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APRIL 7, 2004


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OPINIONS
Angela Gary
Popphan served community well
People across Banks County will miss Winford Popphan as he retires from the Department of Natural Resources. He served this area well, from tracking down litterers to hosting gun safety awareness to keeping tabs on our fishing lakes.

Editorial
Good to see community involvement
It’s good to see people getting involved in our smaller communities.
Volunteers cleaned the roads in Baldwin over the weekend, while people went to Alto for the spring fling.


SPORTS
Two in a row for Diamond Leopards
The Banks County varsity baseball team defeated Rabun and Dawson counties last week.
A game scheduled for Tuesday, March 30, against Greater Atlanta Christian was rained out and re-scheduled for April 15.


News from
JACKSON COUNTY
New snafu: 30% of courthouse not in Jefferson
As if the location, financing and cost of the new Jackson County Courthouse weren’t enough for citizens to think about, now there’s a new issue to confront — not all of the $25 million, 124,000 sq. ft. facility is inside the city limits of Jefferson.

Easter activities listed by local churches
The following local churches have announced their special events for Easter, including services and egg hunts.


News from
MADISON COUNTY
State to investigate tax assessor’s office
Meanwhile, conflict between two county offices runs deep
A conflict between the county commission chairman’s office and the county tax assessor’s department is now a mighty tangled web.

Colbert, Danielsville postpone decision on IDA water proposal
The county industrial development authority (IDA) is asking both Colbert and Danielsville officials to let their city’s water systems serve as backup sources for a newly-planned county system.

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Carried the Alto city flag

Alto city clerk Penny Rogers (L), and city bookkeeper Toni Sheridan (R) carried the city flag in the parade Saturday to kick off “Spring Fling.” Riding the pink motorcycle is five-year-old Autumn Rogers. See this weeks Banks County News for pictures.


Churches announce Easter services
The following local churches have announced their special Easter events, including services and egg hunts.
Hickory Flat United Methodist Church, Homer: The Last Supper will be commemorated on Thursday, April 8, at 7 p.m. The supper will “reflect and focus on the crucifixion,” organizers stated. An Easter sunrise service will be held April 11, at 7:15 a.m., in the church’s prayer garden, followed by a continental breakfast in the fellowship hall. The traditional Easter service will be held in the church’s sanctuary at 11 a.m. The church is located at 3409 Hwy. 51 South. For more information, call (706) 677-2049.
Homer United Methodist Church, Homer: An Easter sunrise service will be conducted at Banks Memorial Gardens, Homer, on April 11, at 7 a.m. The Rev. Jim McLendon, pastor of Homer United Methodist Church, will preach. Following the service presided over by several local ministers, an Easter breakfast will be hosted by Homer UMC free of charge at the Garrison Civic Center, Homer. Special music will be provided by the chancel choir of Homer UMC. In the event of rain, the event will be held at the Garrison Civic Center.
Webbs Creek Baptist Church, Homer: An Easter sunrise service will be held on Sunday, April 11, at 6:30 a.m. Sunday school begins at 8:30 a.m. and the worship service starts at 9:30 a.m. The church is located at 647 Webbs Creek Road. For more information, call (706) 677-3249.
Unity Christian Church, Maysville: An Easter “Eggstravaganza” will be held Saturday, April 10, at 11 a.m. for children ages two through fifth grade. A sunrise service will be held on Easter Sunday, April 11, at 7 a.m. with breakfast to follow. The church’s choir will present the cantata “Our God Reigns,” arranged by Tom Fettke, during the morning hours. The church is located at 70 Unity Church Circle.
Hebron Presbyterian Church: A “Tenebrae Service of Shadows” will be held Friday, April 9, from 7-8 p.m. Childcare will be provided. An Easter egg hunt will be held on Saturday, April 10, at 10:30 a.m. The Easter worship service is set for Sunday, April 11, at 11 a.m.
Lighthouse Congregational Holi-ness Church, Commerce: An Easter egg hunt and cook-out will be held Saturday, April 10, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. The church is located on Hwy. 98, between Maysville and Commerce. For more information, contact Sherry Lewis at 652-3285.

