Mysterious boom rattles Fannin County

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BLUE RIDGE, Ga. – Residents of Fannin and Gilmer counties took to social media late Friday night trying to find the source of what is being described as a loud explosion. The boom that took place had enough force that some residents were reporting their homes shaking from the blast.

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Residents took to social media to try to find the source of the noise.

Brenda Curry, a resident of Cherry Log, described what happened close to midnight on Dec. 29: “At first, I heard (and felt) one big explosion. I looked outside, because it sounded like a transformer had blown, or what I imagined a propane tank might sound like if it exploded.”

“I didn’t see anything,” Curry stated of looking outside directly after the noise,”no fire, flames, or smoke.”

The unexplained noises did not stop there. “Then I heard another boom. A minute later there was another one. Then there were about seven ‘booms’,” Curry added, “A few minutes later about five more.”

Residents in a large area of both Fannin and Gilmer counties described similar events. Reports came in via Facebook of having felt or heard the explosion in downtown Blue Ridge, near Fannin Regional Hospital on Hwy. 5, Morganton, and Cherry Log.

Gilmer County Public Safety, as well as the Fannin County Emergency Management Agency, had no reports of any incidents that would explain the source of the noise that was causing a stir on social media.

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The boom was heard in Blue Ridge, Morganton, and Cherry Log.

Fannin and Gilmer counties can now be added to the list of areas that have experienced similar events in previous weeks. Counties across northeast Georgia have reported booms so loud that homes have been shaken following the blast.

Reports have been filed in Jackson, Hall, Habersham and Madison counties. All reports are similar in description, and no source has been found as to the cause of these booms.

North Georgia is not the only area affected by these unexplained happenings. Reports of mysterious booms have come in from across the Southeast all week, which has led many to speculate on the origins.

One popular theory is the use of tannerite by local gun enthusiasts. Tannerite is the brand name of a patented exploding target used in the practice of firearms. When used for target practice, tannerite can create an explosion similar to a stick of dynamite.

“Realistically, a tannerite explosion can be set off that can be heard for 20 to 15 miles, but the volume you’d be setting off would cause so much localized noise that within a mile of where it was set off would be numerous reports to the police,” Chad Johnson, owner of Rock Ridge Training, a firearms training service provider in Blue Ridge, explained of the effects of tannerite.

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Residents offered possible explanations of the mystery boom.

Johnson went on to say, “If you had a noise that propagated that large, at the fringes it would be nowhere near as loud as the center (localized explosion), but these people are reporting the same relative volume at the fringes – all the way across. So to me that says something is more generalized than localized.”

Believing that tannerite is a good first thought as to a possible explanation of the boom, Johnson says that the science behind tannerite does not fit the scenario that has taken place.

Others in Fannin and Gilmer counties speculated that the cause could have come from military training. Residents are used to military planes running aviation training missions over our mountains, but sonic booms are rare in our area.

“If the military or commercial aviation are flying over populated areas, they are prohibited to break the sound barrier because of sonic booms,” Johnson discussed the possibility of a military cause, “partially because of the annoyance, but secondarily because of the damage to homes that can occur.”

“There are rare times when the military is permitted to do it, when they must for some training activity,” Johnson stated. While it is possible for the military to have granted permission for such training, Johnson felt that it was unlikely due to the time of night.

Blue Ridge, Cherry Log, Morganton, Fannin County, Gilmer County, Georgia, Rock Ridge, Chad Johnson, USGS, United States Geological Servey, Mystery Boom, Boom, Earthquake, Tannerite, Sonic Boom, Jackson County, Hall County, Habersham County, Madison County, Robbinsville, North Carolina, Gilmer Public Safety, Fannin County Emergency Management Agency

The North American Craton is a layer of the North American plate, and has an edge that runs directly through North Georgia.

Lastly, some posed the possibility of an earthquake, and cited the 2.7 magnitude earthquake that took place in Robbinsville, North Carolina, Tuesday, Dec. 26. According to the United States Geological Survey (USGS) website, which tracks earthquakes worldwide, no activity was reported in north Georgia or surrounding areas on the night of Dec. 29.

The USGS website does have a page dedicated to unexplained sounds. The website states, “Earthquake ‘booms’ have been reported for a long time, and they tend to occur more in the Northeastern US and along the East Coast.”

It goes on to say, “No one knows for sure, but scientists speculate that these ‘booms’ are probably small shallow earthquakes that are too small to be recorded, but large enough to be felt by people nearby.”

No one can say with certainty the cause of what residents experienced in our area, but booms, such as the one that took place in Fannin and Gilmer counties, have been reported throughout our country for years and are likely to continue for some time without explanation.

 

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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Natalie Kissel

Natalie@FetchYourNews.com

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.

FCHS College Fair & Financial Aid Announcement

Community, Rebel's Corner

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.

2017 Thanksgiving Tip-Off Tournament Begins Saturday

Uncategorized

Fannin County High School is all set to host the 2017 Thanksgiving Tip-Off Tournament this Saturday, Monday and Tuesday.  This year there are only four teams participating in the tournament, with Gilmer, Pickens and Hiwassee Dam all set to enter the gym for round-robin play.  The tournament schedule is listed below:

 

Sat:  3 p.m. Girls: Gilmer vs. Pickens       (boys play at 4:30 p.m.)

6 p.m. Girls: Fannin vs. Hiwassee Dam       (boys play at 7:30 p.m.)

