Update: Details about early morning lumberyard fire

Featured Stories, News

Blue Ridge, Ga. – The Fannin County Fire Department (FCFD) responded to a blaze on Tuesday, Sept. 10 that had early morning commuters concerned and commenting via social media on the size of the fire.

Lumberyard Fire

Fire visible to commuters on Hwy. 515.

Dispatch came out at 5:23 a.m. that there was a commercial fire in the vicinity of 27 Patterson Lane, just short of the Gilmer/Fannin county line.

Emergency personnel were on the scene within 7 minutes, and found that the source of the fire was a structure housing multiple loads of stacked lumber. Also on the property, owned by Charles Sisson, were other structures similarly housing stored lumber.

“They were reporting that it was a structure that was fully involved,” FCFD Fire Chief Larry Thomas said explaining what those who were first to arrive witnessed as the fire was already raging and growing by the minute.

The FCFD was able to set up quickly and began to contain and extinguish the flames. Fannin County Sheriff’s Office parked along Highway 515 to provide the fire department with a visible barrier for commuters to see. This allowed fire engines to shuttle water from a main hydrant to the scene of the fire.

Among those to respond were Engine 1, Engine 11, Engine 12, Engine 16, Medic 1, Medic 11, and Brush 1. Brush 1 is a brush truck which is a smaller 4 wheel drive vehicle equipped with its own pump and capable of getting into areas where the larger engines can not go.

For a brief time the woods directly behind the structure also became involved with the fire.

“It wasn’t traveling at a high rate of speed in the woods,” Thomas said of the fire’s path and added, “We did call Georgia Forestry in.”

Georgia Forestry Commission is equipped to handle brush fires. A team of two arrived from the department with a bulldozer and helped to put out the small amount of spread left in the woods. They also established a fire break to help prevent any more spread to the wooded area from the large structure fire.

fannin county fire department

The structure at the time of being fully involved.

The Georgia Forestry Commission then used the bulldozer to move extinguished lumber away from the woods to prevent any spread through hot-spots left in the lumber.

The fire was contained to the single structure without spreading to neighboring structures and was extinguished. Crews left the scene at 12:48 pm.

In total 14 firefighters from the FCFD responded to the early morning emergency and all left the scene without any reported injuries. No workers from Sisson lumberyard were present at the time of the fire.

Tri-State Electric Membership Corporation (EMC) responded to the property and reported that there was no electricity running to the building at the time of the incident. The cause of the fire is still under investigation. 

“The team did a great job,” Thomas said of the efforts of all involved. He expressed thanks to the Georgia Forestry Commission and the Fannin County Sheriff’s Office.

Thomas added, expressing his gratitude for those on the roadway, “Traffic got a little heavy because of the morning commute, but everyone on the road yielded to our vehicles as we went to the scene, and while we were shuttling water.” He would like to give a special thanks to those citizens traveling Hwy. 515 that morning for using caution while passing through the area.

 

 

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Arson the Cause of McCaysville Chicken House Fire

Community, Fannin County EMA/EMS

McCaysville, Ga – A fire investigator with the Insurance and Safety Fire Commissioner’s Office has determined that someone intentionally set fire to a chicken house in Fannin County.

The chicken house located on 260 Old Silver Mine Road caught fire around 8:49 Monday morning with the fire department receiving the dispatch call at 8:50 a.m.

“One chicken house was totally destroyed, and the adjacent house is lightly damaged,” said Safety Fire Commissioner Jim Beck. “The houses were constructed in 1985, and each is 15,200 square feet. Approximately 8,500 chickens were lost in the fire.”

Jim Beck headshot

Jim Beck wants anyone with information about the fire to come forward.

Once crews arrived on the scene at 9:06 a.m., the flames had already engulfed the structure. Teams quickly moved to try and prevent the fire from spreading to the remaining chicken house and neighboring forested area.

Seven trucks and 12 firefighters worked to stop the blaze. Engine four deployed two jump lines or three attack lines to the structure. Engines five, six, and tanker five served as a boosting pump to help keep the water ready while tankers four, five, and six supplied the water to the chicken house. It took 20,000 gallons of water to put out the fire. Crews finally extinguished the fire at 4:11 p.m. on Monday.

Firefighters succeeded in preventing the fire from spreading to the second chicken house or the woods. However, the heat of the fire melted the curtains on the remaining house. Also, Georgia Forestry arrived to help protect the woods from becoming endangered.

The farm’s owner John Trotter was out of town at the time, but the manager Davis Frasher was present. Also, Pilgrim’s, the owner of the chickens, received notification about the fire. 100 chickens did survive by escaping when the house collapsed.

Pilgrim's logo

Pilgrim’s owns the chickens and John Trotter owns the houses.

