What does it cost to clean a courthouse?

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courthouse

BLUE RIDGE, Ga – In the past week, two county courthouses closed due to confirmed COVID-19 cases. This week county commissioners revealed two vastly different bills for sanitization services. However, neither expenditure is feasible as a regular expense for counties if more virus cases arise within government offices.

Gilmer County paid Restoration 1 out of Dawsonville $6,007.81 for cleaning a 106,000 square foot courthouse and road department building. Fannin County Commissioners to pay a maximum of $70,059 to American Property Restoration out of Atlanta for cleaning its 69,752 square foot courthouse.

Since Tuesday, American Property Restoration dropped the price by five percent to $66,500.

Cutout from the American Property Restoration invoice.

Each county received disinfectant fog and surface wipe downs, but Fannin’s sanitization process included a negative air machine. It circulated the fog throughout the ventilation system to ensure the removal of COVID-19 throughout the building. Other additional charges in the Fannin bill include HEPA filters, labor for wiping down equipment, and PPE for workers. The 30 counts/charges for HEPA filters and labor for equipment wipe down was listed at $30 each.  

The 24-person team required heavy-duty disposable PPE, and the company charged $48 per person. 

As for disinfectant fog, Fannin paid $1.39 per square foot for the first 30,000 square feet and 50 percent off that price for the remaining 39,752 square feet. Gilmer paid six cents for 80,000 square feet at the courthouse.

View the American Property Restoration invoice and the Restoration 1 invoice.

Given the emergency nature of the COVID-19 situation, neither county had time to bid out the process. Both operated within a short window to quickly clean and reopen the courthouses. 

Fannin Commission Chairman Stan Helton told Fetch Your News that this was a “true emergency;” he didn’t have time to shop around. Also, American Property Restoration specialized in COVID-19 cleaning.

“Not a matter to see who could do it the cheapest,” said Helton. It was about protecting the citizens of Fannin County from an unknown element. The advice about preventing COVID-19 continues to change almost daily.

The fans placed within the Fannin Courthouse to disperse the fog.

Restoration 1 that cleaned Gilmer’s courthouse also had a professional COVID-19 virus disinfection team.

However, Fannin can apply for CARES Act funding from the State and receive reimbursement for virus-related expenses. Helton added that the knowledge of the funds made him slightly more comfortable with the price. 

“If we prevented one citizen from going to ICU that cost would be comparable to $66,500 and would not be eligible for CARES funds,” added Helton.

Fannin hasn’t yet applied for the reimbursement because the state hasn’t made the portal available to smaller counties at this time.

In June, Gov. Kemp issued a letter explaining CARES Act funding policies to state counties. Previously, only the top five counties with the highest percentage of cases had access to the funds.

According to the letter of guidance from Gov. Kemp, local governments must apply to receive their 30 percent share of $1.23 billion. Once processed, the allocation will be available for “immediate advancement.”

How to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in courthouses

Turning to the future, Helton agreed that it’s not feasible for Fannin to spend $66,500 again, and the county probably won’t perform another cleaning to this extent at the courthouse. Possible future options include cleaning the office with the confirmed case was located, but they haven’t made a final decision.

The commissioners started requiring employees under their authority to wear masks while at work and strongly encouraged the practice among everyone in the courthouse, including the public. Temperature checks also began this week for those visiting the facility.

American Property Restoration crew in front of the courthouse

According to the CDC, the virus spreads “mainly from person to person, mainly through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or talks.” By wearing a mask in public areas, employees limit the spread of those droplets.

Helton wanted people to feel safe to visit the courthouse once it reopened.

 

 

Dr. William Whaley and Dr. Raymond Tidman discussed the effectiveness of closing to perform extensive cleanings on courthouses. Both agreed that cases will occur, but spending exorbitant amounts of money isn’t necessary.

“You can teach your own housekeeping staff what they need to know if there has been this virus [case],” explained Dr. Whaley. “If you just shut your doors for 24-hours, the virus is going to die because it doesn’t stick around on surfaces for terribly long.”

Afterward, if someone cleaned the surfaces and highly handled areas, the virus should be removed for that day. However, the practice must occur every day at the end of the day. The county and schools can go over cleaning protocols with their janitorial staff to begin COVID-19 recommended sanitization measures.

CDC guidance about disinfecting cites that coronaviruses die on surfaces in a matter of hours or days. To safely remove COVID-19 from a surface, first clean the area with soap and water, then an EPA-approved spray on the surface. If an EPA-approved disinfectant is unavailable, 1/3 cup of bleach added to one gallon of water, or a 70% alcohol solution will disinfect a surface. Bleach can’t be mixed with other cleaning and disinfection products together. The effectiveness of bleach solutions lasts for up to 24 hours.

