Editorial: Are we still remembering 9/11?

Opinion

Seventeen years ago, I’m certain you were inundated with people saying “Never forget” and newscasts saying “We will always remember.”

Indeed, the entire nation, and even the world, poured out its heart for America and the major wound we were struck with. It is the kind of thing that people everywhere will remember. The kind of thing that I will tell my children about. It is indeed something one cannot easily forget.

Even the numbers dredge up memories of all kinds. And honestly, not all of them are bad. I have fond memories of that day. Shock, gasp. I know you may have anger at hearing that but think of yourself on that day. Did you have people with you? Were you amongst friends? Do you remember people all over the world start saying ‘we.’

Today, we find anything we can to show how different we are from one another. We are a divided country. I don’t want to take a side and tell you that you are wrong, whatever you think. It is honestly probably why we have issues. We can’t disagree without getting angry.

But think back to that day…

I sat among fellow students in a freshman orientation class in high school. It is scarred into the wall of my brain that our desks were placed in a circle and I had only one or two of my “friends” in the class. There was even a guy in that class that I really did not like. We did not get along and we did not like each other at all. My how quickly and easily that melted away in the glow of a tv screen as I, first hand, watched a second plane fly into the building.

I feel its impact even today, and I was nowhere near New York. I couldn’t feel it at the time, but today I can remember my body shook when it hit, as if it hit me just as hard as it hit the building.

I remember hearing the report about another one hitting the Pentagon. I remember not doing anything in any class except one, Algebra. I remember the rage that permeated every person in that school that day. Not just anger, a burning rage threatening to engulf your soul. A rage that broke chains and welled up from somewhere incredibly dark near the bottom of my stomach. It was more powerful because it sensed itself in every other person.

Seventeen years, do you remember?

Do you remember the songs written and speeches made? Do you remember being an American? Forget the conspiracies about it, forget the doubt about what really happened. Do you remember that specific moment of impact?

It’s not a special anniversary, it’s not the ten or twenty year anniversary. This long since something and we as people tend to only really recall things on nice, round-numbered years.

Are we remembering? Have we forgotten even though we said we wouldn’t?

I don’t think so. I think seventeen years later, people still hurt. I know the people you don’t speak to on this day and the people who need you to speak on this day.

I know the guy who plans a trip every September. I know he doesn’t actually go anywhere except into the woods to be alone. We don’t talk about his trips, I just understand his Dad was in New York that day on business. Isolated near a stream maybe, maybe he’s up a tree. I don’t know where he is, but inside I hear him screaming at the top of his lungs in his isolation.

I know the woman who holds her son up like a banner for his service because she never had the chance to see him grow into anything else after he died fighting for us.

I see counties and cities holding memorials on this day, but I see something else. I see the separation. I see the people forgetting something along the way.

I can’t forget that pain. I can’t forget that day. I can’t forget that tv. I can’t forget the faces. I didn’t lose anyone close to me. I had friends who served, but I didn’t lose anyone so close as a brother, sister, father, mother, cousin. I have been so lucky, so why is this day forever seared into my soul?

Maybe I’m being emotional? Maybe I’m thinking too much? Will you judge me for that? Will you think less if I can’t let go? Or would it be worse if I didn’t care?

What if I didn’t write this and you never read it? You’d go about your day and maybe you would think about what today is or maybe it’d slip by as you try to finish that project just get through a tough day. What if we let this day fade into history as a footnote and we never look back to think about the feelings of that day, the pain, the rage, the hurt, the solace, the people?

What if we forgot?

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911 Call Released for September 28 Dog Attack

News

CHERRY LOG, GA – FYN has obtained the 911 call from the passerby who attempted to stop and help the 61-year-old Kathy Nichelson who was injured and later died from the dog attack.

The caller was bitten in his attempt to aid Nichelson. However, he did manage to get away from the dog and back to his car before dialing 911, according to authorities.

The call is short but the caller does say the lady was bit on her throat, while he was bit on the chin. Further details are not available at this time, but stay with FYN as further updates become available.

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Fatal Shooting in Gilmer County Involves GBI

News

ELLIJAY, GA – Saturday evening, July 8, around 5:30 pm, the Gilmer County Sheriff’s Office responded to a call regarding a home invasion in which the invader was shot.

Gilmer County Sheriff Stacy Nicholson

Gilmer County Sheriff Stacy Nicholson

According to Gilmer County Sheriff Stacy Nicholson, deputies responded to the 911 call from Douglas Pritchett, 43, claiming his home was being invaded and he had shot the invader.

Several detectives began investigating. Shortly after arrival, though, the Sheriff’s Office contacted the Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) to aid in the investigation. Sheriff Nicholson told FYN this is not an uncommon occurrence when dealing with certain situations including deaths that may be considered “off” in some way and involve acts of violence.

