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									   2A       THURSDAY, JULY 24, 2008                                                                                                                                                                 TIMES-COURIER • ELLIJAY, GEORGIA
                                                                                                                                                                work, and thereby agreed to           Times-Courier they were
Assaulters plea                                                                         Hospital                                                  from 1A       reimburse them, the hospital          unable to comment due to the
                                                                                                                                                                essentially would have been           pending litigation.
                                                                                        utility work and closing on the      Jerry Farist, the property has     paying for the utility work             Garrett did not return the
guilty, get prison time                                                                 property. Alternately, if the
                                                                                        sellers are unable to perform
                                                                                                                             an existing water line, but a
                                                                                                                             larger one is needed to accom-
                                                                                                                                                                  In the months after the law-
                                                                                                                                                                                                      Times-Courier’s attempts to
                                                                                                                                                                                                      contact him. Attempts to con-
                                                                                        the work, Southern Health is         modate a hospital. The plan        suit was filed another private        tact Roberta Mundy were also
                                                 ice upon completion of their           asking for a deduction of the        was to use the existing water      citizen stepped in to try to dif-     unsuccessful. It is therefore
Drug traffickers                                 prison time.                           previously agreed-upon pur-          line as the sewer line and         fuse the fray. David Pierce,          also unclear why the parties
                                                                                        chase price to compensate for        install a new, larger line for     whose property is adjacent to         did not fulfill their contractual
and burglar also                                   The case was prosecuted by
                                                 assistant district attorney            the lost services.                   water. The BOC agreed to pay       that under contract to be sold        obligations or appear at the
headed to prison                                 Michael Baird. Jeff Floyd of
                                                 the public defenders office rep-
                                                                                          At one point, according to
                                                                                        the court documents, Garrett
                                                                                                                             for these services so as not to
                                                                                                                             delay the construction of the
                                                                                                                                                                to      Southern         Health,
                                                                                                                                                                approached Garrett with an
                                                                                                                                                                                                      December 7 closing.
                                                                                                                                                                                                        The fact that Southern
                                                 resented Griggs, and Michael           and Ms. Mundy claimed they           new hospital. The BOC had a        offer to perform the utility          Health — or SunLink — has
Special to the Times-Courier                     J. Davis Jr., of Atlanta, repre-       did not own title to the entire      stipulation, however, that         work on the property, in accor-       not offered to schedule a new
Appalachian Judicial Circuit District Attorney   sented Banks.                          piece of property, which is com-     SunLink be required to reim-       dance with Southern Health’s          closing and drop the lawsuit
                                                   Teodora Salgada Pineda and           posed of six separate tracts of      burse the county for these         specifications. Pierce stated he      now that Garrett is allegedly
  Jacob Tyler Griggs and Cody                    Romana Salgado Renteria                land. A title company for the        costs whenever, in the future,     would complete the work with-         willing to fulfill the duties in
Allen Banks each recently pled                   each pled guilty to trafficking        parties, however, has said they      SunLink sold the new hospi-        in 16 months of the closing, as       the initial contract also raises
guilty to one count of aggra-                    methamphetamine             and        would insure title for the           tal.                               stated in the contract. Garrett       another      question. Might
vated assault and one count of                   received sentences of 30 years,        entirety of the property, and          SunLink reportedly makes         was supposedly amenable to            SunLink be considering sell-
aggravated battery for the                       15 to serve in prison with the         that between the sellers             frequent business of acquiring     this agreement, saying he             ing North Georgia Medical
July 5, 2007, incident where                     balance of 15 years served on          (including the estate of Randy       and selling hospital proper-       would thus go forward and             Center, and therefore stalling
Griggs, while riding in a car                    probation. Each was fined              Mundy) they do own the whole         ties, a mission that is appar-     close     on    the    property.      the litigation in the interim?
