Santa Claus was back in town for second annual “Light Up Hiawassee”

Community, News
HIawassee Police DEpartment

HIAWASSEE, Ga. – Jolly old Saint Nick took time out of his busy holiday schedule to make an appearance at “Light Up Hiawassee” on Thursday, Dec. 6, arriving on town square in style by fire engine, escorted by Towns County Fire and Rescue, and Hiawassee Police Department.

The festivities began at 4 p.m. with cookie decorating and rock painting activities for the children, followed by a golf cart parade, as merry music set the mood of the season. Towns County Red Cross volunteers served coffee and hot chocolate, and VFW Post 7807 offered hot dogs, refreshments, and select merchandise.

Nancy Noblet

Hiawassee Councilwoman and event organizer Nancy Noblet poses with Santa

Luminary candles bordered the sidewalks in honor of the local children assisted by the Enotah CASA program throughout the year, with CASA Chair Liz Ruf briefly addressing the crowd.

A mailbox for letters to Santa sat center on Hiawassee Square, at the ready to accept requests from wishful children. Hamilton Gardens extended a host of pointsettia plants for purchase.

Light Up Hiawassee

A young boy decorates a cookie during the event

Shortly before Santa’s arrival at dusk, Mayor Liz Ordiales counted down the illumination of the square, and the heart of Hiawassee magically transformed into a winter wonderland at the flick of the switch.

The event was originally scheduled for Saturday, Dec. 1, postponed due to unfavorable weather.

 

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Author

Robin H. Webb

Robin can be reached by dialing 706-970-8491 or contacted via email at Robin@FetchYourNews.com

Anonymous citizen donates $5000 to Town County charities

Community, News

HIAWASSEE, Ga. – A Towns County resident, who wishes to remain anonymous, donated a $5000 check to benefit local charities. Towns County Commissioner Cliff Bradshaw equally divided the generous gift between three organizations: Enotah CASA, Almost There, and the Towns County Food Pantry.

CASA, an acronym for Court Appointed Special Advocates, is a network of community-based programs that recruit, train and support citizen-volunteers to advocate for the best interests of abused and neglected children in courtrooms and communities. Volunteer advocates—empowered directly by the Enotah, Juvenile court—offer judges the critical information necessary to ensure that each child’s rights and needs are being attended to while in foster care.

Towns County Food Pantry

Representatives of Enotah CASA, Almost There, and Towns County Food Pantry with Commissioner Cliff Bradshaw

Almost There is a program that works with women whom have served time in jail, assisting in their reacclimation with society. In 2016, Almost There purchased a five bedroom home, knowns as “Ms. Elaine’s House,” to accommodate four women and a house mother. Almost There works in partnership with the Enotah Judicical Circuit Drug Court program. The non-profit provides food, shelter, transportation, spiritual nurturing, and loving support to women recently released from incarceration.

Towns County Food Pantry s a ministry of the Towns County Cooperative Ministries. Its purpose is to help feed the needy of Towns County. The Towns County Food Pantry is a non-profit organization supported solely by area churches, business, groups and individuals.

Representatives from each of the non-profit organizations expressed immense gratitude for the donation.

 

Fetch Your News is a hyper local news outlet, attracting 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, reaching 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

 

Author

Robin H. Webb

Robin can be reached by dialing 706-970-8491 or contacted via email at Robin@FetchYourNews.com

Enotah CASA to host Dancing with the North Georgia Stars

News, Upcoming Events
Dancing North GA Stars

HIAWASSEE, Ga. – Enotah Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) Chairman Liz Ruf joined the Mountain Movers and Shakers on Friday, Oct. 26, to promote the annual Dancing with the North Georgia Stars fundraising event, scheduled for the evening of Saturday, Nov. 3, at the Union County Schools Performing Arts Center in Blairsville.

The event is sponsored by United Community Bank.

