White County CERT Graduates Receive Certificates


Back Row (Left to Right) Roy Stevens, Chuck Blaine, Dann Morris, Victor Torregeano, John LaPree, Sandi Hengle, Scott Bishop, Jerry Davis, Director of White County Public Safety David Murphy. Middle Row (Left to Right) Barbara Blaine, Leah Torregeano, Robert Becker, Darlene Becker, Linda Lifsey, Front Row John Wilson

CLEVELAND, Ga. — White County Office of Public Safety, Director David Murphy presented graduation certificates last week to 12 individuals who recently completed the 30 hour Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Community Emergency Response Team  (CERT) training program.

The program trains volunteers to prepare for the types of disasters that their community may face.

In a press release, Murphy said, “After Irma, the call went out for assistance and White County CERT members were there. They made a difference in the lives of many of our friends and neighbors. CERT Teams cleared the roads so emergency vehicles could get through. They staffed a shelter for those on medical devices who needed power. They assisted at a food & shower comfort station. CERT members provided behind-the-scenes assistance in staging vital emergency equipment and administratively assisted at several locations. Because of White County’s CERT teams’ dedication and willingness to help our friends and neighbors, they mitigated the damaging effects of a disastrous situation.  They touched the lives and hearts of our community.”

White County CERT has established the following teams to prepare and assist White County in times of need.

*       Administrative
*       Chainsaw
*       Communications
*       Community Education
*       Equipment
*       Medical Reserve Corps
*       Search & Rescue
*       Shelter Management
*       Speakers Bureau
*       Training
*       Youth Programs

CERT Basic Course is delivered in the community by a team of first responders, and other qualified volunteers. The organization and timing of training and meeting varies from program to program. It is often broken up into two to four hour blocks over a series of evenings or weekends.

White County Office of Public Safety has announced the next CERT training program will begin January 16 and will continue through to March 27. Classes will be held every Tuesday from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the White County Senior Center, 1239 Helen Highway in Cleveland. For more information or to sign up, please call 706-865-9500. This is a free class but class size is limited.


County Announces Storm Cleanup Plan


Public Safety Director David Murphy

CLEVELAND, Ga. – White County is implementing an Emergency Debris Management Plan to help county residents clean up after the storm that swept through the county.

Residents who live in the unincorporated area of the county who have vegetative debris on their property that needs to be disposed of, can help the cleanup process by moving all the debris (trees, stumps, limbs and leaves only) to the county road right-of-way for pickup.

Deadline for the public to place debris on the right-of-way is Thursday, Oct. 19 in order for it to be picked up by the contractor assigned by the county. Debris will only be removed from county right-of-ways.

A press release issued by the White County Emergency Management Agency asks that residents keep all debris away from fire hydrants, valves and public utilities. Please report illegal dumping and illegal dump sites to White County Code Enforcement at 706-865-6496.

For more information regarding storm debris cleanup efforts, contact the White County Emergency Management Agency at 706-865-9500.


Feeding, Shower Facility Open Today at WCMS


David Murphy

CLEVELAND, Ga. – White County Public Safety Director David Murphy announced that the White County Middle School, 283 Old Blairsville Road, will be open again today as a feeding and shower facility from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m.

It will reopen from 4 p.m. until 7 p.m. Anyone without power and are in need of these services is welcome. Please bring your essential hygiene products, towels, and change of clothing. Bottled water and ICE will be distributed at the site during those hours as well.

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. If you would like to follow up-to-date local events in any of those counties, please visit us at FetchYourNews.com


White County Weather Update Mon. Sept. 11


David Murphy

CLEVELAND, Ga. – In a 3 p.m. weather advisory on Monday, Sept. 11, White County Public Safety Director reported that 158 Habersham EMC customers are without power in White County. No roads are closed at this time, but residents are still encouraged to remain inside. Government offices remain open today.

White County School Superintendent Dr. Jeff Wilson announced that schools that are closed today will remain closed Tuesday, Sept. 12.


Public Safety Director Murphy Calls Emergency Meeting as City, County Officials Brace for Irma


CLEVELAND, Ga. – White County Department of Public Safety Director David Murphy called city and county officials to a meeting at county’s Emergency Operations Center Friday morning, to check on their preparedness for the impact of Hurricane Irma.

All law enforcement agencies in the county and all fire departments were represented along with a handful of emergency management personnel, members of the Certified Emergency Response Team (C.E.R.T.), city and county managers and some county commissioners.

Irma is expected to make landfall near the Florida Keys late Saturday and Florida Gov. Rick Scott said the storm is “way bigger than Andrew.” Hurricane Irma has been downgraded to a category 4 but maximum winds are about 150 miles per hour.

