Dawson County surrenders operation of Fire Station 8 to Pickens Co.

News

DAWSONVILLE, Ga. – Following the resignation of 12 of 13 volunteer firefighters at Fire Station 8 in the Wildcat Community, Dawson County has relinquished operational control of the station to Pickens County.

Commissioners ratified a new intergovernmental agreement (IGA) at Thursday’s work session that also gives Pickens County responsibility for training and equipping the volunteers and providing workers compensation insurance. Pickens also will continue to provide insurance for the building and contents of the station. Dawson County will transfer title of the fire engine and other contents of the station to Pickens which will insure both the engine and tender. Existing hoses and equipment will remain at the station.

Both counties will continue to utilize the station to provide automatic aid to adjoining areas under the Dawson/Pickens County Automatic Aid Agreement.

Fire Station 8 was constructed in 2009 to provide emergency services to the Wildcat Community, a very remote community, parts of which are in Dawson and Pickens County.

Dawson County attracted strong criticism from residents of the community after a home on Burnt Mountain Road was destroyed by fire late last year. A flaw in the county’s 9-1-1 system failed to notify Fire Station 8, which was the closest one to the fire.

Commission Chairman Billy Thurmond said he and Pickens County Chairman Rob Jones and Dawson County Emergency Services Director Danny Thomas worked together to draft the new agreement and that Thompson is working to modify the Automatic Aid Agreement between the two counties.

 

 

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Dawson gets first look at Pickens IGA proposal counters with key modifications

News

Commission Billy Thurmond

DAWSONVILLE, Ga. – Officials in Dawson and Pickens counties, who have been working to re-write a 10-year old intergovernmental agreement (IGA) in an effort to get Fire Station No. 8 in the Wildcat Community operating again, exchanged first drafts Wednesday.

The station was effectively closed earlier this month when the 13 firefighters – all volunteers – refused an order by Dawson County Fire and Emergency Services Director Danny Thompson to participate in training to help them gain state certification and turned in their resignations.

The area served by Station No. 8 is located in both counties and the two governments entered into an IGA in 2008 to facilitate purchase of the land, construction of the building, and provide for management and training. Since the mass resignation, Dawson County Commission Chairman Billy Thurmond and Pickens County Chairman Rob Jones have been working to re-negotiate the IGA.

“The meetings went very well,” Thurmond said Wednesday. “We both realize the main goal is to protect the community. To do that, we need an agreement in place that everyone can get along with.”

Dawson County received Pickens’ first draft of a new IGA Wednesday and, while there are still many issues to be negotiated, one issue that appears to be agreeable to each side is that Pickens County will assume operational control of the station.

After reviewing the draft, Thurmond said, “This is a work in progress. There probably will be more changes.” Late Wednesday, he discussed Pickens’ draft with Thompson and there were several additional areas of agreement that included, but are not limited to:

  • Pickens will maintain the fire station;
  • Pickens County shall provide insurance for the building and its contents;
  • Pickens County shall assume operation of the fire station and operate it as a substation of Pickens County Emergency Services;
  • Dawson County shall transfer title of Engine 8 and Pickens County will insure it;
  • Dawson County shall maintain the title of the existing tanker truck and insure and maintain it;
  • Pickens County shall obtain the necessary Compliance Certification for the fire station from the Georgia Firefighters Standards and Training Council.

There are also a number of areas where Dawson County wants modifications to the Pickens proposal. They include, but are not limited to, how the counties will respond to situations where automatic aid is provided, who will provide radio equipment for the station, who will provide insurance and drivers for the tanker.

While Pickens County agrees to provide training, equipment and workers compensation insurance for volunteer firefighters, Dawson County wants Pickens to also provide cancer insurance for them just as it does now.

Where the Pickens proposal states that it will provide administrative support and leadership, Dawson wants it clearly spelled out that “All personnel will operate as to their level of certification as outlined by the Georgia Firefighters Standards and Training Council. The newest edition of this manual shall be in effect and the Jurisdiction having Authority shall have operational control at all emergency incidents.”

Once the two sides agree on a draft, it must be submitted to the Boards of Commissioners in both counties for final approval.

