Downsizing its facilities due to moving offices around, the Gilmer County Board of Commissioners is now looking to sell their building on the square that has been used recently as the Planning and Zoning office.
The property disposal came before the commissioners in a Special Called meeting under an agenda item that encompassed both the “disposal of the property” as well as engaging a real estate agent.
Gilmer Commissioner Chairman Charlie Paris stated that engaging a real estate broker will begin with a bid process to the board to find an agent to use in the process. However, engaging the bid should follow broad language on usage. County Attorney David Clark encouraged this option of specificty to allow the Commissioners options down the road. He stated, “That gives you the option to consider it, but you don’t have to use the agent with the additional piece of property.”
This means that the county could use the agent to sell the Planning and Zoning building, but wouldn’t have to go through the agent for every piece of property that may come up.
Paris also clarified further saying that if they get another piece of property they need to sell, but wish to just auction it off, they could do this. However, if they do wish to go through the real estate agent again, they would not need to complete the bid process again at that time.
Having the bid process set one agent into this position, the county is also looking to only extend the contract by a specific time period. After that time they would need to rebid the services of real estate agent. With that in mind, Clark also suggested the contract would terminate after a year unless the agent was amid a selling process at the time.
The final decision came through two motions, the first came to take bids for a real estate agent to handle disposing of county property while reserving rights to dispose of property in other ways. The second came to dispose of the building previously referred to as the Planning and Zoning building. Both were approved by the two present commissioners, with Post 2 Commissioner Karleen Ferguson absent.
Along with the disposal in this meeting, another issue arose that could become a major issue. While the office of the Board of Commissioners is attempting to satisfy requirements for a DOT audit with regards to Gilmer’s Airport Professional Services Agreement. According to Paris, Georgia’s Department of Transportation is going through an audit process.
As such, Gilmer has used grants they have used at the airport from the FAA. Part of those grants cover engineering requirements. The state’s audit saw a request for the master contract with the engineering firm from Gilmer County. Paris said that the county didn’t have a contract in 2015, but the county specified it was to be done under the contract of 2012. However, in 2012, the engineering firm, Croy Engineering, signed the contract and sent it to the county. The county at the time tabled the item to investigate. However, the county never revisited the contract.
With no contract, Gilmer County could be held responsible for reimbursement of all the engineering costs since 2012. Clark explained that the county has tried other options to resolve the issue, but have been rejected. Now, the county will authorize the chairman to sign the contract with a retroactive effective date to satisfy the needs.
The county has been operating under the contract over the years, but has simply not signed the contract.
ELLIJAY, Ga. – Gilmer Schools is reaching out to parents, students, educators, and citizens to offer their opinions on Milestones testing and the College and Career Readiness Performance Index (CCRPI) through a survey.
Although linked on Gilmer Schools’ social media, the Georgia Department of Education is marked atop the survey as they seek a response about their request for waivers of these annual tests and reports
According to a joint statement from Governor Brian Kemp and State School Superintendent Richard Woods of the Georgia Department of Education:
“Since the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis, we have urged common sense regarding compliance in Georgia’s public schools, and a focus before anything else on the health, safety, and well-being of students, families, and school staff.
“On March 16, Georgia became one of the first states in the nation to suspend standardized testing requirements in the wake of the COVID-19 school closures, and later received approval from the U.S. Department of Education for the cancelation of all remaining standardized tests in the 2019-2020 school year.
“Given the ongoing challenges posed by the pandemic and the resulting state budget reductions, it would be counterproductive to continue with high-stakes testing for the 2020-2021 school year. In anticipation of a return to in-person instruction this fall, we believe schools’ focus should be on remediation, growth, and the safety of students. Every dollar spent on high-stakes testing would be a dollar taken away from the classroom.
“Georgia will submit a waiver to the U.S. Department of Education for the suspension of the 2020-21 Georgia Milestones assessment and CCRPI school and district rating. To our knowledge, Georgia is the first state in the nation to make this announcement for the upcoming school year. Additionally, effective immediately, the Georgia Department of Education is suspending the teacher evaluation (TKES) summative rating for 2020-21.
“These efforts are in line with our longstanding shared belief that assessment has a place and a purpose in education, but the current high-stakes testing regime is excessive. Though the legislative session was shortened due to COVID-19, we are continuing to pursue Senate Bill 367, which aims to get Georgia’s state testing requirements in line with the federal minimum and maximize time for instruction.
“We are hopeful the federal government will recognize that the upcoming school year will not be ‘business as usual’ and will accept our request for a standardized testing waiver.”
The posted survey asks which county you live in and if you agree or disagree with this request, but also leaves ares for comments and written opinions on the topics as well.
