Sheriff investigates threats at Pickens High School

News

JASPER, Ga. – Sheriff’s Detectives worked through the night following a threatening message posted on social media by a Pickens High School student.

According to the Pickens County Sheriff’s Office, deputies were notified Feb. 21 by a concerned student that one of their classmates had made a threatening post on the social media site Instagram.

The sheriff’s office immediately had detectives on the case investigating the validity of the threat and following up with the student. At this time, Public Information Officer Kris Stancil of the Pickens Sheriff’s Office informs us that the child who made the threat has been taken out of school and the Board of Education “has taken appropriate steps to prevent the student from returning to school.”

However, according to the press release given by the sheriff’s office, no charges have been made yet. The investigation is continuing into this incident to determine if charges will be brought. The sheriff’s office said they will continue to take all threats seriously, even if the threat was made as a joke: “Anytime we are made aware that a threat online or in person has been made, we will investigate it and take all appropriate and necessary steps to prevent an act from occurring.”

The sheriff’s full press release is as follows:

Pickens County Georgia, February 21, 2018: Sheriff’s Detectives worked through the night following a threatening message posted on social media by a Pickens High School student.

On February 21st, deputies were notified by a concerned student that one of their classmates had made a threatening post on the social media site Instagram. Deputies immediately notified detectives and launched an investigation into the validity of the threat.

In addition to working with the student and his parents, Sheriff’s Office staff members have been working closely with the Pickens County Board of Education to ensure that all students are kept safe. In this case, the parents are working closely with investigators as well.

The Board of Education has taken appropriate steps to prevent the student from returning to school at this time. Detectives are also continuing to investigate the case to determine if any criminal charges need to be sought as well.

Threats toward the safety of our kids, even if done as a joke, will not be tolerated by the Pickens Sheriff’s Office or the Pickens County Board of Education. Anytime we are made aware that a threat online or in person has been made, we will investigate it and take all appropriate and necessary steps to prevent an act from occurring.

We are extremely grateful for the students and teachers that notified our office of this incident. Due to their willingness to speak up when something didn’t look right, we have been able to act appropriately.

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A Valentine’s surprise at Pickens County Middle School

Community, Dragon's Corner

JASPER, Ga. – Many see Valentine’s Day as a day to show a little extra effort toward someone special. It is a day set aside to spend a little extra effort to show someone they are special and worth the effort. Regardless of how or why it was created, it is generally a special day for those who celebrate it.

Aden Fillion, the boy delivering flowers to every girl in PCMS

Aden Fillion, the boy delivering flowers to every girl in PCMS

You, like me, may think about love and this day while having someone specific in mind, a significant other, a family member, or something of that sort. Look around and you can find all sorts of reminders of romantic and amorous love. But once in a while, someone will come along and remind you of true compassion for others, a love that supersedes the romance that can give us tunnel vision.

Enter Aden Fillion. He is a sixth-grader in Pickens County Middle School (PCMS). And last year at Valentine’s Day, Aden got an idea.

As he looked around his classes on this day, he began to notice something that bothered him. Not every girl was getting a candy gram for Valentine’s Day. On a day that is meant to show how much love there is in this world, there were girls in his school that were “left out” as he says.

When he noticed this, Aden said he felt the pain: “When they felt left out, I felt left out.” It was something he couldn’t stand to see. The thought came to Aden that he wanted to make sure every girl got one of these candy grams on Valentine’s Day.

Aden Fillion, left, stopping for a photo with his mother, Jessica Fillion, right.

Aden Fillion, left, stopping for a photo with his mother, Jessica Fillion, right.

Though he didn’t speak of the issue right away, the thought stayed with him until September. Speaking to his parents, Jessica and Clint Fillion, Aden revealed his hope for this year’s Valentine’s surprise. After debating on how to accomplish this feat, Jessica eventually decided to try setting up a GoFundMe page. She admits now that she wasn’t too sure about how much success the page would get.

Two days later, $300 had already been raised for Aden to accomplish his plan. A feat that shocked Jessica and emboldened Aden. With everything ready, the Fillions needed only to wait until this month to place the order, keeping the secret until now.

Aden stops by the front office to deliver flowers to the front office staff of PCMS.

Aden stops by the front office to deliver flowers to the front office staff of PCMS.

Always having been very compassionate and empathetic, Jessica says her son Aden constantly wants to give people things. Constantly wanting to see people smile, Jessica added of Aden, “He is very loving.”

The awe of the day was shared by seventh-grade teacher Sue Watters, who helped run the carnation orders with BETA club. Watters stated, “Wow, for a kid to have that level of empathy is unheard of in middle school.”

