News from Banks County...

June 27, 2001


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OPINION
Jana Adams
Life history via the DMV

I don't like to have my picture taken, and I always empathize with the people I interview for the newspaper who, as soon as they see me reach into the camera bag, say, "Oh, no, I don't want to have my picture taken," "I'll break the camera" or "I don't take good pictures" or something along those lines.

Letter To The Editor
Upset about dog problem in Maysville
Has Maysville gone to the dogs? The recent census did not record the number of animals residing in and traveling through our fair city, but we humans may well be in the minority.


SPORTS

Directions to Area Schools

Roberts brothers racing almost a family tradition
Mitchell and Keith Roberts weren't fortunate enough to have been born into a racing family, so they have decided to build one themselves.


Neighborhood News...
JACKSON COUNTY
Rogers files lawsuit against Jackson County man
Hearing set Monday before Judge David Motes.
Country music star Kenny Rogers has filed a lawsuit against a Jackson County man and his brother for breach of contract in the purchase of his Oglethorpe County home.

It's City Lights Festival Time
Country Music Legends Perform Thursday And Friday; Festival Moves Downtown On SaturdayThe city of Commerce will bask in the lights cast by country music legends this week. A celebrity golf tournament, "dinner with the stars," the fourth annual City Lights Concert and a downtown festival Saturday are all part of Commerce's annual City Lights Festival.


News from
MADISON COUNTY
Mistrial declared in Wymbs case
For a day-by-day summary of the murder trial of Albert Wymbs, see this weeks Madison County Journal.
Despite approximately five hours of deliberation, a Madison County jury could not agree last week on the guilt or innocence of Hull's Albert Wymbs, who was accused of killing Angela Harris in her parents' mobile home off Hwy. 106 in 1996.

Deadlines moved up
The news and advertising deadlines for The Madison County Journal have been moved up due to the July 4 holiday.
The deadline for news articles, including church, weddings and social events, will be at noon on Friday, June 29. The deadline for advertisements, including classifieds and displays, will be at noon on Friday, June 29.


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Church bus overturns in accident

A church bus, driven by Stephen Bright, rolled over onto its roof in an accident Saturday morning at the interchange of I-85 and Highway 441. The bus from North Carolina was carrying 13 children and teens ranging in age from 11 to 17 years old. Four of the occupants were taken immediately to BJC Medical Center. Sheriff Charles Chapman and Banks County deputies were on the scene controlling the traffic snarl as three lanes of Highway 441 were blocked with the vehicles and debris.


Four children injured in church van accident
Four children were taken to BJC Medical Center Saturday morning following an accident at Highway 441 South and Interstate 85, according to Banks County volunteer assistant fire chief John Creasy. The four victims had visible bruises and lacerations and possible broken bones, he said.
Thirteen children and teenagers and one adult from Hamon Street Baptist Church in Forest City, N.C., were in the van when it rolled over on its roof from an impact with a Buick Century, driven by Virginia Patrick, Lavonia, said highway patrol officials.
Four others had minor injuries, he added. The children ranged in age from 11 to 17 years old, according to state highway patrol officials.
Banks County Sheriff Charles Chapman and several deputies were on the scene trying to unsnarl traffic that had backed up from the wreck. Only two lanes of the five-lane highway remained clear.
Patrick was shaken, but not injured, said Lori Thompson, District 3 EMS. Thompson checked Patrick over as she sat, trying to catch her breath, in her car.
Stephen Bright, the driver of the van, was not injured. He wept, saying, "They had to take my babies to the hospital." He said four of the children had been taken immediately to the hospital via Banks County ambulances and he was sending the rest to the emergency room to be checked over. Kelly Rupee, one of the teen passengers in the van, hugged him. Patrick stooped down and hugged both of them.
"I'm so glad no one was hurt badly," Patrick said.
Rupee said it was hard to get seat belts unbuckled as they hung from the seats, upside down.
As Patrick and Bright waited for word on the injured children, Brenda Cheek and her daughter, Melanie, Hoschton, drove up and asked Bright if he and the children needed accommodations for the night. She said their church, Hoschton Baptist, would be glad to help in any way they could. Bright told Cheek that some of the parents had accompanied them on the trip to the Atlanta Fest as chaperones and would be able to drive all the children home.
"I think they would probably want to be with their families tonight if they can," he said. "But, there are still a few that need to go get checked out at the hospital."
Cheek said: "We'll be glad to take them."
Teenagers Carrie Head and Nathan Edwards, with visible scratches on their arms, climbed into her car.
In a matter of minutes, another car pulled up.
"I heard about the accident," said Karen Westbrooks of Commerce First Baptist, "Would y'all like some lunch? We are setting up the church for you."
Parents pulled up, and Rupee, the last of the passengers, was taken to the emergency room. Bright breathed a sigh of relief and softly murmured, "Thank you, God."
One of the children reportedly suffered a broken collar bone. All were treated and released, according to hospital officials.