FYN reached out today to Gilmer Superintendent Dr. Shanna Downs for comment on the waiver and the survey and is currently awaiting response.
ELLIJAY, Ga. – Despite a back and forth with state and Georgia Board of Education officials, Gilmer is still awaiting details to approve its budget for 2020-2021 school year. A now officially-approved spending resolution is allowing them to move forward despite that obstacle alongside other financial approvals for past budget and purchases.
The resolution came with itemized reports for extra expenses for academic supplies and subscriptions as reported in BOE to seek spending resolution tomorrow. utilizing one-twelfth, equivalent to one month, of the final amended budget from the previous year.
In their monthly purchasing policy report, the schools are continuing to expand the chromebook ratio to students as previous discussions show that the board is preparing for possibilities to return or not return to school in the fall. These discussions could see a final decision in July. The purchasing policy showed $49,140 for Chromebooks across Clear Creek Elementary School, Ellijay Elementary School, and Mountainview Elementary this month.
The board also approved their academic supplements for FY 21 including instructors and coaches for several extracurricular “academic” teams. Superintendent Dr. Shanna Downs explained that some changes from last year and inclusion of Winterguard and Band in the Academic Teams as it is not recognized as a sport yet by GHSA.
A GHS Furniture purchase also saw approval as Downs explained that the “not to exceed $125,000” recommendation was to ensure any surprises as outfitting a number of rooms and spaces including mostly science classrooms.
Moving forward with their meetings into the year, the board is changing on date in September now that they have found the approved school calendar will coincide their September meetings with Fall break. Therefore, they approved a change moving the meeting dates from September 21 and 24 to its new date of September 14 and 17.
ELLIJAY, Ga. – Soldiers and Reservists from the National Guard met in Ellijay today as part of a running program from the state to help clean, sanitize, and train staff at Parkside Ellijay.
The facility is only one of many that Lieutenant Jacob Mizell of Bravo Company said his team has and will visit during the Coronavirus outbreak. Receiving the call only last week, these reservists were in action in a day.
Today, they went into Parkside Ellijay spraying down, disinfecting, and sanitizing hallways, railings, counters, and other high touch areas. But they also visited each of the 100 rooms to disinfect areas of the residents’ rooms as well. Lt. Mizell said they were working with the owner of Parkside to accomplish whatever the need dictates.
Lt. Mizell said, “Their staff can’t really stay at home in isolation because these facilities need their staff here to make sure that their residents get medication and food and any sort of care that they need. So, we’re doing our part to help the state, to help the community, and to help the citizens of Georgia.”
Lieutenant Nathan Ballew said the operations is a little bit of both cleaning and education at the facility. The guard is doing the actual cleaning, but they are also educating the staff on procedures, cleaning, decontamination suits, and mask usage. A process that owner Michael Feist says is more than welcome as the facility wants to take all the help for its residents as possible.
The teams come through the facility with minimal impact on residents but slight impact to staff, who may have to avoid certain areas or hallways for several minutes during the process.
Depending on the facility size, the process could take two to three hours, and this team that came to Ellijay is based in Canton, reaching out and visiting facilities in a radius around their station. They hit two facilities each day, but currently have no plans or orders to return to facilities after completion.
Lt. Mizell said his unit has already visited eight facilities in their current tour. But their unit has two teams operating from Canton. Each team has 15 total soldiers.
Lt. Ballew said they are just a small part of the National Guard that is mobilized right now.
Lt. Ballew went on to add that he has personally been a part of responses for hurricanes and other disasters, but “It’s very similar because it’s just maintaining that flexibility to do whatever the state needs for us to help. That’s one of the most important parts of maintaining a National Guard.”
“We’re proud to admit that we have no cases. Nobody has tested positive and nobody is showing symptoms in the entire building. Nor have they shown since the beginning of this epidemic.” says Feist.
More than just the National Guard’s efforts, Parkside has made major changes in recent months including an outside chair and window visits for family as no visitors are allowed inside the building. Though they have cancelled some events, social interactions are still continuing through events like hallway long bingo nights and turn-based visits to the courtyard and bird feeders.
Parkside has halted renovations since the beginning of the epidemic and has even worked alongside public safety for potential plans for unused medical space should a need arise. They also maintain a rolling updated training regimen for staff on infection control and just completed a new update in recent months before the outbreak. Education and training are also continuing with the Guard during today’s visit as time permits.
The mission isn’t just to sanitize and clean, but to educate, according to the two Lieutenants who reiterated that they wanted citizens to know that the process is about “flattening the curve.” A phrase many have heard in the media. Providing a service is what guardsmen sign up for as Lt. Ballew and Lt. Mizell said they are here to help.
