Union County receives clean 2019 financial audit

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2019 financial audit

BLAIRSVILLE, Ga – Union County received an unmodified opinion on its 2019 financial audit and reported that annual revenues were up by five percent.

Clay Pilgrim from Rushton and Company presented the 2019 findings during the July Union Commission meeting. Nothing cam to his attention to cause concern about the financial health of the county.

Rushton and Company did recommend a 2019 budget adjustment from $17,040,000 to $18,405,000. Later in the meeting, Commissioner Lamar Paris approved the adjustment through a resolution.

“I want to thank the commissioner, Laura and her finance team, all the department heads, and elected officials here in the county. They made this audit process go smoothly,” Pilgrim stated.

The net position for county increased $1,617,139 because of the increases in property taxes and sales taxes and decreases in expenses.

Net investment in capital assets, such as buildings, land, and equipment, was $42,709,452. The restricted net position was $6,286,113, which included SPLOST funds yet to be spent. Unrestricted net position was $2,917,324. The total net position came to $51,912,889.

Net position comparing the 2019 financial audit to the previous years.

In the general fund, or operating fund, revenues increased $842,998 or five percent and expenditures decreased $396,136 or 2.3 percent.

Revenue Increases

  • Property taxes – $525,314
  • LOST – $379,983
  • Insurance premium taxes – $95,816
  • Building permits – $94,477

Intergovernmental revenues decreased by $188,080. Several areas experienced expenditure reductions as well for various reasons. Risk management dropped because insurance claims were down for the year. Sheriff and jail went up in personal services but decreased in capital outlay or purchases of assets. SRO dropped because the Board of Education created an internal police force.

Expenditures Reductions

  • General administration – $107,003
  • Risk management – $106,227
  • Sheriff and jail operations – $141,627
  • SRO – $112,481
  • Health department – $167,1555

Breakdown of the 2019 general fund.

Highway and road department increased $203,984 in 2019 because of personal services such as salary increases and asset purchases.

The unassigned fund balance for 2019 was $1,805,929. These funds have no set classification and could technically be used for any purpose.

Union spent funds from three separate SPLOSTS in 2019 – 2009, 2015, and 2021 SPLOST. The 2009 SPLOST closed out.

Update: Union 180 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 6 deaths

Health, News

UPDATE: July 28 at 3 p.m.

BLAIRSVILLE, Ga – COVID-19 cases in Union County went up to 180 in the 3 p.m. report from the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH).  Deaths for Union remained at six.

DPH updated their reporting to showcase current hotspot and case growth over a 14-day period. In the course of two weeks, Union County saw 61 new COVID-19 cases.

36 residents have been hospitalized with the virus at some point.  DPH admits due to the way they gather this data, it might be underreported. Also, hospitalization number doesn’t reflect the number of current patients in a hospital, but the total number.

Details released about the four deaths are the following: A 78-year-old, white male with unknown medical conditions, a 70-year-old, white female with underlying conditions, an 85-year-old, white male with underlying conditions an 86-year-old, white male with underlying conditions, a 90+ white woman with underlying conditions, and a 78-year-old female with underlying conditions.  The statewide case total is now at 156,588 with 3,360 deaths and 16,353 total statewide hospitalizations.

Number of confirmed cases in counties surrounding Union:

  • Towns – 105
  • White – 241
  • Lumpkin – 247
  • Fannin – 268
  • Cherokee County, N.C. – 231

Currently, DPH hasn’t released any recovery numbers for Georgia cases.

UPDATE: July 23 at 3 p.m.

BLAIRSVILLE, Ga – COVID-19 cases in Union County went up to 151 in the 3 p.m. report from the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH).  However, the deaths for Union remained at four.

Cases went up by four from yesterday’s report.

31 residents have been hospitalized with the virus at some point. This marked two new hospitalizations when the county spent most of July at 29 total hospitalizations.  DPH admits due to the way they gather this data, it might be underreported. Also, hospitalization number doesn’t reflect the number of current patients in a hospital, but the total number.

Details released about the four deaths are the following: A 78-year-old, white male with unknown medical conditions, a 70-year-old, white female with underlying conditions, an 85-year-old, white male with underlying conditions, and an 86-year-old, white male with underlying conditions. The statewide case total is now at 156,588 with 3,360 deaths and 16,353 total statewide hospitalizations.

Number of confirmed cases in counties surrounding Union:

  • Towns – 94
  • White – 241
  • Lumpkin – 233
  • Fannin – 214
  • Cherokee County, N.C. – 189

Currently, DPH hasn’t released any recovery numbers for Georgia cases.

UPDATE: July 21 at 3 p.m.

BLAIRSVILLE, Ga – COVID-19 cases in Union County went up to 147 in the 3 p.m. report from the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH).  However, the deaths for Union went back down to four from five.

31 residents have been hospitalized with the virus at some point. This marked two new hospitalizations when the county spent most of July at 29 total hospitalizations.  DPH admits due to the way they gather this data, it might be underreported. Also, hospitalization number doesn’t reflect the number of current patients in a hospital, but the total number.

Details released about the three deaths are the following: A 78-year-old, white male with unknown medical conditions, a 70-year-old, white female with underlying conditions, an 85-year-old, white male with underlying conditions, an 86-year-old, white male with underlying conditions, and a 55-year old, white female with unknown medical conditions. The statewide case total is now at 152,302 with 3,335 deaths, and 15,922 total statewide hospitalizations.

Number of confirmed cases in counties surrounding Union:

  • Towns – 85
  • White – 236
  • Lumpkin – 222
  • Fannin – 206
  • Cherokee County, N.C. – 178

Currently, DPH hasn’t released any recovery numbers for Georgia cases.

UPDATE: July 21 at 3 p.m.

BLAIRSVILLE, Ga – COVID-19 cases in Union County went up to 144 in the 3 p.m. report from the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH). The county’s reported five total coronavirus-related deaths.

29 residents have been hospitalized with the virus at some point. DPH admits due to the way they gather this data, it might be underreported. Also, hospitalization number doesn’t reflect the number of current patients in a hospital, but the total number.

Details released about the three deaths are the following: A 78-year-old, white male with unknown medical conditions, a 70-year-old, white female with underlying conditions, an 85-year-old, white male with underlying conditions, an 86-year-old, white male with underlying conditions, and a 55-year old, white female with unknown medical conditions. The statewide case total is now at 148,988 with 3,254 deaths, and 15,494 hospitalized.

Number of confirmed cases in counties surrounding Union:

  • Towns – 84
  • White – 228
  • Lumpkin – 211
  • Fannin – 199
  • Cherokee County, N.C. – 171

Currently, DPH hasn’t released any recovery numbers for Georgia cases.

UPDATE: July 16 at 3 p.m.

BLAIRSVILLE, Ga – COVID-19 cases in Union County went up to 127 in the 3 p.m. report from the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH). The county’s reported four total coronavirus-related deaths.

29 residents have been hospitalized with the virus at some point. DPH admits due to the way they gather this data, it might be underreported. Also, hospitalization number doesn’t reflect the number of current patients in a hospital, but the total number.

Details released about the three deaths are the following: A 78-year-old, white male with unknown medical conditions, a 70-year-old, white female with underlying conditions, an 85-year-old, white male with underlying conditions, and an 86-year-old, white male with underlying conditions.

The statewide case total is now at 123,963 with 3,054 deaths, and 13,685 hospitalized.

Number of confirmed cases in counties surrounding Union:

  • Towns – 75
  • White – 195
  • Lumpkin – 189
  • Fannin – 157
  • Cherokee County, N.C. – 124

Currently, DPH hasn’t released any recovery numbers for Georgia cases.

UPDATE: July 12 at 3 p.m.

BLAIRSVILLE, Ga – COVID-19 cases in Union County went up to 109 in the 3 p.m. report from the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH). The county’s reported four total coronavirus-related deaths.

29 residents have been hospitalized with the virus at some point. DPH admits due to the way they gather this data, it might be underreported. Also, hospitalization number doesn’t reflect the number of current patients in a hospital, but the total number.

