Cities, county, and fire department iron out a plan for hydrants


BLUE RIDGE, Ga – Fannin County Fire Department (FCFD), the cities, and the water authority developed an effective plan to fix current and future out of service hydrants.

In the July 8 meeting, Fire Chief Larry Thomas led representatives from Blue Ridge, McCaysville, Morganton, and Fannin County Water Authority to fix the hydrant issue before the next ISO evaluation.

“The fire department always had a very good working rapport with all the cities,” said Thomas. “We’re all in this together. Everybody in this room needs to pull together as one team.”

Fire Chief Larry Thomas stated that “positive things were happening” during the meeting.

Currently, an estimated 36 fire hydrants are out of service within Fannin County, but the city of Blue Ridge repaired three more.

FCFD created a spreadsheet that listed and located every hydrant within the county. The new directory also identified who’s responsible for each fireplug. Previously, FCFD listed each hydrant by address. The fire department cross-referenced the fireplug addresses with the incident to find the closest one available.

The city of Blue Ridge has approximately 490 hydrants in its geographic information system (GIS) system and are working on physically numbering each one. The fire plugs in Blue Ridge will also be marked with a “B”, so FCFD can identify who’s responsible for the hydrant’s maintenance.

As far as bush hogs potentially damaging hydrants, they proposed added a 12×12 inch square on the inside of the fog line on county roads. Hopefully, it would increase hydrant visibility.

Currently, Blue Ridge has seven hydrants out of service, but repairs should be complete by the end of the month.

A dripping hydrant shouldn’t affect the county’s ISO rating unless it disrupts the flow.

“Some of these hydrants are going to drip. They’re older than I am,” explained Thomas.

The three crews of two full-time firefighters inspecting hydrants will include any impairment that affects performance. Cities or water authority wouldn’t immediately know about the damage because fire plugs break away from the main water line if impaired.

Thomas asked if the water authority or cities add hydrants to inform the FCFD immediately.
Blue Ridge’s Utility Director Rebecca Harkins and Thomas planned to create a work order for FCFD, cities, and the water authority to report out of service hydrants.

Mayor Thomas Seabolt of McCaysville.

The group also addressed flow tests, which measure the static pressure when two hydrants can flow at maximum speed. However, once a flow test begins, it must flow it until it clears. After the initial flow test, once a year, it should be checked, and the city is responsible for any maintenance.

Blue Ridge Mayor Donna Whitener requested if the city could know about flow tests in advance so businesses could be informed well in advance. She also asked if the tests could take place outside of the lunch or dinner times.

Another meeting will take place either in August or September to ensure all hydrants are in service.


Sidewalk Ordinance in the works for City of Blue Ridge


Blue Ridge, Ga. – City Council, along with the Mayor, say that a sidewalk ordinance is in the works. Still in the beginning stages, the sidewalk ordinance stands to address complaints and concerns expressed by local business owners and visitors.

Drew Dillard, owner of Juliana’s Boutique, a clothing and accessory shop on East Main Street, spoke to council about his personal dealings with a particular street performer who regularly sets up in front of his store.

“For the last year I’ve had a street performer set up outside of my store over two dozen times,” Dillard spoke during the Blue Ridge City Council meeting, “He has a donation bucket, a microphone stand, an umbrella , an umbrella stand, his guitar case, a speaker and a large piece of luggage that he uses to role all of his equipment in.”

Dillard pointed out that this vendor essentially blocks the sidewalk and he has witnessed pedestrians having to walk into the street to get around the performer. He questioned if this would cause a liability issue for the city should there be an accident.

The noise from the performer, however, was Dillard’s main complaint when addressing the council. In order to combat the music being played by the performer, Dillard says he has to close the doors to his shop and turn up his own music: “I have had dozens of customers who have complained to me about it, and there’s nothing I can do because there’s no ordinance in place.”

Beyond the noise, liability, and inconvenience street vendors could cause in the city, Dillard also pointed out that “legitimate business owners” also pay a plethora of fees and taxes, including licenses fees, property taxes, and individual taxes. Local businesses also collect sales tax which in turn gets reinvested in our community.  

Dillard suggested that vendors should pay a permit fee and that the city could designate areas for them to set up.

Upon Dillard completing his argument, Mayor Donna Whitener immediately replied that an ordinance was already being worked out.

