2015
06.19

During the last week, LPD has taken a number of notorious local troublemakers off the street – again. Most of these names should be familiar:

Corey Warren

    WQCH Radio, 06/17/15: “LAFAYETTE POLICE REPORT THREE ARRESTS FOR DRUG POSSESSION, FOLLOWING TRAFFIC STOPS MADE IN TOWN:
    “37 YEAR OLD CHRISTOPHER TEAL DALTON OF LAFAYETTE, WAS CHARGED WITH PRESCRIPTION DRUGS NOT KEPT IN ORIGINAL CONTAINER. HE RAN FROM OFFICERS FOLLOWING A TRAFFIC STOP. A TIP WAS RECEIVED THAT HE WAS HIDING BEHIND A LOCAL BUSINESS, AND POLICE ARRESTED HIM THERE. THE TAG WAS NOT REGISTERED TO THE VEHICLE HE WAS DRIVING AND HE TOLD OFFICERS HE FOUND THE TAG AT A JUNKYARD. HE WAS CHARGED WITH SEVERAL TRAFFIC AND VEHICLE OFFENSES.
    “25 YEAR OLD COREY CHAZ WARREN OF LAFAYETTE [depicted above] WAS CHARGED WITH MARIJUANA POSSESSION AND DRIVING WHILE HIS LICENSE WAS SUSPENDED. HE REPORTEDLY GAVE OFFICERS A FALSE NAME AT THE TIME OF HIS ARREST, CLAIMING TO BE HIS TWIN BROTHER.
    “AND 37 YEAR OLD THOMAS CHANSEY MOSLEY OF LAFAYETTE WAS CHARGED WITH POSSESSION OF MARIJUANA, EXPIRED TAG AND DRIVING WHILE HIS LICENSE WAS WITHDRAWN.”

Mr. Warren got out of prison at the end of May after serving only three years of a 12-year sentence for various crimes including drugs and burglary. Hope they kept his cot warm, he’ll be back in it soon.   Tiny Facebook

It didn’t begin there. Another notorious local punk arrested for the thousandth time after allegedly hitting a woman. Drugs also found, of course.

    WQCH Radio, 06/16/15: “LAFAYETTE POLICE AND THE DRUG TASK FORCE ARRESTED A LOCAL MAN ON DRUG POSSESSION AND BATTERY CHARGES, FRIDAY.

Chance Ellison

    “DETECTIVE WESLEY STEEL SAID THAT 21 YEAR OLD MICHAEL CHANCE ELLISON WAS BEING SERVED A WARRANT ON THE BATTERY CHARGE, WHEN PROBABLE CAUSE WAS OBSERVED FOR THE SEARCH WARRANT. THE TASK FORCE THEN FOUND MARIJUANA AND ICE, A FORM OF METH, INSIDE HIS LANGLEY APARTMENT AT 307 SOUTH MAIN.
    “THE BATTERY CHARGE WAS FROM AN INCIDENT THE DAY BEFORE. DETECTIVE STEELE SAID A WOMAN WHO HAD LOANED MONEY TO ELLISON HAD STOPPED-BY TO COLLECT. SHE AND HER AUNT TOLD POLICE THAT AS THEY WERE LEAVING ELLISON’S APARTMENT, HE STRUCK THE WOMAN ON THE BACK OF THE HEAD, RAISING A ‘KNOT’.”

Drugs, burglary, violence, even arson and rape in his background. Not to be ugly here but if he stays in jail this time, LaFayette will be a safer place. Allegedly etc. whatever.   Tiny Facebook

A special train excursion pulled by one of Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum’s steam engines came through LaFayette Wednesday.

TVRM 4501 Steam Train / Kevin Smith Exhibit

The steam excursion was part of an event for timepiece collectors in Chattanooga.   Tiny Facebook  Tiny Facebook

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2015
06.16

A LaFayette man and his pre-teen child were injured over the weekend in an accident involving a car and a motorcycle.

