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TOP LOCAL NEWS STORIES:

*   A 33 YEAR OLD TRION MAN HAS BEEN CHARGED BY LAFAYETTE POLICE WITH “CRUELTY TO A CHILD”.  GORDON MADISON BROWN WAS ARRESTED FOLLOWING AN INCIDENT INVOLVING HIS SISTER-IN-LAW’S MINOR CHILD AT A MILL STREET ADDRESS ON JUNE 2nd.
    THE CHILD’S MOTHER TOLD POLICE SHE WAS AT THE DOCTOR WHEN SHE GOT A CALL FROM HER SISTER, WHO WAS WATCHING HER CHILD.  HE HAS SEVERAL DISORDERS INCLUDING AUTISM.
    WITNESS REPORTS INDICATE THE CHILD HAS HAVING A “FIT”… WHEN THE CAREGIVER’S HUSBAND, GORDON BROWN, HELD HIM DOWN AND WHIPPED HIM ON THE BUTTOCKS.   HE IS FURTHER ACCUSED OF SLAMMING THE CHILD ON A COUCH BY THE THROAT AND YELLING AT HIM.
    BRUISING OBSERVED ON THE CHILD WAS PHOTOGRAPHED FOR THE POLICE REPORT… AND THE MOTHER SAID SHE WOULD TAKE HER CHILD TO THE E.R. IN FORT OGLETHORPE TO BE CHECKED… ON THE RECOMMENDATION OF AN EMT AT THE SCENE.  BROWN WAS ARRESTED LAST FRIDAY.

*   BOTH WALKER COUNTY HIGH SCHOOLS AND GILBERT ELEMENTARY IN LAFAYETTE WILL START THE NEXT SCHOOL YEAR, WITH A NEW PRINCIPAL.
    WQCH NEWS HAS ALREADY REPORTED THAT LAFAYETTE HIGH’S NEW PRINCIPAL IS TRACY HUBBERT.
    RIDGELAND HIGH SCHOOL’S NEW LEADER IS KAREN HUGHES.
    AND AT GILBERT ELEMENTARY IN LAFAYETTE, PRINCIPAL MATT HARRIS IS LEAVING TO TAKE A NEW JOB ON THE SYSTEM LEVEL:  HE WILL BE THE NEW COORDINATOR FOR INNOVATIVE LEARNING.  
    HARRIS HAD BEEN PRINCIPAL AT GILBERT FOR THE PAST NINE YEARS.  HIS REPLACEMENT AT GILBERT WILL BE ANNOUNCED BEFORE SCHOOL BEGINS IN AUGUST.

*   THE WALKER COUNTY WATER AND SEWERAGE AUTHORITY HAS CONTRACTED WITH A COMPANY FOR A “QUICK” SEWER FIX IN THE FLINTSTONE AREA.  
    THE 297-THOUSAND DOLLAR PROJECT WILL BE DONE BY INSITUFORM.  THEY INSTALL A LINING INSIDE SEWER PIPES IN ORDER TO STOP THE INFILTRATION OF STORMWATER.
    THE WORK WILL COVER CHATTANOOGA VALLEY ROAD, ROCK CREEK ROAD, GRANT DRIVE, BLUFFVIEW CIRCLE, ALLGOOD ROAD, EAGLE SHADOW AND JAPONICA STREET.

*   U.S. SECRETARY OF AGRICULTURE SONNY PERDUE TRAVELS TO CHINA THIS WEEK TO MARK THE RETURN OF U.S. BEEF SALES TO THE CHINESE MARKET AFTER A 13-YEAR HIATUS.
    “THIS IS TREMENDOUS NEWS FOR THE AMERICAN BEEF INDUSTRY, THE AGRICULTURE COMMUNITY AND THE AMERICAN ECONOMY IN GENERAL”, PERDUE SAID.  “WE WILL ONCE AGAIN HAVE ACCESS TO THE ENORMOUS CHINESE MARKET”.
    PRESIDENT TRUMP AND SECRETARY PERDUE ANNOUNCED THE DEAL IN MAY… AND THE FIRST SHIPMENT OF U.S. BEEF ARRIVED IN CHINA ON JUNE 19. 

