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OCTOBER 29, 2003


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OPINIONS
Our Views
Have a safe and happy Halloween
Carving pumpkins. Choosing costumes. Buying candy. It’s easy to get wrapped up in Halloween’s fun.

Jana Mtcham
Homegrown music at the family reunion
I hadn’t really heard much about “Grandpa O’Kelley,” as he was called, but at the O’Kelley-Minish reunion held earlier this month at Erastus Christian Church, I found out that Robert O’Kelley was an inventor, a schoolteacher and a musician who made his own instrument, and that he picked out his bride on his way to war.


SPORTS
Test of endurance
Runners close season at region meet
Though Banks County’s cross country season ended Thursday, the Leopard runners have plenty reason to be optimistic.


News from
JACKSON COUNTY
Tax rates climb across county
BOC sets tax rates
The Jackson County Board of Commissioners set its 2003 county tax rate and various fire district tax rates at a called meeting last Friday morning.

5 City Races To Be Decided In Tuesday Election
Next Tuesday’s municipal elections in Commerce stand to be confusing for voters. Not only will there be a regular election for city and school board slots, but there will also be a special election on a separate ballot and wholesale changes in the city council voting districts.

News from
MADISON COUNTY
Shopping center plans axed
BOC votes 3-2 to turn down Hwy. 98 proposal
A planned shopping center off Hwy. 98 near the county industrial park was shot down by county commissioners Monday night.

More money approved for new county jail
County commissioners tagged another $26,000 for the new county jail Monday night, on top of an earlier $100,000 boost in the jail budget earlier this month.

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Drug Free and Proud
Banks County Elementary School drug free rally

Residency issues rock Lula election
Ostrander withdraws, Moore questioned
Rumors about residency issues of two Lula city council seat candidates were put to rest at the political forum held Thursday night.
Ward 1 candidate incumbent Mike Ostrander withdrew from the Ward 1 race via a letter.
Mayor Milton Turner read the letter from Ostrander that said: “I want what is best for this city. It has been a matter of conversation and controversy for the last three to four weeks about my intention in the future. Although my residence is still legally Lula, I will have to make the decision to possibly live in another location outside of my ward and the city of Lula. Therefore to prevent any further controversy or discontent by other council members, I want to withdraw from the November election.”
His reference to “discontent of other council members” apparently was aimed at Mordecai Wilson who had taken issue with Ostrander’s questionable residency that had come to his attention through his constituency.
“I had been told Mike had moved, but I didn’t know if it was true or not,” he said. “So, I submitted a request to have the subject added to the agenda for the October 13 meeting. I met with Milton and he went after me. He jumped on me. All I wanted was the truth. But he told me ‘to be a team player or step down.’ As mayor and CEO of the city, I thought he should have encouraged full disclosure on this matter.”
The subject was on the October 13 agenda, but Ostrander did not acknowledge there was a problem. During the meeting, city attorney Brad Patton explained the requirements of residency as stated in the city’s charter which was revised on June 23, 2003.
He said an elected council person must reside within the district he represents for the entire four-year term.
Candidate for Ward 4 Clyde Moore acknowledged during the forum that he was in the process of moving into Ward 1 and would not be living in the district he would be representing if elected.
He said his attorney advised he could still serve as long as he stayed within city limits.
Moore did not indicate he would withdraw from the race at that time.