Details released about the three deaths are the following: A 78-year-old, white male with unknown medical conditions, a 70-year-old, white female with underlying conditions, an 85-year-old, white male with underlying conditions, and an 86-year-old, white male with underlying conditions.

The statewide case total is now at 116,926 with 3,001 deaths, and 13,259 hospitalized.

Number of confirmed cases in counties surrounding Union:

  • Towns – 70
  • White – 172
  • Lumpkin – 170
  • Fannin – 128
  • Cherokee County, N.C. – 92

Currently, DPH hasn’t released any recovery numbers for Georgia cases.

UPDATE: June 26 at 3 p.m.

BLAIRSVILLE, Ga – COVID-19 cases in Union County went up to 67 in the 3 p.m. report from the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH). The county deaths have reached three.

18 residents hospitalized with the virus at some point. DPH admits due to the way they gather this data, it might be underreported. Also, hospitalization number doesn’t reflect the number of current patients in a hospital, but the total number.

Details released about the three deaths are the following: A 78-year-old, white male with unknown medical conditions, a 70-year-old, white female with underlying conditions, and an 85-year-old, white male with underlying conditions.

The statewide case total is now at 72,995 with 2,770 deaths, and10,605 hospitalized.

Number of confirmed cases in counties surrounding Union:

  • Towns – 38
  • White – 136
  • Lumpkin – 130
  • Fannin – 94
  • Cherokee County, N.C. – 38

Currently, DPH hasn’t released any recovery numbers for Georgia cases.

 

UPDATE: June 23 at 3 p.m.

BLAIRSVILLE, Ga – COVID-19 cases in Union County went up to 60 in the 3 p.m. report from the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH). The county deaths have reached three.

16 residents hospitalized with the virus at some point. DPH admits due to the way they gather this data, it might be underreported. Also, hospitalization number doesn’t reflect the number of current patients in a hospital, but the total number.

Details released about the three deaths are the following: A 78-year-old, white male with unknown medical conditions, a 70-year-old, white female with underlying conditions, and an 85-year-old, white male with underlying conditions.

The statewide case total is now at 67,675 with 2,687 deaths, and 10,121 hospitalized.

Number of confirmed cases in counties surrounding Union:

  • Towns – 36
  • White – 132
  • Lumpkin – 121
  • Fannin – 82
  • Cherokee County, N.C. – 34

Currently, DPH hasn’t released any recovery numbers for Georgia cases.

UPDATE: June 17 at 3 p.m.

BLAIRSVILLE, Ga – COVID-19 cases in Union County went up to 56 in the 3 p.m. report from the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH). The county deaths have reached three.

16 residents hospitalized with the virus at some point. DPH admits due to the way they gather this data, it might be underreported. Also, hospitalization number doesn’t reflect the number of current patients in a hospital, but the total number.

Details released about the three deaths are the following: A 78-year-old, white male with unknown medical conditions, a 70-year-old, white female with underlying conditions, and an 85-year-old, white male with underlying conditions.

The statewide case total is now at 60,030 with 2,575 deaths, and 9,543 hospitalized.

Number of confirmed cases in counties surrounding Union:

  • Towns – 35
  • White – 124
  • Lumpkin – 110
  • Fannin – 70
  • Cherokee County, N.C. – 32

Currently, DPH hasn’t released any recovery numbers for Georgia cases.

UPDATE: June 15 at 3 p.m.

BLAIRSVILLE, Ga – COVID-19 cases in Union County went up to 54 in the 3 p.m. report from the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH). The county deaths have reached three.

14 residents hospitalized with the virus at some point. DPH admits due to the way they gather this data, it might be underreported. Also, hospitalization number doesn’t reflect the number of current patients in a hospital, but the total number.

The statewide case total is now at 58,414 with 2,494 deaths, and 9,322 hospitalized.

Number of confirmed cases in counties surrounding Union:

  • Towns – 35
  • White – 124
  • Lumpkin – 107
  • Fannin – 67
  • Cherokee County, N.C. – 32

Currently, DPH hasn’t released any recovery numbers for Georgia cases.

UPDATE: June 11 at 3 p.m.

BLAIRSVILLE, Ga – COVID-19 cases in Union County went up to 53 in the 3 p.m. report from the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH). The county deaths have reached two.

14 residents hospitalized with the virus at some point. DPH admits due to the way they gather this data, it might be underreported. Also, hospitalization number doesn’t reflect the number of current patients in a hospital, but the total number.

The statewide case total is now at 54,973 with 2,375 deaths, and 9,073 hospitalized.

Number of confirmed cases in counties surrounding Union:

  • Towns – 32
  • White – 122
  • Lumpkin – 106
  • Fannin – 63
  • Cherokee County, N.C. – 32

Currently, DPH hasn’t released any recovery numbers for Georgia cases.

UPDATE: June 10 at 3 p.m.

BLAIRSVILLE, Ga – COVID-19 cases in Union County went up to 51 in the 3 p.m. report from the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH). The county deaths also increased to two.

14 residents hospitalized with the virus at some point. DPH admits due to the way they gather this data, it might be underreported. Also, hospitalization number doesn’t reflect the number of current patients in a hospital, but the total number.

The statewide case total is now at 53,980 with 2,329 deaths, and 8,974 hospitalized.

Number of confirmed cases in counties surrounding Union:

  • Towns – 31
  • White – 117
  • Lumpkin – 105
  • Fannin – 59
  • Cherokee County, N.C. – 32

Currently, DPH hasn’t released any recovery numbers for Georgia cases.

UPDATE: June 3 at 3 p.m.

BLAIRSVILLE, Ga – COVID-19 cases in Union County went up to 46 in the 3 p.m. report from the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH).

12 residents hospitalized with the virus at some point. 32 patients haven’t required a hospital stay, but DPH admits due to the way they gather this data, it might be underreported. Also, hospitalization number doesn’t reflect the number of current patients in a hospital, but the total number.

Fetch Your News received information that as of Thursday, May 21, Union General Hospital only had one active COVID-19 patient in their facility. Also, the hospital has conducted 612 tests and only 54 came back positive. These cases might not all be Union County residents, just where the person received the initial COVID-19 test.

The statewide case total is now at 44,638 with 1,933 deaths, and 7,745 hospitalized.

Number of confirmed cases in counties surrounding Union:

  • Towns – 24
  • White – 103
  • Lumpkin – 99
  • Fannin – 47
  • Cherokee County, N.C. – 31

Currently, DPH hasn’t released any recovery numbers for Georgia cases.

UPDATE: May 27 at 1 p.m.

BLAIRSVILLE, Ga – COVID-19 cases in Union County went up to 43 in the 12 p.m. report from the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH).

11 residents hospitalized with the virus at some point. 30 patients haven’t required a hospital stay, but DPH admits due to the way they gather this data, it might be underreported. Also, hospitalization number doesn’t reflect the number of current patients in a hospital, but the total number.

Fetch Your News received information that as of Thursday, May 21, Union General Hospital only had one active COVID-19 patient in their facility. Also, the hospital has conducted 612 tests and only 54 came back positive. These cases might not all be Union County residents, just where the person received the initial COVID-19 test.

The statewide case total is now at 44,421 with 1,907 deaths, and 7,666 hospitalized.

Number of confirmed cases in counties surrounding Union:

  • Towns – 22
  • White – 95
  • Lumpkin – 92
  • Fannin – 40
  • Cherokee County, N.C. – 30

Currently, DPH hasn’t released any recovery numbers for Georgia cases.

UPDATE: May 26 at 7 p.m.

BLAIRSVILLE, Ga – COVID-19 cases in Union County went up to 41 in the 7 p.m. report from the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH).

11 residents hospitalized with the virus at some point. 30 patients haven’t required a hospital stay, but DPH admits due to the way they gather this data, it might be underreported. Also, hospitalization number doesn’t reflect the number of current patients in a hospital, but the total number.

Fetch Your News received information that as of Thursday, May 21, Union General Hospital only had one active COVID-19 patient in their facility. Also, the hospital has conducted 612 tests and only 54 came back positive. These cases might not all be Union County residents, just where the person received the initial COVID-19 test.

The statewide case total is now at 43,983 with 1,895 deaths, and 7,640 hospitalized.

