Power outages causing traffic trouble


ELLIJAY, Ga. – The Gilmer County Sheriff’s Office has made a public release addressing the issue near the downtown area involving traffic lights and deputies presence.

According to the Sheriff’s Office, “Two transformers have blown in the city limits causing power outages including traffic lights.”

As authorities continue addressing the issue and attempt to minimize additional incidents as they ask citizens to, “Please try to use alternate routes until power has been restored.”

They are not allowing any traffic on South Main, in the area of Letch Drive, completely shutting down the road in both directions.

Additionally, there are deputies at the traffic light by Dairy Queen on Highway 282 directing traffic for both Highway 282 and Old Highway 5.


Betty Jean Chastain: Obituary


Mrs. Betty Jean Chastain, age 74, of Ellijay, GA, died August 18 2019.

Mrs. Chastain was born, May 2, 1945, in Battle Creek Michigan, the daughter of the late  John B. and Girtha Lee Ellis Southern.  She was a graduate of Gilmer High School, Class of 1963, member of the Oak Grove Baptist Church and worked  a secretary for Gilmer School Schools. Her parents , and brother-in-law Bill Nordmark,  preceded her in death.

Survivors include: husband, Claude Chastain; daughter and son-in-law, Cheryl and Craig Koller, San Antonio, TX; son and daughter in law, Rev. Scott and Tanya Chastain; daughter, Ginger Chastain, Ellijay. Grandchildren, Jadie Lee, Madison and Zack Sanford, Kolbie Lee, Chandler Cantrell, Macie Chastain, Gracie Lee, Sara Chastain, Jaelyn Cantrell, Lexi Cantrell and Keelie Cantrell. Great-grandson, Cohutta Sanford. Sisters, Shelvia Garland, Ellijay; Vickie Nordmark, Ellijay. Several nieces and nephews.

Funeral services will be held Tuesday at 2:00 pm from the Oak Grove Baptist Church with Rev. Joey Phillips and Rev. Robby Chastain officiating. Interment will be in the church cemetery.

The family will meet with friends from 10:00 am until 9:00 pm Monday at the funeral home. Flowers are accepted or donations may be made to the Oak Grove Baptist Church cemetery fund in memory of Mrs. Chastain.

Bernhardt Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.


Eugene Wesley Jones: Obituary


Mr. Eugene Wesley Jones, age 87 of Ellijay died Sunday August 18 2019. Mr. Jones was born May 9, 1932 in Ellijay GA. He is the son of the late Randall Jones and Hazel Wood. He was a member of Cartecay Methodist Church.

He is preceded in death by his wife Cora Elizabeth Jones and brothers Ermel Jones and Roy Wood.

Survivors include Daughter: Deborah Glover, Cherokee, NC, Daughter and son-in-law: Brenda and Jim Davis, Chatsworth, Son: Jamie Jones, Ellijay, 5 Grandchildren and 4 great grandchildren, Brothers and sisters in law: Mack and Linda Wood, Ellijay,George and Carol Wood, TN, and Richard and Angie Wood, Ellijay, Sister: Cheryl Worley, Ellijay, Sister-in-law: Nancy Ingram, Cumming.

Gene enlisted in the Army in 1949 just after his 16th birthday. By 1951 he was fighting in Korea and was promoted to Master Sergeant, then the highest enlisted rank at the age of 19. Gene’s long career was punctuated by overseas tours of duty to Korea, Vietnam, Germany, and Turkey. Gene was also wounded while fighting in Vietnam during the Tet Offensive of 1968. At the end of his career, he had risen to the highest enlisted rank, that of Command Sergeant Major, and served as the senior enlisted soldier at III Corps at Fort Hood, TX, one of the largest military installations in the world. While there his responsibilities included oversight of more than 50,000 soldiers, their families, and civilian employees. After his retirement from the Army in 1978 he served as the Gilmer County Fire Chief for 17 years. He was also selected as Gilmer County’s first Citizen of the Year.

Funeral services will be held Tuesday August 20 at 3:00 pm from the chapel of Bernhardt Funeral Home with Rev. Danny Cochran officiating. Interment will be held Wednesday August 21 at 11:30 am at the Georgia National Cemetery in Canton GA,with military rites by the United States Army.

The family will receive friends Tuesday August 20 from 9:00 am until the funeral hour of 3:00 pm at the funeral home.

Bernhardt Funeral Home is in charge of Arrangements.


