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of talented actors in county
I love theater and am always delighted
to see Banks Countians on the stage when I go to local productions
in nearby Commerce. Banks Countians are involved in both the
Cold Sassy Players and the Renegade Players.
What a documentary!
After seeing it, I can understand how it came away with the top
prize at the Cannes Film Festival.
Its one of the most moving films Ive seen.
prepare to visit first-place Salem
Seminoles boast 28 seniors, bevy of backs
for Panthers to contend with
If there were any teams in Region 8-AAAA still not convinced
that the Jackson County football program has made some dramatic
progress in the past year, those skeptics were likely turned
into believers with a glance at the region scoreboard last Friday
Man booted from business over Evans sign
A Jackson County man who worked part-time for a tenant in the Jefferson Real Deals complex was reportedly kicked out of the business last week by a Jefferson policeman because he had a sign in his car supporting incumbent sheriff Stan Evans. He was subsequently fired from working at the business.
Chairman candidates tackle budget, courthouse issues
Mistrust in county government also a prime topicI
f there are a few things that Pat Bell and Roy Grubbs - candidates for chairman of the Jackson County Board of Commissioners - agree on, it's that county leaders are spending too much money and citizens don't trust their current elected county leaders.
What lies Beneath
A look at pipelines, problems, politics
in Madison Co. and beyond
Little goats run in their fenced-in pen off Colonial Drive in
Madison County, oblivious to the vast pipelines just a few feet
below them lines that carry millions of gallons of
fuel to jetliners, factories and families from Texas to New Jersey.
suit against county
Local developer Gerry Burdette has filed
suit against the Madison County Board of Commissioners for the
groups August denial of his proposed subdivision on 45
acres on Sanders Road.
Burdette sought a rezoning from A-1 to R-1 for a planned 30 to
35 lot subdivision, but his request was unanimously denied by
the county commissioners.
The Banks County News
Telephone: (706) 367-5233
Fax: (706) 367-8056
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POLITICAL FORUM HELD
Michael Harden, a candidate for the District 28 seat in the
Georgia House of Representatives, is shown speaking at a political
forum Tuesday night in Homer. He is facing incumbent Rep. Jeanette
Jamieson, shown to his left. Also shown are: (L-R) Allen Venable
and Charles Chapman, candidates in the sheriffs race, and
Gene Hart, a candidate for chairman of the board of commissioners.
Hart is facing Kenneth Brady, who didnt attend the forum.
face off at forum
Banks voters test candidates on issues
More than 100 residents of Banks County came out Tuesday night
to a political forum in Homer to questions candidates in the
Nov. 2 election on the issues they believe are relevant to the
Those participating were:
Coroner: Billy Poole, Democrat, and Henry Gallaway, Republican.
Sheriff: incumbent Charles Chapman, Democrat, and Allen
Chairman, board of commissioners: Gene Hart, Republican.
Incumbent Kenneth Brady did not attend.
28th District House of Representatives seat: incumbent
Jeanette Jamieson, Democrat, and Michael Harden, Republican.
50th District State Senate: Bob Stowe, Democrat. Republican
Nancy Schaefer didnt attend.
Hart said he expects there to be growth coming and that Martins
Bridge Road at I-85 will be one area of focus that the county
will need to address.
We have to work to bring growth here to the county,
he said. Its going to happen and we need to be ready
for it. In all honesty, were going to have to spend some
money in order to get quality industry here...We need jobs for
our residents so they can raise their kids and have a decent
wage. Banks Crossing is great, but those types of jobs are not
enough to sustain a family.
He added that he wants to keep Banks County rural.
I have a small farm and I love it, he said. We
can develop a plan that includes industry and still retain our
farms. I think it can be managed.
To keep homeowners from funding that growth, he said industry
and a strong economic base of industry and commercial businesses
would be needed to allow for controlled growth.
We can control taxes with smart growth, he said.
I believe we can get help through state and federal funding
to get things going.
