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Cleveland Man Charged Following Accident  (4/18/14)

By: Rob Moore


(Cleveland) - A Cleveland man faces charges after his vehicle collided head-on with a spreader truck in Cleveland Thursday afternoon.  The wreck, that occurred just before 4 PM,  resulted in a section of Highway 129,  South Main Street,  being closed for about 90 minutes. 


A green Ford Ranger pickup was traveling north on Highway 129 and collided head-on with an International 4400 spreader truck that was stopped in the center turn lane.  The driver of the pickup truck, 34-year-old William Wesley Bladen of Cleveland, was injured and trapped in the wreckage.

Georgia State Patrol spokesman Gordy Wright said,  after being cut free by Cleveland Fire Department personnel, Bladen was taken by ambulance to Northeast Georgia Medical Center. The driver of the spreader truck, 59-year-old Steve Arthur Allen of Cleveland, was not injured. 


According to Wright, the state patrol  obtained warrants for Bladen, charging him with failure to maintain lane and driving while license suspended or revoked.


During the time traffic was detoured around the accident scene there was a minor three-vehicle wreck on Old Highway 75. No one was hurt in that wreck.


Warriors Shuts Down  Dawson County (4/18/14)


(Cleveland)- The White County Warriors dominated Thursdays  baseball game  against the Dawson County Tigers, here in Cleveland. The final score was  8-0. 


The Warriors scored four runs in the first inning, adding two more runs in the second and didn’t ease up.  Spencer Adams pitched yet another spectacular game, throwing seven strikeouts back to back,  shutting down the Tigers. 


White County is scheduled to travel  to Fannin County Friday  for another game, weather permitting.



Yeh Named TMC Head Basketball Coach (4/18/14)


(Cleveland)-  The Truett-McConnell College Department of Athletics has announced Jon Yeh has been selected as Head Men’s Basketball Coach, for the school.  Truett-McConnell College’s Director of Athletics Dr. Stacy Hall.  “Jon Yeh will be a spiritual mentor and a role model for our young people and has a proven record of supporting academics and community service.” 


The selection was made after a national search of over 100 applicants. Hall added., “This strategic hire is another example of how Truett-McConnell athletics is committed to winning championships in discipleship, academics, community service, and athletic performance.”   “Yeh is a proven winner”, said Hall,  Having coached teams in three consecutive National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics National Tournament appearances and one Final Four appearance.


Yeh  is  the Associate Head Men’s Basketball Coach at Grace College. Yeh is married to Corrinne and they have four children and they will be moving    to Cleveland and begin his tenure as Bears Head Basketball Coach on April 30th.



National Telecommunications' Week  (4/14/14)


(Cleveland)- This week,  the second week of April,  is set aside as a time to remember those who answer the call, every call, during times of need.  It’s your local 9-1-1 dispatch operators.  Whether it is a call for medical services, a law enforcement call, or one for the fire department, a 9-1-1 dispatcher is ready.  No matter the time of day or the nature of your emergency, they are there for you.  They are the calm voice you hear when your world is suddenly in chaos.  


White County Public Safety Director David Murphy said, "White County dispatchers handled over 124,000 calls for service in 2013, their  motto is “When seconds count-count on us.”



Trail Work Day Held ( 4/14/14)

(Cleveland)- White County Park YMCA Trail work  was held this past Saturday.  Volunteers gathered to clear another section.  YMCA Director Lynn Adams said the Fitness Trail is taking shape. She reported  the trail sections completed thus far have held up very well to the hard rains recently.  


Another Trail Work Day is planned for Saturday May 24th,   additional volunteers are welcome, you are asked to arrive  at 9am and work until noon.   







Clark Neal [L] with help from Bob Burt [R]; behind them are

Peggy Burt and Carmen Mellix, with Chris Ernst on the tractor. 


Juveniles Charged With Vandalizing School Buses ( 4/10/14)


(Cleveland)- Three juveniles have been arrested in Cleveland and charged with vandalizing several school buses.  Cleveland Police Chief John Foster said youth ranging in age of 12-14 are accused of vandalizing 19 White County School buses.  


Foster said the incident took place Monday and Tuesday and was discovered by a bus shop employee who reported to work Wednesday morning.  The school  system is on Spring Break this week, but the employee was scheduled to report for maintenance  work on some of  the buses.   


Chief Foster said, “the juveniles discharged fire extinguishers in and on  buses, poured oil inside busses and one bus had human feces in it. “  The group also is  suspected to have entered  the White County Cannery, which is located next to the bus shop.  


Foster said the juveniles, who live near the school barn, are believed to have broken  into another building on the school campus in Cleveland a couple of weeks ago.  The investigation is ongoing, according to Foster.


Easter Eggstravaganza This Saturday (4/10/14)

(Cleveland)- The White County Chamber of Commerce and the Cabbage Patch Kids at BabyLand General Hospital in Cleveland are hopping with excitement about the great weather predicted for this coming weekend.  Saturday the 26th Annual Magical Easter Eggstravaganza  will be held.  

All of the activities will be held on the grounds of BabyLand, except for the Easter parade through downtown Cleveland. The days activities include a pancake breakfast with  Easter Bunny and Cabbage Patch Kids, that begins at 8:00 AM.  The parade, around the square in downtown Cleveland,  begins at 11 AM, cupcakes and carrots with Easter Bunny at 1 PM.,  an egg hunt with 28,000 eggs will take place at 2 pm and an Easter bonnet  contest will be held at 3PM.  

There will be arts and crafts throughout the day.  There will be  a detour route on city streets  around downtown during the parade and Cleveland Police ask travelers to plan according.  


April Grand Jury Report Presented ( 4/10/14)


(Cleveland)- The report for the April term for White County Grand Jury  was presented before Superior Court Judge Raymond George on Tuesday.  The jury body led by foreperson Cynthia Seaman examined 34 bill of indictment and true billed all. 


The jury body heard reports from White County Sheriff Neal Walden,  Probate Judge Garrison Baker and Tax Commissioner Cindy Cannon.  The body as part of their work nominated four people; Lisa Manning, Bill White, Keith Ivey and Mark Grizzard for two vacancies on the White County Board of Registrars beginning July first this year until June 30th 2018.  Ronnie London was appointed to the county board of equalization.   


In their  recommendations the grand jury recommended that the White County Sheriff’s Office  be provided an additional budget allocation for cost of living and merit increases for personnel and for a capital expenditure for an update of the sheriff’s department patrol car video capabilities.  


Rainfall Deficit Remains Following Heavy Rain  ( 4/8/14)


(Sautee)- Northeast Georgia received a good drenching between Sunday night and  Monday morning  with some areas receiving close to four inches during the period.   WRWH weather reporter Bill Kinsland kept a close check on  the river levels during that time and he said the Chattahoochee here in White County remained below flood levels.


According to Bill, the Chattahoochee River at Helen crested at 3.05 feet at 10 AM Monday the flood stage  is six feet. By Tuesday  morning the river level had dropped down to 1.74 feet.  At the Duncan Bridge/ Buck Shoals location the Chattahoochee crested at 8.59 feet Monday  afternoon. It was down to 3.54 feet Tuesday  morning.


As far as the rainfall totals Bill reported Cleveland received 3.70 inches during the rain period, Helen 3.67 and Sautee weather station 3.92 inches. Even with all that rain Bill reports on average the year-to-date rainfall deficit is  still over 5 and a quarter inches.    



 Drug Take Back Initiative In White County April 26th ( 4/8/14) 


(Cleveland)- The White County Sheriff’s Office and the Appalachian Drug Task Force will partner together with the Enotah Anti Drug Coalition to participate in the nationwide prescription drug “Take-Back” initiative that seeks to prevent increased pill abuse and theft. 


The White County Sheriff’s Office and the ADTF will be collecting potentially dangerous expired, unused, and unwanted prescription drugs for destruction at Wal Mart  in Cleveland  on Saturday, April 26th,  from 10 AM–2 P.M.  This service is free and anonymous, no questions asked. 


The DEA reports that it’s state and local partners have removed over 3.4 million pounds of medication from circulation across the nation through this program.  Most people are not aware that medicines found in home cabinets are highly susceptible to diversion, misuse, and abuse.  The rates of prescription drug abuse, accidental poisonings, and overdoses are increasing throughout the United States at an alarming rate. 


White County Sheriff Neal Walden  said, “Prescription drug abuse is a rapidly growing drug problem, and this take-back event is an invaluable tool that we can use to reduce the threat of drug abuse that these prescription drugs pose.” He said the number of deaths this past year was reduced because of these types of programs.



Cleveland Man Charged With Peeping Tom (4/4/14)


(CUMMING) - A Cleveland man has been arrested in connection with that Peeping Tom incident at Belk in Cumming last weekend.  Forsyth County Sheriff's Deputy Doug Rainwater said  38-year old Randy William Wilson, was identified as the suspect after investigators received a tip from someone who had seen surveillance photos on local media. 


Authorities from Forsyth County tracked Wilson to his house in Cleveland. Rainwater said,  "He ran from us...there was a brief foot chase and it lasted only a few moments and we were able to catch him near his home."

For now, Wilson is in the White County Detention Center, but he will be turned over to Forsyth County authorities to face two felony counts of Peeping Tom, according to Rainwater.  Rainwater said,  "He's being held without bond in the

         Randy William Wilson


White County Detention Center based on a parole violation...he has also been charged previously and convicted with being a Peeping Tom in the past."  


Rainwater said Wilson also was spotted by public tipsters at North Georgia Premium Outlets in Dawson County earlier in the week.



Cleveland Resident Named Hall County Clerk ( 4/4/14)


(GAINESVILLE) - The Hall County Board of Commissioners has hired former Habersham County Clerk Lisa Ritchie as the new commission clerk for Hall County.  Ritchie, who lives in Cleveland, most recently worked as a Customer Service Representative for Freudenburg NOK in Cleveland , plus she serve as  Human Resources Clerk and Payroll Clerk for Truett-McConnell College. 


Ritchie begins work with Hall County on April 7th She replaced Melissa McCain who resigned earlier this year to take a position at clerk for the City of Flowery Branch.




White County Home Destroyed By Fire (4/3/14)


click to enlarge(CLEVELAND) - White County fire personnel spent most of  Wednesday morning working a structure fire in the northern part of the county.  White County Public Safety spokeswoman Ana Newberry  said around 3:30 a.m. Wednesday, White County and Lee Arrendale State Prison firefighters responded to a house fire on Timber Wolf Road off Sims Road.   The 3,000-square-foot home was a total loss.

Newberry said the homeowner was home at the time of the fire,  and  was able to get out safely. The homeowner declined American Red Cross assistance, but Red Cross personnel were used for firefighter rehab.
Newberry said Wednesday afternoon,  "Although not deemed suspicious, the fire is being investigated by the county fire investigator for a cause."No one was hurt in the fire.  


Fire fighters were busy  Tuesday afternoon, battling two woods and grass fires. The first was reported at 2 p.m. on Runway Circle at Aviation Boulevard inside Mountain Air Park.    Newberry said a homeowner was burning something in a 55-gallon drum and his controlled burn got out of control due to the sudden increase in winds. Georgia Forestry Commission was called to cut a break around the fire. Total area affected was nine acres. No structures or aircraft were damaged.  


Around 3 p.m. Tuesday, while personnel from numerous fire stations were still working to contain the fire on Runway Circle, White County firefighters were called to a fire on Oglethorpe Lane at Eli Knob Road.  Newberry said a resident reported a fire in the woods. Firefighters protected nearby structures until Georgia Forestry arrived to cut a break around the fire.   Due to high winds, the fire jumped the break and the process started over again until the fire was contained, Newberry said. Six acres were consumed, but no structures were damaged.





Helen Tubing  Company Told It Can't Use One Of It's Sites ( 4/2/14)

By Rob Moore


(HELEN) - A Helen tubing company won't be able to use one of its locations during the 2014 season.  Following a closed session Tuesday, the Helen City Commission voted to instruct City Attorney Carl Free to notify Water Park Properties LLC that, in accordance with previous court rulings, they will not be allowed to use their Escowee Drive location this year. 


City officials maintain the company is operating its Escowee Drive location on property zoned residential, which violates the city's zoning ordinances.


The City of Helen filed for declaratory judgment against Water Park Properties LLC, in 2010.  Senior Judge Robert Struble ruled in the city's favor in White County Superior Court on Sept. 26, 2012. Struble's ruling was upheld by the Georgia Court of Appeals last November.


If tubing operations continue on the property, located across from the former Orbit building on Escowee Drive, the operators could be fined up to $1,000 per day. The prohibition letter does not affect any of Water Park Properties LLC's other locations or operations in Helen. 



Commissioners Offer Another Look At Land Use ( 4/1/14)


(Cleveland)- The White County Board of Commissioners say they are ready to present another look at a Land Use plan for the county and want the public to come review it and provide input.  


The commissioners held a couple of public forums last August on a draft plan and during those hearings the citizens provided much input and that has been incorporated in an updated plan.  Now the commissioners want the citizens to have a look at the revised document at a public forum to be held May first from 6 -7:30 PM at the White County Senior Center. 


Commission Chairman Travis Turner, during a meeting Monday afternoon, made it clear  they want to hear from the public, he said, “I can not emphasize that we are looking for public input, that the citizens of White County have a say so in a proposed land use plan that  affects all of us that we can be pleased with.”   


After  the May first  public forum the commissioners plan to use the community input and develop a plan that will be present to  voters as a  November referendum ballot question.   



New Passing Lane  Georgia 11 North of Cleveland ( 3/29/13)


(Cleveland)-  - The Georgia Department of Transportation announced that  a Quick Response Project was finished Thursday and Drivers can now use a passing lane on State Route 11 (U.S.Highway 129)  southbound at the intersection with Hulsey Road. 


Georgia DOT Board Member, Emily Dunn said, “There was wide pavement in this area and drivers were using it as an “unofficial” passing lane. If a driver was waiting on State Route 11 south to turn left onto Hulsey Road, traffic would back up behind the waiting vehicle turning left. Now through traffic can continue using the new 300 feet long passing lane. Dun also advised that this addition will greatly improve traffic flow until Phase Two of the Cleveland Bypass is open for use.”   Dunn represents the 9th Congressional District including White County on the State Transportation Board.   


The Quick Response program allows low cost, operational improvements to be made to the State Route system. This improvement cost $41,917.75.





One Killed In Friday  Morning Accident  (3/28/14)


(Cleveland) - Investigators with the Georgia State Patrol have identified the person killed in a two-vehicle crash in White County Friday morning around 9 AM.  According to investigating troopers, the victim in the crash was 49-year-old Paula Jean Densmore from Blairsville.


Trooper said she was driving southbound on Highway 129 near Westmoreland Road south of Cleveland when she crossed the center line and hit another vehicle head-on. Densmore died at the scene.  


The driver of the other vehicle, 33-year old Jose Jimenez, from Cornelia was taken to the hospital for treatment. The extent of his injuries was unknown.



Strong Support  For Liquor By the Drink Ballot Question (3/28/14)


(Cleveland)- The city of Cleveland could decide soon to have a referendum on the sale of liquor by the drink, if the support for the ideal shown last night at a public hearing is any indication.  The city council set up the public hearing to hear from the public about the issue. 


An overwhelming majority of the 30 or so people who attended the meeting indicated they wanted the issue to be placed before the voters in the city.  Most of this speaking, including restaurant owner Ed Ward,  connected distilled spirits sales to increased business and growth in the city. 



     Ma Gooch's Owner Ed Ward speaks in favor of liquor by the drink


Wards told the council, “we need this to create jobs”.  He pointed out where liquor by the drink is allowed restaurant workers earn more money.  


When asked about the tax revenue from alcohol sale, Councilman Rush Mauney said from July 2012 until June 2013 alcohol tax revenue collected was $103, 247.  Mauney said, “ It’s nothing to sneeze at, but its no windfall.”  He pointed out  that alcohol incidents have went up since beer and wine sales were approved in the city. 


Cleveland Mayor Don Stanley said they will now have to make a decision whether they want to go ahead and call for the referendum or ask citizens to collect signatures of  35 percent of registered voter  to have it placed on the ballot.   That could come at the April 14th meeting of the city council.   


Sunday alcohol was also discussed, that  is a different issue and will require that 35 percent of the registered voters in the city sign a petition asking for it to be placed on a ballot.  At the end of the public hearing, Councilman Mauney challenged those attending to get involved in with other issues affecting the city like they have this alcohol issue.



White County Schools To Outsource Sub Teachers ( 3/28/14)

By: Buster Tallent


(Cleveland)- During the  White County Board of Education meeting Thursday  night numerous items were discussed, including   6th graders’ participation in school sports, revisions to the county wide Student Code of Conduct, and the budget.  


The primary budgetary concern for the board  was the effect of the Affordable Care Act on coverage for substitute teachers.  In an effort to cut health insurance costs, the board voted unanimously to outsource substitute teachers  to Michigan-based Kelly Services, which has an office in Gainesville.  Kelly Services is a temporary staffing agency and currently has an account with Habersham County Schools.  


Board member Jay Westmoreland said that insurance costs for all school system employees will total over $440,000 this year, and is  expected to rise next year.  


Also during the meeting, the board  recognized several middle  and ninth grade students for their extracurricular club achievements. The recognitions included  22  ninth graders  who earned Microsoft Office Specialists in PowerPoint certificates.


White County Student Chosen For Washington  Trip (3/28/14)


(Clarkesville)- A White County High School  student is one of two local students selected  to attend the 2014 Washington Youth Tour, a  fully paid leadership trip sponsored by 38 of the electric membership corporations in Georgia, including Habersham EMC.   


Morgan West a White County High School student and  Habersham Central High School  student Catherine Fain were selected locally.  As Georgia’s oldest leadership program for teens, the Washington Youth Tour is designed to teach students about U.S. history, the role of democracy, the importance of community and public service, and the need for civic leadership and service.


Catherine and Morgan will be among 109 Georgia high school students participating during the event set for June 12th  -19th  beginning with stops in Georgia then moving to historic sites and other events in Washington D.C.


                Morgan West


Morgan is the daughter of Charlie and Honey West of Cleveland and Catherine is the daughter of Randy and Jean Fain of Clarkesville.  


White County Unemployment Rates Drops In February (3/27/14)


(Atlanta) – The Georgia Department of Labor announced Thursday that the preliminary unemployment rate in the Northeast Georgia region decreased to 6.3 percent in February, down three-tenths of a percentage point from 6.6 percent in January.  


In White County the unemployment rate was 6.9 percent,  down from the 7.3 percent  revised January rate. According to the labor department in February the labor force was 12,933. Of those 12,039 had jobs, while 894 were unemployed.





Warrior Baseball Extends Winning Streak (3/27/14)


(Cleveland)- White County High School  baseball team dominated yet another game Wednesday  and pushed their season unblemished record to 13 and  0   by beating  Fannin County 5-2 here in Cleveland.   


While the game was back and forth for the first two innings, the warriors  caught a spark in the third and didn’t turn down the heat until the final out.  Matthew Hambrick, allowing only two runs, and scoring nine strikeouts over six innings pitched. 


The victory was overshadowed  by the  injury to  Fannin County player Trent Galloway, who  was struck,  on the corner of his helmet,  by a fastball.



Historical Society To Receive War Between The States Guns (3/26/14)


(Cleveland)- The White County Historical Society will meet Thursday, April 3rd   at the Historic Courthouse  Museum on the square in Cleveland. There will be  a special presentation of four  War Between the States era guns by Joe Black of Atlanta. 


Black  is a descendent of Elijah Thurmond and Issac Black who originally owned the guns.  


The regular program for the meeting will be  "Desperately Seeking Helen”,  a discussion of the History of Helen,   by  Matt Gedney,  Bill Huff and others.  Everyone invited to attend. 



White County 51st Healthiest County In Georgia ( 3/26/14)


(Undated)-  A new study ranks Lumpkin County as the 9th  healthiest county in Georgia with Forsyth County topping the list.  Forsyth was also at the top of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation rankings last year.


Researchers say the rankings offer a snapshot of overall health for nearly every county in the country covering 29 factors, including smoking, high school graduation rates, unemployment, physical inactivity, and access to healthy foods. 


Other counties in the area in the area with top rankings were Hall county 12th, Union 14th and  Habersham 15th
White County was 51st  out of 159 counties in the state. 



Truett-McConnell College Announces Two New  Faculty Members (3/26/14)
(Cleveland )--Truett-McConnell College has added a former Southern Baptist seminary president and an aerospace engineer to its faculty ranks.  Dr. Phil Roberts presided over the Southern Baptist Convention's Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Kansas City,  from 2001 to 2012.  Dr. Mael Disseau, who holds two doctoral degrees, previously was an adjunct professor at The College at Southwestern, which is a baccalaureate-level entity at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas.


Both will teach in the college's new Master of Arts in Theology program beginning this fall, while Disseau will also teach in the B.A. program.


Dr. Brad Reynolds, TM's vice president for academic services said,  "We could not be more elated with the addition of these two colleagues to our faculty, these men not only bring with them a vast knowledge base combined with international experience in education, they are committed churchmen whose lives of service to God will enhance their impact upon our students both academically and spiritually."





Warrior TV Wins National Awards  (3/24/14)


(Orlando, Fl.)- White County High School's award winning broadcast program traveled to the 11th annual Student Television Networks National Convention held in Orlando Florida, over the weekend.  Thirty students and instructors from WTVN-Warrior TV competed for $50,000 in prize money along with trophy prizes.  


Charles Dewalt, White County High School instructor and  WTVM Executive Producer  said, “ WTVN was honored to be chosen as one of the top three student broadcast programs in the nation for "Best Overall Network", a title we held last year, and "Best Community Involvement".


 He said,  “The students also competed in four days of contests for trophy prizes and took home the second place award in the Sweet 16 TV Sitcom category.  In the sweet 16 contest students spend 16 grueling hours producing a video.   


This is a huge honor for our school and the broadcast program to again be nominated and win on the national stage, said  Dewalt.   The Warrior TV team are expected to arrive back in Cleveland just before the school day Monday.



Gigibit  Speed Available For Trailwave Customers ( 3/21/14)


(Clarkesville)- It’s all about speed when your connected to the internet and  now, Trailwave,  Habersham Electric Membership Corporation’s internet serve  is increasing residential internet service speed to 1 gigabit per second making Habersham, White, Rabun and some rural parts of  Stephens and Hall counties the first and only communities in Georgia  to have this high speed service.   The gigabit service provides access to speeds up to 1000  times faster than the one megabit per second  service offered to residents by other providers.  


Todd Pealock, CEO of Habersham EMC said, “so it’s simple: we want to bring the fastest, most abundant connectivity to our members.”  This new higher speed service is provided over the North Georgia Fiber Network.  



Spring Clean Up Day Announced ( 3/20/19)


(Cleveland)- Now that Spring is here it’s time to do some spring cleaning, the White County Chamber of Commerce has announced plans for their one day  Clean Up White County Day, in conjunction with the Great American Cleanup/ Keep America Beautiful.   Chamber President Cindy Bailey said the date is April 25th.   


She said they will begin with breakfast refreshments at 8:00 AM, then following a quick photo op  we will head out to pick up trash on area roads.  


Bailey said,  if you are unable to participate on April 25th, the entire week has been designated as Cleanup week.  The County Road Department will be available during the week to pick up bags that are left on the side of the County Maintained roadways by calling 706-865-2510.


The Chamber will have a supply of bags and gloves to use during the week for anyone who would like to help. Just stop by the Chamber office between 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m. or call 706-865-5356.



Cleveland Woman Wins $520,00 (3/14/14)


(DULUTH) - A Cleveland woman will receive $26,000 a year for the next 20 years after winning a Georgia Lottery instant game.  27-year old Cassandra Rider will get a total of $520,000 for winning " A Week For Life". 


According to lottery officials, the mother of three plans to purchase a new home and take a vacation with family.
Ryder claimed her winnings this week. She  bought the lucky  ticket at Clermont Food Mart on Cleveland Highway in Clermont.







No Major Damage From Two Chimney Fires ( 3/14/14)


(Cleveland)- No major damage reported  as a result of two  chimney fires in White County.  White County Fire Department spokeswoman Ana Newberry said, the first fire  occurred Thursday  night around 8:30 PM on Little Rock Road.  She said the homeowner reported a fire in the chimney, but prior to the arrival of the first fire unit the homeowner had extinguished the fire with a garden hose.  


Fire department personnel check the exterior of the chimney and found very slight damage.  According to Newberry, the homeowner was advised to have the chimney/fireplace professionally cleaned prior to next usage.  No injuries reported.


Another fire was reported early Friday morning on Wingo Drive off Highway 17, near the Indian Mound.  Newberry said initially a motorist saw flames shooting  from a  house and call 9-1-1, but when fire, medical and sheriff department units arrived in the area they could not locate a fire.  


Later in the morning Newberry said.  “a homeowner,  on Hwy 17 just passed Wingo Drive,  called dispatch and advised that they did have a flare up in their chimney earlier,  but they had put the fire out themselves and did not want any assistance at this time. “




Lady Bears Place Third In Spring Invitational  (3/14/14)


(Cleveland)- The Truett-McConnell College Women’s Golf Team finished third overall with a score of 750  at the Reinhardt College Spring Invitational, held at the Callahan Links in Canton, held Monday and Tuesday of  this week.  


Senior, Courtney Watts, led the Lady Bears with an eleven over par round of 83 in round one, the second best score of the day tying her for second place at the halfway point. Watts posted an 84 in round two and her two day total of 167 earned her a 5th place finish overall in the event and a spot on the events All-Tournament Team.  Junior Laura Pickens was second in scoring for the Lady Bears.  

The Lady Bears will return to action when they travel to compete in the Emmanuel Springs Invitational, March 24th  and 25th .











  Senior golfer, Courtney Watts



TMC Bears Earn Third Place In Spring Invitational  (3/14/14)


(Cleveland)–The Truett-McConnell College Men's Golf Team finished third out of eight teams with a score of 628 at the Reinhardt University Spring Invitational held Monday and Tuesday of this week.  


Truett-McConnell’s top finisher in the two day event was freshman Drew Schmidt, who competed as an individual. Schmidt fired a 7 over par round of 79 in round 1 and was in 15th place overall at the events halfway point. His two day total of 153 was good enough to tie for 4th place overall, garnering a spot on the All-Tournament Team.


The Bears return to action when they travel to compete in the Emmanuel College Spring Invitational, March 24-25. For more info, see








  Freshman  Drew Schmidt



Five Year Old Flown  To Atlanta Hospital Following Bike Accident (3/14/14)


(CLEVELAND) - A medical helicopter was called to Cleveland to transport an injured child Thursday night. 


"A Life flight Helicopter was called to transport a 5-year-old child that received injuries from a bicycle accident about 6:15 Thursday evening," said Cleveland Fire Chief Ricky Pruitt. "The child was flown to Scottish Rite Hospital with injuries."












Unicoi And Amicalola Falls State Parks  Getting Facelift (3/13/14)



(Cleveland)- Two state parks in Northeast Georgia are getting a major facelift as a result of  an allocation of state funds and a grant.  Carol Jackson, Deputy Director for  North Georgia Mountain Authority, which oversees  private management operations of the state parks for the Georgia Department of Natural Resources says that the state has allocated seven and half million dollars in bond funds that will be used to give a new look to  Unicoi State Park north of Helen and Amicalola Falls State Park north of Dawsonville.  


Jackson said Unicoi was developed in 1968 and   has not seen major work since then and she said visitors will notice the difference in the lodge rooms and cabins.  “ your gonna see a


              Photo from


new face on Unicoi, we’ve already started by going in all the guest rooms putting in new flat screen TV’s, we put in new mattress, box springs and bedding, the bathrooms are getting a new facelift”, said Jackson.  According to Jackson both parks will have many ADA adjustments made throughout.   


In addition Jackson said the authority has received a five plus million dollar energy conservation grant that will be used to help make these aging facilities more energy efficient.  Work  at these two  facilities is currently underway and she said the work will be done in stages and the facilities will not have to be closed during the work .  


Jackson noted a year or so ago there was an announcement that Unicoi would shut down for renovation work, but Governor Deal stepped in and arranged for it to stay open.  After that announcement over a year ago many companies and organization made  plans to meet elsewhere, she said they are now trying to get the word out that Unicoi has conference openings available.  


The work is expected to be completed by next spring and Jackson said they anticipate additional funding that will be used to make upgrades at four other parks under their management.



White County Unemployment Rate Edges Upward ( 3/13/14)


(Atlanta)- The Georgia Department of Labor  reported Thursday  that White County’s  preliminary unemployment rate for January edged up to 7-point 3 percent.   That’s  an increase from the revised December rate of 6-point- 8 percent. 


The labor department said in January the labor force in the county  was 12,859, of those 11,919 had jobs and 940 were unemployed. 


The  unemployment rate in the Northeast Georgia region increased to 6.6 percent in January, up two-tenths of a percentage point from 6.4 percent in December.

 Truck Strikes House In Northern Part Of White County (3/13/14)

(Helen) - A home in the Scorpion Hollow community north of Helen was  damaged Wednesday  morning  after being struck by a runaway vehicle.  Capt. Tim Chapman of the White County Sheriff's Office reports that an unoccupied pickup truck owned by Jacob Westmoreland popped out of gear and rolled down an embankment, striking a house located at 7653 Alternate 75. 


No injuries were reported and the  extent of damage was not released.



Area Fires Fill The Air With Smoke ( 3/12/14)


(Cleveland)- Control and out of control fires Tuesday  helped to fill the air with lots of smoke and it kept firefighters busy.  The U.S. Forest Service conducted  a couple of prescribed burns that began early Tuesday then during the day a big control burn east of Cleveland provided a large column of smoke that gained the attention of several area residents. 


Firefighters were kept running from one end of the county to the other.  There was even a grass/brush fire call around 1 AM Wednesday morning. 


The Wednesday morning rain  is expected to reduce the out of control fires in the area.   



(Photo by Rob Moore)





Wind And Freeze Advisories Issued ( 3/12/14)



(Peachtree City)- We have two weather advisories  for our area  Wednesday.     The National Weather Service said a Wind Advisory in effect from 2 PM Wednesday  afternoon through 8 AM Thursday.    A Freeze Watch will be in effect for late Wednesday night  through Thursday morning. 


Forecasters say strong gusty winds from 25 to 45 miles per hour  will accompany a cold front that pushes across the area today.  The strong winds will increase this afternoon and remain strong through tomorrow  morning.  Temperature will drop below freezing between 1 AM and 10 AM  Thursday. 


The high winds could down weakened trees and limbs from recent winter weather and the freezing temperatures may damage or kill tender early Spring vegetation. 




HEMC Receives Community Service Award   (3/12/14)


(Nashville) The National Rural Electric Cooperative Association  has bestowed its Community Service Award for Community Investment to Habersham Electric Membership Corporation for the “Experience Northeast Georgia—John Kollock’s Guide to 75 Special Places”  audio travel guide set.  


Each year, NRECA recognizes and honors community service with the National Community Service Awards at their annual meeting.  This award recognizes investments of financial and other resources to improve the economic conditions and overall quality of life in the community. 


HEMC  President/CEO Todd Pealock wanted to do something to benefit the community,  he said, “ The result exceeded our wildest expectations. It is not only entertaining and informative, but it also preserves an incredible amount of history.”   


