2021 May Newsletter

Upcoming Events

May 20 at 6:30 PM via Zoom

The right to vote is a foundational principle of a republic. Join us via zoom as Abril Castro of Fair Fight discusses about recent changes to state law and how you can protect this essential right for yourself and your neighbor.

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Save the Date! June 17 at 6:30 PM-Hybrid!

Join us via zoom or IN-PERSON to hear Dr. Tammy Byron,  Assistant Dean of the School of Arts and Sciences and Professor of History at Dalton State College, speak about the debate on the Declaration of Independence and its relevance today!
In-Person meeting will be held at Mountain Light Unitarian  2502 Tails Creek Rd, Ellijay, GA 30540. Masks will be required and social distancing enforced.

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Do the Write Thing! Send a Letter to the Editor!

To fight disinformation and expand the information ecosystem of Gilmer County, we invite you to write a letter to the editor of 350 words or less. If you decide to sign it as a Gilmer Democrat, we ask that you email to info@gilmergadems.org for proofreading. When you are done, you can email to tceditor@timescourier.com. If you have any questions, please email us or call us at (706) 276-4477 and leave a message. Let our voices and opinions be heard!

Take Action!

Who Should Be our Guest?

We want your opinion! Please let us know any speakers you would be interested in hearing at our monthly meetings by emailing us at info@gilmergadems.org

Run For Office!

With 2022 rapidly approaching, the Georgia Democratic Party is seeking qualified candidates for public office. If you are interested in serving to shape a better future in Gilmer County or statewide, we will have an informational meeting on June 5th at 5:00 PM via zoom. Please email us at info@gilmergadems.org if you are interested in attending.

From the Desk of the Chair

Mother’s Day is a special holiday in our family. Mother’s day has always been a day for my family to honor a truly exceptional woman who has taught me practical life skills like cooking the best fried chicken known to humankind, gardening, and home improvement tips.

In a broader sense my mother has also taught me life lessons like tolerance and respect for others, humility, and that no one person is better than another and thus, everyone should have equal rights, regardless of their gender. Now that I am grown, I see that tolerance and respect is not our country’s strong suit. Racial hate crimes have increased in the past four years. We have seen a resurgence in political violence. Violence against women continues to be a problem. We must strive for an an American experience, where citizens, no matter their race, political persuasion, or gender do not have to fear what their fellow Americans may do to them.

Now that I am grown, I also see that equal rights, although granted in theory, are not always granted in practice to women or other people based on things like their sexual orientation or race. States are passing laws restricting a woman’s right to chose what happens to her own body. The United States ranks 45th in gender equality in the world. States continue to pass laws discriminating against people based on their sexual orientation. Police officers continue to kill innocent people solely due to racial profiling. Needless to say, there is much work left to do in the fight for equal rights.

This mother’s day I also see the importance of the Biden Administration’s agenda of implementing the child tax credit, increasing access to child care for working mothers, and the creation of a paid family and medical leave program. With a brand new nephew, I can see how these policies would be a help to the newest mother in our family. My new nephew has made me think about the future and what can be done to help him have his best life. This improved quality of life reminds me of my mother, who always seems to make everything better. From boo-boos as a child to adult problems, my mother is the first one I call to help me make things better. I think if we take some of the lessons my mama taught me like tolerance, respect, and equality, the world would be a better place.

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East Ellijay, GA 30540-8198

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No-Appointment Clinics

At ALL Health Dept COVID-19 Clinic Sites in North Georgia: April 26 – 29!

North (GA) – Georgians 16 and older still have the opportunity to walk in to one of our COVID-19 Vaccine Clinics with NO Appointment! Public Health Departments in Cherokee, Fannin, Gilmer, Murray, Pickens and Whitfield counties will take clients with no appointment at their current COVID-19 vaccine clinic sites April 26TH thru 29TH from 9 AM to 3 PM. There is NO Cost to clients.*  Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccine will be offered, as available. Teens ages 16 to 18 are only permitted Pfizer vaccine and must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian. Pfizer is most reliably available in Whitfield County.  Addresses for the county public health COVID-19 Vaccine Clinics are as follows:

Cherokee County:  Canton First Baptist Church, 1 Mission Point, Canton, GA 30114

Fannin County:  Kiwanis Club of Blue Ridge, 124 Jones Street, Blue Ridge, GA 30213

Gilmer County:  Piedmont Community Center, 824 Industrial Blvd., Ellijay, GA 30540

Murray County:  Murray County Parks & Recreation Dept, 651 Hyden Tyler Rd, Chatsworth, GA 30705

Pickens County:  Pickens County Recreation Department, 1329 Camp Road, Jasper, GA 30143

Whitfield County:  Whitfield County Health Department, 800 Professional Blvd, Dalton, GA 30720

*Health insurance accepted IF presented, but there is NO out-of-pocket expense to clients!