driven by Banks, threw a                         $300,000 and given 200 hours           25 acres. However, in the case       ent in SunLink’s 2007 letter to    Essentially, everyone could go          The Times-Courier contact-
metal rod through the wind-                      of community service.                  that Garrett and Ms. Mundy           shareholders,     posted     on    home happy.                           ed SunLink to inquire, but nei-
shield of an oncoming vehicle                      The case was the result of an        falsely represented them-            SunLink’s Web site. According        Except, of course, that’s           ther they         nor Southern
driven by a Gilmer County                        investigation in May 2007 by           selves in entering into the con-     to Farist, SunLink built the       rarely the case when a lawsuit        Health representatives were
Sheriff’s Deputy William Scott                   the Zell Miller Mountain               tract, Southern Health seeks         Pickens County hospital, and       is involved. Unfortunately,           able to comment on the possi-
Albritton and his wife, Terry.                   Parkway Drug Task Force with           compensation for damages             then sold it to Piedmont.          Garret’s amenability may sim-         ble sale of North Georgia. The
Banks, the driver of the vehi-                   assistance by the Georgia              they incurred as a result, and       SunLink currently owns seven       ply have come as too little too       answer, therefore, remains
cle, received a sentence of 10                   Bureau      of    Investigation        for punitive damages to be           hospitals in the southeast and     late for Southern Health.             unclear.
years, to serve four, with the                   Canton Regional Drug Office            imposed on the plaintiffs.           midwest.                           Since December 7 the matter             Nonetheless, the case is
balance served on probation as                   and the Gilmer County                    Garrett and Mundy did not            In the end, however, the deal    has been in the hands of              expected to appear before a
part of a negotiated plea of                     Sheriff’s Office.                      approach the board of commis-        between Southern Health and        Southern Health’s attorneys,          judge in Gilmer County in the
guilty in exchange for his coop-                   District     Attorney      Joe       sioners requesting the county        the BOC did not proceed,           who appear to be proceeding           coming weeks or months.
eration in the prosecution of                    Hendricks stated, “This case           pay for the water and sewer          mainly due to the stipulation      forth with the suit. Southern         Following a hearing with a
Griggs.                                          once again demonstrates the            services. Southern Health,           for payback. On November 20,       Health’s hands may therefore          judge, more answers — and
  After Banks had entered his                    effectiveness of the Drug Task         however, which is owned by           2007, Southern Health CEO          be tied, either due to the pend-      maybe even a new hospital —
plea, Griggs, the defendant                      Force in aggressively pursuing         SunLink Health Systems Inc.          Jeff Dunn submitted a letter       ing litigation or because             may materialize.
who actually threw the metal                     drug traffickers in Gilmer,            a health care provider based         to the BOC stating the hospi-      they’re operating under the
rod from the vehicle, pled                       Pickens and Fannin counties.”          in Atlanta, did petition the         tal could not agree to the reso-   authority of SunLink.
guilty and received a sentence                     Pineda was represented by            BOC. At a November 8, 2007,          lution    outlined     at   the      It     therefore      remains
from Chief Judge Brenda                          assistant public defender Jeff         BOC meeting, hospital repre-         November 8 meeting, as they        unknown whether Southern
Weaver of 20 years, to serve                     Floyd, and Renteria was repre-         sentatives requested that the        had already signed a contract      Health could, at this point,
10, with the balance served on                   sented by Kevin J. Jones, of           BOC pay for the water and            to pay Garrett and Mundy to        drop the lawsuit and schedule
probation. Both defendants                       Atlanta.                               sewer to be installed on the         provide the utility work. Had      a second closing even if they
were ordered to pay restitution                                                         property.                            the hospital gone forth and        wanted to. A Southern Health
and to serve community serv-                          See Prison page 4A                  According to Chairman              allowed the BOC to fund the        Corp. representative told the

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           George N. Bunch
      Editor & Publisher 1918 - 2004
            Annetta Bunch
              Associate Editor
         George N. Bunch III
  Associate Publisher/General Manager
     George “Nixon” Bunch IV
            Rhesa Chastain
               Office Manager
                                                               Elect Mark
              Sheri Bunch
             Debra Johnson
              Al Summers
                 News Editor
                                                     Commission Chairman
               Robbie Bills
                Sports Editor
           Michael Andrews
                                                  Firmly Committed to the Future of Gilmer County
         Living Editor / Staff Writer
              April Teague                         I decided to run for Chairman because I care about Gilmer County and I am firmly
      Youth Sports Writer / Typesetter             committed to the future of Gilmer County. I, like most of you, am raising a family here
            Becky Antworth                         and have a lot at stake. I feel that I have a lot to offer the county that I love. It pains me
                 Staff Writer
          Carolyn Lawrence
                                                   to see so many citizens in the tough financial situations that are so common in today’s
                 Staff Writer                      economy. Gas at $4 per gallon and a shortage of work hurts us all. Too often there is too
              Shana Parks                          much month left at the end of the money. Government should reflect the times and trim
            Advertising Manager
                                                   all unnecessary spending like the rest of us do. I will work with the Post Commissioners
               Aby Ramey
                 Advertising                       and the citizens to ensure a bright future for Gilmer County. I look forward to being the
              Laura Martin                         full-time Chairman of the Board of Commissioners.