 HEMC's Susan Baker (c) Todd Pealock (r) accepts award


The guide’s purpose was to not only benefit the retailers, but also many other sectors of the tourism industry by visitors spending money on lodging, food, fuel and shopping while in the area.





Another Control Burn ( 3/11/14)



(Gainesville)-  The U.S. Forest Service  is conducting another controlled burn in the area today  (Tuesday).  This is the second portion of a burn in Fannin and Lumpkin Counties on the Big Stamp Burn Unit within the Chattahoochee National Forest.


This controlled burn is approximately 1800 acres and will require the closure of Forest Service roads and trails adjacent to and within the Jake and Bull Mountain Trail System for the health and safety of the public and prescribed fire crew.  With the wind and right conditions we could see smoke from this burn in White County area during the day.


The Forest Service uses controlled burns when conditions are just right to reduce the amount of vegetation and woody debris on the ground that could contribute to destructive wildfires, and also to reduce the risk of damage to the forest and neighboring property in the future.  The burns also make the forest healthier and improve wildlife habitat because of the high nutritional value of the new growth that will take place this spring and the more open conditions in the forest. 



Cleveland Dentist Challenges Allison For Representative Seat  (3/10/14)


(Cleveland)- The upcoming May 20th Primary election will see only one local or area contested race for White County Voters.  The position is District Eight  House of Representatives.  The incumbent  Stephen Allision of Blairsville, who qualified early  last week,  picked up a challenge  Friday, when Cleveland  Dentist  John Crumpton qualified for the office.   


Prior to heading to Atlanta to pay his qualifying fee Crumpton  told us ,” the main reason I’m getting involved in this race is because we in White County are not being represented by our current representative in District 8.  If someone does a do diligence they will find  out that not only are we not represented in White County  but the  other counties, Union County, Towns County and Rabun County  are also not being represented.“ 


Crumpton said he may be new to politics but he will do what the job requires.  He said, “ I have not been involved in politics except as chairman of the White County Republican Chairman, but  it’s time  the people are hungry for someone an outsider, not a career politician , not someone who has been in there three, four or five terms and not serving the people.  We need someone, a fresh face a fresh opinion on what needs to be done for the people.”  


Dr. John Crumpton signing Qualifying papers in Atlanta


Both candidates qualified as Republican Candidates for the May primary.  




White County Not On Disaster Funding List  (3/8/14)



(Atlanta)- Gov. Nathan Deal  announced this week that President Obama approved his request for a major disaster declaration for 39 counties that sustained damage the Feb. 10-14 winter storm. The declaration allows for the federal government to reimburse 75 percent of eligible expenditures and damage costs. 


Pickens and Gilmer counties in Northeast Georgia are included in the declaration.  White and Dawson Counties  was included on the original request list, but officials said that no federal funding was granted due to the county not meeting the per capita threshold of $3.50 per person. 


White County Public Safety/Emergency Management Agency Director David Murphy said, White County had  reported $70,000 in cost, it would have required over $100,000 in cost  to receive the assistance.


Governor Deal said, “  “The state of Georgia mobilized significant resources to ensure the safety of our citizens and our property during a time of crisis, and our costs far exceeded the federal threshold for disaster assistance. I appreciate the cooperation of President Obama and FEMA during this response effort.”



Collins Speaks Up For Fish Hatchery  (3/7/14)




(WASHINGTON) – North Georgia Congressman Doug Collins earlier this week appeared  before the House Committee on Natural Resources Subcommittee on Fisheries, Wildlife, Oceans and Insular Affairs to provide first-hand testimony on the importance of the Chattahoochee National Forest Fish Hatchery in Fannin County.  


The subcommittee met for an oversight hearing on the Fish and Wildlife Service’s National Fish Hatchery System’s Strategic Hatchery and Workforce Planning Report. The planning report indicated the Chattahoochee facility held low priority in future funding and development, putting the future of the hatchery in at risk.


Congressman Collins told the committee, “I was more than surprised when I heard that the Fish and Wildlife Service was thinking of closing [the Chattahoochee] hatchery. It is beloved by the community, it shows great return on investment, and it is an economic engine of this rural part of Georgia.  This hatchery is a major source of revenue for Suches, and Northeast Georgia in general, having generated just over $30 million of total economic output on just a $747,000 investment.”


Congressman Collins added, “I support the Chattahoochee National Fish Hatchery as it plays an integral role in the sustainability of businesses and communities in Northeast Georgia.  From providing environmental education and public outreach opportunities to visitors, school groups, and various other organizations to facilitating recreational opportunities to 160,000 anglers a year, Northeast Georgia would not be the same without this facility.” 


Congressman Collins also took the time  to publicly thank Deborah Burger, who is retiring as Hatchery Manager at Chattahoochee, for her 36 years of service to both the hatchery and the greater Northeast Georgia community.



Truett McConnell College Signs Sharing The Gospel Agreement ( 3/8/13)


(CLEVELAND)-  A former Muslim and former Hindu signed a pact to share the gospel of Jesus Christ in North America.   Officials representing Truett-McConnell College and the Southern Baptist Convention’s North American Mission Board inked a partnership agreement that will equip students, staff and faculty interested in sharing the Christian faith via the telephone and Internet. 


Dr. Emir Caner, president of Truett-McConnell College and ex-Muslim, along with Dr. N.S.R.K. Ravi, coordinator of NAMB’s Evangelism Response Center and ex-Hindu, signed the pact during the college’s  chapel service last week, where Ravi also preached.  President Caner told the crowd that, in signing the agreement, he and Dr. Ravi would “officially covenant together, and put our arms around each other for one singular reason: that the world may know the Lord Jesus Christ as Savior.”


The agreement specifies that Truett-McConnell will supply the people, and North American Mission Board  will train them to use the Evangelism Response Center, which offers 24/7 assistance – in English and Spanish  as the  NAMB website describes  “equips and mobilizes Southern Baptists to offer prayer and spiritual counseling via telephone or online chat with people all over North America. ”    


Joining dozens of students in the training sessions were two of Truett-McConnell’s vice presidents, six staff members, and two from the faculty, bringing the total number of trainees to 49.



Ravi said about 2,000 people per year come to faith in Christ through the ERC, and about 1,500 of them join local churches.


John Yarbrough, Truett-McConnell’s director of alumni relations, was vice president for evangelism at NAMB as the ERC developed, and he helped facilitate the TMC-NAMB partnership agreement.


Driver Charged After Motor Vehicle Accident ( 3/6/14)

(Cleveland)-The driver of a vehicle that ran off the road and flipped the vehicle on its side in a ditch was not injured, but was arrested on Driving Under the Influence. 

The accident was reported just after 8 PM last night on Glenn’s Drive off Duncan Bridge Road in White County. White County emergency personnel did have to assist   the female driver in getting out of the vehicle. 

She was checked out by White County Emergency Medical personnel and then she was taken into custody by a White County Sheriff’s Deputy and transported to the White County Detention Center. 


White County Sheriff's Department Spokesman Captain Tim Chapman said, The driver 53-year old Annette Beise of Cleveland was charged with DUI and too fast for conditions. 

Vandiver And Fitzpatrick Qualify For BOE Seats ( 3/6/14)


(Cleveland)- Two candidates stepped forward and paid their qualifying fee Wednesday  to run for seats on the White County Board of Education. Incumbent Barry Vandiver qualified for district 4 seat and Roger Fitzpatrick qualified for district 2 post.

County Commission incumbents  Edwin Nix and Lyn Holcomb were the first two and only candidates to qualify on the first day, Monday.     

Qualifying continues through Friday at Noon for two Board of Education seats and two County commission seats for the May 20th primary election.



     Barry Vandiver                      Roger Fitzpatrick





Distilled Spirits Sales Public Hearing Set (3/5/14)


(Cleveland)- The City of Cleveland has finalized a date for a public hearing to discuss the sale of Distilled Spirits, or liquor by the drink by food establishments within the city.  The city council recently approved the sale of beer and wine and last month restaurant owner Ed Ward ask the council to put the question of Distilled Spirits sales to the voters. 


The council has set Thursday March 27th as the date for a public hearing on the issue.  Mayor Don Stanley  said at Monday’s council meeting it’s a time for the public to speak up.  Stanley said, “ we’ll have the zoning board and also the alcohol board both to be here for the meeting, of course we would like to get the most input from as many different people as we can.”  


While discussing the issue, Councilman Rush Mauney said  he had heard from some business and city residents wanting the council to let the citizens decide on other  alcohol sales issues.  Mauney said, “ I know Sunday sales is something that has come up in all the surrounding communities around us in the last two years, everybody has practically voted for that. 


The public hearing will begin at 6:30 PM on March 27th  and will be held at the City Hall Annex on South Main Street.  



Cleveland Fire Month Report (3/5/14)

(Cleveland)- The Cleveland Fire Department had a total of 64 calls during the month of February.  Fire Chief Ricky Pruitt said in his report to the Cleveland City Council that  they had 31 calls in the city and 33 county assist calls. 


During the month there were  3 Structure fires, 5 woods/ brush fires, 6 auto accidents  and 27 medical assist calls plus various other calls. 




Name Change For Former Jail  Building ( 3/4/14)



(Cleveland)- The White County board of  commissioners Monday afternoon approved a resolution to officially renaming the former White County Detention Center to  White County Administration Building- Board of Commissioners Office.


The commissioners said they wanted to make the name change official to give the building its on identity, since it was used for several years an the county detention center, many people still refer to the building and the former Detention Center/Jail.  


The commissioners, in addition to remodeling the building to house the commissioners office and support staff also  built a meeting room where they conduct their work sessions and official monthly meetings.



Incumbents Nix And Holcomb Qualify  ( 3/3/14)


             Commissioner Edwin Nix                                          Commissioner Lyn Holcomb


(Cleveland)- The two County Commission incumbents  Edwin Nix and Lyn Holcomb were the first two and only candidates to qualify on the first day, Monday.     


Qualifying for these commission seats and two Board of Educations seats are open for qualifying through noon Friday.


Holcomb qualified as a Republican candidate for District 2 and Nix qualified as a  Republican for District 4 seat.  No candidates paid their qualifying fees Monday for the BOE seats.  


Qualifying fee for Board of commission seat is $90.00, for Board of Education seats $27.00.



Qualifying For May 20th Primary Underway   (3/3/14)


(Cleveland)- Qualifying for the May 20th primary election locally and around the state is underway.  Here in White County Probate Judge and Election Superintendent Garrison Baker said there is two  County Commission seats, District 2 and 4 seats are open.  The Board of Education two seats, District 2 and 3 are open. 


Baker said the commission seats only residents in the two districts will vote for the candidates,   the board of education candidates run county wide all voters participating.  Qualifying continues this week until Friday at noon.


Baker also reminded voters in the Tesnatee district you voting location has changed effective now and includes the May primary.  The voting location has been moved from the White County YMCA facility to Mt. Yonah Baptist Church.  All the other voting locations remain the same.  



Sautee Driver Faces Charges Following Chase And Crash ( 3/3/14)

By Rob Moore


(CLEVELAND) - A sport utility vehicle that fled a Georgia State Patrol road check east of Cleveland early Saturday crashed after leading troopers on a chase.
Sgt. 1st Class Chad Johnson of Georgia State Patrol Post 6 in Gainesville said troopers were conducting a road check at Georgia Highway 384 (Duncan Bridge Road) and Georgia Highway 255 around midnight when "a car came up and just blew through it headed south on 255 toward Cleveland."
Cpl. Brian Roberts and Sr. Trooper Tony Saunders began pursuing the fleeing 1997 Kia Sportage.
At the end of Georgia 255, the fleeing vehicle turned right onto Georgia 115 toward Cleveland.
After turning onto 115, Johnson said the fleeing driver went over onto the wrong side of the road, traveling west in the eastbound lane.
Roberts, maintaining the westbound lane, accelerated to move into position to implement a PIT maneuver if conditions allowed, Johnson said. Before Roberts could get into position, the Kia veered over into Roberts' lane, striking his car.
The Kia then overturned several times, ejecting two people - including 21-year-old driver Brandon R. Nash of Sautee.
Nash, who was unrestrained, was airlifted to Northeast Georgia Medical Center in Gainesville.
The front-seat passenger, 32-year-old Julie Susan Harris of Sautee, was restrained and was not ejected as the vehicle overturned. She was injured and was taken to Northeast Georgia Medical Center by White County EMS.
An 18-year-old female seated behind the driver, Christian Poulos of Cleveland, was unrestrained and was ejected during the crash. She was injured and was taken to Northeast Georgia Medical Center by White County EMS.
A 15-year-old male seated behind the passenger, Isaiah Hahola of Sautee, was unrestrained but was not ejected as the vehicle overturned. He was injured and was taken by ambulance to Northeast Georgia Medical Center.
The crash happened around 12:15 a.m. Saturday on Georgia Highway 115 near Shenandoah Drive.
Charges are pending against Nash, Johnson said.


Wild Start To The Weekend For Officials  (3/1/14)



(Cleveland)- It was a wild start to the weekend for White County fire, law enforcement and medical  personnel.   White County Public Safety Director David Murphy advised the marathon of activities begin Friday morning when White County Fire units provided automatic aid to Cleveland  Fire Department at a residential fire at 63 Charles Drive.  That fire was contained to the stove pipe at the residents.   


Friday Afternoon at 5:13 PM White County fire units responded to a fire call at Hogan Lumber Company on Holiness Campground Road.  Murphy said, “ A large motorized piece of equipment  was on fire with exposures to the building.” He said, when firefighters arrived they found a loader on fire and quickly extinguished the blaze.  


According to Murphy, lumber company employees had removed the loader from inside the building prior to fire units arriving.


At about the same time of the fire at Hogan Lumber Company another call into the 9-1-1 center  was received about a large commercial vehicle that had overturned  on Highway 115  west of Cleveland and the vehicle had begun leaking fuel.   Murphy said, one person suffered minor injuries in that accident.  The Georgia State Patrol investigated that accident.   


Around 9:50 PM fire fighters were dispatched to a motorcycle accident,  with a report of  two injuries,  at the intersection of Cooley Woods Road and Post Road.  One patient was transported to Northeast Georgia Medical Center.  The Georgia State Patrol investigated that accident.  


Then just after midnight a single vehicle accident was reported  on Highway 115 east near Shenandoah Drive.   County fire personnel with automatic aid from Cleveland Fire Department responded.  Four people were injured in that accident.  Murphy said two White County med  units  with mutual aid  from Habersham County along with a medical helicopter was used to transport patients.  The Georgia State Patrol also investigated that accident.   


If that wasn’t enough  shortly after midnight Friday night Hall County officials requested mutual aid assistance from White County Fire Department to help with providing water to battle a residential fire.   At about the same White County Units were called to help with another  residential  fire in Hall County.   


With so many units and personnel helping Hall County Murphy said  they had to move units and personnel from other station to cover the county adequately.  Murphy said, “  A total of 12 calls with six different  fire stations responded to all the calls, keeping firefighters busy during the day Friday and into the early morning hours Saturday.”  The final unit retuned to station at 7:53 AM Saturday. 


Murphy extended his thanks and appreciation to the dedicated firefighters, men and women, in White County who volunteer their time to assist those in need.  




White County Motorcycle Chase Ends With Crash (3/1/14)

 By Rob Moore


(UNDATED) - Two men are facing charges after separate wrecks that ended pursuits by the Georgia State Patrol in White and Jackson counties Friday night.
The White County pursuit ended when 43-year-old John Edge Sanders of Gainesville crashed his motorcycle on Post Road at Cooley Woods after fleeing around 9:50 p.m.
Sanders faces more than a dozen charges, including felony fleeing and attempting to elude; reckless driving; obstructing/hindering of law enforcement officer; expired tag; speeding; failure to maintain lane; following too closely; unlawful to purchase, possess, or have control of any controlled substance (suspected methamphetamine); driving on a suspended license; driving under the influence; possession and use of drug-related objects; possession of less than one ounce of marijuana; and removing or affixing a license plate with intent to conceal or misrepresent, a GSP spokesman said.
The Jackson County pursuit began about 15 minutes later when a trooper attempted to stop a 1995 Ford Taurus with no tag on Georgia Highway 15 around 10:05 p.m. The driver lost control of the car and it overturned on U.S. Highway 441 at Old Athens Road.
The driver, 54-year-old Benjamin Gillespie Jr. of Commerce, was treated and released at Athens Regional Medical Center. He then was taken to the Jackson County Jail, where he is charged with felony fleeing and attempting to elude; driving while unlicensed; no tag, reckless driving; DUI drugs; no insurance; seatbelt violation; obstructing/hindering of law enforcement officer; speeding; and failure to maintain lane, the GSP spokesman said.


Chimney Fire Does Minimal  Damage (2/28/14)



(Cleveland)- Minimal damage was reported as a result of a chimney fire Friday morning  in Cleveland.  Cleveland Fire Chief Ricky Pruitt said the fire was contained to the chimney pipe at a residence at 63 Charles Drive.   Pruitt said they were dispatched at 8:47 AM. 


He said the damaged caused by the dry chemical fire extinguisher used to extinguish the fire, which was caused by creosote build up in the pipe.  In addition to Cleveland fire units there was automatic aid from the White County Fire Department.  








Wintery Precipitation Possible Saturday AM  (2/28/14)


(Peachtree City)- The National Weather Service has issued an advisory that says wintry precipitation is possible overnight early Saturday morning  in Northeast Georgia. Forecasters say a quick moving storm system will move across the Tennessee valley overnight and early Saturday and could produce light accumulations of snow.


During the time light precipitation is falling .. temperatures are expected to drop to near or just below freezing between midnight and 6 AM  Saturday morning. Forecasters also say a limiting factor for precipitation accumulation is a layer of dry air in place as the storm system approaches. 


In spite of the dry layer we may see saturation resulting in a quick light accumulation of snow, sleet or freezing rain.  Accumulation of snow is expected to be less than ½ inch mainly on grassy and exposed surfaces. A light glaze of ice is also possible on elevated surfaces such as bridges and overpasses. 



Snow Makeup Days Added To New School Calendar ( 2/28/14)


(Cleveland)- White County School officials have their fingers crossed that there will be no more snow and ice that will affect the operation of school because they have worked in the makeup days from the rest of this school year.  A couple of days will be forgiven, one has already been made up, that was Presidents day, another day is March 17th and then two days after Memorial Day will be used  as makeup days. 


Superintendent of Schools Dr. Jeff Wilson said they did look at other options and didn’t want to mess with Spring Break.  Wilson has also proposed to the board of education a school calendar for next year that has some makeup days build in.   The 2014-15  school calendar is being released to the public and the board of education had a first reading of the calendar Thursday night and are expected to approve the calendar at next months meeting. 




Third Rabies Case In White County Reported ( 2/27/14)


(Cleveland)- White County Animal Control  officials report another rabies case in the county.  Pat Cooper Animal Control officer reports the latest case occurred Wednesday  at the county’s  animal shelter in the Industrial Park south of Cleveland. 


Cooper said they let  some dogs out in an outdoor  area for exercise when one of the dogs was attacked by a skunk.  The skunk was killed and test results showed it had rabies. 


This is the third rabies case confirmed this year.  Cooper said this is a good reminder to all pet owners to keep your cats and dogs rabies shots up-to-date.  



White County High Named An AP Challenge School (2/27/14)


(Cleveland)- White County High School has been named as an Advance Placement Challenge School by  State  School Superintendent Dr. John Barge.  Superintendent Barge said,  "There are so many Georgia schools that have great success with Advanced Placement, "I am so pleased to see this success grow to more and more of our schools this year."


AP classes offer rigorous college-level learning options to students in high school.  Students who receive a 3, 4 or 5 on AP exams may receive college credit.  White County Superintendent of Schools  Dr. Jeff Wilson said following the announcement,  “ I am proud of our High School.”

AP CHALLENGE SCHOOLS are schools of 900 or fewer students with students testing in four of the core areas, English, math, science, and social studies.



Local Students Compete in PBL Competition ( 2/27/14)


(Clarkesville)- The Georgia Phi Beta Lambda North District Conference held a competition in Milledgeville February 21st  last Friday, for colleges across North Georgia. Six North Georgia Technical College PBL members competed there and will now be heading to the State Competition that will be held in Atlanta, in  April.   


NGTC Advisor Brad Cagle said,  “They represented NGTC with dignity, quality, and class.  They are to be congratulated on their accomplishments. 


Mia Sharpton of Clayton placed first in Human Resource Management and third in Accounting Principles.   Emily Sullens of Alto placed second in Accounting Principles and second in Hospitality Management.  Susie Berry of Cleveland placed third in Job Interview while Lachelle Mans of Demorest placed fifth in Human Resource Management and competed in Parliamentary Procedures.  Phi Beta Lambda is the post secondary extension of Future Business Leaders of America. With chapters in the majority of accredited colleges across the state.   



TMC Wrestler Head To NAIA Championship


(CLEVELAND)- Truett McConnell College grapplers, Dustin Branom, a  junior, and Nick Distasio, a sophomore, placed fourth and fifth respectively at the National Association for Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) Eastern Qualifier held at Life University in Marietta, February 21st..  


Branom’s fourth place showing earned him a trip to the 57th annual NAIA Wrestling Championship in Topeka, Kan., March 7th and 8th. This is his second consecutive year qualifying for the tournament.






Dustin Brannom (R) Nick Distasion


STAR Student And Teacher Announced  (2/25/14)



   Kiwanis Club member Shann Cash presents STAR  certificates to Padawer (L) and  Johnston (R)


(Cleveland)-  White County’s 2014 STAR  Student  and Teacher were  announced Monday  night at the Cleveland Kiwanis Club meeting.  White County High  Senior  Ella  Padawer is the STAR Student  and White County High  English, Language Arts teacher  Tera Johnston was selected by Padawer as her STAR Teacher.  


Padawer,  who has the highest combined  SAT score, was also  recently named as 2014 class Valedictorian.  Padawer said, “ I am so thankful for my supportive teachers, my parents and my friends, it been great, high school has been great with all these people to help me and support me.”   She is the daughter of Ariel and Orly Padawer.   


As STAR  Teacher, this is the fourth  time Johnston has  been selected  for the honor.   She said it great to be selected, but  there are many great teachers in the school system.  


STAR,  Student Teacher Achievement Recognition  is sponsored by the Professional  Association of Georgia Educators Foundation. This is the 56 years  year for the program.  The Cleveland Kiwanis Club each year holds a special recognition dinner for the winners.   


Padawer will compete in the regional competition with the winner to be announced  March 18th in Jasper. 


Suspicious Fires In Cleveland (2/20/14)



(Cleveland)- Cleveland police and fire officials  suspect someone set three separate grass fires in the city Thursday morning.   Cleveland Fire Chief Ricky Pruitt said they had three separate fires reported around the same time. 


One of the grass fires burned about ¼ acre.  Two of the fire were just south of the square and a third was reported on Church in the city.   


Pruitt ask the public to help them to be on the lookout for anyone setting  the fires and call 9-1-1 to report that.   





Helen Updates Sign Ordinance (2-20-14

With Assistance by Rob Moore



(HELEN) - After months of discussion - including heated comments from some merchants and even the threat of a lawsuit against the city by the owner of multiple businesses - the Helen City Commission has approved a new sign ordinance. 


At Tuesday afternoon's meeting, the commission voted unanimously to approve the ordinance amendment without hearing public comments at the time.

As Mayor Judy Holloway was about to close the public portion of the meeting, some city business owners said they wanted to comment about the sign ordinance. Most just wanted to make sure their business could comply with their specific stipulations of the ordinance. 

The amendment specifically addresses internally-illuminated signs, including neon, which have emerged in the city in recent years though they were not permitted by local ordinance.  During the  meeting, City Manager Jerry Elkins said city officials will work, within reason, with the businesses.  


The discussion about the sign ordinance led to other business owners calling on the commission to help promote the city to bring in more tourists - especially during the winter months.   Commission members said they work with the Helen Chamber of Commerce and the Alpine Helen-White County Convention and Visitors Bureau to fund marketing efforts.






Three Weekend Residential Fires Calls  (2/17/14)


(Cleveland)- Local firefighters were kept busy over the weekend with at least three residential fire calls. Two of those calls were in the county and one in the city of Cleveland. White County Public Safety Director David Murphy said  a chimney fire Saturday at 185 Cloverleaf Drive  was contained to the chimney. 


Firefighters checked for extensions of the fire and assisted homeowners with removal of creosote buildup. 


No details available on the other fire call in the county.


Cleveland Fire Chief  Ricky Pruitt said Sunday  night just before 10 PM they were dispatched to a possible structure fire at 147 Kinsington Lane.  Pruitt said, upon arrival they discovered a house full of light smoke.  During an investigation they discovered the motor on the heating and air-conditioning unit had burn up and the smoke had been pulled through the ducting in the house.  


Cleveland Fire Department was assisted by stations 4 and 5  White County Fire Department.


Earthquake Felt In White County (2/15/14)

By Rob Moore



(UNDATED) -  Did you feel the earth move Friday  night?  The U.S. Geological Service confirms that a magnitude 4.1 earthquake occurred at 10:23 p.m., roughly seven  west/northwest of Edgefield, South Carolina.


Social media lit up from Atlanta to Dawsonville to North Augusta, S.C., shortly after the few-second event shook tables, ceilings and other items across the region. 


White County Dispatch  reported  its 9-1-1 Center received several calls from residents in the county who felt it and wanted to know what happened.  No damage was reported.



Special Food Distributions Announced ( 2/14/14)


White County Food Pantry

(Cleveland)-This weeks snow storm has impacted numerous operations in the area including  the White County Food Pantry.  The local  pantry did not open Friday,  but  have planned a special distribution day Saturday.    


Wayne Burnett, White County Food Pantry Manager said they know a lot of people may have exhausted their food supply during this storm so they will be holding a one time only Saturday opening.   Burnett said Saturday from 10 AM until Noon the food pantry will be open for those in need to pick up food.  He emphasized that this is a special one time distribution event.   


In related information,  the  Cleveland  Seventh Day Adventist Church Life Changing Ministries Food Distribution that is  normally held on the second Thursday of each month was not held this week because of the storm and road conditions.  

Organizers  advise they will have  a special distribution next Thursday, February 20th at  2:30PM.  The distribution location is  East Kytle Street in Cleveland  across from Truett McConnell College in the building  behind the Chevron Convenience store.


Getting Back To Normal After The Storm ( 2/14/14)


(Cleveland)- As we try to get back to a near normal operation in the area White County Public Safety and Emergency Management Agency Director  David Murphy advised that the county’s Emergency Operation Center was deactivated Thursday afternoon at 4 PM.  Murphy said that county departments  will continue to monitor conditions and respond as necessary. 


In his final operational period situation report for the  Emergency Operation Center  said county and city crews worked local streets and roadways throughout the day removing snow build up cleared all major first and secondary priority roadways.  Several trees had  to be removed  that fell due to ice conditions. Public works staff shut down operations  at 4 PM yesterday with two personnel  on call for emergencies. 


Georgia Department of Transportation  want to thank you for your help this week battling Old Man Winter! Georgia DOT District Engineer, Bayne Smith said,  “By staying off state routes and interstates, you gave GDOT room to work in the travel lanes. We were able to remove winter precipitation and treat the roadways more efficiently. With your help, a forecasted ‘catastrophic” weather event became better than expected on our road network. We are grateful for your partnership with us.”   


Smith said, our crews worked diligently for over 84 consecutive hours on the 5,600 lane miles of interstates and state routes in the 21 County Northeast Georgia District.   


Weather is constantly changing so we will continue to monitor roadway conditions in the Region and respond to icing if it reoccurs.


Nicole Dover spokesperson for Habersham Electric Membership Corporation advised   that all power outages from the storm  were restored as of 4 PM Thursday.    




The Big Thaw Underway ( 2/13/14)


(Cleveland)- As temperatures moderate during Thursday   road conditions in the White County area are  expected to improve, but you are still urged to stay at home, because there is still a lot of ice and snow on secondary and less traveled roads in the area.  Public works crews for the County and city are working to clear as many roads as possible.  

Wind is both a good and bad thing for us today.  The strong winds up to 30 miles per hour could bring trees down on power lines and across the roadway.   This could lead to power outages.  At last report Habersham Electric Membership Corporation was reporting limited scattered outages in their service area.  Last night the larges power outage area affected  1119 members in the Loudsville and Robertstown areas of White County. Power was restored to all of these customers during the night. 


Everyone is reminded to stay away from downed lines and report to HEMC immediately.



Cleveland First Responders Busy With Weather Related Calls ( 2/13/14)


(CLEVELAND) –It was a busy  afternoon for Cleveland Fire Department personnel Wednesday.  First they were called to assist with a sledding accident with four injuries at Truett-McConnell College shortly after that they were dispatched to a vehicle that crashed in to a building. 


Cleveland Fire Chief Ricky Pruitt said the vehicle was traveling west on East Kytle Street, and when it crested the hill in front of Truett-McConnell College, the driver lost control on the snow and ice.  The vehicle then left the roadway and struck and broke a porch pillar at  the Law Office of Stanley Lawson. There were no injuries and no major structural damage, according to  Pruitt.


In the other incident Chief Pruitt said four people in their late teens and early 20s were inside a kayak sledding down a hill when it crashed into a utility  pole. One of the victims suffered a broken leg, and a woman who was knocked unconscious in the crash lost several teeth. Two other people refused treatment.


Around the state emergency responders say at least seven people have been hospitalized in sledding accidents in the state.  


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                    WINTER WEATHER TIPS

                                           Provided by White County EMA

                               Make sure your Ready Kit is stocked with all the items you will need. (See Preparedness Tips below)

·                                 Include adequate clothing and blankets in your Ready kit to keep you warm.

·                                 Allow faucets to drip a little during cold weather to avoid freezing.

·                                 Open cabinet doors to allow heat to get to un-insulated pipes under sinks and appliances near exterior walls.

·                                 Fully winterize your vehicle and keep your gas tank at least half full to avoid ice in the tank and fuel lines.

·                                 Keep an extra Ready kit in the trunk of your car. In addition to the basic essentials, consider adding an ice scraper, extra blanket, sand for traction and jumper cables.

·                                 Plan to stay inside and make it on your own, at least for a period of time.

·                                 If you have a wood burning fireplace, consider storing wood to keep you warm if winter weather knocks out your heat. Also, make sure you have your chimney cleaned and inspected every year.

·                                 Winter storms are often accompanied by power outages. Always exercise caution when using alternative light and heating sources:

·                                 Use flashlights during power outages instead of candles to prevent the risk of fire, and have plenty of extra batteries on-hand. Never bring portable generators, camp stoves and grills into your home; they should only be used outside. Keep them at least 20 feet away from your home's windows, doors and vents to prevent deadly carbon monoxide poisoning.


Make a Ready Kit just in case.

 e prepared to improvise and use what you have on hand to make it on your own for at least three days, maybe longer.

  Recommended Supplies to Include in a Basic Kit:

Water one gallon per person per day, for drinking and sanitation

Non-perishable Food at least a three-day supply  and a can opener if there is no


 Battery-powered or hand crank radio and a NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert

       and  extra batteries for both

Flashlight and extra batteries

First Aid kit

Whistle to signal for help

Filter mask or cotton t-shirt, to help filter the air

Moist towelettes, garbage bags and plastic ties for personal sanitation

Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities

Manual can opener if kit contains canned food

Plastic sheeting and duct tape to shelter-in-place

Important Family Documents

Items for unique family needs, such as daily prescription medications, infant     

       formula or diapers.

