Committee reviews city alcohol ordinance, discusses enforcement needs

News

BLUE RIDGE, Ga. – An Alcohol Committee has been formed at the request of the Blue Ridge City Council and Mayor Donna Whitener to review the city’s alcohol ordinance. On Wednesday, April 11, the committee held its first meeting and discussed proposed amendments to the ordinance as well as other possible changes seen as needed.

The committee is composed of six members, including city council members Robbie Cornelius and Harold Herndon, city residents David Gray and Larry Versyn, and downtown restaurateurs Stuart Arp and Ken Brenneman.

At a Jan. 25 special called meeting, a first reading of an amendment to the alcohol ordinance was conducted. In that amendment, three distinct changes to the ordinance, which was first enacted in April 2011, were presented to the council. The first change in Section 110.45-34(f)(6) would change the valid time span for employee serving permits from three years to one year.

Another change in Section 110.45-14 (a) would change the wording of the conflict of interest statement for the city council to disallow a member of the council with more than a 10 percent controlling interest of an establishment licensed to sell, distribute, or deal alcohol from a “vote on any matter involving or relating to said establishment.” Previously, the ordinance required a council member holding such a controlling interest in an establishment to “divest himself thereof within 60 days” of election or appointment to office.

The third change in Section 110.45-50 (b)(2)(H) would allow for “reasonable drink specials” for regular establishments and for “licensed catered functions pursuant to an issued City permit.”

The committee discussed and reviewed these changes as well as addressed several other possible changes to the ordinance. Herndon noted that the conflict of interest section of the ordinance did not contain specific wording to include the mayor.

“That might be something we need to add,” Cornelius stated.

Versyn did point out the heading of the section included the words “officials and employees,” but also brought attention to another subsection, which reads “The Mayor, upon advice and consent of the City Council, may exempt officers and employees of the City from the provisions of this section.”

“If that’s the case, how can the mayor exempt herself?” Versysn asked. “So, that has to somehow be changed.”

Later, the conversation included other slight adjustments to the ordinance and enforcement of laws already in place. Brenneman, owner of Blue Jeans Pizza & Pasta, questioned the feasibility of the ordinance’s requirement for any front-of-the-house employee to have an alcohol serving license. He stated, to his understanding, the ordinance even requires all non-serving, front-of-the-house positions, such as a hostess, food-runner or busser, to be permitted.

“It seems to me (the ordinance) should actually be constrained to those who are actually serving,” Brenneman stated.

Arp, owner of Chester Brunnenmeyer’s Bar & Grill, stated he would like to see better enforcement of the alcohol ordinance, particularly in regard to the 50/50 food-to-alcohol sales ratio and the hours of operation for establishments serving alcohol. Currently, the ordinance requires at least one-half of the total sales of any establishment serving alcohol to be food sales. The ordinance also prohibits the sale of alcohol after 11:30 p.m.

Arp said the lack of enforcement of these policies are benefiting establishments that either are ignoring or are unaware of the policies and hurting establishments that are following the law.

“A lot of the problem is that people don’t even know the laws,” Arp stated. “I think our mission is to clean (the ordinance) up, make recommendations about if we think the hours are wrong … and then enforcement is one thing … I don’t think a mayor or a city council person should have an interest because they control recommending suspensions of licenses, approving of licenses … It’s problematic for me as a business owner (for city officials) to have that kind of power and they’re my competitor … I don’t think (the ordinance) has to be blown up. I just think it has to get tweaked.”

As for the 50/50 food-to-alcohol ratio, Arp stated he agreed with the ordinance in that regard and said his restaurant consistently produces a monthly ration of 65/35. Brenneman stated his restaurant consistently produces a 90/10 food-to-alcohol ratio. Versyn, however, stated he would like to see a less stringent ratio of 40/60 in an effort to increase business in downtown Blue Ridge.