GILMER COUNTY, Ga. – Officially, Gilmer County has declared itself a Second Amendment Sanctuary. With the urging of citizens and submitted petitions to the county, the vote came unanimously in support of a resolution declaring the official adoption of this moniker of Second Amendment Sanctuary.
County Commissioner Charlie Paris stated during the meeting, “This is, essentially, the very same resolution that was presented to us initially. We’ve just had two or three very minor, one-word type changes.”
The minor changes were not unexpected as even Jason Williams, one of the initiators of the agenda item and the one who submitted the collected petition signatures to the county, told FYN last week that he expected the County Attorney, David Clark, to have a few such changes for legal wordings or clarifications.
Applause came from the crowd as the motion and second came and was finalized by a yes vote from all three commissioners for the resolution to support the second amendment in Gilmer County.
The county has approved a resolution at this time, but said they would look an actual ordinance change in time. Williamson previously said that an ordinance change is what specifically he wanted as it is harder to take out or change than a resolution.
Stay with FYN as we delve into the citizens comments and responses to the approval along with the actual resolution wording over the next few days.
Ten members of the Gilmer boys wrestling team are earned spots as guaranteed qualifiers for the state tournament at the Class 4A A Sectional Tournament on Feb. 7-8 at Lanier High in Sugar Hill.
The Bobcats had two wrestlers take the top overall spot in the tournament.
At 132 pounds, Brock Sumner placed first after winning four matches by decision. In the first round, Sumner won 12-9; in the quarterfinals, Sumner won 4-1; in the semifinals, Sumner won 6-2; and he rounded out the tournament by winning the final match by a 2-0 decision.
Caleb Waddell, defending 170-pound state champion, took first place in the same weight class. Waddell won matches by pin, including winning the quarterfinal match in 32 seconds and the final match by 1 minute, 3 seconds.
Three wrestlers placed second for the Bobcats.
At 120 pounds, Lucas Lopez won his quarterfinal match by pin at 2:49 after a first-round bye. He then won his semifinal match before falling in the finals.
Diego Jacinto, at 138 pounds, placed second after winning his quarterfinal match by a 3-2 decision and the semifinal match by pin at 4:53.
In the heavyweight division, Jacob Cruz placed second at 285 pounds. Cruz, who had a first-round bye, won his quarterfinal match by pin at 1:13 and his semifinal match by pin at 5:27.
Five members of the Gilmer wrestling squad placed third at the sectional tournament to earn a spot in the state tournament.
Gustavo Morales, in the 106-pound bracket, won his first match by pin at 1:12 before falling in his second. In the consolation bracket, Morales won four straight matches, including a win by a 9-3 decision, a win by pin at 2:13, and a win by pin in 14 seconds to place third.
At 113 pounds, Walter Lopez won his first three matches, the first by a 5-2 decision, the second by pin at 1:06, and the third by pin at 4:47, before falling in the semifinals. In the consolation bracket, Lopez won by pin at 31 seconds and pin at 3:25 to place third.
Abel Jacinto, at 160 pounds, also placed third. He won his first two matches by pin at 3:12 and a 5-1 decision before losing. In the consolation bracket, he won by a 3-1 decision and a 6-3 decision to take third.
Dylan Galloway, at 195 pounds, won his first two matches by pin before falling and heading to the consolation bracket. There, he won by pin at 1:45 and pin at 3:25 to place third.
Finally, Samuel Tercero, at 220 pounds, also placed third. After a first-round bye, Tercero won his quarterfinal match by pin at 3:18 before falling in the semifinals. In the consolation bracket, Tercero won by a 6-2 decision before winning the third-place match.
For the Gilmer girls wrestling squad, three members placed first, two placed second, three placed third, one placed fourth, and one placed fifth at the sectional tournament.
In the 112-A bracket, Laura Tercero took home first place, while in the 162-pound bracket, Francisca Lopez also placed first. At 152 pounds, Karina Montaya-Gonzale placed first.
Hannah Mayo, at 142 pounds, placed second in the tournament, as did Maribel Perez-Lopez at 197 pounds.
At 132 pounds, Anna Waddell placed third, while Noemi Torres did the same at 152 pounds and Claudia Zilke followed suite at 172 pounds.
In the 122-A bracket, Ange Davis came in fourth, while Valley Wofford placed fifth in the 102-pound bracket.
The top-two finishers at each girls weight class punched a ticket to the state wrestling tournament, meaning Laura Tercero, Mayo, Montaya-Gonzale, Francisca Lopez, and Perez-Lopez will be wrestling for state titles.
The state wrestling tournament is set for Feb. 13-15 at the Macon Centreplex in Macon.
