2017
03.26

After six years as principal, Mike Culberson will not be returning to LaFayette High School next fall.

His departure will clearly happen, however the reasons FOR that departure have been made clear as mud by the school board, school superintendent, and Culberson himself. That leaves many of his students, and quite a few parents, suspicious and upset.

Culberson Protest at LHS.

LHS students protesting on the football field earlier today, over the reported firing/removal of Principal Culberson.

Expect to see more of the same tonight at the school system office on Duke Street. The School Board will be meeting there at 6 tonight.

School officials still officially deny Culberson was dismissed; if he WAS fired or pushed out there's no clear theory yet as to why.

Posted by The LaFayette Underground on Monday, March 20, 2017

News broke Sunday, in an e-mail from the Walker County Educators Association, that Culberson had been “fired” on Friday. That e-mail sent to teachers blamed Culberson’s apparent termination on a disagreement he had with the Superintendent over grading standards.

The school board on Monday denied that Culberson had lost his job, said he was still employed at LHS, and nothing was changing in school leadership for the remainder of the school year. But Culberson wasn’t in his office, and unconvinced students staged a walkout and protest on his behalf.

Students and parents also flooded the school board’s Monday night meeting to show support for Culberson and ask for answers about his firing – or (depending on who you ask) his NOT firing.

The school board, despite the huge crowd, immediately went into a closed door meeting and ignored the public for an hour. Afterwards they came out and voted on one item – a list of administrator and principal contracts for the next school year. On that list was only one contract not being renewed: Mike Culberson’s.

After the meeting Superintendent Raines spoke and said the meeting was only about next year’s contracts, Mike Culberson is still employed for the current year, and “should” be at LHS the rest of the year. Raines added that Culberson asked him to respect his privacy, and nothing happening has any link to standards based grading issues.

Raines said the board can’t discuss employee matters with the public and blamed Jim Barrett’s board access lawsuit for refusing community input in the meeting. The Superintendent spoke to the gathered crowd (mostly media and LHS students) like a bunch of 5th graders, and thanked everyone for their interest and support.

None of that did much to clarify what was happening. Students, parents, and many school staffers remained confused and conflicted over Culberson’s status. (The principal himself didn’t participate in the school board meeting and refused to speak about his situation to media citing advice from an attorney.)

Mr. Culberson DID return to work on Tuesday, and was present at the school through the week making announcements and greeting students. But his school e-mail account stopped working (at least temporarily) and personal items were removed from his desk and office. Karen Hughes, a former principal recently working on projects in the central office, was sent to LHS where some observed her acting as a “babysitter” for principal Culberson.

So what DID happen?

Sources within Walker County Schools say Mike Culberson actually chose himself to have the School Board drop his contract for next year. His other option, from Superintendent Raines, was being investigated and probably fired for multiple ethics violations the board was concerned over.

He may have claimed initially that he was cut for a disagreement with the superintendent, but has during the last week backed down from that story. Those who were lined up to back him legally (the state and local teacher organizations) a weekend ago have gone silent in the days since the news of his dismissal first broke.

There are a dozen rumors going around as to what Culberson’s ethical violations might be, some more credible than others. (None, at this point, LU feels fully confident in sharing as the full truth.) Whatever the allegations are, they were apparently substantial enough that he opted to lose his current job instead of being investigated and risking public embarrassment and potentially the loss of his entire future career in another school district.   Tiny Facebook  Tiny Facebook  Tiny Facebook  Tiny Facebook  Tiny Facebook  Tiny Facebook  Tiny Facebook  Tiny Facebook  Tiny Facebook  Tiny Facebook  Tiny Facebook  Tiny Facebook

Sad news from Foster Blvd Saturday afternoon.

A 14-year-old boy driving a two-seat off-road vehicle similar to a gator was badly injured in an accident.

The boy, reportedly not wearing a seatbelt or helmet, rolled the vehicle on a steep hill.

No word yet how, or who, the victim is – but his injuries were bad enough to call in LifeForce. The helicopter landed in the middle of the shut-down bypass and carried him off to care.   Tiny Facebook  Tiny Facebook

Tuesday night Northwest Georgia was hit hard by a fast moving storm. The bad weather only lasted about an hour, but strong winds knocked out power for tens of thousands across the region. Hail larger than a dime did damage to vehicles and metal roofs in Rossville and Chattanooga.

Goodwill in LaFayette was battered but not broken, opening the next day as customers stepped around the thrift store’s downed signage. Most schools in Walker and surrounding counties opened several hours late so bus drivers would have better visibility.

Downed trees and debris were cleaned up as linemen restored power, with most impacted properties back on the grid by Thursday morning.   Tiny Facebook  Tiny Facebook  Tiny Facebook  Tiny Facebook  Tiny Facebook  Tiny Facebook  Tiny Facebook  Tiny Facebook

If you’re hoping for “tiny house” rules in Walker that make sense, and give landowners freedom to do what they want, don’t hold your breath.

Members of the zoning board making up rules to regulate small houses, as instructed by Commissioner Whitfield in his six-month ban, say the structures will be segregated; zoned together into select parts of the county because they don’t want them next door to THEIR homes.

