Arrest Report - Wednesday July 15, 2020

Here is the latest arrest report from the Chattooga County Sheriff’s Office for Wednesday July 15, 2020:

LaFayette Police Look For Hit & Run Driver

LaFayette Police are looking for a “hit and run” driver, who escaped following a crash Friday afternoon on the Bypass at East Villanow Street.Witnesses said a Toyota 4-Runner ran a red light on Villanow and struck a Southbound Nissan Titan on the 27 Bypass.

The resulting crash disabled the Titan but the 4-Runner continued South for a short distance before the driver bailed and ran near LaFayette’s Public Safety building.  Georgia Corrections brought in a K-9 for the search, but the subject was not located.

The driver of the Toyota is identified as 37 year old Jace Anthony Edwards of LaFayette.  His passenger reported minor injuries but refused medical treatment.

The driver of the Nissan was treated at the scene by Fire and Medical responders.

The accident was reported at 12:40 p.m. Friday.

WQCH

Georgia Power Urges Past-Due Customers To Enroll In Payment Plan

Georgia Power is offering a special payment plan to help customers with past-due account balances accumulated during the COVID-19 pandemic. Customers who enroll will be able to pay past-due balances over a six-month timeframe between October 2020 and March 2021, with no late fees.

The suspension of disconnections remains in place until tomorrow, July 15, and customers with a past-due account balance are encouraged to establish a payment plan or consider the additional options Georgia Power is offering customers:

· For customers enrolled in PrePay: Georgia Power customers who are currently enrolled in this plan and have past-due account balances can make payments for current energy usage with 25 percent of their payments going toward their outstanding balance. No late fees will be charged if outstanding balances are paid before April 2021.

· For customers not enrolled in PrePay: Georgia Power customers with past-due account balances may be eligible to switch to the PrePay rate plan. Customers can take advantage of its special provision for paying outstanding balances with no late fees if paid before April 2021. Customers on PrePay are not charged a deposit.

Georgia Power customers can sign up for a special payment plan at www.georgiapower.com/paymentplan, or by logging into the “My Account” section on www.georgiapower.com. They can also enroll using the company’s automated system by calling customer service at 1-888-660-5890.

Relief on summer bills

On May 28, the Georgia Public Service Commission (PSC) approved Georgia Power’s plan to reduce its fuel rates by 17.2 percent and total billings by approximately $740 million over a two-year period. The implementation of a special interim reduction will provide customers additional relief during the COVID-19 pandemic through even lower fuel rates over the summer months. The lower fuel rate and special interim reduction will lower the total bill of a typical residential customer using an average of 1,000 kilowatt-hours by a total of $10.26 per month from June through September 2020.

Georgia Power also announced last month that the typical residential customer using 1,000 kilowatt-hours would receive an $11.29 credit on their June Georgia Power bill. This reflected implementation of a one-time $51.5 million credit for customers, also approved by the PSC.

Energy Assistance Programs

Georgia Power partners with nonprofit, community and faith-based organizations to offer assistance programs to those in need. These programs include:

· Georgia Power’s Senior Citizen Discount – Georgia Power customers 65 years of age or older who meet the income requirements for eligibility can receive up to $24 a month off their bill.

· Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) – Georgia Power supports the Division of Family & Children Services to help qualifying, low-income households pay their home energy bills.

· The Salvation Army’s Project SHARE – Established in partnership with The Salvation Army, Georgia Power customers can provide assistance to residents in the same community for expenses, such as utility bills, housing, food and medical necessities.

Visit www.GeorgiaPower.com/EnergyAssistance for more information.

Tips, Tools & Resources Georgia Power encourages its customers to use online tools to help manage their energy use such as the My Power Usage program, a free service connected to many Georgia Power online accounts. My Power Usage allows customers to track their daily energy use, project their monthly bill, and set daily or monthly usage alerts.

Customers can take advantage of the company’s free Online Energy Checkup. The 15-minute quick and easy service provides a customized report to help customers understand their energy use and find ways to save money where you can use your actual power bills to generate a customized report. You will enter information about your home and family to measure how you use energy. Whether customers own a home or rent, tailored tips are available at www.GeorgiaPower.com/Save. This site also includes access to a variety of rebates and incentives for both homes and businesses. Energy efficiency measures for customers include continued development and implementation of new plans and programs approved in the 2019 Integrated Resource Plan.