Twin Cedars Rd Wreck / June 13th

Saturday evening shortly after 11, a motorcycle piloted by Joe Cowan was struck by a silver car that failed to stop at the Hwy 27 / Twin Cedars intersection south of Chickamauga (technically in Catoosa County). Cowan was seriously injured and transported to Erlanger via LifeForce, and according to friends is in critical condition. His passenger on the bike, 11-year-old step daughter Cristina Somers, was released from the hospital with minor injuries.

The car was driven by Helen Vaccaro of Chickamauga. Vaccaro was uninjured, no word on any charges she might face in connection with the accident.   Tiny Facebook  Tiny Facebook  Tiny Facebook

LaFayette’s utility budget could end up in doo-doo because of a poop processing problem. Hopefully this won’t require another rate increase or sewer surcharge.

    WQCH Radio, 06/11/15: “LAFAYETTE’S WASTEWATER TREATMENT PLANT IS DUE FOR A RE-BUILD, AND DUE TO THE POTENTIAL FOR AN ENVIRONMENTAL DISASTER, THEY’RE CALLING THE JOB ‘AN EMERGENCY’.

LaFayette Wastewater Treatment Plant / Google Maps

    “MONDAY NIGHT, THE CITY COUNCIL GAVE THEIR ENGINEERING FIRM APPROVAL TO DRAW THE SPECIFICATIONS NECESSARY TO REBUILD THE ‘INFLUENT’ SECTION OF THE 43 YEAR OLD SEWAGE PLANT. BY DECLARING THE JOB ‘AN EMERGENCY’ THE CITY CAN BYPASS THE LENGTHY BIDDING PROCESS. THEY HOPE THAT THE CONTRACTOR WHO IS ALREADY WORKING ON REPAIRS AT THE PLANT, WILL DO THE REBUILD FOR ‘A FAIR PRICE’.
    “AFTER THE MEETING, CITY MANAGER DAVID HAMILTON TOLD WQCH NEWS THEY’RE EXPECTING THE BILL TO BE IN THE 700-THOUSAND DOLLAR RANGE. HE SAID THE CITY WILL PROBABLY HAVE TO APPLY FOR A LOAN FROM ‘GEFA’ – THE GEORGIA ENVIRONMENTAL FINANCE AUTHORITY, TO BANKROLL THE REBUILD. HAMILTON SAID HE HOPES TO GET A LOW INTEREST RATE IN THE RANGE OF 1.9 PERCENT.
    “THE INFLUENT SECTION OF THE PLANT IS THE INTAKE OF THE SEWER TREATMENT SYSTEM. IT HAS THREE HUGE PUMPS AND VALVES THAT HAVE BEEN REBUILT MANY TIMES OVER THE YEARS AND NOW SIMPLY NEED TO BE REPLACED. HAMILTON SAID THE PLANNED REBUILD WILL INCLUDE A CHANGE TO SUBMERSIBLE PUMPS, REPLACING THE OLD SHAFT-DRIVEN PUMP SYSTEMS. HE ADDED THAT SOME OF THE CONCRETE STRUCTURES IN THE OLD PLANT WERE POURED WITHOUT STEEL REBAR SUPPORT AND THOSE WILL BE REPLACED AS WELL.
    “IN RELATED BUSINESS, THE COUNCIL AUTHORIZED THE PURCHASE OF A USED TRUCK-TRACTOR TO HAUL SLUDGE FROM THE WASTEWATER PLANT. FOR YEARS, THE CITY HAS HAULED SLUDGE TO AREA FARMS, WHERE IT IS INJECTED UNDERNEATH THE SOIL AS FERTILIZER. THE 1986 TRACTOR USED TO HAUL THE SLUDGE TRAILER RECENTLY QUIT RUNNING. COUNCIL AUTHORIZED UP TO 50-THOUSAND DOLLARS TO BUY A USED REPLACEMENT. THE MACHINE USED TO INJECT THE SLUDGE WAS ALSO RECENTLY REPLACED THROUGH THE PURCHASE OF A PIECE OF USED EQUIPMENT, CALLED ‘THE GATOR’.”   Tiny Facebook

Today Georgia begins issuing “medical marijuana cards.” Patients with one of eight specific conditions can get a card from the state after being recommended for marijuna-derived low-THC cannabis oil by a doctor.

