(Photo by Kelsey Richardson of the Andrews Journal)
ELLIJAY, Ga. – Despite a news story in the Andrews Journal today, one sentence has caused confusion anong Gilmer’s Citizens and officials.
FYN has confirmed with Gilmer County Public Safety Director Tony Pritchett that he is indeed taking a job in Andrews, North Carolina, as Police Chief for the department.
The Andrews Journal states, “Pritchett, who has family throughout Cherokee County, is from Gilmer County, Ga. He is transitioning from his role as the Gilmer County Public Safety director to Andrews police chief. Pritchett additionally has experience as chief of the Gilmer County Volunteer Fire Department.”
FYN reported the article to Gilmer county. However, Pritchett has confirmed with FYN that he is transitioning away from the East Ellijay Police Department where Pritchett says he has worked shifts for eight years. Moving his police work to Andrews, Pritchett says he has taken the position for flexibility in his schedule. While he usually had night shifts in East Ellijay, Andrews will allow a less rigid schedule meaning less affect on his main position of Public Safety Director in Gilmer, which he is not leaving.
Coming out of executive session, Pritchett was voted to be hired by the town’s Board of Aldermen. FYN has also checked with Gilmer County Chairman Charlie Paris who stated he confirmed with the towns mayor that the new position will allow Pritchett to expand and support their police force as Chief.
The Andrews Journal did report that Pritchett spoke about bringing a “good respectable and professional police force” to the city and later noted that when the new police force is hired, Pritchett would be focusing on the town’s drug crisis.
When FYN caught up with Pritchett about possibly transitioning away from Gilmer, he responded, “I love the county too much, and I ain’t going nowhere.”
The Andrews Police Department has diminished in the last year after the casino opened, Pritchett told FYN he would be adding his training and expertise to rebuild the department. While the new position will help to grow their department, Pritchett declined to say if there was a set period that he would be at their saying, “As long as it is something that doesn’t take away from my responsibilities as Public Safety Director, I don’t mind staying, helping out, and being a part of the department for a while. As long as it doesn’t place too much weight on me from here because Gilmer County, the citizens of Gilmer County, being Public Safety Director and Fire Chief is my primary duty.”
Summarizing the entirity of the new position, Pritchett summed up his move as “swapping his extra job.”
EAST ELLIJAY, Ga. – According to Gilmer County Charter School System Superintendent Dr. Shanna Wilkes, a new issue arising at Clear Creek Middle School drew law enforcement and emergency management to the school near dismissal time Friday, Feb. 16.
Wednesday, staff noticed writing in pen on a boys bathroom stall saying, “I have a bomb.” Wilkes tells FetchYourNews that law enforcement was contacted and the school searched. No evidence pointed toward a bomb being present that day.
Today, at approximately 1:45 p.m., Wilkes reported that a teacher was notified of more writing in a different boys bathroom on a stall. The writing this time appeared smeared across the wall in ink, as if someone had broken a pen to smear the writing. The writing read, “I have a bomb, you will die.”
After contacting emergency services and law enforcement, emergency management investigated for the presence of a bomb again. In an effort to find someone who may have written the message, school staff checked students hands for ink. Wilkes also noted that the staff was also checked for ink.
Though no device or other suspicious activity was found again, emergency management is continuing to question and combing through film. Wilkes once again noted that while the current thought is that this threat is a hoax, they will continue investigating the threat seriously.
With next week seeing Gilmer students on winter break, Wilkes tells FYN that they will be open for authorities to fully access the school for inspection for any signs, and the school will see heightened security when they return from the break.
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ELLIJAY, Ga. – Today marks 22 years since the passing of Deputy Brett C. Dickey, killed in the line of duty with the Gilmer County Sheriff’s Office.
Today also saw Gilmer County Sheriff Stacy Nicholson and the Gilmer County Sheriff’s Office remember this officer by laying a wreath at his monument. A now annual memento of service in the county, Nicholson said he would continue the memorial service as long as he remains sheriff of Gilmer County as Dickey was “very deserving of being honored.”
The sheriff’s office also posted a note to social media saying:
Today we honor his memory as Sheriff Nicholson and the GCSO Honor Guard place this wreath at his monument and fly the flag at half staff at the Gilmer County Courthouse. The monument dedicated to him reads “Through the hearts and lives he touched and his fellow officers, this HERO lives on.”
Nicholson called his death a devastating loss to his family, to the sheriff’s office, and to the community. “He was not just any old police officer, he was a true public servant, and he was good guy,” Nicholson said.
Service like this is not something entered into lightly. Officers know of the risks involved in the job. Many claim a “calling” to the position. It may be a need to help others or perhaps an obligation knowing that the job has to have someone. It is always a loss to a community when tragedy strikes. However, memorials like this become a drive for those who remain. A loss can be motivation, a loss can lead to strength. A loss can be so much more than just pain.
Citizens can visit the courthouse to see the wreath for Dickey and honor him next to the main entrance at the foot of the flagpole.
ELLIJAY, Ga. – Gilmer High School Principal Carla Foley has announced the schools PAGE STAR student for 2018.
Tylea Hernandez scored 1,470 on her Scholastic Assessment Test (SAT) placing her as the top-scoring senior and obtaining the award. Locally sponsored by the Ellijay Lions Club, this award highlights Hernandez’s achievement statewide through the Professional Association of Georgia Educators (PAGE). The award also has Hernandez name a teacher to accompany her in recognition of the Student Teacher Achievement Recognition (STAR) award.
Naming Mr. Michael Crocker, a former mathematics teacher at Clear Creek Middle School, as her STAR Teacher, he will follow along with Hernandez through continued competition at every level of the program.
STAR begins each year in participating Georgia high schools when the STAR Student is named and chooses a STAR Teacher to share in this recognition. The students and their teachers are honored by their schools and receive special recognition in their communities from one of the more than 165 statewide civic organizations and businesses that serve as local sponsors of the STAR program.
Hernandez will now compete for school system recognition as the top STAR Student, and those winners compete for
region honors. Region winners contend for the honor of being named state PAGE STAR Student.
Hernandez is hoping to attend Emory University to major in psychology after high school. Hoping to become a psychiatrist, Hernandez also has plans for medical school after Emory. She has already applied and hopes to know for sure in April. On the award, she said, “It’s surprising, but it’s nice to be awarded.”
After taking the SAT three times over the last two years, she told FetchYourNews, “My goal was to get a 1,400 on the SAT, and I didn’t really realize how high of a score that was. So, I wasn’t really expecting STAR Student.” She said taking the test several times helped her achieve higher every time she did it.
Speaking on Hernandez and the award, Foley stated, “We are very proud of Miss Hernandez and Mr. Crocker and the academic excellence they exemplify.”
Since its creation by the Georgia Chamber of Commerce in 1958, the STAR program has honored nearly 26,500 students and the teachers selected as the most influential to their academic achievement. High school seniors must have the highest score on a single test date on the SAT and be in the top 10 percent or top 10 students of their class based on grade point average to qualify for STAR nomination.
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Join us as TeamFYNSports, FYNTV, FetchYourNews proudly present the LIVE coverage of the entire Gilmer Parks & Recreation annual basketball tournament. Coverage begins Saturday morning at 9 AM and all games will be streamed LIVE on FYNTV.com and our YouTube Channel and we will be posting updates via our Twitter, Facebook and Instagram social media accounts.
ELLIJAY, Ga. – While local citizens continue discussion of Monday’s incident involving a bus overturning on Yukon Road, the discussion has spread to the state capital as Georgia Speaker of the House of Representatives David Ralston released an official comment today.
“I’m so thankful no one was hurt in this week’s school bus accident. While the road the accident occurred on is maintained by the county government, I’m willing to discuss state involvement in addressing any safety concerns with the road if the county feels that state involvement would be helpful. I’m just glad that there was an emergency medical facility in the county which could treat the children who were injured. The last time a serious bus accident occurred in Gilmer County, that wasn’t the case.”
As some have addressed concerns over the area of Yukon road where the accident occured, FetchYourNews has learned that county officials have been looking into the road this week since the wreck. While no official statement on their progress is available at this time, this comment from Ralston could open discussion for possibilities in the future.