This Week’s Events in Union County February 12, 2018

Blairsville-Union County Chamber of Commerce
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February 12, 2018
February 13, 2018
February 14, 2018
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February 16, 2018
February 17, 2018
February 18, 2018

Controlling Springtails


Over the past few weeks, many people have either called or come by the office with a
question about tiny, purplish-brown, hopping insects around or in their homes. These tiny
creatures are springtails.
Springtails are one of those insects that you may wonder why are they here on Earth. But
in reality, they serve a useful purpose by eating decaying plant material. They mostly live in the
soil, leaf mold, organic mulches or decaying logs. They are soft bodied so they are attracted to
moist areas to keep from drying out.
Usually springtails stay outside among the mulched areas of the yard. But on occasion
you will find them in the home around sources of moisture like sinks, bathtubs and toilets.
Keeping these areas as dry as possible is the first step in controlling springtails in the home. In a
dry environment, springtails will eventually dry out and die.
Chemical control is not necessary, but insecticides can be used. If you choose to use an
insecticide application make applications around windows and doors. Also spraying around
bathroom plumbing where the pipes come up from the basement or crawlspace will be effective.
When spraying outside of the house you have to apply insecticides with plenty of water in order
to get the chemical through the mulch and soil layers. Because it delivers a high volume of
water a hose-end spray is a good tool to do the job right. A pump-up sprayer will simply not
apply enough water with the chemical to penetrate through the mulch to the soil.
When applying an insecticide inside use an insecticide that is labeled for inside the home use.
Many of these come in a 1-gallon jug that is ready to use. For spraying outside, use an insectide,
which is labeled for scorpions, boxelder bugs or of course springtails. If you choose to use an
insecticide, remember to read and follow the labeled directions.
One other suggestion is to move any mulch away from the foundation of your home. Not
only will this help reduce the infestation of termites or scorpions by not allowing them a direct
pathway to get to the foundation, but also it will allow you to effectively spray in the soil layers.
Springtails are not going to cause major harm to your home, but they sure are annoying
and unsettling for most people. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me by
phone at the office or send me an e-mail.

Senator David Perdue Comments On End Of Schumer Shutdown

State & National

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator David Perdue (R-GA) made the following statement after Senate Democrats agreed to end the Schumer Shutdown and reopen the federal government:

“It is ridiculous that we were ever in the Schumer Shutdown in the first place. I’m glad to see that Senate Democrats came to their senses and stopped this nonsense. It is frustrating that this is the same proposal that was offered to them days ago before they decided to shut down the government over immigration. Senate Democrats took their political stunt a step too far since a majority of Americans support funding the federal government over continuing the DACA program. Clearly, Congress’ budget process is a complete failure. It has only worked four times in the past 43 years, and given the current political dynamics it will never work. Tying important policy decisions to the funding process is the reason we end up in these damaging situations. It’s time Congress gets serious about reworking the way we fund the federal government. That way we can start tackling other big ticket items such as fixing our immigration system and beginning to rebuild our nation’s infrastructure.”

Senator Perdue is the only Fortune 500 CEO in Congress and is serving his first term in the United States Senate, where he represents Georgia on the Armed Services, Banking, Budget, and Agriculture Committees.

Huge N. Georgia Methamphetamine Bust Leads to Lab in Suches, GA


Blairsville, GA – On Friday, Sept. 15, 2017, a traffic stop in Lumpkin County, GA resulted in the confiscation of 15 kilograms (kilos) of methamphetamine (meth). The bust was a joint effort by the Lumpkin County Sheriff’s Office, the Appalachian Regional Drug Enforcement Office and the FBI’s North Georgia Major Offender Squad. As a result of the ensuing investigation by Lumpkin County authorities and FBI Agents, a few grams of cocaine and $166,000 dollars in cash were found at 990 Flanders Road in Dahlonega, GA, the residence of Valentine Duarte-Vejar. Following subsequent leads, agents were lead to 843 Cooper Creek Road in Suches, GA, where a conversion lab was uncovered (a conversion lab is used to convert liquid methamphetamine to crystal form).

Agents discovered a handgun and 15 kilos of crystal methamphetamine at the lab, along with approximately 300 pounds of environmental waste, mostly containing methamphetamine oil. Agents estimated that the lab was capable of producing 25-50 kilos of crystal meth at a time. (a kilogram (kilo) weighs about 2.2 pounds).

The 30 kilos of crystal meth (15 kilos confiscated during the traffic stop and 15 kilos found at the conversion lab) have a street value of about $3,234,000.

The Union County Sheriff’s Office, EMS and union County Fire Department assisted with safely processing the conversion lab.