Theda Joyce Chambless: Obituary


Mrs. Theda Joyce Chambless, age 86 of Ellijay, died August 16th, 2019.

She was born on July 4th, 1933 in Newport Cocke County, Tennessee to the late Noah Webster and Grace Allen Rice. She was a loving wife, homemaker, and worked as an Executive Secretary in the Atlanta area, moving to Ellijay in 1995. She helped start the Gilmer Food Pantry where she volunteered for over 20 years. Active in church work, she presented a Children’s Puppet Ministry over the years. She played the piano and organ in several congregations. Originally from a Baptist faith, she currently worshipped at the Nine Mile United Methodist Church. She loved traveling and visited many foreign countries. Later started enjoying motor homing, traveling, and all of the Scandinavian countries, every Canadian province except one and all of the states except Hawaii. She produced several pictoral albums of her and her husband’s travels.

She is survived by her husband, Jesse O. Chambless of Ellijay, three daughters Cheryl Medina and Patti Sisk of Dahlonega, Debra Atkins (Randy) of LaGrange, son, Daryl Chambless (Debbie) of Newnan, grandchildren, Derek Chambless (Sarah), Esteban Medina, III (Doreen), Daniel Medina (Jenn), David Medina, great-grandchildren, Julien Medina, Kalel Medina, Nico Medina, Giavanna Medina, sister, Mary Ruth Dyer of Lebanon, TN

Funeral Service will be held at 2:00pm on Tuesday August 20th, 2019 from the Nine Mile United Methodist Church with Rev. Larry Naylor and Randy Atkins officiating and speaking. Music will be by Daryl and Debbie Chambless and Kim Myers. Interment will follow in the Nine Mile United Methodist Church Cemetery.

The family will receive friends from 5:00pm until 8:00pm on Monday August 19th, 2019 at the Logan Funeral Home.

Flowers are acceptable or donations can be made to the Gilmer Food Pantry in memory of Mrs. Chambless.

Online condolences can be left to the family at www.loganfuneralhome.com

Logan Funeral Home & Chapel in charge of arrangements.

To send flowers to the family of Theda Chambless, please visit Tribute Store


Brenden Charles Barco: Obituary


Mr. Brenden Charles Barco, age 24 of Ellijay passed on Tuesday August 13th.

Mr. Barco was born on October 2nd, 1994 in Brandon, Florida to his parents, Jimmy Ray Barco and Catherine Anne Barco Paige. He was a 2013 high school graduate and worked at Okinawa in Ellijay. He is preceded in death by his grandmother Dorothy Mehlose and his grandfather Jimmy Barco, Sr.

Survivors include his mother and step-father Catherine Anne Barco and Richard Paige of Kennesaw, GA; father, Jimmy Barco of Young Harris, GA; sister, Breanne Barco of Kennesaw, GA; step-brothers, Eric and Alex Paige of Kennesaw, GA; grandparents, Jack Mehlrose of New Port Richey, FL and Norma Barco of Young Harris, GA.

There are no services planned at this time. In Lieu of flowers, Brenden would want to make his little sister’s life a bit better by donating to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation at www.jdrf.org in his memory.

Logan Funeral Home & Chapel in charge of arrangements.

To send flowers to the family of Brenden Barco, please visit Tribute Store


Virginia Mae Witmarsh: Obituary


Mrs. Virginia Mae Witmarsh, age 86 of Ellijay, GA passed on Wednesday, August 14th, 2019 at her residence.

Mrs. Whitmarsh was born on October 1st, 1932 in Providence, Rhode Island to her late parents, Forest and Ester Fuller Solacum. She is preceded in death by her husband, Arthur J. Whitmarsh, Jr. and her son, David W. Whitmarsh.

There are no services planned at this time.

She is survived by her son and daughter-in-law, Wayne and Susan Whitmarsh of Ellijay, GA; grandchildren, Matthew and Stacey Wandishin.

Logan Funeral Home & Chapel in charge of arrangements.

To send flowers to the family of Virginia Whitmarsh, please visit Tribute Store


County looks to overcome obstacles for pool


ELLIJAY, Ga. – Gilmer’s march towards the construction of the new pool at River Park is continuing as they continue facing two major obstacles.

It has been well established that two of the county’s three commissioners see great promise and benefit in the River Park location discussed for the county’s pool project. One hurdle facing that location received an update this month and Commission Chairman Charlie Paris informed the board at their meeting that conversations with the specialist attorney Matt Williams revealed that the proposed contract with Patriot Rail is looking promising.

