HIAWASSEE, Ga. – Disadvantaged children will have a reason to smile this holiday season, thanks to the generousity of Smokies GT, a non-profit club of Porsche owners that raises funds for worthy charities.
The organization hosts a local event each spring to benefit the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, and graciously extended $5000 of their good-will to the Shop with a Hero program.
Hiawassee Police Department heads the annual initiative, pairing first responders with area children to travel and purchase Christmas gifts, while providing a positive mentoring experience.
Hiawassee Police Chief Paul Smith expressed deep gratitude for the donation from Smokies GT, as well as to others who have contributed to the cause, for the added ability to bring deserved cheer to underpriviledged children.
A founder of Smokies GT provided background information on the charitable club.
“We have an annual event in Hiawassee along with smaller events throughout the year. The focus is on enjoying these great cars in ways for which they were built, on the track, and on mountain roads. At the spring event, we enhance our passion of driving by also raising funds for charitable causes. One of our members has two children with Cystic Fibrosis- so a great deal of focus is for us to raise money for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation,” the spokesperson, who asked to remain anonymous, relayed, “Hiawassee has always been so welcoming to our group so we would love to find more ways to give back to the community.
“The Smokies group was started “by accident” by a few Porsche GT3 owners who simply wanted to go for a mountain drive. The drive got bigger and bigger, turned into a weekend and we are now in our sixth year,” the representative continued, “The group has grown to over 400 GT owners from all over the US and some from Canada. There will be over 100 Porsche GT’s at this year’s event in Hiawassee, coming from as far as Seattle.
“Our group is informal, a family, and brings together like-minded individuals, many of whom have become lifelong friends through the event. As part of the 2019 event, we will do a track day at Road Atlanta, Mountain Drives in GA / TN / NC and will rent Heaven’s landing airstrip where we take CF patients and underprivileged kids for the ride of their life down an open runway in a Porsche GT! Over the past few years, our group has raised over $500,000 for charity and we expect to double that amount to a total of close to $1,000,000 in 2019.”
For additional information on Smokies GT, visit their website.
HIAWASSEE, Ga. – The Sunny Isles Beach Police Department and its city have teamed up with Chief Paul Smith and the Hiawassee Police Department, to augment the annual Shop with a Hero program, for deserving children in need.
In a recent meeting with Chief Smith and Mayor Ordiales, recently retired Police Chief Fred Maas offered assistance to this worthwhile cause, having had a similar program back in Florida.
Maas is a recent, permanent resident to the Hiawassee and Towns County area after 44 years of service in South Florida law enforcement.
“It is our strong commitment to community and our desire to help this worthwhile program for the local children and families,” Maas said, “Our agency has sent bags and bags full of new toys and gifts, in addition to supplying monetary donations to Chief Smith to help with Christmas and holiday shopping for the kids.
“Sunny Isles Beach is an Oceanside community on Miami Beach, Florida, where community, police and government work in concert for the benefit of all residents and business owners. So this program and that of Sheriff Clinton for Towns County are familiar to us and we wanted to be a part of it and show our support for it. Everyone has been given talents and blessings by God. How we choose to use them and share them, is the real question and test.”
Maas plans to work with and support Chief Smith in any way possible for the success of this and other programs deemed beneficial to the people of Hiawassee.
“We are extremely grateful for the support shown by Chief Maas and the Sunny Isles Beach Police Department,” Chief Smith said, “Many children will have a brighter Christmas because of their donations. This program is so important to the families and children who get to participate in it, and for the first responders who volunteer for it. Donations to this program allow law enforcement officers to have a positive and impactful experience with our community children, which we may otherwise not be able to have. It builds relationships and memories that last a lifetime.”
If you wish to donate to Shop with a Hero, you may do so at Hiawassee City Hall or the Towns County
Feature Photo: (L-R) Chief Paul Smith, Mayor Liz Ordiales, Chief Fred Maas
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HIAWASSEE, Ga. – Halloween is just around the corner, and Hiawassee Police Chief Paul Smith took the opportunity to reach out to Pre-K students at McConnell Baptist Church, sharing Halloween safety tips with the children on Friday, Oct. 26.
“There were a couple of children who were initially frightened, but they warmed up to me by the end of my visit,” Chief Smith said, “It is always a delight to speak to a group of young children. They are always curious about the equipment that police officers wear.” Smith demonstrated how handcuffs operate with the cooperation of a teacher, much to the amusement of the children.
Chief Smith also discussed bike, vehicle, and gun safety with the class.
At the conclusion, the police chief gifted the students with reflective, candy-filled, trick-or-treat bags, safety tips, and police-themed coloring pages.
The City of Hiawassee will host their annual Halloween celebration, with candy booths for trick-or-treaters, on Wednesday, Oct. 31, beginning at 5:30 p.m.
This year’s event will be held on the wrap-around porch of the Towns County Courthouse, rather than Hiawassee Town Square.
The Old Rock Jail will transform into a haunted house attraction on Halloween night.
Admission is free.