“Sometimes we contact them for the added manpower that they can bring, sometimes we contact them for the special units they can bring.” said Sheriff Nicholson. With GBI involved, joint work has begun to continue the investigation as the situation develops.

According to the Sheriff, there is reason to believe that Richard Danly, 53, the alleged invader and shooting victim, and Pritchett knew each other and Danly may have actually resided at the location. Danly was declared dead at the scene.

FYN also contacted the GBI for more information. Due to the ongoing investigation, certain details are not allowed to be released at this time. However, Special Agent in Charge Kim Williams of Region Eight of the GBI did offer the follow release.

On Saturday, July 8, 2017 at approximately 6:00 PM, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation was requested by the Gilmer County Sheriff’s Office to assist with a death investigation. At approximately 5:37 PM, a 911 call for assistance in reference to a shooting was made by a resident of 158 River Lodge Drive Ellijay, Georgia. Deputies responded to the scene where they found Richard Thomas Danley, 53, of Ellijay, deceased from apparent gunshot wounds. Douglas Edwin Pritchett, 43, of Ellijay, was identified as the shooter. Pritchett was ultimately arrested on one count of felony murder and one count of aggravated assault. The autopsy for Danley is scheduled for Tuesday, July 11, 2017. This investigation is ongoing.

As stated in their release, Pritchett is facing charges on Felony Murder and Aggravated Assault. Officials do have both the weapon and Pritchett in custody.

 

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County Commissioners Finalize Approvals for Community Issues

News

The Gilmer County Board of Commissioners April Meeting saw new plans for two key areas of the county. Finalized approvals will move both the failing 911 system and community pool on their path in the coming months.

The Commissioners voted 2-1 to approve their new 911 system with Communications & Electronics for a Zetron system.

The split came through discussion among the Commissioners whose original budget conversations centered around the idea that the current 911 system is failing and needs replacement. Since, the Commissioners decided instead of just replacing the system, they should upgrade the hybrid system.

The hybrid system is both analog and digital. While the 911 signals are all digital, our county had a conversion system which allowed the interface. The newer system, however, is completely digital and comes with “enhanced 911” capabilities. This term is somewhat loose though as the service is still in development stages through the state and phone companies.

Some of the possibilities the enhanced service could allow are text capabilities to 911, GPS tracking for emergencies, and even Caller ID functions to tie in with a more detailed 911 mapping system for response.

This upgrade was budgeted at $168,525, but the approved bid is $137,695 for the project to replace the current systems. Dallas Miller became the dissenting vote stating, “I don’t like spending $115,000 to do what we’re already doing today.”

The Commissioners tabled a few items in their meeting like their Contract with Piedmont ER for Ambulance Services. AS they did not have the contract in hand for the meeting, the Commissioners put off the approval until they can finalize the contract and its details. According to Director of Public Safety Tony Pritchett, the contract will guarantee Gilmer County first rights to all transportation from the hospital to other facilities as well as provide a guaranteed payment of services.

Another Tabled item was a possibility for Gilmer County to adopt a County Flag. As a point of pride for the county, Chairman Paris told FYN it was actually a citizen who called and offered proposals for the county to consider. However, the meeting showed little interest from the Commissioners who have not received additional support or interest in a flag.

Chairman Paris said he saw no downside for adopting a flag, but also didn’t see much priority for the project compared to other county business. The Commissioners have previously discussed possibilities of incorporating students from the schools to design the flag, citizens input, and other possibilities. However, having been tabled two months in a row, this item may ultimately see the Commissioners dismissing the idea if it does not garner more community support.

Citizens are also moving forward with plans to maintain the community pool through Gilmer’s winter months. Approving a Memorandum of Understanding with the Three Rivers Athletic Club, Inc., the Commissioners are following their promise to citizens that they would take a risk on the project citizens have been requesting since last summer. The Club has purchased a “bubble” to put over the pool and is currently completing installation of the heaters for the pool to provide access for community organizations and school athletes to practice, compete, and excersize year-round.

The Commissioners will be instituting quarterly reviews of the project so as to remain “revenue-neutral” for the county, meaning that the costs of operation of the pool will be offset through fees and such that the organizations will be providing to the county. With everything in place, it appears that the fall of 2017 will start the experiment when the pool extends its usual season.

Though progress is being made, many questions still circle the operations including some citizens questioning the viability as the pool such as the bubble will be heated, but athletes and swimmers will still be traveling from the bubble to the changing rooms wet. Post Commissioner Miller also offered concerns on the topic saying, “I personally think its a good deal for the Three Rivers Athletic Club and not a good deal for the county. We are bearing all the risks and the expense… I think we’re taking a risk, but I am willing to do this. We already have a plan in place to review this… if we find things that are not acceptable.”