Little Country Church, Commerce: An Easter sunrise service will be held Sunday, April 11, at 7 a.m. Sunday school begins at 10 a.m. and the worship service starts at 11 a.m. Sunday evening worship service is set at 6 p.m. The church is located at 1151 Old Airport Road. For more information, call (706) 367-7019.

Beaverdam Baptist Church, Commerce: An Easter egg hunt will be held Saturday, April 10, at 2 p.m. A sunrise service will be held at 7:30 a.m. on Easter Sunday with the Rev. Roy Rogers speaking. It will be followed by breakfast at 8 a.m., Sunday school at 9 a.m. and a cantata at 10 a.m. There will be no evening service. The church is located on Ga. Hwy. 59 in Banks County. For more information, call (706) 335-7619 or (706) 677-2944.

Maysville United Methodist Church, Maysville: A community Easter celebration will be held at Maysville’s Veteran Park on Saturday, April 10, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. More than 6,000 eggs will be hidden and prizes will be given in various categories. There will also be a 20 foot slide, moon walk, clowns, balloons, snow-cones and cotton candy. All events are free for everyone. Also, a chickenque will be held Saturday, April 10, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., at the church. Plates are $6 each with extra plates are available without prior ticket purchase. An Easter sunrise service will be held Sunday, April 11, at 7 a.m., at Strickland Hall, located at 8584 Maysville Road. The men’s club of the church will prepare breakfast.
An extended traditional service starts at 10:30 a.m., at the church. There will be no Sunday school classes. The church is located at 16 N. Main Street, Maysville. For more information, call (706) 652-2978, (706) 367-8388 or (706) 336-8019.

St. Catherine Laboure Catholic Mission, Commerce: Holy Thursday Mass will be held April 8, at 5:30 p.m. A Good Friday service, April 9, will start at 3 p.m. with the Stations of the Cross and a “Celebration of the Lord’s Passion” at 7 p.m. The Easter Sunday celebration of Holy Mass will be held April 11, at 11:30 a.m. St. Catherine’s is located at 708 State Street. Father Darragh W. Griffith is pastor. For more information, call Father Griffith, at (706) 886-2819 or John Burke Jr., deacon, at (706) 335-3988.

Berea Baptist Church, Commerce: An Easter sunrise service will be held on Sunday, April 11, at 7 a.m., at the Berea Community Center on Hwy. 334. Breakfast will be served after the service by the “Berea Men.” An Easter play will be presented on Sunday, at 11 a.m. The church is located on Berea Church Road. For more information, call the Rev. Terry James, pastor, at (706) 788-2925.