Fetch Your News is a hyper local news outlet that attracts over 300,000 page views and 3.5 million impressions per month in Towns, Dawson, Lumpkin, White, Fannin, Gilmer, Pickens, Union, and Murray counties, as well as Cherokee County in N.C. – FYNTV attracts approximately 15,000 viewers per week and reaches between 15,000 to 60,000 per week on our Facebook page.
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HIAWASSEE, Ga. – Hiawassee Mayor Liz Ordiales announced that Halloween on Hiawassee Square may be relocated to the Towns County Courthouse grounds in order to feature a new addition to the well-loved annual event: A haunted house attraction at the historic Old Rock Jail.
Ordiales revealed that the City of Hiawassee is collaborating with Towns County Commissioner Cliff Bradshaw and Towns County Historical Society President Sandra Green on the notion. The festivities are scheduled to begin at 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 31.
Traditionally, the event has taken place on town square. Hiawassee City Council, along with Hiawassee Police Chief Paul Smith, voiced agreement with the slight shift in venue due in part to parking issues. The relocation will free the parking spaces surrounding the square that were dedicated to candy booths in years’ past, potentially reducing the swarm of trick-or-treaters trekking across Main Street from business parking lots.
While the plans for the haunted house and venue change were not firmly solidified by Mayor Ordiales as of Monday, Sept. 24, Commissioner Bradshaw stated no objection to to the plans.
The Old Rock Jail is located adjacent to the Towns County Courthouse, with renovation to the 1936 stone jail recently completed through the efforts of the Towns County Historical Society. The two-story site serves as a museum, featuring artifacts and photographs, and is open to the public on Fridays and Saturdays from noon to 4 p.m. or by appointment.
Scarecrows, created by area businesses, are set to begin “invading” Hiawassee Town Square on Oct.1, staked thoughout the month.
A list of autumn activites in the Hiawassee area is available from FetchYourNews.com
HIAWASSEE, Ga. – Hiawassee Police Chief Paul Smith advised citizens to be on the lookout for counterfeit bills that could be circulating in the area. Smith delivered his department’s monthly update during Monday’s council work session at City Hall.
Smith received a call from United Community Bank earlier in the day, stating that the branch had received several counterfeit bills with Japanese script printed on the rearside. Smith presented a counterfeit $20 bill that the police department had on file as an example of what to potentially look for. While some counterfeiters produce shoddy replicas, other fraudulent bills can be more difficult to detect.
“Sometimes what they’ll do is take actual dollar bills, and bleach them, and then print on top of them so they feel like a real bill,” Smith said, “Take a good look at the money before you accept it.”
Smith suggested holding bills against a light source to check for the embedded security strip, or using a counterfeit banknote detection pen to determine authenticity.
At the beginning of the report, Smith recapped the manhunt which took place in the vicinity of Upper Bell Creek Road the previous week. What began as a traffic stop initiated by Hiawassee Police Department led to a multi-agency search, the capture of two fleeing suspects, four arrests, and the recovery of stolen firearms. “It was a happy ending to a stressful three days,” the police chief concluded.
In addition, Chief Smith relayed that the department had recently received an anonymous, hand-written letter stating that an individual residing within the community has been driving under the influence of alcohol on a daily basis, with the author inquiring as to why the agency is allowing the habit to occur. Smith said that due to the appreciated information, he is now aware of the situation, and his agency can investigate the matter.
“We don’t get to see everything,” Smith explained, “There’s a thousand cars going through here at any given time so it’s hard to pick out that one car that might be drunk. So if you see something, please let us know. If you’re aware of something that’s going on, please let us know. You don’t have to make a formal report or anything. You can send an anonymous letter.”
As residents exited the meeting, several stopped to shake the chief’s hand, thankful for his department’s service to the community.
Fetch Your News is a hyper local news outlet that attracts more than 300,000 page views and 3.5 million impressions per month in Towns, Dawson, Lumpkin, White, Fannin, Gilmer, Pickens, Union, and Murray counties as well as Cherokee County in N.C. – FYNTV attracts approximately 15,000 viewers per week and reaches between 15,000 to 60,000 per week on our Facebook page. – For the most effective, least expensive local advertising, call 706-276-6397 or email us at advertise@FetchYourNews.com
HIAWASSEE, Ga. – Today, August 1, marks the one-year anniversary of the appointment of Hiawassee Police Chief Paul Smith, and FYN sat down with the law enforcement official to discuss his year-long journey.
Chief Smith began his law enforcement career in Cobb County, Georgia, serving as an officer for three years prior to transferring to the Towns County Sheriff’s Office in 2009. Smith attended Towns County Comprehensive, Young Harris College, Kennesaw State University, and Cobb County Department of Public Safety, and has been with the Hiawassee Police Department since 2010. Smith accepted an assignment as acting police chief of the agency five months prior to his official appointment on August 1, 2017.
Chief Smith shared that an affinity for community service spurred his decision to enter law enforcement.
“I grew up a community orientated family, doing litter clean-up together and things like that,” Smith said, “I had been in Boy Scouts from a young age, was an Eagle Scout, and began considering law enforcement in high school. Giving to the community, it had been a memorable part of my life, and becoming an officer was an extension that I could build on.”
