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One Dawson County man is safe due to the quick-thinking actions of a neighbor who noticed an early-morning fire at a nearby home Thursday.
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Year in review: Dawson's top stories for 2014
D2WU Screen Shot 2014 12 31 at 10.23.27 AM
Year in review pic

Dawson County experienced good and bad in 2014. Heres a list of the top stories from the outgoing year.

Missing men drowned in Lake Lanier

January 15, 2014- Two close friends in Dawson County have lost their lives in what officials are calling a drowning accident.

The bodies of Mason Cox and David Wood were found approximately 30 yards from each other in Lake Lanier late Friday afternoon, Jan. 10. The young men, both 20 years old, were last seen at 3:30 a.m. Thursday, Jan. 3, when they decided to go night-fishing.

After several days of below-freezing temperatures, officials in the investigation finally were able to get on the water Friday.

The weather broke for us today (Friday), which allowed boats to get out after a few days of ice, Dawson County Sheriffs Office Maj. Tony Wooten said. We were able to recover both bodies, one at 5:30 (p.m.) and the second at 5:45 (p.m.). We believe one to be David Wood and the other Mason Cox, both missing from Dawsonville.

The identifications later were confirmed.

On Tuesday, Jan. 14, Georgia Bureau of Investigation spokesperson Sherry Lang said the deaths are being ruled an accident, and the cause is drowning compounded with hypothermia.

Propane shortage felt in Dawson

January 29, 2014- Amicalola Propane in Daw- son County is temporarily limiting the amount of propane delivered to customers. Propane prices at

the company have nearly doubled in less than one month from $2.25 per gallon in December to $4 per gallon this week.

We have two options right now for our customers, Kristin Richardson, co-owner and CFO of Amicalola Propane, said.

They can purchase 50 or 100 gallons only. The reason we had to limit is to ensure everyone can have a little gas to get through this cold snap. Were not going to let anyone go without, but our supplies are limited. This is a good solution to a serious problem.

The company relies on a bank of 10 suppliers for propane, but bitterly cold temperatures across the country have led to a nationwide shortage of pro- pane gas and some reports of price gouging. Gov. Na- than Deal on

Monday signed an executive order banning price gouging on propane gas in Georgia.

Stewart, Byrd to be honored

January 22, 2014- Two well-known Dawson County residents will be honored with the nam- ing of an intersection and a bridge in their memory. House Rep. Kevin Tanner has drafted two resolutions for the Georgia General Assembly: one to rename the intersection at Highway 53 and Perimeter Road after a 12-year-old boy who stole the hearts of hundreds in Dawson County during his five-year battle with a rare form of brain cancer. Affectionally known as Soldier Boy, Kenneth Webster Stewart III had one day hoped to serve in the United States Army. Editors note: Stewart died March 11,2013.

A second resolution will honor longtime Dawson County resident and business owner Marcus Byrd/ A bridge over the Etowah River at Highway 53 will be named in his memory. Byrd and his business partner, Don Stephens, were responsible for much of the growth around Ga 400 and Highway 53. The pair brought the first chain grocery store into Dawson County, and the first major shopping center development.

State of emergency declared in Dawson County

February 12, 2014- Dawson County is one of 45 counties Gov. Nathan Deal included as he declared a state of emergency in ad- vance of a potential, major snow and ice storm.

Having suffered through a major winter weather debacle two weeks ago that locked down Atlanta, leaving thousands of motorists and hundreds of school children stranded, the Governor issued the state of emergency more than 24 hours ahead of the storm.

Snow, ice, earthquake in one week

February 19, 2014- Preparation from city and county officials and work crews helped thwart what could have been a

dangerous snowstorm in Dawson County last week. Some parts of the county received up to 14 inches of snow. There was a 4.1 magnitude earthquake.

DCHS basketball headed to state tournament

February 19, 2014- The Lady Tigers were able to qualify for their second straight State Tournament last Saturday when they defeated Fannin County 57-40 in the first round of the Region Tournament. Its great to be able to be able to say back to back after getting this win today, said DCHS Head Coach girls basketball coach Steve Sweat, after the game. We made it to the State Tournament two years in a row.

DCHS wrestler brings home state title

February 26, 2014- A junior from Dawson County High School wrestled his way to the top at the state tournament in Buford Saturday. Gavin Brown was named the 3A individual champion in the 182-pound class.

Senior Keaton Toal placed third in the 220-pound class.

Five wrestlers from Dawson County competed in the state tournament.