Angel Luis Rivera-Santiago, 42, of Norcross, Victor Rafael Aponte, 30, of Dahlonega and Valentine Duarte-Vajar, 25, of Dahlonega were charged with trafficking methamphetamine. Eleoncio Perez-Pineda, 29, of Dahlonega and Jose Mario Duarte-Vajar, 25, of Dahlonega were later arrested and charged with conspiracy to manufactory Methamphetamine. All five men were transported to Lumpkin County Detention Center. Additional charges are pending in Union County.

The immigration status of these men is still pending. The investigation continues.

GBI Press Release

Fetch Your News is a hyper local news outlet that covers Dawson, Lumpkin, White, Fannin, Gilmer, Pickens, Union, Towns and Murray counties as well as Cherokee County in N.C. If you would like to follow up-to-date local events in any of those counties, please visit us at


UPDATE: South Union County, Suches Clobbered by TS Irma

News, Update

Blairsville, GA – Storms last night, Monday, Sept. 11, 2017, clobbered the southern part of Union County, especially around Suches, with high winds and lots of rain. Lt. Bren Long of the Union County Fire Department (UCFD) said the north and east parts of Union County were largely spared the wrath of TS Irma last night and this morning; but the south and west parts of the county didn’t fare so well. Long said UCFD was forming chain saw crews to help BRMEMC and the Union County Road Department clear roadways and power line right-of-ways of downed trees and brush so power can be restored to residents in the area.

A Windstream technician confirmed that they were having a lot of storm related issues in the southern part of Union County and in Suches, as well as a downed power line in Blairsville.

Featured photo, additional photos credit: Union County Sole Commissioner Lamar Paris.

Fetch Your News is a hyper local news outlet that covers Dawson, Lumpkin, White, Fannin, Gilmer, Pickens, Union, Towns and Murray counties as well as Cherokee County in N.C. If you would like to follow up-to-date local events in any of those counties, please visit us at


Blairsville City Council: Harper Reveals More of Blairsville Facelift; Eclipse Event, Heritage Festival Big Success


Darren Harper

Blairsville, GA – The Blairsville City Council convened for their September Meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 5, 2017 at 6 p.m. at Blairsville City Hall. Mayor Jim Conley, Council Members Rhonda Mahan, Betty Easter, Tony Dyer and Buddy Moore were present. City Clerk Kaye McCann and City Attorney David Barrett were also present.

Darren Harper, Downtown Development Authority Program Manager, said the Eclipse Event went very well; that the Square was ‘packed’. He said the Merchants Meeting on August 31st was attended by about 40 people, lasted for 2 hours, went very well and that the Blairsville merchants are pleased overall with the way things are going. The main topics of discussion, he said, were parking, sidewalks and crosswalks. Harper said there have been a lot of inquiries about retail space recently. The Heritage Festival, he said, over the Labor Day Weekend was a huge success. All the merchants did well, he said. Hotel/motel tax revenue has consistently increased and about one merchant per month has opened a business in Downtown Blairsville over the last four years, he said. Harper updated the Council on the Haralson property; that is, the planned construction of a new building on Pat Haralson Drive across from the Foodland grocery store between Young Harris Street and the Square. Harper displayed artist renditions of the new building. He said the project has progressed to the point where the design is set; now the construction costs need to be reviewed and approved by the owner, Steve Cochran. Harper also updated the Council on the remodeling of the building on Blue Ridge Street across the parking lot from Copeland’s Restaurant and the planned buildings at that site (see FYN Aug. 7, 2017 article). Harper said the new buildings all together will not only add ambiance to Downtown Blairsville, they will also add about 14,000 square feet of much needed retail space and about 8,000 square feet of residential space. The apartments are planned to be about 600-800 square feet in size.

John Hamler

John Hamler, Manager of the Blairsville Municipal Airport, reported that the Grand Opening of the new W.C. Nelson Airport Terminal building hosted about 150 people and was great fun. He said the day before the Eclipse Event 3,500 gallons of aviation fuel was sold, and the day of the Eclipse 55 planes came into the airport and 5,500 gallons of fuel was sold. He said about 250 people were there for the Eclipse Event. Hamler said airport operations have moved completely over to the new building now. There are a few quirks to work out, but, he said, nothing major. He said Chris Dyer, the Assistant Airport Manager, will be leaving as of Sept. 15 in pursuit of furthering his aviation career and that a replacement was needed. He said they are staying very busy with five jets in over the weekend and three came in that day. The new Jet-A fuel truck, he said, is a real boon for the airport; that it’s been in use every day. Hamler said the Blairsville airport currently averages about 45,000 takeoffs and landings a year.

Mayor Conley brought up the need for ground transport for employees to cross the runway to pump aviation fuel for small planes (avgas), since the new terminal is on the opposite side of the field from the old one. Mayor Conley said he had consulted with Larry Garrett about acquiring a golf cart with a gas engine and would have more on that issue at the next meeting. Hamler mentioned that they would also need another credit card machine, as well, to reduce the number of runway crossings for avgas transactions.