               Kathy Aker
                 Advertising                                             LET’S PUT THE TAXPAYERS FIRST!
             Keli F. Grooms
            Ad Design & Layout                     Please vote in the August 5 runoff election. You can vote early any day next week at the Voters
            Lee Ann Adams                             Registration Office located between the Commissioners Office and the old library. Voter
            Ad Design & Layout
                                                    turnout was dangerously low in the July 15 primary. Our voices must be heard at the polls,
              Jason Drane
            Ad Design & Layout                     our forefathers fought and died for this right. Even if you didn’t vote in the primary last week,
              Alice Adkins                                                           you can vote in the runoff.
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                                                      or call 706-889-2718.
                 Proofreader                                 PAID FOR BY THE COMMITTEE TO ELECT MARK CHASTAIN; P.O. BOX 2087; ELLIJAY, GA 30540

   State & U.S.                                     Rep. David Ralston
                                                                                        Sen. Chip Pearson
                                                                                                                                 U.S. Senator
                                                                                                                                Johnny Isakson
                                                                                                                                                                    U.S. Senator
                                                                                                                                                                  Saxby Chambliss
                                                                                                                                                                                                       U.S. Congressman
                                                                                                                                                                                                          Nathan Deal
     Officials                                         fax: 404-657-8277
                                                                                            fax: 404-657-3248
                                                                                                                                  fax: 202-228-0724
                                                                                                                                                                     fax: 202-224-0103
                                                                                                                                                                                                           fax: 202-225-8272
 4A     THURSDAY, JULY 24, 2008                                                                                                                                                           TIMES-COURIER • ELLIJAY, GEORGIA
                                                                                                                                                     inform, a property owners               Pruett informed the board
Prison                                                  from 2A               Assessors                                            from 1A           association if one were formed        that she had scheduled a meet-
                                                                                                                                                     here in Gilmer County. There          ing with property owner
  The case was also prosecut-           a repeat offender (not eligible       During the meeting, Pruett          values in response to the cur-     is not currently an active prop-      Steven Cockburn, who made
ed by Baird, and Weaver                 for parole) to 20 years in            said that the new notice goal       rent state of the economy. “If     erty owners association in the        comments at the last board of
served as the trial judge.              prison. Overby was on parole          for appealed properties is          they didn’t file an appeal, they   county. “Grass-roots people are       assessors meeting, held June
  Claud C. Overby was con-              at the time he committed this         August 29.                          may still see an adjustment,”      very angry,” relayed Stover,          10, regarding the criteria used
victed by a Gilmer County               offense.                                Mark Chastain took a more         said Pruett.                       again, in regards to how many         to assess his home and why
jury for the July 30, 2006,               Baird prosecuted the case           proactive approach to how the         After asked by Chastain who      property owners feel about            similar homes in his neighbor-
burglary of Grace Baptist               for the state, and Overby was         assessors office is handling        will be affected by the value      their new values.                     hood were valued lower.
