News from Banks County...

DECEMBER 24, 2003


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OPINIONS
Angela Gary
Toting 30 pounds around Nashville
“Tote you, Gee Gee.” I heard this message more times than I can remember over a four-day weekend in Nashville, Tenn. I of course, would oblige and pick up my 30-pound plus nephew.

Editorial
One life
The imagery of the Christ Child being born in a stable beneath a bright star surrounded by both learned Wise Men and humble shepherds is one of the most powerful pictures in human history.


SPORTS
An exercise in mental toughness
BCHS strong man challenge isn’t typical weight training group
Molding good athletes means more than building strength, power and speed. A lot of it has to do with mental toughness.


News from
JACKSON COUNTY
Dear Santa
Postmaster shares some holiday correspondence
Around this time every year, the Jefferson Post Office gets an assortment of “wonderful letters to Santa,” David Hollomon, postmaster, says.

Making a holiday connection
Holiday Connection provides Christmas gifts for nearly 460 families and some 800 children
The hallways and conference room at the Jefferson office of the Department of Family and Children Services were arranged with toys and packages and a bicycle here and there Thursday morning, as the Holiday Connection connections were still being made with a week left until Christmas.

News from
MADISON COUNTY
Another reversal
BOC turns down Lem Edwards subdivision
County commissioners again reversed a planning commission decision Monday, voting 4-1 to deny a rezoning request for a Lem Edwards Road subdivision.

Concession stand, restrooms approved for rec football field
The track and football field at the county's main recreation park will soon have a concession stand and restroom area.

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THE STAFF AND THEIR TREES

Banks County Middle School’s lunchroom staff decorated the cafeteria with trees for Christmas. Pictured are: (front, L-R) Brenda Allen, Penny Maxwell, Edwinna Holcomb, (back) Charlotte Parks, Peggy Boisclair, Phyllis McConnell, Diane Brady, Denise Shubert, Kathy Sheridan and Liz Evans.

Teenage boy severely injured in shooting
Kid takes shotgun blast to the legs
A 15-year-old teenager is recovering in an Atlanta hospital after taking a shotgun blast to the legs last week.
Banks County Sheriff Charles Chapman said deputies responded to Race Trac in Banks Crossing Friday on a call of a person having been shot.
The deputies found the teenager with shotgun wounds to both legs just below his waist. The teen was transported to BJC Medical Center and then flown to Atlanta for further treatment.
Chapman said deputies learned that the boy had been shot at a Ridgeway Church Road home. Officers went to the home and arrested Loyd Lee Turpin, 74, in connection with the shooting. He has been charged with aggravated battery.
Investigators have since learned that the boy once lived with Turpin but was made to move out, leaving some property at the residence. Chapman said that the night before the shooting, Turpin sent word to the teenager that he should come to the home and get his stuff or it would be destroyed.
According to witness statements, the teen’s mother and another woman drove him to Turpin’s house.
The teen got out of the car and made his way to the front of the vehicle.
Chapman said witnesses told investigators that once the boy reached the front of the car, Turpin stepped out of his house and fired the 12-gauge pump shotgun loaded with 00-buckshot at the boy.
Chapman said he is not sure of the extent of the teen’s injuries but that it was a “very serious injury.”
He also said that Turpin told investigators that the boy had threatened to burn his home down.
As of Sunday, Turpin remained incarcerated in the Banks County Jail.
Chapman said that at the moment, Turpin was only being charged with aggravated assault. However, the investigation continues in the case, he said.