If you need to leave your home, make sure you take extra clothing that is adequate

       for the weather, as well as blankets in the winter.

 For more information go to


A Double Barrel Winter Weather Event For Northeast Georgia (2/10/14)

(Cleveland)- White County, Cleveland City and School  officials  met  this morning at the county Emergency Operations Center situation room to get the latest weather update  from the National Weather Service and to plan for the weather events for the few days.  They were told by the weather service that northeast Georgia will get primarily snow in  two  different events that will impact the area.  


A total of six plus inches of snow could fall across the area and that will impact driving, especially with colder temperatures expected Tuesday night through Thursday morning.   White County Public Safety Director David Murphy said it’s better if we just get snow and not  ice like some other areas of the state.  Murphy advised that the county fire stations will be manned when precipitation starts affecting the  road conditions. 


County and city public works crews have been preparing their equipment and crews.   Murphy said, arrangements have been made with the Bridge Church in Cleveland to provide shelter should there be major power outages and people need a place to stay. The National Weather Service said these latest weather events are ever changing and with new weather models the amount of snow and or ice could change, but in most cases it’s expected to go up rather than down.  



The Georgia Department of Transportation  announces they  will begin winter weather recon tonight checking bridges and shady areas for icing and treating roadways as needed. Crews in Northeast Georgia will begin working 12 hours shifts at 8 p.m. tonight and continue until this winter weather event is over.  


Dangerous driving conditions are expected to spread throughout northeast Georgia overnight.   Bayne Smith, GDOT  District Engineer for Northeast Georgia said,  “We ask you to please stay home and when they get there not drive unless it is necessitated by an emergency.”


Habersham Electric Membership Corporation  has begun preparations for the impending winter storm. Spokeswoman Nicole Dover says, personnel and procedures are in place to handle the wintery mix forecasted for our service area. Additional crews have been contacted and are ready to assist if needed. 


As the predicted winter storm will impact the entire six-county service area of HEMC, members are encouraged to make preparations for the possibility of extended outages. While the average outage time is usually one to two hours, a storm of this magnitude covering such a large area is expected to cause several scattered outages and could result in outages of one to three days. 


Dover advises residents can visit the Georgia Emergency Management Agency’s Ready Georgia website (  to create their own Ready kit.

HEMC warns everyone to stay from any downed lines and to report them to HEMC immediately.

For non-electrical emergencies, please call 911.



Another Rabies Case Confirmed In White County  (2/9/14)

(Cleveland)- White County has another confirmed case of rabies.  White County Animal Control officer Pat Cooper  said, last week another positive case was confirmed by the  state laboratory.  Cooper said this time a female dog and her puppies had an  encounter with a skunk.  

The incident occurred at the 4700 block of Highway 254.  She noted that the last case reported on January 24th was at the 4500 block of Highway 254.  Cooper urges all residents to make sure your pets are vaccinated against rabies.  


 United Way Of White County Makes Allocations  ( 2/7/14)

(Cleveland)- United Way of White County has presented funding to area agencies that serve the county.  During the annual allocation luncheon Thursday afternoon  sixteen agencies received part of  the  $75,000 raise by the organization this past year.  


Matt Adams President of  White County United Way  said, “ what we work hard for during the whole year for,  is  to be able to come together and recognize the efforts of the 15 to 18 originations that we are able to allocate money to in hopes that money will go back in  White County and make it a better community to live in, raise a family in, work in.”

During the year United Way holds three major fundraising events, the Celebrity Golf Tournament, Hillbilly Hog BBQ Throwdown  and  Christmas  Festival of Trees, which makes up the majority of the allocation funds. 


Adams said, they would like to see more people join the convenient payroll deduction program.  He said, “any organization or employer that has employees in White County that is looking for a way to get involved  with our efforts, it may not be in a sponsor standpoint, we can set them up on payroll deduction and they will enhance  what we’re able to raise from our three events.


Collins Shares Northeast Georgia’s Troubles With Indiana Bat, Regulatory Costs (2/5/14)


Doug Collins, Official portrait, 113th Congress.jpg

(WASHINGTON)-At a national press conference at the U.S. Capitol Tuesday, Ninth District Congressman Doug Collins spoke about how endangered species regulations have impacted Northeast Georgia.  At the press conference, Members of Congress who have been working on recommendations to revise the Endangered Species Act of 1973 unveiled their report.  


In his remarks, Congressman Collins shared Northeast Georgia’s experience after the siting of an Indiana Bat in Gilmer County. Because of the Indiana Bat’s endangered species status, 182 projects in 30 North Georgia counties now require testing before further construction at a possible cost of more than $100,000 per site. Congressman Collins used this example to illustrate the economically prohibitive nature of many ESA regulations.


“Show me the bat,” Congressman Collins said, pointing out that a single siting via transmitter has had the power to bring this issue to the forefront.  This additional testing makes these Georgia sites vulnerable to more regulatory costs due to “sue-and-settle” practices that cost American job creators and often result in new regulations born from lawsuits.   Ending “sue-and-settle” was the focus of Congressman Collins’ first bill, and is among the group’s recommendations.





Suspect Flees Attempted Traffic Stop ( 2/5/14)



(Cleveland)-  White County officials  say a suspect who ran from an officer when he tried to make a traffic stop is still at large.  Sheriff’s Department spokesman Captain  Tim Chapman said, Monday morning  Cpl. Sims was attempting to stop a 2003 Chevy pickup for a canceled registration in Helen, the driver kept going traveling north of Helen turning onto Tray Mountain Road.


The officer noticed the driver turning into a small drive,  but lost sight of the suspect and could only follow the tracks.  According to Chapman the officer  did located the vehicle, but by that time the driver had fled the scene on foot. 


A K-9 unit was called to the scene  but they were unable to  locate the subject.  


The case remains under investigation by the sheriff’s office.   



Folk Pottery Museum Hold Free Open House Exhibition ( 2/3/14)


(Sautee)-  Visitors are invited to view a special temporary exhibition of early middle Georgia folk pottery at a free open house this Saturday, February 8th, at the Folk Pottery Museum of Northeast Georgia.  “Our guests will be better able to put together a fascinating historical jigsaw puzzle of how pioneer migration patterns and natural resources in two separate parts of Georgia from the early 1800s have affected the shapes and glazing of items they once needed for household use and now enjoy collecting as folk art,” explains Museum Director Chris Brooks.


The temporary exhibition features pieces from the private collection of Mr. and Mrs. Tommy Gandy.  Mr. Gandy began collecting pottery from the Edgefield, South Carolina, area and learned that 19th century potters from that area had migrated to Crawford and Washington counties in middle Georgia and established shops there, passing down their skills to future generations.  Northeast Georgia folk potter Steve Turpin will be at the Museum from 11 am to 2 pm to talk with visitors about the similarities and differences in making and glazing pottery that help in determining the origin and heritage of the items. 


The Folk Pottery Museum of northeast Georgia is located on Georgia Highway 255, ¼ mile north of the intersection with Georgia Highway 17.  The Museum is open Monday-Saturday, 10 am to 5 pm; Sunday 1-5 pm.  Admission will be free  this  Saturday.




TMC Lady Bears Defeat  The Skyhawks  (2/3/14)


(Cleveland)-  The energy on the court was high as the Truett-McConnell College Lady Bears Basketball team faced Point University, defeating the Skyhawks, 57-43, Saturday.  Despite the slow start, the Lady Bears kept their composure and entered halftime with a small lead, 22-16.


During the second half, the Lady Bears settled down and found their groove; they made plays and worked together as a team, adding to their lead.  Rhandee Haskett had a big night with 24 points while Helen Simoes put up 19 points for the Lady Bears.


The Lady Bears will play away games this week against Milligan College, Wednesday  and Virginia Intermont College,  Saturday. Their next home game is against St. Andrews University, February 15th.

             Photo by : Brianna Jones



White  County To Do After Action Storm Review ( 2/3/14)


(Cleveland)- The rumbles and grumbles about the handling of last weeks snow and ice storm in Atlanta continue, but  in White County things seem to have went very smoothly.   Last Friday White County Public Safety Director David Murphy and County Manager Mike Melton held an after storm review with local reporters. 


During the review Murphy detailed the action plan they followed, he said they began days before the storm preparing and planning.   During a two period, Tuesday and Wednesday, Murphy said  they activated the Emergency Operation Center  and  9-1-1 dispatch operators  answered 790 calls.  For a couple of hours on Tuesday they were answering 100 calls per hour.   


According to Murphy and Melton all agencies worked well together.   


Murphy ( L) talks with County Manager Mike Melton in  EOC

situation Room


“ The county and city departments came together very effectively to mitigate and work through and respond to  this latest winter weather event we had, with the number of incidents taking place and the amount of snow we had on the ground that eventually turned to ice everyone worked very hard to make sure out community was safe and the people passing through were safe on the roads, everything went very well,”  said Murphy.        


There is always room for improvement and  Murphy said, “ what we are going to do is get all our county management team together  the middle of next week and do an after action review.  There’s always an opportunity to continue to  improve and do better on what you do and that’s going to be the time we sit down and do that and come up with some objectives and goals and next time we can do even better.”  




New Food Ministry Has Great First Day (2/3/14)


(Cleveland)- Organizers of a local food ministry at Mt. Yonah Baptist  Church, north of Cleveland, say they were pleased with the way their first day of operation went Saturday.  Church members Susan Dyer and Wayne Burnett said they worked for months to get the program together. 


Working with the Food Bank of Northeast Georgia they were able to serve 84 families in need  on their first distribution day.  Dyer said they plan to continue this program the first Saturday of each month at the church and  they want thank  the large number of students from Truett McConnell College who came out and helped with program.   


Dyer also said among those served there was 96 children under eighteen,  43 adults  65 or older and 121 ages 19-64 for a  total of 260  individuals served.  Anyone wishing more information more information about the food ministry may call the Mt. Yonah Church office at 706-865-5044.  




Payback For Missed School Days (1/30/14)


(Cleveland)-  White County students have now missed a total of  six  days because of weather related conditions this school year.  Kids it might have been nice to be out playing in the snow, but there will come a time for payback and  the White County Board of Education talked about the need to make up those days missed during a meeting Thursday night. 


Superintendent Dr. Jeff Wilson told the board,  there may be a couple of days that could  be forgiven by the state, but he suggested that  May 27th  and 28th  as make up days.  Those days had had already  been put in the school  calendar as makeup days if they needed them.  


During the meeting Wilson said, they wanted to stay clear of the Spring Break days  He said, “ just so the public can hear clearly, I’m at this point not making any recommendations that we take Spring Break away, or anything like that. I can’t tell you that  if we have eight more snow days between now and then, we may have to consider some things, but as of right now that is not a recommendation, and that isn’t   something that the board has discussed  in any way. “   


Wilson said he wanted to make this announcement so parents could start planning around  those makeup days.





W.C. Unemployment Rate Up In December (1/30/14)



(Atlanta)- The Georgia Department of Labor announced Thursday  unemployment rates for each of the counties in the state.  In White County the preliminary unemployment rate in December  was 6.8 percent  that is up from the 6.6  percent revised rate in November. 


The labor force said  the county’s labor force was 12,871, of those 11,998  had jobs, and 873 were unemployed.  The rate one year ago was  8.7  percent.


Georgia Mountains' unemployment rate unchanged at 6.0 percent in December.


Officials Deal with Storm Related Issues  (1/30/14)


((Cleveland)-  A report from White County Public Safety Director David Murphy on activities from Tuesday  Murphy said from 1- 6 PM,  9-1-1 operation center handled 296 calls for service.  Almost 200 of those came in a two hour period.  Additional staff manned the center Tuesday and Tuesday night.  Fire station in the county were manned starting at noon Tuesday  and during the night. 


A few of the many  accidents that occurred  Tuesday  some drivers were trapped in their wrecked vehicle and  a vehicle caught fire on Stansel  Road.


Helen  Police Chief Jim Couch said they used the recently donated ATV to get around town.  He said, they worked great, but it’s a cold ride.   Chief Couch  said they had two calls Tuesday   that would have been difficult  to get to, even with  regular 4 wheel drive vehicle, but the ATVs worked great.





Black Ice Makes Morning  Driving Interesting  (1/27/14)


(Cleveland)- Some patchy black ice caught motorist and officials in White County  off guard early Monday.  Patches of black ice formed following some light rain.   The ice formed as temperatures generally were above freezing in the area but some low areas the temperature was cold enough to develop the slick spots. 


White County Public Works spokeswoman Rolann Smith said they sent trucks out to about a half dozen roads.  Town Creek, Asbury Mill  and  Tesnatee Gap Valley Roads were the some of the roads affected.  Some areas of the county didn’t receive the rain and the roads were ok.   


White County Chief Deputy Bob Ingram said there was several accidents but none with serious injuries.





Rabies Case Reported In White County  (1/24/14)


(Cleveland)- White County Animal Control has reports a  positive rabies case in the county.  Pat Cooper Animal Control Officer said Friday afternoon  a kitten came in contact with a  fox back on December 30th.  The kitten became ill  and this week had to be euthanized. 


The kittens remains were checked and tested positive for rabies.  According to Cooper the incident happened in the 4500 block of Highway 254 in the County.   Cooper reminds pet owners to have your pets regularly vaccinated against rabies.    





Help Available Dealing With The Cold Weather  ( 1/24/14)


(Cleveland)- As Northeast Georgia continues to  deal with the dangerous cold temperatures,  and with no relief in sight,  Caring Hands Ministries in Cleveland  advises those in need there are places offering a warm place to stay.   Caring Hands Ministries Executive Director Ann Fleming said anyone needing assistance can call their office at 706-219-1980 and they will provide additional information.




Warrior TV Makes History  With Governor's Interview ( 1/24/14)


(Cleveland)-White County High School Warrior TV,  WTVN,  and hosts Garrett Rowland, Hannah Skelton, Josh Oberlander and reporter Peter Gunnin  made  history  Thursday morning  at the State Capital. WTVN conducted a live interview with Governor Nathan Deal at the State Capital.  


The group made history with the event, the student  online television was: The  First: Student operated television station to broadcast live from the State Capital.  First: Student host to have a thirty minute exclusive interview with the Governor. Also the First: Student operated station to broadcast live and simulcast with the State Capitals own network.


Charles Dewalt  Executive Producer for the school TV said, “that’s a  lot of first on one day… and a lot of valuable experience for the young students of our school system.”

Hannah Skelton, Garrett Roland Interview Governor Deal





Power Outage Cancels Classes At White County High  (1/24/14)

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(UNDATED)- Some school systems in north Georgia implemented a two hour delay in starting classes this morning due to the dangerously cold temperatures.  White County was among those, but as officials started arriving at the High School  this morning they discovered they had no power.  


Superintendent  Dr. Jeff Wilson said,  Georgia Power told them that a tree fell on the line causing the power to surge off and on and that in turn knocked out the transformer at the school.  Wilson also said their backup generator at the High School  failed with the extremely cold weather so they  had to  cancel classes at the High School.   The  remainder of schools in the county  conducted classes as usual.


Dr. Wilson said the incident occurred during the time that they were transporting students to school so some of the high school students had to be bussed to the Middle School to await transport back home later in the morning.  Wilson said the incident really gave them a chance to practice procedures that they would use in case of an emergency and that everything went smoothly.  


The power was expected to restored to the school in time for evening  activities at the school includes the basketball games against North Hall.   






Fire Damages Helen Inn (1/23/14)

By Rob Moore


(HELEN) - An overnight fire in the city of Helen that damaged America's Best Value Inn appears to be electrical in nature. That the word from Georgia Insurance and Safety Fire Commissioner Ralph Hudgens' office.


Local fire officials were  unavailable for comment Thursday morning.  The fire was  reported early Thursday  morning and was battled by Helen Fire Department, with assistance from White County Fire Department, Cleveland Fire Department, and the Lee Arrendale State Prison Fire Department.






     Photo by Rob Moore




Cobbs Named New TMC Wrestling Coach  (1/22/14)


(CLEVELAND) – The Truett-McConnell College Department of Athletics has named Marcus Cobbs, the graduate assistant coach at Cumberland University in Lebanon, Tenn., as the Bears new head wrestling coach. Cobbs enters the Truett-McConnell College family with a great deal coaching and personal wrestling experience; to date, he is actively involved in competitive wrestling. In 2013, he finished in the top 10 at the U.S. Open.  


TMC Director of Athletics, Dr. Stacy Hall said, “He understands our vision as a college and as an athletic department, and I am confident that he will lead our wrestling program to great heights.”   “I am excited to accept the position of Head Wrestling Coach at Truett-McConnell College,”


Cobb said. “I am determined to lead our young men to championships on the mat and excellence in the classroom while assisting them in making their walk with Christ stronger.  Cobbs will begin his coaching duties March 10th.  He and his wife  Jennifer have three children, ages six, five, and three months.





Winter Weather Advisory Issued  (1/21/14)


(Peachtree City)- A Winter Weather Advisory has been issued by the National Weather Service for Northeast Georgia.  The advisory is in effect until 7 PM  this evening for snow with accumulations up to an inch and half at elevations above 2,000 feet.   


The forecasters say visibilities will drop to between one and two miles in heavier bands of snow.  Roadways may become slick especially at higher elevations.  The temperatures this afternoon are holding above freezing,  any precipitation falling will melt quickly.  Later this evening when the sun goes down and temperatures start falling conditions could get worse.  


A wind advisory is also in effect until 10 PM tonight.  Northwest winds  20 to 25 miles per hour with gust as high as 40 mph.   





       Photo by Rob Moore




More Cold Dry Weather    (1/20/14)


(PEACHTREE CITY) - If you are  one of those who keep saying  that you are tired of this  below normal temperatures in  Northeast  Georgia  brace  yourself because it looks like the cold temperatures will hang around all this week.

The National Weather Service says two weak frontal systems will quickly move through the area - one  Tuesday   morning and the other Thursday morning.  There won't be any single-digit readings like the ones that we say two weeks ago when the year's first arctic blast of cold air moved through. However, look for readings in the teens Tuesday and Thursday mornings.  Highs are expected to be in the 30’s and 40’s.  Forecasters say there is very little moisture associated with the fronts, but you might see  a few light snow flurries.


WRWH Weather Reporter Bill Kinsland advises because most of this air mass comes from the North Pole, it is extremely dry and there is little opportunity for moist air from the Gulf of Mexico to enter our area. Hence this January is extremely dry compared to January, 2013. Bill said, by this same date last January, White County already had received 9.30 inches of rain.


As of Monday morning, we have received only 3.52 inches....our normal year-to-date rainfall for this date is 4.50 inches. Hence we currently have a deficit of -0.94 inch. That compares to this date last year we had a SURPLUS of +4.57 inches.



Fred's Evacuated Following Report Of Smoke In  The Building (1/20/14)


(Cleveland)- A report of smoke in the building at Fred’s, on the Wilford Ash Parkway in Cleveland Sunday  afternoon resulted in the building being evacuated.  Cleveland Fire Chief Ricky Pruitt said, the call came in at 3:39 P.M.


Pruitt said customers and employees were evacuated.  According to Pruitt, after Investigating  for  almost an hour  fire fighters were unable to locate anything and the store was able to reopen. 


 Cleveland fire units along with automatic aid from White County and Helen Fire Department responded to the commercial fire alarm.  







Melody Tenney Named Head Volleyball Coach At TMC (1/20/14)


(CLEVELAND)– The Truett-McConnell College Department of Athletics has announced that Melody Tenney, former assistant volleyball at  Piedmont College, as their new head volleyball coach. Effective January 23rd  Tenney  replaces  former head coach, Kevia Elkins.


Director of Athletics, Dr. Stacy Hall,  "We are very grateful to Coach Elkins who began our volleyball program three years ago, she did a tremendous job starting this program from scratch.”  Elkins will remain actively involved within the Bears athletic department as she continues her role as an assistant varsity softball coach and the head JV softball coach. Hall  voiced his excitement for this new chapter within the school’s volleyball program: “ Melody is an exceptional individual who combines a passion for Christ, a tenacious competitive spirit, a gregarious personality, and years of experience in coaching volleyball; she will be a great fit for Truett-McConnell College.” 


In her first collegiate head coaching position, Tenney said she looks forward to establishing a winning tradition for the Lady Bears Volleyball Team. “I am so excited to be joining the TMC family.


         Coach Melody Tenney





One Person Injured In Saturday Accident ( 1/19/14)

By Rob Moore



(Photos by Ricky Pruitt)


(CLEVELAND) - One person was taken by ambulance to the hospital  with minor injuries after a two-vehicle wreck Saturday afternoon.  The collision at 342 W. Kytle Street, occurred at 3:57 p.m.   


According to Cleveland Fire Chief Ricky Pruitt, a Jeep vehicle had  pulled off the road into the turning lane and apparently was attempting to make a u-turn, in doing so the driver  turned into the path of a westbound pickup truck.





Bailey Named New Chamber President (1/16/14)


(Cleveland)- The White County Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors  have approved a new president for the organization.  Stacy Hall, Chamber Board Chairman said they unanimously approved the recommendation by the President Search Committee to hire Dahlonega resident Cindy Bailey as their  president.   Hall said, “We are very fortunate to have someone of Cindy’s experience and skill set to lead our Chamber.  She is a veteran Chamber executive with knowledge of our community and has many key contacts at the regional and state level.”


The position has been vacant since October and Hall said they were happy to complete  this process.  He said, but it’s  more than just an announcement, he said,  “most importantly we wanted to hire the right person; you know it is a long process. There is a lot of people involved in this process, because we need broad representation from our membership but we believe, more importantly in getting the process done, we believe we’ve hired the right person.”    


Hall said, “ we received 17 qualified applications from all over the country.  The search committee decided to interview three candidates.  After the in-person interviews, the search committee unanimously recommended to the board of directors to hire Cindy.”


Bailey has 20 years of Chamber experience including time as Director of the Convention and Visitor’s Bureau for Calhoun County,  President of Dahlonega/Lumpkin County Chamber of Commerce and for the past nine years she has worked as the Sales and Marketing Director for an international manufacturing company.  She is currently planning to move to White County from Lumpkin County as soon as possible.  


According to Hall, with Bailey coming on board they can focus on the true mission of the chamber, “We, as a board representing in our membership, we have decided we want to get back to our true mission statement and vision statement and that is very simple; to help every business flourish and grow and to encourage   new and quality industry into our community and to provide jobs to everyone able to work.  Now we are not going to get away from doing a lot of community type events we host but we want to get back to our historical mission and vision that our membership has set for us.”  


Bailey will begin her duties as president next  Tuesday.





Another  Spay/Neuter Transport Day Announced (1/15/14)



(Cleveland)- The Humane Society of Northeast Georgia  will be hosting the next spay/neuter transport from White County on January 30th.  On this day, Humane Society of Northeast Georgia  will be transporting pets to its Spay/Neuter Center for surgery as scheduled by owners.


Northeast Georgia residents who would like to participate in the transport can schedule an appointment by calling 770-532-6617. Due to space limitations, the transport will be limited to the first 20 pet owners who schedule an appointment. Other restrictions also may apply.  Animals having surgery will be picked up at 8:00 a.m. on the day of the transport and  will board overnight at the Humane Society, and transported back for drop-off at 8:00 a.m on Friday. Pick-up and drop-off for the transport will be at White County Animal Control & Shelter, which is located at 680 Industrial Blvd.


Pet owners also can request additional services for their pets at the time of surgery including vaccinations, nail trims, heartworm testing, feline combo testing, and microchipping. These low-cost services are offered for additional fees.



HSNEGA’s Spay/Neuter Center is funded in part by surgery fees, but also is subsidized by corporate grants and donations. To learn more about the Spay/Neuter Center, please contact HSNEGA at 770-532-6617 or visit         




Cleveland Sewer Project Hits A Snag ( 1/15/14)



     Sewer construction  on Campbell Street                                      Workers unload replacement pipe


(Cleveland)- A major sewer project in the City of Cleveland has hit a snag.  City Engineer Brian Rindt told the Cleveland City Council  Monday night that contractors for the Trulove Road project  discovered defective pipe  while doing pressure tests recently. 


Rindt said this is a very unusual situation and that the pipe manufacture has admitted they messed up.  Not all of the pipe will have to be replace,  but Rindt said  the  force main sections will have to be dug up and replaced.  Rindt said, the replacement will  affect the overall time frame  for the project,  he said “ there will be a delay, to get this project done.  It’s not urgent, but its just a pain in the rear end to go through this.”   


The council was told that the pipe manufacture will pick up the replacement cost and there would be no extra expense to the city.




Warrior TV To Air Live Interview With Governor Deal  ( 1/15/14)


(Cleveland)- Students with  White County High School  Warrior TV have announced they are working on a special live show that will feature Governor Nathan Deal.  The broadcast is scheduled for January 23rd at  9:15 A.M. from Atlanta.   


WTVN students hosts  Garrett Rowland and Hannah Skelton will talk with the Governor at  State Capital.  Charles Dewalt  Executive Producer for the school TV said  the students will have about 30 minutes to talk about education in Georgia. 


Dewalt said, WTVN hopes that the Governor will later consider coming to White County for  a live studio audience  broadcast  where students across the state would have the opportunity to ask the Governor questions about education in Georgia. 










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Commissioners Approve Additional Senior Center Funding  (1/14/14)


(Cleveland)- The White County Board of Commissioners have approved some additional local  funding that will help the White County Senior Center to continue operating and providing full services,  following budget cuts from the federal government.  


During Monday's  commission meeting the board agreed to take  $25,361  from  the contingency funds to meet the shortfall. 


During the meeting,  Senior Center Director Bonnie York  told the commissioners  there was a waiting list of 28 people wanting to  receive home delivery meals and services, but the funding for meals was not there.  The commissioners  said they  were unaware of the waiting list until recently and wanted the waiting list  eliminated.  



After discussion about the federal funding cuts coming after the county budget was approved,  Commission Chairman Travis Turner said he wanted  the public to know that it wasn’t them that created this problem.  “ we just doubled the size of our Senior Center” , Turner said,  “ all of a sudden there's a waiting list.   The citizens of the county look to us  as if we , this body, caused the problem.  That we put them on the waiting list and it was the feds. “  It  kinda  hit a nerve with us , we’ve done our best to support the seniors and the senior program, and it’s the feds that’s been acting like the  jerks on this.”    


The commissioners said in the future they want to know in the beginning about any waiting list, saying they want to maintain the current level of service that our seniors deserve.   




WCSO Receives State Certification  ( 1/14/14)


   Chief Brian Kelly reads certification plaque                                 Deputy Robyn Still with Sheriff Walden

   while Sheriff Walden looks on

(Cleveland)- The White County Sheriff’s office has been recognized for achieving state certification, a lengthy process  that very few sheriffs department have been able to complete.  Gainesville Police Chief Brian Kelly representing Georgia Association of Chiefs of Police attended the White County Board of Commissioners Meeting Monday and presented the certification plaque to White County Sheriff Neal Walden.   

Kelly said,  the agency certification program identified 129 standards that are essential to the efficient and effective operation of law enforcement agencies.  He said, “ to achieve this honor an agency must be ahead of most in training, policy, supervision, discipline and accountability.”  Of the over 100 law enforcement agencies in the state who have gone through this process, only twenty are  sheriff’s offices.  The White County Sheriff’s Office became the 20th department out of 159 counties to  successfully complete the process.  

Sheriff Walden said  he is proud of what this certification means, he said “ it’s been a long program , but it will benefit  White County in the future.”

Walden credited  Sheriff’s office Training  and Certification Coordinator Robyn Still  for doing most of the work in this process.



Commissioners Recognize  Betty Highsmith



Mrs. Betty Highsmith with her family and W.C. Commissioners


(Cleveland)- The White County Board of Commissioners paid special recognition to  Cleveland resident  Betty Highsmith for her contribution to the community and education field.   A special proclamation to honor Mrs. Highsmith was read by Commission Chairman Travis Turner who acknowledged that  Highsmith was his 8th grade Georgia History  teacher.  Highsmith has been an active community leader, especially working with the White County Historical Society.




Explosion Damages White County Home (1/13/14)

By Rob Moore


(CLEVELAND) - Firefighters in White County were called to a reported home explosion at 431 Arthur Allen Road Sunday  night. White County Public Safety Director David Murphy said White County 9-1-1 received the call that a doublewide mobile home had exploded. 


"The call received just before 7 p.m. reported a gas leak under the residence and the home had exploded," Murphy said. "Fire could be seen under the residence." 


According to Murphy, White County Fire Department Stations 2 and 3, Cleveland Fire Department and firefighters from Lee Arrendale State Prison in Alto responded.   No one was hurt in the incident.

The home was damaged, and the American Red Cross was called to assist the residents. Murphy said, "County fire investigators were called to investigate the incident."





The Last Time It Was This Cold ( 1/8/14)



(Sautee)- Everyone is talking about the latest cold snap in the area and some can remember the last time we had similar temperatures. WRWH weather reporter Bill Kinsland  did some research and came up with this.   According to National Climate Data Center, In  Helen the last time it was this cold was back on January 19th, 1994 when the low of  zero was recorded  also on February 16th  1991.  The coldest  minus 12 was recorded on January 21st 1985. 


At Sautee weather station 6 degrees was recorded during a four day span January  16th – 19th. It was also 9 degrees on January 13th 2011. 


In Cleveland 3 degrees was recorded on January 19th 2003. It also was 7 degrees February 7th 2009. 





Cold Weather Items Still Available ( 1/8/14)


(Cleveland) – As temperatures get back close to normal  for  this time of the year the community effort to collect and  provide cold weather items for those in need in out area continue.  Those in need are asked to  stop by Papa’s Pizza  on the Helen Highway in Cleveland where officials say they still have some blankets, coats and a few space heaters available.  





Broken Pipes Cause Damage  To Helen Businesses  ( 1/8/14)

By Rob Moore


click to enlarge

(HELEN) – As the temperatures start to warm from the near zero reading Tuesday morning  in the area, some  Helen businesses sustained frozen pipes, one resulting in significant damage.  Capt. Lee Poteat of Helen Fire Department said the now-vacant Sunflower Chinese restaurant, a former KFC which he described as about a 5,000-square-foot building, was filled with about eight inches of water when firefighters arrived Tuesday morning.   That's not counting all the water that ran out of the building into the parking lot and onto surrounding properties.



  (Photo by Rob Moore)


City officials estimate that between 250,000 and 400,000 gallons of water flowed through the vacant building's fire sprinkler system into the parking lot, adjacent lots and even onto Edelweiss Street, resulting in icing issues.


At Jameson Inn near the entrance to the city, a pipe broke above the hotel's swimming pool, which overflowed as a result.  Tuesday afternoon, City Manager Jerry Elkins said additional broken pipes had been reported at several businesses in the city, including Charlemagne's Kingdom, Huddle House, and Alpine Village Inn. In addition, an outside faucet burst at the River Street public restrooms.



Holloway Selected As Helen Mayor  (1/8/140

By Rob Moore


click to enlarge

(HELEN) - The Helen City Commission has elected Commissioner Judy Holloway to serve as mayor for 2014.  The vote came during Tuesday's city commission meeting, in which the re-elected Holloway was sworn in both as city commissioner and as mayor.

