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Archive By Author - Emma Witman


Spike in foster care cases strains agencies

Child welfare advocates called the current foster parent shortage a "crisis" as unprecedented numbers of kids are being taken into emergency care.

December 20, 2013 | Emma Witman | Local


Hall authorities call house fire 'suspicious'

An early Thursday fire that destroyed a vacant home has been labeled suspicious, fire officials said.

December 20, 2013 | Emma Witman | Local


Police caught shopping on the job

Gainesville Police Chief Brian Kelly stood in front of dozens of children Wednesday afternoon, their eyes wide in anticipation.

December 18, 2013 | Emma Witman | Local


After year in office, sheriff touts changes, says more to be done

When Gerald Couch became Hall County's sheriff a year ago, he knew he faced the challenge of a budget barely out of the grips of austerity.

December 18, 2013 | Emma Witman | Local


Suwanee man sentenced for park ranger assault

A Suwanee man was sentenced in federal court Tuesday on assault charges for attacking a U.S. Army Corps of Engineer park ranger in a July 15, 2012, incident.

December 17, 2013 | Emma Witman | Local


Defenders ask legislators for juvenile law changes

Although legislative changes to the juvenile code have helped some teen offenders, public defenders hope legislators will consider another change in the criminal code.

December 15, 2013 | Emma Witman | Local


Gainesville on hook for paying off jail purchase

Gainesville must continue paying for a bond used to buy the old Hall County jail on Main Street, but the income it expected to receive from the tenant of the facility will dry up in 2015. And the 14-year lease agreement between the city and the Corrections Corp. of America shows there is no penalty to the CCA for pulling out of the facility early.

December 15, 2013 | Emma Witman | Local


Gainesville parks department to consider trading fields with school board

Gainesville Parks & Recreation wants to swap properties with the Gainesville School Board.

December 14, 2013 | Emma Witman | Local


Hall County wants rid of Civil Services Board

The Hall County Board of Commissioners asserted earlier this week that politics and emotion have clouded the decisions of the seven-person Hall County Civil Service Board.

December 14, 2013 | Emma Witman | Local


Gainesville council discusses naming policy

The Gainesville City Council has placed on the consent agenda a policy for the naming of city-owned property, including parks.

December 12, 2013 | Emma Witman | Local


2 Flowery Branch residents face meth trafficking, possession charges

Two Flowery Branch residents face trafficking charges after $26,600 in methamphetamine was found at a home Wednesday off McEver Road.

December 12, 2013 | Emma Witman | Local


Mecum wants to change law on legal organs

Hall County Board of Commissioners Chairman Richard Mecum on Thursday asked members of the county's legislative delegation to change state law pertaining to legal organs in order to allow legal advertising to be posted on local websites rather than printed in newspapers.

December 12, 2013 | Emma Witman | Local


Fire chief: Hall needs ladder truck to get better insurance rates

Hall County Fire Chief David Kimbrell said a new fire station in North Hall will improve insurance rates only on the condition that a second ladder truck is secured by the county.

December 12, 2013 | Emma Witman | Local


Man arrested in theft of animal statues from funeral home

A man was arrested today in the theft of more than a dozen bronze animal statues from Memorial Park Funeral Home, sheriff's officials said.

December 11, 2013 | Emma Witman | Local


Warden: Aging facility, re-entry program, key considerations for new correctional institute

The Hall County Correctional Institute occupies a 50-year-old building that has seen better days, Warden Walt Davis said.

December 11, 2013 | Emma Witman | Local


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Articles By Author - Emma Witman


Panel publicly upholds firing of Hall fire official

The Hall County Civil Service Board publicly voted 4-2 Wednesday to affirm the termination of an ex-Hall County Fire Department battalion chief.

April 17, 2014 | Emma Witman | Local


Gainesville man resentenced after pleading to molestation

After a tumultuous ending more than a year ago, a child molestation case closed on calmer terms Tuesday in Hall County Superior Court.

April 16, 2014 | Emma Witman | Local


Judge won’t restrict hearings access in murder case

A Hall County judge denied a defense motion to restrict public access to the pretrial hearings for an upcoming murder trial.

April 16, 2014 | Emma Witman | Local


More money earmarked for public defenders

Local attorneys representing Hall's indigent defendants welcomed an executive order providing additional funding for lawyers without conflicting interests.

April 14, 2014 | Emma Witman | Local


Fewer low-level offenders going to jail, statistics show

It may be too soon to tout a lowered re-offending rate or a quantifiable dollar amount saved to taxpayers, but a reverberation of statewide criminal justice reform is being noted by one local entity: the Hall County Correctional Institute.

April 12, 2014 | Emma Witman | Local


Coinciding cleaning events beautify county

Under a clear weekend sky, volunteers on land and water did some spring cleaning to make Hall County a bit more pristine.

April 12, 2014 | Emma Witman | Local


Drug court graduates do well, statistics show

Hall County's drug court program is an alternative to incarceration for drug offenders. Successful completion ensures there is never a conviction on their record.

April 12, 2014 | Emma Witman | Local


DA seeks tougher penalty in stabbing

The Gwinnett County District Attorney's office has given notice of intent to increase the punishment in the slaying of a Gainesville woman.

April 11, 2014 | Emma Witman | Local


Ex-jailers, former inmates enter mediation

Two former Hall County Sheriff's Office employees have entered into mediation with three then-inmates alleging civil rights violations in a Dec. 22, 2010, incident at the jail.

April 10, 2014 | Emma Witman | Local


Griffin police: No leads in 2013 slaying of area man

A year later, authorities said there have been no developments in the homicide investigation of a Flowery Branch man who was killed in Griffin.

April 09, 2014 | Emma Witman | Local


Crash cuts power for thousands in S. Hall

Power was restored by 8 p.m. Tuesday to thousands of customers who were left without power when a car collided with a power pole, according to Jackson EMC.

April 08, 2014 | Emma Witman | Local


UGA to pay homage to Masseys

Gainesville poultry icon Abit Massey and his family are being honored Friday as the University of Georgia's 2014 Alumni Family of the Year.

April 07, 2014 | Emma Witman | Local


Attorney, advocate for indigent defense, to receive statewide award

In 2003, a battle brewed in Georgia's legislature over the creation of a statewide indigent defense system.

April 06, 2014 | Emma Witman | Local


Diversity a key goal for law enforcement

Census figures confirm Hall County is still growing, and if predictions hold true, becoming more diverse.

April 05, 2014 | Emma Witman | Local


Suicides often fit common profile

A violent death shakes any community, but most do not come at the hand of others: Suicide persistently outpaces homicide as a killer of Hall County residents.

April 05, 2014 | Emma Witman | Local


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