North Georgia's Black Bear Population Growing & Expanding

Recent siting of a small black bear off Highway 100 in Chattooga County

The bear population in north Georgia is exploding- and wildlife experts say you can expect more human-bear encounters to result. North Georgia has a healthy, growing bear population with an estimated population size of over 4,000 – up from just over 2,000 a few years ago. 

Adam Hammond is a bear biologist for the Georgia Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Wildlife Resource Division and says the North Georgia population is growing at an average rate of 11 percent a year. They base that on such things as bear hunting statistics, sightings and visits to bait stations DNR sets out.

While bears can survive just about anywhere, even in urban settings, they do best in the wild and forested areas.

Bears’ range and the human range are both expanding. The Georgia DNR says leave them alone if you spot them and they’ll move on, also keep them away from food sources such as garbage.  Hammond says that if people see a bear in their neighborhood – keep your distance and if possible, remove any food sources, like a pet bowl or bird feeder, anything that might encourage the bear to stay in an area where it finds food.


Governor Announces Georgia's AAA Bond Rating

Governor Nathan Deal announced on Friday that Georgia again earned a rating of AAA, with a stable outlook, from each of the three main credit rating agencies — Moody’s, Fitch and Standard & Poor’s. Of the states that issue general obligation bonds, only nine currently meet this standard. These ratings resulted in low interest rates during the sale of state general obligation bonds to fund $1.32 billion for new projects.

The credit rating agencies cited the strength of Georgia’s economy with a positive employment trend, growth of the state’s rainy day fund, a balanced approach to the state’s primary revenue sources and consistent funding of obligations as factors contributing to the AAA ratings.

The state achieved rates of 1.88 percent for the five-year tax-exempt bonds, 2.26 percent for the 10-year tax-exempt bonds and 3.08 percent for the 20-year tax-exempt bonds, for a blended rate of 3.01 percent for the tax-exempt bonds. Some bonds were sold as federally taxable bonds, with those rates at 2.65 percent for the five-year taxable bonds, 3.02 percent for the 10-year bonds, and 3.62 percent for the 20-year taxable bonds, for a blended rate of 3.54 percent for the federally taxable bonds. The interest on all the bonds is exempt from Georgia state income taxation for in-state residents.

The Georgia State Financing and Investment Commission (GSFIC), which is responsible for issuing the bonds, approved the sale at its meeting today. The greatest amount of funding will provide $485.115 million for higher education (the University System of Georgia, Georgia Military College and the Technical College System of Georgia), followed by $396.15 million for K-12 schools and $212.475 million for transportation projects.

The bonds also will provide $85.02 million for economic development and water/sewer projects, $70.535 million for other projects such as local libraries and public health facilities, $35.8 million for public safety projects and $35 million for the Savannah Harbor Expansion Project. A complete list of funded projects is available on the GSFIC website.


DA Seeks Money Found In Drug Raid

The Lookout Mountain Judicial Circuit District Attorney is seeking to seize over $8,000 from a Chattooga County couple that were found to have drugs in their possession during their arrest by drug agents.

The Summerville News  reports that the district attorney’s office filed a lawsuit last Thursday in Chattooga County Superior Court to seize $8,837.44 from Antonio Tremain Ashley and Samantha R. Trammell. T

The money was found by the Chattooga County Sheriff’s Department during a drug raid on April 24.

“The search of the premises resulted in the seizure of marijuana, in excess of four ounces, which was discovered inside two ammunition cans located in the bedroom closet of the residence. . .” according to the lawsuit.

Ecstasy, a mind-altering drug, was also found in a kitchen cabinet in the home.

"Hands Free Law" Starts July 1st

Georgia House Bill 673, which is better known as the Hands-Free Georgia Act, was passed by the Georgia General Assembly earlier this year and signed into law in May by Governor Nathan Deal. WZQZ-AM1180 Local News spoke with one of the sponsors of that bill, State Representative Eddie Lumsden (R-Armuchee).  We will broadcasting the complete interview with Rep. Lumsden coming up this afternoon following the noon news.  You can also hear the complete interview below:


Trion Announces Fourth Of July Closing

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The Town of Trion has announced their closing schedule for the Fourth of July Holiday:

Olive Garden Employee Helps Hospice Families

Crystal Thacker, a server at Rome’s Olive Garden, has made it her mission to help families served by Heyman HospiceCare at Floyd.

Thacker often spearheads food drives with the help of her co-workers to provide non-perishable items for the families. She and co-worker Andrew Williams recently stopped by Heyman HospiceCare to drop off several boxes of food.

She also periodically will provide a single family with a full meal and even the goods for a movie night or game night, complete with munchies and drinks.

Thacker said she started doing this because she realizes how hard it can be for families dealing with losing a loved one.

Casey Blankenship, Program Director for Hospice, thanked Thacker for her generosity.

