The 4th Of July Observation at Epworth

Community

Gov. Deal signs 2019 budget enabling new North Georgia campus in Blue Ridge

News, Politics

BLUE RIDGE, Ga. – Gov. Nathan Deal made a stop in Blue Ridge Wednesday, May 2, to sign the state budget – House Bill 684 – for the 2019 fiscal year in Georgia and also bring good news for the University of North Georgia (UNG) Blue Ridge campus.

The $26.2 billion budget, which Deal stated was the largest in the history of the state, will include $5.5 million for a permanent relocation project for the UNG Blue Ridge campus.

Also, during the budget signing, Georgia Speaker of the House and Fannin County resident David Ralston announced the location of the forthcoming facility to be just off of state Route 515 and east of Industrial Park Road.

Georgia Governor Nathan Deal, seated, signs House Bill 684, the state budget for fiscal year 2019, into effect Wednesday, May 2, at the Art Center. Seen here with Deal are, from left, Dr. Bonita Jacobs, president of the University of North Georgia, David Ralston, speaker of the Georgia House of Representatives, Deal, and Terry England, state representative from District 116 and chairman of the House Appropriations Committee. (Photo: Amanda Anthros, FetchYourNews)

Of the size of the budget itself, Gov. Deal said, “It reflects the growth of our economy.”

“When I came into office in January 2011, it was a bleak time in our state,” Deal explained of the state’s economy.

As a result of the Recession of 2008, Deal went on to say, by the time he took office, the state revenue had dropped by 18 percent and the “rainy-day fund,” or reserves, was essentially depleted with only enough funds to keep the state government open for approximately two days.

Since then, a dramatic increase in state revenue not only allows for a higher state budget in 2019 but also has allowed for a state income tax rate cut for the first time since the tax was instituted in Georgia in 1934, according to Deal. Deal also noted he expects another income tax cut to come again in 2019.

Regarding the state’s “rainy-day fund,” Deal explained conservative spending has enabled the state to increase reserves to the current amount of $2.3 billion.

“So, we are doing exceptionally well on many fronts,” Deal said.

In his Blue Ridge stop, which was one of five locations across the state of Georgia the governor visited Wednesday to sign the budget, Deal focused his address on spending with regard to higher education.

Georgia Governor Nathan Deal. (Photo: Amanda Anthros, FetchYourNews)

“We have to meet the needs of today and anticipate the needs of tomorrow,” Deal stated. “(Businesses) need an educated and trained workforce. Without that, we’re not going to be able to see companies expand in our state nor are we going to be in a position to recruit new companies to come here.”

Deal explained the Recession of 2008 also affected state lottery proceeds for the Helping Outstanding Pupils Educationally (HOPE) Scholarship but announced the 2019 budget will add $68 million more to the HOPE program for higher education opportunities. The governor also stated the state currently has $1.1 billion in reserves for the HOPE Scholarship.

Also, Deal told of the success of dual enrollment, which allows high school juniors and seniors to take college, university, or technical college courses at no cost to serve as credits toward both their high school diploma and a higher education degree or certificate. The 2019 budget provides $26.2 million for dual enrollment programs, Deal stated.

The REACH Scholarship is another opportunity for students seeking higher education. According to Deal, the REACH Scholarship, which was launched in 2012, is needs-based and provides selected eighth-graders with a $10,000 trust account for future higher education. Promising students who come from families with limited financial resources are selected by teachers and school administrators, and once designated as REACH scholars, the students sign a contract agreeing to maintain a good grade point average, to meet with their mentors regularly and also not to partake in crime or drug use.

In addition to the REACH Scholarship, Deal said every institution in the University System of Georgia, which includes 26 public institutions, has agreed to match the $10,000 trust account for REACH scholars.

Since 2012, Deal explained, the state has invested over $689 million in the University System. In the 2019 budget, one of those University System institutions, the University of North Georgia, will not only receive $5.5 million for the Blue Ridge campus, but also $3 million in bonds to renovate its Oakwood campus in Hall County and $4.7 million in bonds to purchase property to expand its main campus in Dahlonega.

