News from Banks County...

DECEMBER 4, 2002


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OPINIONS
Angela Gary
A lesson in patience
Turkey and dressing, country ham, pork chops, creamed corn, sweet potato soufflé, rice, salads, pecan pie....

Shar Porier
Cats and baths
Actually, I did not start out a cat lover. Growing up, my Grams’s mean, old Tomcat was not a good representative for the felines of the world. Nope, he was a grumpy old cuss that never wanted to do anything but catch mice.


SPORTS

Directions to Area Schools

Leopards, Lady Leopards looking to rebound
If Banks County is looking to improve its record, it’ll have a hard time doing it this week.
The Leopards (1-2) and Lady Leopards (0-3) are set to embark on probably their toughest three-game stretch of the season.


Neighboorhood News ..
JACKSON COUNTY
Animal control vote falls short
Beshara to again make motion on ordinance Dec. 16
Did it pass or not?

For Sale?
Commerce Gets Appraisal On Old City Hall Building
Does the city of Commerce have a potential buyer for The Chamber Building?

Ice tonight?
You knew it was colder than normal for early December. Now forecasters are predicting sleet and freezing rain for the Jackson County and Northeast Georgia area Wednesday night and Thursday morning.


Neighboorhood News ..
MADISON COUNTY
Madison-Oglethorpe Animal Shelter opens its doors
The long-time dream of an animal shelter in the county is finally a reality.
The Madison-Oglethorpe Animal Shelter began accepting animals this week.

Shriners provide local teen a prosthetic hand
Blake Pulliam will remember the day he met Julian Davis in a McDonald’s restaurant near Hull.

Christmas in Comer set for this Saturday
The city of Comer will hold its annual day-long Christmas celebration this Saturday, Dec. 7.

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PLENTY OF ROOM ON SANTA’S LAP

Thomas and Eva Wilson asked three-year-old Montrey Calloway to join them on Santa’s lap at the Christmas celebration in Homer on Monday night.

DA to seek indictment for arson
District attorney Tim Madison plans to seek an indictment on Jay Scott Ballinger for setting the 1998 fire that killed Banks County firefighter Loy Williams Jr.
Madison said last week that he had spoken with members of Williams’ family and he promised to prosecute the case, no matter how difficult it might be.
“The problem is getting federal witnesses from Indiana and Maryland,” he said. “I hope the feds will cooperate with us.”
Madison said the statute of limitations has run out on the other four fires Ballinger is accused of setting in Georgia, but it has not on the Banks County fire because a murder was involved. Ballinger pled guilty in 2001 to burning five churches in Georgia, including the New Salem United Methodist Church in Banks County.
Ballinger won his appeal in a federal court last week. He was convicted under a federal law charging his religious arsons affected interstate commerce. Ballinger challenged the constitutionality of the law in the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
Though the court agreed that the law was constitutional, the judges ruled 2-1 that the law should not have been applied in Ballinger’s case and thus overturned his conviction.
Ballinger had already been convicted in November 2000 on 26 arson charges in seven different states.
He was sentenced to 42 years in prison in that case.
Last week’s ruling won’t affect the 2000 conviction but only overturns the government’s case against Ballinger relating to the Georgia fires.


Gillsville approves tower and zoning ordinances
The Gillsville City Council voted unanimously Tuesday to approve the new zoning ordinance and telecommunication tower ordinance.
City attorney David Syfan said the tower ordinance provides standards for telecommunication towers.
The zoning ordinance was amended to clarify certain provisions dealing with towers and to create a planning commission.
Both measures were required by a court ruling last summer when some residents objected to a telecommunications tower being erected near their homes.
Members of the council said they would hold an organizational meeting with the new planning commission, which is comprised of James Norrell, Boe Boyd, Harold Ferguson, Roy Turpin and Rudess Hooper, in January.
Mayor Larry Poole said the commission members need to be provided with the city zoning ordinance and tower ordinance.
Council member Todd Dale suggested plats and information for the new annexations into the city be provided as well.
On another matter, Poole suggested another day be chosen for the council’s work session. The council had planned to meet the second Thursday of the month, but he said that date conflicts with other obligations. He suggested changing the work sessions to the third Thursday of the month. He asked the council to think about getting with the planning commission at the next work session to give them direction.
In other business, the council:
•voted to cancel the Thursday, December 12, work session.
•approved the installation of two 100-watt lights at the entrance to the city park and at the city park community building.
•discussed seeking a surveyor to draw a plat of the land where the three city-owned buildings lie. Though deeds have been found, no plats have emerged. Council member Ronnie Whiting said the plat is necessary for power to be run to the buildings that are planned for restoration. He said the plat would also be necessary to apply for grants to help pay for the historical project.