“Many of our families find themselves going through a culture shift,” Blankeship said. “One family member is sick and often the other family members lose time away from work to act as caregivers. Economically, it can be very difficult. This food is really appre-ciated.”

Heyman HospiceCare at Floyd provides compassionate, comfort-oriented care to pa-tients with a life expectancy of less than six months. The service area includes Floyd, Chattooga, Polk, Bartow and Gordon counties.

WWII Veterans Dinner In July

Each passing year, the number of World War II Veterans gets smaller.  According to the United States Veterans Administration, over 16 million American troops served in World War II, but as of last year – there were just a little over 500,000 of the veterans – who are mostly in their 80’s and 90’s – left living.   Chattooga County will honor our living World War II Veterans at a special event in July.

Chattooga County World War II Veterans are invited to attend a reunion luncheon to be held on July, 19, 2018 at the Chattooga County Civic Center in Summerville.  Lunch will be served at 12 noon with a brief program to follow.  Veterans are welcome to bring items from the war years to display.
Each veteran is welcome to bring their spouse, or a family member or caretaker.  All who served during World War II are encouraged to attend and visit with others who served during this historic time.
Organizers of the event are Barbara Reece, Odell Anderson, Probate Judge Jon Payne, and the Chatooga County Extension Service.  Numerous businesses and volunteers are assisting in order to make this a special event for our “Greatest Generation.”
For more information, please call Odell Anderson at 706-397-2394 or Barbara Reece at 706-862-2657.

Fatal Accident In Gore

One person has died in a two vehicle crash that happened Saturday afternoon on Highway 27 in Gore.  According to Chattooga County Sheriff Mark Schrader, the accident was between a Chevrolet Silverado and a tractor-trailer.  We will have more information as it becomes available.

Arrest Report - Saturday - June 23, 2018

Here is the latest arrest report from the Chattooga County Sheriff’s Office.

Water Theft Reported By City Of Summerville

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Three Summerville residents were charged with stealing water from the City of Summerville this week, according to reports from the Summerville Police Department.

Officers say that the City of Summerville Water Department reported the theft at 159 Alexander Street in Summerville.  Water Department employees say that the three adults charged had stolen a water meter in the box that was supplying water to the residence.

Those charged were twenty-four-year-old Tyler Lee Gordy, thirty-three-year-old Misty M. Bryant and fifty-four-year-old Mary Ruth Bryant.

The three were cited with diversion of services.



Car Stolen In Georgia Turns Up In Cherokee County, Alabama

Cherokee County, Alabama Sheriff’s Department Investigators say that they have recovered two stolen cars this week, in two separate and unrelated incidents.

One of those vehicles was stolen from Paulding County, Georgia.  That car was recovered from a location on County Road 472 near the Whorton Community in Cherokee County.

The second vehicle, a 2013 Chevrolet Spark was recovered on Cedar Bluff Road in Centre.  The 2000 GMC Van was stolen from Jefferson County, Alabama.  Thirty-five-year-old Paul Lamar Shields was taken into custody in connection with that incident and charged with receiving stolen property.


Golf Tournament Fundraiser In August For Santa In Uniform

Santa in Uniform has announced a fund-raiser golf tournament coming up in August.

The golf tournament will be held at the Trion Golf Course on August 4th

Please join us August 4, 2018 for the Santa In Uniform Golf Tournament to raise money for Christmas for the kids of Chattooga County. If you’d like to donate, sponsor, or play please contact Robbie (706) 506-1475, Trey (706) 859-1717 or Cindy (706) 506-9515.

Kindergarten Registration For Leroy Massey Elementary School

If you have a child that is ready for kindergarten and will be attending Leroy Massey Elementary School, here is all the information you need about Kindergarten Registration which will be held on Wednesday, July 25, 2018:

AgGeorgia Farm Credit to Offer Free Financial Training for Local Farmers

Northwest Georgia farmers have an opportunity to attend a free, nationally award-winning financial training workshop in August.

The program, AGAware®, has been developed with the purpose of promoting the next generation of farmers by educating them in the many aspects of running a successful agricultural operation.  AgGeorgia will be hosting the AGAware workshop Friday, August 10th at the Thornton Recreation Center in Rome.  This is the fourth year AgGeorgia has offered the program, with another class being held in July in Hull.

The program is tailored for young, beginning, small, and/or minority farmers.  Young farmers are defined as those 35 years of age or younger; beginning farmers are defined as those having 10 years or less of experience; and small farmers are defined as those having annual gross agricultural sales of $250,000 or less.

Topics covered in the program include: Balance Sheets, Income Statements, Family Finance & Family Budgeting, Risk Management, Accrual Income, Applying for Financing and Preparing a Business Plan with bonus video topics on Record Keeping, Marketing, and Technology available for continued education. The AGAware educational program is certified for FSA Direct Borrower Training Credit.

