Arrest Report - Saturday - June 22, 2024

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

Trion Police Thank Rosita's For Appreciation Meal

On Friday, Rosita’s in Trion provided area first responders with a free meal.  Trion Police Chief David Gilliland said, “The Trion Police Department would like to express its heartfelt gratitude to Rosita’s for providing our department, along with all of Chattooga County’s Public Safety Personnel and First Responders, with an Appreciation Meal on June 21, 2024. We are extremely thankful and humbled by their thoughtfulness and their desire to give back to those who strive to serve the community”.

Carr Calls For Jamming Technology At Georgia's Jails & Prisons

Georgia Attorneys General Chris Carr is hoping the Federal Communications Commission can stop illegal prison phone calls. This isn’t the first time Carr has made this request. In January of 2023, Carr signed a letter urging Congress to solve the problem along with 21 other attorney generals.  Earlier this month, Carr said Georgia’s prisons and jails need jamming technology, so inmates can’t use contraband cell phones.

“The easiest way to protect the public from the harms caused by contraband cell phones is to allow for the use of cell phone jamming technology in prisons and jails, but the FCC continues to block our efforts,” said Carr. “This outdated guidance limits legitimate law enforcement tools, presents dangerous conditions for correctional officers, and allows for the escalation of criminal networks both inside and outside prison walls. We’re committed to combatting violent crime wherever it occurs, which is why we continue to call on the federal government to remove this substantial barrier to public safety.”

In Georgia alone, 8,074 contraband cell phones were confiscated in 2023, with 5,482 confiscated to date in 2024. Recently, an incarcerated leader of the infamous street gang, “Yves Saint Laurent Squad,” used a contraband cell phone to order a hit which resulted in the death of an 88-year-old Georgia veteran. A gang leader in North Carolina was able to order the kidnapping of a prosecutor’s father via a cell phone in prison. In California, prison gangs used contraband cell phones to order murders within the prison system and traffic drugs.

“There are hundreds of examples from across the country of how a contraband cell phone in the hands of an inmate can be used as a deadly weapon and gives them the ability to continue their criminal enterprise. We are incensed by the length these individuals go to in continuing those activities and endangering the public,” said Georgia Department of Corrections Commissioner Tyrone Oliver. “As attempts to infiltrate our facilities with contraband cell phones evolve, access to jamming technology is paramount in our efforts to combat those attempts. We appreciate the support of Attorney General Carr in our ongoing commitment to public safety and the safe operations of our facilities.”

In his letter, Carr notes that the FCC policy relies on a statute enacted in the early 1990s, years before prison inmates began using contraband cell phones to plan and engage in unlawful and dangerous activity.

Carr further states: “Nothing in the language of 47 U.S.C § 333 prohibits the FCC from revising its position to allow state agencies to use cell phone jamming devices in prisons. In fact, the United States Bureau of Prisons has recognized the potential value of cell phone jammers already and is permitted to use jamming devices at several federal penitentiaries, including at least one in Georgia.”

In January 2023, Carr joined a 22-state coalition of attorneys general in urging Congressional leaders to pass legislation that would allow states to implement a cell phone jamming system in correctional facilities.

Carr’s Gang Prosecution Unit has also partnered with the Georgia Department of Corrections (GDC) to investigate and prosecute currently incarcerated individuals who are alleged to have engaged in criminal gang activity and discussions regarding the packaging and shipping of contraband items into a GDC facility.

Georgia's May Unemployment Rate Up Slightly

Northwest Georgia’s unemployment rate unchanged at 5.6 percent, Rome Down

Georgia Labor Commissioner Bruce Thompson announced Thursday that Georgia’s May unemployment rate was 3.2, up one-tenth from a revised 3.1 percent in April. The unemployment rate was eight-tenths lower than the national unemployment rate.

“Confidence in Georgia’s job market isn’t the only thing hitting all-time highs – a record number of Georgians have returned to the workforce as well,” said Commissioner Bruce Thompson. “Despite national economic challenges and inflation, Georgia’s businesses are stepping up and creating more opportunities for hardworking Georgians to secure high-quality jobs.”

Jobs were up by 9,200 (0.2%) over the month and up by 73,900 (1.5%) over the year to 4,973,700, an all-time high.

The sectors with the most over-the-month job gains included Local Government, 3,200; Accommodation and Food Services, 2,700; Health Care and Social Assistance, 2,300; Retail Trade, 1,800; and Wholesale Trade, 700.

Jobs were down in State Government, -1,600; Durable Goods, -1,500; and Arts, Entertainment, and Recreation, -1,300.

Jobs were at an all-time high in Private Education and Health Services, 680,300, and Leisure and Hospitality, 528,700.

The sectors with the most over-the-year job gains included Health Care and Social Assistance, 23,500; Local Government, 15,200; Accommodation and Food Services, 13,900; Professional, Scientific, and Technical Services, 8,900; and Finance and Insurance, 7,000.

Jobs were down in Transportation and Warehousing, -11,300; Information, which includes Motion Picture and Sound Recording Industries, -9,700; and Administrative and Support Services, -8,700.

The labor force was up by 18,768 to 5,375,888, an all-time high, and was up by 74,803 over the past 12 months. The labor force participation rate was up from 61.5 percent to 61.6 percent.

The number of employed was up by 14,311 to 5,205,912, an all-time high, and was up by 73,518 over the past 12 months. The employment-to-population ratio was up from 59.6 percent to 59.7 percent.

The number of unemployed was up by 4,457 to 169,976 and was up by 1,285 over the past 12 months.

Initial claims were down by 1,518 (-7%) over the month to 20,034 in May.  Initial claims were down by 3,968 (-16%) over the year.

For personalized assistance, employers can reach Georgia Department of Labor (GDOL) staff at https://dol.georgia.gov/employeremail. For more information on unemployment benefits, claimants should call 877.709.8185 or visit their MyUI Claimant Portal. GDOL’s Career Centers also provide in-person unemployment insurance benefit services for customers statewide.

For more information on jobs and current labor force data, visit Georgia LaborMarket Explorer to view a comprehensive report.

Rome Man To Be Sentenced For Killing Friend

A twenty-three-year-old Rome man will be sentenced next month after he pleaded guilty this past week to killing a mutilating his friend from Cumming, Georgia. 

Brandon Christopher Risner pleaded guilty to killing his friend Aaron William Davis, who was twenty-one-years old back in November of 2022.  The two men had grown up together and had attended  the Mormon Church together.  Davis was a recent graduate of Brigham Young University-Idaho and had stopped in Rome to see his friend.  Risner stabbed, disfigured and disembowled Davis, according to reports at the time.

Risner pleaded guilty to murder, aggravated assault, aggravated battery, concealing the death of another, abandonment of a dead body and theft by taking, as well as misdemeanor removal of body parts from the scene of a death, tampering with evidence and obstruction of an officer.

He could face as much as a life without parole sentence alongside additional prison time in the case.

Private Event Fireworks Display In Lyerly Sunday Night

The fireworks that go off each year from a private event in the Lyerly/Holland area, will be happening this Sunday evening June 23rd. Area residents are asked to make sure your animals are secured. If you can’t see the fireworks from your house, they can usually be seen from the Pinhotti parking lot on Hwy 100.

Taste Of The South Festival Today In Summerville

One of the best things about living in the South is the food and southern hospitality. Summerville Main Street invites the public to celebrate southern foods and traditions as they host A Taste of The South Festival today from 10 AM until 3 PMat the Historic Summerville Depot and up the East Washington Street Streetscape. This free public event is planned to help eventgoers take a step back in time and share a fondness for good old fashioned southern food, fun and traditions.

Rail fans will be excited to welcome in the TVRM Steam Engine Passenger Train and see The Summerville Turntable in action. Special square dancing performances, line dancing, “Southern Sayings BINGO”, classic cars and trucks, demonstrations and musical performances will also be included in the day’s activities.

