News from Banks County...

DECEMBER 1, 2004

Banks County

Banks County
Banks County

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Frank Gillispie
The left is trying to destroy culture of self determination
The first rule of problem solving is to define the problem. The problem is an effort by a small socio-political group to drive Christianity out of our public life. We need to know why they are doing this and what we can do about it.

Angela Gary
Don’t get a little one to help wrap gifts
It’s not a good idea to get a little one to help you wrap presents. That is, not unless you want everyone to know exactly what you got them.
My sister laughingly told me that my nephew told his dad, “I wrapped you two pair of blue jeans.” I guess my brother-in-law knows what he’ll be getting for Christmas from me.

Costly mistakes
Turnovers contributing to Banks County losses
The Banks County varsity basketball team is 1-4 after competing in two tip-off tournaments.

News from
Santa’s ‘helpers’ hit stores in record numbers
Across America, the day after Thanksgiving is the day millions of Santa’s “helpers” hit the stores. In Banks County, it was no different as thousands of shoppers from across the Southeast snarled traffic and filled stores, hotels and restaurants at Banks Crossing.

New developments proposed for Pendergrass
Commercial project planned on bypass
The first planning and zoning hearing since Pendergrass withdrew from the Quad Cities Planning Commission in April brought some large requests for city officials to consider on Tuesday.
On the table for the council to discuss were three requests ranging from a large commercial development to a variance request to allow an additional mobile home on a resident’s property.

News from
‘Lessons in faith’
For more than five decades, Hester Sartain has taught class on faith, on life
Hester Sartain remembers walking up the steps of Jones Chapel Church in the early 1950s, balancing her youngest daughter Susan on her hip, when several church leaders stopped her to ask if she would consider teaching a Sunday School class.

Tax bills coming this month?
Digest dilemma has impact on county revenues for 2005
Will county taxpayers get their property tax bills by the end of the year? Well, that’s still up in the air. But county board of assessors chairman John Bellew said that remains his goal.
The Banks County News
Homer, Georgia
Telephone: (706) 367-5233
Fax: (706) 367-8056


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MAKING A wish list

Five-year-old Karl Fell ran down her wish list with Santa Claus (Chad Conrad) at the annual Christmas tree lighting Saturday night in Alto.

Banks County Primary School receives state honor
Reception to be held on Dec. 13
Banks County Primary School has been named a “Title I Distinguished School” by the Georgia Department of Education and state superintendent of schools Kathy Cox for the fifth consecutive year.
The announcement was made at the November meeting of the State Board of Education.
Banks County Primary School was honored for making “adequate yearly progress” under the No Child Left Behind Act for five consecutive years. The school will be receiving a certificate of recognition and an award of $50,700.
“We fully expect to continue meeting and beating expectations, which means that next year this school should truly become one of the state’s elite Title I schools and receive an even larger monetary award,” said Banks County superintendent Chris Erwin. “I can’t be more proud of the commitment our administrators, teachers, and staff have to providing an excellent education for every child in Banks County.”
A reception will be held for the staff, students and parents at the primary school on Monday, December 13, at 7 p.m.
The Title I Recognition and Distinguished Schools program honors those Title I elementary and secondary schools that make adequate yearly progress three or more consecutive years. Some 150 Title I schools made “adequate yearly progress” for three consecutive years and will each receive certificates of recognition. Some 42 Title I schools made “adequate yearly progress” for four consecutive years and will receive grants totaling $973,752. Some 23 Title I schools made “adequate yearly progress” for five consecutive years and will receive grants totaling $815,250. Some 39 Title I schools made “adequate yearly progress” for six consecutive years and will receive grants totaling $1,275,600.
The number of schools honored varies from year to year, and is dependent on the number of schools meeting the criteria. Under NCLB, at least 75 percent of the monetary awards must be given to those schools with the highest percentage of students coming from lower income families. In Georgia, a student from a ?low income? family is defined as one who is eligible for free or reduced-priced school meals.
Schools identified for recognition and/or financial awards must meet or exceed adequate yearly progress (AYP) for three or more consecutive years and must have not been on the Unsafe Schools Choice Option (USCO) list within the last two years.
Schools receiving monetary awards must use funds for educational purposes only. Each school will decide specifically how funds will be spent. Schools may: provide monetary awards to principals, teachers, and staff; use funds to purchase resources/instructional supplies for the school, or use funds for special school-wide projects.

