Record Turnout For Early Voting For Primary Election

Advance voting for Tuesday’s Primary Election ended on Friday of last week.  The Chattooga County Registrars Office told WZQZ News on Friday night that there was a record turnout for early voting for a Primary Election. At the end of the day on Friday, 1664 voters had cast ballots.  All early voting took place at the Chattooga County Registrars Office.  If you didn’t vote early, you can vote on Election Day, which is this Tuesday, May 21st.  All voting on Tuesday will take place at your local polling precinct.  If you are unsure of where to vote, you may visit the My Voter Page at the Georgia Secretary of State’s website.  Voting on Tuesday will take place from 7 AM until 7 PM.

Georgia Scores Top Spot in Competitive Economic Rankings

Governor Brian P. Kemp, in conjunction with the Georgia Department of Economic Development (GDEcD), today announced that the state earned the No. 1 spot in Site Selection’s annual Prosperity Cup rankings for successful investment recruitment in 2023. Criteria for this national award include the total values of new and expanded facilities in the state, business-climate attractiveness, and workforce readiness.

“I always proudly tell companies across the country and the world how great Georgia is for operating and growing a business,” said Governor Brian Kemp. “This award from Site Selection just adds to a decade of evidence that the way we do business in the Peach State is working. When job creators choose us, they not only get access to the global market through logistics assets like Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport and some of the fastest-growing ports in the nation, they also get a host of incredible partners at the state and local levels.”

In 2023, Georgia attracted 318 new and expanded facilities to secure the No. 1 ranking, according to Site Selection. This includes an expanded scope for the Hyundai Motor Group Metaplant America (HMGMA) — the largest project in state history. Announcing an additional 400 new jobs and $2 billion in investment last year, HMGMA’s total investment is now $7.59 billion and will net 8,500 new jobs for hardworking Georgians. Anovion Technologies represents another major project, which selected southwest Georgia for its $800 million, 400-job synthetic graphite manufacturing facility in May, breaking ground at the site in June of last year. In northeast Georgia, Meissner Corporation plans to create more than 1,700 new jobs at a new campus that will more than double the company’s manufacturing footprint in the U.S. as the company expands operations.

“The Prosperity Cup recognizes state-level economic development competitiveness,” says Site Selection’s Mark Arend. “Georgia’s consistent delivery of the location attributes required by capital investors demonstrates to our readers that it competes to win.”

On the heels of Hyundai Motor Group Metaplant America’s groundbreaking in October 2022, Georgia welcomed more than 10 Hyundai and automotive suppliers in 2023 reaching middle Georgia and beyond. These suppliers will ultimately create over 4,300 new jobs and bring $1.2 billion in combined investment. Today, those numbers are even higher. In addition to HMGMA activity, Kia’s facility in West Point and the Toyota campus in Pendergrass both announced expansions during 2023, creating a combined 440 new jobs and $286 million in investment.

“Across Georgia, our economic development team is truly collaborative, including our sister state agencies, utility partners, local economic developers, and many others who work day-in and day-out to help companies and communities find the right match for mutual success,” said GDEcD Commissioner Pat Wilson. “Taking the top spot in the 2024 Prosperity Cup reaffirms that the Georgia Way works. Decades of partnerships and laying the groundwork for intentional economic development from the community level to the state level, combined with our consistent pro-business policies, have led to these positive results. Thanks to our Georgia leaders throughout the state for supporting these efforts that make a difference for Georgia families.”

For the full article on Georgia’s selection for this recognition or more information on the 2024 Prosperity Cup, visit Site Selection’s website at


GBI Arrests 7 Gang Members

A multi-agency gang investigation has led to the arrests of 7 criminal street gang (CSG) members and associates on multiple charges, including Violations of the Georgia Street Gang Terrorism and Prevention Act, Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Act, Simple Assault, Terroristic Threats, and Possession of Controlled Substances with Intent to Distribute. 

