Chemical spill reported in Dawsonville’s Flat Creek

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DAWSONVILLE, Ga. — Georgia Department of Natural Resources (DNR) officials are on the scene of a chemical spill this morning (March 23) at Flat Creek behind Robinson Elementary School.

According to a city of Dawsonville press release, the spill of ferric chloride took place Tuesday, March 20, when a 55-gallon drum ruptured at the Gold Creek Food facility. City Manager Bob Bolz said, “We were never notified.”

Bolz said the city discovered the spill two days later when city Utility Department personnel noticed discolored water in Flat Creek. On closer examination, they noticed dead fish and other aquatic life.

City officials immediately contacted Environmental Management Services, the city’s contracted company for environmental testing services. A PH test was applied, which showed the water to be very acidic. The company then notified DNR, which deployed both a fishery biologist of the Wildlife Resources Division and a representative of the Environmental Protection Division Hazardous Response Team.
The incident is under investigation by DNR.

According to the city’s press release, “Environmental Management Services has assured the city that there is no risk to drinking water.”

Dawson County School Superintendent Dr. Damon Gibbs said it is safe for students to attend Robinson Elementary School today, but they would remain indoors through recess to ensure no one gets into the creek, which flows behind the school.

City personnel notified all appropriate county departments of the spill.

The city’s press release also stated, “Gold Creek Foods, at the direction of EPD Hazardous Response Team personnel, began clean-up efforts utilizing Hulsey Environmental Services Thursday evening.”

 

 

Fetch Your News is a hyper local news outlet that covers Dawson, Lumpkin, White, Fannin, Gilmer, Pickens, Union, Towns and Murray counties as well as Cherokee County in N.C. If you would like to follow up-to-date local events in any of those counties, please visit us at FetchYourNews.com

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Mike Eason named Dawsonville’s interim mayor

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Mike Eason is sworn as Dawsonville interim mayor as grandson Caleb looks on.

DAWSONVILLE, Ga. – Mike Eason, a special agent with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation for 31 years and the state’s first inspector general, was appointed interim mayor of the city of Dawsonville at Monday’s city council meeting.

Eason earned a Bachelor of Science degree in public administration/criminal justice from Brenau University and also served as Cumming’s chief of police from 2005 to 2009.

Eason will replace James Grogan, who was voted out of office by city council for alleged violations of the city charter. He will serve until voters choose the next mayor in a special election. Council approved a resolution to schedule the special election for March 20

Council also held two public hearings on key issues. The first would reduce the mayor’s compensation from $2,000 per month to $600 per month and clarify compensation outside the first regular meeting of the month.

The second would amend sections of the city’s charter to create district posts for council members and make the removal of city officials consistent with state law. Both require a second public hearing.

Council was scheduled to vote on an request by Gold Creek residents to reduce the fee for combined annexation requests but the applicant withdrew the request for the time being.

A bid was awarded to Cumming-based Rakestraw Sanitation for garbage and solid waste collection at a cost of $9.85 per month.

Council unanimously agreed to pay $320 each plus mileage for two newly elected council members to attend mandatory training.

Council also approved changing the time for regular meetings and work sessions in 2018 to 7 p.m. on the first Monday each month.

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UPDATE: James Grogan Issues Statement About His Plans to Run for Mayor in 2018

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James Grogan

DAWSONVILLE, Ga. – James Grogan announced today that he is giving up his appeal to remain mayor of Dawsonville in order to save taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal fees and will, instead, run for mayor in a 2018 special election.

Grogan was voted out of office by City Council members Angie Smith, Caleb Phillips and Jason Power following a report presented to council on May 1 that outlined a number of alleged violations of city code by the mayor. Grogan’s attorney Steven Leibel appealed council’s action, but earlier this month, C. Andrew Fuller, Chief Judge for the Northeast Judicial District ruled the appeal was improperly filed.

