Dahlonega begins opening facilities Monday

News
DAHLONEGA, Ga., –– On May 12, Governor Kemp issued a new 30-page executive order further detailing Georgia’s steps for reopening and returning the state to normal business activities. Among many additional guidelines for essential and non-essential businesses, the order also extends the state of emergency through mid-June, requires those 65 and older as well as medically fragile populations to continue sheltering in place through June 12, and Georgia bars, live performance venues and nightclubs remain closed through 11:59 p.m. on May 31, unless otherwise extended. The full order is available on the state website here.
The detailed order provides specific guidelines for summer camps to resume operations with overnight camps prohibited for now. Also prohibited are large gatherings of 10 or more people unless there is at least six feet between each person with exceptions for critical infrastructure, cohabitating persons or family units, transitory or incidental grouping, and dining rooms and restaurants with no more than 10 patrons per 300-square-feet.
In follow-up to Governor Kemp’s announcement, the Dahlonega City Council held a special called meeting on May 13 to discuss reopening city facilities and resuming non-essential business functions.
• City Hall will officially reopen to the public on Monday, May 18, with the hours of 8:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. dedicated to serving visitors 60 years of age and older and the balance of the day through 5:00 p.m. available to anyone. Residents are encouraged to continue using online payment options and the drop-boxes located at City Hall and old BB&T lot on West Main as a preferred social distancing option. Visitors to City Hall will have access to hand sanitizer and courtesy disposable face masks as well as individual water bottles as opposed to public fountains. While inside City Hall, social distancing requirements—a minimum of six feet—will be observed.
• City Park, located behind City Hall, remains closed to the public as it is undergoing previously scheduled renovations. City staff anticipate reopening the park to the public in several weeks.
• The Wimpy Mill picnic area remains open and will undergo additional daily cleaning as part of COVID-19 response efforts.
• Hancock Park, diving bell and pavilion are open for passive use by individuals, but not organized social gatherings of ten or more. The public restrooms, and the Gold Adventures playground equipment, remain closed to the public at this time. City staff are working through the logistics and obtaining the supplies necessary to clean and safely maintain these high-contact public facilities. The anticipated park reopening date is Saturday, May 23, but may be limited to weekend use only.
The city will increase its regular cleaning schedules for all city facilities and all Dahlonega staff will be wearing cloth face masks while on-duty in and outside city facilities, unless working on-site at an active construction or repair site. Resumption of regular trash pick-up will be announced at a later date.
“We want to encourage residents who aren’t feeling well or who are running a temperature to remain at home,” said City Manager Bill Schmid. “Our staff are ready to assist you by phone at 706-864-6133 and by email at customerservice@dahlonega.gov in the event you are not well and need to conduct city business.”
“I am encouraged by the data for Lumpkin County and remain hopeful things are moving in the right direction,” said Mayor Sam Norton. “Let’s all be safe, practice good common sense, and get through this together!”
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Northeast Georgia Health System COVID-19 information – https://www.nghs.com/covid-19
FEMA’s Coronavirus Rumor Control – https://www.fema.gov/coronavirus-rumor-control
Georgia Department of Public Health – https://dph.georgia.gov/novelcoronavirus
District 2 Public Health Department – http://phdistrict2.org/

Dahlonega closes City Hall, will consider declaration of state of emergency

News

DAHLONEGA, Ga., –– The Dahlonega City Council held an emergency special called meeting today (March 23 at 8:00 a.m.), following the first confirmed Coronavirus diagnosis in Lumpkin County over the weekend. The Council had only two agenda items to discuss—temporarily limiting public access to City Hall and a state of emergency resolution.

Prior to a more than one-hour public discussion of the draft emergency resolution, the Council unanimously voted to close City Hall to the public until further notice, beginning at noon today. This follows earlier proactive steps taken by the city to prevent further spread of the Coronavirus by limiting public access at City Hall; encouraging online and payment drop-off options; and creating a virtual option for the March 19 Council meeting.

Mayor Sam Norton said, “As a small city, it’s critical that we keep our staff healthy to ensure continued services to our residents. We continue to closely monitor this situation with the help of our state and federal partners, but working together, we’ll all get through this.”

The draft emergency resolution is similar to actions taken across Georgia in communities, both rural and metropolitan, and in communities with confirmed diagnoses as well as communities with no confirmed cases. By declaring a state of emergency, it allows city officials to take necessary steps to ensure the overall health and welfare of city residents.

