January 2023 Board Meeting Minutes

Towns County Civic Association

Membership Meeting Civic Center

January 19, 2023

Present: 22 members; 14 guests.

Board Members: John Clemens, Larry Dietsch, Joan Crothers, David Best, Gordy Jones, Jim Olson; Absent: Anna Denton (excused).

  1. President Clemens opened the meeting by thanking everyone for coming.
  2. Commissioner Bradshaw led the Pledge of Allegiance.
  3. Rev. Whitley said the Blessing for the meeting and the food.
  4. Dinner: Pres. Clemens invited all to enjoy the buffet. The Board provided croissant ham, cheese and roast beef sandwiches (2 trays); soft drinks, tea, and water bottles. Members and guests brought appetizers and desserts.
  5. Board Business:
  1. President’s Report: A brief summary about TCCA.
  2. Treasurer’s Report: Larry gave the current balance in the checking account as $4,092.
  3. Membership Report: John gave that, saying that our Membership Chair was on a cruise.
  4. Media Report: David Best gave the website report, saying he would love to have someone join us who could help him.
  5. John introduced each of the speakers as their turn came up.
  1. Towns County Historian Jerry Taylor was the first speaker, asking, “Where did we come from?” Towns Co. came from dividing Union & Rabun counties with a lottery for the lots taken from the Cherokee Nation land. He talked about the different ways of making a living here in the county up to the present.
  2. Rev. Fred Whitley came next, talking about how Young Harris College came to be. A Judge Young L.G. Harris in Athens provided the money to start a school in McTyre (later Methodist Circuit Rider had the dream of educating the young people in these mountains and named Young Harris), and the first class had only 3 girls and 4 boys in it. Whitley attended YHC in the 60’s and decided to stay to be the campus Minister. He is retired, but preaches the sermon every Easter Sunrise Service at Hamilton Gardens Dick Paris Pavilion (33 years).
  3. Y.H. College President Dr. Drew Van Horn brought the college up to date for us. They now have 1,390 students enrolled. He said these students are the most medicated and most distraught young people they’ve ever had. They are planning a micro-site in Fayetteville GA soon.
  4. Towns County School Superintendent Darren Berrong told a different story of the younger students he has charge of. They are coming back strong from the two years of Covid, although Towns schools were not closed as long as other schools in the country. They currently have 980 students. He is working on a grant for an Ag. Dept.
  5. T.C. Commissioner Cliff Bradshaw talked about GDOT hopefully putting a turning lane on Hwy. 76West—they are saying in two years. He explained the Mountain Protection Act, needed to keep trees on our mountain tops to keep the water clean and not washing away the soil from clear cutting. Bathrooms will be coming to the Pickle Ball Courts; and a new ordinance on B&B’s soon.

Meeting was Adjourned at 8:50 p.m. with John thanking all for coming and asking if they enjoyed the meeting. It was a unanimous “Yes!”

Board members put chairs and tables back and packed up the food.

Joan Crothers, Secretary