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BACK CREEK MEDICAL is the WQCH feature of the week. 
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TOP LOCAL NEWS STORIES:

*   HAS LAFAYETTE’S BIG CAT MOVED TO THE NORTH?  THE SIGHTING OF A LARGE CAT EARLY FRIDAY MORNING SENT RIDGELAND HIGH SCHOOL TO A “LEVEL-ONE SOFT LOCKDOWN”… ACCORDING TO SUPERINTENDENT DAMON RAINES.  THE SCHOOL RETURNED TO NORMAL STATUS AROUND NOON, WHEN THE CAT WAS NO LONGER BELIEVED TO BE IN THE IMMEDIATE AREA.
    SEVERAL “BIG CAT” SIGHTINGS HAD BEEN REPORTED INSIDE THE LAFAYETTE CITY LIMITS JUST WEEKS BEFORE.  IT WAS DESCRIBED BY SEVERAL WITNESSES AS A MOUNTAIN LION.
    A RIDGELAND SCHOOL OFFICIAL SAW A LARGE CAT IN HIS HEADLIGHTS ON HAPPY VALLEY ROAD, AS HE ARRIVED AT WORK AROUND 7:40 AM.  HE SAID IT MOVED QUICKLY INTO THE WOODS.   A SEARCH OF THE CAMPUS TURNED UP NOTHING UNUSUAL.

*   THE RAMBLERS HAVE THE FIRST HOME GAME OF THE SEASON AGAINST TRION TONIGHT… AND STUDENTS IN ALL LHS FEEDER SCHOOLS ARE INVITED TO ATTEND FREE, IF THEY WEAR THEIR SCHOOL T-SHIRT.  PLAN TO GET THERE EARLY FOR THE 7 PM “SPIRIT LINE”.   GAME TIME IS 7:30.
    GORDON LEE IS IDLE TONIGHT… RIDGELAND WILL PLAY AT PEPPERELL.

*   SOUTH CHATTANOOGA STREET IN LAFAYETTE WILL BE CLOSED FOR WORK FOR 24-HOURS, STARTING SATURDAY MORNING AT 7 O’CLOCK.  THE CLOSURE IS BETWEEN COOK INDUSTRIAL BLVD. AND PLEDGER STREET.   A TILE IS BEING REPLACED UNDERNEATH THE ROADWAY.

*   WALKER WAS THE ONLY AREA COUNTY TO REGISTER LOWER UNEMPLOYMENT, FROM JUNE TO JULY.
    IN THE LATEST FIGURES RELEASED BY THE DEPARTMENT OF LABOR, WALKER COUNTY’S UNEMPLOYMENT FELL FROM 5.8 TO 5.7 PERCENT OVER THE MONTH.
    CATOOSA COUNTY’S HELD STEADY AT 5 PERCENT.
    CHATTOOGA COUNTY HAD A FULL PERCENT RISE IN UNEMPLOYMENT, FROM 6.2 TO 7.2 PERCENT.
    AND UNEMPLOYMENT WAS UP JUST FRACTIONALLY IN DADE AND WHITFIELD COUNTIES.

*   THE AREA OF EXTREME DROUGHT IS SHRINKING HERE IN NORTHWEST GEORGIA.   THE LATEST MAP SHOWS LAFAYETTE AND MOST OF WALKER AND CATOOSA COUNTIES HAVE NOW DROPPED TO A LOWER INTENSITY OF DROUGHT… FROM EXTREME, DOWN TO SEVERE.
    THE EASTERN PORTION OF WALKER AND MOST OF CHATTOOGA COUNTY IS STILL INCLUDED IN THE EXTREME DROUGHT CATEGORY, ACCORDING TO THE U.S. DROUGHT MONITOR’S WEEKLY REPORT.