Number of confirmed cases in counties surrounding Union:

  • Towns – 22
  • White – 95
  • Lumpkin – 91
  • Fannin – 40
  • Cherokee County, N.C. – 30

Currently, DPH hasn’t released any recovery numbers for Georgia cases.

UPDATE: May 21 at 9 a.m.

BLAIRSVILLE, Ga – COVID-19 cases in Union County went up to 39 in the 9 a.m. report from the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH).

10 residents hospitalized with the virus at some point. 19 patients haven’t required a hospital stay, but DPH admits due to the way they gather this data, it might be underreported. Also, hospitalization number doesn’t reflect the number of current patients in a hospital, but the total number.

The statewide case total is now at 40,157 with 1,724 deaths, and 7,194 hospitalized.

Number of confirmed cases in counties surrounding Union:

  • Towns – 21
  • White – 91
  • Lumpkin – 88
  • Fannin – 39
  • Cherokee County, N.C. – 30

Currently, DPH hasn’t released any recovery numbers for Georgia cases.

UPDATE: May 18 at 7 p.m.

BLAIRSVILLE, Ga – COVID-19 cases in Union County went up to 37 in the 7 p.m. report from the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH).

This is the first increase in cases in almost a week.

Union County residents can now be tested at the Towns County Health Department, but need to call the Union County Health Department first to set up an appointment time.

The expanded availability in testing has further slowed lab turnaround times. Reportedly, it can take up to a week or more for a patient to learn their results.

10 residents hospitalized with the virus at some point. 17 patients haven’t required a hospital stay, but DPH admits due to the way they gather this data, it might be underreported. Also, hospitalization number doesn’t reflect the number of current patients in a hospital, but the total number.

The statewide case total is now at 38,283 with 1,649 deaths, and 6,992 hospitalized.

Number of confirmed cases in counties surrounding Union:

  • Towns – 21
  • White – 87
  • Lumpkin – 83
  • Fannin – 38
  • Cherokee County, N.C. – 30

Currently, DPH hasn’t released any recovery numbers for Georgia cases.

UPDATE: May 13 at 7 p.m.

BLAIRSVILLE, Ga – COVID-19 cases in Union County went up to 36 in the 12 p.m. report from the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH).

The number of confirmed cases could see a rapid increase however as DPH released details on Friday about opening testing up to all Georgians. Those who wish to be tested need to contact their local health departments.

Union County also has 10 residents hospitalized with the virus. 16 patients haven’t required a hospital stay, but DPH admits due to the way they gather this data, it might be underreported. Also, hospitalization number doesn’t reflect the number of current patients in a hospital, but the total number.

The statewide case total is now at 35,427 with 1,517 deaths, and 6,308 hospitalized.

Two employees and one patient in Union County Nursing Home are also confirmed to have COVID-19 as of May 1.

Number of confirmed cases in counties surrounding Union:

  • Towns – 21
  • White – 88
  • Lumpkin – 80
  • Fannin – 36
  • Cherokee County, N.C. – 27

Currently, DPH hasn’t released any recovery numbers for Georgia cases.

UPDATE: May 11 at 6 p.m.

BLAIRSVILLE, Ga – COVID-19 cases in Union County went up to 35 in the 7 p.m. report from the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH).

The number of confirmed cases could see a rapid increase however as DPH released details on Friday about opening testing up to all Georgians. Those who wish to be tested need to contact their local health departments.

Union County also has 10 residents hospitalized with the virus. 15 patients haven’t required a hospital stay, but DPH admits due to the way they gather this data, it might be underreported. Also, hospitalization number doesn’t reflect the number of current patients in a hospital, but the total number.

The statewide case total is now at 34,002 with 1,444 deaths, and 6,036 hospitalized.

Two employees and one patient in Union County Nursing Home are also confirmed to have COVID-19 as of May 1.

Number of confirmed cases in counties surrounding Union:

  • Towns – 20
  • White – 88
  • Lumpkin – 76
  • Fannin – 34
  • Cherokee County, N.C. – 27

Currently, DPH hasn’t released any recovery numbers for Georgia cases.

UPDATE: May 9 at 6 p.m.

BLAIRSVILLE, Ga – COVID-19 cases in Union County went up to 34 in the 6 p.m. report from the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH).

The number of confirmed cases could see a rapid increase however as DPH released details on Friday about opening testing up to all Georgians. Those who wish to be tested need to contact their local health departments.

Union County also has 10 residents hospitalized with the virus. 14 patients haven’t required a hospital stay, but DPH admits due to the way they gather this data, it might be underreported. Also, hospitalization number doesn’t reflect the number of current patients in a hospital, but the total number.

The statewide case total is now at 32,568 with 1,401 deaths, and 5,988 hospitalized.

Two employees and one patient in Union County Nursing Home are also confirmed to have COVID-19 as of May 1.

Number of confirmed cases in counties surrounding Union:

  • Towns – 20
  • White – 88
  • Lumpkin – 76
  • Fannin – 34
  • Cherokee County, N.C. – 27

Currently, DPH hasn’t released any recovery numbers for Georgia cases.

UPDATE: May 7 at 6 p.m.

BLAIRSVILLE, Ga – COVID-19 cases in Union County went up to 33 in the 6 p.m. report from the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH).

Union County also has 10 residents hospitalized with the virus. 21 patients haven’t required a hospital stay, but DPH admits due to the way they gather this data, it might be underreported. Also, hospitalization number doesn’t reflect number of current patients in a hospital, but the total number.

The statewide case total is now at 31,575 with 1,340 deaths, and 5,864 hospitalized.

Two employees and one patient in Union County Nursing Home are also confirmed to have COVID-19 as of May 1.

Number of confirmed cases in counties surrounding Union:

  • Towns – 20
  • White – 87
  • Lumpkin – 76
  • Fannin – 34
  • Cherokee County, N.C. – 27

Currently, DPH hasn’t released any recovery numbers for Georgia cases.

UPDATE: May 5 at 6 p.m.

BLAIRSVILLE, Ga – COVID-19 cases in Union County went up to 32 in the 6 p.m. report from the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH).

Union County also has 10 residents hospitalized with the virus. 21 patients haven’t required a hospital stay, but DPH admits due to the way they gather this data, it might be underreported. Also, hospitalization number doesn’t reflect number of current patients in a hospital, but the total number.

The statewide case total is now at 29,839 with 1,294 deaths, and 5,654 hospitalized.

Two employees and one patient in Union County Nursing Home are also confirmed to have COVID-19 as of May 1.

Number of confirmed cases in counties surrounding Union:

  • Towns – 20
  • White – 83
  • Lumpkin – 69
  • Fannin – 32
  • Cherokee County, N.C. – 19

Currently, DPH hasn’t released any recovery numbers for Georgia cases.

UPDATE: May 4 at 7 p.m.

BLAIRSVILLE, Ga – COVID-19 cases in Union County went back up to 31 in the 7 p.m. report from the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH).

Union County also has 10 residents hospitalized with the virus. 21 patients haven’t required a hospital stay, but DPH admits due to the way they gather this data, it might be underreported. Also, hospitalization number doesn’t reflect number of current patients in a hospital, but the total number.

The statewide case total is now at 29,437 with 1,243 deaths, and 5,537 hospitalized.

Two employees and one patient in Union County Nursing Home are also confirmed to have COVID-19 as of May 1.

Number of confirmed cases in counties surrounding Union:

  • Towns – 19
  • White – 79
  • Lumpkin – 67
  • Fannin – 32
  • Cherokee County, N.C. – 19

Currently, DPH hasn’t released any recovery numbers for Georgia cases.

UPDATE: May 2 at 7 p.m.

BLAIRSVILLE, Ga – COVID-19 cases in Union County continue to fall in the 7 p.m. report from the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH). According to the department, Union now has 30 cases down from 33.

Earlier in the week, DPH also removed a death from the Union County list bring that statistic back to one.

According to the latest update, Union County also had 10 total hospitalizations.

Earlier in the day, Towns County received it’s first confirmed death as well.

The statewide case total is now at 28,332 with 1,174 deaths and 5,389 hospitalized.

