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OCTOBER 6, 2004


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OPINIONS
Angela Gary
Still have ink in my blood
When I was 10-years-old, I received a typewriter for my birthday. That wasn’t a typical birthday gift for a young girl in the late 1970s, but it was what I wanted.

Rochelle Beckstine
School system handicaps gifted students
I’m not sure where we’re heading as a nation with parents banding together to set limits and rules so that no one parent is guilty of telling their 6-year-old they can’t have a $300 Nokia phone (Newsweek) and teachers switching from red correction pens to purple pens because they feel the color is friendlier and less likely to discourage students from trying again (USA Today).


SPORTS
Banks to host Lumpkin for homecoming game
Banks County will host the Lumpkin County Indians Friday, October 8, for homecoming. The game will begin at 7:30.
Lumpkin County is 1-5, having defeated Gilmer county in a non-region game


News from
JACKSON COUNTY
Commerce Eyes 3-City Combined
Municipal Court
With Jefferson, Pendergrass, Municipal Court Would Be Held In New Courthouse
Commerce officials are talking with city officials in Jefferson and Pendergrass about holding a combined municipal court in the new Jackson County Courthouse.

Groundbreaking event
Toyota holds groundbreaking for $100 million industry
Gov. Perdue is among speakers
Gov. Sonny Perdue spoke at the ceremonial groundbreaking Tuesday morning on the site of the $100 million TD Automotive Compressor Georgia (formerly MACI/Toyota) development in Jackson County.


News from
MADISON COUNTY
Early Intervention
Special needs pre-school teacher Diane Alford sees first-hand every week how identifying learning problems early on can make a difference in children’s lives.
Alford teaches a special needs pre-school class at Comer Elementary four days a week.

Candidates’ forum set for Tuesday
The Madison County Chamber of Commerce will host a political forum on Oct. 12 at 7 p.m. in the high school theatre.

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Flying the flag at Maysville festival

STRAIGHTENING THE FLAG

A Banks County EMS-fire voluneer straightened the flag on the department’s truck at the annual Maysville Autumn Leaf Festival held over the weekend. A parade, arts and crafts booth, contests and entertainment were part of the three-day festival. See this weeks Banks County News for more photos.


Man found murdered in Commerce home
Two arrested, authorities seek two more suspects
Two people have been arrested in the murder of a Commerce man and authorities are seeking two more suspects.
Paul Rucker, 64, Commerce, was beaten to death and suffered several severe blows to his head, according to Banks County Sheriff Charles Chapman. He was found in his home Wednesday, Sept. 29.
“He had apparently received several blows to the head,” Chapman said.
Those arrested for felony murder include: Carla Joan Simmons, 22, Commerce, and Donald Andrew Murphy Jr., 19, Arcade. An arrest warrant for felony murder has been issued for Torrell McGarrett Young, 32, Athens. Chapman said a fourth suspect is also being sought in the murder.
Chapman said Rucker, who lived alone, was found by his brother, who had been trying to get in touch with him all day. His brother went to his Rucker Road residence Wednesday evening and knocked on the door. When no one answered, he went inside and found Rucker on the floor of the bedroom.
Chapman said the murder is believed to have occurred late Tuesday night or early Wednesday morning.
“Investigators were on the scene during the night Wednesday and most of the next day,” Chapman said. “Later in the week, there were some people interviewed by authorities. Good information was given which was a help to law enforcement. It led to the arrest of the two people in custody now...We worked day and night and all through the weekend.”
Chapman said the suspects didn’t know Rucker, but they had been to his residence on Monday night with an acquaintance of the victim. The sheriff added that robbery appears to have been the motive.
“The apparent motive for this happening was robbery,” he said. “We don’t know exactly what was taken. It’s not sure how much money Mr. Rucker had. That was the real reason. they went...It was probably money to get dope, that’s what we figure.”
The investigation is on-going and the sheriff’s department is being assisted by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.


GBI is seeking help in identifying bank robber
The Georgia Bureau of Investigation, the Banks County Sheriff’s Office, the Washington Police Department in Wilkes County and the Augusta office of the FBI are seeking the public’s help in identifying a suspect in two recent bank robberies in Banks County and Washington. An artist’s sketch of the suspect has been released.
On September 17, at approximately 11:56 a.m., a white male in his early 30s with a stocky build, approximately 5’8” in height, robbed the Regions Bank at Banks Crossing, Commerce, near I-85. The suspect was wearing a loose-fitting, blue flannel checkered shirt, a soft fishing type hat with a brim all the way around and dark sun glasses. The suspect fled the area on foot.
On September 23, at approximately 11:40 a.m., an individual attempted to rob the Farmers and Merchants Bank in Washington. The subject was wearing a grey hooded sweatshirt, loose fitting blue jeans; brown boot cut shoes and dark sunglasses. He is described as a white male, early to late 30s, 5’6”-5’9” in height, weighing 175-190 pounds.
The sketch is from a witness who saw the individual before he entered the bank and concealed his face. The physical descriptions, along with other similarities, lead authorities to believe that the same man committed both crimes.
Anyone with information in this matter is asked to call the GBI tip line at 1-800-597-TIPS (8477). On the Banks County robbery, contact Major Kyle Bryant, Banks County Sheriff’s Office at (706) 677-3133, or GBI Special Agent Mike Pearson in the Athens office at (706) 542-9936.


