BLUE RIDGE, Ga. – The Fannin County Special Olympics Golf Tournament was held on Wednesday, July 30, 2019 at the Old Toccoa Farm on Curtis Switch Road in Blue Ridge.
Because of the number of pictures taken during the event, all pictures will be posted into an album on the official Fetch Your News Facebook page, which may be found in our Album here.
The video may be viewed below!
The schedule of events, along with the names of the athletes are as follows:
9:00 – 9:25 – Arrival of Athletes and Guests
9:30 – Opening Ceremony – Welcome and Athletes Oath
9:35 – Level 2 Unified competition – 9 holes
1st Group – Jeff, Rick, Guests Dave and Eric
2nd Group – Joe, Debbie, Laney and Alex
10:00 – Level 1 Skills competition – normal practice area
Short Putt – Amanda, Ansley, and Kari
Long Putt – Guests: Amanda Lane and Jennifer Campbell
Chip Shot – Brandon, Mikey, Jay and Eric
Pitch Shot – Robbie, Kevin, Tommy
11:15 – *Level 1 Skills Competition – Hole #1
*This will require putting the golf clubs and athletes in cars and driving down to parking area near the river
Iron Shot – Amanda, Ansley, Kari and Guests Amanda Lane and Jennifer Campbell
Wood Shot – Brandon. Mikey, Jay, Eric, Robbie, Kevin and Tommy
Noon – Lunch followed by the Medal Ceremony down by the river
Blue Ridge, Ga – Mother of the infant arrested for trying to sell her infant child in ongoing unlawful adoption case in Fannin County.
Christine Queen, 19, and resident of Union County turned herself in to Fannin County Sheriff’s Office on Friday, July 26, at 5:44 p.m.
GBI officer Jamie Abercrombie issued a warrant for her arrest on Thursday, July 25.
Queen’s bond set at $75,000 by the Magistrate Judge Brian Jones. The affidavit for her arrest accused her of unlawful inducement felony for willingly and knowingly conspiring with others to exchange her child for a 2006 Jeep Grand Cherokee on June 25 in Fannin County.
Queen’s connected with the unlawful adoption case with Rebecca and William McClain. The couple encouraged Queen to part with her child for a vehicle in their home on June 25 between the hours of 5 and 8 p.m.
Abercrombie stated in his affidavit that the McClains knowingly tempted Queen to sell her child while in their home.
The couple cared for the child and had expressed interest in adopting her until the incident occurred. The baby’s now in foster care and doing well.
GBI searched the McClain’s home on Laurel Crossing on Thursday, June 27.
Abercrombie arrested the pair for directly or indirectly holding out an inducement to a biological parent to part with his or her child.
Queen’s felony accusation cited advertising restrictions and requirements as well as unlawful inducements. She stands accused of section (b) of O.C.G.A. 19-8-24 (b); she willingly participated in the offer to sell her child to McClains.
Fannin County Sheriff’s Office booked the two felony charges of unlawful inducement for the McClains – one count for each individual. The couple was unemployed at the time of booking.
Neither McClains nor Queen can contact each other, Queen’s father, child’s father, or child’s caseworker due to terms of their bail.
Union County DFCS employed Rebecca McClain in the past and are currently assisting with the GBI investigation.
Over the last week and a half BKP and I have been going from school to school interviewing head football coaches for our North Georgia Coaching Series. Now if any of y’all know BKP, you’ll know what I mean when I say that he’s been doing most of the talking and I’ve been doing most of the observing. But this doesn’t bother me, it gives me a chance to learn more about the programs I’ll be spending a lot of time with this fall.
With that being said, there’s one thing in particular I’ve been noticing in our interviews, and that’s how much these coaches truly care about their players and their programs.
Now me saying that might make some of y’all think, “Well, duh. That’s what they’re supposed to do.” Well, maybe. But I like to think I’m pretty good at picking up when someone is just putting on an act for appearances. And I can say with all sincerity that none of these coaches are doing that.
Obviously when BKP and I go into these interviews, he asks questions about what the teams have been doing during the summer and how they’re planning to prepare for the regular season. But he also asks the coaches if they can highlight a few players that have really stood out. This point in the interview, I believe, is where a coach who didn’t care would possibly just say a couple names and move on.
