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NORTH GEORGIA COMPUTER SOLUTIONS is the WQCH featured business of the week.
     Now open in the NEW LOCATION on North Main in LaFayette!   It's your home for computer sales and service in LaFayette.  See owner Bill Evitt in the new location... or call 423 504 6012.  

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TOP LOCAL NEWS STORIES:

*   AN ARREST HAS BEEN MADE IN THE ILLEGAL GAMBLING OPERATION FOUND INSIDE A LAFAYETTE CONVENIENCE STORE.  IN LATE OCTOBER LAST YEAR, POLICE RAIDED THE CHEVRON STORE AT THE INTERSECTION OF NORTH MAIN AND HENDRIX.  GEORGIA LOTTERY OFFICIALS PULLED THEIR MACHINES FROM THE STORE AFTER COMPLAINTS SURFACED THAT EMPLOYEES WERE ILLEGALLY MAKING CASH PAYOUTS TO CUSTOMERS.
    POLICE CAPTAIN STACEY MEEKS SAID A FELONY WARRANT FOR THE OWNERS ARREST HAD BEEN PREPARED WEEKS AGO, BUT HE WAS OUT OF THE COUNTY.  THIS WEEK, 50 YEAR OLD BARBER NMN KHAN TURNED HIMSELF IN ON A CHARGE OF ILLEGAL COMMERCIAL GAMBLING.   MEEKS SAID THAT KHAN IS A NATIVE OF PAKISTAN, IN AMERICA ON A CANADIAN VISA.  HE REPORTEDLY LEFT THE UNITED STATES DUE TO A FAMILY ILLNESS IN HIS NATIVE COUNTRY.
    MEEKS SAID LOCAL POLICE HAVE HAD NO FURTHER COMPLAINTS ON THE BUSINESS SINCE THE RAID LAST YEAR… AND THE LOTTERY MACHINES HAVE NOT BEEN RETURNED TO THE BUSINESS.  THE GBI, DRUG TASK FORCE AGENTS… REPRESENTATIVES OF THE GEORGIA LOTTERY CORPORATION AND THE STATE DEPARTMENT OF REVENUE ASSISTED LOCAL POLICE IN THE INVESTIGATION.

*   A LAFAYETTE WOMAN WAS ARRESTED FOR HIDING A WANTED PERSON IN HER HOME ON SOUTH FLORA STREET, MONDAY.
    POLICE WERE LOOKING FOR A JUVENILE OFFENDER AND AN ADULT, ZARIUS NEAL, WHO IS WANTED IN A SHOOTING INCIDENT IN CHATTOOGA COUNTY.
    21 YEAR OLD ALICIA MARIE HACKNEY TOLD OFFICERS THAT NEITHER PERSON HAD BEEN IN HER HOME.   THEY ASKED TO SEARCH THE RESIDENCE, TO WHICH SHE AGREED… AND THE JUVENILE WAS FOUND HIDING IN A CLOSET UPSTAIRS.   THE ADULT… NEAL… WAS NOT LOCATED.
    THE JUVENILE WAS TAKEN FOR MEDICAL EVALUATION AND CLEARED BEFORE BEING TURNED OVER TO JUVENILE JUSTICE.
    MS. HACKNEY WAS ARRESTED AND CHARGED WITH OBSTRUCTION OF AN OFFICER.

*   THE UNEMPLOYMENT NUMBERS ARE “GOING THE WRONG WAY” AGAIN… UP.
    FOR THE FOURTH CONSECUTIVE MONTH, GEORGIA’S UNEMPLOYMENT RATE HAS RISEN… THIS TIME FROM 5.3 PERCENT IN NOVEMBER, TO 5.4 IN DECEMBER.
    THE LABOR FORCE CONTINUES TO INCREASE WITH NEW PROSPECTS… AND LAYOFFS ALSO FACTORED-IN TO THE MIX… ACCORDING TO LABOR COMMISSIONER MARK BUTLER.  
    DURING THE SAME PERIOD… NEW CLAIMS FOR UNEMPLOYMENT SHOT UP IN ALL LOCAL COUNTIES… A SIGN THAT LAYOFFS ARE BACK.
    IN WALKER COUNTY, NEW CLAIMS CLIMBED BY 249 WORKERS FROM NOVEMBER TO DECEMBER.   IN WHITFIELD, THEY WERE UP BY 248… AND IN CATOOSA COUNTY, UP BY 129 WORKERS.  CHATTOOGA COUNTY’S NEW CLAIMS WENT UP BY 13 IN DECEMBER .

