Gas spill closes intersection alongside 515

The truck dumped nearly 40 gallons of diesel fuel along the intersection of Industrial Boulevard and 1st Avenue.

The truck dumped nearly 40 gallons of diesel fuel along the intersection of Industrial Boulevard and 1st Avenue.

EAST ELLIJAY, Ga. – Authorities have shut down the intersection of Industrial Boulevard and 1st Avenue in East Ellijay after a semi-truck lost its gas tank and spilled the contents on the road.

Authorities on-scene confirmed no injuries as the truck lost one of its gas tanks after turning off of Highway 515. After dragging the tank several feet, the driver pulled into the parking lot by the river. But authorities say the tank dumped nearly 40 gallons of diesel fuel across the pavement before he could pull off.


Quick response by authorities did manage to keep the fuel out of the river, averting potential environmental damage.

Quick response by authorities did manage to keep the fuel out of the river, averting potential environmental damage.

The quick response from emergency services was able to keep the diesel fuel from reaching the river and causing environmental damage. As of now, units from both East Ellijay and Ellijay are working in conjunction to aid and redirect traffic around the site by sending people to the on-ramp further north, Greenfield Road, where Highway 52 travels under Highway 515.

Authorities have already begun the clean-up process, but are not sure exactly how long it could take. Citizens can still access the area via the detour, but may also wish to seek alternative routes when traveling today.


East Ellijay plans on possible Election

Election, News

EAST ELLIJAY, Ga. – The City of East Ellijay is making plans on the possibility of an election for city council members in the coming month as they appointed officers and set qualifying fees for the positions.

During their March meeting, the Council officially appointed City Clerk Linda Wood as Municipal Election Qualifying Officer to oversee the qualifying of candidates. Having run the elections for several times now, she holds experience and familiarity with the requirements at both state and city levels according to East Ellijay Mayor Mack West.

They also appointed Gary Watkins as Election Superintendent. With an agreed fee of $1,500 for services, Watkins has also served several times in this position. West noted that if each position only has one qualifier, they will assume the election completed and settle on a lesser stipend for Watkins as his services would not be required after that.

Another requirement for the elections, the council set qualifying fees for positions including $100 for each council member position and $1,000 for the office of mayor.

As the city moves closer to elections, the possibility of even having elections hinges on the number of qualifiers for positions.


Sheriff’s warning for floods in Gilmer


ELLIJAY, Ga. – With confirmation of roads in and around Ellijay and East Ellijay, the Gilmer County Sheriff’s Office has issued a statement for drivers.

Gilmer Dispatch, deputies, and city police officers are reporting that several of the main roadways in town, as well as others throughout the county, are beginning to flood.

The Sheriff’s Office has suggested you stay in if possible, but if you have to drive, they ask that you please be on the lookout for standing water in the roadways.

DO NOT attempt to drive through roads that are under water!

This rain is in our forecast for at least the next 2-3 days, so we expect there is a possibility that the flooding on the roads may get a lot worse before it gets better.

At this time, Gilmer county remains under a Flash Flood watch until at least Thursday evening.


Gilmer Chamber: Valentine’s Day Events

Gilmer County Chamber

Karla discusses the upcoming events happening in our area!

Financial expenses on focus in East Ellijay


EAST ELLIJAY, Ga. – The Council approved a new patrol car for the city police as they trade in two older cars. The 2019 Dodge has a base price of $28,900, but East Ellijay City Police Chief Larry Callihan said they are continuing to negotiate the trade in value of their two cars and is unsure yet how the exact amount of the trade in.

The council has already budgeted for the new car in the amount of $30,000 for the vehicle and $8,000 for equipment, a total of $38,000. With the trade-ins negotiations, Callihan is hopeful to make the final price closer to $32,000.

The council also approved a resolution to amend their payments for their citizen representatives on the Gilmer County Library Board, lowering the pay by $200 because they “misconstrued” the number of meetings the Library Board had in a year according to Mayor Mack West. The reduction goes from $600 to $400.