Janitorial staff must wear the proper PPE to protect them from harmful chemicals and the virus.

Disinfection plans can adapt as more information becomes available about the spread of COVID-19.

“A COVID virus here or there is going to happen, and you do your cleaning, and that person goes home for a day or two and gets over it,” added Dr. Tidman. “The hair on fire stuff needs to quit.”

Gilmer and Fannin Extend Judicial Emergency under order of Chief Judge

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NORTH GEORGIA – Both Gilmer and Fannin have received a new order entitled “Amended Third Order Extending Declaration of Judicial Emergency” closing and requiring deep cleaning for offices in the courthouses of both counties.

The order, sign by Superior Court Chief Judge Brenda Weaver of the Appalachian Judicial Circuit, states that a number of courthouse employees are displaying symptoms of COVID-19 and are awaiting testing results. Due to this the Chief Judge conferred with Board of Commissioner (BOC) Chairmen from each county and has declared the situation beyond the ability to continue with regular work.

The court has ordered that the counties deep clean and keep closed the following offices:

  • Fannin County Superior Court Judge
  • Fannin County Juvenile Court Judge
  • Fannin County Clerk of Superior and Juvenile Courts
  • Fannin County Probate Court
  • Fannin County Magistrate Court
  • Fannin County District Attorney
  • Fannin County CASA
  • Gilmer County Superior Court Judge
  • Gilmer County Juvenile Court Judge
  • Gilmer County Clerk of Superior and Juvenile Courts
  • Gilmer County Probate Court
  • Gilmer County Magistrate Court
  • Gilmer County District Attorney
  • Gilmer County Misdemeanor Probation
  • Gilmer County CASA

Additionally, Gilmer County has also closed the offices of the Gilmer County Tax Assessor and the Gilmer County Tax Commissioner. These offices are also ordered to perform a deep cleaning and remain closed until further orders are given.

Just as with the previous Judicial Emergency Orders, Remote Videoconference hearings are being utilized and scheduled. The order states that all other provisions of the previous order are still in effect.

This all comes after the announcements of some of Gilmer and Fannin Elected Officials and Courts closing earlier today due to COVID-19 exposures.

order order

Possible COVID-19 exposures in Gilmer and Fannin’s Court Systems

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https://gilmer.fetchyournews.com/2020/07/07/possible-covid-19-exposures-in-gilmer-and-fannins-court-systems/

ELLIJAY, Ga. – Several offices in both Fannin and Gilmer County are closing today as reports indicate one or more employees may have had exposures to the Coronavirus in recent days.

The District Attorney’s Office in both Fannin and Gilmer have closed today. Additionally, Gilmer’s Probate Office has confirmed closing and the Gilmer Board of Commissioners has cancelled its Wednesday morning Work Session citing a “recent spike in Covid-19 cases.”

exposures

The Gilmer County Probate Court released a statement with this photo saying they would be closed immediately and “until further notice.”

The Probate Court of Gilmer County issued a statement on Social Media saying, “The Probate Court Office of Gilmer County will be closed effectively immediately and remain closed until further notice.”

FYN has also confirmed that every office of an elected official in Gilmer County has been closed until Monday along with the court systems with the exception of the Sheriff’s Office.

According to County Attorney Lynn Doss and Fannin Magistrate Judge Brian Jones, Fannin County’s Court systems are also shutting down including Superior Court, Magistrate Court, and Probate Court. The closings come “by order of the Chief Judge Brenda Weaver.”

According to Fannin County Commission Chairman Stan Helton, only the second floor of the courthouse is closed and it will reopen on Monday after it has been sanitized.

Despite the offices closing and courts canceling, the Gilmer Courthouse and Fannin Courthouse are both, as a whole, not closed at this time. Citizens may still enter the courthouses.

Reports are coming in that in Gilmer, Sheriff’s Deputies at the security checkpoint in the entrance are informing citizens of the offices and courts closing and are directing visitors accordingly.

Additionally, FYN confirmed that the Gilmer Planning and Zoning Office was closed late last week due to possible exposures of an employee.

Sources tell FYN that at least one of the exposures this week may have been related to a recent church revival held in Gilmer County. However, no cases have been officially confirmed at this time.

 

North Georgia Chairmen urge Kemp to close State Parks

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Georgia, North Georgia, Governor, Brian Kemp, State Parks, Close, Shut Down, Letter, Chairmen, Habersham, Rabun, Franklin, Towns, White, Gilmer, Dade, Fannin, Union, Lumpkin, Stephens, Banks, Travis Turner, Tim Stamey, Greg James

Blue Ridge, Ga. – Twelve Commission Chairmen from North Georgia counties have joined together and signed a letter asking Governor Brian Kemp to shut down the State Parks.