The Hiawassee native says his goals for the department include “continuing to technically advance into the 21st century” while maintaining a “professional, positive community presence.” Smith recently revised the agency’s operations manual, which lists expectations of respect for citizens, officer integrity, commitment to service, and a strive for excellence among its mission.
Furthermore, Smith aspires to complete his degree in Criminal Justice. “I’m a few classes short. Cobb County came calling before I graduated. I took classes after the academy, but it was difficult to find any that worked with my schedule. That’s a personal, short-term goal of mine, to finish my degree now that online classes are more prevalent.”
Smith is proving to be a respected leader, highly-visible and easily approachable, available to address citizen concerns, and provide useful information to the public. When not actively enforcing the law and preserving the peace, Smith regularly steps in to offer other forms of service. Whether its shopping with local children during the holiday season, providing car seats to parents in need, ensuring that city activities go as planned, or taking on the responsibility of emptying trash cans on the town square during events, the humble public servant is an appreciated asset to the community.
As part of continuing education and training in the administration of law enforcement, Smith recently attended the 2018 Annual Summer Training conference, sponsored by the Georgia Association of Chiefs of Police. Heads of law enforcement agencies from over 550 departments throughout the state participated in the Savannah conference. “It was informative. There was a series of classes on different subjects, and though some were geared toward larger agencies, the conference provided a good opportunity to network with other departments,” Smith said.
Additional articles related to Chief Smith are available.
HIAWASSEE, Ga. – Hayesville Mayor Harry Baughn was invited to address the Mountain Movers and Shakers on the morning of Friday, July 13, and the city official cited several similarities between Hayesviile and Hiawassee. Situated north of Towns County, Hayesville is the county seat of Clay County, North Carolina.
Elected in 2013, Baughn is serving his second-term in office, and says he believes he will be able to accomplish his goals within the next three-and-a-half years, with no plans to run for a third-term seat.
“Our towns are comparable,” Baughn began, “We each have our own specialties, and our own wonderful places to be. Hiawassee has Music on the Square one night, and we have Music on the Square another night, so we do have some similar things.”
Baughn said one of his proudest accomplishments since election was the construction of public restrooms. “One of the first things I did after taking office – and it’s probably going to be my legacy – was building a set of public restrooms. That has been a big deal in downtown Hayesville. It is right next door to town hall.” Hiawassee Mayor Liz Ordiales, who did not attend Friday’s forum, voiced ambition for public restrooms at a city council meeting months prior.
Baughn spoke of the importance of “walkability” in small towns, describing the placement of sidewalks in Hayesville, and the necessity of sufficient parking. Baughn said that an additional 24 parking spaces were recently added to downtown Hayesville, and the City of Hayesville partnered with business owners to replace worn awnings on storefronts to make the ambiance more appealing.
“Business development, the other important thing in small town survivalability,” Baughn stated, “We’ve been doing economic development during my administration, and we’ve gotten quite a number of new businesses downtown. If you’ve not been to the Valley River Brewery and Eatery, home of the famous wood-fired brick oven pizza, 15 craft brews – and right now is Wednesday, Wacky Wednesday – that you can get up to five toppings for $14.99, and I highly recommend the Mayor’s Pizza.” The crowd laughed in response.
Baughn continued, listing additional businesses that have opened in Hayesville within the past two years, such as a home décor shop, a children’s’ boutique, a computer repair store, a pet shop, and a tap house. The city official noted that Clay County Chamber of Commerce relocated to downtown Hayesville. Baughn included that a new Italian restaurant opened for business last week, and an additional restaurant and brewery plans to open its doors in August.
Baughn said that Hayesville hopes to gain an updated post office in the near future, which was a recent topic of discussion at a Hiawassee Town Hall meeting, designed for strategic city development planning. Baughn expressed hope of acquiring a recognizable “name brand hotel” in Clay County in order to to draw visitors to his town, claiming that many Hayesviile tourists choose to lodge in Hiawassee.
The mayor concluded by encouraging citizens to visit Clay County’s newly-renovated historic courthouse which towers above Hayesville’s town square. The majestic structure was originally constructed in 1888, and it functioned as the county courthouse until 2007. A ribbon-cutting ceremony is scheduled for 11:00 a.m. on Saturday, July 21.
“In addition to building the bathrooms, one of the things I’m proud of is wrestling (the courthouse) away from the county since they didn’t care about it,” Baughn revealed, “When they abandoned it, they needed to get rid of all of the wood in there because of the deterioration. When they took out the door frames and stuff, they weren’t really careful. I mean, they took sledgehammers, so basically there were round holes in the brick walls where there used to be doors. But at least they were willing. They deeded the courthouse and the square over to the town of Hayesville. It is leased to the CCCRA (Clay County Communities Revitalization Association) so that they could go after grant money.” Baughn explained the toiled effort involved in the restoration of the historic site, singing the praises of those who partook in process.
Hiawassee City Councilwoman Anne Mitchell, and Hiawssee Police Chief Paul Smith attended the Mountain Movers and Shakers meeting, held weekly at Sundance Grill.