Jay Holcomb pleads guilty to vehicular homicide

News

CLEVELAND, Ga. – A Cleveland man has been sentenced to 15 years, with 14 to serve, in prison and four more on probation after he pleaded guilty to vehicular homicide in connection with a 2017 wreck that killed Easton Cain, 3, in the Ingles parking lot in Cleveland.

Jay Holcomb, 37, also pleaded guilty to driving under the influence of drugs, reckless driving and driving with an expired license. Senior Judge Richard Winegarden imposed the sentence.

Holcomb is no stranger to law enforcement. He was arrested for DUI in 2001 when he was legally under age and again in 2002, 2003, 2008 and 2013. He was not prosecuted on the first two arrests because the District Attorney’s office allowed the statute of limitations to expire.

He is the son of White County District 2 Commissioner Lyn Holcomb.

There is also a civil suit bending about what insurance applies to the vehicle Holcomb was driving.

 

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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Holcomb wins third term on county commission, Bryson wins by wide margin but faces a runoff

Election 2018

County Commissioner Lyn Holcomb

CLEVELAND, Ga. – White County Commissioner Lyn Holcomb defeated Mike Boswell and Ricky Farmer in Tuesday’s general primary election. Holcomb, who won a third term, avoided a runoff by winning 52.47 percent of the vote. Holcomb received 499 votes, followed by Boswell with 257 and Farmer 195.

In the race for White County School Board District 2, Charlie Bryson, a Hall County law enforcement officer, won by a wide margin over John Solmon and Carly Adam but now faces a July 24 runoff against Solmon. Bryson fell shy of the 50 percent plus one needed to win the seat outright, collecting 1,558 or 44.86 percent to Solmon’s 988 votes. Adam received 927 votes.

School Board member Charlie Bryson

 

The most hotly contested local race turned out to be for the open District 4 school board seat where freelance journalist Linda Erbele narrowly defeated Jeannette Gearing 1,731 to 1,675.

State Rep. Matt Gurtler (R-Tiger) easily defeated Mickey Cummings to win re-election in House District 8. Gurtler received 5,965 votes to Cummings 3,947.

In the up ballot, statewide elections that drew most of the voters to the polls, Lt. Governor Casey Cagle and Secretary of State Brian Kemp will face a runoff. In a five-candidate field, Cagle won by a slight margin over Kemp by receiving 39 percent of the votes (227,170 total votes) to Kemp’s 26 percent or 150,051 total votes.

Linda Erbele

The winner of that race will face Democrat Stacey Abrams in the November General election. Abrams easily defeated her rival Stacey Evans, winning 76 percent of the vote statewide.

There will also be a runoff in the Lieutenant Governor’s race where David Shafer fell just shy of a clear win. Shafer pulled in a majority of the votes, 256,230, but it was not enough to avoid a runoff with Geoff Duncan in July. Duncan received 27 percent of the votes (140,741).

 

The winner of that runoff will face Democrat Sarah Riggs Amico in November. Amico pulled in 56 percent of the votes (245,325) defeating opponent Triana James who received 44 percent.

Campaigns have not ended for Brad Raffensperger or David Belle Isle as they will also face off in a November runoff for Secretary of State. Raffensperger received 35 percent of the votes (178,502), moving him into top position. Belle Isle received 29 percent or 145,915 total votes.

Democrat John Barrow will face the winner of that runoff in November. Barrow was able to make a clean win with 52 percent over challengers Dee Dawkins-Haigler and Rakeim Hadley.

 

 

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

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Early voting begins today for May 22 primary

Election 2018, News

State Rep Matt Gurtler

CLEVELAND, Ga. — Today marks the beginning of the three-week early voting period for Georgia’s May 22 primary. Voters in many counties can vote for governor, U.S. Congress and the state legislature.

In White County, polls will be open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. until May 18. There will also be one Saturday voting day May 12 from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m.

Voters can choose from five Republican candidates for governor or two Democrats. Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle, Secretary of State Brian Kemp, State Senator Michael Williams, former State Senator Hunter Hill and Clay Tippins are the Republican candidates.

Mickey Cummings

Democrats campaigning for governor are State Representatives Stacey Abrams and Stacey Evans.