ELLIJAY, Ga. – Gilmer High School has named Nathan Daniel Jones, 18, as the school’s 2020 PAGE STAR Student. Jones has subsequently selected Dr. Renee Hoard, a Mathematics teacher at GHS, as his STAR Teacher.
Sponsored in Gilmer by the Ellijay Lions Club, the Professional Association of Georgia Educators’ (PAGE) program for Student Teacher Achievement Recognition (STAR) honors seniors in schools. To be nominated, a senior must have “the highest score on a single test date on the SAT and be in the top 10 percent or top 10 students of their class based on grade point average.”
“We are very proud of Mr. Jones and Dr. Hoard and the academic excellence they exemplify at Gilmer High,” said GHS Principal Carla Foley.
Nathan is the son of Charlie and Starla Jones of Ellijay. He had Dr. Hoard as his teacher for Algebra II Honors, AP Statistics, and SAT/ACT Test Prep. Jones added that Dr. Hoard also helped him as he began sending off applications and preparing for college. Jones confirmed that he will be attending Georgia Tech (Georgia Institute of Technology) this fall.
While he has not decided on a major yet, Jones says he wants to pursue Math in some way in his degree. He said he finds a special satisfaction with math and he “just feels it.” His notion was echoed by Dr. Hoard who said she has seen him figuring out some math that even some professionals have had trouble with.
Dr. Hoard further commented on Jones’ award saying, “The best thing is he is just an all-around academic. You say he is a math person but he is excellent in all of his subjects.”
This is Dr. Hoard’s third nomination as STAR Teacher over the last four years, meaning that, including Jones, three of the last four STAR students picked her as their most influential teacher. She has been awarded in 2017, 2019, and 2020. She began teaching in 1989 and has taught for a total of 27 years since then.
Both the STAR Student Jones and his STAR Teacher Hoard will move on together throughout the remainder of the program. In the STAR Program, each high school’s STAR Student will compete for school system titles, and those winners compete for region honors. Region winners compete for the honor of being named State PAGE STAR Student.
EAST ELLIJAY, Ga. – Five new inductees have joined the Gilmer County REACH (Realizing Educational Achievement Can Happen) program this week with the official REACH Signing Ceremony on Tuesday, November 12, 2019.
The ceremony was hosted at Clear Creek Middle School’s media center with special guests Georgia Speaker of the House David Ralston and Brad Bryant from the Georgia Student Finance Commission.
The inductees, Sarah Enfinger, Eduardo Gonzalez-Santos, Emma Heaslip, Sandra Pantoja, and David Rafael-Garcia, signed their agreements during the ceremony as did their parents to adhere to the requirements of the agreement and move toward their choices for post-secondary education.
Speaker Ralston said during the ceremony that this year’s students are joining a group of more than 2,400 students in Georgia who have been a part of the program over recent years.
Ralston said, “The REACH program exemplifies what can happen when communities come together and the public and private sectors work hand in hand to support our young people. REACH is also an example of the state’s continuing commitment to supporting our students and public education. Whether it has been fully funding public schools through QBE, paying for school security improvements, or raising teacher salaries, our general assembly continues to invest in education all across the state.”
The REACH signing is a part of Georgia’s program as a needs-based scholarship that begins in 8th grade. REACH Scholars are paired with a mentor and an academic coach throughout high school. Scholars must maintain good grades (2.5 GPA in core courses), behavior, and attendance throughout middle and high school. Scholars who successfully complete the program and graduate from high school are awarded a $10,000 scholarship that can be used at HOPE-eligible institution in Georgia.
Bryant also took a moment to offer special thanks to the school board members and the mentors to these students for the time and effort they put forth to help the students saying the children are the future, but “it’s the adults that serve the children that are the future.”
Another surprise for the day’s events, the students saw a video message from Georgia Governor Brian Kemp congratulating them on the ceremony and their steps toward the future. Kemp said, “Today’s ceremony is the beginning of a journey. Your REACH scholarship puts you in the fast lane on a road to the future of success. I look forward to watching you accelerate into that future.”
See more photos from this event at FYN’s REACH 2019 Photo Album on Facebook.
A thought provoking perspective from the San Diego source / Worth a Peek.
Civil War: How do civil wars happen?
Dr. Jack Devere Minzey
Two or more sides disagree on who runs the country. And they can’t settle the question through elections because they don’t even agree that elections are how you decide who’s in charge. That’s the basic issue here. Who decides who runs the country? When you hate each other but accept the election results, you have a country. When you stop accepting election results, you have a countdown to a civil war.
The Mueller investigation is about removing President Trump from office and overturning the results of an election. We all know that.
But it’s not the first time they’ve done this. The first time a Republican president was elected this century, they said he didn’t really win. The Supreme Court gave him the election. There’s a pattern here.
