News from Banks County...

MAY 7, 2003


Banks County
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OPINIONS
Phillip Sartain

Essential husbanding skills: Using the look
Of all the husbanding skills that a man can acquire, the Shopping Badge has to be the most daunting. It requires skill, dedication, and a level of perseverance that most men don’t have. And don’t want. But that doesn’t mean I haven’t tried.

Zach Mitcham
The struggle between feeling and logic
My father told me when I was a kid that while I may feel something, I don’t really understand what I feel unless I can put it into words.


SPORTS

The end of the road
The 2003 Diamond Leopard season has been a wild weather year.
During the month of April and in early May, Banks has had to postpone almost as many games as it played.
And if Mother Nature cooperates this week, the Leopards (7-15, 2-12) may wrap up the current season.


Neighboorhood News ..
JACKSON COUNTY
Fletcher breaks tie in heated rezoning bid
A controversial rezoning that has apparently split a community was approved by the Jackson County Board of Commissioners Monday night in a split vote.

Commerce Surgeon A Victim Of ‘National Medical Crisis’
A nationwide medical crisis reared its head in Commerce, where it appears to be forcing a local surgeon to close his practice.

Jefferson to vote on grocery distribution center
Representatives of Aldi, Inc. are seeking rezoning and annexation approval from the Jefferson City Council for property to be developed into a 400,000-square-foot, $27 to $30 million grocery distribution center on Dry Pond and Jett Roberts roads.

Plans available for road changes in Jefferson
Some major road changes are proposed for the City of Jefferson, ones that will keep the old White Bridge intact across Curry Creek, but will address the “problem” intersection at SR15 and Hwy. 335/Brockton Road.

‘Junked Cars’ To Be On Council’s Agenda Monday
If Monday night's work session is an indicator, the removal of junked cars from Commerce yards and streets will be on the agenda when the Commerce City Council meets Monday night at 6:30 at the Commerce Civic Center.

Pendergrass considers youth curfew
Pendergrass parents who don’t know where their children are at night could face a fine, the city council discussed last week.

Tribute to Korean War veterans set for May 17
A tribute to Korean War veterans will be held at 6 p.m. on Saturday, May 17, at the Jackson County Comprehensive High School stadium.


Neighboorhood News ..
MADISON COUNTY
Storm rips through county
Susan Porterfield, who lives in the small community of Harrison in northern Madison County, heard the storm coming Tuesday afternoon, but felt there was nothing she could do but stay inside her single wide mobile home.
“I heard the trailer shaking, but there was just nowhere for me to go,” Porterfield said.

Colbert issues sign moratorium
Colbert has issued a 180-day moratorium on construction of billboards pending a rewrite of the city’s zoning ordinance.

Commissioners talk roads, transportation
County commissioners talked about which county roads are most in need of work Monday, while also looking at some of the county’s broader transportation goals.

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Wants abandoned properties cleaned up

Members of the Banks County Convention and Visitors Bureau want to see areas like this one at Banks Crossing cleaned up. The old Chevron station (above) has been abandoned and gathering trash (inset) for a number of years. They are hoping property owners and the county can work together to improve the image of Banks Crossing.

Talking Trash
Members of the Banks County Convention and Visitors Bureau want to see the abandoned service stations at Banks Crossing cleaned up.
Gordon Eanes, Days Inn regional manager, said: “The abandoned buildings are having a negative impact on the beautification project. Guests have commented on the closed service stations and the abandoned cars on the lots. When buildings have deteriorated to the extent of the old Chevron station and trucks and cars are left there abandoned, something needs to be done about it.”
He went on to say it could create a haven for “vagabonds” and could lead to health problems with rats and possible fuel leakage from the old underground tanks. The issue was one of local, state and federal concern, he added.
He asked the Banks County Board of Commissioners for help.
County commissioners Pat Westmoreland and Ricky Cain, CVB members, were at the meeting and said they would send a letter to the owners of the abandoned properties. The letter would be from not just the commissioners’ office but the sheriff’s office and health department as well.
Westmoreland suggested bringing in the environmental protection division to check the sites for leaking fuel. He said an ordinance could be drawn up by the planning commission and presented to the BOC. He agreed a junk car ordinance needed to be implemented, but that would be difficult.
“You have people who have cars that they say they are keeping for spare parts,” he said. “And there are those who claim the cars are antiques. Who’s to say which cars are antiques and which are junk?”
He suggested a joint meeting with the planning commission to come up with an ordinance dealing with the issue. It may come to placing a designation of a junkyard on a property with a certain number of cars.
Ed Lindorme suggested keeping the ordinance to businesses only. He said if one were to look behind some “really nice” houses, several cars covered in kudzu could be found.
“It’s different in a rural area like Banks,” he said. “People keep old cars to sell parts. But, businesses are different. Maybe the owners don’t know about the problems.”
Eanes suggested having a clean up day at Banks Crossing as a CVB project.
CVB president Bonnie Johnson agreed it was a good idea to clean the area up before the celebration of the completion of the beautification project.
Don Raines, CVB board member and Scales Creek Golf Club manager, offered his grounds crew to help with the cleanup.


