News from Banks County...

March 6, 2002


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OPINIONS
Phillip Sartain
The politics of dogs

Up until just recently, my position on pets was not hard to figure out. I’ve had one pet in my adulthood, and my dog Jack was my personal assistant for twelve years.

Editorial
Take time to read
In today’s hectic world, there often isn’t enough time to get everything done. With church, work and family obligations, some things are likely to get left out of the daily routine.


SPORTS

Directions to Area Schools

Rec department moving on
Recreation staff working to keep facilities up to par
The Banks County Recreation Department has seen its share of adversity in the past six months.
The department lost its director in October amid controversy of financial mismanagement.


Neighboorhood News ..
JACKSON COUNTY

BOC holds weekend ‘retreat’ to discuss courthouse, other items
Dates for district meetings; alternative site rejected
With the controversy over a proposed site for a new courthouse gathering steam, members of the Jackson County Board of Commissioners went to the North Georgia mountains last weekend for a “retreat” to discuss that issue, among other county items.

Jefferson IDA offers $10,000 for professional courthouse study
The Jefferson Industrial Development Authority voted Wednesday to offer the Jackson County Board of Commissioners $10,000 to help fund a professional study on where a new courthouse should be located in Jefferson.


Neighboorhood News ..
MADISON COUNTY

IDA tables Scoggins’ resignation request
The Madison County Industrial Authority voted Friday morning to table action on a letter of resignation from John Scoggins.

Debate to continue Monday over IDA, industrial park
The debates surrounding the county industrial authority and its recent purchase of 80 acres for a proposed industrial park will continue Monday.

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MOVING THE BALL

Lady Leopards’ soccer player Dana Littmann tries to move around a defender during Banks County’s soccer match with Union County Friday. See this weeks Banks County News for more soccer action.

Moon to retire, Bertrang to take over at BCES
There will be two big changes at Banks County schools in August aside from the earlier start time. Both Banks County Elementary School and Banks County High School will be under new leadership, though at this point it’s uncertain who will lead the high school.
At the Banks County Board of Education called meeting Thursday night, superintendent Deborah White announced BCES principal Travis Moon’s intention to retire after “30 plus” years. The announcement came after the board of education had met for two and a half hours behind closed doors to discuss specific personnel issues. White also announced that Banks County High School principal Jan Bertrang asked to be transferred to the elementary school.
Moon, who has been principal at Banks County Elementary for 14 years, said in an interview on Friday that his reason for retiring is a combination of many things, including his four grandchildren.
“I was putting 10 hours a day into my work and still not getting everything done,” he said. “I also have Parkinson’s Disease and while it’s not a problem right now there are many things I want to do before it becomes a problem.
“I’m still not 100 percent comfortable with my decision. I’ll miss the teachers. I’ve really enjoyed working with them and I hate to leave, but I feel this is the best thing for right now.”
Bertrang said in an interview Monday that she asked for the move because she was looking for something different and she wanted to work with small children.
“I love children,” she said. “I have just always loved small children and this is something that I’ve always wanted to do.”
Bertrang said the change would also give her more time with her children and grandchildren.
“Being a high school principal is your whole life between academics, sports and clubs and the move will mean there aren’t as many demands on my time,” she said.
Bertrang said when she learned Moon would be retiring, she thought all weekend about making the change from high school to elementary school before deciding that the move would be the best thing for her family.
“My philosophy won’t change: the students are always my first priority,” she said. “I always am here for the students and I always will be. I plan to keep in touch with the students at the high school and I’ll be there for them.
“I know the elementary school has a really good staff and I look forward to working with them. I know they’re hardworking and dependable as is the staff at the high school. I appreciate the chance the school board has given me to do something different.”
Bertrang has been with the Banks County school system for 24 years; 14 years teaching the eighth grade, three years as an English teacher at the high school, three years as assistant principal at the high school and four years as principal.
The board approved Bertrang’s move from the high school to the elementary school unanimously. The rest of the administrative positions will remain the same. No one has been named as principal for the high school.
During the two and a half hour closed session, the board spoke with middle school principal Janice Allen and Bertrang about the staff at each of the schools.
In an unrelated matter, the board learned from White that Sutton Tire Inc. would not agree to split the tire bids with Pritchett Tire. The board had voted in early February to award Sutton all recap tire business and Pritchett all new tire business.
The board members agreed unanimously to grant all bus tire business to Sutton and discussed using Pritchett for other school vehicles.
Before granting the bid to Sutton, the board discussed accepting Pritchett’s bid in an effort to spend money locally. When asked about the legal implications of such a move, White advised the board to approve Sutton.
“You have two choices. You can accept the low bid, which is Sutton across the board, or you reject all bids. I hear what you’re saying about staying local, but I don’t advise going with anyone but Sutton. You must have a good reason for going with the higher bid, with evidence to back up your decision.”
The board also approved the resignations of Glenn Calmes, sixth grade teacher, and Jason Thompson, band director, effective June 20.


