March 2007 - Community News:
  

At February meeting
POA Board deals with amenities,
public safety and finances

By John Shivers
While the presentation from members of the Rebuild Sconti Committee took almost 30 minutes, as the POA Board and audience members listened and looked at drawings and charts, the message that the group brought was evident: The preliminary work necessary to bring Big Canoe to groundbreaking is proceeding according to schedule and within budget.

The Committee did ask for and receive an additional $153,000.00 added to their contingency fund. This additional money was needed because of equipment and fixtures that had been in the old Sconti and were slated for reutilization in the new structure must now be purchased outright.

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Lake Petit dam in good shape,
GeoSyntec study report finds

By Bob Crouch
POA Board President
The Lake Petit dam is well maintained and generally in good condition, according to a good news study report just received from GeoSyntec Consultants, Inc.

The study, commissioned earlier by the POA board, also found that “existing conditions at Lake Petit Dam meet or exceed slope stability requirements of the (state’s) safe Dams Program rules.”

We do not believe, the consultants said, that immediate actions are warranted and any improvements should only be implemented if state officials approve the recommendations presented in our 1998 report or conditions change.

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 “I’m mad; How about You?
Local Dawson folks need to push for
Community Center SPLOST funding

By George Thurman
Contributing Writer
The proposed West Dawson Community Center needs to be included in our next Special Purpose Local Option Sale Tax (SPLOST) funding, but it may fail unless local residents of Dawson County rally to demand the County Commissioners vote in favor of including it on the November ballot.

District 1, which includes Amicalola, Sassafras Mountain, Deer Ridge, part of Big Canoe and Crystal Falls, represents 25% of the voters and taxes in Dawson County, yet there is no county facility suitable for community meetings, emergency shelter, library or a recreation area.

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Sconti Club House update

By Miller Andress
Rebuild Sconti Committee
Progress on the Sconti Club House continues at a steady pace.  Chapman Coyle Chapman, the Architect will complete Construction Documents the second week in March with pricing by Integra, our Constructor,  to follow.

Application to Pickens County for the building permit and the land disturbance permit will be processed concurrently.  Start of construction is scheduled for late April.  Construction of the building is expected to take approximately twelve months and fitting out another two months.

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You can reward deserving employees
Customer Service Training
is BIG in Big Canoe

By Steve Panetta
For well over a year now the POA employees, over 200, and the Big Canoe Company staff, approximately 50, have attended Customer Service Training workshops. These workshops have been led by a number of different consultants supplied by Appalachia Technical College.

As you probably know, the Big Canoe POA and the Big Canoe Company agreed to work together to bring first-rate customer service to the Big Canoe community. Our mission is to create customer oriented organizations, customer friendly systems and a work environment that reinforces the idea of putting the customer first.

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Pickens County News
Senior exemption provision
for school tax relief

By Larry Toney
Pickens County
Economic Development Director
Contributing Writer
Some senior citizens have inquired recently about the possibility of being exempt from paying school taxes as seniors in other counties have been. The rationale most often advanced is: that the seniors have paid school taxes for a very long time and that they no longer have children in school.

The first fact that needs to be asserted is that Pickens County currently exempts senior citizens (62 years and older) from paying school tax (100%) if the annual household income is less than $25,000. The rationale here was that such seniors are living on a fixed and barely livable income; therefore, the exemption applies.

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First ever fire chief for Pickens County resigns
Robert Winston says he is tired
of "spinning his wheels"
Volunteer fire Chiefs discuss difficult task
of moving to paid county fire department

By Dan Pool
Reprinted with permission
Pickens County Progress
Editor’s Note: Several Big Canoe residents contacted Smoke Signals about this in-depth article which ran in a February edition of the PickensCounty Progress and asked that Big Canoe’s newspaper consider running it since many in the DawsonCounty side of the community may not have read it. Those who called felt that the information presented was pertinent information for Big Canoe, given the newly-inked intergovernmental agreements on fire and rescue service. The story is re-printed in its entirety.

The county's first-ever paid fire department employee lasted nine months, turning in his equipment and keys to his vehicle in February citing job frustration for his resignation in an interview.

Robert Winston said while county fire chief, he "had got the ball rolling" but ultimately was unable to accomplish many of the things needed to improve fire service here.

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From the Pickens County Commissioner’s Office

By Bill Wilson

While new developments arise around fire and emergency coverage issues it appears the picture is clearing and overall progress continues.

Our discussion began around the resignation of Pickens County fire chief Robert Winston.  Having read the Pickens Progress report about the departure, I was surprised when the commissioner handed me a copy of Mr. Winston’s resignation letter dated August 22, 2006, citing medical issues that had surfaced after he had accepted his position as Pickens county fire chief. 

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StormReady designation
awarded to Dawson County

By Laura Link
Dawson County is one of 57 counties of Georgia’s 150 counties to receive national certification as StormReady.

The National Weather Service (NWS) formally recognized the county in a special ceremony in February. Signs are being placed on each road into the county declaring it ready for hazardous weather.

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Long Term Finance Committee
issues activity status report

By Chuck Palmer
Chairman LTFC
Contributing Writer
The Long Term Finance Committee (LTFC) has been working with POA management on a Reserve Study for Big Canoe. All community associations need long range planning and a significant element of such planning is a reserve study. What is a reserve study? A reserve study identifies association assets, their useful lives, repair or replacement costs and a 30 year expenditure and funding plan.

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Chimney cleaning is cheap
compared to the alternative

By Laura Link
For safety’s sake, homeowners should be especially attentive to their chimneys. We all love the cozy warmth of a log fire on a cold winter’s night, but all too often it can result in a destructive house fire.

Keeping chimneys clean can help prevent costly damage or total destruction to homes and potentially serious fires to this wooded mountain community.

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Old Times Remembered

Big Canoe’s Ole Timers and fans of Smoke Signals will be interested to learn that Bill Chapman, long-time writer and interim editor, has finally converted to the computer age. While working for the paper he used his beloved electric typewriter to write his popular column, “Scene on the Reservation,” and volumes of interesting news stories.

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Dollar General Opens

Despite the rumors and the reported plan to one day move across the highway, Dollar General opened for business on February 2, and is doing just fine, thank you, reports Store Manager Margie Miller.

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Next year’s BC Realty calendar
to use community photographers

Here’s an opportunity for you shutterbugs, both the film and the digital kind, to get published!

Big Canoe Realty is inviting residents of the community to submit their photographs of Big Canoe scenes to illustrate its 2008 calendar. The 12 calendar scenes selected for each month of the year will be reproduced in full page color with your name on it as the photographer.

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Tests that can save your life

By Helen Buckelew
HOA Board Member
Contributing Writer
Every year as many as 700,000 Americans experience a stroke, a third of them under the age of 65. One half of strokes occur without warning. The good news is that vascular disease is often preventable and treatable. With early detection, problems can often be treated.

On Tuesday, April 24, the HOA will sponsor a day of preventative health screenings at the Broyles Center. Appointments are required. The painless, non-invasive ultrasound examinations take less than an hour and are offered for $45 each, or all four for $129.

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