Featured Foods For The Day

Special foods featured at A Taste of The South will include but are not limited to: BBQ by Stan Rosser, fried chicken, collard greens, homemade mac n cheese, black-eyed peas, chicken & dressing, pinto beans & cornbread, and cold banana pudding by Tamme Shropshire “Mamma B”, tea cakes, tenderloin biscuits, meatloaf, fried okra, fried potatoes, fried corn, green beans, baked sweet potatoes by Betty Mosley, shrimp & grits, fried green tomatoes, crackling cornbread, homemade cooked style banana pudding by Sheila Stewart, fried catfish plates, fried chicken livers, and boiled peanuts by Larry Wilbanks, Jambalaya and more by LoLo’s Cajun

Food, homemade fried pies, homemade ice cream, jams, jellies, and a variety of relishes and pickled items by Reita’s Fried Pies, homemade breads, jams, jellies, farm fresh eggs by Faith Family Farm, roasted corn and fresh lemonade by Ronnie Beard, homemade pork skins by Mercy Me Pork Rinds, and bakery items by Black Cat Bakery Items just to name a few. There will be tables and chairs set up for dining inside the Summerville Depot Freight Room and outside as well.

 

Special Demonstrations and Performances

Mini Farmers Market across from Summerville Depot

Special Southern Backyard Flower Display by Chattooga Garden Club inside Depot

Free Mini Moon Pies To The First 480 Event Goers To Visit The Main Street Booth – Limit 1 Per Person

10:30 a.m. & 1:15 p.m. – Biscuit Making Demonstrations by Betty Mosely in Depot Freight Room

Chair Caining Demonstrations by Kathy Berry outside of the Summerville Depot throughout the day

11:15 a.m. & 12:15 p.m. Southern Sayings BINGO in Depot Freight Room ( Each round is limited to the first eight individuals to register) Registration at Main Street Booth

11:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. Street Square Dancing By Western Promenades Square Dancing outside of Depot

12:00 -12:30 p.m. – K Ray Accompanied by Terry Ray on Depot Back Deck

12:30 – 1:00 p.m. – Dixie Stompers Line Dancing on Depot Back Deck

Picking Chair Prophets performing on Depot lawn through the day

 

Train Arrival, Special Vendors & Classic Cars & Trucks For Enjoyment

The Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum’s majestic steam engine 4501 is scheduled for arrival around 1:00 p.m. full of passengers for a short layover. The public is encouraged to give a true

southern hospitality welcome as the train pulls in to unload at the Summerville Depot. Rail fans will certainly enjoy observing the working of the Summerville Turntable.

A wide variety of art & craft vendors will be on hand at the depot area and on East Washington Street for special shopping and southern tradition displays. Classic cars and trucks will also be cruised in for the public to enjoy on East Washington Street throughout the day. Those with vehicles wishing to participate are encouraged join in. For additional information on this or other events, contact the Summerville Main Street Office at (706) 859-0900 Ext. 1337 or email slocklear@summervillega.org

Tapestry Hospice Pays $1.4 Million Due To Violations Of the False Claims Act

U.S. Attorney’s Office for The Northern District Of Georgia Collects Over $108 Million in Civil and Criminal Actions in Fiscal Year 2016

Tapestry Hospice of Northwest Georgia, LLC, and its owners and managers, David Lovell, MD, Stephanie Harbour, Ben Harbour, and Andrew Nall (collectively “Tapestry”), agreed to pay $1.4 million to resolve allegations that they violated the False Claims Act by entering into kickback arrangements with medical directors in exchange for referrals of hospice patients to Tapestry.

“By entering into kickback arrangements, health care providers can cause doctors to make medical decisions that are motivated by financial gain, rather than the patient’s best interest,” said U.S. Attorney Ryan K. Buchanan. “Our office is committed to ensuring the accountability of health care providers who put their own financial needs ahead of their patients.”

“The False Claims Act settlement in this case will hopefully be a deterrent to those who selfishly evade our federal healthcare programs for their own benefit,” said Keri Farley, Special Agent in Charge of FBI Atlanta. “The message is clear, the FBI will not tolerate companies operating corporate-wide schemes to illegally line their pockets.”

