Blue Ridge Alcohol Committee continues ordinance discussion

Business, News

BLUE RIDGE, Ga. – The topics of possibility extending weekend drinking hours for restaurants and the future of employee permits headlined the discussion at the third Blue Ridge Alcohol Committee meeting Tuesday, May 29.

The meeting consisted of an informal round-table discussion that included the committee, which consists of city council members Robbie Cornelius and Harold Herndon, city residents David Gray (absent from the meeting) and Larry Versyn, and local business owners Stuart Arp and Ken Brenneman, as well as Mayor Donna Whitener, Police Chief Johnny Scearce, city supervisor of tax and licensing Sally Smith, and local business owners Brendan Doyle and Scott Peters.

The idea of extending hours during which establishments are allowed to serve alcohol was originally proposed by Arp, owner of Chester Brunnemeyer’s Bar and Grill, at the first Alcohol Committee meeting April 11. Arp suggested extending the cut off time for alcohol service from 11:30 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. on Friday and Saturday nights.

Arp stressed to the committee and attendees that he felt businesses are losing tourist dollars from visitors who are unaware of the 11:30 p.m. cut off time and do not begin to arrive in the downtown area until 9:30 or 10 p.m.

“It would be a good thing to give us the option, whether (business owners) implement it or not,” said Doyle, owner of The Boro Inn, of the possibility of extending the cut off time on weekends.

In addition, Arp stated he would like to amend the beginning of alcohol service from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m.

Brenneman, owner of Blue Jeans Pizza and Pasta, objected to the idea of modifying the morning start time for alcohol sales. “We have places of business that serve breakfast, and if they want to serve a mimosa, they ought to be able to serve a mimosa. Just like you ought to be able, or you guys are pushing, to serve liquor at 1 a.m. in the morning,” Brenneman stated to Arp.

To this, Arp clarified his proposal was for a 12:30 a.m. cut off with all patrons to be vacated from establishments by 1 a.m.

“There are events that drive people in here that are looking to go out late,” Arp stated. “Even some of the employees, there’s no place for them to go (after work) because (businesses are) already closed. I don’t think 12:30 a.m. is egregious by any means … and I’m only saying for two nights a week.”

Concerning the potential 12:30 a.m. cut off, Versyn stated he believed it was “not unreasonable.”

Mayor Whitener also mentioned she felt a later cut off could possibly attract local residents who work until 6 or 7 p.m. or even later to come out who normally would not.

Regarding employee serving permits, the committee revisited the proposed ordinance amendment from January, which would require employees to reapply for a new permit every year at a cost of $30 instead of once every three years.

When Cornelius asked the business owners present where they stood on the proposal, Arp, Doyle and Peters all felt the change would be too much of a hardship for employees. Brenneman, however, favored the change to one year.

Offering an explanation for the proposed change, Smith told the committee of a local bartender who had recently received two DUIs (driving under the influence) in the time following the issuance of his serving permit. “We never knew about it (and) he’s not supposed to have that,” Smith said, referring to the serving permit.

“I can understand both sides; I’d split the difference (and) go two years,” Chief Scearce said. “You’re right on some points and you’re right on your points, but what I’m saying is this … say someone got out there and got popped in Atlanta at a concert with a bag of dope in their pocket … We’d never know about it till we run (a check).”

The committee also discussed the legality of “sip and shop” events at downtown businesses.

At the May 2 meeting, Versyn stated he had heard of retail establishments serving alcohol to patrons after hours while they shopped, and he expressed a concern over this.

At Tuesday’s meeting, Chief Scearce explained business owners cannot serve or sell alcohol to customers either privately or after hours, but business owners themselves are allowed to consume alcohol in their place of business after hours.

“You’re saying it’s still okay to lock the doors and then drink all night long in their establishment as long as they’re not selling it?” Versyn asked Scearce.

Again, Scearce stressed to Versyn business owners are not allowed to serve customers, but “if these (owners) want to sit in their business after it’s closed and sit there all night long and get drunk off their hind end, I could care less. But when they come out on that road, they’re mine.”

Also, in the January ordinance amendments, which passed a first public hearing by the city council but was never adopted, a provision was proposed for the mayor and/or council members who hold a 10 percent or higher ownership in an establishment to recuse him or herself from voting on any matter that would involve said establishment.

The Alcohol Committee appeared in agreement that this amendment should be approved as originally presented.

Moving forward, City Attorney James Balli is expected to draft a new proposal for amendments to the alcohol ordinance based on the recommendations and discussions of the Alcohol Committee over the past two months and present them to the city council at a future 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.

City boards restructuring draws criticism

News

BLUE RIDGE, Ga. – An ordinance to restructure the city’s Planning Commission and Zoning Board of Appeals was approved by the Blue Ridge City Council during its May 8 meeting Tuesday.

