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OPINION PAGE - OCTOBER 13, 1999 - HOMER, GEORGIA

Editorial
The Banks County News- October 13, 1999

Banks County has historic treasure in Fort Hollingsworth
The historic Fort Hollingsworth-White House home place in Banks County is a treasure that some people in our area aren't aware of. It has already been named to the National Register of Historic Places for its rich history which dates back to 1793. And now the site has received a state grant for a renovation project.
State Rep. Jeanette Jamieson, who helped acquire the grant, said the site is one of the best historic projects she has visited in the state. Jamieson chaired the state historical preservation study committee and had the opportunity to tour the fort. The grant money will be used to repair or renovate the foundation, roof, siding and rock pillars.
Those who have not been to the fort need to check it out. The family members also need volunteers to do the work at the fort. For more information or to volunteer, call Willene Mote at (706) 754-4538.


Letters
The Banks County News- October 13, 1999

Disagrees with tax assessment
Recently, I received my 1999 property tax assessment notice from Banks County. I strongly disagree with the countywide revaluation figures.
I own approximately 72 acres of wild, open, Banks County land. After receiving the tax assessment, I went to Homer and attempted to challenge the sharp rise in taxes. Someone at the tax office informed me that 1999 taxes were over $400 more than I paid last year. One year, the tax amount on this same acreage was $100.11. In 1973, I paid only $87.84. Even in 1994, my tax was only $358.31.
It was evident when at Banks Crossing last week that the county is loaded with retail establishments. This makes me wonder if you tax commissioners had to make so many concessions to the developers of Banks Crossing that it was necessary to soak county landowners with a much higher tax rate to cover losses at the shopping centers.
As a long-time Banks County taxpayer, I feel some relief in my tax rate is obligatory.

Column
By Sherry Lewis
The Banks County News- October 13, 1999


More than fun
and games
I saw fire chief Dean Jackman at the courthouse on Friday and he asked me if I would come take pictures of a fire department "muster" on Saturday. With some reservation, I said OK. He gave me a sheet explaining the events and I thought they were going to be playing games, but I quickly found out it was much more than that.
While the students at the primary school participate in the "rapid dress" on field day, this competition among the firemen and women has a much different meaning. Getting the clothes and fire apparatus on as quickly and accurately as possible can mean a quicker response time.
I was impressed that John Creasy dressed out completely in 41 seconds. I later found out that he held the state record in rapid dress for eight years with a time of 18 seconds in his "younger days."
The firefighters were also treated to some entertainment from commission chairman, James Dumas and commissioner Ernest Rogers who competed in a "Wet Turkey" competition. Dumas and his son, Jonathan, teamed up against Rogers and Tim Smallwood. Both teams squirted water until they moved a barrel and drenched each other as well. Can you guess who were the "wet turkeys"?
The firefighters also competed in a drafting competition. In this event, firefighters had to connect the engine to draft water, flow it through a hose and knock over a cone.
While in the burst hose event, firefighters used their skills to replace a hose as water squirted out all around them.
This is not the only training our fire department is involved in. Almost monthly, we are publishing the names of firefighters who have been in some kind of training. Also, the wives and mothers of the firefighters are getting involved by driving a supply truck to the scene. They will serve snacks and drinks to the men and women fighting the fires.
My thoughts are, how do these people do it? Most sacrifice their free time, sometimes daily, to help out in the community. A firefighter told me it starts out with a desire to help people and then it "gets into your blood."
While the firefighters were out for a morning of training, I once again found out that learning can be fun. On Saturday, this was much more than games but polishing their skills to save a home or save a life.
Sherry Lewis is news editor of The Banks County News.


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