“It appears that these nonresidents believe our area is a safe haven because of its rural nature. To the contrary, the influx of people into our communities has had a staggering detrimental effect on our resources,” the letter to Kemp read in part.

Georgia, North Georgia, Governor, Brian Kemp, State Parks, Close, Shut Down, Letter, Chairmen, Habersham, Rabun, Franklin, Towns, White, Gilmer, Dade, Fannin, Union, Lumpkin, Stephens, Banks, Travis Turner, Tim Stamey, Greg James

Habersham County Commissioner District 5 Tim Stamey

The letter outlines the resources in our area that have been affected by the out-of-towners looking to seclude themselves, included in these resources are food, dry goods and fuel.

It goes on to inform Kemp that our area is not equipped medically: “Our communities simply do not have enough hospital beds or medical personnel to care for the inflated population.”

Though only serving as a commissioner for a little over three months, Habersham County Commissioner District 5 Tim Stamey felt he needed to be proactive in bringing a solution to this problem: “I am a retired special operator and we don’t sit around talking about things, we get it done.”

Stamey who sits on the Habersham County Board of Health said, “I’m on the County Health Board and talk to Healthcare workers in my county on a daily basis. They are the heros/heroines in all this. This virus does not spread itself on the wind.”

Moccasin Creek State Park, situated just North of Unicoi State park has been “crazy, 4th of July crazy” for the past three weekends according to Stamey, who has witnessed the impact on his county first hand.

Stamey initially contacted Rabun County Chairman Greg James and White County Chairman Travis Turner.

“I started this by just trying to get border counties on board,” Stamey said and added, “Then Chairmen were like well, did you call such and such, I know they feel the same way. It just kept getting bigger and bigger.”

Stamey said that all Commission Chairmen were helpful, on board, and taking the matter seriously: “I talked to most of them several times and for up to an hour each time.”

Stamey, along with the 12 county chairmen and many residents, is hoping that this letter will get the attention of Kemp. The letter in closing states: “On behalf of the many citizens that live in North Georgia who entrust us as County Commissioners to represent their interests, we respectfully ask you to close all of the state parks located in our area immediately.”

Georgia, North Georgia, Governor, Brian Kemp, State Parks, Close, Shut Down, Letter, Chairmen, Habersham, Rabun, Franklin, Towns, White, Gilmer, Dade, Fannin, Union, Lumpkin, Stephens, Banks, Travis Turner, Tim Stamey, Greg James

Georgia, North Georgia, Governor, Brian Kemp, State Parks, Close, Shut Down, Letter, Chairmen, Habersham, Rabun, Franklin, Towns, White, Gilmer, Dade, Fannin, Union, Lumpkin, Stephens, Banks, Travis Turner, Tim Stamey, Greg James

 

Click Here to read about National Park Closures in our area

Author

Natalie Kissel

Natalie@FetchYourNews.com

Fannin Co 10U boys defeat Gilmer in district championship

Parks and Recreation, Team FYN Sports
Championship

Last night, Feb. 24, the Gilmer Bobcats traveled to Fannin Co. to take on the Rebels for the 10U recreation basketball district championship. Although both teams fought hard until the end, the Rebels were the ones to walk away with a 44-31 championship victory to move on to the state tournament.

Gilmer got the ball from tip off and wasted no time putting the ball into action. Chas Curtis started things off for the Bobcats as he drove to the basket for a layup to give Gilmer the early lead. Curtis finished the night with 12 points. For the Rebels, Keaton Watkins responded by drawing a foul and adding a point from the free-throw line to put Fannin Co. on the board. Watkins led the Rebels in scoring for the night as he earned 16 points overall. Kole Foster was the one to get the lead for Fannin Co. as he made an outside shot to put the score at 3-2. The Bobcats were quick to take back the lead as Preston McVey made a shot on the block to put the score at 4-3. McVey was an unstoppable force on the block for the night as he led the Bobcats in scoring for the night with 14 points. Cannon Holloway returned the favor with a made layup to give Fannin Co. the lead back and put the score at 5-4. Holloway finished the night with eight points. Holloway continued putting the ball into action as he passed up the court to Rylin Davis who drove the ball in for a layup to extend the Rebels’ lead. Davis finished with 11 points. Gilmer’s McVey made a shot on the block to put the score at 7-6 with Fannin Co. in the lead to end the first quarter. 