Last month, a first reading of the ordinance was presented during the council meeting. As explained then by City Attorney James Balli, the ordinance would condense both the Zoning Board of Appeals and the city Planning Commission from seven members to five members each. Balli further explained each city council member would appoint one member to serve on each board and appointees would be allowed to serve on both boards, if the council member so desired. According to Balli, the ordinance would amend an already established city ordinance to be compliant with the City Charter and state law.

After a second reading this month, the ordinance was approved unanimously. According to Balli, the council’s appointments are Gene Holcombe to serve as Councilwoman Robbie Cornelius’ appointment to both the Planning Commission and the Zoning Board of Appeals, Cindy Trimble to serve as Councilwoman Rhonda Haight’s appointment on both boards, Mark Engledow and Angelina Powell to serve as Councilman Harold Herndon’s appointments to the Planning Commission and Zoning Board of Appeals, respectively, Rick Skelton to serve as Councilman Nathan Fitts’ appointment to both boards, and Thomas Kay and Michael Eaton to serve as Councilman Ken Gaddis’ appointments to the Planning Commission and Zoning Board of Appeals, respectively.

At the end of the meeting, Eaton, existing chairman of city Zoning Board of Appeals, spoke to the council concerning the changes to the two boards.

“What I have a problem with is we’ve basically eliminated three positions on the Zoning Board of Appeals tonight for three different people who have put in a lot of time and effort for their part and were not contacted or told any of this was going to happen,” Eaton stated.

“John Soave, Ralph Garner, Brendan Doyle – when are their terms up?” Eaton asked.

To this, Mayor Donna Whitener responded, “Their terms are up as of today.”

“I feel like we’ve all been left in the dark. This has been done very disrespectfully,” Eaton added, saying he was only contacted by Gaddis who notified Eaton he would be the councilman’s appointment. “I think it’s been done very poorly.”

A second reading for an Illumination Ordinance amendment was also presented and approved at this month’s meeting. The ordinance, according to its wording, makes it “unlawful for any person, organization of persons, or entity to willfully tamper with, illegally project light upon, mutilate or deface any City personal or real property, including, without limitation, trees, other plants, buildings, drive-in theaters screens, vehicles or other equipment for lighting, firefighting, police protection or water and sewer installation and maintenance.” First-time violators of the ordinance now face a civil fine of at least $500 and subsequent violations are punishable by a civil fine of at least $500 and up to 90 days in jail.

An amendment to change the rules of procedure at council meetings to allow for more public commentary on action items was approved unanimously by the council. As explained by Balli, the amendment will now allow five sections of public commentary at two minutes per person on a first come, first serve basis for any item requiring a vote from the council. Following the end of the public commentary, the council would then vote on the item. The amendment also allows for individuals to speak on any late additions to the agenda without having to request ahead of time to be on the agenda to speak themselves.

Jeff Stewart, city zoning supervisor, presented bids and estimates for repairs to the roof at City Hall. The council unanimously approved and awarded two bids: one from GoCo for $6,650 for the demolition and removal of the bank drive-through and another from Trademark Coatings for $35,427.50 for the repair of the main roof of the building. According to Trademark’s estimate and scope of work, the cost will include pressure washing and reuse of the existing shingles, which were deemed to still be in good condition, and application of a urethane foam base coat, which is designed to create a seamless roofing system.

The city received $20,165.00 in insurance claims for damage sustained to city hall during a storm in the spring of 2017.

The council unanimously approved an allotment of up to $10,000 for remodel of the city police department building on Church Street. In February, the council approved a previous amount up to $10,000 for needed repairs and renovation of the police department. Mayor Whitener explained after initial work to the building began, further problems and issues were also revealed, but she anticipated that the further work should cost under the additional $10,000.

Police Chief Johnny Scearce stated further repairs and upgrades to the building, built in 1936, will include repairs to a corner of the roof, replacement of gutters and fascia boards, and upgrades to the lights and electrical wiring system. “One thing led into another,” Chief Scearce said of the building renovation.

Replacement of the slide deck at the city pool was discussed after the city received a quote from Miracle Recreation Equipment Company in the amount of $6,009.86 to replace the slide. Councilwoman Rhonda Haight questioned the decision to replace the slide considering the uncertain future of the city pool and potential liability issues with the slide.

“Considering we don’t really know the future of the pool, do we just take it down for right now or spend $6,000?” Haight said. “I would suggest just take the slide out, (because) first of all, (it is) a liability, and second, because we don’t know (the pool’s) future.”

Whitener stated parts to repair the pool thus far for the upcoming season have amounted to under $5,000, which was considerably less than originally anticipated. The mayor seemly advocated for the replacement of the slide stating the slide is heavily used by children at the pool and removal of the slide would require additional concrete work.

“Well, I would have to agree with Rhonda,” Councilman Nathan Fitts said. “To keep spending money with the unknown future of the pool, to me, doesn’t make financial sense.”

After further discussion, the council approved for the slide to be taken down.

