News from Banks County...

JULY 9, 2003


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OPINIONS
Jana Adams Mitcham
Is summer becoming ‘outdated?’
Ah, summer. Those long days, those long weeks upon weeks of freedom — freedom from the early morning commute to school, from classes, from homework. Months and months that flew by quickly, of course, but at the onset seemed like they must be endless.

Adam Fouche
Battle between man and
machines may never happen, but...
So maybe the imminent battle depicted in Terminator 3 between man and machine for control of Earth and the survival of the human race will never happen. It is a far-fetched idea.


SPORTS

Vote set next week on GAC, Wesleyan, Providence appeal
Though a recent reclassification plan finally saw the removal of private schools from Region 8-AA, that plan might not stick.
The Georgia High School Association Reclassification Committee will vote Wednesday on whether or not to grant appeals from several schools about their new region assignments.


Neighboorhood News ..
JACKSON COUNTY
Last large tract to be developed in Jefferson
The development of the last large tract of land inside the City of Jefferson will be on the table when the Quad Cities Planning Commis-sion meets Tuesday at 6 p.m. in the city clubhouse.

Nicholson Hires A Building Inspector
Nicholson's newly-adopted land use ordinances required the city to have a building inspector and the position has been filled.

Beshara presents ordinance on beer, wine sales in county
Commissioner Emil Beshara presented an ordinance Monday night on the sale of beer and wine in unincorporated areas of the county.


Neighboorhood News ..
MADISON COUNTY
Wanted!
A surveillance camera photo has been released of the man who robbed Merchants and Farmers Bank on June 30 in Danielsville.

Habitat subdivision proposed for Comer
The Madison County chapter of Habitat for Humanity is seeking a rezoning from the Comer City Council for 10 acres of a 31 acre tract to be used for a Habitat subdivision.

Ila city hall parking lot to be resurfaced
Ila’s mayor and council contemplated finishing up renovations to their city hall property Monday night, agreeing to go ahead with sealing and re-striping the parking lot.

Council won’t support water to subdivision
A planned 30-lot subdivision just outside of Danielsville off Hwy. 98 won’t receive city water.

Danielsville man dies in Franklin County crash
A Danielsville man died in a one vehicle accident Saturday afternoon on Hwy. 106, in Franklin County just north of the Madison County line, according to the Toccoa Post of the Georgia State Patrol.

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Final clean-up before the big day

Members of the Banks County Convention and Visitors Bureau picked up trash along Highway 441 S. at Banks Crossing on Tuesday in preparation of the dedication ceremony celebrating the end of the beautification project. Pictured are: Jonathan Morris, Maysville, of Mattress Liquidators, Mark Valentine, general manager of the Tanger Factory Outlet Stores, and CVB president Bonnie Johnson.

Celebrating a ‘beautiful’ completion
Rep. Jeanette Jamieson will cut the ribbon and serve as the keynote speaker at the Banks Crossing beautification project dedication ceremony planned by the Banks County Convention and Visitors Bureau on Thursday, July 10.
The event will take place at 10 a.m. in front of the Boots Etc. store on U.S. Highway 441 at the northern end of the Banks Crossing interchange, at Exit 149 on I-85. A variety of dignitaries and local businesses will be on hand to mark the project’s completion.
The celebration will continue with a free bluegrass concert at 7 p.m. on Friday featuring Brandy Rock Mountain Band.
The event will be staged under a giant tent on the field in front of the Boots Etc. location on Highway 441. The public is invited to attend the festivities, and encouraged to bring a lawn chair or blanket to enjoy the show.
“When the opportunity presented itself to bring in the Brandy Rock Band, we jumped at it!,” said Sherry Ward, CVB executive director. “They are well-known and have a strong following, and we felt very confident that they would provide a fitting ‘high-point’ to our beautification project celebration and would bring enjoyment to one and all. In fact, the band was named after a mountain in nearby Toccoa, Georgia!”
The Brandy Rock Mountain Band, first organized in 1988, is made up of bluegrass musicians from throughout the northeast Georgia area. Most notably, R.J. Spencer, the band’s fiddle player, has played in the Charlie Moore Bluegrass Band and was the featured fiddle player in Royston’s production of the Broadway Musical, “Big River,” written by Roger Miller.
Other players in the band include: Andy Wilson, from the Cleveland/Dahlonega area; Scott Morgan, currently residing in Suwanee; and Bill Rouse and his wife Rose Marie, of Athens. Wilson plays the upright bass, Morgan plays the lead guitar and sings, while both Bill and Rose Marie Rouse play banjo.
The band, as a group, has played in several local areas in the last year, including the Dahlonega Folkway Center, the Everett Music Barn in Suwanee, Red Light Cafe and Autumnfest in Dahlonega, Rudy’s Bluegrass Festival in Anderson, S.C., the Shoal Creek Music Festival in Lavonia and the Apple Festival in Westminster, S.C.
The beautification project began in 1997 when Banks County applied for and received an Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act (ISTEA) Matching Funds Grant, wherein the Federal Highway Administration provided 80 percent of the funding via the Georgia D.O.T., while the Banks County CVB put up the 20 percent in local funds.
For more information on the Banks County CVB or Banks Crossing, visit www.bankscountyga.org or call (706) 677-5265.


