News from Banks County...

NOVEMBER 12, 2003

Banks County

Banks County
Banks County

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Zach Mitcham
One rope worth walking
There’s often the man or woman at some meeting who reminds county or city leaders that growth is coming, whether we like it or not.

Margie Richards
Thankful for a special friend
Someone sent me some flowers and a sweet card last week.
No, it wasn’t my birthday, or wedding anniversary, or anything like that.

Lumpkin shows offensive prowess in win over Banks
The opening minutes of Friday’s game against Lumpkin County looked as if Banks’ defense might be able to contain the potent Indian offense.

News from
County BOE considering Sept. bond referendum
The Jackson County Board of Education is considering holding a bond referendum in September to help fund future building projects in order to keep pace with the county’s rapid growth rate.

Property tax bills are mailed out
Jackson County property owners should have received local property tax bills in the mail during the past week.

News from
Veterans ceremony set for Sat.
American Legion Post 39, Danielsville, is hosting an “All Veterans Day” this Saturday, Nov. 15, beginning at 10 a.m. at the historic Madison County courthouse on the square in Danielsville. The MCHS band, under the direction of Johnny Hallman, will play patriotic music, including “Taps” with drum and bugle.

County to seek engineer for rec pond study
The county will seek an engineer to perform a study of a proposed retention pond on the recently purchased property for recreation expansion
The Banks County News
Homer, Georgia
Telephone: (706) 367-5233
Fax: (706) 367-8056


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Banks County Recreation Department programs coordinator Kim McIntire read “Frog and Toad are Friends” to Courtney Kellum’s kindergarten class. The event was part of a celebration of National Young Readers Day at Banks County Primary School. Several school and community leaders, including county commission chairman Kenneth Brady, school superintendent Chris Erwin, recreation department director Trey Donaldson, the Rev. Jim McLendon and many others, read various books to the students throughout the school day.

Game, set, match
BOE considering tennis courts at BCHS
Banks County High School’s tennis program got a much-needed show of support Monday night.
The school board agreed to investigate building tennis courts at the high school next to the agriculture barn. The system will also seek bids for the project.
Tony Murphy and Dana Seay asked the school board Monday to look into building courts at the school.
The high school tennis team has played on courts at the county’s recreation department in the past. But those courts were torn down weeks ago to make room for the construction of a gym facility there.
The county has plans to relocate the courts to another area at the recreation department.
But Murphy and Seay pointed out that practice for the school’s tennis team will start in February and match play will begin shortly thereafter.
“We are very thankful to the recreation department for letting us use those courts,” Seay said. “But right now, we do not have any courts.”
Seay, a lay coach for the team, explained that interest in the tennis program has grown from close to 15 kids three years ago to over 45 now. The team also made a trip to region competition last season.
She also said that having the courts at the school could help increase freshman participation since they wouldn’t have to find transportation to the recreation department.
Murphy, the vice president of the booster club, said he’s seen the program grow at Banks County and wants to see it become a big sport.
“It is really important to me to get the courts built this year,” Murphy said.
Murphy also pledged his support for the project through the booster club.
He said six courts would be required to host a region match though four courts would suffice for the team’s practices and regular matches.
Murphy said that without any courts at the school or the recreation department this spring, the tennis team will be forced to practice elsewhere, possibly at Commerce.
Should the board decide to proceed with any plans for courts at the school, funding of the project will become the biggest issue.
Superintendent Chris Erwin said the cost should be split among the booster club, the athletic department and BOE funds.
He said the land next to the ag barn would likely be the best spot and would require the least amount of grading. However, school officials will study the site to find the exact location of a septic system in that area.
The site also has close access to bathrooms, parking and security lighting. If the board builds the courts, they will likely not include playing lights at this time.
“We’d rather not have lights than not have courts,” Seay said. “We can work around that (lighting).”

