Man Kicked Out Of Hope Rebirth Shelter

Summerville Police were called to Hope Rebirth Homeless Shelter on Highland Avenue this week after a man was reportedly threatening people and “acting suspicious.”

According to a report from the Police Department, around 7 PM on Thursday evening, police were called to the shelter because of the disturbance.  Police identified Michael Gamble as the person that was reportedly threatening other residents and workers at the shelter.

Gamble contended that he was “talking to himself” and that his comments were not a threat to anyone in particular.

Gamble was told by police not to return to the shelter and if he does, he will be charged with criminal trespass.

Five Day School Week Continues To Stir Conversation

Parents across Chattooga County are weighing in on the decision of the Chattooga County Board of Education to return to a five-day school week.  Many are upset at the seemingly hasty decision that was made by the Chattooga BOE to do away with the four-day week, a schedule that the school system says has saved millions of dollars and has allowed for expansion of educational opportunities for Chattooga students.

The newly sworn-in school board members, Brad Hayes, Julia Houston and Sammy Ballard joined with John Agnew and passed the return to the five-day calendar.  This despite the fact that both Ballard and Hayes had said that they did not favor a hasty return to the five-day schedule before looking at the budget and studying the positive and negative impacts of the four-day week.

Some parents that contacted WZQZ News were upset because they were not allowed to speak at the meeting this past Thursday.  The Board of Education has a long standing policy about public input at meetings.  In order to speak, you must be on the agenda and to be on the agenda you need to fill out a form and submit it in advance.  The forms are available from the Chattooga County School System’s Central Office on Middle School Drive in Summerville.  WZQZ has learned that several parents have gone by and picked up those forms so that they will be able to speak at the next meeting of the school board.

In the meantime, School Superintendent Jimmy Lenderman says that he will develop a budget and a schedule reflecting a return to the five-day week and submit it to the Board of Education at their next meeting.


Rep. Lumsden Named Reapportionment Committee Chair

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Yesterday State Rep. Eddie Lumsden (R-Armuchee), who represents all of Chattooga County and a large portion of Floyd County in the State House, was appointed as the chairman of the reapportionment committee that draws district lines for representation in Georgia.

Lumsden released this statement:

The Legislative and Congressional Reapportionment Committee of the House of Representatives is a relatively low key committee most of the time except during the redistricting process which occurs every ten years in the year after the census is taken. During that year the lines of every State House and Congressional District in Georgia are redrawn by this committee based on population, communities of interest, demographics and a multitude of other considerations. Properly done it produces a map that is fair and is representative of the State of Georgia. It is a critical element of the election process and must be in place for future elections to be held.

Today Speaker David Ralston appointed me as Chairman of this important Committee. I appreciate the confidence he has placed in me to carry out this important task for the people of Georgia. I covet your prayers. They will be needed.

Sheriff's Dept. Assists Trion School's "Helping Hands Ending Hunger"

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Chattooga County Sheriff Mark Schrader and members of his department assisted Trion School’s “Helping Hands Ending Hunger” program on Friday by helping to box up food for distribution to those in need.

The program takes unused food from the school’s cafeteria, along with generous donations of food from the community and then is distributed to children who might otherwise go hungry.  The program at Trion is just one of several schools that participate in the program across the State of Georgia.

To date, Helping Hands Ending Hunger has 226,639 meals to kids in Georgia.  They have collected 271,966 pounds of food to send home with needy students.

You can find out more about the program here.

Arrest Report - Saturday - January 19, 2019

Here is the latest arrest report from the Chattooga County Sheriff’s Office for Saturday, January 19, 2019:

Sen. Mullis Weekly Legislative Report

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This week has seen a batch of new faces appear here at the Capitol. We swore in a new Governor, Brian P. Kemp, a new Lieutenant Governor, Geoff Duncan, as well as five new Senators.

I was also sworn in for my 19th legislative session and as always, I am grateful to my family for supporting me, and my constituents for giving me the opportunity to represent Georgia’s 53rd Senate District.

One of the issues that is a priority of mine for the 2019 session is keeping our schools safe for students. There is no “one size fits all” solution to an issue such as school safety, as every school and the needs of the students who occupy the halls are different. During the 2018 interim, I was part of the School Safety Study Committee chaired by Sen. John Albers. I am extremely proud of the accomplishments of this study committee, as we were not only able to gather important information regarding school safety, but we were able to turn this information into tangible legislation.

