News from Banks County...

APRIL 17, 2002


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OPINIONS

Shar Porier
Saying ‘Goodbye’
The breeze wove in and out of the chimes. Their soft tinkling tones were comforting.
The little gold finches squeaked and the warblers were singing.

Editorial
Clean reservoir is everyone’s business

Not everyone in Banks County uses the Commerce Watershed near Banks Crossing.
Not everyone fishes there. Not everyone picnics there. And not everyone drinks the water that comes from the lake.


SPORTS

Directions to Area Schools

Diamond Leopards to host Apalachee
The Leopards’ playoffs hopes aren’t looking too good.
A couple of losses on the road over the past week has put Banks County (7-9, 4-7) in the hole as far as the postseason goes.


Neighboorhood News ..
JACKSON COUNTY
RDC study says JCCI ‘valuable and necessary’
A review of the Jackson County Correctional Institute shows that the operation is “necessary and valuable.”
Alex Simpson of the Northeast Georgia Regional Development Center spent four months studying the operation for the board of commissioners.

Nicholson To Buy 10 Acres For City Park
NICHOLSON -- Aside from drafting a new town charter, getting the wheels moving on creating a city park was at the top of the new Nicholson City Council's agenda when it took office in January, according to Mayor Ronnie Maxwell.


Neighboorhood News ..
MADISON COUNTY
Mother charged with murder of infant son
The mother of a 16-month-old child whose death was ruled a homicide last fall has been charged with murder in c onnection with his death.
Hope Bertha Buie, 22, formerly of Colbert,turned herself in to the Madison County Jail Saturday, April 13.

Looking westward
Business park committee to recommend development of western tract off Hwy. 72
Members of the Hwy. 72 Business Park Committee will recommend that development proceed on the western tract, but no action should be taken on the eastern tract until more information is available.

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WAVING TO THE CROWD

Sabrina Porter (L) and Sara Holloway of the Twins wave to the crowd during the Banks County Recreation Department opening day parade Saturday. Rains held off just long enough for the event to take place.

Clermont mayor seeks fair sales tax distribution
Appeals to Lula council
The mayor of Clermont, Steve Gailey, appealed to the Lula City Council Monday night to fight for a fair disbursement of Hall County’s local option sales tax (LOST) money.
With the city of Gainesville and Hall County in control, due to population figures, the cities of Lula, Gillsville and Clermont stand to lose nearly $200,000 per year in LOST revenue, he said.
For Clermont residents, that translates to a six-mill rate hike on property tax to make up the difference, he said.
Lula Mayor Milton Turner and council member Mike Ostrander have been attending the negotiations representing Lula.
Turner said Lula could lose $57,000. But, he added, the city has some leverage to work out a better deal. That leverage is House Bill 489.
Hall County revised its map when Braselton annexed part of the city into the county. In the process, Lula was left out.
“That’s got to be corrected before House Bill 489 can be signed by the deadline of May 30,” he said.
Gailey said Hall County is not “looking after the interests of the northern section of the county.”
“Everything is going to the southern end and Gainesville,” he said.
Gailey said the Hall County Board of Commissioners is planning on initiating an act that would prevent cities from gaining the tax base of a business should owners decide to annex into the cities. The county would continue to collect the taxes, while the cities would not, he said.
Gailey added that Clermont has sued the county over annexation issues and cost the city $67,000 in unrecoverable legal fees.
“First, they object to the annexation, then they drop their objections before we go to court,” he said. “You need to be aware of the annexation issue because you’re going to end up confronting it, too.”
He also said the Hall County BOC is going to enact an impact fee ordinance requiring a developer or any new home builder to pay $540 per home. The fee is expected to be collected by the cities, but will be forwarded to the county.
He suggested the impact fee is going to be used to build a new $8 million library in the southern section of the county. Gailey also suggested it was the intent of the board of commissioners to dissolve the cities that do not charge a property tax.
The council voted unanimously to stand by a fair disbursement.


