HIAWASSEE, Ga. – Independence Day is quickly approaching, and Towns County will feature several events to celebrate America’s freedom. The Lake Chatuge Boat Parade is scheduled to launch the festivities, Thursday, July 4. “Boaters line up in the Sunset Bay Cove behind Aqua Tiki, the Grand Marshal, for the parade beginning at 10:30 am,” Towns County Chamber of Commerce said. “No wake, and boats must fly a U.S. flag. Additional patriotic decorations are encouraged. Boats must have a number issued to be considered for judging. A $50 prize will be awarded for most creatively decorated boat, and also for the most red, white and blue. Boats will parade past the Georgia Mountain Fairgrounds, under Anderson Bridge, and past the Hiawassee Beach area before disbanding. Judges will be positioned at the Georgia Mountain Fairgrounds.” Winners will be announced July 4 at 2 pm on the “Towns County and Lake Chatuge Chamber of Commerce” Facebook page.
HIAWASSEE, Ga. – Towns County Chamber of Commerce hosted an annual “Eggs and Issues” breakfast, Wednesday, May 29, at Daniel’s Steakhouse in Hiawassee. A crowd of approximately 50 signed up to dine, buffet style, while listening to public leaders address community matters. Towns County Commissioner Cliff Bradshaw, Hiawassee Mayor Liz Ordiales, Young Harris Mayor Andrea Gibby, Towns County Sheriff Chris Clinton, and Hiawassee Police Chief Paul Smith were invited to meet with the citizens.
Commissioner Bradshaw opened the event by sharing that the county budget is in good health, with a $3.1 million reserve fixed in place. Due to past, excessive rainfall, construction efforts were needed in an area that caused a storage building to buckle at Foster Park in Young Hsrris, the commissioner reported, although taxpayers’ funds were minimal due to a generous contractor who offered assistance to lower costs. An insurance check in the amount of $23,000 was issued in response to the damage of the building. Bradshaw shared that sales taxes have increased by $28,000 from this time last year, a testimony to the booming business of local tourism. The commission said that he believes the city governments are in line with the county’s goals. “We don’t want to lose small town values, and small town feel,” Bradshaw stressed.
Next to speak was Hiawassee Mayor Liz Ordiales who, in part, addressed the city’s strategic plan, calling it a “driving force.” Ordiales said that the next project on the list is to make Lloyd’s Landing, where the boat ramp was located prior to Mayors’ Park, a “kid-friendly, fun, family area.” The mayor filled the diners in on the Friday movies and Saturday evening music summer series on Hiawassee Town Square, announcing that 250 music lovers attended opening night, Memorial Day weekend. “We all came here because we wanted a small town…” Mayor Ordiales reminded. “Wouldn’t it be nice to have every, single storefront filled? That’s my target.”
Young Harris Mayor Andrea Gibby promoted the city’s North Georgia Highlands Seafood Festival, scheduled for this weekend. Gibby addressed the anticipated road construction which will soon begin in western Towns County. “The construction process will be awful, but in the end I think it’s going to be very good for us,” the mayor assured. Gibby said that the citizens of Young Harris are in agreement as to how the development of the city unfolds, saying the residents strive for a “community and sense of belonging,” adding that “eveyone seems to want a village.”
Towns County Sheriff Chris Clinton spoke on the security at the courthouse, detention center procedures, and the recently completed mass “Operation Trial Run” drug round-ups, which landed 53 arrests and over $300,000 in monetary and property seizures. The sheriff noted the local C.H.A.M.P.S. program, the importance of accountabilty in reference to drug court, and praised the volunteer efforts of the Citizen Law Enforcement Academy (CLEA) graduates. Clinton divulged that the inmates currently housed at the Towns County Detention Center are all repeat offenders. “I think we need less laws, and put the teeth back in the laws.” Sheriff Clinton said, referring to himself as “compassionate” and “a results, goal-orientated, type person.”
“We haven’t had the best history of sheriff’s in the past,” Clinton said, calling the statement an “historical fact.” The county’s chief officer informed that he does not see his detractors in attendance at community events, such as the sheriff’s office fundraisers, while adding, “I don’t think any of us are claiming to be perfect. I’m certainly not.” Sheriff Clinton concluded with praise for the department’s deputies and their retention record. “We haven’t had a single patrol officer in over two years go anywhere.”
