Planning and Zoning shows off staff at open house

Community, Police & Government
Picture above, from left to right, the Planning and Zoning staff includes Matt Green, James Holloway, Yvette Feliberty, Karen Henson, Loy Jarrett, and Andrew Mathis. Not pictured is Suzanne Mullinax.

Pictured above, from left to right, the Planning and Zoning staff includes Matt Green, James Holloway, Yvette Feliberty, Karen Henson, Loy Jarrett, and Andrew Mathis. Not pictured is Suzanne Mullinax.

 

ELLIJAY, Ga. – Settling in after losing a director in December and going through the interim as well as a move to a new building, Gilmer County’s Planning and Zoning office hosted an open house today, May 23, to showcase its current staff and building.

Welcoming citizens with refreshments and raffles, the entire staff was on hand to answer questions, introduce themselves and host the day between 2 p.m. and 5 p.m.

Director Karen Henson, who was confirmed as the new director from her interim position in April, told FetchYourNews she is grateful for the new location as it is better oriented to operate as an office for the department’s needs.

The new office is also continuing the Planning and Zoning department’s increase in construction as the economy continues its growth. The month of May alone has already seen 18 new houses permitted with a week still to go in the month.

While the day celebrates the staff and their hard work, it also serves to remind citizens of the new location on the roundabout across the street from the courthouse, located at 9 Southside Square.

 

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Weekly Fire and Rescue Status Report 5/13-5/19

Police & Government
Dates Emergency Med Calls (EMS) MVC (Vehicle Accidents Haz. Conditions Other Total Calls
5/13/18-5/19/18 82 10 12 1 105

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Cantaberry officially opens new location

Community

ELLIJAY, GA. – After years on River Street, citizens are waking up today to see the Cantaberry Restaraunt in a new location.

Though not that far from the old location, the restaurant’s new spot boasts many upgrades for the business include almost doubling their seating and expanding the outdoor tables onto a shaded deck. The new location is on the southern corner of the downtown roundabout next door to the Blue Ridge Olive Oil Company.

According to Manager Jessica Bruner, the site can hold just under 100 people and are already planning on live music events and similar activities for the outdoor area. Bruner did say the Cantaberry will be looking to expand their staff as they gauge the community response to the new site.

The staff is taking the “new” brand to extremes as Bruner said they bought all new equipment, barely bringing anything from the old location. Additionally, they will be adding a dinner and brunch menu in the coming weeks as well as beverages from local brewers Grumpy Old Men and local winery Chateau Meichtry as well as Merciers Orchard’s Hard Cider and Georgia’s SweetWater Brewing Co.

Though Bruner said they could be looking into other options including other local wineries, she didn’t detail any other plans in store for the upgrade.

The special day kicked off with their opening at 11:00 a.m. today hosting the first two tables. Ann and Bob visited from Young Harris as the first seated guests in the new location. The second set of guests through the door were Katrina and Jesse, the first official Ellijay residents to visit.

 

Katrina and Jesse, l to r, were the second table, but the first local citizens from Ellijay visiting the new Cantaberry location.

Katrina and Jesse, l to r, were the second table, but the first local citizens from Ellijay visiting the new Cantaberry location.

Ann and Bob, l to r, were the first seated table of Ellijay's new location for the Cantaberry Restaurant, visiting from Young Harris.

Ann and Bob, l to r, were the first seated table of Ellijay’s new location for the Cantaberry Restaurant, visiting from Young Harris.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Gilmer County and State Election Results 2018 (Final Unofficial)

Election 2018

*These election results are unofficial until being certified by the Secretary of State’s office.

2018 Gilmer County Primary Election Results

Gilmer County Post 2 Commissioner

Karleen Ferguson (R) – Totals – 1,677 votes at 61.27%

Woody Janssen (R) – Totals – 359 votes at 13.12%

Jerry Tuso (R) – Totals – 701 votes at 25.61%

Danny Hall officially withdrew from the election race. An official comment from the elections representatives in Gilmer stated that while they did post notices as to his withdrawal at polling sites, his name did appear on the ballot. As such, Hall received votes during the election. However, the representatives did confirm that they had spoken with officials at the state level and were instructed not to count his votes as part of the process. This count stands with the three candidates at their current percentage of the votes counted. FYN has requested the total votes cast for Hall, but have not received them at this time.