*   THE DRIVER OF A MINIVAN APPEARED TO BE AT FAULT IN A TWO VEHICLE HEAD-ON COLLISION ON HIGHWAY 136 EAST OF LAFAYETTE, LAST WEEK.
    THE STATE PATROL RELEASED THE REPORT TO WQCH NEWS ON TUESDAY.   THE DODGE CARAVAN, DRIVEN BY 52 YEAR OLD JAMES MAURICE MCKINNEY, WAS EASTBOUND AND VEERED INTO THE OPPOSING LANE… IMPACTING A WESTBOUND TRUCK HEAD-ON.   BOTH PERSONS IN THE VAN, INCLUDING PASSENGER - 54 YEAR OLD LEAH YVETTE SHARP - WERE TRAPPED IN THE WRECKAGE AND HAD TO BE EXTRICATED WITH INCAPACITATING INJURIES, ACCORDING TO THE REPORT.   MS. SHARP WAS TRANSPORTED BY LIFEFORCE, WHILE MR. MCKINNEY WAS TRANSPORTED BY AMBULANCE.   THEY SHARE THE SAME ADDRESS ON SOUTH DICKS CREEK ROAD IN WALKER COUNTY.  THE DRIVER AND PASSENGER IN THE TRUCK WERE NOT SERIOUSLY HURT.
    THE TRUCK DRIVER TOLD TROOPERS HE TRIED TO AVOID THE ONCOMING VAN, BUT COULD NOT.  HE SAID IT APPEARED THE OTHER DRIVER WAS LOOKING DOWN AT THE TIME OF IMPACT.  THE WRECK OCCURRED ON 136 BETWEEN EAST AND WEST ARMUCHEE, ON JANUARY 9th JUST PAST NOON.

*   A GRUESOME CASE IN WHITFIELD COUNTY SEEMS A LITTLE CLOSER TO BEING SOLVED.  WHITFIELD COUNTY SHERIFF SCOTT CHITWOOD BELIEVES THE BURNED BODY OF A YOUNG MAN FOUND IN A WOODED AREA LAST WEEK, IS THAT OF A MISSING PERSON FROM OUT-OF-STATE.
    NO FURTHER DETAILS ARE BEING RELEASED PENDING THE OUTCOME OF AN AUTOPSY.   THE BODY WAS FOUND BY A 13 YEAR OLD BOY WALKING IN WOODS NEAR HIS HOME IN SOUTHERN WHITFIELD COUNTY ON JANUARY 10th.

*   SCHOOL BOARD MEMBER DALE WILSON OF LAFAYETTE HAS BEEN ELECTED AS CHAIRMAN OF THE BOARD FOR 2017.
    HE TOOK THE GAVEL AT THE FIRST PLANNING SESSION OF THE YEAR, THIS MONTH.
    AND MIKE CARRUTH WAS ELECTED VICE-CHAIR OF THE WALKER COUNTY BOARD OF EDUCATION, FOR THE COMING YEAR.

*   MEMBERS OF THE LAFAYETTE HIGH “HOSA” CLUB AND THEIR SPONSOR, DONNA CLEMENTS… ALONG WITH
    LHS HONORS GOVERNMENT STUDENTS AND THEIR TEACHER, MATT LOGAN…
    WERE HONORED BY THE WALKER COUNTY BOARD OF EDUCATION TUESDAY NIGHT.   THE STUDENTS PROVIDED ITEMS NEEDED FOR A NEW “FREE LITTLE PANTRY”, WHICH IS LOCATED AT THE DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION HEADQUARTERS IN LAFAYETTE.
    SUPERINTENDENT DAMON RAINES SAID “WE ARE VERY PROUD OF THESE STUDENTS AND APPRECIATE THEIR DEDICATED TEACHERS”.
    THE HOSA CLUB IS FOR STUDENTS WHO PLAN A FUTURE CAREER IN HEALTHCARE.

