"on air, on line, and on target for Catoosa"
City Hall of Ringgold, Ga.

2nd Chronicles 7:14

If my people, who are called by My name, shall humble themselves and pray, and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.

Ringgold Downtown Development Authority plans to add a commemorative plaque at the site of old city hall building at 35 Mountain St. The site,  now the office of Lighthouse Foster Care, was destroyed by a tornado in April 2011. (Catoosa News photo/Adam Cook)

About Us

Marshall M. Bandy Jr.
William B. Mills
Attorneys at law
670 Lafayette Street
Ringgold, Georgia

Auto Accidents, Divorce, Bankruptcy, Criminal Defense,
Over 44 years of experience as general practitioners in Law in the City of Ringgold


Address: 28 Millennium Cir, Ringgold, GA 30736
Phone:(706) 965-2990

Quote of the Day (brainyquote.com)

"What worries you, masters you."

-John Locke

WAAK Phone App

K94.7 FM

WAAK now has an app for your cell phone. What does that mean? That means you can listen to WAAK anywhere that your cell phone works. If you happen to be out of the listening area, and you want to listen to one of our programs or our music, just click on the app and you’re listening to WAAK live. To get the app, visit the WAAK website on your phone and go to the listen live page. There will be a link that will direct you to the download page. Download the app and that’s all there is to it. If you should have any problems, email us at waak@catt.com or give us a call and we will walk you through the process.



Do you have a picture you want published in the Catoosa Dispatch
Send us little league/sports photos, school achievment photos or anything you might find interesting to waak@catt.com

Roper to Hire 100 Assemblers

The Georgia Department of Labor (GDOL) will help Roper Corporation recruit 100 assemblers to work in LaFayette.

The recruitment will be held on Friday, April 28, from 3-5 p.m. at the Fort Oglethorpe City Hall located at 500 City Hall Dr. GDOL staff will be on site to assist applicants.

Salaries will begin at $12.65 an hour.

All applicants must be at least 18 years old.

No experience is required for applicants who have a high school diploma, or a General Education Diploma (GED). However, applicants who do not have a high school diploma, or GED, must have at least one year of manufacturing experience, or three years of any type of work experience.

Applicants without a diploma, or GED, who are hired and subsequently get a GED, will be reimbursed by the company for the cost of taking the test.

For more information about the jobs, or to apply online, visit employgeorgia.com to create an account or upload, or prepare, a resume. Having an Employ Georgia account expedites the interview process.


Woman's Body Found on Lookout Mountain

A woman was found dead in a remote area of Lookout Mountain in Walker County on Saturday.

Sheriff Steve Wilson said hunters found the woman in the woods near High Road. It's unclear how she died.

Wilson said the GBI is also investigating the circumstances behind the death.

Stay with WRCBtv.com for more details on this developing story.

Tennessee Newspaper Completely Misleads its Readers About Catoosa Republican Platform

In an op ed in the April 18 edition of the Times Free Press there is a complete breakdown in reading comprehension by the author.

He/she began the op ed by saying that the "Catoosa GOP  proposed doing away with all public funding for education".  Wow! what a misrepresentation of the news. In no less that 14 places in the Catoosa GOP platform,  support for government run and tax supported education is laid out in great detail. How can anyone with a 2nd grade education could miss this is beyond comprehension. The author must suffer from an aversion to the truth. As the scripture states in Proverbs 12:17:  Whoever speaks the truth gives honest evidence, but a false witness utters deceit."  Deceit has been exercised by the Times Free Press.

In support of the foregoing,  the following statements are taken directly from the Republican Platform. Anyone with an average education can clearly  see that the Times Free Press is absolutely wrong.

1. Under the second section of the Platform entitled "Public Tax Supported Education Now" a thorough explanation givingo Biblical, rational, and empirical reasons why public tax supported education is necessary. This support has over 320 words of support for tax supported education.

2. Paragraph one explains why parental support for public education is important.

3. Paragraph two explains how important support for teachers is necessary to discipline in public education.

4. Paragraph four supports partisan election for public school boards.

5. Paragraph five supports term limits for public school boards.

6. Paragraph six supports publication of accounting expenditures of public school systems.

7. Paragraph seven supports public schools submitting there budget to the county commissioners for approval.

Under section two entitled "Education in the future" the following support for tax supported education is noted:

8. Paragraph 1 public schools (obviously tax supported)  are listed as a continuing option for educating children.

9. Paragraph 2 states tax supported funding for education should be used in grants to parents for educating children in schools of their choice.

10. Paragraph 3 recommends tax support for education must continue.

11. Paragraph 4 recommends tax support in the for of vouchers.

12. Paragraph 5 recommends tax supported grants.

13. In the preamble it states government control "not government funding" should be ended. It is an issue of liberty. Funding is a return of the parents’  money; it has never been the governments money.

"Keep Catoosa Beautiful" Campaign

Lace up your working shoes or shine up your canoe! Catoosa County is kicking off an effort to become a prettier place and officials are asking for citizens’ help.
May 2017 will be the beginning of the county’s "Keep Catoosa Beautiful" campaign. Individual citizens, Scouts troops and church, civic and school groups are invited to join together for a day of making Catoosa County more beautiful.
"This county has been called one of the few remaining Mayberrys," says County Manager Jim Walker. "But it won’t remain that way if we don’t take care of it."
The clean-up day on May 13 is a kick-off for a more aggressive attempt to deal with the problem of people dumping everything from cigarette butts to household trash to mattresses and furniture along roadways, says Walker.
"This county belongs to all of us," says Catoosa Commission Chairman Steven Henry. "If we want to live in a beautiful place, we need to all pitch in to keep it that way. We hope to see a greater sense of pride and responsibility develop in our citizens."
Catoosa Public Works Director Buster Brown and his staff have identified 12 roads that are in special need of cleaning up. The county’s new Parks and Recreation director, Travis Barbee, will be heading up a crew of canoe and kayak volunteers to help clean up a stretch of Chickamauga Creek.
"We don’t live downstream from anyone," says Brown. "The trash that gets dumped in Catoosa County is dumped by our own citizens, not outsiders."
Walker agrees. "This is an inside job. We’re doing this to ourselves. It shows a lack of interest in other people, a lack of interest in the county, a lack of interest in the environment and a lack of self-respect."
Unfortunately, says Walker, the people who love their county are the ones who are left to clean up after those who trash it. But the county plans to work on a remedy.
"We’re going to buckle down on the Tarp Law," says Walker. "That will keep trash from flying out of trucks. We’re looking into adding surveillance, and we’ll be searching dumped trash for identification. We’re also looking at the possibility of starting a hotline so citizens can easily report it when they see someone toss trash on the road."
In the meantime, officials are hoping those who love their county will join hands on May 13 to get the beautification ball rolling.
"This is our home," says Walker. "We need to follow the Boy Scout policy of always leaving a place better than we found it. We should do it for our children. For those who want to live in a trash can, please go find one to live in instead of making one out of Catoosa County."
The details
Road clean-up
Volunteers for road clean-up crews need to gather at the Amphitheater at Benton Place Campus (220 Catoosa Circle, Ringgold) at 8 a.m., Saturday, May 13. Each volunteer will be asked to sign a release form and will be issued a safety vest and equipment for cleaning up. Volunteers will be taken to their designated clean-up points by Trans-Aid buses and will be accompanied by county employees. Clean-up runs from approximately 9 a.m. to noon.
Volunteers will be returned to Benton Place Campus after clean-up and are invited to stay for a free cookout sponsored by Shane Catlett of Modern Woodmen of America. Participants will be recognized for their help in beautifying their county. Volunteers need to call 706-965-2500 to sign up, or they can sign up on the Catoosa County web site at: www.catoosa.com/keepcatoosabeautiful. Individuals, Scout groups, church, civic and school groups, and others are welcome to participate. Volunteers must be 12 years old or older. All minors must be accompanied by an adult.
Chickamauga Creek paddle pickup
Volunteers need to bring their own canoe or kayak (or other appropriate boat) to the Fort Oglethorpe Canoe Launch at 2542 Battlefield Parkway. Parking is next to O’Charley’s restaurant. Launch time is 8 a.m., Saturday, May 13. Volunteers will be supplied with clean-up materials. Take out will be at West Chickamauga Creek Launch at 82 Dietz Rd., Ringgold, around 11 a.m. Grilled hamburgers and hotdogs will be provided by the Catoosa County Parks and Recreation Department for volunteers at the take out location from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. To participate in the Paddle Pickup, volunteers must RSVP by calling 706-891-4199.


Amnesty Day at Catoosa County Landfill
Saturday, May 20, will be Amnesty Day at the Catoosa County Landfill. Citizens will be able to bring trash, brush and yard debris, and larger items for disposal at no cost.
Amnesty Day is part of the "Keep Catoosa Beautiful" campaign, an effort to improve the appearance of the county and inspire pride in citizens.
"When people dump trash," says Catoosa County Manager Jim Walker, "it impacts our environment, the natural beauty of our area, our property values and possible tax increases in our county."
Of 159 counties in the state of Georgia, Walker says, only 15 have a lower property tax rate than Catoosa. "That rate can’t stay so low if the county has to hire extra staff dedicated to picking up trash people throw out on the road."
Catoosa Public Works Director Buster Brown says he oversees 427 miles of county-maintained roads. "We don’t have the resources to keep up with illegal dumping without more employees and higher taxes to pay for it."
To get citizens off on a good foot, the county has worked with Santek, the company that manages the landfill, to sponsor a day of free disposal.
Citizens are urged to use this opportunity to clean up their yards and get rid of yard debris, household trash, waste and recyclables. Some restrictions do apply.
Landfill Amnesty Day is May 20, 8 a.m. to noon. The landfill is located at 75 Shope Ridge Rd. in Ringgold.
Proof of Catoosa County residency is required (e.g., driver’s license, power bill, voter registration).
No commercial waste will be accepted.
No mattresses, hazardous materials, or refrigerants will be accepted.
Up to four tires per person will be accepted.
For more information: 706-937-4564


Randall Franks Book to be Main Focus of One Book One Community Event
Author, actor and entertainer Randall Franks, "Officer Randy Goode" from TV's In the Heat of the Night, latest work A Badge or an Old Guitar is the focus of a One Book One Community event. 
"I am so honored that my latest labor of love is part of this special program," he said. "Some great books by amazing authors have been featured. and to be included in their ranks is definitely a privilege." 
Mr. Franks will appear as the featured author at the Catoosa County Library, 108 Catoosa Cir., Ringgold, on Tuesday, April 25. He will be on hand to visit with book enthusiasts beginning at 5:30 p.m. with the program starting at 6 p.m. 
"A Badge or an Old Guitar shares a small-town story of police officer James Randall who finds his anticipated path in life blocked unexpectedly," he said. "Within the midst of this experience, he is catapulted into the middle of Music City where his formally hidden musical talents place him in demand to fans and industry executives but also to Nashville police as he finds himself in the midst of a murder mystery." 
The multiple music halls of fame entertainer said he had a lot of fun bringing together his background as a Nashville music artist and his interest in mysteries. 
Mr. Franks is a nationally known syndicated columnist reaching readers through the South and Midwest each week with his Southern Style column which is found also at www.randallfranks.com. He is an award-winning journalist who has authored nine books including A Mountain Pearl, a collection of Appalachian stories inspired by his late mother, cookbooks, a three-book series on encouragement, and several celebrity autobiographies that he co-authored.  The most recent features the 100-year-old Silver Dollar City fiddling star Violet Hensley entitled Whittlin’ and Fiddlin’ My Own Way. 
Catoosa County Citizens for Literacy and the Catoosa County Library co-sponsor the annual One Book, One Community to raise awareness about reading and engage the community in discussions about specific books. 
Readers can check out a copy of the book at the library, stop by the Catoosa County Learning Center, 36 Muscogee Trail, in Ringgold, or on the web at http://randallfranks.com/store and purchase a copy or purchase a download an e-book at www.Amazon.com/author/randallfranks/. Locally books are also available at Sonshine Christian Bookstore in Fort Oglethorpe, UnikTings!, Stuff 4 Less, and Cottage Treasures in Ringgold. 
Readers are encouraged to join Franks as he shares about his book at the library and the Dual County Defenders act out a scene from the book. 
For more information about the event, call the Library 706.965-3600 or the Learning Center 706.965-8275. 
How to participate:
Read the book;
Engage with other readers on Twitter (@RandallFranks) and on Facebook at either Catoosa Citizens for Literacy or Randall Franks - A Badge or an Old Guitar;
Start a conversation; and
Attend CCL and Catoosa County Library One Book One Community night with author Randall Franks on Tuesday, April 25, at 6 p.m.