*   THE CITY OF LAFAYETTE HAS CHOSEN A MEMBER OF THE POLICE DEPARTMENT TO HEAD A NEW OFFICE AS DIRECTOR OF FIRE SERVICES AND EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT.   HE IS STACEY MEEKS, WHO FORMERLY SERVED AS SECOND-IN-COMMAND WITH LAFAYETTE POLICE.
    MEEKS STARTED THE NEW JOB ON THURSDAY.   CITY MANAGER DAVID HAMILTON TOLD WQCH NEWS LAST DECEMBER THAT THE FIRE CHIEF JOB DESCRIPTION WOULD BE RE-WRITTEN TO INCLUDE AN ELEMENT OF EMERGENCY RESPONSE PLANNING.
    MEEKS SAID THAT’S A NATIONWIDE TREND… COMBINING FIRE FIGHTING WITH EMERGENCY RESPONSE AND PLANNING.
    THE CITY MANAGER NOTED THAT LAFAYETTE WOULD RECEIVE HELP FROM FEMA, GEMA, THE RED CROSS AND OTHER AGENCIES IN THE EVENT OF AN EMERGENCY… “BUT”, HE SAID, “THAT RESPONSE COULD BE 48 HOURS OR MORE IN ARRIVING.  WE’LL HAVE TO COVER THE LOCAL RESPONSE IN THAT FIRST COUPLE OF DAYS”.
    HE WANTED A FIRE CHIEF WHO CAN WORK WITH POLICE, UTILITIES AND OTHER AGENCIES TO PLAN FOR A WIDE RANGE OF EMERGENCY RESPONSE SCENARIOS… FROM WILDFIRES TO EARTHQUAKE DAMAGE.
    IN ADDITION TO A BACHELORS DEGREE FROM SHORTER, MEEKS HAS EXTENSIVE TRAINING IN A WIDE VARIETY OF EMERGENCY RESPONSES.   HE’LL GET MORE TRAINING IN EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT FROM THE GEORGIA EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT AGENCY.
    MEEKS ALSO WANTS TO RETAIN HIS POLICE CERTIFICATION, SO HE’LL WORK PART-TIME AS A PATROL OFFICER WHEN NEEDED.
    AMONG HIS EARLY PROJECTS ON THE NEW JOB ARE “FLOOD MITIGATION PLANNING” IN THE TOWN CREEK CORRIDOR THROUGH LAFAYETTE… AND AN INVESTIGATION OF FUNDING SOURCES FOR A MORE EXTENSIVE TORNADO SIREN SYSTEM THAT WILL COVER THE ENTIRE TOWN.  HE ADDED THAT ALL LAFAYETTE FIRE FIGHTERS WILL RECEIVE CERTIFICATION AS AN “EMT”… AN UPGRADE FROM THE PRESENT “EMERGENCY RESPONDER” CERTIFICATION.  
    MEEKS HAD BEEN WITH LAFAYETTE P.D. FOR 24 YEARS… INCLUDING AN ASSIGNMENT TO THE DRUG TASK FORCE.  HE SAID HIS GREATEST ENJOYMENT COMES IN HELPING PEOPLE. 

*   DRUG TASK FORCE AGENTS WITNESSED A METH TRANSACTION IN CHATTANOOGA VALLEY… AND THREE ARRESTS FOLLOWED.
    IT HAPPENED THURSDAY ON THE PARKING LOT OF THE FLINTSTONE BRANCH OF COMMUNITY NATIONAL BANK ON CHATTANOOGA VALLEY ROAD.
    THE ACCUSED “CUSTOMER” IS 44 YEAR OLD BRIAN SCOTT HIBBETT… CHARGED WITH POSSESSION OF METH.
    THE ACCUSED “SELLERS” ARE 31 YEAR OLD HEATHER MARIE MANSEL OF ROSSVILLE, CHARGED WITH POSSESSION OF METH WITH INTENT TO DISTRIBUTE…
    AND 27 YEAR OLD MICHAEL EARL GRIMES OF CHATTANOOGA… CHARGED WITH POSSESSION AND CONSPIRACY TO DISTRIBUTE METH.

