Blue Ridge, Ga. – Twelve Commission Chairmen from North Georgia counties have joined together and signed a letter asking Governor Brian Kemp to shut down the State Parks.
“It appears that these nonresidents believe our area is a safe haven because of its rural nature. To the contrary, the influx of people into our communities has had a staggering detrimental effect on our resources,” the letter to Kemp read in part.
The letter goes on to outline the resources in our area that have been affected by the out-of-towners looking to seclude themselves, including in these resources are food, dry goods and fuel.
It goes on to inform Kemp that our area is not equipped medically: “Our communities simply do not have enough hospital beds or medical personnel to care for the inflated population.”
Though only serving as a commissioner for a little over three months, Habersham County Commissioner District 5 Tim Stamey felt he needed to be proactive in bringing a solution to this problem: “I am a retired special operator and we don’t sit around talking about things, we get it done.”
Stamey who sits on the County Health Board said, “I’m on the County Health Board and talk to Healthcare workers in my county on a daily basis. They are the heros/heroines in all this. This virus does not spread itself on the wind.”
Moccasin Creek State Park, situated just North of Unicoi State park has been “crazy, 4th of July crazy” for the past three weekends according to Stamey, who has witnessed the impact on his county first hand.
Stamey initially contacted Rabun County Chairman Greg James and White County Chairman Travis Turner.
“I started this by just trying to get border counties on board,” Stamey said and added, “Then Chairmen were like well, did you call such and such, I know they feel the same way. It just kept getting bigger and bigger.”
Stamey said that all Commission Chairmen were helpful, on board, and taking the matter seriously: “I talked to most of them several times and for up to an hour each time.”
Stamey, along with the 12 county chairmen and many residents, is hoping that this letter will get the attention of Kemp. The letter in closing states: “On behalf of the many citizens that live in North Georgia who entrust us as County Commissioners to represent their interests, we respectfully ask you to close all of the state parks located in our area immediately.”
UPDATE – April 6, 2020 – Second Case in Gilmer confirmed
GILMER COUNTY, Ga. – As Georgia as reach a saturation point where only five counties in the state remain without a confirmed case, according to the Department of Public Health, Gilmer has reported a second case in the county.
Authorities are continuing services in the county and plans to sanitize and clean facilities have grown to include the National Guard in the coming days. However, Gilmer did not have a reported case until March 30, and only now, on April 6, has had a second case. Experts are continuing to speculate and expect more cases in the state to come before the numbers begin decreasing.
According to the DPH, Gilmer still has not reported any deaths from complications or involvement of COVID-19 at this time.
UPDATE – March 31, 2020 – Gilmer Fire and Rescue responds
Gilmer Fire Chief Daniel Kauffman offered a few words to address the new confirmed case and the county’s already-in-use plans for virus response saying:
Gilmer County Fire Rescue is actively taking every precaution to help prevent the contraction and spread of COVID-19 virus. The department is currently following the CDC recommendations on the use of personal protective equipment in regards to patient contact. We are also working with the Metro- Atlanta Hospital Coalition to put into place best practices regarding the care and treatment of potential COVID-19 patients. The daily operations of our department and our crews will continue to change as updates come forth from local, state, and federal leaders. Currently, the department has closed down the fire stations to both the public and family visitors. We have stopped all organized training where multiple stations would gather in groups. Our current fire and EMS training platforms are being conducted via a web-based training programs and completed on an individual basis. Our senior staff continue to meet in small groups to stay abreast of changing conditions, while observing social distancing as recommended by the CDC. As we make our way through these unchartered waters, Gilmer County Fire Rescue will continue to meet every 911 call with the urgency it deserves and delivering first class care and compassion to our community.
Original Story – March 30, 2020
GILMER COUNTY, Ga. – With daily reports updating from the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH), today marks the first officially recorded confirmed case appearing in Gilmer County.
It has taken Gilmer County nearly a month for a confirmed case as reports began coming in at the beginning of March. The DPH now reports that 2809 cases have been reported in Georgia total with 707 hospitalized as of today.
