Blue Ridge Community Theater : Sewing Good Deeds in a Time of Crisis


Blue Ridge, Ga. – Volunteers at the Blue Ridge Community Theater (BRCT) are stepping up in a big way to give support to local agencies and citizens, as we all face the Covid-19 pandemic together.

To quote the great William Shakespeare: “It is not in the stars to hold our destiny but in ourselves”, and the volunteers at BRCT are doing just that, by shining a light of purpose in what is a dark time for many.

The mission of the volunteers came about when a dialysis clinic in Chattanooga, Tn. put out a call that they were in desperate need of face masks for their patients. This clinic asked for the public’s help in getting 600 masks.

Blue Ridge Community Theater, Blue Ridge, Georgia, Fannin County, Masks, Volunteer, Family Connection, Giving Back, Covid-19

BRCT volunteer showing a sewn mask.

The volunteers at BRCT stepped up to answer this call. Head Seamstress, Kim Westcott spoke of the group coming together, “We sew costumes. We’re good sewers,” and added, “We’ve got lots of material, unsuitable for costumes but it’s perfect for this!”

Each mask must meet certain guidelines and specifications, among these the material used must be 100 percent cotton.

Westcott talked about how people, especially quilters, across the nation are stepping up to make the washable masks to help curb the shortage of this very necessary item: “This is a grassroots effort by every quilter out there.” 

Westcott pointed out that quilters know their material and have 100% cotton material that is required on hand.

Of the requested 600 masks to the dialysis clinic, the BRCT volunteers produced around 50 and delivered them. As of Friday, March 27, the clinic had received over 400 masks.

BRCT has since reached out to several local agencies and will continue making masks for the area. Some of the masks made have gone to CASA (court appointed special advocate) volunteers to give to grandparents who are guardians of younger children, some have gone to volunteers that continue to work at the local food bank and of course, many masks will be sent to Fannin Regional Hospital.

The volunteers have received essential status from the City of Blue Ridge, allowing them to continue production during the city’s declared State of Emergency.

“It’s a wonderful feeling,” Westcott said of being able to help during this nationwide crisis, “As long as we have a place to deliver them to, we’ll be making them.” 

The eight volunteers have now fine tuned the production process in an assembly line fashion, and Westcott says this method is very efficient, “Now that we’ve got the process down, we can probably turn out 30 to 40 a day.”

When asked how many masks the group anticipates making and giving away, Westcott replied, “We’ll give them everything we get and we’ll keep making them until this whole crisis passes.”

Beyond mask production, BRCT has partnered with Family Connection in collecting donations for their food bank services. The theater was able to make 5-6 deliveries last week to this cause.

Volunteers from the theater are also out delivering groceries, medications and other essential items to people who are quarantined or at too high of risk to leave their homes.

Westcott asks that in lieu of donations for mask making productions, that people please consider donating food and essential items to the theater to be delivered to Family Connection.

The theater currently has enough material to produce around 1,000 masks. 


Keep Up-to-date With Covid-19 in Fannin County by Clicking Here

Featured Images in article are courtesy of the Blue Ridge Community Theater Facebook Page.

Note: BRCT response to question regarding social distancing : “While we did gather together for a picture, each woman has her own station where she assembles her portion of the masks. We are blessed to have a very large costume Room, so we try to give them as much space as possible!”


Natalie Kissel

Fannin County Sheriff’s Office Arrest Report 3/22 – 3/28

Arrest Reports, Police & Government

Arrest report provided by the Fannin County Sheriff’s Office with images.  The Georgia Open Records Act (O.C.G.A. 35-01-18) allows for to obtain and post the arrest records of any and all individuals arrested in Polk County. Those arrests are posted on for viewing pleasure. Please remember that all individuals listed have been arrested and charged, however, they are presumed innocent until guilt has been proven in a court of law.

City of Blue Ridge declares State of Emergency

Community, News

Blue Ridge, Ga. – Blue Ridge City Council passed an official State of Emergency for all citizens and business owners within city limits.

After discussions with several local and state agencies and mounting pressure from the public, an emergency special meeting was called and held via teleconference at 3:00 p.m. on Wednesday, March 25.

The ordinance, which passed unanimously will take effect at noon on Thursday, March 26 and expire on April 15, 2020. The ordinance does allow for city council to extend the time period of the ordinance, if deemed necessary, beyond the April 15 expiration date.

A curfew will be placed within the city limits, with exception being given to essential personnel, beginning at 9:00 p.m. on Thursday, March 26. 

“A curfew is imposed from 9:00 p.m. to 5:00 a.m. effective 9:00 p.m. March 26, 2020. Residents, unless “exempt individuals” as defined herein, shall remain in their homes or on their property during the curfew period.”

The ordinance also has a shelter in place provision. Persons are allowed to leave residences for essential activities, such as obtaining supplies, and for essential business. You do not have to remain indoors during this time, but will need to remain on your property, private properties, or public properties that are allowed to remain open by municipalities.

Among activities that were addressed were the gathering of people on city owned property.

For the duration of the declared emergency, there shall be no public gatherings on any property owned or controlled by the City.  To avoid confusion, the following definitions shall apply under this Section: a “public gathering” shall mean the organized gathering or assembly of more than five or more persons at a specific location; “property owned or controlled by the City shall include any park, public square, public space, playground, recreational area, or similar place of public gathering, but nothing herein shall prohibit individuals or families from using sidewalks or designated pedestrian areas of parks for walking or other exercise if they are not participating in an organized gathering.”