The Asian Tiger Mosquito

By Raymond King, MS, District Director of Environmental Health

It’s that time of year again to guard against mosquitoes, and the Asian Tiger Mosquito is the most common mosquito in our area. It is the most pestiferous daytime biter, and it is easy to recognize by its jet-black body and white markings. If you have been pursued and bitten by one, you know why they are called tiger mosquitoes. They will follow you inside your home in search of human blood.

This mosquito species is not native to North America but was introduced in the mid-1980’s through the import of used automobile tires from Hong Kong. Since then, it has spread throughout much of the eastern United States. It can transmit diseases of public health concern like Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE), Zika virus, West Nile virus, Chikungunya and Dengue Fever.

The Asian Tiger Mosquito (Aedes albopictus) is what we call a “container-breeder”, using almost any kind of small water container for its larvae such as bottle caps, tires, buckets, drink cans, bird baths, house gutters, yard toys, and especially plates under outside plants. It takes very little water to support many of its larvae. The easiest way to control Asian Tiger Mosquitoes and other mosquito species is to dump out the water in these containers. Their larvae can also sometimes be found in natural habitats such as puddles, tree holes, and around the edges of small ponds.

Perform a survey around the outside of your home and carefully inspect for anything that could hold water for a week or more.  Adult Asian Tiger Mosquitoes do not fly far from where they hatch, so there is a good chance their larvae are on your own property.

If you cannot empty containers, gutters or puddles, then treat these with a biological control product called Mosquito Dunks®, which is available at any hardware store. They look like donuts and you can break them up into small pieces for small containers. Treatments last for thirty days. Mosquito Dunks® contain bacteria that are only fatal to mosquitoes and have no effects on humans, pets, birds or wildlife. Most mosquito larvae die within a few hours of placing dunks in the water and dunks are effective against all species of mosquito larvae.

About Us: The North Georgia Health District is part of the Georgia Department of Public Health. One of 18 health districts in the state, the North Georgia Health District (District 1-2) is comprised of six counties: Cherokee, Fannin, Gilmer, Murray, Pickens and Whitfield. Many public health programs and services exist throughout the district, all of which are designed to meet the needs of the people of North Georgia. Learn more about us at www.nghd.org, and follow us on FacebookInstagram and Twitter.

To access this article on our website in both English and Spanish, please log onto  https://nghd.org/news/media-releases/the-asian-tiger-mosquito

Update on COVID Vaccinations

North Georgia Health Officials Urge Current and Upcoming Eligible Residents to Make a COVID-19 Vaccine Appointment

North GA – The Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) and Governor Brian Kemp announced yesterday that Georgia is going to expand COVID-19 vaccine eligibility on Monday, March 15, 2021. This expansion will include adults aged 55 and older, individuals with disabilities and certain medical conditions. It will also include people with disabilities caused by an injury (e.g., traumatic brain injury or spinal cord injury), a disability due to a longstanding condition that could cause vision loss, nerve damage or loss of a limb, or a disability due to illness such as ALS or multiple sclerosis.

The North Georgia Health District is urging residents who are currently eligible for COVID-19 vaccine and those who will be eligible beginning next week to register for a vaccination appointment online at https://bit.ly/CoV19Vax-NorthGA or call our Call Center hot line at 1-888-881-1474, weekdays from 8:15 AM to 4:30 PM. Go to http://bit.ly/Cov19VaxClinics-NorthGA for more information about the COVID-19 Vaccine Clinics conducted by public health departments in Cherokee, Fannin, Gilmer, Murray, Pickens and Whitfield counties.