Council member Nathan Fitts backed Dillard’s complaints stating, “I’ve had several complaints and phone calls too.” 

“Just so you know we’ve already started that process,” City Attorney James Balli spoke of city efforts on the matter.

Balli pointed out that the city has to do its due diligence in composing the ordinance and must be careful in the wording due to First Amendment rights. The City of McCaysville passed a vendor ordinance earlier this year that was met with controversy for this reason after a street preacher claimed that preaching was no longer allowed on the streets.

Regardless of the wait while an ordinance is being drafted, Balli did say referencing the safety and liability issues: “There may be some other things that can be done if someone is blocking the sidewalk.”

Illegal Sewage Dumping in Blue Ridge and Morganton

Announcements, News
illegal dumping

BLUE RIDGE, GA – City of Blue Ridge advises citizens to be on the look on for a septic truck performing illegal dumping of sewage in ponds and manholes across Fannin County.

The truck has dumped raw sewage straight from septic tanks in Morganton and in Blue Ridge.

In one reported instance, a flatbed truck with a tank on it dumped the concentrated septic waste into a local pond. However, the city noted that they can’t confirm the truck is a flatbed and wants everyone to be on the lookout for suspicious activity.

Blue Ridge Police Department is actively patrolling any ponds, manholes, sewer ports for suspicious activity. Currently, the culprits appear to dump mainly during low traffic hours, such as Friday nights and on Saturdays.

Due to the concentrated nature of septic waste, it’s costing the city extra money and manhours to process the material. The city fears the illegal dumping could lead to someone getting sick if the toxic waste ends up in someone’s well water.

Be on the lookout for anything suspicious. The city and law enforcement are asking for a good description of the vehicle or a picture if someone can get one.

The city and authorities are asking for help finding these individuals. If you know anything about them, please call City Hall at 706.632.2091 or call 706.455.0768 after hours.

Fetch Your News will update this story as more information becomes available.

Aska Road clean up scheduled for Spring – Press Release

Community, Outdoors, Press Release

Fannin Spring Clean-up / Aska Road
Saturday, April 6, 9am

Let’s stem the tide of litter in this beautiful mountain county!

To help Fannin County become a safer, healthier and even better place to live, work and play, a series of community events to clean up litter in Fannin County is in the works.

The first clean-up is scheduled for April 6 on Aska Road; an abandoned tire clean-up will be held later in the spring. Tentative dates for future litter clean-ups are July 13 and October 15.

Besides looking trashy, littering / dumping is illegal, encourages more littering / dumping, reflects badly on our community, decreases property values, reduces economic growth, encourages crime, is a highway safety issue, harms natural resources and costs huge amounts of taxpayer money for clean-up and enforcement.

Please join us, the Fannin Litterbusters, to combat this blight:

DATE: Saturday, April 6, 9am; meet at Public Works building, 229 Aska Road.

CLEAN-UP LOCATION: Aska Road, which is one of the most beautiful but unfortunately one of the most littered roads in the county.

VOLUNTEERS NEEDED: Responsible adults are urged to demonstrate their civic and patriotic pride by volunteering for these clean-up efforts. Volunteers are also encouraged to consider participation in Fannin County’s Adopt-a-Road program

SAFETY: Due to safety issues when working close to roadways, volunteers must be at least 18 years of age to participate. For the clean-up event, volunteers are encouraged to have drinking water, safety vests and work gloves. Bags will be provided.

PARTNERS: Fannin County Government, City of Blue Ridge, North Georgia Resource Management Authority, Fannin County Chamber of Commerce, Advanced Disposal Services, local businesses / organizations, residents, and other concerned parties.

QUESTIONS? Contact Marie Woody, Chief Officer of Fannin County Land Development, 706-258-5170.

SIGN UP: [email protected]

Let’s all pitch in to clean up Fannin County!



According to Keep America Beautiful (“Litter in America Factsheet,” January 2010), those under 30 are more likely to litter than those over 30. Communities can reduce their litter rate by

⦁ demonstrating a preference for a litter-free community through on-going efforts to keep litter cleaned up
⦁ setting a standard of caring for the community through improving and beautifying public areas
⦁ stressing individual responsibility for keeping the community clean through messages that emphasize social disapproval of littering

It is illegal under Georgia statute and Fannin County ordinance to litter or dump garbage.

