2016
11.20

Fire crews from around the state, including local volunteers, have been challenged by the recent dry weather and outbreak of woods fires.

Probasco Street Woods Fire - November 13 2016

Just within the last week, Walker County crews have fought brush or woods fires on Hwy. 151 in Naomi, Probasco Street in LaFayette, Chamberlain Road off 193, and one today on Halls Valley Road – among dozens of other smaller fires.

Local law enforcement is also pressed by idiots who continue to light up, responding to a half dozen illegal outdoor burns in just one day.

Regionally, fires have continued to burn on Rocky Face Ridge in Whitfield County, and atop Lookout Mountain in Dade and parts of Walker. The Tatum Gulf fire atop Lookout briefly required residents of Highland Subdivision in Dade to evacuate, although no homes were lost there. (That blaze is expected to keep burning through the end of the month.)

Many of the fire fighters working in state forest land are actually prisoners, men who have taken fire fighter training behind bars and volunteered to come battle the flames. Others have been brought in from out of state to help locals, especially with the largest fires.

243 people battling the Cohutta Wilderness fire are preparing to spend the Thanksgiving holiday away from their families. They are, instead, working 16-hour shifts during two week assignments to stay on top of a monster blaze that could put the homes of others at risk.

That inferno has now burned over 28,000 acres of forest land – that’s over five times larger than Chickamauga Battlefield. The blaze is now about 40% contained.

Comparatively, Walker County has been shielded from the worse of these fires – but without significant rain, a deluge of small fires will continue.   Tiny Facebook  Tiny Facebook  Tiny Facebook  Tiny Facebook  Tiny Facebook  Tiny Facebook  Tiny Facebook  Tiny Facebook  Tiny Facebook  Tiny Facebook  Tiny Facebook  Tiny Facebook

In response to the fires and drought, commissioners of Walker, Chattooga, Dade, Catoosa and other counties around the region issued temporary bans on all outdoor fires.

Walker County Facebook - Outdoor Fire Band

(All county burning restrictions were worded similarly, but several counties had trouble getting the message across to citizens – this post from Walker County, which was also reverse-911 texted to citizens, referred to an “Outdoor Fire Band.” To be fair, Dade was no better, misspelling “Fire Departmenst” in its own text to residents.)

LaFayette’s city council went a step beyond the county, banning all outdoor fires, plus asking law enforcement to ticket those seen tossing cigarette butts out their car windows.

(If you see somebody burning anything outside, or tossing out cigarette butts, call your respective law enforcement agencies or non-emergency 911.)

    WQCH Radio, 11/14/16: “IN THE FACE OF FIRE DANGER FROM DROUGHT CONDITIONS, THE LAFAYETTE CITY COUNCIL AUTHORIZED AN IMMEDIATE BAN ON ALL OUTDOOR BURNING UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE. POLICE WILL EVEN STOP MOTORISTS OBSERVED ‘FLICKING CIGARETTES’ OUT THE WINDOW – A “ZERO TOLERANCE” BAN ON ALL TYPES OF OUTDOOR BURNING.”

Walker County schools didn’t disrupt class for the smokey conditions as some hoped, but is asking parents to keep kids inside until the bus arrives, to limit their exposure to smoke.

The bus will wait on kids to come out, which means it might run late. Kids who ride the bus and arrive to school late for this reason will not be marked absent.

Chamberlain Rd Smokey Conditions / Walker County Messenger Josh OBryant

At the state level, Governor Deal banned fireworks for most of the dry state. Deal also included many counties (including Walker) in a “Level 2” drought, which means you’re restricted in days of the week you can water your grass. (As if you watered grass anyway.)

It’s unclear if restrictions apply to private wells, or only public water.   Tiny Facebook  Tiny Facebook  Tiny Facebook  Tiny Facebook  Tiny Facebook  Tiny Facebook

Bebe Heiskell concedes that Shannon Whitfield beat her in the election, and says he won the vote “fair and square” by a huge margin. She says they’re working together on a transition.

Bebe Heiskell Campaigning With Morgan Heiskell and John Culpepper

Heiskell tells reporters she wants to “tie up as many loose ends” as she can before leaving office at the end of December, which could be bad news for people who opposed her or her plans.

You thought she was bad before? Now she’s got nothing to lose by doing whatever she can get away with. Lots of projects she’s been putting off for political reasons might come to a head in the next few weeks while everyone is distracted by the holidays.

You haven’t seen government waste until you see what all Bebe can accomplish unfettered in the next six weeks.

She has an unfinished fire station in Hinkle, an unfinished walking trail on Lookout Mountain, a half-remodeled office building in LaFayette where the tax office used to be, and maybe some contracts to hand out to friends or family.