Homer plans July 4 fireworks
Grab a picnic basket and a blanket and head to Homer on July 4 for the 18th annual fireworks display.
It will begin around 9:30 p.m. on Wednesday, July 4. The display will be held at the home of Mac and Sandra Garrison on Highway 51, across from the Banks County Public Library.
Family Connections will be selling hot dogs with the all the trimmings to pay for a handicap entrance and ramp for the Adult Education building on Sycamore Street in Homer. It will be $2 for a hot dog, chips and a drink. Items will also be sold individually.


BJC gets favorable report
Two years ago, when the State Office of Regulatory Services conducted its annual inspection of BJC Nursing Home, the disastrous results were leaked to an Athens newspaper, the ensuing publicity destroyed morale and the administrator was eventually replaced.
When the same office conducted its 2001 survey last month, officials found few faults and commended the facility. The results were not leaked to the local press.
But members of the BJC Medical Center Authority were happy with the findings just the same when nursing facility administrator Charles Stills released them Monday night.
"I have to say we had a fairly good survey," said Stills. He explained that the nursing home received but six citations, compared to an average of 11 statewide, and none of the citations were major.
The worst was a "D" level citation, he said, which meant that it was an isolated incident in which there was no harm to patient care. There were three "C" level citations, which indicate that the hospital was in "substantial compliance." They were related to an outdated chart of Medicare benefits, a lack of documentation in one case, a complaint from a resident that the staff did not use a privacy curtain, and the fact that one resident had wet pants at the time of the inspection.
"It's certainly one of our better reports," noted Dr. S.J. Shirley, vice chairman.

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The news and advertising deadlines for The Banks County News have been moved up due to the July 4 holiday.
The deadline for news articles, including church, weddings and social events, will be at noon on Friday, June 29. The deadline for advertisements, including classifieds and displays, will be at noon on Friday, June 29.
The paper will be published on Tuesday, July 3, and will be available on the newsstands that night. Subscriptions will be sent in the mail on the regular schedule.



DOT to spend $8.5 million in county
The Georgia Department of Transportation plans to spend $8.549 million for a wetlands mitigation site and bridge replacement projects in Banks County over the next four years.
DOT official Todd Long said $8 million would be spent on creating a wetlands habitat off Highway 441 near the drag strip.
"Typically, if we take an acre of wetlands in our road projects, the Environmental Protection Division makes us replace that habitat somewhere else," he said. "So we're having to buy existing wetland sites in north Georgia to preserve."
The site will be funded through the State Transportation Improvement Program (STIP), he said.
"Each year, Georgia gets around $1 billion from the federal transportation department to help finance road improvements'" said Long.
The sum is split evenly among the 11 congressional districts in Georgia. DOT District 1, which covers 19 northeast Georgia counties including Banks, receives $90 million to $100 million, he explained. Federal money has to be matched by state funds in an 80 percent/20 percent split. The DOT gets the matching funds through the 7.5-cents per gallon state gasoline tax and three-cents of sales tax, totaling 10.5-cents on every gallon of gas.
Banks County will also benefit from the program through two planned bridge replacement projects. One is over Grove Creek on State 51 west of Homer; the other is over Broad River on State Route 105. Both projects are in the preliminary engineering stage with construction slated for 2003. The two bridges will cost nearly $550,000 to replace.
Long also said Banks Countians need to be prepared for the $10.4 million resurfacing Interstate 85 project starting from Barrow County north through Banks.
"That is going to be a traffic nightmare," he said.