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A look at the retail revolution
We live at a time when as I learned
this weekend you can actually buy a small, color TV for
$37 or a lawnmower for $99. But go to a ball game, or the movies,
or the hospital, and watch how prices suddenly change: The cost
of a soft drink swells to six times more than usual; one aspirin
tablet in a hospital room suddenly costs more than a combo meal
at a drive-through.
Lessons to be learned from Chernobyl
On an April day in 1986, a horrific accident
occurred in Russia.
The release of steam from a nuclear reactor sent an intense cloud
of radiation across hundreds of square miles in Russia.
Showing signs of improvement
Banks County wrestling team taking early
Banks County wrestling season is in full swing with positive
results from several early season matches and several more matches
ahead on the schedule.
2,440-home community being pitched for Arcade
Mega-development would be county’s
A high-density housing planned community in Arcade is being pitched
to area government leaders for comments by the Northeast Georgia
Regional Development Center. And action on the plan could come
as soon as Dec. 21 when an annexation and rezoning request is
slated to go before the Quad Cities Planning Commission.
Isakson speaks at courthouse dedication Wed.
Commends county officials on facility
While its doors have been open to the public for months, the
new Jackson County courthouse was officially dedicated on Wednesday
475-home subdivision in the works?
Major residential development proposed for
Colbert Grove Church Road, Johnny McElroy Road
A 475-home subdivision could be in the works for 400.12 acres
on Colbert Grove Church Road and Johnny McLeroy Road.
Here is the actual proposal submitted by
the applicants to the Madison County Planning and Zoning Department:
“Star Home Builders proposes to construct a subdivision
on 400 acres of property on Colbert Grove Church Road in Madison
County, and requests rezoning of the property from A-1 (agricultural)
to R-1, Planned Unit Development (PUD).
The Banks County News
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Joey Ayers monitors security cameras located
in every cell, at every door, in every room and over every parking
lot while working a shift in the control center at the new Banks
County Jail. Ayers also controls the opening and closing of all
doors from a switchboard and monitors an intercom system, located
to his left.
more photos in this weeks Banks County News.
New Banks County
jail open for business
Anyone needing to fill out an incident
report, report an accident or speak to an officer with the Banks
County Sheriff’s Office should now go to the new Banks
County jail, located on Thompson Street across the new Hwy. 441
Inmates were moved into the new $3.2 million facility on November
2 and have been residing there without incident for over a month.
More than 30 inmates were moved election day. When inmates moved
from the old to the new jail, they had to go through booking
again to be sorted into classifications; minimum, medium and
maximum security, depending on their charges, criminal history
and whether they had committed a violent crime.
“From the time a person is brought into the jail, everything
is different,” said Sheriff Charles Chapman.
At the old jail, people were brought in through the front door
to be booked in and would stand in the same area as the public.
At the new jail, inmates enter through the back and are booked
into jail in a separate, secure location.
“We did a lot of things over there (the old jail) because
we had to, we had no other way,” he said.
The state and federal governments regulate the way inmates and
prisoners are treated in jails and prisons. They must be treated
in a way that does not violate the Constitution of the United
States of America.
“We don’t just take people off the street and stick
them in a cage,” Chapman said. “They are people and
they have rights and they have to be treated that way. It is
our responsibility to maintain the jail not only for the safety
of the officers, but for the safety of those who are incarcerated.”
The jail has a full-time nutritionist who plans and prepares
three meals a day for the inmates. Inmates are expected to be
up in the morning by 7 a.m. for breakfast and the lights go out
at 11 p.m.
Some inmates volunteer to work inside the jail so they perform
chores during the day. Others are allowed to spend time in a
common area located in each of the four cell blocks. All are
allowed to go outside, inside locked and wired gates, for a certain
amount of time each day.
Inmates cannot be denied medical attention if they request to
see a doctor. The new jail has a nurse’s station with a
waiting room, medicine vault and exam room, but does not have
a nurse on the staff. Inmates have to be taken to see the county
doctor, Dr. Robert Marshburn. Chapman said eight medical requests
were completed last week and Marshburn had to come to the jail
to examine the sick. Chapman said it would be easier, and possibly
less expensive, to have a nurse come to the jail.
“We are going to try to come up with something that considers
the welfare of the inmates and is in the best interest of the
taxpayers,” Chapman said.
Last year, medical expenses at the jail totaled $60,000. Only
$17,000 was added into this year’s budget for medical expenses.
Chapman said the transition was a big adjustment not only for
the inmates, but for the staff as well.
“Here, it is so much different, the work load for jailers
became greater after the move and they are separated from each
other,” he said.