Maysville leaders say festival a ‘success’
Council holds closed meeting for personnel, legal issues
The Maysville City Council met Monday night for the regular meeting with a virtually blank agenda.
The only topic of discussion was the Autumn Leaf Festival, which all council members considered a great success.
Councilman Scott Harper offered his thanks to all the people and organizations, as did Mayor Richard Presley.
Presley suggested a letter of thanks be written to Al Crace and the Jackson County Board of Commissioners for their help.
“We had a big turn-out and there were a lot of people who made it happen,” he said. “My thanks to everyone in the community clubs and the police department.”
In other business, Presley reported there was no new information regarding the privatization of the trash pickup service.
Water and sewer system supervisor Mark Dudziak said the bid packets with the necessary information for the wastewater plant upgrade/expansion are ready to go.
He also presented the council with the September water report. The crew worked three water leaks and cleared blockage from a sewer main. He reported the problem with the aerator at the pond had been repaired, as had the #2 lift station controls. Water quality tests remained within environmental protection division limitations, he added.
The council voted to close the public meeting and enter into closed session to discuss personnel issues and land acquisition. The council reopened the public meeting, but did not take any further action.

County to receive state funds for Grove Creek bridge project
Rep. Jeanette Jamieson has announced the approval of funds for the Grove Creek Bridge project on State Route 51.
The funds will be used to improve grading and drainage, lay base and resurface a 0.483 mile stretch of State Route 51 which crosses Grove Creek. The contract will include funds for the construction of a bridge culvert at Grove Creek.
“At a time when many local governments are struggling for money, it’s always good when the state can provide a little boost on important local projects,” Rep. Jamieson said. “I’m very glad that we could find a way to make this happen.”
A legislator since 1984, Jamieson is chairman of the state planning and community affairs committee, and serves on the House ways and means committee, education committee and the budget writing appropriations committee.

Maysville council changes meeting
The Maysville City Council has rescheduled the November meeting from Monday, November 1, to Monday, November 8, at the regular time of 7:30 p.m.
The council decided to postpone the meeting due to the general election on Tuesday, November 2.

 


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CVB elects new board members
A new slate of board members and officers were voted in at last week’s Banks County Convention and Visitors Bureau meeting.
Don Rains will serve as chairman and Mark Valentine as vice chairman. Board members are: Doug Cheek, Vimal Modi, Stewart Grimes, Polly Godfrey and Deyon Corey.
Going off the board are Charlie Patel, Natalie Thomas, Fred Shlagel, Shirleen Allen and Bonnie Hill. Former chairman Craig Armstrong will serve as past-chairman.
CVB president Bonnie Johnson asked the members present to help build the membership.
“We want to bring in new members to help the old members,” she said. “We have had great success and the CVB wants to help all the businesses of the county.”
In other business, Rains said the site of the proposed conference center has been narrowed down to two properties. One is a five to seven-acre lot behind the Cracker Barrel restaurant. The other is a nine-acre lot next to the Hampton Inn. Both locations are at Banks Crossing.
He also said preliminary drawings had been turned over to an architect.
The CVB has met with a variety of state agencies and Rep. Jeanette Jamieson in a search of state funding to build the 10,000 square-foot conference center at Banks Crossing.
Before the center can be considered for funding, the CVB must prove its feasibility enough to merit awarding funds over other competitive projects.
Rains said he hopes the drawings will be ready for the board to see by the October 27 meeting, scheduled to be held at the Red Roof Inn. The CVB wants to pass on the plans to Rep. Jeanette Jamieson so that she can help seek funding for the project.
Johnson said Jamieson had been a “good friend to Banks County” and that Jamieson is a supporter of the center.
“No matter what comes up, she helps us out,” she said. “That’s what we’re for, to work for all the hotel people and all the businesses in Banks County.”
The October 27 meeting will be the last public meeting of the year for the CVB. Monthly meetings will resume in January on the last Wednesday of the month at 2 p.m.


Homer mayor to speak at chamber breakfast Oct. 14
Homer Mayor Doug Cheek will speak at the Banks County Chamber of Commerce meeting at 8 a.m. on Thursday, October 14, at the Garrison Civic Center. Cheek will give an update on the progress on the $500,000 transportation enhancement grant.
For more information, contact 677-2108.