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 goes on to outline the resources in our area that have been affected by the out-of-towners looking to seclude themselves, including 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 County Health Board 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

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Natalie Kissel

Natalie@FetchYourNews.com

White County Commissioners meet via teleconference

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White County Commissioners

Travis Turner

WHITE COUNTY, Ga. – One day after Gov. Brian Kemp issued an executive order limiting gatherings to 10 or fewer people as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, county commissioners held a two-and-a-half hour called meeting via teleconference.

The governor’s order did not go into effect until noon Tuesday. The commissioners’ meeting, which was frequently interrupted by technical difficulties, started at 9 a.m. and ended at 11:38 a.m.

Commission Chairman Travis Turner did his best under difficult circumstances to keep the meeting moving forward and he assured the listening audience that it did comply with the governor’s order regarding “social distancing.”

Commissioners approved 10 separate land use applications then voted to impose a moratorium on action or acceptance of land use applications until April 26.

They also awarded a contract to resurface approximately two miles of Westmoreland Road to Stratton and Sons Construction in the amount of $647,281.10. Much of that will be funded by a Local Maintenance Improvement Grant in the amount of $461,758.

Commissioners approved land use applications filed by:

Patricia Rottenberg for a conditional use permit for five acres on Hester Road to be placed in the county’s short-term rental program;

Herb Lanphear for a conditional use permit for one acre at 1224 Poplar Stump Road in Helen to be placed in the county’s short-term rental program;

Robert Loomis for a conditional use permit for 13.36 acres at 92 Chattahoochee Acres Drive in Cleveland to be placed in the county’s short-term rental program;

Robert Loomis for a conditional use permit on 13.36 acres at 1049 Chattahoochee Acres Drive in Cleveland to be placed in the county’s short-term rental program;

Bryan Lee to redistrict 5.94 acres at Ga. Hwy. 115 East in Cleveland from R-1 (Residential Single-Family to C-2 Highway Business;

Bryan Lee to redistrict 4.5 acres on Ga. Hwy. 115 East in Cleveland from R-1 Residential Single-Family to C-2 Highway Business;

The Board approved Lee’s request with the stipulations that Leyland Cypress trees be planted along the border in a staggered fashion, a coated plastic hurricane fence be erected, no lights along the back border and a 25-foot setback to the edge of the retaining pond.

Verizon Wireless for a conditional use permit on 71.65 acres at 291 West Farm Road in Cleveland to place antennas on an existing cell tower;

Carol Chambers Crumley for a conditional use permit on 2.23 acres at 591 Dock Dorsey Road in Cleveland to be placed in the county’s short-term rental program;

Lisa Parker for a conditional use permit on 17.15 acres at 768 Tolhurst Road in Cleveland to be placed in the county’s short-term rental program;

Chad Knott to redistrict 1.7 acres at 26 Carolina Springs Road in Sautee Nacoochee from Community Commercial District C-1 to C-2 Highway Business.

 

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

 

 

BOC meeting will be held by teleconference

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WHITE COUNTY, Ga.  — The White County Board of Commissioners will hold a called meeting on Tuesday ( March 24) at 9 a.m. Due to the county’s response to COVID-19 – this meeting will be held by teleconference. The public is welcome to join the teleconference.

Instructions for joining the teleconference are as follows:

Dial: +1 (872) 240-3412

Enter access code: 276-449-349

Important Notes:

1) Once on the call use *6 to mute your phone so we do not hear everyone’s background noise.

2) Anyone recognized by Chairman Turner to speak will use *6 to unmute their line.

3) Please do not place the conference call on hold once you have joined.

Ten of the agenda items involve land use applications. Following those items, commissioners will consider a moratorium on action and/or acceptance of land use applications during the prescribed time of closure of county offices.

Public Safety Director David Murphy will then provide an update on the county’s COVID-19 response.

 

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

 

 

Public Safety Director: “Prepare don’t Panic”

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David Murphy

PRESS RELEASE

WHITE COUNTY, Ga. –The Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) is closely monitoring the outbreak of respiratory illness caused by a novel (new) coronavirus (COVID-19) first identified in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China in December 2019, and is regularly coordinating with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

White County Pandemic Task Force continues to meet and prepare for any local response actions they may become necessary as this situation continues to develop. We have one message to our community: PREPARE DON’T PANIC.