“Right now, (patrons) leave these restaurants at 8 p.m. at night, for the most part, and they head to Ellijay where they can go drink,” Versyn said. “What I’m saying is let’s keep people in Blue Ridge, in this city, a little longer than what they’re doing now.”

To this, Cornelius stated she did not like the idea of increasing the alcohol percentage. Gray agreed with Cornelius and said, “My feeling is that there are kids on the road, my kids, and when you start serving more alcohol, that puts more risk for more accidents.”

The committee also felt the 50/50 ratio should apply to breweries and wineries in the same manner as it does to restaurants.

“I can’t tell you how many people I get coming into my restaurant at 5 p.m. on Saturday and they’re intoxicated because they’ve been drinking $15 beer tastings all day long and now I have to deal with it,” Arp said.

When Cornelius mentioned the ordinance currently places a 24-ounce limit on tastings at breweries and wineries, the issue again returned to enforcement.

“I see it every night starting at about 11 p.m., the cops start cruising,” Arp said, “and we do a great job of harassing our tourists and pulling them over, but (police officers) are not going into the places that are breaking the law that are serving them.”

Later, Arp suggested the idea of extending the hours of operation for alcohol establishments from 11:30 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. on Friday and Saturday nights in an effort to increase business from tourists who may not be aware of the 11:30 p.m. cut-off time. “(Tourists) are used to going out later and staying out later,” Arp explained.

“As a resident, I think we do enough catering to tourists,” Gray responded.

“Like it or not, for better or worse, Blue Ridge is a tourist town,” Versyn told Gray. “If we do not cater to tourists, we will become a ghost town.”

To this, Gray told Versyn he understood but also held concern for younger drivers coming home at the same time patrons are leaving downtown restaurants. Again, the conversation returned to enforcement, and Versyn stated that restaurants are prohibited from serving anyone who is intoxicated no matter what the time.

“If we can do the enforcement, if the enforcement can be done, I have no problem with it,” Versyn stated of the 12:30 a.m. cut-off of alcohol sales, “but if we’re going to rely on the Blue Ridge City Police Department, escorting their favorites home at night instead of arresting them like they should … that is not what we’re supposed to be doing.”

Following this, Cornelius instructed the committee to continue to review the ordinance and begin an email conversation with suggestions for amendments and revisions. A second meeting was then scheduled for Wednesday, May 2, at 5:30 p.m. to finalize changes to present to the city council at the May 8 council 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

 

Author

Jason Beck

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

Fire and Ice a success in Blue Ridge

Community, Downtown Blue Ridge

BLUE RIDGE, Ga. – Once a year in the dead of winter, things get spicy in downtown Blue Ridge as residents and tourists alike experience a “chili” weekend in February.

The eighth annual Fire and Ice Chili Cook Off Festival, brought to you by the Blue Ridge Business Association partnering with the Fannin County Chamber of Commerce, kicked off Saturday, Feb. 17, and brought in crowds despite the weather.

Blue Ridge, Fannin County, Georgia, Fire and Ice, Chili Cook Off, Blue Ridge Business Association, Fannin County Chamber of Commerce, David Ralston, B. Alison Sosebee, Kay Kendall, Doug David, Bob Evans, Cesar Martinez, Cindy Trimble, People's Choice Award, Chester Brunnenmeyer's Bar and Grill, Blue Jeans Pizza, Blue Ridge Brewery, Project Chimps, Habitat for Humanity, Hot House Missionary Church, Grilling Gangsters, Kelly Barton, Pitstop Chili, Boar's Nesters, Mercier Orchards, Chuck's Moonshine Chili

Crowds enjoyed the live ice sculpting demonstration provided by Rock On Ice.

Visitors to the festival were welcomed to take part in the judging of the chili cook off where the contestant with the highest number of votes takes home the coveted People’s Choice award.

The Fire and Ice Festival also now holds the honor of being the largest ice sculpting display in the Southeast. Award-winning National Ice Carving Champion Rock On Ice created many unique sculptures sponsored by several area businesses and demonstrated their difficult art form firsthand with live ice sculpting demonstrations in the park.