BCHS ranks fourth in state in graduation test science segment
Banks County High School ranked fourth in that state on the science portion of the high school graduation test with 83 percent of the student body passing, according to the Georgia Department of Education’s website.
“We’re very, very pleased,” said principal Jan Bertrang. “We even had a principal from another school call us to find out what we were doing in science.”
Out of 174 Georgia school systems, Banks County ranked 14 in mathematics with a 95 percent passing rate and 19 in writing also with 95 percent of the students passing. The highest percentage of students passing any section is 96 percent in language arts where the school scored 24 in the state. The poorest scores are in social studies where only 81 percent passed, putting Banks County school system 45 in the state.
Bertrang said the school has made raising the percentage of students passing the graduation test a part of the school’s improvement plan.
The school’s dropout rate is 6.9 percent, putting Banks County 84 out of 174 systems.
More than half of Banks County graduates are eligible for the HOPE scholarship making Banks County 44 in the state.
In terms of the SAT test, the school ranks 87 for mathematics and 71 for verbal.


Planners approve request for feed store
The Banks County Planning Commission approved a request Tuesday night for a rezoning for a feed store.
The planners approved the request from Earl Cape to rezone property on Bell Road from ARR, Agricultural, Rural-Residential to C-1, Neighborhood Commercial for the project.
Planning commission member Sammy Reece, who plans to operate the feed store, excused himself from the deliberations.
Cape presented the signatures of 20 area property owners who support the project. The planning commission also received letters from three adjacent property owners who also support the project.
“It’s an agriculture community,” planning commission member Ed Lindorme said. “This certainly qualifies as a neighborhood business...I can’t see how in e world it would be a hindrance to anyone.”
The Banks County Board of Commissioners will take action on the request and other zoning matters when it meets Tuesday night t the courthouse. The public hearing on zoning requests will be held at 7 p.m. and the voting session will be at 7:30 p.m.
Other recommendations made by the planning commission Tuesday include:
•approval for Amanda Casper for a conditional use permit to move a 1980 manufactured home to 5.96 acres on Sims Bridge Road. This property is zoned ARR, Agricultural, Rural-Residential.
•approval for Barbara Wagner and Stacey Wheeler for a conditional use permit to operate a dog kennel and training area for dogs on 22 acres at 403 Herbert Segars Road. This property is zoned ARR, Agricultural, Rural-Residential.
•approval for a variance application for Brenda and Patrick Barker to construct a two-car garage on the front of a lot on Wells Road. This property is zoned ARR, Agricultural, Rural-Residential.
In other business, the planners:
•tabled a variance application for Greg Chapman and Paul Chapman to rebuild a poultry house on Sims Harris Road. This property is zoned ARR, Agricultural, Rural-Residential. The Chapmans are asking to replace one of the chicken houses on the property. A second chicken house is already operational. The planners discussed the request and members pointed out that the request doesn’t meet the qualifications to receive a variance. Chairman Harold Ivey did say that he will discuss the matter with county attorney Randal Frost to see if there is anything the commission can do.
•approved requests from Boswell Enterprises and Jerry Wright for plats for Class II subdivisions. This is the final action on these requests. They will not have to be forwarded to the BOC for consideration.
•approved the codification of all county ordinances. This will also go to the BOC for approval.
•learned that a request from Louie Dowdy for rezoning of property on Moccasin Gap Road from ARR, Agricultural, Rural-Residential to M-1, Industrial has been withdrawn.
•learned that a request from Delbert Kirby for rezoning of property on Hwy. 59 from R-1, Single Family Residential to ARR, Agricultural, Rural-Residential has been withdrawn.



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Old Gillsville plant may be business site
Gillsville Mayor Larry Poole reported at Tuesday’s city council meeting that a realtor had been inquiring about an old manufacturing plant located on seven acres in Gillsville, valued at $450,000.
The building, which formerly housed a school, is located at the intersection of Hwys. 323 and 52, near the railroad tracks.
The realtor said there is an interested party but, said Poole, no details were available to confirm what type of business might be interested in locating there.
OTHER BUSINESS
In other business Tuesday, the council:
•discussed the effort to seek bids for the renovation of three buildings in town. Manager Larry Poole said a few are on file. The council decided to hold a special called meeting to discuss this matter further. It will be held at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, March 12, at the restaurant.
•discussed a few annexations that are pending. Though no details were given, it was mentioned that five residences are ready to be annexed into the city. Potential applicants are requested to submit their annexation paperwork to a member of the council. J. Todd Dale suggested the council move ahead with the annexations. “We need to get on with it,” he said. The council plans to address the annexation situation in May.
•discussed briefly the state of the civil suit brought against the counil for permuting a cell tower. Poole said there are some details that need to be addressed and that he did not feel it appropriate to speak of the matter in public. He did say they would be looking into recouping legal fees. He also said the council may want to pursue the fraudulent document allegedly submitted by Telecom Towers.
•discussed getting a few more street lights.
•discussed the cell tower ordinance modeled after ones from Gwinnett and Hall County counties.


Chamber to meet March 14
The Banks County Chamber of Commerce will be holding its monthly breakfast meeting on Thursday, March 14, at 8 a.m. at the Garrison Civic Center, 193 Sycamore Street, Homer.
BJC Medical Center and Homer Family Medicine are sponsoring the event, as well as providing the program.