Off-leash dog park coming to Union County

Featured Stories
dog park

BLAIRSVILLE, Ga – After a year of lobbying to local government, The Paw Park Project and Union County Government have joined forces to bring an off-leash dog park to the community.

The park will be located across from the farmers market on 148 Old Smokey Road, and work has already begun. Union County Farmers Market expects the area to open in April.

The Paw Part Project has partnered with Tyler Veney and the Leadership Union Team for fundraising. Residents can reach out through the Paw Park Facebook page or email if they need more information about donations and volunteering. Those interested in contributing can expect a GoFundMe account to go up. The Paw Park acts as a 501c, so all contributions will be tax-deductible. The county government has also promised to match all donations.

Pet owners also have the option of purchasing a tree, bench, or memorial plaque for their past loved ones.

The announcement stated, “As you saw work is already underway a BIG THANKS to Lamar Paris and our county officials for hearing the needs of our community and making this project a reality.”

The park will be developed in three phases. Phases one directly relates to getting the park up and running: fencing, signage, water, dog waste stations, building a pavilion and clearing a walking trail.

Phase two “will be implementing a few pieces of agility equipment, planting some trees and installing benches.”

Phase three also pertains to agility equipment and possibly a splash pad.

However, all phases are subject to reaching fundraising goals.

The park will meet American Kennel Club standards of one acre of property with a four- to six-foot chain-link fence and double gate entry

Here’s a sketch of the park’s future layout.

The boy who made it possible

Gracian Sabo took the lead on this community service project and formed the Paw Park Project. He even started a petition to help secure grant funding if necessary. It garnered 486 signatures.

His boy scout troop joined in and pledged to support the project if it moved forward.

During the Paw Park Project and Sabo’s journey to build an off-leash dog park, they learned that the county created the fenced-in space in Meeks Park for dogs to rest. A true dog park never existed within the county.

Sabo has passionately championed the Paw Park throughout 2019.

Images courtesy of the Paw Park Project.

Roadways become impassable during winter storm

Community, News

Blairsville, Ga. – Winter weather is taking its toll on our area and Union County is beginning to feel the brunt of the storm.

The Union County Sheriff’s Office is keeping citizens updated via Facebook and recently released a warning stating, “Roads in Union County are becoming impassable. There are several vehicles including tractor and trailers stuck in the roadway. Please stay off roads!!”

In neighboring Fannin County, Emergency Management Agency (EMA) Director Robert Graham explained the situation, ““The pavement was wet when the snow started falling, so the wet areas on our roadways have turned to ice.”

Roads in Union County are experiencing a similar condition with ice being reported under the thick layer of snow.

Union County Sole Commissioner Lamar Paris shared on Facebook, “Do not get on the highways. They are slick and dangerous.”

“It is foggy and the visibility is low and all highways are slick,” Paris continued emphasizing the importance of avoiding travel at the moment.

Paris urged people to not drive around  sightseeing and to wait for conditions to ease up.

Union County Fire/Rescue and EMA are also confirming that there are multiple accidents in the county and that several roadways are being shut down.

All Union County emergency services are asking citizens to remain home at the moment, unless absolutely necessary to get out, and allow crews and personnel time to address issues and to try to make the roadways safer for travel.

FYN will bring you updates on the winter weather throughout the day.


Featured Image Courtesy of FYN viewer Doug Brown.


Natalie Kissel

Qualifying fees set, multi-unit development moratorium extended

Election, News
qualifying fees

BLAIRSVILLE, Ga – Qualifying fees have been set for Union County’s 2020 elections through a consent agenda meeting on Jan. 20.

The qualifying fees are as follows:

  • Commissioner – $2,918
  • Tax Commissioner – $1,492
  • Clerk of Superior Court – $1,492
  • Magistrate Judge – $1,492
  • Probate Judge – $1,492
  • Sheriff – $1,492
  •  County Coroner – $155
  • County Surveyor – $54
  • Board of Education – $108

FYN is awaiting confirmation on the qualifying dates.

Emergency Moratorium on Multi-family Unit Developments

The moratorium enacted on Aug. 6, 2019 was extended for 120 days from Dec. 4, 2019. The county is working with Georgia Mountains Regional Commission to establish wording for an ordinance and are waiting for this is be completed.

New Purchasing Manual

A new purchasing manual was approved that establishes purchasing policies and procedures for all departments and offices under Union County government. It went into effect on Jan. 21 and supersedes all previous instructions and policies. The new manual was needed to improve and update policies.

