9/11 Memorial Service to be held on Hiawassee Square


HIAWASSEE, Ga. – It has been nearly eighteen years since the infamous day that will eternally live in American minds –  Sept. 11, 2001. Towns County, along with the City of Hiawassee, plans to honor the terrorist attack victims on Patriot Day. Towns County Commissioner Cliff Bradshaw, Hiawassee Mayor Liz Ordiales, and Towns County Fire Chief Harold Copeland met Aug. 29 to finalize the details of a Wednesday, Sept. 11 public memorial. Hiawassee Town Square will be the site of the gathering, beginning at 9:45 a.m.

Mayor Ordiales will serve as the master of ceremonies, with Young Harris Mayor Andrea Gibby welcoming guests. Presentation of the Colors will be issued by North Georgia National Guard. Pastors Danny Byers, Wade Lott, and Donnie Jarrard will offer prayers and words of remembrance in honor of the lives lost. Chief Copeland is scheduled to speak on the meaning of 9/11, prior to ringing a bell to symbolize the fallen. Summer Rahn will sing the National Anthem. The program will end with “God Bless America.”

Chief Harold Copeland

Towns County Fire Chief Harold Copeland

Commissioner Bradshaw said that the idea to hold the memorial ceremony was presented by part-time Towns County resident Bob Fair. “I wish it was something that we had thought to do sooner,” Bradshaw said. Bradshaw added plans to make the service an annual event.

A total of 2,996 people were killed in the 9/11 attacks, including the 19 terrorist hijackers aboard the four airplanes. Citizens of 78 countries died in New York, Washington, D.C., and Pennsylvania. At the World Trade Center, 2,763 died after the two planes slammed into the twin towers. That figure includes 343 firefighters and paramedics, 23 New York City police officers, and 37 Port Authority police officers who were struggling to complete an evacuation of the buildings and save the office workers trapped on higher floors.

At the Pentagon, 189 people were killed, including 64 on American Airlines Flight 77, the airliner that struck the building. On Flight 93, 44 people died when the plane crash-landed in Pennsylvania.

Plant Affair on the Square features Earth Day awareness advocates

Vernon Dixon

HIAWASSEE, Ga. – Hiawassee Town Square was the site of the annual “Plant Affair on the Square” Saturday, April 13. The heart of Hiawassee was filled with vibrant blooms and vendors, including booths to support Earth Day awareness.

The Rotary Club of Lake Chatuge-Hiawassee offered complementary, reuseable totes to visitors, an act to encourge a reduction in plastic shopping bags that can be detremental to the environment. The Rotarians are connected to 1.2 million members worldwide, and the local chapter participates in a wide range of community service projects.

Hiawassee Rotary

Rotary Club of Lake Chatuge – Hiawassee

Vernon Dixon, a climate change activist, was on-hand to dispense information on the Citizens’ Climate Lobby. The mission of the lobbyists involves implementing a plan which will reduce national greenhouse emissions by 52 percent, add 2.8  million jobs to the economy, and improve overall air quality. The organization is working to impose a fee on fossil fuels at the mine, well, or port of entry source, distribute net revenues to US households to offset higher energy prices due to the fee, and encourge a border tariff adjustment to discourage businesses from relocating to areas where they can emit additional carbon dioxide. Citizens’ Climate Lobby is a nonpartisan, non-profit organization.

Plant Affair on the Square

A wide variety of spring blooms were available for purchase

Clean Sweep Week, which was extended to a two week period this year, begins April 15, and runs through April 27. Residents are encouraged to obtain specially-marked bags from the Towns County Courthouse, Hiawassee City Hall, Young Harris City Hall, or either county library branch to collect roadside debris. Gloves and safety vests are available to volunteers. Collected trash can be delivered to the Towns County Transfer Station at no charge. Cash awards will be extended to the individual, business, and organization which collects the greatest amounts. Clean Sweep will not be in effect on Good Friday or Passover, in observance of the holy days.

Feature Photo: Vernon Dixon of Citizens’ Climate Lobby

Georgia Mountain Moonshine Cruiz-In revs up on Hiawassee Town Square

Community, News
Moonshine Cruiz-In

HIAWASSEE, Ga. – Shortly before noon, a stream of vintage vehicles from different eras made their way to Hiawassee Town Square Thursday, July 11, to kick off the 11th annual Georgia Mountain Moonshine Cruiz-In festival. Vendors were ready for visitors, serving barbeque, hot dogs, baked goods, Italian ice, and cold drinks. Hot rods enthusiasts mixed and mingled, admiring the shiny array of classic cars and trucks. Feel good tunes flowed from the square gazebo, complimenting the upbeat mood of the leisure event.

