News from Banks County...

November 14, 2001

Banks County

Banks County
Banks County

Tues., Nov. 6

among all
Georgia weekly newspapers
by the Georgia Press Association

June 29, 2001

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Angie Gary

Just call me Aunt Angie

Preparing for the arrival of a new baby is exciting and hectic. There is the shower and all the preparation that goes into it. Then there is planning for, shopping for and decorating the nursery. Not to mention shopping for all of those cute little clothes.

Kerri Graffius
Slap a name tag on the new kid in town

Why must introductions be so formal? As a kid on the first day of school, everyone had to stand up and introduce themselves to the class. We had to state our name, age, where we were born and maybe something that made us a little different from the other 24 kids saying the same thing throughout the day.


Directions to Area Schools

Taking it to the hole
Leopards, Lady Leopards to begin season
After what could be seen as a down year last season, the Lady Leopards are looking to put together a successful team in 2001. And Banks County may just have the tools to do so.

Neighboorhood News ..
Jefferson may OK conditional use zoning
Jefferson residents wanting conditional use of their land in ways not congruent with their zoning may soon have a route to take.
The Jefferson City Council voted unanimously Monday night to give it the right to grant conditional use permits in residential zoning. The Jackson County Planning Commission will vote on the amendment at its December meeting. Then, the city council will have to approve the planning commission's recommendation before the amendment becomes effective.

BOE pushes for JMS to open in Jan.
All the Jefferson Board of Education wants for Christmas is for its new middle school building to be ready when students and staff return in January.

Neighboorhood News ..
Health dept. offices to combine
Madison County will soon have only one county health department office.

Bioterrorism:Health official talks about need for local preparedness
The medical director of the Northeast Health District told Madison County Board of Health members that the country needs to be better prepared for bioterrorism outbreaks.
The Banks County News
Homer, Georgia
Telephone: (706) 367-5233
Fax: (706) 367-8056


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Banks County firefighters Lt. Lee Burks, Mark Burks and John Hoyt put water
on the blaze that destroyed a mobile home on Rucker Road at about 8:00 a.m.
Thursday. A passer-by saw the smoke and called 911, but the structure was
totally destroyed when firemen arrived. A neighbor said it was the home of
Kenya and Nickie Rucker. The cause of the fire is unknown.

Proud to be an American

Patriotism ran proud and strong at the Veteran's Day ceremony in Homer Sunday, even among the youngest in the crowd. 2-year-old Montre' Callaway waved his flag as the gathering sang "The Battle Hymn of the Republic."

Who will move the dead?
Coroner, EMS in verbal brawl over who will transport. An argument over who was responsible for the removal of a body from a home earlier this month was the center of another heated dispute during Friday's meeting of the Banks County Board of Commissioners.
At issue was a demand by coroner Tommy Herbert that a Banks County ambulance transport the body of Patrick Renshaw on Nov. 4 from his home near Baldwin. Renshaw had been killed accidentally.
According to witnesses and a tape of 911 calls, the dispute began after Herbert requested that a Banks County EMS unit transport the body to a hospital to obtain a death certificate. Capt. Lori Thomason, supervisor of the shift that day, told Herbert that she couldn't use the ALS (advanced life support) ambulance which was on the scene to transport the body, but that he could use an older unit that was back in Homer for the transport. She could not provide manpower for the transport, however.
Herbert apparently became angry at that point and began a verbal barrage of disparaging remarks about the EMS staff as family members of the deceased looked on. The altercation became so heated that someone called Banks County E-911 and requested a deputy come to the scene to restore order.
During the dispute, Thomason called fire chief Perry Dalton to get clarification over who was responsible for transporting the body. The call, which had been patched through the E-911 center, was recorded and played during Friday's meeting.
"Listen, I've got a dead body out here that needs to be moved," Herbert told Dalton after getting the phone from Thomason. "Your paramedics are not going to tell me they're not going to transport when I have jurisdiction over the body."
Herbert and Dalton argued over the phone for several minutes about who was responsible for transporting the body.
"When I tell you to move a body, you better move it," Herbert said during the call.
When Thomason came back on the phone with Dalton, the chief advised her to go ahead and transport the body "this time."
"He was threatening me with physical harm," said Thomason.
Dalton told her to later make a report about the incident, but to "take care of it and get out of there."
At Friday's BOC meeting, Dalton and commissioners Pat Westmoreland and Ernest Rogers requested that the incident be aired. But that meeting also became a shouting match.
BOC chairman Kenneth Brady, whose wife is Herbert's sister, said he believed the EMS should transport bodies from scenes. The chairman also took Thomason to task for refusing to transport the body.
"Since you're a shift supervisor, you should be able to make a decision like that on your own. Like I said, that situation should never have happened. It should have been taken care of. The body should have been hauled. If you had a problem after the fact, come in and talk to us. It was a very embarrassing situation for Banks County as a whole, not just for the EMS or the coroner. I feel like you should have handled that situation."
But Rogers and Westmoreland disagreed with that view.
"In the past, the coroner has been responsible for transporting the remains," said Rogers. " And I don't mind changing that. What I'm saying is the way it was handled is wrong. It should have been brought to us back when the coroner's van was broken down."
Herbert said he brought it to the commission's attention. He also said the van had broken down during transport. Barbara White, deputy coroner, affirmed mechanical problems with the van, saying it had caught fire three times.
Herbert said he understood the original agreement about providing a van for transport included having it manned and brought to the scene. He was not responsible for getting the van to the scene, he said.
Rogers asked for a copy of the agreement, but Herbert said it was a verbal agreement he had with former E-911 director Lisa McClure. Herbert added that former commission chairman, James Dumas, said it was not part of the coroner's job to transport bodies.
"And I'm here today to tell you I am not transporting any more bodies," said Herbert. "Sometimes I have to stay on the scene for an hour or more before I can even leave that scene to do more investigation work. There's no use for a body [to remain there]. You've got a $100,000 ambulance that you'll run up and down the road to a grass fire, but you won't transport a dead body?"
But EMS officials said using the ambulance to transport a dead body would require a lengthy decontamination period and would take the vehicle out of service.
Rogers brought up the E-911 tape that was recorded while Thomason talked with Dalton. Herbert can be heard yelling at Thomason while she tried to talk with Dalton.
The BOC meeting then turned into a shouting match with Herbert and his family members, including Brady's wife, shaking fingers and yelling about Herbert's status as an elected official and that he is supposed to be obeyed.
Mrs. Brady pointed at Rogers and Westmoreland and yelled, "You ain't even over him. The coroner is an elected official. She (pointing at Thomason) is paid by the hour or by salary and her butt can go out the door."
Rogers said Thomason had made the call to Dalton in order to get clearance to comply with his request. "She says to you - Tommy let me call Perry and get clearance. That's what's on the tape."
Herbert shouted, " should have been calling chairman Mr. Kenneth Brady."
Westmoreland asked Herbert to be quiet as well as the family members present in the courtroom.
Mrs. Brady yelled, "We are taxpayers. He was voted in by the taxpayers. You don't say that."
Herbert threatened, "In just a few more months, it's coming down the road for both of y'all." He pointed at Rogers and Westmoreland and said, "You'll be out, and you will, too."
The meeting turned to chaos with the shouting of Herbert and his family members. Brady asked for Herbert to calm down or leave the courtroom. Herbert left.
Dalton said his department is willing to work with the commissioners and coroner.
"I didn't come here to criticize Tommy," said Dalton. "I think he has done an outstanding job as coroner.... But, Tommy has never asked me to transport a body. I was never told that we were supposed to transport bodies. As soon as I was paged and found out the situation, I told her it was OK to transport the body. My people work hard and they don't deserve to be treated like this. We've worked with Tommy for years, and I'm really surprised at some of the comments that have come out here today. I'm not against Tommy, I consider him a friend. I will do whatever I can to help him resolve this issue."
The BOC decided to establish a policy that would place the coroner's van's maintenance under the fire department's responsibility. The board also decided to compile a list of volunteers from each of the fire districts in the county willing to transport bodies who could be called. The volunteers would be paid on a per-call basis with payment coming late in the year.