Currently, the following groups are eligible for COVID-19 vaccine in Georgia:

  • Healthcare workers (physicians, nurses, laboratory technicians, EMS personnel, environmental services, etc.)
  • Residents and staff of long-term care facilities
  • Adults aged 65+ and their caregivers*
  • Law enforcement, firefighters, first responders
  • Educators and staff (Pre-K, K-12, DECAL licensed or exempt childcare programs)
  • Adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their caregivers*
    • Intellectual Disability is a disability characterized by significant limitations in both intellectual functioning and in adaptive behavior, which covers many everyday social and practical skills. This disability originates before the age of 22
    • A developmental disability is a physical or mental impairment that happens before the age of 22, is expected to last a lifetime, and impacts at least three activities of daily living. Activities of daily living include self-care; receptive and expressive language; learning; mobility; self-direction; capacity for independent living; and economic self-sufficiency
  • Parents of children with complex medical conditions who are at high risk for COVID-19 complications
    • Malignancies requiring active treatment
    • Immunocompromised state (weakened immune system) including organ transplant (bone marrow or solid organ) within 2 years
    • Critical congenital heart disease
    • Asthma (moderate to severe)
    • Sickle cell disease
    • Diabetes
    • Obesity (BMI >95%)
    • Cystic fibrosis
    • Significant neurologic injury or condition (e.g., hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy, traumatic brain injury, congenital anomaly, acute flaccid myelitis) with functional/developmental impairment (e.g., cerebral palsy, developmental disability, prematurity, mitochondrial disease)
    • Technology dependence (e.g., BiPAP, trach)

*Caregivers provide care to people who need assistance for everyday tasks.

Care recipients can live in residential or institutional settings, range from children to older adults, and have chronic illnesses or disabling conditions.

Beginning March 15, 2021, the following populations will be eligible for COVID-19 vaccination in Georgia:

  • Adults aged 55 and older
  • Individuals with disabilities
  • Individuals aged 16 years and older with certain medical conditions that increase their risk of severe illness from COVID-19. **Note: Pfizer is the only COVID vaccine currently approved for children aged 16 and older**
  • Conditions include:
    • Asthma
    • Cancer
    • Cerebrovascular Disease
    • Chronic Kidney Disease
    • COPD
    • Cystic Fibrosis
    • Diabetes
    • Hypertension
    • Heart Conditions
    • Immunocompromised State
    • Liver Disease
    • Neurologic Conditions
    • Overweight and Obesity
    • Pregnancy
    • Pulmonary Fibrosis
    • Sickle Cell Disease
    • Thalassemia

**Pfizer vaccine is only available at our Cherokee and Whitfield County COVID-19 Vaccine Clinics**

For more information about COVID-19 Vaccine in Georgia, log onto the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) website at https://dph.georgia.gov/covid-vaccine.

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About Us: The North Georgia Health District is part of the Georgia Department of Public Health. One of 18 health districts in the state, the North Georgia Health District (District 1-2) is comprised of six counties: Cherokee, Fannin, Gilmer, Murray, Pickens and Whitfield. Many public health programs and services exist throughout the district, all of which are designed to meet the needs of the people of North Georgia. Learn more about us at www.nghd.org, and follow us on FacebookInstagram and Twitter.

To access this press release on our website, please log onto  http://nghd.org/pr/34-media-releases/1290-north-georgia-health-officials-urge-current-and-upcoming-eligible-residents-to-make-a-covid-19-vaccine-appointment.html

COVID-19 Testing

FREE COVID-19 TESTING AVAILABLE IN NORTH GEORGIA

Conveniently located in Dalton and Woodstock!

North GA – Anyone who has COVID-19 type symptoms or has been in close contact recently with a person infected with the virus needs to be tested for COVID-19.

Free COVID-19 Testing is offered at MAKO Medical Drive-Thru Testing Sites in North Georgia through a partnership with the Georgia Department of Health. There are no eligibility requirements other than having a Georgia address and registering online at https://mako.exchange/splash/GAmakotesting/.

The two drive-thru COVID-19 testing sites in North Georgia are:

Edwards Park

115 Edwards Park Entrance, Dalton, GA 30721

Mon – Fri, 8 AM – 3 PM

First Baptist Church of Woodstock

11905 Highway 92, Woodstock, GA 30188

(Please enter via Trickum Rd/Gunnin Rd entrance)

Mon – Fri, 8 AM – 3 PM

**Please do not call these locations. No information is available by phone at these locations**

The test is performed with a nasal swab to determine the presence of the virus that causes COVID-19.

More information about MAKO Medical’s Free COVID-19 Testing is available at the registration link.

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PRUEBAS DE COVID-19 GRATUITAS DISPONIBLES EN EL NORTE DE GEORGIA

¡Convenientemente ubicado en Dalton y Woodstock!

Norte GA – Cualquier persona que tenga síntomas de tipo COVID-19 o que haya estado en contacto cercano recientemente con una persona infectada con el virus debe hacerse la prueba del COVID-19.

