City Of Summerville Closing Offices Friday Afternoon Due To Staffing Shortage

Summerville City Hall closed early on Friday afternoon.  City Clerk Angie White sent out a notice to local media saying, “City Offices will be closing at 4:00 today due to staff shortage. Offices will reopen Monday morning at 8:00 a.m.”. In case of emergency, you should call 911.

Massive Verizon Outage Affected Thousands Friday Morning

A massive cell phone outage on Friday morning affected a lot of cell phone and internet users in Chattooga County and Northwest Georgia.  According to Verizon, all service was restored by 7 AM.

The outage impacted thousands of Verizon customers who were unable to make phone calls, browse the Internet or send and receive text messages.

The cell phone company responded to customers by saying, “We know how frustrating it can be when you have no service. It can take a bit for an outage to be reported on our end, but we do currently have a known outage in your area. Our technicians are aware of it, and are working towards a resolution.”

Job Fair Today!

The Northwest Georgia Joint Development Authority, Chattooga County Commissioner’s Office, and the Chattooga Chamber are hosting a Job Fair, Friday, September 17th, 9a-6p, at the Chattooga County Ag Center.

Presented by Mohawk Industries, the event hopes to alleviate the shortage in our local workforce. Mount Vernon Mills is sponsoring the Hospitality Station, and there are several other sponsors contributing to make this a big success.
Organizers are inviting (and urging) everyone looking for work, whether it be part-time or full-time, hourly or salary, to come out to see the vast number of options there are locally and some within an hour’s drive.

Arrest Report - Friday - September 17, 2021

Here is the latest arrest report from the Chattooga County Sheriff’s Office for Friday, September 17, 2021:

Development Authority Buys NW Regional Hospital Property

The Rome Floyd County Development Authority announced Thursday that the State of Georgia has accepted their offer for the purchase of the Northwest Georgia Regional Hospital Property.

Rome and Floyd County leaders have considered many options for the site including housing and social services but determined the best use of the property would be to create jobs and grow capital investment to replace what was lost when the hospital closed 10 years ago. The closure left 700 employees without a job and 2,000 patients without medical care. There have been numerous offers, counteroffers, plans, and ideas proposed for this property since 2011 and the Development Authority is excited to finally see a future for the former Northwest Georgia Regional Hospital.  Using designated SPLOST funds, the City of Rome and Floyd County will purchase the property for $2.25 million dollars.

“When evaluating the property for economic development, this site has been included as a top choice since the beginning, due to the size, location, and availability of rail and infrastructure.  A study done by the City of Rome and the Rome Floyd County Development Authority considered several development options and concluded that economic development would provide the highest return on investment.  Rome and Floyd County will continue to work together to provide a Class A GRAD Certified site to present to prospects.  It will not happen overnight, but we are ready to start down this road,” said Jimmy Byars, Chair of the Rome Floyd County Development Authority.

“I have felt all along that the highest and best use of the property was for job creation,” said Craig McDaniel, Mayor of the City of Rome.  “I want to thank Governor Brian Kemp, the State Properties Commission, and especially our legislative delegation for their support of our request.”

The former hospital site includes132.5 acres of land and contains 195 buildings. When the hospital was first established, it primarily existed to serve Tuberculosis and mentally ill patients. This announcement marks a historic moment for the Rome and Floyd County community, as it will bean opportunity to transform the abandoned property into an economic growth generator for Rome and Floyd County.

“It was very encouraging to hear the local governments’ united vision for this life-enriching opportunity for citizens in Northwest Georgia,” said Governor Brian Kemp. “The sale of this property to the Rome Floyd County Development Authority will yield tremendous returns for both the state and the community.

y, given the potential for job creation and sustained economic investment. We look forward to the day when a quality prospect decides this is the right fit to locate or expand in the Peach State, further adding to our reputation as the number one state for business.”

“This is great news for Rome and Floyd County.  We needed to have this large tract and large opportunity in the hands of the Development Authority to guarantee development with the prime emphasis being on job creation,” said Wright Bagby, Chair of the Floyd County Commission.  “It is especially gratifying to be part of a community that through the citizen’s SPLOST votes for Economic Development have given us the resources to acquire this property.”

Most of the buildings will be demolished to make room for new construction. Warehouse space is located on the property and will be available for lease. The chapel located on the property will be preserved and used as office space and plans are to retain one of the buildings as a possible childcare facility for prospective industry employees. **

Moderna's COVID-19 Vaccine Wanes Over Time

Moderna released information this week indicating protection from its COVID-19 vaccine wanes over time as U.S. regulators try to determine the need for booster shots.

