Sen. Jeff Mullis Re-Appointed Chairman of the Senate Rules Committee

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Sen. Jeff Mullis was recently re-appointed to serve as Chairman of the Senate Rules Committee and to serve on several influential committees for the 2019 Legislative Session by the Senate Committee on Assignments.

“It is an honor to continue serving in my role as Senate Rules Chairman” Sen. Mullis said. “I look forward to a productive year where we focus on legislation that will increase economic development, job creation and access to quality healthcare. I do not take this duty lightly and I encourage all of my colleagues to reach out and be a part of the Rules Committee process.”

In addition to serving as Chairman of the Rules Committee, Sen. Mullis will serve as a member of Economic Development and Tourism, Regulated Industries and Utilities, and Appropriations Committees.

“I am incredibly excited to work alongside Sen. Jeff Mullis and the entire Rules Committee during the upcoming session of the Georgia General Assembly,” said Lt. Governor Geoff Duncan. “The committee process is extremely important to producing sound public policy and we’re confident that Sen. Mullis’ leadership as a committee chair will be an invaluable asset to the Georgia Senate. We’re excited for the opportunity to serve and look forward to delivering on reforms that benefit Georgians in every part of our state.”

Once a piece of legislation is introduced in the Senate, it is assigned to a committee, depending on its topic.  If the committee gives the legislation a “do pass” recommendation, then the proposed law is sent to the Rules Committee for consideration. The appointed chairs will oversee the operation and order of Senate committee meetings, including calling for action on bills, resolutions or other matters assigned to that committee.

The first session of the 155th Georgia General Assembly convened on January 14, 2019, at the Georgia State Capitol.

Senator Hufstetler Appointed Chairman Of Senate Finance Committee

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Sen. Chuck Hufstetler (R – Rome) was recently appointed to serve as Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee and to serve on several influential committees for the 2019 Legislative Session by the Senate Committee on Assignments.

“I look forward to the opportunity to serve the Senate and state as a whole again as chairman of the Finance Committee,” said Sen. Hufstetler. “Ensuring that our state remains fiscally conservative while reducing burdensome taxes on its citizens is no small task, but one I am sure we can accomplish if we work together. I look forward to building on the accomplishment of the ‘number one state in which to do business’ through the work that this committee will do.”

In addition to serving as Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, Sen. Hufstetler will serve as Vice-Chairman of the Senate Retirement Committee, as a member of the Health and Human Services and Higher Education committees and as ex-officio member of the Senate Appropriations Committee.

“I am incredibly excited to work alongside Sen. Hufstetler and the entire Finance Committee during the upcoming session of the Georgia General Assembly,” said Lt. Governor Geoff Duncan. “The committee process is extremely important to producing sound public policy and we’re confident that Sen. Hufstetler’s leadership as a committee chair will be an invaluable asset to the Georgia Senate. We’re excited for the opportunity to serve and look forward to delivering on reforms that benefit Georgians in every part of our state.”

Once a piece of legislation is introduced in the Senate, it is assigned to a committee, depending on its topic.  If the committee gives the legislation a “do pass” recommendation, then the proposed law is sent to the Rules Committee for consideration. The appointed chairs will oversee the operation and order of Senate committee meetings, including calling for action on bills, resolutions or other matters assigned to that committee.

The first session of the 155th Georgia General Assembly convened on January 14, 2019, at the Georgia State Capitol.

Georgia DOT Working On Rome Boulevard

The Georgia Department of Transportation began work today on repaving the area around and leading up to the railroad tracks on Rome Boulevard in Summerville.  The work is affecting traffic on Rome Boulevard (Highway 27) and The Lyerly Highway (Highway 114).

The work began this morning and traffic was down to one lane.  The repair work was affecting access to the Ingles Supermarket Shopping Center and United Community Bank.

The DOT says that traffic will be slow as work progresses.  The road will remain open, but not all lanes will be operational

The  work is expected to be done throughout the day and resuming for several days until the work has been completed. Any thru traffic may want to access an alternate route to bypass this area until the work has been completed.

Arrest Report - Tuesday - January 15, 2019

Here is the latest arrest report from the Chattooga County Sheriff’s Office for Tuesday, January 15, 2019

ATV Stolen In Trion

The Chattooga County Sheriff’s Department is investigating the theft of an ATV over the past weekend.