There are NO COVID-19 cases in White County at this time. Our county school system and Truett McConnell University will be closing for precautionary preparedness measures beginning Monday. White County Government will be closing the Senior Citizens Center, White County Library Cleveland Branch and the Parks & Recreation Facilities beginning Monday morning as well. These closings are again in an abundance of caution to help prevent the spread of this virus and protect those persons most vulnerable to the disease.

“As always we encourage our citizens to prepare for any emergency or disaster situation that could occur in White County. PREPARE DON’T PANIC” says David Murphy, Director of Public Safety. “A great website for preparing for disasters is ready.gov or you can contact our office at 706-865-9500 during normal business hours.”

You can now access information directly at www.whitecounty.net , and click on the CONOVIRUS emblem. This will link you to a newly created page with updated information from White County Government, the CDC, Georgia Department of Public Health and our local White County School System. Links will be added as valuable information becomes available.

“I want to assure the citizens of White County that our emergency management team is meeting regularly regarding the growing pandemic concerns and assure everyone that White County has not only a Pandemic Response Plan but also has maintained a Continuity of Operations Plan to support our community.  By having these plans in place for the last several years, it helps us to be better prepared when these situations arise,” states Travis Turner, Chairman of the Board of Commissioners.

He added, “I would like to personally encourage our community to prepare and not give into panic but to also use common sense measures regarding you and your family’s health and well-being.  Also, I would like for us all to be vigilant in prayer for not only our White County community but our entire country and to encourage one another as we anticipate successfully overcoming this health obstacle.  Please know that any decisions we make on behalf of our county will be done in an abundance of caution and safety.”

For more information concerning this press release contact the White County Emergency Management Agency at 706-865-9500.

UPDATE: White County candidate qualifying Day 2

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WHITE COUNTY, Ga. – – Despite a constant downpour throughout the day on Monday, nine  incumbent office holders and several first-time candidates made their way to the Elections Office on the first day candidates could qualify to run for public office in the May 19 Primary Election.

First Day Qualifying for local races in White County include:

REPUBLICAN

COUNTY RACES

Chief Magistrate — Corey Dean Hyde (I)

Probate Judge — Don Ferguson, Cam Greene, Randall Townley

Sheriff — Aaron Autry, Rick Kelley, John Murphy

Clerk Superior Court — Dena M. Adams (I)

Tax Commissioner:          Cindy Cannon (I)

Coroner — Ricky Barrett (I)

Surveyor — Eddie C. Hood (I)

County Commission Chair — Travis C. Turner (I)

County Commission District 1 –Terry Goodger (I)

County Commission District 4 — Craig Bryant (I)

Board of Education Chair — Carly Saxon Adam, Missy Jarrard (I)

Board of Education District 1 — Jon Estes

Board of Education District 3 –Charlie Thomas (I)

Candidates who qualified to run for State Representaive:

STATE RACES

State Rep. Dist. 10 — Victor Anderson, Jimmy Dean, Robert Crumley

FEDERAL RACES

Ninth District U.S. Congress –Michael Boggus, Andrew Clyde, Matt Gurtler, Maria Strickland, Kevin Tanner, Ethan Underwood.

Qualifying will continue through March 6 at noon. Continue to read fetchyournews.com for daily updates until qualifying ends.

 

DEMOCRAT

STATE RACES

District 10 State Representative Nick Mitchell

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

 

 

White County may join Habersham, Stephens in becoming a Second Amendment Sanctuary

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WHITE COUNTY, Ga. – As Democrats continue to push unconstitutional gun control laws, White County Commissioners are considering a resolution that would declare the county a Second Amendment Sanctuary.

Board of Commissioners Chairman Travis Turner revealed during Monday’s called meeting and work session, that commissioners have asked county attorney Mary Jane Henneke to research a resolution similar to the ones approved in Habersham and Stephens counties this month.

“We want to make sure everything we do stands up in a court of law.”

