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the plunge literally
As I watched the sky one Saturday afternoon,
I couldnt help but think what my mother had said just the
week prior: Only two things fall from the sky bird poop
of fashion and tea; night at the theater
If youve read my column before,
you know I love to travel. I enjoy the culture I find in big
cities and small towns across the country.
Directions to Area
a cat fight
Leopards, Cats to showdown at Apalachee
The Leopards could look at Fridays game as winnable. But
after a 2-0 region start, Apalachee comes to the game with a
lot of confidence.
Neighboorhood News ..
changes ahead in Pendergrass?
Two subdivision requests call for 600-plus
housesAbout 400 people call Pendergrass home, according to the
2000 Census. But if plans for two residential projects are approved,
the North Jackson city could welcome more than 600 new houses.
Council Seat To Be Filled
In Nov. 4 Election
Long-Time Ward 3 Councilman Died On Friday,
Following the death last Friday morning of long-time Ward 3 city
councilman Sam Brown, Commerce will hold a special election concurrent
with the Nov. 4 general election to fill the Ward 3 seat.
Neighboorhood News ..
time on the way
Madison County BOC to set rates at Monday
The nip is back in the air, the chill that brings thoughts of
coats, cold hands around a warm drink, Christmas...and tax season.
Yes, its nearly that time again.
program helps those struggling to learn English
Enrique Bautista, 29, works on a farm
in Colbert, taking care of cows and doing any other farm work
he is assigned. Bautista is a Mexican native who has lived in
this country for the past three years, and like many who have
immigrated to the United States, he has had a difficult time
The Banks County News
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Parents will have a covered awning at the new middle school
to drop off and pick up children. Once completed, the area above
will be the entrance for the school and will include several
offices. The wall extending to the left will be part of the sixth
A new place to
New middle school centered around students
When Banks Countys new middle school opens next year, students
will find a vastly different learning system.
The building has more classrooms. The school incorporates more
technology. And the view out the back of the building will create
a peaceful learning environment.
It will be so much more conducive to todays child
and to learning, superintendent Chris Erwin said. The
community ought to be excited to have a building like this.
Because of unusually wet weather, construction on the sales tax-funded
building has been running a little behind, foreman Stacey Allison
Were slowly catching up, he added.
Most of the concrete has been poured and crews have hung much
of the steel on the sides and roof of the building. Outside block
walls are also going up quickly. The building should be weathered
in early next year.
Officials with both the school system and the builder are hoping
to get the project done in July, just in time for an early-August
Teachers will need adequate time to move supplies and stock the
new building and also become familiar with its layout before
Should any construction delays come up, Erwin said the system
might consider altering the school start date to get the new
You can get a lot done in eight to 10 days, he said.
Erwin indicated that the system will look at other options if
necessary next fall, among them include moving into the new building
later in the school year during a break period.
Since the kitchen will be among the last phase of the project,
students and teachers could move into the school and have meals
cooked at the old middle school and then brought to the new one.
But if construction continues without major problems, the system
would likely be able to open the school on schedule.
One of the most noticeable features of the new building will
be its incorporation of technology.
The current middle school, built prior to the personal computer
age, has been retrofitted to handle computer networks. In many
cases, that means wires were run overhead through the ceiling.
The new school has three large computer rooms built in. Each
wing, or grade, will get one computer lab. The labs are constructed
in somewhat of a semicircle to allow one teacher to monitor all
computer screens from the front of the room. The labs also overlook
a pristine, foothills forest area.
The schools media center and an art lab will share an outdoor
patio. That patio will overlook the same pristine foothills as
the computer labs, creating a scene conducive to reading and
offering inspiration to those in art class.
The middle school has three wings, separated into the three grade
levels. The sixth grade wing will sit alone on one side of the
The seventh grade and eighth grade will occupy the two-story
side of the school. The seventh grade gets the bottom floor while
the eighth grade gets the top.
Banks County Middle School will include a new gym, furnished
with goals and bleachers and set up to allow volleyball play.
Around the gym will be coaches rooms, locker rooms and PE rooms.
Agricultural students wont be left out in the new school.
The building will include a facility for those classes at one
end of the school.
And throughout the building, architects have incorporated skylights
into the hallways to bring in natural light from outside.
The new school has a total of 56 classrooms, including the ISS
room, computer labs, art room, band room, PE rooms and the science
The building also has four teacher work rooms, though Erwin said
only one will function as a work room when the school opens.
The others can be used as classrooms in the future if needed.
ON THE OUTSIDE
A major emphasis on the outside of the building has been on safety.
Its a thought out plan for proper transportation
and drop off and pick up of students, Erwin said.
The school will have two entrances, one for parents and one for
buses. The two entrances will both lead to the front of the school,
just in different places. The entrances include a large amount
of stack space for buses and parents to wait in.
The building will also have a covered area for parents to pull
under while picking up students.
Farther out in front of the school will be a large flat field.
That area will likely be developed into a baseball or softball
field in the future.
ROOM TO GROW
The new middle school can handle 900 kids when it opens next
year. Erwin said he expects about 700 to actual enter the school
when the doors open.
As Banks County continues to grow, the building will be able
to take on another 200 kids as is. Allison pointed out that the
building was designed to allow for future expansion onto the
Erwin said his personal philosophy in education was to keep the
student bodies in schools relatively low, between 1,000 and 1,200
When you get much larger than that, its time to build
another school, he said.