The ordinance also calls for a closure to all non-essential business except for “Minimum Basic Operations”.

Minimum Basic Operations are defined as: “(a) the minimum necessary activities to maintain the value of the business’s inventory, ensure security, process payroll and employee benefits, or for related functions; and (b) the minimum necessary activities to facilitate employees of the business being able to continue to work remotely from their residences.”

Restaurants may operate, but must close all dine-in areas and “may continue preparing and offering food to customers via delivery, drive-through or take-out services” only.  The ordinance further states: “Any restaurant that is currently licensed to sell beer and wine for on-premises consumption, such business shall be authorized to sell unopened bottles, cans, or other sealed containers of beer or wine for take-out consumption off-premises.”

The City encourages essential businesses to remain open. These businesses must follow the social distancing rule of 6 feet to the greatest extent possible and put signage on storefronts reminding customers of the social distancing rules.

Essential businesses may not allow more than 10 people in their building at a time if social distancing is unable to be maintained.

The ordinance defines “essential businesses” as:

  • Healthcare Operations and essential infrastructure;
  • Grocery stores, farmers’ markets, farm and produce stands, supermarkets, food banks, convenience stores, and other establishments engaged in the retail sale of canned food, dry goods, fresh fruits and vegetables, pet supply, fresh meats, fish, and poultry, and any other household consumer products (such as cleaning and personal care products). This includes stores that sell groceries and also sell other non-grocery products, and products necessary to maintaining the safety, sanitation, and essential operation of residences;
  • Food cultivation, including farming, livestock, and fishing;
  • Businesses that provide food, shelter, and social services, and other necessities of life for economically disadvantaged or otherwise needy individuals;
  • Newspapers, television, radio, and other media services;
  • Gas stations and auto-supply, auto repair, and related facilities;
  • Banks and related financial institutions and pawn shops;
  • Hardware stores;
  • Plumbers, electricians, exterminators, and other service providers who provide services that are necessary to maintaining the safety, sanitation, and essential operation of residences and Essential Businesses;
  • Businesses providing mailing and shipping services, including post office boxes; 
  • Educational institutions-including public and private K-12 schools, colleges, and universities-for purposes of facilitating distance learning or performing  essential functions, provided that social distancing of six-feet per person is maintained to the greatest extent possible;
  • Laundromats, dry cleaners, and laundry service providers;
  • Restaurants and other facilities that prepare and serve food, but only for delivery or carry out. Cafeterias in hospitals, nursing homes, or similar facilities shall not be subject to the restrictions contained in this Ordinance.
  • Businesses that supply products needed for people to work from home;
  • Businesses that supply other essential businesses with the support or supplies necessary to operate;
  • Businesses that ship or deliver groceries, food, goods or services directly to residences;
  • Home-based care for seniors, adults, or children;
  • Residential facilities and shelters for seniors, adults, and children;
  • Professional services, such as legal, or accounting services:
  • Childcare facilities;
  • Construction services; and
  • Utility, water, sewer, gas, electrical, oil refining, roads and highways, railroads, public transportation, taxi/rideshare, solid waste collection and removal, internet, and telecommunications systems (including the provision of essential global, national, and local infrastructure for computing services, business infrastructure, communications, and web-based services).

Lastly, the ordinance states that all vacation rentals, including hotels and motels in city limits, are to be declared non-essential, stating: “Any customer currently occupying a Tourism Rental under a paid reservation tendered prior to March 23, 2020 shall be allowed to complete the original reservation period but shall not be allowed to extend.   All other customers must vacate the Tourism Rental within forty-eight (48) hours of this Ordinance going into effect.”

Violation of any term or provision of the Ordinance is punishable by a civil fine of $1,000 per violation.

The Fannin County Board of Commissioners are meeting at 4 p.m. today and are expected to implement a State of Emergency for Fannin County as a whole.


Click here to read about the City of McCaysville declaration of a State of Emergency


Natalie Kissel

Update: Eight confirmed cases of Covid-19 in Fannin County

Community, News
Fannin County, Blue Ridge, Georgia Department of Public Health, DPH, Coronavirus, Covid-19, Confirmed, First Case

Blue Ridge, Ga. – The Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) confirmed that there are now eight cases of Covid-19 in Fannin County in its Thursday, April 2 report at 7 p.m.

At this time, Fetch Your News does not have any additional details about the case.  We will bring you updates as soon as information is available for the public.

The total cases in Georgia as of the April 2, 7 p.m. update is now total number of confirmed cases 5,444 with 1129 hospitalized, and 176 deaths.

Timeline of Confirmed Cases in Fannin County:

  • First Case – March 24, 7:00 p.m. DPH update
  • Second Case – March 27, 12:00 p.m. DPH update
  • Third Case – March 27, 7:00 p.m. DPH update
  • Fourth Case – March 31, 12:00 p.m. DPH update
  • Fifth Case – April 1, 12:00 p.m. DPH update
  • Sixth Case – April 1, 7:00 p.m. DPH update
  • Seveth and Eighth Cases – April 2, 7:00 p.m. DPH update

Original story below:

The Georgia Department of Public Health confirmed on Tuesday, March 24 in their 7:00 p.m. update, that Fannin County has recorded its first confirmed case of Coronavirus (Covid-19).