Fannin County has a stringent solid waste ordinance, which applies to littering, dumping, and hauling waste; violators are subject to fines of $410 to $1000 and possible jail time. [Fannin County Solid Waste Ordinance, Chapter 58 of the Fannin County Code of Ordinances]

Anyone hauling a load in Fannin County must secure and cover the load; if not in compliance, the load will be refused at the disposal site.

Citizens witnessing anyone littering, dumping or hauling an unsecured load can report it to Fannin County Land Development at 706-258-5170. For a citation to be issued to the violator, witnesses must provide their name / address / phone number and be willing to appear in court as a witness.

Witnesses are asked to provide as much information as possible, such as name of company if commercial, vehicle tag number, location of the incident, and pictures if available.

Georgia littering statutes state that it is unlawful for anyone to deposit litter or to allow littering on any public or private property or waters in the state. Violators are subject to fines up to $1000 and jail sentences up to 12 months. The driver of the vehicle involved is responsible for any trash that escapes the vehicle. [O.C.G.A. §16-7-42, §16-7-43, §40-6-249]




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 [email protected]

Food Allergy Awareness Week in Blue Ridge, Fannin County May 13-19


[Featured image: Mayor Donna Whitener, seated, signs a proclamation declaring May 13 through 19 to be Food Allergy Awareness Week in Blue Ridge. Seen here at the proclamation signing are, from left to right, Abigail Baliles, Jennifer Addington, Whitener, and City Clerk Kelsey Ledford.]

BLUE RIDGE, Ga. – Blue Ridge Mayor Donna Whitener and Fannin County Board of Commissioners Chairman Stan Helton both signed a proclamations Wednesday, May 2, declaring May 13 through 19 to be Food Allergy Awareness Week in the city of Blue Ridge and in Fannin County.

According to the proclamations, “An estimated 15 million people in the United States have food allergies, including 6 million children under the age of 18.”

In addition, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates food allergies result in over 200,000 ambulatory care visits per year involving children under 18. “Reactions typically occur when an individual unknowingly eats a food containing an ingredient to which they are allergic,” the CDC states.

A copy of the proclamation signed Wednesday, May 2, by Board of Commissioners Chairman Stan Helton declaring May 13 through 19 to be Food Allergy Awareness Week in Fannin County.

On hand for the proclamations was Jennifer Addington, local resident and co-founder of the Northeast Georgia Food Allergy Support Group (NGFASG), and her daughter Abigail Baliles. Increasing allergy awareness in Fannin, Gilmer and Union counties, the NGFASG is formally recognized by Food Allergy Research and Education (FARE) and Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Connection Team (FAACT), both nationally trusted sources of food allergy information in the United States.

Abigail, a seventh-grader at Fannin County Middle School, suffers from egg, peanut and tree nut allergies, which are three of the eight most common food allergies, according to FARE. “Nine out of 10 allergic reactions in the U.S. occur from milk, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, soy, wheat, fish and shellfish,” FARE states.

Addington said although Abigail’s allergies were detected early in her life, the severity of her daughter’s allergies at times can affect the normalcy of a typical middle school aged child, citing school functions such as taking field trips as one common activity where her the safety of her daughter has to be closely considered.

Symptoms of allergic reactions can be mild or severe. Mild symptoms can include a breakout of hives, eczema, redness of skin around the eyes, itchy mouth or ear canal, nausea, diarrhea, stomach pain, nasal congestion, sneezing, coughing, odd tastes in the mouth, and/or uterine contractions. Severe symptoms can include obstructive swelling of the throat, lips and/or tongue, problems swallowing, shortness of breath, turning blue, a decrease in blood pressure, feeling faint, confused and/or weak, loss of consciousness, chest pain, and/or a weak pulse.

“Severe symptoms, alone or in combination with milder symptoms, may be signs of anaphylaxis and require immediate treatment,” FARE explains. “Anaphylaxis is a serious allergic reaction that comes on quickly, often impacts the whole body, and may cause death.”

The proclamation encourages increased awareness of the causes and symptoms of food allergies and anaphylaxis among the citizens of Blue Ridge and Fannin County.

For more information on how one can support the Northeast Georgia Food Allergy Support Group (NGFASG), contact Jennifer Addington at [email protected] or visit the website at

For more information on food allergies, visit the FARE website at



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 [email protected]




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.