Firefighter Property Program (FFP) Cooperative Equipment

The FFP agreement between the Georgia Forestry Commission and Union County government was approved on Jan 20.  The 5-year arrangement allows for local fire departments to use surplus military equipment for fighting fires and emergency services. Administrative fees will be $100 per transaction for non-titled property and $200 per transaction for titled property.

Also, the 2019 Local Emergency Management Performance Grant (EMPG) of $13,033 was accepted with a 50 percent match for the Union County Fire Department.

Public Defender Services

Union County along with Towns, Lumpkin, White, and the Public Defender Office of the Enotah Judicial Circuit have entered into an Indigent Defense Services agreement. The cost to Union is $113,526.70 for 2019-2020. Additionally, Union has committed an extra $20,000 to have a public defender assigned to the county five days a week.

Warranty Deeds

The 9.502 acres of surplus property located on Hwy. 515 East was officially transferred to the Union County Development Authority. The deed was dated June 20, 2019.

The settlement statement and warranty deed of the 12.009 acres, used for soccer fields, confirmed the purchase of the property for $150,000. The fields will continue to be used for soccer fields and MUSA will make updates to the fields.

A quitclaim deed was also issued for the tract or parcels of land lying in land lots 285, 286, and 291 in the 9th district, 1st section of Union County, so the road department can begin servicing the road Madeline Way. When the subdivision was developed, it was agreed that if the road leading up to the subdivision was built to county specifications it would become a county road. However, the developer never contacted the county, so now the estimated 1.44 acres needed to quitclaimed to follow through with the agreement.

A consent agenda was necessary for the January commission meeting due to the Sole Commissioner Lamar Paris feeling under the weather during the regularly scheduled time.

Feb. 15 is a day of prayer for women of Union County

Community, Featured

BLAIRSVILLE, Ga – During the January Union County Commission meeting, Sole Commissioner Lamar Paris proclaimed Feb. 15, 2020 as a day of prayer for the women of Union County.

Cindy Bailey, of Notla River Baptist Association, spoke about the event being held all-day on the 15th at North Georgia Technical College (NGTC) Blairsville Campus as part of a global women’s prayer movement.

“As an answer to a lot of hurting people, especially hurting women throughout the country. The call came out at the National Day of Prayer that they should gather the women as Psalm 68:11 says,” stated Bailey.

NGTC will be take place from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and is open to all women or women’s group. It is non-denominational and non-political. The event is purely to pray for women as part of the She Loves Out Loud movement. For those that can’t attend She Loves Out Loud is offering a free interactive livestream.

“She Loves Out Loud is a movement for all women who choose to love without judgement and to pray in earnest for the healing of America.”- She Loves Out Loud Facebook

The organization invites women to “pray in the Gap between trauma and triumph, anger and peace, [as well as] bitterness and forgiveness.”

“We’re there to pray for healing and hope for women: abused women, women who have been sex trafficked, [and] women who are seeking motherhood through fostering or adoption,” explained Bailey.

The first half of the event will focus on those special needs in Union County. The three areas that will be covered are suicide, mental illness, and community connectivity.

“Women throughout the ages have prayed,” said Bailey, “Prayed for the children they’re carrying. Prayed for the children that were born. Prayed for their husbands that have gone off to war. And likewise, on Feb. 15, women will be gathered together for the first time in prayer unity.”

County purchases soccer fields, MUSA plans to improve area

Community, News
soccer fields

BLAIRSVILLE, GA – Gooch Trucking has agreed to the county purchasing 12.009 acres of soccer fields by the old water plant off Mauney Road. Mountain United Soccer Association (MUSA) to lease area from county to offer soccer leagues in the community.

The land purchase and sale agreement between Union County and Gooch Trucking  for the property amounted to $150,000.

“This is something that has been in the process for many months, said Union County Commissioner Lamar Paris. “The county had been trying to get a lease or agreement on those soccer fields for years.”

Before Gooch Trucking purchased the property, the owners of the land didn’t have an interest in collaborating with the county. They did leave the fields intact, however. After Gooch Trucking made the purchase of the old water plant and adjacent fields, the organization was open to suggestions for the area. Now, Panel Built has the plant building, and the county owns the soccer fields.