While there have been several suspected cases in Fannin County, until today all tests had come back negative. 

The first confirmed cases of Coronavirus in Georgia was announced by state officials on March 2. These cases were of a Fulton man in his 50’s that had recently returned from a work trip in Milan, and his 15-year-old son.

Georgia’s total number of positive cases confirmed by DPH as of 7:00 p.m. on March 24, has risen to 1097. 

At this time DPH has noted 38 deaths related to Covid-19 in Georgia.

Neighboring counties are reporting zero cases in Gilmer County and zero cases in Union County.

DPH updates the list of confirmed cases in Georgia at noon and 7 p.m. each day. The numbers are expected to increase as more testing becomes available to the public.

FYN will bring you more details as they become available.


Natalie Kissel

Fannin County Sheriff’s Office Arrest Report 3/15 – 3/21

Arrest Reports, Police & Government

Arrest report provided by the Fannin County Sheriff’s Office with images.  The Georgia Open Records Act (O.C.G.A. 35-01-18) allows for to obtain and post the arrest records of any and all individuals arrested in Polk County. Those arrests are posted on for viewing pleasure. Please remember that all individuals listed have been arrested and charged, however, they are presumed innocent until guilt has been proven in a court of law.

Opinion: How Should Blue Ridge Proceed?


Written By : Logan Fitts

Athens, GA
Atlanta, GA

These are two cities in Georgia that see an influx in people from all over. These are cities that we see a lot of visitors come from. These are the cities that I travel to often. These are also the cities that have went under quarantine since COVID-19 has hit the state.

Since this initial post, Murphy NC has went on full lock-down and curfew in light of discovering that visitors were sick with the virus. Mind you, Murphy is only 20 miles from Blue Ridge.

I want to make a few remarks.

First, I have talked to quite a few city leaders and asked questions:
What can we do? What’s the plan? Can you close the downtown district? Can we limit or begin to dwindle the amount of foot traffic coming into our city and county, as this is a hot destination for Spring Break? I’ve asked many times: “So, what can be done?”

These are the answers thus far:
I’ve had one city leader tell me that they have no control, I’ve had a leader tell me that it is illegal to tell downtown business owners to close their doors, I’ve had one tell me that the Governor has given discretion to each county/city to make decisions up to this point about protocol, and this leader told me that they don’t feel like downtown needs to close at this time, but restaurants should do curbside pickups.

I’ve even had another concerned citizen of Blue Ridge tell me that their answer they’ve received from our very own Speaker Ralston is that at this point, it is up to our leaders in the area to make decisions at the discretion of the charter. Understandable — not verified.***

I ended up feeling even more lost. Who’s telling the truth? Does anyone know what protocol is? This is an unprecedented situation.

I’ve watched town like a hawk. Groceries stores have been covered up, go figure. Rentals are packed, so we have out of town visitors buying groceries, we have second home owners buying groceries (some being my past clients), we have full time locals buying groceries — all understandable and we all know that going to these places you must practice caution and there are ways to keep your space to protect your health. And I have to note, grocery stores are having to evolve with the situation and look out for clientele. They’re having to close early to sanitize. They’re changing hours. They’re recognizing the situation at hand.

I’ve also watched Downtown Blue Ridge. I’ve driven the streets. I’ve watched hundreds of pedestrians go up and down throughout the week. I find myself getting irritated when I go through, but remind myself that they’re on vacation. They feel anonymous. There’s less of a sense of responsibility when it’s not your home, and I get it to a certain point. But I also know that we have people coming here because it is quiet and removed and it feels safer. I know of friends of mine that are from this area that have traveled to Florida to take advantage of the break to attempt to vacation and use the Coronavirus to their advantage and find great deals on lodging, shopping, dining, etc (they know my stance on their travels). Many of the places they’re at in Florida are closing commercial activity, which leads me to my next point.

At this point, with little to no safeguards on the biggest red flag in the area, Blue Ridge is not a safe area to be in should this virus run rampant. A few things to note: downtown has two public restrooms equipped with hand dryers (recommended not to be used by many articles I’ve read). Downtown’s business owners, as I’ve learned in my time, don’t particularly want shoppers using their facilities. I also know there’s a huge shortage in sanitary equipment in the area and at a certain point, individual stores can’t provide each shopper or diner sanitizer, soap, wipes, etc. (Maybe they have stocks in what I’ve mentioned and can keep up in the cleaning and sanitizing of patrons, but I doubt it). Most stores in the downtown area are not more than 1500 square feet (total rough estimate). Allow enough people in the store at the right moment, one person sneezes and doesn’t know they have the virus, the whole store can be contaminated without even knowing it. Our county and the surrounding counties’ hospitals and medical campuses are not ready for a virus like this. Bottom line.

I want to say this to all of my fellow business owners, self-employers, service staff, to my friends, family, and clients: I am by no means trying to come off harsh. I am SO sorry that this is unfolding. I would love to support, and will continue to support small businesses throughout the town.

