Arrest Report - Tuesday - June 22, 2021

Here is the latest arrest report from the Chattooga County Sheriff’s Office for Tuesday, June 22, 2021:

Flash Flood Watch Until 2 PM Today

The National Weather Service in Peachtree City, Georgia has extended a Flash Flood Watch until 2 PM this afternoon.  Northwest Georgia could see an additional 1 – 2.5 inches of rain this morning before we finally dry out this afternoon.  See details below:

Floyd County Man Dies In Tractor Accident Over The Weekend

A Floyd County man died in a tragic farm tractor accident over the weekend.

According to Deputy Floyd County Coroner Brent Whatley, Joseph Hunter Ricks, age 21 of a Ward Mountain Road address was bush hogging a field near the intersection of Highway 140 and Highway 53 when he slipped off the equipment and was run over.

Ricks was pronounced dead from the injuries.

Labor Dept. Issues Statement On Proposed Changes To Tipped Workers Rules

The U.S. Department of Labor today announced a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to limit the amount of non-tip producing work that a tipped employee can perform when an employer is taking a tip credit. The proposed rule clarifies when an employee is working in a tipped occupation and when a worker has performed such a substantial amount of non-tipped labor that an employer can no longer take a tip credit and must pay the full federal minimum wage to the worker.

The Fair Labor Standards Act allows employers with tipped workers to pay as little as $2.13 per hour in direct wages, while taking a credit against the tips earned by the employee to make up the balance of the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour.

The proposed rule also clarifies that an employer may only take a tip credit when tipped employees perform labor that is part of their tipped occupation. Work considered part of the tipped occupation includes labor that produces tips and labor that directly supports tip-producing work, so long as the employee does not perform it for a substantial amount of time. For example, waiting on tables is an example of labor that produces tips for the worker. Labor that supports a server’s tip-producing work includes a server folding napkins or refilling salt and pepper shakers.

The proposed rule also clarifies that if an employee performs work that directly supports tip-producing work for a substantial amount of time – that exceeds 20 percent of all of the hours worked during the employee’s workweek or exceeds 30 continuous minutes – that worker is no longer performing labor that is part of the tipped occupation.

The proposal clarifies that employers may not take a tip credit for work that is not part of the tipped occupation.

“Tipped workers are among those who continue to be hardest hit as we emerge from the pandemic, and the Wage and Hour Division continues to prioritize protecting these essential front-line workers,” said Wage and Hour Division Principal Deputy Administrator Jessica Looman. “This proposed rule provides more clarity and certainty for employers while better protecting workers. It helps ensure that tipped workers are treated with dignity and respect, and that they receive wages appropriate for the work they perform.”

The department invites comments from the public on the proposed rule at www.regulations.gov. The comment period closes Aug. 23, 2021.

Anyone who submits a comment (including duplicate comments) should understand and expect that the comment, including any personal information provided, will become a matter of public record. The division will post comments without change at www.regulations.gov and include any personal information provided. The division posts comments gathered and submitted by a third-party organization as a group, using a single document ID number at the site.

 

Commissioner Removes Joe Reed From Fair Council

Chattooga County Commissioner Blake Elsberry informed the Chattooga County Agricultural Fair Council last week that he is removing former public works director Joe Reed from the Fair Council and replacing Mr. Reed with current Chattooga County Public Works Director Yancey Robinson.

WZQZ News spoke with Mr. Reed who said that he was not informed by the commissioner about his removal from the fair council, but received the word from other fair council members and fair council President Lyn Hall.

The Chattooga County Fair Council was set up in 2014 by Commissioner Jason Winters and operates under its own bylaws that were drafted by Chattooga County Attorney Chris Corbin.

The original fair council was selected by Commissioner Winters, Jimmy Holbrook and County Extension Agent Rebecca Thomas, neither of whom serve on the council now.  The fair council was set up as a self-perpetuating board of directors that manages its membership subject to its own regulations.

Since that time, the council has added positions and has grown in the number of members serving.

The fair council’s bylaws stipulate that while the council is self-perpetuating, members serve at the will of the county commissioner.

Supt. Hosmer Posts Guidelines For Applying For BOE Open Seat

At last Thursday’s meeting, the Chattooga Board of Education set the timeline for replacing the vacant Lyerly Board of Education seat.

