North Georgia Senior Living: Fall Prevention Month

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This week, Jessie Barton Comes in to discuss Fall Prevention Month. She explains how falls can lead to a decline in health and quality of life and some steps to prevent falls before they happen. Even if a fall isn’t bad, it can lead to many health issues. For more information about Fall Prevention Month and how to prevent falls visit Cameron Hall‘s Facebook Page!


L4GA grant brings literacy to all local children

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BLAIRSVILLE, Ga – The Georgia Department of Education (GaDOE) awarded Union County School System (UCS) $3.2 million over five years to advance literacy efforts.


Assistant Superintendent Dr. Paula Davenport was instrumental in UCS receiving the L4GA grant.

As a recipient of the Literacy for Learning, Living, and Leading in Georgia (L4GA) grant, UCS will focus on creating plans for children from birth to 12th grade. Additionally, the school will partner with the community to effectively reach all local children.

UCS was at the top of the list to receive the grant, according to Assistant Superintendent Dr. Paula Davenport.

GaDOE considers “the poverty level of a community, the percentage of students reading below grade level, the recent rate of growth in the number of students reading above grade level, and whether a school is identified for support from the Department of Education’s School Improvement team.”

From a GaDOE release on the program:

“Introduced in 2016, L4GA is a unique approach to improving literacy that pairs community-driven action with research-proven instruction. In its first round, funded by a federal Striving Readers grant of $61.5 million, 38 school districts partnered with early learning and care providers as well as community organizations to implement community efforts and improve classroom instruction. By working together, schools, early learning providers and caretakers, and community leaders are moving the needle on literacy – in 2019, third-grade students showed significant gains in English Language Arts and grade-level reading.”

UCS has developed a slogan for the program “literacy is for everyone” or “LIFE” for short. Assistant Superintendent Dr. Davenport explained the school will develop tailored programs to meet each child’s interest from digital books to picture books and graphic novels.

“Whatever it takes to get a child to read,” she added.

Davenport also spoke about how literacy is more than just reading; it’s drawing, listening, and writing. Each area of focus will help children gain a holistic understanding and appreciation of literacy.

The public library, daycare programs, families, and businesses will play an essential role in granting greater access to materials. For instance, parents will be encouraged to read bedtime stories to their children.

With the first planning meeting this week, the initial implementation of the L4GA program will probably be adaptable due to COVID-19. The first year might become more digital to protect the health of everyone involved.

UCS students have scored highly in literacy in the past, but low in writing. Davenport hopes the holistic approach of the L4GA program will lead to an improvement in writing scores as well. Typically, the school uses Milestone test scores to judge students’ abilities, but currently, the most recent data is from 2018-2019. Georgia canceled the Milestone tests for 2019-2020 and could do the same in 2020-2021 because of COVID-19.

L4GA brings together the entire community to support the whole child.

Teams from the Georgia Institute of Technology and Georgia State University will be collecting data from L4GA districts to document positive practices and gauge the overall​ impact of the L4GA Project.

A total of 23 schools received the grant for 2019. The award total was $22,101,554.

L4GA 2019 Grantees: Burke County Schools, Butts County Schools, Charlton County Schools, Clayton County Schools, Cook County Schools, Elbert County Schools, GaDOE State Schools, Glascock County Schools, Grady County Schools, Haralson County Schools, Lanier County Schools, Liberty County Schools, Newton County Schools, Paulding County Schools, Pike County Schools, Pulaski County Schools, Rockdale County Schools, Terrell County Schools, Toombs County Schools, Treutlen County Schools, Troup County Schools, Union County Schools, Vidalia City Schools​.

“School districts selected for the first round of L4GA funding made great strides in student literacy learning,” State School Superintendent Richard Woods said. “I’m eager to see the progress made by our new grant recipients in the coming years. Making sure students are reading on grade-level remains mission-critical, top-priority work for the Georgia Department of Education, and we continue to seek all possible opportunities to support that work at the school and district level.”​







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North Georgia Senior Living: What Does Ready Look Like?

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BKP and Jessi Barton start the conversation for you this week about being ready. Looking at the “next transition” in life, the discussion becomes not if, but when. A next transition is always on the horizon at any stage of life.

With no end in sight for the pandemic, today becomes the time for many as they begin to think that now is the time to act. People also say that transitioning into Senior Living is something they wish they hadn’t waited on.

Jessi Barton touches on increases in Life Expectancy for people in Senior Living. Tales come from developing relationships to having more interactions through events and community supports. Studies show support for the idea of community as a major influence in that area.

Fear and uncertainty can be barriers there, and it can create a divide as maybe families are ready, but the senior isn’t. Jassi explains that the important question to ask is, “What does ready look like?”

