ELLIJAY, Ga. – Entering the new year, the Gilmer County Board of Education began discussions about the plans of moving into Phase 2 of the High School Renovations this summer.
With talks going back and forth on Calendars and the possibility of state involvement in school calendars, Superintendent Dr. Shanna Downs said that even starting in the first week of August as the current calendar plans are incorporating the summer construction plans. The uncertainty comes that if the State moves forward with recommendations to extend the summers with schools starting the first Monday of September, and ending around June 1.
While no indication comes on what the future may hold on this, Downs assured the Board that the plans for construction and summer renovations can be fit in with the school systems currently planned summer break.
Additionally, the Board elected its new officers for 2019 with nominations and approvals for Michael Bramlett to continue as Board Chairman and Ronald Watkins as Vice-Chair.
ELLIJAY, Ga. – The suspect of a home invasion last week, Willie Lee McCoy, was shot by law enforcement during the incident, but has now escaped custody at the hospital where he was being cared for.
According to Gilmer County Sheriff Stacy Nicholson, McCoy was incapacitated and under heavy medication as he was life-flighted to the hospital for his injuries. Nicholson states he was kept under guard by the Gilmer County Sheriff’s Office for 18 hours.
During that time, Nicholson says he was assured multiple times by the hospital security that they would monitor and guard McCoy and would inform the Sheriff’s Office when he was being released. However, over the weekend, he got out of his bed and walked out the front door of the hospital. At this time, his whereabouts are unknown.
The Sheriff’s has notified those involved in last weeks incident about the escape and is currently looking for him. They are also looking for Loren Danielle Denson. Nicholson said that the Sheriff’s Office is only seeking Denson for questioning at this time as they believe she may have information about McCoy. He asserted that the office was only seeking Denson as a possible connection at this time.
The Sheriff’s Office is asking citizens to be aware of the situation and is asking anyone who spots or has information on McCoy to contact law enforcement immediately. They are asking citizens not to approach these two, but instead call 911 if you spot them.
McCoy is expected to still be affected by injuries to his hip and arm and that one of his injuries would be in need of follow up treatment.
According to the Sheriff’s BOLO McCoy is wanted for charges of aggravated assault on Peace Officer, Armed Robbery, and Home Invasion.
Jasper, Ga – The Pickens County Board of Education hosted a no-threat lockdown today on the campus of Pickens High School.
Parents and citizens saw the Pickens County Sheriff respond to concerns saying:
We currently have a team of deputies and K-9 units participating in a controlled sweep of the Pickens High School campus. While the school is being checked, students are being placed in a non-emergency lockdown status. Students are safe and no threat exists at the school.
When questioned about the lockdown, Pickens County Schools Superintendent Dr. Carlton Wilson said the K-9 sweep was scheduled for a few weeks ago, but had to be pushed back due to scheduling conflicts with Cherokee County who supplies the K-9 units. As the Pickens County Sheriff’s Office has retired its last K-9 unit for medical reasons, Wilson stated it is a part of the agreement with Cherokee County to utilize theirs.
With the lockdown and sweep completed, Wilson informed FYN that no drugs were located during the sweep today. Though he noted it was not directly related to the rising use of vape devices, Wilson did respond to questions about the trend saying that it is a concern in the school system.
Sweeps like this is a part of the school’s enforcement of its code of conduct as well as state and federal law. Though Wilson said there is more going on behind the scenes in the system’s response to the rising vape concerns and to school security in general, he declined to release details saying, “There is a number of things that we are doing and things that we are working with the Sheriff’s Office, some of that we just can’t publicize at the moment.”
More information on these steps like the K-9 sweeps and other programs the school already has in place over its years in operation can be found at the upcoming Monday, September 24, day of events involving the Office of the Sheriff, the District Attorney, and Pickens School district as they hold a meeting for parents for information and the ‘Chat with the Superintendent’ at Pickens High School at 6 p.m.