Cotton Trail subdivision residents question Baldwin water quality
Cotton Trail subdivision residents are concerned about water quality and water line repairs that ruined their road, they said at Monday’s Baldwin council meeting.
Teresa Jaworski said water crews had worked on the lines serving the Banks community in Cotton Trail.
“We were told the road would be repaired two or three months ago,” she said. “It hasn’t. They also threw a piece of the old pipe off in the woods.”
Councilman Mitchell Gailey said the city was low of funds and could not afford to repair the road. Councilman Ray Holcomb suggested the road wasn’t properly installed in the beginning.
Gailey said he awaits word from the department of transportation about funding assistance for road repairs.
Jaworski suggested the city crews inspect the water repair since water has accumilated in the ground there.
Maria Chastain told the council she had had the water tested after becoming ill with acid reflux disease and the removal of her gall bladder. One of the test results indicated a high level of iron in the water, but other tests revealed normal iron content.
Chastain said something was happening since several residents suffered similar conditions. She and other residents have resorted to bottled water.
City manager Betty Harper sent Keith Robinson to take samples from Chastain’s kitchen faucet and from a blow-out line in the subdivision. The test results showed the mineral, alkalinity and turbidity were within state guidelines. The council instructed the water crew to continue monitoring the water quality over the next few weeks.
Gailey and councilman Robert Bohannon said no other customers had given such health complaints.
On another water issue, resident Brent Sexton was granted an adjustment on his bill due to a hard-to-find leak in his yard. His bill for two months ran over $600. Though he paid them, he suggested the town inform customers when a meter reading far exceeds normal usage.
Holcomb said the city is installing a new computer software system that would red flag such discrepancies.
The city will bill Sexton for his average usage for two months and then pay Baldwin’s cost for water to make up the additional 130,000 gallons. He said the leak was underground and there was no evidence of surface water.
The way in which water is cut off for non-payment of bills after two months may be revised. Holcomb said the clerical staff was feeling the brunt of the residents’ anger over disconnects and the deposits to turn the water back on.
The council will talk again at the November 6 work session
In other business, the council:
•tabled three requests concerning a variance, and two rezonings.
•approved the hiring of Waste Water Class III operator Chad Conard.


Chamber to hold county farm tours
The Banks County Chamber of Commerce has announced that tours to various farms in the county will be conducted during National Farm Week, November 17-21.
Director Rick Billingslea said the effort was in partnership with the Banks County Farm Bureau.
“We want to help promote the number one industry in Georgia by offering tours of various farms,” he said. “We are currently negotiating with several area farmers including, Jerry Boling, Fielddale, a multi-use farm, a horticultural farm and a sod farm. The main focus is to familiarize non-agri-business people to agri-business.”
The tours are expected to last around three hours.
Not only does agriculture in Banks County contribute six percent to all the agri-business in Northeast Georgia, but it also is the most profitable agri-county in the state, according to Billingslea.
Dates for the tours have yet to be announced.
For further information, contact the chamber at 677-2108.

 


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Alto, Lula elections ahead Tuesday
Registered voters in Alto and Lula will be heading to the polls on Tuesday to cast their ballot in several council seat races.
In Alto, three candidates are seeking the Post 2 council seat. Shawn Shirley, Ricky Sutton and John Closs are all on the ballot for this post.
In the Post 4 Alto race, Phil Lomax, Sharon Christmas and Patricia Baylor-Ivry are all on the ballot.
In Lula, the Ward 4 race is the only one to be decided. Perry Bridgeman, Clyde Moore and Greg Smith are running for this seat.
The Ward 1 Lula council seat was to be decided Tuesday but Mike Ostrander withdrew from the race over a residency issue (see separate story at top of page). Larry Shuler will therefore take this seat.
The polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.


Chamber plans legislative breakfast
The Banks County Chamber of Commerce, in connection with Banks County Family Connections, will hold a legislative breakfast at 7:30 a.m. on Thursday, November 13, at the Garrison Civic Center in Homer.
Chamber director Rick Billingslea said invitations had been sent out to area government representatives at the local and state level.
Rep. Charlie Norwood and Sen. Ralph Hudgens have confirmed they will attend.
Representatives from Gov. Sonny Perdue’s office, Sen. Zell Miller’s office and Sen. Saxby Chambliss’ office will also attend.
The breakfast is free for chamber members. The fee is $7 for non-members.
For more information and to make reservations, call the chamber at 677-2108.


Halloween at the Fort planned Fri.
Fort Hollingsworth-White House will be open for tours and stories of the fort on Halloween, October 31, from 5:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.
Admission to the event will be $5.