Official Chili Cook Off judges were also on hand to judge this years 16 contestants and to award first, second, and third place in four different categories.

Among the guest judges were Speaker of the Georgia House of Representatives David Ralston, Appalachian Judicial Circuit District Attorney B. Alison Sosebee, former celebrity chef Bob Evans, developer Doug David, and former chef and restaurant owner Kay Kendall.

“This is really one of the bigger events put on by the business association,” Blue Ridge Business Association President Cesar Martinez spoke about the festival.

Martinez explained that despite the unpredictable weather, this year’s festival saw a large turn out: “Better than last year. Last year, it rained actually more than this.”

Guest announcer Cindy Trimble took the stage at 3 p.m. for the moment that everyone had been waiting for, the announcement of 2018 Fire and Ice Chili Cook Off winners.

Trimble explained that judges were given five categories in which they had to rate each chili. These categories were aroma, color, taste, texture, and after-taste. Each category was rated on a scale of 1-to-10 and points from all judges were then added together to determine a winner.

The maximum number of points possible for a contestant to receive was 250.

The winners for each category were:

Blue Ridge, Fannin County, Georgia, Fire and Ice, Chili Cook Off, Blue Ridge Business Association, Fannin County Chamber of Commerce, David Ralston, B. Alison Sosebee, Kay Kendall, Doug David, Bob Evans, Cesar Martinez, Cindy Trimble, People's Choice Award, Chester Brunnenmeyer's Bar and Grill, Blue Jeans Pizza, Blue Ridge Brewery, Project Chimps, Habitat for Humanity, Hot House Missionary Church, Grilling Gangsters, Kelly Barton, Pitstop Chili, Boar's Nesters, Mercier Orchards, Chuck's Moonshine Chili

Chester Brunnenmeyer’s Bar and Grill took home the People’s Choice Award for a second year in a row.

Adult Individual
1. Grilling Gangsters with 176 points
2. Kelly Barton with 174 points
3. Pitstop Chili with 153 points

Team Adult
1. Boars Nesters with 175 points
2. Mercier Orchards with 162 points
3. Chuck’s Moonshine Chili with 155 points

Civic Team
1. Project Chimps with 178 points
2. Habitat for Humanity with 164 points
3. Hot House Missionary Church with 129 points

Restaurant
1. Chester Brunnenmeyer’s Bar and Grill with 168 points
2. Blue Jeans Pizza with 166 points
3. Blue Ridge Brewery with 165 points

Project Chimps, a sanctuary for chimpanzees, received the highest rating by the judges, and Trimble pointed out a uniqueness to their recipe: “This was a really unusually chili and you guys loved it.”

The recipe used by Project Chimps was “chimp friendly,” meaning that all the ingredients used were ingredients that the chimps could also eat and often do for their meals.

Finally, the coveted People’s Choice award was given. Out of 934 ballots turned in by visitors to the festival, Chester Brunnenmeyer’s received 185 of those votes, giving them the people’s choice chili award for a second year in a row.

 

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Fetch Your News is a hyper local news outlet that attracts more than 300,000 page views and 3.5 million impressions per month in Dawson, Lumpkin, White, Fannin, Gilmer, Pickens, Union, Towns and Murray counties as well as Cherokee County in N.C. FYNTV attracts approximately 15,000 viewers per week and reaches between 15,000 to 60,000 per week on our Facebook page. For the most effective, least expensive local advertising, call 706-276-6397 or email us at advertise@FetchYourNews.com

Author

Natalie Kissel

Natalie@FetchYourNews.com

Business After Hours with Cash Drawing at North Georgia Boat Lift

Business

Fannin Chamber Newsletter

Community
Fannin County Chamber of Commerce  eNewsletter
July 11, 2017
News for Members

Leading the way to economic vitality and quality of life in Blue Ridge, McCaysville, Morganton and all of beautiful Fannin County, Georgia. Together we prosper.