Funds raised will benefit the Enotah CASA program with the training and management of additional volunteers to serve as a consistent adult figure, and a voice for the vulnerable children, within the foster care system of Towns, Union, Lumpkin, and White counties.

“CASA is central to fulfilling society’s most fundamental obligation by making sure a qualified, compassionate adult will fight for and protect a child’s right to be safe, to be treated with dignity and respect, and to learn and grow in the security of a loving family,” the CASA website explains.Dancing North Georgia Stars

Each North Georgia Star will be paired with a professional or semi-professional dancer from the region to present a variety of dancing genres, from modern jazz to classical ballroom. Each team will perform choreographed dance routines before a live audience.

Each dollar earned by a dancer equals one vote. Fans can vote for their favorite celebrity couple through Nov. 3, until  11:30 a.m. online, and at the event.

Donate to a favorite couple using the links listed below.

A People’s Choice Award will be presented to the couple who raises the most funds.

Dance teams will be judged the night of the competition on costume, choreography & technical performance by an impartial three judge panel. The winning dance team will be awarded the Mirror Ball trophy.

Tickets for the event are available on the Enotah CASA website.

The 2018 dancing duos are as follows:

#1: Barbara Wheatley & Bruce Lazarus

#2: Angie Hayes & Aly Sanchez

#3: Laurel Adams & Dr. Samuel L. Church

#4: Kristin Kalwara & Bill Jones

#5: Sandi Entwistle & Doug Smith

#6: Dawn Saraney & Keith Christensen

#7: Angela Puleo & Darren Harper

#8: Pat Griffin & Cherie Martin

#9: Lynn Hayes & Pat McCallen

#10: Vickie Levy & Roberto Romero

Author

Robin H. Webb

Robin can be reached by dialing 706-970-8491 or contacted via email at Robin@FetchYourNews.com

CASA race leads to Everyday Heroes awards

Community, News
Commissioner Cliff Bradshaw

HIAWASSEE, Ga. – Early morning rain did not discourage runners from showing up at the Georgia Mountain Fairgrounds to race for a good cause, awareness of a non-profit organization, which recruits, trains, and supervises citizen volunteers who advocate for abused and neglected children in the area.

Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) sponsored the event. In 2017, local CASA volunteers advocated for the best interests of 141 children in Towns and Union counties.

Luis Quijada

CASA Director Linda D’Angelo presents Luis Quijada with a first place medal.

Mother Nature cooperated and the weather cleared as the runners set out on 5K and 10K paths. The 5K traveled from the fairgrounds to Hiawassee Square, with the 10K leading beyond the Square to Mayors’ Park, retracing back into the heart of town.

Finishing in first place in the 5K division was 15-year-old Luis Quijada, a Towns County student, crossing the finish line minutes ahead of the other participants. Quijada completed the race in an impressive 21:07.  Crossing the finish line shortly thereafter was Tim Jones, a participant in the 40 to 49-year category, in unison with Andy Gwynn, a firefighter from Union County, with a dual time of 23:28. The first to complete the 10K was Amber Jones.

Alvan Graves

Alvan Graves, a race participant, crosses the finish line.

Supporters and spectators cheered as runners approached the finish line.

Upon the completion of the race, medals were awarded to the participants in each age category, followed by recognition of CASA’s “Everyday Heroes” in the community.

Applications for nominees were circulated throughout Towns and Union counties.

Commissioner Lamar Paris

Union County Commissioner Lamar Paris with Firefighter Andy Gwynn.

“Our organizational theme is Everyday Heroes, meaning that our Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) in their every day role become heroes to an abused or neglected child by doing extraordinary things to make a difference in that child’s life,” Enotah CASA Executive Director Linda D’Angelo began. “We wanted to expand on our theme and recognize citizens who go above and beyond in the community in their work and volunteer activities and are able to make a difference in their role.”

The first award was presented to John Keister, a former high school and college basketball coach who now extends his talents coaching children under the age of 12 through a program at the Towns County Recreation Center. Keister recently led his team to victory in the district championship after an undefeated season.

