Floyd County Reporting Icy Conditions
According to our colleagues at WRGA in Rome, there are some trouble spots in Floyd County this morning. Highway 53 is reported to have quite a few icy spots and travel is discouraged. There have been about a half-dozen wrecks between Rome and Rockmart on Highway 101 reported this morning due to slick conditions. They say that the downtown streets in Rome have been treated and are in good shape. Highway 27 from the Chattooga County line are in good shape.
Closings and Cancellations for Wednesday, January 17
Chattooga County Schools – Closed
Trion City Schools – Closed
Walker County Schools – Closed
Happy Place Learning Center in Menlo – Closed
Floyd County Schools – Closed
Georgia Northwestern Technical College – Closed (all campuses)
Cherokee County, Alabama Schools – Closed
Chattooga County DFCS Office – Closed
Redmond Family Care – Open at 10 AM (Further announcement may be made)
Chattooga County Health Department – Closed (All NW GA Health Departments Closed as well)
Chattooga County Government Offices – Open at Noon (Further announcement may be made)
Town of Trion Offices – Closed
City of Summerville Offices – Open at Noon (Further announcement may be made)
Roper Corporation – First Shift report 2 hours late
Mohawk in Lyerly – Closed until 4 PM Wednesday
Silver Sneakers at Advanced Rehab – Canceled
Wire Tech will open at 8:30 Wednesday morning
Mount Vernon Mills is operating on regular schedule today
United Community Bank will delay opening until 11 AM today
Arrest Report - Wednesday - January 17, 2018
Here is the latest arrest report from the Chattooga County Sheriff’s Office for Wednesday, January 17, 2018:
Arrest Made in Tuesday Murder in Cherokee County, AL
Centre Police Chief Kirk Blankenship says that a Centre resident has been arrested in reference to the homicide investigation taking place Tuesday at Powell Drive and Cedar Bluff Road.
Centre Police Investigator Leigha Blake arrested Vester Lee Randolph, age 51 in connection with the death of 66 year old Curtis Junior Bright.
Randolph is being held in the Cherokee County Detention Center charged with Murder, the Unlawful Possession of Controlled Substance Unlawful Possession of Marijuana 2nd Degree and Unlawful Possession of Drug Paraphernalia.
Chief Blankenship stated that he would like to extend his gratitude to investigators with the Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office, and Investigator Jamie Chatman with the Leesburg PD – in addition to the JSU Center for Applied Forensics for their assistance in this case, adding that this was a cooperative effort by multiple agencies. Chief Blankenship also commended Investigator Blake for her outstanding work in quickly making the arrest. He says there is still work to be done on the case.
We’ll have additional information as it’s made available. At this time no motive has been given.
Update on Road Conditions - Wednesday 4:50 AM
Secondary roads in Chattooga County are extremely slick. Highway 100 from Floyd County line to Summerville was dangerous according to the sheriff. Also, Highway 114 from Summerville to the state line. Taylor’s Ridge has some icy patches but is passable. Use caution on Bill Rich Hill and Highway 337 at Hawk Ridge. Highway 48 at Cloudland and Highway 157 are open, but use caution. Trion and Summerville City streets may have some icy patches.
In Floyd County, there is patchy ice. WRGA in Rome told us this morning that Floyd County Public works have been out all night treating them. The biggest road affected by ice is Highway 101 between Rome and Rockmart. The rest are secondary roads. They are telling people to stay home if possible, but drive slow and carefully if they have to go out.
Cherokee County, Alabama EMA has issued a Travel Advisory. All roads are considered hazardous in Cherokee County. Do not travel unless necessary.
Gas Leak Reported at Summerville Residence
According to Chattooga 911 Scanner traffic a home on Ramey Street in Summerville was evacuated this morning around 4:33 AM due to a possible gas leak. The residents of the house smelled a strong odor of gas and got outside of their home until emergency officials could arrive. The Summerville Fire Department along with Summerville Police and Redmond EMS were dispatched to the scene.