Re-elected Commissioner Helen Wilkins also was sworn in during Tuesday's meeting. Joining Holloway and Wilkins in receiving their oaths of office was newly-seated Commissioner Fred


Garmon. Commissioner Dona K. Burke, who was not present at Tuesday's meeting, was elected mayor pro tem for 2014.


Also during Tuesday's meeting, Holloway presented former Mayor Lynn Whitener with a plaque for his service to the city.


(Photo by Rob Moore )


Community Effort Helps Cold Weather Victims (1/7/14)


L-R Fire Chief Norman Alexander, Father                    Father Scott Kidd gets ready to assemble cots

Scott Kidd and White County Public Safety                 (Photos by Bill Kinsland)

Director David Murphy unload the EMA

trailer packed with cots and supplies

(Cleveland)- A large community effort erupted Monday  determined to provide warm shelter  for homeless and others in need of a warm place during the frigid temperatures in White County.  That effort  resulted in some churches opening their facilities and numerous people  donating heaters, blankets, coats and other warm clothing items.  

The effort grew out of discussions by  White County Facebook community group.  Papa’s Pizza offered their business as a donation location.  The items donated can be picked up anytime today after 9AM at Papa’s Pizza.  

We still have several more hours of below freezing temperatures so if you or you know someone that needs any of the cold weather items go by for assistance. Chris Nonnemaker, owner of Papa’s Pizza told WRWH Monday that this is a community effort to help those in need.  

For anyone in need of a warm place the Episcopal Church of the Resurrection,   Duncan Bridge Road,  Restoration Point Church off  Highway 115 East in front of White County Christian Academy and The Bridge Church, in Cleveland are providing shelter and food.


Memorial Services  Wednesday For Water Authority Director (1/6/14)


(Cleveland)- The Director of the White County Water Authority Gary Howe, has died following a battle with cancer. Howe who was 58  lived in Demorest. 


He was born in Atlanta and joined the White County Water Authority in 2001, as the director, a position he held until his death.  


A Memorial service will be held Wednesday at 6 PM at Barrett Funeral Home Chapel in Cleveland.



Head On Crash Kills One In Cleveland ( 1/3/14)

By: Rob Moore


(CLEVELAND) - A Cleveland woman died as a result of injuries suffered in a two-vehicle wreck in the city  Cleveland Thursday  afternoon.  Cleveland Fire Chief Ricky Pruitt said the wreck was in front of Cleveland Post Office and closed Georgia Highway 75 (Helen Highway) for 90 minutes, with it reopening around 4:10 p.m.

According to Sgt. 1st Class Chad Johnson of Georgia State Patrol Post 6 in Gainesville, the wreck involved a Ford Taurus driven by 70-year-old Jessie Richardson of Cleveland and a Mitsubishi Protege driven by 29-year-old Roy Nichols of Cleveland.


Johnson said Richardson's Taurus was headed down Helen Highway toward Cleveland, while Nichols' Protege was headed toward Helen. The Taurus turned left into the path of the Protege and the two cars collided head-on, Johnson said.


Chief Pruitt said. "White County EMS, with the assistance of two Cleveland firemen, rushed one of the people involved in the car accident to the hospital with very serious injuries."  That person , identified by the state patrol  as 81-year-old Doris Logan of Cleveland, died of her injuries.


Johnson said she was the unrestrained passenger in the left rear seat of Nichols' Protege. Others in Nichols' car included front-seat passenger Laura Nichols and backseat passenger 6-year-old Christina Nichols, both of Cleveland.


The Georgia State Patrol's Specialized Collision Reconstruction Team is assisting with the investigation. Trooper Johnson said, citations are pending.


HMC First Baby Of 2014 From Cleveland (1/3/14)



(DEMOREST) - Habersham Medical Center's first baby of the new year arrived  Thursday at 3:53 p.m. April James spokeswoman for   Habersham Medical Center said, “ little Leah Harris weighed six pounds, one ounce and was 18 and three-quarters inches long.” 


Her proud parents are Sandy and Donald Harris of Cleveland. Leah is the third child for the Harris family and joins brother Isaac and sister Rachel.


Leah was delivered by Doctor Thomas Hatchett.








Harris Family, (Comp. April James HMC)




Winter Weather Advisory For Northeast Georgia ( 1/2/14)



(PEACHTREE CITY) - The National Weather Service is calling for the possibility of some light snow accumulation in mountain counties  of Northeast Georgia from Thursday night  into Friday morning.  A special weather statement calls for a chance of snow in Fannin, Gilmer, Union and Towns counties.  Pickens, Dawson, Lumpkin and White counties were included. 


Most of the precipitation is expected to fall as rain as the front moves through. As colder air moves in behind, forecasters said snow is possible in higher elevations. The weather service statement indicates locations about 1500 feet have the best chance of seeing accumulations, with amounts around an inch possible above 3000 feet. 


While some snow may mix with rain in other parts of north Georgia, snow accumulation is not expected, according to the weather service. A winter weather advisory means that periods of black ice and light snow will cause travel difficulties. You are urged to make preparations and use caution while driving. The main impacts will be from the rapidly falling temperatures Thursday  afternoon while roads are still wet. 


If that was not enough a wind advisory is in effect from 5 PM Thursday afternoon until 4 am Friday.  Winds from the northwest 20- 25 miles per hour with gust up to 35 are expected.


A wind chill advisory is in effect from 1 AM until 11 AM Friday. Very cold air and strong winds will combine to generate low wind chills for the area. If you must go outdoors, make sure to wear a hat and gloves. 





Vehicle Destroyed By Fire ( 12/30/13)



(Helen)- There were no injuries as a result of a vehicle fire Sunday  north of Helen.   White County Fire Department spokeswoman Ana Newberry said, the fire was reported around 1:00 PM just south of Top of Georgia Airstream Park on Highway 75.  


Newberry said the driver of a SUV  reported the right front tire was on fire.  When firefighters arrived the vehicle was about 60 percent involved.   Two people and two dogs were in the vehicle and all were able to exit the vehicle.  


Newberry said the highway was shutdown to traffic fro about 30 minutes while firefighters extinguished the blaze.  Firefighters from the city of Helen and a tanker  from station 3 responded.  




31  Participate In Polar Bear Plunge (12/30/13)



(Helen)-  What did you do for fun Saturday,  well 31 brave people participated in the first Polar Bear Plunge in the lake at  Unicoi State Park, north of Helen.  The family friendly event attracted local participants as well as those visiting the area.  Debbie Turner drove up from St Petersburg Fl. to make the plunge.  


The water temperature was 46 degrees and the air temperature was 35 at  11:00 AM, the time of the plunge.   


Officials say they organized the even, hoping that people would attend and stay and joy the parks other offerings.   Each participant received a commemorative iron on  patch.  

Photo by   Jim Balaun




One Of  First Managers Of WRWH  Dies     ( 12/27/13)


(Jefferson)- Funeral Service are planned for Saturday  at Chapel of Evans Funeral Home in Jefferson for a man who was one of the first managers and help get WRWH Radio started back  in 1958.  He also started other radio stations in  Louisville, Washington and Jackson, Georgia, as well as in South Carolina.   


Bradley “Slim” Williamson, age 86, of Jefferson, died Christmas day.  Slim started his career in Radio  as a popular Georgia Radio Disk Jockey in the 1950’s and 60’s.   He was also a  part time performer with the group “Slim and the Georgia Peach Boys.”   He  also was involved in country music promotions.


Slim, returned to the Arcade Community in Jackson County, where he was born and raised. He became a successful Real Estate Developer in the Jefferson area.  


Evans Funeral Home  in Winder is in charge of arrangements. 

Picture complements of



Unemployment Rate Drops To 6.6 Percent ( 12/27/13)



ATLANTA – The Georgia Department of Labor announced Thursday   that the unemployment rate in White County in November was 6-point 6 percent.  That is down from the revised 7.2 percent in October.  I


nformation released by they labor department showed White County had a labor force of 12,878 in November, of those 12,025  had jobs and 853  did not.  A year ago the rate was eight percent. 


The Northeast Georgia region unemployment decreased to 6.1 percent in November, down six-tenths of a percentage point from 6.7 percent in October. The rate was 7.2 percent in November a year ago.





Fire Damages Main Cabin At Smithgall Woods State Park  ( 12/26/13)


(Cleveland)- A  Christmas Day fire did moderate damage to  the main lodging cabin  at Smithgall Woods State Park north of Cleveland.  White County Public Safety Director David Murphy said, firefighters received  the call to 1333 Dukes Hollow Road at  5:36 AM .   The fire, located in  the main lodge cabin where visitors were staying.  


Firefighters responded from Stations 6, 7, 2 with Automatic Aide from the City of Helen.  Murphy said, they quickly extinguished the fire while dealing with freezing temperatures, “ with the temperatures being below freezing it caused an icing situation when they were trying to extinguish the fire, which made it much more difficult for them to gain access and causes some safety concerns. “ 


 (Photo from Ga. State Park website)


Murphy said not only does it cause problems for firefighters the equipment they use as well.     


No one was injured as the occupants evacuated the structure prior to the fire departments arrival. According to Murphy, residents were placed in other cabins on the property and the fire is under investigation.


Another fire call was reported at 8:35  concerning a  residential fire at 3678 Helen Hwy near Tom Bell Road.   The occupant reported her stove on fire with smoke coming from the rear of the appliance.   Firefighters from Station 3, with mutual aid from City of Helen Fire and automatic aid from City of Cleveland Fire departments responded to the incident. 


Murphy said, when  firefighters arrived nothing showing from outside of the mobile home, and the fire was out upon arrival.  No injuries were reported and the fire was deemed electrical in nature and confined to the appliance.





Public Safety Delivers Christmas Dinner Packages  ( 12/26/13)


(Cleveland)- Elderly residents in the city of Cleveland were able to enjoy a happier Christmas thanks to the efforts of the Cleveland Police Department  and others who helped deliver a Christmas dinner package  to those  residents earlier this week.  



Cleveland Police Chief John Foster said his officers, along with assistance  from  fire department and city hall personnel prepared and delivered a Christmas a  ham and fixings to 76 elderly in the city.  Foster said they also added a pair of gloves and shocks in the bag.   


According to Chief Foster most of the delivers were made to elderly living in government housing and many of those receiving the bags became very emotional knowing someone cared about them.   Foster said this is something they do each year as part of the public safety Christmas program.  




Rash Of Weather Related Accidents Sunday ( 12/23/13)


(Cleveland)- White County officials report several auto accidents Sunday, most,  if not all were determined weather related.  Tim Chapman, White County Sheriff’s Office spokesman said, a Valdosta man, Roger Beavers was charged with Driving Under the Influence in an accident that occurred  on Highway 129 north at Tesnatee Gap Valley Road.  


Another accident early Monday  at Mossy Creek Campground involved a single vehicle where a pickup truck hat a tree that had fallen across the roadway and power lines.  Officials report they had to wait for power crews to secure the power lines before they could extricate the driver. Power was for a while early this morning due to the downed power line.  The extent of injuries to the driver of the pickup truck was not available.


Chapman said all other accidents were single vehicle and were weather related.  






Helen Records 100 Plus Inches Of Rain (12/23/13)



(Undated)- After the weekend rainfall Helen has now surpassed the 100 inch mark  in year-to-date rainfall.   WRWH Weather reporter Bill Kinsland advised Monday morning with the past 24- hour rainfall added  Helen’s Year- to-date measurement is  100-point 12 inches. 


Earlier  this month Sean Miller, Service Climatologist with the Georgia Department of Natural Resources advised that Helen and Sautee had already recorded their wettest year on record.  He said that the previous records  for these to areas were in 1992 for Helen and 2009 for Sautee. 


North Georgia got soaked over the weekend with rainfall around four inches in many areas.  Most of that rain  came down  Sunday.  In Cleveland – rainfall totals from Friday morning until this morning show 3.80 inches. Kinsland reported in  Helen the amount was 3.76 inches, and Sautee's 3.79 inches. 





Flu Illness  On The Increase ( 12/18/13)


Habersham Medical Center


(DEMOREST)-  Habersham Medical Center  in Demorest  reports they have seen an increase in the number of  patients suffering from the flu.   In a news release from the medical center,  Teri Newsome,  the director of quality and patient safety said,  the medical center has been treating a growing number of patients with flu-like symptoms including cough, congestion and fever and several have had confirmed flu tests.  

She said,  “Habersham Medical Center has had 28 patients test positive for the flu in the past week. ”  “These patients vary in age from children to senior adults.  While, no public outbreak has been reported, it is wide-spread.

Newsome suggest if you HCMC New Logos blue and whiteHCMC New Logos blue and whiteHCMC New Logos blue and white develop flu like  symptoms, contact your healthcare provider, stay home and avoid contact with other people; and cover your nose and mouth when you cough or sneeze to prevent spread of the illness.

At last weeks meeting of the White County Board of Education Superintendent Dr. Jeff Wilson advised that the school system here has been experiencing an increase in the number of students and staff who were absent as a result of the  flu.  The school system’s  Christmas break should help in curtailing the spread of the illness.




White County Sheriff's Office  Receives Grant (12/18/13)


(Cleveland)- The  White County Sheriff’s Offices has been awarded a $10,000 public safety partnership grant from the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety.  The incentive grant, which will last through September 2014, is designed for smaller law enforcement agencies that have partnered with the office of Highway Safety and excelled in participating in highway safety initiatives as well as making their communities safe during the previous year. 


White County Sheriff Neal Walden said,  “ this will ensure that White County Sheriff’s  Office continues to promote traffic safety.”   The grand funds will be used to purchase the  new Intoxilyzer 9000 breath testing machine and flashlights which will be used in DUI and traffic enforcement activities.  All agencies are required to have the new breathalyzer in used  by January 2016.  


Harris Blackwood, Director of the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety said, “ the goal of the grant is to reward agencies for their proactive approach to traffic safety and to provide them with the necessary tools to effectively continue their lifesaving efforts. “





Contract And Additional Funding For Event Parked Approved (12/18/13)


(Cleveland)- The White County Board of Commissioners have approved a work contract and additional funding for the planned  event park in Cleveland.  At a called meeting Tuesday  morning the commissioners approved a contract with Charles Black Construction to do the work, at the same time the board approved some additional funds to complete the funding need for the project.  


Commissioner Terry Goodger has spearheaded this project since the beginning  and he said all their  work is beginning to payoff.  Goodger said, “ It’s  been a while that we’ve been working  on this  to get it together and I think most of the people in the community are excited about having it and we’re ready to get started on it, Charles Black is ready to start as soon as they get notice to proceed and that could  happen any day.”    


Depending on the weather officials expect the park to be completed in quickly, Goodger said, “ we are looking  for having the park ready for the spring.”


The board during Tuesday’s meeting  approved  $165,000 in SPLOST  tax funds  for the project.  Other funds used will come the Hotel/Motel tax and the city of Cleveland is providing some funding.  The total project cost was placed at $860, 744.   





Second Chance Graduate Honored By BOE ( 12/16/13)


(Cleveland)-  Following the news last week that White County school system  had the third  highest graduation rate in the state the school system added one more graduate to the list  with a student receiving her second chance graduation diploma during the White County board of education meeting Thursday.


White County High School principal John Osborne said, Shannon Coker, who was part of the Class of 2013, had three parts of the five part state graduation test to complete before she could be awarded her diploma.  Osborne said Coker was determined to finish  the requirements, “ it’s kinda  ironic that it’s here on the cuspis  of  us receiving that 94.4 percent grad rate.  She’s one of the reasons why, and we love that persistence in kids, that makes them winners. “


After receiving word that Coker had passed all required segments of the test White County officials planned a special graduation ceremony during the board of education meeting.  


Shannon Coker receives congratulatory hug from

Principal Osborne





Friday Fire Destroys One Home Damages Five Others ( 12/16/13)


(Cleveland)- One home was destroyed and five  others  were damaged by a fire  Friday night in White County.   Public Safety Director David Murphy said,  White County firefighters with mutual aid from City of Cleveland and City of Helen responded to Yogi Bear Blvd in Mountain Lakes Resort.   When the first unit arrived on scene reported  the initial structure was fully involved with multi residences involved.


Murphy said, the fire was quickly contained and the five exposures received minor to moderate damage, the initial structure was a total loss.  


The call was received at 8:24PM, while the main residence was a total loss, Murphy said, “the quick response by firefighters saved the additional structures in the immediate area.”  


The American Red Cross was called to assist the residents effected by the fire.  





TMC Athlete's Donate Christmas Stockings To White County Kids (12/13/13)



(CLEVELAND) – For the third straight year, Truett-McConnell College athletes distributed Christmas stockings, filled with toys, candy, and a message of the Gospel, to children who visit the White County Food Pantry in Cleveland this past Tuesday.   Each stocking was filled with toys and other Christmas items, including a copy of the Christmas story from the Bible. 


The White County Food pantry distributes nearly 400,000 lbs. of food to  6,000 local families, including 8,000 hungry children each year.


Recognizing this overwhelming need, members of Truett-McConnell College’s Bears in the Community (BIC), a group of student-athlete representing each TMC sports team, spearheaded this year’s  effort.  Senior baseball

(left to right): Taylor Nix, Rachel Crump, Rebecca Creswell,

Nicole Daniels, Ruth Dennis, Meagan Taylor, Taylor Whitsel.

 player, Hayden Fleming is president of the BIC group said, “As a group, Bears in the Community is always looking for opportunities to make an impact in the lives of the people around us. ”


Members of BIC distributed flyers around the Truett-McConnell College campus, inviting students to participate in collecting Christmas stockings for White County kids. “We simply told people what we were doing,” said vice president, Rebecca Creswell, a senior on the school’s softball team. “We asked everyone to donate a stocking filled with Christmas items for kids and told them about the need in White County.”  Nearly 100 athletes and other students answered the call.  


“We had boxes and boxes of stockings lining our apartment,” Creswell said. “Some sports teams brought so much stuff that the items wouldn’t even fit into the stockings.”




State Superintendent Of Schools Visits WCHS ( 12/12/13)



State Supt. Barge examines graduation rates with W.C.               Supt Barge makes his way through the lunch line

Supt. Dr. Jeff Wilson and Principal John Osborne


(Cleveland)- Dr. John D. Barge, State School Superintendent  paid a visit to White County Thursday, one day after the White County system was recognized as having the  third best graduation rate in the state.  The visit was not related to the graduation news,  Barge said, this is part of his commitment  he made when became state school superintendent, to visit each school district in the state.  


He said it’s a great way to encourage teachers and school administrators and find out what’s unique about each system.  Dr. Barge  said, “ I have been able to see some amazing things in the rural parts of our state that I’m able to take back and share with other people.  Sometimes a lot of our rural communities don’t have a lot of interaction with other districts so it’s a great opportunity to share the good things that are going on across the state with other districts.”   

White County High School Principal John Osborne said, they have a lot to show the superintendent,  “we have such a well rounded program from  arts,  to CTAE, to our academics and everything we offer during the day, we are so proud.”


During his visit Dr. Barge enjoyed lunch with White County High School  students and dropped  in on some classrooms activities.



County Holds Christmas Luncheon   (12/12/13)


(Cleveland)- White County government employees gathered Wednesday for their annual Christmas luncheon and service recognition.  This year’s event was held in  the ballroom at Babyland General Hospital in Cleveland.  In addition to a great meal and time share friendship  several employees were recognized for their years of service to the county. 


Sandra McAfee and Garrison Baker. (photo by Krystal Davidson)

Two people were recognized for 30 year service and were awarded $200 and their birthday off.  Those were Probate Judge Garrison Baker and Probate Court Clerk, Sandra McAfee.  


Magistrate Court Judge Joy Parks received a 15 year recognition certification,  $100 and her birthday off.


Corey Hyde, Ana Newberry, Linda Holman, Linda Chambers, Craig Bryant (photo by Krystal Davidson)

Eight people were presented with 10 year certificates and $50, the were : Commissioner Craig Bryant;  Linda Chambers, Clerk of Court Office;  Linda Holman, Tax Assessors Office;  Corey Hyde, Magistrate Court:  Richard Kelley, Sheriff’s Office; Ana Newberry, Fire Department; Travis Smith E-9-1-1; Mark Taylor, Sheriff’s Office.


Tim Forrester, Brad Lamon, Katie Abernathy, Marcia Thomas (photo by Krystal Davidson)

Nine employees had 5 years of service and they received $25. The included:  Katie Abernathy, Clerk of Court Office; Joseph Dan Autry, Detention Center;  Cassie Fincher, E-9-1-1; Tim Forrester, E- 9-1-1; Brad Lamon, Sheriff's Office;  Beverly Ngo, Detention Center;  Laura Riebold, Detention Center; Anthony Sims, Sheriff’s Office; and Marcia Thomas, Probate Court.  




Vogel Completes Basic Training ( 12/12/13)


(Undated)- Air Force Airman Dylan M. Vogel has graduated from basic military training at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, San Antonio, Texas.


The airman completed an intensive, eight-week program that included training in military discipline and studies, Air Force core values, physical fitness, and basic warfare principles and skills.  Airmen who complete basic training earn four credits toward an associate in applied science degree through the Community College of the Air Force.


Vogel is a 2007 graduate of White County High School.  




W.C. Third Best Graduation Rate In the State ( 12/12/13)


(Cleveland)  - The Georgia Department of Education announced Wednesday  the 2013 Cohort 4-Year Graduation  Rate for the  state school systems.  White County School System  had the third best 4-Year Cohort Graduation Rate in the state with a Rate of 94.4%.  White County ranked first  among the state county school systems.  


Dr. Jeff Wilson White County Superintendent said,  "I am so proud of our teachers, administrators, staff, students and community.  In White County, we have made students graduating from high school a priority."   Wilson said. "Following the announcement two weeks ago that  Mount Yonah Elementary and White County Intermediate Schools being named two of  the top performing schools in the state, White County residents should be very excited about the direction our schools are heading.


The four-year adjusted cohort graduation rate is based on when a student first becomes a freshman. The rate is calculated using the number of students who graduate within four years and includes adjustments for student transfers.   


The U.S. Department of Education requires all 50 states to use the cohort rate to calculate graduates.

Statewide, the graduation rate increased from last year – from 69.7 percent  to 71.5 percent this year.





White County Shop Destroyed By Fire ( 12/11/13)




(Cleveland)-  White County firefighters  responded to a structure fire  Tuesday  night  at 10:42 PM.  White County Public Safety Director David Murphy said, “  9-1-1 received a call about  a structure fire at 132 CH Drive off Highway  356.  The owner reported the blaze,  stating that fire was coming through the roof of his shop located beside his residence.” 


According to Murphy, when the first unit arrived at 10:57 PM  they  reported the structure was  fully involved in fire.  Firefighters quickly begin to protect the adjacent residential structure from further damage and saved the home.   


Murphy said, “  the residence did receive minor damage and the fire is under investigation by authorities. “   


Stations 7, 6, 3 & 2 with mutual aid from Helen and Cleveland Fire Department responded to the scene.






Truett McConnell College To Offer Masters Degrees (12/11/13



(CLEVELAND)- Officials at Truett-McConnell College in Cleveland, have announced their intentions  to offer Master's degrees following approval by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, on Tuesday.   TMC President  Dr. Emir Caner said,  "The hand of God we attempt to follow has in turn blessed us in this expansion of our academic training and spiritual influence. We are elated to announce the launch of our graduate degree program for fall 2014. "  


According to Caner, their academic offers is in response to the, “ near-miraculous growth of the college.”   Since 2008, the school has grown from about 450 students to more than 1,600. 


Dr. Brad Reynolds, TMC's vice president for academic affairs, said,  With the approval by SACS "Eventually, we will offer any number of graduate degree programs. " we will inaugurate this new level change by offering a Master of Arts in Theology next fall," Reynolds said.


College officials say following the first offering of Master degrees the college can move forward in obtaining  university status in the future.  





Cleveland Council Agrees To Help Fund Park Project ( 12/10/13)


(Cleveland)- The city of Cleveland has come through with a  contribution to the White County  event  park being built by the county behind the courthouse in  Cleveland.  The county  is providing  the majority of the cost for the project, but the commissioners called on the city to help with the project since the park is located in the city and will benefit businesses located downtown.  The county had ask the city to provide  $150,000 toward the project.


During Monday night’s city council meeting  Mayor Don Stanley said they checked out the amount they could use for street work and that amount was around $88- thousand dollars.  Mayor Stanley said they did some further checking and they discovered they could help with the street lighting cost and providing a water hookup  that brought the overall contribution they could make to $145,744. 


Councilman Bradley Greene, who owns  a business on the square,  said he sees the project as a growth engine for the area.  Greene made a motion to commitment  of $145, 744 and use SPLOST tax funds.    Councilman Ed Young seconded the motion and it received unanimous approval.


Here is a breakdown  of the funding provided by the city for the park project:


Pavement and striping                                   $40,356

Curb & Gutter                                                  $16,650

Sidewalks                                                        $20,400

Street Lighting                                                 $67,000

Water tap                                                         $1,338


Total                                                                  $145,744




Record Rainfall For Helen And Sautee ( 12/6/13)


(Cleveland)-This news might not be a surprise to you but,  it’s official both Helen and Sautee have already recorded their wettest year on record for 2013.  According to Sean Miller, Service Climatologist with the Georgia Department of Natural Resources,  Helen has received 89.81 inches of rain and Sautee 87.38 inches.  That’s before the rain Thursday night.  


Miller said, “ with an active pattern expected in the near future it will be interesting to see what the final precipitation totals are by the end of the year.   He said that the previous records  for these to areas were in 1992 for Helen and 2009 for Sautee.  



Cleveland Fire Answers 56 Calls In November (12/6/13)



(Cleveland)- The Cleveland Fire Department had a total of 56 calls during the month of November.  Cleveland Fire Chief Ricky Pruitt  reports that during the month the department made 30 calls in the city  and 26 in the county for mutual aid. 


The larges number of calls were medical assist calls with a total of 25.  There were 3 Structure fire calls and 5 auto accident calls. 




Cleveland Holds Annexation Public Hearing ( 12/4/13)



(Cleveland)- The City of Cleveland will be hold a public hearing on the proposed annexation of state route right of way on Georgia 11/ Highway 129  south of the city limits  to Truelove Road.  The hearing will be  Thursday  at 7:00 PM at the City Hall annex on South Main Street in Cleveland. 


A copy of the map showing the proposed annexation is available for public inspection during regular business hours at the City Clerk’s office located at Cleveland City Hall on South Main Street in Cleveland.  


Any person wishing to be heard on the proposed annexation may appear.





Rogers Gives Legislative Report To Rotarians ( 12/4/13)


(Cleveland)- State Representative Terry Rogers sees a unique  legislative session next  year.  Speaking to the White County Rotary Club Tuesday Rogers  told the Rotarians that the upcoming  general assembly will be, “ like a freight train.”   He said because of the moved up May 20th  federal primary, one of the first things that they will take action on, when the session begins, will be to move the state primary up to coincide with the mandated federal election.  


He indicated that the representatives will be wrapping up things quickly so they can get out on the re-election campaign trail.  Rogers said he doesn’t think there will be any controversial issues come out of the  session.   


Rogers who represents the 10th district, which includes  part of White County said even though his district covers only a small part of White County he represents the entire  county equally.  






Council Wants  More Time Before Deciding On Park  Project ( 12/3/13)




(Cleveland)- The Cleveland City Council has yet  to jumped onboard as far as providing financial support for a  proposed event park that the county is building  and located in the city behind the White County Courthouse.   The commissioners have called on the city to join the effort, because of the parks location  and the benefit it will provide to city businesses.  


During the Cleveland City council meeting Monday  night council members  entertained a request from the county to provide $150,000 toward that project.  City Clerk  Connie Tracas advised the council that  $77,400 is what they could legally spend out of the road money on the  park project.  She said, “ anything else you’ll have to take out of the general fund.”   After some discussion 


Councilmen Edward Young said, “I’d like to wait until next week to make a move on this, get some better cost brought in.”  No action was taken by the council on the request.     






Delays For Cleveland Annexation Process (12/3/12)



(Cleveland)- The efforts of the City of Cleveland to annex in the right of way along Highway 129 south of the city continues to be delayed.  During a council meeting Monday night City Attorney Grant Keene discussed with council members the wording of the proposed document that will be submitted as part of  the annexation process.


The city is working on a proposal  that will be submitted  to the White County Commissioners to get their approval, prior to  the city submits the request to the  state legislature, which must  give the final approve.    


County Commissioner Terry Goodger, attended the city council meeting Monday  night  and told the council that they are awaiting information from the city, so they can take the matter under consideration.  The city council advised they are working on the project as part of the city’s economic development.





Unemployment Rate Up in October ( 11/29/13)


(Atlanta)- The Georgia Department of Labor reports White County’s  unemployment rate in October rose to 7.2 percent, that’s up from the revised September rate of 6.9 percent.   The labor department said  the labor force in the  county  was 13,061, of those 12,118 were employed , 943 were unemployed. 



The county’s unemployment rate one year ago was 8.4 percent.  Georgia Mountains region rate increased to 6.8 percent in October, up three-tenths of a percentage point from 6.5 percent in September.






Smoke Forces Evacuation Of Verizon Store ( 11/29/13)



(Cleveland) - The Verizon Store in Cleveland was evacuated briefly Wednesday afternoon after smoke began pouring in from the heat vents.Cleveland Fire Chief Ricky Pruitt said the incident, at 641 S. Main St,, happened at 1:04 p.m. 


Pruitt said,  "Store employees heard a loud pop and then smoke started coming through the heat vents. "    He said, "Upon arrival of Cleveland Fire Department it was discovered that the compressor on a heat unit had locked down."  


Pruitt said there was no damage to the building, adding employees were allowed to return to work after about 20 minutes.  White County Fire Department and Helen Fire Department also responded to assist.






Winter Weather Advisory For Wednesday Morning (11/26/13)


(Peachtree City)- National Weather Service forecasters advise that  Winter Weather is likely late Tuesday night  and early Wednesday. A Winter Weather Advisory for sleet and snow  will be in effect from 1:00 AM until 1 PM Wednesday.  The area affected is elevations above 1500 feet north of a Dalton to Jasper to Cleveland line.


Forecasters say accumulations up to 1 inch with light accumulation of sleet is possible. Rain will mix with and then chage to sleet after midnight, then change to all sleet and snow after 5 AM. The precipitation should end by noon Wednesday. Icy roads are possible, especially on elevated surfaces like bridges and overpasses.




 It will be quite windy as well with northwest winds will increase to 15 to 30 miles per hour with gust up to 45 to 50.


Forecasters advise that temperatures will be falling into the low to mid 30’s by sunrise with temps remaining steady all day Wednesday.  The winter weather advisory means that periods of snow.. sleet or freezing rain will cause travel difficulties.  Be prepared for slippery roads and limited visibilities.






County Event Park Gets Some Funding  (11/26/13)



(Cleveland)- The much talked about White County Event Park, which will be located behind the White County Courthouse in Cleveland received most of its funding during a meeting of the White County Commissioners Monday. Charles Black Construction Company of Cleveland  was selected as  the low bidder out  6 companies submitting  bids.


The county and Charles Black Construction were able to  trim the overall cost of the project down to $850,000.  


The Commissioners after  a lengthy discussion agreed to use  550-thousand dollars from county’s hotel/ motel tax to help fund the project and in doing so they called on the Cleveland City of Cleveland, to as the commissioners put it,  “step up to the plate”,  and help fund the project since the park will be  located in the city and city businesses will benefit from it.  


