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in Dahlonega

Rich History a Golden Past

Our Tradition Military Ties

DAHLONEGA Nuggets Homegrown Sound Tuning up with Dahlonega’s next big bands

The Holly Theater Historic gem is the heart of the community p.12


UNG Welcomes the Community The University of North Georgia offers plenty for all folks

The Public Square

History meets vibrant present day


Trammell Tire


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Features DAHLONEGA Nuggets

Thriving Waters FIND THE RIGHT FISHING SPOT IN DAHLONEGA With countless miles of rivers, streams and lakes in Dahlonega, the task of finding the best spot could take a lifetime.





Historic gem is the heart of the community

Visitors can discover Dahlonega’s golden past

The Holly Theater

A Rich History



Not a Nighthawk? No problem. The University of North Georgia is open to all

Chestatee Regional Hospital ‘treats patients like family’



Dahlonega’s history meets a vibrant present day

Dahlonega’s community has strong ties to the military

UNG Welcomes the Community

The Public Square

Hometown Healthcare

A Proud Tradition


Homegrown Sound

Tuning up with Dahlonega’s next big bands

This community guide is a publication of Community News Incorporated and Dahlonega-Lumpkin County’s hometown newspaper:

1074 Morrison-Moore Parkway, Dahlonega, Ga. 30533 | 706-864-3613




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2014 | DAHLONEGA Nuggets 5

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Editor’s Letter Thanks for joining our community


Welcome to Dahlonega A good place to visit and a better place to stay

22 Settling into your new community Helpful information for newcomers: Public Schools Parks & Rec Elected Officials Utilities Garbage Pickup Recycling


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Dahlonega’s BlueBilly Grit has built a following by sharing their down-home blend of bluegrass and new-grass (Photo/Matt Aiken)

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’ll let you in on a secret that isn’t much of a secret anymore. You are very lucky. In fact, we are all lucky—those of us who get to call Dahlonega home. If you are new to the area, thanks for joining our community. We live in a beautiful town that has no equal. A stroll around the downtown area makes it clear that the folks in Dahlonega care about the town in which they live and work. In addition, we are surrounded by history. It’s a big responsibility—living in a place that has seen so much over the years. We are very proud of our tradition as the home of the University of North Georgia and Camp Frank D Merrill. The wealth of knowledge to be

discovered about the history of gold mining in Dahlonega is virtually endless. Every season brings its own unique flavor to the town, whether it be the charm of the Old Fashioned Christmas decorations in downtown, the lush landscape that blooms with life in the beautiful spring and summer, or the breathtaking views of the fall colors in the mountains It is my hope that you are able to find a little something new about our town in the pages of this 2014 guidebook. This edition of the Dahlonega Nuggets can only serve as a brief introduction to our community. But that’s the beauty of it. For every historical site, festival, band, or event we mention on these pages, there is a world

of fascinating detail to be discovered about each one, not to mention many more examples than we could ever hope to write about. I’m happy you have discovered Dahlonega and hope you stay a while. John Bynum, News Editor The Dahlonega Nugget


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COLORFUL TOWN: A sign welcomes travelers to town while rose bushes display vibrant blooms all around Dahlonega. Left: Local gold miner Hop Smith teaches visitors to pan for gold at the annual Gold Rush Days festival in October.

Welcome to Dahlonega A good place to visit and a better place to stay by Matt Aiken


o know our town, is to love our town. So let’s make a few introductions, shall we? From the downtown square to the Appalachian mountains to the rolling vineyards to the waters of our dueling rivers, it’s not hard to see why so many folks arrive as visitors and wind up staying for good. For many, the first formal Dahlonega greeting begins on the red bricks of the

historic district. It’s there, in the shadow of the Dahlonega Gold Museum, that tourists and locals alike bustle about amidst the quirky shops, colorful art galleries, diverse restaurants and downhome music venues which take residence in preserved buildings dating from the gold rush days of the 1800s.

Chances are if you show up on the square on a weekend you’ll walk right into a festival too. The outdoor events are year-round and range from the Bear on the Square music festival to the Dahlonega Trail Fest to the ever popular Gold Rush Days. Speaking of gold, there’s still plenty of it in “them thar

hills.” Or more specifically, at Consolidated Gold Mine, where would-be prospectors can tour the underground tunnels of a once thriving gold producing operation. Or they can try their own luck while panning for the gold stuff above ground. Down the road at Crisson Gold Mine, visitors can also grab a pan and join in the gemgrubbing or just sit back and observe the actual mining process first hand at North Georgia’s only operational open pit mine. When it comes to lively Story continues, Page 10 2014 | DAHLONEGA Nuggets 9

