News from Banks County...

JUNE 25, 2003


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OPINIONS
Jana Adams
Sound, spectacle and sentiment’
In June of 1776, 227 years ago, a committee was formed to draft a document that would sever the ties the fledgling United States of America had with Britain.

Rochelle Beckstine
Circle the wagons
The rancid stench of a presidential election is already wafting through the nation.
The candidates gearing up to run against George W. Bush in 2004 are clambering over one another to accuse the President of lying about Iraq.


SPORTS

BCRD all-star teams to play in upcoming tournaments
Banks County Recreation Department’s baseball and softball all-star teams will be playing in district tournaments in the coming days.
The 10 and under fast-pitch softball girls will play Dawson County at 6 p.m. on Thursday in Dawson County.


Neighboorhood News ..
JACKSON COUNTY
Citizens plan BOC suit
Five Jackson County citizens announced plans this week to sue the board of commissioners unless it allows citizens to vote on the financing of the proposed new courthouse.

OUCH!
Low Bid For New Commerce Sewer Plant
20% Over EstimateAfter years of preparation, the bids for Commerce's new sewer plant came in last Thursday.
They were high. More than 20 percent over the engineer's estimate for the 2.1 million-gallon-per-day treatment plant.

Excerpts from notice given to BOC Tues.
“This letter shall serve as an ante-litem notice to Jackson County, Georgia and to you as its governing body in compliance with O.C.G.A. 36-11-1 and all other applicable law, of my clients’ intention to bring suit against Jackson County should you fail to cease and desist from proceeding further with your illegal and unconstitutional plan to deprive the voters of Jackson County, Georgia of their constitutional right to vote on the new debt which you are planning to incur and assume in order to construct a new proposed Jackson County Courthouse....”

BJC Authority Considers Hiring Management
Firm; Decision To Be Made Monday Night
Nine members of the BJC Medical Center Authority will decide Monday night whether to enter a five-year management contract with Quorum Health Resources.

Herald wins 9 state press awards
The Jackson Herald won nine awards in the Georgia Press Association’s annual Better Newspaper Contest, including first place for the best editorial page among large weekly newspapers in the state.

Weekend festival set
Pony rides, a mechanical bull, a folk art exhibit, bluegrass music and numerous other activities will be featured at the Freedom Festival coming up Saturday in Jefferson.


Neighboorhood News ..
MADISON COUNTY
Schools back on solid fiscal footing
While other school systems around the state are struggling financially, the Madison County schools’ dark days of severe fiscal frustrations now appear more a remembrance than reality.

BOC agrees to hire six new jailers
Madison County’s jail staff will increase from 12 to 18 when the new jail opens this summer.
Sheriff Clayton Lowe told commissioners Monday that a larger jail will require more personnel and the BOC voted to add six jailers and a part-time cook.

Colbert preparing for July 4 celebration
The city of Colbert is preparing for its 34th annual Fourth of July celebration next Friday.
The day will begin with Colbert’s Canna Run, a five K and one-mile race. Registration will be at 6:30 a.m. at Colbert Elementary School. The five K run will be at 7:30 a.m. and the one mile race begins at 8:30 a.m.

Madison County Journal wins 10 state awards
The Madison County Journal won 10 awards in the Georgia Press Association’s annual Better Newspaper Contest, including a second place award for general excellence.

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Turpin turned a vase

Under the skilled hands of Banks County potter Steve Turpin, a lump of clay was turned into a vase ready for firing in minutes. Turpin organized the potters festival to benefit the Banks County High School majorettes.

