2015
08.20

Fernando Gene Fernandez, owner/landlord of Pear Pine Trailer Park, is now wanted by LPD for outstanding criminal warrants. He’s also wanted for his overdue $6,200 water bill that resulted in service being cut off to people living in his ghetto park.

Fernando Fernandez Mugshot Closeup

Fernandez has been in trouble with the law eleven times in the last two years, including a three-hour armed standoff with police after the landlord threatened to shoot a tenant in 2013.

(LPD thinks Mr. Fernandez may have fled the country. If he’s gone to Mexico or somewhere else out of the US, it’s not likely he’ll be extradited back to LaFayette for minor charges like unpaid water bills, parole violation, and [potentially] theft by deception. Extradition is for murderers and terrorists, not petty thieves and layabouts. Don’t hold your breath to see this moron around again. Good riddance anyway.)

So far this year officers have been called out for various issues at Pear Pine 26 times. That, combined with the trailer park’s sorry condition and current lack of water (not to mention no landlord present) may result in a condemnation of the property – a process the city is beginning to pursue legally.   Tiny Facebook

LHS Fieldhouse / Rambler Band / 1980 LHS Yearbook

A few months back LaFayette city government announced plans to rehab Patton Stadium / Ross Abney Complex at the old high school and host a fundraiser concert there in September.

The work hasn’t been done quickly, and the facility won’t be ready in time – so the concert is tentatively moved back to April.

Once repairs are done (if ever), the city should have a concert there every August on the anniversary of Johnny Cash’s 1970 performance in the same place – something suggested by LU and various members of the community FIVE years ago.

[Photo from 1980 LHS Yearbook.]   Tiny Facebook

Four Tennessee Bi-Lo stores will close next weekend and be converted into Food City locations. No timeline yet for NWGA stores, but sounds like they’re starting on the north end and moving south a few stores at a time – 29 in all.

Bi-Lo Inside

It’s unclear how extensive renovations will be for any of the stores – some like the Battlefield Parkway location were recently rehabbed by Bi-Lo and are in good shape. Others, like the store on Mission Ridge Rd in Rossville, still look like a 1980’s Red Food with Bi-Lo signs.

Renovations to the LaFayette store will likely include a new gas station, which will be convenient for downtown.

Bi-Lo Bonus Card points and Fuel Perks will expire by October 1 and then be replaced by Food City’s similar programs; initial information from the company claimed points and perks would roll over.

The company says it’s keeping all of its former Bi-Lo store managers in place.   Tiny Facebook

Read More >>

Print Friendly

2015
08.16

As reported earlier this week, Manor House Restaurant at Mountain Cove Farms is no more.

Mountain Cove Farms Sign

The eatery, which Commissioner Heiskell says she “slapped together” in 2013, cost Walker County taxpayers about $800,000 to run – plus $146,000 in restaurant equipment.

More reaction to the closure and huge financial losses:

    Times Free Press, 08/15/15: “According to this paper’s Tyler Jett, the restaurant, which [Commissioner] Heiskell hoped was going to be a tourist hot spot (seriously), lost about $800,000 from mid-2013 to April of this year. Wow.
    “That’s a ton of coin. If we round it up, let’s say that number is over 24 months, then we’re talking around $33,333 a month in losses for two years.
    “Makes you wonder: Were they rolling the silverware in hundred-dollar bills?”

The restaurant opened in September 2013 and the financial losses were through April of this year – $800,000+ lost in just nineteen months. Higher than speculated: over $42,000 per MONTH of cash down the drain. Labor costs aside, that still sounds like an awful lot of shrimp and steak going home in somebody’s purse.   Tiny Facebook  Tiny Facebook

Residents of Pear Pine Trailer Park are still without water, three-plus weeks after it was disconnected due to the absentee landlord not paying his utility bill.

Pear Pine Trailer Park

Many who lived there have moved on (everybody left SHOULD move on), the water meter has been vandalized but not successfully reconnected, and City Manager David Hamilton says the property doesn’t meet minimum standard and risks condemnation.

What’s that mean or do to the owner? Probably not much.

The city should extend some help to these people, not in getting water service but in finding another place to live. The city cannot, however, just give them housing – which is what some of the remaining residents expect.

The people left at Pear Pine need to save the $400 a month they were paying in rent, to somebody who’s not there to collect it, and apply that to a deposit somewhere else.   Tiny Facebook

The Georgia Sheriff’s Association has chosen as its new leader a man who steals money from a children’s Christmas charity and tolerates his friends abusing women.

That’s of course our own Sheriff Steve Wilson.

