Summerville Officer Shoots & Kills Pit Bull Mix Dog

A Summerville Police officer was called to a Highland Avenue address on Wednesday morning after  a pedestrian was alarmed by a boxer-mix-pit bull in the neighborhood while walking down the sidewalk.  The pedestrian reported that the dog had charged toward them.

The dog was recently quarantined after biting someone who walked to the door of the Highland Avenue residence to ask about a vacant property next door.  The owners of the dog have an electronic fence to contain the dog.  The dog was quarantined by the owners for ten days after that incident.

On Wednesday, Summerville Officer Matt Pritchard went to talk with the dog’s owners about the incident with the pedestrian that happened around 7:30 Wednesday morning.  The police officer said that when he got out of his vehicle the dog growled at him and acted aggressively.  The officer then pepper sprayed the dog which ran to the patio area of the house.

While the officer was speaking with the dog’s owner, the dog charged the officer.  The homeowner got between the officer and the dog, but the dog made a wide sweep around the homeowner and tried again to attack the officer, allegedly biting him on the shoe.  It was at that point the officer pulled his service weapon and fatally shot the dog.


Georgia Music Foundation Honors Bill Anderson With "Flame Keeper" Award

Bill Anderson

Last night at the historic Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, Tennessee the Peach Pickers honored country music legend Bill Anderson with the Georgia Music Foundation’s “Flame Keeper” award. The annual award is presented to someone who has impacted Georgia music.  Bill Anderson, a University of Georgia graduate, started his career in music as a disc jockey in Georgia and has long kept in touch with his Georgia roots.

Each year, the Peach Pickers – Rhett Akins, Dallas Davidson, and Ben Hayslip – assemble a blue-chip group of friends for an evening of music at the historic Ryman Auditorium to benefit the Georgia Music Foundation.  This year’s lineup included Jamey Johnson, Russell Moore & IIIrd Tyme Out, Colt Ford, Craig Campbell, John Berry and Bill Anderson.

“This annual night of music has been so successful because of the generosity of the artists who participate,” said Dallas Davidson, longtime chair of the Georgia Music Foundation. “The camaraderie on stage reflects the friendships and mutual respect that Ben, Rhett and I have for the musicians and Georgians who have been a part of and influenced our careers.” The efforts of the Peach Pickers and friends have enabled the Georgia Music Foundation, a non-profit organization supporting programs of music education, preservation and outreach, to award nearly $400,000 in grants to music programs at schools and non-profit organizations over the past five years.

Bill Anderson scored his first country music break in 1956 while he was working at a small country radio station in Commerce, Georgia.  Anderson penned the song “City Lights” which went to the top of the charts on a recording by Ray Price.  The song went to the top of the charts again in the 1970’s when it was recorded by Mickey Gilley.  Since that time, Anderson has a string of country hits for himself and has written hundreds of songs for other artists.   He and Alan Jackson – another Georgia native – were inducted in the Songwriters Hall of Fame last year.

Bill Anderson continues to show his relevance as a country music song writer and performer, even in his sixth decade of music making.  He, along with co-writer and friend Jamey Johnson, helped pen the hit “Give It Away” that was recorded by George Straight.  He also was a writer, along with John Randall, on the Brad Paisley – Alison Krauss hit “Whiskey Lullaby” Anderson is sought out by younger performers and song-writers and he says that he like to collaborate with the younger generation.

Congratulations to “Whispering” Bill Anderson – the 2019 Georgia Music Foundation “Flame Keeper.”


Floyd Named To Forbes List Of Best In-State Employers

Floyd Health System made Forbes magazine’s list of America’s Best-in-State Employers for 2019.

The rankings are based on a survey of more than 80,000 U.S. employees working for companies employing at least 500 people. Floyd Health System employs over 3,200 people and serves a six-county area.

Employees were asked to rate their willingness to recommend their employers to other job seekers. Participants also were asked to evaluate other employers either positively or negatively. In addition, participants were asked 35 questions about work-related topics such as working conditions, salary and potential for development.

“I’ve been at Floyd for 44 years. The people here are my family,” said Konda Dizon, Clinical Manager of the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Floyd Medical Center. “Floyd has been good to me as an employee. Their benefits are great. They want to hear what employees have to say and always try to make improvements that would make our job setting better. Floyd also focuses on quality care. I know that if I bring my family here, the staff will provide the best care they can. And Floyd makes sure we have the supplies and equipment we need to do our job. Floyd listens and truly cares for you as an employee,”

“Floyd is a great place to work,” said Kurt Stuenkel, Floyd President and CEO. “This recognition by a highly respected magazine like Forbes reflects the efforts we have made over the years to be the health care employer of choice in our region. Floyd also regularly surveys employees and has historically ranked in the top 10% in the nation in engagement and satisfaction.”

