News from Banks County...

SEPTEMBER 25, 2002


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OPINIONS
Zach Mitcham
The hair/gut ratio
Pythagorous had his theorum.
Maybe I can establish Mitcham’s theories and observations.

Phillip Sartain
Just let me explain
At least once every 12 months or so, I have to explain myself. And while I sometimes feel as though the explanation should have been obvious from the beginning, there are times when maybe a little more would help.

Frank Gillespie
Time to turn off your TV and go to the fair
Once upon a time a young man was walking alone in the woods when he heard a voice coming from a mud hole. He looked down and saw a frog looking back at him.

Kerri Graffius
Technology and apologies
Technology, lately, has been a source of apologizes for me.
When we all started surfing the Internet and using personal e-mail accounts several years ago, many people thought it was the “revolutionary” way to keep in touch with friends and family members. Instead, it has made us into a bunch of slackers—and I’m sorry for that.


SPORTS

Directions to Area Schools

Banks facing powerhouse Buford
The Leopards haven’t played football on a dry field yet this year and that doesn’t seem to be changing soon.


Neighboorhood News ..
JACKSON COUNTY
Pendergrass to get police dept.
After years of failed attempts, Pendergrass will finally have its own police department soon.
Nicholson Leaders Want Say In City Water
NICHOLSON -- Saying they felt "buffaloed" by the old Nicholson water board, Nicholson city leaders now want a say in the business of its city water.

Elderly county couple victims of construction scam
An elderly Jackson County couple was the victim of a construction scam last week that cost them more than $1,000.

County officials say plans are to extend runway 5,000 feet
County officials denied rumors this week that plans are in the works to extend a runway at the Jackson County Airport to 7,000 feet, which would allow some small commercial planes to land there.


Neighboorhood News ..
MADISON COUNTY
Athens man charged in Smith murder
Henry Mckisey Bolton, Jr., 33, of Old Church Road, Athens, has been arrested and charged with the Sept. 14 shooting death of Willie Frank Smith.

Madison County takeover of Colbert park may have to wait
The county recreation department’s takeover of the Colbert City Park may have to wait.
County commission chairman Wesley Nash reported Monday that the county will be on a tight budget in 2003 (see related story above) and may not be able to take on maintenance of a fourth county park.

Conditions of settlement spelled out at BOC meeting
The conditions of a legal settlement between local developers and the county commissioners were spelled out at a Monday board meeting.

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FUN WITH BUBBLES

Three-year-old Clayton Chapman had fun blowing bubbles at the county employee picnic sponsored by the Banks County E-911 Center Saturday.

BOE making moves on athletic complex
At a special called meeting last week, the Banks County Board of Education approved a $67,310 expenditure to begin grading and road work for the athletic complex at the high school.
The bid from Charles Sullivan Construction Company, the original grading contractor for the field, was accepted unanimously.
Deborah White, school superintendent, said Charles Black Construction, the construction management firm for the stadium complex project, recommended the BOE accept the bid.
“Charles [Black] said it was a good bid and would be more cost effective since they are a local company,” she said.
BOE member Neal Brown had been asked to join White when the figures for the work were presented and offered his opinion of the bid.
“What we have is a lot of time involved in removing storm drain boxes, storm drains, and the tearing up of the road down to the stadium,” he said. “There also is the consideration of stricter erosion control requirements of the EPD (environmental protection division).”
Brown also said the cost might be reduced if some of the pipe currently in the ground can be reused and if they went with a smaller paving company.
John Williams, board member, asked if the bid included the $7,500 withheld from CSC because the field was not correctly graded to begin with. White said it was not.
“He will be paid for it separately,” she said.
Brown said: “The figure does not include the field itself. [The bid] is for the road, the bank, the stands, the [storm drain] boxes, 500 feet of eight-inch PVC pipe, 50 feet of 15-inch PVC to run between the boxes.”
Williams asked if CSC could straighten out the level of the field for the $7,500 the board withheld.
Brown replied: “He said he would do it for [$7,500], if it took $15,000. He knows all he’s getting is what we have withheld.”
White said CSC had agreed all along to fix the field and it was just a matter of waiting for the complex plans to be completed. The company is expected to do all the necessary work to correct the defect in the grading and level the two-foot bulge, discovered in a recent site survey, in the middle of the field for the $7,500.
Board member Bo Garrison suggested another option that he thought might be cheaper and faster in the long run. He said CSC could do the field repair work for the $7,500, but bid out the grading and roadwork. Then there would be two contractors working on the job at the same time and move the project along.
Garrison’s suggestion received no response from board members.
Instead, Williams expressed concern over paving the road before the complex had been completed and worried the new asphalt road would be torn up from all the heavy equipment.
Brown agreed the paving should be the last thing done and said the contractor could be asked to just put the base down and wait on the asphalt.
Concerns over the heavy machinery and concrete trucks passing through the school’s parking lot to get to the site was also discussed.
White said she would bring the boards concerns to CSC.
The board also discussed “sprigging” in the grass on the cleared part of the field. White said CSC would insert plugs of grass and keep them wet so they would grow and fill in the bare area.
No completion time was given on CSC’s part of the project.
What to do with the existing power poles while the field was under repair was another topic. Georgia Power may take down and store the poles, or they can be stored on the school grounds away from the construction activity, said White.
White said the last quote is to move the lights, change out the two reflectors on two poles being moved, add additional lights on the two poles across the field and redirect all four sets of lights so that the lighting will cover the entire field.
White said CBC construction manager Tommy Wiley is looking into the poles being moved by a company other than Georgia Power, the only company to bid on the project.
The stadium will require two more poles, with all six needing larger reflectors. The poles will be installed to give the proper lighting across the field.
In other business, the BOE discussed a vehicle to be used by the high school and middle school Future Farmers of America to haul stock to shows. White said the department of transportation had two, used Suburbans available for sale. Brown said the trailers couldn’t be hauled by the Suburbans because the trailers had “goose-neck” connections. The rest of the board agreed.