Rep. Lumsden Weekly Legislative Update - Week One
Here is the weekly legislative report from State Rep. Eddie Lumsden (R-Armuchee). Rep. Lumsden serves Chattooga and Floyd Counties in the Georgia House:
The House convened for the second regular session of the 154th Georgia General Assembly on Monday, January 8, 2018. The first week of session is always eventful and exciting, and this year was no exception. My House colleagues and I have a great deal of legislative business to accomplish before we adjourn Sine Die, so as soon as Speaker David Ralston gaveled the House into session on Day One, we got right to work on behalf of our state’s citizens. This week, the House convened to take up legislative business, committees began meeting to review and discuss proposed legislation and Governor Nathan Deal delivered his annual State of the State address.
On Thursday, Gov. Deal delivered his eighth and final State of the State address to a joint session of the House and Senate in the House Chamber. Gov. Deal has served as Georgia’s governor for the last seven years, and in about a year’s time, he will retire after four decades of public service to our state. In his touching address, the governor reflected on his administration’s challenges and successes, and he expressed his hopes and dreams for Georgia’s future generations.
Gov. Deal began his remarks by reflecting back to the year that he became Georgia’s 82nd governor in 2011. Since that time, our state’s unemployment rate has dropped from 10.4 percent to 4.3 percent, which is the lowest it has been in over 10 years; more than 675,000 private sector jobs have been created; our state has maintained a AAA bond rating and added to our Rainy Day Fund; and Georgia has been named the No. 1 state in which to do business for five consecutive years. In addition to recognizing the significant economic progress our state has made in recent years, Gov. Deal also touted Georgia’s booming film and television industry, as well as investments in education and criminal justice reform.
Georgia’s film industry has experienced extreme growth over the past decade. In the past fiscal year alone, the film industry had a $9.5 billion economic impact on our state. More than 200 new companies have located to Georgia to support film and television production, and this thriving industry accounts for 92,000 jobs across our state. These jobs have an average annual salary of almost $84,000, which is 75 percent higher than the national average salary. Over the past two years, about 1,900 students have taken courses at the Georgia Film Academy, and these students will make up Georgia’s future film and television production workforce. Programs such as the Georgia Film Academy will help to ensure that film is a sustainable, long-term industry in our state, and I am confident that film and television production will positively impact Georgia for years to come.
Gov. Deal continued his address by noting that since taking office, state spending on education has increased by $3.6 billion for a total of $14 billion in state education expenditures. Last year, Gov. Deal appropriated funds to establish the Sandra Dunagan Deal Center for Early Language and Literacy at Georgia College and State University in Milledgeville. This state-of-the-art training and research center opened its doors in June 2017 and provides Georgia’s educators with skills and techniques to teach reading and literacy to our state’s youngest learners. The center is named for First Lady Sandra Deal, a former teacher and champion of education in Georgia. As Georgia’s first lady and a former educator, Mrs. Deal has traveled to every corner of our state to read to students and has worked diligently to improve child welfare and educational opportunities for all of our state’s citizens. During his address, Gov. Deal recognized and thanked the First Lady for her efforts and her passion for education.
Gov. Deal went on to mention that while K-12 education is critically important, Georgia’s higher and continued education institutions and programs also play a key role in ensuring our state’s long-term economic prosperity. When Gov. Deal first took office, Georgia’s merit-based HOPE Scholarship and Grant programs, which were once some of the most substantial scholarship programs in the U.S., were close to bankruptcy, and several industries faced workforce shortages throughout the state. To combat these issues, Gov. Deal created reforms that allowed the HOPE Scholarship and Grant programs continue to help Georgians pay for college, and he established the HOPE Career Grant program to fill gaps in Georgia’s workforce. The HOPE Career Grant program completely covers the cost of technical school tuition for students who enroll in one of 17 strategic industry, high-demand fields, and 99.2 percent of students who have completed the program have found employment. Additionally, Gov. Deal has created a marketing campaign to highlight Georgia’s technical colleges. In Georgia, 30 percent of high school graduates do not to complete any type of continued education or training, but this campaign encourages high school students to pursue this type of post-secondary education. Gov. Deal’s marketing campaign has been widely successful in reaching young people across the state, and the governor concluded his remarks about our technical colleges by recommending that the General Assembly allocate $1 million in the state budget to continue this effort.