It was a big year for the 2014 wrestling team. It was the first time since 2004 that we have won the Area Title, Head Coach Arron Haynes said. We also advanced the most wrestlers to the state tournament since 2004.

12U girls prove Dawson is Awesome, incredible comeback from 22-point deficit

March 12, 2014- The Dawson County Parks & Rec 12U Lady Tigers girls basketball team did the unthinkable when they traveled to compete in the GRPA Class B State Basketball Tournament in Carrollton, Ga. last weekend.

The 12U Lady Tigers battled their way to within one point of being crowned State Champions.

The team earned a bid to the tournament by winning the District 7 tournament, Feb. 28 - March 1.

The 12U Lady Tigers faced four formidable opponents, in what could be considered epic battles, on their road to earning second in state. Each game, outside of pool play, was a must-win in the single elimination format.

Toddler saves home, boy alerts father to neighbors house fire

April 2, 2014- Thanks to an alert 3-year-old named Pax Garrett, a Dawson County home is still stand- ing following a fire that could have destroyed everything.

It was Pax who alerted his father, Nilsson Garrett, that their neighbors home was going up in flames Wednesday night, March 26.

Because of him we were able to get there quick and put the fire out, Fire Investigator Stephen Knowles said.

The Dogwood Way home in the Chestatee subdivision was heavily damaged, but not destroyed, Dawson County Emergency Services Chief Lanier Swafford said.

Pax later got the opportunity to hose down the parking lot at Fire Station 2 with firefighter Eric Griffith.

Chase Elliott wins in Texas

April 9, 2014- The City of Dawsonville went a little crazy Friday night, after local NASCAR driver Chase Elliott posted his first career victory in the Nationwide series at the Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth. Sticking with tradition in the historic downtown area, Gordon Pirkle, president of the Georgia Racing Hall of Fame, sounded the siren at 10:01 p.m. Friday at the landmark Pool Room, alerting the community of a major racing win.

I went over and slammed all those buttons wide open, said Gordon Pirkle, President of the Georgia Racing Hall of Fame. I was going to turn it off after about five minutes, but my phone didnt stop ringing, so it kept on running for about 20 minutes.

Racing fans were eat- ing it up at the Pool Room Monday during lunch.

Its unbelievable, Chase Elliot wins in Darlington, first ever last lap pass

April 16, 2014- This the stuff from which legends are made -- twice.

Dawsonvilles NASCAR driver, Chase Elliott, posted his second consecutive Nationwide Series victory Friday night at Darlington Speedway in Darlington, S.C. And he did so under circumstances racing fans will talk about for years.

Elliott maneuvered from sixth to first during a frantic green-white-checkered finish with two laps to go.

He completed a daring, perfectly executed last lap pass under Elliott Sadler on the backstretch to secure a win Elliott himself called a dream come true.

Damon Gibbs next school chief

The Dawson County Board of Education has officially named its new superintendent. Dr. Damon Gibbs, executive director of facilities for the Hall County school district, was unanimously voted in as superintendent, effective June 1.

Big week for Lady Tigers Soccer

April 26, 2014- The Lady Tigers won two region match ups last week to remain in sixth place in the state 7-AAA soccer standings.

The Lady Tigers started the week off with a decisive 3-0 victory over region rival West Hall on Tuesday, April 15. The Lady Tigers started the week off with a decisive 3-0 victory over region rival West Hall on Tuesday, April 15.

Taylor Bennet, Riley Cox and Emily Queen each scored a goal apiece in the Dawson County win. Tina Libao picked up two assists in the game, helping to setup both Bennett and Queens goals.

April 30, 2014

Tiger soccer makes school history, boys varsity team are region champs

The Tigers varsity soccer team became Region Champs for the first time in school history when they knocked off region rival East Hall 2-1 on Tuesday, April 22.

School contamination issues resolved

May 14, 2014- Issues with contaminated storm water runoff from Gold Creek Foods, a problem that resulted in closing a nearby elementary schools outdoor classroom, have been resolved, according to officials with Georgias Environmental Protection Division and Gold Creek Foods.

Bill Elliott inducted into Hall of Fame

May 28, 2014- When Bill Elliott was voted last week into the 2015 NASCAR Hall of Fame, Georgia Racing Hall of Fame President Gordon Pirkle wanted to fire up Bills siren outside the historic Dawsonville Pool Room, but he couldnt. That thing has been up there 31 years, and it just doesnt work no more, Pirkle said. I hung it up there when Bill won his first race in 1983, and I about burned it out.

So, he instead fired up the new siren he installed for Elliotts son, Chase.

