East Ellijay Council discusses litter and police


EAST ELLIJAY, Ga. – Having hired a contract employee for picking up little on city streets, the East Ellijay City Council approved the spending for the contract. The employee is working alongside the street department and services the area for little control. Along with the item of the employee, East Ellijay Mayor Mack West spoke to the council saying, “I, personally, feel like we need to assess different penalties for litter violations applicable to repeat offenders.”

The Gilmer county commissioners have already been discussing the item after an increase of community requests to deal with the issue. Continuing the discussion, East Ellijay is now also on board increasing response and control of the litter.

Though no official action set a specific number increasing from the current $236 public littering fine, Mayor West did ask the members of council if they would be okay with increasing the fines with none speaking out in opposition. Additionally, East Ellijay Police Chief Larry Callahan discussed speaking with their officers to pay more attention to the issue and those who they see throwing litter out. This discussion came on top of officially approving the policy for litter control and having the extra employee.

Also in the Police Department, the council approved purchasing three patrol car cameras for the department. Callahan said that with the vast majority of other enforcement agencies already having cameras, courts are beginning to throw out cases without the video evidence supporting traffic violations. With the estimate Callahan has received, the $10,650 cost of purchasing and installing the cameras will be split. Two of the cameras will be paid out of the city’s hotel-motel fund, and the third camera will be paid for out of the police confiscation fund.

With the change in courts handling of their cases, Callahan spoke with the council about the camera purchases saying, “It’s a ‘have-to’ essentially.” Callahan is also looking to purchase another three cameras next budget year.


Gilmer Tennis Host Lafayette in Region Match Up


Gilmer tennis welcomed in the Ramblers of Lafayette high school on Wednesday in a region match up. The Lady Cats took to the courts with rackets in hand facing cold weather that produced 20 plus MPH winds and some snow on the first day of Spring.

The Girls played strong and took the overall victory winning 5 out of 6 sets from the Ramblers.  In singles matches Lauren Cole(6-4,6-3), Hope Colwell(6-2,6-3) had wins setting the stage for a good day on the courts. Also in singles, Katie Sheahan fought for over 2 and 1/2 hours in her match to no avail. Sheahan(6-1,3-6,6-7,6-8) would take a loss in the tie breaker.

In doubles for the Lady Cats, Sarah Sheahan/Beth Burnette(6-3,6-4) and Josie Reece/Emma Dayton(2-6,6-2,7-5) and Mary Elizabeth/Morgan White(8-5) came out with the wins to push a 5-1 overall score for the Lady Cats.

At the end of the day for the boys, the Cats and Ramblers split the score card at 3-3.  The action on the courts were hot even though the weather wasn’t.  In singles play, Carter Hice(6-4,6-2) and Tripp Pierce(6-3,6-2) took victories in outstanding fashion over their Rmbler opponents.  Taking an exhausting loss for the cats, Brett Becker(6-4,4-6,6-7,1-7) battled on the court for a little over 3 hours eventually falling to his opponent in a tie breaker set.  Doubles action produced a win for Kaden Reese/Ryan Cochran in 2 sets 6-1 and 6-0.  Falling short for the Cats in doubles were Luke Wimpy/Mason Hadden(4-6,3-6) and Isaac Bradshaw/Bryson Sisson(5-8).



Gilmer Prepares for Severe Storms


ELLIJAY, Ga. – The National Weather Service (NWS) has issued warning for most of Georgia involving the coming severe storms.

Gilmer is included as the eastern half is set for severe storms, wind, and possibly hail. However, the western half of Gilmer is included in the NWS “Enhanced Risk” warnings, meaning citizens should be prepared for massive rainfall, large hail, potential tornadoes, and damaging wind reaching up to 60 mph.

While citizens are preparing for all the potential dangers, most are afraid of the possibility of flooding in their area. One citizen reported pea sized hail already falling outside at the East Ellijay Walmart.

The Gilmer County Public Safety Director Tony Pritchett spoke with FYN about the coming storms saying, “Hopefully, it  will move through the county without incident. Nevertheless, our people are geared up and ready to go.”

Being aware of the warnings, Pritchett says the Public Safety Department is ready, but waiting to gauge the intensity of the storms. He suggested extra preparations for all citizens living near creeks and other waterways saying that in Gilmer county, “Small creeks and other waterways could rise quickly. We just ask everyone to be prepared.”

As Public Safety continues preparations and monitoring of the potential risks, the National Weather Service is continuing updates to the storm, “At 1243 PM EDT…a strong thunderstorm was near Roy, or 11 miles east of Ellijay…moving east at 40 mph.”

Some locationsthe NWS indicated in the path of this storm include “Dahlonega, Suches, Amicalola Falls State Park, Camp Merrill, Springer
Mountain Shelter, Len Foote Hike Inn, Black Gap Shelter, Stover Creek Shelter, Hawk Mountain Shelter, Nimblewill, Roy, Gaddistown, Gooch, and Mountain Shelter.”

Gilmer Schools have even cancelled all afternoon activities for today, March 19, due to the storms, although they are planning to move ahead with their scheduled Board Meeting at 6 pm.

Stay with FetchYourNews as update continue on the storm’s severity and potential damage in the county. Again, if you begin to see water rising near your homes, seek shelter elsewhere to avoid being trapped. This became a real issue to citizens with flooding over recent years.


Gilmer Falls To Ridgeland


The Cats were trying to right the ship after a tough series with the Dragons of Pickens High School the previous week.

Gilmer strapped on their batting helmets ready to put runs on the board but could only plate 1 run with a hard fought walk by Hunter Bowyer followed by an Austin Damen gap shot to right center field .  The Panther outfielder misplayed the baseball allowing Bowyer to cross the plate.  This would be the only lead the Cats would have in the game as the Panthers plated two runs in the bottom of the first inning.  The Cats would fight from behind for the remainder of the game.

The Cats added 3 runs in the 3rd and 1 in the 5th bringing their spot on the board to 5 runs on 3 hits, 1 walk, 3 hit by pitch and 3 Cats reaching by error.  The Panthers would take advantage o 4 pitching changes for Gilmer putting up 16 runs over 4 innings.  With the mercy rule loss, the Cats fall to 2-11 overall and 0-4 in the region.

The major highlight of the game was #3 McKinley Chadwick hit his first home run after coming back from Tommy John surgery in the off season.

The Cats will host the Panthers on Thursday night at Bobcat Field starting at 5:55 pm.


Post 2 Commissioner candidate Woody Janssen

Election 2018

ELLIJAY, Ga. – Local citizen, and owner/operator of the Cartecay River Experience, Woody Janssen has qualified for Post 2 Commissioner in Gilmer County.

Running for the position, Janssen says he hopes to utilize his business and logistics background to move Gilmer forward in its economic process.

Janssen graduated in 1996 from Ole Miss (University of Mississippi) and moved through logistics management for several years before moving to Texas. Returning to Gilmer County, he has operated the Cartecay River Experience since 2009. Janssen tells FetchYourNews he has seen Gilmer County after the recession slowly progressing on its path to recovery and economic stability.

Noting the current commissioners’ progress in expanding the activities of Gilmer, Janssen pointed to an abundance of natural resources in the county to facilitate growth for “family activities” to attract a larger variety of people to the county. However, he tempered his statement on growth saying Gilmer needs to stay rural. He went on to say, “It feels like The Andy Griffith Show in a way, everybody waves still. You go down to Atlanta and you wave at somebody, it’s not like that … It brings that down-home feeling. That’s how I grew up in Utah when I was a kid. It was a small area, we were all farmers. I was on a farm since I was five years old.”

Janssen pointed to other local communities prospering in the rural parts of the state like Blue Ridge in Fannin County and Helen in White County. The common thing Janssen noted that he wants to see in Gilmer is the variety of activities to see and do.

Accomplishing this is not something one man does alone. Janssen noted the community’s work and great people working alongside other entities. He praised the current commissioner’s work on the Golf Course specifically saying it is the greatest he has ever seen it: “The way Mike Brumby has done this, what he has done with the golf course, it is going to slowly progress.” With definitive and continued progress, it becomes a matter of continuing the hard work to get Gilmer financially into the black.