Las pruebas de COVID-19 gratuitas se ofrecen en el norte de Georgia en los sitios de pruebas médicas de MAKO, donde usted conduce para hacerse la prueba, a través de una asociación con el Departamento de Salud de Georgia. No existen requisitos de elegibilidad más que tener una dirección en Georgia y registrarse en línea en https://mako.exchange/splash/GAmakotesting/.

Los dos sitios de prueba de COVID-19 en el norte de Georgia son:

Edwards Park

115 Edwards Park Entrance, Dalton, GA 30721

Lun – Vie, 8 AM – 3 PM

First Baptist Church of Woodstock

11905 Highway 92, Woodstock, GA 30188

(Ingrese por la entrada de Trickum Rd / Gunnin Rd)

Lun – Vie, 8 AM – 3 PM

**No llame a estos lugares. No hay información disponible por teléfono en estos lugares**

La prueba se realiza con un hisopo nasal para determinar la presencia del virus que causa COVID-19.

Más información sobre La Pruebas Gratuita de COVID-19 de MAKO Medical está disponible en el enlace de registro.

COVID-19 Vaccination Sites

Site Changes Underway for Public Health COVID-19 Vaccination Clinics in North GA

North GA — Location changes are underway for some of the public health COVID-19 vaccination clinics in the North Georgia Health District, each of which are operating indoors.

These changes will allow more people to be vaccinated, so that as additional vaccine becomes available, health department staff will be in position to vaccinate larger numbers of people.

As of Monday, February 1, public health COVID-19 vaccination operations will be as follows in these North Georgia counties:

Cherokee County: Canton First Baptist Church, 1 Mission Point, Canton, GA 30114. Mon.–Thurs., 8 AM–3 PM, and Fri., 8 AM–3 PM.

Fannin County: Kiwanis Club of Blue Ridge, 124 Jones Street, Blue Ridge, GA 30213. Mon.–Thurs., 9 AM–12 PM & 1 PM–3:30 PM, and Fri., 9 AM–12 PM.

Gilmer County: Piedmont Community Center, 824 Industrial Blvd., Ellijay, GA 30540. Mon., Wed., Thurs., 9 AM–12 PM & 1 PM–3:30 PM, Tues., 9 AM–12 PM & 1 PM–5:30 PM, and Fri., 9 AM–12 PM.

Murray County: Murray County Parks and Recreation Department, 651 Hyden Tyler Road, Chatsworth, GA 30705. Mon.–Thurs., 9 AM–12 PM & 1 PM–3 PM, and Fri., 9 AM–12 PM

Pickens County: Pickens County Recreation Department, 1329 Camp Road, Jasper, GA 30143. Mon.–Thurs., 8 AM–12 PM & 1 PM–3 PM, and Fri., 8 AM–12 PM

Whitfield County: Whitfield County Health Department, 800 Professional Blvd, Dalton, GA 30720.

Mon., Wed., Thurs., 8 AM–3:30 PM, Tues., 8 AM–5:30 PM, and Fri., 8 AM–12 PM

The vaccine will continue to be offered at no out-of-pocket expense at all locations; insurance will be billed, but only if it is available. There will be no expense to any client, and anyone who does not have insurance will not be billed for the vaccination.

People who have received their first dose from the health department and were scheduled for their second dose at the original location, will need to go to the site where the health department is currently providing the vaccine.

The Whitfield County Health Department has storage capacity to offer both Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccine. The other county health departments in the district offer Moderna vaccine.

Each health department is using its current stock of COVID-19 vaccine for appointments that already exist and for second doses. More vaccine is expected to arrive, although it is currently unclear when that will occur and in what quantities because it depends on the overall national supply.

As of January 28, a total of nearly 30,000 COVID-19 vaccinations were administered by the six county health departments in the North Georgia Health District.

When new appointment times are ready to be scheduled for residents who are currently eligible for COVID-19 vaccine, an announcement will be released to the public on the North Georgia Health District website at www.nghd.org with instructions for appointment registration.

