Mysterious boom rattles Fannin County

Featured Stories, News

BLUE RIDGE, Ga. – Residents of Fannin and Gilmer counties took to social media late Friday night trying to find the source of what is being described as a loud explosion. The boom that took place had enough force that some residents were reporting their homes shaking from the blast.

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Residents took to social media to try to find the source of the noise.

Brenda Curry, a resident of Cherry Log, described what happened close to midnight on Dec. 29: “At first, I heard (and felt) one big explosion. I looked outside, because it sounded like a transformer had blown, or what I imagined a propane tank might sound like if it exploded.”

“I didn’t see anything,” Curry stated of looking outside directly after the noise,”no fire, flames, or smoke.”

The unexplained noises did not stop there. “Then I heard another boom. A minute later there was another one. Then there were about seven ‘booms’,” Curry added, “A few minutes later about five more.”

Residents in a large area of both Fannin and Gilmer counties described similar events. Reports came in via Facebook of having felt or heard the explosion in downtown Blue Ridge, near Fannin Regional Hospital on Hwy. 5, Morganton, and Cherry Log.

Gilmer County Public Safety, as well as the Fannin County Emergency Management Agency, had no reports of any incidents that would explain the source of the noise that was causing a stir on social media.

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The boom was heard in Blue Ridge, Morganton, and Cherry Log.

Fannin and Gilmer counties can now be added to the list of areas that have experienced similar events in previous weeks. Counties across northeast Georgia have reported booms so loud that homes have been shaken following the blast.

Reports have been filed in Jackson, Hall, Habersham and Madison counties. All reports are similar in description, and no source has been found as to the cause of these booms.

North Georgia is not the only area affected by these unexplained happenings. Reports of mysterious booms have come in from across the Southeast all week, which has led many to speculate on the origins.

One popular theory is the use of tannerite by local gun enthusiasts. Tannerite is the brand name of a patented exploding target used in the practice of firearms. When used for target practice, tannerite can create an explosion similar to a stick of dynamite.

“Realistically, a tannerite explosion can be set off that can be heard for 20 to 15 miles, but the volume you’d be setting off would cause so much localized noise that within a mile of where it was set off would be numerous reports to the police,” Chad Johnson, owner of Rock Ridge Training, a firearms training service provider in Blue Ridge, explained of the effects of tannerite.

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Residents offered possible explanations of the mystery boom.

Johnson went on to say, “If you had a noise that propagated that large, at the fringes it would be nowhere near as loud as the center (localized explosion), but these people are reporting the same relative volume at the fringes – all the way across. So to me that says something is more generalized than localized.”

Believing that tannerite is a good first thought as to a possible explanation of the boom, Johnson says that the science behind tannerite does not fit the scenario that has taken place.

Others in Fannin and Gilmer counties speculated that the cause could have come from military training. Residents are used to military planes running aviation training missions over our mountains, but sonic booms are rare in our area.

“If the military or commercial aviation are flying over populated areas, they are prohibited to break the sound barrier because of sonic booms,” Johnson discussed the possibility of a military cause, “partially because of the annoyance, but secondarily because of the damage to homes that can occur.”

“There are rare times when the military is permitted to do it, when they must for some training activity,” Johnson stated. While it is possible for the military to have granted permission for such training, Johnson felt that it was unlikely due to the time of night.

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The North American Craton is a layer of the North American plate, and has an edge that runs directly through North Georgia.

Lastly, some posed the possibility of an earthquake, and cited the 2.7 magnitude earthquake that took place in Robbinsville, North Carolina, Tuesday, Dec. 26. According to the United States Geological Survey (USGS) website, which tracks earthquakes worldwide, no activity was reported in north Georgia or surrounding areas on the night of Dec. 29.

The USGS website does have a page dedicated to unexplained sounds. The website states, “Earthquake ‘booms’ have been reported for a long time, and they tend to occur more in the Northeastern US and along the East Coast.”

It goes on to say, “No one knows for sure, but scientists speculate that these ‘booms’ are probably small shallow earthquakes that are too small to be recorded, but large enough to be felt by people nearby.”

No one can say with certainty the cause of what residents experienced in our area, but booms, such as the one that took place in Fannin and Gilmer counties, have been reported throughout our country for years and are likely to continue for some time without explanation.

 

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

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!

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Utility companies work to restore power to Fannin County residents

Community, News
Blue Ridge, Mineral Bluff, Morganton, McCaysville, Georgia, Fannin County, Blue Ridge Mountain Electric Membership Corporation, BRMEMC, Tri-State Electric, Fannin County Emergency Management Agency, EMC, Robert Graham, Winter Storm Benji, Snow, David Lewis

Crews immediately on the scene after Friday’s snow. Photo courtesy of BRMEMC.

