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LAFAYETTE FAMILY CARE is the WQCH featured advertiser of the week. 
Now open at 204 North Duke Street... with care by Annette Barrett, Family Nurse Practitioner.  Call 706 638 0093 to make an appointment.


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TOP LOCAL NEWS STORIES:

*   A CRIME TIP HELPED LAFAYETTE POLICE RECOVERY A 40 CALIBER GLOCK PISTOL, STOLEN LAST WEEK FROM AN UNLOCKED CAR ON MORGAN STREET.
    POLICE CAPTAIN STACEY MEEKS SAID THE GUN OWNER GOT A TIP ABOUT TWO YOUNG MEN WHO MIGHT HAVE HAD SOMETHING TO DO WITH THE CRIME.   POLICE TRACKED THE TWO TO AN APARTMENT AT WOODLANDS VILLAGE IN LAFAYETTE… WHERE ONE OF THE MEN WAS CARING FOR AN ELDERLY RESIDENT.
    23 YEAR OLD LAMONICA JAMELLE BROWN AND 22 YEAR OLD CLIFFORD WALLACE DIXON OF LAFAYETTE, WERE EACH CHARGED WITH A FELONY COUNT OF ENTERING AN AUTO.
    WHEN POLICE MADE A CONSENT SEARCH OF THE WOODLANDS APARTMENT, THEY FOUND THE STOLEN GLOCK HANDGUN UNDER A MATTRESS IN BROWN’S BEDROOM.
    AN ATTEMPT WAS MADE TO CHANGE THE SERIAL NUMBER ON THE GUN… SO THE LOCAL POLICE DEPARTMENT HAS CONTACTED A.T.F. TO SEE IF THE GUN CAN BE RETURNED TO ITS OWNER.  IF NOT, IT WILL HAVE TO BE DESTROYED.  IT WAS VALUED AT $450. 

*   LAFAYETTE POLICE HAVE ROUNDED UP THREE JUVENILES IN CONNECTION WITH A SATURDAY MORNING BREAK-IN AT THE HANDI-MART ON SOUTH MAIN.
    DETECTIVES WESLEY STEELE AND BILLY MULLIS FOLLOWED-UP ON A CITIZEN TIP THAT THE THREE TEENS WERE “BRAGGING” ABOUT THE BURGLARY.  THEY BELIEVE ONE JUVENILE ENTERED THE STORE BY BREAKING THROUGH A SIDE DOOR… WHILE THE OTHER TWO HELPED HIM OVER THE FENCE AND STOOD WATCH.   CIGARETTES AND SMOKELESS TOBACCO WERE TAKEN.
    A JUVENILE COMPLAINT FOR BURGLARY WILL BE FILED AGAINST THE THREE… AND THEY WILL BE RELEASED TO THE CUSTODY OF THEIR PARENTS UNTIL THEIR COURT DATE.   POLICE SAY THEIR AGES RANGE FROM 13 TO 15.
    THE DEPARTMENT COMMENDED DETECTIVES STEELE AND MULLIS FOR THE QUICK WORK IN CLOSING THE CASE.