In public commentary, Gene Holcombe spoke on behalf of the Blue Ridge Business Association and inquired of the city’s progress with adding downtown public restrooms and parking space. Mayor Whitener told Holcombe Councilman Herndon had recently suggested the idea of building a small restroom unit near the large public parking lot off of Mountain Street as early as this summer using detainee labor and engineering assistance from Councilman Gaddis’ All Choice Plumbing company. As for the parking situation, Whitener told Holcombe the parking study, which was approved in the council’s April meeting, was still in the process of being completed.

After an executive session, Councilwoman Haight made a motion to “resolve a claim involving 0.03 acres with Campbell Camp Investments LLC and to give the mayor authority to sign a quick claim for that property.” After a second from Gaddis, the motion passed unanimously.

The council approved three invoices from the city’s water system engineering firm, Carter & Sloope:

  • In the amount of $13,092.50 for various engineering services, Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) permitting for water line work on state Route 515 near BB&T bank and on state Route 60 in Mineral Bluff and plan reviews of the Fannin County Agriculture and Public Safety Complex buildings;
  • In the amount of $11,639.10 for continued monitoring of metals and temperature at the city’s wastewater treatment facility; and
  • In the amount of $11,363.75 for providing preliminary cost estimates to GDOT for proposed utility relocation along state Route 5 as part of the forthcoming highway expansion.

 

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.

St. Patrick’s Day celebrations continue to grow in Blue Ridge

Community, Downtown Blue Ridge
Blue Ridge, Fannin County, Georgia, St. Patrick's Day, St. Patrick's Parade, 2018, Brendan Doyle, The Boro Inn, Grumpy Old Men Brewery, Mystic Mountain Pizza, Humane Society of Blue Ridge

Horses adorned with their St. Patrick’s Day flare marched in the parade.

BLUE RIDGE, Ga. – Rain had come and gone all morning leading up to the 11 a.m. kickoff of festivities. Many spectators that had lined the streets questioned whether or not the parade would take place but shortly before the set start time the clouds parted and the sun shown, leading to a beautiful setting for Blue Ridge’s largest St. Patrick’s Parade to date.

Thanks to the luck of the Irish, residents and visitors were able to enjoy ideal weather conditions while they filled the streets of downtown Blue Ridge Saturday, March 17, to watch the parade.

Green was the color of the day as the parade made its way down the Main Streets of Blue Ridge. Headed by the Humane Society of Blue Ridge, our four-legged friends set the pace as a multitude of businesses and organizations followed behind.

Grumpy Old Men Brewery was present in their iconic military vehicle that lifted riders well above the crowds on Main Street. Mystic Mountain Pizza made their way down the street in a tie-dyed Volkswagen Beetle.

Past met present as a beautifully decorated horse-drawn carriage was followed by the largest number of Jeeps to ever roll through downtown.

Blue Ridge, Fannin County, Georgia, St. Patrick's Day, St. Patrick's Parade, 2018, Brendan Doyle, The Boro Inn, Grumpy Old Men Brewery, Mystic Mountain Pizza, Humane Society of Blue Ridge

A line of Jeeps as far as the eye could see made their way through downtown Blue Ridge.

“It is growing exponentially each year,” St. Patrick’s Parade sponsor and proprietor of the Boro Inn Brendan Doyle shared his excitement of the parade’s success.

Having began five years ago, the St. Patrick’s Parade in Blue Ridge is unique in that it has true Irish roots. Doyle, born and raised in Ireland, came to America in 1984 and after falling in love with the beautiful area and people of Georgia made his move permanently to the states in 1989.

According to Doyle, St. Patrick’s Day is celebrated much the same in Ireland as it is in the United States, and the festivities center around fun and family togetherness: “It would be equivalent to Thanksgiving in the spring.”

When asked what inspired him to originate the St. Patrick’s Parade in Blue Ridge besides his obvious Irish roots, Doyle replied that a large majority of the settlers to our area are that of Scottish and Celtic descent.

“You got to bring a little taste and flare to the home folk,” Doyle added with a smile.

For Doyle and for the spectators that lined the streets of Blue Ridge, St. Patrick’s Day really is all about spending time with family, and families were not disappointed as the green sea of St. Patrick’s Day merriment made its way through the streets of our town.

 

[cincopa AYFA9NOS9AY9]

 

 

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

Blue Ridge election results: Whitener, Herndon, Thomas re-elected, Gaddis, Cornelius, Fitts will join

Election, News, Politics

BLUE RIDGE, Ga. – Unofficial results from the Blue Ridge Mayoral and City Council elections were tallied late Tuesday evening, Nov. 7, at City Hall.

After six hotly contested races, Mayor Donna Whitener, Post 1 City Council Member Harold Herndon and Post 2 City Council Member Rhonda Thomas retained positions while candidates Kenneth Gaddis, Robbie Cornelius and Nathan Fitts will all take oaths as Post 3, 4 and 5 city council members, respectively, in January.

Incumbent Whitener defeated local business owner Brendan Doyle 288 to 185 in the mayor’s race. Whitener described the night’s results as “extremely exciting.”