GoCo donates receptacles for city to use during Georgia Cities Week

Community, News

[Featured image: Pictured are, from left to right: Jeff Stewart, city zoning; Glenda Herndon, city hall receptionist; Robbie Cornelius, city councilwoman; Kelsey Ledford, city clerk; Josh Golden, owner of GoCo; Donna Whitener, mayor; Becky Harkins, water and utilities director; Barbie Gerald, clerk of court, Sally Smith, city taxes and licensing; and Alicia Stewart, finance director.]

BLUE RIDGE, Ga. – GoCo recently donated four trash receptacles to the city of Blue Ridge to use during Georgia Cities Week April 22 through 28. With the two dumpsters previously by Advanced Disposal, the city has six trash receptacles for residents to use during Georgia Cities Week.

As a part of a citywide clean-up to celebrate the week, residents are asked to bring any waste or trash except for items containing Freon, liquid paint or tires to three area locations:

  • Blue Ridge Farmer’s Market (only small brush and bagged leaves in the Advanced Disposal container);
  • Kiwanis Fairgrounds; and
  • First Baptist Church of Blue Ridge parking lot on the corner of Church and East First streets.

Two other locations – Blue Ridge City Hall and the Ada Street, LLC property near Hampton Square –  have containers in which small brush and bagged leaves can be disposed.

The city of Blue Ridge would like to thank the following people and organizations for their help with this clean-up during Georgia Cities Week: Josh and Erin Golden with GoCo, Richie Walker with Advanced Disposal, the Blue Ridge Kiwanis Club, First Baptist Church of Blue Ridge, and the property owners of Ada Street, LLC.


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 [email protected]


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 attorney decision discussed by Whitener, Thomas-Haight


BLUE RIDGE, Ga. – Following the recent hiring of new Blue Ridge city attorney, James A. Balli, at the Jan. 9 city council meeting, Mayor Donna Whitener and Councilwoman Rhonda Thomas-Haight spoke with FetchYourNews about some of the details regarding the city’s decision to replace former city attorney David Syfan with Balli.

Providing specific reasons for replacing Syfan, both Whitener and Thomas-Haight expressed the need for a change in representation.  “(Syfan’s) been with the city for 20 years,” Thomas-Haight stated. “It’s time for a change. Of course, every four years, we appoint that position, and (with) the new council, we just felt like it was time for a change.”

“As I’ve mentioned several times, I felt like (Syfan) didn’t represent the entire group (of the mayor and council members),” Whitener added. “I want a city attorney that works for all six of us and for the city and the citizens.”

The mayor went on to clarify that Balli has not represented any of the city council members or herself previously. She said, “Of course, that became a little bit of an issue … (The new council) felt like they wanted somebody that represented all of us on an equal playing field.”

Mayor Donna Whitener, left, City Attorney James Balli and Councilwoman Rhonda Thomas-Haight attend the Jan. 9 Blue Ridge City Council meeting.

During the city council meeting, in which Balli was hired, Whitener explained that four candidates, in addition to Syfan, applied for the position of city attorney. Balli was inevitably hired at a reduced rate of $175 per hour with a rate of $200 per hour for time spent representing the city in court. Among the other attorneys who applied for the position were local attorneys Lynn Doss and Cortney Stuart, whose clients include Fannin County and city of McCaysville, respectively, and Atlanta attorney Kelly Michael Hundley, who currently represents the city of Hiram, Georgia, according to information obtained from the city of Blue Ridge.

Doss, who, according to Whitener and Thomas-Haight, withdrew her application from consideration prior to the council meeting, had offered her services to the city at the per-hour rate of $175. Stuart offered a rate of $150 per hour with a $100 monthly retainer fee. Hundley proposed a rate of $150 per hour with a $175 per hour rate for legal proceeding representation.

Though Syfan’s previous per-hour rate of $95 was considerably lower than that of Balli’s current rate, Thomas-Haight explained, “I know sometimes it appeared, in my opinion, as if projects seemed to take a long time.”

In regard to the potential hiring of Stuart, Whitener explained that the Georgia Municipal Association, which provides legislative advocacy and consulting services to member cities, had advised the city against such a relationship citing a potential representational conflict of interest.

The mayor further explained that the proper channels of advertisement for the position were utilized through publication in the legal organ. Whitener also stated that she, as well as all incoming city council members except Harold Herndon, had a chance to meet with Balli individually ahead of the meeting in order to make a determination to hire Balli. Whitener stated Herndon was unable to meet with Balli during any of the attorney’s trips to Blue Ridge due to illness.