Safety Fire Commissioner Jim Beck is asking anyone with knowledge about this fire to call the Arson Hotline at 1‐800‐282‐5804. Rewards are offered of up to $10,000 for information that leads to the arrest and conviction of the arsonist(s). Calls are taken 24 hours a day and callers can choose to remain anonymous.

Investigators with the Safety Fire Commissioner’s Office are assisting the Fannin County Sheriff’s Office and the Fannin County Fire Department with this investigation.

Fannin County Fire Department upgrades life saving equipment

Community, Fannin County EMA/EMS, News

Blue Ridge, Ga. – “I would like to say at this time, thanks to the public for the donations, and the taxpayers here in the county that are taking care of us,” Fannin County Fire Chief Larry Thomas spoke to the Board of Commissioners (BOC) on Tuesday about the purchase of new equipment for the department.

The Fannin County Fire Department will see an upgrade to their life-saving hydraulic extraction tools, better known as the Jaws of Life.

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An example of Jaws of Life being used for extrication.

Thomas informed the BOC that volunteer firefighters had voted late in 2018 to use money from their donation account to purchase the new equipment: “The volunteers, in one of our volunteer meetings, voted to go ahead and start upgrading the Jaws of Life, the extrication tools that we carry on some of our vehicles.”

After researching pricing, the fire department chose to go with Hurst to provide this new equipment. Hurst now provides a battery operated version of this tool that can be operated by a single person.

This upgrade will save time for local rescuers who are often put in situations where every minute matters.

“Before, in the beginning, way back, it took two people to use a set of jaws,” Thomas said explaining the importance of the equipment upgrade.
The total price for three new sets of Jaws of Life would come to approximately $60,000. Thomas explained that his department had already put $17,000 towards this total with the intention of applying another $7,300 in the near future.

Although the fire department has enough funds available in the donation account, Thomas stated that they would like to finance the remaining amount of approximately $35,000 as to not deplete all monies currently in the donation account.

In order finance this remaining balance, Fannin County would need to “cosign” for the loan, as most banks cannot loan to volunteer groups.

Post 1 Commissioner Earl Johnson asked for clarification on the terms of the loan being sought, to which Thomas replied that they would be seeking a three year repayment period.

Although the loan terms would be set for three years, Thomas stated, “We’re hoping to pay it off next year” and pointed to the history the department has with paying off any loan debt before the loan fully matures.

“I think it’s a great thing really,” Fannin County Chairman Stan Helton expressed his opinion before the vote. “I appreciate the volunteers and the money they have brought in to pay for equipment that is going to serve the public.”

The three commissioners voted in favor of signing off on a loan for the fire department, and bringing this life saving upgrade to the county.

 

 

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

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Four life-flighted after car accident on Scenic Drive

Fannin County EMA/EMS, News

Blue Ridge, Ga. – A head on collision left four adults having to be emergency flighted to Erlanger Hospital in Chattanooga.

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Scene of head on collision on Scenic Drive.

James Dickey of Blue Ridge, Ga., was traveling southbound on Scenic Drive shortly after 9:00 a.m. on Thursday, June 7. Dickey had with him passengers, Gary Patterson (Blue Ridge) and Kimberly Patterson (Blue Ridge).

Dickey’s Ford F-150 crossed the center lane while navigating one of Scenic Drive’s many curves and struck a Ford Escape head on. The Escape was driven by Heather Seigler who is also a resident of Blue Ridge, Ga.

After the impact Dickey’s truck overturned onto it’s right side. Gary Patterson, who was not wearing a seat belt, was completely ejected from the vehicle.

The Escape, driven by Seigler, spun several times before coming to a stop.

Emergency crews were on the scene within 10 minutes of receiving dispatch and determined that the car accident victims would need to be taken to Erlanger Hospital, the area’s nearest trauma facility, for treatment.

Four Life Force helicopters arrived to airlift the victims who were all suspected of having serious injuries.

As of Monday, June 11, Kimberly Patterson and Heather Seigler are still admitted at Erlanger Hospital for continued treatment. Passenger Gary Patterson has been discharged from the facility. The condition of driver James Dickey was unable to be confirmed.

Charges involving the accident are pending.

 

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

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Natalie Kissel

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Lightning strike destroys home in Blue Ridge

Fannin County EMA/EMS, News

BLUE RIDGE, Ga. – A lightning strike is responsible for a fire that ended with the total loss of a family home in Blue Ridge.

The Fannin County Fire Department was dispatched to a call of a reported lightning strike shortly after 5 p.m. Thursday, May 31. After stepping out the door of Fire Station 1 in downtown Blue Ridge, Fire Chief Larry Thomas quickly realized that the reported lightning strike had resulted in a fire.

Smoke was seen from downtown Blue Ridge bellowing high into the air quickly turning from a light gray smoke to a deep black.

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Smoke was visible from the home fire in downtown Blue Ridge.

