decided to come out of retirement after a four-year hiatus.


Neighborhood News...
JACKSON COUNTY
BOC says 'No' to Earth Resources landfill request
North Jackson residents opposed to a landfill locating on Lanier Road had reason to celebrate Monday night, but the battle likely isn't over yet.

JMS project plagued by sewer line, water problems
A request for two construction change orders Thursday brought to light a host of problems the Jefferson City Board of Education is having with work at the new Jefferson Middle School.


News from
MADISON COUNTY
BOE hires new legal counsel
The Madison County school board hired the law firm of Sam Harben and Phil Hartley of Gainesville as the school system's new legal counsel Tuesday night.

Jury selected for Wymbs trial
A jury of six men and seven women, including one alternate, will determine the guilt or innocence of Albert Wymbs. Wymbs is accused of murdering Angela Harris at her home on the Ila Road near the Clarke County line.


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CHECKING ON VICTIM

Homer volunteer fire chief Mac Garrison took a few minutes to check on John Nation's condition after Nation's home caught fire Sunday.


Fire destroys Homer residence
The home of Homer native John Nation burned to the ground Sunday afternoon.
Nation, who was not seriously injured in the fire, said he was watching a race on television when he noticed how hot the house had become.
"I had two fans going and got up to open the front door," he said. "When I did, I saw the porch was afire."
He went back inside, and in seconds, he said he was blown out of the house.
Thelma Dunson was driving her son, David, to lunch for Father's Day when she saw Nation waving his arms, calling for help. They stopped and the call to 911 was made.
When the all-volunteer Homer Fire Department arrived, the house was engulfed in flames, according to fire chief Mac Garrison. Trees next to the residence were burning, and Nation's truck had caught fire, he said.
Banks County paramedics Carla Crisco and Mark Burks tended Nation's minor wounds. He was not burned in the fire, they reported.
Firefighters were unable to save the home, but with flames crackling above, they did remove tools and equipment Nation had stored in a shed attached to the rear of the house. They also were able to save the contents of a shed alongside the house.
Everything else Nation owned was lost in the fire Left with just the clothes on his back, he said: "My knife collection is gone, everything is gone." Surrounded by friends and neighbors offering their sympathy, he sat with his head in his hands.
Garrison owned the home on Sycamore where Nation lived.
"I feel bad for John," he said. "He's lived here for years."
Garrison said that since there was no way to save the house, he decided to turn it into a training burn for the rookie volunteers. They stayed with the fire for over three hours, keeping the blaze from reaching a neighboring residence. Chain saws were brought out as the firefighters fought to control a brush fire that started behind the house.
As Nation looked at the smoldering remains of his home, he smiled and said: "I have places I can stay. I have my friends and family."


Lula's fall election will be at-large
Lula residents will be voting in an at-large election this fall, instead of by wards as the city council had hoped. The determination was made by attorney Scott Wallace after research and talks with the Georgia Municipal Association.
Wallace said, at Monday's meeting that the city charter that was revised in 1994 states there are five "posts." The charter does not specify them as geographical voting wards.
"Since they are called 'posts,' GMA says they cannot be tied to a geographical area," he said. "Once the new charter was enacted, it did away with wards. The vote must now be at-large."
This means that anyone in the city limits can run for any of the council seats, providing they qualify, said Mayor Tim Allen.
Council member Milton Turner said he thought the city should change the charter back to the way it was in 1956, re-establishing the districts.
"The older citizens of Lula would want it back the old way," he said.
Wallace replied that to change the charter would literally take an act of congress. The council would have to approach Nathan Deal or Carl Rogers to obtain their endorsement of the charter. It would also have to be approved by the U.S. Attorney's Office. The charter would have to go before the Georgia General Assembly as well.. He was not sure if the General Assembly would be addressing municipal issues in the fall session.
It is an expensive process as well, he added.
"GMA recommended not changing to wards," he said. "It is very costly. It would not be financially feasible for a town this size."
He talked about what the cost would be with GMA, but they had no figures to give for a small town. Lula has 1,400 residents.
"Most cities Lula's size are at-large voting districts," he said.
Council member Mike Ostrander suggested the issue be put on the ballot this fall for the citizens to decide if the money should be spent or not. At last month's meeting, it was estimated that the process could cost $20,000 or more.
The council asked Wallace to check with GMA to find the smallest city that had gone through re-districting and then contact the city and find out what it cost. They said they could make a proportional determination with that information.
The council also requested that Wallace place Lula on the waiting list to get help from the state office of redistricting. This was determined by Wallace to be the first step in proceeding with any change. The next step, and the most costly, would be to re-draw the districts using the 2000 census, he said. The third step would be to change the city charter. From there, it would proceed through the channels of the legislature. The whole process could take one or two years, he said.
Allen said: "I think at-large voting is fair. Anyone who lives in the city limits can run. I don't see the benefit to re-districting. Even if it's only $5,000, it's not worth the cost."
For the complete story, see this week's Banks County News.