But these coaches not only name the players, they tell us about why they stand out. And it’s a sign of the hard work of these athletes, but there’s also a sense of pride from these coaches as they name them. A couple of coaches have mentioned that it’s hard to name just a few, because all of their players have worked hard. And it’s not that the rest of the team doesn’t matter or that they don’t care about them, but the ones that they mention they do so without hesitation because they’ve been there with them through the summer truly coaching them. There’s no so-so about the commitment these coaches make- they’re all in.
Another thing that has amazed me about these coaches, not just in the interviews but learning about them off the field, is how much they care about their community as well. A couple of them, such as Chad Cheatham at Fannin County and Chad McClure at Hayesville, are natives to their communities. It’s home to them, and they’re not going to be just halfway in their commitments to their programs.
When Coach Caleb Sorrells of the Lumpkin County Indians was first named as head coach, the school hosted a meet and greet for him. It was one of the first stories I covered in this position.
In his address to the parents, Sorrells promised to not only invest in the team as players and athletes, but as men who would one day be employees and fathers. I remember being caught off guard at first because I was expecting him to talk about plans for the future of the program, the summer schedule and what not. He did talk about these things, but I believe by telling the parents that he was going to invest in the players as men showed that it was going to be a priority.
Although I know more about the commitment that Sorrells has made because I’m positioned in Lumpkin County, he’s not the only one in the area who gets involved in the community and works to build up the athletes’ character.
Tim Cokely with the White County Warriors has an entire wall of his office decorated with signs of good character qualities to instill in the team. Chad Cheatham, who I mentioned earlier, referees basketball in the football off-season just because, and the community loves him for it. I’m sure that many of the other coaches in the area do similar things and I just don’t know about it yet.
These are commitments that we see played out by coaches in movies and don’t always think to look for in real life. And because I grew up in Gwinnett County, population one million, if there was this sort of commitment by coaches I didn’t always see it because there were so many people. I love living up here in North Georgia in a smaller community where an act of kindness, especially where sports are concerned, rarely goes unnoticed.
We think about football as a sport that instills a since of discipline, but why is that? Because there’s a coach that sets that standard and inspires the team to do the same. As a community we love football and we love our team, and we can thank a coach for that.
McCaysville, Ga – McCaysville Police arrested Christel Champion for stealing and drug possession of Methamphetamine in United Community Bank parking lot.
Champion, 25, spotted running out of Family Dollar with a bulging black bag full of stolen goods, approximately $57.47. She jumped into a beat-up silver Ford Fusion, driven by Haley Dillingham before the pair sped off toward Copperhill.
Polk County Deputies Patterson and Henderson responded to the call. McCaysville Police Department notified the deputies that the vehicle was parked in front of United Community Bank. Henderson arrived at the scene first, and Patterson joined after speaking with Family Dollar employees. The female employee chased Champion out of the store after seeing her run to the Fusion.
McCaysville Police Officers and Investigator Billy Brackett began a search of the vehicle and discovered drug paraphernalia Methamphetamine. Brackett took Champion into custody and charged her with a bond violation, shoplifting, and possession of Methamphetamine.
We contacted McCaysville and Investigator Brackett multiple times for comment, but have yet to receive a call back about the case.
Champion posted her bond on Thursday, July 25 of $5,500, but since then Fannin County Sheriff’s Office issued three more warrants for her arrest, including criminal trespass, theft by shoplifting and bond violations. These charges come from May of 2019 and occurred in Blue Ridge.
Dillingham stated that she knew nothing about the shoplifting, but record shoplifting from the store. Patterson issued a criminal trespassing warning and permanently banned Champion and Dillingham from the Ducktown Family Dollar.
Deputy Patterson returned the stolen goods to Family Dollar, which consisted of Monster Energy drinks (4-pack), seven stationary items, three food items, dog food/bowl, two pair of sunglasses and one pack of earrings, one pack of socks, and two household products.
Champion said she intended to eat some of the goods and give the rest to family.
Polk County has warrants for Dillingham and Champion for shoplifting.
McCaysville, Ga – High-speed chase that crossed state lines and reached speeds of 100+ mph and narrowly avoided bystander causalities ended in Shell and Dunkin Donuts parking lot.