“Decisions regarding end-of-life care are incredibly difficult and personal, and families must be able to trust the intentions of their chosen providers,” said Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr. “Those who instead take advantage of the system for their own personal gain will be held accountable.”

This case began when a former employee of Tapestry filed a whistleblower complaint alleging that Tapestry paid kickbacks to medical directors to induce them to refer patients to Tapestry.  These alleged kickbacks included monthly stipends and a signing bonus paid to the medical directors.  The compensation allegedly increased when the medical director referred more patients and decreased when the medical director failed to make referrals.

The Government alleges that these arrangements violated the Anti-Kickback Statute, 42 U.S.C. § 1320a-7b(b), and caused the submission of false claims in violation of the False Claims Act, 31 U.S.C. § 3729, et seq.

This civil settlement resolves a lawsuit filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia by Kathy Erwin (the Relator) under the qui tam or whistleblower provisions of the False Claims Act, U.S. ex rel. Erwin v. Tapestry Hospice of Northwest Georgia, LLC, et al., No. 1:18-cv-4320-AT.  Under the False Claims Act, private citizens may bring suit for false claims on behalf of the United States and share in any recovery obtained by the government.  The Relator has received $252,000 from the settlement.

This case was investigated by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Georgia the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Georgia Medicaid Fraud Control Unit.

The civil settlement was reached by Assistant U.S. Attorney Adam D. Nugent and Georgia Assistant Attorney General Rick Tangum. The claims resolved by the settlement are allegations only, and there has been no determination of liability.

For further information please contact the U.S. Attorney’s Public Affairs Office at USAGAN.PressEmails@usdoj.gov or (404) 581-6016.  The Internet address for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Georgia is http://www.justice.gov/usao-ndga.

Juveniles Suspected In Church Vandalism Incident

Summerville Police were called to Redemption Worship Center on First Avenue on June 18th concerning an incident of vandalism.  A deacon with the church told a responding officers that he suspects juveniles had written the letters “F” and “U” on the church’s sign.  Also, flower pots had been kicked over and trash was left at the front door of the church.  The vandals had also turned the water hydrant on and left it running.  The responding officer advised the complainant that the police department would put extra patrols in the area.

Arrest Report - Friday - June 21, 2024

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

Town Of Trion Council Meeting Next Week

The Town of Trion will hold their workshop and regular council meeting for the month of June coming up next Thursday, June 27th.  The meeting will be held at the Trion Town Hall Council Room.  The workshop will get underway at 6 PM and the regular meeting will follow shortly thereafter.  Trion Mayor Lanny Thomas says that if anyone needs information prior to the meeting, they may contact him or Trion Town Hall.  The meeting is open to the public and they are encouraged to attend.

Prison Inmate Indicted By Chattooga County Grand Jury

A thirty-one-year-old Georgia Department of Corrections inmate has been indicted by the Chattooga County Grand Jury after allegations he participated in bringing methamphetamine into Hays State Prison in Trion.

Shondrez Daniels, who has been incarcerated since 2016, is currently serving time for armed robbery, stemming from an incident in Clayton County back in 2014.

Daniels was indicted by the grand jury for possession of methamphetamine, trafficking in methamphetamine and possession of contraband inside a state prison.

The Georgia Department of Corrections lists Daniels as currently being incarcerated at Hancock State Prison.  He was scheduled for release in 2026.

Man Found Dead In Coosa - Murder Suspected

Floyd County Police are continuing to investigate the death of a man who body was found outside his Barker Road residence on Tuesday.

According to Floyd County Coroner Gene Proctor, as of Thursday morning authorities have not been able to locate the man’s next of kin, so his identity is still not being released.

According to police, a neighbor discovered the victim’s body and notified authorities.

The case is being investigated as a homicide and the body has been sent to the GBI Crime Lab for an autopsy.

Police are asking for the public’s help in identifying a subject that would have been on foot in the area of Barker Road between approximately 10 pm Monday and 1 am Tuesday.