 

Mon: 3 p.m. Girls: Pickens vs. Hiwassee Dam       (boys play at 4:30 p.m.)

6 p.m. Girls:  Fannin vs Gilmer       (boys play at 7:30 p.m.)

Tues: 3 p.m. Girls: Gilmer vs. Hiwassee Dam       (boys play at 4:30 p.m.)

6 p.m. Girls: Fannin vs. Pickens       (boys play at 7:30 p.m.)

 

The #TeamFYNSports “Fetch Force” will be courtside throughout the event, tweeting updates on our @TeamFYNSports twitter and uploading photos, videos and brief interview clips onto our TeamFYNSports facebook page throughout the tournament.  Follow us on Twitter and Facebook for full coverage of the games.

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Man who “sextorted” 12-year-old Girl Receives 10-Year Prison Sentence

State & National

MAN WHO “SEXTORTED” 12-YEAR-OLD GIRL RECEIVES

10-YEAR PRISON SENTENCE

 

ATLANTA – Gerardo Perez Uribe has been sentenced to 10 years in prison for coercing a minor girl in North Carolina to produce child pornography of herself and send it to him over the Internet.

“‘Sextortion’ is a growing problem on social media sites,” said U. S. Attorney Byung J. “BJay” Pak. “Our office along with our federal, state, and local law enforcement partners encourage parents to help us target those who seek to prey on children by watching what your children are doing on the Internet, and who they are communicating with.  Most children do not understand the dangers that may lurk on the Internet, and can easily fall victim to predators like Uribe.”

“Social media sites are a convenient way for young children to network with their friends and family, but unfortunately, they also make children easy targets for online predators like Uribe,” said David J. LeValley, Special Agent in Charge of the Atlanta Field Office. “Our Crimes Against Children unit is dedicated to weeding out sexual predators who troll the internet for unsuspecting children. They can’t do it alone and that’s why it is so important for parents to educate their children and monitor their activities on social media sites.”

According to U.S. Attorney Pak, the charges and other information presented in court: In the summer of 2014, Perez Uribe met a 12-year-old girl on Facebook. He first told her that he was 13-years-old but later claimed to be 25-years-old. He asked the girl to send him nude images of herself, and she did. After receiving the images in August 2014, Perez Uribe took over the girl’s Facebook account, changed her password, and locked her out of the account. He then threatened to post the girl’s nude images on her Facebook page if she refused to send him more nude photos of herself. The victim believed Perez Uribe’s threat and sent him four photographs of herself that met the federal definition of child pornography. The girl’s parents discovered the crime and reported the incident to the Cabarrus County (North Carolina) Sheriff’s Office. The Sheriff’s Office investigated the case and then referred the matter to the Federal Bureau of Investigation once Perez Uribe was located in Georgia.

Gerardo Perez Uribe, 32, of Rex, Georgia, was sentenced to 10 years in prison to be followed by 10 years of supervised release. He pleaded guilty on August 24, 2017. He was born in Mexico but was living in the United States as a permanent resident. He will be deported to Mexico after he completes his prison sentence.

This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Cabarrus County (North Carolina) Sheriff’s Office.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Paul R. Jones and Mary Webb prosecuted the case.

This case is being brought as part of Project Safe Childhood. In February 2006, the Attorney General launched Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative designed to protect children from online exploitation and abuse.  Led by the United States Attorney’s Offices around the country, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state and local resources to apprehend and prosecute individuals who exploit children. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.projectsafechildhood.gov.

For further information please contact the U.S. Attorney’s Public Affairs Office at USAGAN.PressEmails@usdoj.gov or (404) 581-6016.  The Internet address for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Georgia is http://www.justice.gov/usao-ndga.

Senators Release Bipartisan Recommendations For Economic Growth In Appalachia

Politics, State & National

Park Sterling Merging With South State Corporation

News

According to a recent release by South State Bank, a definitive agreement has been signed with Park Sterling Corporation, holding company for Park Sterling Bank.

The release also states, “Combining the two companies will create a $14.5 billion in assets franchise operating throughout the Carolinas, Virginia and Georgia.”

While both boards have reportedly approved the merger unanimously, the merger will actually begin transitioning in the fourth quarter of 2017 and continue with systems conversions into the first quarter of 2018 after approvals by regulatory boards and shareholders. At that time, Park Sterling Corporation will be merged into South State Corporation, and Park Sterling’s bank subsidiary, Park Sterling Bank, will be merged into South State’s bank subsidiary, South State Bank.

James C. Cherry, CEO of Park Sterling Corporation, commented on the merger stating, “Our team is proud to be partnering with South State to create what we believe will come to be recognized as the preeminent regional community banking franchise in the Southeast. This combination will substantially fulfill our vision of truly becoming big enough to have the talent and services necessary to help customers achieve their financial aspirations while still remaining small enough and passionate enough to care that they do.”

After the companies merge, Cherry will be appointed to the combined company’s board of directors in addition to another individual to be mutually agreed upon and named at a later date.

As of now, Park Sterling Bank has over 50 branches across North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, and Georgia. According to South State’s release, “under the terms of the agreement, shareholders of Park Sterling Corporation will receive 0.14 shares of South State common stock for each share of Park Sterling common stock. The aggregate consideration is valued at approximately $690.8 million in the aggregate, based on 53,112,726 shares of Park Sterling common stock outstanding as of March 31, 2017 and on South State’s April 26, 2017 closing stock price of $91.90.”

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