BLUE RIDGE, Ga. – Fannin County was not spared the effects of Winter Storm Benji as the storm made its way northeast across the United States. Nationally, this winter storm was noted for record amounts of snowfall in many areas, and estimates have come in that as many as 300,000 homes and businesses lost power nationwide.

Many residents in Fannin County are entering their third day without power due to Winter Storm Benji, and crews with local power companies have been working around the clock to restore power to these citizens.

Fannin County reached the height of power outages on Saturday, Dec. 9. Tri-State Electric Membership Corporation (EMC) reported between 1,000 to 1,200 members affected. Tri-State EMC has approximately 19,000 meters in their service area. Blue Ridge Mountain Electric Membership Corporation (BRMEMC) services approximately 49,000 meters and reported roughly 14,000 members affected by outages.

Many residents, like Robert Moe, of Blue Ridge, were prepared. Moe stated, “We lost power about 3:30 a.m. Saturday. We put in a back-up generator three years ago. Great decision. Hope to have power back before our propane tank runs out.”

“If we run out of propane, we have kerosene and propane heaters,” Moe discussed of his preparedness. “You have to prepare in advance and not wait until you have problems to try to find answers.”

Lulu Lewis, a Morganton resident, has been without power since approximately 11 a.m. Friday morning. Lewis explained how her household is making it through: ” We have a generator for lights, water, TV, refrigerator and freezer. For heat, we have a wood cooking stove.”

Although the past few days have been difficult without power, some residents have not lost their sense of humor. Ken Burdette, of Blue Ridge, describes losing power twice: “Lost power Friday … came back on around midnight. Heard the power guys holler, ‘Just drag it off.’ Power went off again around 9 a.m. Saturday morning and has been dark ever since.”

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Broken power poles and downed lines as a result of Winter Storm Benji. Photo courtesy of BRMEMC.

Burdette says it’s not all bad, and that he’s “rather enjoying candle light dinners with Vienna sausage and cold red wine.” He does admit though, “The hot tub has lost its appeal.”

David Lewis, IT Manager with Tri-State EMC, spoke of the difficulties in dealing with power outages of this nature: “With these outages, it’s a little different than outages because of wind or tornadoes. It was a lot more sporadic.”

Lewis spoke of the causes saying, “It’s mainly from downed trees, pines.” He explained that snow of this nature is very heavy. The weight of the snow can cause downed lines, but trees breaking under the snow’s weight is the main source for the outages.

He talked of crews working around the clock to restore power: “Not only is there a threat from the downed lines, but you also have to deal with snow and ice in reaching some of these areas, and some of these areas can be pretty remote. It’s a pretty dangerous situation.”

As of 12:20 a.m. Monday, Dec. 11, BRMEMC reported that 2,455 members were currently without power and stated via Facebook, “Crews are still working to restore all power and will not stop until all power is back on.”

Fannin County Emergency Management Agency Director Robert Graham stated that there are no shelters open in Fannin County at this time. A temporary shelter was opened in Union County for residents without power or heat.

With another arctic blast headed our way on Tuesday, Dec. 12, and temperatures expected to dip into the teens, residents are hoping that power can be restored to all of Fannin County before the freezing temperatures hit.

 

 

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

Fannin County under Winter Storm Warning

Fannin County EMA/EMS, News

BLUE RIDGE, Ga. – Fannin County residents woke up to the first snow of the season. The county along with surrounding counties in north Georgia was issued a Winter Storm Warning by the National Weather Service in the early afternoon of Dec. 7.

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Snow falls in downtown Blue Ridge early Friday morning.

This warning warning called for up to one inch of snow and was effective through Saturday, Dec. 9, at 7 a.m. Forecast models varied greatly on this winter weather, some calling for only a half-inch on grassy surfaces and others stating to expect up to five inches of snow.

Fannin County School Systems canceled school on Friday, and the Fannin County Courthouse will close early at noon.

Fannin County Emergency Management Agency (EMA) Director Robert Graham spoke with FetchYourNews on current road conditions and what to expect overnight.

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Snow continues to fall downtown.

As of 10 a.m., Graham reported that most roads in our county were still in good condition and no major problems had been reported to his team. “We are starting to experience the roads becoming covered and there are patchy areas. Aska, out toward Dial, and Hwy. 60 as you go out to Suches has some tricky areas,” Graham said, speaking of current road conditions.

“I would recommend not getting out unless you have to,” the EMA Director answered when asked about the safety of the roads through the afternoon.

With temperatures expected to drop well below freezing tonight, Graham cautioned about roadways freezing overnight and into early tomorrow morning. “If you need supplies, the earlier you can get them, the better. We could see more snow, and with all this precipitation, we could see some black ice,” Graham stated.

Graham recommended avoiding travel tonight as there is still uncertainty about what this winter storm could bring.