Some may not have answers. Some may not have thought about it. If we focus so hard on the ‘what ifs’ and horror stories unintentionally. That only creates stress and anxiety.

Focusing on the memories, processing through the sentimentality. People want the feeling of “home.”

It comes back to an old cliche that still holds firmly true today. “You make a home, a house is just a structure.”


Sponsored by Cameron Hall in Ellijay, you can follow more of North Georgia Senior Living through the dedicated playlist on FYNTV and check out a wider variety of shows there as well.

If you’re enjoying the Sunday Edition, then consider becoming a contributor with your own articles. If you have an article that needs highlighting send it to to become a part of our growing community of feature news.


NCDHHS announces $26M to assist families facing economic hardships

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RALEIGH — The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) announced that the state’s Community Action Agencies (CAAs) have begun to receive flexible funds that can be used to help low-income individuals and families meet a variety of needs caused by the economic disruption of the COVID-19 pandemic. These funds are part of the federal Community Services Block Grant (CSBG) and can, among other allowable uses, help eligible residents facing eviction with unmet rent and utility expenses.

“With the economic disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Governor’s moratorium on evictions and utility shutoffs is the only thing keeping many families in safe and stable housing,” said NCDHHS Secretary Mandy Cohen, M.D. “This flexible funding will allow our Community Action Agencies to continue to meet a wide array of needs in our communities, including helping families remain in their homes when the moratorium is lifted.”

Community Action Agencies are nonprofit organizations created by President Lyndon B. Johnson’s signing of the Economic Opportunity Act of 1964. To be eligible for CSBG-funded services, individuals and families must be at or below 200% of the federal poverty level.

“Community Action Agencies have helped bridge gaps for low wealth residents and communities for 55 years,” said Sharon Goodson, Executive Director of the NC Community Action Association. “They provide comprehensive services like case management, transportation, housing, employment, education, child care, eviction and emergency assistance programs to ensure low wealth residents increase and maintain their economic stability.”

To apply for help, contact your local CAAs. For additional information on the CSBG funding or contact information for the 33 CAAs in North Carolina, visit



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Community Paramedicine meets students in schools offering

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EAST ELLIJAY, Ga. – As many are beginning to talk about the possibility of returning to school, some are still attempting to wrap up the previous year.


Members of Gilmer’s Community Paramedicine offer masks and informational flyers for students and parents in schools.

In Gilmer, part of that process occurred this week as students returned to the buildings to collect left-behind belongings. Planned in April, the Board of Education and Superintendent had the day set in order to offer a better sense of closure to the school year as the virus ended normal classes mid-semester. But as they returned, they were met by some unexpected people.

Gilmer County’s Public Safety offered a statement today saying. “It’s nearly school-time with many preparations underway. Part of those preparations is helping our kids understand the importance of good health practices. Gilmer County Community Paramedicine, with the generosity of Parkside Ellijay Nursing Home, paired together for a fun project this week at our elementary and middle schools.”


Students returned to school this week to collect belongings, but were met with Gilmer’s Community Paramedics offering a community support service during this time of viral outbreak.

The project was to meet students in the schools and hand out face masks and flyers. According to Public Safety, the Community Paramedicine team visited three of our schools across the county supplied with the generous donation of 1,000 face-covering masks donated by Parkside Ellijay, and 1,000 informational flyers in English and Spanish.

The team handed out all the masks and 700 of the flyers to students and parents who arrived over the three-day period to collect their end-of 2019 school year belongings.

Public Safety was grateful for its partners in the endeavor, saying, “Many thanks to Michael Feist, Director & Part-Owner of Parkside Ellijay for the wonderful donation of the face covering masks, and to Dr. Shanna Downs, School Superintendent, for allowing our Community Paramedicine team to conduct this very successful service to our school children.”




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North Georgia Senior Living: Community Cat!

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This week Jessie Barton discusses the newest member of Cameron Hall, Hunter Binks the community cat. They also touch on the other creatures coming to visit the residents.

Sponsored by Cameron Hall in Ellijay, you can follow more of North Georgia Senior Living through the dedicated playlist on FYNTV’s Youtube channel and check out a wider variety of shows there as well.