Earlier this week, Sen. Albers filed Senate Bill 15, called the “Keeping Georgia’s Schools Safe Act.” I am proud to be a co-sponsor of this legislation which would create a requirement for schools to institute practices that will reduce the threat of violence in schools. This will be done by making responses more timely and efficient through the conduction of threat assessments, drills and coaching on when to take appropriate action when a threat arises. The parameters set in SB 15 are flexible enough to allow schools to figure out what method works best for them, while also receiving the resources they need. I look forward to assisting Sen. Albers in championing this bill as it is of vital importance to the safety of Georgia students. Additionally, I was proud to co-sponsor Senate Resolution 12 which proposes a Constitutional Amendment to allow ESPLOST funds to be allocated towards the security of schools, including additional staffing for specialized mental health counselors.

I was happy to hear in Governor Kemp’s State of the State address that he supports school safety initiatives. Governor Kemp proposed that each public school in our state receive a $30,000 one-time allocation for school safety improvements. Having Governor Kemp’s support and that of the House ensures legislation dealing with school safety will be thoroughly and efficiently vetted this session. I look forward to continuing to work with Sen. Albers, our colleagues and Kemp’s administration on this critical issue.

Please feel free to contact my office at any time to talk about the School Safety Study Committee, the “Keeping Georgia’s Schools Safe Act,” the legislative process, or any concerns you may have in our district – my door and phone lines are always open!

Press Release

GNTC Names Semi-Finalists For 2019 GOAL Award

Four Georgia Northwestern Technical College (GNTC) students have been selected as the college’s semi-finalists for the Georgia Occupational Award of Leadership (GOAL), according to Dione Waddington, coordinator for the college’s GOAL program.

Listed are students chosen as semi-finalists for the GOAL award showing (from left to right) the student’s name, county of residence, program of study, GNTC campus and nominating instructor:

Lorayna Alan, Walker, Marketing, Floyd County Campus, Mark Upton
Sarah Byrne, Bartow, Cybersecurity, Floyd County Campus, Jan Carney
Grace Dunnaway, Bartow, Criminal Justice, Gordon County Campus, Tyler Gayan
Brandon Neighbors, Catoosa, Automotive Technology, Walker County Campus, Troy Peco

“The purpose of the GOAL program is to spotlight the outstanding achievement by students in Georgia’s technical colleges and to emphasize the importance of technical education in today’s global workforce,” said Waddington.

GOAL, a statewide program of the Technical College System of Georgia (TCSG), honors excellence in academics and leadership among the state’s technical college students. GOAL winners are selected at each of the state’s 22 technical colleges.

According to Waddington, a screening committee of administrators at GNTC selected the four semi-finalists from a list of students nominated by their instructors.

The four semi-finalists will advance to a second round of judging at Rome Floyd Chamber. A panel of business, civic and industry leaders from the community will interview and evaluate the students and select one to be the college’s 2019 GOAL winner.

The student judged most outstanding will be announced at the GOAL and Rick Perkins Awards Luncheon on Tuesday, Jan. 29, at noon at the Coosa County Club in Rome.

The GOAL and Rick Perkins Awards luncheon is sponsored by The Seven Hills Rotary Club, Rome Floyd Chamber and Georgia Northwestern Technical College.

All college GOAL winners will compete in regional judging, which will include students from the other 22 colleges of TCSG. Three finalists from the region will be named and will compete in the state GOAL competition in Atlanta, April 15-18, and vie to be named as the 2019 statewide GOAL winner. The completion will take place at the Grand Hyatt Atlanta in Buckhead.

The state GOAL winner becomes the student ambassador for the Technical College System of Georgia. They will make many public appearances throughout the year, including addresses to the Georgia General Assembly, the Governor and other TCSG functions.

As the grand prize, a new automobile will be awarded to the state GOAL winner.

City of Summerville Calls Meeting For Tuesday

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The Summerville City Council will have a called meeting coming up on Monday of next week.  According to an agenda released on Friday afternoon, the purpose of the meeting is the second reading of the Year-End Fiscal 2018 Budget and the first reading of the Fiscal Year 2018-2019 Budget.  The council is also expected to discuss the anticipated SPLOST vote that will be voted on by Chattooga County residents later this year.  The public is invited to the meeting that will be held at 5 PM on Tuesday, January 22nd at the council meeting room at Summerville City Hall.

Body Found In Armuchee

Authorities in Floyd County say that a body was discovered Friday afternoon on Lindsey Road between Highway 27 and Old Summerville Road in Armuchee.

