Blue Ridge, Ga. – The Fannin County Emergency Management (EMA) team continues to move forward with preparedness for the future.
Throughout 2017 and 2018 Fannin County’s EMA made steps to secure the safety and readiness of the department due to projected growth in our area. Grants were applied for and received to better equipment our emergency personnel, and purchases were made by the county to handle residential expansion.
While disasters are rare in our area, they can happen and our EMA is preparing for an all case scenario.
Fannin County EMA Director Robert Graham approached the Fannin County Board of Commissioners (BOC) earlier this year to seek approval for obtaining bid contracts that would take effect if a situation arose that required more than the county is equipped to handle.
At the Nov. 27 BOC meeting Graham was present to open sealed bids that had been received.
The number of bids was surprising as Fannin County Attorney Lynn Doss opened a total of nine packages received from disaster relief businesses across the nation.
“Did you tell these people that we have golden roof tops up here or something?” Post 1 Commissioner Earl Johnson joked as the bids were opened.
“I wish we could have gotten this many bids on anything else we do,” Johnson added on a serious note. “In six years, I have never seen this many bids.”
Graham explained the purpose of the contracts: “This is bids for pre-contracts that would be in place in case we have a disaster. We do not pay anything at this time and unless we activate the contract we don’t ever pay anything. It’s there in case we need additional resources to help remove a lot trees, a lot more than we can handle with our own resources.”
According to Graham the debris removal goes beyond just downed trees, it could include garbage, housing material, or hazardous waste to name a few.
Fannin County Chairman Stan Helton added about having a contract in place, “This is really just to put us in a position for additional federal funds.”
“It’s nice to have this in place,” Graham stated verifying Helton’s comment, “It makes us eligible for an additional 2 percent of disaster match money, should there be a disaster.”
The following companies responded to Fannin County’s request for this pre-contract bid:
Cres Environmental Services (Sarasota, Fl.)
Custom Tree Care Disaster Response (Topeka, Ks.)
Disaster Debris Removal (Ft. Lauderdale, Fl.)
DRC Emergency Services (Galveston, Tx.)
Graham County Land Company (Robbinsville, Nc.)
KDF Enterprises (Alpharetta, Ga.)
Southern Disaster Recovery (Washington, Ga.)
Phillips and Jordan (Knoxville, Tn.)
TRF Enterprises (Lanier, Tx.)
No action was taken in awarding a winning bidder for this contract. Graham requested time for his team to thoroughly review each bid, stating that credentials and references would need to be confirmed: “We’re going to have to vet the companies and make sure they are qualified to provide these services and that they have resources to provide the services as they say they do.”
Graham hopes to have a decision made to present to the BOC during one of the January 2019 meetings.
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America is reeling under the continued onslaught and seemingly endless attacks on our culture, our
traditions, our elections and our laws by the Marxists Democrat party. How is it one wonders, that each
election where Democrat candidates fail to win, is deemed to be the fault of some Republican official or
laid at the feet of stupid white people who don’t know what’s best for them and voted the wrong way?
Their plan is a cunningly designed assault on the once considered fair election process to wear down
conservatives and cause Americans to lose so much trust in the process that they’ll just say, “to hell with
it!” and stay home on election days. That’s the aim of the Democrat Party, to achieve ultimate victory
without offering any plan that fits within the framework of the US Constitution. To constantly attack Trump,
Republicans and conservatives as the country’s main problem and its true failures is their constant goal.
‘How can American’s possibly be happy if some are more wealthy than others and the others are so poor
and destitute that they require government assistance?’ Let’s extrapolate that to: “why aren’t all
Americans provided living wage?” It’s the government’s responsibility to see that all its citizens are housed
and happy, free of health issues and fed, except veterans. Education is limited to what the government
thinks you need, not what you want. If the government can’t fund the benefits promised then the wealthy
can, so it becomes the government’s mission to redistribute their wealth by jacking up their “fair share.”
Like cancer in a living organism, the presence of Democrat polling and election officials almost surely
guarantees a predictable outcome. Voter count manipulation is rampant especially in Democrat controlled
urban centers. In some Philadelphia precincts for example, Democrat candidates swept 100% of the vote
count when in fact Conservatives complained they voted Republican and their votes were never reflected
in the count. A recount machine in Fl. overheated. That’s like saying the “dog ate my homework!”
