News from Banks County...

MAY 21, 2003


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OPINIONS
Rochelle Bckstine

No reason to boycott tobacco treaty
There is no good reason to boycott the World Health Organization’s (WHO) tobacco treaty. Smokers hear tobacco and they immediately jump on the opposed bandwagon, but I think they should know what they’re opposed to before making a decision.

Phillip Sartain
Cutting the cord
I remember the day it happened. Just moments before, I had been sitting in my office, killing time playing with some extra rubber bands and paper clips. I was pretty intent on making a toy of some sort, and with my mind so occupied, I wasn’t paying attention. Then I heard a noise.


SPORTS

Straight Shooter
In its second year of competition, the Banks County 4-H Archery Team took home several finishes at the state tournament held early this month at Rock Eagle.
Adam Edenfield, shooting in the junior compound bow class (7-8th grades), took first in individual competition and in the 3-D event, a new event at the tournament.


Neighboorhood News ..
JACKSON COUNTY
BJC Loses Top 2 Administrators; Interims Hired
The BJC Medical Center Authority replaced its two top officials Monday afternoon, one through a firing and the other hired away by a competitor.

High schools to hold graduation ceremonies Fri.
After years of preparing for tests, working on homework and participating in extracurricular activities, graduates from two local high schools will be receiving their diplomas on Friday night.

526-home subdivision denied by Braselton PC
A rezoning request seeking to construct 526 homes on 122 acres on Zion Church Road was recommended for denial by the Braselton Planning Commission on Monday.

KOA Annexation Would Open Door To Annex Apartments
The Commerce Planning Commission will consider a request for rezoning for annexation of part of the Kampground of America (KOA) on Mt. Olive Road.

Pendergrass discusses benefits
But closed-door meeting violated state law
The Pendergrass City Council’s personnel committee held a closed-door meeting on Thursday to prepare a proposal for a benefits package for full-time city employees.

Memorial celebration planned
The Jackson County Board of Commissioners and the City of Commerce will hold a Memorial Week celebration on Thursday, May 29.

411 homes approved in Jefferson zoning
The Quad Cities Planning Commission approved preliminary plans Tuesday night for four subdivisions that will bring 411 new homes to Jefferson.


Neighboorhood News ..
MADISON COUNTY
Class of 2003 to graduate Fri.
Members of the Class of 2003 will end their high school careers Friday night at a graduation ceremony at the Classic Center in Athens.

Planners nix Athens couple’s plans in Poca
The Madison County Planning Commission nixed an Athens couple’s plans Tuesday night to place a doublewide mobile home on a small lot in the Poca community.

Lack of quorum leads to latest delay in water system expansion
The lack of a quorum at a state agency meeting — this is the latest delay in the county’s water expansion efforts in Hull.

Hull Spring Festival set Saturday
The Hull Community Spring Festival will be held from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., Saturday, May 24.

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maxwells joined in the survivors lap

Charlotte Maxwell, official survivor spokesperson for the second annual Banks County “Relay For Life,” and her husband Danny walked with other cancer survivors and their caregivers. Maxwell is a two-time survivor of cancer.

BOE unsure about art camp at BCPS
Citing questions about personal gain, the Banks County school board Thursday tabled a request for an art camp at the primary school.
Laura Yoder and Kim Strandridge requested use of the art room at the school to hold an art camp July 9-13 and July 16-20.
However, superintendent Deborah White advised the board to be very cautious of approving the request. She said the two holding the camp were doing it “definitely for personal gain.”
White said the program has, in the past, taken in kids from outside Banks County. She said the camp differed from athletic camps because the directors of those camps give proceeds back to the school system’s athletic programs.
She also said approving the request would open up the school’s facilities for use by individuals not employed by the school system since both would not be employees at the time of the camp.
Board member John Williams suggested the board table the request to have more time to gather information about the art camp.
OTHER BUSINESS
In other business, the board:
•approved the following resignations: Cortlyn Schmitz, kindergarten teacher, BCPS; Donna Smith, fifth grade teacher, BCUES; Anna Terrell, fourth grade teacher, BCUES; Connie Purcell, eighth grade English, BCMS; Jodi Stroud, eighth grade social studies, BCMS; Mike Townson, alternative education teacher, BCMS; Elizabeth Dudley, language arts, BCHS; and Angie Ingram, secretary/receptionist, Banks County BOE office.
•approved the following transfer request: Kay Hood to go from BCES to BCPS.
•approved the following hirings: Sarah Hester, kindergarten teacher at BCPS; Courtney Kellum, kindergarten teacher at BCPS; Judy Milford, kindergarten teacher at BCPS; Erin Hearn, seventh grade science teacher at BCMS; and Kasey Schlutow, sixth grade math teacher at BCMS.
SUPERINTENDENT SEARCH
The board held more interviews with the three finalists for the superintendent’s job last week. Board members met last Wednesday and Thursday to conduct interviews.
They also met Saturday morning in a closed door session to discuss the impending hiring. Board members were scheduled to meet this Wednesday afternoon for more deliberations as well.
The board’s attorney released the names of the three finalists last Monday, May 12. Under Georgia law, the board must wait at least 14 days from that date to officially hire a new superintendent. The earliest that official action can happen will be Monday, May 26.


