Tense, seven-hour standoff with law enforcement officers follows single-vehicle crash on Hwy. 255

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CLEVELAND, Ga. – A single-vehicle wreck that knocked down a power pole on Hwy. 255 South Thursday afternoon led to a tense, seven-hour standoff between the driver of the vehicle and law enforcement officers and first responders from several jurisdictions.

The driver of the vehicle, 39-year-old Nathan Shane McCain of Cleveland, was not injured in the crash and when White County deputies arrived on the scene, he fled into a nearby home. The homeowner told authorities McCain first asked them to call 9-1-1 but then began to act erratically, slashing himself  with a knife, causing them to flee the home unharmed.

White County Sheriff Neal Walden said the White County Sheriff’s Office Special Response Team, Georgia State Patrol, Georgia Bureau of Investigation, Habersham County Sheriff’s Office, Alto Police, and Demorest Police surrounded the home and tried unsuccessfully for the next seven hours to get McCain man to surrender.

Around midnight, Walden said, authorities fired several tear gas canisters into the home, ending the standoff and causing the man to surrender.

He was taken to the White County Detention Center where he is charged with obstruction of law enforcement officers and leaving the scene of an accident. Additional charges are pending and an investigation is ongoing.

Walden said deputies were able to enter the house on a couple of occasions, but had to withdraw when McCain fired several shots into the floor of the home.

“It was a team effort by everyone involved,” Walden said. “It was a very dangerous situation and I’m just glad none of the officers was injured.”

Hwy. 255 South was closed for several hours after the incident.

 

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Cleveland City Council to meet at new time today

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CLEVELAND, Ga. — The Cleveland City Council will begin meeting at a new time, 6:30 p.m., today in the City Annex.

Callie Armour of Keep Cleveland Beautiful will give a presentation of a beautification project proposed for the town square.

Council will consider a resolution to reduce the speed limit in front of Truett McConnell University.

There will also be a discussion of an intergovernmental agreement with the White County Board of Commissioners to accept the Oak Springs School and property.

Police Chief John Foster, Fire Chief Ricky Pruitt, City Attorney Grant Keene and City Manager Tom O’Bryant are expected to present departmental reports.

White County Sheriff Neal Walden will discuss a new agreement with the city relating to operation of the White County Detention Center.

There will also be status updates on the Windstream audit, Appalachian Regional Commission grant and 2020 special purpose local option sales tax (SPLOST), strategic housing plan for the Georgia Department of Community Affairs and the 2018-’19 budget.

 

 

 

Fetch Your News is a hyper local news outlet that covers Dawson, Lumpkin, White, Fannin, Gilmer, Pickens, Union, Towns and Murray counties as well as Cherokee County in N.C. FYN attracts 300,000+ page views per month, 3.5 million impressions per month and approximately 15,000 viewers per week on FYNTV.com and up to 60,000 Facebook page reach. If you would like to follow up-to-date local events in any of those counties, please visit us at FetchYourNews.com

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Sheriff’s office, 911 personnel get pay raise

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CLEVELAND, Ga. — The White County Board of Commissioners averted what law enforcement officials describe as a pending “crisis” Monday by approving a $2 an hour raise for employees of the sheriff’s office, detention center and 911.

The vote followed an appeal by Sheriff Neal Walden and Chief Deputy Bob Ingram. Walden said, “We are at a point in law enforcement here in White County that is critical. If we don’t get something that I can offer someone to give them some incentive to stay here, I don’t know what you’re going to do. Service as far as law enforcement is going to go down.”

Walden said 70 percent of the current staff of 80 employees has less than four years’ experience. Once they receive training and experience, they leave for higher-paying jobs in Hall, Banks, Lumpkin and Forsyth counties, he added.

“We’re looking at officers out there that don’t have the experience some of the command staff has. We’ve got a great crew. They just don’t have the experience some of the older folks have, and the older folks are the ones that are going to walk off and leave us,” Walden added.

Ingram pointed out there are two openings for detention officers and three for patrol officers now with no applications on file. He added that three more patrol officers currently have applied for positions outside White County.

New hires must work in the jail for two years before they become eligible to work on patrol. Starting pay for detention personnel is $13.24 per hour. Patrol officers start at $15.35 an hour compared to Lumpkin County ($16.01), Gainesville ($18.31), Banks County ($18.32), Hall County ($18.56) and Forsyth County ($20.10).

The meeting room was packed for Monday’s combined work session and called meeting. Most of those in attendance worked in law enforcement. Those who could not find seats inside stood elbow-to-elbow in the lobby. After Walden and Ingram completed their remarks and it appeared no decision would be forthcoming, many of those inside walked out but remained in the lobby.

One who did remain inside was Deputy Tina Couch, a 13-year employee of the sheriff’s office. Her appeal was so poignant, the deputies who had gathered in the lobby could be heard applauding when she completed her remarks.

“We are not trying to get rich,” Couch said. “Some of us are barely making it.” She told commissioners about a medical crisis in her family and how she has had to take a job cleaning offices on the weekend to help make ends meet.

“We have good insurance, but it’s not cheap. Over $100 comes out of my paycheck every two weeks plus our deductible is $2,500. My husband needed an MRI and injections and the hospital didn’t even want to touch him. We didn’t have $2,500. We live paycheck to paycheck. If we get a $2 an hour pay raise, for me and my husband, that will be life-changing,” Couch added.