After obtaining the card, then comes the hard part: getting the oil.   Tiny Facebook

District Attorney Buzz Franklin’s office continues to push back a series of child sex cases from two years ago because their key witness is an FBI agent being investigated for corruption.

A judge has ordered the victimless Internet-sting cases to move ahead without the agent’s testimony, so now the DA is claiming another officer needed to testify will be on vacation during the week scheduled for trial.

This is a totally screwed up situation, and it all falls on the District Attorney’s lap. If the men are guilty of the crimes they’re accused of, his office’s handling of this case has kept them from being punished and will probably result in the cases being thrown out of court. If they aren’t guilty, he’s kept innocent men hanging in limbo for 2 1/2 years.

All because of friendly back-slapping and lack of accountability in the DA’s office, at the FBI, and with several local police departments.   Tiny Facebook

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2015
06.13

This week a local grandmother, BJ Sherlin, claimed on social media her 4-year-old granddaughter nearly drowned during an incident at the LaFayette city swimming pool.

LaFayette City Pool

According to a post Ms. Sherlin duplicated in multiple pages on Facebook, lifeguards giving swim lessons to her granddaughter and other children were inattentive and let the child sit on the bottom of the pool “for 12 seconds” before taking action. (The grandmother herself also took no action other than yelling.) Per Sherlin, the child was traumatized by the incident and now fears water in all forms.

Channel 9 ran her story as news Thursday evening.

LU has discussed the lack of adult supervision at LaFayette pool before, six years ago, so this isn’t a new thing. Some reform is needed in the way the pool is managed, or at least the way it’s been managed in previous years – no argument about THAT.

LaFayette Swimming Pool

But the supposed drowning incident, as retold by Sherlin, is exaggerated; an attempt to get attention for herself or perhaps lay the groundwork for a lawsuit.

[Children depicted are not connected to the incident in question.]

Fortunately a pool security camera captured the entire incident on video. A review of that footage (per the City Manager) shows the child who “almost drowned” was only in the water five seconds before guards responded, and she was in the shallow end of the pool where anyone – including her family – could have stepped in to rescue her if they had chosen to.

The city is reviewing its lifeguard procedures investigating ways to make the pool safer, but (in this case at least) there was no real danger. Nothing to see here, move along..   Tiny Facebook  Tiny Facebook  Tiny Facebook

Investigators say last month’s rash of house fires – three abandoned homes burned in less than a week – were all unrelated incidents. But ONE of the fires, on Villanow St, was definitely arson. The fire on Flora St. was an accident, and the cause of a blaze on Henderson St. is inconclusive.

    WQCH Radio, 06/12/15: “INVESTIGATIONS CONTINUE INTO THREE HOUSE FIRES IN LAFAYETTE, STARTING OVER MEMORIAL WEEKEND. WE NOW KNOW THAT ONE WAS ARSON, ONE WAS AN ACCIDENT – AND THE THIRD IS UNDETERMINED. BUT INVESTIGATORS SAY THE THREE ARE NOT CONNECTED.

House Fire / 313 E Villanow St - Walker County Messenger

    “THE FIRE THAT HAS BEEN RULED INTENTIONALLY-SET WAS ON EAST VILLANOW STREET, AN UNINHABITED FRAME HOUSE OWNED BY THE CITY OF LAFAYETTE. LAFAYETTE FIRE CHIEF ROBERT BUSBY SAID THERE WERE MULTIPLE IGNITION POINTS INSIDE THAT HOUSE, AND TIPS ARE BEING SOLICITED ON THE STATE ARSON HOTLINE. THE PROPERTY HAD BEEN PURCHASED BY THE CITY LAST FALL FOR FUTURE EXPANSION OF THE CEMETERY.
    “THE FIRST OF THE THREE FIRES HAS BEEN RULED AN ACCIDENT. THE HOUSE ON FLORA STREET WAS UNDER RENOVATION AND WORKMEN WERE USING A CHAINSAW FOR DEMOLITION. LAFAYETTE POLICE INVESTIGATOR WESLEY STEELE SAID THEY BELIEVE THE CHAINSAW HIT A NAIL, CREATING SPARKS WHICH LATER IGNITED INSULATION WITHIN THE WALL.
    “THE THIRD FIRE, ON HENDERSON STREET IN WEST LAFAYETTE, IS STILL UNDER INVESTIGATION.
    “CHIEF BUSBY AND DETECTIVE STEELE BOTH SAID THERE APPEARS TO BE NO CONNECTION BETWEEN THE THREE FIRES. STEELE RECALLED A SERIES OF ARSON FIRES IN LAFAYETTE SEVERAL YEARS AGO, THAT STOPPED AFTER AN ARREST. ‘A SERIAL ARSONIST WAS OUR FIRST THOUGHT’, STEELE SAID – BUT HE ADDED ‘THAT’S NOT THE CASE WITH THESE THREE FIRES’.

