News from Banks County...

MAY 29, 2002


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OPINIONS
Angela Gary
Hopes patriotism continues to shine
The terroristic attacks on the United States last fall have impacted people in many different ways. Even those not directly involved, still feel the shock waves from that horrific time.

Rochelle Beckstein
I’m a person, too
Test Taking Strategy #3: In a True/False question, if the word “all” or “none” is used, assume the answer is false.
I learned test taking strategy #3 in first grade. It helped me to succeed on true/false tests for 15 years, but it didn’t take me that long to figure out that that same strategy could be used in life.


SPORTS

Directions to Area Schools


Neighboorhood News ..
JACKSON COUNTY
BOC buys Darnell Road site for courthouse
$2.1 million paid for 150-acre site. In a 3-2 closed-door vote, the Jackson County Board of Commissioners agreed Tuesday night to spend $2.1 million to purchase 150 acres on Darnell Road to locate a new courthouse.
Bear Creek water to flow next week
With The water plant finally permitted and running, Jackson County water customers should begin drinking water from the Bear Creek Reservoir next week.

Braselton nixes three big projects in budget
Items trimmed from departments ‘wish list’ for fiscal year 2003. Nixing funds for three big projects next fiscal year, a revised budget for Braselton proposes to generate more than $1.3 million in revenues while expenses will top $1.1 million.


Neighboorhood News ..
MADISON COUNTY
Wymbs to stand trial again for Harris murder
A second trial is scheduled to open Monday against Albert Wymbs, who is charged with the 1996 murder of 24-year-old Angela Harris.
Wymbs was tried last June for the murder, but the jury couldn’t agree on a verdict, with 11 voting to convict and one voting for acquittal.

Hudgens to seek state senate seat
State Rep. Ralph Hudgens (R) has announced that he will be a candidate for the 47th State Senate seat, which is all of Banks, Elbert, Hart, Oglethorpe, and Taliaferro counties and parts of 11 other east Georgia counties, including Madison County.

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SALUTING THE DEAD

Stan Hodsdon, Lester Wood and Hal Puett salute fallen soliders at the war dead memorial in Homer Park during a Memorial Day celebration Monday.

A day of solemn remembrance
Countians gather to honor veterans. Those who attended the Banks County Memorial Day celebration Monday got a strong message.
American Legion District Commander Glenn Whitaker reminded attendants that Memorial Day was not about red tag sales at the mall or even barbecues with the family in the back yard. Instead, he said the holiday was a day to remember America’s heroes that made the ultimate sacrifice for their fellow Americans.
“We cannot forget,” Whitaker told the crowd.
He also said that everyone who attended a Memorial Day celebration set a good example for others to follow. He added that he would fight for his country again if he were needed.
“My sincere desire is that the United States of America be one country with one language and one flag,” he said. “And if necessary, I will fight for that principle again.”
After Whitaker’s speech, flags were given to the families of deceased veterans. Banks County American Legion Commander Bobby Eubanks followed the flag presentation and reading of deceased veterans’ names.
“As I sat listening to the long list of names of all the deceased veterans here in the county, I had a sense of pride and a sense of sorrow,” Eubanks said. “As the names were called off, it brought back memories of all those who did not come home from the war I fought in.”
He also reminded countians to show support for America’s troops in the War on Terrorism.
“In these trying times it is very important to show complete and unyielding support for our men and women in uniform,” Eubanks said.


