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TOP LOCAL NEWS STORIES:

*   THE CATOOSA-WALKER “RELAY FOR LIFE” COMES TO SADDLE RIDGE SCHOOL THIS SATURDAY.
    CANCER SURVIVORS AND ONE CARE-GIVER ARE INVITED TO A DINNER AND TO WALK THE FIRST LAP OF THE RELAY.   SURVIVORS SHOULD ARRIVE AT 3 PM FOR REGISTRATION… AND OPENING CEREMONIES BEGIN AT 4 PM.   THE SURVIVOR DINNER WILL BE HELD AT 5 PM IN THE SCHOOL CAFETERIA. 
    RELAY EVENTS CONTINUE UNTIL 10 PM SATURDAY… AND THE PUBLIC IS WELCOME.  SADDLE RIDGE IS OFF HIGHWAY 27 JUST SOUTH OF THE WALKER COUNTY CIVIC CENTER.

*   THE LAFAYETTE HIGH KEY CLUB WILL SPONSOR “NIGHT OF A THOUSAND STARS”… THIS SATURDAY IN THE SCHOOL AUDITORIUM.   SEE TALENTED LHS STUDENTS AND FACULTY PERFORM.  
    ADMISSION IS $5 FOR ADULTS, $3 FOR STUDENTS AND CHILDREN.   A SILENT AUCTION BEGINS AT 7 PM… AND THE SHOW STARTS AT 7:30.
    PROCEEDS WILL HELP CLUB MEMBERS ATTEND THE INTERNATIONAL CONVENTION.

*   THE LAFAYETTE HIGH SCHOOL CLASS OF 2016 BACCALAUREATE SERVICE WILL BE HELD THIS SUNDAY AFTERNOON AT 2 O’CLOCK, AT FIRST BAPTIST CHURCH OF LAFAYETTE.

*   RESIDENTS OF THE HINKLE COMMUNITY ON LOOKOUT MOUNTAIN, WILL CELEBRATE “HEROS DAY” THIS SUNDAY… JUST PAST THE FIFTH ANNIVERSARY OF THE TORNADO THAT DAMAGED DOZENS OF HOMES THERE.
    “HEROS DAY” WILL BE HELD AT THE HINKLE FIRE STATION… AT THE INTERSECTION OF HIGHWAY 157 AND LULA LAKE ROAD… FROM 1 - 5 PM SUNDAY.   LUNCH WILL BE SERVED… THERE WILL BE SPEAKERS REMEMBERING THE EVENTS… AND THERE WILL ALSO BE ACTIVITIES FOR CHILDREN.
    WALKER COUNTY’S TORNADO HIT HINKLE ON APRIL 27th, 2011.

*   THE EXCHANGE CLUB OF ROSSVILLE WILL SPONSOR THE GEORGE W. WILSON MEMORIAL GOLF TOURNAMENT AT THE LAFAYETTE COURSE, ON FRIDAY, MAY 6th.   PROCEEDS FROM THE TOURNAMENT WILL BENEFIT “THE COTTAGE”… A RESIDENTIAL HOME THAT SERVES ABUSED AND NEGLECTED CHILDREN IN WALKER, DADE, CATOOSA AND CHATTOOGA COUNTIES.
    CALL 706 375 9060 FOR MORE INFORMATION OR TO REGISTER A TEAM.

UPDATE:  
A MANHUNT LASTED THROUGH THE MORNING IN CHICKAMAUGA BATTLEFIELD… AND POLICE ARE STILL LOOKING FOR A SUSPECT WHO WRECKED HIS CAR, THEN RAN… FOLLOWING A HIGH SPEED CHASE EARLY FRIDAY MORNING.
    THEY’RE LOOKING FOR DEWAYNE BURNS, WHO WAS WANTED IN CHATTANOOGA.   HE’S DESCRIBED AS A BLACK MALE, 6-FEET 5-INCHES TALL AND 340 POUNDS.   BURNS RAN FROM OFFICERS AFTER WRECKING HIS CAR AT THE INTERSECTION OF LAFAYETTE ROAD AND DYER ROAD IN THE BATTLEFIELD.   FORT OGLETHORPE OFFICERS FIRED A COUPLE OF SHOTS DURING THE CHASE, BUT NO ONE WAS HURT.   A SHOTGUN AND A HANDGUN WERE FOUND IN THE SUSPECT’S CAR… BUT IT’S NOT KNOWN IF HE IS PRESENTLY ARMED.   ANYONE WITH INFORMATION ON HIS WHEREABOUTS SHOULD CONTACT FORT OGLETHORPE POLICE.  
 
