Sheriff candidate says improved patrol is needed

Election, News
Kenneth Ode Henderson

HIAWASSEE, Ga. – Young Harris Police Chief Kenneth “Ode” Henderson, a contender for Towns County sheriff, spoke with the Mountain Movers and Shakers, Friday, Jan. 31. at Sundance Grill. Henderson has served as a law enforcement officer for 35 years, currently serving as chief of police at Young Harris College and as an officer with the City of McCaysville.

Henderson touched on several issues during the morning meeting, which was brimming to near-capacity with constituents.

“The State of Georgia says that I need 20 hours of training a year to keep my certification,” Henderson began. “I don’t think that’s enough. I think our officers need more training. I think nothing less than 40 (hours), if not more. I think that our officers need more training.” Henderson said that a variety of resources, as well as low-to-no cost training, is available to law enforcement officers through the State.

“Drugs will be my number one priority. All crime is a priority, but drugs are something we’ve got to address,” the Young Harris police chief stated, drawing applause from the crowd. Henderson added that an in-house drug agent is needed within the department.

Henderson fielded several questions from the Mountain Movers and Shakers, including one from Shirley Clinton, the mother of and executive secretary to retiring Sheriff Chris Clinton. “I think this is the best sheriff’s office we’ve ever had, so what would you do to improve on what’s already there, and where would you get the funds to do it?” Clinton asked the candidate.

Jim Couch - sheriff's election

Towns County Sheriff’s Office Executive Secretary Shirley Clinton with Road Patrol Captain Jim Couch, a candidate for sheriff.

“Well, I think we have to expand on that,” Henderson responded. “I think we have a good sheriff’s department, and like I said, I’m not here to point fingers at anybody, but I think as far as expanding on that, we have to also keep in mind our budget. We’ve got to stay within that budget, and I think that working with our commissioner, we keep within our budget, and you know, we move along, making sure we’re getting all the professional training that we can get, and keeping our guys as best as we can with training,”

Henderson emphasized the importance of cooperating with outside law enforcement agencies and working toward involvement with the community. The sheriff’s contender said that he plans to implement a cadet program for youth if elected. More so, Henderson included that he would compile a list of elderly residents to ensure their well-being by checking on them daily. “If we call and you don’t answer, we’re going to be up there to see why you didn’t answer,” Henderson assured.

Henderson raised the topic of patrol duties within the sheriff’s office.

“I’ve been out on the trail and talking to people. I’ve actually had people tell me that they have not seen a law car in their community in a year. I’ve had several people tell me that on Gumlog, that they have not seen a car, a law enforcement car in their area in a year. That’s not going to happen, guys,” Henderson said, adding that he will assign patrol units to communities. “And about one day a month, I’m going to try to go out and talk to the citizens and the people and say. ‘Hey, you seeing law cars? If not, it’s gonna change.’ That’s our job. It’s not our job to ride Hiawassee to Young Harris and back again, ok? That’s not doing the job.”

Henderson added that the patrol vehicles would be altered to black and white to increase visibility.

Henderson concluded by assuring the citizens that he supports the Second Amendment. “I will stand with the people of Towns County against anybody that would attempt to take your rights to the Second Amendment away,” the candidate vowed. “I would never, never stand with anybody or law that would go against your Second Amendment.”

Henderson added that if elected, he will strive to make Towns County Sheriff’s Office the best in Georgia. “I will not let you down. I will do the job, and I will do it well, and we will once again have a good sheriff’s department that’s respected.”

Due to time constraints, Mountain Movers and Shakers announced that Henderson would be invited to deliver a future address. Towns County sheriff’s candidates Daren “Bear” Osborn, who spoke at last week’s session, and Jim Couch attended the meeting.


Homeland Security expert invited to address Mountain Movers and Shakers


HIAWASSEE, Ga. – Dr. W. George Gaines, Director of Open Enrollment at Israel Military Industries (IMI) Florida Academy for Advanced Homeland Security, is scheduled to address the Mountain Movers & Shakers Friday, Aug. 16, at 8 a.m. at Sundance Grill in Hiawassee. Meetings are open to the public.

“The only way to stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun. Caveat: Good guys need to be trained to use those guns,” Mark Wolchko, a spokesman for Mountain Movers & Shakers, said. “(Gaines) will speak to us about how Israeli Training is having an impact on U.S. law enforcement and civilians.”

