BOC Press Release

Press Release

Mr. Michael Melton, county manager of White County, is pleased to announce Ms. Barbara Prevost Overton will be joining the staff of White County Government as the director of senior services on Monday, Dec. 4, 2017. Ms. Overton will be assuming this role as a result of the upcoming retirement of Ms. Bonnie York. Ms. Overton previously served as the coordinator for the Meals on Wheels program at the Habersham County Senior Center and her background is in non-profit program management, including nine years with the Atlanta Community Food Bank. She possesses a bachelor’s degree from Vanderbilt University and a master’s degree from Florida State University. Locally, she serves on the Family Promise Board of Directors and as a volunteer at the Sautee Nacoochee Community Association. “We are extremely pleased to have Barbara Overton join our staff and believe she will be a welcome addition with her history of strong leadership, management and community involvement,” Michael Melton said.

Benton MacKaye Trail Association Press Release

Community

PRESS RELEASE:

The Benton MacKaye Trail Association (BMTA) is seeking volunteers to help with trail maintenance for an upcoming work trip.

According to Barry Allen, Georgia work trip coordinator for the BMTA, a work trip is planned for Saturday, Dec. 9, on a section of trail near Fall Branch Falls in Fannin County. This month’s Georgia work trip will focus on completing the re-route at Fall Branch Falls. Allen stated there are a few more steps needing to be installed, which will require hauling timbers, along with a 50-foot section of trail to dig. Also, a number of water diversions just upstream from the falls will be put in place.

Allen hopes to have work completed for the day around lunchtime and mentioned he would bring his grill with him if the weather is nice to grill some burgers and brats for a post-work lunch.

All work trip participants are asked to wear sturdy shoes or boots, long sleeve pants and shirts, work gloves and, for cold-weather trips, multiple thin layers that can be easily shed one at a time. Also, a daypack for storing food, water or other items is always a good idea for work trips. Food and water are not supplied by the BMTA on work trips; however, tools are provided by the Association. The BMTA recommends workers to bring at least two liters of water for the trip.

Those interested can meet either at The Iron Bridge Café and General Store on Aska Road across from Shallowford Bridge, at 8:00 a.m. or at Fall Branch Falls at 9 a.m.

The Benton MacKaye Trail spans three states – Georgia, Tennessee and North Carolina – and nearly 300 miles from Springer Mountain, Georgia, to Davenport Gap in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and is enjoyed by thousands of hikers and outdoor enthusiasts each year.

For anyone with questions or needing further information, contact Barry Allen at bmtabarry@gmail.com or 770-294-7384.

Benton MacKaye Trail Association (BMTA) Press Release

Community

PRESS RELEASE:

The Benton MacKaye Trail Association (BMTA) is seeking volunteers to help with trail maintenance for an upcoming work trip.

According to Barry Allen, Georgia work trip coordinator for the BMTA, a work trip is planned for Saturday, Nov. 25, on a section of trail within the Big Frog Wilderness Area in Tennessee. Blowovers and downed trees will be the focus of the work trip, and Allen hopes to assemble a team of six to seven sawyers to work the trail south of Forest Service Road 221. Participants in this trip can expect about a five-mile out and back hike, Allen said.

Depending on the turnout and the number of certified crosscut workers, a second team may work another section of the BMT that follows Dry Pond Lead Trail north to Kimsey Hwy. (FS 68). Allen stated this section has not been worked in over a year and will likely also need lopper work even if only a few trees are down. This section is four miles one way and is a gradual uphill climb.

All work trip participants are asked to wear sturdy shoes or boots, long sleeve pants and shirts, work gloves and, for cold-weather trips, multiple thin layers that can be easily shed one at a time. Also, a daypack for storing food, water or other items is always a good idea for work trips. Food and water are not supplied by the BMTA on work trips. The BMTA recommends workers to bring at least two quarts of water for the trip.

Those interested can meet either at The Home Depot in Blue Ridge, Georgia, at 8:30 a.m. or at Thunder Rock Campground eight miles west of Ducktown, Tennessee, off of U.S. Hwy. 64 at 9 a.m.

The Benton MacKaye Trail spans three states – Georgia, Tennessee and North Carolina – and nearly 300 miles from Springer Mountain, Georgia, to Davenport Gap in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and is enjoyed by thousands of hikers and outdoor enthusiasts each year.

For anyone with questions or needing further information, contact Barry Allen at bmtabarry@gmail.com.

“Operation Rattlesnake” Targets On-line Child Predators

Press Release

“Operation Rattlesnake” Targets On-line Child Predators

Decatur, GA (10/10/17) – As a result of a proactive undercover investigation coordinated by the Georgia Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation’s Child Exploitation and Computer Crimes Unit (CEACC), the Hall County Sheriff’s Office, and the Hall County District Attorney’s Office, five (5) people were arrested over a four-day period beginning Thursday, October 5, 2017.  Those arrested were charged with O.C.G.A. 16-12-100.2, Computer or Electronic Pornography and Child Exploitation Prevention Act of 2007.  Additional charges may be forthcoming.

“Operation Rattlesnake” was a four-day proactive effort centered in Hall County, GA.  The operation took several months of planning.  The arrestees, ranging in age from 23 to 58, traveled from areas around metro Atlanta with the intent to meet a child for sex.  One person that was arrested was a registered sex offender with previous convictions for child molestation and statutory rape.

The goal of “Operation Rattlesnake” was to arrest persons who communicate with children on-line and then travel to meet them for the purpose of having sex.  In addition, the operation targeted those that are willing to exploit children by purchasing sex with a minor. On-line child predators visit chat rooms and websites on the internet, find children, begin conversations with them, introduce sexual content and arrange a meeting with the children for the purpose of having sex.  The children these predators target are both boys and girls.  Since 2014, the Georgia ICAC Task Force has arrested over 100 people in similar operations.  