“This action isn’t something that we take lightly,” said Mayor Sam Norton. “None of us support government overreach, but in times like this, local governments must be empowered to take decisive actions when it comes to the public health and safety.”

Among the emergency measures to be considered by the Council during its next special called meeting on Wednesday, March 25 at 4:00 p.m.:

  • Permitting boards, commissions and agencies of the city to conduct meetings and take votes by teleconference.
  • Allowing the city manager, with approval of the mayor, to take necessary actions to protect the public health and safety including temporary closures of city facilities, cancelling certain city functions, and allowing staff and business to be conducted at alternative locations among other administrative and emergency actions necessary to protect the public health and perform essential functions.
  • Requiring restaurants to suspend dine-in services, but permitting delivery, drive-thru, or take-out services and to have patrons, employees and contractors maintain at least six (6) feet of personal distance.
  • Requiring gyms, fitness centers, and other high-contact business models to suspend daily operations.
  • Prohibiting public and private gatherings of more than 10 people, occurring outside a household (this provision would not prevent of business activity or the delivery of medical and other health services unless otherwise specified).
  • Further establishing the administrative succession roles, following the City Charter and current form of government, by designating the finance director to succeed the city manager if he is unable to perform his duties and if both the city manager and the finance director are unable to perform these duties, the mayor as chief executive officer of the city will assume the city manager duties.

Residents and business owners who would like to share feedback regarding the proposed emergency resolution can send comments to the City by email at customerservice@dahlonega.gov.

 

The possible state of emergency follows the Council’s March 19, 2020 special called meeting where the City Council unanimously approved two measures that assist with city efforts in responding to COVID-19 (Coronavirus). Those measures included a comprehensive employee telecommuting policy and a temporary moratorium on special event applications. Effective March 20, the city is no longer accepting new special event applications until further notice.

 

As part of these recent changes, all non-essential city staff will immediately shift to remote worksites, telecommuting from their homes.

 

“All essential city services continue to operate uninterrupted at this time,” said City Manager Bill Schmid. “Shifting non-essential employees out of our city facilities helps us limit potential exposure to essential staff, protecting their and the public’s health and working to ensure we can continue our core services.”

 

The Dahlonega Downtown Development Authority (DDA) recently notified city businesses that State of Georgia received its approved emergency declaration, making small businesses eligible to apply for Economic Injury Disaster Loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration. Business owners can learn more and apply at https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela/.

 

The DDA staff is also working to identify other resources available to business owners during this difficult time. To learn more and to contact the DDA, email staff@dahlonegadda.org.

 

Residents may find specific Coronavirus Information available on the following websites:

CDC – https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/about/prevention.html

Georgia Department of Public Health – https://dph.georgia.gov/novelcoronavirus

District 2 Public Health Department – http://phdistrict2.org/

 

 

 

City of Dahlonega addressing special events in light of Coronavirus

News

DAHLONEGA, Ga., –– With peak tourism and festival season just around the corner, city officials are closely monitoring COVID-19 (Coronavirus) developments and the expert guidance being offered by a variety of local, state, and federal agencies.

“Each new day brings more information,” said Mayor Sam Norton. “We want to make sure we’re protecting public health and safety without unnecessarily contributing to public fears.”

According to a March 11 update provided by the Lumpkin County Public Health Department, there are no known cases of Coronavirus in Lumpkin County currently.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) continues to emphasize the importance of personal steps to protect yourself including frequent hand-washing, avoiding contact with those who are sick, and staying home if you are sick among several other important steps available on their website at: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/about/prevention.html. The CDC website also offers recommendations for those more vulnerable populations including older adults and those who suffer from chronic and underlying health conditions such as heart and lung disease.

“With large-scale modifications and cancellations occurring for indoor events here in Georgia, we’re sensitive to community concerns regarding our local festivals and outdoor events,” said City Manager Bill Schmid. “We’re working with our special event organizers and our Main Street staff to assess each festival and event on a case-by-case basis, using the most current information available.”

The City and its Main Street program will provide event updates via the website, email newsletters, and social media accounts regarding any event modifications and cancellations.

In addition to special event considerations, city officials are working to ensure the health and welfare of its city staff and continued essential city services.
Residents may find specific Coronavirus Information available on the following websites:

CDC – https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/about/prevention.html
Georgia Department of Public Health – https://dph.georgia.gov/novelcoronavirus
District 2 Public Health Department – http://phdistrict2.org/

Chairman, Mayor deliver State of the County, City message

News

LUMPKIN COUNTY, Ga. – County Commission Chairman Chris Dockery and Dahlonega Mayor Sam Norton delivered the annual State of the City and County address to a large crowd at the Parks and Recreation Department Thursday evening.