The following people were arrested:

  1. Roger Laquerrius Neal, age 34, of Toccoa, GA, charged with Violation of Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, Violation of Street Gang Terrorism and Prevention Act, and Possession of Schedule III Drug with Intent to Distribute. Neal was arrested on May 4, 2024.
  1. Tyler Dallas Cagle, age 33, of Waynesville, NC, charged with Violation of Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, Violation of Street Gang Terrorism and Prevention Act, Possession of Schedule III Drug with Intent to Distribute, Simple Assault, and Terroristic Threats.
  1. Sarah Smathers, age 31, of Waynesville, NC, charged with Violation of Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, Violation of Street Gang Terrorism and Prevention Act, and Possession of Schedule III Drug with Intent to Distribute.
  1. Terry Ray Williams Jr., age 20, of Waynesville, NC, charged with Violation of Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, and Violation of Street Gang Terrorism and Prevention Act, and Possession of Schedule III Drug with Intent to Distribute.
  1. Shelby Page Stephens, age 63, of Waynesville, NC, charged with Violation of Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, Violation of Street Gang Terrorism and Prevention Act, and Possession of Schedule III Drug with Intent to Distribute.
  1. Quillan Leshun Samuels, age 25, of Gainesville, GA, charged with Violation of Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, Violation of Street Gang Terrorism and Prevention Act, Terroristic Threats, and Possession of Schedule III Drug with Intent to Distribute.
  1. Andrew Nelson Dover, age 47, of Habersham County, GA, charged with Violation of Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, Violation of Street Gang Terrorism and Prevention Act, and Possession of Schedule III drug with Intent to Distribute.

In October of 2023, the GBI Gang Task Force initiated an investigation into a Habersham, Georgia cell of criminal street gang members/associates of the Gangster Disciples street gang. Agents linked gang members to multiple crimes involving violations of the Georgia Street Gang Terrorism and Prevention Act, violations of the Georgia Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, and more. Agents in Georgia and North Carolina served search warrants and arrest warrants in the early morning hours of April 18, 2024.

The GBI’s Gang Task Force, the GBI Appalachian Regional Drug Enforcement Office, the Habersham County Sheriff’s Office, the Stephens County Sheriff’s Department, the Toccoa Police Department, and the FBI Safe Streets Task Force partnered in this significant investigation.

This investigation is active and ongoing. Additional charges are expected. The local prosecution will be handled by the Mountain Judicial Circuit District Attorney’s Office.

The GBI Gang Task Force is a multi-agency unit that consists of the GBI, the Atlanta Police Department, the Spalding County Sheriff’s Office, the Georgia Department of Corrections, and the Georgia Department of Community Supervision.

JSU Board Member Randy Owen Surprises Fort Payne High School Students

Photo Credit: WAAY

Students in Fort Payne got a special surprise when a country music legend showed up at their high school. Jacksonville State University Trustee Randy Owen, best known for being the lead singer of the band Alabama, made an appearance at the annual scholarship awards program on Tuesday. He helped college leaders present more than $767,000 in scholarships to 24 students. JSU says that money represents merit awards, leadership scholarships, and Army ROTC scholarships. In addition to serving on the JSU Board of Trustees, Randy Owen was also a key factor in the completion of JSU’s Little River Canyon Center, a green facility that houses the Little River Field School and the National Park Service.

Summerville McDonald's Hosting Hiring Event At Dowdy Park

Your Summerville McDonald’s is hosting a Kick Off to Summer hiring event at Dowdy Park on Saturday, June 8th from 3 PM – 5 PM.  Summerville McDonald’s owner Jim Arron, along with leaders and staff will be on hand with music, games, refreshments and more.  Job seekers can get to know the people at the local McDonald’s and visit with the team.  Applications will be ready and there will be a raffle with a tote bag of McDonald’s goodies.  All proceeds from the Raffle go to the Ronald McDonald House Charity to help families and children in need.

Trion Basketball Camp June 24-27

The Trion Bulldogs are offering a summer basketball camp coming up June 24th, 26th and 27th from 6- 8 PM.  The camp is for students kindergarten through 8th grade.  The camp will encourage boys and girls to find a love for the game and help increase the number of players in the Trion community.  They will offer a week of game development, skill enhancement and fun for the participants.  All proceeds will go towards funding the Trion Basketball program for the upcoming 2024-2025 season.  Registration can be done ahead of time, or the first day of camp.  For more information, contact


Berry College Student Receives Fullbright Grant

A Berry College education and Spanish student has received a Fulbright grant for the 2024-25 academic year.

Recipient Eliza “Ellie” Lizdas is a senior from Marietta, with a double major in secondary education and Spanish and minors in psychology and teaching English as a foreign language.

