Union County Schools hold “No Empty Chair” Campaign

News

Blairsville, Ga – M.A.D.D., the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety, and the Georgia State Patrol are having a campaign to ensure there are no empty seats for Union County’s upcoming graduation.

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Conley property annexed, Sheriff Mason recognized at council meeting

News

BLAISVILLE, Ga. – Annexation of the Conley property off of Pat Haralson Memorial Drive was approved and Sheriff Mack Mason was recognized during the Blairsville City Council meeting Tuesday, April 3.

Last month, annexation was delayed when Daniel Davenport, owner of a 1.47-acre tract of land within the annexation route, requested access to city utilities before annexation of his property took place.

In this month’s meeting, City Attorney David Barrett explained Davenport had sold his tract of land to the developers of the Conley property clearing the way for annexation. Also falling in line with the annexation is Butternut Creek Golf Course. Mayor Jim Conley explained a 50-foot wide easement of land running through the golf course from the current city limits would connect the Conley property contiguously in the annexation process.

On hand for the meeting was the developer of the property, David Brown. When asked about the urgency of the annexation by Barrett, Brown stated, “We need to be annexed tonight.”

Brown also explained the development on the property is for approximately 70 proposed apartment units that will be marketed to seniors. The council approved the annexation unanimously.

The council also approved the purchase of a 4×2 Gator utility vehicle from Nelson Tractor in the amount of $5,525. The vehicle, according to Conley, will be used primarily by the Street and Maintenance department to carry gardening supplies and equipment. Funding for the purchase will come from Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (SPLOST) funds.

Jody Cook, wastewater supervisor, told the council it has been determined a faulty tank valve at the Aviagen Hatchery located near the Colwell Detention Center was the main contributing factor leading to increased levels of chemical oxygen demand (COD) at the wastewater treatment plant. In February, Cook first reported pollutants running from the Aviagen facility into the sewer system were causing increased COD levels at the plant. Cook stated Aviagen was working to resolve the issue.

At the end of the meeting, Mayor Conley took time to recognize Union County Sheriff Mack Mason for his department’s continued efforts as well as cooperation and assistance with the Blairsville City Police Department.

“I personally would just like to say I appreciate the cooperation that the police department and the sheriff’s office has,” Conley told Mason. “As you very well know, we’ve never had that in the past.”

Mason responded by describing the level of cooperation between the two agencies as a “unique deal … one that I don’t know of that exists anywhere in the state of Georgia.”

Mason continued to say the state, in recent years, has “regressed” both in the number of Georgia State Patrol troopers and in the number of Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) agents, leaving more of a burden to the local law enforcement agencies.

“I’m not knocking the troopers,” Mason explained. “I’m knocking the legislators because they’ve let us get in this shape … It’s an undisputed fact that 95 percent of arrests in the state of Georgia are made by the city and county officers.”

Speaking of the working coordination between the Union County Sheriff’s Office and the Blairsville Police Department, in which several officers work full-time for one agency and part-time for the other, Mason said, “I appreciate the relationship that I’ve had with you all.”

Following this, Conley proposed a $1 per hour raise for all part-time officers in the Blairsville Police Department. The raise was approved unanimously by the council.

 

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Jason Beck

Born in Merrillville, Indiana, raised in Cleveland, Tennessee, and currently resides in Copperhill, Tennessee. Graduated from Bradley Central High School in 1996 and attended the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, eventually earning a B.A. and M.A. in English. Hobbies include hiking, camping and fly-fishing. Interests include baseball, hockey and cliff jumping.

Shooting at Dalton High School

News

DALTON, Ga. – The Dalton Police Department is on scene at Dalton High School where shots have been fired.

Dalton Police report that no student was injured by the shooting and all students are out of harm’s way. They also report the subject, a teacher, has been taken into custody.

The subject had barricaded themselves into a classroom earlier today before firing a weapon. Local police and Georgia State Patrol responded to the initial call. Concerning those reports that have come about a student injured during the evacuation, the Dalton Police were adamant that no student was injured by the shooting.

Police are also asking parents to NOT go to Dalton High School as they say, “The area inside the school has been evacuated and there are no students believed to be in the school at this time.”

The evacuated students have been taken to the Northwest Georgia Trade Center where police report parents should go for their children.

 

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Georgia State Patrol Defending “America’s Best Looking Cruiser” Title

State & National

Georgia Speaker of The House David Ralston Talks About Rural Georgia Issues, Health Care…

Featured, Politics

Our interview Friday with Speaker of The House David Ralston focused on rural Georgia. Ralston went into detail about the new Rural Georgia Economic Council. This council will be co-chaired by (R) Terry England from Auburn, (R) Jay Powell from Camilla and Vice Chair (R) Sam Watson from Moultry. The council will be holding meetings across Georgia to hear from elected officials, local businesses and citizens about how they feel rural Georgia economy can best be improved. Ralston said jokingly that he better not find out that one meeting took place in Atlanta.

Health care is a major concern in rural Georgia. Several hospitals have closed in rural Georgia areas including one in Ralston’s district in North Georgia. We spoke to Ralston abut one possible solution to meet rural Georgia health care needs. Ralston used the example of the first stand alone emergency room, opened by Piedmont Mountainside Hospital in Gilmer county. In this interview we asked Ralston if Gilmer county still had the possibility of having a full hospital.

Ralston told us that sometime within the next month Governor Nathan Deal would be visiting Gilmer county’s Fire Station 1 to sign the fire fighter’s workmen’s compensation bill.  We asked Ralston the difference in this years campus carry bill opposed to last year’s bill which Governor Deal vetoed. Not being able to speak for the Governor, Ralston said he felt they made the changes necessary to get Deal to sign the bill. We also discussed the pay raises agreed upon in the 2017 legislative session for teachers, state law enforcement, and D.F.C.S workers.  

Our final question in our interview friday: Speaker Ralston do you see the governor’s mansion in your future?

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