The commissioners say if the city doesn't come forward with funding they will have to look at other sources to complete the project.  The event park which will include a performance stage will used for  community events as well as the county’s farmers market during the summer.




Some County Employees To Get Extra Vacation Time Pay  (11/26/13)



(Cleveland)- White County government employees who have accrued over 80 hours of vacation time and haven’t used that by the end of the year  have been given a early Christmas present from the county commissioners.  Those employees will receive pay for the accrued hours over 80 hours. 


Commissioner Craig Bryant proposed the pay during a meeting Monday  at the courthouse in Cleveland.  Bryant in making his motion said,  “ employees of the county if  they’ve got  vacation time and it’s not used by the end of the year, they’ll get paid for their time, rather than loosing  it, because we’ve got the money.  We can either take it out of contingency or we can take it out of general fund and make a budget adjustment at the end of the year, it don’t make no difference to me. My motion is we pay them their time so they won’t loose it. “  


One of the areas where the employees will benefit most is the White County Sheriff’s office, Sheriff Neal Walden said his employees have around  900  combined hours  of vacation time accrued.  The  extra vacation time pay will cost the county around $82,000.




No Injuries In Cleveland  Accident (11/25/13)


(Cleveland)- No injuries were reported in a single vehicle accident that occurred Sunday afternoon  on Campbell Street in Cleveland.  Cleveland Fire Chief Ricky Pruitt said, the accident occurred around 5:45 PM when the driver ran off the road and hit a tree. 


Pruitt said the occupants were checked out by Emergency Medical Service  personnel and refused transport to the hospital or treatment.














Busy Sunday Fore W.C. Firefighters  ( 11/25/13)




(Cleveland)- White County firefighters stayed busy Sunday with a total of four reported residential fires in the county.  White County Public Safety Director David Murphy said the First call was reported at 4:57 AM  at 260 J&J Drive. 


Murphy said that  when the first unit arrived  they reported a mobile  home at that location was 90% involved in fire.  There were no injuries and the American Red Cross was called to assist the occupants.  Station’s 7, 3, 2 and Helen Fire responded to the scene.  Murphy advised that  the fire is under investigation, but appears to have been accidental.


The second call was an  fire  alarm  call  at 9:33 AM   at 534 Escowee Drive in the City of Helen. White County responded to assist the Helen Fire Department with Stations 3 and 7. No further details available.


Murphy said the  third and fourth calls were received at 7:16PM,  one call was at 192 Spencer Drive off Hwy 115W with a report of a chimney fire Stations 5, 4 and Cleveland Fire responded to the incident and the fire was out prior to arrival. Firefighters from Station four checked  the residence for the home owner, no damage was reported.


The last call for the day l was at 264 Campground Road  off Skitts Mtn Road.  Murphy said, that too was a  chimney fire.  Stations 4, 5 and Cleveland Fire responded to the incident.  Fire was out upon arrival and no damage was reported.


Murphy said, “ It is important that residents check smoke detectors, use safe measures while cooking and have chimney’s cleaned as we begin the holidays and set into the next few months of winter. “  




Rotary Club Holds Meeting At Cleveland  Library  (11/21/13)



(Cleveland)- During Tuesday’s  meeting of the White County  Rotary Club, Past District  Governor Bill St. Clair present a Rotary Foundation grant check to the local club president’s  Melissa Gill.  The grant in the amount of $800  will be used for a community project that Rotary supports, the summer feeding, “Meals on the Bus “ program.   


St. Clair also presented the club with two awards in recognition of  the clubs donations and commitment to the Rotary Foundation  program that program provides funding for projects around the world.




Rotary President Melissa Gill accepts

awards from Past DG Bill St. Clair


During a special vocational tour by the White County Rotary Club  Tuesday to  the White County Public Library in Cleveland the club got to see first hand how their  funding for books used in the children’s section are being use.  


The club was also treated to a special program from  preschool children who participate in the library’s children’s story hour.  Library Program Manager Michael Humphrey explained to the club how their donations as well as others help in providing the much needed services at the library.




LaDonna Meaders, Children's  Director leads children

in presentation to Rotary Club




TMC Lady Bears Basketball Holds Wesleyan To 8 Percent Shooting  (11/20/13)
by Emily Grooms -TMC Sports

(CLEVELAND)- The Truett-McConnell College Lady Bears basketball team held the Wesleyan College Wolves to 32 points, Tuesday.   The final score was 62-32.   The Lady Bears played a strong defensive game, holding the Wolves to 8 percent shooting and only five points in the first half.


Head basketball coach, Matt Sanders said,  “After what I thought was our poorest defensive effort at Montreat last week, it was nice to see us come back and play that way.”


Truett-McConnell College sophomore, Rhandee Haskett, played an outstanding game, scoring 18 points and carrying 14 rebounds.


Krista Dixon was also a big contributor for the Lady Bears; she put up 11 total points and five rebounds.



Krista Dixon brings the ball down the court during an

exhibition game against Clemson University


The Lady Bears currently hold a 2-2 season record and a 1-1 conference record. Their next game is against Union College in Barbourville, Ky., Saturday. For more info, see .




Commissioners Approve Renovation/Upgrade Projects ( 11/15/13)

By Rob Moore


click to enlarge

(CLEVELAND) - White County is proceeding with several projects to make its government services better and more centralized.  During a called meeting Friday morning, the commission approved nearly $100,000 in expenditures to renovate/upgrade a couple of neighboring county buildings.

The commission approved $66,631.43 in Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax funds to replace the HVAC system at the White County Health


     Photo by Rob Moore


Department building, located in the former Neighborhood Healthcare Building.   That building now houses the health department, White County Emergency Medical Services, Ninth District Opportunity, and WIC.  The commissioners approved a bid from A & A Electric even though it was not the lowest bid.   While A & A was not the low bidder, commissioners followed County Manager Michael Melton's recommendation to approve the expenditure, citing previous dissatisfaction   with the customer service of Conditioned Air Systems, the county's previous service provider.     


Also, commissioners approved expenditures for three renovation projects at the White County Administration Building, formerly the county detention center. The facility since July houses the White County Commissioners Office, business tax, finance, and human resources offices. The county coroner's office also soon will be relocated there.   Currently, the commission meets at the White County Courthouse, which now is a challenge because of court functions, and because commission staff is not housed in that building.  Melton said he is optimistic the renovation work at the administration building can be completed by the first of the year. 


In an item related to the administration building renovation, commissioners voted November 4th   to spend $14,165.20 in SPLOST funds with Four Season Heating, Air, and Refrigeration to purchase a larger cooler for use by the coroner's office. At that meeting, commissioners were told the cooler would be capable of housing 15 bodies.





Cleveland Boil Water Notice Lifted (11/15/13)


(Cleveland)- The City of Cleveland has lifted a  Boiled Water Notice they issued Sunday for a select area of the city.  The notice affected  Cleveland water customers located in Woodland Forest Subdivision, Whitehall Commons and Whitehall Manor. Tom Guy, Water/Wastewater  Supervisor said Friday  morning  that the EPD has confirmed with the city that all test are clear and the notice can be lifted.  


Guy advised on Sunday that a water main break in the Woodland Forest area prompted the notice.  Due to this main break and repair, the City as required  issued a boil water notice.  Guy said, this notice is to insure the safety of the drinking water to the city’s customers in the event of the possibility of a contaminant entering the system.





TMC Student-Athletes Garner 19 AAC Awards   ( 11/14/13)


(CLEVELAND) – The Appalachian Athletic Conference announced All-Conference Awards for soccer and volleyball, naming 19 Truett-McConnell College student athletes, award winners.  


In Volleyball- Ashley Davis, Sarah Conort, Jordan Malaier, and Jessica Epting were named to the  2013 All-Academic Team.

 Women’s Soccer-The Truett-McConnell College Women’s Soccer team also garnered several awards, including two 2013 2nd Team All-Conference members, Joy Smith and Bethany Murphy. Meagan Taylor was named to the 3rd Team All-Conference.

Seven members of the Lady Bears Soccer team were named to the 2013 All-Academic team


Senior, Joy Smith (R),  AAC's 2nd Team All-Conference


Men’s Soccer-  Gavin Duff was recognized as a part of the 2nd Team All-Conference, and Stephon Williams to the 3rd Team All-Conference.  Duff and Craig Stephenson were both named Academic All-Conference team members.


Truett-McConnell College’s Director of Athletics, Dr. Stacy Hall, echoed the voice of each coach in congratulating these athlete’s on their hard work: “We are incredibly proud of these student-athletes who exemplify what it is to be a Truett-McConnell College Bear,” he said. “We believe in winning championships in discipleship, academics, community service and athletic performance, and these young men and women have done a great job in fulfilling these goals and representing Truett-McConnell.”





Two White County Schools Selected  "Highest Performing"  (11/13/13)


(Cleveland)- The Georgia Department of Education  has announced their "2013 Georgia Reward Schools" and two  White County schools  are among  the 78  on the list. 


White County Superintendent of Schools Dr. Jeff Wilson said, “ White County Schools that made the list for "Highest-Performing" schools in the state were  Mount Yonah Elementary School and the White County Intermediate School.” 


A “Highest-Performing School” is a Title I school among the 5% of Title I schools in the State that has the highest absolute performance over three years for the “all students” group on the statewide assessments.  


Wilson said,  "I am very proud of all of our schools. We have very strong community engagement and a caring supportive school board. "   "I congratulate the teachers, students, parents and administration at Mount Yonah and the White County Intermediate School for all of their hard work.   Our faculty, staff and administration have a passion to know, value, and inspire our kids and we want to see all of our students success in school and in life."  


White County Recognizes Veterans ( 11/11/13)

(Cleveland)- White County did it’s part in recognizing veterans, during a special ceremony Monday  at the service monuments in front of the White County Courthouse in Cleveland.  The event  was sponsored by the Roy Head Post 16 of the American Legion and  honored each branch of the country’s military.   Living veterans as well as those who have passed on were saluted for their service to the country.   


The Commander of the American Legion in  Mike Allen said during the program   that veterans are a special  group of people he said, “Fortunately our military is made up of ordinary people accomplishing extraordinary things.  Fewer than 10 percent of Americans can claim the title  military veteran. “


The ceremony was filled with music and individual salute to all veterans.   


After the ceremony Allen said, “ I think that White County is one of the most exemplary counties in the nation  as far as dedication toward the veterans and the veterans dedicated to the new veterans.




TMC  Makes Food Bank Donation  ( 11/11/13)


(CLEVELAND) – As a result of the promotion presented by Truett McConnell College Basketball and the Cleveland McDonalds,  TMC’s  Department of Athletics donated over 800 meals to the Food Bank of Northeast Georgia, Saturday.  The Food Bank of Northeast Georgia serves 14 counties and distributes 12.8 million pounds of food annually, 400,000 of those pounds going directly to White County.  


Dr. Stacy Hall, Truett-McConnell College’s Director of Athletics said, “The Food Bank of Northeast Georgia provides an invaluable service to our community, we are proud to be able to partner with McDonald’s of Cleveland to help raise awareness of hunger and to do our small part in fighting it.  I’m grateful for David Standard and his staff at the Food Bank and encourage everyone to make a donation to this worthy cause.”  


To learn more about the Food Bank of Northeast Georgia or to make a donation, go to


Dr. Stacy Hall, TMC Director of Athletics, thanks

David Standard of the Food Bank of Northeast

Georgia for his service to White County and

surrounding areas.





Kitchens Named EAGLE Winner (11/11/13)


(Clarkesville)- Gabrielle Kitchens has been selected as North Georgia Technical College’s 2014 Exceptional Adult Georgian in Literacy Education or  EAGLE winner.  Students who have demonstrated superior achievement in adult education programs are nominated by their instructors for this honor.


Gabrielle is a student at the Rabun County Adult Education Center and her Instructor is Judy Hall.  


Also nominated for this award were Julia Elizabeth Daunch of Cleveland, Olivia Green of Lula,  Timika Figueroa of Toccoa, and Cassie Lynn Hall of Blairsville.


Gabrielle will compete in the regional competition in November and will attend the EAGLE conference  next March.   “We are so proud of all of our students,” said Dean for Adult Education Shelby Ward. “We know that Gabrielle will represent the college well during the next rounds of competition at the region and state levels.”




            Gabrielle Kitchens






Arrest Made In Club Escape Incident (11/9/13)


(Cleveland)- White County authorities have announced an arrest  in connection with the incident at Club Escape in Helen on October 28th.  In a press release from the sheriff’s office, they advised that on Friday afternoon they arrested 29-year old Christopher S. Burnett of 8600 North Main Street  Helen and charged him with criminal damage to property in the first degree in connection with the damage at Club Escape. 


White County Chief Deputy Bob Ingram said, the use of video surveillance and good investigative work by a couple of their investigators is what led them to Burnett.  Ingram said Burnett had moved here from Florida and had done some work at the club. 






         Christopher S. Burnett (photo wcso)



The incident was first reported to Helen police and investigator Ricky Gunter responded  to probe the damage and suffered chemical burns to his hands and was treated at Habersham Medical Center, he was able to return to work by the end of the week. 


Helen Police Chief Jim Couch  requested the help of the sheriff’s office in part because Gunter, their only investigator, being injured. 


According to Chief Ingram, the investigation is continuing and they expect other arrests.  Burnett remains in the White County Detention Center.



Winners Split Rotary  Raffle Prize ( 11/8/13)



Pictured:  Don Allison, representing  winner Rebecca King, Melissa Gill

representing Jean Strong, Mary Guinn representing the group ticket holders,

Susan Baker Representing Andy Dowdy and Al Seale



(Cleveland)- The White County Rotary Club reports a successful community night out and $10,000 scholarship  raffle. The event was held Thursday night at the Black Bear Dinner Theater north of Cleveland.  This is an annual event where  the Club members sells tickets for an elimination drawing where the last ticket drawn wins $10,000.   


Rotary Club President Melissa Gill said, “ the Rotary Club of White County would like to thank everyone for their support for the scholarship raffle, that has now been named the Sam Dixon Memorial Scholarship Raffle, and the funds go to support our local  students in their endeavor  to attend college.  They receive a $1,000 scholarship per year  for four years.”


During this years raffle the elimination process  was down to five tickets and the ticket holders, or persons designated to act on their behalf, agreed to split the funds  rather than go further  with the elimination.  The winning ticket holders were:  Andy Dowdy, Al Seale, Jean Strong, Rebecca King and a group of 4 people.   


Each of the ticket holders will receive $2,000, with the multiple ticket holders will split their amount.   In addition to the possible winnings those attending were able to enjoy an nice meal and participate in a silent auction of items donated for the event.   




J.P. Nix Student Salute Veterans  (11/7/13)



 Kelsey Cleveland Performs the National Anthem



(Cleveland)-  Veterans Day is Monday, students Jack P. Nix Primary School in Cleveland took time Thursday morning  to salute out  local veterans.  The  second grade students performed several song and recognition of each of the veterans was made.  


Second grade student Kelsey Cleveland did an outstanding job singing the National Anthem.  The school had a walk of honor down the hall of the school for the veterans and a special lunch was provided following the late morning program. 


The schools music teacher  Barbara Thomas  coordinated the program and  Principal Stacie Ward  said the participation was wonderful.  





Two Arrested In  Connection With Several Burglaries ( 11/7/13)


          Courtney Rachel Duncan                                                          Preston Dale Nichols


(Cleveland)- Cleveland Police report the arrest of two people  they say are  connected to numerous  electronic burglaries across north Georgia.  Cleveland Police Chief John Foster said the suspects  identified as  22-year old Courtney Rachel Duncan  and  48 –year old  Preston Dale Nichols,  both of Murrayville.  


Foster said the two were taken into custody on October 28th after being spotted  officers in front of   Aaron Rentals in Cleveland.  The two have been charged with the theft of electronics from the Walmart in Cleveland as well as other Walmart stores.  Chief Foster said. “ at the time of arrest the individuals were in possession of a magnetic Alpha S3 Handkey, which they used to unlock the electronics from the display.”  The key is capable of unlocking other locks on TV’s and electronic devices.  


According to Foster,  they have admitted to taking items from stores in the North Georgia area.  He said they have heard from officials from as far away as Henry County were the two are suspected of selling items to  pawn shops.  


Foster said, they are still investigating this case and more charges  will be filed against the two.   Nichols remains in the White County Detention Center, Duncan has been released on bond.   









Helen City Election Results  (11/6/13)

(Helen)- The top three candidates in Helen City election Tuesday  winning seats on the city commission board  were  Fred Garmon who received 98 votes, incumbents Helen Wilkins with 94 votes and Judy Holloway with 82 votes. 

The two other candidate Phil Irish received 54 votes and incumbent Lynn Whitner  41 votes. 

The voting in the city of Helen was the only voting conducted yesterday in White County. 



County Commissioners Seek Land And Water Conservation Grant (11/6/13)


(Cleveland )- The White County  Board of Commissioners have taken the first step to obtain funds to help with the improvement access to the  former Outdoor Therapeutic property north of  Cleveland. Monday the commissioners voted to apply for a 50 percent matching grant from the Georgia Land and Water Conservation.


The amount of funds available is not know now, commissioners say this is just a paperwork to get the grant process underway.


The commissioners deferred a paving project for Leatherford Road east of Cleveland. The board felt there was not enough time to get the paving done this fall due to cold weather and the leaves falling on the paving area.  The commissioners agreed to rebid the project next February or March for April paving.


 Also during this weeks commission meeting the commissioners pledged  to do more paving work in the future. Here is how commission chairman Travis Turner put it “ I think I speak for everybody up here, especially with the next SPLOST that starts November of next year we are going to… anybody disagree, we’re going to get some roads paved in this community.”   


The commissioners said the attendance at this past weekends Unicoi Wine Festival  was  strong.  Commission Chairman Travis Turner said, the success of this event warrants further events like this in promoting the wine and Agritourism  business in the county.  Turner had praise for the White County Chamber of Commerce and other who contributed to the event. 





TMC  Soccer Teams Ranked Fourth In Conference (11/5/13)


(CLEVELAND)-  The Truett-McConnell College Men’s and Women’s soccer teams were ranked fourth place in the 2013 Soccer Tournament bracket released by the Appalachian Athletic Conference this past  Saturday.   


The Lady Bears have an overall season record of 9-6-1 and a conference record of 6-3-1; they will play in and host the first quarterfinal round, against no.5 Columbia College, Saturday  at 12:30 PM.


The Men’s Soccer team tied for fourth place with an overall season record of 8-7-2 and a conference record of 4-4-1. The Bears will also play in and host the quarterfinal round against Point University, Saturday  at 2:30 PM.



TMC Bears Help With Food Drive  (11/5/13)


(CLEVELAND)  – Truett-McConnell College’s Bears basketball teams are partnering with McDonalds and the Northeast Georgia Food Bank to offer a canned food drive at the men’s and women’s basketball games this Saturday. Those who present a canned food product at the admission gate will receive free admission.


During halftime of the men’s varsity game, all donations will be given to a representative of the Northeast Georgia Food Bank.  The Lady Bears will tip off against Bob Jones University at 2:00 PM in their first regular season home game. The Bears take on Young Harris College at 4:00 PM. 





Cleveland Pharmacy To Close And Team With  Rite-Aid ( 11/4/13/13)

(Cleveland)- Customers of Cleveland Pharmacy  in downtown Cleveland are being advised that the pharmacy will be  joining forces with the  Rite-Aid pharmacy chain.   Owner/ Pharmacist Josh Kinsey said, he has decided to join Rite-Aid and merge customer services.  The decision means that the downtown pharmacy will discontinue service after


                                                                                Dr. Joshua Kinsey Owner/Pharmacist

Wednesday November 13th.   


Kinsey said it was a bitter sweet decision for him. He said, “ we love out customers, love taking care of them, but at the same time the market for an independent pharmacy is just different than it use to be.  Reimbursement  rate are different, the government is way too involved as they are with many things, and it’s just a time when independent pharmacies they can’t  survive  the big hits like the corporate’s   can.”


 He said, “ the customer will benefit in the long run with the merger with Rite-Aid, including things that we could not offer as a small store. “  He said that he  and Mary Pardue, Certified Pharmacy Technician are joining the Rite-Aid staff and the personal touch will be there and Rite-Aid will join that effort. 


According to Kinsey, current customer information will be transferred so he said, “it will be a seamless process as possible.”  


 Kinsey said even though the Cleveland Pharmacy , which has been open since 2008, will no longer serve customers  the  Soda Fountain Café is not affected by the move,  “they are staying in the same location, same hours and everything, they hopefully will get the opportunity to expand a little bit. “ 


Kinsey advised that the gift shop in Cleveland and Clarkesville will also remain for the time being.  









Cleveland Man Leads Police On 8 Mile Chase ( 11/4/13)



(Cleveland)- A Cleveland man faces several charges after fleeing from White County deputies and leading them on an eight mile chase Saturday afternoon.  


White County Sheriff’s office Captain Tim Chapman said, the chase was initiated on Highway 115 west of Cleveland  and ended up on Highway 284 just inside Hall County.  


According to Chapman 30-year old Steve Anderson of Elza Road in Cleveland was   arrested and charged with,  Driving under the influence, reckless driving, fleeing and attempting to elude, running stoplight, improper passing, suspended license and open container.








No Serious Injuries In Duncan Bridge Road Accident ( 11/4/13)

By Rob Moore



(Cleveland)- No one was seriously hurt in a two-vehicle wreck that shut down Georgia Highway 384 (Duncan Bridge Road) just after noon Sunday.


Sgt. Anthony Coleman of Georgia State Patrol Post 7 in Toccoa said a tire blowout resulted in the crash.


A Honda Civic was traveling west when its right rear tire blew out. The car crossed over and struck the concrete bridge with its front, then rotated out in front of a Toyota Tacoma pickup truck, striking the truck's front, Coleman said.


(Photo/Wesley Littlejohn)


Coleman said a 61-year-old female was trapped in the backseat of the car until the door was removed, Coleman said. There also was a 4-year-old child on the opposite side of the backseat.


The occupants of the Honda all were taken to Northeast Georgia Medical Center, he said.


Coleman said the truck's occupants complained of injury but were not taken for treatment.


The driver of the Honda was cited by GSP for failure to maintain lane.=








Warrants Taken For Club Escape Co-Owner  (11/1/13)

by Dean Dyer and Rob Moore


(HELEN) - Law enforcement personnel across northeast Georgia are searching for a Helen man who made public threats against police officers Saturday night.  Helen Police Chief Jim Couch said Friday morning  his office obtained two warrants Thursday for Mark Turner, co-owner of Club Escape. 


Couch said the warrants were totally unrelated to the burglary and chemical spill reported at Club Escape  reported Monday morning.  He said,  "They had to do with a sign violation and threats he made against our officers on Facebook."   Couch said officers spent most of the day Thursday trying to locate Turner, but were unsuccessful.  According to Couch, the sign violation was in connection with the unauthorized placement of a sign on the front deck area of the business, which resulted in Turner's arrest on disorderly conduct charges Saturday night.   


Helen Police Investigator Ricky Gunter, who was at the scene Monday morning to probe the damage, suffered chemical burns to his hands and was treated at


    Mark Turner Escape co-owner


Habersham Medical Center.  Couch advised that Gunter returned to work at the department Friday.    


 As far as the Club Escape incident, the chief said sheriff's investigators, wearing protective clothing and breathing apparatus, went into the building and executed a search warrant. He said the results of that investigation will be released by the sheriff’s office since it is handling that part.  


Couch said the toxic fumes are still present at Club Escape. He said he tried to stand outside the door while investigators conducted their search and had to move because of the fumes.   Couch said the building owner and an employee went into the building Thursday without protection after being warned about the dangers.




Free Clinic Gets HEMC Roundup Fund Grant ( 11/1/13)


(Cleveland)- The Community Helping Hands Clinic in Cleveland has received a $10,000 Operation Roundup grant from Habersham Electric Membership Corp. Foundation.  The grant will help the free clinic continue to provide medical services to uninsured White County residents.


A check presentation was made Thursday  by Director of Marketing for HEMC, Susan Baker.   “We are glad to support such a meaningful organization in our community with funds generated through the Operation Round Up program,” Baker said, noting that HEMC members who voluntarily participate in the program have their monthly electric bills rounded up to the next dollar, providing funds to meet numerous otherwise-unmet needs in its six-county service area.




Susan Baker, director of marketing for Habersham Electric Membership Corp.,

left, presents a $10,000 grant check to representatives of the Community Helping

Hands Clinic, from left, Gene White, executive director; Cathy Villines, board

member; Carol Crossley, vice chairman; Jeff Hunt, treasurer; Jean Lindsey,

secretary; Henrietta Sutton, board members; and Terry Goodger, chairman

of the board. (Photo by Paul Scott Abbott)


Gene White, executive director of help the Community Helping Hands Clinic, in expressing gratitude said, “The free clinic is abundantly grateful to HEMC for this grant funding, which will ensure our ability to furnish compassionate, high-quality healthcare to our uninsured, low-income neighbors. ”  


The not-for-profit clinic, which receives no governmental funding of any kind, relies upon community-based funding and volunteer efforts. Since opening in 2009 as Caring Hands Health Clinic, it has provided services to more than 1,000 White County residents.





Club Escape Investigation  Turned Over To Sheriff's Office (10/31/13)



(HELEN) - Helen Police Chief Jim Couch advised Wednesday  night that  the investigation into an apparent burglary at Club Escape on Main Street has been turned over to the White County Sheriff's Office.  That announcement followed a meeting between Couch and White County Sheriff Neal Walden Wednesday afternoon. 


 According to Couch he made the decision to seek the sheriff’s office  help because  his only investigator Ricky Gunter was injured while making the initial investigation of the incident. Also Couch said his department has been taxed because they have been keeping a 24/7  security presence at the building since Monday. 


The incident initially was reported as a burglary, but on Monday, Couch said officials believe muriatic acid was involved and is the substance that resulted in chemical burns to officer Gunter.  Officials located containers for at least two gallons of the chemical.  


The police chief said they were waiting for chemical levels to go down and hope  sheriff’s investigators will be able to  enter  the building Thursday  to conduct an investigation and gather evidence.  



More Details Released On Helen Business Break-In (10/30/13)

(Helen)-  Helen Police  Investigator  Ricky Gunter, who was injured  Monday while investigating  an apparent burglar at  Club Escape  in the city,  is recovering at home and is feeling a little better.  That’s the word from Helen Police Chief Jim Couch,  who  says Gunter has  set up another  doctors appointment as he recovers. 

Chief Couch advised that  the Hall County Haz Mat team was called in Tuesday, as a precaution, to check the structure and check the level of vapor.  On Monday Couch said  officials believe muriatic acid was involved and is the substance that resulted in investigator Gunter being injured.   

During their investigation officials  located containers for at least two gallons of the chemical.  He said the levels are acceptable if a Haz mat suit and face mask is used.  They advised there is no structure damage that they could see.   Chief Couch said he has made a request to White County Sheriff Neal Walden for help in investigating the incident. 

Couch said he has consulted  with the District Attorney’s office about the case.  He spent some time yesterday with DA Jeff Langley and Assistant DA Jeremy Clough.  White County Public Safety Director has provided Haz Mat equipment for the police department to use as the investigation continues. 



White County Firefighters Responds To Smoke In School (10/29/13)


(CLEVELAND) - Smoke in a White County school drew response from several fire units throughout the county Monday night.  Cleveland Fire Chief Ricky Pruitt said at the scene that custodians at Jack P. Nix Primary School went into the cafeteria area of the school and noticed the smoke. 


Pruitt said the workers exited the building and called 9-1-1.  Fire units were dispatched around 8:30 PM.  Chief Pruitt said when the first unit arrived there was light smoke showing from the cafeteria area, he told reporters what they did next  “We went  inside and started searching for the source, still unable to locate anything  but we have a bad electrical smell like a ballast burnt out or a belt on a heating and air unit.  So we’re still searching everything out using thermal imaging cameras, checking

everything on the roof and attic”.  


Firefighters talk w/ school officials during smoke investigation


A thorough visual check of the building , as well as checks with the thermal imaging cameras, failed to reveal a source of the smoke.

Pruitt said they had a large number of units dispatched because of the type of structure and the unknown “We had 4 stations with  engines responding, the ladder from Cleveland and ladder from Helen also. Cause on a commercial fire you don’t really know how much equipment you’re going to need so its better to have too much than not enough”.

Fire personnel remained on scene for about an hour before turning over the building to the school superintendent and school maintenance personnel.  There was no damage to the building, which is located on West Kytle Street, and no injuries occurred.

Update-  Chief Pruitt advised Tuesday morning that, " school maintenance discovered what caused the smoke and smell last night.  It was a motor in one of the milk coolers.



School Bus Snags Utility Line, No  Injuries ( 10/28/13)


(Cleveland)- A White County School bus got tangled up in some utility lines early Monday  morning  after  a tree fell on power line and a power pole was broken, south of Cleveland.   The incident occurred around 6:30 AM while the driver was picking up students on Wooten Road.   White County Superintendent  Dr. Jeff Wilson  said  there was approximately 25 students on the bus at the time and there were no injuries.   


Wilson said the bus driver did exactly as trained and kept the children on the bus.   He said, both the driver and the students did a great job.   Wilson also had praise for Habersham Electric power crews who responded quickly.   


HEMC spokeswoman Nicole Dover said, “it was a phone line, not power lines that the bus ran into.”   She said, they were not sure exactly what caused the power pole to snap.  There was a couple of different possibilities, the tree falling on the power lines or the bus snagging the phone line.  The incident knocked out service to just over 600 HEMC  customers. 


There was another incident that involved a White County School bus this morning.  Superintendent Wilson said, while turning around at one of the stops a driver backed into a fire hydrant.  No injuries reported in this incident as well.   That incident occurred on Kanady  Road,  west of Cleveland. 





Addressing Child Sexual Abuse In White County ( 10/24/13)


Rev. Andy Chambers First Presbyterian Church    Bridgette Barker Executive Dir. Lumpkin County Family Connection


(Cleveland)- The White County Family Connection Network has kicked off an initiative that address  child sexual abuse in the county, with a community prevention program.   Wednesday  a group of over 50 people gathered at the First Presbyterian  Church in Cleveland to hear about the program.  Spearheading this effort  is Rev. Andy Chambers, pastor of the church.  He said the goal is to stop sexual abuse of children and make White County the safest place in Georgia to raise children.  Rev. Chambers said he was overwhelmed by the support show by the people who attended.


According to Chambers it a subject some people don’t want to talk about, but  1 in 10 children will be sexually abused before their 18th birthday and 30 -40 percent are abused by family members. Chambers said a key to the initiative is getting teachers and system employees involved. He said, “Our teachers spend probably more time with the kids than the majority of our parents do. Just being with them every day and they get to know them really well and we want to make sure our teachers have the tools that they need to recognize the sexual abuse in the students and then learn what to do if they do suspect a case of it. So we want our teachers to be empowered.”


Lumpkin County has a program already working in their county, Bridgette Barker is the Executive Director  for Lumpkin County Family Connection she attended the White County Meeting and said they’ve see positive results, “We did initially have a spike in reports.  I was a victims advocate in the sheriffs office prior to the position I have now.  So initially we saw that it was empowering more people to come forward after the very first community training I did.  That night, by midnight, someone from that training came in and made a report, filed a report to protect a child that was in their life.  So I think it defiantly shows it is making an impact and it is protecting children.”