Texas recently arrested a four or five member democrat voter fraud ring of election officials who face trial
and imprisonment. That’s only in Texas so far. In Broward Co., Fl., for some inexplicable reason, Brenda
Snipes, the supervisor of elections, previously cited for election irregularities has still retained her post
and is, once again charged with destroying ballots, stuffing rejected ballots into the uncounted pool and
other nefarious crimes that should have seen her jailed years ago. But, she’s black, she’s elderly and she
has a Ed.D as an educator and so therefore any attempt to remove her would be racist.
The Democrat party does not want a free and independent America and so it becomes imperative for
them to try to snatch governmental power away from that awful Donald Trump by hook or crook in order
to return to their already approved plan to reduce America to a third world nation status where people will
be required to live within the narrow confines of correct political think, like “Animal Farm.”
Our freedom is endangered and, if Obama’s plan to “fundamentally change America,” with or without him
at the helm continues, then we can expect Marxism to try to take sufficient hold of the reigns of
government and its institutions, that only a civil war could answer. Recall, the Dept. of Justice, the Internal
Revenue Service, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the State Department, were corrupted by the
Clintons and the levers of the tyrannical state were loosed on our populous by Obama. The reason they
did not succeed is because of Donald Trump. How do they answer? Ensure this doesn’t happen again by
taking over control of the election process. That’s what we are witnessing today in places like Florida,
Georgia and, I suspect, in Arizona as well. It’s why Scott Walker lost the governorship of Wisconsin and
many local elections fell into Democrat’s hands. It’s no longer politics as usual!
Democrats are not all omnipotent. They have their weaknesses like the aging leadership of Nancy Pelosi
and Chuckie Schumer so, there is some room for hope. Democrats face an uprising from the young super
Marxists gaining congressional seats and that will certainly stymie their aspirations for going after the
President. Too, many will face their own trial by fire when criminal grand jury inditement’s start rolling out
against them. We will wait and report while America reels in confusion.
Remember, freedom is the goal, the constitution is the way. Now, go get ‘em! (13Nov18)
The multiple murders at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in South Florida was absolutely preventable! Yet, the organizations capable of preventing it, did not, could not, or would not, for whatever reasons, take action against a known potential danger because of the fear of social backlash from one group or another because it would interfere with their agendas.
The shooter, by all appearances a mentally disturbed young man, had a developing history of violence in school. He was even forbidden, individually, from bringing a backpack to school. Were school officials afraid he might put a weapon in his backpack? Probably! And then ultimately, because of his anti-social, erratic behavior and explosive temper, he was kicked out of school to become somebody else’s problem. The school, and the school district had no more interest in what became of this young man.
Red flags were everywhere. He was an orphan. Both his parents had died within the last two years or so and he ended up living with another group of young men his own age, unsupervised and by all accounts, collecting his wrath like a gathering storm until the hate that was festering so deep within his bosom was finally released on his former school mates.
Immediately, Democrats and gun grabbers fashioned this as a “gun violence” issue. Nonsense, It was a violence issue, by a recognized mentally unstable youth, possibly drug induced, with a gun who directed his hatred at the very school that kicked him out. His passion expended, he left in his wake a trail of more mental problems, shock, despair, disbelief, all the traits found in soldiers suffering the effects of PTSD, “shell shock.”
This boy, Nikolas Cruz announced his intentions as far back as September 2017. He went on record as wanting to be a school shooter when he posted a YouTube video to that effect. The video, recorded by a Mississippi man was immediately passed on to the FBI with a screen shot, and it was short and alarming: “I’m going to be a professional school shooter.”
Almost immediately, on 25 Sept. 17, law enforcement agents in Mississippi contacted the viewer to determine if he knew Nikolas Cruz or if the threat came from a Mississippi resident. He didn’t and It didn’t! That represents the first and only positive effort by any agency to have tried to thwart Nikolas Cruz. Where was the ball dropped? Who dropped it and why?
So, what happened? The FBI, apparently alerted agents in Mississippi who responded, but then what? Did the FBI follow up? Was Cruz identified as a Florida resident? Was the Broward Co. Sheriffs Office alerted at any point? If so, did some staff Intelligence collector set the FBI’s report off to the side for later action?
“FBI agents did contact the Mississippi man again, after the shootings, to ask if he knew Cruz. He didn’t. That’s a clue to the failure of bureaucracy and trusting in an over worked government to be able to take quick effective action.
Raw intelligence, like the Mississippi man provided, is fungible. Expressions of violence posted on social media sites require emergency action. Federal agencies, like the FBI, are fixated on Islamic Terrorism, yet there are other sources of raw intelligence immediately available that would also have revealed Nikolas Cruz, his fellow students. Post shooting interviews of some students, who knew him, said they were not at all surprised at what he did.