The county zoning director compares homes under 500 square feet to sheds, trailers, and shanties without toilets – while Whitfield himself says tiny homes are “ugly.”

    “And in Walker County, permitting staff employee Kristy Parker said, some people are living in storage units and calling them homes.”

So ban THAT instead of banning legitimate tiny houses. Require them to have bathrooms, plumbing, and electric put in to code. Don’t blanket ban them based on square footage.

Go look around the county and tell us how many FULL SIZE houses are dangerous abandoned eyesores that nobody pays taxes on.

Commissioner Whitfield needs to realize not everyone can afford to live in a half-million-dollar house in downtown Chickamauga as HE does.   Tiny Facebook

Read More >>

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

2017
03.19

What has 156 wheels, weighs 729,000lb, and stretches 290 foot long?

The trucks used to haul components of a new metal press bound for Roper.

Two mega wide-load shipments of equipment crept across the state from Savannah to LaFayette during the last week, arriving Friday evening with much disruption of traffic.

The GDOT-approved delivery route, Calhoun through Villanow, over Taylor’s Ridge on 136 then to 151, through Naomi to 27 and Shattuck Industrial, had cars backed up into the late hours on Friday.

The package finally arrived at Roper’s back gate about 11 Friday night, with another huge load expected into town on Monday.

(Thank goodness they didn’t try to navigate the downtown square.)   Tiny Facebook  Tiny Facebook

A police pursuit through Chickamauga Battlefield started about 4:30 Tuesday afternoon with a hit and run at the Fort O Krystal.

It ended a few minutes later when a park ranger blocked the fleeing suspect’s Dodge Challenger with a Park Service pickup truck.

The female suspect is thought to have been under the influence, suffering from low blood sugar, or perhaps both. (Family members suggest sugar.)   Tiny Facebook  Tiny Facebook

Major construction began Friday at City Hall.

LaFayette’s civic building is getting a new roof and some cosmetic upgrades, which required it to close all day on March 17th.

Most of the roof was on by Saturday, and the building will be open normally during the next week as work continues outside.   Tiny Facebook

Read More >>

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

2017
03.14

Walker County Development Authority, the county’s unelected shadow government, will meet today at the convenient time of 10 AM.

On their agenda: discussing bidss (if any) to lease out Mountain Cove Farms, a proposed “rendering plant” at the old Barwick mill in Kensington, and a smattering of other business.

The meeting will be held at the Civic Center.   Tiny Facebook

Last Tuesday Georgia’s Senate approved a bill that would allow the state to expand toll roads, and keep charging tolls on roads forever even after their construction costs are paid off.

The bill, SB 183, also allows private companies to get a piece of the toll road action, essentially paving the way for Georgia to make interstates into for-profit businesses and make our highway system resemble the toll-cursed hellscapes of New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

Senator Jeff Mullis backed the proposal in a 50-1 vote. Now it goes on to the GA House, and if supported there will go before Governor Deal.

Before that happens, it must be approved by the House Transportation Committee. Rep John Deffenbaugh, who “represents” half of Walker and all of Dade sits on that committee, and his NO vote could still kill it dead.

Call John Deffenbaugh today, right now if you can, at 404 656-0202 (Atlanta office) and ask him to oppose SB 183.

Deffenbaugh’s district covers all of Dade, plus western Walker – which includes Center Post, Rossville, Lookout, a sliver of Chickamauga, and part of Fort Oglethorpe. (But not LaFayette.)

If you live in those areas, especially, take time and call him. If you don’t live in those areas, and care about this, call him anyway – and then call your own Representative in case it still passes the Transportation Committee.

LaFayette and the rest of Walker are under Rep. Steve Tarvin.   Tiny Facebook  Tiny Facebook

What are the odds of finding drug evidence on the ground in Linwood?

Pretty good actually.

    WQCH Radio, 03/11/17: “A PEDESTRIAN WAS CHARGED WITH POSSESSION OF METH AFTER AN EARLY MORNING POLICE STOP IN LINWOOD, [last] TUESDAY.

    “31 YEAR OLD JENNY LYNN MCCAMISH APPEARED NERVOUS WHEN STOPPED ON FORTUNE STREET AT 1:30 IN THE MORNING, ACCORDING TO THE POLICE REPORT.
    “SHE ADMITTED HAVING BEEN ARRESTED FOR METH POSSESSION IN THE ATLANTA AREA RECENTLY, BUT DENIED HAVING ANYTHING ILLEGAL ON HER PERSON.
    “OFFICER RYAN WILSON DIDN’T FIND ANYTHING ON HER, BUT NOTICED A CELLO WRAPPER ABOUT FIVE FEET FROM HIS PATROL CAR ON THE GROUND. IT CONTAINED METH, AND MCCAMISH WAS ARRESTED FOR POSSESSION.”

This one seems like a reach…

Was the meth likely hers? Yes.

Would we feel comfortable passing judgment on somebody in court saying that they absolutely were responsible for a random packet of drugs found on the side of Fortune Street? No.

Unless they find her fingerprints on the drugs or something, it seems like a hard sell.   Tiny Facebook

Read More >>

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

2017
03.10

Walker County sheriff detectives and GBI agents are investigating a bizarre shooting in Rossville.

Wednesday afternoon Jeremy Little, 33, was standing in the yard of his State Line Rd home when 44-year-old Robert W. Ellis allegedly shot him in the head. Little was pronounced dead at the hospital.

Ellis turned himself in a few hours later and faces charges of murder, assault, property damage, and gun possession by a felon.

Little and Ellis were friends, and initial reports stated the disagreement leading to the shooting originated with a post or discussion on Facebook. A later article say the murder resulted from mistaken identity involving a woman, escalating to property damage and ending with a man dead.   Tiny Facebook  Tiny Facebook  Tiny Facebook  Tiny Facebook

Last week LPD performed a drug bust… in the cemetery.

    WQCH Radio, 03/06/17: “A NARCOTICS ARREST WAS MADE IN THE CITY CEMETERY WEDNESDAY, ACCORDING TO LAFAYETTE POLICE.

    “THEY GOT A ‘SUSPICIOUS VEHICLE’ CALL AND FOUND 28 YEAR OLD CHRISTOPHER LEE SILVERS NEAR HIS BLACK INFINITI. HE TOLD THEM HE WAS ‘LOOKING FOR ARROWHEADS’.
    “HIS LICENSE CAME BACK ‘SUSPENDED’ AND THE CAR HAD NO INSURANCE. A CONSENT SEARCH TURNED UP HYDROCODONE AND ALPRAZOLAM PILLS INSIDE.
    “SILVERS WAS CHARGED WITH POSSESSION OF SCHEDULE 2 AND 4 CONTROLLED SUBSTANCES.”

Plus: Walker County arrests, February 27-March 5.   Tiny Facebook  Tiny Facebook

A few months before Hutcheson collapsed, it paid Dr. Mike Aiken of Lookout Mountain an $85,000 “consulting fee.”

Aiken was a close friend of Bebe Heiskell, Don Oliver, and Hutcheson CEO Farrell Hayes – and his payment was apparently required for Hutcheson to get another $1 million bailout deal from Heiskell and Walker County.

Now Hutcheson’s bankruptcy trustee wants that money to come back to pay some of the dead company’s debts – but for some reason Dr. Aiken isn’t responding to inquiries about it.   Tiny Facebook

Read More >>

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

2017
03.07

Colin Shropshire, missing since Friday, has been found deceased.

The 26-year-old LaFayette man’s remains were located Sunday near the Home Depot on Shugart Rd. in Dalton. His body was partially in a creek running adjacent to the shopping center.

He was last seen walking away from an apartment complex on the same road early Friday morning and was reported missing Friday night.

Dalton PD seeks information about the case. Investigators expect to find out how (and hopefully why) Shropshire died with an autopsy.   Tiny Facebook

Rome teens who murdered a convenience store clerk last year for a handful of cash, snacks, and smokes will likely spend the rest of their lives behind bars.

Zaykives Banard McCray and Dylon Dave Allen shot Chiragkumar Patel in the abdomen last January during a convenience store robbery. He survived nearly two months before dying of his injuries.

Last week they were found guilty on twelve charges each, including murder. Monday both were sentenced to life plus 35 years in prison.   Tiny Facebook

Saturday night Charles Garrett was killed in a tree cutting accident.

Garrett and two friends were cutting trees on Foster Mill Drive inside the city when one fell on him. He died en route to the hospital.

Services for Mr. Garrett are being held today at Wallis-Wilbanks.   Tiny Facebook

Friday was “crossover day” in the state capitol, the deadline for bills to be approved by at least one chamber of the legislature in order to become law this year.

Here’s a look at some of the higher profile proposals that passed and a few that did not.

What have Walker County’s three legislators been up to during their time in Atlanta?

John Deffenbaugh has done almost nothing, putting his name on six proposals that have little to no impact on his constituents

Jeff Mullis has been busy, endorsing or authoring dozens of bills and resolutions. Many of them are just resolutions to recognize various people by renaming highways or having days in their honor and things of that nature.

He’s also been involved in bills that would further remove accountability for police, keep new pain clinics from opening in most of the state, allow driverless cars on Georgia roads, and let counties make certain elected positions non-partisan.

Senator Mullis also voted against measures that would have expanded transparency in state government.

Rep. Steve Tarvin has (as this is written) been involved with eight proposals, about half of them meaningless to his district.

He worked to create an “industrial hemp commission,” endorsed a proposal recognizing pornography as a public health issue, pushed to have “non-citizen” printed on drivers licenses and ID cards of immigrants, and co-sponsored a (dead) bill that would end the state income tax.

A highlight of his time in Atlanta this year is HB 505, which would curtail law enforcement civil forfeiture. If it had passed by Friday (which it sadly did not), cops would be prohibited from taking property of a criminal suspect until after they go to trial instead of before.

Lots going on, but little of it meaningful.   Tiny Facebook

Read More >>

Print Friendly, PDF & Email