About Georgia Power

Georgia Power is the largest electric subsidiary of Southern Company (NYSE: SO), America’s premier energy company. Value, Reliability, Customer Service and Stewardship are the cornerstones of the company’s promise to 2.6 million customers in all but four of Georgia’s 159 counties. Committed to delivering clean, safe, reliable and affordable energy at rates below the national average, Georgia Power maintains a diverse, innovative generation mix that includes nuclear, coal and natural gas, as well as renewables such as solar, hydroelectric and wind. Georgia Power focuses on delivering world-class service to its customers every day and the company is consistently recognized by J.D. Power and Associates as an industry leader in customer satisfaction. For more information, visit www.GeorgiaPower.com and connect with the company on Facebook (Facebook.com/GeorgiaPower ).

Police Called After Threats Made

Summerville Police were called to East Washington Street last week after the report of a woman standing in front of a residence yelling obscenities and threatening to burn down a house.

According to a report released this week by the Summerville Police Department, twenty-nine-year-old  Delane Croy is accused of coming to a residence and making the threats.  Police say that Croy is alleged to have said she would “burn the house down, if she did not get her kid back.”

The complainant has a temporary protective order against Croy.

When police spoke with Croy she reportedly told them, “I’m not perfect. I still break the law from time to time”.  Police say that statement may have been in reference to drug use.

Croy was arrested last Saturday on charges of criminal trespass and booked into the Chattooga County Jail.

 

Summerville City Hall Closed Due To COVID-19 Case

Summerville City Hall was closed on Tuesday after a volunteer firefighter tested positive for COVID-19. 

According to information received by WZQZ News, the firefighter had come into contact with employees at city hall.

The main lobby at Summerville City Hall will be closed to the public until further notice. We will process payments, new utility services, reconnects and disconnects through our night drop and over the phone. You may also utilize the following payment options for your convenience.

·       Online payments  can be made at www.summervillega.org

·       Pay by phone at (706)859-0900

·       Or toll-free at 1-833-250-4484

Disconnects will continue as scheduled. Please review your bill for a disconnect date.

Georgia DOL Paid Over $857 Million In Week Prior To Independence Day

The Georgia Department of Labor paid over $857 million dollars in state and federal unemployment benefits during the week preceding Independence Day.

“We are paying more Georgians more benefits than we ever have before,” said Commissioner of Labor Mark Butler.  Commissioner Butler added, “No one would have imagined in the same year we experienced our lowest monthly number of claims since 1975 that we would pay almost three years’ worth of benefits in one week.”

Initial claims have been trending down for the last ten weeks.

Information on filing an unemployment claim and resources for other reemployment assistance can be found on the agency’s webpage at dol.georgia.gov.

GNTC Medical Assisting Students Participate In Lab Sessions

Standing outside of Georgia Northwestern Technical College’s (GNTC) Building H on the Floyd County Campus in Rome, a group of about six Medical Assisting students stand six-feet apart as they practice the proper procedure for taking on and off their personal protective equipment (PPE).

While it may seem simple, if done improperly it could lead to contamination said Sharon Vaughan, clinical coordinator and instructor for GNTC’s Medical Assisting program. The group of students are one of several Vaughan, and the other Medical Assisting instructors, see throughout the week as students finish spring and summer semester requirements for the program.

“We have been working since May 18 to make sure we make up for the time we lost in the spring,” Vaughan said. “Fortunately, we got the more intensive labs done at the beginning of the semester.”

To ensure a safe lab experience, GNTC students have been practicing social distancing, meeting in small groups with instructors and wearing a mask at all times while in the building or when in close proximity to other students while on campus.

Students on the Walker County Campus (WCC) have been meeting in groups of six and stand on marked spots that have been spaced out while in their labs. According to Martha Smith, assistant dean of Health Technologies and instructor of Medical Assisting, the students on the WCC have been working on phlebotomy as well as medical techniques on manikins.

“During the labs I ensured they were properly gloved, masked, face shielded and gowned,” Smith said. “Currently, my students are at their clinical sites and I have been making sure I visit each one to check up on them.”

Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, students are still getting externships through local medical partners. The PPE training held outside of Building H was part of the training Floyd Medical Center (FMC) required before the students began their externship Vaughan explained. FMC provided GNTC’s Medical Assisting program with the materials needed for the training.  Other labs the Medical Assisting students have been taking includes spirometry testing, electrocardiography and vision tests.

According to Vaughan, all of the Medical Assisting students finishing the program this summer are on track to graduate despite COVID-related delays. Students who began the Medical Assisting program in fall of 2019 will be eligible to walk in the Aug. 11, drive-thru graduation at the Floyd County Campus.

“We already had an online presence and expanded that with video lectures and virtual forums,” Vaughan said. “Once it was safe to meet again we made sure our students did not miss out on the hands-on portion of the course. We put our heads together and made sure they got everything out of the Medical Assisting program.”

Georgia Northwestern Technical College offers an associate of applied science degree and diploma in Medical Assisting at the Floyd County and Walker County campuses.  For more information about the Medical Assisting program, visit us at gntc.edu or contact us at (866) 983-4682, Monday through Friday, 7:45 a.m. to 4:15 p.m.

Chattooga Students Have Options Returning To Class

Chattooga County school students will be headed back to class as scheduled.  That’s the word from Chattooga County School Supt. Jared Hosmer.  Yesterday, Supt. Hosmer released details for parents and students on returning to school – and pointed out that their is the option of virtual learning for students if the commit for the entire first semester.

Chattooga County Board of Education Chairman Eddy Elsberry told WZQZ news, “We approved the calendar in March and we have not made any changes to that calendar.”  Mr. Elsberry pointed out that any changes coming from the state government could change the plans, but for now, school will begin as scheduled.

Elsberry said, “As of today Parents have two choices for Chattooga county system 1. Traditional school in building with safety precautions 2. Virtual learning which requires a commitment for entire semester.”

You can find all the details about the reopening of Chattooga County Schools here.

 

Chattooga Schools Announce Reopening Plans

Chattooga County Schools Superintendent Jared Hosmer has released the most current plans for re-opening school on July 28th for teachers/staff and July 30th for students.

School officials will begin the meetings with parents of students that intend to learn virtually this afternoon and will continue with those meetings tomorrow.

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Summerville Closes City Hall To The Public

The main lobby at Summerville City Hall will be closed to the public until further notice. We will process payments, new utility services, reconnects and disconnects through our night drop and over the phone. You may also utilize the following payment options for your convenience.

·       Online payments  can be made at www.summervillega.org

·       Pay by phone at (706)859-0900

·       Or toll-free at 1-833-250-4484

Disconnects will continue as scheduled. Please review your bill for a disconnect date.

Arrest Report - Tuesday July 14, 2020

Here is the latest arrest report from the Chattooga County Sheriff’s Office for Tuesday July 14, 2020:

Evicted Renter Kicks Hole In Sheetrock Wall

A renter in Trion is accused of kicking a large hole in a sheet rock wall.  According to a report from the Chattooga County Sheriff’s Office, the incident happened on Friday of last week.

A deputy was on hand as the renter at 42 Rose Circle in Trion was collecting his possessions after being evicted from the property.  However, after the renter had left the property , the landlord found where the renter had kicked the hole in the wall.

A responding deputy advised the landlord to get an estimate on repairing the wall and to take the information to Chattooga County Magistrate Court.

Attempted Break-In Reported In Trion

Last Friday, an Oak Hill Drive, Trion man reported an attempted break-in to the Chattooga County Sheriff’s Office.

According to a report released on Monday, Joshua Bryan told a responding deputy that he had left home around 7:30 AM on Friday and when he returned around 5:30 that evening, he observed what appeared to be pry marks on a door in his carport.

The responding deputy affirmed that someone had attempted to pry open the door.

The deputy advised Mr. Bryan that a report would be filed and asked if Mr. Bryan or any of his neighbors saw anything or anyone unusual or suspicious in the area, to report it to the sheriff’s office.

Advance Voting In GOP Runoff Starts Next Monday

 

Advance in-person voting in the upcoming Republican Runoff election starts next Monday, July 20th. 

Chattooga County voters will be choosing Republican candidates for two local offices: Chattooga County Commissioner and Chattooga County Probate Judge.  Blake Elsberry received the most votes in the June Primary, besting incumbent Commissioner Jason Winters by just two votes.  Neither candidate achieved 51% of the vote.  In the probated judge race, Gary Woods received the most votes, but didn’t get to the 51% threshold.  He will be facing off against Teresa Pope.

The Republican Commissioner candidate will be facing off against Jimmy Holbrook (D) in the General Election in November.  The winner of the Republican runoff for probate judge will be facing a challenge from Holley Strawn Gilliland, who is running as an Independent.

In-person advanced voting will take place at the Chattooga County Registrar Office on Commerce Street in Summerville beginning next Monday.  The runoff election will be held Tuesday, August 11th.

BBB: Watch For Fake COVID-19 Fund Scam

Many people are still waiting for their stimulus check and in some states, still navigating the unemployment system as they continue to look for work. To compound the situation, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is warning of the latest phishing scheme where con artists are pretending to be government officials offering grant money from a fund that doesn’t even exist.

Even in the midst of a pandemic, fraudsters aren’t slowing down and, because of COVID-19, many household budgets are stretched thin and cash flow is low. Scammers see this as an opportunity to prey on consumer’s emotions, making it easier to trick them into sharing personal or financial information.

How the Scam Works:

Recently, people are stepping forward reporting to BBB’s ScamTracker they’ve received an email, message through Instagram, or a text message from a friend stating they’ll get money from a COVID-19 “Global Empowerment Fund” or other similiarly named fund. All the recipient is required to do is respond to the message with banking account information and the funds will be transferred to it. The messaging sounds legitimate because it claims to come from the Federal Trade Commission or another government agent. However, the FTC warns there is no money and there is no fund of such kind. In fact, the FTC will not contact people by phone, email, tex message, or social media to ask for financial information, including Social Security numbers from anyone. These are common phishing tactics to get these pieces of information. Do not respond to these messages and encourage friends or relatives to do the same. Instead, report it to the real FTC at ftc.gov/complaint.

Tips to Spot and Avoid a Phishing Scam:

  • Be aware of phone fraud. Scammers claim to be calling in an official capacity as a government agent and may either sound friendly and courteous; or aggressive and threatening. The caller ID may match the agency they’re claiming to represent, but this can be easily spoofed. Never feel pressured to act. When in doubt, hang up the phone and call the official source to verify unexpected or unusual claims. You can also reduce the number of unsolicited calls you receive by registering your phone number with the National Do-Not-Call registry at 1-888-382-1222 or donotcall.gov.
  • Generally, government agencies will send a letter. If the government needs to reach you, they will send you official documentation in the mail.
  • Unknown? Leave it alone. Never confirm or give out personal information to unsolicited phone calls, text messages, social media messages, or phone calls. Government agencies DON’T make unsolicited calls.
  • Personal information is just that – personal! Do not give out banking and credit card information, birthdate, Social Security or Insurance number, or any other personal, sensitive information to someone that says they are with a government agency. Personal information is like money – protect it from scammers looking to steal your identity or your benefits.
  • Scammers prefer unusual and untraceable methods of payment. The government will never ask for wire transfers or to send them a gift card or pre-paid debit card.

For More Information:

The Internal Revenue Service is responsible for distributing economic stimulus payments, not any third party vendor.

Take steps to protect personal information after an encounter with a scammer by going to IdentityTheft.gov.

The Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre also collects information on fraud and identity theft.

Fight back by reporting government imposter scams to BBB.org/ScamTracker.

Georgia Gas Prices Hold Steady

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Georgia gas prices are holding steady at the pump compared to a week ago. Georgia motorists are now paying an average price of $2.00 per gallon for regular unleaded gasoline. Monday’s state average is 11 cents more than last month, and 65 cents less than this time last year.

It now costs motorists $30.00 to fill a 15-gallon tank of gasoline; that is $11.11 less than what motorists paid in April of 2019, when pump prices hit their peak of $2.74 per gallon.

“The Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) data shows gasoline demand and supply continue on a roller coaster ride,” said Montrae Waiters, spokeswoman, AAA – The Auto Club Group. “As motorists react to unfolding COVID-19 information, we are seeing driving behaviors related to filling-up ebb and flow.”

Since last Monday, the national average for a gallon of regular gasoline is $2.19, which is 1 cent higher than a week ago. From May to early July in 2019, gasoline demand averaged 9.5 million barrels a day. For the same time period this year, demand is measuring at 8 million barrels a day while gasoline stocks sit, on average, at a 24 million barrels surplus. The low demand and high supply are keeping gas prices relatively cheap for the summertime.

Oil Market Dynamics

At the end of Friday’s formal trading session, WTI increased by 93 cents to settle at $40.55 per barrel. Domestic crude prices were volatile last week after EIA’s weekly report revealed that total domestic crude inventories increased by 5.7 million barrels to 539.2 million barrels. Increasing crude stocks could mean that crude production is still too high given where demand is currently, as new coronavirus outbreaks emerge. If EIA’s data shows another increase in total domestic supply this week, crude prices could decline.

Regional Prices

Atlanta ($2.00)

  • Most expensive Georgia metro markets – Brunswick ($2.11), Hinesville-Fort Stewart ($2.07) and Savannah ($2.06).
  • Least expensive Georgia metro markets – Athens ($1.93), Dalton ($1.94) and Gainesville ($1.95).
  • Area gas price averages – Chattooga ($1.98), Floyd ($1.95), Walker ($1.95), Gordon ($1.95), DeKalb, AL ($1.88), Cherokee, AL ($1.78)

 

Great Georgia Pollinator Census Returns This August

UGA Extension's inaugural Great Georgia Pollinator Census was held in 2019 to evaluate pollinator populations and build awareness across the state.
By Josh Paine for CAES News

Students and families are encouraged to participate in the second annual Great Georgia Pollinator Census on August 21-22 coordinated by University of Georgia Cooperative Extension. About 4,500 participants documented more than 131,000 insect sightings as part of the inaugural census in 2019, and more than 100 events related to the project took place around the state.

This year’s count may look a bit different with social distancing recommendations in place, but organizers are encouraging participants to plan on counting pollinators at home, whether solo or with their families.

Census takers are asked to count pollinators on a favorite pollinator plant with abundant insect activity for 15 minutes each day using the provided observation sheet.

“The goals of the project are to gather data on pollinator insect populations, foster pollinator habitats and increase entomological literacy about these insects,” said Becky Griffin, UGA Extension school garden and pollinator census coordinator. She modeled the program on the Great Backyard Bird Count, a citizen science program run by Cornell University that asks people to count the birds they see in their backyard.

If you can’t tell a honey bee from a bumble bee, don’t worry. An Insect Counting and Identification Guide gives detailed instructions on counting and photo examples for classification, which is helpful, since there are more than 500 bee species reported in the state. Insects are categorized into one of eight categories during the observation period:

  • Bumble bees
  • Carpenter bees
  • Small bees
  • Honey bees
  • Wasps
  • Flies
  • Butterflies and moths
  • Other insects

Those interested in counting should visit ggapc.org to sign up and subscribe to the monthly newsletter about pollinator gardening and insect identification.

The project’s Facebook group, Georgia Pollinator Census, has grown to nearly 1,500 members and includes many educational resources including videos and files available for teachers to use in the classroom like “Honey Bee Roles.”

“Schools doing STEAM projects are also welcome, and the census can be administered remotely for teachers whose schools are meeting virtually,” explained Griffin. An educator page, including lesson plans for download, is also available at ggapc.org.

For more information including publications on recommended plants to attract pollinators, visit extension.uga.edu/topic-areas/timely-topics/pollinators.

Josh Paine is a marketing specialist with the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.

Woman Says Her Dog Attacked By Another

According to a report from the Summerville Police Department a Wood Street, Summerville woman reported that her dog had been bitten by another dog, causing injury.  The complainant told a responding officer that a dog approached her dog and bit him in the left eye area.  The woman took her dog to the vet and said that the vet bill was $131.70.  The owner of the dog was identified and was apologetic to the complainant about the incident.  When police attempted to locate the owner of the dog that caused the injury, they found that the woman has since moved away and did not leave a forwarding address.

 

Chattooga Man Arrested After Failing To Stop For Floyd County Police

A Chattooga County, Georgia resident was jailed on a $7,900 bond on Friday afternoon after a police chase that ended in a crash.

According to Floyd County Jail reports, Christopher Wayne Gwynn, age 32 of Trion, refused to stop for a law enforcement vehicle with lights and siren on, driving away at a high rate of speed onto Floyd Springs Road, over-steering at one point, then losing control and crashing before fleeing on foot.

Gwynn stands charged with felony fleeing, misdemeanor speeding, reckless driving, failure to maintain lane and leaving the scene of an accident.

 

Chattooga Library Summer Reading Program Coming To A Close

The Chattooga Library’s Summer Reading Program is coming to a close this week.  To find out all the details, see below: