News from Fannin County Chamber of Commerce

Fannin County Chamber of Commerce  eNewsletter
March 20, 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.

March Community Events Calendar
March 1-28 – Youth Art Month, Blue Ridge Mountains Arts Association

In This Issue
Business After Hours
Publications Deadline
Community Events Calendar


Chamber Calendar of Events
March 20 – Business After Hours at University of North Georgia, 83 Dunbarton Farm Rd., Blue Ridge
5:30 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.
March 21 – Board of Directors Meeting, Fannin County Chamber of Commerce Meeting Room, Executive Committee Meeting at 11:00 a.m., Board Meeting at 12:00 p.m.
March 27 – Ribbon Cutting for Home Instead Senior Care, Fannin County Chamber
10:00 a.m.
March 28 – Ribbon Cutting for Southern Drug Co., 4075 East 1st St., Blue Ridge
11:00 a.m.
March 29 – Leadership Fannin, Education, Fannin County High School Field House
9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.
March 29 – Golf Committee Meeting at the Chamber
12:00 p.m.
March 30 – Welcome Centers closed in observance of Good Friday
April 1 – Welcome Centers closed in observance of Easter
Member Events
Dual Enrollment at Dalton State College
CASA Flyer

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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.

Priest announces candidacy for Superior Court

Election, Election 2018, News

ELLIJAY, Ga. – Appalachian Judicial Circuit Superior Court Judge Mary Elizabeth Priest announced her recent qualification for and intent to run for the Superior Court bench in the May 2018 non-partisan General Election. Ellijay has been her home for 30 years.

The Superior Courts handle civil matters, including family and domestic litigation, criminal cases, ranging from traffic violations to felonies, as well as transfers and appeals from Magistrate Court and Probate Court. In our Appalachian Circuit, Superior Court judges are responsible for dockets and jury trials in Fannin, Gilmer, and Pickens counties.

Mary Beth is a graduate of Gilmer High School and North Georgia College and State University. Before
attending law school, she served as a case manager and investigator for the Pickens County Department
of Family and Children Services. She later received her Doctorate of Jurisprudence from Georgia State
University. She began her legal career as an associate attorney at Downey & Cleveland, in Marietta, in
2006. In 2010, she joined the law firm Clark & Clark, in Ellijay, where she practiced complex civil litigation.

Priest said, “It has been a great honor to serve on the bench for the past two years. One of my goals has
been to build a bridge between our community and our court system. I am proud of the progress we have
made in that regard. Being a judge is an enormous responsibility that I take very seriously. I ask the
people of the Appalachian Circuit to trust me with their vote. If they do, I will continue to work hard for
our community with the same commitment to efficiency, impartiality, fairness, and responsibility that I
have had since my first day on the bench.”

Judge Priest was appointed by Governor Nathan Deal in 2016 to fill the vacancy created by the retirement of Judge Roger Bradley. In addition to being involved with and frequently speaking at local civil organizations, she initiated and helped coach the Gilmer High School Mock Trial team’s inaugural season this year. As an adopted child born into foster care, she has also done outreach for adoption agencies as a strong advocate for foster and adopted children.

Her husband, Jeremy, owns and operates a scrap metal recycling company as well as a plumbing company, and they live in Ellijay with their two children. Her father, Mike Williams, and mother, Lorie Stanley Williams, originally of Stanley Creek in Fannin County, also live in Ellijay.

Collins Bill to Honor Fallen Marine Sent to President’s Desk

Press Release, State & National


WASHINGTON—The Senate last night voted unanimously to pass H.R. 3821, legislation to rename Georgia’s Clermont Post Office in honor of Zack T. Addington. Rep. Doug Collins (R-Ga.) introduced the bill this September, and it passed the House in November.

“Lance Corporal Zack Addington represents the selfless courage that’s cultivated in northeast Georgia, and I’m excited to see this bill leave Congress and head to the president’s desk for his signature,” said Collins.

Collins also honored Addington when he spoke about the bill on the House floor.


Known to his neighbors as Zack, Addington joined the United States Marine Corps in 1967. A native of Clermont, he became a rifleman in the 3rd Marine Division of the Fleet Marine Force and deployed to Vietnam that year. Addington was promoted to Lance Corporal and served his country honorably until he was killed in action in May 1968.

That June, Addington received the Purple Heart, National Defense Service Medal, Vietnam Service Medal and Republic of Vietnam Campaign Ribbon in recognition of his service there.

Williamson qualifies to run against Ralston in May Primary

Election 2018

BLUE RIDGE, Ga. – As Qualifying Week begins in the state of Georgia, candidates have lined up to officially get their names on the ballot for the May General Primary to be held May 22, 2018, with a voter registration deadline of April 23.