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Welcome to Dahlonega (continued) nightlife, we have plenty of it, as the local restaurants and pubs play host to a steady stream of talented bands and musicians. The music often spills outdoors as well, as friendly bluegrass jams are held on weekends from April to October, and the First Friday Concert series takes place in nearby Hancock Park throughout the summer months. Around the corner, the bright bulbs of the Holly Theatre marquee light up West Main Street while attracting regular capacity crowds. The renovated 1940s movie house is home to a thriving community theater

group and a regular rotation of year-round concerts which add an indelible flair of showmanship to Dahlonega evenings. Just off the square sits a jewel of a campus and the home of the University of North Georgia, one of only six military colleges in the country. When class isn’t in session the school offers a wide array of concerts and art showings which are usually free to the public. At the north end of the county you’ll find the wineries. There are five in Lumpkin County, each one offering wine tastings, year-round

meals and an inside look at the wine-making process. If you’re searching for a bit of outdoor adventure, Lumpkin County’s 96,000 acres worth of National Forest land can deliver. In addition to the many waterfalls and camping sites around the area, a section of the Appalachian Trail winds its way through the northern end of the county and on to Maine. And those looking to cool off can find plenty of relief tubing, canoeing or kayaking in the refreshing waters of the Chestatee or Etowah rivers. Wherever you wind up in Lumpkin County, chances are you’ll be introduced to a new adventure over and over again. Yes, to know Dahlonega is to love Dahlonega. So let’s get better acquainted. D

FESTIVE DOWNTOWN: American flags decorate the downtown area. Top: Acoustic musicians join their talents at the Appalachian Jam each Saturday (May 3 to October 11), 2-5 p.m. on the Gold Museum Lawn. Above: The Bear on the Square Mountain Festival will be held in Dahlonega April 26-27, 2014.

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The Holly Theater Historic gem is the heart of the community by Sharon Hall


he gleaming marque and marble facade of Dahlonega’s historic Holly Theater often attracts the eye of visitors as they stroll the streets surrounding the Public Square. And while the outside is worth a second look, it’s what went on and continues to go on at the Holly that makes it so amazing. It has inspired hundreds of people in the community to volunteer their time, their sweat, their money and their talent to make the Holly what it is today. Built in 1946 at the height of the movie palace era, with the advent of increased television programing and drive-in movies the Holly was forced to close its doors in 1967. By the 1980s, the building

that had once been known as the gem of North Georgia was the home of rodents and pigeons, known to locals as “the bat cave.” In 1990, Hal Williams, board chairman of the Chamber of Commerce, lamented to Ron Simmons of the Small Business Development Center about the state of the Holly. “He more or less threw down the gauntlet,” Williams says. “He said to get off my butt and do something about it.” Williams and Cullen Larson, chamber president, invited 40 people to a meeting to explore ways to reclaim the building. “We figured eight or 10 people would show up, but darn near everybody came,”

COMMUNITY THEATER: A night of glamour and fun raises money for the Holly. The all-volunteer theater offers stage plays, theater summer camps for youth, concerts and more to the community. (Photo/Sharon Hall)

Williams says. “It was overwhelming.” Even the daunting task of raising the $100,000 to purchase the building, plus money to begin the restoration, couldn’t put a damper on the enthusiasm for the project. When fundraising began, individuals and businesses opened their

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wallets to help the cause. “The great thing was that there were people who could give $10 and people who could give $10,000. Everybody contributed. It was an outpouring of love,” Williams says. When the actual work of restoration began, the community’s response was again staggering. It seemed everyone loved the Holly, and wanted to help save it. Volunteers showed up by the dozen to help with the huge job of cleaning. It took two years of intense labor before the theater could once again open its doors, restored to at least a semblance of its former grandeur. The original focus of the next few years was to bring in outside talent to continue raising money for renovation. But a community theater group was in the plans from the first days of the project. In 1994, the Holly Players were organized. It’s first full production of Driving Miss Daisy wasn’t a sellout, but the production, all volunteer, did make money. That year the Holly board also decided to bring movies back to the theater to help increase revenue. The decision was a huge hit with Lumpkin Countians, and the reasonable prices kept crowds coming. By 1999, the Holly developed a theater program for children, one of the dreams of the original supporters. One of the original intents of saving the Holly was to provide a space where Lumpkin County’s children could be exposed to theater and have a place to perform their own productions—school plays, talent shows. “And we certainly did that,” Williams says. “That’s the most wonderful part for me, all the kids that have come through this theater. Whether they go into theater or not, the confidence the experience instills in them is amazing.” Suzanne Higgins, who played Mama Bear in the first children’s production, went on to perform leading roles is several Holly productions and to study acting in New York. Stephanie Ferguson also had a part in that first production and later played the lead in Holly productions. She also followed her star in college. Both have come back to the Holly as performers and volunteers. “These young ladies are two of the

FLAPPERS: It’s costuming night for a Holly Theater production of the Broadway musical Mame, one of several shows the Holly produced last year. Pictured: Chelea Dubin, left, and Anna Craddock.