Wilson went on to note that the school system is being forced to change the way it views vaping devices. While he notes that it is against the law for underage kids to possess cigarettes and vaping devices and they have enforced the law, he did state that the school system may have, at times, not utilized the most extreme forms of discipline available in every situation involving the use of nicotine. He went on to say, “Now that this added ability of being able to vape just about anything, that brings it to a whole different level.”
As part of the school’s efforts to inform parents and students about the dangers that vapes present with not knowing what is in them, the board is working with the District Attorney and the Sheriff’s Office. Wilson said, “We may have looked at vaping in the past as more of a replacement for a cigarette, and not as a delivery device for drugs… Going forward, we probably would.”
He added later, “We’re going to have to really start disciplining to the fullest extent that we can, given to us by our Code of Conduct or either by the Law to keep our children safe.”
ELLIJAY, Ga. – A new update has come from the Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) in the case of the murder of Drusilla Patrick.
Completing the autopsy, GBI has confirmed a gunshot wound leading to homicide. Though believed to be Drusilla Patrick, the release states they are still awaiting a formal forensic identification of the body. Though officials are continuing the investigation into her death, another new development came with news of Charles Michael Patrick’s death in custody at the Gilmer County Detention Center.
As reported in the original press release, Wednesday, April 25, 2018, the GBI and Gilmer County Sheriff’s Office (GCSO) executed a search warrant at the Patrick home on Ridgemont Drive in Ellijay, Georgia, which extended into Thursday. On Thursday, human remains believed to be those of Drusilla Patrick were located on the property.
The official release for the completion of the autopsy states:
The autopsy for Drusilla Patrick was completed at the GBI Medical Examiner’s Office on Friday, April 27, 2018. The cause of death was determined to be gunshot wound and the manner of death was determined to be homicide. A formal forensic identification of Drusilla Patrick is pending.
ELLIJAY, Ga. – A joint operation between the Gilmer County Sheriff’s Office (GCSO), the Georgia Bureau of Investigations (GBI), and United States Probation Officers culminated in an arrest yesterday of Charles Michael Patrick, 72, of Ridgemont subdivision in Ellijay, GA.
Federal Probation officers were supervising Patrick, according to a GBI press release, when they became concerned about the whereabouts of his wife, Drusilla Patrick. During the ensuing investigation by the Gilmer County Sheriff’s Office, a request was made for assistance from GBI.
Their press release states, “When the probation officer received information that Charles Patrick re-married unexpectedly, he questioned Patrick about Drusilla Patrick and received conflicting statements.”
The Gilmer Sheriff’s Office states that in addition to Federal Probation, Patrick was being monitored as a registered sex offender by GCSO.
A cooperative investigation by the GBI and GCSO revealed: “Drusilla Patrick was last seen alive between December 2016 and January 2017.” GBI also reports that Patrick had told different people different reasons for Drusilla’s absence and that they were not actually married, having been legally divorced in 1970.
Additionally, Gilmer County Sheriff Stacy Nicholson noted it was excellent “head’s up police work” by federal probation officers and Gilmer County Sheriff’s Office Sex Offender Registry Compliance Officer is what led to the solving of a murder and missing person that had never been reported.
According to the GBI:
“On Wednesday, April 25, 2018, the GBI and GCSO executed a search warrant at the Patrick home on Ridgemont Drive in Ellijay, Georgia which extended into Thursday. On Thursday, human remains believed to be those of Drusilla Patrick were located on the property. An autopsy is scheduled for Friday, April 27th at the GBI Medical Examiner’s Office in Decatur, Georgia.”
The Sheriff’s office reports that Patrick was taken into custody at a local motel without incident on Thursday, April 26, by Sheriff Nicholson, Gilmer County Deputy Sheriffs, GBI Agents, and a Federal Probation Officer.
Nicholson stated, “I can not begin to give adequate praise to Corporal Jason Reed and the federal probation officers.”
Patrick is currently housed in the Gilmer County Detention Center charged with Murder and held without bond at this time. With the investigation continuing and the GBI claiming additional charges could still be forthcoming, officials are not revealing anything further at this time.
Sheriff Nicholson did make one final comment to commend the work of his Detectives and the GBI Region 8 agents for their excellent investigation into a crime that could have very easily never been discovered, much less solved.
DALTON, Ga. – The Dalton Police Department is on scene at Dalton High School where shots have been fired.
Dalton Police report that no student was injured by the shooting and all students are out of harm’s way. They also report the subject, a teacher, has been taken into custody.
The subject had barricaded themselves into a classroom earlier today before firing a weapon. Local police and Georgia State Patrol responded to the initial call. Concerning those reports that have come about a student injured during the evacuation, the Dalton Police were adamant that no student was injured by the shooting.
Police are also asking parents to NOT go to Dalton High School as they say, “The area inside the school has been evacuated and there are no students believed to be in the school at this time.”
The evacuated students have been taken to the Northwest Georgia Trade Center where police report parents should go for their children.
EAST ELLIJAY, Ga. – The Georgia State Patrol has released its official report for the Yukon Road bus incident last Monday, Jan. 22.
According to the report, officials say the bus driver, 71-year-old Harold Moody, says he drifted onto the shoulder as he was reaching for his microphone and looking into his mirror at the students on his bus.
The report states Moody was “distracted” while he was driving by using the microphone and causing him to drift off the east side of Yukon Road before striking a culvert and veering back across both lanes before overturning and coming to rest blocking the road. Moody was not injured in the accident.
Vehicle 1 was traveling north attempting to negotiate a curve on Yukon Road. Vehicle 1 drifted and traveled off the east side of Yukon Road causing the driver to lose control.
Vehicle 1 traveled north on the east shoulder into a ditch. The undercarriage of vehicle 1 struck the ditch culvert. Vehicle 1 veered left and travel west across both lanes of the
roadway. Vehicle 1 overturned and came to an uncontrolled rest facing west on its right side across both lanes of Yukon Road.
Driver 1 stated that he reached up to grab the microphone and looked at the rearview mirror to address the student passengers. He stated that the student passengers were being loud and using profanity. Driver 1 became distracted by using the microphone and looking at the rearview mirror while attempting to negotiate a downhill curve.
School officials have already confirmed the use of a substitute driver after having placed Moody on administrative leave. Read more about the accident with “Bus wreck on Yukon injures students,” “Responding to Gilmer’s bus wreck on Yukon Road,” and “Ralston speaks on Yukon bus crash.”
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ELLIJAY, Ga. – The Gilmer County Board of Education (BOE) began 2018 already considering changes coming for the 2018-19 school year.
The board is moving ahead with Administrative Renewals for the coming school year as they are already facing nine retirements and two resignations approved in January alone. Gilmer County Charter School System Superintendent Dr. Shanna Wilkes stated the board wanted to approve the administrative renewals now so they could move forward with their own recommendations for teachers to fill the empty spots.
The approved staff recommendations for January show those changes for January, but more are sure to come as the teacher hiring season begins with schools everywhere looking to fill positions for next year.
Even board personnel adjusted positions as new officers were elected. The position of BOE chairman came with a nomination for Michael Bramlett and appointed by acclamation. Vice chairman, however, saw more action with two nominations, one for Jim Parmer and one for Ronald Watkins.
The vote for Parmer came down to two for and three against (2-3). Nick Weaver, Tom Ocobock, and Ronald Watkins were the dissenting votes.
Watkins saw three for, none against, and two abstentions (3-0-2). Parmer and Watkins abstained on their votes.
In addition to the administrative and personnel approvals, the board set their meetings dates officially for 2018 as well as January 2019. The meetings will continue being held at 6 p.m. on these meeting dates:
Feb. 12 and 15
March 19 and 22
April 23 and 26
May 21 and 24
June 18 and 21
July 16 and 19
Aug. 20 and 23
Sept. 17 and 20
Oct. 15 and 18
Nov. 12 and 15
Dec. 10 and 13
Jan. 14 and 17, 2019