But I say that to say this. I know people will come and go throughout the coming weeks. I know that we can’t stop them, nor do I think we should. BUT, I certainly think that there has to be dialogue. There has to be a plan. There has to be answers to MANY concerned citizens’ questions other than the simple answer “we have a plan.” That’s one of the joys of small town America, right? We all know what’s going on. 😉 AND I ask, I don’t know what anyone else’s stance is, for this to be something done on and off Facebook. Let the elders know. Let the people who don’t use social media know. Keep everyone informed.

I want to conclude my persistence on this matter. While many bigger cities and counties are erring on the side of caution but not stringency for retail, for dessert houses, cafes, for gyms, or even offices until there’s a confirmed case in the area, Blue Ridge is different. These bigger cities have a stronger infrastructure. They have bigger hospitals, more staff, more equipment, they’re better prepared. This is not to belittle our hospital workers, nurses, pharmacists, sanitary personnel, etc., but to state what’s been the consensus from my friends and family in those fields and across the globe. These cities might have the safeguards to wait until they dreadfully find out that they have a confirmed case. Unfortunately, I think Blue Ridge has to be more proactive.

In terms of solutions, here are my thoughts.
I know it’s almost impossible to ask any business to close to foot traffic. I know it’s difficult on the owners, the staff, the patrons. I know that leaders don’t want to harm businesses. They don’t want to be the ones to make that call, if they can. Understandable. Who would want to make that call? So maybe not go there at this point. Maybe monitor the area. How many patrons are in each store? Maybe provide sanitizing stations throughout the area (this could’ve been done a long time ago when we first saw the virus hit Georgia). Maybe post signs warning people what already should be instilled in their brains: STAY HOME. Or “Caution: this is a high risk area should a pedestrian have COVID-19.” per CDC, President Trump, the whole 9.

So I resolute to this: city & county leaders, where are we with this? What is your answer to the big problem that seems to be (UNDERSTANDABLY) avoided? Can we count on you to make decisions for the well-being of the majority? We need leaders.

I don’t have all of the answers; I may not have any answers.

But I have a lot of concerns. And I have a lot of love for my hometown and my people.

Stay strong.



**Editor’s Note** This opinion was originally written and shared via Facebook. You can read the original post by clicking here : Logan Fitts Original Post

Mayor Donna Whitener also responded via the City of Blue Ridge Facebook page. You can read the official response by clicking here: City of Blue Ridge Response 


Natalie Kissel

Fannin Regional closes visitation and adjusts patient intake

visitation closure closing, cancellation

BLUE RIDGE, Ga. – Fannin Regional Hospital is altering visitation and intake for the foreseeable future due to COVID-19 (Coronavirus).

Issuing a statement today, Fannin Regional Hospital will no longer allow visitors for patients in the facility. They have not set a end time on this new policy but did not current health concerns

Fannin Regional said, “For the safety and well-being of our patients, providers, staff, and community Fannin Regional Hospital will not permit visitors effective immediately.  We will not be allowing visitors until further notice.”

However, the changes are coming to more than just visitation as everyone entering the hospital as a patient will now go through screening process.

The statement said, “All patients will be screened upon entry and asked to wear a mask if they have a fever, respiratory, or other flu-like symptoms.

While not fully closed, this is another change coming due to concerns and threats of spreading the Coronavirus. They did further clarify the new visitation policy on social media that exceptions to visitation guidelines will be made for end-of-life situations or other special patient needs.

Fannin Regional Hospital said it is “dedicated to continuing to provide quality care to the members of our community during this time in a way that helps ensure the safest possible environment.”

Fannin County Sheriff’s Office Arrest Report 3/9 – 3/14

Arrest Reports, Police & Government

Arrest report provided by the Fannin County Sheriff’s Office with images.  The Georgia Open Records Act (O.C.G.A. 35-01-18) allows for to obtain and post the arrest records of any and all individuals arrested in Polk County. Those arrests are posted on for viewing pleasure. Please remember that all individuals listed have been arrested and charged, however, they are presumed innocent until guilt has been proven in a court of law.

UPDATE 3/24/20 : Fannin County Closings and Postponements

Community, News

Blue Ridge, Ga. – (Updated 3/24/20 2:41 p.m.) Following Governor Brian Kemp’s announcement of the first death in Georgia from Covid-19 on Thursday, March 12, 2020, many Fannin County businesses and agencies are opting to close doors or limit hours to the public. 

The hopes of Local, State and National agencies is to slow the spread of the Coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) by raising public awareness and limiting public contact with those infected.

The following Fannin County businesses, agencies, and events have been cancelled or postponed in an effort to help “flatten the curve” of the Coronavirus outbreak. A list of Community Resources is also provided at the bottom.



