US Forest Service officials remind residents, visitors and campers that fireworks are prohibited on National Forests in North Carolina.
The possession or discharge of all types of fireworks and other pyrotechnic devices is prohibited on all national forest lands year-round, regardless of weather conditions or holidays.
High volumes of forest visitors are expected this holiday weekend. Be aware of the possibility of increased traffic, especially around popular areas, and take this into consideration when planning your visit. If you must visit popular sites, try to do so early in the morning of later in the evening.
Forest visitors are also reminded to ensure that all fires are extinguished and cold to the touch before leaving them, and to check local weather forecasts and the National Forests in North Carolina website for safety alerts.
For updated information on current conditions, visit the website at www.fs.usda.gov/nfsnc, or contact one of the local district offices.
With the July 4th Holiday approaching, Cherokee County Sheriff Derrick Palmer asks all citizens to join him in making this Fourth of July holiday happy, enjoyable and safe for everyone.
Cherokee County citizens should remember that fireworks, as enjoyable as they are to watch, can be dangerous and should only be handled by professionals. According to the U.S. Consumer Product and Safety Commission, there are nearly 9,000 emergency room-treated injuries associated with fireworks a year. You can enjoy a safe Fourth of July by following these safety tips:
Sheriff Palmer also wants citizens to use caution when swimming at a beach or at a pool. Sheriff Palmer said, “Sadly, most deaths from drowning occur within a few feet of safety.” The best thing anyone can do to stay safe in and around the water is to learn to swim. The Red Cross has swimming courses for people of any age and swimming ability. To find out where lessons are offered, or to enroll in a CPR/AED or first aid course, contact your local Red Cross chapter.
At a swimming pool, take the following precautions:
At the beach, take the following precautions:
Sheriff Palmer said, “Following these precautions will help the children and citizens of Cherokee County stay safe and healthy this holiday weekend and throughout the summer.”
Safety on the Road
Traditionally during the July 4th Holiday, our highways experience one of the highest traffic flows of the year. The Sheriff reminds all Cherokee County residents to follow these safety tips:
“Lastly, I would remind all motorists to practice the Golden Rule when driving. Be courteous and tolerant of other drivers. Please don’t get angry with bad drivers or reckless ones – just get out of their way,” Sheriff Palmer said in closing, “Let’s make this summer a safe one on the roads in Cherokee County.”
The Nantahala and Pisgah National Forests announced today that forest visitors have until July 19 to submit contact information to a ranger district office to participate in the lottery to receive a ginseng harvest permit this year.
Visitors must obtain a permit to collect wild ginseng in the two national forests during the designated harvest season.
In 2013, due to concern over reductions in wild ginseng numbers, the Forest Service implemented changes to wild ginseng harvests in the Nantahala and Pisgah National Forests to conserve wild ginseng populations. These policies remain in place including:
Those requesting a permit must call or visit a ranger district office and submit their name and address by July 19. Requests by email will not be accepted. Written notification will be mailed to applicants selected by lottery before August 19. District offices will issue permits August 21 to September 1 to selected applicants.
In addition to reducing the legal harvest of wild ginseng, the Forest Service plans to increase law enforcement efforts to reduce poaching. Removing a wild ginseng plant or its parts from national forests without a permit or outside of the legal harvest season is considered theft of public property. Penalties for plant poaching may include a fine up to $5,000 or 6-month sentence in federal prison, or both. Wild ginseng plants on the national forest are public property and are sustainably managed by the Forest Service to meet the needs of present and future generations.
Ginseng root has been favored as a tonic primarily in East Asia for the past two-and-a-half centuries. In North Carolina, ginseng is more common in the mountains, very infrequent in the piedmont, and very rare in the coastal plain.
Ranger District contact information may be found at the National Forests in North Carolina website, www.fs.usda.gov/nfsnc.
For more information about harvesting ginseng in Nantahala and Pisgah National Forests, visit: http://www.fs.usda.gov/Internet/FSE_DOCUMENTS/stelprdb5424463.pdf
The following press releases have been issued by Clay County Sheriff's Office. All suspects are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.
On Tuesday June 13, 2017, Clay County Deputies responded to a report of a Breaking and Entering in Progress on Old Hwy 64 West in Warne. When Deputies arrived they encountered Cody Dockery who was the suspect in the breaking and entering.
Upon further investigation it was determined there was no breaking and entering. But it was discovered that Dockery had outstanding warrants for his arrest out of Union County, GA. While deputies were talking to him he kept trying to go in behind a truck that was parked there on the property. When deputies placed him under arrest there was a bag containing several pills on the ground next time him behind that truck. A small amount of methamphetamine was discovered on Dockery as well.