In the race for District 8 state representative, incumbent Matt Gurtler (R-Tiger) will be challenged by Mickey Cummings, of Union County.

In the District 2 Board of Commissioners race, incumbent Lyn Holcomb will be challenged by Mike Boswell and Ricky Farmer.

There are two Board of Education races. In District 2, incumbent Charlie Bryson will face off against Carly Adam and John Solmon. The District 4 seat is open and Linda Erbele, a freelance journalist, will challenge Jeannette Gearing, a substitute teacher, for the post.
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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Nine candidates vie for county offices in May 22 primary

Election 2018, News

Mickey Cummings

CLEVELAND, Ga. — When the May 22 General Primary election arrives, White County voters will have to choose between two state representative candidates in District 8, three county commission candidates in District 2 and two school board candidates in District 2 and 4.

State Rep. Matt Gurtler (R-Tiger) is running for a second term in the General Assembly against Mickey Cummings, of Union County.

Gurtler is a pro-life, pro-gun incumbent who opposes subsidies and government interference in the free market. An Atlanta Journal-Constitution article reported that Gurtler was once threatened by Gov. Nathan Deal’s aide, Chris Riley, when Gurtler voted against the governor’s budget. Riley allegedly threatened to cut all funding for Gurtler’s district in retaliation.

State Rep. Matt Gurtler

Cummings earned his Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Georgia and a masters degree in agriculture education from Clemson. He served for more than 20 years as Union County’s Extension Agent. He led the effort to develop the Union County Farmers Market that has had a $1 million annual economic impact on the district. He said he is running because the district has been isolated by a lack of leadership on the part of the incumbent.

Incumbent District 2 County Commissioner Lyn Holcomb has two challengers, Mike Boswell and Ricky Farmer. Boswell said he would like to do a better job of promoting agri-tourism and upgrading the county infrastructure.

Farmer said he wants to make sure that any industry attracted to White County does not hurt the small businessman. “Industry is a great thing but we’re a county of mostly small businesses,” he said. “I want industries that will come in and help the small businessman.”

Incumbent Charlie Bryson has drawn a pair of challengers for his District 2 seat on the Board of Education in Carly Adam and John Solmon. Bryson is a fire investigator by profession. Solmon is a small business owner and a member of the Mossy Creek Elementary School Governing Council. Adam is an administrative assistant at Pioneer RESA.

There is an open District 4 seat on the Board of Education where freelance journalist Linda Erbele and Jeannette Gearing, a substitute teacher, are the candidates.

Erbele said she is strongly opposed to school vouchers. “Vouchers don’t help anyone but the people who can already afford private school,” she said. “I will advocate for White County Schools and against vouchers anyway that I can. My goal is simple – to have the best school system in the state as part of a thriving, dynamic community.”

Gearing comes from a family of educators. She has worked as a substitute teacher for eight years and served on several school councils. “I’m very proud of how far our school system has come,” she said. “It has made great strides.” One thing she would like to see is more school counselors. “I believe we need one for each grade,” she said. Gearing feels White County schools are safe and she has mixed feelings about guns in schools: “I like the fact that we have school resource officers in every school. I’m not sold on the idea of teachers with guns.”

 

 

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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Commissioners Borrow from Fund Balance to Erase a $1.06 Million Budget Shortfall

News

Commissioner Edwin Nix

CLEVELAND, Ga. – Shocked by a tax digest that produced only slightly more revenue than it did a year ago and faced with a budget shortfall of $1.06 million, the White County Board of Commissioners elected to keep the millage rate at 9.998 mils, essentially kicking the can down the road for another year when another shortfall is likely.

Keeping the millage rate the same will require three public hearings and commissioners voted to hold two hearings on August 3, one at 8 a.m., the other at 6 pm. The third hearing is set for Aug. 14 at 4:30 p.m.

Commissioner Terry Goodger

The vote to leave the millage rate unchanged was 3-2 with Commissioners Lyn Holcomb, Edwin Nix and Craig Bryant in support and Chairman Travis Turner and Commissioner Terry Goodger opposed.

Goodger proposed a one mil increase but that died for the lack of a second. He then proposed a half-mil increase that was seconded by Turner, but failed to attract the three votes necessary for passage.

