(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. – Amid charges of theft by taking and violation of oath of office, East Ellijay Police Chief Larry Callihan has confirmed Michael McClure has resigned from the East Ellijay Police.
Recalling the arrest record of McClure, he was originally placed on administrative leave by the department, but recent developments show the former officer resigning his post. According to the arrest record, McClure is accused of taking a money order from a woman’s purse, after arresting her, and later cashing it.
EAST ELLIJAY, Ga. – The Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) arrested East Ellijay police officer Michael McClure at approximately noon today, Feb. 14, 2018. A copy of the booking report and warrant is seen below. FetchYourNews has requested a statement from the GBI and East Ellijay Police Chief Larry Callahan.
Below is a press release statement from East Ellijay Chief of Police Larry Callahan.
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 – Anyone watching social media for our local area on Friday saw part of the major crowds overfilling the downtown area for Light Up Ellijay.
In fact, the event grew so much over recent years, officials were forced to call in extra help to direct the crowd. The parade saw a minor delay to start as crowds spilled out into the street, having nowhere to stand. By the time of the tree lighting at 5:30 p.m., the crowd had deadlocked traffic with some even parking and stepping out of their vehicles for 30 seconds to watch the lighting.
Vendors set up onto Broad Street while First Baptist Church of Ellijay brought the town of Bethlehem to the area with a staged area in their rear parking lot. Hosting people in full costume, complete with Roman solders, basket weavers, shepherds and even an angel or two, the town brought the ancient times to life as visitors were even asked to sign the “census” upon entering the fenced area.
Even more poured into the downtown boardwalk as the Grinch himself made an appearance for photos and children. Santa and Mrs. Claus met kids as well on the courthouse steps for photos before all of them retreated to Ellijay Elementary School to prepare for the parade.
The Grinch came as a part of this year’s Whoville theme. Citizens, visitors and parade walkers alike all dressed for the occasion, adding a whimsical look to the already decorated tree and town.
As time drew near for the night time festivities, those in the vendor area, Bethlehem and boardwalk all began moving towards the roundabout, forcing many to stand out in the street.
One family said they had set up their seats on the roundabout at 2:30 p.m. However, that family, and others, were disappointed as no one but the kids in front sat to watch the parade. Some onlookers complained of the crowds saying they wouldn’t be returning next year. Others wouldn’t let the crowd dampen their spirits, instead welcoming them saying they have never seen the city so popular.
Indeed, so many people came downtown that extra hands like Gilmer County Public Safety Director Tony Pritchett voluntarily joined the city police to aid in crowd control. Although no official count could be made, estimates from city police officers soared from 10,000 to 15,000 people before the night had concluded. Festivities began around noon and continued late into the night with Abby’s Ice Cream and Frozen Yogurt hosting a dance party in their parking area immediately after the parade.
An overall amazing year brought the crowds out, but is also causing the city to retreat for meetings to respond. A number of people that downtown Ellijay has not experienced at one time during even the Apple Festival Weekends has called for officials to rethink plans for next year.
FYN has requested comments from officials on the night and Ellijay Chief of Police Edward Lacey has already agreed to speak with FYN once their meetings this week conclude.
Make sure to follow us over to our Facebook Album to see more Photos from Light Up Ellijay.
ELLIJAY, Ga – Prior to the Ellijay City Council’s November Meeting, they heard a proposal from Russel Brown, local paramedic, for a community welfare program similar to programs in other counties like Floyd County.
According to Brown, patients statistically do better recovering at home. This program would encourage and supervise home health. Different from home healthcare programs, Brown said much of the welfare program is focused on prevention of readmission to hospitals and emergency rooms. They would focus on aspects like vital signs and communication for paperwork. If the program moves forward, it would start out within the Ellijay City Limits.
Funding and grants are available, Brown said, and much of the expense would come from strips for glucometers to measure blood glucose. While he hopes one day it could grow into a community paramedic program, he wished to start at community welfare. Those providing the service would be limited in care, and Brown stated that EMS would still be called for necessary situations.
Specific details for the proposal will come possibly as early as the December City Council meeting as the council requested Brown to return with an official written proposal to detail more things like cost and liability among others.
Another healthcare entity presented a variance request to change the sign for Gilmer Nursing Home on 1362 South Main St. While the variance request was submitted to exceed the three-foot sign regulation of the city, it would in fact be lower than the current sign. Standing at 21 feet now, the request states the new sign will only reach 12 feet in height. A representative from Signs of Interest, Andy Lawson, told FYN the sign change was partially to clean up the facilities appearance and simplify the extras to a lower “nicer looking sign.”
Officially approved by the council, the sign will include a small message board to be utilized by the nursing home. Lawson provided FYN with a drawing of what the sign is expected to look like. Though the sign change is indicative of a name change as part of a remodeling project, Lawson told the council that SunLink Health Systems still owns the nursing home.
Following the same road further south, Highway 382’s changes came to Ellijay with a formal notification by the Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) that they will abandon the section of Highway 382 that currently extends from the intersection of 382 and Old Highway 5 to the connection at Highway 515. As seen in the picture, GDOT will be constructing a new connector straight across to Highway 515 with a roundabout at the intersection.
The notification comes with the city of Ellijay needing to accept the abandoned portion of 382 into its responsibility for paving and maintenance. However, a motion was made at the meeting to table the item. Citizens can expect the council to revisit the issue in December.
Along with their discussion of roads, an official petition has reached the council to add speed bumps to Gilmer Street near the Senior Center. The petition garnered 20 names and roused discussion from the council about returning the street to a one-way street as well as discussion on purchasing speed bumps for the street. Continued complaints about the speed of vehicles on the street led to suggestions to officially request the change via petition. Discussion took a turn as Ellijay Police Chief Edward Lacey informed the council that the street was, at one time, a one-way street.
Gilmer Street is a more narrow street and discussion arose as, if the city returned it to one way, they were unsure of which way to direct the traffic. The council tabled the item and requested an official recommendation from Lacey, on how to return it to a one-way street, to discuss along with the speed bumps option. Again, citizens should look for the council to revisit the item in December.
October 30, 2017 ~ Gilmer County Georgia
According to authorities a single vehicle accident occurred on October 30th, 2017 on River Street in Ellijay, GA. Sources tell FYN a female driver lost control of her vehicle on Monday, mid morning, and hit a curb. The driver may have been attempting to correct the vehicle and veered off the roadway causing the vehicle to crash through the fence at Southern Pipe & Supply located at 340 River Street. The vehicle narrowly missed the signage out front of the business.
According to sources at the scene, the driver of the vehicle may not have been wearing her seat belt and after being helped from the car was taken by ambulance for medical attention to assess her injuries. Ellijay Police and Georgia State Patrol responded to the accident. The accident is under investigation at this time.