Georgia, Ellijay, Blue Ridge, Fannin, Gilmer, Dawson, Margaret Williamson, David Ralston, Georgia House of Representatives, Speaker of the Georgia House of Representatives, District 7, Republican Primary, General Election 2018, Qualifying Week

Williamson qualifies for May General Primary.

One race in particular is being closely watched and it comes from Georgia’s 7th District. The seat currently held by Speaker of the Georgia House of Representatives David Ralston is being challenged by Ellijay resident Margaret Williamson.

Williamson made her intentions clear when she announced earlier this year that she would be seeking the Republican nomination for the General Election to be held Nov. 6, 2018.

Williamson acknowledged in a statement previously released to FetchYourNews that she had mailed the “Declaration to Accept Campaign Contributions” form to the Georgia State Transparency & Campaign Finance Committee.

A 37 year resident of Gilmer County, Williamson says, “I consider it my home. My husband John and I raised our 4 children here and now enjoy our reward, the 11 of our 15 grandchildren who live in the county.”

Having studied Engineering, Marketing and Business, worked as a Healthcare professional, and owned a small business, Williamson says that her involvement in politics spans over 2 decades when she worked on her first campaign in 1994.

“As a regular visitor to the Georgia Capitol I keep informed on current legislation, especially those that affect the taxpayers of the Georgia State District 7,” Williamson said explaining that since 1994 she has remained active and aware in politics.

Williamson added, “It is distressing to see bills passed that fail to meet our needs but only help our big business and special interests groups, bills that increase our taxes, and bills that burden us with unfunded mandates, regulations, and growing number of fees that hurt our economy.”

Williamson discussed the economy of our area, citing that while leadership in Georgia likes to dote Georgia as the number 1 place to do business, that statistics of this claim does not add up.

Georgia, Ellijay, Blue Ridge, Fannin, Gilmer, Dawson, Margaret Williamson, David Ralston, Georgia House of Representatives, Speaker of the Georgia House of Representatives, District 7, Republican Primary, General Election 2018, Qualifying Week

Williamson makes her candidacy official by qualifying on March 5.

In Georgia State District 7 the average annual income per household is below that of the national and state averages according to Williamson. She attributes this assessment to high property taxes, increasing school taxes, fees, penalties, regulations, and fuel taxes which all decrease a family’s spendable income.

Williamson says there is no one fix and added, “Without growing our tax digest, bringing in more revenue from sales tax, improving our economy, we would be left with raising our millage rate and who wants that?”

“We live in one of the most beautiful parts of the U.S.,” Williamson spoke of the growing tourism to our area. “This industry now is the biggest contributor to our economy.”

“We need to work together to make our counties even more attractive,” Williamson added, “without compromising our Conservative North Georgia values.”

“I have said from the very beginning of my campaign that I am not running against,” Williamson spoke of her intentions in the upcoming year,”I am running for the people in District 7. I will work diligently to meet their needs and not those of a minority of special interests groups.”

Upon completing the qualifying process yesterday, Williamson will continue campaigning in hopes of overcoming incumbent Ralston in the May General Primary.


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


Natalie Kissel


Election 2018
Monday, March 5, 2018(Blue Ridge, GA) – Today, House Speaker David Ralston qualified to run for re-election in House District 7. The Republican Primary is May 22, 2018.

“Serving as House District 7’s voice in the Georgia General Assembly is an honor and responsibility I hold dear,” said Ralston. “Representing the best interests of North Georgia remains my number one priority.

“In the State House, we passed comprehensive tax reform that will empower job creators, spur economic growth, and keep more money in the pockets of Georgia taxpayers. Thanks to President Trump and the Tax Cuts & Jobs Act, we delivered the largest tax cut in modern, Georgia history.

“To keep District 7 – and our entire state growing – I created the House Rural Development Council to identify the problems facing communities outside of Metro Atlanta and prescribe legislative solutions for growth and prosperity. We have already passed several of the Committee’s recommendations and have a long-term commitment to the success and vitality of rural Georgia.

“While I am proud of what we have accomplished at the State Capitol and throughout District 7, I am seeking re-election to continue fighting for Gilmer, Fannin, and Dawson County families. With the continued support of local voters, we can keep our community strong and our future bright.”

David Ralston is the 73rd Speaker of the Georgia House of Representatives, a position he has held since 2010.  He was first elected to the Georgia House of Representatives in 2002, and represents House District 7, which includes Fannin and Gilmer counties and a portion of Dawson County.

East Ellijay Police Officer Arrested. Theft by Taking

Feature News, Featured, Featured Stories

The GBI arrested East Ellijay Police Office Michael McClure at approximately noon today February 14th 2018.  A copy of Booking report and warrant below.  FYN has requested a statement from the GBI and East Ellijay Police Chief Larry Callahan.

