City of Blue Ridge spending comes into question

Community, News

Blue Ridge, Ga. – A large bill for the Blue Ridge City Pool and a final amendment to the City of Blue Ridge 2017 budget left new council members questioning the accountability and practices of the city when it comes to spending.

At the June Blue Ridge City Council meeting funds and lack thereof was a topic that was revisited throughout the evening. Blue Ridge Business Association President Cesar Martinez urged the council to take steps to acquire the funding needed for city improvements.

“You were all aware of the important issues facing the city, as you voiced your convictions towards better infrastructure, better parking solutions, and better bathroom facilities for our city and its visitors,” Martinez addressed the council reading from a prepared statement.

“Six months down the road and where are we?” Martinez questioned. “This city needs solutions now. Inaction is unacceptable.”

Martinez acknowledged shortfalls in trying to seek funding for these projects stating that grants could take months even years to come through.

Blue Ridge, Fannin County, Georgia, Blue Ridge City Council, Mayor, Donna Whitener, Nathan Fitts, Kenneth Gaddis, Rhonda Haight, Harold Herndon, Robbie Cornelius, Blue Ridge Business Association, President, Cesar Martinez, Recreonics Inc, Spending, Budget, SPLOST, pool, paint, Downtown Development Authority

Blue Ridge Business Association President Cesar Martinez addresses the council about forming a Downtown Development Authority to help seek funding for the city.

Mayor Donna Whitener added to this that grants often have to be matched by city money.

Offering a possible solution to the lack of funding Martinez urged the council to established a Downtown Development Authority (DDA). Through a DDA the possibility of more funding opens up, funding which the city itself is ineligible to apply for.

Martinez cited that there are already 470 registered DDAs in the state of Georgia, and that the city is missing out on opportunities by not establishing a DDA of their own.

Council member Kenneth Gaddis thanked Martinez for addressing the council and questioned the city’s lack of focus on infrastructure.

“We’ve actually done about $800,000 in infrastructure this year,” Whitener responded to Gaddis, “$500,000 in one area and another 300 and something thousand.”

“We’re always spending money on infrastructure. We can’t keep up,” Whitener added.

Council member Nathan Fitts stated about funding issues, “A lot of what we were told as far as funding didn’t come through.”

Later an amendment to the city’s 2017 budget revealed that the previous council had already spent a large portion of projected revenue for 2018.

The previous council had approved for many of the city streets to be repaved in 2017, but the funding was not budgeted. To acquire the funds necessary the council then approved borrowing from the general fund and the Hotel/Motel tax account.

The general fund has now been paid back through the use of 2018 SPLOST (special purpose local option sales tax) collections, and the money borrowed from the Hotel/Motel account, in the amount of approximately $135,000, will not be reimbursed.

Gaddis showed surprise at this revelation: “So the previous council voted to use-”

“General fund money into your year,” Whitener quickly responded, “Into your term.”

Whitener went on to explain, “When I say we don’t have a lot of SPLOST money it’s because we’ve been paying SPLOST back from last term.”

With this revelation and the lack of funding for city projects, such as infrastructure and parking, Council member Nathan Fitts expressed his detestation when asked to approve a check in the amount of $9,608.04 for paint for the city’s pool.

According to Whitener the specialized paint is very costly, some of it being up to $263.00 for five gallons.

This invoice from Recreonics Inc. coupled with approximately $5,000 already spent on parts to fix the pool, brings the total amount well over the original $5,000 approved by the council earlier this year.

“So now we’ve spent triple,” Fitts said about the new invoice, “Did we get estimates on what paint was going to be before we bought it?”

Gaddis backed Fitts and questioned how the department got approval to spend this amount.

Blue Ridge, Fannin County, Georgia, Blue Ridge City Council, Mayor, Donna Whitener, Nathan Fitts, Kenneth Gaddis, Rhonda Haight, Harold Herndon, Robbie Cornelius, Blue Ridge Business Association, President, Cesar Martinez, Recreonics Inc, Spending, Budget, SPLOST, pool, paint, Downtown Development Authority

Costly paint for the city pool led council to question if estimates were given before purchase.

