News from Banks County...

SEPTEMBER 22, 2004


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OPINIONS
Shar Porier
Quality of life…
Now, let me get this right.
According to Ed Lindorme, a member of our planning commission, a person’s “quality of life is directly related to lot size” and that “someone with 100 acres enjoys life more than someone with a one-acre lot.”

April Reece
On developing the countryside
The Banks County Board of Commissioners approved a rezoning application last week that rezoned over a hundred acres for a residential subdivision. It is not the first time land in Banks County was rezoned for a subdivision, actually, it seems like the BOC approves a new request every month for more development.


SPORTS
Ivan moves game
Banks County uses Greater Atlanta Christian game to gain experience
Hurricane Ivan rescheduled games across the state, including what was scheduled to be a Friday night match-up between Banks County and Greater Atlanta Christian. The game was moved to Saturday night, September 18, and kick-off was at 6 p.m.


News from
JACKSON COUNTY
$70 million school bond vote narrowly approved
A close vote
A low voter turnout and a narrow margin weren’t what county school officials were looking for in Tuesday’s $70 million bond vote.
The measure, the largest bond referendum in the county’s history, passed by only 137 votes — 886-749. Only nine percent of the county’s registered voters turned out.

Storm damage reported
Trees down, power out across county
Hurricane Ivan hit areas of Jackson County last week, although only minimal damage was reported. That was not the case in nearby Madison County, where a torn


News from
MADISON COUNTY
Ivan encounter leaves parts of Madison County...
Twister damages homes, county facilities; injuries reported, but no fatalities
A tornado tore through Madison County Thursday afternoon around 3:30 p.m., injuring three people, completely leveling two homes, damaging numerous others, harming several county facilities off Hwy. 98 and leaving some 8,000 households temporarily without power.

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Ivan strikes

Cleared bed, up-rooted pine from
Baldwin Heights Road

Baldwin’s firefighters Captain Smiley Cragg and Paul Maney (with log) and road crew member Scott Gailey cleared a huge, up-rooted pine tree from Baldwin Heights Road Friday. The tree was one of many that emergency crews dealt with as Ivan‘s bands of storms passed through the area Thursday night. See this weeks Banks County News for more photos.


Trees, power lines down, flooding reported across Banks County
The considerable remnants of Hurricane Ivan blew through Banks County Thursday bringing down power lines and trees, flooding streets and bridges and causing erosion of some roads.
According to E-911 director Deidra Moore, 73 trees up-rooted over a 12-hour period as wave after wave of heavy rain and strong wind gusts passed through.
As of Friday morning, 7,500 homes were without power, she said.
Wofford Creek Road, in northwestern Banks, was hit hard with a dozen trees, mostly pines, blocking the road completely. In several areas along the road, power lines were wrapped among the branches hindering clearing the road.
Near the intersection with Highway 441 North, guy-wires anchoring a power pole snapped causing the pole to lean and leaving lines hazardously close to the ground.
Baldwin fire chief Joe Roy used crime tape to rope off the north entrance at the intersection to keep people off the dangerous road until crews could begin the task of clearing the trees and power crews could repair the lines.
Baldwin and Banks fire department personnel worked on the road Friday clearing a trail weaving around the downed trees to check with residents on the road and make sure they were safe. They found several residents with trees down.
Scott Baum, Baldwin public works director, said: “We had a plan of action ready in case the storm hit with the intensity that had been predicted. Everybody was on stand-by. I was very impressed with the organization of the emergency teams. Joe handled coordinating the assignments with the fire department and our road crews went with them. We had so many trees down, we just quit counting.”
In spite of the extreme rainfall and the loss of power, Baum said the city’s waste water treatment plant and water plant had no problems. The old retaining pond at the wastewater treatment facility was able to hold the extra water and keep the plant in line. Back-up generators kept the plant running until power was restored.
Moore said there were three accidents reported during the heavy rains on I-85. A power line fell on a vehicle on Highway 441 during the rains around 8 p.m. One tree fell on a house on Highway 323 and, on Russ Ramsey, a tree crushed an unoccupied camper.
She also said a minor mudslide had been reported near Line Church. Crews were also dispatched to an earthen dam on Cotton Tail Road Friday to be sure it was holding. Though there appeared to be some erosion, the dam was secure.
Flooding occurred also at The Pottery campground and at the Pottery Factory Outlet Stores area, causing some problems on Highway 441 South.
“We were pretty lucky. No one was injured in any of the accidents or incidents,” Moore said. “The neighboring counties were hit hard. Madison and Franklin both reported tornadoes touching down. We came through it in lot better shape than other counties.”
Emergency teams from the Banks County Fire Department had been put on stand-by earlier in the day, so firefighters manned all the county’s stations throughout the night.
Chapman said there were a number of secondary roads that were closed Friday. McCoy Bridge Road and Webb’s Creek Road sustained flooding and damage.
“The county’s road crews were out all night cutting trees and clearing roads, he said. “Many of our citizens were out there in it helping us tackle the downed trees. They pitched in and really helped us out. ”
He said the northwestern part of the county appeared to have been the hardest hit.
The southeastern area of Habersham County, particularly Cornelia, had also been hot hard and the county’s E-911 center lost power and the ability to dispatch crews to stricken areas. For a number of hours, all Habersham calls were dispatched by Banks County E-911, said Moore.
“My hat’s off to the firefighters and the road crews for the job they did in such conditions,” Chapman said. “They did a great job.”


