Update – Fatal shooting in Fannin County

News, Police & Government

Blue Ridge, Ga – Update on Fannin County Murder Investigation.  GBI Press Release Dec. 5, 2018


Blue Ridge (December 4, 2018)- On Tuesday, December 4, 2018, the GBI and the Fannin County Sheriff’s Office arrested Blake Dickey AKA Blake Dye, 15, and Hunter Hill, 15, both of Blairsville, Georgia for the murder of Justin McKinney, 33 of Morganton, Georgia. They were each charged with one count of murder; however additional charges are pending.  Dye and Hill will be housed at the Elbert Shaw Regional Youth Detention Center.









On Tuesday, December 4, 2018, at approximately 1:38 AM, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation was requested to assist the Fannin County Sheriff’s Office with a murder investigation.  At approximately 12:50 AM, the Fannin County Sheriff’s Office was dispatched to the area of Elrod Lane, Morganton, Fannin County, Georgia.  Deputies were dispatched to the area as a result of a 911 call in which the caller indicated she and a male subject were shot.  When deputies arrived on scene, the male subject, McKinney was deceased.  The female, Anna Franklin, 35 of Morganton, Georgia was taken to the hospital for treatment.

McKinney’s autopsy is scheduled for Wednesday, December 5, 2018.

Upon completion of the investigation, the case will be provided to the Appalachian Judicial Circuit District Attorney for prosecution                                                                                                                       Hill Booking Report

Dickey Booking Report









Initial report below:

Blue Ridge, Ga. – The Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) and the Fannin County Sheriff’s Office have confirmed that a fatal shooting took place in the early morning hours of Tuesday, Dec. 4.

According to a press release from GBI, a 911 call came into dispatch at approximately 12:50 a.m. The caller, a female victim, indicated that she and a male victim had been shot.

When deputies arrived to a home in the area of Elrod Lane, Morganton, Ga. the male subject was deceased. The female was taken to a hospital with trauma care for treatment.

Fannin County Sheriff’s Office did request additional assistance from GBI as is standard in cases of this nature.

Names are not being released of the victims at this time as it is an open and ongoing investigation. An autopsy of the male subject is scheduled to take place on Wednesday, Dec. 5.

More details will be released to the public upon completion of the investigation.



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Natalie Kissel


2019 Budget and 2018 Millage Rate


BLUE RIDGE, Ga.—Oct. 9 the Blue Ridge City Council gathered to approve the millage rate for 2018. The Blue Ridge City Council also adopted the 2019 fiscal year budget.

The millage rate has fluctuated over the last three years. In 2015 & 2016, the millage rate was 5.479 mills. In 2017, the millage was rate 5.362 mills and the rate for 2018, which will be applied to 2019 taxes, is 5.378 mills.

When is this tax due? Fannin County property owners will receive a receipt of tax notice in the mail. The amount owed will be due within a time period 60 days from the postmark on the bill.

Please note that if your payment is late, you can be charged an additional five percent, and if the balance is still not paid within 120 days there could be a charge up to 20 percent. Property owners should check their mail regularly in 2019.

The Blue Ridge City Council passed the 2019 fiscal year budget where the city is expecting to a receive $2,026,400.00 in tax payer dollars and a total revenue of $2,449,250.

The City of Blue Ridge will be allocating the complete revenue amount out to various expenditures: Mayor and Council, General Administration, Tax Administration & Licensing, Municipal Court, Police, Custody of Prisoners, Fire Fighting, Highways and Streets, Shop, Recreational Facilities, Parks Administration, Park Areas, Planning and Zoning, Downtown Development, and Special Facilities Rental.

Blue Ridge’s Confiscated Funds from Fines and Forfeitures will go toward the Police Department for a total of $1500.

The Hotel/Motel Fund revenue of $170,000 will go towards Downtown Development.

The SPLOST (Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax) Fund revenue, a total of $746,500, will be applied to Highways & Streets and Downtown Development.

Lastly, the Water & Sewer Fund, a total of $5,643,500, will be divided into Sanitary Administrations, Sanitary Sewer Maintenance, Sewage Treatment Plant, Water Administration, GEFA Project, Water Treatment, Water Distribution, and Water Loss Prevention.