Augustine Santiago, 51, sped down Blue Ridge Dr. in McCaysville when Officers Cory Collogen and Bill Higdon spotted him and began pursuit.
It’s unclear why Santiago was driving recklessly as no evidence of drugs or alcohol appeared at the scene. He was operating a vehicle with a suspended license, however.
Santiago, driving a tan Ford F150, picked up speed once Collogen and Higdon began their pursuit of the suspect.
To elude officers, Santiago plowed through his first of several intersections on West Tennessee Street. Collogen and
Higdon turned on their sirens and blue lights at this point before Santiago ran another light onto Ocoee St. in Copperhill and narrowly missed a White Jeep. He also disregarded the safety of pedestrians on the street and sidewalks.
Officers contacted Police Chief Michael Earley to obtain permission to continue pursuit across state and county lines as Santiago turned West onto Belltown Road. They pursued at speeds between 45 to 65 mph along Belltown and Airport Road.
Santiago failed to stop at any of the signs on Belltown, Airport, Pleasant Hill, and Wolfcreek Road. He continually weaved across lanes and drove down the center. Sometime during this point of the chase, officers moved in and obtained tag information to relay to dispatch.
Once reaching Hwy. 64 going toward Murphy, the suspect reached speeds of over 100 mph and periodically lost control of the vehicle before regaining control.
Cherokee County Sheriff’s Deputy Struchko and officer Dockery joined in the pursuit as Santiago blew through the Hwy. 19/129 intersection. Struchko took control of the chase at the Splash and Dash Car Wash, and Dockery deployed stop stick at the BB&T bank.
Struchko followed Santiago in the eastbound lane at speeds of 80 mph.
Santiago hit the stop sticks in front of BB&T. He lost control of the vehicle due to his two flat front tires. He veered into the Shell and Dunkin Donuts parking lot, just missing a red jeep in the Dunkin drive-thru.
After exiting his vehicle, Santiago attempted to flee on foot. Struchko drew his weapon and commanded Santiago to stop and lie on the ground. He obeyed, and McCaysville Officer Higdon handcuffed him at 8:51 p.m.
Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office took Santiago in for attempting to elude police, reckless driving, and driving with a suspended license. His bond is set at $5,000 and is awaiting a court date.
Blue Ridge, Ga. – McCaysville City Council made attempts to clarify the purpose and the parameters surrounding the newly adopted “Vendor Ordinance” at their regular July monthly meeting.
The ordinance, adopted in June, was set in place for public safety according to council. By requiring vendors to obtain a permit before hitting the streets of the city, it allows for city officials to monitor activity and put in place necessary precautions ahead of events.
The ordinance requires street vendors to apply at City Hall for a permit, and there is a $25.00 application fee. This application fee is waived for nonprofit organizations and these groups can receive a permit for free.
The McCaysville City Council was moved to pass this ordinance due to the growth of the city and its festivals. Controversy was met, however, when Richard Peacock an open air preacher, posted to Facebook that the ordinance had stopped a young missionary from spreading his testimony.
“This is Aiden, he was saved last year and this year God laid it on his heart to be a missionary. Last week he handed out nearly 200 gospel tracts,” Peacock’s June 30 Facebook post read and goes on to say, “He (Aiden) wanted to go again but I have to tell him McCaysville, will not allow it without a permit. They passed an ordinance last week stopping Christians from sharing the gospel on the public sidewalk.”
FetchYourNews reached out to Peacock asking who had informed him that Aiden could no longer preach on the streets of McCaysville, but we are still awaiting a reply.
Peacock’s post fueled outrage by citizens over the new ordinance, and the McCaysville Chief of Police Michael Earley even became involved when he publicly replied to the social media post stating: “I have advised Brother Peacock as the Chief Law Enforcement Officer of the City of McCaysville I will not nor will my department enforce the ordinance and take away the right for some one [sic] to spread the word of God!”
After the backlash via social media, Councilmember Rodney Patterson addressed those present at the meeting: “Lets go ahead and clear it up. It was never meant for a preacher not to be able to preach on the street. I do want to say that. I would never take a fellar’s rights away who wants to preach. It’s freedom of speech.”
Patterson did clarify that while preaching on the streets did not require a permit, if a preacher were to hand out material such as pamphlets and gospel tracts a permit would be required, and that the permit is free for nonprofit organizations.