Five other Georgia hospital-related employers were ranked in the magazine – Piedmont Healthcare, Emory Healthcare, Shepherd Center, Phoebe Putney Health System and Houston Healthcare. The list included a total of 56 Georgia employers.

Press Release


Thatcher's BBQ Now Open In Summerville

Thatcher’s BBQ opened their fifth location today in downtown Summerville.  A ribbon cutting ceremony was held by Summerville Main Street and the Chattooga County Chamber of Commerce.

The word about the BBQ restaurant coming to Summerville has been out for some time now, and there have been plenty of setbacks for the owners, John and Melanie Thatcher of Calhoun.  The couple now are ready for business and are looking forward to seeing folks from Chattooga County and all over Northwest Georgia.

Thatcher’s has locations in Trenton, Calhoun, Ringgold, Chickamauga and now, Summerville.

The restaurant is located in the historic Jackson Drug Store building which has stood empty since Jackson’s closed.  Local developer Larry Howard purchased the building and gutted the old drug store.  In 2018 Thatcher’s announced their intentions to open there next location in Summerville.

Thatcher’s started as a take out only shack located next to Jenkins Park in Trenton, Ga. Within A year, customers wanted a place to dine in so they moved a portable building next to the shack and made the first Thatchers dining room. They later added a screened in porch and demand grew over the years causing them to outgrow the original shack and move into a much better facility in the town square of Trenton Georgia.

Thatcher’s will be open Tuesday – Saturday from 11 AM until 9 PM.  The restaurant has no plans to serve alcohol.


Arrest Report Thursday July 18, 2019

Here is the latest arrest report from the Chattooga County Sheriff’s Office for Thursday July 18, 2019:

Forum On Rural Prosperity In Georgia

The University of North Georgia campus in Dahlonega will be the site for next week’s Georgia Chamber of Commerce forum: the Chamber says the focus of next Wednesday’s event will be the economy of rural north Georgia.The North Georgia Forum focuses on the unique aspects of rural communities in North Georgia and seeks to bring solutions that cultivates prosperity for these portions of our state. For the first time in the North Georgia community, guests will have the opportunity to hear from speakers about the local challenges and solutions that are often faced.

The Georgia Chamber says that there will be networking opportunities for attendees, local business owners, and industry leaders to make meaningful connections and build relationships that could strengthen their business.

The honorable Senator Steve Gooch and Representative Rick Jasperse will discuss the legislative outlook on rural revitalization. There will also be a North Georgia regional speaker, Chuck Reece, who is the Editor of The Bitter Southerner. Additional speakers include representatives from the Office of Attorney General of Georgia, Georgia Department of Community Affairs, Georgia EMC, Paladin Wireless, Hart County IBA and many more.

Man Finds Out Motorcycle Is Stolen

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A Chattooga County man discovered this week that a motorcycle he purchased several months ago was stolen. 

William Sipsy told a responding deputy that he bought the motorcycle with no title.  Mr. Sipsy said that he had spent a sizable sum of money getting the motorcycle running and had purchased insurance for the motorcycle.

When the VIN numbers on the bike were checked in the process of getting a title, Mr. Sipsy discovered that the motorcycle was in the Georgia Crime Information Center and was listed as being stolen.

Sipsy told the deputy that he had paid a man from Chattanooga $500 for the motorcycle.

The case has been turned over to an investigator with the Chattooga County Sheriff’s Office.


Rome Authorities Tear Down Drug House

Photo Credit: WRGA

On Wednesday, authorities in Rome destroyed a known drug-house.  Rome Police say that the house was sometimes referred to as “the 7-Up house”, and was used by drug dealers and drug users.

Floyd County Police Chief Mark Wallace called the demolition a “shot across the bow” to people who own property that is being used to peddle dangerous drugs.  The house, located at the corner of East 20th and Wheeler Street, had no utilities hooked up and had been the scene of several calls to police and EMT’s regarding drug activity.

The demolition of the structure was the result of a partnership between law enforcement, the Floyd County District Attorney’s Office and Federal Authorities. The U.S. Attorney’s Office was also on hand Wednesday to announce the unsealing of a federal indictment against Shane Terhune, who is accused of distributing heroin that resulted in a death.

Floyd County District Attorney Leigh Patterson said the victim was Gabriella Leffew who was twenty-five-years-old and had a three-year-old daughter.

Authorities said that Terhune has an arrest record and a history of dealing drugs.