The game continued to go back-and-forth to start the second quarter as McVey continued to show off his moves on the block to give Gilmer an 8-7 lead. Jayden Richerson for Fannin Co. quickly responded as he made an outside shot to put the score at 9-8 with Fannin Co. in the lead. Reid Holloway added onto the score as he drew a foul and contributed a point of his own from the free-throw line. McVey was the one to tie up the ball game 10-10 for Gilmer to take the lead on the very next play as Jase McCollum made a rebound shot and contributed five points overall to the Bobcats’ score. McVey for Gilmer contributed two points of his own from the free throw line and Curtis scored another layup to advance the Bobcats’ score. Rylin Davis for Fannin Co. made a free throw to put the score at 16-13 with the Rebels trying to catch up. Fannin Co.’s Holloway received an assist from Richerson to give Fannin Co. the lead with at 17-16. The Rebels’ lead did not last long as McVey put another shot up from the block to put the score at 18-17 with Gilmer back in the lead to go into halftime.

To start off the second half, Fannin Co. found their fire. Holloway was the one to take the lead back for the Rebels as he made an outside shot followed by a layup to put the score at 21-18. Richerson had grit on defense as he took a charge to keep the Bobcats from scoring a layup. The Rebels played a solid defense as they only allowed the Bobcats to score four points the entire quarter while Fannin Co. scored 18 to run away with their lead and never looked back. The Rebels were able to close out the third quarter with a 38-22 lead against the Bobcats. 

Although Gilmer was down, they refused to give up. They kept making steals to drive to their basket while Fannin Co. did the same. Casen Bailey made his presence known in the second half of the game as he got after it and added four points on the board for Fannin Co. overall. McCollum closed out the game as he made a 3-point shot to add to the Bobcats’ score, however it was not enough to catch up to the Rebels, who won the championship 44-31. 

Gilmer head coach Patrick McVey stated, “This Gilmer team worked hard all season long but just fell short tonight.”

Fannin Co. head coach Bryan Richerson stated, “The kids played well. It’s a sight to see these kids get some success as something for us to build on.” Championship

Fannin Co. will go on to play the winner of District 2 on Friday night, March 6, at 8:45 p.m. at Hendrix Park Gym located at 3960 Wilma Edwards Road in Ellavell, Georgia.

 

 

Lady Rebels defeat rival Lady Cats in Ellijay

Fannin Co. Basketball, Team FYN Sports
Lady Rebels

The Fannin Co. girls basketball team (11-4, 3-2 Region 7-AAA) traveled to Ellijay on Saturday, Jan. 4, to take on Gilmer (11-4, 6-0 Region 6-AAAA) in the second game between the two rivals this season. While the Lady Rebels one by just one point in the teams’ first matchup, Fannin Co. used a healthy dose of made free throws in the fourth quarter to pull away in the second and earn the 57-45 win.

Lady RebelsThe Lady Cats got the ball from tip and had no hesitation to put it into action to get the early lead. Fannin Co.’s Becca Ledford was the one to five the team the first lead at 6-4 for the Lady Rebels by driving to the basket for a layup. Ledford had a great game where she showed off her hustle and added nine points on the night for Fannin Co. Morgan Holt was on fire as she led the Rebels in scoring with 22 points. Holt was able to hit a 3-pointer to put Fannin Co. ahead 11-6 before the Lady Cats tied up the game 11-11 to end the first quarter. 

Fannin Co. took the lead to start off the second quarter as Holt made a jump shot to put the score at 13-11. Saidee Collins followed the trend as she extended the lead from a rebound shot to put the score at 15-11. Collins had a great night on the block as she made moves and added nine points to the Rebel’s score. From then on, the Lady Rebels refused to give up their lead. Olivia Sisson also had spunk down low as she made a shot of her own. As the buzzer sounded, a Lady Bobcat hit a 3-pointer to put them behind Fannin Co. 33-22 to go into halftime. 

Gilmer’s defense came to life to start the second half as they only let the Lady Rebels score five points, while they scored nine. Abby Ledford showed off her outside shooting game as she added five points to Fannin Co.’s score. Mackenzie Johnson had spunk as she was able to draw fouls and make 10 points of her own, eight of them being from made free throws. With Gilmer trailing right behind, the Lady Rebels closed out the third quarter with a 38-31 lead. 

Tension was high at the start of the fourth quarter as both teams started to run into foul trouble. While two of Fannin’s players had four fouls, they were able to play it smart and keep from getting their fifth. Gilmer on the other hand was not so lucky. There were two Lady Cats to foul out of the game. Fannin Co. found themselves standing at the free throw line for the majority of the quarter due to three technical fouls being called on Gilmer. In the end, it all came down to Fannin Co.’s made free throws that won them the game 57-45.

Fannin Co.’s victory puts their overall record at 12-4 and Gilmer’s at 11-5. Catch the Lady Rebels next game as they travel to Greater Atlanta Christain on Tuesday, Jan. 7, beginning at. 6 p.m.

Update: Details about early morning lumberyard fire

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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.