 Rev. Chambers said their goal is to have  1,047 adults trained to assist, currently they are 8-point 8 percent toward that goal.  


Anyone wanting more information about the program can call Judi Lawson at White County Family Connection  at  706-865-3215.  






District 2 ACCG  Holds Meeting In Cleveland (10/23/13)


(Cleveland)- County leaders from across northeast Georgia gathered  in Cleveland Tuesday for a meeting of  the District 2  Association of County Commissioners of Georgia.  The meeting was hosted by White County Board of  Commissioners and was  held at the White County Senior Center.  


In addition to networking time between the county officials they received an update on ACCG’s  legislative priorities in the 2014 general assembly.  The group also had a time to share their concerns and interest  with area state senators and representatives.   Attending the meeting was Senators  Steve  Gooch and John Wilkinson,  State Representatives Dan Gasaway,  Terry Rodgers and Kevin Tanner.


Todd Edwards Associate Legislative  Director for


Senators Steve  Gooch and John Wilkinson,  State Representatives

Dan Gasaway,  Terry Rodgers and Kevin Tanner talk with Commissioners 


ACCG said it’s important that the county commissioners keep an open line of communication with area legislators. “ a lot of the bills covered by the legislators, in fact almost half will impact counties in some way because we are charged with enforcing them, complying with them or following them in some way or another.  So it is good to get on the front end and have the commissioners talk with their legislators and partner together for good public policy.  Because they share the same constituents and so much of what they do impacts taxpayers at the local level.”


Edwards said shared with the group  some of the top legislative priorities in the coming general assembly session includes: additional funding of Juvenile Courts, a clean up of some tax reform issues and  telecommunications  infrastructure,  as it deals with cell towers and broadband internet services and 9-1-1 facilities.







Drug  " Take-Back"  this Saturday    ( 10/22/13)


Got Drugs? Dispose of Unused RX, DEA


(Cleveland)-  The White County Sheriff’s Office and the Appalachian Drug Task Force will partner together with the Enotah Anti Drug Coalition to participate in the nationwide prescription drug “Take-Back” initiative that seeks to prevent increased pill abuse and theft.  The White County Sheriff’s Office and the ADTF will be collecting potentially dangerous expired, unused, and unwanted prescription drugs for destruction at Wal Mart  in Cleveland this  Saturday, 3 from 10 A.M–2 P.M.  This service is free and anonymous, no questions asked. 


This initiative addresses a vital public safety and public health issue.  Most people are not aware that medicines found in home cabinets are highly susceptible to diversion, misuse, and abuse.  Most Americans do not know how to properly dispose of their unused or unwanted medication, often flushing them down the toilet or throwing them away; both potential safety and health hazards. 


White County Sheriff Neal Walden said, “Prescription drug abuse is a rapidly growing drug problem, and this take-back event is an invaluable tool that we can use to reduce the threat of drug abuse that these prescription drugs pose."


Collection site in every local community nationwide can be found by going to  This site will be continuously updated with new take-back locations.  There are two websites that will help explain the dangers of prescription drug abuse;  for parents and for teens. 





Coat And Blanket Giveaway Friday ( 10/22/13)

(Clermont)- Caring Hands Ministries has announced they  will be hold a coat and blanket give away this Friday  (10/25)  from 11AM-2PM at their service center next to Papa's Pizza  Hwy 129 in Clermont.   Officials say, there is a limited number of coats and blankets that were left over from what Americans Helping Americans sent last year, this year's supply has not come in yet but it is cold now so it makes sense to offer what is available now.  


People coming for coats and blankets are asked to park at the north end of the parking lot on the dirt area and use the back door so that it does not interfere with the Papa's Pizza lunchtime business. This entrance is wheelchair accessible.


 If you have coats, jackets, or sweaters your family has outgrown that you want to share with someone who may need them please leave  those at  the front   entrance of ministry Wednesday or Thursday. Please label them for coat giveaway.   Anyone needing more information can call 706 219-1980.








Pless Road Dryer Fire Damages Home ( 10/16/13)


(Cleveland)- A fire in a laundry room prompted a  response from White County firefighters Tuesday afternoon.   White County Public Safety Director David Murphy said, the blaze was at a residence,  at 1462  Pless Road.  


The caller told  the  9-1-1 dispatcher that they had a  fire in the laundry room and the residence full of smoke.  


According to Murphy due to a quick response by firefighters the fire was contained to the laundry room with some moderate damage.  


Firefighters from station  2 and 3 along with Mutual Aid from Cleveland Fire Department responded. Murphy advised there were  no injuries were reported and the cause of the fire is under investigation.




Groundbreaking Held For Helen Island Development ( 10-16-13)

By Rob Moore
HELEN - After more than a dozen years of planning, work is about to begin on redevelopment of the Island in Helen.
Helen officials gathered Tuesday afternoon for a ceremonial groundbreaking for the project, which is located roughly between city hall and the Festhalle.
The area, so named in the 1970s because it included a moat  at that time, is located below Helen City Hall between Main Street and Edelweiss Strasse.
"The purpose of this project was to see this area develop," said City Manager Jerry Elkins. "It was to provide the necessary infrastructure, water and sewer, drainage, streets, sidewalks and parking areas to encourage develop down here, and to connect this area with the downtown area."


From left, Commissioner Jeff Ash, City Manager Jerry Elkins,

City Attorney Carl Free, Fletcher Holliday of EMI, Mayor Lynn Whitener,

Public Works Director Ross Hewell, City Clerk Marilyn Chastain,

Commissioner Judy Holloway, Commissioner Dona K. Burke,

Commissioner Helen Wilkins. (Photo/Rob Moore)

The work, being performed with Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax proceeds, will create some 64 free parking spaces.
"What we envision this to be one day is another small downtown Marketplatz area," Elkins said.
Elkins estimates about a $700,000 investment in Phase 1 of the project.
"I know that sounds like a lot of money, but just the contract on it is $430,000, and the city's added streetlights to that, and we're going to install them while the contractor is here," Elkins said.
Phase 1, which is from Bodensee on Munich Strasse to Narr Weg between Country Inn and Suites and The Hayloft, is set to be completed in early 2014.
During Tuesday afternoon's Helen City Commission meeting, EMI was authorized to proceed with the engineering for Phase 2 of redevelopment of the Island. That portion runs from Country Inn and Suites past Bigg Daddy's to Edelweiss Strasse, and will include streets, sidewalks and streetlights.




Spangler To Serve As Interim  Chamber  President ( 10-16-13)

By Rob Moore


(CLEVELAND) - A familiar face will be returning to the White County Chamber of Commerce as it begins the search for a new president.
Today, (Oct. 16), is Chamber President Melissa Charles' last day with the chamber and, consequently, Interim President Russ Spangler's first day.
Tuesday afternoon, Charles talked a little bit about her plans.
"I'm going to be going down to Gainesville to take a job writing proposals for a pharmacy benefits management company, and I'm very excited about it," Charles said. "It's going to be hard to leave everybody here in White County. They've been so good, and things are picking up here in White County. I hope it will continue to do so."

Russ Spangler (L)  talks/ Helen Commissioner Jeff

Ash, Melissa Charles looks on

Charles has been with the chamber for about 18 months.
Spangler, who was interim president when Charles was hired, is excited to be returning.
He said he was surprised to read of Charles' pending departure on the chamber website.
"Actually I was kind of hoping I would get a call," Spangler said. "I didn't know if I'd get the job or not, but I was kind of hoping. It's nice to be wanted once you pass a certain age."
Spangler praised Charles.
"We're going to miss Melissa," he said. "She was a great candidate when we were looking. She was a great hire. She's done a good job and, like everybody who does a good job, is going to be missed." 



Dear Season Online Chat This Thursday (10/15/13)



(SOCIAL CIRCLE)-   Deer firearms season begins statewide this Saturday. To   prepare for the season, the Georgia Department of Natural Resources’ Wildlife Resources Division invites  you to join state deer biologist Charlie Killmaster, as he host a live chat internet broadcast this Thursday, October 17th   at 3 p.m. EST.  


Tune in at    or  

Have a question? Email it to [email protected] and tune in to our broadcast to see your questions answered live.


Learn everything you need to know about deer hunting in Georgia! Charlie will cover many topics, give his forecast, provide tips for success and answer your emailed questions live during the broadcast. The chat will last approximately 30 minutes, and we will address as many questions as we can during the broadcast.



City Council Addresses Verbal Abuse ( 10/15/13)


(Cleveland)- The verbal abuse of  City Hall employees was addressed by the Cleveland City Council  during their meeting Monday  night.  Councilman Rush Mauney said he was concerned about the verbal abuse the employees have been subject to,  from people who are upset about their water bill. 


In a majority of the cases the  caller is the reason there is a problem, for failure to pay their bill on time and the water is cut off.  Mauney said  it not a random thing, for some it’s people who have repeated water cut offs.  He said, we  should not stand for this type action, “ I think we as a council should have a no tolerance policy, our people should not be cursed at, period, “ he said. 


Mauney told the council the employees have been subject to the abuse both on the phone and in person in the office and in a recent incident an employees was in tears following the incident.   According to Mauney this  is, “verbal abuse and creates a hostile work environment and the city could be sued by our own  employees. “  


Mauney said he didn’t know what they can do, but they need a  zero tolerance about this. He said,  anyone can call or come in and work out a payment plan without being abusive. 


Cleveland Police Chief John Foster said when this type of action occurs by a person in the office their attitude chances when an officer  walks  in. 


Kids Learn About Fire Safety (10/15/13)



(Cleveland)- As part of October, Fire Education/Prevention Month, Cleveland fire personnel visited Kids Korner in Cleveland Monday.


Cleveland Fire Chief Ricky Pruitt said around 40 children and staff that were there were able to see a fire truck up close and learn about fire safety and prevention. 



Unoccupied House Destroyed By Fire ( 10/14/13)


(Cleveland)-  A Sunday night fire in White County destroyed an unoccupied abandoned house.  White County Public Safety Director David Murphy said, White County firefighters were dispatched to the blaze on Barrett Mill Road off Duncan Bridge Road. 


White County 9-1-1 dispatch received several call because flames and the glow  from this blaze could be seen for several miles.  White County stations 2 and 4 with mutual aid from the city of Cleveland responded.


Murphy said, the first  arriving units reported the structure totally involved.  Firefighters operated in a defensive mode working to contain the fire to the immediate area of the structure.   


According to Murphy the cause of the fire has not been determined. No injuries were reported. 



One Person Injured In Sunday Morning Wreck ( 10/14/13)


(CLEVELAND) – West Kytle  Street in Cleveland  was shut down to all traffic for almost an hours early Sunday morning, as a result of a two-vehicle wreck.   Cleveland Fire Chief Ricky Pruitt said his department was called to the wreck on Highway 115 West ( W. Kytle Street)  at Campbell Street at 12:18 a.m.

"Upon arrival, we found a Suzuki Samurai on its top with the two occupants out of the vehicle," Pruitt said Sunday morning. "The passenger of the Suzuki was transported to the hospital with injuries, but they did not appear to be life-threatening."  Pruitt said both the driver of the Suzuki and the passenger car involved declined treatment and transport.

Pruitt said,  "It appears the westbound Suzuki ran out of the road, overcorrected, ran off the left side of the road and rolled." 


New  Extension Agent On Duty In White County ( 10/14/13)


(Cleveland)-  White County has it’s first fulltime county extension agent  in many years, Nathan Eason was recently appointed to serve as extension agent here.  He began his duties October first and  said he has been  busy getting settled in, “ getting started, getting to know people, that’s the basics starting to build those relationships with the county, people within agriculture, homeowners, just providing that unbiased research that the University of Georgia does.”  


He said he wants to devote a lot of time to promote 4-H and reach out to the youth in the county.   Eason he said he’s glad he can concentrate on just one county, “because of budget cuts, White County was unsure if they were going to get one, but due to some early retirements we were able to come in and get a lot of younger new agents to come in these counties  and fill these positions. “


His background in is soil nutrition and pasture  management, but


                  Nathan Eason 


Eason said he knows he has to be as he put it “ a jack of all trades” to serve the diverse interest of the county. 


Eason was born in Tifton, but grew up in Athens/ Oconee County. He attended Georgia Southern and University of Georgia.  He is married, his wife has secured a teaching position at Mt. Yonah Elementary School and they live in




Woodman Recognize Community Service Recipients (10/14/13)


     Chris Cleveland w/ Faye Franks                         Annette Boswell w/ Faye Franks


(Cleveland)- The Woodman of the World in Cleveland presented their annual  Community Service Awards  Saturday at the Lodge Building.  Faye Franks President of the local fraternal organization said this is a day that we “ put out there things that begin with the power of one.”   Those efforts in some cases evolve to include many others. 


During he ceremony six different areas of recognition was made.  The “Caring for Others” award was presented to Annette Boswell for her efforts in the community including assisting in providing high school students, who can’t afford them,  prom dresses.  


Chris Cleveland was recognizes with the “Lifesaver” award, for his efforts in savings two young boys in distress on Waters Creek in Lumpkin County.   


On Demand Construction was presented the “Community Partner” award for the efforts by that company to assist the White County Food Bank.  


     Bill White w/ Faye Franks                                                Wes & Yvonne Bovill


Former White County High School Coach/Teacher Bill White was recognized for his dedication to working with youth. 


The  “Community Leadership”  Award went to Annette Adams for her involvement and dedication to the community, ( Ms. Award was presented during another special ceremony going on at the same time in downtown Cleveland).  


 And the Woodman “Fraternal Spirit”   Award went to Wes and Yvonne Bovill of Cleveland for they way they serve others. 







Discovery Statue Dedicated ( 10/14/13)


(Cleveland)- Dahlonega may boast about the first to discover gold in the area, but White County played a part in the that as well and the gold rush of 1828 and now the county has an official “Discovery”  statue  in the form of a  gold miner sitting on the north lawn of the historic courthouse in Cleveland.  Saturday an official dedication ceremony and unveiling  of that statue was held. 


The statue was made possible by the denotation of funds given by Annette Adams of Cleveland in memory of her husband Eugene Emerson Adams.  


During the ceremony held at noon at the historic courthouse White County Probate Judge Garrison Baker shared the fact that gold discovery was a contributing factor for the early development and growth of White County. 


    Annette Adams with artist Gregory Johnson 


Ms. Adams was recognized for  her efforts in showcasing that  part of the county’s history with  proclamations of  “Annette Braswell Adams Day”  by both the White County Board of Commissioners and the Cleveland City Council.  


Cleveland Mayor Don Stanley presents  Proclamation  to Ms. Adams


Special recognition  was given to artist Gregory Johnson who sculpted the bronze statue and artist Mark Irvin who designed and constructed the rock pedestal that the statue sits on.




J. P. Nix School Celebrates 25 Years ( 10-10-13)


                                                                                                Former JPN Principals Jennifer King and Dr. June Parks

                                                                                                W/ Current Principal Stacie Ward

(Cleveland)- White County’s Jack P. Nix Primary school is  celebrating it’s 25 anniversary this year  and  Thursday morning  at the school there was a special program to mark the occasion.  The school opened in 1988 and was named in recognition to former Georgia Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Jack P. Nix.  Attending the event was about 25  school officials who have served during the past.   


One of those on hand was the  Superintendent of Schools in White County back in 1988, Raymond Collins he said it’s seems like just a short time ago when the school first opened it’s doors.  Collins said, “ it seems like a very short time, of course it’s a remarkable progress in  White County over the years and  I’m very proud that  it’s growing and educating kids in today’s world and prepare them for what their future can be.”  


J.P. Nix first principal  Dr. June Parks,  shared her thoughts from back in 1988 and the school’s dinosaur mascot, she said,   “ when we started this school it was a wonderful experience,  we gathered all the community together and all the parents and they were all so supportive and that’s how we came about with the dinosaur, the children decided we needed a name for the it and they thought Nixosaurs was an appropriate  name, and I agree.”


First grade students at the school performed several songs that highlighted the school including recognition to the schools namesake Dr. Nix and the schools mascot. The schools music teacher  Barbara Thomas composed the songs for the event and she told us about the school namesake song  “ Actually I just wrote it this summer, all the music used today was written for this particular show,” said, Thomas.



Among the other special guest for the day was former principal Ms. Jennifer King and several former teachers.   The school’s current principal Stacie Ward said the school has as solid education history “ we have a very strong history and we look forward to many years to come educating students,”  explained  Ward. 




Lower Rainfall Recorded In September (10-10-13)



(Sautee)- WRWH weather reporter Bill Kinsland reports the total average rainfall in  White County during September was 2-point 98 inches.  That is 2-point 14 inches below the normal average rainfall. 


The greatest amount of rain recorded during the month was 1-point 58 inches on September 25th at Helen.  Bill advises that the total year-to date rainfall is 79-point-77 inches which is almost 24 ½  inches above normal. 


As far as temperatures are concerned the average high temperature was 76-point 5 degrees and the average low temperature was 57-point 2 degrees.  The highest temperature was 87 degrees reported on September first in both Cleveland and Helen.  The lowest temperature was 48 degrees recorded September 29th at Sautee and September 30th here at WRWH.     




Heating Assistance Program Dates Announced ( 10-10-13)


Ninth District Opportunity, Inc.

(Cleveland)- Ninth District Opportunity, Inc. has announced dates for this years heating assistance program.  White County Community Resource Coordinator for Ninth District, Yvonne Cruse said, pending the availability of federal funds, households in which  every member is  65 and older or  in which every member  is completely unable to leave the home due to health reasons, may apply for assistance with their home heating bills beginning on November  first.    


The Georgia Department of Human Services will help pay heating costs for gas, electricity, coal or kerosene.  One time payments will be made by checks issued to the home energy suppliers on behalf of eligible households.  Eligibility for the program is based on the income of everyone living in the home.  All eligible households must be responsible for their home heating bill.


Cruse said, when applying for assistance, the applicant will provide verification of citizenship and verification of age for everyone in the home, verification of all household income received within the past 30 days  verification of Social Security Numbers for everyone in the home, and the most recent home heating bill.


All interested applicants are asked to contact Ninth District Opportunity, Inc. after 8:30 A.M. beginning November first, by telephone at 706-865-6220. No walk-ins, please. Additional information will be made available online at Depending on the availability of funds, the regular program will open to the general public on December 2nd .





Commissioners Receive OTP Property Update ( 10/9/13)



(Cleveland)- The White County Board of Commissioners received a progress report from a committee that  was appointed earlier this year to explore possible uses of the former Outdoor Therapeutic Program property north of Cleveland.


The county has a lease for that property from the state and this committee was appointed to provide the commissioners with ideas on how to use the property.   At Monday’s commission meeting Tom O’Bryant  White County Economic Development Director reported that the committee has met 5 times since June and have made on site visits to the property.  O’Bryant  said they have looked at different possible uses  including hiking and mountain bike trails, shooting range plus use of the lake on the property. 


O’Bryant also told the commissioners they have taken several pictures of the property and provided that to the Georgia Camera Program for possible film production here.  The committee will be exploring each of these areas as well as ways to access the property. 


The committee  has been requested by the commissioners to provide an update on their work at least each quarter. 


Bridge Maintenance Program-


White County has been working on a program to inspect and develop a plan for the maintenance of bridges in the county.  During this weeks county commission meeting, county manager Mike Melton said they are putting together a bridge repair program now and they want to list the work that might be needed and prioritize  the list. 


He told the commissioners that list should be ready within 60 days. 

Park/YMCA Pool Repair-

Some much needed repairs to the pool at White County Park/YMCA got the approval of the White County board of commissioners Monday night. The commissioners awarded a contract in the amount of $43,005 to Sunbelt Pools to do the repairs.


The county had to do the work on the pumps at the pool this Spring to get them ready for this summers use. The needed repairs are expected to be done as soon as possible and will be ready for next summer.  



Smoke Scare At Babyland  (10/7/13)


(Cleveland)- Fire and emergency personnel were dispatched to Babyland General Hospital at 300 NOK Drive in Cleveland  late  Friday afternoon.  Cleveland Fire Chief  Ricky Pruitt said,  Cleveland Fire Department along with automatic aid from White County Fire Department responded following a call that advised that there was strong smoke in the building. 


Pruitt said upon arrival almost everyone had exited the building.   According to Chief Pruitt  the fire department searched the building and determined there was a problem with the heating and air conditioning unit.  


There was non injuries or damage. 




Karen Not Expected  To Have Major Impact On The Area ( 10/4/13)


(Cleveland)- White County officials were provided with an update on what to expect with approaching tropical storm Karen during a weather briefing from the National Weather Service Friday morning and what they heard was that current information indicates our area is not expected to receive the brunt of the storm.  


Forecasters during the briefing told emergency officials across the state that, Tropical Storm Karen should make landfall along the Mississippi-Alabama coast and Florida Panhandle Sunday morning and then track across central Georgia Sunday night and Monday.


Meteorologist say this system  will bring with it periods of heavy rain to parts of north and central Georgia late Sunday through Monday along with winds  in some areas of 25 to 35 mph with gusts to near 45 mph . The heavy rain could cause minor river flooding and isolated flash flooding late Sunday into Monday. There is also the risk of isolated tornadoes across central Georgia late Sunday into Monday.


 After the briefing  White County Public Safety Director David Murphy said, “ sounds like we’re going to be in pretty good shape unless something significant changes.”  Murphy said they will monitoring the weather briefings over the weekend for any changes.  He advised county department heads, it’s a good time to review your operation plans for your department to make sure they are up to par. 



Shutdown  To Affect Area Services (10/4/13)


Ninth District Opportunity, Inc.


(Gainesville)- The current government shout down will result in some changes in the services provide to Northeast Georgia residents, including White County. 


According to a news release from the  Ninth District Opportunity, Inc in Gainesville beginning Monday October 7th  the agency’s staff will be substantially reduced,  all 13 community services offices will be closed all 113  Heat Start and Early Head Start classrooms will be closed.  27 pre-K classrooms will be closed.  T


he news release said services will be restored as soon as funding allocations are awarded.




Child Rescued From Locked Bathroom ( 10/2/13)



(Cleveland)- It was happy moment  Wednesday  morning after  a three year old boy was rescued  from a locked bathroom at Cleveland City Park.  Cleveland Fire Chief Ricky Pruitt said fire department personnel were called to help get the child out when he couldn’t get the door open.  


Chief Pruitt said after he got out, he wanted to see the fire truck so fireman Mark Gunter showed him the truck.  







No injuries In Single Vehicle Accident  ( 10/1/13)



(Cleveland)-  The Driver of a Jeep Cherokee  escaped injury early Tuesday morning after traveling  down a hill and  an Embankment at 105 Bryant Street in Cleveland. 


Cleveland Fire Chief Ricky Pruitt said, the driver told authorities that as they were turning around at the apartments on Bryant Street the brakes on the vehicle failed and it went off the hill. In addition to the Cleveland Fire Department, Cleveland Police Department was dispatched to investigate the accident.






Student Safety Helmet Program  Implemented ( 9/30/13)


(Cleveland)- Cleveland Police Chief  John Foster  a few months ago started a unique program to raise fund to provide all  students within the White County school district with storm helmets.  This morning as part of a safety drill at the Jack P. Nix Primary School those  new helmets were put to use.  Chief Foster explained how the idea got started, he said “ we had all the bad storms in Oklahoma and I  got me to thinking, what do we need to do to protect our school kids. We provide them with bicycle helmets for bicycle rodeo’s at minimal cost like $5.00 a helmet  and I didn’t see why we couldn’t provided these helmets for the school kids.”  


Foster said,  “We have provided all children from Pre-K through Fifth grade with a bicycle helmet that will be worn during all storm drills.”  Foster said this will be an ongoing project in the schools, “ now we have a bases in place,  from year to year the helmets will go from one child to the next child and we will have replacement cost which will be minimal,”  said Foster.


Chief Foster said they want to expand the program to the other grades, but first he said we need to put reflective tape on these helmets so they can be found in the dark, should that situation occur.  


Foster had special thanks to the  major contributors to project, Jacky Jones Ford and Griffin Drug and Griffin Towing Service.


School and safety officials praised the students for a  good job in using the helmets as part of the drill.  White County Superintendent of Schools  Dr. Jeff Wilson said, they are glad to have the added safety feature for the children. Dr. Wilson said, “anything we can do, safety is first and foremost, we feel a huge responsibility when we take a child from the parents home and put them in one of our school building to make sure above and beyond they are safe.”


White County Public Safety Director David Murphy said, they would like to see this program go statewide.  “we have been communicating with the state school safety officers and the Georgia Emergency Management Agency Director about this program and they are  all supportive of that, and we do hope it goes as a statewide initiative, “ said Murphy.



County Unemployment Rate 7.4 Percent ( 9/26/13)

Georgia Department of Labor Logo


(ATLANTA) – The Georgia Department of Labor announced Thursday  that the August preliminary unemployment rate in White County decreased to 7-point 4 percent, down from the revised 8-point  five percent last month.  In August the labor force was 13,082, with 12,108 were employed and 974 were unemployed.


The unemployment rate in the Northeast Georgia mountain region decreased to 7.3 percent in August, down nine-tenths of a percentage point from 8.2 percent in July.



Documentary On The Indian Mound Gets First Viewing ( 9/26/13)



(Cleveland)-  A group of about 25-30  folks from across northeast Georgia had the opportunity Wednesday night  to be the first to view  a locally produced documentary about the well recognized Indian Mound, located at the intersection of Highways 75 and 17  just south of Helen.  


The documentary is bases on the  book, Distant Voices, written by local author Emory Jones.  Jones teamed up with Helen noted photographer  David Greear for the project.  Jones said it’s been about 2 years in the making but it was well worth it. 


Jones said they utilized the talent and knowledge of several notable people in the area to make the video. He said, “ we have everybody from Max Price over at Piedmont,  Dr. Tom Lumsden up here in the mountains to Gordon Sawyer down in Gainesville, I mean the history that these people know and telling on this movie it’s going to be priceless.”


The documentary covers many aspects of this popular tourist attraction from the pre-Indian settlement days through current times.  


Greear  said, “ I think it’s going to be a long lasting educational piece that will last a long time and people will get some enjoyment out it for a long time.”   The actual DVD’s are not ready for sale to the general public, Jones said it will be another week or so before they are ready. 


The project received financial support from  the White County Historical  Society, Habersham Electric Membership Corp.  and Piedmont  College.


There will be a public showing  of  Distant Voices,  Tuesday October 8th at 6:00 PM at the Swanson Theatre at Piedmont College.  




New Patrol Vehicles Catching  Motorist  Eye ( 9/4/13)


(Cleveland)-  The White County Sheriff’s office has just added two new patrol vehicles to their traffic unit that sheriff Neal Walden says he hopes will stand out and get the attention of the public and help slow them down.  The new Dodge vehicles have been on the roads just over a week and Walden said this is a model change for the department and they want to compare these to the regular Ford vehicles they have purchased in the past. 


The new patrol vehicles have a totally different look  compared to the other vehicles in the department’s fleet and  Walden said, he’s not looking at changing the look  for  the other vehicles. “ I’m just going to distinguish them, hold them out different from the other vehicles, there won’t be any changes to



     Officer Charles Brantley, Sheriff  Neal Walden, Officer Jared Baker



the others, we’re out there to slow the public down and be more visible.  I think it will key the public in to, hey there’s those traffic  units we better slow down”,  said Walden.


According to Walden in  the past speed has played a big factor in fatal accidents in the county and this is another attempt to get the motorist attention and slow them down.  


Jared Baker and Charles Brantley are the officers  who will be  using these vehicles.  Both say they like the vehicles here’s how officer Baker described it like this,  “ so far it drives real good, it’s smooth, it handles real well, I think it’s going to have an improved gas mileage from what I’m seeing.”


Officer Brantley said it sure had turned a lot of heads, he said “ oh yes, oh yes when you pass people driving by or other vehicles that you pass on the roadway people are really turning their heads, it’s really  catching their eye.”



Two Injured In Two Accidents Sunday (9/23/13)


(Cleveland)- Two people were injured in two separate accidents in White County Sunday afternoon.   The first occurred just before 1 PM   on Highway 75 north of Andrews Cove.  White County Sheriff’s office spokesman Captain Tim Chapman said the driver of a Yamaha motorcycle was traveling south on Highway 75 when he lost control and ran off the road.  

The victim was transported by helicopter to Grady Hospital in Atlanta. The extent of injuries was no known.


The other accident was reported around 3:20 PM Sunday on Alternate Highway 75.  Captain Chapman said the driver was traveling south on Alternate Highway 75 when,  the driver  struck a squirrel and ran off the roadway and struck a tree.  


According to Chapman the driver had scratches on their arm, but not transported to the hospital.  



Baker Marks 30 Years As Probate Judge ( 9/23/13)


(Cleveland)- White County Probate Judge Garrison Baker has been serving the county for thirty years and his staff thought that was a good reason to have a celebration so last Friday family, friends, co-workers and former employees dropped by the White County Courthouse to congratulate Baker.   Baker told us those 30 years have passed  so fast. He said, “ yeah looking ahead 30 years seems a long time, but looking back 30 years is just a snap of a finger, but it’s been a great 30 years.”


Baker said there has been a lot of chances, he said when he first run in 1983 the county had around 1,800 votes cast now we have up to 10,000 ballots cast.  



Judge Baker (c) and former Tax Commissioner

J.H. Tow Jr. look at old newspaper material

about about Baker


Even though he has served 30 years, and there was a celebration  doesn’t mean retirement is in his future,” no no, we’re going to try to catch our second wind thirty years is good but it’s not time to quit.”


For more than two hours people came to help celebrate.  Baker summed up the day with the statement, “ being the probate judge of a small county is the best job in the world.” 



Home Movie Day Celebrated At Cleveland Library  ( 9/19/13)


(Cleveland)- The  White County Library announced Wednesday  that this year’s National Home Movie Day  will be celebrated in Cleveland  Saturday, October 5th from 1:00-3:00 p.m. at the White County Public Library-Cleveland Branch at 10 Colonial Drive.


The  event is being sponsored by the University of Georgia Libraries’ Brown Media Archives and Peabody Awards Collection. National Home Movie Day is a worldwide celebration of amateur films and filmmaking, held annually in October.  The event provides an opportunity for attendees to bring in their home movies, learn more about their own family films, how to care for films and videotapes, and how home movies have helped capture personal history.


Michael Humphrey, Program Manager for White County Libraries said, Home Movie Day is free and open to the public and attendees are encouraged to bring films, videotapes, and DVDs for inspection and screening when possible, archivists will be in attendance to answer questions. According to Humphrey  they will be able to screen 16mm, regular 8mm, and Super 8mm films, VHS videotapes, and DVDs.


For more information call Michael Humphrey at the library in Cleveland at  706-865-5572. 



Second Kitchen Fire This Week ( 9/18/13)


(Cleveland)- Cleveland Fire Department responded to the second kitchen fire this week, Wednesday afternoon.  Units were dispatched to 1,000 Campbell Street and Fire Chief Ricky Pruitt said, “ upon arrival we discovered the  occupant was cooking and the pan caught fire and they threw a blanket over the fire, which caught fire. “  He said, “ we removed the pan and blanket to the outside and extinguished the fire.


There was minor damage to the stove and exhaust above the stove.  Cleveland Fire Department received automatic aid from White County Fire Department. The other kitchen fire was reported Monday afternoon on White Street in Cleveland.  In both fires no one was injured.