Whitener simply answered, “They didn’t.”

“I think these department heads need to submit these estimates and bids ahead of time for approval,” Fitts went on.

Whitener, who agreed with this sentiment, stated of the department head, “I don’t think she realized how much paint it would take to paint the pool.”

“That’s why we get estimates,” Fitts replied explaining that there is no excuse. “That is unacceptable.”

Since the pool had already been painted the council had no choice but to approve to pay this debt.

“I don’t think we should have painted it period, but its been painted,” Whitener expressed her opinion.

Fitts added, “I think we should tell that department head, they better get out there and start marketing that pool to bring more revenue in.”

The Blue Ridge City Council will hold their next regular monthly meeting on Tue. July 10 at 6 p.m. at City Hall.

 

Fetch Your News is a hyper local news outlet that attracts more than 300,000 page views and 3.5 million impressions per month in Dawson, Lumpkin, White, Fannin, Gilmer, Pickens, Union, Towns and Murray counties as well as Cherokee County in N.C. FYNTV attracts approximately 15,000 viewers per week and reaches between 15,000 to 60,000 per week on our Facebook page. For the most effective, least expensive local advertising, call 706-276-6397 or email us at advertise@FetchYourNews.com

Author

Natalie Kissel

Natalie@FetchYourNews.com

County to host electronic recycling event

Community

Blue Ridge, Ga. – Fannin County is teaming up with Ecyclers USA and will be holding an electronics recycling event on Saturday, June 23.

This is presented to the residents of Fannin County as a great way to discard of unused electronic devices as well as those miscellaneous components.

You can bring your devices this Saturday to the Senior Center located at 440 West 1st Street in downtown Blue Ridge. Drop off time will be between 9 a.m. and 2 p.m.

The following is an outline of materials accepted at this event:

  • COMPUTERS AND PERIPHERALS
    Complete and partial systems (working or not), processors (CPUs), optical drives (CDROM, CDRW, DVD, etc.), network and communication hardware (modems, routers, hubs, etc.), drives (hard drives, floppy), keyboards, laptops, mice, network hardware (servers), paper tape readers, plotters, printers, tape drives.
  • SUBASSEMBLIES AND COMPONENTS
    Any subassemblies of the above, boards, cables, casters, circuit boards, computer chips, controllers, disk storage products, expansion products, fans (200/240v, 115v, 12v, 24/48v), monitors, PC cards, power supplies, wire (telephone, networking, electrical), fiber optic (kinked or broken cable, drop, etc.).
  • SURPLUS INVENTORY
    Crib inventory, endruns, off spec/excess parts
  • HOME ELECTRONICS
    NO WHITE GOODS (INCLUDING: REFRIGERATORS, FREEZERS, WASHERS, DRYERS).
    Accepted is TVs (CRT, flat panel, plasma, etc.), microwaves, phones (corded, cordless, and cellular), entertainment goods (VCRs, DVD players, radios, speakers). PLEASE NOTE : IF TVs MAKE UP 20% OR MORE OF A LOAD, A NOMINAL FEE WILL APPLY
    CENTRAL OFFICE AND COMMUNICATION ROOM EQUIPMENT. Chillers, communication equipment, mainframe equipment, motor generator sets (MG sets), power distribution units (PDU), uninterruptible power supplies (UPS systems).
  • MICROWAVE/GROUND AND SATELLITE BASED TRANSMISSION EQUIPMENT
    OFFICE EQUIPMENT
  • BARCODE EQUIPMENT, PAGERS, COPY MACHINES, FAX MACHINES, TELEPHONE SYSTEMS (CORDLESS, CELLULAR, DESK)
  • SECURITY EQUIPMENT
    Cameras, recorders, alarms, VCRs, keypads.
  • UTILITY AND POWER EQUIPMENT
    CATV, cable, electric generators, gas meters, repeaters, transformers, water meters, specialty equipment, construction, production, manufacturing equipment.
  • METALS

Aluminum, any gold bearing product, brass, copper, stainless, lead, nickel alloy, platinum, palladium, mercury, rare earth

