News from Banks County...

NOVEMBER 10, 2004


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OPINIONS
Jana Mitcham
You’ve got mail, somewhere
I remember being very skeptical of the whole “email thing,” spouting off my theory (and that of many others at the time) that electronic mail would serve to only further detach and alienate people from one another in “our technological society.”

Rochelle Beckstine
No value in useless treasure
Growing up with a sister just 13 months younger meant that we did nearly everything together. And, as is the case with most girls, we were into Barbie dolls. With two of us together, we had twice the Christmases and twice the birthdays of a normal girl so we racked up.


SPORTS
Defending sub-region champions returning a lot of talent in 2004

The Banks County Lady Leopards are looking to repeat last year’s successful season with key returning players. The team finished the 2003-2004 season as north sub-region champs. And they finished third in the region, despite having a losing season, 13-15.


News from
JACKSON COUNTY
Evans impounds marshal’s cars
A two-year-old dispute between the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office and the county marshal’s department came to a head Monday morning when Sheriff Stan Evans impounded three vehicles belonging to the marshal’s department.

Jefferson OKs Arcade water deal
But county authority, new BOC members opposed to plan
Jefferson city officials gave final agreement Monday night to a plan being pushed by the current board of commissioners that will take away a large area of water and sewerage service from the county water authority and give it to Arcade.


News from
MADISON COUNTY
BOC to seek judge’s order on tax digest
County commissioners are tired of waiting on a tax digest. So Monday they voted to do something about it.
The board of commissioners (BOC) agreed 5-0 to seek a judge’s order giving them the right to use the 2003 tax digest —instead of the incomplete 2004 digest — as they set next year’s budget and approve tax rates. County commissioners did not set a date Monday on when they would present the request to a judge.

BOC creates new pay classification, promotes Salter
County commissioners created a new “class 14” tax appraiser III position Monday, then they promoted Mechell Salter to that classification, with pay reflecting five years experience.

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Homer, Georgia
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BRINGS GOOD NEWS

Bob Waldorf, Stephens County extension agent who has been working as the Banks County extension agent, told those gathered for the Banks County Board of Commissioners meeting Tuesday night funding was approved for the placement of a county extension agent in Banks County. Banks County has been without an agent and working towards acquiring a new agent for over one year. The county will have to contribute a minimum of $9,000 towards the salary for the position.

 

Banks County to have full-time agent
After over one year of asking the University of Georgia to find the funding for a county extension agent in one of the state’s leading agricultural counties, Bob Waldorf, Stephens County extension agent, told the Banks County Board of Commissioners at a meeting held Monday that a county agent would move into the county as soon as the application process is complete.
“There are finally some funds from the Board of Regents to pay benefits for extension at UGA and because of that funds are available to put an agent in your county,” Waldorf said.
The county agent will cost Banks County at least $9,000, or 25 percent of the total salary. The agent could cost more if commissioners want to pay for an experienced agent looking to relocate. The commissioners agreed to pay part of the salary for the county agent.
Also discussed at the meeting:
•the BOC decided to leave the sewage system change order on the table for further discussion and action later.
•the Magistrate Court and Probate Court asked to amend their budgets to include funding for state-mandated technology upgrades, including software, scanners, servers and computers aimed at “enhancing the day to day operations of the court,” according to a letter from the Magistrate Court. The BOC approved an additional $12,000 for the Magistrate Court and an additional $4,000 for the Probate Court.
•the BOC agreed to purchase a mower and tractor from Thorne Equipment Company, located in Homer, for $69,537 for the road department.
•the BOC renewed the gravel haul contract with Larry Shubert Hauling at a price of $2.13 per ton, plus a $2 a load loading charge. BOC chairman Kenneth Brady said that with fuel prices increasing, Shubert asked for additional money in the form of a fuel surcharge. Brady said the truck could travel six miles on one gallon of gas and equated that a .10 cent per mile fuel surcharge would be fair. Other members of the BOC agreed and unanimously approved the contract.
•Fire chief Perry Dalton suggested the county and the city of Homer enter into a mutual aid and first response agreement to decrease the ISO rating in the county. The agreement would state that the Banks County fire department would automatically respond to calls made to the Homer fire department and the Homer fire department would automatically respond with Banks County when the county was assisting those in Homer. The BOC agreed to have Dalton speak to the Homer City Council about the agreement. Homer would have to accept the agreement as well in order for it to be approved.
•the BOC met in closed session for 10 minutes to discuss possible litigation. No action was taken once the meeting was re-opened to the public.


