Mortgage Relief Funds Still Available

The Georgia Department of Community Affairs has expended nearly $30 million for mortgage re-reinstatement since the Georgia Homeowner Assistance Fund was opened in January.  The State of Georgia received $354-million dollars in stimulus funds through the American Rescue Plan Act to provide relief for Georgia homeowners who suffered a significant financial hardship due to the pandemic.

These funds have been administered by the Georgia Department of Community Affairs. HAF funds are designated to help eligible homeowners with mortgage reinstatement, reducing loan balance, or specified housing expenses. Eligible homeowners can receive up to $50,000 in assistance, payable to the lender or service provider. The amount received is based on program requirements.

Basic Eligibility Requirements include:

  • The homeowner had a hardship caused by the pandemic, after January 21, 2020.
  • The pandemic hardship resulted in a significant loss of income or a significant increase in expenses.
  • The Georgia home is the primary residence.
  • The mortgage loan (if there is a loan) met conforming limits at the time of origination.
  • Applicants’ total income meets area median income limits at the time of the hardship or at the time of the application: 100%-150% AMI

Homeowners may visit georgiamortgageassistance.ga.gov to apply. Applicants must provide a driver’s license, a mortgage statement, and tax returns and/or income verification documents.

For more information, contact DCA at haf@dca.ga.gov or at 1.877.519.4443.

 

Pig Show & Auction Coming Up Next Month

Chattooga County FFA and 4-H students will be taking part in the annual pig show and auction coming up next month. Students receive hogs in June and raise them for a final show and auction which will be held in November.

Last year, fourteen hogs were auctioned in November at the Chattooga County Agricultural Center. This youth event was supported and coordinated by the Chattooga County Young Farmer’s Association to give local youth a taste of raising and showing livestock. Buyers were able to watch the show, purchase their hog, choose and have it delivered to a processor straight from the show. With generous support of local sponsors, over $900 in cash and prizes was available to the competitors. Hogs sold at the auction averaged $2.14 per pound.

​The Chattooga Young Farmers are currently selling raffle tickets for a whole hog raffle.  The tickets are $5 each and the winner will be drawn during the annual pig show and auction at the Ag Building in November.  See any Young Farmer member to purchase your ticket. 

Leadership Chattooga Visits Local Ag Producers & Paradise Garden

Leadership Chattooga is a program that provides emerging community leaders with a greater awareness of community issues, needs, services and resources.  The final outing for Leadership Chattooga 2022 was held recently.  The group visited a local meat processor as well as agricultural producers in Chattooga County.  They wrapped up the day with a visit to Paradise Garden.  You can read more about their visits below.  Leadership Chattooga is currently recruiting for the Class of 2023.  Classes meet monthly on Thursdays beginning in January. Contact Cindy McGraw at 706.857.4033 or email her at execdirector@chattoogachamber.org for more information.

What a fun day we had visiting farms and tourist attractions around the county. You really need more than a weekend to see it all.
What’s for dinner? Or should I say breakfast. We started the day off at Wright’s Processing on Gore-Subligna Road. Richard Wright took us on a tour and explained their processing set up. They use a humane treatment of livestock developed by scientist Temple Grandin. For your beef and pork processing needs, Richard is the right guy. For your fridge and your grill, check out their market at the front of their facility!
Our next stop was the Eager’s “Lay or Bust” Farm in Subligna. Sarah Eager (left) explained the process of producing fertilized eggs for chicken production. We also caught a peek of the laying house. It was very interesting to learn about the different eggs and to see their production line which is automated and very precise. Yet, it comes down to people selecting the best eggs!
We left the chicken farm eager for our next adventure. Going a “fur piece” down the road, we pulled in to Bill Bryan’s cattle ranch. He and his daughter, Christy, talked to us in their innovative barn with a ceiling so high that even on the hottest summer days, the cows can be comfortable, and so can we. You can tell passion for these animals and what they provide runs deep in the Bryan family just by listening to their stories and the expressions on their faces.
Our farm and ag business tour ended with a delicious home grown, homemade meal provided by members of the Georgia Farm Bureau of Chattooga County. A huge thank you goes to Lauren Jarrett who coordinated our tour and rustled up lunch for us at what I’ve been told was the Cowboy Church.
Cool stuff!!
Our afternoon was delightful as well. We trekked across the ridge and landed in Pennville at Howard Finster’s Paradise Garden. Executive Director Tina Cox, who had toured us through the folk art collection featuring Howard at the High Museum back in February, was at the Garden to greet us. We got a sneak peek at the preparations Garden staff, which includes one of our classmates, Olivia Knauss, have been making for the upcoming Finster Fest.