What do sure odds of the Democrats rejecting the next Republican president really mean? It means they don’t accept the results of any election that they don’t win. It means they don’t believe that transfers of power in this country are determined by elections. That’s a civil war.
There’s no shooting. At least not unless you count the attempt to kill a bunch of Republicans at a charity baseball game practice. But the Democrats have rejected our system of government.
This isn’t dissent. It’s not disagreement. You can hate the other party. You can think they’re the worst thing that ever happened to the country. But then you work harder to win the next election. When you consistently reject the results of elections that you don’t win, what you want is a dictatorship.
Your very own dictatorship.
The only legitimate exercise of power in this country, according to Democrats, is its own. Whenever Republicans exercise power, it’s inherently illegitimate. The Democrats lost Congress. They lost the White House. So what did they do? They began trying to run the country through Federal judges and bureaucrats. Every time that a Federal judge issues an order saying that the President of the United States can’t scratch his own back without his say so, that’s the civil war.
Our system of government is based on the constitution, but that’s not the system that runs this country. The Democrat’s system is that any part of government that it runs gets total and unlimited power over the country.
If the Democrats are in the White House, then the president can do anything. And I mean anything. He can have his own amnesty for illegal aliens. He can fine you for not having health insurance. He can use the IRS as his own police force and imprison citizens who speak against him. He can provide guns and money (Fast and Furious) (Iran nuclear deal) to other countries to support his own agenda, and watch while one of America’s Ambassador’s is dragged through the streets and murdered doing nothing to aid our citizens. His power is unlimited. He’s a dictator.
But when Republicans get into the White House, suddenly the President can’t do anything. He isn’t even allowed to undo the illegal alien amnesty that his predecessor illegally invented. A Democrat in the White House has ‘discretion’ to completely decide every aspect of immigration policy. A Republican doesn’t even have the ‘discretion’ to reverse him. That’s how the game is played. That’s how our country is run. Sad but true, although the left hasn’t yet won that particular fight.
When a Democrat is in the White House, states aren’t even allowed to enforce immigration law. But when a Republican is in the White House, states can create their own immigration laws. Under Obama, a state wasn’t allowed to go to the bathroom without asking permission. But under Trump, Jerry Brown can go around saying that California is an independent republic and sign treaties with other countries. The Constitution has something to say about that.
Whether it’s Federal or State, Executive, Legislative or Judiciary, the left moves power around to run the country. If it controls an institution, then that institution is suddenly the supreme power in the land. This is what I call a moving dictatorship.
Donald Trump has caused the Shadow Government to come out of hiding: Professional government is a guild. Like medieval guilds. You can’t serve in if you’re not a member. If you haven’t been indoctrinated into its arcane rituals. If you aren’t in the club. And Trump isn’t in the club. He brought in a bunch of people who aren’t in the club with him. Now we’re seeing what the pros do when amateurs try to walk in on them. They spy on them, they investigate them and they send them to jail. They use the tools of power to bring them down.That’s not a free country.
It’s not a free country when FBI agents who support Hillary take out an ‘insurance policy’ against Trump winning the election. It’s not a free country when Obama officials engage in massive unmasking of the opposition. It’s not a free country when the media responds to the other guy winning by trying to ban the conservative media that supported him from social media. It’s not a free country when all of the above collude together to overturn an election because the guy who
wasn’t supposed to win did.
Have no doubt, we’re in a civil war between conservative volunteer government and a leftist Democrat professional government.
Well now Pilgrims and Patriots, having read the above I suggest two things;
forward this very timely, very important analysis to those whom you believe think like you do and make sure you vote on every Election day!
(Dr. Jack Devere Minzey, born 6 October 1928- died 8 April 2018, was the Department Head of Education at Eastern Michigan University as well as a prolific author of numerous books, most of which were on the topic of Education and the Government role therein.)
Extent of the Deep State:
The extent of the imbedded Deep State, an unholy corruption of ignorant worker bees in the peoples government is so pervasive, so tight and so protected that its very existence is mind blowing. That Obama weaponized federal agencies as political tools for the socialist Democrat party is undeniable but, I’m convinced that the rot started as far back as the Whitewater investigation in Arkansas as the Clinton’s began their political rise. Comey, the unlamented former director of the FBI was a young DoJ attorney in that inquiry then and other inquiries that protected the Clinton crime racket. He rose favorably through the ranks as a trusted confident, with their rise from State House to White House, owing his advancement to the only person who could be trusted to stand as a bulwark against potential future prosecution, Hillary Clinton.
We saw the IRS scandal with Lois Learner denying conservative groups lawful tax exemptions; we saw James Clapper, the DNI, lying to congress, We saw Clinton loyalist, James Comey, following Mueller in the FBI, doing what was expected of him, and the two incompetent AG’s, Eric Holder and Loretta Lynch, all doing what was required of them to protect the machine and do the machines bidding.
