Melissa Hise Defeats Fiddler To Win Superior Court Judge Race

Melissa Gifford Hise will be the new Lookout Mountain Superior Court Judge after defeating Ann Willard Fiddler in the nonpartisan election held on Tuesday.  Hise, a Walker County resident who practices law in Chattooga County, will be replacing longtime Superior Court Judge Kristina Cook Graham who announced her retirement earlier this year.

The Lookout Mountain Judicial Circuit includes Walker, Dade, Catoosa and Chattooga Counties.  Hise won handily, garnering 5,980 votes to Fiddler’s 3,834 votes across the circuit.

Judge Graham, the daughter of famed Summerville Attorney Bobby Lee Cook, was first appointed to the bench by then-Georgia Governor Zell Miller and went on to serve for over three decades.  Judge Graham won eight election since her appointment to the bench.  In her tenure, Graham has established three accountability courts and obtained state funding for those courts.

Arrest Report - Wednesday - May 22, 2024

Here is the latest arrest report from the Chattooga County Sheriff’s Office for Wednesday, May 22, 2024:

US EPA Grant For Cleanup Of Northwest Georgia Regional

A grant of $2 million has been awarded to the Rome-Floyd County Development Authority for clean-up of the former site of the Northwest Georgia Regional Hospital.

The United States Environmental Protection Agency announced on Monday that 178 communities were selected to receive 181 grant awards for a total of $231 million in funding for Brownfields Multipurpose, Assessment, and Cleanup (MAC) Grant programs. These Brownfields Grants will be used to assess, clean up and redevelop underutilized properties while protecting public health and the environment.

For more information about the grant and other award recipients, visit

Trion Graduation This Friday

The Trion High School Class of 2024 will have commencement exercises coming up this Friday.

Trion School Supt. Dr. Phil Williams told WZQZ News, “The Trion High School Class of 2024 leaves behind a legacy of excellence that will be remembered for years to come.  The achievements in academics, athletics and extracurricular activities are a testament to their hard work and dedication.  Beyond the awards and accolades, this graduating class is brimming with future leaders who will undoubtedly shape the world in positive ways.  They have set an example of excellence and dedication that will inspire future Trion High School students to reach their full potential.  We are incredibly proud of everything they have accomplished and we will sincerely miss their presence in our halls.  Congratulations, Class of 2024 , and best wishes for a bright future”.

Graduation exercises will take place at Sam R. McCain Stadium on Friday, May 24th at Clarence Blevins Field at 8 PM.

Summerville Looking For Homemade Ice Cream Makers - And Eaters!

Summerville Main Street is looking for contestants for the 2024 Chill & Churn Homemade Ice Cream Contest to be held at the Summerville Depot on June 1 as part of the festivities to welcome in the Double Steam Engine arrival of the Tennessee Valley Railroad Passenger Train. There is no registration fee to compete in this contest. Registration forms are currently available at the Summerville Main Street Office, located at 179 Union Street, or you may register on site the day of the event beginning at 10:30 a.m. Contest registration closes at 11:30 a.m.

This competition is for amateurs only. Ice cream may be mixed off site, but must be churned on site and accompanied by a recipe to be turned in at registration. Judging will begin at 12:45pm. Contestants are also encouraged to compete for the People’s Choice Award. Tasting wristbands will be sold to the public beginning at 12:45 p.m. to taste all ice cream entries for the cost of $5 cash. Voting will end at 2:00 p.m.

The Judge’s Choice 1st Place winning recipe will receive recognition as the Best Homemade Ice Cream in Summerville and a prize of $500 sponsored by Meter Service & Sales, LLC! The 2nd Place Judge’s Choice will be awarded $250 sponsored by Rapid Water Recovery Services, and 3rd Place Judges Choice will be awarded a $100 gift card sponsored by Chattooga Farm Bureau. People’s Choice Winner will receive half the monies collected from wristband sales and a plaque.

In addition, there will also be an Ice Cream Eating Contest at 11:00 a.m. with Adult and Youth Divisions. Registration begins at 10:30 a.m. inside the depot. There will be a limit of 5 contestants in each division. First Place Winners will receive $25 sponsored by GP Federal Credit Union.

The Chattanooga Modular Modelers will have a special N Scale Model Train display running at the depot in honor of the Double Steam Engine arrival. Food and craft vendors and live music will also be featured at this event. For contest rules, registration forms or more information contact Summerville Main Street by email or phone (706) 728-0456

Valley Head Woman Charged With Stealing Flowers From Graves

A sixty-nine-year-old Valley Head woman was arrested by the DeKalb County, Alabama Sheriff’s Office for stealing flower arrangements from cemeteries.  According to reports, Martha Jane Bowes was arrested last Saturday and charged with theft of property in the fourth-degree and desecration of a gravesite.  Last week, cameras caught Bowes stealing two sets of handmade floral arrangements from a cemetery.  On Saturday, authorities contacted Bowes and tried to get her to turn herself in but she said she was currently in Mississippi and couldn’t. However, investigators say she lied and was in Fort Payne. Authorities say that they found more floral arrangements inside Bowes’ home when she was taken into custody.