HELPFUL HAND: Hal Williams (right) was instrumental in the resurrection of the Holly Theater. He has continued to volunteer in many capacities, including treading the boards in various Holly productions. Here he makes a fine Scottish gent in Brigadoon, opposite a children’s theater graduate, Carly Berg.

reasons I came to the Holly and the hundreds of people that followed are the reason I stayed,” says Colleen Quigley, who organized what became the Holly Performance Academy. “The Holly is not just a venue for entertainment. It’s a life changing experience. If you’re on the outside, just someone who comes to watch a show, you would never know what the impact on the volunteers’ lives the Holly has been.” High quality Holly productions won it a stellar reputation in the theater community, attracting talent from the entire region. Directors, actors, set and costume designers from the Holly have

been nominated and won MAT Awards (Metropolitan Atlanta Theater). The children’s program has brought home numerous awards from the Broadway Junior Theater Festival, with several Holly kids being chosen by iTheatrical Broadway Academy for a weeklong performance workshop in New York. But you don’t have to have acting or singing talent to volunteer and become a part of the Holly family. Every facet of the Holly, from treading the boards to running the lights, to dispensing sodas and popcorn, sweeping up and locking up, changing the marquee, selling tickets and keeping the books are all accomplished with the effort of volunteers. And many of those volunteers from the very beginning are still volunteering today in one capacity or another. Williams has done just about every job the Holly has to offer, including taking the opportunity to appear on stage. Now, three generations of Williamses have trod the boards on the Holly stage. The Holly has also given Williams one other thing. “It’s given me an appreciation for the people of this community and Lumpkin County. The spirit of this community, to build something as wonderful as the Holly, is an inspiration,” he says. 2014 | DAHLONEGA Nuggets 13



UNG Welcomes the Community

Not a Nighthawk? No problem. University is open to all by Matt Aiken


o you’re not a college student. That doesn’t mean you still can’t go to college, right? At least that’s the philosophy in Dahlonega where the doors of the downtown campus of the University of North Georgia remain open to students and non-students alike. “We see it as part of our responsibility,” said University Relations Director Kate Maine. “It’s the role of a university to offer cultural opportunities to community members.” And those opportunities abound at UNG where locals take advantage of a host of continuing education courses that can range from accounting to fly-fishing to international travel to swing dancing. “And the photography series has been very popular too,”

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said Maine. “I think that has much to do with the region we’re located in. People want to capture this beautiful scenery around them.” Or some just want to play with plastic blocks, as the younger attendees of the popular Lego summer camp can attest. If all that learning and Lego building makes you hungry

TAKE A WALK: The University of North Georgia campus in Dahlonega is a welcoming place in any season. Right: Students hurry to make their next class at UNG’s Newton Oaks Center.

you can always head to the UNG Dining Hall where the freshly prepared eats are available to non-Nighthawks as well. The newly completed facility on West Main Street has the open-air feel of a food court as diners can choose between stonefired pizza, freshly prepared stir-fry, good old-fashioned grilled burgers and a rotating line-up of top-notch cuisine. “We have all kinds of options on campus,” said Maine. Then if you’re looking to burn those newly earned calories, the state of the art UNG Recreation Center offers memberships to the public as well. The multi-floor 50,000 facility is home to a trio of basketball courts, a climbing wall, an indoor track and an expansive exercise studio and fitness area.


15 Arcadia Street on the corner of Arcadia and South Chestatee Streets, Dahlonega, GA 30533

“It’s the role of a university to offer cultural opportunities to community members,” says Kate Maine Membership to the facility also includes access to the the 25-yard, indoor Memorial Hall Pool. As the school day winds down, the concerts and shows are just beginning as UNG plays hosts to musical acts and performers from throughout the country as well as close to home. “We probably can’t even count the number of concerts and the different types of musical groups we have from visiting performers to our own campus musicians,” said Maine. “Most of these events are open to the public at a nominal charge or no charge.” Year-round displays can be found in the halls of UNG’s art galleries as well as frequent traveling exhibits that are often held in the library & technology center. And if you’re the star-gazing type, most Fridays end with a free showing at the George E. Coleman Planetarium where the professors aim to entertain while offering enlightenment on the night sky. “And don’t forget the athletics events,” added Maine. The collegiate athletes of UNG enjoy the support of community members as well as their fellow students as they compete on the NCAA-level throughout the school year. For more information on all Nighthawk related games, concerts and classes check out Then get ready to enjoy all the fun of college, without all the late-night cramming. D 2014 | DAHLONEGA Nuggets 15



HISTORICAL Dahlonega’s charming Public Square is a great destination with dozens of retail shops and 17 restaurants. Below: Homegrown musicians are a common site. Pictured: Bobby Derner (left) and Vernon Bodash entertain some visiting children. (Photo/Jack Anthony) Right: The 1836 Lumpkin County Courthouse stands at the heart of the Square. Today is houses the Gold Museum State Historic Site, one of the most visited sites in the state.

The Public Square Where Dahlonega’s history meets a vibrant present day by Sharon Hall


ahlonega and Lumpkin County’s history is as rich as the veins of gold crisscrossing its land. And community members work hard to keep that history alive and vital. The heart of the county and town of Dahlonega is the Public Square, offering a mix of the past and present to visitors and locals alike. The heart of the square 16 THEDAHLONEGANUGGET.COM

is the Gold Museum, the second most visited State Historic site. Built in 1836 as the county courthouse, the building offers visitors a glimpse into Dahlonega’s gold history. Its 22-inch thick walls are faced with bricks made from Lumpkin County earth, said to contain flecks of Dahlonega gold. Another relic of Dahlonega’s gold history sits one block off the square in Hancock Park. A pavilion houses the one-of-a-kind 1875 Chestatee River Diving Bell, used to mine gold on the bed of the Chestatee River until the ship carrying it sank. Hauled from the river in the 1980s and forgotten, it was discovered by local history buffs who researched its origins and raised the money for its restoration. The square itself is a historic commercial district, with buildings dating from the 1800s to early 1900s that

