News from Banks County...

DECEMBER 3, 2003

Banks County

Banks County
Banks County

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Angela Gary
Classic Center brings top quality shows to north Georgia
For those who love theater, the Classic Center in Athens offers several top-notch performances each year. Fame kicked off the 2003-2004 season in late November and The Music Man is set to take the stage on Monday night.

Phillip Sartain
‘Be the sale’
Lest there be any doubt, shopping is the official sport of womankind. Being married and having three daughters gave me some inkling of the truth. But personally spending the day after Thanks-giving at an outlet mall convinced me that it’s not a contest for the weak, the timid, or the male of the species.

Tourney Sweep
Leopards get first two wins in holiday tourney; GAC comes to Homer Fri.
The Leopards will no doubt have their hands full in the next few games. But head basketball coach Mike Ruth said that’s the way his kids like it.

News from
Radar back on in Pendergrass limits
DOT says police were working within the law
After a short hiatus, the radars are once again catching speeders on the Pendergrass Bypass (U.S. Hwy. 129).
Last month, the Pendergrass Police Department voluntarily halted using radar when officials learned a small strip on the bypass wasn’t in the city limits.

Local holiday events kick off this weekend
The holiday season has arrived in Jackson County and festivities are planned throughout the month, beginning this weekend in Jefferson, Maysville and Hoschton.
Parades, tours of homes, visits with Santa and luncheons are among the holiday events planned throughout the county.

News from
Comer Christmas Parade set for Sat.
Madison County will welcome “Santa” Saturday in Comer, as the city holds its annual Christmas parade at 2 p.m.

City approves water to sports complex
The Danielsville City Council voted unanimously Monday to provide city water to the new school sports complex across from the high school.
The school system requested that Danielsville supply water to two concession and two restroom areas at the new sports complex, which is in the early stages of construction.
The Banks County News
Homer, Georgia
Telephone: (706) 367-5233
Fax: (706) 367-8056


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David Noriega walks around the Tanger Outlet Mall in Banks County carrying the items he bought during the big after-Thanksgiving rush over the weekend.

At Banks Crossing, there’s A whole lotta shopping going on
Banks Crossing scores big with shoppers from near and far
Though it was a rainy and cold start to the holiday shopping season during Thanksgiving weekend, shoppers at the outlet centers at Banks Crossing bundled up and hit the stores looking for that special gift.
Mark Valentine, general manager of Tanger, said traffic was off a bit on Friday due to the weather, but it picked up on Saturday and Sunday.
“I’m still working on the report for the weekend, but it looks like we did pretty well,” he said. “The rain hurt us on Friday, so the traffic was a bit slower. We still had full parking lots all three days.”
Valentine said merchants had reported that customers were spending more then last year and that their stores were seeing big increases over last year.
“It looks like the consumer is out to spend some money,” he said. “We had a slight increase of about three percent this weekend over last year. And that may be on the low side. We may have met the national retail increase of five percent. Things have been getting better and better.”
David Noriega and his son, Jonathan, 10, St. Mary’s, have been frequent visitors to the outlet malls for holiday shopping. On Saturday, he said of the 10 people they were shopping for, only one more remained. They were confident that last present would be found before they left.
Annissa Williams and her friend, Kelly Arwood, both from York, S.C., were coming from a toy store with a huge stuffed tiger and numerous bags filled with presents.
“We come here every year,” Williams said. “We start on Friday and stay through Sunday to get all our shopping done.”
Both of them had a list of 30 or so people to buy for this year.
Though Christmas shopping was on her mind, Kay Dunn, Columbia, S.C., was happy buying birthday presents for herself.
“It’s my birthday today,” she said. “I’m shopping for me.”
Her friend Kim Scott, also from Columbia, had also put off shopping for gifts to spend the day looking for bargains for herself.
Habersham countians Ricky and Rachelle Woodruff were busy shopping for 25 people.
“It’s too many,” he laughed. “The list keeps growing.”
Mrs. Woodruff said they get all the shopping done in one day at the Banks Crossing stores.
Things at The Pottery were busy Saturday as people came to buy Christmas decorations, Christmas trees and gifts.
Tom Evans, Clarkesville, said he has been coming to The Pottery for the past three years to get the “big” tree.
“No one else carries the big ones like they do here,” he said. “Last year, we had a 15-footer. This year, we had to settle for a 12-footer. A friend of ours came over from Japan last Christmas and helped us decorate the tree. It was the first time she had done that. She really enjoyed it. And we enjoyed seeing her so happy. We tried to talk her into coming back this year, but…”
His wife, Tina, said Pottery employee Jerry Woody always gives them great service.
“He’s one of the reasons we keep coming back,” she said. “He takes good care of us.”
Also shopping at The Pottery was a family of six from Seneca, S.C. Jeff and Hope Rochester had children, Elizabeth Ann, 3; Jeffrey Jr., 5; Daniel, 2; and 10-month-old Katherine in shopping carts.
Mrs. Rochester said it wasn’t easy shopping with the whole family.
“Next year, I’ll stay home and baby-sit while he does the shopping,” she laughed.
Many shoppers took advantage of the free gift wrapping offered at Tanger One through the Banks Crossing Ministries Group. Gift boxes in all shapes and sizes lined the walls of the vacant store along with boxes and boxes of wrapping paper. People began coming in as soon as the doors opened at 11 a.m.
Sharon Bibbs and Linda Stringfellow, both from Edgefeild, S.C., had a few presents to be wrapped.
“I have 15 people to buy for,” Bibbs said. “I’ve got two done so far.”
Stringfellow said she had 22 on her list and added: “We’ll get them all done today.”
According to Diane Purcell, churches from Athens to Clayton donated money, boxes, ribbon, bows, tape and wrapping paper for the Saturday event.
“There are volunteers from several churches,” she said. “Maysville Baptist is starting things off today. The free gift wrapping will continue next Saturday and again on the 13th from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. both days.”
Valentine said he was pleased with the arrangement and credited Kevin Kurtz with the program’s success.
“He and I met a few years ago, and he asked if there was something he could do,” he said. “He got dozens of churches together and we have this great program for our shoppers. It touches people in a positive way. Next Saturday, the churches are making cookie trays for all the stores’ employees. That’s a nice thing to do.”