Shortly after the fire on Henderson, there was a suggestion of suspects seen leaving the home before the fire was called in. Based on that, it will probably eventually also be ruled arson. Maybe.

If you have any information on any of the fires, call the GA Arson tipline at 1 800 282 5804.   Tiny Facebook

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2015
06.11

Three suspects now arrested in connection with last week’s break-ins and car thefts at Glen Eden subdivision.

Mugshot - Terry Whitt   Mugshot - Whitney Roach

Cathy Lane of Rossville [no pic available] joins Terry Alan Whitt [left] and Whitney Roach [right], who were both named in connection to the alleged crime several days earlier. They all face sixteen charges of entering autos and two counts of car theft.

At last report they were jailed in Hamilton, TN (where they were apprehended) waiting extradition back to Walker County. A quick background check shows Whitt, at least, has previously spent time in prison for burglary.   Tiny Facebook

A week ago tonight during her public meeting in Rossville, Commissioner Heiskell claimed the county’s new $25,000 trolley at Mountain Cove Farms has already paid for itself.

Walker County Trolley

Sure it has. Just take her word for it.

Heiskell had another community meeting in Chickamauga this Monday night. No reports on what was said there, but since it was Chickamauga the gathering likely resembled a church revival. Another meeting scheduled for Wallaceville tonight will probably be the same.   Tiny Facebook  Tiny Facebook

Does coming in from another community to shoplift count as “tourism” ?

    WQCH Radio, 06/07/15: “AN 18 YEAR OLD FROM RINGGOLD WAS ARRESTED FOR SHOPLIFTING WEDNESDAY, AT THE LAFAYETTE WALMART.

Suspect Photo Removed

    “POLICE SAY ALEX HUNTER SMITH WAS SPOTTED BY STORE SECURITY OPENING STORE PACKAGING AND CONCEALED A COMPUTER GAME AND SOFTWARE WITH A TOTAL VALUE OF $130.
    “HE REPORTEDLY ENTERED THE CHECKOUT LINE WITH HIS MOTHER, WHO’D BEEN SHOPPING ELSEWHERE IN THE STORE. SHE PAID, BUT HE DID NOT, THE STOLEN ITEMS WERE RECOVERED, AND THE TEEN WAS ARRESTED.”   Tiny Facebook

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2015
06.06

In 2013, State Senator Jeff Mullis interfered with a court trial for a friend, contacting a judge who was set to oversee the case – possibly violating the law.

Jeff Mullis 2015 / Bob Andres AJC

Per legal documents referenced by the Times Free Press, Mullis called Superior Court Judge Brian House three days before House was set to oversee a trial for former Fort Oglethorpe building inspector Mark Lindsay. Mullis was scheduled to appear in that trial to testify on Lindsay’s behalf.

What Mullis said to House isn’t in released court records, but his contact was enough to make House recuse himself from the trial – delaying the case for another year.

Jeff Mullis / Times Free Press Front Page June 4 2015(Mullis’ friend, crooked ex-Fort O building inspector Mark Lindsay, was eventually convicted on seven counts of theft by receiving. [He remains free pending an appeal.])

