Finster Fest This Weekend


Howard Finster’s Paradise Garden will host its annual Finster Fest this weekend at Paradise Gardens in Pennville.

Finster Fest will feature more than 50 artists, live music, barbecue and other southern fare, a children’s art activity area, and, of course, the chance to tour Howard Finster’s famous folk art environment.

Finster Fest will feature nationally recognized self-taught artists including Missionary Mary Proctor (Florida), Michael Banks (Alabama), Peter Loose (Georgia), Deb “Miz Thang” Garner (Georgia) and C.M. and Grace Kelly Laster (Kentucky).

Hours for the family-friendly festival are 11 a.m.-5 p.m. both days. Admission is $5, with free parking at the Walmart on U.S. 27 just north of the garden, with complimentary shuttle provided. Handicap parking is available on site.

Proceeds from Finster Fest benefit the nonprofit Paradise Garden Foundation, which operates and continues restoration of Howard Finster’s 2-acre plus attraction.

Finster Fest launched in 1991 and is one of Summerville’s biggest annual events, drawing more than 1,700 guests mainly from the tri-state area of Georgia, Alabama and Tennessee. Look for updates at Howard Finster’s Paradise Garden on Facebook. More information on Paradise Garden:

Proposed Chicken Plant in Walker County Draws Lawsuit

Old Barwick Plant in Walker County is the proposed location for the chicken processing plant

A non-profit preservation group is suing Walker County and a chicken production company over rumors that they are discussing building a chicken slaughterhouse.

The McLemore Cove Preservation Society claims a Pilgrim’s Pride chicken slaughterhouse would ruin a scenic area, and result in “unbearable odors, noise, increased traffic patterns, pollution, diminished aesthetics, and diminished property values for nearby landowners.”

The lawsuit also claims that all negotiations between the county and Pilgrim’s Pride have gone on behind closed doors and without public input.

Walker County sole commissioner Shannon Whitfield issued a video response to the lawsuit Thursday, saying the group is “working off rumors, not facts.”

“When a business is interested in our community,” says Whitfield, “they require us to sign a non-disclosure agreement early on in the development process. This gives the company time to investigate our community without tipping off their competition.”

“The folks suing all of us are doing so with full awareness that we are in a financial distress, and will be forced to use your tax dollars to defend this type of petty, theatrical nonsense.”

More from WTVC – Chattanooga

Chattooga County Man Arrested for Child Molestation

A thirty-one-year-old Chattooga County man was arrested on Wednesday of this week and charged with child molestation and aggravated child molestation in connection with an incident that Chattooga County Sheriff Mark Schrader calls “a sad situation.”

According to Sheriff Schrader, Jonathan Tyrone Wooten, who is developmentally challenged, is charged with molesting a victim. The crimes were investigated by the Chattooga County Sheriff’s Department.

Sheriff Schrader says that more details will be released.

Wooten was booked into the Chattooga County Jail Wednesday evening, shortly before 6 PM.

Cancer Navigators’ Cast Off Celebration Set for June 3

The annual Cast Off Against Cancer celebration, the culmination of fundraising efforts to benefit Cancer Navigators, will take place Sunday, June 3, from 2 to 4 p.m. at Barron Stadium.

Cancer Navigators is a community-based, non-profit organization that partners with many organizations to provide resources and educational materials for those battling cancer.

Various teams have been finding creative ways to raise money for the support organiza-tion for the past months and fundraising awards will be given away during Cast Off Against Cancer. The special day also provides a way to remember those affected by cancer.

“This is our eighth year of having Cast Off Against Cancer and each year it is always very memorable and meaningful,” said Scharla Battle, Community Outreach Manager for Cancer Navigators. “Our local city and county commissioners have declared Sun-day, June 3, as Cancer Survivors Day and Cancer Navigators Day here in our commu-nity. That means a lot for our community to come together and celebrate our cancer sur-vivors.”