Hart said he feels up to the job of handling the business of
the county because he has worked in the private sector and has
learned how to manage people and budgets.
Chapman said he understands the cost of maintaining the sheriffs
department while dealing with expansion of the force, which grows
as the county does. He said he tries to get the most out of every
As for questions on the crime rate in the county, gang-related
activities and sex crimes, Chapman said: We have investigated
and prosecuted many offenders. The sex offenders are listed in
the newspaper as a requirement of the state. Anyone convicted
of such an offense has to report to the sheriffs office.
I have always looked for better ways to serve our people
with a reasonable cost. We have made Banks County a lot safer.
If you look at our arrest and conviction rate, were doing
well. We get up and go to work everyday to do something more
to serve our community.
On a question on hiring minorities and women, he said he has
an open door policy.
There have been females on the force, he said. There
are a few females jailers and women on staff. There is nothing
preventing minorities from seeking employment with the sheriffs
department. We have a lot of good deputies. We have three certified
deputies who have gone through training so that we can instruct
Chapman said that there have been instances of gang-related activities,
but that they have come from adjoining areas.
Venable was asked about truancy and what he would do to prevent
Education is one of the highest priorities, he said.
Every child should be in school. They have no future without
He also said he had no problem with forming an auxiliary force
of volunteers to assist with parades and sporting events.
On crime and management, Venable said: There would be no
crime too small or too large to investigate. I would not have
three deputies on the scene of one accident. I would make sure
deputies stay in their districts unless they were needed as back-up.
Venable served a previous term as sheriff of Banks County and
said he had learned a lot from that experience.
I learned a lot of lessons while I was in office,
he said. I made some mistakes and will make some mistakes
again. I want to make Banks County a safer place for all the
Venable also said he saw no evidence gang activity within the
county, but does suspect there may be some interaction with other
In response to a question on growth, Rep. Jamieson said: Its
obvious to everyone that growth is coming to Banks County. We
have to deal with the issues of providing sewer and water. Infrastructure
is important to growth. One of the major issues I see is protecting
the county from surrounding municipalities. Banks Crossing is
vital to the economy of Banks County. We need that sales tax
to help relieve the burden of property tax.
Jamieson is a strong supporter of education and said that she
supports technical and adult education programs.
Questions also touched on religion and the Ten Commandments.
I grew up in a Southern Baptist church, so I believe in
the 10 Commandments, she said. Ive said many
times that we should spend more time following them than talking
When asked her opinion on opening the national forests to commercial
interests ,she said she was adamantly opposed to the idea. She
said the taxpayers own the national parks and they should be
Harden said he has a strong belief in his religion and in family
In talking with people door-to-door, I find that people
want a representative that will stand up for family values,
he said. The people I have spoken with said their family
values are not for sale.
He told the audience that family values are the core of
who we are.
I believe that marriage is between a man and a woman,
He said he is pro-life and believed that the references to God
should remain on U.S. currency and in the Pledge.
He also said he expects to have a Republican-controlled house
and that he would be capable of working both sides of the
On opening up state lands to commercial use, Harden said he is
in favor of support to the national parks. He said the doors
and gates should be open and that everyone should be allowed
to use them.
Harden also said his experience working with Charlie Norwood
would help him as representative. He said he assisted with Norwoods
campaign and worked out of his Augusta office. He added that
Norwood took him to Washington, D.C., a few times.
Stowe said it is important to build an economic base to bring
more money into Banks County.
If there is something I can do as state senator to help
Banks County, Ill do it, he said. I will help
find the funding to assist in projects.
As for tort reform, he said he knows everyone is experiencing
the high cost of health care. In Georgia, he said there should
be more competition in insurance plans. Frivolous lawsuits need
to be dealt with, he added. One if his goals, if elected, would
be to bring all the parties to the table for discussion.
He also believs that there needs to be affordable health care
for all Georgias children and everyone, in genral.
