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TOP LOCAL NEWS STORIES:

*   THE ROBOTICS TEAM FROM ROCK SPRING ELEMENTARY WENT ALL THE WAY TO THE STATE COMPETITION… AND WON!
    THE “ROBO-ROCKETS” TEAM WON HONORS FOR “BEST MECHANICAL DESIGN” AT THE FIRST STATEWIDE LEGO-LEAGUE TOURNAMENT, HELD AT GEORGIA TECH IN ATLANTA.
    THE TEAM QUALIFIED BY WINNING THE NORTHWEST GEORGIA LEGO-LEAGUE REGIONAL TOURNAMENT AT SADDLE RIDGE… AND THE SUPER REGIONAL TOURNAMENT AT ACWORTH.  
    LAFAYETTE’S ROPER PLANT PROVIDED SUPPORT FOR THE LOCAL ROBOTICS PROGRAM.
    CONGRATULATION TO THE ROCK SPRING ELEMENTARY “ROBO-ROCKETS”.

*   LAFAYETTE’S CARE MISSION WILL BENEFIT FROM A “FOOD DRIVE GAME”… SPONSORED BY THE GEORGIA NORTHWESTERN COLLEGE BASKETBALL TEAMS, TODAY.   ADMISSION IS FREE WITH A FOOD ITEM FOR THE CARE MISSION.   THEY PLAY OXFORD COLLEGE, STARTING AT 4 PM SATURDAY, AT THE ROSSVILLE ATHLETIC CENTER.

*   DR. T. DARRELL WELDON HAS BEEN APPOINTED CHAIRMAN OF THE HUTCHESON MEDICAL CENTER BOARD, REPLACING CORKY JEWELL.
    DR. WELDON ALSO CHAIRS THE HUTCHESON HEALTH ENTERPRISES BOARD AND THE HOSPITAL AUTHORITY BOARD.
    FARRELL HAYES, HOSPITAL CEO, SAID “DR. WELDON’S LEADERSHIP ON THE BOARDS AS CHAIRMAN WILL BE OF TREMENDOUS VALUE”.
    STEVE ELLIS FROM WALKER COUNTY WILL SERVE AS VICE CHAIR… EVAN STONE FROM DADE COUNTY IS SECOND VICE CHAIR… STEVE COOPER FROM CATOOSA COUNTY IS THE SECRETARY AND WILLIAM J. COOKE FROM WALKER COUNTY IS THE BOARD TREASURER.

*   A SITE HAS BEEN CHOSEN ON THE GILBERT ELEMENTARY SCHOOL CAMPUS FOR A NEW MEDICAL CLINIC… TO BE OPERATED BY PRIMARY HEALTH CARE CENTERS. 
    AT THIS MONTH’S MEETING OF THE WALKER COUNTY BOARD OF EDUCATION, MEMBERS HEARD A REPORT THAT A “MOBILE UNIT” IS READY TO RECEIVE THE CLINIC… AND A SPOT FOR IT HAS BEEN CHOSEN AT GILBERT ELEMENTARY.   THE CLINIC WILL BE SEPARATE FROM OTHER SCHOOL FACILITIES ON THE CAMPUS.  PRIMARY OPERATES A SIMILAR HEALTH CLINIC AT TIGER CREEK ELEMENTARY SCHOOL IN CATOOSA COUNTY.  
    PRIMARY HEALTH CARE HOPES THE CLINIC WILL BE ABLE TO SERVE NOT ONLY STUDENTS AT GILBERT... BUT ALSO LOW-INCOME RESIDENTS OF THE WEST LAFAYETTE COMMUNITY.  PRIMARY CONSIDERS WEST LAFAYETTE AN "UNDERSERVED POPULATION" WHEN IT COMES TO HEALTH CARE.
    THE NEW CLINIC SHOULD OPEN LATER THIS YEAR, ACCORDING TO THE HEALTH PROVIDER.

