Rome Council Approves Sex Business Ordinance

The Rome City Commission approved an ordinance on Tuesday afternoon that would regulate sexually oriented businesses. An adult oriented business is attempting to obtain a business license to open a store in downtown Rome, which is what prompted the action.

The measure passed with a unanimous vote and forces sexually oriented businesses and their employees to obtain a special license, similar to a liquor license. It also forces businesses to close at Midnight to 6 A.M; and limits their locations to more than 750 feet from a church or school, as well as 300 feet from a business that sells alcohol.

The Love Library has applied for a business license to operate in downtown Rome.  They have hired an Atlanta law firm to represent them in the fight for their business license.

It seems that both Trion and Summerville were one step ahead of Rome when it comes to regulating sexually oriented business.  Both municipalities already have ordinances in place that would restrict adult businesses and force them to obtain a special, and expensive, license to operate.  WZQZ News checked out both Trion and Summerville ordinances, and found that most of the provisions that Rome is attempting to enact retroactively, have already been addressed here.

Summerville City Manager Janice Galloway said, “I hope that we are already covered with the ordinance we have in place.  We don’t need that kind of business in Summerville.”

 

Sunday Fire In Summerville

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According to a report released yesterday by the Chattooga County Sheriff’s Department, local firefighters and law enforcement responded to a house fire on Sunday.

The fire was reported shortly before 8 PM.  The responding deputy spoke with the owner of the home, Jane Rollins and her ex-husband Johnny Rollins.  Ms. Rollins said that she and her ex-husband own the home, but he is the one that lived at the 177 Hartline Street residence, along with their daughter and her boyfriend.

Mr. Rollins said that they had left around 5:20 on Sunday afternoon to go to LaFayette, and had left the dryer running.  The fire started in the utility room.

The home was insured, according to the home owners.

Chattooga Schools Partner With Amazon & "Purposity"

The Chattooga County School System has recently partnered with Amazon and Purposity Program (purpose + generosity) to help students in need.  Purposity is a program that helps community members find purpose through generosity and gives them the opportunity to anonymously help students through an online portal.

The program gives a way to connect people who can help with the people who need help.  For students, it provides a way for people in the community to help meet the basic needs for them to be able to focus and do their best work.

Chattooga County Schools Assistant Superintendent Jared Hosmer says, “It is a wonderful opportunity we as a community have to help a student in need from the palm of our hand.” If a studnet has a need, the need can be placed anonymously on Purposity with a short explanation and sent out in a weekly text.  Community members who have signed up for Purposity will then have the opportunity to purchase the item through Amazon.  The item will then be sent directly to the school to be given directly to the student.

In order for Chattooga County Schools to participate, they need 500 people to sign up for the program.  If you are interested in signing up for Purposity go to https://www.purposity.com .  All you have to do is enter your cell phone number and you will be able to choose Chattooga County School System.

There is no obligation to purchase anything in signing up.  You will receive the weekly list and will be able to help the needs you choose.

If you need more information, you can contact Mr. Hosmer at 706-857-3447 or jhosmer@chattooga.k12.ga.us

 

Baseball Signups Continue At Summerville Rec

Baseball, Softball and T-Ball registration has begun at the Summerville Recreation Department and will continue through Thursday, February 28. The age control date for Baseball, Tot Ball and T-Ball is May 1.


The age control date for Softball is September 1. We will be offering the following age groups:

Ages 3-4 Coed – Tot Ball
Ages 5-6 Coed – Coach Pitch
Ages 7-8 Baseball – Coach Pitch
Ages 7-8 Softball – Coach Pitch
Ages 9-10 Baseball – Live Arm
Ages 9-10 Softball – Pitching Machine
Ages 11-12 Baseball – Live Arm
Ages 11-12 Softball – Live Arm
Ages 13-14 Baseball – Live Arm

There is a $25.00 registration fee for county residents and a $10 registration fee for city residents.
Participants will need to have a copy of their birth certificate on file with the Recreation Center in order to
participate. For any questions, give us a call at 706-859-0910.

Drug Task Force Arrests Several

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The Lookout Mountain Drug Task Force reported a busy day on Valentines Day as they arrested several for drug possession and other charges.

