Gilmer Schools CTAE Month

Bobcat's Corner

ELLIJAY, Ga. – Gilmer County is ending its last week in February celebrating the month of CTAE success in both the county and state.

February has been CTAE (Career, Technical and Agriculture Education) Month in Gilmer County. The official month is Gilmer Schools’ way of sharing the program with the public to showcase some of the highlights and accomplishments.

According to Gilmer Schools WBL (Work Based Learning) and YAP (Youth Apprenticeship Program) Coordinator Janet Davis, the CTAE program is all about connecting the dots between the pathways of education in order to prepare students to be successful as they transition to college and the workforce.

The success of these programs is a part of what new Board of Education Member Doug Pritchett alluded to in a recent interview when he explained that the county has seen more investment into the students in whatever path they choose through projects like the new Agricultural Center. While Pritchett has only been on the board for two months now, he was quick to point out these programs as an integral part of Gilmer’s recent progress.

Davis went further this month when she said in an official release, “CTAE classes provide career awareness, spark interests, identify aptitudes & abilities, teach skills, combine academic knowledge with specific career & technical knowledge and create co-ops, internships & apprenticeships.”

While we celebrate the major successes across the state like a fourth consecutive year being the number one state for business for the fourth year in a row by Site Selection
magazine, February focuses on the educational influences and foundations in that achievement.

The program utilizes career clusters framework as an instuctional and guidance model as students prepare to transition out of high school. Regardless of their paths to college, careers, or the workforce, CTAE equips the necessary skills for the industry ahead.

In Georgia Public Schools, 61.75% of middle schoolers and 67.88% of high schoolers enrolled in at least on CTAE class during the 2017-2018 school year. Davis noted that 19,394 students participated in the Georgia Youth Apprenticeship Program (YAP) and 98.8% of employers would recommend the Georgia Youth Apprenticeship Program to other companies. She also pointed out that 49,911 students with pathway completion took the end of pathway assessments in FY 2017 as compared with 44,057 high school students in FY 2016 (a 13% increase).

These are just facts of the program, but success entails much more than facts. It is measured in the intangibles. Davis points to moments when she sees engaged students and inquisitive minds instead of blank stares and disinterest. She says that she sees the dots connect when she sees students smiles and listens to conversations about the future. Success is more that statewide facts and numbers, CTAE success is seen when individual growth takes place.

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Georgia Agricultural Forecast

Announcements

Georgia Agricultural Forecast

By:  Eddie Ayers, County Extension Agent

The Georgia Ag Forecast seminar series will be held Jan. 22 through Feb. 1 at six sites across the state. University of Georgia agricultural economists will present insights into the latest market and regulatory conditions for the state’s largest industry – agriculture. Hosted by the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, the 2019 seminar series will be held in Macon, Carrollton, Watkinsville, Lyons, Bainbridge, and Tifton. Registration for the series is now open at www.georgiaagforecast.com.

“The main objective of the Ag Forecast seminar series is to provide Georgia’s producers and agribusiness leaders with information on where we think the industry is headed in the upcoming year,” said Kent Wolfe, director of the UGA Center for Agribusiness and Economic Development. “It helps producers plan for the next year, but it’s also good for bankers and others who have businesses involved in agriculture or who will be impacted by the farm economy.” Economists from the center and from the college’s department of agricultural and applied economics will deliver the economic outlook, which will focus on Georgia’s major commodities and the way that global markets, weather patterns and historical trends will affect them.

This year, CAES Dean Sam Pardue will highlight how UGA is working to meet the needs of producers and agribusinesses across the state. He will share insights on rural initiatives and opportunities for statewide connections to the land grant university.  This program also provides state and local leaders with current demographic data and detailed population projections that enable Georgia leaders to more effectively address issues and plan for the future.

The 2019 Georgia Ag Forecast sessions will be held on the following dates at the following locations:

  • Tuesday, Jan. 22: Macon – Georgia Farm Bureau Building
  • Wednesday, Jan. 23: Carrollton – Carroll County Ag Center
  • Friday, Jan.25: Watkinsville – Oconee County Civic Center
  • Tuesday, Jan. 29: Lyons – Toombs County Agri-Center
  • Thursday, Jan. 31: Bainbridge – Decatur County Agricultural Center
  • Friday, Feb. 1: Tifton – UGA Tifton Campus Conference Center

 

Individual seats are $35 per person. All seminars begin at 9 a.m. and are followed by a networking lunch, except for the Tifton event which will open with a 7 a.m. breakfast, followed by the seminar.  The Georgia Ag Forecast seminar series is supported by the Georgia Department of Agriculture and Georgia Center of Innovation for Agribusiness. For more information on the 2019 Georgia Ag Forecast series, visit www.georgiaagforecast.com or search for #gaagforecast on social media.

 

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Rezoning dominates commissioners meetings

News

ELLIJAY, Ga. – The Gilmer County Board of Commissioners spent the majority of their January meetings discussing rezoning requests from citizens.