They’re like her ‘babies’
Local girl has racked up on awards showing Chiangus heifers
Ask Banks County High School senior Ashley Denton about showing cattle and she’ll tell you quickly that it’s a hobby for anybody.
“People are finally realizing that to show cattle, you don’t have to be a redneck,” she said. “Cattle are for anybody.”
This local FFA (Future Farmers of America) president has taken Chiangus heifers from Chi G Farms in Banks County all over the state and the southeast. She’s come home with a plethora of awards, both for her showmanship and for the actual cows themselves.
And what started out as a hobby for Denton has grown into a passion that all began when she expressed a little interest to a Banks County couple more than two years ago.
MAYBE NOT PIGS
Denton grew up as the daughter of Volkswagen enthusiasts. She grew up around cars. And she knows a lot about them.
But she decided during the summer before her 10th grade year that she wanted to carve out her own niche in the world.
“This is something different for me, a whole new world and another chapter of my life,” Denton said of livestock showing. “I love cars, but cows are my passion.”
Her interest first spiked after her boyfriend showed a heifer while he was in high school. She thought in the beginning about showing pigs. Her father, however, talked her out of them.
Denton then expressed interest to Tim and Judy Gilstrap, the owners of Chi G Farms. They told her they had a heifer to show and so the farm paired up with Denton and a passion was born.
“At first, I was scared of the calf,” Denton said. “I thought it was too big. Now, I love my cows. They’re like my babies.”
Denton said that the calves she helps take care of have become an escape for her.
“When I have a bad day, I look forward to coming over here,” she said. “I talk to them like they are my pets.”
SHOWING AND WINNING
Since Denton got into cattle showing, she’s been to events all over the state and the southeast.
The awards she has won for showmanship and the calves have won for their breeding fill up boxes and walls.
Denton has been to South Carolina, Tennessee and a large International Livestock Expo in Kentucky, competing against people from all over the country, including the “big boys” from Texas.
“In Texas, they take it seriously,” she said.
She also has done quite well in local shows throughout the state. In one year, she went from 17th overall in the Georgia Club Calf Producers Association points standings to finishing fourth last year.
Denton also competed in the American Cattlemen Association’s queen contest in Louisville. The queen hands out ribbons at events across the country.
Denton submitted a portfolio and an essay and underwent a panel interview in Louisville for the competition. She got second runner up.
“That was a big privilege for me to be able to be a part of something like that,” she said. “Those chances don’t come along every day.”
She’ll be going off to the big state FFA/4-H show in Perry in February. That show is one of the biggest in the state for junior showers.
GOOD TO SEE KIDS INTERESTED
One of the biggest benefits Denton can point to about cattle showing has been the traveling and the new friends.
Going around to shows has taken her to places she wouldn’t otherwise visit, meeting people she might never have known.
“I have a whole different group of friends there,” she said.
Andy Pendl, a herdsman at Chi G Farms, said that showing cattle benefits the kids. When he was young and showing cattle, he met people and made friends that now, since he has gotten out of college, he calls upon from time to time for help in the agriculture field.
Denton said she plans to go on to Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College (ABAC) after graduating from high school and pursue a degree in either animal science or pre-vet, hoping one day to work with large animal reproduction.
Pendl said he’s glad to see kids like Denton getting into agriculture.
“It’s been good working with Ashley,” he said. “She really enjoys it. A lot of kids don’t want to put in the effort. It’s good to see that she’s done well and the cattle we’ve produced go out into the local area and get awards.”
So for as long as she can, Denton plans to keep showing cattle. And maybe one day, she’ll be breeding award-winning cattle of her own — reaching her ultimately goal of owning a farm and raising her own cows.

 


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Small amount of marijuana found at BCHS
A random drug dog search at Banks County High School netted a small amount of marijuana recently.
Principal Art Wheaton said drug dogs searched all lockers, the gym and random cars in the parking lot. He said a small amount of marijuana was found. The school routinely does such random drug searches.


Early deadlines set for next issue
The Banks County News will have early deadlines for next week’s issue due to the New Year’s Day holiday.
The deadline for classified advertisements will be at noon on Friday, Dec. 26, while the display advertisement deadline will be 3 p.m. The deadline for news, including church and social announcements, will be at 5 p.m. on Friday.
The New Year’s issue will be on the news stands on Tuesday, Dec. 30. Mailed subscriptions will also be sent to the post office one day ahead of the regular schedule.
The News office will be closed on Thursday, January 1, in observance of New Year’s Day.


Ranger urges countians not to litter
With the holiday season upon us, Banks County DNR Ranger Winford Popphan is asking citizens to properly dispose of their trash.
“It is not only ugly, it is a crime to litter,” Popphan said. “Littering is a very serious problem in our county and with the upcoming Christmas season, it will escalate.”
Popphan said he hopes county citizens will get rid of their wrapping paper, ribbons and boxes properly to help keep Banks County beautiful.
Residents can report littering problems to Popphan at 770-869-7705 or to Banks County marshall Keith Covington at 677-4272.


DOT shooting for July 2004 bypass finish
State department of transportation officials are shooting for a July 2004 completion on the $41.3 million Hwy. 441 Homer bypass project.
DOT spokesman Bert Brantley said Monday that 82 percent of the project has been completed, with more than a half-mile of concrete already put down on the road surface.
Brantley said the DOT hopes to get the concrete paving done and open the highway next summer. But just as with the rest of the project, that will be weather dependent.
“Our problem continues to be wet weather,” he said. “Now that it’s cold, the wet ground is not drying. We can work in the cold but not with it cold and wet.”
In September, workers began laying a special synthetic material to give the road’s base more support due to the extremely wet weather. Brantley said that material has worked well so far, and without it, work would not have progressed as much as it has.
The Hwy. 441 Homer bypass project started in April 2000. The highway, which has costs $6.7 million per mile to build, includes eight double bridges.
The high cost of the road, Brantley has said, results from the unusual number of bridges on such a short stretch of road.
The Homer bypass is part of a state-wide project to four-lane several highways through the entire state.