5.1 magnitude earthquake rocks North Carolina

Featured, Featured News, Featured Stories, News
5.1 magnitude earthquake

MURPHY, NC – At 8:07 a.m. on August 9, 2020, many North Carolinians were rattled by a 5.1 magnitude earthquake, originating two miles outside of Sparta, NC.

According to the National Weather Service, this quake is the strongest to hit NC since 1916. It was 5.2. magnitude earthquake in Buncombe county and it toppled chimneys and people ran into the streets

At this time, no injuries or major damage have been reported. If you felt it, report it to the USGS. 

Residents from Murphy and Hayesville have reported experiencing tremors at the time of the earthquake. Additionally, Georgia, South Carolina, Virginia, and Tennessee felt the effects of the morning quake. Georgia reports include Dahlonega and as far as Fayetteville.

Sparta is 272 miles from Murphy, NC, 264 miles from Hayesville, and 165 miles from Asheville. The city sits close to the NC/Tenn. line.

Another smaller 2.6 magnitude earthquake occurred in the same area at 1:57 a.m.

National Weather Service out of Raleigh has also reported three other possible quakes in Guilford, Randolph, and Moore counties.

If you felt the earthquake this morning or experienced any damage, please let us know!

The most recent earthquake in the Triangle was in 2011 in Virginia. Its magnitude was 5.8.

North Carolina rural educators get support for remote learning

Featured, Featured News, Featured Stories
North Carolina Rural Educators

RALEIGH: More than 1,300 educators from rural North Carolina participated in a virtual conference focused on remote learning to help them be better prepared to teach throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Governor Cooper opened the REAL(Remote Education and Leadership) Conference and gave the welcoming remarks via a video message.

“When we had to close schools for in person learning in March, you were quick to adapt, staying connected to your students and making sure they continued to get the best education possible,” Governor Cooper told the participating educators. “I appreciate your efforts to help address the challenges to remote learning and help students get connected to stay on track in their studies.”

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic schools across North Carolina switched to remote learning in the spring and many students will continue to learn remotely as the new school year begins. Remote learning can be especially challenging in rural communities due to a lack of internet access and other technology resources and funding challenges.

The REAL Conference offered a professional development opportunity for rural educators designed by rural educators. At the conference, rural educators got the opportunity to learn best practices in remote learning and discuss how to addressing unique challenges faced by rural educators.

Participating educators chose from over 40 sessions throughout the day covering all grade levels. Sessions provided first-hand experience of remote learning tools and best practices. Topics included: Virtual STEAM: Hands-On Learning at Home; Digital Tools to Support Distance Learning; Accessible Remote Learning for Exceptional Learners; Connecting with Disconnected Students; Mindfulness-Based Social Emotional Learning; How to Assess Learning Games; Ed Puzzle: Actively Engaging Students with Videos; Bitmoji Interactive Lessons in Google Slides; Museum Learning Opportunities; and multiple topics on Google Classroom. Dr. Mary Hemphill, former superintendent of Scotland County Public Schools and current director of K-12 Computer Science at the NC Department of Public Instruction, gave the keynote address.

Educators and parents can view the recording of the REAL Conference HERE.

Conference hosts included the North Carolina Business Committee on Education (NCBCE), a nonprofit housed in the Governor’s Office, along with Governor Cooper’s Hometown Strong initiative for rural North Carolina, the Department of Public Instruction and the NC Virtual Public Schools.

When schools transitioned to remote learning, NCBCE partnered with Hometown Strong to launch the Remote Learning Working Group) to help improve remote learning in rural counties by getting more students connected to the internet and helping educators adapt to teaching remotely. The Working Group includes experts in education and technology from the public and private sectors.

Content for the REAL Conference was developed by the Remote Learning Working Group as well as a team of educators from rural North Carolina: Joseph Hayes from Edgecombe County Schools, Sonia Boone from Halifax County Schools, Kristy Marslander from Hyde County Schools, Heather Herron from Swain County Schools and Wendy Harrell and Phyllis King from Robeson County Schools.

Thanks to Google, Smithfield Foods, AT&T, Fidelity Investments, Dell, American Tower, and Tony Brown of Public Consulting Group for their sponsorship of the REAL Conference through NCBCE.

Quote from members of the Remote Learning Working Group:

“Google is excited to help facilitate this important conversation between educators, the business community and state leaders regarding remote learning—a challenge that is top of mind for nearly everyone as we approach a new school year,” said Lilyn Hester, Head of External Affairs – Southeast, Google and leader of the Remote Learning Working Group. “We look forward to discussing solutions to ensure our children have the connectivity required to keep their education on track.”

