Hiawassee traffic stop takes more methamphetamine off streets

Arrest, News
Amanda Wheeler Hiawassee

HIAWASSEE, Ga. – A traffic stop conducted by Hiawassee Police Department led to yet another drug arrest during the afternoon hours of Saturday, Dec. 8, near the intersection of Main Street and Bell Creek Road.

Amanda Aveline Wheeler, 39, of Hiawassee, was arrested and charged with the following offenses:

Hiawassee Police Department

Evidence retrieved by Hiawassee Police Department

16-13-30 DRUGS- METHAMPHETAMINE POSSESSION OF
16-13-30 DRUGS- METHAMPHETAMINE  SALE/DELIVER/DISTRIBUTE
16-13-30 DRUGS- MARIJUANA POSSESSION LESS THAN 1 OUNCE
16-13-30H POSSESSION OF SCHEDULE IV DRUGS
16-13-32.2 POSSESSION AND USE OF DRUG RELATED OBJECTS

A probable cause search was conducted due to an odor of marijuana wafting from the the interior of the vehicle. According to the Hiawassee Police Department, Wheeler offered that a quantity of marijuana was, in fact, present within the glove box of the vehicle, prior to the execution of the search.

“I started the search by opening the glove compartment. Once open, I located a small plastic bag that contained a quantity of marijuana that had a total weight of less than one ounce,” the arresting officer wrote in a report requested and obtained by FYN, “I then continued the search and in the back seat, there was a bag that contained Ms. Wheeler’s personal items. Inside the bag, I located a small black case that contained two plastic bags with methamphetamine, a clear plastic case with methamphetamine, a set of digital scales, and a plastic bag with several empty red plastic bags.”

In addition, Wheeler allegedly possessed a loose benzodiazepine pill, and had an outstanding warrant from Clay County, North Carolina.

Wheeler was transported to the Towns County Detention Center, and faces criminal prosecution.

Wheeler is presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

Author

Robin H. Webb

Robin can be reached by dialing 706-970-8491 or contacted via email at Robin@FetchYourNews.com

Smokies GT donates $5000 to Shop with a Hero

Community, News

HIAWASSEE, Ga. – Disadvantaged children will have a reason to smile this holiday season, thanks to the generousity of Smokies GT, a non-profit club of Porsche owners that raises funds for worthy charities.

The organization hosts a local event each spring to benefit the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, and graciously extended $5000 of their good-will to the Shop with a Hero program.

Hiawassee Police Department heads the annual initiative, pairing first responders with area children to travel and purchase Christmas gifts, while providing a positive mentoring experience.

Shop with a Hero Hiawassee

Smokies GT is a group of Porsche GT car enthusiasts

Hiawassee Police Chief Paul Smith expressed deep gratitude for the donation from Smokies GT, as well as to others who have contributed to the cause, for the added ability to bring deserved cheer to underpriviledged children.

A founder of Smokies GT provided background information on the charitable club.

“We have an annual event in Hiawassee along with smaller events throughout the year. The focus is on enjoying these great cars in ways for which they were built, on the track, and on mountain roads. At the spring event, we enhance our passion of driving by also raising funds for charitable causes.  One of our members has two children with Cystic Fibrosis- so a great deal of focus is for us to raise money for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation,” the spokesperson, who asked to remain anonymous, relayed, “Hiawassee has always been so welcoming to our group so we would love to find more ways to give back to the community.

“The Smokies group was started “by accident” by a few Porsche GT3 owners who simply wanted to go for a mountain drive. The drive got bigger and bigger, turned into a weekend and we are now in our sixth year,” the representative continued, “The group has grown to over 400 GT owners from all over the US and some from Canada.  There will be over 100 Porsche GT’s at this year’s event in Hiawassee, coming from as far as Seattle.

“Our group is informal, a family, and brings together like-minded individuals, many of whom have become lifelong friends through the event. As part of the 2019 event, we will do a track day at Road Atlanta, Mountain Drives in GA / TN / NC and will rent Heaven’s landing airstrip where we take CF patients and underprivileged kids for the ride of their life down an open runway in a Porsche GT!  Over the past few years, our group has raised over $500,000 for charity and we expect to double that amount to a total of close to $1,000,000 in 2019.”

For additional information on Smokies GT, visit their website.

Author

Robin H. Webb

Robin can be reached by dialing 706-970-8491 or contacted via email at Robin@FetchYourNews.com

South Florida Police Agency partners with Hiawassee Police Department for “Shop with a Hero”

Community, News
Hiawassee Police Department

HIAWASSEE, Ga. – The Sunny Isles Beach Police Department and its city have teamed up with Chief Paul Smith and the Hiawassee Police Department, to augment the annual Shop with a Hero program, for deserving children in need.

In a recent meeting with Chief Smith and Mayor Ordiales, recently retired Police Chief Fred Maas offered assistance to this worthwhile cause, having had a similar program back in Florida.

