Solar Panels Up & Running for Georgia Power

The solar panels are located in the area of Turner and Wolf Pit roads.
Development Authority Executive Director Tim Martin said that the panels were turned on and began producing 700 kilowatts of electricity to send to the Georgia Power grid on Tuesday morning.
Martin said it is part of an initiative by Georgia Power to increase solar power usage.
“Georgia Power Company wanted to increase the percentage in their portfolio of all sources of electricity, they wanted more solar,” said Martin. “So they created this advanced solar initiative and we became part of that.”
United Renewable Energy of Alpharetta, Georgia actually built and is running the solar panel farm.
URE leases the land where the solar panels sit from the Development Authority.
Martin said he feels participating in this project has a couple of different benefits for Stephens County.
“We own this land,” said Martin. “It was doing a good job of holding the world together, but nothing else. It was not productive. Now, with this addition to our community, it is in productive use.”
He also said it is exciting to be a part of the future that is solar power.
Martin said that the initiative was so popular in its first year that Georgia Power is selecting more sites to install more solar panels and grow the program.
He said Stephens County has submitted a number of sites for Georgia Power to consider.
“We have submitted the balance of our property out at that site for this round of consideration,” said Martin. “The other site that we did present (was) our roof mount, the rooftop at Stephens County High School.”
Martin said they hope to hear in late May or early June whether Stephens County has additional sites selected for more solar panels.
By: Charlie Bauder, WNEG

Toccoa-Stephens Co. One of “Four for the Future”

Toccoa and Stephens County are receiving recognition for the “Toccoa-Stephens County Tomorrow” program.

Earlier this week, the city and county were recognized by Georgia Trend magazine and the University of Georgia’s Public Service and Outreach division with a “Four for the Future” award.

Georgia Trend magazine says the award is designed to recognize communities that are working across the public and private sectors and nonprofit boundaries on challenging issues that will improve quality of life, economic development, and community well-being.

Stephens County Commission Chairman Dean Scarborough and Toccoa Mayor Gail Fry, along with others, recently received the award on behalf of Toccoa and Stephens County.

Scarborough said it is quite an honor.

“There were only four awards for the whole state, so we are happy to receive that,” said Scarborough.

“Toccoa-Stephens County Tomorrow” is a privately funded effort that is being done in conjunction with the Toccoa-Stephens County Chamber of Commerce and the Fanning Institute from the University of Georgia.

The program looks at and focuses efforts on issues such as education, economic development, land use, that the community has expressed an interest in through focus groups and other comments.

Other recipients of this year’s “Four for the Future” award include Covington and Newton County, Cairo and Grady County, and Adel and Cook County.


NGTC Announces State SkillsUSA Winners, Participants

Five North Georgia Technical College students will participate in the National SkillsUSA competition later this year after winning at the state level.

Those five, who won their competitions at the state SkillsUSA competition in March, are Patrick Bell of Cornelia in CNC Milling Technology, Adreona Howard of Toccoa in Criminal Justice, Jacob Hester of Cleveland in First Aid/CPR, Austin Duley of Toccoa in Marine Service Technology, and Georgia Zumwalt of Jefferson in Photography.

They will represent North Georgia Technical College at the 50th annual SkillsUSA National Leadership and Skills Conference in Kansas City in June.

SkillsUSA is a national career and technical student organization with chapters at high schools and colleges across the country.

The five state winners led a strong showing by North Georgia Tech at the State SkillsUSA competition.

This year, 40 students from 15 programs at the college competed and a total of 26 medals were won.

The contests are planned by technical committees made up of representatives of labor and management in the industries and are designed to test the skills needed for a successful entry-level performance in given occupational fields. As part of that, safety practices and procedures are judged and graded and constitute a portion of a contestant’s score.

North Georgia Technical College President Dr. Gail Thaxton said the college’s students did an outstanding job representing themselves, their instructors, and North Georgia Tech.

Thaxton also thanked the school’s faculty and staff for their dedication and enthusiasm, pushing and pulling the best from the students to get them to this point.

Placing second in their competitions were Ashley Jordan of Martin in CNC Turning Technology, Daniel Rico of Lavonia in Electrical Construction Wiring, Frank Johnson of Clayton in HVAC, James Fryery of Lula in Industrial Motor Control, James Biddy of Armuchee in Marine Service Technology, and Frank Zayas of Buford in Photography.

Students who achieved third place included Keith Garrett of Clarkesville in Welding; Travis Schmitt of Patterson in Marine Service Technology, Haley Shuler of Gainesville in Medical Assisting, and Austin Giles of Cleveland in Precision Machining Technology. Three teams also placed third in their contests: the Welding Fabrication team consisting of Nikolaus Adams of Eastanollee, Kevin Cyr of Gainesville, and Blake Nelms of Royston; the Crime Scene Investigation team consisting of Selena Forrester of Hartwell, Karla Orozco of Baldwin, and Gabriel Orozco of Clarkesville; and the Health Knowledge Bowl team consisting of Rebecka Hopper of Rabun Gap, Stephanie Murphy of Clarkesville, Jamie Shirley of Mt. Airy, and Marle Quinn of Clarkesville.

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