Dr. Eric Cunningham, Superintendent of Halifax County Schools said, “The REAL Conference, the remote learning conference focused on supporting North Carolina’s rural educators provides a much-needed benefit for rural school systems. Halifax County Schools will benefit greatly. Our teachers are excited and ready to participate.”

Dr. Steve Basnight, Superintendent of Hyde County Public Schools said, “I want to thank all the fantastic educators who worked to make the REAL Conference a reality. This will provide a tremendous opportunity for our staff to receive professional development on remote learning and collaborate with other educators right before we begin our teacher workdays to open the new school year!”

About the North Carolina Business Committee for Education:

The North Carolina Business Committee for Education (NCBCE) is a business-led, education non-profit (501-c3) that operates out of the Office of the Governor. Since 1983, NCBCE has provided a critical link between North Carolina business leaders and the state’s education decision makers, helping to create connections between the education curriculum and the overall work readiness of citizens across the state. Learn more at ncbce.org.

About Hometown Strong:

Governor Cooper created Hometown Strong to build partnerships between state agencies and local leaders to champion rural communities. The effort leverages state and local resources, identifies ongoing projects and community needs and implements focused plans to boost the economy, improve infrastructure and strengthen North Carolina’s hometowns.

North Carolina announces statewide COVID-19 testing, results reporting required

Featured, Featured Stories, News
statewide testing

RALEIGH — The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) took action to decrease barriers to COVID-19 testing by issuing a Statewide Standing Order for COVID-19 Diagnostic Testing, as well as a State Health Director Temporary Order on COVID-19 Diagnostic Test Reporting.

These actions will help to increase access to testing across the state, especially for members of historically marginalized populations, and increase reporting of North Carolina test results, both positive and negative, to the state.

“Testing is an important component of the state’s strategy to slow the spread of the virus, and today’s order will make it easier for North Carolinians to get tested,” said NCDHHS State Health Director Elizabeth Cuervo Tilson, M.D.

The Statewide Standing Order allows testing sites to collect and submit samples to a laboratory for COVID-19 testing without requiring a specific order and authorizes testing sites to receive results directly from laboratories. This will facilitate community-based testing sites and reduce barriers to testing, especially for members of historically marginalized populations who may be less likely to have a medical home.

Read the Statewide Standing Order for COVID-19 Diagnostic Testing here.

#BKP Has A Live Call-In With Madison Cawthorn

Featured, Featured Stories, Politics

#BKP is joined this morning by 11th district Republican runoff candidate Madison Cawthorn! Cawthorn won the primary against Trump endorsed Candidate Lynda Bennett. He explains why he thinks he won and discusses the upcoming runoff. If Cawthorn wins he will be the youngest member of congress. He states he does support the president and that his voters will too.

 

Become A Sponsor For The Christmas Clash Presented By Team FYN Sports

Featured Stories

Team FYN Sports will be broadcasting live the Blue Ridge Christmas Clash. Sponsorship opportunities are still available. Support your local youth and sports and market your company at the same time. Contact us now @ [email protected] or 706.276.6397

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.”

Senators Release Bipartisan Recommendations For Economic Growth In Appalachia

Politics, State & National

Fire Closes Nantahala Gorge

Featured, News

A 14-mile section of U.S. 74/N.C. 19 in Swain County has been closed due to debris from nearby wildfires.

The stretch of road, which goes through the Nantahala Gorge, will be closed to all traffic until officials deem the area safe for residents and visitors.

Crews from the Department of Transportation have established a 30-mile detour around the closure, which will add longer travel time for motorists driving in Western North Carolina.

Southbound traffic is being detoured on the following route: North on N.C. 28 to Stecoah, south on N.C. 143 in Robbinsville, then south on U.S. 129 to Topton. Northbound traffic will follow that route in reverse.
Fires in the area have resulted in loose debris and rocks tumbling to the U.S. 74/N.C. 19 creating dangerous situations.

Transportation officials remind motorists that wildfires create smoke that can quickly reduce visibility. Motorists are advised to slow down, obey all posted signs and add extra time into upcoming plans.
Visit the Traveler Services Section of NCDOT.gov for real-time traffic information at follow NCDOT on Twitter.

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 [email protected] or 770-294-7384.

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 [email protected] 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.

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 [email protected]

March One Harvest Food Program for North Carolina, North Georgia, & Eastern Tennessee

Featured, Featured Stories

Angel Harvest Ministries is now accepting orders for the March One Harvest Food Program for North Carolina, North Georgia and Eastern Tennessee. Clay County residents can go to Samaritan’s Promise in Hayesville and make their in person orders. In person orders will also be taken at the Shepherd of the Mountains Church behind Eller and Owens Furniture store. All in person orders must be placed by Wednesday noon March 09th, 2016.

