Arming Fannin County educators

News, Rebel's Corner

BLUE RIDGE, Ga. – At the April 12 Board of Education (BOE) meeting, a new policy was introduced that would give Fannin County Schools the option of having armed educators on their campuses.

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Fannin County Superintendent Dr. Michael Gwatney

“There is no higher purpose of our school system than to provide a safe and secure environment for our students, faculty and staff,” Fannin County School Superintendent Dr. Michael Gwatney began, addressing those in attendance about the proposed policy addition about to be publicly read.

“Your board and I have been unable to ignore the many tragic events across our nation that have resulted in the deaths of so many,” Gwatney continued.

Gwatney cited that schools have a number of precautions in place to protect students and faculty in the event of a crisis. He listed fire extinguishers, bleed response kits, and automated external defibrillators (AEDs) as examples.

Following these examples, Gwatney pointed to the fact that school resource officers (SROs) are present for much the same reason: “During the course of my career, I have seen the numbers of SROs progress from none in our district to one; then the number has grown over the years to our current ratio of one SRO for each school.”

“Emergencies do occur, though, and just like a defibrillator, a tourniquet, or a fire extinguisher, a firearm is – at its core – a tool,” Gwatney expounded on the board’s decision to present this legislative option.

“As a professional educator, I will be the first to say that simply increasing the number of weapons already legally on our campuses is not, at least in of itself, the answer,” Gwatney said, acknowledging that the issues faced when dealing with violence is multifaceted and other aspects such as mental health need also be addressed.

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Dr. Gwatney’s full letter concerning the board’s decision to look into arming educators for added security on Fannin County school campuses.

Gwatney concluded his thoughts with a quote from John F. Kennedy: “There are risks and costs to action. But are far less than the long-range risks of comfortable inaction.”

The new Possession of Weapons by Employees policy (GAMB) states that “the Board of Education may authorize certain personnel to possess or carry weapons on any property or in any building owned or leased by the District, at a school function, or on a bus or other transportation furnished by the District”.

Those approved to carry weapons on school property must meet and adhere to certain criteria, the first of which being that proper training and review of skill must be approved in advance by the superintendent and the Fannin County Sheriff’s Office.

Continued evaluation will also be required upon approval: “To receive and subsequently maintain authorization, all approved personnel shall regularly qualify to the standard required by the Fannin County Sheriff for each type of weapon authorized.”

Types and quantities of weapons and ammunition each individual will be allowed to possess will be approved and monitored by the Fannin County Sheriff’s Office and the superintendent.

Personnel will not be required to carry arms and the program will be carried out on a volunteer basis. Furthermore the new legislation states, “The final appointment will be made by the Superintendent consistent with the requirements of this policy. Each employee appointed must be licensed under the laws of the state to carry a firearm and shall be subject to an annual criminal history background check. Approval will not be granted for any employee who has had an employment or other history indicating any type of mental or emotional instability as determined by the Board or Superintendent. The Superintendent shall be able at any time to remove or suspend the authority granted to any employee under this policy.”

Specific guidelines were also laid out in the new policy for proper carrying and storage of weapons.

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Fannin County Sheriff Dane Kirby

Fannin County Sheriff Dane Kirby was present to share his thoughts: “I support it 100 percent. I think that drastic acts require drastic responses.”

Kirby cited the process of an active shooter scenario from the time that the first act of violence occurs until his officers could be on scene to respond.

He acknowledged that times may vary but stated, “By the time all of that is done, that could take up to 15 minutes, in all reality for someone to respond to one of our schools.”

“I’m very thankful that the board and the superintendent were willing to step out into these waters,” Kirby said, finalizing his opinion on the new policy. “I think it was done right.”

If implemented, the personnel approved would remain confidential. Gwatney explained, “By pursuing a policy, the Board of Education intends to reserve the option to take action that is permitted by state law; whether and/or how the board chooses to implement the policy, if approved, is a confidential matter.”