Currently, Union County Recreation Department (Rec. Dept.) doesn’t offer a soccer program, but MUSA provides the sport to citizens of the county. MUSA will lease the property for ten years and can now apply for grants and loans to develop the 12 acres to grow the program in Union. The Rec. Dept. will also help MUSA to clean up the soccer fields and get everything up to date.

“We’re excited about it. The soccer league is excited about it. [Panel Built] has agreed to help us anyway they can [to improve access into the property], stated Paris.

The purchase showcases the continued efforts provide renovated recreational facilities into the county with the recent construction of a double gym, pickle ball courts, and new pavilion at Meeks Park.

Copy of the property plat.


Old Fort Sorghum property up for sale

Community, Featured, News
Old Fort Sorghum

BLAIRSVILLE, Ga – In a Dec. 27, 2019 called meeting, the county officially transferred the Old Fort Sorghum Property to the Development Authority (DA). After researching the matter, Commissioner Lamar Paris decided the historic property offered “no foreseeable use” for the county.

The approximately .95 acres used to be the home of Union County’s yearly Sorghum Festival. Built in the early 1970s, many can remember working during the festival or taking field trips to the Fort. The Sorghum Festival moved to Meeks Park in the 2010s, and since then, most of the Fort has been taken down. Currently, the lot stands vacant.

“[The county] is usually buying property just in case we need it at some point in the future,” said Paris. “However, it’s been determined it’s in the best interest of the county to transfer this property to the Union County Development Authority for the purpose of being sold.”

The DA previously approached Paris about potentially transferring the property and felt it would be a good area for retail expansion of some sort.

DA Board Member Mitch Griggs attended the property transfer meeting on Dec. 27.

“Union County has looked at all options for this property for many years and other than a little event in the old building sometimes, nothing really regular [happens there],” stated Paris. In 2017, the county had the property appraised for $225,000, but the value might have increased since then.

DA can sell the property at market value and determine who ultimately buys it while the county would have to sell it to the highest bidder. The board and director of the DA meet and discuss who can purchase the property, what for, and at what price. The county and the DA must also decide on a percentage that the board will receive for selling the property. In the past, the DA has received between 10 and 15 percent for selling county property. Most of the money from the actual sale of the property will go to the county.

“We’ve had several people contact us about it,” explained Paris, “because of the demand, I got serious [about it]. It’s too far from the Civic Center to do a parking lot. It’s a long uphill climb to get to the Civic Center, and if it can benefit the community by providing a good business location, then that’s good.”

The public hearing concerning the transfer of Old Fort Sorghum occurred on Dec. 23 at 4 p.m. with no objections.

County Accepting Donations for the Food Pantry

Announcements, Community
food pantry

BLAIRSVILLE, Ga – Donations for the local food pantry can be made at the courthouse, community center, library, and city hall.

The public can find two food buckets at the courthouse, one upstairs in the main lobby and one downstairs in the lobby by the Clerk of Superior Court’s Office. The other participating locations have just a single bucket located in easily accessible areas.

The pantry asks for non-perishable items, such as peanut butter, rice, canned soups/stews, dried soup packets, canned fruit, instant potatoes, canned tuna, canned vegetables, dry pasta, and dry milk.

Individuals can make donations through the first of the year. The holidays are an especially busy time for the food pantry and greatly depletes its on-hand stock. Union County Government Food Drive takes all the donations after the holiday season to help and replenish supplies for the following year.

It should also be noted that for anyone interested in making a donation, the courthouse will be closed on Dec. 24 and 24, as well as Jan. 1.

Photo courtesy of Union County Government Facebook Page.

2020 Budget Hearing to be held on Dec. 23

Announcements, Police & Government, Press Release
2020 budget

UNION COUNTY, Ga – Commissioner Lamar Paris invites citizens a public hearing concerning the 2020 budget on Dec. 23, 2019 at 4:30 p.m. in the Union County Courthouse.

Everyone’s invited to attend and offer opinions on the 2020 fiscal year. Here’s a PDF view of the proposed budget: Copy of 2020 Proposed Budget-Public Hearing Notice and Called Meeting

2020 budget

Copy of proposed 2020 budget which totals at $19,462,648.

Currently, Union County has proposed a $19,462,648 budget to cover operating costs for the coming year. However, this number could change before final approval.