Below is a Press Release Statement from East Ellijay Chief of Police, Larry Callahan.

‘Hoops’ They Did it Again

FCHS Sports, Sports

The Fannin Rebels traveled to Gilmer County this past Friday in hopes of redeeming themselves from their first game against the Bobcats where they endured a heartbreaking loss by only four points. The Rebels came to play on Friday and were hoping to get their fifth win of the season.

Gilmer underestimated Fannin in the first quarter of the game. The Rebels have gotten better since the first time they played the Bobcats and they were ready to show them on the court. Rebel, Payton Holt, led Fannin in scoring with eighteen points due to his never ending hustle. Bobcat, Kell Weaver, was unstoppable on the block and led Gilmer in scoring with fifteen points. Fannin had the lead over Gilmer at the end of the first quarter with a score of 10-8.

With the Bobcats double teaming the Rebels in the corner, Fannin started to take outside shots. Rebel, Chandler Kendall, was right behind Holt in scoring with seventeen points due to his ability to make three point shots. Joe Satchell followed the trend of three point shots and added seven points to to Fannin’s score. After a quarter of back and forth, the Rebels went into halftime with a 24-21 lead over the Bobcats.

Fannin started to look inside and found their wide open posts who added more points on the board. Nathaniel Garrison got aggressive and drew fouls downlow, resulting in two points for Fannin. Another Rebel post, Joel Kinser, got rebounds on the block and added two more points to the Rebels score. Gilmer found that Fannin had a wide open lane on defense and took advantage of it by driving through and scoring points. The Bobcats took the lead at the end of the third quarter with a score of 35-34.

The tension was high at the start of the fourth quarter. Both teams wanted to win and you could tell by their performance on the court. There was steal after steal and shot after shot. The game was tied 45-45 with 25 seconds left. Fannin was coming down the court with the ball when Gilmer fouled. The Rebels made the first foul shot to put them ahead 46-45. With just a few second on the clock left, everyone got ready to rebound the second shot. The free throw hit the rim and bounced right into Bobcat, Tyler Sims hands. Sims ran the ball all the way back to Gilmer’s goal and made a layup that put them in the lead 47-46. By the time the Rebels inbounded the ball, there was no time left to try to make a comeback. The Rebels endured a heartbreaking loss to the Bobcats for the second time, this time only being one point away.

The Rebels loss puts their overall record at 4-17 while the Bobcats stand at 8-13. Catch Fannin’s next game February 2 as they travel to take on East Hall at 8:30!


Shot through the Heart, Lady Bobcats to Blame

FCHS Sports, Sports

Last Friday, the Lady Rebels traveled to Gilmer County to take on the Lady Bobcats. Both teams were coming from wins and looking to continue their streak.

It was an intense game from tipoff. The rival teams played a game that had everyone on the edge of their seats for every second of each quarter. Lady Rebel, Hope Franklin, led her team in scoring with twelve points due to her aggressive playing on the block. Lady Bobcat, Katie Kiker, also led her team in scoring with twelve points. The Lady Bobcats wrapped up the first quarter of the game with a one point lead over the Lady Rebels with a sore of 11-10.

It looked like everyone in the stadium was going to get whiplash from the back and forth of the game. Gilmer started to apply heavy defensive pressure while the Rebels started to double team the Lady Cats. The Lady Rebels picked up their game above the key and started to make outside shots. Morgan Patton added four points onto Fannin’s score with her ability to make shots above the key. Maddie Johnson followed the trend and added five more points on the board for the Rebels with her outside shooting. Hope Franklin for the Rebels drew a foul and made one of her shots, tying up the game 20-20.

With Gilmer driving through the lane making layups, Fannin started sneaking inside for points. Lady Rebel, Maleah Stepp, snuck through the back door of Gilmer’s weak offside defense and contributed six points for her team. Makenzie McClure got rebounds downlow and also put six points on the board for the Rebels. Savada Collins had grit and drove right through the defense, adding four points to Fannin’s score. The Lady Bobcats took back the lead that they had at the beginning of the game and ended the third quarter with a score of 32-29.

Everyone who stepped on the court played with hustle and heart. Both teams wanted to win just as badly as the other did. Fannin had a one point lead over Gilmer with 53 seconds left. With the Lady Rebels being so close to victory, the Lady Bobcats snatched it away from them in just a matter of seconds and got their lead back. The rival teams played their hearts out until the buzzer sounded to end the game with Gilmer in the lead 45-44 over Fannin.

The Lady Rebels loss puts their overall record at 9-12 while the Lady Bobcats stand at 12-9. Catch the Lady Rebels next game February 2 as they travel to take on East Hall at 7:00!

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