Agents arrested forty-nine-year-old Kimberly Denise Teems and charged her with possession of methamphetamine and drug related objects.  She was also served with a warrant for theft by taking.  That arrest was made in Rossville.  While dealing with Ms. Teems, agents also arrested her mother, sixty-seven-year-old Pamela Diane Kilgore and charged her with hindering apprehension of a criminal.

The Drug Task Force also arrested thirty-one-year-old Samantha Dean Thorton after finding a pistol concealed inside her bra.  She was additionally charged with possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute and possession of Alprazolam pills along with possession of a firearm and use of a phone during the commission of a crime.

Debit Card Fraud Reported

 

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A Chattooga County resident reported a case of debit card fraud to the sheriff’s department, and is accusing an employee of the local McDonald’s restaurant in connection with the incident.

The complainant told a deputy that they had used their debit card at the local McDonald’s on February 15th.  The next day the complainant looked at their bank account and saw where his card had been used twice at the GB&T Store in Trion.  The two transactions were for $40 each.  The complainant said that he went to the store in Trion and spoke with a clerk who said that a young man had come in and used a card to by $40 worth of lottery tickets twice – totaling $80.

The clerk knew the suspect by name and it turns out the suspect is an employee at the Summerville McDonald’s.  The clerk said that when the suspect returned a third time to use the card, she refused to sell him anything because she suspected the card might have been stolen.

According to the complainant, the suspect was working at McDonald’s the same night his card went missing.  The complainant has since canceled the debit card and the case is being investigated by the Chattooga County Sheriff’s Department.

Rep. Lumsden's Weekly Legislative Report

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State Representative Eddie Lumsden has released his weekly legislative report.  Rep. Lumsden says that the House unanimously passed House Bill 23 to expand internet access in rural Georgia.  Lumsden says, “Broadband is essential to almost every factor of economic development, and this legislation is a tremendous step in the right direction to help spur economic development in
rural Georgia.”  Rep. Lumsden also talks about the passage of “Marsey’s Law” by the Georgia House, dealing with early detection of breast cancer and the school bus bill that passed and was signed into law by Governor Kemp.  You can see the complete report below:

My colleagues and I returned to the Gold Dome on Monday, February 11 for the fifth
week of the 2019 legislative session. This week, the House convened on the House floor for a
five-day legislative work week to continue to pass meaningful legislation for the good of every
Georgian. We are now over one-fourth of the way through this legislative session, but we still
have a great deal of work ahead of us.

The House kicked off the week on Monday with the unanimous passage of House Bill 23
to expand internet access in rural Georgia. HB 23 is a product of the House Rural Development
Council’s recommendations and would allow electric membership corporations (EMCs) and
their affiliates to provide broadband services. HB 23 would prohibit cross-subsidization between
an EMC’s broadband service and its electric or natural gas services, and it would also require
that yearly audits be conducted to ensure that cross-subsidization does not take place. Lastly, the
bill would prohibit EMCs from disconnecting broadband service if a customer fails to pay their
electric or gas bills or vice versa. Subsequently, if HB 23 is signed into law, EMCs could apply
for federal grants and loans through the USDA’s Rural eConnectivity Pilot Program (ReConnect
Program), which a total of $600 million to aid improvement efforts for access to quality
broadband services. Broadband is essential to almost every factor of economic development, and
this legislation is a tremendous step in the right direction to help spur economic development in
rural Georgia.

In addition to passing legislation to improve broadband access in our rural communities,
the House also passed a bill this week that would provide a pathway for deployment of small cell
and 5G technology in public rights-of-way in Georgia. Over the past seven months, the House
has worked with advocates, area experts and local authorities to craft a bill that would support
the growing consumer-driven demand for high-speed wireless access while also preserving the
ability of our local governments to protect historic districts and community aesthetics. Due to the
overwhelming concentration of cellular data in our urban areas, House Bill 184, or the
Streamlining Wireless Facilities and Antennas Act, would allow wireless service providers to
install “stealthy” small-cell wireless towers throughout cities to offer greater wireless coverage.
Starting in urban areas, this groundbreaking technology would eventually deploy 5G streaming
services to all of Georgia using small boxes that are attached to utility poles in public areas,
providing coverage up to a 1,000 feet in any direction of the poles. HB 184 would create a
streamlined permitting process for small cell technology, establish application and attachment
fees and define the rules of installation, repairs or improvements to the towers that will house
this cutting-edge technology. This legislation would allow our state to move forward in
deploying small cell wireless technology on a larger scale to further enhance economic
opportunities across our state.