The U.S. drugmaker shared information from a phase three study showing that breakthrough cases were less frequent in those who’ve been more recently vaccinated.

Researchers compared about 14,000 people in Moderna’s 2020 vaccine study who had gotten a first dose about a year ago with another 11,000 vaccinated last winter, roughly eight months ago. As delta surged in July and August, Moderna concluded the more recently vaccinated group had a 36% lower rate of “breakthrough” infections compared with those vaccinated longer ago.

According to Moderna’s data, there were 88 breakthrough cases out of 11,431 people vaccinated between December 2020 and March 2021. The company identified 162 breakthrough cases out of 14,746 people vaccinated in July 2020 through October 2020.

There were also fewer severe cases of COVID-19 in individuals who had been more recently vaccinated, Moderna said.

The company believes the results show the need for booster shots, as the vaccine’s efficacy appears to wane over time. The analysis still needs to be peer reviewed.

Pfizer-BioNTech is also seeking approval of an additional booster shot of its COVID-19 vaccine. A key Food and Drug Administration vaccine advisory panel will convene this week to examine the need for booster shots in the U.S.

Pfizer said protection against COVID-19 is holding in the U.S. However, the company gave an extra dose to 306 people six to eight months after they received their second dose; the booster shot resulted in a threefold increase in virus-fighting antibodies.

Support for the booster shot has been mixed. While the Biden administration hoped to begin distributing doses on Sept. 20, the FDA has taken a cautious tone thus far. The agency will have the final say on the booster campaign and doesn’t necessarily have to follow the recommendations of its advisory panel. Booster shots have been approved for individuals with compromised immune systems.

WXIN

Truck Reported As Stolen From Local Motel

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A truck was reported as stolen from a local motel, however the reports on exactly what happened leading up to it, keep changing.

Around 8:30 pm on September 11th, Deputies responded to two hang up E-911 calls at the Summerville Motel. While en-route, a third call came in from the same number and a seemingly intoxicated male stated that he would like to report his truck as stolen. Arriving on scene Deputies spoke with Mr. Bisdelyn Reynoso, who stated that he had rented a room at the motel after work to rest and take a shower. After the shower, Reynoso noticed his car keys were missing and that his truck was also missing. Speaking with some individuals outside the motel, they stated that two people had arrived at the motel, and one had entered a room while another had left in the vehicle heading in the direction of the Dollar General on Highway 27. Deputies spoke with the manager who stated that Reynoso had filled out a card to rent the room and that he had put down two occupants. Reynoso stated that it was a friend who had asked him to help get the friend a job. A picture of the missing vehicle showed it as being a Red Chevrolet Colorado with the tag coming back as belonging to a Ms. Dilla Velasquez. After entering a report and the truck listed as stolen, Deputies left the scene.

A short while later Deputies were called back to the Summerville Motel where they met with Dilla Velasquez, the owner of the missing truck and also Reynosos’ aunt. Velasquez gave Deputies a different story than what Reynoso had previously told. According to Velasquez, Reynoso had called her and told her that he had been drugged in Dallas Georgia at a Texaco gas station, and had ended up at the motel with the truck now missing. While Velazquez was adamant Reynoso could not speak English very well, Deputies told her that when they spoke with him earlier he was very clear in his speech. Reynoso then stated that he did not remember speaking to Deputies earlier and Velasquez continued to state that Reynoso had been drugged. When Deputies began recounting the information given earlier by Reynoso he stated that he had not showered that day, despite his earlier statement that he did. Multiple portions of the earlier statement were declared untrue by Ms. Velasquez. At this point Deputies told both parties that the an additional report would be written up and the truck would remain listed as stolen.

 

Scam Callers Try To Collect $1,000

Scam calls happen to multitudes every day, and they are still actively trying here in the county.

According to reports from the Chattooga County Sheriffs Office, scammers recently tried to take a local woman for $1,000. Dana Teague told Officers that she received a call from from an unknown number who stated that they were from a collection agency. The callers told Teague that she owed $1,000 however they would accept a payment of $599 now. The caller also let Teague know that if she did not pay the amounts above, right now that an warrant would be issued for her arrest. She was able to provide Officers with a phone number and case number. When Officers called to speak with the scammers, they were hung up on when they identified themselves. Officers advised Teague that this was a scam and not to give them any money.