The sound was so loud it penetrated the walls of city

hall, three blocks away, during a meeting with county officials.

Execution date set for Dawson man

June 25, 2014- A Dawson County man is scheduled to be executed for the brutal beating and shoot- ing death of a 1985 Dawson County High School graduate who was study- ing to be an accountant.

The office of Georgia Attorney General Sam Olens yesterday issued a statement that Tommy Lee Waldrip, 68, is scheduled to be executed July 10 at 7 p.m. for the murder of Keith Lloyd Evans.

Waldrip is the oldest man on Georgias death row.

Traffic stop nets trash bags full of marijuana

July 7, 2014- An Alpharetta woman faces felony drug charges after being pulled over for speeding last week in Dawson County. Ashley Megan Seibert, 24, was arrested for possession of marijuana and manufacturing marijuana, both felony charges, according to Public Information Officer Tony Wooten.

Deputies recovered 10 black garbage bags full of items for growing marijuana including marijuana stems with marijuana attached to them. Also recovered were 32 plastic containers used to fertilize approximately 68 root systems of marijuana plants, Wooten said.

Murder victims family angered by decision

July 16, 2014- Dawson County law enforcement officials, family and friends of a young man who loved to play tennis and bake chocolate chip cookies are devastated that his killer will not be executed. Cleve Evans, father of murder victim, Keith Evans, broke his silence for the first time Friday, one day after the State Pardons and Pa- roles Board commuted the death sentence of Tommy Lee Waldrip, 68, to life without parole.

Elliott wins third race in Daytona

July 23, 2014- Dawsonville NASCAR driver Chase Elliott won his third race of the season regaining the Nationwide Series championship lead.

Community set to get wet

August 3, 2014- A water fixture that took years to develop is now open for enjoyment. Rotary Is- land, located inside Rock Creek Park, delighted children and adults when it began spraying water on Thursday. The timing of the opening couldnt have been better since temperatures that day reached the upper 90s.

Etowah gets $10 million loan

Etowah Water and Sewer Authoirty is $10 million closer to building the Russell Creek Reservoir, a 136- acre site expected to serve the water needs of Dawson County through 2050. The Georgia Environmental Finance Committee (GEFA) announced last week it will award Etowah the loan to go toward the $34 million project.

Woman arrested while filming GOP event

August 27, 2014- A Roswell woman videotaping a local Republician meet-and-greet was arrested for ignoring a request to turn off her camera.

Nydia Tisdale was charged with criminal trespass and felony obstruction of an officer.

Bill Elliott launches moonshine label

September 24, 2014- All his racing life, Bill Elliott has known how to go fast. Now, with the upcoming launch of his own line of moonshine products, hes learning how to take it slow.

Were just going to take it one step at a time, he says of his recent partnership with the Dawsonville Moonshine Distillery.

Annex dispute puts city against county

October 8, 2014- A Dawsonville city attorney said Monday the Dawsonville City Council is giving the county one last opportunity to withdraw its objections to a petition for annexing 37 acres in the city.

Sheriff announces he will not seek reelection

October 15, 2014- Long- time Dawson County Sheriff Billy Carlisle announced today he will not seek reelection when his term ends in December 2016.

Ive fought the battle so long, Im tired, Carlisle said, and Im ready to do something different, something completely outside of law enforcement.

Council member resigns seat, city denies annexation request

November 5, 2014- A Dawsonville City Council member resigned his seat Tuesday after council members voted to deny his request to have property annexed into the city.

Council members Angie Smith, Mike Sosebee, and Jason Power voted unanimously Monday night to deny the annexation requests of Chris Gaines and two of his potential neighbors in the Pigeon Creek subdivision in Dawson County.

Chase Elliott ends one incredible season

November 19, 2014- For newly crowned Nation- wide Series Champion Chase Elliott, Saturday afternoon was a throwback to an earlier point of his career where getting to Victory Lane was the only thing that mattered at the end of the day.

Having wrapped up the NNS championship one week earlier at Phoenix International Raceway, Elliott was able to retune to his roots and simply focus on winning a race rather than accumulating points in order to protect a relatively stable advantage as he had been tasked to do over the past two months.

Cecil Bennett retires from Board of Education after 25 years

December 10, 2014- Longtime board of education member Cecil Bennett made a motion Monday night to adjourn the last meeting of 2014.

President Obama talks up local mans letter

December 10, 2014- A Dawson County man made national political history, of sorts, when President Obama talked about his letter at a recent speech in Chicago.