Jerry Rice, Reverend of Midway Baptist Church, was present at the meeting and inquired about if a permit would be necessary for his organization to hand out candy and gospel tracts in October, as they have done for many years.
Patterson replied to Rice’s inquiry, “That organization would have to have a permit.”
McCaysville City Attorney Cortney Stuart clarified, “You just need a permit. You also can’t pass out Satanic literature without a permit. It’s just meant for anybody, that’s going to do anything, to have a permit so that the city can monitor it and see what is going on.”
“It’s nothing against nobody,” Patterson added to Stuart’s comments and pointed out that in instances where a controversial group might be handing out literature or demonstrating, that the city would need to know to implement measures such as crowd control.
Stuart also clarified, “The city ordinance only concerns city property.”
“So if you’re in the IGA parking lot and never touch a city street ain’t nothing we can do to you,” Patterson added, “That’s personal property.”
McCaysville Mayor Thomas Seabolt told the concerned citizens that the city would be holding a workshop to discuss the ordinance further: “I have talked to our lawyer, we’re going to have a workshop in a couple of months. We’ll work on something. I don’t know what will come of it, but we’ll have a workshop.”
With some clarification being given as to the rules of the new ordinance, FYN spoke with Police Chief Earley as to whether he would now enforce the ordinance in instances of preachers and missionaries handing out material without a permit, Earley replied, “I’ve not looked into that yet.”
Blue Ridge, Ga – Magistrate court set bond at $75,000 for the couple who attempted an unlawful adoption by inducing a Fannin County mother to give up her child for a vehicle.
The order to reinstate bond for Rebecca and William McClain was filed on July 11, 2019, by their attorney Robert Ferguson and presented to the Fannin County Magistrate Court with Judge Brian Jones presiding and Assistant District Attorney Morris Martin representing the State.
Bond set at $75,000 per person established conditions for McClains to maintain once their release, including a mandatory mental health evaluation within 30 days of release. The couple can’t leave the state of Georgia, keep firearms, submit to random drug and alcohol testing, and no contact with Fannin County DFCS, anyone underage, witnesses, the parents of the child, or the child.
In the affidavit, GBI Agent Jamie Abercrombie attests that Rebecca and William McClain knowingly individually and as a unit attempt to induce the child’s mother into parting with her child on June 25 between the hours of 5 and 8 p.m. at their Fannin County home.
If they violate any of their bond conditions, the offending party will be arrested and returned to jail.
The couple, Rebecca and William McClain had been caring for the ten-month-old child for several weeks and expressed interest in adopting.
Fannin County Sheriff’s Office called GBI on Wednesday, June 26 for assistance in an unlawful adoption investigation, where a local couple tried to convince the mother to sign over her parental rights for a vehicle.
GBI conducted a search of the McClain’s home on Laurel Crossing on Thursday, June 27. Abercrombie arrested the pair for directly or indirectly holding out an inducement to a biological parent to part with his or her child. This is in accordance with O.C.G.A. 19-8-24.
Fannin County Sheriff’s Office booked the two felony charges of unlawful inducement for the McClains – one count for each individual. The couple was unemployed at the time of booking.
Rebecca McClain is a former employee of Union County DFCS. The organization’s currently assisting with the GBI investigation.
The baby was found in good condition and was placed in foster care by DFCS.
After a two week break, the Fannin County Rebels are ready to get back to work.
“They came back in and seemed to be real fresh and excited, and we had a lot of good energy,” said Head Coach Chad Cheatham about their first practice back.
Although the Rebels graduated eleven seniors off the team from last year, the team is taking it in stride.
Cheatham mentioned the strengths of the freshmen and sophomores who played last year, and then went a little bit into recruiting for this year.
“We picked up several good kids, kids that left the program even in the spring when I first got here are starting to come back in,” said Cheatham.
Rebels fans know that Cheatham led the team to the playoffs last year for the first time in several years, so BKP asked Cheatham if the team had set a standard for this year.
“Absolutely,” replied Cheatham. “I think that not only just making the playoffs, but advancing now to the playoffs…I don’t think that these guys want to accept, or will accept, anything less than that.”
The full interview can be viewed below, only on FYN TV!