Chatsworth Man Found With Meth At Hospital

The Rome News Tribune reported on Wednesday that a Chatsworth man faces a meth trafficking charge after nurses at Redmond Regional Medical Center found a large amount of meth on him when he was brought to the hospital for an overdose.

According to Floyd County Jail reports:

Timothy Keith Long, 27, “was transported by ambulance to Redmond hospital for an overdose (early Tuesday). Once there, two nurses found meth and a glass smoking device on him.”

That meth, weighed in by the Rome-Floyd Metro Task Force, came to 293 grams. That amount of methamphetamine would hold a value of over $20,000.

As of Wednesday afternoon, Long remained in jail. No bond had been set.

Health Inspection Scores - First Half Of September 2021

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There was only one health inspection score reported for the first half of September by the Chattooga County Environmental Health Department.

  • LIVE EDGE NUTRITION

  • 6215 HIGHWAY 114 LYERLY, GA 30730
  • Phone Number: (706) 266-9375
  • Permit Type: FS
  • Last Inspection Score: 99
  • Last Inspection Date: 09-08-2021
  • For More Information Call: (706) 857-3377

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

Walker County Schools Extend Hybrid Schedule

Walker County Schools will extend the hybrid instruction schedule, based on current COVID cases and quarantines.  The current Hybrid Instruction Plan will continue through Friday, October 22nd.

That includes the three weeks prior to Fall Break and the week following fall break. Students will return to Monday through Friday in-person instruction on Monday, October 25th.

The hybrid schedule puts about half the students in the classroom on a given day… attending in-person two days per week.

Spencer Hogg Sworn In As New Chattooga BOE Member

Spencer Hogg was sworn in on Thursday as the newest member of the Chattooga County Board of Education.

Judge Gary Woods swore Hogg in at the probate office at the Chattooga County Courthouse.

Spencer Hogg said, “It was a tremendous honor to be officially sworn in as the Seat #4 representative on the Chattooga County Board of Education using my grandmother, Peggy Helms’ Bible. It is my goal to serve our County with the same compassion, humility and intelligence that Nana Peggy displayed every day of her life. I look forward to this opportunity to serve the County that I love so much!”

Hogg was selected by the Board of Education to fill the seat vacated by Dr. Julia Houston earlier this year.  Hogg will be representing the Lyerly area on the Board of Education.

After 10-Minute Jury Deliberation, Child Molester Convicted and Sentenced to 30 Years

Thanks to a loving and diligent foster family, a sexual molestation victim can rest more easily tonight because her abuser will be behind bars for a very long time. Tuesday, September 15, 2021, Jonathan William Miller, 37, was convicted in a Catoosa County Superior Court of two counts of child molestation against a 12-year-old family member.

For years, Miller sexually molested a young girl in Tennessee and continued the abuse when the family moved into Georgia in September 2019. Miller instructed the victim to lie about the abuse if questioned, which resulted in a delay in her disclosure. The victim finally disclosed Miller’s abuse while in foster care where she felt safe enough to share the trauma. The initial disclosure was to her foster sister to whom the victim had grown close during her time with the foster family. The foster sister encouraged the victim to disclose the abuse which she did at the Children’s Advocacy Center.

The case was investigated by Detective Clay Thompson of the Catoosa County Sheriff’s Department. Lookout Mountain Judicial Circuit (LMJC) Assistant District Attorney David M. Wolfe presented the case over two days. After a deliberation of about 10 minutes, the jury returned a verdict of guilty on all counts.

Jonathan Miller, who had a prior conviction for child molestation in 2003, was sentenced by Judge Brian House to a total of 30 years with the first 20 years to be served in prison.

“I would like to thank Detective Thompson, the Catoosa County Sheriff’s Department, and the Children’s Advocacy Center for their work on this case and their continued dedication to seeking justice for abused children in our community,” said Chris Arnt, LMJC District Attorney. Arnt expressed appreciation for the dozens of hours Assistant District Attorney Wolfe spent preparing this case and helping the jury understand the facts and evidence. Ms. Nicholson worked closely with the victim and her foster family to prepare them for the emotional toll a trial can take on a victim and to assist them with support services.

“The prosecution and sentence in this case demonstrates my office’s strong commitment to combat sexual abuse and to fight to protect our children and the most vulnerable members of our community,” said Arnt. “While many voices in our country are calling to empty our prisons and complaining about over incarceration, I believe anyone who targets children like this should be behind bars. We will not tolerate the sexual abuse of our children.” The LMJC secures some of the toughest sentences for sexual abuse in the entire State of Georgia.