Church and was sentenced as             represented by Floyd.                 compilation of the digest.          adjustments, Pruett replied,         Stover went on to say that if         Pruett also commented that
                                                                              Chastain also commented that        “We don’t know, yet. It’s a day-   the average property owner            efforts had been made to “sit
                                                                              the commissioners office and        to-day thing.” She did say,        was better educated and               down” with property owner
                                                                              the assessors office are two        though, that field visits to       informed about such things as         Chuck Handte, who confronted
                                                                              separate entities and asked         neighborhoods began the day        value assessment guidelines           the board during the June 10
                                                                              whether or not there is a legal     of the meeting, July 17, in        and sales ratios, that perhaps        meeting.
                                       DEM A                                  mechanism that could be used        efforts to begin lowering some     they would not be so upset, or          There, Handte accused the
         (D edi        lj
               cated Eliay M erch an ts& A ssociates)                         by the board of commissioners       values.                            at least would have a better          assessors office of “malfea-
                                                                              to throw out the digest. Pruett       Chastain replied that he was     understanding of how assess-          sance and misfeasance” in how
                                                                              informed him that there is not      glad to hear the assessors are     ments are conducted.                  new property values were
         A FreeO ut  doorM ovi l         ed
                                 e,oca t behi     nd                          such a legal mechanism that         looking at neighborhoods and         Stover was told by Pruett           reached. Handte took issue
                  lj      em      a
                Elia yEl ent rySchool                                         could be used by the commis-        making adjustments where           and board chairman Jeff               with the values placed on
                Fea t i t Dr Seus l s i
                     ur ng he .  sC a s c                                     sioners.                            needed. Chastain added that,       Holloway that the board would         properties owned by both he
                                                                               “With 21-day notices, you’re       “we’ll support you with unbud-     be more than willing to work          and colleagues. Handte also
         H    on
         “ ort H ea rs                                                        hoping to catch a majority of
                                                                              appealed properties?” asked
                                                                                                                  geted expenses,” in regard to
                                                                                                                  work done with appeals and
                                                                                                                                                     in conjunction with a property
                                                                                                                                                     owners association if one were
                                                                                                                                                                                           criticized guidelines used by
                                                                                                                                                                                           the assessors in determining
            A W ho”                                                           Chastain in regards to the over
                                                                              500 21-day notices that have
                                                                                                                  21- day notices.
                                                                                                                    Pruett went on to say that
                                                                                                                                                     formed here. Pruett later
                                                                                                                                                     agreed with Stover and
                                                                                                                                                                                           the values and questioned the
                                                                                                                                                                                           values placed on properties
        Sa t.August30,2008                                                    been mailed to property own-        when assessors office employ-      Chastain that people need to          owned by some county officials
                 0 m
              4–1 p. .                                                        ers who have filed appeals.         ees plugged 2008 sales into        know more about how values            including Commissioner Farist
                 Food Ven dors                                                After receiving the notice, the     existing data, the new values      are calculated and stated that        and assessors board chairman
            K i A rea – Pony R i
               ds’              des,                                          property owner then has 21          held steady at 40 percent. “We     the assessors office has “noth-       Jeff Holloway.
                      n n G
             Face Pai ti g, am es                                             days in which to dispute or         don’t have as many sales, but      ing to hide” in regard to value
              c           a
         M usi /D J •H ul H oop Con test                                      accept the new value. Chastain      the 40 percent still holds,”       calculation and the criteria
                   A n d M ore!
                                                                              also asked whether or not the       added Pruett. Pruett furthered     used.                                   Editor’s note: Comments
                                                                              revaluation was a “mass             that if the assessors can “come      In other new business, the          concerning values of commis-
                                                                              appraisal,” to which Pruett         off values some and stay with-     board approved 17 manufac-            sioners Farist, Chastain and
                                                                              informed him that it was a          in the guidelines we need to       tured home changes and 27             Ken Bailey attributed to

      Did we catch                                                            mass, rather than a “feet” (by
                                                                              foot), appraisal.