This new policy has been tabled and will be addressed at the Board of Education regular meeting held May 10.

Policy Possession of Weapons by Employees (Descriptor Code: GAMB):

The Board of Education is committed to maintaining a safe and secure working and learning environment. Unless authorized by the Board of Education or an administrator in accordance with this policy, or specifically authorized by state law, employees shall be prohibited from bringing weapons on any property or in any building owned or leased by the District, at school functions, and on school buses or other transportation furnished by the School District. Employees in violation of this policy shall be subject to disciplinary action, up to and including termination of employment.

Pursuant to O.C.G.A. § 16-11-130.1, the Board of Education may authorize certain personnel to possess or carry weapons on any property or in any building owned or leased by the District, at a school function, or on a bus or other transportation furnished by the District, subject to the following conditions:

1. Training of approved personnel shall occur prior to their authorization to carry weapons. The training shall be approved in advance by the Superintendent and Fannin County Sheriff and shall, at a minimum, include training on judgment pistol and long gun shooting, marksmanship, and a review of current laws relating to the use of force for the defense of self or others. The Superintendent, with the approval of the Fannin County Sheriff, may substitute for certain training requirements an individual’s prior military or law enforcement service if he or she has previously served as a certified law enforcement officer or has had military service which involved similar weapons training. To receive and subsequently maintain authorization, all approved personnel shall regularly qualify to the standard required by the Fannin County Sheriff for each type of weapon authorized.

2. An approved list of the types and quantity of weapons and ammunition each approved individual is authorized to possess or carry shall be prepared and maintained by the Superintendent and shall be approved by the Fannin County Sheriff;

3. Selection of personnel to possess or carry a weapon shall be done strictly on a voluntary basis.The final appointment will be made by the Superintendent consistent with the requirements of this policy. Each employee appointed must be licensed under the laws of the state to carry a firearm and shall be subject to an annual criminal history background check. Approval will not be granted for any employee who has had an employment or other history indicating any type of mental or emotional instability as determined by the Board or Superintendent. The Superintendent shall be able at any time to remove or suspend the authority granted to any employee under this policy; and

4. Weapons possessed or carried by personnel under this paragraph shall be secured as follows: Concealed weapons are permitted if they are carried in a holster and not in a purse, briefcase, bag, or similar other accessory which is not secured on the body. If maintained separate from the body, the weapon shall be maintained in a secured lock safe or similar lock box that cannot be easily accessed by students.

In addition to those employees appointed pursuant to this policy, the Board recognizes that other exceptions exist under O.C.G.A. §16-11-127.1. All records regarding the appointment of individual employees and the implementation of this program shall be exempt from production under the Open Records Act as specified in Georgia law.

 

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Winter Storm Inga moves through Fannin County

Fannin County EMA/EMS, News

BLUE RIDGE, Ga. – Winter Storm Inga is passing through Fannin County and with it is uncertainty as what to expect.

The latest winter weather advisory from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) remains in effect until 10 a.m. Wednesday, Jan. 16, and a wind chill advisory is in effect for our area until 8 a.m. Thursday, Jan. 17.

…WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY NOW IN EFFECT UNTIL 10 AM EST WEDNESDAY… …WIND CHILL ADVISORY REMAINS IN EFFECT FROM 9 PM THIS EVENING TO 8 AM EST THURSDAY…

* WHAT…Snow occurring. Very cold wind chills expected. Plan on difficult travel conditions. Snow accumulations of up to two inches are expected. Expect wind chills to range from zero to 10 below zero.

* WHERE…Fannin, Gilmer, Union, Towns and Pickens Counties.

* WHEN…For the Winter Weather Advisory, until 10 AM EST Wednesday. For the Wind Chill Advisory, from 9 PM this evening to 8 AM EST Thursday.

* WINDS…Winds will become strong and gusty Wednesday with northwest winds of 15 to 25 mph gusting to 25 to 30 mph. A Wind Advisory may be needed for Wednesday.