Generally, children in high schools won’t talk voluntarily to the schools resource officer and report on their school mates, but many may actually post a “Secret Witness Note” in a box provided for that purpose. Even a “Secret Witness” social web site could be created but, whatever, these disturbed young people must be identified early and treated.
Laws must be effected that permits such reports so long as they remain constitutional. But, nothing will assuage the heart-breaking questions the families of those seventeen people killed by Nikolas Cruz can answer. The threat was there, the threat was known if not suspected and the ball was dropped. Whose is going to answer for that?
Finally, a word about the unmentioned contributor to the problem, the mind control drug industry that keeps boisterous youth drugged with prescribed mind altering drugs that forces their quite compliance so school administrators are not bothered by boys being boys.
The perpetrators of every single school shooting from Columbine in Colorado to Florida’s Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, including the church murders in Charleston, SC, were by young men who had been diagnosed by school authorities with behavioral problems correctable by mind altering drugs.
“According to a study published in the journal PLoS One and based on the FDA’s Adverse Event Reporting System, the following mind-altering drugs are most frequently linked to violence:
Desvenlafaxine (Pristiq) is an antidepressant associated with 7.9 times more violence than many other drugs.
Venlafaxine (Effexor) is related to Pristiq and is an antidepressant also used in treating those with anxiety disorders. Effexor is 8.3 times more associated with violent behavior than other drugs.
Fluvoxamine (Luvox) is an antidepressant that affects serotonin (SSRI), and is 8.4 times more likely to be linked to violence than other medications
Triazolam (Halcion) can be addictive and is a benzodiazepine that supposedly treats insomnia. It’s 8.7 times more likely to be associated with violence than other medications.
Atomoxetine (Strattera) is often prescribed to tread ADHD and is 9 times more likely to be associated with violence.
Mefoquine (Lariam) treats malaria and sometimes products bizarre behavior, and is 9.5 times more likely to be linked to violence.
Amphetamines come in many forms and are often used to treat ADHD (even to children not diagnosed with ADHD). They are 9.6 times more likely to be linked to violence.
Paroxetine (Paxil) is an SSRI (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor) antidepressant. Many users experience severe withdrawal symptoms and are more likely to produce children with birth defects as well as 10.3 times more likely to be linked to violence than other medications.
Fluoxetine (Prozac) is a household name for a powerful SSRI antidepressant linked with 10.9 times more violence than other drugs.
Varenicline (Chantix) s administered to smokers to supposedly help curb cigarette cravings, but it’s a whopping 18 times more likely to be linked to violent behavior than other drugs.
The website SSRIstories.org has a collection of more than 6,000 stories from various media documenting the link between violent incidents and mind-altering drugs.
This list from is found at SSRIstories.org.” Frightening, isn’t it, what schools are doing to our children.
Remember, freedom is the goal, the Constitution is the way. Now, go get ‘em?
The Changing Political Landscape
Despite the outward appearance of viability, trying desperately to raise funds to reclaim the Congress in 2018, the dysfunctional Progressive, Democrat Party is actually nearing its end. We’re on to ‘em! For all of that, so the GOP may be in the twilight of its existence if they continue to legislate with fear, govern with uncertainty and waste time maneuvering themselves, as individual politicians simply to keep their jobs in disregard of what’s best for America. There are exceptions. Georgia’s Senator David Perdue for one and Rep. Jody Hice for another.
We now learn the Democrat candidate for Governor of Florida has abandoned his party affiliation, not to become a Republican, but to run as an independent. A pox on both parties. That’s not a good sign. Trust is a fungible quality and once lost is rarely, if ever, regained.
America is at a turning point. We’ve allowed the Progressive Socialist to ruin what was once America while we casually accepted the “collectivism” type of government that never works. The solution comes when we realize our plight and work to understand the gift that is our Constitution, protect it and make sure that any new politicians who want to face the challenge, do so within the rule of law, not personal enrichment. How did Senator Mitch McConnell manage to accumulate $55 million in personal wealth if he wasn’t a swamp dweller? I’m just asking?
Political restoration Is a slow process requiring time, joint efforts and funds but, it must be done or Reagan’s “Shining City on the Hill,” dream, the beacon for hopeless people everywhere, will flicker out and the world will be plunged into darkness for a thousand years and the word “Freedom” will only be understood as willful compliance with the state.
The forces of the Left are arraying themselves against us. Conservative candidates are under attack with slanders, false accusations and innuendos of perversion, sexual assaults and pedophilia. Why? Because, when challenged, the Left have no arguments that can prevail against, truth, justice and the Constitution. Therefore, they must try to kill the messenger.
