County names John D McDaniel Bridge

News

BLUE RIDGE, Ga. – Fannin County is honoring its past this weekend as residents and local officials met over the weekend for a special celebration and honoring of a major figure from their past.

The Highway 515 Bridge in Fannin County that passes over Ada Street now has an official name, the “John D McDaniel Bridge.” The celebration saw family and friends with new signs for the bridge to formalize the naming.

McDaniel was not only a member of the clergy and a spiritual guide to citizens, but he previously served as a Commissioner of Education and served in the Georgia General Assembly from 1893 to 1897.

The event was also attended by current Fannin County Schools Superintendent Dr. Michael Gwatney and Georgia Speaker of the House of Representatives David Ralston.

Ralston spoke about the event saying, “This past weekend, I was honored to be joined by the descendants of the Reverend John D. McDaniel as we dedicated the bridge on Highway 515 over Ada Street in Blue Ridge in his memory.”

With the signs up, Fannin memorializes a citizen from the past and honored his family who remain in the county he served so diligently.

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

News
(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/.

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CORE receives grant and state office at ribbon-cutting

News

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.

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State to look into hurricane relief for Georgia

Community, News

Blue Ridge, Ga. – The Georgia State Assembly will convene on Tuesday Nov. 13 in a special called session.

Governor Nathan Deal called this session to address the state’s role and responsibility in aiding those affected in Southwest Georgia by Hurricane Michael.

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The agricultural sector of Georgia has lost billions due to Hurricane Michael.

Speaker of the Georgia House of Representatives David Ralston held a special press conference in Blue Ridge on Friday Nov. 9 to address this upcoming session.

“This is a very important session,” Ralston said of the reason for the called session. “I know that we have all been preoccupied with the elections that have been going on, but now that they are over, I think it’s important that we get around in a very concentrated way to helping Southwestern Georgia recover from the almost complete devastation resulting from Hurricane Michael.”

According to the most recent data, state agencies have reported $22 million in damages to state owned properties. These damage estimates have been reported as far north as Cobb County and as far east as Chatham County.

Ralston, who has himself been in person to visit some of the areas affected by Hurricane Michael said of the devastation, “I can tell you it will bring tears to your eyes to see all the houses that have been damaged and destroyed and the damage to our agriculture sector of our economy is just beyond belief.”

As of Oct. 31 it is estimated that $2.461 billion has been lost in the Georgia agricultural sector. This estimate includes crops such as pecans, cotton, and peanuts, as well as general loss in vegetables, poultry, dairy, and timber.

Ralston cited Seminole County, Georgia as having lost 100 percent of their pecan trees. Pecan trees take on average 10 years to fully mature for harvest upon being planted.

In the Seminole County case Ralston said that “generations of work have been set back”.

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The timber sector is another field that will face major setbacks.

“I want to commend Governor Deal for making this a priority sooner rather than later,” Ralston said of the urgency in aiding these areas.
Governor Nathan Deal has put out a figure of $270 million in relief efforts. Ralston stressed that this would just be a beginning and by no means a final number.

“It’s going to be way more than that,” Ralston addressed the overall cost. “The total damage is going to be multiple billions, more than any state can do. The federal government and us will partner on many of these programs.”

Currently local governments have been bearing the financial burden of debris removal and clean up. Ralston feels that the money being appropriated will go partially for reimbursement to these local agencies.

The state will focus mainly on fixing infrastructure in the area and help continue the debris removal. They will also look at repairing state assets.
“I’m not expecting that it would have an effect on the mid year budget,” Ralston said speaking of the financial impact on the state. “We’re doing well as a state so we don’t have to touch the rainy day fund.”

Ralston does expect some relief money to be worked into the 2020 Budget when the regualr General Session takes place.

Also being addressed at this special called session is Georgia’s Jet Fuel Tax break. This tax exemption was signed into executive order by Governor Deal after it caused much controversy in the house and senate.

“Under the law the suspension of the jet fuel tax has to be taken up because the suspension was reinstated by executive order,” Ralston explained why this matter would be discussed at the special session, “which means that it must be reviewed at the next regular or special session.”

As for whether this tax break will continue, it remains unknown. “Anytime that we do preferential tax treatment for any entity, then I think the burden is on that entity to make the case for why it is necessary, why it’s good for the overall economy in this state.”

Ralston added, “To be candid with you, I haven’t heard that case made yet.”

***All photos courtesy of www.house.ga.gov***

 

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

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Natalie Kissel

Natalie@FetchYourNews.com

Rick Day says cannabis could be the future of North Georgia

Election 2018, Politics

Blue Ridge, Ga. – Many words were used to describe Rick Day as he exited the Fannin County Democratic meeting on July 2: enthusiastic, informed, entertaining, and passionate.

Day, a 62 year old veteran, is the first from the Democratic party to ever challenge the Speaker of the House, David Ralston, for the seat of Georgia House of Representatives District 7.

One key issue of Day’s platform and arguably one that he shows the most passion for is his pro-cannabis stance and the benefits it could bring to North Georgia.

“Somewhere in the 70’s I discovered cannabis, marijuana, and it has been a lifelong love affair with Mary Jane,” Day said about his position.

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Democratic candidate Rick Day hopes to unseat incumbent David Ralston in November.

According to Day, almost 700,000 people have been arrested for minor marijuana possession in Georgia since Ralston’s election to the seat of District 7 in 2002.

“This man is so powerful he could have changed this law,” Day said explaining his take on Ralston’s record. “He only cares about the for-profit prisons that lobby him.”

Day would like to see Georgia move beyond the limited laws passed recently in the state that increased medical marijuana use and see cannabis legalized for recreational use as well.

