2014
08.29

This serious wreck in front of Saddle Ridge School during Thursday morning rush hour had traffic backed up for miles.

Saddle Ridge August 28 Wreck

Per observers, a parent failed to yield and pulled out in front of the pickup truck depicted. None of the people involved were seriously injured.

Beyond verifying the uselessness of a “55 MPH” school zone sign, this accident again shows the need for a regular traffic light in front of the school and rrandom visits from law enforcement to make sure drivers on 27 AND exiting the school obey traffic laws and drive safely.

Saddle Ridge August 28 Wreck Saddle Ridge August 28 Wreck Saddle Ridge August 28 Wreck

Be careful out there – the school year has just begun.   Tiny Facebook

Days before bulldozing one of the prettiest pieces of land in Noble, Walker County Development Director Larry Brooks admits to local media we still have no idea how many jobs the Project Eagle / Audia International investment will bring to the area.

    WQCH Radio, 08/27/14: “WALKER COUNTY’S NEWEST INDUSTRIAL NEIGHBOR SENT MEMBERS OF THEIR HUMAN RESOURCES DEPARTMENT TO VISIT OTHER INDUSTRIES IN THE LAFAYETTE AND ROCK SPRING AREA, LAST WEEK.
    “DEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY DIRECTOR LARRY BROOKS SAID THEY WERE SENT TO ‘REACH OUT’ TO THEIR SOON-TO-BE INDUSTRIAL NEIGHBORS. FIRST, TO GET ACQUAINTED, AND SECOND, TO REASSURE THEM THAT AUDIA INTERNATIONAL WON’T BE TRYING TO ‘STEAL THEIR EMPLOYEES’. THE EXECUTIVES WERE ALSO LOOKING AT HOUSING OPPORTUNITIES FOR THE ‘HANDFUL’ OF AUDIA EXECUTIVES THAT WILL RELOCATE TO WALKER COUNTY.
    “BROOKS SAID AUDIA IS STILL DECLINING TO SAY JUST HOW MANY EMPLOYEES THEIR NEW OPERATION IN THE NOBLE BUSINESS PARK WILL BE HIRING.

Swanson Farm Pre-Bulldozers

    “MORE EARTH-MOVING EQUIPMENT WAS BROUGHT ON-SITE LAST WEEK, AND MOST OF THE TREES AND HILLS THAT ARE NOW VISIBLE FROM U.S. 27 WILL BE TAKEN DOWN IN THE BUILDING PROCESS. THE ‘VIEW’ FROM THAT ANGLE, ‘WILL CHANGE DRAMATICALLY’ BROOKS SAID.”

Millions of dollars invested, the county’s natural beauty paved over, and he can’t guarantee a single job will be created when it’s all said and done. AND the company has essentially admitted it won’t be hiring any locals.

This is NOT how you do development deals.   Tiny Facebook

Francis MiddletonFinal arrangements for Frances Middleton held today at Wilson Funeral Home.

The family asks for donations to help with funeral expenses instead of flowers. Those interested in helping pay for the poor lady’s burial can send a check to Wilsons at PO Box 1992, LaFayette or give online here. Middleton’s survivors apparently need about $4,000 to cover everything.

(As previously reported, Middleton was found dead last weekend in her LaFayette apartment after suffering a medical emergency and bleeding to death.)   Tiny Facebook  Tiny Facebook

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2014
08.27

Frances MiddletonGBI autopsy finds Frances Middleton died of natural causes related to medical problems.

Per official reports, blood found in the home came from a burst vein in her throat. “Signs of struggle” seen in the apartment were caused by Middleton attempting to get out of bed and get help. There was no break-in, no foul-play, and no murder. She died within minutes and couldn’t have been saved even if she was inside a hospital.

Before autopsy results were released, Middleton was described as a friend of police, despite occasionally being arrested. A “local legend” known all over the community, nicknamed The Amazon due to her height.   Tiny Facebook  Tiny Facebook

GA Lieutenant Governor Casey Cagle will make a scheduled appearance this afternoon at Roper. (Roper employees have been asked to wear patriotic colors and hope to avoid another day of equipment trouble while a VIP is watching.)

Casey Cagle

Cagle is up for reelection this fall, facing Democrat candidate Connie Stokes.