Two employees and one patient in Union County Nursing Home are also confirmed to have COVID-19 as of May 1.

Number of confirmed cases in counties surrounding Union:

  • Towns – 21
  • White – 78
  • Lumpkin – 63
  • Fannin – 31
  • Cherokee County, N.C. – 16

Currently, DPH hasn’t released any recovery numbers for Georgia cases.

UPDATE: April 28 at 7 p.m.

BLAIRSVILLE, Ga – In the 7 p.m. report, the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) listed the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Union at 33. However, previous reports from DPH listed two deaths for the county, but the government agency appears to have rescinded one death.

It’s unclear at this time why the death was removed or if it was the elderly male or female previously identified. The new DPH reports removed the deceased patient breakdowns in favor of aggregate data.

According to the latest update, Union County also had 10 total hospitalizations.

Earlier in the day, Towns County received it’s first confirmed death as well.

The statewide case total is now at 24,844 with 1,036 deaths and 4,896 hospitalized.

One employee in Union County Nursing Home is also confirmed to have COVID-19 as of April 23.

Number of confirmed cases in counties surrounding Union:

  • Towns – 21
  • White – 56
  • Lumpkin – 37
  • Fannin – 26
  • Cherokee County, N.C. – 16

Currently, DPH hasn’t released any recovery numbers for Georgia cases.

UPDATE: April 26 at 7 p.m.

BLAIRSVILLE, Ga – In the 7 p.m. report, the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) listed the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Union at 32 with two COVID-19 related deaths.

The statewide case total is now at 23,481 with 916 deaths and 4,377 hospitalized.

One employee in Union County Nursing Home is also confirmed to have COVID-19 as of April 23.

Number of confirmed cases in counties surrounding Union:

  • Towns – 20
  • White – 38
  • Lumpkin – 29
  • Fannin – 23
  • Cherokee County, N.C. – 15

Currently, DPH hasn’t released any recovery numbers for Georgia cases.

UPDATE: April 26 at 12 p.m.

BLAIRSVILLE, Ga – In the 12 p.m. report, the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) listed the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Union at 29 with 2 COVID-19 related deaths.

The statewide case total is now at 23,401 with 912 deaths and 4,359 hospitalized.

One employee in Union County Nursing Home is also confirmed to have COVID-19 as of April 23.

Number of cases in counties surrounding Union:

  • Towns – 20
  • White – 38
  • Lumpkin – 29
  • Fannin – 21
  • Cherokee County, N.C. – 15

Currently, DPH hasn’t released any recovery numbers for Georgia cases.

UPDATE: April 25 at 7 p.m.

BLAIRSVILLE, Ga – In the 7 p.m. report, the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) listed the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Union at 28 with 2 Covid-19 related deaths.

The statewide case total is now at 23,216 with 907 deaths and 4,353 hospitalized.

Number of cases in counties surrounding Union:

  • Towns – 20
  • White – 36
  • Lumpkin – 29
  • Fannin – 21
  • Cherokee County, N.C. – 15

Currently, DPH hasn’t released any recovery numbers for Georgia cases.

UPDATE: April 24 at 7 p.m.

BLAIRSVILLE, Ga – In the 7 p.m. report, the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) listed the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Union at 27. The county’s second death was also reported – an 84-year-old female with underlying conditions.

The first COVID-19-related death was a 79-year-old male with underlying conditions.

The statewide case total is now at 22,491 with 899 deaths and 4,322 hospitalized.

Number of cases in counties surrounding Union:

  • Towns – 20
  • White – 38
  • Lumpkin – 29
  • Fannin – 21
  • Cherokee County, N.C. – 15

Currently, DPH hasn’t released any recovery numbers for Georgia cases.

UPDATE: April 23 at 7 p.m.

BLAIRSVILLE, Ga – In the 7 p.m. report, the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) listed the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Union at 25.

The statewide case total is now at 21,883 with 881 deaths and 4,154 hospitalized.

Number of cases in counties surrounding Union:

  • Towns – 19
  • White – 36
  • Lumpkin – 28
  • Fannin – 20
  • Cherokee County, N.C. – 14

Currently, DPH hasn’t released any recovery numbers for Georgia cases.

UPDATE: April 22 at 7 p.m.

BLAIRSVILLE, Ga – In the 7 p.m. report, the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) listed the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Union at 18.

The statewide case total is now at 21,102 with 846 deaths and 4,018 hospitalized.

Number of cases in counties surrounding Union:

  • Towns – 19
  • White – 33
  • Lumpkin – 26
  • Fannin – 20
  • Cherokee County, N.C. – 14

Currently, DPH hasn’t released any recovery numbers for Georgia cases.

UPDATE: April 20 at 7 p.m.

BLAIRSVILLE, Ga – In the 7 p.m. report, the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) added one more COVID-19 case to Union County bringing the total to 16.

The statewide case total is now at 19,399 with 775 deaths and 3,703 hospitalized.

Sole Commissioner Lamar Paris, released the following information earlier today:

“At this time, Union General Hospital has tested 165 people with 19 confirmed positives while awaiting the results of 17 tests. This does not include any people who may have used private company testing as we have no way to know who they are.

It is apparently impossible for the CDC numbers to match up exactly with hospital numbers, but this is the latest info taking into consideration that the numbers sometimes change hourly. However, the testing process is improving and test that once took a week to receive the results, are now being received within 24 – 48 hours. We may see more positive responses as we test more, but it is also now easier to keep up with accurate data about Union County COVID-19 cases.”

Number of cases in counties surrounding Union:

  • Towns – 15
  • White – 30
  • Lumpkin – 24
  • Fannin – 19
  • Cherokee County, N.C. – 14

“So while our numbers are increasing, they are moving very slowly. We are keeping our fingers crossed. We can not be too careful and we all must continue to wash our hands, keep 6’ from others, wear masks when possible, do not have any groups over 10 people, and remain at home “Shelter in Place” as much as possible. We are not out of the woods yet!!” Paris added.

Currently, DPH hasn’t released any recovery numbers for Georgia cases.

UPDATE: April 20 at 12 p.m.

BLAIRSVILLE, Ga – In the 12 p.m. report, the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) added one more COVID-19 case to Union County bringing the total to 15.

The statewide case total is now at 18,947 with 733 deaths and 3,550 hospitalized.

Number of cases in counties surrounding Union:

  • Towns – 13
  • White – 21
  • Lumpkin – 23
  • Fannin – 16
  • Cherokee County, N.C. – 14

Currently, DPH hasn’t released any recovery numbers for Georgia cases.

UPDATE: April 19 at 12 p.m.

BLAIRSVILLE, Ga – In the 12 p.m. report, the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) added two more COVID-19 cases to Union County bringing the total to 14.

The statewide case total is now at 18,301 with 687 deaths and 3,464 hospitalized.

Number of cases in counties surrounding Union:

  • Towns – 13
  • White – 20
  • Lumpkin – 23
  • Fannin – 16
  • Cherokee County, N.C. – 14

Currently, DPH hasn’t released any recovery numbers for Georgia cases.

UPDATE: April 18 at 7 p.m.

BLAIRSVILLE, Ga – In the 7 p.m. report, the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) added two more COVID-19 cases to Union County bringing the total to twelve.

The statewide case total is now at 17,841 with 677 deaths and 3,447 hospitalized.

Number of cases in counties surrounding Union:

  • Towns – 12
  • White – 20
  • Lumpkin – 22
  • Fannin – 15
  • Cherokee County, N.C. – 14

Currently, DPH hasn’t released any recovery numbers for Georgia cases.

UPDATE: April 17 at 12 p.m.

BLAIRSVILLE, Ga – In the 12 p.m. report, the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) added two more COVID-19 cases to Union County bringing the total to ten.

The statewide case total is now at 17,194 with 650 deaths and 3,324 hospitalized.

Number of cases in counties surrounding Union:

  • Towns – 10
  • White – 20
  • Lumpkin – 20
  • Fannin – 14
  • Cherokee County, N.C. – 14

Currently, DPH hasn’t released any recovery numbers for Georgia cases.

UPDATE: April 14 at 12 p.m. 