WRGA

Advent Health Redmond Named Surgical Quality Partner

AdventHealth Redmond has been recognized as an American College of Surgeons (ACS) Surgical Quality Partner. ACS has awarded AdventHealth Redmond for its commitment to quality through participation in one of the 13 quality programs.

The ACS Surgical Quality Partner designation attest to AdventHealth Redmond’s continuous efforts to strengthen patient outcomes and strive for the highest quality of care. As an active participant in ACS’ quality programs, Redmond contributes to the Power of Quality Campaign, an initiative by ACS which sets out to improve surgical quality and patient care throughout the United States.

“Through this commitment, our hospital will demonstrate our adherence to the most rigorous standards in surgical quality while maintaining, evaluating, and improving our standards for patient related trauma care, said Nicole Sundholm,” AdventHealth Redmond’s trauma program manager. “The plaque that we received is a reflection of our effort to partner with the American College of Surgeon Quality Program as we work to achieve our American College of Surgeons trauma verification.”

AdventHealth Redmond remains dedicated to ensuring patients receive the best possible surgical care in a Christ-centered environment.

For more information on AdventHealth Redmond’s surgical care, please visit https://www.adventhealth.com/hospital/adventhealth-redmond/our-services/surgical-care.

Sen. Ossoff Says USPS Can Still Do Better

Sample Image

The Postmaster General says on-time delivery rates at the beleaguered Palmetto, Georgia post office facility are up over 80%, but Georgia’s U.S. senator says it’s still not good enough.  Senator John Ossoff has been persistent in pressuring  Postmaster Louis DeJoy for months or solutions to the problems at Georgia’s largest mail processing facility.  While the USPS might be happy with the progress, Senator Ossoff says it still isn’t good enough because 20% of mail still isn’t being delivered on time.  Senator Ossoff has indicated that he will pressure the board that oversees the United States Postal Service to fire DeJoy if things don’t improve.

Summerville Hosting "Friday Night Live" Tonight

Summerville Main Street and GP Federal Credit Union is proud to present a Friday Night Live Concert in the Open Air Pavilion on East Washington Street on Friday, June 21. June’s concert will feature The Kevin Allen Band with their sounds of country, southern rock, and today’s top 40 hits. The music begins at 7:00 p.m. and will run through 9:00 p.m. Several vendors will be on site offering delicious food to go with the music and fun. It is suggested to bring lawn chairs, and dancing shoes for this evening of entertainment.

In addition to the concert, several downtown businesses will extend business hours for a Downtown Stop N Shop event. The community is invited to pick up a Downtown Passport and visit all participating business between the hours of 4:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. to be entered in drawings for prizes to be given away during the concert. Once the passport is completed, participants are eligible to win gift cards to participating downtown businesses. No purchase is necessary with a completed passport to enter the drawings. However, for each purchase made during this special time, participants will receive an additional entry. Completed passports and extra entries can be dropped in a special drawing box at the Open Air Pavilion between 6:30-7:30 p.m. prior to the 8:00 p.m. drawings.

Passports may be picked up at any of the participating business on Friday. Only one passport per person will be accepted. Participating businesses include: Ga Ga’s Boutique /Merle Norman, Hayden Taylor Designs, Sugarville Bakery, DIRT Mercantile, DIRT Pour, Duff’s Flowers & Gifts, Jefferson’s, Dos MaGuey’s, and Thatchers. This special downtown event is sponsored by Summerville Main Street.

Longtime Drive-In Restaurant Shutting Their Doors

A long running business in Chattooga County has made the decision to shut their doors – due in part to threats made after a social media post supporting Gay Pride Month, according to the owners.

Social media was abuzz earlier this month when Jerry’s Drive In on the Lyerly Highway in Summerville made a post that was supportive of June as Gay Pride Month.  The post was shared and generated a lot of comments both for and against the public display by the restaurant.