Sheriff Davis said Dockery was charged on Fugitive Warrants for Felony Flee to Elude Police out of Union County and received a $5000 bond. He was also charged with Felony Possession of Methamphetamine, Possession of Schedule II Controlled Substance (Alprazolam), and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia. He received an additional $5000 bond on those charges. He had a June 26, 2017 court date.
Stolen Property Recovered
On Thursday June 15, 2017, Clay County Investigators received information regarding a stolen John Deere tractor, bushhog, and Snapper riding mower. They were able to get enough information where they were able to apply for and receive a search warrant from a Clay County Magistrate.
Upon execution of the search warrant, Sheriff Davis said the investigators recovered a John Deere tractor with the bushhog, and a Snapper riding mower. The problem was they were uncertain as to where they were stolen from.
On Sunday June 18th, a Deputy was dispatched to Sally Gap Road in reference to a breaking and entering; three of the items taken from the barn at this location where a John Deere tractor, a bushhog, and a Snapper riding mower. Still missing is a Craftsman push mower.
Sheriff Davis said it is not very often that we are able to recover something before we know it is stolen, but this incident worked out and we did just that. He is also asking anyone with information into this matter to please call and speak to an investigator as the matter is still under investigation and charges are pending.
Update on Fugitives
Recently we ran an article on Bradley Crawford because the Sheriff’s Office had warrants on him for Failing to Work After Paid. After the article ran Crawford turning himself in. He received a $5,000 unsecured bond for warrants out of Clay County, and received a $6,000 secured bond on the same charges out of Cherokee County. His had a June 26 court date here and a June 27 court date in Cherokee County.
Back in April we ran an article for Zack Hart because we had several warrants for him for Failure to Appear. He was arresting in Cherokee County last week on those Failure to Appear charges along with a Possession of Methamphetamine charge.
Sheriff Davis wanted to thank all of those that sent messages, emailed, or called in with information on these two. With the help of the community we are more effectively able to do our jobs.
On Thursday June 15, 2017, Clay County Sheriff’s Deputies responded a report of a breaking and entering on Fires Creek Road. It appeared someone had broken into the residence and taken several items, including firearms and handmade knives. Later this same day, a neighbor of the victim located some of the firearms and knives near the residence.
Sheriff Davis said thankfully there was a security system that captured an excellent picture of the suspect. Clay County Investigators recognized the suspect but were unable to identify him. They reached out to investigators in Cherokee County and were able to identify him and secure warrants for his arrest.
Jarred Taylor Cheeks, 23 of Murphy, was charged with Felony Breaking and Entering, four counts of Felony Larceny of a Firearm, Felony Larceny after Breaking and Entering, and Injury to Real Property.
Sheriff Davis said Cheeks was arrested early on Monday June 19, 2017. Preliminarily, it sounds like he had one of the firearms in his possession when he was arrested. This incident is still under investigation and more information will be released as it is gathered.
On the morning of Friday June 16, 2017, Clay County Deputies responded to the 9000 block of Tusquittee Road in reference to a suspicious vehicle. Apparently a man described as being white with shoulder length hair, thin build, loose fitting shirt, and blue jeans approached the woman that called and said his battery died during the night while he was fishing. He asked for help, but she got an uneasy feeling about it and left to call 911.
When deputies arrived they ran the tag to the vehicle and discovered it was stolen out of Kentucky, but they were not able to find the man. Sheriff Davis is asking if anyone saw anything that morning to please call and speak to a deputy. Maybe someone saw this man walking down Tusquittee Road or possibly gave him a ride. The vehicle was a grey in color Chevrolet Impala. Any information could be helpful. You can call us at 389-6354, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or message us on Facebook. As always, any information you provide can remain anonymous.
On the evening of Monday June 12, 2017, a Clay County Investigator attempted to stop a motorcycle for a traffic violation. The driver of the motorcycle failed to stop and a chase ensued. The driver of the motorcycle reached speeds in excess of 100 mph. After a while the investigator lost the motorcycle on Cold Branch Road.
But, Sheriff Davis said, the motorcycle and its driver were discovered again on Peckerwood Road. There a brief foot occurred, but the deputy was unsuccessful in apprehending the suspect.
Sheriff Davis said, fortunately the deputies knew who they were chasing and were able to secure warrants for Zachary Ryan Mixon. Mixon has been charged with Felony Flee to Elude Arrest, Reckless Driving, Speeding, and two counts of Resisting an Officer.
The following press release has been issued by Towns County Sheriff's Office.