Maysville plans Christmas in the Park Sat.
Maysville will kick off the Christmas season Saturday night, from 6 to 9 p.m. with its annual Christmas in the Park celebration in the city park.
Santa Claus will be present to talk with children, and activities will include a hay ride, arts and crafts vendors, a moon walk and slide, storytelling, musical entertainment and refreshments, including hot apple cider, hot chocolate and roasted marshmallows. The highlight will be the lighting of the Memorial Tree, which will stay lit until New Year’s Day.
For information, call 652-2334.

Last call for kids’ Christmas photos
The deadline for photos to be turned in for the annual children’s Christmas section in The Banks County News has been extended to 5 p.m. Friday, December 3. Photos will not be accepted after that time.
See page this weeks Banks County News for more details on submission guidelines.

Old Alto home comes down for new Dollar General store
The old home at the intersection of Grant Street, Mud Creek Road and Old Cornelia Highway across from Alto city hall was burned to the ground Sunday to make way for a new Dollar General store.
To save costs involved with tearing down the structure, officials with Dollar General donated it to the Baldwin Fire Department for a practice burn. The company spent over $5,000 to remove asbestos from the home.
Baldwin deputy fire chief and training officer Chuck Wray said such donations provide firefighters with valuable training.
?Firefighters can go through all the training in classes, but they lack actual hands-on experience,? said Bray. ?For some, it helps them realize what a real fire is like. It lets them make a decision if firefighting is right for them or not.?
Captain Smiley Gragg added: ?You see things differently when you’re in a burning building; see the smoke; feel the heat of the fire. Some who have gone through all the classes change their mind. It’s best to find that out before you head into a real situation.?
Fire chief Joe Roy said the department practiced several training burns on Saturday prior to taking it to the ground on Sunday.
?We held several practice burns; more than we thought we’d get,? he said. ?We set up scenarios for different types of situations that a firefighter will inevitably encounter on the job. Everyone got a chance to work one of the scenarios we set up.?
Sunday, when the last training burn was completed, Roy set the house ablaze and billows of thick, black smoke and tongues of flames reaching up 30 feet and more filled the clear blue sky.
To keep control of the burn, firefighters were positioned around the site with charged lines ready in case the wind shifted thereby threatening other nearby residences and trees.
The site will soon be cleared and the new store open for business, possibly in the spring, said city clerk Penny Rogers.


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Hard times
$100,000 given in food stamps
October was a bad month for Banks families. Renota Free, director of Banks County Department of Family and Children Services, reported at the November board meeting that 456 families had received $101,084 in food stamps. The amount was an increase of more than 33 percent over last year and a record for the county.
The October children’s services report contained further sobering news, with 38 new cases of child abuse reported. Also reported for the month were three cases of physical abuse and 35 cases of neglect. Eight of those cases have been substantiated and action was taken to protect the children. Six were investigated and dropped. Some 39 remain under investigation.
Caseworkers had 16 cases pending outcomes from September.
Three caseworkers are currently handling a record 100 child abuse reports; an increase of more than 100 percent over last year. Some 17 children have been placed in the department’s custody, nearly three times the number last year at this time. Six are available for adoption.
In the economics report, Free said the total cost of temporary relief for needy families was $8,335, slightly less than in September.
Free also said DFACS is working with area churches and Family Connections to make sure Banks children in need have a “Merry Christmas.” Residents who would like to donate gifts or money can contact the office at 677-2272 and talk with Kitty Griffin or Donna Griffin.

Legislative breakfast set for Dec. 9
A legislative breakfast to honor elected officials will be held at 8 a.m. Thursday, Dec. 9, at the Garrison Civic Center.
The event is being sponsored by the Banks County Chamber of Commerce, Convention and Visitors Bureau, Development Authority and the Family Connections.
Everyone interested is invited to attend. The cost is $5 for non-members and free for members. Call the chamber office to RSVP, (706) 677-2108.
The civic center is located at 193 Sycamore Street, Homer.
The Banks County News
Homer, Georgia
Telephone: (706) 367-5233 Fax: (706) 367-8056

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