Williams did say they currently have a standard agreement contract that they are looking at. However, Paris told the board, “He mentioned that in terms of a railroad crossing, the main concern is the question of liabilty.”

The area currently has a private crossing. If it was a public crossing, the county would come into the liability issue as well. Paris said that the county cannot indemnify the railroad with a public crossing. But with standardized government documents, this crossing would fall under standardized signage and warnings that are common across the country.

He went on to say that the county would undergo a diagnostic study to find what government requires for the crossing. As such, Paris said the county “would be covered” in cases of liability as they follow DOT and traffic engineer standards.

As such, Williams has reportedly suggested the county move forward in pursuit of a public crossing at the location and could see better terms in the agreement with that angle. However, this means the county would have to carve out space for a public road instead of the private road, complete with easements and right of way.

Paris recommended the county move forward with this option if the county could get a “more favorable agreement.”

The railroad is not the only obstacle that saw updates this week. The county is facing much of the land at that location in a flood plain. Public Works Director Jim Smith updated the county on progress beginning on the Highway 382 project just getting underway by the State Department of Transportation. As they carve out, flatten, and prepare the area for relocating the highway, the contractors are looking for a place to put the dirt they remove.

Smith told the board that they had offered to move the dirt to a location of the county’s choice. The county could have the dirt moved to the River Park location to use as fill dirt. However, questions arose and the county is set to first investigate and take samples to see if the quality is good enough for such a use.

Post Commissioner Dallas Miller continues to question the location as he raised questions about the soils composition, the locations foundation, and the repetition of the same plan used in the old pool. He further asked why the DOT would be giving away good soil?

Miller said he would support the creation and construction of a pool for the county, but would not support this site for the pool.

Paris agreed with wanting to test all the soil they are looking to use for the location. He also addressed what he called an incorrect statement about the land being free. While the land would be free to them, it will actually be East Ellijay paying for the land, Paris said $270,000, in order to make sure the pool would be built in town instead of at Clear Creek.

He went on to note the most all of the current River Park is inside a flood plain. While he admitted that he said the pool has problems in that flood plain, he noted that the pool was over 40 years old. He said, “If we build a pool there, and 40 years from now we have problems with it leaking, then my suggestion… will be ‘time to build a new pool.'”

Post Commission Karleen Ferguson thanked Miller for his concerns and suggesting the soils testings. However, she said, “I do believe I am kind of here and ready for us to face our rivers and to enjoy our rivers more, more than turn our backs on our rivers. The River Park is already started. It is a beautiful park for our citizens to enjoy and I do think it makes sense to have the pool there if all the other ‘ifs,’ you know we have this railroad issue that has come up and we’ll see how that goes and the soil testing that is being done. Ideally, I do think it’s the best location because it makes sense to continue on for our River Park and even across to our soccer fields.”

Despite the differences, the county is moving forward looking at both the available soil and the railroad agreements as they attempt to overcome these hurdles.


Gerry Lee Barfield: Obituary


Mr. Gerry Lee Barfield age 63 of Talking Rock, died Monday, August 12, 2019.

Mr. Barfield was born November 18, 1955, in Orange County, CA, the son of James Henry Barfield and the late Sherry Lawler Barfield. He worked for many years as a serviceman for Appalachian Propane  Company  and was a member of the Seven Trees Baptist Church. His mother; Sherry Barfield and brother; Jamie Barfield preceded him in death.

Survivors include: wife; Jill Barfield,  father; James Barfield, Missouri, children and spouses, Shonna and Wayne Brito, TX, Aaron Barfield, CA, Geri Barfield, Ellijay, Leland and Jessica Tyler, TX, Duanna Tyler, Ellijay grandchildren; Katie Ballew, Tayler Barfield, Toni Pennings, Tawnie Brito, Ty Brito, Tiera Brito, Trendon Brito, Noah Tyler, Krista Sanders, great grandchild Xavier Fralick, brothers; Kenny Barfield, Missouri, Gary Barfield, CA, sisters; Judy Hernandez, OR, Diana Barfield, NC.

Memorial services will be held Friday at 2pm from the chapel of Bernhardt Funeral Home with Pastor Steve Dusek officiating.

The family will receive friends Thursday from 5 until 9pm at the funeral home.

Bernhardt Funeral Home in charge of arrangements.


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