The event also includes the Daisy Drop, when daisies are dropped in the Oostanaula River from the Chief John Ross Memorial Bridge by the Town Green in honor of or in memory of someone who has battled or is battling cancer. To purchase a daisy, visit

“This is probably the most reflective and emotional time of our event. It is a very special moment,” Battle said.

She stressed that all donations stay local to give back to cancer patients in nee

Men Fight After One Says The Other "Disrespected" Him

Summerville Police arrested two men after an altercation on Scoggins Street that happened in the early morning hours of Wednesday.

According to reports from the Summerville Police Department, the fight between the two men happened on Wednesday when thirty-nine-year-old Job Junior Ledford and thirty-year-old Robert Lee Eaton got into a disagreement.

Police say that Eaton claimed that Ledford “disrespected” him, which led to the two men getting into a physical altercation.

Witnesses told police that the two men had been arguing for a few days before the fight.

Ledford and Eaton were both charged with disorderly conduct and booked into the Chattooga County Jail.



GSP Employee Arrested for False Report of a Crime

A forty-year-old Armuchee woman who is employed by the Georgia State Patrol (GSP) Post 38 in Rome, was arrested and charged with the false report of a crime after an incident on Wednesday when she reported that an armed gunman had walked into the GSP Post and threatened her.

Floyd County Police say that GSP Administrative Employee Lisa Stewart was arrested after police and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation determined that the report of an armed gunman was false.

The report led to a manhunt Wednesday afternoon and evening by law enforcement and when they didn’t find the suspect, who Stewart said fled on foot, they began to question Stewart’s story.

Floyd County Police released a statement following Stewart’s arrest on Thursday saying, “With the help of investigators and crime scene technicians from GBI, the processing of evidence and interviews were completed. The evidentiary findings at the end of the initial investigation revealed that the report was false.”

According to docket records from the Floyd County Jail, Stewart has been charged with transmitting a false alarm; false report of a crime; false statements or writings – conceal facts or fraudulent documents in matters of government.  Arrest reports indicate that Stewart was arrested at the Georgia State Patrol Post by Floyd County Police yesterday.

Trion Woman Reports Theft of Deceased Husband's Tools

A Hill Street Trion woman reported the theft of her deceased husband’s tools to the Chattooga County Sheriff’s Department.

The complainant said that her husband had passed away earlier this month and while family were at her house, her husband’s tool box turned up missing.  The woman told a responding deputy that the tools were in a toolbox in the bed of her husband’s truck at the time they went missing.

The complainant said that her husband had issues with a family member concerning theft and the death of a cow.  She explained that incident occurred in Walker County and that Walker County authorities were investigating that incident.

The woman identified a family member as the suspect in reference to the missing toolbox.

The incident was turned over to an investigator.

Lyerly Man Reports Damage to Pickup Truck

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A sheriff’s deputy was called to a Williams Road, Lyerly address in reference to a damage to property report.  Upon arrival, the deputy spoke with Jonathon Campbell who said that someone had broken the window out on his pickup truck.

Mr. Campbell showed the deputy his white Chevrolet S-10 pickup truck and two rocks, about the size of golf balls that were inside the truck.  Mr. Campbell said the incident happened around midnight the night before, but he waited until daylight to call 911.

Campbell told the deputy that nothing was missing from the truck, and that he had no idea who might have caused the damage.

The sheriff’s deputy told Mr. Campbell that they would put extra patrol in the area.


Trion Memorial Day Ceremony on Saturday

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The Town of Trion will host their annual Memorial Day ceremony coming up on Saturday at 1 PM at the Trion Veterans Memorial Park.

Chattooga County Probate Judge Jon Payne will serve as master of ceremonies for the event, as he has done for many years.  The program will feature a presentation of the colors by the Greater Rome Young Marines and Pippa Key will sing the National Anthem.

Trion Councilman Don Harris will read the names of memorialized veterans at the event.  The keynote address will be by Captain Don Ballard – United States Navy Retired.

The Town of Trion invites everyone to the ceremony to remember those who have given their lives for our freedoms.