*   THE LOCAL VIETNAM VETERANS ALLIANCE CHAPTER WILL HOLD A HAM AND TURKEY SHOOT THIS SATURDAY ON VETERANS DRIVE OFF HOMER CAGLE ROAD.   IT STARTS AT 10 AM, AND 12 AND 20 GAUGE SHOTGUNNERS ARE WELCOME.

*
    A WALKER COUNTY MAN IS ACCUSED OF MURDER IN THE DEATH OF HIS GIRLFRIEND AT A HOME ON WHEELER ROAD, SUNDAY.  SHERIFF STEVE WILSON IDENTIFIED THE VICTIM AS 29 YEAR OLD CANDACE ANN HANKINS.
    NOW LODGED IN THE WALKER COUNTY JAIL IS HER BOYFRIEND, 29 YEAR OLD DAVID RYAN WALKER.  WILSON SAID WALKER HAS BEEN CHARGED WITH MURDER IN THE CASE.
    INVESTIGATORS BELIEVE WALKER KILLED HANKINS AND TRIED TO GET OTHERS INVOLVED IN HELPING REMOVE THE BODY FROM THE HOME… BUT THEY REFUSED AND NOTIFIED THE LAW.  THEY'RE NOT SURE HOW THE VICTIM DIED… AND WILSON SAID SHE MAY HAVE BEEN PREGNANT.  AN AUTOPSY WILL BE CONDUCTED. 
    DEPUTIES WERE FAMILIAR WITH THE ADDRESS, HAVING BEEN CALLED THERE SEVERAL TIMES ON REPORTS OF DRUGS AND DOMESTIC VIOLENCE, WILSON SAID.  THE GBI IS ASSISTING IN THE INVESTIGATION.

*   COMMISSIONER SHANNON WHITFIELD GOT “AN EAR-FULL” ABOUT CODES ENFORCEMENT, AT HIS FIRST REGULAR BUSINESS MEETING LAST WEEK.
    JOHNNY NOBLITT REQUESTED TIME ON THE AGENDA TO DISCUSS PROBLEMS WITH JUNK CARS IN HIS NEIGHBORHOOD:  EMERALD ACRES ON WEST REEDS ROAD.  HE SAID ONE HOME IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD HAS HAD NUMEROUS JUNK CARS IN THE YARD… AND TRASH PILED IN THE VISIBLE SIDE PORCH AREA.  WHILE A CODES DEPARTMENT NOTICE WAS PLACED ON THE FRONT DOOR, NOTHING HAS CHANGED, HE SAID.  HE ALSO TOLD THE COMMISSIONER OF A JUNK CAR PROBLEM HE’S SEEN ON HIGHWAY 193 IN FLINTSTONE.
    ANOTHER CITIZEN COMPLAINED OF FIRE DAMAGED HOMES THAT HAVE NEVER BEEN TORN DOWN OR CLEANED UP BY OWNERS.
    WHITFIELD SAID THE CODES DEPARTMENT CURRENTLY HAS ONLY ONE FULL TIME FIELD OFFICER… AND IT’S A BIG COUNTY.   HE PROMISED TO LOOK AT “BEEFING UP” THE CODES ENFORCEMENT STAFF AND ADDRESS THE PROBLEMS NOTED.

*   THE LOOKOUT MOUNTAIN DRUG TASK FORCE DISCOVERED A LARGE CACHE OF METHAMPHETAMINE… AND ARRESTED TWO PEOPLE… AT A RESIDENCE WEST OF CHICKAMAUGA.
    37 YEAR OLD BRANDON EUGENE PALMER AND 31 YEAR OLD BARBARA RACHELLE JARNAGIN WERE ARRESTED INITIALLY FOR POSSESSION SMALL AMOUNTS OF METH.  THEN AS THE INVESTIGATION UNFOLDED, OFFICERS FOUND ABOUT 3-THOUSAND DOLLARS IN MEXICAN ICE… AT THE RESIDENCE ON SIMMONS TAWZER ROAD.  CHARGES WERE UPGRADED TO DISTRIBUTION OF METH FOR PALMER.
    IN ANOTHER CASE IN ROSSVILLE, A PAROLE OFFICER FOUND MARIJUANA AND GUNS DURING A VISIT… AND CONVICTED FELON CHRISTOPHER DUANE BOYD, 26, WAS ARRESTED BY THE TASK FORCE. 