Tuesday, July 18 – 5:30 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.
 
at the
North Georgia Boat Lift
13944 Appalachian Hwy., Morganton, GA, 30560

Fannin in Totality Area of Eclipse August 21!
 
On August 21, 2017 there will be a total eclipse of the sun that can be seen in totality in parts of the North Georgia Mountains, including the Blue Ridge area.  
Where and How to Watch
Find a clear spot with a good view of the sky. You can see the sun and the eclipse wearing special eclipse glasses; do not look at the sun without safety glasses. Here are some examples:

Chamber Visitor Center

at 152 Orvin Lance Drive – 55 seconds of totality at 2:34:50 p.m.

Lake Blue Ridge Dam

– 1 minute 2 seconds of totality at 2:34:50 p.m.

Morganton Point Recreation Area

– 1 minute 8 seconds of totality at 2:34:50 p.m.

Horseshoe Bend Park in McCaysville

– 1 minute 31 seconds of totality at 2:34:15 p.m.

Downtown McCaysville

– 1 minute 35 seconds of totality at 2:34:10 p.m
Ocoee Whitewater Center – 1 minute 46 minutes of totality at2:33:45 p.m.

25th Anniversary Golf Tournament
The Chamber’s 25th annual golf tournament will take place on October 2 at  Butternut Creek Golf Course. There are a few team spots left. Anyone interested in signing up for a Corporate Team or being a hole sponsor please contact Kim Foster at kimfoster@tds.net.
   Corporate Team Form              Hole Sponsor Form

July Community Events Calendar
June 17 – July 22 – Community Quilt and Fiber Arts Exhibit,
Blue Ridge Mountains Arts Association
July 13 – July 30 – Live Theater: Dearly Departed, Blue Ridge Community Theater
July 14 – Downtown Drum Circle, Downtown Blue Ridge
July 15 – Tri-State Model Railroaders Open House, Mineral Bluff Historic Depot
July 19 – Treo’s Sweetwater Dinner Pairing, Treo Blue Ridge
July 21 – Movies in the Park presents: The BFG, Downtown City Park
July 21-29 – Georgia Mountain Fair, Hiawassee
July 22 – Jamie O’Neal & Andy Griggs Live in Concert, Grandaddy Mimm’s Moonshine Distillery
July 27 – An Intimate Acoustic Evening with Von Grey, Toccoa Riverside Restaurant
July 28 – Classic Car Cruise-In, Dairy Queen
July 29 – August 26 – 3D Exhibit Off the Wall, Blue Ridge Mountains Arts Association
Recurring Events
Tuesday
* Trivia Tuesdays, Fightingtown Tavern

Thursday 

 
Bingo, Kiwanis Fairgrounds
* Trivia Night! Fannin Brewing Company
* Pickin’ In Horseshoe Bend Park
Saturday
*Blue Ridge Farmers Market, Downtown Blue Ridge
*Blue Ridge Motorsports Park Races, Blue Ridge Motorsports Park
Weekends
* Brewery Tours & TastingsThursday through Saturday’s at  Fannin Brewing CompanyGrumpy Old Men and Mercier Orchards.
* Swan Drive-in –Now Playing
FOR THE FULL CALENDAR – Click Here
In This Issue
Business After Hours
Solar Eclipse
2017 Golf Tournament
Community Events Calendar

Chamber Events
Calendar
July 11 – Golf Committee Meeting, Fannin County Chamber of Commerce
12:00 p.m.
July 17 – Tourism Committee Meeting at the Chamber
12:00 p.m.
July 18 – Business After Hours – Lake Blue Ridge Civic Association at the North Georgia Boat Lift, 13944 Appalachian Hwy., Morganton
5:30 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.
July 19 – 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.
July 25 – Ribbon Cutting for High Speed Tactical and Safety Solutions at the Chamber
10:00 a.m.
July 27 – Ambassador Lunch at the Blue Ridge Fry Shop, 560 East Main St.
12:00 p.m.
________________________
 
Member to Member Ads
Dearly Departed poster Blue Ridge Community Theater
Feed the Kids Fundraiser at Chateau Meichtry
DFACS poster for townhall meeting july 20
Like us on FacebookFollow us on TwitterFind us on PinterestView on InstagramView our videos on YouTube

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.

