News from Banks County...

NOVEMBER 26, 2003


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OPINIONS
Angela Gary
Take time every day to give thanks
This Thanksgiving, I’ll be with my family, which always tops my “thankful” list each year. I’m thankful that I have a supportive and loving family to get me through the good times and the bad times.

Editorial
Proclamation of Thanksgiving
President Abraham Lincoln approved this proclamation in 1863 calling for a national day of Thanksgiving. It is as relevant today as it was 140 years ago. Let’s all reflect on these sentiments this Thanksgiving season.


SPORTS
Nice Debut
Lady Leopards, new coach open with a win; tourney on tap after holiday
Lady Leopard head coach Jodie Watkins couldn’t have hoped for much better of a coaching debut.


News from
JACKSON COUNTY
Holiday happenings announced
Parades, home tours, luncheons among events planned
The holiday season has arrived in Jackson County and festivities are planned throughout the next month. Parades, tours of homes, visits with Santa and luncheons are among the holiday events planned throughout the county.

Hopes Dashed
Walgreens ‘Loss’ To Test City’s
Commitment To Industrial Growth
When Walgreens announced that it will not locate a $300 million distribution center in Commerce, the city lost more than potential jobs and tax benefits.

News from
MADISON COUNTY
Colbert man charged with murder
Suspect held without bail, claims he fired after being startled by girlfriend
A Colbert man was charged with murder Sunday by the Madison County Sheriff’s Office following the early morning shooting death of his live-in girlfriend, 25-year-old Dana Brookshire.

Time for turkey — or pizza?
Children share their Thanksgiving thoughts
Dylan Vanderford, 5, says he’s going to Mamaw and Papaw’s house for Thanksgiving dinner this Thursday where he plans to eat grilled cheese.
No turkey for him, thanks.

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Powder Puff Football

SWITCHING ROLES Banks County High School held its powder puff football game last week, with the seniors and sophomores defeating the juniors and freshmen 6-0. At far left, a group of “cheerleaders” hold up R.N. Bellamy. At top, Tim Brown, Chase Martin, Holly Brown, Jessica Hames, Tyler Williams, R.N. Bellamy, Jeff Creasy, Daniel Mitchell, Jonathan Tyler and Kyle Garrison pose for the camera. At left, Mallory Parson blocks as April Smith throws a pass.

Baldwin holds off on water rate hike
City tables the fee matter for vote at later meeting
Though the Baldwin City Council has approved a hike in wholesale water rates, they have yet to determine how to pass that increase on to customers.
At last week’s work session, council members tossed around the idea of charging a $3 administration fee as recommended by the city auditor, Beth Grimes. Grimes has repeatedly made the recommendation and the council has continued to refuse it.
For the council, the deciding factor has been the impact the fee would have on the elderly and those on fixed incomes. Recently, the council discussed the idea and almost agreed to tack it on customer’s bills.
But city manager Betty Harper threw out another suggestion, one that would provide as much income without having an adverse effect on those in need.
Her idea was to raise the minimum water rate by a small percentage and increase the additional fee for water used over the minimum.
Baldwin’s in-city customers would see only a $1 increase in the minimum rate.
Councilman Ray Holcomb said: “It’s a fair system. The older folks would see only a small increase and those who use the most water would pay more.”
Mayor Mark Reed commented: “The water rates haven’t been increased for several years. There really is no choice.”
Though the item was on the agenda for approval at Monday’s meeting, the council voted to table the matter for further discussion at the next work session.
OTHER BUSINESS
In other business at Monday’s meeting, the council:
•approved opening a checking account to handle the $150,800 Economic Incentive Program grant to provide sewer service to the new Hayes auto dealership on Highway 365.
•approved hiring Steedley and Hosey Enterprises to administer the EIP grant for the new Hayes auto dealership. Angela Steedley was the grant writer for the project.
•approved a setback variance for a building owned by Jerry Tanksley.
•tabled the payment of two invoices, in the amounts if $17,465 and $7,795, from city engineer Fred Hawkins for services rendered. The council questioned one of the charges and wants to see a more detailed billing of his time before payment is made.