 

Gilmer County Commission Chairman

Charlie Paris (R) – Totals – 2995 votes at 100.0%

 

Gilmer County Board of Education Post 4 Seat

Michael Bramlett – 3,424 votes at 99.22%

27 Write-in votes

 

Gilmer County Board of Education Post 5 Seat

Ronald Watkins – 3,429 votes at 99.22%

27 Write-in Votes

 

Georgia House of Representative District 7 

David Ralston (R) – 2,757 votes at 72.23%

 

Margaret Williamson (R) – Totals – 1,060 votes at 27.77%

 

 

Rick Day (D) – Totals – 458 votes at 100.0%

2018 Georgia Primary Election Results 

GOVERNOR CANDIDATES:

Casey Cagle (R) – 1,471 votes at 38.46%

Hunter Hill (R) – 708 votes at 18.51%

Brian Kemp (R) – 1,065 votes at 27.84%

Clay Tippins (R) – 383 votes at 10.01%

Michael Williams (R) – 198 votes at 5.18%

 

Stacey Abrams (D) – 296 votes at 53.05%

Stacey Evans (D) – 262 votes at 46.95%

 

LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR CANDIDATES:

Geoff Duncan (R) – 838 votes at 24.72%

Rick Jeffares (R) – 940 votes at 27.73%

David Shafer (R) – 1,612 votes at 47.55%

 

Sarah Riggs Amico (D) – 402 votes at 76.57%

Triana Arnold James (D) – 123 votes at 23.43%

 

SECRETARY OF STATE CANDIDATES:

David Belle Isle (R) – 965 votes at 28.98%

Buzz Brockway (R) – 465 votes at 13.96%

Josh McKoon (R) – 574 votes at 17.24%

Brad Raffensperger (R) – 1,326 votes at 39.82%

 

John Barrow (D) – 293 votes at 56.13%

Dee Dawkins-Haigler (D) – 159 votes at 30.46%

R.J. Hadley (D) – 70 votes at 13.41%

 

INSURANCE COMMISSIONER CANDIDATES:

Jim Beck (R) – 2,062 votes at 61.59%

Jay Florence (R) – 699 votes at 20.88%

Tracy Jordan (R) – 587 votes at 17.53%

 

PUBLIC SERVICE COMMISSIONER CANDIDATES:

District 3 – 

Chuck Eaton (R) – 2951 votes at 100.0%

 

Lindy Miller (D)  – 342 votes at 68.13%

John Noel (D)  – 119 votes at 23.71%

Johnny White (D)  – 41 votes at 8.17%

 

District 5 – 

John Hitchins III (R) – 1,557  votes at 47.54%

Tricia Pridemore (R) – 1,718 votes at 52.46%

 

Dawn Randolph (D) – 347 votes at 71.40%

Doug Stoner (D) – 139 votes at 28.60%

Touching the Wall in Ellijay

Community

ELLIJAY, Ga. – Have you been to the wall?

Ellijay is host, this week, to a traveling wall, a nearly full-scale replica of the polished black monument that stands in Washington, D.C. It stands 360 feet long and bears the names of the men lost to the Vietnam War. The wall is open to any and all who wish to come see it at any time.

That’s right, the wall is available 24 hours a day through Sunday evening. The American Legion Riders (ALR) Post 82 has dedicated members standing guard at the wall the entire time. As you visit the wall at the Ellijay Lion’s Club Fairgrounds on Old Highway 5, you can seek help from Lion’s Club members between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. each day as they will have books to help you find certain names on the wall.

The American Veteran's Traveling Tribute memorial wall arived in Ellijay, Ga escorted by riders of the American Legion Rider Post 82 and Post 49.

The American Veteran’s Traveling Tribute memorial wall arrived in Ellijay, Georgia, escorted by riders of the American Legion Riders Post 82 and Post 49.

The wall arrived in Ellijay Wednesday afternoon. It was escorted by 65 motorcycles and their riders from both Post 82 and Post 49 of the ALR. They were welcomed to the site by members of both Gilmer and Ellijay’s emergency services.

As a part of this Memorial Day weekend, the event also hosts military vehicles donated from the North Georgia Military Museum as well as a temporary cemetery.

