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FRONT PAGE - DECEMBER 15, 1999 - HOMER, GA

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'AWAY IN A MANGER'

Joseph (Kody Garrison) and Mary (Sheilena Brookshire) wrapped baby Jesus in clothes and laidhim in a manger because there was no room in the inn. "Kids for Christ" presented "The Christmas Story" at Homer United Methodist Church Sunday evening.

LOCAL GOVERNMENT

Dean Jackman resigns as Banks fire chief
Says he can't work with commissioners
BY SHERRY LEWIS
Banks County fire chief Dean Jackman resigned last week after submitting a letter stating that he can't work with the board of commissioners any longer. At the close of the meeting, the BOC released a letter praising Jackman for the work he has done as the first full-time firefighter employed by the county.
The BOC agreed to a severance agreement of 60 days' pay for Jackman and to continue his health insurance through January 2000. Deputy chief Perry Dalton was named as interim chief.
The board of commissioners accepted Jackman's resignation in a meeting Friday morning. There has reportedly been some dissention within the department, including a letter Jackman wrote to the BOC addressing Dalton's insubordination. Following a closed session with the BOC on Friday, Jackman issued the following statement:
"I have reached a point in my life that I can no longer work for the current BOC and I believe the feeling is mutual. I feel like I'm at a standstill with the department and it's time for me to move on."
BOC chairman James Dumas said this situation is tragic.
"I am saddened any time when people cannot work together," he said. "When differences of opinion arise, it bothers me. The whole thing is tragic for the community. The fire department has come so far in the last few years."
Jackman was hired four years ago. He was the first paid firefighter and was charged by the BOC to assist the volunteer department in purchasing equipment and improving training. During that time, Jackman took all the volunteer fire departments and joined them under one unit.
In the letter released after the BOC meeting, the commissioners praised Jackman and the volunteer firefighters.
"Because of the hard work of many volunteers and chief Jackman, the citizens of Banks County now enjoy the protection of a better-trained group of paid and volunteer firefighters," according to the letter, which was signed by all three commissioners.
The letter also pointed out that firefighters now assist emergency medical services and respond to automobile accidents. Many Banks County citizens have also seen a reduction in fire insurance rates by the lowering of ISO ratings.
"None of this would have been possible a few years ago," according to the BOC letter. "Chief Jackman and the volunteers are to be commended for their hard work and dedication. We are better off today than we have ever been. However, as with everything, there comes a time for change."


Applications being taken for planning commission members
BY SHERRY LEWIS
Banks County residents who want to become a member of the planning commission must submit an application.
In the past, members have been appointed by the Banks County Board of Commissioners. When it came to the BOC's attention that the terms of all but one of the members had expired, they decided to accept applications. The terms of Ed Barrett, Ed Lindorme, Barbara Poole and Andrew Strickland expired in August 1999, while Harold Ivey's term expires in August 2000. Current members will be encouraged to resubmit their interest in writing, according to BOC chairman James Dumas.
Planners make $25 per meeting. Those wishing to apply must send letters of intent to the BOC.


Two BOC members looking to make changes in road dept.
BY SHERRY LEWIS
At least two members of the Banks County Board of Commissioners are looking to make some changes in the road department.
Following a work session on Friday, Dec. 3, which included a talk with current road superintendent Wayne Andrews, members Pat Westmoreland and Ernest Rogers said they want to begin the search for a new head for the department. The two commissioners said Andrews is an excellent motor grader operator and will be asked to stay on in that capacity. Andrews has worked for the county for 33 years, with two years as road superintendent. He replaced his father, the late Carmon Andrews.
"We have asked for changes in the road department to better serve the public," Westmoreland said. "We need to restructure the road department and replace him (Andrews) in the near future."
BOC chairman James Dumas tried to take some of the responsibility for the concerns about the operation of the department. Citizen concerns come to the BOC office and Dumas contacts the road department.
Dumas is opposed to replacing Andrews.
"You all can do it but I will vote and I will vote against it," said Dumas.
He said that Banks County has only six people working in the department, while some neighboring counties have 20 people. Dumas also pointed out that the county has 230 miles of dirt roads and 200 miles of paved roads to maintain.
Andrews told the BOC that the road department is doing all it can to keep up with the demands. One crew operates the motor graders, while the other crew replaces signs, picks up dead animals and does mechanical repairs. Work orders from the public also have to be done, he continued.
"With scraping, mowing and work requests we are doing all we can do," said Andrews.
Westmoreland and Rogers said they would continue to work to make the department more efficient. They talked of hiring one or two more men.
"By summer, we will have enough men to do the work on the roads," said Westmoreland.
Westmoreland and Rogers had first discussed hiring a public works director who would oversee the water department as well but decided instead to hire a new road superintendent.


Holiday schedule given for News
The Banks County News will be closed Thursday and Friday, Dec. 23-24, in observance of the Christmas holiday.
The News office will also be closed Thursday and Friday, Dec. 30-31 in observance of the New Year's holiday.



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