The Fulbright Program was established to promote international goodwill through the exchange of students in the fields of education, culture and science. It is the largest U.S. exchange program and awards approximately 2,200 grants annually in all fields of study. Fulbright operates in more than 160 countries worldwide.

A Young Life leader since 2021, Lizdas also served in the Berry Carper Mentoring Program. Currently she is student-teaching and working in an internship as a long-term substitute teacher at Model High School in a Spanish II class. While attending school, Lizdas worked in the Berry English as a Second Language (ESL) program, Admissions, Academic Transitions, and the Department of Teacher Education.

She is the ninth Berry student to receive a Fulbright grant since 1991.

Arrest Report - Saturday - May 18, 2024

Here is the latest arrest report from the Chattooga County Sheriff’s Office for Saturday, May 18, 2024:

NW GA Area Agency On Aging Quarterly Meeting

The Northwest Georgia Area Agency on Aging will hold its quarterly meeting at 10 AM Tuesday, May 21, in the Northwest Georgia Regional Commission headquarters, 1 Jackson Hill Drive in Rome. The meeting is public. Designated by the Georgia Department of Human Resources, the Area Agency on Aging coordinates programs and services designed to assist older Georgians in their desire to live in the community instead of a long-term facility.  The agency serves fifteen counties in Northwest Georgia including Chattooga and neighboring counties.

Chattooga Chamber May Meeting

Chattooga County Chamber of Commerce

The Chattooga Chamber of Commerce will hold their monthly meeting for May on the last Tuesday of the month – May 28th.   The monthly luncheon’s theme is mental health awareness in recognition of May being Mental Awareness Month.  Heather Rosener from BridgeHealth (formerly Lookout Mountain Community Services) will be one of the guest speakers.

Also, Kathy Thornton from Lookout CARES will be addressing those in attendance as well.

The public is invited to attend the catered lunch at the Chattooga County Civic Center, located on Highway 48 in Summerville across from TruistBank.  The cost is $12 for Chamber members and $17 for non-members.

Register Here

Trion Fire Department Fourth Annual Community Day Today

The Trion Fire Department is inviting everyone out for their Fourth Annual Trion Fire Department Community Day today at the Trion Veterans Memorial Park.  The event gets underway this morning at 10 AM and lasts until 3 PM.  There will be inflatables, games, vendors, fire and safety demonstrations, free smoke alarms and food.  Also, local first responders will be participating in a live vehicle accident reenactment.  LifeForce will be on hand for the event today.  There will also be live music with Chip Rowland.  The Trion Fire Department will be selling Boston Butt plates for $10 each.  Everyone is encouraged to attend the Trion Fire Department Community Day happening today at the Pavilion Area of Trion Veterans Park on Simmons Street in Trion.

AdventHealth Redmond Earns "A" Rating

AdventHealth Redmond earned an “A” Hospital Safety Grade from The Leapfrog Group, a national nonprofit watchdog that sets standards for excellence in patient care. Leapfrog assigns an “A,” “B,” “C,” “D” or “F” grade to hospitals across the country based on more than 30 national performance measures reflecting errors, accidents, injuries and infections, as well as the systems hospitals have in place to prevent harm.

“Our team members consistently offer the best patient care possible, which puts our hospital at the top for patient safety,” said Isaac Sendros, president and CEO of AdventHealth Redmond. “We will continue to remain focused on providing the highest quality of care and are grateful patients have a choice of health care in our community.”

“Earning an ‘A’ Grade means AdventHealth Redmond made a true commitment to put patients first,” said Leah Binder, president and CEO of The Leapfrog Group. “We congratulate the leadership, Board, clinicians, staff and volunteers that all had a role to play in this achievement.”

The Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade is the only hospital ratings program exclusively based on hospital prevention of medical errors, infections and injuries that kill more than 500 patients a day nationally. The Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade is peer-reviewed, fully transparent and free to the public.

To see AdventHealth Redmond’s full grade details and to access patient tips for staying safe in the hospital, visit

Kaitlin Goode Promoted To New Chief Position

Photo Credit: WABE

The Georgia Department of Natural Resources’ Wildlife Resources Division (WRD) announces the promotion of Kaitlin Goode to Chief of Communication, Education and Outreach.