“We know that there are many students who will take advantage of these opportunities, and when they do, it will help us to retain them in the state of Georgia. It will help them to have the credentials that will be necessary to get the higher paying jobs that are here today and be able to attract those jobs for the future. For a personal standpoint of a family, when your child gets those kind of credentials, the likelihood that they can stay in Georgia and not have to leave to find a good job is greatly enhanced,” Deal concluded.

Georgia Speaker of the House of Representatives David Ralston. (Photo: Amanda Anthros, FetchYourNews)

Introducing Gov. Deal at the engagement held at the Blue Ridge Mountains Arts Association Art Center, Speaker Ralston called the event “historic in many respects,” being the first time in the history of Fannin County that a state budget bill has been signed within the county.

Of Georgia’s 82nd governor, Ralston said, “Governor Deal has led this state to become the best in all the 50 in which to do business in this country. He has truly been a great governor, and frankly, I want to say this state is going to miss his leadership.”

For Fannin County, Ralston explained the 2019 budget will provide over $273,000 to the Fannin County Board of Education. Statewide, Ralston stated, over $360 million will go toward the state’s teacher retirement system. Also, statewide public school campus funding will account for $16 million, over $44,000 of which will go to Fannin County, according to Ralston.

Additionally, the budget will provide $25,000 in bonds to renovate the community center in Epworth and $277,000 for a new roof at West Fannin Elementary School.

“And today, I guess the highlight of the event is, (the budget) contains $5.5 million for the new, permanent campus for the University of North Georgia at Blue Ridge,” Ralston announced.

Georgia House Speaker and Fannin County resident David Ralston, left, welcomes Governor Nathan Deal to Blue Ridge Wednesday, May 2. (Photo: Amanda Anthros, FetchYourNews)

Ralston then explained when the campus first opened in the fall of 2015, only 18 students were enrolled at the campus. After three years, Ralston said, “That number is more than 150 students. UNG Blue Ridge’s growth rate has far exceeded our expectations and that’s something I think we can all be proud of.”

According to Ralston, the new facility, which will be 13,000 square feet, will more than triple the campus’s available space and will accommodate 500 students. “That’s 500 futures,” Ralston added, “that will be made brighter, right here in our community.”

After announcing the aforementioned location, Ralston explained the contract is pending final approval from the Board of Regents, which is expected to occur within the next 30 to 45 days.

Speaking of the day’s proceedings with regard to the UNG Blue Ridge campus, Campus Director Sandy Ott stated, “This is a wonderful opportunity for growth and expansion for the University of North Georgia to increase programs, course offerings and educational opportunities in the region. The campus has experienced significant growth since opening in the fall 2015. The opportunities that will be available are endless.”

[Featured image: Georgia Governor Nathan Deal, center, prepares to sign into effect the state’s 2019 fiscal year budget Wednesday, May 2, at the Blue Ridge Mountains Arts Association Art Center in downtown Blue Ridge. Joining Governor Deal for the signing are, from left, Dr. Bonita Jacobs, president of the University of North Georgia, David Ralston, speaker of the Georgia House of Representatives, Deal, Terry England, state representative from District 116 and chairman of the state House Appropriations Committee, and Jason Ridley, state representative from District 6.]

 

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

Jason Beck

Born in Merrillville, Indiana, raised in Cleveland, Tennessee, and currently resides in Copperhill, Tennessee. Graduated from Bradley Central High School in 1996 and attended the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, eventually earning a B.A. and M.A. in English. Hobbies include hiking, camping and fly-fishing. Interests include baseball, hockey and cliff jumping.

The upcoming Spaghetti Dinner hosted by the Epworth Community Club (125 Schoolhouse Road, Epworth, GA) is Wednesday March 21st

Community
SPAGHETTI DINNER FUNDRAISER
The upcoming Spaghetti Dinner hosted by the Epworth Community Club (125 Schoolhouse Road, Epworth, GA) is NEXT Wednesday March 21st (One week from today) from 4:30 – 6:30 pm.  Spaghetti, Bread, Salad & Dessert – $6.Dine-In – Italian atmosphere, checkered table cloths, candles, Italian music, Italy slide-show, Epworth neighbors and more.
Carry-Out
 – To Go Orders can be picked up at the door.

