2014
10.18

The intersection of Foster Blvd. and the 27 bypass in front of LaFayette Post Office became the scene of another accident yesterday afternoon – the second wreck there in two days.

October 17 Post Office Wreck

That accident and a handful of other incidents kept Walker County Emergency Services busy all day long. Wrecks in front of Ridgeland and in front of Chickamauga McDonalds, a child eating laundry soap in Rock Spring, and three home football games played at the same time inside the county all spread ambulances thin in the evening.   Tiny Facebook

Speaking of medical emergencies: Will a Gilbert teacher give your child ebola next week as the rumor mill claims?

Short answer: no.   Tiny Facebook

Three home football games were played simultaneously last night inside Walker County, and all three host teams (including two celebrating homecoming) were soundly defeated.

October 17 Football Ramblers vs Pickens

Facing the Pickens Dragons for the first time, LaFayette was defeated 34 to 69. LHS is now 2-4 for the season with three games remaining. Next week is Gilmer in an away game, then Cartersville at home and Ridgeland away.

Ridgeland was also defeated in its homecoming game versus Heritage, the team that beat LaFayette last week. Ridgeland (3-4) scored 16 points to the Generals’ 31. Adding insult to score-injury, the Panthers’ own home crowd booed the team (or possibly its coach) at halftime. (Not sure what led to that, but it’s Ridgeland so who cares.)

And Gordon Lee was shut out by Chattooga, 30-0. Gordon Lee is 2-6 for the year, one of only two teams LaFayette has triumphed over so far this season. An all-around mediocre (bordering on terrible) year for high school football in Walker County.   Tiny Facebook  Tiny Facebook  Tiny Facebook  Tiny Facebook  Tiny Facebook  Tiny Facebook  Tiny Facebook  Tiny Facebook  Tiny Facebook  Tiny Facebook

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2014
10.17

Throughout the day, Walker County social media has been buzzing (absolutely vibrating) with rumors regarding the risk of ebola being spread in a LaFayette school. As rumors tend to go, the details have been inconsistent and the rumored situation has grown worse with each retelling.

Walker County Schools HQ

The core rumor (with some variation) is as follows: An administrator or teacher from Gilbert Elementary traveled to Dallas for the birth of a grandchild. The child was born at a Dallas hospital recently in headline news for the ebola virus, so the school employee will bring the disease back and transmit it to students when she returns to work next week.

In order to address a potential panic in the community, LU contacted the school system for a comment on the situation. Superintendent Raines sent the following statement shortly before 5:00 this evening:

    “The Walker County Board of Education has been in contact with our local Health Department and the Regional Health Department in Rome throughout the day. Officials with the Regional Health Department assure the Walker County School System there is no cause for alarm regarding an employee traveling back from Dallas, Texas. They recommend that everyone become familiar with the Centers for Disease Control’s (CDC) website and read the facts concerning transmission of this or any virus or disease. The main priority of the Walker County School System is the health and safety of all students and employees.”

The school system additionally included this statement from Dr. Wade Sellers of Northwest Georgia Community Health:

    “Ebola is spread by contact with a sick person’s blood or body fluids. Someone who has not been in direct contact with an infected person or has not traveled to West Africa is not at risk for being infected with Ebola.  Even being in the same building where an Ebola patient is being cared for does not present a risk, again, unless there is direct contact with the infected person or their bodily fluids.”

A school employee DID travel to Dallas, but there’s no risk of them catching or carrying the disease unless they sat in the same room as an impacted patient or somehow came across their bodily fluids. The patient who died of ebola was long gone before the school employee left Walker County, and the nurses infected – who don’t work the neonatal unit – are under quarantine in another state.

There’s no risk of ebola coming to Walker County OR being spread to school children at Gilbert or anywhere else through this individual’s out-of-state travel. Parents can send their kids to school next week and the week after that in as much safety as they normally have.

CDC Web Site | Texas Hospital Web Site

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2014
10.15

Corey Petree, organizer of last weekend’s Cherokee Farms event, Fly Free Fest, confirms the county shut them down multiple times over the weekend for violating noise rules. He says county leaders have decided to crack down on Cherokee Farms due to multiple problems on the site and a multitude of complaints from citizens.

