Summer Reading Program

By Brannan Mathis Staff Reporter Every summer, public libraries across the country provide an incentive-based program to encourage kids and teens to read throughout the summer, thus helping to prevent the backward summer slide. Library summer reading programs are also designed to encourage youth to: •Spend more time reading over the summer. •Increase their enjoyment of reading. •Increase their motivation to read. •Read more confidently. •Return to school ready to learn. •Improve their reading achievement and vocabulary skills. •Perceive reading to be important. For two months in summer, Fannin County…

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Let’s Be Real: Freedom Isn’t Free

By Jason Banks Editor Last week was easily the busiest week of my life here as editor at the Fannin Focus. As you can imagine, the phones were ringing off the hook, emails were pouring in, and our facebook message inbox was so full I couldn’t keep a full charge on my cell phone or tablet while trying to keep up. “Keep up the good fight,” one message read. “We’re behind you,” said another. And the trend continued throughout the week. I’ll be honest, I am too lazy to count…

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Tri-State NRA Elects Officers at First Official Meeting

By Jason Banks Editor A highly motivated crowd of 52 local members of the National Rifle Association gathered for the first official Tri-State NRA meeting at Pat’s Kountry Kitchen last Saturday at 8:30am, and the group wasted no time getting established. Fannin Focus editor Jason Banks introduced himself and thanked the group for taking initiative on a day many would elect to stay home and sleep a little later than usual. Fannin County resident Lane Bishop asked the attendees to stand and as everyone bowed their heads he said a…

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Take Five with Gary Bearden

You may know him as a cashier. He might be an elected official, or the gentleman who sold you your car, but Fannin citizens are favorites of Fannin Focus. Enjoy this week’s Take 5 with Gary Bearden of Blue Ridge Handy Lube. Question: How long have you been in Blue Ridge? Gary: I was born and raised in Fannin County and have been here all of my life. Question: How long have you owned Blue Ridge Handy Lube? Gary: I bought the shop 39 years ago from Mr. Bethel Rice….

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PLAYED OUT: Mayor’s Playground Fumbles Incite Frustration

By Jason Banks Editor (Blue Ridge) – At a city council meeting late last year, the council voted to allow Mayor Donna Whitener to proceed with revamping the downtown city park. Whitener stressed the opportunity of grant money to pay for the project, and the council agreed. The project was to include two grants: one horticulture grant and another from the Blue Ridge Kiwanis Club. Citizens and council members voiced concerns regarding the timing and details of the project, particularly the location of the bbq pit, playground, and iconic bear…

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