Hands of the potter
The third annual Potters Festival held last Saturday in Homer was called a “huge success” by organizer and well-known potter Steve Turpin.
“This was a great show,” Turpin said. “We had people from all over the country here.”
There was already a crowd at the door at the Banks County High School cafeteria when the doors opened at 8 a.m. to begin the show.
Some perused the potters and their wares. Others went straight for their favorite artists.
People came to the event from across Georgia, Tennessee, North and South Carolina, Mississippi, and even Ohio. A couple from McDonald, Ohio, said their son living in McDonough had got them interested in the art form.
“He collects the face jugs and primitive pottery. He got us hooked,” said Joan Hellam as she and her husband, Larry, spoke with potter Steve Leftwich.
Wendy and Bill Bennett, Dacula, had their arms loaded with items they bought.
“This is just so amazing,” said Mrs. Bennett. “These people have been doing this from generation to generation. We’re just small time collectors, but we’re working on it.”
On the way in, many stopped to purchase raffle tickets from the BCHS majorettes for one of the 30 items each potter had donated to help them.
BCHS majorette Abby Turpin said: “It’s been going good. Some people have bought 20, 30 and 40 dollars worth of tickets.”
The works of art went quickly and, by 1 p.m., famous artist Flossie Meaders had only three items left to sell, one of which she presented to Turpin for all his hard work.
Cleveland potter Lin Craven also had a good day.
“All of my bobbing-head animals were gone in the first few hours,” she said. “I don’t have much left.”
Craven developed a new chicken this year. She likes to call them the “Dixie Chicks.” They are comely fowl in provocative poses. Many of them had gone home with collectors looking for something a bit different.
And speaking about different, potter W. A. (Bill) Flowers makes often-bizarre caricatures show his sense of humor. He explained with a laugh: “I get my ideas from watching cartoons with my kids, science fiction, childhood trauma, nightmares… I enjoy making things that startle people.”
One of his works, a huge rooster, took four months to complete and required painstakingly applying different chemical combinations to create the multi-hued rooster. He pointed out the name on the base, “Cock of the Roost,” and the inscription, “Size does matter,” with a smile.
“I can’t be totally serious,” he said.
Shelly Elliot, Gainesville, said, as she picked out some of Flowers unusual fish pottery: “I love his work. It’s just wonderful. He has a style all his own. He stands out.”
Famous potter Sid Luck was also there and many sought out his functional pottery to add to their collections.
“My favorite work is the functional pottery,” he said. “That’s how all this got started.”
He had crafted beverage cups, an assortment of bowls and many other items, including the well-known face jugs.
Several potters also took turns during the event spinning the potter’s wheel to demonstrate their craft. Potter Michael Perdue pulled a handle for a vase as Suzanne Orndorff, Dawson, watched.
“I love this,” she said. “How quickly they put all this together is remarkable.”
Turpin grabbed a hunk of clay and in minutes, with sensitive hands that knew from years of habit, had a perfectly formed vase ready to go talking all the while to by-standers.
By the end of the day, Turpin estimated around a thousand people had come to the show.
The majorettes were very pleased. Their raffle and the sale of burgers and dogs at lunch produced $1,322.
Turpin said there will be a fourth annual event next year.
“We’ll do even better next year,” he said.
WINS POTTERY
Those who won pottery at the annual event were: Emily Bryan, Amber Davis, Lynn Melton, Dwayne Crocker, Lillian Welch, Timmy McCoy, Leigh Hope, Jamie Ferguson, Charlene Brown, Hill’s Cabinet Shop, Becky Hill, Jim Carpenter, Carol Bridgeman, Dwight Griffin, Heather Martin, Shar Porier, Cecilia Martin, Jean Robertson, Nan Sisk, John Wood and Linda Norman.


BOC to buy new ambulance with SPLOST
Banks County EMS will soon have a new ambulance on the road.
The commissioners agreed Thursday to chief Perry Dalton’s request to buy a new med unit to replace one of the county’s aging vehicles.
The $83,179 2003 Wheeled Coach Ford E-450 will replace an ambulance with a 1999 chassis and a more than a decade old medical box.
Dalton told the commissioners that EMS has two ambulances that were remounted atop 1999 chassises. However, Dalton said the two Fords were never built or intended to hold an ambulance box and have plagued the department with problems since he took over at the helm.
Dalton submitted four bids to commissioners for the new ambulances and he recommended the county purchase a $105,000 Freightliner. The 2001 demo model, which would have a full warranty if purchased, might have lower long-term maintenance costs.
He recommended the Freightliner because he said the county has gotten excellent service from its current Freightliner ambulance and had some bad experiences with F-series Fords.
However, Dalton did say the people he talked to who use the E-series Fords have not mentioned any problems. He added that the department would be equally satisfied with either one.
Commissioner Rickey Cain made the motion to buy the new vehicle, seconded by Pat Westmoreland. The county will also purchase an $18,680 cardiac monitor for the med unit.
The funds to purchase the new ambulance will come from monies the county has in its SPLOST account for the fire department and EMS. The county also plans to use other money in that account to build a new Banks Crossing fire station and to build a small satellite station in the Hwy. 326 area.
OTHER BUSINESS
In other business, the BOC:
•adopted the fiscal year 2004 budget. Westmoreland made the motion and Cain seconded it.
•approved Shell Ford Mart for a beer and wine package sales license at Banks Crossing. Cain made the motion and chairman Kenneth Brady seconded it. Westmoreland abstained from voting.
•agreed to pay the materials cost to extend a waterline from Hwy. 63 approximately one mile down Wilson Bridge Road to allow the North Georgia Church of God to hook up to county water at a church camp it has planned for property there. Contingent to the approval is the church’s agreement to pay the entire labor costs and a connection fee for the water line. Westmoreland made the motion to proceed with the agreement. Cain seconded it.
•approved the Natural Resource Conservation Service’s recommendation to hire Tommy Griffith to staff the Broad River Soil Conservation office in Banks County. Cain made a motion that the county agree to the recommendation and allow the NRCS to proceed with the hiring. Westmoreland seconded it.
•agreed to establish a new lease with the development authority for options on land at the Banks Crossing Industrial Park. Under the terms of the agreement, the DA will be able to sell the land to a private individual or company and must pay the county $10,000 per acre of land sold. Any amount obtained above that can be retained by the development authority.
•agreed to have Cain, a former coroner, and current county coroner Tommy Herbert work on a plan to transport bodies to the GBI state crime lab. The GBI used to pick up bodies to transport to the state medical examiner’s office but will cease that service beginning July 1 due to budget constraints. The county might look into having someone on call to transport bodies and may possibly contract with a nearby county for the service.