Im dedicate to insuring that all our residents have
access to good care, he said. We have to work together
on a lot of things. Get beyond political parties. There has to
be communication and cooperation between the two. The first thing
I would do is to start to build those relationships. I will do
whats best for Banks County. Im about people, not
Stowe said he was very interested in serving on committees for
education, since he had been an educator for 30 years.
One of the main reaosn Im running is because one
half of our tax momey is spent on education, he said.
He is against school vouchers and believes taxpayer money should
go to public schools.
Another area I feel is important, is agriculture,
he said. I have many friends in the agriculture business.
Too much emphasis is placed on the southern part of the state
and not enough on our farmers in north Georgia. They are not
represented and I will work for them.
Poole said one of the most important positions of the county
is the coroner. It takes compassion and understanding to deal
with family members, he added. Though he has no experinec in
the medical field, he said he would be able to extend a
helping hand in a time of need.
Poole said his grandfather had been a coroner, as well as other
Gallaway said his reason for running was to help the preople
in Banks County who have lost a family member and treat them
with respect and understanding. He said he had been asked to
run over the past eight years and after considering it, chose
to run this year. He has no medical experience, but feels he
can do a good job comforting family members.
The Banks County of Commerce sponsored the forum. Bill Ford,
pastor of Homer Presbyterian Church, and Angela Gary, editor
of The Banks County News, served as moderators. Questions from
the audience were screened by a panel comprised of Bev Thompson,
Pat Westmoreland and Grant Reed. Chamber president Tammy Kennedy
was master of ceremonies.
Development Authority seeks advice on attracting
The Banks County Development Authority
met with Carylye Cox, former Hall County city manager, Thursday
to get advice on bringing businesses to the county.
Cox said the county needs to decide first if the community wants
the business to locate in the area.
You have to make the decision, some kinds of businesses
are not good for your community, he said. It is a
If the county decides the business is beneficial for the community,
the DA can play a role in making the area more competitive, Cox
In todays market, the development authority can play
a key role in locating businesses, he said. Most
businesses are looking for financial incentives, it is not uncommon
that they would want the land for free and you may owe several
thousand dollars for it.
The DA has to determine how to compete with other areas for the
business. Cox asked: How do we become competitive with
other areas when we dont have any money?
Cox explained ways for the DA to create bonds that alleviate
the locating business from paying for the property, including
an industrial revenue bond. Under this type of bond agreement,
Cox suggested the DA work with the local government to set up
an agreement where the company can come in and take the property
and the DA would hold the title to the land. The taxes would
be structured so that the DA would keep half of the taxes until
the property is paid for, turning the other half over to the
county. According to Cox, Georgia law exempts properties owned
by the DA from paying property taxes.
In my opinion, that is not good for the county, he
When issuing industrial revenue bonds and phantom bonds, which
are bonds structured through the DA to allow businesses to pay
cash for property and improvements but still have the tax exemptions,
the county and the DA are not liable for the bonds, the company
is, he added.
The authority is only the vehicle so the company pays no
state and no local taxes, Cox said.
Businesses locating in the area can offer other assets to the
county, like jobs. Cox said if a business locates and asks for
a 50 percent tax cut, the county still has the benefit of the
jobs. But, he warns the DA should always build in penalties if
the locating business doesnt achieve what they promise,
like the number of jobs.
You always have to protect yourself, he said.
Development Authority member Sam McDuffie asked Cox what the
appropriate type of business for Banks County would be. Cox said
a cost-benefit analysis would need to be done and the community
would need to decide based on its value system.
Some of us have looked at our surrounding area and said
someone needs to be on board that has the knowledge, said
Jack Banks, DA chairman. We have a commercial area (Banks
Crossing) and would like to keep it there and leave the rest
Cox asked if the board wants the I-85 corridor running down every
street. Banks said, no, we dont.
Its not just an immediate decision, but a long-term
view for your community, Cox said. When large tracts
of land start selling to people, you dont know it will
be too late.