Maas is a recent, permanent resident to the Hiawassee and Towns County area after 44 years of service in South Florida law enforcement.

“It is our strong commitment to community and our desire to help this worthwhile program for the local children and families,”  Maas said, “Our agency has sent bags and bags full of new toys and gifts, in addition to supplying monetary donations to Chief Smith to help with Christmas and holiday shopping for the kids.

“Sunny Isles Beach is an Oceanside community on Miami Beach, Florida, where community, police and government work in concert for the benefit of all residents and business owners. So this program and that of Sheriff Clinton for Towns County are familiar to us and we wanted to be a part of it and show our support for it. Everyone has been given talents and blessings by God. How we choose to use them and share them, is the real question and test.”

Maas plans to work with and support Chief Smith in any way possible for the success of this and other programs deemed beneficial to the people of Hiawassee.

“We are extremely grateful for the support shown by Chief Maas and the Sunny Isles Beach Police Department,” Chief Smith said, “Many children will have a brighter Christmas because of their donations. This program is so important to the families and children who get to participate in it, and for the first responders who volunteer for it. Donations to this program allow law enforcement officers to have a positive and impactful experience with our community children, which we may otherwise not be able to have. It builds relationships and memories that last a lifetime.”

If you wish to donate to Shop with a Hero, you may do so at Hiawassee City Hall or the Towns County
Middle School.

Feature Photo: (L-R) Chief Paul Smith, Mayor Liz Ordiales, Chief Fred Maas

 

Fetch Your News is a hyper local news outlet, attracting more than 300,000 page views and 3.5 million impressions per month in Towns, Dawson, Lumpkin, White, Fannin, Gilmer, Pickens, Union, and Murray counties as well as Clay and Cherokee counties in N.C. – FYNTV attracts approximately 15,000 viewers per week, reaching 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

 

Author

Robin H. Webb

Robin can be reached by dialing 706-970-8491 or contacted via email at Robin@FetchYourNews.com

Santa Claus was back in town for second annual “Light Up Hiawassee”

Community, News
HIawassee Police DEpartment

HIAWASSEE, Ga. – Jolly old Saint Nick took time out of his busy holiday schedule to make an appearance at “Light Up Hiawassee” on Thursday, Dec. 6, arriving on town square in style by fire engine, escorted by Towns County Fire and Rescue, and Hiawassee Police Department.

The festivities began at 4 p.m. with cookie decorating and rock painting activities for the children, followed by a golf cart parade, as merry music set the mood of the season. Towns County Red Cross volunteers served coffee and hot chocolate, and VFW Post 7807 offered hot dogs, refreshments, and select merchandise.

Nancy Noblet

Hiawassee Councilwoman and event organizer Nancy Noblet poses with Santa

Luminary candles bordered the sidewalks in honor of the local children assisted by the Enotah CASA program throughout the year, with CASA Chair Liz Ruf briefly addressing the crowd.

A mailbox for letters to Santa sat center on Hiawassee Square, at the ready to accept requests from wishful children. Hamilton Gardens extended a host of pointsettia plants for purchase.

Light Up Hiawassee

A young boy decorates a cookie during the event

Shortly before Santa’s arrival at dusk, Mayor Liz Ordiales counted down the illumination of the square, and the heart of Hiawassee magically transformed into a winter wonderland at the flick of the switch.

The event was originally scheduled for Saturday, Dec. 1, postponed due to unfavorable weather.

 

Fetch Your News is a hyper local news outlet, attracting more than 300,000 page views and 3.5 million impressions per month in Towns, Dawson, Lumpkin, White, Fannin, Gilmer, Pickens, Union, and Murray counties, as well as Clay and Cherokee counties in N.C. – FYNTV attracts approximately 15,000 viewers per week, reaching 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

 

 

Author

Robin H. Webb

Robin can be reached by dialing 706-970-8491 or contacted via email at Robin@FetchYourNews.com

Man sought for assault on law enforcement faces drug charges

Arrest, News

YOUNG HARRIS, Ga. – Law enforcement officers from the Towns County Sheriff’s Office, Union County Sheriff’s Office, and Hiawassee Police Departmet arrested a suspect at a residence on Sampson Road in Young Harris on Sunday, Nov. 25, on outstanding warrants stemming from Towns, Union, and Gordon Counties.