Fannin County remains under a Winter Storm Warning until 7 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 9.

Fannin County EMA latest weather update via Nixle:

Winter Storm Warning until 07:00AM Saturday

…WINTER STORM WARNING IN EFFECT FROM 5 AM FRIDAY TO 7 AM EST SATURDAY…

* WHAT…Periods of snow expected. Plan on difficult travel conditions, including during the morning commute on Friday. Total snow accumulations of one to two inches are expected with higher elevations above 1500 feet potentially receiving up to three inches.

* WHERE…Generally north and east of a line from Ellijay to Dawsonville to Dahlonega to Cleveland in northeast Georgia.

* WHEN…From 5 AM Friday to 7 AM EST Saturday.

* ADDITIONAL DETAILS…Slick and dangerous road conditions are possible, especially in higher elevations and on elevated bridges and overpasses.
PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS… A Winter Storm Warning for snow means severe winter weather conditions are expected. If you must travel, keep an extra flashlight, food and water in your vehicle in case of an emergency. The latest road conditions for the state you are calling from can be obtained by calling 5 1 1.

* AFFECTED AREAS: DAWSON … FANNIN … GILMER … LUMPKIN … TOWNS … UNION … WHITE

Follow FetchYourNews.com for the latest updates on this winter weather system.

 

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

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.”

 

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

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 advertise@FetchYourNews.com

TeamFYNSports Sportswriter Player of the Week: Jonah Henry

Uncategorized

This week’s #TeamFYNSports Sportswriter Player of the Week for Fannin County is #36 Jonah Henry.  Henry recorded  6 tackles in the Rebels’ Homecoming game against Lumpkin.  He assisted on 4 additional tackles, he had one tackle for a loss and he had one pass broken up.  Henry has been a consistent part of the defensive secondary this season, as well as an asset on special teams and occasionally from the tailback position when the offensive personnel needed a break.  The Rebels travel to Union County this week for the Panthers’ senior night, kickoff scheduled for 7:30pm.

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East Fannin Elementary Presented With Family Friendly Partnership Award

East Fannin Elem, Education

BLUE RIDGE, GA – East Fannin Elementary School (EFES) came together in celebration as the school received the Family Friendly Partnership Award. EFES held the ceremony in their gym on Wednesday, October, 11, 2017.

Blue Ridge, Fannin County, Georgia, East Fannin Elementary School, Morganton, Superintendent, Dr. Michael Gwatney, Principal, Matthew Price, Music Teacher, Kimberly Huffman, Richard Woods, Adam Born

Georgia Superintendent Richard Woods presents award to EFES.

The gym was filled with students, staff, and family as the school met with Georgia’s School Superintendent Richard Woods. Excitement was high as only five schools are chosen annually for this award.

The Georgia Department of Education launched the Georgia Family Friendly Partnership award in the summer of 2010. This honor is for Title I schools who place importance on the role of the family in a student’s education.

Schools are judged on a number of factors including friendliness and helpfulness of the staff, displays of student work throughout the building, and the school’s ability to provide “unique and innovative parent and family engagement programs.”

Fannin County School Superintendent, Dr. Michael Gwatney was present to speak at the ceremony. Gwatney has a long history with EFES. He attended the school in the late 1980s when it was a junior high school. He then taught at the school as an educator, and later became principal.Blue Ridge, Fannin County, Georgia, East Fannin Elementary School, Morganton, Superintendent, Dr. Michael Gwatney, Principal, Matthew Price, Music Teacher, Kimberly Huffman, Richard Woods, Adam Born

Gwatney said, “As member of this community, as well as former student, and former member of this faculty, I can honestly say that welcoming and family are two great words to use when describing East Fannin Elementary School.”

Parents were also present to speak of their experiences with EFES. Parent Adam Born said of EFES and the parent involvement, that it is more than just a school, it’s a community.

Born stated that it’s “a community where parents always feel comfortable at their child’s school. Where they can be engaged in their child’s development. A community where a student knows that their parents and teachers are working together to help them achieve higher results.”

The entire student body worked with Music Teacher Kimberly Huffman to prepare a song for the visitors. Smiles of enjoyment were seen on the state representative’s faces as the students performed “Kick It Up A Notch”.

The unique song choice reflected EFES’s staff involvement and dedication, both of which are key components to having won this award.

Georgia School Superintendent Richard Woods spoke at the presentation. He explained the process on which the schools are chosen, and stated that within the three years he has presented this award that the EFES’s presentation was the first time where he had seen family presented as speakers for the school.

Woods stated, “Hats off to your presentation.”

He went on “This is something that is extremely hard to get. Roughly we have about 2,300 schools in the state of Georgia. There are only five schools that get this each year. You’re really in the top 1% of the 1%.”

 

 

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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