Another public hearing concerning the transfer of land will be held beforehand at 4 p.m. at the courthouse as well. The county will be transferring surplus property to the Union County Development Authority. The land is property on Young Harris Street in the City of Blairsville also known as Old Fort Sorghum. Please send your comments either in the mail or email on the site.

On Dec. 27, 2019 at 4:30 p.m., a called meeting will take place to adopt the budget and approve the transfer of property resolution.


Nantahala Village apartment fire ruled arson

Featured, News, Press Release
Nantahala Village

BLAIRSVILLE, GA – Fire Investigators with the Insurance and Safety Fire Commissioner’s Office, accompanied by their K-9, have determined a fire that occurred just before 6 p.m. on Thursday, November 7, at the Nantahala Village apartment complex was intentionally set.

“The arson occurred at the Nantahala Village Apartment Complex, located at 40 Nantahala Lane in Blairsville, Ga. The 20-year-old, 7,500 square-foot building is two floors with four apartments on each floor,” said Safety Fire Commissioner John F. King. “One unit suffered severe fire damage while the adjacent units suffered minor smoke damage. No injuries were sustained in the fire.”

Safety Fire Commissioner John F. King is asking anyone with knowledge about this fire to call the Fire Investigations Unit at 1‐800‐282‐5804. Rewards are offered of up to $10,000 for information that leads to the arrest and conviction of the arsonist(s). Calls are taken 24 hours a day and callers can choose to remain anonymous.

The Union County Fire Department is assisting with this investigation.

Stay with Fetch Your News as this story continues to develop.

S.A.F.E. Makes Significant Strides Against Domestic Abuse

Community, Featured Stories

Blairsville, Ga – S.A.F.E., also known as Support in Abusive Family Emergencies, has assisted over 309 individuals between July 2018 and July 2019 with significant plans to expand services in the near future.

S.A.F.E. Executive Director Molly Cousin broke down the 2018-2019 numbers, “Of these clients, 104 were outreach (not in the shelter), and 93 lived in the emergency shelter. Of these clients, 112 were children, and 76 were adults. We provided 14,350 services including 469 hotline calls.”

Over the next three years, the organization hopes to expand its shelter space to accommodate more children’s groups and activities. Additionally, S.A.F.E. wants to reach out to the Spanish population as well as educate others in the language. Finally, Cousin addressed a desire to expand awareness of the non-profit in Towns County.


Everyday Clever will play at the event.

One way S.A.F.E.’s hopes for their clients is at their 30th-anniversary event “Rock Against Violence” on September 21 at 6:30 p.m. at Copperhead Lodge. Entertainment includes the band Everyday Clever. Tickets are $10 for ages 16 and up and are available at S.A.F.E. Thrift Stores, Copperhead Lodge,, Selah Hair Salon, and Cone and Associates CPA’s Accounting and Tax Services.

“Currently, we have over thirty active volunteers who provide direct service, indirect service, work at the thrift stores or are on our board of directors. Since October 2018, we have received over $30,000 in community monetary donations and the community donated supplies increased significantly in the past year. We are very thankful for such strong support from the community,” stated Cousin.

S.A.F.E. began in 1989 to help those faced with domestic violence, child abuse, or sexual abuse in Union and Towns County.

What started as a 24-hour crisis intervention hotline and support group for women quickly became a grant-funded non-profit organization with support from law enforcement, the judicial system, and social service agencies.

In 1991, Blairsville Jaycees purchased a residence for S.A.F.E to use, and in May of 1991, it officially opened its doors to those in need. Since then, S.A.F.E. has continued to expand its facilities, opening a new facility that can house 16 individuals and meets all ADA and safety requirements, and provides space for all of the services currently offered.

In 2011, the Butterfly House Child Advocacy Center relocated from the S.A.F.E. house to property donated by Union General Hospital. The center allowed for families involved in custody cases to regularly spend supervised visits with their children.

A past client of S.A.F.E had this to say, “If it was not for the people at S.A.F.E. and the Butterfly House Child Advocacy Center’s visitation area, I would not get to see my child that I am working toward getting back to my custody. I was involved in a relationship that was full of domestic violence, and now thanks to everyone at both of these places I am headed in the right direction in getting me and my child back together.”

S.A.F.E. also offers women, children, and men legal advocacy, referral services, children’s programs, family violence assessments/case management, prevention education programs, sexual assault prevention and services, and a family support center program.