 

 

Fetch Your News is a hyper local news outlet that covers Dawson, Lumpkin, White, Fannin, Gilmer, Pickens, Union, Towns and Murray counties as well as Cherokee County in N.C. FYN attracts 300,000+ page views per month, 3.5 million impressions per month and approximately 15,000 viewers per week on FYNTV.com and up to 60,000 Facebook page reach. If you would like to follow up-to-date local events in any of those counties, please visit us at FetchYourNews.com

 

Speaker Ralston Announces North Georgia Office of the Center for Rural Prosperity & Innovation in Ellijay

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(The following is a Press Release from the Office of David Ralston, Speaker of the Georgia House of Representatives.)

ELLIJAY, Ga. – Speaker David Ralston (R-Blue Ridge) today announced that the Center for Rural Prosperity & Innovation has opened a North Georgia Office in Ellijay. The office is located in the Collaboration on River’s Edge (CORE) Building, a workplace innovation space and initiative of the Greater Gilmer Community Foundation.

“I am proud to welcome the Center for Rural Prosperity & Innovation to Ellijay and look forward to the good work that will be done to further economic opportunity throughout rural Georgia,” said Speaker David Ralston. “This center is a direct result of the work of the House Rural Development Council and our continuing efforts to ensure prosperity is accessible to all Georgians – regardless of zip code.”

The center, also known as Georgia’s Rural Center, has named Janet Cochran to lead the North Georgia Office. Cochran comes to the center with more than a decade of experience as a project manager with the Georgia Department of Economic Development.

“Finding ways to not only maintain but to multiply the economic and cultural vitality present in so many of north Georgia’s small towns and rural communities relies heavily on relationships,” said Dr. David Bridges, Georgia’s Rural Center interim director, “and we know that our presence and personnel there will only improve our ability to facilitate positive outcomes. Janet brings a wealth of experience in managing economic development projects in this region of the state, and we’re excited to have her join our team in this role at the North Georgia Office.”

Headquartered at Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College in Tifton, the Center for Rural Prosperity & Innovation serves as a central information and research hub for rural best practices, including community planning, industry-specific assistance and cooperative efforts with community partners. The center was proposed by the House Rural Development Council in 2017 and was created by House Bill 951, which was enacted in 2018.

“Promoting a strong business environment that enhances the quality of our community is not just the chamber’s mission in words, it is behind everything we do. The opening of CORE and the Center for Rural Prosperity & Innovation is a cornerstone moment in that mission and one that we have worked tirelessly to support and create for many years. I join with our 650 members in celebrating,” remarked John Marshall, Gilmer Chamber Chairman of the Board.

“As chairman of the Greater Gilmer Community Foundation it has been our goal as a private, citizen funded organization to help spur economic growth for our community and region. CORE being the home to the Center for Rural Prosperity and Innovation North Georgia office brings our vision to reality. We look forward to continuing to serve our communities for years to come,” said Kent Sanford, Chairman of the Board.

“Working with Speaker of the House David Ralston and the House leadership to bring the Center for Rural Prosperity and Innovation North Georgia office to our community will have economic impact to the entire region. We look forward to continuing to work to insure the success of the center and all of our partners within CORE,” remarked Lex Rainey, Greater Gilmer Joint Development Authority Chairman of the Board.

Located in Gilmer County, Ellijay is a thriving rural community in the North Georgia mountains, offering a unique blend of southern hospitality and natural beauty. The area leads Georgia in apple production and is a center for agribusiness and agritourism.

For more information about the Center for Rural Prosperity & Innovation, visit http://www.ruralga.org/.

CORE receives grant and state office at ribbon-cutting

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ELLIJAY, Ga. – “This is the kind of project that will spread prosperity throughout our entire region. It is the kind of skin-in-the-game project that deserves support…” Georgia Speaker of the House, David Ralston praised the CORE Facility in Ellijay who hosted their official ribbon-cutting today.

Nestled just off Maddox Drive on the banks of the Coosawattee River in Ellijay, Georgia, the CORE Facility hosts business offices and incubation locations for entrepreneurs and start-ups in need of an office or workspace without the hassles of long-term investment.

Left to right, Gilmer Commission Chairman Charlie Paris, Fannin Commission Chairman Stan Helton, and Pickens Commission Chairman Rob Jones celebrate with Greater Gilmer JDA Executive Director Kent Sanford at the CORE Facility ribbon-cutting in Ellijay, Georgia, on July 24, 2019.

However, the facility’s impact reaches so much farther than the city limits or the county’s borders. Today marked a celebration for the region and for the state. Representatives statewide joined together for this ribbon cutting including Gilmer Commission Chairman Charlie Paris, Gilmer Post Commissioner Karleen Ferguson, Pickens Commission Chairman Rob Jones, Fannin Commission Chairman Stan Helton, Georgia Speaker of the House David Ralston, State Senator Steve Gooch, State Representative of District 11 Rick Jasperse, Ellijay City Mayor Al Hoyle, Gilmer Schools Superintendent Dr. Shanna Downs, and many representatives from the Ellijay and East Ellijay City Councils and Gilmer Board of Education. Efforts from many organizations have led into combined organizations such as the Greater Gilmer Joint Development Authority (JDA) and the Greater Gilmer Community Foundation.

