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LAFAYETTE FRUIT MARKET is the WQCH featured advertiser of the week. 
    The fruit market has been moved two doors up to the Garden Center!  Everything in ONE LOCATION for your Spring Planting.   Located on North Main... open 7 days a week from 8 - 6.

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TOP LOCAL NEWS STORIES:

BREAKING:   THE SUSPECT WHO RAN FROM POLICE... LEADING TO A MANHUNT IN CHICKAMAUGA BATTLEFIELD LAST WEEK... MADE IT ALL THE WAY TO MOBILE, ALABAMA BEFORE BEING ARRESTED.  DEWAYNE RAY BURNS IS NOW AWAITING EXTRADITION TO FORT OGLETHORPE TO FACE CHARGES.
    IN A GBI PRESS RELEASE, IT WAS DISCLOSED THAT BURNS TRIED TO RUN OVER A FORT OGLETHORPE POLICE OFFICER WHEN HE WAS PULLED OVER.   POLICE FIRED SEVERAL SHOTS AT HIS CAR, BUT HE WAS NOT INJURED.   AFTER HIS CAR BECAME STUCK IN THE BATTLEFIELD, BURNS ESCAPED ON FOOT LAST FRIDAY MORNING.  TWO GUNS WERE RECOVERED FROM HIS VEHICLE.  HE WAS INITIALLY BEING CHASED ON CHARGES OUT OF TENNESSEE. 

*   THE HOSPITAL AUTHORITY OF WALKER, DADE AND CATOOSA COUNTIES… AT A BOARD MEETING MONDAY NIGHT… ACCEPTED AN OFFER FROM ERLANGER HEALTH SYSTEM.   THE TERMS OF THE SETTLEMENT WERE NOT DISCLOSED, AS THE BOARD MET IN “EXECUTIVE SESSION” BEHIND CLOSED DOORS.  
    A FEDERAL JUDGE RECENTLY ORDERED THAT HUTCHESON MEDICAL CENTER SHOULD PAY ERLANGER A TOTAL OF 36-MILLION DOLLARS FOR A LOAN, PLUS INTEREST AND LATE FEES.   HOWEVER, IT’S CLEAR THE HOSPITAL - WHICH IS STILL IN BANKRUPTCY - DOES NOT HAVE THAT MUCH IN ASSETS.  THE BOARD APPROVED THE UNDISCLOSED SETTLEMENT WITH ERLANGER BY A VOTE OF 3 TO 1.
    MEANWHILE, WALKER COUNTY HAS AMENDED IT’S OWN LAWSUIT AGAINST ERLANGER… MAINTAINING THAT THE CHATTANOOGA HOSPITAL CANNOT DEMAND REPAYMENT BECAUSE THE LOCAL GOVERNMENT IS PROTECTED BY SOVEREIGN IMMUNITY.   WALKER, ALONG WITH CATOOSA COUNTY, SIGNED AN AGREEMENT TO GUARANTEE REPAYMENT OF A HUTCHESON LOAN OF 20-MILLION DOLLARS FROM ERLANGER… BUT WALKER MAINTAINS THAT THE CHATTANOOGA HOSPITAL MISMANAGED HUTCHESON TO THE EXTENT THAT IT COULD NEVER RECOVER. 
    CATOOSA COUNTY IS SAID TO BE NEGOTIATING WITH ERLANGER FOR IT’S SETTLEMENT PAYMENT IN THAT AGREEMENT… BUT WALKER COUNTY COMMISSIONER BEBE HEISKELL HAS SAID REPEATEDLY THAT SHE “WANTS HER DAY IN COURT”… BECAUSE SHE WANTS TO TESTIFY ON THE SUBJECT OF ERLANGER’S ALLEGED MISMANAGEMENT OF HUTCHESON.

*   LOCAL SCHOOLS WERE “ALL OVER THE MAP” IN THE 2015 COLLEGE AND CAREER READY PERFORMANCE INDEX SCORES… JUST RELEASED BY THE GEORGIA DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION.
    THE CCRPI INDEX STARTED IN 2012 IN GEORGIA SCHOOLS, TO REPLACE THE FORMER FEDERAL “AYP” OR “ADEQUATE YEARLY PROGRESS” STANDARD.
    USING A 100 POINT SCALE… BOTH OF WALKER COUNTY’S HIGH SCHOOLS SCORED JUST UNDER THE STATE AVERAGE, WHICH FOR 2015, WAS 75.8.
    RIDGELAND SCORED 73.7… AND LAFAYETTE HIGH HAD A SCORE OF 71.5.
    IN MIDDLE SCHOOLS, THE STATE AVERAGE SCORE WAS 71.2.
    SADDLE RIDGE MIDDLE BEAT THAT SCORE, AT 75.5…
    WHILE LAFAYETTE MIDDLE TRAILED THE STATE BY A COUPLE OF POINTS, AT 68.6.
    FOR ELEMENTARY SCHOOLS, THE 2015 STATE AVERAGE CCRPI SCORE WAS 76.
    OF THE LAFAYETTE HIGH FEEDER SCHOOLS… ONLY ROCK SPRING ELEMENTARY BEAT THE STATE SCORE, AT 82.6.
    GILBERT WAS NEXT IN LINE WITH A SCORE OF 73.9… FOLLOWED BY
    NORTH LAFAYETTE WITH A  72.4.  NAOMI AND SADDLE RIDGE ELEMENTARIES SCORED SEVERAL POINTS LOWER THAN THE STATE AVERAGE.