When asked about her experience with the organization, Cousin said, “I originally wanted to volunteer with SAFE and see what it was all about. I had no idea what I was getting myself into, but I am so happy it happened that way. The amount of work done on behalf individual client is certainly a lot, but it really changes your outlook on life when you see someone start out somewhat broken and leave successful on their own two feet.”

If anyone needs S.A.F.E.’s services, please call 706-379-3000. Volunteers can also be reached through the Union County Sheriff’s Office, police department, or email at

TeamFYNSports Writer’s Player of the Week – Mason McCombs

Player of the Week, TeamFYNSports

Union County junior Mason McCombs has been kicking since he first started playing football, and it showed Friday night as the Panthers hosted the Towns County Indians in Blairsville.

McCombs went 6-for-6 on point-after attempts, while kicking off for four touchbacks and catching a touchdown pass as the Panthers won, 60-7.

For his efforts, McCombs is the Union County Panthers Player of the Week.

“I’ve been kicking since I was seven or eight-years-old, but this is my first year kicking for the varsity team,”
McCombs said.

McCombs handles all the kicking duties for the Panthers, kicking off and attempting extra points.

He also plays wide receiver, where he caught a 14-yard touchdown pass from senior Pierson Allison in the second quarter. After he converted the extra-point try, McCombs and the Panthers led 28-0 early in the second quarter.

The touchdown catch was the first for the varsity squad for McCombs, who said he would always remember the play.

“I loved it. That’s my first touchdown catch and it was exhilarating,” McCombs said.

As for the game, McCombs gave all the credit to his teammates for the big win.

“They did amazing. We knew what we had to do, and we did it tonight. Our coaches tell us to get 1 percent better every practice, and I think we did that all week and we proved it tonight.”


Union County Middle softball blasts area-rival Fannin County

Sports, TeamFYNSports, UC Middle
UCMS Lady Panthers

Blairsville, Ga. – Thanks to a big day at the plate, the Union County Middle softball team took down area-rival Fannin County, 11-3, Thursday, August 29, at Meeks Park.

The Panthers, who are 10-2 on the season, scored four runs in the bottom of the first and fourth innings to earn the five-inning, mercy-rule win.

Illa Bragg, Sloan Dyer, Layla Akins, and Aubrie Akins each drove in two runs, while Georgia Patton went 3-for-3 with two runs scored.

The Union County scoring started in the bottom of the first inning. The Panthers used a walk from Sierra Burnette, a single from Patton, and three stolen bases to earn the 1-0 lead when Burnette stole home.

Patton stole third, and Dyer walked and stole second to give Layla Akins runners on second and third with one out.

Akins delivered, driving a double to center and bringing in Patton and Dyer to give the Panthers the 4-0 lead to end the first.

Fannin County scored once in the top of the second, before Union County tacked on three more runs in the bottom of the frame.

The surge was in part thanks to a Patton single, a walk from Addison Kennedy, and a big triple from Bragg that pushed the score to 6-1. Bragg scored a batter later as Burnette smacked a groundball out to shortstop and moved the score to 7-1.

The Lady Rebels managed to score in the top of the third, hold the Panthers scoreless in the bottom of the inning, and add another run in the top of the fourth.

With the score 7-3 in the bottom of the first, the Panthers put up their second four-run inning of the night.

Patton, Kennedy, Dyer, Aubrie Akins, and Jewel Massey all singled, while Bragg doubled and Dyer added a stolen base to extend the lead to 11-3 headed into the top of the fifth inning.

Bragg struck out the first two Fannin County batters in the inning, issued a two-out walk, and then got the final batter to pop-out to catcher Kennedy in foul territory to end the game on the five-inning mercy rule.

The Panthers next host Lumpkin County, beginning at 4:15 p.m., September 3. Union has faced Lumpkin before this season, beating the Lady Indians 14-2 in Blairsville on August 8.



Back to School for UCS Students on August 7

Panthers Corner

Blairsville, Ga – Union County (UCS) students head back to school this week on Wednesday, August 7 for the 2019-2020 school year.

For parents wondering about start and end times for each school, here they are:

  • Union County Primary School (UCPS) – 8:15 a.m. to 2:50 p.m.
  • Union County Elementary School (UCES) – 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
  • Union County Middle School (UCMS) – 7:50 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
  • Union County High School (UCHS) – 7:50 a.m. to 3:17 p.m.
  • Woody Gap K-5 – 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
  • Woody Gap 6-12 – 7:50 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
  • Alternative School – 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

UCPS also has a freshly paved car-pick up line and privacy fencing along the playground.