*   A “SUSPICIOUS VEHICLE” REPORT LED TO A DRUG ARREST EARLY SUNDAY MORNING, ON PLEDGER PARKWAY.
    WHEN POLICE ARRIVED, THE FEMALE DRIVER TOLD THEM THE CAR WAS “OUT OF GAS”… AND SHE WAS WAITING FOR A FRIEND TO HELP.
    SPOTTING A HOLSTER, THE OFFICER ORDERED THE WOMAN OUT OF THE VEHICLE IN CASE A HAND GUN WAS ALSO PRESENT.   SHE WAS FUMBLING WITH A PURSE AT THE TIME.
    22 YEAR OLD HALEY MAE SIMPSON OF ROCK SPRING WAS CHARGED WITH POSSESSION OF METH, AFTER A CONSENT SEARCH TURNED UP A BAGGIE CONTAINING METH AND A GLASS PIPE, INSIDE THE PURSE.

*   100-THOUSAND DOLLARS WORTH OF “ICE” METHAMPHETAMINE WAS RECOVERED AFTER A SPEEDING VEHICLE STOP IN NORTH WALKER COUNTY.  A SHERIFF’S DEPUTY PULLED OVER THE VEHICLE ON HIGHWAY 2 NEAR MCFARLAND ROAD… AND ARRESTED TWO PEOPLE ON DRUG CHARGES.
    54 YEAR OLD RONNIE LYNN MOORE AND HIS WIFE, 54 YEAR OLD TRINA DENISE MOORE… BOTH OF RINGGOLD… WERE TAKEN INTO CUSTODY.  CHARGES INCLUDE TRAFFICKING IN METH, POSSESSION OF METH AND MARIJUANA.   IN ADDITION TO THE TWO POUND STASH OF “ICE”… OFFICERS FOUND 14-HUNDRED DOLLARS IN CASH.

*   APOLLO-MD WILL BE RE-NAMING HUTCHESON MEDICAL CENTER, WHEN THEIR PURCHASE OF THE FORT OGLETHORPE OPERATION CLOSES.
    THE NEW NAME WILL BE “CORNERSTONE MEDICAL CENTER”.  CURRENTLY, APOLLO-MD IS MANAGING THE HUTCHESON EMERGENCY ROOM, WHILE GRADUALLY EXPANDING OPERATIONS.   THEY’RE HOPING FOR A CLOSING OF THE SALE IN EARLY MAY.
    THE “CORNERSTONE” NAME COMES FROM THE CORNERSTONE CLUB… A GROUP OF COMMUNITY LEADERS WHO MADE WEEKLY CONTRIBUTIONS FROM THEIR PAYCHECKS TO EXPAND THE OLD POST HOSPITAL AND CREATE WHAT BECAME HUTCHESON, BACK IN THE 1950’s.