Today (Oct. 31), Grogan issued the following statement:

“Obviously I am not pleased with the decision of the judge, however, it is very important to note the ruling did not side with the city council’s decision or their action. It was simply a technicality on a complicated issue that has never happened before in the state of Georgia. My heart is still in serving the citizens of Dawsonville and I believe ultimately it is their decision and not some random judge to decide.

“So instead of continuing the fight through the legal process and to prevent city council from spending any more of your tax payer funds frivolously on legal fees, I’m here to take the high road and say, let’s stop this now. Let’s put this back up to the voters.

“This morning I have stopped my appeal and I am announcing that I will rerun for Mayor in the special election in March and to serve you with all my heart. I have been serving you for many years and we have seen many great things happen in this city under my leadership. So, instead of three power hungry city council members and a random judge deciding the direction our city should take, and whether I should continue to serve you, I have decided to put the decision back where it belongs, with the citizens of Dawsonville.

“You and only you will decide whether I should be allowed to continue to be your leader. So please vote for James Grogan for Mayor in 2018.”

 

  

Fetch Your News is a hyper local news outlet that covers Dawson, Lumpkin, White, Fannin, Gilmer, Pickens, Union, Towns and Murray counties as well as Cherokee County in N.C. If you would like to follow up-to-date local events in any of those counties, please visit us at FetchYourNews.com

 

 

 

 

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BREAKING NEWS: James Grogan To Run for Mayor Again in 2018

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James Grogan

DAWSONVILLE, Ga. —  James Grogan, who lost his appeal last week to remain mayor of Dawsonville, announced today that he will run for mayor again in 2018. Fetch Your News will have a statement from the Grogan later today.

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Qualifying for City Election Begins Monday

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DAWSONVILLE, Ga. — Qualifying for the Nov. 7 City of Dawsonville Municipal General Election will begin Monday August 21 and continue through Thursday, August 24 from 8:30 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. in the Dawson County Board of Elections Office, 96 Academy Avenue, Dawsonville, Georgia.

Two seats on city council will be contested in the November election, one seat is currently held by Angie Smith. The other is held by Mike Sosebee. Candidates for either of the two seats must pay a $180 qualifying fee.

Dawsonville municipal elections are non-partisan and candidates run city wide campaigns.

Election Day is Nov. 7 and polls are open 7 a.m. until 7 p.m.

For information on qualifying, call 706-344-3640.

 

 

 

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Cost Continues to Mount as City Hires Another Attorney to Pursue Impeachment of Mayor

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Mayor James Grogan

DAWSONVILLE, Ga. – The effort to impeach Mayor James Grogan took center stage at Monday’s Dawsonville City Council meeting as council voted to hire Gwinnett County attorney Tony Powell to push for impeachment.

Prior to that vote, Councilman Mike Sosebee made a motion to abandon the impeachment effort, but it died for lack of a second.

Grogan’s attorney Steven Leibel attended the meeting, but did not speak. After the meeting, however, he said, “It’s unfortunate. This is going to cost taxpayers a lot of money. It could take up to a year and cost hundreds of thousands of dollars.”

The city paid attorney Abbott Hayes approximately $6,000 to conduct the investigation that led to the impeachment effort. Powell said his fee is $260 an hour.

In May, council voted to impeach Grogan 3-1, with Sosebee opposed. However, he remains in office, pending an appeal.

Council members have accused the mayor of — among other things — charging the city for attending meetings that were not pre-approved by the council and changing an application fee for water and sewer from a business rate to a slightly less expensive residential rate without council approval.

In other business, council tabled a request to amend existing zoning stipulations on property owned by Len Reeves at 280 Maple Street South, appointed Beverly Bannister deputy city clerk and approved an annexation ordinance for the purpose of setting an application fee for annexations and changing fees for zonings.

Council also appointed Tim Costley, Misty Moore and Kevin Hammond to serve on the Downtown Development Authority.

