Towns County Rec Director Youngblood talks decline in football interest

Matt Youngblood

HIAWASSEE, Ga. – Towns County Recreation Director Matt Youngblood attended July’s county commissioner’s meeting to inform the community about the county’s sports facility, including the reason he believes an interest in youth football has decreased.

“One thing that has been a concern for us at the rec department is the interest level in football. I know a lot of people are wanting to know what happened with football in our area,” Youngblood said, explaining that parents have raised concerns about head injuries – specifically concussions – that could result from tackles, and that only two children had enrolled to participate. The recreation director reported that the center began offering flag football as a milder alternative, although only five children signed up for the added sport.

Toiwns County Recreation Center

Towns County Recreation Center basketball courts

Enthusiasm for other physical activities is different story, however, with 67 athletes participating in the center’s basketball camp, Youngblood said. Towns County Recreation Center offers the annual basketball camp in association with Young Harris College Division II Basketball. The program began in 2017 with the help of YHC Assisant Men’s Basketball Coach and former player, Steve Viterbo. With the vision of giving youth an opportunity to learn fundamentals from Division II athletes while they impart knowledge, show offensive and defensive drills, and create an energetic atmosphere where youth can prosper.

The sport center offers two high school regualtion size basketball courts with a drop down divide to separate the dual courts, and multi-purpose flooring with a 2 millimeter cushion to help prevent injury. Soccer was added to the roster this past year, drawing approximately 90 players of both genders, Youngblood said.

Towns County Rec Center

Towns County Recreation Center fitness facility

Two ball fields were constructed at the Young Harris facility that can be used for both baseball and softball. Located separately, within the Georgia Mountain Fairgrounds, are three ball fields that will soon receive updated scoreboards. The area consists of one 14u baseball field, and two fields that serve as multi-purpose for 12u, 10u, coach pitch, and T-ball. An outdoor pickleball complex, located near the fairgrounds, boasts 14 courts, and an indoor pickleball court is available at the former recreation center, just west Hiawassee city limits on State Route 76.

Towns County Recreation Center features a one-tenth mile indoor walking track, along with a fitness center, provided free of charge for all Towns County residents. Fitness equipment ranges from treadmills, ellipticals, recumbant bikes, bench press, and a line-up of Cybex body equipment.

The state-of-the-art facility is located at 150 Foster Park in Young Harris. Additional information on Towns County Recreation Center is available by clicking this link.

Republican Party Announces “United We Stand” Ceremony

News, Upcoming Events

Young Harris, GA – Towns County Republican Party Chair, Betsy Young, has announced a tribute to America’s Veterans and First Responders will be held at the War Memorial at Foster Park this Sunday, October 15, at 3 pm.

The Pledge of Allegiance will be recited and the National Anthem will be sung in honor of those who serve.

Foster Park is located at the new Towns County Recreation Center in Young Harris.

There is no charge and the community is invited to attend.

Towns County GOP extended an invitation to the Democratic Party Chair as well.

Follow Fetch Your News for coverage of this patriotic event.

Red Cross to hold Blood Drive at Towns Rec Center

Upcoming Events
Towns County Red Cross

YOUNG HARRIS, Ga. – The American Red Cross will hold a blood drive on Tuesday, Oct. 16, from 1:30 to 6:00 p.m. at the Towns County Recreation and Conference Center, located at 150 Foster park Rd. in Young Harris.

Donors are asked to call 1-800-REDCROSS (1-800-733-2767) or visit to schedule an appointment.



Meals of Hope to package 50,000 meals

Community, News

YOUNG HARRIS, Ga. – Lake Chatuge – Hiawassee Rotary has announced an initiative to provide 50,000 meals for those in need in Towns County. Meals of Hope is an outreach program created to bring communities together to end hunger. Volunteers are requested on Saturday, April 28, from 9 a.m. until noon at the Towns County Recreation and Conference Center in Young Harris to help package the meals.

“We know about the students at school who receive free or reduced-priced lunches, but we might not pause to think that they may have siblings or other family members at home who are hungry as well,” Sheriff Chris Clinton relayed Friday, March 9, at the Mountain Movers and Shakers meeting, “The local rotary is hoping for 120 volunteers who would like to help package 50,000 meals for those in our community.”

According to their website, Meals of Hope began as a food packing organization, and they are the only food packing organization with a priority on keeping the food packed within the United States.

Meals of Hope developed five meals specifically designed for the American palate with added vitamins, minerals and proteins to supplement an unbalanced diet. Most of their packed meals are donated to the Feeding America Food Bank Network.

Over 15,000 volunteers and six full-time staff members assist Meals of Hope in achieving its mission.

Financial sponsorship is also available.

A $25 bronze sponsorship provides 100 meals, a $100 silver sponsorship offers 400 meals, a $250 gold sponsorship supplies 1,000 meals, and a $500 diamond sponsorship shares 2,000 meals.

