"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

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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.


Armed Robbery At Subway on Alabama Highway
The Ringgold Police Department is investigating an armed robbery that occurred Monday night, Feb. 6, at the Subway restaurant on Alabama Highway.
According to chief Dan Bilbrey, the incident occurred around 9:30 p.m. and involved an armed suspect holding up a lone employee.
The offender made off with an undisclosed amount of money from the store's register till.
"We were told the male suspect had a gun and was wearing a hoodie," Bilbrey said.
Bilbrey says detectives are working with the store to pull video footage of the incident to see if they can obtain more information about the incident and suspect.


Downtown Recycling Site to Open February 11th

After months of discussion and planning, the city of Ringgold will open its new downtown recycling site beginning Saturday, Feb. 11.
The site, which is located across from the Little General Children's Park at the corner of Cleveland and Lafayette streets, will give residents and local businesses the opportunity to better the environment.
After securing a container, choosing a location, and learning more about the process, the City Council decided in a Jan. 9 meeting that the facility can only be used by residents and businesses that are located inside the city limits.
Over the past few weeks, the city has erected a wooden fence around the container, and installed cameras to help monitor the site.
The container itself is 22 feet long, five feet tall, and eight feet wide, and can accommodate multiple products with no dividers in the container. When hauled off periodically by the recycling company, all the contents that have gone in will be sorted at the West Rock Recycling facility.
Acceptable items
The new Ringgold container can accept aluminum and tin cans, newspapers, magazines, folders, mail, broken-down cardboard boxes, paper milk and juice cartons, plastic bags, and plastics 1-7, which can be determined by looking at the bottom of each item.
There's also no need to remove paperclips, stamps, address labels, staples, fasteners, or rubber bands from paper materials.
Unacceptable items
The container cannot accept Styrofoam, paper to-go boxes, pizza boxes, empty aerosol cans, batteries, light bulbs, clear plastic food containers, and absolutely no glass.
City Manager Dan Wright says he's excited about the venture, and looks forward to the city becoming more environmentally friendly.
"Recycling is the right thing to do," he said. "We now have a way to recycle items and keep it out of the landfill. We will start opening up to the public on Feb. 11. We need to encourage our employees to start recycling as well."
Ringgold recycling station
Where: 10 Cleveland Street
Hours: Tuesdays and Saturdays 10 a.m. - 2 p.m.
Phone: 706-935-3061

Man Caves Beards and Shears Now Open in Fort Oglethorpe
Fort Oglethorpe has been buzzing with excitement and the sounds of busy clippers thanks to the popular new barbershop, Man Cave Beards & Shears, which specializes in male grooming.
The new shop, which opened up on Herron Street Jan. 10, is the culmination of a life-long dream for long-time master cosmetologist Amanda Little, who has always wanted to run her own unique business.
"I've been doing hair since I was a teenager. I grew up around it, and have always loved it," Little said. "It's been a dream of mine forever to open up a shop like this."
Little is no stranger to the local haircut scene, as she was a popular fixture at Sport Clips for a number of years. She says that's where she built great relationships with not only that company and her customers, but with other cosmetologists as well.
"I was at Sport Clips for 11 years, and it was great," Little said. "I loved it there, but over the years I worked so much that I missed time with my family. This was a chance for me to keep doing what I love, but with my own shop and hours that give me more time at home with my daughter."
Over the years, Little says she met and became great friends with fellow master cosmetologists Sam Ulloa and Lexi Vandergriff, who've joined her at Man Cave to offer the community a great trio of well-experienced groomers.
"Sam and Lexi are girls that've worked with me all these years, we have a great bond, and we've made this place happen," Little said. "It's the people that work inside the place...that's why the customers follow us and keep coming back. They're going to go where you go as long as you take care of them."
Little says she started seriously thinking about opening the shop late last year, and that she and her partner, Robert Dickinson, were able to open a one-of-a-kind shop that has already become a hit.
"The whole reason behind this is for dads and moms to be able to bring their kids to a cool place to get their hair cut," Little said. "We focus on cuts for men and boys, and beard shaping and trimming."
The shop's services include "Little Man Cuts" for ages 10 and under, "Men Cuts" for ages 11-54, and "Wise Man Cuts" for ages 55 and over, as well as beard overhauls, beard tune-ups, shampoos and washings, and edge ups to keep folks looking trim between cuts.
The shop prefers appointments, but will take walk-ins, and also offers cuts for women if they're scheduled in advance.
After opening its doors, the shop has had a great influx of new and old customers.
"We had a lot of appointments set for the first day we were open, and it's taken off from there," Little said. "Kids hang out in the cave while they wait and play checkers and games with their dads, it's just great. We wanted a place where customers can feel comfortable and feel like they're really a part of this place, and we've done that."
As is the case with any business, the new venture is trying to get the word out about the shop, as well as let regular customers know where they scan find Amanda, Sam, and Lexi.
The shop's Facebook page has already garnered 456 likes and 35 rave reviews.
"The response so far has been amazing," Little said. We've done double the business we thought we would. It's everybody's dream to open a business like this, but not everybody gets to do it. We're loving it!"
Man Cave Beards & Shears Shop
Address: 113 Herron Street, Fort Oglethorpe, Ga.
Phone: 706-406-2678
Hours: Tuesday - Wednesday 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., Thursday - Friday 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., Saturdays 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Closed Sunday - Monday.
In Ringgold, the two at-large seats currently occupied by Randall Franks and Jake Haynes will be up for grabs.
The qualifying fee for candidates in Ringgold is $108.
Qualifying for both elections will open up at 8:30 a.m. on Monday, Aug. 21, and will close at 4:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 23.
Early voting will run from Oct. 13 through Nov. 3, with the general election to be held on Tuesday, Nov. 7.


Ringgold Playhouse Holding Open Auditions

The Ringgold Playhouse will hold open auditions for its second production of the 2017 season, David Lindsay-Abaire's Pulitzer Prize-winning drama "Rabbit Hole," Feb. 6-7.
The company says it's looking for three men and two women to cast in the show, which will run for seven performances during the last two weekends of April, and will be directed by playhouse executive director Adam Cook.
"It's a great play," Cook said. "It's a difficult subject matter, that's why we're looking for five special actors that really want to work hard on telling in important story to our audience."
Play synopsis
David Lindsay-Abaire’s 2007 Pulitzer Prize-winning play is about a couple’s struggle to deal with the loss of their young son. Becca and Howie Corbett have everything a family could want, until a life-shattering accident turns their world upside down and leaves the couple drifting perilously apart. “Rabbit Hole” charts their bittersweet search for comfort in the darkest of places and for a path that will lead them back into the light of day.
Performance dates are April 20-22 and 27-29.
"We really try to do a lot of different types of shows over here," Cook said. "We're opening up the season this month with the big comedy 'Southern Fried Funeral.' We've done other dramas like 'A Streetcar Named Desire' and thrillers like 'Wait Until Dark.' Our main objective has always been to tell quality, entertaining stories, and 'Rabbit Hole' is going to be a great one."
Character descriptions
BECCA (30s-40s) — A grieving mother. Tough and uncompromising, she cannot tolerate insincerity or impracticality. Trying desperately to pick up the pieces of her shattered world.
HOWIE (30s-40s) — Becca’s husband. A patient man who specializes in pretending everything is fine. More welcoming of moving forward than Becca is. Seeks normalcy again even if it's an illusion.
IZZY (20s-30s) — Becca’s younger sister. Wild child of the family. A perennial party girl who never grew up. Still trying to find herself.
NAT (60s) — Becca and Izzy’s mother. Blunt, sarcastic. An opinionated alcoholic with a knack for sticking her foot in her mouth.
JASON (17) — Shy, awkward, nerdy. Boy who accidentally killed Becca and Howie’s son when the little boy ran in front of his car.
Actors only need to attend one night of auditions. Call-backs will only be had if deemed necessary by the director. Auditions will consist of cold reads from the script and will begin at 7 p.m. each night.
Anyone with questions about auditions or the production can contact TRP at 423-227-9459, or via email at TheRinggoldPlayhouse@gmail.com.


Two Burglaries in Catoosa County
Catoosa County sheriff's detectives are investigating two burglaries that took place over the weekend, in which nearly $5,000 worth of jewelry, electronics, and tools were stolen from two residences.
Both burglaries occurred in Ringgold on Friday, Jan. 27, the first on South Massengale Road and the second in the 700 block of Keith Salem Road.
In the South Massengale Road burglary, the victim told detectives a safe containing multiple pieces of jewelry was taken, reports show. Detectives determined the offender(s) entered the home through an unlocked side door.
The Keith Salem Road burglary included the theft of a television and multiple tools. In that incident, the offender(s) gained entry through the garage door of the home.
Anyone with information about the two cases is encouraged to contact Detective Mike Helton at the Catoosa County Sheriff's Department at 706-935-2424.


Three Car Wreck at Catoosa-Walker County Line
Georgia State Patrol Post 41 in LaFayette reports that a man was transported to Erlanger Hospital following a three-vehicle collision at the Catoosa-Walker County line on Ga. Highway 151 around 11:15 a.m. Thursday, Feb. 2.
A man driving a blue Nissan Altima was traveling north on Ga. Highway 151 while a man driving a red Jeep Wrangler was following behind him in the southbound lane.
The driver of the Nissan slowed down to turn left into the Pit Stop convenience store and began to yield left when the driver of the Jeep Wrangler careened into the rear of the Nissan.
The impact sent the Nissan into the northbound lane and causing it to collide with the rear wheels of a tractor trailer.
The driver of the Nissan was transported by Puckett EMS to Erlanger due to complaints of neck, shoulder, and side pain.
He was reported as alert and responsive with no life-threatening injuries visible at the scene. No other drivers were injured in the collision.
The driver of the Jeep Wrangler was cited for following too close.


Chapman Road to be Closed Valentine's Day
The City of Ringgold announced it will close down a portion of Chapman Road off U.S. Highway 41 as part of a storm water maintenance project.
The Chapman Road entrance between the Sonic and Spencer B's BBQ restaurants will begin its closure on Tuesday, Feb. 14, and could last a couple of months.
For years, that portion of Chapman Road has flooded during heavy rainfall, causing residents in the Callaway Farms neighborhood to have to find an alternate route going to and from home.
The flooding has also at times created water issues along the portion of U.S. Highway 41 in front of Chapman Road.
City officials have been working with Catoosa County for some time on a joint project to remedy the issue by raising the road to alleviate some of the creek water that builds up under Chapman Road.
The council awarded the $920,919 bid for the project in November to Rossville-based Talley Construction, with funding contributions from both the Georgia Department of Transportation, and Catoosa County.
The bid includes paving and striping on U.S. 41, the addition of three concrete box culverts to Chapman Road, and the raising of the road.
"The closure is due to the installation of a storm water structure, and the raising of the road by two feet," City Manager Dan Wright said. "This will help during flash flooding events."
Residents will still be able to access the Chapman Road area through the north entrance, which exists a little further down U.S. 41 across from Bailey's BBQ.
According to Talley Construction's project manager, Tony Wardlaw, the work is expected to run through March.
"We will begin the detour February 14, and it will last approximately 45 days," Wardlaw said.


Fort Oglethorpe's Publics New Water Sampling System
Fort Oglethorpe's public works department will soon have a new way of going about collecting the city's water samples after the council unanimously approved the purchase of 32 new sample stations Monday night, Jan. 23.
According to Director of Public Utilities Phil Parker, the new sampling stations are being paid for through SPLOST funds in the amount of $11,695 and will help with the city's efficiency in making sure its water samples are tested properly.
"We had some problems last November where we had to issue a water boil notice," Parker said. "We found out that there weren't issues with the water itself, but we had issues with some of the samples getting contaminated."
Parker said instead of having to go right up to a spigot on the side of a residence, the new stations will instead collect samples from a designated site between the meter and the main water line.
"Sometimes in the past you can get the samples from right up at the house and you might have a spider web, or plants, or a flower bed that can contaminate your sample," Parker explained. "With these new stations we'll be able to get a better sample every time."
Parker says the city collects so many samples per month to make sure all is good with the water, and that it's spread out in order to get equal sampling from different areas of the city.
"The devices will be installed at the addresses, they'll go in the meter box between the distribution system," he said. "We'll have a sampling faucet that will connect to each, and then we'll do what we need to do to make sure its a good clean sample."
Parker added that crews will undergo a bit of new training to make sure they're using the proper techniques with the new equipment, and that they new system should be in place in a matter of weeks.
"We're getting them ordered, and when they get here, I think we can get them installed pretty quick," Parker said.


Catoosa County Man Arrested for Attempted
Murder Also Faces Federal Drug Charge

A Catoosa County man arrested last week for attempted murder is now facing an addition federal drug charge from the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), authorities say.
Wesley Gage Weldon, 41, was captured last week after he ran from police when they tried to arrest him on active warrants that included attempted murder, kidnapping, false imprisonment, and theft.
Following a two-day manhunt, Weldon was tracked to a Walker County residence where he was finally taken into custody on Thursday night, Jan. 26.
On Friday, the DEA charged Weldon with a single count of distributing methamphetamine, a charge which stems from an investigation from 2015-16, in which Weldon alleged provided an undercover agent with at least an ounce of meth.
The case involved Weldon meeting with the undercover agent in Hamilton County, Tenn., in Jan. 2016, and allegedly trying to facilitate a deal to supply the agent with large supplies of meth.
Weldon, the brother of Ringgold attorney and former House District 3 state representative Tom Weldon, has been denied bond.
The drug charge 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.


Georgia Democrats are facing an uphill climb as they try to expand voters' rights.
The minority lawmakers have introduced a slew of bills aiming to remove barriers and make it easier to cast a ballot.
The bills include automatic and same day voter registration, increased access to absentee ballots, and the repeal of a voter ID law.
Additionally, the laws would create rules for the location and closure of precincts.
In 2016, local officials in some Georgia counties made steep cuts to the number of polling places compared to 2012.
Georgia has a complicated history with voting rights legislation and, until 2013, was subject to review by the Justice Department for changes to its voting laws.
President Donald Trump falsely maintains there was massive voter fraud in the 2016 election.


Georgia Northwestern Hold Cheer Squad Auditions

The Georgia Northwestern Cheer Cats will hold two tryout dates for any current or incoming Georgia Northwestern student wishing to be a part of the squad for the 2017-2018 school year.
The first tryout will be held on Saturday, March 18 from 10 a.m.-12 p.m., while the second tryout will be held on Saturday, April 22 from 10 a.m.-12 p.m. Both will be held at the Rossville Athletic Center (301 Williams Street).
For those who cannot make the tryouts, a private audition can be arranged.
At the tryouts, each participant will be required to perform a series of jumps, including toe touch, double toe touch, pike and hurdler form, which will be judged on form, technique and height.
Participants must perform two previously-known chants (using "Bobcats" in the chants), three times each. Participants will be judged on knowledge of chants, sharpness of motions, motion technique and crowd appeal.
Participants must perform a previously-known cheer dance that will be judged on knowledge of dance, motions, flow and crowd appeal.
Participants must perform two of their best stunts, which will be judged on knowledge of stunts, form and technique.
Participants must also show off their best standing and running tumbling moves. They will judged on form and technique. Advanced tumbling is not required, but more advanced tumbling will be awarded more points.
Participants will also be interviewed and asked about their strengths as a cheerleader and their motivation for trying out for the Cheer Cat squad.
For further information or to schedule a tryout, contact Coach Karen Stoker at klstoker@gntc.edu, at ktr6@comcast.net or at (423) 883-1668.

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Since 1962, Georgia Northwestern Technical College has been instrumental in providing quality workforce education to the citizens of Northwest Georgia. The mission of Georgia Northwestern Technical College is to provide accessible, high quality technical education and workforce development opportunities. Serving the nine counties of Catoosa; Chattooga; Dade; Floyd; Gordon; Murray; Polk; Walker; and Whitfield, GNTC has five convenient campus locations in Floyd, Gordon, Polk, Walker, and Whitfield counties. With programs of study in business, health, industrial, and public service available, students have the opportunity to earn an associate’s degree, diploma, or a certificate from GNTC.  

Georgia Northwestern Technical College provides quality workforce education to the citizens of Northwest Georgia. Students have the opportunity to earn an associate’s degree, diploma, or a certificate in business, health, industrial, or public service career paths. This past year, 13,734 people benefited from GNTC’s credit and noncredit programs. With an annual credit enrollment of 7,876 students, GNTC is the largest college in Northwest Georgia. GNTC has an additional enrollment of 5,858 people through adult education, continuing education, business and industry training, and Georgia Quick Start.

Mountain Cove Farms Restaurant Operating Under New Name

2017 could turn out to be a memorable year for Mountain Cove Farms — and for area gourmands.
Though it might be months before someone comes forward to lease the county-owned collection of fields, woodlands, barns, outbuildings and antebellum house, the property's highly visible restaurant is again open.
"It is going pretty good — everybody seems happy," owner Greg Cornelsion said after the Mountain Cove Grill's first two weekends since reopening. "It is such a beautiful location and we look forward to creating a dining experience just as appealing."
Cornelison, who also owns Greg's Restaurant in Chickamauga, said that since opening on Saturday, Jan. 14, the restaurant has seen steady business, particularly for brunch.
Mountain Cove Grill is open for lunch and dinner Wednesday through Saturday and for brunch on Sunday. Rather than a "meat-and-three" type of establishment, Cornelison said his new establishment will be something "between Greg's and a suit-and-tie kind" of place.
Guiding the kitchen is Philippe Gehin, a transplanted Frenchman who most recently worked French Polynesia.
"I'd lived 34 years in the States and had a chance to work at the Brando Resort in Tahiti," he said. "My contract was up and I decided to return to the Chattanooga area."
Gehin said he is helping the Cornelison's develop a menu and train staff. To that end the restaurant follows a "food to table" philosophy and uses locally sourced provisions whenever possible.
"I'm a bit of a foodie myself," said Cornelison's wife, Kim, before sampling a croque monsieur (a classic French ham and grilled cheese sandwich) on the Grill's opening day.
Kim stressed the couple's desire to appeal to any and everyone with an appetite and appreciation for fine dining, whether they arrive dressed in Carhartts or couture.
Complementing the pristine beauty of its surroundings, the Grill presents it fare on dark linen tablecloths amid decor that recalls Mountain Cove Farms early years when it was home to cattle — and cattlemen — who hailed from Montana.
Formerly known as The Manor House, the restaurant first opened in 2013 to serve reenactors and those attending the 150th commemoration of the Battle of Chickamauga that was staged at Mountain Cove Farm,
Perhaps it was the remote location, perhaps its was the pricing structure or perhaps it was nothing more than the usual hardships of staffing any eatery that prevented that restaurant's success, but the Manor House was unable to attract and satisfy enough customers to be profitable.
But Cornelison thinks he can not only open The Mountain Cove Grill — and keep it open — but also turn a profit while operating it as an upscale restaurant, comparable to the J.Alexander's or Town & Country restaurants that were fixtures on the Chattanooga-area scene for decades.
Operating with a three-year lease from the Walker County Development Authority, its initial terms are $600 per month, Cornelsion has a world-class chef, a professional staff, a full liquor license and an intimate setting ready and welcoming for anyone.
Already the restaurant is accepting reservations for wedding parties, Valentine's Day or other special occasions and for those wanting to try the area's newest fine dining establishment.
"I am excited to be able to invite the citizens of Walker County to visit the restaurant," Cornelison said.
If you go
What: Mountain Cove Grill
Where: 1010 Daugherty Gap Road
Hours: Wednesday through Friday, 5-9 p.m.; Saturday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Sunday, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Additional info: 706-539-1511.


Smith Planetarium Presents: Magic Tree House: Space Mission
Smith Planetarium is presenting the "Magic Tree House: Space Mission" on Tuesday evening, Jan. 31 at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, Feb. 5 at 2:30 p.m.. No admission is charged for public programs but donations are appreciated. The program begins with a "live" survey of "the sky tonight." Then a STARGAZING program highlights prominent and easy-to-find stars and constellations of the Winter season. Venus and Mars are now visible in our West-Southwestern sky.
The Magic Tree House® book series has been a perennial best-seller, having been published in more than 30 countries and 29 languages. The series is about the exploits of Jack and Annie, a brother-sister team. More than 70 million series books have been sold in North America alone.
Now, the University of North Carolina - Morehead Planetarium and Science Center, in partnership with authors Will and Mary Pope Osborne, brings this blockbuster Magic Tree House® franchise to fulldome theaters.
In Magic Tree House® Space Mission, a mysterious "M" sends the intrepid Jack and Annie on a fun-filled journey to discover the secrets of the Sun, Moon, planets, space travel and more. Aligned with elementary information skills and learning objectives, this beautifully-produced show is a winner with Magic Tree House® fans of all ages.
Total time in the planetarium is about an hour. For more information call 706-375-STAR (7827).
The planetarium is located at 409 Pond Springs Road, south of Chickamauga. Driving instructions: The city of Chickamauga is southwest of Chickamauga Military Park and west of U.S. Highway 27. From the center of Chickamauga at a traffic light & South Crest Bank (formerly the Bank of Chickamauga) travel south past Gordon Lee High School 1.6 miles on Cove Road (state Highway 341), then turn right (west) on Pond Springs Road. After 0.3 miles the planetarium is on your left.