*   COMMISSIONER BEBE HEISKELL REVEALED THURSDAY THAT HUTCHESON MEDICAL CENTER HAS SIGNED A PROMISSORY NOTE TO REPAY THE 4.5-MILLION DOLLARS THAT WALKER COUNTY GUARANTEED ON THEIR BEHALF.  COMMISSIONER HEISKELL RECENTLY BORROWED THE MONEY AFTER LOAN REPAYMENT WAS DEMANDED BY REGIONS BANK AND ERLANGER HEALTH SYSTEM.
    THE COMMISSIONER SOUNDED A VERY OPTIMIST NOTE CONCERNING THE HOSPITAL’S LONG-TERM SURVIVAL, SAYING THAT THEY HAVE A VERY STRONG CASE IN THEIR FEDERAL LAWSUIT AGAINST ERLANGER.   THE CHATTANOOGA HOSPITAL IS TRYING TO COLLECT ANOTHER 10-MILLION DOLLARS IN DEBT THAT WALKER COUNTY GUARANTEED FOR HUTCHESON.  HEISKELL SAID "THIS MAY NOT BE THE CATASTROPHE THAT SOME PEOPLE THINK IT WILL BE... I'M NOT WORRIED".
    IN OTHER BUSINESS THURSDAY, A ZONING CHANGE WAS APPROVED TO ALLOW “TREE HOUSES” TO BE BUILT FOR RENTAL.   THE COMPANY IS CALLED “SLEEP IN A TREE”… AND IS HEADED BY ENOCH ELWELL.
    THE PROPERTY, LOCATED AT CHATTANOOGA VALLEY NEXT TO ROCK CITY’S “CORN MAZE”… HAD ZONING CHANGED FROM R-2 TO NEIGHBORHOOD COMMERCIAL.   ELWELL SAID THE FIRST TREE HOUSE IS UNDER CONSTRUCTION… AND AS MANY AS 12 COULD FIT ON THE SITE, IF THE BUSINESS PROVES TO BE A “HIT”.   HE SAID THE TREEHOUSE RENTAL BUSINESS IS A GROWING NATIONAL TREND… AND THEY ANTICIPATE RENTING THE SMALL HOUSES FOR OVERNIGHT AND WEEKEND STAYS.
    THE COMMISSIONER ALSO ACCEPTED A SUBDIVISION ROAD FOR COUNTY MAINTENANCE.  IT’S HONEYSUCKLE DRIVE IN BLACKBERRY ESTATES… LOCATED OFF HIGHWAY 151.  THE DEVELOPER, WHO HAS DECLARED BANKRUPTCY… DEEDED THE STREET TO THE COUNTY AT THE REQUEST OF THE OWNERS THERE.

*   A CATOOSA COUNTY SHERIFF'S DEPUTY HAS BEEN ARRESTED ON DRUG CHARGES IN CHATTOOGA COUNTY.
    JOSHUA CARLTON WILSON IS ACCUSED OF STEALING PRESCRIPTION DRUGS FROM A RESIDENCE IN THE PENNVILLE COMMUNITY.   HE WAS FOUND TO BE IN POSSESSION OF HYDROCODONE, TRAMADOL... AND WAS ALSO CHARGED WITH UNAUTHORIZED DISTRIBUTION OF A CONTROLLED SUBSTANCE AND VIOLATING THE OATH OF A PUBLIC OFFICER.   THE ARREST FOLLOWED A TRAFFIC STOP IN CHATTOOGA.
    WILSON'S BOSS, CATOOSA COUNTY SHERIFF GARY SISK, PLACED THE DEPUTY ON UNPAID LEAVE.

*   ACTING ON A TIP, THE LOOKOUT MOUNTAIN DRUG TASK FORCE MADE TWO ARRESTS AT A RESIDENCE IN WILLIAMS TRAILER PARK AT FLINTSTONE, ON TUESDAY.
    47 YEAR OLD JOHN DEFOREST NORMAN WAS CHARGED WITH POSSESSION OF MARIJUANA… AND 44 YEAR OLD SANDRA LOUISE GASAWAY WAS CHARGED WITH POSSESSION OF METH, ACCORDING TO THE ARREST REPORT. 

