City of Summerville Called Meeting

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The City of Summerville has called a council meeting for Monday.  The meeting will be held at 5 PM at the Summerville Recreation Center.

The council will be taking up discussion on a tethering ordinance at the meeting.  At the last council meeting, the council heard from several members of the public who expressed support for a “no-tethering” ordinance.

Summerville City Councilman Joe Money introduced the idea to the council and the city attorney has drawn up a proposed ordinance.  Council members discussed the proposed ordinance at the last meeting.  Most of the discussion about the ordinance deals with the issue of “limited-tethering” vs. “no-tethering.”  Summerville Mayor Harry Harvey has indicated that he thinks a “limited-tethering” ordinance should be adopted, with Councilman Money preferring a “no-tethering” ordinance.”

The meeting is open to the public.

Georgia Steeplechase Canceled For 2019

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The Georgia Steeple Chase scheduled for this year has been canceled due to a lack of corporate sponsors, according to the events organizers.

The Georgia Steeple Chase Race Meet & Spring Social on April 6, 2019, was canceled by the organizers who issued this statement:

“It’s with a heavy heart, that the Georgia Steeplechase Board of Directors has announced that the April 6th, 2019 race meet has been canceled. Unfortunately, due to competing with Spring Break it has proven difficult this year to raise the $100,000 for the purse from corporate sponsors. We consulted with the National Steeplechase Association (NSA) to see if there was a possibility to reschedule to another date this Spring or Fall, but unfortunately, they gave us no option. We will be issuing refunds to everyone that has purchased tickets either by credit card or check. Our apologies for any inconvenience.”

Hometown Headlines

Domestic Dispute Leads To Physical Altercation

Summerville Police were called to an ongoing domestic dispute on Highland Avenue after it was reported that a father and his son were involved in an altercation.

When police arrived they spoke with the wife of the homeowner who told police that she had broken up the physical altercation, but police could hear that a verbal altercation was still going on.  When police entered the residence they found the father and son still arguing about rent.  According to the police report, the son was asked to pay $75 a week rent, but had decided that he was only going to pay $50.  The father was not happy with that arrangement and after arguing a while, punched the son in the lip.  The son returned the punch and it was then that the mother stepped in to break up the physical fight.

Both men were on probation, so neither wanted to press charges.

Missing Gaylesville Man Found In Rome

A Cherokee County, Alabama man Reported Missing Friday Morning Has Been Found Safe.

Emergency personnel initiated a search for a missing person in the area of County Road 89, between Blanche and Watson’s Crossroads during the early morning hours of Friday. A caller reported they had awoken to find that the door was open, and the 61 year old male subject in the home, George Edward Hall, Sr., who suffers with dementia – was gone.

The call went out around 5:40am and at that point it appeared the subject had already been gone for a short period of time. He was reportedly last seen wearing blue jeans and either a plaid shirt or blue denim shirt. Additional manpower was called in to help with the search a short time later.

Around 10:30am, Hall was confirmed to have been found safe and sound at a Waffle House Restaurant in Rome, Georgia and a Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office official was dispatched to the location to bring Hall home.

It’s unclear at this point how he traveled from his home on County Road 89 to Floyd County, Georgia.

WEIS Radio

Georgia Legislature Passes "Heartbeat Bill"

House Bill 481, also known as the “Heartbeat Bill” has passed the Georgia State Senate.

The bill passed after four hours of debate on the Senate floor. The bill would move the deadline for a legal abortion from 20 weeks into the pregnancy, to 6 weeks. Most doctors say this is the earliest point into a pregnancy that a fetal heartbeat can be detected.

Although the Bill has already passed the House, it will return for final debate, before being sent to Governor Kemp.

Governor Kemp has promised to sign the bill into law if it reaches his desk.

BBQ Fundraiser Today

Come out and support the 9/10 Summerville Chiefs’ fundraiser today going on at the Fit Pit in Summerville.

All proceeds will help the team cover the costs of uniforms. Sack lunches will be sold for $6.00 each with a sandwich, chips, pickle spear and a drink.

Make sure you stop by today from 10 am until 1 pm to help the 9/10 Summerville Chiefs raise money for uniforms.

For large orders you can contact Bonnie Fletcher at 706-676-6240. Delivery is also available.

Hit And Run At Summerville Restaurant

A hit-and-run accident was reported at Henry’s BBQ in Summerville on Tuesday of this week.