****THERE WILL BE A $10.00 FEE FOR EACH TELEVISION OR CRT MONITOR****

 

Fetch Your News is a hyper local news outlet that attracts more than 300,000 page views and 3.5 million impressions per month in Dawson, Lumpkin, White, Fannin, Gilmer, Pickens, Union, Towns and Murray counties as well as Cherokee County in N.C. FYNTV attracts approximately 15,000 viewers per week and reaches between 15,000 to 60,000 per week on our Facebook page. For the most effective, least expensive local advertising, call 706-276-6397 or email us at advertise@FetchYourNews.com

Author

Natalie Kissel

Natalie@FetchYourNews.com

Tax Assessors question county accounting practices

Community, News

Blue Ridge, Ga. – A misunderstanding of county accounting practices and a misuse of terminology had the Board of Commissioners (BOC) questioning whether the Board of Assessors were keeping two sets of books.

Chief Appraiser Dawn Cochran spoke at the June 12 Board of Commissioners meeting about a line item in the Tax Assessors budget that she felt was an error.

Fannin County, Blue Ridge, Georgia, Board of Commissioners, Chairman, Post 1 Commissioner, Post 2 Commissioner, Stan Helton, Earl Johnson, Larry Joe Sosebee, Tax Assessors, Board of Assessors, Chief Appraiser, Dawn Cochran, Troy Junnier, Budget, Line Item, Maps, Aerials, GMASS, Georgia Mass Appraisals and Services

Chief Appraiser Dawn Cochran questions to the BOC on why her numbers do not match the county’s official accounting records.

The line item in question concerns the purchase of new aerial maps for Fannin County. According to an agreement made last year, the Tax Assessors Department would pay for the mapping upfront, but other departments who would benefit from use of the maps would reimburse the county for their portion of the overall price.

“We started at $24,000,” Cochran said explaining the line item, “We paid $8,000 out to QPublic. We paid $22,000 to EagleView which is for the maps. We paid $1,000 for LiDAR (Light Detection and Radar) and that put us a balance of negative $7,000.”

Cochran stated that the revenue to date for her department was $7,508.13 and that invoices had been sent out to other departments for their share in the mapping costs for a total of $12,513.35.

“The current balance that should be in the line item for maps and aerials is $13,021.68,” Cochran concluded.

Cochran approached the BOC because the department still has expenditures for the year that would need to come from that line item and worried that already showing a negative balance would reflect badly on continued spending.

Fannin County Chairman Stan Helton explained that crediting back revenue to a department is not how the county’s accounting practices work. Helton stated that the way the county keeps records of its expenditures and revenues is set by the county’s auditors, Rushton and Associates.

According to Helton, revenues from any department are put back into the county’s general fund. He cited the Tax Commissioners office as an example of why this is the practice. Helton stated that if revenues were credited back to a department, such as the Tax Commissioners, it would in a sense give the department unlimited spending abilities.

“They tell us that you don’t offset expenses with revenue,” Helton said explaining the auditors recommendations. “You just don’t do that.”

Helton went further to ask if Cochran had ever invited Fannin County’s Chief Financial Officer Robin Gazaway to a Board of Assessor’s meeting to explain this practice. Cochran replied that she had not, but that she had been in contact with Gazaway via email and that all board members were copied to the exchange.

Cochran did not back down from her claim saying that it is important to keep accurate numbers from the top down, adding “Our number’s don’t match up with Ms. Gazaway’s numbers.”

Helton questioned Cochran’s accounting background and why she felt that her knowledge was correct over the county’s hired CFO.

Cochran stated that her board was upset over this “false negative” and stated, “It’s really hard to try to keep two sets of books.”

This statement immediately caught the attention of the commissioners with Helton asking Cochran to clarify and if she had made both sets of books available to the county’s CFO Gazaway.

Fannin County, Blue Ridge, Georgia, Board of Commissioners, Chairman, Post 1 Commissioner, Post 2 Commissioner, Stan Helton, Earl Johnson, Larry Joe Sosebee, Tax Assessors, Board of Assessors, Chief Appraiser, Dawn Cochran, Troy Junnier, Budget, Line Item, Maps, Aerials, GMASS, Georgia Mass Appraisals and Services

Post 1 Commissioner Earl Johnson would like to see clearer lines of communication be established between departments and the Board of Commissioners.