Multiple Search Warrants Executed by Lookout Mountain Judicial Court

Between Monday, Jan. 23, and Wednesday, Jan. 25, agents with the Lookout Mountain Judicial Circuit Drug Task Force executed five search warrants and two arrest warrants throughout the circuit.
The warrants led to the seizure of various types of illegal narcotics, numerous firearms, and stolen property. Nineteen arrests resulted from the investigations throughout the circuit.
Most notably, agents served a search warrant at 863 Bandy Lane in Ringgold on Wednesday afternoon. The search warrant yielded more than nine pounds of suspected ice methamphetamine, a large amount of marijuana, and several firearms. Agents also located more than $100,000 cash.
Estimated street value of the narcotics is approximately $425,000.
Three arrests were made in connection with the case, all charged with trafficking methamphetamine and possession of marijuana with intent to distribute. They are identified as the following individuals: Randall Scott Rounsaville, 28, 863 Bandy Lane, Ringgold; Candace Nicole Alexander, 27, 863 Bandy Lane; Jonathan Lee Smith, 30, 739 Vittetoe Road, Chickamauga.


Wanted Man in Catoosa County Arrested
A two-day manhunt in Catoosa County for Wesley Gage Weldon ended Thursday night, Jan. 26, when authorities were able to track him down and get him into custody.
According to Catoosa County Sheriff Gary Sisk, his agency received a tip Thursday evening that Weldon was holding up at a residence in Walker County.
Around 8:30 p.m., members of the Catoosa and Walker County sheriff's departments and U.S. Marshalls approached the residence, where they indeed located Weldon.
Sisk says Weldon tried to evade officers again, but was tased and immediately taken into custody.
"He tried to run from us again, but we were able get him stopped quickly so he couldn't get away this time," Sisk said.
Local authorities had been searching for the 41-yearl-old Weldon since Wednesday afternoon when he took off on a motorcycle and then on foot when Catoosa County sheriff's detectives attempted to serve warrants on him.
Weldon, the brother of Ringgold attorney and former House District 3 state representative Tom Weldon, is currently in jail without bond facing charges of attempted murder, kidnapping, false imprisonment, and theft by receiving stolen property.
Sisk says detectives and deputies tracked Weldon to his Potts Road home Wednesday, at which time he initiated a chase with police on a motorcycle.
"We had a SWAT team out at his house and there was a chase," Sisk said.
Potts Road was shut down most of the afternoon, while a K-9 unit and helicopter canvassed the area.
"He took off on a motorcycle and we chased him," Sisk said. "He dumped the motorcycle and took off on foot. We did a good search of the area with the K-9, which tracked him to a road where we lost the trail. We believe he had another cell phone with him and that he either called for a ride, or possibly just saw someone and was able to get picked up. We don't believe he's in the area right now."
While searching Weldon's home and property Wednesday afternoon, detectives discovered he had stolen motorcycles in his possession.
Weldon has been arrested multiple times over the years on charges varying from weapons, drug possession, and assault. He landed on the department's radar again on Jan. 13. In that instance, deputies were dispatched to another Potts Road residence regarding a suspicious man who'd shown up naked, beaten and bleeding.
Deputies eventually located the man, who claimed he'd been tied up and beaten overnight at Weldon's residence.
When deputies and detectives went to Weldon's home, they found they'd just missed Weldon, but did discover blood and other evidence that the beaten man had in fact been held captive there.
They also found two of Weldon's friends, Nathan Troy Coker and Charlotte Louise Azbill, at the scene in addition to various weapons, meth, and heroin.
Coker and Azbill were arrested on the various drug and weapons charges, while detectives began their initial search for Weldon.
Between Jan. 13 and Wednesday afternoon, Sisk says, his men tried to handle the situation with as little attention as possible by trying to negotiate with the District Attorney's Office for Weldon to turn himself in.
Weldon ruined that plan on Wednesday.
"We felt him turning himself in was the safest way to do it," Sisk said. "We'd been trying to negotiate him turning himself in. Then we got a call from him today (Wednesday) saying he didn't want to turn himself in, so he's the one who changed the parameters by calling in and saying he wasn't going to jail."
Now that Weldon is in custody, officials say two other people, Richard Rush and Lacy Paty, were recently arrested in Hamilton County, Tenn., and Cobb County, Ga. for their role in the kidnapping and beating of the wandering man, which kicked off the whole case.
"Those two individuals were part of the kidnapping and attempted murder incident," Captain Chris Lyons said.
Lyons added that Weldon could possibly face additional weapon and drug charges in the near future.
Sisk says Weldon would not be in custody were it not for the banding together of local law enforcement agencies during the search.
"I just want to say 'thank you' to all the agencies involved," Sisk said. "It was a pretty constant buzz Wednesday and yesterday of tips, leads, and following up of those leads. Agencies in both Georgia and Tennessee were part of the search, and we appreciate all the great work that was involved."


No Motive Behind Walker County Murder
Walker County Sheriff's Detective Burt Cagle said investigators still don't know why a LaFayette man strangled to death his pregnant girlfriend.
Cagle emphasize that the case is still under investigation.
Often times, details on motive in a murder case don't surface until the suspect goes to trial or pleads guilty.
David Ryan Walker, 29, was charged Jan. 15 with the murder of 29-year-old Candace Hankins. The couple lived at 956 Wheeler Road.
Walker has also been charged with feticide because Hankins was pregnant. A close friends has said that Hankins told family and friends she was four months pregnant with Walker's baby.
Cagle said blood samples, which are used in part to check for the presence of alcohol and drugs, were taken from Walker and Hankins. Results from the blood samples, which are standard procedure in such cases, could take about two months to return, Cagle said.


Multiple Firearms Stolen in Catoosa County Burglary

Catoosa County sheriff's detectives are investigating a burglary in which a half-dozen firearms were stolen from a residence on Post Oak Road.
Deputies were dispatched to the residence around noon Sunday, Jan. 15, after a couple reported their home had been broken into.
The couple said they left for church around 9:45 a.m. and returned home at noon to find their inside dog lying down outside in the yard, reports show.
The side door to the home was found open, as well as a ladder leading to the attic access door of the home.
It appeared as though the offender(s) entered the home through the attic access door, broke through the sheetrock ceiling to access the inside of the home, and then exited through the side door.
After deputies searched the home, the couple learned that six guns had been stolen during the incident, including two rifles, two revolvers, a shotgun, and an automatic handgun.
The guns were taken from a gun safe, which still had the key left in its keyhole, reports show.
The couple was able to provide serial number information of the guns to detectives.
Anyone with information regarding the burglary is encouraged to contact detective Daniel Thacker at the Catoosa County Sheriff's Department at 706-935-2424.


Chickamauga Man Arrested After High Speed Chase
A Chickamauga man was arrested after he allegedly tried to run over a police officer, and then crashed his car following a high-speed chase, all while his young daughter was unrestrained in the front seat, police say.
According to the Fort Oglethorpe Police Department:
James Michael Farris, 22, of Brock Road, was arrested late Tuesday night, Jan. 17, on charges of assault, aggravated child abuse or neglect, child neglect, reckless endangerment, evading arrest, and resisting arrest. His bond was set at $20,000.
The incident began just before 10:30 p.m. on Jan. 17 in Fort Oglethorpe, when officer James Davis attempted to pull Farris over along Lafayette Road due to a defective tag light.
Davis says Farris pulled over, and then threw his vehicle into reverse trying to back over him.
"I started to exit my patrol vehicle to speak to the driver, and he put the vehicle in reverse and accelerated backwards quickly nearly striking my patrol vehicle," Davis said.
Farris then allegedly circled back around and sped toward Davis again.
"He made it clear to me he was attempting to strike my vehicle and cause injury to me," Davis said.
The chase ensued along Lafayette Road, to Cloud Springs Road, and eventually onto Page Road into Tennessee, reports show.
The chase continued to I-75, and then onto I-24 before Farris finally wrecked the vehicle into the concrete median at exit 180.
Farris exited the vehicle, and appeared to be brandishing a gun at police, reports show.
"It appeared the offender was pointing
and missed, at which time Farris took off from the scene on foot.
Davis learned moments later that a little girl was actually in the passenger seat of the vehicle. Officers found her unrestrained, crying, and injured.
Farris was actually apprehended by Chattanooga police officers a few moments later, and the child was taken to T.C. Thompson Children's Hospital for medical evaluation.
On Wednesday, Jan. 18, Lt. Steve Blevins of the Fort Oglethorpe Police Department said that although officers believed Farris had a gun, one wasn't recovered.
"He reached down and grabbed for something in his waistband, and the officers saw him in possession of dark object, which is why a shot was fired," Blevins said. "They're certain he has something at the time the shot was fired."
Blevins added that the little girl is believed to be Farris' daughter, and is less than two years old.
In addition to the charges in Hamilton County, Tenn., Farris also faces charges of aggravated assault, reckless driving, first-degree cruelty to children, fleeing or attempting to elude police, and a tag light violation in Fort Oglethorpe.


The City of Ringgold Hopes to Find Decision Regarding Occupational Taxes by April

The city of Ringgold couldn't reach a final decision on its change of how to collect occupational tax from businesses by the end of 2016, but hopes to have a new plan designed by early April.
For the past 20 years or so, Ringgold has been operating under an ordinance that charges businesses a $50 application fee and a $100 occupational tax fee for 20 employees or less. That number climbs to $350 if the business has 100 employees or more, meaning the most any business would pay is $400 for the year.
Late last year the city planned to switch to a more modern ordinance, which would charge each business based on its annual revenue.
The plan was being instituted as a way for the city to increase revenue so as to keep up with operating costs associated with supplying police, water, sewer, and fire needs.
During the first reading of the new ordinance on Dec. 8, the idea met with a lot of resistance from a group of business owners, which continued into the second reading.
On Dec. 12, after a five-day dialogue with business owners that spanned two meetings, the council opted to roll with the current ordinance for a little longer and organize a committee to included some of the concerned business owners to see if their input could help create a more pleasing solution for all involved.
"Our focus is to make surehttp://www.northwestgeorgianews.com/catwalkchatt/news/ringgold-sets-timetable-for-occupational-tax-committee-to-devise-new/article_00935b7e-dd9a-11e6-b866-5ff4ba2a9576.html it's fair," Councilman Randall Franks said. "I think we can find a way to keep Ringgold business-friendly and provide the services to our city."
Councilwoman Sara Clark feels the main reason behind the response from business owners in December, was do to the change in the amounts larger businesses would have to pay with a gross receipts-type ordinance.
"They (business owners) are reacting to the big difference in what they're used to paying," Clark said.
As the dialogue between business owners and the city has progressed, multiple owners say they're not opposed to paying a higher annual occupational tax fee, but would rather pay a higher flat fee instead of one based on income scale.
During the city's most recent meeting on Jan. 9, Mayor Nick Millwood appointed Councilman Larry Black as chairman of the new committee, with the hopes of having a new plan proposed by spring.
"We set a timetable, the committee can meet how ever many times they deem necessary, and we have them bring a recommendation to us and have it ready for our retreat," Franks said.
The council unanimously voted to charge the committee with meeting between now and its Georgia Municipal Association (GMA) retreat Feb. 24, and having a recommendation in front of the council before the regularly scheduled April 10 council meeting.
"Our main objective is a timeline," Franks said. "We're charging this committee with choosing the best path amongst the options available to us


29-Year-Old LaFayette Man Charged with Killing Girlfriend
A 29-year-old LaFayette man killed his live-in girlfriend Sunday evening, Jan. 15, Walker County Sheriff Steve Wilson said Monday.
David Ryan Walker has been charged with the murder of 29-year-old Candace Ann Hankins. The couple lived at 956 Wheeler Road, Wilson said.
This is the first murder in Walker County in 2017, Wilson said.
Officials believe Hankins was pregnant, but that will have to be confirmed by an autopsy, Wilson said.
The sheriff said that Walker moved her body to a wooded area near the residence and wrapped her remains in a blanket. He contacted family members to help him dispose of the body, but the family immediately notified law enforcement, Wilson said.
Walker could face additional charges, Wilson said.
"We responded to this address (Sunday) evening around 7:25 p.m. in response to a call that a homicide may have occurred here at this address," the sheriff said. "Upon arrival, two deputies came here to do a welfare check on a female who we have been told could be in distress or could possibly be deceased. Upon arrival here, the deputies spoke to the male occupant and upon speaking with him, we further determined that the female occupant here at this home was deceased."
"At some point, we believe that the death occurred inside the home. However, the suspect either picked up the deceased or drug the deceased to the wooded area," Wilson said.
The body was located north of the house in some woods and wrapped in blanket about 75 yards from the home.
Wilson said there was no sign of a weapon, such as a gun or a knife, involved in the murder.
"We are uncertain as to the cause of death, but we believe it was possibly some type of forced trauma to the body that caused the death. As to the motive, we are not certain of that at this point," Wilson said.
No children are believed to have been at the home at the time of the murder, Wilson said.
"The suspect in this case made a telephone call to one or two relatives after the event occurred inside the home, expressing feeling remorse for what happened. One or two relatives came here to the home. He tried to enlist their help in disposing of the body and they immediately left and notified the sheriff's office as to what had occurred.
Walker's father is on the run from authorities due to a previous charge, Wilson said.
Wilson said law enforcement has been called to the residence in the past.
Alcohol was not a factor in the murder, Wilson said, but investigators will test the suspect's blood for any drugs in his system, which could take awhile to be returned.
Walker's demeanor was described as "somewhat peculiar for a suspect" when in custody, Wilson said. "You would think that a murder suspect would be somewhat nervous, apprehensive, would try to move, pacing. He was very calm and answered the deputies' questions and did not resist (arrest) in no way,"


Ringgold Getting Closer to Recycling Center
Ringgold is inching closer to opening its new recycling location downtown, which will give residents and local businesses the opportunity to better the environment.
During the most recent City Council meeting on Jan. 9, the board discussed the status of the endeavor and decided who would be eligible to use the facility.
"The fencing is up, and we're ready for the container to move in," said City Manager Dan Wright. "We're going to start promoting it and start doing our education on it to get it ready to open."
The council unanimously approved the facility being used only by city residents and businesses that are inside the city limits.
"The recycling company hasn't given us an exact date, but we're hoping for early February," Wright said.
In other business during the meeting:
- The council voted to fill the expired board positions on the Planning and Zoning Commission with Barbara Johnson, Melissa Holcombe, and Tammy Cole.
- The council ratified the appointment of five current members of the Downtown Development Authority to refill their expired terms.
- Council voted to approve the Convention and Visitor's Bureau's recommendation to go with "IT in a Box" as its new city website developer.
The City Council will meet Monday, Jan. 23 , at 7 p.m. A work session will be held at 6 p.m., prior to the regular meeting. Both are open the public.


Multiple Car Thefts in Catoosa County
The Catoosa County Sheriff's Department is investigating multiple thefts that occurred between Sunday, Jan. 8, and Wednesday, Jan. 11, in which a vehicle was stolen, and two others were ransacked.
Deputies were called out to Buran Lane in Ringgold on Jan. 8 after receiving a complaint that multiple vehicles had been gone through with multiple items stolen.
A Chevrolet Suburban and a Cadillac Escalade were rummaged through by an unknown suspect(s), with cash, credit cards, Beats headphones, a Louis Vuitton wallet, and two Louis Vuitton purses missing.
The vehicle were located next door to one another, and both residents admitted they'd left their SUVs unlocked overnight.
Three days later, on Jan. 11, a white 2000 GMC Sierra was stolen from a driveway on Colbert Hollow Road in Rock Spring.
When detectives began investigating that case, a neighbor reported seeing a suspicious male in the victim's driveway wearing a black hoodie and baseball cap.
Anyone with information about these theft cases is encouraged to contact the Catoosa County Sheriff's Department at 706-935-2424.


Arrests Made in Convenience Store Theft
Two men have been arrested in Catoosa County on burglary charges, thanks to some quick police work, after they allegedly broke into a convenience store.
According to the Fort Oglethorpe Police Department:
Daniel Lee Cooper, 24, and Jerrod Lamar Thorne, 21, both of Robert E. Lee Street in Fort Oglethorpe, were arrested on Wednesday, Jan. 12, on charges of first-degree burglary.
Bond was set for both men at $5,000, but Cooper has a hold placed on him out of Walker County due to an outstanding warrant.
Officers were dispatched to the Citgo convenience store at 2809 LaFayette Road at approximately 6:30 a.m. Jan. 12 after the store owner discovered the front glass door had been busted out with several items missing from within the store.
According to detective Sgt. Mike Goolsby, two offenders were involved, and their primary coup was several cartons of cigarettes.
"There was about $500 in damage done to the store's door and roughly $250 worth of merchandise taken," Goolsby said. "We were able to see on video two subjects hanging around the store, and then they killed the power to the building before entering."
The video showed the men beginning the burglary around 4:30 a.m. Goolsby says the department was able to rely on video from surrounding businesses.
"Several of the businesses around the store had cameras, so there's video of the subjects walking around the store," Goolsby said. "There's video of them going in, and one offender was even smoking a cigarette right in front of one of the cameras."
Goolsby also says his team was able to catch the men rather quickly thanks to aggressive police work.
"We were able to follow a trail," Goolsby said. "Officers got the call at 6:30 a.m., I got there about 7 a.m., and we got them in custody by 9 a.m. They dropped several items when they left the store, so we knew which direction they went, and were able to pinpoint a nearby house they were living in."
The men were located at house approximately 200 yards away from the store.
"We recovered all the cartons of cigarettes," Goolsby said. "The cartons had marked numbers on them from the store. Two large torch lighters, and glass smoking devices that were taken from the store were also recovered inside the residence. The items were found stashed in the attic space of the house, and there were also packs of cigarettes scattered outside the residence."
Officers also found tools believed to have been used in the burglary to cut the power to the building and break through the door.
"We had a great team effort of aggressive police work, and we were able to get them caught as quickly as we could," Goolsby said.


Ringgold Man Tased Twice After Resisting Arrest
A Ringgold man is feeling more than just the sting of jail after he allegedly tried to fight off sheriff's deputies serving him with a warrant and wound up getting tased twice during the scuffle.
According to the Catoosa County Sheriff's Department:
Kevin Wayne Brumley, 45, of Potts Road, was arrested Tuesday, Jan. 10, on three counts of obstructing officers, battery on a law enforcement officer, and first-degree burglary. His bond was set at $15,000.
Brumley first showed on the department's radar on New Year's Eve when a neighbor complained that he'd seen Brumley burglarizing the house of an elderly man on Potts Road.
The witness told police the house has been vacant for a period of time due to health issues of the owner, and that he noticed Brumley removing property from the house.
Deputies collected information about Brumley, learned that he lived down the street from the burglarized residence, and eventually took out a warrant for his arrest.
Fast-forward 10 days to noon on Jan. 10 when deputies tried to serve said warrant, and that's when things turned physical.
Two deputies were in Brumley's driveway when he pulled up in his vehicle, followed by them asking him to step out of the car and put his hands on the trunk. They explained to him that they had a warrant for his arrest, and he didn't take it well.
Brumley allegedly began swearing, and stated he wasn't going to jail, reports show.
Brumley then ran into one deputy, knocking him off the driveway, and then attempted to run from the scene.
Deputies had a hold of Brumley when Cpl. Deric North arrived and shot his taser at Brumley, striking him in the stomach.
Brumley apparently felt the need to antagonize the situation a little more by allegedly yelling "is that all you got," reports show.
Brumley, 6'4" and 210 pounds, went down to his knees a couple of moments later when a second taser shot struck him in the back.
Deputies were soon able to get Brumley off the ground, into a patrol car, and transported him to the jail without further incident.


Catoosa Commissioners Hold First Meeting of 2017
Catoosa commissioners, in their first meeting of 2017, introduced new faces, while also adjusting the way they handle penalties and interest charges on ad valorem taxes.
The meeting, held Tuesday, Jan. 3, was the first under newly-elected chairman Steven Henry, who welcomed in the new Fire & Rescue chief, Randy Camp.
Camp replaces long-time chief Chuck Nichols, who retired at the end of 2016.
"I'm excited about the opportunity," Camp said. "It's great to be back home and I feel like I am home."
Camp lives in Catoosa County and has served in the same position as Walker County's fire chief for the past 15 years.
Another recently elected newcomer, Tax Commissioner Gary Autry, had adjustments made to how his office will handle penalties and interest fees on property taxes.
County Attorney Skip Patty proposed a resolution giving Autry the power to waive those charges for individuals if he sees fit.
"This would give the tax commissioner the ability to waive only the penalties and interest if the party's failure to pay was not due to willful neglect," Patty said.
In other words, Autry can decided on a case-by-case basis to waive those extra fees if a person accrued the extra debt due to some sort of hardship.
Patty said other counties like nearby Whitfield have this practice, but that long-time tax commissioner Sandra Self didn't want that responsibility, and left those decisions up to the Board of Commissioners.
"This resolution would prevent the board from having to handle each individual case," Patty said. "The tax commissioner would need to make a notation on each case and that would then become public record."
The board unanimously approved the resolution.
In other business during the meeting:
- Commissioner Jeff Long was appointed as vice-chairman of the board as per rotation.
- The board unanimously ratified county manager Jim Walker's hiring of Cartersville native Travis Barbee as Parks and Recreation director. Barbee currently holds the same position in Tazewell, Va., and will begin his position in Catoosa County on Feb. 6.
- The board unanimously accepted a donation of 7.67 acres of land from Burner Systems, Inc. across from Propex along Rollins Industrial Blvd, with the commission to be responsible only for the cost of the deeding process.