*   MOST AREA COUNTIES SAW A DROP IN UNEMPLOYMENT FROM JANUARY TO FEBRUARY… ALONG WITH THE NORTHWEST GEORGIA REGION.
    HERE IN WALKER COUNTY, UNEMPLOYMENT DROPPED BY A TENTH-OF-A-POINT TO 6.3 PERCENT.
    THE BIG MOVE CAME IN WHITFIELD COUNTY… WHERE UNEMPLOYMENT DROPPED BY 9-10ths OF A POINT TO 6.7 PERCENT.   AT THE PEAK OF THE RECESSION, WHITFIELD COUNTY’S UNEMPLOYMENT RATE WAS TWICE AS HIGH AS THE CURRENT FIGURE… AT OVER 14 PERCENT.
    UNEMPLOYMENT RATES WERE DOWN SLIGHTLY IN CATOOSA COUNTY… AND UP SLIGHTLY IN CHATTOOGA COUNTY, FOR FEBRUARY. 
    FOR THE NORTHWEST GEORGIA REGION, THE DEPARTMENT OF LABOR REPORTS THAT LAYOFFS DROPPED BY OVER 60-PERCENT FROM JANUARY TO FEBRUARY… LEADING TO THE LOWER UNEMPLOYMENT NUMBERS.  ALL OF OUR NEIGHBORING COUNTIES ARE NOW UNDER 7 PERCENT UNEMPLOYMENT.

*   THE WALKER COUNTY EXTENSION SERVICE WILL PRESENT A PROGRAM ON “RAISED BED GARDENING”, NEXT MONDAY AT THE WALKER COUNTY AG CENTER.
    LEARN EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT BUILDING A RAISED BED GARDEN AND GROWING YOUR OWN VEGETABLES.  CALL THE EXTENSION SERVICE OFFICE TO SIGN-UP, AT 706 638 2548.
    THE RAISED BED GARDENING CLASS IS MONDAY, MARCH 30th FROM
3-4 PM, AT THE AG CENTER… LOCATED JUST BEHIND THE WALKER COUNTY CIVIC CENTER AT ROCK SPRING.

*   LAST WEEK SAW MORE GOOD KITCHEN SCORES… ALL “A’s” AND “B’s”…  ACCORDING TO THE WALKER ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH OFFICE.
    OAKWOOD BAPTIST LED THE PACK WITH A PERFECT “100”.   OTHER “A’s” INCLUDE THE LAFAYETTE GOLF CLUB AND PIGEON MOUNTAIN COUNTRY STORE.
    THE PENFIELD CHRISTIAN HOME IN LAFAYETTE, SCORED A “B”.

*   ANOTHER UPDATE ON WALKER COUNTY’S NEWEST INDUSTRIAL NEIGHBOR, AUDIA INTERNATIONAL:
    CONTRACTORS FOR GEORGIA POWER ARE CLEARING THE RIGHT OF WAY FOR POWER TRANSMISSION LINES TO THE NEW SITE… WORKING THIS WEEK JUST NORTH OF THE EMERALD ACRES SUBDIVISION AT NOBLE.
    WALKER COUNTY DEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY DIRECTOR LARRY BROOKS HAD ANOTHER INTERESTING STORY TO SHARE:   SINCE WEATHER HAS DELAYED CONSTRUCTION OF THE NEW PLANT… AUDIA HAS ORDERED EQUIPMENT FOR THE NEW PLASTIC MANUFACTURING OPERATION, BUT WILL HAVE NOWHERE TO PUT IT, WHEN IT ARRIVES.
    ANOTHER LOCAL MANUFACTURER, EUCLID CHEMICAL… NOW BASED IN THE FORMER SWEETHEART CUP PLANT… WILL BE LEASING AUDIA AROUND 50-THOUSAND SQUARE FEET OF SPACE IN THEIR PLANT TO “STAGE” THE NEW PLANT’S EQUIPMENT.   BROOKS SAID IT’S A GREAT EXAMPLE OF “THE INDUSTRIAL COMMUNITY WORKING TOGETHER”.
    AUDIA PLANS TO OPEN THEIR NEW OPERATION JUST ABOUT A MILE NORTH OF THE EUCLID PLANT… SO WHEN THE NEW BUILDING IS READY, THEIR PRODUCTION EQUIPMENT WILL BE STAGED AND READY TO MOVE IN.   AUDIA PLANS TO OPEN IN THE LATE-SUMMER EARLY-FALL TIME FRAME.
    AND BY THE WAY… EUCLID IS ALREADY AN AUDIA CUSTOMER.   THEY USE THE COMPANY’S RAW PLASTICS TO PRODUCE REINFORCING FIBERS USED IN THE CONCRETE INDUSTRY.