Maysville city court looks to increase cases
After the Maysville City Council’s meeting next month, the city’s court could get a lot busier.
The council voted Monday night to have attorney Gary Freeman draft an ordinance granting the court power to try defendants for a specific list of misdemeanor crimes.
The city won’t be adding any new laws or ordinances. However, the court ordinance will allow the city court to handle cases involving already existing state and local laws.
Freeman said defendants would still be able to ask for a jury trial if they desired. Those jury cases would be sent to either the Jackson or Banks County court system, depending on where the crime occurred.
Currently, the city court handles traffic-related offenses. Most other cases are sent to state or superior court, as are the fine money associated with the outcome of the court cases.
The change will allow Maysville to retain some of the fine money associated with the committing of certain crimes.
OTHER BUSINESS
In other business, the council:
•heard a request from Steve Hart for a setback variance to build a personal garage on his property. He said he cannot meet the 15-foot side and 25-foot rear setbacks. Freeman said he would draft an application for Hart and will advertise the variance in the newspaper to set up a public hearing and vote next month.
•heard a request from Ralph Phillips that he be allowed to build a personal garage on his property. He said he can meet all setbacks. The council said he didn’t need to appear before the city and only needed to apply for a building permit.
•heard from Chris Ray about his concerns with children riding on city streets on four wheelers without helmets. He expressed worries the children would get injured. He also mentioned a problem with loud motorcycles riding through the city and awakening elderly citizens. Ray also told the council about a public relations problem for the city and the police and fire departments. He said many newer citizens see them as unapproachable.
•heard Scott Harper ask other council members to look at two trees at the intersection of Oak and Sims street. He said he had gotten complaints about the trees obscuring the view at the intersection, making it dangerous for drivers. He asked the council to research possible solutions.
•heard Harper thank everyone involved with the Maysville clean-up day last weekend. Mayor Richard Presley also thanked everyone and asked clerk Lois Harper to send a letter of thanks to those who volunteered time and resources.
•heard councilman Andy Martin mention problems with eroding city streets caused by large trucks. He requested looking into an ordinance that would hold those who damage streets accountable. Presley said people who build houses have to have the large trucks bring in material and they take it on good faith that the streets can handle the trucks. He also said the council has recently approved an ordinance that new streets adopted by the city must fit under new criteria mandating higher standards of construction.
•agreed to cut the grass around town.
•learned that Banks County E-911 director Deidra Moore has requested a renumbering and mapping of city streets in Banks County to aid emergency personnel in finding homes. She will likely appear at next month’s meeting to discuss the situation.


Storms do little damage in Banks Co.
Violent storms that ripped through Northeast Georgia Tuesday afternoon did little substantial damage in Banks County.
Banks County E-911 and emergency management director Deidra Moore said only two trees blocking the road were down in the county.
One vehicle accident also occurred during the storm.
Moore said emergency personnel closely monitored weather warnings and radar images. A tornado warning in Hall County that indicated the possiblity of the storm moving into Banks did prompt officials to sound the county’s tornado sirens.
“There were several sightings in the county but just in the clouds,” Moore said. “Nothing touched down.”
Moore said sheriff’s deputies and other emergency personnel were out in the county monitoring the weather and looking out for funnel clouds that could spawn tornadoes.



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Rabies clinics planned Saturday
Rabies clinics will be held at seven different locations in Banks County on Saturday, May 10, with vaccinations available for $7.
The clinics will be held at the following locations and times:
•Irvin’s Store - Davis Academy, 1-1:30 p.m.
•Boling’s Store, 1:45-2:15 p.m.
•Irvin’s Store - Hollingsworth, 2:30-3 p.m.
•Old courthouse - Homer, 3:15-3:45 p.m.
•Mt. Carmel Church, 4-4:30 p.m.
•Lula City Hall, 4:45-5:15 p.m.
•New Town Guns and Accessories - Yonah-Homer Road, 5:30-6 p.m.
Georgia law requires that all dogs and cats that are at least 3 months of age be vaccinated once a year for rabies.
All other yearly vaccinations and testing will be available for additional charges during the clinics.
For more information, call the Banks County Health Department at 677-5009 or Commerce Veterinary Hospital at 335-5111.


BOE may hire new athletic director Thursday
After a two-and-a-half hour closed meeting Monday, the Banks County Board of Education decided to reopen applications for athletic director.
The school board will likely vote on the hiring of a new director during a meeting planned for Thursday.
Monday night, the board met for a short time behind closed doors with current Banks County coaches Mike Williams and Mike Ruth.
The school also has two more meetings planned this weekend to likely have more discussions on the hiring of a new superintendent.
The BOE will meet Friday at 5:30 p.m. and Saturday morning at 8:30 a.m.
Should the meetings be about a new superintendent, they can be closed to the public.
In addition to the superintendent and athletic director vacancies, the school board also has several other positions to fill.
The high school needs a new principal after Wayne McIntosh announced he’ll be leaving to head Madison County High School.
Banks County Primary School Principal Donna Reed has also resigned.
In the central office, the board will need to hire a new assistant superintendent to take over for Linda Holloman, who retired from her post earlier this year.
On the coaching side, the high school needs a varsity girls’ basketball coach and could be searching for a new boys soccer coach in the near future.
Several teaching positions at all levels also remain vacant for the next school year.