Highway 27 In Walker County Closed Due To Fire

Walker County Sheriff Steve Wilson confirms that Highway 27 is closed in LaFayette while crews battle a business fire Friday afternoon.

Councilman Windle Announces He Is Stepping Down

Reports indicate that Summerville City Councilman Buddy Windle will be stepping down from his position on the City Council at the end of the year.  Councilman Windle has served on the Summerville City Council for the past twelve years.  WZQZ News will have more on this story.

Coach Hammon Resigns From Head Football Coach Position

Chattooga School Supt. Jared Hosmer has confirmed Head Football Coach Charles Hammon has resigned. Hosmer said, “Late yesterday afternoon I was informed by Head Football Coach Charles Hammon that he is resigning his coaching duties at Chattooga High School effective 12/5/19.

I would like to thank Coach Hammon for the great job he has done at Chattooga High School for the previous six years. We will certainly miss him as Head Coach of our Chattooga Indians”

WZQZ News will have more information as it becomes available.

Arrest Report - Friday - December 6, 2019

Here is the latest arrest report from the Chattooga County Sheriff’s Office for Friday, December 6, 2019:

Trion Property Tax Increase Meetings Today

Property owners in the Town of Trion will want to take note of two public meetings that are being held today at Trion Town Hall.  Mayor Larry Stansell and the Trion Town Council have tentatively adopted the same millage rate from last year, which will result in an increase of property taxes of 3.28%.

All concerned citizens are invited to the Public Hearings on the tax increase that will be held today at Trion Town Hall, located at 1220 Pine Street in Trion.  The first meeting will take place at 10 AM and the second meeting will be held this afternoon at 5 PM.

The millage rate will be set by the Trion Town Council next Friday, December 13th at 6 PM at the Trion Town Hall.

 

Drug Task Force Arrests Two After Month Long Investigation

After a month long investigation, Agents with the Lookout Mountain Judicial Circuit Drug Task Force executed a search warrant at 886 Jones Rd. Lafayette, GA. on Wednesday, December 4, 2019. The focus of the investigation was Matthew Crawford of Lafayette, GA and his distribution of large quantities methamphetamine in Northwest GA.

Agents located over a quarter pound of methamphetamine, four firearms, two stolen firearms, digital scales and US currency. Crawford is charged with possession of methamphetamine with intent for resale, trafficking methamphetamine, possession of firearm by convicted felon. The investigation is still ongoing and more arrests are expected.

Also on same date at different locations, Agents conducted follow up investigations and arrested Shane Bennett of Rock Spring, GA for possession of methamphetamine and obstruction of an officer, Danny Smith of Rossville, GA for probation violation, and Joshua Wiley of Lafayette, GA for parole violation.

The Drug Task Force and Lafayette Street Crimes Unit teamed up to arrest Brian Collins and Julie Turner both of Lafayette, GA for possession of methamphetamine on Fortune St. in the City of Lafayette.

The Lookout Mountain Judicial Circuit Drug Task Force serves Walker, Dade and Chattooga Counties.

Anyone with information or a tip on drug or gang activity can call 706-638-5570 or email info@lmjcdtf.org

Rain & Colder Weather On The Way

Yesterday was probably the nicest day weather-wise we will see for some time.  Temperatures on Thursday were in the low to mid-60’s with abundant sunshine, but all of that will be changing with some rain today and more rain and much colder weather for next week.

Today, temperatures will be much cooler and rain is expected, but not a large amount – probably around 1/2 inch.  Saturday will be the nicest day this weekend with sunshine, but temperatures will only get into the 50’s.  By Sunday, temperatures will struggle to reach 50 degrees and clouds will build in with a major rain-making system moving into the area on Sunday night into Monday.  Northwest Georgia and Northeast Alabama could see 1-2 inches of rain from this weather system.

Monday night, temperatures will plummet and the National Weather Service has a chance for rain mixed with snow in the forecast for folks in the higher elevations in our area like Mentone, Alabama.  No widespread winter precipitation is expected for the area, but by Tuesday we could be struggling to reach 30 degrees for a high temperature!

