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Elections set in Homer, Lula, Gillsville, Alto

When qualifying ended, elections had been set in Homer, Lula, Gillsville and Alto. The election will be held in the towns on Nov. 2, from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.


In Homer, incumbent mayor Doug Cheek will face challenger Julie King.

City council seats on the ballot will be:

•District 2 Post 1: incumbent David Dunson and Martha Cotton.

•District 3: incumbent James Dumas and John Edwin Yearwood.

Elections will not be necessary in District 1 Post 1 where incumbent Jerry Payne was the only one to qualify; in District 1 Post 2 where Cliff Hill was the only one to qualify; and in District 2 Post 2 where Sandra Garrison was the only one to qualify.


In Lula, incumbent mayor Jim Grier will face challenger Joe Thomas.

City council seats on the ballot will be:

•District 2: incumbent Martin Moore, Patty Thomas and Denise Shockley.

•District 3: incumbent Mordecai Wilson and Gene Bramlett.


In Gillsville, two council seats will be on the ballot:

•Post 1: Phil Ferguson and Kody Rylee.

•Post 2: incumbent Jeff Perry and Larry Poole.

Wade Dale was the only person to qualify for mayor. Incumbent mayor Roy Turpin is not seeking re-election.

Early voting will be held at the community building at Gillsville City Park.


In Alto, one race will be on the ballot:

•Post 1: incumbent Carolyn Came and Turner Griffith.

In Post 3, incumbent Allen Fox was the only one to qualify; and in Post 5, incumbent P.J. Huggins was the only one to qualify. 


In Maysville, an election will not be necessary as only the incumbents qualified: council member Ward 1 Kathleen Bush and council member Ward 3 Richard Parr.


In Baldwin, an election will not be necessary as only the incumbents qualified: mayor Joe Elam; Post 4 council member Maarten Venter; and Post 5 council member Alice Lindsay Venter. 


Early voting will be held Oct. 12-22, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays through Fridays. Saturday voting will be held on Oct. 16 and Oct. 23 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Absentee ballots will be available beginning Oct. 12. Oct. 22 is the last day to submit an absentee ballot. If you are not registered to vote, the last day to do so is Monday,

The Leopards took the field for the first time this season at Commerce stadium this past Friday night.

Tornado touches down in county during storm

The National Weather Service confirmed that a tornado with 90 miles per hour winds did touch down in Banks County on Tuesday, Aug. 17.

Two homes and a barn were damaged but no injuries were reported during the storm.

"The National Weather Service visited with us and advised that it was an EF1 tornado with probably 90 mph winds," Deidra Moore, EMA/E-911 director said. "We are so thankful no one was hurt."

A barn on Payne Road was also destroyed. Horses in the barn were rescued, with none being injured.

Yonah Homer Road was closed due to the road being washed away in the area of Silver Shoals Road. Wofford Creek Road was also closed due to the road being washed away from flooding

“In total, from the time the warning came in at 10:27 a.m. until 2:48 p.m., the 911 Center, with three dispatchers, entered 26 calls for service and handled over 40 calls during that four- hour period,” Moore said “The Fire/EMS and sheriff’s office helped the road department in clearing roads and all utilities were quick to respond.

Moore reminds county residents to sign up for mass notification alerts so that they can be warned about future storm or tornado watches and warnings. To do this, text the words "Swift 911" to 99538 and follow the prompts from there.

"If you need help, email us at dmoore@co.banks.ga.us and we’ll help get you signed up," Moore said. "We just need your name, home address, phone number you want texts on and phone number you want voice only notifications on."

Development authority reviews financial analysis for industrial park

The Development Authority of Banks County, at the monthly meeting on Thursday, August 19, discussed the financial analysis for the Banks County High-Tech Industrial Park on Hwy. 441.

The total costs incurred by the Development Authority for the property purchase and getting the pads ready was $4.759 million. The total projected revenue from property sales, property taxes, estimated future property sales, estimated property taxes through 2030 and estimated sales taxes through 2030 is $11.331 million. That is a total profit of $6.572 million.

Development Authority director Richard Brooks presented the draft analysis, which he said does not include the benefits brought to the county through increased good paying jobs and the increased money of those who work in the county who will spend their salaries in the county. He added that it also does not include future estimated property taxes or sales taxes for the sale of the last property, which is still available.


Other business discussed at the meeting included:

•the fully-funded federal broadband grant that the Joint Development Authority of Banks, Habersham and Rabun counties and NGN applied for. Brooks advised NGN and Banks County also applied for a state broadband grant.

•a fiber conduit plan to be presented to the Banks County Board of Commissioners for their consideration so that conduit installation can be required in collector road rights-of-way in all subdivisions, including those currently under construction. Brooks said, if approved, this plan would allow conduit to be put in place when a road is being dug up for other purposes. Brooks said he would pass a copy of this along to the county public works director, Horace Gee.

•Brooks reported that he had met with Rick Billingslea to possibly coordinate sewer development with the City of Homer.

•attending the Northeast Georgia Quatro-County Meeting with cities in Franklin County, to include Banks, Hart and Stephens counties, as well as their planning commissions, development authorities and boards of commissioners. The meeting is set for Wednesday, September 22.