Floyd Coroner Gene Proctor said that a man’s body was found by a utility crew in a heavily wooded area.

The body was described as that of a heavy-set, white man believed to be in his mid-thirties.  The man had tattoos on his arms.  Proctor says that the body was there for several days, up to a week and no physical I.D. was available at this time.

The body has been sent to the GBI Crime Lab for an autopsy and to identify the victim.

Compiled Reports

Arrest Report - Friday - January 18, 2019

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

GDC Investigating Death At Hays Prison As Homicide

Officials with the Georgia Department of Corrections (GDC) are investigating the death of an inmate at Hays State Prison in Trion as a homicide on Thursday.

Press Release from the Georgia Department of Corrections:

The Georgia Department of Corrections (GDC) is investigating the death of an inmate at Hays State Prison (HSP) in Trion, Ga., as a suspected homicide.

On January 17, at approximately 11:57 a.m., inmate Marion Luke (GDC#1117396) was assaulted by another inmate.  Medical personnel and staff responded and took him to medical, awaiting the arrival of Emergency Medical Services.  Inmate Luke was pronounced deceased at approximately 12:05 p.m., in the medical unit by the facility physician.  GDC is conducting an investigation into the death, as standard procedure.

Luke was sentenced to eight years in 2014, in Dekalb County for Aggravated Assault.

Local Church Vandalized

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The Summerville Police Department is investigating an incident of vandalism at a local church.

A Summerville police officer responded to Redemption Worship Center on West First Avenue on Wednesday of this week.  Church members told the responding officer that someone had broken into the back door of the church building.

The officer observed where vandals had pried the door open and then unlocked a side-rear door.

The church members discovered the break-in as they were replacing a flood light on the back of the church.

Nothing appeared to be missing from the church, but the church members told the officer that there had been a suspicious black sedan that had been parking in the lower gravel parking lot on multiple occasions.

The Summerville Police Department is posting extra patrols in the area and the investigation into the break-in continues.

Alabama Man's Car Vandalized In Summerville

The Summerville Police Department was called to Pine Hill Apartments by an Alabama man who says that his car was vandalized while parked at the location.

The incident was reported shortly after midnight this past Sunday.  Ryan Gilbreath, of Leesburg, Alabama, told a responding officer that he had brought the vehicle to Summerville two to three weeks ago and was in the process of selling it to Christian Whitlock.

Gilbreath told the officer that the vehicle had been moved from where he had left it and that the radio had been stolen.  Also, there was a good bit of graffiti, written in permanent marker, on the inside of the vehicle.

The officer observed the title to the vehicle in Mr. Gilbreath’s possession.  The incident is being investigated by the Summerville Police Department.

Chattooga Residents On Georgia Highland's President's & Dean's List

Georgia Highlands College has announced students named to the fall 2018 President’s List and Dean’s List.

To achieve President’s List status, students must earn a 4.0 grade point average and attain a minimum of nine semester hours of credit.  The following Chattooga County residents were on the President’s list:

Adriana Bautista-Florentino, Summerville

Rhonda Brown, Trion

Tania Driggers, Summerville

Anna Herring, Summerville

Joel Mosqueda-Arreola, Trion

Sandra Poe, Menlo

Justin Stowe, Summerville

Levi Thomas, Trion

To make Dean’s List students must complete a minimum of nine semester hours and achieve at least a 3.5 average.  Here are the Chattooga County residents making the Dean’s list:

Autumn Bandy, Trion

Murphy Browning, Summerville

Jenifer Lopez, Summerville

MaCayla Mobley, Summerville

Jessica Smith, Summerville

Austin Southerland, Trion

William Woods, Summerville

Truck Stolen In TN Found Wrecked In Lyerly

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According to a report released Thursday by the Chattooga County Sheriff’s Office, a truck that was found wrecked on the side of Highway 114 near Lyerly was stolen out of Soddy Daisy, Tennessee.

The truck was a 2015 Toyota Tundra that crashed near the Lyerly town limits.  According to the deputy’s report, the truck’s airbags were deployed and there was extensive damage to the vehicle.  There was no one around the vehicle when the deputy arrived.

The truck was subsequently towed and after running the VIN number on the vehicle, it came back as being stolen back in December out of Soddy Daisy.

Chattooga Chamber Looking For Leadership Chattooga Candidates

The Chattooga County Chamber of Commerce is inviting local businesses to nominate a candidate from companies and organizations in Chattooga County  to participate in Leadership Chattooga 2019.