“Black smoke is what you get from house fires,” Thomas explained of the sight from downtown Blue Ridge. “The synthetic materials that make up a home and that are found in a home will account for this.”

Thomas described pulling up to the scene of the fire: “We arrived less than 10 minutes after dispatch and found the house 40 to 50 percent involved with flames that had already vented through the roof.”

When arriving on the scene, crews were able to move three vehicles near the structure. These vehicles are known as exposures.

Exposures are potentials for a fire resulting from another fire outside of the primary building, structure, or vehicle. In this case crews identified the vehicles as having a potential for resulting in a secondary hazard and were able to remove them safely.

Firefighters were also able to protect a nearby garage and two other vehicles from becoming part of the inferno.

The home located on Wild Iris Trail belongs to the Tankersley family, owners of Willow Creek Falls and Vineyard. While the family was not physically harmed during the fire, it has been confirmed that some of their beloved pets were unable to escape.

Despite time-saving tactics and added water supply, fire fighters were unable to save the home, and it was deemed a total loss.

While the weather of the evening aided in containing the fire to the structure, it also combated efforts to save the home itself.

Thomas stated the rains helped to keep the fire from spreading to the surrounding terrain, but the steady winds that accompanied the storms progressed the fire through the home.

“The wind would shift direction and that affected the high fire. It would actually force the fire back into and down through the attic space,” Thomas said, explaining how the fire spread, “and then the low fire was just eating its way in on the ground.”

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A tree near the home received a direct hit by lightning and is the cause of the resulting house fire.

The fire began as a result of a lightning strike to a nearby tree. The electricity from the strike moved through the roots of the tree where it made contact with underground utilities, and moved into the home.

Fires resulting from lightning strikes are seen annually in our area. Most notably seen in recent times, the Cohutta Wilderness Wildfire destroyed thousands of acres and lasted several months in late 2016.

“Lightning doesn’t have to hit your house to start the fire,” Thomas explained of the nature of fires caused by lightning. “It can strike anything nearby, a tree or utilities. It can then travel through the tree roots or underground lines, anything that conducts electricity, and reach the home.”

Firefighters responded to a second call of a lightning strike-induced fire on the evening of May 31. This strike had moved through a gas line connecting to a home. The homeowner in this case was able to shut off the gas supply and extinguish the fire before major damage was done.

“The best thing people can do, is just stay vigilant during these storms,” Thomas said as he acknowledged the unpredictability of storms and lightning in general.

Crews were on the scene of the house fire on Wild Iris Trail for approximately seven hours. A total of 22 firefighters helped to combat the blaze. Medics, as well as members of the Fannin County Community Emergency Response Team (CERT), were also present to provide emergency personnel with rehabilitation services such as oxygen and a dry area. Fannin County Sheriff’s Office responded to the scene to direct traffic.

 

[Featured image: The home located on Wild Iris Trail as fire fighters worked to battle the blaze.]

 

 

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

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Natalie Kissel

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Fannin County candidates speak at local forum

Election 2018

BLUE RIDGE, Ga. – The Fannin County Chamber of Commerce, along with the Blue Ridge Community Theater, hosted a candidate forum May 3 to give voters an opportunity to hear first-hand local candidates’ responses to questions about issues facing our area.

All persons running for positions on the Fannin County Board of Education and for the seat of Fannin County Post 2 Commissioner were present to share their views and explain why they should have your vote in the upcoming election.

SCHOOL BOARD

Blue Ridge, Fannin County, Georgia, May Primary Election 2018, General Election 2018, Fannin County Post 2 Commissioner, Fannin County Board of Education, Fannin County Fire Department, Fannin County Emergency Management, Fannin County Chairman, Stan Helton, Dixie Carter, Larry Joe Sosebee, William Tripp Ritchie, Glenn Patterson, Bobby Bearden, Jeff Depaola, Marvin Allen, Stave Stanley, Susan DeMoura, Mike Sullivan, Mike Cole, Ron Bolin, Democrat, Republican, Candidate Forum, Platform, Issues, Blue Ridge Community Theater, Fannin County Chamber of Commerce

Pictured are, from left to right: Jeff DePaola (D), Marvin Allen (R), and Bobby Bearden (R).

First to take the stage were Marvin Allen (R), Bobby Bearden (R), and Jeff DePaola (D).

Allen is challenging incumbent Bearden in the May General Primary for the Republican nomination. The winner of the primary will face Democrat DePaola in the November General Election.

 

 

BOBBY BEARDEN (R) INCUMBENT

Bobby Bearden, who has served on the Fannin County Board of Education for 16 years, said, “If it isn’t broke, don’t fix it.”

Bearden added about his time serving, “It’s more than a privilege. It’s a blessing and an honor.”

While agreeing with his fellow candidates on many of the issues such as a board member must be a liaison between the community, parents, teachers, and students, Bearden gave insight into his feelings about what it takes to be an effective board member and what it means to serve.