Pennies for Prom in Need of Dresses

Three years ago--3 weeks before prom--Shay Love got a call from the schools asking her help for some local kids who couldn’t afford to attend prom. After seeing this major need in the community, she decided to make it an annual fundraiser. She is partnering with the PLC in Fort Oglethorpe to help get a list of students in need. Along with Shay’s work and donations—monetary and dresses--from the community, Southern Charm is helping with Tuxedo rentals for the boys.

She estimates that between 20-25 seniors in Catoosa County will need assistance with prom expenses—dresses, tuxes, tickets, etc. Ladies, if you have any prom, bridesmaids, or formal dresses that you know you aren’t going to wear again, or some dress shoes that you wouldn’t mind parting with, this is a great way to give them new life!

Monetary donations can be made at First Volunteer Bank to the “Pennies for Prom” account. That money is designated to help pay for tuxedo rentals and prom tickets, and any money left over will go toward cap and gown purchases for graduating seniors in a financial bind. Please consider giving anything you can to help make prom a great experience for all Catoosa County students!

For more information, like them on Facebook or

Contact Shay Love: (706) 965-2378 Email: googoo227@catt.com 

Shay is taking dress, shoes, jewelry donations at 31 RBC Drive behind the Remco shopping center in Ringgold, across from the bus barn. Larger size dresses are needed--14 and up.

Catoosa Citizens for Animal Care to Host Pet Adoption Event
A family oriented Pet Adoption Event will be held by Catoosa Citizens for Animal Care on Saturday, May 6 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.am.
The event will be held at Pet Sense in Ft. Oglethorpe next Home Depot and behind the IHOP Restaurant.  There will be dogs and cats available for adoption. There will also be games for children, such as face painting and cornhole. Fire departments and police departments will also be attending to talk to the children.

New Restaurant in the Hands of the City Council

The fate of a new restaurant in Ringgold is up in the air after the city council recently denied a variance request pertaining the appearance of the building.

In a March 27 public hearing, local businessman Emerson Russell requested two variances from the council: the first to allow for a metal exterior on the building of a new restaurant he's having built, and the second asking for permission to erect a sign larger than what the city ordinance allows.

Following a long back and forth with the mayor and council, Russell wound up one for two in his requests.

The requests were related to a new Farm to Fork restaurant planned next to the Hampton Inn hotel off Battlefield Parkway, which was also a Emerson Properties project.

The existing Farm to Fork at 118 Remco Shops Lane is one of the city's most popular eateries, and Russell stated he's been working with the owners of the restaurant to build a newer version right off the 350 exit.

"It's going to be a very decorative building," Russell said. "I think it's going to be a real good looking building for Catoosa County and for Ringgold. Part of the building is going to be metal. We obtained a building permit with the understanding that we were going to ask for this variance. We're spending a lot of money, a little over a $1.75 million on this building and its contents. It's a 10,000-square-foot restaurant with outdoor seating on the side of the Hampton Inn there."

Mayor Nick Millwood and all the members of the council welcome the idea of the new restaurant, but having metal on portions or the back facade of a new building would be against the city's ordinance.

"I'm so happy that this particular business is moving up there because if there's anything I hear in our community, it's the need for a nice, sit-down, steakhouse type restaurant, so I'm happy you're looking at trying to put this type of business there," Millwood said.

Councilwoman Sara Clark added that she too is in favor of the eatery as long as it falls in line with current building structures.

"As a former member of planning and zoning, when we made these metal building rules, it was for a reason. ... It was to have all the buildings in Ringgold that you could see from roads like Battlefield Parkway look appealing," Clark said.

Renderings of the front of the building included very appealing siding and nice landscape. Clark asked if Russell and his group could make the back of the building look the same as the front so it would comply with the ordinance and be more inviting to people who would see it while traveling along Battlefield Parkway.

"We could, but it's cost prohibitive for us to do that, you're talking about another $50,000 or more," Russell said. "It's going to be a very good-looking building and something that everybody is going to be very proud of once you go up there."

Russell said there are landscaping plans in place to cover up a lot of the back of the building.

"We will have some trees and stuff up there to soften that look up, plus the Farm to Fork sign is going to take away from a lot of that," Russell said. "Everybody also needs to keep in mind that I'm putting the Spring Hill Suites up there behind the Hampton Inn, so you want everything on that road to look first-class, which is what we're trying to do. On the back side of it, there are freezers and things that are going to be on the back that we'll need to cover up. There will eventually be another building that will block part of the view from the interstate anyway. In the future, probably 70 to 80 percent of the building won't be able to be seen from Battlefield Parkway."

Councilman Jake Haynes admitted he too is excited about the restaurant, but that it should be closer to what the ordinance calls for.

"We want it to look a little more finished than just a metal building," Haynes said. "We want to work with you. ... It's a great-looking building and we're happy it's coming. We're willing to compromise on some things, but we want it to look better."

Russell said adding vinyl siding to the building would degrade its value, which prompted Haynes to suggest adding some of the hardy board-type siding similar to what is planned for the front entrance of the building.

"That'd mean spending another $50,000 to $60,000, and I'm just not willing to do that," Russell said. "I'll just stop the project. When you pull up to this building, you're going to be going in the front door. ... You don't go in the back door. From a business standpoint, when people pull up there to the building, you want it to be inviting, which is what it's going to be. If we downgrade that, it's going to downgrade the operation. It's going to have a full sit-down bar, meeting room, outdoor areas. I'm already about $400,000 over budget, and I'm just not willing to put much more into this thing."

Towards the end of the discussion, Mayor Pro Tem Terry Crawford suggested holding off on a vote so Russell's design team could take some time to possibly adjust some of the details for the problem areas of the building, but Russell insisted on a vote being taken.

"I'd rather y'all just go ahead and do it (vote)," he said.

Councilman Larry Black motioned to approve the request and added that he trusts Russell when he says he'll make the building as presentable as possible.

"Based on his past track record, I would like to make the motion that we approve the variance tonight, and we can make it contingent on him dressing that up and blocking the view from Battlefield Parkway," Black said.

"You've got my word," Russell replied. "We're not going to leave it bare. We want it to be warm and pleasing to people."

The variance request was denied by a 3-2 vote, with Black and Crawford in favor of the request while Clark, Haynes, and Randall Franks voted no.

Russell was less than pleased with the outcome.

"I plan on deannexing all my properties from the city, thank you," he said before walking out of the courtroom.

Even though Russell had already left, the council still took the time to vote on the sign variance request for the restaurant and unanimously approved allowing a sign that is 16 square feet larger than what the ordinance allows.

"In case Mr. Russell decides that he re-thinks this and wants to do something different, I move that we do allow that variance for the sign," Clark said. "We really have a long range plan for Ringgold, and this end of Battlefield Parkway is going to showcase where Ringgold is going. I just think that needs to be dressed up more than just a metal building. It needs to look better than a metal building. I'm looking to the future, and anything you put up there that meets those standards we've set would just look so much better."


New York Couple Pleads Guilty for Death of Catoosa County Man

RINGGOLD, Ga. — An upstate New York couple accused of taking a Navy veteran's money to buy methamphetamine and leaving him for dead near Chickamauga Battlefield pleaded guilty Monday morning.

Robert Martin Brooks pleaded in Catoosa County Superior Court to a charge of voluntary manslaughter, receiving a sentence of 20 years in prison. Within about an hour, Jennifer Allison DeMott also pleaded guilty. A prosecutor and her lawyers settled on a charge of aggravated assault, putting her in prison for 10 years.

Attorneys on both sides prepared to pick a jury for a joint trial Monday morning when they finally reached agreements. The case against Brooks and DeMott began in December 2015, when hikers found 59-year-old Duane Hollenbeck dead near a trail in the Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park.

"This was as big a shock to me as it was to everybody else," Lookout Mountain Judicial Circuit Assistant District Attorney Alan Norton said. "Eleventh-hour pleas are sometimes reached, but rarely in a case like this."

Brooks and DeMott both faced five charges, including malice murder. If convicted of that offense, they would have gone to prison for life. Attorneys for both defendants said the plea deals at least give them a chance to be free, eventually.

"There was a mountain of circumstantial evidence," said Michael Webb, Brooks' attorney.

Webb said he approached the prosecutors last week about reaching a plea deal. He said Norton's boss, District Attorney Herbert "Buzz" Franklin, was not interested in the offer of a reduced charge. Webb is not sure what changed Monday, and Franklin did not return a call or email late Monday evening.

DeMott received a shorter punishment because police and prosecutors did not find any evidence that she killed Hollenbeck. Rather, she told investigators she waited in the car while Brooks led Hollenbeck toward the trail in the national park. Brooks returned alone, telling DeMott he hit the victim across the face with a rock. DeMott said their original plan had been to abandon him, unscathed.

The crime spree began Dec. 5, 2015. DeMott, whose late mother dated Hollenbeck, asked if he would drive with her from Dryden, N.Y., to somewhere in the South. She was dropping her boyfriend, Brooks, off at some spot in the Bible Belt. It's not clear where specifically they were going, but DeMott said she didn't want to travel along with Brooks.

"You can drink and get some [women]," DeMott wrote to Hollenbeck, according to text messages Georgia Bureau of Investigation Special Agent Steve Rogers Jr. reviewed during a March 2016 hearing in the case.

The three drove through Tennessee. Rogers testified last year that video footage from some banks showed Brooks withdrawing money. Bank records also showed Hollenbeck's account slowly draining, as withdrawals of up to $700 at a time bled from it.

Hollenbeck, a Navy veteran who struggled with alcohol abuse, had suffered problems with his liver, Rogers said. He also relied on a walker to get around. Some days, he needed a wheelchair.

Rogers said Brooks and DeMott wanted to use the cash to buy methamphetamine, which they would sell at a higher price back in New York. At one point, while the two arranged a drug deal in a Wal-Mart parking lot, according to a witness in the case, Hollenbeck yelled at some customers and urinated in the parking lot in front of people.

