ELLIJAY, Ga. – The Gilmer County Board of Education has debated their plans for the future of Gilmer’s ESPLOST. Debating about the final item in plans for construction as well as bonding projects for the coming cycle.
While no official motion could be heard for the item as it was only the Board’s work session, the did take time to debate the issue with one member having to conference call in to join the discussion. Three major points of the plans to continue the county’s ESPLOST into another cycle were agreed to during the meeting.
With the results from the survey put forth by Gilmer County Charter School Superintendent Dr. Shanna Downs, the clear winner within the community became a Performing Arts Center.
Collecting more votes than the other two options combined, the Performing/Fine Arts Center (on GHS Campus) reached 1,069 votes. The multi-use Sports Facility collected 684 votes and the Indoor Swimming Pool collected 282 votes.
Downs presented this information to the Board on Monday, July 17, along with the three options for a final decision by the Board as a whole on which item to add to the ESPLOST referendum.
As the members considered the option, most agreed that they wanted to follow the survey. Board member Jim Parmer said, “People have had a choice in making a decision and voting. I think we need to be open and transparent if that’s what they want.”
The only member who didn’t agree on the Performing Arts Center was Nick Weaver who said, “There was a lot of money spent the wrong ways before I got here, on the football stadium and everything else, and I think there’s a sports program out there that deserves and earned things and they’ve not gotten anything.”
An informal poll of the board went for the Arts Center with on Weaver as a dissenting vote. However, the final motion and decision will be made on Thursday, July 19, at 6 p.m. during their Regular Session meeting. The final vote will come on a final resolution drafted by the board’s attorney to include this as well as bonding and collection caps.
Those other items were also discussed during the work session as the board will be looking to bond the project for a new Elementary School on the board’s Clear Creek property. The board indicated this project would be bonded while all of the other projects will be done as collections reach the necessary point for them. A maximum bonding of $15 million was placed, but Downs noted they could lower this later if the entire amount was not needed.
The collection cap is an indication of the maximum amount collected by the ESPLOST during its cycle. Downs noted for the board that if they do not meet the maximum collection, there is no penalty, but if they do meet the maximum collection before the end of the cycle, they will be forced to stop collections early. Originally planning on a maximum of $25 million, the board discussion looked at the county’s growth and decided to stretch the maximum collection to $28 million to cover the potential for high growth in the county over the ESPLOST cycle.
As the board put these notes to its lawyer, Attorney Herman Clark, they will be officially looking at their official “Call for Election” on Thursday night to meet an early August deadline to be put on the November ballot for citizens.
BLUE RIDGE, Ga. – Georgia’s current Lieutenant Governor Casey Cagle continues to make his way across the state in his bid to become Georgia’s next governor. Recently, Cagle made stops through north Georgia as part of his campaign on a two-week venture dubbed the “Cagle Country Bus Tour.”
While supporters and undecided voters alike packed venues to hear the candidate speak in their hometown, many were surprised to see another Cagle family member emerge from the bus to give her take on why Casey Cagle, her husband, should be Georgia’s next governor.
Nita Cagle has been by Casey’s side for 32 years. In those 32 years, the Cagles have raised three sons and are currently enjoying the addition of three grandchildren to the family, but raising a family and having a life in politics has not always been easy.
Cagle holds the title of Second Lady of the State of Georgia, but she said what she is most proud of is her title as wife, mother and now grandmother of the Cagle household.
“I’m the inaugural member of team Cagle,” Georgia’s Second Lady joked as she spoke of the family’s early years in politics.
Casey Cagle first ran for Georgia Senate District 49 in 1994. At that time, both of the Cagles were in their late 20s and just beginning a family.
“Casey had helped a friend run a campaign,” Cagle spoke of how their life in public service began. “Over the next couple of years, I saw the spark start.”
Cagle admits that when she first noticed Casey was showing interest in this field, that she was “a little hesitant” to jump on board but says that her faith changed her attitude.
“I had many nights, many talks, and eventually a calmness just came over me, and I was okay with it. So when he came to me and said this is something that is on my heart, I already knew,” Cagle spoke candidly of her acceptance to stand by Casey as he joined the political arena.
When asked if she felt she had known of Casey’s intentions before he spoke openly of them, Cagle laughed and said, “Actually, he probably already knew. It was just ‘How am I going to tell Nita?'”
This career move was not always smooth as Cagle had to adapt to managing her time: “The boys were young. You’re divided because you want to be with them both, be a mom and be a wife.”