Blue Ridge, Fannin County, Georgia, Mayor, Election 2017, Donna Whitener, Blue Ridge City Council

Blue Ridge Mayor Donna Whitener

“I have a really good council going in. They have lots of experience, lots of knowledge. They’re going to bring a lot to the table at Blue Ridge. I can’t wait for the next four years,” the mayor stated. “We’re going to focus on infrastructure. We have some serious issues there (with) upgrading infrastructure (and) the same thing we’ve been doing: paving roads. We’re going to continue to keep working toward keeping a vibrant downtown.”

Herndon was re-elected in what became an uncontested contest after candidate Jane Whaley failed to qualify for the election because of city residency requirements and the Georgia Supreme Court ultimately denied her appeal of city Election Superintendent Barbie Gerald’s ruling to remove Whaley from the ballot following a Sept. 25 hearing with Whaley, her attorney, Frank Moore, and City Attorney David Syfan. Herndon received 317 total votes in the election while several uncounted ballots cast showed abstention in the Post 1 election, according to Gerald.

Blue Ridge City Council, Election 2017, Post 1, Harold Herndon, Fannin County, Georgia

Post 1 City Council Member Harold Herndon

The Post 1 incumbent said he was “looking forward to another four years” on the council.

“We’ll just see how things work out. You just never know – no matter who it is or where they come from – whether you’re going to get along with them or not or whether you share some of the same opinions,” Herndon said of the council elect.

While admitting the new council had several challenges on the horizon, Herndon explained, “You’ve got to look at finances and see how (the city is) sitting … There’s a lot of things that have to come together before you can even come to a decision about what you might be able to do.”

Blue Ridge City Council, Fannin County, Gergia, Rhonda Thomas, Post 2, Election 2017

Post 2 Council Member Rhonda Thomas

In the Post 2 race, incumbent Rhonda Thomas won over downtown business owner Angelina Powell with 255 votes to Powell’s 223. After the final tally, Thomas said she was “thrilled with the results.”

“I think everyone who will be on this council are going to do a fabulous job. It’s a diverse group of people who have great ideas, and we’re going to come together for the benefit of the city, for the residents and for the businesses, and we’re going to make a difference,” Thomas stated. “Blue Ridge should be excited about their choices.”

Citing parking and city infrastructure improvement as key challenges facing the new council, Thomas was optimistic of the city’s future. “You’ll see a huge difference in this city in the next four years,” she added.

Whitener, Herndon and Thomas will all be entering their third terms, each having served since 2010.

FetchYourNews, Blue Ridge City Council, Post 3, Kenneth Gaddis, Fannin County, Georgia

Post 3 Council Member Elect Kenneth Gaddis

Challenger Gaddis defeated incumbent Angie Arp in the Post 3 race taking 288 votes to Arp’s 186. “It feels great; it feels amazing,” council member elect Gaddis said after his win.

“I’m excited to work with the citizens. That’s my key. We are a council, but we are working with the citizens,” Gaddis added.

FetchYourNews, Blue Ridge City Council, Fannin County, Georgia, Election, Post 4, Robbie Cornelius, Mike Jacobs

Post 4 Council Member Elect Robbie Cornelius

Receiving 255 votes to Mike Jacobs’ 205, Cornelius won the open seat of Post 4.

Cornelius shared the sentiments of all the other winning candidates of the night and was excited to begin on the city council. Relieved that the campaign was over, Cornelius laughed, “I’m tired. I’ve been out in the rain all day (campaigning).”

In the closest race of the night, Fitts overtook David Stuart by 20 votes, receiving a total of 244 in the open contest for Post 5.

FetchYourNews, Blue Ridge City Council, Post 5, Nathan Fitts, Fannin County, Georgia

Post 5 Council Member Elect Nathan Fitts

“We’re going to work on parking (and) the infrastructure of the water lines and sewer lines,” the council member elect said of city needs. “Hopefully, we can make it so streamlined we can all get along and do things a little more professionally.”

According to Gerald, 486 total ballots were cast in the 2017 election. Of that sum, 221 ballots were cast on Election Day, 229 were early voting and 36 were absentees. “If I’m not mistaken, that’s probably a record (turnout),” Gerald said of the election.

For continual coverage of the Blue Ridge City Council, stay with FetchYourNews.com.

 

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.

The Results Are In

Election, News

BLUE RIDGE, GA – The polls have closed and the ballots have been counted in Blue Ridge.  Citizens filled City Hall on Tuesday, November 7, 2017, to hear the outcome of several months of campaigning.

The race for Mayor and City Council of Blue Ridge was a long fought battle for many of  the candidates, and the unofficial results are in.

