ELLIJAY, Ga. – Most of the time, when you meet a police officer, it really isn’t a pleasant experience. It has nothing to do with the people, and everything to do with their job.
You may meet them when you’re getting a ticket because you were in a big hurry and may have gone a bit over the limit, or maybe you called because you were robbed and need help, you may have even called to report a wreck and need to give your statement. In any case, the vast majority of the time, police respond to bad situations, it’s really part of the job description.
This year the Ellijay Police Foundation, a non-profit organization supporting the police force, hosted a night in an effort to change that. The National Night Out is a nation-wide community-building event that supports officers and organizations across America, but as Ellijay’s original plan for the date of the event in early August, the rain forced a reschedule.
This weekend, the Ellijay Police Foundation made good on that promise by hosting the event Saturday between 4 and 8 p.m. The event saw many of Ellijay’s Officer’s hosting or dropping by to say hello to citizens and share their time to allow the people to speak with them, play with them, and eat with them, all free of charge.
With music flowing across North Main Street and into the parking lot next to First Baptist Church, the Ellijay Police Department partnered with the Ellijay Fire Department, the Gilmer Sheriff’s Office, The Georgia Bureau of Investigation’s ICAC (Internet Crimes Against Children) Task Force, and its sponsors to set up the police motorcycles, police cruisers, the fire truck, a hummer, and a sheriff’s cruiser for citizens to view, sit in, play with, and climb through. Kids and parents alike were allowed to set off the sirens and lights and try on the equipment that these men and women wear every day.
There was also a golf cart with a driving course and the standard test that citizens could go through while wearing “drunk goggles” simulating inebriation.
Pilgrim’s of Ellijay donated chicken and hot dogs for grilling along with the manpower and the grill to cook for the event. Country Corner Kitchen and Coca-Cola donated a trailer and people to hand out cold drinks. North Georgia Party Rentals donated a bounce house and a dunk tank to help celebrate as well.
That dunk tank saw major attention from citizens as officers climbed in. For a one dollar donation, a person could take three shots at the target to dunk the officer in the tank.
A surprise arose as a donation came from the department’s own Chief Edward Lacey to dunk one of his officers. What many citizens didn’t hear at first was that Lacey had jokingly called it “insurance” as he would be in the tank himself later in the day.
His “insurance” was response to a few people that had managed to run up and hit the button by hand instead of throwing a ball at the dunk tank. The terms were that no one was allowed to hit the button by hand unless they beat his own donation.
The protection was short-lived, however, as his officers found a “generous donor” that offered $100 to allow two officers to hit the button together to drop the Chief by hand.
The event came in partnership as the brain-child of Chief Edward Lacey and hosted by the Ellijay Police Foundation. The foundation’s purpose is to build and foster community with the police as well as gathering funds and donations to provide more training to these officers. Lacey has since reported that over $500 was raised by the dunk tank in support of these efforts.
According to Detective Colburn of the Ellijay Police Department, this is set to become an annual event for the Ellijay Police Department, though it will likely return to its original August date next year as the rain delay pushed it back to September this year.
Check out more photos from the event with our Album on FYN’s Facebook.
ELLIJAY, GA – While locals flocked out across the county to view the eclipse, the city itself seemed to slow to a crawl as the sky darkened.
Indeed the downtown streets were all but bare. Though citizens were crowding the River Street Tavern’s porch and other places, the roads were silent of traffic in the minutes leading up to the eclipse’s peak.
While most of those traveling continued further North, East Ellijay, and the County as a whole, did notice an uptick in traffic in the days prior to the eclipse and again Monday night as sightseers traveled home again.
While the Georgia Department of Transportation reported massive congestion on the roadways, much of that cleared before 1:00 p.m.
Still, locals such as the Burtons found friends to join with as they found their way onto Yukon to set up specially to see the event. Others moved to higher ground such as the area behind Wal-Mart and on top of the hill in the city cemetery.
Thankfully, another good report comes from Tony Pritchett, Director of Public Safety, who stated, “We are very pleased to say that Gilmer County as a whole, did not have any events relating to the eclipse other than heavy south bound traffic at the end of the event and into the late evening hours. We are very fortunate that this turned out to be a non impacting event on our public safety resources.”
While Gilmer moves past the eclipse, county officials all agree that they are thankful for a relatively quiet day.
The Ellijay Downtown Development Authority (DDA) held its meeting yesterday afternoon. Offering the Treasurer’s report, Jeff Riblet stated the Downtown Development Authority’s account ended the year with $5,305. The DDA is planning to move forward into the new year looking to further their City Development Plans with several currently undisclosed opportunities.
The Ellijay DDA also officially approved the slate of officers nominated in their December Meeting. These new officers officially took their places with this vote. Jim Stover took position as Chairman, Brad Simmons took position as Vice Chair, and Jeff Riblet maintained his position as Treasurer. The motion was put forth by Kent Sanford, the Vice Chair of the DDA. This is one of the final actions by Sanford as he and Al Fuller are set to rotate off of the Board as their terms are ending.
The first action after the restructure came as a presentation by Paige Green of the Gilmer Chamber. The Downtown Development Authority has agreed to host a Business After Hours event for the Chamber in June. Currently, they plan to hold this event on June 16 on the Boardwalk from 4:30 to 6:30.