“We are thrilled to announce Kaitlin Goode for this Chief position,” said Wildlife Resources Division Director Ted Will. “Kaitlin’s career has provided opportunity for her to build great relationships and work closely with multiple other sections in the Division. She provides consistent and sound messaging to the public about wildlife and solid advice and commentary to the landscape of professional wildlife management. We look forward to seeing what she can do in the future.”

The newly created position will oversee division communications, education, and outreach. These efforts will include educational programming, further development of adaptive hunting and fishing initiatives, oversight for Charlie Elliott Wildlife Education Center operations, delivery of strategic recruitment, retention and reactivation marketing initiatives and other projects.

Goode started her career in the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission as the Bear Management Program’s Stakeholder Coordinator eventually moving into the Hunting and Game Management Division as a Regional Public Hunting Areas Biologist writing hunting regulations.

Goode joined the Georgia DNR in 2019 to lead the department’s new Urban Wildlife Program. Under her leadership, the program includes the Atlanta and Savannah areas and will expand to Augusta in the coming months.

Goode holds a Master of Science degree in Wildlife Sciences from the University of Tennessee-Knoxville and a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Studies from Florida State University.

Helie Sole Finalist For Chattooga School Supt. Job

At the Thursday meeting of the Chattooga Board Michelle Helie, who currently serves as Assistant School Superintendent, was named the sole finalist for the job of Superintendent of the Chattooga County School System.

Current School Superintendent Jared Hosmer announced his retirement earlier this year which prompted the search for a new superintendent for the county school system.  Hosmer’s last day with the school system is June 28th.

The vote was 3-2 in favor of offering the job to Helie with Eddie Eslberry, BJ Montgomery and Bonnie Fletcher voting in favor.  Before that vote, board members Tiffany Lawrence and Lori Bradi had put forth a motion to hire former School Supt. Jimmy Lenderman as interim school superintendent.  The vote on that motion failed 3-2.

Being name “sole finalist” for the position means that the board will still have to vote to hire Helie at a later date.  Helie will continue to serve as assistant superintendent in the meantime and will then be interviewed by the board of education in a called executive session.  Terms of her employment would be discussed at that meeting and vote will then be held to hire Heile for the job effective July 1st.

American Red Cross Supporting Military Families

The American Red Cross provides support to our U.S. military community at every step of their career — from the time a service member takes their oath to navigating life as a veteran and each event in between. You can find Red Cross support of military communities across the globe at military hospitals, on installations locally and overseas and through local chapter offices in every state.

This month, the Red Cross is inviting people around the country to turn their appreciation into action. For those with a military background or just a heart for military and veteran communities, opportunities to volunteer and support are available throughout Georgia.

“The Red Cross serves our nation’s military personnel and their families, including active duty, National Guard and Reserve, as well as our veterans,” said Tiera Patterson, Manager of Service to the Armed Forces, International Services, Georgia Region. “Red Cross volunteers are at the heart of all this work. Thousands of volunteers help deliver services at Red Cross offices across the country and in more than one hundred military installations around the world.”

ANSWER EMERGENCY CALLS WITH THE HERO CARE NETWORK. The Red Cross Hero Care Network is a free 24/7 support system for military and veteran families when they are facing life-changing events like the birth of a child, the death of a loved one, a medical emergency or even a financial crisis. The Red Cross is the only organization to provide this emergency messaging service to separated and active-duty military families.

  • Volunteers help serve members each day by answering calls, delivering messages and opening cases to support connections to additional resources.
  • Over the last year, the Red Cross is proud to have assisted over 87,000 families with emergency situations, and nearly 136,000 families received critical community services.
  • In fiscal year 2023, the Red Cross of Georgia provided nearly 19,900 services to military members, veterans and their families statewide.

VOLUNTEER TODAY. Turn your appreciation into action by volunteering with the Red Cross today. To learn more, visit or contact your local Red Cross chapter to learn about open positions.

Visit for full information about programs that support military communities.

The American Red Cross of Northwest Georgia participated in the We Care Vets Fair on Thursday at the Forum River Center in Rome.

City Of Menlo Boil Water Notice

The City of Menlo has issued a boil water advisory until further notice.  WZQZ will give updates as they become available.

Update 12:15 PM: City Water officials say that a trace of E.coli has been found in the Alpine Well.