CLICK to see a 50 second Promo video with local talent about the upcoming Spaghetti Dinner at Epworth.


CLICK to see the Epworth version of Veni, Vidi, Vici.

Fatal house fire claims one life in Epworth

Fannin County EMA/EMS, News

EPWORTH, Ga. – Fannin County Emergency crews responded to a fatal house fire in the early evening hours of Thursday, March 1.

A call came into Fannin County E-911 at 5:32 p.m. of a porch fire located at 2111 Old Epworth Road in Epworth.

Firefighter Britt Jones, first to arrive on the scene, quickly noticed that the fire had spread and was beginning to engulf the home.

Jones radioed for back up personel and also requested law enforcement assistance to close off roadways and direct traffic.

“The fire started on the ground floor front porch,” Fire Chief Larry Thomas said, explaining the rapid spread of the flames, “and it moved up to the balcony porch above. When we got there about eight minutes after the initial call, the fire had entered the second floor and the attic.”

A death that occurred Thursday evening, March 1, in connection with a fire at this residence on Old Epworth Road in Epworth is still being investigated the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.

Neighbors and passers-by had attempted to alert anyone that might be in the home. These good samaritans informed emergency personnel that they had knocked on doors and windows in an effort to locate anyone that might be inside.

Engine 4, Engine 5 and Medic 4 responded to the urgent situation. A total of 18 firefighters were present to battle the flames.

Along with fire and medic engines, a Light and Air unit was also on the scene. A Light and Air unit is a specialized piece of firefighting equipment used to provide supplemental lighting and Self Contained Breathing Apparatus (SCBA) air bottles at the scene of an emergency.

Firefighters were able to extinguish flames around the entry way of the house and upon ascending the steps of the front porch where the initial blaze began, emergency workers instantly located a body.

The discovery of the deceased initiated crews to immediately enter the structure and search for others that might be trapped in the home.

“Crews were on scene until around 10 p.m. that night,” Thomas recalled of the events of the evening.

According to rental history of the property, the current tenant is listed as Matthew Stevens. The body of the deceased, however, is yet to be identified and is presently in the possession of Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI).

While the cause of the fire is officially still under investigation, EMA workers on the scene report that the deceased had been creating Lichtenberg Figures in wood, and it is likely that this hobby led to the fire as well as the death.

Blue Ridge, Fannin County, Epworth, Georgia, Fannin County Emergency Management, EMA, Fannin County Fire Department, Fire Chief Larry Thomas, Firefighter, Britt Jones, Fatal Fire, Lichtenberg Figures

An example of Lichtenberg Figures burned into wood.

These Lichtenberg Figures are created when wood is burned using electricity. Equipment for this dangerous hobby was found on the front porch. The official cause of death has not been released but is speculated, due to the equipment found, to be caused by electrocution.

This is the first fatal fire that the Fannin County Fire Department (FCFD) has responded to in 2018. FCFD responded to three fatal fires in 2017.

Thomas would like to remind residents that when fire hoses are across roadways to please avoid that roadway. A vehicle running over one of these hoses can damage the line and interrupt the water flow.

“I know it can be inconvenient for drivers, but these lines really are our number one tool in fighting fires,” Thomas explained. “The interruption in our supply line can be very dangerous for our crews on the scene.”

 

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

Lady Rebels Declaw the Lady Bobcats

FCHS Sports, Sports

This past Friday on day two of the Mountaintop Holiday Classic, the Lady Bobcats traveled to take on the Lady Rebels. The Lady Bobcats were coming from a win on day one of the tournament while the Lady Rebels were well rested from the bye game that was scheduled on the first day. Both teams came ready to play and were hungry for another win.