Also this week, my colleagues and I overwhelmingly passed House Bill 62, or “Margie’s
Law,” to assist in the early detection and treatment of breast cancer. This bipartisan measure
passed by a vote of 166-1 and would require mammography examiners to notify patients when
dense breast tissue is found. The bill also encourages women to speak with their health care
provider about whether other supplemental tests in addition to a mammogram may be
appropriate, based on their individual risk. While dense breast tissue is common and not always
abnormal, it can make it more difficult to detect cancer through a mammogram and can increase
the risk for breast cancer. Findings show that dense breast tissue is detected during annual exams
in at least 40 percent of woman over the age of 40. If signed into law, Georgia would join 30
other states that have passed similar legislation to allow women to become active participants in
this area of their health and help save lives from breast cancer.

The House took up another very important measure this week to clarify existing law
regarding when drivers can or cannot pass stopped school buses. Senate Bill 25 passed
unanimously and clarifies ambiguous language that was enacted as a result of House 978 that
passed last year that allowed drivers to pass a stopped school bus when traveling in the opposite
direction when a turn lane is present. This caused confusion on the roadways and created safety
issues for our school children. SB 25 reduces this risk and protects our school bus riders by
making it clear that drivers can only pass a stopped school bus on the other side of the road when
the roadways are divided by a grass median, unpaved area or physical barrier. Governor Kemp
recognized that swift action was needed to resolve this issue and signed SB 25 into law on
Friday, February 15, and the bill went into immediate effect to protect the lives of our children.
Over the last two years, the House has supported Georgia’s brave military service
members and our veterans by passing 23 military-friendly bills. To build upon these efforts, we
passed House Bill 25 this week to provide financial relief for active duty members of the U.S.
military, Georgia National Guard or Georgia Air National Guard. This bipartisan legislation
would allow over 100,000 active service members in Georgia to terminate contractual
obligations with a provider of subscription services like television, video, and audio
programming services; internet access services; or health spa or gym services. To qualify,
service members must be on active duty, receive orders of deployment to a location that does not
support these same exact services and give a 30 day notice. Inspired by similar legislation
implemented in 18 other states, the House has worked alongside federal officials to craft
legislation that would alleviate some of the financial burdens for those who protect our great
state and country.

The House completed the week on Friday, February 15 by passing House Bill 63 to allow
health care providers to request exceptions to step therapy protocols to provide proper
medication to patients when it is medically necessary. Currently, insurance companies in Georgia
often use step therapy, which is a process that requires a patient to try and fail one or more
medications preferred by their insurer before receiving coverage for the medication that their
doctor originally prescribed. This process restricts a patient’s access to quality care and prolongs
ineffective treatments by preventing an individual from starting the treatment that their doctor
thinks is best, and physicians cannot override this process. This bill would allow physicians to
submit a step therapy exemption or appeal if the required prescription drug will cause an adverse
reaction or physical or mental harm to the patient, is expected to be ineffective, the patient has
tried the required prescription drug or the patient’s condition is stable on a prescription drug
previously selected by his or her practitioner. HB 63 also ensures that patients would not have to
begin a step therapy process for a medication after switching insurance providers. This bipartisan
legislation would help patients who are suffering from serious illnesses by expediting this
process and increasing access to critical treatment options.

The House will return to Capitol Hill for Legislative Day 17 on Tuesday, February 19,
where we will convene for a joint session to hear the State of the Judiciary address.

As always, I welcome you to contact my office with questions or concerns as we make our way through the
legislative session. My Capitol office number is 404-656-5087, and my email address is

Eddie.Lumsden@house.ga.gov. Please contact me anytime.

As always, thank you for allowing me to serve as your state representative.

Eddie Lumsden

Sample Ballot For Upcoming SPLOST Vote

A sample ballot (see below) is available for you to look at if you plan to vote in the upcoming Special Election in Chattooga County.  The one and only issue on the ballot is a vote on the Special Local Option Sales Tax (SPOLST).  This 1% sales tax is used by the county government and local municipalities for specific infrastructure improvements.  This SPLOST is separate from the 1% sales tax that is used for education.  The special election will be held on Tuesday, March 19, 2019.