The Council also approved the expenditures for their yearly Christmas dinner program. Delivering a total of 34 hams and 5 turkeys, the expense for the city reached $648.60 at program end.

Also, two major additions could be coming to Highland Crossing near Walmart in East Ellijay. The Buffalo Luke’s in Jasper is looking to expand in Ellijay. City Manager Mack Wood also noted he had received site plans for a Moe’s Southwest Grill looking to build in the area between Longhorn and Mountain Cinemas.

The City Council is also seeking suggestions of roads in need of restriping. West said he will keep the item on the agenda in coming meetings and is asking for people to add to the list of needs.


East Ellijay Council continues millage and SPLOST


EAST ELLIJAY, Ga. – Finances became a main focus in a late June meeting of the East Ellijay City Council as they addressed the city’s tax exemption and the new intergovernmental SPLOST referendum.

While simply continuing what has been in effect for East Ellijay for years, the city still needed an official motion for continuing the 3.5 mills on the rate as well as the longtime waiving of personal property tax of citizens as well as the commercial tax for all entities and individuals owning or operating businesses in the city limits.

Approved by the council, the city continues this practice throughout its coming fiscal year.

The Council also approved the new SPLOST split presented by the Gilmer County Board of Commissioners. Moving East Ellijay’s percentage from 1.93% to 2.0%. Noted in the meeting for the council members. East Ellijay Mack West spoke with the council about the meetings he attended and the slight change in percentage.

The Council summarily motioned and approved the agreement. As reported when the referendum was made ready for city approvals, citizens could be looking to see this vote in this year’s election cycles.


Man Arrested for Sexual Battery at Food Lion


EAST ELLIJAY, Ga. – East Ellijay Police Chief Larry Callihan has confirmed an arrest during last night’s incident at the Food Lion in East Ellijay.

According to the police report, Officer Harold Crowder responded to a call at 7:21 p.m. on July 1 involving a female subject being attacked in the restroom.

David James Gravley

David James Gravley

Upon arriving on the scene, the officer was escorted into the building by the store’s manager who pointed out the suspect. The report identifies the suspect as David James Gravley. Crowder’s report states that when he put his cuffs on Gravley and asked him what happened, “he stated she mumbled something that pissed him off so he hit her.”

The report also reveals that the victim stated she was in the bathroom when “she heard someone else come in behind her and as she walked out of the stall, a man grabbed her from behind…”

The victim reported that the person attacking her forcefully held her, kept grabbing her, groped her, and punched her in the face. The report also notes several injuries including blood from her nose, swelling in her face, and several scratches on her neck, throat, arms, and back.

Later, at the Gilmer County Detention Center, Gravley stated that all he would say without his lawyer was, “All I have to say is all I wanted was her money.” The report goes on to say that he later said he was broke and needed the money to buy some Marijuana.

According to the Detention Center Booking Report, Gravley is facing charges of Robbery, Disorderly Conduct, Sexual Battery, False Imprisonment, and Simple Battery.



Charlie’s Christmas Wish filming in Gilmer

Community, News
Charlie plays a newly adopted shelter dog who is about to get far more than he expected from his new family for Christmas.

Charlie plays a newly adopted shelter dog who is about to get far more than he expected from his new family for Christmas.

East Ellijay, Ga. – Meet Charlie, a little white dog with a big story to tell. His story is about a family with a Veteran suffering from PTSD and a wife and son trying to make sense of it.

That story has brought filming to the North Georgia area, and specifically to East Ellijay at Highland Crossing. The lot of tiny homes next to Walmart was scouted and now used for an on-location shoot as the construction site for veteran John Frost, played by Aiden Turner. The film has actually moved across North Georgia with locations in Canton, Marietta, Ball Ground, and East Ellijay to just name a few.