*   LAFAYETTE’S SECOND ANNUAL “FREEDOM FEST RUN” WILL BE HELD ON SATURDAY, JULY 1st.
    THERE WILL BE A 1-MILE FUN RUN, A 5-K AND A 10-K ON THE USATF-CERTIFIED COURSE.   ALL RACES START AT THE MUNICIPAL PARK RECREATION CENTER AT 636 SOUTH MAIN.
    PROCEEDS WILL BENEFIT THE LAFAYETTE HIGH RAMBLER CROSS COUNTRY AND TRACK & FIELD PROGRAMS.  
    FIND OUT MORE ON FACEBOOK… AT
“FREEDOM FEST RUN”.

*   THIS YEAR, LAFAYETTE’S INDEPENDENCE CELEBRATION KNOWN AS “THE FREEDOM FESTIVAL” WILL HAVE MORE ACTIVITIES THAN EVER, IN ADDITION TO FIREWORKS AFTER DARK.  IT'S THIS FRIDAY, JUNE 30th AT THE PARK RECREATION AREA OFF SOUTH MAIN.
    THERE’S FREE SWIMMING AT THE CITY POOL FROM 5 - 8 PM.
    AN OLD TIMERS VERSUS LAFAYETTE MIDDLE SCHOOL BASEBALL GAME.
    WRESTLING IN THE PARK CENTER GYM.
    A CRUISE-IN…
    A HAMBURGER EATING CONTEST…
    CORNHOLE TOURNAMENT….
    AND LOADS OF VENDORS.
    THE BANDS CAMPBELL STATION AND AUNT BETTY WILL BE PLAYING LIVE ON STAGE… AND AT 10 PM, THE FIREWORKS SHOW WILL BE ACCOMPANIED BY PATRIOTIC MUSIC.
    ADMISSION IS FREE, AT THE ANNUAL “FREEDOM FESTIVAL” IN LAFAYETTE… ON FRIDAY, JUNE 30th.

*   TWO WALKER COUNTY 4-H MEMEBERS ATTENDED THE “CITIZENSHIP WASHINGTON FOCUS” IN THE NATION’S CAPITAL… TORI LOWRANCE AND LAUREN PIKE.
    THEY WERE AMONG 13 4-H HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS FROM GEORGIA.  THE PROGRAM TEACHES HOW TO BE A “CITIZEN LEADER” AND MAKE A DIFFERENCE.   THEY GOT A BEHIND-THE-SCENES LOOK AT THE LEGISLATIVE PROCESS WHILE MEETING MEMBERS OF CONGRESS.  AND TO TOP OFF THE PROJECT… THIS YEAR’S GEORGIA DELEGATION DESIGNED A PROGRAM TO RAISE AWARENESS ABOUT HUMAN TRAFFICKING AND THE YOUTH IT IMPACTS.

*   
IN ADDITION TO THE LAFAYETTE FIRE DEPARTMENT… THE FOLKS AT HAMMOND JONES HARDWARE HAVE TWO 'HEROES' TO THANK FOR SAVING THEIR BUSINESS FROM AN ARSONIST.
    THE POLICE REPORT STATES THAT MARK ABBOT SPOTTED THE SMOKE ON THE SOUTH WALL OF THE STORE LATE TUESDAY NIGHT… AND DROVE IMMEDIATELY TO THE POLICE DEPARTMENT TO REPORT IT.
    OFFICER KELLY BREWER RUSHED TO THE SCENE AFTER CALLING THE FIRE DEPARTMENT.   HE DISCHARGED HIS FIRE EXTINGUISHER INSIDE THE BURNING WALL AND REMOVED SIDING WITH A POLICE BATON.
    LAFAYETTE FIREMEN ARRIVED MOMENTS LATER AND PUT OUT THE REMAINING FIRE INSIDE THE WALL.   THEY REQUESTED THE ON-DUTY DETECTIVE, DUE TO THE SUSPICIOUS NATURE OF THE FIRE.
    LATER ON WEDNESDAY, THE STATE FIRE MARSHAL DECLARED THE FIRE A CASE OF ARSON… AS THERE WAS NO POSSIBLE IGNITION SOURCE INSIDE THE WALL IN THE AREA WHERE THE FIRE STARTED.   IT ALSO APPEARED TO HAVE BEEN LIT NEAR GROUND-LEVEL. 
    FORTUNATELY, THE FIRE WAS CAUGHT IN TIME AND DAMAGE TO THE STORE WAS MINIMAL.   HAMMOND JONES WAS OPEN FOR BUSINESS THE NEXT MORNING.
    CALL THE ARSON HOTLINE WITH ANY INFORMATION… AND A 10-THOUSAND DOLLAR REWARD MAY BE COMING YOUR WAY.   IT’S 1-800-282-5804.