BLAIRSVILLE, Ga – In the 12 p.m. report, the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) added another COVID-19 case to Union County bringing the total to eight.

The statewide case total is now at 14,223 with 501 deaths and 2,769 hospitalized.

Number of cases in counties surrounding Union:

  • Towns – 6
  • White – 13
  • Lumpkin – 10
  • Fannin – 13
  • Cherokee County, N.C. – 12

Currently, DPH hasn’t released any recovery numbers for Georgia cases.

UPDATE: April 11 at 12 p.m.

BLAIRSVILLE, Ga – In the 12 p.m. report, the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) added another COVID-19 case to Union County, bringing the total to seven.

The statewide case total is now at 12,159 with 428 deaths and 2,479 hospitalized. The total number of cases grew by 676 since yesterday’s 12 p.m. report.

Yesterday, Union General Health System released a statement about a Chatuge Regional Hospital employee testing positive. Fetch Your News spoke with a hospital representative about the case, find more details here.

Number of cases in counties surrounding Union:

  • Towns – 3
  • White – 11
  • Lumpkin – 9
  • Fannin – 9
  • Cherokee County, N.C. – 10

UPDATE: April 10 at 12 p.m

BLAIRSVILLE, Ga – In the 12 p.m. report, the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) added another COVID-19 case to Union County, bringing the total to six.

The statewide case total is now at 11,483 with 416 deaths and 2,351 hospitalized. The total number of cases grew by 598 since last night’s report. DPH isn’t releasing additional details about patients or recovery numbers at this time. It added racial data to the report, but the major of cases race is still unknown.

Number of cases in counties surrounding Union:

  • Towns – 3
  • White – 11
  • Lumpkin – 9
  • Fannin – 9
  • Cherokee County, N.C. – 10

UPDATE: April 9 at 12 p.m. Additional detailed added at 6:30 p.m. 

BLAIRSVILLE, Ga – Union County now has one COVID-19- related death confirmed by the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) as of April 9 at 12 p.m.

The individual was a 79-year-old male with underlying conditions due to HIPAA laws, no other details will be released by DPH about the person. Union General Hospital also told Fetch Your News that the system hasn’t yet had a COVID-19 death.

Due to the deceased patient’s age and underlying conditions did was considered a high-risk individual according to the DPH.

DPH District 2 MPH Dave Palmer issued the following statement to those worried about the spread of the virus:

“While Covid-19 causes only mild to moderate symptoms in about 80% of the people infected with the virus, it is a serious illness causing more severe symptoms for some people. We must all do our part to slow and stop the spread of the virus and protect those who are most at risk. Governor Kemp’s shelter in place order has specific instructions to stay home and only go out for essential needs. If you have a weakened immune system, you should stay at home and away from other people as much as possible. Allow family and friends to get essential items and deliver them to you. Have them leave the items at the door. Remember no visitors. For those who must go out, take precautions to limit your exposure – maintain social distancing at all times, wash your hands often especially after touching common surfaces (doors, gas pumps, etc.), do not touch your face, & wear a face covering if you choose.”

The number of confirmed cases hasn’t gone up from yesterday’s report. As of 12 p.m., Union County still has five confirmed cases.

Fetch Your News asked Union EMA Director and Fire Chief David Dyer about these cases and he said some of them are at home self-isolating.

On his Facebook, Sole Commissioner reported the following about confirmed cases in Union: “The Georgia Department of Public Health COVID-19 Daily Status Report shows currently that Union County has 5 Corona Virus cases that have tested positive. I will verify this a little later, but at least three of these have gone home from the hospital with either one or two still active.”

Dyer urged Union County residents to continue to follow CDC, local, state, and federal guidelines as the community experiences COVID-19 spread. People need to stay home, wash their hands, and contact their primary care provider if they begin to exhibit virus symptoms.

UPDATE: April 8 at 7 p.m.

BLAIRSVILLE, Ga  – Confirmed cases in Union are now at five as of the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) April 8, 7 p.m. report. This continued daily growth could be the result of previous tests finally being processed by the laboratories and the state.

In Gov. Kemp’s April 8 press conference, DPH Commissioner Kathleen Toomey admitted that while the department has the most accurate information, it is not real-time. She also added that this applies to all health diseases because it takes time to process tests. Georgia now has 29 laboratories that can test for COVID-19.

Toomey also said the DPH isn’t necessarily keeping up the information coming from local hospitals or on social media.

Counties surrounding Union:

  • Towns – 2
  • White – 11
  • Lumpkin – 9
  • Fannin – 9
  • Cherokee County, N.C. – 9

As for public notification about from DPH about where patients went in the community before testing positive, District Two Health Department MPH told Fetch Your News,

“We depend on information from the individuals that we interview to be inclusive of everywhere they have been and all persons they have had close contact with. Again, they have to have close contact – less than 6 feet and longer than 10 minutes. There should not be any tourism per the governor’s shelter in place order. There should be no public gatherings. People out in public should only be there for essential reasons, food, banking, etc..and should be practicing social distancing. Because the virus is spreading we are not issuing press releases about cases – they are reflected on the GDPH website.”

Fetch Your News has chosen to report on cases confirmed by the Georgia Department of Health (DPH) only. These reports may not reflect real-time spread as the laboratories processing COVID-19 tests are reportedly backlogged by several days. Fetch Your News is also reaching out to local sources to confirm positive cases before writing articles on the subject.

Update: April 7 at 7 p.m.

BLAIRSVILLE, Ga – Within the span of seven hours, Union County’s confirmed COVID-19 cases grew from three to four according to the April 7 Georgia’s Department of Public Health Report at 7 p.m.

In the 12 p.m. update, DPH informed the public that Union County had three cases, up from the first case, which was originally reported last week. The 7 p.m. update also saw statewide cases reach over 9,000 and 348 deaths.

Cases continue to be found throughout North Georgia with several counties seeing an increase in COVID-19 numbers. Pickens now has two COVID-19 related deaths. Dawson has one death. All were senior citizens and at least two had underlying conditions.

Currently, the DPH report doesn’t release recovery numbers. However, last week in Cherokee County, N.C., its health department reported that six of it’s nine confirmed cases have recovered.

Please keep everyone battling the virus and their families in your thoughts and prayers.

Earlier Update and Original Story Below:

BLAIRSVILLE, Ga – In Georgia Department of Public Health’s (DPH) April 7, 12 p.m. report, it confirmed that Union County now has three COVID-19 cases.

The reports don’t provide details about individuals. Fetch Your News will update the story as information becomes available. Please keep the patient and their family in your thoughts and prayers.

Union General Hospital issued a press release last week about a case and patient, who is a Towns County resident being treated at the facility.

Georgia now has 8,818 cases, and a Public Health State of Emergency is in effect until April 13.

Union General Hospital went on lockdown on March 17, 2020, in an effort to prevent COVID-19 from easily entering or leaving the facility.

Blairsville and Union County declared a state of emergency the week of March 23.

The DPH’s only been testing symptomatic and at-risk patients at this point in time. Union County residents should remain vigilant with social distancing and handwashing to prevent the potential spread of the virus.

Cherokee County, N.C. borders Union County to the North and had eleven confirmed, but two being reported in N.Y. and Illinois because the patients reside in those states. The N.Y. patient also attended a contra dance at John C. Campbell Folk School on March 10, so anyone who also visited the Folk School that day should be tested if they start to exhibit symptoms.

Towns County now has two confirmed cases.

Lumpkin County to Union’s southern border now has nine cases of COVID-19. No details are known at this time.

White County which also borders Union to the south has nine cases. Fannin to Union’s west has ten cases.

Stay with Fetch Your News as we bring you up-to-date news about the spread of the virus in North Georgia and Western North Carolina. See the latest numbers here.

Fetch Your News has chosen to report on confirmed cases from the DPH and is reaching out to other sources for details in order to provide accurate information. DPH reports aren’t necessarily real-time cases, but a few days behind due to the backlog of tests.

Celebrating a socially distanced Independence Day

Community

BLAIRSVILLE, Ga – Blairsville-Union County Georgia Chamber of Commerce plans to host its annual Fourth of July fireworks celebration, but this year, the festivities look a little different.