*   EVEN THOUGH HER LATEST ALLEGED THEFT TOTALED AROUND $15… A CHRONIC SHOPLIFTER GOT A FELONY CHARGE ON HER LATEST ARREST BY LAFAYETTE POLICE.
    53 YEAR OLD TINA LYNN COLLINS WAS CHARGED AFTER TAKING ITEMS FROM THE DOLLAR GENERAL ON SOUTH MAIN, MONDAY AFTERNOON.  A NEIGHBOR HAD GIVEN HER A RIDE TO THE STORE… AND POLICE FOUND THE STOLEN ITEMS IN THE BACK SEAT OF HIS CAR.
    A REVIEW OF HER RECORD SHOWED THAT COLLINS HAD BEEN ARRESTED FOR SHOPLIFTING SIX TIMES… WITH FIVE CONVICTIONS.
    SHE REPORTEDLY BROUGHT AN EMPTY PURSE INTO THE STORE… PAID FOR SOME ITEMS… AND HID THE STOLEN ITEMS IN THE PURSE.   THE STORE MANAGER NOTICED THE THEFT AND CONTACTED POLICE.

*   THE AUGUST MEETING OF THE WALKER COUNTY HISTORICAL SOCIETY WILL BE THIS SUNDAY AT 3, AT THE WELCOME CENTER IN LAFAYETTE.
    THERE WILL BE A PROGRAM ON THE LYTLE COMMUNITY NEAR CHICKAMAUGA.  BRING ARTIFACTS AND STORIES ABOUT THE LYTLE COMMUNITY TO SHARE.  
    THE WELCOME CENTER IS ACROSS THE STREET FROM THE MARSH HOUSE IN LAFAYETTE.

*   THE WALKER COUNTY SHERIFF’S OFFICE IS JOINING WITH OTHERS IN NORTHWEST GEORGIA TO SEND CLOTHING AND SUPPLIES TO THE FLOOD RAVAGED AREAS OF LOUISIANA, ACCORDING TO SHERIFF STEVE WILSON.
    GORDON COUNTY IS TAKING THE LEAD… AND WILL SHIP A TRUCKLOAD OF RELIEF CLOTHING FROM AREA COUNTIES, WHEN DONATIONS MAKE A FULL LOAD.  DONATIONS OF NEW CLOTHING AND SHOES… ALL SIZES… PLUS TOILETRIES… ARE NOW BEING ACCEPTED AT THE WALKER COUNTY SHERIFF’S OFFICE IN LAFAYETTE.   USED CLOTHING CANNOT BE ACCEPTED.  THE OFFICE IS LOCATED JUST BEHIND THE COURTHOUSE… AND IS OPEN TO ACCEPT DONATIONS 24/7. 

*    THE OWNER OF THE FORMER BARWICK MILLS PLANT HAS SIGNED THE EPA CONSENT ORDER FOR CLEANUP… FOLLOWING LAST YEAR’S BIG FIRE.
    DRENNON CRUTCHFIELD SIGNED THE ORDER THIS WEEK, ACCORDING TO PROJECT MANAGER DAVID ANDREWS OF THE ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY.  ANDREWS SAID THERE IS NOW AN APPROXIMATE 3-WEEK PERIOD FOR REVIEW OF THE PLAN… TO BE FOLLOWED BY AN ACTUAL START OF ACTIVITY ON THE SITE IN SEPTEMBER.
    WATER RUNOFF FROM THE FIRE FIGHTING EFFORTS WILL BE REMOVED FROM THE SITE IN LAFAYETTE… AND ALSO FROM STORAGE AT THE FORMER ARCHER PLANT IN KENSINGTON… AND TRANSPORTED FOR TREATMENT IN THE ATLANTA AREA.  THAT WILL BE FOLLOWED BY ASBESTOS ABATEMENT AND FINAL DEMOLITION OF THE BURNED PORTION OF THE MILL.
    THE OWNER WILL PAY FOR THE CLEANUP… SO IT WILL NOT BE AT “TAXPAYER EXPENSE”.   ANDREWS ALSO NOTED THAT IF THERE HAD BEEN AN IMMINENT THREAT TO THE PUBLIC, THE CLEANUP PROCESS WOULD HAVE BEEN EXPEDITED.  
    THE FIRE DESTROYED ABOUT A QUARTER OF THE MILL COMPLEX IN NOVEMBER OF 2015.