*   ANOTHER NEW “DOLLAR GENERAL” IS COMING TO WALKER COUNTY.  A ZONING CHANGE WAS APPROVED THURSDAY BY COMMISSIONER BEBE HEISKELL, ALLOWING THE NEW STORE TO BE BUILT NEAR CHICKAMAUGA ON COVE ROAD AT GARRETT’S CHAPEL.   THE ZONING WAS CHANGED FROM RESIDENTIAL TO COMMERCIAL, FOR THE NEW STORE.
    COMMISSIONER HEISKELL DID NOT APPROVE A “CONDITIONAL USE REQUEST” IN THE ROSSVILLE AREA, FOR A PROPOSED COIN LAUNDRY OPERATION.   DAVID RODEN OF ROSSVILLE PRESENTED A LENGTHY PROTEST OF THE PLAN… ALONG WITH SIGNATURES OF NEIGHBORS WHO ALSO OPPOSE IT.
    RODEN TOLD THE COMMISSIONER THAT THERE WERE A NUMBER OF DISCREPANCIES IN THE APPLICATION PROCESS, WHICH HE NAMED.  COMMISSIONER HEISKELL SAID SHE WILL INVESTIGATE HIS COMPLAINTS… AND IF NECESSARY, WILL “START THE PROCESS OVER” TO MAKE SURE THE CODES DEPARTMENT FOLLOWS ALL THE REQUIRED PROCEDURES.  THE LOCATION IS JAMES STREET AT WILSON ROAD IN ROSSVILLE.

*   ADVANCE VOTING OPENS MONDAY IN THE PRIMARY ELECTIONS.   VOTE AT THE COURTHOUSE IN LAFAYETTE, ROOM 110… 8:30 AM - 4:30 PM.

*
    MORE BAD NEWS FOR HUTCHESON… A FEDERAL JUDGE RULED THAT THE FORT OGLETHORPE HOSPITAL OWES ERLANGER HEALTH SYSTEM A TOTAL OF 36.4-MILLION DOLLARS.
    JUDGE HAROLD MURPHY SAID THAT HUTCHESON SHOULD PAY BACK A 20-MILLION DOLLAR LOAN FROM 2011… PLUS 4-MILLION IN INTEREST AND ANOTHER 12.4 MILLION IN “LATE FEES”.  
    HE ALSO DISMISSED TWO OF HUTCHESON’S CLAIMS FOR DAMAGES IN IT’S LAWSUIT AGAINST ERLANGER.
    THE ORIGINAL 20-MILLION DOLLAR LOAN WAS MADE BY ERLANGER TO HUTCHESON, WHILE THE CHATTANOOGA HOSPITAL WAS IN A MANAGEMENT AGREEMENT OVER THE FORT OGLETHORPE OPERATION.
    REPAYMENT HAD BEEN DELAYED BY HUTCHESON’S BANKRUPTCY AND SEVERAL COURT PROCEEDINGS.
    IT IS NOT YET DETERMINED WHETHER WALKER AND CATOOSA COUNTIES WILL BE REQUIRED TO PAY 8.5-MILLION EACH, DUE TO AN AGREEMENT THEY SIGNED BACKING THE ERLANGER NOTE TO HUTCHESON… AND IT APPEARS CERTAIN THAT HUTCHESON HAS FAR LESS THAN 36-MILLION DOLLARS IN ASSETS LEFT, SHOULD ALL PARTIES AGREE TO PAY THE COURT-AWARDED AMOUNT TO ERLANGER.

*   AN EMAIL SENT LAST WEEK TO HUTCHESON BOARD MEMBERS FROM ERLANGER ATTORNEYS, APPEARED TO THREATEN THEM WITH INDIVIDUAL LAWSUITS.  STUART JAMES, SPECIAL COUNSEL TO WALKER COUNTY… SAID “WE WILL NOT BE INTIMIDATED”.
    THE EMAIL, FROM ERLANGER COUNSEL EDWARD MARSHALL… DIRECTED TO TOM WELDON, COUNSEL FOR THE HOSPITAL AUTHORITY BOARD… SAYS ERLANGER “MAY PURSUE CIVIL ACTION AGAINST INDIVIDUAL BOARD MEMBERS IN THE AMOUNT OF 36-MILLION DOLLARS, IF THEY REFUSE TO ACCEPT THE SETTLEMENT TERMS."   THOSE ‘TERMS’ WERE NOT SPECIFIED IN THE EMAIL.
    ATTORNEY JAMES SAID “IT’S VERY UNFORTUNATE THAT THIS ISSUE HAS BEEN CLOUDED BY YET ANOTHER VOLLEY FROM ERLANGER.  BOTH COMMISSIONER BEBE HEISKELL AND I ARE CONFIDENT THAT THE LAW WILL BE FOLLOWED IN THIS ENTIRE MATTER AND LOOK FORWARD TO DOING WHAT IS IN THE BEST INTERESTS FOR THE HEALTH AND WELL-BEING OF THE CITIZENRY OF NORTH GEORGIA… WHICH IS COMMISSIONER HEISKELL’S GOAL.  WE ARE NOT GOING TO BE INTIMIDATED BY WHAT ‘MIGHT’ HAPPEN… WE ARE GOING TO MOVE FORWARD THOUGHTFULLY AND PURPOSEFULLY.   COMMISSIONER HEISKELL AND I REMAIN OPTIMISTIC THAT THIS VERY COMPLICATED MATTER WILL CONTINUE TO STAY ON A TRACK THAT WILL RESULT IN THE BEST OF OUTCOMES FOR THE CITIZENS OF NORTH GEORGIA." 

