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TOP LOCAL NEWS STORIES:

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!   A year ago today on the Thanksgiving-2016 edition of our daily devotional program, "Word for your World"... the topic was "pray for rain".
    Last year was a record-setting drought and wildfires were starting everywhere in our area... not to mention the devastation suffered by our farming families due to the lack of rain.
     Many of us were PRAYING FOR RAIN last November... and I'm pleased to report that the Lord ANSWERED our prayers:   As of this date, we've had a surplus of rain in 2017.  With a month to go in the year, we've had 12 inches more rainfall than the average for an entire year!
    I mention this to show that on this Thanksgiving, we are abundantly blessed in so many ways.  Our God is GOOD... good all the time... and FAITHFUL to us, now and forever.
    So, what shall we pray for in the coming year?  Nothing is too hard for our God!  He who commands the rain and calms the storms, CAN AND DOES HEAR the righteous prayers of His people.  That brings me a peace that nothing in the world can deliver.
    Today... stop to remember and thank God for all He's done... for who He is to us... and for who He will be for the generations to come.

*   LAFAYETTE’S “AMAZING CHRISTMAS” LIGHT AND MUSIC SHOWS WILL BEGIN TONIGHT… THANKSGIVING EVENING… AT JOE STOCK PARK.
    THE FREE ANIMATED LIGHT SHOWS WILL RUN FROM 6 UNTIL 10 PM EACH EVENING THROUGH THE HOLIDAYS.

*   WALKER COUNTY’S ATTORNEY HAS FILED AN ANSWER IN FEDERAL COURT TO A LAWSUIT FROM ERLANGER SEEKING THAT TAXES BE ORDERED RAISED, TO FUND REPAYMENT OF DEBT.  WALKER ATTORNEY STUART JAMES IS ASKING FOR DISMISSAL OF THAT SUIT… WHICH WAS FILED IN OCTOBER WITH THE FEDERAL COURT IN ROME.
    THE ANSWER NOTES THAT WALKER COUNTY HAS IMPOSED A SPECIAL TAX THAT WILL MAKE PAYMENTS ON THE 8.7-MILLION DOLLAR DEBT, STARTING NEXT YEAR.   JAMES WROTE THAT ERLANGER OFFICIALS “OBSTINATELY REFUSED” SEVERAL ATTEMPTS BY COMMISSIONER SHANNON WHITFIELD TO WORK OUT A PAYMENT SCHEDULE… AND INSTEAD FILED SUIT DEMANDING “PAYMENT IN FULL”.
    ERLANGER IS ATTEMPTING TO COLLECT ON A DEBT GUARANTEE, SIGNED BY FORMER COMMISSIONER BEBE HEISKELL, THAT SECURED A LOAN MADE WHEN THE CHATTANOOGA HOSPITAL WAS MANAGING OPERATIONS AT HUTCHESON MEDICAL CENTER.   HUTCHESON LATER CLOSED IN BANKRUPTCY.  CATOOSA COUNTY HAS ALREADY SETTLED WITH ERLANGER FOR ITS SHARE OF THE LOAN GUARANTEE… BUT WALKER COUNTY DID NOT HAVE THE CASH ON HAND TO DO SO.

*   ROCK CITY CEO BILL CHAPIN WAS RECENTLY RECOGNIZED WITH A “LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD” BY GEORGIA GOVERNOR NATHAN DEAL.
    THE GOVERNOR SAID “CHAPIN HAS DEDICATED HIMSELF TO MAINTAINING AND DEVELOPING THE VITALITY OF ROCK CITY… WHICH CONTINUES TO DRAW SIGHTSEERS FROM ACROSS THE NATION”.
    THE FAMOUS LOOKOUT MOUNTAIN ATTRACTION IS LOCATED IN WALKER COUNTY, ATOP LOOKOUT MOUNTAIN.