*   AS EXPECTED, DUE TO A BIG INCREASE IN NEW CLAIMS FOR BENEFITS… WALKER COUNTY’S UNEMPLOYMENT RATE CLIMBED BY A HALF-PERCENTAGE POINT IN DECEMBER.  THE RATE WENT UP FROM 5.4 PERCENT IN NOVEMBER TO 5.9 PERCENT IN DECEMBER, ACCORDING TO THE DEPARTMENT OF LABOR.
    CHATTOOGA COUNTY HAD AN EVEN LARGER INCREASE… JUMPING FROM 7.2 IN NOVEMBER TO 8.6 PERCENT IN DECEMBER… UP BY 1.4 PERCENT OVER THE MONTH.
    UNEMPLOYMENT DROPPED SLIGHTLY IN CATOOSA AND DADE COUNTIES… AND WHITFIELD COUNTY’S RATE WAS STEADY AT 8.1 PERCENT IN DECEMBER.
    THE DEPARTMENT OF LABOR CREDITS THE UNEMPLOYMENT CLIMB TO A NEARLY 200-PERCENT INCREASE IN LAYOFFS IN THE REGION FROM NOVEMBER TO DECEMBER.   THEY SAY MOST WERE SEASONAL, TEMPORARY LAYOFFS IN CONSTRUCTION AND MANUFACTURING.

*   A 17 YEAR OLD WAS CHARGED BY LAFAYETTE POLICE AFTER RECKLESS DRIVING DAMAGED SEVERAL VEHICLES.  IT HAPPENED AT THE PARKING LOT AT THE FORMER LAFAYETTE HIGH SCHOOL TRACK, OFF FIRST STREET.
    POLICE SAY DEMETRI WAYNE LAY WAS “DOING DONUTS” IN THE GRAVEL PARKING LOT WHILE AT THE WHEEL OF A DODGE PICKUP.   THE TRUCK SLUNG ROCKS THAT DAMAGED THE GLASS IN SEVERAL OTHER CARS PARKED THERE, ACCORDING TO WITNESS ACCOUNTS.   LAY WAS LATER FOUND AND CHARGED WITH RECKLESS CONDUCT.

*   POLICE MADE AN ARREST FOLLOWING AN ASSAULT REPORT ON THE PARKING LOT OF THE LOCAL GOODWILL STORE, OFF WEST VILLANOW.
    THE VICTIM TOLD POLICE SHE HAD BEEN “HAVING TROUBLE” WITH 49 YEAR OLD MELISSA CALLEEN EVANS OF LAFAYETTE… WHO CONFRONTED HER IN THE THRIFTY CENTER PARKING LOT WEDNESDAY NIGHT.  SHE TOLD POLICE THAT EVANS BEGAN SHOUTING AND CURSING HER… AND THEN HIT HER IN THE FACE.
    EVANS, WHO POLICE SAY APPEARED TO BE INTOXICATED, WAS ARRESTED AND CHARGED WITH ONE COUNT OF SIMPLE BATTERY.   THE VICTIM DID NOT REQUIRE TREATMENT, ACCORDING TO THE REPORT.

*   A VAN AND HUMAN REMAINS WERE FOUND ON THE DADE COUNTY-SIDE OF LOOKOUT MOUNTAIN, WEDNESDAY... AND THE VEHICLE BELONGED TO A MISSING TRENTON WOMAN.
    JUSTINE "MARIE" CREECH WAS LAST SEEN BY HER FAMILY BACK IN JUNE.   THE REMAINS FOUND AT THE SCENE HAVE BEEN TAKEN TO THE CRIME LAB FOR POSITIVE IDENTIFICATION.
    A HIKER SPOTTED THE VAN... WHICH THE DADE COUNTY SHERIFF'S DEPARTMENT BELIEVES WENT OVER THE SIDE OF THE MOUNTAIN FROM SCENIC HIGHWAY AT THE BROW.  IT WAS FOUND, ON IT'S SIDE, ABOUT HALFWAY BETWEEN SCENIC HIGHWAY AND BURKHALTER GAP ROAD, WHICH LEADS DOWN THE MOUNTAIN TO TRENTON.  
    THE MISSING WOMAN'S HUSBAND SAID THAT MARIE LEFT THEIR HOME, TAKING NOTHING BUT A SET OF KEYS WITH HER... AND NEVER RETURNED.   A FAMILY FACEBOOK PAGE ADDS THAT MRS. CREECH SUFFERED FROM DEPRESSION.
    THE GBI IS ASSISTING DADE COUNTY WITH THE INVESTIGATION.