Over the course of the multi-day operation, investigators had almost 300 exchanges with subjects on various social media or internet platforms. More than 60 of those were exchanges in which the subject initiated contact with whom they believed to be a minor and directed the conversation towards sex. In some of those cases, the subject introduced obscene or lude content, often exposing the minor (UC) to pornography or requesting the child take nude or pornographic images for them. More than 170 exchanges involved websites used for dating, socializing, or even websites used for classified advertisements.  Although some websites promote themselves as being for “adults-only” it is not uncommon for law enforcement to work cases in which children access these sites, establish profiles claiming to be older, and then find themselves vulnerable to victimization, harassment, blackmail, or assault. More than a dozen subjects were identified as communicating simultaneously with multiple investigators posing as minors. Such activity confirms what investigators uncover conducting these types of investigations: that many predators specifically seek out minors on such websites to groom them as potential victims for sexual contact.

Along with those agencies who participated in the planning and coordinating of the operation, eleven (11) additional law enforcement agencies participated in “Operation Rattlesnake” as members of the Georgia ICAC Task Force. These agencies were:

    1. Brookhaven Police Department
    2. Coweta County Sheriff’s Office
    3. Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office
    4. Gainesville Police Department
    5. Georgia Information Sharing and Analysis Center (GISAC)
    6. Hall County Solicitor’s Office
    7. Hall Multi-Agency Narcotics Squad
    8. LaGrange Police Department
    9. Oakwood Police Department
    10. Richmond County Sheriff’s Office
    11. Roswell Police Department

The proactive on-line investigation was a coordinated effort among the participating law enforcement agencies to combat this activity.  Hall County Sheriff Gerald Couch stated, “This operation is a prime example of interagency planning and cooperation.  I am proud that we were able to host the task force at our facility to carry it out.  Moreover, I hope that these arrests send a loud and clear message: the exploitation of children will not be tolerated in Hall County.  We look forward to working with the ICAC task force whenever needed to stop these predators. Hall County is a great community and we will work relentlessly to ensure that it remains a safe place for our children.” GBI Special Agent in Charge, and Commander of the Georgia Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force, Debbie Garner remarked “The Hall County Sheriff’s Office is one of our most active member agencies.  We appreciate their daily efforts to combat child exploitation.  This type of cooperation and collaboration is invaluable in the effort to keep our children safe from predators who seek to harm them.  This successful operation was a partnership between all the agencies involved. We will continue to aggressively work together to protect our children.”  

The following were arrested and charged in Hall County as part of “Operation Rattlesnake”:

  1. Melo Hairapetian, W/M, Morris, IL, 28 years of age, construction worker
  2. Baribefe Monkpe, B/M, Lawrenceville, GA, 23 years of age, employment unknown
  3. Anthony Jordan, W/M, Newnan, GA, 37 years of age, unemployed
  4. Drake Cook, W/M, Athens, GA, 23 years of age, retail store employee
  5. James Herndon, W/M, Flowery Branch, GA, 58 years of age, pharmacist

The Georgia ICAC Task Force is comprised of 200+ local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies, other related criminal justice agencies and prosecutor’s offices.  The mission of the ICAC Task Force, created by the U. S. Department of Justice and managed and operated by the GBI in Georgia, is to assist state and local law enforcement agencies in developing an effective response to cyber enticement and child pornography cases. This support encompasses forensic and investigative components, training and technical assistance, victim services, prevention and community education. The ICAC Program was developed in response to the increasing number of children and teenagers using the internet, the proliferation of child pornography, and the heightened online activity by predators searching for unsupervised contact with underage victims. By helping state and local law enforcement agencies develop effective and sustainable responses to online child victimization and child pornography, the ICAC program delivers national resources at the local level.  Arrests made by the Georgia ICAC Task Force have been steadily increasing over the last 3 years.  In 2014, the GA ICAC Task Force made 196 arrests.  The Georgia ICAC Task Force made 244 arrests in 2015, and in 2016, the Georgia ICAC Task Force made 340 arrests. The Georgia ICAC Task Force has made over 2,000 arrests since its inception in 2002.  

Georgia DOT Continues Cable Rail Repair Along I-575 in Cherokee

Press Release

Georgia DOT Continues Cable Rail Repair along I-575 in Canton, GA

 
CANTON Ga. – A Georgia DOT Maintenance crew resumes today its work on repairing the cable rail along Interstate 575 in Cherokee County.  Work will proceed daily between the hours of 7:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m., weather permitting.

It is Georgia DOT position that guardrail and cable rail maintenance and repair are essential to keeping our roadways safe for the traveling public.  Our maintenance workers do their best to keep track of the damage to guard/cable rails and make repairs as quickly as possible in order to preserve road safety.

Each day, hundreds of Georgia Department of Transportation employees and contractors work on dozens of highway, bridge and intersection improvements throughout the state.  Their work often brings them and heavy machinery in close proximity to travel lanes. Fifty-seven Georgia DOT personnel and many more motorists, passengers and contractors’ workers have been killed in highway work zone accidents since 1973.  Please help us prevent these tragedies by slowing down; being especially attentive and cautious as you pass through construction work zones; and always driving responsibly.  Safer Driving; Safer Work Zones; For Everyone.  For information on the Department of Transportation, visit http://www.dot.ga.gov.  You also may follow us on (www.facebook.com/GDOTNW) and Twitter (https://twitter.com/GDOTNW).

GDOT Continues Asphalt Repair in Cherokee County

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Press Release: GBI Crime Lab Identifies Counterfeit Pills

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Press Release

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