IMI Florida Academy is an affiliate of Israel’s IMI Systems Advanced Homeland Security Academy, recognized worldwide as the leading provider of Homeland Security for integrated training solutions to combat terrorism.

Established in 1999 by veterans of the Israeli security forces, IMI Academy is a subsidiary of Israel Military Industries Ltd., a government-owned company. Like its parent, IMI Florida Academy offers advanced training to law enforcement, military, and security industry professionals by enhancing the human factor through methods and skills derived from the Israeli Military and Homeland Security Experience. IMI Florida Academy offers state-of-the-art training to law enforcement through NCJA.

According to the Jewish Virtual Library, fifteen members of U.S. Security agencies and police departments travelled to Israel in September 2015 to engage in counter-terrorism training sessions, led by Israeli counter-terrorism officers. The trip was sponsored by the Anti-Defamation League, and according to the organization’s director, the participants, “learn[ed] lessons from Israel in terms of tactics and strategies and the evolution of terrorism.” Officials hailing from the U.S. Marshalls Service, U.S. Customs and Immigration Enforcement, and the International Association of Chiefs of Police, as well as the Chicago, Las Vegas, Austin, Seattle, Oakland and Miami-Dade police departments, participated in this training exercise. A diverse group of 52 law enforcement officers from 12 U.S. states visited Israel and participated in joing training sessions with their Israeli counterparts during September 2017.  This program, known as the Police Unity Tour, has been held periodically since 1997.

Dr. Gaines holds an impressive list of additional creditials, including:

  • American Red Cross
    • Adult First Aid, CPR, AED #0Y14MN
  • NRA Credentials #190369292
    • Certified Home Firearm Safety Instructor
    • Certified Chief Range Safety Officer
    • Certified Refuse To Be A Victim® Instructor
    • Recruiter #XI030621
    • Personal & Professional Instructor Liability Insurance # 1210024043
  • State Credentials #190369292
    • Florida Concealed Weapon or Firearm License #WX1237800
    • Florida-Approved CCW Instructor FL s. 790.06
    • North Carolina Concealed Pistol Permit #1141268
    • North Carolina Justice Academy Certified CCP Instructor #0081-6013
  • USCCA Credentials #190369292
    • Certified Instructor
    • Certified Training Counselor
    • Certified Women’s Handgun & Self-Defense Fundamentals
  • US Gun Class Certified Instructor

Memberships & Honors

  • Chatuge Gun Club Member
  • Florida Carry Sustaining Member
  • Florida Firearms Academy Member
  • International Association of Law Enforcement Firearms Instructors Active Member
  • Mountain Rod & Gun Club Member
  • NRA Life & Endowment Member
  • NRA Golden Eagles Member
  • NRA National Patriots Medal
  • Union County Gun Club Member
  • USCCA Platinum Member

Firearms Experience

  • First Firearm, .22LR Mossberg bolt action rifle, Age 14
  • Carried Firearm Since 1968
  • Competitive NRA Bullseye Shooter
  • NRA Pistol Marksmanship Simulator Course
  • Florida Firearms Academy, Rapid Draw Class
  • FrontSight (Nevada) Defensive Handgun Course
  • Stopping Active Threats – The Israeli Experience, Honors Graduate
  • IMI Florida Academy Seminars, Chief Range Safety Officer

Formal Education

  • B.A., University of Alabama, 1965
  • M.A., Atlanta University, 1969
  • Ed.D., University of Georgia, 1971

Previous Teaching Experience

  • Florida, Georgia Secondary Public Schools, 1965 – 1969
  • University of Georgia, Teaching Assistant, 1969 – 1971
  • University of Georgia, Supervisor of Student Teachers, 1969 – 1971
  • University of New Orleans, Associate Professor of Education, 1971 – 1976
  • Louisiana State University Medical Center, Coordinator of Instructional Services, 1973 – 1976
  • Conducted Professional Educator Workshops at Numerous Colleges & Universities, 1976 – 1982
  • Directed and Mentored Junior Staff in Private Industry, 1983 – 2013
  • University of Florida, College of Business, Visiting Professor, 2011 – 2013
  • University of Central Florida, College of Business, Visiting Lecturer, 2012 – 2015

Renowned speaker to address Islam, Jihad, and Sharia Law in Hiawassee

News, Upcoming Events

HIAWASSEE, Ga. – Towns County Republican Party, in cooperation with Towns-Union Tea Party, is scheduled to host a presentation on Islam, Jihad, and Sharia Law, featuring Chris Gaubatz, a renowned expert on the subject. The presentation will take place Thursday, March 28, at the Towns County Civic Center in Hiawassee.  Doors open at 5:30 p.m. The event will begin at 6 p.m. The public is invited to attend at no charge.