*      A NEW “DRUG COURT” IS COMING TO WALKER COUNTY.   COMMISSIONER SHANNON WHITFIELD SIGNED THE AGREEMENT WITH THE CRIMINAL JUSTICE COORDINATING COUNCIL THAT WILL CREATE THE NEW COURT FOR THE LOOKOUT MOUNTAIN CIRCUIT, INCLUDING DADE, CATOOSA AND CHATTOOGA COUNTIES.
    DRUG COURT WILL PROVIDE SOME OFFENDERS WITH AN ALTERNATIVE TO JAIL… PROVIDED THEY ATTEND COUNSELING, TAKE DRUG TESTS AND HOLD DOWN A JOB.   THOSE WITH A VIOLENT RECORD WILL NOT BE ALLOWED TO TAKE THE DRUG COURT ROUTE.
    THE GRANT TAKES EFFECT JULY 1st… AND THE COURT COULD BE IN OPERATION AS EARLY AS THIS FALL.   SUPERIOR COUNT JUDGE DON THOMPSON WILL ALSO SERVE AS THE DRUG COURT JUDGE WHEN IT OPENS.
    WALKER COUNTY WILL FUND THE PROGRAM WITH REIMBURSEMENT FROM THE STATE… AND WILL PROVIDE OFFICES IN THE COURTHOUSE ANNEX IN LAFAYETTE.

*   WALKER COUNTY’S DEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY IS BUSY WITH PROSPECTS AND NEW PROPERTIES FOR SALE.  DIRECTOR LARRY BROOKS SAID THE FORMER ANDERSON CONE COMPANY BUILDING AND PROPERTY ON WEST REED ROAD IS AVAILABLE… AND THE AUTHORITY HAS A PROSPECT LOOKING IT OVER.
    A NEW RETAIL BUSINESS IS CONSIDERING A SITE ON GENERAL BUSHROD JOHNSON AVENUE IN THE CITY OF CHICKAMAUGA, BROOKS SAID.
    STILL ANOTHER PROSPECT HAS EXPRESSED INTEREST IN LAND AT THE ROCK SPRING INDUSTRIAL PARK… SO BUSINESS AND JOB GROWTH CONTINUES IN WALKER COUNTY.   
    THE AUTHORITY IS CONSIDERING AN APPLICATION WITH THE APPALACHIAN REGIONAL COMMISSION FOR A GRANT TO DO SITE WORK AT THE NOBLE INDUSTRIAL PARK, NEAR AUDIA.   BROOKS SAID THE OBJECT IS TO GET A “PAD-READY SITE” AVAILABLE TO MARKET, BY TAKING DOWN THE HILL BETWEEN HIGHWAY 27 AND THE AUDIA SITE.
    BROOKS ALSO SAID THAT THE CHATTOOGA AND CHICKAMAUGA RAILWAY IS PLANNING SOME IMPROVEMENTS… INCLUDING THE ADDITION OF A NEW SIDING TRACK AT THE NOBLE PARK.   THE 1,300 FOOT TRACK WILL MAKE SWITCHING EASIER AT AUDIA.   THE RAILROAD IS ALSO PLANNING TO ADD A THIRD LOCOMOTIVE TO THEIR FLEET HIS YEAR, TO HANDLE THE INCREASING TRAFFIC.

*   SOUTH WALKER HEAD START IS TAKING ENROLLMENT APPLICATIONS FOR PROGRAMS SERVING CHILDREN FROM BIRTH TO AGE 5… AND PREGNANT WOMEN.   CALL TO SCHEDULE AN APPOINTMENT:  706 638 0576.   THE CENTER IS AT # 3 PROBASCO STREET IN LAFAYETTE.

*   THE LAFAYETTE RECREATION DEPARTMENT WILL HAVE A BEGINNERS SEWING CLASS AT THE PARK CENTER, JULY 10-12.   COST IS $25 AND YOU MUST PROVIDE YOUR OWN SEWING MACHINE AND ACCESSORIES.   MAKE A RESERVATION BY JUNE 28th, AT 706 639 1590.  


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