A house fire in the Catlett area Thursday morning claimed the life of a 60-year-old man, Peter Wattenbarger.

October 30 Catlett House Fire

Per reports, the semi-disabled man’s home at 963 Round Pound Rd. caught fire because of a defective wood heater. (The structure is a complete loss.) He was pulled from the fire by an off duty firefighter, assistant chief Marlin Thompson, but died of his injuries after arriving at Hutcheson.

Mr. Wattenbarger becomes Walker County’s second fire-related death this year and Georgia’s 87th.   Tiny Facebook  Tiny Facebook  Tiny Facebook

Today is Halloween. Scare on the Square will be held tonight at 5 PM, so expect the normal traffic issues and watch for kids on the streets all over town. (It starts at FIVE not FOUR or THREE. FIVE.)

Scare on the Square 2014 Poster

The city says smoking is not allowed on the street during this year’s event and “family appropriate” costumes are encouraged, with public decency laws being enforced. If the weather gets bad enough, SOTS will be moved to next Friday, November 5th.

Other Halloween/fall events today and tomorrow:

Fall Festival at Highlands Church, 6 tonight – rain or shine.

Lake WinnepeSPOOKah at Lake Winnie, 6-11 tonight.

Trunk or Treat at Stone Ridge Fellowship, 2-7 tomorrow.

Pumpkin Smash, tomorrow morning in Chattanooga.

Also tonight the Ramblers will participate in a football game against the scary 7-1 Cartersville Purple Hurricanes, LHS’ final home game of the season.   Tiny Facebook  Tiny Facebook

Several days ago someone started a rumor on social media about a shooting at Ridgeland. Students were warned not to attend class on Wednesday or Thursday because they would be in danger of death. Investigators said the threats were started by a “female former student” who attended class at Ridgeland earlier this year.

Ridgeland Social Media Threat

Walker Sheriff’s Office increased security at the school even while saying the threat was a hoax, and of course nothing happened – but a number of students were absent due to irrational fear.

The odds of being shot at school are about the same as catching Ebola, which is to say it’s not likely at all. But the chances of being shot on a day when a shooting threat has been in the news is much lower than the odds on a regular day.. People who plan to shoot up a school don’t announce it first – and Ridgeland has probably been safer this week than it has in years.

Heck, SRO Deputy Bruce Coker showed up every day to do his job because of the threats. How often does THAT happen?   Tiny Facebook  Tiny Facebook

Jeremiah Jackson & Darrell Burgess

One of two Walker County natives accused of murder in Cherokee County Alabama has waived extradition and was sent back to Alabama. His partner in the alleged crime remains in the Walker jail as lawyers hash out his return.   Tiny Facebook

Wendy's Security Video Pickup Truck

LPD seeks helps ID’ing vehicle depicted. Appears to be a two-tone Dodge truck. Presumably they’re also interested in the vehicle’s owner, not just the truck itself.

(Looks like security video from the Wendy’s Drive Thru window.)

Other local crime news:

Saturday someone broke into a Colerain St. home and in under an hour stole jewelry, a broken Blu-Ray player, a beer, and $70 worth of meat. He also ate her oatmeal and Rice Krispy Treats.

Break into a house, steal 30lb of meat, and drink a beer in 50 minutes – the LaFayette version of Ironman Triathlon. (Notice the report clarifies it wasn’t just meat, it was Shop-Rite meat.

Another week, another car theft: Keys and knife stolen out of vehicle on Magnolia St. by a suspect who was likely homeless and intoxicated.

Teens who OD’d on drugs during a party at Yester Oaks last Thursday took stolen medication meant to treat seizures and psychological issues. The “high” they got wasn’t exactly what they were looking for.

If you’re gonna take a bunch of prescription drugs, at least know what they are first.

Also: Latest local arrests and jail bookings. (Mom??!?)   Tiny Facebook  Tiny Facebook  Tiny Facebook  Tiny Facebook  Tiny Facebook

Farrell HayesHutcheson CEO Farrell Hayes says Catoosa County’s lawsuit demanding financial records for the last six years is meant to destabilize the hospital as it battles foreclosure.

Let’s say he’s right and Catoosa wants Hutcheson to be foreclosed. That means Catoosa would rather have the hospital, one of its largest employers and a huge asset to the community, change owners in a foreclosure than leave Hayes and current administrators in charge.

Or he’s wrong and Hutcheson has intentionally denied access to its financial records – against state law – for six years. Either way, the hospital is in the wrong and in big trouble.   Tiny Facebook

If you vote next week for Nathan Deal OR Jason Carter in the governor’s race, don’t expect your candidate to support laws allowing college students to carry guns on campus. Only Libertarian candidate Andrew Hunt has spoken in favor of self defense at state colleges.   Tiny Facebook

The family of Damon Jones is accepting donations to help cover his final expenses. Jones was killed a week ago yesterday in a 4-wheeler accident in Naomi.   Tiny Facebook

Last Friday an early voter in Douglas County was ordered to remove his “NRA Instructor” hat before casting a ballot.

GA Voter Wearing NRA Hat

Elections officials there say the NRA logo equates to a specific political endorsement, which is prohibited by law.   Tiny Facebook

Based on recommendations from his eboler response team, Gov. Deal has issued policies to screen people traveling into the state from Ebola-infected countries.   Tiny Facebook

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