According to their Public Information Officer, Gilmer County Department of Public Safety said, “The EMA has worked for the previous 2 – 3 weeks as if we already had cases here in the county. We have been, and will remain vigilant and thorough with our responsibilities to the citizens of Gilmer County. We are successfully protecting our patients, our First Responders, and our County employees with every means possible with the PPE we have on hand. We will continue to monitor the virus’s progress here and in surrounding counties, and make any necessary adjustments in public safety protocol as the situation warrants.
Atlanta, GA – Today Governor Brian P. Kemp issued Executive Order 03.14.20.02 authorizing Adjutant General Tom Carden – at the request of Georgia Emergency Management and Homeland Security Director Homer Bryson – to call up as many as 2,000 Georgia National Guard troops to State Active Duty to address novel coronavirus and COVID-19 in Georgia.
“Through extensive emergency preparedness training, the brave men and women in the Georgia National Guard stand ready to serve above and beyond their traditional military duties. In states of emergency, they are equipped to take necessary action to protect the health and safety of Georgia families in every region,” said Governor Kemp. “To assist with COVID-19 mitigation and critical services, including the transfer of Georgians currently at Dobbins Air Reserve Base to their homes, the Georgia National Guard will now be available to communities to ensure the steady supply of medical equipment, food, shelter, or related materials to keep Georgians safe in the weeks ahead.”
The Georgia National Guard is already assisting with the transfer of thirty-one Georgians – formerly passengers on the Grand Princess cruise ship – from Dobbins Air Reserve Base to their homes today for isolation and monitoring by Department of Public Health officials.
Miss Tonya Davenport, age 53, of Cherry Log, Ga, died Monday February 24, 2020.
Miss Davenport was born, December 5, 1966, in Gilmer County the daughter of Monte Davenport and Carolyn Long. She was a nurse for Riverside Academy in Atlanta and of the Baptist Faith.
Survivors include: mother; Carolyn Long, father; Monte Davenport, sisters and brothers-in-law; Cyndi and Corey Brown, Monja and Jamie Norwood, brother and sister-in-law; Tyler and Kaylee Davenport, special niece and caregiver; Ariel Davenport, aunts, Ann Breeden, Sue Burgess and many other nieces, nephews and cousins.
A Celebration of Life will be held Saturday Feb. 29, 2020 at 2:00 pm from the chapel of Bernhardt Funeral Home with Rev. Kenny Hagin officiating. The family will meet with friends Saturday from 1:00 pm until 2:00 pm at the funeral home. In lieu of flowers donations may be made to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital 501 St. Jude Place, Memphis, TN 38105 in memory of Miss Davenport.
Bernhardt Funeral Home in charge of arrangements.
Mrs. Carol Lola Stone age 72 of Ellijay died Sunday February 16, 2020.
Mrs. Stone was born May 9, 1947, in, Madison GA the daughter of the late Edward and Vannie Brooks Fitzpatrick. She was a high school graduate, homemaker and loved poetry, books, painting, animals, and living in the mountains.Her parents, Billie R Stone (spouse), Amy Noel Stone (daughter), Lisa Stone (daughter in law) preceded her in death.
Survivors include: Children: Lara Stone daughter, Ryan Stone son, Julie flowers daughter, Shawn flowers son in law, Grand children:, Joshua Flowers, Caitlin Flowers, Abigail Flowers, Tori Stone, Great-grandchildren:, Jericho Flowers, Keegan Flowers, Brother: Edward Fitzpatrick ,Brother in law: Lee Stone, Sister in law: Mary Stone, Sister in law: Joyce Stone ,along with many nieces, nephews and friends.
A memorial service is being planned and will be announced later.
Bernhardt Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.
Mr. George Washington Lee, age 90, of Ellijay, died Sunday, February 16, 2020.
Mr. Lee was born, February 16, 1930, in Atlanta, the son of the late George W. and Viola Hill Lee. He held a Master’s Degree and was a retired teacher with the Fulton County School System.
He is preceded in death by his wife; Betty Moore Lee.