Drug Task Force Makes Multiple Arrests This Week

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On Tuesday of this week the Lookout Mountain Judicial Circuit Drug Task force received information from the Dalton Police Department’s Narcotics Division about drug activity taking place on LaFayette Road in Rocky Face. 

Those arrested included James Hunt, age 59 of Rocky Face on charges of possession of meth with intent to distribute; Amanda Grimes, age 37 was charged with possession of marijuana; Danny Crook, age 59 was charged with possession of meth and possession of marijuana.  Donald Mark Brown, age 47 was charged with possession of meth; Heather Templeton, age 27, was charged with failure to appear; Robert Rouillier, age 47, was charged with possession of meth.  Thirty-nine-year-old Charles Stanley was charged with aggravated assault of a police officer; Jeremy Bingham, age 27, was charged with possession of meth; Carol Slaton, age 55 was charged with possession of meth.  Forty-one-year-old Robby Ferguson was charged with possession of meth and five counts of obstruction of an officer and fifty-year-old James Moore was charged with possession of meth.

Agents executed a Search Warrant at 2259 Lafayette Rd., Rocky Face, Ga. The search warrant on Lafayette Rd, then lead Agents to execute an additional Search Warrant at 327 Joe Robertson Rd., Rocky Face, Georgia. 

Drug Task Force Commander Dewayne Brown says that the investigation is ongoing and there could be more charges as a result of that investigation.

Chattooga County Board Of Education Meeting This Evening

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The Chattooga County Board of Education will hold their regular monthly meeting coming up this evening, and it will be the first meeting with new board member Eddie Elsberry.  The board will be considering options to address a budget deficit.

The board will have to decide if they want to cut spending further, dip into the system’s $4.6 million reserve or – raise property taxes.  Exact figures on how much revenue the school system will receive from property taxes won’t be known until August.

The board is facing a budget shortfall of around $500,000.  The board of education has already cut over half-a-million dollars from the budget after they discovered they were facing a deficit of about $1.09 million.

The board was split last month with a 2-2 vote on purchasing a new reading program for the county’s elementary schools.  They could revisit that vote this evening and have a different outcome with a new voting member.

Board members will be faced with some tough decisions on cutting spending, raising revenue or both. WZQZ News will have a report on tonight’s board of education meeting in Friday’s newscasts and online at .

You can see the board’s agenda here.











Alabama Health Officials Warn About Largemouth Bass

The Alabama Department of Public Health released it’s annual fish consumption advisory report and they’re advising you don’t eat Largemouth Bass from the majority of Alabama’s waterways due to mercury contamination.

They also recommend not eating striped bass from the Coosa River, Spotted Bass from the Lay or Logan Morgan reservoirs.

The Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH) annually updates fish consumption advisories based on data collected the preceding fall by the Alabama Department of Environmental Management (ADEM).

ADEM, Tennessee Valley Authority, and the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources collected samples of specific fish species for analysis from various waterbodies throughout the state during the fall of 2018 (463 samples; 40 collection stations). ADPH assessed the analytical results to determine whether any of the tested contaminants in the fish may give rise to potential human health effects.

Fish consumption advisories are issued for specific waterbodies and specific species taken from those areas. In reservoirs, advisories apply to waters as far as a boat can be taken upstream in a tributary, that is, to full pool elevations.

Newly issued advisories will be represented as the safe number of meals of that species of fish that can be eaten in a given period of time, such as meals per week, meals per month or Do Not Eat Any. A meal portion consists of 6 ounces of cooked fish or 8 ounces of raw fish.

New and updated consumption advisories issued for the 40 bodies of water tested can be found on the ADPH website:

The advice contained in this release and complete listings of the posted fish consumption advisories are offered as guidance to individuals who wish to eat fish they catch from various waterbodies throughout the state. No regulations ban the consumption of any of the fish caught within the state, nor is there a risk of an acute toxic episode that could result from consuming any of the fish containing the contaminants for which the state has conducted analyses.

A fish consumption advisory can be issued for one or more specific species of fish within a waterbody or an advisory can be extended to include all fish species within that waterbody. When excess levels of a contaminant are found in a specific species of fish, an advisory is issued for that specific species. For example, if an advisory had been issued for largemouth bass and not for channel catfish, it would be advised that individuals should not eat largemouth bass, but consumption of channel catfish is permissible without endangering health.

When excess levels of a contaminant are found in multiple fish species sampled from a specific waterbody, a Do Not Eat Any advisory is issued. Consumption of any fish from a specific waterbody under a Do Not Eat Any advisory may place the consumer at risk for harm from the contaminant.

If a species is listed in the advisory, it is prudent to assume that similar species with similar feeding habits should be consumed with caution. For example, if black crappie is listed and white crappie is not, because they are in the same family, all crappie would fall under the listed advisory.


New Law Requires Notification for Dense Breast Tissue

Women who get mammograms at The Breast Center at Floyd already receive letters informing them of their test results. Because of a new state law, this result letter will now include additional information about breast tissue density.

Margie’s Law took effect July 1, requiring the notification because very dense breast tissue often makes it more difficult to detect possible cancer during a mammogram. The law is named after Margie Singleton, who found out just six months after she had a mammogram that she had stage two breast cancer. Singleton, who is from Savannah, campaigned to get the law passed in Georgia.

“What Margie’s Law does is add an extra layer of notification,” said Aimee Griffin, Director of The Breast Center at Floyd. “The reason why that’s important is because a mammogram is not perfect for women who have very dense breast tissue. It is the single best tool that we have, and it is a very effective tool.”

Griffin said about half of all women have increased breast density. “Generally speaking, your breast density lessens as you get older, but that’s not always the case,” she added. “You can be over the age of 65 and still have dense breast tissue.”

Women with very dense breast tissue can confer with the experienced nurse practitioners at The Breast Center at Floyd about their personal risk and their family history of breast cancer. The experts there can also provide clinical (physical) breast exams and comprehensive risk assessments.

“We need to marry all that information together and make a determination if they would possibly benefit from additional testing,” Griffin said.  “We encourage all patients to discuss their results and risk factors with the health care provider who orders their mammogram to make sure they have a good plan in place for annual breast cancer screening.”

An annual mammogram is still the gold standard for detecting breast cancer in all women 40 and over. The combination of an annual mammogram, an annual physical breast exam and monthly breast awareness efforts is very effective for early detection of breast cancer.

Floyd also offers Genius 3D Mammography, which produces three-dimensional views of breast tissue. “3D mammography is very effective for increased breast density, but again, it is not perfect,” Griffin said. “When a patient has multiple increased risk factors, pairing her mammogram with additional monitoring techniques will give the best outcome.”

For more information, contact The Breast Center at Floyd at 706.509.6840.

Ohio Couple Gets Lost & Stranded After Driving Car Onto Pinhoti Trail

Stranded Ohio Couple’s Car Just Past Chattooga County Deputy In Picture 

A couple from Ohio made a bad turn in Chattooga County on Tuesday night and wound up stranded deep in the forest.  Chattooga County Sheriff Mark Schrader says that the couple made a wrong turn while trying to find their son’s house on Spring Creek Road.

Sheriff Schrader told WZQZ News that the couple missed Spring Creek Road and wound up on U.S. Forestry Road 259.   Schrader said that the driver kept going instead of turning around.  When the driver ran out of road, he kept driving on the Pinhoti Trail.  The sheriff said that the driver went down into a ravine and was stranded.

The sheriff said he got the word about the stranded motorists around 5 PM and it took almost five hours to locate the couple and get them back to safety.  The couple’s car was down the narrow walking trail and off in a ravine.

Sheriff Schrader said that there is no way to get a tow truck into the area to retrieve the vehicle and the U.S. Forestry Service is trying to determine the best way to get the car out of the National Forest.  A representative from the U.S Forestry Service is expected to be in Chattooga County on Thursday to make a determination about what to do about the lodged vehicle.

Sheriff Schrader said that the male driver told him that he kept going because he thought “the road would come out somewhere.”

Arrest Report Wednesday July 17, 2019

Here is the latest arrest report from the Chattooga County Sheriff’s Office for Wednesday July 17, 2019:

Lottery Provides Over $1 Billion For Education Last Year

The Georgia Lottery is reporting record-breaking annual profits used to pay for educational programs.

State law says that the Georgia Lottery should be returning as much as 35% of the money it takes in to fund HOPE and Pre-K, but just a few years ago that percentage was only about 25 percent. Lawmakers have been pushing the Lottery for more.  According to numbers released this week, the Georgia Lottery returned 27.1% of its take for education. That comes to an extra $90 million in the last fiscal year.

Governor Brian Kemp’s office said this week in a news release that the lottery transferred more than $1.2 billion into the state’s account that funds HOPE scholarships and free pre-kindergarten for four-year-old students. The profits are for the 2019 fiscal year that ended June 30.

Kemp said it’s the largest transfer of funds for education in the lottery’s twenty-six-year history.

The lottery has raised more than $21 billion total for education programs during that time.



Three Arrested In Connection With Rome Robbery

Three Rome residents were arrested at a home on Webster Street Monday on warrants charging them with robbery and aggravated assault.