*   LAFAYETTE POLICE ARRESTED A LOCAL MAN AFTER A FOOT-CHASE ON SUNDAY… AND ALSO ARRESTED A FAMILY MEMBER FOR HINDERING HIS APPREHENSION.
    MICHAEL CHANCE ELLISON, 21… WAS SPOTTED TRYING TO EXIT FROM A WINDOW AT AN APARTMENT ON SOUTH MAIN.   OFFICERS KNEW HE WAS WANTED ON A FELONY PROBATION VIOLATION. 
    HE DUCKED BACK INSIDE… AND POLICE KICKED THE APARTMENT DOOR IN… BUT ELLISON ESCAPED THROUGH A DIFFERENT WINDOW.   AFTER A CHASE, HE WAS LOCATED A FEW MINUTES LATER - HIDING UNDER A CAMPER IN A YARD OFF SOUTH DUKE STREET.  
    POLICE ALSO ARRESTED 46 YEAR OLD WENDY ELLISON, BACK AT THE APARTMENT.  THE POLICE REPORT STATED THAT SHE HAD BEEN WARNED NOT TO LET CHANCE STAY THERE.
    POLICE ADDED A NEW “OBSTRUCTION” CHARGE ON CHANCE ELLISON.  IN ADDITION TO THE FELONY PROBATION VIOLATION, HE WAS WANTED ON NUMEROUS TRAFFIC VIOLATIONS… STEMMING FROM A POLICE CHASE IN MARCH.

*   TWO PEOPLE WERE ARRESTED BY LAFAYETTE POLICE FOLLOWING A CALL TO O’REILLY AUTO PARTS IN NORTH LAFAYETTE, LATE FRIDAY NIGHT.  THE CALL STATED THAT TWO PEOPLE IN THE STORE WERE BELIEVED TO BE STEALING.
    WHEN POLICE ARRIVE, THE VAN BELONGING TO THE GROUP WAS PULLING AWAY FROM THE STORE, AND OFFICERS STOPPED IT AT THE HIGHWAY 27 INTERSECTION.
    THE DRIVER OF THE VAN, 41 YEAR OLD JENNIFER LOUISE KELLEY OF CHATTANOOGA, SAID SHE HAD BOUGHT THE VEHICLE JUST A FEW DAYS PRIOR.   POLICE SPOTTED A MEAT CLEAVER BESIDE HER PASSENGER…
40 YEAR OLD MICHAEL WILLIAM PATTERSON OF LAFAYETTE.  HE WAS ASKED OUT OF THE VEHICLE TO GET HIM SEPARATED FROM THE WEAPON.  
    AS PATTERSON’S I.D. WAS CHECKED, IT WAS FOUND HE WAS WANTED ON A WALKER COUNTY FELONY WARRANT… AND HE WAS TAKEN INTO CUSTODY.
    INSIDE THE VAN, OFFICERS FOUND SEVERAL BAGGIES CONTAINING METH, MARIJUANA, PILLS AND PIPES.   THE DRIVER - KELLEY - WAS CHARGED WITH POSSESSION OF METH, MARIJUANA, SCHEDULE 2 AND 4 NARCOTICS… DRIVING WHILE LICENSE REVOKED… AND HAVING AN IMPROPERLY TRANSFERRED LICENSE PLATE ON HER VAN.   
    TWO PEOPLE WHO HAD BEEN RIDING IN THE VAN TOLD POLICE THEY OBSERVED KELLEY MAKE A DRUG BUY AT A TRAILER PARK NEAR LAFAYETTE.  THEY WERE BOTH RELEASED.