The purpose of the program is to provide emerging community leaders with a greater awareness of community issues, needs, services and resources.

Chattooga County Chamber Director Cindy Rivers says, “Equipping our future partners in business, government and community with the tools they need to be effective and successful leaders in their respective fields is the goal of the Chattooga Chamber of Commerce, and we appreciate your continued support to reach that goal each year.”

For more information, you can contact the Chattooga County Chamber at 706-857-4033.

Georgia Man Jailed In Alabama For Fleeing From Cops

A Cedartown, Georgia man is behind bars after attempting to elude Centre, Alabama  Police on Wednesday afternoon.

According to Corporal Matt Peek, at approximately 12:50 Centre Police received a 911 call stating a woman was chasing a guy down Industrial Park Drive who she caught stealing from her property.

Corporal Peek, Chief Kirk Blankenship, and Inv. Randy Mayorga spotted the suspect’s vehicle on Highway 411 North just outside the city limits and the suspect ran. Centre Police gave chase down Highway 411 when the chase came to a stop near County Road 45 where an 18 wheeler assisted officers in boxing in the suspect vehicle.

The suspect was taken into custody and it was determined that he was wanted out of Georgia for several felony warrants.

74-year-old Roy Everett Overby was booked into the Cherokee County Detention Center shortly after 2:00 p.m. on charges of Attempting to Elude; he is also on hold for authorities in Cedartown.

The Theft cases are being investigated by Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office Investigators.

WEIS Radio

Chattooga BOE Votes For Return Of 5 Day School Week

Three new school board members were sworn in at the Chattooga County Board of Education meeting on Thursday evening and shortly thereafter a majority voted for a return to the five day school week for Chattooga County Schools.

The issue of the five-day school week was discussed frequently during the last election in which the three new Republican board members, Dr. Julia Houston, Sammy Ballard and Brad Hayes, defeated the Democratic incumbents.  All four Republicans on the board – including John Agnew who was elected in 2016 – voted for the return to the five-day school week.  The loan Democrat on the BOE, John Turner was outnumbered and abstained from the vote.

Despite Mr. Ballard and Mr. Hayes telling the local paper this week that they didn’t favor a hasty return to the five-day week and instead indicating that they wanted to form a study committee to find out more about how well the four-day week had worked, they joined with Dr. Houston and Mr. Agnew in doing away with the four-day week.

The meeting was well attended by the public, all with an interest in seeing what the new board would do regarding the four-day week.

Superintendent Jimmy Lenderman will now develop a budget and a school calendar reflecting the five-day school week, which will begin in the fall of 2019.

In other business, the Board of Education voted John Agnew as chair and Sammy Ballard as vice-chair.

Cherokee Medical Center Improvements Underway

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Projects underway at Cherokee Medical Center are expected to ensure the hospital continues providing quality care for the patients it serves. In the Emergency Room, exam rooms and the waiting room will be expanded. Upgrades to Imaging Services are also planned.

“All these facility and technology upgrades will enable Cherokee to expand our treatment options so that residents of northeast Alabama and northwest Georgia can receive the care they need closer to home,” said Brandon Reece, Administrator of Cherokee Medical Center.

The number of exam rooms in the Emergency Room is being doubled to eight from four. A remodeled and expanded waiting room will also better serve patients. The Emergency Room recently moved into a temporary space. “Being able to have a temporary space will give the construction teams free reign to work on the project during the next few months,” said David Early, Vice President of Support Services and Operations at Floyd. Floyd’s Volunteer Services has contributed $125,000 to this expansion, proceeds made from fundraising efforts over the past year. Floyd Healthcare Foundation is also raising funds for the project. The work is expected to be completed by spring.

Cherokee Medical Center’s Imaging Services department also will have several significant upgrades. An ultrasound machine will be moved to Cherokee Medical Center from Floyd Medical Center.

A digital radiography room will replace the existing X-ray room. The existing X-ray room and a portable X-ray unit will be upgraded to digital radiography standards. That project will also include an overhaul of the electronic components and cosmetic appearance of the room.

“Combining these investments with Cherokee Medical Center’s existing CT scanner and digital mammography unit will complete a full suite of technologically advanced, best practice imaging modalities for the residents and health care providers of Centre, Alabama,” said Aimee Griffin, Assistant Director of Imaging Services at Floyd.

Press Release

Arrest Report - Thursday - January 17, 2019

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