Date For Summerville Christmas Parade Set

The date for the Summerville Christmas Parade has been set, and like last year, the parade will be held on a Friday evening.  The theme for this year’s Summerville Christmas Parade is  “Winter Wonderland”.  Prizes will be awarded for first, second and third place entries in the parade.  There is a $25 entry fee and applications are available now at the Summerville Recreation Department.  The parade will be held at 7 PM the first Friday in December.  Businesses, churches and civic organizations are encouraged to make plans now for entries for the Summerville Christmas Parade.

State Of Emergency For Chattooga County Ends Tomorrow

The Labor Day Weekend Flood in Chattooga County prompted Georgia Governor Brian Kemp to issue a state of emergency for all of Chattooga and a portion of Floyd Counties.  The governor’s declaration ends tomorrow, Tuesday, October 4th.

Kemp issued the proclamation on September 4th.  One of the reasons for the length of time for the state of emergency is to prevent price-gouging from unscrupulous businesses and scammers that would take advantage of those affected by the flooding.

With the threat of a hurricane and then tropical storm Ian last week, the Governor issued another state of emergency for all 159 counties.

Attorney General Chris Carr is warning consumers to be on the lookout for price gouging and scams:

“Unfortunately, con artists will try to take advantage of those impacted by a weather-related disaster or individuals looking to donate to their neighbors in need,” said Carr. “As we continue to pray for the families and communities in the path of Tropical Storm Ian, we want to remind consumers of the important steps they can take to protect themselves from price gouging and scams. We know this is a difficult and scary time for many, and anyone who is artificially increasing costs on the backs of hardworking Georgians will be held accountable.”

Senorise Perry Visits Summerville Middle School

Summerville Middle School held a “Celebrate Life Week” last week.  To wrap the week up, NFL pro-football player and alumni of Summerville Middle School Senorise Perry talked with students about his time at SMS as a student and about the path that led to his success – those who inspired him, the commitment to academic success and the focus it takes to follow your dreams. Students asked many questions and lined up for pictures afterward, and Senorise graciously stayed to be photographed with everyone including teachers, staff and administrators at Summerville Middle School.

Red Cross Blood Drive This Week At Chattooga Civic Center

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The American Red Cross will be holding a blood drive this week in Chattooga County. 

Following Hurricane Ian’s devastating landfall, the American Red Cross urges eligible individuals in unaffected areas to give blood and help ensure patients in impacted areas continue to have access to lifesaving blood. Dangerous weather conditions and floodwaters have canceled dozens of blood drives with approximately one thousand blood and platelet donations uncollected. Fewer donors are likely to come out to donate at drives in and around affected areas.

A blood drive will be held this Wednesday, October 5th from 2 PM – 7 PM at the Chattooga County Civic Center located on Highway 48 in Summerville, across from Truist Bank.

Find more information here

Elsberry Asks Greene For Congressional Inquiry

Chattooga County Commissioner Blake Elsberry has requested a congressional inquiry into the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers regarding the flooding of downtown Summerville.

On Friday afternoon of last week, the commissioner posted on social media, a request he had made to U.S. Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene’s office asking for the inquiry.  In his request, the commissioner said, “the office of the Sole Commissioner of Chattooga County requests for a congressional inquiry to the Army Corps of Engineers for mitigation for the flooding that has continuously plagued the downtown Summerville area in Chattooga County…..the office of Sole Commissioner additionally requests an emergency mitigation approval by the Army Corps of Engineers to allow the City of Summerville and their partner agencies to make the necessary adjustments to the town creek to help mitigate future flooding.”

