Georgia State Patrol investigating pedestrian fatality at Sand Bar

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Sand Bar

HIAWASSEE, Ga – A pedestrian was killed in front of the Sand Bar and Grille on US Hwy 76 overnight on Saturday, June 12.

Georgia State Patrol and Towns County Sheriff’s Office are in the midst of an active investigation. FYN has put a request into the GSP for more information about the tragic incident. Towns County Sheriff Office referred FYN to GSP for case details.

US Hwy 76 is a four-lane road and expands into five with a middle turn lane in front of the dining establishment. The Sand Bar faces out to Lake Chatuge, and the Marina Station Restaurant located diagonally across the road from the Sand Bar. The restaurant and bar is a popular location for a weekend night out, staying out until 1 a.m. in an area with few late-night social options.

Google map view of the area.

FYN will update this story as more information becomes available.

Shooter suspect in custody, charged with aggravated assault

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shooter

HIAWASSEE, Ga – On Tuesday, January 26, suspect Charles Jason Matheson, 41 of Young Harris, Ga allegedly shot his estranged wife at her place of employment, Chatuge Outpatient Rehabilitation Client in Hiawassee on River Street, around 2:50 p.m.

The victim was shot multiple times by Matheson and was transported to a north Georgia area hospital for treatment. According to Hiawassee Police Department, as of January 27, she is currently recovering after surgery.

Matheson fled the scene of the shooting and traveled to the Matheson Cove Road area in Clay County, North Carolina. Clay County Sheriff’s deputies blocked off Matheson Cove Road and asked residents of Matheson Cove Community to remain indoors once they located the suspect. Matheson was taken into custody around 8:30 p.m. on January 26. According to Sheriff Bobby Deese, the suspect’s car was found outside the residence.  He also relayed that Matheson turned himself in without incident. Clay County is holding Matheson until he can be extradited to Georgia.

Law enforcement arrested Matheson on aggravated assault charges. Hiawassee PD confirmed this will not be the only charge considered by the grand jury.

“District Attorney Jeff Langley responded to the scene yesterday with his staff, and will have the opportunity to bring all relevant charges for indictment,” said Hiawassee PD.

The GBI is also investigating the case in coordination with the Hiawassee PD.

Towns County Sheriff Kenneth Henderson told FYN he supported the police in their initial response and worked alongside them in the city. Henderson said, “We arrived on the scene and informed the Chief up there that we were there to assist in any way that we could to help him with the situation.”

Fetch Your News will continue to update this story as more information becomes available.

Christmas kicks off in Towns County

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Towns County Christmas lights

HIAWASSEE, Ga – Christmas starts this weekend for Towns County with several of the area’s big events starting on Friday and Saturday.

Mountain County Christmas in Lights began November 26 and runs through December 26 at the Georgia Mountain Fairgrounds in Hiawassee, Ga. It’s open every Thursday, Friday, and Saturday from 6:00 p.m. till 9:00 p.m. The event is an immersive light show with Christmas music, arts and crafts vendors, food, hot chocolate, and pictures with Santa. Those under 12 are free and 12 and older must pay $6.

This year the event features an expanded outdoor craft show which opens from 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. and from 11:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. on Saturday. Cowtown is a new activity for 2020 where children can learn how to make butter, ice cream, and soap.

Christmas Parade is on Saturday, November 28 at 6:00 p.m. The Towns County Sheriff’s Office sponsors the event and this year’s theme is “Rocking Around the Christmas Tree.” The parade route begins in the Georgia Mountain Fairgrounds parking lot and ends at South State Bank. Everyone’s encouraged to bring their candy buckets, chairs, and enjoy the twinkling lights and floats.

The Brasstown Holiday Show starts on Friday, November 27 at 1:00 p.m. and lasts until Sunday, November 29 at 3:30 p.m. It’s an indoor arts and crafts show.

Southeast Tourism Society recognizes Mountain Country Christmas in Lights and Brasstown Holiday Show as Top 20 events.  The society identifies the best tourist attractions in Alabama, Arkansas, The District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia.

To wrap up the holiday season, Brasstown Resort is hosting a 2021 New Year’s Eve Gala. The party alone costs $299 per couple including taxes and gratuities. The guest room package is $659 with upgrade options available.

The open bar begins at 7:30 p.m. with a gourmet buffet from 7:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. Music and dancing will take place throughout the evening and a ball drop at midnight. The event is formal attire and attendees must be 21 or older.

Check out the holiday events in Blairsville, here.

Towns Board of Elections to recount sheriff’s race

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Towns County Board of Elections

HIAWASSEE, Ga – After the Osborn campaign filed a petition stating cause and the Board of Elections consulted with the county attorney, Towns County will hold a recount of the sheriff’s race.

On August 12, sheriff candidate Daren “Bear” Osborn issued his initial request for a recount. The same day, the Secretary of State’s Office (SOS) opened an investigation into Towns County for possible election interference. However, the SOS didn’t specify for what race or expand upon the investigation. The Board of Elections Chairman Janet Oliva was unaware of the SOS investigation. No one from the state has contacted Towns County about election interference as of August 18.

Case sheet from the Secretary of State’s office.

The county attorney advised that the Board of Elections err on the side of caution and voter concern, so they opted to honor the request for the recount.

In Osborn’s first letter, he called attention to the “small marginal difference of 40 votes a recount could show error in counting, including absentee ballots.”

The certified county results brought the margin down to 38 votes between the candidates with Kenneth “Ode” Henderson receiving 1,884 and Osborn garnering 1,846. 

The letter cited “short staffing” during the initial processing of absentee ballots and asked for a review of all absentee ballots.

Osborn requested that all ballots be reviewed without interference from either candidates’ supporters, adding that Henderson’s supporters visited the Elections office daily. This behavior potentially resulted in worker duress. Additionally, he asked that Republican party observers not be allowed within the recount area.

However, the margin didn’t meet the requirements for an automatic recount, according to the Board of Elections Chairman Janet Oliva. The recount falls under GA code § 21-2-495 (c). A candidate must request a recount in writing within two days of the election certification. If the recount determines that the original is incorrect, “the returns and all papers prepared by the superintendent, the superintendents, or the Secretary of State shall be corrected accordingly, and the results recertified.”

Since Towns County is in the middle of two recounts, both will take place on the same day. 

“We’re going to do them all in a day, the same time because that’s much more effective, so we’ll do our recall in conjunction with the Stacy Hall and Bo Hatchett recall because it’s a matter of setting the machines,” explained Oliva.

Daren Bear Osborn

Osborn has requested a recount in the sheriff election.

They must physically recount all paper ballots, which will take several hours. The state certification won’t occur until after Friday. Therefore, the recall process won’t take place for at least another week.

 The August 11 runoff resulted in 47 adjudicated ballots. These ballots were either torn or marked in a manner that the machines won’t read. As a result, the votes had to be transferred over to a clean ballot by two judges, one Republican and one Democrat. They read the “spoiled” ballot and determine how that person intended to vote. Once determined, the machine processes the clean ballot. The smallest tear can result in adjudication because of the machine’s sensitivity.

As for provisional ballots, they counted ten and rejected six.

The Osborn campaign has turned in 28 separate vote challenges with names of voters, who potentially do not live in Towns County or voters up for being purged from the rolls. 

The upcoming recount doesn’t mean that the election office is accepting or validating any of the challenges made by the campaign. The Board of Elections is carrying out Georgia law, which grants candidates the capability to request a recount.

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