The event was streamed live on the Fetch Your News website and sponsored by Northside Hospital Forsyth and Truist, which was formed when Suntrust Bank and BB&T merged.

ommission Chairman Chris Dockery

Commission Chairman Chris Dockery

Dockery emphasized issues like the new $4.2 million library that will open in March, improvements to the county’s roads and bridges, the 2014 and 2020 SPLOST (special purpose local option sales tax) projects and the 400 Gateway Corridor.

About the library, Dockery said, “That is more than just a place to check out books. It is really going to be a community center, a place Lumpkin Countians can be proud of. The library says a lot about our commitment to the future.”

The lion’s share of building the library was paid for with SPLOST funds as were the improvements to the county’s roads and bridges.

“You will probably see more paving going on in Lumpkin County than you ever have because we have the funding through the TSPLOST,” Dockery said. “We’re really excited about this summer.”

The $4.2 million the county will spend on road improvement includes replacing badly needed maintenance equipment like an excavator and spreader truck. The city and county are working on a joint project to improve the Oak Grove Road/Hwy. 19 intersection with some Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) funding. Officials with both governments agree that is a very dangerous intersection.

The chairman also touched on a number of other capital projects undertaken since 2017 like expansion of the senior center, energy efficient upgrades to county-owned buildings, construction of Fire Station 7, expansion of the Senior Center and the splash pad completed last year which he called “the most popular place in the county last summer.”

Dockery said the county is prepared for the growth along the Georgia 400 corridor that will follow the construction of Northeast Georgia Medical Center Lumpkin that is expected to open in the Fall of 2021.

There is a 12-inch water line that runs all the way down Ga. 400 to Blackburn Elementary School. NGMC is expected to need 10,000 to 12,000 gallons of water daily. The water plant on Red Oak Flats Road can supply 50,000 gallons a day and can expand to provide up to 75,000 gallons daily.

Dahlonega Mayor Sam Norton

“Lumpkin County is a model for local government,” Dockery said. “Our core values are trustworthiness, respect, integrity, excellence and dedication. I think that accurately reflects each employee of your local government.”

Mayor Norton declared, “The state of the city is strong and we are optimistic.”

He pointed out the city’s population had doubled in the last 20 years to about 7,000. Employment is at a near historic low of 3.4 percent. The city has achieved an A bond rating from Standard and Poor, the millage rate was reduced by half a mill in 2019 and 419 new business licenses were issued last year.

He discussed the construction of a new hotel on Main Street and the expansion of another at the Smith House.

“The hotel (on Main Street) will probably be the most significant construction that has happened since the Gold Museum was revamped,” he said. “It will bring 100 people around the clock, day in and day out as customers to Dahlonega. We have never had that before and we believe it will have zero impact on parking since there are 75 rooms and 76 parking spots. Revenue from the hotel/motel tax has helped the City build projects like the All Abilities playground at Hancock Park.

As for parking, which has always been a problem in the City, Norton said, “We think we can finally start talking realistically about a parking deck. We are going to hire someone who is going to give us advice on that.”

As for future growth, the mayor said the old Mohawk plant offers an excellent opportunity. “There is a large tract of land there that is ripe for development. It has water, sewer and internet.”

The reservoir – a joint project of the City and County holds 850 million gallons of water and can treat up to 1.6 million gallons daily.

Norton also pointed out the City is continuing to upgrade its website. Residents can now find all City ordinances on line as well as City codes and meeting agendas. Soon, he said, residents will be able to pay many bills online.

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

BOC Decides on Road Resurfacing Projects Tuesday

News

Lumpkin County Board of Commissioners

DAHLONEGA, Ga. – Old Dahlonega Highway, Seabolt Stancil Road and Lakeview Drive are among the roads Lumpkin County Commissioners are expected to approve for inclusion in the 2018 Local Maintenance Improvement Grant (LMIG) Road Resurfacing list when they meet in a work session and special called meeting Tuesday starting at 4 p.m.

County staff has proposed funding seven additional roads with the LMIG grant and two additional roads that would be completed with in-house labor. The total cost for resurfacing all 12 roads is $1,347,335.The list must be approved by the Georgia Department of Transportation. Once approved, GDOT would provide $549,041.72 in funding and the county would be required to provide a 30 percent match.