It appeared to be an even matchup from the start. Gilmer had the hustle on defense while Fannin had the determination on offense. The Lady Rebels seemed to score the majority of their points off plays. Lady Rebel, Maleah Stepp, led Fannin in scoring with thirteen points with her will to win. The Lady Bobcats made most of their points from driving the lane and playing in the moment. Lady Bobcat, Mallory Kiser, led her team in scoring with nine points due to her grit. Lady Rebel post, Mackenzie McClure, was on fire with her outside shots which put her right behind Stepp in scoring with ten points. Lady Bobcat guard, Taylor Boling, was behind Kiser in scoring with seven points overall. With the first quarter coming to an end, the Lady Rebels were just one point ahead of the Lady Bobcats with a score of 13-12.

The second quarter was back and forth. Neither team could keep a consistent lead for the eight minutes on the clock. The Lady Rebels started to play scrappy on defense and began rebounding. Lady Rebel, Bailey Whitener, got aggressive down low and contributed three points for her team. Another Lady Rebel, Maddie Johnson, got after it and scored five points after getting steals on defense. Gilmer started looking up the court to find Lady Bobcat, Marylee Callihan, who also put five points on the board for her team. Number twenty-four for the Lady Bobcats, Emma Callihan, put her all into the game and contributed four points for Gilmer. With Fannin in the lead halfway through the quarter, Lady cat Michaela Staley drew a foul and made two of her foul shots. Staley’s two points tied up the game. Gilmer continued to score and further their lead until the end of the second quarter. It was the Lady Rebels ball as the clock was winding down and Reagan Henderson happened to be wide open. Henderson received a beautiful pass down low which resulted in her making a buzzer beater shot and contributing two of her overall three points to tie the game 23-23.

With both teams having the same chances of winning, Fannin found their spunk. The Lady Rebels started to draw fouls from driving the lane. Lady Rebel, Hope Franklin, drew two fouls from the block and contributed two of her four points from the foul line. However, Fannin was not the only team to draw fouls. Lady Bobcat, Katie Kiker, drew a foul and put one point on the board for Gilmer. As Fannin’s lead extended, Gilmer came alive on the block. Lady Bobcat, Faith Ralston, scored two of her three points from down low. Another post for Gilmer, Jasmine Staley, contributed two points for the Lady Bobcats from under the basket. Gilmer’s lead strayed farther from Fannin’s which resulted in the score being 31-25 at the end of the third quarter.

With Gilmer down by only six points, they were determined to make a come back. Both teams wanted to win and it showed through their hustle and intensity. With Gilmer trying their best to catch up to Fannin, the Lady Rebels tried just as hard to keep their lead. Although both teams had the heart to win the game, one had to lose. The Lady Bobcats played an amazing game, but were five points away from victory. The Lady Rebels 38-33 win over the Lady Bobcats put Fannin in the championship game to be played the next day against the Lady Dragons.

The Lady Rebels win puts their overall record at 7-6 while the Lady Bobcats record also stands at 7-6. Catch the Lady Rebels next region game at Fannin County High School on January 5 against GAC starting at 7:00! Or catch the Lady Bobcats next region game on the same day and at the same time as they travel to take on Northwest Whitfield!

Author

Epworth Community Club’s BBQ Chicken Dinner on Sunday OCTOBER 29, 2017

Community

Fannin Highway Project to Widen SR 5 to Five Lanes

News

Speaker of the House David Ralston announced at the Eggs & Issues held on December 3rd, 2015 plans to widen SR 5 in Fannin county to five lanes.  The Speaker called the project a, “Vital transportation project.”

The first phase will include widening SR 5 to five lanes from Blue Ridge to Epworth.  The second phase, (subject to further planning and public input) would include a proposed bypass around McCaysville, GA to the Tennessee line.  Ralston indicated the long discussed plan was made possible through HB 170 and expects the project to begin in the spring of 2017.

 

12310440_748395048625017_6472708574871756269_n

FetchYourNews.com - Dedicated to serve the needs of the community. Provide a source of real news-Dependable Information-Central to the growth and success of our Communities. Strive to encourage, uplift, warn, entertain, & enlighten our readers/viewers- Honest-Reliable-Informative.

News - Videos - TV - Marketing - Website Design - Commercial Production - Consultation

Search

FetchYourNews.com - Citizen Journalists - A place to share “Your” work. Send us “Your” information or tips - 706.276.NEWs (6397) 706.889.9700 chief@FetchYourNews.com

Back to Top