“A lot of people think that the school board runs the schools, but the school board does not run the schools,” Bearden said. “The superintendent runs the schools. The school board makes sure the superintendent carries out the policies.”

Bearden spoke of accomplishments of the school board during his service specifically citing the Performing Arts Center (PAC) and the construction taking place of the new agricultural facility located on Ada Street: “I’ve got so much behind me I couldn’t tell you all of it.”

“I just heard today that we applied for a grant, a literacy grant for over 1 million bucks,” Bearden said, smiling, “and we got it.”

Bearden’s platform is unwavering, stating his top priorities are “children, children, children, and the tax payers of Fannin County.” He states that safety and quality education are his main focus.

MARVIN ALLEN (R) CHALLENGER

Marvin Allen is a product of the Fannin County School System and has raised his children in Fannin County where they all attended our public schools.

“The platform I’m running on is my concerns for the children of Fannin County,” Allen addressed the crowd of voters. “Their safety is certainly number one. Next on the list is education. Another issue I am concerned about is the consideration of the tax-paying citizens of the county.”

Allen would like to work with the superintendent to produce quality policies that make a difference and to be a good steward of taxpayers dollars when it comes to the budget.

Having helped initiate the school system’s fishing program and by being involved with his children’s educations as well as their extracurricular activities, including sports and band, Allen feels that he is qualified for a position on the Board of Education.

When asked what makes an effective school board member, Allen replied that listening and communicating with the community is a large part of the responsibility, but also being able to effectively take care of business: “There are policies you’ve got to set and a budget you’ve got to monitor.”

JEFF DEPAOLA (D) CHALLENGER

Jeff DePaola has worked with youth via mentoring programs and shows a strong resolve in helping children through community involvement.

DePaola feels that this mentoring background along with his career provides him with the experience needed to serve on the Fannin County Board of Education.

DePaola began his career with Delta at the young age of 19. Through Delta, DePaola learned the field of computer programming and went on to write and implement many programs used in this field.

“I’ve got kind of an entrepreneurial spirit about me. I feel like I have a good eye for looking at a situation and seeing opportunities to make it better,” DePaola spoke of how his career will translate on the school board.

DePaola would like to be a liason if elected to the school board. He feels that a large portion of the duty of a board member is to gather as much information as possible from students, teachers, parents and the community, and relay that information into meaningful policies.

“The platform I’m running on is opportunity through community,” DePaola stated of his goals if elected.

SCHOOL BOARD

Blue Ridge, Fannin County, Georgia, May Primary Election 2018, General Election 2018, Fannin County Post 2 Commissioner, Fannin County Board of Education, Fannin County Fire Department, Fannin County Emergency Management, Fannin County Chairman, Stan Helton, Dixie Carter, Larry Joe Sosebee, William Tripp Ritchie, Glenn Patterson, Bobby Bearden, Jeff Depaola, Marvin Allen, Stave Stanley, Susan DeMoura, Mike Sullivan, Mike Cole, Ron Bolin, Democrat, Republican, Candidate Forum, Platform, Issues, Blue Ridge Community Theater, Fannin County Chamber of Commerce

Pictured are, from left to right: Susan DeMoura (D), Mike Sullivan (R), Mike Cole (R), Ron Bolin (R), and Steve Stanley (R).

Next to come to the stage was the race with the largest number of candidates. These candidates include Ron Bolin (R), Mike Cole (R), Susan DeMoura (D), Steve Stanley (R), and Mike Sullivan (R).

Bolin, Cole and Sullivan are all challengers of incumbent Stanley for the Republican nomination in the May General Primary. The winner of the primary will go on to face Democrat DeMoura in the November General Election.

 

 

RON BOLIN (R) CHALLENGER

Ron Bolin opened his statements by giving voters a glimpse into his background: “I’m a retired educator. I’ve taught at all three grade levels, elementary, middle, and high school.”

Beyond having taught, Bolin has also spent time in coaching and in school administration.

Bolin is a proponent of literacy and would like to focus school assets into providing a number of tools to promote and teach these skills. Having served many years in education, Bolin stated, “When a student lags behind in this area, it makes more difficulties throughout their entire education.”

Bolin would also like to see focus put on bringing back vocational training to our schools. He believes that education has “made a huge mistake” by putting all the focus on college education and that many students do not attend college and would greatly benefit from vocational training.

MIKE COLE (R) CHALLENGER

Mike Cole is a product of the Fannin County School System and credits his success to the start he got in our county’s schools.

Cole, a small business owner, began his training at Fannin County High School in the now un-offered vocational and technical programs. Having a successful career with General Motors (GM) and Chrysler, Cole returned to Fannin County to open his own automotive repair shop.

Cole is now a strong advocate for returning programs such as transportation class, cosmetology, residential wiring, plumbing, and welding to Fannin County schools.