Cochran replied that she does keep two sets of books and had made them available. Gazaway, however, stated that she had never seen the second set of books.

Post 1 Commissioner Earl Johnson questioned, “Your board is upset. Which set of books are they upset over?”

Later, Board of Assessors board member Troy Junnier would clarify Cochran’s statements, “Dawn brings up a spreadsheet. It’s not a separate set of books or anything like that.”

Junnier also stood behind Cochran’s questioning, “It looks bad on our department because we’re showing a negative line item when we’re really not.”

Helton explained that the negative line item would be amended at the end of the year budget review and that all of this could have been explained by Gazaway at one of the Board of Assessors meetings had she been invited to a meeting to discuss.

Post 2 Commissioner Larry Joe Sosebee pointed out that the BOC is more concerned with a department’s overall budget, “You’re concerned over a line item and your overall budget is right where it should be.”

“I understand why,” Johnson expanded on government accounting,”and if we all three (commissioners) understand why, you don’t have a problem because at the end of the year, as was said earlier, we’re going to vote to amend the budget, if you are over budget.”

Johnson added that there needs to more face to face interaction with the BOC and the departments when issues arise. Johnson’s reasoning is that interacting face to face and in public meetings would help to eliminate miscommunication and misinformation being spread through media outlets.

“Stop the emailing. If there is a problem come to a meeting. If there is a problem, handle it at your meetings,” Johnson said to Cochran expressing his frustration with the current lines of communication. “I for one am sick of friction between the Board of Assessors and the Board of Commissioners. I’m tired of reading stuff in the papers before you even come here.”

“Before your accuse the county and the Board of Commissioners of essentially not knowing what they’re doing, you might ought to come here first,” Johnson added.

Cochran replied to Johnson saying, “I can’t help how the media takes things and what they do with it.”

“It seems like there is an effort to discredit this board and our CFO,” Helton expressed his feelings on the matter. “It needs to stop. We are doing things accurately.”

Junnier replied to the BOC, “We didn’t come to try to make it seem like we were trying to discredit anybody.”

“I was concerned that it (negative line item) would come back not only just the department head or the department itself, but also on the assessors board,” Junnier added.

In the end Junnier thanked the BOC for fully explaining the accounting practices of the county, and for addressing the negative line item in the Board of Assessor’s budget.

After Junnier and Cochran took their seats, Chairman Helton spoke with the commissioners about a possible way to lower the budget of the Tax Assessors department.

“You know I’ve expressed a concern for sometime about our budget in our Tax Assessors department,” Helton said proposing an alternative way to structure the department, “and I’ve spent quite a bit of time looking at the other counties. There’s some counties out there and their budget is just a fraction of ours.”

Helton presented the board with a 3 year contract proposed by independent appraisal company Georgia Mass Appraisal Solutions & Services (GMASS). In this contract, GMASS offers to appraise a third of the counties parcels each year for three years.

The cost of this outsourcing would be approximately $223,000 for the first two years and $338,000 for the final year. The total of this proposal would be $784,000 over three years.

Johnson pointed out that the total in the proposal for three years of service is less than the current budget of the Tax Assessors department for a single year.

“I’m for anything that saves money,” Johnson said addressing the current money being spent by the county in this area. ” I know I asked two or three years ago if our money would ever come back down and I was told no. After we came back into compliance, that it would never go back down.”

Helton clarified that he was not advocating to completely replace the tax assessors department: “You always need to have some local involvement and people there.”

Chief Appraiser Dawn Cochran did confirm that her department already outsources rural parcels and had planned on asking for help with approximately 13,000 parcels, a little under half the county’s total parcels, in 2019.

The BOC agreed to look over the possibility of outsourcing appraisals and would address their findings and concerns at a later date.