GSP Prepares for Memorial Day Travel Period

The Georgia State Patrol is making final preparations for the Memorial Day holiday weekend. Troopers will be on full patrols, concentrating on impaired drivers and seat belt violations. The travel period is 78 hours long, and officially begins on Friday, May 25, at 6 PM, and ends at 11:59 PM on Memorial Day, Monday, May 28.

In 2017, during a similar 78-hour travel period, the Georgia State Patrol investigated 452 traffic crashes over the Memorial Day weekend.  The crashes resulted in 274 injuries and six people losing their lives. In addition to the traffic crash investigations, troopers arrested 255 people for driving under the influence, while issuing 9,433 citations and 11,862 warnings.

“Travel with caution and put safety first this weekend,” said Colonel Mark W. McDonough, commissioner of the Georgia Department of Public Safety. “Traffic will be heavier than usual as graduation ceremonies, special holiday events, and vacation travelers will add to the regular weekend traffic patterns. Also, be prepared should rain make driving conditions hazardous,” he said.

Make sure that everyone in your vehicle is buckled up and that children are properly restrained. Don’t text and drive, obey the posted speed limit, and do not drive impaired. If you know that you will be consuming alcoholic beverages, plan ahead to have a designated driver. “These are some of the best steps we all can take to prevent serious injury and fatal crashes,” said Colonel McDonough.

During the Memorial Day travel period, the Georgia State Patrol will again be participating in the national mobilization of the ‘Click It, or Ticket’ program. State troopers will be working alongside sheriffs’ deputies and police officers to enforce Georgia’s seat belt laws and to educate the public on the importance of wearing seat belts while traveling in motor vehicles. This program is coordinated in Georgia by the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety.

The holiday traffic fatality count will be updated throughout the travel period on the Department of Public Safety’s Twitter account:

Floyd Co. Police Seek Info on Armed Suspect in GSP Office Incident

Photo Credit: WRGA / Hometown Headlines

The Floyd County Police Department is seeking information about a man who threatened a secretary at the Georgia State Patrol Office on Martha Berry Hwy across from Food Lion. According to the GSP, the man walked into the post and produced a handgun and fled the scene. No one was injured.

The man is described as a slender white male, 5 foot 8 inches tall with short dark hair. He was last seen wearing blue jeans and a dark color shirt. The incident occurred around 4 pm. Floyd County Police request that if anyone saw someone crossing the highway or in the area they are asked to please call Floyd County 911 or message their Facebook page.

According to Hometown Headlines, Rome-Floyd Parks and Recreation canceled all evening baseball games at North Floyd Recreation Center on Wednesday evening.  One parent tells of walking up to the fields and seeing everyone leaving. The coach told him they were clearing out. Some of the families were sheltered in the Thornton Center across the parking lot for a bit.



Gaylesville Man Arrested on Burglary and Drug Charges

On Tuesday, Cherokee County, Alabama investigators arrested a Gaylesville man in connection with a burglary that occurred over the weekend in the Cedar Bluff area.

Investigator Tony Monroy charged Dustin Charles Watwood with Third Degree Burglary.

Sheriff’s Office investigators also located illegal drugs in Watwood’s possession, and he was additionally charged with two counts of Unlawful Possession of a Controlled Substance and Unlawful Possession of Drug Paraphernalia.

He was booked into the Cherokee County Detention Center on the burglary and drug charges, as well as a parole violation.

101 To Graduate Trion High School This Weekend

This Saturday one hundred and one graduates will receive their diplomas from Trion High School; sixty boys and forty-one girls.  Trion High School Principal Bryan Edge says that if you are coming to graduation on Saturday morning, you may want to get there early in order to get a good parking place.

Principal Edge told AM 1180 that doors to the Trion High School gym will open at 8:30 on Saturday morning.  Seating is all first-come-first-serve, there is no reserved seating for the graduation.

Mr. Edge says that the school will have handicapped parking places marked off near the entrance to the gym, but those spots will fill up quickly.  The school will also operate a golf cart to help transport people who need assistance.

Graduation is at 10 AM on Saturday, May 26, 2018.

AM 1180 Chattooga County Radio would like to congratulate all of the Trion High School Seniors on their achievement.