The following morning, Friday, March 29, Gaubatz will address the Mountain Movers and Shakers at 8 a.m. at Sundance Grill in Hiawassee. Meetings are open to the public.

Gaubatz trains law enforcement on strategies and modus operandi of jihadists in order to locate and prosecute the networks, testifying before the U.S. Senate on the importance of minimizing radical Islam in combatting terrorism.  Gaubatz works with citizens, legislators, and leaders at the local and state levels to expose and dismantle the networks.

“Muslim terrorists, by whatever name, are all believers in fundamental Islam and have declared war against western civilization, especially America and the Jewish State of Israel,” Gaubatz said.

Gaubatz is Vice President of Understanding the, an organization dedicated to providing strategic and operational threat-focused consultation, education and training for federal, state, and local leadership and agencies, and designing strategies at all levels of the community in order to defeat the jihadi threat. As the son of a career Air Force OSI Special Agent, Gaubatz grew up in England, Korea, California, and Utah, and today calls southwest Virginia home. Gaubatz worked for several Fortune 500 companies conducting fraud investigations and asset protection, as well as insurance sales.

In 2007, Gaubatz began researching the threat of jihadi organizations in the United States by posing as a Muslim convert and attending Muslim Brotherhood/Hamas conferences gaining access as an intern with the Hamas organization Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) in Virginia.

While working at the CAIR MD/VA office, Gaubatz uncovered a fraud scheme perpetrated by CAIR’s “immigration attorney” who was defrauding Muslims in the community while lying about handling their immigration proceedings. When the office was shut down by CAIR in an effort to conceal this criminal activity, Gaubatz was invited by Hamas/CAIR leaders to work at their headquarters in Washington, D.C. During that time, Gaubatz obtained over 12,000 pages of documents from Hamas/CAIR and over 300 hours of covert audio/video recordings. The entire story is featured in the book Muslim Mafia authored by investigative journalist Paul Sperry and Dave Gaubatz.

Towns County Republican Chair Betsy Young encouraged the community to attend the presentation. “Please plan to  come and hear Chris open your eyes,” Young remarked. “Bring a friend.”

For additional infornmation, contact Betsy Young at 904-382-1912 or [email protected]

Local support groups offer hope to those suffering from grief

Community, News
Griefshare - Blairsville

HIAWASSEE, Ga. – The loss of a loved one is an experience that many people will encounter at some point in their life, and GriefShare is a weekly support group designed to help those in mourning better cope with what may be delibitating pain. Larry Tomlinson and George Dinsmore, Blairsville-based facilitators who were once participants in the faith-based program, shared information with the Mountain Movers & Shakers on the support group’s healing mission. GriefShare offers 14 weekly meetings with the final session devoted to a celebration of the lost loved one’s life.

Larry Tomlinson

Larry Tomlinson of GriefShare

Each meeting involves a three-tiered approach in dealing with the loss associated with the death of a loved one: a counselor-conducted video seminar, workbook studies, and support group discussions. “What you tell us in GriefShare stays there,” Tomlinson assured, adding that family members that jointly attend the program are encouraged to split into separate groups in order to allow each individual to open up freely. “We have found through experience that it’s better to separate family members.”

Dinsmore, who fondly recalled his “prepper” partnership with his late-wife, shared the emotional trauma and mental anguish that he experienced after losing his spouse to cancer. “We were prepared for everything. I was ready for everything, and then my wife died…I was so deep in the pit that I couldn’t function…Grief rewires your brain,” Dinsmore expressed. “I’m so committed to GriefShare and what it did for me.” Dinsmore attended two GriefShare series after the death of his wife, and has served as a support facilitator through 10 following seasons.

george Dinsmore

George Dinsmore of GriefShare

The initial 14-week GriefShare meeting will be held Sunday, Aug. 11, from 3:00-5:00 pm, at the First Baptist Church Ministry Center, Suite C, in Blairsville. For additional information, dial 706-745-2469.

McC0nnell Baptist Church in Hiawassee is scheduled to begin the fall series of GriefShare Thursday, Aug. 27, from 10 am to noon.

Participants are welcome to interchange locations if scheduling conflicts arise. Additional information on the GriefShare program is available by clicking this link.