As sole commissioner, she has no restrictions on what she can do through December, other than the law – which she’s never really seemed to care much about.

Step one? Using the power of government to take away private land atop Lookout Mountain that has kept her from finishing Bobby Davenport’s walking trail/driveway – a step Heiskell took during last Thursday’s business meeting while Commissioner-Elect Whitfield sat silently and watched.   Tiny Facebook  Tiny Facebook  Tiny Facebook

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2016
11.11

Shannon Whitfield’s money and insider support dominated the commissioner race, with 72% of the vote, in a year with record turnout.

Whitfield - They Bought It

Whitfield did best in Mountain precinct and received the least support from voters in Kensington, but his percentage of the vote didn’t dip below 63% in any precinct.

Scrappy independent outsider Perry Lamb finished the race in second, ahead of last-place loser incumbent Bebe Heiskell. Heiskell didn’t get more than 19% support in any voting precinct in the county, and even her normal area of strength – nursing home absentee ballots – went to Whitfield 3 to 1.

Perry Lamb’s strongest support came from Kensington and LaFayette where he got nearly a quarter of the vote, but still a disappointingly low result considering he lives right here in town on Bradley Avenue.

PRECINCT WHITFIELD LAMB BEBE TOTAL
ARMUCHEE VALLEY 574 (72.66%) 145 (18.35%) 71 (8.99%) 790
CENTER POST 887 (71.53%) 244 (19.68%) 109 (8.79%) 1,240
CHATT VALLEY 2,807 (76.07%) 452 (12.25%) 431 (11.68%) 3,690
CHICKAMAUGA 3,076 (75.97%) 421 (10.40%) 552 (13.63%) 4,049
FAIRVIEW 1,130 (76.40%) 153 (10.34%) 196 (13.25%) 1,479
FAIRYLAND 633 (74.73%) 53 (6.26%) 161 (19.01%) 847
KENSINGTON 562 (63.72%) 186 (21.09%) 134 (15.19%) 882
LAFAYETTE 2,208 (66.19%) 810 (24.28%) 318 (9.53%) 3,336
MOUNTAIN 569 (78.37%) 86 (11.85%) 71 (9.78%) 726
ROCK SPRING 2,757 (73.36%) 601 (15.99%) 400 (10.64%) 3,758
ROSSVILLE 2,158 (71.29%) 352 (11.63%) 517 (17.08%) 3,027
TOTALS 17,361 (72.87%) 3,503 (14.70%) 2,960 (12.42%) 23,824

Voter turnout set a record, both in early voting (13,000+ ballots cast) and overall turnout. 24,509 of the county’s 32,951 registered active voters clicked the button for at least one candidate or issue on the ballot.

(Not every voter participated in the commissioner race. Overall turnout of 24,509 is greater than the 23,824 who cast a ballot for commissioner. 23,939 cast a ballot for president. Presumably some voters showed up and just voted for commissioner, and others only voted for president.)

Shannon Whitfield RaceCongratulations to Team Whitfield for their overwhelming election victory.

Congrats also to Whitfield’s corporate donors, who will profit from his administration at taxpayer expense.

Congratulations to the Walker County Republican Party, which ignores Whitfield’s ethical shortcomings (as it ignored Heiskell’s for 16 years) in return for keeping control over the commissioner office.

Congratulations to Bobby Teems, who (as during the campaign) will direct Whitfield’s words and actions while he’s in office.

Congratulations to Whitfield Oil Company, now guaranteed another “generation” of profits on the backs of county citizens.

Congratulations to Bebe Heiskell and her entourage who now will avoid prosecution for their misdeeds since Whitfield has already vowed not to conduct an independent investigative audit that would uncover abuses.

Congratulations to opponents of a multi-member commission government, who will never again have to worry about that concept becoming a reality in Walker County.

Congratulations to those, like Ales Campell and Mike Cameron, who were once allied with we malcontents who fought to turn the county around, who sold out their values and souls for a promised piece of the action on Whitfield’s fake advisory boards.

And deepest sympathies to the Walker County voters who have once again been led down the wrong road like sheep to the slaughter, smiling all the way.

Hope you enjoy another generation of broken, corrupt local government.   Tiny Facebook  Tiny Facebook  Tiny Facebook  Tiny Facebook

Perry Lamb concedes to Whitfield after running a clean race.

Better to lose with your head held high than win through shenanigans.   Tiny Facebook

This dry summer has resulted in more woods fires than normal, to say the least.

Woods Fire / Wells Lane Villanow - November 10 2016

In October, the state responded to 200 times as many wildfires as the monthly average across five years.

Monday there were 28 new forest fires in Georgia. 19 were reported on Sunday. One blaze in Cohutta has now burned 10,000 acres. Tennessee is also battling a number of large fires, including one in Harrison that required an evacuation.

