Winder water department wins awards

WINDER -- City Water Distribution Director Roger Wilhelm announced Tuesday that the staff in his department recently won two prestigious state awards. The first award, the "Golden Backhoe," is bestowed to the water department with the best record for safety and "preventable damage," or the fewest incidents of excavation accidents damaging other utilities. The second award, called the Lester Feathers Award, is the utility department equivalent of "state champion" in this same area.

For the first time ever, Winder was awarded these distinctions out of all competitors in Region 1.

"It felt kind of like David and Goliath, but we won," said Wilhelm, who added that safety is paramount for his staff. "The most important thing is that they can punch out at 5 and go home to their families every day."Fire Department recruits honoredFire Department chief Matt Whiting recognized four new recruits to his department Tuesday for becoming newly state-certified firefighters.

"They completed 196 hours of training to do this. This is an excellent group of recruits," Whiting said.Annexations, rezonings approvedFollowing weeks of lengthy effort and debate, and some voiced opposition from Barrow County, Winder officials voted Tuesday to approve the annexation and subsequent rezoning of two land parcels on Punkin Junction Road and four properties on Lodgeview Drive, all in Bethlehem. This action is the result of Winder's longtime desire to annex properties along the lucrative Ga. Highway 316 corridor and has its sights set on the Gateway Shopping Center.