“I’m not just a salesman,” Cole said, speaking of his opponent Bolin’s stance to bring back vocational classes, “but I am a client. I went through this vocational system, and I now own a business doing my career path from career tech.”

Cole now has a young child enrolled in the school system, and from involvement in his child’s education, he sees areas of what he feels are wasteful spending and mismanagement.

Citing that he has personally had to provide water to children on a field trip and has seen first-hand large amounts of food being thrown away in the schools’ cafeterias, Cole stated, “If we are a charter school and can make some decisions, we need to make decisions about the waste and mismanagement in that area.”

Cole also brought to the table the idea of using Georgia Virtual on snow days. He stated that if each child were provided a Chromebook that this option could be used to alleviate the issue of make-up school days due to inclement weather.

SUSAN DEMOURA (D) CHALLENGER

Susan DeMoura shared her experience of being a director of a rehabilitation center. With a master’s in speech language pathology, DeMoura worked many years managing a large staff and being in charge of an equally as large budget.

“I believe that my experience has prepared me to sit on this board,” DeMoura explained that she is used to working with many diverse people, “and become a liaison between the superintendent and the students and the teachers and the parents.”

When asked if school boards should be moved to a nonpartisan position, DeMoura stated that she is proud to be a member of her political party, but “I don’t see this as an area where politics need to come into play.”

DeMoura said that a key area she would like to research and try to resolve is the issue of absences in Fannin County. She cited that not all absences are due to illness and some stem from a child’s home life. DeMoura would like to provide options for these children to ensure that they are able to attend school everyday.

“My goal is to try to bridge any gap that exists,” DeMoura said of her hopes if elected,”with our students and our parents and teachers and provide the very best options, the very best alternatives for them.”

STEVE STANLEY (R) INCUMBENT

Steve Stanley has served on the Board of Education for eight years and would like to be re-elected for another four year term.

Stanley is proud of his record with the Board of Education citing several successes that have come to pass during his terms. He spoke of grants that have been awarded and progresses that have been made on all school campuses.

With Quality Basic Education (QBE) being fully funded by the state of Georgia for the first time in a number of years, Stanley stated that he will continue to be an advocate for equal state funding for Fannin County schools.

“This board will continue to work,” Stanley stated of his expectations if re-elected, “and I will continue to work.”

Stanley stated that the one thing he would do differently if elected for another term would be to spend more time in the schools.

“That has been the one thing I have wanted to do since I have been on the board is spend more time in schools,” Stanley said, explaining that his work has kept him away from spending as much time as he would like in the schools.

MIKE SULLIVAN (R) CHALLENGER

Mike Sullivan remains steadfast in his platform. Two of Sullivan’s key issues are that of school safety and of complete transparency on all levels.

Sullivan would like to see no stone left unturned when it comes to the safety of the children of Fannin County. Pursuing every option to acquire top notch safety is an issue the Sullivan is very passionate about.

Sullivan was asked of what he has done to prepare himself for the school board position if elected. He cited that beyond having attended the Board of Education monthly meetings, his military background is another advantage that he possesses.

“The military really prepares you a lot for working with diverse people,” the Air Force veteran spoke of his credentials for the Board of Education, “and I believe our board is comprised of some diverse individuals. It really prepares you for conflict.”

Sullivan agreed with his opponents on a number of issues, including that the school board should be a nonpartisan position and that the best way to keep quality teachers is to offer competitive pay and incentives.

When asked what he would do differently from incumbent Stanley, Sullivan replied that he would have active engagement on all levels, with students, parents, teachers, and fellow board members.

“We really have tremendous capabilities here,” Sullivan stated enthusiastically of his intentions, “to really excel with our kids and to lead them beyond being just 21st century learners.”

POST 2 COMMISSIONER

Blue Ridge, Fannin County, Georgia, May Primary Election 2018, General Election 2018, Fannin County Post 2 Commissioner, Fannin County Board of Education, Fannin County Fire Department, Fannin County Emergency Management, Fannin County Chairman, Stan Helton, Dixie Carter, Larry Joe Sosebee, William Tripp Ritchie, Glenn Patterson, Bobby Bearden, Jeff Depaola, Marvin Allen, Stave Stanley, Susan DeMoura, Mike Sullivan, Mike Cole, Ron Bolin, Democrat, Republican, Candidate Forum, Platform, Issues, Blue Ridge Community Theater, Fannin County Chamber of Commerce

Pictured are, from left to right: William “Tripp” Ritchie (R), Glenn Patterson (R), Dixie Carter (D), and Larry Joe Sosebee (R)

The final group of candidates to take the stage were those running for Fannin County Post 2 Commissioner. These candidates included Dixie Carter (D), Glenn Patterson (R), Larry Joe Sosebee (R), and William “Tripp” Ritchie (R).