 

 

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

 

 

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Pickens Co. decision to train volunteer firefighters violates a 10-year agreement with Dawson County

News

County Manager David Headley

DAWSONVILLE, Ga. – What has been a simmering disagreement between Dawson and Pickens counties for months, erupted into something far more serious Monday when it was learned that Pickens County Commission Chairman Rob Jones plans to violate an intergovernmental agreement (IGA) that has existed between the two counties since 2008.

Jones has made it clear Pickens County will take over training for the volunteer firefighters at Station 8 in the Wildcat Community, part of which lies inside both counties.

Dawson County Manager David Headley said Jones’ decision violates Section 5 of the IGA which states: “Dawson County shall provide training, equipment and workers compensation insurance for up to ten volunteer firefighters.”

It could also violate Section 12 of the IGA if Pickens plans to pullout of the agreement completely. Section 12 states: “The terms of the agreement shall be renewed automatically each year unless 180 days written notice of termination is provided by the other party.”

Pickens Co. Chairman Rob Jones

“I’m disappointed with the position (Jones) has taken,” Headley said Monday morning. “Dawson County has always been there for that community. Unfortunately, the Pickens County Chairman has chosen not to adhere to the IGA.”

Dawson County Fire and Emergency Services Director Danny Thompson said he has a training class scheduled for the volunteers at Station 8 tomorrow (Dec. 4) at 6 p.m.

Jones decision to violate the IGA places volunteers in the difficult position of deciding whether to attend training provided by Dawson or Pickens counties. Sources have told Fetch Your News the volunteers are being pressured to attend the Pickens training which won’t begin for several more weeks.

Fetch Your News reached out to Chairman Jones but he did not return our phone call.

Station 8 was constructed in 2008. Under the terms of the IGA, Pickens County assumed responsibility for acquiring the land, making improvements to the land, construction of the station, building and contents insurance and LP gas.

Dawson County’s responsibilities include operation of the station, providing fire apparatus, including a fire engine and tanker truck, training and equipping the volunteers as well as administrative support and leadership.

The agreement worked well until recently when a dispute arose over the need for an additional water tank. The existing tank at Station 8 holds only 45,000 gallons of water and once it is drained, it takes several days to refill. The need for an additional water source was driven home last month when a home on Burnt Mountain Ridge Road was destroyed by fire.

In a townhall meeting following that fire — which Headley said was meant to ambush Dawson County officials — Clayton Preble, president of the Wildcat Community, said there was a firm agreement that Dawson County would provide a tank and move it and that Pickens County would construct the foundation.

Headley said that is nonsense. “There was an informal discussion but it never went any further than that,” he said. “Something like that would have to be approved by the Board of Commissioners and the issue was never placed before them.”

Headley said former Emergency Services Director Lanier Swafford located a tank the county could have obtained for the price of moving it, which Swafford estimated to be about $10,000. But the actual cost turned out to be much higher — between $50,000 and $60,000. Moreover, no contractor was willing to bid on moving it.

Headley and Thompson spent more than an hour being grilled by the residents of Wildcat Community during the townhall meeting while Jones sat in the back of the room and was never questioned.

“It seems like their refusal to adhere to the IGA is in retaliation for us not giving them what they want with regard to the water tank,” Headley said.

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Nita Cagle speaks about life on the campaign trail

Election 2018

BLUE RIDGE, Ga. – Georgia’s current Lieutenant Governor Casey Cagle continues to make his way across the state in his bid to become Georgia’s next Governor. Recently Cagle made stops through North Georgia as part of his campaign on a two week venture dubbed the “Cagle Country Bus Tour”.

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Nita Cagle speaks to a group of youths in Blairsville, Ga.

While supporters and undecided voters alike packed venues to hear the candidate speak in their hometown, many were surprised to see another Cagle family member emerge from the bus to give her take on why Casey Cagle, her husband, should be Georgia’s next Governor.

Nita Cagle has been by Casey’s side for 32 years. In these 32 years, the Cagle’s have raised three sons and are currently enjoying the addition of three grandchildren to family, but raising a family and having a life in politics has not always been easy.

Cagle holds the title of Second Lady of the State of Georgia, but she says what she is most proud of is her title as wife, mother and now grandmother of the Cagle household.

“I’m the inaugural member of team Cagle,” Georgia’s Second Lady joked as she spoke of the family’s early years in politics.