As it stands, you can expect to see the following faces representing the residents of Blue Ridge in January:

FetchYourNews, Blue Ridge City Council, Mayor, Donna Whitener, Fannin County, Georgia

Mayor Elect Donna Whitener

FetchYourNews, Blue Ridge City Council, Post 1, Harold Herndon, Fannin County, Georgia

City Council Post 1 Elect Harold Herndon

FetchYourNews, Blue Ridge City Council, Post 2, Rhonda Thomas, Fannin County, Georgia

City Council Post 2 Elect Rhonda Thomas

FetchYourNews, Blue Ridge City Council, Post 3, Kenneth Gaddis, Fannin County, Georgia

City Council Elect Post 3 Kenneth Gaddis

FetchYourNews, Blue Ridge City Council, Fannin County, Georgia, Election, Post 4, Robbie Cornelius, Mike Jacobs

City Council Post 4 Elect Robbie Cornelius

FetchYourNews, Blue Ridge City Council, Post 5, Nathan Fitts, Fannin County, Georgia

City Council Post 5 Elect Nathan Fitts

 

 

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

Blue Ridge City Election Results

Election, News

BLUE RIDGE, Ga. – Polls are set to close at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 7, 2017. After a very public campaign, Blue Ridge residents will get to know who will represent them for the next four years.

Counting of the votes will begin at approximately 7:10 p.m., and results will be announced in the race for Blue Ridge City Council and Mayor.

Follow FetchYourNews for updates live from Blue Ridge City Hall.

 

***Update 7:20 p.m.***  Electronic Ballots have been tallied. Currently the votes stand at:

Mayor :   Donna Whitener (I) 113       Brendan Doyle (C) 103

Post 1:     Harold Herndon  (I)  159

Post 2:     Rhonda Thomas (I)  91        Angelina Powell (C)  126

Post 3:     Angie Arp (I)  101                  Kenneth Gaddis (C)  116

Post 4:     Robbie Cornelius   107          Mike Jacobs    100

Post 5:     Nathan Fitts  100                   David Stuart  112

 

***Update 9:00 p.m.*** Paper Ballots have been tallied. (Number of votes include electronic voting previously tallied.)

Mayor :   Donna Whitener (I) 288       Brendan Doyle (C) 185

Post 1:     Harold Herndon  (I)  317

Post 2:     Rhonda Thomas (I)  255        Angelina Powell (C)  223

Post 3:     Angie Arp (I)  186                  Kenneth Gaddis (C)  288

Post 4:     Robbie Cornelius     255        Mike Jacobs    205

Post 5:     Nathan Fitts  244                   David Stuart  224

FetchYourNews, Blue Ridge City Council, Fannin County, Georgia, Mayor, Donna Whitener, Brendan Doyle

Candidates for Mayor. (L) Incumbent Donna Whitener (R) Challenger Brendan Doyle

 

Unchallenged City Council Post 1 Harold Herndon

FetchYourNews, Blue Ridge City Council, Post 2, Election 2017, Rhonda Thomas, Angelena Powell

Candidates for City Council Post 2 (L) Incumbent Rhonda Thomas (R) Challenger Angelina Powell

FetchYourNews, Blue Ridge City Council, Election 2017, Post 3, Kenneth Gaddis, Angie Arp

Candidates for City Council Post 3 (L) Challenger Kenneth Gaddis (L) Angie Arp

 

FetchYourNews, Blue Ridge City Council, Fannin County, Georgia, Election, Post 4, Robbie Cornelius, Mike Jacobs

Candidates for City Council Post 4 (L) Robbie Cornelius (R) Mike Jacobs

FetchYourNews, Blue Ridge City Council, Fannin County, Georgia, Post 5, Election, Nathan Fitts, David Staurt

Candidate for City Council Post 5 (L) David Stuart (R) Nathan Fitts

Author

Natalie Kissel

Natalie@FetchYourNews.com

Latest Wolf Report and 2018 Blue Ridge City Council Agenda Suggestions

Election, GMFTO

What issues do you feel should be on the first agenda for the “new” 2018 Blue Ridge City Council? BKP has a few suggestions for them. Hear what his suggestions are and send us any that you feel should be on there as well. Also, you do not want to miss BKP’s “wolf watch” update!

VIDEO: Is it Possible a High Rolling Gambler is Running in Blue Ridge?

Community, FYNTV, GMFTO, Politics

How important is it to know how our candidates live their lives outside of politics?

Paraphrased from GMFTO on FYNTV:

Would you want a City Council Member that was a high roller?

Would you vote for a candidate that REGULARLY gambled hundreds of thousands of dollars?

I don’t know yet, but I understand it is possible that a candidate is a casino regular, maybe not just a regular, but possibly a high roller?

The source can’t be revealed, and it isn’t 100% verified, but this is a source that would KNOW!

 

Major Development in Blue Ridge Council Qualifications

Election
Blue Ridge

BKP reacts to the latest breaking news on the selectivity of the investigations regarding residency requirements in Blue Ridge. To read our official report on this breaking story click here.

Paraphrased Transcript:

There is a letter to Barbie Gerald from Frank Moore, who represents Cindy Trimble. The letter suggests that Mr. C David Stuart may not be qualified to run for BR City Council, his place of residence is not the commercial body shop he owns. Also mentioned in the letter, N Brendan Doyle, owner of The Boro Pub. Doyle stated under oath that his residence is 150 W Main St., which is the Boro Pub.