*   LAFAYETTE’S DOWNTOWN DEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY WILL HAVE A “BUSINESS AFTER HOURS” GATHERING FOR LOCAL BUSINESS OWNERS AND COMMUNITY LEADERS, THURSDAY.   IT WILL BE HELD AT THE LAFAYETTE GOLF COURSE CLUBHOUSE FROM 4:30 - 6:30. 

*    THE EXCHANGE CLUB OF ROSSVILLE WILL SPONSOR THE GEORGE W. WILSON MEMORIAL GOLF TOURNAMENT AT THE LAFAYETTE COURSE, THIS FRIDAY.   PROCEEDS FROM THE TOURNAMENT WILL BENEFIT “THE COTTAGE”… CALL 706 375 9060 TO REGISTER A TEAM.

*   FRIENDS OF THE LAFAYETTE-WALKER LIBRARY WILL HAVE A ROYAL BALL FUND-RAISER FOR KIDS, THIS SATURDAY.
    GIRLS MAY DRESS AS A DISNEY-STYLE PRINCESS.  BRING YOUR CAMERA FOR PICTURES MADE WITH CINDERELLA, SLEEPING BEAUTY, BELLE AND MORE CHARACTERS.  THERE WILL BE REFRESHMENTS AND GAMES FOR THE KIDS, FROM 3 - 5 PM.
    TICKETS WILL BE $5 PER CHILD AT THE DOOR… ADULTS GET IN FREE WITH A CHILD TICKET SALE.  CALL FOR MORE INFORMATION, 638 2992.

*   THE LAFAYETTE WOMAN’S  CLUB HAS ANNOUNCED NEW OFFICERS AND BOARD MEMBERS… PLUS “RECENT AWARDS” RECEIVED.
    THE WOMAN’S CLUB WILL BE LED BY JOINT PRESIDENTS THIS YEAR:  STEPHANIE WARDLAW AND CECILIA WESTBROOK.
    BOARD MEMBERS INCLUDE JANE ASHLEY, BEVERLY BYRD, ALES CAMPBELL, THERESA DORSEY, JO ANNE GARMANY, JOYCE GRAVITT, SARA KEYS, IRMA SHAW AND RACHEL WILLEFORD.
    AT THE RECENT STATE CONVENTION, THE LAFAYETTE CLUB RECEIVED A FIRST PLACE SAFETY AWARD… AND A $500 CHECK FOR OUTSTANDING WORK IN PUBLIC SAFETY.   THE CLUB ALSO RECEIVED CITATION AWARDS FOR OUTSTANDING COMMUNITY SERVICE, FROM THE GEORGIA FEDERATION OF WOMEN’S CLUBS.
    ALES CAMPBELL WAS INSTALLED AS THE NEW DISTRICT PRESIDENT FOR NORTHWEST GEORGIA, AT THE 120th CONVENTION HELD AT CALLAWAY GARDENS.

*   THE WALKER COUNTY PLANNING OFFICE ISSUED PERMITS FOR ELEVEN NEW HOMES DURING THE MONTH OF APRIL… INCLUDING ONE IN THE UNINCORPORATED AREA NEAR LAFAYETTE, TWO AT ROCK SPRING, ONE AT FLINTSTONE AND SEVEN IN THE CHICKAMAUGA AREA.  THE TOTAL VALUE OF THOSE NEW HOMES IS OVER 1.9-MILLION DOLLARS.
    MORE NEWS ON THE COUNTY ECONOMY:   IT’S NOT OFFICIAL… BUT WORD IS OUT THAT A NEW “DOLLAR GENERAL MARKET STORE” IS COMING TO ROCK SPRING.  IT WILL BE LOCATED AT THE CORNER OF HIGHWAY 27 AND KAY CONLEY ROAD… AND THE NEW “MARKET” WILL REPLACE THE SMALLER DOLLAR GENERAL STORE, CURRENTLY LOCATED JUST DOWN THE STREET.

