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JULY 21, 2004


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OPINIONS
Phillip Sartain
Don’t be stupid if you can help it
Lately, I’ve noticed that a lot of subtle things happen to guys over the course of a marriage. Some of them are physical changes and some of them are mental. Most of them are simply annoying. But others are more serious, like contracting S.T.U.P.I.D.

Rochelle Beckstine
Tort reform
Last weekend, I sat down and turned on the TV, stopping to watch what I believed was one of those reality medical shows, but what turned out to be a call for help by the American Medical Association on behalf of Georgia doctors.


SPORTS
Leopards feel heat as practice begins
Ninty degree heat beat down on Banks County blue football helmets Monday as coach Greg Moore held the first official football practice of the season.


News from
JACKSON COUNTY
Landslide!
Bell boots Fletcher 84% to 16%. Thomason ousted by political newcomer. Crow elected to BOC without a runoff in 4-person race. Benton looks to have unseated Elrod in a squeaker

Largest County Departments
Ranked by Expenses in 2003
(Only departments above $150,000 expenses in 2003)
Rank Department Expenses Expenses
2003 2002


News from
MADISON COUNTY
BOC vote on shopping complex set for Monday
Zoning board divided 3-3 on proposed development
Madison County commissioners will vote “yes” or “no” Monday on whether to approve a shopping center in a largely rural area of Madison County.
It’s a hotly debated topic, pitting two opposing views of what’s best for the county.

Runoffs set for Aug. 10
Bellew, Chandler to face off for chance to run against Nash in November
Skipper, Mason runoff set for BOE District 5 seat. Lavender retains DA’s seat; Thomas, Scoggins claim primary victories

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Recording the votes

Kathy Hill, probate office, lists the vote counts for the candidates after Tuesday’s polls closed.


Popphan, Mote in magistrate run-off
Chapman wins over Anderson
Winford Popphan and Ivan Mote will be facing each other in a run-off for the magistrate judge’s seat on August 10.
Popphan came away with 912 votes in Tuesday’s election, while Mote had 750. Frankie Gardiner had 644 votes; Luke Parson had 318; and Danny Lord had 276. Incumbent Henry David Banks did not seek re-election.
Voter turnout was 45 percent for Tuesday’s primary with 3,027 of Banks County’s 6,723 voters casting a ballot.
The Democratic face-off between incumbent sheriff Charles Chapman and contender Doug Anderson ended with a clear win for Chapman in a 1,144 to 493 vote. Chapman will face Republican Allen Venable in the November election.
In the county coroner race, Billy Poole will run on the Democrat ticket after a runaway vote of 1,207 to John Reinke’s 327. Poole will face Republican coroner candidate Henry Galloway in the November election.
In the Republican race for the District 28 House of Representatives seat, Michael Hardin took the most votes in Banks County with 754, with challenger James Wiles taking 393. With 81 percent of the precincts reporting as of press time Wednesday morning, Harden was also in the lead with 2,049 votes, while Wiles had 722.
The winner will face incumbent Jeanette Jamieson in the November election.
In the District 50 senate seat race, Chan Caudell took the most votes in Banks County, but Nancy Schaefer was in the lead district-wide at press time. In Banks County, Caudell had 602 votes, while Schaefer had 547. Stanley “Butch” Darnell had 104 votes in Banks County.
District-wide, Schaefer had 6,497 votes as of press time Wednesday, with 91 percent of the precincts reporting. Caudell had 5,433 votes and Darnell had 1,870.
The winner will face Democrat Bob Stowe in the November election.
Also on tap for the November election will be the board of commission chairman’s race where incumbent Kenneth Brady will face Gene Hart. The two didn’t face any opposition in the primary.