According to Producer Toni Hudson, the story follows the Frost family when Jill Frost, played by Hudson, takes on a large number of Christmas parties to make extra money at her store, “Jill’s Cakes and Bakes.” As she overworks herself waiting for her husband to return home from the war in Afghanistan after the new year. She is surprised when he arrives home five weeks early due to severe PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder).

Aiden Turner plays John Frost, a veteran with PTSD who faces a lot of issues coming home to his family from war.

Aiden Turner plays John Frost, a veteran with PTSD who faces a lot of issues coming home to his family from war.

John comes home to his busy family and their newly adopted shelter dog, Charlie. However, John has never liked small dogs or seen them as “real dogs.” Coming home early throws a wrench into everyone’s plans and John and Charlie can’t seem to get along. As he tries to acclimate to civilian life, a particular night sees a bad episode of John’s PTSD in town and Charlie is severely injured from the event.

As John copes with the disorder, Charlie is constantly trying to find his place in John’s life as this new person in the home. John gets a construction job while growing closer with Hank, a veteran friend and constant presence at the local Moose Lodge where his therapy group meets. One day, when Hank is nowhere to be found at the meeting, Charlie leads John out back of the lodge to find Hank face down in the snow with a heart attack. John also notices the homeless “tent village” where Hank lives.

As John struggles with his own disorder, fitting into society, dealing with Charlie, helping Hank in recovery, and thinking of the other homeless veterans situation, he realizes that everything connects and he takes action to tackle the numerous problems ahead.

Producer and actress, Toni Hudson stops for a moment before a scene to pose with her dog Charlie who plays himself in Charlie's Christmas Wish.

Producer and actress, Toni Hudson stops for a moment before a scene to pose with her dog Charlie who plays himself in Charlie’s Christmas Wish.

Filming in the Gilmer area only in the recent weeks, Charlie’s Christmas Wish was created last November 2017. Just like John, Hudson said the filming has had to overcome its own troubles fighting the rain and the heat in the area with the characters dressed for winter as well as a much smaller schedule as they are looking to release the movie to theaters this November 2018. The one-year schedule is highly unusual as most films look for at least two years in production before release.

Hudson said that Charlie’s Christmas Wish was born from Sue Ann Taylor, Executive Producer, and Hudson in Los Angeles at the American Film Market. Having lost one of the movies they were planning, Hudson says that they were at her house with her dog Charlie when Taylor just looked at him and said, “Charlie! Do you want to make a movie?”

Now, the film has grown into a something more as topics like PTSD and homeless veterans have become major themes in the movie. Hudson admitted a certain balance had to maintained to bring these heavy themes into a family and kid-friendly film. The film hosts a number of aspects to “lighten” the feel such as two bumbling dog catchers attempt to chase Charlie and the construction company owner who doesn’t know how to build anything. Other soft moments come through as Hudson mentions Charlie is the smartest person in the movie and talks with God at points.

Walker Mintz, left, plays Jimmy Frost, the son of John Frost, right, and Charlie's best friend in the Frost family.

Walker Mintz, left, plays Jimmy Frost, the son of John Frost, right, and Charlie’s best friend in the Frost family.

The idea of Charlie and the Frost family showcases a family look at some very real issues today, a theme that is easier to explore with the independent status of the movie. But digging deeper, Hudson says what makes this movie special is the “heart” behind it, whether it’s healing John’s heart as he comes home, Charlie becoming the heart of the family to grow closer together, or one town showing what we can do to be the heart of change in major issues like homeless veterans.

Hudson took that one step further in one last comment. While she doesn’t have a solid plan yet, she is pushing for another step in film-making. As the focus on homeless veterans becomes more apparent in the later part of the story, it has become more apparent to her. She suggested that she wants Charlie’s Christmas Wish to be more than just a movie. Moving past just mentioning it in the film she began toying with ideas like adding a donation to ticket prices and sales. She said she wants people to “be open” to the subject and to support the movie, support the issue at hand, and support those who defend our freedoms.



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