Survivors include: sons and daughters-in-law: George and Rebecca Lee, Newnan, Eric and Amanda Lee, Holly Springs, 3 grandchildren.
No services are planned.
Bernhardt Funeral Home in charge of arrangements.
Mr. Andrew Leon “Andy” Keener age 62, of Ellijay, died Monday, February 24, 2020.
Mr. Keener was born, July 14, 1957, in Gilmer County the son of Lorene Mullins Keener and the late Alvin Keener. He was retired from Lance trucking and was a member of the Liberty Baptist Church. He is preceded in death by his father, son; Robbie Keener, sisters; Linda Nicholson and Barbara Strickland.
Survivors include; wife; Rita Griffin Keener, sons and daughters-in-law; Adam and Abigail Keener, Matthew and Amanda Keener, mother; Lorene Keener, Ellijay, sister; Lisa Kell Ellijay, 8 grandchildren, 5 great-grandchildren.
Funeral services will be held Wednesday at 2:00 pm from the chapel of Bernhardt Funeral Home with Rev. David Nicholson and Rev. Mitchell Pack officiating. Interment will be in the Liberty Baptist Church cemetery.
The family will meet with friends Tuesday from 11:00 am until 9:00 pm at the funeral home. Family also request no food be brought to the funeral home.
Bernhardt Funeral Home in charge of arrangements.
To send flowers to the family of Ivey Wiggins, please visit Tribute Store
To send flowers to the family of Jack Kerr, please visit Tribute Store
Mrs. Tammy Ruth Beavers age 48 of Ellijay died Friday Feb. 14, 2020.
Mrs. Tammy Ruth Beavers was born August 17, 1971 in Maryland to Leslie Lamar Johnson and Dianna Rice Johnson. She acquired a Bachelor’s degree. She was also a homemaker.
Survivors include; Husband: Tommy Beavers, Ellijay Sons: Josh Beaver, Cumming, Nathan Gardner, Ellijay Daughters: Desiree Carpenter FL, Kathryn Sales, Ellijay, Tiffany Longboat, Ontario Canada, Brothers: Craig Eagan, FL, Sister: Kathy Baker, NC, Mother-in-law: Brenda Beavers, Canton, Sister-in-law: Lisa Hardman, Canton 13 Grandchildren several nieces and nephews also survive.
A gathering of friends and family will be held Monday Feb. 17, 2020 from 12:00pm until 6:00pm at the funeral home.
Bernhardt Funeral Home is in charge of the arrangements for Mrs. Beavers.
Mr. Johnny Couch Jr. age 80 of Ellijay GA died Feb. 15, 2020.
Mr. Johnny Couch Jr. was born Jan. 15, 1940 in Greenville South Carolina to John Couch Sr. and Grace Ramsey Couch. He was employed by Canton Mill, and was also of the Baptist Faith.
He is preceded in death by his wife Shirley Couch, son Mark Couch, daughters Deborah Maupin, and Gail Kitchen.
Survivors include: Johnny Couch, Jasper GA, Derrick Couch, Ellijay GA, Brother: Tony Couch Jasper GA, 12 Grandchildren: Mikie Maupin, Chyrstal Maupin, Heather Maupin, Kisha Pugh, Chad Couch, Ariel Couch, Corey Couch, Carsyn Couch, Daniel Couch, Torre Couch, Brittany Couch, Melissa Couch 4 great-grandchildren: Seth Simlery, Nathan Pugh, Haley Pugh, Remi Couch Several nieces and nephews also survive.
A graveside service will be held Wednesday February 19 at 1:00pm from the Mt. Pisgah Church Cemetery with Rev. James Nickels officiating.
The Family will receive friends Wed. Feb 19 from 9:00 am until 12:30pm at the funeral home.
In Lieu of flowers the family ask that donations may be made to the funeral expenses in memory of Mr. Couch.
Bernhardt Funeral Home is in charge of the arrangements for Mr. Couch.