Gillsville prepares for election
The Gillsville City Council approved the first reading of the 2003 election ordinance at Tuesday’s meeting.
City attorney David Syfan said the measure needs to be addressed so the city can advertise by February 1, 2003, to be in compliance with state law.
“We can have the first reading tonight and have the second reading at the January meeting so the qualifying advertisement can be run in the legal organ,” he told council members.
The ordinance sets the date for qualifying from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday, September 8, 2003, through Wednesday, September 10.
Potential candidates for the posts up for re-election would need to pay a qualifying fee of $9. That sum is three percent of what council members receive annually, which is $300 or $25 per month.
Candidates also are required to fill out a qualifying form and make a financial disclosure statement. Since there is no city hall, Syfan said candidates would have to contact him at his Gainesville office or the city clerk.
The three posts up for grabs in November are those held by Dale, Keith Segars and Richard Ferguson. Gillsville residents will have until Monday, October 6, to register to vote.
Also in the ordinance is a provision for the city to use a paper ballot rather than the computerized system used in last month’s election. Syfan said he had heard counties were charging cities as much as $1,600 per machine, a sum he said Gillsville cannot afford. He further explained if the council decided to go with the paper ballots, the justice department would have to approve the system.
Councilman Todd Dale suggested the ad run in both The Times (Gainesville) and The Banks County News. Syfan agreed, saying that would prevent any legal problems from popping up. Councilman Ronnie Whiting said 29 to 30 percent of the city’s population lives in Banks County and agreed with Dale.
Mayor Larry Poole reminded the council that some of the landowners in Banks County are waiting for annexation into city limits, which would boost slightly the Banks population of Gillsville.
The council voted to run the qualifying notice in both papers.


John Linder to hold meeting in Homer Sat.
Congressman John Linder will be hosting a town hall meeting on Saturday, December 7, from 1 to 2 p.m. at the Banks County courthouse.
The town hall meeting is open to the public. Congressman Linder will give a brief legislative overview and answer questions taken from the audience.
His staff members will also be present to offer help to those constituents experiencing problems with a federal agency.



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Planners approve
disaster ordinances
The county may be one step closer to having a set of ordinances to aid citizens in times of disaster.
The planning commission approved four ordinances Tuesday that gives the county special powers during times when the area is in a state of emergency.
The ordinances, which come before the commissioners next week, include the establishment of a curfew and the prohibition of price gouging during emergencies.
Should the measures pass the BOC, the county could also make purchases without the bidding process and take county equipment on private property when disaster strikes.
The ordinances also require builders and repair contractors who wish to do post-disaster clean-up work to register with the county to lessen citizens’ chances of getting scammed.
OTHER BUSINESS
In other business, the planning commission:
•recommended approval of Angie Mauldin’s conditional use application to build two hen houses on 28 acres off Hwy. 323.
•recommended approval of William and Sally Wilson’s variance request to re-face the Burger King sign at Banks Crossing. Sally Wilson said the work would not alter the 50-feet tall sign’s height but would only upgrade its appearance.
•approved of Brian Watkins’ request to move a road he has planned in his class III subdivision on Freedom Lane.
•approved the Davis family’s request to split one parcel of land into three to divide among three heirs to the property.
The BOC will take final vote on the variance request and the conditional use application at its meeting Tuesday night.


Local cities plan Christmas season festivities
The City of Maysville and the Town of Alto will be holding their annual Christmas festivities on Saturday, December 7.
Maysville will hold a parade at 4:30 p.m. sponsored by The City of Maysville, the Maysville Community Improvement Club, the Maysville Beautification Committee and the Maysville Downtown Development Authority.
Maysville Veterans Park will be the site of the “Christmas in the Park” from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. There will be entertainment, hot chocolate, a hayride and pictures with Santa.
Winners of the Maysville Home Christmas Decorating Contest will be announced.
The Town of Alto will hold its tree lighting ceremony with carolers from the Alto Congregational Holiness Church at 6 p.m. The Baldwin Fire Department will be bringing a special guest to the party. The Alto City Council will provide hot drinks and cookies.
The City of Baldwin will participate in the Habersham County Christmas Parade at 3 p.m. the same day in Cornelia. City employees have built a float for the parade. The Baldwin Fire Department and Police Department will also be in the parade, as well as a truckload of Baldwin children.