New Chattooga School Supt. Letter To The Community

New Chattooga County School Superintendent Michelle Helie took over from retired Supt. Jared Hosmer on the first day of July.  Friday is the first day of school for the Chattooga County School System and the new superintendent has released an open letter to the community:

Dear Students, Parents, and Community Members,

It is with great pleasure that I welcome you to the Chattooga County School District for the
2024-2025 school year.

As your new superintendent, I am honored to serve in a community dedicated to excellence and
deeply rooted traditions. Our mission at Chattooga County School District is to educate and
provide an environment that inspires our students to excel academically and encourages them to
become connected through fine arts, CTAE programs, athletics, and community service.
To our returning students and families, welcome back! Your ongoing support and trust are the
foundation of our school district’s success. For our new students and families, allow me to extend
a warm welcome. We are excited to have you join our school community, and we look forward to
getting to know you and supporting your educational journey.

To our outstanding faculty and staff, your dedication makes us great! Your passion and
commitment move us forward and ensure our success. I am ready to work alongside each of you
in the new year to continue creating exciting learning opportunities for our students.
As we embark on this new school year, let’s embrace the opportunities and challenges ahead with
optimism and determination. Together, we will foster a culture of excellence, respect, and
inclusivity where every student is supported and valued.

As superintendent, I look forward to working with all our stakeholders to continue moving
forward and making progress.

Here’s to a successful and fulfilling school year ahead!

Warm regards,
Michelle Helie

Chattooga County Schools

Arrest Report - Wednesday - July 24, 2024

Here is the latest arrest report from the Chattooga County Sheriff’s Office for Wednesday, July 24, 2024:

Friendship Festival This Saturday At Dowdy Park

During the week of July 21-27 local citizens and businesses were encouraged to join together in celebrating friendship and peace. Activities and acts of kindness aimed at bringing all people together throughout the week will culminate with a Friendship Festival to be hosted in Dowdy Park this Saturday. This free community event will kick off at 10:00 a.m. and run through 3:00 p.m.

Peaceful Majesty Ceremony

A “Peaceful Majesty “Ceremony will be held at the World Friendship Pocket Park at 11:30 a.m. This ceremony will highlight the latest engraved bricks installed in the beautiful World Friendship Park. The public is invited to attend to celebrate unity and friendship. Symbolic dove balloons will be presented to the first 200 attendees.

Friendship Festival Highlights

There will be a large variety of food vendors to enjoy, along with craft and specialty booths set up throughout Dowdy Park. Highlighted during the Friendship Festival will be the raising the World’s Largest Flag of Friendship & Peace. Live music will be enjoyed throughout the day.

Children can enjoy a day of free waterslide play sponsored by GP Federal Credit Union. Free face painting and friendship bracelet making will be provided by Summerville Junior Main Street.

Foot Parade of Friendship

There will be a “Foot Parade of Friendship” at 1:00 p.m. in Dowdy Park. All communities, cities and towns, individuals, church groups, and organizations are invited to join Summerville to walk in unity for this pedestrian parade led by the World Friendship Flag. Line up for this parade begins at 12:55 p.m. at the Veteran’s Fountain.

It is with great hope that each individual would make a pledge to present our community to the state, nation, and world with a positive attitude and commitment to make the world a better place through friendship.

Submitted by Susan Locklear – Summerville Main Street Director

AAA Urges Drivers To Stay Alert As Students Return to School

As 1.7 million children across Georgia begin heading back to school, AAA urges motorists to slow down and stay alert in neighborhoods, and school zones. Also, to be especially vigilant for pedestrians during before- and after-school hours. Children are particularly vulnerable during the afternoon hours following their school day. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 64 percent of child pedestrians killed in traffic crashes occurred during the weekday (6 a.m. Monday to 6:00 p.m. Friday) in 2021 (NHTSA Traffic Safety Facts). The goal is to always look out for all pedestrians on Georgia roadways everywhere.