According to a report released on Monday, the stolen recreational vehicle was reported on Sunday.

Responding deputies spoke with Samantha Godfrey on Old Highway 27 in Trion, who told them that the ATV belonged to her husband, Nathan Godfrey and was sitting in front of their residence on Sunday morning.  Ms. Godfrey told the deputy that her husband was currently incarcerated in the Forsyth County Jail but one of his friends had been coming around and asking about the four wheeler. ‘

Ms. Godfrey said that when she left the residence on Sunday morning the ATV was there, but when she returned Sunday evening, the ATV was gone.

The case is currently under investigation by the Chattooga County Sheriff’s Office.

Sheriff's Dept. Investigating Burglary At Finance Company

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The Chattooga County Sheriff’s Office responded to a call about a burglary at a local finance company on Friday of last week.

According to a report released on Monday, a deputy arrived on the scene in the Save-A-Lot Shopping Center shortly before 9 AM last Friday and spoke with the manager on duty who showed the deputy where someone had apparently pried open the back door of World Finance.

Employees of the finance company said that the back door had been secured the day before when they left.

The report from the sheriff’s office did not indicate what, if anything, was taken.  An investigation into the incident is continuing.

Summerville Residents Arrested In LaFayette

Two Summerville residents were recently arrested in LaFayette following a traffic stop.

Eighteen-year-old Sean Curtis Aycock and twenty-year-old Sharron Dodd were in a Honda Civic with no tags.  When LaFayette Police pulled over the vehicle for the tag violation, the officer noticed a strong smell of marijuana coming from the vehicle.

In addition to finding a quantity of marijuana in the vehicle, officers also found Xanax pills.

Aycock and Dodd were both charged with marijuana possession and possession of a Schedule IV drug.

WQCH

AAA: Gas Prices Rise On Renewed Oil Strength

Gas prices are back on the rise, now that the oil market is regaining strength. Gas prices in Georgia rose 4 cents last week, after declining a total of 76 cents in 90 days. The average price in Georgia was $2.08 per gallon as of Monday evening.  The average price in Chattooga County as of Monday evening was $1.95 per gallon.

Regardless of the increase, Georgia drivers are still paying 34 cents per gallon less than this time last year, and 76 cents less than when prices hit their 2018 peak, around Memorial Day.

Right now the most expensive gas prices in the state are in the Hinesville-Fort Stewart area where gas is $2.19 per gallon and in the Savannah and Brunswick areas where gas is $2.13 per gallon.  The cheapest gas prices are in Chattooga, Catoosa, Walker and Dade Counties in Northwest Georgia where gas is between $1.94 and $1.99 per gallon as of Monday.

“The new year has breathed new life back into the oil market,” said Mark Jenkins, spokesman, AAA – The Auto Club Group. “Crude prices have slowly climbed since the beginning of the year, but remain well below the highs seen in 2018. The biggest increases came last week, after Saudi leaders pledged to do whatever it takes to rebalance the market. The recent shift in oil prices isn’t enough to cause sticker shock at the pump, but motorists could see an increase of anywhere from 5-10 cents as a result.”

The daily price for WTI crude is up more than $6 since January 1. After trading above $53 per barrel last week, WTI settled at $51.59/b Friday on the NYMEX.

Red Cross Issues Call For Blood - Local Blood Drive Coming Up

A donation shortfall over the winter holidays is prompting the American Red Cross to issue an emergency call for blood donors to give now to prevent a blood shortage from continuing throughout winter and affecting patient care.

The Red Cross collected more than 27,000 fewer blood and platelet donations the weeks of Christmas and New Year’s than needed to sustain a sufficient blood supply. During this period, about 1,350 fewer blood drives were hosted by volunteer sponsor groups than required to meet patient needs as busy holiday schedules kept many donors away.

Right now, the Red Cross has less than a three-day supply of most blood types on hand, well below the ideal five-day supply needed to respond to emergencies and daily hospital needs. Blood products are currently being distributed to hospitals faster than donations are coming in.

A blood drive will be held in Chattooga County coming up on Tuesday, January 22nd from 2-7 PM at the Summerville First United Methodist Church.