now house unique shops, galleries and restaurants. “Dahlonega has maintained its small town appeal through the decades and provides a great destination, with over 50 retail shops and 17 restaurants to enjoy,” said Joel Cordle, director of the Downtown Developemnt Authority. “Downtown is full of commercial buildings that have been well preserved. These landmark buildings have fascinating histories of their own, full of legends that have emerged during 175 years-plus of thriving history.” The Picnic Cafe & Desertery on the south side of the Public Square offers sandwiches on homemade bread, breakfast, lunch and dinner, not to mention fabulous cakes and cookies. It is housed in the Price Building, built in 1897 by former Congressman and founder of North Georgia Agricultural College—today the University of North Georgia. It originally housed Price & Son General Merchandise on the ground level and the colonel’s law offices upstairs. In later years it would serve as the town’s first movie theater from 1925-

1948. Though long gone, some say Col. Price can still be seen in its upper story. The Sargent Building on the northwest corner of the square was originally the site of a trading post, the Bruce Stand, in the 1830s. In 1908, John F. Sargent, the local sheriff, purchased the property and built the Dahlonega Hotel. Some of the first to book rooms, the sheriff later learned, were the notorious bandit Bill Miner (aka The Gray Fox) and his band of accomplices. In the mid-’20s the building housed Dr. Homer Head’s office and pharmacy on the ground floor. He boarded college students on the upper story. Today the Sargent Building is home to Vickie Lynn’s Gift Shop, The Branding Iron leather good shops and the working studio of potter Brad Walker now occupy the ground floor while diners at the Front Porch Restaurant can enjoy a meal on the veranda overlooking the Public Square upstairs. Many of the square’s historic building feature bronze plaques with a brief narrative about the history of the buildings that are part of the National Register Historic District.

“Dahlonega has maintained its small town appeal through the decades,” says Joel Cordle HIGH AND TIGHT: Woody’s Barber Shop on Dahlonega’s Public Square has been cutting hair for folks in Lumpkin County and the UNG Corps of Cadets since 1926. (Photo/ Jack Anthony)

Dahlonega’s square is also the scene of many special events throughout the year. The music of Appalachia is celebrated every Saturday from April through October with a jam on the grounds of the Gold Museum. Old time mountain music and crafts are the focus of the Bear on the Square Mountain Festival in April. The annual Gold Rush Festival, held the third weekend in October, celebrates the county’s gold history and pioneer spirit with music, old fashioned contests such

as clogging, cross saw log cutting, wrist wrestling and hog calling, topped off with a coronation of the Gold Rush King and Queen and a parade. In December, Old Fashioned Christmas brings back memories of days gone by with a monthlong celebration. And while the charm of the past is ever-present, the world of today exists right alongside, with amenities such as access to wireless Internet on the square, 17 restaurants to please the palate, wine tastings, art galleries and free summer offerings of movies under the stars and concerts in Hancock Park. Dahlonega offers visitors and residents alike the charm of the past and the best of today. D 2014 | DAHLONEGA Nuggets 17



Homegrown Sound

Tuning up with Dahlonega’s next big bands by Matt Aiken


f you can’t find a bluegrass jam in downtown Dahlonega these days, just wait a few minutes. Chances are somebody’s about to strike up the banjo pretty soon. In fact it seems those festive, foot-stomping circles of pickers and grinners have become as much a fixture of Lumpkin County as the old courthouse or the golden steeple of Price Memorial Hall. And from the looks of it,

Dahlonega’s local artists are just getting tuned up. “For me this is kind of what I grew up around,” said Roman Gaddis, mandolin player for BlueBilly Grit. “I went to bluegrass jams with my dad and he played and my grandpa played and, of course, all his friends would jam.” Now Gaddis and his fellow BlueBilly Grit members are jamming inside and outside the circle as they continue to draw crowds toward


their down-home blend of bluegrass and new-grass. The group took a flying leap into the national spotlight in 2012 when they came away with top honors in the prestigious Telluride Bluegrass Festival. After returning victorious from the Colorado-based fest, the

sing-happy sextet of Gaddis, Mark Garrison on banjo/ vocals, Amber Starr Hollis on vocals, Patrick Chisolm on fiddle, Shawn Hart on guitar/ vocals and Adam Rambin on bass, have kept up the finely tuned bluegrass crooning on a local level. They can often be found

“For me this is kind of what I grew up around,” says Roman Gaddis fiddling in front of sell-out crowds at The Crimson Moon or leading the sing-a-longs

at the Bear on the Square festival. “We built a good fan-base here and it just sort of grew,” said Gaddis. Last year they also released an album, Live at the Melting Point, which captures the rambunctious vibe and freewheeling sound of their popular live shows. It’s the kind of sound that’s added to the musical

MAKING MUSIC: Top: Hometown band BlueBilly Grit has built a following by sharing their down-home blend of bluegrass and new-grass (Photo/Matt Aiken). Above: Jason Kenney said moving to Dahlonega at age 5 fostered his love for music and has led to his Appalachian-tinged musical style.