*   A WOULD-BE SHOPLIFTER RAN OUT OF LUCK… AS AN OFF-DUTY LAFAYETTE POLICE OFFICER CAUGHT HER LEAVING THE FRED’S STORE IN BROOKWOOD SQUARE, MONDAY MORNING.
    THE WOMAN SAID SHE HAD LEFT HER WALLET IN THE CAR… BUT ITEMS ON HER PERSON SET OFF THE THEFT DETECTION SYSTEM.  THE POLICE OFFICER HAD HER STEP BACK INSIDE THE STORE AND REMOVED HIS WALLET TO SHOW HIS BADGE.   ACCORDING TO THE REPORT, THE SUSPECT SLUNG HER ARM, KNOCKING THE WALLET FROM HIS HAND… AND TRIED TO ESCAPE.  SHE WAS TAKEN TO THE GROUND WHILE BACKUP WAS CALLED TO MAKE THE ARREST.
    $25 IN MERCHANDISE FROM THE STORE WAS RECOVERED, BEFORE 27 YEAR OLD KATHERINE PATRICE TAYLOR OF TRION, WAS TAKEN TO JAIL.
    SHE WAS CHARGED WITH THEFT BY SHOPLIFTING AND BANNED FROM ENTERING THE STORE IN THE FUTURE.

*   TIME TO SIGN UP FOR HELP FROM THE EMPTY STOCKING FUND… A LOCAL CHRISTMAS CHARITY…. NOW IN IT’S 34th YEAR.
    APPLICATIONS FOR FOOD CAN BE PICKED UP AT THE WALKER COUNTY DFCS OFFICE AT ROCK SPRING, THE LAFAYETTE HOUSING AUTHORITY ON OAK STREET, THE WALKER COUNTY HEALTH DEPARTMENT, THE BANK OF LAFAYETTE AND AT SCHOOLS IN WALKER COUNTY.
    APPLICATION DEADLINE IS FRIDAY, DECEMBER 1st.   APPOINTMENT LETTERS WILL BE MAILED TO APPROVED APPLICANTS.
    LOCAL VOLUNTEERS WILL DISTRIBUTE GROCERIES FOR A CHRISTMAS DINNER ON FRIDAY, DECEMBER 15th AT THE WALKER COUNTY AG CENTER BUILDING AT ROCK SPRING.
    TAX DEDUCTIBLE DONATIONS TO FUND THIS YEARS DRIVE CAN BE MAILED TO GEORGE GILBERT, TREASURER, AT THE BANK OF LAFAYETTE… P.O. BOX 1149, LAFAYETTE, 30728.

*   THE CITY OF LAFAYETTE WILL HIRE A CONTRACTOR TO REBUILD A PORTION OF THE ELECTRIC DISTRIBUTION SYSTEM FOR WEST LAFAYETTE.
    AT THE RECENT COUNCIL MEETING, CITY MANAGER DAVID HAMILTON EXPLAINED THAT ABOUT 12-HUNDRED FEET OF LINE IN THAT AREA DOES NOT HAVE THE SAME POWER HANDLING CAPACITY AS THE REST OF THE LOCAL GRID.
    THAT “CHOKE POINT” PUTS MORE PRESSURE ON THE NORTH AND SOUTH CIRCUITS TO CARRY THE LOAD.
    FOR EXAMPLE, THE NORTH CIRCUIT HANDLES 400 AMPS… THE SOUTH CIRCUIT, 350 AMPS… WHILE THE CHATTANOOGA STREET CIRCUIT CAN HANDLE ONLY 70 AMPS.
    THE REBUILD WILL NOT ONLY IMPROVE POWER HANDLING ON THE WEST SIDE… BUT WILL HELP RE-DISTRIBUTE THE LOAD ON THE OTHER CIRCUITS.
    THE CONTRACTED WORK WILL COST AN ESTIMATED $12,500… WITH THE CITY FURNISHING THE POLES AND OTHER MATERIALS.  THE WORK WILL BE DONE WITHOUT INTERRUPTING ELECTRIC SERVICE TO CUSTOMERS, WITHIN A TIME FRAME OF ONE WEEK.

