Dawson County man killed on Lake Chatuge boating mishap


HIAWASSEE, Ga. – What should have been a fun day of fishing on Lake Chatuge ended in tragedy Saturday morning (March 16) when a Dawsonville man was killed after two boats collided near the Georgia Mountains Fairground boat ramp.

Danny Duff, 59, of Dawsonville died and an unidentified man in the same boat suffered minor injuries in the collision which occurred at approximately 7:15 a.m. The passenger in Duff’s boat was transported to Northeast Georgia Medical Center in Gainesville. The two men were participating in a bass fishing tournament when the accident happened.

Mark McKinnon of the Department of Natural Resources Law Enforcement said Sunday the operator and passenger of the second boat were not injured.

According to Fetch Your News Towns County reporter Robin Webb, Towns County authorities reported the boats involved in the accident were transported to Towns County Fire and Rescue Station 2 in Young Harris.

McKinnon said DNR Law Enforcement Critical Incident Reconstruction Team is investigating and that it would be 6-8 weeks before the investigation is complete.



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. FYN attracts 300,000+ page views per month, 3.5 million impressions per month and approximately 15,000 viewers per week on FYNTV.com and up to 60,000 Facebook page reach. If you would like to follow up-to-date local events in any of those counties, please visit us at FetchYourNews.com





Correction: One officer demoted, four reprimanded


DAWSONVILLE, Ga. – On Dec. 18, I posted an article entitled: One officer demoted four others reprimanded in which I incorrectly identified Deputy Jacob Champion as one of the deputies reprimanded. Deputy Champion was not given a reprimand. I apologize to Deputy Champion for the error. It is my policy and that of Fetch Your News to immediately correct factual errors in any article we publish.


Sheriff asks county to reallocate $397,318.58 remaining in his 2017 budget to 2018


DAWSONVILLE, Ga. — Dawson County Sheriff Jeff Johnson has asked the Board of Commissioners to reallocate $397,318.58 that was left unspent in his 2017 budget to his 2018 budget. County policy dictates that an overage in any departmental budget must be returned to the General Fund.

Johnson sent an email to the Board of Commissioners Tuesday which states: “Lately, there has been much discussion about excessive funds remaining in the S.O. (Sheriff’s Office) 2017 Budget. It has been asserted that these funds may have been applied to a CAD System or other needs. I ask you to simply reallocate those remaining funds to this 2018 budget. Although I cannot say with all certainty that this amount would completely cover the cost of a new CAD System, I believe it would. Remaining funds could be applied to other needs such as SWAT equipment, etc.”

FetchYourNews (FYN) obtained a copy of that email via an open records request. Johnson himself confirms what FYN reported last week: “That he could have purchased the CAD system and had money left over.”

County officials have repeatedly recommended that he allow the county Finance Department and Purchasing Department to assist him. It is a free resource that, to this point, the sheriff has declined to utilize.

Several county officials have questioned whether Johnson knew he had money left in the 2017 budget.

County Manager David Headley said, “We are at a loss to understand why he would not address more of his needs if he did know. It could have been used. He could have used it to fund whatever he wanted. He could have gotten the CAD system and the SWAT equipment.”

Several sources who were present when Johnson addressed a Leadership Dawson class recently said when he was asked how much money remained in his budget his answer was: about $100,000.

On the Sheriff’s Office Facebook page, Johnson advises, “Always consider the source” in reference to a recent FetchYourNews article. That is excellent advice.

The source of the following information is Johnson himself. The sheriff has claimed that a significant population increase has led to an increase in law enforcement activity. However, he provided a report to the county recently that contradicts that claim.

His report shows a decline in citations, traffic stops and arrests over a 10-year period, and more importantly, during his first year in office.

Between 2007 and 2017, citations declined from 2,323 to 914. Traffic stops dropped from 9,254 to 4,473 and arrests declined from 2,273 to 1,494.

Looking only at Johnson’s first year in office, citations dropped significantly from 1,727 in 2016, to 914 last year. Arrests fell from 1,665 to 1,494. Only traffic stops showed an increase from 4,170 in 2016 to 4,473 last year.