*   THE CITY OF LAFAYETTE IS TAKING THE LEAF PICKUP MACHINE THROUGH TOWN… AND THIS WILL BE THE LAST ROUND OF THE SEASON.
IF YOU STILL HAVE LEAVES AFTER THIS LAST PASS, BAG THEM AND CALL THE PUBLIC WORKS DEPARTMENT FOR PICKUP.

*   THE CHATTOOGA COUNTY SHERIFF’S DEPARTMENT HAS A LOOKOUT POSTED FOR A LAFAYETTE MAN, WANTED IN CONNECTION WITH A RECENT NON-FATAL SHOOTING IN THE LYERLY AREA.
    22 YEAR OLD ZARIS KYNTRAIL NEAL HAS AN ARREST WARRANT ON TWO COUNTS OF AGGRAVATED ASSAULT… AND SHERIFF MARK SCHRADER SAID THE PUBLIC SHOULD CONSIDER HIM ARMED AND DANGEROUS.  MORE ARRESTS ARE EXPECTED IN THE CASE.
    THE VICTIM HAS BEEN RELEASED FROM THE HOSPITAL AND WAS, HIMSELF, ARRESTED IN A SEPARATE INCIDENT IN CHATTOOGA COUNTY… ON ROBBERY AND DRUG CHARGES.
    ANYONE WITH INFORMATION ON THE WHEREABOUTS OF NEAL MAY CALL 706 857 3411.

*   WALKER COUNTY IS QUICKLY RUNNING OUT OF CASH… AND AT HIS FIRST REGULAR BUSINESS MEETING AS COMMISSIONER, SHANNON WHITFIELD ANNOUNCED THAT A LOAN OF 4-MILLION DOLLARS HAS BEEN SECURED THROUGH THE BANK OF LAFAYETTE.
    THE TAX ANTICIPATION NOTE WILL BE A “LINE OF CREDIT” THAT THE COUNTY CAN DRAW UPON AS NEEDED… AND THE INTEREST RATE WILL NOT EXCEED 3 PERCENT.
    THE COMMISSIONER EXPLAINED THE IMMEDIATE NEED TO BORROW, SAYING MOST OF THE PROPERTY TAX REVENUE COLLECTED IN NOVEMBER AND DECEMBER HAS ALREADY BEEN SPENT TO PAY BILLS INCURRED IN 2016.  HE SAID “IT’S A SERIOUS PROBLEM”… AND THAT CREDITORS ARE MAKING COLLECTION CALLS TO THE COUNTY ON A DAILY BASIS.  ACCORDING TO EARLY ESTIMATES, WHITFIELD SAID IT LOOKS LIKE WALKER COUNTY WILL BE A TOTAL OF 8-MILLION DOLLARS BEHIND FOR THIS CALENDAR YEAR.
    WHITFIELD SAID HE HAS ALREADY CUT EMPLOYEE COSTS IN COUNTY GOVERNMENT BY ABOUT 660-THOUSAND DOLLARS ANNUALLY.
    OTHER AREAS OF LOSS WILL BE ADDRESSED, HE SAID, SUCH AS SECURING A LEASING AGREEMENT FOR MOUNTAIN COVE FARMS AND ADDING AN INCREASE IN TIPPING FEES AT THE LANDFILL.  “WE WILL CUT AS MUCH SPENDING AS WE CAN WITHOUT CUTTING SERVICES”, HE SAID.
    THE COMMISSIONER SAID HE ANTICIPATES HAVING TO BORROW MORE MONEY THROUGH TAX ANTICIPATION NOTES FOR EACH OF THE NEXT FOUR YEARS… IN ORDER TO PAY THE COUNTY’S BILLS.  

  A FIRE NEAR THE NAOMI COMMUNITY HAS BEEN RULED A CASE OF ARSON BY THE STATE FIRE MARSHAL.
    IT WAS REPORTED AT 4:21 AM THURSDAY, AT 1211 DUNWOODY ROAD.  THE UNOCCUPIED HOME SUSTAINED AN ESTIMATED 20-THOUSAND DOLLARS IN DAMAGE FROM FIRE THAT STARTED IN THE DEN.
    ANYONE WITH INFORMATION ABOUT THE FIRE CAN CALL THE STATE ARSON HOTLINE AT 1 800 282 5804.   REWARDS OF UP TO 10-THOUSAND DOLLARS ARE AVAILABLE UPON CONVICTION… AND CALLERS MAY CHOOSE TO REMAIN ANONYMOUS. 