"Were you able to determine a possible motive for this particular case?" Norton asked Rogers during the pretrial hearing.

"I believe so," Rogers said.

"What was that, sir?" Norton asked.

"Ms. DeMott and Mr. Brooks just got tired of having to deal with Mr. Hollenbeck's disabilities," Rogers said.

Eventually, the three arrived in North Georgia.

A medical examiner concluded that Hollenbeck died Dec. 8, 2015. Two days later, his neighbor reported him missing and told New York State Police she saw DeMott at his house days earlier. Police contacted DeMott, who said she and Brooks abandoned Hollenbeck at a restaurant in Ringgold. On Dec. 12, 2015, hikers stumbled across Hollenbeck's body in the national park.

Hollenbeck had methamphetamine in his system, according to an autopsy. Webb, Brooks' attorney, planned to argue the attack was a "rage killing" because his client and DeMott had also been smoking methamphetamine. He believed Hollenbeck did something to anger Brooks just as Brooks was about to abandon him.

Ed Wilson, who planned to be a character witness for Brooks, said he was "just flabbergasted" when he heard his former employee killed somebody. He said Brooks is from the Knoxville area and worked for him at a couple companies, first as a mortgage broker and then as a local radio station's ad salesman.

Brooks was handsome and charming, and eventually he got married and had a couple of children. But about five years ago, Wilson said, Brooks and his wife divorced. He fell apart. Wilson didn't see him for a while and heard Brooks had jumped around from one car dealership to another, struggling to hold a job.

After the killing, Wilson heard suggestions that Brooks started to use methamphetamine. That made sense. The last time he had seen him, Brooks said something about needing money, something about going on a trip across the country. He looked like he had lost about 80 pounds. Wilson gave him $100, maybe.

"The look on him, it was pretty obvious what was going on," Wilson said. "As soon as I gave him money, he was out of there like a lightning bug."



Catoosa Crash Shuts Down I-75

CATOOSA COUNTY, GA — A distracted driver causes a chain-reaction crash on I-75 Saturday.


It happened around mile marker 348.

Sgt. Chris Harris with the Georgia State Patrol says a man was driving down I-75 when he got distracted and pulled into the lane of a motorhome.

Once he hit that, he then tried to get into the outside lane but instead, rear-

ended a truck.

That truck rear-ended another car, causing a chain- reaction crash involving two others.

GSP says the driver is charged with driving without a valid license, failure to use due care, following too closely, failure to maintain lane and too fast for conditions.

GSP says several were hurt but are expected to be okay.


Lauren Alaina Gets First #1 Hit



Lauren Alaina scored her first No. 1 single Wednesday when Mediabase released its chart stats for the week of March 29-April 4. 

"Road Less Traveled" was No. 1 on Mediabase country singles chart, unseating Luke Bryan's current single, "Fast." 

Alaina wrote "Road Less Traveled" with her good friend, pop star Meghan Trainor, and Jesse Frasure. The female empowerment song encourages young women to be proud of their bodies and not worry about meeting expectations of others. 

The song began getting air time in October, had cracked the Top 15 by January and has risen up charts since. 

Mediabase is a music industry service that monitors radio station airplay in 180 U.S. and Canadian markets. Mediabase publishes weekly charts and data based on the most-played songs. The charts are the source for several radio countdown programs in multiple music genres. 

The Ringgold, Ga., singer, who placed second in Season 10 of "American Idol," just shot a video with rising country singer Kane Brown for his single, "What Ifs." The two were classmates together at Lakeview-Fort Oglethorpe High School. Alaina is also featured on a track on Rascal Flatts' new album, "Back To Us." 


Jeff Long Returns to Fort  Oglethorpe

Less than 18 months after being hired to head Walker County's roads department, Jeff Long is returning to Fort Oglethorpe to dually serve as that city's Public Works and Recreation departments.

Long worked for more than 20 years for the city, and held those same dual roles, before tackling the task of supervising maintenance of Walker County's more than 800 miles of paved roads.

"I love both Walker and Catoosa counties," he said after submitting his resignation to Commissioner Shannon Whitfield on Wednesday, March 29.

Long began a career of public service as a teenage volunteer firefighter in Walker County. In a manner similar to how he rose to become a battalion chief with the fire department, Long worked his way up from being a mechanic in the Fort Oglethorpe maintenance department to being its leader.

After assuming his Walker County road department duties, Long has continued to serve as an elected member of the Catoosa County Board of Commissioners.

This is the second department head to depart Walker for Catoosa following November's general election. Randy Camp, who after overseeing Fort Oglethorpe's fire department was Walker County's fire chief for 15 years, has been chief of the Catoosa County Fire and Rescue Department since Jan. 1, 2017.


The Watkins Family at Sacred Sounds

Acoustic gospel performers the Watkins Family will bring their distinct sound to Sacred Sounds Fridays, April 7, at 7:30 p.m. at the Ringgold Depot at Depot Street and U.S. Highway 41 in Ringgold in a special concert for the Share America Foundation Inc. Also appearing will be Southern gospel artist Channing Eleton. Randall Franks, "Officer Randy Goode" from TV’s "In the Heat of the Night" will emcee. Ticket donation is $10.

Watkins Family

One of America’s best loved acoustic music families, the Watkins Family – Judy, Lorie and Todd – share gospel music across the U.S. and Canada.

"The blessings that the Lord shares as we continue to travel sharing his story through song are amazing," Judy said.

The Atlanta Country Music Hall of Fame members made a name for themselves in the fields of gospel, bluegrass and country music.

"Whether the Watkins are performing on a grand stage with country stars such as Diamond Rio, bluegrass festival or National Quartet Convention in front of thousands, they raise the spirits and hopes through their harmonies," Franks said.

The family will include new music from their upcoming release as well as top hits from their latest CDs.

"There is no greater blessing than working each day sharing His story of salvation through song," Lorie said.

"While the musical legacy of the Watkins family reaches back for generations in the mountains of northeast Georgia, their music today reflects the best in harmonies and musical instrumentation that can be heard," Franks said.

For more information, visit www.watkinsfamilymusic.com.

Channing Eleton

Channing Eleton is a two-time Southern Gospel Musician of Year and Dove Award nominee.

"We are honored to have someone who has blessed so many people with their talents to be part of our efforts to encourage youth," Franks said.

Eleton performed as the pianist for the award-winning 2017 Gospel Music Hall of Fame inductees Gold City for six years averaging 220 concerts per year and also for five years with Poet Voices.

He has performed on Bill Gaither Homecoming concerts, at the Southern Baptist Convention, Opryland and countless other venues.

His successful solo career was inspired by artists such as Rich Mullins, Fernando Ortega and James Taylor.

Eleton said he pours these influences into his own style sharing stories of frailties and shortcomings in the human condition, giving the listener hope through the redeeming grace and love of Jesus.

"My calling is to tell stories and my life experiences through this music," Eleton said. "To share the hope and mercy that I have found in Jesus. To go and tell someone to 'not give up'. It's really that simple."

His main instrument is the piano and his concerts find him performing mostly from the keyboard. He does, however, come out front occasionally to sing a song while playing the accordion or acoustic guitar.

For more info

For more information, visit http://channingeleton.com/.

The event is a fundraiser for the Pearl and Floyd Franks Scholarship Fund. The Share America Foundation, Inc., a Georgia non-profit, presents scholarships to talented musicians who excel in the Appalachian musical arts.

Donations for tickets are adults: $10, Children 12 and under free with adult. Tickets may be purchased locally in advance during business hours at SonShine Christian Books (706) 861-7675 in Fort Oglethorpe. For more information, Share America Foundation, Inc. P.O. Box 42 Tunnel Hill, Ga. 30755 or www.shareamericafoundation.com.


Catoosa County Father at Odds with Trans-Aid Department

A Catoosa County father has been at odds with the county's Trans-Aid Department for the past couple of months after learning that a policy evaluation will leave his grown son without transportation to his mental health facility in Chattanooga, Tenn.

George Battersby says his grown son, 41-year-old Patrick, has been transported to the Aim Center in Chattanooga for 25 years by Catoosa County Trans-Aid, a service that will come to an end on March 31.

"On March 10, I got a hand-delivered letter from Trans-Aid Director Jason Warren stating Catoosa County would be suspending transportation for my son, something they've done for 25 years," Battersby said during a March 21 commission meeting.

Warren, who took over as Trans-Aid director in 2016, notified the commission around the first of the year that the county had not been following the right procedure for years by transporting people out of the county.

"We've been violating our own policy for some time," Warren said. "We can look at taking him (Patrick) in a way that fits our policy."

Warren and the commission began working in January to remedy the problem, which started the controversy with the Battersby family.

County Manager Jim Walker says he, Warren, and commission chairman Steven Henry had been trying to come up with a solution to the issue, but that nothing ever got resolved.

"Jason Warren was just doing the job he was hired to do," Walker said in February. "He discovered that we were breaking our own policy, and we needed to fix that."

Battersby says Warren offered for the Trans-Aid buses to take his son to the state line where a CARTA bus could then take him the Aim Center for his treatment, but that that wasn't a sufficient alternative.

Battersby says the biggest issue with the CARTA arrangement would be that once Patrick was taken to the state line, there is no guarantee that a CARTA bus would be there at a certain time for a seamless transition.

"I talked to CARTA about it, and they said sometimes buses run late, sometimes they run early," Battersby said. "I can't leave my son out on the street waiting around if the buses aren't ready to pick him up. Patrick has paranoid schizophrenia. If he gets worried about something or thinks a stranger or someone is looking at him, he could get paranoid. CARTA even said they wouldn't do that because it's too much of a liability."

Battersby said that Warren's subsequent suggestion of putting Patrick in a home for those with disabilities was also out of the question.

"On January 10, Jason Warren suggested that I might consider moving my son to Tennessee and sticking him in a group home," Battersby said. "I was disgusted at that suggestion. Putting my son in a group home is not an option, period."

Battersby has attended every commission meeting since Jan. 17 asking that the commissioners stick to what they've been doing for years in transporting his son, but says he received the letter mid-March that the services for Patrick would end on Friday, March 31.

"I'm not asking to break the law. I'm asking to simply change the rule or grandfather my son in," Battersby said. "Mr. Warren told me these rules have been in place for decades ... Well, change them. Get with the times. I don't think we're asking too much. They say people sometimes fall through the cracks, and I'm not going to let my son fall through the cracks."

Patrick Battersby also addressed the commission on March 21 asking for the issue to be reconsidered.

"Please don't take my ride away from me," Patrick said. "I've been riding for 25 years, and they've been real good to me."

Walker insists that the county has offered multiple solutions to the problem, and that the decision was made after Battersby didn't want to compromise.

"We did provide him a letter, and we'll be terminating that transportation on March 31," Walker said. "The folks with the Orange Grove facility here in Catoosa County gave a great presentation the other night during the commission meeting. We would be willing to take Patrick there because it's within our policy. We also tried to arrange to take him to the state line and then have Patrick transferred to the Aim Center by CARTA. Mr. Battersby wants to go another route, but I think we've done everything we can do. If they're not willing to take advantage of the services we provide or the alternatives we're offering, there isn't much else we can do."

Battersby says Orange Grove isn't a feasible option for Patrick because its work differs from that of the Aim Center. He said that such a switch in routine wouldn't benefit his son.