The Towns County Recreation and Conference Center is located at 150 Foster Park Road in Young Harris.

For more information, contact Kerry Clem at 706-897-0291.Meals of Hope Towns County GA

Sneak Peek at Get Outdoors! Expo

Community, News

YOUNG HARRIS, Ga. – Only a week remains until the highly anticipated Get Outdoors! Expo premiers at the Towns County Recreation and Conference Center, offering a vast array of vendors and programs for outdoor enthusiasts of all ages.

Towns County Chamber of Commerce

Commissioner Cliff Bradshaw and Chamber President Candace Lee

FetchYourNews sat down with Towns County Commissioner Cliff Bradshaw and Towns County Chamber of Commerce President Candace Lee on Thursday, March 29, to learn what’s in store. Bradshaw and Lee are excited to welcome the fun-filled event and expect it to become an annual tradition in Towns County.

If hiking is in your future, you won’t want to miss the line up of experts on the subject. Saturday begins with Backpacking 101 with Diane Duffard, an Appalachian Trail thru-hiker. Duffard will share tips on preparing for both overnight and long-journey hikes, displaying her own gear as an example.

Later in the day, Joseph and Abigail Pate will host a workshop on multi-seasonal day hikes, focused on packing for a trip, choosing a trail, safety plans, and environmental considerations. Bob Gabrielsen, from Top of Georgia Hostel, will list the “Ten Golden Rules of Hiking the Appalachian Trail.”

On Sunday afternoon, Mary Maddox will share the journey of hiking the Camino de Santiago, a “prayerful path” that winds through the stunning terrain of northwestern Spain. Chef Joey Becnel will offer scrumptious recipes for easy-to-make meal and snack ideas for back-county cooking. The class will offer alternatives for those with allergies or special diet requirements. A primer on navigation and a basic first aid course will be available as well.

Fishing enthusiasts will enjoy hands-on Fly Rod Casting and Fly Tying workshops. Young Harris College Biologist Professor Jonathan Davis will present his research findings on the bass population of Lake Chatuge and other nearby fishing holes. The Hiwassee River Watershed Coalition will provide microscopes to view plankton in pond water, the basis of the aquatic food chain.

Chatuge Gun Club will offer the opportunity to test marksmanship skills at an air rifle range.

Sure to be a hit is Falconer Buster Brown and his birds of prey. Brown will share information on acquiring a raptor, training techniques, housing options for the bird, and species used in the sport. The presentation will conclude with a fascinating seven-minute video of falcons pursuing their quarry.

Buster Brown

Buster Brown shares his expertise on falconry.

A falconry demonstration is scheduled for 2 p.m. on both days of the expo.

Children will delight in learning how to make and use turkey calls with avid turkey hunters Keith McKinney and Sam Stowe.

On Saturday afternoon, a class on the creative art of nature writing is planned, followed by a course entitled “String, Beans, and Fairy Godmothers,” which will spark imaginative icebreaker ideas for group leaders.

A worship service will be held on Sunday morning at 9 a.m. led by Pastor Jeff Deaver, of The Cross Church, host of X-treme Christian Outdoors.

Numerous exhibitors with a wide selection of information, displays, and wares related to everything outdoors will be set up both inside and outside of the venue.

Food vendors will be onsite with festival fare such as barbecue, hot dogs, jerky, boiled peanuts, kettle corn, and Italian ice.

The Get Outdoors! Expo takes place next weekend, April 7 and 8, 2018. The expo runs from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m.

Admission is $5.00 for adults and children over 14 years of age. Children under 14 are admitted without charge. Parking is free.

Admission includes workshops.  Program guides will be offered upon entry.

The Towns County Recreation and Conference Center is located at 150 Foster Park in Young Harris, Georgia.

For more information, visit Get Outdoors.




Towns County to require fee from non-residential pickleball players


HIAWASSEE, Ga. – FetchYourNews (FYN) was notified by a citizen that Towns County soon intends to begin collecting a fee from out-of-county pickleball players for use of the newly refurbished “old” recreation center’s indoor court.

FYN met with Towns County Commissioner Cliff Bradshaw Feb. 15 to learn the details. Although the fee has yet to be determined, Bradshaw speculated that $5 per day or $30 per month may be required for pickleball players that reside outside of Towns County. The commissioner stated that he intends to contemplate the decision over the weekend.

“It isn’t fair to the Towns County taxpayers to allow non-residents to play without paying,” Bradshaw explained. “I go to great lengths to make sure decisions are fair for all. I support the pickleball players. Absolutely. It’s a great sport. But at the same time, it isn’t fair for Towns County residents to foot the bill for a facility that they funded.”

Surrounding counties with pickleball facilities charge fees with the exception of Rabun County, Bradshaw said, based on research conducted by the Towns County Recreation Department.