BOC still holding off on spray field issue
The Banks County Board of Commissioners is going to hold off just a little longer on making a decision about putting a wastewater spray field at the county farm.
At a work session Friday, Ernest Rogers said he is still negotiating with the owners of Atlanta Dragway to put the spray field in that area. He said he expected to hear from them this week. The BOC will make a decision after track officials contact Rogers.
County engineer Ben Turnipseed told the BOC that if the spray field has to be located at the county farm, the wastewater would be treated at Banks Crossing, pumped to a holding pond at the county farm and then sprayed onto the land.
He also said that option would be more expensive than the race track location. The county already has EPD permits to locate a spray field at the track.
Whichever option the county chooses, Turnipseed said the decision needs to be made quickly. He said bad winter weather could delay the project if it is not started soon. He also said the additional wastewater capacity is needed before the race season next spring.
OTHER BUSINESS
In other business, the commissioners:
•learned that the request for bids on the grading for the new jail site will likely be published next week. Rogers said he wants the grading plan to include enough of a footprint to allow for ample future jail expansion.
•decided to begin looking into locations and property for new water storage tanks. Turnipseed said the county needs the tanks because the water department is having a hard time keeping the others full.
•voted to authorize Gunby Communications to proceed with its $59,235 proposal to improve the county’s emergency communications coverage between E-911 dispatchers and emergency workers. The county budgeted $40,000 for the work and will seek financing for the remaining $19,235.
•denied a petition from 18 county employees asking for a change in Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays. Currently, employees get one-half day off before, the day of and the day after Thanksgiving and Christmas, a two-and-a-half day vacation. The employees wanted to move the half-day before Thanksgiving and add it to the day before Christmas to give them a full three-day holiday over Christmas and only a two-day holiday over Thanksgiving. The BOC said it would entertain the switch if a majority of the county’s nearly 130 employees signed the petition.
•decided to charge all vendors at events at the horse arena a fee of $25 per day to offset electricity and maintenance costs. The fee will be for any person selling items at any event at the arena grounds.
•agreed to allow the senior center to use two old sheriff’s office vehicles to run errands and deliver meals to the elderly to lower personal mileage costs.
•approved the extension of a fire/EMS employee’s medical leave by nine days. Under the Family Medical Leave Act, an employee gets 12 weeks of leave without pay for medical reasons. Any time beyond that must be approved by the BOC. Fire chief Perry Dalton said the employee may need the extra nine calendar days to recover from surgery. She will not be paid during the extension and must pay for her own insurance for that period. The employee will miss only two or three working shifts, Dalton said.



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Pruitt pleads ‘not guilty’
to murder
One of the men charged in the May shooting death of Cornelia businessman Phillip “Bobby” Fain pled not guilty in Banks County Superior Court on Monday.
Thomas Harold Pruitt, 35, Gainesville, pled not guilty to charges of malice murder, felony murder, armed robbery, hijacking a motor vehicle, aggravated assault, theft by taking a firearm, theft by taking a motor vehicle and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.
Patrick Henry Cagle, 29, Alto, who has also been indicted in Fain’s death, did not enter a plea Monday because the court was awaiting an attorney appointment for him.
The two were arrested in May after allegedly killing Fain and dumping his body on a remote dirt road in Banks County.
Banks County assistant district attorney Bryan Richtman said the two will likely go on trial early next year.
Other arraignments from Superior Court will appear in next week’s Banks County News.


CVB pays over $2,000 in
travel expenses
The Banks County Convention and Visitors Bureau spent more than $2,000 during the first part of this year in travel expenses for its volunteer president, Bonnie Johnson.
According to a financial report released by the CVB, Johnson received $2,152 during the first five months of 2002 for travel expenses.
The financial report is for Jan. 1 through May 31, 2002.
The total expenses for the first five months of the year was $24,620.
Expenses in addition to Johnson’s travel are as follows: $540, accounting; $1,264, advertising; $600, office signs; $35, photo expenses; $30, license expenses; $510, legal expenses; $101, postage; $971, Social Security tax; $229, state unemployment tax; $56, federal unemployment tax.
Also, $10, supplies; $253, Internet expenses; $285, dues and membership; $300, sponsorships; $12,692, wages; $79, travel expenses for executive director Sherry Ward; $1,045, rent; and $2,933, golf tournament expense.
The total revenue for the first five months of the year is $35,641, including the following: $1,550, income dues and membership; $28,280, hotel/motel tax revenue; $5,578, golf tournament; and $233, interest income.