News from Banks County...

JULY 24, 2002


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OPINIONS
Shar Porier
Keeping Banks beautiful
while planning for growth
When I first bought property here in Banks County 13 years ago, I figured I’d have a good 15 years before suburbia would manage to migrate this far north.

Rochelle Beckstein
A new breed of reality TV
New reality TV shows are cropping up every week. As reruns dominate summer prime time, networks are trying to woo viewers away from their rivals by flooding the market with their brand of reality TV. And it pays high dollars to find a reality TV show that America wants to watch.


SPORTS

Directions to Area Schools

Leopards head back to gridiron
Scorching temperatures during summer practice are nothing new to football.
And the Banks County Leopards are handling the heat the way they always do—lots of water and evening practices.


Neighboorhood News ..
JACKSON COUNTY
Sept. 3 target date for Quad Cities Planning Commission
If all goes as planned, the so-called Quad Cities Planning Commission could become a reality for Jefferson, Arcade, Pendergrass and Talmo on Sept. 3.

Murder suspect brought back to Jackson County
The suspect in a double murder near Arcade was brought back to Jackson County this week.


Hoschton hires consultant for large project
In a called meeting, the Hoschton City Council unanimously agreed on Thursday to hire a planning consultant for a proposed large-scale commercial development on Hwy. 53 and Hwy. 332.

Neighboorhood News ..
MADISON COUNTY
BOC votes ‘no’ on subdivision
Plans for a 72-home subdivision off Hwy. 72 were turned down by commissioners Monday, as many took the podium to offer their take on the rural vs. growth debate in Madison County.

12-year-old dies in four-wheeler accident
A 12-year-old Madison County boy was killed last weekend in a four-wheeler accident in a wooded area off North Eades Road in Oglethorpe County.

Still no ruling on whether Hudgens can run for senate
Whether state representative Ralph Hudgens will be allowed to run for the District 47 state senate seat remained up in the air as of Journal press time this week.

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SPECIAL DELIVERY

A truck brought the new electronic voting machines into Banks County Friday. Georgia will become the first state to use all electronic voting this November.

125th Sunday School Celebration set Saturday
The 125th Sunday School Celebration will get under way at 9:30 a.m. Saturday at Veteran’s Park in Homer. Children and adults from 11 area churches will participate.
The gathering, steeped in history, goes back to 1877. First called the Sunday School Convention, it was held under the direction of the Rev. D. Cran Oliver at New Salem Methodist Church, said Van Earl Chambers, celebration committee chairman.
In 1888, the convention was moved to Homer, where it has been held ever since. In 1894, the name was changed to the Sunday School Celebration. As far as anyone knows, it is the longest-standing Christian Sunday School event in the world, he said.
James H. Glasure was the first president after the name was changed to the Celebration. Columbus A. Meeks, a native of Banks County and later a resident of Carrollton, was secretary for many years while he lived in Homer and was editor of The Banks County Journal. In the early years, a business meeting was held on Friday and the programs were presented by various Sunday Schools on Saturday.
Before the advent of the automobile, the residents walked to Homer or came by horseback, buggy or wagon. Picnic lunches were spread around the town wherever family groups could gather. The favorite place has been on the public square in front of the old courthouse.
Churches that will be participating in this year’s day-long event are Homer Methodist Church, Homer Presbyterian Church, Beaverdam Baptist Church, Community Men’s Brotherhood, Homer Baptist Church, Homer Alliance Church, Mt. Carmel Baptist Church, Homer First Baptist Church, Chosen, Hickory Flat Methodist Church and Mt. Bethel Methodist Church.
“We had a great turn-out last year,” Chambers said. “We hope for more this year. And hope more of our younger folk help us keep this going. This is such a great tradition of religious significance in our county.”
This year, the committee anticipates a crowd of 350 and has planned to provide chicken and iced tea for lunch. All people attending are asked to bring covered dishes to share, beverages and chairs. Chambers recommends people dress comfortably.
The group is looking for help in hauling tables out of storage, transporting them to the square and setting them up. There’s also a piano that has to be moved, said Chambers.
Anyone wanting to lend a hand is urged to call Van Earl Chambers at 677-3322.
The event is free to all.