*   THE WALKER COUNTY SCHOOL SYSTEM IS ATTEMPTING TO IDENTIFY ALL CHILDREN IN NEED OF SPECIAL EDUCATION SERVICES, ACCORDING TO DIRECTOR, ANGIE INGRAM.
    HERE ARE POSSIBLE INDICATIONS OF DISABLING CONDITIONS IN YOUNG CHILDREN:
    AT AGE 1, THE CHILD DOES NOT RESPOND TO A CALL BY LOOKING DIRECTLY AT AN ADULT…
    AT AGE 2, THE CHILD CANNOT IDENTIFY BODY PARTS OR MATCH LIKE-OBJECTS…
    AT AGE 3, THE CHILD CANNOT RECOGNIZE HIS OR HER NAME…
    AT AGE 4, THE CHILD IS UNABLE TO NAME COLORS OR COUNT TO TWO…
    AND AT AGE 5, THE CHILD CANNOT MAKE SIMPLE COMPARISONS, COUNT TO FOUR, OR UNDERSTAND “YESTERDAY” OR “TOMORROW”.
    FOR MORE INFORMATION, CONTACT WALKER COUNTY SCHOOLS’ CONSULTATION AND EVALUATION CENTER, AT 706 375 9900.

*   THE GEORGIA DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION HAS RELEASED CCRPI SCORES FOR 2017… THAT’S THE COLLEGE AND CAREER-READY PERFORMANCE INDEX.   IT MEASURES HOW WELL SCHOOLS ARE PREPARING STUDENTS FOR THE NEXT EDUCATIONAL LEVEL.
    WALKER COUNTY’S SYSTEM SCORE WAS RIGHT IN THE MIDDLE, COMPARED TO OTHER AREA COUNTIES.   CHATTOOGA WAS LOW, AT 66.6.  WALKER’S CCRPI SCORE WAS 71.5.   AND CATOOSA COUNTY HAD THE HIGH SCORE AT 78.8 OUT OF 100 POINTS.
    OF WALKER COUNTY SCHOOLS, FAIRYLAND ELEMENTARY HAD THE HIGHEST SCORE BY FAR, WITH 99.8.
    LAFAYETTE HIGH SCHOOL SCORED 72.1.  RIDGELAND HIGH, 66.7… BOTH A BIT LOWER THAN THE 2016 SCORES.
    SADDLE RIDGE ELEMENTARY AND MIDDLE HAD ONE OF THE HIGHEST SCORES IN THE SYSTEM, AT 75.1
    AMONG LAFAYETTE-AREA ELEMENTARY SCHOOLS, GILBERT WAS ON TOP WITH A SCORE OF 69.8… ABOUT 10 POINTS LOWER THAN THE 2016 SCORE.
    CCRPI SCORES REPLACED “ADEQUATE YEARLY PROGRESS” IN GEORGIA SCHOOLS IN 2012.

*   LAFAYETTE’S 5th ANNUAL “REINDEER RUN” IS SET FOR SATURDAY, DECEMBER 2nd.
    THE FUND RAISER IS A 5-K RUN OR WALK… PLUS A 1 MILE FUN RUN.  IT STARTS AT 9 AM AT JOE STOCK PARK.   THE RACE BENEFITS THE “SHOP WITH A COP OR FIREFIGHTER” PROGRAM IN LAFAYETTE… PROVIDING CHRISTMAS FOR 30 TO 40 DESERVING KIDS.
    EARLY-BIRD REGISTRATION IS $25, NOW THROUGH NOVEMBER 21st.  AFTER, THE INDIVIDUAL PRICE IS $35.   THERE WILL BE AWARDS FOR FIRST THROUGH THIRD PLACE IN EACH RACE CATEGORY.
    FOR MORE INFORMATION, CALL 423 708 4298 OR REGISTER ON THE CITY’S WEBSITE.