“Coach Keister is an effective coach because he focuses on fundamentals, discipline, and sportsmanship. He loves implementing strategy to combat rivals’ offenses. Some say his young men are too young to learn these techniques, but his talent as a coach has proven how effective this strategy can be,” Director D’Angelo shared.

The next category recognized was first responder and public safety where two Union County nominees were recognized.

Andy Gwynn, a volunteer firefighter, has served with the Union County Fire Department for 15 years. Gwynn was a participant in the 5K race.

Sgt Susie Cheek

Union County Commissioner Lamar Paris with Everyday Hero Sgt. Susie Cheek.

“Andy is a person you can always count on. He is a dedicated firefighter and public servant. When the call is made, he is usually the first to respond, day or night. He is constantly training to improve his skills, as is evidenced today by his volunteering to run in the 5K and improve his physical conditioning. He is a great role model and mentor and inspires other firefighters to be their best,” D’Angelo said.

Also honored was Susie Cheek, a sergeant and night jailer with the Union County Sheriff’s Office. Known as “mama” at the sheriff’s office since 2004, Cheek was awarded for her dedication.

“Sergeant Cheek stands out from others through her interactions with the inmates. She treats them with respect, is willing to provide guidance, and lead them to a better place in their lives,” D’Angelo said. “Her Christian values are the hallmark of her heart and efforts to make a difference for those she serves.”

Hamilton Gardens

Volunteers from Hamilton Gardens are acknowledged for their dedication.

The final category recognized areas of community and non-profit work, with two individuals and an organization awarded.

CASA event organizer, Liz Ruf.

Hamilton Gardens volunteers were acknowledged for their dedicated efforts in rescuing the 33-acre grounds in 2014, which had previously suffered neglect.

“Through pruning, planting, weeding, painting, building, repairing, soliciting other volunteers and donations, holding fundraising events, and offering free events for the public, the group has reinvigorated the gardens,” D’Angelo stated. “The enthusiasm has not dimmed in the past three years, and now the gardens are an important destination for tourists as well as providing a community treasure for local residents.”

Jesse Cook, an employee of the city of Hiawassee, was awarded for his dedication and described as a vital resource, with D’Angelo adding that most people that live in Hiawassee likely recognize and know Cook by name.

“Jesse is committed to maintaining the beauty of the city, while keeping it safe,” the CASA director explained. “He has been instrumental in Clean sweep, Tree City USA, Arbor Day, and the list goes on. His work with the first annual Light Up Hiawassee event ensured the Square was perfectly decked out for the celebration.”

Mayor Liz Ordiales

CASA presents award to Jesse Cook as Hiawassee Mayor Liz Ordiales stands proudly by.

Marsha Elliot, chair of the Towns County FireWise Citizens Coalition, was recognized for her promotion of FireWise involvement throughout the community as well as her volunteer service with Hamilton Gardens.

“Marsha has led the coalition to identify and train 21 communities in Towns County to commit FireWise practices, and this group leads the state of Georgia in the number of communities who are committed to this vital safety program,” D’Angelo announced. “Towns County has become an example of effective community engagement in safe fire practices due to Marsha’s leadership.”

Marsha Elliot also volunteers her time at Hamilton Gardens.

Towns County Commissioner Cliff Bradshaw, Union County Commissioner Lamar Parris, and Hiawassee Mayor Liz Ordiales were stationed at the finish line, congratulating runners as they completed the race and assisting in presenting awards to the community’s Everyday Heroes.

CASA Director Linda D’Angelo thanked Jennifer McQueen, Liz Ruf, Lynn Beck, John Seymore, Sherri Harden, and Classic Race Services for their help in orchestrating the event.

 

Featured Photo: Coach John Keister (left) with Towns County Commissioner Cliff Bradshaw.

 

 

Author

Robin H. Webb

Robin can be reached by dialing 706-970-8491 or contacted via email at Robin@FetchYourNews.com

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