The cream of the crop
School system honors Banks County’s teachers of the year
Banks County school superintendent Chris Erwin has said that being named a teacher of the year takes a “lot of hard work, dedication and sacrifice.”
The system’s top teachers were honored for just that during a reception for the five 2003 teachers of the year Thursday.
“When you are chosen as teacher of the year for your school, that’s an honor,” Erwin told a crowd of the teachers and their families during the reception.
Taking the award at each of the schools were: Amy Pardue, BCPS; Gayle Riley, BCES; LaRue Borders, BCUES; John Bertrang, BCMS; and Connie Gardiner, BCHS.
The teachers also got a plaque and gift certificates for the Tanger Outlet Centers.
Primary school teacher Amy Pardue is a Banks County alumnus herself with 10 years of experience teaching in the system. She was also named the county-wide teacher of the year. (See next week’s paper for an in-depth story about her.)
“It’s the highest honor one can receive from a school system,” Pardue said. “I feel very privileged to be selected by my peers. I work with a wonderful group of teachers.”
She graduated from West Georgia College and has a master’s degree from
Piedmont. Pardue is married, has two kids and is expecting a third.
For being named county teacher of the year, she also received a $1,000 check from Commerce Crystler, Dodge, Jeep.
“She does a fabulous job in the classroom,” Erwin said of Pardue.
Gayle Riley has taught special education students for 13 years, concentrating on those with mild intellectual handicaps. She teaches at the elementary school.
The daughter of two teachers, she graduated from Gainesville High School and later on, North Georgia College, where she also received a master’s degree.
“I feel very honored and privileged that my coworkers thought enough of me to give me this honor,” Riley said. “I enjoy working with kids that have special needs.”
BCES principal Jan Bertrang described Riley as a “very calm, patient teacher.”
Upper elementary school teacher LaRue Borders also teaches those with special needs. The Banks County alumnus also splits time as a coach for the middle school basketball program.
“I feel honored that all of my peers voted for me,” Borders said. “I feel like I have been a good teacher to be named teacher of the year.”
BCUES principal Rick Townsend described Borders as a “trickster” at the school who arrives early and leaves late.
Middle school teacher John Bertrang has spent 25 years at the school, spending the majority of that time coaching as well as teaching.
He graduated from Piedmont College and continues to work on his master’s degree. His key instructional areas are social studies and language arts, currently on the sixth grade level.
“It’s a privilege to have my colleagues think highly enough of me to elect me to represent the middle school,” Bertrang said. “I always try to put the kids first.”
Connie Gardiner has been at Banks County since 1985. The high school math teacher is also married to a teacher at the high school. Gardiner graduated from Piedmont College.
“This is probably one of the best honors I’ve ever received as a teacher,” she said. “When your peers think enough of you to name you teacher of the year, that means everything.”


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Chevron station in Baldwin robbed at gunpoint
Al Patel found himself at gunpoint last Wednesday night during his shift at Mac’s Chevron service station on Highway 441 North in Baldwin.
According to Baldwin Police Chief Lamar Clark, a gunman made away with reportedly $9,400 from the cash register and Patel’s wallet.
Patel was unhurt in the incident, but was forced into a cooler in the store. He made it out of the cooler in time to see the car drive away, but was unable to get the full tag number. He told investigators the robber took off in a small silver car. He said he thought the tag had 9919 or 9912 on it.
Clark said: “Right now, we have little to go on. We have the surveillance tape from inside the store and it shows the armed robbery. The perpetrator was dressed from head to toe in black. There was no skin color visible, no distinguishing marks.”
Unfortunately, there was no video surveillance of the parking lot or gas pumps to assist in apprehending the robber.
Clark said his department was sifting through tag numbers received from the state.
“If anyone out there saw this car that night in the vicinity or knows anything about the crime, call us,” he said.
The Baldwin Police Department can be reached at (706) 776-5256.

DOT to set up Hwy. 441 detour at Webbs Creek Road Thursday
Georgia Department of Transportation officials will shift traffic to a short portion of the southern end of the new U.S. Hwy. 441/ Homer Bypass on Thursday.
Weather permitting, traffic will shift and begin using a short stretch of the two new lanes of the Homer Bypass from Hwy. 164 to Webbs Creek Road.
“This traffic shift is necessary to upgrade the old two lanes of U.S. 441,” said Todd Long, DOT district engineer. “Both directions of traffic will use the two new lanes for about 1/4 mile from State Route 164 to Webbs Creek Road. At Webbs Creek Road there will be a temporary three-way stop. Motorists will turn left to get back to U.S. 441 and head into Homer.”
If the traffic shift can’t happen on Thursday, it will be delayed until Monday, Nov. 17, he added.