Judge Roy Moore, Republican candidate for Alabama Senator, represents a clear and present danger to the existing, corrupt forces of the DC political elites or, more simply, the swamp. Poll takers, including Fox News, project that Democrat Jones, ahead of Moore on percentage points to become the next Senator from Alabama, will probably prevail. Don’t bet on it. The pollsters predicted with certainty that Hillary Clinton would be the next president by a landslide. Hummn?
People lie to pollsters including on-line polls directed to supposedly party loyalists. Voters are beginning to recognize the skewed types of questions designed to produce a desired outcome so, they lie! The President uses this process in reverse. He “tweets,” early in the mornings, and sets the his day’s agenda, while the Democrats and the media go berserk trying to figure out just what he meant but, coming from Trump it must have been bad! Elizabeth Warren rose to his tweet bait today with his “Pocahontas” remark, once again revealing herself as a fool. Trump therefore, controls the agenda while we are treated to the medias dysfunction.
In our current dilemma of tax reform, the Democrats cannot retreat from their constant claim that America is Capitalist and greedy but, they can’t explain why half of the population is subsidized and the subsidized half are victims. Victims of what, Capitalism? Yet Republicans, uncertain of the way the wind blows, dither about in confusion and inaction and get nothing accomplished. Indecision is as deadly as incompetence.
Remember, freedom is the goal, the Constitution is the way. Now, go get ‘em! (28Nov17)
BLUE RIDGE, Ga. – Students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, returned to class today, Feb. 28, just two short weeks after one of America’s deadliest mass shootings in modern history took place in their halls.
In the wake of this tragedy, which claimed 17 lives, discussion have opened up about school safety and what can be done to prevent situations like this from occurring in the future.
Brian K. Pritchard (BKP), chief executive officer of FetchYourNews and host of Good Morning From The Office morning show, invited local officials from Gilmer and Fannin counties to address the safety of our local school systems.
In opening the discussion, BKP directly asked both Gilmer and Fannin County School superintendents how safe do they feel the schools in our area are.
Fannin County School Superintendent Dr. Michael Gwatney answered from a personal perspective: “My child is in a Fannin County school this morning.”
“We are always vigilant in watching what’s going on with our students, watching what’s going on on social media,” Gilmer County School Superintendent Dr. Shanna Wilkes said, explaining why she too felt the schools in her county were safe, “and staying in constant contact with our law enforcement.”
“What I feel has come out of Parkland (shooting) is a breakdown in the system,” BKP pointed out to the guest panel and questioned how officials have addressed any recent incidents.
Gilmer County Sheriff Stacy Nicholson replied that his department has had to respond to incidents almost daily for the past two weeks, but clarified that most complaints are not serious.
“The problem is law enforcement can no longer say that’s not serious. We have to take it serious,” Nicholson explained.
Modern times are different according to Nicholson and he stressed, “Pranks are no longer pranks. When it comes to school safety we will investigate and we will prosecute and arrest or send you to juvenile court.”
Many counties in Georgia do not have school resource officers (SRO) assigned to every school in their district. Fortunately, for both Fannin and Gilmer, this is not the case. All schools within each system has its own SRO, and all panel members feel that this is a major element in keeping our schools safe.
“Are all the SRO officers armed this morning?” BKP directly asked the panel. Both Nicholson and Fannin County Sheriff Dane Kirby replied that all officers on all campuses were armed.
Gilmer County School Resource Officer Sergeant Greg Dodson explained the duties of an SRO: “A very large part of the job is visual security. It’s patrolling the interior and exterior of the school, checking doors, making sure that they’re locked, trying to monitor who comes and goes.”
“If you see someone at the schools that you don’t recognize, make sure they have a visitor pass, that they’ve gone through the office properly,” Dodson added.
Other duties include checking parking lots, bathrooms, hallways, and interacting and developing relationships with the students.
In Gilmer County, to become an SRO, a deputy must submit a formal letter requesting that position. A panel of the officer’s peers then formally recommends who they feel should be placed in that position. Sheriff Nicholson makes a final decision based on the panel’s recommendations.
Fannin County Sheriff Dane Kirby confirmed that the process in Fannin County is very similar to Gilmer County and added, “That’s not a job (SRO) that you have just to draw a paycheck. That has to be something that the deputy wants to do.”
“From the very get go, it has to be what that person really wants to do,” Kirby said, explaining that the SROs in place are not only trained but also have a passion for that particular field.