As for his son Patrick, Battersby says he's not really sure what the family's next course of action is.

"Where it goes from here, I truly don't know," Battersby said. "It's a sad day for us. They could change it in a heartbeat if they wanted to and we are sickly disappointed. It was never an issue for almost 25 years. They (Catoosa Trans-Aid) go to Chattanooga every day. ... They take blind people up there to learn Braille, which they should. They'll take somebody to Erlanger or Parkridge to see a doctor. But they won't take my son to the Aim Center anymore for treatment on his brain injury. We're just asking them to do what's right and proper, what they've been doing for 25 years."


    Cheeburger Cheeburger Collapses; No One Injured

Forward thinking and caution taken by the owners of Cheeburger Cheeburger may have prevented injury and saved lives.

The building on Market Street collapsed midday Wednesday, but no one was inside at the time, the Chattanooga Fire Department confirmed. And that was thanks to the decision of the owners, Charlie and Rene Eich.

"If anyone would have been in there at the time, they would have been injured or killed," Garner said. "So kudos to the owners of Cheeburger for making sure they were being safe and for closing their business down until they could figure out what was actually happening." 

A building inspector had warned them of structural problems a few days ago, Garner said, and as a precaution, the owners closed the restaurant for business last night.

The owners heard noises while outside the restaurant prior to the collapse, went in to investigate and soon exited, catching the collapse on video, he said.

Police blocked off the northbound lanes of Market Street and the portion of Aquarium Way that runs along the building's south face. Officers taped off the area, citing concerns over the entire structure's stability. 

A structural engineer, demolition contractor and representatives of the city's building inspection office were brought in as the demolition process began.

The crew will remove loose parts of the building until they are confident the remaining portion of the building is safe to leave up, according to the release. 

They are not sure at this time if any of the structure can be saved. 

"This may be a long operation," Fire Chief Chris Adams said. "They're going to tear it down incrementally and evaluate periodically. If they can leave part of the building up, they'll do that. If they're not satisfied it's safe, they may have to tear it all down. Safety is the number one priority."

Cheeburger Cheeburger shares an interior wall with the now closed Genghis Grill and Chattanooga Ghost Tours Inc.

Firefighters were able to bring out some of the owners' personal belongings including computers, frozen food and pictures before the demolition, according to the release.

"We're just glad — miraculously — nobody got hurt," Garner said.


Catoosa County Storage Unit Suspects Arrested

East Ridge police have arrested two suspects in a Catoosa County storage unit theft.
Police found Ricky Barnette and Jennifer Murray in room 359 of the Rodeway Inn on Ringgold Road Ringgold Road Wednesday.
Both suspects were arrested on outstanding warrants. Police found a weapon stolen from Chattooga County, GA as well as items stolen from the storage unit.
A search warrant was obtained, and police for even more stolen property from storage units and Chattanooga and Chattooga County.
The investigation continues, and East Ridge Police Department spokesman Captain Tim Mullinax says and additional charges are pending. 
Some of the recovered property is awaiting owner identification.

PREVIOUS STORY: The Catoosa County Sheriff's Office is asking for your help with identifying a burglary suspect.
The Sheriff's Office released surveillance photos that shows the suspect at a storage unit facility.
Investigators believe the man may be responsible for several thefts from storage units across Catoosa County.
If you have any information about the man in the picture, you're asked to contact Detective Tim Deal with the Catoosa County Sheriff’s Office at (706)935-2424.


Gordon Lee Substitute Investigation
Chickamauga City police and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation are investigating allegations that a substitute teacher at Gordon Lee High School sent inappropriate photos to students at the school. 
Melody Day, the superintendent of Chickamauga City Schools, tells Channel 3 that the school system received a phone call approximately one week ago. 
The caller reported a substitute teacher had sent an inappropriate photo to a student. 
The caller was the husband of the substitute teacher, but school officials did not know if the allegation was accurate or not, so it was reported it to authorities. 
The Chickamauga police, in conjunction with the GBI, have been investigating the report this past week, and the case is still open. 
No charges have been brought against the substitute teacher at this time. This is not a regular employee of the school system, and she had actually removed herself from the substitute list a short time prior to the report, stating she had received another job.


Family Fun at Rock Springs Farm for Special Needs Families
Any family dealing with autism could tell you just how challenging it can sometimes be to spend time together in public spaces.
Children and adults with autism often experience sensory overload while out at amusement parks or at the zoo, but with anything from loud noises to large crowds able to trigger a meltdown, even trips to small restaurants or Walmart can be difficult.
That's why Walker County resident Becky Reaves has created the Furry Friends Farm Zone, a sensory-friendly farm experience that's fun for the whole family and tailored to those with special needs.
Reaves has long seen the need for facilities like her farm. Not only was her grandson born with autism, but in her biological mother and brother, whom she reconnected with years after being adopted and who have special needs as well.
As society has become more educated about special needs, more public attractions, like the Creative Discovery Museum in Chattanooga, have developed sensory-friendly activities in addition to their regular programming to cater to this community.
Furry Friends Farm Zone, however, was designed specifically for the special needs community, with all activities geared toward those with sensory issues said Reaves, whose internship at the Chattanooga Autism Center made her aware of such issues.
During festivals and events, the farm avoids anything that might trigger an overload — whether it be bright lights or balloons that could pop loudly. If someone does have an overload, the farm has a quiet area where he or she can rest in a cocoon hammock and recompose before rejoining their family.
This area, called the Peaceful Zone, is one of the six unique sections the farm offers.
Right now, families may visit the Pet Zone, where they can meet animals like miniature horses, goats, alpacas, rabbits, chickens, pigs and more. Touching animals with different coats can provide much-needed tactile exposure for those with special needs, Reaves said.
Many of the other zones incorporate that same level of sensory exploration. The Painting Zone, for example, houses paint mixed with sand and various textures to paint on, and the Play Zone is home to several fun activities that focus on developing gross and fine motor skills.
Other zones include the Plant Zone, the Picnic Zone and the Perception Zone, where visitors can experiment with different sights, sounds and smells. There are three more zones in development: the Puppy Zone, the Play Zone and the Patio Zone.While providing a therapeutic getaway for those with special needs and their families, the Furry Friends Farm has also created an environment where adults with special needs can work. Through its Farmers in Training program, the farm has given three locals ages 22-26 a place to learn teamwork and other important social lessons while taking care of the grounds and its animals.
"I enjoy working with the animals here," said Nate Jones, 22, who tends to the farm's birds when not working on team projects like moving lumber. "I love helping Mrs. Becky. This is fun to me. Instead of staying at home and being a couch potato, it gets me going."
Though the position is only voluntary, Jones hopes it will eventually prepare him for a paid position elsewhere; as does his co-worker, Caleb Coulter.
"One of the best benefits from working here would have to be learning the trade skills every day," said Coulter, 22, who waters the plants. "Not just farming, but [learning] how to socialize well with others and how to maintain those skills and use them in the workforce or life."
Reaves is also working with the judicial system to extend the farm's benefits to at-risk youth. By making farm work an option for fulfilling community service requirements, she hopes to give non-violent juvenile offenders a purpose that could deter them from going down the wrong path.
The teens and pre-teens would be doing a variety of tasks from cleaning pens to building rabbit cages, but they would primarily be learning to care for the animals, she said.
"If you can get youth involved with animals and help them find a purpose there, it creates a bonding [experience] and you stand a better chance of keeping them off the streets and making bad choices," Reaves said.
Though the farm has been accepting visitors since August 2016, it is still in an ongoing opening process, said Reaves. Some of the zones have not yet been constructed, and funds are still needed to get the facility up and running in its entirety. Donors will be able to have an engraved brick placed in the coming patio to honor or memorialize a loved one.
"Any support we have from the community in sponsoring these areas will help us to get this in place much more quickly," she said. "I would like to snap my fingers and have everything in place tomorrow, because the need is great."
The goal is to have everything ready by later this spring. In the meantime, Reaves invites everyone — whether they have special needs or not — to spend a day at the farm.
Furry Friends Farm Zone is at 1750 Highway 95 in Rock Spring.


Grant Presented to Battlefield Primary School

A grant Battlefield Primary School was recently awarded is already paying dividends in the classroom, according to Principal Geoff Rhodes.
The school won a $5,000 grant through State Farm Insurance with the assistance of Erin Crane, a local State Farm agent who has a student at the school. The grant has been used to further STEM activities and improve reading and math comprehension for students who are struggling, Rhodes said.
The biggest purchase for the school was a series of intervention kits. The kits are a series of extracurricular learning materials designed to help teachers identify specific needs in students who aren't performing at their grade level in reading or math. With the aid of the kits, the teacher can instruct students either one-on-one or in a small group setting to target their needs and help the students understand what they've been missing.

"Our sole goal with these is to get as many kids reading below grade level up to at least grade level," said Rhodes. "The math intervention kits are the same story."
For example, Rhodes said a student might be struggling with phonetic awareness, or how to break a word down into its specific sounds. The corresponding kit would include scripted materials and visual aids for the teacher to better explain the concept to the students.
In addition to the intervention kits, the school purchased Osmo programs for students' tablet devices designed to introduce them to the basic concepts of computation and coding to better prepare them for a technological world. The school experimented with the software on a small scale last year, and Rhodes said it was a smash hit with the kids.
"They love it. They don't realize they're learning while they use it," he said.
Progress has already been visible. Based on benchmark tests the school does three times a year, there has been improvement in reading and math comprehension above what the school saw last year. Rhodes credits at least part of that to the intervention kits.
Rhodes has more goals to further improve Battlefield Primary's STEM offerings, including e-book Accelerated Reader programs for every student, and a variety of lessons and activities centered around the school's community gardens. Hopefully, with additional grant money down the road, he said, the school will work on making those a reality.


Georgia Teachers to Get a Salary Increase

Georgia teachers would get a 2 percent salary increase while state employees that handle child welfare cases will see a 19 percent raise under a House budget proposal. 
The chamber approved the plan on Friday, largely agreeing with Gov. Nathan Deal's recommended $49.3 billion spending plan. Of the total, nearly $25 billion comes from the state with the rest coming from federal sources.
The plan continues previously announced 20 percent raises for state law enforcement.
The plan also includes more than $1 billion of planned projects around the state, including local schools and colleges, a new crime lab in Savannah and construction of a new campus for Lanier Technical College in Hall County.
The Senate now begins working on its version of a spending plan.


Catoosa County Sheriff's Office
Needs Your Help Finding Suspect
The Catoosa County Sheriff’s Office is asking for the public's help to identify man suspect of taking a woman's wallet.
Detectives tell Channel 3 that the woman left her wallet on the counter and it was reportedly grabbed by the suspect, who used the newspaper to conceal the theft. 
The theft happened at the BP gas station at 10960 Hwy 41 and I-75 at 10:40am on February 27. The photos were posted on the department's Facebook page.
The suspect’s vehicle is believed to be an older model green Ford Mustang LX.
Anyone with any information about the suspect is asked to contact Detective Tim Busby with the Catoosa County Sheriff’s Office at 706-935-2424.