Moore attached pictures of the properties and tax records of the zoning. There is only a certain amount of time to challenge it. However, recent precedent suggests Barbie Gerald must investigate.

Obviously there was some picking and choosing going on. Who talked these people into running? Maybe it was Johnny Searcy or Angie Arp? After all, Angie Arp does own the land surrounding The Boro. She was seen on multiple occasions going in and out of The Boro. Maybe she was the one who convinced him to run?

It seems to me that one candidate stood out. One candidate that didn’t fit the mold that Angie Arp, Barbie Gerald, and others wanted.

But there is a proof, for a fact, that people were ordered to sit outside Jane Whaley’s apartment to take pictures all day. To see if there are lights on at night. To see if there are people in and out during the day.

A judge will be the one to decide whether or not Jane Whaley can run for office. Yet, there are still many questions to ask of Ms. Gerald.

Why wasn’t the residence of Brendan Doyle investigated?
Why wasn’t the residence of David Stuart investigated?
Who put pressure on Barbie Gerald to investigate Jane Whaley?

Only time will tell…

More Candidates Questioned About Residency

Election, News

BLUE RIDGE, GA – A recent decision by Election Superintendent Barbie Gerald resulted in the disqualification of City Council Post One Candidate Jane Whaley. Now two other candidates, David Stuart and Brendan Doyle, are being challenged as to the legitimacy of their residency.

Whaley, along with several of her supporters, attended an all day hearing on September 25, 2017 to argue her residential status.

City Attorney David Syfan argued that Whaley’s lack of physical presence at her apartment on East Main Street was case enough to dismiss her from the election.

Whaley’s attorney Frank Moore stated that her intent to move in was enough to claim residence, and that she had only been prevented from the physical move by circumstances beyond her control.

Gerald ultimately came to the decision that Whaley did not meet the qualifications to continue to run for City Council Post One. In a letter sent to Whaley, Gerald stated, “since I have determined that Mrs. Whaley is not qualified, in my position as Election Superintendent, I shall withhold Mrs. Whaley’s name as a candidate upon the ballot, or strike her name from the ballot if the ballots have been printed.”

It went on, “If there is insufficient time to strike her name or reprint the ballots, I will post a prominent notice at the City polling place advising voters that Mrs. Whaley is disqualified as a candidate and all votes cast for her shall be void and shall not be counted.”

Property of Stuart that is zoned C-2.

In response, Whaley stated, “I believe I am a legitimate candidate, and I am going to appeal this decision.”

Frank Moore sent a letter late last week asking for a stay of Gerald’s decision. He stated that Whaley’s name should be included on the ballot until a decision has been reached in her appeal.

The letter states that Whaley “will be permanently and irreparably harmed if the Court does not grant a stay of the Determination because she will be unable, prior to the printing of the ballots and the conducting of the election to challenge successfully the erroneous Determination.”

Property of Doyle zoned for urban dwelling living space.

Moore also sent a formal letter, with regards to a complaint filed by another city resident, to Election Superintendent Barbie Gerald requesting the investigation of residency for two additional candidates in the Blue Ridge City Council Election.

The letter brings into question the residency of City Council Post Five Candidate David Stuart. Stuart listed his address as a property that is currently zoned C-2. Properties that are commercially zoned C-2, can only have residential units above the first floor.

It also brings into question the residency of Candidate for Blue Ridge City Mayor Brendan Doyle. The complaint against Doyle states that an urban dwelling living space within the Central Business District must average 1,000 square feet in area per building.

The letter states that both of these candidates fail to meet these standards.

It asks for an investigation and if the claims are proven to be correct asks for the removal of both candidates from the ballot for the 2017  Election for City Council.

Author

Natalie Kissel

Natalie@FetchYourNews.com

GMFTO VIDEO: How Blue Ridge Blocked Whaley’s Candidacy

News, Politics

The Blue Ridge City Council extravaganza took a funny turn this weekend with a misspelled sign going up on behalf of Angelena Powell. Also, the REAL STORY behind why Jane Whaley was halted from running for city council. (Time Code Listed in Description)

  1. ANGELENA POWELL SIGN 0:00 – Her sign was misspelled “Councel” instead of “Council.” It was the talk of social media this weekend. Arp, Powell, Doyle is reminiscent of Schizophrenic Jeopardy on MadTV.
  2. JANE WHALEY 12:00 – Sources tell BKP: Angelena Powell does not live in the city limits either. There were several people in the community who did not want Jane Whaley to move in by a certain date. “We need to stop every candidate in their tracks.” Suddenly, it was “discovered” the back porch did not meet the proper code, it stuck out a couple feet too far. Therefore, she was unable to move in. Nothing was said about the violation until much later. A stop work order was issued later on. The zoning board disqualified the residence. They were then ordered to build a wall to chew up more time. It was a gameplan to disqualify Whaley
  3. BKP’s Opinion: They shut her down knowing she might run for city council. They blocked the construction of her apartment to keep her from running. There is an organized effort going on, from the City Council down to the Zoning Commission. “The City has to realize that the pipes going through here is going to pile up crap. You can’t keep building until you fix the pipes.” Stop work order was put in place.