Performer During Fly Free Fest 14 at Cherokee Farms

Petree says Commissioner Heiskell revoked the festival’s non-existent special permit to play music all night long. County insiders verify that account, saying the Commissioner’s Office finally took action after several hundred people called 911 to complain about the event, but there was never any special sound permit issued because the county doesn’t have one. They simply enforced the county’s long-standing noise ordinance requiring loud music to end at 11 PM.

    Fly Free Fest Facebook, 10/13/14: “The Walker County Commissioner revoked our special permit and wouldn’t allow us to serve alcohol on Sunday. The sheriff came around 8:30 and told us we couldn’t serve or distribute beer anymore.”

The county DID come tell Fly Free Fest vendors they couldn’t sell alcohol on Sunday, but they didn’t revoke the event’s Sunday sales permit because it never had one of those, either. A special event alcohol retail sale license was issued to Jolly Walrus Productions (which owns Fly Free Fest), but was only good for 10/10 and 10/11, Friday and Saturday. They had no legal permission to sell beer at all on Sunday. The Sheriff’s Office or Walker County Police, whichever agency it was, was right to step in.

For the first time, after eight years of this crap, the county finally started enforcing at least SOME of the rules at Cherokee Farms, and suspended property owner Smokey Caldwell’s “get away with anything” license – at least temporarily.

LU doesn’t say this much, but good on Commissioner Heiskell (and probably Sheriff Wilson) for actually doing something this time.   Tiny Facebook

October 15 Post Office Wreck   October 15 Post Office Wreck

Wreck this morning on LaFayette bypass at Grant St. in front of the Post Office. Happened around 8 AM. No word on injuries.

That’s a dangerous intersection. A city worker was killed in a city vehicle pulling out there a few years ago.   Tiny Facebook

Rudelle Greene in UniformMonday night during the regular October business meeting, LaFayette City Council paid tribute to retired LPD officer Rudelle Greene, who passed away last month.

Greene was hired by LPD 47 years ago to the day (October 13, 1967) and was the department’s first non-white officer AND its first officer with a college degree. Greene served until 1998.

    WQCH Radio, 10/14/14: “IN THE PLAQUE PRESENTATION, MAYOR ANDY ARNOLD WAS JOINED BY POLICE CHIEF BENJIE CLIFT AND ANOTHER VETERAN OF THE LAFAYETTE P.D. – KENNY CARRUTHERS. SERGEANT GREENE WAS THE FIRST AFRICAN-AMERICAN POLICE OFFICER FOR THE CITY. THE PLAQUE WILL BE DISPLAYED NEXT TO THE MEMORIAL FOR FORMER POLICE CHIEF DINO RICHARDSON, AT THE LAFAYETTE POLICE DEPARTMENT.”

Other meeting issues included disposing of surplus equipment and vehicles, engineering new water lines for Swanson Farm industrial park, and adopting a 2015 budget.   Tiny Facebook  Tiny Facebook

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2014
10.13

LU received the usual reports of rampant drug use and public nudity/sexual activity (even with children present) during the weekend’s Cherokee Farms event, Fly Free 2014.

Cherokee Farms Fly Free Fest 14

Beyond drug and alcohol activity, Cherokee Farms activities are notorious for loud window-shaking music that often lasts all through the night, sometimes ending as the sun comes up. This time that didn’t happen, after rumored intervention from Walker County deputies who finally remembered the county’s 11 PM noise ordinance.

An event at Cherokee Farms last October resulted in a burglarized church and a stolen county school bus. An event held at the site in March put a teen in the hospital, on the verge of death, from overconsumption of alcohol. Another event earlier this month saw at least one person sent to Hutcheson after overdosing on mushrooms.

The big question now: why did law enforcement wait so long to get involved?   Tiny Facebook  Tiny Facebook

Thursday Commissioner Heiskell held the last of three legally required meetings to set a final budget for fiscal 2014 – which ended September 30th.

Heiskell operated the county for a year without a budget, finally adopting one that exactly matches her erratic senseless spending after the fact to comply with state law.

In this vide of the afternoon meeting, Heiskell tries to explain why she didn’t adopt a 2014 budget until after the 2014 fiscal year ended, updates on Cedar Grove Community Center, and justifies not using a “line item” budget for county departments.