On Friday evening, June 16th, a call came into the Towns County 911 Center of an elderly man who had wandered off from a residence on Hickory Cove Lane in Hiawassee. Towns County Sheriff’s deputies, along with personnel from the Towns County Fire and Rescue responded to the scene. The missing person was identified as George Chastain, age 87, of Starkville, Mississippi. The missing man was at the residence on Hickory Cove Lane visiting and was last seen at 8:00pm.
Towns County Sheriff’s Office and Fire and Rescue personnel searched the immediate area around the residence, but they were unable to locate the missing person. A CodeRED telephone alert was sent out to the Upper Bell Creek Area to notify the residents to be on the lookout for the missing person. He was last seen wearing a yellow shirt and tan khaki pants and described as 5’7” in height and 150 pounds. The Towns County Sheriff’s Office’s bloodhound was used to search the area, along with another bloodhound from Blairsville. A heavy rain had occurred prior to the bloodhounds arriving on the scene and the dogs were unable to locate the missing person.
A helicopter with heat-seeking thermal imaging was requested from the Georgia State Patrol Aviation Unit and arrived on the scene to fly the area surrounding the residence. The helicopter was unable to locate the missing person.
On Saturday morning, as ground searchers were planning to search the area further, the missing person was located by a neighbor and returned to the residence.
CodeRED delivers notifications by phone calls to landlines and cell phones, emails, texts, social media, and/or mobile alerts. CodeRED is compatible with TDD/TTY devices for those with hearing impairments. Individuals and businesses may add as many phone numbers, emails, and texts numbers you’d like. Registering for CodeRED is quick and easy. There is no charge to register for or use CodeRED and your personal information will be kept confidential. If you would like to be included in this automated alert system to receive emergency alerts, go to this web address and sign up using your landline telephone or cell phone numbers: https://public.coderedweb.com/cne/6B4D39EC2439
Add the following numbers to your caller ID:
866-419-5000 - EMERGENCY CALLS
855-969-4636 - GENERAL CALLS
800-566-9780 – WEATHER WARNINGS
As well, residents and visitors alike can receive enhanced public safety alerts no matter where you are located via the CodeRED Mobile Alert app - a free public safety app for both Android and iPhone users. The CodeRED Mobile Alert app delivers community and emergency alerts to individuals targeted within an impacted geographical area so that you may also receive timely notifications when you’re on the road, away from home.
If you are currently a CodeRED subscriber who has already registered your mobile phone to receive notifications from Towns County, you will continue to receive calls. However, if you download the CodeRED Mobile Alert app, you will also be able to receive alerts via your smartphone anywhere in the country, including Hawaii, Puerto Rico, and Alaska.
To download the free CodeRED Mobile Alert app, visit the Google Play or iTunes store.
The following press release has been issued by North Carolina State Highway Patrol.
On Wednesday, June 14 at approximately 2:46 pm, Trooper Robertson was dispatched by Newtown Communications to a double fatal accident involving motorcycles and a passenger car on NC 294 in Cherokee County.
Accident report from NCSHP:
- Vehicle #1, a white 2007 Buick passenger car, driven by 61-year-old James Hart of Murphy, NC was traveling south on NC 294.
- Vehicle #2, a 2013 Harley Davidson motorcycle,
- Vehicle #3, a 2003 Harley Davidson motorcycle, and
- Vehicle #4, a 2003 Harley Davidson motorcycle, were traveling north on NC 294.
Technical Summary of Incident:
Vehicle #1 entered a right hand curve and went left of center hitting Vehicle #2. Vehicle #1 came to rest facing west in the south bound lane. Vehicle #2 came to rest on the north bound shoulder. The driver of vehicle #2 came to rest in the roadway, and the passenger came to rest on the shoulder of the north bound lane. Vehicle #3 was hit by debris from the collision and overturned and came to rest in the roadway. Both occupants of Vehicle #3 came to rest in the roadway. The passenger of Vehicle #4, seeing the collision jumped from the vehicle coming to rest in the roadway. Vehicle #4 came to a controlled stop in the roadway. The operator and passenger of vehicle #2 were pronounced dead at the scene. They were identified by Trooper Robertson as Mr. Rex Long, age 54, and Ms. Cheryl Bays, age 58, both residents of Maryville, TN. The operator of Vehicle #1 and Vehicle #4 were uninjured. The driver and passenger of Vehicle #3, and the passenger of Vehicle #4 were transported to Murphy Medical Center with non-life threatening injuries.
The accident remains under investigation.
WKRK would like to send our sincere condolences to the Long and Bays family and friends during this time of loss.
The following press release has been issued by Towns County Sheriff's Office. All suspects are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.
On Wednesday, June 14, 2017 deputies with the Towns County Sheriff’s Office responded to a residence in the 6800 block of Byers Creek Road in Young Harris in reference to a physical assault. Upon investigation of the reported incident, Robert Crisp, age 29, of Young Harris, Georgia was arrested and charged with one count of Aggravated Assault.
