Arrest Report - Thursday - March 21, 2019

Here is the latest arrest report from the Chattooga County Sheriff’s Office for Thursday, March 21, 2019:

Chattooga FFA Plant Sale Coming Up

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The Chattooga High School FFA will hold its annual plant sale in two parts this year at Chattooga high school.

County Health Rankings Poorer Than State Average

A national survey of health rankings was released this week that ranks each county in the United States according to factors that affect the population’s health.  The rankings are produced from studies by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and are considered to be one of the best snapshots of the nation’s overall health numbers.  Chattooga County fared below the Georgia average in almost every category, with a couple of notable exceptions.

The study found that Chattooga County ranked 83 out of 159 for “Health Outcomes”.  In several categories, Chattooga County ranked above the state average, including: adult smoking, adult obesity, physical inactivity, access to exercise opportunities, excessive drinking, alcohol impaired deaths, and teen births.

The county did have a couple of areas that have shown improvement, including the number of teen births and low birth weights.

Also, the study shows that there are more uninsured people living in Chattooga County than the state average and there are fewer doctors to serve the population than the state average.  Access to mental health care also fares poorly in Chattooga County.

Chattooga County does have a lower than average number of violent crimes and a slightly lower number of children living in single-parent households than the state average.  Also, unemployment is relatively low in Chattooga County at 4.7%.  However, the median income in Chattooga County is well below the state average.

Another area of strength for Chattooga County was access to healthy foods by considering the distance an individual lives from a grocery store or supermarket.

You can explore the numbers and find out more here.

Chattooga BOE Meeting This Evening

The Chattooga County Board of Education has a scheduled meeting this evening, and a long list of speakers are expected in the public comment portion of the meeting.  According to an agenda released yesterday, the public participation portion of the meeting is scheduled at the beginning.  A scheduled tour of schools in the Chattooga County School system that was scheduled for today was canceled abruptly on Wednesday with Board of Education members citing a “scheduling conflict.”

At the last meeting, board member Sammy Ballard made a motion that was approved to move the public comment portion of the meeting to the end of the meeting. Those scheduled to speak at the meeting this evening include community members, a former state representative, students and former students of Chattooga High School.  Those scheduled to speak are:

-Wesley Dawson

-Mary Anna Bentley

-Allie Barksdale

-Bonnie Fletcher

-Ramsey Elrod

-Barbara Reece

-Tammie Williams

-Karsen Gilliam

-David Rogers

-Bode Brooks

-Gracelyn Veitch

-Joy Dodd

-Casie Bryant

-Brad Groce

-Felicia Foster

Also, the board is expected to take up Chairman John Agnew’s proposal to add a Bible course to the curriculum of the high school.  Agnew has proposed a course that would be an elective class, based on Senate Bill 83, History and Literature of the Old and New Testament Eras.  As of yesterday, the Georgia House has still not scheduled a vote on the Senate Bill.  The bill would allow Georgia high schools to offer elective courses on the Old and New Testament.  It passed through a House committee on March 7 and has yet to go up for a vote in the chamber.

WZQZ News will have more on tonight’s meeting in upcoming newscasts.

 

Details Released In Alabama Girl's Murder

Gruesome Details Released in Death of Amberly Barnett

Details in the murder of eleven-year-old Amberly Bartlett from DeKalb County, Alabama earlier this month have been released this week.

Bartlett was murdered behind her home in the Mt. Vernon Community near Collinsville, Alabama.  DeKalb County authorities subsequently found the girl’s body behind the suspect’s home.  The suspect was identified as thirty-three-year-old Christopher Madison.  Authorities say that Madison told law enforcement that he had searched for the little girl behind his home, and also he was the one that had reported a suspicious SUV in the area of the girl’s home.

Authorities found bloody clothes, along with blood in the bathroom sink, on the walls, a mattress, a bed frame and on a sheet of paper in Bartlett’s home.  He was subsequently charged with the murder of Bartlett.

Authorities did not release a motive but did say that according to the suspect’s girlfriend he had an “interest in bondage”.  Madison’s girlfriend also testified that the blue rope that was found on Amberly had been in their home the day before.  A second piece of blue rope that was wrapped around a knife was also found in the backyard of Madison’s home. Madison allegedly admitted that the knife belonged to him.

Authorities stated that the forensic test on the blood that was found has yet to be returned. Defense attorneys Brian White, of Decatur, and Jake Watson, of Huntsville, declined to comment. If convicted of capital murder, Madison faces either the death penalty or life in prison without the possibility of parole.

DeKalb Couty, Alabama Judge Steve Whitmire said based on the evidence presented, there was probable cause, and the case has been sent to the grand jury.

Compiled Reports

Woman Chased By Pit Bull

According to Summerville Police, a seventy-year-old woman was chased by a pit bull and received minor injuries while escaping from the animal.

Police say that Janice Foster was working in her flower bed at her home when the animal charged at her.  According to the police report, Foster tripped as she ran for her house and sustained injuries to her knee.

Ms. Foster was able to grab a chair from the porch and threw it at the dog to stop the charge.

Chattooga County Animal Control was called to the scene and returned the dog to its owner’s fence and secured the dog there.

 

Drug Task Force Arrests Two On Meth Charges

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This week, the Lookout Mountain Judicial Circuit Drug Task Force arrested two people in two separate incidents on drug related charges.

Fifty-seven-year-old Dennis Lee Stoker was charged with possession of over an ounce of methamphetamine and was additionally charged with possession of a sawed-off shotgun and possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony.

Forty-year-old Kristen Renee Bork was charged with possession of meth and probation violations.  Agents with the Drug Task Force also found evidence of drug transactions on Bork’s cell phone, according to Drug Task Force Commander Dewayne Brown.

Cave Spring Says "Yes" To Alcohol Sales

By a wide margin voters in the City of Cave Spring approved all three questions in an alcohol referendum on Tuesday.

Voters said ‘yes’ to authorizing the city to issue licenses for the package sale of distilled spirits, as well as to permit and regulate Sunday sales of distilled spirits or alcoholic beverages by the drink, and to permit and regulate the package sale of malt beverages, wine and distilled spirits on Sundays between the hours of 12:30 and 11:30 p.m.

The vote margin was 4-to-1 in favor.

WRGA

Car Fire On Highway 48

A vehicle fire on Highway 48 left a car with damage to the trunk area and the back seat.

On Monday evening of this week, fire officials and the Chattooga County Sheriff’s Department responded to a 911 call from a motorist who said that his vehicle had caught on fire.

Calvin Ridley told a responding deputy that he was traveling on Highway 48 in his 2018 Dodge Challenger, when something in the trunk area of the vehicle caught on fire causing the car to fill with smoke.  Mr. Ridely pulled over at 6255 Highway 48 – near JP Smith Lumber Company and called 911.

The fire department had to pry the trunk of the vehicle open, due to the car suffering power issues as a result of the fire.  The car sustained damage to the trunk and back seat and was towed from the scene.

No injuries were reported.

 

Miss Chattooga Deadline Extended

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The deadline for contestants to register for the annual Ms. Chattooga Pageant has been extended to this Friday, March 22, 2019.

The Chattooga FCCLA will be hosting the 70th annual Miss Chattooga County Pageant on March 23,2019 at 4 pm at Chattooga High School. Find details below.

This is a fundraiser event for Chattooga FCCLA at CHS. Proceeds from this event will help students participate in conferences, competitions, and leadership opportunities. Organizers say that everything possible has been done to ensure that this will be a successful event and enjoyable for all involved.

Contestants should be a resident of Chattooga County or a student in any Chattooga County school.

You can find our more here.

Applications can be picked up in the CHS front office or any school within the system. You can also access the application at the attached link: here.

If you have any questions please contact Kayla Hartline at khartline@chattooga.k12.ga.us or 706-857-2402

Man Arrested For Burglary In Summerville

Summerville Police arrested a man for burglarizing a home after the man admitted to going to the house and breaking in.

Police were called to a Wood Street address after witnesses said that they saw someone trying to break into the residence.  When officers arrived on the scene, they were able to locate the suspect described by witnesses.  The man was identified as thirty-four-year-old Alrlonzo Johnson of a Fourth Street address.

Officers say that they observed that the front door of the Wood Street home was forced open with a screwdriver that was left at the scene.

Johnson admitted to officers that he had gone to the residence to “find a particular item” that he said he needed.

Johnson was taken into custody and transported to the Chattooga County Jail on burglary charges.

Chattooga Voters Approve SPLOST Renewal

A majority of voters who cast their ballot in yesterday’s election for the special local option sales tax (SPLOST), approved the measure by a wide margin.

A total of 1,065 voters went to the polls with 62.35% voting in favor of the measure and 37.65% opposed.  The measure will keep a one-cent sales tax in place that is to be used by county and municipal governments for infrastructure improvements.

When the SPLOST was last approved in 2013, 913 people voted with the measure passing with similar margins as yesterday’s vote.

The SPLOST will be for six years and is expected to bring in around $14.3 million in revenue for local government.

 

Arrest Report - Wednesday - March 20, 2019

Here is the latest arrest report from the Chattooga County Sheriff’s Office for Wednesday, March 20, 2019:

Meeting Held On Recall Petition For Chattooga BOE Chairman

A group of people in Chattooga County are trying to organize to recall Chattooga County Board of Education Chairman John Agnew.  The group held a petition signing at the Summerville Recreation Department on Tuesday evening.

Around 100 people were at the meeting and heard from speakers who outlined the recall process.  The group was made up of people who support the four-day school week and are opposed to the current majority on the Chattooga County Board of Education who have voted to reinstate the five-day school week.

The group is targeting Republican Board Chairman John Agnew, who was elected to the board in 2016 when he defeated Democrat Betsy King Dellenback.   The three new board members, Dr. Julia Houston, Sammy Ballard and Brad Hayes are not eligible for a recall because under Georgia law, a public official must be in office 180 days before they are subject to a recall.

The threshold is pretty high in Georgia to recall a public official, and requires an initial petition to the election superintendent and then a hearing before a judge to determine if the person to be recalled meets the requirements outlined in Georgia’s recall election law.  Supporters would then have to gather enough signatures to put the measure to a vote.

 

Mayor's Outburst Subject Of Memorandum Shared With Council Members

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A recent confrontation between Summerville Mayor Harry Harvey and Summerville City Manager Janice Galloway was the subject of a memorandum that was circulated to Summerville City Council members before the city council meeting last week.

WZQZ News issued an open records request to the City of Summerville for a copy of the memorandum.  The City of Summerville complied with six pages of documentation from interviews with Summerville City employees concerning the confrontation that took place on Friday, March 1st.

Mayor Harvey came to Summerville City Hall on that day, and according to statements from four city employees, was visibly angry.  City employees described the mayor as “irate”, “agitated” and “angry.”  The mayor allegedly met the City Manager at her vehicle and was upset over a personnel matter.  The mayor went back into city hall with the city manager and shut the door to her office and spent nearly an hour.  The statements from employees indicated that the mayor was “yelling” at the city manager.

According to one of the written statements, “I could hear Mayor Harvey yelling at (City Manager) Janice (Galloway). His tone was loud, clear and very harsh….Mayor Harvey’s behavior made me very uncomfortable and the aggression he portrayed scared me.  The unstableness (sic) of his behavior was concerning and made me nervous.”  Another employee reportedly heard Mayor Harvey saying that the city manager “had over stepped and that employees are replaceable.”

The disagreement between the city manager and the mayor stemmed from a recommendation from the city manager for a salary increase for certain city employees.  In a three-page statement from City Manager Galloway, she said, speaking of the mayor, “His actions and demeanor were completely unprofessional.  He went into a loud tirade about the increase in salaries.  He stated that I had deceived him and the council. He said he was going to call every Councilman and was going to put a stop to it. If I put it on the agenda and anyone voted for the salary increase, he would veto it. I told him there was no intention of deception, I emailed him and the council the Payroll Status Change sheet on each employee affected.”  City Manager Galloway said that the mayor was in her office for almost an hour with “incessant insulate remarks and threats.”  She went on to say, “I do not wish me, the staff or the Council members to be subject to this type of behavior.”

Ms. Galloway concluded her statement by saying, “You should know that March 1st was not the first time the Mayor came into my office with a forceful attitude. Although it was not the same escalation of the events of March 1st, this event was completely unprofessional and verbally aggressive.  The issue during this event was over the police and fire departments.  I was suggesting to hire a Fie Chief position and the possibility of Harold (Tucker) as Police Chief if Stan (Mosely) was unable (because of his health) to be Public Safety Director.”

The city manager said that Mayor Harvey was very angry and wasn’t going to allow the issue to be on the city council’s meeting agenda.   Last Monday, the City Council went into executive session after the meeting, presumably to discuss the statement made by the city employees.  Nothing was made public from that executive session.

Ms. Galloway concluded her statement by saying, “Nothing is accomplished in an environment where you could be verbally abused, threatened or live in fear of an outburst.”

Woman Reports Harassment

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A woman on Williams Shortcut Road in Trion reported a man coming around her place of residence and saying inappropriate comments.

Brittany Jenkins told a responding deputy that the man who was identified as “Scott” lives on Williams Cemetery Road and has been coming around Ms. Jenkin’s place to get his dog.  Ms. Jenkins said that she had been feeding the dog because it looks malnourished and also said that she suspects possible animal abuse.

Jenkins told the deputy that the man identified as “Scott” had come to her place twice in one day, and had made inappropriate comments.

She said that “Scott” was driving up and down her road in a black car with another male after the incident.  She also told the deputy that she doesn’t want the man back on her property.

The responding deputy filed a report in connection with the incident.

GNTC Receives $2.1 Million Grant

Georgia Northwestern Technical College (GNTC) received a $2.1 million federal grant from the U.S. Department of Education called the Strengthening Institutions Program (SIP) to improve academic quality, institutional management and fiscal responsibility.

The five-year grant is intended assist eligible higher education institutions to become more self-sufficient and expand capabilities to better serve lower-income students and boost graduation rates.

“Student success is our number one priority at GNTC,” said Pete McDonald, president of GNTC. “The faculty and administration of GNTC define student success as each student completing their academic program of study on-time and obtaining a job in their career field of choice.”

The proposal, “Success through Coaching and Access” that led to the grant was spearheaded by Samantha Bishop, credentialing and grants assistant at GNTC. It was designed based on feedback from students, faculty and staff with an objective to better serve lower income, first generation students.

“We are very excited about all the ways this grant will greatly enhance our distance learning capabilities and student support resources,” said Bishop.

The grant proposal was based on feedback from surveys, interviews and input from a program design team.

A five-year strategic plan was created based on the SIP grant. It consists of four key activities designed to increase the retention of full-time students seeking a degree, particularly underserved students.

The first activity in the Strengthening Institutions Program is the implementation of a videoconferencing-based distance learning system on all six campuses. GNTC serves nine counties in the northwest Georgia region with campuses in Catoosa, Floyd, Gordon, Polk, Walker and Whitfield counties.

Many classes are offered online, however there are some programs and courses that require direct interaction between instructors and students that isn’t possible through traditional online instruction. The telecommunications technology via live video will allow live interaction and also make distance learning a possibility for courses that previously were only available by traveling to a campus.

The first two campuses to be connected via video telecommunications technology will be the Gordon County Campus in Calhoun and the Walker County Campus in Rock Spring. Other GNTC campuses will receive these upgrades in later years throughout the program’s five-year period.

The second activity is the hiring of five new staff members to assist with admissions, financial aid, dual enrollment and students that are considered at risk of completing their program of study. Larry Blanchard of Rome was selected to be the coordinator of the Strengthening Institutions Program at GNTC.

Blanchard will oversee a team of four student success coaches that will work with first year, high need students that may need additional assistance. The four new student success coaches are Matt Bryant, Walker County Campus; Tracy Gentry, Whitfield Murray Campus; MaryAnn Russell, Floyd County Campus; and Victoria (Tori) Townsend, Gordon County Campus.

Gentry was previously with GNTC’s Financial Aid department and Russell was with GNTC’s Student Help Center before they became student success coaches.

Faculty development, both in-person and through the distance learning telecommunications system, is the third activity in the five-year plan. Topics will include synchronous interactive distance learning, cultural competency, utilizing on-campus resources and academic advising.

The fourth activity is implementing an institutional-wide data plan to address student needs, identify gaps in services and improvements to service and course development. GNTC will develop a strategy to improve workflows, policies and procedures based on data analysis to determine the best ways to advance student success.

“The college is very pleased to receive the $2.1m ‘Strengthening Institutions Program’ grant from the U. S. Department of Education,” said McDonald. “The funds will allow the college to dedicate additional staff to assist students to help them navigate through the challenges of college attendance, work and life.”

Georgia Northwestern Technical College provides quality workforce education to the citizens of Northwest Georgia. Students have the opportunity to earn an associate degree, diploma, or a certificate in business, health, industrial, or public service career paths. This past year, 12,785 people benefited from GNTC’s credit and noncredit programs. With an annual credit enrollment of 7,499 students, GNTC is the largest college in Northwest Georgia. GNTC has an additional enrollment of 5,286 people through adult education, continuing education, business and industry training, and Georgia Quick Start.  For more information about GNTC, visit us at www.GNTC.edu. GNTC is a unit of the Technical College System of Georgia and an Equal Opportunity Institution.

Town Of Trion Announces Called Meeting

The Town of Trion will have a Special Called Council Meeting Thursday, March 21, 2019 at 6:00p.m.  The meeting will take place in the Town Hall Conference Room.

Following the Special Called meeting, the Council will have their regular workshop meeting.  The regular council meeting will take place on Thursday, March 28, 2019 and it will begin at 6:00p.m.

The purpose of the Special Called Meeting:

  1. Trion Industrial Park Main Entrance Improvements.
  2. WWTP 100hp Digester Aerator.

 

SPLOST ELECTION 2019

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UPDATE: SPLOSTS PASSES

Chattooga County voters decided on the SPLOST, or special local option sales tax, today.

With all votes reported the unofficial results are:

664 – YES

401 – NO

City Of Refuge Ribbon Cutting