Fannin County Schools recognized for their farm-to-school program

Community, Education

BLUE RIDGE, Ga. – The Fannin County School System was recognized for outstanding achievement in its farm-to-school program.

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The Board of Education receives Golden Radish Award on behalf of all schools in our district.

Over 40 percent of school districts in Georgia participate in this program. Combined, these districts served more than 97 million school meals with local food items during the 2016-17 school year.

Georgia Organics founded the state’s first farm-to-school program in 2007. “It’s astounding that over 40 percent of our school districts are actively involved in The Golden Radish Awards after only four years of establishing the program,” Georgia Organics Executive Director Alice Rolls stated.

The farm-to-school program gives students an opportunity to learn the basics of gardening and helps support local economies through local food purchases for school meals.

Fannin County School Nutrition Director Candice Sisson was present to present the Board of Education with the Golden Radish Award received for our district.

The Fannin County School System was recognized at the Gold Level for their accomplishments during the 2016-17 school year. Some of the areas for which Fannin County was recognized include:

– Students incubated, hatched, raised chickens and harvested their eggs. The eggs are just one of the many locally produced items featured in taste tests;

-Every school in Fannin County has a school garden and two elementary schools have greenhouses; and

-Twenty farm-to-school standard-based lessons were taught throughout the school year, including Science Technology Engineering and Math (STEM) lessons on plant growth in the school garden.

Discussion among board members began about this type of curriculum having not always been taught in schools, except in specific agricultural classes or clubs.

Fannin County School Superintendent Dr. Michael Gwatney pointed out, “It was something that the children came to school knowing this. The way we (society) has changed through the years, it’s wonderful that school can respond to that need, and school can now provide these experiences for them to in turn take back home.”

Board Member Terry Bramlett agreed and added, “Not only does it increase their knowledge and appreciation of where food comes from, but agriculture remains the number one industry in the state of Georgia.”


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Dr. Gwatney Shares His Views About School Tax Exemption

Education, News

BLUE RIDGE, Ga. – Fannin County School Superintendent Dr. Michael Gwatney presented his stance concerning school tax exemption for seniors in Fannin County.

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Dr. Gwatney presents his concerns about upcoming Town Hall discussion.

An upcoming Town Hall is scheduled for Thursday, Nov. 16, 2017, at 5:30 p.m. This meeting will take place in the Jury Assembly Room of the Fannin County Courthouse.

State Representative David Ralston and State Senator Steve Gooch will be present to hear arguments from both sides.

If representatives decide to move forward, the possible Senior Homestead Exemption would have to be approved by the 2018 session of the Georgia General Assembly and then would be decided by Fannin County voters in the 2018 general election.

Dr. Gwatney addressed the board and residents present at the November 9 Board of Education meeting.

Gwatney cited statistics for Fannin County and for the Fannin County School System. According to these statistics, just under 30 percent of residents in Fannin County could benefit from this possible Homestead Exemption.

This large portion of the population, if passed, could account for schools in Fannin County losing up to $1.4 million annually.

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Board of Education members listen to Dr. Gwatney’s presentation.

Gwatney pointed out that, “The only generation that will benefit from the exemption is the one that will be exempt now; all other generations will pay more taxes.”

A similar exemption passed in Gilmer County. Dr. Gwatney showed that after the exemption was passed, it had a negative effect on the area. The millage rate increased to account for the loss, putting a heavier burden on those not exempt from the tax.

Gwatney also cited that Gilmer experienced furloughs and a closing of a school. He stated that the citizens of Gilmer County “paid more for less.”

According to the Georgia School Superintendents Association, the current average millage rate for schools in Georgia is 16.36. Fannin County’s school millage rate sits at 11.23.

Gwatney stated, “This board has shown consistent, conservative leadership in respect with people’s money.”

He showed that while Fannin County has a lower millage rate than the average for the state, Fannin County still is able to spend more per student than the average amount spent statewide.

Dr Gwatney concluded, “My opportunities here were possible due to the effort of the previous generation.”

He added that this is “my opportunity to stand up for our next generation of Fannin County.”


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

Teaching as a Profession Pathway at FCHS

Fannin County High, Rebel's Corner

The Teaching as a Profession pathway (TAP) prepares students for a career in education. Students enrolled in these courses don’t just learn about teaching from sitting in their classroom at Fannin County High School; they see first-hand what it’s like to teach young children by working with mentor teachers in various grade levels across the county.

Jill Dyer, TAP Program Coordinator, says, “Research shows that there will be a significant shortage of teachers in the next few years. There are many more teachers who will be retiring than there are students who will complete college degree programs in education. We are growing our own teachers here in Fannin County by offering these students an opportunity to see what a great career it can be.”
Students in the first course of the pathway, Examining the Teaching Profession, recently volunteered their time at Fannin Head Start in Mineral Bluff and the TAP students aren’t the only ones that benefit from these visits. Mary Beth Deal, Curriculum Director of Fannin Head Start said, “Our preschool students get so excited when the high school kids visit because they look up to them as role models. The biggest evidence of their excitement is the smiles on their faces.”

The TAP program consists of three courses that include FCHS classroom instruction and mentoring with teachers who work with ages PreK – 8th grade. In the 2 nd and 3 rd level courses, students work with a mentor teacher several days a week. By the time they finish the pathway, they are actually teaching real lessons that they have written and developed on their own.