Moonshine festival

Vintage rides from all around circled Hiawassee Town Square

“This is our first year at the Cruiz-In, but it likely won’t be our last,” Trisha Woods from western Tennessee said. “The mountain views are enticing, and the roads are so fun to ride. We’re looking forward to enjoying the weekend.”

FYN spoke with Russ Borner, the operator of North Georgia Concessions, who moved to Hiawassee from New Jersey three years ago. Borner plans to rent his eye-catching hot dog and Italian ice stand, when not in use, to organizations interested in fundraising. “We’ll supply the food, condiments, ice, everything,” Borner explained. “We’ll deliver it and set it up. The rates will vary on how long the event runs…It’s a good opportunity for fundraisers to make a great profit.” Borner can be contacted at [email protected]

North GA Concessions

Russ Borner (center), owner of North Georgia Concessions, with wife (right) and Hiawassee Councilwoman Amy Barrett (left)

The Georgia Mountain Moonshine Cruiz-In runs through Sunday, July 14, at the Georgia Mountain Fairgrounds.

A full listing of festival events is available.


Hiawassee to host several October events

News, Upcoming Events

HIAWASSEE, Ga. – Autumn is a magical time of year in the mountains of Appalachia, with hillsides hued in blazing glory, and seasonal activities and events for residents and visitors to enjoy. Towns County plans to host several events during the month of October.Scarecrows Hiawassee Square

Towns County Chamber of Commerce President Candace Lee tells FYN that each year, phone calls begin to pour in from widespread locales, excited to learn when the peak leaf colors are expected occur. “The last week in October, into the first week of November, is typically the peak time,” Lee said, “We welcome phone calls, and there is a website that updates the forecast that we use as a guide.”

Scarecrows are planning to “invade” Hiawassee Town Square throughout the month of October, a new addition of seasonal sights to see. Individuals and businesses can stake their creations in the heart of Hiawassee in exchange for a $25 entry fee, with a portion of the proceeds benefitting the Towns County Food Pantry.

Georgia Mountain Fairgrounds will host its annual Fall Festival from October 12 – 20, featuring concerts, arts & craft vendors, and educational demonstrations – such as moonshine making, corn milling, cider squeezing, quilting, black smithing, soap crafting. In addition, the Fall Festival will include the famed Georgia Official State Fiddlers’ Convention, and “Wolves of the World”, the world’s only traveling wolf exhibit. Admission to the fairgrounds is $12.00, with children under 12 admitted free. Three-day passes will be available for purchase at the gate for $33.00. Parking is free. Pets are not permitted.

On Saturday, Oct. 27, Georgia Mountain Fairgrounds will feature the Appalachian Brew, Stew, and Que Festival, with 21 breweries participating in the event. Tickets are $40.00 at the gate or $35.00 online.

October will close with Halloween on Hiawassee Town Square, an ever-popular annual event. The festival will be held on the evening of Wednesday, Oct. 31, beginning at 5:30 p.m.


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 [email protected]

Town Square swings to Big Band tunes

Community, Lifestyle
SEntimental Journey Swing Band

HIAWASSEE, Ga. – Hiawassee Town Square was in full swing on the evening of Saturday, Aug. 25, as Southern Journey Big Band performed for the crowd. The 20-piece ensemble, directed by Richard Petty of Gainesville, GA, entertained music lovers during an Enchanted Music on the Square presentation.

Debbie McPherson

Vocalist Debbie McPherson dances with partner on Berrong Street while the band plays on

The band was previously known as Sentimental Journey Jazz and Swing Band.

The band struck up 35 memorable tunes from different eras, such as ‘Moon River,’ ‘Ain’t Misbehavin,’ and ‘Yesterday.’

Dancers took to the streets, including Hiawassee Mayor Liz Ordiales who jived to the band’s rendition of ‘Route 66.’

The VFW Auxiliary provided grilled hot dogs and marinated chicken breasts for purchase.