Second Round Of County Road Paving Projects Released

Chattooga County Commissioner Blake Elsberry has announced the second road of road paving for 2024 in Chattooga County.  Roads included are:

  • James Street from Highway 48 to the stop sign. – .4 miles
  • East Peach Orchard Road from Highway 48 to the stop sign – 1.4 miles
  • West Tate Road from Dry Valley Church Road to Tate Road – .6 miles
  • Old Justice Road from Welcome Hill Road to Ridgeway Road to Ridgeway Road Loop – .4 miles
  • Cooper Pit Road from Ridgeway Road to Ridgeway Road Loop – .8 miles
  • Halls Valley Road from Davis Road to Walker County Line – 1.1 miles
  • Long Hollow Road / Welcome Hill Road to Walker County Line – 1.1 miles
  • Lon Reynolds Drive/ Lyerly Dam Road to dead end – .3 miles
  • Garvin Road from LM Thomas Road to McWhorter Road – 2.1 miles
  • Henry Allen Circle off of Johnston Cemetery Road – .3 miles
  • Calico Lane from Old Highway 27 to dead end – .1 mile

Commissioner Elsberry says that the cost to pave has gone up exponentially over the past year.  According to the commissioner, in 2023 it cost $85,000 to pave 2.2 miles of road.  This year, that same amount is costing $150,000.

Town Of Trion Holiday Notice

The Town of Trion Business Office, Gas Department, Maintenance Department, and Recreation Department will be closed on Monday, May 27, 2024, for Memorial Day. Garbage normally picked up on Monday will be picked up on Tuesday, May 28, 2024. All other days will be on a regular schedule. For any emergency calls for the Gas Department or Police Department please call Emergency 911 and they will contact the proper person.

Twilight Hike Will Feature Bats At Sloppy Floyd State Park

Want to know more about bats in our area?  This Saturday, May 25th,  rangers at Sloppy Floyd State Park will be giving you a guided tour of the Marble Mine and will be discussing what bats call the Marble Mine home.  The “Batty about Bats” Twilight Hike is free of charge and will take place from 8 PM until 10 PM and those planning to take the hike should meet at the Visitors Center.  Remember, there is a $5 parking fee required at all Georgia State Parks.


Walker County Election Results

Don Stultz – 2,437
*Steve Wilson – 6,986
*William H. “Billy” Sims – 6,027
W. Dwayne Wilson – 3,102
*Angela “Angie” Teems – 5,574
Shannon K. Whitfield – 3,802
*Brian Hart – 1,628
Courtney Johnson – 246
Melvin Von Moody – 613
Jamey Husley – 1,225
*Gene Wilson – 1,325

Allen Handily Defeats Elsberry / McElhaney & McGill In Runoff

Andy Allen will be the new sole commissioner of Chattooga County.  Allen handily defeated incumbent Commissioner Blake Elsberry with almost 61% of the vote to Elsberry’s 39%.  In all, Allen received 2,268 votes to Elsberry’s 1,459 votes. 

In the Chattooga County Coroner’s race, Jeremy “Big Mac” McElhaney was the top vote-getter but failed to crack the 50% threshold to avoid a runoff election. McElhaney received 49% of the vote with 1820 votes.  Runner-up Savanna McGill received 1177 votes with Carrie Blackwell and Heath Hammond a distant third and fourth.  McElhaney and McGill will face off in the runoff election on June 18th.

In the race for Lookout Mountain Superior Court Judge in Chattooga County, Melissa Gifford Hice was the clear winner, garnering almost 63% of the vote with a total of 2,435 votes to Ann Fiddler’s 1,443 votes.  (This race will be decided when vote totals are in for the complete circuit that includes Walker, Dade and Catoosa Counties).

In the State Senate Race, Incumbent Republican Colton Moore handily defeated his challenger Angela Pence with over 70% of the vote.


Runoff In Summerville City Council Race

Final votes are in for the special election for Summerville City Council Seat One.  The six-person race failed to turn up a winner that took more than 50% of the vote, which means there will be a runoff election in June.  Simone Adams and Pam Albert will be facing off in the runoff election next month.  The runoff will be held on June 18th.  Vote totals are as follows:

Simone Adams – 88

Carrie Pam Albert – 45

James Craig Holt – 40

Michael Mack – 21

Gary Morgan – 23

Bobby Patterson – 20

Live Election Coverage From WZQZ Radio

Click this link for live election coverage from the WZQZ Facebook Page with Ben Groce: HERE

Jimmy Holbrook will have updates on WZQZ 99.1 FM after returns start to come in.