Ultimately,, through family discussions, Cagle decided that she would become a strong foundation for her family at home.
“You only get one time at it,” Cagle explained of the decision and the importance of having an active role in a child’s life. “You don’t get a do-over.”
This decision did pose obstacles for the Cagles to overcome as the now Lt. Governor was often called away for his job and for campaigns, but Cagle explained these obstacles are no different than what many families face: “Whether it’s politics, any job is going to put stress. No marriage is going to be without stress.”
Cagle explained that she has been blessed in that despite the calling of Casey’s career, he has always put his family first: “He’s a homebody, and if it is humanly possible to come home, he is coming home.”
With their children grown, Cagle said being on the campaign trail this time has a much different feel: “It absolutely was harder as they were younger. It got a lot easier as they got older. I’m really energized. I’m really enjoying it.”
Having grown children poses a set of new and exciting challenges when it comes to time management, as Cagle announced that their youngest son recently proposed to his girlfriend and would like to wed in the fall shortly before the November General Election.
This announcement did not slow Cagle down as she smiled and enthusiastically explained, “What better thing to do in the middle of all this craziness, than to shut it all down and to celebrate family, remember why we do it to start with, and welcome a new daughter-in-law into our family.”
Cagle added that having been in a house of men for so long, and with her two older sons already married she is excited for the wedding and glad that the male to female ratio is evening out.
With the prospect of becoming Georgia’s First Lady, Cagle has given a lot of time to her platform and her mission if given this duty: “I have several things that I have thought about, and I may or may not narrow down.”
Having obtained a degree and having a background in early childhood education, Cagle taught preschool for a number of years.
“I specifically love the preschool age,” Cagle smiled as she discussed one of her goals if given the title of First Lady of Georgia.
Cagle would like to see preschool education expanded and offered throughout Georgia. She cited the importance of teaching children at a young age and how this early nurturing can carry over throughout their life.
Knowing that not every child is able to receive this kind of early start at home, Cagle would like to see this program offered in more areas, stating that the work put into a child at an early age will benefit society for generations to come.
Cagle would also like to put a focus on small businesses throughout Georgia. She and husband Casey got their start by establishing a small business, so she knows first-hand the struggles that entrepreneurs face.
“I would like to champion them, and spotlight them,” Cagle said, explaining her passion for this area. She noted that small businesses make up a large portion of the Georgia economy, and she would like to see “mom and pop shops” continue to set up and succeed in our state.
Finally, Cagle discussed an issue that has come up time and time again on the campaign trail and that is of the opioid epidemic that is not just facing the state of Georgia but affecting countless families nationwide.
From speaking with residents in Georgia, Cagle is left with one strong impression when it comes to the opioid epidemic: “It’s everywhere. It does not discriminate. We hear the same story over and over. It’s repeated everywhere.”
While Cagle admits that she is by no means an expert when it comes to this crisis, she says that she cannot deny the need to address the issue and “get the conversation going.” She stated that by hearing the heartbreaking stories from families affected by opioid addiction she understands the depth of the problem and that it will not be an easy one to combat.
Being a multifaceted issue with a number of areas that need to be addressed, Cagle said, “If we are blessed enough to be elected, the platform is going to put me in a position to do good and open doors for the people that know about it.”
Cagle would like to increase awareness of the opioid epidemic and at least on one front open the doors for mentoring programs where families struggling with this issue can speak with former addicts on how to help loved ones.
Cagle also acknowledged the successes being seen through Georgia’s Drug Courts and would like to study the impacts of possibly expanding these programs.
Nita Cagle beams a confidence and sincerity in all that she speaks of, but perhaps her biggest conviction is in that of her husband’s ability to make a great governor of Georgia.
“The best way to know the kind of leader or character a person is going to have is to look into the home, and that is what I bring to the table,” Cagle stated, smiling at her husband. “I’ve been married to a man that is consistent every single day.”
She spoke of his competitive drive and his ability to connect with people but said he is also a fair man and one she is proud to have spent the last 32 years by his side.
Cagle’s birthday is May 23, just one day after the General Primary, and she stated this year she doesn’t want any gifts from her husband but instead, “I just want a good clean win on the 22nd with no run-off.”
“He says it’s mathematically virtually impossible,” Cagle said, explaining her husband’s response to her wish, but she then added with her contagious smile, “I have seen him do the impossible before.”