*   APOLLO-MD HAS ANNOUNCED THAT JESSICA LONG IS THE NEW CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER OF CORNERSTONE MEDICAL CENTER IN FORT OGLETHORPE.
    MRS. LONG LED THE MEDICAL CENTER’S OPENING AFTER THE FORMER HUTCHESON LOCATION WAS PURCHASED BY THE COMPANY EARLIER THIS YEAR.   SHE HAS BEEN WITH APOLLO-MD SINCE 2014… AND PREVIOUSLY SERVICED AS THE COMPANY’S SUPERVISOR OF OPERATIONS.
    SHE HOLDS A MASTERS IN HEALTHCARE ADMINISTRATION, IN ADDITION TO HER EXTENSIVE HEALTHCARE EXPERIENCE.
    APOLLO-MD IS A PHYSICIAN-OWNED NATIONAL GROUP PRACTICE.

*   AREA LAW AGENCIES GET CALLS EVERY DAY ABOUT TELEPHONE SCAMMERS AT WORK.  CHATTOOGA COUNTY SHERIFF MARK SCHRADER WARNS THAT THE SCAMMERS CLAIM TO BE FROM THE I.R.S. OR A LOCAL LAW AGENCY... AND DEMAND PAYMENT.  SOME THREATEN WITH WARRANTS.   SCHRADER SAID IT DOESN'T WORK THAT WAY... SO DON'T FALL FOR THE SCAM.   AND IF YOU DO RECEIVE SUCH A CALL, NOTIFY YOUR LOCAL POLICE OR SHERIFF'S OFFICE TO REPORT IT.

*   PROBATION OFFICERS DIDN’T FIND THE PERSON THEY WERE LOOKING FOR IN THE ROSSVILLE AREA, WEDNESDAY.   WHAT THEY DID FIND WAS MARIJUANA GROWING ON THE BACK PORCH OF A RESIDENCE ON DRY VALLEY ROAD.
    60 YEAR OLD COY ESTON FREEMAN WAS PICKED UP BY THE DRUG TASK FORCE.   HE WAS CHARGED WITH MANUFACTURING MARIJUANA, PLUS POSSESSION OF METH AND SCHEDULE-4 PILLS.

*   FRIENDS OF THE LIBRARY COUNTS LAST WEEKEND’S “MOCK-TAILS” FUND-RAISER A SUCCESS.   $3,500 WAS RAISED FOR LIBRARY PROGRAMS THROUGH THE EVENT.   DROP BY THE LIBRARY ON SOUTH DUKE STREET FOR INFORMATION ON HOW TO JOIN “FRIENDS OF THE LIBRARY” IN LAFAYETTE.

*    FEDERAL JUDGE HAROLD MURPHY GRANTED ERLANGER IT’S REQUESTED SUMMARY JUDGEMENT AGAINST WALKER COUNTY, IN A SUIT OVER DEBT FROM HUTCHESON MEDICAL CENTER.   THE RULING, HANDED DOWN TUESDAY, SAYS WALKER OWES THE CHATTANOOGA HOSPITAL 8.7-MILLION DOLLARS, PLUS INTEREST.
    WALKER COUNTY PLANS TO APPEAL THE DECISION… AND WILL ASK TO HAVE THE CASE GO BEFORE THE GEORGIA SUPREME COURT.  JUDGE MURPHY SAID THE QUESTION OF ATTORNEY FEES AND EXPENSES OWED TO ERLANGER SHOULD BE DECIDED IN A JURY TRIAL.
    CATOOSA COUNTY… WHICH LIKE WALKER, GUARANTEED 10-MILLION DOLLARS OF AN ERLANGER LOAN TO HUTCHESON… HAS ALREADY PAID A SETTLEMENT.   HUTCHESON CLOSED IN BANKRUPTCY AND WAS PURCHASED BY NEW OWNERS.  THE OPERATION HAS RE-OPENED AS “CORNERSTONE MEDICAL CENTER”.
    WALKER COUNTY’S PAYMENT TOTAL WAS REDUCED BY THE COURT THROUGH MONEY RECEIVED IN THE SALE OF HUTCHESON’S NURSING HOME OPERATION.
    WALKER COUNTY SPECIAL COUNSEL STUART JAMES SAID HE IS NOT SURPRISED BY THE SUMMARY JUDGEMENT IN ERLANGER’S FAVOR.  HE ADDED:  “WALKER COUNTY HAS TO EXERCISE THE RIGHT OF APPEAL SO AS TO PROTECT THE INTERESTS OF ITS TAXPAYERS”.