Following the meeting, commissioners went into executive session and when they emerged, they voted unanimously to approve a minimum $2 per hour pay raise effective March 1.

“We have got to do a better job of recruiting and retaining employees,” Chairman Travis Turner said. “We are seeing much more aggressive recruiting of our employees by agencies south of us and new cities are being created to the west. That has a domino effect on us.”

Turner said commissioners would conduct a county-wide compensation study in the next 90 days.

 

Fetch Your News is a hyper local news outlet that covers Dawson, Lumpkin, White, Fannin, Gilmer, Pickens, Union, Towns and Murray counties as well as Cherokee County in N.C. If you would like to follow up-to-date local events in any of those counties, please visit us at FetchYourNews.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Board of Commissioners work session, called meeting set Monday

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CLEVELAND, Ga. – Commissioners will have a full slate of public hearings and rezonings to consider when the White County Board of Commissioners holds a combined work session and called meeting Monday at 4:30 p.m.

Center Baptist Church has filed an application to expand non-conforming use of 4.38 acres located at 109 Elrod Road in Helen. The property is currently zoned Single-Family Residential (R-1).

Michael Shore and Lewis Fortner have applied to redistrict 2.28 acres located at 10635 Duncan Bridge Road from Community Commercial (C-1) to Highway Business District (C-2).

Gerald Sims has applied to redistrict 16.5 acres located on Albert Reid Road from Agriculture Forestry District (A-1) to Highway Business District (C-2).

Also on Monday’s agenda will be responses received to a request for proposals for the Yonah Preserve Park improvement project.

Commissioners will also consider quotes received for replacement of the HVAC unit at the Mauney Building.

Sheriff Neal Walden will present a request for compensation adjustments for employees of the sheriff’s office and detention center.

 

 

Fetch Your News is a hyper local news outlet that covers Dawson, Lumpkin, White, Fannin, Gilmer, Pickens, Union, Towns and Murray counties as well as Cherokee County in N.C. If you would like to follow up-to-date local events in any of those counties, please visit us at FetchYourNews.com

 

 

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Missing White County Man Found Safe in Homeless Shelter in Hall County

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CLEVELAND, Ga. – A White County man missing since May 22 has been located at a homeless shelter in Gainesville.

Sheriff Neal Walden said 30-year-old Jonathan Keith Robbins was safe and that he had been working at the shelter.

 

On May 31, the White County Sheriff’s Office issued a press release asking for the public’s help in locating Robbins and received a tip last Friday that Robbins was at the homeless shelter and had been there the whole time he had been reported missing.

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Commissioners Vote to Move Forward With Prep Work on Stanley Nix Road

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CLEVELAND, Ga. — Road projects were front and center at Monday’s meeting of the White County Board of Commissioners.

Commissioners voted unanimously to move forward with the prep work on Stanley Nix Road and awarded low bidder Nelson Contracting the job for $95,899.35. Chairman Travis Turner said prep work should begin this summer, giving the roadway a year or two to settle before paving begins.

Commissioners, however, rejected bids to improve Carolina Springs Road for being too expensive, but said they will re-bid the project. They also withdrew a previous decision to pave Bean Creek Road. Commissioner Edwin Nix explained that residents who live along the road said they didn’t want the road paved.
The Board also approved several Consent Agenda items, including:

⦁ Allowing the Sheriff’s Office to surplus 11 vehicles that have outlived their usefulness and

⦁ Authorization for the Tax Commissioner’s Office to continue receiving various forms of payment and revised authority to disburse funds to the Board of Commissioners on a monthly basis.

Commissioners also presented a proclamation to declare March 29, 2017 as “Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans Day” and March 6-10 as “Exceptional Children’s Week” in White County.

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Search Continues for Suspect Who Robbed Woodlawn Gardens and Farms and Shot Worker

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CLEVELAND, Ga. — The search continued Tuesday afternoon for a lone gunman who shot a worker at Woodlawn Gardens and Farms during an attempted robbery around 10:30 p.m. Monday.

White County Chief Deputy Bob Ingram said authorities from the White County Sheriff’s Office, Lumpkin County Sheriff’s Office, Georgia State Patrol and Alto K-9 unit combed the area last night and throughout the day today but have not located the suspect.

Sheriff Neal Walden reported that a white male with a tattoo on the left side of his face walked up to the drive-in window at the restaurant and demanded money from Tim Motes, who was cleaning the restaurant at the time. When Motes said he didn’t have any money, he was shot in the stomach.

Motes was transported by White County EMS to Northeast Georgia Medical Center in Gainesville where his injury is believed to be non life-threatening.

restaurantFetch Your News will continue to follow this story and present more details as they become available.

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White, Lumpkin County Authorities Search for Robbery Suspect Who Shot a Man Monday

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CLEVELAND, Ga. — White County Sheriff’s Office, Lumpkin County Sheriff’s Office, Georgia State Patrol and a K-9 unit from Alto are searching this morning for a suspect who robbed Woodlawn Gardens and Farms at  3778 Hwy. 254 in White County at about 10:30 p.m. Monday and shot an unidentified male.

White County Sheriff Neal Walden said the suspect is a white male with a tattoo on the left side of his face who was wearing a hoodie at the time of the robbery.

Walden said the victim was transported by White County EMS to Northeast Georgia Medical Center in Gainesville with what appears to be non-life threatening injuries.

Fetch Your News will have more details as they become available.

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