Casey Cagle first ran for Georgia Senate District 49 in 1994. At this time both of the Cagles were in their late 20s and just beginning a family.

“Casey had helped a friend run a campaign,” Cagle spoke of how their life in public service began, “Over the next couple of years I saw the spark start.”

Cagle admits that when she first noticed that Casey was showing interest in this field, that she was “a little hesitant” to jump on board, but says that her faith changed her attitude.

“I had many nights, many talks, and eventually a calmness just came over me, and I was okay with it. So when he came to me and said this is something that is on my heart, I already knew,” Cagle spoke candidly of her acceptance to stand by Casey as he joined the political arena.

When asked if she felt she had known of Casey’s intentions before he spoke openly of them, Cagle laughed and said, “Actually he probably already knew. It was just ‘how am I going to tell Nita’.”

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Nita Cagle rallies the crowd for her husband at Glenda’s in Cleveland, Ga.

This career move was not always smooth as Cagle had to adapt to managing her time: “The boys were young. You’re divided because you want to be with them both, be a mom and be a wife.”

Ultimately, through family discussions, Cagle decided that she would become a strong foundation for her family at home.

“You only get one time at it,” Cagle explained the decision and the importance of having an active role in a child’s life, “You don’t get a do over.”

This decision did pose obstacles for the Cagles to overcome as the now Lt. Governor was often called away for his job and for campaigns, but Cagle explained that these obstacles are no different than what many families face: “Whether it’s politics, any job is going to put stress. No marriage is going to be without stress.”

Cagle explained that she has been blessed in that despite the calling of Casey’s career, he has always put his family first, “He’s a homebody, and if it is humanly possible to come home, he is coming home.”

With their children grown, Cagle says being on the campaign trail this time has a much different feel, “It absolutely was harder as they were younger. It got a lot easier as they got older. I’m really energized. I’m really enjoying it.”

Having grown children poses a set of new and exciting challenges when it comes to time management, as Cagle announced that their youngest son recently proposed to his girlfriend and would like to wed in the Fall shortly before the Nov. General Election.

This announcement didn’t slow Cagle down as she smiled and enthusiastically explained, “What better thing to do in the middle of all this craziness, than to shut it all down and to celebrate family, remember why we do it to start with, and welcome a new daughter-in-law into our family.”

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Casey Cagle takes time to boast on his wife Nita via social media.

Cagle added that having been in a house of men for so long, and with her two older sons already married she is excited for the wedding and glad that the male to female ratio is evening out.

With the prospect of becoming Georgia’s First Lady, Cagle has given a lot of time to her platform and her mission if given this duty: “I have several things that I have thought about, and I may or may not narrow down.”

Having obtained a degree and having a background in early childhood education, Cagle taught preschool for a number of years.

“I specifically love the preschool age,” Cagle smiled as she discussed one of her goals if given the title of First Lady of Georgia.

Cagle would like to see preschool education expanded and offered throughout Georgia. She cited the importance of teaching children at a young age and how this early nurturing can carry over throughout their life.

Knowing that not every child is able to receive this kind of early start at home, Cagle would like to see this program offered in more areas, stating that the work put into a child at an early age will benefit society for generations to come.

Cagle would also like to put a focus on small businesses throughout Georgia. She and husband Casey got their start by establishing a small business, so she knows first hand the struggles that entrepreneurs face.

“I would like to champion them, and spotlight them,” Cagle said explaining her passion for this area. She noted that small businesses make up a large portion of the Georgia economy, and she would like to see “mom and pop shops” continue to set up and succeed in our state.

Finally Cagle discussed an issue that has come up time and time again on the campaign trail and that is of the opioid epidemic that is not just facing the state of Georgia but affecting countless families nationwide.

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Nita Cagle is all smiles as she introduces her husband Casey Cagle to the crowd gathered in Habersham County.

From speaking with residents in Georgia, Cagle is left with one strong impression when it comes to the opioid epidemic, “It’s everywhere. It does not discriminate. We hear the same story over and over. It’s repeated everywhere.”

While Cagle admits that she is by no means an expert when it comes to this crisis, she says that she cannot deny the need to address the issue and “get the conversation going.” She states that by hearing the heartbreaking stories from families affected by opioid addiction she understands the depth of the problem and that it will not be an easy one to combat.