Catoosa County Officials Push for Drug Court
A group of Catoosa County officials is pushing to institute a drug court, which would focus more on habilitating non-violent offenders than sending them to prison.
Drug courts, or "accountability courts," are designed to keep tabs on offenders, counsel them, help them with their addictions, and hopefully help them kick the bad habits and become better contributors to society.
Catoosa County Sheriff Gary Sisk says he's long been in favor of a drug court for the Lookout Mountain Judicial Circuit (LMJC), which serves Catoosa, Walker, Dade, and Chattooga counties, but that the proposal didn't gain traction for a number of years due to resistance from the circuit's long-time chief judge, Jon "Bo" Wood, who is now retired.
One of the big steps in establishing a drug court is having the chief judge of the circuit sign off on it, which is something Sisk hopes to have happen now with Kristina Cook Graham at the helm.
"It's something we've continuously been stating that there's a need for," Sisk said. Accountability courts are proven to be successful. You can only do the same thing over and over again...You have to re-evaluate what we're doing and what we're trying to accomplish."
The LMJC is one of that last remaining circuits in the state to not offer such a court.
"It says a lot when LMJC is one of only two circuits in the state that doesn't have accountability courts," Sisk said. "We need some different types of court procedures that we can utilize. We've sought federal grant money in the past, but we needed particular players at the table. ... Part of it was that our chief Superior Court judge needed to sign off on it, so we were beating our heads against the wall there."
Sisk says other players in the court system seem to be on board with the idea such as District Attorney Herbert E. "Buzz" Franklin, lead Public Defender David Dunn, and even heads of other law enforcement agencies.
"It is long overdue," Dunn said. "Most thoughtful people have long ago recognized that substance abuse is a medical problem rather than a crime problem. Trying to solve that problem by locking people in prison is not only doomed for failure, but causes tremendous harm to society as a whole. Drug court is an attempt to bring some sanity into our efforts to deal with this recognition."
Sisk says the majority of people in his Catoosa County jail at any given time are there due to a probation issue or a non-violent drug crime.
"Over 50-percent of my jail is sitting here on probation violation, which there's no bond for 60 to 90 days. ... In that time people lose jobs, homes, stuff like that, and then they fall right back into the cycle. The system we have now is continuously setting people up to fail. I'm all for being tough on crime. I have children, but I don't go right out and punish them and lock them away without showing and teaching them the right way to do things. I want to make them a better person and member of society. Save the prison for violent offenders and those who don't have any interest in changing."
Ringgold Police Chief Dan Bilbrey says he backs the proposal whole-heartedly.
"I personally am in favor of a drug court here in our judicial circuit of Catoosa County," Bilbrey said. "The reality is that we see an overwhelming number of people here in the U.S. who are incarcerated. There are a number of people incarcerated on non-violent drug issues that a drug court could manage and offer an alternative to per se incarceration and probation. The drug court could offer more to address the issues of rehabilitation, supervision, and in my opinion, recidivism rates."
Success story
Although he had to go to Whitfield County to experience it in the Conasauga Drug Court, Tunnel Hill resident Zeke Brown says the two-year program he's currently taking part in has saved his life.
"All I have are good things to say about it," Brown said. "I got caught up with drugs and it was either go to prison for 10 years, or go through this program. I've been in prison before and it didn't really help me. This program changed my addictive mind. It makes you a productive member of society and they help you get your life back if you really want it."
Brown says his program has five different phases, and that he's scheduled to complete phase five of his journey and graduate in the spring. Throughout the program, Brown has had to go to therapy and classes about addiction, drug test regularly, gain and keep employment, all of which has been overseen by the drug court. In cases where offenders slip up, they can be punished or sent to jail if they aren't complying with the requirements of the program.
"It helps you when you're stuck in a ditch. ... It's hard to get out when you need help," Brown said. "The court helped me get off drugs. It helps with your thinking, and they counsel you."
Brown says he's a different person than the man who first entered the program.
"I got my driver's license back, got to where I can see my kids again. I've been at my job for a year and a half now, and am even a lead man on our second shift," Brown said. "It's been not only good for me, but my whole family has benefitted from me getting better. They're pretty proud of me. It'll be two years in May. ... They give you the guidance and the tools to get your life back."
For now, Sisk says, he's doing as much as he can to get the ball rolling again on bringing the court here.
"Hopefully in a year or two we can get something in place here," Sisk said. "A lot of it depends on how we want to develop it. We have instituted a number of programs at the jail since I took office. ... If it saves one life, turns one person around, then that's one that wasn't getting saved or turned around before. This could really make an impact in our community."


National Guardsman Arrested in Fort Oglethorpe

A Flintstone National Guardsman was arrested in Fort Oglethorpe after allegedly crashing into two and fleeing the scene, police say.
According to the Fort Oglethorpe Police Department:
Evan Pierce Lauer, 24, of Fox Run Circle in Flintstone, was arrested Dec. 29 on charges of DUI, failure to notify owner of striking a vehicle, and failure to stop at the scene of an accident. He has been released from jail on bond.
The incident occurred around 9:15 p.m. on Dec. 29, when, witnesses say, Lauer struck a Dodge Van and a Chevrolet Impala with his 1995 Mitsubishi Eclipse, reports show.
Officers arrived at 123 Colony Circle to find Lauer bleeding from his head and claiming he'd parked his vehicle in the street, but hadn't been involved in any accident.
Officers say Lauer smelled heavily of alcohol.
"His speech was also slurred and he was very unsteady on his feet," Officer James Davis said.
Lauer claimed to have consumed three beers earlier in the night, but was more than a little fuzzy when it came to when and where he was.
"Mr. Lauer stated he thought it was 3 a.m.," Davis said. "He stated he started drinking around 10:30 p.m. and stopped around 2 a.m., but was not even 10 p.m. yet."
When officers noticed visible damage to the front of Lauer's car, he claimed it'd been there for awhile and wasn't the result of an accident earlier in the night, reports show.
A witness told officers he saw Lauer back out of a driveway into the Dodge Van that was parked on the side of the road and then drive away. A few seconds later, the witness said he hear the impact of Lauer's Eclipse striking the Chevrolet Impala, which had also been parked on the side of the road.
Lauer failed all field sobriety tests, refused medical treatment from Angel EMS for the cut on his head, and was arrested without further incident.


Fort Oglethorpe Fire Department Getting New Roof
The Fort Oglethorpe City Council awarded roofing bids on two of its fire stations, and appointed a mayor pro tem for the new year during its first meeting of 2017 on Monday, Jan. 9.
The council unanimously approved the mayor pro tem appointment of councilman Craig Crawford for 2017. Councilwoman Paula Stinnett held the position in 2016.
The council also approved bids to re-roof two fire stations; Station 8 on Old Mill Road and Station 10 on Mack Smith Road.
Each project bid was awarded at $13,500 for a total of $27,000.
"Station 8 needed the roof redone last year, but we had three others we felt needed it done first," Mayor Earl Gray said. "Station 10 is mainly a training facility, but we need to have it done to so we can have them both secure and acceptable."
Gray added that there was some surplus in the city's budget for 2016, and that he's excited about the future of the city.
"We're looking forward to 2017," Gray said. "We had a good year with good growth, and it's exciting."


Ringgold Man Arrested After Running From Cops

A Ringgold man was arrested after he allegedly ran from police and hid under a vehicle in a stranger's garage, police say.
According to the Catoosa County Sheriff's Department:
Tommy Trucker Collins, 26, of Edwards Lane, was arrested on Dec. 27 on charges of fleeing or attempting to elude, obstruction of officers, no insurance, criminal trespassing, driving on while license suspended, failure to stop at a stop sign, suspended registration, possession of amphetamine, and a cracked windshield.
Collins was released from jail on bond three days later on Dec. 30.
Deputy Katherine Moody encountered Collins along U.S. 41 near Graysville Road around 4:30 p.m. that day and attempted to pull him over due to a heavily damaged windshield.
Collins had other ideas, and instead kept on driving unphased.
"Mr. Collins stuck his hand out of the window gesturing that he was going to pull over, but continued at his rate of speed," deputy Moody said.
Collins eventually made it to McLemore Lane, where he finally stopped the car and took off from Moody on foot.
"He jumped the fence into a yard off Cindy Lane," Moody said.
Moody shot her taser at Collins, but missed, reports show.
Additional officers arrived shortly thereafter, and helped search the area for Collins.
Eventually, a resident on Cindy Lane exited his home with a shotgun in hand and informed officers that a white male had run into his garage.
Moody and two others were able to find Collins hiding under a vehicle in the man's garage, reports show.
Collins was taken into custody without further incident, and dispatch reported that he also had an outstanding warrant out for possession of methamphetamine.
Collins is no stranger to the Sheriff's Department. In December 2010, he was arrested on multiple obstruction, assault, and battery charges when he threatened deputies and kicked out the window of a patrol car while being arrested for domestic violence.


Fort Oglethorpe Turns 68-Years-Old
Fort Oglethorpe is a New Year's baby – born January 1, 1949. The city turned 68 years old the first of this month. Its siblings, Ringgold and Catoosa County, by contrast, are ancient at 169 and 163 years old.
Fort Oglethorpe, as a fort, served as a training and processing center for U.S. soldiers beginning in 1902. It also served as a prisoner of war camp for housing German soldiers during WWI. During WWII, the fort was one of the largest training grounds for the WACs – Women’s Army Corps. (The training grounds for both wars also included a large portion of Chickamauga Battlefield.)
At its height, the fort boasted hundreds of buildings, everything from barracks to stables, a black smith, a church, theaters – everything needed to support the thousands of men and women who lived at it temporarily. There were even pool and tennis facilities installed for the enjoyment of military trainers and trainees.
But Fort Oglethorpe was still a fort, not a city.
In 1946, the Army decommissioned the fort, lowered the flag, and the buildings were sold off to the public. Many of the buildings were dismantled for their construction materials, but there were still enough left to merit the idea of forming a small town. Besides the barracks and houses on Barnhardt Circle, as well as original fort buildings along Lafayette Road and surrounding the hospital, there were dozens of houses pre-dating the closure of the fort, including most on Forrest Road, Eaton Circle, Harker Road, Pegram Circle, and numerous other roads, all built around 1940. There were houses as far away as Cloud Springs Road. built in the 1920s and 1930s.
On November 13, 1948, the Chattanooga News-Free Press reported that "a five-man committee was named to investigate the feasibility of incorporating the former military post as a municipality." The committee’s proposal was approved by the Georgia legislature and the official date set as the beginning of Fort Oglethorpe as a city was January 1, 1949.
On April 4, 1949, the City of Fort Oglethorpe held its first elections. Business owner John F. McCloy, running on the "Community" ticket, beat attorney Alphonso Barger, running on the Democratic ticket, for the position of the city’s first mayor. Council members were also elected and the city had a government.


The Ringgold Playhouse Offering Season Tickets
Now that the new year is in full swing, The Ringgold Playhouse (TRP) announces that 2017 season tickets are on sale so theatergoers can see the entire mainstage lineup for one streamlined price.
TRP has four mainstage shows slated for its 2017 lineup from February through September, with tickets costing $10 each. With the 2017 season ticket package, audience members can get a ticket to all four productions for only $30.
"It's something we do every year to take care of the folks that repeatedly come out to see us throughout the year," said TRP Executive Director Adam Cook. "Audiences have really been great to us since we began this theatre, so it's the least we can do to essentially give them one of the shows for free."
TRP’s 2017 season
"Southern Fried Funeral" by Osborne and Eppier
Dewey Frye is dead and the rest of his family is left to pick up the pieces -- that is if they don't kill each other first. Not only does matriarch Dorothy have to contend with sudden widowhood, but she’s also faced with church committee harpy Ozella Meeks sticking her nose in the family business, Dewey’s snake-in-the-grass brother making a grab for her house, and two grown daughters reliving their childhood rivalry. Funerals bring out the worst, the best, and the funniest in peopl -- and the Fryes are no exception. Penned by the duo of Osborne and Eppier, "Southern Fried Funeral" is a big-hearted comedy about family -- Southern-style.
Performance dates are Feb. 23-25 and March 2-4.
"Rabbit Hole" by David Lindsay-Abaire
David Lindsay-Abaire’s 2007 Pulitzer Prize-winning play about a couple’s struggle to deal with the loss of their young son. Becca and Howie Corbett have everything a family could want, until a life-shattering accident turns their world upside down and leaves the couple drifting perilously apart. "Rabbit Hole" charts their bittersweet search for comfort in the darkest of places and for a path that will lead them back into the light of day.
Performance dates are April 20-22 and 27-29
"Lend Me a Tenor" by Ken Ludwig
This Ludwig farce is set in September 1934. Saunders, the general manager of the Cleveland Grand Opera Company, is primed to welcome world famous Tito Morelli, II Stupendo, the greatest tenor of his generation, to appear for one night only as "Otello." The star arrives late and, through a hilarious series of mishaps, is given a double dose of tranquilizers and passes out. His pulse is so low that Saunders and his assistant, Max believe he’s dead. In a frantic attempt to salvage the evening, Saunders persuades Max to get into Morelli’s "Otello" costume and fool the audience into thinking he’s II Stupendo. Max succeeds admirably, but Morelli comes to, and gets into his other costume ready to perform. Now two Otellos are running around in costume and two women are running around in lingerie, each thinking she is with II Stupendo. A sensation on Broadway and in London's West End, this madcap, screwball comedy is guaranteed to leave audiences teary-eyed with laughter.
Performance dates are July 20-22 and 27-29
"Buried Child" by Sam Shepard
Shepard’s 1979 Pulitzer Prize winning story is set in a squalid farm home occupied by a family filled with suppressed violence and an unease born of deep-seated unhappiness. The characters are a ranting alcoholic grandfather; a sanctimonious grandmother who goes on drinking bouts with the local minister; and their sons, Tilden, an All-American footballer now a hulking semi-idiot; and Bradley, who has lost one of his legs to a chainsaw. Into their midst comes Vince, a grandson none of them recognizes or remembers, and his girlfriend, Shelly, who cannot comprehend the madness to which she is suddenly introduced. The family harbors a dark secret—years earlier the grandfather, Dodge, buried an unwanted newborn baby in an undisclosed spot. Will the family continue to suppress their past, or will the truth finally be unearthed?
Performance dates are Sept. 14-16 and 21-23.
2017 season tickets can be purchased online at cityofringgold.com., in person at Ringgold City Hall, or over the phone at 706-935-3061.


Man Turns Self in For Armed Robbery
A man wanted for his role in an alleged armed robbery in Fort Oglethorpe recently turned himself into police, but detectives are still searching for his partner.
The two men, Peyton Gunter and Michael King, allegedly held up a Fort Oglethorpe resident on Tuesday, Dec. 27.
Twenty-two-year-old Michael Anthony King, of Pin Oak Road in Ringgold, turned himself in on Monday, Jan. 1, and has been charged with one count of armed robbery.
King has been denied bond at this time.
Detectives say the incident occurred on Cross Street. "The offenders physically assaulted the resident and took his money," Lt. Steve Blevins said. The victim didn't suffer any major injuries.
The Fort Oglethorpe Police Department is still looking for Gunter, whom they consider to be "armed and dangerous." Residents are urged to use caution and not attempt to approach or confront him.
Anyone with information about the case or the two men is encouraged to contact Detective Tammy Davis at 706-866-2512.


Tennessee Man Behind Bars in Catoosa County

A Tennessee man is behind bars in Catoosa County facing numerous charges after he allegedly led local authorities on a high-speed chase in a car he stole from a gas station, police say.
According to the Catoosa County Sheriff's Department:
Terry Ray Davis, 47, of Scott Avenue in Etowah, Tenn., was arrested Dec. 27 on two counts of weaving, speeding, two counts of fleeing or attempting to elude police officers, reckless driving, DUI, public drunkenness, theft by receiving stolen property, obstruction of officers, striking a fixed object, driving on the wrong side of the road, and criminal trespassing. Davis remains in Catoosa County jail with bond set at $29,100.
Davis first fell on the radar of the Ringgold Police Department when he allegedly took off in a stolen car from the Mapco Mart at the corner of Nashville Street and Ga. Highway 151 (Alabama Highway) Monday night, Dec. 26.
Other local agencies were notified to be on the lookout for a bright red Hyundai Genesis, and at approximately 7:45 p.m. Lt. Jake Hollis spotted the car along U.S. Highway 41 near Winkle Road, reports show.
Hollis says the vehicle was driving erratically, weaving into the wrong lane of traffic on multiple occasions, and even running as high as 80 mph in a 45-mph zone at one point.
Davis refused to pull the car over when Hollis tried to initiate traffic stops, and the chase wound up on and around Roach Hollow Road.
"In the area of Mark Lane, the vehicle failed to maintain its lane as it rapidly slowed, appearing to have some type of mechanical problem," Hollis said.
Hollis says Davis nearly struck some pedestrians who were walking near Roberson Lane, and ended up traveling onto a dirt road on a piece of private property, reports show.
"The vehicle abruptly took off again traveling down a very rough dirt road striking several trees along the way," Hollis said.
A few moments later, Hollis, other deputies, and a state trooper found the car abandoned along the road.
Shortly thereafter, Davis was found heavily intoxicated at a residence on Roberson Lane.
Detective Patrick Mason with Ringgold PD arrived to question Davis about the vehicle theft.
After being arrested, Davis claimed he "borrowed" the vehicle from someone at the gas station who'd left it running unattended.


Fort Oglethorpe Police Searching For Two Men
Fort Oglethorpe police are searching for two men who allegedly held up a Fort Oglethorpe resident on Tuesday, Dec. 27.
Detectives are asking for the public's help in locating two men of interest in the case, Peyton Gunter and Michael King.
Detectives say the incident occurred on Cross Street, where a resident was held up, assaulted, and subsequently robbed.
" The offenders physically assaulted the resident and took his money," Lt. Steve Blevins said.
The victim didn't suffer any major injuries.
The Fort Oglethorpe Police Departmetn considers the two men to be "armed and dangerous" and urges residents to not approach or confront them.
Anyone with information about the case or the two men is encouraged to contact Detective Tammy Davis at 706-866-2512.


Rossville Man Arrested for Molestation Charges
A Rossville man was arrested in Catoosa County after he allegedly molested a 14-year-old girl, police say.
According to the Catoosa County Sheriff's Department:
Randy Dean Gowan, 58, Palm Beach Avenue, was arrested Thursday, Dec. 15, on two counts of aggravated child molestation.
Investigation into Gowan began in late November after the child told officials at her school about the alleged abuse.
Catoosa County's Department of Family and Children Services got involved on Nov. 29, as did sheriff's detective Freddie Roden.
The girl stated Gowan had asked her to perform sexual acts with him on more than one occasion.
During the investigation, warrants were obtained for Gowan's arrest on Dec. 12 and he was arrested three days later on Dec. 15.
According to jail records, Gowan has been released from jail on bond.


RHS Students Sponsor's Foster Children for Christmas

A room at Ringgold High School looked like Santa’s workshop the afternoon of Dec. 13. Two dozen RHS elves worked with their teacher, Rosanne Hendricks, on a gift project that started the month before with thousands of paper turkey feathers.
"We partner with the Catoosa County Department of Family and Children Services to sponsor foster children for Christmas each year," Hendricks says of her students. "We’re buying for four children this year." The partnership is a decade old.
To raise money to buy gifts for the children, students hold a "Thank a Teacher Turkey Fundraiser." They sell paper turkey feathers, vying to ensure their teacher gets the most, so she or he can earn the title of "Biggest Turkey at Ringgold High School."
"The winning teacher gets a frozen turkey and a certificate of recognition, but every cent of the proceeds goes into a fund to purchase Christmas gifts for the foster children," says Hendricks. This year’s winner was Mrs. Ashley Holcomb.
The fundraising begins, appropriately, in November. Students and teachers cut out endless turkey feathers and sold them throughout the month for 25 cents each. "We raised $1400," says Hendricks, who teaches Early Childhood Education at the high school and is an advisor for Family, Career and Community Leaders of America students.
With their money raised, students went Christmas shopping at Walmart. The next step was wrapping the huge pile of toys and clothes. The hubbub of happy elves pulling gift wrap off cardboard tubes and eyeing it for size, snip, snip, snipping it with scissors and securing it with tape, ended with four large piles of presents and several students surveying them to make sure they looked even.
"Other groups in the school are also sponsoring foster children for Christmas," says Hendricks, "the National Honor Society, the Beta Club and the Tiger Band Color Guard. It’s a very personal way for students to reach out to their community and experience the joy of giving."