In his speech, the governor also discussed his administration’s bipartisan criminal justice reform initiatives, which have been some of his proudest and most successful accomplishments during his time in office. Our state’s accountability courts have been a key component of Gov. Deal’s criminal justice reforms and were created to provide sentencing alternatives to nonviolent offenders. Gov. Deal praised the overwhelming success and effectiveness that these courts have
had in reducing prison populations and giving Georgians a second chance. Gov. Deal noted that when he first began his criminal justice reform efforts, there were only 12 state-funded accountability court programs. Today, there are 149 such programs, and each of Georgia’s 49 judicial circuits operates at least one sort of accountability court. Gov. Deal’s criminal justice reform initiatives have positively impacted so many lives and continue to serve as a model for other states, and the House will likely see legislation this session that will further enhance criminal justice reform and public safety in our state.
Along with delivering his State of the State address this week, Gov. Deal also released his recommendations for the Amended Fiscal Year 2018 state budget and the Fiscal Year 2019 state budget. Amongst several recommendations for the amended budget, Gov. Deal proposed an allocation of $102 million for K-12 enrollment growth, $10.7 million for growth in Georgia’s Dual Enrollment program, $43.6 million for the Indigent Care Trust Fund and Medicaid, $15.1 million for child welfare services to care for children in state custody, $2.4 million for autism services for children under the age of 21, $17.6 million for Forestland Protection Act grants and $10 million for beach nourishment projects and $25.2 million for airport runway extension projects. Highlights from Gov. Deal’s Fiscal Year 2019 budget recommendations include $361.7 million for the Teachers Retirement System, $127 million for K-12 education, $30 million to assist low-wealth school systems, $28.8 million for child welfare services to fund out-of-home care growth and foster care per diem increases, $22.9 million to implement recommendations from the Commission on Children’s Mental Health, $5 million for accountability courts to implement new courts and expand existing courts, $31 million for transportation and $100 million to repair roads and bridges in Georgia. Gov. Deal’s FY 2019 budget recommendations will financially preserve Georgia’s pension system for educators, provide determined students
with additional access to higher education opportunities, grow mental health services for our state’s youngest citizens and upgrade and expand Georgia’s transit system. My colleagues and I in the General Assembly will use these recommendations as a guide to further revise and craft the state’s budget in our Joint House and Senate Budget Hearings next week. I will provide you with more information regarding the state budget and the budget process next week once we thoroughly review Gov. Deal’s recommendations.
This week, the House and Senate also adopted an adjournment resolution, a measure that sets our legislative calendar through the first few weeks of session. As the session progresses, we will adopt one or more adjournment resolutions to set the remainder of the legislative calendar, and I will update you on our schedule as it evolves. Georgia is a citizen legislature, meaning that elected officials in the Georgia General Assembly are part-time lawmakers. Since my colleagues and I are not full-time lawmakers, the General Assembly has a limited amount of time to tackle issues facing our state, so it is critical that we prudently set the legislative calendar to make the most of the 40 day session.
While we spent much of this first week of session taking up legislative business, my House colleagues and I also celebrated College Football Playoff National Championship Day at the Capitol. On Monday, for the first time in Georgia’s history, our state hosted the College Football Playoff National Championship, where the University of Georgia Bulldogs played against University of Alabama’s Crimson Tide in Atlanta’s new Mercedes-Benz Stadium. On Day One of the session, the House adopted House Resolution 867 recognizing Dan Corso and commending the Atlanta Football Host Committee for organizing this great event for our state. Although our state’s flagship university lost in the final minutes of the game, it was a true honor for our great state to host the National Championship game.
Now that the legislative session has officially begun, my House colleagues and I will be working diligently to pass meaningful legislation on behalf of all Georgians. I hope that my session updates will help you to stay informed on legislative matters that impact our community and state as a whole. The House website, www.house.ga.gov, has several tools that might be useful to you throughout the legislative session: a live stream of House proceedings, live and archived committee meeting videos and detailed information on all legislation we are considering in the General Assembly.
If you ever find yourself in Atlanta during session, I encourage you to visit me at my Capitol office, and please do not hesitate to call or email me if you have any questions or concerns regarding any current or upcoming legislation. My Capitol office is located in the Coverdell Legislative Office Building, Suite 612-A, my office phone number is 404-656-0325, and I can be reached via email at Eddie.Lumsden@house.ga.gov.
Thank you for allowing me to serve as your representative. It is an honor and a privilege to represent you in your state legislature.
United Community Bank CEO Retires
Steve Kemp, a longtime Northwest Georgia banker, has retired as CEO of United Community Bank in Northwest Georgia. His retirement was made official at the end of December.