“We are aware of the risk to children in and around school zones which is why we developed the AAA’s School’s Open-Drive Carefully awareness campaign to help curb unsafe driving behavior near schools,” said Garrett Townsend, Georgia Public Affairs Director, AAA-The Auto Club Group. “If Georgia motorists slow down and stay alert, they can save lives.”

The AAA School’s Open Drive Carefully Awareness Campaign was launched in 1946 to prevent school-related child pedestrian traffic crashes – helping kids to live fulfilling, injury-free lives. According to AAA Consumer Pulse Survey, 7 out of 10 Georgia drivers (70%) will commute daily, or regularly drive routes that take them through school zones and/or school bus stops once school starts this fall.

Survey Facts:

  • 41% of Georgians admitted to driving over the speed limit while in an active school zone (flashing lights on).
  • 30% of Georgians admitted to using a hand-held cell phone while in an active school zone (flashing lights on).

AAA offers seven ways to keep kids safe this school year:

  • Slow down. Speed limits in school zones are reduced for a reason. A pedestrian struck by a vehicle traveling 25 mph is nearly two-thirds less likely to be killed compared to a pedestrian struck by a vehicle traveling just 10 mph faster. A difference between 25 mph and 35 mph can save a life.
  • Eliminate distractions. Children often cross the road unexpectedly and may emerge suddenly between two parked cars. Research shows that taking your eyes off the road for just two seconds doubles your chances of crashing.
  • Reverse responsibly. Every vehicle has blind spots. Check for children on the sidewalk, driveway, and around your vehicle before slowly backing up. Teach your children to never play in, under, or around vehicles—even those that are parked.
  • Talk to your teen. Car crashes are one of the leading causes of death for teens in the United States, and more than one-quarter of fatal crashes involving teen drivers occur during the after-school hours of 3 to 7 p.m.
  • Come to a complete stop. Research shows that more than one-third of drivers roll through stop signs in school zones or neighborhoods. Always come to a complete stop, checking carefully for children on sidewalks and in crosswalks before proceeding.
  • Watch for bicycles. Children on bicycles are often inexperienced, unsteady, and unpredictable. Slow down and allow at least three feet of passing distance between your vehicle and the bicycle. If your child rides a bicycle to school, require that they wear a properly fitted bicycle helmet on every ride.
  • Look for AAA School Safety Patrollers – Nationwide, more than 679,000 AAA School Safety Patrollers stand guard at over 35,000 schools. When you see one, a school zone is likely nearby.

“If parents and other drivers follow these simple rules when driving in and around school zones, countless children can avoid injury and death,” continues Townsend. “It’s up to us to help all drivers become more aware of the risks of driving around schools.”

Summerville Police Respond To Call About Gunshots

Summerville Police were called to a Orchard Road address on July 16th after a person reported what they thought were gunshots.  According to a report released on Monday of this week, police said that when they arrived and spoke with the complainant, Kailee Ford, she told them that she and her mother heard a loud noise and the window of the living room shattered.  Police determined that it was not a gunshot, but two empty liquor bottles that were thrown through the front window of the residence.  The victim told police about a possible suspect that she had a disagreement with over a $32 loan.  The incident was turned over to an investigator.

Atrium Health Floyd Recognized For Stroke Treatment By The AHA

For the second consecutive year, Atrium Health Floyd Medial Center has received the American Heart Association’s Get With The Guidelines Stroke Gold Plus quality achievement award for its commitment to ensuring stroke patients receive the most appropriate treatment according to nationally recognized, research-based guidelines, ultimately leading to more lives saved and reduced disability.

Get With The Guidelines puts the expertise of the American Heart Association (AHA) and American Stroke Association to work for hospitals nationwide, helping ensure patient care is aligned with the latest research- and evidence-based guidelines. Get With The Guidelines – Stroke is an in-hospital program for improving stroke care by promoting consistent adherence to these guidelines, which can minimize the long-term effects of a stroke and even prevent death.