*   LAFAYETTE POLICE AND THE DEPARTMENT OF FAMILY AND CHILDREN SERVICES HAVE BEEN WORKING A HEARTBREAKING CASE OF CHILD-NEGLECT THIS WEEK.  THE 9 YEAR OLD BOY WAS SHOWING OBVIOUS SIGNS… AND HIS SCHOOL ASKED FOR AN INVESTIGATION.
    POLICE PUT THE CHILD IN EMERGENCY CUSTODY AND PROVIDED HIM WITH FOOD.  “HE ATE AND ATE… AND APPEARED VERY UNDER-NOURISHED”, SAID CAPTAIN STACEY MEEKS.
    THE TWO-PARENT FAMILY WAS CARING FOR A TOTAL OF 9 CHILDREN IN A SMALL HOME.  MEEKS SAID SOME OF THE OTHER CHILDREN WERE ALSO REMOVED BY DFCS… AND A HEARING ON THEIR FUTURE-CARE IS PENDING BEFORE THE JUVENILE COURT.

*   FOLLOWING THE SUCCESS OF “CHRISTMAS IN THE COVE” AND THE GUY PENROD CONCERT IN DECEMBER, WALKER COUNTY’S MOUNTAIN COVE FARMS IS PLANNING AN EASTER CELEBRATION THIS SPRING.
    LARRY BROOKS SAID THE BALL BROTHERS GOSPEL QUARTET FROM CHICKAMAUGA… WILL PERFORM AN EASTER CONCERT ON FRIDAY NIGHT, MARCH 27th.   THEN ON SATURDAY AFTERNOON THE 28th, A COMMUNITY EASTER EGG HUNT AND OTHER FAMILY ACTIVITIES WILL BE HELD AT MOUNTAIN COVE.
    BROOKS SAID THE BALL BROTHERS ARE KNOWN NATION-WIDE FOR THEIR SINGING.   THE TENTATIVE TICKET PRICE IS $15 PER PERSON, HE SAID.
    AND SPEAKING OF GUY PENROD, BROOKS CONFIRMED THAT HE WILL BE BACK FOR ANOTHER CHRISTMAS CONCERT AT THE COVE THIS YEAR, ON DECEMBER 3rd.

*   THE LAFAYETTE ELKS LODGE HAS ANNOUNCED WINNERS IN THE ANNUAL “HOOP SHOOT” YOUTH BASKETBALL FREE-THROW COMPETITION:
    FOR AGES 8 AND 9… THE WINNERS ARE ZUNDRA JACKSON FROM NAOMI ELEMENTARY… AND EMMA BAKER FROM NORTH LAFAYETTE.
    IN AGES 10 TO 11… FIRST PLACE WENT TO AIDAN HADAWAY FROM NORTH LAFAYETTE ELEMENTARY… AND SYDNEY BARKER FROM NAOMI.
    AND IN AGES 12 TO 13… BOTH THE BOY AND GIRL WINNERS ATTEND SADDLE RIDGE:   TRENT CURRIE AND TATYAH BARBER.
    LOCAL CHAMPIONS WILL COMPETE IN THE DISTRICT HOOP-SHOOT THIS SATURDAY AT GORDON CENTRAL IN CALHOUN.   BUTCH KING, LOCAL HOOP SHOOT COORDINATOR, THANKED P.E. TEACHERS FROM THE PARTICIPATING LOCAL SCHOOLS… AND THE LAFAYETTE REC DEPARTMENT… FOR THEIR HELP.

*   THE WALKER COUNTY SHERIFF’S OFFICE IS ACCEPTING APPLICATIONS FOR THIS YEAR’S CITIZEN’S ACADEMY, STARTING ON MARCH 2nd.
    GET AN UP CLOSE LOOK AT DAY TO DAY OPERATIONS OF THE SHERIFF’S DEPARTMENT.   CLASSES WILL BE HELD ON TEN MONDAY NIGHTS AT THE RALPH JONES TRAINING CENTER IN LINWOOD.   CALL SERGEANT PAT COOK AT
706 638 1909 EXTENSION 1252.

