The City of Toccoa expects to welcome thousands downtown for the annual 'Taste of Toccoa" festival this evening. The 21st annual "Taste of Toccoa" festival is tonight from 5-8pmin downtown Toccoa. Main Street Events Coordinator Sharon Crosby said everyone is looking forward to this year's "Taste". Organizers expect around 20 restaurants to participate. The event also includes entertainment and children activities.

Unemployment rate drops

Stephens County sees its unemployment rate drop below 10%. According to figures released this week by the GDOL, Stephens County had a preliminary unemployment rate in March of 9.9%. That rate marks a drop of seven-tenths of a percent from February. It is also down eight-tenths of a percent from March 2010.

Stephens County Commissioners to contribute to NGN Study

Today Stephens County Commissioners voted to contribute $500 towards a local match to obtain a regional broadband study. Stephens County Commissioner Dean Scarborough said pursuing broadband connectivity is crucial for future growth. The tri-county Joint Development Authority is working to obtain a OneGeorgia grant to fund a broadband connectivity feasibility study for six northeast Georgia Counties.

Stephens County Developer Day

The Stephens County Development Authority held its second 2011 Developer Day April 21, bringing statewide economic development project managers to the community on a development-focused tour. Seven project managers from AGL Resources, Georgia EMC, Georgia Department of Economic Development, OneGeorgia, and Senator Johnny Isakson’s office toured the community. The trip showcased Stephens County’s development-ready sites, industrial buildings, work force, and leadership so as to help project managers better foster development in our area.

North Georgia Technical College’s Greg Roach and Mike Terrell of Fernside Package Store served as the “chauffeurs” for the day. Combat Training Solutions’ Deborah Chapman and Ben Clardy led the group on a tour of their facility. The group visited the new Stephens County High School as well. They also viewed several available industrial buildings and sites in the Meadowbrook Industrial Park and Hayestone Brady Business Park. The project managers got a glimpse at the natural sights of Toccoa and Stephens County with stops at the Currahee Military Museum, Toccoa Falls, Broad River Trestle and Camp Toccoa.

The economic developers joined local leaders from the City and County government, manufacturing, healthcare, education, and real estate sectors for lunch at the Willard Kimsey Environmental Education Center (Straw House). The statewide guests gave an overview of their agencies and projects, and local leaders had the chance to address their concerns and perspectives on local development projects.

One more Developer Day event is planned for May as part of the Development Authority’s initiative to raise statewide awareness of and support for Stephens County.

Toccoa-Stephens County Cleanup Challenge is underway

The Toccoa-Stephens County Cleanup Challenge is into its second week. The first week of competition has ended and Stephens County Fire Explorers Post 609 team is in the lead with 9,485 points. In second place is the Elks Lodge/Ladies Auxiliary team with 781 points. According to Keep Toccoa-Stephens County Beautiful, a total of 3113 pounds of litter and recyclables, and 87 tires have been collected.

Toccoa Machine Products Highlighted

Toccoa Machine Products is located at 2151 Oak Valley Road. The metal fabrication business was started 36 years ago by Mike Fulbright. Mike's sons, Mark and Brian, help to run the day to day operations of the business. But, they don't do it alone. They said they have a loyal, hard-working team of employees that have been with the company for over twenty years. Toccoa Machine Products, Inc. has a reputation for providing quality service to many local industries.