News from Banks County...

September 26, 2001


Banks County
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OPINION
Letter to the Editor
Didn't appreciate Beckstein's column

I would like to make a few comments in response to Rochelle Beckstein's column on the Opinion Page of The Banks County News, 9-19-01, titled "Maybe war is not the answer."


Shar Porier
15 minutes

For 11 days, pictures of horrors unimaginable made their unwanted way into eyes that wished to be blind. Images cascading, colliding, one into another, into another, creating a macabre collage from which there seemed to be no escape.


SPORTS

Directions to Area Schools

Banks to take on East Hall
With the region schedule coming into full swing, winning is imperative for the Leopards.


Neighborhood News...
JACKSON COUNTY
Water board puts projects on hold
The economic slowdown ­ deepened by the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks ­ has led the Jackson County Water and Sewerage Authority to put several water projects on hold.

Two Die In Wreck On 441 Early Monday
State Patrol Trying To Determine What Caused Head-On Collision.
The Specialized Collision Reconstruction Team of the Georgia State Patrol is trying to determine exactly what happened to cause a two-car head-on collision on U.S. 441 Monday that killed two people.


News from
MADISON COUNTY
Brakes put on bypass
The Danielsville bypass project is no more, at least for now.
With significant state funds tagged for Atlanta's traffic mess, upgrades of Hwy. 29 in Madison County are on the back burner for at least six years, possibly more and perhaps for good.

Comer council sets clerk's salary
The Comer City Council set the city clerk's salary at $37,000 in a called meeting Wednesday night, Sept. 19, 2001.


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MEET AT TREATMENT PLANT

Baldwin's mayor and council members met at the waste water treatment plant last week to see how construction was progressing on the plant's expansion and to discuss options that could be added in preparation for more growth. Shown are: (L-R) council members Ray Holcomb, Robert Bohannon, Sonny McNeil of WPC Industrial, Mayor Mark Reed and council member Mitchell Gailey. Also present, but not pictured, were council member Jeff Bohannon, city engineer Fred Hawkins, project supervisor Jack Kent and Police Chief Frank Andrews.

Baldwin approves further plant expansion
The Baldwin City Council has approved further expansion of the town's waste water treatment plant.
At a special work session last week, council members and Baldwin's city engineer met with contractor Sonny McNeil and project supervisor Jack Kent at the facility to show how additions made under the current expansion project could save time and money for future growth.
At the regular meeting Monday night, the council approved the $191,383 in additions at the plant.
McNeil showed drawings with added walls that could be turned into additional processing tanks as Baldwin grows.
"If you take these things into consideration now and go ahead with these additions, you'll be prepared to expand this plant to a 1.6 million gallon-per-day operation," he said.
He also suggested eliminating the current drying beds, saying they are very labor-intensive.
"You have to have men working the drying beds," he said. "They have to shovel it from the beds into the trucks to be hauled into the landfill."
With a belt-press operation, the sludge is brought via conveyor belt to a press which squeezes out water, he said. The remains are then passed along the conveyer belt and dumped into a waiting dump truck.
"It's a cleaner, more efficient method and one the Environmental Protection Division will require for any further expansion," he said.
He added that the processing would only have to be done a few hours a week.
Council members asked him to come up with an estimate and let them know at the work session that following Thursday, September 20. At that meeting, McNeil presented the council with a figure of $191,383 to purchase the belt press, construct the building to house it, amp-up the power grid, add the additional walls and install larger pipes.
City Engineer Fred Hawkins approved of the additions suggested by McNeil.
"We'd have to tear out the existing drying beds anyway and install a better system," he said. "And if we did need to expand, the EPD would not approve drying beds for a larger plant."
Council member Ray Holcomb asked if there was enough money to pay for the add-ons.
"My concern is getting the first 400,000 gallon-per-day phase on line and working," he said.
Hawkins said the contingency fund held enough money to pay for the additions as suggested by McNeil.
"I have no doubt," Hawkins added, "that Baldwin will be beyond 800,000 gallons per day in the next few years. If we go ahead and prepare now, we'll be saving the city a lot of money."
Baldwin still would have a contingency fund of $70,217.