Bradshaw included that 20 percent of the annual pickleball tournament proceeds are received by the county. Last year, Towns County gained just over $1300 from the sport.

The commissioner met with soon-to-resign local Pickleball Ambassidor John Hall this afternoon, with FYN speaking with Hall as he exited the courthouse. Hall said that his decision to resign was based solely on the great amount of time that the position requires, and that the pending fee for use of the indoor court had no bearing on his resignation. Hall stated that the implementation of a fee for non-resident use of the facility is a choice that the county can justly make.

In addition to pickleball, the state-of-the-art gymnasium is available for basketball games and provides a venue for baseball batting cages in inclement weather.

FYN will provide an update on the settled non-residential pickleball fee once the decision becomes finalized.

Feature Image Credit: Georgia Mountain Pickleball via Facebook


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.


Towns County Hosts Gratitude Luncheon for Veterans

Bud Johnson

YOUNG HARRIS, Ga. – Local veterans from each military branch, ranging in service from World War II to Desert Storm, attended an annual luncheon sponsored by Towns County at the Foster Park Recreation and Conference Center on Thursday, Nov. 9, 2017.

A Towns County Fire and Rescue engine greeted guests as they arrived, the American flag flying high from the ladder’s peak. Tables were adorned in red, white and blue as patriotic music welcomed the veterans and their supporters to the festive recreation hall.

Opening words were offered by Towns County Sole Commissioner Cliff Bradshaw. “I’m in awe to stand here before you today,” Commissioner Bradshaw conveyed in appreciation. “I thank you all so much. Freedom comes at a price. As commissioner, I will support you. Towns County will support you.”

L-R: American Legion Commander John Harkins, Commissioner Cliff Bradshaw, Post 23 Adjutant Mel Halfon

American Legion Commander John Harkins lead the posting of the colors by the North Georgia Honor Guard, followed by the Pledge of Allegiance and a powerful rendition of the National Anthem sung by Summer Rahn. An invocation blessing was recited by American Legion Chaplain Katie Harkins.

Guest speaker Senator John Wilkinson addressed the crowd: “I hope you’ll accept my sincere thank you.” Senator Wilkinson referred to the history of Veterans Day, once known as Armistice Day prior to 1954, and made mention of the cessation of hostilities during World War I in 1918 on “the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month.”

Newly elected Hiawassee Mayor Liz Ordiales extended words of gratitude to the group of veterans. “You are the true heroes of our nation. Your sacrifices are huge. I offer a humble thank you for your service,” Mayor Ordiales said.

Last to speak was Towns County Sheriff Chris Clinton. “I’m truly honored to stand here today. I don’t feel worthy to stand before you. I thank God we live in a place where our officials and community truly honor our veterans,” Clinton said. Sheriff Clinton acknowledged his grandfather and hero, Mr. Harold Nicholson, a World War II serviceman who attended the event.


L-R: Sylvia Kelly, Errol Cone, Bob Hass, Ashford Todd and Brandy Creel of VFW Post 7807

A buffet lunch was served by members of the community, catered by Happy Hawg restaurant, while a military tribute presentation played on a large screen hung in the dining hall.

Fetch Your News (FYN) had the honor of meeting several local heroes and listening to the stories they shared.

Retired Naval Chief Petty Officer Clarence “Bud” Johnson, who served “36 years, four months, and four days,” said he enlisted at the age of 17. “I got my feet wet early, gave my life to Jesus Christ and that’s why I’m here, for We, the People. May God bless America,” Mr. Johnson affirmed, asking FYN to quote his sentiment.

Towns County’s oldest veteran, Mr. Frontz Goring, 96, a serviceman during World War II in the 2nd Air Force Training Command Division, expressed, “The Lord has blessed and saved me.” Mr. Goring recalled rendering assistance to a stranger choking on a piece of candy while living in Florida in 1975. “I had just watched a program on how to perform the Heimlich Maneuver, just before it happened. I know God put me in the right place at the right time to save the lady’s life. God is good.”

Frontz Goring

Towns County’s oldest Veteran, Mr. Frontz Goring, USAF, WW2

Friends reunited and new bonds were formed while memories of old and discussions of current events echoed throughout the hall.

“I’m privileged to host this event for our veterans,” Commissioner Bradshaw told FYN as the luncheon came to a close. “They served us and I’m deeply honored to serve them.”

A Veterans Day ceremony will take place on Saturday, Nov. 11, at 11:00 a.m. at the War Memorial, adjacent to the Towns County School, on Highway 76 East in Hiawassee.

VFW Adjutant Ashford “Ash” Todd invites the community to Post 7807, located at 1329 Sunnyside Road for a hot dog lunch following the ceremony.


Featured Image: Retired Naval Veteran Clarence “Bud” Johnson


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]





Back to Top