A reply from Valerie Jones with Congresswoman Greene’s office indicates that Rep. Greene has requested the congressional inquiry.

There was no other comment from the commissioner regarding the request.

Health Inspection Scores - Last Half Of September 2022

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Here are the latest health inspection scores from the Chattooga County Environmental Health Department for the last half of September, 2022:

  • MENLO RESTAURANT

  • 7807 HIGHWAY 48 MENLO, GA 30731
  • Phone Number:
  • Permit Type: FS
  • Last Inspection Score: 95
  • Last Inspection Date: 09-28-2022
  • For More Information Call: (706) 857-3377
  • TACO BELL #39938

  • 11317 HIGHWAY 27 SUMMERVILLE, GA 30747
  • Phone Number: (706) 857-1966
  • Permit Type: FS
  • Last Inspection Score: 100
  • Last Inspection Date: 09-28-2022
  • For More Information Call: (706) 857-3377
  • LEROY MASSEY ELEMENTARY

  • 403 DOT JOHNSON WAY SUMMERVILLE, GA 30747
  • Phone Number:
  • Permit Type: FS
  • Last Inspection Score: 96
  • Last Inspection Date: 09-27-2022
  • For More Information Call: (706) 857-3377
  • SUMMERVILLE MIDDLE SCHOOL

  • 33 MIDDLE SCHOOL RD SUMMERVILLE, GA 30747
  • Phone Number:
  • Permit Type: FS
  • Last Inspection Score: 99
  • Last Inspection Date: 09-21-2022
  • 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 may register that complaint with the Chattooga County Environmental Health Department by calling 706-857-3377.

 

Catoosa County Man Convicted Of Child Molestation

Tyler McClenny, 22, was convicted of two counts of child molestation in Catoosa County Superior Court on September 29th, 2022.In March 2021, McClenny molested his then girlfriend’s 5 year old daughter while the mother was at work. Lookout Mountain Judicial Circuit (LMJC) Assistant District Attorney David Wolfe presented the case to the jury over the course of the three day trial presided over by Superior Court Judge Brian House. Evidence presented at trial showed that McClenny not only touched the child but ejaculated on her. Approximately a week after the incident the child disclosed the abuse to her grandmother and again recounted the horrific acts to Child Forensic Interviewer Janet Burch during a recorded interview at the Children’s Advocacy Center in Fort Oglethorpe.

The case was investigated by Detective Clay Thompson of the Catoosa County Sheriff’s department. Victim Witness Advocate Ashley Nicholson assisted the victim and her family providing compassion, support and guidance not only during the trial but over the last 18 months during the pendency of the matter. Family members of the victim thanked Det. Thompson, ADA Wolfe, and Ms. Nicholson for the “dedication, compassion and long hours put into prosecuting the case and the fact that everyone fought for the victim.”

“We are pleased to be able to fight for the victim and secure justice for her in this case, and I am proud of the effort put forth by Mr. Wolfe and Ms. Nicholson”. Stated District Attorney Chris
A. Arnt. Arnt further stated “These type of cases take a team effort. The hard work and dedication by those at the Children’s Advocacy Center and Detective’s like Detective Thompson enable our team to secure justice for the victim and her family. These cases take a lot of work to prepare for trial and in the trial of the case, and they take a personal toll on everyone involved. My office will always have protecting our children as a top priority.”

McClenny remains in the Catoosa County Jail awaiting sentencing. The sentencing hearing is currently set for October 12, 2022. He is facing up to a minimum of 5 and up to 20 years in prison.

Breast Center Continues Tradition Of Clinical Excellence

When The Breast Center at Atrium Health Floyd first opened its doors in 2008, it set a new standard for providing quality screening diagnostic care in a timely manner. Fourteen years later, that standard of excellence remains unparalleled in northwest Georgia.