While in the past, the counselor’s office has handled candy grams, according to Watters, this year changed as the BETA club decided to handle the Valentine’s items. Thinking about February as Heart Health Month in addition to Valentine’s Day, BETA decided to do carnations instead of the candy grams.

As Jessica and Aden began talking with Watters about Valentine’s Day and what he had planned, they began planning and ordering for all 225 girls in PCMS. There was only one issue – last year’s candy grams cost $1, but this year’s carnations cost $2.

As of today, few people have been privy to this plan, but every one of 225 girls is walking out of their middle school today with a carnation, and a reminder of the love that people can have for each other. Through community support and a little help from BETA, Aden’s plan has been fulfilled, and one student reminded everyone of what we can accomplish for each other.

Aden begins delivering flowers with a personal friend Harley.

Aden begins delivering flowers with a personal friend Harley.

What Aden didn’t know was that BETA was selling the carnations to help the seventh grade finance their field trip to Atlanta in April. With some students needing help to be able to go on the trip, Aden’s plan snowballed larger than even he had intended. Diving into his plan, Aden said he had never gotten discouraged. Talking about the plan, he kept going back to saying, “I wanted them to feel happy.”

Each flower that he sent came with a note attached, “Happiness can be found in the darkest of times, if only one remembers to turn on the light.” A quote from Albus Dumbledore in the book, and film, Harry Potter is a note from Aden and his mother’s favorite movie to explain his hope for those of his class, a note of the happiness he wanted for them.

 

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Burden arrested on burglary charges after standoff

News

JASPER, Ga. – Authorities arrested William Lloyd Burden, 30, for burglary on Thursday, Feb. 15, after a two-hour stand-off with law enforcement.

According to Pickens County Sheriff’s Office Public Information Officer Kris Stancil, the suspect fled from authorities before being relocated and arrested. While the event involved SWAT Teams and officers from both Pickens and Cherokee counties, the suspect was apprehended without incident.

The official release from the Pickens County Sheriff’s Office:

William Lloyd Burden

William Lloyd Burden

What started as a suspicious person call at approximately noon, turned into a day-long chase. The original call on Scenic View Drive reported a suspicious person appearing to be looking into different homes. Upon the deputies’ arrival into the area, the caller pointed to a residence and described an individual that had been “snooping” around. Deputies then observed where a window had been opened and appeared to have been broken into at a residence on Scenic View Drive. Deputies also observed where belongings appeared to be gathered to be removed from the home. As deputies attempted to clear the home, Mr. Burden exited the side door of the residence and fled into a wooded area.

After an extended search, the suspect was not located. Through investigation, it was later learned that Burden had called a friend that lived in the same area as the original burglary and went to the residence. Deputies were able to verify that he was in the home and all other occupants were out of the home, but he would not comply to exit the home. Due to not knowing if he was armed or not, deputies contacted SWAT team members from the Cherokee Sheriff’s Office and the Pickens Sheriff’s Office to respond.

Mr. Burden was later found to be hiding in the attic of the residence and was taken into custody without incident.

At this time, Mr. Burden has been charged with burglary and the investigation is continuing to determine if additional charges may be pending.

Author

Pickens commissioners talk water in February meeting

News

JASPER, Ga. – The Pickens County Board of Commissioners could see major changes to its water system in February.

Two issues dealing with the subject will affect the county moving forward. However, many citzens may not see these changes right away. That is because the first issue is set to strengthen the county’s water back-up power system in emergencies, and the second will only affect rates for meters two inches or larger.

The county has secured an Emergency Management Agency (EMA) Generator Grant. According to a report the county heard in its work session, the Georgia Emergency Management Agency (GEMA) visited Pickens to view the water pump sites in the county. After going through paperwork and traveling across the county, GEMA has signed off on the grant and the county should receive the money, $185,115, by the end of February to move forward with adding a backup generator to another of the county’s water pumps to maintain water access through power outages in situations like storms, a tornado, or other disasters. The county is matching $24,000 in the project works for the grant.

Additionally, the representative from GEMA saw other sites to add five more generators to complete the backup power of the county’s water including one at the public works to help with concerns over the fuel depot. Having already taken the representative to these other locations could expedite the pre-application for grants on these other sites.

The other issue discussed at their work session focused on a rate increase being requested by the Pickens County Water & Sewer Authority to compensate for an increase in water drawn from a business in the area; however, the specific business was not disclosed. The increase is not going to every customer, rather only the large meters two inches and bigger. The increase comes on the heels of information that the one customer has been drawing, on average, 190,000 gallons of water per day.