Some of the coldest weather of the season is expected to settle in for mid-week with forecast lows in the 10-19 degree range and highs only in the upper 20’s as we enter Wednesday.

National Weather Service – Complied Sources

 

Area Toys For Tots Looking For Volunteers

The Toys for Tots program in our area is looking for volunteers to help distribute toys to children in need.  The Rome Exchange Club in conjunction with the United States Marine Corps Reserve operates the program that serves both Floyd and Chattooga Counties.

Hundreds of children from infants to age 12 will receive Christmas gifts this year, thanks to the generosity of donors to Toys for Tots.  But the local program needs volunteers to help out.  Organizers say that they have truckloads of toys that are coming into the Coosa Valley Fairgrounds and they need volunteers to help sort those toys and get them ready for the families that will be picking them up next week.

Linda Hatcher heads up the program and says that the pickup day for families in Floyd and Chattooga Counties will be next Saturday, December 14th.

If you would like to volunteer or you need more information, call Linda Hatcher at 706-506-4635.

Sunday Theft At Factory Connection

According to a report released Thursday by the Summerville Police Department, two women were caught stealing clothing from Factor Connection in the Ingle’s Shopping Center in Summerville on Sunday afternoon.

According to the report,  a worker at the store told police that she was familiar with the two suspects because they had “shoplifted at this store before.”  Factor Connection employee Amy Rigsby told officers that the women took twenty items of clothing into a changing room and returned with just fourteen items.

The police report said, “The clothes that were brought back out contained five security devices and the tags to three shirts and two pairs of jeans concealed inside the clothes, also for each shirt there would be three hangers-on a single shirt indicative of articles of clothing missing.”

One of the women told the employee that she had forgotten her wallet and left the premises in a black Ford car.

The responding officer reviewed surveillance video at the store and identified the two women as Shannon Nixon and Michelle McCool – both of Summerville.

The stolen items totaled around $132, according to the store employee.

 

Grand Jury Recommends New Jail - Again

The first time a Chattooga County Grand Jury recommended that the county government build a new jail was twenty-nine-years ago in 1990.  Since that time, numerous grand juries have recommended that the county construct a new jail.  The aging facility is costly to maintain and not nearly large enough to serve the county’s current inmate population.  As a result, the county spends hundreds of thousands of dollars a year housing inmates in surrounding counties.

The Chattooga County Grand Jury recently returned their presentments with a strongly worded finding:

“We must build a new jail.  The amount of money we are spending for housing inmates out of county is outrageous.  We are spending almost $700,000 a year that could be invested in the county.  The issues noted previously have not been addressed and have only gotten worse.  We are at critical mass.  If we build a new jail, we could use the old jail for offices and storage needed in other areas.”

The issue about a new jail for the county was at the forefront in the 2016 elections.  Commissioner Jason Winters campaigned saying that if a new jail was built it would mean property taxes would increase.  Voters returned the commissioner to office for a third term and since that time there have been two property tax increases, but there are no current plans for a new jail for the county.

 

Residents Along Railroad Asked To Spruce Up For Santa Train

Starting this Saturday, December 7th and continuing each week through December 22nd, over a thousand visitors will ride into Summerville on the Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum’s “Summerville Santa Special.”  Residents along the Chattooga & Chickamauga Railroad are being encouraged to clean up along the tracks and decorate for the Santa Special.

Businesses and residents are “encouraged to help our community shine by showing your Christmas spirit and decorating. Putting smiles on the faces of children and a pleasant view along the trip will make this holiday season a special time that families will cherish for years to come”, according to a press release.

The train rides will be leaving from the Summerville Depot and tickets are available at Summerville City Hall or from the Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum’s website.  There will be a limited number of tickets available for purchase at the Depot as well.

Chattooga Extension Welcomes New County Agent

For the first time in almost two decades, the Chattooga County Extension Office now has two extension agents.  Zach White has been named a 4-H Extension Agent working at the Chattooga County Extension Office.

White is a native of Chattooga County and earned his B.S. degree in Early Childhood Education from the University of West Georgia.  He spent time in the classroom with fourth and fifth graders teaching reading and writing.

White grew up in the 4-H program in Chattooga County and has long been an active community member.  In his new role as 4-H Agent, White says that he is hoping to provide opportunities for the youth of Chattooga County like he was given when he was involved in Chattooga County’s 4-H program.   His goal is to integrate more technology into the current program.

Chattooga County has a large and active 4-H program with students in every school in both the Trion City and Chattooga County School Systems.

 

Rep. Tom Graves Will Not Seek Re-Election In 2020

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Congressman Tom Graves who represents Chattooga County and most of Northwest Georgia in the United States Congress announced today that he will not be seeking reelection in 2020.  The Congressman cited family reasons as the factor that led to him deciding not seek another term.  He has served in Congress since 2010.  You can read his letter to his constituents below:

Friends and fellow Georgians,

The holidays are a time of reflection for each of us. Today, I’d like to share a few of my thoughts from last week as we all paused to give thanks.

My first real public service experience was watching my wife, Julie, lead a pro-life effort many years ago. It was inspiring to witness a community band together and cause real change.

Soon after, I found the courage to overcome my fears and run for office. I did so grounded in the creed my parents shared with me: Dream Big. Work Hard. Achieve Much.

I was motivated to push through the tough days of campaigning and the hardest days in office by my kids, Josephine, John and Janey.

The whole of my service was built upon the contributions of countless people; sacrifices of my family, late nights and long days from dozens of dedicated staff members, friendship of my colleagues, generosity of supporters and encouragement from constituents. 

Looking back on my years in the Georgia House and now nearly a decade in Congress, I am filled with gratitude.  My record is a testament to the collective effort of many talented and special people.  The opportunities afforded to me – a North Georgia country boy from a single wide trailer – were far beyond my wildest dreams.

Serving the country I love so much, and representing the community I hold so dear, is an honor that won’t be replicated. To my constituents, both past and present, thank you for your vote of confidence and trust. What an incredible privilege it has been to represent you in Congress. 

As we all do, I’m entering a new season in life. An exciting season. So, the time has come for me to pass the baton. Now it’s my turn to cheer, support and sacrifice for those who have done the same for me over the last two decades. With Julie near retirement and my kids now suddenly adults, I have decided not to seek reelection in 2020, and instead, join my family in their new and unique journeys. 

I’m excited to spend the next year focused on the Committee on the Modernization of Congress. Working to improve Congress for all Americans, and all who will serve after me, seems like the perfect way to close this chapter and say, “thank you.”

May God bless you, and this great and glorious cause we call America.

Freedom first, 

Tom

Arrest Report - Thursday - December 5, 2019

Here is the latest arrest report from the Chattooga County Sheriff’s Office for Thursday, December 5, 2019:

CHI Mobile Lung Unit Coming To Chattooga Library

CHI Memorial’s mobile lung CT coach will be at the Chattooga County Library in Summerville on Tuesday, December 17, 2019, from 9 a.m. – 2 p.m.

Lung cancer screening is a test to look for signs of lung cancer in otherwise healthy people. The low-dose CT scan shows a 3-D image of your lungs that is clearer and more detailed than regular x-rays, allowing doctors to diagnose lung cancer at its earliest stage, before there are any symptoms. This is when lung cancer is most curable. The whole process takes less than ten minutes and there is no need to do anything special to prepare for the screening.

The low-dose CT lung cancer scan has been shown to improve survival by 20 percent according to The National Lung Screening Trial (NLST) by the National Cancer Institute (NCI).

Factors that put you at high risk of developing lung cancer include:

  • Age 50 or greater
  • Smoking history
  • Family history of cancer
  • Exposure to cancer causing agents (asbestos, diesel fumes, Radon, coal smoke, soot, etc.)

Private insurance companies cover lung cancer screening for high-risk individuals. Medicare and Medicaid also cover lung cancer screening. Grant funds are available for eligible uninsured and under-insured people to have the low-dose lung CT screening.

If you feel you are at risk, call us at (423) 495-LUNG (5864) to discuss if a lung screening is right for you, or to schedule an appointment.

The Chattooga County Library is located at 360 Farrar Drive in Summerville.

Man Travels To Floyd County To Meet Child For Sex

A thirty-three-year-old Cartersville man was booked into the Floyd County Jail Monday on charges of aggravated child molestation, sexual exploitation of a child, obscene internet contact with a child, electronically furnishing obscene material to a minor and use of a computer service to entice a child.

According to jail records, Steven Paige Creech contacted a person who he believed to be a child on the internet and engaged in a graphic conversation.

He asked the child to send him nude pictures and to meet up for sex.

Creech then traveled to Floyd County to meet the child at an agreed-upon location, according to the warrant.

Creech was also found in possession of methamphetamine at the time of his arrest, according to police, resulting in an additional charge of possession of methamphetamine.

WRGA

Vote For Best Downtown Christmas Decorations

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The City of Summerville is asking for people to vote for their favorite decorations at downtown businesses and offices.

According to a post on Facebook from the City of Summerville: Please vote for your favorite Downtown Business Christmas Decor’ . You may only vote once by liking the photo of your favorite. Voting ends at midnight on December 6. Trophies will be awarded on December 12 (during Christmas in the Park) at 7:05 p.m. following the lighting of the tree .

You can find a link to the Facebook page here  to cast your vote.

President Carter Released From Hospital On Wednesday

A spokeswoman for Jimmy Carter says the former U.S. president has been discharged from a hospital after being treated for a urinary tract infection.

Carter Center spokeswoman Deanna Congileo says the 95-year-old was discharged Wednesday afternoon. Congileo said Monday that Carter was already feeling better following his treatment.

Carter has overcome several health challenges in recent years, including melanoma cancer on his brain.  The former President fell earlier this year while getting ready to go turkey hunting.  Carter’s grandson, Jason Carter, told WZQZ News that his grandfather had gone back into the house to get his cane when he fell.  The former President had two more falls since then and was admitted to Emory University Hospital to relieve pressure on his brain caused by bleeding internally from the fall.

The former President was back at home in Plains as of Wednesday afternoon.

Farewell Speech: Isakson Calls On U.S. Senate To Be More Bipartisan

As Georgia’s Senior U.S. Senator bade farewell to Congress this week, he called on his colleagues to be more biapartisan and to “sit down, get it out in the open and talk about it.”

Isakson didn’t mince words when he said that “there’s something missing in this place”, speaking of bipartisanship.  Isakson was well known for his bipartisan approach to legislation and commanded respect from both sides of the aisle.

In his farewell statements, Senator McConnell thanked several of his Congressional colleagues, but he saved the highest praise for Rep. John Lewis, a Democrat who represents a large portion of the Atlanta metropolitan area.

“John is one of my real heroes in life,” Isakson said of Lewis, “I watched what he went through to make us see the light.”  Lewis is a well known civil rights leader and was a confidant of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.   Lewis praised Isakson on the floor of the House recently and the two embraced each other, with Lewis calling Isakson his “brother.”

Isakson is one of the few Republican politicians in Georgia who was first elected as a Republican and didn’t switch parties.  He is the only person in Georgia history to save in the Georgia House, the Georgia Senate, the U.S. House and the U.S. Senate.

Blood Assurance Asking For Donors

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Blood Assurance, which has a donation center in Fort Oglethorpe, is critically low on several blood types, especially B-negative.

O-negative and O-positive are also in critical need due to high usage and traumas in the Blood Assurance service area. All other blood types except AB-positive are also in need.

“We have been struggling to keep B-negative blood on our shelf for the last couple of weeks and recent traumas have negatively impacted our supply of O,” said Dr. Elizabeth Culler, medical director at Blood Assurance. “We are seeing a low donor turnout recently, which is not unusual for the week after Thanksgiving, but we are hoping that people will get into the spirit of giving and come see us during this time of critical need.”

Blood Assurance is asking for anyone who can to donate whole blood and double red cells at this time.