Related archive:

‘DivorceCare’ support group leader to speak at Sundance Grill


Clinton receives unfavorable response to campaign announcement


EDITORIAL – Mountain Movers and Shakers announced Towns County Sheriff Chris Clinton will be their featured speaker at the group’s weekly meeting, Sept. 27. The agenda follows the sheriff’s proclamation before the Towns County Republican Party last week, stating intent to seek re-election in 2020.

If the public’s initial response to the elected official’s announcement is any indication of an approval rating, Clinton’s campaign could prove to be a challenge.

“Perhaps (Sheriff Clinton) will fill us in on the events and expected traffic for the next few months,” Mark Wolchko, a spokesman for Mountain Movers and Shakers, predicted in a press release. “Maybe he will enlighten us about the latest CLEA class. Possibly he will let us know about equipment upgrades in the sheriff’s department. Or maybe he will give us the lowdown on the next appearance of The Chris Clinton Band.”

CLEA, an acronym for the Citizen Law Enforcement Academy, consists primarily of “move-in” retirees whom Sheriff Clinton has referred to as personal “lobbyists” in the past. The group additionally serves as charity fund raisers and security staff at local events, such as concerts at the Georgia Mountain Fairgrounds.

The majority of Mountain Movers and Shakers’ active participants are CLEA alumni.

Sheriff Clinton shined a spotlight on CLEA during his GOP campaign announcement Thursday evening at the Towns County Civic Center.

“How many folks here have been through CLEA? Do you mind raising your hands? Every group I go to in the county, everywhere we go, I got people sitting in the group that’s been through the citizen law enforcement academy,” Clinton said. “These volunteers, by the end of the year, we hit about 2,000 hours, or about what would amount to me having to ask our commissioner for the $51,000, if we were going to do it ourselves, is being done by volunteers because we have men and women who believe in what we’re doing at the sheriff’s office.”

Should Clinton choose to promote his band at Friday’s meeting, however, citizen feedback could prove less than favorable.


Sheriff Clinton performing on town square in July 2018.

Widespread disapproval of The Chris Clinton Band’s schedule was brought to FetchYourNews’ attention in relation to the 2017 “Great American Eclipse,” an event that was anticipated by Clinton to draw thousands of solar enthusiasts to the Towns County area. Sheriff Clinton, who performs with his wife in the now two-man band, opted to host a concert at a local establishment during the highly publicized event. Members of the Towns County Homeowners’ Association – since renamed the Towns County Civic Association – along with numerous first responders, voiced stern criticism toward Clinton’s priorities.

Chris Clinton - Sheriff

Promotion for the Chris Clinton Band’s 2017 eclipse event.

Scrutiny later emerged in July 2018, following a band performance that corresponded with a deputy missing in action, along with a county inmate, during a wilderness search for alleged human remains near Brasstown Bald.

Public comments concerning the Clintons’ “small business” and the sheriff’s elected performance continue to appear on social media in response to the official’s recent bid for re-election.

Click to read comments and view reactions on original post.

While no contenders for the Office of the Sheriff have entered the race at this time, challengers are expected to announce candidacy in coming weeks.

Sheriff Clinton is scheduled to address Mountain Movers and Shakers this Friday at 8 a.m. at Sundance Grill in Hiawassee.

Meetings are open to the public.

Sheriff Clinton Archives

Feature Image: Towns County Sheriff Chris Clinton draws tickets for door prizes at Thursday’s GOP meeting.

Mountain Movers and Shakers to host animal rescue groups

Press Release, Upcoming Events
Operation PUP
There are plenty of Animals in Towns County. Horses, Cows and Chickens are everywhere, so are Deer, and, to a lesser extent, Bears. And also everywhere are feral Cats and Dogs. This Friday, March 22, we welcome to the Sundance Grill Ms. Joan Crothers, President of PUP (Prevent Unwanted Pets), and Sandy Hazen, Treasurer. They will be speaking on the kindest way to end the overpopulation problem of dogs and cats in Towns County.  PUP helps the people of Towns County with low-cost spaying and neutering.  Other animal rescuers who will be speaking are Bill Hall with Katz N Dawgs Helping HandsCarl Haines with Lucky Cats Rescue and Sue Scott, Nancy Ede with Wholly Cats, and Terry Lynne Marshall with Whiskers ProjectThese dedicated animal lovers will be informing the community of their roles in saving homeless, hungry, and helpless animals. Come join us at 8am this Friday to learn how to get involved.
Do you belong to a local Organization or are you an Elected Official with information that affects our Community? Then why not join us and fill us in on what’s going on! Everyone is invited to come hear what our weekly Guest Speakers have to say, and we have always had a few minutes for impromptu Speakers with pertinent information. Everyone is invited for Conversation, Information and Breakfast with the Mountain Movers and Shakers. Our Non-Partisan Group meets at 8 am every Friday at The Sundance Grill, a great place to meet, and the food is really good and reasonably priced. So come join us… You are sure to find Interesting Speakers, Championship Caliber Youth, and a fine group of Friendly Mountain Folk!