Baldwin council sets $1.6 million budget
The Baldwin City Council has gotten the nod from city auditor Beth Grimes on the proposed 2001-02 fiscal budget of $1.6 million.
The 13 percent budget increase over last year will allow the city to give a three percent raise to city employees; permit the requested hiring of two firemen, one policeman and one city works employee; and cover rising costs of utilities, supplies and gasoline, according to the council.
Grimes went over the budget with council members at a work session, Thursday.
The council plans to raise the millage rate from 4.05 mills to 5.25 mills. That increase will add $60,000 to the city's general fund, estimated city clerk Stacey Jacobs.
The council also raised the licensing fees for retail alcohol sales and beer and wine licenses for restaurants, which will provide an additional $10,000 in revenue.
Even though Grimes said the budget looks good, she cautioned: "Be very cost-conscious. With the bond issuance [for the waste water treatment plant and system expansion] coming up, you have to be able to cover the interest payment."
Grimes said the budget would have to be amended when the bond issuance comes in.
She also suggested the city set aside money whenever possible to cover costs of capital repairs so the city would not have to borrow money as it did in the past.
Council member Ray Holcomb said the council needs to look at the budget every three months and adjust it if necessary.
Police chief Frank Andrews said his department had been approached about providing credit histories as well as background checks. He antici-pates the revenue for the coming year from background checks alone will be $350,000. Credit checks would provide additional money for the city, he said.
The water rate increase that had been discussed at an earlier meeting will not be sought at this time, according to the council.
For the complete story, see this week's Banks County News.

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Banks Countians to receive Indian names from chief
Rene´ Hudler, Commerce, has earned the honor of receiving her "Indian name" from Chief Edwin "Wamblee" Poulan of the Southern Band of the Cherokee.
Three years ago, Hudler found she is of Cherokee descent on her maternal side.
"Nobody talked about it in our family," she said. "I always pondered my interest in Native American culture. I finally found out why when I came across some old family records."
She said she is at the minimum percentage to be considered a member of the Cherokee tribe. After joining the Southern Band of Cherokee, she began learning all she could about the culture. But just having Cherokee blood is not enough to get an Indian name, she said.
"I had to earn it," she said.
She began going to the festivals and powwows learning cultural techniques, dances, songs and drumming.
"We go into schools and teach about our ways," she said. "We make dream catchers with the children and tell them Indian legends."
It's been three years of learning and working, but Saturday, it will all pay off as she receives her designated Indian name in a sacred ceremony.
Her husband, Bobby, will also be receiving his name. He is 75 percent Cherokee and lived on the reservation in Cherokee, N.C.
Though he had received a name at birth, it has been lost to him and his family.
"It's like a giant birthday party," she said. "But, instead of getting gifts, we have to give gifts. That's the tradition."
They have been busy making presents for around 100 people by hand for the past five months.
After the naming ceremony, there will be dancing and drumming, and all will be invited into the circle for the Honor Dance, she added, in honor of the naming ceremony.
The ceremony will be held at the Banks County Recreation Department horse arena, Saturday, June 23, at 10 a.m. She said people who attend should bring their own chairs and a covered dish.
For more information, call Hudler at 335-2964.
For the complete story, see this week's Banks County News.