News from Banks County...

JUNE 5, 2002

Banks County


Banks County

Banks County

Commerce standout transfers to Clemson
Collins to play basketball, football. After officially transferring from Tennessee to Clemson this past week, former Commerce football and basketball star Michael Collins said he now feels he’s in the right place to continue his collegiate athletic career.
“I’m very happy with my decision,” Collins said Monday at the Commerce High School gym while helping out Tiger head basketball coach Rex Gregg with his youth basketball camp. “...I get to be closer to home.”

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June 29, 2001

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Shar Porier
Into the jungle
Well, maybe it’s not exactly a “jungle” per-say, but there’s one part of the yard that definitely has some vines Tarzan would have loved. And they’re smothering my beautiful Butterfly Bushes that provide nectar for so many butterflies and hawk moths and Rose of Sharon trees that the hummingbirds visit so regularly.

Jana Adams
Eating, and more eating, in Charleston
Just back from a short trip to Charleston, S.C., and Folly Beach, I found myself hesitating on Monday when a co-worker asked what all we did on vacation.


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BCRD to host baseball, golf camps
The Banks County Recreation Department will host a baseball camp July 8-12 on field one for kids ages 8 to 14.
High school head baseball coach Mike Williams will teach the course from 9 a.m. until noon.

Neighboorhood News ..
County pays double at Darnell Rd.?
‘Fair market value’ is less than half of $2.1 million BOC agreement with owners. The Jackson County Board of Commissioners is paying $2.1 million to purchase four parcels of property that is valued at less than half of that.
Maysville puts moratorium on sewer use
With the city’s wastewater treatment facility nearing capacity, the Maysville City Council approved a six-month moratorium on new sewage service Monday.

Rezoning requests on Jefferson council agenda for Monday
Two subdivisions, one light industrial project to get vote. With a vote next Monday night, the Jefferson City Council will determine if two new subdivisions and a seven-tract light industrial project will be added to the city’s blueprint.

Neighboorhood News ..
School tax rate to hold steady
The projected school budget for next year will be up approximately 6.5 percent, but the property tax rate for Madison County schools is expected to remain steady.

Parents recount day their daughter was murdered
Wymb’s retrial opens in Elbert County. The parents of murder victim Angela Harris never re-entered the home where she died. Bobbie Joe and Violet Harris were the first two witnesses called in the retrial of Albert Wymbs for the November 1996 murder.

Danielsville duplex conflict may be headed to court
Local developers may turn to the courts now that the city of Danielsville has denied their plans for duplexes behind the Huddle House off Hwy. 29.
The Danielsville City Council unanimously shot down a proposal by developers Gerry Burdette and Phil Munro Monday for a conditional use permit for eight, multi-family duplex units on approximately 8.6 acres behind the Huddle House off Hwy. 29.
The Banks County News
Homer, Georgia
Telephone: (706) 367-5233
Fax: (706) 367-8056


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A worker sifts through the wreckage of Jerry Gannon’s jet-powered funny car after a crash at the Atlanta Dragway Saturday. Gannon died less than 12 hours later from injuries sustained in the accident.

Driver killed in dragway crash
Cause of crash still under investigation. Jerry Gannon, 50, of Franklin Furnace, Ohio, died at approximately 2 a.m. Sunday, June 2, at Grady Memorial Hospital in Atlanta from injuries sustained in a fiery crash at Atlanta Dragway in Commerce.
The crash occurred during the Super Chevy races where drivers “ride a 40-foot fountain of fire at speeds of up to 300 miles per hour.”
Super Chevy officials said Gannon, in his Gustin Racing jet-powered funny car, suddenly veered to the left striking the retaining wall. The out-of-control car then crashed into the wall on the right side of the track and burst into flames.
Atlanta Dragway fire and rescue teams managed to extinguish the blaze, even though there may have been problems getting water to the scene, according to reports.
A videotape of the crash was turned over to an Atlanta television station. The cause of the crash is under investigation, said Super Chevy race officials.
Banks County Deputy Fire Chief John Creasy said he could not make a comment about allegations stemming from the tape.
“I don’t know anything about what happened before we (Banks County) got there,” Creasy said. “The fire was out and our crews immediately went to work trying to get the driver out.”
The team had Gannon free from the twisted, smoldering wreckage in minutes. He was placed in a Banks County ambulance where medics immediately began working to save his life, said Creasy.
“This was an extremely difficult situation and the crew did an incredible job keeping his airway open,” said Creasy. “He was badly burned. 90 percent of his body had third-degree burns.”
Emory Life Flight had been called immediately following the crash, he said, but the chopper was transporting another patient. It was 30 minutes before they were free to respond.
“That was when we decided to take him to BJC,” he said. “At least we could get him some immediate help while waiting for Emory Life Flight to arrive.”
He rode in the ambulance with Gannon who remained unconscious.
When the helicopter arrived, medics onboard went to the emergency room to prepare Gannon for flight to Grady, said Creasy.
A Jackson County ambulance transported Gannon and the medics back to the chopper pad.
Gannon’s wife, Shonnie, and daughter, Alisha, were by his side at Grady Memorial when he died.
Gannon had been driving jet funny cars for the Franklin Furnace, Ohio-based Gustin Racing team since 1993. Pro Jet, the jet car racing sanctioning body, recognized Gannon with “Rookie of the Year” honors in 1993. During his career, Gannon was the driver with the most wins in the jet car ranks.
Beyond his talent as a driver, Gannon was involved in all aspects of the race car operations as a welder, fabricator and painter.
“This is a great loss, not only for Jerry’s family, friends and the staff of AutoStar Productions and Gustin Racing, but also for the entire motorsports community,” stated Roger Gustin, team owner and well-known drag racer. “Jerry was the best natural race car driver in the business.”