*   A SUMMERVILLE MAN, WHO LAFAYETTE POLICE SAY COERCED A WOMAN INTO HAVING SEX THROUGH FRAUD, HAS BEEN CHARGED WITH A FELONY.
    THE VICTIM ACCUSED 22 YEAR OLD KERRY STEVEN SKINNER… WHO WAS CHARGED WITH “PANDERING BY COMPULSION”… ACCORDING TO POLICE.  “PANDERING” IS SIMILAR TO “PIMPING”, IN COMMON TERMS.
    IN A BIZZARE SCHEME THAT PLAYED-OUT OVER A 4 TO 5 HOUR PERIOD IN THE EARLY MORNING OF MAY 31st, SKINNER REPORTEDLY REACHED OUT TO THE VICTIM THROUGH SOCIAL MEDIA.  SHE SAID HE CLAIMED TO BE A “BIG TIME MARIJUANA DEALER”… THOUGH HE DIDN’T SMOKE IT HIMSELF.  HE OFFERED HER $700 TO “TEST” A BATCH OF MARIJUANA… THREATENING THAT HIS ASSOCIATES MIGHT HURT HER AND HER FAMILY IF “SHE TALKED”.
    AFTER HOURS SITTING IN HIS CAR BEHIND THE FORMER FOOD LION BUILDING IN LAFAYETTE… SHE FINALLY CONSENTED TO HAVING SEX WITH HIM, TELLING POLICE SHE SAID “LET’S GET THIS OVER WITH”.  
    INVESTIGATORS SAY THE WHOLE INCIDENT WAS ABOUT “SEX BY COMPULSION”… AND THE SUSPECT NEVER PRODUCED ANY MARIJUANA.

*   THE CHICKAMAUGA RECREATION ASSOCIATION WILL HAVE A FUND-RAISING CAR AND TRACTOR SHOW THIS SATURDAY, IN DOWNTOWN CHICKAMAUGA.
    REGISTER VEHICLES FROM 8 - 10 AM… $20 PER VEHICLE, $15 PER TRACTOR.
    PRIZES ARE OFFERED IN A NUMBER OF CLASSES… AND THE DAY WILL ALSO FEATURE GOOD FOOD AND MUSIC.   HOURS ARE 10 AM - 2 PM, SATURDAY.

*    WALKER COUNTY’S NISSIN BRAKE WILL BE RECRUITING ABOUT 40 FULL TIME MANUFACTURING WORKERS AT A JOB FAIR ON WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 31st.   NISSIN IS LOCATED AT ROCK SPRING.
    THE RECRUITMENT WILL BE HELD AT THE LAFAYETTE HOUSING AUTHORITY AT 300 OAK STREET, FROM 9 ’TIL 2, ON THE 31st.
    CONTACT THE LAFAYETTE DEPARTMENT OF LABOR FOR MORE INFORMATION AT 706 638 5525.

*   THE CHATTOOGA COUNTY AGRICULTURAL FAIR WILL BE HELD THIS THURSDAY THROUGH SUNDAY, ON SUMMERVILLE’S MIDDLE SCHOOL ROAD.
    IN ADDITION TO AG-EXHIBITS AND MIDWAY RIDES… THE FAIR WILL FEATURE A CONCERT BY CONFEDERATE RAILROAD ON SATURDAY NIGHT.
    GATES OPEN AT 5 PM THURSDAY AND FRIDAY… 2 PM ON SATURDAY AND SUNDAY.  GATE ADMISSION IS $5 PER PERSON… AND FREE PARKING WILL BE AVAILABLE.

*   THIS YEAR’S WALKER COUNTY FAIR WILL BE HELD AT MOUNTAIN COVE FARMS ON NOVEMBER 3rd THROUGH THE 6th… AND VENDORS CAN SIGN-UP NOW.
EMAIL “WALKERCOFAIR@GMAIL.COM"… OR CALL 706 539 2683 FOR VENDOR INFORMATION.