To send flowers to the family of Amelia Cornn, please visit Tribute Store
To send flowers to the family of Mary Cooper, please visit Tribute Store
To send flowers to the family of Algia Tarrer, please visit Tribute Store
EAST ELLIJAY, Ga. – Candidates Marjorie Greene, 14th District, and Rich McCormick, 7th District, visited Ellijay to speak about their campaigns for election at the famous Poole’s Bar-B-Q.
Each candidate met with citizens in Gilmer and offered a few words on campaigning and their support for Trump in the coming elections.
Dr. Rich McCormick spoke about opportunities for the people and the need for a leg up. He said, “This is about an American dream and selling something that’s good for everybody. I think that’s one of the things we’ve been lacking. We’re so busy trying to prove people wrong and trying to demonize people, that we forget that what really brings home a message, and you talk about Christianity, If you study the Bible with anybody and you ever try to convert anybody, it’s not by proving them wrong that you convert them. It’s by loving them.”
McCormick went on to say that people want in to this country because of the American Dream. He spoke about when he was young and picking berries then moved on to a paper route. The opportunities continued as he said he joined the Marine Corps for 16 years as a pilot. Then he went to Morehouse School of Medicine where he became student body president.
Achieving that was not because of pretending to be somebody according to McCormick. But it is about relationships and about believing in people, putting in the real work, and accomplishing things for the people. He pointed out that the United States hasn’t passed a budget in over decade.
Being a doctor today and having served as a doctor in the Navy after Morehouse, he says he got into politics because he realized the bad politicians and the dirty politics he saw. Waste and abuse of the system is rampant, he pointed out the medical system saying, “If you’ve had to deal with the medical system the way it is, you’re probably already frustrated… 18 percent of your tax dollars, every year, is consumed by medical costs for taxation. That doesn’t include your premiums. That doesn’t include your deductions. That’s just what the government takes to pay for medicine.”
He went on to add that a single payer systems, the budget would be increased by $30 trillion in national debt, from $23 trillion to $53 trillion. He called it the single biggest step the United States could take towards Socialism.
McCormick said he wants to go to Washington with “real solutions” and to reach across the aisle with a message of hope, love, and the american dream to steer the nation back to a better place.
Marjorie Greene spoke about her skills in management, problem solving, and budgeting along with her success as a business owner over the last two decades since she bought her parents business in 2002. She said she wants to take these skills to Washington.
Greene said her worry is about a particular group in Congress tearing apart the subverting the Constitution and citizens rights. She pointed out what she calls embarrassments in Congress like Pelosi ripping apart Trump’s speech saying, “This is something that I, very much in particular, want to take with me. I am a strong, unapologetic, conservative woman. Republican. I’m a Chirstian. I’m a mother. I’m a wife. Now, I want to go to Congress. I’m working very hard to get elected, but once I go there, I want to stand firmly in the face of these women that I see are radical, Anti-American, women…”
Greene listed several of the plans she felt are a part of that radical ideals including abortion up until birth, abolishing Second Amendment Rights, the Green New Deal at $93 Trillion, and medicare for all, among others. She said the nation could not survive medicare for all.
Greene said another reason she wants to go to Congress is to fight these policies as her kids enter the workforce, to “save” America for her family.
FYN caught up with the candidates after the event to ask their thoughts on another major race as each candidate mentioned Trump and their thoughts on his presidency. Closer to home, we asked these candidates their thoughts on Doug Collins running against Kelly Loeffler in the Georgia Senate. While Greene said she wanted to just focus on her race and hasn’t thought much about other races, McCormick offered a comment saying, “I hope it doesn’t become a divisive topic with the Republicans because right now, we’re in a good position.” He went on to add a secondary thought saying he hoped that Trump could possibly step in with a great solution “because he’s a problem solver and because he’s a leader.” Yet, the fear of division remained forefront.
Additionally, Richie Stone, Chairman of the Gilmer Republican Party, offered a few comments as well saying that even though he cannot endorse any candidate over another, he was interested in seeing the race and hoped that it would drive turnout in the elections to support them and others on the ballot including both U.S. and State races.