News from Banks County...

July 25, 2001


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OPINION
Phillip Sartain

Rochelle Beckstine



SPORTS

Directions to Area Schools

Banks County teams play state competition
The Banks County Recreation Department sent two softball teams to South Georgia to participate in the state playoffs last week.


Neighborhood News...
JACKSON COUNTY
Schools gearing up for Aug. 2 start
More students, new principals and teachers and the opening of a new school will all greet students as they return to classes on Thursday, Aug. 2.

PD Theft Covered By City's Insurance
GBI Pegs Amount Missing At $227,000; Probe Almost CompleteIt appears that former Commerce chief of police George Grimes stole $227,000 from the city.



News from
MADISON COUNTY
Water relief
Blacks Creek residents seek Commerce water. Residents of the Blacks Creek Church area began voting with their wallets Tuesday night on whether to have water from Commerce piped into their neighborhoods, where wells are no longer dependable.

Restaurant coming to Booger Hill Rd.
BOC approves rezoning for new eating establishment after lengthy debate. GeorgeAnna House restaurant will open in an old Booger Hill Road house near Hwy. 29 sometime in the fall. The owner says it will be an upscale eating facility comparable to Social Circle's Blue Willow or the Berryman House in Franklin County.


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COUNTIAN
PARTICIPATES IN PILGRIMAGE

Marchers in the third annual Peace Pilgrimage to Oak Ridge, Tenn., went through Banks County over the weekend. The group included: Ginger Cash, Atlanta; Buddhist monk Brother Gyoshu Utsumi, Atlanta; Buddhist monk Sister Denise Laffan, Atlanta; Yano Setsuyo, Japan; Yoric Erb-Summers, Banks County; Marcus Atkinson, Australia; and Atsuko Nogawa. They are shown passing the cemetery across from Harmony Baptist Church on old Hwy. 441 north heading for Baldwin.


Sunday School Celebration set for Saturday
The Sunday School Celebration, the longest-standing tradition in Banks County, will be held Saturday at the Homer Town Square.
Beginning at 9:30 a.m., choirs from across the county are scheduled to share their favorite hymns and gospel songs. The celebration is the longest-standing, one-of-a-kind Christian Sunday School gathering in the world. Gifts for the youngest, oldest, and furthest traveler will be presented during the day-long event. There will be a reading of the Biblical ABCs. Sherry Ward will be making the memorial sign again this year.
This year the committee anticipates a crowd of 350 and has planned to provide barbecued chicken for lunch. All people attending are asked to bring covered dishes to share, chairs to sit on and dress comfortably.boxboxbox

Schedule of events for
Sunday School Celebration

9:30 a.m. -- Opening address
9:40 a.m. -- Opening song and prayer
9:50 a.m. -- Homer United Methodist Church
10:10 a.m. -- Homer Presbyterian Church
10:30 a.m. -- Beaverdam Baptist Church
10:50 a.m. -- Community Men's Brotherhood
11:10 a.m. -- Homer Baptist Church
11:30 a.m. -- Homer Alliance Church
11:50 a.m. -- Mount Sinai Congregational Church
12:10 p.m. -- Homer First Baptist Church
12:30 p.m. -- Dyer Family
12:35 - 1:40 p.m. -- Lunch
1:40 p.m. -- Mount Carmel Baptist Church
2 p.m. -- Presentation of gifts to oldest attendee, youngest attendee and attendee from furthest away; Biblical Alphabet
2:20 p.m. -- Hickory Flat United Methodist Church
2:40 p.m. -- Mount Bethel United Methodist
3 p.m. -- Charity Baptist Church
3:20 p.m. -- Rock Springs Baptist Church