Ritchie and Patterson are facing incumbent Sosebee for the Republican nomination in the May General Primary. The winner of this primary will go against Democrat Carter in the November General Election.

 

 

DIXIE CARTER (D) CHALLENGER

Dixie Carter holds a bachelor’s and master’s degree in social work, and she feels that having worked many years in this field, she has a good understanding of people and their needs and for this reason would make an ideal candidate.

Carter is a proponent of improving the county’s recreational areas and of seeking ways to move the county’s library out of the courthouse and into a stand-alone location.

A library is a hub for many communities, according to Carter, and a place where not only learning can take place, but a facility that can offer community classes and lectures, Internet for those without, and social work and aid for those in need.

When asked about a county aquatic center, Carter replied that she would be in favor and that it would be “very beneficial to focus on our health and wellness.”

Rather than just fund this center locally, Carter feels that we could look into regional funding: “Regional collaboration is a very good thing.” She feels that surrounding counties might take interest since the center would be beneficial to their residents as well.

Carter would be in favor of expanding the current Fannin County Board of Commissioners from a three-person panel to a five-person panel.

“With three there’s a monopoly on the vote,” Carter stated of the matter. “It’s almost like it’s rigged.”

If elected, Carter said she will work to represent all citizens of Fannin County and work to change the atmosphere of the Board of Commissioners meetings, which she feels has a negative tone.

GLENN PATTERSON (R) CHALLENGER

Glenn Patterson is an educator of 33 years and has spent approximately 23 of those years as a teacher, administrator, and coach in Fannin County. Patterson currently serves on the Board of Directors at the Fannin Christian Learning Center and is chairman for Fannin County Sports Hall of Fame.

Patterson said that he has no private agenda in running, just a vision and a want to make Fannin County better.

Being a good steward of the taxpayers’ money is a key element to Patterson’s platform, and a topic that he reiterated in his answers.

When asked about the county collaborating with the cities to provide an aquatic center, Patterson replied, “I would be open to look at it. I really would. A lot of factors come into play, especially paying for it.”

One area where Patterson seemed to agree with incumbent Sosebee was in not expanding the Board of Commissioners to a five-member board and keeping it at its current three member status. While he did not say that he was completely against the move, Patterson did cite that there is another way to approach the matter.

“I think the biggest thing is to get good people,” Patter said, explaining his stance. “Get people that you can trust. Get people that will work together collaboratively for a common goal.”

LARRY JOE SOSEBEE (R) INCUMBENT

Larry Joe Sosebee has held the Post 2 Commission seat since 2011 and will be seeking a third term in office.

Sosebee stated that his platform has never changed and that he will be running on the same ideals: “When I first ran for this office, my platform was for the safety and prosperity for each citizen of Fannin County.”

Not in support of turning the Board of Commissioners into a five-member board, Sosebee spoke frankly on the matter: “Three people is enough to butt heads on these decisions we make.”

Sosebee told the crowd that he would be in favor of a stand-alone building for the county library: “I’ve always supported a stand-alone library.” He then added,” I wouldn’t put the county in any bond debt whatsoever for any facility.”

Rival candidate Tripp Ritchie questioned the county’s planning strategy for the future and in particular cited the county’s emergency departments. Sosebee took offense to Ritchie’s comments and replied about these departments, “We are top notch in the state of Georgia.”

“All it takes is common sense to run this office,” Sosebee said and added that with his experience, he feels that he is the man for the job.

WILLIAM “TRIPP” RITCHIE (R) CHALLENGER

Tripp Ritchie, a sixth-generation Fannin County resident, co-owner of Ritchie Creek Farm, Inc., and a veteran of the United States Marine Corps., did not hold back during the forum as he spoke frankly about areas of the county that he feels need to be improved.

Ritchie has held strong to his belief that the county lacks proper strategic planning, and one downfall of not having such a plan is in newly constructed facilities: “We need a five-year capital improvements plan.”

“If it’s not in a capital improvements program,” Ritchie added, “you end up starting construction without knowing how you are going to pay for it.”

Ritchie also noted areas in how the Board of Commissioners run that could be improved for the public: “I don’t think we have enough public debate or public comments.”

Accusing Fannin County Commission Chairman Stan Helton of “weaponizing” his position by having complete say in meeting agendas and arrangements, Ritchie added, “We should encourage everybody to have input from the community. We seem to forget that we are representing the citizens of Fannin County.”

Ritchie said that he would support changing the current commission board from three members to five members: “Yes, and I would go a step further. I’d change the form of government between a volunteer-elected board and a manager.”

Having a county manager to organize and oversee all areas of the county government, according to Ritchie, would be beneficial not just in efficiency but also in transparency.

Finally, Ritchie addressed the issue of our emergency management departments and said that this is another area that would greatly benefit from strategic planning. He feels the county should do more to prepare these departments for future demand.