Hiawassee Police Chief Paul Smith wrapped up the forum, relaying that he is one of five officers on the city department. “I still work the roads. I still answer calls,”Smith said, noting that having a recently-added fifth officer allows time to tend to administrative duties. Smith stressed the importance of justice and service to the community, and expressed gratitude for two patrol vehicles which were donated by the local Lions Club and a Florida poice division. The chief touched on the annual “Shop with a Hero” program which provides holiday gifts for financially challenged children in Towns County.
In attendance was Towns County Fire Chief Harold Copeland who warned of wildfire dangers, and asked the community to kindly pull to the shoulder of the roadway when emergency vehicles approach, with lights flashing and sirens sounding. Copeland additionally serves as the county coroner, and mentioned the importance of carrying identification with information on next of kin, along with predetermining a preference of funeral homes.
Overall, the theme of the event was overwhelming positive from the public officials involved, and in terms of attendance, the Towns County Chamber of Commerce deemed the breakfast discussion a success.
Feature Image: Commissioner Cliff Bradshaw, speaking to the citizens of Towns County
HIAWASSEE, Ga. – Lake Chatuge was the site of the 2018 Bassmaster Angler of the Year (AOY) point series tournament, and Towns County’s decision to host the sporting event yielded a high economic return.
According to Towns County Chamber of Commerce President Candace Lee, over 10,800 visitors traveled to the area for the September event, generating approximately $2.1 million dollars in revenue. The expected return, cited by Bassmaster, was slightly underestimated at $1.5 to $2 million dollars.
Towns County extended a host fee of $60,000 to secure the Bassmaster series finale, a commitment both Lee and Towns County Commisioner Cliff Bradshaw said did not come without much consideration and contemplation. In addition to the revenue obtained from the event, a total of 5,434 local jobs were supported by the wise investment.
Lee and Bradshaw explained that the tournament will reap long-lasting results as familiarity with the Towns County area is better known due to exposure from the popular bass fishing event. During the week of the tournament, coverage of the AOY drove over 798,000 visitors to the bassmaster website, with more than 336,000 unique visitors, and 6.8 million page views. Video coverage delivered more than 269,000 views.
Fetch Your News is a hyper local news outlet, attracting more than 300,000 page views and 3.5 million impressions per month in Towns, Dawson, Lumpkin, White, Fannin, Gilmer, Pickens, Union, and Murray counties, as well as Clay and Cherokee County in N.C. – FYNTV attracts approximately 15,000 viewers per week, reaching between 15,000 to 60,000 per week on our Facebook page.
Keep Money Local: Sales taxes fund our communities, providing vital services such as police and fire protection, street repairs, and trash collection.
Local Investment: Local businesses are less susceptible to national downturns and more likely to work harder to stay open.
Locally-Made Products: Local business owners often sell local products which helps preserve the community’s distinction and creates more jobs locally.
Support for Non-Profit Organizations: Local businesses support good work in the community.
Discover Interesting Things and People: One-of-a-kind shops and restaurants are part of what makes a community a great place to live.
Personal Connection: You know the store owners and the store owners know you!
Product Knowledge: Local business owners are well-informed about the products that they are selling.
Diverse Products: Local store scarry unique items often not found in larger retail chains.
Cost Effective: Prices at local businesses are often better because of lower overhead.
Better Experience: Local shopping can translate into more convenient retail experiences.
Less “Leakage”: Local businesses tend to buy and sell with other local businesses.
Better Service: Local business owner are typically passionate about the products that they are selling, and are more apt to share that passion with local consumers.
According to the Towns County Chamber of Commerce, for every $100 spent at a locally-owned business, $73 remains in the local economy, and $27 leaves the area. When compared to $100 spent at a non-locally owned business, only $43 remains local, and $57 leaves the area. Recent research shows that local restaurants return nearly 79 percent of revenue to the community, compared to just over 30 percent for chain restaurants.
In Georgia alone, 99.6 percent of businesses are small businesses.
When profits stay local, it increases the community’s wealth, tax revenue, and quality of living.
Many area retail stores and restaurants will offer a “Shop Small Saturday” special or discount, and many businesses are giving away free “Shop Small Saturday” tote bags.
For additional information, contact the Towns County Chamber of Commerce at 706-896-4966.
