There was a wide-range of news stories in Gordon County in 2017...from winter weather causing accidents to a local politician being indicted on financial fraud charges, the first quarter of 2017 was busy in local news. Due to the number of events that took place this year, this is part three of a four part series on the events that had Gordon County talking throughout 2017.
Chick-fil-A of Calhoun closed during July for remodel project
Chick-fil-A of Calhoun, a breakfast, lunch and dinner staple for many Gordon Countians, has shut its doors for the month of July due to a kitchen remodel. According to their Facebook page, Chick-fil-A of Calhoun is in the process of a complete remodel of the kitchen area, which includes an expansion, and is being completed to be able to better serve the needs of the Calhoun-Gordon County community. The restaurant held a grand re-opening in August.
Bond revoked, Smith returned to jail
Gordon County Superior Court Judge David K. Smith in July revoked the bond of Gordon County Board of Education member Ricky E. Smith, 45, returning him to jail. According to a motion filed by the District Attorney’s office on Thursday, July 6, 2017, a new arrest of Smith on June 19, 2017 on charges of possession of Schedule IV and Schedule V controlled substances violated a bond from Aug. 16, 2016, which was granted on various felony charges Smith faced concerning financial transaction card theft, identity fraud, theft by taking, criminal trespass and influencing a witness. A few days later, on July 10, Smith resigned from his position on the Gordon County Board of Education. On Monday, Aug. 14, Smith pleaded guilty on several felony financial transaction card theft charges, theft by taking, criminal trespass and influencing a witness; he accepted a plea deal as a first time offender. He was sentenced to 10 years with two years to serve; the remaining eight years will be served on probation.
County approves changes to application process for new chicken houses, how nuisance issues handled
The Gordon County Board of Commissioners at their most recent meeting on Tuesday, June 11 voted 4-1 in favor of the Amendment to the Unified Land Development Code for Dry Litter Poultry Operations, changing the application process for the building of mega chicken houses in Gordon County and how nuisance issues with the houses are handled. The amendment to the ordinance involves a stricter application requirement for DLPOs, including requirements for development and design plan, nutrient/waste management plan, water supply and usage plan, land owner notice requirements for adjacent property owners; buffer zone; setbacks and other various requirements including stricter odor control, impact of the character of surrounding neighborhoods and traffic nuisances.
County recognizes Leonard’s achievement
Gordon County Finance Department Director Al Leonard was recognized at the Tuesday, July 18 meeting of the Gordon County Board of Commissioners for receiving the Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting by Government Finance Officers Association of the United States and Canada (GFOA) for Gordon County’s comprehensive annual financial report. This was the 12th year that Leonard has received the Certificate of Achievement, the highest form of recognition in the area of governmental accounting and financial reporting, and its attainment represents a significant accomplishment by a government and its management.
Board discusses Rivers to Ridge Master Trail Plan
The Gordon County Board of Commissioners listened to a presentation by Gritta DeMayo of Kiazen Collaborative at the latest Commission meeting on Tuesday, July 18 concerning the Rivers to Ridge Master Trail Plan and an implementation strategy on a way to bring the proposed 8.7 miles of greenway trails to Gordon County. The Rivers to Ridge Master Plan is divided into seven segments: South Connector, Calhoun Pedestrian Trail to City Park, Spur to Tech College and Career Academy, Downtown to Red Bud Road, Red Bud Road Sidepath, Red Bud Road to Gordon Central High School and Gordon Central High School to the New Echota Historic Site. The basic route from beginning to end would take the public from an approximate area around Wal-Mart in Calhoun, down to the Calhoun Recreation Department, through downtown Calhoun to Red Bud Road, east on Red Bud Road to Gordon Hospital, from the area of the new Gordon Hospital Trail to Gordon Central High School and from the High School to New Echota.
Georgia’s First Lady visits Gordon Hospital for First Steps Georgia program
On Tuesday, Aug. 1, Georgia First Lady Sandra Deal, wife of Georgia Governor Nathan Deal, made a visit to Gordon Hospital’s obstetrics department, The Baby Place, to review the First Steps Georgia program with staff of Family Resource Center of Gordon County. Her visit was to present new mothers with immunization cards and discuss with parents the importance of immunizations, along with the importance of reading to children.
