A huge fire last Thursday night at Happy Valley Farms in the Rossville area killed 35 horses and caused millions of dollars in damage. Two barns on the complex were spotted ablaze around 8:30 Thursday on the farm near Ridgeland High School. Walker County fire crews and farm employees responded quickly, but due to the nature of barn fires both buildings and all but one of the horses inside were lost.

Happy Valley Farms Fire

Fortunately the 45-year-old farm has over 100 surviving horses, including 25 new foals. The farm is expected to remain in business and rebuild.

None of the lost animals were insured, and the owner will not make a statement as to their value since she considered them to be priceless. The buildings were valued at $1.1 million. Total losses, including the horses, are somewhere between $4 and $6 million – greater than the total value of all property lost to fire in Walker County last year.

Fire investigators from Walker County, GBI, and FBI/BATF have checked the site seeking to determine a cause. Sources say investigators have a theory but need photos or video from the earliest stages of the fire to verify their suspicions. So if you did happen to get something when the fire was first noticed, contact Walker County Fire.   Tiny Facebook  Tiny Facebook  Tiny Facebook  Tiny Facebook  Tiny Facebook

Per many residents, there have been vehicle break-ins and attempted break-ins all over town, again, in recent weeks. Police say 11 vehicles have been broken into or stolen outright in the last two weeks. Investigators suspect the thieves are teens.

Multiple, multiple reports of police cruisers in residential areas spotlighting in people’s yards. This isn’t the kind of thing the community wants on a regular basis, but if they have to shine a light through the fence for a few days as part of catching whoever’s doing this, we can live with it. They’re not looking in anybody’s windows. So far.

But police can’t be everywhere. Keep vehicles and gates/outbuildings/doors locked at night and report anything suspicious to 911. Maybe LaFayette needs it’s own “Glock Block.”   Tiny Facebook  Tiny Facebook

Yesterday afternoon “an elderly man” – James Brown, Sr. of Indiana Street – accidentally traded gas for brake and donated a new front entrance to the LaFayette Fred’s.

Freds Wreck June 26

Surprisingly, no injuries were reported, and the man will not be charged since the accident happened on private property.   Tiny Facebook  Tiny Facebook

Two other accidents in Walker County during the last week did not end as well:

Sunday an accident on the Battlefield Park bypass in Fort O/Rossville involved a fatality. The passenger of a Jeep, which pulled out in front of another vehicle at the Dewberry/2A intersection, was killed. The driver has been charged with vehicular homicide and is suspected of being under the influence.   Tiny Facebook  Tiny Facebook

Walker Transit Wreck June 21

And on Friday a Walker Transit bus was involved in an accident with “a gold car” on Hwy. 193 near 341 in the Flintstone area. The passenger car reportedly failed to stop at the 193/341 intersection and was struck by the bus. Bus driver and passengers are all physically OK, but the woman succumbed to her injuries Wednesday.   Tiny Facebook  Tiny Facebook

Walker and Catoosa have extended ANOTHER $3.5 million line of credit to Hutcheson Hospital. That puts Walker and Catoosa in for another $6 million million of joint debt responsibility just this year.

They keep propping it up waiting on the Erlanger deal to happen, even though it’s now weeks past the deadline.

Last Thursday Dade County’s commission met and discussed the debt again, but kicked the can down the road to decide about backing it tonight. The deadline for them to get involved (a requirement for keeping their two representatives on the Hutcheson board) is July 1.   Tiny Facebook  Tiny Facebook  Tiny Facebook

Old Fairview Tag Office

The dilapidated Walker County tag office in Fairview/Rossville has been torn down. Per this article (which popped up a couple days after a question about the building was asked on LU Facebook), the unsafe structure will be permanently replaced with a trailer that once housed a bank. Not-Commissioner Ashburn says the county will spend around $80,000 of SPLOST funds on this project and it’ll be done in about three weeks.   Tiny Facebook  Tiny Facebook

Dade and Catoosa County Schools will be raising property taxes this fall to offset state budget cuts. Walker County Schools has avoided raising taxes by cutting 52 teaching positions in the last two years, as mentioned on LU about a month ago.