Jail will be on county farm
Brady pushed for Banks Crossing location. Work can soon begin on Banks County’s new jail and sheriff’s office.
The Banks County Board of Commissioners voted Friday to locate the jail on the county’s Windmill Farm at the end of Thompson Road.
The jail will sit atop a knoll across the new Hwy. 441 bypass just over a quarter mile from the senior center.
The BOC’s decision, however, came with opposition from within.
BOC chairman Kenneth Brady tried to persuade the other two commissioners to build the jail in the industrial park at Banks Crossing, an argument the other two commissioners did not buy.
Brady said building the jail on the county farm would cost close to a half a million dollars more than building it in the industrial park behind Tanger I.
He said the county farm site would require an expensive septic system, county water, electricity, more grading and the construction of a road. The Banks Crossing site, he said, has county sewer and water, electricity, a road and would require less grading.
“The preliminary cost of the new jail is $2.9 million,” Brady said. “That’s no grading, no parking, no roads, just the jail.”
Brady implied that taxpayers would have to absorb the extra cost of locating the jail at the county farm, claiming the sales tax revenue would only cover the jail construction and not any of the extra grading or sewer costs.
However, commissioner Ernest Rogers questioned the validity of some of Brady’s claims.
Rogers said the Georgia Department of Transportation is planning to build a barn near the jail on land the county is donating to the state. He said the DOT had agreed to build a road to the barn and extend it to the jail. He said the county hasn’t yet given the land to the state and can use it to encourage the DOT to build the road.
Rogers added that Brady could not factor in the cost of running water lines to the site since the county had already agreed to run lines out to the new middle school, which will be built near the new jail. He also said he did not think the cost of grading the property would be significant.
Rogers said the county farm site is best since it allows for more room for expansion and would cost less in transportation costs to the courthouse than the Banks Crossing site.
“We can’t look at what is cheapest now but what is cheapest in the long run,” Rogers said. “I don’t want to be one who people would say that my foresight was poor.”
Rogers also questioned Brady about how he generated the additional $500,000 cost estimate for the county farm site. Brady admitted that he was unsure of the exact costs difference in the two sites and said the $500,000 was only an estimate.
“Where did that cost come from?” Rogers asked. “How did you come up with $500,000 if you don’t know?”
County administrative executive Micheal Fischer added the number is “just a guess.”
Commissioner Pat Westmoreland said that money had actually been built into the jail’s cost estimates for site work, which would include grading, septic systems and any other outside work. Westmoreland’s statement contradicted Brady’s claims that the estimated $2.9 million only covered the cost of constructing the actual building.
After examining the preliminary estimates on the project, the BOC found that the $2.9 million jail cost included $200,000 for site work. That is sales tax money that could be used for grading and a septic system.
Fire chief Perry Dalton then said that Brady had misrepresented the cost difference in the two sites during a department head meeting.
“I was told in a department head meeting that the county farm site would cost a half million (dollars) more,” Dalton said. “You said there was no money in there for site work and now there is. You misrepresented that cost to me.”
Brady defended himself, yelling back at Dalton: “I must have to quit talking to you because you misconstrue what I say.”
Banks County Sheriff Charles Chapman told the BOC he is opposed to locating the new jail at Banks Crossing. He cited issues with traffic flow around I-85, additional transportation costs to the courthouse and the increase distance residents in the north part of the county would have to travel to get to the sheriff’s office.
“As the sheriff, I’m opposed to it (the Banks Crossing site) because you separate the jail farther and farther from the courthouse if you put it out there within spitting distance of the Jackson County line,” Chapman said. “As a citizen, I’m opposed to it because the jail should be as centrally located to the county seat as possible.”
Chapman also said the industrial park is for businesses, not county government offices.
“It makes more sense in the long run for businesses to be in the industrial park paying taxes and bringing revenue to Banks County over a period of years than having a jail down there,” Chapman said. “I’m not for it.”
With the new site nailed down, Chapman said on Monday that he estimates the new jail to be open near the end of next year.
The BOC estimated that exact costs for the project won’t be available for several months.



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Homer Mayor Ray dies
Garrison to fill in until election. Homer Mayor Leon Ray, 62, died Tuesday, May 28, after a lengthy illness.
Ray had served as mayor for five years. Prior to that, he had served as a council member and mayor pro tem for six years. He was a life-long resident of Banks County.
Mayor Pro Tem Sandra Garrison said Tuesday that Ray served the citizens of Banks County well during his time in office.
“During his time as mayor, he was there for the citizens in Homer,” she said. “He did what he could for them. I enjoyed working with him. It really hurts that we’ve lost him. I’ve been friends with the family for a long time.”
Ray was also a United States Army veteran, a member and deacon of Homer Baptist and a member of the Banks County Cattleman’s Association and Georgia Mountain Development Committee.
See page 10A for the funeral arrangements.


BCHS seniors to turn tassels Friday
Nearly 110 seniors will graduate from Banks County High School Friday.
Graduation exercises will begin at 7 p.m. in the BCHS gym. An invitation is not requred to attend and seating will be given on a first come first serve basis. Officials will provide reserve handicap seating. The valedictorian, salutatorian and senior class president will be speaking.