Supt. Jared Hosmer says, “All interested parties should notify the Superintendent through USPS or email of their interest in the vacant seat. All interested parties must live in the Lyerly School District and meet the attached Board of Education Member requirements to be considered. If anyone has questions, they may contact my office.”

-July 9, 2021: Cutoff for qualified individuals to send letters of interest (should include name, physical address, and e-mail address) to the Superintendent’s Office through USPS or email.

-July 15, 2021: Mr. Hosmer will present list of qualified names to the Board.  Individuals will have opportunity to introduce themselves during the July 15th Work Session at 6:00 p.m.
-July 16, 2021: Individuals will be sent a list of questions through email to answer.
-July 23, 2021: Deadline for individuals to respond through email to questions.

-August 19, 2021: Selection of new Board Member will be made.

Here are all of the requirements for potential applicants:

Fort Payne Woman Drowns After Leaving The Roadway

A twenty-two-year-old Fort Payne woman drowned in swollen creek waters sometime between Saturday night and Sunday morning.

Alabama Law Enforcement, DeKalb County Sheriff’s Department and Fort Payne Police along with swift-water rescue teams found the body of Makayla Ross off of Radio Drive in Fort Payne around 9 AM on Sunday morning.

Radio Drive is located near a tributary of Big Wills Creek and is located between Cracker Barrel and WZOB Radio studios in Fort Payne.

DeKalb County officials say that they do not know exactly where Ross’s vehicle left the roadway, and went into the creek, but she apparently tried to get out of the vehicle and was swept away in the fast-moving water.

Compiled Reports

Georgia Gas Prices Decrease Slightly

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Georgia gas dropped slightly at the pump compared to a week ago. Georgia motorists are paying an average price of $2.89 per gallon for regular unleaded gasoline. Monday’s state average was  two cents less than a week ago, five cents less than last month and 97 cents more than this time last year.

It costs Georgia motorists $43.35 to fill a 15-gallon tank of gasoline; that is $6.45 more than what motorists paid in January of 2020 when pump prices hit their peak of $2.46 per gallon.

“An increase in both supply and demand has helped to limit fluctuations in prices,” said Garrett Townsend, AAA-The Auto Club Group Public Affairs Director. “If production continues to increase as forecasted, Georgians could see some relief by the end of the month.

  • Most expensive Georgia metro markets – Savannah ($2.92), Brunswick ($2.89), and Hinesville – Fort Stewart ($2.88).
  • Least expensive Georgia metro markets – Warner Robins ($2.78), Catoosa-Dade-Walker ($2.80), and Rome ($2.82).
  • Area gas price averages – Chattooga ($2.77), Floyd ($2.82), Walker ($2.78), Gordon ($2.86), DeKalb, AL ($2.79), Cherokee, AL ($2.69)

 

GNTC Holds Adult Education Commencement

One by one graduates of Georgia Northwestern Technical College’s (GNTC) Adult Education program filed into the Conference Center at GNTC’s Gordon County Campus (GCC) on Thursday, June 17, to celebrate earning their General Educational Development® (GED®) diplomas.

In order to maintain a socially distanced commencement ceremony, each student and their family were given a scheduled time to come onto campus to walk across the stage after earning their GED® award. Last year, GNTC’s Office of Adult Education held commencement ceremonies on three campuses due to a high number of COVID-19 cases at the time. Lisa Shaw, GNTC vice president of Adult Education, said she was happy to have all of the graduates in one place and looks forward to a continued return to normalcy.

“We are all thrilled to celebrate our students’ success,” said Shaw. “I can’t say enough how proud I am of our students for overcoming such a very difficult year. Their determination in achieving this milestone is very inspiring.”

A total of 42 graduates earned their GED® diplomas Thursday night, with several achieving additional honors. Graduates wore red and gold cords that represented academic accomplishments in the program. The red cords were worn by students who scored 165 points or higher on any portion of the GED® test and the gold cords were worn by members of the National Adult Education Honor Society. All GNTC Adult Education graduates are college or workforce ready, said Shaw.

Listed are the graduates of GNTC’s Adult Education GED® program.