  • Blue Ridge City Hall – CLOSED, all business can be conducted at drive-thru. Lobby will remain open for advance voting ONLY through March 20.
  • Blue Ridge Mountains Arts Association (The Art Center) – CANCELLED all youth based programs March 16-31, all BRMAA sponsored artist guild meetings CANCELLED March 16 – 31, all classes and workshops CANCELLED or POSTPONED March 16 – 31, artist reception for Artist in Residence scheduled for April 3 POSTPONED to April 24, 23rd Annual Writer’s Conference scheduled for April 3-4 POSTPONED
  • Blue Ridge City Park and Children’s Playground – CLOSED March 18 – until further notice
  • City of Blue Ridge – CANCEL or POSTPONE all events inside city limits until further notice
  • City of McCaysville City Hall – Building CLOSED to public, all business can be conducted at drive-thru
  • City of McCaysville Municipal Court – CANCELLED March 19 date, court date will be rescheduled
  • Fannin County Boys and Girls Club – CLOSED March 16 -27
  • Fannin County Chamber of Commerce Visitor Center (Blue Ridge and McCaysville) – CLOSED March 20 – until further notice
  • Fannin County Courthouse – LIMITED ACCESS beyond guard line. Citizens will call departments from security check point for access. March 19 – until further notice
  • Fannin County Library – CLOSED March 17 – 21
  • Fannin County Schools – CLOSED March 16 – 31
  • Fannin County Recreation Department – CLOSED March 14 – 29
  • Georgia Department of Corrections has suspended inmate visitation statewide.
  • Georgia Supreme Court has declared a statewide emergency to halt all non-essential court business
  • Magistrate Court Hearings – Suspended for 30 days
  • Probate Court Hearings – Suspended for 30 days
  • Superior Court Hearings – Suspended for 30 days
  • Trial Jurors chosen for March 23 – Suspended, Do Not Report



  • City of Morganton City Council Meeting (March 17) – CANCELLED
  • Fannin County Board of Commissioners (March 24) – CANCELLED



  • Chatuge Regional Hopital – LOCKDOWN March 17 – until further notice. All doors will be locked and remain locked EXCEPT for main entry. NO VISITATIONS.
  • Fannin Regional Hospital – NO VISITATIONS March 18 – until further notice. All patients will be screened upon entry and asked to wear a mask if they have fever, respiratory, or other flu-like symptoms. Exceptions to visitation guidelines will be made for end-of-life situations or other special patient needs.
  • Union General Hospital – LOCKDOWN March 17 – until further notice. All doors will be locked and remain locked EXCEPT for main entry. NO VISITATIONS.



  • Blue Ridge After Hours at INOLA – CANCELLED
  • Bowls of Hope Fundraiser (March 28) – CANCELLED
  • Good Samaritans of Fannin County 5th Sunday Community Brunch – CANCELLED
  • Kiwanis Club of Blue Ridge BINGO (March 19) – CANCELLED
  • Leadership Fannin Health Care Program (March 19) – POSTPONED
  • St. Patrick’s Day Parade (March 14) – CANCELLED
  • Taste of Blue Ridge – Humane Society of Blue Ridge (April 18) – CANCELLED
  • Trout Fest and the Back the Brookies Bash – POSTPONED



  • Angelina’s Deli – TAKE OUT ONLY
  • Black Sheep Restaurant – TAKE OUT ONLY
  • Blue Jeans Pizza – TAKE OUT ONLY
  • Blue Ridge Mountain Barbeque – TAKE OUT ONLY
  • Burra Burra on the River – CLOSED
  • Cantaberry – TAKE OUT ONLY
  • Carroll’s Barbeque – TAKE OUT AND CURB SERVICE ONLY
  • Cucina Rustica – TAKE OUT ONLY
  • Das Kaffee Haus – CLOSED
  • Dairy Queen Grill and Chill – TAKE OUT ONLY
  • El Rio Mexican Restaurant – TAKE OUT ONLY
  • Habanero’s Fresh Tex Mex – TAKE OUT ONLY
  • Hansen’s Grill – TAKE OUT ONLY
  • Harvest On Main – CLOSED
  • Katz’s New York Deli – TAKE OUT ONLY
  • La Pizzeria at Cucina Rustica – TAKE OUT AND OUTSIDE SEATING
  • Masseria – Kitchen & Bar – TAKE OUT AND OUTSIDE SEATING
  • Mercier Orchards – Downtown Blue Ridge – CLOSED
  • Mystic Mountain Pizza – CLOSED
  • Ocoee River Cafe – TAKE OUT ONLY
  • Okinawa Steak and Sushi – East Ellijay – TAKE OUT ONLY
  • Papa’s Pizza ToGo Blue Ridge – CLOSED
  • Pat’s Kountry Kitchen – TAKE OUT ONLY
  • Rod’s Rockin Rolls – TAKE OUT VIA DRIVE-UP WINDOW
  • Rum Cake Lady Cuban Food Cafe – McCaysville Location – CLOSED
  • Blue Ridge Rum Cake Lady Cuban Food Cafe – TAKE OUT ONLY
  • South of North – CLOSED
  • Southern Charm – CLOSED
  • Taste of Amish & General Store – TAKE OUT ONLY
  • The Blue Coyote – CLOSED
  • The Copper Grill – TAKE OUT ONLY
  • The Sweet Shoppe of the South – TAKE OUT ONLY
  • The Village Restaurant – CLOSED
  • Tin Loong & The Dragon Tail Lounge – CLOSED
  • Yellowbird Coffee Shop – CLOSED
  • Zaxby’s – TAKE OUT ONLY



