JASPER, Ga. – The Pickens County Board of Commissioners saw a work session and immediate subsequent called meeting to finalize TAN Documents and bids for the county’s 2018 Tax Anticipation Note (TAN).
Having sent requests to five banks, the county received responses from two, Community Bank of Pickens and United Community Bank. The interest rates on the two bids saw Community Bank with 2.15 percent and United Community Bank at 3.36 percent.
Being a work session, the board had to leave its work session and officially open a called meeting in order to field a motion to accept Community Bank’s 2.15 percent TAN and a motion to approve Pickens County Board of Commissioners Chairman Rob Jones to execute the documents.
Additionally, the board was presented with a $10,000 check from the Wildcat Community as a reimbursement for their work on the Wildcat Community Fire Station. With a major ISO rating drop from 10 to five with the facility, the addition has proven more than effective. The station has constant need for water as it has responded to 191 incidents with six of those being major structure fires (four in Pickens County) since its opening in 2009.
This is part of the support for which the community is thanking the county, helping provide a tank for 45,000 gallons of water, which is half of the total 90,000 gallons now available in the area. The community offers its thanks to the Pickens BOC for its leadership and recognition of need for the area.
The community stretches across Pickens and Dawson counties and has received support from both counties. They continued raising funds for the original and a replacement fire engine better suited for the winding roads on the mountain.
The community has raised over $100,000 in support of fire services for the station and its need. That fund raising is what allowed them to provide the “reimbursement” to the county.
JASPER, Ga. – On the agenda since January, Jasper City Council has been discussing self-funding for medical insurance versus insuring normally as they have been for years. They have had both Matt Bidwell, of MSI Benefits, and Kevin Godfrey, of Godfrey-Downs, looking through their contacts and markets to bring forth proposals to the council for insurance.
The city ultimately went with the Georgia Municipal Association (GMA) recommended by Bidwell and MSI Benefits. Though the original recommendation was a $1,500 deductible plan, the council’s motion approved an alternate plan with a $1,000 deductible. The new plan’s premiums for the city would come to $1,104,163.00, around a $52,000 increase, which is far less than the near $300,000 increase the city was originally looking at during the beginning of the year. According to Bidwell, this plan is just above a 4 percent increase over the $1,500 deductible plan for the city.
The plan also allows, according to Bidwell, for any employee receiving compensation in the form of workman’s comp or a salary from the city to be covered under the insurance. This covers the issue the city had with their current insurance preparing to drop an officer from coverage who was injured in the line of duty.
The city may be closing down North and South Main street once a month in favor of a recurring Chamber event. Setting the events as May through August, the Chamber is attempting to establish the Saturday Social in the Mountains as a tourism event. The issue came before council to close South and North Main Street for the social events. While representatives had no set point of exactly what every event would entail, they did suggest they could include live music, children’s events, food, and other activities. Ultimately approved, the item passed with two votes, as Dr. Sonny Proctor and Anne Sneve abstained due to their involvement with the Chamber.
The council also approved a number of previously budgeted expenses including $14,000 to swap out the Cove Well emergency generator, $11,900 to rebuild pump four across from Shiloh Church, and the previously discussed 3 percent raise for city employees.
ELLIJAY, Ga. – Appalachian Judicial Circuit Superior Court Judge Mary Elizabeth Priest announced her recent qualification for and intent to run for the Superior Court bench in the May 2018 non-partisan General Election. Ellijay has been her home for 30 years.
The Superior Courts handle civil matters, including family and domestic litigation, criminal cases, ranging from traffic violations to felonies, as well as transfers and appeals from Magistrate Court and Probate Court. In our Appalachian Circuit, Superior Court judges are responsible for dockets and jury trials in Fannin, Gilmer, and Pickens counties.
Mary Beth is a graduate of Gilmer High School and North Georgia College and State University. Before
attending law school, she served as a case manager and investigator for the Pickens County Department
of Family and Children Services. She later received her Doctorate of Jurisprudence from Georgia State
University. She began her legal career as an associate attorney at Downey & Cleveland, in Marietta, in
2006. In 2010, she joined the law firm Clark & Clark, in Ellijay, where she practiced complex civil litigation.
Priest said, “It has been a great honor to serve on the bench for the past two years. One of my goals has
been to build a bridge between our community and our court system. I am proud of the progress we have
made in that regard. Being a judge is an enormous responsibility that I take very seriously. I ask the
people of the Appalachian Circuit to trust me with their vote. If they do, I will continue to work hard for
our community with the same commitment to efficiency, impartiality, fairness, and responsibility that I
have had since my first day on the bench.”
Judge Priest was appointed by Governor Nathan Deal in 2016 to fill the vacancy created by the retirement of Judge Roger Bradley. In addition to being involved with and frequently speaking at local civil organizations, she initiated and helped coach the Gilmer High School Mock Trial team’s inaugural season this year. As an adopted child born into foster care, she has also done outreach for adoption agencies as a strong advocate for foster and adopted children.