Dedication held for BCMS
More than 70 people attended the official dedication ceremony Sunday for the new Banks County Middle School.
The dedication ceremony, which included speakers, recognitions and tours, was held in the air-conditioned and speaker-equipped gymnasium, where a podium was positioned behind the painted Leopard at half-court. Banks County Middle School principal Gloria Gabriel introduced guests and extended appreciation to parties involved.
“The commissioners donated 35 acres of land for this facility,” she began. “After we had the land, the board of education began looking for a facility that we could all be proud of and could serve our children for years to come.”
She went on to recognize several people for their involvement with the process, including: former Banks County superintendents Deborah White and Dock Sisk, former BOE members Don Shubert and Lynn Dalton, current BOE members, project architect Steve Hill, Charles Black construction and project manager Tommy Wiley, Stacy Allen and Glen Franks, White County superintendent Paul Shod, the BOE central staff, head custodians at the middle and upper elementary schools Francis Brown and Rhonda Smith, Steve Turpin, Jackson EMC, the Banks County Sheriff’s Office, the Banks County Board of Commissioners and the entire Banks County community.
She introduced Steve Hill as the guest speaker for the event saying: “We began looking at construction, looking for an architect and Steve Hill was the best planner in the world and we wanted him to plan our building.”
Hill said the building wouldn’t be what it is without the help of the people in the system.
“You had teachers willing to sit on a committee and tell the architect how to design the building, because you have great administration and great teachers that’s why this facility is the best,” Hill said. “We’ll put this middle school up against any other school in the state and it is the most efficient.”
Erwin closed the ceremony with a few comments and an invitation to view the school.
“I’ve always said it takes a community to educate a child and now I believe it takes a community to build the school that helps educate the child,” he said. “It’s not the building that makes a school great, it is the people in the school that make it great, but a great building doesn’t hurt.”

 


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Regions Bank held up by armed robber
“Don’t do anything stupid, I have a gun,” read a note handed to a teller working at Regions Bank on Friday, September 17.
The armed robber handed a note to a teller instructing her to put all $100 and $50 bills in a drawstring bag laid on the counter. After she did as he said, he told her to put the note in the bag with the money. Sheriff Charles Chapman said the man got away with a small amount of cash. No exact figures were available.
At approximately 11:52 a.m., units from the Banks County Sheriff’s Office were called to Regions Bank for an armed robbery. According to Banks County Sheriff Charles Chapman, deputies were at the site within three minutes.
“When the call went out, two to three units were there in two to three minutes, four to five units arrived within five minutes,” Chapman said. “But the perpetrator was still able to elude officers.”
According to information given to officers by employees at the bank, the perpetrator was a white male in his mid to late 30s. He was dressed in a long-sleeve bluish gray flannel shirt buttoned to his neck, a brimmed fishing hat pulled down to his eyes and mirrored sun glasses.
The perpetrator left on foot. Deputies believe the man walked down the embankment beside the bank and towards the Tanger Outlet parking lot.
“We searched motels, parking lots and stores,” Chapman said. “Units were on the scene within three minutes and the entire area was canvassed.”
Chapman said the Jackson County Sheriff’s Department assisted in the search, along with state and federal agents. The Georgia Bureau of Investigation Crime Scene Unit processed the scene.
“We were unable to locate the subject, his vehicle was probably in the Tanger parking lot,” he said.
Chapman said the area was busy with traffic at noon for the lunch hour and the suspect was able to elude the officers.
“We didn’t have a whole lot to go on, I’m sure when he left the bank the clothing came off, we didn’t find them and we didn’t find the individual,” Chapman said. “We are trying to follow every lead, hoping to come up with something concrete.”
Chapman said the investigation will continue.
Anyone with information about the robbery, is asked to contact the sheriff’s office at (706) 677-2248.
Friday was the fourth time that branch of Regions Bank has been robbed. Except for one incident, all others were arrested.