High Speed Chase Ends in Fort Oglethorpe
Wednesday night around 11:00 p.m. a Hamilton County Sheriff's deputy attempted to make a stop for a traffic violation on Standifer Gap Road.
Instead of stopping, the driver took off leading authorities on a chase that went across the state line into Georgia ending off of Cloud Springs Road.
During the chase, the driver, Phillip Wayne Koger, tried several time to damage the patrol units chasing him.  Two Hamilton County Sheriff's Office patrol units did get damaged. 
The chase ended in Fort Oglethorpe when deputies stopped Koger's vehicle after it started having mechanical issues.
Deputies were able to get Koger from the vehicle even though he was resisting arrest.
He was taken to a local hospital for medical review and then to the Hamilton County Jail.
A search of Koger's vehicle revealed several weapons, cash and narcotics. 
Koger had outstanding warrants in both Hamilton County and Georgia. He was booked on numerous drug related offenses as well as aggravated assault and other criminal traffic related charges. More charges could be pending as the investigation continues.
Numerous law enforcement agencies were involved in Wednesday'night’s efforts including the Fort Oglethorpe Police Department and the Georgia State Patrol.


New Bill Approved by Georgia
House for Domestic Violence Victims

Victims of domestic violence could change their names privately under a bill approved by the Georgia House.
House members voted unanimously Monday in support of the proposal from Rep. Mandi Ballinger, R-Canton. The Georgia Coalition Against Domestic Violence has also supported the change.      
READ MORE | House backs bill for domestic violence victims
Allison Smith-Burk is the group's director of public policy and says the change would give advocacy organizations another tool to help victims stay safe.
Name changes now are required to be listed in public court documents. Smith-Burk says that's frightening for victims who worry that an abusive spouse or partner will continue to stalk them.
"They will try to find any way. If they want to find them they're going to do whatever they can to try to find those victims. And that's the reason we try to come in and offer a safe shelter or anything that we can to help this process or keep the victim safe," Northwest Georgia Family Crisis Center Director Katora Printup said.
The bill would allow a judge to keep name-change records sealed in domestic violence cases.
Friday marks a key deadline for lawmakers. Bills must pass at least one chamber to remain alive


Ringgold Business Owners Finds
Purple Heart in Storage Unit
It was an emotional morning in Ringgold on Thursday, March 9, when a local business owner was able return a long-lost Purple Heart award he found in a storage unit to the family of a deceased military hero.
A few years ago, Budget Moving & Storage owner Paul Lee found a military Purple Heart award in one of his abandoned storage unit. Rather than tossing it out with some of the other unwanted property, Lee says he kept it at his office hoping to one day find the owner of the award, which is given to those wounded or killed while serving in the U.S. military.
"We actually found this in a unit that was abandoned two or three years ago, but I kept it on a shelf in my office," Lee said. "I was cleaning up that shelf recently and remembered we had it. Then I contacted the VA in Chattanooga, Tenn., and was told they usually just dispose of them."
All Lee had to go on was the name of the recipient, Derrell O. Fuller, which is inscribed on the back of the heart.
Earlier in the week, Lee was finally able to get in touch with Fuller's nephew, Wayne, who hot-footed it down to Ringgold to recoup the piece of his family's history.
"About three weeks ago I was contacted by a group called Purple Heart Reunited saying that they had found a Purple Heart with my uncle's name on it in an abandoned storage building," said Wayne Fuller. "They'd done some ancestry work and found out that I was the next of kin. Derrell was my father's brother. Tuesday, we hopped in the car from Arkansas, and here we are."
An emotional Fuller could only muster a "wow" when Lee handed him the box signifying his uncle's sacrifice.
"I'm thrilled," Fuller said. "I actually brought the letter my grandfather received when they reinterred him in France. This all is going to be put in a shadowbox with the Purple Heart and hung on my wall with my father's stuff."
Fuller says his uncle was one of five brothers, who all served in WWII at one time, and was the only one who didn't make it back home.
"He was killed in Germany about three weeks before the end of WWII, and then they reburied him along with 23,000 other men in France at one of the cemeteries. The family actually lived in a little town south of Ringgold, called Cisco in Murray County. They came out here from Oklahoma."
Decades after his passing, Fuller is ecstatic to have something so important back in his family's possession.
"I'm very, very thankful about this," he said. "I'm getting emotional, which is hard to believe after 70 years. My uncle only had one child who died in 1995. I'm thrilled to death and shaking honestly. It could have just been discarded or whatever, but I'm thankful he (Lee) pursued it and we were able to locate it."
Lee, who's owned his storage company on U.S. Highway 41 for years, says he's uncovered a lot of items in his time there, but never anything so meaningful.
"They say another man's junk is another man's treasure. ... Today he got a true treasure," Lee said. "I'm happy that it's back to the family."
Fuller says he's eager to get back home and display it for the rest of his family.
"Once I get home, I'm going to Hobby Lobby, and in a shadowbox it'll go."


Rossville Couple Hears Gunshot
Before Man was Shot and Killed
A Rossville couple who live near the house where a man was shot and killed Wednesday say they heard a gunshot earlier that day.
Robin Borders and her husband David live on Gordon Street. Their house is diagonal to where the shooting occurred, 408 State Line Road, about 1:30 p.m. Wednesday.
The couple said they heard a gunshot about 8 a.m. that day. They called police, who searched the area but did not find the source of the shot.
The couple said they routinely hear a loud ruckus of activity in the area at night and into the early morning hours.
Later that day, at the time of the murder, the couple heard one --- possibly two --- gunshots, Robin said.
Robin said they heard a woman screaming and went outside, where they found a red-haired woman bent over a man laying on the ground and unresponsive.
Robin said she called Walker County 911, as well as an older woman from the victim's residence.
Robin said she and her husband did not see the shooter or the shooting.
She said the red-haired woman told her she knew who the shooter was and that he fled the scene.
Robin said the victim was not breathing and was bleeding from the ear. "It was awful," Robin said.


Multiple Vehicles Broken Into
on Cloud Springs Road
Catoosa County sheriff's detectives are investigating an incident in which someone broke into multiple vehicles in a parking lot on Cloud Springs Road.
According to the Sheriff's Department, the incident occurred just before 7 p.m. on Tuesday, March 7, when a person discovered vehicle windows busted out in business parking lot.
The initial victim said she was working out at Eubank's Boot Camp to exercise when a person walked in claiming multiple vehicles had been vandalized.
The woman found her front passenger-side window busted out and her purse missing, reports show.
Deputies spoke with two other victims, who discovered their vehicle windows had also been busted out, with purses and other items missing.
All three vehicles were entered between 6:28 p.m. and 6:45 p.m.
Later in the evening, when the victim was cleaning broken glass from her Chevrolet Tahoe, she noticed a smear of blood in the vehicle, which she believed might belong to the offender.
Detectives took a sample of the blood for testing.
The value of the stolen property is still undetermined, but the victims stated they had cash, credit cards, drivers licenses, and checks in the purses at the time of theft.
One victim even stated she had her wedding ring and anniversary band in her purse when it was taken.
Anyone with information in the case in encouraged to contact the Catoosa County Sheriff's Department at 706-935-2424.


Catoosa County Man Indicted
on Federal Drug Charges
A Catoosa County man arrested in January for attempted murder has been indicted on federal drug charges in Tennessee and might have to pay back more than a quarter-million dollars in illegal drug money.
Wesley Gage Weldon, 41, of Ringgold, was captured Jan. 26 following a two-day manhunt that involved him running from police when they tried to arrest him on active warrants that included attempted murder, kidnapping, false imprisonment, and theft.
A little more than a week later, the Drug Enforcment Agency hit Weldon with the federal drug charges.
According to the indictment, Weldon faces charges of methamphetamine distribution and possession of at least 500 grams of methamphetamine with intent to distribute.
The indictment claims Weldon raked in $255,000 in cash through illegal drug sales, a sum prosecutors want to get back if he's convicted.
Following a two-day manhunt, Weldon was tracked to a Walker County residence where he was taken into custody on Thursday night, Jan. 26.
The federal charges stem from an investigation from 2015-16, in which Weldon allegedly provided an undercover agent with at least an ounce of meth and claimed he could get more.
The case involved Weldon meeting with the undercover agent in Hamilton County, Tenn., in January 2016 and allegedly trying to facilitate a deal to supply the agent with large quantities of meth.
Weldon, the brother of Ringgold attorney and former House District 3 state representative Tom Weldon, has been denied bond, but was moved to Gordon County jail in February.
The indictment adds to Weldon's ongoing saga, which includes him allegedly holding a man captive at his home while he and others beat the man over accusations that he'd stolen money and drugs from him.
The man was found wandering near Weldon's home on Jan.13, which prompted Catoosa County sheriff's detectives to take out warrants for his arrest, and him subsequently running from police Wednesday, Jan. 25.
Catoosa County sheriff's detectives and deputies tracked Weldon to his Potts Road home that afternoon, at which time he initiated a chase with police on a motorcycle.
While searching Weldon's home and property after he fled, detectives discovered he had stolen motorcycles in his possession.
In addition to the federal drug charges, Weldon still faces attempted murder, kidnapping, false imprisonment, and theft by receiving stolen property charges in Catoosa County.

Ringgold Man Back Behind Bars After Taking Drugs to Meeting with Parole Officer
A Ringgold man out of jail on parole landed right back behind bars late after allegedly arriving to a meeting with his parole officer with numerous drugs in his car, police say.
According to the Catoosa County Sheriff's Department:
Phillip Glenn Hooten, 22, of Riddle Circle, was arrested March 2 on charges of possession of marijuana (more than an ounce), possession of marijuana with intent to distribute, two counts of possession of methamphetamine, possession of tools for the commission of a crime, and a parole violation.
Around 11 a.m. on Thursday, March 2, the sheriff's office was notified that Hooten had been taken into custody at the Catoosa County probation office in Ringgold for a probation violation.
After being arrested, Hooten admitted to police that he also had a large quantity of marijuana and other drug-related materials in his vehicle.
When detectives searched Hooten's car, they found two containers of marijuana, one container of methamphetamine, two sets of digital scales, a glass smoking device, plastic bags, and over $2,500 in cash.
Hooten also had two cell phones and $500 in cash in his pockets, reports show.
All the drugs and cash were seized as evidence and Hooten was taken to jail without incident.

Craig Morgan to Headline Honeybee Festival
in Lafayette, according to City Manager

LaFayette has booked country musician Craig Morgan as the headliner for the June 3 Honeybee Festival.
The matter was discussed during the Feb. 13 City Council meeting.
The Tennessee native is known for several hits, including "Almost Home," "Redneck Yacht Club," "Little Bit of Life," and "Bonfire."
Morgan is a U.S. Army veteran, television host, and outdoorsman.
The city was able to book Morgan for a price of $31,250 for the event.
He is the host of "Craig Morgan: All Access Outdoors" on the Outdoor Channel.
There will be other headliner musical acts as well, including Steppin Stones and Sons of Sailors.
Steppin Stones comes at a price of $2,250 and Sons of Sailors for $3,250
A host of talented local musicians in the area will also be performing.
There will be arts and crafts vendors, food, a free Kids Zone, inflatables, honeybee and beekeeping tips, exhibits and demonstrations.
The three headlining acts will start around 6 p.m., followed by a 7:30 p.m. show, and Morgan to close it out at 9 p.m.
The first half of the day will be scheduled local talent.
"Our goal has been to get the headliners set and work from there. This is a critical component to the entire festival," City Manager David Hamilton told the council.
Pigeon Mountain Trading Co. will sponsor the event at $25,000.
CHI Memorial will be another big sponsor with at a $10,000 sponsorship.
"We are still going to need more sponsorship," Hamilton told the council as the costs of the stage and advertising for the event comes into play.
Councilman Ben Bradford said the previous "Music on the Square" was a "tremendous" event for the city and took time to perfect.
The difference, Bradford said, is this is a city-funded event and the costs must be made public.
Councilwoman Judy Meeks asked if the funds for the event come from the hotel-motel tax, to which Hamilton said the advertising costs would, but not for the concert itself. But the main three headliners would be covered by the sponsorship of CHI Memorial and Pigeon Mountain Trading Co. as well as other sponsors not named at this time.
Councilman Chris Davis said he has never seen this much excitement for a local event as he has seen with the organizers and volunteers of the Honeybee festival.
The stage will be set on the north end of the square between Patten Street and North Main Street.
Police Chief Bengie Clift said the street closure of North Main at the square is already confirmed with the state.