Paperwork mix-up forces changes on new middle school
A mix-up concerning which agency was supposed to get soil and erosion plans on the new county middle school will force builders to make changes to original grading plans.
The Banks County school board has learned over recent months that the plans were sent to the state Environmental Protection Division (EPD) when they should have gone to the Soil Conservation Service (SCS).
Tommy Wiley of Charles Black Construction and civil engineer Paul Boyer told the school board Monday that they got misinformation, causing the plans to go to the wrong place.
Boyer said he was informed before the project began that the plans should be sent to the EPD since the project, he claims to have been told, lies within the city limits of Homer. However, Boyer couldn’t say who told him the project was within the limits.
Actually, the new middle school will lie outside of the Homer city limits and actually falls under regulations governing unincorporated portions of the county. Therefore, the plans should have gone to the SCS.
The plans have since gone to the SCS and that agency has required additional soil and erosion work at the site.
Wiley has requested a $29,677 change order to pay for the installation of a larger storm drain pipe, a permanent water retention pond and other changes the SCS has required.
“I’m not voting on any change order until we sit down and find out who dropped the ball,” school board chairman Bo Garrison said. “They can eat this, not us.”
Wiley explained that if the plans had been submitted to the SCS originally as required, then that agency would have made him install the larger pipe and retention pond to begin with. Either way, Wiley said the school system would have had to pay for the work.
Failure to submit the plans to the right agency didn’t lead to any additional costs that wouldn’t have been in the total project cost had the plans been submitted correctly in the first place.
And though no one knows for sure just how the erroneous information came about, the fact remains that the new SCS guidelines must be followed and paid for.
The school board voted to table action on the change order until Thursday’s work session, at which time it will readdress the matter.
Wiley also informed the board that he does not have a land disturbance permit. He said that since the school system is exempt from paying for the permit, he wasn’t issued one.
He suggested he and superintendent Chris Erwin meet with county commission chairman Kenneth Brady asking for a letter from the county verifying that all the required plans for the project had been submitted and approved.
Wiley said county zoning officer Keith Covington has already examined and approved the plans.
WORK AT THE ATHLETIC COMPLEX
Work continues at the new athletic complex as crews prepare for occupation of the stadium later this summer.
Wiley told the board that the field should be ready for the school’s first home game, scheduled against Oglethorpe County on August 29.
He also said workers will begin pouring a sidewalk from the press box to the school and he hopes concrete work on the plaza around the concession stands will start soon.
He added that the school needs to contact Georgia Power to have them realign and adjust the lights opposite the seating at the field. He said a recent storm blew one of the lights sideways.
Wiley also said he would address board member John Williams’ concerns about runoff water washing onto the new practice field.
Erwin told the board that the fencing should start at the end of next week.
The board also approved using some funds built into the project to complete additions at the field house, including adding two locker rooms, a coach’s office and a bathroom.
Erwin said most of the work was to put a girl’s facility in the field house.