“At Floyd Medical Center, our goal is to ensure stroke patients can experience longer, healthier lives,” said Bre Merrell, BSN, RN, coordinator of the hospital’s stroke treatment program. “We are able to do that by adhering to the latest treatment guidelines.”

Stroke is the No. 5 cause of death and a leading cause of disability in the U.S. A stroke occurs when a blood vessel that carries oxygen and nutrients to the brain is either blocked by a clot or bursts. When that happens, part of the brain cannot get the blood and oxygen it needs, so brain cells die. Early stroke detection and treatment are key to improving survival, minimizing disability and accelerating recovery times.

Each year, AHA program participants qualify for the award by demonstrating how their organization has committed to providing quality care for stroke patients. In addition to following treatment guidelines, Get With The Guidelines participants also educate patients to help them manage their health and recovery at home.

“We are incredibly pleased to recognize Atrium Health Floyd Medical Center for its commitment to caring for patients with stroke,” said Steven Messe, M.D., volunteer chairperson of the American Heart Association Stroke System of Care Advisory Group and professor of neurology and director of fellowships of neurology at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. “Participation in Get With The Guidelines is associated with improved patient outcomes, fewer readmissions and lower mortality rates – a win for health care systems, families and communities.”

Floyd Medical Center also received the American Heart Association’s Target: Stroke Honor Roll Elite award. To qualify for this recognition, hospitals must meet specific criteria that reduce the time between an eligible patient’s arrival at the hospital and treatment with thrombolytic therapy.

Three Named As Finalists For City Manager's Position

The Summerville City Council has narrowed down the list of potential candidates for Summerville City Manager to three after meeting in a special called meeting on Monday evening of this week.  The three named as finalist are: Larry F. Deaton, Jr., Emma Wells and Jason Winters.

Deaton is a resident of Calhoun, Georgia and currently does analytical work for the Georgia Adjutant General’s office and Governor Brian Kemp’s office.  Deaton has managed state-owned properties throughout Northwest Georgia and has done work for the Georgia Department of Defense and was the program manager for acquiring a Homeland Response Team for the state of Georgia, according to his resume.  He attended Columbus State University and Berry College.

Emma Wells, originally from Ellijay, currently serves as the Solid Waste Manager for the City of Rome.  She has also worked as a Naturalist and Environmental Educator, and has been the program director for the Keep Rome Beautiful initiative.  In her position as Solid Waste Manger for Rome, Wells manages the Rome-Floyd County Recycling Center and develops the Floyd County Solid Waste Program.  Wells holds a degree in biology and a degree in business administration, both from Berry College.

Jason Winters, a native of Lyerly, served three terms as Chattooga County Commissioner.  Winters successfully expanded the water service in Chattooga County during his three terms in office to the point that over 90% of the county’s residents now have access to public water service.  As sole commissioner, Winters was also directly responsible for overseeing the county’s public works and economic development initiatives.  Winters is also a graduate of Berry College in Rome.

The Summerville City Council will conduct more interviews with the three finalists before making their final decision on who will get the position.  That decision is expected sometime in August.


Ag Commissioner Urges USDA To Challenge WOAH's Definition Of "Poultry"

Georgia Agriculture Commissioner Tyler Harper has expressed strong support for a bipartisan Congressional effort to urge the USDA to petition the World Organization for Animal Health (WOAH) to revise its definition of “poultry.”

Currently, their definition does not differentiate between commercial poultry and non-commercial or backyard flocks. This, according to Harper, has caused significant trade disruptions, costing Georgia’s poultry industry an estimated $300 million since a highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) outbreak in a non-commercial flock in November 2023.

What’s the difference? Well, Georgia State Veterinarian Janemarie Hennebelle highlights that backyard flocks and birds raised-for-release are at higher risk of exposure due to interactions with wild birds, unlike commercial flocks which adhere to strict biosecurity measures.

Harper criticized the World Organization’s stance, arguing that treating avian influenza detection in non-commercial flocks the same as in commercial operations is illogical and harmful to Georgia’s poultry producers. In a recent press release, he emphasized the need for commonsense reforms to support American agriculture and protect jobs.


Ossoff Proposes Law To Keep Job Training Grants In Place

Georgia U.S. Senator Jon Ossoff said he wants to establish a law that will keep a grant program in place that supports job training programs for community and technical schools.

He hopes to do that by building colleges’ capacity to meet skills needs that employers are looking for and help students earn jobs for in-demand industries. “Community colleges and technical education can be the pathway for Georgians to the life that they dream about – to a stable career, to a good paying job, to benefits,” Ossoff said.

Ossoff says the act would expand the existing program. He hopes to do that by building colleges’ capacity to meet skills needs that employers are looking for and help students earn jobs in in-demand industries.


Atrium Health Floyd Medical Center Recognized By AHA For 7th Consecutive Year

For the seventh consecutive year, Atrium Health Floyd Medical Center has earned Gold certification from the American Heart Association (AHA) for the care it provides heart failure patients. The AHA releases its Get With The Guidelines honorees annually.

The Get With The Guidelines – Heart Failure quality achievement award is earned by hospitals that demonstrate a commitment to treating patients according to the most up-to-date guidelines outlined by the AHA.

The guidelines put the expertise of the American Heart Association to work for hospitals nationwide, helping ensure patient care is aligned with the latest research and evidence-based guidelines.

About 6.2 million U.S. adults are living with heart failure. Despite the name, heart failure doesn’t mean that the heart has stopped working – it means the heart is having a hard time pumping blood and oxygen throughout the body. While there’s no cure for heart failure, patients can live a quality life by working with their health care team and stick with a plan that may include medication, symptom monitoring and lifestyle changes.

Lee Clevenger, director of Cardio-Vascular Services at Floyd Medical Center, said heart educators Stephanie Durall and Keely Harris are instrumental in the hospital’s success in treating cardiac patients.

“This is a true reflection of the hard work that Stephanie and Keely do to educate our staff and patients,” Clevenger said. “The award reflects a history of work that continues to strive for excellence and provides great heart care to our patients and their families.”

The Heart Failure Clinic at Atrium Health Floyd Medical Center helps patients successfully manage their condition. The clinic helps people learn to take better care of themselves and manage their chronic disease by providing educational resources, lab work and medication administration.

Floyd Medical Center is also recognized with the AHA’s Target: Heart Failure Honor Roll. Hospitals on the Honor Roll meet specific measures that improve medication adherence, provide early follow-up care and coordination, and enhance patient education. The goal is to further reduce hospital readmissions and help patients improve their quality of life in managing this chronic condition.

The hospital also received the AHA’s Target: Type 2 Diabetes Honor Roll award for ensuring that patients with Type 2 diabetes, who might be at higher risk for complications, receive the most up-to-date, evidence-based care when hospitalized due to heart disease or stroke.

Police Called About Burglary Incident

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Summerville Police responded to a burglary call on Northwest Congress Street on July 19th.  According to police, local real estate agent Betty Brady told police that someone had broken into the empty house that is for sale.  Police observed damage to the back door of the residence where someone had used something to pry the deadbolt in order to gain access to the residence.  Brady said that there was nothing missing from the residence that is owned by an out of town client in Knoxville, Tennessee.

City Of Summerville Names Finalist For City Manager Position

The Summerville City Council has narrowed the list of potential candidates for the position of City Manger, down to three.  The council met on Monday evening in a special called meeting and approved travel expenses for the finalist.  The council then went into executive session to narrow down the list of candidates to the finalists.  They include:

Larry F Deaton, Jr.
Emma Wells
Jason Winters
WZQZ News will have more on this story in upcoming news.