That Foundation was the birthplace of the initiative to build CORE. According to Kent Sanford, Executive Director of the Greater Gilmer JDA and part of the Greater Gilmer Community Foundation, a 14-month birth cycle has finally come to full fruition.

While the celebration was a culmination of efforts so far, it is only the beginning. It is a project that holds great impact on the future, according to Ralston who said, “It will create jobs in our area. The jobs of tomorrow will be possible because of the work that goes on in this building.”

Speaker of the House, David Ralston announces a $420,000 state grant for the CORE facility to applause from attendees at the ribbon-cutting on July 24, 2019.

Ralston also dedicated support to the facility as he announced, “Because of the local commitment to the CORE building the State of Georgia, through our OneGeorgia Authority, is awarding $420,000 to this project to be used for Facility purchase and improvement costs. This $420,000 grant is historic, both in terms of its dollar amount and the impact it will have on this project and community.”

Ralston continued speaking about the economic development and job creation in the county before offering the second announcement of the day regarding the Center for Rural Prosperity & Innovation, also known as Georgia’s Rural Center.

Ralston stated at the ribbon-cutting, “I am proud to announce that the new North Georgia of the Georgia Center for Rural Prosperity & Innovation will be housed right here in Ellijay in this facility. The office will be led by Janet Cochran.”

Ralston’s office later offered a full Press Release on the announcement stating the center serves as a central information and research hub for rural best practices, including community planning, industry-specific assistance and cooperative efforts with community partners. The center was proposed by the House Rural Development Council in 2017 and was created by House Bill 951, which was enacted in 2018.

The Georgia Center for Rural Prosperity & Innovation, also known as Georgia’s Rural Center, was officially announced to open a North Georgia Office at Gilmer’s CORE facility during a ribbon-cutitng on July 24, 2019.

These announcements were applauded by those present and praised by the Chairman of the Gilmer Chamber, John Marshall, who said, “Mr. Speaker, once again you have proven yourself to be the very epitome of a stalwart and faithful advocate not only to your hometown and all the other communities in these beautiful North Georgia Mountains, but to each and every corner of the state of Georgia.”

President of the Gilmer Chamber, Paige Green also praised the facility as the realization of a dream for the community that has spread to benefit not only one county but something larger that now spans the region.

Today was a celebration of completing the first steps of a larger plan for the facility. Though it is now open, it is only the first phase of that dream. Director Sanford noted last year that the hopes for the facility include two more phases.

In Phase II, the foundation will continue renovation onto the second floor to open up a larger area for education and training in a 1,200 square foot space upstairs.

In Phase III, hopes for the CORE Facility could extend into the schools for things like STEM Classes, STEM Saturdays, or other forays into education connection. Consolidating resources for these could include shared STEM kits or a shared expense for a STEM subscription service involving 3d-printing necessary components. However, specific details into PHASE III have yet to be finalized.

Ultimately, the CORE wants to continue spreading and growing this larger community where possible. Opportunities that may come have yet to be revealed, but one ribbon-cutting today, one celebration, can lead to something bigger than imagining tomorrow.

Families with autistic children now have local services – “One child at a time”

Community, News, Non Profit
Tripp Ritchie, CEO NGAF

Challenges can arise at anytime for families, especially with special needs children such as those with autism. Readily available resources are imperative.

Until recently parents suspecting autism and needing assistance in diagnosis, treatment and other essential information were forced to travel to Atlanta. Families in Fannin, Gilmer, and Union counties now have another option closer to home.

North Georgia Autism Foundation (NGAF) CEO Tripp Ritchie was the guest speaker at a recent Kiwanis meeting to inform members of this new program. A former Kiwanian, he expressed how his time in Kiwanis was an inspiration in helping him see how great a need there was for a local program such as NGAF.

NGAF programs not only support families in diagnosing a child, but also in assisting both child and family members with facing challenges of living with “Autism Spectrum Disorder” (ASD) and other Developmental Disorders throughout their lives.

Ritchie explained there was one foundation supporting autism, but no rural area program, until NGAF. He shared with attendees:

  • One in 59 children is affected with autism.
  • One in 38 affected is boys.
  • By age three, a diagnosis can help change these children’s lives. It is important to have a diagnosis before a child reaches age three to help with directing a pathway of success in later years.
  • Ninety percent of brain development is before age six.
  • Eleven children from Fannin County are currently diagnosed with autism and are receiving treatment. They are enrolled in a local school.
  • From placing an application to diagnosis and on to a treatment plan usually takes 24 months.
  • He hopes to bring this number down.