That last part may have caught you off guard. Indeed, citizens of Gilmer County are used to seeing the crosses on the side of Old Highway 5 twice a year during Memorial Day and Veteran’s Day. This year, however, you won’t find any crosses for Gilmer’s Vietnam soldiers on the road. Instead, you need to visit these crosses erected in a place of honor at the fairgrounds.

Still more, each day that the wall stands in Ellijay, it will host an opening prayer at noon, and a closing rendition of “Taps” at the end of the day, 6 p.m.

Open 24 hours a day, the traveling tribute has Lion's Club members between 9 am and 6 pm to help you find specific names.

Open 24 hours a day, the traveling tribute has Lion’s Club members between 9 am and 6 pm to help you find specific names.

It truly is a sight to behold as both veterans and citizens mix together in their recognition at the wall. A simple replica has brought a piece of the wall’s significance to Ellijay. One thing you will notice immediately as you enter the gate is a thickness in the air. It isn’t the weather and it’s not the heat.

It is altogether right and honorable to speak words of thanks and honor to those who have served, but no deeper thanks can be felt than in the silence of remembrance.

Many attempt to assign a word or a phrase to the feeling. Even more try to offer some semblance of honor and thanks to those who have served. Especially at this time of the year, we as a people want to achieve something to give back, as if we could.

Meaning. Meaning is what we want, to touch something deeper than our daily life. To achieve something greater that could begin to equal that of what they have given. At its core, it is a sad, vain attempt to acknowledge a debt we can never understand. Few have come close to encapsulating the gap that exists. Songs like “Proud to be an American” and words like those of General George S. Patton evoke the emotion, but still don’t quite reach the goal.

“It is foolish and wrong to mourn the men who died. Rather we should thank God such men lived.”    – George S. Patton

Here we are again, trying to explain an appreciation that can’t be put into words. Still trying to capture a meaning that eludes us more and more with each war.

The memorial wall will open and close its days in Ellijay with the ceremonial playing of "Taps."

The memorial wall will open and close its days in Ellijay with the ceremonial playing of “Taps.”

The only place I have ever felt I truly touched that meaning was in Washington D.C. at Arlington National Cemetery, the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, and the Vietnam Veteran’s Memorial Wall.

Especially if you’ve never been to D.C., I could not stress enough how much you should stop into this tribute in Ellijay. It’s a tribute to a tribute, but it is something more than that.

Cross Ellijay today and you’ll see it. Drive past and you will notice the flags, just sticks and cloth. You’ll see men with patches, hats, and canes. What is it but just old things and old memories?

Such thoughts are for the unworthy. For a nation craving meaning, we move to fast past things worth the moments. When you see only sticks and cloth, you miss the truth.

The truth is offered between the flags, and between the men and women. It is found between each note of the bugle. Look past the names to see the three sets of both father and son on the wall. You can understand the 33,103 soldiers that were 18 years old. What is harder to believe is the 12 names on the wall that were 17 years old. Harder still to think of the 5 that were 16 years old.

The unbelievable point is the one name on the wall that belonged to a 15-year-old boy. What a difference three years makes.

Visitors to the traveling wall are given a chance to take home a scratching of a particular name if desired.

Visitors to the traveling wall are given a chance to take home a scratching of a particular name if desired.

Yet, it’s still not enough. Numbers carry weight to the sacrifice, but one can’t feel the numbers. Not when written on a page or screen. A person doesn’t feel 58,272 names etched into a wall until you stand in front of each one. A name is just a name until you see a woman sobbing into her arms, barely able to hold a pencil as she desperately tries to scratch a piece of paper over a name carved into black granite. You will never understand how much she hates that wall because it’s a prison that won’t give her father back to her. Yet, she visits it every year.

Not until you sit there, stuck in the silence so solid that it simply drowns out the noise, when it finally hits you that each name is a soul, can you understand. And you still don’t know how to say thank you. Because how could that feeling ever be summed up in two simple words? How could you say it the right way? How could it ever mean what you want it to mean?

It’s not just a wall. It’s not just a day. It’s not just black stone. It is the melted essence of that meaning that we as a nation give it, marred black by the collective agony of a nation of people remembering.

Let it pierce you. Let it sink in, the weight of nearly sixty thousand souls. Each one bearing down on you to make meaning of their sacrifice.

