2016
05.27

LU will be on break the entire week of Memorial Day.
The next Update will be on Monday June 6th.

Wednesday night a domestic argument on Cordell Ave. turned into a shooting and a police standoff.

Cordell Ave Shooting May 25 2016

According to officers, Roxanne P. Hurley got into an argument with a man in her home off Corinth Rd. and shot him in the leg. She let emergency crews get him out of the trailer and take him to a hospital, but when officers came for her she locked herself inside the home with guns and wouldn’t come out.

Deputies blocked off Cordell Ave. and attempted to talk her out of the house. The SWAT Team was called, and six hours later, after firing teargas through the windows, officers went inside and got her out. The 57-year-old was, fortunately and surprisingly, not seriously injured.

She now faces every charge they can come up with.   Tiny Facebook  Tiny Facebook  Tiny Facebook  Tiny Facebook  Tiny Facebook  Tiny Facebook

Defeated commissioner candidate Mike Peardon has signed the petition to get Perry Lamb’s name on this November’s ballot.

Peardon Signature on Perry Lamb Petition

Peardon says he’s throwing his support behind Lamb’s campaign, and encourages his own supporters to do the same.

Perry Lamb needs 1,640 signatures from registered voters by early July to qualify for the commissioner race as an independent. He has well over 1,000 signatures collected and has added more daily for weeks.

Even if you plan to vote for Whitfield, you should consider giving Lamb some support with a signature. Lamb on the ballot means we have another candidate to face Bebe in case something happens to Whitfield.

And if you happen to change your mind about Whitfield before November, it won’t be bad to have another option to pick from other than Bebe..

Perry Lamb Signature Drive / Down Home Days

Lamb will be at the Rossville library tonight 6-8, at the Fort O. VFW car show on Saturday beginning at 9 AM, and at the Memorial Day BBQ in Hinkle on Monday from 11 to 3.

He’s also going to be at Freedom Festival in LaFayette on July 4th.

You can meet him and sign the qualification petition at any of those events. If it’s more convenient for you, go sign his petition at Talespinners Outdoors, Stu’s Barbershop, or QTM Jeep Parts in Chickamauga.   Tiny Facebook

On May 20th, Randy “Babo” Barfield Jr. slipped away from a county prisoner work crew in Rock Spring and disappeared.

Randy Barfield

Five days later the Sheriff’s Office notified the public and media of their “trusty” prisoner’s escape, and asked for help in finding him – offering a generous $200 reward.
(Were they waiting on him to come back?)

Barfield was arrested back in March for burglary and trespassing.

If you know him, see if he’ll outbid the Sheriff and give you more than $200 to NOT tell them where he is.   Tiny Facebook

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2016
05.24

ELECTION 2016

Today is election day. Polls are open from 7 AM to 7 PM.

Everything is on the Republican ballot, so you’ll want to ask for that one no matter where your alliances lay. The contested races are Commissioner, Georgia Senate, and School Board Post 5. A question about allowing a vote in the future for sole commissioner is also on the ballot.

On election day you have to vote in your own precinct – find out where that is here.

(Check this page after 8 PM for updates and election results.)

UPDATE 1:

Voter turnout today before lunch time was on the light side. About 6% of active registered voters cast their ballots early or absentee.

UPDATE 2:

Tonight’s election results:
Commissioner: Whitfield 4,456 (75.16%), Peardon 1,473
School Board 5: Hunter 2,800 (58.68%), Eady 1,972
Senate District 53: Mullis 9,580 (67%), Thomas 4,811
Sole Commissioner Question (R): YES 4,503 (75.26%), NO 1,480
Sole Commissioner Question (D): YES 355 (80.14%), NO 88

Four thousand, eight hundred and fifty eight Walker County voters have spoken up and said they want to vote on the matter of Sole Commissioner, in a way that counts.

Hopefully that’s enough “grassroots support” for Senator Mullis to get off his backside and do something, soon.   Tiny Facebook  Tiny Facebook  Tiny Facebook  Tiny Facebook  Tiny Facebook

Signs of change have popped up all over Walker in the last few weeks.

Sole Commissioner Change / Vote Yes Sign

Go today and vote YES on the ballot measure to put Sole Commissioner on a future ballot. Walker County is one of only eight counties in the country that has retained the antiquated sole commissioner form of government. We’ll never move ahead until the county government is run with accountability and transparency – and that’ll never happen without more than one person in charge.

(If the measure doesn’t pass, forget ever having another shot at it in your lifetime. It’s taken a generation to get THIS far.)   Tiny Facebook

Unfortunately the Sole Commissioner issue on the ballot is a non-binding question, which means it can easily be ignored or put off by the county’s legislative delegation, consisting of Steve Tarvin, John Deffenbaugh, and Jeff Mullis.

Even approved by voters today, which seems likely, the question won’t change anything unless Tarvin submits legislation to let us vote on it AGAIN in a way that legally matters. His proposal would have to be approved by Tarvin and Mullis to become official.

Jeff Mullis 2016 Speaking / Dan Henry Times Free Press

What’s Jeff Mullis say about the measure if it’s approved?

    WQCH Radio, 05/21/16: “BOTH THE REPUBLICAN AND DEMOCRATIC BALLOTS IN NEXT TUESDAY’S PRIMARIES WILL HAVE A ‘YES OR NO’ STRAW-POLL QUESTION ON WHETHER THE VOTER FAVORS A CHANGE TO A MULTI-MEMBER BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS, IN PLACE OF WALKER COUNTY’S SOLE COMMISSIONER FORM OF GOVERNMENT.
    “WQCH NEWS ASKED STATE SENATOR JEFF MULLIS HOW HE WOULD REACT, IF TUESDAY’S VOTE FAVORS A MULTI-COMMISSIONER GOVERNMENT HERE.
    “MULLIS SAID FIRST, HE AND REPRESENTATIVES JOHN DEFFENBAUGH AND STEVE TARVIN WOULD HAVE TO MEET AND COME TO A CONSENSUS ON THE ACTION TO TAKE.
    “MULLIS SAID THAT COULD RESULT IN:
    * NO ACTION…
    * IN A CALL FOR AN OFFICIAL PETITION DRIVE…
    * OR IN A SPECIAL VOTE ON THE ISSUE. IF THE THREE AGREE ON A VOTE, MULLIS SAID THAT WOULD NOT HAPPEN BEFORE THE NEXT GENERAL ELECTION IN 2018.
    “MULLIS SAID REPRESENTATIVES TARVIN AND DEFFENBAUGH MIGHT HAVE OTHER IDEAS, AS WELL.
    “‘IN ORDER FOR ME TO ACT ON THE STRAW POLL, I WOULD WANT TO SEE AN OVERWHELMING, GRASS-ROOTS DEMAND, WHICH I HAVEN’T SEEN YET’, MULLIS SAID. ‘NO ONE HAS COME TO MY OFFICE AND ASKED ME TO SUPPORT A MULTI-COMMISSIONER GOVERNMENT FOR WALKER COUNTY,’ HE CONCLUDED.”

In other words, Tuesday doesn’t mean anything to him. Just like a petition signed by 2,045 taxpayers meant nothing to him, and the calls made to his home afterwards meant nothing to him.

Why does anybody have confidence in this fat fool doing what the voters want?

The first thing the next commissioner should do when they take office on January 1 is call Mullis, and Tarvin, and Deffenbaugh, and tell them to make this happen. Put it on a special ballot in 2017 and get us a slate of commissioners on a ballot in 2018. And hold them accountable if they don’t do it.

Voters can make THAT happen by passing the initiative in an overwhelming way, 70%+ of the vote, and by choosing a commissioner candidate who supports changing to a board – Mike Peardon.   Tiny Facebook

2016 ELECTION Q&A: WHITFIELD V. PEARDON

Where DO Commissioner candidates Mike Peardon and Shannon Whitfield stand on matters of transparency, sole commissioner government, and how to fix the county’s debt?

Before you vote, get informed with the candidate Q&A.   Tiny Facebook

Also before you vote, find out where school board candidates Casey Eady and Phyllis Hunter stand on local school issues that matter.

2016 ELECTION Q&A: HUNTER V EADY

How do they feel about Standards Based Grading, federal control over local schools, special education, libraries, Superintendent Raines, and the future of old LHS?

Get the answers (sort of) in this pre-election Q&A for school board.   Tiny Facebook

LU also sent Q&A questions to both candidates for Senate District 53, Lanny Thomas and Jeff Mullis. Neither one responded to the messages. (Thomas says he isn’t using the e-mail it was sent to anymore. Mullis has no excuse.)

April 30 GOP Debate - Lanny Thomas & Jeff Mullis

A similar interview with AllOnGeorgia Chattooga County DID get answers – but only from Thomas.

All you really need to know about Jeff Mullis before voting is the way he’s handled the petition about sole commissioner and his comments shared above about the vote on that topic not meaning anything. A longstanding politician who ignores his constituents does not deserve their votes, regardless of the opponent.   Tiny Facebook

For today’s links and any breaking news, follow the Underground on Facebook or Twitter.

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2016
05.23

On Tuesday, Walker County voters will choose between Mike Peardon and Shannon Whitfield as the Republican Party candidate to take on incumbent commissioner Bebe Heiskell in November.

Who are the candidates, and where do they stand on local issues that matter?

2016 ELECTION Q&A: WHITFIELD V. PEARDON

Both candidates for the Republican commissioner nomination were e-mailed these questions at 2:20 PM on April 30th. They were asked to respond by noon on May 4th. Mr. Peardon did not initially receive his e-mail and was sent the questions again on May 3rd.

Peardon responded before the deadline. Mr. Whitfield did not respond by the deadline, and two weeks-plus after the deadline has still not responded to the message – although he did confirm on Facebook (before the deadline) that he received it.

Since Mr. Whitfield elected to skip this opportunity to directly communicate his ideas to the people, his questions will be answered (where possible) using statements he’s made in other venues. LU research answers and commentary are in italics.

Q&A Icon / LULaFayette Underground:
What is your full name, age, and home address?

Q&A Icon / Mike PeardonPeardon:
michael wayne peardon ,46 ,256 Tammy lne. lafayette

Q&A Icon / Shannon WhitfieldWhitfield:
[No response]

Whitfield is also 46. He lives on Dana Lane in Chickamauga.

Q&A Icon / LULaFayette Underground:
How can voters contact you or stay in touch with your campaign? (Please include info like e-mail, phone, Web site, social media, etc)

Q&A Icon / Mike PeardonPeardon:
facebook, walkerstrong.net,peardonmike@gmail.com,423 595 1400

Q&A Icon / Shannon WhitfieldWhitfield:
[No response]

Q&A Icon / LULaFayette Underground:
How long have you lived in the area, and have you lived anywhere else? If you’ve lived elsewhere, how does Walker County compare to those places?

Q&A Icon / Mike PeardonPeardon:
I have lived aprox. 34 years in Walker County.
I did live in catoosa county a few years,Walker County has a style totally different ,and offers subdivision living our farm living,There are many more places of solace to be found in Walker County than Catoosa County.

Q&A Icon / Shannon WhitfieldWhitfield:
[No response]

Q&A Icon / LULaFayette Underground:
Starting as early as you want, what kind of education do you have?

Q&A Icon / Mike PeardonPeardon:
I attended Pondsprings elementary,then Chattanooga Valley High School.I was trained as a Walker County volunteer firefighter,basic firefighting,first aid etc.I took and past the ASVAB military test,then entered the military training program where i recieved,hand to hand combat,m16 ,hand grenade,claymore mine,first aid,compass,field training,and HET training.Chattanooga state trained me to get my electrical license and the other 3 business license, i was able to pass the State test, after studying literature.

Q&A Icon / Shannon WhitfieldWhitfield:
[No response]

Shannon Whitfield Education

Mr. Whitfield graduated from Gordon Lee in 1988. He has admitted he did not attend college or tech school (which means he has the least formal education of the four announced commissioner candidates, including Bebe Heiskell) but says he has “over 30 years of ‘real world’ business experience” running his father’s company, Whitfield Oil.

Q&A Icon / LULaFayette Underground:
What jobs and/or previous elected positions have you held?

Q&A Icon / Mike PeardonPeardon:
I have never ran for office,i started out working in mills around the area and cutting yards on the side..At age 22 i was supervising in the grey cloth dept.at Durham knitting in Lafayette.After that job i worked at loomis armored first shift, and kenco second shift.I left my first shift job and put an add in the paper to do handy man work.Some may remember my add as (Christian man ready to work for you).As i pursued my career in construction,i attended Chattanooga State to receive my electrical license started wiring houses.As i started making more money,i chose to buy a property occasionally to fix up and rent.I studied and returned back to the state board and received my fieldline and sewer,soil and erosion and builders license,to diversify myself and save cost on rental property investments as they came along.I have been self employed for the last 20 years and own and manage 16 homes in Walker County and continue to keep my license current to maintain my homes,and do an occasional side job at times

Whitfield Chickamauga Council CampaignQ&A Icon / Shannon WhitfieldWhitfield:
[No response]

Whitfield’s campaign bio lists only one paid job: working for the family business. He has served in leadership of many civic organizations, including the board of Cherokee Regional Library, Walker Chamber of Commerce, Oakwood Christian Academy, and the City of Chickamauga Planning Commission. He was elected to Chickamauga City Council in 2013 and served on that board from 2014 until he resigned last fall to run for Commissioner. He also resigned from the Chamber to campaign but is still on the library board.

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2016
05.23

Tomorrow is election day in Georgia.

In Walker County the three contested races are all on the Republican ballot: Whitfield vs. Peardon for Commissioner (the winner will face Bebe Heiskell and probably Perry Lamb in November), Thomas vs. Mullis for State Senate, and Eady vs. Hunter for School Board Post 5.

Vote YES on Board of Commissioners Sign

Also on the Republican AND Democrat primary ballots: A non-binding question about putting Sole Commissioner on a future binding ballot. A vote for YES on that measure tells the county’s three state legislators that citizens want a chance for decide about keeping or dropping the broken sole commissioner form of government.

(A “YES” vote on this doesn’t necessarily mean we’ll change systems, because it’s not binding or official. Thanks to stubborn people in power, it’s just so they can learn IF we want to vote on it in a way that matters. But if we don’t pass it now, they won’t ever give us another shot at it later.)

Polls will be open Tuesday 7 AM to 7 PM.   Tiny Facebook  Tiny Facebook  Tiny Facebook

Chattanooga Valley Elementary teacher Mark McCormack is under investigation by the US Department of Homeland Security.

Chattanooga Valley Elementary / WDEF

It’s not clear what they think he’s done, although rumors are flying around about it. One initial report, from Channel 12, said McCormack is suspected of something with child pornography. That story was later revised to indicate the investigation’s causes are unknown.

    “According to the Department of Homeland Security’s website, the Investigation division ‘investigates human rights violations, immigration crime, human smuggling, export enforcement issues, cybercrime, financial crimes, and the smuggling of weapons and other contraband.'”

So far no charges have been filed, and Homeland Security won’t verify there’s an investigation at all – but the GBI, Walker County Sheriff’s Office, and Walker County Schools all say they’re cooperating with whatever the investigation is.

Sheriff Wilson has shed some light into what the case could be about, saying McCormack was investigated twice before on accusations of molesting or exploiting students in the classroom – once with a camera. He wasn’t charged or apparently disciplined either of those times – in 2010 and 2015 – due to lack of evidence. (Channel 12 has independently verified Wilson’s comments, speaking directly with the parent of a child allegedly involved.)

The kindergarten instructor was not in the classroom during the last week of school, and it’s unclear if he’ll ever return. Even if no charges are filed as a result of THIS case, McCormack’s career is probably over due to the repeated allegations.   Tiny Facebook  Tiny Facebook  Tiny Facebook

jackson Shooting House / Wesley Rd / WDEF TV

Broadrick Shropshire, accused of killing Ricky Jackson in Naomi back in 2014, has been found not guilty by a jury.

Shropshire pulled the trigger that took Jackson’s life, but circumstances presented in court suggest it could have been self defense. The prosecutor was unable to make a strong enough case for murder to convince a jury, so Shropshire goes free.   Tiny Facebook

Richard Wilbanks of Wallis-Wilbanks Funeral Home joined eternity on Tuesday after a battle with cancer.

The Korean War veteran spent most of his adult life in the funeral business, much of that time at the home that bears his name. Services for Wilbanks, 76, were held Friday at Second Baptist.

Wallis-Wilbanks Funeral Home

Despite Wilbanks’ passing, Wallis-Wilbanks Funeral Home will continue as a LaFayette landmark in the capable hands of James Mullis.

Mullis, who’s worked at the home since 2004, has been in charge since Wilbanks’ health declined and now owns the business with his wife Kristy. He says they will continue to run Wallis-Wilbanks the way it’s been run since 1933, with “love, caring and kindness to everyone.”   Tiny Facebook  Tiny Facebook  Tiny Facebook

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2016
05.21

On Tuesday, Walker County voters will decide if Phyllis Hunter should return to the school board for a fourth four-year term, or if she should be replaced by political newcomer Casey Eady Searels.

Who are the candidates, and where do they stand on school issues that matter?

2016 ELECTION Q&A: HUNTER V EADY

Both candidates for the Republican commissioner nomination were e-mailed these questions at 1:04 AM on May 9th. They were asked to respond by noon on May 12th. Eady responded before the deadline. Ms. Hunter did not respond by the deadline and has yet to respond or acknowledge the message sent to her school board e-mail address.

Since Hunter opted to ignore yet another opportunity to directly communicate with her constituents, her questions will be answered (where possible) using past news reports. She has, unfortunately, made few public appearances or statements to draw information from. LU research answers and commentary are in italics.

Q&A Icon / LULaFayette Underground:
What is your full name, age, and home address?

Q&A Icon / Casey Eady SearlesEady:
Casey Eady Searels. I was married on April 16, 2016. My last name will remain Eady for campaign and election purposes.
Age: 28
Dogwood Circle
LaFayette, GA 30728

Q&A Icon / Phyllis HunterHunter:
[No response]

According to WhitePages.com, Hunter lives on Dripping Springs Rd. off Hwy. 136. Hunter was 40 when she first ran for her position in 2004, making her 52 or 53 this year.

Q&A Icon / LULaFayette Underground:
How can voters contact you or stay in touch with your campaign? (Please include info like e-mail, phone, Web site, social media, etc)

Q&A Icon / Casey Eady SearlesEady:
votecaseyeady@gmail.com or casey.l.eady@facebook.com
423-883-9049

Q&A Icon / Phyllis HunterHunter:
[No response]

Q&A Icon / LULaFayette Underground:
How long have you lived in the area, and have you lived anywhere else? If you’ve lived elsewhere, how does Walker County compare to those places?

Q&A Icon / Casey Eady SearlesEady:
I have lived in the area since I was 5 years old and was born in Macon, GA. I lived in Kennesaw, GA while attending Kennesaw State for 2 years. Kennesaw is located in Cobb County and is different from Walker County in that it is a college town and a part of Atlanta. It is more fast paced and densely populated than our quite mills towns and agricultural communities.

Q&A Icon / Phyllis HunterHunter:
[No response]

School CrossingQ&A Icon / LULaFayette Underground:
Starting as early as you want, what kind of education do you have?

Q&A Icon / Casey Eady SearlesEady:
I attended North Lafayette Elementary, Lafayette Middle, and graduated from Lafayette High School in 2006. In December 2010, I graduated magna cum laude from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga with a Bachelor’s of Science in Business Management. While advancing in my career at Unum, I obtained a Master’s of Business Administration from Bryan College in December 2015.

Q&A Icon / Phyllis HunterHunter:
[No response]

Reports from 2004 say Hunter has a bachelor’s degree in accounting from UTC.

Q&A Icon / LULaFayette Underground:
What jobs and/or previous elected positions have you held?

Q&A Icon / Casey Eady SearlesEady:
Unum: Integrated Billing Coordinator, January 2014 to present
Unum: Customer Service Representative, January 2012 to January 2014
Hampton Inn & Suites: Sales Coordinator, March 2011 to January 2012
Astec Industries: Receptionist, June 2008 to March 2012
MCH Properties: Receptionist, July 2006 to May 2008

No elected positions.

Q&A Icon / Phyllis HunterHunter:
[No response]

The same report from 2004 says Hunter has been employed as a CPA and before joining the school board worked at North LaFayette Elementary as a “parent involvement specialist” and writing lab instructor. She had also been part of several volunteer committees within the school system, including PTO President. She has held no prior elected positions.

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