Mayor Jim Conley

Mayor Conley called for a public hearing on the Amended Alcohol Ordinance to which no one spoke. He then asked for a first reading of the Alcohol Ordinance 2017-03 amended to include Sections 10-76(a), 10-76(b) and 10-79(n) regulating signage advertising or promoting alcohol sales. The Sections restrict the advertising and promotion of alcohol in the City of Blairsville. The Sections have not been completely vetted and approved by City Attorney Barrett. Barrett pointed out to the Council some vagueness in some of the terms of the Sections after some discussion. McCann said she would obtain a copy of the Union County Alcohol Ordinance so the Council and Barrett can ensure that they are compatible. Copies of the proposed Sections can be reviewed at City Hall.

David Barrett

Mayor Conley presented the Georgia Department of Transportation FY 2018 Contract – Avigation Easement and Land Acquisition for RPZ Obstruction Removal at Runway 8 and 26; DBE Plan Update (18-20); RPZ Obstruction Removal for Runway 8 and 26. He said the contract won’t go into effect until March of 2018, but GDOT needs a commitment from the City for its portion of the cost: $41,833. The Council unanimously approved the contract.

Kaye McCann

McCann explained to the Council the issues involved in the 2018 Health Insurance Renewal for City employees. She said she received notice of an increase of 13 per cent from Blue Cross/Blue Shield though GMA in August. She said they currently have a Preferred Provider Organization (PPO) type group insurance plan. She said after she investigated other group plans, that a Point of Service (POS) insurance plan would lower their premiums and would save the City $10,000 per year without any change in deductibles or quality of service. The Council voted unanimously to change over to a POS plan.

In other Department Head Reports, Blairsville Police Officer Michael ‘Bear’ Baxter reported that there were 120 calls responded to in August. He said the Eclipse Event went very smoothly and wasn’t nearly as bad as had been feared. He said the new police vehicle would be delivered this month. Baxter said one thing of note was the first drug arrest in Blairsville that involved the seizure of heroine mixed with Fentanyl, a drug that is 50-100 times more potent than morphine.

Michael ‘Bear’ Baxter

Ottis Franklin, Superintendent of the Water and Sewer Plant reported that the Kimsey Street paving project had been completed; a lot of meters had been set due to the increase in construction this year; and reported no problems.

Wastewater Treatment Plant Superintendent Jody Cook reported that #1 Sequencing Batch Reactor (SBR) tank was up and running and the #2 SBR tank was down, but should be back in service in the near future. He said there will be a student tour of the plant with 5th through 8th graders coming up. Cook had no other problems to report.

Mayor Conley addressed the Council regarding a suggestion that the Blairsville Municipal Airport, officially named Robert Colwell Field, be changed officially to another name: Jack Tarpley Field or Charles Hill Field. No member of the Council was in favor of pursuing that name change and the matter was dropped.

The Council approved an Occupational Tax Certificate Application for Harry Norman Realtors, 63 Murphy Highway, David Allsteadt, Corporate Officer.

The Council approved a Sign Application for Ingles Markets, 207B Highway 515, Chad Priest, Applicant.

Having no further business to conduct, the Council adjourned.


Fetch Your News is a hyper local news outlet that covers Dawson, Lumpkin, White, Fannin, Gilmer, Pickens, Union, Towns and Murray counties as well as Cherokee County in N.C. If you would like to follow up-to-date local events in any of those counties, please visit us at


Drive-by for Your Flu Shot in North Georgia


Former Union County Phys Ed Teacher arrested for child molestation


Blairsville, GA – Forty year old Shawnetta D. Reece, former Union County Middle School (UCMS) Physical Education Teacher, has been arrested for ‘child molestation and sexual abuse by persons with supervisory or disciplinary authority’.

Shawnetta D. Reece, former UCMS phys ed teacher

The Union County Sheriff’s Office (UCSO) recently received a tip that a Union County teacher was sexually involved with a student in 2013. UCSO requested that Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) assist with an investigation. GBI was able to determine that Reece, a physical education teacher at UCMS at the time, was sexually involved with a 15 year old student in 2013. The student was moving from the eighth grade to the ninth grade at the time.

Upon completion of the GBI investigation, the case will be turned over to Jeff Langley, the Enotah Judicial Circuit District Attorney, for prosecution.

Fetch Your News is a hyper local news outlet that covers Dawson, Lumpkin, White, Fannin, Gilmer, Pickens, Union, Towns and Murray counties as well as Cherokee County in N.C. If you would like to follow up-to-date local events in any of those counties, please visit us at

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