Stephens County Commission Makes JDA Appointment

Tuesday, the Stephens County Commission unanimously appointed North Georgia Technical College Currahee Campus Director Greg Roach to fill the unexpired term of Cam Parker on the Joint Development Authority. The JDA includes Stephens, Franklin and Hart counties.  Stephens County Commission Chairman Dean Scarborough said Roach will do a good job.  “We were looking for someone with exposure in all three of those counties and had knowledge of some of the people involved in the Joint Development Authority’s work,” said Scarborough. “Greg, of course being at North Georgia Tech’s Currahee Campus, has dealings in business and has spoken to all of the developers and a lot of the people there and we felt like he was a good match.”  The Stephens County Commission also unanimously re-appointed both Scarborough and Bob Evans to their posts on the Joint Development Authority.

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EPD Signs Wilbros Consent Order; Court Hearing Today in Civil Suit

The Georgia Environmental Protection Division has finalized a consent order with Wilbros.  The EPD signed the consent order on Monday with the Rose Lane facility at the center of controversy over complaints of excessive odor coming from the facility.  According to EPD Assistant Director Jim Ussery, the final consent order that will be implemented includes a number of amendments made after public comments on the proposed consent order.  Ussery said that the EPD believes this final consent order will provide solutions to the odor problem.  “All of the things that we have laid out in the order go beyond what some facility like this might be required to do, but since they are in a populated area, then they need to take these actions,” said Ussery. “I do think it will control the odors. In fact, I know we will control the odors ultimately.” 
Meanwhile, a court hearing in the civil suit filed by Stephens County and others against the Wilbros facility is set for this morning.  That hearing is scheduled to take place at 9 a.m. today regarding a motion made by the plaintiffs for a preliminary injunction against Wilbros.  Stephens County, the city of Toccoa, Stephens County School System, and Concerned Citizens of Toccoa-Stephens County, LLC filed suit in July against Wilbros and associated defendants over the odor.

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Stephens County Hospital Ranked #8 by Georgia Trend Magazine

Georgia Trend Magazine ranked Stephens County Hospital #8 among the top small hospitals in the state for 2012.  To determine the rankings, hospitals were grouped of similar size and mission together and compared with their peer institutions.  All information used to compile the rankings relies on publicly available information on quality of care, patient satisfaction, mortality and readmission statistics and data on hospital-acquired infections and conditions.  Georgia Trend worked with researchers and healthcare professionals at WellStar Health System in Marietta to determine the state rankings.

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“New Harmonies” Exhibit Comes to Toccoa

Friday evening, Toccoa welcomed the traveling Smithsonian Institution exhibit, New Harmonies, to the Schaefer Center.  The “New Harmonies: Celebrating American Roots Music” exhibit covers the history of American music. It was brought to Toccoa through a joint effort of the Georgia Humanities Council, Stephens County Historical Society, and Main Street Toccoa program.  Historical Society Executive Director Brenda Carlan said they are proud to host the exhibit and she thanked the Humanities Council for choosing Toccoa as one of the host cities. Officials from the Georgia Humanities Council were on hand and say they are thrilled to have the exhibit in Toccoa.  Friday night’s event also gave the city a chance to show off the newly renovated Schaefer Center with a grand re-opening.  “We want this to be one of the anchors for downtown redevelopment and to be a facility that we can use and enjoy and that you and I can be proud of for years to come,” said Toccoa City Manager Mike Jackson.  The “New Harmonies” exhibit will remain in Toccoa through January 26, 2013.  It is free and open to the public from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Mondays through Saturdays and 1 to 4 p.m. on Sundays.

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Stephens County Hospital Holds Love Light Program

Stephens County Hospital held its annual “Love Light” ceremony in the hospital cafeteria on Thursday.  The Stephens County Hospital Auxiliary sponsors the event each year.  Auxiliary President Ann Hauerland said this event is one the auxiliary truly enjoys.  “We work for this all year long,” said Hauerland. “We cannot give every department their requested equipment, but we are so honored to give the ones that we can. It just means the world to us to help the hospital.”  During the ceremony, the auxiliary presents equipment that it has purchased with donated money for the hospital.  This year, the auxiliary purchased five items. They include an analyzer for the lab to help with test results, a laptop computer and related equipment to set up a mobile patient registration unit, a pulmonary function machine that will assist with testing, a special stretcher for cataract surgeries, and a recumbent bicycle for the hospital’s cardiopulmonary rehab unit.

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Toccoa-Stephens County Tomorrow Releases Report

A committee working to create a community improvement plan for Toccoa and Stephens County releases its Executive Summary of a September community input meeting.  “Toccoa-Stephens County Tomorrow” is a privately funded effort in conjunction with the Toccoa-Stephens County Chamber of Commerce and the Fanning Institute from the University of Georgia.  Toccoa-Stephens County Tomorrow Chairman Barry Roberts said one of the clear priorities is economic development.  “Economic development is at the forefront of everybody’s mind,” said Roberts. “Jobs are important. People are ready to see things turn around in Stephens County."  The Executive Summary from the September meeting at the Currahee Campus is posted at

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Building Inspections Informational Event Saturday in Stephens County

The Stephens County Board of Commissioners and the Stephens County Building Inspections Department is holding Introduction to Building Inspections and Contractor Appreciation Day on Saturday, December 8 at at the Stephens County Senior Center in Toccoa.  The event is from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and is free to attend.  Stephens County Building Inspector Larry Krul said the event is open to the public and is designed for contractors, subcontractors, and those interested in significant home repair projects.

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NGTC Taking Applications for Associate’s in Nursing Program

North Georgia Technical College is now accepting applications  for entry into the Associate in Science Nursing program.  The ASN program will be a direct path to Registered Nursing.  It is projected to be one of the two occupations with the highest growth rate in Georgia and among occupations with the most annual openings in North Georgia.  Application deadline for the first group of students is March 1, 2013. 

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