Her husband, Jeremy, owns and operates a scrap metal recycling company as well as a plumbing company, and they live in Ellijay with their two children. Her father, Mike Williams, and mother, Lorie Stanley Williams, originally of Stanley Creek in Fannin County, also live in Ellijay.
COLLINS BILL TO HONOR FALLEN CLERMONT MARINE SENT TO PRESIDENT’S DESK
WASHINGTON—The Senate last night voted unanimously to pass H.R. 3821, legislation to rename Georgia’s Clermont Post Office in honor of Zack T. Addington. Rep. Doug Collins (R-Ga.) introduced the bill this September, and it passed the House in November.
“Lance Corporal Zack Addington represents the selfless courage that’s cultivated in northeast Georgia, and I’m excited to see this bill leave Congress and head to the president’s desk for his signature,” said Collins.
Collins also honored Addington when he spoke about the bill on the House floor.
Known to his neighbors as Zack, Addington joined the United States Marine Corps in 1967. A native of Clermont, he became a rifleman in the 3rd Marine Division of the Fleet Marine Force and deployed to Vietnam that year. Addington was promoted to Lance Corporal and served his country honorably until he was killed in action in May 1968.
That June, Addington received the Purple Heart, National Defense Service Medal, Vietnam Service Medal and Republic of Vietnam Campaign Ribbon in recognition of his service there.
JASPER, Ga. – Many see Valentine’s Day as a day to show a little extra effort toward someone special. It is a day set aside to spend a little extra effort to show someone they are special and worth the effort. Regardless of how or why it was created, it is generally a special day for those who celebrate it.
You, like me, may think about love and this day while having someone specific in mind, a significant other, a family member, or something of that sort. Look around and you can find all sorts of reminders of romantic and amorous love. But once in a while, someone will come along and remind you of true compassion for others, a love that supersedes the romance that can give us tunnel vision.
Enter Aden Fillion. He is a sixth-grader in Pickens County Middle School (PCMS). And last year at Valentine’s Day, Aden got an idea.
As he looked around his classes on this day, he began to notice something that bothered him. Not every girl was getting a candy gram for Valentine’s Day. On a day that is meant to show how much love there is in this world, there were girls in his school that were “left out” as he says.
When he noticed this, Aden said he felt the pain: “When they felt left out, I felt left out.” It was something he couldn’t stand to see. The thought came to Aden that he wanted to make sure every girl got one of these candy grams on Valentine’s Day.
Though he didn’t speak of the issue right away, the thought stayed with him until September. Speaking to his parents, Jessica and Clint Fillion, Aden revealed his hope for this year’s Valentine’s surprise. After debating on how to accomplish this feat, Jessica eventually decided to try setting up a GoFundMe page. She admits now that she wasn’t too sure about how much success the page would get.
Two days later, $300 had already been raised for Aden to accomplish his plan. A feat that shocked Jessica and emboldened Aden. With everything ready, the Fillions needed only to wait until this month to place the order, keeping the secret until now.
Always having been very compassionate and empathetic, Jessica says her son Aden constantly wants to give people things. Constantly wanting to see people smile, Jessica added of Aden, “He is very loving.”
The awe of the day was shared by seventh-grade teacher Sue Watters, who helped run the carnation orders with BETA club. Watters stated, “Wow, for a kid to have that level of empathy is unheard of in middle school.”
While in the past, the counselor’s office has handled candy grams, according to Watters, this year changed as the BETA club decided to handle the Valentine’s items. Thinking about February as Heart Health Month in addition to Valentine’s Day, BETA decided to do carnations instead of the candy grams.
As Jessica and Aden began talking with Watters about Valentine’s Day and what he had planned, they began planning and ordering for all 225 girls in PCMS. There was only one issue – last year’s candy grams cost $1, but this year’s carnations cost $2.
As of today, few people have been privy to this plan, but every one of 225 girls is walking out of their middle school today with a carnation, and a reminder of the love that people can have for each other. Through community support and a little help from BETA, Aden’s plan has been fulfilled, and one student reminded everyone of what we can accomplish for each other.
What Aden didn’t know was that BETA was selling the carnations to help the seventh grade finance their field trip to Atlanta in April. With some students needing help to be able to go on the trip, Aden’s plan snowballed larger than even he had intended. Diving into his plan, Aden said he had never gotten discouraged. Talking about the plan, he kept going back to saying, “I wanted them to feel happy.”
Each flower that he sent came with a note attached, “Happiness can be found in the darkest of times, if only one remembers to turn on the light.” A quote from Albus Dumbledore in the book, and film, Harry Potter is a note from Aden and his mother’s favorite movie to explain his hope for those of his class, a note of the happiness he wanted for them.