Currahee Club Breaks Ground on Showcase Home

Currahee Club on Lake Hartwell celebrated the groundbreaking Wednesday afternoon for the 2013 Southern Living Showcase Home. Currahee Club Managing Director Andrew Ward said it brings a lot of credibility anytime you embark on a project with Southern Living.  “This is a regional home that is promoted regionally throughout the Southeast U.S.A. and we will get a lot of exposure from this,” said Ward. “We are very excited about it.”  He went on to say that he is not just excited for the club, but for the impact that the home and the publicity that goes with it could have on the local community.  “What we are really excited about is they talk about potentially 15,000 or 16,000 people (that) will come and tour this house,” said Ward. “We will make sure that once they come visit the house and Currahee Club, they will not leave here without coming to Toccoa. We want them to come to the shops, stores, and restaurants in Toccoa.”  Dillard-Jones Builders of Greenville, South Carolina will build the home and once the home is complete, it will open up for tours this September through December, closing for a short time in November to decorate for the holidays.    Proceeds from the tours will benefit several charities including Neighbors 4 Neighbors of Stephens County and the Food Bank of Northeast Georgia.  

NGTC Breaks Ground on Expansion

On Wednesday, the Currahee Campus of North Georgia Technical College celebrated the groundbreaking of the new Health Sciences wing. The new wing will house North Georgia Tech’s Licensed Practical Nursing program and Paramedic/EMT program.  North Georgia Technical College President Dr. Gail Thaxton said that the expansion will have multiple benefits for these programs.  “It is going to attract students because they are going to see that the facility is current and state-of-the-art and everybody wants to learn with the newest and the best technology,” said Thaxton.  “There will be laboratories, science laboratories, classrooms, computer labs,” said Thaxton. “But all of these laboratories around the paramedic/EMT program and the Licensed Practical Nursing program are going to have very specialized patient assessment rooms, viewing rooms, computerized monitoring rooms. It is really built out to meet today’s standards for workforce preparation.”

U.S. Rep. Collins Visits Stephens County

U.S. Rep. Doug Collins, a Georgia Republican, fourth from left, visits the Eaton Corp. plant in Stephens County.
U.S. Rep. Doug Collins made two stops Friday in northeast Georgia as part of his district workweek.  One of those stops was to tour Eaton Corp. in Stephens County, a plant where plumbing equipment for the aerospace industry is made.  Eaton plant manager Bill Hayford said he appreciated the opportunity to show Collins and the other officials on hand the quality of work done by the approximately 150 employees at the facility.  “I wanted him to see the pride and the engagement that the employees here in Stephens County and the north Georgia area have in what they do here at the Eaton Aerospace plant,” Hayford said. “They are very proud of what they do, and we are proud of them because they do a great job here.” Collins was very impressed with the Eaton plant and added that the pride the employees there take in their work is evident.  "You come to plants like this, and it is what I believe in,” Collins said. “It is what I believe government ought to look for — people who get up every day and they take pride in their work, and they enjoy telling people about it.  When I come to plants like this, it just shows and that gives me a boost to go back into the Washington mix and say that people are depending on you (Congress).”
 Before his tour of the Eaton plant, Collins spent time Friday morning meeting constituents at the Java Station Coffee Shop on Big A Road in Toccoa.  Collins said the main concern he heard about there related to government spending.

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Stephens County Honors STAR Student, STAR Teacher

The Toccoa-Stephens County Chamber of Commerce announced this year’s STAR student is Annabelle Zhuno.   Zhuno said it is an honor to receive the STAR student award.  “It feels really good,” said Zhuno. “Being STAR student was a goal I had so it is good to accomplish that.”  To obtain the STAR nomination, high school seniors must have the highest score on a single test date on the three-part SAT and be in the top 10 percent or top 10 students of their class based on grade point average.  Zhuno selected her 11th grade SAT preparation class teacher, Carolyn Frady, as her STAR teacher.  “She was very much an encouragement, every day helping me with problems and getting me ready for the SAT and with future plans.  She was just very encouraging,” said Zhuno.  Meanwhile, Frady said that she could not believe Zhuno selected her as the STAR teacher.  “(Zhuno is) one of the best I have had in 36 years,” said Frady. “Work ethic beyond all, super-motivated, goal-driven, fantastic.”  As for her future plans, Zhuno said she would like to study biology at Emory University.  

Chamber Holds Groundbreaking for Currahee Home Builders

Earlier this month, the Toccoa-Stephens County Chamber of Commerce celebrated a new project at Currahee Club and held a groundbreaking for Currahee Home Builders.  Currahee Home Builders President Mike Elrod said this is their first home in the club and it will be unique.  "It is four master suite bedrooms with four full baths," said Elrod.  "It is called a lockout program.  That means we will be putting it in the club's private rental program.  They will rent it out to people that just want to discover the club, come up on a golf package, or have corporate meetings or banquets and such.  It is also unique in the house's ability to have four separate entrances into those suites so it allows to be locked off to where someone can rent one bedroom."   Construction is expected to be completed late May.

Toccoa-Stephens County Day Held in Atlanta

The theme for Tuesday's Toccoa-Stephens County Day at the Capitol was "All Things Currahee" and representatives from Toccoa and Stephens County had the opportunity to see and be seen by leaders at the state level.  Toccoa-Stephens County Chamber Chair Lee Ellen Fields said that it is very important for local representatives to spend time in Atlanta meeting with state officials at events like this.  “We had a photo op with the Governor and had a brief word with him,” said Fields. “We had lunch with people from the Department of Community Affairs. Rep. Dan Gasaway had lunch with us and we saw Sen. John Wilkinson. After lunch, we split up and saw a lot of other people who contribute to the well-being of this community.”  Also, Currahee Club golf course designer Jim Fazio was featured at the State Capitol as the Georgia legislature passed a resolution declaring Tuesday as “Toccoa-Stephens County All Things Currahee Day.”

SCMS Holds Career Fair

On Wednesday, Stephens County Middle School held its annual Career Fair at SCHS and the 8th graders had the opportunity to learn about different careers in a number of different fields.  Stephens County Middle School Graduation Coach Renee Herron said it is all about preparing the eighth graders for high school.  “We are held to certain standards as a school system,” said Herron. “We have to show that we are preparing for the students at the next level."  The career fair, Herron said, allows them to make an informed decision when they register for classes.  The students also had the opportunity to tour the high school and visit some of the CTAE classes.
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Leap for Literacy Set for Saturday

The 7th annual Leap for Literacy will take place on Saturday at the Georgia Baptist Conference Center in Toccoa and the money raised will benefit the Read-at-Home program and the Stephens Education Literacy Foundation.  People can still make the decision to jump into the cold waters of Lake Louise Saturday afternoon for a donation of $100 and all donations are tax deductable.  Registration for the Leap begins at 1 p.m. at Lake Louise, the safety lecture is at 1:30 p.m. and leaping starts at 1:45 p.m.

Stephens County Receiving Lower ISO Rating

On Tuesday, Stephens County Volunteer Fire Chief Stacy Pulliam told county commissioners that the county’s ISO rating in many areas of unincorporated Stephens County is dropping from a 6 to a 5.  According to Pulliam, a “5” rating applies if a residence is both within five road miles of a volunteer fire department and within 1,000 feet of a hydrant.  “There is going to be some savings that comes to the property owners,” said Pulliam, referring to homeowners’ insurance.  Pulliam is very proud of the work that the volunteer fire departments put in to achieve the lower rating.