Johnson’s claim that the county population has increased significantly, likewise, is not accurate. In rejecting the sheriff’s lawsuit against the county, Senior Superior Court Judge Fred A. Bishop said research shows that Dawson County’s population has only increased by an average of 1 percent per year for the last 10 years.

The first quarter of 2018 will end soon. Hopefully, it is the year in which the sheriff and Board of Commissioners can work out his differences for the sake of all county taxpayers.



More snow and ice on the way to north Georgia


PEACHTREE CITY, Ga. — The National Weather Service issued a Special Weather Statement Monday morning for Dawson, Lumpkin, White, Dade, Walker, Catoosa, Whitfield, Murray, Fannin, Gilmer, Union, Towns, Chattooga, Gordon, Pickens, Floyd, Bartow, Cherokee, Forsyth, Hall, Banks, Jackson, Polk, Paulding, Cobb, North Fulton, Gwinnett, Barrow, Haralson, Carroll, Douglas, South Fulton, DeKalb, Rockdale, Heard, Coweta, Fayette, Clayton and Troup counties.

Light snow is possible over north and west Georgia Tuesday afternoon and overnight. Wind chill values could be near zero Tuesday night and Wednesday morning.

* WHAT — Light snow up to 1 inch, very cold temperatures and wind chills possible.

* WHERE — Much of north and west Georgia north of a line from LaGrange to Conyers to Commerce.

* WHEN — Areas of light snow could begin as soon as 12 PM on Tuesday in far northwest Georgia and spread into west central and northeast Georgia, including the Atlanta metro area by Tuesday evening. Single digit wind chills after 9 PM.

* ADDITIONAL DETAILS — Although forecast amounts will mainly be less than 1 inch, temperatures will be well below freezing Tuesday night. Any snow that falls, no matter how light will likely remain on the roads and ground through Thursday morning. Low temperatures Wednesday morning will range from 12 to 20 degrees with wind chill readings from 10 above to near zero.


This forecast will likely change. Stay tuned to the latest forecasts and be ready for possible watches, advisories or warnings.

Fetch Your News will update weather warnings as they become available.

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



Ask the Doc with Dr. Whaley – numb fingers, sharp pains, and extreme dry skin


Doctor Whaley from the Georgia Cancer Specialist came to sit with us today to discuss some great viewer questions. This week he discussed how smart phone addictions in adolescents are leading to anti social behavior and the following viewer questions:

My fingers have been getting numb and turning white and feel cold and it lasts for approximately 15 minutes should i be concerned?

I have been having sharp pains in one side of my head the pains are sudden and sharp but do not last very long is this just a type of migraine?

Since the weather has been colder i have been experiencing extreme dry skin to the point it skin breaks open and nothing I’ve used seems to alleviate the problem so I wondered if there is an over the counter solution which may help?

We would like to thank Georgia Cancer Specialist for sponsoring this segment. If you ever have a question for our doc email them to info@fetchyournews.com with Ask the Doc in the subject line.

Ask the Doc – arthritis, disk replacement surgery, and vitamin C


Today Doctor Whaley had great information for us as usual! He also brought us a little table decoration. In this segment the Doc answered the following viewer questions:
My doctor says I have degenerative changes in my spine. Does this mean I have arthritis?
Is disk replacement surgery an effective treatment for low back pain?
Can vitamin C help prevent colds or shorten them? Can vitamin C improve my mood?

If you have a question for our “Ask the Doc” segment email them to info@fetchyournews.com anytime and we will get them on the show. We would like to thank Georgia Cancer Specialist for sponsoring this segment.


4 Candidates Vie in City Council Candidate Forum


DAWSONVILLE, Ga. – Four candidates running for Dawsonville City Council presented the reasons they believe they should be elected during the candidate forum at the Dawson County Performing Arts Center Tuesday.

The event was hosted by the Dawson County Chamber of Commerce. Reporters from Fetch Your News, Dawson News and Smoke Signals served as panelists. Chamber President Christine Haynes was the moderator.

The incumbents, Councilwoman Angie Smith and Councilman Mike Sosebee, made their case based on their experience in holding public office. The challengers, Mark French and Stephen Tolson, presented strong and relevant work experiences.