Please notice that all orders will have to be completed by Wednesday March 09th, 2016 at 11:59. There will not be any changes taken or made after that time.

Checks and money orders can be mailed to PO Box 275 Murphy NC 28906 but must be received by Noon Wednesday March 09th, 2016. Please make checks and money orders payable to Angel Harvest Ministries.

Orders will be distributed on Saturday March 19th, 2016 from 10:00 am to 11:00 am. Any order not picked up by 11:00 am will be considered a donation and given to the needy.

If you have any questions please call Roger Williams at 828-837-5921. If no answer please leave a message.

This month’s menu includes:

#1 FAMILY BOX $37.50
2 lb Avg Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast
2 lb Chicken Drumsticks
16 oz Center Cut Ham Steaks
(2) 10 in Mozzarella & Pesto Pizza
20 oz RTC Garlic & Herb Encrusted Tilapia Filets (2 X 10 oz Trays)
16 oz Breaded Beef Steak Patties (5 x 3 oz patties)
2 lb Boneless Pork Roast
1 lb Premium Ground Beef
1 lb Premium Breakfast Sausage
4 oz Buttered Mashed Potatoes
12 oz Frozen Crinkle Carrots
16 oz Frozen Cut Corn
16 oz Long Grain Brown Rice OR White Rice
16 oz Spaghetti Noodles
7.25 oz Macaroni & Cheese
8.5 Jiffy Corn Muffin Mix
10 Individual Heat & Eat Oatmeal Flavored Brown Sugar (6.75 oz ea)
4 (3 pkg) Cinnamon Rolls

#2 MORE THAN ENOUGH BOX $46.00
14 oz Hillshire Farms Kielbasa Sausage
2 lb Avg. Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast
16 oz Center Cut Ham Steaks
2 lb Avg Chicken Drumsticks
1.5 b Avg Hamburgers Patties (6 – ¼ lb patties)
1.5 lb Boneless Pork Chops
20 oz RTC Garlic & Herb Encrusted Tilapia Filets (2 X 10 oz Trays)
2 lb Boneless Pork Roast
(2) 10 in Mozzarella & Pesto Pizza
1 lb Premium Ground Beef
1 lb Premium Breakfast Sausage
16 oz Breaded Beef Steak Patties (5 x 3 oz patties)
2 lb Frozen Crinkle Fries
12 oz Frozen Crinkle Carrots
10 oz Frozen Chopped Broccoli
16 oz Frozen Strawberries
12 oz Wide Egg Noodles
16 oz Long Grain Brown Rice OR White Rice
7.25 oz Macaroni & Cheese
8.5 Jiffy Corn Muffin Mix
10 Individual Heat & Eat Oatmeal Flavored Brown Sugar (6.75 oz ea)
4 (3 pkg) Cinnamon Rolls

#3 GOLDEN CUISINE MEALS 10 MEALS FOR $29.95 (MSG FREE)
Individually wrapped meals, easy to prepare in a conventional oven, microwave or toaster oven
Single Portion, Diabetic and Cholesterol Friendly
For nutritional information please click here
• Mesquite Chicken in Barbeque Sauce over a Black Bean & Rice Blend with Carrots & Green Beans
• Country Herb Chicken Breast with Gravy, Mashed Potatoes, Green Beans & Carrots
• Meat Lasagna, Green Beans & Cauliflower.
• Lemon Pepper Baked Fish, Green Beans, Cauliflower & Yellow Squash
• Chicken Ala King – Chicken Breast pieces, Vegetables & Sauce over Bowtie Pasta, Cheesy Cauliflower & Spinach & Chickpeas
• White Turkey & Dressing with Gravy, Corn & Green Beans
• Chicken & Rice with Mushroom Sauce with Swiss Cheese, Broccoli & Carrots
• Salisbury Steak with Gravy, Roasted Red Skin Potatoes, Peas & Carrots & Cauliflower
• Meat Loaf Patty, Mashed Potatoes, Brussel Sprouts & Corn
• Spaghetti & Meatballs with Broccoli & Black Bean Blend

#4 FROZEN VEGETABLE BOX $27.00
**NEW VENDOR and NEW VARIETY**
1 lb Frozen Strawberries
12 ct Frozen Dinner Rolls
1 lb Frozen Diced Carrots
1 lb Frozen Fajita Blend
1 lb Frozen Broccoli Florets
1 lb Frozen Green Peas & Carrots
1 lb Frozen Blueberries
1 lb Frozen California Medley
1 lb Frozen Lima Beans
1 lb Frozen Butternut Squash
1 lb Frozen Cut Yellow Corn
1 lb Frozen Mixed Vegetables
1 lb Frozen Sugar Snap Peas
1 lb Frozen Italian Green Beans
1 lb Frozen Green Peas
1 lb Frozen Cut Green Beans