Council member Rhonda Haight made the motion that the Millage Rate be approved, and it was seconded by Council woman Robbie Cornelius.

Council member Nathan Fitz made the motion that the 2019 Fiscal Year Budget adoption be approved, and it was seconded by Haight.

News from Fannin County Chamber of Commerce

Business, Community, Fannin County Chamber
Fannin County Chamber of Commerce  eNewsletter
February 2018
News for Members
Fannin Co. Chamber Logo

Leading the way to economic vitality and quality of life in Blue Ridge, McCaysville, Morganton and all of beautiful Fannin County, Georgia.

Manda Gwatney is Chair of 2018 Board of Directors;
Frankie Rigdon is Chairman Elect

Paul Gribble received a plaque and gift as the retiring Chamber Board Chairman of 2017 at the Annual Dinner last weekend at Brasstown Valley Resort.

Manda Gwatney will serve as Chairman for 2018,  joined on the Chamber Executive Committee by Frankie Rigdon, ETC, Vice Chairman/Chairman Elect; Lisa Vest, IGA Hometown Foods, Secretary; Rene Bidez, Treasurer; and Paul Gribble, Georgia Mtn Cabins, Past Chairman.


Other Members of the 2018 Chamber Board of Directors
Keith Jenson, Summit Inspection
Donna Tipton, United Community Bank
Jason Farmer, Mountain Gateway Appraisals
David Lewis, Tri State EMC
Billy Porter, TDS Telecom
C.J. Stam, Southern Comfort Cabin Rentals
Richard York, Woodmen Life
Shannen Oyster, Oyster Fine Bamboo Fly Rods
Betsy Hyde, Fannin County Schools
Dr. Jennifer Jabaley, Jabaley Eye Care
David Lillard, Mercier Orchards
Sandy Ott, University of North Georgia
Bill Banzhaf, Harry Norman Real Estate
Jenny Mundy, Dickey McCay Insurance

Brandon Holloway, Mountain Valley Community Bank

Rene Bidez Receives Honorary Lifetime Membership 
Rene Bidez, CPA received the Chamber’s Honorary Lifetime Membership Award at the Chamber Awards Dinner, presented by Paul Gribble.  Rene has served as the Chamber Treasurer since 1990.  His services include providing accounting services for the Chamber on a voluntary basis.

There is no one who has been more instrumental in the success of our Chamber than Rene Bidez.  His professionalism gives our board, members, and local government partners sure knowledge that our finances are sound and money is being managed correctly.  As a perpetual member of the executive committee he knows more about our Chamber than anybody else, and his council has been invaluable to the 27 executive committees he has served.

Angela Stewart DeLorme  – Chamber Member of the Year

The 2017 Member of the Year, Angela Stewart DeLorme, has served four terms on the Chamber’s board, beginning in 1989 and ending in 2016. She has practiced law for 33 years, is a former partner in the law firm of Ralston and Panter and currently a sole practitioner. She was the first female attorney in Blue Ridge.

Angela was instrumental in writing the Chamber’s incorporation, bylaws, policies and procedures, and she is still the Chamber’s agent of record with the Secretary of State. She has chaired numerous committees and has been an invaluable board member because of her love for and dedication to the Chamber and Fannin County, her knowledge, wisdom, competence and leadership.

Blue Ridge Mountain Trout Unlimited

Receives Community Service Award
Blue Ridge Mountain Trout Unlimited received the Community Service Award for conservation, protection and restoration of Fannin County’s cold water fisheries.  TU was responsible for naming Fannin the Trout Capital of Georgia. The group sponsors Rivers Alive, Trout in the Class Room, the Trout Adventure Trail, and Troutfest, an annual event held in April for the past two years.

More 2017 Awards and Recognition

Bonnie Roper, Farmer’s Insurance,  received the Ambassador of the Year Award, presented by Ambassador Chair Donna Tipton


Retiring Board Members:

Joe Foster, Glenn Harbison, Susan Kiker and Cynthia Panter

Newsworthy …  
WANTED: Sponsors for Business After Hours
We’re looking for a few more sponsors for Business After Hours in 2018. The months available are March, August, October and November. Let us know if you are looking for this kind of great exposure for your business and what month you have interest in hosting! Call Dianne Mallernee at 706-632-5680 or email her at diannem@tds.net.
HGTV’s Log Cabin Living to Feature Mineral Bluff
Tune in to HGTV February 10 at 11:30 p.m. for Log Cabin Living. This episode will feature two home buying families who are searching for a log cabin close to Mineral Bluff, GA.

