News from Banks County...

JULY 23, 2003


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OPINIONS
Jana Adams Mitcham
Language (and other) barriers
“Near la escuela, en la izquierda,” I said, while gesturing with big arm movements (as if that would make a difference) to show two Spanish speaking men seeking directions that they should drive straight ahead and keep going.

Rochelle Beckstine
Comments on same-sex marriages
Has there been a time when reality forced people to change their minds about what a word means?
Open your mind just for a moment.
Why does our government exist?


SPORTS

Private schools’ appeal to stay in 8-AA
Three private schools’ quest to stay in Region 8-AA after this year has all but ended.
The Georgia High School Association (GHSA) reclassification committee denied appeals from GAC, Providence and Wesleyan to stay in the region.


Neighboorhood News ..
JACKSON COUNTY
$22 million price tag
Holder Construction Company presented the final maximum price for a new courthouse facility at a called meeting of the Jackson County Board of Commissioners Monday afternoon.

Rezoning Requests Could Lead To 600 More Residences
The Commerce Planning Commis-sion will consider requests Monday night that could result in the addition of nearly 640 residential units.

Citizens plan rally Thurs.
Concerned Citizens of Jackson County has planned another rally to gain support in its lawsuit against the board of commissioners over the financing of a new courthouse.

CMS Builders Take Rain in Stride, Says Superintendent
Rains continue to dampen the construction site at the new Commerce Middle School but that hasn’t stopped workers from marching forward with the project.

Beshara to call for vote on beer and wine at Aug. 4 meeting
Commissioner Emil Beshara plans to call for a vote at the Aug. 4 board of commissioners meeting on allowing the sale of beer and wine in unincorporated areas of the county.

BOC sitting on key water document
The political tug-of-war between the Jackson County Board of Commissioners and the county water and sewerage authority is apparently holding up the adoption of a key document necessary to serve a major new industry.

New JCWSA members attend first meeting
Despite the political tensions surrounding the new member appointments by the board of commissioners to the Jackson County Water and Sewerage Authority, Thurs-day’s water authority meeting proceeded without incident.


Neighboorhood News ..
MADISON COUNTY
Show and Tell
The tale of the old cannon on the courthouse square in Danielsville was just one of a number of local stories shared at a “show and tell” session of the Madison County Heritage Foundation held at the Madison County Library Sunday afternoon.

BOE hears report on SPLOST projects
A timetable for completing SPLOST-funded construction on the Madison County school system was released at the board of education meeting Tuesday night.

Industrial park still planned by IDA off Hwy. 72
An industrial park may still be in the works on James Holcomb Road off Hwy. 72 near Hull.
The county industrial development authority (IDA) agreed Monday night to seek rezoning of 33.4 acres off Hwy. 72 from residential to industrial classification. The IDA will present the rezoning request to both the county zoning board and county commissioners perhaps as early as August. But no hearing dates have been set.

Armed robbery reported at Hwy. 72 convenience store
The Golden Pantry on Hwy. 72 in Hull was reportedly robbed at gunpoint around 2 a.m. last Sunday morning.
According to the incident report on file at the sheriff’s office this week, a black male entered the store and robbed the two clerks “under the threat of a weapon.”

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Wilson recalled past celebrations

Thomas Wilson, 89, has been going to the Sunday School Celebration for all of his life. Wilson recalled days of children reciting Bible verses, singing songs and even a little “sparking.”

Days gone by
“I’ve been coming to the Sunday School celebrations since before I knew it was a Sunday school celebration,” said 89-year-old Thomas Wilson.
“One year, a car came by and the driver asked what was happening and why all the people were gathered,” he said. “We kids just said it was a celebration. We didn’t know.”
In the early 1900s, the celebration was based more around the children and young people, he said.
“We recited Bible verses, poems and sang songs,” he said. “Then after lunch, we played baseball.”
When he was a child, Highway 441 was hardly a highway. It was just a dirt road. Horses and buggies were the main method of travel back then. Very few people had cars.
What is now Veterans Park was the homesite of Theodore and Martha Thompson, who would let people use their porch and steps and their front yard to enjoy the day’s event.
There was no gazebo. People gathered in front of the old courthouse for the celebration and would bring lunch, covered dishes and watermelon to share.
“There were huge crowds a long time ago,” he said. “People would come from all over the county and the area. There wasn’t much to do back then, so this was a big deal. There was a lot of ‘sparking’ going on. Gentlemen would buy their girlfriends lemonade. There’d be homemade lemonade for five cents a glass. It meant something to buy it. Money was always tight.”
He said he and a friend, Young Sanders, bought a big tin tub and tried to sell lemonade one year, but had trouble selling it.
“I don’t know what we did wrong,” he said.
One year, Georgia governor Herman Talmadge came and sung a hymn for the celebration.
“Oscar Garrison got him to come up,” he said. “Oscar did a lot for the celebration. When Oscar was around, things were a little better organized. He built saw horses and table tops so that everyone could sit together.”
In later years, the gazebo was built, also by Garrison, across the street on Yonah-Homer Road and the road was blocked off for the Sunday School Celebration.
“This is such a unique event,” he said. “I’m glad we have the church participation we do have, but it used to be a lot more. All the churches in the county came.
“I hope and pray it will continue. It’s a chance for good Christian fellowship among all the churches and denominations.”
Wilson has attended every celebration in his 89 years, with the exception of the years of his tour of duty as an infantryman in the Army during World War II.
In 1975, Wilson was chosen to present the gift to the oldest attendee, 97-year-old Ida Hendricks. This year he may be the one receiving the gift as oldest attendee, said Van Earl Chambers, chairman of the Sunday School Celebration committee.