Enchanted Music on the Square is a weekly event during the summer, drawing record-breaking attendance throughout the 2018 season.

The concerts are funded by audience donations, and support from Georgia Council for the Arts.

Saturday, Sept. 1, will mark the final show of the season, with Paradise 56 performing rhythm and blues.

Hiawassee hosts back-to-back Moonshine Cruiz-In events

Moonshine Cruiz-In

HIAWASSEE, Ga. – Two pit stops occurred in the heart of Hiawassee during the 9th annual Georgia Mountain Moonshine Cruiz-In.

The first took place on the evening of Wednesday, July 11, as a fresh event was introduced to the itinerary:  A “drive-in” movie presentation of the 1978 classic hit, ‘Grease’, starring John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John.

Vehicles from different eras traveled from miles around to rest their engines on Hiawassee Square while their owners enjoyed a night on the town. Hiawassee Mayor Liz Ordiales graciously welcomed newcomers to the event as they arrived, taking their seats among the ever-growing crowd. A senior couple danced to aptly-themed music, entertaining bystanders before the main event began. Towns County High School football players sold beverages to fund the purchase of needed equipment. Towns County Library Branch Manager Debbie Phillips operated an old-fashion popcorn machine, and the smell of a vendor’s hot boiled peanuts tempted guests to snack as they watched the film.

The following day, Thursday, July 12, the owners of antique vehicles, along with appreciative spectators, flocked to the town square to participate in Hiawassee’s second annual Moonshine Cruiz-In Block Party. A parade of classic cars arrived on the square at noon, greeted by upbeat music streamed by “Soundman” Tim Massey. A sudden downpour of rain began to fall in unison as the cars roared in. Attendees sought shelter under the tents provided by United Community Bank, Hiawassee Police Department, and beneath nearby store-front awnings while they waited for the summer storm to pass. The clouds soon cleared, and visitors circled the square, stopping to converse with car owners while ogling a variety of vehicles from days gone by.

Hiawassee Block Party

Unique, antique truck attending the Moonshine Cruiz-In Block Party

“I think it’s great that Hiawassee added (these events) to the line-up,” Jerry Shook, a Habersham County resident and the proud owner of a pristine 1956 Ford Town Sedan, told FetchYourNews, “I attend every year, and it’s a nice to have even more to look forward to.”

Food vendors set up shop along Berrong Street, which was closed to traffic. Local restaurants Monte Alban, Sundance Grill, Asiano’s, and Hawgs & Dawgs BBQ offered a selection of festival-friendly fare. Cub Scouts Troop 407 supplied soft drinks to heat-parched guests. The event ran until 2:00 pm, and the classic cars and trucks proceeded to the Georgia Mountain Fairgrounds to regroup for a sixty mile caravan cruise to Mercier Orchards in Blue Ridge, Georgia. The crew returned to the fairgrounds that evening to celebrate the Sour Mask Kickoff Bash, overlooking sparking Lake Chatuge.

The rally continued into the weekend at the Georgia Mountain Fairgrounds, featuring music, food, vendors, and of course, plenty of hot rods.

(Feature Photo: Jerry Shook checks under the hood of his 1956 Ford Town Sedan)

Hawgs and Dawgs

Visitors were offered lunch options from five local vendors





“Flicks on the Square” in store for Hiawassee

Community, News
Music on Square

HIAWASSEE, Ga. – Hiawassee Town Square, a focal point in the heart of the city, is in the process of transformation.

In addition to the newly installed Appalachian Trail kiosk, a platform stage has been constructed on the Square’s southern border in anticipation of plans in the making.

The annual season of “Enchanted Music on the Square” begins on May 26 at 6:30 p.m. and continues each Saturday evening throughout the summer months.

Hiawassee Town Square

A newly-constructed stage awaits performers

Hiawassee Mayor Liz Ordiales announced the addition of a new event, “Flicks on the Square”, with movies projected on Friday nights after dark. While the bi-monthly occasion will be aimed at attracting families with children, the possibility of a classic movie or two for an older audience exists. The first showing is expected on May 25, on the Friday of Memorial Day weekend.

“Our initial expense is going to be about $3000, but it’s going to be a 15-foot screen, a back projector, the audio, and a Blu-ray player,” Mayor Ordiales says, “The only other expense is the licensing which I’m working on right now, and depending on the movie, it’s anywhere between $250 and $350, so we’ll make the initial investment. I think we can get that from hotel-motel (tax) money.”