COVID-19 continues to be a concern in Union County and Georgia as cases grow, but the Chamber has taken social distancing precautions to hopefully keep everyone safe. COVID-19 safety signage will be placed throughout the event to encourage health and safety.

The annual fireworks show takes place at Meeks Park at 9:30 p.m. with reserved parking at the park and North Georgia Technical College (NGTC). However, all reserved parking is sold out. Kona Ice will serve icy treats on the NGTC side.

All public parking is free. The Chamber still encourages social distancing for those spaces but can’t dictate where people park in public spaces.

Attendees can also participate in the Sun and Fun Mountain Raffle for $10 a ticket. If anyone is interested in a ticket, contact the chamber at (706) 745-5789.

independence Day

The raffle winner will receive the items pictured.

As of now, there is no rain date for the event.

Blairsville City Hall and Union County government each donated $7,000 to the event. Woodsmen Life, Cabin Coffee, Blairsville Bikes, Alexanders, United Community Bank, Sears Hometown Store, Dixie Confexions, Union General Health Systems, Nelson Tractor, Longhorn Steakhouse, Nelsons Feed and Hardware, Hughes Outdoor, and Sunrise Grocery all helped to sponsor the event in some way.

Independence Day Options

Also, United Methodist Church plans to open its parking lot at 7 p.m.

Nottely Marina is hosting its annual boat parade at 12 p.m. on Saturday, July 4.

However, Suches Fire Department canceled its fireworks at Woody Gap School in June. It hopes to reschedule.

Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) wishes for everyone to stay close to the people they normally interact with this Independence Day. According to DPH, “this year for the Fourth, do not host or attend gatherings of large groups of people or share food or beverage items, and it is preferable that events are outdoors.”

Additionally, be sure to take each of these protective measures:

  • Wear a cloth face covering or mask
  • Cover coughs and sneezes
  • Wash hands frequently with soap and water or use hand sanitizer
  • Maintain a social distance of at least 6 feet
  • Avoid physical contact with others by not giving hugs, handshakes, high fives, or fist bumps
  • Keep surfaces and frequently used objects disinfected
  • Have an emergency kit handy that includes protective items such as face coverings, tissues, hand sanitizers with at least 60% alcohol, disinfectant wipes, etc.
  • Be mindful of people who are at high risk for becoming infected and have underlying medical conditions that could cause them to become more seriously ill with COVID-19

The BOE Recognizes The Hard Work of The Staff and Community

Board of Education, Featured Stories
Union BOE

BLAIRSVILLE, Ga – Last night, during the Union County BOE Meeting, Superintendent Hill expressed his thanks, appreciation, and gratitude for the staff of Union County Schools.

He recognized the school nutrition staff, who have served a total of 132,000 meals. Children in Union County will continue to receive meals until June 25th.

Hill also acknowledged the police department’s efforts. The officers gave out 600 twenty-pound boxes of produce to the community.  

The superintendent stated that the entire faculty and staff went “so far above and beyond.” He acknowledged their long hours working for the students.  Their efforts weren’t limited to meal service, education, or sanitization. Coach Corey Garrett developed an online workout program for students.

Lastly, Hill commended staff who completed the summer preparation early. He also acknowledged Union County High School Principal C.T. Hussion for hosting “the best graduation in the United States.”

Superintendent Hill said, “I couldn’t be more proud of our staff. Every single employee in this district has done more than we’ve asked.” The BOE plans to honor and recognize all the hard work from the entire staff. Hill states that once social distancing is lifted, the BOE will need to have a meeting in the fine arts center to recognize everyone’s hard work. This meeting will be, as Hill adds, ”a long, but a good one.” 

The BOE also voted unanimously to renew the Union-Towns contract for Alternative Education. This allows alternative students from Towns county to attend Union County Alternative School.

Additionally, the BOE unanimously voted to renew the Family Connection contract for the 2021 fiscal year. Family Connection has provided students with anything they need such as shoes, food for the weekend, or a trip to the health department.

Dr. Paula Davenport states, “Anyway they can help they find a way to do it.”

 Family Connection services pose no extra cost as the expenditure budget remains the same as last year.

Target range progresses with signing of cost estimate agreements

Community, News
target range

UNION COUNTY, Ga – The target range project continued to progress with the signing of several agreements between the county, government agencies, and one private organization. The county’s currently in the cost estimate phase of the project. These will be used to determine the final project price tag.

The intended range will be located off Hwy. 180. The county received approval from the U.S. Forest Service in late 2019 after holding several public hearings on the matter. All were cleared without any significant opposition from the citizens as a result, the county received a land permit from the Forest Service to use the area.

The special use permit signed in the May 2020 Union County Commission meeting covered 15 acres for the county to maintain, construct, and operate the target range. The agreement will last 20 years, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service waived the land use fee.

A temporary special use permit for the geotechnical boring on National Forest System lands was also issued between Union County and the Forest Service. This permit will not be renewed.

Breedlove Land Planning will conduct site planning and engineering for the target range. The contracted amount for the service is $99,500.00 and went into effect on March 23, 2020. Site planning has already begun.

An intergovernmental agreement between Union County and the Georgia Department of Natural Resources reimbursed Union for the approved costs of construction drawings and cost estimates for the gun range for up to $90,000. The county has agreed to contribute matching funds in an amount, not to exceed $30,000. This agreement went into effect on January 24, 2020.

Currently, the site is in the final design stages for grading. For each period, a plan will be presented, then the county and Union County Gun Club can make suggestions or ideas for the area.

“The only thing we don’t know in the end is the total cost and that’s what this process is about is coming up with the total estimated costs and construction costs. We know that unfortunately, it’s going to be somewhere between $1M or $2M dollars,” stated Sole Commissioner Lamar Paris. “We didn’t worry about this so much before the days of COVID-19 when the economy was going good, and revenue and SPLOST was going good. We’re still committed to going forward with the plan to come up with the costs estimates. Then, it’s just a matter of figuring out for sure if that’s something we can afford, and can we afford it now? Can we afford part of it now? Are we still going to be able to do the whole thing? We don’t know that yet until we get total costs.”

The expense is shared by DNR, which distributes out a portion of Special Funds to projects that the agency believes will positively impact gun recreation activities. The Union County Target Range falls into that category.

However, the process of determining the exact matching percentage can be complicated. To receive the match, the county must build the shooting range according to DNR specifications and how often the facility will be open to the public

“What the DNR has intimated to us is that based on the percentage of the time, you allow the general public to have access to it is based on how much participation, they’re going to put into the project,” explained Paris, “For example, say it costs $2M, they’re going to let the general public have to 50 percent of the time, and the gun club have it 50 percent of the time, then their point is, we may give you 50 percent of the money.”

Several discussions must take place between the DNR, Union County, gun club, and U.S. Forest Service about the usage of the area. The target range still needs to adhere to Forest Service guidelines. BERM wall height, soil, the slope of BERM walls, and more aspects all must be considered during the engineering phase.

The exact match amount won’t be available until DNR issues a decision. Once announced, the county can determine how much of the project to complete or if it can afford to build the entire range at once.

Union County Gun Club will operate the facility.

Additional County Projects

The double gymnasium will hopefully be opening in September or potentially earlier.

Pickleball Courts are ready, but the exterior work and roads still need to be completed.

The off-the-leash dog park should be ready to open within 30 days.

However, the opening of all these facilities is also contingent on COVID-19 policies in place at the time of completion.

Union County declares public health state of emergency, some businesses to close

Community, News, Police & Government
state of emergency

UNION COUNTY, Ga – At 2 p.m. on Thursday, March 26, Sole Commissioner Lamar Paris approved a state of emergency in Union County on the courthouse steps. The declaration is to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 in Union County.

The order goes into effect on March 30 at 12:01 am. and will last until April 30 at 11:59 p.m. It can also be rescinded at an earlier time by the commissioner or will automatically terminate if Gov. Kemp ends the statewide state of emergency. The procedures enacted are based on the current threat level in Union County and can be reassessed as the pandemic progresses in the state and Union County.