Towns County Sheriff’s Office investigators seized metamphetamine with a street-value of $5,000, illicit Schedule II and Schedule IV drugs, additional drug-related objects, and cash. Christopher Ray arrest

The suspect was identified as Christopher Steven Ray, 34, of Murphy, North Carolina. Ray was taken into custody, and charged with the following offenses:

  • One Count Trafficking in Methamphetamine
  • One Count Possession of Methamphetamine with Intent to Distribute
  • One Count Possession of Methamphetamine
  • One Count Possession of Schedule II drugs
  • One Count Possession of Schedule IV drugs
  • One Count Possession of Drug-Related Objects
  • One Count Obstruction of Law Enforcement Officers

In addition to the listed charges, investigators served warrants on Ray which involved a previous encounter with the subject on Sept. 6, 2018. The warrants were related to the following crimes:

  • One Count Possession of Methamphetamine
  • Three Counts Obstruction of Law Enforcement Officers
  • Two Counts Violation of Georgia Controlled Substance Act, Possession of Schedule IV drugs

Gordon County Sheriff’s Office held outstanding warrants on Ray for Aggravated Assault on a Law Enforcement Officer along with several traffic offense warrants.

Union County Sheriff’s Office had previously issued a warrant for Ray for Violation of Probation.

The Towns County Sheriff’s Office warrants and charges will be forwarded to the Enotah Circuit District Attorney’s Office for prosecution.

Ray is presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

Feature Photo: Evidence seized from the Young Harris residence where Ray was apprehended.

Author

Robin H. Webb

Robin can be reached by dialing 706-970-8491 or contacted via email at Robin@FetchYourNews.com

Scams costing local seniors thousands

City Police, News

HIAWASSEE, Ga. – Hiawassee Police Chief Paul Smith has been warning seniors of a rash of telephone scams that have cost local residents tens of thousands of dollars in recent months.

The latest Hiawassee victim fell prey to whom she believed was a representative from the Social Security Administration (SSA). According to Chief Smith, the caller convinced the senior that she was eligible for increased government benefits, and that personal information was necessary to begin the process. When all was said and done, the victim was drained in excess of $900, her funds transferred to a bank in Iowa. Fortunately, in this particular instance, the senior was reimbursed by her financial institute, but others aren’t always as lucky.

Smith cautioned that personal information should never be offered via telephone. “They’re not going to call you and ask for information they should already have,” the police chief explained.

Smith relayed that Caller ID cannot be trusted, as there are simple ways for thieves to skirt the system. Smith advised hanging up on suspicious callers, and dialing a known number in order to contact the agency in question. “That way you know that you’re talking to a legitimate person,” Smith said.

Smith referred to the scammers as professional criminals, adding, “These people are really good at what they do.”

Hiawassee Police Department states that there is a “good lead” on the suspect involved in the SSA scam.

 

Author

Robin H. Webb

Robin can be reached by dialing 706-970-8491 or contacted via email at Robin@FetchYourNews.com

Reports of Black Bear Sightings as Winter Approaches

News

HIAWASSEE, Ga. – Most longtime residents are aware that the Appalachian mountains are home to abundant wildlife, including bears, but newcomers and visitors may not know what measures to take should an encounter with one occur.

In recent weeks, there have been reports of several black bear sightings in the area. A Ramey Mountain homeowner alerted FYN to frequent bear activity in her community, a few miles west of Hiawassee, in early November.

On Friday, Nov. 23, Hiawassee Police Department responded to a bear disturbance, frightening the massive creature out a resident’s yard with the blast of a patrol siren.  “Please be respectful of these animals and keep your distance,” Hiawassee Police Chief Paul Smith cautioned on social media, “While they typically avoid human contact, they will attack if they feel threatened.”

Yesterday, Nov. 25, a black bear was struck and killed on Highway 64, outside of Hayesville, NC, in the vicinity of Shooting Creek and Pounding Mill Road.

Hiawassee Police Department

Photo by Hiawassee Police Department

Bears become especially active as the summer season ends. During the fall months, bears eat and drink nearly nonstop, aiming to put on enough weight to prepare for a long winter’s nap, known as hibernation.

While it is advised to “play dead” when faced with the threat of a grizzly or brown bear, that is not the route to take with the black bear species. “Try to escape to a secure place such as a car or building. If escape is not possible, try to fight back using any object available,” the National Park Service instructs, “Concentrate your kicks and blows on the bear’s face and muzzle.”

The National Park Service offers additional tips on bear safety:

