News from Banks County...

JANUARY 7, 2003

Banks County

Banks County
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Angela Gary
What makes it a great holiday?
Did you have a good holiday? How was Christmas? Was Santa good to you? These are common questions from friends and co-workers after the Christmas holiday is over.

Rochelle Beckstine
Korean blackmail
Nuclear weapons are a real threat; a threat that has the power to leave you sleepless if you let it.

Leopards tame Tigers
Banks blasts Commerce 72-35, downs Towns 64-49
The Banks County Leopards basketball team beat Commerce, 72-35, Friday.

News from
It pays to be an intern in the Jackson County government.
For the second time since December, two part-time interns working at the county administrative office have been hired to fill two high-paying, but unadvertised, county administrative positions.

‘New’ Council To Be Sworn In Monday Night
There will be two city council meetings Monday night at the Commerce Civic Center.

News from
Duplexes denied in Danielsville
A planned eight-family development off Hwy. 29, north of the red light in Danielsville, was turned down by city leaders Monday.
Former Danielsville mayor Marc Perry wants to build four duplexes (or eight family units) on approximately five acres just past the BP station off Hwy. 29.

Colbert leaders sworn in for new terms
The mayor and two councilmen were sworn in for new terms at the Colbert City Council meeting Monday night.
All three were re-elected without opposition to two-year terms.
The Banks County News
Homer, Georgia
Telephone: (706) 367-5233
Fax: (706) 367-8056


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Family celebrated New Year’s together

E-4 Specialist Amanda Justus Coke (front, right) was allowed leave time away from Dobbins Air Force base in Marietta to spend New Year’s Day with her family. Pictured are: (L-R) Wayne Holcomb; Edwinna Holcomb; Coke; and Jessica Holcomb.

Home for the holidays
Banks guardsman marries before heading to Kuwait
A Banks County woman spent the recent holidays with a whirlwind visit with her family and friends. Two days after Christmas, she got married.
What makes this story unusual is that she did all of this before heading to Kuwait for a one-year duty of service. Amanda Justus Coke was in Banks County last week visiting family and friends before leaving for Kuwait.
When Edwinna Holcomb signed for her then 17-year-old daughter, Amanda, to join the Army National Guard in 1999, the enlister told her no women would be fighting on the front lines.
“That was before 9/11,” Holcomb said. “But, in this war, there are no front lines. I’m worried about what might happen.”
Coke will be leaving soon for her one-year assignment to Kuwait. Though the Holcombs are worried about their daughter’s service in Kuwait, Coke, who is an E-4 specialist, is looking forward to going.
“We’ve been on alert since 9/11,” she said. “I’m past the worried part. I’m ready to go and get it over with. I’m excited. When else would I have the chance to go to all these places around the country and the world?”

Lula man charged with New Year’s murder in Gainesville
John Fitzgerald Pierce, 39, of Lula, was arrested and charged with murder by the Hall County Sheriff’s Office on Jan. 1.
Pierce allegedly shot two Hall County residents, killing one and wounding the second, in the presence of a minor.
Hall County deputies responded to a call in the Thousand Oaks Subdivision at 11:30 a.m. on New Year’s Day. Upon arrival, they discovered two victims had been shot after an apparent argument in the street.
April Elaine Bonds, 38, Gainesville, was transported to Northeast Georgia Medical Center for treatment of a gunshot wound. Walter James Robinson, 52, Gainesville, suffered a fatal gunshot wound.
Pierce is charged with murder, aggravated assault, possession of a gun during the commission of a felony, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon and cruelty to children in the second degree. He is currently being held in the Hall County Detention Center without bond.