Commissioner Edwin Nix

Commissioner Edwin Nix made it clear where he stands on the Second Amendment saying, “We all know that the intent of some people in this country is to make sure the criminals have guns and that good people don’t. Sooner or later if that happens, we are all in trouble. They may come and get all my guns. They may take them. But it will be after I have exhausted all my bullets.”

More importantly, White County Sheriff Neal Walden spoke out firmly, saying, “I took an oath to uphold the laws of this state and the U.S. Constitution and that includes the right to bear arms. I will not enforce any law that prevents that.”

The Second Amendment Sanctuary movement is spreading all across Georgia and the rest of the nation. A gun-rights rally in Virginia drew an estimated 22,000 supporters recently. On Saturday, hundreds of gun-rights advocates rallied in Rome to advocate for the creation of Second Amendment sanctuaries in Georgia.

The issue was not on Monday’s agenda, but it was raised by White County resident William King during the Public Comment portion of the meeting.

The Habersham County resolution reads, in part, “No agent, employee or official of Habersham County, or any corporation providing services to Habersham County, shall provide material support or participate in any way with the implementation of federal acts, orders, rules, laws or regulations in violation of the Second Amendment to the United States of America.”

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Commission chairman presents review of 2019 events

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WHITE COUNTY, Ga. – White County Commission Chairman Travis Turner used his time during the 2020 Eggs and Issues Breakfast Friday to give attendees a review of the important events that took place in White County last year.

The event was held at The Bridge Church and was sponsored by the White County Chamber of Commerce. Chamber President Beth Truelove served as hostess.

With State Sen. Steve Gooch (R-Dahlonega) and State Reps. Lee Hawkins (R-Gainesville) and Terry Rogers (R-Clarkesville) in the audience, Turner thanked all three for the service to the county.

“We appreciate the fact that we can reach out to our state delegation and they respond to us,” he said.

Turner outlined some of the projects the county completed in 2019.

“Over the last year, the county paved 13 roads for a total of 21 miles out of our special purpose local option sales tax (SPLOST) dollars.” The cost of $2.5 million included paving dirt roads and resurfacing existing roads.

“One of the highlights of the last year was the completion of Yonah Preserve Baseball and Softball Complex. “If you haven’t had an opportunity, please go out there. That is a $4 million project that has put the county on the map. We want to make this a destination location for our county.”

The county just completed installation of a new 911 telephone system that will help emergency services locate a caller even when the caller is not aware of their exact location, simply by pinging their cell phone.

Phase 3 of the Appalachian Parkway is now underway, a $16 million project that will improve transportation in and around White County. Last year, the Board of Commissioners committed to a partnership with the City of Cleveland to invest $100,000 for improvements to the water lines along the project.

The White County Fire Department has received a SAFR grant that will allow the county to hire four additional full time firefighters.

Unemployment in White County has reached a historic low of 2 percent.

“SPLOST receipts are up tremendously,” Turner said. “Our LOST receipts are up 10 percent. Hotel/motel tax receipts are up 13 percent and we, as your Board of Commissioners maintained the same millage rate in 2018 and 2019.”

The county ended last year with a $3.9 million fund balance that would allow the county to continue to operate for 2.7 months should an unexpected disaster hit the county.

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

TMU asks commissioners to authorize tax exempt bond issuance

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CLEVELAND, Ga. – White County Commissioners heard a request from Truett McConnell University Vice President for Finance and Operations Jason Graffagnino at Monday’s work session to approve a bond issuance that would allow it to refinance its long term indebtedness at a considerable savings.

The issuance would be through the White County Development Authority and must be approved by the Board of Commissioners but it does not obligate county taxpayers.

“We are looking into refinancing long-term debt tied to a major project we did in 2011,” Graffagnino said. The project included construction of a new dormitory, expanding the dining hall and administration building and the addition of a new student wellness center.

Graffagnino said the current bond is being paid back at a rate of between 5.75 and 6.0 percent.

“In the current economic environment, we have done our due diligence and through a public bond offering, we are able to ascertain a long term rate for 30 years at 3.6 percent,” he said. “As Mr. Chairman (Travis Turner) said and Mr. Manager (Michael Melton) said, this does not encumber the citizens of White County or the citizens of Cleveland. The collateral is the University. We are taking financial responsibility It will be a tax-exempt offering. For that to be something the public can invest in, and buy tax exempt bonds, we need a government authority to be the issuer so that is why we are coming before you.”