Power Outage At Trion Rec

A power outage at the Trion Rec Center Tuesday afternoon was caused by a limb that fell on a power line. The Trion Rec is the polling place for the Trion Precinct.   Trion Mayor Lanny Thomas told WZQZ News that Georgia Power had a truck in the area and responded quickly.  Trion Police Chief David Gilliland said that Chattooga 911 confirmed that the power was out for only 35 minutes.  Chattooga County Election Supt. Gary Woods said that the outage did not affect voters ability to cast their ballots as the voting machines have battery backup.  Still, Judge Woods says an order was issued by Superior Court Judge Kristina Graham, extending voting until 7:30 PM at the Trion Precinct.

Boil Water Advisory In Menlo Lifted

From the City of Menlo: The boil water advisory for Menlo water customers has been lifted.  Well samples from the Alpine well came back negative.

Arrest Report - Tuesday - May 21, 2024

Here is the latest arrest report from the Chattooga County Sheriff’s Office for Tuesday, May 21, 2024:

Today Is General Primary Election Day

Today is the General Primary Election and voters will be going to the polls in Chattooga County to vote on a handful of contested races.  Polls will be open today from 7 AM until 7 PM.  All voting today will take place in your local precinct.  Voters will need to be sure to bring a picture ID when they come to vote. 

Voters will be asked to choose a Republican, Democratic or nonpartisan ballot when they go to the polls today.  Georgia is an open-primary state, meaning voters do not register by political party and may ask for any ballot of their choosing.  All contested races for constitutional offices in Chattooga County are on the Republican Ballot.  Voters who choose the GOP ballot will be asked to choose between two candidates for county commissioner and between four candidates for coroner.  Additionally, voters find contested races for the 53rd State Senate District and for Superior Court Judge.

WZQZ News will have full election returns this evening after the polls close.  Join Ben Groce live on Facebook for up-to-the-minute returns.  Jimmy Holbrook will have returns on WZQZ Radio throughout the evening after 7 PM.

Georgia Gas Prices Decrease At The Pump

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AAA Auto Club says that Georgia gas prices decreased at the pump compared to a week ago. Georgians are paying an average price of $3.38 per gallon for regular unleaded gasoline (subject to change overnight). Yesterday’s state average was 3 cents less than a week ago, 5 cents less than a month ago, and 12 cents more than this time last year. It costs drivers an average price of $50.70 to fill a 15-gallon tank of regular gasoline. Georgians are now paying almost $1.00 less to fill up at the pump compared to a month ago.

“The drop in gas prices over the weekend was a welcome relief to Georgians,” said Montrae Waiters, AAA-The Auto Club Group spokeswoman. Crude oil prices, which play a key role in determining what consumers pay at the pump continue to fluctuate. If crude remains low, typically gas prices will do the same. However, an uptick in demand nearing Memorial Day weekend may cause gas prices to rise.”

AAA continues to encourage drivers to take advantage of the money-saving gas tips listed below.

The National Gas Price Average Continues to Deflate

Since last Monday, the national average for a gallon of regular gasoline decreased by 2 cents to $3.59 (subject to change overnight). The primary reasons are weak domestic demand and oil costs below $80 a barrel. According to data from the Energy Information Administration (EIA), gas demand rose modestly from 8.79 million barrels a day to 8.87 last week. Meanwhile, total domestic gasoline stocks decreased slightly from 228 to 227.8 million barrels.  Lackluster pre-Memorial Day demand and steady or falling oil prices could lower pump prices.

Regional Prices:

Atlanta– $3.43

The most expensive Georgia metro markets – are Hinesville-Fort Stewart ($3.50), Savannah ($3.49), and Atlanta ($3.41).

The least expensive Georgia metro markets – are Warner Robins ($3.26), Dalton ($3.23), and Catoosa-Dade-Walker ($3.17).

Area gas price averages – Chattooga ($3.21), Walker ($3.13), Floyd ($3.26), Gordon ($3.29), DeKalb, AL ($3.07), Cherokee, AL ($3.14).

Mother/Daughter Fight Lands Both In Jail

A domestic incident on Sunset Drive in Summerville on Sunday landed a fifty-four-year-old mother and her twenty-seven-year-old daughter in jail.  Summerville Police were called to the scene of the domestic incident on Sunday evening.  Police say that both women showed signs of being assaulted and both were arrested.  Mardella Roshea Neal and her daughter, Trinity Daniel were both charged with disorderly conduct and were booked into the Chattooga County Jail.

Local Shelter Has Lots Of Kittens & Cats

Animal Advocates of Chattooga County say that the local shelter is in desperate need of people to foster kittens or cats.  Last Thursday and Friday, Chattooga Animal Control took in approximately 20-24 kittens from one house.  If anyone is interested in helping to foster these animals, please contact Animal Advocates of Chattooga County on Facebook or Chattooga Animal Control.  Animal Advocates reminds cat owners that your cats and kittens need to be combo tested and vaccinated and cats need to be spayed.  Assistance is available from Animal Advocates of Chattooga County.