Now, understand that’s just one war.

Let me ask you again…

Have you been to the wall?

 

 

 

 

 

A father to his son…

My Son,
I am writing this to you that one day you might understand, but now you’re only 7. You asked me recently why I put my hand over my heart when someone’s singing the National Anthem or the Pledge of Allegiance. I couldn’t really think of how to explain it in just a few words so I told you that it was respect and honor for our country. I wonder if you still remember asking?

Now, I hope you can fully grasp the gravity of what I am about to explain. There are soldiers, we call them that because they are more than men, who serve our country. We didn’t ask, they volunteered. They all give some of themselves, some give all.

They suffer through hell, they haven’t died yet. The fight on foreign soil, some haven’t been home in years. They give up who they are to become something more, something we need. These Soldiers are our military, they follow orders of our government. It doesn’t matter if we are defending our nation or fighting in a world at war, they fight because it is necessary. When they come home, they have a way of showing respect to each other, a way of saying thank you, a way of saying I love you, of saying I am here for you. It is called a salute. It’s a very simple gesture, but it means so very much, so much more than you and I could ever understand.

We are not Soldiers. We cannot possibly fathom the unquestionable depth of service, brotherhood, love, and commitment these Soldiers make to each other. It doesn’t matter whether we agree on why they are fighting or where, what matters is this. We as civilians play a part in the military. We as civilians are required by honor and duty to serve these Soldiers at home. When they come back, I don’t want to salute them. I don’t mean to say it’s bad, but I understand enough to know it will never be the same.

I understand enough to know that I need something different to show how incredibly thankful I am. How my love, respect, and devotion to them runs deeper than a vast ocean. That, my beloved son, is why I cover my heart, I am trying so very desperately to show a Soldier that, though I may not know his name or where he is from, I hold him deep in my heart.

I do it in hopes that some Soldier may see me with my hand over my heart, and he would know that I cherish his sacrifice, and they all will be with me forever.

I hope this helps,
Dad

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Future Farmer of America honors members at year-end banquet

Bobcat's Corner

ELLIJAY, Ga. – The Gilmer County Charter School System’s chapter of the National FFA Organization (formerly known as the Georgia Future Farmer’s Association) held their banquet honoring those award winners for the year’s work.

The banquet was also visited by Georgia Speaker of the House David Ralston who stopped by offering his congratulations to those being honored. Ralston commented on the banquet saying, “When I go to FFA groups, I know among some of the finest of our young people. Young people that are learning great work ethic, learning to prepare for leadership roles in the world, and will assume leadership roles in the world. I want to commend you for all your hard work and for the great job you do. Agriculture, not only here in Gilmer county but in the state, has a great future.”

Ralston went on to note the efforts the state has put into getting the second headquarters of Amazon. He told those present that even with Amazon, agriculture would maintain its position as the number one part of our economy in Georgia.

Continuing the banquet, attendees were treated to a dinner served by FFA members before the honorees were brought on stage. The winners noted in the banquet received their awards in the Career Development Events area and are listed below the slideshow.

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Agricultural Communications
Gilmer High FFA (Eighth in Area) Kaytlin Beavers, Abigail Blackwell, Hunter Bowyer, Sam Dillard.

Agricultural Electrification
Gilmer High FFA (First in Area; 10th in State) Thomas Chastain.
Thomas received a $500 scholarship from the Georgia EMC for placing first in the Area I competition.

Agricultural Mechanics
Gilmer High FFA (First in Area; Eighth in State) Thomas Chastain, Eli Cochran, Bryson Mulkey (high individual), Dylan Parker.

Agricultural Technology and Equipment ID
Gilmer High FFA JR (Sixth in Area) Ari Price, Avery Marshall, William McVey, Dilian Ojala.
Clear Creek Middle FFA (Fifth in Area) Jacob Bertolini, Abby Bauer, Cole Parks, Sawyer Wishon.

Agricultural Sales
Gilmer High FFA (First in Area) Mary Lee Callihan, Mallory Kiser, Carter Hice, Nathan Cain (high individual).

Conduct of Chapter Meeting
Gilmer High FFA JR (Third in Area) Alyssa Ashurst, Gavin Berger, Rose Chadwick, Ally Elrod, Sarah Ingle, Lauren Smith, Emma Thurman.

