2014
04.02

Joshua Michael Fowler of LaFayette has now been formally charged with beating his grandmother to death over the weekend.

Mimosa Drive Chickamauga

Investigators say Fowler, who served a prison term for drugs, admitted doing meth and coke before allegedly murdering 75-year-old Joyce Ann Fowler on Saturday. They also say the interior of his vehicle was covered with blood. The truck, and a recovered likely murder weapon, are being analyzed by the GBI crime lab.

Addtional reports say the murdered woman, who lived in Chickamauga, had expressed fear that her SON would kill her, and was hinting to neighbors that family members were trying to steal her money.   Tiny Facebook  Tiny Facebook  Tiny Facebook

Be careful and watch for new traffic signals today in Rock Spring at Kay Conley Rd.

    WQCH Radio, 04/01/14: “ROCK SPRING MAY NOT BE AN INCORPORATED TOWN, BUT THEY NOW HAVE A SECOND TRAFFIC LIGHT.
    “THE NEW SIGNAL ON HIGHWAY 27 AT KAY CONLEY ROAD WILL BECOME A REGULAR ‘STOP LIGHT’ THIS WEDNESDAY.
    “THE NEW TRAFFIC LIGHT IS ONE OF SEVERAL IMPROVEMENTS AT THE KAY CONLEY INTERSECTION, INSTALLED BY THE STATE D.O.T. DUE TO A HIGH NUMBER OF ACCIDENTS AT THE LOCATION.”

Rock Spring actually has TWO other traffic signals – at GNTC and the Hwy. 95/27 intersection. It still needs a fourth, in front of Saddle Ridge school.   Tiny Facebook

Two years ago last week, Covenant Bank (a/k/a Bank of Billy Teems) was declared insolvent and taken over, by government order, by Stearns Bank of Minnesota. Now Stearns announces both branches in Rock Spring and Dalton will close in June.

Stearns Bank Closing Letter

It was only a matter of time. Stupid location for a poorly-run bank, and a poor fit with the Stearns company which has no other local branches.

So what will we see moved into the Covenant Bank building after it closes? Flea market? Antique store? Someone suggested two years ago it’d make a classy spot for a Little Caesar’s in Rock Spring.   Tiny Facebook

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2014
03.31

Murder Suspect Joshua Fowler

Saturday night 75-year-old Joyce Ann Fowler was found deceased, apparently murdered, in her Chickamauga home. Early Sunday her grandson Joshua, of LaFayette, was arrested for parole violation – and is considered a suspect in the killing.   Tiny Facebook

Here’s how a county employee and member of the Commissioner’s inner circle responds to citizen concerns about raising property taxes:

James Alfred Jones on Tax Increase

Mr. Jones is currently working at Mountain Cove Farms as an “event planner” because the Commissioner’s granddaughter, who normally holds that position, is out on maternity leave. Mr. Jones also was responsible for financial records of the county-funded campaign to renew SPLOST last year.

In addition to those career highlights, he’s an owner of Jones Lake Par 3 Golf Course in Rock Spring and a professional a**clown. He’s behind some of the anti-LU pages that have popped up and died in recent months – and seems to think he speaks for Commisioner Heiskell. (He likely does.)   Tiny Facebook

Summerville Taco Bell

A Summerville Taco Bell employee took counterfeit money from a customer, who was also her boyfriend. Resulting investigation (and her freaking out) led to the boyfriend being arrested on drug charges.   Tiny Facebook

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2014
03.29

Thursday during a business meeting, Commissioner Heiskell announced that she will raise county property taxes this summer by at least one mil, possibly more. (1 mil is $1 for every thousand in property value.)

Scary Bebe

Last year voters were told to renew SPLOST so she wouldn’t have to raise property taxes. With her pet project fund secured, it’s back to the business of screwing everyone over.

    WQCH Radio, 03/28/14: “EXPECT WALKER COUNTY PROPERTY TAXES TO GO UP THIS YEAR. COUNTY COMMISSIONER BEBE HEISKELL SAID IT’S BEEN 10 YEARS SINCE SHE RAISED TAXES – BUT THE TIME HAS COME.
    “‘IT COULD BE A MILL… MAYBE MORE’ SHE SAID. AND IF VOTERS SHOULD PASS A DEDICATED LIBRARY TAX QUESTION ON THE MAY 20th BALLOT, A NEW QUARTER-MILL TAX WILL BE ADDED FOR THAT PURPOSE, AS WELL.
    “AT HER BUSINESS MEETING THURSDAY, HEISKELL SIGNED A RESOLUTION AUTHORIZING A NEW ‘LINE OF CREDIT’ IN THE FORM OF A TAX ANTICIPATION NOTE. ‘WE’RE TRYING TO TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THESE LOW INTEREST RATES BEFORE THEY GO UP’, SHE SAID. THE LOAN INTEREST IS ZERO-POINT-78 PERCENT, AND THE LINE OF CREDIT IS NOT TO EXCEED 7.7-MILLION DOLLARS.
    “HEISKELL SAID SOME COUNTY EMPLOYEES HAVE NOT HAD A RAISE IN SEVEN YEARS, AND THE COSTS OF OPERATING COUNTY GOVERNMENT CONTINUE TO RISE. HEISKELL ADDED ‘IF I DON’T RAISE TAXES THIS YEAR, THE NEXT ONE IN THIS OFFICE WILL HAVE TO.’ SHE THEN ADDED THAT SHE IS PLANNING TO RUN FOR RE-ELECTION AT THE END OF THE CURRENT TERM.
    “THE TAX ANTICIPATION NOTE IS A SHORT-TERM LOAN THAT WILL BE PAID IN FULL, WHEN PROPERTY TAXES ARE COLLECTED AT YEAR’S-END.”

She’s told media there’s been no increase in the last ten years – that’s a lie by any definition. She raised taxes in July 2010 by half a mil. She also raised taxes in 2005, 2004, and 2002. Total increases since she took office in 2001? 2 mils. And now she needs at least an additional mil to keep the county going without these increasing annual loans.

    Chattanooga Times Free Press, yesterday: “‘I haven’t raised taxes in over 10 years,’ said Heiskell. ‘Our expenses are getting higher and higher as we operate on the same amount of money. If I don’t do it, somebody else will have to.’”

Haven’t raised taxes in over ten years. WQCH from FOUR years ago:

    WQCH Radio, 07/30/10: “WALKER COUNTY GOVERNMENT HAS APPROVED THE PROPOSED HALF-MIL INCREASE IN PROPERTY TAXES, AND BY THE THIRD AND FINAL PUBLIC HEARING LAST WEEK, COMMISSIONER BEBE HEISKELL SAID CITIZENS ATTENDING HAD ‘COME TO UNDERSTAND THE NEED.’ HEISKELL SAID EVEN A COUPLE OF TEA PARTY MEMBERS ATTENDING WERE CONVINCED THAT THE COUNTY HAD DONE WHAT IT COULD – TO HOLD COSTS DOWN.”

Meanwhile Walker County has no fiscal 2014 budget, just took $4 million of property off the tax register by purchasing it with SPLOST funds, and is spending money to set up a county fair at Mountain Cove Farms, a facility which probably costs a half-mil in property taxes a year to operate with no real benefit.

The county’s annual audit for fiscal 2013 (which ended in October) should be available in the next four or five weeks. When that comes out we’ll see exactly how much Bebe’s actually done to save money vs. throwing it down a black hole. LU’s bet is on the hole…   Tiny Facebook  Tiny Facebook  Tiny Facebook

LaFayette leaders, on the other hand, say the city should be run like a business, since almost all of the town’s operating budget comes from selling utilities to residents.

LaFayette Golf Course Clubhouse

The city’s “business” should be cutting out fat to become solvent and keep those utility rates low. Cut down to the basics.. Fire, police, road/streets. Regular recreation and pool “so the kids have something to do.” And not much else.

The biggest financial burden in the city with no proven return is the golf course, but city leaders won’t deal with it because it’d be political suicide from those deep-pocket people who actually call the shots.

Using the hundreds of thousands of dollars the golf course eats up to lower utility costs a bit would do more to bring in people and businesses than the course itself does – but in Walker County (county and city alike) it’s apparently better to throw money away, cross fingers, and make the community desirable through more wishful thinking.

Maybe that’s why the county and city are getting along so well as of late.   Tiny Facebook  Tiny Facebook

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2014
03.26

Reading between the lines, authorities have determined the child kidnapping reported Sunday afternoon at Town Creek Apartments never happened.

Town Creek Apartments Water Meter Box

The child apparently hid inside an open water meter box and couldn’t get the door back open. After being found, she said someone put her in the hole and police were contacted. Police had doubts but had to investigate, found nothing credible. Child was examined with no injuries related to her story found. There was no kidnapping.

Around noon on Monday, DFCS took the child and two siblings into foster care. That action wasn’t related directly to what happened, but resulted from DFCS checking into the girl’s family situation as a result of her claims.

LPD did their job here and followed protocol by calling in the GBI. The only place where they can be faulted is in not releasing a statement to the community earlier to calm people down and head off some of the false stories that started circulating, on social media and elsewhere.

Channel 9 and Channel 12 both reported similar stories blaming social media for getting the community stirred up, but some speculation and fear could have been headed off if officials had made a statement earlier.   Tiny Facebook  Tiny Facebook  Tiny Facebook  Tiny Facebook

Vandalized Porta-Potties at Cherokee Farms

The latest wild, raucous party at Cherokee Farms over the weekend devolved into a drunken, stoned mess – as usual. At least one underage attendee of “MasqueRAVE 2014″ ended up so drunk those around him thought he had died.

Violence, public intoxication, and people stoned to the point of needing medical care: more “progress” LaFayette doesn’t need – although nobody stole any busses or vandalized a church this time.

Even some guests at the event began asking why local law enforcement won’t put a stop to parties at Smokey Caldwell’s farm – a question also being asked by those who live around the glorified wannabe Yasgur’s Farm.

"..the cops just need to shut it down"

Supporters of Sheriff Wilson should ask him why he and his deputies who provide paid “security” for these events continue to turn a blind eye to what goes on out there.   Tiny Facebook  Tiny Facebook  Tiny Facebook

Snow at Walker County Covrthovse

An unexpected, somewhat heavy (but quick) snow fell on Walker County yesterday. For once the snowfall did not result in any significant traffic issues, power outages, or school cancellations.

School WILL be cancelled all next week — for Spring Break, not winter weather.   Tiny Facebook  Tiny Facebook  Tiny Facebook  Tiny Facebook

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2014
03.24

Multiple, multiple questions/reports have been sent in about a child kidnapping Sunday night in LaFayette. Nothing has been officially released and details are very thin so far.

Per best sources, an 8-year-old girl was snatched up from Town Creek Apartments on Cooper St. She was found nearby about an hour later, alive, possibly tied up or trapped inside a sewer opening, and was taken to a hospital. (Cooper St. is off Duke behind the old library location.)

Suspect may have been ID’d but not arrested yet, independent reports of helicopters spotlighting people walking around after dark outside the city which indicates law enforcement is hunting someone.

Latest on this as details develop on LU Facebook or Twitter.   Tiny Facebook

Marty Stuart & The Fabulous Superlatives

Music On The Square has closed as an ongoing business, but the annual music festival of the same name will continue. This year MOTS will be held in downtown LaFayette on May 17th with the biggest headliner yet: Marty Stuart and the Fabulous Superlatives.

Clear your calendar.   Tiny Facebook

This question about liquor will be presented to Walker County voters in May.

Liquor Law Change for May Ballot

Measure is supposed to be about legalizing hard drinks in restaurants and allowing Sunday alcohol sales, but looks like the Sunday part is off the table, and wouldn’t necessarily lead to hard drinks in restaurants – only give the “governing authority” (ie, Commissioner Heiskell) authority to regulate them.

Cities would still have their own rules; 99% of restaurants in the county that would want to sell liquor are inside one of the cities. This would also do nothing to put packaged liquor in stores. It’s only so the county can serve hard drinks at Mountain Cove Farms. Which might be OK, but don’t fooled into thinking it’s about anything else.   Tiny Facebook

This vertical takeoff/landing aircraft was spotted flying around LaFayette last Friday.

Video shows it landing at Barwick-LaFayette airport. No word so far why the plane has been in the area, but it could be related to military training.   Tiny Facebook  Tiny Facebook

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