Another wildfire was called in Thursday for Walker County, this one on Wells Lane off 136 in Villanow. That fire only burned about an acre of land but created a lot of black smoke because of trash and tires on the property.

The National Forestry Service has banned fires of all kinds, including grilling, from all of Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forest.

But fires aren’t just being caused by flames or cigarettes – hot vehicle exhausts, sparks from equipment – anything hot enough can start a forest fire in these conditions.

Maybe hold off on wearing corduroy pants until we get some rain.   Tiny Facebook  Tiny Facebook  Tiny Facebook

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2016
11.08

ELECTION 2016

Today is the day, that day of days. The day when Walker County will finally choose to free itself from decades of suffering under compromised, ethically corrupt sole commissioners – or elect a candidate who’s refused to make himself obligated to out-of-state deep-pocket interests, who will fight to put the sole commissioner system to an end.

Will Walker actually do that, or replace one bad (Bebe) with another (Whitfield)?

The polls are open today 7-7, with huge turnout. We should know the results before bedtime. (Find out where YOU vote here.)

After you vote, go get a free donut at the Krispy Kreme in Chattanooga, Rome, or Dalton. If you weren’t already motivated enough..   Tiny Facebook  Tiny Facebook  Tiny Facebook  Tiny Facebook  Tiny Facebook

As LU revealed back in the spring (without naming names), Shannon Whitfield didn’t decide on his own to run for commissioner – he was drafted.

Shannon Whitfield Balloons / Doug Strickland Times Free Press

A group of Republican Party leaders realized Bebe was done and met last winter to choose The One who they would push to replace her. Their first choice dropped out and was replaced by Whitfield.

Others who might have run were apparently offered “advisor” roles if they would stay out of the race, while at least one other was bullied to keep his name off the ballot.

The only other candidate who tried to run as a Republican, Mike Peardon, was given equal help by the party, but its leaders campaigned for his opponent (Whitfield) and made fun of him publicly before the primary.

Did they choose Whitfield to replace Bebe because they didn’t like how she was governing? Or because they realized she won’t be reelected and they needed somebody else to do for them what she’s done for the last sixteen years?   Tiny Facebook

Whether you vote for Lamb or Whitfield, Bebe Heiskell will be out of a job come January – and she’s blaming LU for her demise.

Bebe Audia Reelection Billboard Parody

She accuses The Underground of “stalking” her. Heiskell also suggests LU is part of a Republican Party group that turned on her and picked Whitfield to replace her – which is pretty ridiculous since we don’t care for the Party or their current candidate for the same reasons we never could stand her.

    “Local Republican leaders say they have nothing to do with the blog. Mike Cameron, the party’s Rossville precinct chairman, said he has an about who writes the blog, but they aren’t in the party. ‘I don’t like people who hide behind pseudonyms,’ he said.”

Mr. Cameron liked LU until we refused to let his chosen candidate, Shannon Whitfield, have this election without a fight. Now he’s helping Team Whitfield crap on us, even though LU (per Heiskell and others) paved the road that Team Whitfield is driving on now.   Tiny Facebook

Most people don’t appreciate politicians exploiting children for their own gain.

A few years ago many were outraged when a group of school kids up north were singing songs about the president in class.

Is it acceptable now to have elementary cheerleaders doing chants for Shannon Whitfield during a public event?

Whitfield had a booth and signs at the GNTC-sponsored Ridgeland-hosted Bobcat Cheer Extravaganza in September. Far as we know, no other candidates were invited to participate.

Little kids doing a school activity were being used to promote the candidate, in a tax-funded facility.

Whitfield Booth at Ridgeland Cheerleading

Former Walker School Board member Karen Stoker apparently put this together, she’s a big Whitfield backer.

A few years back a parent was allowed to pass out pro-SPLOST campaign material at Gilbert. That was bad enough, for Bebe’s benefit, but this is just beyond acceptable.   Tiny Facebook

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2016
11.07

ELECTION 2016

Yesterday commissioner candidate Perry Lamb responded to repeated criticism of his 2009 bankruptcy filing by releasing his 2014 and 2015 income tax returns.

Lamb 2014:

Perry Lamb 2014 Tax Returns


 

Lamb 2015:

Perry Lamb 2014 Tax Returns


 

Lamb challenged his opponents, Bebe Heiskell and Shannon Whitfield, to follow his lead and release their own tax forms to the public.

Surprisingly, Bebe Heiskell agreed.

She released her 2015 tax return on Facebook yesterday and promised to post the 2014 return sometime today.

Heiskell 2015:

Bebe Heiskell 2015 Tax Returns


 

Disappointingly, candidate Shannon Whitfield has not released his own tax returns, and likely won’t ever do so.