City Council candidates (from left) Mark French, Angie Smith, Mike Sosebee and Stephen Tolson. (Photo courtesy of Dawson County Chamber of Commerce).

French has 20 years’ experience in public service. He spent 10 years working in Lumpkin County’s Finance Office and 10 years as the county’s grants analyst before entering the private sector. He earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration from what was then North Georgia College and State University where he majored in Finance.

French said the biggest challenge for Dawsonville is “how to engage more participation from the people we serve.” He suggested the best way to do that is to make sure the meetings are more open to the public. “I’d like to see the website updated so that those who have a different work schedule will at least have an opportunity to see what is going on in their community,” he said.

He also stressed the importance of working in cooperation with county government to develop a more aggressive revitalization plan for downtown. “I believe that can be the springboard to our future,” he said. “It would also allow an opportunity for controlled, managed, quality growth.”

Tolson is a U.S. Army Ranger who retired after 20 years of service. He earned a Master’s Degree in Health Administration and a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration. He now manages a medical group in Forsyth County.

He said his management experience would be an asset to city council. “As a manager, the evaluation of business needs, planning and forecasting needs for the future and executing those plans is a big part of my responsibility.”

During his military career, Tolson said he participated in many short- and long-term planning sessions. “I believe that experience can be beneficial on city council,” he said. “I also attended a number of military training schools that teach you to utilize your decision-making process and problem solving techniques and to introduce a little common sense into the process.”

Smith, a lifelong resident of Dawson County, is seeking her second full term in office. She was appointed to the board in 2012 and won her first election in 2013.

In her opening statement, she expressed a commitment to honoring the community’s heritage and to personal honesty and integrity.

“I want to work hard to see this community grow and prosper,” she said. “To me, our heritage is extremely important. We have to remember those who came before us and who laid the ground work for us to be successful.”

Smith added, “Service with integrity is a goal of mine. Honesty to a fault is what you’ll get from me. It’s not always about the end result. It’s not always about the list of accomplishments. It’s about how that work was done and the honesty and integrity you carry yourself with.”

Candidates had divergent opinions when asked about the impeachment of Mayor James Grogan that took place earlier this year. Grogan was removed by a 3-2 vote of city council, but the removal is currently under appeal.

Candidates were asked if three council members should possess the power to override the vote of citizens of Dawsonville or if that decision should be left up to the voters.

Smith, one of the council members who voted to remove the mayor, said, “We can always have a conversation about how things need to be changed of if they need to be changed. But the fact of the matter is when you are sitting in office, you have a set of rules that guides you and that set of rules is what you are charged with fulfilling.”

Tolson said, “Certain decisions that are made should be offered up to the citizens. There are many circumstances that council should be able to make a call but in a situation of this nature, I really do think it should be offered to the people.”

French said, “It occurs to me that just because something is legal doesn’t mean it is right. I believe being a good public servant means you should listen to the community and get their input. I believe it merits an evaluation of all sides. Not just the leaders’ side.”

Sosebee, who voted against removing the mayor, said, “We are representatives of the people and we need to have a lot of input from the people to help us make decisions…not just those of us who sit on the council trying to make all the decisions.”



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




DADC Accepts Executive Director’s Resignation


The Development Authority of Dawson County accepted Charlie Auvermann’s resignation this week.

DAWSONVILLE, Ga.—Meeting in executive session Tuesday, the Development Authority of Dawson County voted to accept the resignation of Executive Director Charlie Auvermann and Office Administrator Mary Simmons.

Fetch Your News broke the news of their resignations last Friday. The resignation came one day after the Dawson County Board of Commissioners voted to approve a FY 2018 budget that did not include funding the Authority. Auvermann and Simmons’ salaries were paid out of the Development Authority’s budget which was previously funded by county taxpayers.

According to the Authority website, Auvermann helped to install multiple Dawson County-based projects with a capital investment of $125 million.

He currently serves as Chairman of the Joint Development Authority for Dawson, Lumpkin and White counties and as adjunct professor at the University of North Georgia’s Mike Cottrell College of Business since 2005.

He also sits on the Georgia Mountains Regional Commission where he was selected as the 2014 Appointed Official of the Year and is currently Chair of the GMRC 13 County Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy Committee.



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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