Since the inception of NGAF, the program has been gaining momentum and currently serves 27 families.

NGAF is removing barriers, increasing access to early clinical diagnosis, and providing treatment services. Treatment programs are individualized which fills a gap in services not available in the North Georgia Mountain area a few short months ago. NGAF offers diagnosis and treatment options at no cost to individuals and families.

Ritchie added there is a need for $50,000 which will help open a Pediatric Rehabilitation Clinic by July 1, 2019. Community support would be appreciated and “all of our funds (will) stay right here in North Georgia.”

Donations for NGAF can be sent to North Georgia Autism Foundation, 11 Overview Dr. Suite 203, Blue Ridge, GA 30513.

Ritchie can be reached by email at Tripp.Ritchie@ngafinc.org, Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/pg/NorthGeorgiaAutismFoundation/ or call 1-706-455-5183 for more information on services offered for individuals with autism.

“Act as if what you do makes a difference. It does”

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The NEW FYN Classifieds

Community, Featured Stories

The NEW FYN Classifieds

www.Classifieds.FetchYourNews.com

The NEW FYN Classifieds making it easy to buy, sell, and trade 24/7. You can place an ad online in just a few clicks. Place an ad and find what you’re looking for.

Garage sales, services, realestate, cars, boats, clothes……….

Visit the new FYN Classifieds where you can buy, sell and trade with your community.
www.Classifieds.FetchYourNews.com

2019 Night to Shine – A night unlike any other

Community

There is one night a year when stars above look down in awe. Friday, February 8, 2019, was that special night.

Excitement filled the air as paparazzi and crowds gathered for the red carpet event hosted by First United Methodist Church of Union County (FUMC) in Blairsville. Honored guests from Fannin, Gilmer, and Union counties in Georgia and Cherokee County, SC, would soon arrive.

On this “Night to Shine”, 108 Kings and Queens in their finest attire were escorted through the cheering crowd by students from Young Harris College, volunteers from FUMC, and from the community. Just the beginning of a very special evening for memories to last a lifetime.

The royal guests were delighted to be pampered by hairdressers or to have their shoes shined before heading off on a thrilling ride in a stretch limousine. Then it was time for dancing, what many attendees had been looking forward to and so they danced the night away.

As the evening came to a close each King and Queen received a gift bag along with a t-shirt commemorating the event.

Former NFL quarterback, Heisman winner, and current New York Mets outfielder, Tim Tebows’ Night to Shine is now in its 5th year. According to the Tim Tebow Foundation website, this special night’s history began in 2014 with a simple vision, “work with churches around the country to provide an unforgettable prom night experience, centered on God’s love for people with special needs, ages 14 and older.”

In 2015, the first Night to Shine was held with help from 15,000 volunteers among 44 participating churches in 26 states and 3 countries to make 7,000 honored guests feel like royalty. In 2019 the event now has over 600 churches from around the world to make a memorable event for an estimated 100,000 Kings and Queens with the help of 200,000 volunteers!

This is the second year First United Methodist Church of Union County hosted the event.

Information about sponsoring a 2020 attendee, volunteering or the mission of Tim Tebow foundation can be found online: www.timtebowfoundation.org

Churches wishing to join in the “worldwide movement celebrating God’s love for people with special needs and the value of life” can find more information about hosting, fundraising and financial grants on the website.

Giggles, laughter and smiling faces beaming with pure joy were, without question no match for the heavenly stars on this “Night to Shine”.

Linda Strickland on the Red Carpet
Jonathan Waters and Michelle Queen
Annette Freer on the Red Carpet
Rick Cruse and escort on the Red Carpet
Party Room
The stage is all set!
Kristell Hannah
Sonny Thomas and Shelby Bittenbinder
Ainsley Price
Amanda King wears her tiara proudly
Kari Castlen with her tiara
Rena Nelson
Eric Morris and Bailey Whitener
At 9 p.m., balloons fell on the Kings and Queens of Night To Shine ending the evenings festivities.
Gini Bell, Fannin County Special Olympics Co-ordinator

FetchYourNews.com attracts more than 300,000 page views and 3.5 million impressions per month for ad server. FYNTV attracts approximately 15,000 to 60,000 per week Facebook page reach. For the most effective, least expensive local advertising, call 706-276-6397 or visit advertise@FetchYourNews.com

Georgia Election Run-Off Results

Election 2018

 2018 Georgia Election Run-Off Results

Tonight marks the run-offs for election races in Georgia, these results are unofficial until approved by the Secretary of State.