Stating statistics, Day said that approximately 85 percent of Georgians are in favor of medical marijuana, 70 percent of Republicans are in favor, and 65 percent of Georgians favor cannabis oil.

“If we wait another 10 years, the crops are not going to be worth anything near what it was because it’s going to be so common,” Day spoke of the economic impact of ending the war on marijuana.

Wanting to see both marijuana and hemp become major cash crops for the state of Georgia, Day spoke of the increased tax revenue that this legislation, if passed, would create; up to 1 billion in increased revenue. Day would like to see all citizens of North Georgia benefit from this wealth by using the new revenue to eliminate or dramatically decrease property taxes.

“Thousands of jobs, good, well paying jobs,” Day expanded on the benefits of this move. “Develop the area and work with it, so that it becomes part of our identity without overtaking us.”

“My vision is to turn this (North Georgia) into the Napa Valley of cannabis,” Day enthusiastically spoke of his hope.

Acknowledging other issues facing our area Day said, “There is a growing issue with lack of affordable housing in the district.”

With no shortage of half million dollar homes, Day says that it is very hard to find homes in the $150,000 range where there is an increasingly growing demand.

Offering grants and incentives for builders to construct these more affordable homes is a possible solution that Day sees on this issue.

When it comes to his Republican opponent, Day does not mince words: “Ralston is a con. A bought and paid for conservative. Conservatives are no longer the fiscal stewards they once were or ever represented themselves to be.”

Accusing Ralston of catering to the highest bidder, Day pointed out Ralston’s $400,000 yearly pension and using his position to get his son a lobbying job: “He’s their man. He’s not our man anymore.”

As for Ralston’s impact on his district, Day shared his thoughts on that as well. According to Day, Ralston is a man who holds a position of power in the state of Georgia: “Arguably the most powerful because he’s not tenured with term limits like the governor is, and he can’t even get us one manufacturing center up here. He’s done nothing for this district.”

“I can’t out spend David Ralston. He’s already got $1,000,000 in corporate money in the bank,” Day elaborated on his campaign plans. “I can’t make a lot of promises. I won’t have a lot of political power, but I ain’t David Ralston and I will never be that man.”

Day says that his political platform is simple. Having been shown a kindness when he was a young man, his philosophy is to pay it forward. His litmus test on every issue is “Is this going to be good for our kids? Is this going to be good for our grand-kids?”.

“I oppose the things that are not, and I embrace the things that are good,” Day said of this philosophy.

“I believe in myself and I want you to too,” Day spoke to those gathered to hear his message. “I’m done watching (politics). Now is the time for action. Now is the time to bring David Ralston home.”

 

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

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Natalie Kissel

Natalie@FetchYourNews.com

Ralston Endorsed by Georgia Carry – Vote Ralston

Politics

Our 2nd Amendment rights are not up for debate. That’s why I refuse to entertain gun control activists who seek to undermine our safety and compromise the freedoms guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution. From passing “the most pro-gun bill in state history” to ensuring that students, faculty, and visitors can protect themselves on a college campus, I am proud of my record of defending and expanding our 2nd Amendment Rights.

This election, I am once again endorsed by the NRA – National Rifle Association of America and countless #2A supporters throughout the District. Together, we will stand up for our God-given rights and remain “freedom’s safest place.”

UNG gets state funds for new campus

News

BLUE RIDGE, Ga. – In a recent interview on FYNTV, Georgia Speaker of the House David Ralston made an announcement regarding the University of North Georgia’s (UNG) Blue Ridge campus.

Ralston confirmed in the interview that the state has set $5.5 million into a line item to establish a new standalone “brick and mortar” building for the university. The budgeted funds are set for construction only, meaning that the university will be responsible for locating and acquiring a spot suitable for the new campus. Once the college purchases the location, they can utilize the state funds for their new building to expand into that new home in Fannin County.

As such, the location of this facility is yet to be determined. According to Campus Director of Blue Ridge for UNG, Sandy Ott, she hopes to begin construction as soon as possible. Ott spoke with FetchYourNews (FYN) about the fund allocation saying, “We are thrilled with the opportunity to expand the Blue Ridge campus. We are so excited for the opportunities for the students in our region. This is going to have an impact, truly.”

Ott noted some of the major capabilities that a standalone campus will allow including expanded course offerings, lab spaces for sciences and core classes, as well as development space to cater to the region’s specific needs. While college officials are still searching for the best location at this time, Ott confirmed that they are still very early in the process and uncertain if the new standalone campus will see them completely leaving their current location just off of 515 at 83 Dunbarton Farm Road.

UNG has been at that location since 2015, offering opportunities such as dual-enrollment courses for high school students, a full-time program for first-time freshmen, courses for adult learners getting started or returning to college, and continued education programs.

With the passing of the state’s budget, this is now set for UNG to utilize when available. Ott assures FYN they are moving quickly to take advantage of the funds to increase their services as soon as possible for students. See more by checking out the announcement at 14 minutes into FYNTV’s video below.

 

 

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BKP Interviews Georgia House Speaker David Ralston

State & National

On FYN TV, BKP interviews Georgia’s Speaker of the House for District-7 Representative David Ralston, as they discuss Georgia’s aggressive plan for a large infrastructure investment that was presented and highlighted at a meeting for Republican leaders including Ralston, over the weekend at The White House. Speaker David Ralston comments on what that means for Georgia.

Pictured below: Speaker of the House for Georgia District 7 David Ralston at this past weekends Infrastructure Meeting at the White House with Republican leaders and President Donald Trump.

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