It wasn’t a fluke that Obama defeated Hillary Clinton as the 2008 Democrat nominee because Obama presented an opportunity the Left couldn’t resist using, an articulate, clean, half black Senator as candidate. But it was of little matter because Obama proved himself incompetent both as a political leader and a policy maker yet, it was still the Clintons who called the shots. Everything Obama laid his hand to failed, including his Director of the CIA, the muslim, John Brennen. They have all lied to Congress, lied to investigators or were abetted by them, for the sole purpose of denying justice and yet, they all remain unaccountable for their crimes.
Now, apparently still protected by the corrupted deep state, employees who once worked diligently to ensure Hillary succeeded as President on her second try, faced a formidable opponent, a businessman, like no one they ever met before. Losing again, Clinton’s Democrat deep state is determined to destroy that businessman, Donald Trump, or ruin his presidency.
That ‘destroying Trump part,’ totally exposed as a fraud and fake investigation is, in fact, seditious, an illegal plot to overthrow a sitting president. Every excuse they’ve used to justify warrants against Trumps staff people has turned out to be bogus. No accusation has come close to meeting the standards of charge, proof and inditement required by criminal law, yet some innocents have yielded to the pressure because of the onerous costs of their defense.
Mueller himself was hired even when justification for a special council was not met. Mueller did not qualify as a special counsel because he was an insider with conflicts of his own. Comey recommended him. Instead of legally hiring unbiased investigators, He hired an all Democrat hit squad loaded with Hillary’s henchmen. The people they squeezed to turn on Trump were ambushed, tricked and illegally spied on even after any legal justification to do so, collapsed.
These people should be headed to the slammer for the worst anti-gov’t plot in US history. No Republican even contemplated such an action against Obama but now the new Democrat congress, under the leadership of Comrades Pelosi, Schiff, Waters & Schumer, using the odious apparatus of Democrat House Committee hearings, on the flimsy pretense of unmasking corruption and criminality in the Trump Administration will be frustrated by their failures. Trumps favorability this very day, is 52%, and they don’t know how to handle it except by blunt force.
Remember, freedom is the goal, the Constitution is the way. Now, go get ‘em!
Two State Wide Educational Conferences in Early February
By: Eddie Ayers, County Extension Agent
As we get into the heart of winter, often times we feel trapped in the house waiting for spring to arrive. Well perhaps not this year! If you’re interested in growing wine grapes or organic produce, there are a couple of opportunities in early February that will get you out of the house.
The annual Georgia Wine Producers Conference will take place February 4th and 5th at Chateau Elan in Braselton, Georgia. The conference begins Monday evening the 4th with a reception (tasting) featuring Georgia wines followed by a full day of educational sessions on Tuesday the 5th. Topics discussed include fermentation, branding, wine structure, and the importance of balanced fruit. Production topics include disease and insect management, bud density, trellis structure, delayed pruning and leaf removal. Attendees can learn about regional viticulture research efforts in addition to winemaking strategies and marketing tips from academic and industry specialists from Virginia, Cornell University in NY and UGA.
The Georgia Organics Conference & Expo, set for Friday and Saturday, February 8th and 9th at the UGA Tifton Campus Conference Center, is an important event for farmers and others interested in organic agriculture. With demand rising for organic produce and the industry growing to meet the need, this conference down in Tifton is a pivotal event for educating organic growers in Georgia and throughout the South. According to Juan Carlos Diaz-Perez, a University of Georgia scientist in the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, organic agriculture has increased in the United States by about 10 percent a year over the last 15 years. It is likely that the increase in consumer demand for certified-organic produce has led some of Georgia’s larger growers to dedicate part of their land to growing certified-organic crops, said Julia Gaskin, UGA sustainable agriculture coordinator.
Along with UGA research entomologist Jason Schmidt, Diaz-Perez, who specializes in vegetables and plasticulture, will present at the conference and share some of his research from the two certified-organic acres on the UGA Tifton campus. He will also talk about research on high-tunnel production for vegetables like tomatoes, lettuce and spinach, as well as organic fertilization and utilization of cover crops. Event sessions, workshops and field trips to farms in South Georgia will be offered for attendees during the two-day event. Vanessa Shonkwiler, a public service assistant in UGA’s Center for Agribusiness and Economic Development, will share marketing tips on how farmers can expand their brands and stories.
A key part of both meetings is networking with other producers and both require pre-registration which is available online. For the Georgia Wine Producers Conference, visit http://www.georgiawineproducers.org/2019-conference-registration and for the Georgia Organics Conference & Expo, visit https://conference.georgiaorganics.org/ and for more information about either conference, contact me in the Gilmer County UGA Extension office.
An Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Organization
ELLIJAY, Ga. – Honors and recognition have gone from the local Board of Education meeting to Statewide recognition for Mountain View Elementary this month as the office of State Superintendent Richard Woods officially released, December 4, the 2018 list of Title I Distinguished Schools, the highest-performing Title I schools in the state.
Mountain View Elementary made that list for an exceptional year. Readers will recall the schools praise during the Board’s review of Milestones scores in “MVE jumps in 2018 Milestones scores.” This praise came from a 14.4 point jump, from 70.1 in 2017 to 84.5 in 2018, in CCRPI (College and Career Ready Performance Index). According to Gilmer Schools Superintendent Dr. Shanna Downs, the CCRPI scoring is what the state uses in distinguishing these schools saying, “This recognition is for scoring in the top 5% of Title I elementary schools in the state. CCRPI scores are based largely on milestones data, but takes other data into account as well.”
Mountain View Elementary School Principal Charles Walker credited the school’s entire staff for the achievement. He said, “We are absolutely excited. It is a team effort and it’s the result of a lot of hard work by a lot of people.” Mountain View holds classes in both elementary and pre-k grades, however, only the elementary classes are graded on Milestones. Walker said Mountain View was a family that has worked extremely hard for their students making it all the more rewarding to see their efforts recognized.
A sentiment echoed by Downs who said, “I am so very proud that Mountain View Elementary has been recognized. I commend the hard work and dedication of everyone in the MVE family in earning this recognition and being named as a top-performing Title I school by the Georgia Department of Education. Everyone in the school did an incredible job and the best part is that our students are the ultimate beneficiaries of the achievement.”
She went on to add that this recognition is only a part of what the Gilmer School system is accomplishing as the system has now scored above the state average for two years in a row, calling it “another indicator that our system is truly moving in a very positive direction.”
According to a release by the Georgia Department of Education, State Superintendent Richard Woods said, “In addition to identifying schools in need of additional support, it’s important for us to recognize and applaud schools when they’re doing well. These public schools are among the very best in the state and are doing extraordinary work on behalf of their students and communities. I extend my thanks and congratulations to every teacher, administrator, staff member, student, parent, and community partner who contributed to their success.”
EAST ELLIJAY, Ga. – The Gilmer County Board of Education celebrated on Friday, October 19, to welcome its six new students into the Gilmer County REACH (Realizing Educational Achievement Can Happen) Scholars Program.
The six 8th graders were hosted at Clear Creek Middle School with a ceremony for their signing of the program agreement in the presence of the Gilmer County Charter School Superintendent Dr. Shanna Downs, Georgia Speaker of the House David Ralston, and Chris Green of the Georgia Student Finance Commission.
The six students included Naydelin Ajiataz-Arreaga, Ben Becerra, Emma Bell, Annalysa Brown, Candelaria Raymundo-Bautista, and Alba Monraga-Telles. Each student celebrated the day with family members and member of the community in concerted agreement of support and encouragement for their years in high school and their plans beyond.
REACH Georiga is a needs-based scholarship that begins in 8th grade. REACH Scholars are paired with a mentor and an academic coach throughout high school. Scholars must maintain good grades with a 2.5 GPA in core courses, good behavior, and good attendance throughout their remaining middle school and high school years.
Scholars who successfully complete the program and graduate from high school are awarded a $10,000 scholarship that can be used at HOPE-eligible institutions in Georgia.
Ralston praised the commitment of the students and schools in this effort saying, “If Georgia is to continue being the envy of the nation, if we are to going to continue to be the No. 1 state in the nation in which to do business, we’ve got to also lead in preparing our young people for success in college and in their careers.”
He continued to thank the students and schools for their work in the program saying the ceremony reaffirmed the commitment to education and seeing every student succeed. He also noted the states full funding for Georgia’s QBE (Quality Basic Education) program and increases in the state budget for securing our schools. He also spoke to the student’s futures noting the state’s financial contributions to the new campus. “A dream come true,” as Ralston called it during their groundbreaking ceremony according to UNG.
Green added to the sentiment as he noted the HOPE Scholarship program has already awarded over $10 billion to over 1.8 million students in its 25 years. As the REACH program follows those eligible institutions, Green asserted the commission’s efforts to spread the program to every school in the state. Congratulating Gilmer’s Scholars on their signing ceremony, he said he was proud to partner with the schools as the commission pursues its mission to help every Georgian to access post-secondary education.
Make sure to check out more photos of the signing ceremony at FYN’s Facebook Photo Album.