To help keep traffic moving, UCS Police Chief Chad Deaton stated, “We’re probably going to beef up [SRO presence] the first couple days with some part-time guys to help us with traffic those first few days and add some drop-off zones.”

UCS also has a district-wide dress code that prohibits facial piercings and unnatural hair colors, gym clothes outside of PE, crop tops, and other items.

back to school

Dress code to help with back to school shopping.

Meet Your Teacher is Monday, August 5 from 3 to 6 p.m.

Good luck to all the students, teachers, and parents as they get back into the school routine!


Union and Towns Partner for the 2020 Census

Featured Stories
2020 Census awareness

Blairsville, Ga – Union and Towns County formed the Trusted Voices committee for assistance with the 2020 census.

With the 2020 Census rapidly approaching – April 1, 2020, Union, Towns, Blairsville, Hiawassee, and Young Harris partnered with the Patrick Malone to form the Trusted Voices committee to ensure maximum participation.

“We had a meeting six week ago with a lady from the Governor’s Office, Anna Miller,” said Mayor Jim Conley “Commissioner Paris put together an agreement with Mr. Patrick Malone who is here tonight that puts [Malone] in charge of the working end of the Census.”

Mayor Jim Conley

Mayor Conley asks for committee members for Trusted Voices.

In the 2010 report, Union recorded around 85 percent of the total population. Towns recorded 87 percent.

Malone hopes to increase Census participation in 2020. The organization serves to encourage individuals to answer the survey through door-to-door visits and community engagements. These efforts will gear up in the fall to promote awareness.

“The committee’s known as the Trusted Voices Campaign. The responsibilities are really minor. It’s just being aware what’s going on with the Census and make sure that we exceed last Census’ participation rate,” explained Malone.

Blairsville City Council appointed Councilman Mary Ruth Cook and Councilman Rhonda Mahan to serve on the Trusted Voices committee to represent Blairsville’s interest. They will have one meeting with Malone and then spread the word in the community.

The city paid Trusted Voices $500 to utilize the service. Hiawassee and Young Harris also paid $500, but Union and Towns are expected to cover the rest of the cost.

$2M UCS Field House Under Reevaluation

News, Panthers Corner

Blairsville, Ga – New field house being reassessed after bids come in $1M over the initial budget.

Board of Education elected to reevaluate the scope of the field house project after bids for came back around $2M.

“I had anticipated a million. This is way more than I anticipated,” stated Chair Cynthia Odom.

Board asked for options on the new field house.

“When we started out the architects the number was a lot lower, but it seems like it has grown and grown with its costs and we actually value engineered practically everything,” explained Assistant Superintendent David Murphy.

Superintendent John Hill offered to go back and reevaluate the specifications, including the architectural drawings and RFP to find a reasonable solution.

Odom suggested looking at the current fieldhouse and trying to modify it before proceeding with this project.

“We’re a pay as we go,” said Odom, “It’s going to delay other items.”

Board Member Keith Potts added another approach to the field house project, “Maybe the footprint of it can be what you’re looking at, but downsize the building so you can expand maybe in five years to get that number down.”

These bids for the project came in last week, and due to architecture fees, the school system’s already paid over $50,000 into it. The bidding was very tight among the lowest three within $50,000.

“It’s a terrible time to build,” stated Hill.

“It’s hard to justify the costs of double, $2M on a non-academic building, used by a finite number of students,” said Board Member Janna Akins.

“We need to provide a facility, but we can reevaluate exactly what that is,” stated Hill.

Odom the discussion closed with, “We appreciate all the time, effort, and energy. I know this is not an easy thing to do.”

Safety access doors for all the schools are proceeding and should be installed by the new school year. All teacher IDs have been updated, and the switch should begin soon.

Paving for the primary and elementary pick-up line, two parking lots, as well as primary and elementary bus drop-off/pick-up areas. The paving project will cost the school system $511,775.88.

Privacy fencing for the primary school also received approval to move forward with a bid of $76,867.20. It will include a six-foot chain link fence with privacy slating around the pick-up lane. This fence will allow traffic to start earlier in the day and hopefully speed up the process.

“Those were the areas we identified with the most potholes and issues for parents, but also they drop off the most children there. It will really benefit a lot of our students,” said Hill.