 

Fetch Your News is a hyper local news outlet that attracts more than 300,000 page views and 3.5 million impressions per month in Dawson, Lumpkin, White, Fannin, Gilmer, Pickens, Union, Towns and Murray counties as well as Cherokee County in N.C. FYNTV attracts approximately 15,000 viewers per week and reaches between 15,000 to 60,000 per week on our Facebook page. For the most effective, least expensive local advertising, call 706-276-6397 or email us at advertise@FetchYourNews.com

Author

Natalie Kissel

Natalie@FetchYourNews.com

News from Fannin County Chamber of Commerce

Community
Fannin County Chamber of Commerce  eNewsletter
June 19,  2018
News for Members
Fannin Co. Chamber Logo

Leading the way to economic vitality and quality of life in Blue Ridge, McCaysville, Morganton and all of beautiful Fannin County, Georgia.

Fannin County Sponsoring 
Electronics Recycling 
Ecyclers USA will be at the Senior Center on June 23 from 9:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. to recycle your electronics. These will include:
  • Computers and Peripherals
  • Subassemblies and Components
  • Surplus Inventory
  • Home Electronics
  • Central Office and Communication Room Equipment
  • Microwave/Ground and Satellite Based Transmission Equipment
  • Office Equipment
  • Barcode Equipment, Pagers, Copy Machines, Fax Machines, Telephone Systems (cordless, cellular, desk)
  • Security Equipment
  • Utility and Power Equipment
  • Metals
**There will be a $10.00 fee for each Television or CRT Monitor**
440 West 1st St., Blue Ridge, GA
To see specifics on items that may or may not be available to be recycled:

Ribbon Cuttings!
 
June 12 was the ribbon cutting for Duane Thomas, Realtor with
Anchor Brokerage.
______________________________________________

June 14 was the ribbon cutting for Skyfall Cabin. Located in a brand-new, gated community with access to the Toccoa river, 10 minutes from downtown Blue Ridge, Skyfall Cabin is a brand new 3200 square foot modern cabin featuring an expansive open floor plan with a pool table, shuffle puck, dart board and more. This cabin sleeps up to 8 adults and 4 children.

June Community Events Calendar
June 19 – Summer Youth Art Camps, Blue Ridge Mountain Arts Association
June 23-24 – Ride the Rails Festival, Mineral Bluff Depot
June 22– Georgia Mountain Classics Cruise In, Dairy Queen
June 29-30 – Riverfest, Downtown McCaysville
June 29 – Firecracker Special, Blue Ridge Scenic Railway
June 29 – Lake Blue Ridge Boat Parade, Lake Blue Ridge
June 29 – McCaysville Fireworks, Downtown McCaysville and Copperhill
June 30 – Old Timers Parade, Downtown Blue Ridge
June 30 – Lake Blue Ridge Fireworks, Lake Blue Ridge Dam
July 4 – 4th of July Observance, Epworth Community Club
July 4 – Blue Ridge Freedom 5k and 10k, Downtown Blue Ridge
July 4 – 4th of July Fireworks, Meeks Park
 
Recurring Events
Tuesday
* Trivia Tuesdays, Fightingtown Tavern
Wednesday
*Visitor Time, 10:00 a.m. – Noon, Tri-State Model Railroaders, Mineral Bluff Historic Depot
Thursday 

 
Bingo, Kiwanis Fairgrounds
* Trivia Night! Fannin Brewing Company
* Pickin’ in the Park
* Brewery Tours & Tastings:
Thursday through Saturday’s at  Fannin Brewing Company and Grumpy Old Men.
* Swan Drive-in –Now Playing
FOR THE FULL CALENDAR –Click Here

Like us on FacebookFollow us on TwitterFind us on PinterestView our videos on YouTubeView on Instagram
In This Issue
Business After Hours
Recycle Your Electronics
Community Events Calendar

Chamber Calendar of Events
June 19 – Business After Hours, Blue Smoke Barbecue, 3365 East First St., Blue Ridge
5:30 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.
June 21 – Ribbon Cutting for SafeKeep Pest Management at the  Chamber
10:00 a.m.
June 25 – Ribbon  Cutting for Escape the Line Ocoee’s #1 Escape Room, 115 Ocoee St., Copperhill, TN
10:30 a.m.
June 27 – Board of Directors Meeting, Chamber Board Room, Executive Committee at 11:00 a.m, Board of Directors
12:00 p.m.