Job loss
105 to lose jobs at Mount Vernon Mills
Mount Vernon Mills will be eliminating 105 jobs at the Alto yarn facility in June.
According to Larry Porter, general manager: “All the affected employees have been notified of their separation dates and have been told their separation will be permanent.”
The positions that will be affected are: plant manager, one; warehouse department manager, one; shift managers, four; administrative manager, one; quality control manager, one; customer service manager, one; payroll clerk, one; operators, 48; technicians and overhaulers, 10; material handlers, 25; packers and inspectors, four; shipping coordinators, two; forklift operators, two; quality control technician, one; training instructor, one; yarn salvage, one; and twister cleaner, one.


BCMS won’t face Title I sanctions, White says
Although Banks County Middle School was designated with a Title 1 “needs improvement” score by the Georgia Department of Education, Banks County Schools superintendent Deborah White says the school will face no sanctions stemming from the report.
Last month, the state department of education released its Title 1 report of federally-funded public schools that were not up to par in meeting state standards.
More than 430 schools across the state, including Banks County Middle School, were given the lowest rating on the Title I report of “needs improvement.” As one of the sanctions for being designated as “needs improvement,” parents of students at those schools will have the option to either seek tutoring for their student or have their child bused to another “higher performing” school—at the school system’s expense.
But White emphasizes that students at Banks County Middle School will not be transported since this is the first year the school has been designated as “needs improvement.” Busing students elsewhere is not even an option for parents until the school has been on the designated as “needs improvement” for three consecutive years.
“We don’t even have to consider the issue right now,” White said. “We feel like we can make the necessary adjustments to not get that far.”
White said school officials will review the objectives of the Criterion Referenced Competency Test (CRCT) to make sure there are no deficiencies in teaching students. The state used Banks County Middle School’s CRCT scores to determine its Title I category for the report.
According to the state department, only schools receiving Title I federal funds were considered for one of four academic progress categories ranging from “distinguished” to “needs improvement.” Title I funding is based upon how many free or reduced lunches a school receives for its students.
White also said the school system is discussing the possibility of hiring a reading specialist to assist students. The addition of the school’s “accelerated math” program this year will further help students, she said.
Across the state, however, the process in selecting which schools are designated as “needs improvement” in the Georgia Title I report has received considerable controversy.
In Commerce, for example, board of education members called the report “misleading” for naming Commerce Elementary School as “needs improvement” when the school has historically performed well on standardized tests.
Jackson County School superintendent Andy Byers said he questioned how West Jackson Middle School was named as “needs improvement” when the county’s other middle school typically has lower test scores.
But the key isn’t how well students performed on standardized tests, it’s if five percent of the students move their failing math and reading test scores to passing scores.
“Even though a school may have phenomenal test scores, if they’re not making progress, they’re designated as needing improvement,” said Amanda Seals, state department of education director of media relations.
White said Banks County Middle School only had two percent of its students move their scores by five percent.
“The middle school has an excellent program.” she added. “We know they’re making improvements because we see it every day.”



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BCHS prom coming up Sat.
The Banks County High School prom committee is making plans for the annual dance. The formal affair will be held from 8 p.m. to midnight Saturday, April 20, at the Commerce Civic Center.
The theme chosen by the prom committee, members of the junior class, is “Hanging by a Moment.”
Disc jockey Randy Crump will be providing the music for the evening. Punch and refreshments will be offered. During the evening, the senior prom king and queen will be crowned.
Fund-raisers held by the junior class pays prom expenses.


Maysville council approves annexation, rezoning request
Another 125 acres now sits in the city limits of Maysville.
In a called meeting Monday, the city council approved Walt Rowsey and James Short’s request to annex and rezone 125 acres off Deadwyler Road to R-1.
Rowsey said he will build a 50-lot single family subdivision on the property. The lots will be between 1.5 and 4.5 acres in size and will have stick built homes with a minimium of 1,500 square feet Rowsey said. He also said he would pay to have water lines run to the property.
OTHER BUSINESS
In other business at the meeting, the council:
•moved next month’s meeting from Monday, May 6, to Monday, May 13, at 7:30 p.m. in the library. A public hearing will follow the meeting.
•tabled acting on the adopt-a-street program.


Chamber to hold picnic at courthouse
May 9 gathering a first for after-hours
The Banks County Chamber of Commerce will hold a picnic on the courthouse lawn at 6 p.m., Thursday, May 9.
The picnic begins the chamber’s efforts to have quarterly after-hours meetings, said James Dumas, president.
For further information, call 677-2108.