Chamber Office Re-Opened – A Message from Gilmer Chamber Board of Directors

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A Message from your Gilmer Chamber Board of Directors:
May Network Luncheon Registration
Limited seats available. Click here to register and get your webinar link!
A Word From Our President & CEO
As we begin the process of reopening to a changed world, I want to assure each of you that your Gilmer Chamber is here to serve you. It is our honor to serve our community and our membership. Your success means the world to us and we want to make sure you know that we are HERE for you.
I also want to give you an update on our operational plans over the next several months. The main office in East Ellijay is back open and fully staffed. Our hours of operation are Monday-Friday 9a to 5p. The lobby doors are open, but we have limited access to brochures and areas of the building.
The Downtown Welcome Center is closed until at least late May but we will reevaluate each week. We will also continue to use teleconference/virtual capabilities at least through the end of May for all meetings.
Again, please call on us if we can help you navigate the reopening of your business.
Warmest Regards,
Events might look a little different for the time being, but we are still finding ways to bring the events our community loves to life in new ways! Be on the lookout for more info on Taste of Ellijay Restaurant week!
Business Resources
The following business resources may be useful for you and your business as Georgia begins reopening. If you have any questions or need any further guidance, please feel free to reach out to Paige.
Membership Announcements
Renewing Members
As of 05/01/2020
  • Cartecay United Methodist Church
  • Coosawattee River Tubing Company
  • Covenant Community of Ellijay
  • Gronholm Patent Services
  • Joyce Kosirowsky
  • Noontootla Creek Farms
  • Republican Party of Gilmer County
  • Scott Chastain
  • Twin City Motors
Gilmer Chamber | 706-635-7400 | |
The Gilmer Chamber is a 650+ member organization serving the North Georgia communities of Ellijay, East Ellijay, and Cherry Log. The Chamber serves as the destination marketing agency for the county and provides networking opportunities and business resources for its members. The mission of the Gilmer Chamber is to promote a strong business environment that enhances the quality of our community. The vision of the Gilmer Chamber is to be the leader in making Gilmer County the best place to visit, live, work, invest and play. For more information on joining the Chamber or getting involved, please call 706-635-7400 or e-mail
Gilmer Chamber | P.O. Box 505Ellijay, GA 30540


In God We Trust Signs – Get yours today!

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In God We Trust
Pickens County Chamber of Commerce
500 Veterans Memorial Blvd.
Jasper, GA
(706) 692-5600
In God We Trust signs available at the
Pickens County Chamber.
These signs are provided by the Appalachian Judicial Circuit at no charge in hopes of
spreading positivity!
Please call (706) 692-5600 and we will place a sign outside the front door of the Chamber for you.
Pickens County Chamber of Commerce 500 Veterans Memorial Blvd. Jasper, GA
Monday – Friday 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Pickens County Chamber of Commerce | 500 Veterans Memorial Blvd.Jasper, GA 30143


Local businesses come together to help

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pickens county closings public health emergency

JASPER, Ga.–Two local businesses have teamed up to help both businesses and individuals impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Sharp Top Social Media is partnering with The Old Mulehouse to #supportjasper by encouraging patrons who go out to eat to first, tip their server more than usual, then to purchase a gift card to that establishment. The next time they dine out, they leave that server a tip and the previously purchased gift card while also purchasing a gift card from that establishment.

“I’m passionate about small business,” said Taree Darby, owner of Sharp Top Social Media. “So when Old Mule House reached out to me to see what we could do, I was all for it.”

They are seeing success. Many small businesses are reposting and encouraging everyone to get involved.

“We’re really coming together in an amazing way,” said Darby.

She said the idea was based on a post by Jeff Dollars, who encouraged his followers to tip extra and buy a gift card to pass to the next server the patron has.

hope to help

Two local businesses in Pickens County hope to help by encouraging the public to help local restaurants during the COVID-19 shutdown.

What the schools are doing

Pickens County schools are providing meals for students during the COVID-19 shutdown. The schools will be closed from Monday, March 16-Friday, March 27 to prevent the spread of the highly contagious illness.According to a press release issued, the school system will make a decision on Thursday, March 26, on whether the danger has passed sufficiently to reopen.

For more information, check their website here.

hope to help

Pickens County Schools are offering the above pick-up times and locations to help students get fed during the COVID-19 shutdown.

County government offices closed to the public

The Pickens County government has also announced that the county administrative offices will be closed to the public during the same time frame. Although residents will not be allowed to enter the buildings, alternate forms of business communication will be available. For instance, residents can use the drop boxes on the front and side of the buildings to pay taxes and their water bill as

hope to help

The Pickens County courthouse released this statement concerning their procedures during the COVID-19 pandemic.

well as paying online. The staff will be in the office to answer phones.

Check the county’s website here.

Chief Judge Brenda S. Weaver entered a Declaration of Judicial Emergency for Pickens, Gilmer, and Fannin counties. They are continuing with non-essential court for the next 30-days, but encourage precaution and asking the public to limit visits to the courthouse.

The Pickens County Recreation department has also cancelled all events through March. For a complete listing, check their calendars here.

Govenor Kemp authorizes activation of the Georgia National Guard in response to COVID-19. Read the story here.


Don’t miss the 13th Annual Taste of Blue Ridge


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