 

Secretary of State

Brad Raffensperger (R) – 751,634 votes   52.22%

John Barrow (D) – 687,600 votes   47.78%

 

Public Service Commission, District 3

Chuck Eaton (R) – 745,494 votes   52.09%

Lindy Miller (D) – 685,759 votes   47.91%

 

 

Check for local results by county here:

 

Gilmer

Secretary of State

Brad Raffensperger (R) – 4,337 votes   83.13%

John Barrow (D) – 880 votes   16.87%

 

Public Service Commission, District 3

Chuck Eaton (R) – 4,250 votes   81.79%

Lindy Miller (D) – 946 votes   18.21%

 

Pickens

Secretary of State

Brad Raffensperger (R) – 4,408 votes   84.01%

John Barrow (D) – 839 votes   15.99%

 

Public Service Commission, District 3

Chuck Eaton (R) – 4,325 votes   82.70%

Lindy Miller (D) – 905   17.30%

 

Fannin

Secretary of State

Brad Raffensperger (R) – 3,522 votes   81.89%

John Barrow (D) – 779 votes   18.11%

 

Public Service Commission, District 3

Chuck Eaton (R) – 3,454 votes   80.57%

Lindy Miller (D) – 833 votes   19.43%

 

Dawson

Secretary of State

Brad Raffensperger (R) – 3,985 votes   85.83%

John Barrow (D) – 658 votes   14.17%

 

Public Service Commission, District 3

Chuck Eaton (R) – 3,939 votes   85.02%

Lindy Miller (D) – 694 votes   14.98%

 

White

Secretary of State

Brad Raffensperger (R) – 4,063 votes   82.78%

John Barrow (D) – 845 votes   17.22%

 

Public Service Commission, District 3

Chuck Eaton (R) – 3,960 votes   80.82%

Lindy Miller (D) – 940 votes   19.18%

 

Union

Secretary of State

Brad Raffensperger (R) – 4,246 votes   80.92%

John Barrow (D) – 1,001 votes   19.08%

 

Public Service Commission, District 3

Chuck Eaton (R) – 4,108 votes   78.65%

Lindy Miller (D) – 1,115 votes   21.35%

 

Towns

Secretary of State

Brad Raffensperger (R) – 2,161 votes   79.95%

John Barrow (D) – 542 votes   20.05%

 

Public Service Commission, District 3

Chuck Eaton (R) – 2,105 votes   78.22%

Lindy Miller (D) – 586 votes   21.78%

 

Murray

Secretary of State

Brad Raffensperger (R) – 2,699 votes   88.99%

John Barrow (D) – 334 votes   11.01%

 

Public Service Commission, District 3

Chuck Eaton (R) – 2,691 votes   88.84%

Lindy Miller (D) – 338 votes   11.16%

 

Lumpkin

Secretary of State

Brad Raffensperger (R) – 3,378 votes   78.47%

John Barrow (D) – 927 votes   21.53%

 

Public Service Commission, District 3

Chuck Eaton (R) – 3,337 votes   77.89%

Lindy Miller (D) – 947 votes   22.11%

Become A Sponsor For The Christmas Clash Presented By Team FYN Sports

Featured

Team FYN Sports will be broadcasting live the Blue Ridge Christmas Clash. Sponsorship opportunities are still available. Support your local youth and sports and market your company at the same time. Contact us now @ MarketMe@FetchYourNews.com or 706.276.6397

FYN’s Valentine’s Day Giveaway on Facebook

Community

What is your favorite love song?

FYN’s Valentine’s Day Giveaway!

FYN & local businesses have put together a basket to make your Valentine’s Day Special.

Thank you to:

Ellijay’s Hometown Florist- $50 Gift Card & Valentine’s Vase

River Street Tavern- $25 Gift Card

Tea Tree’s Boutique Spa- Aroma Therapy Massage

GTC Mountain Cinemas- 2 Movie Tickets

Carrington Coffee-.$20 Gift Card

To Enter

1.  Leave a reply the Facebook post CLICK HERE and answer “What is your favorite love song?”

2. LIKE, SHARE & FOLLOW Facebook.com/Fetch.YourNews

 

Entries must be in by 2/11/19

The winner will be announced by BKP on GMFTO

On Wed  2/13/19 @ 8:30AM

Latest Update for Public Health Delayed Opening in North GA on Tuesday

Health

Due to the latest weather warning that Georgia counties north of I-20 may form black ice on roads due to overnight freezing Monday night, all North Georgia Health District offices in Dalton and Public Health Departments, Programs and Services in Cherokee, Fannin, Gilmer, Murray, Pickens and Whitfield Counties will DELAY Opening until 10 AM on Tuesday, December 11th. Any further updates will be posted to the North Georgia Health District website at www.nghd.org and on district social media pages at Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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