* ADDITIONAL DETAILS…Be prepared for reduced visibilities at times. The cold wind chills will cause frostbite in as little as 30 minutes to exposed skin. PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS… A Winter Weather Advisory for snow means periods of snow will cause primarily travel difficulties. Be prepared for snow covered roads and limited visibilities, and use caution while driving. A Wind Chill Advisory means that cold air and the wind will combine to create low wind chills. Frostbite and hypothermia can occur if precautions are not taken. Make sure you wear a hat and gloves.

* AFFECTED AREAS: FANNIN … GILMER … PICKENS … TOWNS … UNION

Fannin County Emergency Management Agency (EMA) Director Robert Graham spoke about Inga’s potential impact on our area: “Right now, all that has fallen is melting. We are really concerned about icing overnight.”

Public Works Director Zack Ratcliff confirmed this thought, “Icing is going to be a big threat.”

Ratcliff did state that road crews are already out treating known problem areas of the county: “We are spread throughout the county right now treating hills, curves, and known shady spots.”

“We will work as late as we can, but when temperatures get down in the teens and freezing takes place, there isn’t much more we can do as far as pretreating,” Ratcliff spoke of the county’s plan to fight the effects of Winter Storm Inga.

Ratcliff added, “We will be back out in the morning to continue treatment, and my crews are ready.”

The county currently has approximately 300 tons of salt on hand for road treatment, as well as five salt trucks with plows and four pickup trucks with salt spreaders.

Graham explained that models with this system are constantly being updated, “Currently, it shows a possible two inches of snow in some areas.”

Graham urges drivers to use precaution while on the roadways, and as temperatures fall over night, to only travel if absolutely necessary.

There are currently no shelters open at this time in Fannin County. If you are in need of assistance and it is not a life- threatening emergency, you can call the Fannin County Sheriff’s Office non-emergency line at 706-632-6022 or 706-632-2043. All life-threatening emergency calls should be placed to 911.

Follow FetchYourNews for the latest on Winter Storm Inga, including closings and delays in our area.

 

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

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Natalie Kissel

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Fannin County Fire Department battles blazes in freezing temperatures

Fannin County EMA/EMS, News

BLUE RIDGE, Ga. – Fannin County Fire Department (FCFD) has responded to numerous home and brush fires in the past week. The unusual uptake in reports of fire incidents is due in part to the frigid temperatures that have hit our area.

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Crews work to extinguish home fire on Ada Street.

“Any time you have cold weather you have a potential for an increase in fire-related calls,” Fannin County Fire and Rescue Chief Larry Thomas explained. “Most of these are because of the need to provide extra heat to homes.”

FCFD was called out to one such home fire on Monday, Jan. 1. A 911 call was made in the late morning hours, reporting a fire at 4430 Ada Street. Emergency crews were dispatched and arrived on the scene minutes later.

“They (the home owners) weren’t home at the time of the fire, but when they did return, they saw smoke and they called 911,” Thomas recalled the events of that day.

The home fire led to Ada Street being closed near the Curtis Switch Road intersection for approximately four hours. Fannin County Sheriff’s Office was on the scene to help with the road closure and to redirect traffic.

Fannin County Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) set up on the property to render aid to the firemen battling the blaze.

“There really are a lot of people I would like to thank,” Thomas said of the effort put forth. “Everyone came together.”

Fannin County Emergency Management Agency made the following post on their Facebook page following the events of that day:

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Thomas also noted that family members of the home owners, as well as the home owners themselves, were mindful of the efforts being put forth by FCFD and displayed continued kindness throughout the ordeal, even offering to deliver meals to the response teams that were on the scene.

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CERT teams work along side firefighters to help combat conditions caused by the extreme cold.

Thomas commented on the conditions of the day and how it affects members of his department: “Fighting fires in cold weather is a lot different. It causes a whole new set of problems.”