Catoosa Citizens for Animal Care Recieves Grant from Petco
Catoosa Citizens for Animal Care was ecstatic to receive an email on Nov. 17 that read: The Petco Foundation is thrilled to support the lifesaving work you do by granting your organization the amount of $8,000.
"This will help so many animals," says Sara DeBerry, CCAC volunteer. "I’m over the moon about this! We’re so grateful!"
The Catoosa County non-profit animal welfare group applied for the Petco Foundation grant in July. "We were asking for help with vet care, including wellness checks, spay/neuter and vaccinations, for animals we rescue from the county shelter when no one claims them and their adoption time is up," says DeBerry. CCAC places the animals in foster homes until they can find permanent homes for them or until they can transfer them to one of the rescues with which they partner.
CCAC received notice in November that they’d won the grant. On Dec. 15, a ceremony celebrating the grant award was held at the Fort Oglethorpe Petco on Battlefield Parkway. Petco’s District Leader, Merrill Malone, and the Store Leader, Rhonda Greeson, conducted a public presentation of the $8,000 check from the Petco Foundation.
This is the second grant the Petco Foundation has made to CCAC to help with their animal rescue operation. The first was for $5,000 in 2014.
On Dec. 6, CCAC reported on their Facebook page that they managed the rescue of 18 dogs in one day. Thanks to the Petco Foundation grant they’d received just weeks earlier, they were able to cover veterinary and other care for the dogs before they transferred them to partner rescue groups for adoption.
"The Petco Foundation grant makes it possible for us to keep dogs and cats from being euthanized when there are people waiting to take them in as their own," says DeBerry.


Dalton Bicycle Shop Closing

DALTON, Ga. — The wheels have been turning at the Bear Creek Bicycle company for almost 10 years. Owner Shane Adams loved running the shop and has ridden through a handful of holiday seasons; This year, will be his last.
"We just can't be competitive," Adams said. "It's impossible for us to be on a level playing field with the internet."
Adams says online retail has a competitive advantage over small businesses, including his own.
"I see it in our community," he said. "I see bikes that came off the internet. I see accessories come off the internet. I don't begrudge those customers for making those purchases."

Out of Towners Arrested on Drug Charges

Three out-of-towners landed in the Catoosa County jail on drug charges after Ringgold police officers found methamphetamine and cash in their possession while they were traveling to Kentucky from Atlanta along I-75.
According to the Ringgold Police Department:
April Nicole Sizemore, 29, of Kentucky, Melody Jacqueline Lemar, 36, of Kentucky, and Jessica Kathryn Flannery, 25, of Gray, Ga., were arrested on Thursday, Dec. 8, on a charge of trafficking methamphetamine.
Sizemore gained additional charges of giving false information to officers, driving while license suspended, and affixed window tint.
The trio was pulled over on I-75 in Ringgold at 11:13 p.m. on Dec. 8 after the Chevrolet Malibu they were traveling in had illegal window tinting on it, reports show.
Officer Brison Strickland says Sizemore, who was driving, initially gave him a fake ID and gave inconsistent stories of how she knew the other two ladies in the vehicle.
The trio stated they'd been in Atlanta visiting a friend, and that they were traveling back to Kentucky.
After a few minutes of questioning, Strickland says Jessica Flannery admitted that the women had drugs in the vehicle.
"Ms. Flannery began crying and handed me a grocery bag," Strickland said. "I asked her what was in the bag, and she said, 'meth'."
Inside the grocery bag, officers found two large Ziploc bags containing a crystalline substance.
Strickland says that neither of the women wanted to claim ownership of the drugs, and that a large sum of cash was found in the vehicle.
"A white wallet located under the passenger seat contained $1,118, and then a small bag contained coins totaling the amount to $1,169.12," Strickland said.


Debate Sparked Over New Fire Chief
The Catoosa County commission's decision to override the selection process and county manager's recommendation regarding the search for a new fire chief has sparked debate — and a revision of the county code.
What seemed like an innocuous housekeeping matter instead resurrected charges that the county too often operates as a "good ole boys" network.
The Dec. 6 commission meeting opened with a public hearing about amending the duties assigned to the county manager by requiring the commissioners approving anyone hired by the manager to head a department.
As presented by County Attorney Chad Young, the amendment would clarify and remove conflicting wording about the manager's job. Chief among the changes would be that once adopted as law, the manager's hiring of department heads would require full commission approval.
Commission Chairman Keith Greene asked why such a change was necessary, saying it could take the liability for day-to-day operations away from the manager and make it the commission's.
Catoosa County operates with an elected five-member commission, which in turn hires someone to oversee the county's employees and put in place the commission's decisions.
Greene said "the manager hires those he feels are best suited to the job" and it dilutes the manager's authority if his decisions are overridden.
Young said he was following the wishes of the commissioners in drafting the amendment, and that the change did nothing to change liability.
Speaking of the particular incident that sparked the change, Greene noted that a recently hired department head was not the first, second or even third choice among a list of candidates to replace Fire Chief Chuck Nichols, who is retiring.
County Manager Jim Walker said the selection process began when the job opening was announced in September with about 15 applications being submitted for consideration by himself and Human Resources Director Ann Cain.
After a preliminary review, the applications were turned over to six well-respected fire chiefs in the state. From the 15, Walker said seven semi-finalists were chosen. They in turn were interviewed one-on-one by a panel of three highly regarded chiefs.
At the conclusion of that panel's interviews, four candidates were selected for individual interviews with the county manager. Walker said he met with the commissioners during executive session to present his final four.
"There was a strong push for someone with local experience," he said, leading the selection of Walker County Fire Chief Randy Camp to become Catoosa's new fire chief.
Commission chairman Greene, who after losing his reelection bid in November will vacate his post at year's end, said he feels the manager is hired to do a job — to manage. Taking away his authority to manage "could result in a return to the 'good ole boy network'" where connections rather than qualifications are a major factor in who is or is not chosen to lead.
Commission Chairman-elect Stephen Henry asked to address the commission meeting as a county resident and as someone who will soon join the Board of Commissioners.
Henry said no one on the commission had spoken with him about Camp's being hired as chief. And, he said, the training sessions he underwent to prepare him to become a commissioner stressed the importance of not allowing the appearance of cronyism to occur.
Commissioner Jeff Long said that he has taken the same training courses, but also is aware that the decision to have a manager's hiring practices fall under the ultimate control of elected representatives is common.
Both Long and Commissioner Ray Johnson have years of experience with local fire departments -- Johnson as a volunteer firefighter and Long as both a firefighter and as a battalion chief.
Johnson, the most junior of those serving on the Board of Commissioners, said he too has attended the same training classes as Henry and Long.
"I see nothing wrong with the change," he said, regarding the amendment..
Discussion among the commissioners remained civil throughout the hearing and, later, the regularly scheduled meeting.
During the meeting, Greene made a motion to table the proposed amendment, but that motion died for lack of a second.
Instead, Johnson made a motion, seconded by Long, to adopt the amendment.
Before voting, Greene again raised his objections that if approved it would undermine the county manager and possibly lead to micro-management by the elected commissioners.
Long noted that state officials have said the matter is workable either way — either as the matter stood or as modified.
Commissioner Jim Cutler said he and his fellow commissioners were trying to work with, not against, the county manager, but "want a joint voice with the hiring of department heads."
Greene responded that the commissioners are already involved in the department head process if someone is being terminated — that the commission can override a manager's decision to fire someone.
"We hire the manager," he said. "If we approve him, we should approve his choices."
Not doing so allows the commission to circumvent any of the manager's choices.
"In every hire, there is risk," he said.
Commissioner Bobby Winters voted along with Long, Cutler and Johnson to adopt the amendment by a 4-1 margin, with Greene being the only commissioner against the amendment.
Afterwards, Walker said he was "fine with the commission having a public vote to ratify my decision" and that their confirmation is really a continuation of the selection process that already is in place — not a change in the pattern of reviewing applicants for all departmental leadership positions.


Ringgold Man Behind Bars After

Vandilizing Police Vehicles
A Ringgold man is behind bars in Catoosa County facing multiple felony charges after he allegedly vandalized four police vehicles at City Hall and was involved in a theft with damage at a local business.
According to the Ringgold Police Department:
William "Billy" Lindsay Stephens, 44, of LQ Ware Lane was arrested Dec. 6 on charges of theft, entering an auto, criminal damage to property, and interference with government property. His bond has been set at $12,500.
On Tuesday morning, Dec. 6, Police Chief Dan Bilbrey was alerted to vandalism on City Hall property, which included visible damage to several police vehicles.
"We had a stop sign on top of the light bar on the roof of a vehicle, a concrete block on a hood, and tires on windshields," Bilbrey said. "We had four of our vehicles damaged, and probably thousands of dollars worth of damage."
A propane bottle was also found on the hood of a Georgia probation vehicle that'd been left parked at City Hall, as well as writing on City Hall windows, and used tires strewn about, reports show.
"We had city court the previous night, so we were under the belief that the incident may have been attributed to court," Bilbrey said.
Video surveillance footage was reviewed from the City Hall cameras, which appeared to show the offender driving an extended-cab Ford truck.
The police department was then notified of another incident at the Five Star Foods, in which someone had trespassed and damaged their property.
Video surveillance was reviewed at Five Star Foods, which showed the same man from City Hall committing the crimes.
Bilbrey says his staff was able to post photos of the man on social media and were able to get him identified pretty quickly.
"We received information that our suspect was Billy Stephens of Ringgold," Bilbrey said.
Officers were able to track Stephens down and take him into custody. Bilbrey says Stephens confessed to being responsible for both incidents when interviewed by detectives.


City Council Opts to Hold Off
New Occupational Tax Ordinance
After a five-day stretch of dialogue between the city of Ringgold and some of its business owners, the council has opted to hold off on creating a new occupational tax ordinance so to better evaluate a solution with input from those business owners.
"Our focus is to make sure it's fair," Councilman Randall Franks said. "I think we can find a way to keep Ringgold business-friendly and provide the services to our city."
For weeks the city has been evaluating the current occupational tax ordinance with the plan of switching from a flat fee system for business licenses to a tax based on each businesses' gross receipts.
For the past 20 years or so, Ringgold has been operating under an ordinance that charges businesses a $50 application fee and a $100 occupational tax fee for 20 employees or less. That number climbs to $350 if the business has 100 employees or more, meaning the most any business would pay is $400 for the year.
During a public hearing on Dec. 8, the council discussed the first reading of a revamped ordinance that would look to charge each business a specified amount based on its gross receipts from the previous year, a plan designed to make sure a multi-million dollar business didn't pay the same minimal fee as a small family-owned coffee shop.
During that hearing, a number of business owners said they didn't mind an increase in fees, but that they would rather pay a higher flat fee than have to spend more money on accounting to figure out how much they'd owe under the new ordinance.
That same sentiment carried over into Monday night's second reading of the ordinance, in which those business owners and a handful of new ones offered up the same opinion.
"We did $44 million in gross receipts last year," said LeBron Clark of Mountain View Chevrolet. "That'd be about $8,500 (fee). ... That's an increase of over 8,000 percent. I really don't think it's fair to the larger business owners."
Clark said he has 64 employees, many of whom live in the city and contribute to the local economy daily. He also pointed out that larger businesses already pay more in taxes and are usually the first to contribute to the city during events like the 1890's Day Jamboree, and sponsoring local sports teams.
"It's just not fair to come to us and say, 'hey, you're not a doctor, but you're putting twice as much into our economy, so we're going to tax you more than we tax them'. I mean, how can you justify over an 8,000-percent increase in tax?"
In fairness, the sliding scale the council presented would cap out the gross receipts in a "$14 million and up" bracket, meaning no business, no matter the classification, would have to pay more than $6,475 annually.
Business owner Craig Pruce described the tax as an "unenforceable" law, while tax attorney Wayne Peters, who represents a lot of the businesses in town, talked about the headaches a sliding scale based on receipts would create for each business owner.
"This would create cumbersome procedures required for each business to comply with this ordinance," Peters said. "Ringgold is known as a business-friendly city. ... We have a lot of good will you're about to throw away to get more taxes."
Peters described the new ordinance as creation of a complete new income tax system with its own set of rules, which would impose unnecessary expense on the business owners.
"It's going to cost more to comply than they'll pay you in taxes," Peters said. "I think if these business want to contest this, they could be successful in having it thrown out."
During the comments from the business owners, Councilwoman Sara Clark said she understands the concern over the gross receipts, but asked for a solution on how to set up a flat fee.
"How do you all propose we determine what the flat fee is?" Clark asked.
That question ultimately led to the council's decision to hold off on approving the ordinance.
The mayor and some council members weren't keen on approving something with so many questions surrounding it.
"I personally think this is a mistake," Mayor Nick Millwood said. "I understand it. ... It's tough to meet our city's expenses, but I'm worried about our city losing its branding as 'business-friendly'. I'd encourage the council to vote this down."
Mayor Pro Tem Terry Crawford echoed that thinking.
"I can't vote for this," Crawford said. "It's not something we need to jump on. We need more time to look at this."
Clark admitted that the city needs the revenue increase to keep up with costs of furnishing water, roads, police and fire protection to residents, but still came back to determining how a higher flat fee system could appease those needs and keep businesses happy.
Councilman Franks proposed forming a committee with some of the business owners and find a solution as a group.
All the business owners in attendance were in favor of taking part and signed up for the committee.
A new ordinance would need to be approved and in place by Dec. 31 in order for it to take effect in 2017.
The likelihood of getting the committee created and in agreement on a new ordinance over the next 19 days seems small, meaning the city may have to continue with its current ordinance for another year before having something new in place for 2018.
The 1-1/2-hour discussion included some great dialogue from both sides and seemed to go a long way in creating a fair solution for all involved.
"I feel like nobody lost here tonight," business owner Alvin Mashburn said.


Ringgold Playhouse Celebrates 2016 Season
with their Third Annual Awards Banquet

The Ringgold Playhouse celebrated its 2016 season Thursday night, Nov. 17, by holding its third annual awards banquet to recognize the theatre created on the Depot stage during the year.
This year's season included the hilarious comedies "The Nerd," and "Noises Off," as well as the classic Tennessee Williams drama "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof," and the company's first original work, "The Storm."
"We had a great year," said Adam Cook, Ringgold Playhouse executive director. "We took on some challenging shows and feel like we really gave our audiences great entertainment they'll remember for a long time."
The haunting drama, "The Storm," took home multiple awards, including Best Actor in a Drama (John Hammons), Best Actress in a Drama (Laurie Shaw), Best Supporting Actress (Jesica Womack) Best Costume Design, and the coveted Production of the Year.
"It's awesome when a great show with such a great cast and such a great message gets the recognition it deserves," said Chuck Nalley, who was one of 21 actors to take part in their first production with the still relatively new company.
After opening with its first production in the summer of 2013, the final show of 2016 marked the company's 12th production.
"The company has grown really fast in a short amount of time," Cook said. "Audiences gave us a chance in the beginning, and we've worked really hard to keep producing quality work so they'll continue to come be entertained by this great theatre. Having 21 new actors join us is huge...it means a lot that performers see what we're doing over here and want to be a part of it."
Ringgold Playhouse's 2017 will begin pre-production soon when it holds its first round of auditions for "Southern Fried Funeral" on Dec. 12 and 14.
More information about the company and auditions can be found at cityofringgold.com.
Complete list of TRP award winners
- Best Costume Design: "The Storm."
- Best Set Design: "Noises Off."
- Best Ensemble Cast: "Noises Off."
- Volunteer of the Year: Ronald King
- Outstanding TRP Debut Performance: Whitney Standefer in "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof."
- Best Supporting Actor: Ed Huckabee in "Noises Off."
- Best Supporting Actress: Jesica Womack in "The Storm."
- Best On-stage Duo in a Comedy: Daniel Pound and Kimberly Tyner Jones in "Noises Off."
- Best On-stage Duo in a Drama: John Hammons and Chuck Nalley in "The Storm."
- Best Actress in a Comedy: Kimberly Tyner Jones in "Noises Off."
- Best Actor in a Comedy: Adam Cook in "The Nerd."
- Best Actress in a Drama: Laurie Shaw in "The Storm."
- Best Actor in a Drama: John Hammons in "The Storm."
- Production of the Year: "The Storm."


Twins Pizza Offers Free Meal on Christmas

Twins Pizza & Steaks in LaFayette will once again offer a free meal for those interested and need a place to go eat on Christmas Day.
According to owner Kyriakos “Key” Koukos, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. a free lunch will be served and free toys will be available for children as well.
Koukos does the free Christmas meal as an honor to his late son, Chris Koukos, and his late stepson, Dean Carney.
This is the fifth year Koukos has hosted the free meal, which was started as a memorial to his son, 31-year-old Chris Koukos, who died on Jan. 31, 2008. Koukos also includes Carney, who passed away afterwards.
Twins Pizza and Steaks is at 1103 N. Main St. To contact Twins Pizza and Steaks, call 706-638-1125.


City of Ringgold Public Hearing
The city of Ringgold held a public hearing Thursday night, Dec. 8, as part of the process for changing the way it collects occupational tax from local businesses, and business owners weren't shy about expressing their concerns on the matter.
"I feel like it's going to bring the community down," said business owner John Attardo.
For years Ringgold's occupational tax ordinance has consisted of a $100 flat fee for businesses per year. Now, the council is looking to switch to a collection plan based on each company's gross receipts, which is the norm for a lot of other cities like Fort Oglethorpe.
"We're trying to be more of a progressive city," said Councilman Larry Black. "This would be a sliding scale based on gross receipts. ... It'll still be small for small businesses, but more significant for bigger businesses."
Based on the option the council was initially leaning toward, each business would be charged a percentage based on which tier of sales they fall into.
"We have $0 to $199,000, $200,000 to $399,000, $400-$699,000, and so on," Black said.
For example, a business bringing in $1 million in gross receipts would pay $473 in occupational tax for the year. A $10 million business would be charged $3,604 annually, and a $20 million business would have to pay $6,464 annually for their occupational tax license versus a flat $100 fee.
State law sets the market for practitioners such as lawyers, doctors, dentists, and veterinarians at a $400 maximum. Those business can also opt for the gross receipts plan if they feel their earnings would bring them in at less than that max.
Contractor Jerry Hawthorne addressed some of his concerns, such as how out-of-town sales would factor in, and extra work placed on each business to get the detailed material needed to the city.
"I don't mind paying a fair share, but there's a lot to think about," Hawthorne said. "I'd rather have a flat fee though than having to pay an accountant more to figure out what we're going to owe. ... It's less cumbersome that way."
Long-time Ringgold businessman Alvin Mashburn also spoke about his multiple businesses and properties.
"Gross don't mean nothing. It's net that matters," Mashburn said. "I pay $150,000 in property taxes already. ... You're not taking expenses into account here."
Like Hawthorne, Mashburn says he'd rather there be a flat number set.
"I'd rather pay $400 per year than hire an accountant to figure out how to pay y'all on gross receipts," Mashburn said. "Plus if it's a higher flat fee, that might be more money that y'all end up getting that way."
Councilwoman Sara Clark says she understands all the points brought up during the hearing and is open to finding the best solution for everyone.
"The bigger businesses should pay more, and we want to not have it as unequal as it is right now," Clark said. "It does get complicated when you try to change things."
After being behind the pack in recent years, the city admits that raising the tax based on each businesses' sales is just part of growing as a city.
Councilman Randall Franks said the city averages bringing in around $40,000 per year from the occupational tax it collects from businesses, and that number would be expected to jump to around the $140,000 per year mark under a gross receipts format.
"We've been low for a number of years," Councilman Jake Haynes said. "Our police chief has been asking us for more officers. ... A $100,000 increase in revenue is more money. ... We could maybe get a couple of officers with that. Progress hurts sometimes, and this is progress."
The council ultimately approved the first reading of the new ordinance to fall in line with its plan of getting a new ordinance approved before the end of the year.
However, multiple council members did say they want to take the concerns of the business owners into consideration as they look over the options while trying to make the best decision.
"We don't want to run anybody out of Ringgold," said Mayor Pro Tem Terry Crawford. "I love it here. Give us time to look at this so we can make a decision and be fair to everybody."
A second reading of the ordinance is slated to take place Monday, Dec. 12, at 7 p.m. at the City Council's next regular meeting.


