Friday Job Fair Goes Well in Stephens County

A large crowd attended the annual Northeast Georgia Job Fair and Career Expo that took place last Friday at the Currahee Campus of North Georgia Technical College.  Sponsored from the Georgia Department of Labor's Toccoa Career Center, manager Greg Pitts said that they felt Friday's job fair was a great day for everyone involved.  "We started out this morning with more than 200 high school seniors from Banks and Stephens counties coming through the career expo, " said Pitts.  "We had a great turnout from employers, (with) in excess of 55 employers and resource agencies on hand.  We have had somewhere in the neighborhood of 250 to 300 job seekers come through. We are pleased.  We really are."  The event also included workshops to help people with certain aspects of the job search process.


Stephens Co. School System Holding Charter System Meetings Today

According to Stephens County School superintendent Sherrie Whiten, public meetings today will give people a chance to learn more about the proposed charter school system application.  One meeting was held at 9 a.m. this morning and the next meeting is later today at 5:00 p.m at the Stephens County School System Administrative Offices on Mize Road.  The school system will have a PowerPoint presentation on the application as well as draft copies and take input from the public on the draft as it prepares the final charter system application.  The Stephens County Board of Education voted to pursue charter system status with the state in January.  Whiten said that in a charter school system, a local Board of Education reaches a contract with the state Board of Education about the operation of the school system.  Whiten said in that contract between the local board and the state board, a school system spells out what it wants to do differently for students in exchange for relaxation of state rules while in return, the state spells out the student achievement goals that are accountable from the school system.

Billy Morse Returning to Toccoa as City Manager

It's official.  Billy Morse is returning to Toccoa to serve as City Manager.  "I have accepted and signed a contract with the City of Toccoa, " Morse said Tuesday after a Franklin County Commission work session.  "I have submitted my resignation to Franklin County."  As he returns to Toccoa, Morse said he is looking forward to the challenges ahead.  "I think things are different and I feel like I'm different," Morse said.  "I've learned a lot working for Franklin County and my time on the county side of things.  Certainly things have changed at the City of Toccoa as well.  So, I think a lot of things there are going to be different and new and there will be challenges as there are with any new job, but I'm looking forward to it. "  Morse's first day as City Manager of Toccoa will be Tuesday, Oct 1. 


Officials Call Groundbreaking "Big Moment" for Area

Local, regional and state officials, including Governor Nathan Deal, gathered at the Currahee Campus of North Georgia Technical College Wednesday to officially break ground on the widening of Highway 17 to four lanes from the Stephens-Franklin line to Memorial Drive in Toccoa.  "It's a big moment for Stephens County, but also for this Northeast Georgia area," said Stephens County Commissioner Dean Scarborough.  Georgia Governor Nathan Deal spoke at the ceremony and said a four-lane Highway 17 will improve accessibility to this part of the region, which he said is key to economic development. "If you are going to have businesses, especially manufacturers, they need to have ready access to get their raw materials in and their finished products out, " said Deal.  Governor Deal also said it will be a magnet to draw more industry and more manufacturers to this part of Northeast Georgia.


Progress Continues on Wound Care Center

Stephens County Hospital Hospital Administrator Ed Gambrell said that construction of the new wound care center facility is coming along quite well after delays in construction earlier this year caused by rainy weather.  “I had the opportunity to go up there last week and I think when people see it, they are really going to be impressed,” said Gambrell.  “It is going to be a nice facility.”  He said the facility may open in October or November. “It really just depends,” said Gambrell of the opening.  “We really have been helped by the drier weather the past few weeks.”   Per Gambrell, the hiring process has begun as well.  The hospital is building its new wound care center at a location on Falls Road.  Bowen and Watson of Toccoa is constructing the facility, while the hospital is working with Diversified Clinical Services out of Jacksonville, Florida, on the operation of the wound care center. 

Governor Deal to Attend Hwy GA17 Groundbreaking Ceremony

Georgia Governor Nathan Deal is scheduled to attend the groundbreaking ceremony Wednesday for the Highway GA17 widening project.  The groundbreaking ceremony, marking the widening of State Highway 17 to four lanes from the Stephens-Franklin County line to Memorial Drive in Toccoa, will take place at 1:30 at North Georgia Technical College-Currahee Campus.  Other officials scheduled to participate in the groundbreaking program include NGTC President Dr. Gail Thaxton, Stephens County Commissioner Dean Scarborough, 50th District State Senator John Wilkinson, and Georgia DOT District 10 Board Member Don Grantham.  C.W. Matthews Contracting, Inc. of Marietta, Georgia is building the entire 10.5-mile project for just over $66 million and began clearing in June for the new road.  Construction is expected until 2016. 