Blairsville City Council declared a state of emergency on March 25, which goes into effect at 9 p.m. on March 26.

Under this state of emergency, all restaurants in the county can only offer carry-out, curbside, or drive-thru services. All on-premise dining is prohibited while the order is in effect. Restaurants licensed to sell alcohol may continue to sell by the package in sealed containers without obtaining an additional license. However, the sale of beer or wine is only allowed with the purchase of a meal. It may not be sold separately.

Businesses that provide “body care services which require physical contact between the provider and client, including but not limited to, barbering, hair design, cosmetology, massage therapy, body waxing, or nail care shall be closed for business.” This directive doesn’t restrict any services provided under the direct supervision of a licensed medical doctor, nurse, dentist, physical therapist, chiropractor, or other healthcare professionals.

All establishments not mentioned in the state of emergency declaration must post signage on entrance doors informing customers to maintain at least six feet of distance between themselves and others. If stores can’t maintain the social distancing of six feet of separation, then only ten individuals can be allowed in at any one time.

Any business certified as “essential” by Georgia Emergency Management Agency (GEMA) and pursuant to O.C.G.A. 38-3-58 or designated by the Governor as “critical infrastructure” or medial or health services are still free to conduct business.

Meeks Park playgrounds and the outside exercise areas are going to be closed on Wednesday, March 25. However, Meeks Park isn’t being shut down at this time and will be signs placed at the park’s entrance stating that it is open for local use only. This means that taxpayers or Union County residents may use the park for walking/ jogging if it’s not in an organized group larger than 10 people. Social distancing will also be in place at the park. No one should be within six feet of each other, unless immediate family.

Anyone showing symptoms of COVID-19 as recognized by the CDC can’t enter public areas, businesses, shops, public transportation facilities, restaurants, or any area where “the public ingresses or egresses.” This person should seek medical treatment with their primary care physician and follow their directions until cleared to return to public interaction.

Copy of ordinance.

All public gatherings – organized groups larger than 10 – are prohibited on any county-owned or controlled property. This doesn’t prohibit the use of sidewalks or pedestrian areas in parks for walking or other exercises as long as it isn’t part of an organized group of 10 or more.

The county is not issuing a shelter in place or curfew order currently but reserves the right to do so in the future. Residents can choose to quarantine themselves or shelter in place, but it’s not a current directive by the local government. This means individuals only leave their homes for groceries, medication, or medical assistant.

Union County Sheriff’s Office is authorized to enforce the orders, rules, and regulations enacted during the state of emergency.

Anyone who violates any provision of the ordinance could be subject to a misdemeanor charge with a fine up to $1,000 and imprisonment of up to 60 days for each separate violations. Individuals found assisting in “commission of a violation shall be guilty of separate offenses” as well.

Enotah District Attorney Jeff Langley informed Fetch Your News that each day the failure to comply continues it will count as a separate violation.

The EMA director is authorized to “obtain an injunction to restrain the violation of laws, code sections, orders, rules, and regulations that are contained in the GEMA act, the ordinance, or implemented by the commissioner.

The courthouse to closed to “casual traffic.” Someone must be granted permission from an employee to enter. Courthouse employees are still working. There are exceptions for the Clerk of Court Office and all court-related functions. Please visit the Union County Government website for details.

Paris hopes that the United States Forest Service (USFS) will close the Appalachian Trail and other public trails by Friday, March 27. This requires coordination with other counties from Georgia to Maine. The Towns County Commissioner Cliff Bradshaw issued a letter earlier in the week urging the USFS to close the trail. USFS must publicize the decision to close in order to keep people from the metro area and other parts of Ga, Tenn., or N.C. from entering the county.

Union County government can’t control federal or state highways to limit the number of people from entering the area. USDOT and GDOT must make those decisions. However, several metro-counties and some rural counties are now under a shelter in place directive, which should keep people from traveling to Union and potentially spreading COVID-19 or limiting local supplies.

On a Facebook post, Paris addressed the request from residents to close the county off to the individuals who aren’t necessarily considered “local”:

“Several have suggested that we keep everyone that is not local, out of the county. This is not practical or legal at this time. We cannot keep people from other towns or cities out of our stores. That is strictly the prerogative of store owners and managers. In addition, many of the people in our county may have an out of state tag, but they still own property here, pay taxes here and are part-time residents and certainly have the right to stay here.”

As of 12 p.m. on March 26, there aren’t any confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Union County. However, several neighboring counties do have cases, including Fannin, White, Lumpkin, and Cherokee County N.C. It’s a good idea for all citizens in Union County to follow the CDC guidelines of hand washing and social distancing whenever possible to prevent the spread.

March 27 UPDATE: Businesses closing and services

Featured Stories
COVID-19 closing

UNION COUNTY, Ga – As COVID-19 cases continue to grow, many businesses are adjusting their schedule to keep everyone safe during this national crisis. Below, you will find information about all closing announcements or hour changes.

Many stores and restaurants in the area are offering services that accommodate the CDC guidelines for all-Americans, you can find an up-to-date list in the business section. However, other businesses are closing for the foreseeable future.

Update: March 27, 2020

GOVERNMENT AND PUBLIC SERVICES

  • United States Forest Service has closed all campgrounds.
  • Transfer Station is open regular hours. Just practice social distancing.
  • Vogel State Park has closed all pavilions and isn’t allowing group gatherings.
  • Union County Schools are closed until April 24.
  • The courthouse is closed to outside traffic unless special permission is granted.
  • Transit service suspended until further notice.
  • Civic Center is closed to rentals.
  • County Maintenance is operational full-time but is practicing social distancing.
  • Union County Family Connection will not be in the office for the rest of the week (March 16 – 20) and ask people not to drop off food items until further notice.
  • The Union County Commissioner’s office will be available by phone at 706-439-6000 or via email at commissioner@uniongov.com. Union County Commission March 24 meeting is canceled.
  • Chamber of Commerce office is closed and all external membership meetings nad programs are postponed. Office staff is working remotely.
  • Union County Geographic Information System (GIS) is available by phone at 706.439.6014 or email at ucgis@uniongov.com.
  • Union County Fire Department and EMA is closed to the public. The office is available by phone at 706-439-6091 or via email at ucfdclerk@uniongov.com.
  • Union County Clerk’s Office is operating with limited access pursuant to the Order Declaring Judicial Emergency.
  • District Attorney’s Office is maintaining essential operations in accordance with the Judicial Emergency. Anyone who visits the office will be required to use hand sanitizer and to confirm that they answer “no” to the five risk factor questions.
  • Magistrate Court is closed until April 14, excluding essential business, call 706 439-6008 with questions.
  • Probate Court is closed to the public but will continue doing business by mail or online. It is not accepting walk-in customers, issuing orders, or conducting non-essential hearings, trials, or services. If an emergency arises, contact the office by telephone to schedule an appointment. If anyone needs to renew their gun permit, the expiration date has extended until the end of the “emergency period.” New permits are not being issued at this time.
  • Public Defender’s Office asks clients to call the Blairsville office to speak to their attorney or to make an appointment at 706.439.6006.
  • Registrar’s Office is encouraging voters to cast ballots by mail for the May 19 primary, visit mvp.sos.ga.gov or contact the registrar at 706.439.6016.
  • Senior Center is closed through the end of March.
  • Tax Assessor’s Office is only accepting in-person applications for Homestead and Specialized Exemptions, Conservation, and all personal property reporting forms until April 1. They will also be accepted by mail. Field appraisers will still be visiting properties.
  • Tax Commissioner’s Office is closed to public access. Tags can be renewed by phone and the office has waived the credit card fee for mail renewals. Tag renewals can also be completed at dor.georgia.gov. Mobile home property taxes are now due on June 1 and can be paid by phone or online at uniongatax.com. The credit card fee will apply.
  • Alcohol permits can still be applied for and picked up, but people must call to make an appointment first. Only one person is allowed in the office at one time.
  • Building and Inspection are allowing one person in the office at a time. Please call or email to schedule an inspection or ask questions. If you are applying for a permit, please call or email to set up an appointment.
  • Union County Sheriff’s Office has limited public access to buildings and closed the jail. Video visitation is available at jailatm.com.
  • CSRA Probation Services will be closed to the public, however, they may be reached by phone at 706-781-1882 during regular business hours Monday – Friday, 8:30 A.M. to 5 P.M.
  • Community service work activity is suspended until further notice.
  • Union County Historical Society has closed to the public.
  • Blairsville City Hall has its walk-up window open and continuing normal hours of operation. Customers can also place payments in the night drop box, pay by phone by calling 706-745-2000 or online at www.blairsville-ga.gov. Council meetings will be held by teleconference and those wishing in joining can find the number prior to the meeting on the city website.
  • Municipal court has been postponed until May 11.
  • Police department will remain open, but ask the
  • public to call in reports. Fines can be paid over the phone or online.
  • Civic Center is closed for all rentals until further notice. Businesses inside the Civic Center are open by appointment only.
  • Union County Extension/4-H is still open for business in the Civic Center. However, we will only be available by appointment only.
  • Women’s Enrichment Center is closed for at least a week.
  • Union General Hospital Child Care Services are now only available to children affiliated with the UGH System/medical community.
  • Union County Public Library is closed until further notice. Wi-fi extends into the parking lot.
  • Meeks Parks is a wi-fi hotspot.
  • Notla Water Authority has closed the Drinking Water Laboratory lobby. Additionally, the credit card fee is waived and not “locking off water for this billing cycle.
  • Union County Recreation Department has canceled all in-person classes, effective immediately due to concerns about the virus. However online classes will continue to be available to the public.
  • Georgia Department of Corrections has suspended inmate visitation statewide.
  • Georgia Supreme Court has declared a statewide emergency to halt all non-essential court business.