According to those warrants, 21-year-old Denzel Tate Haywood; 18-year old Christopher Jadon Haywood; and 19-year-old Kaylee Marie Huff took a Google Pixel phone, a wallet, financial cards, a New York license, $170 in cash and an iPhone from the victim at a location on Shorter Avenue on Sunday of this week.

The warrant states the robbery was committed with a 12-gauge shotgun, which was pointed at the victim, who was also kicked and punched during the incident.

The back glass of the vehicle was shot out as the victim drove away.

A juvenile was in the vehicle, according to the warrant.

All three suspects are also charged with battery, use of a firearm with an altered identification mark, and criminal trespass.

Christopher Haywood and Huff were also charged with possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime.

Denzel Haywood was additionally charged with possession of a firearm by a convicted felon and a probation violation.


Argument Leads To Theft Of Phone

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Sheriff’s deputies responded to a late-night call from a Highway 114, Lyerly man who said that he had gotten into an argument with another man and the offender had stolen his phone.

The incident happened shortly before midnight on Sunday night.  Robert Sumner told a responding deputy that a man named Mark Watkins came into his house and pushed him and then hit him, before stealing Sumner’s phone.  Sumner told the deputy that he and Watkins had been in an argument.  Sumner told the deputy that he had tried to contact Watkins several times to get his phone back, but had been unsuccessful.

Sumner told the deputy that Watkins drives a white Dodge Charger and lives somewhere in Summerville.  Mr. Sumner said he wanted the report filed in case Watkins does not return his cell phone.

Tax Commissioner Talks About "Special Interest" Tags

The State of Georgia has rolled out several new special interest license plates this year, and Chattooga County Tax Commissioner Joy Hampton tells WZQZ News that her office can assist vehicle owners in applying for the specialty tags.

Tax Commissioner Hampton said some of the new tag designs include Atlanta United Soccer, Georgia Beekeepers, Support Agriculture, Georgia Forestry, Georgia DNR and others.  Hampton said that the tags cost $80 initially and then $55 to renew each year after that.  Hampton said, “One good thing about these tags is a portion of the funds will go either to the sponsoring organization or to a non-profit.”  Anywhere from $10 to $25 will go to the charity or cause associated with the tag.

There are plenty of choices to choose from and you can find them online here.  Tax Commissioner Hampton says you can also stop by her office and they will assist you in locating the tag design on line and assist you in getting the tag ordered.  Again, the specialty tags are not in stock at the Chattooga County Tag Office, but they will be mailed to you.

For more information you can go by the Chattooga County Tax Commissioner’s Office located on East Washington Street behind the Chattooga County Courthouse.


Argument Between Brothers Over Car Title

Summerville Police were called to a Martin Street residence after two brothers got into an argument over a car title.

According to a report from the Summerville Police Department, Jacob Caldwell told a responding officer that his brother, Jeffery Caldwell, had come to house demanding a car title.  Jacob Caldwell contends that he was looking for the title when his brother kicked in the front door of his residence, causing damage to the door and the door frame.

Officers spoke with Jeffery Caldwell who admitted to kicking in his brother’s front door, saying that his brother was refusing to hand over the car title.

Officers told Jeffery Caldwell that he would be responsible for repairing the damage to the front door and if he didn’t repair the damage, warrants would be taken out for the damage and intrusion of property.

Will Floyd County Allow "Tiny Houses" Like Chattooga County?

Pictured: 397 square foot house at Cloudland’s “Little River Escape”

Chattooga County has a tiny house community located at Cloudland.  Developer Ed Watters owns the gated community that offers tiny-house living which has become increasingly popular across the United States. 

Watters development is not faced with any issues from Chattooga County because the county has no building codes.  The Town of Lyerly has granted variances for tiny houses inside the Lyerly town limits in the past.  In 2017, the council allowed developer Jimmy Hartline to build tiny homes in Lyerly.

In 2016, the Rome City Commission came up with regulations that would allow for tiny-houses in so-called “cluster communities.” Floyd County Commissioners are now trying to come up with regulations to allow tiny houses.

The Rome News Tribune reported this week that the Floyd County Commission has tasked their planning department to come up with pros and cons to consider in regards to tiny house regulations.  The commission is reportedly looking to come up with codes for tiny houses – usually 400 to 600 square feet – in the unincorporated areas of Floyd County.  Commissioners noted that some areas would rather see tiny homes instead of mobile homes.

Ed Watters wife, Allison Watters is a Floyd County Commissioner and did not weigh in on the discussion during a recent Floyd County Commission meeting.