Janssen continued, “There is a lot of work to be done, but with what Charlie has done, and Dallas and Travis have helped, they are bringing it more into the black.” Janssen said continuing the work of bringing in more commerce would be his focus in taking the position of Post 2 Commissioner.

In a final word towards voters, Janssen took a moment to say, “The progression is awesome with what’s going on. Do I think we can do a little bit better as a community? Yeah, everybody can. You can always progress. You can always get better. Something my coach always said, ‘You have to get better every day. If you don’t, then your competition is.’ There are little things we can always progress on. We can create more.”



Bobcats Soccer Take Region Victories At Ridgeland

GHS Soccer, Sports

The Bobcats of Gilmer made the trek to Ridgeland and took the victory 3-1 in yet another tight and hard fought region game.   Marvin Reynoso scored a tap in goal after a scramble in the Ridgeland penalty box at 30 mins.  The first half ended with the Cats up 1-0 but it was close.  Coach Phipps brought  the boys together at half time and reinforced  the importance of increasing the score.

Ridgeland came out fast at the start of the second half and scored an equalizer within 1 minute of the second half. The boys kept their heads and played some good soccer with timely passing and some nice shots. Israel Bautista scored with a good right footed shot from about 15 yards to put Gilmer up 2-1.  The Cats kept on pushing forward and with about 12 mins left on the clock the boys put a good passing move that included Ervin Lopez and Parker Benetiz that lead to another goal for senior Marvin Reynoso.

This puts the cats at 2-1 in region with a great chance to qualify again for state for the second year in a row.


The Gimer Lady Bobcats traveled to Ridgeland and Tuesday to compete in a region match. The girls got down 0-2 very early in the game. Coach Nicholson said “Ridgeland is a long bus ride. We were tired, sluggish, and clearly not ready to play soccer when we stepped off the bus”. We knew we would get opportunities, but there were some defensive breakdowns that had to be cleaned up.”

The girls rallied and went in the half 4-3. At halftime, Nicholson talked to her team about the errors that had to be fixed. The girls went out in the second half much more relaxed and confident scoring 3 more times and ended the game 7-3. Goals were scored by Naomi Coombs (5), Renea Chastain, and Cat Tercero-Rafael each scoring 1 goal.

JV Girls played Fannin on Wednesday and fell 0-3.  Coach Nicholson stated that JV games are really fun because we get lots of girls some field time.  Freshmen Keeper Noni Francisco did a great job in goal.


Gilmer students “Walk-Out”


ELLIJAY, Ga. – With a nationwide “walk-out day” today, Gilmer County saw its own high school students leaving class and marching onto the front lawn in remembrance of 17 dead last month.

However, those attending the walk-out glimpsed a different side of these students than many may have expected. There was no chanting, no loud shouts of political ideals. Instead, somewhere close to 50 students stood in 30 degree weather silent, remembering the 17 dead. A short speech by two freshmen, Justin Gooch and Jordan Henderson, set the tone for the 20 minute walk-out. More than a tone, though, they stood to become a voice of those 50 gathered.

As seen in the video, Gooch told his classmates about his hope to change his school to a “more welcoming environment.” The voice rang through the crowd as others stood to echo his sentiments, including one student, who called himself J.B., that stood on the bench to say “we are all the same.” It was 20 minutes of high school students telling each other what they could do to change things, and how they could be different in today’s time.

Junior Grace Kruse commended those in attendance for their bravery in standing up for the change they wanted. She told her fellow students to be proud of themselves.

From left to right, Freshmen Jordan Henderson and Justin Gooch and Juniors Ashlyn Jenkins and Grace Kruse lead today's "Walk-out" through moments of prayer and prepared speeches.

From left to right, freshmen Jordan Henderson and Justin Gooch and juniors Ashlyn Jenkins and Grace Kruse led today’s “Walk-out” through moments of prayer and prepared speeches.

Starting through group chats, according to Kruse and fellow junior Ashlyn Jenkins, the event was organized and even brought to administration this week. Gilmer High School Principal Carla Foley spoke with FetchYourNews (FYN) briefly, confirming that the students had spoken with administration about the walk-out. She shared with FYN her feelings on the events saying, “If people haven’t been in the high school in the last five years and all they hear about or see is the crazy stuff on social media and that perception that people have of the youth today, then they are mistaken. Kids these days are smart; they’re aware. They’re compassionate. I see a lot of compassion in our young adults and that’s what was displayed today.”

Kruse repeated her thoughts after the event saying that she wanted to encourage her generation to use their voice, a loud voice that proves a difference from the common belief that they, as a generation, do not care. Jenkins told FYN that today meant there is a chance for our nation to change, seeing so many young people willing to stand up for something. It is a feeling of hope for their generation.

The feeling continued along with students saying they did not expect so many people to attend the walk-out. Gooch said he knew he was going to walk out of class regardless of the possibility of being the only one, but seeing over 50 people on the front lawn was encouraging after only seeing four people walk out of his own class. “I see the change proving that most people do care … They want us to have a better environment,” Gooch stated.

The idea of the movement in Gilmer focused on changing their environment to stop bullying and ostracizing those who may have mental illness. They passed around ribbons to wear. Gooch told FYN the conversation they are trying to have is that the reason that most of these things are happening is bullying and pushing kids to these limits.

Though those present said there is a point later to talk about policy and/or gun control, they wanted today to be about human life and the importance of life, the importance of growing closer together. Kruse stated she wanted today to be about the 17 people who died, and the numerous more in other shootings.

The students noted a plan spreading through the nation about a potential march on Washington D.C. For today, however, these students say they do not want this to stop here. They hope there is more in Gilmer County. As they filtered back through the doors to return to their classes, they told FYN that they want a next step on this path to make their school better, they want a next step to make themselves better.

Students gather in front of GHS for a "Walk-out" on March 14, 2018.

Students gather in front of Gilmer High School for a “Walk-out” March 14, 2018.


Community development on agenda in commissioners’ March meetings


ELLIJAY, Ga. – The Gilmer County Board of Commissioners addressed community development this month with a possible final solution to roadside trash pick-up as well as applying for a Community Development Block Grant (CDBG).

Trash pick-up has been a developing issue over the last two months now as the board originally planned on hiring five seasonal employees for trash pick-up to work through the summer preceding the county’s mowing teams. However, a special called meeting in February saw new ideas as the commissioners began considering a new deputy in the Sheriff’s Department, similar in costs, to put inmates on the roads picking up trash.

During that meeting, Gilmer County Commission Chairman Charlie Paris stated this crew would consist of four or five non-risk inmates under the supervision of one deputy. He described this option as a better long-term solution and one that is typically more favorably viewed in the public perception.

At their regular March meeting, the idea was restated for the public saying the Sheriff’s Department would not need a new vehicle for the added deputy. The county will receive reports of the progress of the program to monitor and are still expected to have the teams move ahead of mowers in the summer months. This item was officially approved this month, so citizens should be seeing these teams on county roads, not state-owned roads, in the coming months. They will also be skipping over roads already cleaned and maintained by the Keep Gilmer Beautiful organization.

March also saw the commissioners approve a CDBG for the area of Sunlight Road and Roundtop Road. Proposed by the Ellijay-Gilmer Water Sewage Authority, the approval by the board is the first step in the grant application process, meaning this is still early stages of a competitive grant process that the county will be entering into application for.

If accepted, it would allow expansion of the water/sewer system closer to the southwest corner of Gilmer County, closer to the county line, according to Ellijay-Gilmer Water Sewage Authority Director Gary McVey. He estimated 200 residents of the area could be affected by the expansion. With the application due April 1, late fall could see the beginning of construction if approved with an expected one-year construction time.

In addition to these items, the Board of Commissioners approved applications for 2018 River Outfitter’s licenses for Cartecay River Experience and Coosawattee River Resort and an Alcoholic Beverage license for Mohammad Nizar Tharani at Ellijay Mini Mart.


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