MEDICAL SERVICES

  • Chatuge Regional Hospital – LOCKDOWN – until further notice. All doors will be locked and remain locked EXCEPT for main entry. NO VISITATIONS.
  • Fannin Regional Hospital – NO VISITATIONS until further notice.
  • Union General Hospital – LOCKDOWN  – until further notice. All doors will be locked and remain locked EXCEPT for main entry. NO VISITATIONS.
  • Erlanger Western Carolina Hospital – NO VISITATIONS.

EVENTS

  • All organized Recreation events have been canceled. The civic center and all gymnasiums are closed.
  • Union County Recreation Department’s Daddy Daughter Dance is canceled. Ticket holders will receive a call.
  • 4-H Activities have been postponed until further notice.
  • Eggs and Issues with Lamar Paris – Postponed
  • Union County Pickleball Court Dedication – Postponed
  • Misty Mountain Guild – Canceled
  • Easter Egg Hunt – Canceled
  • Cruise-ins on the square – Canceled until further notice.
  • Meeks Park Pavilions and Choestoe Schoolhouse are not available for rent until further notice.
  • All playgrounds and outside exercise areas are closed.
  • Meeks Park is open for Walking Trails and Kayaking access for local residents only.

BUSINESSES

  • All restaurants in the city and county have closed on-premise dining. Carry out, curbside, and drive-thru remain open.
  • Gyms, salons, social clubs, amusement facilities, massage parlors, hair and nail salons, and any other similar facility under city jurisdiction are closed under the state of emergency ends.
  • Businesses that provide “body care services which require physical contact between the provider and client, including but not limited to, barbering, hair design, cosmetology, massage therapy, body waxing, or nail care are closed until April 30 or the end of the state of emergency.
  • The Hair Shoppe is closed until March 31 at least.
  • Techwizards of Blairsville has closed for two weeks.
  • The Hole in the Wall is closed
  • Mike’s Seafood is closed.
  • Home Depot is closing at 6 p.m.
  • Cabin Coffee Company is offering order pick-ups and is limiting the number of people in their establishment to 25 at a time.
  • Abide Coffee is closed.
  • Zaxby’s has closed its dining room. The drive-thru window is still open.
  • Dollar General is open exclusively to senior citizens during its first hour of operation.
  • Castoff Pet Rescue Thrift Store is closed.
  • Lunch Bell Shop is closed.
  • Motor Sports Plus will allow customers to drop vehicles outside and then call in to discuss work. The 3 percent fee for paying over the phone is also waived.
  • Copeland’s Burgers and Southern Eats is closed.
  • Dan’s Grill is closing their dining area and utilizing curbside pick-up.
  • Kenya L. Patton, Attorney at Law’s office opens by appointment until further notice.
  • Blue Ridge Mountain EMC (BRMEMC) has closed the lobby and drive-thru window until Monday, April 6.
  • Blairsville Skillet Cafe is offering curbside service for call-in orders. Customers need to notify the restaurant of their arrival by calling, and someone will bring their order out to them.
  • G & G Bakery is offering pick-up and curbside services.
  • Papa’s Pizza’s dining room is closed until April 1, but online ordering and takeout is still available.
  • Walmart will be open from 7 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. until April 28. First hour of operation on Tuesday is dedicated to senior citizens.
  • Ingles will open at 7 a.m. and close at 9 p.m. and the in-store Starbucks will close at 8 p.m.  Ingles has dedicated the first hour of operations on Tuesday and Wednesday to senior shoppers, first responders, and those with compromised immune systems.
  • Chick-fil-a is moving to a drive-thru and mobile-only restaurant for the foreseeable future.
  • Michaelee’s Italian Life Caffe is open for carry out and curbside.
  • Longhorn’s Steakhouse’s dining room is closed. Takeout and curbside are still available.
  • Melissa’s Customs Cakes is open curbside and takeout options.
  • Twisted Pizza is open for curbside and takeout options.
  • Nani’s Restaurant is open for curbside and takeout options.
  • Dixie Confexions is encouraging curbside and takeout options.
  • The Aviator Café is encouraging curbside and takeout options.
  • Blairsville Restaurant is encouraging drive-thru or curbside service.
  • The View Grill is encouraging curbside and takeout options.
  • Sicily’s Pizza, Pasta & Subs is encouraging curbside and takeout options.
  • Huddle House is encouraging curbside and takeout options.
  • The Sawmill Place and Market is encouraging curbside and takeout options. Also beginning a meal kit program with more details to come.
  • Downtown Pizza Company is encouraging curbside and takeout options. Also, selling pizza kits.
  • The Sushi Shack is closed.
  • Lala’s Kitchen – A Taste of Latin America is encouraging curbside and takeout options.
  • K & L Gyros is open for takeout.
  • The Tin Roof Country Store & Creamery is encouraging curbside and takeout options.
  • Wendy’s dining room is closed, encouraging drive-thru and curbside service.
  • McDonald’s dining room is closed, encouraging drive-thru and curbside service.
  • Taco Bell & KFC dining room is closed, encouraging drive-thru and curbside service.
  • Beautiful Things is offering free local delivery and curbside service available with call-ahead purchase.
  • Beads, Bags & Beyond is closed.
  • Persaud Jewelers asks for customers to call ahead as hours may fluctuate.
  • Sharon’s Fashions is closed.
  • The Humane Society Thrift Store is closed.
  • Habitat for Humanity ReStore is closed.
  • Sugar Magnolia Gifts & Interiors is closed.
  • Pat’s Hallmark Shop is offering free shipping and curbside pickup.
  • Blairsville Animal Hospital is only seeing patients at curbside unless there is an emergency. Pet’s prescription refills and dietary needs can also be filled from its online pharmacy, https://blairsvilleanimalhospital.vetsfirstchoice.com and shipped at no additional charge.
  • American Cowboy Store is offering a drive up to the warehouse for pick up option for feed and supplies only.
  • Nelson Tractor Company is offering curbside parts pickup.
  • Sundance Gallery is closed, but offering online ordering and can ship or arrange a pick-up for items.

If you know of any additional closings, services, or hour changes, please email lauren@fetchyournews.com and we’ll add the business to the list.

As of March 26, Union County doesn’t have a confirmed case of COVID-19. The Georgia Department of Public Health releases confirmed cases data, each day at noon and 7 p.m.

 

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.

Author

Natalie Kissel

Natalie@FetchYourNews.com

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

Community, Featured
prayer

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.”

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.

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 unioncountyga.gov 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.

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