“I felt good about (meeting with Balli) because he took the time to reach out to us and wanted to meet us and make sure we all could mesh together if we did choose his firm,” Thomas-Haight said.

“Mr. Balli seems to be a good fit for our city,” Thomas-Haight continued. “He is anxious to work with us, and we seem to all be on the same page with how we want to move forward with the city. He wants to be involved in our council meetings and that was a definite plus because Mr. Syfan, even though the charter states that the (city) attorney shall attend the meetings, he had only been to – to my recollection – five (meetings) in eight years.”

Whitener stated Balli has municipal experience and familiarity with water management. According to Balli’s submitted resume to the city, he currently serves as a board member on the Cobb-Marietta Water Authority.

“Becky (Harkins, director of Blue Ridge Water and Utilities department) was extremely impressed because of his water knowledge, and we’re really working on our policies and procedures, so she felt like he would be very beneficial to us in getting those standards to where they need to be,” Mayor Whitener continued.

So who is James A. Balli?

According to Balli’s resume, he received a B.S. in political science from Georgia College and State University in Milledgeville, Georgia, in 1996 and later received his Juris Doctorate from the Walter F. George School of Law at Mercer University in 1999. Also in 1999, Balli was admitted to the State Bar of Georgia and in 2000 was admitted to the State Bar of Alabama.

Balli served in the United States Air Force Reserve from 1992 to 2000 at Maxwell Air Force Base in Montgomery, Alabama.

Balli currently serves as commissioner on the seven-member Judicial Qualifications Commission of Georgia, which investigates allegations of judicial misconduct of all judges in the state of Georgia. He also currently serves as a board member of the Kennesaw State University Masters of Public Administration Advisory Board where he provides advice and direction to masters’ program students and faculty. Balli has been admitted to practice before the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals, the Armed Services Board of Contract Appeals, the Georgia Court of Appeals, the Alabama Supreme Court, the Alabama Court of Civil Appeals, the Middle Districts of Georgia and Alabama, and the Northern District of Georgia.

Among his recent experience, Balli represented the Atlanta Braves during the organization’s recent move from Fulton County to Cobb County, and his other recent clients have included (David) Ralston for Representative, Inc., BrandsMart USA, and the Cherokee County Board of Commissioners.

Balli is a partner at the Marietta law firm Sams, Larkin, Huff & Balli, LLP, which has represented both county governments on related development issues and commercial and private interests on a variety of issues involving elected officials from state, county and municipal governments.

Commenting on his new position with the city, Balli stated, “I am honored to have the opportunity to serve the citizens of Blue Ridge and to work with the mayor and city council as they work to serve the citizens as well. I think Blue Ridge is the best small town in the state of Georgia, and I am excited to be a part of it moving forward.”

Continue to follow FetchYourNews as we plan to produce a six-month financial comparison of the previous city attorney fees to that of the current city attorney in mid-July.


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 [email protected]


Jason Beck

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

Fire Reported at Walmart Blue Ridge Supercenter


October 21, 2017 Blue Ridge, GA

A minor fire was reported on Saturday, October 21st at the Walmart Blue Ridge Supercenter.  The store is located at 97 Commerce Drive in the City of Blue Ridge,  GA. has talked with authorities who have confirmed a small fire occurred at the Walmart store earlier today.  According to our sources there were no injuries reported.  The cause of the fire, if determined at this point, has not been revealed.  FYN also communicated with the store at approximately 1:30 pm Saturday and learned the store is open for business at this time.

Officers have told us they can confirm the fire however the incident is still under investigation and could not give us any further information.   FYN will bring more information as it becomes available.

Jane Whaley ~ Candidate for Blue Ridge City Council


Dear Voter,

Hi, my name is Jane Whaley. I’m running for the Blue Ridge City Council Post 1. I have been a resident and store owner in the City of Blue Ridge for over 25 years. My mission is to give the people of Blue Ridge their voice again. If elected, I will focus on spending the city’s dollars wisely. I will prioritize spending, focusing first on our infrastructure. Without the proper plumbing under the city we will continue to have problems such as flooding in the downtown streets, stores and residences.

