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.

Author

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.

Author

Pickens sending record number of wrestlers to sectionals

PHS Wrestling, Sports

The Pickens County Dragons have poured their hearts into wrestling this season, and it’s certainly been one to remember.  But – it’s not over, yet.

Just one week after hosting the Burnt Mountain Classic, where the Dragons finished 2nd overall, the team came together to hit the mats with a lot more on the line this time than just ‘braggin’ rights.  Gilmer hosted this year’s AAAA-Region 6 area tournament, and the Dragons were one of the team favorites coming into the competition,

In traditional area wrestling, the top four individual competitors in each class qualify to compete at the GHSA AAAA Sectionals meet next weekend at Woodward Academy.  On the other side of Sectional competition, Jefferson will host Area winners from areas 2, 3, 7 and 8.  Jefferson won the team dual state championship last month, their 17th straight GHSA state dual championship.  Gilmer County finished 2nd in that tournament.

With Pickens wrestling in what is arguably the most competitive region in the state, the team faced off against rival Gilmer, as well as quality wrestlers from Ridgeland, Heritage and more.  The day turned out to be one of the best in school history, with a record number of sectional qualifiers and three traditional area champions: Zack Meadows, CJ Murphy and Michael Burrell.

Dalton Brunner also had a big day, finishing 2nd in his class.

The Dragons are taking their best “shot” at post-season wrestling this year, and their attitude reflects the body-of-work that has been their outstanding work ethic all year long.

Other qualifiers for the Dragons include Michael Hernandez (3rd) and Joseph Ferguson (3rd), as well as 4th-place finishers Nate Davis, Jared Edwards, Kelley Dover and Sam Stout.

The overall performance by the Dragons varsity wrestling squad earned them 6AAAA Area Runner-up honors, behind defending champion Gilmer High.

TeamFYNSports would like to wish the Dragons wrestling program all the best as they prepare for sectional competition this week!

 

Fetch Your News is a hyper local news outlet that attracts more than 300,000 page views and 3.5 million impressions per month in Dawson, Lumpkin, White, Fannin, Gilmer, Pickens, Union, Towns and Murray counties as well as Cherokee County in N.C. FYNTV attracts approximately 15,000 viewers per week and reaches between 15,000 to 60,000 per week on our Facebook page. For the most effective, least expensive local advertising, call 706-276-6397 or email us at advertise@FetchYourNews.com

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Snow Sprawl: Burnt Mountain Classic turnout better than expected

PHS Wrestling, Sports

The Burnt Mountain Classic took place on Friday night and Saturday at Pickens Co. High School.  The Classic comes with high expectations by the teams attending – and  although inclement weather forced school cancellations throughout the week – the tournament still lived up to the bill.

Although the weather was rough all week, 15 of 19 Varsity teams that were scheduled came off the buses ready to strap on their head gear and hit the mat.  Fannin County was one of 22 varsity teams scheduled to attend but like a handful of the teams who cancelled, they followed the school cancellation schedule due to potential hazardous road conditions.

The acclaimed Gilmer Bobcats varsity squad, who have been living up to their legacy of absolute domination all season long, was originally scheduled to attend as well.  After speaking with head coach Josh Ghobadpor about his decision to give his varsity the weekend off, he stated that with the weather being what it was during the week, they hadn’t been able to practice.  Rather than put his varsity in a high-pressure situation so close to area and sectionals, Ghobadpor focused instead on taking his junior varsity team to compete in the JV Scramble.

“We tried to get to the gym to train but with ice on the roads we didn’t want to take any chances.  This weekend we decided to bring our JV and let them get the extra work in, though.  After all the JV is the future of Bobcat wrestling,” Ghobadpor told TeamFYNSports.

    As the wrestlers laced up and shook hands, match-by-match the competition began to heat up right away.  Pickens, Lumpkin, Creekview, Etowah, Cherokee High, Calhoun, Alcoa, Milton, Sequoyah, Chestatee, Towns, SE Whitfield, Walker, West Hall and River Ridge all came in pursuit of conquest.

 

     With each win or loss, the cream began to rise to the top.  While all in attendance had much to be proud of, two standout teams battled for the heralded prize of tournament champions. As the dust (and sweat) settled, congratulations went to the Creekview High School Grizzlies for capturing the crown in the team scoring with 219 points.  Narrowly taking the runner up award in the team points was the host: the Pickens County High School Dragons.

On Saturday, the action heated up with the JV Scramble.  The young freshmen and sophomore athletes showed up and showed out on the mats with Calhoun Yellow Jackets taking the JV trophy.  Individual award winners from Pickens County included:  Zach Meadows(113 lbs) 2nd Place, C.J. Murphy(120 lbs) 2nd Place, Joseph Ferguson(152 lbs) 2nd Place Michael Burrell(160 lbs) 1st Place, Tyler Vreeland(170 lbs), Kellie Dover(182 lbs) 3rd Place and Dalton Bruhner(195 lbs) 4th Place.

Other results were not available at the event.  Congratulations to all athletes and best of luck in Area Competition and State!

Author

Former directors of the Ruth House arrested for theft by conversion

News

PICKENS COUNTY, Ga. –  Jan. 12, 2018: Following an October search warrant of the Ruth
House in Ranger, Georgia, Greg and Detra Mason have been charged with felony theft by
conversion.

Original complaints of mismanagement of funds led to the investigation into the handling of the local
ministry for women with substance abuse issues. After a search warrant was executed on the
property, boxes of receipts and financial documents were gathered and have been studied
extensively. Following the review of documents covering a recent period of time, Pickens Sheriff’s Office detectives
presented the evidence to a judge and were able to obtain arrest warrants for both Greg and Detra
Mason. The warrant was issued for theft by conversion, a felony in the state of Georgia.
The Masons willingly turned themselves into the Pickens County Adult Detention Center on Jan. 2 and were
booked for the charges. On the same date, both were able to post the $10,000 bond that had been
set for each.

Captain April Killian with the Pickens Sheriff’s Office stated that the investigation is still continuing
as additional documents are being reviewed, but sufficient probable cause was found at the time to
warrant the arrest. “After digging through the past year of documents, we have been able to identify
over $26,000 that had been converted from Ruth House funds to their own personal use,” Killian stated.

Killian added, “We still have a lot of documents to review and additional charges could be found
as the investigation continues.”

Author

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

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