*   ANOTHER THEFT REPORT FROM FOUNTAIN PLAZA… THE FOURTH IN THE PAST TWO WEEKS.
    THIS TIME, DOLLAR BILLS WERE MYSTERIOUSLY TAKEN FROM A SOFT DRINK MACHINE.  THE TWO KEYS TO THE MACHINE WERE KEPT INSIDE IN THE OFFICE, SO IT’S NOT KNOWN HOW THE MACHINE WAS ENTERED.  THE TOTAL LOSS THIS TIME WAS $25, ACCORDING TO THE POLICE REPORT.
    THE BUSINESS ALSO REPORTED DAMAGE TO PROPERTY ON SATURDAY.  SOMEONE RIPPED A SHAMPOO HOSE OUT OF ITS HOUSING.  THE HOSE HAD JUST BEEN REPLACED - AND WAS RUINED… A LOSS OF AROUND $200.

*   YOU MAY NOT HAVE NOTICED… BUT THE NORTHWEST CORNER OF GEORGIA IS ONE OF THE STATE’S MOST ACTIVE AREAS FOR EARTHQUAKES.
    IN THE PAST EIGHT MONTHS, THIS AREA HAS RECORDED 8 QUAKES… ALL AT MAGNITUDE 2.5 OR LESS.  THAT INCLUDES 2 QUAKES NEAR LAFAYETTE, 2 NEAR TRION, 2 NEAR RINGGOLD, 1 NEAR DALTON AND 1 NEAR CHICKAMAUGA.
    ACCORDING TO THE U.S. GEOLOGICAL SURVEY… MAGNITUDE 2.5 QUAKES AND SMALLER, OFTEN GO “UNFELT”.   MAGNITUDE 2.6 TO 5.4 QUAKES CAN BE FELT, BUT CAUSE ONLY MINOR DAMAGE.   IT TAKES A QUAKE OF MAGNITUDE 5.5 OR MORE, TO CAUSE EXTENSIVE DAMAGE.
    THE SURVEY RECORDED THIS AREA’S BIGGEST QUAKE IN 1902.  IT WAS CENTERED NEAR DALTON AND WAS FELT OVER AN AREA OF 1,500 SQUARE MILES.

*   THE TECHNICAL COLLEGE SYSTEM OF GEORGIA AND THE STATE DEPARTMENT OF ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT HONORED LAFAYETTE’S ROPER CORPORATION AS ONE OF GEORGIA’S TOP INDUSTRIES, DURING MANUFACTURING APPRECIATION WEEK.
    ROPER WAS ONE OF FOUR GEORGIA INDUSTRIES IN THE RUNNING FOR “MANUFACTURER OF THE YEAR”… BUT THIS YEAR’S HONOR WENT TO CATERPILLAR, WITH THEIR NEWLY-LOCATED PLANT NEAR ATHENS.
    IN ADDITION TO ROPER, GEORGIA NORTHWESTERN TECHNICAL COLLEGE ALSO NOMINATED MOHAWK INDUSTRIES, CONTROLLED PRODUCTS AND OTR WHEEL ENGINEERING.
    ROPER IS WALKER COUNTY’S LARGEST EMPLOYER… AND WAS NOMINATED IN THE LARGE-COMPANY CATEGORY.   THEY OFFER 100-PERCENT REIMBURSEMENT TO EMPLOYEES ADVANCING THEIR EDUCATION, PLUS A SCHOLARSHIP PROGRAM FOR CHILDREN… ACCORDING TO THE GNTC NOMINATION.  ROPER IS ALSO ACTIVE IN THE “STEM” PROGRAM IN WALKER COUNTY SCHOOLS… HOSTING PROGRAMS EACH MONTH TO ASSIST STUDENTS IN SCIENCE, TECHNOLOGY, ENGINEERING AND MATH.