The center is recognized by national leaders in breast health care for quality and commitment to patients. One of those commitments is the unique Know in 24 promise, a pledge to provide same-day or next-day results for women receiving a mammogram.

“I think women in northwest Georgia and northeast Alabama have grown so familiar with our Know in 24 pledge that they are surprised when they find out women who don’t live here don’t get that same prompt response after a mammogram,” said Aimee Griffin, vice president of Professional Services at Atrium Health Floyd and former director of The Breast Center. “The whole idea of knowing the results of your mammogram within a day is huge. For many women, the anxiety that comes from having to wait for results can be one of the worst parts of the process.”

If needed, the center also offers quick access to further testing, including biopsy, with next-day results for most women. If you detect a change that concerns you, or your annual breast exam reveals a change, you’ll get the same prompt attention.

“The speed in which we do that follow-up is also important,” Griffin said. “If you have been told someone saw something on your mammogram, you don’t want to be living in limbo for days.”

The center has earned the designation of a Breast Imaging Center of Excellence by the American College of Radiology and Certified Quality Breast Center of Excellence by the Consortium of Breast Centers. Those names mean something.

Centers of Excellence are fully accredited in mammography, stereotactic breast biopsy, breast ultrasound and ultrasound-guided breast biopsy. That means The Breast Center has achieved high practice standards in image quality, personnel qualifications, facility equipment, quality control procedures and quality insurance programs.

Mobile mammography

Recognizing the need to bring mammography technology to part of rural northwest Georgia and northeast Alabama, Atrium Health Floyd also launched its Mobile Mammography Coach in 2008 when The Breast Center opened.

The Mobile Mammography Coach is outfitted with a state-of-the-art, digital mammography machine and staffed by clinicians who are specially trained in screening mammography. It offers a unique advantage for those who need a mammogram and want to minimize lost work time because of travel requirements.

The experience is similar to a physician appointment. Staff will perform your mammogram and examination in a private environment that’s so comfortable you may forget you’re on a customized travel coach.

Clinical breast exams, breast cancer risk assessment

Our specially trained providers will conduct a physical breast exam by hand during your visit. It is recommended that women as young as age 20 should receive a clinical breast exam every one to three years. During the exam, an expert will carefully feel your breasts and under your arms for lumps or anything that might be unusual. Additionally, our providers are experts in breast cancer risk assessment and can help you understand how your personal and family health history impacts your risk for breast cancer.

Genetic testing

Some women and men may seek genetic testing, especially if there is a family history of breast cancer. Our nurse practitioners are trained in genetics and are graduates of City of Hope’s Clinical Cancer Genetics program. The City of Hope is one of only 52 National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer centers in the U.S. That designation recognizes excellence in treatment, research and expertise.

Our providers can help women understand their cancer risk based on family history, what steps they can take to reduce their cancer risk and how to improve their cancer screening exams.

Advocates

Advocates at The Breast Center serve as educators for the community when it comes to breast cancer.

Advocates are:

Chosen because they have been affected by breast cancer, whether personally or through a family member or friend

Receive initial orientation training, along with quarterly continuing education

Committed to helping improve the health of women in the northwest Georgia and northeast Alabama area

They can speak with local civic groups, garden clubs, church groups and other organizations on the importance of breast health and the resources available at The Breast Center.

Woman Arrested For Allowing Child To Live In "Deplorable Conditions"

A Floyd County woman was arrested on felony cruelty to animals and misdemeanor contribution to the deprivation of a child charges Thursday after an incident on Morton Bend road, reports stated.

According to Floyd County Jail reports:

Pamela Sue Massey, 51, is charged with felony aggravated cruelty to animals after “she failed to provide necessary care for a small cat. The feline was found with prominent ribs, spine and an improperly healed broken leg.”

She was further charged with misdemeanor deprivation of a minor, “when she allowed her 14 year old minor child to live in beyond deplorable conditions. The home smells strongly of ammonia, urine, feces and deceased animals. Trash covers the floor with dead rats in the freezer.” She is being held without bail.