Welcome New Members!
Blue Ridge Patriots Friends of NRA
Morganton, GA, 30560
Dan Spies
Friends of NRA is the blockbuster fundraising program under The NRA Foundation. Since day one, it has been a 100% grassroots effort fueled by a united front to secure the Second Amendment and raise money for the shooting sports.
Like us on Facebook
Cone & Associates CPA, LLC
John Cone
Cone & Associates CPA offers accounting, tax and consulting expertise focused on your unique business and personal needs.
Full Moon Over Blue Ridge
Blue Ridge, GA, 30513
Patrick Binienda
Full Moon Over Blue Ridge is a cabin rental with attached tree houses nestled in the Blue Ridge mountains. Full Moon Over Blue Ridge is perfectly located to all the activities and amenities that make the Blue Ridge Mountains and the Aska Adventure Area so desirable, yet also secluded enough to relax and enjoy the quiet and natural beauty of the Chattahoochee Forest.
Grams & Pops
Tracey Ciongoli

Grams and Pops has a lil’ bit of everything: unique gifts, t-shirts, women and children’s clothing, home and garden items, jewelry, bath and body products.

Mountain Attitude Designs
Terri Adams
Mountain Attitude Designs is located in the historic building of the Doradele Move Theater circa 1925 in Copperhill, Tennessee. They offer a wide variety of items including exclusive local handmade leather, sterling, stainless and copper jewelry, photo postcards, along with unique train and mountain jewelry & gifts and apparel. 
Like us on Facebook
Silk Road Traveler 
Estela Carson-Priede
Silk Road Traveler offers a variety of rocks, fossils and gems as well as meditation tools, sages and smudges.

 Like us on Facebook

SleepMore Mattress Store 
Traci Hamby
Sleep More Mattress Store offers a variety of mattresses to suit every comfort need.

Like us on Facebook

Wilderness View Cabins 
Chatsworth GA 30705
Sharon Bungo
Wilderness View Cabins offers vacation cabin rentals, property management and specialized cabin cleaning services.
Like us on Facebook

February Community Events Calendar
January 13 – February 24 – Art Exhibit: Pamela Beagle-Daresta,
Blue Ridge Mountains Arts Association
February 1-4 – School of Rock, Blue Ridge Community Theater
February 10 – Children’s Bakery Class, Mercier Orchards
February 17 – Randall Bramblett – Rock and Blues, Blue Ridge Community Theater
February 17 – Fire and Ice Chili Cook-Off Festival, Downtown Blue Ridge
February 24 – Bringin’ the Blues to Blue Ridge, Willow Creek Falls
February 24 – Tri-State Model Railroaders Open House, Mineral Bluff Historic Depot
February 24 – Customer Appreciation Day, Mercier Orchards
Recurring Events
* Trivia Tuesdays, Fightingtown Tavern


* Brewery Tours & Tastings:
Thursday through Saturday’s at  Fannin Brewing CompanyGrumpy Old Men and Mercier Orchards.
* Swan Drive-in –Now Playing
In This Issue
Business After Hours
Manda Gwatney is Chair
Honorary Lifetime Member
Chamber Member of the Year
More 2017 Awards and Recognition
New Members
Community Events Calendar


Chamber Events
February 7 – Lunch N Leads, Blue Jeans Pizza and Pasta Factory
12:00 p.m.
February 12 – Tourism Committee Meeting at the Chamber
12:00 p.m.
February 20 – Business After Hours at The Black Sheep Restaurant
5:30 – 7:00 p.m.
February 22 – Ambassador Lunch, Mercier Orchards
12:00 p.m.
Member Renewals
 Thank you!
5 Star Lodge & Stables
Blue Ridge Mountain Trout Unlimited
Cameron Hall of Ellijay-Five Star Senior Living
Cox Farmhouse
Done Wright Packaging
Elite Response
GoCo Rolloffs
Joseph C. Webb
Mountain Getaway Cabins of Blue Ridge
Nicholson Tire Center #2
North Georgia Storage
Ridgeline Counseling
The Sweet Shoppe
The Village Restaurant
Toccoa Wilderness Tubing
Walter G. George Soil

Chamber Member Anniversaries – Thank You!
Cucina Rustica
First Baptist Church of Blue Ridge
5 Star Lodge & Stables
Cindy West, RE/MAX Town & Country
Financial Guideposts
Rays Tire & Auto
Walter G. George Soil Consultants

Member Ads


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The mission of the Fannin County Chamber of Commerce is to provide services to members, support existing business and promote economic development and tourism, while preserving and enhancing our community’s character, natural resources and quality of life.