Freezing temperatures do pose a new series of threats and difficulties beyond the dangers normally faced when emergency teams respond to calls of this nature. Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is designed to protect the wearer from heat of a fire, but only has limited insulation for cold temperatures.

Firefighters face an increased risk of hypothermia and frostbite when battling flames in freezing conditions. Also, fluctuating from extreme heat to extreme cold increases fatigue and exhaustion.

CERT placed a tent on the property of the Ada Street fire to help combat these conditions. Firefighters were monitored by fellow emergency responders and took breaks in the CERT tent to warm up, get re-hydrated, and dry wet clothing.

“Beyond personal safety, we also have to closely monitor our equipment during this weather,” Thomas spoke of the obstacles faced during cold weather.

Self Contained Breathing Apparatuses (SCBA) worn by firefighters have a high risk of freezing and icing over when temperatures are below freezing. Water from hoses can also freeze causing ice patches on the ground and increasing the risk of structural collapse due to the added weight of the ice.

Fannin County Public Works department responded to the scene as well as to clear and salt Ada Street when ice began to form from the water run off.

“It really was a group effort, and I would like to give my guys some recognition. It is never an easy job, but in this weather, it is even more difficult, and they are working really hard,” Thomas said of crews working the scene of the Ada Street fire.

Thomas would like to remind everyone of some winter weather fire safety and prevention tips:

1. Keep portable generators outside, away from windows, and as far away as possible from your home;

2. Test carbon monoxide alarms at least once a month;

3. Have a qualified professional clean and inspect your chimney and vents every year;

4. Store cooled ashes in a tightly covered metal container, and keep outside at least 10 feet from your home and any nearby buildings; and

5. Plug only one heat producing appliance (such as a space heater) into an electrical outlet at a time.

 

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

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Natalie Kissel

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Update: Little arrested on drug charges following investigation of dead body found at residence

News

McCAYSVILLE, Ga. – According to the booking report from the Fannin County Detention Center, Trudy Dawn Little, 56, of 327 First Street in McCaysville, was arrested Friday, Dec. 22, by the McCaysville Police Department. Little was charged with one count of manufacturing, selling and/or distributing schedule IV drugs and one count of possession of methamphetamine, according to the McCaysville Police Chief Michael Earley.

After being taken into custody at the Fannin County Detention Center, Little was released Sunday, Dec. 24, on a $15,000 bond.

The arrest followed the discovery of the body of Richard Kormondy, 49, of Murphy, North Carolina, at Little’s McCaysville apartment Dec. 14. Earley confirmed that the Georgia Bureau of Investigation assisted with the investigation of the incident, and the investigation continues. Authorities are waiting for autopsy results from Kormondy’s body to determine the exact cause of death.

 

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

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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.

Shop with a Cop benefits 43 children Saturday

Community

BLUE RIDGE, Ga. – Smiles, both on the faces of children and law enforcement officers alike, were seen up and down the aisles Saturday, Dec. 16, at the Blue Ridge Wal-Mart during the Fannin County Sheriff’s Office (FCSO) Shop with a Cop.

Originally scheduled for Dec. 9, the fourth annual Shop with a Cop was delayed a week after Winter Storm Benji treated kids, and kids at heart, to a weekend of snowman building and sledding. After a breakfast at Fannin County Middle School, the Christmas shopping tradition kicked off at Wal-Mart around 10:30 a.m. with a large number of children and officers from the department strolling up and down the aisles searching for holiday treats and gifts. On Saturday, 43 children were given a $100 spending allotment to purchase gifts of their choosing for themselves and others. As usual, the toy section of the store was a busy place to be during the event as children picked out a wide variety of cool looking toys and games.

FCFD officer John Kinser watches over some holiday gifts as two young girls pick out some more items to load up the cart.