Winford Popphan retires from DNR
From hunting down illegal trash dumpers to catching illegal hunters, Ranger Winford Popphan, 60, has just about seen it all during his 16 years of service with the Department of Natural Resources.
Recently, he decided it was time to retire and swapped his uniform for civilian clothes.
“I am going to miss this,” he said. “I love this job. I wish I was 21 again and could start all over. How often do you find a job that pays you for having fun?”
For 14 years, Popphan has worked the back roads of Banks County and the Wilson Shoals Wildlife Management Area trying to keep roads clean and hunters legal.
“I remember one time, we had set up a deer decoy to catch hunters who were shooting from their vehicles using spot lights,” he said. “We had the deer set up and this Cadillac stops. These two little old ladies started “shooing” the deer away and saying ‘You had better get out of there before some fool sees you and shoots you.’ The driver honked the horn and got out of the car yelling at the decoy. We sat there and laughed, then went up to them and told them what we were doing.”
Popphan nailed six groups of hunters that night.
He has lots of stories — some humorous, some down-right dangerous.
“You just never know about people,” he said. “We stopped to check a fishing license and ran the normal background check. Turned out the man was wanted on murder and child molestation warrants. We apprehended him and turned him over to the authorities.”
A few years back, he found abandoned puppies along an illegal dumpsite on Shepherd Lane that had been on his hit list. Every kind of trash imaginable had been dumped there, including tires, appliances, furniture, wiring and household garbage. In the midst of all that were the puppies. One had been brutally killed. The rest were sick from mange, fleas, ticks and starvation. Popphan loaded them up to take to a veterinary hospital.
“There was no choice but to euthanize them,” he said. “It doesn’t say much for some people. Who’d do a thing like that?”
Using surveillance equipment, he identified many illegal dumpers. In some instances, he sorted through bags of stinking garbage to find letters or bills to track them down.
He said he prefers getting the violator out to pick up trash rather than send him to jail. It serves a purpose and teaches a lesson. He didn’t have many second-time offenders.
“Every day is different,” he said. “You never know what you’ll be facing. One time we found a number of 55-gallon drums stored at a residence. The contents were highly toxic, PCBs. The man ran a disposal service and was supposed to be getting rid of the drums. Instead, he just brought them home. The EPA and EPD took over on that one. He faced some serious charges.”
For two years, he was on the governor’s drug task force and searched the woods for marijuana patches and was called in to help with methamphetamine labs. He even found a few moonshine stills.
But, the part of his job he liked the best was working with the children at the schools, the annual fishing rodeo at Hammer’s Glenn and the annual kid’s dove and deer hunts.
“There’s nothing like seeing a little three-year-old girl catch her first fish, or a kid bag his first deer,” he said. “The look on their faces is just priceless. I’ve got some good memories. ”
There were presentations of stuffed wildlife made to the Banks County Middle School and releases of owls and other creatures back into the wild.
Popphan worked closely with members of the Grove Level Christian Sportsmanship Association to start firearms safety classes for women and teens.
That’s what worried him the most, that the programs will be discontinued since he’s not around. He said he hopes the GLCSA will continue his efforts.
Monday, he turned in his beloved uniform and all the trappings to his sergeant, David Henderson, at the DNR headquarters in Gainesville. It was hard, but with his wife of 35 years, Elaine, beside him, one-by-one he turned in the gear that had served him so well.
Henderson said: “He’ll be sorely missed around here. He’s got a lot of energy and did a great job for the department.”
Though Popphan’s last day on the job was Saturday, his official retirement doesn’t begin until July 1.
Popphan said: “I’ve got all this vacation time built up, so I’m going to use it.”
Before settling down to a life without alarm clocks and schedules, he and Elaine plan to visit their grandchildren.
Elaine said: “It’s going to be hard on him. This is a tough decision. But, there’s plenty to keep him busy. We’re building a new home in northern Banks County. I’m sure he’ll find enough to do to keep him occupied, at least for a while.”
Popphan said with a smile: “I’ll still be around keeping an eye on things. You haven’t seen the last of me.”

 


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Annual Easter egg hunt set for Sunday
Mack and Sandra Garrison will host the huge annual Easter egg hunt on their farm land on Easter Sunday.
The hunt will begin at 2 p.m. and is open to children of all ages. A special area is cordoned off for babies and toddlers.
Hidden with the 100,000 candy eggs the Garrisons and community volunteers hide will be 125 prize eggs. The children who find them will have their choice of a live bunny, stuffed bunny or a basket of Easter goodies.
The event will take place at the Garrison’s farm on Highway 51 South across from Banks County Primary School this Sunday.


Road named for Buster Garrison
Ceremony set Mon.
The Homer Bypass in Banks County will be dedicated as the “M.E. ‘Buster’ Garrison Bypass’ at a ceremony set for 2 p.m. on Monday, April 12, at the Garrison Civic Center in Homer.
State transportation board member Steve Reynolds will host the dedication. Also on the program are Bonnie Johnson, Ken Kirby and Elliott Caudell.
Garrison served as the Homer mayor for 38 years and was in the lumber business. He played a pivotal role in the formation of the Banks County Public Library, as well as helping to establish the Herbert Garrison Civic Center in honor of his late brother. He also served on the BJC Hospital Authority, the Georgia Forestry Commission and the Banks County Clean and Beautiful Commission.
Garrison was also the long-time host of the “World’s Largest Easter Egg Hunt” in Homer which was in the Guinness World Book of Records. He was also recipient of the Banks County “Good Citizen” award and was named an honorary and life-time member of the Banks County Chamber of Commerce and was recognized by Gov. Zell Miller for his public service.
The portion of the road that will be named in honor of Garrison is State Route 15/U.S. 441 beginning at County Road 7 and ending at County Road 105.