Arrest Report - Tuesday - July 23, 2024

Here is the latest arrest report from the Chattooga County Sheriff’s Office for Tuesday, July 23, 2024:

Steven Street Resident Reports Burglary

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On July 18th, a Steven Street, Summerville man came to the Summerville Police Department to report a burglary.  Edward Bennett told police that someone stole a 70-inch television and two electric guitars off his screened-in porch.  Someone also stole a box of audio speakers from Mr. Bennett’s automobile.  The victim told police that he did not have surveillance cameras but needed a report to turn in to his insurance company.

GNTC Fall Semester Admission Deadline Next Week

Georgia Northwestern Technical College serves the nine counties of Catoosa, Chattooga, Dade, Floyd, Gordon, Murray, Polk, Walker, and Whitfield. GNTC is the largest college in Northwest Georgia and is one of the largest technical colleges in the state of Georgia with six campus locations in Catoosa, Floyd, Gordon, Polk, Walker, and Whitfield counties.  GNTC  provides quality technical and academic instruction through traditional and distance education delivery methods leading to associate degrees, diplomas, and technical certificates of credit programs, as well as through customized business and industry training, and adult education services.  The deadline to enroll for the fall semester is next Tuesday, July 29, 2024.

Contact the GNTC Admissions Office  at (866) 983-4682, or visit one of the GNTC campuses Monday through Friday, 7:45 a.m. to 4:15 p.m. or you can email Admissions.

How to Apply

  1. Apply Online to the Admissions office and pay a $25 non-refundable application fee.
  2. Submit an official copy of a high school transcript or GED® transcript. An unofficial copy will be accepted until the official copy can be obtained.
  3. Students must register online to attend the required New Student Orientation. Details will be emailed once accepted.

Where Do You Start?

For more detailed instructions, please view our Academic Plan Where Do You Start?.

You may also want to Request a Campus Visit or Request Program Information.

Trion Town Council Meeting Agenda

The Town of Trion will hold their regular council meeting for July coming up this Thursday, July 25th at 6 PM at Trion Town Hall.   On the agenda for this week’s meeting, the council will consider the annual donation to the Chattooga County Agricultural Fair that is coming up next month.  Also, the council will discuss the renewable energy plant that is being proposed for the Trion Industrial Park.  This will be a time for both the public and council members to discuss the proposed new industry.  The meeting will get underway at 6 PM and the public is invited to attend. You can see a complete agenda for Thursday’s meeting below:

Red Cross Issues Critical Call For Blood & Platelet Donors

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The American Red Cross urges donors to give blood or platelets now to reinforce the blood supply as much as possible before the summer winds down. Type O blood donors and those giving platelets are especially needed to help keep hospital shelves stocked through August.

Donors remain critically needed to support the Red Cross delivery of vital blood products, which are in demand around-the-clock as hospitals work to save lives this summer. When fewer people answer the call to donate, the blood supply can quickly shrink. Help safeguard necessary care for patients − book a time to give blood or platelets by visiting, calling 1-800-RED CROSS or by using the Red Cross Blood Donor App.

In thanks, those who come to give Aug. 1-31, 2024, will get a $20 Gift Card by email. See for details.

How to donate blood Simply download the American Red Cross Blood Donor App, visit, call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or enable the Blood Donor Skill on any Alexa Echo device to make an appointment or for more information. All blood types are needed to ensure a reliable supply for patients. A blood donor card or driver’s license or two other forms of identification are required at check-in. Individuals who are 17 years of age in most states (16 with parental consent where allowed by state law), weigh at least 110 pounds and are in generally good health may be eligible to donate blood. High school students and other donors 18 years of age and younger also have to meet certain height and weight requirements.

Blood and platelet donors can save time at their next donation by using RapidPass® to complete their pre-donation reading and health history questionnaire online, on the day of their donation, before arriving at the blood drive. To get started, follow the instructions at or use the Blood Donor App.