Homer fireworks planned July 4
The Homer Volunteer Fire Department will be sponsoring the annual July 4 fireworks display.
The event will be held at the Garrison’s (where the annual Easter egg hunt is held) on Highway 51 South across from the Banks County Primary School.
Sandra Garrison said the show would start around 9 p.m.
Every year, the Homer VFD holds chicken-cues to raise funds for the show.



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Gillsville council works to meet restoration grant deadline
The Gillsville City Council is working hard to meet a deadline for a grant that could help restore the historic buildings downtown.
Council member Ronnie Whiting said at last week’s work session the grant application was due on July 11. The grants are awarded for $20,000 to $40,000.
One of the buildings is slated to become the much-needed city hall.
Whiting said: “We need to have a central point of contact and a central location for all our records.”
Council member Richard Ferguson added the city hall would also provide residents with the city’s ordinances and building permits. Now, inquiries are made to the various council members and the mayor.
The buildings are under renovation and the city is using some of the money budgeted for the project and hopes to get more from the next Hall County special purpose local option sales tax (SPLOST) initiative, if it passes.
The council also discussed setting up a city website for information about the town, its permitting process and even include building permits that could be filed online.
They also discussed making the current building permit a one-sheet application.
In other business, the council:
•agreed to meet with the planning/zoning commission at the July meeting. Members have not been meeting with the council during work sessions as anticipated. The council thought by meeting, they would have a better idea of what is expected and help get the board going.
•announced the Hall County Joint Municipal Association meeting would be held in Lula at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, July 8, to discuss the next SPLOST referendum and possible individual city projects.
•learned work has started on picnic tables for the city park.


Developers, come to Baldwin
In an effort to stir development, the Baldwin City Council has unanimously agreed to reduce impact fees from $2,500 to $1,150 per new residence or new business.
The ordinance was approved at a special called meeting last Thursday.
The initiative came after city engineer Fred Hawkins was asked to refigure the standard unit of measure to more accurately reflect a typical residence in Baldwin.
Hawkins was given the average usage of a Baldwin household, which figured usage at 250 gallons per day (gpd). That figure, called an ERU (equivalent residential unit), is what the new lower fee is based on.
The ordinance states the connection fee is not a deposit, but a fee to reimburse the city for its costs and expenses in providing a connection to the sewer line.
The ordinance also requires a sewer connection fee of $600 inside city limits and $700 outside city limits.
Water meter costs will also be absorbed by the developer or landowner.
An additional fee for boring under a roadway would be added if necessary.
The impact fee allows the city to recover costs of capital improvement to the wastewater treatment plant and expansion.
In other business:
•the council briefly discussed the progress on the roadside park on Highway 441. The council hopes to install a water line and set up bathrooms and water facilities.
•the council also discussed planting the medians along Highway 441 as it passes through the city limits. Council member Mitchell Gailey said he would like to see azaleas and flowering pear tress planted and signs erected on the highway to let people know the park lies ahead. He suggested appealing to area businesses and residents for donations for the planting. Council member Ray Holcomb suggested having a volunteer day organized to plant the trees and bushes.
•the council discussed advertising for a public works director.