You can download the American Red Cross Blood Donor App, visit RedCrossBlood.org or call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) to make an appointment or for more information. All blood types are needed to ensure a reliable supply for patients. A blood donor card or driver’s license or two other forms of identification are required at check-in

Local WWII POW Honored On 96th Birthday

You can always find him smiling and looking much younger than his actual age, but Chattooga County’s only surviving World War II prisoner of war just turned 96.  A celebration of Mr. Leo Lanier’s birthday was held on Monday at Jim’s Restaurant in Summerville.

After graduating from Trion High School in 1942, Mr. Lanier joined the U.S. Army and subsequently flew twenty-six missions on his first tour of duty.  Those missions on a B-17 bomber took him to Germany, France and Norway.  After his first tour, Mr. Lanier volunteered for a second tour of duty in the European Theater. His plane was shot down in 1945 and he spent time as a prisoner of war in a Nazi Stalag prison camp.

Mr. Lanier received many commendations for his service in World War II.

After the war, Mr. Lanier returned to Chattooga County and married his wife Reita.  He worked for thirty years for the U.S. Postal Service.

Happy Birthday to a true Chattooga County hero – Mr. Leo Lanier.

(Photo courtesy of Judge Jon Dennis)

Vehicle Reported Stolen In Summerville

The Chattooga County Sheriff’s Department is investigating the theft of a Dodge minivan.

According to a report released by the sheriff’s office, Nancy Anita Brown told responding deputies that her 2006, blue Dodge Caravan had been sitting on the parking lot at Rent-A-Center in Summerville due to mechanical problems.

On Saturday, Ms. Brown noticed that the vehicle was missing.  When she spoke with the management at Rent-A-Center, they told Ms. Brown that they had not had the vehicle towed.

Ms. Brown told deputies that she wanted to report the vehicle as being stolen.

Truck Stolen From Car Dealer's Lot

Summerville Police say that this truck was stolen from the lot of Harvey’s South End Auto in Summerville.

From the Summerville Police Department:

2006 White Chevrolet 2500HD was stolen from the lot of South End Auto. Please be on the lookout! If you have any information concerning the theft or it’s whereabouts please contact the Summerville Police Department’s Investigative Division at 706-859-0912 or Chattooga County 911.

Chattooga County EMA / 911 Phone Update

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Chattooga County EMA Director Pamela Vaughn issued this statement this morning to update, and educate Chattooga County resident’s about the new phone system now in place at Chattooga County EMA / 911:

We are excited to have the new phone system up and running now in Chattooga County E-911. This morning once in the office we found we had two voicemails on our front office phones requesting extra patrol for residences. We have notified the proper authorities in reference to this request however, it was delayed until this morning for response due to the weekend. If you have an emergency always dial 911. If a response from public safety is needed to the incident you are calling to report please dial 911. We want to provide prompt response to all situations to our citizens. Below is an explanation of how to make sure your request for service from our automated system. If you dial into our non emergency lines for request for assistance or are transferred from another agency to request assistance listen carefully to the options to choose. The automated system will prompt you to press one of three numbers for assistance:

Press 0 for dispatch – Dispatch is the actual 911 dispatch room, you will reach an operator that will be able to assist you with having the appropriate response in a timely manner. They will notify a responder immediately of the request, they are available 24/7.

Press 1 for the Director of E-911 and Records Custodian – This will connect you to the office, here you can speak to the director about administrative or public records needs pertaining to calls going through E-911. If you have an incident happening this is not the number you want to leave a message on voicemail, choose the press 0 option to speak to a communications officer so that they can advise the appropriate responder of the need.

Press 2 for the Director of Emergency Management and Mapping and addressing – This will connect you to the front office, here you can speak to the director about emergency preparedness for families, children, agencies, emergency action plans for all. If you need a new address for property you have purchased and are planning to build a home this is where you will get the information on steps you need to take to establish your new address. If you have an incident happening this is not the number you want to leave a message on voicemail, choose the press 0 option to speak to a communications officer so that they can advise the appropriate responder of the need.

Arrest Report - Monday - January 14, 2019

Here is the latest arrest report from the Chattooga County Sheriff’s Office for Monday, January 14, 2019:

Peachstate FCU Offering Aid To Federal Workers

The Federal government shutdown is affecting thousands of workers in Georgia, and Peach State Federal Credit Union is joining other credit unions across the state in offering 0% interest loans to workers impacted by the shutdown.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported last week that Peach State is offering zero-interest loans that, under certain circumstances, could be as much as $6,000.  According to Peach State’s web site, credit reports will not accessed in determining the loan eligibility and will not impact credit scores.  The loans will be paid back in full when Federal workers receive their back pay via direct deposit once the shutdown is over.