“We never let them back before 2:30 because we still have children on the playground,” explained Murphy, “The privacy slating will allow us to have them out.”

Union County Primary School Principal Millie Owenby agreed that the fencing should improve the pick-up process in the next school year.

UCHS Receives STEM Certification

News, Panthers Corner

Blairsville, Ga – Union County High School (UCHS) named the fourth STEM certified public school in the state.

State Superintendent Richard Woods visited UCHS a few weeks ago and recognized the school as the 14th STEM certified program in the state and fourth public school to earn the honor.

STEM teaches students computational thinking and using scientific methods to solve real-world problems. It helps children to develop technological skills that they can use to one day find highly-sought after jobs.

At the May Board of Education, Superintendent John Hill presented the STEM certification award to Ms. Alecia Frizzell.

“Ms. Frizzell was extremely dedicated and instrumental in the high school receiving the certification, and it’s going to have a lasting impact on students of our county,” said Hill.

Ms. Frizzell also received the Outstanding High School Chemistry Teacher of the Year 2019.

“I have not met a teacher more dedicated to her students and her profession,” said Hill, “we’re very proud of her.”

“I had no idea I was getting the award. I think I was nominated by Mr. Hussion,” explained Frizzell, “I had a student write a recommendation letter that is framed and on a wall in my house.”

Three Partners in Education were recognized for their significant efforts to improve the schools’ facilities and life of the students.

Woody Gap

Gene Sprayberry donated his greenhouse to Woody Gap in memory of his wife, Louise.

Gene Sprayberry donated a large greenhouse to Woody Gap Schools in memory of his wife, Louise.

“I’m thankful that the school system accepted the schoolhouse in memory of Louise,” said Sprayberry, “She would be so thrilled to see that it was doing some good, and students might take up her passion. She loved it.”

This year the Chamber of Commerce had an entire night dedicated to recognizing Union County Schools’(UCS) students and set up two committees devoted to finding ways to help students.

“Our local chamber has always supported our school system, but this past year they have truly been a partner in education,” said Assistant Superintendent David Murphy.

“We appreciate the opportunity for the chamber to participate in the program,” said Chamber of Commerce President Steve Rowe, “These students are the future of Union County.”

RC&D Council sponsored a number of learning opportunities for the students of UCS and Woody Gap, including sponsoring a steer for middle school agriculture day, a pig for the cafeterias, fire-wise programs, a high-wind tunnel, drone software, wick-whacking device, and a number of the members.

Jason Moore’s recognized for his outstanding service on the middle school governance team.

UCMS, Board of Education

UCMS Principal Gwen Stafford recognized student Jason Moore for his commitment to the School Governance Team.

“Jason Moore has been our representative at the middle school for the past two years, and he has done an outstanding job, said Principal Gwen Stafford, “If he doesn’t know what the students would like, he goes out and sees them. He gets there opinion and comes back and reports to us.”

UCHS FFA Students also received recognition for winning first place in state competitions.

Isaac Hunter placed first at the state level for the ocular estimation event at the junior foresters’ field day.

“Ocular estimation is where I have to stand five feet away from the tree and guess the diameter of it,” said Hunter.  He can’t use any tools to assist with the process, just his best sight guestimation.

UCHS, Board of Education, FFA Awards

Isaac Hunter and Timothy Dye both won first place in the state FFA competition.

Next, Timothy Dye won first place at the state competition for timber cruising for board volume.

“You have to stand 66 feet away from the tree using logger tape, diameter tape, and clinometer. The diameter get the actual diameter of it, and with the clinometer, you get the height of it,” explained Dye.

The Union County Primary School recognized two teachers who achieved perfect attendance for the 2018-2019 school year. Kelsey Miller teaches Pre-K, and Tina Payne is an RTI specialist who teaches Kindergarten, First, and Second Grade students.

UCPS, Board of Education

UCPS Principal Millie Owenby recognized the two primary school teachers Kelsey Miller and Tina Payne for their perfect attendance.

“We all know that as teachers that the more we are there, the better the students perform,” said Principal Millie Owenby, “Sometimes at the primary school that is quite an accomplishment.”

The board also presented Superintendent with an award to commemorate his 15 years of service. - Dedicated to serve the needs of the community. Provide a source of real news-Dependable Information-Central to the growth and success of our Communities. Strive to encourage, uplift, warn, entertain, & enlighten our readers/viewers- Honest-Reliable-Informative.

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