The mayor went onto say she hopes the cost of the movies themselves will be sponsored by local businesses or organizations.

Unfortunately, the progress on the Square also includes the removal of a maple tree which stands beside the trail kiosk, next to the newly-added picnic tables.

Hiawassee town square

Maple tree on the Square

Mayor Ordiales says she spoke with an arbor expert who inspected the maple, deeming it demised.

Hollow areas throughout the limbs were said to have been discovered during the trimming process, and due to liability concerns noted by Hiawassee City Attorney Thomas Mitchell, the tree must go.

A sugar maple tree is expected to be planted in its place.

(Correction: Movie showings were originally listed as a weekly event. It has since been changed to twice monthly.)


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 Dawson, Lumpkin, White, Fannin, Gilmer, Pickens, Union, Towns 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 [email protected]

Fall Affair on Hiawassee Square this weekend

Hiawassee Town Square

Vendors line the Square, selling unique items

HIAWASSEE, Ga. – Summer days still linger, but Autumn draws near, and Hiawassee Town Square is celebrating the change of season with a Fall Affair, brimming with artists displaying handcrafted wares and a vendor offering a selection of mouthwatering fare.

Valentine Brothers, serving up scrumptious barbeque

The event takes place today, Saturday, Sept. 15  until 5 p.m. and Sunday, Sept. 16, until 4 p.m. in the heart of Hiawassee.


Six week old kittens, free to a forever home

Hiawassee tree ordinance may cost private land owners

Hiawassee Tree Ordinance

HIAWASSEE, Ga. – The City of Hiawassee has adopted yet another mandate, this time a tree ordinance which has the potential to impact the owners of private property. A “City Tree Board” has been appointed, and while the bulk of the responsibilities entrusted to the committee involves the cultivation and maintenance of trees located upon city property, the ordinance includes a clause pertaining to trees growing on privately-owned land.

Hiawassee town square

A maple tree, days before removal, which once stood on Hiawassee Square

The decree was brought to the attention of FetchYourNews (FYN) by a citizen at a recent town hall meeting. FYN filed an open record request with City Hall to review the ordinance, and spoke briefly with Hiawassee Mayor Liz Ordiales on the morning of Thursday, June 21. Ordiales noted a massive, trimmed evergreen located on the county courthouse grounds as an example of the ordinance. “That’s what we don’t want,” Ordiales said, referring to resulting appearance from the tree-topping technique. While courthouse staff agreed the pine is unsightly, trimming was warranted years prior due to interference with overhanging electrical lines. A maple tree was recently removed from the southeast corner of Hiawassee Town Square after the tree was deemed dead, and according to Mayor Ordiales and Hiawassee Attorney Thomas Mitchell, allowing the tree to remain posed a liability risk to the city.

While the location of the removed maple was unquestionably on city grounds, listed among the regulations in the ordinance is a section entitled “Removal of Dead or Diseased Trees” which states:

“The city shall have the right to cause the removal of any dead or diseased trees on private property within the city, when such trees constitute a hazard to the persons and property, or harbor insects or disease which constitutes a potential threat to other trees within the city. The City Tree Board will notify in writing the owners of such trees. Removal shall be done by said owners at their own expense within sixty (60) days after the date of service of notice. In the event of failure of owners to comply with the provisions, the city shall have the authority to remove such trees and charge the cost of removal to the owners.”

The ordinance advances to declare that interference with the City Tree Board – on public or privately owned property – is unlawful, and violation of any provision within the mandate shall be subject to a fine “not to exceed one thousand dollars.”

Upkeep of trees on private property, which could endanger the public or impede access through city right-of-ways or streets, are listed in a separate segment of the decree.

The first reading of the ordinance was approved May 1, 2018, by Council members Anne Mitchell, Kris Berrong, Amy Barrett, and Nancy Noblet. Councilwoman Patsy Owens was absent from the meeting. “It basically says that we’ll have trees in Hiawassee, and that we’ll take care of them,” Mayor Ordiales alluded at the previous work session.

A finalized signature sheet is expected at the city’s monthly work session Tuesday, June 26, at 6:00 p.m. While said meetings typically fall on the last Monday of each month, the June session was rescheduled due to a training trip for city staff.

Meetings are open to the public.

Back to Top