The current look of the water rates, according to the county’s website, looks like this:

WATER RATES & METER FEES

¾ inch meter …… $36.00 Minimum per thousand up to 1,000 gallons .

1 inch meter……  $51.00 Minimum per thousand up to 1,000 gallons

2 inch meter……$66.00 Minimum per thousand up to 1,000 gallons

3 inch meter……$76.00 Minimum per thousand up to 1,000 gallons

4 inch meter……$81.00 Minimum per thousand up to 1,000 gallons

6 inch meter…. $111.00 Minimum per thousand up to 1,000 gallons

$5.00 per thousand above 1,000 up to 3,000 gallons

$6.00 per thousand above 3,000 up to 5,000 gallons

$7.00 per thousand above 5,000 gallons and above

FH meter…. $36.00 Minimum per thousand up to 1,000 gallons
$4.25 per thousand above 1,000 gallons

Since the county can only pull 280,000 gallons of water from Cherokee County per day, before incurring a heavy surcharge, to supplement the water usage, the Authority is requesting their rate increase. Currently, the top end rate stands at $7 per thousand for anything 5,000 and above, but the increase will change it to $7 per thousand from 5,000 to 10,000 gallons and $9 per thousand for anything 10,000 gallons and above.

Since it was a work session, neither item has had official action yet. Citizens still have the chance to speak with the board members at the regular scheduled meeting on the third Thursday of the month, February 15.

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White County releases approved 2018 football schedule

Schedules, Sports, White County High School

The White County Warriors had an impressive 2017 football season. Coming off an abismal 1-9 season in 2016, the Warriors came out swinging and scored some big wins early in 2017; defeating Franklin (33-0), Lumpkin (66-14) and Habersham Central (24-21) before dropping a tough loss to Rabun County (49-26).

The Warriors came back the following week and knocked down North Hall (28-18), who’s only other loss to a AAAA power came in the final seconds against Pickens County (42-35) where the Trojans marched down the field and came up just short as time expired.

In 2018, the Warriors will once again have an exciting schedule to kick off the season, and there’s no doubt they’ll be looking to duplicate and even improve upon their 7-4, 2-2 season from last year.

With games at Lumpkin County and then home against Habersham Central, the Warriors kick the season off much like they did in 2017.  However, put a big red circle around the Sept 7 game at Pickens County, where PHS head coach Chris Parker is likely reloading rather than rebuilding this season.  The game pits two quality AAAA programs against each other in non-region play, with White representing Region 7-AAAA and Pickens representing Region 6-AAAA.  Both teams were eliminated early in post-season play last year, but both teams proved to be fearsome opponents on the gridiron regardless of home/away.

After the Pickens game, the Warriors schedule doesn’t let up.

The Warriors enjoyed a 10-pt victory over North Hall last season, but the Trojans played much better football as the season continued, and was the #TeamFYNSports Most Improved Team in Region 7-AAA last season.  The Warriors will look to defeat the Trojans (9/14), before taking the drive over to Marist for their first game in region play.  Marist, as the whole world is aware, is the defending region champion in Region 6.  What’s interesting about Marist is although they won their region, defeating rival Blessed Trinity 25-24 early in the season.  Two months later, the two teams met again in the State Championship and Blessed Trinity defeated the War Eagles 16-7.  Undoubtedly, Marist will look to return to the final in 2018, but they will have to go through White County first.

Perhaps the best part of the Warriors’ schedule this year is the break between facing Marist (9/21) and Blessed Trinity (11/2), although the Warriors will need to defeat Flowery Branch, West Hall, Denmark and Chestatee during the interim.

How will the 2018 season fare for the Warriors of White County?  It’s too early to tell.  Rest assured the team will be preparing accordingly and TeamFYNSports looks forward to reporting on the 2018 season from the sidelines this fall.

Author

Lady Bobcats Paw Their Way to Victory Over Lady Warriors

Sports

This past Saturday at the Mountaintop Holiday Classic, the Lady Bobcats and the Lady Warriors came ready to play their last game of the tournament. Both teams were coming from a loss the day before and ready to win the matchup for third place.

It was a “foul” game full of twists and turns. There were fouls left and right and the lead went from team to team. Lady Bobcat, Marylee Callihan, led Gilmer in scoring with nineteen points thanks to her hustle. Lady Warrior, Dasha Cannon, led White County in scoring with nineteen points due to aggressive playing. The Lady Bobcats had good cuts and passes inside which was how they did most of their damage. Lady Bobcat post, Michaela Staley, contributed ten points for her team from down low. The Lady Warriors scored the majority of their points from driving the lane. Lady Warrior, Naumi Crumbley, added fourteen points to White County’s score due to her ability to make layups. The Lady Warriors had the lead at the end of the first quarter with a score of 23-14.