  • Aska Lodge Bed & Breakfast – CLOSED March 18 – April 2
  • Blue Ridge Cellars – CLOSED March 22 – April 4th
  • Blue Ridge Community Theater – CLOSED March 17 – 31, for a full list of cancelled or postponed events please visit the BRCT Facebook page
  • Blue Ridge Framing Company – BY APPOINTMENT ONLY
  • Blue Ridge Scenic Railway – CLOSED March 16 – 31
  • Copperhill Brewery – CLOSED March 18 – March 31, will fill to go orders Mon. – Sat. 12 p.m. – 5 p.m.
  • Doggie Dips and Doos Grooming – CLOSED March 14 – 30
  • The Folk Apothic – CLOSED March 14 until further notice, online store still OPEN
  • Grump Old Men Brewing – TAPROOM CLOSED March 17 (@ 5p.m.) – March 31, will remain OPEN for carryout beer and merchandise purchases
  • Harrah’s Cherokee Valley River Casino and Hotel – CLOSED March 18 – April 1
  • Jumping Mouse Beads – CLOSED March 22 – April 1
  • Mailbox Co. – CLOSED, will accept overnight/express packages in bin located outside, pick up for these items will be on weekdays only
  • Mercier Orchards (Downtown and Farm) – CLOSED March 16 – until further notice
  • Mountain Thyme Bath & Body – CLOSED March 16 – 20, will reassess on March 21
  • Qinti – CLOSED March 19 – until further notice
  • Tri-State EMC – LOBBY CLOSED March 19 – until further notice, business can be conducted at drive-thru
  • Walmart – Effective March 19, store hours limited, OPEN 7 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. daily, From March 24 – April 28 Walmart will host an hour-long senior shopping event every Tuesday for customers aged 60 and older (6 a.m. – 7 a.m.)
  • The Wellness Institute of North Georgia – CANCELLED all events until March 28



  • The Fannin County School System, along with several area organizations, will be delivering meals to area locations across the county for those students in need. You can visit their website for updated information.
  • El Rio Mexican Restaurant is offering free kids meals (off the kids menu) to all shool age children Mon. – Fri.
  • Fannin’s Helping Hands is offering a number of services, including delivery to the elderly members of the community. You can find out how to utilize these resources or sign up to volunteer by visiting their Facebook page or following this link : Fannin’s Helping Hands
  • Carroll’s Barbeque is offering a hot meal for school aged children in need (during restaurant hours). Also accepting food donations to be distributed to the community.
  • Twisted Tomato offering two slices of cheese or pepperoni pizza to school aged children and the elderly, Mon. – Fri. 12 p.m. – 3 p.m.
  • Burra Burra on the River is offering a slider burger and snack size fry to school aged children and the elderly, Mon. – Fri. 12 p.m. – 3 p.m.
  • Southern Drug Company offering same day delivery of food and medicine to customers during regular business hours
  • Bumblebee’s Cafe is offering free pancakes for children until school is able to resume.
  • Blue Ridge Pharmacy will deliver essential over the counter products, as well as prescription medications, to senior citizens. This delivery service is free. You can call 706-632-2244.
  • Fannin County Family Connections drive thru for food boxes will be open during regular pantry hours Mon. – Thur. 10a.m. – 12 p.m. and 1 p.m. – 3 p.m.


If you think you may have contracted SARS-CoV-2 or COVID-19 please call your primary healthcare provider first. Your doctor will advise you as to whether you need to come in for testing. Do visit an Emergency Room if you feel that you have life threatening symptoms. It is advised to call hospitals or doctor’s offices ahead of time to let them know that you are on your way. This allows time for staff to prepare for your arrival and minimize the possibility of contact with patients in high risk categories.


If you have a business, event, or resource that needs to be added to the list please email


Natalie Kissel

Chamber of Commerce releases Coronavirus policy update

Business, Fannin County Chamber
FANNIN COUNTY, Ga – The Chamber of Commerce released a statement regarding community events and protecting the community from COVID-19.
Their message also discusses best practices for businesses, please read it in its entirety below.
“The Chamber is closely monitoring the Coronavirus pandemic as it relates to Blue Ridge, McCaysville, Morganton and all of Fannin County. Our top priority is the health and well being of our community, its residents and visitors. This is a situation that changes rapidly from day to day, and there is a lot of uncertainty. We are basing our decisions about Chamber events and functions day by day as they arise, based on the current situation and guided by concern for the vulnerable in our community.
As of the writing of this update, there are no known cases in Fannin County. We do have visitors here for spring break over the next two weeks, with 50%+ of cabins booked over both weekends. There have been some cancellations but also some new bookings by people who want to escape to the mountains.
It is unknown how much time visitors will spend shopping, playing and eating out during their visit here. We have not prepared or issued advice to our visitors at this time. The best advice is to follow guidelines for self-care just as they would if they were at home.
At the current time, our main offices and visitor centers in downtown Blue Ridge and McCaysville are open.

Blue Ridge – Fannin County Updates

Fannin County Schools
The Fannin County Schools will be closed next week and re-evaluate at that time.
UNG and State Colleges
UNG and other state colleges and universities will extend spring break for two weeks.
Blue Ridge Local Events
The Blue Ridge St. Patrick’s Day Parade has been canceled. The Blue Ridge Scenic Railway is continuing to run.

Chamber Upcoming Event Changes

Business After Hours Tuesday, March 17 – INOLA
Business After Hours at INOLA has been canceled and will be rescheduled for a later date.
Leadership Fannin Health Care Program, March 19
Leadership Fannin’s Health Care program, scheduled for Thursday, March 19 at Fannin Regional Hospital, has been postponed. The new date will be announced later.