HIAWASSEE, Ga. – Towns County received the findings of the 2017 financial audit, and all is going according to plan. “As far as the financials of the county, we’re doing really well. I’m very excited things are going really good. Knock on wood that we don’t have any catastrophes,” Towns County Commissioner Cliff Bradshaw said, referencing the devastation to the eastern states caused by Hurricane Florence’s wrath, grateful that the county was spared damage, “But the financials are good. The reserve is in place. Everything is like it should be. We’re on track.”
Towns County maintains an impressive $3.1 million reserve.
Commissioner Bradshaw announced that year-to-date, the county has seen an approximate $30,000 increase in sales tax collection. “That means the economy is doing good, and we’re so thankful for that,” Bradshaw explained, adding appreciation for Towns County Chamber of Commerce President Candace Lee’s dedication and contribution to the tourism boom. Bradshaw reminded that the Bassmaster Elite Series tournament begins this week on Lake Chatuge, and that events such as the fishing competition put the county on the map. “That’s folks spending money in Towns County. That’s what it’s all about.”
The 2017 audit is housed in the Commissioner’s office at the Towns County Courthouse, available for public review. By week’s end, the audit is expected to be posted on the Towns County Commissioner’s website
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.
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 advertise@FetchYourNews.com
YOUNG HARRIS, Ga. – Towns County first responders met with Commissioner Cliff Bradshaw and Chamber of Commerce President Candace Lee on Friday to put plans in place for the upcoming Bassmaster Angler of the Year tournament, set to kick off Thursday, Sept. 20.
According to the Towns County Chamber, the event is bound to draw between 15,000 – 18,000 visitors to the area. Participants and spectators are expected to begin arriving days prior to the official start of the tournament, with weekend traffic anticipated to become sporadically congested in Hiawassee at times. First responders intend to reduce incoming Georgia Mountain Fairground traffic to a single turning lane during peak hours.
While no specific instructions were issued to the public, emergency crews ask motorists to use caution while traveling due to the population influx. The actual number of visitors may fluctuate, depending on the weather forecast.
“We are excited to be hosting this event,” Candace Lee said, “The cooperation between the county and the city has been fantastic. I hope everyone has a great time and returns for a future visit.”
Fifty fishermen will vye for the coveted title of Bassmaster Angler of the Year.
Fishing competitors are scheduled to launch onto Lake Chatuge at 7 a.m. on Thursday, with daily weigh-ins at the Georgia Mountain Fairgrounds at 3:45 p.m. The tournament runs through Sunday, Sept. 23. Saturday is an “off” day with no competition scheduled.
Bassmaster Elite Series Outdoor Expo and Bassmaster University will take place at the Georgia Mountain Fairgrounds on Saturday, Sept. 22, and Sunday, Sept, 23, beginning at 10 a.m. Saturday, and 11 a.m. Sunday.
Public launch viewing is available during the competition days – Thursday, Friday, and Sunday – at 7 a.m. from the Georgia Mountain Fairgrounds at 1311 Music Hall Rd. in Hiawassee.
The boat ramps will be closed to the public from 8 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 19, through Sunday, Sept. 23 until 3 p.m.
For additional information, contact Towns County Chamber of Commerce at 706-896-4966
The Clay County Lions Club is hosting a Fundraiser on Saturday evening, September 22, 2018, from 6:30 pm – 10:00 pm in the beautifully renovated Fellowship Hall of Immaculate Heart of Mary Church located at 1433 US Hwy 64, Hayesville, NC.
The Fundraiser will be an evening of great music from the 60’s, 70’s, and 80’s with a live DJ, a spectacular dance, a fabulous dinner by Amazing Grace Caterers, dozens of door prizes, and an available cash bar.
Tickets are $60 per person and are available at the Historic Hayesville Centennial Exhibit, Clay County Chamber of Commerce, Tiger’s Department Store and Bella Boutique in Downtown Hayesville.
Tickets are also available from any Clay County Lions Club Member, and at the Towns County Chamber of Commerce and Monte Alban Restaurant in Hiawassee. A portion of each ticket may be tax deductible.
100% of the net proceeds will go to further the Lions Club’s charitable activities in Clay County, including the providing of free eye exams and eyeglasses to residents in need; donations to local charities such as Clay County Community for Students, Christmas Care of Clay County, the VFW and Shop with a Hero all to help children in need in Clay County; support of Historic Hayesville, Inc.; and recent work to rehab the covered Lions Pavilion at the Clay County Recreation Park that is used by so many residents and visitors to Clay County. For further information, contact Neil Kaplan at (703) 725-9819