The program is available to active duty military, or Department of Defense or Government employees not receiving pay as a result of the government shutdown; and are currently enrolled in Direct Deposit at Peach State Federal Credit Union.

Peach State Federal Credit Union has branches in Trion and LaFayette.

Kemp To Be Inaugurated Today As Georgia's 83rd Governor

WATCH LIVE: Brian Kemp's Inauguration As New Georgia Governor

After a contentious and close race, Brian Kemp will be sworn in this afternoon as Georgia’s 83rd Governor.  The ceremony will take place on the campus of Georgia Tech in Midtown Atlanta, at the McCamish Pavilion.

Kemp will make his inaugural address at 2 pm in Georgia Tech’s basketball arena. Prior to that, Kemp is scheduled to attend a prayer service at The Cathedral of St. Philip in Buckhead. Then, at 4:30 pm, he is set for a Review of the Troops ceremony at Liberty Plaza near the state capitol.

This will be the first time in eight years that Georgia has had a new Governor, Lt. Governor and Secretary of State.

 

Jewelry Stolen In Mountain View

The Chattooga County Sheriff’s Department is investigating a theft that was reported the first week of January in the Mountain View community.

According to a report from the sheriff’s department, Melissa Milam told a responding deputy that someone had stolen valuable jewelry from her residence. Milam told the deputy that she had looked through all of her jewelry boxes and had not been able to locate the missing items.  One was valued at $5,000 and another at $200.

Milam did give the name of a suspect to the deputy.

The investigation into the theft is continuing.

LaFayette Police Nab Suspect Wanted In Chattooga County

A man with a warrant in Chattooga County was found hiding in a closet under a pile of clothes when LaFayette Police discovered him while working with probation officers on a separate incident.

Police in LaFayette went with probation officers to a Fortune Street, LaFayette address to assist with a probationer who had refused to surrender.  When officers arrived, they found forty-one-year-old Joseph Scott Sipsy hiding in the closet.

Sipsy had an outstanding warrant in Chattooga County.  Officers also found baggies of methamphetamine, a glass pipe and syringes in the room where Sipsy was hiding.

Officers also arrested forty-three-year-old Dana Baker because she locked the bedroom door, trying to prevent officers from going into the room where Sipsy was hiding in the closet.  Baker was charged with obstruction.

Another woman, twenty-year-old Vada Pickard, who police say was visiting Baker and Sipsy, was arrested for outstanding warrants in Walker County.

WQCH

Stamp Prices Going Up The End Of January

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If you are fan of writing letters or have a pen pal, you may want to stock up on stamps soon. The United States Postal Service will increase the price for Forever Stamps by five cents at the end of January.

The price for a stamp was $0.50 but the 10% increase brings the price to $0.55.

Priority mail will also increase in price on Jan. 27.

USA Today reports the most notable changes:

  • First-class mail letter (1 ounce) will go up to 55 cents: The nickel increase is the largest percentage rise since 1991, when postage increased from 25 to 29 cents.
  • Additional letter ounce costs will decrease: Each additional ounce will drop from 21 cents to 15 cents. Mailing a 2-ounce letter, a wedding invitation’s typical weight, will cost 70 cents instead of 71 cents.
  • Postcard rates will remain the same: Mailing a postcard will run travelers 35 cents.
  • Priority Mail prices will jump: A small box that previously cost $7.20 will rise to $7.90, while a medium box will jump from $13.65 to $14.35.
  • Priority Mail Express fees will increase: Those looking to ship an envelope ASAP can expect to pay $25.50 instead of $24.70.

Summerville City Council Meeting This Evening

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The Summerville City Council will hold their regular monthly meeting coming up this evening at 5 PM at Summerville City Hall in the City Council Conference Room.

On the agenda for tonight’s meeting, the council is expected to discuss paying $2,000 annually to Chattooga 911 to establish a “robo-call system” that would target city residents and utility customers in the case of an emergency.

Also the city council is expected to hear from the city’s accountant about the recent audit and have the first reading of the yearly budget.

The council is also expected to go into executive session to discuss a real estate transaction.

WZQZ News will have updates from tonight’s Summerville City Council meeting in upcoming newscasts.