TMC's  Gonzales Cross Country Runner Of The Week  (9/18/13)


(CLEVELAND)-  Truett McConnell College’s Luis Gonzales was named the Appalachian Athletic Conference’s Men’s Cross Country Runner of the week.


A Gainesville native,  Gonzalez is a sophomore at TMC. He won the North Georgia Invitational, an 8k race, Saturday, where he placed first out of 31 runners  with a time of 28:14.


A record setter for TMC in 2012, Gonzalez was named to the Southern States Athletic Conference All Freshman Team and the honor of SSAC Freshman of the Year.










No Injuries After Car Ends Up On A Front Porch ( 9/18/13)


(Cleveland)-   Officials report no one was injured Tuesday  when a car ran off the road onto the porch of a house in southern White County. The accident was reported around noon on Skitts Mountain Road at the intersection of Loy Dorsey Road.  


After examining the house, the homeowners discovered damage to the house.


Reportedly the driver ran off the side of the road in a curve overcorrected and ran off the other side of the road, hitting a small utility pole and then running onto the porch of a house close to the road. Utility lines were hanging low across


Skitts Mtn.  Road and officials kept the road closed until   power and phone providers could get the lines back up.



TMC Bears Win Second AAC Game ( 9/18/13)


(Cleveland)- The Truett-McConnell College Lady Bears Soccer team won their second Appalachian Athletic Conference game against Virginia Intermont College  Saturday.


Head coach David McDowell said, despite a number of team injuries, the Lady Bears played  “a very assured game” against the Cobras.  


While complimenting a number of players, McDowell praised Joy Smith, a senior striker from Flowery Branch, who scored two of the five goals for the Bears.  The Lady Bears currently have a 4-4 record and are 2-1 in conference play. The next home match is September 21st.




Development Authority Gets New Brochure ( 9/16/13)




(Cleveland)- The White County Development Authority continues it’s work on seeking new businesses to locate in the county.  Last Friday the county received a new color brochure that will be used to share the good news about the county to prospective businesses.  A subcommittee of the Development Authority has been working on the attractive brochure for a few months.  


Tom O’Bryant,  White County Community and Economic Development  Director said they will be distributing the document to company project managers and businesses seeking information about the county.  


The a board meeting last week the development authority had a lengthy discussion with Rope Roberts Region Economic Development Manager At Georgia Power and Tammy Caudell, Regional Project Manager for Georgia Department of Economic Development.  A large part of that discussion centered on White County working through a Joint Development Authority that includes White, Lumpkin and Dawson counties to attract business and industry to the area.  


The JDA has a  meeting  October 15th in Atlanta at  Georgia Power’s Resource Center to talk with statewide developers.




Two Overturned Vehicle Accidents Thursday (9/13/13)


(Cleveland)- The White County Sheriff’s Office investigated two auto accidents Thursday  that involved overturned vehicles. The first accident was reported around 7:30 AM on  Highway  75 south.  Sheriff Department spokesman, Captain Tim Chapman said in that accident a 16 year male  old was traveling north bound on Highway 75  south when he ran off the road, overcorrected and loosing control of the vehicle.  Chapman said, the vehicle turned over on its side.  No report of injuries in that accident. 


The second accident was reported at 12:45 PM on Highway 115 west  of Cleveland. Captain Chapman said the male driver was traveling east on Highway 115  and crossed the center line, ran off the road and overturned several times.  


According to Chapman, the driver, who appeared to intoxicated,  was transported to Northeast Georgia Medical Center for treatment.  That driver was arrested after being released from the hospital.  



TMC's  Miller Hall Student Lounge  Dedicated ( 9/12/13)


(Cleveland)- Truett McConnell College held a dedication ceremony for the school’s  Miller Hall Student Center Lounge Thursday  in honor of former Georgia Agriculture Commissioner Tommy Irvin and his wife Bernice.  The student lounge sits prominently in the center of the campus landmark Miller Building.   


As  Tommy Irvin sat next to him, Dr. Emir Caner, Truett McConnell College President talked about  Irvin’s service record to the state and his commitment  to Truett McConnell College,  serving two  terms on the board of trustees, including chairman of the board the last term. 


Caner told the crowd that Irvin is an example of what Truett McConnell stands for,   “but it's dedication like commissioner Irvin that we stand in buildings like this that our students can


     Dr. Emir Caner (L) James, Tommy and Chris Irvin


be educated, and a reminder that Truett McConnell  is far different than many other universities, it’s not a career here, it’s a calling.  And as a calling they are called to move into politics, called to go into business, they are called to go into the world and make a difference for the Lord Jesus and who you and I see today is a representative of that very  fact.”  


Bernice Irvin was not able to attend, but their oldest son James Irvin and  grandson Chris were on hand.  



Funding For Phase Two Cleveland Bypass Announced ( 9/9/13)


(Cleveland)-  White County and Northeast Georgia got  some good news Monday  as officials announced funding has been secured for the second phase of the Cleveland Bypass.  State Senator Steve Gooch made the announcement, at the White County Courthouse, to a large group of  County and city officials from the area.  Until now only phase one of the project, which is under construction had funding.   


Senator  Gooch has been a champion for this project starting back when he served on the DOT board and he said he wanted to see it finished.  Gooch said, “ you have to have a cheerleader on any project in state government to push something and stay focus and the priority on that project, and that’s what I did.”  He further state, “ when I became state senator I continued that drive and that push to make sure we completed this project so I’m excited to see it become a reality.”

Toby Carr, GDOT Transportation Planning Director, Commissioner Terry

Goodger, Commission Chairman Travis Turner, Sen. Steve Gooch,

Commissioner Edwin Nix, Commissioner Lyn Holcomb and Edens Davis,

State Economic Development Policy Advisor   


Gooch and state representatives Lee Hawkins, Stephen Allison and Terry Rogers  had written Governor Nathan Deal saying, “ waiting several years  to complete this important road project will only delay the congestion relief that is so critically needed for the economic development of White County and the surrounding communities.”   Gooch said he received word  a couple week ago that Governor Nathan Deal will recommend to the Georgia Department of Transportation Board use  State Transportation Improvement Program (STIP) funds to construct phase two of the bypass beginning with Fiscal year 2015, which begins next July. 


This funding, Gooch said,  will allow the bypass construction to continue  over to US Highway 129 north of Cleveland and connect with Hulsey  Road.  The phase two of the project calls for almost $20-million dollars in expenditures.  Gooch said the right of way has already been purchases but there are still a couple of environmental issues that still need to be resolved, but those are expected to be settled by the time the projects gets underway.  


White County Commissioner  Travis Turner said, yes  White County will benefit, but so will the counties to the north Town and Union. 


GDOT spokeswoman Teri Pope said the construction for phase one is just slightly behind schedule, due to the rainy weather this summer, but they are expected to get back on track and the announcement of phase two funding


          Phase two in light blue


 will allow for a seamless progress.  Pope said, “ construction of phase one will wrap up right as the construction of phase two starts, that’s our goal here.”  She said construction of phase two is likely to begin in early 2015.



New Scout Troup Welcomed  (9/5/13)


(SAUTEE-NACOOCHEE) - Members of the Episcopal Church of the Resurrection greeted their new Cub Scout Troop with a special welcoming service recently.   Following the regular morning  service, Troop #689 posed for a picture along with their leaders; The Rev. Scott Kidd, rector of Resurection, and members of the church's Brotherhood of St. Andrew who are members of the troop's governing council: Bill Owen - Council Chairman, Chris Geidel, and Curtis Hixon - Brotherhood president.


Rev. Kidd said the scouts had been displaced from their previous sponsoring church in reaction to the decision in June by the Boy Scouts of America to end discrimination based on sexual orientation.  Shortly after the decision was announced, he contacted local scouting authorities to find out if any troops in White County had lost sponsors. Some had. After several meetings, the new relationship was achieved.


The scouts will meet Tuesday nights at Church of the Resurrection, 1755 Duncan Bridge Road, Sautee-Nacoochee. Church of the Resurrection is one of 109 worshiping communities throughout Middle and North Georgia that comprise the Episcopal Diocese of Atlanta.



7- Year Old Recognized For Helping In A Medical Emergency ( 9/5/13)


 Lynn  Morris  with her Mother Lisa                           David Murphy Reads Plaque presented to Lynn


(Cleveland)- A 7-year old White County girl was honored Wednesday afternoon at the White County Emergency Operations Center  for her actions that helped save her mother's life.


On August 23rd  Lynn Morris was  in the car  with her mother Lisa and two of her sisters. They had stopped at the Dollar General Store at the intersection of Highway 115 and 254 east of Cleveland.  Her mother suffered a medical distress and she instructed Lynn call 911, then she passed out.  White County Public Safety Director David Murphy said Lynn called 9-1-1 and talked with dispatcher Elizabeth Howard.


Murphy said the little girl did an outstanding job giving us the information, while dispatcher Howard was obtaining information she asked Lynn to go into the store and get an adult to help.  Murphy said, “ she went inside, first of all though, she told her siblings in the car, ya’ll stay here in the car remain calm it’s going to be ok, he said she was the adult in the situation that was taking place.”  



Lynn went inside the Dollar General Store and made contact with Sandra  a store clerk and with the assistance of Sandra they were able to direct rescue personnel to location, where they assisted Mrs. Morris and got her to the hospital.  Murphy presented  the 7 year old with a plaque recognizing her heroic  action. Murphy also presented Lynn with a couple of gift certificates and a bag full of goodies that she could share with her sisters.   


Dispatcher Howard (L)  and Store Clerk Sandra


Lynn  was asked about all the attention she was getting, she said, “ I like it!”   And mom, she is proud as you can imagine, they did good.   



Vehicle Theft  Suspect Captured In White County ( 9/5/13)


(CLEVELAND) - The driver of a suspected stolen vehicle crashed that vehicle and ran from the scene in White County Wednesday afternoon.

The incident started around 1 p.m. and White County Sheriff's Office spokesman Tim Chapman said the vehicle was stolen out of Hall County.

A White County sheriff's unit got behind the suspect at County Line Church Road and Georgia Highway 254. Chapman said the suspect, identified as Jimmy Moss, (age and address unavailable), while fleeing from the officer lost control and wrecked. Following the crash, Moss fled the scene on foot.

A Georgia State Patrol helicopter was called to assist in the search.

According to Chapman, a Hall County K-9 unit and two White County deputies tracked the man to Jackson Road and U.S. Highway 129 South, where he was apprehended.

In addition to the expected charges from Hall County, Chapman said White County has three arrest warrants for Moss.




Resurfacing Of Ga. 11 South Of Cleveland Begins Monday ( 9/4/13)


(CLEVELAND) – The Georgia Department of Transportation has announced the resurfacing of State Route 11 (US129) from the Hall/White County line through Cleveland to the intersection of State Route 11 and  Allison Drive/Kennemer Street  north,  will begin this Monday, if weather permits.


The first phase of work is to remove damaged asphalt and rebuilding those sections from the roadway base up. The second phase of work is resurfacing and finally placing the smooth driving surface is last.  A pilot vehicle will be used to direct traffic through the work zone. Delays are expected as work occurs.


Georgia Department of Transportation spokeswoman, Teri Pope said, the contract requires all work will occur overnights from 7 p.m. to 6 a.m. the following day. No daytime lane closures are allowed.  This section of SR 11 was last resurfaced in 1998; the pavement surface is damaged and needs replacing.     


District Engineer Bayne Smith, said, “The section of SR 11 that is being reconstructed as part of the Cleveland Bypass is not included in this resurfacing work.  Please be patient as crews resurface the work. We hope to minimize the inconvenience to you by requiring the work to occur overnights only. “


This 7.382 mile long project was awarded to Colditz Trucking for a contract cost of $2-point 07 million dollars . The project completion date is March 31, 2014.



Rotary Supports Free Health Clinic ( 9/4/13)



(Cleveland)-  As part of the Community Support provided by the White County Rotary Club, the club at the August 27th meeting presented a check for $1,500 to representatives (and Club members) of the Caring Hands Health Clinic in Cleveland.


The funds will be used by the clinic to help provide medical service to residents in the county who have no health insurance.  






Terry Goodger, Board Chair, Gene White

Executive Director Caring Hands Health Clinic

with Rotary President Melissa Gill.



Aircraft Goes Down In Northeast Georgia ( 8/30/13)


(HELEN) – Authorities  reported Friday an aircraft had gone down in a remote area of the north Georgia mountains between White and Union counties.

White County officials received a 9-1-1 call from one of the aircraft's occupants and, with the help of High Country Helicopters, which provides Ariel tours of Helen,  were able to locate the plane and alert state officials to its location.
Pilots Steve Kilcourse and Andrew Mallis  flew over the area  accompanied by White County Fire Chief Norman Alexander.  


Kilcourse said,  "We took off toward where the fire department said the coordinates were - they triangulated the cell phone signal,  we were just kind of flying around and looking and tuned in to the ELT,  


Kilcourse, Mallis and Fire Chief Alexander exit helicopter

 after flyover


Emergency Locator Transmitter, signal and picked it up, so we knew we were near it, but we couldn't quite spot it.


Kilcourse said, "After doing maybe 15 minutes of looking around, I finally saw it on the hillside, pretty close to the top of the ridgeline there."

The private helicopter then notified a Georgia State Patrol helicopter that was in the area of the downed plane's location.  Initial reports indicate the occupants of the aircraft are not seriously injured.  Rescue officials still were on their way to the scene shortly late this afternoon.  



School  Meal Charge Procedure Dominates BOE  Meeting  ( 8/30/13)


(Cleveland)- The White County Board of Education spent most of their meeting Thursday  night looking at policy and procedure changes  within the school.  One area that got the most attention was a change in the school meal charge procedure. 


School Nutrition Director Abby Rowland ask the board for  approval to serve an alternative  meal to students whose meal account has hit the negative side.  That alternate meal will be a cheese sandwich,  fruit and other items.   In the past Rowland said they did noting different letting the student eat, but did try to get parents to pay up overdue accounts. 


Rowland said,  “there was no incentive to pay me, and they would not fill out free and reduced meal application. “ The situation got out of control,  Rowland said the overdue accounts at one point  


    (file photo)


reached $16,000.  In fact one family with two children had a $900 past due account, they moved to Habersham County leaving the unpaid account.    According to Rowland, she has been able to get some of those parents to pay up or to sign up for free or reduced meals.


Board of Education Chair Kendyl Brock- Hunter said this issue needs some attention, “ this whole lunch thing has been  such a mess everyone has been trying to get the balance under control because we,  taxpayers,  the system is going to have to pay the bill.”   


Superintendent  Dr. Jeff Wilson said  they hope this will get the attention and help persuade some parents to get assistance, he said, “ we’re hoping this will push some people  and fill out the information so we can give you the free and reduced lunch that you deserve, that you have.”   Wilson also said, “ I can promise you at the high school those kids, there will be a lot of cheese sandwiches until they kinda  get their set together,  I can see mine eating a cheese sandwich every now and then because she doesn’t tell me.”  


School officials say they will be using several avenues to notify the  students and parents about the change.  They point out that at no time will a child be denied a meal. 


The board also looked at employee sick leave policy, as well as out of county tuition.



White County  Schools First Volleyball Team ( 8/30/13)


(Cleveland)- White County Schools has it’s first ever Volleyball  team.  The team was introduced and recognized Thursday night during the White County Board of Education meeting.  Assistant Superintendent Laurie Burkett said there had been a lot of interest shown by parents  to begin the program.   


She said they are starting  with 7th and 8th grade students and they hope to expand the program to the high school next year.   


Burkett said it expands the sports  options for the girls, “ It catches some kids that you don’t catch in softball and you don’t catch in cross country, so it catches a niche  of kids,  you know it’s really important to them.”  The new team will be playing a limited schedule this year.  


The WCMS 2013-14  Volleyball team: Faith Abernathy, Julia Marciano, Kassidy Hofer, Lydia Myers, Madelyn Warwick, Michayla Fischer, Olivia Simmons, Brooke Buffington, Georgia Marks, Gracie Everrett, Jasmyn Casper, LeAnn Dupree, Lexis Chacon, Rachel Gearing, Sarah Estes, Sienna Wiley, and Coach Monika Knight




Qualifying Continues For Municipal Elections ( 8/28/13)


(Cleveland) – There were no new qualifiers  Tuesday  for the city of Cleveland municipal election,  the second day of qualifying for the  November 5th election for two council seats.


Meanwhile Helen officials report that  three people have qualified for commission seats available there.  Helen Wilkins qualified Monday, and Judy Holloway and Fred Garmon qualified Tuesday.   




Three Injured In Single Vehicle Accident  (8/28/13)


(Cleveland)- Three people were transported and one was life air lifted  to a hospital Tuesday  afternoon west of Cleveland as a result of a single vehicle accident.  The accident reported around  1: 30 pm  Highway 115 West of Cleveland between the entrances to  Ferguson Circle. 


White County Sheriff’s Department Spokesman Tim Chapman said  officers advised that three of the injured were transported to the hospital.  According to the investigating officer, the driver advised while coming out of a curve the steering wheel locked up and the car would not straighten up.  


The vehicle ran off the road into a ditch hitting a culvert flipping the vehicle over on it’s top, coming to rest in front of Countywide  Auto Repair.  The extent of injuries was not available.  




Cleveland City Election Qualifying This Week (8/26/13)



(Cleveland)- Qualifying for  this years Cleveland City election will be held this week.  The City of Cleveland will hold an election Tuesday, November   5th for electing  City Council Members for Ward 3 and 4  for four-year terms each.  Edward Young is currently serving  Ward 3 seat and Bradley Greene is serving Ward 4.


Those wishing to qualify for these positions may complete a qualification packet with the City Clerk at Cleveland City Hall, 85 South Main Street,  from 8:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. and 2:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. beginning.  Qualifying will end Friday at 4:30 PM. 





Cleveland Holds Groundbreaking For Major Sewer Project ( 8/23/13


(Cleveland)- The City of Cleveland  made it official Friday  morning holding a groundbreaking ceremony for the Truelove Road Sewer  project a major sewer improvement project for the south side of the city.  On had for the ceremony was city, county, state and congressional representation along with representatives from the agency funding sources.


Cleveland City Engineer Brian Rindt said, It’s a project that’s been  in the works for about four years and today is the officials start.  He said, “ It is heavily funded  through the federal and state government, there are four different funding agencies and it just took us a while to get their needs satisfied, but standing her today everybody’s ready to go and we’re kicking this off.” Rindt said they actually began work a couple of weeks ago and they have three different contractors working. 


This project  will have a major impact on the commercial development in  the south side of the city and into the county.

According to Rindt,  it’s on the fast track and  they expect the project to  be completed early next year.


Cleveland Mayor Don Stanley said, they are glad they got everyone together on this project, it will benefit this section of the county that has been needing this service for a long time.  


Funding for the sewer projects is made possible by a large grant from the Economic Development Administration,  plus grants from Appalachian Regional Commission  and

One Georgia, the city finished the funding with a loan from the Georgia Environmental Finance Authority.  



Land Use Regulations Gets Another Review ( 8/23/13)


            property owners check out Land Use map                     residents put their views  on paper


(Sautee-Nachoochee)- The White County Board of Commissioners held another in their Land Use informational meetings Thursday night.  The latest meeting was held at the Sautee-Nachoochee Center and like the other sessions was well attending and according to officials they received  lots of feedback, both vocally and written from those attending.


White County Community and Economic Development  Director Tom O’Bryant  said the input is important to them.  He said, “ we are taking these comments and latterly looking at every single one of them, the elected officials are reviewing the all and then instructing what to do with the comments.  Anyone who has a question hopefully they have left their name and contact information, we’re going to try to contact them and answer their question as well.”   


County Commissioner Edwin Nix  said they don’t want to tell people  what to do with their property, he said, “ I don’t want to micro-manage this county, I don’t nobody wants to do that, but we’ve go some undesirables that could come into this community and destroy property values  we need to stay focuses and targeted on that kind of activity and make sure we don’t loose focus on what we want to do here.”


O’Bryant said, “ the commissioners have taken this up because there have been expressed interest, we certainly don’t want to do anything that’s not in the best interest of the community and that is not desired by the community, so the more input we can have just makes this document that much better. “  


After taking each of the comments and suggestions  under consideration the county expects to have a revised, fine tuned document ready for  early next year and it is expected to be place on a November 2014 ballot for citizens  to vote on. 






July Unemployment Rate Drops Slightly (8/22/13)


Georgia Department of Labor Logo

(Atlanta)-  The Georgia Department of Labor has  released the July unemployment rate for White County.  The unemployment rate was 8-point 6 percent.  That compares to  8-point 7 percent revised June rate and 9-point 1 percent last July. 


The labor department said at the end of July the labor force in the county was  13,258 of those 12,121 were  employed, 1,137 were unemployed.


The Georgia Mountains' unemployment rate unchanged at 7.9 percent in July.  






White County Rotary Gets Transportation Update  ( 8/22/13)



(Cleveland)- Georgia Department of Transportation District One Engineer Bayne Smith was the speaker at the Tuesday August 20th  meeting of the White County Rotary Club.   


During his talk Smith gave an update on White County Road projects focusing on the construction of the Cleveland Bypass.  Bayne told the Rotarians that they have installed 1.5 miles of erosion control for the bypass, with recent heavy rain that has help protects nearby streams and property.  


He also talked about two other upcoming  projects including a project that calls for a turning lane at Hulsey Road on Highway 129 North of Cleveland and resurfacing of Alternate Highway 75.



No Injuries After Vehicle Crashes Into House (8/20/13)


(Cleveland)- A  female driver was not  hurt Tuesday afternoon when she lost control of her vehicle, it  ran off the road  crashing into a house, northwest of Cleveland .  White county law enforcement  and fire officials were dispatched to the accident just after 5:00PM on Town Creek Road. 


After officials  arrived on scene they determined the accident was not in White County but  about a quarter of a mile inside  Lumpkin County, on Damascus Church  Road.   White County firefighters did a report as mutual aid for Lumpkin County.  White County Sheriff deputies said they had no jurisdiction so they turned over the investigation to Lumpkin County.  


Reports on scene said the driver was from Baltimore, Maryland, but was staying in Gainesville.  The resident of the house was no at home at the time the accident occurred.  Both the vehicle and the house suffered heavy damage.    

White County Fire Chief Norman Alexander said, this was the maiden run for the new engine 6, just added to the fire department fleet.



Fire Damages Home East of Cleveland ( 8/20/13)


(Cleveland)- A White County home was damaged as a result of fire Monday night.  Ana Newberry, White County Fire Department spokeswoman said they were dispatched at 11:00 PM to 5302 Highway 115 east of Cleveland.  

The blaze was in the basement of the building.  


Fire investigator  Robi Wilkins was called to investigate and said,   an old box fan appears may have contributed to this fire.  The home owner is waiting for their insurance agent and investigator to make a further determination.


Newberry said, “firefighters  knocked this fire out quickly, it could have very easily


    box fan believed contributed to fire


burned through the basement door into the “living” quarters and destroy the remainder of the home” 


One person was at home of the fire, but Newberry said,  no one was injured.



160 Percent Normal Rainfall Recorded ( 8/20/13)



(Sautee)- It seem that all we have  talked about this  Summer is the rain and more rain and when will it all end.  WRWH weather reporter Bill Kinsland  doesn't have that answer, but he  has been keeping up with the rain this Summer, as he does all year long.  Bill advises that we passed our annual normal rainfall last week  when we reached 67-point 88 inches.  In fact Bill reports as of yesterday we are now just over three inches above the full twelve month normal rainfall.


Figures for the average county year-to-date  rainfall is  71-point  06 inches,  that’s 26-point 53 inches surplus for year-to-date.  According to Bill we have received 160 percent of our normal year-to-date rainfall.  




Chamber Holds Annual Meeting  ( 8/19/13)


       Dr. Stacy Hall receives gavel from Dr. Josh Kinsey    Secretary Brian Kemp speaks to chamber


(Cleveland)- The White County Chamber of Commerce recognized  several businesses and individuals Friday night during the chamber’s annual banquet.  The event, with a Wild Wild West  theme was held at  The Densmore Farm on New Bridge Road.  It  was a  time for Dr.  Stacy Hall to accept the chairman’s gavel from outgoing chair  Dr. Josh Kinsey.  


Hall talked with the group about this years chamber goals, he said they will be using the recent 2020 vision study as a basis.  Hall said, “ we’re all in it together, we got to help each other. You can’t rely on the government to do all the work, so part of these goals, part of vision 2020, it up to the community and that’s us, we’re the community.”  He further state, “ so when we’re laying our goals for this year that’s what we’re trying to do, our part to help our elected officials to be successful, we’re on the same team.”


Featured speaker for the  banquet was Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp.  Kemp told the chamber gathering that thanks to a federal judges ruling next years election are a mess, “ so right now and the way the law is, the way  judges ruling is, is we’re going to have our senate and congressional campaigns on June 3rd and we’re going to have the state and local races in July.  So we’re going to have two different primaries which is crazy, it’s very expensive for local governments it will be very  confusing for the voters and I think everybody is in agreement we don’t need to do that.” Kemp said he will be working with the state legislators, when they find out when that federal election is and have the state and local races on the same date, so we’re no over exposing the counties and causing them extra money.  



   Mitch Ralston and staff United Community Bank                     HEMC's Mike Foor,Dan Thurmond,Hugh Rucker, and Rodney Pugh

   w/ Chamber President Melissa Charles                                   w/ Chamber President Melissa Charles  


During the awards time,   United Community Bank was awarded the Business of the Year,   Citizens of the Year went to Jesse and Anna Nix. The chamber’s  Volunteer of the Year  was awarded to  Russ Keen.  Entrepreneur of the Year  was awarded to Habersham Winery and the Civic Merit Award was presented to Habersham Electric Membership Corporation.




RV Destroyed By Fire North Of Cleveland  (8/16/13)


(Cleveland)- An unoccupied  RV was destroyed by fire early Friday  at Yonah Mountain Campground north of Cleveland.  White County Fire Department spokeswoman Ana Newberry said, the fire was reported at 10:30 AM.   Newberry said, the unit was a total loss.  


 According to Newberry the RV was parked at the campground for the owners to use at different times of the year.  Newberry said, the blaze is not believed suspicious, but officials have asked State Fire Marshall’s office investigator  Brian Smith  to determine the exact cause.






Commissioner Hear From Public On Land Use ( 8/16/13)


     Citizens review proposed maps                                       Chairman Turner addresses  Citizen questions                   


(Cleveland)- About 100  White County property owners showed up at the first of a series of public information session concerning the development of  Land Use regulations being developed   in the county.   The White County Board of Commissioners held the meeting at the Mossy Creek United Methodist Church Fellowship Hall,  in an effort to hear from the pubic and each of the commissioners said they got what they were seeking.


Commission Chairman Travis Turner said, many good suggestions  were  offered.  Turner said, “ tonight  there were some very good points that were brought out to us, that I haven’t though of. There are some areas that I have actually  marked on my notes, areas that are too restrictive.  All these are items that will bee presented in a document and the citizens of White County hopefully in November 2014 will have an opportunity  to vote yes , no or indifferent. At the end of the day we want the citizens to say, we had a say so.”   


A large number  attending expressed the concern that this issued needs to be addressed by voters at the polls.  Commissioner Lyn Holcomb said that’s the commission intention. Holcomb said, “ that was the first thing that most of the people were asking me, and that is only the right thing to do, I think, is to let the people  vote on this and decide.”   


While many of those in attendance didn’t want to comment  publically, but express ideas from, “something needs to be done”  to  “I don’t want anyone telling met what to do with my property”.


Another information session will be held next Thursday at  6:30 -7:30 PM at the Sautee Nachoochee Center,  for residents in the northern part of the county.   



TMC Bears Ready For New  Soccer Season ( 8/16/13)

Truett-McConnell College Bears Athletics


(Cleveland)– The Truett-McConnell College Bears soccer team reported for pre-season  on  August 2nd  to lay groundwork for the team’s  first season as a member of the Appalachian Athletic Conference.  Despite being a young team, Bears head coach Damien Westfield believes the team’s talent and determination will carry them throughout the season.


He said,  “This year will be a great opportunity for the community to come out and view the future of TMC’s men’s soccer program. ”   Participating in nearly 20 matches, and over half against AAC teams, the Bears look forward to the challenges which come with adjusting to a new conference. “This is a big season for us,” Westfield noted, “and we are prepared and motivated to make a major impact right away.”   


Team captain, Gavin Duff, said he looks forward to leading the Bears to a strong season: “I want for us to win a lot of games this season; it’s my last year and I want to go out on a high note.”  The Bears participated in two pre-season scrimmages against Georgia Perimeter Junior College and Georgia Military College August 10 and 14 where they won 1-0 and tied 2-2.


The team matches up against the University of the Cumberland Patriots for their home opener on September 4.



Greene Awarded Heart of Rotary Award  (8/15/13)


(Cleveland)- The “Exemplifying the Heart of Rotary"  award for August was presented to  member Chris Greene at the August 13th meeting of the Club.  


President,  Melissa Gill said in recognizing Chris during the meeting,  “I know that you have the desire to see our Club succeed. I also know that you are always watching to learn as much as you can. You ask the right questions, are not afraid to approach new people, and give gentle reminders when protocol needs to be followed. Your patience and support are very much appreciated and never go unnoticed. Your wit and cynicism are always available at just the right times, and in the correct measure to remind me that the role is important, but not always ‘so serious’ that I


    Chris Greene with Melissa Gill


cannot take time to enjoy the year. My year will be a successful one because I have the support of people who are like you- dedicated to Exemplifying the Heart of Rotary.


The ‘Exemplifying the Heart of Rotary award is presented by president Melissa in recognition to members who do just that.  



Georgia Rotary Student Introduced to Club  ( 8/15/13)



This years  Georgia Rotary Student Program student, Peter Korponai was introduced to the White County  Rotary Club at the Clubs  meeting August 13th.   Korponai, from Hungary  will be attending Truett McConnell College this fall.  


He is being hosted by the Rotary Clubs of White County,  Peachtree Corners, Braselton, and Helen.


Peter  said, “I am grateful to the Rotary Foundation for selecting me through the Group Study Exchange Program- I never would have known all of the people I now think of as 'my Rotary family.”





Rotary President Melissa Gill exchanges Rotary Flags

with GRSP student Peter Korponai



Helen Centennial Birthday Celebration Held (8/14/13)


                                                                                            Former Helen Mayor Bob Fowler talks about early days in Helen


(Helen)- The official 100 birthday celebration for the city of Helen, complete with a big birthday cake, was held Tuesday night.  The Centennial Celebration  was held at the Helendorf  River Inn Conference Center  in downtown Helen.  During the evening several  speakers talked about the development of the city of Helen  from a small sleepy town to a major tourist attraction in the state. 


One of the speakers for the evening  was  artist John Kollock,  he  provided the development design for the Alpine  Village.   Kollock said, “ I take credit for the design, but Pete Hodkinson  gets credit for getting it done.”  Most of the speakers credited  Hodkinson  as  the motivating force behind the Alpine Village and promotion of the city as a tourist destination.  He also  started the Helen to the Atlantic Hot Air Balloon Race.