Ritchie also cited that he had been informed that our fire department facilities are not up to code, some not being properly vented, and that firefighters had expressed concern to him about their safety: “They asked me to bring these issues to the commissioners attention. They felt like the commission didn’t have their back.”

Ritchie maintains that he is the right person for the job because he will proactively seek solutions: “I’m not a politician. I’m a pragmatist. I see a problem, and I go try to fix it.”

 

Early voting continues in Fannin County through May 18. You can place your early vote at the Fannin County Courthouse, 3rd Floor, Office of Elections and Registration. Regular voting for the General Primary will take place on May 22. The 2018 General Election is to be held Nov. 6.

 

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

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Natalie Kissel

Natalie@FetchYourNews.com

Fannin Fire Department recognized by Copperhill/McCaysville First Baptist

Fannin County EMA/EMS, Religion

[Featured image: First Baptist Church of Copperhill/McCaysville presented a memento of appreciation to Fire Chief Larry Thomas, far right, and the Fannin County Fire Department during the church’s Sunday morning service May 6. Seen here with Thomas are, from left, Ryan Norton, FBC minister of worship, and Rev. Matthew McDaniel, FBC pastor.]

McCAYSVILLE, Ga. – The Fannin County Fire Department (FCFD) was recognized by First Baptist Church of Copperhill, Tennessee, and McCaysville, Georgia, for its efforts and dedication to the community in a special service and dinner Sunday, May 6.

Pastor Matthew McDaniel presented Fire Chief Larry Thomas with a crystal memento of appreciation, honoring the fire department and first responders during the church’s Sunday morning services this past weekend.

First Baptist Church of Copperhill/McCaysville presented this crystal memento to the Fannin County Fire Department Sunday, May 6.

The memento, inscribed with the words “Thank you for your Great Efforts and Dedication to Saving lives and Property,” was given to the department as part of a recognition for all the firefighters and emergency personnel who responded to a fire at the church Tuesday, Jan. 2.

The fire, which resulted from boxes being stacked against a wall heater that was thought to have been inoperable in the church’s balcony, saw a quick response from the fire department that afternoon as crews were able to extinguish the blaze with no injuries before it spread to other areas of the church.

Recalling the day’s events, Chief Thomas stated the fire occurred between 4 p.m. and 5 p.m., the busiest time of day on the narrow streets of the twin cities.

“I always say a prayer on the way to a call. That day, it was like the Lord just parted the waters as we approached the church,” Thomas said of the ease with which crews were able to reach the fire through rush hour traffic.

As a result of the blaze, First Baptist was forced to temporarily relocate its Sunday morning services for eight weeks to Akins Funeral Home of Copperhill, but returned to its sanctuary on Toccoa Avenue in McCaysville Sunday, March 4.

“It was an honor to be able to recognize (FCFD) and show our appreciation not only for what they’ve done for us, but also for what they do for our community all the time on behalf of everybody, on behalf of the whole community,” Rev. McDaniel stated. “They make a lot of sacrifices, and most of the time, we don’t take into account all that they do for us. And we just appreciate it so much.”

Pastor Matthew McDaniel, of First Baptist Church of Copperhill/McCaysville, presents Fannin County Fire Chief Larry Thomas, left, with a memento of appreciation Sunday, May 6.

Choking back a couple of tears back in his office Wednesday morning, Chief Thomas stated of the community in which he and his department serves, “They do care. They are very interested in what we do. It was an honor to stand up there (Sunday) and accept this recognition. The people of the county really care for us.”

Also Wednesday morning, several members of FCFD and Fannin County Emergency Medical Services (EMS) and Emergency Management Agency (EMA) gathered at Fire Station 1 for a small ceremony as the three recently added fire engines and two new ambulances were on full display outside the downtown station on West Main Street.

The five emergency vehicles represented some of the additions to the county’s emergency fleet purchased within the last year. In addition, according to Thomas, two used frontline pumper engines have also been added to the fleet. The newer engines, purchased for $240,749 on a six-year payment plan, provides the county with a Class A pumper at every station, Thomas added.

Five newly acquired emergency vehicles were on display Wednesday, May 9, outside of Fire Station 1 on West Main Street. Seen here are, from left, front: Cory Collogan, training chief; Robert Graham, EMA director; Larry Joe Sosebee, county commissioner; Larry Thomas, fire chief; Rob Ross, deputy fire chief; Darrell Payne, EMA deputy director; Brad Beaver, firefighter; Channing Johnstone, firefighter; back: Joey Cox, EMS; Eddie Hopkins, paramedic; Patrick Cooke, E-911 deputy director; and John Reel, E-911.

The ambulances, which were purchased for approximately $124,000 each from the emergency services budget, brings the total ambulance fleet for the county to seven, according to EMA Director Robert Graham.