The last day for anyone to register to vote or change his or her name and/or address is Tuesday, February 19.  Anyone who wants to register or update information in person should come to the Chattooga County Registrar Office located at 10017 Commerce Street in Summerville.  They are open Monday through Friday from 8:30 am – 12:00 pm and 1:00 pm to 5:00 pm.  You can also go online to register to vote at RegisterToVote.sos.ga.gov anytime.

Advance voting will run from February 25 – March 15, Monday – Friday, 8:30 a.m. – 5:00 pm.  The advance voting location is the registrar office at 10017 Commerce Street in Summerville.

Absentee ballots can be mailed from February 25 – March 15.  Request forms for an absentee ballot may be obtained from the registrar office or found online on the My Voter Page.  Requests will be accepted accept by email (chattoogaregistrar@gmail.com), fax (706-857-0739), by mail (PO Box 165, Summerville, GA  30747 – 0165), and in person (10017 Commerce Street in Summerville).  These ballots must be mailed to the voters via the United States Postal Service, regardless of how the request is submitted.  Absentee By Mail ballots must be received in the registrar office by 7 pm on March 19.

Flood Warning Issued For Chattooga River

The National Weather Service in Peachtree City, Georgia has issued a Flood Warning for the Chattooga River.

Flood Warning
National Weather Service Peachtree City GA
239 PM EST Tue Feb 19 2019

...The National Weather Service in Peachtree City has issued a Flood
Warning for the following rivers in Georgia...

  Chattooga River near Summerville affecting Chattooga County


.Recent heavy rainfall has caused significant runoff into streams and
rivers which will cause flooding in some areas.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS...

All persons with interests along the river should monitor the latest
forecasts...and be prepared to take necessary precautions to protect
life and property.

The latest stage data was furnished in cooperation with the United
States Geological Survey.

Arrest Report - Tuesday - February 19, 2019

Here is the latest arrest report from the Chattooga County Sheriff’s Office for Tuesday, February 19, 2019:

Chattooga FFA Students Advance To State Competition

Jesse Blalock (left), Jorja Cooper (top right) Mia Crider (bottom left)

Several Chattooga County Agriculture students have advanced to state competition.  The students have submitted their “Supervised Agricultural Experience” for judging.

The supervised agricultural experience (SAE) program involves real-world agricultural activities done by students outside of planned classroom and laboratory time. SAE’s provide a method for students to receive practical career skills in a part of agriculture in which they are interested.

Jesse Blalock – Jesse’s project is in Agriculture repair and maintenance entrepreneurship, Jesse got 1st in region and is one of the select few to make it to state competition.

Jorja Cooper – Jorja’s project is in Dairy Production – placement, Jorja got 1st in region and Is one of the select few to make it to state competition

Mia Crider – Mia’s project is in Agriscience – plant systems, Mia got 2nd place in region and will be awarded for this accomplishment at the Area 1 FFA banquet in May.

Bill Would Protect Those Who Break In Hot Cars To Save Pets

A Georgia lawmaker is seeking protection for people who break into cars to rescue pets in hot weather.

State Senator Kay Kirkpatrick is proposing legislation that would protect people from a lawsuit if they damage a vehicle to rescue an animal in danger, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported The idea came out of a Senate committee studying whether laws are needed to regulate support or service animals, said the Republican, who is from the Atlanta suburb of Marietta.

Kirkpatrick is adding language to an existing law protecting people who rescue children from hot cars, she said. It was passed after the 2015 death of 22-month-old Cooper Harris. Cooper was killed by his father Justin Ross Harris in a hot car in Cobb County. Harris, who moved to Georgia from Tuscaloosa, Alabama, was sentenced to life without parole.

Kirkpatrick was put on the committee because she has a 14-year-old golden doodle therapy dog named Dobie, she said. While researching current laws, “I started noticing that there was nothing in there for someone trying to rescue an animal in distress,” she said. In her bill, anyone who breaks a window to rescue an animal in distress must also call 911 to be immune from civil liability, the Atlanta newspaper reported. “That would mitigate the possibility of someone just kidnapping an animal” or breaking a window and later claiming it was to save an animal, she said.