Fannin County Chamber of Commerce

152 Orvin Lance Drive, Blue Ridge GA 30513
706-632-5680

Fannin eNewsletter June 27, 2017

Community
Fannin County Chamber of Commerce  eNewsletter
June 27, 2017
News for Members
Fannin County Chamber of Commerce Newsletter

Leading the way to economic vitality and quality of life in Blue Ridge, McCaysville, Morganton and all of beautiful Fannin County, Georgia.

Fourth of July Festivities
Friday
June 30 Firecracker Special Train Ride, Blue Ridge Scenic Railway

June 30Miner’s Homecoming Weekend, Ducktown, TN

Saturday
July 1Fireworks at Lake Blue Ridge, Lake Blue Ridge Marina

July 1 – 

Downtown Blue Ridge

July 1Miner’s Homecoming Weekend, Ducktown, TN
Sunday

July 2Lake Blue Ridge Boat Parade, Lake Blue Ridge

Tuesday 
Epworth Community Club
July 4Blue Ridge Freedom 5k and 10k, Downtown Blue Ridge

Newsworthy…
Maps of Highway 5 expansion available at Chamber
The Georgia Department of Transportation has provided the Chamber with large format maps of the plans for the Highway 5 expansion including the McCaysville truck route/bypass. You can take a look in the Chamber board room.
Holiday Hours
The Chamber Welcome Center and Caboose will be closed on July 4th in observance of Independence Day. Happy Holidays!

June Community Events Calendar
June 17-July 22Community Quilt and Fiber Arts Exhibit, Blue Ridge Mountains Arts Association
June 30Main and Main Grand Opening, Above The Vault Blue Ridge
Recurring Events
Tuesday
* Trivia Tuesdays, Fightingtown Tavern

Thursday

 
* Bingo, Kiwanis Fairgrounds
* Trivia Night! Fannin Brewing Company
* Pickin’ In Horseshoe Bend Park
Saturday
*Blue Ridge Farmers Market, Downtown Blue Ridge
Weekends
* Brewery Tours & Tastings: Thursday through Saturday’s at  Fannin Brewing CompanyGrumpy Old Men and Mercier Orchards.
* Swan Drive-inNow Playing
FOR THE FULL CALENDAR Click Here

Like us on Facebook
Follow us on Twitter
Find us on Pinterest
View our videos on YouTube
  View on Instagram
In This Issue
Newsworthy
Community Events Calendar

Chamber Events
Calendar
 
June 27 – Golf Committee Meeting at the Chamber, 12:00 noon.
July 4 – Welcome Centers Closed

July 5 – Lunch N Leads at Blue Jeans Pizza and Pasta Factory, 12:00 p.m.

________________________
Member to Member Ads
 
 
Light up the Lake Boat Parade July 2_ 2017

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.

Fannin County Chamber of Commerce

152 Orvin Lance Drive, Blue Ridge GA 30513
706-632-5680

Ask the Doc with Dr. Whaley – Tanning & Hearing Aids

Health

BKP and Katy talked with Dr. Whaley today about several great topics. One that is especially important this time of year as most females get ready for “bathing suit season” – Tanning. Dr. Whaley addresses the dangers of tanning beds, discusses spray tans and gives some alternate options that can be used instead to gain a great summer glow. The other viewer questions Dr. Whaley discusses in today’s “Ask the Doc” segment are:

What causes Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, and what is the best method of treatment? Can iodine help this condition?

Hearing aids are very expensive. How often will I have to be making an investment to replace or update them?

If you have questions for our doctor e-mail them to chief@fetchyournews.com or 706-889-9700

We would like to thank Georgia Cancer Specialist for sponsoring this segment!

 

 

 

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