tapestry of a community that can’t seem to get enough bluegrass. In fact, it was in this environment that multiGRAMMY winner Zac Brown fine-tuned his musical style while playing alongside fellow recording artist Shawn Mullins and entertaining at local venues. “I think Georgia has its own sound and that’s what I’ve been hearing my whole life,” Brown said in a previous interview with The Nugget. Local music-man Jason

Kenney knows that sound well. And he credits his early childhood relocation to Dahlonega as the move that eventually jump-started his music career. “The best thing my mom ever did for me was get me to Dahlonega when I was 5,” he said with a laugh. “I probably wouldn’t have been a musician if she hadn’t, because I wouldn’t have been around the bluegrass scene.” It was that scene that eventually fostered Kenney’s signature Appalachiantinged sound that recently culminated in his new album Turn this Sorrow into Joy. The album was funded by the community and a Kickstarter campaign that allowed Kenney to take his time in the studio while singing alongside such guest stars as Jonathan Byrd and fellow Dahlonega-resident Amy Ray of the Indigo Girls. “All of my songs were created in Dahlonega,” he said, “sitting outside and singing them over and over.” And of course, many of those songs will eventually wind up in the jam circle. So if you see one, feel free to grab your favorite string instrument and join in. There’s always room for one more melody in Dahlonega. D 2014 | DAHLONEGA Nuggets 19

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ost folks have heard of the 1849 Gold Rush in California, but many are surprised to learn that Dahlonega was the site of the United State’s first major

Gold Rush. With Benjamin Parks’ lucky discovery of gold in a rock that he had stubbed his toe on while hunting, anywhere from 10,000 to 15,000 miners descended on

PIECES OF HISTORY: Lori Hamby of the Dahlonega Gold Museum displays a water cannon from the 1850s used for hydraulic gold mining. Right: The 1875 Chestatee River Diving Bell is now on display just off the Public Square in Hancock Park. (Photos/John Bynum)

the area by 1829. The land around Dahlonega went on to be mined for gold until WWII, said Lori Hamby, Exhibit Guide at the Dahlonega Gold Museum. Hamby and the rest of the Gold Museum staff enjoy sharing stories of famous characters with visitors. Among them, the Russell Brothers (Levi, Green, and Oliver) made a name for themselves in local history before heading to California.

The brothers then went on to help discover the gold that led to the Colorado Gold Rush, Hamby said. Local historian Chris Worick tells of prosperous James Boisclair, a freed slave who ran a mercantile bakery on the site of the presentday Smith House. Known as “Free Jim,” he went on to run a gold mine near where Smiley’s Tavern now sits off Legion Road. An enduring fascination

with gold brings thousands of visitors each year to Consolidated Gold Mines, where folks can explore the underground tunnels of the hard-rock mine. For a sampling of openpit mining, others try their

luck at Crisson Gold Mine for a little above-ground prospecting. Whether you are a newcomer or a long-time resident of the town, there is always more to discover about Dahlonega’s rich history.

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Settling into your new community


ow that you know Lumpkin County is the place you belong, it’s time to get organized and begin your new life. Here is where you

should look in Dahlonega and Lumpkin County when finding a school, contacting your elected officials, or signing up for services.


Lumpkin County’s elected school board is composed of: Chairman, Bobby Self, 706-8646567, bobby.self@lumpkin.k12. District 1, Mike Pierce, 706-8643056, mike.pierce@lumpkin.k12. Disrtrict 2, Susan Sockwell, 706-864-7788, susan. District 3, Claude Gilstrap, 706-864-3184, claude. District 4, Jim McClure, 706-864-

From the white boards to the wifi, the members of the Lumpkin County Board of Education handle the business that impacts local schools. The Board brings educational issues to a vote on the second Monday of every month at 7 p.m. Meetings are held in the Board of Education office building located next to Lumpkin County High School. The public may take the floor at meetings to make comments beginning at 6:45 p.m.

8443, jim.mcclure@lumpkin.k12. Head Start 706-864-3456 Blackburn Elementary 706-8648180 Long Branch Elementary 706864-5361 Lumpkin County Elementary 706-864-3254 Middle School 706-864-6189 High School 706-864-6186 Superintendent of Schools 706864-3611

OTHER EDUCATIONAL OPTIONS An alternate path to a diploma is available at Mountain Education Center, a self-paced high school which is SACS-accredited and state funded. Classes are held on weekdays from 3:30 to 10:15 p.m.

For more information call 706864-0229. Those looking to earn their GED can do so at the Lumpkin County Adult Learning Center, located at 150-B Johnson Street. There is no charge for attending these classes. For more information call 706-867-2862.

PARKS & REC Greg Walker, Director 706-864-3622, greg. Trent Armstrong, Sports Director 706-864-3622, trent. Whitman Morgan, Programs Coordinator, 706-864-3622 whitman.morgan@lumpkincounty. gov Jerome Henry, Maintenance Supervisor 706-864-3622,

NORTHVIEW ORTHOPAEDIC ASSOCIATES ������������������������������������������� ������������������������������������

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ELECTED OFFICIALS Dahlonega City Council Mayor, Gary McCullough 706864-6620, garymac@windstream. net Post 1, Roman Gaddis 706-8677248, Post 2, Michael Clemmons 706265-5582, Post 3, Mitchell Ridley 706-3442948, mitchelridley, Post 4, Bruce Hoffman 706-5258090, Post 5, Sam Norton 706-9693909, Post 6, Terry Peters 706-3442013, Lumpkin County Board of Commissioners Chariman, Chris Dockery 706-864-3742, chris. District 1, Doug Sherrill 706-864-3742, doug.