Sheriff Steve Wilson Channelling Nixon

We don’t need no stinkin’ ethics!

The Sheriff’s Association is a lobbying organization that keeps the state from reforming laws that might keep cops from taking property without a conviction or kicking down doors and blowing up babies for thin reasons. They’ve also been the primary opponent of medical marijuana. Its opposition to reform won’t change (and could well get worse) under Wilson’s leadership.

Wilson also says here he plans to run again for Sheriff in 2016, of course. That’s two declared candidates for next year’s election – both incumbents.   Tiny Facebook

Read More >>

Print Friendly

2015
08.12

After two years of losing (your) money hand over fist, Commissioner Heiskell has finally euthanized her restaurant at Mountain Cove Farms.

The $30 shrimp buffet at Manor House Restaurant is done.

Applebebe's Bar & Glare

Bebe tells the newspaper basically everything LU and other citizens have ever said about this place: it’s too far from where people live, it costs too much money, and they never should have opened it to begin with.

    “‘The reason we left it open was for the local residents and those staying at the farm,’ Walker County sole commissioner Bebe Heiskell said. ‘It is used, but not enough to sustain it. It had become a financial liability.’ … ‘There aren’t enough people eating there to keep the doors open day-to-day,’ the commissioner said.”

This shows again, like the library funding problem, just how bad the county’s finances have gotten. We’re broke, or she wouldn’t have done this. (The REAL “financial liability” here is Heiskell herself.)

She didn’t close it last year when it was also losing money, she just raised taxes. Presumably this year the money will run out before more tax money comes in, so it’s closed. For now.

Manor House Shrimp Buffet

Heiskell still won’t sell the $149,000 of new expensive restaurant equipment they put in, just close it with hopes of reopening later on – despite her claims of not wanting to run a restaurant.

    “The commissioner said it was never her intention to operate a restaurant, but ‘we had the facility and it seemed a shame to let it sit idle.'”

This is why we need county leaders with a plan and accountability. With a board of commissioners running things instead of one half-senile old lady, this wouldn’t have happened. Manor House wouldn’t be closed, because it wouldn’t have been built to begin with.   Tiny Facebook

City water customers north of town, in and around Noble, will be without water for about three hours today. LaFayette Utilities plans to disconnect a major line around 8 AM Wednesday and expects to have it back online by 11.

This is probably related to the city supplying water lines to the Audia project.   Tiny Facebook

Corey Chaz Warren is no longer on the run.

Corey Warren

Warren’s latest adventures hiding from the law began on August 4th. He was suspected of stealing a car. LPD found him hiding at Douglas Trance’s Langley apartment, but he hopped out a window and fled.

That’s where the public announcement to look out for him began.

Warren was finally apprehended Friday when he was seen walking down Patterson Ave. He was chased, on foot, by LPD officer Dusty Coker. Coker tackled and arrested the fugitive, who was of course found with meth on his person.

(He should go to jail for being stupid. It was all over TV and Facebook that the cops were looking for him, and he didn’t even leave the city.)

Warren’s family and friends have defended him for the last week as just some poor confused good kid.. Now he’s got more charges including drug possession and obstructing a law enforcement officer.   Tiny Facebook

Hillbilly’s Restaurant opened on the square yesterday at 7 AM.

Hillbilly's Restaurant

Reviews are so far mixed. If you’ve been in there, how was it?   Tiny Facebook

Read More >>

Print Friendly

2015
08.10

Bebe Nose Picking

Last week Commissioner Bebe said she would be raising Walker property taxes by 13%. Now she says talks of tax increases are “premature” and she hasn’t made up her mind yet – although the state requires paperwork for tax increases to be turned in during early August.

(When she finally does decide, she could very well choose to go up even more than first announced.)

Chattooga County, which already has a much higher tax rate than Walker, says their county and school taxes will remain flat for the next year.

Meanwhile, ex-convict County Attorney Don Oliver is preparing to obtain more loans to pay back loans Bebe took out to help Hutcheson. Walker County’s debt to tax revenue ratio (not including Hutcheson liability outside of these loans) is approaching 50%.   Tiny Facebook

Qualification for fall City Council elections has been moved to August 31-September 2. An earlier date set by the council ran afoul of the city charter and had to be changed.

LaFayette City Limits Sign

The election will be November 3rd. LaFayette council seats contested will be Ward 3 (Meeks), Ward 4 (Davis), and At-Large (Swanson). So far LU isn’t aware of any challengers for those spots.

If you’d be interested in running, the qualification fee is only $108.