The Board generally discusses issues during work sessions then votes on them at the next regular session.

Commissioners also discussed future options for the administration of county elections since Probate Judge Garrison Baker, who currently oversees elections, will retire at the end of 2020.

A number of agenda items were placed on the consent agenda for the next meeting, including:

A request by Director of Public Safety Director David Murphy to place some obsolete equipment belonging to his department to be sold as surplus;

Bids received for two certificates of deposits currently held by United Community Bank.

Most of the rezoning requests on Monday’s agenda also will be placed on the consent agenda.

Commissioners will place one request for annexation into the city of Cleveland and another by the City of Helen under New Business and vote on them separately at the next meeting.

 

 

 

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

 

Commissioners approve 10.75 millage rate for FY 2019

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CLEVELAND, Ga. – Following a third public hearing Monday, the White County Board of Commissioners unanimously approved the 2019 rollback millage rate at 10.75 mils.

The proposed rate is the same as last year, however, keeping the millage rate at the same level represents a tax increase of .204 mils. Without the tax increase, the rate would have been no more than 10.546 mils.

The proposed tax increase for a home with a fair market value of $160,000.00 is approximately $12.65 and the proposed tax increase for non-homestead property with a fair market value of $130,000.00 is approximately $10.61.

Kevin Hamby reported that revenue from the special purpose local option sales tax (SPLOST) has exceeded all expectations. The voter-approved referendum was projected to raise $19,000,000.The revised and actual estimated revenue has been adjusted to $24,351,668.

The local option sales tax (LOST) has also outperformed expectations. The 2019 projection was $2,502,538. To date, the county has received $2,774,370. Tourism has also produced another success story. Anticipated revenue for 2019 was $805,675 while actual collections total $977,811.

Will Wagner presented a brief report on the Historic Preservation Committee, saying the committee has met monthly for about six months. “We’ve been looking at camp meetings and have had several reports on those,” Wagner said. “We have also gathered some information from the White County Historical Society. They have been very helpful.”

Commissioners approved a low bid of $81,608.34 by Precision Paving to deep patch and overlay Truelove Road and deep patching of Post Road and Old Hwy. 75 South. Commissioner Craig Bryant recused himself due to a conflict of interest.

The Board unanimously approved giving Public Works Director Dave Cangemi $5,000 to place a hold on the purchase of a 60-foot used bucket truck and to hold a called meeting to approve the purchase price if a suitable one can be found.

Commissioners unanimously approved Commission Chairman Travis Turner to serve as White County’s voting delegate for the 2019 ACCG Legislative Leadership Conference.

Finance Director Jodi Ligon presented the monthly financial report (pre audit, does not include accrued revenue).

General fund revenue for the month of June was $711,107 while expenditures were $1,773,734. Year-to-date revenue is $17,573,474 and expenditures are $18,122,189.

The Board projected collecting $133,200 in alcohol taxes and fees and thus far has collected $126,671. The FY 2019 budget anticipated collection of $1,020,000 in the title ad valorem tax. Collections so far are $1,013,689. Collection of the hotel/motel tax have surpassed expectations. The projection was $805,675. So far, the county has collected $977,811.

 

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

White County Commission approves $24.1 million budget

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CLEVELAND, Ga. – The White County Board of Commissioners approved a fiscal year 2020 budget of $24,123,352 Monday. The general fund budget which is made up of agriculture, judicial, culture and recreation, housing and development, general government, public safety and public works is $19,190,827.

Commissioners anticipate $19,190,827 in expenditures and $18,266,105 in revenue with the balance to paid out of the fund balance.

About half the general fund budget ($9,538,610) is earmarked for public safety, which includes animal control, detention center, sheriff’s office, EMA, EMS, 911 and fire services. General government, which includes 12 departments plus the contingency fund will receive 21.25 percent of the general fund.

The Board also approved spending $392,900.40 on road improvement projects for Asa Dorsey Road, F-M Road, Shepherd Drive, Fire Station No. 6 parking driveway area, Yonah Preserve Trailhead Road parking area and Old Blue Creek Road.

