News from Banks County...

OCTOBER 23, 2002


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OPINIONS

Jana Adams
Atari, anyone?

If you are around my age, you’ll remember being called “Generation X” and puzzling over what that meant. I still don’t know, really.

Rochelle Beckstine
Society encourages weight gain
Is it too many carbs? Or is it too much fat?
For years, “experts” have been urging America to cut this or avoid that in order to slim down; yet the truth is cutting one food group out of your diet is not good for your body.

Frank Gillespie
Proposed amendments show weakness in constitution
When you go to vote on Nov. 5, you will be faced with a series of constitutional amendments concerning property tax exemptions. I have a real problem with these questions.

Margie Richards
Some marks of a true Southerner
Recently my pastor, Wayne Douglas, read an amusing piece in church concerning what it means to be a “true southern person.”


SPORTS

Directions to Area Schools

Leopards get week off to rest before GAC
If coach Greg Moore had his way, the Leopards would have had their off Friday last week.
“It would’ve been nice for a week off after a win,” he said. “After a loss like last Friday, you’re ready to get another game in.”


Neighboorhood News ..
JACKSON COUNTY
County tax rate to stay the same
But net property tax income to climb by $1.2 million
The Jackson County Board of Commissioners is poised to set this fall’s tax rate the same as last year’s millage numbers. But even though the rate may be the same, the county will still sweep in over $1.2 million more in property tax income, thanks to growth in the tax digest.

Officials Celebrate Completion Of Bear Creek Reservoir Project
The weather was perfect and the atmosphere festive as approximately 100 people gathered under a big tent on the shore of the Bear Creek Reservoir last Friday afternoon. The occasion was the dedication of a $60 million project that has been in the works for a decade and a half.

Property owner rejects courthouse site terms
Although the Jackson County Board of Commissioners agreed Monday night to take an option on a second potential site to locate a new courthouse, the property owner has rejected the deal because he doesn’t want a jail to be located within a specific distance of property lines on the site.

County alcohol referendum on hold
County commissioner Emil Beshara agreed Monday night to hold off on calling for an alcohol referendum until the county seeks input from those supporting the action.


Neighboorhood News ..
MADISON COUNTY
Senate 47 hopefuls face off in forum
Candidates for the State Senate District 47 post, which represents most of Madison County, faced off at a political forum in Banks County Tuesday evening.

Home near Colbert destroyed in fire
A Tuesday night, Oct. 18, fire left a home on Hardeman Morris Road a “total loss,” according to Colbert volunteer firefighters Dwayne Patton and Tony Mattox.

IDA seeks extension on water takeover
County industrial development authority (IDA) leaders are seeking an extension from Dec. 1 of this year to June 1 of next year on the takeover of Athens water lines in Hull.

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NAMED TO COURT

Banks County High School announced its 2002 Homecoming Court at halftime of the school’s football game Friday. Those named were: (L-R) Amanda Logan, Miss Freshman; Kayla Duncan, Miss Sophomore; Ashley Campbell, Miss Homecoming; Kayla Gragg, Miss Senior; and Catie Murphy, Miss Junior. See page 12B for more on homecoming.

County’s solution to festival fee dispute may not work
Though the county has taken a step to solve a horse arena fee conflict with the chamber of commerce, the solution may not work at all.
Last month, the board of commissioners approved setting a $25 per day fee for vendors at any functions at the horse arena. The BOC said the fee was to cover maintenance and electricity costs.
A chamber of commerce committee working on putting together a heritage event at the arena next fall took issue with the fee.
The chamber, prior to seeking county approval to use the land, began sending out letters to potential vendors. In the letter, the chamber announced a $35 fee for the weekend. The chamber planned to collect the money for itself.
After the county enacted the fee, chamber of commerce director Carole Moores sent a letter to the BOC expressing concerns that the chamber’s fee in addition to the county’s fee may deter some vendors.
At a called meeting Thursday, commissioner Ernest Rogers suggested the chamber charge the $35 fee per day. After collecting the fee, Rogers proposed the chamber give $25 of every daily fee collected to the county. The county would then subtract the cost of electricity for the event and give the remaining money back to the chamber.
However, the commissioners verbally agreed to the solution on the assumption that the chamber’s proposed fee was $35 per day. Yet, the $35 fee is for the entire weekend, Moores said.
Herein lies the potential problem. For example, if a vendor comes to the event and stays for all three days, the chamber will impose the $35 fee. However, the chamber will have to pay the county $25 for every day the vendor sets up a booth, which would be $75 for all three days.
Under the current solution, the chamber would therefore be giving the county $40 above any funds it collected at the event. The electricity costs would be subtracted from that money and the county would then give any remaining funds back to the chamber.
Moores said she could not comment on the new proposal because any decisions related to the heritage days would have to be made by the event committee.
Until she presents the committee members with the new information, no decisions on the festival will be made.
At the BOC meeting, commission chairman Kenneth Brady also proposed the county waive the fee since the heritage days would be a county event. However, Rogers was concerned about changing the fee for any event.
OTHER BUSINESS
In other business, the commissioners:
•approved an ordinance proclaiming November as recycling month in Banks County. The Keep Banks County Clean and Beautiful Committee will place containers in the courthouse and recycling station to recycle old cell phones. The committee will also use the month to promote paper recycling.
•approved Robin Trotter’s request for Family Connections to place red ribbons on county signs along Hwy. 441 in recognition of Red Ribbon Week.
•heard a request from Trotter on behalf of Generous Hearts for monetary support for the group’s efforts to get food and toys to give to needy families at Christmas. Brady said the county did not have the funds to help the organization monetarily, but the BOC did agree to help by putting a box in the courthouse for citizens to drop off food, clothing or toys. Rogers also suggested a fund-raiser at Banks Crossing similar to the fire department’s boot drive. The county agreed to help with volunteer work.
•approved Tugaloo Construction’s $300,457 bid for the base and paving on Emory Chambers and Christmas Tree roads. As part of the contract, Tugaloo will begin work within 10 days after the county notifies the company of the bid approval. Brady pointed out that the road work will not cost the county since the funds came from the state. Tugaloo was the low bidder on the project.
•approved A Better Gas Company’s 77.9 cents per gallon bid on LP gas service.
•tabled action on Gunby Communication’s bid to fix grounding problems at the E-911 center. Rogers said he wanted more time to look over the bid.
•approved a $19,000 tax anticipation note to allow the county to borrow the money to upgrade the county’s emergency communications system.
•appointed E-911 director Deidra Moore as interim EMA director after the resignation of Milinda Dalton last week. Brady said Dalton resigned to move on “to better things.” Brady said the county had to find a permanent replacement within six months.