*   A FRAUDULENT CREDIT CARD PURCHASE WAS HALTED AND A STOLEN CAR RECOVERED AT THE LAFAYETTE WALMART LAST FRIDAY;  POLICE WERE NOTIFIED THAT THE VEHICLE WAS LOCATED THERE THROUGH A "PINGED" CELL PHONE INSIDE. 
    35 YEAR OLD KEVIN PAUL VENIER… WHO LIVES ON “HOOTIE HOO HOLLER” OFF 136 WEST OF LAFAYETTE… WAS ARRESTED ON MULTIPLE CHARGES.
    INSIDE THE STORE, VENIER TRIED TO MAKE PURCHASES WITH TWO STOLEN DEBIT CARDS, WHICH WERE DENIED.   WITH A THIRD CARD, HE PURCHASED TWO CELL PHONES AND AN AIRSOFT PISTOL, ACCORDING TO THE POLICE REPORT.   HE AND HIS FEMALE COMPANION WERE STOPPED UPON LEAVING THE STORE.  A STOLEN LEXAS HE HAD BEEN DRIVING… REPORTED MISSING FROM CHATTANOOGA…  WAS RECOVERED IN THE PARKING LOT.
    VENIER WAS CHARGED WITH THEFT BY BRINGING STOLEN PROPERTY INTO THE STATE, FINANCIAL CARD FRAUD, CRIMINAL ATTEMPT TO COMMIT A FELONY AND GIVING A FALSE NAME.

*   A LOCAL TEACHER AND HIS PROFESSIONAL ASSOCIATION ARE TAKING-ON THE WALKER COUNTY SCHOOL SYSTEM... AND THEIR POLICY ON ADDRESSING THE SCHOOL BOARD IN PUBLIC MEETINGS.
    THE GEORGIA ASSOCIATION OF EDUCATORS HAS FILED A FEDERAL SUIT ON BEHALF OF JIM BARRETT... A SOCIAL STUDIES TEACHER AT SADDLE RIDGE SCHOOL.
    BARRETT SAYS HE WAS TOLD BY SUPERINTENDENT DAMON RAINES THAT HE COULD NOT SPEAK TO THE BOARD, EVEN THOUGH HE HAD COMPLIED WITH THE POLICY IN PLACE.   BARRETT HAS BEEN A VOCAL CRITIC OF THE SCHOOL SYSTEM'S NEW GRADING SYSTEM.
    IN HIS STATEMENT, BARRETT SAID "THE FIRST AMENDMENT GUARANTEES ME THE RIGHT TO SPEAK AT THESE PUBLIC MEETINGS.  AS AN EDUCATOR CHARGED WITH UPHOLDING THE ETHICS AND STANDARDS OF THE PROFESSION, I WAS LEFT NO CHOICE BUT TO PURSUE THIS MATTER IN COURT".
    THE SUIT ALLEGES THAT THE SYSTEM VIOLATED BARRETT'S RIGHTS UNDER THE 1st AND 14th AMENDMENTS - AND SEEKS DAMAGES AND ATTORNEY FEES.  IT ALSO SEEKS TO STRIKE-DOWN THE PRESENT POLICY FOR ADDRESSING THE BOARD, AS UNCONSTITUTIONAL.
    THE POLICY REQUIRES THAT PEOPLE WISHING TO ADDRESS THE BOARD MEET WITH THE SCHOOL SUPERINTENDENT TWICE AND THEN MAKE A WRITTEN COMMENT REQUEST ONE WEEK BEFORE THE MEETING... ACCORDING TO BARRETT'S LEGAL COUNCIL... WHO ADDED THAT IT'S ONE OF THE MOST RESTRICTIVE COMMENT POLICIES THEY'VE EVER ENCOUNTERED.   -

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