“We’ve had every one of the new fire engines out on a fire already,” Thomas said Wednesday. “The department is stepping forward in a giant leap right now.”

 

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.

Circulation, juvenile attendance continue to rise at library

Community, News

BLUE RIDGE, Ga. – Branch Librarian Andrew delivered positive news in his branch manager’s report during the April 19 Fannin County Public Library Board meeting.

Vickers announced that total circulation for the library’s third quarter of fiscal year 2017-18 (January, February and March) was up by 6 percent over the third quarter of last year. According to Vickers’ report, 16,386 items were checked out during the quarter this year as opposed to 15,386 in last year’s third quarter.

Despite the fact that overall attendance experienced a 3 percent decline from last year, Vickers did report that juvenile attendance was up for the quarter by 20 percent. Overall for the quarter, 11,388 patrons visited FCPL in the first three months of 2018.

“With the weather we’ve had, to only be down 3 percent (in total attendance) that strikes me as being actually pretty good,” FCPL Board member John Turner stated.

“Every time I come in, I’m always impressed with the number of people that are in the library, using the library, using the computers, wandering the stacks,” FCPL Board Chairman Gordon Riddoch said. “I always think, for myself, we have to park down the street and walk over here. It’s amazing the attendance we have (because) we have to fight all the elements and everything else to get here.”

Vickers also presented the financial report for the third quarter. According to the report, the beginning balance for the quarter was $9,521.13 and as of March 31 stood at $11,322.50. However, Vickers explained that since the end of March, the library had purchased about $1,400 in furniture upgrades. Regarding the purchase of the new furniture, Vickers stated, most of the cost was covered from $1,200 in donations to the library in memory of longtime library patron Dan Berry, who recently passed away.

Other donations received by the library during the quarter included a $250 donation from Emily Griesinger, who works in the English department at Azusa Pacific University in Azusa, California. Vickers stated Griesinger specifically requested for the donation to be spent purchasing Caldecott Award-winning and Honor books for FCPL. Another donation of $500 was given to the library from Rhapsody in Blue during the quarter. Vickers also said the Friends of the Library had approved a $750 donation that had not yet processed.

Also in the financial report, Vickers mentioned the library had purchased 241 unabridged audio books for just over $1,500.00, which amounted to a $6.40 cost per audio book. “Which is definitely a bargain,” Vickers added, “especially when you look at the average cost of an audio book is about $25.”

The financial report was approved by the board unanimously.

Vickers also updated the board on recent library activities and upcoming library events. In March, the library celebrated the birthday of Theodor Seuss Geisel, aka Dr. Seuss, with a birthday party and a Cat in the Hat performance from Reuben Haller. According to Vickers, 50 children and 45 adults attended the event held at First Baptist Church of Blue Ridge.

The library recently added a second Storytime session with library assistant Darcy Arnell on Tuesdays. Arnell now leads Storytime sessions at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. every Tuesday. Vickers stated that the 11 a.m. Storytime session Tuesday, April 17, saw 20 children and 13 adults in attendance. “That’s a big number for it not being the summer. That’s a good number,” Mountain Regional Library System Director Vince Stone commented.

A children’s wishlist has also recently been created by the library on Amazon.com. “We’ve made that wishlist public in case any patron or business wants to donate to our summer reading program,” Vickers said. Anyone wanting to fulfill donations from the library’s children’s wishlist can visit the link on the library’s Facebook page.

On Friday, May 4, FCPL will hold a Star Wars Day event starting at 5:30 p.m. at the library. Star Wars themed snacks and activities will be available at the free event, aptly dubbed “May the Fourth Be With You.” A showing of the latest Star Wars release, Episode VIII: The Last Jedi, will start at 6:30 p.m.

Vickers also reminded the board of the upcoming Friends of the Library Book Sale to be held May 25 through 27. Vickers said volunteers are still needed for the days of sale as well as before and after the dates of the sale for preparation and breakdown. Anyone interested in helping with the book sale can contact the library at 706-632-5263 for more information.

The Summer Reading Program schedule was announced during the meeting as well. The theme for this year’s program is “Libraries Rock!” Among the many events occurring during June and July this summer will be the program kickoff event Tuesday, June 5, at 11 a.m. and the teen Summer Reading Program kickoff Thursday, June 7, at 4 p.m. The library will also hold four Flicks in the Sticks movie showings in the city park: Coco will be shown Friday, June 15; Wonder will be shown Friday, June 29; The LEGO Ninjago Movie will be shown Friday, July 13; and the Fannin County Fire Department will sponsor a Family Fun Night Friday, July 27, at 7 p.m. where Cars 3 will be shown. All other Flicks events begin at 9 p.m. For a complete schedule of all the library’s summer events and activities, visit the FCPL website at http://www.mountainregionallibrary.org/fannin-county-public-library.

 

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.

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