Sheriff’s father publicly addresses rumors of drug rehab


HIAWASSEE, Ga. – Towns County Sheriff Chris Clinton joined the Mountain Movers and Shakers Friday, Sept. 27, as the group’s featured speaker. Clinton, who officially announced a 2020 bid for re-election last week, launched his campaign by speaking on several topics. The sheriff spoke highly of his department, frequently contrasting the prior administration’s history which led to Clinton’s special election to office in 2007.

Following Clinton’s address, Michael Clinton – the sheriff’s father – publicly delivered an unprompted statement denying pervasive rumors that the elected official has attended treatment for drug addiction.

Michael Clinton asserted that the sheriff’s policies are not objectionable, comparing the opposition to that of President Trump’s, therefore critics have resorted to personal attacks.

“It’s lies. I can’t stand people just going around telling lies about people,” Michael Clinton told the sizeable crowd. “So anyways, when you hear this stuff, know what it is. They can’t attack what he’s doing, but that before and after thing, if you had before and after pictures, I tell you what, they’d be x-rated. Back in Towns County, it was always rut season in Towns County, especially in the sheriff’s office, and there’s a big difference, and you a made a big change.”

Rutting season is a time in the fall when deer mate. Sheriff Clinton interrupted to add that he has heard of deputies, under the previous administration, bragging about “rut season” to other agencies.

“Your personal life is your business, but if your personal life ever embarrasses the sheriff’s office, you’re fired,” Michael Clinton said. “And (my son’s) Christian character is above reproach, so if y’all hear this junk, don’t listen to it. So if you really want to hear what it is, come and ask me when you see me at Ingles or whatever, but be prepared to tell me who told you it.”

Beyond agreement with the “rut season” remark, Sheriff Clinton did not dispute nor affirm his father’s statement.

Following dozens of inquiries from concerned citizens, FetchYourNews offered Sheriff Clinton an opportunity in February to suppress the widespread rumors of drug rehabilitation in an effort to dispel hearsay.

Clinton declined to address the prevalent issue, opting to permanently cease communication with the news network.

Feature Image: Towns County Sheriff Chris Clinton, speaking to the Mountain Movers and Shakers, Sept. 27, 2019.


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If you would like to follow up-to-date local events in any of our counties of coverage, please visit us at


‘DivorceCare’ support group leader to speak at Sundance Grill

Community, News
Nancy Rowland - Divorce Care

HIAWASSEE, Ga.- FetchYourNews (FYN) spoke with Nancy Rowland, a group leader with the organization DivorceCare, Wednesday, July 10, ahead of Rowland’s scheduled presentation at Mountain Movers and Shakers this Friday. Rowland has volunteered as a support coach with the non-profit support group for the past eight years, and spoke from experience, describing the insurmountable heartache that stemmed from the dissolution of her 20 year marriage. “It was literally the hardest thing I ever went through,” Rowland confided.

DivorceCare, which is affiliated with Grief Share, began operating locally two years ago, and focuses on healing the trauma associated with divorce. The 13-week session, held each spring and fall, begins Wednesday, Aug. 28, from 6-8 p.m. at the Hayesville First United Methodist Church Sweetwater Campus in Clay County, North Carolina.

“‘Gray divorce’ is the newest trend. Couples are divorcing at a later age in life,” Rowland said, and many of the divorces involve second or third marriages. For those over 50, the rate of divorce for those who are in remarriages is two-and-a-half times higher those in first marriages, often the result of discord from blended families. “We offer hope. The classes deal with issues such as lonliness, depression, children, finances, and the emotions involved with the life changing experience.” The courses consist of a tri-fold of workbook studies, a video presentation, and a discussion session, allowing networking opportunities between participants. Rowland’s second husband, Jay, also a divorcee, also facilitates the DivorceCare group. A $20 fee is requested for the cost of the workbook, although scholarships are available.

Rowland will address the Mountain Movers and Shakers Friday, July 12, at 8 a.m. at Sundance Grill in Hiawassee. The meeting is open to the public. Additional information on DivorceCare is available online.

Decision to arm school faculty moves forth

Towns county Schools

HIAWASSEE, Ga. – Towns County Schools Facility Director Roy Perren spoke with Mountain Movers & Shakers on the morning of Friday, Aug. 24, on several subjects – one of which was the process taking place within the school system to ensure students and staff remain safe on campus.

Towns County Schools Superintendent Dr. Darren Berrong and Towns County Sheriff Chris Clinton attended the forum, with both officials addressing the issue.

In light of the recent decision reached by Towns County Board of Education to station a second school resource officer on campus, along with an announcement to arm select faculty members, the room filled with local residents paid close attention to the limited details offered by the three officials. Due to the sensitive nature of the matter, based on the solid logic that individuals who may intend to cause harm should not be made privy to specific information that could potentially assist a perpetrator in the fulfillment of a detrimental plan, the trio of leaders adequately ensured, rather, that proper procedures are producing a viable security system. Towns County Sheriffs office

“School safety is something that’s very important to all of us,” Director Perren began, saying that many in attendance likely have children or grandchildren enrolled in Towns County Schools, “We take it very seriously. Last time I spoke we were planning on having a table-top drill with the emergency management agency. We had it that following Monday. It went really well, and we’ve got people in the community, everybody’s on the same page as far as what we would do in the case of an emergency, whether that would be an active shooter or any type of emergency that might come up in school. We’re really working out getting that plan.”

“We also trained our teachers, and I mentioned last time, in a program called ALICE,” Perren continued, “That stands for alert, lockdown, inform, counter, and evacuate. It went really well. The teachers, I feel, felt empowered by it, how they would act in case there was an emergency, and how they could not just be idle, and sit there and get shot, which is unfortunately how, over the years, we’ve trained educators to be, is that, you lock down your room, turn off the lights, and you all go hide in the corner, and wait for somebody to come get you. The main thing we would want to do in the case of an emergency is to be to get out. If there’s any way to get out of the building, we would want to do that. Get them to evacuate.”

Perren advised that if escaping isn’t an option, barricading within the facility is the next best choice, followed by countering the attacker.

Several table-top discussions have occurred over the summer months, in conjunction with Georgia Emergency Management Agency (GEMA), with officials from the full-scope of local first responder agencies taking part in the school safety endeavor. According to Perren, an active shooter drill, which will consist of county and city law enforcement, firefighters, and medical staff, is planned to take place in the coming months. The drill will be conducted at a time when classes are not in session.

School Superintendent Berrong stated that strict protocol will be imposed when allowing limited faculty to have access to a firearm to counter a threat in the event of an active shooter scenario. Berrong assured that extensive training is a necessity, and noted an importance for responding law enforcement officers to have the ability to adequately identify an armed protector from an armed intruder.

“I feel comfortable with what’s being done, and I’ll continue to work alongside Dr. Berrong and Mr. Perren to provide the resources needed to succeed, ” Sheriff Clinton told FYN after the meeting, “We’re all on the same page. It’s an ongoing process that is being given due diligence. The safety of Towns County students is top priority for everyone involved.”


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

North Enotah Drug Court Explained


HIAWASSEE, Ga. – North Enotah Drug Court Coordinator Barbara Honaker shared the details of the judically supervised program, extended to felony drug offenders as an alternative to imprisonment, with the Mountain Movers and Shakers on the morning of Friday, Oct. 12.

North Enotah Drug Court encompasses the counties of Towns and Union, and works closely with law enforcement to promote positive change in the lives of those convicted of drug violations. “You have to have a heart for what we do,” Honaker explained at the beginning of the presentation. The program addresses addiction while coaching individuals on how to live productive, drug-free lives.

Towns County Drug Court

North Enotah Drug Court Coordinator Barbara Honaker

The non-profit organization consists of a team of experts, focused on treating the whole health of the individual, instructs on personal finance, addresses parenting matters, and provides cognitive behavior intervention, in addition to moral reconation therapy. The rehabilitation program requires accountability from enrollees, with rigid guidelines set in stone. Participants receive counseling, attend numerous classes, including Alcoholics and/or Narcotics Anonymous, partake in volunteer service, and receive random drug screening to ensure abstinence from illicit substances and alcohol. Securing and maintaining employment is mandatory. Failure to abide by the stringent regulations set forth results in an “intense contract” which Honaker likened that of house arrest, with additional requirements applied. Honaker explained that enrollees must waive their Fourth Amendment right to search and seizure upon entering the program.

While considered a voluntary decision to enroll, candidates are required to admit before a judge that their arrest was drug-related prior to acceptance into the minimum 18- to 24-month program. Honaker informed that the felony accountability treatment results in a 73-percent success rate, saves taxpayer funds by reducing the number of inmates housed in jails, restores family units, and ultimately, changes lives.

North Enotah Drug Court is in its sixth year of operation, with the first graduation occuring in July of 2015. Upon inquiry, Honaker estimated that approximately 35-percent of participants engaged in opioid abuse prior to graduating from the program, although methamphetmine is the leading substance of addiction in the region.

Additional information on North Enotah Drug Court is available at


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Hayesville Mayor Harry Baughn visits Hiawassee

News, Politics
Mayor Harry Baughn

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.


Sam Fullerton Steps Down from Movers and Shakers, Joins Governor Campaign

Sam Fullerton Movers Shakers

Hiawassee, GA – Sam Fullerton, Co-Founder of the community group Movers and Shakers, has announced he is stepping down from his 7-year position as the organization’s leader.

Mr. Fullerton began his career in Atlanta at the age of 25. He worked as a sales manager at Universal Ford by day and attended law school by night. Soon after, Fullerton became a partner at Whaley Ford Dealership in Conyers, Georgia.

Sam Fullerton was elected to public office on three separate occasions and campaigned in all 159 Georgia counties.

“I have mixed emotions about stepping down,” Mr. Fullerton shared, “I’m saddened and emotional knowing I won’t be as big a part of Movers and Shakers.”

Sam Fullerton has managed many political campaigns and will begin working for Casey Cagle on his run for Governor of Georgia.

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]

Commissioner Bradshaw Updates Community on Economy


Hiawassee, GA – Towns County Movers and Shakers held their weekly meeting on Friday, September 22, at Sundance Grill in Hiawassee. The featured speakers were Sole Commissioner Cliff Bradshaw and Hiawassee City Council candidate, Patsy Owens.

Commissioner Bradshaw updated the group on local economic developments.

“The national economy has improved and we’re seeing the effects in Towns County. Our financial state is very good. The county is on budget and in some cases, under budget. Tourism is drawing a considerable amount of income and we’ve seen an 8.9% increase since 2007,” Commissioner Bradshaw said.

Towns County benefitted from tourism in the amount of $48,780,000 in 2016 alone. Tourism provided a tax break of $862.23 per household in 2016, an increase from $735.71 in 2015.

Real estate sales have also expanded with 219 homes sold by a single agency since the start of 2017.

Commissioner Bradshaw says he’s working closely with the Towns County Chamber of Commerce as well as the Georgia Mountain Fairgrounds and hopes to see events held every “good weather weekend.”

Grace Howard, President of Hamilton Gardens, praised the Commissioner’s “unbelievable cooperation” and announced a fundraiser will be held at Hamilton Gardens on Monday, October 23, sponsoring the “Daffodil Project.” The Holocaust Commission hopes to plant a daffodil in memory of each of the 1.5 million children’s lives lost. Hamilton Gardens would like to meet a goal of 500 bulbs planted in the Garden’s Memorial section by December. A dedication ceremony will be held on December 10, 2017.  It is a nonpolitical, nondenominational event, and a survivor of the Holocaust is expected to speak.

The Hiawassee City Council candidate forum will take place on Monday, October 2, at 6:30 p.m. at the Towns County Civic Center, located adjacent to the Towns County Courthouse. Fetch Your News will provide coverage of the event along with information on each candidate.

Early voting begins on October 16, 2017.



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]





Sheriff Weighs in on Confederate History

Sheriff Chris Clinton

Hiawassee, GA – The hot topics of Confederate monuments reached a local level on Friday, September 15, during the Movers and Shakers weekly meeting at Sundance Grill.

Sam Fullerton, a co-founder of the community discussion group, invited Sheriff Chris Clinton to address the crowd before the forum adjourned.

Although it was a impromptu request, Sheriff Clinton took the podium and began to tell the sentimental story of how his grandparents met and married in Towns County after World War II. The tale formed the foundation for what was to follow:

The sheriff’s views on the eradication of history.