About Us: The North Georgia Health District is part of the Georgia Department of Public Health. One of 18 health districts in the state, the North Georgia Health District (District 1-2) is comprised of six counties: Cherokee, Fannin, Gilmer, Murray, Pickens and Whitfield. Many public health programs and services exist throughout the district, all of which are designed to meet the needs of the people of North Georgia. Learn more about us at www.nghd.org, and follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

To access this press release on our website, please go to http://nghd.org/pr/34-media-releases/1277-site-changes-underway-for-public-health-covid-19-vaccination-clinics-in-north-ga.html

Attached: Press Release in pdf

Jennifer King

Public Information Officer and

Risk Communicator

North Georgia Health District 1-2

Georgia Department of Public Health

1710 Whitehouse Court

Dalton, GA 30720

(706) 529-5757, x13191 (Office)

(706) 280-9115 (Cell)

(706) 529-5740 (Fax)

Jennifer.King@dph.ga.gov

Website: nghd.org
Facebook: facebook.com/NGaHealth
Twitter: twitter.com/NGAHealthDist

Instagram: instagram.com/northgahealth

Early Voting Ends

Early In-Person Voting has officially ENDED! It’s time to drop off your absentee ballot in a drop box in your county (at the courthouse) or at your local elections office. Remember, you cannot return your absentee ballot at your polling place! 

Or make sure to vote in person on Tuesday, January 5th! Click here for Election Day FAQs.

If you voted by mail, please make sure to check the status of your absentee ballot by logging in to the My Voter Page.

And as always: Do you have questions? Or need assistance? Call the Voter Protection Hotline anytime at 1-888-730-5816.

Thanks!

Noah May, Co-Chair Gilmer County Democratic Committee

Answer the Call

To support the release of DPH’s newest content highlighting the case investigation and contact tracing process, a full-length Spanish version as well as 30-second English and Spanish versions are now available to the public. These videos are designed to increase the public’s awareness of what to expect during an interview with DPH and assure residents of the security behind the process.

Click here to watch the videos on DPH’s YouTube channel, and please share on social media with your friends and family. The more people we reach, the more we can connect the public with the care they need and stop the spread of COVID-19.

2020 Georgia Admendments

2020 Proposed Constitutional Amendments & Referenda On the 2020 General Election Ballot, voters will see ballot questions on proposed constitutional amendments and ballot referenda. Below, you’ll find each ballot question and a summary of the arguments.

Amendment 1: Authorizes dedication of fees and taxes to their intended purposes by general state law. “Shall the Constitution of Georgia be amended so as to authorize the General Assembly to dedicate revenues derived from fees or taxes to the public purpose for which such fees or taxes were intended?”

This question asks if you want to give the Georgia legislature authority to use tax revenue to just go to the public purpose for which the money was intended, instead of an all-purpose fund. Right now, the government can use money dedicated to one purpose, like cleaning up tire dumps and blight, and put it towards broader use. Environmental advocates support this bill because since 1990, while Georgia has raised millions of dollars to clean up specific waste, roughly 40% of those dollars have gone to other purposes. Critics of the amendment say it would remove flexibility for how the government can use money.

However, there are conditions for the amendment — dedicated funding could not exceed 1% of the total state revenues from the previous year, and in an emergency, the governor and General Assembly would have the ability to temporarily suspend dedicated funds.

Amendment 2: Waives state and local immunity for violations of state laws, state and federal resolutions. “Shall the Constitution of Georgia be amended to waive sovereign immunity and allow the people of Georgia to petition the superior court for relief from governmental acts done outside the scope of lawful authority or which violate the laws of this state, the Constitution of Georgia, or the Constitution of the United States?”

This question asks whether Georgians should have the right to sue local and state governments as well as elected officials and public employees in their official capacities to challenge laws that may be unconstitutional. A 2017 ruling by the Georgia Supreme Court largely eliminated the ability of Georgians to challenge the constitutionality of laws without the government’s permission. A bill seeking to restore this ability to Georgians was vetoed by Governor Deal and Governor Kemp, who cited concerns regarding lawsuits from people in mental health facilities and lawsuits involving breach of contract against government employees and officials.

Statewide Referendum: Establishes a tax exemption for certain real property owned by charities. “Shall the Act be approved which provides an exemption from ad valorem taxes for all real property owned by a purely public charity, if such charity is exempt from taxation under Section 501(c)(3) of the federal Internal Revenue Code and such real property is held exclusively for the purpose of building or repairing single-family homes to be financed by such charity to individuals using loans that shall not bear interest?”

This question asks if 501(c)(3) organizations should be exempt from property taxes on property that is in their inventory that is intended for building or repairing single family homes. For example, if this were to pass, Habitat for Humanity Georgia would be exempt from property tax on the vacant lots they own for future building purposes.