General news and features
“It’s a basic gut thing: Are we going to let schools be parents or are we going to let parents be parents?”
- Rep. Rick Jasperse
State Rep. Rick Jasperse introduced legislation last week in the Georgia General Assembly to repeal the SHAPE Act which requires students in public schools to be weighed and their body fat calculated and reported to parents.
Schools are expected to begin weighing students this academic period. Jasperse, noted his house bill would not come to a vote this year and definitely not in time to stop anything during this academic year.
“More a stupid choice than a violent tendency,” says sheriff
The two Pickens High School students involved in the pipe bomb case did not have any plans to use it on other students, the school or any public area, according to the investigation of Pickens sheriff officers Wednesday night and Thursday morning.
Sheriff Donnie Craig said this was more a case of “a stupid decision than a violent tendency.” Craig and a contingent of uniformed officers were on campus Thursday to answer questions and re-assure students and parents that everything at the high school “was as normal as possible.”
Craig said the two students, both 17-year-olds, have been arrested in connection with the small pipe bomb that was discovered after one student returned home from school Wednesday with it.
The sheriff said it was a case of one kid “basically tinkering and another kid thinking it was pretty cool.”
The first student brought it to school to give to the second student who had planned to take it home and “see what it would do,” the sheriff said.
“There were no threats and no plans, [for using it against other students],” the sheriff said.
Sheriff officers and nearby agencies thoroughly searched the school, buses and the residences of both students Wednesday night but didn’t find any other explosive materials.
Craig described the pipe bomb as a fairly simple, small device that would have been ignited by lighting a fuse.
“The only person that would have been hurt was the kid trying to set it off,” the sheriff said.
The sheriff said any member of the community could call his office at 706-253-8900 if they had further questions or concerns.
The Pickens Sheriff Office announced Thursday morning that a second student had been arrested with charges stemming from the pipe bomb that was found at the residence of a Pickens High student Wednesday afternoon.
A press release from the sheriff Thursday morning stated, "The device was located at the residence of a student of Pickens High School. Deputies arrived at the residence and identified what appeared to be a pipe bomb. It was discovered that one student made the bomb at home and brought it to school to give to the other student who was planning on taking it home to detonate it on his parent’s property."
Authorities arrested both students. Both students, age 17, are currently being held by the Pickens Sheriff’s Office and charges are pending in the case."
At left, the four Pickens homes that were destroyed during last week's fires.
Four structure fires in the past week, with at least two intentionally set, made an unusual and hectic week for local fire crews, Fire Marshal Curtis Clark said Friday.
“It is rare to have four fires here that close together,” he said. “Having (at least two) intentional ones is also a rarity.”
No injuries to homeowners or fire crews were reported at any of the blazes.
“Each had a different cause and stemmed from different sets of circumstances that didn’t tie into each other or any recent fires,” Fire Marshal Clark said. “Each came with unique circumstances.”
For a breakdown of the fire crew’s busy week get the print edition or sign up for our online edition by following this link.
PHS grad student Stephen Ball used Google’s Latitude app to help the Georgia Tech Police Department apprehend a laptop thief.
In New York the NYPD is learning to use the Find My iPhone app to track down thieves.
An app called Crime Stoppers allows people to submit tips to help police and investigators catch criminals.
Then just a few weeks ago PHS grad Stephen Ball, now a computer science major at Georgia Tech, jumped on the busting-criminals-with-technology bandwagon using Google’s Latitude app. Because of Ball’s quick, techno-savvy thinking, thousands of dollars in stolen goods were quickly returned to their owners.
On Sunday, Feb. 5, four Ga. Tech students, including Ball’s girlfriend, reported their laptops, purses and other articles missing from an unattended room in the Ga. Tech Student Center.
“Once Charlotte told me that her stuff was missing, the first thing I thought to do was check Google Latitude and see when the last time it was updated,” Ball said. “ Unfortunately, it was only set to update every hour. I went to the student center to meet Charlotte, and while she was cancelling her credit cards I was continuously refreshing Google Latitude.”
Google’s Latitude app is a GPS-style application that tracks your phone's location and allows you to make your location visible to approved contacts.
Applications, or “apps” on a cell phone give the phone additional function and use. Apps allow people to surf the net, blog, play games, turn the phone into a calculator, study for their SATs, track heart rate, and the list goes on.