Mark Lindsay Looking to Resurrect His Career
It's been a long seven-year journey for former Fort Oglethorpe building inspector Mark Lindsay, who had his theft conviction overturned last year and is now looking for the opportunity to resurrect his career.
"I'm not wanting to slam anybody," Lindsay said. "I just want the public to know that I'm an innocent man. I have to let the world know that I'm an innocent man."
The now 50-year-old Lindsay, who lives in Rossville, made headlines in November 2010 when he resigned from his position as Fort Oglethorpe building inspector and turned himself into authorities amidst theft allegations. Authorities said he had received multiple gifts from a woman who'd been embezzling funds as manager of the Gateway Business Center on Cloud Springs Road.
A little more than four years later, Catoosa County Superior Court judge Ralph Van Pelt Jr. presided over a bench trial and found Lindsay guilty of seven counts of theft by receiving stolen property and not guilty on a charge of theft by taking.
Lindsay was sentenced to 10 years in prison, but got good news in March 2016 when the Georgia Court of Appeals overturned the conviction making Lindsay a free man. The Georgia Supreme Court upheld that reversal in October 2016.
After nearly a year of freedom, Lindsay says he's trying to rebuild his reputation, but that he's hitting roadblocks in that process.
"You know, I'm trying to get my career back, and this whole case has ruined me," Lindsay said. "I'm an innocent man. I've been proven innocent. I'm trying to get back to my life and all people see is that I was arrested and that I was in jail on those charges."
Lindsay says he also interviewed for his old job recently, but that we was passed over for the position.
The city did announce the hiring of Mike Fowler as building inspector on Feb. 13, along with new city manager Jennifer Payne-Simpkins and new chief of police Mike Helton.
Mayor Earl Gray didn't return calls seeking comment on the matter Wednesday.
"I did what they (the city of Fort Oglethorpe) asked me to do. ... I filled out an application, turned in my resume, sat through two interviews, and they had their minds made up before I went in that they weren't going to hire me," Lindsay said.
Lindsay added that when he was arrested, then-city manager Ron Goulart told him that he'd be willing to hire him back when and if he was cleared of the charges.
Goulart has since left the city and currently serves as judge of Catoosa County's State Court, but did confirm that he indeed had all intentions of giving Lindsay his job back.
"I told Mark that once he got the case resolved, and if it was resolved in his favor, that I wouldn't hesitate in bringing him back because he'd done everything the way it needed to be done," Goulart said. "Mark didn't want the cloud of those charges hanging over his office, and resigned his post. I had no issues with the work Mark did as building inspector. He ran the department very well, and the employees he supervised respected him."
Lindsay added that he had the best interest of the city in mind when he resigned.
"I love Fort Oglethorpe, and I resigned because I didn't want to bring that negative attention to the city," Lindsay said. "I applied to work there again recently because I still love the city and wanted do that job there again."


Storage Unit Burglaries in Fort Oglethorpe
Catoosa County sheriff's detectives are investigating a pair of storage unit burglaries on the outskirts of Fort Oglethorpe.
According to the Sheriff's Department, the first incident occurred on Mack Smith Road in Rossville, while the second took place on Service Lane in Ringgold.
The Mack Smith Road incident was reported on Feb. 23, when the victim told officers more than $1,200 worth of property was taken from her unit. Missing items included furniture and collectibles.
The Service Lane incident was reported on Feb. 26, and involved the theft of nearly $15,000 worth of tools, and electronics.
Anyone with information about the two break-ins is encouraged to contact the Catoosa County Sheriff's Department at 706-935-2424.


Local Baseball Players to play in Second Annual Children's Fund Classic

Local high school baseball players will be able to help underprivileged children in the community on Saturday, March 4, when they play in the second annual Children's Fund Classic to be held at AT&T Field in Chattanooga, Tenn.
According to Dr. Lamar Brown, director of student services for Catoosa County Schools, the event began last year and was a huge success.
"It raised a lot of money for the Catoosa County Children's Fund, which I'm a board member of," Brown said.
The Children's Fund was created to provide Catoosa County school children and families with short-term needs such as food, clothing, shelter, dental and medical care, educational related supplies or fees, or short-term emergency needs in an effort to develop their physical, mental, and emotional health and welfare.
The inaugural Classic last year was a big hit and gave players the chance to play in a professional stadium like AT&T Field, which is the home of the minor league's Chattanooga Lookouts.
"Teams are excited to be a part of it," Brown said. "Last year were some of the highest attended games in AT&T Field history, and some of the largest crowds ever to see high school baseball games."
Last year's classic included two games featuring LFO, Gordon Lee, Heritage, and Southeast Whitfield high schools.,
This year's event will see LFO, Heritage, and Gordon Lee again in the fold, as well as Northwest Whitfield, Ringgold, and Ridgeland high schools.
Notable players involved in the games include Ringgold High School junior outfielder Andre Tarver, who is currently committed to play collegiately at Mississippi State; Heritage High School junior pitcher Cole Wilcox, who has been selected for the 2017 Under Armour All-American Game to be played at Chicago's Wrigley Field; and Georgia Dugout Preview All-state players Rhett Baldwin of Ringgold High School and Ethan Clark and Chaney Rogers of Gordon Lee High School.
In addition to the three games played, the event will include a silent auction, with all of the proceeds going to the Children's Fund.
"All of it goes to the kids and their families," Brown said. "Donations, concessions, ticket sales, the silent auction ... it'll all be put towards the Children's Fund."
Brown says some of the silent auction items include autographed memorabilia from Hall of Fame baseball players Tom Glavine and John Smoltz, as well a Sky Box tickets to the Chattanooga Lookouts and other items.
"We're still looking for people and businesses to make contributions," Brown said.
Tickets to the event are $5 for the entire day and can be purchased at the Catoosa County Sheriff's Department, the Catoosa County Board of Education building, or in the guidance offices of any of the participating high schools.
The action will kickoff at 11 a.m., with gates slated to open at 10 a.m.
Schedule of games
€ Lakeview-Fort Oglethorpe High School vs. Ridgeland High School at 11 a.m.
€ Ringgold High School vs. Northwest Whitfield High School at 1:30 p.m.
€ Heritage High School vs. Gordon Lee High School at 4 p.m.

Hixson, Tennessee Man Being Held in Catoosa County Jail Without Bond
A man is being held without bond in the Catoosa County jail after he was found in possession of methamphetamine and a gun during a routine traffic stop in Fort Oglethorpe, police say.
According to the Fort Oglethorpe Police Department:
James Robert Lawhorn, 32, of Forest Plaza Drive in Hixson, Tenn., was arrested on Feb. 19 on charges of possession of methamphetamine, operating a vehicle without a valid tag, driving while unlicensed, and probation violation.
Just before 8 p.m. on Feb 19, Sgt. Michael Cannon pulled Lawhorn over on Battlefield Parkway after noticing an expired tag on the 2010 Ford Edge he was driving.
Cannon quickly discovered Lawhorn didn't have a license, and shortly there after discovered drugs in the vehicle.
Lawhorn admitted there was a gun under the driver's seat of the vehicle, and claimed ownership of a black box found in the car, which included multiple plastic baggies, a digital scale, and an undisclosed amount of methamphetamine.
Lawhorn was also wanted for probation violation on a separate meth possession charge.
A passenger was traveling with Lawhorn when he was pulled over, but claimed he'd met Lawhorn earlier in the day and had no idea drugs were in the car, or that his vehicle and license were invalid.
Lawhorn corroborated the man's claim, and he was released from the scene without being charged.


Catoosa County Sheriff's Detectives Investigating Residential Burglaries
Catoosa County sheriff's detectives are investigating a pair of recent residential burglaries that resulted in more than $2,000 worth of stolen property.
According to the Sheriff's Department, two burglary calls came in two days apart between Feb. 18 and 20.
The first occurred on Wright Circle in Tunnel Hill, with the second taking place on Quiet Hollow Lane in Ringgold.
In the Wright Circle incident, the offender(s) made off with about $1,400 worth of tools after breaking into the home through the front door.
The Quiet Hollow Lane break-in included the theft of multiple electronics and prescription medication after deputies found the back door of the home pried open.
Anyone with information about either incident is encouraged to contact the Catoosa County Sheriff's Department at 706-935-3061.


Tootsie's Hair and Nail Salon
If you’re thinking about reinventing yourself, you might want to visit Tootsie’s Hair & Nail Salon in Fort Oglethorpe, then go next door and outfit yourself in upscale Bohemian at Tootsie’s Red Bird Boutique.
Both shops are named for Amy Franklin Gunnoe’s mother, Tootsie Kuritz, who established the hair salon and helps with the businesses.
"I took over the salon around 1994," says Gunnoe, who is a licensed master cosmetologist, "and we opened the boutique last December."
Gunnoe finds her unique fashions for her boutique at shows, The Mart in Atlanta, and as far away as Arizona, Las Vegas and California. "What we have is unlike anything you’ll find in normal stores. We carry all kinds of leggings, long tunic tops, dresses, vests, jewelry, purses. We have clothes suited for everything from going to ball games to a night out on the town." Gunnoe says Easter styles will be arriving soon.
Tootsie’s Red Bird Boutique also carries a wide variety of sizes, from small to 3X. "We cater to plus-size women," says Gunnoe, "but we carry regular sizes, too. And we have clothes for all ages, from children up to as old as you get. We have customers in their eighties who love our off-beat styles."
The name "Tootsie’s Red Bird Boutique" has a sad but reassuring origin. "My father always told my mother and the rest of us that if anything ever happened to him, he’d find a way to let us know he was okay," says Gunnoe.
Gunnoe’s father, Drew, passed away several years ago. "At his funeral, a red bird kept hovering around the grave site," she says. "I later read that when a cardinal appears, it’s a visitor from Heaven. Over the years, the cardinals just always seem to be around, and that helps us feel close to my dad."
The atmosphere in the shops is both professional and relaxed, says Gunnoe. "We lavish our customers with attention and respect. We also have a lot of people who just come to hang out and visit. We laugh and cut up and enjoy each other."
John Belanger, a master stylist who specializes in clipper fades and used to manage a franchise salon located in Walmart, says he much prefers working at Tootsie’s Salon. "This is definitely not a franchise," he says. "Tootsie’s is a very personal and friendly place."
Tootsie’s Hair and Nails is a full-service salon that offers styling, coloring, highlighting, perms, manicures and pedicures, waxing and electrolysis.
The salon and the boutique are located at 1422 Battlefield Parkway in Fort Oglethorpe. They can be reached at 706-861-0287 and through Facebook: www.facebook.com/Tootsies-Hair-Nails and www.facebook.com/tootsiesredbirdboutique.