Catoosa County Woman Featured in Sketch on SNL
A Catoosa County sign language interpreter had a pretty eventful weekend after she auditioned for a small role on NBC's "Saturday Night Live" and was then featured in a digital sketch that aired Saturday night, Dec. 3.
Jodi Upton, a long-time sign language interpreter in the community currently working at Heritage High School, says she was informed of the opportunity by a friend in New York, and before she knew it, she was flying to the Big Apple to take part in the long-running sketch comedy show.
"I got an email saying that SNL was looking for an interpreter for a sketch after a friend in New York gave them my name," Upton said. "They sent me some lyrics and asked me to send a video of myself signing the lyrics and that they would show their director. I did, and then got an email later that afternoon saying they'd like to use me."
Before accepting the job, Upton says, she made sure she was being cast as an actual interpreter.
"If they were going to be doing a fake deaf person thing, then I wouldn't have taken the job because that would be stealing a job from a deaf actor," she said. "I was assured that was not the case, so I took the job."
Upton says she flew out of Chattanooga to New York at 7 a.m. Friday and spent most of the day at the studio shooting the sketch before returning home early Saturday morning.
"It was an amazing experience, everyone was ridiculously nice to me," Upton said.
The sketch was a 1990s-themed one called "The Christmas Candle" (https://youtu.be/_L5Xkb78KxY), featuring SNL regulars Vanessa Bayer, Kate McKinnon, Aidy Bryant, and the night's host, Emma Stone. The musical sketch poked fun at a group of women who re-gift candles as last minute Christmas presents.
Upton says she had fun with the costuming, the great people, and even managed to run into a couple of the cast members.
When the sketch aired during Saturday night's episode, Upton says her Facebook page and phone blew up with congratulations from friends and family.
In addition to interpreting in the Catoosa County School System, Upton also interprets for theatre performances at the Catoosa County Colonnade.
Her adventurous weekend was kind of humorous considering her oldest daughter is currently away studying musical theater in Oklahoma.
"It's ironic that Arlena is away at theater school," Upton said. "She's dying to get to New York City, and I get a paid acting gig there before her."


Catoosa County Man Arrested for Theft and Burglary
A Catoosa County man possibly connected to multiple theft and burglary cases is in jail without bond after he allegedly ran from sheriff's deputies, and then spent the night hiding out in the woods, police say.
According to the Catoosa County Sheriff's Department:
Robert Dewayne Walden, 28, of Old Field Lane in Ringgold, was arrested Friday, Dec. 2, on charges of fleeing/attempting to elude, obstruction or hindering law enforcement, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, operating a vehicle without a valid tag, no proof of insurance, driving without a valid license, and acquiring a license plate for the purposes of concealing the identification of a motor vehicle.
Walden has been denied bond.
Deputy Brittany Gilleland was the first to encounter Walden Thursday night, Dec. 1, when she was called out to the 300 block of Hullender Hollow Road regarding a suspicious vehicle around 7:30 p.m..
An alert resident in that neighborhood called 911 after seeing a suspicious Dodge Dakota truck, which is believed to have been used in multiple burglaries in the area.
Gilleland arrived in time to confront the vehicle and driver as he was attempting to leave, reports show.
Gilleland says she got out of her patrol car, at which time Walden put the truck in reverse, and then led a chase down the street, through a resident's yard, and around a house.
Eventually, Walden ditched the truck and took off on foot into the woods, reports show.
Deputies quickly discovered the tag on the truck didn't match up, and the VIN number revealed the vehicle to be registered out of state.
Walden's father, who lives near the incident location, arrived and verified that his son had been driving the truck recently.
Detectives discovered electronics and hand tools in the cab and bed of the truck. An empty handgun holster was also found in the truck, which led deputies to believe Walden was armed.
The following morning, around 9:23 a.m., Detective James Stockard located Walden walking along Ga. Highway 151 not too far from the wooded area searched the night before.
Walden did indeed have a handgun in his jacket pocket, but he complied with Stockard, and was taken into custody without further incident.
Walden was visibly shaking when arrested, due in part to the cold temperatures and bad weather he'd endured overnight out in the woods.
According to captain Chris Lyons, Walden was wanted in another theft case.
"We don't know for certain right now, but he (Walden) could be a suspect in multiple theft and/or burglary cases," Lyons said.


LFO Open Stuido Hosts Annual Holiday Bazaar
Lakeview-Fort Oglethorpe High School's Open Studio invites the public to attend and shop at its annual Holiday Bazaar Tuesday, Dec. 6, from 9 a.m. until 7 p.m. in the atrium of the new gym. LFO is at 1850 Battlefield Parkway, in Fort Oglethorpe.
Handcrafted items such as Christmas decorations, ornaments, pendants, wind chimes, jewelry and decorative plates are available in a range of art mediums such as clay, ceramic and glass. Gifts range from $3-$35.
Open Studio is an art class held Tuesday nights by LFO art instructor Wendy Morgan and art club members and is open to the community. Created by Morgan in 2005, the program provides an authentic artistic experience for all ages.
For more information, call 706-866-0342; email wmorgan.lfo@catoosa.k12.ga.us

Rossville Teen Facing Assault Charges
A Rossville teen is facing assault charges after firing two shots at deputies Friday morning.
According to Walker County Sheriff's Department Lt. Richie Dye:
On Friday morning, Dec. 2, around 1 a.m., a male teenager, 16, was trying to hitch a ride from a motorist, who refused to give him teen a ride, and called 911 to report a suspicious person in the area.
Shortly after, a patrolling deputy pulled up to the teen and asked him if he needed any help. The teen continued to walk away and did not stop for the deputy. The teen told the deputy he lived close by, but continued to walk away.
Given the recent thefts in the area and the fact that the teen was out so late and carrying a book bag, the deputy ordered the teen to stop. That is when the teen brandished a firearm and fired one shot at the deputy.
The deputy called in backup, including a police dog, as the teen fled up Mission Ridge Road. Deputies arrived and set up a perimeter. The teen was located near Shaver Lane, about 75 yards away from the initial stop on Mission Ridge Road, in the wood line. He fled into the woods. Once the police dog tracked down the teen, he fired another shot at two deputies. A deputy returned fire with a shot gun and struck the teen in his buttocks.
The teen was taken to Erlanger Hospital in Chattanooga. He faces three counts of aggravated assault on a law enforcement officer. Additional charges are expected.
Sheriff Steve Wilson said the teen had two handguns, a 9-mm automatic and a revolver. The juvenile has a hearing in Chattanooga, Tenn., today and is expected to be sent back to Walker County, Wilson said.
Wilson said the police dog, Rocky, was able to pin down the suspect until he was taken into custody.
The teen could be tried as an adult under the "seven deadly sins" law that refers to the jurisdiction of Superior Court over the trial of any juvenile 13-17 years old who allegedly commits murder, rape, armed robbery with firearm, aggravated child molestation, aggravated sodomy, aggravated sexual battery, or voluntary manslaughter.
No deputies were injured.


Ringgold Re-evaluating Occupational Tax Certificate Fees
Ringgold is re-evaluating how it charges businesses for their mandatory occupational tax certificates, and could soon switch from an overall flat fee to a fee based on how much revenue each business brings in.
During the most recent City Council meeting on Monday night, Nov. 14, the council discussed and introduced its plan to gather information about the switch, which would ultimately be based on each business' gross receipts.
Council member Larry Black said, "We want to look at the possibility of changing our current ordinance in place now, dealing with our amount of money paid for occupational tax certificates with businesses in the city. It's an introduction of a new way of doing business where, instead of paying a flat fee regardless of the size businesses, we look at the possibility going forward and setting it up so businesses pay different amounts based on their gross receipts."
Currently, the city's occupational tax certificate costs $100 per year no matter the size of the business, meaning a small family-owned business like Caffeine Addicts pays the same fee as a big chain store like Walmart, even though it has nowhere near the same staff or revenue.
During the pre-meeting work session, City Manager Dan Wright gave an example of another city's ordinance, which instituted a fee of $100 for businesses that grossed between $1 and $200,000 per year. The fee in that town increased in subsequent brackets based on the gross receipts.
"It needs further study and more research to see how other municipalities use it and how it would affect local businesses before we make a decision on what we're going to do," Black said.
Wright also pointed out that the state law allows exemptions for some practitioners such as lawyers, doctors and dentists, which caps the fee for those businesses at $400.
"Those folks may want to just pay the $400. Or, depending on how much they make each year, they may choose to go by their gross receipts," Wright said.
During the meeting, the council unanimously approved a motion of intent to set the practitioner fee at $400, as it progresses with evaluating how it wants to amend the rest of the ordinance.
"We're not ready to move forward yet because we don't have specific numbers," Mayor Nick Millwood said. "When we get that put together, we can bring it back to the council."
The council will need to hold a series of public hearings on the matter, the first of which could take place at the next regularly schedule meeting slated for Dec. 12.


Rossville Residents to Vote on Sunday Alcohol Sales
Rossville residents will soon have the opportunity to vote on whether they would like to be able to order a margarita or cocktail with their meal as well as purchase beer on Sundays.
Following requests by La Familia Mexican Restaurant and Mega Star convenience mart, Mayor Teddy Harris said the City Council decided it was time to let residents weigh in on whether to allow liquor consumption in designated establishments and packaged sales of malt beverages and wine on Sundays.
Co-owner and general manager of La Familia Paulina Martinez said she knows the request is a touchy subject for many residents in the area. However, she hopes they will consider the economic impact of the decision.
"A lot of people are against it because they're worried it will bring crime," she said of the liquor-by-the-drink proposal. "But this is not a bar. There are grandmothers here; my mom is here cooking, my brothers are here. We're a family — that's why it's called La Familia."
Not allowing liquor to be consumed in such establishments is already hurting the area, she said.
" People will go to Chattanooga, take tax money to Chattanooga, if they can't have that margarita with their food. And that's depressing the city. It's hurting our city. We're trying to change that."
With her family's restaurant offering authentic Mexican food based largely on her mother's personal recipes, Martinez said she has started to see a customer base coming from the Chattanooga area, even as far as Hixson.
"In the restaurant business, when you think of Mexican food you think of margaritas, and a lot of people are looking for that," Martinez said. "Since a lot of recipes are Mom's recipes, we get people who wouldn't normally come to Rossville who come here just for the food — and they want margaritas."
Martinez stressed the importance of selling liquor responsibly, the same way she said her restaurant sells beer. She added that the end goal is for the restaurant to do well so she and her family can reinvest in the community that has supported them.
"As we grow and gain exposure and work to develop in the community, we want to help revitalize Rossville and gain exposure," she said. "We're a Christian family and as we grow we want to give back. The better we're doing, the more we can do that. But there's a very, very small profit margin with food, and not everyone wants to drink beer."
The special vote for both resolutions 644 and 645, which would allow for liquor consumption on premises and Sunday package sales of wine and beer, respectively, will take place in March. The date has not yet been determined.


Wildfires Spread Through Gatlinburg

Wildfires driven by wind gusts are prompting the evacuations of multiple areas of Gatlinburg including downtown Gatlinburg, fire officials said Monday night.
Some areas of Pigeon Forge also are being evacuated including residents and guests located in the areas between traffic light 8 and the Spur, according to spokeswoman Trish McGee.
"Three county school buses are available for emergency transport and are being dispatched as needed to transport those who need to evacuate," according to a statement from McGee.

Ohio State Stabbing Investigation
A Somali-born Ohio State University student plowed his car into a group of pedestrians on campus and then got out and began stabbing people with a butcher knife Monday before he was shot to death by a police officer. Police said they were investigating whether it was a terrorist attack.
Eleven people were hurt, one critically.
The attacker was identified as Abdul Razak Ali Artan. He was born in Somalia and was a legal permanent U.S. resident, according to a U.S. official who wasn't authorized to discuss the case and spoke on the condition of anonymity. The FBI joined the investigation.
The details emerged after a morning of conflicting reports and confusion, created in part by a series of tweets from the university warning there was an "active shooter" on campus and students should "Run Hide Fight." The warning was prompted by what turned out to be police gunfire.
Police vehicles and ambulances converged on the 60,000-student campus, and authorities blocked off roads. Students barricaded themselves inside offices and classrooms, piling chairs and desks in front of doors, before getting the all-clear an hour and a half later.
Ohio State University police Chief Craig Stone said the assailant deliberately drove his small Honda over a curb outside an engineering classroom building and then began knifing people. A campus officer nearby because of a gas leak arrived on the scene and shot the driver in less than a minute, Stone said.
Angshuman Kapil, a graduate student, was outside Watts Hall when the car barreled onto the sidewalk.
"It just hit everybody who was in front," he said. "After that everybody was shouting, 'Run! Run! Run!'"
Student Martin Schneider said he heard the car's engine revving.
"I thought it was an accident initially until I saw the guy come out with a knife," Schneider said, adding the man didn't say anything when he got out.
Most of the injured were hurt by the car, and at least two were stabbed. One had a fractured skull.
Columbus police Chief Kim Jacobs, asked whether authorities were considering the possibility it was a terrorist act, said: "I think we have to consider that it is."
Republican Vice President-elect Mike Pence called the episode "a tragic attack" and said "our prayers are with them all."
U.S. Rep. Adam Schiff, of California, the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, said the bloodshed "bears all of the hallmarks of a terror attack carried out by someone who may have been self-radicalized."
"Here in the United States, our most immediate threat still comes from lone attackers that are not only capable of unleashing great harm but are also extremely difficult, and in some cases, virtually impossible to identify or interdict," he said.
Ohio State's student newspaper, The Lantern, ran an interview in August with a student named Abdul Razak Artan, who identified himself as a Muslim and a third-year logistics management student who'd transferred from Columbus State in the fall.
He said he was looking for a place to pray openly and worried how he would be received.
"I was kind of scared with everything going on in the media. I'm a Muslim, it's not what media portrays me to be," he told the newspaper. "If people look at me, a Muslim praying, I don't know what they're going to think, what's going to happen. But I don't blame them. It's the media that put that picture in their heads."
In recent months, federal law enforcement officials have raised concerns about online extremist propaganda encouraging knife and car attacks, easier to pull off than bombings.
The Islamic State group has urged sympathizers online to carry out lone-wolf attacks in their home countries with whatever weapons are available to them.
In September, a 20-year-old Somali-American stabbed 10 people at a St. Cloud, Minnesota, shopping mall before being shot to death by an off-duty officer. Authorities said he asked some of his victims if they were Muslim. In the past few years, London and other cities also have seen knife attacks blamed on extremists.
Neighbors said Artan was always polite and attended daily prayer services at a mosque.
Leaders of Muslim organizations and mosques in the Columbus area condemned Monday's attack while cautioning people against jumping to conclusions or blaming a religion or an ethnicity.
"It is particularly heartbreaking to see this random act of violence come to this community I hold so dear," said Ohio State graduate Nicole Ghazi, who is active in Islamic organizations.
Surveillance photos showed Artan in the car by himself just before the attack, but investigators are looking into whether anyone else was involved, police said.
The bloodshed came as students were returning to classes following the Thanksgiving break and Ohio State's football victory over rival Michigan, which brought more than 100,000 fans to campus on Saturday.
"There were several moments of chaos," said Rachel LeMaster, who works in the engineering college. "We barricaded ourselves like we're supposed to since it was right outside our door and just hunkered down."
LeMaster said she and others were eventually led outside the building and she saw a body on the ground.
Classes were canceled for the rest of the day.
The officer who killed the attacker was Alan Horujko, a member of the force for just under two years. Department of Public Safety Director Monica Moll said Horujko had done a "fabulous job."
The initial tweet from Ohio State emergency officials went out around 10 a.m. and said: "Buckeye Alert: Active Shooter on campus. Run Hide Fight. Watts Hall. 19th and College." University President Michael Drake said the warning was issued after shots were heard on campus.
"Run, hide, fight" is standard protocol for active-shooter situations. It means: Run away if possible; get out of view; or try to disrupt or incapacitate the shooter if your life is in imminent danger.
Associated Press writers Alicia A. Caldwell and Eric Tucker in Washington, Collin Binkley in Boston and Mark Gillispie in Cleveland contributed to this story.
Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Heritage High School Band Member Selected for U.S. Army All-American Marching Band
For the third year in a row the Heritage High School band has had a member selected to be a part of the U.S. Army's All-American marching band that'll perform during halftime at the All-American Bowl in San Antonio, Tx., on January.
Military personnel, fellow band members, and friends and family filled the Heritage High School theater on Thursday, Nov. 10, to celebrate senior trombone player Micah Young, who was given his U.S. Army All-American bowl jacket and gear.
"I'm really honored to be selected," Young said. "I'd like to thank my family, my band family, and Mr. Callaway. Thank you to my mom and dad for all you've done for me."
Callaway described Young as a "great young man," who was nominated, auditioned for, and was selected to the prestigious group.
The U.S. Army All-American marching band performs each year at halftime of the nationally-broadcasted U.S. Army All-American Bowl. By becoming a U.S. Army All-American, Young joins an elite group.
Only 125 high school marching band members among the millions in the United States are selected each year. Band members are chosen not just because they excel musically, but because they are mentally and physically agile, know the importance of teamwork, and they are able to adapt to challenging situations, similar to U.S. Army Soldiers.


Progress Being Made for Improved Fire Protection
Progress is being made to offer improved fire protection for businesses and residents in the Graysville, Indian Hills and other areas adjacent U.S. Highway 41 between Ringgold and East Ridge.
Fire Chief Chuck Nichols invited a team from Pond & Company, a Peachtree Corners-based construction/engineering/architectural firm, to deliver a presentation detailing plans for a replacement of Fire Station No. 3.
For more than a year the county has considered the total renovation or replacement of the fire hall located slightly south of where Pine Grove and Wooten roads intersect the federal highway.
Formerly a garage, the current fire hall presents significant environmental and liability issues for the county. The barracks have been relocated to a modular building because fumes from fire trucks, when cranked inside the station, not only filled the air with noxious fumes but left hazardous residue throughout the structure.
In addition, the structure has a roof that leaks even after being patched.
The consulting engineers — whose bid was considered the best of six companies that were considered — explained why building a new station would be better than attempting to repair and remodel what is in use.
An expenditure of roughly $1.8 million would provide a 7,600-square-foot hall, one with three drive-through bays that would allow fire engines to enter and exit without having to back up and turn the trucks.
Not only would the planned purpose-built station be more efficient, it would serve as a template for future stations that might become necessary if the county's population grows.
Commission Chairman Keith Greene asked how the project would be funded and was told about $2 million of projected SPLOST (special purpose local option sales tax) revenue has been approved for Station No. 3's replacement.
Of the $1.8 million, about $80,000 would be earmarked for environmental cleanup at the site.
County Manager Jim Walker said Pond Constructors' bid was not "far different" from that submitted by others. He also noted having the architect and builder being one and the same should reduce change orders — which usually add to original cost estimates — being necessary as the project progresses.
As part of the presentation, a computer-generated 3-D "walk-through" of the proposed building was shown as were blueprints showing the building orientation on its site.


Ringgold Man Behind Bars After Napping in Stolen Car

A Ringgold man is behind bars after he was found napping in a stolen vehicle, police say.
According to the Catoosa County Sheriff's Department:
Julio Cesar Verdugo, 20, of Potts Road, was arrested Nov. 13 on charges of vehicle theft and receiving stolen property. His bond was set at $5,000.
Just after 11 a.m. on Nov. 13, Deputy Bobby Persinger says he was on patrol when he noticed a parked truck on a piece of private property near Jackson Lakes on Potts Road.
Persinger ran the tag of the beige Ford F-150, which came back as stolen out of Chattanooga, Tenn., reports show.
"I woke Mr. Verdugo up, who was asleep on the driver's side," Persinger said.
Verdugo was placed under arrest, and Persinger was further advised by dispatch that the tag didn't belong to the truck, and that the truck itself had been recently reported stolen from Service Lane in Ringgold.
Verdugo was taken to jail while the tag and truck were returned to the owners.


Rossville Man Arrested for Marijuana Dealership
A Rossville man was arrested in Catoosa County after sheriff's deputies discovered a rolling marijuana dealership in his car.
According the Catoosa County Sheriff's Department:
Edward Lawuan Garth, 30, of Walker Avenue, was arrested Nov. 12 for possession of marijuana (more than one ounce), possession of marijuana with intent to distribute, possession of a firearm while attempting to commit a crime, driving on a suspended license, and a missing headlight. He has been released on bond.
"It's our understanding that all the marijuana from this incident was purchased legally in Colorado," Catoosa County Sheriff's Capt. Chris Lyons said. "We're not sure if he (Garth) purchased it out there himself, or if someone else did it for him, but it originated out there and was brought here to sell illegally."
Deputies pulled Garth over shortly after 11 p.m. on Lakeview Drive after noticing he had a headlight out on his 2005 Infinity G35.
Deputies quickly learned Garth's license was suspended, and placed him under arrest before being alerted by the K-9 unit that there might be drugs in the vehicle, reports show.
While searching the vehicle, deputies found $2,739 in cash rolled up and bound with a rubber band in a dashboard compartment.
A curious black backpack was also discovered in the trunk, which contained marijuana.
"The backpack contained two large glass jars," deputy Deric North said.
One jar contained four individually wrapped bags of marijuana, while the second jar contained a large amount of additional loose marijuana.
Deputies also found an orange plastic bag marked "choice organics" from Fort Collins, Colo., reports show.
Additional pill bottles containing marijuana were also found, as well as a Smith and Wesson .38-calibur Special revolver.