*   GEORGIA NORTHWESTERN HAS RELEASED THIS YEAR’S FINALISTS FOR THE “GOAL” AWARD… AND THREE OF THE FOUR ARE STUDENTS AT THE ROCK SPRING CAMPUS.
    CHASITY BAUGH IS IN THE EARLY CHILDHOOD PROGRAM…
    BRENT FREEMAN STUDIES ELECTRONIC TECHNOLOGY…
    AND JENNIFER LIVELY IS IN THE SOCIAL WORK PROGRAM AT THE WALKER COUNTY CAMPUS.   THE FOURTH FINALIST IS ALICE TOWE FROM THE FLOYD COUNTY CAMPUS.
    “GOAL” STANDS FOR GEORGIA OCCUPATIONAL AWARD OF LEADERSHIP… HONORING EXCELLENCE AMONG GEORGIA TECH-COLLEGE STUDENTS.

*   THE WALKER COUNTY CHAMBER MADE SEVERAL AWARD PRESENTATIONS AT LAST WEEK’S MEMBERSHIP DINNER.
    SUSAN TANKERSLEY WAS NAMED “CHAMBER MEMBER OF THE YEAR”.   SHE WORKS AS THE MARKETING DIRECTOR FOR LANE FUNERAL HOME.
    SHELIA THOMPSON WAS NAMED “CHAMBER AMBASSADOR OF THE YEAR”.   SHE IS WALKER COUNTY’S CHIEF MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
    AND THE BANK OF LAFAYETTE WAS NAMED THE CHAMBER’S “SMALL BUSINESS OF THE YEAR” FOR 2014.

UPDATED:     A DEADLY WEEKEND ON WALKER COUNTY ROADS... THE SHERIFF'S OFFICE IS INVESTIGATING A FATAL HIT-AND-RUN IN ROSSVILLE - AND THEY'RE ASKING FOR ANY INFORMATION THE PUBLIC MAY HAVE.
    A MAN IN A MOTORIZED WHEELCHAIR WAS HIT AND KILLED BY A CAR AT AROUND 1:30 PM SATURDAY ON INDIAN AVENUE AT CEDAR STREET IN ROSSVILLE.  THE VICTIM WAS IDENTIFIED AS 56 YEAR OLD MICHAEL BURNS.
    DETECTIVES ARE LOOKING FOR A LIGHT-COLORED PASSENGER CAR THAT SHOULD HAVE DAMAGE IN THE FRONT.   THE DESCRIPTION SAYS THE VEHICLE COULD BE A 4-DOOR ACURA OR HONDA, WITH TINTED WINDOWS.
    ANYONE WITH INFORMATION ON THE SUSPECT VEHICLE SHOULD CONTACT THE WALKER COUNTY SHERIFF'S DEPARTMENT.
    AND ON SUNDAY MORNING, TWO PEOPLE DIED IN A SINGLE VEHICLE WRECK ON LOOKOUT MOUNTAIN.  THE STATE PATROL SAID IT HAPPENED ON HIGHWAY 157, SOUTH OF THE INTERSECTION WITH 136... AT AROUND 11:30 AM.   THE SPEEDING VEHICLE LEFT THE ROAD AND STRUCK A TREE.   THE DRIVER HAS BEEN IDENTIFIED AS 52 YEAR OLD RICHARD GUINN BETHUNE OF ROSSVILLE.  THE PASSENGER'S IDENTITY HAS NOT BEEN RELEASED. 

*   THE WALKER COUNTY HEALTH DEPARTMENT IS NOW OFFERING A SHINGLES VACCINE FOR PEOPLE AGE 60 AND OLDER… AND A PNEUMONIA VACCINE FOR AGES 65-PLUS.
    FOR INFORMATION, CALL THE HEALTH DEPARTMENT AT 706 638 5577.   MANY INSURANCE PLANS WILL HELP WITH THE COST… AND THESE SENIOR VACCINES ARE RECOMMENDED BY THE CDC.
    THE HEALTH DEPARTMENT IS AT 603 EAST VILLANOW STREET IN LAFAYETTE. 

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