It’s been evident that there are members of the current City Council that do not listen to what their constituents (the city residents and shop owners) have to say. I will help to change that by LISTENING to the people of Blue Ridge making sure their voices are heard when it comes to the matters of moving our city into the future. We must have a solid plan that works for our city and moves it toward the bright future it can have.

I hope you’ll join me in my effort by giving me your vote. We must be preparing for the future, while embracing our past and uniting Blue Ridge again. Thank you.


Jane Whaley

Blue Ridge City Council Candidate Nathan Fitts speaks on the Importance of the City’s Website


If you haven’t seen the City of Blue Ridge website lately, you should take a look: City of Blue Ridge Website   They have updated the site; you now have the convenience of being able to pay your utility bills/taxes/traffic citations online.

If elected, I would like to continue updating the city’s site, adding even more enhancements so that it becomes an ever more valuable tool for our residents and business owners.

My first priority would be to make sure all the information on the site — including city ordinances and budgets — is correct and up-to-date, providing more information and transparency. Once that is completed, I would like to make enhancements that would turn the site into a virtual town square. We could expand the site to include an open city hall where residents could submit questions and concerns to the mayor and city council, raise awareness of community issues, give feedback and exchange ideas.  The City’s website can be one of the most essential tools for meeting the needs of our citizens, and so optimizing it around the citizen experience is crucial.

These are just a few ideas I have for the site. I would certainly welcome your input and suggestions. Feel free to call me at 706-455-9968.

I would like to ask for your vote so that, together, we can make our city’s website and our city a more inter-connected and vibrant place to live and conduct business.

Blue Ridge Business Association Presents the 1st Annual City of Blue Ridge BBQ


The Blue Ridge Business Association cordially invites all city of Blue Ridge residents to a Saturday afternoon BBQ for a “meet and greet” between residents and business owners.  This first annual event presents an opportunity for business owners and residents to break bread together, meet each other and share ideas, insights and opportunities for all.


Citizens Speak, Letters to Editor
Dear Mr. Harbison,
I am offended, shocked, and stunned – but not surprised – at the continuing lack of objectivity and fairness of the News Observer.  I have been a subscriber for more than a decade and a reader for multiple decades.  You are objective and fair with SPORTS reporting, but your paper clearly has a bias –  if not agenda –  in your POLITICAL reporting.  Your front page article in the October 4th edition regarding my wife Jane’s candidacy for City Council treated each allegation and argument of Ms. Barbie Gerald and Mr. Syfan as gospel truth, and made my wife look evasive and untruthful.  Everyone who knows her, knows full well that Jane DOES NOT LIE OR EXAGGERATE, nor did she when signing her qualification affidavit UNDER OATH stating that she was a resident of the City of Blue Ridge qualified to run for a seat on the City Council.  That, sir, is TRUE, and the Superior Court will so rule.
What you didn’t report was the bombshell evidence at the “hearing” that Mr. Syfan represented Angie Arp personally.  Yes, to deprive Jane of her constitutional right to run for public office, Mr. Syfan ginned up a challenge to Jane’s residency and held a so-called “hearing.”   What was clear as a bell (and your reporter knows it because he was there) was that Ms. Gerald was unqualified to be an Election Superintendent thereby allowing her to be exactly what they wanted her to be – a mere pawn and shill for Mr. Syfan and his block of City Council members who have had a choke hold on the City Council for the past 4-8 years.  The resulting dysfunction (to put it charitably) of that controlled council has taken hundreds of thousands of dollars of taxpayer funds from the City and put them into the pockets of none other than Mr. Syfan.  Indeed, he profits from mayhem, confusion, and dissent!  And this election chicanery is just the latest example because it, too, will end up costing the City as it continues to pay for the bad and self-interested advice of a hopelessly conflicted  counselor – Mr. Syfan.
Also newsworthy, but ignored by your paper, was that the delayed occupancy of our home at Sycamore Crossing was DUE TO “THE CITY” which forced us to stop work on our apartment on the second floor over Sycamore Crossing thereby delaying our expected April 2016 move-in.  By the way, Sycamore Crossing is now recognized as the “meeting place” and landmark property in the City of Blue Ridge – and all because of a person who Mr. Syfan and Angie Arp have thrown off the ballot.  Not qualified to run? Garbage!
Look also at page A7 “CANDIDATES SPEAK—”  where you carry photos of eight (8) candidates that chose to attend, participate, speak and answer questions at the only public community forum for the city council election.  Notably, HOWEVER, there were nine (9) candidates there – the ninth being JANE WHALEY who garnered loud applause for her candor, honesty and commitment to Blue Ridge – while her opponent didn’t even do the only thing he has done for the City in his eight (8) years on the council – show up.  Where was your fairness and objectivity on page 7.  Jane will be ordered back onto the ballot, and she will run and win a seat on the City Council.  That is when you will start to truly see a Better Blue Ridge!
Bill Whaley M.D.