District 2, Steve Shaw 706-8643742, gov District 3, Clarence Stowers 706-864-3742, clarence. District 4, Clarence Grindle 706-864-3742, clarence. Representatives 9th District Georgia House Rep. Kevin Tanner, 678-776-5059 (cell), 404-656-0152 (office), 51st District Georgia Senate Sen. Steve Gooch, 404-656-9221, US Senate Saxby Chambliss, 202-224-352 Johnny Isakson, 202-224-3643 US House of Representatives Rep. Doug Collins, 202-809-2285

UTILITIES Electricity Amicalola EMC (706-864-7979) Georgia Power (706-864-3614)

CASUAL FINE DINING ON THE RIVER 706-864-9938 3072 Hwy. 52E, Dahlonega, GA Modest prices, quality food, impeccable service and an exquisite atmosphere on the banks of the Chestatee River.

That’s what you get when you visit Cool Breeze – The Oar House in Dahlonega, Georgia. All food is prepared on the premises and includes traditional, vegan, and gluten-free options.

Jackson EMC (800-462-3691) Habersham EMC (800-640-6812) Sawnee EMC (800-635-9131) Propane Gas Mills Fuel Service, Inc. (706864-5037) 5765 Old Dahlonega Highway Ferrellgas (706-864-6151) 1879 Highway 52 E. North Georgia Propane Inc (706864-2737) 765 Oak Grove Road Water/Sewer In Dahlonega city limits - call City Hall (706-864-6133) In Lumpkin County - Water and Sewerage Authority (706-8676580) Telephone/Internet Windstream (706-867-3330) Cable TV Windstream (706-867-3330)

GARBAGE PICKUP Inside Dahlonega city limits - call City Hall (706-864-6133)

In Lumpkin County - Transfer Station (706-864-6338) Located at 490 Barlow Road. Hours of operation: 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Monday-Saturday, closed on Sunday.

RECYCLING Inside Dahlonega city limits - call City Hall (706-864-6133) In Lumpkin County - Recycling Center (706-974-7069) Bins are located at 1642 Red Oak Flats Road, on Highway 19 North just past Lumpkin County High School, and off Morrison Moore Parkway at the entrance to Radar Ridge. Materials accepted: aluminum cans and steel food cans, office paper, newspaper, magazines, junk mail, corrugated cardboard (No paperboard), plastic bottles and jugs (No motor oil bottles).

LOCAL NEWSPAPER The Dahlonega Nugget is the local, weekly newspaper and is the legal organ of Lumpkin County. It is published each Wednesday and delivered via U.S. Mail. (706-864-3613)

Family Owned & Operated Since 1982 706-864-9938


Cool Breeze – The Oar House is open seven days a week from 11am An a la carte Sunday brunch is served from 11am-3:30pm A full service bar is open seven days a week as well.

A variety of beers, wines and spirits are offered.

Two decks overlook the Chestatee River. Whether you want to dine on the river or just enjoy a glass of wine, Cool Breeze – The Oar House is there to deliver an uforgettable experience.

Cool Breeze – The Oar House specializes in catering dinners, parties, weddings and other events.

Dipping locally grown apples on the Square in Dahlonega

706-864-2256 2014 | DAHLONEGA Nuggets 23



Thriving waters Find the right fishing spot in Dahlonega by Greg Finan, Jr.


inding the right fishing spot can make the difference between wasting hours casting endlessly into barren waters and hauling in a massive load of trout, bream or striped bass. With countless miles of rivers, streams and lakes in Dahlonega, the task of finding the best spot can be a daunting one. It could take years to discover the Holy Grail of fishing. It could even take a lifetime. Michael Thornton,

BENEATH THE DEPTHS: A Rainbow Trout patrols the waters of North Georgia. (Photo/Kenny Simmons Photography)

president of the Gold Rush Trouts Unlimited chapter and local Dahlonega resident, knows this all to well. “If you are a fly fisherman, there are a multitude of small streams that are fishable in Dahlonega,” said Thornton. “You could spend all day poking around small mountain streams fishing for wild trout.” Thornton and his group have spent years fishing and working to improve the cold water habitats of Dahlonega. With that experience under

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his belt, Thornton knows a thing or two about where one could cast a line and expect a nibble in the area. “The top spot in Dahlonega, itself, is the reservoir,” Thornton said. “It has a good bream population. The bass being caught are getting larger every year.” Lake Zwerner, or Yahoola Creek Reservoir as it is still called be the locals, is nestled in the heart of Dahlonega. Located north of downtown, the reservoir offers fishing, mountain and lakeside walking trails and picnic areas. “If you go south a short ways, Lake Lanier is a fabulous fishery with multiple species to fish for,” Thornton said. “If one goes north, trout water prevails. This ranges from pay to fish locations, with Frog Hollow

being the best, to small wild streams with native fish.” Frog Hollow, known as “Home of the Hawgs,” is a fly fisherman’s heaven. Run by Dahlonega native Kenny Simmons, a self proclaimed “fish junky,” Frog Hollow is

