News from Banks County...

January 23, 2002


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OPINIONS
Angela Gary

Meet our staff
Faces always seem to be changing on our staff and we recently added a few new ones to the news department. I thought Iıd give our readers a little information on the new faces and describe the job duties of all news staff members.

Editorial
Strange move in Alto
Actions of small-town governments can be confusing at times, but a recent action by the Alto Town Council is beyond confusing. It just doesn't make sense.


SPORTS

Directions to Area Schools

Lady Leopards take 10th win
With only a handful of games left, the Lady Leopards sit in a better position than they did last year at this time.
Banks County only won six games all of last year. This year, the Lady Leopards have already won 10. Last year at this time, they were 3-8 on the road and 2-4 at home. Now, Banks is 6-3 on the road and 4-4 at home.


Neighboorhood News ..
JACKSON COUNTY

BOC member says individual contact on zonings illegal
Public hearings only place for comments, Beshara says
If you want to make a comment about a local rezoning matter, don’t pick up the phone and call a county commissioner — that’s illegal, says one member of the board.
Suits filed against Braselton
Barrow County, Gainesville question town’s earlier decisions. Citing violations of a Georgia law, the city of Gainesville and Barrow County have filed two separate lawsuits against the town of Braselton for allegedly stepping beyond the town’s right when it supposedly connected to a south Hall County water line and for the recent annexation of Strickland River Farms’ 499-home development.


Neighboorhood News ..
MADISON COUNTY

Madison County ‘Teacher of the Year’ was....Born to teach
Shirley Aaron finds joy in instructing MCMS students. Shirley Aaron says she never doubted what she was supposed to do with her life. She has always known with unshakable certainty that she was meant to teach.
Now in her sixth year in that profession — her fifth teaching eighth grade language arts at Madison County Middle School — Aaron has been chosen by her peers as this year’s system-wide “Teacher of the Year.”

Manufactured home permits up slightly in 2001
The number of permits for manufactured homes jumped from 162 in 2000 to 212 in 2001.

 

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Practice burn provides training for Homer FD

A practice burn in Homer Monday evening provided Homerıs volunteer firefighters the opportunity to get hands-on training. Many people congregated along Highway 441 through town to watch the floating embers and thick billows of smoke as the sun set. The Poker Hill Street house was owned by Homer volunteer fire chief Mack Garrison.


BOC moves forward on water contract with Baldwin
The Banks County Board of Commissioners and the Baldwin City Council are negotiating swapping water customers.
The matter was discussed for more than one hour in a called meeting Friday morning. The BOC is prepared to let Baldwin take control of the Baldwin Heights service area if the city will give the county Harmony Church Road and all points south and east on the road as part of its service area. Another option will be for the county to also take over the Hwy. 441/105 corridor as part of its service area.
The negotiations come after an apparent dispute over whether the county or the city has control of the Baldwin Heights area, which is to be developed into a subdivision by the Hinson family.
BOC leaders agreed Friday to the swap and will ask their attorney to prepare a contract outlying the matter. The agreement would also include several other points discussed during the lengthy meeting, including Baldwin charging its out-of-city customers the same rate as the county charges, a water protection plan being adopted by the city, the city agreeing to sell the county water in emergencies and the pump station and vaults to be approved by the county engineer and utility director.
City engineer Ben Turnipseed and public utilities director Gary Harper expressed concerns about what the swap will cost the county. It was pointed out that the county will have to pay to upgrade the lines it takes over, while Baldwin will get new customers at no cost to the town because the developer will be putting in the lines.