City of Blue Ridge water emergency continues

CERT, fannin county, blue ridge, water shortage

Blue Ridge, GA August 6th 2017

The City of Blue Ridge water emergency is still very serious. The City has 2 water pumps. Pump 1 is completely out. They were able to get the pump 2 running yesterday and water levels started to rise. Sometime during the night pump 2 went out again and water levels have dropped to a dangerously low level. They have pump 2 back up and running this morning but the water shortage is serious. They need 2 pumps running to return water to normal levels. The reason the pumps have gone out has yet to be determined. 

The City Pool is closed. Please conserve water. Please do not wash cars or water your lawn. Boil water before using. Mayor Donna Whitener is asking all Blue Ridge water customers to please stop by the City Hall for bottled waters and you can fill your containers with water there as well. Also bottled waters are available at Fannin County Fire Station No. 1. And remember we are still under a Precautionary Boil Water Advisory. This city water crises is not something that is going to end in just a couple of hours so please help conserve water and go to the tanker for clean drinking water.

Water Emergency – Boil Alert – Water Tankers will be at City Hall in Blue Ridge

News spoke with City of Blue Ridge Mayor Donna Whitener early Saturday at 1:30pm, August 5th, who explained the city is continuing to experience an issue at the water plant.  Whitener wanted to make sure residents were aware and ask to please conserve water until the issue is resolved.  Water tankers are expected to be at Blue Ridge City Hall at 4pm today to give out water.  Citizens need to bring containers to get the water.  Also Fannin County Fire Department will hand out water.   FYN will update as more information becomes available.


FANNIN CO EMA: Due to water plant malfunction, Blue Ridge Water System customers are asked to stop all non-essential water usage.  The City of Blue Ridge is experiencing a water emergency.  The water treatment plant is currently shut down due to electrical/mechanical issues.  We are working diligently to solve the problem.  We are asking customers to stop all non-essential water usage such as outdoor watering, car washing, pressure washing and pool fillings.  This is an effort to extend the life of the water left in our storage tanks for essential needs.  We appreciate any and all cooperation in this matter.
FANNIN CO EMA: Precautionary Boil Water Notice : Due to the interruption of power to parts of our water treatment plant, parts of our water system may or may not have dropped to below minimum levels. In the interest of public health we are issuing a precautionary boil water advisory for all City of Blue Ridge water customers. Customers may want to boil water for drinking and cooking prior to use. The water should be boiled for at least one minute after reaching a rolling boil. We will notify customers when the precautionary advisory has been lifted.
                               Water Boil Alert in Blue Ridge


Boil Water Advisory Lifted for the City of Blue Ridge

Downtown Blue Ridge, News
Fannin County Emergency Management Agency, FC EMA, City of Blue Ridge, CERT, water shortage

As of 4:00 P.M. Monday, August 8, 2017, Fannin County EMA notified residents that the boil water advisory has been lifted.  The city continues to work around the clock to fix mechanical errors relating to the pumps at the water plant and asks residents to continue to limit water usage.

Fannin County EMA –

Please be advised the precautionary boil water advisory has been lifted for Blue Ridge Water Customers. Please continue to limit water usage while the system replenishes the supply.

Blue Ridge Water System advises they have 1 pump in operation and the Boil Water alert is lifted

Fannin County Emergency Management Agency, FC EMA, City of Blue Ridge, CERT, water shortage

UPDATE Blue Ridge, GA

One pump on the Blue Ridge water system is now operating and supplying water.  The Boil Water alert is lifted and no longer in effect.  Water customers are asked to continue conserving water until the tanks can refill and both pumps are operational.
The water tanker at City Hall and bottled water distribution at Fire Station 1 will remain in operation this evening.

Fannin County EMA
181 Church St
Blue Ridge, GA 30513

Emergency: 9-1-1
Non-emergencies: 706-632-1958

See Related:  Water Emergency in City of Blue Ridge

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