Beer Sales on Sunday Coming in July

Chattooga County voters voted in two new alcohol ordinances on Tuesday of this week.  One new ordinance will allow for the sale of liquor by the drink in county restaurants.  That measure passed with 62.81% of the voters in favor.   A second ordinance will allow for package beer and wine sales on Sunday.  That measure passed with 58.6% of voters approval.  Chattooga County Attorney Chris Corbin says that the new ordinance will take effect on July 1, 2018.


Graduation Gift Money Stolen From Mail

A Filter Plant road resident told a Chattooga County Sheriff’s Deputy that someone had stolen cash from an envelope in her mailbox.

According to the complainant, there was an envelope in her mailbox that had been opened.  When she checked with the person who had sent the mail, they said that they had enclosed $40 in cash as a graduation gift.

The responding deputy checked with the letter carrier who said that the envelope was unopened when they placed it in the mailbox.

The case has been turned over to an investigator.

Neelley Denied Parole

The Alabama Board of Pardons and Paroles denied parole for convicted killer Judith Ann Neelley Wednesday morning.

Neelley was originally sentenced to die for the brutal slaying of Lisa Ann Millican in DeKalb County, Alabama nearly 36 years ago. In late September 1982, Neelley kidnapped the child from the Riverbend Mall in Rome and took her to a motel room for her husband Alvin to rape. After several days, Neelley took Lisa to Little River Canyon outside Fort Payne where she injected Lisa six times with liquid drain cleaner in a botched attempt to kill her.

After that didn’t work, Neelley led Lisa to the rim of the gorge where she shot her in the back and shoved her into the canyon.

Neelley’s death penalty conviction was commuted to life in prison by Alabama Governor Fob James, just days before he left office.

Neelley also was sentenced to life in prison in Georgia in connection with a separate murder.  Chattooga County Sheriff Mark Schrader traveled to Montgomery this week and was at Neelley’s parole hearing.  Schrader said that he was prepared to bring Neelley back to Georgia in the unlikely event that she was paroled in Alabama.

She will next be eligible for parole in 2023.

DOC: Vocational Certificate Completions Surpassing Goal for FY18

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The Georgia Department of Corrections (GDC) announced yesterday that the number of vocational certificates completed by incarcerated offenders has surpassed the agency’s goal of 7,000 for Fiscal Year 2018. By the end of March, the total number of completions reached 7,76, with that number growing to 7,799 by May 1.

In keeping with GDC’s commitment to ensuring offenders have programming available to aide in their successful reentry, six additional Education Program Specialists are in place and are dedicated full-time to provide support for career and technical education in each of GDC’s three regions.

“Completing a vocational program creates an opportunity for offenders to learn a skill while incarcerated and become productive citizens when returning to their communities,” said Commissioner Gregory C. Dozier. “I am proud of our team for their commitment to helping offenders with successful reentry.”

“This team has been instrumental in increasing the opportunities for offender education and improving staff training on identifying, scheduling, and completing career technical education opportunities,” said Dr. Heather Corbett, Director of Career and Technical Education at GDC. “We are always analyzing data to look for ways
we can continue to improve,” she added.

The number of vocational completions, including career, technical, and on-the-job training, increased by 41.7 percent, from 4,298, in fiscal year 2016, to 6,090, in fiscal year 2017.

Summer Feeding Program in Chattooga County

School will be out soon, and the Chattooga County Summer Feeding Program will be underway in Chattooga County.  Hundreds of kids in the county receive free lunches throughout the summer thanks to the program.

AM 1180 spoke with Kelly Floyd who is coordinating the program.  She said that they are still working on the program and have several locations that have already been selected as summer feeding sights.  A list of those locations will be released in the upcoming days.

The summer feeding program will begin on Wednesday, June 6, 2018 and end on July 25th.

Anyone interested in volunteering for the Summer Feeding Program or in hosting a sight, can contact Kelly Floyd at 706-857-8311.  Interested volunteers will be required to attend a brief, one-time training session before the Summer Feeding Program begins.