*   THE GEORGIA DEPARTMENT OF LABOR WILL HELP NISSIN BRAKE RECRUIT TEN FULL-TIME MACHINE OPERATORS ON SATURDAY, MAY 14th.  THE RECRUITMENT WILL BE HELD AT THE PLANT ON THACKER DRIVE IN ROCK SPRING, FROM 9 AM UNTIL NOON.   FOR MORE INFORMATION, CONTACT THE DEPARTMENT OF LABOR IN LAFAYETTE AT 706 638 5525.

*   FIVE AREA NON-PROFITS WILL BENEFIT FROM “REMEMBER WHEN, AN ADULT PROM”.   THE FORMAL EVENT WILL BE HELD THIS SATURDAY AT THE RINGGOLD DEPOT.   TICKETS ARE $50 PER PERSON, AGE 21 AND OVER.  THE EVENING WILL FEATURE MUSIC, DANCING, FOOD AND A SILENT AUCTION.  GET MORE DETAILS BY CALLING 706 965 2378.

*   WALKER AND CATOOSA COUNTY FIRE DEPARTMENTS COMMITTED TO “AUTOMATIC AID” ACROSS COUNTY LINES, UNDER A NEW AGREEMENT.  COMMISSIONER BEBE HEISKELL SIGNED FOR WALKER COUNTY AT LAST WEEK’S BUSINESS MEETING.
    UNDER THE PLAN, WALKER WILL DISPATCH ONE FIRE UNIT AUTOMATICALLY TO EACH RESIDENTIAL FIRE CALL FROM SOUTHWEST CATOOSA.   CATOOSA WILL LIKEWISE DISPATCH A UNIT FOR EACH RESIDENTIAL FIRE CALL IN NORTHEAST WALKER COUNTY.
    THE DEPARTMENTS ALSO COMMITTED UNDER THE AGREEMENT TO HOLD JOINT TRAINING SESSIONS EACH YEAR.  
    THE COMMISSIONER ALSO SIGNED A STATE-WIDE MUTUAL AID AND ASSISTANCE AGREEMENT BETWEEN WALKER EMERGENCY SERVICES AND GEMA… THE GEORGIA EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT AGENCY.

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

*   WQCH NEWS COVERED A WALKER COUNTY REPUBLIC PARTY CANDIDATE FORUM SATURDAY, HOPING TO RECORD COMMENTS FROM BOTH SIDES IN THE COUNTY COMMISSIONERS RACE… BUT MIKE PEARDON FAILED TO APPEAR.
    CANDIDATE SHAUN WHITFIELD HAD THE STAGE TO HIMSELF… AND HE DIRECTED ALMOST ALL OF HIS REMARKS AGAINST THE INCUMBENT COMMISSIONER, BEBE HEISKELL.   SHE WILL BE RUNNING THIS NOVEMBER AS AN INDEPENDENT CANDIDATE FOR RE-ELECTION, AGAINST THE WINNER IN THE REPUBLICAN PRIMARY, LATER THIS MONTH.
    WHITFIELD ZEROED-IN ON WALKER COUNTY’S DEBT PROBLEMS, ESTIMATING THE COUNTY'S TOTAL LIABILITY AT "NORTH OF 80-MILLION DOLLARS".  HE SAID THE 2015 AUDIT SHOWS DEBTS OF 53-MILLION... "I WISH THAT WERE TRUE", WHITFIELD SAID... "BUT THAT DOES NOT INCLUDE SEVERAL LARGE LIABILITIES"
    HE ALSO SAID THAT THE COUNTY COULD SAVE A LARGE AMOUNT OF MONEY BY MODIFYING OPERATIONS AT MOUNTAIN COVE FARMS AND THE COUNTY LANDFILL.  "TOGETHER, MOUNTAIN COVE FARM AND THE LANDFILL ARE BLEEDING 1.5-MILLION DOLLARS A YEAR", HE SAID.
    THE DAY AFTER THE DEBATE, MIKE PEARDON WROTE ON-LINE THAT HIS ABSENCE WAS A PROTEST TO DRAW ATTENTION TO HIS ASSERTION THAT THE WALKER COUNTY REPUBLICAN PARTY IS FAVORING AND CAMPAIGNING FOR HIS OPPONENT.  HE WROTE “I WILL NOT SUPPORT THE REPUBLICAN PARTY’S EVENTS AS LONG AS THEY ARE ON FACEBOOK AND ON THE STREET HANDING OUT HIS LITERATURE AND SIGNS”.
    WHITFIELD AND PEARDON WILL FACE-OFF ON THE 24th OF THIS MONTH, IN THE REPUBLICAN PRIMARY FOR COMMISSIONER.

*   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.

*   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.

*   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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