*   THE LAFAYETTE CITY COUNCIL STREAMLINED THE CITY’S ORDINANCE AGAINST JUNK CARS… AS EFFORTS TO CLEAN UP THE TOWN CONTINUE.
    IF A CAR IS UNDRIVEABLE, OR HAS NO TAG… AND IS IN PLAIN SIGHT, THE CODES DEPARTMENT WILL NOW HAVE THE AUTHORITY TO WRITE THE OWNER UP.   THAT WOULD INCLUDE “CURB-STONED” VEHICLES THAT ARE LEFT ON ROADSIDE LOTS FOR SALE… IF THE TAG AND REGISTRATION ARE NOT CURRENT… AND THE LOCATION IS NOT A CAR DEALER OR REPAIR BUSINESS.
    IN OTHER REPORTS FROM THE COMMUNITY “PRIDE” PROGRAM… CITY MANAGER DAVID HAMILTON SAID THE CITY HAS JUST COMPLETED DEMOLITION OF A HOUSE ON FLORA STREET… THE OWNER IS TAKING DOWN A HOUSE ON DUKE STREET… AND ANOTHER HOUSE ON MCLEMORE HAS JUST BEEN PLACED UNDER COURT ORDER TO BE DEMOLISHED.
    THE PURCHASE OF AN ELECTRIC TRANSFORMER FOR THE NEW INDUSTRIAL BUILDING UNDER CONSTRUCTION ON WEST MCCARTER ROAD WAS APPROVED AT A COST OF $22,500.
    THE COUNCIL APPROVED SOME BUDGETED EXPENDITURES FOR THE WATER, SEWER AND ELECTRIC DEPARTMENTS.
    NEWLY STATE-MANDATED LONG TERM DISABILITY AND CANCER INSURANCE FOR ALL CITY FIREMAN WAS APPROVED, AT A COST OF $1,737.
    AND A DESIGN WAS APPROVED FOR THE SIGN, RENAMING THE PARK REC CENTER AS “THE HARRY AND SUE HARRINGTON RECREATION CENTER".

*   IT’S TIME TO MAKE APPLICATION FOR CHRISTMAS TOYS THROUGH THE AL MILLARD MEMORIAL STOCKING FULL OF LOVE IN WALKER COUNTY.
    DISTRIBUTION IS ON DECEMBER 9th AT OAKWOOD BAPTIST IN CHICKAMAUGA.
    PICK UP AN APPLICATION FORM FOR TOYS AT THE DFCS OFFICE IN ROCK SPRING, THE WALKER COUNTY SHERIFF’S OFFICE IN LAFAYETTE OR THE ROSSVILLE POLICE DEPARTMENT.

*   THE CITY OF LAFAYETTE IS ACCEPTING ENTRIES FOR THIS YEAR’S CHRISTMAS PARADE, SET FOR FRIDAY, DECEMBER 1st.
    THIS YEAR’S THEME IS “CHRISTMAS DREAMS”… AND AS USUAL, THE NIGHTTIME PARADE WILL START AT 6 PM.
    THERE WILL BE CASH PRIZES FOR BEST FLOAT IN THE CHURCH, INDIVIDUAL AND BUSINESS CATEGORIES.   THE PARADE LINES-UP ON SOUTH MAIN… AND ENDS AT THE OLD HIGH SCHOOL.
    GET ENTRY FORMS ONLINE… OR CALL THE REC CENTER FOR INFORMATION AT 706 639 1590.  THE CUTOFF TO RECEIVE ENTRY FORMS IS NOVEMBER 28th.  NO ATV’S OR MOTORCYCLES ALLOWED.

*   LAFAYETTE’S PUBLIC WORKS DEPARTMENT WILL BEGIN LEAF PICKUP ON MONDAY, NOVEMBER 27th… COVERING ALL STREETS IN THE CITY LIMITS. 
THE FINAL LEAF PICKUP OF THE SEASON WILL START ON FEBRUARY 19th NEXT YEAR.  RAKE LEAVES TO CURB-SIDE FOR PICKUP, STARTING ON NOVEMBER 27th.

*   LAFAYETTE RESIDENTS MAY NOW APPLY NOW FOR THE “SHOP WITH A COP OR FIREMAN PROGRAM”.
    IT PROVIDES CHRISTMAS TOYS AND GIFTS TO DESERVING KIDS AGES 5 TO 12, WHO LIVE WITHIN THE CITY LIMITS.   ELIGIBILITY IS BASED ON TOTAL FAMILY INCOME, PRIOR PARTICIPATION AND AVAILABILITY OF FUNDS.   MUST BE ABLE TO PROVIDE GEORGIA IDENTIFICATION AND PROOF OF RESIDENCE.
    APPLICATION FORMS ARE AVAILABLE ONLINE, OR AT CITY HALL.   THE APPLICATION DEADLINE IS NOVEMBER 30th… CALL FOR MORE INFORMATION, 706 639 1501.


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