The birthday celebration  was hosted by the Helen Arts and Heritage Center, Paula Ash with the center said, they have planned many activates to celebrate the city’s  centennial, she said “ this is the biggest one  that tells the story and it’s the closest to the actual birthday.”


Other events includes, Helen’s first ever  MUSICFEST, Saturday August


     Artist John Kollock


24th at  The Festhall,  a Floating River Parade, Saturday and the city’s largest ever fireworks display on  August 31st.   




Two Injured After Vehicle Collides With  A Deer ( 8/13/13)


(Cleveland)- Two people were injured Monday afternoon  in White County  when a vehicle collided with a deer and it crashed  through the windshield of the vehicle.  The accident happened at 3:00 PM on Duncan Bridge Road near New Bridge Road.


Captain Tim Chapman, White County Sheriff’s office  said after the  2003 Nissan Murano  hit the deer the animal went through the windshield and come to rest in the passengers seat.  According to Chapman a 19-year old who was sitting in the passengers seat received visible injuries and the youth’s mother who was sitting behind  the passengers seat was also injured.   


Both were transported by White County Emergency Medical Center ambulance  to Northeast Georgia Medical Center in Gainesville for treatment.



Constitution Booklets Presented To Ninth Grade Academy ( 8/12/13)


(Cleveland)- Dr. Joe Cash, American history teacher at White County   Ninth Grade Academy, recently was presented with  the annual donation of constitution booklets from the White County Patriots group.  Patriots representatives Jack Rawdin and Fio Weaver made the presentation.


Rawdin said,  “ It gives our members a great deal of pleasure to help with educational material for the students of American history,  Americas future is in the hands of our youth.”







Dr. Cash, Jack Rawdin and Fio Weaver




Weekend Thunderstorms  Cause Problems In  Northern White County (8/12/13)


(Cleveland)- White County Public Safety  Director David Murphy said , Saturday and Sunday afternoons flash flood warning were issued for White County due to a near stationary storms that produced almost 6 inches of rain over the Sautee area both days.   Sautee being ground zero for these storms experienced 3.27” of rain on Saturday and 2.65” Sunday.  


According to Murphy the weekend  rain event caused numerous calls to the 9-1-1 center  for trees down blocking roadways and flash flooding throughout the area.  Murphy said  that city and county agencies continue to evaluate the situation this morning.


The National Weather Services said more scattered to numerous thunderstorms are expected to develop Monday  afternoon and evening. The main threats will be from locally heavy rainfall and perhaps flash flooding and frequent cloud to ground lightening. 



Congressman Collins Visits With Farmers And Seniors In White County ( 8/8/13)


(Cleveland)- With a breathtaking backdrop of Cenita Vineyards  located east of Cleveland  Ninth District Congressman Doug Collins spoke to and heard from area farm leaders Thursday about what is important to them.  The  White County  stop was part of his district-wide tour of the agricultural interest.    


Collins was the featured speaker at a special Georgia Farm Bureau legislative tailgate lunch which attracted farmers from Habersham, Hall and White County as  well as state leaders.  Prior to speaking to the group Georgia Farm Bureau President Zippy Duvall called on representative Collins to address two big issues they face;  Immigration and the Farm Bill.  


Collins shared his views and the status of each during his talk to the farm leaders. He said the house has passed a true farm bill, one that deals with the real needs of the agricultural sector.   


         Collins talks with farm leaders


Stanley London, White County Farm Bureau President said it was good to have Collins meet with them and hear how important agriculture is to the area economy.  London said, “ agriculture is still very, very important to White County, not only White County but northeast Georgia.  I’m proud to be a part of agriculture and  Farm Bureau.” 


  Congressman Collins speaks to White County Seniors                    Collins meets with Center Director Bonnie York


Following the farm stop in  Cleveland  Congressman Collins paid a visit to the White County Senior Center and toured the newly expanded facility.  Collins shared, with a large group of seniors who use the center,  about his mother Dorothy’s love for seniors and her work with senior centers in northeast Georgia for many years.  The congressman let the seniors know they are important, saying “ what stories you bring, please don’t loose your story, don’t’ loose your song until you don’t have your song anymore.”  He further state, “ you are the shoulders the  rest of us stand on.”    



CFD Monthly Report ( 8/8/13)


(Cleveland)-  Cleveland Fire Department had a total of 66 calls during the month of July.  Cleveland Fire Chief Ricky Pruitt said during the months they answered  44 calls in the city  and 22 county calls were made.  


Of those calls, there were 3 structure fire, 26 medical calls, 8 auto accidents, 15 public assist, 2 smoke investigation and fire alarms.



Land Use Plan Public Meetings Set ( 8/6/13)




(Cleveland)- White County Board of Commissioners announced at Monday’s meeting at the courthouse in Cleveland they will be holding two open house sessions  to present a  draft land use plan to the citizens of the county and to receive the input of the public about the plan.  


Commission Chairman Travis Turner  stressed this is just a draft and not a finished product, he also outlined their goal of these public meetings saying, “ the goal of these input sessions is, (A) not to cram anything down the citizens throat, our desire is to, and I thing I speak for everyone here, we want to hear pros, cons and indifference of anything we can do better in presenting a plan to the community.  We want to do this in a correct manor. “


The first meeting will be held Thursday August 15th from 6:00 – 7:30 PM at  Mossy Creek United Methodist Church Fellowship Hall.  A second meeting will be held Thursday August 22nd at Sautee Nacoochee Community  Center from 6:30 PM- 7:30 PM. 


Citizens can get more information about the draft land use plan and view a map of the plan by logging onto the county’s website .  



Local Business Seeks State Tourism Grant ( 8/6/13)


(Cleveland)- The White County board of commissioners have agreed for the county  to be a conduit  for a local business  VIP Alpine Tours  to submit a state funded  tourism grant.  


Christina Ernst VIP Alpine Tours wants to use the money to develop what is called, a step on wine tour of the county.  The grant is in the amount of $15,000  and will be at no expense to the county.  White County Commission Chairman


Travis Turner said this is a win, win opportunity, “ this type of growth is something we are wanting to see, to see tourism increased in our local community and I’m excited.  I’ll be candid  Ms. Ernst has literally taken a step of faith here and I think we need to do all we can do to facilitate  private industry to take these steps. 


Turner said, this is a tremendous opportunity to emphasize the vineyards and   wineries in the county.  According to county officials,  White County has more of both than any other county in the state.


Ernst  said the tours will feature  up to 20 wine tastings,  visiting at least 6 of White County's tasting rooms, lunch included. She said, with fingers crossed,  " we hope to be up and running by labor day." 





Fire Destroys Home Saturday ( 8/5/13)



(Cleveland)-   White County Firefighters responded to a structure fire on Saturday night.  David Murphy, White County Public Safety  Director said,  “the call was received at 8:12PM with County Station 2 & 4 being dispatched with mutual aid from Cleveland Fire and Lee Arrendale Fire Brigade.  


Murphy said, upon arrival of first unit, firefighters reported the structure fully involved and all occupants were out of the residence.  The fire was knocked down at approximate 9PM.  The cause of blaze has yet to be determined and according to Murphy, the incident in under investigation. 


The American  Red Cross was notified to provide assistance to the occupant of the home.


Seatbelt Checkpoint Nets 74 Arrest In Cleveland ( 8/5/13)


Click It or Ticket Logo

(CLEVELAND) – It was a very productive operation for the Georgia State Patrol Friday night in the city of Cleveland.   Several GSP units  set up a seatbelt enforcement checkpoint  on  north Main Street.   


Sgt. 1st Class Chad Johnson said troopers made 63 arrests for seatbelt violations, charged two people with driving under the influence, arrested one person for suspended driver's license,  made one misdemeanor drug arrest, arrested two people who had outstanding warrants, and made several other arrests, for a total of 74.


 According to Johnson   troopers also issued 24 warnings during the enforcement effort. 




CFD Provide Fire Safety Program ( 8/5/13)


(Cleveland)- White County student get back in the classroom Tuesday, last  Thursday Cleveland Fire Department went to Cleveland City Park  for an education event.  At the park  a teacher was hosting  a meet the teacher back to school gathering and


Cleveland Fire Chief Ricky Pruitt said they provided information on fire prevention and safety for parents and kids.  Pruitt said, “ at the end of the event  students and parents were able to check out the fire truck and equipment used by the firefighters. “



Engineering Technology students visit GEM Plastics  (8/2/13)


(Clarkesville)- Taking advantage of world-class resources here in the Northeast Georgia region, the North Georgia Technical College Engineering Technology students and members of the Society of Mechanical Engineers  recently visited the GEM Plastics manufacturing facilities in Eastanollee for an in-depth tour of plastics fabrication.


NGTC Instructor Elwin Northcutt said, “So much of what we use every day comes from plastics and knowing how it is made isn’t common knowledge.  Touring the factory which consistently operates near 100% capacity, the students were able to connect the information discussed in the classroom with real-world applications.  Listening to their comments afterward demonstrated how deeply they have subsumed the vocabulary and concepts.


 “We watched how the sheets of plastic were created from melted pellets and extruded into sheets of varying thicknesses,” explained Matthew Kliewer of Cleveland.  “There were fewer employees on the floor than I had envisioned.  It was impressive to see the amount of fabricated material that was produced and stored each day.”


Northcutt said,   “This was an extremely valuable experience for the students and members of the club. We are planning on visiting a facility that involves either metal forging or stamping next semester.”



Road Department To Close Wooten Road Friday ( 7/31/13)


(Cleveland)- White County Public Works advises that they will be closing Wooten Road South of Cleveland this Friday because of needed road work.  Road Department spokeswoman Rolann Smith said, “ we need to replace a culvert on the road and it will require us to close the road between 10 AM and 1 PM. “  


According to Smith the road is a dead end and there are no other way  in our out.  The work should be complete by  1 PM and traffic will be allowed to travel the roadway.   


Signs have been place on the road advising residents about the closing prior to the work begins.



Couch Attends Training Conference (7/29/13)


Jim Couch

(Helen)- As part of his continuing education and training in the administration of law enforcement, Helen Police Chief Jim Couch, recently attended the 2013 Annual Summer Training conference sponsored by the Georgia Association of Chiefs of Police.  Heads of law enforcement agencies from throughout the state participated in the four-day conference. 


The Summer Training Conference was held at the Savannah International Trade & Convention Center.  Chief Couch, was among more than 485 heads of law enforcement agencies attending the Training Conference. 






Tax Rate Set, Bills  In the Mail Soon ( 7/26/13)



(Cleveland)- Following meeting this week White County and City of Cleveland tax millage rates have been set and tax bills  will soon be mailed to property owners.  T


he White County Board of Education met Thursday night and approved the school system maintenance and operation  millage rate of  17.523  mills.  The White County Board of Commissioners met  Friday  morning and approved the county’s tax millage rate of 9.19 mills. Adding in the  .15  mill the state gets the total  taxing rate for White County property owners will be 26.863 mills.


The Cleveland City Council also met Thursday night and approved the millage rate for city property owners.  That rate is  4.50  mills. The council gave their approval after holding three required public hearing on the millage increase from 4.244  mills  last year. 


 The City of Helen set their tax millage rate at 6.739   mills earlier this month.  


White County Tax Commissioner Cindy Cannon said  Friday  afternoon that she must submit the taxing rates to the state revenue department for approval.  She said she anticipates getting approval from the state within the next two weeks at which time she will begin the process of sending tax notices out to property owners.  




Record Crowd Celebrates 75th Anniversary For HEMC ( 7/26/113)


 (Mt. Airy)- A record breaking crowd turned out Thursday  as Habersham Electric Membership Corporation  held  its 75th Annual meeting at Habersham Ninth Grade Academy in Mt. Airy.   HEMC  officials said, there were 1,589 registered members with approximately 4,000 to 4,500 people in attendance, both were record numbers.   


Nicole Dover, spokesperson for Habersham Electric said, attendees enjoyed activities for children, a wonderful barbecue meal, a special theatre production and a door prize drawing with a


    President /CEO Tod Pealock with Tanya Champney



pickup truck as a grand prize.  The Chuck Wagon Gang provided musical entertainment prior to the business meeting.


Attendees were transported through time, with a theater production, as they learned what motivated U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt to create the Rural Electrification Administration (REA), how HEMC began as a grassroots effort and experienced the excitement created when the first portion of electrical lines were energized in the area.


Darren Kendall from U.S. Congressman Doug Collins’ office, Representative Dan Gasaway on behalf of Governor Deal, Senator John Wilkinson and Representative Terry Rogers presented the cooperative with proclamations in celebration of the 75th Anniversary.


Habersham EMC President/CEO Todd Pealock recognized the service of Director Carl Tallent, who passed away earlier in the year, with a resolution and presented a plaque to his sons.


Tanya Champney of Demorest had the winning ticket and  won the grand prize truck.  


Ray Meaders, Dan Thurmond and David Wall were elected to serve three year terms.  


Dover said, the board of directors met and elected officers  for the upcoming year, Hugh Rucker will serve as Chairman; Rick Wood, Vice-Chairman; and George Fry, Secretary-Treasurer.




Unemployment Rate Up in June ( 7/25/13)


Georgia Department of Labor Logo

(Atlanta)- The Georgia Department of Labor announced Thursday  that the preliminary June unemployment rate in White County was  8-point 7 percent,  that is up from  the 8-point   2 percent revised May rate. 


The labor department said at the end of June  White County’s  labor force was 13, 214. Of those 12,058 were employed, while  1,156 were unemployed. The county’s unemployment rate one year ago was 9-point 3 percent.


The unemployment rate in the Georgia Mountains region  increased to 8.0 percent in June, up seven-tenths of a percentage point, from 7.3 percent in May. The rate was 8.3 percent in June a year ago.




TMC Launches New Athletic Website ( 7/25/13)


(CLEVELAND)– Truett-McConnell College has just launched a new school  athletic website.  Truett-McConnell’s Director of Athletics, Dr. Stacy Hall said,  “Our new website will better position Truett-McConnell  as a leader within college athletics.”  The new offers a complete redesign, Hall said, noting the measures taken to focus on student-athletes. 


“We have in-depth bios of each athlete, scholar athlete of the week features and student spotlights.”    “Our desire for the TMC Bears is to be the best in class.”


You can visit the TMC Bears new website at .



 Rainfall Surplus Continues To Grow ( 7/24/13)

(Sautee)- White County’s Rainfall deficit continues to grow with all the afternoon showers we have been  having.  WRWH weather reporter Bill Kinsland advises  as on Monday we have received  153 per cent of our normal year to date rainfall.  


The average  surplus of rainfall in the county from the three reporting stations, in Cleveland, Helen and Sautee,  is now 21-point  04 inches.   According to  Kinsland, last weeks average rainfall in the county was 3.44 inches.




Year-to-date Rainfall Totals:

                                    OBSERVED -NORMAL = DEPARTURE

Cleveland (WRWH, NWS Observer)-------59.57" – 37.76" = +21.81"

Helen City Hall(NWS Observer)--------63.84" – 41.86" = +21.98"

Sautee-(Bill Kinsland, NWS Observer)-59.13” – 39.81" = +19.32"


Average County Rainfall--------------60.85” – 39.81" = +21.04"(SUR.)



(NOTE: White County has received 153% of its’ normal YTD rainfall.)




WCSO Phone Service Restored ( 7/23/13)


(Cleveland)-  Phone service has been restored to the White County  Sheriff’s Office/ Detention Center after being out for almost 12 hours.  White County Sheriff  Neal Walden said the phone service for the entire facility went down Monday night around 9:00 PM.  


Jackie Dean Manager for Plant Operations for Windstream  advised they had their part of the service back up by midnight  Monday night and the remainder of the problem was within the jail facility which was the responsibility of the county Information Technology  Department.


Citizens with emergencies were still able to,  as they should do anyway, call  9-1-1 for assistance. Walden reported phone services were back up around 9:30 Tuesday morning.  


 It is unknown, at this time,  what caused the outage.



Man Shoots Himself In The Hand ( 7/22/13)


(Cleveland)- A 57-year old  Cleveland man was injured Saturday when he,  according to the White County Sheriff’s  Office, accidently shot himself in the hand.  The incident occurred  around 11:00 PM on Moosewood Drive, Cleveland.   


Spokesperson Captain Tim Chapman said when the officer arrived on scene he observed  a large amount of blood on the front porch of the residence. Inside the residence the officer talked with a male who said he accidently shot himself in the left hand.  Chapman said the man was shot with a 38 caliber revolver.    


The man was transported to the hospital for treatment of injuries.  No further details were released about the incident.  



Thunderstorm Brings Rain, High Wind and Flooding ( 7/17/13)


                                                                               Before the storm (picture by Amber Burrell)


(Cleveland)- A late afternoon thunderstorm dumped heavy rain, along with high wind and pea size hail on the city of Cleveland Wednesday.  The storm rolled in from northeast of the city and covered much of the southern part of the county by the time it exited.  


Cleveland Fire Chief  Ricky Pruitt said, tree’s were blown down knocking out power in the majority of the city.  Pruitt said, in one case a tree fell on a house and punched a small hole in the roof.   Numerous city streets were flooded because of large amount of rain in a short period of time.  Around 1 ½ inches of rain fell in about twenty minutes.



Through it all there was no reported injuries. 



Author Ronda Rich Speak To W.C. Rotary ( 7/17/13)


Ronda Rich, bestselling author of  “What Southern Women Know (That Every Woman Should)” and a popular national columnist was the speaker at  White County Rotary Club  Tuesday July 16th.


Ronda shared highlights of her writing career  and previewed her latest book ‘ There’s A Better Day A-Comin’ “  She has appeared on dozens of television and radio shows and recently appeared on TV’s Fox and Friends, representing Southern Women’s views.  


Also attending the Rotary meeting  with Ronda was her husband, TV/Producer John Tinker.





Homeowner Interrupts Burglary ( 7/17/13)


 (Cleveland)- The White County Sheriff’s office is investigating  an attempted burglary that was interrupted by the homeowner Tuesday  morning.  Chief Deputy Bob Ingram said, around 9:00 AM Brenda Pilgrim returned to her Turner  Road  home and saw someone fleeing the residence. 


Ingram said a K-9 unit was called to help track the suspect. According to Ingram they are not sure if anything was taken.  


The case remains under investigation.




Helen To Hold  'Show Cause'  Hearings For Underage Alcohol Sales (7/17/13)  By Rob Moore

click to enlarge

(HELEN) - The Helen City Commission will convene three hours early on Tuesday, August  20th, to conduct six "show cause" hearings for businesses in the city that allegedly sold alcohol to underage patrons in June.  Helen Police Chief Jim Couch told the city commission  Tuesday  that six of 10 businesses visited by underage patrons workings as part of a Helen Police Department undercover sting operation on June 29th  sold alcohol to those not legally permitted to purchase it.

Those establishments include:   Bigg Daddys American Tavern and Music Club,   Pies and Pints Deli & Tavern, Hogpen Gap Grill, King Ludwig's Biergarten,  Circle K,   and  Hayloft Tavern & Grill.  Couch said of the underage patrons  "They were both underage, and both had their own I.D. - driver's license."   "The two went to these 10 locations and either they were turned away, they were told no, or the purchases were made," Couch said. "Out of the six locations that actually served, to my knowledge from my understanding six people have been terminated from those businesses.


City commissioners weighed in on the operation. "We have always been known as a place for underage drinking," said Commissioner Dona K. Burke. "I'm glad you did this. Normally this is done by the state. They come in every year in October and it makes us look so bad." 


Asked by Commissioner Judy Holloway what prompted the operation, Couch reminded her that the city set aside funds last year for investigations such as this. That money was used to purchase the drinks in this undercover sting. 


Places that didn't sell to the underage patrons include: BP, Club Escape, Monday's, and Paul's Steakhouse.  Couch sent a letter commending each of the four businesses that followed the law and didn't serve to the underage patrons.



Rotary Recognizes Members ( 7/11/13)


(Cleveland)- At the beginning of a new Rotary year president Melissa Gill made a special recognition to fellow member Mitchelle Johnson.  Gill recognized Johnson with the " Heart of Rotary "  award for her service. during the presentation


President Gill said, " In humble recognition of your Service Above Self, I am proud to name you as the Rotarian who best exemplifies the “Heart of Rotary” in our Club and beyond into the District and International world of Rotarians. You are a treasured asset to our Club and my Rotary mentor."


Also during the meeting Rotarian Jena Payne was recognized as a Paul  Harris Fellow and member of the Rotary Paul Harris Society,  for her $1,000 donation to the Rotary Foundation and the same commitment.  On had for the presentation  was Rotary District  6910 Paul Harris Society Chairman David Haynes.     


Rotary President Melissa Gill, Mitchell Johnson            David Haynes, Jena Payne, Susan Baker (past President) and           

                                                                                      Mitchelle Johnson (Rotary Foundation Chair)



Sutton Wins Kindle Fire ( 7/11/13)


Misty Sutton of Cleveland Thursday received a new Kindle Fire  from Dr. Don Robbins Optometrist office in Cleveland.  The Kindle was prize awarded as part of the Summer reading promotion by Dr. Robbins office.


Misty said she was excited about the win, but she might have to get some of the younger folks to help her figure out how to use it. 









Marc Shubert, Misty Sutton, Kaity Sullens, Dr. Robbins




Development Authority To Get More Aggressive In County Marketing



(Cleveland)-  The White County Development Authority has made a decision to get a little more aggressive in marketing the county to businesses looking to locate in the county.  At a meeting this week during a discussion on the budget member Marc Greene urged the group  to take most of the fund balance, that has been sitting there for a while, and use it to move forward with promotion ideas.


Greene said that would be doing what they are charged to do.  He said, “ we have a small amount of money, but it is an amount o money that we need to start marketing the county  to improve our image in the state that we’re ready to have some economic growth here. “


Development Authority Chairman Bob Oliver  says, this is a positive direction for the group, “ for years we haven’t done much in trying to recruit, to get new businesses here or to get some economic development.  I think we’re going to spend some money to do it.  We need to come up with a good plan and I think that’s what we’re going to do.” Oliver said they want to work  closely with the White County Chamber of Commerce  2020 vision plan development recently.  He said they have no set timeframe for their projects. 


Greene said they have a big responsibility as far as economic development  he said, “  not only bring new businesses to town I think we need to help create a positive business environment  for the businesses that are here already as they continue to expand.  And I have a passion for that, I’ve been on this committee a number of years and I don’t think we’ve been very active in creating a positive business environment for our existing businesses and draw new businesses in.”


The authority has already developed a marketing brochure and working on a video presentation for the county.  



Wet Summer But No Record  (7/11/13)


(Cleveland)- Just in case you have been thinking this Summer is the wettest on record for our area, WRWH’s weather reporter Bill Kinsland says it isn’t, at least so far.  Bill did some research and found out that during the three-month period of June, July and August of 1967,  Co-op Observer Mary Lou Sutton of Cleveland recorded 33.68 inches of rain....Helen recorded 39.01 inches.... White County average was 36.35 inches.   


Bill says to add perspective, on August 23rd, 1967, Mr. C.L. Vandiver, US Weather Bureau Co-op Observer,  for  Helen recorded 8.50 inches of rainfall in 24 hours. With that much rain the Chattahoochee River flooded the entire area of downtown Helen all the way  up to the public housing projects.   


According to reports, the entire area of the present day Outlet Mall was completely under water....and most of Nacoochee Valley around the Indian Mound was under water....and the Highway 75 bridge near the Indian Mound was buckling and impassable.   


According to Bill, that was the date of the record maximum flood level of the Chattahoochee River which was  12. feet, flood level is 6 feet.  


So even if we have received a lot of rain so far this summer we have a long way to go to break the records of 1967.




Council Approves Water/Sewer Rate Increase ( 7/10/13)


(Cleveland)- The Cleveland City Council has given their final approval  to a 2 ½ percent  increase in water rates.  The water rate increase will in turn increase the sewer rate since it is based on the cost of water use.  The rate increase was approved by the council at a  meeting Monday night. 


The Council also approved moving forward  and holding required public hearing  in connection with the tax millage rate increase from 4-point -01 mills to 4-point  5 mills.  The three public hearing will be held Thursday July 18th at 9:00 AM and 7:00 PM and a final hearing at 7:00 PM on July 25th.  


The council in making their decision to increase the millage rate pointed  to the fact that property values have dropped in recent years resulting in  lower tax revenue  the city uses to provide city services.



Gold Miner Statue Arrives In Cleveland ( 7/9/13)


  Ms. Annette Adams and Artist Gregory Johnson      Placing the statue on pedestal 


(Cleveland)- The much anticipated bronze gold miner statue recognizing the discovery of gold in White County  has finally arrived.  The statue was made possible by a donation  from Annette Adams, of Cleveland, in memory of her late husband Gene.  The announcement of the statue donation was made back in January and since then the artist creating it, Gregory Johnson,  has been working on the project.  


The finished product was delivered Tuesday  morning.  As workers prepared the base for the placement of the statue Johnson told us his feeling of seeing his work being displayed, he said, “ there’s nothing like seeing it in bronze, in the situation, with the landscaping and the beautiful pedestal it just frames it all with the mountains and the sky in the background, you just don’t get the same feeling in the studio.”   


The county  played a major role in the discovery of gold and the largest gold nugget found east of the Mississippi occurred here. 


Adams attended the statue placement and  expressed her thoughts about getting to this stage of the projects she said, “ well, I hope it will be a real asset to Cleveland.”  


Historical Society President Judy Lovell said they will soon have an official dedication ceremony and recognition program for the statue.



Commissioners And BOE  Agree On Education Facility Use ( 7/9/13)


(Cleveland)- The White County Board of Commissioners and White County Board of Education  Monday agreed to terms in  an agreement on the County Parks YMCA use  of education facilities such as gyms and ball fields.   The agreement call for the county to compensate the education department for the use of the facilities.   


The two entities have had a working agreement for several years, and recently the compensation was a swap with the county for a school resource officer provided through the Sheriff’s Office.  This year the  resource office was taken out of the agreement and a dollar figure was placed back in, but when the commissioners received the agreement last week the compensation cost had   increased from $25 to $30,000 so the commissioners got together with the Board of Education to find out why.  


Board of ed  member Charlie Thomas explained at the meeting it was inflation related.  He said, “ part of our though in going up from 25 to 30 was because of the utilities as ya’ll know has gone up three or four times, the cost of keeping the fields maintained and all that has skyrocketed because fuel went up. “


After some discussion the commissioners and board of education agreed to stick with the $25,000 fee.   With YMCA personnel required to be at the facilities used to assume responsibility for the activities.  


The commissioners approved the agreement at the end of  the s meeting, the board of education deferring approval until their next regular meeting later this month.   




Welcome Sunshine After  Week Of Rain ( 7/8/13)


(Cleveland)- With a week of rainy weather the sight of sunshine across Northeast Georgia  Monday  morning was a very welcome sight, but  weather forecasters say we have a chance more  showers each day this week.  The rain is not expected to as heavy and should only be on and off showers.  


Rainfall data from this past week shows  White County has received 6.94 inches average rainfall.  This is from the three weather station in the county.  WRWH Weather reporter Bill Kinsland said, " this figure is 1.59 inches greater than the 5.35 inches normal rainfall for the entire month of July.”  He said in other words, we got more than the whole month’s rainfall in 1 single week.  Bill also reported with all the rain our year-to-date rainfall surplus is 18.09 inches as of this morning.


The level of Lake Lanier is benefiting from all the rain. The level this morning  topped 1073 for the second time since it reached summertime full pool of 1070 on May 19th.  The lake level went up 1 ½ feet since last Monday.


River levels are also up, the Chattahoochee River level was up so high and the currents were so strong that tubing  businesses in Helen were not letting people get into the water, because of the danger.  





Lightening Strikes Tree Knocking It Down  On Hood Street ( 7/8/13)


(Cleveland)- Cleveland public works crews were working Monday morning  clearing the street right of way near WRWH Radio  where a tree fell across Hood Street Saturday night during a thunderstorm.  


Cleveland Fire Chief Ricky Pruitt said, Saturday night around 11:00 AM they were dispatched to a call where the tree was blocking the entire street. Pruitt said, “ the Poplar tree had been hit by lightening and there were parts of the tree that had been blown at least 50 feet away.”  


Fire Department personnel cut the tree and removed it from the roadway, until public works crews could clear up the mess.



W.C Administrative Offices Open At New Location ( 7/8/13)


(Cleveland)- The move has been made and the White County Administrative office are now  located at 1235 Helen Highway, this is the former White County Sheriff’s office building. The building is located behind the White County Senior Center on the Helen Highway.   


Offices making the move from the White County Courthouse include : Board of Commissioners, County Manager, County Clerk, Human Resources, Finance and Business Tax. 


Future plans are to have the county Corner's office located in the building.


The Board of Commissioners, will still hold their meeting at the White County Courthouse, until further notice.

The County Administrative office move will now allow for the expansion of the White County Probate Court  office and have only judicial offices located in the courthouse.   The Commissioners have been working on moving all the non-judicial offices out of the courthouse for past year or so.  

 White County Jail Inmate Dies From Attempted Hanging ( 7/8/13)

(CLEVELAND) – Funeral arrangements remain incomplete for an  inmate at the White County Detention Center who tried to hang himself this past  week.   According to an obituary notice from Alexander Funeral Home, 31-year-old Jason Grimsley died Thursday.  


According to White County Chief Deputy Bob Ingram,  Grimsley had been hospitalized since Tuesday night, when he tried to hang himself in a jail cell.  At the time of the incident, Ingram said Grimsley had been accounted for at 6:18 p.m. Tuesday, but was missing during a head count at 6:36 p.m.  Ingram said Grimsley was serving time for theft and probation violation at the time. 


The Georgia Bureau of Investigation is conducting an investigation of the incident.




Heavy Rain  Results In Sinkhole ( 7/7/13)



(Cleveland)- White County officials spent most of the pre dawn hours of Sunday checking out a sinkhole on the side of the road in the parking lot of Chattahoochee Grocery east of Cleveland near the White-Habersham County line.  The incident was reported by a passerby just after 2:00 AM.


White County Public Safety Director David Murphy said a power pole with a security light was affected by the sinkhole, but there were no traffic problems.  According to Murphy the sinkhole is about 10- 15 feet across and bout 12 feet deep and is near a storm drain pipe.


Habersham Electric crews were called to correct the power situation and Department of Transportation Crews will be working  to fill the sinkhole.



Commissioners Tackle New Budget  (6/7/13)


(Cleveland)- The White County Board of Commissioners got their first hard look Thursday at the proposed county "General Fund"  budget for next year.   County Manager Mike Melton presented an overview of the budget at a budget hearing at the courthouse in Cleveland.  When presented the budget calls for a little over $16-million dollars in expenditures. 


During the meeting the commissioners examined each line items and were able to trimmed around  $100-thousand  dollars.  


Commission Chairman Travis Turner said at first look the bottom line  figures it’s  up quite a bit from last couple of  year, but  Turner said they have moved some special funds around,  “we have taken these special funds setting out there and incorporated them into individual  line items within the general fund.”      


The new budget does include  the re-instatement of retirement funding for county employees. 


Chairman Turner said, they are still committed to no tax millage increase for county residents, he said “ we have been able to cut expenses the last few years to an acceptable manor that is allowing us, so far, looks like we are going to be able to do this 2014 budget with no millage rate increase, not even a rollup.”


 If the commissioners are successful in not having to increase  the millage rate it will be the fifth straight year that there has been no millage rate increase for property owners.   





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