Toby Keith to Play Coke Stage at 2017 Riverbend
The Friends of the Festival announced early Monday morning that country music superstar Toby Keith will have the Coke Stage all to himself on Wednesday, June 14, 2017 at 9pm. 
Friends of the Festival says the familiar maxim of the triple threat – singer, songwriter, musician – doesn't begin to cover it for Toby Keith, one of the modern era's most complete self-directed hit makers. 
And Keith's most recent several months are a remarkably accurate representation of his entire career. He wrote, produced and released his latest single "A Few More Cowboys" to Billboard Hot Shot Debut status and the song is continuing to round up some amens and good-calls on its way up the charts. The release heralds new music following the successful and acclaimed 2015 album 35 mph Town.


City of Ringgold Burn Ban

The growing number of wildfires regionally has prompted the city of Ringgold to ban on all outdoor burning.
The decision was made during Monday's council meeting, where councilman Randall Franks pointed out the importance of the ban considering all the wildfires harming North Georgia and the Chattanooga, Tenn., area.
Walker County issued a comprehensive countywide burn ban earlier Monday.
"I serve on the local emergency planning committee and this issue came up at our meeting last week as far as the issues we're having throughout our region," Franks said. "I'll make a motion that we put in place a local complete burn ban giving us the discretion to take it off when advised by our EMA (Emergency Management Agency)."
The council unanimously approved the motion.
Catoosa County could also institute a ban, as the issue is on the Board of Commissioner's agenda for Tuesday night, Nov. 15.
According to Catoosa County Fire & Rescue Division Chief Steve Quinn, the state has already stopped issuing burn permits to residents due to the wildfire issue, but hopes the county, like Ringgold, will cease all outdoor burning for the time being.
"Ordinarily you'd have to call and get a burn permit for legal burning," Quinn said. "Small fires in fire pits for hot dogs, marshmallows, and things like that don't typically require a permit, but hopefully we can get the ban passed tonight."
Those who don't adhere to the bans could be subject to fines from city and county code enforcement, or the Georgia Forestry Commission.
"The fire department doesn't hand out tickets or anything, but we do try to make people of aware of the bans if they don't know about them," Quinn said. "If we get a call and tell someone who might not have known about the ban, it's not big deal. But if we have to respond to calls at the same place two or three times, it'd become a code enforcement or Department of Forestry issue."


White Christmas at the Colonnade This Weekend
Storyteller Productions' presentation of Irving Berlin's, "White Christmas" enjoyed a crowd-pleasing opening weekend at The Colonnade, 264 Catoosa Circle, in Ringgold to kick off the holiday season.
Final weekend performances are Friday and Saturday, Nov. 18 and 19, at 7:30 p.m. and matinees are Nov. 19, at 1 p.m. and Sunday, Nov. 20, at 2:30 p.m.
"White Christmas is about friendship, loyalty and love," said lead actress Laurie Shaw, portraying Betty Haynes. "It's a family-friendly show that fits the bill for a heart-warming night at the theater. The sets are breathtaking, the choreography is charming and the costumes are exquisite. Storyteller Productions has done an impeccable job transporting us to an era of lighthearted entertainment that is sure to leave an impression."
Based on the beloved and timeless film, this heartwarming musical adaptation features 17 Irving Berlin songs and a book by David Ives and Paul Blake. Veterans Bob Wallace and Phil Davis have a successful song-and-dance act after World War II. With romance in mind, the two follow a duo of beautiful singing sisters enroute to their Christmas show at a Vermont lodge, which just happens to be owned by Bob and Phil's former army commander.
The sizzling score features well known standards including: "Blue Skies," "I Love a Piano," "How Deep is the Ocean" and the perennial favorite "White Christmas."
Show runs approximately two hours with an intermission.
Tickets range from $13-$15 and may be purchased online at colonnadecenter.org or call 706-935-9000.
White Christmas
Where: The Colonnade, 264 Catoosa Circle, Ringgold
When: Friday and Saturday, Nov. 18 and 19, 7:30 p.m.
Matinees: Nov. 19, 1 p.m.; Sunday, Nov. 20, 2:30 p.m.
Tickets: $13-$15


Ringgold Man Pulls Gun on Catoosa County Sheriff's Deputy

A Ringgold man created a scary situation for law enforcement on Wednesday night, Nov. 2, when he allegedly pulled a gun on a Catoosa County sheriff's deputy and threatened suicide during a foot chase, police say.
According to the Catoosa County Sheriff's Department:
Joshua Andrew Duncan, 24, of Mark Lane, was arrested Nov. 3 on charges of aggravated assault on a police officer, possession of a firearm while trying to commit a crime, obstruction or hindering law enforcement, possession of marijuana (less than one ounce), reckless conduct, and probation violation.
Two other people were also arrested: 29-year-old Mark Anthony Bredwell of Ringgold and 21-year-old Kaitlyn Ashley Ritchie of East Ridge, Tenn. Both have been charged with possession of methamphetamine.
All three offenders remain in Catoosa County jail with bond set at $8,565 for Duncan, and $5,000 each for Bredwell and Ritchie.
The incident involving the three began at approximately 11:15 p.m. Wednesday on Lakeview Drive in Rossville when deputy Aaron Thomas pulled over a Ford F-150 truck because of a faulty headlight.
The truck pulled over into a Mapco Mart parking lot, at which time Thomas learned that Duncan had outstanding warrants for probation violation and failure to appear.
After asking Duncan to step out of the passenger side of the truck, Duncan took running from Thomas, reports show.
During the chase, Thomas unsuccessfully attempted to hit Duncan with his taser, and soon learned that the man he was chasing was carrying a gun.
Thomas says Duncan pulled a silver handgun from his waistband and began yelling, "Stay back! Don't make me do it! I'm not going back to jail!"
Thomas drew his firearm in return, creating a standoff between the two, reports show.
"I pointed my service weapon at the offender and ordered him to drop the gun," Thomas said. "He (Duncan) then placed the gun under his chin yelling that he wanted me to kill him and that he can't go back to jail."
Deputy Thomas eventually got close enough to tackle Duncan to the ground.
While holding Duncan down, Thomas says he even had to go so far as to place his thumb between the cocked hammer and the base of the gun to keep Duncan from firing it.
Fort Oglethorpe Police officer James Davis also arrived at the scene to assist Thomas with getting the gun away from Duncan.
During the struggle, Duncan continued to resist officers, and wouldn't let go of the gun, which prompted Davis to tase him in order to get him to drop it.
After he was taken into custody, officers found marijuana in Duncan's pocket, and eventually transported him to Hamilton Medical Center in Dalton for evaluation.
While interviewing Bredwell and Ritchie after the chase with Duncan, a sheriff's K-9 unit detected narcotics in the truck.
While searching the vehicle, deputies found a hypodermic needle containing liquid methamphetamine inside a backpack.
Ritchie claimed ownership of the backpack, but neither her nor Bredwell claimed to know anything about a plastic baggie of additional meth found in the passenger side of the vehicle.
Ritchie and Bredwell were also arrested without any further incident.


Two Catoosa County Burglaries Under Investigation
Catoosa County detectives are investigating two burglaries that took place last week, which resulted in not only hundreds of dollars worth of property stolen, but the vandalism of the homes as well.
According to the Catoosa County Sheriff's Department, deputies were called to burglaries on Hillcrest Drive in Ringgold on Monday, Nov. 7, and on Trace Lane in Rossville on Tuesday, Nov. 8.
Overall, an estimated $2,150 worth of theft and damage was accumulated during the incidents.
During the first incident, approximately $550 in cash was stolen from the home in addition to the offender(s) busting up the door frame of the residence while prying the door open.
The second incident, on Trace Lane, included multiple electronics being stolen, as well as multiple windows being busted out and spray paint applied to different curtains within in the home.
Anyone with information about the burglaries is encouraged to contact the Catoosa County Sheriff's Department at 706-935-2424.


Administration for Children and Families Releases Finds to Help Low-Income Families in Georgia

The Administration for Children and Families released $49,887,842 to help low-income families in Georgia stay warm during winter months, cool during summer months and make cost-effective home energy repairs.
The Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), which is run by the Office of Community Services at HHS' Administration for Children and Families, provides funding to states, the District of Columbia, territories and tribes to assist households with paying energy bills and weatherize homes for energy improvements.
"Unsafe indoor temperatures are unacceptable conditions for anyone to live in, especially for seniors and families with young children," said Jeannie Chaffin, director of the Office of Community Services at HHS' Administration for Children and Families. "With these LIHEAP funds helping households in Georgia with limited incomes pay their home heating and cooling bills, these families and individuals can use their income to pay for other critical necessities such as food and medicine."
LIHEAP funding assists households with meeting home energy needs, including vulnerable households with very young children, individuals with disabilities and older individuals.
Individuals interested in applying for energy assistance should contact their local, state, territory or tribal LIHEAP agency or call 866-674-6327.


Army Chaplain Sharing Highlights from Recent Book
Army Chaplain Col. John Wesley Brinsfield, retired, will present highlights from his new book "Summon Only the Brave: Commanders, Soldiers and Chaplains at Gettysburg" at Dalton’s Civil War Roundtable Thursday, Nov. 17, at 7 pm.
The Dalton Civil War Roundtable meets at the Crown Gardens and Archives Center, 715 Chattanooga Avenue, in Dalton, Ga. There is no charge for the meeting and light refreshments will be served.
Brinsfield, a former assistant professor of history at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, has written 10 books, five of them on Civil War subjects. "Summon Only the Brave" is published by Mercer University Press and is his most recent work.
Signed copies of his book will be available at a special price for as long as they last.


CUFI Holding "Night to Honor Israel"
Christians United for Israel (CUFI), along with churches in North Georgia and the Greater Chattanooga area, invite the community to a "Night to Honor Israel" Thursday, Nov. 10, at 7 p.m. at The Colonnade, 264 Catoosa Circle, in Ringgold, Ga.
Open to the public, the purpose of the free event is to show solidarity between Jewish people and Christians in their support of Israel. A complimentary reception will follow and all are welcome regardless of religion or denomination.
Keynote speaker is Erick Stakelbeck, director of Christians United for Israel's Watchman Project and host of "TheWatchman," a weekly newsmagazine program that airs Thursday nights on TBN.
Stakelbeck is a sought after authority on Middle East, terrorism and radical Islam. He is a frequent guest on Fox News. He has written three books on terrorism, his latest entitled "ISIS Exposed: Beheadings, Slavery and the Hellish Reality of Radical Islam," which will be on sale during a book signing at the event.
Other speakers include the Consul General from Israel to Southeastern United States, Judith Varnai-Shorer; Pastor Lyndon Allen, Central Regional Coordinator, Christians United for Israel and Woodmont Bible Church in Nashville, as well as Georgia State Senator Jeff Mullis.
Musical presentations will be given by Shiran Amir, Israeli Cultural Emissary with the Jewish Federation of Greater Chattanooga, the Lee University Symphonic Band conducted by Mark Bailey, and Melissa Stamper from Woodmont Bible Church in Nashville, Tenn.
The ROTC from Ringgold High School will act as Color Guard. Scouts from the Cherokee Area Council Boy Scouts of America will serve as parking attendants and ushers. Pastor Bret Yaeger, Temple Baptist Church in Dalton, Ga., will serve as the master of ceremonies. The planning committee for the local CUFI area consists of members from Chattanooga and North Georgia and includes both Christian and Jewish people.
For more information about this program and local Christians United for Israel activities contact Margaret Bean at 423-645-1552 or e-mail: mrbean1@catt.com.


Three Month Investigation Comes to a Close
A three-month investigation into a Catoosa County burglary case was wrapped up recently when detectives arrested the second of two suspects accused of shooting at a Ringgold man in his driveway after burglarizing his home in July.
According to the Catoosa County Sheriff's Department:
Victor Bentley Davis IV, 18, of Oglethorpe Ridge in Fort Oglethorpe, and Shadow Berry Barnett, 23, of Chattanooga, Tenn., have been charged with aggravated assault, first-degree burglary, criminal damage to property and participation in criminal street gang activity.
Davis also faces charges of possessing of a firearm while trying to commit a crime and theft by bringing stolen property into the state.
Barnett has been released from jail on bond, while Davis remains in Catoosa County jail with bond set at $21,000.
Detectives began searching for the two men after a dangerous burglary attempt on July 11.
At approximately 9 a.m. that day, Rossville resident Richard Brown pulled into his driveway on School Street and found two men inside his home.
The two black males exited the home through a side door, at which time one of the men began shooting at Brown as they attempted to enter their Honda Civic and make their getaway.
"They fired six shots at the vehicle, but the resident wasn't hurt," sheriff's Capt. Chris Lyons said.
Brown and detectives determined the two men had made off with a Sony Playstation, five Playstation games, four wristwatches, and a book of Brown's checks.
A few weeks later, on Aug. 2, detective Mike Helton was able to locate the Playstation and games at a pawn shop, and discovered that Shadow Barnett had pawned them there. The property was recovered for the owner.
As the investigation progressed, detectives found that Victor Davis matched the description of Barnett's partner from the burglary.
"We identified Barnett first, but determined that they did this (the burglary) together," Lyons said.
On Oct. 10, detectives located Davis in Fort Oglethorpe and arrested him on the four outstanding warrants. In the vehicle he and his girlfriend were traveling in, detectives found a large butcher knife under the passenger seat, as well as a stolen 9mm pistol.
It's unclear right now if gun found in Davis' possession was the same one fired during the burglary attempt.
"We have the gun at the crime lab and are waiting on the results," Lyons said.
After Davis was in custody, detectives learned that Barnett had been arrested in Hamilton County, Tenn. He was later extradited to Catoosa County on the burglary charges on Oct. 28.
Lyons says authorities in Georgia and Tennessee determined that both men have ties to area gangs.
"Both men are validated gang members out of Chattanooga," Lyons said. "They do have Georgia connections, so we had a situation where two violent gang members from Chattanooga were down here committing crimes. Outcomes like this are one of the good things about our agency being part of the U.S. Marshall's Task Force. One of the benefits we've found in being part of this task force is being able to go into Tennessee and go after our violent criminals."

Chapman Road Project to Begin Before the End of the Year
Ringgold's pending Chapman Road project took a big step forward Monday night, Oct. 24, when the City Council awarded a bid for the work slated to begin before the end of the year.
The project includes raising Chapman Road between Sonic and Spencer B's BBQ to alleviate some of the constant flooding issues that have plagued the street for years.
After evaluating the bids, the council unanimously approved awarding the project to Rossville-based Talley Construction in the amount of $920,919.
The bids came in higher than expected, which prompted the council to award the bid contingent on negotiations to the agreed upon funds being contributed by Catoosa County and the Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT).
Before the bidding process, GDOT agreed to kick in $350,000 towards the project, while Ringgold reached an intergovernmental agreement with the county to split the remaining cost.
The initial projections had the project costing somewhere in the neighborhood of $650,000, which would have meant a $150,000 commitment from Catoosa County.
Now, with the price tag at $920,000-plus, the council wants to discuss the matter to see if Catoosa County, GDOT, or even both would be willing to contribute more to get the project done.
"It's definitely a conversation worth having," said City Manager Dan Wright.
The project also includes a construction deadline of Dec. 31 by DOT, which gives the city a window to iron out the finances.
"The project needs to be underway by the end of the year," Wright said. "That's a DOT deadline."
Although the cost is higher than anticipated, council members Terry Crawford and Jake Haynes stressed the importance of trying to get the project underway.
"I think it's something we need to do," Haynes said. "It's higher than we planned, but it's never going to be cheaper than it is right now."
"We need to look at going down to Atlanta and talking to DOT," Crawford said.
Project manager Philip Schofield of CTI Engineering says the project also includes upgrades to U.S. Highway 41 in front of Chapman Road, which will hopefully help with traffic and flooding issues there as well.
"DOT is wanting a turn lane on Highway 41 between the bridge by the creek to Battlefield Parkway," Schofield said. "That'll include paving and striping highway 41, adding three concrete box culverts to Chapman Road and raising Chapman Road by two feet."
Schofield added that the culverts will help with the flooding issues that usually wash Chapman Road out due to the heavy buildup of water at the creek that flows under it.
In addition to relieving the flooding issues, Crawford says the project could also help towards solving another issue that residents near the road regularly deal with.
"A while back we went to DOT and requested a red light be put in there at Chapman Road and (Highway) 41, but they said it was too expensive and that a lot of things would have to be done there before they could get a light," Crawford said. "There's no guarantee we can get a light there, but I think this would help."

Nissin Brake HoldingRecruitment in Fort Oglethorpe
Nissin Brake will recruit about 40 full-time assembly workers to work in Rock Spring.
The recruitment will be held Monday, Nov. 14, from noon to 3 p.m. at Fort Oglethorpe City Hall located at 500 City Hall Drive. Georgia Department of Labor staff will be onsite to help screen applicants.
Due to U.S Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulations, all applicants must be at least 18 years old.
While it is not required, a high school diploma or a General Education Diploma (GED), is preferred.
The company offers training availabilities for applicants chosen for the positions.
Chosen applicants will be required to pass a drug screening and background check.
Salaries will begin at $10.10 an hour and benefits include dental, health and vision insurance along with six paid holidays and five paid vacation days a year.
Applicants are encouraged to dress appropriately to improve their opportunities for jobs.
For more information about the jobs, or to apply online, visit employgeorgia.com to create an account and upload, or prepare, a resume. Having an Employ Georgia account expedites the interview process.
For more information about the recruitment, contact the GDOL’s LaFayette Career Center at (706) 638-5525. The center is located at 200 West Villianow St. and is open to serve the public Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

 Regional Commission Announces Grant for GNTC to Train Die Maintenance Technicians

The Appalachian Regional Commission recently announced approval of a grant in the amount of $310,550 to Georgia Northwestern Technical College (GNTC) to provide residents in Northwest Georgia with advanced technical training repairing and maintaining die press equipment.  

In addition to ARC fund, state sources will provide an additional $133,093 bringing the total project funding to $443,643.


The funding will make it possible for GNTC to upgrade industrial lab facilities and provide industry standard equipment for the Die Maintenance Technician technical certificate of credit. The program was developed by GNTC, along with business and industry professionals, to train students with the skills necessary to obtain jobs in the advanced manufacturing and automotive manufacturing industries.

The program will be taught at GNTC’s Floyd County Campus in Rome and will serve students throughout the Northwest Georgia region.

The Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) is an economic development agency of the federal government and 13 state governments focusing on 420 counties across the Appalachian region. For more information visit the web site www.arc.gov.

Georgia Northwestern Technical College provides quality workforce education to the citizens of Northwest Georgia. Students have the opportunity to earn an associate degree, diploma, or a certificate in business, health, industrial, or public service career paths. This past year, 13,734 people benefited from GNTC’s credit and noncredit programs. With an annual credit enrollment of 7,876 students, GNTC is the largest college in Northwest Georgia. GNTC has an additional enrollment of 5,858 people through adult education, continuing education, business and industry training, and Georgia Quick Start.

Georgia State Patrol Investigating Fatality on I-75

The Georgia State Patrol is investigating a fatality that occurred along I-75 near Ringgold Saturday morning, Oct. 29, in which a male pedestrian was struck and killed by a vehicle.
According to Georgia State Patrol Post 5 in Dalton, the incident occurred at the 342 mile marker near the Catoosa and Whitfield County line, claiming the life of 27-year-old Michael Neese of Kennesaw.
Troopers say Neese was walking south along the shoulder when a car ran off the road and struck him.
Twenty-two-year-old Jordan Shelton of Ringgold was driving the vehicle when it struck Neese and then hit a guardrail before rolling over and stopping back on its wheels.
Shelton and a male passenger were taken to the hospital and subsequently released. Neese died at the scene.
The incident is still classified as under investigation, and it's not clear at this time whether Shelton will face any charges in the matter.


Bridge of Hope Giving New Opportunities to Unemployed and Under-Employed Women in NW Georgia
Unemployed and under-employed women in northwest Georgia have new opportunities to develop life skills and enhance their careers because of the formation of the Bridge of Hope Northwest Georgia Christian Women's Job Corps. The Christian Women's Job Corps (CWJC) is a national, women-led, faith-based non-profit organization that assists women in transitioning from welfare to work by equipping them with the skills necessary to improve their lives.
"The idea behind this organization is that real life change can take place when women help women," said Ginger Mathis, president of the board of directors. "We owe much to the example and legacy of the national CWJC and especially the Chattanooga chapter for helping us form and launch this ministry in northwest Georgia. Jane Everett's experience in Chattanooga and her heart for women here in Catoosa County prompted her to serve as a founding member of our board and as site coordinator for the new chapter."
The program consists of 12 weekly classes, held Thursday evenings at Ringgold First Baptist Church. The curriculum includes topics such as goal setting, decision making, moving past your past, interview skills, writing resumes, interview skills, dress for success, positive first impressions, find my strengths, educational opportunities, money management and communication skills. Each week a respected female professional from the community is invited as a guest speaker to keynote the primary topic for the night.
"One key to success is that each participant is assigned a mentor to walk alongside them through the program," Everett said. "I think it makes a huge difference to have a friend, a partner, to help them stay on track and assist them in reviewing, understanding and applying the material we cover."
There is no charge for the program and it also offers free childcare during each class.
"An important aspect of this program is helping our women to grow in their relationship with Jesus Christ," Everett said. "Each week we have a Bible study and prayer time to strengthen the ladies for the week ahead and help prepare them for their ongoing roles at home and on the job."
Mathis said Bridge of Hope is always in need of volunteers to serve as mentors and instructors.
"Each of these precious ladies want to make a change for the better in their life circumstances," she said. "God is using our volunteers as servant leaders who are pouring their hearts and talents into this work to change lives. Our students will reap the benefits of their hard work with job and life skills for today, and the impacts will be felt for generations to come."
Everett said the most notable outcome is enhanced self-confidence.
"Some of our clients entering the program don't even want to make eye contact in a social or business setting, but learn through our classes and practice that they have every reason to hold their heads up and speak with ease and confidence to their prospective employers."
Anyone interested in becoming a volunteer or registering to participate in a future class may contact Jane Everett at 706-861-4584 or Ginger Mathis at 423-902-3090.