Both teams were putting heavy defensive pressure on the other and drawing fouls. Out of Lady Bobcat Taylor Boling’s nine points, five of them were from foul shots. With Maddie Futch’s overall three points for the Lady Warriors, two of them were scored from the free throw line. Makenna Maysic also contributed two points from foul shots out of her six overall for White County. The Lady Warriors ran into some foul trouble towards the end of the second quarter when two technicals were called on them. The first foul being on player Kyleigh Johnson who scored an overall fifteen points for her team. The second being on the Lady Warriors head coach, Buster Brown. Even after many fouls, the Lady Warriors still had a lead over the Lady Bobcats with a score of 39-32.

The Lady Bobcats picked up their hustle at the beginning of the third quarter. Lady Bobcat, Hope Colwell, proved to be an asset to Gilmer’s defense by going hard and getting steals. Lady Warrior, Bentley Cronic, had a good game above the key by contributing three points for her team. Another Warrior, Annabeth Vandiver, added two points onto the Lady Warriors score. Lady Bobcat, Emma Callihan, put eleven points on the board with her scrappy playing. Gilmer started looking up the court to find Katie Kiker who added ten points to the Lady Bobcats score. Madi Phillips for the Lady Warriors added six points to White County’s score to extend their lead. At the end of the third quarter, the game was tied 53-53. It was Gilmer’s ball when they looked inside and found Mallory Kiser who contributed fourteen points overall, two being scored as the buzzer sounded to end the quarter which put the Lady Bobcats in the lead 55-53.

The intensity came alive at the beginning of the fourth quarter. Both teams started to foul more in attempts to stop the other one from scoring. The score was tied 70-70 with seven seconds left on the clock. Everyone was expecting the game to go into overtime when the Warriors fouled number ten for Gilmer, Marylee Callihan, with only one second left. With the pressure being high, Callihan stepped up to the free throw line. Callihan was given three shots and she made them all, putting Gilmer in third place of the tournament with a 73-70 victory over the Lady Warriors.

After the game, it was time for the awards and trophy to be given. The three Lady Warriors to be selected for All Tournament Players were Naumi Crumbley, Madi Phillips, and Dasha Cannon. Before the Lady Bobcats claimed their third place trophy, Marylee Callihan, Mallory Kiser, and Taylor Boiling were selected as Gilmer’s All Tournament Players.

The Gilmer County Lady Bobcats win puts their overall record at 8-6 while the Lady Warriors stand at 9-6. Catch the Lady Bobcats next game on January 5 at 7:00 as they travel to take on Northwest Whitfield!  Catch the Lady Warriors next game on January 3 at 2:00 as they travel to take on North Forsyth!

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Warriors Slay Dragons at Mountaintop Tourney

Sports, White County High School

Courtside coverage provided by Reagan Young, TeamFYNSports Reporter

This past Friday at the Mountaintop Holiday Classic, the White County Warriors and the Pickens County Dragons traveled to Fannin County for their match up on day two of the tournament. Both teams were coming off of a loss from the first day of the tournament and ready to walk away with a win.

It was a high action and fast paced game from the start. The Dragons made the majority of their points from down low while the Warriors did most of their damage from driving the lane. Dragon post, Seth Bishop, led Pickens in scoring from the block with twenty-one points. Warrior guard, Austin Harris, led his team in scoring with twenty-four points due to his hustle. Warrior post, Austin Rowland, had the hustle on defense to make steals and contribute twelve points for his team. With the Warriors in the lead near the end of the third quarter, Pickens makes a buzzer beater shot to tie the game 17-17.

The hopes were high at the beginning of the second quarter. Both teams had the same chances of winning and were not giving up. The lead went from team to team and it became unpredictable on who would have it next. Warrior, Chandler Harris’s outside shooting came alive which put eleven points on the board for White County. Warriors, Reece Dockery and J. Ben Haynes, also had a good game above the key by each adding five points to White County’s score. The Warriors took a seven point lead over the Dragons at the end of the second quarter by making the score 29-22.

With Pickens down more than they had been the entire game, they were determined to make a come back. Both teams applied heavy defensive pressure on the other by putting a full court press into action. The press resulted in both teams getting steals and adding onto their score. At the end of the third quarter, White County doubled their lead over Pickens with a score of 47-33.