Arrest Report - Friday - May 17, 2024

Here is the latest arrest report from the Chattooga County Sheriff’s Office for Friday, May 17, 2024:

Six Candidates Running For City Council Seat

Today is the final day of advanced voting in the special election for Summerville City Council Seat One.  Six candidates are running for the seat that came open when former Summerville City Councilman David Ford passed away earlier this year.  Those running are: Simone Adams, Pam Albert, Craig Holt, Michael Mack, Gary Morgan and Bobby Patterson.

Residents of Summerville will need to go to Summerville City Hall today between 9 AM and 5 PM to cast their ballots.  If you don’t vote early, you will need to vote at Summerville City Hall on Election Day next Tuesday.  Summerville City Hall is located on Georgia Avenue across from Summerville First Baptist Church.

At the end of early voting on Thursday, the City of Summerville had 121 ballots cast during Advance Voting and has issued 5 Absentee by Mail ballots. Two Absentee by Mail ballots have been accepted.

Georgia's First Lady Talks Suicide Prevention At The Carter Center

Georgia’s First Lady Marty Kemp attended a symposium at the Rosalyn Carter Georgia Mental Health Forum held at the Carter Center in Atlanta this week. 

The First Lady is drawing attention to the 988 suicide prevention hotline in Georgia.  According to state officials, only about 16% of people have knowledge of the hotline and that’s something First Lady Kemp wants to change. “We’ve got to make sure that we get the word out,” Marty Kemp said. “Especially with everything the state and individuals have been through. It’s very tough with a pandemic that we never even knew we were going to have. People are struggling, and we recognize that, and we want to help them.” The 988 number was launched nearly two years ago and offers a help line for those struggling with mental health issues.

The mental health forum at the Carter Center was started by former First Lady of Georgia, and of the United States, Rosalyn Carter who dedicated much of her life to raising awareness about mental health issues.

Health Inspection Scores - First Half Of May 2024

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Here are the latest health inspection scores from the Chattooga County Environmental Health Department for the first half of May, 2024:

  • SUBWAY 33504

  • 13427 HWY 27 SUMMERVILLE, GA 30747
  • Phone Number:
  • Permit Type: Food Service
  • Permit Number: 027-017
  • Last Inspection Score: 99
  • Last Inspection Date: 05-14-2024
  • For More Information Call: (706) 857-3377

  • 150 OAK HILL RD LYERLY, GA 30730
  • Phone Number:
  • Permit Type: Food Service
  • Permit Number: 027-028
  • Last Inspection Score: 100
  • Last Inspection Date: 05-14-2024
  • For More Information Call: (706) 857-3377

  • 2430 HIGHWAY 337 MENLO, GA 30731
  • Phone Number: (706) 859-3054
  • Permit Type: Food Service
  • Permit Number: FSP-027-000104
  • Last Inspection Score: 100
  • Last Inspection Date: 05-10-2024
  • For More Information Call: (706) 857-3377

  • 4515 HIGHWAY 27 SUMMERVILLE, GA 30747
  • Phone Number: (404) 955-5983
  • Permit Type: Tourist Accommodation
  • Permit Number: TAP-027-000006
  • Last Inspection Score: 92
  • Last Inspection Date: 05-09-2024
  • For More Information Call: (706) 857-3377

  • Phone Number:
  • Permit Type: Food Service
  • Permit Number: 027-053
  • Last Inspection Score: 100
  • Last Inspection Date: 05-07-2024
  • For More Information Call: (706) 857-3377

  • 12384 HWY 27 SUMMERVILLE, GA 30747
  • Phone Number: (706) 857-2497
  • Permit Type: Tourist Accommodation
  • Permit Number: 0270004
  • Last Inspection Score: 85
  • Last Inspection Date: 05-07-2024
  • For More Information Call: (706) 857-3377

  • Phone Number:
  • Permit Type: Food Service
  • Permit Number: FSP-027-000010
  • Last Inspection Score: 95
  • Last Inspection Date: 05-02-2024
  • For More Information Call: (706) 857-3377

  • 989 HIGHWAY 114 SUMMERVILLE, GA 30747
  • Phone Number:
  • Permit Type: Food Service
  • Permit Number: FSP-027-000043
  • Last Inspection Score: 100
  • Last Inspection Date: 05-02-2024
  • For More Information Call: (706) 857-3377

For more information on these scores click HERE

Should you ever have any complaint with any food service or tourist accommodation that operates in Chattooga County, you may register that complaint by calling the Chattooga County Environmental Health Department at 706-857-3377.