Assistance to families continues to go up
The Banks County Department of Family and Children Services is continuing to see a rise in the number of families seeking financial assistance, according to director Renota Free.
At last week’s board meeting, Free reported that 434 families received $79,807 in food stamps in October, up $5,000 from September figures.
In addition, 49 families received $10,545 under temporary assistance to needy families guidelines, a $1,100 increase.
The staff is investigating 34 cases of child abuse, 26 of which are new referrals. The new referrals include: three cases of physical abuse, three of sexual abuse, two emotional abuse and 18 neglect cases.
Some 18 cases remain pending further investigation and seven were closed due to lack of any evidence of abuse. Seven cases were opened and are under investigation by case workers. Some 21 cases remain under the department’s scrutiny as risks for the children have been identified. The staff worked 55 cases for October.
Free said the department had one new referral of adult abuse that dealt with neglect. The staff is currently working a total of seven adult protective service cases.
In other business, Free reported:
•there was no decision on the new building, but that the subject had been brought up at the chamber’s legislative breakfast held recently.
•the county has legal custody of 17 children with four children available for adoption. Two siblings are in the process of being adopted.
•five new inquiries into child care service had been received. The state has a hold on funding assistance to employed parents who need help paying for childcare. Eight families are in need of the care, but the agency is unable to help them until the freeze is lifted.


Baldwin to extend, upgrade water lines
Residents along L.C. Turner Road in Baldwin have granted the city easements for the extension of a water line planned some years ago.
At last week’s Baldwin City Council work session, Grady and Linda Simmemon, Gina Alford, Fred Blackburn, Angie Pritchett, Wayne Holcomb and Kim Dailey gave their approval for the easements as long as they each are given a tap onto the line and their land is not required to be annexed into the city.
The Simmemons also requested the council follow through on a previous administration’s promise of installing a fire hydrant to serve the area.
The council accepted the terms as presented.
The installation of an eight-inch main will begin as soon as all documents are signed.
The project will be financed through Baldwin’s portion of Habersham County’s special purpose local option sales tax.
At the northern end of Baldwin’s system, replacement of the old line on Highway 105 is also in the planning stages.
The city has been dealing with pressure problems and line failures. With funds disbursed to Baldwin from Banks County’s special purpose local option sales tax, the council will be able to proceed with the project and begin laying new, larger water lines.
City engineer Fred Hawkins reported that the Department of Transportation had turned down Baldwin’s request to pay for the relocation of the city’s water lines due to the DOT’s bridge project on Highway 105.
He said the city is going to have to pick up the tab and should include that section in the Hwy. 105 water line project.
On another water matter, Hawkins discouraged the council from laying a water line through Anderson Village on Highway 365.
Melvin Anderson had asked the city to run the line before he completed an additional parking area and in anticipation of eventually hooking onto it.
Hawkins pointed out that it would end up costing the city more to lay the water line before the sewer line was installed.
He explained that the priority was the sewer line installation and that mandatory tests had to be completed before laying water line.
The council also discussed separating multiple water customers who share a common water meter.
City manager Betty Harper explained that when the bill was not paid, the service was cut-off leaving residents without water and causing extreme distress on both the residents and the water department staff.
The council will take the necessary steps to meter each customer individually.

 


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Kids’ Christmas photos taken through Dec. 1
The annual children’s Christmas section will be published in The Jackson Herald, The Commerce News and The Banks County News on Tuesday, December 23.
The newspapers will be accepting photographs of children ages 8 years and younger through 5 p.m. Monday, December 1, to be published in the section.
The child must live in Jackson or Banks county.
Photos of grandchildren will be taken only if the child resides with the grandparents, and that residency should be noted.
Please submit the following information along with the child’s photo: the first and last name and age of the child, as well as the parents’ names, their city of residence and phone number. Please print clearly.
Black and white or color photos can be used, but no Polaroids or photographs printed out from a computer onto laser paper will be accepted, as they do not reprint well.
The photos may be dropped off at or mailed to any of the newspaper offices and may be picked up there after the publication runs in the paper.
Photos may also be emailed to news@mainstreetnews.com in a .jpeg format.
Names and other information listed above should also be included in emails.


BCN office closed Thurs.
The Banks County News office will be closed Thursday in observance of the Thanksgiving holiday.
The office will be open for its regular hours of 8:30 a.m. to noon on Friday.



Dedication of lights’ planned
A “dedication of lights” sponsored by the town of Homer Mayor and Council will be held Sunday, December 7, at 6 p.m. at the historical courthouse.

Wrong name in Lula story
Should have been Sammy Hudgins
A story in last week’s issue by Shar Porier about the Lula City Council contained an error.
The story listed the city works supervisor as Sammy Reece. This is not correct. The city works supervisor is Sammy Hudgins.
Sammy Reece is a member of the Banks County Planning Commission and a Banks County business owner.
We regret the error.