Fannin County Chamber of Commerce

Short Takes – DACA and US Citizenship

Opinion, Politics

DACA and US Citizenship

American citizenship should be earned not awarded for simply being here. That’s what laws are for, to give applicants a fair shot at getting in. There is a pathway to citizenship available for those outsiders who apply. Yes, it’s hard and lengthly but, so what? On top of that, Democrats defending Obama’s DACA Executive Order is unconscionable because it’s not law, but opinion only, and that’s the argument Democrats want to hang their hats on, Illegals over Americans.


So far, the really stupid visa programs initiated under a Democrat regime and supported by “Compassionate Conservatives,” who do not want to be smeared as racists or bigots, have swept aside the rule of law, in the name of “fairness.”  America must atone for its undeserved prosperity by welcoming in the worlds great flood of unwashed, without conditions. Whoa!


The Democrats unrestricted illegal invasion program has met strong resistance in the form of Donald Trump who has said “No more!” meaning the unfettered importation of third world denizens from S__thole countries will end. For the present America is faced with solving the problem of the many Dreamers who arrived here years ago when our guard was down.


Here’s what I would accept concerning any DACA plan that attempts to legalizes the 800,000 “Dreamers,” kids who were brought here illegally by their criminal, gate crashing parents. Understandably they had no choice but like kidnap victims, they must be returned to their home country.


Democrats cite the unchanging DACA numbers at 800,000 because that’s how many Dreamers, more or less, who actually signed up for Obama’s ‘amnesty’ program. There is in fact over three million, but for purposes of negotiations, let’s stick with the Democrats number of 800,000, most of whom have matriculated into adulthood.


First, eliminate, out of hand, those who have failed to learn English, those with MS-13 and other gang affiliations, and any “dreamer” with one or more felony or firearms convictions. A few have matriculated through college and are employed in good jobs. Save them. Some have found low level jobs, started families and avoided accumulating police records. Save them too. Of the 800,000, only around 900 have entered military service on the promised path to citizenship. Save them. Chain migration must be eliminate. Assimilation does not occur when old family units are attached to and influence, accepted immigrants.


Democrats whine about Trump wanting to spend a one time cost of $18 billion to build a wall but ignore the annual $99 Billion taxpayers cost to cloth, feed, house, educate and provide medical care to the flood of illegals spreading over our country. The Visa program, the one that allows entry on a lottery system, has proven deadly and must not even be considered in negotiations.


Some national figures should be considered in this negotiation as well. 97% of immigrants in the Dreamers grouping identify themselves as Hispanic. By the fourth generation that number falls to 50%. Only 7% describe themselves as Americans, but only 56%, in the third generation, believe they are Americans. Even the use of Spanish slowly declines. The Democrats have abandoned Americas working class base to chase what they choose to believe is a racial group in harmony with their dream of a socialist state, when what they were actually chasing is the momentum of unlimited migration.

Remember, freedom is the goal, the Constitution is the way. Now, go get ‘em! (24Jan18)

News from the Chamber of Commerce

Fannin County Chamber


Fannin County Chamber of Commerce  eNewsletter
September 19,  2017
News for Members
Fannin Co. Chamber Logo

Leading the way to economic vitality and quality of life in Blue Ridge, McCaysville, Morganton and all of beautiful Fannin County, Georgia.

City of Blue Ridge Candidate Forum

The Chamber’s Governmental Affairs Committee, chaired by Manda Gwatney, is planning a City of Blue Ridge Candidate Forum on September 28 at the Fannin High School Performing Arts Center, from 6 to 9 p.m. All six of the Blue Ridge City Council Seats are up for election in early November.