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BACK PORCH BISTRO (Food Service Inspections)
10 NORTHSIDE SQUARE ELLIJAY, GA 30540
November 14, 2017 Score: 99, Grade: A
Charlie’s Italian Restuarant AND PIZZERIA (Food Service Inspections)
15 WEST CROSS STREET EAST ELLIJAY, GA 30540
November 2, 2017 Score: 91, Grade: A
COUNTRY CORNER KITCHEN (Food Service Inspections)
2020 OLD HWY 5 SOUTH ELLIJAY, GA 30540
November 3, 2017 Score: 93, Grade: A
El Rey (Food Service Inspections)
945 MADDOX DR EAST ELLIJAY, GA 30540
November 9, 2017 Score: 99, Grade: A
ELLIJAY DELI AND BAKERY (Food Service Inspections)
96 CRAIG STREET EAST ELLIJAY, GA 30539
November 9, 2017 Score: 99, Grade: A
Okinawa Steak & Sushi Restaurant (Food Service Inspections)
130 OLD ORCHARD SQUARE EAST ELLIJAY, GA 30540
November 15, 2017 Score: 83, Grade: B
STARBUCKS AT INGLES STORE #409 (Food Service Inspections)
100 OLD ORCHARD SQUARE ELLIJAY, GA 30540
November 22, 2017 Score: 100, Grade: A
ELLIJAY, Ga – Prior to the Ellijay City Council’s November Meeting, they heard a proposal from Russel Brown, local paramedic, for a community welfare program similar to programs in other counties like Floyd County.
According to Brown, patients statistically do better recovering at home. This program would encourage and supervise home health. Different from home healthcare programs, Brown said much of the welfare program is focused on prevention of readmission to hospitals and emergency rooms. They would focus on aspects like vital signs and communication for paperwork. If the program moves forward, it would start out within the Ellijay City Limits.
Funding and grants are available, Brown said, and much of the expense would come from strips for glucometers to measure blood glucose. While he hopes one day it could grow into a community paramedic program, he wished to start at community welfare. Those providing the service would be limited in care, and Brown stated that EMS would still be called for necessary situations.
Specific details for the proposal will come possibly as early as the December City Council meeting as the council requested Brown to return with an official written proposal to detail more things like cost and liability among others.
Another healthcare entity presented a variance request to change the sign for Gilmer Nursing Home on 1362 South Main St. While the variance request was submitted to exceed the three-foot sign regulation of the city, it would in fact be lower than the current sign. Standing at 21 feet now, the request states the new sign will only reach 12 feet in height. A representative from Signs of Interest, Andy Lawson, told FYN the sign change was partially to clean up the facilities appearance and simplify the extras to a lower “nicer looking sign.”
Officially approved by the council, the sign will include a small message board to be utilized by the nursing home. Lawson provided FYN with a drawing of what the sign is expected to look like. Though the sign change is indicative of a name change as part of a remodeling project, Lawson told the council that SunLink Health Systems still owns the nursing home.
Following the same road further south, Highway 382’s changes came to Ellijay with a formal notification by the Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) that they will abandon the section of Highway 382 that currently extends from the intersection of 382 and Old Highway 5 to the connection at Highway 515. As seen in the picture, GDOT will be constructing a new connector straight across to Highway 515 with a roundabout at the intersection.
The notification comes with the city of Ellijay needing to accept the abandoned portion of 382 into its responsibility for paving and maintenance. However, a motion was made at the meeting to table the item. Citizens can expect the council to revisit the issue in December.
Along with their discussion of roads, an official petition has reached the council to add speed bumps to Gilmer Street near the Senior Center. The petition garnered 20 names and roused discussion from the council about returning the street to a one-way street as well as discussion on purchasing speed bumps for the street. Continued complaints about the speed of vehicles on the street led to suggestions to officially request the change via petition. Discussion took a turn as Ellijay Police Chief Edward Lacey informed the council that the street was, at one time, a one-way street.
Gilmer Street is a more narrow street and discussion arose as, if the city returned it to one way, they were unsure of which way to direct the traffic. The council tabled the item and requested an official recommendation from Lacey, on how to return it to a one-way street, to discuss along with the speed bumps option. Again, citizens should look for the council to revisit the item in December.
Mountain View “PAWS” students for the month of November are – Pre K – Luke Abercrombie, Kindergarten – Eli Woody, 1st grade – Owen Reece, 2nd grade – Lynzi Holcomb, 3rd grade – Isabela Bautista, 4th grade – Ashlyn Beavers, Others – Keven Ramirez-Reymundo. Great Job!
Looking to see the ballot for November’s Elections before you vote?
Check out Gilmer County’s Sample Ballot below.