Lt. Darvin Couch, of FCSO, serves as lead coordinator event each year. Couch described the annual event as “an honor and a privilege” to help provide a memorable Christmas for children across the county. Couch, the lead school resource officer at Fannin County Middle School, applauded the efforts and generous donations from the community members and organizations throughout the county.

“It’s a humbling experience to be able to do this,” Couch explained. “We have a community that is very gracious. We couldn’t do it without the community … (and) without the community’s help – volunteers that come to shop with (the children), which is law enforcement, fire and safety, EMS (Emergency Medical Services), first responders, firefighters.”

Also, Couch placed a great importance on seeing the smiles on the faces of the children each year as the most inspiring aspect of the event and spoke of “building a bridge” between the officers and the children at an early age.

One of the most remarkable lessons Couch said he sees every year is the charitable nature of the children using their allotment to buy gifts for their families as well.

“They come out of here with toys and clothes, but they actually come out of here with things for their parents that they’ve felt that their parents needed,” Lt. Couch stressed. “It’s just a blessing … Everybody in the community helps out 110 percent.”

The Fannin County Fire Department raised almost $1,900 in a boot drive for Shop with a Cop Nov. 25.

Among the many businesses, organizations and individuals in the community that helped with this year’s Shop with a Cop were the Fannin County Fire Department. According to Fire and Rescue Chief Larry Thomas, FCFD collected nearly $1,900 from generous holiday shoppers Saturday, Nov. 25, during a “fill the boot” fundraising campaign held outside the Blue Ridge Wal-Mart.

In addition to this, the Rotary Club of Blue Ridge presented a $1,000 donation to Lt. Couch and Shop with a Cop during a luncheon held at the Fannin County Chamber of Commerce Nov. 28.

 

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

 

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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.

Commissioners conduct business before passing the 2018 budget

Community, News

BLUE RIDGE, Ga. – Fannin County Sheriff’s Office could receive a new vehicle after Chief Deputy Major Keith Bosen was involved in an accident on state Route 5.

Fannin County Sheriff Dane Kirby addressed the Board of Commissioners (BOC) on Dec. 12 with an unforeseen item that was not on the meeting agenda. Kirby explained to the board about the county vehicle that had been involved in the accident, “We got it out at Car Crafters, and they’re thinking it’s going to cost about what the vehicle is worth to fix it, so it’s likely going to be totaled.”

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Sheriff Dane Kirby was present to discuss the renewal of contracts for the Fannin County Jail.

Kirby added, “We don’t have that set in stone.”

The vehicle suffered damage to the back end and also sustained damage to the frame. Kirby and Bosen had searched for a used vehicle after finding out about the extent of the damage, but we’re unable to locate one.

A new vehicle, which was found at Jacky Jones Ford in Cleveland, Georgia, has a price tag of $26,700. Kirby explained that he still had funds in his current budget to purchase this vehicle but had not allocated funds in 2018 for such a purchase.

Kirby stated that an insurance settlement from the wrecked vehicle would be used to partially reimburse the expenditure of securing the new vehicle.

Post 2 Commissioner Larry Joe Sosebee questioned, “What if they don’t total the car out?”

“We have a lot of options there,” Kirby replied. “If another office needed that vehicle, we could turn it over to you all to issue out however you all saw fit.”

Board of Commissioners Chairman Stan Helton looked for additional clarification: “So even if it’s fixed, it’s not something you want out there?”

Kirby and Bosen had discussed this possibility previously, and Bosen had expressed reluctance in continued use of the vehicle. “I’m not so sure I would want it for an emergency vehicle after all that damage has been done to it,” Kirby explained.

After some discussion, the BOC voted unanimously to allow the purchase of the new vehicle for Fannin County Sheriff’s Department.

The purchase of the new vehicle was a main focus, but Sheriff Dane Kirby was also present to have the BOC renew two contracts. These annual contracts concern food and health services provided to Fannin County Jail.

The cost of the food service contract showed a 1 percent increase, and the contract concerning healthcare increased by 3 percent.