The county is nearing completion of its fueling station on Barlow Road and commissioners will vote on an Intergovernmental Agreement (IGA) with the City of Dahlonega that would allow the city to use the station.

Commissioners also will vote on a request by the Finance Department to be allowed to invest county funds in the highest yield financial instruments prior to approval by the board then report back to the board with the results rather than trying to call special meetings or time opportunities to regularly scheduled meetings. The process of investing and reporting back has been used by the county in the past and has historically produced high return on the investments.

In a settlement agreement with the U.S. Department of Justice that would make access to the Lumpkin County Administration Building ADA compliant, commissioners agreed to a fund a parking and sidewalk project. Bids on the project were due on Aug. 28. The only bidder was North Georgia Concrete for $165,066.85.Commissioners will vote on that project Tuesday.

September 29 marks the 85th anniversary of the Dahlonega Lions Club. Commissioners will honor the non-profit organization for its dedicated service to the county with a proclamation declaring Sept. 29 as Dahlonega Lions Club Day.

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

Commissioners to Meet in Work Session Tuesday

News

DAHLONEGA — Sheriff Stacy Jarrard will request the Lumpkin County Board of Commissioners approve a budget amendment of $36,700 for his office due to the disbandment of the Special Services Division when the Board meets in a work session Tuesday, April 4 at 4 p.m. in the Administration Building Boardroom, 99 Courthouse Hill.

Special Services, which is comprised of the K-9 unit, school resource officers, drug agents, victims services, records and community relations programs, was disbanded earlier this year to allow consolidation and a reduction in the number of divisions and command structure. The services provided by the unit will not go away. The 14 employees who worked in Special Services have been reassigned to other Divisions.

Commissioners are also expected to discuss:
⦁ The appointment of a representative to the Upper Etowah Alliance;
⦁ The appointment of a representative to the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities Advisory Planning Board;
⦁ The appoint of a member to the Planning Commission;
⦁ Abandonment of Shadowstone Subdivision Road;
⦁ An amendment to the Animal Control Ordinance;
⦁ Recommendations for Hospital Authority Board appointment;

Commissioners will also review a number of contracts and agreements, including:
⦁ The intergovernmental agreement (IGA) with the City of Dahlonega & Lumpkin County regarding municipal elections;
⦁ The Senior Center Operating Contract;
⦁ Georgia EPD Local Government Scrap Tire Abatement Reimbursement Program Contract;
⦁ An addendum to the Legacy Link Nutrition Program Services agreement;
⦁ GDOT Wimpy Airport Tree Removal Reimbursement contract County Administration.

Other items to be discussed include:
⦁ A bond for Window Renovation Project Bid;
⦁ Plans for Fire Station Property Agreement
⦁ Legion Field Rehabilitation;
⦁ A Quit Claim Deed for Ralph Dodd Property, 575 Roy Grindle Road.

Senator Steve Gooch Honors City of Dahlonega

State & National

ATLANTA (January 29, 2018) | Senator Steve Gooch (R – Dahlonega) is pleased to announce Monday, January 29, 2018, as Dahlonega Day at the state Capitol with Senate Resolution 590.

“Dahlonega is the gateway to North Georgia and I am grateful to be able to share my home with the rest of my colleagues,” said Sen. Gooch. “This year marks the 60th anniversary of Dahlonega and Lumpkin County citizens delivering gold, by wagon, for the installation of the state Capitol building’s gold dome. I could not be more proud to have representatives from our local community here today to celebrate this honor.”

The City of Dahlonega is a small city in northern Georgia founded in 1832. Dahlonega was the site of the first major U.S. gold rush and now is commonly referred to as the ‘Gold City’. The city sits at the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains and is surrounded by many natural elements. Dahlonega is the county seat of Lumpkin County. In addition to its history of gold mining, the city of Dahlonega is also known as the Heart of Georgia Wine Country, with six wineries and nine winery tasting rooms.

 

Qualifying for City Election Begins Monday

News

DAHLONEGA, Ga. – Qualifying for the City of Dahlonega’s Nov. 7 municipal election will begin Monday, August 21 and continue through Friday, Aug. 25 at Dahlonega’s City Hall, 465 Riley Road. Qualifying hours will be from 8:30 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. daily.