Pickens picked up the pace at the start of the fourth quarter. The Warriors start to put even more defensive pressure on the Dragons and draw fouls. Warrior, Jay Lepkoske, contributed one of his five points from the free throw line. The Warriors also started to have good looks inside which resulted in Kaleb Crane’s overall four points. Warriors, Daniel Rowland and Cooper Turner, followed the trend and each added four points onto White County’s score. However, the Warriors were not the only ones adding onto their score. The Dragons came back at the end of the fourth quarter with a score of 53-53, putting the game into overtime.

The intensity came alive at the beginning of the quarter. Both teams had four minutes to win the game. Pickens finally took the lead that they had been working for the whole game just to have the score tied once again at 63-63, putting the game into double overtime.

Four more minutes were put on the clock as both teams gave the game their all. The quarter was filled with hustle after loose balls, fouls from attempting to keep the other team from scoring, and heart. The back and forth of the game had everyone on their feet as they watched with anticipation. Although both teams played to the best of their ability, the White County Warriors had a 74-67 victory over the Pickens County Dragons.

The White County Warriors win puts their overall record at 9-4 while the Pickens County Dragons stand at 4-9. Catch the Warriors next game on January 2 at 5:45 as they travel to take on North Cobb Christian!

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Bobcats Deliver a Technical Knockout to The Rebels

FCHS Sports, Gilmer High School, Sports

This past Friday on day two of the Mountaintop Holiday Classic, the Gilmer Bobcats traveled to take on the Fannin Rebels. Gilmer was warmed up from their win on day one against Coahulla Creek while the Rebels were ready to play their first game of the tournament. Both teams were determined to wrap up day two of the tournament with a win.

You could see the determination on all of the players faces as soon as they took the court. The rival teams were neck and neck from the beginning to the end of the game. Rebel, Chandler Kendall, led Fannin in scoring with thirteen points due to his ability to make outside shots. Bobcat, Kell Weaver, was an asset inside and led his team in scoring with twenty points.

Post for the Rebels, Joel Kinser, got back in the game after recovering from a concussion a few games prior. Kinser had grit down low and contributed three points for his team. As the end of the nail biting first quarter approached, Gilmer led Fannin with a score of 8-5.

The lead went from team to team. Tyler Sims of the Bobcats drove the lane and contributed twelve points overall for Gilmer. Another Bobcat, David Smith, followed the trend and scored two points for his team.

Fannin guard Joe Satchell, had snatches on defense and put eight more points on the board for Fannin. Another Rebel sharp-shooter, Jack Gobble, added onto Fannin’s score by making a three point shot. As the second quarter came to an end, the Bobcats doubled their lead over Fannin from the first quarter with a score of 21-15.

As Gilmer’s lead grew, Fannin fought harder to catch up. Rebel, Payton Holt, contributed eight points overall for Fannin with his hustle. Rebel, Ryan Beavers, was the go to guy on the block who put eleven points on the board for his team. With the Rebels score increasing, so did their number of fouls. Bobcat, Carter Hice, scored two points for Gilmer off of foul shots. Out of Bobcat Tripp Pierce’s ten points, seven of them were from foul shots. The Rebels were catching up to the Bobcats at the end of the third quarter with a score of 34-31, cutting Gilmer’s lead from the second quarter in half.

At the start of the fourth quarter, it appeared to be anyone’s game. Gilmer kept passing inside while Fannin drove the lane and took outside shots. Although the teams had different methods, they both proved to be effective. That is, until the Rebels ran into foul trouble.

With the tension being very high, Fannin had two technical fouls called on them. One being on player, Chandler Kendall. The second being on head coach, Scott Eggleston. Gilmer chose Bobcat, Coady Cobb, to shoot the technical free throws.

With Gilmer’s score behind Fannin’s, Cobb made his first shot to tie up the game. Even with the high pressure, Cobb made his second shot, putting Gilmer in the lead. Cobb contributed six points overall for the Bobcats.

With Gilmer in the lead, Fannin fouled even more. Rebel, Chandler Kendall, fouled out towards the end of the quarter. As Fannin kept fouling, Gilmer’s score increased. As the clock started to wind down, Gilmer took a 52-46 win over Fannin which put them in the championship game to be played the next day.

The Bobcat’s win puts their overall record at 5-8 while the Rebels stand at 3-11. Catch the Gilmer Bobcats next game on January 5 at 8:30 as they travel to take on Northwest Whitfield! Or catch the Fannin Rebels next game on the same day and at the same time at home as they take on GAC!

   

 

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