News from Banks County...

APRIL 9, 2003


Banks County
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Banks County
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Banks County
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OPINIONS
Rochelle Beckstine

What to do when pollen levels rocket
1. Stay inside. Do not go to work. Do not get the mail. There can’t be anything really important out there anyway; all the good stuff comes by way of email or the internet.

Phillip Sartain
Not so lost and found
I couldn’t believe it. No one stopped to think about the consequences at all. Everyone was just looking for the quick fix. Some fix.


SPORTS

A matter of potential
When describing a ball club, the word “potential” most often refers to a team that isn’t very good.
But with Banks County (6-7, 1-4), that isn’t the case at all. The team really has potential.
The Leopards have a solid core of experienced defensive players, including an infield littered with upperclassmen.


Neighboorhood News ..
JACKSON COUNTY
Citizens give BOC low grades
While the Jackson County Board of Commissioners gave themselves high marks on a recent self-graded “report card” for 2002, many citizens in the county have a different opinion of that board’s work.

Courthouse project should stop, Britt says
Likening the Move forward on a new Jackson County courthouse to “beating a dead horse,” commissioner Stacey Britt has proposed a halt in the project.
Commissioner Tony Beatty supported Britt’s suggestion during the Jackson County Board of Commissioners’ meeting Monday night, saying he, too, is “tired of it” and doesn’t see “a bunch of support for it.”

Maysville’s Jackson Co. Residents Steamed Over 4.9-Mill Tax Hike
Maysville residents living in Jackson County spoke out against a tax increase at a public hearing held Monday night on the budget for 2003.

Commerce Set To Award Sidewalk Contract Monday
A long-planned city project should get the official go-ahead when the Commerce City Council meets Monday night at 6:30 at the Commerce Civic Center.


Neighboorhood News ..
MADISON COUNTY
Searching for answers
Children dying of leukemia for lack of enough drugs for sustained chemotherapy treatments.
Babies in broken incubators, placed there only to keep the flies off them.
Hospitals where mothers come in to care for their children, because the nurses have all left.

County deputy fired, charged with assault
A Madison County Deputy was arrested last week on charges that he assaulted a prisoner at the Madison County Jail.

DOT outlines Madison County projects
State officials outlined Department of Transportation plans for Madison County over the next three years in the government complex meeting room Friday morning.

City of Ila may get new chain store
Ila may soon be the home of a new Dollar General Store.
Ila city council reviewed a rezoning request by Ann Davis at Monday night’s council meeting. Davis wants to rezone two lots totaling approximately 2.5 acres located on Hwy. 98 East in Ila from residential to commercial in order to lease the land to Dollar General for the construction of a new store.

Comer council approves two alcohol licenses
Two Comer restaurants have received licenses to serve alcohol with meals.
Carmine’s Italian Restaurant applied for and received licenses for malt beverages (beer) and wine to be served in the building but not in the outside area. Los Hermanos Restaurant applied and received a license for beer only — again to be served only inside.

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Reed won 2nd place

Five-year-old Morra Reed, a student at Banks County Primary School, won second place in the showmanship and halter event for children ages 4 and 5 at the Banks County 4-H Club Horse Show last Saturday at the Banks County Horse Arena. Reed is pictured with her miniature horse “Booger Midnight.”

Armed robber hits three hotels
Less than 10 hours after a man robbed three Banks Crossing hotels at knife point, sheriff’s deputies had a suspect in custody for the crimes.
David Edward Browner, 28, Maysville, was charged with four counts of armed robbery and three counts of false imprisonment in connection with the robberies. Banks County Sheriff Charles Chapman said Browner is in jail awaiting a bond hearing.
At 2:30 a.m. Saturday morning, Chapman said Browner allegedly went into the Guest House Inn wielding a knife and jumped over the counter.
The sheriff said the man then cut the phone cords and used them to tie up the attendant while he robbed the hotel of a small amount of cash.
The attendant described the robber as a black male wearing blue jeans, a white T-shirt and a hat, though Chapman said the man’s face was left uncovered.
Two hours and 12 minutes later while deputies were still investigating the first robbery, a man went into the Holiday Inn and jumped the counter with a knife.
Chapman said a man fitting the same description cut some phone cords and tied up two female attendants at the hotel and took some money.
Investigators responded to the second hotel and began interviewing witnesses. Chapman said one of the victims identified the robber as Browner. Sheriff’s officials used a photo from a prior arrest report to positively identify him as the alleged armed robber.
Chapman said deputies began looking for him at a location they thought he may have gone.
Two hours after the second robbery, Browner allegedly went into the Days Inn right next door to the scene of the first robbery. There, he jumped the counter and robbed the attendant at knife point, though Chapman said he did not tie the victim up the third time.
Deputies responded to the third robbery and the attendant was able to provide a description of the suspect’s vehicle. The suspect was identified as the same robber from the first two crimes, Chapman said.
A short time later, Commerce Police located the vehicle abandoned at a park in the city.
At about 11 a.m. Saturday morning, less than 10 hours after the first robbery, a Banks County deputy assisted Commerce officers in Browner’s arrest at a trailer park off Hwy. 98 in Commerce, Chapman said.
He was transported back to the Banks County Jail, where he remains in custody.
Chapman said Browner faces four counts of armed robbery because he not only allegedly robbed three hotels, but also robbed one of the victims as well.
Chapman said he was charged with false imprisonment for tying up three of the victims.
No one was injured in any of the armed robberies.
“None of the victims were hurt,” Chapman said. “Scared, but not hurt.”
Browner also faces drug charges in Commerce stemming from an incident surrounding his arrest Saturday, according to Commerce Police officials.


BOC to hold budget hearings next week
The Banks County Board of Commissioners will hold budget hearings the first four days of next week.
The budget meeting schedule is as follows:
MONDAY
•9 a.m. - Clerk of Superior Court
•9:30 a.m. - Probate court/probation
•10 a.m. - Senior citizens center
•10:30 a.m. - Tax assessor
•1:30 p.m. - Tax commissioner’s
office
•2 p.m. - District attorney/Superior Court
•2:15 p.m. - Chamber of commerce
•2:30 p.m. - Historical society
•2:45 p.m. - E-911/EMA
TUESDAY
•9 a.m. - Building inspection
•9:30 a.m. - Planning and enforce- ment department
•10 a.m. - Coroner
•10:30 a.m. - Utilities
•1:30 p.m. - Extension service
•2 p.m. - Registrars
•2:30 p.m. - EMS
WEDNESDAY
•9 a.m. - Magistrate court
•9:30 a.m. - Recycling
•10 a.m. - Road department
•10:30 a.m. - Recreation department
•1 p.m. - Sheriff’s office
•2 p.m. - Public health
•2:15 p.m. - DFACS
•2:30 p.m. - Mental health
•2:45 p.m. - Adult literacy
•3 p.m. - Library
THURSDAY
Budget wrap-up sessions to begin at 9 a.m., including possible discussions of the Natural Resource Conservation Service, courthouse, commissioners, non-divisional budget items and revenues.


BCHS prom planned Sat.
It’s that time of year again when Banks County High School students begin looking for the perfect dress, finding a limousine and asking for a date.
BCHS will hold its prom Saturday, April 12, from 8-11:30 p.m., at the Commerce Civic Center.
Already, students are getting excited about the annual dance, said BCHS prom sponsor Kim Pruitt.
This year’s theme will be “Evening Under the Stars” and will feature waterfalls, gates and columns at the prom, Pruitt said. The colors will be periwinkle, silver and white.
The BCHS student prom committee, which has been working on this year’s event since the beginning of the school year, has selected “DJ Willie” to provide the music.



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Ballinger indicted for felony murder
The man accused of setting the fire that killed local firefighter Loy Williams Jr. in 1999 will stand trial for murder in Banks County.
Monday, the Grand Jury indicted Jay Scott Ballinger on one count of felony murder. District Attorney Tim Madison said the earliest possible date for a trial will be this fall.
Ballinger was convicted in 2001 for burning five churches in Georgia, including the Banks County church fire that killed Williams.
However, Ballinger’s conviction was overturned in November after an appellate court ruled the federal law used to convict him didn’t apply to his case.
Ballinger remains in a federal prison in Indiana on 26 arson charges in seven different states.
He is serving a life sentence there.
Madison said Ballinger will be transferred to a federal prison in Atlanta shortly before the trial and then housed in the Banks County Jail once the trial begins.
The district attorney’s office decided to pursue charges against Ballinger after Williams’ family asked Madison to look into the case.
“It was very important to her (Williams’ mother) for us to try and prosecute him and hold him responsible for killing her son,” Madison said.
He added that the circumstances surrounding the case didn’t warrant a possible death penalty sentence.
“It was a horrible crime but it doesn’t fit the circumstances to seek the death penalty,” Madison said.


Chamber seeks sponsors for ‘picnic on the lawn’
Board members of the Banks County Chamber of Commerce are looking for sponsors for the second annual “Picnic on the Lawn” to be held at 6 p.m. on Thursday, May 8.
The board said sponsorships would include special advertising for participating businesses at the picnic. There will be three levels this year: $150, Silver; $250, Gold; and $350, Platinum.
The fee will include a table for six.
The menu will include grilled pork chops, french fries, salad, rolls, beverages and homemade ice cream. Tickets are $15 each.
For more information or to make reservations, contact the chamber at 677-2108.