Vandals hit Baldwin Elementary
Custodians at Baldwin Elementary School were shocked Friday morning to find vandals had trashed 12 classrooms Thursday night causing an estimated $5,000 to $8,000 worth of damages.
Connie Herrin said she and other staff members arrived at 7:30 a.m. and found paint and glue in the freshly waxed hallways.
“It was the biggest mess, “ she said. “There was paint and glue spread on the floors, walls, cabinets and carpets. Toys, papers, books, chairs and tables were just strewn around.”
Wayne Roberts said: “When I first walked in, I saw a lot of things out of order. It was a mess. Paint and glue and soap and wax everywhere. Stuff in the classrooms just thrown around. They even stopped to eat candy that was in the teachers lounge.”
Herrin said Baldwin Police were called immediately.
In all, 12 classrooms suffered damage, she said. Nothing was broken, or destroyed.
However, in teacher Joel Head’s room, a tape player and tapes had been ruined by paint dumped over them.
Down one hallway, yellow, green, pink and blue enamel paint had been poured on the floor.
In another room, a glue gun had been plugged in and left on all night.
Herrin said: “We were very lucky that gun didn’t start a fire. It was quite hot when we found it.”
Baldwin police officer Stephen Mitchell said he found words scrawled on a chalkboard that said, “PLC was here” and another obscene message.
He said most of the damage centered around the migrant summer school hall on the Banks County side of the building. The school and grounds are actually split between Banks and Habersham counties.
Mitchell said custodians told him the cost for clean up was estimated at $5,000 to $8,000.
He added there were no known suspects, but Habersham County investigator Rick Sallini did find footprints and was able to lift fingerprints from items that appeared to have been handled.
Sallini said he would have to check the footprints of the custodians who were there against the ones from which he made impressions.
“I don’t think the footprints belong to the staff from what they told me,” he said. “They had called Baldwin Police immediately upon entering the school. We really don’t have much to go on. So far, we have no leads or suspects. When the latent fingerprints are assessed we may have a lead.”
Kyle Bryant, Banks County Sheriff’s Office investigator, said he had been contacted by Habersham about the incident, but had yet to see a report or confirmation Banks County would be the investigating department.
“We’re just waiting for the reports to come in,” he said.
The custodians and teachers now face a two to three day job of cleaning up the mess, said Roberts.
“It just doesn’t make any sense,” said Herrin. “Why would someone want to do this?”


Banks goes high tech
Ballots will look a little different come November.
On Friday, the new electronic voting machines that will be used statewide in the November elections arrived in Banks County.
“I think they’ll be real good,” said Banks County Probate Judge Betty Thomas. “I’m real excited.”
Thirty-four of the machines were brought into the county, one for every 200 registered voters.
When registered voters go to the polls, they will be given a computer card with an electronic ballot on it to insert into the machine, said Mark Radke of Diebold, the makers of the machines. The terminal will then display the ballot on a large touch screen.
After casting their votes, the machine stores the users’ votes and voters turn in their card to election officials. Officials then re-program the electronic card for a ballot to give the next voter.
At the close of the polls, officials take a card out of each machine that stores the election totals for that terminal. The cards are then put into a computer at the courthouse and results are tabulated, eliminating the need for a paper ballot counter.
Thomas said the machines will eliminate the possibility of someone casting too many votes because it will not let you complete a ballot if you have picked two candidates for the same office.
She said the machines also eliminate undervoting problems because they notify any voter who has not completely filled out the ballot.
She added that the voting machines do allow users to change their vote before they finalize their ballot and walk away from the machine.
The state paid $54 million to have every county fitted with the electronic voting machines. The county will be responsible for maintaining and storing them.



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Norwood to visit Banks Aug. 6
Congressman Charlie Norwood, the United States Congressman for Georgia’s 10th District, will visit Banks County on Aug. 6. He will be at the historic courthouse in Homer from 5 to 6:30 p.m.
He will meet citizens and answer questions at a gathering sponsored by the Banks County Republican Party.
Norwood represented Banks County in Congress from 1994-96. While court-ordered redistricting removed Banks and other counties from his district in 1996, recent reapportionment legislation by the Georgia State Legislature has brought Norwood back to Banks County. He will run for re-election in the newly-created
9th Congressional District.


Banks County school students to hit the books August 9
Summertime fun will soon end for Banks County’s youth.
School begins on Friday, August 9, at all five county schools. Teachers are slated to report August 5-8 for pre-planning.
The school system will hold an open house at each school on August 8.
Phone numbers for each school are: high school, 677-2221; middle school, 677-2277; upper elementary school, 677-2190; elementary school, 677-2308; primary school, 677-2355; and board of education office, 677-2224.
Banks County 2002-2003
School Calendar
Pre-planning Aug. 5-8
Open house Aug. 8
First day Aug. 9
Labor day holiday Sept. 2
End first nine weeks Oct. 11
Inservice (no school) Oct. 18
Open house Oct. 24
Thanksgiving holidays Nov. 27-29
End second nine weeks Dec. 19
Christmas holidays (students) Dec. 20-Jan. 6
Christmas holidays (faculty) Dec. 20-Jan. 3
Open house Jan. 9
MLK Jr. holiday Jan. 20
Inservice (no school) Feb. 17
End third nine weeks March 12
Inservice (no school) March 14
Open house March 20
Spring break March 31-April 4
Snow day/holiday April 18
Last day of school May 23
Memorial Day holiday May 26
Post planning May 27-28