Clear Creek FFA (Second in Area) Octavia Bushey, Macie Wilkes, Tori Reed, Abby Baurer, Natalie Johnson, Morgan Griggs, Mallory Lane.

Creed Speaking
Gilmer High FFA (First in Sub-Area; Third in Area) Sara Ingle.

Dairy Evaluation
Gilmer High FFA JR: (First in Area; Second in State) Rose Chadwick, Coleman James, Arianna Price, Lauren Smith.
Clear Creek Middle FFA (Third in Area; 10th in State) Annalysa Brown, Morgan Griggs, Torri Reed, Octavia Bushey.
Gilmer High FFA SR: (First in Area; Sixth in State) Mary Keener, Joe Leonnig, Shelby Nealey, Elizabeth Stillwell.

Environmental Natural Resources
Gilmer High FFA JR (Second in Area, Eighth in State) Alyssa Ashurst, Issac Bradshaw, Ally Elrod, Heath Stover.
Gilmer High FFA SR (Fourth in Area) Hunter Bowyer, Mary Keener, Blake Ledford, Joseph Leonning.

Extemporaneous Public Speaking
Gilmer High FFA (Fourth in Sub-Area) Stephanie Bailey.

Farm Business Management
Gilmer High FFA (First in Area; Third in state) Bryce Bowen, Grace Henderson, Matt Long, Katie Marick.

Floriculture
Gilmer High FFA JR (Fifth in Area) Andrea Byers, Olivia Lykins, Griselda Perez, Emma Thurman.
Clear Creek Middle FFA (Third in Area) Abby Bauer, Andrew Mooney, Emma Reece, Joshua Taffin.
Gilmer High FFA SR (Fifth in Area) Jalynn Ledford, Abriana Mccollum, Allison Ross, Claire Stanley.

Forestry
Gilmer High FFA JR (Third in Area) Colby Barnes, Rose Chadwick, Chandler Clayton, Ally Elrod, Isaiah Hopper, Sara Ingle, Clayton Ott, Heath Stover, Emma Thurman.
Clear Creek Middle FFA (Fifth in Area) Samuel Mclaughin, Logan Chadwick, Jacob Jenkins, Hanna Rutledge, Kingston Collier, Sawyer Wishon, Andrew Mooney, Trace Duncan.
Gilmer High FFA SR (Sixth in Area) Brentney Clemmons, Alex Edens, Blake Ledford, Grant Ledford, Joe Leonnig, Nate Mooney, Mason Penland, Elizabeth Stillwell, Caleb Waddell.

Land Judging
Gilmer High FFA JR(First in Area; Fifth in State) Rose Chadwick, Ally Elrod, Alyssa Ashurst, Sara Ingle.
Clear Creek Middle FFA (Fifth in Area) Abby Bauer, Jacob Bertolini, Sawyer Wishon, Imogen Reeves.
Gilmer High FFA SR (Fourth in Area ) Sadie Bryan, Carter Ott, Bryson Smith, Caleb Waddell.

Lawnmower Operations
Clear Creek Middle FFA (11th in Area) Jacob Bertolini.

Livestock Evaluation
Gilmer High FFA JR (11th in Area) Rose Chadwick, Clayton Chandler, Sean Lewis, Lauren Smith.
Clear Creek Middle FFA (Fourth in Area) Sarrah Mclemore, Jacob Jenkins, Jacob Bertolini, Dacey Motes.
Gilmer High FFA SR (Fifth in Area) Eli Cochran, Colin Reece, Taylor Sellers, Bryson Smith.

Marketing Plan
Gilmer High FFA (Second in Area; Fifth in State) Samantha Dillard, Mary Keener, Jaylynn Ledford.

Meats Evaluation
Gilmer High FFA JR (Fifth in Area) Isaiah Hopper, Coleman James, Clay Ott.
Gilmer High FFA SR (Second in Area; Sixth in State) Madison Jenkins, Jacob Jones, Billie Marie Sullens.

Nursery Landscaping
Gilmer High FFA SR (First in Area; Fourth in State) Stephanie Bailey, Brentney Clemmons, Summer Davis, Stephen Madalo.
Clear Creek Middle FFA (Fourth in Area) Andrew Mooney, Daniela Montes, Jasmine Rafael, Hannah Rutledge.

