Blue Ridge, Ga. – Volunteers and staff welcomed visitors to the Fannin County Animal Control (FCAC) facility on Saturday Oct. 27 to showcase the positive improvements being done and of course, the wonderful dogs being housed there.
It was a crowded house as residents and visitors got to peek inside the FCAC facility and speak with the staff and volunteers about ways they can contribute to this community service.
This year the facility has seen upgrades in the likes of outdoor runs attached to the indoor kennel areas. The Fannin County Board of Commissioners approved funding for this project after speaking with FCAC Department Head John Drullinger on the impact this addition would have not only on staff safety but also for the quality of life of the animals.
“It makes such a difference for the dog’s quality of life,” Drullinger said explaining the changes he has witnessed since the outdoor runs were added. “They get more fresh air and it gives us a better ability for cleaning and sterilizing the inside part.”
Beyond improvements to the building itself, the recent movement of community volunteers taking action to help out in anyway that they can has had major impacts.
Volunteers come on a daily basis to walk dogs, clean kennels, and offer services in their areas of expertise. Some choose to take photos to help spread the word via social media about the adoptable animals at FCAC and others have even proposed using their artistic skills by offering to create a mural at the facility.
“It’s a great help. It’s huge,” Drullinger spoke of the volunteers,”We’re getting a lot of volunteers. Our group keeps growing.”
Patrice Noble Epps is one of the volunteers that loves spending her time working with the animals and crew of FCAC.
“If the animals didn’t have this place, they would be out on the streets,” Noble Epps said speaking of what motivates her to volunteer, “and ultimately they would die.”
A self-professed cleaning fanatic, Noble Epps says that while she enjoys working one on one with the dogs, she also loves to help with cleaning at the facility: “If you want something done, do it yourself and maybe people will follow.”
Noble Epps spoke of the ease in which she has been able to work with Fannin County staff to bring about changes and to focus on more improvements in the future: “I think you always have to have a good relationship with the people that you are going into their house.”
The volunteers and staff have been working together to create more changes, both Drullinger and Noble Epps spoke of the recent addition of a sponsorship program.
This program accepts monetary donations from the public and these donations are being used to vet the dogs at the shelter. Vetting includes spay/neuter, heartworm testing, rabies vaccination, and microchipping.
During the open house several residents stepped up to donate to this program and sponsor the dogs.
Noble Epps would also like to see donations provide training for the shelter dogs being adopted.
“You could adopt the dog and then you go and you have a training class where you learn how to handle a shelter dog,” Noble Epps explained how the option of a training class would work and stressed that the dogs that have been there the longest would benefit the most.
Another improvement that seems to be on the horizon for the FCAC facility is the addition of an onsite outdoor play area for the shelter dogs. This area will be modeled similar to the dog park that is currently offered by the Humane Society of Blue Ridge, but be used by FCAC dogs only.
“It’s not guaranteed, but it’s in the works,” Drullinger spoke of the possible addition, “it’s on the drawing table and that’s the first step.”
Noble Epps summed up her feelings about volunteering with FCAC: “It’s what we have. Work with it. If you want to make it better, make it better.”
And making it better she has, as well as all the other volunteers who have donated their time and talents.
There is no denying the excitement and enthusiasm that is being brought to FCAC through the volunteers and the building upgrades. It is the hopes of all involved that this positive momentum will continue to increase well into the future.
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BLUE RIDGE, Ga. – It may seem like a small gesture to some, but for those in Gilmer County, Georgia, a simple jersey is relating a lot more than meets the eye as they receive a memorial jersey to honor Gilmer’s middle school principal, the late Larry Walker.
With a special moment before the middle school football games between these two schools on September 19, Fannin County School Superintendent Dr. Michael Gwatney took to the field with Gilmer County School Superintendent Dr. Shanna Downs and Appalachian Judicial Circuit District Attorney Alison Sosebee for a special ceremony in order to present the jersey hosting the emblems of both Gilmer and Fannin.
After a few words about Walker’s life and a moment of silence honoring him, Gwatney and Downs shared their own moment holding the jersey together. The announcers explained the meaning of the ceremony saying,
“The jersey being presented to the Gilmer Middle School football team bears the name of Walker with the #1. Also on the jersey is the Fannin County School insignia and the Gilmer County School insignia. The jersey being presented is in memory of Larry D. Walker, principal of Gilmer Middle School, and signifying Fannin County and Gilmer County are together as one, both in spirit and community.”
With the funeral today, many are still dealing with the loss as they prepare their final respects. Others are coping in their own ways. But as a community comes together and the true reach of one man comes into focus, they are responding to the show of support. Kayann Hayden West offered her thanks on social media saying, “Thankful for the support of our community and the Walker family up and down the 515 corridor. Rivals on the field but united in purpose and heart.”
The 22nd annual Rodeo was hosted by Blue Ridge Kiwanis Club in Blue Ridge, GA Friday and Saturday night at the Blue Ride Fairgrounds.
Friday and Saturday night brought in a swarm of locals and tourists alike totaling at 2400+ attendees.
The Rodeo brings out the family fun for everyone as they provide booths for people to walk around and visit, donkey rides for children, mechanical bull riding for those that wish to feel like a cowboy and great rodeo food.
Tammy McFarland, Kiwanis Club host explained, “This is really all for and all about the kids. All proceeds we make go back to our children. Each booth and table that is here during the rodeo is sponsored apart from children-centered organizations like the Boy and Girls Club, 4-H club, and Girl Scouts. A lot of funds come through sponsorships and we get to put that right back into our community.”
Between each rodeo event like bareback riding, cattle roping (men), cattle roping (wom en), barrel racing and bull riding there were community-centered activities like the calf scramble.
The children in the audience were invited to play in the calf scramble by two groups between the ages of 7-12. The goal of the game was to bring the tag from the tail of the calf to the rodeo entertainer for the night, Porkchop, also known as Garrett.
There was even a calf scrambling contest for the ladies in the audience but with a more interesting challenge. The winner of women’s calf-scrambling challenge would be the person who brought flag back to Porkchop, not the woman who caught the flag off the calf.
This made for an entertaining game as a ‘flag fight’ broke out in the middle of the arena and resulted in a woman-pile as they each fought for the flag. Eventually, after much laughter from the audience, Porkchop broke up the girl-fight and the ladies walked about to their seats in the audience.
In the end, fun was had by all, as teens walked the field with their friends laughing and eating, children pulled on their parents’ hands as they stared wide-eyed at the mechanical bull begging to ride.
All the while, the proceeds from this event go right back into the Fannin community through groups like Fannin County Literacy Action Group, the 4-H Club, Fannin County High School Marching Band, and many, many others.
United Community Bank (UCB) in Fannin County and their friendly staff are always looking for ways to give back and support their local community. If you’re wondering what’s happening at United Community Bank today, it’s customer appreciation day!! Giving back to the community or known to most “tomato plant day” with Better Boy tomato plants.
UCB started giving out tomato plants the first Friday in May in the late 1980’s. UCB in Fannin County alone will give out 15,000 tomato plants.
You know summer is around the corner when it’s tomato plant day at UCB.
Check out more pictures from today’s event here!