                                                                                Pruett informed Chastain
                                                                                                                  meet, that’s what we want to
                                                                                                                    Property owner Rene Stover,
                                                                                                                                                     real property changes. Three
                                                                                                                                                     exempt property applications
                                                                                                                                                     were denied, while 81 new or
                                                                                                                                                                                           Handte in the July 17 edition
                                                                                                                                                                                           of the Times-Courier should
                                                                                                                                                                                           have been attributed to Steven

      you reading?                                                            and Farist that the assessors
                                                                              office is looking into making
                                                                              adjustments to some property
                                                                                                                  also in attendance, asked the
                                                                                                                  board if it would be open to
                                                                                                                  meeting with, and helping to
                                                                                                                                                     renewed Conservation Use
                                                                                                                                                               Assessments      were
                                                                                                                                                                                           Cockburn. The Times-Courier
                                                                                                                                                                                           regrets the error.

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                    If y
                         o                                 ier
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                mis er, y the             Times                               prepared and served at a local      in person.                         Traveling Exhibition Service          Georgia Tourism Foundation,
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                                          Jerry Farist                                                                  Leon
                                               is the only candidate
                                                   certified by the
                                         Associated County Commissioner
                                                of Georgia (ACCG)
                                                                                                                         County Commissioner
            I believe the most effective government is government closest to the people and that
          government should provide services to the people they cannot provide themselves. Such as:
                                                                                                                                Post 1
                • Fire protection,
                • Ambulance service                                                                                            36 Years of Proven & Successful
                • Police protection

             I also believe government should be responsible for maintaining sound money practices
                                                                                                                             Work Experience Ready To Work For
          while avoiding government waste and overregulation. As Chairman, it has always been my
          belief, creed and desire to make Gilmer County a better place for its blessed citizens. For
                                                                                                                             A Better Gilmer County Today And A
          instance, some of the accomplishments that I have been instrumental in are:
                                                                                                                               Stronger Gilmer County For The
                • Seeing that a new courthouse was built
                • The completion of the new library
                • Reducing the tax anticipation note debt by $1,000,000 while general funds grew
                • Getting revenue from grants and other aid for the county totaling $1,145,742 in
                • Structuring the infrastructure debt to be paid through sales tax not property tax
                                                                                                                           SOUND JUDGEMENT
                • Paving over 20 miles of roads last year and allocating over $113,000 for road dust
                  control                                                                                                      FISCAL RESPONSIBILITY
                • Convincing Dalton State College to agree to locate an Associate Degree
                  educational satellite campus in downtown Ellijay
                • Acquiring a fourth ambulance
                                                                                                                             PROVEN WORK ETHIC
                • Widening Yukon Road which has been a narrow and dangerous road far too long
                  (coming soon)
                                                                                                                               36 YEARS MATURITY
                • Building Simmons Road to help alleviate traffic congestion for motorists traveling
                  from Highway 515
                • Expansion of the Gilmer County Airport
                • The development of a new park and recreation facility at Clear Creek Middle                                 “Rock Solid Leadership For The
                • The renovation and improvement of existing county-owned facilities, such as the
                  civic center and volunteer fire stations.
                                                                                                                                Challenges Facing Gilmer
             As Chairman of Gilmer County Board of Commissioners, I do my very best to help
          support our economy by using local venders for county business. In so doing, the County
          has paid over $2,000,000 to local businesses in the last 15 months. Remember, my door is
          always open to the citizens of Gilmer County and I welcome your interest.
                                                                                                                                                 LEON WATKINS
           Please vote for Jerry Farist in the August 5 Runoff.                                                               POST 1 COUNTY COMMISSIONER
                                                                                                  AUGUST 5 RUNOFF ELECTION
                                                                                                                         This political ad was paid for by the candidate.
                                           Paid for by campaign to re-elect Jerry Farist Chairman

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