Being a multifaceted issue with a number of areas that need to be addressed, Cagle said, “If we are blessed enough to be elected, the platform is going to put me in a position to do good and open doors for the people that know about it.”

Cagle would like to increase awareness of the opioid epidemic and at least on one front open the doors for mentoring programs where families struggling with this issue can speak with former addicts on how to help loved ones.

Cagle also acknowledged the successes being seen through Georgia’s Drug Courts, and would like to study the impacts of possibly expanding these programs.

Nita Cagle beams a confidence and sincerity in all that she speaks of, but perhaps her biggest conviction is in that of her husband’s ability to make a great Governor of Georgia.

“The best way to know the kind of leader or character a person is going to have is to look into the home, and that is what I bring to the table,” Cagle stated smiling at her husband, “I’ve been married to a man that is consistent every single day.”

She speaks of his competitive drive and his ability to connect with people, but says that he is also a fair man and one she is proud to have spent the last 32 years by his side.

Cagle’s birthday is May 23, just one day after the General Primary, and she states that this year she doesn’t want any gifts from her husband but instead, “I just want a good clean win on the 22nd with no run-off.”

“He says it’s mathematically virtually impossible,” Cagle said explaining her husband’s response to her wish, but she then added with her contagious smile, “I have seen him do the impossible before.”

 

 

 

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 advertise@FetchYourNews.com

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Natalie Kissel

Natalie@FetchYourNews.com

Tea Party Talk News Release

Politics

Dawson Sales Tax Revenue Soars to Record High

News

Charlie Auvermann

DAWSONVILLE, Ga. – Many Dawson County businesses enjoyed a record-breaking month in May, generating $1.2 million in sales tax revenue that will help pay for operation of county government and the school district.

A press release issued by the Development Authority of Dawson County indicated that May sales tax revenue was 11.5 percent ahead of the same month in 2016.

“May was an extremely good month for Dawson County businesses. We hope it is a sign of the start of a very good summer,” said Charlie Auvermann, executive director of the Development Authority of Dawson County.

Dawson County has become the main shopping destination for the northern GA 400 corridor. The result is an increase in sales tax revenue paid to the county, the school system and the city.

Local Option Sales Tax (LOST) revenue was also up by 9% for 2017.

“These are the critical sources of operating and construction revenue for our county,” Auvermann said. “The higher these collections are the less pressure there is on our elected officials to have to raise personal property taxes.”

Sales tax revenue is a fast source of funding for the county since there is only a few weeks delay in getting the funds from the state. With property tax, the county doesn’t collect the funds until the end of each year.

Dawson County is at a 60/40 ratio for tax revenue. That is considered a very healthy situation. According to Department of Community Affairs approximately 60 percent of Dawson County taxes come from a combination of sales and service fee-related activity.

Auvermann noted, “When you compare that to Pickens County, they are considered a property tax county. Dawson is considered an economically-driven county. That gives our elected officials more options rather than just raising the taxes on everyone’s homes.”

The board of directors for the authority is working closely with their staff to insure the tax ratio stays in balance over time. “It has taken years of work to achieve what we see today,” Dr. Sherry Weeks, chairman of the authority, board reminded. “It will take extended vision, commitment and a long-term investment to maintain

There also was good news on the job front where county unemployment fell to just 3.9 percent, one of the lowest rates in Georgia.

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Part 2: Who is Running High Speed Fiber Optic Cable through North GA and Why?

Featured, News

Do you know Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong or Thomas Wittenschlaeger?
A fiber optic cable is being run along the Georgia Northeastern Railroad. In this segment we look at the possible agreement between Patriot Rail and Mox Networks LLC to run the fiber optic cable along the rail line. We question – Who is Mox Networks LLC? We question – Who are they running the fiber optic cable for? It looks to be that there are some ties between Mox Networks and Nantworks LLC companies. Stay tuned for more information on this topic from #BKP in the next part of this segment.

Who is Running High Speed Fiber Optic Cable through North GA and Why?

Featured, News

Part One:
Have you been wondering what they are doing along the train tracks in North Ga? Have you noticed the big spools near the tracks? Why are they digging trenches along these rail road tracks? The answer: They are installing high speed fiber optic cable. But who is doing this and what is their reasoning?
#BKP gives us information about who is doing this and where in this video. He will tell us more about who and why they are doing this in part two.

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