Thousands spent their precious time reading these stories this past year. As measured by online analytics, these stories received a balance of the most clicks and time spent on the story.
Almost $1 million worth of drugs were seized and 12 people indicted in March following a 10-month investigation into a group known informally as the “Lenox Park Cartel.” The investigation turned up 20 pounds of methamphetamine, a half pound of cocaine and 6 pounds of marijuana, according to the Multi-Agency Narcotics Squad. Half of them have pleaded guilty, and the other half are scheduled to have trial in the new year.
A former Gainesville Scoutmaster is accused of sexual abuse in a civil lawsuit filed in March. Royal Fleming Weaver Jr. is accused of raping a boy in 1985 at a scouting event. Weaver served as the scoutmaster for a troop sponsored by the First Baptist Church of Gainesville. Weaver and the church claim they can’t be sued because the statute of limitations has passed. The case is still under advisement by a judge.
A June wreck in South Hall killed a 16-year-old, 9-year-old and 4-year-old. All three were remembered fondly by their family, friends and teachers.
A man was shot and killed by a Georgia State Patrol trooper after the man fled authorities and tried to drown a trooper during a struggle, according to the patrol. The man had fled a road check on Ga. 53 just south of Interstate 985. Northeastern Judicial Circuit District Attorney Lee Darragh said in October he has been reviewing the statements from law enforcement and interviews with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation to decide whether to bring charges against the trooper. The Department of Public Safety said Thursday the case is still pending.
A Flowery Branch man’s desire to try LSD ended in his 2013 death, according to testimony in this February trial against Jacob Scarborough, who was accused of selling him the drugs. Austin Brantley, 19, of Flowery Branch died of “complications of methylone,” according to Hall County Coroner Marion Merck. Scarborough was acquitted of all charges in the death.
Two of the three Hall County firefighters injured in a July 2014 training incident called their separation from the county disappointing, one saying he was “saddened by the county’s decision.” The other could not be reached for comment for this February story. TJ Elliott, Will Griffin and Stephen Jackson all suffered severe injuries in a July 22, 2014, training incident when the bucket on a ladder truck fell 44 feet. Hall County spokeswoman Katie Crumley said the three had received full benefits and workers’ compensation since the incident and were “encouraged to review a list of other available job openings within Hall County government.”
Jaquerian Harrison, 21, of Gainesville was shot multiple times in April while hanging out in the Orchard Brook Apartments common area. His sister recounted what she heard that night. Three men were charged with felony murder in the case. This month, a motion filed with the courts noted the bullet that killed Harrison was not from the guns found in the possession of three co-defendants. One co-defendant pleaded guilty to lesser charges, and a tentative trial date has been set for January.
Half the members of the board of Family Promise resigned in May as a same-sex couple was being welcomed into the program. Acting president at the time, Rustin Smith, confirmed there were disagreements about accepting the couple; he also said some board members left for other reasons. Lakewood Baptist Church, attended by several of those who resigned, pulled its support as a host in the wake of the departures. Family Promise partners with area churches to host homeless families and provide them with support to overcome homelessness.
The former supervisor of the county’s school resource officer program, Lt. Earl Roach, spent thousands of tax dollars on guns and gadgets he kept after his retirement in February and only returned after an investigation into the purchases was launched by law enforcement. All of the purchases were made between November 2013 and October 2015 on a Hall County Board of Education credit card and were registered under the name of Lt. Earl Roach, who retired Feb. 29, according to a Sheriff’s Office internal affairs report obtained by The Times. According to GBI Region 8 Special Agent in-Charge Kim Williams, the case is still open and under investigation.
Fireworks displays were aplenty in Northeast Georgia this year, and apparently they were pretty popular.