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a secluded and breath taking section of the Chestatee River perfectly located at the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains. Simmons lives and manages the river section on his family farm. The area has a reputation well known for holding a high number of challenging to catch trophy trout. If you are looking for a spot to fish for free, Waters Creek located 10.5 miles from Dahlonega is a good place to catch larger than average fish. Waters Creek is one of Georgia’s special-regulation trout streams. Although the fishing in Waters Creek has fallen off from its heyday in the 1980s, the creek still offers the potential for trophy trout. Despite its small size, the creek has produced trophy trout in the past, including a state record brook trout. The creek boasts populations of all three Georgia trout species —rainbow trout, brown trout and brook trout. Waters Creek flows into Dicks Creek. Dicks Creek is another secluded creek that offers a good spot for trout fishing. More popular for its rock slides and its pretty waterfalls, Dicks Creek can offer a fisherman a chance

TOOLS OF THE TRADE: Top right: Fly fishing lures await their turn in the river. (Photo/Kenny Simmons Photography) Top left: Father and son, Andy and Jacob Murdock, enjoy the spring weather with an impromptu fishing trip on Lake Zwerner in Dahlonega. Above: Blake Chester fishes along the shore with his daughter, Katie Chester. (Photos/Greg Finan, Jr.)

to cast his line into the deep pools with relatively little traffic from other anglers. “Dahlonega is an outstanding destination,” Thornton said. “What I like about it so much is that within 45 minutes, I can be on prime water, fishing for anything from striped bass to large trout.” Knowing these locations could mean the difference between looking like a trawler-in-training or an expert angler.



Hometown Healthcare

Chestatee Regional Hospital ‘treats patients like family’ by Sharon Hall


hestatee Regional Hospital (CRH), a part of SunLink Health Systems, gets a lot of compliments from its clients, said CEO Jason Cox. “The top three compliments form our patients are that we treated them like family, the food was delicious and they felt like people here cared

about their outcomes. We aren’t a big hospital. There are great hospitals in our area where we can refer patients when we can’t provide the services they need. We make ourselves different by treating patients like family,” he said. CRH provides general medical and surgical care on

w o h t od r o s N

HOSPITAL WITH A VIEW Situated on Crown Mountain, Chestatee Regional Hospital’s north facing rooms, and CEO Jason Cox’s office, overlook Dahlonega. (Photo/Sharon Hall)

an inpatient and outpatient basis, as well as a 24/7 emergency department. It also offers comprehensive laboratory and pathology services; ICU care; diagnostic imaging; and several services

not found in many small rural hospitals. A Total Joint Center of Excellence is unique in offering total hip and knee replacement surgery and aftercare. Patients meet their

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“Our staff is well qualified. Our philosophy is to do what we do and do it well,” says Jason Cox

INDIVIDUAL CARE Dr. Alisa Davis is one of 25 active staff doctors at Chestatee Regional Hospital. Here, she listens to a patient’s breathing while doing hospital rounds. Left: The Crown Mountain Cafe at Chestatee Regional Hospital provides meals for patients, staff and the public, many of whom make the cafe a regular place to eat lunch. “The public likes our cooking,” says CEO Jason Cox.

physical therapists, nurses and other caregivers in a presurgery class. After surgery, group physical therapy classes accompanied by meals just for the class help create a sense of camaraderie and support. Family and loved ones are encouraged to act as coaches, working with the patient and therapists. The hospital also offers a Sleep Center, where sleep disorders can be diagnosed; a geriatric psych unit as well as outpatient counseling for seniors with emotional issues; and an outpatient pain clinic for those with chronic pain. But, Cox said, it is “the little things” that really make CRH special. Fresh flowers are placed in each room, family and loved ones are incorporated into patient care, the hospital sends personal thank you cards and makes followup calls to check on

MANY SERVICES Chestatee Regional provides general medical and surgical care, a 24/7 emergency department, laboratory services, ICU care and more

patients and see how they are doing when they return home. “Our staff is well qualified. Our philosophy is to do what we do and do it well. But we also select our nurses and staff on their passion for service,” Cox said. “Hopefully, people trust us enough to let us be their first line of health care.” CRH has 49 beds, 25 active staff physicians with another 101 having courtesy privileges. For more information, visit www.ches or call 706-864-6136.

New Babies Arrive With Lots of Questions.