*   THE ANNUAL “LABOR DAY CAR SHOW” WILL BE HELD AGAIN THIS YEAR, BENEFITING THE WALKER COUNTY STOCKING FULL OF LOVE.  THE CAR SHOW IS SET FOR MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 5th AT THE WALKER COUNTY CIVIC CENTER.   REGISTER VEHICLES FROM 8 UNTIL 11:30 AM.   THERE WILL ALSO BE FOOD, PRIZES AND A SILENT AUCTION.
    A 50’S “SOCK-HOP DANCE” WILL ALSO BE HELD SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 4th AT THE CIVIC CENTER… FROM 7 ’TIL 11 PM.
    FOR MORE INFORMATION ON THE LABOR DAY CAR SHOW, CALL THE SHERIFF’S OFFICE AT 706 638 1909, EXTENSION 1276.

*   NO PROPERTY TAX INCREASE THIS YEAR FROM THE WALKER COUNTY SCHOOL SYSTEM… IN FACT, THEY PLAN TO ROLL-BACK THE MILLAGE RATE.
    FINANCE DIRECTOR PHYLLIS COPELAND SAID THE TAX MILLAGE RATE WILL BE DROPPING FROM 17.4 LAST YEAR, TO 16.6 MILLS.
    HOWEVER, THE LOWER MILLAGE RATE WILL RAISE NEARLY THE SAME REVENUE FOR SCHOOLS.   THE DIFFERENCE IS THE REASSESSMENT OF PROPERTIES IN WALKER COUNTY.
    THE STATE-MANDATED REASSESSMENT HAS RAISED THE OVERALL VALUE OF PROPERTIES, COUNTY-WIDE.  THAT VALUE IS KNOWN AS “THE DIGEST”.
    WITH A HIGHER DIGEST VALUE… A SMALLER MILLAGE RATE CAN RAISE A SIMILAR TOTAL FOR THE SCHOOLS.
    THE TOTAL SCHOOL BUDGET FOR THE COMING YEAR IS 93.8 MILLION DOLLARS, INCLUDING A RESERVE.   LOCAL PROPERTY TAXES WILL PAY ABOUT 29-PERCENT OF THAT TOTAL.
    THE SCHOOL BOARD WILL MEET ON SEPTEMBER 1st TO APPROVE THE PROPOSED TAX MILLAGE RATE… AND TAX BILLS SHOULD BE MAILED IN OCTOBER.
    WALKER COUNTY GOVERNMENT HAS NOT YET ADOPTED A MILLAGE RATE.  COMMISSIONER BEBE HEISKELL SAID LAST WEEK THAT SHE WOULD LIKE TO KEEP THE SAME RATE AS LAST YEAR, IF POSSIBLE.   COUNTY GOVERNMENT RAISES A MUCH SMALLER PROPERTY TAX TOTAL THAN THE SCHOOL SYSTEM, EACH YEAR.

*   AN “ESTIMATE OF COUNTY TAXES” THAT WAS INCLUDED ON A RECENT WALKER COUNTY PROPERTY VALUATION MAILING, IS CAUSING A GREAT DEAL OF CONCERN AND CONFUSION.
    CHIEF APPRAISER TERRY GILREATH SAID THE “ESTIMATED TAX” AMOUNT SHOULD NOT BE A CONCERN AT THIS POINT, BECAUSE THE TAX MILLAGE RATE HAS NOT BEEN SET THIS YEAR.  THE ESTIMATE IS BASED ON THE PREVIOUS YEAR’S MILLAGE RATE.
    THE NOTICE WAS SENT FOLLOWING A STATE-MANDATED RE-VALUATION OF ALL PROPERTIES IN THE COUNTY… AND IS SENT SO THAT OWNERS CAN LOOK AT THE VALUE ASSESSMENT OF THEIR PROPERTY.   “LOOK AT THE VALUES”, GILREATH SAID.  “IF YOU AGREE WITH IT… IF YOU THINK YOU COULD SELL IT FOR THAT AMOUNT, THEN EVERYTHING IS FINE.   IF YOU DON’T AGREE WITH IT, YOU CAN APPEAL THE VALUE”, HE ADDED.
    IN EITHER CASE, GILREATH SAID “PLEASE DON’T SEND A CHECK… PEOPLE HAVE MISTAKEN THE VALUATION NOTICE FOR A BILL… AND WE’VE BEEN GETTING CHECKS LEFT AND RIGHT.   TAX BILLS ARE NOT EXPECTED TO BE MAILED UNTIL OCTOBER 20th”,  HE SAID.
    AGAIN… DON’T LOOK AT THE TAX ESTIMATE… LOOK AT THE ASSESSMENT OF YOUR PROPERTY’S VALUE.   GILREATH SAID “WE ENCOURAGE PEOPLE WHO ARE NOT HAPPY WITH THE VALUE TO COME AND TALK TO US… AND MAKE SURE WE HAVE CORRECT INFORMATION ON THEIR CASE”.   THE ASSESSOR IS IN THE COUNTY OFFICE BUILDING AT ROCK SPRING.