FFA alumni request another ag teacher
Students are being turned away, Duckett tells BOE
Michelle Duckett, a Banks County FFA alumni member, asked the board of education on Monday to consider hiring additional staff to accommodate the growing interest in agricultural courses at the high school.
“The request for enrollment in agricultural classes at the high school has far exceeded available openings for several years now,” she said. “Every class is maxed out with students not being able to take the class until they move up on the priority list as a junior or senior.”
Duckett said some kids are turned away because there are not enough instructors to meet the demand of students wanting the classes. Currently, six agricultural courses are offered at the high school, Duckett said enough students are interested that eight classes could be filled.
“Students are taking courses they are not interested in, therefore, they are not doing very well in those courses,” she said.
She said she is concerned about students taking other elective courses not related to their career choices.
“Adding another teacher would open the doors for unlimited possibilities of courses that would benefit the students,” she said.
Duckett suggested adding courses in horticulture, animal science, landscaping, agri-science, equine science and veterinarian technology.
On a related issue, she said the FFA chapter at the high school currently has 160 members and has been recognized as a 100 percent membership chapter for the past 11 years. The chapter has received superior ratings for the past 10 years.
The FFA program is not limited to classroom experiences, it also includes supervised agricultural experience projects, career development events and state and national activities, all of which require supervision, instruction and hours of practice. Duckett said Scott Wheatley, FFA advisor at the high school, does not have enough time to monitor all the student’s projects.
“Student interest is high; however, having only one teacher limits the opportunities to all of the students involved in the program,” Duckett said.
Many of the board members agreed with Duckett’s concerns.
“I agree we need to offer what we can, but we need to be as efficient as we can with what we have,” said BOE member Ben Ramsey.
Ramsey asked the board to look at schools with similar involvement and determine how many instructors they designate for agriculture.
Johnny Williams, BOE member, said: “What I learned from agriculture programs in school, I use it everyday - that’s how I make my living.”
Superintendent Chris Erwin said he looked into funding a position at the beginning of the year, but couldn’t secure funding for the position.
“The first thing you have to look at is student involvement, then space, you have that,” he said. “I see us going to at least a part-time teacher. We feel we will be in a better position next year to fund the position.”
OTHER BUSINESS
Also discussed at the meeting:
•principals from the five schools gave their reports on past and upcoming events and training.
•Mike Beasley, financial director, said three schools are currently working with a new accounting system, Quicken. He also said last month’s SPLOST check came in at $228,535, which brought the cumulative surplus total to $840,000. Since the current SPLOST began, in September of 2002, the school system has received over $6 million. The SPLOST will end in September 2007.
•the final construction costs for the middle school was reported at $8.9 million, some $132,000 under budget. The primary school expansion cost $1.5 million to complete, $44,000 under budget.
•Erwin said plans for the new elementary school have been submitted to the state and the fire marshall for review.
•Erwin made an announcement that Ron Gardiner, BOE member, will act as the legislative liaison for the school system this year.
•the BOE recognized Anna Gailey, Sarah Wolf, Taylor Kennedy, Dakoda McDuffie, Logan Walterhouse and Kara Murphy for ranking in the top one percent, 99 percentile, on the recent ITBS test. The students are in the top one percent of all students who took the test nationwide.
•the BOE recognized Tammy Byrd for being selected to the Who’s Who list for the Piedmont College graduate program.
•the BOE recognized Wendy Fuschetti for being selected as runner-up in the “Wonderful Walls” bulletin board contest, sponsored by Instructor magazine and Fiskars.
•the board met behind closed doors for 45 minutes to discuss personnel, no action was taken when the meeting was re-opened,

 


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Veterans’ Day program set Thurs. at BCMS
Banks County Middle School will hold its Veterans’ Day program on Thursday, Nov. 11, at 9 a.m., in the gym.
All veterans are invited to attend, school organizers stated.
The school is located on Thomas Street, Homer.
For more information, call (706) 677-2277.


Ward named to planning commisison
Replaces Lindorme; Reese re-appointed
The Banks County Board of Commissioners made changes to several boards at a meeting held Tuesday, including replacing Ed Lindorme on the planning commission.
Commissioner Rickey Cain made the motion to replace Lindorme, whose term expired in October 2004, with Al Ward. Commissioner Pat Westmoreland voted in favor of the motion.
Sammy Reece was also up for reappointment on the planning commission, Westmoreland and Cain agreed to reappoint him to the board.
Appointments to the planning commission are for four year terms.
Last month, planning commission chairman Harold Ivey exchanged heated words with Westmoreland because he believed Lindorme and Reece were not going to be re-appointed.
The BOC had to nominate three Banks County citizens to sit on the BJC Hospital Authority. Only one will be chosen by the authority to serve on the board.
The BOC nominated existing member David Payne for another six-year term, along with Mike Gordon and Billy Leachman.
Bill Jackson resigned as a member of the NEGA Regional Board of Mental Health, Mental Retardation and Substance Abuse before his term expired and had to be replaced.
Westmoreland nominated Grant Reed to finish the three-year term that will expire in June 2005.


Santa coming to Alto Nov. 27
City’s Christmas tree to be lit during evening
The town of Alto will hold its annual Christmas tree lighting on Saturday, Nov. 27, at 7 p.m., at city hall.
The event will feature Christmas caroling, refreshments, lighting of the Christmas tree and lights, and the arrival of Santa on a fire truck.
“Everyone is invited to come and enjoy this special event,” organizers stated.

 

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Homer, Georgia
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