CPD releases incident report from Saturday’s Walmart arrest
The Calhoun Police Department on Sunday afternoon released the official incident report from a Saturday afternoon, Aug. 5 arrest of two females at Walmart in Calhoun, where a video spread on social media of a CPD officer forcibly removing one of the females from the car she was driving. Officers were dispatched to the store shortly after 2 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 5 in response to a shoplifting in progress. When officers arrived on the scene, the suspects were backing out of a parking space in a black vehicle; the driver did so in “a fast and aggressive manner to avoid (the officer) running up the parking lot.” Officers activated blue lights and pulled in front of the car, identified as a black Nissan Altima with a Tennessee tag, in an attempt to stop the car. The driver then attempted to avoid the officers, driving at a high rate of speed toward pedestrians. That’s when an officer drew his service weapon, and advised the driver, identified as Macy Danielle Lear, 24, of 24 Millswood Street, Clarksville, Tenn., to stop the vehicle. Lear then pulled toward the officer, continuing before coming to a stop with the front bumper touching his legs. While the officer began advising Lear to “cut the vehicle,” she began telling him she didn’t believe he was an officer, to move out of the way or she would run over him. She also advised him she was calling the police. The officer reported that during the time he first made contact with Lear, she was reaching to the area of her right to the left toward the floor (of the vehicle). Officers then attempted to get Lear to open her door; she refused and began acting “irate.” Another officer to arrive on the scene and placed his patrol car in front of the Nissan and blocked it, to prevent the vehicle from moving again. Lear then rolled her window down but continued to refuse to exit the vehicle. An officer then reached into the vehicle and unlocked the door, opened it and physically removed Lear from the vehicle, placed her on the ground and under arrest. The passenger of the vehicle, identified as Elizabeth Dawn Barnes, 29, of 1204 Lafayette Road, Clarksville, Tenn. was also removed and placed her under arrest without incident. Upon removing Lear from the vehicle, officers noticed a chrome revolver in the driver floorboard in the area that she was reaching when the officer was in front of the vehicle giving commands. It was also noticed that Lear dropped a green wrapper on the ground when she was removed from the vehicle. The wrapper contained five green Oxycodone pills with “U23” marked on them. Both subjects were placed under arrest.
Ledford, McBride take home top prizes in Calhoun’s Got Talent finale
And then there were two. On Saturday, Aug. 5, a field of 10 talented contestants, which had been whittled down from 17 contestants the previous week, were left for the finale of Calhoun’s Got Talent at the Harris Arts Center. A panel of three judges, along with the audience, had to choose from the wide variety of performers which included Heather Mayfield-Adcock, Aaron Blake, Hunter Green, Bri Hall, Darby Jones, Ryleigh Ledford, Adrian Lyles, Mercedes McBride, Holly Thomas and Brianna Towers. In the end, Ryleigh Ledford was awarded the Judges’ Award, along with $750 in prize money, and Mercedes McBride won the People’s Choice Award, and was also awarded $750 in prize money.
Lt. Gov. Cagle visits Calhoun to drum up support in run for governor
Lieutenant Governor Casey Cagle, who has announced he is running for governor in 2018, visited Calhoun on Wednesday, Aug. 16 as part of his North Georgia Bus Tour. Cagle visited with local dignitaries, business leaders and residents during a meet and greet where he discussed his vision for Georgia.
CPD awarded Governor’s Cup in Governor’s Office of Highway Safety Challenge
The Calhoun Police Department was recognized in August at the 17th annual Governor’s Office of Highway Safety Challenge Awards, hosted by the Governor’s Office at the Hyatt Regency in Savannah. The Calhoun Police Department, in award Category 3 for departments of 26-50 officers, received 159.9 total points for the overall Governor’s Cup, and took the first place award. The recognition program is for statewide law enforcement agencies of all sizes, and features awards in seven different categories based on department size as well as several other specialty categories and a grand prize, the Governor’s Cup, given to the top performing department among all categories.
Rep. Meadows lands on inaugural Clean 13 Report for work in protecting Georgia’s waterways
The Georgia Water Coalition released its inaugural Clean 13 Report on Wednesday, Sept. 6, which highlights the work accomplished by various individuals, companies, industries and non-profits, along with state and local governments that have worked to protect Georgia’s waterways. Rep. John Meadows, R-Calhoun, chairman of the House Rules Committee, was one of the 13 recognized for his work in preventing water pollution from fracking. Fracking is a process that involves drilling down into the earth and injecting shale with a high-pressure mixture of water, sand and chemicals to extract oil and natural gas. The use of fracking has prompted environmental concerns recently due to the huge amounts of water which must be transported to the fracking site, and because of what environmentalists say is potentially harmful chemicals used during the process that may escape and contaminate groundwater around the fracking site.
Police release contents of package left at National Guard Armory
According to investigators with the Calhoun Police Department, the contents of the package left for President Donald Trump on Friday, Sept. 15 included three blank notebooks, several picture frames with stock photographs and other papers, described as trash by an officer. A Rossville, Ga. man was arrested after leaving the suspicious package at the Army National Guard Armory in Calhoun. According to Calhoun Police Chief Garry Moss, the CPD charged Kenneth Lebron Medley, 55, with one count of criminal trespass.
Community reception to honor HAC’s Molleson held
The Harris Arts Center has thrived over the past decade, and it has emerged as one of the community’s cultural and creative pillars. One of the primary reasons it has continued to prosper during that time is the leadership, vision and geniality of Executive Director Toni Molleson. However, Molleson reached the point where she is ready to move on to the next chapter in her life, and has recently made the tough decision to step down as Executive Director and retire after eight successful years at the position. A community appreciation reception was held in her honor in late September at the Harris Arts Center.