Corey Allison

Jennifer Ann Anderson

Kimberly Brooke Asher

Katherine Avans

Logan Avery

Kaily Brannon

Jackson Gregory Brill

Esmeralda Browder

Natasha Brown

Katelyn Carlson

Karissa Clay

Brianna Dillard

Brandi Griffin

Jasmine Gudger

Antonio Hackney

Maira Hernandez

Bethany Hodge

Shauna Hodge

Nathan Joseph Holladay

Jerick Hughes

Ryan Hughes

Jonathon Brett Jones

Shane Kneessi

Gracey Jean Lawless

Keith D. Leininger

Macie McCoy

Morgan Moore

Dashawnna Owens

Amber Michelle Patton

Jessica Perez

Alexis Pratt

Felix Quintanilla

Heisy Reynoso

Jessica Riding

Deborah Darlene Runyan

Jessica Silver

Emily Thompson

Matthew Thompson

Shanna Wells

Britney Williams

Shamyla Williams

Carley Yarbrough

The Adult Education program offers instruction in Adult Learning Centers throughout its nine-county service area. Instructional areas include preparation for the Georgia High School Equivalency (the GED® test or the HiSET® exam), adult secondary education, adult basic education and English as a Second Language. Centers have modern computer labs, study materials, resources and professional adult education staff for both day and evening programs. Distance Learning options are also available.

Classes operate year-round and are offered at no cost. GNTC is an official GED® Testing Center and a site for computer-based GED® Testing in partnership with Pearson VUE, GED® Testing Services and the Technical College System of Georgia. For more information, contact GNTC’s Adult Education program at 706-295-6976 or adulted@gntc.edu.

DeWayne Treadaway Wins 14th Congressional District Photo Contest For Chattooga

A Trion resident’s photography is now gracing the walls of U.S. Representative Marjorie Greene’s office in Washington, D.C.

Several weeks ago, Rep. Greene announced a photography contest in which residents of the 14th Congressional District could submit their pictures for display in the office of Rep. Greene.  One winner from each of the 12 counties that make up the congressional district would be selected.

Rep. Greene said, “I would love nothing more than for the walls of my office to feature beautiful scenes from around Northwest Georgia!”.

Dewayne Treadaway’s drone photo of the downtown Summerville with the Chattooga County Courthouse prominently centered and a fabulous sunset in the western sky won the contest for Chattooga County.

Treadaway said, “I take a lot of pictures that promote our area because I believe Chattooga County is one of the best counties in Georgia!”.

Rep. Greene sent the following letter to Mr. Treadaway:

Chattooga Democrats Cancel Monday's Meeting

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Chattooga County Democratic Party Chair Cynthia Hubler says that tonight’s meeting has been canceled due to the weather.   The meeting was to have been held at the open-air pavilion on West Washington Street.  A new date for the meeting has not been set at this time.

City Of Summerville Passing Out Sandbags For Homes & Businesses

In advance of more expected rain, the City of Summerville began passing out sandbags for homes and businesses.

The city was inundated with around five inches of rain on Saturday night and into Sunday morning, which led to localized flooding in downtown Summerville.  The National Weather Service says that the area could see more rain with the next system moving into the area.  The following was released by Summerville City Hall on Monday afternoon:

Sandbags will be available to all City of Summerville residents and businesses while supplies last. They can be picked up at the equipment shed on Henry St (behind DFACS). They are available for pick up now. If you have any questions, please call (706)859-0907.

Chattooga County, Summerville & Trion Issue Joint Emergency Declaration

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Chattooga County’s government, along with the municipal governments of the Town of Trion and the City of Summerville, have issued a joint-emergency declaration after Tropical Storm Claudette stalled out over the area and produced heavy rains that led to the flooding of homes and businesses.

According to Chattooga County EMA /911 Director Pamela Vaughn, “We had a significant flooding event to occur on Saturday night/Sunday morning. There were  several homes, apartments and businesses flooded during this event. We are working on exact streets and addresses of all affected.  I am making a list of this for the National Weather Service of all roads, etc. involved in this flooding event.

Vaughn added, “We will be performing damage assessments today so I am working around that too please be patient with me. Also, if you all would share any pictures of the flood you have taken I would greatly appreciate it. The pictures will help document to FEMA to see if we will qualify for any assistance. ”

According to the National Weather Service in Peachtree City, the system stalled over Chattooga County and two other Alabama counties allowing 6-9 inches of total rain accumulation for the area.
Chattooga EMA / 911 is asking that anyone that has flood damage from this event, residential or business, to please call EMA Director Pamela Vaughn, Chattooga County Emergency Management, at 706-857-3400 and choose option 2.
If there is no answer, leave a message with your phone number and name and Chattooga EMA / 911  will get with you in reference to your damages.
EMA /911 Director Vaughn says that this is for preliminary damage assessments to gather information to see if  Chattooga County and the municipalities can qualify for assistance with damages.