City Council Approves New Shutters for City Hall
The Ringgold City Council recently approved the purchase of new shutters for City Hall, and to remove some of the dying bushes on the grounds to make it easier to erect flags during the city's bi-annual "Festival of Flags" celebration.
On Monday night, Oct. 24, the council unanimously approved awarding the shutter bid to Hullco Exteriors in the amount of $8,256, which will cover the 12 sets.
City Manager Dan Wright acknowledged that the shutters are expensive, but pointed out that the east and south sides of City Hall desperately needed to be replaced.
"Just the wear and tear ... they're expensive shutters, so we've tried to over the years salvage what we can," Wright explained.
Wright added that when the newer shutters are installed, the Parks and Recreation crew plans to piece together some of the damaged existing ones into serviceable backups.
The council also opted to remove a few bushes on the back of the City Hall property, per the request of former mayor Joe Barger who organizes the "Festival of Flags" celebration. The flag committee has plans to add at least 100 flags to the City Hall lawn in the spring of 2017.


6th Cavalry Museum "Remembering Our Heroes School Days" Program

Fort Oglethorpe's historic 6th Cavalry Museum on Barnhardt Circle had a lot of wide-eyed visitors last week when area students visited the museum as part of the annual "Remembering Our Heroes School Days" program.
The two-day event allowed students from Catoosa and Walker counties in Georgia and Hamilton County in Tennessee the opportunity to not only learn about military history, but allowed them to do so from a number of fine actors portraying historical figures.
"It's just a really good event, and it gives kids a chance to learn a lot," said Chris McKeever, director of the museum. "The kids just love it."
McKeever said this installment was the seventh year of the program, but the first to include two days.
"Before, it was just one day. But we had so many schools and so many kids wanting to come, that this year we stretched it to two days," McKeever said.
The students were able to hear different speakers throughout the museum such as a Woman's Army Corps officer, a WWII Parachute Infantry Regiment soldier, and Tennessee State Park Ranger Justin Rexrode, who portrayed war hero and Medal of Honor recipient Sgt. Alvin York.
Students were also impressed with an Army Jeep from 1945 that was on hand thanks to retired SSgt. Ray Gray, who spent 28 years serving the country.
"They liked the Jeep pretty good," Gray said. "They were excited to look at it, but it was a little windy, so they were ready to run back inside."
McKeever says the program allows local students the opportunity to learn about history in a more exciting way beyond the classroom.
"The kids really enjoy it," she said. "It gives the students the chance to experience history instead of just reading about it in books."


Tennessee Man Arrested For Sending Nude Pictures to Catoosa County Teen
A man was arrested in Catoosa County after he allegedly sent nude photos of himself to a Ringgold teen through Facebook's messaging system.
According to the Catoosa County Sheriff's Department:
Jalen Arnold Swift, 19, of 1257 Fine St. in Newport, Tenn., was arrested Oct. 20 on charges of electronically furnishing obscene material to a minor and criminal attempt of sexual exploitation of a child. He was released on bond the following day.
The allegations against Swift surfaced when a concerned parent contacted the sheriff's department in late May claiming their 15-year-old daughter had received inappropriate photos from Swift over social media.
The mother turned the child's phone over to deputies and detectives, who found that Swift had sent pictures of his genetalia to the girl, reports show.


Catoosa County Man Being Held Without Bond on Child Molestation Charges
A Catoosa County man is being held behind bars without bond after he allegedly molested a young girl and had photos of the acts on his cell phone, police say.
According to the Catoosa County Sheriff's Department:
Steven Lee Coffman, 35, of 434 McDonald Drive in Ringgold, has been charged with two counts of child molestation, two counts of sodomy, and one count of aggravated child molestation. He has been denied bond.
On Tuesday, Oct. 18, sheriff's deputies received information that inappropriate photos were discovered on his cell phone. The photos allegedly show Coffman touching a young girl inappropriately and the disrobed child touching him, report show.
Detective Tim Deal began investigating the case and Coffman was arrested three days later on Oct. 21.

Catoosa County Detectives Investigating Convenience Store Burglary
Catoosa County detectives are investigating a convenience store burglary that occurred early in the morning on Thursday, Oct. 20.
According to the Catoosa County Sheriff's Department, the incident happened just before 3:30 a.m.
Deputies were dispatched to the Corner Pocket CITGO store at 438 U.S. 41 near Cloud Springs Road regarding a burglar alarm going off.
Deputies found that the burglar(s) had forced their way into the building, reports show.
The intruder(s) had already fled the scene, but deputies found store merchandise strewn about behind the counter, with multiple cabinets opened.
The store's office door had also been kicked open, and it appeared as though the offenders rummaged through there as well.
The criminals did provide a slip-up by leaving a pry bar behind. Detectives found the bar lying on the counter.
According to Capt. Chris Lyons, detectives are working with the store to recover any possible video surveillance.
"We're looking into the video surveillance so we can hopefully get some sort of description of the suspects," Lyons said.
Detectives haven't specified how much cash and merchandise was taken during the incident, but store employees estimated there to be roughly $1,000 worth of property stolen.
Lyons says there have been similar burglaries in the area, another of which occurred in Ringgold a earlier in the week.
"The Ringgold Police Department had a similar case either the night before or two nights before, and there have been other cases like this in other nearby jurisdictions," Lyons said. "We think there are multiple offenders involved."
Anyone with information about the burglary is encouraged to contact Detective Daniel Thacker with the Catoosa County Sheriff's Department at 706-935-2424.


David Carroll Publises Second Book, "Volunteer Bama Dawg"
Recently voted the Chattanooga area's "Best Columnist" and "Best TV Personality," David Carroll has published his second book, "Volunteer Bama Dawg."
Carroll, who writes a weekly column in the Catoosa County News, Walker County Messenger and other newspapers, previously published "Chattanooga Radio and Television," a pictorial history of local broadcasting.
"The new book is totally different from the first," Carroll said. "While I was out promoting the first book, I spoke to several clubs and churches, telling stories about my career and the people I've met. People seemed to enjoy it, so I've put together my best stories, all in one place."
The title, "Volunteer Bama Dawg," is based on Carroll's life, and on one of his most popular stories.
"It represents the three states I've loved all my life," he said. "I grew up in Alabama, I now live in Tennessee and I drive through Georgia just about every day. It's who I am." Recently, he found the one spot where a person can stand in those three states at one time.
"I tell the story of the border that connects Marion, Dade and Jackson counties," he said. "You can have your big toe in Tennessee, your heel in Alabama, and your other foot in Georgia. It's become quite the little tourist attraction."
The book includes more than 60 photographs, and stories ranging from comical, to historical, to sentimental.
"I write about the worst songs ever, fun facts about our local history, my family, famous folks I've met, and some I never did. I write about my career in radio and TV, covering the schools, and I included more than a few jokes. Some of them are actually funny."
He added, "The new book also gives me a chance to follow up on the local personalities who were such a big part of my first book. People love reading about Luther Masingill, Miss Marcia, Tommy Jett, Harry Thornton and his wrestlers, Jim Nabors, and so many others. In this book, I can tell the stories I didn't have room for in the first book."
The book was published by Fresh Ink Press, and information on how to order is on Carroll's website, ChattanoogaRadioTV.com. It is available in softcover, hardback and audio (compact discs), read by Carroll.
"It serves several purposes," Carroll said. "It's not quite big enough to be a doorstop, but it makes for a nice coaster. It's a great bathroom book (especially the paperback), because you can open the pages anywhere, and a new story has just begun. No story is more than four pages long, so it's a perfect gift for your friend or relative who has a short attention span."
Carroll is a longtime radio and TV broadcaster in Chattanooga who anchors the evening news on WRCB Channel 3, and hosts a weekend radio show "The Vinyl Express" on Chattanooga's Big 95.3 FM. His weekly column appears in six area newspapers.
The book is priced at $19.95 (softcover), $21.95 (audio) and $27.95 (hardcover). All books purchased through ChattanoogaRadioTV.com are personally autographed by Carroll.
Books may also be ordered by mail, by sending a check for the amount listed above (plus $ 4.00 shipping) to "David Carroll Book," P.O. Box 15185, Chattanooga, Tenn. 37415. Please include names for autograph request.
Carroll is also available to speak for club meetings and church groups, with an entertaining program that includes a lot of laughs and prizes. To schedule an appearance, contact him at 423-267-5412, or 3dc@epbfi.com.


Share America Foundation Inc Preparing for Annual Drawing

The Share America Foundation, Inc. is in the last few weeks of donations leading up to its annual drawing at its Friday, Nov. 11, concert at the Ringgold Depot.
The Catoosa County 501-C3 focuses on perpetuating the Appalachian arts and presents the Pearl and Floyd Franks Scholarship to youth continuing the traditional sounds of Appalachian music.
“We have been accepting ticket donations throughout the year at our concerts and some area businesses. Folks still have the opportunity to participate during October,” said Randall Franks, Share America president. “Just stop by First Volunteer Bank on Alabama Highway or It’s Sew Time on Nashville Street, both in Ringgold, and get your tickets.”
The drawing includes an acoustic Fender guitar with built-in pickup and case from Bigham’s Music of Dalton, a handmade quilt from Flowers Fabrics in Ringgold, a vintage Marilyn Monroe framed image from Vera Twiddy, a handmade oak table from Jim Ricketts of Dayton, Tenn., and a pureWash HR Molecule Generator from Ruth Worley.
Tickets are $1 each or six for $5 and the participants do not have to be present to win. Winners will pick up item in Ringgold and pose for photos, Franks said
“We could not encourage youth without the help and support of those who attend our concerts and local business partners and donors who help with fundraisers such as this,” Franks said. “They have helped us make a difference in the lives of many young talented musicians. We are hopeful folks can help us reach our goal of raising $2,000 with this fundraiser.”
Ruth Worley volunteers each year to gather items for the organization’s concert door prizes, silent auctions and annual drawing.
"Ruth works throughout the year to bring a spirit of fun to what we do," Franks said. "We are so thankful to her and all our those who assist."
Share America will host the Nov. 11 concert with the Hullender Family at 7:30 p.m. at the Ringgold Depot. Donation for admission is $6. Visit shareamericafoundation.org for more information.


GFB Foundation for Agriculture Offering $60,500 in Scholarships
The Georgia Farm Bureau (GFB) Foundation for Agriculture is offering up to $60,500 in scholarships to Georgia students pursuing a degree related to agriculture, veterinary medicine, family and consumer sciences or a related field.
Since 1959, GFB has awarded scholarships to students entering college with plans to pursue a career in agriculture or family and consumer sciences. In 2016, the GFB Foundation expanded the scholarship program to offer scholarships to rising college juniors and seniors, technical college students and veterinary college students. In 2017 GFB will award scholarships in the following four categories.
Scholarship for Agriculture - This scholarship is for high school students who plan to enter a college that is part of the University System of Georgia, Berry College or Emmanuel College during the 2017-2018 academic year to pursue an undergraduate degree in agricultural and environmental sciences, family and consumer sciences or a related agricultural field. The GFB Foundation will award five scholarships of $3,000 each and seven scholarships of $1,500 each.
Technical College Scholarship for Agriculture - This scholarship is for high school students who plan to enroll in a Georgia accredited technical college who will be majoring in an area of agriculture or agriculturally related field of study. The GFB Foundation will award 10 scholarships of $1,000 each.
Rising College Junior/Senior Scholarship for Agriculture - This scholarship is for college students who have at least two semesters of college work remaining to receive an undergraduate degree from a unit of The University System of Georgia, Berry College or Emmanuel College and are majoring in agriculture and environmental sciences, family and consumer sciences or a related agriculture field. The GFB Foundation will award 10 scholarships of $2,000 each.
UGA College of Veterinary Medicine Scholarship - This scholarship is for students currently enrolled in the UGA Veterinary Medicine program specializing in large animal/food animal practice. The GFB Foundation will award two scholarships of $2,500 each.
All applications must be received at the Walker County Farm Bureau or Catoosa County Farm Bureau office by Jan. 6, 2017. Applications and scholarship eligibility requirements may be obtained from Walker and Catoosa County Farm Bureau office or downloaded at the GFB Foundation for Agriculture website at gfbfoundation.org.
Recipients will be announced in spring 2017, and the scholarships will be distributed in the summer of 2017.


Greg Beasley Wins Water Board Run Off Election
Local business owner Greg Beasley won a special run-off election over Marion Foster on Tuesday, Oct. 18, to become a new commissioner on the Catoosa County Utility District Authority water board.
Following the initial Oct. 4 election, which also featured Sandra Powell and Ashley Bible as candidates, Beasley and Foster sweated out another election day, which ultimately saw Beasley win by a 470 to 291 tally.
"I want to thank each and every person that got involved in the process and came out to vote at Catoosa Utility," Beasley said. "I know you put your faith in me and I don't want to let you down. Thank you for enduring all of my Facebook posts and messages, texts, phone calls, emails. Thank you everyone for sharing my posts and telling your friends and family about me. My heart was warmed by your support. This election was all you."
Beasley will succeed long-time commissioner Jacob Bowman, who had exhausted all of his terms and wasn't eligible to seek re-election.
"Now it's time to go to work. I am looking forward to the challenge ahead of me," Beasley said.
Beasley also praised his opponent for his work and dedication to the election.
"I also want to thank Marion Foster for running a great campaign," Beasley said. "I know he and his supporters worked just as hard as we did. I found out that people that know him, love him. I don't personally know him, but I hear from everyone that he is a decent, honest, and hardworking man."


Routine Traffic Stop Turns into Drug Bust
A routine traffic stopped turned into a drug bust for Fort Oglethorpe police, who found three men in possession of about two ounces of meth, authorities say.
According to the Fort Oglethorpe Police Department:
Christopher Lee Hall, 42, of Chattanooga, Frank Lynn Giles Jr., 34, of Ringgold, and Bryan Keith Porter, 28, of Rossville were arrested Oct. 16 on charges of possession of methamphetamine, possession of marijuana, trafficking methamphetamines, possession of oxycodone, possession of morphine, and possession of a Schedule II drug with intent to distribute.
Hall was also charged with a tag light violation.
All three men remained in Catoosa County jail as of Tuesday, Oct. 18, with bond set at $25,000 each for Giles and Porter and $25,500 for Hall.
The incident occurred just after 1:30 a.m. Sunday, Oct. 16, when officer James Davis pulled Hall over in the 3400 block of Cloud Springs Road.
After asking the men to step out of the car, Giles allegedly threw a marijuana blunt out into the grass on the shoulder of the road, reports show.
A Catoosa County sheriff's deputy also arrived at the scene with a K-9 drug dog after Davis says he could smell marijuana coming from the vehicle.
During the search of the vehicle, officers found a draw-string bag in a floorboard filled with various drugs.
"I located a clear back containing marijuana," Davis said. "I continued searching and located a large zip-lock back containing a crystal-like substance consistent with methamphetamine."
Davis also found additional bags of meth, a digital scale, more baggies, and pills later identified as morphine and oxycodone.
"The bags of the blue crystal substance were weighed on the offender's digital scale with the combined weight being approximately 60 grams," Davis said.
None of the offender's wanted to claim ownership of the bag, and the case was turned over to the Lookout Mountain Drug Task Force.
The task force collected all the drugs and paraphernalia as evidence and seized the undisclosed amount of cash the men had on them.


"Festival of Flags" Volunteers Needed
Ringgold is nearing one of its most respected and patriotic times of year with its bi-annual "Festival of Flags" celebration, and organizers for the event are seeking volunteers to help with the setup.
Twice a year, for the two weeks surrounding Memorial and Veteran's Days, the city of Ringgold honors fallen soldiers from Catoosa County by erecting an American flag and wooden cross with that person's name and service on it.
With the fall portion of the year's celebration less than a month away, event organizers are seeking volunteers to help set up and take down the flags.
"We're needing some folks to help us get the flags up, and then some to help us collect them back up," said former mayor Joe Barger. "Each time we have more flags, so we need more folks to help us out."
Barger says November's festival will include 1,396 flags, which is 56 more than in May.
The setup begins at 8 a.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 4, with the takedown scheduled for 9 a.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 18.
Anyone interested in volunteering for the effort can call Ringgold City Hall at 706-935-3061, or Barger directly at 706-935-2019.


Walker County Sheriff's Department Investgating Shooting

The Walker County Sheriff's Department is investigating a Wednesday shooting at 205 Summit St. in Rossville.
The victim, 37-year-old Christopher Moore of the address was working under the hood of a car when he was shot two times in the back. He has been hospitalized, but his condition was no immediately available.
The suspect is described as a tall slender black male, wearing a jacket with a head covering. The suspect also had long dreadlocks as described by the victim and two witnesses. The victim stated he recognized the suspect as a former customer.
It is believed that the victim was shot with a revolver hand gun.
The suspect fled the scene and escaped in a white Jeep Liberty.
Information on the shooting can be sent anonymously to walkerso.com, Walker County Sheriff's Department's Facebook page, or by calling dispatch at 706-375-7810.


Spread Awareness of Forest Fires
Help keep our wildlife safe by bringing awareness to the Georgia forest fires in the local areas. Several wildfires have been occurring in areas around us. The 2016 drought is the worst the forestry commission has seen since 2007. Georgia Forestry Commission will not issue any burn permits until significant rainfall has occurred. Visit www.georgiafirewise.org   for more information on how to protect our wildlife.

Rocktoberfest at Rock City

This fall, Rock City offers family fun, beautiful foliage and a German-themed festival at
Rocktoberfest, every Saturday and Sunday during October (1st-30th). This 11th annual event is open from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. and features live German bands, food, polka and lots of fun entertainment!
Interact with one-of-a-kind characters like Ik the Troll King, the fall fairy, German dancers, a mime, balloon artist and Rocky the elf, Rock City’s beloved mascot. Also see the popular Birds of Prey Shows at 11:30 a.m., 1:30 p.m. and 4 p.m. Kids can get a stamp in their passport as they visit different areas throughout the park. Adventure passports are given out upon entering Rock City and include activities and coupons.
Hear live German music from bands including The Wurstbrats, Die Mitternaechters and The Musik Meisters. Dancers also perform German and Bavarian folk dances.
Try some German food like bratwursts and beer cheese soup in the pavilion and German chocolate cake in the Big Rock Grill. Café 7 is also open from 11 a.m.-4 p.m. and is featuring the German dish, weinerschnitzel.
Set out on a guided heritage tour at 9 a.m., 12 p.m. or 3 p.m., to learn about Rock City’s founder Frieda Utermoehlen Carter and her love of German folklore and fairytales.
Rock City Gardens continues to partner with the MaryEllen Locher Foundation® honoring breast cancer awareness month during October. Stop by the new “Rock the Pink” photo booth and dress up in a fun assortment of pink attire. Several pink products including Survivor Birdhouses and ornaments are for sale, with a portion of proceeds benefitting this organization and their scholarship program. Visit Rock City’s gift shops or go to seerockcity.com/survivor.
For the event entertainment schedule, visit seerockcity.com/rocktoberfest.