New BCMS nearing completion, Erwin says
School system’s construction project ahead of schedule and under budget
Construction at the new Banks County Middle School is nearing completion. Superintendent Chris Erwin said Monday the project is two weeks ahead of schedule and under budget.
“There is a tremendous amount of construction going on in Banks County,” Erwin said. “August 9 is a big day for us. There is a bright future in Banks County and I’m excited to be a part of it.”
Erwin said the fire marshal should conduct the final inspection early next week, which would allow teachers to start setting up classrooms after the certificate of occupancy is issued. A construction report presented to the board said the parking lot will be complete by July 28. Ceiling grid, VCT, sidewalks, landscaping, casework, carpet and glazed tile are all complete. The gym floor, kitchen equipment and gym seating is 95 percent complete.
At the primary school, a classroom addition originally planned to begin construction in December is almost finished, four months ahead of schedule. The plumbing, septic system, rough- in, slabs and quarry tile are 100 percent complete. Site work, electrical, HVAC, masonry, roof and the canopy are over 80 percent complete.
“The classrooms are ready for the second graders and the cafeteria expansion should be complete for school,” Erwin said to the board.
The playground at the primary school was moved to allow for the parking lot expansion.
“It is much safer for our children, we moved it away from the highway,” Erwin said.
Moving the after-school program to the gymnasium and band room at the old middle school is among the changes in the Banks County School System. Housing the adult education program in two classrooms at the old middle school is another change. Erwin said some offices have moved into empty spaces and sidewalks are being added at all of the schools.
Mike Beasley, Banks County director of finance, told the board special purpose local option sales tax (SPLOST) revenues received for the month of June were $256,491.81, creating a $38,000 surplus after the bond commitment. Cumulatively, Banks County has a SPLOST surplus of $714,562. Beasley said the surplus is good for the schools.
“In case of another economy decline, we have three months worth of payments saved up,” he said. “If everything keeps going well, we may be comfortable enough to take some funding out for more construction.”
Beasley also discussed implementing a new accounting program, Quicken Deluxe, in all five schools for the upcoming year. He said training will begin soon for all employees having to use the system.
Also discussed at the meeting:
•The board met in closed session for 30 minutes to discuss personnel action. Once the meeting was reopened, the board approved the hiring of two new teachers. Elizabeth Jane Faucher was hired as a part-time math teacher at the high school. Carol Y. Harrison was hired as a full-time math teacher at the middle school.
•A low bid for a fence at the middle school that will enclose the school grounds, running the entire perimeter of the school and along the sides, was accepted from A and T Fence Inc. for $26,995. The bid includes access gates at the school.
•Donna Reed suggested the board review several policies, including: a policy on valedictorian, salutatorian and honor graduates, a policy on the use of electronic devices and several changes needed according to House Bill 11-90.


Steel Horse hearing postponed
A hearing scheduled for Thursday, July 15, to discuss the reported violation at the Steel Horse was postponed to Tuesday, July 27, at 9 a.m. after the Banks County Board of Commissioners granted a continuance to the Steel Horse.
Banks County Sheriff Charles Chapman pulled the alcohol license at the Steel Horse on July 3, following an undercover operation at the Banks Crossing business.
The license was pulled following a “male review” at the business. A county ordinance prohibits nudity, regardless of whether it is partially or entirely nude at a business where alcohol is served.
Chapman said the sheriff’s office only has the authority to shut down the club for 24 hours. The board of commissioners will decide whether to pull the alcohol license permanently at the hearing scheduled for July 27.

 


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Lula City Council agrees to convert vacant downtown lot into park
The vacant downtown lot at the intersection of Athens Street and Main Street in Lula may become a city park.
Councilmember Vicky Chambers suggested at a Monday night meeting that the council landscape the lot and name it Veterans Park in honor of all Lula’s veterans.
City manger Dennis Bergin has been talking with landscaping officials at the University of Georgia about handling the design and landscaping of the park and including a streetscape through the main part of town. He said it would take the class until late winter to complete the project for presentation. The plans would include designating a historic district.
An old building on the property may be renovated and serve as a museum, suggested Chambers.
Bergin said a building inspector had offered to do a complete study in the building for $2,600. He said the roof needs repair and all plumbing and electrical wiring would have to be replaced.
Chambers said she would rather spend the $2,600 on the building itself.
Councilmember Clyde Moore said: “We’ve looked at it. We don’t need an expert to tell us the roof needs fixing.”
Moore added it would be less expensive to tear it down and build a new one.
Councilman Lamb Griffin said: “I don’t want to spend any money on it.”
Chambers said she thought it would be a good starting point to bring a historic character to the town.
Resident Kevin Jerrard, a captain in the Marine Corps, said he is in favor of naming the park in honor of veterans and supports the council’s effort to maintain a historic district in the town. Many other residents agreed with him.
Betty Jo Evans suggested the park include a memorial to Denver Truelove.
The council decided to go ahead and clear the lot for fall seeding.
In other business, the council:
•approved the adoption of a new zoning map that shows all the additional annexations into the city.
•approved a community vision statement with goals and objectives.
•discussed road repairs in the city. A request was made to Hall County to resurface 10 roads, among them Athens Street in its entirety, from tax and equity funds.
•heard from resident Marcell Woody, who complained of dirty water, chlorine-smelling water and musty-smelling water coming out at her residence on Tallent Drive. She also complained of low water pressure.
•tabled a discussion on the problems with Victoria Lane and the developer who was supposed to repair the street. The residents want the city to take it over, but in its current state, the council wants to define its legal obligations.
•tabled a vote on a cease-and-desist order for a property owner on Tallent Drive until the city attorney is able to confer with the council.
•discussed limiting lot size to one-half acre in the city limits, providing the property owner subscribe to Lula water and sewer service.
•gave permission for city workers to remove a tombstone from the city cemetery that was out of compliance. Bergin told the council a letter had been sent June 11 to the family member explaining the aboveground marker would have to be removed.
“It’s a touchy subject,” he said. “But, I did speak with the family member and explained the covenants. He said he didn’t know about the restriction stated in the deed and would abide by the rules.”
The council felt enough time had passed for the family to make arrangements and move the stone.