More from last Monday’s special meeting:

    WQCH Radio, 08/04/15: “IN A SPECIAL CALLED MEETING MONDAY NIGHT, THE LAFAYETTE CITY COUNCIL CHANGED THE QUALIFYING DATES FOR THE CITY ELECTION THIS YEAR IN ORDER TO CONFORM TO THE CITY CHARTER.
    “AT LAST MONTH’S MEETING, THE DATES WERE SET TO START AUGUST 24th – BUT THE CHARTER SPECIFIES THE ‘LAST MONDAY IN AUGUST’. SO THE DATES WERE RESET FOR AUGUST 31st THROUGH SEPTEMBER 2nd, MONDAY THROUGH WEDNESDAY FROM 8:30 AM THROUGH 4:30 PM DAILY AT CITY HALL. THE QUALIFYING FEE IS $108.
    LaFayette City Seal“..IN OTHER BUSINESS, THE COUNCIL APPROVED A LOAN AND A GRANT FROM THE U.S. DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE, TO PURCHASE TWO NEEDED VEHICLES FOR THE POLICE DEPARTMENT. CITY MANAGER DAVID HAMILTON HEARD ABOUT THE USDA LOAN-GRANT PROGRAM WHILE AT A MUNICIPAL ASSOCIATION MEETING.
    “USDA WILL LOAN THE CITY $23,700 TO PURCHASE A NEW POLICE CRUISER, AND WILL GIVE THE CITY AN ADDITIONAL $24,700 TO PURCHASE A TRUCK FOR ANIMAL CONTROL. BOTH VEHICLES WILL BE PURCHASED FROM THE LOCAL JENKINS CHRYSLER-DODGE DEALERSHIP.
    “POLICE CHIEF BENJI CLIFT SAID THE STATE BID IS THE LOWEST PRICE AVAILABLE, AND RECENTLY, THE LOCAL DEALER HAS BEEN MATCHING THE STATE-BID PRICE FOR POLICE VEHICLES. ‘IT’S NICE TO BE ABLE TO PURCHASE LOCALLY AT THE LOWEST PRICE’, CLIFT SAID.
    “FITTINGS TO MAKE THE 4-DOOR TRUCK SUITABLE FOR ANIMIAL CONTROL, WILL BE FABRICATED LOCALLY TO SAVE MONEY, ACCORDING TO THE CHIEF.”

These “special meetings” are becoming a regular thing lately.   Tiny Facebook

The 2015 elections are almost three months away, but candidates are already making plans for 2016.

Carolyn Walker 2016 Campaign Announcement

Tax Commissioner Carolyn Walker breaks the ice, announcing she WILL run for reelection next year. Walker has held the job since 2001.

So far she’s the only confirmed, serious candidate for any of the dozen county positions up for a vote next May.   Tiny Facebook

Read More >>

Print Friendly

2015
08.09

Charlie’s Cafe on the downtown square, which opened last spring, has closed. But the building won’t be empty: a new eatery is slated to occupy the same space, with a new name.

Hillbilly's Restaurant

Per an employee of the NEW business, a meat-n-three type restaurant named “Hillbilly’s” will open where Charlie’s was, with new owners and management. The store will offer country cooking, plus ribs, shrimp, and burgers.

Hillbilly’s will operate Tuesday-Saturday and MIGHT be open as soon as this Tuesday, August 11th. A formal announcement is forthcoming.

Recent Local Health Inspections:

The lowest health inspection score in recent weeks (for the south end of Walker LU covers) was an 85, earned by Queen City Bistro on July 28th. They were cited for a series of minor issues, including tomatoes too warm in a cooler, prepared food not dated, a leaking cooler, and mops stored improperly.

The next lowest score, an 86, was issued to Manor House Restaurant at Mountain Cove Farms on July 30th. The county-owned enterprise had a bag of moldy cheese and poorly cleaned equipment.

Wanda’s in Rock Spring wasn’t much further ahead with an 87. Issues there on July 22 included no soap in a hand wash sink and a reach-in cooler barely holding proper temperatures.

An 88 was handed to China Buffet on August 5th. Problems at the Asian all-you-can-eat were related to the amount of time items were left on the bar and a few condiments on the bar not protected by a sneeze guard.

Shepherd Hills nursing home rounded out the B scores on July 21st with an 89. Inspectors found dirty equipment, bacon not cooled fast enough, and over-diluted sanitizer.

LaFayette Healthcare / Pruitt Health Nursing Home: 91
Krystal: 94
Southern Bliss: 95
Twins Pizza: 95
Arby’s: 96
Ivy Cottage: 96
Walker County Jail: 96
Subway at Walmart: 99

Print Friendly