Candidates Face Off at Forum

Election, News

BLUE RIDGE, GA – Candidates for Blue Ridge’s City Council and Mayoral race faced off on Thursday, September 28, 2017, giving residents an opportunity to hear exactly where their candidates stood on many important issues.

The candidates followed a regulated format. Each candidate was given two minutes for an opening statement and another two minutes for a closing. Predetermined questions from popular issues in the city were randomly asked of the candidates.

Every candidate accounted for their top priorities for the city, if they were to be elected. Almost every candidate responded their top priorities would be to focus on infrastructure and parking downtown.

Jane Whaley, Candidate for Post One, came to the stage unopposed. Harold Herndon had previously announced he would be unable to attend the event.

Blue Ridge, Fannin County, Georgia, City Council, Mayor, Election 2017, Rhonda Thomas, Angelina Powell, Donna Whitener, Brendan Doyle, Angie Arp, Kenneth Gaddis, Robbie Cornelius, Mike Jacobs, Jane Whaley, Harold Herndon, Nathan Fitts, David Stuart

Council member Rhonda Thomas addresses package sales in Blue Ridge.

A few of the candidates brought up priorities that were not a common theme. Whaley stated she had another priority along with infrastructure and parking, to “protect the residential zones, and make sure they stay residential.”

Post Two candidates, incumbent Rhonda Thomas and challenger Angelina Powell agreed on the common issues. They both felt that infrastructure and parking were matters to be addressed. Powell stated, “We are growing. We’re not going back.”

They were asked about their stance on package sales being allowed in the City of Blue Ridge. Powell was not opposed to this idea, but seemed unwilling to take a solid stance.

Thomas noted that in order for this to happen, registered voters of our county would have to start a petition and get a significant number to sign in favor. She referred to to success of package stores in Ellijay and that visitors will stop there before coming to Blue Ridge saying, “We’re losing a lot of money.”

Saying she would not go out and actively support it, Thomas promised to listen to what was being asked of her as a councilmember.

Post Three candidates, incumbent Angie Arp and challenger Kenneth Gaddis focused heavily on infrastructure and recreational areas. Both candidates would like to see improvements to our city pool.

Gaddis wants to see the pool revamped to be a more welcoming place for families to enjoy. Arp agreed with Gaddis, and said that she had playground designs that she “had brought to the council several times.” Arp also would like to see a city indoor pool.

Gaddis focused on the infrastructure of the city as being a top priority. He stated, “I’m a little upset right now because we’re paving roads where the water lines haven’t been replaced yet.”

Blue Ridge, Fannin County, Georgia, City Council, Mayor, Election 2017, Rhonda Thomas, Angelina Powell, Donna Whitener, Brendan Doyle, Angie Arp, Kenneth Gaddis, Robbie Cornelius, Mike Jacobs, Jane Whaley, Harold Herndon, Nathan Fitts, David Stuart

Challenger Kenneth Gaddis questions the city about proper planning.

Candidate for Post Four, Robbie Cornelius went to the stage unopposed. Mike Jacobs, also seeking a seat for Post Four chose not to take the stage. Cornelius spoke of a different reason than other candidates for wanting to improve parking downtown.

While many candidates focus on parking being an issue for businesses and for tourists, Cornelius would like to see it improved for the residents. She stated, “most don’t go downtown because they can never find parking.”

This statement brought to light an issue for locals that had previously not been addressed.
Nathan Fitts, candidate for Post Five, also came to the stage unopposed. His opponent, David Stuart, had opted not to participate. Fitts addressed his broken leg as he made his way to the podium on crutches. “When I announced that I was running, they said break a leg. I didn’t know they meant literally.”

Fitts was asked his opinion on the legal fees that have been spent by the city in recent years, replying with,”It’s absolutely ridiculous.”

He acknowledged that there is a need for legal representation and to be able to receive counsel from someone with expertise, but also noted that “paying attorney fees because people don’t get along is unacceptable.”

The Mayoral candidates were the last of the evening. Incumbent Donna Whitener and Challenger Brendan Doyle agreed on many of the issues that had been discussed previously.

Both candidates gave praise to our city police department and agreed that infrastructure needed to be a priority.

Blue Ridge, Fannin County, Georgia, City Council, Mayor, Election 2017, Rhonda Thomas, Angelina Powell, Donna Whitener, Brendan Doyle, Angie Arp, Kenneth Gaddis, Robbie Cornelius, Mike Jacobs, Jane Whaley, Harold Herndon, Nathan Fitts, David Stuart

Mayor Donna Whitener and Challenger Brendan Doyle debate term limits.