Jailers work in shifts, rotating from one post to another throughout
“That jail has been out-of-date for years,” Chapman
said about the old facility.
He said he started discussing the possibility of a new jail with
commissioners during his first term in office.
“We were facing many, many problems in that jail,”
he said. “It was designed in such a way that there was
really no security and we had a lot of problems with the sewer
Law enforcement officers from the Georgia Sheriff’s Association
were contacted in 1999 by local officials to conduct a feasibility
study to assess the need for a new jail in the county. After
several weeks of research, findings suggested the county fund
the building of an 80- bed jail. Chapman said for budgetary reasons
the facility was condensed to 60 beds.
Construction began in January 2003. Heavy rain and the lack of
a road delayed the progress for several months, Chapman remembered.
“It came up from the mud holes,” he said. “We
came up with a nice building.”
The building was completed in June 2004, but jailers still had
to learn how to operate all the new equipment; intercom systems,
a network of security cameras, electronic rolling doors and security
“We had to make sure the jail staff was ready to occupy
the building,” Chapman said. “It’s not something
you just do, it is a transition.”
The Sheriff’s Association conducted a jailer’s school
for several days on location for the staff.
The new jail cost $3.2 million to construct, but property owners
didn’t have to pay for the building, just the maintenance.
“Everybody knows that this jail is operated and maintained
by the tax- payers,” Chapman said. “But, everyone
who spent $1 in Banks County got to pay for the building.”
The new Banks County Jail was one of several projects paid for
by a special purpose local option sales tax (SPLOST).
Flu shots to
be given Mon. at the health department
Only ‘high risk’ to get vaccination
The Banks County Health Department will have a limited amount
of flu vaccinations to give to those at “high risk”
on Monday, Dec. 13, from 8 a.m. to noon, and 1-4 p.m.
A spokesperson with the North Health District 2, which includes
Banks County in the 13-county region, said officials don’t
know how many flu shots will be available.
Flu clinics in the North Health District 2 will also begin to
hold daily flu clinics until all available vaccine is given.
Those identified by the Centers of Disease Control (CDC) as “high
risk” are: persons 65 years of age and older; health care
workers who provide direct patient care, out-of-home caregivers
and household contacts of children younger than six months, persons
ages six to 64 years with underlying chronic medical conditions,
children ages six months to 18 years on chronic aspirin therapy,
children aged six months to 23 months and women who will be pregnant
during the influenza season.
Flu shots will be given on a first-come, first-served basis to
persons in high-risk groups only, officials said. Public health
officials expect demand for the vaccine to be high. Therefore,
expect that there may be crowds at the clinics and allow plenty
of time to receive service.
“Please be considerate and patient with others, as well
as the public health staff,” officials said.
Vaccine will be given daily until depleted. If additional vaccine
is made available, subsequent clinics will be scheduled to administer
flu shots. The cost for the vaccine is $20. Medicare and Medicaid
are accepted at all health departments.
North Health District 2 is comprised of Banks, Dawson, Forsyth,
Franklin, Habersham, Hall, Hart, Lumpkin, Rabun, Stephens, Towns,
Union and White counties in northeast Georgia.
Parts & Service
Stores & Outlets
open house planned in Gillsville
Friends of Gillsville and the City of
Gillsville invite all area residents to a holiday open house.
This holiday event will be held Saturday, December 18, from 6
to 8 p.m. in downtown Gillsville. It will feature caroling groups
and complimentary food and beverages, and will give folks a look
at the progress of the building renovations.
“Bring your family, friends and neighbors and help us celebrate
the holidays in downtown Gillsville,” leaders say.
Will residents be able to pay their 2004
property taxes before 2005?
The Banks County Board of Commissioners asked tax commissioner
Margaret Ausburn in a called meeting last week if residents can
voluntarily pay their property taxes before January 1 so the
payments could be used in tax preparation. She said, “Not
“Until I receive a response from the state commissioner,
I can’t collect, it’s illegal,” Ausburn said
at a called meeting Wednesday, December 1.
Ausburn said she sent a letter to the state department on October
28 requesting the authority to accept voluntary property tax
payments. She said she hasn’t received a response, but
expects citizens will be able to pay their taxes before the digest
is complete using last year’s values.
Commission chairman Kenneth Brady said he’s received several
phone calls regarding the tax payments.
“People want to pay their taxes so they can write it off
on their income taxes,” he said. “I need mine to
Ausburn said the decision to accept payments lies completely
with the state revenue department.
“I understand why people want to pay their taxes, but I
can’t do anything,” Ausburn said. “As soon
as I find out, I’ll let you know.”