You’re probably curious what the Georgia Lieutenant Governor actually does.

As it turns out, not very much.   Tiny Facebook

Since 2006, the US military has transferred gobs of extra equipment to civilian law enforcement agencies around the country. The New York Times has compiled a map showing what every county – including Walker – got.

Remember Sheriff Wilson’s armored tank? It’s in here, along with weapons and body armor.

WCM Aug 22 2007 Sheriff's Office Armored Tank

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2014
08.25

46-year-old Francis Middleton found dead Saturday in her apartment in downtown LaFayette. Middleton’s cause of death undetermined; authorities say this could be a murder, a suicide, or a death related to health issues – but it will be treated AS a murder until evidence verifies one way or the other.

Francis Middleton Apartment / Langley Apartments

Per varying reports, Middleton was last seen alive on Friday, then found dead in her apartment next to Family Dollar late Saturday by a maintenance man, neighbors, or a teenager. Despite being spotted a day earlier, medical sources tell LU there had been significant decomposition, possibly related to the nature of her death or the condition of her home on a hot August day.

Rumors about the nature of this death are swirling all over town, but for the sake of Ms. Middleton’s family those will not be shared here until something more substantial emerges. The GBI is involved along with local law enforcement and an autopsy is being performed to nail down more details of what occurred.   Tiny Facebook  Tiny Facebook

Thursday Commissioner Heiskell posted another video calling out LU (“an anonymous blog”) for saying she’s raising taxes 60%.

She’s actually raising HER share of your tax bill by 69%. A 3.233 mil increase (she confirmed to local reporters) added to the county’s existing 4.705 mils is an exact increase of 68.714133900106% over last year’s bill to support the county’s general government.

In the video, Heiskell says that’s not ALL the property taxes you pay, there are also school, city, and state taxes – which is true. But those aren’t within her control. The part SHE controls is going up 69%. Nobody’s talking about the schools here but the Commissioner – and if we’re talking about schools, the school system can actually show you something positive being done with the money they get.

Bebe’s people are spinning the hell out of her tax increase, sending stuff to local media trying to hide the impact of raising taxes and blame the increase on everything from the beginning of time until now, as long as it’s not herself.

In this piece Heiskell (or her ghost-writer Larry Brooks) cites 9/11, Tri-State Crematory, 2008 recession, 2011 tornadoes, the price of asphalt, the price of gasoline, the State of Georgia, Walker County residents who don’t shop in Walker County (neither does she), the City of LaFayette, senior citizens, Juvenile Court, local schools, and the library for higher taxes.

She’s also comparing Walker County to neighboring communities:

    “Citing a number of factors that have combined to reduce revenue, she has set a county millage rate of 7.938 for 2014, an increase of 3.233 mills over the current 4.705 rate. ‘This will bring us in line with the rates in Catoosa and Dade counties,’ the commissioner said.”

So can we presume she’ll begin offering the same level of service that Catoosa County does? How long since YOUR road was paved?   Tiny Facebook

Escaped Prisoner Jerry MorganFriday evening a Walker County Jail inmate disappeared while on an apparently unsupervised “building and grounds assignment.” News of Jerry Morgan’s escape wasn’t announced until midday Saturday, and a photo wasn’t made available to media until nearly a day after he escaped.

He was eventually located in Rossville and rearrested. His wife and three other people were also arrested for helping him flee. Knowing he had escaped in a timely manner might have made catching him easier. (Sounds like they didn’t want people to know.)

Another Walker County Jail escape Sheriff Wilson will claim never happened when/if he runs for reelection. He denied previous escapes when he ran in 2012.

Walker County Jail, under the control of Steve Wilson and Mike Freeman, is run sloppily. Prisoners working outside the jail fence aren’t closely watched – a concern for LaFayette residents since the jail is within a few minutes of downtown and residential neighborhoods.   Tiny Facebook

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2014
08.21

County Dictator Commissioner Heiskell released this video Tuesday, admitting she will be raising your property taxes “about 3 mils” on top of the 4.7 mils paid now – a 64% increase. She blames the increase on everything but herself, and says her pretend effort to sell Mountain Cove Farms fell through.

This is the face of Walker County, and she’s telling you you’re screwed. Straight from the proverbial horse’s mouth.

She admits here that the county spent a million dollars renovating Mountain Cove Farms AFTER buying it. She claims they’ve made all that money back, but financial data from 2013 shows Walker County didn’t make even $200k off the place, and payroll there cost more than event revenues.

She blames the $3 million in revenue losses on $64 million less in property value. But during her time in office the county, school system, and state have purchased at least $30 million of land that was formerly being taxed. She needs to look in the mirror here, if she can stand it.

(Anybody else find it ironic she’s talking about how much money the county doesn’t have while sitting behind a brand new desk in her recently renovated and repainted office?)   Tiny Facebook  Tiny Facebook

Last week Heiskell sent this memo to county department heads, requiring them to ask her permission before buying anything.

Walker County No Spending Memo

A good idea – ten years ago. Putting this in place now that the county is falling off a fiscal cliff is like shutting the barn door after the barn burned down.

And it glosses over the big issues. Walker County isn’t out of money because of department heads buying too many pencils, it’s out of money because of giant purchases the Commissioner made herself.

It’s ironic the woman who “approved” her own tax-funded purchases of Mountain Cove Farms and thousand-dollar refrigerators to go in the rental cabins there now demands her employees ask permission to buy gasoline and copy paper.   Tiny Facebook

Per Channel 3, Roper employees are “worried” about the pending sale of GE Appliance to Electrolux or another competitor.

Roper Employees

Roper employees ARE worried. So are Walmart employees, city employees, county employees, people who don’t have jobs… School children, some smarter dogs..   Tiny Facebook

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2014
08.19

During Thursday’s public meeting, Commissioner Heiskell said she’s discussing a deal to sell Mountain Cove Farms to an “unnamed” private individual.

Money Pit Farms

She claimed the farm has made back $3 million she’s put into it, but a close look at the county’s books show it’s cost a LOT more than $3 million and has lost money every single year we’ve owned it. Payroll costs alone at the farm, last year, exceeded revenue by thousands of dollars.

So which of her generous campaign supporters or relatives will buy the place and then give her a job running it?   Tiny Facebook

Speaking of things for sale.. Roper parent GE Appliances may soon be sold to Electrolux of Sweden. What’s behind the sale talks, and what happens to Roper and LaFayette if a sale goes through?

Bebe Heiskell Roper Sale Denial

The Commissioner was wrong on this one, per her usual.   Tiny Facebook  Tiny Facebook  Tiny Facebook

Last Thursday Erlanger LifeForce touched down at Walmart LaFayette. The helicopter ambulance sat on the ground for quite a while, making some wonder if it was involved in a drill or test instead of an emergency, but they were patiently waiting on the arrival of a man involved in a 4-wheeler accident further down the road.

LifeForce at Walmart

Per reports, a yet-unidentified 72-year-old man was seriously injured while riding an ATV near the Fox Hunter’s club on 136 west of Walmart. He was stuck deep in the woods and county rescuers had trouble getting to him. No word on his condition.   Tiny Facebook  Tiny Facebook  Tiny Facebook  Tiny Facebook

Walker County has seen its share of brutal, horrible murders. A young mother raped and killed, elderly people beaten to death in bed, a business owner stabbed and shot to death in his store.

Walker County Death Row Inmates

Decades later the evil men responsible for those deaths still sit in prison with their sentences uncertain – thanks to laziness and incompetence from District Attorney Buzz Franklin and his predecessor Ralph Van Pelt, now a judge.

    “Lookout Mountain Judicial Circuit District Attorney Herbert “Buzz” Franklin has failed to bring these cases to trials the past two decades. The judges handling these cases, likewise, have allowed them to linger.”

Buzz is the same DA who let Clara Marsh off the hook, who collaborated with the Sheriff to make sure officers who did wrong weren’t punished, and who decided to convict Tanya Craft of child molestation when all she did wrong was not promote DeWayne Wilson’s daughter to the next grade.

Franklin should have been sent back to private practice during the last election, but won the race by 40 or so votes that turned up in Dade County. Walker Counter voters need to remember that in 2016 and turn out in large enough numbers to fix this situation.   Tiny Facebook

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