Homeland Security expert invited to address Mountain Movers and Shakers

Dr. W. George Gaines

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


Robin H. Webb

Robin can be reached by dialing 706-487-9027 or contacted via email at Robin@FetchYourNews.com --- News tips will be held in strict confidence upon request.

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



Robin H. Webb

Robin can be reached by dialing 706-487-9027 or contacted via email at Robin@FetchYourNews.com --- News tips will be held in strict confidence upon request.

‘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.


Robin H. Webb

Robin can be reached by dialing 706-487-9027 or contacted via email at Robin@FetchYourNews.com --- News tips will be held in strict confidence upon request.

Mountain Movers and Shakers learn the history and etiquette of the American Flag

Mountain Movers and Shakers

HIAWASSEE, Ga.- Veterans of Foreign Wars Quartermaster Brandy Creel, a United States Air Force veteran of 20-plus years, versed Mountain Movers and Shakers on the history and etiquette of the American flag, Friday, June 14, at Sundance Grill in Hiawassee. Creel displayed an array of flag-themed items throughout the presentation. The Desert Storm veteran shared information on the inception of the American flag, along with proper protocol for displaying and disposing of Old Glory. Creel expressed desire to teach school students about the American flag annually on May 1, which is known as Loyalty Day, as classes are not in session on Flag Day.

Brandy Creel

Brandy Creel, speaking to the Mountain Movers & Shakers

On June 14, 1777, the Continental Congress passed an act establishing an official flag for the new nation. The resolution stated: “Resolved, that the flag of the United States be thirteen stripes, alternate red and white; that the union be thirteen stars, white in a blue field, representing a new constellation.”

The Fourth of July was traditionally celebrated as America’s birthday, USFlag.org explains, but the idea of an annual day specifically celebrating the flag is believed to have first originated in 1885. BJ Cigrand, a schoolteacher, arranged for the pupils in the Fredonia, Wisconsin Public School, District 6, to observe June 14 (the 108th anniversary of the official adoption of The Stars and Stripes) as ‘Flag Birthday’. In numerous magazines and newspaper articles and public addresses over the following years, Cigrand continued to enthusiastically advocate the observance of June 14 as ‘Flag Birthday’, or ‘Flag Day’.



As a symbol of the country and its people, the flag should be treated with respect and be honored when on display. In order to treat the flag with the dignity it deserves, the following display guidelines are recommended.


  • When the flag is hung vertically on a wall, window, or door, the Union (blue section) should be to the observer’s left. When the flag is hung either horizontally or vertically against a wall, the Union should be to the observer’s left.
  • In a procession, the American flag should be to the right of any other flag or, if in a line of other flags, in front of the center of that line.
  • When displayed from a staff projecting from a building, the union should be at the peak of the staff.
  • When the flag is displayed otherwise than by being flown from a staff, it should be displayed flat, whether indoors or out; or so suspended that its folds fall as freely as though the flag were staffed.
  • When displayed over a street, the flag should be suspended vertically with the union to the north in an east and west street, or to the east in a north and south street.
  • On a platform, the flag should be above and behind the speaker, with the union uppermost and to the observer’s left.
  • When displayed from a staff in a church or auditorium, the flag should occupy the position of honor and be placed at the speaker’s right as he faces the audience.
  • When the flag is used to cover a casket, the union should be at the head and over the left shoulder.


  • The flag should not be displayed on a float except from a staff, nor draped over the hood, top, sides, or back of a vehicle.
  • When the flag is displayed on a vehicle, the staff should be fixed firmly to the chassis.


  • In the United States, no other flag should be placed above the American flag or, if they are to be placed on the same level, to the right of the American flag.
  • The United Nations flag may not be displayed above or in a position of superior prominence to the United States flag except at United Nations Headquarters.
  • The flag, when displayed with another against a wall—both from crossed staffs—should be on the right (the flag’s own right), and its staff should be in front of the other staff.
  • The American flag should be at the center and the highest point when displayed with a group of state flags.
  • When flags of states, cities, etc., are flown on the same halyard, the American flag should be at the peak.
  • When flags of two or more nations are displayed, they are to be flown from separate staffs of the same height, and the American flag should be hoisted first and lowered last.



The flag and its likeness should be treated with respect. Its image should not be cheapened or tarnished by improper use.