Cox said the DA can acquire state and federal funding to purchase
land, build water and sewer lines, and other infrastructure developments.
He then suggested the DA build spec buildings and sell the land
and buildings in lots to businesses at a mark-up to recover the
All it takes is the willingness of the DA and the county
to make it happen, he said. You have an area that
is going to change.
DA member Wayne Abernathy, who worked with Cox when he located
a business in Hall County several years ago, received a $400,000
grant for his business through the efforts of Cox.
Abernathy asked Cox to bill the DA for the consulting, which
lasted over an hour. Cox said there would be no charge.
DA members Terrence Dale and Jimmy Morrison were absent.
Also at the meeting:
McDuffie told the board the sign to be placed on the property
owned by the DA on Hwy. 441 will cost $225. The sign will have
a drawing of the property plus the adjoining property owned.
Campbell asked if the board should ask the county for an extension
on the land, which ends in December. McDuffie said: I think
if we have activity, theyll be willing to extend.
members stated the two-lane road extension to Industrial
Park Road is nearing completion.
the board approved a bill from Southern Outdoors for $92.95
for grassing a lot between the new fire department and the new
location of Bos Linen Service.
Shar Porier, representing the chamber of commerce, said
Georgia Trend magazine would be spotlighting Banks County in
its January issue, but the county had to sell an undisclosed
amount of money in advertising with the magazine for the feature
to run. Porier suggested the DA might advertise the land they
have for sale and asked for any additional suggestions on areas
of the county to spotlight. The DA thought a half-page ad might
cost $5,000 and decided to table the discussion until they had
the board met behind closed doors for 40 minutes to discuss
the acquisition of real estate. Porier and Carole Ciriacks, Department
of Economic Development, remained in the room.
estate guide is inside
This issue of The Banks County News includes
the inaugural edition of a new, local real estate guide, MainStreet
Homes. The initial distribution of this guide will be over 24,000
copies, 19,000 of which will go out as paid circulation in The
Jackson Herald, The Commerce News, The Banks County News and
The Madison County Journal. It will be published in this newspaper
on the third Wednesday of each month, will be available at local
businesses and will also be online at www.mainstreetnews.com.
We developed this product for the purpose of reaching local
home-buyers, said Scott Buffington, advertising director
for MainStreet Newspapers. Many real estate professionals
tell us that as much as 50 to 60 percent of their home-buying
prospects are local people that already live in this community.
People who are wanting to move into larger homes for expanding
families or to relocate to a neighboring town because of jobs
or schools. We realize that there are several good real estate
guides in northeast Georgia but this is the first that focuses
primarily on Banks, Jackson and Madison counties.
Sales and production of MainStreet Homes is being handled by
publishers Andy and Susan Forde. They can be reached at (770)
Auto Parts & Service
Garden & Agriculture
Industry & Manufacturing
Health and Fitness
Retail Stores & Outlets
$140,515 to aid with industry infrastructure
Rep. Jeanette Jamieson has announced a grant in the amount of
$140,515 has been awarded to the City of Baldwin.
The EIP grant will assist in improvement to infrastructure meeting
Glen Rae Technologies needs as they increase their local investment
by $2 million, and the creation of 50 new jobs.
Helping local industry is the best way to bring good jobs
to our community, said Jamieson. Everyone benefits
from improved infrastructure and it also helps attract new businesses
to relocate in Baldwin. I would like to thank all of those involved
in this important effort.
BOE to meet
The Banks County Board of Education will
hold two called meetings this week at Lucilles Inn, 964
Rabun Road, Sautee.
The called meetings will be held at 9 a.m. on Wednesday and Thursday,
The Wednesday session will last until 8 p.m. Items on the agenda
include: system mission/testing goals, Georgia Accountability
(AYP) learning focus overview, continuous improvement plan, board
ethics/community leadership vs. running the schools, goals-needs-accomplishments
and a closed session for personnel.