Armed Robbery at Chickamauga Restaurant
A man with a handgun robbed a Chickamauga restaurant Tuesday night, Feb. 21.
According to Police Chief Ronald Roach, the robber entered the Great Wall Restaurant about 10 p.m. and demanded money from the cash register.
The restaurant is in the Food Lion shopping complex at 13311 U.S. Highway 27.
The robber fled with the cash and escaped by running towards the back of the shopping complex.
He is described as possibly Hispanic. He was wearing dark clothing with a bandana covering his face.


Comedy Basketball Show Coming to Ringgold High School
Hoops and hijinks are coming to Ringgold on Saturday, March 18, when our very own local challengers, the Ringgold Locomotives, take on the Harlem Ambassadors in a comedy basketball show the whole family will enjoy. The show starts at 5 p.m. at Ringgold High School Gym at 29 Tiger Trail.
Event proceeds benefit the City of Ringgold and the Downtown Development Authority.
"We have scoured the region for skilled – and sometimes unskilled – players to take on the powerful Ambassadors," said Downtown Development Authority Chairman Randall Franks. "What our team lacks in skill, they make up for in heart. Buy your tickets today and you'll be able to witness how our enthusiastic local talent stacks up against the Ambassadors. It's going to be match-up we won't soon forget."
"The Ringgold Locomotives features Elected Officials, Local Business Owners, Radio D.J.’s and Area Athletes…..to name a few."
The Harlem Ambassadors' show features high-flying slam dunks, dazzling ball-handling tricks, hilarious comedy, music, dancing, games with kids in the audience, and free autographs after the show.
The Harlem Ambassadors have performed more than 2,800 comedy basketball shows as fundraising and community entertainment events for non-profit organizations, the U.S. military and community service groups since 1998. These events have helped raise over $10 million for communities in 50 states and 20 countries. The Ambassadors have appeared at Pearl Harbor, Bosnia, Kosovo, Sarejevo, Korea, Japan, the Marshall Islands, Guam, the Federated States of Micronesia, the Republic of Georgia, Mexico, Germany, England and Canada. Learn more about the Ambassadors' team, history and tour schedule at www.harlemambassadors.com.
"We're proud to give communities quality family entertainment that parents, grandparents and kids can enjoy together and make memories that last a lifetime," Harlem Ambassadors president Dale Moss said. "Even people who aren't basketball fans love our show because it's two hours of fun and laughter for a great cause. Plus, where else can you see your neighbor, your co-worker, your granddaughter's coach, or your son's teacher play against professional athletes? This is an event you do not want to miss."
Tickets are on sale at Ringgold City Hall, 150 Tennessee Street. For more information, contact rhondajohnson@cityofringgold.com or call 706-935-3061.


Fort Oglethorpe Man Arrested After Hit and Run
A Fort Oglethorpe man was arrested on drug and traffic charges after he allegedly crashed into another vehicle on Cloud Springs Road and fled the scene, police say.
According to the Fort Oglethorpe Police Department:
Ralph Elisha Long, 40, of Jefferson Avenue, was arrested Feb. 14 on charges of possession of marijuana, leaving the scene of an accident, driving on a suspended license, and following too closely. He has been released from jail on bond.
The incident occurred around 9:36 p.m. on Valentine's Day when a man called in a hit-and-run crash, reports show.
The man claimed he'd been struck from behind by a green Cadillac Eldorado and the black male driver didn't stop.
Officers located the vehicle a short time later at Long's residence on Jefferson Avenue, where Long admitted striking the other vehicle.
Long told officers he thought the victim was going to follow him to his home, and that when the victim didn't, he assumed it was because he didn't want to file an accident report.
Officers could smell marijuana coming from Long and from inside his residence when they arrived. They arrested him on the accident charges as well as a minor marijuana possession charge.


Brush Fire Along Battlefield Parkway

Walker County Emergency Services, along with the Georgia Forestry Commission, and mutual aid from Catoosa, Rossville and Walker State Prison firefighters were able to contain several large brush fires from burning residences on Friday afternoon.
According to WCES Chief Blake Hodge, on Feb. 17 around 2 p.m. several fires were reported along Mission Ridge Road in Rossville.
A large brush fire was reported behind Talley Construction on McFarland Avenue in Rossville as well.
One residential structure and outbuilding were in harm's way of the flames, but firefighters were able to contain the flames, Hodge said.
The GFC fought the fire using water drops from helicopters, Hodge said.
The fires may have been caused by a passing train in the area. GFC is investigating the matter.
Mutual aid to WCES included GFC, Catoosa County Fire & Rescue, Rossville Fire Department, and Walker State Prison Station 8.


LFO Band to Hold BBQ Dinner Fundraiser
The Lakeview-Fort Oglethorpe High School band alumni will present Jim Souders' 70th Birthday Party and BBQ Dinner fundraiser, which will be held at The Colonnade in Ringgold on Feb. 25. The evening will feature a BBQ fundraising dinner, a roast of Mr. Souders and entertainment by the Kevin Roberts Jazz Quartet and two other bands formed by LFO band alumni.
"Jim and his wife, Jensi, made it cool to be in the band," said Event Planner and LFO band alumni Wade Cardwell. "And nobody won more than we did at LFO."
Proceeds raised from the event will go toward endowing a fund to buy large band instruments that are difficult for a student to purchase. Mr. Souders was always sensitive to the needs of economically disadvantaged students that might not have been able to participate in the band had he not subtly steered them towards the band-owned instruments.
All three Catoosa County high school band programs - LFO, Heritage and Ringgold - are being given a chance to sell both to-go dinners and a VIP Dinner to the Party, both served by Farm to Fork Restaurant in Ringgold. The high school band program selling the most will receive an additional $1,000 for their band.
The public is also welcome to come to The Colonnade and buy BBQ dinners on Feb. 25 as long as the food lasts.
The LFO band alumni are also offering the opportunity for any Group interested in selling tickets to the event to use it as a fundraiser for their organization that will mutually benefit both groups.
"We want any good organization to be able to benefit from the work that is already being done," said the group's social chairman, Ann Gullage Anderson. "It will help us raise more money to endow The Jim Souders Band Instrument Fund."
The two other bands schedule to appear are Midnight Promise, formed by LFO band alumni member Gene Ingram (Class of 1985) and Neil Brock and the Cover Up, which features LFO band alumni member Ed Sloan (Class of 1987).
Entertainment will begin at 5 p.m., while dinner and the roast will begin at 6. Entertainment is scheduled to continue until 10:30 p.m.
Tickets are $30 in advance and $35 at the door the night of the event. Donations will also be accepted for the endowment fund from those unable to attend the event in person.
Tickets may be purchased at Farm to Fork until Feb. 23 or online at jimsoudersbirthday.com.
For more information, contact Wade Cardwell (423) 762-1942, Ann Gullage Anderson (423) 309-7442 or Tammy Grimes (423) 432-0307.


5-Year-Old and 51-Year-Old Die in Auto Accident in Walker County

A 5-year-old boy and a 51-year-old man died Saturday in LaFayette when their van crashed into a tree.
According to Georgia State Patrol Post 41 in LaFayette:
On Saturday, Feb. 18, about 5 p.m., Christopher Adam Rowles was driving a 2000 Chevrolet Venture minivan west on Ga. Highway 136 when he left the roadway while rounding a curve near the Ponder Creek Road intersection. He was traveling 55-60 mph. The vehicle traveled about 300 feet before it crashed into a tree.
Rowles, who was not wearing seatbelt, was ejected and pronounced dead at the scene.
Blake Hunt, who was seated behind the driver's seat and was not wearing a seat belt, was also pronounced dead at the scene.
A 10-year-old boy, Brandon Hunt, was in the passenger seat and wearing a seatbelt. He underwent surgery and remains in critical condition at Children's Hospital of Erlanger in Chattanooga.


Fort Oglethorpe Pastor Joins Navy
After six years serving as pastor of First Presbyterian Church (PCA) in Fort Oglethorpe – and at 41 years old – Doyle Allen is joining the Navy.
In December last year, Allen appeared before five ranking Navy chaplains at the Pentagon in Washington, D.C. The officers questioned him at length to make sure he was suited for the position he sought – that of chaplain, serving the spiritual and emotional needs of men and women serving their country’s security needs.
"This is something that’s been on my heart for a long time," says Allen. "The cut-off age for becoming a Navy chaplain is 42, so it was now or never."
Allen had been meeting with the elders of his church for months before his Pentagon visit, discussing his plans and seeking their counsel and prayer. "The elders were very supportive and patient with the decision-making process," he says.
Allen announced to his congregation in January that he would be leaving for the Navy within a month.
"There’s a tremendous need for chaplains in the military," says Allen. "You have men and women, often as young as 18 years old, stepping off buses, about to face pressures they could never have imagined, things that may wound and scar them for the rest of their lives. My job will be to walk by their sides, to help them spiritually and emotionally. I’ll also be there for the commanders – military service places great strains on their marriages and relationships and they need to be emotionally and morally strong for those under them."
Allen will be leaving in the middle of February for training – five weeks of officer training in Newport, Rhode Island, then seven weeks of chaplain school in Fort Jackson, South Carolina. From there, he and his family will be moving to San Diego where he’s been assigned to his first post as an official chaplain. He doesn’t know yet if he’ll eventually be deployed overseas.
Becoming a pastor was not Allen’s initial plan for his life. "I had two big loves," he says, "the church and golf." Allen worked at a golf course for six years early in his adult life and dreamed of making a living in the industry, possibly as a greens keeper and instructor. But the idea of going into ministry or becoming a missionary also played at the edges of his mind.
"An elder at my church suggested I go to seminary," Allen says. "He told me to give it a shot for a year and see if I liked it."
Allen enrolled at Covenant College in St. Louis, Missouri, and found his calling. He married while he was in seminary, served two internships to grow as a leader and a pastor, pastored a church in West Virginia for five years and finally ended up in Fort Oglethorpe.
Allen says he feels his two sons are old enough now to weather the moves that might be involved as children of a Navy dad. "My wife and kids are all excited about the new experiences and opportunities that might come out of this," he says.
"Military chaplaincy affords you opportunities other situations don’t and it makes demands of you that other situations won’t," says Allen. "In the military, a chaplain will find himself ministering to people who wouldn’t normally end up in his church in civilian life. In addition, chaplains must faithfully navigate a pluralistic religious context.
"My job will be complex, from a faith standpoint. I’ll help and counsel those who want that, but there are times I’ll need to find another person to help someone – somebody within their faith or someone they’re comfortable with. Yet, I’ll be there for them if they need me."
Allen says part of his job will be to facilitate freedom of worship for everyone. "The Navy never expects me to compromise my own faith, but it will be my job to assure that not only people of my denomination but all service members are free to worship as they choose."
Allen recently had an experience in his own church that he says was instructive along these lines. "A young lady wanted to be baptized by immersion," he says. "That’s not how we do it in a PCA church, but the elders and I decided that she was sincere and fervent enough in her desire that we should work with her."
Allen contacted Neal Brown, pastor of Heritage Pointe Baptist Church, because First Presbyterian didn’t have an immersion baptismal. "He was gracious enough to allow us to hold a service at his church, to use their baptismal and to coach me on the logistics of safely and reverently performing a baptism by immersion.
"When the apostle Paul departed from the church at Ephesus where he had spent three years teaching, it was a bittersweet parting," says Allen. "He knew there would be hardships ahead. He was leaving people he loved and who had loved him. They prayed and wept together before he left. The congregation at Fort Oglethorpe has been family to me. They have loved my family and me well, and we’ve loved them. It’s a sad and happy time all in one."