Rome News Tribune

Wyatt's Corvette Museum Opens In Summerville

Greg Wyatt’s Vintage Corvettes and Museum hosted a ribbon cutting on Friday to officially open its doors to the public.

The museum, located on Hwy 27 at 10601 Commerce Street in Summerville, features Greg Wyatt’s Private Collection of Corvettes and antique automobiles.

It offers a large collection of vintage collectables amassed over 42 years. Visitors can step back in time to an authentic 50s diner, a country store, a true-to-size 50s Texaco Service Station, a rare 1925 airplane flying from the ceiling, rare Gas and Oil signs, pumps and a 50s original Soapbox Derby race car.

Vintage Corvettes and Museum was originally the Summerville Chevrolet Dealership built in 1953. Those who cherish the era of the 50s and vintage Corvettes, collectables and lots of history, are invited to visit.

For questions about the museum, call Greg Wyatt or Dee Pitts at 706-857-3916 or 706-506-5745.

Outdoor Burning Season Is Here

The annual burn ban in Northwest Georgia was lifted as of yesterday.  Each year, Northwest Georgia residents are banned from burning outside – with a few exceptions – between May 1st and September 30th. 

The annual restrictions are imposed by the Georgia Environmental Protection Division from May 1 through the end of September to protect air quality from emissions that may increase ground level ozone during the hot summer months.

The 54 counties whose burn bans will be lifted on October 1 are: Banks, Barrow, Bartow, Bibb, Butts, Carroll, Catoosa, Chattooga, Cherokee, Clarke, Clayton, Cobb, Columbia, Coweta, Crawford, Dawson, DeKalb, Douglas, Fayette, Floyd, Forsyth, Fulton, Gordon, Gwinnett, Hall, Haralson, Heard, Henry, Houston, Jackson, Jasper, Jones, Lamar, Lumpkin, Madison, Meriwether, Monroe, Morgan, Newton, Oconee, Paulding, Peach, Pickens, Pike, Polk, Putnam, Richmond, Rockdale, Spalding, Troup, Twiggs, Upson, Walker and Walton.

While the fall months offer weather that is ideal for debris burning and prescribed fire, Georgia Forestry Commission Protection Chief Frank Sorrells said safety must always be the first priority of anyone wishing to use fire outside.

“The leading cause of wildfire in Georgia is debris burning that gets out of control,” Sorrells said. “Remember that burners are responsible for their own fires, and while a permit is no longer required for hand-piled natural debris burns, there must be proof that safety precautions were taken in advance, if a wildfire does result.”

The five safety precautions mandated by law are: set spacing distances between fires and woodlands and structures, burn times from sunrise to sunset, burner attendance at the fire, and reasonable precautions such as weather awareness and suppression tools. Full details including video tutorials in English and Spanish can be found at GaTrees.org/burn-permits-and-notifications/. Separate notification procedures are required of practitioners conducting prescribed burns.

For more information about safe burning and services of the Georgia Forestry Commission, visit GaTrees.org.

Harbin Clinic Announces Kids Initiative

Harbin Clinic is thrilled to continue a partnership with non-profit organizations throughout Northwest Georgia on the Get Pump’d for Kids initiative. Get Pump’d for Kids provides a fun, safe way to celebrate Halloween while raising money for children and families throughout Northwest Georgia.

“At Harbin Clinic, we focus on leading initiatives that encourage strong, healthy and happy communities,” says Sarah Tuck, senior director of marketing and communications for Harbin Clinic. “Get Pump’d for Kids lets us provide children and families with an exciting and creative way to celebrate Halloween while also giving back to those in need by raising money for local charitable organizations.”

All funds raised in Floyd County will be donated to Rome-Floyd County Commission on Children and Youth, an organization dedicated to serving children and families in the community. For over 30 years, the group has partnered with agencies and families in the community to ensure Floyd County’s children reach their full potential through collaboration, advocacy and visibility. Also, for every Pumpkin Pal purchased, a special family-friendly activity kit will be given to a child in foster care.

