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FRONT PAGE - JULY 14, 1999 - HOMER, GA


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ZONING
Three people charged in home invasion
Warrant taken for another
Three people are behind bars and warrants have been taken on another for the home invasion that occurred at the residence of an elderly West County Line Road woman recently.
Teresa Forrester, 40, Alto, has been charged with burglary and false imprisonment; John Edward Dove, 22, Lula, has been charged with burglary; and Barry Forrester, 39, and Jeff Brown, 18, both of Maysville, have been charged with being a party to the crime of burglary.
According to testimony, T. Forrester allegedly masterminded the scheme to rob Margaret Chandler. She had asked the men if they wanted to make some money on Wednesday afternoon, June 30, according to Banks County Sheriff Charles Chapman.
Later that night, B. Forrester, who is married to T. Forrester, and Brown were reportedly dropped off near the home of the victim, where they allegedly cut the telephone lines. They were picked up by T. Forrester sometime later, according to reports. In the early morning hours, T. Forrester and Dove allegedly broke out two windows and told the victim to open the door.
At that point, the victim was blindfolded with duct tape and the house was ransacked. The suspects are accused of taking Chandler's purse, an antique clock, a small amount of money and several pieces of jewelry.
Chapman, along with chief investigator Kyle Bryant and Mel Janousek of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, followed leads in this case to Ellijay, where T. Forrester was found and reportedly was in possession of several of the items taken from the victim's residence. Further investigation led to the warrants of the other men. T. Forrester and Dove are currently being held in the Banks County jail, while B. Forrester awaits extradition to Banks County after he is released on unrelated charges in Hall County. Warrants have been issued for Brown, but as of Tuesday afternoon he had not been taken into custody.
T. Forrester is also being charged with theft by receiving stemming from another incident.


Parent upset by yearbook picture
BY DREW BRANTLEY
One Banks County parent complained to the board of education that a photo in the high school yearbook depicted interracial contact.
Roger Corn addressed the Banks County Board of Education meeting Monday night over one photograph in the 1999 Banks County High School yearbook, which depicted a black male student leaning with his elbow against a white female student in a three-person pyramid. Corn pointed the photo out as the board passed the yearbook around the table.
"How you all feel about that I don't know," Corn said. "But to me that's a shame. And I'm ashamed of it. I've bragged on this school a lot. But I'm going have to cut out my bragging on the Banks County school system if we can't do better than this."
Board chairman Don Shubert clarified Corn's complaint.
"So, your objection is him propping on her?" Shubert asked.
"Yes sir. Yes. Being physically involved with her to any degree in that picture. I couldn't approve of that if that was a white man."
Corn said he didn't expect the BOE to take any action.
"I just wanted to present my feelings about this," he said. "And I'm not afraid to be called a racist."
Superintendent Dock Sisk said the photograph did not depict anything questionable.
"That picture was taken as just a casual photograph," Sisk said. "We have instances where that picture could be taken several times a day. But to say there's something wrong with that picture, that's ridiculous."


New high school on track for fall opening
BY DREW BRANTLEY
The new Banks County High School will open for business this August.
School superintendent Dock Sisk said the contractors are still on track to complete everything but the auditorium and the grassing by July 27.
"We will start school there," Sisk said.
The gym floor is being put in this week, Sisk said. The bleachers are set to arrive the last week of July. Grading is also set to begin on installing a turn lane in front of the school, he said.
Pre-planning begins Aug. 16. Students begin the 1999-2000 school year Aug. 20.

COMMUNITY


HAPPY FACES ALL AROUND
Paige Whitey (center) isn't the only one happy after her sixth-inning base hit gave the Banks County Recreation Department 9-10 All-Star softball team a 16-15 win. The Banks County All-Stars had trailed 13-3 earlier in the game. Helping start the celebration are (L-R) Kayla Parks and coaches Jan Parks and Mark Autry.


BCMS moving toward school uniform
In what is the first move toward school uniforms in the county, Banks County Middle School leaders are encouraging students to wear uniforms next year.
The uniforms will not be required, but parents are encouraged to provide navy or khaki bottoms (skirts and/or pants) with solid white, light blue or dark blue shirts.
"This places students on equal footing," said BCMS principal Kay Rogers. "They are not worried about what other students are wearing. Instead, they are concentrating on education."
A representative selling these uniforms will be at the BCMS cafeteria at 7 p.m. Thursday, July 22.
Bonnie Johnson named 'Good Citizen'
BY SHERRY LEWIS
Bonnie Johnson was presented the "Good Citizen" award by the Banks County Chamber of Commerce during its annual barbecue on Thursday.
Johnson was nominated by 15 citizens who praised her for her contributions to the county.
"She has proven to be one of the most formidable leaders our county has ever been blessed with and has maintained a cooperative working relationship with city, county and state officials," stated chamber president Don Stewart reading from her list of nominations. "Due to her many efforts, Banks County has really been put on the map and has grown like never before."
Johnson and her late husband, Ralph, were recognized for retiring to Banks County "with the sole intent to give their time, heart and mind toward making Banks County the most wonderful place to live."
The Johnsons were instrumental in organizing the Banks County Clean and Beautiful program, writing the first land use plan, coordinating the adult literacy program and organizing the first political forum. Following her husband's death, Johnson kept on working in the county. She became president of the chamber of commerce and served on a volunteer basis for six years. Today, Johnson is still active in the chamber, serving on the board of directors, chairman of the education committee and a member of the county sales team.
She represents Banks County on the Lanier Tech Board of Trustees, Piedmont College Board of Trustees, Gainesville College Advisory Board and Peace Place women's shelter. Johnson also helped Banks County High School achieve accreditation for the home economics department and began giving a $500 scholarship on behalf of the department in memory of her late husband.
Stewart, along with commission chairman James Dumas, thanked Johnson for her "selfless dedication to Banks County."
In other business, Stewart held a ceremonial note burning for the loan to restore the historic courthouse, which was paid in full last month. Stewart thanked the historical society, Homer and Banks County officials, the Convention and Visitors Bureau and concerned citizens for their efforts.
"Because of your efforts, the historic courthouse remains as a special piece of Banks County history which will continue to serve future generations," said Stewart.
The chamber barbecue was held at the White Columns Plantation, which is an 1818 Antebellum bed and breakfast located on Bellamy Street in Homer.