Also approved unanimously Monday:

Gary Bowen’s request to rezone 1.66 acres at 4680 Hwy. 115 from C1 Community Commercial District to C2 Highway Business District;

James Penner’s request to rezone 28.67 acres at 5050 Hwy. 129 from C1 Community Commercial District to A1 Agriculture/Forestry District;

James and Sydney Vandiver’s request to rezone 2.23 acres on Asbestos Road from C1 Community Commercial District to R3 Residential District (Seasonal);

Legacy Link Contract 2019-2020 for the operation of the senior center;

The 2019-2020 ACCG-IRMA proposal for liability insurance coverage;

Renewal of the landscape services contract for Freedom Park with the Chattahoochee Group;

Award the contract for propane services with Blossman.

Commission Chairman Travis Turner read a proclamation to Garvis and Judy Kinsey

After 37 years in the ministry, the couple retired Sunday (June 16).

“In honor of Garvis and Judy Kinsey’s lifelong commitment to White County where they have served selflessly for over 40 years, the White County Board of Commissioners hereby expresses our recognition and appreciation for the contributions you have made,” Turner said. “We extend our best wishes o you on the occasion of your retirement.”

The couple met while students at Piedmont College and married in 1971. Five years later, they started a kindergarten in the basement of their home. They began preaching at St. Paul’s United Methodist Church in 1982. In 1986, they moved to Cool Springs United Methodist Church and in 1988, the founded the White Creek Christian Academy with a mission of developing students to full potential academically and spiritually.

In retirement, the couple will continue to mentor the new administrators and volunteer at the school.

Fetch Your News would also like to express its gratitude and best wishes to the Kinseys.

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Yonah Preserve Ballfields Complex is now open

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CLEVELAND, Ga. — White County’s own field of dreams became a reality Saturday when the ribbon was cut on the beautiful $4.1 million Yonah Preserve Ballfields Complex.

The day began with the Parade of Athletes as hundreds of ballplayers and coaches marched to one of the four new ballfields. White County Commission Chairman Travis Turner dedicated the facility and thanked those who helped make the day possible.

Gov. Nathan congratulates county at Saturday dedication ceremony.

Governor Nathan Deal and wife Sandra were on hand along with Sen. Steve Gooch (R-Dahlonega) and Commissioners Terry Goodger, Craig Bryant, Edwin Nix and Lynn Holcomb.

The ballfields are part of the 1,000-acre Yonah Preserve that thus far, included about 9 to 10 miles of hiking and biking trails that attract about 350 vehicles per week. The trails were built by the Southern Off Road Biking Association (SORBA) at no cost to taxpayers. There is a beautiful fishing lake on the property that will be open soon and a new football field will be added in the near future.

The property was originally leased to the county for $1 with the agreement that it would be used for the public good and recreation. The lease was converted to county ownership last year.

“We are continuing to hold dear to our word to that we will manage this property with respect to its natural God-given aspects while providing an awesome recreation program not only for White County but Georgia as well,” Turner said.

The ribbon cutting ceremony at Saturday’s Yonah Preserve Ballfields Complex.

Gov. Deal said, “You all did a great job with this property. I envision that it will continue to grow and expand and you’re going to become a destination spot. If there is one thing I have noticed in Hall County and Gainesville area, in particular, is that the investments they have made in fields like this bring many, many people from all over the country. Traveling baseball for young people is a very popular activity. There is a lot of recreational dollars that follow it so I think you’re going to be richly rewarded for your foresight and your investment and I congratulate all the members of this county commission and you, Travis, in particular.”

Senator Gooch thanked the governor for his help in making Yonah Preserve possible and added that things like this don’t happen without good relationships between city, county and state officials.

 

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

 

White County commissioners grapple with short-term rental issues during Tuesday’s called meeting

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DAWSONVILLE, Ga. – Short-term rentals have become a booming industry, forecast to reach $23 billion in the U.S. by 2022.  The rise in popularity has left governments struggling with how to regulate rentals, rental operators and neighborhood activists.

White County commissioners spent one hour in a special called meeting Tuesday morning, wrestling with what is a much more complex issue than it may seem on the surface. County staff is charged with drafting regulations for short-term rentals. Tuesday’s meeting was called so commissioners could provide some direction.

