Schools are closed in a handful of counties in the northeast Georgia mountains: a weekend of snow and ice makes for treacherous travel and a day out of class for students and teachers in White, Habersham, and Rabun counties. The Georgia Power Company and the EMCs say they were working more than 6,000 power outages overnight because of the weekend winter storm. There is the chance of more snow for the region today.From WSB TV… More rain into Monday morning could make roads even more dangerous during your commute. A Winter Storm Warning is in effect for Union, Towns, Dawson, Lumpkin, White, Hall and Banks counties until late Sunday night. A Winter Storm Warning for Rabun and Habersham counties has been extended until Monday. Channel 2's Chris Jose learned hundreds of Georgia Power customers are in the dark Sunday night in northeast Georgia. Residents know it could take a few days until power is restored, people Jose spoke with said they are thankful this winter storm didn't cause more problems. “If it was a little bit more, it could’ve came across the house, and it was so big and so wide, it would’ve taken the whole house out,” said Bonnie Edmonds. Due to the weather conditions, a number of school districts have closed or canceled classes. Rabun County Schools, Habersham County Schools and White County Schools have canceled classes tomorrow. Rabun County school employees are being advised to attend work at 10 a.m. or when it is safe to do so. In White County, there is a winter weather warning until noon on Monday. Our Severe Weather Team 2 meteorologists have been tracking this system as it developed over the last week. Severe Weather Team 2 Meteorologist Brian Monahan said that some areas in the north saw wintry mix and some ice. Much of the metro received just a cold rain. Channel 2’s Alyssa Hyman traveled to Pickens County and found families without power stopping by a gas station for reinforcements. The night manager there said they were busy all day. “Everybody’s buying everything between water and snacks because the power is off up through the mountains,” said Becky Hathcock. Hyman saw crews working to restore power lines and poles ice and wind brought down in the mountains. Families aren’t in the clear just yet. Pickens County emergency officials are preparing for a possible second night of dangerous conditions. 'If the forecasted temp does drop into the 20s as forecasts all of this moisture could start to refreeze in a lot of areas,' said Kris Stancil with the Pickens County Sheriff's Office.
The University of North Georgia releases the results of an economic impact study: UNG says it left a $620 million fiscal footprint on the state in fiscal year 2017. UNG, with its campuses in Blue Ridge, Cumming, Dahlonega, Gainesville, and Oconee County, says it had a regional employment impact of 6,769 jobs for the year. 'This study is a timely reminder of the significant role UNG has in advancing economic growth and prosperity in the areas we serve,' President Bonita C. Jacobs said. 'The report complements our ongoing work with industry and community partners to increase educational attainment and regional economic development efforts that enhance this region.' Most of UNG's $620 million economic impact consists of initial spending by the university for salaries and benefits, operating supplies and expenses, and other budgeted expenditures. Included in UNG’s economic impact is $248 million in spending by UNG’s nearly 19,000 students, which alone created 3,721 jobs in the study area. On average, for every dollar spent by the university, an additional 52 cents is generated for the region. The study areas for UNG included Banks, Barrow, Clarke, Dawson, Forsyth, Greene, Gwinnett, Habersham, Hall, Jackson, Lumpkin, Morgan, Oconee, Oglethorpe, Union, Walton, and White counties, communities where UNG campuses are located or contiguous communities. The 17 county study areas were defined based on commuting data obtained from the Residence County to Workplace County Flows for Georgia, compiled from U.S. Census Bureau. As a whole, the public colleges and universities that comprised the USG in 2017 had an impact of $16.8 billion on the state.
A Hall County mother is indicted in the death of her baby: the infant child of 36 year-old Amanda Oakes was found in a hotel freezer in Dothan Alabama, a gruesome discovery made this past June. 28 year-old Carlton Mathis of Gainesville is facing a murder charge in the case. From Ann Smajstrla, Cox Media Group National Content Desk The baby, Curtis James Oakes, died while being cared for by Mathis, the Dothan Eagle reported. The mother told police her son's body was placed in the freezer when the smell became unbearable. Police say the couple left the motel for Florida, purposely leaving the infant's body behind. Oakes and her daughter returned to the motel and spent the night with the infant's corpse. The baby was placed in the freezer shortly thereafter. Oakes told investigators she and Mathis had been under the influence of illegal drugs, the newspaper reported. Investigators from Georgia contacted Dothan police in reference to a possible infant death, and authorities learned Oakes and Mathis had fled to central Florida. The couple was located June 4, in Bronson, Florida. Both were arrested after a standoff. It wasn't until after Oakes and Mathis were arrested that police learned the location of the baby. Police said the infant's body had likely been in the freezer five or six days when they recovered it. Mathis remains jailed in Florida on several charges. Oakes will be arraigned Jan. 8 in Houston County, Alabama, where she will enter a guilty or not guilty plea.