Architect chosen for jail
The architectural firm of Pieper, O'Brian, Herr has been chosen by the Banks County Board of Commissioners to do the architectural design of the county's new jail.
The commissioners sifted through potential firms and narrowed the field down to three who gave presentations last Friday. Mike Fisher, county administrative officer, recommended the county go with the firm and the board agreed.
The fees are set on a per-site-visit basis at a cost of $184,500.
Commissioner Ernest Rogers said in two to three months the project should be in the bidding stages.
Fisher said what sold the board was the presentation of a proto-type that is almost exactly what Sheriff Charles Chapman had wanted. The design will be similar to a jail the firm recently built in Madison County at a cost of $3.175 million.

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Baldwin may grant land to BOE
The City of Baldwin may grant some land to the Banks County Board of Education if it can further its quest for county water, according to Superintendent Debra White.
White told the board at its meeting Monday night that Mayor Mark Reed had contacted her about donating land to the board for a future school. She said she told him that no new school would be built in the next five years, but that at that point, it might be good to have an elementary school on that side of the county.
White said Reed wants to build a new subdivision, but there are concerns about water.
"He knows the water will run up there, if we're up there," she said.
"Things are just in the talking stages right now. Reed will get back in touch with me when things are more certain."

Early deadlines given for next weekThe Banks County News will have early deadlines next week due to the Thanksgiving holiday.
The deadline for news will be at 5 p.m. on Friday. The deadline for classified and display advertising will be 3 p.m. Friday. The Banks County News office will be open from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday of this week. It will be closed from noon to 12:45 p.m. for lunch. The office will be closed on Monday.
The News will be printed a day early next week due to the holiday. The paper will go to press on Tuesday night and be mailed on Wednesday instead of Thursday. It will also be on the news stands late Tuesday night.
The News office will be closed Thursday and Friday, Nov. 22-23 for the Thanksgiving holiday.

Still no property taxes in Homer
The Homer Town Council agreed at Tuesday's meeting that there are still no city taxes for residents.
The council again set the millage rate at zero, which means no property taxes for residents. The action passed with no opposition and virtually no discussion.
In other business Tuesday, the council expressed concerns over unpaid water accounts by property renters. It was previously determined that several people who were renting moved out and new occupants took the place of previous renters without notifying the city of the change.
The water bills were left unpaid, and the previous renters could not be contacted, officials said. The previous renters have also been neglecting to notify the new renters to pay their water deposit bill at town hall, so the water would be cut off after two months if not paid for, it was reported.
On another matter, Mayor Leon Ray recommended that the fire department members drive around the streets at night looking for street lights that are not functioning properly. It is important to the council to have them repaired, since the town pays a rate for each individual light, rather than electricity consumed, he said.
In other business, the council:
·increased employee wages by five percent.
·heard Mayor Ray say he is looking for a licensed surveyor to survey the land where the new town hall will be constructed. He is also looking for grants to help fund the project and an architect.
·agreed to hold a Christmas program on Saturday, Dec. 1, at 6 p.m. at the historic courthouse.
The Homer Town Council meets on the second Tuesday of every month at the town hall at 6 p.m.