  • The flag should not be dipped to any person or thing, including government officials—even the President.
  • The flag should never be displayed with the union (stars) down, unless as a signal of dire distress.
  • The flag should never touch anything beneath it, such as the ground, the floor, water, or merchandise.
  • The flag should never be carried flat or horizontally, but always aloft and free.
  • The flag should never be fastened, displayed, used, or stored so that it might be easily torn, soiled, or damaged in any way.
  • The flag should never be used as covering for a ceiling.
  • The flag should never have anything placed on it.
  • The flag should never be used for any advertising purpose, nor embroidered on cushions or handkerchiefs, printed on paper napkins or boxes, nor used as any portion of a costume.


  • When the flag is in such condition that it is no longer a fitting emblem, it should be destroyed in a dignified and ceremonious fashion, preferably by burning.
  • Most American Legion posts will conduct an annual ceremony, often on Flag Day (June 14) to retire old or worn flags; contact your local chapter if you are not able to dispose of the flag yourself. You could also ask your local Boy Scouts or Girl Scouts troops about retiring your flag.


Robin H. Webb

Robin can be reached by dialing 706-487-9027 or contacted via email at Robin@FetchYourNews.com --- News tips will be held in strict confidence upon request.

Cop turned professor recounts angelic rescue after crash

Featured Stories

HIAWASSEE, Ga. – Near-death experiences have a way of directing lives toward a destiny that was unknown prior to the encounter, and coupled with a spiritual revelation, the results can be profound. That proved to be the case for Dr. Anthony Sirianni. For the first time in 16 years, the criminal justice professor from North Georgia Technical College publicly shared his story of a second chance at life, at the hands of an angel, with the Mountain Movers and Shakers, Friday, May 3, 2019.

Anthony Sirianni

Dr. Anthony Sirianni

Dr. Sirianni moved to sunny Sarasota at the age of 18 by a test a faith. The now-professor told the story of how he closed his happy-go-lucky eyes and pressed a push pin toward a map of Florida, soon to set path on a journey far from home. Anthony knew from the tender age of six what he wanted to become some day; a police officer, a knowing built from a childhood experience when a small town chief helped the lost and fearful boy find his way home. Anthony’s 28 year career in law enforcement began as a corrections officer at the Sarasota County Detention Center, graduating to patrolling the streets of Florida’s west coast at the age of 21. Life was good, and life pressed on.

On the evening of Feb. 8, 2003, at two minutes before midnight, however, the K-9 officer’s life was forever changed. Anthony was driving his patrol vehicle, during what he thought would be a routine shift, when he saw headlights quickly approaching in his lane of traffic. The head-on collision was so fierce that the engine block of his assigned Chevrolet Tahoe was launched through the windshield. The intoxicated driver of the oncoming vehicle had suffered the repercussions of her third DUI.

As Professor Sirianni recounted what followed, the audience at Sundance Grill sat spellbound by his emotive words. Though physically unconcious, Anthony vividly recalled an unseen force taking hold of his shoulders, pulling him from the mangled wreckage, while hearing the phrase, “It’s not time.” The officer was laid to rest by the spirit in a patch of nearby bushes, and witnessed the arrival of first responders. Firefighters hung their heads, looking down upon his battered body in sorrow, telling one another that there was no way that the K-9 officer could possibly survive. “I wasn’t ejected,” Tony explained, stiffling sentiment. “How did I get out of the car?”

Anthony’s first thoughts were of his canine, and throughout the out-of body experience, the officer recalled pleading with medical crews to tend to his beloved dog, Amazingly, Anthony’s partner suffered but a fractured tail. Anthony was less fortunate, however, enduring months of painful surgeries to heal his shattered bones. Throughout his recovery, Anthony knew with doubt that his life had been spared to serve a greater purpose, and he knew he must venture on. In 2015, the officer retired from active law enforcement, attended college,  and earned an eventual doctorate’s degree. The cop turned criminal justice professor believes, heart and soul, that his life was “saved to touch lives.” Anthony recounted an example of a drug addicted woman who once begged for treatment as he served as a narcotic sergeant, prior to retirement. The officer answered the addict’s plea for change, and reported that the woman successfully turned her life around, passing forward the grace that she was granted.