Thursdays session will last until 1 p.m. Items on the agenda
include eBoard training and SPLOST 11 projects.
voting allowed next week in Homer
Advance voting will be under way next
week and voters will be allowed to cast a ballot for the Nov.
2 General Election.
Voting will be allowed from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through
Friday at the voter registrars office, located in the courthouse
in downtown Homer. Voters do not have to give a reason as to
why they want to vote early.
Voters who meet the criteria to cast an absentee ballot may do
so at any time. Absentee ballots can be cast at the voter registras
office between regular hours of 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.
The criteria for casting an absentee ballot include the voter:
will be out of the precinct on the day of the election, Nov.
2; is a constant care-giver; is over age 75; is an elected official;
is disabled; will be observing a religious holiday on Nov. 2;
is in the military; or is a public safety officer.
to find out your polling location
Voters who arent sure where their
polling location is can find it by going to www.sos.state.ga.us
on the Internet.
Voters may put in their name and birthday to find their assigned
Voters may also call a toll free number, 1-888-265-1115, to find
out their polling location.
asks council to move on beer, wine sales
Popphan says action needed to bring grocery
store to town
Lula resident Winford Popphan appealed to the city council Monday
night to take a vote on permitting beer and wine sales in the
city. He said this needs to be done so that a grocery store will
locate in the town.
At the September meeting, councilmen Mordecai Wilson and Clyde
Moore moved to form a committee to study the economics and set
regulations for licensing package sales.
Their two votes were countered by two opposition votes cast by
Lamb Griffin and Vicky Chambers. Larry Shuler abstained and Mayor
Milton Turner refused to break the tie. So, the motion died.
I want to know what the council is intending to do about
getting us a grocery store, Popphan said. Last council
meeting, you wouldnt even vote to discuss the possibility
of beer and wine sales in a grocery store. We cant get
a store to come here without allowing sales of beer and wine.
I dont know of any reason that the City of Lula could not
authorize the sales for a grocery store.
Its not that Im interested in buying beer or
wine, but I am interested in a grocery store, so I dont
have to drive to Cornelia. I cant think of one good reason
why the council would not take a vote.
Popphan said he was not asking the council for a decision, just
You keep adding subdivisions and more and more people,
he argued, but youre not adding any more industry.
Youre not adding more services for these people. You, as
council members, were elected by the people and you have a responsibility
to make decisions to have the services. Why you wouldnt
even consider it is what puzzles me.
I dont know if its religious beliefs or what.
But, religious feelings have nothing to do with running the city.
Religion doesnt belong in city business.
Shuler told Popphan he estimated the city was losing over half-a-million
dollars in revenue from just the existing convenience stores
in the city.
Shuler continued: One of our council members had gotten
together with some people and called all the church people in
here that night. Im not mentioning any name, but I know
who it was. Thats the reason I didnt vote for it
or against it. I mean no disrespect to anybody for it. I thought
it was done under-handed and so I didnt vote.
Popphan replied: I disagree with that. I want you to know
I go to church because I want some spiritual guidance. But, that
has nothing to do with your responsibilities as council members.
You cannot bring your religion into city business. You cant
do that. Its against the law. Thats against my rights
and every other persons rights. You cant take it
into the school and you cant bring it into the city council
Dont get me wrong, now. I love the City of Lula.
I dont care if nobody ever buys any beer or wine. I just
dont want somebody sitting up there allowing their personal
feelings to stop the progress in the city.
Councilwoman Vicky Chambers told Popphan she appreciated his
comments, but took issue with the necessity of allowing package
sales to attract grocery stores. She pointed out that there was
an Ingles in White County that did not sell beer and wine.
Popphan said he did not believe that Ingles would come
to Lula now without being able to sell beer and wine.
Turner told Popphan that the council had recognized the need
for a decision, but it may not happen until the city is approached
by an interested chain.