2018 Georgia Election Results from Gilmer County
Unofficial and Complete
Brian Kemp (R) – 10,439
Stacey Abrams (D) – 1,911
Ted Metz (L) – 121
Geoff Duncan (R) – 10,050
Sarah Riggs Amico (D) – 1,956
Secretary of State:
Brad Raffensperger (R) – 10,026
John Barrow (D) – 2,024
Smythe DuVal (L) – 211
Jim Beck (R) – 10,053
Janice Laws (D) – 1,883
Donnie Foster (L) – 295
State School Superintendent:
Otha Thornton (D) – 1,854
Richard Woods (R) – 10,345
Gary Black (R) – 10,306
Fred Swan (D) – 1,860
Mark Butler (R) – 10,213
Richard Keatley (D) – 1,941
U.S. House District 9:
Doug Collins (R) – 10,290
Josh McCall (D) – 1,997
State House District 7:
David Ralston (R) – 10,413
Rick Day (D) – 1,833
Yes – 7,408
No – 4,432
Yes – 6,246
No – 5,497
ELLIJAY, Ga – The Gilmer County Board of Commissioners are moving forward with plans to seek state recognition of the school system’s major success in the wrestling world with a proclamation of Gilmer as the State Wrestling Capital.
Parents and Coaches filled the Commissioner’s conference room on Wednesday, September 12, to ask the board for a sign at the county line claiming Gilmer as the wrestling capital of the state in honor of the 17 state titles the county has brought home in the sport.
Coach Mark Waddell spoke first for citizens in the work session saying that what Gilmer has accomplished is “pretty unprecedented.” Noting the 17 team state titles, he said that these were only the team’s titles, not individuals.
As each student practices and becomes part of the team, several parents noted in the work session that their kids have become entirely different people. From the discipline to the camaraderie and the inclusion of faith into the program, many of those present threw support behind the idea, lauding the coaches who have done so much and pushed these athletes to accomplish even more.
One parent even said, “They carry themselves differently.” The changes the students go through during the program was constantly repeated emphasizing its importance to them.
Waddell asked for the support of the Commissioners in placing a sign to highlight the 17 combined titles. He noted that part of the success is that it is a singular program. It doesn’t individualize the middle school, the youth, and the high school. With the whole program on track to a singular vision, the success follows with the students accomplishing everything they can.
Coach Sam Snider also spoke about the program’s state recognition sharing stories about the numerous times that Speaker David Ralston brought Gilmer Wrestling to the capital to highlight their championships. Students from Gilmer are spreading across the country, Snider pointed to those who wrestle on scholarships in college and others who use what the program teaches to further their careers in other areas.
Honoring their success, these and other coaches want to highlight the students with a sign acknowledging them. As Snider said, “A sign that says Gilmer County has accomplished this rewards success.”
Coaches weren’t the only ones pushing for recognition of these students as several parents were present at the Work Session. Some spoke of the program’s influence, but Jim Fox emotionally recalled one of the parades they held for winning the state championship, “The memory I have is right across the square during the parade. People were coming out on the sidewalks from the different stores. And out of the city barbershop comes a man with shaving cream on half of his face and a bib trailing behind him… We were escorting all the trucks down the road and I got a view of the sunrise, the flags, and people cheering and wondering what was going on. They were coming out of the store saying, ‘Why is traffic stopped?'”
Fox continued saying that they were explaining that they were celebrating the young people involved in the state wrestling title when he was asked, “Gilmer County won a state wrestling title?”
Fox says he replied, “No, they won two.”
No less emotion came to the Commissioners Regular Meeting when coaches returned with part of the wrestling team. This time, though, it wasn’t parents or coaches to share what the program meant. It was a wrestler, Thomas Chastain, who stood before the Commissioners saying, “It helps everybody grow as a team. Most people don’t think wrestling is a team sport, but it is because you all have to work together to get a team score to get first. Not just one person can get first in duals.”
Addressing the request for a sign calling Gilmer the capital, Post Commissioner Travis Crouch said the state would only give the county one state-level recognized “capital” sign. Though that didn’t stop the board from planning to seek state-level recognition without the sign.
Additionally, Crouch brought up an older discussion that the county seek a county-owned sign at the line recognizing the Wrestling Capital among other things.
Gilmer County Commission Chairman Charlie Paris noted that an electronic sign of substantially larger size than requested was something the county could feasibly look at next year as they move forward seeking the state’s recognition as well. Engaging in talks with Speaker Ralston, they hope to have the item in the legislative session early next year.
In the last few moments of discussion during their regular meeting, one of the coaches offered his deepest thanks to the commissioners for listening and for what they do.
Paris responded by saying, “This is not so much something that we are doing as it is something that ya’ll have earned.”
And with that, an unanimous decision was made to move forward with both options.