The mayor announced that the Government Finance Officers Association of the United States and Canada has awarded Bonnie Warne and the City of Dawsonville the Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Finance Reporting. The award is the highest form of recognition in the area of governmental accounting and financial reporting. Its attainment represents a significant accomplishment by a government and its management.

Fetch Your News is a hyper local news outlet that covers Dawson, Lumpkin, White, Fannin, Gilmer, Pickens, Union, Towns and Murray counties as well as Cherokee County in N.C. If you would like to follow up-to-date local events in any of those counties, please visit us at FetchYourNews.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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AMP Owner Called for Zappendorf Resignation

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AMP owner Jeremy Porter

DAWSONVILLE, Ga. – Atlanta Motorsports Park owner Jeremy Porter said he suggested Seanie Zappendorf step down as a member of the Downtown Development Authority (DDA) as soon as he learned about the complaint filed against her by Carlita Parks.

Parks’ complaint to City Manager Bob Bolz that Zappendorf misrepresented herself as a city employee is the basis for a formal ethics complaint. Zappendorf is not a city employee, but was a member of the DDA when she questioned Parks about her complaints against AMP.

The race track was involved in a controversial zoning issue at the time and Zappendorf’s questioning of Parks could be seen as a conflict of interest since she and her husband, Ron, own Discover Parts, a racing parts store that leases property at the track.

An email obtained from city officials confirms that Porter wrote City Councilwoman Angie Smith on May 2 stating:

“I wanted to bring an issue to your attention that affects both AMP and the City of Dawsonville in the hope that we can work together to find a resolution.

“Please find attached a copy of a letter that was sent to Bob Boltz (sic) by Carita Parks who is a nearby resident of the AMP track. In her letter, Mrs. Parks describes the actions of one of our tenants, Seanie Zappendorf, who appears to have interfered in both City of Dawsonville and AMP business while making false claims to be acting in an official capacity for both parties. (Giving Mrs. Parks a card with city of Dawsonville on it, when in reality it is the DDA / Stating she is an investor in AMP). I am not certain her actions were malicious, however I believe it does require action on our part.

“Mrs. Zappendorf is not an AMP investor, nor has she been given permission to act on our behalf in any way under any circumstances.

“I am extremely alarmed that any local resident should feel as if they are being given a ‘warning’ by a representative of AMP or the DDA. I would like to, with your permission, inform Mrs. Parks that Mrs. Zappendorf is not an AMP investor and that her actions are not endorsed by us. I would also urge you to use this opportunity to provide reassurance to Mrs. Parks that Mrs. Zappendorf does not have any authority with the City of Dawsonville when it comes to assessing sound levels.

“My suggestion is to ask that Mrs. Zappendorf step down from the DDA. However, I would welcome your feedback on how to directly address this resident’s complaint and Mrs. Zappendorf’s actions.

“I would also be interested to discuss ways in which we can work together to ensure that this does not happen again.”

Zappendorf resigned from DDA six days later and AMP has withdrawn its request for modifications to its zoning stipulations.

City Council is expected to appoint a three-member ethics commission Monday to hear the complaint.

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James Grogan Returns as Dawsonville Mayor Monday

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DAWSONVILLE, Ga. – James Grogan will return to the office of Mayor of the City of Dawsonville effective immediately, pending an appeal in the Superior Court of Dawson County.

City Council voted 3-1 last Monday, with Councilman Mike Sosebee opposed, to impeach Grogan for alleged violations of the city code. But Grogan’s attorney Steven Leibel filed the appeal on Wednesday and said that Grogan would return to his duties as mayor in time for Monday’s 5 p.m. work session.

Fetch Your News will have more details as they become available.

Grogan has served as mayor since 2010. He was reelected in 2015. His current term is schedued to end in 2019.


Fetch Your News is a hyper local news outlet that covers Dawson, Lumpkin, White, Fannin, Gilmer, Pickens, Union, Towns and Murray counties as well as Cherokee County in N.C. If you would like to follow up-to-date local events in any of those counties, please visit us at www.fetchyournews.com

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