Stephens County Unemployment Up in December

Stephens County ends 2012 with an increase in the unemployment rate.  According to figures released by the Georgia Department of Labor, Stephens County’s preliminary unemployment rate for December came in at 9.2 percent.  The December rate is six-tenths of a percent higher than the revised November rate of 8.6 percent but three-tenths of a percent lower than the revised rate for December 2011.

Click here for full article

“New Harmonies” Wrapping Up in Toccoa

The "New Harmonies" exhibit will wrap up this weekend in Toccoa.  Located in the historic train depot, the exhibit will be on display through Saturday at the Mitchell Allen Room.  The exhibit, which is free to view, covers the history of American music. “New Harmonies” was brought to Toccoa through a joint effort of the Georgia Humanities Council, Stephens County Historical Society, and Main Street Toccoa program.  Main Street Toccoa Events Coordinator Sharon Crosby said that the turnout for the exhibit has been great since it arrived. “We have had several thousand people go through,” said Crosby. “Many of them have come with school groups. Several have come with other groups. We have been very happy with the turnout.”  Also as part of the “New Harmonies” exhibit’s visit to Toccoa, numerous concerts have taken place in conjunction with the exhibit to recognize roots music.  The final two concerts are set for tonight and tomorrow night in Toccoa.

Click here for further details

Hwy. 17 Widening Moving Forward in Stephens County

The widening of Highway 17 in Stephens County to four lanes continues to move forward.  According to Georgia Department of Transportation spokesperson Teri Pope, seven companies bid on the first phase of the widening project.  This phase is the southern end of the project between Franklin County and Scott Road. Pope said that officials must review all of the bids before a final decision can be made and a company is awarded the project. Meanwhile, the second phase of the widening of Highway 17, which will encompass the northern section of the highway between Scott Road and Memorial Drive, is expected to go out to bid next month.  Stephens County Commissioner Dean Scarborough announced that the state had informed him that the DOT had found funding for both phases of Highway 17 in this current fiscal year which mean both phases can be constructed at the same time--great news for Stephens County!

Click here for full article

Toccoa Remembers Jake McNiece

World War II and Camp Toccoa veteran Jake McNiece is being remembered in Stephens County.  McNiece passed away this week at the age of 93.  Stephens County Historical Society Executive Director Brenda Carlan says that McNiece was a paratrooper who trained for the war in Toccoa and became the leader of a group of men known as the “Filthy Thirteen” which inspired "The Dirty Dozen" movie.  Last year, McNiece was awarded the French Legion of Honor, Knight Chevalier medal, for his wartime service--the highest honor the French President can give to an enlisted soldier.

 Click for full article

Committee Assignments Released for Gasaway, Wilkinson

Senator John Wilkinson (R-Toccoa) has been named Chairman of the Senate Agriculture and Consumer Affairs Committee for the 2013-2014 term by the Senate Committee on Assignments.  The Agriculture and Consumer Affairs Committee addresses issues such as agricultural land use, commodities, commissions, fairs and expositions, marketing law, pest management, and pesticides.  In a press release, Senator Wilkinson said he looks forward to working with his colleagues to cultivate legislation that will benefit the state’s land and waters. He adds that his top priority is to enrich the soil in Georgia to be a fertile land for its citizens.  Meanwhile in the House, Gasaway has been appointed to the Budget and Fiscal Affairs Oversight Committee, the Insurance Committee, and the Natural Resources and Environment Committee.

Click here for full article

Stephens Co. Commission Kicks Off 2013 Tuesday

Two new Stephens County Commissioners will take their seats for their first commission meetings today.
First, the commission will hold a daylong retreat at the Kimsey Environmental Center in Eastanolle from 8 a.m. until 4 p.m. Then, the first regular Stephens County Commission meeting of 2013 will take place at 5 p.m. in the second-floor courtroom of the historic Stephens County Courthouse in downtown Toccoa.
These are the first meetings for new commissioners Dennis Bell and Debbie Whitlock who were elected to four-year terms last year.  The Stephens County Commission meeting and work session are both open to the public.

Click here for details

Collins Scheduled to Be Sworn In To Congress Today

A new Congress starts today and for Stephens County and Northeast Georgia that means a new Congressman.  Doug Collins will be sworn in to office today to represent the Ninth Congressional District in northeast Georgia as the 113th Congress gets underway. Last month, the Hall County Republican announced his committee assignments for the 113th Congress.  Collins said he will serve on the House Committees of Judiciary, Foreign Affairs, and Oversight and Government Reform.

Click here for full article

Thornton Named Honorable Mention All-State By AJC

The Atlanta Journal Constitution named Stephens County senior running back Chaz Thornton as an honorable mention all-state football player in AAAA.  Thornton finished the season with more than 1,500 yards rushing and 22 touchdowns. For his career, he had more than 6,000 career rushing yards and passed University of Georgia Heisman Trophy-winning running back Herschel Walker on the state rushing list with one of the top 15 career rushing totals in state history!  Congratulations!

SCDA Provides Update on Projects

Stephens County Development Authority Executive Director Tim Martin provided updates on two projects.  First, the Phase III grading at Hayestone-Brady Business Park is complete. Martin said that the grading work was designed to create a 50-acre site at the business park to help try to attract industries.  “Over the last 12 months, we have received several inquiries for 50 acres of leveled land,” said Martin. “It is hard to find leveled land in Stephens County. There were still some SPLOST dollars in the economic development pool of funds, so we did some additional grading at Hayestone-Brady Park.”  Meanwhile, Martin said that progress is also being made regarding the design of proposed major waste water system enhancements.  The design will involve approximately 55,705 feet of sewer line and about 10,000 feet of waterline to expand waste water service down Big A Road and then south into industrial areas of the county.  Martin said that local officials will soon receive a preliminary engineering report, or PER, on the project.  “With that PER, we will go to various funding sources to leverage the funding that we have with additional support, so we can get implementation right after the final design work is done sometime in July,” said Martin.

Click here for full article