Whitener and Doyle were asked if they believe there should be regular meetings between the County Commissioners, City Council of Blue Ridge, as well as Councils from other cities within our county.

Neither candidate was opposed to this idea. Whitener stated that she felt it would be beneficial and that she thought “we have a great working relation now.”

Doyle agreed with Whitener and thought the regular meetings would add unity to Fannin County. He stated that, “we should be there to support through thick and thin.”

One of the issues that separated these two candidates was the topic of term limits. When asked if they would be in favor of term limits on our local officials, Doyle supported the idea.
Whitener opposed this idea stating that the amount of information to learn is too much for a short time period and would not allow an official to be effective in their post if term limits were implemented. She stated that, “Government is a different beast.”

Elections for City Council and Mayor will be held on November 7, 2017.  Each candidate urges residents to get out and vote.

Author

Natalie Kissel

Natalie@FetchYourNews.com

Exposing Underage Alcohol Sales

News

BLUE RIDGE, GA – On Thursday, September 14, 2017, an operation led by Captain Justin Turner, ended with many establishments in Fannin County being cited for furnishing alcohol to a person under the age of 21.

After receiving complaints, some from school resource officers, the Fannin County Sheriff’s Office decided to conduct an undercover operation to validate these allegations.

Blue Ridge, Fannin County, Georgia, Underage Alcohol Sales, Chesters, Boro Inn, Cheveron, Exxon, Beer Barn, Jerilyn Caudill, William Spriggs, Brendan Doyle, Ritesh Rajyaguru, Rebecca Weber, Last Stop, The Vault, Bill's Convience Store, Raceway, BP, Sheriff's Office, Captain Justin Turner

Establishments Cited. Chesters (Left) Boro Inn (Right)

The Sheriff’s Office began work that Thursday evening and continued into the late hours of the night. In all, 11 establishments were visited, with just under half that number serving drinks to underage purchasers.

Among the establishments that received citations were Rebecca Weber at Chesters, and Brendan Doyle at The Boro Inn. Both of these establishments are located in downtown Blue Ridge.

Also receiving citations were Ritesh Rajyaguru at Raceway located on Highway 515, Jerilyn Cuadill at Exxon located on the corner of Highway 515 and McKinney Road, and William Spriggs at Beer Barn located on East First Street.

Blue Ridge, Fannin County, Georgia, Underage Alcohol Sales, Chesters, Boro Inn, Cheveron, Exxon, Beer Barn, Jerilyn Caudill, William Spriggs, Brendan Doyle, Ritesh Rajyaguru, Rebecca Weber, Last Stop, The Vault, Bill's Convience Store, Raceway, BP, Sheriff's Office, Captain Justin Turner

Establishments Cited. The Beer Barn (L), Raceway (C), Exxon (R)

While nearly half the establishments investigated received citations, six were credited with no sale. Those who refused the sale of alcohol were The Last Stop and The Vault, both located in Downtown Blue Ridge, Cheveron at Josh Hall Road, and Bill’s Convenience Store at the corner of Hwy 2 and Hwy 5, BP on West First Street.

All suspects receiving a citation are scheduled to appear in court on November 13, 2017.

Author

Natalie Kissel

Natalie@FetchYourNews.com

Candidates qualify to run for Council in City of Blue Ridge

News, Politics

BLUE RIDGE, GA – After much anticipation the candidates for Blue Ridge City Government are finally announced. This week marked the qualifying period for City Council and Mayor of Blue Ridge.  FetchYourNews has a full list of qualifying city candidates and the positions they are seeking to fill.

FetchYourNews, Blue Ridge, Mayor, Election 2017, Donna Whitener, Brendan Doyle

Candidates for Mayor
Left: Incumbent Donna Whitener
Right: Challenger N. Brendan Doyle

Candidates for City Council Post 1
Left: Challenger Jane Whaley
Right: Incumbent Harold Herndon

FetchYourNews, Blue Ridge City Council, Post 2, Election 2017, Rhonda Thomas, Angelena Powell

Candidates for City Council Post 2
Left: Incumbent Rhonda Thomas
Right: Challenger Angelena Powell

FetchYourNews, Blue Ridge City Council, Election 2017, Post 3, Kenneth Gaddis, Angie Arp

Candidates for City Council Post 3
Left: Challenger Kenneth Gaddis
Right: Incumbent Angie Arp

FetchYourNews, Blue Ridge City Council, Election 2017, Post 4, Robbie Cornelius, Mike Jacobs

Candidates for City Council Post 4
Left: Robbie Cornelius
Right: Mike Jacobs

FetchYourNews, Blue Ridge City Council, Election 2017, Post 5, Nathan Fitts, David Stuart

Candidates for City Council Post 5
Left: Nathan Fitts
Right: David Stuart

Follow FetchYourNews for the latest information and updates concerning City of Blue Ridge Election 2017.

Author

Natalie Kissel

Natalie@FetchYourNews.com

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