LOCAL NEWS

Maysville takes steps for residential development
BY SHERRY LEWIS
The Maysville City Council is ready to begin the process for bringing in a new residential development.
In a meeting on Monday, the council discussed starting annexation and zoning procedures to bring approximately 60 acres on Ridgeway Road into the city limits at the request of developers Elora and Beth Stargel. The property is now owned by Robert Holland.
The Stargels have been in negotiations with Mayor Richard Presley as to who will pay the cost to provide water to the development, which will include approximately 50 stick-built homes, a swimming pool and a clubhouse. Presley told the council that the Stargels have agreed to pay half the cost to put in an eight-inch water line from the Oak Ridge Subdivision to the property, a distance of 3,200 feet.
The developers have also agreed to pay the $350 tap-on fee up front, Presley said. He estimates the cost to the city to be approximately $20,000, but reminded the council that a majority of that money will be recouped immediately through the tap-on fees.
If approved, the city's part of the project would be paid with the Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (SPLOST) that should begin around October, Presley continued.
The annexation will be possible because the Maysville city limits touch the property line on the back side from Sears Drive, Presley said. The council talked about contacting eight property owners about annexing their property all the way down Ridgeway Road to the development.
City attorney Gary Freeman advised the council that would be possible with 100 percent agreement by the property owners but said it would be complicated. The council would most likely have to zone the property as it is now-agricultural rural residential (AAR) -and that could cause problems at the present time.
"Right now, agriculture district requires 1.3 acres per dwelling and allows hog farms and landfills," Freeman said. "The real question is do you want to annex agriculture like it is now? This could get controversial."
At that point, the council agreed to just annex the property in question at the present time.
"Let's annex what we have been asked to annex right now," said councilman Scott Harper said. "That will make it a whole lot simpler."
In other business, the city council:
·discussed a report prepared by Armentrout, Roebuck and Company that addresses a maintenance proposal for the city water tanks from Utility Service Company. No action was taken on this matter.
·rescinded a resolution to put a gate around the water tanks and voted to take the ladders off the tanks 20 feet from the ground.
·discussed a letter that the city received from Billy Pruitt who was denied building permits to construct dwellings on Maywood Court because the lots are not located on a dedicated street. In a letter from a Jefferson attorney, Pruitt contends that it is a city street.
·approved a resolution to appoint Sue Mealor to the Jackson County Library Task Force.
·voted to appoint Renee Morris as election superintendent following the resignation of Smith Pounds.
·voted to pay $250 to join the Utilities Protection Center's -Call Before You Dig program.
·discussed water pressure problems on the Maysville-Homer Road. Jackson County issued a building permit to a business that will require a sprinkler system with the assumption the city had the pressure needed but they do not. The council is looking at the possibility of looping a line with Jackson County to boost the pressure.

SCHOOLS

Parent angered over BCPS' handling of incident with child
BY DREW BRANTLEY
The parents of a Banks County Primary School student made a complaint to the board of education over how a discipline situation was handled.
Kim Carter relayed her daughter's account to the board of how another parent had threatened her on school grounds after she had a disagreement with another child. Carter's child did not reveal the threat that she said was made to her until sometime afterward while watching television reports of the Columbine shootings in Colorado.
Former BCPS assistant principal Dennis Marlow investigated the allegations and said that there was only hearsay evidence.
"However, based on the fact that Carter's daughter appeared to be upset by the presence of (the woman), I asked the parent accused of making the threats be banned from being in the classroom, which was shared by the two girls."
Carter and her husband, who was also in attendance, asked the board to look into barring this parent from entering the school next year or of barring all parents from going past the office.
Superintendent Dock Sisk said the board was contacting its lawyer to see what steps could be taken. He added that the board would look at the issue later.
GOVERNMENT

Baldwin council approves drop in water rate
BY SHERRY LEWIS
Baldwin water customers outside the city should soon see a slight decrease in their water bills.
On Monday, the town council voted to go back to the former rates in most cases. For the last several months, customers inside the city have paid $3 for an administrative fee and $3.50 for each 1,000 gallons, while customers outside the city have been paying a $15 administrative fee and $3.75 per 1,000 gallons.
Under the new rate structure, customers inside the city will pay $7 for the first 2,000 gallons and $3.50 for each 1,000 gallons after that. Customers outside the city will pay $15 for the first 1,000 gallons and $3.75 per thousand after that.
"We felt that maybe our rates were too high, especially for those outside the city who were getting nothing for their $15," said Mayor Mark Reed.
In other business, the town council:
·hired Reggie Hampton as water superintendent.
·implemented water department raises that were approved in the budget.
·asked councilman John Thomas to research other city charters and make suggestions for the city.


The Banks County News - Homer, Georgia
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