Surprised by the fact that the current digest produced only $8,700,101, or approximately $65,000 more than last year, Nix asked County Manager Michael Melton, “On the net digest increase, that is a numerical mistake isn’t it?”

Melton assured him the figure was correct.

To erase the shortfall, commissioners will pull about $1.065 out of the county’s fund balance, leaving only enough to operate the county for 2.3 months in case of an emergency. The Association County Commissioners of Georgia recommends that counties keep enough money in the fund balance to operate the county for three months.

“I’m not comfortable with a 2.3 month balance myself,” Goodger said. “That could affect our bond rating in the long term. We are certainly much stronger with a three-month reserve.” If the bond rating is downgraded, it will mean paying a higher interest rate to finance capital projects.

Turner agreed with Goodger. “We’ve always tried to keep a three-month reserve. We need to do our best to get back to that…2.3 months is a little too skinny for my taste.”

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.co

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Drug Addiction and a Boy’s Tragic Death Has Devestated Two White Co. Families

News

CLEVELAND, Ga. — The death of 3-year old Easton Levi Cain, and the arrest of James Holcomb, 36, a man with a long history of drug and alcohol abuse has destroyed three White County families and led to questions about a White County Commissioner.

The son of Casey and Kala Cain, Easton was a beautiful child who according to his obituary loved dinosaurs, eating oatmeal pies, riding four-wheelers and swimming in his swimming pool.

The man who took his life by striking him with a pickup truck in the parking lot of Ingles in Cleveland has been charged with vehicular homicide.

Holcomb is no stranger to law enforcement. He was arrested for DUI in 2001 when he was legally under age and again in 2002, 2008 and 2013. He was not prosecuted on the first two arrests because the District Attorney’s office allowed the statute of limitations to expire. There were other arrests. Records show that in 2003 he was arrested for DUI and marijuana possession. He received probation and community service in exchange for a guilty plea. But he failed to perform the community service.

Now, more charges have surfaced, stemming from an incident last September at a Cleveland motel where he, his wife and young son were staying. Police were called about a young child wandering alone in the parking lot. Items taken into evidence from that incident were sent to the Georgia Crime Lab for testing and, five months later, the items tested positive for methamphetamine. Now, he faces the additional charges of possession of methamphetamine and possession of drug related items.

Holcomb’s father is White County Commissioner Lyn Holcomb who has bailed his son out of jail on several occasions.

Commissioner Holcomb spoke to Fetch Your News Friday, saying, “Our thoughts and prayers go out to the Cain family for their suffering. I pray that God will somehow comfort them. As for our son, we will always love him. He has tried to do better. It’s just an addiction he can’t shake.”

Holcomb said he has tried to get help for his son to break the addiction. “We’ve done everything we can do. We couldn’t have done any more.”

Holcomb said that he has never used his position as county commissioner to influence law enforcement. “Never,” he said. “That’s something I’ve never even thought about.”

Because he has missed the last two commission meetings, questions have been raised about whether or not he will resign.
Holcomb said it is something he has not considered.

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White County Mid-Year Finances In Good Shape

News

CLEVELAND, Ga. — White County Finance Director Vicki Mays presented the monthly status report at Monday’s Board of Commissioners meeting which showed the county’s mid-year finances are in pretty good shape.

Mays reported that by December the county had already collected $11,494,730 or 71 percent of the estimated year long revenue of $16,299,730 and expenditures for the same period of time were only $7,357,964 or just 46 percent.

The county has collected $73,178 in alcohol related taxes and fees (64 percent), $384,541 (52 percent) in Title Ad Valorem Tax and $493,751 (73 percent) in the hotel/motel tax.

Under the Consent Agenda, commissioners voted 4-0 (with Commissioner Lyn Holcomb absent for the second straight week) to approve a request by Appalachian Regional Drug Enforcement Office to apply for the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Agreement Grant in the amount of $359,412, an amendment to the county code associated with the excise levy tak for wholesalers of distilled spirits and the appointment of Judi Lawson to the Department of Family and Children Services.

County offices will be closed Feb. 20 in observance of President’s Day.

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