Coalition seeks Lula intervention on feed mill
Residents still hot under the collar over issue
Lulaıs city council may have thought the Mar Jac feed mill controversy was over as far as they were concerned, but a few dozen Lula residents and members of the East Hall Coalition brought the subject before the city council for the fifth time in three months.
At Mondayıs meeting, the coalition again asked the council to send a letter to Hall Countyıs Board of Commissioners stating the cityıs opposition to the mill being built on the cityıs fringes.
The council agreed after a lengthy discussion to send the letter, but city attorney Brad Patton said he wants to review it first.
Council member Mike Ostrander said he felt uncomfortable getting into the countyıs business and told the crowd they should take their opinions to the Hall County BOC.
Elsie Grizzell, an elderly Lula resident said: ³Iım for getting rid of the feed mill. They want to build it right below my house. At this point, itıs more than just the East Hall Coalition. Thereıs a lot more people involved. You need to let them know how we feel about the feed mill. Tell them you witnessed the opposition.²
Rob Wainberg, a professor of environmental science at Piedmont College, read from a November letter the Hall County BOC had sent the city council asking them to deny the annexation and rezoning of the property.
He read: ³I urge you to consider the negative impact on both nearby residents and future economic development in the regionŠWe ask that the city of Lula not support this development. This request is made in the best interests of Hall County and its residents.²
Wainberg then asked if the county can suggest what the city should do, why canıt the city make a suggestion to the county.
Ostrander replied: ³I donıt think they should have sent us that letter to begin with.²
He also is concerned the cityıs position was on shaky ground, along with the cities of Gillsville, Buford and Clermont, with the BOC as negotiations were under way for the disbursement of Local Option Sales Tax (LOST) funds. The four cities could lose some or all of those county funds.
James Chapman, resident, said he was disappointed to hear the council would not want to get involved.
³Iım not asking you to open a can of worms — just represent us,² he said. ³If you have a feeling for us, stand up for us.²
Mayor Milton Turner agreed with Ostrander and said: ³The county shouldnıt be involved in city business and the city shouldnıt be involved with county business.²
A none-too-happy Grizzell stood up and said: ³This group voted you into office.²
Council member Perry Bridgeman said he understood why Turner and Ostrander were concerne, but felt they had no proof opposing the feed mill in writing and that it would have a detrimental effect on the cityıs position with LOST funds.
Resident Lamar Mullis could not understand how the city ³could turn your backs on us²
³We will be right there with you to get support for continuing the sales tax,² he said. ³We will fight for you. We offer whatever help we can to attract businesses that will add to the quality of life here in Lula.²
Though Turner, Ostrander and council member Lamb Griffin opposed sending a letter to the BOC, council members Bridgeman, Vickie Chambers and Mordecai Wilson voted for sending the letter.
Patton asked to see the letter before it was mailed to the commissioners. He said he wanted to look into ³the appropriateness of the matter² before sending such a letter.
Though the measure passed, a date of completion was not set.


Hearing set on DOTıs application for asphalt plant
A public hearing is planned on a request to locate an asphalt plant in Banks County.
The hearing will be held at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, January 29, at the Lee Arrendale State Prison Conference Center, 505 Wright Street, Alto.
The purpose of this meeting will be to receive comments on the air quality permit application for the construction and operation of an asphalt plant submitted by the Georgia Department of Transportation. The site for the plant is on County Line Road in Alto on property owned by the Georgia Department of Corrections.
A copy of the air quality permit application is available for inspection and review during the hours of 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, except official state holidays, at the Environmental Protection Division, Air Protection Branch, 4244 International Parkway, Suite 120, Atlanta.
At the public meeting/hearing, anyone may present data, make a statement, comment or offer a viewpoint or argument either orally or in writing, leaders say.
Written comments should be received on or before January 29. Comments should be addressed to: Director, Environmental Protection Division, Department of Natural Resources, Air Protection Branch, 4244 International Parkway, Suite 120, Atlanta, Ga., 30354. Written comments can also be submitted at the hearing, leaders say.




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Wiltsie named Banks ŒTeacher of the Yearı
Leah Wiltsie was named systemwide ³Teacher of the Year² in Banks County through a vote of her peers.
The announcement was made at the last board of education meeting.
³I never expected this,² she said. ³Itıs an honor to be named ŒTeacher of the Yearı for the county, but I feel Iım accepting it on behalf of all the special education teachers everywhere.²
Wiltsie, a Banks County native, is the fourth and fifth grade special education teacher at Banks County Upper Elementary School.
³You know,² said Wiltsie, ³I graduated from this very building in 1978.²
She said she moved to Lakeland, Fla., after graduation and attended Southeastern College. While she was a student there, her life changed. Through the death of her grandmother, she found a new calling.
³I was drifting,² she said. ³I felt the need to do something with my life. So I began volunteering at an elementary school for children with emotional disabilities. That started putting life in perspective for me. There are people out there with a lot more problems to deal with than me.²
She changed her major from journalism to teaching and, after receiving her degree, she began thinking about a career in special education.
She attended Florida Southern College where she received the necessary training to begin teaching special education classes and began her 18-year career.
She said she enjoys working with the students who come to her class. ³You have to use a different technique,² she said. ³You have to be flexible and give the child the opportunity to learn as best they can.²
Goals are set for each individual child through an individual evaluation by parents and teachers. She helps them attain those goals.
³I feel like a team player,² she said. ³We all work hard towards the childıs development. This system does what it can for each child. People donıt realize what all we do.²
Some of her students spend only a brief time in her class, some spend as long as four hours. She may have seven students in her class at one time, each working on a different area of their education.
Wiltsie has been married for 20 years to her husband, Paul. They have two daughters, Jessi, 13, and Jenni, 16.


Borders honored as ŒCitizen of the Yearı by MLK committee
Betty Borders, council member for the city of Homer, was named ³Citizen of the Year² by the Martin Luther King Jr. Commemorative Birthday Committee at their annual event Sunday celebrating the late civil rights leader.
Borders is the first black, female council member for Homer. She was honored with a plaque for her achievement by the Rev. R.E. Cooper, presiding officer of the MLK Jr. celebration.