State Sen. Michael “Doc” Rhett, D-Marietta, has proposed similar legislation. That bill would make law enforcement officers not liable for breaking a vehicle window to save a person or pet.

Macon Telegraph

Vent Damaged At Summerville Home

A case of trespassing led to a report of damage to home on Kelly Street in Summerville.

According to a report release Monday by the Summerville Police Department, Linda Lawrence reported that someone had damaged a vent cover on the outside of her house on Friday of last week.  Ms. Lawrence said that the vent was damaged by an unknown subject.

Summerville Police said that the vent cover was on the east side of Ms. Lawrence’s residence, which was in clear view of a “no trespassing” sign that had been posted by Ms. Lawrence.

Ms. Lawrence requested that a report be filed with the Summerville Police Department.

 

Attorney General Warns Of Tax Related Scams

Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr says consumers need to keep their guard up because tax-related scams are likely going to increase as tax season gets underway.

His office reminds people that no one from the IRS is going to call you and ask you for tax money over the telephone. An IRS agent won’t email you either. Tax scams are like any scam, i.e. the idea is to get your money quickly and in a form that can’t be traced like money cards or wire transfers.

Here is more from Carr’s office on the “IRS Impersonation Scam”

In this type of scam, a fraudster contacts consumers by phone, claiming to be an IRS agent and insisting that the consumer owes the IRS money. The caller asks the consumer to pay by wiring money or loading money onto a pre-paid debit card and often threatens arrest or legal action if the consumer does not comply. Consumers can easily be convinced that these calls are real as the scammer may know a consumer’s full or partial Social Security number (SSN) or even use spoofing software that causes the IRS name and/or number to show up in your caller ID.

Here is what you need to know to avoid this scam:

    The IRS will never call a consumer about unpaid taxes or penalties – the agency typically contacts consumers by letter via the U.S. Mail.
They won’t leave a message threatening to sue you, arrest you or deport you if you don’t pay right away.
The IRS won’t demand a specific form of payment, such as an iTunes gift card, Green Dot Money Pak or wire transfer.
If you get a call purporting to be from the IRS, never send money. Instead, hang up and either a) report the scam to the FTC and to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration at tigta.gov or by calling 1-800-366-4484; or b) If you know you owe taxes or you think you might owe taxes, call the IRS at 1-800-829-1040. The IRS employees at that line can help you with a payment issue – if there really is such an issue.

    If you get an email that claims to be from the IRS, do not reply or click on any links. Instead, forward it to the IRS. 

Carr’s office also says more people may not have to be aware of “Tax Identity Theft” as well. That’s when someone steals your social security number and figures out to file a tax return in your name to try and get your refund.

This scam, unfortunately, is not something people know about until they file their return and are then told that their return was “already received.” The advice here is to file as early as possible each tax season which will give a crook less of a chance to file a fraudulent return.

Carr’s office says that Georgia consumers can get a special PIN number which provides more security when filing electronically.

If you are the victim of tax identity theft, contact the IRS at 1-800-908-4490. You should also file a complaint with the FTC or by calling 1-877-FTC-HELP.

Georgia Supreme Court Strikes Down Part Of DUI Law

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The Georgia Supreme Court has struck down a provision of the state’s DUI law.

In the 94 page opinion released Monday, the court concluded that the part of the law that allows a defendant’s refusal to submit to a breath test to be admitted into evidence at trial is unconstitutional, citing the right against self-incrimination.

The decision does not apply to tests of a driver’s blood and you could still face a civil penalty of losing your license for up to a year for refusing a breath test.

All of the justices concurred except Warren and Ellington.

In a concurring opinion, Justice Michael Boggs wrote: “The General Assembly may wish to revise the provisions of the implied consent law.”

You can read the opinion in its entirety here.

WRGA

Convenience Store Worker Reports Theft

A convenience store work in Summerville reported a theft over the past weekend.  The man told police that surveillance cameras show that two women stole parts from his car that was parked outside the store.

Brent Hawkins, who works at George’s Kwik Store on Highland Avenue in Summerville, told police that while he was working on Saturday a blue Mitsubishi Mirage pulled up at the store and parked next to Mr. Hawkin’s Mitsubishi car.