Though three requests were on the agenda, the two that took the most attention involved a change from R-1 residential low density to A-1 agricultural for Russell Moss Jr. and Vicki Moss (Tax Map 3050K, Parcel 013) as well as an A-1 agricultural to A-1 agricultural with conditional use for Neil Gary (Tax Map 3083, Parcel 034C).

The Moss request involved planning for three structures on the property as Vicki Moss originally stated she wanted to plan on having ultimately one house as well as two tree houses for rent but was not trying to build a trailer park or similar setup. Though she bought the property as R-1 and stating she initially had no thought to change it, Moss stated she had later learned the restrictions of structure numbers for R-1 zone when she thought about building the additional structures.

Moss stated she only wanted to rezone to agricultural to put three structures on the one lot without paying an engineer to subdivide the lot and make room for the structures individually. A sentiment that Gilmer County Commission Chairman Charlie Paris had earlier, in the commissioners work session, opposed due to making an agricultural lot on a road among numerous other residential lots. Though she stated her intended use, Paris commented he did not want to “open up” the lot to potential uses approved under agricultural with a later owner or something of the sort.

Citizens from the area spoke in opposition to the request as well. Property owner Bill Stucker echoed the chairman’s comments asking for the board to protect them as neighbors and the feel of their neighborhood as it is.

Jason Hoffsteader, owner of 35 acres on Stillwell Road, noted the road’s current condition and narrowness. Noting Moss’ idea of renting properties, he said he was concerned with extra drivers who did not know the road coming through the neighborhood. The extra congestion of continuous “new-to-the-road” drivers could cause added stress of accidents due to the road’s condition. Hoffsteader also noted he chose his location when he bought the property due to large tracts with single houses in the neighborhood.

A very unusual occurrence came as Stillwell resident Albert Goode came to the commissioner’s podium to speak. He asked Moss if he could question her in the meeting. As she agreed, Chairman Paris allowed the questioning in the meeting. However, after roughly five minutes of questioning, Paris stepped in to end the questioning. Though he noted he originally allowed the questioning because he wanted to hear the citizens speak, he directed public comments to return to being addressed to the commissioners.

During the questioning, Goode questioned Moss’ intended uses for the properties she owned in the area. With three properties in total, the issue Goode questioned was having mobile tiny homes on the lots. Goode’s opposition was based on quality of life in the area with the extra buildings in use. Moss informed those present that while the one zone in question was requested for three rental properties, she would be ultimately building her retirement home on one of the other properties. The rental property she wanted to build would also access the creek for floating for anyone renting the property.

Before finalizing their vote 3-0 to deny the request, Post Commissioner Dallas Miller commented saying, “The preponderance of the number of parcels is residential. So, I look at that as a rural part of our county, as a residential, single family, R-1 zoned area … Our job as commissioners, I think, is to preserve, as much as possible, the residential and rural areas of our county.”

Despite the denial, Moss can still return to her property and, having enough space in the lot, subdivide it into three lots to continue forward with her plans for rental property with tiny homes after the commissioners finish their moratorium on tiny homes on wheels.

The second item of note, also denied, came from the rezone request for Neil Gary to add a conditional use on his agricultural zone property. The conditional use was to allow a gun range to be put on the property. The Planning Commission recommended denial of the request.

Paris commented on the item saying, “I support people’s ability to shoot their guns on their property if they can do it safely and without disrupting the lives of their neighbors. I don’t see this particular request as one that would be conducive to a quality of life for the neighbors nearby, and I also don’t see that the standard of safety in an area that congested could be maintained properly.”

Gilmer County Post Commissioner Travis Crouch echoed the sentiments saying, “It is the setting of this particular parcel that brings doubt in my mind … It’s not an opposition to the concept of this business, it’s just the location that I object to.”

In Gary’s application, he noted his “extensive and verifiable backgrounds in special operations, law enforcement and armed security.” Wanting to offer training and services to both law enforcement and civilian clients, Gary stated he wished to offer training in several areas in addition to “how to shoot” including how to carry safely, when not to take one’s gun out, and when not to shoot.

Though denied for the rezone for conditional use, the commissioners noted this application for rezone was for a commercial setup and does not weigh on a person’s personal right to firearms practice and similar activities.

There was also an approved request for Dogwood Financials, LTD, (Tax Map 3082, Parcel 072) to downgrade the plot from R-3 residential multi-family to R-2 high density.

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BOE Officially Begins Agricultural Facility

News

With a turn of the shovels, the Gilmer County Board of Education has officially begun construction on the approved Agricultural Facilities located at Clear Creek Middle School. Offering words of thanks to the citizens for their support and to Charles Black Construction for their help with the project, Dr. Shanna Wilkes opened the ceremony to break ground after nine months of work to prepare, design, draw, and plan the Agricultural facility that will include a show ring, an animal barn, a covered prep area, and connected building to house Gilmer’s very popular cannery.

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