Links with State and Federal Updates

The Georgia Department of Public Health website has up to date information with details on all COVID-19 cases reported in the state.
Governor Kemp’s website has current information here.
The CDC Website has detailed information on keeping workplaces, schools and commercial establishments safe.
For information about impact on travel, the Georgia Department of Economic Development Tourism Division has current information.

Information for Businesses & Accommodations

Best practices are to protect your employees and customers by maintaining stringent cleaning practices. The CDC offers specific instructions for cleaning and disinfecting on their website at this link.
CDC offers specific guidance here.
Ensure you clean items including (but not limited to): door handles, telephones, toilets, light switches, remote controls, blowdryers, HVAC controls, faucet handles, and other surfaces frequently.
A link to ServSafe’s Coronavirus information is located here.
Information on Coronavirus is also available on the National Restaurant Assn. website.
Posters & Handouts
The CDC has some great posters and handouts you can download here.”

Fannin County Sheriff’s Office Arrest Report 3/1 – 3/8

Arrest Reports, Police & Government

Arrest report provided by the Fannin County Sheriff’s Office with images.  The Georgia Open Records Act (O.C.G.A. 35-01-18) allows for to obtain and post the arrest records of any and all individuals arrested in Polk County. Those arrests are posted on for viewing pleasure. Please remember that all individuals listed have been arrested and charged, however, they are presumed innocent until guilt has been proven in a court of law.

Fannin County Sheriff’s Office Arrest Report 2/23 – 2/29

Arrest Reports, Police & Government

Arrest report provided by the Fannin County Sheriff’s Office with images.  The Georgia Open Records Act (O.C.G.A. 35-01-18) allows for to obtain and post the arrest records of any and all individuals arrested in Polk County. Those arrests are posted on for viewing pleasure. Please remember that all individuals listed have been arrested and charged, however, they are presumed innocent until guilt has been proven in a court of law.

Jamie Hensley announces candidacy for Fannin County Commission Chair

Election 2020, News

My name is Jamie Hensley and I am running for Fannin County Commission Chairman.   I would like to share why I am asking for your vote on May 19th.  I am a lifelong resident of Fannin County, raised in the Mineral Bluff area. Growing up in our home, my mom, Marie and my dad, the late “Verl” Hensley, taught me and my sisters the importance of faith, family, and giving back to our community.

I currently reside in the Epworth area with my wife of 26 years, Faith.  We have raised our two wonderful daughters, Lauren and Kaelyn, to have the same values.  Our son-in-law, Josh, currently serves our country in the Army National Guard, and our beautiful granddaughter Lainey rules the roost. I am an East Side Wildcat and a 1989 graduate of Fannin County High School.  I am a member of Mineral Bluff Lodge #483 and a member of Helping Hand Fellowship Church.  Now, I want to use my deep-rooted values to serve all of Fannin County.

• Experience
The qualities I feel the citizens of Fannin County expect and deserve from their Commission Chair go hand-in-hand with the leadership skills I have acquired during my 24-year career at Circuit World.  I started out as a delivery driver, was quickly recognized for my hard work, dedication, determination, and was soon promoted to General Manager.  I have been the General Manager of five locations for over 15 years.  One of my main responsibilities is managing the operation of the businesses within a budget.  I have had to be a good steward of the company’s money and not waste it.  My success in business has been due to my ability to deliver on promises. I keep my word. If I tell you I am going to do something, you can count on it. I thoroughly understand budgets, purchasing, negotiations, hands on training, and public relations. I excel in leadership qualities.  Leadership is not telling people what to do – it is listening to ideas, prioritizing the needs, and finding the best solution to accomplish the goal.  As Commission Chairman of Fannin County, I will never forget it is YOUR money.

• Community
I have a long-time record of community involvement. For years, I have been involved with youth sports. I have coached softball since 1999 and enjoyed every minute of it! I was part of the coaching staff that landed Fannin County’s first ever 14U State Champs.  Currently, I serve as President of the Fannin County Lady Rebels Softball Booster Club, and I am an active board member of the Blue Ridge Humane Society.

• Leadership
I believe Fannin County needs positive leadership.  Fannin County, as you know, has grown immensely in the last 25 years. I feel we need to take a more proactive approach instead of simply being reactive to our community’s growth. We are proud of our history and must remember our past, but we must accept the fact that we are growing.  If we don’t proactively plan for future growth and steer the “ship” properly, the county will experience uncontrolled growth.

• Communication
I will improve communication between county offices, departments and government.  We must work as a team to ensure that all departments are properly staffed and equipped to give the best service to our citizens that they so richly deserve.   A better line of communication needs to be established with volunteers.  Our county has a wealth of volunteers wanting to serve, especially in the area of animal control.

• Safety
I support our public safety and will work diligently to ensure that our EMS/EMA, law enforcement, and first responders are given the resources necessary to do their jobs, which is to KEEP US SAFE. Additionally, I will work daily to see that our roads are maintained for all travelers. It is my belief that the main function of government is to provide for the peace, safety, and prosperity of its citizens.