Lula to issue ultimatum
Members of the Lula City Council voted unanimously Monday night to issue an ultimatum to developer Barry Wikle to fix the road into a subdivision on Victoria Lane or be fined $2,500 per day until the road is properly repaired meeting city codes.
Wikle was asked to appear before the council at Monday’s meeting but did not attend. Mayor Milton Turner said Wikle had to appear before the Habersham County Board of Commissioners.
Council member Vicky Chambers explained the difficulty Hall County School buses are having trying to pick up students living in the subdivision.
“A Hall County school bus could not make it up the washed out road,” she said. “The bus almost made the top of the hill, but mud caused the bus to slip back downhill. It was a total wash after the rain. Mud was everywhere.”
Council member Perry Bridgeman agreed, calling the road “deplorable.” A grading contractor, Steve Brown, who had done the original grading for the subdivision, but not the road, said Wikle had tried to build the road himself to save money.
Council member Mike Ostrander was visibly upset over the situation with Wikle and made the motion to send the letter and assess the maximum fine of $2,500 per day under the city’s code.
“Nothing he has done has been done right,” Ostrander said. “Wikle owns that road and he needs to take care of the problem. This letter giving him five days to correct the problems will get his attention.”
City attorney Brad Patton asked who owned the property of the development and thought he might be held responsible as well.
The council said they thought owner Steve Buckalew could not be held responsible. Patton said he would check into the legalities of the owner’s responsibilities.
There was some discussion of the city fixing the road temporarily to help the buses get up the road, but they decided there was nothing they could do until the road met the city’s requirement and ownership was turned over.
Turner estimated the road repair would cost $50,000 to fix properly, an expense the council said they did not want to absorb into their tight budget.
Chambers said the Hall County school system was also notifying Wikle that he had five days to correct the problem or the buses would not run on Victoria Lane.
Brown said some of the concrete for the road had been laid, but only on one side of the road. The concrete would make the road accessible to the school bus, though it would have to change lanes and drive on the wrong side of the road.
After finishing the concrete work, Wikle would still have to provide for erosion control by grassing the sides of the road, said Turner.



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American Indian festival, horse show planned Saturday
An American Indian festival and horse show is planned for Saturday, at the county’s horse arena.
The Banks County Horse Association and the newly-formed Winter Hawk Clan of Georgia, Cherokee are sponsoring the event.
Rene’ Hudler, clan member and one of the organizers, said the festival will feature the well-known drum and dance troupe, “The Plainsmen,” which performed last year and look forward to returning, she said.
At noon, “The Plainsmen” will perform several ceremonial dances, including the mystical “Hoop Dance” and the daring “Eagle Dance.”
The day will start with a horse show and competition at 10 a.m.
Hudler asked that anyone having American Indian ancestry to contact her and join the Winter Hawk Clan.
Interested vendors of homemade crafts can contact Hudler for booth space at (706) 335-2964.
People who attend are asked to bring their own chairs to watch the day’s activities.


Local candidates come together for forum
The candidates running in four contested seats within the county came together in a political forum at Banks County High School Tuesday night.
The forum, sponsored by the Banks County Chamber of Commerce and The Banks County News, gave voters an opportunity to ask candidates questions on issues and platform as the November 5 Election Day approaches.
The event was also an opportunity for citizens to experiment with the new electronic voting machines that will be used during the general election in two weeks.
Seven candidates vying for election in four open seats attended the forum, as well as Rep. Jeanette Jamieson, who is running unopposed.
Jamieson spoke briefly, thanking voters for their support and saying she looked forward to serving the county again.
Board of commissioners Post 2 candidate Rickey Cain (R) was not able to attend.
See page 3A for a look at the candidates’ answers at the forum.