Following the verdict and sentencing, the victim’s guardian sent the following email to the Lookout Mountain Judicial Circuit District Attorney’s Office:

This may have been one of the hardest things our family has ever had to do. However, I am eternally grateful for the employees and service of the Catoosa County District Attorney’s office. We are happy with the outcome and grateful that our justice system and the jurors found and served justice for our foster daughter. Thank you Mr. David Wolfe for an excellent job in court, Judge Brian House for sentencing and bringing a small little window of hope to this little girl, to Mr. Arnt and all the district attorneys who came to offer support and lastly to Mrs. Ashley Nicholson, Catoosa County DA child advocate for walking us through every step of this process and defining some of those big lawyer words that no one can possibly understand. Thank you all for finding justice for

Fire Alarm At Chattooga High School On Thursday

A fire alarm at Chattooga High School on Thursday forced the temporary evacuation of students from the building, but thankfully, there was no fire or any problem that was found.

The alarm went off on Thursday morning and the school followed its evacuation plan.  Maintenance and facility director John Worsham said that the alarm went off in the electrical room of the high school, but they were unable to determine any problems.

‘Worsham has contacted the alarm company to try to determine what set the alarm off according to Chattooga County School Supt. Jared Hosmer.

Arrest Report - Thursday - September 16, 2021

Here is the latest arrest report from the Chattooga County Sheriff’s Office for Thursday, September 16, 2021:

Beware Of Social Media "Grant" Scam

Another scam is making its rounds on social media from people claiming to be with “the government” and offering a $20,000 grant.

On Wednesday, the scammer messaged WZQZ Radio owner Jimmy Holbrook using a fake profile they had created using the image of a Chattooga County resident.

The scammer said that a government agency called “Department of Health and Human” was offering $20,000 grants and that to apply for the grant, you needed to click on the profile of “Agent David Johnson, Jr.” to get all of the information.

(See the conversation below)

Don’t fall for these types of scams.  Scammers will clone Facebook profiles and attempt to gain your trust.  Always verify information on any government program by going to the official government agency’s website – not a link on social media.

Trion High School Remembers Student Who Died In Four Wheeler Accident

A sixteen-year-old Trion High School student passed away from injuries received in a four-wheeler accident over the past weekend.

On Tuesday evening, Trion Athletics posted on their social media page:

Trion High School and Trion Athletics mourns the loss of one of our own this evening. It is with great sadness we inform Bulldog Nation that Josh Hernandez passed away today shortly after 6pm from injuries he sustained from an ATV accident on Saturday. We as a school and community offer our deepest sympathy to the entire Hernandez Family. We extend our love, prayers, and support to you during this extremely difficult time. Rest In Peace Josh.

On Wednesday, the Trion Fellowship of Christian Athletes set up a memorial at the Trion High School gym for Hernandez.

 

Summerville Halloween Walk To Be Held This Year

It’s a tradition that kids look forward to each fall in Chattooga County – The Optimist Club Halloween Walk.  Organizers have announced that the downtown Summerville Halloween Walk will be held again this year.

Last year, the walk was canceled due to COVID-19.

The walk is organized by the local Optimist Club and through the generosity of local merchants, children are able to dress up in their Halloween costumes and walk down Commerce Street to “trick-or-treat” from local business owners.

This year, the Halloween Walk will be held on Saturday, October 30th.

Rome Man Arrested On Animal Cruelty Charges

Earlier this week, Floyd County Police asked for the public’s help in locating a wanted man who was accused of animal cruelty.

Fifty-three-year-old Timothy Mark Reynolds was picked up by Floyd County Police on Tuesday.

He is accused of “maliciously causing prolonged physical damage to 27 dogs that resulted in the having to be euthanized.”

Reynolds is charged with 27 counts aggravated cruelty to animals.

Georgia COVID Risk Still High

The number of COVID-19 cases in Georgia remains high despite a recent decline and still creates a significant risk the disease could spread through communities, state epidemiologist Cherie Drenzek said Tuesday.

Drenzek updated the state Board of Public Health on the spike in COVID cases since the end of June. The increase is being fueled by the delta variant of the virus among people who are unvaccinated.

Since the beginning of September, the seven-day average of new cases has fallen. But Drenzek warned the state is coming down from steep peaks, and its hospitals and schools are still facing great strain. The “risk of transmission” through communities remains high, she said.

The state recently set a record for the number of patients hospitalized with COVID-19. And Drenzek said the recent surge has affected school-aged children much more than previous waves. Children up to the age of 17 now account for more than a quarter of all cases.

WTVC