Training for an SRO goes beyond that of a police academy. This training includes a School Resource Officer course, Crisis Intervention Training, Gun Safety, and in-service training such as active shooter scenarios.
Appalachian Judicial Circuit District Attorney B. Alison Sosebee was present to discuss the legal aspects of threats against a school and what her department does in collaboration with law enforcement to combat any potential crimes.
“I just need one referral to start. I need one concerned student. I need one diligent parent. That’s what allows us to be able to initiate the investigation and to assess what we need to do next,” Sosebee described of the process of how her department can become involved.
Sosebee said we are fortunate to live in a smaller community where residents feel comfortable speaking up when there is an incident that makes them feel uncomfortable.
Confirming Sosebee’s thoughts on residents willing to tip off authorities, Gilmer County School Superintendent Dr. Shanna Wilkes said, “In my experience, when we’ve had a threat that we needed to investigate, I have not gotten it from one person. I get it from 50 people within about an hour.”
“No matter how good you are technologically, there is no substitution for a good tip,” Fannin County School Superintendent Dr. Michael Gwatney expressed in similar views.
Both Fannin and Gilmer County school systems continue to take steps to improve safety measures in their schools. Gwatney is looking into extra safety measures using technology. This would include a large network of monitoring devices.
Wilkes is working to renovate Gilmer High School. She would like to implement scan cards for access to doors and is working to restructure the building to create a single point of entry through the front office.
With large campuses and multiple buildings, BKP asked, “Would you look at letting teachers or putting that program into place at your schools to allow weapons in there and how would it work?”
Texas has legislation, School Marshal, to allow teachers to carry weapons on campus, and Florida recently passed similar legislation. Currently in Georgia, there is no statewide legislation on the issue, but rather Georgia allows local school districts to create their own policies regarding this matter.
Gilmer County has looked at sample legislation from other counties in the past, but never voted to enact a policy. Wilkes said that she would favor a policy that would require the individual to qualify with a firearm and that would obligate the individual to attend an annual firearm training course.
Wilkes also would like there to be anonymity in which teachers are armed within the school.
“It would have to be very regulated. It takes the right person, like it takes the right SRO,” Wilkes shared of her stance.
Gwatney was not opposed to the idea but does not want it to negatively affect an educator’s job: “The purpose of a teacher to care for the kids and teach for the kids. We don’t want to create a situation where we force the teacher to try to take on a law enforcement role.”
The panel also expressed frustrations on a system that sometimes works against them in their efforts to keep our children safe.
On a criminal level, Sheriff Nicholson expressed disappointment in a system that seems increasingly unwilling to keep a juvenile in detainment: “It’s getting harder and harder to get someone detained. That’s frustrating.”
Sosebee confirmed Nicholson’s frustration and explained, “Part of that, the court system with relation to that, is the restrictions that are put on the court system as to when these juveniles can be detained and when they cannot be detained and that is where a lot of the hands tying is coming from, from the court system.”
Just like law enforcement, the school systems feel that there is legislation and policy in place that ties their hands when they witness “red flags”.
BKP pointed out the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which has grown since it was first enacted and states that schools being a government agency must accommodate individuals with diagnosed disabilities.
Wilkes acknowledged that the ADA does play a heavy role in how schools can handle disciplinary situations: “In many cases, you’re dealing with students who have a disability such as an emotional behavioral disorder, which falls under special education.”
In such cases, if a student makes a threat or acts in a way that requires disciplinary action, the school must first have a Manifestation Hearing.
In a Manifestation Hearing, a panel is made up of a licensed school psychologist, the student’s special education case manager, a teacher that works directly with the student, an administrator, and the parents or guardians of the child.
The panel determines if the threat or infraction is directly related to the student’s disability. If it is deemed that it is in relation to the disability, then disciplinary action cannot be taken.
If it is deemed that the issue is not related to the child’s disability, then a tribunal is formed to determine what disciplinary actions should be taken.
“If a student has any disability at all,” Wilkes clarified, “even if it’s a learning disability in reading, and let’s say they try to burn down the school, then we have to have a manifestation hearing to see if that learning disability led to them trying to burn down the school.”
Due to this process and the strict rules surrounding juvenile privacy, Wilkes stated if it is related to a disability “our hands are tied as to what we can do.”
The panel agreed that collaboration between departments along with a proactive stance on safety is the best route to take when it comes to the welfare of our counties’ children but felt that changes could be made in legislation that would make providing our schools with this security a much more efficient process.
You can watch BKP’s Good Morning From The Office #AnythingGoes School Safety Special in the video below.
The final presidential debate is set for next Monday, October 22nd in Florida. (more…)