Sheriff Clinton didn’t mince words and spoke with passion about his beliefs.

“Monuments are being torn down. Books are being burned. We cannot destroy history,” the sheriff said, “There’s a vacuum in the media and the pulpits. The only way we can move forward and heal this nation is by teaching our children the truth about about the past.”

“Many people don’t realize that George Washington wasn’t our first President because it isn’t taught in schools. George Washington was actually our ninth President. There were eight before him under the Articles of Confederation.

Sheriff Clinton went on to say that while slavery was a “horrible thing” and acknowledged the role it played, he explained the Civil War was fought by Confederate citizens in defense of state sovereignty , in opposition of Union taxation.

“That’s the part the media fails to mention,” the Sheriff said, “Robert E. Lee, he hated slavery. Abraham Lincoln was originally willing to keep the Union intact by either preservation or abolishment of slavery. How can we teach our children, our children’s children, if we erase history?”

“I believe I’m responsible for telling the truth,” Sheriff Clinton concluded, “What’s done with it isn’t up to me.”

Fetch Your News reached out to the Towns County Democratic Party for their general take on the controversial issue.

Although a reply as to whether the comment was “on record” wasn’t returned, a member of the Party, who identifies as a Progressive, wrote in an email, “History is important to remember. But when it offends an entire group like Jews, ethnic minority tribes in Asia, and maybe African Americans, a non-combative conversation should take place by officials in charge with input from the community.”

Due to in explicit permission to publish the quotee’s name, Fetch Your News respects the privacy of the individual.

Local legend Bud Johnson recounts Iwo Jima at Movers and Shakers

Community, News
Bud Johnson Towns County

HIAWASSEE, Ga. – Local United States Navy legend, Clarence “Bud” Johnson, a well-known and well-loved staple in the community, made an appearance at Movers and Shakers on Friday, Feb. 16, 2018, to share his memories of nearly four decades spent serving in the armed forces. Bud Johnson, an Ohio native, has called Towns County home for the past 45 years.

Michael Borkman, a forum moderator, sang the retired chief master sergeant’s praises before turning over the reigns to the admired veteran.

“Bud is an amazing community guy. He is one of the remaining people to see not one, but both flags risen at Iwo Jima. Bud was there. Bud saw both,” Borkman emphasized. “He was there fighting for our freedom, the blanket that we sleep under every night. That freedom.”

Bud Johnson, still going strong in spite of a recent back surgery, rose from his seat and took the podium. “I was in the United States Navy for over 36 years,” Johnson began. ” I went in in 1939 as a 17-year-old boy … I knew I didn’t want to be a farmer or railroader like my daddy. I said there’s something better in life to do.”

The veteran, just shy of 97 years old, recounted the struggle for Iwo Jima, emotionally recalling the fate of each man who rose the American flag on the island’s highest peak on that historic day in 1945. “For three days, we watched the Marines try to take that 200-yards of shore,” Johnson remembered. Johnson said the attack reminded him of an impregnated ant hill. “We’re not the heroes. The heroes are the ones who never made it back. We lost over 6,000 Americans, over 20,000 were wounded, but 24,000 lives were saved by taking Iwo Jima,” Johnson stated.

Clarence bud Johnson

Bud Johnson attended the Towns County Veteran’s Day luncheon in 2017.

After the bloody battle ceased, Iwo Jima served as an emergency landing site for B-29 bombers, saving the lives of thousands of U.S. airmen.

“We had a community in the military just like we have here, a community of our friends,” Chief Master Sergeant Johnson explained. “We lost our individuality when we joined the military. It wasn’t self anymore. You would live for them and you would die for them.”

Bud Johnson thanked those in attendance for being Americans and for supporting the veterans. The crowd rose for a standing ovation while some stifled tears.

A remembrance ceremony was held at the Iwo Jima memorial at Foster Park in Young Harris on Monday, Feb. 19, to honor five Iwo Jima survivors on the 73rd anniversary of “America’s Battle.” The U.S. Marine Corps League, Unicoi Detachment #783, presented the program to acknowledge the veterans who served during the second World War.

Featured photo: Bud Johnson (left) with Michael Borkman


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, Union, Dawson, Lumpkin, White, Fannin, Gilmer, Pickens, 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 on our Facebook page. 

For the most effective, least expensive local advertising, call 706-276-6397 or email us at [email protected]



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