June 28 – Ambassador Lunch at Mesquite Grill, 4860 Appalachian Hwy., Blue Ridge
12:00 p.m.
____________
Member Events
Glow River Float

News from Fannin County Chamber of Commerce

Community, Fannin County Chamber
Fannin County Chamber of Commerce  eNewsletter
June 12,  2018
News for Members
Fannin Co. Chamber Logo

Leading the way to economic vitality and quality of life in Blue Ridge, McCaysville, Morganton and all of beautiful Fannin County, Georgia.

Fannin County Sponsoring 
Electronics Recycling 
Ecyclers USA will be at the Senior Center on June 23 from 9:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. to recycle your electronics. These will include:
  • Computers and Peripherals
  • Subassemblies and Components
  • Surplus Inventory
  • Home Electronics
  • Central Office and Communication Room Equipment
  • Microwave/Ground and Satellite Based Transmission Equipment
  • Office Equipment
  • Barcode Equipment, Pagers, Copy Machines, Fax Machines, Telephone Systems (cordless, cellular, desk)
  • Security Equipment
  • Utility and Power Equipment
  • Metals
**There will be a $10.00 fee for each Television or CRT Monitor**
440 West 1st St., Blue Ridge, GA
To see specifics on items that may or may not be available to be recycled:

June Community Events Calendar
June 16 – Community Quilt and Fiber Arts Exhibit, Blue Ridge Mountain Arts Association
June 16 – Blue Ridge Wine and Jazz Festival, Downtown Blue Ridge City Park
June 16 – Blue Ridge Chamber Music Festival – PULSE Trio, St. Luke’s Episcopal Church
June 19 – Summer Youth Art Camps, Blue Ridge Mountain Arts Association
June 23-24 – Ride the Rails Festival, Mineral Bluff Depot
June 25 – Georgia Mountain Classics Cruise In, Dairy Queen
June 29-30 – Riverfest, Downtown McCaysville
June 29 – Firecracker Special, Blue Ridge Scenic Railway
June 29 – Lake Blue Ridge Boat Parade, Lake Blue Ridge
June 29 – McCaysville Fireworks, Downtown McCaysville and Copperhill
June 30 – Old Timers Parade, Downtown Blue Ridge
June 30 – Lake Blue Ridge Fireworks, Lake Blue Ridge Dam
July 4 – 4th of July Observance, Epworth Community Club
July 4 – Blue Ridge Freedom 5k and 10k, Downtown Blue Ridge
July 4 – 4th of July Fireworks, Meeks Park
 
Recurring Events
Tuesday
* Trivia Tuesdays, Fightingtown Tavern
Wednesday
*Visitor Time, 10:00 a.m. – Noon, Tri-State Model Railroaders, Mineral Bluff Historic Depot
Thursday 

 
Bingo, Kiwanis Fairgrounds
* Trivia Night! Fannin Brewing Company
* Pickin’ in the Park
* Brewery Tours & Tastings:
Thursday through Saturday’s at  Fannin Brewing Company and Grumpy Old Men.
* Swan Drive-in –Now Playing
FOR THE FULL CALENDAR –Click Here

Like us on FacebookFollow us on TwitterFind us on PinterestView our videos on YouTubeView on Instagram
In This Issue
Business After Hours
Recycle Your Electronics
Community Events Calendar

Chamber Calendar of Events
June 12 – Ribbon Cutting for Duane Thomas, Realtor with Anchor Brokerage at the Chamber
1:30 p.m.
June 13 – Ribbon Cutting for Impact Design & Creations at the Chamber
11:00 a.m.
June 19 – Business After Hours, Blue Smoke Barbecue, 3365 East First St., Blue Ridge
5:30 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.
June 27 – Board of Directors Meeting, Chamber Board Room, Executive Committee at 11:00 a.m, Board of Directors
12:00 p.m.