According to Mr. Hawkins, a woman jumped out of the vehicle and stole his left front wheel cover and then jumped back into the blue Mitsubishi which sped off.

The Summerville Police Department is investigating the theft.

AAA: Gas Prices On The Rise

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Gas prices in Georgia are on the rise and prices could get even more expensive this week. Oil and wholesale gasoline prices surged to their highest levels since November. The state average could soon jump another 10 cents as a result.

Georgia gas prices are already at 2019-highs. The state average rose a total of 5 cents last week. Still, Sunday’s average price of $2.19 per gallon remains nearly 20 cents below what drivers paid this time last year.

Click here to view AAA’s state and metro gas price averages

  • Most expensive gas price averages: Atlanta ($2.22), Brunswick ($2.21), Hinesville-Fort Stewart ($2.20)
  • Least expensive gas price averages: Warner Robins ($2.07), Macon ($2.11), Augusta-Aiken ($2.12)
  • Chattooga County gas price average: $2.10 (As of Monday, February 18, 2019)

“Oil and wholesale gasoline prices made significant gains last week, which will likely lead to higher prices at the pump,” said Mark Jenkins, spokesman, AAA – The Auto Club Group. “Prices rose after news that OPEC is making good on its promise to cut production, and reports of refinery issues at multiple plants in the northeast. One of the other key reasons for rising prices right now is refineries entering maintenance season. This is a time of year when refineries do ‘spring cleaning’ and to prepare for the switch to summer-blend gasoline. The process causes refineries to temporarily go offline, reducing the output of gasoline into the market.”

On Friday, crude oil reached it’s highest price since mid-November. The closing price of WTI was $55.59 per barrel on the NYMEX – an increase of nearly $3/b compared to the week before. That increase alone has the potential to carry a 7.5 cent jump at the pump. However, oil prices remain about $6/b less than the price this time last year; a primary reason that gas prices remain lower than last year. Meanwhile, RBOB rose 13 cents on the NYMEX last week, also reaching a 3-month high.

Flood Watch Issued For Chattooga County

The National Weather Service in Peachtree City, Georgia has issued a Flood Watch that is in effect from Tuesday through Friday morning.  Three to six inches of additional rainfall is expected which could lead to flooding.  High water could persist for several days after the rain.  See details below:

..FLOOD WATCH IN EFFECT FROM TUESDAY MORNING THROUGH FRIDAY
MORNING...

The National Weather Service in Peachtree City has issued a

* Flood Watch for a portion of northwest Georgia...including the
  following areas...Bartow...Catoosa...Chattooga...Dade...
  Floyd...Gordon...Murray...Polk...Walker and Whitfield.

* From Tuesday morning through Friday morning

* Soil conditions remain very saturated and river levels remain
  high across the area. With 3 to 6 inches of additional
  precipitation expected across the area this will produce
  significant runoff and flooding of creeks and rivers. Even after
  the rain ends, high water could persist for several days after.


PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS...

A Flood Watch means there is a potential for flooding based on
current forecasts.

You should monitor later forecasts and be alert for possible
Flood Warnings. Those living in areas prone to flooding should be
prepared to take action should flooding develop.

Silver Hill Road Closed Due To Mudslide

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Officials in Floyd County have closed the Floyd County portion of Silver Hill Road, north of Big Texas Valley Road due to a mudslide.  Floyd County Public Works says that residents will have to access the road from the north end in Chattooga County.  There has been no estimated time on when the road will be reopened.

Trion Police Chief Warns Residents About Potential Flooding

Trion Police Chief David Gilleland is warning Trion residents about the potential of flooding over the next several days.  The National Weather Service is forecasting up to 8″ of rain for our area between now and this weekend.

In an open letter to Trion residents that was provided to WZQZ News, the chief says that his department along with the Trion Maintenance Department are asking citizens to be vigilant about keeping a close check on their property.  Both the Trion Police Department and the town’s maintenance department  are asking those who live in low-lying or flood-prone areas to make preparations in advance for the possibility of flooding.   In addition, Chief Gilleland reminds residents to remember their outside pets and also to check on elderly residents who may not be aware of the flooding potential.

Here is the full text of Chief Gilleland’s letter: