2016
08.06

The LaFayette Mountain Lion has been spotted again, twice in two days, in town near a school.

North LaFayette Elementary / Walker Co Messenger

Wednesday morning North LaFayette principal Sandra Morrison saw what she thought to be a mountain lion in front of the school in the drop-off lane.

State wildlife officials visited the school Thursday morning to check out the report, but once again found no hard evidence of the animal – and school security cameras weren’t pointing to the area where Morrison said the animal was.

They also checked out the bypass where an LHS teacher said he saw two big cats a few days before – and they found nothing there to report, either. The DNR says they’re taking complaints seriously, but they can’t verify any of the accounts.

Mountain Lion / Sample Photo

Later on Thursday the animal was spotted again, out a window of the same school. A teacher says she and at least one student saw a big cat on the school grounds Thursday, heading down Indiana Street.

She attempted to get a picture out the window but it was gone by the time she got to a camera. (The photo above is NOT local.)

There have also been unverified reports of a big cat being seen off Hwy. 151 in Naomi near the 136/Taylor’s Ridge split.

(LU will send a free t-shirt to anybody who gets a verifiable local photo of the animal and sends it in, so we can settle this matter for good.)   Tiny Facebook  Tiny Facebook  Tiny Facebook

Why does LU support the campaign of Perry Lamb to become the next commissioner?

Because he gets it. He gets that the people in charge now, and some who want to be later, aren’t listening to us – because they’re too focused on pleasing the people who support their campaigns, taking care of the powerful who take care of them instead of the most vulnerable who actually need help the most.

This is some unscripted video from a meet n greet event back in early June.   Tiny Facebook

Dustin PeekCop called to check out loose dogs gets charged by a dog, dog owner berates cop for defending himself, and the owner still gets the dog back?

    WQCH Radio, 08/03/16: “AN IRATE DOG OWNER GAVE POLICE A ‘PIECE OF HIS MIND’ MONDAY, THEN WENT TO JAIL.
    “A NEIGHBOR CALLED TO COMPLAIN THAT THREATENING DOGS WERE LOOSE IN THE THURMAN STREET AREA. TWO DOGS CHARGED THE RESPONDING OFFICER, AND HE TASED ONE OF THE ANIMALS TO AVOID BEING BITTEN.
    “THE OWNER WAS IRATE WITH THE OFFICER FOR TASING HIS DOG, AND CONTINUED THE VERBAL ASSAULT AFTER SEVERAL ATTEMPTS TO CALM HIM DOWN. 26 YEAR OLD DUSTIN RICHARD PEEK WAS CHARGED WITH DISORDERLY CONDUCT, AND A FOLLOW-UP WILL BE CONDUCTED TO MAKE SURE THE DOGS ARE CONFINED TO HIS PROPERTY.”

The animal’s owner says his dog got loose in the middle of the night and was too small to be a threat to the officer. But he’s lucky the animal was only tased instead of shot.

Dustin Peek's Tasered Dog

Photos of the tased animal with barbs still embedded were shared by the family on LU’s Facebook post about the arrest.   Tiny Facebook

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2016
08.04

School started back yesterday for Walker County students.

LaFayette High School

Today’s heat index is approaching 100° but summer activities are done, the pool is closed for the year, kids are stuck indoors during the day and expected to be in bed well before the sun goes down at night.

Chattanooga Valley Elementary / WDEF

Kindergarten teacher Mark McCormack did not return to class at Chattanooga Valley Elementary.

Superintendent Raines says McCormack, who’s being investigated by the GBI and Homeland Security for reasons not yet clear, officially resigned his job on July 20th.

McCormack took leave from teaching shortly before the school year ended and was not expected to return. The GBI won’t say why he’s under investigation, but Sheriff Wilson told media he was accused of inappropriate picture taking and inappropriate touching of students in 2010 and 2015 – but they never found enough to charge him with at the time.

So far he’s not been charged with whatever the GBI and Homeland Security suspect him of, either – but his teaching career is over.   Tiny Facebook  Tiny Facebook

This morning an accident in Catlett briefly trapped an elderly couple inside their vehicle.

Wreck on Colbert Hollow Rd / August 4 2016 / Walker Co Messenger - Josh OBryant

The wreck on Colbert Hollow Rd, off Hwy 95, was caused by a small dog distracting the driver. The couple was successfully extracted by emergency crews with no serious injuries reported. The dog ran off and hasn’t been found.

[Another great photo from underrated Walker Messenger reporter Josh OBryant.]   Tiny Facebook  Tiny Facebook

Wreck at Summerville CVS / July 31 2016

Summerville PD says the woman who crashed into the CVS there Sunday morning may have done so intentionally.

43-year-old Ginger Self of Covington claimed her truck “told her” to drive into the front of the building.

She reportedly suffers from a mental condition and missed several doses of her medication before the incident, which disrupted business at the Summerville pharmacy over the weekend. The store has now fully reopened.   Tiny Facebook

Perry Lamb on Tractor

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2016
08.01

On May 2nd, the Hospital Authority of Catoosa, Dade, and Walker – owner of Hutcheson’s debts and its few remaining assets – reached a tentative settlement with Erlanger. During that meeting they agreed to pay the Chattanooga hospital a legal settlement including $8.5 million from Walker County.

Now the Authority has decided its own meeting was held improperly, meaning everything decided that day – especially the settlement – didn’t happen.

Hutcheson Closed - ER Boarded Up

Four of the five authority members who voted to reject the May meeting are from Walker County, including hardcore Bebe backers Bill Cooke and John Culpepper. Most of those members were intentionally skipping meetings in May, apparently to avoid a settlement agreement.

Culpepper has admitted the board’s goal is to avoid throwing Commissioner Heiskell “under the bus” – but their delays put everyone ELSE under a bus; Every day this thing continues results in more money owed by the county, in interest and legal fees.

Erlanger’s lawyer says Walker County could make payments on the settlement, a small amount at a time like a car payment or house payment, if we can ever actually settle it. Unfortunately that won’t happen while Bebe remains in office.   Tiny Facebook

One of Walker County’s three commissioner candidates took more money than the law allows. Another filled out their report wrong, and a third took money from a dead man.

On top of that, Bebe broke accounting rules by having hers filled out by the county’s “independent” auditor.

Here’s LU’s breakdown of recent campaign finance reports.   Tiny Facebook

Sunday morning in Summerville…

Wreck at Summerville CVS / July 31 2016

Per reports, a woman from Covington was flying down 27 and failed to navigate the intersection at CVS, cutting through two parking lots and slamming into the drug store.   Tiny Facebook

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2016
07.31

ELECTION 2016

Walker County’s three candidates for commissioner have filed their required financial reports for the second quarter of the year. Examining those reports reveals details about each candidate (and their supporters) that voters should be aware of.

SHANNON WHITFIELD

During the April-June quarter, Team Whitfield took in $12,950 and spent $13,603 campaigning.

April 30 GOP Debate - Shannon Whitfield

A total of $2,150 was donated to Whitfield from donors or businesses outside Walker – all located in Tennessee. Those donors include a Chattanooga insurance agent, a Chattanooga accountant, and a civil engineering firm executive from Hendersonville, TN. All three work for companies that do business with governments, and all three are probably hoping for a piece of Walker County’s budget after Whitfield takes office.

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2016
07.30

Tomorrow, July 31st, marks four years since Walker County voters rejected Dr. Paul Shaw as a potential commissioner, instead siding with incumbent Bebe Heiskell in the July 2012 Republican Primary that decided that year’s election.

Re-Relect Bebe 2012 TP Sticker

Heiskell’s fourth term has been a disaster for every citizen, regardless of how they voted (or if they didn’t vote at all). Higher taxes, massive county debts, loss of services, deeper political corruption, and further deterioration of the economy and home values inside the county have resulted from voting choices made in July 2012.

Made even worse, the voters that year had no excuse because information about Heiskell’s ethical shortcomings and bad intentions was readily available to anyone willing to look for it and accept it.

Will voters follow her, or a candidate resembling her, off a cliff again this fall?

The three candidates scrambling to be commissioner next year – Heiskell, Perry Lamb, and Shannon Whitfield – were all on TV this week (if UCTV counts as real TV), making their case for votes.

Perry Lamb

A highlight of Lamb’s UCTV appearance Thursday night include a promise to be a hands-on road commissioner, “in my jeans and boots getting dirty if I need to.” He said the county needs more diverse businesses and said he wants to create an environment that will invite more restaurants into the community.

Shannon Whitfield Campaign Event

Whitfield, on UCTV Friday morning, vowed to spend county money on a satellite sheriff office in Rock Spring – another expensive, empty building along the lines of Commissioner Heiskell’s empty, pointless community centers.

Friday night Heiskell tried top top Whitfield by committing county funds to a sheriff office in Rossville, and claimed an illegal campaign donation made to her by Audia is acceptable because it was for a golf tournament. [More on that tomorrow.]

Meanwhile, a social media group run by Whitfield supporters has begun kicking out anyone who questions or challenges the candidate because he can’t defend himself or explain his positions any better than Heiskell does.

Lamb and Whitfield, but likely NOT Heiskell, will be in Rossville tonight for Sunset on the Pond, where voters can meet with them directly.

The November election is 100 days away, and can’t possibly get here too soon.   Tiny Facebook  Tiny Facebook  Tiny Facebook  Tiny Facebook

Truck-hating downtown square claims another victim.

Downtown Truck Accident - July 25 2016 / Josh OBryant - Walker County Messenger

Monday morning a chicken truck damaged the Stronghold Gaming building and took down a sign on Main and Villanow because (per police) a car pulled too far forward at the stop sign.

The city has formally banned trucks from driving through the square, but that ban does no good when a truck has to deliver to a business in town, or (as apparently happened here) the driver isn’t a local and follows a map or GPS directions, which don’t include city truck restrictions.

Semi Truck Right Turn Diagram

Another problem is other drivers, many who’ve never operated anything bigger than a Honda Civic, who don’t understand how much space a large truck or bus need to take a right hand turn. Per the law, vehicles like that one have to cut into the opposing lane of the road being turned onto. When another stopped vehicle pulls too far forward, that isn’t possible – which is why the lines are back so far.

In LaFayette specifically, the most recent rehab of downtown sidewalks and signage made turning even more difficult for large vehicles – a situation that prompted the city’s ignored truck restrictions in the first place. (The GDOT employee who designed LaFayette’s truck-unfriendly sidewalk/signage/road redo for the square last time must own stock in a company that sells road signs and crosswalk equipment.)   Tiny Facebook

Carousel Inn in Trion is so filthy, dilapidated, and the source of so many 911 calls/DFCS incidents that a Trion city judge has threatened to have the place shut down.

Carousel Inn Trion

Owner Mahendra Patel recently avoided a shutdown by having smoke detectors installed minutes before officers arrived, but still faces thousands of dollars in fines for 122 different citations related to the condition of his nasty, nasty motel.

Noted problems include unwashed/damaged bedding covered in hair, filthy vents, incorrect electrical repairs, lack of smoke detectors or fire extinguishers, poorly installed doors or locks, mold, roaches, and an average of ten 911 calls per month for the last two years.

All that and it’s still got a two-star rating on TripAdvisor – and is ranked #1 on that site for lodging in Trion.   Tiny Facebook

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