“I don’t think our food service or our health provider has asked us for a percent increase since I have been in office,” Kirby said of the price difference for the 2018 contracts. “We have not had anything but flawless performance out of both of those providers.”

The BOC collectively agreed that the increase in cost of these two contracts was not unreasonable and unanimously voted to re-enter into both of the agreements.

Deputy Director of Fannin County Emergency Management Agency (EMA) Patrick Cooke was also on the agenda to discuss the purchase of a radio tower for the new 911 facility.

The county’s new 911 facility will be located at 930 Windy Ridge Road, and construction is already underway.

Cooke presented three bids to the board for the purchase of the new 911 radio tower. The lowest bid was $22,000, and the highest bid came in at $40,030. Cooke stated, “There’s no reason why we cannot go with the lowest bid on this one.”

Sosebee questioned, “Do you have it in your budget?”

Fannin County, Blue Ridge, Georgia, Fannin County Board of Commissioners, Chairman Stan Helton, Post One Commissioner Earl Johnson, Post Two Commissioner Larry Joe Sosebee, Financial Director Robin Gazaway, Board of Assessors, Tax Assessors, 2018 Budget, Fannin County Sheriff's Office, Sheriff Dane Kirby, Fannin Coutny Emergency Management Agency, EMA, Patrick Cooke

Gazaway presented the monthly budget update, and showed were departments stood as of Nov. 30.

Cooke explained that the purchase amount would be covered in the 2017 budget. A tower located on Bullen Gap Road had been damaged, and the majority of the cost of the new tower will come from an insurance reimbursement that the department had received.

The insurance settlement for $18,898.23 would offset the cost of the new tower to where only $3,101.77 would need to be pulled from the budget. The new tower would be able to communicate with the main repeater located on Brawley Mountain and would also act as a back up in the event that the main repeater went down.

The BOC voted unanimously for the purchase of the new radio tower, and construction of the new 911 facility is expected to move forward on schedule.

Fannin County Finance Director Robin Gazaway presented a monthly update of the county’s current budget prior to the BOC discussing and passing the county’s 2018 budget.

Through Nov. 30, the county is showing that it is under budget by approximately $500,000. Gazaway explained that as of the Nov. 30 date, the county was currently 92 percent into the budget for 2017.

Sosebee questioned specifically about the Tax Assessors budget, and Gazaway replied that they were $242,270 under budget for the year.

Gazaway did clarify, “I know they have a few more expenditures in December, but as of Nov. 30, they’re under budget.”

With information presented by Gazaway concerning the county’s spending and revenue, the BOC passed the 2018 Budget at the end of the meeting.

 

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

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Natalie Kissel

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Fannin County Fire Department responds to multiple fires

Featured, News

BLUE RIDGE, Ga. – Fannin County Emergency Response Teams responded to several fire-related calls over the weekend and into early Monday morning.

On Saturday evening, the Fannin County Fire Department (FCFD) responded to a 9:12 p.m. call of a residential fire at a rental cabin on 885 Brittney Dr. in Epworth. Crews arrived on scene at 9:34 p.m.

According to Fire Chief Larry Thomas, the fire began in an outside chimney and quickly spread to endanger the house. Fourteen firefighters along with three engines and two tankers were able to contain the fire to the chimney.

No injuries were sustained as a result of the incident, Thomas said.

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Miner Springs Apartments fire. Photo Courtesy of Kelly Wisner.

Later in the weekend, FCFD was dispatched to a report of a fire located at the Mineral Springs apartment complex at 3:46 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 26.

Kelly Wisner, a resident of Mineral Springs Apartments, recounted the events that took place that afternoon. “I had just woken up from a nap and looked out my window,” Wisner explained. “I saw smoke and told my husband the building across from us was on fire. We immediately got on our shoes and split.”

Kelly Wisner and her husband, Jason Wisner, ran to the building that was on fire and adjacent buildings to warn residents of the fire and the need to evacuate and move their vehicles. Kelly Wisner also placed a call to 911 during this time.

Meanwhile, Jason Wisner ran into the building that was aflame and banged on doors alerting everyone to get out. Kelly Wisner, when speaking of her husband’s courageous act, said, “He doesn’t look at himself as a hero. He just says that he did what anyone would do.”

Chief Thomas stated the fire started on the back deck of a ground floor unit. Thomas said, “The fire traveled up the wall to the second floor and into the attic. We were able to put the fire out in the apartment that it had engulfed and put the fire out in the attic.”

According to a representative with Mineral Springs Apartments, three units suffered damaged due to the fire. All units in the building, however, must remain vacated until an inspection can be done and power is restored.

In addition to the residents who got out of the building safely, FCFD also reports that they were able to rescue six cats, one pet snake and one pet canary.

FCFD also responded to a fire located at the Open Arms home. A call came in at 8:36 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 26, and units were on scene within 18 minutes.

Open Arms is a nonprofit organization for children who have been abused or neglected. The program offers a number of services including short-term residential care.

According to a post made on Open Arms Facebook page:

“It’s with a sad heart that I inform you that around 8:30 p.m. last night (Sunday Night) a fire occurred at the Open Arms Home for Children. All of our girls and staff got out of the home safely and unharmed but our home is most likely a complete loss.”

It went on to say:

“God spared our girls and staff tonight. A few hours later and they all might have been in a deep sleep and the outcome could have been much more devastating.”

A state investigator was on the scene of the Open Arms home fire for suspected arson. Captain Justin Turner with the Fannin County Sheriff’s Department was able to confirm that the fire was intentionally set and a juvenile is currently in custody.

The case remains an open investigation.

At 1:49 a.m. Monday, Nov. 27, FCFD responded to the scene of a truck fire at Advanced Disposal located at 10169 Lakewood Hwy. in Mineral Bluff.

One of Advanced Disposal’s compactor trucks had caught fire. The cause of the fire is undetermined and currently still under investigation.

No one was injured during this fire. The compactor truck suffered significant damage and damage to other vehicles parked nearby was also reported .

 

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Natalie Kissel

Natalie@FetchYourNews.com

Armed Robbery in Blue Ridge – Suspects in Custody

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Blue Ridge, Fannin County, Georgia, Armed Robbery, Melisse Marmon, Rashad Marmon, Hammond Marmon, Magistrate Judge Brian Jones, District Attorney Alison Sosbee

BLUE RIDGE, GA – An armed robbery occurred in Blue Ridge, Georgia on Labor Day.   Armed robbers entered the AT&T store located off of Scenic Drive at approximately 5:40 P.M. on Monday, September 4, 2017. Police were able to apprehend the suspects after a high speed chase that led through two counties.

Employees were terrified as two men entered the store with faces covered and guns drawn. The robbers demanded that the two employees lay on the floor and then forced one employee to give them all cash on hand.

As the suspects, 20 year old Rashad Morman and 22 year old Hammond Morman, exited the store a third suspect, 38 year old Melisse Morman waited on them to return to their vehicle.

Police were notified of the robbery and Captain Rob Stuart with City of Blue Ridge Police Department was able to locate and follow the vehicle. Sergeant Jacob Pless and many other officers responded to the pursuit taking place on Hwy 2.

As the suspects crossed into Gilmer County, speeds reached in excess of 100 M.P.H. After eluding stop sticks put in place by Ellijay Police, the chase continued, nearing heavily trafficked areas in Ellijay.

Sgt. Pless was able to perform a Pursuit Immobilization Technique (P.I.T), which ended the chase with the suspects losing control of their vehicle and crashing into nearby trees.

All three suspects were taken to Fannin Regional Hospital for evaluation. Warrants were issued and they are currently being held in Fannin County.

Author

Natalie Kissel

Natalie@FetchYourNews.com

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