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STRONG TRADITION: Left: Dahlonega honors is veterans at every occasion—Memorial Day, Veterans Day and the 4th of July—with memorial markers attached to American flags lining the roadways leading to town, parades and ceremonies. Here, fallen veterans are honored at a Memorial Day ceremony. (Photo/Sharon Hall) Right: The Corps of Cadets is a vital part of the University of North Georgia, which is one of six senior military colleges in the U.S. Formed in 1873, the Corps produces military officers who have served in conflicts dating back to World War I. (Photo/Jack Anthony)

A Proud Tradition

Dahlonega’s community has strong ties to the military by Sharon Hall


irst time visitors to Dahlonega are often surprised by the presence of young people in military fatigues or dress blues, men in camouflage with berets perched on their heads or the American flags that line the major roads leading into town. The military presence in

Dahlonega is strong, thanks to the long history of the town’s association with the University of North Georgia and the U.S. Army Rangers. Dahlonega’s military tradition dates back to the Civil War, when young men joined the Blue Ridge Rifles, formally Company E, Phillips Legion Georgia


Infantry and Company H, Dahlonega Volunteers of the 1st Regiment, Georgia Infantry. It is the Blue Ridge Rifles, however, that continue to be a vital part of Dahlonega, living on as the University of North Georgia’s Corps of Cadet’s precision drill team and in the name of the Sons of Confederate Veterans, Camp 1860. Both the drill team, and SCV members regularly participate in Dahlonega’s parades and events that honor veterans. Dahlonega is also home to the 5th Ranger Training Battalion, the Mountain Phase of Ranger School. While Ranger history predates the American Revolution, with Ranger companies being formed and disbanded throughout times of all American conflicts, the modern Ranger tradition only dates back to World War II, where Rangers played vital rolls in Europe, Africa, Italy, the south Pacific, Burma and the D-Day invasion. I wasn’t until the 1950s, however, that the Army developed a course of instruction to train officers and NCOs to be sent back to their units to spread the training, espirit-de-corps and attitude of the U.S Army

Ranger. Since 1951, every Ranger in every conflict from Korea to Afghanistan has passed through Lumpkin County’s 5th Ranger Training Brigade, either at its original home of Pine Valley, or what is now the 4H’s Camp Wahsega or its current home at Camp Frank D. Merrill. Many of the men who came through both the Corps of Cadets and Camp Merrill returned to Dahlonega and became integral parts of the community. Retired Col. Haines Hill graduated from what was then North Georgia College and served 28 years in the U.S. Army before retiring. Hill had wanted to serve his country since the Allied invasion of Europe on D-Day, 1944. In 1952 he chose NGC, he said, because it “was the most affordable. I put my trunk in the back of a friend’s car and told my parents if I lasted a couple of weeks they could come visit me.” NGC is also where Hill met fellow student and his future wife, Carolyn. “I was commissioned on Sunday, my birthday was Wednesday and I married Carolyn on the following Sunday.”

During his years in the Army he returned to the NGC campus for special events, such as the college’s 100 year anniversary. During those visits he caught the eye of NGC’s President Dr. John Owen, who requested

Hill to serve as a professor of military science at the school. When his assignment was up, he said, “The Army offered me three great jobs, but I said no and retired. I took off my uniform one day and went to work the next as John Owen’s


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assistant.” It’s a decision he has never regretted. “The Dahlonega community is outstanding from a military man’s standpoint. It’s a great place to live,” Hill said.

Hill has also be a great addition to the Dahlonega community. He has helped organize Dahlonega’s Ecumenical Ministries Council, served on the Story continues, Page 30

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OLDSCHOOL: Members of the Corps of Cadets gather on the porch at the Vickery House, across from Price Memorial on the campus of the University of North Georgia, then the home of Latin and Greek instructor Professor Elias Benton Vickery. The photo was taken around the turn of the century. (Photo/UNG archives)


A Proud Tradition (continued)


Chamber of Commerce and Holly boards, was an active member of Rotary and served four terms as Dahlonega’s mayor, 1985 through 1990 and again 1995 through 2000. Both of the Hill’s children also opted to attend UNG. Current Dahlonega City Manager retired Col. Bruce Georgia is another NGC graduate who returned to the community. Georgia also served his last years in the Army as a professor of military science at UNG. After six months in the position, he said, “we decided to stay. We loved the people and the atmosphere. The community seemed like a perfect way of life—not a big city and the people seemed to wrap their arms around you. I’ve never felt like an outsider here. That’s not always

the case for the military everywhere you go.” Besides being the City Manager, Georgia has also served on the County Planning Commission, is involved with the local Boy Scouts and a member of Rotary. Retired Ranger Stan Kelley is in his 10th year as the Lumpkin County Manager. Prior to serving in that position he was a deputy with the Lumpkin County Sheriff’s Office for 12 years. His first experience with Dahlonega was going through Ranger School at Camp Frank D. Merrill in 1977. He returned to Camp Merrill as a Ranger Instructor in 1982, remaining until 1986. “I took the opportunity to be assigned here real quick,” he said. “It’s so much like home.”

CAMOFLAUGE: Each year the 5th Ranger Training Battalion holds an Open House where military hardware and expertise are on display. Children have the opportunity to shoot Ranger weapons and get their face painted in camouflage by Ranger Instructors. (Photo/ Sharon Hall)

Originally from Arkansas, Kelley loved being in the mountains. He also fell in love with a local girl, Sally, and the two were married in 1985. “That was the reason I decided to stay here—that and it was so much like home with the beauty of the mountains and the people. I went off active duty in 1989, and we’ve been here ever since.” There are hundreds of other retired military serving

in local law enforcement, on boards and as volunteers, or just as good neighbors. Active duty military and

their wives are involved in the schools, parks & rec and community organizations. It’s a symbiotic relationship

that works to the benefit of all and helps make Dahlonega a special place. D

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2014 nuggets magazine