Also in the community, the Comissioners did make two appointments in their April meetings, Don Van Landingham has been appointed to the Board for the Kids Kottage as well as Paul Nealey being reappointed to the Gilmer County Library Board of Trustees.

The Commissioners also formalized their newest Bond Refinancing through final paperwork and signatures at Aprils Regular Meeting. Paris told FYN these signings effectively end the refinancing process  until the County begins realizing its savings next March with a $50,000 reduction in its payments.

A final approval came for the Commissioner’s change in the “Litter and Waste Control” chapter of ordinances that is incorporating state laws instead of County ordinances. As mentioned in previous meetings and reports, this does leave a place holder in case future Commissions feel the need for one, but the County will now officially be enforcing the state laws as always while not maintaining additional county level ordinances.

For more on the County’s Meetings check out The Trouble at the Tabor House as well as the meeting’s video below.

 

Gilmer BOC April Work Session:

 

 

Gilmer BOC April Regular Meeting:

 

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Gilmer Responds to Tour Bus Collision

News

Shortly after the incident involving a wreck of a Tour Bus and a Semi-Truck on Highway 515 in Gilmer County, Tony Pritchett, Director of Public Safety for Gilmer County, held a conference to answer questions.

dsc08331Director Pritchett stated a call came in to Gilmer County 911 at 11:02 for response to the accident.

When FYN arrived on the scene, several helicopters were still circling the area including both news choppers and Life-Flight services. The accident is suspected at this time by authorities to have occurred while a tour bus was traveling north on Highway 515 collided with a Semi-Truck who was crossing into or across the highway from Whitestone Road.

Minutes after the call came in, emergency response was on the scene to provide care and Gilmer County also responded with its Mass Casualties Trailer to aid in on-scene triage. Pritchett confirmed one fatality in the wreck belonging to the driver of the Tour bus. While four people remained uninjured, another 43 have sustained injuries requiring one to be Life-Flighted and others transported via ambulance to local hospitals including Fannin Regional Hospital, Northside Cherokee Hospital, and Piedmont Mountainside Hospital according to Pritchett.

dsc08324FYN has been informed that the tour bus was carrying a majority of elderly passengers and had sustained extensive damage collapsing the front end. However, the quick response units were able to arrive and get on the bus quickly to begin caring for those on board.

More aid was quickly brought to the scene as well due to several mutual aid agreements in place with surrounding areas. In fact, authorities from  Gilmer Fire and Rescue and EMS as well as Gilmer County Sheriff’s Department, Georgia State Patrol, Fannin County EMS Resources, Pickens County EMS Resources, Dawson County EMS Resources, and Murray County EMS Resources were all confirmed to be on-scene aiding with the incident. Pritchett went on to say he was “very thankful for the response of those surrounding jurisdictions, they were very helpful.”

While the limited sight distance at the location was referenced as a possible factor with the incident, no official statement was given with regards to cause or circumstance involved in the incident as the investigation is ongoing. Director Pritchett did confirm with FYN that he could recall at least one other incident involving a fatality occurring at the same location earlier this year. Witnesses have also been confirmed on scene and are speaking with officials at this time.

Currently, 515 will remain shutdown as a continuing investigation will be undertaken by the Georgia State Patrol and authorities are redirecting traffic around the accident. One traffic officer FYN talked with suggested those heading North on 515 to detour down Highway 136 to Old 5 to bypass it.

For more information on the accident and the Press Conference watch the video below and stay connected with Fetch Your News as more information becomes available.

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Aaron’s Freedom Ride*2011* Day 1 Ellijay, GA

Community, Featured Stories

Aaron’s welcomed Freedom Ride 2011 to Gilmer County on Day 1 of the cycling tour that began in Atlanta and will end in NYC! The ride is to commemorate the lives of Firefighters and 1st responders lost on 9/11 on the 10 year anniversary of that tragic day. Twenty plus “Freedom Riders” will travel 1035 miles through 13 cities on 2 wheels on a journey ending in New York City on September 10th! (more…)

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The Flag Still Flies For Freedom

Build an Ark

God bless the USA. This morning, July 24, 2011, the first truss was set at Build an Ark Animal Rescue but not before the USA flag was attached. (more…)

Meeting Held to Plan “New York Says Thank You” Rebuilding Project

Community

A preliminary meeting was held Friday to plan the rebuilding of the Build an Ark Animal Rescue Center. Ellijay will host this major volunteering event, scheduled for July 28-31st. A room full of local citizens and officials showed up for the meeting, which was led by Jeff Parness of the event’s sponsor, the New York Says Thank You Foundation.

(more…)

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