I fully understand the scope and responsibilities of the Chairmanship of the Fannin County Board of Commissioners, and I am committed to making Fannin County an even better place to live.



Carlton Harold Bailey: Obituary


The Cochran Funeral Home of Hiawassee announces Funeral Services for Carlton Harold Bailey, age 91 of Jackson, Michigan (formerly Hiawassee, Georgia) who passed away on Saturday, February 22, 2020.

Funeral Services will be held at 3 p.m. on Monday, March 2, 2020 at McConnell Memorial Baptist Church with Pastor Steve Taylor and Rev. Danny Byers officiating. The family will receive friends from 10 am until 2:30 pm on Monday at Cochran Funeral Home of Hiawassee. Military Honors will be presented by the North Georgia Honor Guard. Graveside Services and Interment will be held at 1:00 p.m. on Tuesday, March 3, 2020 at Green Meadow Memorial Gardens Cemetery in Conyers, Georgia. Firefighter Honors will be presented by DeKalb County Fire Department.

Earl “Skip” Lynn Peters: Obituary


Earl “Skip” Lynn Peters from Young Harris, GA went Home suddenly to be with the Lord on February 21, 2020 while working in Hiawassee, GA. Skip was born on May 13, 1951 in Aberdeen, MD and was 68 years old.
Skip served in the U.S. Army Special Operations Command, 1st Special Forces Operational Detachment Delta Force from 1969-1992. Among many awards bestowed upon Skip during his career, for his valor, he received the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th highest awards of a soldier: Distinguished Service Cross in 1989, Distinguished Service Medal in 1982, Silver Star in 1970. In addition, Skip received two Purple Heart medals, one in 1970 and 1990 for wounds received in action. He received The Humanitarian Service Medal in 1980, two Soldier’s Medals in 1980 and one Soldier’s Medal in 1982.

In addition to his military career, Skip was a professional home builder and owned his own construction company for 25 years building conventional and log homes and home improvement projects in Maryland, Delaware, Virginia and West Virginia until he retired in 2008. He then relocated from North East, MD to Orlando Florida with his wife to care for his two widowed stepsisters. In 2011, Skip and his wife found their final home together in Young Harris, GA. The couple worked together in partnership with the Shaklee Corporation achieving many awards since 1980. Skip recently began working as a Project Manager for T.L. Thompson Construction, Inc. in Hiawassee, GA, returning to his love for the construction industry.

Skip grew up on Alliance St. in Havre de Grace, MD where he learned to love the outdoors, enjoying hunting, fishing and boating most of his life. Skip loved God and His Word, his country, his family and friends and humbly served others throughout his life. He valued his place in God’s Army and considered himself a warrior for God.
Skip was an active member of Warriors Veteran Outreach in Murphy, NC. He was a member of the World Harvest Church North in Blairsville, GA and the North Mount Zion Church of God in Hiawassee, GA. He was a former member of Life Community Church in Newark, DE. He served in Towns County Food Bank and the Food Bank at North Mount Zion Church of God.

He is survived by his wife of 47 years, Georgia Lee (Deamer) Peters and by three sons and a daughter: Michael Lee Peters (Julie), Jeffrey Lynn Peters (Rachel), Nathan Lee Peters (Heather), and Christine Lynn Peters Glenn (David). He is also survived by 11 grandchildren and by his stepbrother, Steve Foust from Havre de Grace, MD. He is preceded in death by his father, Earl L. Peters and his mother, Irene Scroggins Peters, his step siblings Herbert Pates, Jeannette Peters (Charles) Miller, Ramona Peters (John) Ondeck and Ladonna Peters (Joseph) Baldwin.

Celebration services will be held on Saturday, February 29, 2020 at Sharp Memorial UMC on Young Harris campus, 1114 Main St. Young Harris, GA at 11:00 a.m.

Arrangements entrusted to Cochran Funeral Home of Hiawassee.

Tammy Renee Hicks Dillard: Obituary


Tammy Renee Hicks Dillard, age 51, of Mineral Bluff, passed away on Sunday, February 2, 2020. She was born on September 15, 1968 in Atlanta. She was of the Baptist faith. She worked as a Housekeeper for Vacasa. She is preceded in death by her father, Howard Harvey Hicks, Jr.; sons, Nathan Mashburn and Steven Hicks; and siblings, James Michael Hicks, William Scott Hicks, and Angela Michelle Rhodes.

She is survived by her daughter, Maranda Hicks; son, Brandon Hicks; mother, Mary Jane Gibbs; grandchildren, Kayla Henley, Amariana Hicks, Brantley Elkins, and Jaxon Elkins; and brother, Howard David Hicks.

Funeral services will be conducted on Thursday, February 27, 2020 at 2:00 PM from the Akins Funeral Home Chapel with Rev. Jerry Lee Garner and Rev. Hal Panter officiating. Interment will follow in the Chastain Memorial Park with Rev. Eric Davenport officiating. Austin Norton, Robert Grimes, Jason Norton, David Elliott, Rev. Jerry Lee Garner, and Gage Garner will be serving as pallbearers. The family will visit with friends at the funeral home on Thursday from 12:00 PM until 2:00 PM. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to help defray from funeral expenses. Condolences may be sent to the family at Akins Funeral Home of Blue Ridge is in charge of the arrangements. - 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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