•a discussion on a proposed draft economic development budget to be used as a guideline for a Fiscal Year 2023 budget that would be submitted to the BOC during budget discussions.

66 new COVID-19 cases reported in past week

The number of COVID-19 cases in Banks County is up 66 since last week.

According to reports on Monday from the Georgia Department of Health, 1,869 cases have been reported since March 2020, when data first began to be reported.

So far, there have been 226 people in Banks County hospitalized due to the virus (up four from last week) and 42 deaths reported (up one from last week).

With a new school year underway, there have been a reported 35 students with a positive COVID-19 diagnosis among the 2,832 enrollment and 5 employees out of the 376 employees who have tested positive.

The number of COVID-19 cases had been decreasing but the new Delta variant of the virus has caused the numbers of spike again, leading to shortage of hospital beds at area medical centers.


In Banks County, 24 percent of the residents are fully vaccinated with 4,492 have received both shots.

The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) and the Centers of Disease Control (CDC) approved an additional Moderna and Pfizer dose for individuals who have weakened immune systems. This additional dose will require medical documentation from the individual’s provider and should indicate their immune condition.

Additionally, ACIP and the CDC are expected to approve the Moderna and Pfizer booster vaccine for the public. The expected date the health departments will begin administering the booster dose is September 20.

District 2 Public Health is opening up two additional drive-thru testing sites at Lumpkin and Franklin county health departments. Franklin County Mako testing site will open on Wednesday, August 25, and Lumpkin County Mako testing site will open on Thursday, August 26.

To find more information regarding COVID-19 for your county, please visit phdistrict2.org.

Additional COVID-19 dose available for immunocompromised

The Georgia Department of Public Health has issued guidance in providing additional COVID-19 doses. Based on the guidance District 2 Public Health have received, health departments are administering the additional dose to immunocompromised individuals.

The additional dose has been approved for the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines only and is not currently approved for the Janssen and Janssen (J&J) one-dose vaccine.

This is an additional dose for individuals that have specific health conditions that limit their ability to make antibodies to fight off COVID-19 with only two doses of the vaccine, this is not a booster dose for the general population.

To receive the additional dose per the Georgia Department of Public Health guidelines, the health departments will require a signed doctor’s statement that includes the specific health condition a person is experiencing. To obtain the forms needed for documentation from your doctor, visit phdistrict2.org.

The additional vaccine dose should be considered for people with moderate to severe immune compromise due to a medical condition, or receipt of immunosuppressive medications or treatments. This includes people who have:

•Active treatment for solid tumor and hematologic malignancies.

•Receipt of a solid-organ transplant and taking immunosuppressive therapy.

•Receipt of CAR-T-cell or hematopoietic stem cell transplant (within 2 years of transplantation or taking immunosuppression therapy).

•Moderate or severe primary immunodeficiency (such as DiGeorge syndrome, Wiskott- Aldrich syndrome).

•Advanced or untreated HIV infection.

•Active treatment with high-dose corticosteroids (≥20mg prednisone or equivalent per day), alkylating agents, antimetabolites, transplant-related immunosuppressive drugs, cancer chemotherapeutic agents classified as severely immunosuppressive, tumor- necrosis (TNF) blockers, and other biologic agents that are immunosuppressive or immunomodulatory.

District 2 health departments will administer additional doses on a walk-in basis. At this time, no appointments will be required and all additional doses will be available at all District 2 health departments.

For a location near you visit phdistrict2.org and click on locations. The health department hours of operation are Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Tuesdays 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Fridays 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. They are closed every day for lunch from 12 p.m. to 1 p.m.

Homer Holiday Festival coming up

The 49th annual Homer Holiday Festival will be held Sept. 3-4 in downtown Homer.

The parade will be held at 10 a.m. on Saturday, Sept. 4. Other activities include events for children, food and booths.

Chicken-que fundraiser planned Sept. 4

The Homer Fire Department Ladies Auxiliary is sponsoring a chicken-que fundraiser to benefit the Homer Volunteer Fire Department on Saturday, September 4, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. The cost is $8 per plate.

Plates will be available to pick-up at the fire department during the annual downtown festival in Homer.

Hurry and subscribe to BCN: Special offer ends Aug. 31

There will be a special rate of $14.50 for a one-year subscription to the Banks County News in August. The regular subscription price is $45 per year.

The special rate in August can be used to purchase a three-year subscription for a rate of $43.50.

The special rate offer will expire on Aug. 31, 2021.

With your subscription to the print edition of the newspaper, you also get free access to the online edition at www.banksnewstoday.com.

To subscribe, mail a check to The Banks County News, along with your name and address to: MainStreet Newspapers, P.O. Box 908, Jefferson, Ga., 30549.

To subscribe online, go to Mainstreetnews.com and click subscribe in upper left corner. If you are on mobile, select subscribe from menu on right.

The offer is good for new and existing customers. Existing customers can take advantage of this offer by extending their current subscription. The offer is not retroactive.

For more information, call 706-367-5233.