Health department to charge $15 for flu shots
At the quarterly meeting earlier this month, board members of the Banks County Health Department voted to raise the cost of flu shots for non-Medicare patients.
Board member Gregg Sheffield reported the flu vaccine was going to cost around $64.95 per 10 dose vials this year. If the county kept the charge at $7, the department would be losing money, he said. The county must also pay for nurses to administer the shots.
Dr. Robert Marshburn, board member, suggested the fee be increased to $15 for all non-Medicare patients and the motion was unanimously approved.
The health department is currently waiting on the vaccine and plans to begin to administer flu shots sometime in October.
In other business:
· the board unanimously approved the appointment of Dock Sisk to chairman of the board. Sisk accepted the position.
·new employees of the health department were introduced to the board. Jan Hill is the new county nurse manager and Ronnie Miller is the new environmentalist. Miller will work two days in Banks County and three days in Franklin County.
·Miller said the health department is testing only blackbirds, crows and raptors for the West Nile Virus, and weekly reports are being done on dead birds.
·Marshburn suggested drafting an ordinance addressing septage removal and application in Banks County. He recommended a moratorium on issuing permits for applying septage until January 1, 2002. A motion was made to that effect and passed. Commission chairman Kenneth Brady said he would contact the county attorney to start the process.
·Jan Hill, public health nurse, told the board that Sarah Langston had been hired as a new school nurse.


BOC public hearing held on waste water expansion plans
Six citizens attended a public hearing Monday night on the planned expansion of the waste water system in Banks County.
The Banks County Board of Commissioners held the hearing as part of the application process to the Georgia Department of Environmental Protection for the project. BOC chairman Kenneth Brady, commissioner Ernest Rogers, engineer Ben Turnipseed, county waste water/water director Gary Harper and county clerk Avis Lewallen attended the one-hour hearing.
Brady said the plans call for expanding the waste water treatment system from a capacity of 70,000 gallons a day to 300,000 gallons a day. The current treatment plant, which will be expanded, is located behind the race track at Banks Crossing. The plans include an additional spray field on the county property located near the recreation fields.
One of the concerns from the citizens attending the meeting was the possibility of the odor around the plant increasing. Turnipseed said the odor should be cut down because the project calls for increasing the aerators at the site.
Another concern mentioned by those present was the site for the additional spray field. Brady said the county already owns this property so locating it there would be more feasible than purchasing more land for the project.
"There is not a place in Banks County to put it that someone won't be mad," he said.
Several of those present also questioned whether the site is in the watershed protection plan. This will apparently be investigated by the EPD during the application process.
Brady also spoke on the need for the project and said the business base at the I-85 area would dwindle without it. He said the system is at capacity now, which allows no room for further commercial growth at that area.
The project will be funded through a $300,000 grant and a $1 million loan.

 

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MainStreet Newspapers wins seven national awards
MainStreet Newspapers won seven awards in the National Newspaper Association's annual contest.
The Banks County News received a third place award in the best sports feature for an article written by reporter Adam Fouche.
The Jackson Herald won a second place for the public notice section, which includes the legal pages. The Herald also received two honorable mention awards in the best agricultural story for articles written by features editor Jana Adams. Another honorable mention award went to Angela Gary in the best serious column category.
The Commerce News received an honorable mention award in the best sports story category.
The Madison County Journal won an honorable mention award in the best sports feature category.


Maysville's fall festival coming up
The 34th annual Maysville Autumn Leaf Festival will be held Friday-Sunday, Oct. 5-7.
Organizers are seeking applicants for booth spaces for arts and crafts vendors. Food booth spaces are no longer being taken, but all other booth space requests will be taken through October 1. Booth fees begin at $40. For an application, call Nancy Smith, (706) 652-2413.
Those interested in other aspects of the festival may call the following numbers for more information: Cynthia George, chairperson, general information, 652-2532; parade and car show, Candice Oppenheimer, 652-2967; talent show, womenless fashion show and magazine ads, Ginger Smith, 652-3698; and entertainment, Deb Greenway, 652-2044.
The attendance is estimated at 15,000. Maysville is located on the Banks and Jackson County line, four miles from I-85.
The festival is sponsored by the Maysville Community Improvement Club and the City of Maysville.


Homestead tax exemption legislation approved
Representative Jeanette Jamieson, D, Toccoa, has announced the passage of a House bill benefiting seniors and the disabled during the second special session of the General Assembly this summer.
The measure Jamieson authored, brought at the request of the Banks County Commission, seeks to increase the homestead exemption from certain Banks County ad valorem taxes for senior citizens and disabled persons living in the county. The new law will exempt the first $20,000 of the assessed homestead's value for these persons. Current law exempts the first $16,000.
The new law must now be voted upon by the citizens of Banks County in the 2002 general election cycle, and, if approved will take effect on January 1, 2003.
"I'm glad to have been of service in this worthy situation," said Jamieson. "I've always believed that one of the key characteristics of a lawmaker must be a compassionate eye to see when a particular group may need their burden lightened just a little."
In addition to serving on the appropriations committee, Jamieson also serves on the ways and means committee and is chairperson of the education committee.