Now, the owners say that after receiving threats that included “blowing up the building”, they fear for their safety and are going to permanently close the business.  In a reply to a member of the community on Thursday, the restaurant said, “I will explain whey we locked the doors and said ENOUGH. A post was made (in support of) Gay Pride month on Facebook.  From that, thousands of messages, (and) threats to blow Jerry’s up”.

They went on to say that the deciding factor was when they brought the founder of the establishment into the conversation.  The restaurant says, “Jerry loved everyone, and always wanted the best for his employees and his customers”.

A Google listing for the restaurant lists it as “permanently closed”.

Trion Hears About New Renewable Natural Gas Plant Proposal

Johnson Energy Solutions LLC

A Tennessee-based renewable energy company is looking to build a facility at the Town of Trion industrial park that would convert chicken manure into natural gas.  Johnson Energy Solutions, based in Soddy Daisy, says that with the abundance of poultry farms in the Northwest Georgia area, the plant would be able to provide a service by taking the chicken waste and turning it into natural gas – also the company would produce fertilizer as a byproduct of the process.

Randy Johnson, the president of the company, spoke to the Trion Town Council this week about the plans.  The biggest concern expressed is the potential of foul odors coming from the plant.  Johnson promises that the company will “spend millions of dollars” in the latest odor control technology.

Trion Mayor Lanny Thomas told WZQZ News earlier this week that it could be an exciting opportunity for the Town of Trion – and for area poultry farmers as well.  Incoming County Commissioner Andy Allen has expressed concern about the county residents property values that live near the town’s industrial park where the facility would be located.  Johnson Energy Solutions says that they will “spend the money to take care of odors”.

Arrest Report - Thursday - June 20, 2024

Here is the latest arrest report from the Chattooga County Sheriff’s Office for Thursday, June 20, 2024:

Governor Says GDC Assessments Will Improve Public Safety

Governor Brian P. Kemp, in conjunction with the Georgia Department of Corrections (GDC), on Monday announced the initiation of an in-depth, system-wide assessment of the state corrections system to identify current strengths, opportunities, and recommendations to enhance operational efficiency and effectiveness. This marks the latest measure to improve public safety for all Georgians following a multi-year effort to crack down on crime, take violent offenders off the streets, provide further support and training for state and local law enforcement, and invest well over 1.6 billion additional dollars into public safety since Governor Kemp took office.

“Keeping Georgians safe continues to be my top priority,” said Governor Brian Kemp. “Since I took office in 2019, Georgia has made significant progress in bringing more violent criminals to justice; cracking down on criminal street gangs; investing in our brave law enforcement personnel, including corrections officers; and strengthening penalties on those who seek to threaten our communities. By ensuring our correctional facilities have the funding, technology, infrastructure, and operations to fulfill their mission, this comprehensive assessment is the next step in achieving a safer, stronger Georgia for all who call the Peach State home.”

The State has partnered with Guidehouse, Inc. (comprised of The Moss Group (TMG) and CGL Companies) to conduct an unbiased and thorough system-wide assessment while developing actionable recommendations. This partnership brings together an accomplished outside team with corrections expertise in conducting organizational assessments for corrections systems and facilities in all 50 states.

“When Governor Kemp appointed me, he gave me the clear mandate to keep Georgians safe by improving our corrections system,” said GDC Commissioner Tyrone Oliver. “Thanks to our partnership with the General Assembly and other state leaders, we’ve done just that by improving retention levels, removing approximately $7 million worth of contraband from our prisons, shutting down the largest contraband trafficking ring in the country, and more. But we know we have a lot more room to grow, which is why I’m thankful Guidehouse will provide a thorough review of our facilities and policies that will guide the next phase of GDC improvements.”

Over the course of the next twelve months, Guidehouse will visit multiple state prison facilities, work collaboratively with GDC personnel to gather information, conduct interviews with relevant stakeholders, and develop a full assessment using evidence-based practice and research. Guidehouse will then develop actionable recommendations and begin implementation support. To protect the integrity of this process, Guidehouse and state entities will not be able to provide comment until the assessment is complete, at which time a full briefing will be made available to stakeholders.