  • Identify yourself by talking calmly so the bear knows you are a human and not a prey animal. Remain still; stand your ground but slowly wave your arms. Help the bear recognize you as a human. It may come closer or stand on its hind legs to get a better look or smell. A standing bear is usually curious, not threatening.
  • Stay calm and remember that most bears do not want to attack you; they usually just want to be left alone. Bears may bluff their way out of an encounter by charging and then turning away at the last second. Bears may also react defensively by woofing, yawning, salivating, growling, snapping their jaws, and laying their ears back. Continue to talk to the bear in low tones; this will help you stay calmer, and it won’t be threatening to the bear. A scream or sudden movement may trigger an attack. Never imitate bear sounds or make a high-pitched squeal.
  • Pick up small children immediately.
  • Hike and travel in groups. Groups of people are usually noisier and smellier than a single person. Therefore, bears often become aware of groups of people at greater distances, and because of their cumulative size, groups are also intimidating to bears.
  • Make yourselves look as large as possible (for example, move to higher ground).
  • Do NOT allow the bear access to your food. Getting your food will only encourage the bear and make the problem worse for others.
  • Do NOT drop your pack as it can provide protection for your back and prevent a bear from accessing your food.
  • If the bear is stationary, move away slowly and sideways; this allows you to keep an eye on the bear and avoid tripping. Moving sideways is also non-threatening to bears. Do NOT run, but if the bear follows, stop and hold your ground. Bears can run as fast as a racehorse both uphill and down. Like dogs, they will chase fleeing animals. Do NOT climb a tree. Both grizzlies and black bears can climb trees.
  • Leave the area or take a detour. If this is impossible, wait until the bear moves away. Always leave the bear an escape route.
  • Be especially cautious if you see a female with cubs; never place yourself between a mother and her cub, and never attempt to approach them. The chances of an attack escalate greatly if she perceives you as a danger to her cubs.

Fetch Your News is a hyper local news outlet, attracting more than 300,000 page views and 3.5 million impressions per month in Towns, Dawson, Lumpkin, White, Fannin, Gilmer, Pickens, Union, and Murray counties, as well as Clay and Cherokee County, 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

 

 

Author

Robin H. Webb

Robin can be reached by dialing 706-970-8491 or contacted via email at Robin@FetchYourNews.com

Homeless Voter Arrested after “Borrowing” Vehicle to Cast Ballot

Election 2018, News

HIAWASSEE, Ga. – The Hiawassee polling precinct was within minutes of closing on Nov. 6, when Sunni Wolfe rushed in to cast a ballot on election night. Wolfe, who spoke on-record with FYN upon exiting the polls, was provided a provisional ballot by election officials due to the fact that Wolfe could not produce photo identification, a requirement in Georgia elections. Wolfe explained to FYN that he had relocated to Towns County from the metro Atlanta area five months prior, and is currently homeless, residing in an area campground. When asked what motivated Wolfe to turn out at the Towns County polls in the nick of time, Wolfe stated that he took an “opportunity” to vote because he had hoped to make his voice heard.

Sunni Wolfe

Sunni Wolfe was charged with driving on a suspended license after casting a provisional ballot in Towns County

That opportunity resulted in not only a futile vote, due to Wolfe being registered out-of-precinct in Fulton County, but in Wolfe’s arrest shortly after leaving the local polls. Sunni Wolfe was charged with Driving while License Suspended/Revoked after the vehicle he had driven to the voting precinct was reported missing by Wolfe’s girlfriend, an employee working a shift at a Hiawassee restaurant.

According to the arrest report obtained by FYN, Hiawassee Police Department responded to the complaint at 8:10 pm, with law enforcement officers still on scene as Wolfe returned the vehicle to the location in which had been reported missing. Upon explaining to officers that he had “taken the car to go vote” and providing a provisional voter receipt to law enforcement, Wolfe purportedly admitted to officers that his license was suspended, was subsequently placed under arrest, and transported to the Towns County Detention Center. FYN contacted Hiawassee Police Department and learned that Wolfe, too, had conveyed to officers that he was homeless.

FYN briefly corresponded online with Wolfe on Nov. 13, with Wolfe stating that although he was unaware that his vote did not count, “the right to vote was clearly, in fact, in my favor.”

During the 2018 midterm election, a total of 21,190 provisional ballots were cast in Georgia. That number is up from 12,151 provisionals cast in the 2014 midterm. Democratic gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams filed a federal lawsuit on Sunday, asking that election authorities count certain ballots which would otherwise be rejected for “arbitrary reasons.” Of the nine provisional ballots cast in Towns County, all nine were disqualified due to out-of-precinct voting.

In response to a lawsuit filed by Common Cause Georgia on Nov. 5, U.S. District Judge Amy Totenberg ruled that Georgia cannot certify the election results before Friday at 5 p.m. which falls four days before the Nov. 20 deadline set forth by state law. Current returns show Republican Brian Kemp leading with a margin that would make him Georgia’s governor-elect. Democratic candidate Stacey Abrams, however, insists that enough outstanding votes remain to be counted, which she claims could push Kemp below the majority threshold, forcing a Dec. 4 runoff.

 

Fetch Your News is a hyper local news outlet, attracting more than 300,000 page views and 3.5 million impressions per month in Towns, Dawson, Lumpkin, White, Fannin, Gilmer, Pickens, Union, and Murray counties, as well as Cherokee County in N.C. – FYNTV attracts approximately 15,000 viewers per week, reaching 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

 

 

Author

Robin H. Webb

Robin can be reached by dialing 706-970-8491 or contacted via email at Robin@FetchYourNews.com

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