Planners give nod to chicken house variance
Joe Tu has gotten one step closer to building his planned four chicken houses off Hwy. 441.
The planning commission recommended approval Tuesday of his variance request to reduce the setbacks on a portion of the property from 200 to 150 feet.
Tu had the property, 256 acres, rezoned to commercial agriculture district in September to build the breeder houses. But due to the lay of the land and a creek on the property, a portion of two of the houses won’t be able to meet the required 200-foot setback from the property line.
The setback in question would lie along the side of the property adjoining land the state Department of Transportation owns.
Zoning officer Keith Covington said the DOT has offered its approval to the setback variance since it won’t be using the land adjacent to the property.
Finally approval lies in the commissioner’s hands. They’ll meet Tuesday at 7 p.m. in the courthouse.
The planning commission also:
•recommended approval of Ramada Limited’s variance request to move an existing 55-foot tall sign at Banks Crossing to another location closer to the highway on the hotel’s property. The BOC will vote on the matter.
•recommended approval of Hugh Gordon’s conditional use application to build two poultry houses on 42.5 acres of ARR property on Skeeter Drive. Gordon pointed out that the fans for the chicken houses will blow away from any area residences. The BOC gets the final say-so Tuesday.
•recommended approval of an ordinance amendment repealing a requirement that timber harvesters post a cash bond with the county before cutting any forests. The ordinance will be changed to instead require a bank letter of credit or a surety bond. The commissioners will vote on the amendment Tuesday.


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Light dedication planned in Homer
The Homer mayor and council will sponsor a “dedication of lights” on Sunday, December 7, at 6 p.m. at the historical courthouse.

DOT to seek public input at Dec. 11 meeting
The Georgia Department of Transportation will hold a public meeting to discuss a transportation study for Banks County on Thursday, Dec. 11, from 4 to 6 p.m., at Banks County High School.
Banks County is one of three counties that is participating in a transportation study. Jackson and Franklin counties are also part of the study.
“Transportation planners and engineers will consider the transportation systems available in the area now, as well as future needs of these three rapidly growing counties,” said Todd I. Long, DOT district engineer.
“Recommendations will be made for transportation improvements that may include widening roadways, improving intersections and using advanced technologies that can help traffic move more efficiently,” he added. “Transit, bicyclist and pedestrian needs will also be included in the study.”
Transportation planners and engineers will make a presentation about the study. The public is welcomed to attend and ask questions.
A second round of meetings will be held in early 2004 to present recommendations from the study.

Kids’ Christmas photo deadline extended through Friday
The annual children’s Christmas section will be published in The Banks County News, The Commerce News and The Jackson Herald on Wednesday, December 24.
The newspapers will be accepting photographs of children ages 8 years and younger through a final deadline at 5 p.m. Friday, December 5, 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 in a .jpeg format. Names and other information listed above should also be included.