*   WALKER COUNTY MAY HAVE TO “TAKE BACK” IT’S OFFER OF DONATING THE FORMER TAX OFFICE BUILDING TO THE CITY OF LAFAYETTE.   COMMISSIONER BEBE HEISKELL SAID FRIDAY, THAT THE COUNTY MAY NEED TO USE THE BUILDING FOR AN OFFICE SWAP.
    SHE SAID EXTENSIVE STRUCTURAL TERMITE DAMAGE HAS BEEN FOUND IN COURTHOUSE ANNEX-2, WHICH HOUSES THE EXTENSION SERVICE AND MAGISTRATE COURT… AND THAT THE JUVENILE COURT HAS OUTGROWN IT’S QUARTERS IN THE MAIN COURTHOUSE.
    ONE SOLUTION BEING CONSIDERED IS TO GUT AND REBUILD THE INTERIOR OF THE FORMER CLINIC BUILDING ON SOUTH MAIN… WHICH USED TO HOUSE THE TAX OFFICE.   IT WAS CLOSED DUE TO A HEALTH THREAT FROM RECURRING MOLD INSIDE… AND EMPLOYEES WERE MOVED TO THE FORMER STEARN’S BANK BUILDING AT ROCK SPRING.
    HEISKELL SAID THE COUNTY MIGHT RE-CONSTRUCT THE BUILDING’S INTERIOR TO HOUSE THE JUVENILE COURT, MAGISTRATE COURT AND THE EXTENSION OFFICE.  “ALL THOSE OFFICES HAVE LOOKED AT THE SPACE AND APPROVED A MOVE, SHOULD WE GO THAT DIRECTION”… HEISKELL SAID.

*   HOMECOMING IS EARLY THIS YEAR, AT LAFAYETTE HIGH.  THE HOMECOMING PARADE WILL BE THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 8th… FOLLOWED BY THE HOMECOMING GAME AGAINST GORDON CENTRAL, ON FRIDAY SEPT. 9th.
    ANY ORGANIZATION, SCHOOL, CHURCH OR CIVIC GROUP THAT IS INTERESTED IN PARTICIPATING IN THE HOMECOMING PARADE SHOULD STOP BY THE LHS OFFICE AND PICK UP AN ENTRY FORM.  NO FOUR-WHEELERS, HORSES, GO-CARTS OR POLITICAL ADVERTISEMENTS ARE ALLOWED.
    PARADE TIME IS 5:30 PM ON SEPTEMBER 8th.  IT WILL BEGIN AND END AT THE OLD LAFAYETTE HIGH SCHOOL PARKING LOT, ACCORDING TO LACY BOWMAN, CHAIR OF THE HOMECOMING COMMITTEE AT LAFAYETTE HIGH.
    ONLY THOSE PRE-REGISTERED AT THE HIGH SCHOOL WILL BE ALLOWED TO PARTICIPATE IN THE PARADE.

*   NEW GEORGIA HUNTING SEASONS AND REGS ARE NOW AVAILABLE AT WWW.GOHUNTGEORGIA.COM/HUNTING/REGULATIONS.


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