Man Accused Of Attempting To Smuggle Drugs Into NW Georgia Prison

A Georgia prisoner is accused of attempting to smuggle drugs into the Floyd County Prison in July of last year.  According to arrest warrants, forty-nine-year-old Isaac Azriel Ross along with three other inmates used the prison phone system to arrange for a civilian to leave a bag in a garbage can at the Rome-Floyd Recycling Center on Lavender Drive.

The bag contained 32 grams of methamphetamine and 257 grams of marijuana.

Ross is charged with conspiracy to violate Georgia’s Controlled Substances Act, possession of items prohibited for inmates, possession of meth, possession of marijuana, and possession of drugs within 1,000 feet of a school.

Ross is currently serving a sentence for armed robbery in Gwinett County that occurred in November of 2017.  Ross has been in and out of the Georgia prison system since 1998.

Georgia Gas Prices Decrease Over The Past Week

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Georgia gas prices decreased at the pumps compared to a week ago. Georgians are paying an average price of $3.34 per gallon for regular unleaded gasoline (subject to change overnight). Monday’s state average was 5 cents less than a week ago,7 cents more than a month ago, and 1 cent less than this time last year. It costs drivers an average price of $50.10 to fill a 15-gallon tank of regular gasoline. Georgians are now paying 15 cents less to fill up at the pump compared to a year ago.

“The drop in gas prices over the weekend was a welcome relief to Georgians,” said Montrae Waiters, AAA-The Auto Club Group spokeswoman. Crude oil prices, which play a key role in determining what consumers pay at the pump continue to fluctuate, and demand is down, which assists in lowering prices at the pumps. Unfortunately, we cannot predict if gas prices will rise again this week.”

AAA continues to encourage drivers to take advantage of the money-saving gas tips listed below.


Pump Prices Reflect the Summer Doldrums

Since last Monday, the national average for a gallon of regular gasoline has decreased by 2 cents to $3.50 (subject to change overnight). The likely cause is the terrible demand number for gasoline, as folks may be curtailing driving amid sizzling summer temperatures.

According to new data from the Energy Information Administration (EIA), gas demand plummeted from 9.39 million barrels a day to 8.78 last week. Meanwhile, total domestic gasoline stocks fell from 231.7 to 229.7 million barrels.  Gasoline production took a slight ding, likely from Hurricane Beryl, dropping from an average of 10.3 million barrels daily to 9.5. Low gasoline demand and wobbly oil costs may lead to slowly lowering pump prices.

Regional Prices:

The most expensive Georgia metro markets – are Savannah ($3.40), Atlanta ($3.38), and Gainesville ($3.35).

The least expensive Georgia metro markets – are Warner Robins ($3.2), Dalton ($3.19), and Catoosa-Dade-Walker ($3.15).

Area gas price averages – Chattooga ($3.19), Walker ($3.16), Floyd ($3.26), Gordon ($3.27), DeKalb, AL ($3.07), Cherokee, AL ($3.08).

School Starting Back For Local Students

Students in the Chattooga County School System will be returning to class this Friday, July 26th.  The school system has planned a district-wide “Meet the Teacher Night” for this Thursday, July 25th from 4 PM until 6 PM.

Trion students return to school next week, with the first day of school on Friday, August 2nd.  Trion High School students will have the opportunity to rent lockers and parking spaces coming up today.  Locker rental is $25 and parking space permits are $30.  All fees, fines and tuition must be paid in order to rent lockers or parking spaces. You can see the schedule for today below:

Trion Seniors may come in from 8 AM until 9:30 AM, Juniors from 9:30 AM until 11 AM, Sophomores from 11 AM until noon. Freshmen may come in starting at 1:30 PM or can do their rentals during orientation.

Students purchasing parking permits must bring their driver’s license, insurance card, tag number, make, model and color of vehicle.  No permits will be sold without all of the applicable information.