Senior Victoria Keaton recently taught a class of 2 nd graders at East Fannin Elementary. “Having the
opportunity to work with these precious children has encouraged me even more to become a teacher and make a difference in the generation of tomorrow,” said Victoria.

Her mentor teacher, Lauren Seber said, “From the time I had Victoria in 2nd grade, I knew she was born to teach. I believe that good teachers are born and not made. Over the years I have watched her as a student and her poise, personal dedication, and determination prevails. She was born to make a difference, and it takes a special person to have the strength and compassion needed to nurture each and every student that walks through the door. Victoria will change the world and positively affect the lives of young children. When Victoria says, ‘I love kids’, she really means it!”
By completing the courses and passing the state-wide assessment, students earn college credit. The classes are open to all high school students in grades 9-12.


Emily Ingle (high school student) with Bailey, Rylee and Hera (preschool students)


Junior, Dylan Walton takes time with Copper at
Fannin Head Start in Mineral Bluff, Georgia.


Take the Money and Ride @ Nicholson Tire Center


Fannin County Head Start / Pre-K holds tree planting ceremony in recognition of Prevent Child Abuse Month


Fannin County Head Start / Pre-K in Mineral Bluff Georgia held a tree planting ceremony on April 20th in recognition of Prevent Child Abuse month.  The idea came from Bill Kendall, the school’s custodian, and the tree was a Dogwood.

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It was a beautiful sunny day, the little children played in the spacious, fenced in area, all safe and sound, and watched intently as Georgia Speaker of the House David Ralston and Fannin County Sheriff Dane Kirby spoke regarding keeping our youth safe.  Diane Scoggins, CASA Director spoke to the crowd as well.

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Following the speakers, Bill Kendall planted the Dogwood by the entrance to the school grounds while all the children and others in attendance watched.  Then the kids placed their flowers/pinwheels on the fence to recognize Prevent Child Abuse month.  Click here or more information on Fannin County Head Start / Pre-K     Click here for more information on Prevent Child Abuse 

Fannin Fire Department Gets New Truck


Fannin County Fire Department gets a new Ford F350 4WD vehicle and Fire Chief Larry Thomas described the truck as “much needed.”  Volunteers raised the funds to purchase the vehicle which will be used at Mineral Bluff at Fire Station #2.  Thomas told us the Fire Station #2 had one 4 wheel drive unit but this one is smaller and will make things easier.

Much needed equipment is generally purchased through the budget, however volunteers raised donations for this purchase.  Chief Larry Thomas has been Fire Chief with Fannin County for almost 15 years.  Thomas wanted to thank the Committee who worked so hard, the volunteers who worked equally hard, and all the folks who donated to raise the funds.


Please remember the BBQ Benefit – Live Music – November 14th 2015 11am – 3pm at The Community Hall in Epworth, Georgia $7 per ticket. Proceeds will go toward the purchase of the Fire/Rescue Truck for Fannin County Fire Department.  Sponsored by:  Tri-State Methodist Men.  Fannin Fire Department will be doing Car Seat Safety Check, Life Force will be there, and Sparky!



Special Dedication to the Life & Memory of Ronald L. Newton



A special ceremony was held Saturday, September 26th at 10 am to designate the road and place a sign honoring the life and memory of Ronald L. Newton. The service took place at Mineral Bluff Baptist Church on Mineral Bluff Highway.  Below is the resolution:

House Resolution 215 (AS PASSED HOUSE AND SENATE) By: Representative Ralston of the 7th

A RESOLUTION  Honoring the life and memory of the Honorable Ronald Lee Newton and dedicating a road in his honor; and for other purposes.

WHEREAS, the Honorable Ronald Lee Newton was born on November 29, 1960, in Copperhill, Tennessee, the beloved son of John Newton, Sr., and the late Rachel Marie Davenport Newton; and

WHEREAS, Judge Newton was elected as Chief Magistrate of Fannin County in 1988, a position in which he provided sound and reasoned judgments until his passing; and

WHEREAS, he served as the judge for the City of McCaysville for more than two decades, and during his career on the bench, he earned a reputation as a clear thinker and hard worker, as a man whose strong convictions were supported by meticulous research and careful consideration, and as an equitable, impartial leader whose decisions were governed by the  rules of honesty and fair play; and

WHEREAS, Judge Newton was an active member of the Georgia Council of Magistrate  Judges, where his leadership and guidance were valued and appreciated by his fellow members; and

WHEREAS, he was recognized by the Blue Ridge Lions Club for his unselfish and dedicated service to the people of Fannin County; and  WHEREAS, Judge Newton was an honest and dedicated public servant who strived for excellence in all his endeavors and whose primary concern was the fair and impartial administration of justice; and

WHEREAS, he was united in love and marriage to his wife, Rita, and was blessed with two  remarkable sons, Josh and Andrew, and two adorable grandchildren, Riley and Baylon; and

WHEREAS, it is abundantly fitting and proper that the members of this body show their  gratitude for this dedicated public servant by dedicating a road in his memory.

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED AND ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF GEORGIA that State Route 60 in Fannin County from its intersection with State Route 60 Spur in Mineral Bluff to the city limits of McCaysville is dedicated as the Judge Ronald L. Newton Memorial Highway.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Department of Transportation is authorized and directed to erect and maintain appropriate signs dedicating the Judge Ronald L. Newton  Memorial Highway.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Clerk of the House of Representatives is authorized and directed to make appropriate copies of this resolution available for distribution to the family of Judge Ronald L. Newton and to the Department of Transportation. - 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.

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