Lula council to change variance procedures
At the behest of councilman Mordecai Wilson, the members of the Lula City Council agreed Monday to look into changing the process for granting variances to the zoning ordinance.
Wilson said adjoining landowners should be notified of any variance requests and recommended advertising the notification in the newspaper. The person requesting the variance should absorb the cost, Wilson said.
City attorney Brad Patton suggested the council post the property and advertise twice in the newspaper following the same procedure as rezoning requests. The new variance requirements could just be attached to the existing zoning ordinance, he said.
Mayor Milton Turner said charging a flat fee for the advertising of both rezoning and variance requests could be a simpler method.
Wilson and councilwoman Vicky Chambers will prepare a draft document and present it at the August council meeting.
On a related matter, Ken and Stacy Giles were granted a variance on setbacks for a new commercial building. The zoning ordinance requires a 60-foot set back from the centerline of the roadway. He asked that it be set aside so that he could construct a building that would be in line with other businesses on the street.
Councilman Perry Bridgeman said: “I wouldn’t take on a project without knowing what the restrictions are on a piece of property. We have zoning regulations and should stick to them. The buildings that are there are grandfathered in. I don’t want to bend the zoning laws.”
Wilson said he had gone by the property and looked at the situation.
“I see no harm in what he plans to do,” he said.
The council members voted 4 to 1, with Bridgeman casting the opposing vote, to grant the variance.
The council also held a public hearing and then granted the annexation and rezoning of 66.37 acres on Barefoot Road as requested by John Schwartz and Jim Schwartz. The Banks County property was rezoned from AR-1 to A-1. John Schwartz attended the meeting and said there were no immediate plans for the property.
Bridgeman also brought up a zoning violation issue that he said the council needed to tend to immediately.
“There’s a resident running a towing business, parking cars on his property on Tallant Drive,” he said. “This is a serious problem. He has established a business in a residential area. We need to do something immediately.”
City clerk Dawn Letson said a letter from the city had been sent some months ago about cleaning up the property and ending his business practice. He did clean up the property, but did not stop running his wrecker business, officials said.
Patton said the court would have to issue a cease-and-desist order. Then if the defendant fails to respond, he would be held in contempt of the court and the judge could impose a fine.
He said he would research some cases and present his findings at the next meeting.


Moore finds old city charter, presents to Lula council
Lula resident Bobbie Moore surprised the members of the Lula City Council by presenting them with the original charter of the former City of Bellton, dated October 7, 1879.
Moore said she came across the old document in the process of cleaning up her parents’ home. She also gave a booklet of Bellton’s ordinances.
Moore pointed out that even though Belton is spelled with one “L” today, it was originally spelled two “Ls” and asked that any new signs show the correct spelling.
Lula Mayor Milton Turner said he would arrange for the old charter to be matted and framed so that it may be hung in the meeting room at city hall.



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Schedule given for celebration
The 126th annual Sunday School Celebration is planned from 9:30 a.m. until 4 p.m. on Saturday, July 26, at Veterans Park in Homer.
Van Earl Chambers, committee member, recommended that people who come to join in the celebration bring a covered dish. Chicken and corn-on-the-cob will be served. Plates, napkins and cutlery will be provided.
Banks County Boy Scout Troop 106 will be selling fresh, home-made ice cream.
Chambers also said people should being lawn chairs and sunscreen.
The celebration is the longest-standing event of its kind in the world. It was started in 1877 by Banks County churches.
The schedule is as follows:
·9:30 a.m. welcome, opening song and prayer
·9:50 a.m. Homer Methodist
·10:10 a.m. Homer Presbyterian
·10:30 a.m. Beaverdam Baptist
·10:50 a.m. Community Men’s Brotherhood
·11:10 a.m. Homer Baptist
·11:30 a.m. Homer Alliance
·11:50 a.m. Mt. Carmel Baptist
·12:10 p.m. Homer First Baptist
·12:30 p.m. lunch
·1:40 p.m. “Chosen”
·2:00 p.m. presentation of gifts to oldest and youngest attendee and the person who comes from the farthest distance.
·2:20 p.m. Hickory Flat Methodist
·2:40 p.m. Mt. Bethel Methodist
·3 p.m. Charity Baptist
·3:30 p.m. New Salem Methodist.
As she has for many years in the past, Moderee Sisk will recite the Biblical Alphabet.
A memorial will be held for those who have passed away in the past year.


Alto to hold public hearing on zoning
The Town of Alto will hold a public hearing for the purpose of receiving comments on the proposed zoning procedures, zoning ordinance and zoning map at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, August 12, at city hall.
Mayor Carolyn Gulley said copies of the proposed procedures, zoning ordinance and map are available for public view at town hall.
“We encourage our citizens to attend the meeting,” she said. “We will accept written and oral comments.”