Banks County may get pilot program for recycling project
Banks County may be the site for a pilot program which will use recycled rubber from tires for paving roads.
Banks County Board of Commissioners chairman Kenneth Brady reported at a Friday morning work session that he and county administrative officer Michael Fischer met with representatives from the Georgia Department of Environmental Protection Division and the Department of Transportation to discuss Banks County being the site of the project. The area that is under consideration for the project is 4.68 miles on West Ridgeway Road. The road would be the first in the state to use crumb rubber for paving. The surface has been heavily used in Florida, Arizona and California.
There are still obstacles in the way before approval of the project is given, including there being no local supplier of the crumb rubber asphalt. West Ridgeway has been chosen as an ideal spot for the pilot project and negotiations and planning will continue, Brady said.
The BOC also reported that it is about to begin the process of going through 36 applications it has received to fill the county clerk's position held by Avis Lewallen, who will retire in January. To expedite the process, the commissioners will select some of the applicants from the stack of resumes as finalists. These applicants will be interviewed by Fischer and Lewallen, who will narrow the candidates to three to be interviewed by the BOC. The process should take two to three weeks, leaders said.
OTHER BUSINESS
In other business, the BOC:
·set aside $2,000 out of the 2001 budget's contingency money for adult education. Adult education had mistakenly been left out of the budget, but the commissioners said they want the program to receive the same amount of money as last year. The illiteracy rate in Banks County was 42 percent in 1990 and 150 Banks County citizens completed the literacy program last year, it was reported.
·agreed to grant the Georgia Department of Natural Resources ranger Winford Popphan the authority to begin planning a parent and child archery hunt on the county farm.
·re-appointed Gary Forrester to represent the county on the Georgia Mountain Community Services board for a two-year term.
·reaffirmed that the hotel and motel tax for Banks County is five percent. The commissioners did this retroactive to 1981 for the purpose of codification of the county ordinances.
The BOC also agreed to seek bids for the following:
·the building and subcontracting work for fire stations planned for Maysville and Gillsville. The buildings will be 40' X 70' with 12' walls and three bays.
·a 12-ton trailer for the recreation department to transport its backhoe.
·a two-wheel-drive, long wheelbase pick-up for Kenny Crumley to use in his work doing the maintenance on the county's building. Crumley has been working out of his personal vehicle for five years, leaders said.

Judge rules in favor of Baldwin in tax case
A Superior Court judge has ruled in favor of the City of Baldwin in a lawsuit filed by Banks County residents who have been fighting paying the city's property taxes.
Baldwin city attorney David Syfan reported this week that he had received a letter from Habersham County Judge Ernest Woods stating that his judgment was in favor of Baldwin.
"Judge Woods states our ad valorem tax ordinance was legal and the petitioners were not entitled to a refund," Syfan said.
Syfan said he called Chan Caudell, the attorney for the Banks County residents who have been fighting paying the city's property taxes. Caudell did not know whether or not his clients would appeal the ruling to the state supreme court, said Syfan.
"We have won the Banks County suit," said Syfan. "The attorney general affirmed what we did, and now the judge has too."

BJC Medical Center Authority meeting canceled Monday
The July meeting of the BJC Medical Center Authority, which was scheduled for this past Monday night, was canceled because not enough members could attend the meeting.
The authority manages BJC Hospital and BJC Nursing Home. It meets the fourth Monday of each month at 6:30 p.m. in the hospital conference room.
A spokesman said a combination of illnesses and people being out of town resulted in the inability to achieve a quorum.

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Anti-nuclear pilgrimage passes through Banks County
Supporters of an anti-nuclear movement passed through Banks County last weekend on a 277-mile Peace Pilgrimage from the Martin Luther King Center in Atlanta to the site of the Y-12 National Security Complex in Oak Ridge, Tenn.
Two Buddhist monks, Brother Gyoshu Utsumi and Sister Denise Laffan, of the Nipponzan Myohoji-Atlanta Dogo, have taken an oath to make the pilgrimage every year until bomb production ceases at the plant. The weapons component plant is part of a national security complex of 250 buildings spread over 811 acres that has been in operation since 1943.
The founder of the Nipponzan Myohoji order, The Most Venerable Nichidatsu Fuji, says, "We shall walk in order to solve the disastrous threat of nuclear weapons. We will look to the heavens, tread upon the earth and pray. Eventually, this will become a great power that moves the entire world."
The group that walked through Banks County was, indeed, an international and national contingency. The group included Yano Setsuyo of Japan, Marcus Atkinson from Australia and Annie Fitz from Corpus Christie, Texas. Over the journey, the group will be joined by others on the walk to Oak Ridge. Some will walk only a few miles, some a day or two, like Yoric Erb-Summers and his brother, Sylvin. However long they stay, Laffan says, doesn't matter.
"It's that they came out to show their support," he said.
They will meet up with the Oak Ridge Environmental Peace Alliance in Oak Ridge on August 4. There, hundreds of people will take part in peaceful demonstrations on August 5 and 6 to protest the funding and start-up of weapons refurbishment at the Y-12 Plant.
"The plant is engaged in systematically upgrading the US nuclear arsenal," say OREPA leaders. The Department of Energy has plans to build a "highly enriched uranium storage facility and a chemical processing facility," they say. Total cost for the project carries a $4 billion price tag, according to the DOE's inspector general's audit.
Over the past 60 years, $5.5 trillion has been spent on nuclear weapons and weapons research, they say.
More information on the demonstration and on the Y-12 Plant can be found at www.stopthebombs.org.