Candidates are as follows:
Mayor – Donna Whitener, incumbent, vs Brandan Doyle
Post 1 – Harold Herndon, incumbent, vs Jane Whaley
Post 2 – Rhonda Thomas, incumbent, vs Angelena Powell
Post 3 – Angie Arp, incumbent, vs Kenneth Gaddis
Post 4 – (no incumbent) Robbie Cornelius vs Mike Jacobs
Post 5 – (no incumbent) Nathan Fitts vs David Stuart 

Ribbon Cuttings – Congratulations!
Riverstone Pharmacy Ribbon Cutting Picture
September 13 was the ribbon cutting for Riverstone Pharmacy! Riverstone Pharmacy is located in the Riverstone Medical Campus at101 Riverstone Vista, Ste. 107 in Blue Ridge.  Their policy is to provide great products and great service to all of their customers and patients all of the time. Like us on Facebook

25th Annual Golf Tournament – Hole Sponsors
Golf Hole Sponsor List

September Community Events Calendar
Blue Ridge Mountains Arts Association
September 21 – 11th Annual End of Summer Wine Tasting Fundraiser,Crane Creek Vineyards
September 22 – Downtown Drum Circle, Downtown Blue Ridge
September 22 – Classic Car Cruise-In, Dairy Queen
September 23-24 – Tiny Home Mountain Festival, Ellijay
September 28 – October 15 – Live Theater: Calendar Girls, Blue Ridge Community Theater
September 29 – November 12 – Fall Foliage Train Rides, Blue Ridge Scenic Railway
September 30 – Rivers Alive – Georgia’s Annual Volunteer Waterway Cleanup
September 30 – Tortoise and the Hare 50k/30k Trail Run, Blue Ridge
Recurring Events
* Trivia Tuesdays, Fightingtown Tavern

Bingo, Kiwanis Fairgrounds
* Trivia Night! Fannin Brewing Company
* Pickin’ In Horseshoe Bend Park
*Blue Ridge Farmers Market, Downtown Blue Ridge
*Blue Ridge Motorsports Park Races, Blue Ridge Motorsports Park
Saturday and Sunday
*Upick Apples: Mercier Orchards, Mountain View Orchards, Hillcrest Orchards
* Brewery Tours & TastingsThursday through Saturday’s at  Fannin Brewing CompanyGrumpy Old Men and Mercier Orchards.
* Swan Drive-in –Now Playing
In This Issue
Candidate Forum
Fall Decorating Contest
Ribbon Cuttings
Golf Hole Sponsors- Thanks!
Community Events Calendar

Chamber Events
September 19 – Ribbon Cutting for Capt’n Joe’s Lake Adventures at Lake Blue Ridge Recreation Area Boat Ramp
11:00 a.m.
September 20 – Ribbon Cutting for Jason Holifield, Realtor with Coldwell Banker High Country Real Estate, at the Chamber
10:00 a.m.
September 20 – Board of Directors Meeting , Fannin County Chamber Meeting Room. Executive Board meeting at 11:00 a.m., Board Meeting at 12:00 p.m.
September 21 – Ribbon Cutting for Bear Claw Vineyards, 2281 Tennis Court Rd., Blue Ridge
10:00 a.m.
September 26 – Ribbon Cutting for Appalachian Trail Rides, 4130 Cutcane Rd., Mineral Bluff
10:00 a.m.
September 26 – Golf Committee Meeting at the Chamber
12:00 p.m.
September 27 – Ribbon Cutting for Dr. Thompson and Dr. Bloch at Fannin Regional Hospital Medical Office Building
2:00 p.m.
September 28 – Ambassador Lunch, Blue Jeans Pizza and Pasta Factory, 
12:00 p.m.
September 28 – Political Forum at the Fannin County Performing Arts Center
6:00 – 9:00 p.m.
Members To Member Ads
2017 National Juried Photography Show
Crane Creek Vineyards Poster
Tiny Home Mtn Festival Poster
Stoker on Stoker at BRMAA
Parents Seminar at UNG poster
BRATS for Blue Doors Poster

News from Fannin County Chamber of Commerce


News from Fannin County Chamber of Commerce


News from Fannin County Chamber of Commerce

Community, Fannin County Chamber

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