After landfall, Irma is expected to produce a destructive path as it rumbles northward through central Florida as it bears down on Georgia. Most hurricanes weaken as they pass over land and Irma is expected to be downgraded to a tropical storm by the time it reaches northeast Georgia.

“A reasonable arrival time when we will experience tropical storm winds is Monday morning around 8 a.m. and throughout the day and into Tuesday night,” Murphy said. Sustained winds are expected to be about 30 miles per hour with gusts up to 50 mph.

“Projected rainfall is between 2.8 and 3.5 inches. We have had that much rainfall before, but add that to the high winds and we could have a problem,” Murphy added.

All of those charged with the responsibility of protecting the citizens reported that their agencies are as ready as they can be.

Friendship Baptist Church, 3513 Westmoreland Road in Cleveland, Mount Yonah Elementary School, 1161 Duncan Bridge Road and the Mauney Building 1241 Helen Highway, have been designated as safe haven/comfort shelters  for those who live in sub-standard housing, mobile homes or RV’s and feel threatened due to weather conditions.

Murphy said three conditions could trigger the opening of those shelters: damaging winds with tornado activity; the storm center issues a tornado watch and conditions on the ground along with multiple calls from the public about where to go. They have already been supplied with cots, blankets and water.

The Bridge Church, 607 Hulsey Road in Cleveland, will serve as the Red Cross congregate center and will be opened to the public if the area is hit by a tornado or the Red Cross requests it to open as an evacuation center.

The flight of Floridians to escape Irma has already reached White County. As of Friday morning two vendors have run out of gas.

Generators have been prepositioned at the county courthouse to ensure that the lines of communication remain open.

The county public works director said his department has adequate fuel supply and 10-12 people assigned to a chain saw strike team to help clear roads of fallen trees.

Sheriff Neal Walden said that as of noon today, all leave is canceled. One of his major concerns is if the county jail is damaged by high winds, he may need a bus on short notice to transport prisoners.

Asked if he had a message for those tempted to get out and survey the damage after the storm passes through, Walden said, “We will absolutely not allow gawkers. Stay at home.” He also cautioned residents to be alert for scammers who like to take advantage of disasters.

County Commission Chairman Travis Turner urged everyone to, “Be ready to assist one another and our neighbors. Let’s work together. We want to come out of this with a win.”




No Injuries Reported in Residential Fire Wednesday


David Murphy

CLEVELAND – Units from the White County and Cleveland Fire Departments responded to a residential fire Wednesday evening at 85 Ellis Drive in Cleveland.

White County Public Safety Director David Murphy reported that a dryer at the home caught fire and when the residents’ attempt to extinguish the blaze with a chemical extinguisher was unsuccessful they called 9-1-1.

Fire personnel quickly extinguished the fire then placed a smoke ejector in the residence to eradicate the home of smoke.  All other fire units were canceled and damage was contained to the dryer unit only.

The occupants did have working smoke alarms and they did activate.

Fortunately here were no injuries reported.



Rabies Alert Posted in White County


CLEVELAND, Ga. — Several dogs in the Mt. Scenic Drive area of White County had contact with a rabid raccoon this week. Public Safety Director David Murphy said the raccoon was shipped to the Georgia Public Health Lab – Virology Section in Decatur where it tested positive for rabies.

Positive alert signs have been posted in the area where the raccoon was located. If you live in this area and have concerns of rabid animal exposure, please contact White County Environmental Health at 706-348- 7698 during normal business hours. Animal owners are encouraged to vaccinate their domesticated pets for rabies.

Three dogs that came into contact with the raccoon were not current on their shots and had to be euthanized. Three others that are current are under 45-day observation according to White County Environmental Health Manager Sean Sullivan.

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. If you would like to follow up-to-date local events in any of those counties, please visit us at FetchYourNews.com


New State Grant Will Help Low-Income Families Care for Their Pets


CLEVELAND, Ga. – White County has received a grant from the Georgia Department of Agriculture that will be used to assist low-income families with the costs associated with spay/neuter surgery for their pets, White County Public Safety Director David Murphy announced Tuesday.

“We are pleased to be the recipients of this grant and to be able to assist families in our community,” Murphy said.

Murphy also announced a new adoption fee schedule for Animal Control Services that will go into effect July 1. Pets already altered when they enter the shelter will be $25. Unaltered pets will remain at $90 and families eligible for the spay/neuter grant can adopt an unaltered pet for $45 through the end of July.

Applications for both the spay/neuter grant and adoptions can be obtained at White County Animal Control, 680 Industrial Blvd., Cleveland, Ga. For more information, call 706-219-2689 or check the county website at www.whitecounty.net

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. If you would like to follow up-to-date local events in any of those counties, please visit us at www.fetchyournews.com





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