Churches from Catoosa, Walker and Whitfield County Come Together
At a time when the country is struggling with deep divisions among its people, seven churches in Catoosa, Walker and Whitfield counties are bucking the trend.
On a rainy January evening, members of all seven congregations gathered at The Orchard Church, located in the Office Depot mall in Fort Oglethorpe, to pray together. Presbyterians, Baptists and independents prayed as one for unity among Christians, for the courage to reach out to others, and for the commitment to walk by one another’s sides as mentors.
It was the second time the churches had gathered, something they plan to do several times a year, but their pastors have been meeting with each other every Thursday morning since September 2015. The weekly prayer meetings started with Pastor Doyle Allen of First Presbyterian Church of Fort Oglethorpe, Pastor Zach de Vaux of The Orchard, and Adam Whitescarver, executive director of the Chattanooga House of Prayer (ChattHOP), and quickly grew to include other pastors.
"The weekly meetings are helpful to all the pastors," says de Vaux. "We get to share our common vision and goals, and you know someone is in your corner. The church gatherings give members a chance to meet other Christians who worship right down the road."
"We wanted our congregations to experience the sweetness of fellowship that we experience at our weekly meetings," says Allen.
The congregations started their January gathering by singing together, accompanied by a praise band, then they split into groups of four or five throughout the dimly lit sanctuary, mixing with members of other churches and denominations. The murmur of combined voices imploring God’s guidance and blessing was punctuated from time to time by one of the pastors reading a scripture passage and making suggestions for further prayer.
"Helping pastors and churches connect with one another and develop deeper relationships and unity in order to bring about change in their communities is a major focus of ChattHOP," says Whitescarver, who helps coordinate the church gatherings and attends most of the pastors’ weekly meetings. "Many pastors are very busy with their congregations and often work other jobs, too."
Whitescarver says the guiding principal of ChattHOP, which has helped launch prayer groups throughout the metro Chattanooga area, can be found in the scripture verse, Jeremiah 29:7: "But seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you… Pray to the Lord for it, because if the city prospers, you too will prosper."
Along with Doyle Allen and Zach de Vaux, the pastors and churches that gather locally include Frank Kelley with Oakwood Baptist of Chickamauga, Neal Brown with Heritage Pointe Baptist of Fort Oglethorpe, Randy Jackson with Grace Presbyterian of Dalton, Mark Gregory with Hope Fellowship Presbyterian of Chickamauga, and Michael Savadge with First Baptist of Chickamauga.
"Every revival of the Church throughout history," says Allen, "has been preceded by groups of Christians asking God to reawaken his people. Coming together to pursue Christ leads to unification in and among congregations and teaches us to model the fruit of revival we hope to see in the greater community."
Pastors interested in becoming part of a prayer group can contact ChattHOP at adam@chatthop.org or visit their web site at www.chatthop.org.


Hostage Situation Leads to Ringgold Man in Hospital

A man is in the hospital in after he allegedly cut his own throat during a hostage situation Saturday night, Feb. 11, in Ringgold.
According to the Catoosa County Sheriff's Department, the incident occurred Saturday about 6:18 p.m. at the Mega Star 4 gas station at the corner of Mt. Pisgah Road and Alabama Highway.
Deputies were dispatched to the scene after receiving a call that a man was trying to cut people with glass and had taken a hostage inside the store, reports show.
When deputies arrived, 19-year-old Jacob Elbert Gregory was the only person inside the store.
Witnesses told officers that he'd broken wine bottles and started cutting himself in the throat area.
Deputies carefully entered the store and found Gregory lying floor covered in blood.
"Mr. Gregory was bleeding from his neck," Deputy Coby Cunningham said.
Gregory actually jumped up at deputies multiple times and was tased twice before officers were able to get him safely detained, reports show.
Gregory was taken to Hamilton Medical Center in Dalton for medical treatment.
His mother also arrived at the scene and told detectives she hadn't seen her son since the day before.
"She said she dropped him off at a friend's house and that he was fine," Cunningham said.
On Saturday, before the incident, Gregory's mother told police she got a call from one of her son's friends who claimed Gregory had possibly tried cocaine for the first time, and had been acting out of character since.
According to Capt. Chris Lyons, Gregory is still in the hospital and charges could be pending.
"He's in stable condition now," Lyons said. "Apparently the young man just flipped out. We don't know for sure if it was a drug situation, mental health, or both. He was sent to Hamilton in Dalton and later flown to Erlanger in Chattanooga."


Ringgold Man Arrested on Multiple Drug and Traffic Charges
A Ringgold man was recently arrested on multiple drug and traffic charges after he allegedly crashed his car while driving DUI, and then abandoned the scene, police say.
According the Catoosa County Sheriff's Department:
James Preston Potter, 57, of Dove Road, was arrested Monday, Feb. 6 on charges of DUI, drug-related objects, cocaine possession, driving while license suspended, failure to maintain a lane, failure to stop at the scene of an accident.
Potter has been released from jail on bond.
Around 10:30 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 5, sheriff's deputies were dispatched to the intersection of Ooltewah-Ringgold Road and Cardinal Road, where they found an unoccupied vehicle that'd been crashed.
Deputies learned the vehicle belonged to Potter, and that he lived a couple of blocks away on Dove Road.
Shortly thereafter, Potter was located at his home, but claimed to have no knowledge about who might have been driving his car, reports show.
"At first he stated he didn't know, but then he said he had been driving," Deputy Spencer Slatton said. "I could tell that he was under the influence because he was unable to keep balance while on his feet."
Potter claimed his car ended up off the roadway because he had a tire blowout while driving along Ooltewah-Ringgold Road.
"Mr. Potter stated he had a blowout and lost control of the vehicle, but I did not observe any of the car's tires to be blown out or deflated," Slatton said.
Potter failed multiple field sobriety tests, and it was determined that he was under the influence of drugs rather than alcohol, reports show.
Eventually, Potter admitted to taking Xanax before driving and claimed that's what caused him to wreck.
While searching the vehicle, Slatton says he found a glass smoking pipe with a brown residue that tested positive for crack cocaine.


GoFundMe Page for Walker County Man
The family of a man whose remains were found Feb. 3 buried in a shallow grave in Walker County have set up a GoFundMe page to cover costs of a memorial service.
On Friday, Feb. 3, human remains were found buried in a shallow grave at 3694 Ga. Highway 157 in Rising Fawn. The remains were later identified as 23-year-old Bradley Powell of Chattanooga, who had been missing since early December 2016.
As of Sunday morning, the GoFundMe page (www.gofundme.com/bradleypowell) had raised more than $1,800.
The memorial service will be Friday, Feb. 17, from 5-8 p.m. at Hamilton Funeral Home at 4506 Hixson Pike in Hixson, Tenn.


Missing Fort Oglethorpe 5-Year-Old Found
Fort Oglethorpe police were able to recover a missing child Monday afternoon, Feb. 6, but the child's mother is still on the run after abducting him over the weekend.
Thirty-five-year-old Amanda Demarious Holloway of Fort Oglethorpe is wanted on a charge of interference with custody after she allegedly botched a visitation with the child, and failed to return him to his custodial grandparent last week.
Detectives say Holloway picked up her son, Brody Waylon Vincent, 4, on Friday afternoon, Feb. 3, to spend a few hours with him, and then never returned the child and was without contact for the entire weekend.
On Monday morning, detectives were notified of the situation and began looking for both Holloway and the child.
According to Lt. Steve Blevins, the duo was located late Monday afternoon in Rossville where the child was recovered safely.
"We found them in Rossville, and the child was fine," Blevins said. "Officers were talking with the mother about the situation and strapping the child into a car seat to take him back to his grandparent when the mother took off from the scene on foot."
Arrest warrants were then taken out for Holloway.
Anyone with information regarding the whereabouts of Amanda Holloway is encouraged to contact Fort Oglethorpe Police detective Tammy Davis at 706-866-2512.




Catoosa County Courthouse


Today in Georgia

From the archives of the Georgia Historical Society

April 24, 1999 - Atlanta, Macon

The largest state sports hall of fame in the country is here in Georgia. 

The Georgia Sports Hall of Fame began in 1956, when the Georgia Athletic Coaches Association established the Georgia Prep Sports Hall of Fame, which honored high school administrators, coaches and players. The organization dropped the word “prep” in 1963, honoring collegiate and professional athletes as well. The state archives building in Atlanta became its first home, and the first three inductees were baseball legend Ty Cobb, Georgia Tech football coach William Alexander, and golfer Bobby Jones. 

The Hall became an official state entity in 1978, but it still lacked a permanent home. The state considered the World Congress Center in Atlanta before finally settling on Macon in 1994. 

Of the 250 individuals nominated for induction every year, only seven are chosen, the highest honor the state can bestow on its athletes. 

The Georgia Sports Hall of Fame opened its doors on April 24, 1999, Today in Georgia History.









Famous People in Georgia

(From-Georia Encyclopedia)

Robert Woodruff

December 6, 1889 - Columbus
Coca-Cola is now a worldwide phenomenon, but the man responsible took over when the company was still struggling.

Robert Woodruff was born in Columbus in 1889 and attended but didn’t graduate from Emory College. He took a job in sales with the White Motor Company, where he quickly climbed the corporate ladder. His father was part of a group that bought the struggling Coca-Cola company for $25 million in 1919 and they offered the 33-year-old Woodruff the presidency of the company four years later. He took a pay cut to accept the job, but he and Coca-Cola were on their way.

Woodruff brought a savvy salesman’s touch and a passion for principled success to the company that made Coca-Cola a worldwide household name. Woodruff’s motto was “there’s no limit to what a man can do if he doesn’t care who gets the credit”. His extraordinary philanthropy included a $105 million gift to Emory University in 1979 -- at that time the largest donation ever to a single educational institution. His foundation also made the Today in Georgia History series possible.

The man who built one of the great companies in American history was born in Columbus on December 6, 1889, Today in Georgia History.

Check us out on Facebook and Twitter!

Listen to WAAK 94.7-FM Your LOCAL radio station!

Jonathan Edwards
Johnathan Edwards sermons are broadcast on WAAK 94.7 every Sunday at noon and repeated every wednesday at 10 Pm.
Jonathan Edwards
(October 5, 1703  March 22, 1758) was a Christian preacher and theologian. Edwards "is widely acknowledged to be America's most important and original philosophical theologian,"[3]and one of America's greatest intellectuals.

Edwards played a critical role in shaping the First Great Awakening, and oversaw some of the first revivals in 1733-35 at his church in Northampton,Massachusetts.[6][7]