Home Depot shooting for February opening
Although building construction has yet to begin, Home Depot expects to open its Banks Crossing store in early February.
A company spokesman said the local store will have 102,513 square feet “within the walls” and 25,000 to 28,000 square feet of outdoor garden center.
“The turnover date – the date the hard-hats walk out and throw the keys to the management team, is late December,” said Don Harrison. “Shortly thereafter we will start hiring.”
Harrison estimated that the store would hire 120 to 150 full and part-time employees.
Home Depot, an Atlanta-based Fortune 500 company, will bring in a management team and some senior supervisors who will hire the rest of the staff.
“We are a little different. They will serve as mentors (to new employees). We want our people to know everything about the store when it opens. If you’re hired as a garden specialist, we still want you to know how to find the lumber department and know what is sold in the lumber department,” Harrison stated.
Harrison called the Banks Crossing facility an “average sized” Home Depot.
“We have built them from 80,000 square feet to 140,000 square feet,” he said. “At 102,000 square feet, that is a format we are very comfortable with. Most of the Home Depots standing today are in the 102,000 to 105,000 range.”
Harrison said he was unaware of any plans relating to out-parcels, noting that a Home Depot needs 12 to 15 acres to accommodate a store and 500 to 600 parking spaces. Sometimes the company has to acquire more land to get the site it wants, Harrison indicated.
“Given the parcel, it may or may not have room up front for a fast-food restaurant or gas station. It is not out of character for us to do that,” he said.
According to Brenda Williams of the Banks County Planning Department, Home Depot acquired five parcels, 30.437 acres. The Home Depot store and parking area will take up 15.25 acres, leaving ample room for several other businesses in the remaining tracts.
The Home Depot is recognized for catering to the do-it-yourself market, which Harrison said accounts for 70 percent of the company’s business.
“With respect to Commerce, this is the highest compliment Home Depot can pay to a community,” Harrison stated. “Essentially, we’re saying we’d like to share in your growth, be part of it and contribute to it. If you let us in, we will show you what kind of good neighbor we will be.”



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Former BCPS principal to be new assistant superintendent
Former Banks County Primary School principal Donna Reed was hired Monday to fill the vacant assistant superintendent slot for the school system.
“Her background and success in this system led me to believe that she has the skills to be successful as our assistant superintendent,” superintendent Chris Erwin said. “She has a world of good background. Her diversity and her experience here sold me on her.”
Reed, who left her position at the BCPS in May, will become the school system’s curriculum director, instruction supervisor and staff development coordinator as part of her job as assistant superintendent.
“I know the people here and I’m really excited about it,” she said. “I’m looking forward to the challenge.”
Reed was principal at the primary school for two years. Prior to that, she spent 10 years as assistant principal at Royston Elementary and also worked for three years as the counselor at Banks County High School.
She has 12 years of high school and 12 years of elementary school experience.
OTHER BUSINESS
In other business at the meeting Monday the school board:
•approved an addendum to Erwin’s contract that increases the monthly temporary housing allotment for him and his family from $650 per month to $975 per month. The allotment will be good for 12 months in a home in or around Banks County
•approved the hiring of the following: Terresa L. Shubert, BCUES, fifth grade teacher; Judy Wendt, Anna Terrell, Anne Moon, Brian Yoder, Martha Crane and Danny Mason, all certified hospital homebound teachers; and Cindy Chambers, receptionist at the BOE office.
•approved the following transfers: Gwendolyn A. Hall from counselor at BCUES to counselor at BCPS; Frances Garrish from secretary/bookkeeper at BCUES to paraprofessional at BCES; and Lisa Massey, Title I at BCES to special education parapro at BCES.
•approved the resignation of Shelli Capehart, parapro at BCPS.
•heard from new high school principal Art Wheaton who said he’s excited about the upcoming year and that the high school has “got a fabulous facility and the people I’ve met here have been exceptional.”
•heard from new primary school principal Lynn Ginn who said she’s grateful for the opportunity to serve and will “do the very best I can.”
•approved a revision of the promotion/retention policy.
•approved a facility use request from the Banks County Girl Scouts to use the cafeteria, gym and art and music room at the primary school on July 31 from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. for a day camp.
•approved a cheerleading camp for 6 to 12-year-olds at BCHS July 28 through August 1.
•approved a cheer camp for middle school cheerleaders from August 4-6 at BCHS.
•approved a contract with American Pest Control for pest management services within the school system. The company will treat all buildings, four times per year at a cost of $785 per treatment.
•approved the following food, bread, milk and non-food bids: Milton’s Institutional Foods for 160 food and 18 non-food items; SYSCO Food Service for 152 food and 19 non-food items; Samples Institutional Foods for 14 food items; Fulton Paper Company for 45 non-food items; Flowers Bread Company for all bread; and Parmalat Atlanta Dairies for all milk. System nutrition director Dennis Marlow said he feels “like we got the best product for the cheapest price.”
•met behind closed doors for 48 minutes to discuss pesonnel matters.