BOC approves two alcohol licenses, but denies a third
The Banks County Board of Commissioners held a called meeting on New Year’s Eve to approve two last-minute alcohol licenses for 2004, while denying a third request.
Licenses were approved for the Shell Station and Aqua Linda restaurant, both located at Banks Crossing.
A request for an alcohol license from the Phillips 66 station, also located at Banks Crossing, was denied because no payment for the permit had been received by the start of the meeting at 2 p.m. The Banks County Sheriff’s Department was notified of the decision and will report any illegal selling of alcohol from that station, said commission chairman Ken Brady.
The permit for the Philips 66 station will be reviewed again when the commissioners meet for a work session meeting on Thursday, Jan. 9, at 9 a.m., provided the fee has been paid.
Also, in a motion brought by commissioner Rickey Cain, the board voted in favor of allowing all alcohol-serving establishments in Banks County to remain open and serve alcohol for an additional two hours on New Year’s Eve. Establishments were allowed to serve alcohol until 2 a.m., instead of the usual midnight restriction.
Commissioner Pat Westmoreland wasn’t present for the meeting.
April Reese Sorrow
joins The BCN staff

April Reese Sorrow has joined the MainStreet Newspapers Inc. staff as a reporter.
She will be covering several meetings in Banks County, including the board of education, the board of commissioners, the planning commission and the development authority.
She will also cover the Maysville City Council and the crime and court coverage for Banks County.
Mrs. Sorrow will also cover sports for the Banks County area and be responsible for the page production of the sports pages each week. She will also write an occasional column.
She is a graduate of the University of Georgia with a bachelor’s degree in communications and a graduate of Young Harris College with an associate degree in education. She has been employed with the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences at the University of Georgia as a staff writer since May 2002. Mrs. Sorrow and her husband, Bucky, reside in Nicholson.
Mrs. Sorrow can be reached at 367-2348 or at

Chevron reports robbery attempt
An attempted robbery took place at the Royal Food Chevron station located at 172 Otis Brown Road, Baldwin, on New Year’s Day.
Banks County Sheriff, Charles Chapman, reported that two perpetrators allegedly entered the building through the ceiling.
“The perpetrators apparently entered the building by coming through the roof and down the duct vent,” he said. “They were caught on film dropping from the ceiling.”
Although caught on film, the two were wearing ski masks and, therefore, remain unidentified.
Officers reporting to process the scene found one mask on the side of Hwy. 441 believed to have been worn by one of the perpetrators.
Once inside the building, the individuals tried to gain access to the safe but were unsuccessful.
If anyone has any information that can help Banks County prosecute these individuals, contact the sheriff’s office at (706) 677-2248.


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Bound for the nation’s capitol
County leaders headed to Washington, D.C., to meet with legislators
Members of the Banks County business community will be visiting Washington, D.C., on Tuesday, Jan. 20, to meet with legislators.
The group will be meeting with Rep. Charlie Norwood and other legislators to discuss Banks County and promote the area. The Banks County group will also meet with representatives from the USDA and the department of industry, tourism and trade.
“One of the goals is to try to build the image of Banks County,” said Rick Billingslea, Banks County Chamber of Commerce director.
He said the county needs to attract technology and business to the area, while at the same time preserving the agricultural community. Billingslea said another goal will be to bring higher paying jobs to the area.
“We also want to seek and secure funding for projects that we’re interested in,” he said.
Among those going on the trip are Rickey Cain, a member of the board of commissioners; Jerry Boling, president of the Chamber of Commerce; Jack Banks, chairman of the development authority; Tammy Kennedy, vice president of the chamber; Sen. Ralph Hudgens; and a number of members of the business community.
Billingslea said the trip was planned after he attended a seminar where legislators from Washington, D.C., spoke on the importance of county leaders to have government contacts not only in Atlanta, but in Washington, D.C.
“They said, y’all come to see us,” he said.

Maysville City Council postpones meeting
The Maysville City Council has postponed its first meeting of the year.
The meeting will be held at 7:30 p.m. on Monday in the Maysville Public Library.
The city council usually meets on the first Monday of the month.

Alto to meet Jan. 13
The Alto Town Council will meet at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 13. The new mayor and council will be sworn in at the meeting.