According to reports from the Summerville Police Department, Teresa Brooks of Summerville came to the restaurant to pick up a to-go order.  Ms. Brooks went inside the restaurant to pick up her order and as she was leaving the parking lot, she heard something dragging.  When she got out and checked, her bumper had been damaged.

Police were called to the scene and observed the damage to Ms. Brooks’ 2018 Chevrolet Tahoe.

Summerville Police received video surveillance footage from Henry’s BBQ to help identify who hit the vehicle.  The Summerville Police Department is investigating.

Arrest Report - Saturday - March 23, 2019

Here is the latest arrest report from the Chattooga County Sheriff’s Office for Saturday, March 23, 2019:

Arrest Report - Friday - March 22, 2019

Here is the latest arrest report from the Chattooga County Sheriff’s Office for Friday, March 22, 2019:

Another Georgia High School "Sexting" Scandal

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Authorities say that another Georgia high school is caught up in a “sexting” scandal.  This is the second time in less than a week that underage students are believed to have sent graphic images via text messages.  Law enforcement takes these incidents seriously and there are consequences.

The most recent “sexting” scandal was reported at Roswell High School, following a similar incident at a Union County high school.  In both cases, students were sharing graphic pictures on their cell phones and authorities are investigating to see if child pornography laws have been violated.

Sending, owning, or taking sexually graphic pictures of someone under 18 is illegal, even if there was consent.

Currently,sexting falls under the State of Georgia’s child pornography laws. In general, a teenager, who creates, distributes or possesses a sexually explicit image, could be charged with a misdemeanor or felony depending on the facts and circumstances.

Parents are encouraged to talk with their teens and explain the dangers and potential consequences of sexting. If a teenager creates, distributes or possesses a sexually explicit image, they could be charged with a misdemeanor or felony that could result in up to 20 years in prison and appearing on the state’s sex offender registry.

 

Large Crowd At BOE Meeting On Thursday

A large crowd turned out for the Chattooga County Board of Education meeting on Thursday evening, with several community members speaking in the public comment portion of the meeting.  All of the public comments were in support of the four-day school week.

In what would have been a rather routine meeting for the board of education under normal circumstances, the board heard from a variety of speakers who all were expressing their displeasure with the board for changing the calendar from a four-day to a five-day school week.  Several of the speakers accused the board of refusing to hear from the community and others said that the board had not done their research before changing the calendar.

Last night’s board meeting followed a walk-out of between 150 and 200 Chattooga High School students on Thursday afternoon.  The students walked out of school briefly on Thursday to protest the Board of Education’s decision on the four-day school week.  See related story here.

WZQZ News will have more on last night’s BOE meeting in upcoming newscasts.

Ribbon Cutting At City Of Refuge

On Wednesday of this week the Chattooga County Chamber of Commerce hosted a ribbon cutting for a ministry located in Chattooga County.

Chamber Director Cindy Rivers said, “Great celebration today! Thanks goes to Danny Harkins (pictured) and his network of directors, staff and volunteers for hosting such a wonderful event. The Chamber of Commerce welcomes this ministry to our community.”

City of Refuge is a great resource for families in the four-county region, covering needs in Chattooga, Catoosa, Walker and Dade Counties. “God chose this location for us”, says Executive Director Danny Harkins. “We are a network of services and resources housed (nearly all) under one roof.”

“We embrace the entire family”, explains Becky Lawrence, Director of Family Hope Center, part of the First Step to Freedom ministries. Healing is not just for the one with a life crisis preventing them from functioning wholly in this world. The entire family is affected, so City of Refuge ministers to all members of the family to help make them whole again.

City of Refuge is making a difference through co-operation and a firm conviction that no one gets there unless EVERYONE gets there.

Find out more about City of Refuge here.

Rep. Lumsden Weekly Legislative Report

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State Representative Eddie Lumsden (R-Armuchee) released his weekly legislative report.  Rep. Lumsden said that the Georgia House has passed legislation that would allow Georgia residents to register to be an organ donor when they apply for a hunting or fishing license. The legislation would enable the DNR to create an organ donor option for those applying for a hunting, fishing or trapping license online, similar to the way citizens can sign-up for organ donor status through a state driver’s license application, and the DNR would be responsible for providing the appropriate organizations with the information of the organ donor. The DNR’s website would also provide online resources to help citizens learn more about the organ donation process, along with the benefits of the organ donation registry.  You can read Rep. Lumsden’s complete legislative report below:

With Crossover Day behind us, the House reconvened under the Gold Dome for the ninth week of the legislative session on Monday, March 11. Now that we have passed this major legislative milestone, we quickly got back to work this week for three legislative days and committee work days where we considered several Senate measures, many of which focused on enhancing quality health care in Georgia.

This week, my colleagues and I unanimously adopted House Resolution 135 to support Georgians living with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), or Lou Gehrig’s disease. HR 135 urges the U.S. Congress to change the current processing time for patients who are seeking Social Security Disability Insurance benefit assistance. Under current federal law, patients are required to wait five months after being diagnosed with ALS before receiving their Social Security Disability Insurance benefit payments, which help patients with the significant costs of medical care, equipment and home health caregiving. Fortunately, Congress recently recognized the need to shorten this timeline by introducing legislation that would eliminate the five-month waiting period, but this crucial legislation has yet to pass. With approximately 6,000 new diagnoses each year in the U.S., ALS is a progressive and fatal neurodegenerative disease that can take up to 12 months to properly diagnose. The frequency of ALS is two per 100,000 people, and it is estimated that more than 20,000 Americans may be living with ALS at any given time, with military veterans being approximately twice as likely to develop ALS. The majority of ALS patients have a life expectancy of two to five years after receiving their diagnosis. Because of the gravity of this disease, the House adopted HR 135, which recognizes that citizens living with ALS cannot wait for benefits and encourages Congress to respond to these needs.

The House also unanimously passed impactful legislation that would provide citizens with a new pathway to become an organ donor. Not only does Senate Bill 99 promote public education and awareness for the ever-increasing need for organ donors in Georgia, this measure would also allow those applying for a hunting, fishing or trapping license to have the option to register to become an organ donor through the Department of Resources’ (DNR) online hunting licensing system. This legislation would enable the DNR to create an organ donor option for those applying for a hunting, fishing or trapping license online, similar to the way citizens can sign-up for organ donor status through a state driver’s license application, and the DNR would be responsible for providing the appropriate organizations with the information of the organ donor. The DNR’s website would also provide online resources to help citizens learn more about the organ donation process, along with the benefits of the organ donation registry. If signed into law, this bill would educate citizens about the life-saving gift of organ donation and could increase the number of donors available to help the 5,330 patients in Georgia who are currently waiting for organ or tissue transplants.

Also this week, the House adopted House Resolution 403 to advocate for Georgians with disabilities. The House unanimously adopted HR 403 on Thursday afternoon to compel owners and operators of convenience stores to provide easy access to disabled customers who are refueling their vehicles by posting signs informing customers who are disabled about assistance available for refueling. In accordance with the federal Americans with Disabilities Act, HR 403 encourages gas stations and convenience stores to offer an available employee to help a disabled customer pump gas and also display a decal of the universal symbol of accessibility on each pump, the station’s directions for requesting service, as well as the telephone number of the establishment for the customer to call when they arrive. Currently, the Americans with Disabilities Act requires self-service gas stations or convenience stores to provide additional services for citizens with disabilities, but these laws have not been strictly enforced. Therefore, this resolution calls on Georgia’s gas station and convenience store owners to adhere to federal law. According to the Center for Disease Control, 23.6 percent of adults in Georgia are living with some type of disability, and 14.6 percent of Georgia’s adults have serious difficulty walking or climbing stairs. This resolution supports Georgians with disabilities and acknowledges that all citizens deserve equal access to these basic services.

The House continued to promote greater health care opportunities for our citizens this week with the passage of Senate Bill 16. This measure would add Georgia to the list of 25 other states that are part of the Interstate Medical Licensure Compact. Taking part in this compact would allow for certain physicians moving to Georgia from a compact member state to go through an expedited licensure process to practice across state borders and become licensed in multiple states. The compact would create a pathway to licensure that would not change a member state’s existing licensing process, as long as that state has equal or higher standards than Georgia. States entered into the compact are able to share information with each other regarding a doctor’s disciplinary record and background check information to screen qualified doctors to protect our citizens. In order for a doctor to be admitted to practice under this act, the doctor must be licensed under the prevailing standard for medical licensure, and all applicants would be required to pay for and pass a criminal background check so our state could verify any potential licensing issues. This bill would address doctor shortages and the lack of accessible health care, especially in our rural areas, by increasing our doctor population. In turn, this legislation would expand the use of telemedicine, which is essential to developing innovative health care resources within our rural communities. SB 16 would help our state license qualified doctors more efficiently and would help all Georgians receive greater access to health care without having to travel to do so.

Finally, the House passed Senate Bill 18, or the “Direct Primary Care Act,” which would give Georgians the option to keep health care directly between the patient and a doctor without requiring insurance. The Direct Primary Care Act would provide an alternative approach to affordable health care by allowing primary care providers to provide health care to a patient through a direct primary care agreement. This would allow patients to pay a monthly fee to a participating physician in order to receive care, and the agreement would not be considered insurance and therefore, would not be subject to state insurance laws or insurance billing. Under the Direct Primary Care Act, a physician that is offering, marketing, selling or entering into a direct primary care agreement would not need a certificate of authority or license other than maintaining a current license to practice medicine in Georgia. The payment agreements would include a 30-day notice for either the patient or the doctor if either party chooses to terminate the contract. Lastly, this measure would allow physicians providing health care services under a direct primary care agreement the right to decline a patient if the physician is unable to provide the appropriate level and type of health care services the patient needs. SB 18 would provide citizens with an alternative avenue towards efficient and affordable health care by removing the unnecessary red tape.

We completed legislative week nine on Thursday, March 14, which marked legislative day 32 of the 2019 legislative session. As we continue working with the Senate to ensure the final passage of meaningful legislation, I encourage you to contact me in the weeks remaining with any concerns you might have about any of the bills that are up for consideration in the House or Senate. Your comments are always important to me, and I hope to hear from you soon. You can call my office number at (404) 656-5087, or email me at Eddie.Lumsden@house.ga.gov.

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

 

Eddie Lumsden

Unemployment Edges Up In Georgia

Despite an increase in the number of jobs, labor force and the number of employed residents, the State of Georgia saw a higher unemployment rate in February, according to numbers released yesterday by the Georgia Department of Labor.

Labor Commissioner Mark Butler says that the unemployment rate rose slightly last month to 3.9% statewide.  The Labor Commissioner said that February is normally a slow month for the state and was still encouraged with the increase in the number of workers and job availability in the state.

All counties in Northwest Georgia saw an increase in the unemployment rate over the past month.  Chattooga County saw an increase in initial unemployment claims from 40 in January to 366 in February.

Overall, Northwest Georgia saw an increase in the unemployment rate from 3.9% to 4.7% during the month of February.

Summerville Man Arrested After Throwing Marijuana Out Of Car

A Summerville man was arrested last week on marijuana possession after he allegedly lied to police about throwing something out of his car window.

Police stopped twenty-one-year-old Marvin Perry for speeding on Highland Avenue last Friday, according to reports from the Summerville Police Department.  The arresting officer said that he saw Perry throw something out of the passenger side window at a stoplight.

When the officer stopped Mr. Perry he told the officer he had thrown a receipt out of the window, but when officers searched the area they found marijuana.

Perry was charged with speeding and possession of less than one ounce of marijuana and was booked into the Chattooga County Jail.

Drug Bust In Floyd County

The Rome-Floyd Metro Drug Taskforce seized drugs and weapons Thursday during a raid in North Floyd County.

A total of $14,420 cash, 5.84 pounds of marijuana, 4 rifles, 4 pistols and prescription pills were found and recovered during the search.

According to Floyd County Jail records, 33-year old Joshua Lee Burns of a West Peel Road address is charged with possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime; possession of a schedule IV controlled substance; the purchase, possession, manufacturer, distribution or sale of marijuana; and the purchase, possession, manufacturer, distribution or sale of controlled substances or marijuana.

Press Release

 

Water Main Break In Summerville

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The City of Summerville says that there has been a water main break in the area of McMillan Street.  Customers in the area will experience low water pressure, or no water.  The city is currently working to fix the issue and apologizes for any inconvenience.

CHS Students Stage A Walkout Thursday Afternoon

Chattooga County High School students staged a walkout today in protest of the Chattooga County Board of Education’s decision to switch back to a five-day school week. Around 150 to 200 students participated in the walkout.

By all accounts the walkout was “peaceful and well organized.” The students gathered on the football field to let their displeasure with the Board of Education be known. CHS Freshman Cole Cavin was interviewed by Chattanooga TV crews. Cavin said that the students walked out to show that they support the four-day week and in an attempt to get the Board of Education to hear the student’s voices about the change in the school calendar.

Students say that the Board of Education has not given solid reasons for the change, other than they “have an agenda.” The Chattooga County Board of Education will be meeting this evening and several community members have signed up to speak to the board. Those include a former state representative, students, parents and former students.

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

 

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.