Whitfield’s brother Shawn, who frequently speaks for Shannon (while insisting he does not) says asking candidates to share their tax returns is “crap” and the data is nobody else’s business.

Shawn Whitfield Tax Returns Nobody's Business

There is no legal requirement for a candidate (in Georgia anyway) to release their income tax return to run for office. But doing so anyway proves a candidate is willing to go above and beyond the minimum required to be transparent before voters.

Lamb has been open about HIS finances since the beginning of this campaign, and now Heiskell under pressure from Lamb is opening up her own records.

Whitfield, who has the most potential conflicts of interest and likely the largest income of the three candidates, won’t reveal his own financial situation and probably never will. That’s the same approach the candidate and his family have taken to financials from Whitfield Oil Company, which does considerable business with the county.

Shawn Whitfield / Never Know Company Finances

Team Whitfield is now less transparent than Bebe Heiskell.

Pretty sad for a candidate who keeps claiming he’s running on a platform of transparency.

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2016
11.06

Walker County set an early voting record this election year: 13,756 ballots cast during the last three weeks – plus another thousand “absentee” ballots sent in the mail.

That’s 41% voter turnout, which is decent for the entire election – and actual election day isn’t until Tuesday. (Polls will be open Tuesday 7A to 7P.)

Walker Commissioner Candidates in Rossville / Heidi Lamb

When asked by the local paper what their “top priorities” are for next year if they win the vote, Walker County’s three commissioner candidates gave varying answers.
Bebe Heiskell said she’ll work on roads, which she hasn’t done in the last sixteen years, and get sole commissioner on the ballot – something else she’s intentionally blocked since taking office.

Perry Lamb said he’ll make sure the county’s own charter is being followed, demand the sole commissioner issue be on a ballot soon, do a forensic audit to find out where the county’s money went, and work to cut department budgets as possible by 10%.

Shannon Whitfield said he’ll work to reduce debt, set up an advisory team to help him, and won’t do an audit – but if he finds any problems with the county’s money he’ll let the state know.

Farts n Charts Whitfield Slide 1   Farts n Charts Whitfield Slide 2

Whitfield has said several times now that it will cost too much to do a full investigative audit. But he’ll set up a “financial” team to check into it, and if they find any problems they’ll let the state know.

Some of the people on his financial team, including himself, may have things in the county’s finances they don’t want people to find out. The ONLY way to do a financial investigation is to have it done by someone independent who has nothing to lose from telling the truth.

We wouldn’t put up with Bebe auditing herself, so why is it acceptable for her presumed replacement to do his own audit?   Tiny Facebook  Tiny Facebook

Jimmie GoinsTwo Walker deputies were injured Thursday morning, with one sent to Cornerstone for treatment, after being stabbed or cut by a suspect.

Early reports say Jimmie Goins, 32, was prowling inside a Rock Spring apartment and went after officers with a kitchen knife when confronted.

Goins, who got out of prison four days earlier – last Sunday – now faces a laundry list of new charges.

He has past felony convictions for battery, obstruction of law enforcement, damaging government property, DUI, meth, and marijuana.   Tiny Facebook  Tiny Facebook

Shawn Whitfield / Never Know Company Finances

Commissioner candidate Shannon Whitfield, who has repeatedly refused to reveal anything about his personal finances or the books of his family business, says Perry Lamb should be disqualified from the election because he filed for bankruptcy a decade ago.

Lamb overcame a huge debt caused by the housing market implosion and is now able to pay for his own campaign. He says the experience of going bankrupt gave him a better understanding of how most people in the county live and showed him how to live on a budget.

Not everybody can get a ready-made business handed to them by their daddy, with an office, title, and guaranteed business from the government. Some people actually have to work for a living, and sometimes debt happens.

(Perry mentioned his bankruptcy on his campaign web site and has been open about it from the beginning, this is becoming news now because Team Whitfield has nothing else to throw at him with the election getting close and Lamb rising in popularity.)

For months now, Mr. Lamb has gone door to door around Walker County, shaking hands and talking to the average man or woman about what they want and need from their local government.

Lamb hasn’t been reported to the ethics commission. He hasn’t been cited for shenanigans with his donations, he hasn’t cashed big checks from companies in Tennessee, and he hasn’t made personal attacks against his opponents – something Whitfield nor Heiskell can claim.

He’s earned your support by investing his own sweat, funding, and shoe leather into this campaign while the other two candidates for commissioner have sent their teams out to do dirty work on their behalf.

If you want to see actual change in Walker County, beginning next January, then you need to touch the button for Perry David Lamb, Jr. next Tuesday.   Tiny Facebook  Tiny Facebook

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