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.


Public Service Commission Approves Closure Of Plant Hammond

The Georgia Public Service Commission has approved Georgia Power’s 2019 Integrated Resource Plan which includes the closing of Plant Hammond.

It was announced in January that the company was seeking to retire all four coal units at the plant in Coosa and another at Plant McIntosh, reducing the company’s coal-fired generation capacity to approximately half of what it was in 2005.

The IRP also includes battery energy storage, 72 percent more renewable generation by 2024 and environmental plans.

The company will continue to invest in diverse energy resources to deliver clean, safe, reliable energy at rates that are well below the national average.

Georgia Power Statement:

The State of Georgia is positioned to become a leader in battery energy storage in the Southeast with Georgia Power’s planned investment to own and operate 80 megawatts (MW) of battery energy storage. The company’s 2019 Integrated Resource Plan (IRP), unanimously approved today by the Georgia Public Service Commission (PSC), includes energy storage, 72 percent more renewable generation by 2024, and approval of the company’s environmental compliance strategy.

“Working with the Georgia PSC, we are positioning Georgia as a leader in the Southeast in battery energy storage, which is critical to growing and maximizing the value of renewable energy for customers as we increase our renewable generation by 72 percent by 2024,” said Allen Reaves, Georgia Power’s senior vice president and senior production officer. “Through the IRP process, Georgia Power will continue to invest in a diverse energy portfolio including the development of renewable resources in a way that benefits all customers to deliver clean, safe, reliable energy at rates that are well below the national average.”

Under the approved IRP, Georgia Power will:

  • Own and operate 80 MW of battery energy storage systems, which will help position Georgia as a leader in storage in the Southeast. Battery energy storage systems are critical to growing and maximizing the value of renewable energy and this will provide the company the opportunity to demonstrate the deployment, integration and operation of storage to gain valuable insight into how to maximize the value of storage for customers.
  • Add 2,260 MW of new renewable (solar, wind or biomass) generation to the company’s energy mix, which is already one of the largest voluntary renewable portfolios in the country. With this addition, Georgia Power will continue as a leader in solar energy production and grow its renewable generation by more than 72 percent to 5,390 MW* by 2024 and increase the company’s total renewable capacity to 22 percent of its already diverse portfolio.
  • Continue making capital investments to ensure high reliability of the system and help ensure the company meets all state and federal environmental compliance regulations.  Georgia Power will move forward with five hydro investment projects including projects at Terrora, Tugalo, Bartletts Ferry, Nacoochee and Oliver generating facilities. The company will also continue with its environmental compliance strategy, which includes comprehensive plans to safely close all 29 ash ponds while protecting water quality every step of the way and complying with all state and federal requirements.
  • Retire five coal-fired units, four at Plant Hammond near Rome, Georgia, and one at Plant McIntosh near Rincon, Georgia, reducing the company’s coal-fired generation capacity to approximately half of what it was in 2005. The company also will not renew its operating licenses for the Estatoah, Langdale and Riverview hydro dams. 

Energy Efficiency Programs

The plan also includes energy efficiency targets 15 percent more than those approved in previous IRPs, while adding new, innovative energy-saving programs for both residential and commercial customers. New energy efficiency programs for customers approved in this plan, include:

  • Income-Qualified program to provide greater financial assistance to income-qualified households that are historically under-represented in energy efficiency program participation. The program will provide the opportunity to help contribute and raise funds for customers in need of home weatherization assistance or home energy efficiency improvements.
  • Income-Qualified Energy Efficiency pilot program designed to help up to 500 income-eligible residents save an estimated 20 percent of their household electric energy. This program will allow Georgia Power to cover the upfront costs of installation for eligible energy efficiency upgrades. The customer will repay the cost of the upgrades and installation through their utility electric bills via a Commission-approved tariff. The pilot program will be submitted for PSC approval by April 1, 2020, once PSC staff and the company come to an agreement on program details.

Additionally, the company is expanding assistance to income-qualified customers by increasing the annual funding for the HopeWorks low-income weatherization program by more than 60 percent.

Integrated Resource Plan Process

Georgia Power’s IRP, which outlines how the company will continue to deliver clean, safe, reliable and affordable energy to its 2.6 million customers over the next 20 years, is filed every three years with the Georgia PSC. The 2019 plan was a result of the in-depth IRP process, which includes projections of future fuel costs, load and energy forecasts, an analysis of available generation technologies, the 10-year transmission plan, and an economic assessment of potential and proposed energy efficiency and demand response programs. The company also evaluated the cost-effectiveness of its generating resources given changing environmental regulations and emerging technologies and discussed the growing importance of resilience to the electric system.

To learn more about how Georgia Power is meeting the needs of customers through a diverse, balanced energy portfolio, visit



Chicken Wing Competition Looking For Competitors

Summerville Main Street is hosting the “Wingfest & Chicken Wing Cookoff” this coming Saturday at the Summerville Depot.  Summerville Main Street Director Susan Locklear told WZQZ News that you still have time to enter the competition and compete for some good cash prizes.

Locklear says that the first-place prize is $200; second-place $100 and third-place $50.  There is a $40 entry fee, but Summerville Main Street is supplying 15 lbs of chicken wings as part of the entry-fee.  Competitors can also bring extra chicken wings and sell them on-site at the event this Saturday.  Competitors are also welcome to sell soft-drinks and water at the event.

If you would like to compete in this weekends Wing Cookoff, you will need to contact Susan Locklear with Summerville Main Street before 9 AM on Thursday morning.  You can call 706-728-0456 or you can email .

In addition to the wing cook-off, the Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum passenger train will be arriving at the Summerville Depot.  This Saturday’s event kicks off at 10 AM and wraps up at 3 PM.   Event goers will have the opportunity to enjoy tasting all the wing entries beginning at Noon for $5.00.

Summerville Chicken Wing Cook-Off This Saturday

On Saturday, July 20 Summerville Main Street will host a Wingfest & Chicken Wing Cook-Off. The event will include a chicken wing cook-off, awarding winners with cash prizes, a “People’s Choice” wing tasting, on site vendors and entertainment, and arrival of the Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum Passenger Train. Festivities will kick-off at 10 a.m. and close out at 3 p.m.  at the Summerville Depot.

The team or individual to produce the winning wing entry will walk away with $200 and a trophy. Cash awards will be awarded to Second Place, Third Place, and People’s Choice. Event goers will have the opportunity to enjoy tasting all the wing entries beginning at 12 noon for $5.00. Cooks or teams wishing to compete may pick up registration forms, complete with contest rules at Summerville City Hall.

This event is sponsored by  Summerville Main Street. For more information on this event or registration forms contact Summerville Main Street at (706) 859-0900 ext 1310 or email