The family-friendly fundraiser encourages members of the community to get involved by purchasing Pumpkin Pals for family, friends or neighbors. Here is how it works:

  1. Purchase a Pumpkin Pal yard sign and place it in a friend or family member’s yard.
  2. Bring a special treat to their door.
  3. Surprise them with their Pumpkin Pal and candy treats.

Purchasing a Pumpkin Pal is simple and can be done from now until Halloween. You can make a purchase by visiting harbinclinic.com/getpumpedforkids on a phone, computer or tablet and selecting the organization closest to your neighborhood.

For more information about the Get Pump’d for Kids initiative, visit harbinclinic.com/getpumpedforkids.

Fall Break For Local Students

Fall Break is coming up this week for Trion City School students.  Trion students will be off for Fall Break October 3-7 and will return to class on Tuesday, October 11th.  Monday, October 10th is a teacher workday for Trion City Schools.  Students in the Chattooga County School system will enjoy fall break the following week.  The last day of school before Fall Break will be this Friday, October 7th.  Because of the four-day school week, Chattooga County School students will return to class on Tuesday, October 17th.

Two COVID-19 Deaths Reported In Chattooga County

Overall, COVID-19 numbers saw a drop over the past week, according to information released from the Georgia Department of Public Health on Wednesday of this week.  However, COVID-19 deaths were up in Northwest Georgia – and in Chattooga County.

Statewide, their were 88 deaths reported over the past week.  In Northwest Georgia, their were 2 deaths reported in Chattooga County, 2 in Gordon County, and 1 in Polk County.

Chattooga County had two new COVID-19 cases reported last week.

Georgia’s new case total fell to 4,036, the lowest since late April.

Gas Prices Edge Up In Georgia

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After weeks of declining gas prices, Northwest Georgia and Chattooga County are beginning to see prices edge up – mostly due to Hurricane Ian, according to experts.

Gas had fallen below $3 per gallon for the first time in a long time and Chattooga County drivers were paying $2.97 on average for a gallon of gas on Monday of this week.  By Friday, prices had gone up slightly over $3 per gallon in Chattooga County.  Walker County motorists were still paying $2.97 per gallon on average on Friday.

“The national gas price average has started to tick upward,” said Montrae Waiters, AAA-The Auto Club Group spokeswoman. “One factor is the threat of a hurricane in the Gulf. This could potentially shut down oil refineries production which could lead to higher pump prices.”

AAA will release more information on gas price averages in Georgia the first of next week.

Summerville Fish Hatchery Diverted "Disaster"

Summerville Fish Hatchery during flood – Photo Credit: Georgia Department of Natural Resources – Wildlife Resources Division

Georgia Outdoor News (GON) reported this week the Summerville Fish Hatchery narrowly avoided “disaster” during the Labor Day Weekend Flood that struck Summerville and Chattooga County in September.

GON reported the hatchery was hit with 14 inches of rain in less than eight hours, which caused its trout raceways and production ponds to overflow. That flooding allowed some trout to escape into the floodwaters. Quick action by hatchery personnel saved the entire facility from major damage.

Of the 72,000 trout being raised there, approximately 55,000 survived, according to hatchery officials.

The fish hatchery said that many of the fish that escaped were fish that would have been used for restocking in 2023.  The Summerville Fish Hatchery is currently working on a plan to replace those fish.

Georgia DOT Meets With Summerville Property Owners

There weren’t a lot of happy people after flood-stricken residents and business owners in Summerville met with Georgia DOT officials on Wednesday of this week. 

The meeting was announced the week before, but because of the overwhelming response from businesses and individuals, the decision was made to move the venue for the meeting from Summerville City Hall to the Chattooga County Civic Center.

Summerville City Officials said that while the city’s water system is up and running, there are still a lot of costly repairs that will need to be made to the city’s water filtration plant on Raccoon Creek Road.  Summerville Mayor Harry Harvey has hinted the costs could soar up to $10 million.

Many who attended the meeting have said that the Georgia Department of Transportation did not offer any hopeful, long-term solutions to the flooding issues in downtown Summerville.