Flash Flood Watch For Northwest Georgia

A Flash Flood Watch has been issued for much of Northwest Georgia including Floyd, Bartow, Chattooga, Gordon, and Polk Counties.

It will be in effect from late tonight through Tuesday evening.

A cold front will bring periods of moderate to heavy rainfall across portions of north Georgia late tonight through Tuesday.

This area has recently received between 1.5 and 2.0 inches of rain, with locally higher amounts of 3.0 to 6.0 inches.

With already saturated soils, quickly accumulating rainfall will easily allow for efficient runoff and increase flash flooding potential.

Creeks and streams may rise out of their banks and inundate fields, roads, businesses, and other property.

Street flooding could also lead to road closures.

You should monitor later forecasts and be prepared to take action should Flash Flood Warnings be issued.

City Of Summerville Water Main Break Affecting Water Pressure

The City of Summerville says that a water main has broken and is affecting water pressure for some customers on the city’s water system.  The affected areas include: Hickory Hills Lane, Frontier Circle and Beavers Road, in the Camp Hamby area.

Arrest Report - Monday June 21, 2021

Here is the latest arrest report from the Chattooga County Sheriff’s Office for Monday June 21, 2021:

Peach State Plan Insurer To Pay Millions Over Disputed Medicaid Benefits

The corporate parent of a large Georgia insurer has agreed to pay a total of more than $140 million to two states over a billing dispute involving Medicaid pharmacy benefits.

Ohio will receive $88 million and Mississippi $55 million from St. Louis-based Centene, which is the parent company of Peach State Health Plan, an insurer in the Georgia Medicaid program.

Georgia may seek similar compensation.

The Columbus (Ohio) Dispatch said this week that Centene is the subject of investigations in other states besides Ohio and Mississippi.

“Authorities in Arkansas, Georgia, Kansas, New Mexico and several others are looking into filing legal action,’’ the newspaper reported.

The Georgia Department of Community Health, which runs the Medicaid program in the state, said in a short statement that “the department is not able to comment on litigation strategy or pending litigation.”

The Albany Herald

Menlo Company Awarded Multi-Million Dollar Government Contract

Showa Best Glove Inc., Menlo, Georgia, has been awarded a $37,583,749 contract for capacity expansion of nitrile rubber (NBR) gloves production for Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) in care of Defense Assisted Acquisition (DA2).

According to a report from Defense Daily, the contract is for the procurement of all needed material in order to stand up four nitrile glove lines capable of producing 66,666,667 gloves per month within 24 months.  Work will be performed in Fayette, Alabama, and is expected to be completed by June 16, 2023.

Fiscal 2021 procurement funds in the amount of $37,583,749 are being obligated at the time of award.  Total cumulative face value (including options) of the contract is $81,284,996.  The Air Force Lifecycle Management Center, Robins Air Force Base, Georgia, is the contracting activity (FA8534-21-C-0002

Prospective School Board Members To Apply By July 9

For the second time in less than one year, the Chattooga Board of Education is faced with replacing a school board member.

In 2020, board member Sammy Ballard passed away.  The board took applications from prospective school board candidates who lived in the Menlo District.  In the end, the board selected former educator and Young Farmer director, Lyn Hall to replace Mr. Ballard.

Now, the board will be selecting a new member for the Lyerly District after Dr. Julia Houston resigned from the post last month.  Houston, who would have been up for re-election in 2022, resigned after the Board of Education voted to move forward with plans for a new school for Menlo.

Prospective applicants to fill the seat vacated by Houston must live within the Lyerly School District.  Applications are being accepted starting this week and going through July 9th.

School Supt. Jared Hosmer will verify the residency of the candidates and present the names to the board of education at its July meeting.  The board is expected to name a replacement in August.

Vehicle Found In Weiss Lake Over The Weekend

Rescue Squad personnel, EMA personnel, Firefighters, Marine Patrol officers and Cherokee County Sheriff’s deputies were called to the scene after a fisherman spotted a vehicle in the lake on County Road 165 in Cedar Bluff on Saturday morning.

Firefighters located the SUV, rescue squad personnel and others conducted a search of the area but were unable to locate anyone. It’s not known at this time exactly how the vehicle got in the lake.

WEIS