BJC loses top two officials; CEO Lawrence terminated
The BJC Medical Center Authority replaced its two top officials Monday afternoon, one through a firing and the other hired away by a competitor.
The authority voted unanimously to “terminate” the contract of long-time chief executive officer David Lawrence, effective immediately. The resignation of Nursing Facility administrator Dana Carey, who is joining Hill Haven (formerly Crystle Springs) nursing home, became effective Monday.
Lawrence has been administrator since 1987, but came into disfavor in recent months. Things came to a head after a long closed session of the authority at its April 28 meeting. The motion to terminate him was made by Rick Massey, seconded by Jackie Whitfield and passed unanimously.
Carey had been an administrator less than a year and by all accounts was well-regarded by the authority.
The authority approved a contract with Quorum Health Resources, Brentwood, TN, to provide Wesley W. Oswald, a recently retired CEO of Brazosport Memorial Hospital, Lake Jackson Texas, as CEO and named Joe Waters of Evans as interim administrator of the Nursing Facility. Waters is on “war leave” from a position in Saudi Arabia, but said his contract expires in June “and I won’t be going back.”
Oswald will be paid $10,000 per month and Waters, an employee of Temporary Medical Management, $2,400 a week plus expenses.
“This process is unlike any I’ve ever gone through,” said Charles Blair, authority chairman. “David Lawrence had a 16-year productive tenure. David was certainly burned out, and this was good mutually for us.”
In a related move, the authority voted to enter a contract with Quorum, which has managed Habersham Medical Center for 20 years, to conduct a survey, which is to be completed by the June meeting.
The survey will evaluate BJC Medical Center’s strategic, financial and operational and management needs and develop recommendations.
At that time, Blair said, the authority will have three options. It can retain Quorum to manage the medical center, retain Quorum to find a permanent CEO for a fee equal to 28 percent of the CEO’s annual salary, or terminate its agreement with Quorum and pay $17,000 for the survey.
“Today’s vote by the members of the Authority reflects our opinion that the Authority needs new leadership to guide BJC Medical Center through the variety of challenges we expect to face during the coming months and years,” said Blair. “We understand and appreciate that change can be unsettling. However, all nine members of the authority are confident that the people in the communities we serve will continue to receive quality health care from BJC Medical Center.”
Quorum provides management and consulting services to more than 300 non-profit hospitals and healthcare systems in 43 states.


A Day at the Fort planned
A Day at the Fort will be held from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, May 24, at Fort Hollingsworth/White House.
The fort is located just off Hwy. 441 between Cornelia and Homer in the Hollingsworth Community.
Activities planned include tours of the frontier fort built in 1793, music, storytelling, food and old-fashioned arts and crafts and a Civil War re-enactment
Everyone is asked to bring a lawn chair and spend the day.
For more information, call (706) 754-4538 or email wmote@hemc.net.
SCHEDULE OF EVENTS
10 a.m. - Opening Ceremony
10:30 a.m. - Angela Freeman, Soloist
10:45 a.m. - White Family with Little Jake Stargel - Bluegrass Band
11:20 a.m. - Edith Goodson, Storyteller
11:30 a.m. - Crystal River, Gospel Bluegrass Band
12:30 p.m. - Confederate Soldiers Re-enactment
1:15 p.m. - Nacoochee Strummers, Dulcimer Band
1:45 p.m. - Edith Goodson
2 p.m. - Crystal River
3 p.m. - The Myers Sisters & Lessie, Bluegrass Band
3:30 p.m. - Dusk Weaver, Americana Recording Artist
3:45 p.m. - Chosen, Southern Gospel


Republican party to meet Tuesday
The Banks County Republican party will meet at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, May 27, in the courthouse. The guest speaker will be Sen. Ralph Hudgens. All registered voters are invited to attend, leaders say.
For more information, call 677- 3210.
Banks County Republicans attended the state convention in Macon May 16-17. The keynote speakers were Gov. Sonny Perdue and Saxby Chambliss. Eight Georgia congressmen and other Georgia elected Republicans were also present. There were 1,700 delegates attending the convention.



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30th annual Memorial Day service to be held Monday
The 30th annual Memorial Day service will be held at 10 a.m. on Monday, May 26, at Veterans Park in Homer.
Bobby Blackwell, organizer of the event, said state senator Ralph Hudgens will be the keynote speaker.
Blackwell added: “American flags will be presented to the families of deceased veterans to honor and grace their graves. We hope many in Banks County will join us for the observance of this special day when we think of our fallen soldiers.”
Everyone attending is asked to bring lawn chairs for the service.


Lula council receives requests for annexations
The Lula City Council discussed two separate annexation requests that would bring 200 acres in Banks County into the city limits at Monday’s meeting.
The first annexation request came from John Schwartz and Jim Schwartz concerning 63 acres off Barefoot Road. The first reading of the annexation was held.
The second came from developers Richard Butler and Roger Murphy of Butler and Murphy, LLC. They requested the city council approve water service to 139 acres on Highway 51 for a stick-built, lakeside community.
Murphy said the homes would have a minimum size of 1,400 square feet and go up to 2,200 square feet. A lake covers 10 acres of the property. The plans call for a playground for children and a recreation area. Some 9,000 feet of roads would be constructed with curbs and gutters as specified in Lula’s new subdivision ordinance.
“This is an expensive piece of property,” said Murphy. “Just to do the roads with the curbing and gutters will run around $1 million. Right now, with the Banks County subdivision requirements, we would only be able to build 79 homes. It would make the lots too expensive to be feasible. If we can come into Lula we could build more than that and bring consumer costs down.”
Mayor Milton Turner said the developers would have to agree to drill a well on the property and it would need to supply a sufficient amount of water for the residents which is also specified in Lula’s new ordinance.
Turner also said the lots would have to accommodate septic tanks since Lula was two to three years away from being able to provide sewer service.
Murphy said they would agree to the stipulations and asked that the council approve providing water to the development.
The council voted and approved the measure. The annexation was not formally made at the meeting, but Murphy expects to present the council with a request at another meeting in the near future.