Hospital Authority Retains Same Board Members

Stephens County Hospital Authority will retain the same seven board members.  Monday, the other five Authority members voted unanimously  to re-appoint Stan Roberts and Max Brock to new six year terms.  Stephens County Hospital Administrator Ed Gambrell said both Roberts and Brock have provided valuable service to the Authority.  Roberts and Brock were re-appointed from a group of six nominees selected by the Stephens County Commissioners at their meeting last week.

Toccoa-Stephens County Tomorrow Group Continues Work

Last Thursday, the Toccoa-Stephens County Tomorrow group held its second community input meeting at the Georgia Baptist Conference Center in Toccoa.  Barry Roberts is the Chairman and said the meeting allowed the group to update those involved in the initial meeting last year and talk about the vision statement the group created.  "That vision is 'Toccoa-Stephens County will set the standard for dynamic rural communities where residents take pride and contribute to ensure an unsurpassed quality of life'," said Roberts.  The group has identified 12 issues to work on that it believes are imperative to creating that vision based on previous input from the community.  "The number one, as identified in the first community input meeting, was economic development," said Roberts.  Other issues include education, land use and leadership.  Toccoa-Stephens County Tomorrow is a privately funded effort working in conjunction with the Toccoa-Stephens County Chamber of Commerce and the Fanning Institute from the University of Georgia.


Pre-Job Fair in Lavonia Tuesday

The Georgia Department of Labor is hosting an event to assist people for a job fair in Stephens County later this month.  The Northeast Georgia Talent Attraction Kickoff is Tuesday from 11 a.m. until 5 p.m. at the Lavonia First Baptist Church.  The event will include many workshops aimed at helping people prepare for the job fair such as marketing yourself using social media, resume writing, and interviewing skills. 

Click here for more information

Toccoa Falls College Reports Enrollment Gain

Toccoa Falls College welcomed the largest first-year class since 2007 when new students arrived to campus for orientation on Tuesday, August 20.  TFC President Robert M. Myers joined a group of faculty and sstaff volunteers to help the 276 members of the Class of 2017 move into their residence halls.  Additionally, the college has added a record 41 students to the online program which brings the total fall online enrollment to over 100 students for the first time in the school's history.  Toccoa Falls College Dean of Enrollment Dan Griffin said the school is pleased to welcome such a great class to the campus, calling them an extremely talented, academically minded and service oriented group of men and women.  TFC said it has now experienced its third straight year of enrollment gains, but the fall of 2013 serves as the 4th largest enrollment growth in the 106 year history of the college.


Tim Martin met with 21 statewide Project Managers on their annual Bus Tour through Northeast Georgia.  SCDA hosted them on stops at Hayestone Brady Business Park and North Georgia Technical College-Currahee Campus.  Click on the link below to view their trip.

Toccoa Scarecrow Contest Coming Soon

The fourth annual Main Street Toccoa Scarecrow Contest will take place next month and Main Street Toccoa Events Coordinator Sharon Crosby said the contest is again open to everyone of Stephens County.  “We are encouraging businesses and families and schools and different organization to put up a scarecrow display in front of their business, or some people, if they are a non-profit, would put it in front of another business,” said Crosby.  “It is just a fun way to decorate our community.  Last year, we had such great success.  We had people going from business to business and place to place to see the creativity that people expressed.”  There is no registration fee to enter a scarecrow in the contest, but the deadline for registering in order to be included in the contest is September 27.  The contest does include a $150 first prize, $75 second prize, and a $50 third prize.  For those who need help getting started on their scarecrow, a scarecrow workshop will take place on Saturday from 9 a.m. to noon at Toccoa City Hall and is free to attend. 

Stephens County Hospital Receives Joint Commission Re-Accreditation

Surveyors from the Joint Commission visited Stephens County Hospital late last month for three days to inspect the hospital in order to determine whether it would be re-accredited.  According to Hospital Adminstrator Ed Gambrell, the hospital has received that re-accreditation.  He called the report from the Joint Commission a very positive one.  “It was a great survey,” said Gambrell.  “There were, I think they said, 1200 standards that you have to comply with and there were only two that they called direct (findings) that we need to fix now and the other nine are things we should fix, but they are more of a suggestion than a requirement.”  Gambrell said the surveyors were very complementary of the hospital.  “One of them even commented that this was one of the best surveys he had participated on in a while,” said Gambrell.