Sen. Mullis – one of the most powerful elected officials in Georgia – admits interfering, but describes his contact as “a good deed.” He won’t comment to Chattanooga media, but told a sympathetic Atlanta reporter he only wanted to speed up the long-delayed case and told House his friend was being “railroaded.”

Motives aside, that’s unethical and probably illegal, because it’s interference with a case. Or as Judge Ralph Van Pelt described it recently, “impermissible communication.”

Mullis is ethically bereft; all about taking care of friends and supporters, inserting himself into situations where he shouldn’t be – even if that means breaking the rules – on multiple occasions, while ignoring the majority of his constituents.

A year earlier Mullis (who takes an extra salary from the county-funded NWGAJDA) actively tried to influence Georgia EPD to ignore environmental damage done by Walker County, after he was contacted by the county attorney. That was also unethical, if not illegal, so why is this latest issue any kind of a surprise?

Senator The Hutt is also the main reason Walker County voters don’t get a say in keeping or dropping Sole Commissioner government. He won’t do it because his friend doesn’t want it done even though a good number of Walker County residents want the issue on a ballot.

His priorities are clear, and being ethical is clearly not among them.   Tiny Facebook  Tiny Facebook  Tiny Facebook

Former LaFayette Housing Authority employee Lori Baker was arrested again Tuesday, facing three counts of forgery and seven charges of financial card fraud.

Lori Baker Mugshot

Baker allegedly stole someone’s Walmart card out of their house, made purchases with it, then PUT THE CARD BACK. The victim didn’t learn of the fraudulent charges from last month until they checked their bill.

Presumably the victim is another resident of Foster Circle where Ms. Baker is charged with cleaning $12,000 in cash and jewelry out of homes over a three month period, using LHA apartment keys.   Tiny Facebook  Tiny Facebook

County Development Director Liar Brooks says again that Audia will open on August 1st (less than three months out), but now the plastic plant’s job figures have gone fuzzy again.

    WQCH Radio, 06/03/15: “THE RAIL CROSSING AND THE NEW ENTRANCE ROAD ARE THE TOP PRIORITIES AT THE CONSTRUCTION SITE OF THE NEW PLASTICS PLANT AT NOBLE. THE CONSTRUCTION IS CURRENTLY RUSHING TO BE READY TO RECEIVE 21 NEW 80-FOOT TALL SILOS, WHICH WILL BE BROUGHT INTO THE SITE ON THE NEW ENTRY ROAD TO AUDIA INTERNATIONAL.

Audia Plant / May 12th from a Distance

    “ECONOMIC DEVELOPER LARRY BROOKS SAID THE SILOS WILL BE USED TO STORE THE PLANT’S RAW MATERIAL AND RESINS FOR THE MANUFACTURE OF PLASTIC PRODUCTS. HE SAID THE HUGE SILOS WILL BE TRANSPORTED TO THE SITE BY TRUCK, AND SO THE MAIN ENTRANCE ROAD AND ITS RAIL CROSSING MUST BE COMPLETED WITHIN THE NEXT COUPLE OF WEEKS.
    AUDIA HAS SET AUGUST 1st AS THEIR TARGET DATE TO BEGIN OPERATIONS, AND SEVERAL HIRING EVENTS HAVE ALREADY BEEN HELD IN THE AREA. THE COMPANY IS STILL STAYING ‘TIGHT LIPPED’ ABOUT THE TOTAL NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES TO BE HIRED. WE DO KNOW THAT A SECOND AUDIA PLANT WILL BE STARTED AS SOON AS THE FIRST IS COMPLETED.” [Emphasis added.]

At one point Brooks claimed Audia would hire 150, then 60, now they’re “tight lipped” about employment, again. All three sets of figures have been reported by the same news outlet, WQCH, as factual. (Before naming Audia as the site occupant, Brooks and Heiskell said the company would create 200 jobs.)

NOBODY should do development deals in the blind like this. We should have a signed contract with a minimum number of jobs guaranteed for a number of years, and that ought to be made known to the public.

You’re going to be shocked when it turns out the county has spent $24+ million on a plant that employs ten people and brings nothing to the community except noise and pollution?   Tiny Facebook

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