Kemp started his career in 1972 at Rome Bank and Trust and worked at several area Rome banks before winding up with First Floyd Bank – which is now United Community Bank.
United Community Banks in Northwest Georgia include seven locations in Floyd, Bartow and Chattooga Counties.
Kemp will continue to serve on the board of directors for United Community Bank.
United Community Bank has two branches in Chattooga County, in Trion and Summerville.
Man Gets Out of Jail to Find Car Stolen
A Trion man who had been incarcerated in the Chattooga County jail told law enforcement that when he got out of jail and got back home his car had been stolen.
Johnny Caylor told a deputy that he had been in jail for seven months and got out on January 10th of this year and returned to his home on Williams Cemetery Road in Summerville. When he got home, he found that his 2001 Saturn was missing from the residence along with several personal items from inside the residence.
Mr. Caylor was completing a list of the items to give them to an investigator. He reported the theft on Sunday of this week.
Texting While Driving Drunk - Bad Idea
Texting while driving is bad enough, but texting while you are driving drunk is a really bad idea.
According to reports from Floyd County, a forty-year-old Rome man was arrested this week after he wrecked his pickup truck while driving drunk. The accident happened at the intersection of Highway 140 and Davis Loop Road.
Floyd County Police say that Michael Zachary Jackson admitted to police that he was texting when his truck left the roadway at a high rate of speed. Jackson’s truck left the road and flipped and Jackson reportedly asked others on the scene to “not call the cops.”
Jackson has been charged with DUI, texting while driving, driving on a suspended license, failure to maintain lane, duty to report an accident, too fast for conditions and probation violation.
Chattooga Couple Reports Fraud From Hawaii
A Chattooga County couple reported a case of financial transaction credit card fraud to the Chattooga County Sheriff’s Department.
Pats Ledbetter, of an Orchard Hill Road, Summerville address, told a responding deputy that her husband had began receiving e-mails in reference to a Best Buy Visa account in his name. She advised the deputy that they did not have an account with Best Buy. The couple had received several e-mails about recent purchase made on the card and an e-mail from the credit card company saying that the e-mail address on the account had been changed.
The Ledbetters were able to track the purchase to an address in Honolulu, Hawaii. They called the police department in Hawaii to advise them of the fraudulent activity. The police department in Honolulu told them to make a report with local law enforcement.
An address for the suspect was given to the responding Chattooga County Deputy and the case has been turned over to an investigator.
Break-in Reported at Rent A Center in Summerville
A break-in was reported at Rent a Center in Summerville on Monday of this week.
According to a report from the Chattooga County Sheriff’s Department, deputies responded to a burglar alarm call at Rent a Center in the Save a Lot Shopping Center in Summerville and found that the back door of the building was open.
Deputies cleared the building while they waited on a store manager to arrive on the scene. They discovered that drywall was kicked in allowing access to the interior of the building.
When the store management arrived they said that nothing was missing from the store.
Deputies said that it appeared that the back door of the building had been open for a long period of time. An investigator was called to the scene.
Georgia DOT Started Early Working on Roads
The Northwest Georgia District Six of Georgia Department of Transportation crews have pre-treated the area’s interstates and states routes in preparation for the winter weather, expected to hit the area this evening into the night.
Some DOT crews using big tankers began applying brine to the interstates yesterday at 7AM. Other crews used smaller trucks for brining state routes in the mountainous areas. Snow and ice clearing crews also began the first shift at 7AM this morning. They have been brining and treating bridges, overpasses and areas susceptible to freezing with hot loads (gravel, salt and calcium chloride).
“Once precipitation moved into the area from Alabama, crews stopped brining and went into the normal operations spreading the traditional mix of salt and gravel on the roadways,” said Dewayne Comer, district engineer at the DOT office in Cartersville. “A second shift will report 7 PM this evening and work through the night,” Comer added.