June 28 – Ambassador Lunch at Mesquite Grill, 4860 Appalachian Hwy., Blue Ridge
12:00 p.m.
____________
Member Events
The mission of the Fannin County Chamber of Commerce is to provide services to members, support existing business and promote economic development and tourism, while preserving and enhancing our community’s character, natural resources and quality of life.

 

Fannin County Chamber of Commerce

Four life-flighted after car accident on Scenic Drive

Fannin County EMA/EMS, News

Blue Ridge, Ga. – A head on collision left four adults having to be emergency flighted to Erlanger Hospital in Chattanooga.

Fannin County, Blue Ridge, Georgia, Car Accident, Automobile Accident, Scenic Drive, Erlanger Hospital, Life Fore, Fannin County Emergency Management, Fannin County Fire Department, First Responders, Georgia State Patrol, Fannin County Sheriff's Office, James Dickey, Gary Patterson, Kimberly Patterson, Heather Seigler

Scene of head on collision on Scenic Drive.

James Dickey of Blue Ridge, Ga., was traveling southbound on Scenic Drive shortly after 9:00 a.m. on Thursday, June 7. Dickey had with him passengers, Gary Patterson (Blue Ridge) and Kimberly Patterson (Blue Ridge).

Dickey’s Ford F-150 crossed the center lane while navigating one of Scenic Drive’s many curves and struck a Ford Escape head on. The Escape was driven by Heather Seigler who is also a resident of Blue Ridge, Ga.

After the impact Dickey’s truck overturned onto it’s right side. Gary Patterson, who was not wearing a seat belt, was completely ejected from the vehicle.

The Escape, driven by Seigler, spun several times before coming to a stop.

Emergency crews were on the scene within 10 minutes of receiving dispatch and determined that the car accident victims would need to be taken to Erlanger Hospital, the area’s nearest trauma facility, for treatment.

Four Life Force helicopters arrived to airlift the victims who were all suspected of having serious injuries.

As of Monday, June 11, Kimberly Patterson and Heather Seigler are still admitted at Erlanger Hospital for continued treatment. Passenger Gary Patterson has been discharged from the facility. The condition of driver James Dickey was unable to be confirmed.

Charges involving the accident are pending.

 

Fetch Your News is a hyper local news outlet that attracts more than 300,000 page views and 3.5 million impressions per month in Dawson, Lumpkin, White, Fannin, Gilmer, Pickens, Union, Towns and Murray counties as well as Cherokee County in N.C. FYNTV attracts approximately 15,000 viewers per week and reaches between 15,000 to 60,000 per week on our Facebook page. For the most effective, least expensive local advertising, call 706-276-6397 or email us at advertise@FetchYourNews.com

Author

Natalie Kissel

Natalie@FetchYourNews.com

Blue Ridge Cannery to OPEN for Season

Community

The Blue Ridge Cannery will open for the 2018 season on Thursday, July 5th.  The cannery provides a clean and convenient place to process vegetables and fruits for its customers each canning season.

Families have used the cannery for years and the tradition continues.  The cannery allows customers to quickly process larger quantities of food than possible at home.  The cannery is easier to clean as well.

Customers need to bring their products ready to pack and process as well as the supplies needed.  Customers can choose whether to bring in their own glass jars which will be processed for 40 cents for each jar or metal cans may be obtained from the cannery and will be processed for  70 cents per can. First time users will be taught how to use the facility.

The cannery is located in the old State Farmers Market complex off East First Street.

The cannery will be open on July 5 and then on each Tuesday and Thursday in July, August, and September at 8:00am. With the exception of July 10 on which we will be closed.  The product must be ready for the cookers by 12:00pm (noon).

For more information call 706-632-0208  or 706-632-2013

The cannery is managed by Rhonda Mathews; Fannin County High School Young Farmer Teacher, Cherie White; Fannin County High School Agriculture Education Teacher and Emily Wheeler; Fannin County Middle School Agriculture Education Teacher, and operated by the Fannin County Board of Education

Lightning strike destroys home in Blue Ridge

Fannin County EMA/EMS, News

BLUE RIDGE, Ga. – A lightning strike is responsible for a fire that ended with the total loss of a family home in Blue Ridge.