*   THE LAFAYETTE RECREATION DEPARTMENT IS TRYING SOME NEW ACTIVITIES THIS YEAR, ACCORDING TO DIRECTOR - JASON SHATTUCK.
    THEY’RE HOLDING A “MOTHER-SON DANCE” ON SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 11th AT THE PARK CENTER GYM.  IT’S FOR SONS AGES 4 TO 12 AND THEIR MOMS… AND WILL HAVE A “BACK TO THE 80’s THEME”.
    COST IS $5 PER PERSON AT THE DOOR… AND ADMISSION INCLUDES TWO SLICES OF PIZZA.   THERE WILL ALSO BE A “BEST 80’s DRESSED” PRIZE… A FREE SPORTS REGISTRATION AT THE REC.
    THAT’S 6 - 8 PM ON SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 11th, FOR THE MOTHER-SON DANCE AT THE LAFAYETTE REC CENTER.

*   WITH A SUCCESSFUL “COMMUNITY PRIDE” CAMPAIGN IN THE BOOKS FOR 2016… THE LAFAYETTE CODES DEPARTMENT HAS MORE CLEANUP PROJECTS PLANNED IN THE NEW YEAR.
    IN THE PAST TWELVE MONTHS, A TOTAL OF 72 PROPERTY COMPLAINTS WERE CLOSED.   THAT INCLUDES 41 BLIGHTED PROPERTIES THAT WERE CLEARED TO THE GROUND, READY FOR NEW CONSTRUCTION.
    IN A REPORT TO THE CITY COUNCIL MONDAY, THE CODES DEPARTMENT LISTED 2 MORE PROPERTIES NOW UNDER DEMOLITION ORDER FROM THE CITY COURT, WHICH WILL COME DOWN IN THE NEXT FEW WEEKS.   IT WAS NOTED THAT MOST OF THE PROPERTY IMPROVEMENTS WERE MADE WITH THE VOLUNTARY COMPLIANCE OF THE OWNERS.
    IN OTHER BUSINESS, THE COUNCIL APPROVED PURCHASE OF A NEW COMPUTER SERVER AND SOFTWARE TO UPGRADE THE UTILITIES BILLING SYSTEM.   THE NEW EQUIPMENT WAS IN THE BUDGET FOR THIS YEAR… AND WILL COST JUST OVER 14-THOUSAND 3-HUNDRED DOLLARS.
    IN COMMENTS FROM COUNCIL MEMBERS, BEACHER GARMANY SAID HE HAD COMPLAINTS FROM USED CAR DEALERS ABOUT THE PRIVATE SALE OF VEHICLES ON LOTS UP AND DOWN MAIN STREET.   GARMANY SAID “I’M NOT AGAINST AN INDIVIDUAL SELLING A CAR, BUT SOME OF THESE LOTS HAVE SEVERAL VEHICLES WITH NO TAG OR INSURANCE… AND THE SELLER HAS NO DEALERS LICENSE.   I’D LIKE THE POLICE AND CODES DEPARTMENT TO LOOK INTO IT”, GARMANY SAID.

*   THE LAFAYETTE POLICE DEPARTMENT WILL HOST A CHILD PASSENGER SAFETY SEAT CLASS ON TUESDAY, JANUARY 31st AT 10 AM.   THE CLASS WILL BE HELD AT THE POLICE DEPARTMENT, 208 NORTH MAIN.  PARENTS AND CAREGIVERS ARE URGED TO ATTEND… AND THOSE RECEIVING MEDICAID AND WIC MAY BE ELIGIBLE TO RECEIVE A FREE CHILD SAFETY SEAT.   CALL 706 639 1540 TO RESERVE A SEAT IN THE SAFETY CLASS.

*   THE MAMMOGRAM BUS FROM THE MARY ELLEN LOCKER BREAST CENTER AT MEMORIAL WILL BE IN LAFAYETTE ON TUESDAY, JANUARY 24th AT THE LAFAYETTE-WALKER LIBRARY.
    WOMEN MAY CALL TO SCHEDULE A MAMMOGRAM DURING THE LAFAYETTE VISIT BY CALLING 1 866 591 2254.

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