Classroom size in Walker Schools is at the limit even with exemptions to state rules in place. That means next year the only thing left to do is raise taxes. And Bebe’s probably going to do the same THIS year. Get ready…   Tiny Facebook

In other school news, Walker County School Board will now allow students to “test out” of certain classes. That means smart kids can skip a class by taking – and doing well – on the final exam. Kids who fail the test will have to reimburse the cost.   Tiny Facebook

LaFayette woman accuses a Summerville fast-food restaurant manager and store employee of harassing her via text message.   Tiny Facebook

Orlando college student Michael Pirie has been posthumously awarded a Carnegie Hero medal for his attempts to rescue a friend who fell inside Ellison’s Cave during 2011. Pirie and the friend both died in the cave of hypothermia.   Tiny Facebook

Summerville Double DUI Mary Jane Cloud

A Summerville woman was arrested two days in a row for DUI, by the same officer, in the same part of town, driving the same vehicle, at almost the same time of day.   Tiny Facebook

Dade County Library (which is part of the Cherokee Regional Library system based here) is being sued by the contractor it fired last year for being behind schedule and doing poor work. The library has filed a countersuit against the contractor.   Tiny Facebook

GBI is investigating the police chief of Griffin, GA for ordering illegal background checks of grand jurors investigating one of his officers.

Griffin PD is where we got former LaFayette PD Chief Tommy “Fire His Ass” Freeman, who also deserved a GBI investigation but didn’t get one.   Tiny Facebook

New warden takes over at Hays State Prison next week. Here’s an update on (official claimed) progress towards renovating the facility and fixing some of it’s notorious problems.   Tiny Facebook

Imperial Cup Helicopter Landing

This helicopter landed at the old Imperial Bondware/Sweetheart Cup plant Monday around 4 PM. Looked like a couple of businessmen or people dressed in suits hopped out. No idea what’s going on, maybe something good…   Tiny Facebook

Rhea County TN sheriff has so far done everything possible to NOT investigate accusations that his officers beat the Dade County trustee who fled up there and was arrested after crashing into a patrol car.

The state of Tennessee will investigate the incident since nobody else apparently plans to.   Tiny Facebook

The Cookie Boss on Chattanooga Street, under new management/owners, is now “Wildflour.”   Tiny Facebook

Not Exactly Surprising: Georgia residents are less likely to vote, volunteer, or attend public meetings than the national average. Walker County residents prove the study results accurate each and every week.   Tiny Facebook

The intersection of Villanow St. and Chattanooga St. is now a three-way stop, but a lot of drivers aren’t stopping. Pay attention and don’t run anyone over.

New 3 Way Stop on Chattanooga St.

That intersection needed to be a three-way stop a long time ago. But now we need LPD to get out there and watch it for a few days, remind some people what the red octagon signs mean. (Image from Mars Theater District Facebook.)   Tiny Facebook

An appeals court has ruled Murray County Schools are not liable for a student who killed himself after being bullied. (The family of this child was one of five stories mentioned in the documentary “Bully” and they did several talk shows discussing what happened, attempting to raise awareness of school bullying situations.)

Should schools be held legally accountable when bullying or abuse leads to suicide?   Tiny Facebook

In other school news around the state:

GA Department of Education is rolling out a new curriculum framework allowing students to choose one of 17 “career pathways” meant to prepare for college degrees in the same topic.   Tiny Facebook

After a study showed Georgia trains more teachers than it needs, and doesn’t train them well enough, the state is planning to raise its standards for teaching colleges and beginning educators. As one commenter said, “we don’t need more educators – we need more educated educators.”   Tiny Facebook

Twenty years ago this week the first Georgia Lottery tickets went on sale. Second highest winner in state history lives (or lived) in Dalton.   Tiny Facebook

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