Commission Chairman Travis Turner expressed the difficulty of regulating short-term rentals, saying, “I’ve gone from one extreme to another trying to find a common-sense middle ground.”

On the one hand, those who would like to rent rooms in their home on a short-term basis argue they have a right to use their property as they see fit. On the other, their neighbors counter that kind of activity can affect security in the neighborhood as well as property values.

Commissioner Edwin Nix said, “I’ve probably put more thought into this than anything since we started land use. It is our responsibility and the citizens of this county are looking to us to protect their interests. One thing I would want if I lived in a subdivision is to know who my neighbor was each night. This commissioner would almost vote not to allow this in a subdivision. Period.”

Nix advised staff to pay attention to health issues in drafting regulations. “You’ve got health issues when drafting criteria,” he said “Are (rentals) on public water? Are they on well water? Is the sewage system designed to handle what they are doing?”

There are also licensing issues, insurance issues, parking issues and zoning issues to be addressed.

County Manager Michael Melton said, “What we need to know from the Board is do you want this regulated under land use or do you want it regulated under a permit system?”

Commissioner Terry Goodger pointed out that Hall County and the City of Savannah are struggling with the same issues and they have left it under land use.

Board voted unanimously to have staff draft a stand-alone ordinance and present it to the Board in two weeks for review.

 

 

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

 

BOC proclaims Mar. 4-8 Exceptional Children’s Week

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CLEVELAND, Ga. – In a moving declaration, White County Commission Chairman Travis Turner read a resolution proclaiming March 4-8, 2019 as Exceptional Children’s Week in White County during Monday’s work session.

In reading the resolution, Turner pointed out some interesting facts, including: 10.3 percent of White County residents under the age of 65 have a disability; 566 students in White County students are currently receiving special education services and 75 percent of special education students graduate from White County High School every year. That graduation rate is double the state average and ranks in the top five in Georgia.

During Exceptional Children’s Week, the White County School System and community partners will host activities celebrating the acceptance of students with disabilities. A disability A to Z book will be published, workshops and lectures will be held at Truett McConnell University which will educate parents, school staff, college students and the community at large about a variety of disability topics.

“If you have never had a chance to participate in or at least watch a Special Olympics, I would encourage you to do so.”

In other business, staff presented a draft short-term rental ordinance for the Board to consider that sparked a 45-minute discussion during the work session and set the state for the called meeting that followed.

Several residents of White County subdivisions including Panorama Estates attended the meeting and voiced their concerns about short-term rentals. Commissioner Edwin Nix, who has often expressed his feelings about this type rental, said, “I understand why you people don’t want this around you. If I lived in there, I wouldn’t either.”

In the end, nothing was settled and Turner said, “We’re trying to get our arms around this. I don’t know where we’re going yet but, gentlemen, I do believe we’re going to have an additional meeting.

In January, the Board imposed a 90-day moratorium on short term rentals that ends April 8.

Commissioners did pass a resolution to express opposition to House Bill 302 which would prohibit local governments from adopting or enforcing ordinances or regulations relating to or regulating building design elements as applied to one or two family dwellings.

Photo: Front: Shawn Ellis, Brook Ellis (girl) Ashley Ellis (mom), Bailey Ellis, Joe Grillo (chair), Jane Grillo. Back: Commissioners Terry Goodger, Craig Bryant, Travis Turner, Lynn Holcomb and Ed Nix.

Kemp Bus Tour stops at Truett McConnell Tuesday

News, Politics

CLEVELAND, Ga. – Republican gubernatorial candidate Brian Kemp’s “Road to Victory” bus tour visited the campus of Truett McConnell University, a Christian liberal arts and sciences school in the foothills of the north Georgia mountains, Tuesday morning.

Following morning chapel service led by Anthony George, senior associate pastor of First Baptist Church in Atlanta, in the beautiful George Blaurock Student Wellness Center, Kemp briefly addressed students and staff and delivered a message of faith and hope.