Parliamentary Procedure
Gilmer High FFA (First in Area and STATE WINNER) Bryce Bowen, Grace Henderson, Madison Jenkins, Matt Long, Katie Marick, Bryson Smith.
They will represent the state of Georgia at the National FFA Convention this October in Indianapolis, Indiana.

Poultry Evaluation
Gilmer High FFA JR (14th in Area) Colby Barnes, Clayton Chandler, Isiah Hopper, Jacob Nelson.
Clear Creek Middle FFA JR(Fifth in Area) Laney Hensley, Emma Reece, Cole Parks, Samuel Mclaughin.
Gilmer High FFA SR (Third in Area) Alex Edens, Jacob Jones, Samuel Parks, Billiemarie Sullens.

Prepared Public Speaking
Gilmer High FFA JR (Fourth in Sub-Area) Ari Price.
Gilmer High FFA SR (Third in Sub-Area) Elizabeth Chesser.

Wildlife Management
Gilmer High FFA JR (Second in Area; Eighth in State) Issac Bradshaw, Clay Ott, Heath Stover.
Clear Creek Middle FFA (Seventh in Area) Sawyer Wishon, Lilly Penland, Larz Fowler, Jacob Jenkins.
Gilmer High FFA SR(Third in Area) Grant Ledford, Nathan Mooney, Mason Penland.

 

Also honored at the banquet were this year’s senior class students who were invited to say a few words and what stood as their final meeting of the Gilmer FFA this year. Individually noted, each senior’s plans for post high school follows:

Tyler Cantrell will be attending Nashville Auto Diesel College after he graduates from Gilmer High School. He will be studying to become a diesel mechanic;

Shelby Nealey will be attending the University of North Georgia after she graduates from Gilmer High School. She will be studying to become a registered nurse;

Sara May will be attending the University of North Georgia after she graduates from Gilmer High School. She will be majoring in business administration.

Brentney Clemmons will be attending Young Harris College after she graduates from Gilmer High School. She will be majoring in environmental science.

Grant Ledford will be attending Truett McConnell University after he graduates from Gilmer High School. He is undecided at this time.

Stephanie Bailey will be attending Kennesaw State University after she graduates from Gilmer High School. She will be majoring in international business.

Samuel Parks will be attending the University of North Georgia after he graduates from Gilmer High School. He will be majoring in avian science.

Alex Edens will be attending the University of North Georgia after she graduates from Gilmer High School. She will be majoring in agribusiness.

Joe Leonning will be going to the Naval Academy after he graduates from Gilmer High School. He will be studying to become an aircraft mechanic.

Megan Bird will be attending Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College after she graduates from Gilmer High School. She will be majoring in agricultural education.

Elizabeth Stillwell will be attending Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College after she graduates from Gilmer High School. She will be majoring in agricultural education.

Rachel Waddell will be attending Young Harris College after she graduates from Gilmer High School. She will be majoring in early childhood education.

Bryce Bowen will be attending the University of Georgia after he graduates from Gilmer High School. He will be majoring in pre-med.

Katie Marick will be attending Reinhardt University after she graduates from Gilmer High School. She will be majoring in math education.

Grace Henderson will be attending Oglethorpe University after she graduates from Gilmer High School. She will be majoring in biology/pre-med.

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Lower Cartecay Bridge gains priority in state replacement program

News

ELLIJAY, Ga. – The Gilmer County Board of Commissioners Chairman Charlie Paris officially announced at the May BOC meeting that he received word that the State DOT (Department of Transportation) program replacing bridges across the state will move the Lower Cartecay Road bridge further up the list.

Originally, the commissioners were seeking to swap places of the Vanilla Lane Bridge, which was third on the list, and the Lower Cartecay Road bridge, which has only been added since last year. However, Paris commented on Thursday, May 10, that the bridge is set to move up the list. Though he didn’t know for sure exactly how it would work, he did say, “Right now, what it looks like is that the Lower Cartecay will be moved to the top of the list, but Vanilla Lane will continue at number four.”

Paris told those at the meeting that he had contacted Georgia Speaker of the House David Ralston about interceding on the county’s behalf to get the bridge added to the list. He stated the Speaker’s help in the county’s sudden need was integral to the process that has now seen the bridge added to the list and moved to a priority position.