Erwin pointed to larger schools with 3,000 kids where most teachers
dont even know each other. That wont be the case
when the new Banks County Middle School opens next year.
When we move over here, the teachers will all know each
other, he said. That gives more of a family appeal
and thats important in education.
Baldwin, Demorest to continue water plant negotiations
With one water plant meeting behind them,
the Baldwin and Demorest city councils have agreed on one thing
so far to continue working together on issues surrounding
The two groups will meet again on Tuesday, October 14, at 6 p.m.
in Demorest to discuss the issue further.
Demorest and Baldwin officials are hoping to formulate a plan
at that meeting for a future partnership over use of Baldwins
water plant. They will then take that plan to the Environmental
Protection Division (EPD) to seek additional capacity at the
plant and increase water withdrawal from the Chattahoochee River.
Baldwin mayor Mark Reed said he has met with the EPD and was
refused any additional withdrawal at the plant. Demorest officials
tell a different story.
Malcolm Hunnicut, Demorest mayor, said he and other city leaders
met with the EPD the day after Reeds meeting. He said the
EPD indicated that if the two cities could work together better,
the division would be more receptive to requests for additional
Baldwin currently owns the plant and uses about 25 percent of
the water for itself. Demorest buys 75 percent of the plants
water from Baldwin at a rate of $0.98 per 1,000 gallons.
The city of Baldwin needs Demorest as a customer to help pay
for debt on the water plant. Demorest needs the water from Baldwin.
And both cities see the need for an increase in water availability
to handle the rapid growth in Habersham County.
But according to auditor Beth Grimes, the water price needs to
increase to $1.27 per 1,000 gallons in order to properly fund
the plant, including establishing an account to help defer depreciation
The two cities will consider several options for the plant during
the weeks leading up to the October 14 meeting.
One option will leave the agreement as it currently stands with
an increase in the price both cities pay for water from the plant.
The two may also consider joining forces and merging the water
departments from the two cities under one water director.
Before the next meeting, officials from both cities will develop
a plan for the water plants future. Once Baldwin and Demorest
agree on a plan, theyll then approach the EPD together
New half-mile fitness trail open at county farm horse
Ribbon cutting ceremony held Saturday
Banks County residents and officials gathered Saturday morning
for the ribbon cutting of a new fitness trail in Homer.
The paved half-mile track features five exercise stations, benches,
a covered pavilion, grills and picnic tables. It was funded with
a $14.5 million grant from the District 2 Public Health Board.
It means a lot to us, recreation direction Trey Donaldson
said to the crowd gathered near the trail Saturday. A lot
of people worked hard to get this going. We appreciate the support
He named the county officials and citizens who worked together
on the project, including Family Connections coordinator Robin
Trotter, who he said was the back bone of the effort.
The trail is located adjacent to the horse arena in Homer, below
the recreation department office and fields.
The hours of operation are 30 minutes before sunrise to 30 minutes
after sunset daily.
After the yellow ribbon was cut, the crowd joined together to
make the first lap around the trail, which goes over a wooden
bridge and along a scenic riverside. Donaldson stopped at each
of the five stations and demonstrated the stretching, flexibility,
agility and muscular strength exercises. The exercise stations
were placed along the trail by Jesse Major, an Eagle Scout at
Banks County High School.
After the first lap, Ronald Parson of the Lee Arrendale Correctional
Institute in Alto and Scottie Abercrom of Phillips State Prison
in Buford gave a demonstration with the canine unit, which included
a drug dog and a bloodhound used for tracking.
The morning festivities at the trail also included refreshments,
a body fat check and a blood drive.
Those who attended received free water bottles, power drinks,
granola bars and fruit.
Go to Banks
Public Meeting Dates
Auto Parts &
Retail Stores & Outlets
Candidates in the November 4 city election
in Lula have been invited to participate in a candidate debate.
The debate will be held at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 23, at
city hall, located at 6055 Main Street.
The candidates are: Mike Ostrander and Larry Shuler, Ward 1;
and Perry Bridgeman, Clyde Moore and Greg Smith, Ward 4.
For more information, call (770) 532-6206.
building authority holds first meeting
The newly-formed Banks County Industrial
Building Authority named its leader during the groups first
meeting last week.
Wayne Abernathy was elected as chairman. Erin Decker will serve
as secretary. The authority also authorized both Abernathy and
Decker to sign legal documents for the group.
At the meeting, the authority voted to allow its ex-officio members,
the Homer mayor and board of commissioners chairman, to vote.
In the building authoritys first real vote, it approved
a measure to seek bonds for the financing of the new recreation
The county will lease the building from the authority.
The lease payments will be used to make the payments on the bond
The county funds for the project will come from sales tax revenue.
plans night at Atlanta Dragway
The Jackson and Banks County chambers
of commerce will hold a Business After Hours at the
Atlanta Dragway, Banks Crossing, on Thursday, October 9.
Chamber members are encouraged to bring their families and have
a fun night at the Dragway.
Those who plan to drive have to be over age 18. An admission
fee of $5 per person will be charged at the gate.
The race will be for street legal vehicles and electric
go carts will not be allowed.
The deadline for signing up to drive is Monday, October 6.
The event will begin at 5:30 p.m. and racing will get under way
at 6 p.m. A barbecue meal will be served.