#5 BREADED CHICKEN TENDERS 10LB $27.00
10 lbs Ready to Cook Breaded Chicken Tenders (2 – 5 lb bags)

#6 PREMIUM GRILLING SPECIAL $49.95
(From Stampede Meats Inc.)
(4) 10 oz USDA Select T-Bone Steaks (2.5 lbs)
(4) 8 oz. Choice Cut USDA Sirloin Steaks (2 lbs)
3.75 lbs Choice Cut Bone In Pork Chops

#7 PORK CHOP 10LB $31.00
10lb Boneless Pork Chops

#8 KIDS BOX $29.00
(4) Sausage Biscuit Sandwich
(4) Sausage, Egg & Cheese Sandwich
(4) Bacon Cheeseburgers
(1) 7.25 oz Macaroni & Cheese
(2) 10 in Mozzarella Pizzas
4 (3 pkg) Cinnamon Rolls
(4) 4 oz Mandarin Orange Cups
(4) Omelet – Ham, Egg, Onion, Peppers (5 oz ea)
(6) Individual Heat & Eat Oatmeal Flavored Brown Sugar (6.75 oz)
(2) 10 oz Tyson FC Chicken Fries OR (1) Tyson Chicken & (3) 2.8 oz Jamwich

#9 BONELESS SKINLESS CHICKEN BREAST 10LB SEASONED $29.50
10lbs Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast
(Seasoned with sea salt, natural flavors, onion powder, garlic powder, paprika)

#10 EASTER BOX $37.50
11 – 14 lb Avg Whole Turkey
(1) 2 lb Spring Hill ½ Ham
(2) 6 oz. Cornbread Stuffing
24 oz Frozen Cut Corn
(2) l lb Bags Sliced Carrots
16 oz Frozen Broccoli Florets
(2) 6.6 oz Herb & Butter Mashed Potatoes
2 lb Brown Rice (2 – 1 lb bags)
8 oz. Jiffy Corn Muffin Mix
8 oz Jiffy Buttermilk Biscuit Mix
(2) Pumpkin or Fruit Pies

#11 PREMIUM PROTEIN BOX $29.50
3.4 lb Chicken Tenders
3 lb Thigh Quarters OR 4 lb Avg. Chicken Drumsticks
2 lb Avg Pork Roast
2 lb Avg Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast
1 lb Avg Premium Ground Beef
1 lb Breakfast Sausage
1 lb Center Cut Ham Steak

ONLINE ONLY Dessert Box $21.50
(1) 20 – 24 oz Blueberry Pie
(1) 20 -24 oz Peach Pie
(1) 20 -24 oz Cherry Pie
(2) 20 -24 oz Pecan Pies
(2) Pumpkin Pies

**Items weights are approximate. In the event of a shortage, items may be substituted.

For more information or to see the full menu please to go www.oneharvest.com.

Joint Operation Nabs 6 in Prescription Drug Fraud including CEO of Union General Hospital

Featured, Featured Stories, News

 

Murphy, NC— Sheriff Derrick Palmer announced the Union County Georgia Sheriff’s Office arrest of James Lanier Heaton, George David Gowder III, John Michael Gowder, Virginia Lou Harkins, Gail Gowder, and Jamie Harkins all who provided Blairsville Georgia addresses, for charges stemming from a joint investigation into prescription fraud.

FYN spoke with officials and the hospital confirms John Michael Gowder is the CEO of Union General.

Gowder  John Michael Gowder

The joint operation involved members of the Drug Enforcement Administration, Tactical Diversion Squad, the Union County Georgia Sheriff’s Office and the Cherokee County North Carolina Sheriff’s Office. Although the investigation is ongoing to date information has been discovered that would indicate that the ring was operating in Cherokee County North Carolina and may be facing charges here as well.

Sheriff Palmer stated “We enjoyed the opportunity to work with the agencies involved. Sheriff Mack Mason and his Office have been a tremendous ally as we are sending the message No longer can you deal drugs across county and state lines – We will hunt you down and prosecute you.”

Sheriff Palmer encourages any one that has information on this crime or any other to report it. To report crime in Cherokee County you can call the anonymous tip line at 828-837-1344 or email a tip at [email protected] or call 911 if you observe a crime in progress.

Back to Top