The Fannin County Fire Department was dispatched to a call of a reported lightning strike shortly after 5 p.m. Thursday, May 31. After stepping out the door of Fire Station 1 in downtown Blue Ridge, Fire Chief Larry Thomas quickly realized that the reported lightning strike had resulted in a fire.

Smoke was seen from downtown Blue Ridge bellowing high into the air quickly turning from a light gray smoke to a deep black.

Fannin County, Georgia, Blue Ridge, House Fire, Lightning, Fannin County Fire Department, Fannin County Sheriff's Office, Community Emergency Response Team, Medic, Cohutta Wilderness, Wildfire, Fire Chief, Larry Thomas, Tankersley, Willow Creek Falls and Vineyard

Smoke was visible from the home fire in downtown Blue Ridge.

“Black smoke is what you get from house fires,” Thomas explained of the sight from downtown Blue Ridge. “The synthetic materials that make up a home and that are found in a home will account for this.”

Thomas described pulling up to the scene of the fire: “We arrived less than 10 minutes after dispatch and found the house 40 to 50 percent involved with flames that had already vented through the roof.”

When arriving on the scene, crews were able to move three vehicles near the structure. These vehicles are known as exposures.

Exposures are potentials for a fire resulting from another fire outside of the primary building, structure, or vehicle. In this case crews identified the vehicles as having a potential for resulting in a secondary hazard and were able to remove them safely.

Firefighters were also able to protect a nearby garage and two other vehicles from becoming part of the inferno.

The home located on Wild Iris Trail belongs to the Tankersley family, owners of Willow Creek Falls and Vineyard. While the family was not physically harmed during the fire, it has been confirmed that some of their beloved pets were unable to escape.

Despite time-saving tactics and added water supply, fire fighters were unable to save the home, and it was deemed a total loss.

While the weather of the evening aided in containing the fire to the structure, it also combated efforts to save the home itself.

Thomas stated the rains helped to keep the fire from spreading to the surrounding terrain, but the steady winds that accompanied the storms progressed the fire through the home.

“The wind would shift direction and that affected the high fire. It would actually force the fire back into and down through the attic space,” Thomas said, explaining how the fire spread, “and then the low fire was just eating its way in on the ground.”

Fannin County, Georgia, Blue Ridge, House Fire, Lightning, Fannin County Fire Department, Fannin County Sheriff's Office, Community Emergency Response Team, Medic, Cohutta Wilderness, Wildfire, Fire Chief, Larry Thomas, Tankersley, Willow Creek Falls and Vineyard

A tree near the home received a direct hit by lightning and is the cause of the resulting house fire.

The fire began as a result of a lightning strike to a nearby tree. The electricity from the strike moved through the roots of the tree where it made contact with underground utilities, and moved into the home.

Fires resulting from lightning strikes are seen annually in our area. Most notably seen in recent times, the Cohutta Wilderness Wildfire destroyed thousands of acres and lasted several months in late 2016.

“Lightning doesn’t have to hit your house to start the fire,” Thomas explained of the nature of fires caused by lightning. “It can strike anything nearby, a tree or utilities. It can then travel through the tree roots or underground lines, anything that conducts electricity, and reach the home.”

Firefighters responded to a second call of a lightning strike-induced fire on the evening of May 31. This strike had moved through a gas line connecting to a home. The homeowner in this case was able to shut off the gas supply and extinguish the fire before major damage was done.

“The best thing people can do, is just stay vigilant during these storms,” Thomas said as he acknowledged the unpredictability of storms and lightning in general.

Crews were on the scene of the house fire on Wild Iris Trail for approximately seven hours. A total of 22 firefighters helped to combat the blaze. Medics, as well as members of the Fannin County Community Emergency Response Team (CERT), were also present to provide emergency personnel with rehabilitation services such as oxygen and a dry area. Fannin County Sheriff’s Office responded to the scene to direct traffic.

 

[Featured image: The home located on Wild Iris Trail as fire fighters worked to battle the blaze.]

 

 

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