The free training is scheduled from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., and a free lunch is provided. 

August 10

Thornton Recreation Center

102 North Floyd Park Rd

Rome, GA 30165

Those who would like to attend can register at

Elm Street Resident Says Alarm Company Notified Her Of Attempted Burglar

An Elm Street, Summerville resident told Summerville Police this week that someone tried to break into her house.

According to a police report, Carrie Nicholson of an Elm Street address told a responding officer that her alarm company called to tell her that someone had tried to break into her residence.  Ms. Nicholson’s back door was damaged during the burglary attempt.

A police officer who responded said that the back door to the house had been either kicked or pushed forcefully.  According to the officer, the trim around the door was damaged.

Police say that the Ms. Nicholson did have a security camera at the house.  The attempted burglary is under investigation by the Summerville Police Department.



Battlefield Farmers Market "Kids Day" Tomorrow

The Battlefield Farmers Market in Rock Spring will be having “Kids Day” coming up tomorrow, Saturday, June 23rd.

“Kids Day” will feature educational programs about the importance of honey bees and other pollinators.

The Battlefield Farmers Market is located just behind the Walker County Civic Center off of Highway 27 in Rock Spring.  The market is open Wednesdays from 3 to 6 PM and on Saturdays from 8 AM until noon.

Sheriff's Office Releases Report On Suspect Charged With Rape

The Chattooga County Sheriff’s Office released the incident report about a man being arrested on charges of rape and false imprisonment.  The incident occurred last week on Fish Hatchery Road. WZQZ-AM1180 received the report on Friday morning, June 22, 2018.

According to the report, the victim told responding officers that she was traveling home to Indiana from Florida and got lost and wound up in Chattooga County.  The victim said that George Walter Presley came up to her at a gas station and told her she needed air in her tire and to follow him and he would help her.  The victim said Presley first took her to “canyon falls” and told her he had a flashlight with a taser in it and would harm her if she didn’t do as he said.

Presley is then believed to have taken the victim to his residence on Fish Hatchery Road.  The victim says that Presley kept her, along with her dog, in a back bedroom while she was there.  On Thursday morning, June 14, Presley allowed the victim to go outside to smoke.  It was at that point that the victim ran to a neighbor’s house and got help.  The neighbor told responding deputies that Presley came onto their screened in porch and the neighbor ordered Presley to leave.  Presley got into his vehicle and left and was later captured in LaFayette.

Deputies took the victim to the Sexual Assault Center in Rome for treatment.

Presley, a convicted felon who had served time for child-rape, was arrested and charged with rape and false imprisonment.

Chance For Thunderstorms Friday Afternoon & Evening

The National Weather Service in Peachtree City, Georgia says that Chattooga County and Northwest Georgia has a chance for thunderstorms this afternoon and into the evening hours.  Some of those storms could produce lightning, high winds and there is the possibility for hail associated with these storms. Forecasters say we have an “enhanced” chance for thunderstorms with the possibility some could become severe. Daytime heating could produce strong storms but the good news it looks like the storms will be quick moving which will lessen the chance for any flash-flooding.  The best window for thunderstorms this afternoon looks to be between 3 PM and 7 PM.

Friday: Showers and thunderstorms likely, mainly after 2pm. Partly sunny, with a high near 86. Southwest wind 5 to 15 mph, with gusts as high as 20 mph. Chance of precipitation is 70%. New rainfall amounts between a quarter and half of an inch possible.

Friday Night: Showers and thunderstorms likely before 9pm, then showers likely and possibly a thunderstorm between 9pm and 10pm, then a chance of showers and thunderstorms after 10pm. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 69. Southwest wind 5 to 10 mph becoming light after midnight. Winds could gust as high as 15 mph. Chance of precipitation is 60%. New rainfall amounts between a quarter and half of an inch possible.

Saturday: Showers and thunderstorms likely, mainly between 11am and 4pm. Partly sunny, with a high near 86. Southwest wind 5 to 10 mph. Chance of precipitation is 60%.

Saturday Night: A 30 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms, mainly before 8pm. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 70. Southwest wind around 5 mph becoming calm in the evening.

Sunday: A 30 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms, mainly after 2pm. Partly sunny, with a high near 90.

Sunday Night: A 30 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms. Partly cloudy, with a low around 71.

Monday: A 50 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms. Partly sunny, with a high near 90.

Monday Night: A 20 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms. Partly cloudy, with a low around 69.

Tuesday: A 30 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms. Mostly sunny, with a high near 90.

Tuesday Night: A 20 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 70.

Wednesday: A 40 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms. Partly sunny, with a high near 89.

Wednesday Night: A 20 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms. Partly cloudy, with a low around 70.

Thursday: A 40 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms. Partly sunny, with a high near 91.