Having received a Memorandum of Understanding from the DOT for Vanilla Lane, the commissioners discovered that while they were originally estimating their half of the costs of obtaining the right of way to be somewhere around $15,000 to $20,000, the official estimation of the total costs according to the memorandum would be $207,000 bringing Gilmer’s half to $103,500.

Now the county will be looking at another memorandum in the coming weeks for the Lower Cartecay Road bridge since it has been moved up. Aside from the movement of Lower Cartecay, Paris recommended the Board move forward with sending the $103,500 to the DOT for Vanilla Lane to keep it from being dropped from the list.

As the county moves forward with both bridges it will be awaiting news on both sides as they find out if Vanilla Lane does maintain its position on the list and the progress of site visits and preliminary work on Lower Cartecay Road.

Officially approved by unanimous decision, Paris stated the excess expense will be funded out of the capital contingency fund as the expense was larger than expected.

Previously, during budget sessions last year, the members of the board discussed dedicating their entire capital contingency to be saved for replacing Lower Cartecay Road bridge if it was unable to be added to the programs list. It was stipulated as a “back-up plan” to ensure the funding would at least begin the process of saving for the replacement while the commissioners were hoping to add the bridge to the DOT program.

Now, with the bridge not only added but moved up the list, the contingency fund appears as if it will be used to fuel both bridges at a substantially lower cost. Paris stated in the meeting that with the original estimate the board received on the Lower Cartecay bridge replacement rising past $1,250,000, any “reasonable figure” the DOT provides for the costs of right-of-way would be a vast improvement worth supporting.

Additionally, if the county had not gotten onto the list with Lower Cartecay, they would have been saving their entire contingency funds for at least 2018 and 2019 pushing back the project to begin, at the earliest, in 2020. Now, this program places the Lower Cartecay bridge at the number one slot. Even with the late start, the project will begin its process with engineering and architecture this year. Citizens could potentially see construction beginning as early as next year.

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Georgia grant sees high scores for Gilmer

Bobcat's Corner

ELLIJAY, Ga. – May 3 saw exciting news for Gilmer county as State School Superintendent Richard Woods made the announcement of Gilmer County Charter School System as the second highest score in the Literacy for Learning, Living, and Leading in Georgia (L4GA) grant by the Georgia Department of Education.

Over sixty districts applied for funding and a panel of trained reviewers scored the applications.  The districts with the highest scores received the grant.

Chief Academic Officer of the Gilmer County Charter School System Lottie Mitchell said, “We are so very proud of the hard work and dedication of our site facilitators, district, community and school literacy teams.”

According to Mitchell, Georgia was awarded a total of $61,579,800 over three years through the federal Striving Readers grant competition. Ninety-five percent of the funds are sub-granted to 38 districts.  The funds are distributed on per-pupil allocations to achieve the goal of the L4GA initiative, to improve student literacy learning.

With this grant in our county, Gilmer will receive approximately $1.46 million dollars over the next three years. These funds are allocated for students in schools within a feeder system (including birth-age 5 childcare providers and elementary, middle, and high schools).

Gilmer County Charter Schools Superintendent Dr. Shanna Wilkes expanded on the excitement saying,  “As your superintendent, I could not be any prouder of this team! The dedication and commitment to the students and teachers in our district is overwhelmingly outstanding!  I am so proud to work alongside of all of you every day!”

Though the school system does not have specific details yet on exactly how the money will be spent, Mitchell states it is to be dedicated specifically to the improvement of literacy in the schools.

“It’s a great day for literacy in Georgia,” said Woods. “I am confident the $61 million Georgia is now able to invest in local schools and communities to support literacy will impact the lives of thousands of students. I commend each L4GA grant recipient – the competition was fierce as we received an unprecedented number of applications. Making sure Georgia students are reading on grade level remains mission-critical, top-priority work for us and I have no doubt these districts – who submitted clear, focused, student-centered plans to improve literacy outcomes – are going to use these funds to make a tremendous difference for kids.”

Additionally, the $61,579,800 Georgia received through the federal Striving Readers grant competition, the “parent grant” Georgia received from the federal government and is subgranting to 38 of its districts, was the highest award received by any state. Georgia was one of three states to receive the funding a second time after the initial grant cycle (2011-2016).

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