The positions being contested this year include, Mayor, which is held by Gary McCullough, Post 1, held by Roman Gaddis, Post 2, held by Michael Clemmons, Post 3, held by Mitchell Ridley. There also will be a special election to fill the seat of Post 5 Councilman Sam Norton.

Each position requires a qualifying fee. Qualifying for mayor is $270. Qualifying fee for Posts 1, 2, 3 and 5 is $144.

Election Day is Nov. 7 from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m.

UNG Student Arrested for Filing False Claim of Rape at Reservoir

News

UNG Student Rebekah Lim

DAHLONEGA, Ga. – Lumpkin County Sheriff’s Office deputies today  charged University of North Georgia student Rebekah Lim with filing a false  police report, claiming she had been raped on a hiking trail near the Dahonega reservoir.

On May 24th, Lim called Lumpkin County 911 and claimed she had been raped. After meeting with Lim several officers, a K9 unit, and an investigator responded to the Reservoir Trail, searching for evidence and suspects.  The following day, they searched the trail again but no evidence was discovered.

Investigators continued to work on the case over the next several days and could not locate any evidence suspects or witnesses to indicate the crime had taken place.

On the contrary, evidence showed that the crime could not possibly have taken place as Lim alleged. Out of an abundance of caution and public safety, Investigators continued working on the case for the following week, approaching the case from all possible angles. During the investigation, video surveillance cameras on the square of the City of Dahlonega and UNG campus were viewed, as well as Lim’s cell phone logs.

All evidence gained during the investigation showed that Ms. Lim had falsely reported that she had been raped on the Reservoir Trails and further indicated she was never at or on the trail during the time she alleged the crime had occurred.

Investigators presented the evidence before the Magistrate Court Judge and a warrant for Lim’s arrest was signed. Subsequently, Lim was arrested at her apartment and charged with False Statements (Felony). She is currently at Lumpkin County Detention Center and a bond has not been set at this time.

Lumpkin County commissioners will meet in work session today

News

DAHLONEGA, Ga. – The Lumpkin County Board of Commissioners will have a number of new or renewable contracts to discuss when it meets in a work session at 5:30 p.m. today (Feb. 26) in the County Administration Building.

The Board will consider an agreement with the law firm of Blasingame, Burch, Garrard and Ashley to represent the county in potential litigation against contributors to the opioid addiction crisis. If there is no recovery, there is no cost to the county.

Finance Director Allison Martin will recommend the county renew its agreement with Mauldin and Jenkins to perform the county audit.

Allison will also recommend the county contract with Capital Accounts to collect approximately $23,700 in unpaid fees due the Parks and Recreation Department. Capital Accounts charges a percentage of what it collects, so there is no cost to the county.

Senior Center Manager Linda Kirkpatrick will ask the Board to consider approval of an addendum to the  Legacy Link contract for senior center operations and the Meals on Wheels Program.

Sheriff Stacy Jarrard will seek a renewal of a contract with Agape Food Service & Catering, Inc. which has provided an inmate catering service for prisoners at the Lumpkin County Detention Center since 2009.

Other items to be considered include:

  • The appointment of reappointment of members to the Audit Committee, Development Authority and Water and Sewer Authority;
  • Approval of a list of no-longer needed or used items recommended for surplus sale on GovDeals.com;
  • A request to include three county roads – Nimblecrest Way, West Woods Drive and West Woods Way — for acceptance into the county’s road maintenance system;
  • Two requests by property owners for annexation into the City of Dahlonega;
  • A Building Modification Request by EMA Director David Wimpy to close one bay of Fire Station No. 1 to enlarge the Emergency Operations Center;
  • A tax refund request filed by Kingwood Dahlonega International Resort.

 

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

 

 

 

Applicant Withdraws Permit for Controversial Sign

News

DAHLONEGA, Ga. — City of Dahlonega Zoning Administrator Patricia Head confirmed Tuesday that Roberta Green-Garrett has withdrawn the permit for a controversial sign that hung above property she owns at 24 East Main Street.

The 4-foot by 6-foot sign that read “Historic Ku Klux Klan Meeting Place” sparked angry protests from local citizens, business owners and students and was quickly removed because Green-Garret did not have a permit at the time.

After the sign was removed, Green-Garrett did apply for a permit and apparently planned to put the sign back up but dozens of people, many of them students at the University of North Georgia, began to organize a boycott of businesses she owns and, on Friday, the city received word that she was withdrawing her request for a permit.

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