Christian music festival coming this weekend
Harmony Baptist Youth Minister Joel Spencer wanted to do something big, something unlike any other gospel festival.
Spencer and fellow organizer, youth worship leader, Anthony Sadler put their heads together and “Vapor - a Festival of Arts and Music” was born.
The result, after nine months of work, will be a 13-hour arts and music festival featuring some of the nation’s most popular gospel rock groups. The festival will be held in Homer at the Banks County Recreation Park near the horse arena.
The event is set for Saturday, June 8, from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m.
Spencer said: “This festival will be like no other. Our main objective being to bring together the best of both festival worlds. One being the tradition of openly shared faith and the other, a tradition of excellent entertainment. We are striving to bring about a fresh environment where believers and non-believers can come together and share a positive experience rooted in faith and Christianity.”
Seeking to draw 15- to 30 year-olds, 13 professional bands from across the country will entertain. Bands such as Bleach, Squad 5-0, Denison Marrs, Cool Hand Luke, Two Thirty-Eight, Spoken and others will lift spirits for a crowd estimated at 2,000 to 5,000, he said.
Spencer said the organizers ran ads in national magazines and put listings in several publications across the Southeast and thousands of flyers.
“The response has been literally amazing,” he said. “We’ve had calls from as far away as New York and even have volunteers driving down from Kansas. Our main goals are to bring about unity in area churches, provide a fun-filled day with quality music and invite un-churched people to an event where they can come, feel accepted, have a great time and see that living this Christian life is an amazing thing.”
Artists from across the southeast will show paintings, drawings and poetry.
Attractions such as a climbing rock wall, sumo-suit wrestling and joust arena are just a few of the other activities that will be going on all day long. Food and drinks will also be available.
Spencer encourages area churches to bring their youth groups out to Vapor Festival.
“This is just what the youth of today are looking for - great music in a fun and safe environment, the whole day will be action-packed,” said Spencer.
Tickets are $15 in advance and $20 at the gate. They may be purchased online through the festival’s website or at
For more information, call Spencer at (706) 340-6303.

BOC turns out preliminary budget
After weeks of budget hearings, the Banks County Board of Commissioners has put together a preliminary budget for the upcoming fiscal year.
The budget rises a small six percent from last year to $7,852,765.
The BOC will hold a public hearing Friday, June 21, at 9 a.m. in the conference room at the Banks County courthouse to give citizens a chance to comment on the budget. The BOC has not approved the budget and could make changes before it goes into effect.
Before approving the budget, the BOC will look over the county’s tax digest and set the milage rate.

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Water theft reported in Alto
$100 reward offered. The Town of Alto has had a problem with people taking water from fire hydrants without notifying city hall, according to city officials.
Mayor Carolyn Gulley said: “ This is causing tremendous problems with dirty water for our water customers. We ask all citizens to notify us if they see a truck taking water from a fire hydrant. We also ask them to note tag numbers, vehicle description or even take a picture of it if possible. The town would appreciate anyone’s help in resolving the problem.”
A $100 reward will be given to the person who reports the theft if the culprit is caught and fined, she added.

County could have money to spare on jail construction
If preliminary estimates hold true, the county could have money left over on the jail construction.
Commission chairman Kenneth Brady gave the BOC cost estimates for the jail during a work session Friday.
Brady said the county will have $3.7 million to build the jail. The money will come from bonds the county sold, timber sales and bond reinvestment interest.
Brady said architects have made a preliminary estimate just over $2.9 million for the cost of building the jail. The money includes $200,000 for a septic system, grading, parking lot work and landscaping. In addition, the county will have to pay nearly $600,000 in fees and interests, bringing the total cost of the jail project up to $3.6 million.
If the initial estimates hold, the county will have $100,000 left over. However, commissioners expressed that the costs estimates were just that, and could go up or down by the time the project gets underway.
“If the company has done its job, the actual cost should be less,” commissioner Ernest Rogers said.
The county is having the construction site surveyed and once completed, the BOC will bid out the grading and the construction can begin.