Plus, county CFO tries to explain why Mountain Cove Farms is completely omitted from the budget. (The audio is terrible, and that’s pretty much how they like it.)

State law is so full of holes, elected leaders can drive a truck of corruption right through the square and flip birds to all the watching taxpayers as they blow by.

Kinda like what happens here.   Tiny Facebook  Tiny Facebook

Hutcheson leaders claim to have “high hopes” for the money-losing hospital. HMC still hasn’t shown a profit in years, and is slated to go to foreclosure auction (again) next month because of the unpaid loan from Erlanger.

Hutcheson 1990 Ad

    Georgia Press Association, September 2014: “Lender [Erlanger] plans to foreclose upon its lien and sell at public outcry to the highest bidder for cash before the Courthouse door at Catoosa County, Georgia, within the legal hours of sale on the first Tuesday in November 2014, the tracts and parcels of land in Catoosa County and Walker County described in the Deed to Secure Debt. Generally, the property at issue contains: Hutcheson Medical Center (Parkside campus), the medical building adjacent to the hospital, the Parkside at Hutcheson Nursing Home, some smaller adjacent buildings and a nearby child care center.”

There will be a meeting next Thursday in Catoosa to discuss the pending foreclosure:

    “Erlanger will hold a public forum to discuss the impact of the foreclosure at The Catoosa County Civic Center Auditorium at the Colonnade in Ringgold, Georgia on October 16, 2014 at 6:30 p.m. This meeting will permit Lender to receive local input on the planned foreclosure and representatives of the Lender will be present to answer questions you may have at that time.”

The soap opera continues..   Tiny Facebook

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2014
10.11

Early Thursday morning an intoxicated driver led police on a high-speed chase from Noble through town to Bi-Lo where he crashed. Authorities say the chase reached speeds in excess of 100MPH while blowing through town.

LaFayette High Speed Chase

Suspect, who hasn’t yet been named, was arrested on Cherokee Street. He was under the influence of alcohol and non-prescription drugs.   Tiny Facebook

All week local media outlets have been pushing a story sent by the Commissioner’s Office regarding a lawsuit filed by former State Court Judge Bruce Roberts.

Former Judge Bruce Roberts

Per all those reports the county won the case, but the legal decision actually went both ways: Roberts’ claim that he was underpaid by the county has been rejected, but the county’s counter-suit against Roberts for dismissing traffic tickets was deemed a “frivolous claim,” and the county has to pay back a portion of the ex-judge’s legal fees.

Here’s the actual decision. Read IT instead of the filtered press-release-based “news” reports.

Report from the Times Free Press also omits some of the facts, but adds this little gem: “Heiskell, in turn, sued Roberts, claiming he caused emotional distress to Sheriff Steve Wilson when he dismissed about 60 traffic cases after losing his re-election.”

So the county and commissioner sued the ex-judge for kicking out traffic tickets, which was his right as a judge, because it made the Sheriff upset? And this is the ONLY thing Steve Wilson has ever gotten upset about? Beyond weird.

All this thing did was cost the county a lot of money. Would have been cheaper to have just settled with Roberts and give him $20k or so than pay county lawyers AND Roberts’ lawyers to fight this in court for two years. (Of course it’s not the Commissioner’s money, it’s yours and mine.)

Judge Roberts is now commuting from Villanow to Atlanta every day because he was basically run out of public service in Walker County by the Commissioner and Sheriff, in favor of noted local drunk Billy Mullinax; Mullinax is now refunding illegal court fees charged to dozens of people since he took office – a practice Roberts didn’t engage in.   Tiny Facebook

State Rep. John Deffenbaugh says the issue of sole commissioner government SHOULD be “up to the people” to decide, but also states he personally prefers a sole commissioner to a commission – especially if the sole commissioner supports HIM.

He refuses to say here if he’ll actually listen to the 1,800 or so people who have signed LU’s petition asking legislators for a vote on the matter. His November opponent, Tom McMahan, said he’ll try to get it on the ballot if elected.

The House District 1 election is only for western Walker and all of Dade. Not all of us can vote, but those who can should be paying attention to this.

(The Sole Commissioner Vote Petition is one month old today. Do your part and sign.)   Tiny Facebook  Tiny Facebook

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