It was reported that the suspect used a vehicle to assault the victim of the incident. The victim refused to be transported for further medical attention from the scene. The case will be referred to the Towns County District Attorney’s Office for prosecution.
The following press release has been issued by Towns County Sheriff's Office. All suspects are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.
On Tuesday, June 13, 2017, deputies with the Towns County Sheriff’s Office arrested a suspect who posed as an attorney at the Towns County Detention Center during April, 2017.
After an extensive investigation into the incident, deputies secured arrest warrants for Melissa Sue Arrendale, age 46, of Hayesville, North Carolina after consulting with the Towns County District Attorney’s Office. She was booked into the Towns County Detention Center on Tuesday, June 13, 2017 on the following charges: one count of Forgery 1st Degree (Felony), one count of False Statements and Writings (Felony), and one count Practicing Law Without a License (Felony). She has been released from the Towns County Detention Center on bond. The case will be forwarded to the Towns County District Attorney’s Office for prosecution.
The following press release has been issued by Murphy Police Department. All suspects are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.
Press Release from Murphy Police Department for the arrest of Evelyn Elizabeth Gausepohl
On June 7th 2017, the Murphy Police Department responded to Wal-Mart in Murphy NC for a larceny call. Officers spoke with Wal-Mart employees, and took a police report on a larceny of several air conditioning units from the store. Wal-Mart employees provided Officers with still photographs of the larceny and the suspect. Officers also noticed in the photographs that the female subject had a small child with her during the larceny. Officers also were able to determine that the larcenies took place over a several day time period, the suspect would place several air conditioning units in a shopping cart and push them out, without paying for them past the last point of sale and place them in her vehicle. Officers learned of total (25) air conditioning units stolen over several day period from Wal-Mart in Murphy NC by the suspect.
Officers with the Murphy Police Department were notified by the same Wal-Mart employee that reported the larceny of the air conditioning units from Wal-Mart the previous day, that the female subject that had stolen the air conditioning units was selling them on Facebook.
Officers were able to identify the female subject as Evelyn Elizabeth Gausepohl. Based on the information gathered, Murphy Police Department Officers applied for and was granted a search warrant for the residence of Evelyn Elizabeth Gausepohl.
Officers with the Murphy Police Department along with Deputies with the Cherokee County Sheriff's Office executed the search warrant of Evelyn Elizabeth Gausepohl's residence. During the search warrant, officers seized controlled substance, drug paraphernalia, and stolen property. Gausepohl was arrested and transported to the Cherokee County Detention Center, where she was charged with larceny of items from Wal-Mart in Murphy. Since the arrest, Officers have been able to account for all (25) air conditioning units stolen from Wal-Mart and sold. Evelyn Elizabeth Gausepohl has also been charged with 3 counts of obtaining property by false pretences for selling the air conditioning units as if hers, 2 counts of misdemeanor child abuse. Evelyn Elizabeth Gauspohl was booked into the Cherokee County Detention Center where she was given a $5000.00 unsecure bond by a Cherokee County Magistrate.
"I would like to take the time to thank all the law enforcement officers and the public for the assistance in this case." -Dustin D. Smith, Assistant Chief of Police , Murphy Police Department
The following press release has been issued by Clay County Sheriff's Office. All suspects are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.
Clay County Sheriff’s Deputies recently responded to George Sorrells Road in reference to trespassing. Upon their arrival and initial investigation, deputies discovered one of the individuals trespassing had an outstanding warrant for his arrest. Randall Scott Ashley, 46 of Hayesville, was arrested for Felony Possession of Stolen Goods stemming from an investigation earlier this year where a camper was stolen.
According to Sheriff Vic Davis, investigators were called to the scene due to some possible stolen items being located. During their investigation they recovered stolen property that included several stolen firearms; methamphetamine was also located.
In addition to the warrant, Ashley was charged with Felony Receiving Stolen Goods, Felony Larceny, three counts of Felony Possession of Stolen Firearms. He received a total of $47,000 in bonds which he has already made.
Sheriff Davis said there was also a female involved; Wendy Robar, 36 of Hayesville, was also arrested and charged in the incident. She was charged with Felony Receiving Stolen Goods, Felony Larceny, three counts of Felony Possession of Stolen Firearms, Possession of Methamphetamine, and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia. She has also made $32,000 in bonds.
On Tuesday June 6, 2017, Sheriff Davis said deputies responded to the same address on George Sorrells Road where they found Ashley to be trespassing again. Ashley was arrested and charged with First Degree Trespassing and received a $5,000 bond which he has already made. He has a June 12, 2017 court date.