*   THE ANNUAL SUMMER BURN-BAN GOES INTO EFFECT THIS SUNDAY, MAY 1st, IN THE AREA.   OUTDOOR BURNING IS BANNED DURING THE SUMMER MONTHS BY THE GEORGIA ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION DIVISION TO COMPLY WITH FEDERAL CLEAN AIR STANDARDS… PARTICULARLY, OZONE LEVELS.  THE BAN CONTINUES UNTIL SEPTEMBER 30th.

*   SOME AREA LEADERS WERE QUESTIONING FEBRUARY’S BIG INCREASE IN THE UNEMPLOYMENT RATES, PUBLISHED FOR WALKER AND CHATTOOGA COUNTIES BY THE GEORGIA DEPARTMENT OF LABOR.  NOW WITH MUCH LOWER RATES PUBLISHED FOR MARCH, IT APPEARS THE HIGH NUMBERS COULD HAVE BEEN IN ERROR.   COUNTY UNEMPLOYMENT NUMBERS SELDOM SWING MORE THAN A HALF-PERCENTAGE POINT FROM MONTH TO MONTH.
    IN THE LATEST FIGURES… WALKER COUNTY DROPPED FROM 7.5 PERCENT IN FEBRUARY TO 5.6 PERCENT IN MARCH… A DECLINE IN UNEMPLOYMENT OF 1.9 PERCENT OVER THE MONTH.
    CHATTOOGA DROPPED FROM 10.1 IN FEBRUARY TO 6 PERCENT IN MARCH… A DROP OF 4.1 PERCENT.
    FOR THE NORTHWEST GEORGIA REGION, THE DEPARTMENT OF LABOR PUTS THE MARCH FIGURE AT 5.6 PERCENT FOR MARCH… DOWN BY 3/10ths OF A POINT FROM FEBRUARY.

*   WALKER COUNTY’S SAMPLE BALLOTS HAVE BEEN RELEASED FOR THE MAY 24th PRIMARIES… AND YOU WON’T FIND COMMISSIONER BEBE HEISKELL’S NAME ON THE REPUBLICAN OR NON-PARTISAN BALLOT.
    AS HEISKELL IS RUNNING AS AN INDEPENDENT CANDIDATE, SHE WON’T APPEAR ON THE BALLOT UNTIL THE GENERAL ELECTION THIS NOVEMBER, WHEN SHE’LL FACE THE WINNER IN THE REPUBLICAN PRIMARY.
    ON THE REPUBLICAN BALLOT, THE RACE IS BETWEEN COUNTY COMMISSIONER CHALLENGERS MIKE PEARDON AND SHANNON WHITFIELD.
    THE GOP BALLOT ALSO HAS A RACE FOR STATE SENATOR FROM DISTRICT 53… WHERE INCUMBENT JEFF MULLIS IS CHALLENGED BY LANNY THOMAS OF CHATTOOGA COUNTY.
    AND IN THE SCHOOL BOARD POST 5 RACE, INCUMBENT PHYLLIS HUNTER FACES A CHALLENGE FROM CASEY EADY.
    THE REPUBLICAN BALLOT WILL ALSO HAVE A “STRAW POLL” QUESTION FOR VOTERS:   “SHOULD THE FORM OF COUNTY GOVERNMENT IN WALKER COUNTY BE CHANGED FROM A SOLE COMMISSIONER TO A BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS?”   RESULTS THERE ARE, OF COURSE, NON-BINDING.
    THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY BALLOT ON MAY 24th WILL ALSO CARRY SEVERAL QUESTIONS FOR VOTERS, INCLUDING OPINIONS ON A CHANGE FROM SOLE COMMISSIONER TO A BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS.
    MOST INCUMBENTS IN THE COURT SYSTEM AND COUNTY OFFICES ARE UNOPPOSED IN NEXT MONTHS PRIMARY.


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