Haunted Dppot Opens October 14th
Arguably Ringgold’s most popular event, the annual Haunted Depot, will kick off Friday night, Oct. 14, and is prepared to terrorize the community for three straight weekends in Oct.
This year’s Haunted Depot will be Ringgold’s 10th installment of the event, which is designed and orchestrated by city staff and volunteers.
Unlike a number of haunted attractions in the area, Ringgold’s Haunted Depot offers Halloween themed entertainment for all ages by not only turning the Depot into a haunted house, but also offering live entertainment, haunted ghost rides, hay rides with bonfire, and great food for everyone.
“This is our 10th Haunted Depot, and we have seen growth each and every year,” said city manager Dan Wright. “This is a family oriented event that promotes community. We always receive great cooperation from our school systems as well.”
Getting the Depot ready for a fright is always the duty of city Parksand Recreation director Stephen Middlebrooks, whose team spends two weeks building the haunt inside the Depot, and even begins the design process months prior to the build.
“Over the years we've collected a lot of props, masks, and other surprises for people,” Middlebrooks explained. “We're always trying to find a new use for things, and it's always a lot of fun….people love a good scare.”
Wright says the event is one of the city’s biggest, and says sponsorship from local businesses plays a huge role in bringing the event to life. 
"Ringgold's Haunted Depot is one of our most popular events bringing thousands of people into our community over several weekends," Said Randall Franks, Downtown Development Authority Chairman. "Over the years, as I volunteered, I have seen generations of families come together to enjoy one of the activities, finding the opportunity to build memories that will last a lifetime.”  While the Haunted Depot offers plenty of spooky fun, the purpose of the event is to raise funds for the city's Downtown Development Authority (DDA) to assist in making improvements through the community.
“We appreciate the support of our corporate sponsors,” Wright said. “Without their financial support, volunteer hours, and equipment, this event would not be the huge success it has become.”
The event’s corporate sponsors include Ringgold Telephone Company, First Volunteer Bank, and Graham Dental.
The extra activities outside the actual Haunted Depot include the ghost tours, hayride, bonfire, free face-painting for children, and free nightly live entertainment.  
     The Ringgold Police Department will be offering a variety of products at their booth located at the venue.  Some of the items at the Haunted Depot event will include; hamburgers, hotdogs, caramel apples, pop corn, sodas, coffee, hot chocolate, candy, and other misc. items.  
     “The Ringgold Police Department looks forward to participating with the Haunted Depot event every year, and it is truly humbling to have the opportunity to interact and serve the people here in our community, City of Ringgold Police, Chief Dan Bilbrey explained.
Rhonda Johnson explained for the second year, the event will also include a coloring contest for grades K-5. 
“We’ll be awarding first, second, and third place ribbons in categories of K-1st grade, grades 2-3, and grades 4-5,” Johnson explained. “First place winners will also have their artwork framed.”
Dates for the event are Oct. 14, 15, 21, 22, 28 and 29.
Doors open at 7:00 p.m. each of those evenings.
Ticket prices for the event are $8 for the Haunted Depot, $7 for the Ghost Tours,  $3 for the Hayride and Bonfire.
Combo tickets for everything at the event can be purchased for $15.
Visit cityofringgold.com. or call 706-935-3061 for more information.
What: Ringgold’s 10th annual Haunted Depot.
When: Oct. 14, 15, 21, 22, 28 and 29
Time: 7 p.m.
Cost: $8 (Various smaller amounts for extra activities).
Address: 155 Depot Street, Ringgold, Ga. 30736
Phone: 706-935-3061


Catoosa County Sheriff's Detectives
Investigating Road Rage Case

Catoosa County sheriff’s detectives are investigating a road rage case that erupted into two men pointing guns at each other.
According to the Catoosa County Sheriff’s Department, the incident happened just before 5 p.m. on Sept. 30 on Gentry Road and involved one man following the other to his driveway and threatening him.
The victim told Deputy Joshua Moore that he was attempting to back into his driveway when a black man riding passenger in a van began blowing his horn at him and then approached him with a gun.
“The victim stated the black male exited the passenger side of the vehicle, pointed the gun at him, and then stated, ‘I will bust a cap in your ass’,” Moore said.
The victim added that he too was carrying a gun, and in return, aimed his at the suspect.
The van was being driven by an unidentified black female, who fled the scene when the guns were drawn, leaving the offender in the victim’s yard.
Witnesses told deputies they saw the exchange take place and that when the victim pulled his gun in return, the offender began backing up and yelling out that the victim was going to shoot him because he is black, reports show.
Moments later, the female returned in the van and retrieved the offender.
One witness said the suspect punched out a window in the van and was yelling at the woman to get out of the driver’s seat, but that she too was yelling for the suspect to get back in the van before the two eventually sped away.
According to Capt. Chris Lyons, the sheriff’s office is treating the case as a road rage incident and investigating the aggravated assault aspect of it.
“We’ve had a couple of things like that, road rage type things, but we don’t have people waving guns at each other too often,” Lyons said. “We don’t have a whole lot of information to go on, but we hope that maybe somebody saw something or knows somebody that fits the suspect’s description with that type of vehicle. It (the suspect) may very well be somebody who is local to that area.”
The sheriff’s office is advising residents to keep an eye out for a black couple in a dark blue van, and encourages anyone with information about the incident to call detectives at 706-935-2424.


RHS Seniors Named Commended Students
by 2017 National Merit Scholarship Program

Ringgold High School seniors Christopher L. Beatty and Jack A. Gillispie were named Commended Students by the 2017 National Merit Scholarship Program. RHS Principal J.R. Jones will present them with a letter of commendation from the school and National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC), which conducts the program.
About 34,000 commended students throughout the nation are being recognized for their exceptional academic promise. They placed among the top five percent of more than 1.6 million students who entered the 2017 competition by taking the 2015 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT®).
“The young men and women being named Commended Students have demonstrated outstanding potential for academic success,” a spokesperson for NMSC said. “These students represent a valuable national resource; recognizing their accomplishments, as well as the key role their schools play in their academic development, is vital to the advancement of educational excellence in our nation. We hope this recognition will help broaden their educational opportunities and encourage them as they continue their pursuit of academic success.”


Catoosa Man Arrested on Kidnapping
Charges and Other Multiple Charges
A Catoosa County man wanted for allegedly kidnapping and beating up his girlfriend in August was arrested Monday when deputies found him hiding in a bathroom.
According to the Catoosa County Sheriff’s Department:
Shannon Jacob Ray, 30, of Bowman Road in Ringgold was arrested Oct. 3, on charges of false imprisonment, kidnapping, battery, theft, theft by receiving stolen property, and probation violation.
A hold was also placed on Ray for outstanding warrants out of Walker County, and he has been denied bond.
Ray’s run-in with police began just after midnight when deputies were patrolling near a residence on Graysville Road and discovered a stolen vehicle in the driveway.
The Honda Civic was had recently been reported stolen out of Chattanooga, Tenn., reports show.
Additional deputies arrived, but no one would answer the door of the residence.
After about half an hour, Lt. Anthony Lawson says, Karla Harris answered the door claiming to have no idea how the vehicle got to her residence.
“Ms. Harris stated she knew nothing about the vehicle and that someone had dropped the vehicle off earlier that day,” Lawson said. “She also stated that only her three children were inside the residence.”
Eventually, after being detained, Harris changed her story and admitted that Shannon Ray had come to the residence in the vehicle and that he too was inside the home.
After running Ray’s name, deputies discovered he had outstanding warrants in both Catoosa and Walker counties.
During a search of the residence, Ray was found hiding behind the curtain in a bathroom shower, reports show.
In addition to Ray’s arrest, Harris was also arrested on a single charge of theft by receiving stolen property.
Ray’s outstanding Catoosa County warrants stem from an incident on Aug. 16, in which he allegedly beat up his girlfriend while driving her car and then stole that vehicle too.
The victim claimed she and Ray were traveling on Roach Hollow Road and that he refused to let her out of the vehicle while striking her in the face and the back of the head, reports show.
The victim told deputies she was eventually able to jump out of the vehicle at a stop sign, but that Ray took off with her vehicle.
Ray returned the vehicle to the victim three days later on Aug. 19, reports show.


Detectives Investigating Death from October 1

Catoosa County detectives are investigating a death that occurred Saturday afternoon, Oct. 1, in which deputies discovered a body inside a burning vehicle.
Deputies were called to the scene at 14726 Ga. Highway 151 (Alabama Highway) around 12:30 p.m. on Saturday after receiving a report of a possible body inside a burning truck, where they indeed found a person’s charred remains.
The Chevrolet truck was located in the backyard area of the residence with the victim inside, reports show.
Sheriff Gary Sisk says his office has yet to publicly release the gender or name of the person because they’ve been unable to make a positive identification.
“Honestly, we can’t confirm the identity yet,” Sisk said. “It’s not that we’re trying to keep information from the public. … We assume we know who it is, but until we can get that verification from the crime lab, we can’t say for sure. We’re not able to pull a wallet with identification or anything from the victim.”
Sisk says the body was scheduled for autopsy at the crime lab on Monday, but that it’s still unclear how the vehicle caught fire.
“The autopsy was scheduled for 10 a.m. Monday,” Sisk said. “We also called the fire marshall into the investigation and collected the vehicle.”
The residence where the body and vehicle was found wasn’t being lived in at the time of the incident, but Sisk says it was being remodeled, and that a few people were there Friday evening before the discovery on Saturday afternoon.
“We’ve interviewed and talked to people that were there the night before, but at this time, we don’t think there’s any foul play or anything suspect,” Sisk said.
More details in the case will be released as they’re made available.

Northwest Georgia Judge
Accused of Improprieties
As two judges squabble for control of the northwest Georgia courts system, one has accused the other of improprieties -- and he says he has been working against her for years.
On Sunday, according to a letter obtained by the Times Free Press, Lookout Mountain Superior Court Judge Ralph Van Pelt Jr. told fellow Superior Court Judge Kristina Cook Graham that he has been secretly reporting her to state investigators for years.
"Now that you have been made aware of this and knowing you, it will be impossible for us to be in the same room," Van Pelt wrote. "Similar train wrecks in other circuits have resulted in a requirement that some form of case assignment system (with judges taking specific trials to avoid each other) be assigned."

Fort Oglethorpe Man Missing Since June
Authorities and concerned family members have continued their search for 44-year-old David Dewayne Abbott, who left his Fort Oglethorpe apartment on Wednesday, June 22, and hasn’t been heard from since.
According to Lt. Steve Blevins with the Fort Oglethorpe Police Department, the investigation into Abbott’s disappearance has stalled.
“Regretfully, there’s nothing new,” Blevins said. “We still don’t have any new leads, and there’s been no financial use of his personal accounts, or anything thing like that.”
Abbott left his Battlewood Apartment on Fant Drive around 11 p.m. and simply disappeared.
His truck was discovered in McMinn County, Tenn., shortly after he disappeared, but his trail stops in the area of Athens, Tenn.
Fort Oglethorpe police held a press conference with Abbott’s girlfriend Regina Snyder on July 6, at which time Snyder stated Abbott suffers from schizophrenia and had recently gone off his medication.
There didn’t appear to be any sign of a struggle near or in Abbott’s vehicle.
“The truck was found to be running mechanically sound,” Blevins said. “Abbott’s keys to the vehicle and his cell phone were found in the vehicle.”
Blevins said the cell phone hadn’t been used in a couple of days.
“We’ve had reported sightings in Athens where he was seen on foot in that area, but nothing has developed,” Blevins explained. “His family still goes up there looking for him every week or two.”
Abbott was last seen wearing black basketball shorts, black flip-flops, a knee brace, and a red muscle-shirt. His longhaired appearance from the missing person photo has changed a bit as police now say he has a “high and tight” military-style cut.
He also has a significant scar on his right arm, and a wedding band tattoo on his left ring finger.
Anyone with information about Abbott’s whereabouts is encouraged to contact Lt. Blevins at the Fort Oglethorpe Police Department at 706-866-2512.


Fort Oglethorpe Police Receive Clown Complaints

Fort Oglethorpe police have received complaints in the past two days of suspicious people dressed as clowns frightening area residents.

Similar to what has reportedly taken place in North and South Carolina in recent weeks, residents have called the city’s Police Department after seeing “suspicious” clowns lurking in the Cloud Springs Road area.

“We had a call yesterday at a complex on Cloud Springs Road, and then we had another call this morning at the Battlewood Apartments on Fant Drive,” police Lt. Steve Blevins said Tuesday, Sept. 20. “Yesterday was the first report, but now there are multiple.”

The first incident involved a “creepy clown” chasing a couple of kids from a store parking lot back to their home, reports show.

“According to the complainant, a person dressed as a creepy clown and wielding what appeared to be a knife, allegedly chased her 17-year-old daughter and 11-year-old niece from the lot of the Mapco convenience store back to their Fernwood Drive apartment,” officer Mitchell Moore said.

One of the victims recorded a Snapchat video of the clown from inside the apartment following the incident.

“There appears to be a knife in his hand,” Blevins said. “We don’t know if it’s a real knife or a rubber or fake one used during Halloween.”

Blevins says the department is trying to nip the issue in the bud given the craze that has followed such incidents in other states.

“Things like this are already out there on the national news and on social media, so we surely don’t want the public to think we’re trying to conceal these types of things,” Blevins said. “Some people might not take it too serious, but we do. If you’re out terrorizing people you’re going to go to jail. Also, any individual responsible for falsely reporting a ‘sighting’ will also be prosecuted criminally.”

Although Halloween is a little more than a month away, Blevins reiterated that pranking or scaring residents won’t be tolerated.

“Concealing your identity with a mask isn’t okay except for one day of the year and that’s Halloween,” Blevins said. “We don’t want people out there terrorizing, threatening, or endangering our residents.”


Chattanooga Attorney Found Unfit to Stand Trial
A once promising Chattanooga, Tenn., attorney, who made headlines earlier this summer when he was shot by a resident during a home invasion attempt, has been found unfit to stand trial.
Twenty-nine-year-old Michael Jack Fitzharris faces charges of aggravated assault, first-degree burglary, simple assault, entering auto, and terroristic threats and acts from the July incident, but was deemed not competent to stand trail last week in Catoosa County Superior Court.
According to his attorney McCracken Poston, Fitzharris has been ordered to complete a 90-day evaluation at the Georgia Department of Behavioral Health and Development to hopefully determine a plan of treatment.
“It’s a sad story,” Poston said. “Sadder still because I am hearing reports of extremely erratic behavior and thoughts by my client from over six months before the Catoosa County charges.”
On July 13, Fitzharris was arrested after an elderly couple claimed he forced his way into the couple’s home through a carport door, and then threatened to kill them.
Eighty-four-year-old retired Marine Delbert Hanshaw confronted him with a gun.
Catoosa County sheriff’s deputies found Fitzharris in his newly purchased Jaguar suffering from a gunshot wound to his upper right arm, reports show.
Fitzharris’ activities that day were also traced to an incident in East Ridge, Tenn., approximately 45 minutes before the home invasion, in which he allegedly came close to running over two police officers in a hotel parking lot.
In court, Fitzharris claimed several members of the Chattanooga court scene, including judges and attorneys, were “out to hurt him.”
At the time of his arrest, Poston said that Fitzharris was having some sort of mental breakdown.
Poston added that he wishes Fitzharris had a better support system around him at that time.
“An intervention by other lawyers or a judge could have diverted the issues and perhaps avoided the Georgia incident entirely,” Poston said. “He will be re-evaluated in 90 days.”

David Moon, founder of Picnooga in Chattanooga, is seeking glass plate negatives, which were used in photo processing in the late 1800s.
According to picnooga.org, “Picnooga began as a grassroots initiative to crowdsource vintage and historic photography of Chattanooga. Since, our focus has evolved into a hunt for historical items to catalog, preserve and share with the public. Our overall goal is to provide accessible resources to educate and stimulate an ongoing conversation about Chattanooga’s regional history.”
Moon said that a collection of more than 400 glass plate negatives depicting life in Chattanooga during the late 1800s was recently discovered. They are believed to have been taken by photographer Charles Gustavus Walline, who was employed at Chattanooga's D.B. Loveman's Department Store.
About 55 years ago a man named Charles Coulter of Signal Mountain attended an auction in Walker County and obtained 67 of Walline’s glass plate negatives. Coulter recently submitted them to Deep Zoom Chattanooga, as well as Picnooga.
Many of the photographs depict the same people, who are believed to be Walline’s friends and neighbors.
Moon believes there may be more glass plate negatives in Walker and the surrounding area.
Some of the photographs include an 1898 reenactment of the Battle of Chickamauga that took place during the Spanish-American War, which included some of those soldiers.
Moon said the long-term goal is to digitize the glass plates through a crowdfunding campaign and make those photographs available as an online exhibit.
Picnooga is asking the public to submit any other possible additional glass plate negatives, as well as information about those pictures, including the ones that are already in collection.
If the owners of the plates do not want to give them to the site, Picnooga could scan them for the owners and return the originals, Moon said.
The plan is to preserve, scan, digitize, and exhibit them, Moon said.
Moon said glass plate photographs started prior to the Civil War and started becoming obsolete around the 1920s.
Anyone who historic glass plate negatives they would like to submit to the project, or have scanned, is asked to email them to picnoooga@gmail.com, or contact the company on its Facebook page at www.facebook.com/picnooga/?fref=ts, or by visiting Picnooga’s website contact link at picnooga.org/contact-us/.
Moon said some of these photographs are already available to be seen online at picnooga.org and others will be added in the near future.

General 100 Relay After Party!

general 100 after party

It’s an after party, and you're invited! This Saturday, September 24th , The General 100 Relay is hosting a celebration at Clark Park right here in Ringgold, Georgia! Come celebrate and cheer on the runners at the General 100 Relay finish line! And best of all, it's FREE! Bring your friends and family for games, music, food, and more! Festivities begin at 5pm. We hope to see you there!

1890's Day Fiddler Contest Winner
Wins 45th Annual Fiddler Competition

Maddie Denton of Murfreesboro, Tenn., was named Grand Master Fiddler Champion for 2016 at the 45th annual fiddler competition in Nashville, Tenn., Sept. 3 and 4. The event was held at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum.
Denton won the opportunity to compete in the finals of the competition at the 2016 1890s Day Jamboree Old Time Fiddle Convention in Ringgold, Ga., when she won the Randall Franks Trophy, named after local Ringgold fiddler. Franks serves as host for the event.
“All of us on the 1890s Day Jamboree Old Time Fiddlers Convention committee are so proud of Maddie's accomplishment,” Franks said. “She is an amazing talent who has come to Ringgold to compete and won several times. Ringgold has watched her grow in her skills as a musician and now attain the nation’s highest fiddling honor which we are all a small part of now.”
Denton took home $1,200 in cash, $500 gift certificate from D’Addario, a Grand Master Fiddler plaque and will appear on the Grand Ole Opry.


Rossville Man Arrested on Multiple Charges
After Crashing Into Ex-Girlfriend's Car

A Rossville man was arrested in Fort Oglethorpe after he allegedly crashed into his ex-girlfriend’s car while trying to run her off the road, police say.
According to the Fort Oglethorpe Police Department:
Richard Joseph Howard, 36, of 2472 North Highway 341 in Rossville, was arrested Sept. 4 on charges of aggravated assault, reckless driving, stalking, not stopping at the scene of an accident, weaving, following too closely, striking a fixed object, and failure to obey traffic signs. His bond was set at $5,000.
A few days before Howard’s arrest, on Aug. 27, officers were called to a strange scene at the intersection of Patterson Avenue and Van Cleve Street, where they found two wrecked vehicles, but no drivers anywhere in sight.
Witnesses told Sgt. Greg Wingo the story of how a black Nissan Altima had crashed into a Honda Accord and subsequently ran into a power pole.
“The witnesses said the driver of the Nissan intentionally rammed the Honda, running it off the road,” Wingo said. “In the process, the Nissan struck and broke the power pole.”
Witness also stated the driver of the Nissan, which was later identified as Howard, ran over to the Honda after the fact, and attempted to get the female driver out of the vehicle.
“They (witnesses) said he jumped on top of the car and was jumping on the windshield, which shattered,” Wingo said.
Howard ran from the scene shortly thereafter, as did the female victim after Howard was out of sight, reports show.
The victim returned to the scene a short time later, claiming she went for help after the encounter with Howard.
Wingo says he interview the victim, who told the same story as the witnesses near the scene.
“The victim said her ex-boyfriend, Richard Howard, had been following her as she was going to her new boyfriend’s house,” Wingo said. “She said she turned from Van Cleve Street onto Patterson Avenue when Howard accelerated through the intersection and rammed into her car.”
Warrants were obtained for Howard's arrest, and he was located eight days later on Sept. 4


General 100 Relay in Need of Volunteers

Calling all volunteers! The General 100 Relay is looking for people to help for the event taking place September 24th. Any runners not participating in the relay but want to help? Students looking for volunteer hours before graduation? Or do you just want to help out this amazing event? We need you! Send us an email at general100relay@gmail.com if you're interested. All money raised benefits the Evitt Foundation, a non-profit (501c(3)) that promotes child welfare and education in North Georgia. 
And don't forget to register your team at http://general100.com



Catoosa County Courthouse


Today in Georgia

From the archives of the Georgia Historical Society

W.E.B. Du Bois

February 23, 1868 - Metro Atlanta
He was one of the most influential black leaders of the 20th century, and he taught in Atlanta for almost 25 years.

W.E.B. Du Bois was born in Massachusetts in 1868 and received a PhD. from Harvard in 1895—the same year Booker T. Washington made his famous “Atlanta Compromise” speech, calling for accommodation rather than protest against white society. Du Bois became Washington’s toughest critic, advocating activism and protest against injustice.

Du Bois began the first of two long teaching stints at Atlanta University in 1897, where he wrote some of his most influential work, including The Souls of Black Folk, and Black Reconstruction. The Sam Hose lynching in Newnan and the Atlanta Race Riots both motivated his role in founding the NAACP in 1909. Du Bois edited the organization’s magazine, The Crisis, for 24 years before returning to Atlanta University in the 1930s.

The years in Georgia profoundly influenced the pioneering black activist born on February 23, 1868, 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.

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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]