The Republican candidate for governor said, “I know God has a plan for our family and I’m just here living It out. We’re going to know shortly what that plan is and we’re trusting in the Lord every single day. That is giving me a lot of peace in my heart. Its people of faith – in a lot of ways – this campaign is about.”

Kemp said he was encouraged to see how many young people are interested in the campaign.

“I’m optimistic that we see a lot of young people all over our state that are interested in who their leaders are going to be. They want good government. They want to have good opportunities and that’s why I’m running, so my kids and you all and your kids, one day, will have all the same opportunities that I have had.”

Many government heavy-hitters at both the state and local level were on hand to show their support for Kemp, who will face Democrat Stacey Abrams and Libertarian Ted Metz in next Tuesday’s election.

Governor Nathan Deal told attendees he is aware that politics has a bad rap but he said, “The truth of the matter is our great nation is based on the idea we are not just a democracy. We are a republic in which people have the right to elect their leaders. If those leaders do not reflect the moral values that our nation should have, our nation will not remain strong.”

Other leaders who visited with Kemp included, Congressman Doug Collins, State Senator Steve Gooch and White County commissioners Travis Turner, Terry Goodger and Edwin Nix.

 

 

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

 

Travis Turner elected chairman of GEFA

News

BOC Chairman Travis Turner

CLEVELAND, Ga. — White County Commission Chairman Travis Turner has been elected chairman of the Georgia Environmental Finance Authority (GEFA) board of directors effective Jan. 1.

“I am very honored to have been voted chairman by our board of directors,” Turner said Tuesday. “I will have some big shoes to fill in Boyd Austin who has a great understanding of the water issues in Georgia. I hope to continue his strong leadership.”

GEFA provides low-interest loans for water, sewer and solid waste infrastructure, manages energy efficiency and renewable energy programs, oversees land conservation projects and manages and monitors state-owned fuel storage tanks.

To date, GEFA has provided more than $3.7 billion in low-interest loans to cities, counties and infrastructure authorities for improvements to water, sewer and solid waste systems. More than 1,600 projects have been funded by GEFA to date, including solid waste management projects and land conservation purchases and easements.

Turner is currently serving his second four-year term on the White County Board of Commissioners. He also serves as vice chairman of the Association County Commissioners of Georgia’s Group Self-Insurance Workers’ Compensation Fund board of trustees.

 

 

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

 

Controversial CUP Request Draws Opposition

News

CLEVELAND, Ga. – A request for a conditional use permit (CUP) to allow a home in a residential, single-family district to be placed in a “For Rent By Owner” program drew objections during a White County Board of Commissioners work session Monday.

Felix Love requested the CUP for a 2.75 acre parcel of land he owns at 55 Mill Creek Trail during the first of two public hearings. Love said he initially purchased the property to flip for a profit but has been unable to find a buyer.

Neighbors Michele Johnson and Cindy Bailey rose to speak in opposition. They cited several objections, including violation of homeowner association covenants, noise and declining property values. Johnson said many of the homeowners in Mill Creek are retirees who were attracted by the restricted covenants. She said security and privacy were also concerns.

Bailey acknowledged that at least one other home in the neighborhood is used as a weekend rental and that renters tend to throw loud parties, leave garbage outside and ignore community speed limit signs.

During a second public hearing, Sonya Chesser asked commissioners to redistrict a small parcel of the 8.24 acres she and her husband own at 2836 Skitts Mountain Road from C-1 (Community Commercial District) to Residential Single-Family District to accommodate construction of a new home.

Retired White County educators were honored during Monday’s county commission meeting.

More than a dozen retired White County Educators attended the work session and Commission Chairman Travis Turner read a proclamation in honor of Georgia Retired Educators Day Sunday, Nov. 5.

Commissioners also discussed:

  • Priorities for potential spring road paving projects;
  • Renewal of the Parks and Recreation concessionaire agreement with Complete Comfort Inc.;
  • Ratification of the contract for debris removal and disposal with Southern Disaster Recovery;
  • An amendment to the White County Flood Plain Management Ordinance;
  • Upcoming Appointments to the Board of Assessors, Building Authority and Library Board;
  • Replacement of Road Department Vehicles.

These and other issues are expected to be voted on at the next regular meeting of the Board of Commissioners Monday, Nov. 6.

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

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