In the 17 counties of northwest Georgia, the state DOT has the following resources to deal with the current winter weather event:
- 76 snow removal equipment units
- 11,530 tons of salt
- 13,070 tons of gravel
- 2 brine production units and tanks for 223,000 gallons of brine storage
- 6 5000-gallon tankers and 3 1000-gallon tankers to spray brine for pretreating the roadways
- 13 Road Weather Information System (RWIS) sensors
- 258 employees on call covering 5,117 lane miles
Roads are Beginning to Get Hazardous - UPDATED
East Washington St. near the Depot
Some city streets and county roads are beginning to get slick from the snow. Chattooga County Sheriff Mark Schrader told AM 1180 around 8:45 PM that there are slick spots developing in some areas. Right now, Highway 27 and Taylor’s Ridge are passable. The sheriff is urging extreme caution if you must be out this evening. Both local school systems have canceled school for tomorrow due to the road conditions.
UPDATE 9:19 PM – The Cherokee County, Alabama county engineer has issued a Travel Advisory for all Cherokee County roads. Travel is not recommended on any roads in Cherokee County, Alabama.
WRGA in Rome is reporting that roads are getting slick in Floyd County, especially in the Silver Creek and Texas Valley areas.
Both Local School Systems Cancel School for Wednesday
Both Trion City Schools and Chattooga County Schools have canceled school for tomorrow, Wednesday, January 17, 2018. Superintendents Williams and Lenderman both cited poor travel conditions due to slick roads as the reason for the cancellation.
Closings and Cancellations - Updated at 3 PM
Due to the Winter Weather Advisory, here is a list of closings and cancellations:
Chattooga County Schools – 3 Hour Delay for Wednesday (See more details here )
Chattooga Senior Center
Catoosa, Chattooga, Dade and Walker County Health Departments
Town of Trion Called Meeting (See more details here )
City of Summerville Mid-Year Budget Workshop
Chattooga County Library Closing at 4 PM today
Chattooga DFCS will close at 3:00 p.m. today. The office should re-open tomorrow at 8:00 a.m.
Oakview CNA Job Fair for today has been canceled
Chattooga County Democratic Party Meeting for tonight is rescheduled for next Tuesday
Lyerly Mohawk Plant Shutting Down at 4 PM (See more details here )
We will update this list as needed.
Lyerly Mohawk Plant Announces Schedule
NOTE THIS UPDATE IS ONLY FOR THE LYERLY MOHAWK PLANT: Mohawk in Lyerly will shut down at 4 PM this afternoon (Tuesday, January 16) and reopen at 4 PM, Wednesday, January 17th.
Library Closing at 4 PM
The Chattooga County Library will close today at 4 PM due to the possibility of inclement weather.
Temperatures Below Freezing for 48 Hours Expected
While we probably won’t see much snow from the system headed our way – probably an inch or less – the big weather story is the bitterly cold temperatures and wind chills that we will see for the next couple of days.
The National Weather Service says that Chattooga County and Northwest Georgia could see temperatures below freezing for a period of over forty-eight hours, which could lead to some problems. The biggest problem is the possibility of frozen pipes and also the possibility of black ice on the roadways.
Homeowners need to take measures to prevent frozen pipes and avoid water damage. The pipes that are most vulnerable are those located in unheated interior spaces, such as basements, attics, and garages. A simple light bulb under the house can help prevent frozen pipes. Also it is a good idea to wrap pipes with insulation if they are prone to freeze. You may also want to leave the water dripping in a sink to keep the water flowing and prevent freezing.
After the snow moves out later tonight, we will have bitterly cold temperatures in the mid-teens and wind chills that will dip to the single digits in the valley and well below zero in the higher elevations. Northwest winds are expected to gust up to 20 miles per hour and will persist through Wednesday morning. A Wind Chill Advisory is in effect from 9 PM tonight until 1 PM on Wednesday.
Cagle Raises Nearly $7 Million for Campaign Coffers
Georgia’s Lt. Governor Casey Cagle announced today that he has raised nearly $7 million for his campaign to be Georgia’s next governor.
Cagle’s campaign says that he has raised more than $4 million in the disclosure period that will end at the end of this month. Currently Cagle has over $5.75 million cash in hand to run his campaign.
Cagle claims the support of 100 sheriff’s and 1,500 county leaders that have endorsed him. Chattooga County Commissioner Jason Winters has long been a Cagle supporter, as has been State Senator Jeff Mullis that represents a large portion of Chattooga County in the Georgia State Senate.
Cagle says that he will cut taxes by $100 million in his first 100 days in office if he is elected governor and promises to create a half-million new jobs in his term as governor.