Dr. Sirianni explained that his newfound purpose exceeded law enforcement and teaching criminal justice, however. “We’re here to care for each other. It’s beyond partisanship. It’s beyond politics,” the professor confided. Anthony concluded his talk by adding that police officers are stigmatized as tough and unwilling to share their vunerable sides with all but their inner circle. While Anthony struggled to repress rightful emotion while expressing his experience, the professor relayed that it was a story that needed to be told.

Questions from the attentive group followed, with one guest asking what could be done to lessen the negative press associated with law enforcement officers in this day and age. The teacher replied in part, “There’s so much (good) that doesn’t make the paper.”

The collective mood was measurable as the weekly meeting adjourned, with guests commenting to one another on how fascinating the subject matter had been. Friends could be overheard discussing their own past encounters with angels. One thing is for certain, lives were altered that May morning as a result of hearing Anthony’s truth


Robin H. Webb

Robin can be reached by dialing 706-487-9027 or contacted via email at Robin@FetchYourNews.com --- News tips will be held in strict confidence upon request.

Drug court participants to share stories of struggle and success

News, Upcoming Events

HIAWASSEE, Ga. – Drug abuse is an epidemic in the United States and one would be hard pressed to find someone who hasn’t been affected, directly or indirectly, by addiction.

Barbara Honaker, coordinator of North Enotah Drug Court, will return to Mountain Movers and Shakers Jan. 22, this time accompanied by two program participants who will share their journey through the system.

North Enotah Drug Court

North Enotah Drug Court Coordinator Barbara Honaker

Honaker, an ordained minister of counseling, has directed the drug court program since 2014. “She counsels the most troubled of our youth…,” a spokesman for Movers and Shakers explained.

In addition, Towns County Sheriff’s Office Lieutenant John McCoy is scheduled to address the forum. McCoy is assigned to assist North Enotah Drug Court.

On a different note, also invited to speak is Georgia Occupational Leadership award winner Devin Deshazar. “This remarkable young man is using his technical education in Criminal Justice from the Blairsville campus to pursue his goal of becoming a Georgia State Trooper. He is already serving as a firefighter in Toccoa.”

Devin Deshazar

Georgia Occupational Leadership award winner Devin Deshazar

Mountain Movers and Shakers meet at 8 a.m. each Friday at Sundance Grill in Hiawassee. There are no membership requirements or dues. The meetings are open to the public.



Robin H. Webb

Robin can be reached by dialing 706-487-9027 or contacted via email at Robin@FetchYourNews.com --- News tips will be held in strict confidence upon request.

Focus on Firewise Communities this Friday with Movers & Shakers

Community, Press Release
Towns County FireWise

NEWS FLASH: WE LIVE IN THE FOREST. Fully 70% of Towns County is Federal or State Forest. And when you live in the Forest, you must be aware of Forest Fires. That’s why we are glad to welcome back dear friend Mr. Frank Riley, he of all things Fire Safety related, as he introduces us to Towns County’s new Firewise Communities Coordinator, Mr. Michael Courey. For the un-enlightened, Firewise is the way to be in these Mountains. Teaming with the County, Communities(such as Wood Lake, where I live) get together, remove underbrush, combustibles and such, and generally agree to keep the Community in good order. Towns County is a leader nationally in the number of Communities that are Firewise and Fire Aware. Get to the Sundance Grill early this Friday, February 15 to learn how you can get your Community involved. Be wise, be Firewise.


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 8am 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!     The More People Know, the More People Know…


Robin H. Webb

Robin can be reached by dialing 706-487-9027 or contacted via email at Robin@FetchYourNews.com --- News tips will be held in strict confidence upon request.

Mountain Marty Party Networking Event Scheduled

Business, Press Release
Marty Party
Marty Party Business Networking Event

Feb. 28, 2019 — 5:30 – 7: 30 p.m. at Sundance Grill in Hiawassee…

Enjoy two free hours of Business Networking, complete with FREE HorD’oeuvres…
FREE Adult Beverage with 50 to 100 Other Like Minded Professionals &
Business Owners Like Yourself…. 
Optional: Join for dinner, following the event at 7:30!  



Robin H. Webb

Robin can be reached by dialing 706-487-9027 or contacted via email at Robin@FetchYourNews.com --- News tips will be held in strict confidence upon request.

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