Annual Calhoun Times Year in Review 2017

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 one of a four part series on the events that had Gordon County talking throughout 2017.

January 2017

Dalton couple arrested for drug trafficking after hit-and-run

According to Gordon County Sheriff Mitch Ralston, around 8:45 p.m. on Dec. 29, deputy sheriffs were dispatched, along with Georgia State Patrol troopers, to the scene of a hit-and-run automobile crash at Interstate 75 and U.S. Highway 41 near Resaca. Citizen-witnesses at the scene directed deputies to the area where the occupants of one of the automobiles had fled on foot. Deputies and troopers quickly established a perimeter and searched the area on foot with the aid of a Calhoun Police Department tracking dog, subsequently arresting Carlos Hurtado, age 25, and Marisele Pina, age 19, both of Dalton. Both have been charged with trafficking in methamphetamine, possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute and possession of marijuana.

County returns to normal after winter weather causes minor accidents over the weekend

Gordon County residents finally got a taste of winter over the weekend as the area was hit with 1 - 3 inches of snow beginning late Friday, Jan. 6. While not considered a major event, schools released early on Friday in preparation for the weather system moving into the area. As residents woke up on Saturday, they were greeted with snow and below-freezing temperatures. Gordon County E-911 reported 149 weather-related calls from Friday, Jan. 6 until Monday, Jan. 9 at midnight. Most calls involved minor accidents, the most major being the blockage on State Route 53 east of Fairmount.

Calhoun City Council to look at adding ethics reform

The Calhoun City Council took advantage of a fresh start to a new year to introduce, during the first regular meeting of the Council on Jan. 9, directions the Council will go in 2017; these things had been discussed among the council members earlier in the day during their work session. City Council members had been answering questions from the community due to actions such as back door meetings with preferred residents and council members not adhering to local City law.

Commissioners welcome Owens to Gordon Board at first meeting of year

The Gordon County Board of Commissioners met for the first time in 2017 on Tuesday, Jan. 10, welcoming new commissioner Bud Owens, who takes over District 1 which was vacated by Plainville resident Jeff Gazaway when he decided not to run for re-election in late 2016.

Local Piggly Wiggly closed doors permanently

According to Rockdale Grocery, the company that owns the Calhoun Piggly Wiggly, located on Red Bud Road, the store permanently closed its doors on Saturday, Jan. 21, 2017. “It’s not one of those things you want to do, but at some point, it’s just not financially possible,” said Scott Lewis with Rockdale Grocery. “We can’t continue to operate; there’s not enough sales to continue.”

February 2017

Heritage Baptist Church announces opening of new Christian school

A dream for years, Dr. Brent Davis, pastor of Heritage Baptist Church in Calhoun, announced this week the opening of Heritage Baptist Christian Academy, opening fall 2017 for students in grades kindergarten through sixth grade. Heritage Baptist Christian Academy will be known as the Mighty Kingsmen.

Local student attends NFC Championship through Make-A-Wish Foundation

The Atlanta Falcons received a little extra support on the road to Super Bowl LI last Sunday by a Gordon Central student and enthusiastic, lifelong fan. Through the Make-A-Wish foundation and other sponsors, Hunter Calvert was afforded an awe-inspiring opportunity to attend the NFC Championship playoff game in the Georgia Dome to cheer the Falcons on as they squared off against the Green Bay Packers. Calvert was diagnosed at a young age with encephalomalacia, which is a brain injury that causes seizures.

CPD: Domestic incident results in murder-suicide

The investigation continues this week into the murder-suicide that occurred at Calhoun Tobacco and Food Mart, located at 1402 South Highway 41 in Calhoun. Officers with the Calhoun Police Department were dispatched to the location shortly after 7 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 10. Officers arrived to the scene and found a store clerk injured, who told officers she had been shot. An officer witnessed a male run southeast around the store toward Stone Loop, then heard a single gunshot in the area of 116 Stone Loop. While on scene, officers cleared the store and found another female laying behind the counter, unresponsive. The unresponsive female, later identified as Valerie Castillo, age 18, with an address of 3200 Motor Avenue, Los Angeles, Calif., was pronounced dead at the scene by medics. A search of the area around 116 Stone Loop revealed a male subject, identified as Victor Andres Pacheco, around 20 years of age, with an address of 1978 Miramar Street, Pomona, Calif., was found dead from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. On Tuesday, Lt. Tony Pyle with the CPD told the Calhoun Times that Castillo and Pacheco were in a relationship, and the couple had lived in Calhoun, at Belwood Apartments, for approximately one month. Officials do not feel either one of them had jobs locally at the time of their deaths, and while the CPD has found no family in the area, they did have friends in Calhoun.

Plainville mourns death of longtime mayor Johnston

Longtime Plainville mayor Sally Johnston died on Sunday, Feb. 5, following an extended illness. She was 73. Johnston began her journey in public service as a council member on the Plainville City Council from 1989 until she was elected Mayor of Plainville in November 1999. Johnston served as mayor during the major beautification projects in downtown Plainville, including an updated streetscape that included new sidewalks and decorative lighting. She was also mayor during the Plainville Recreation Department Gymnasium build project. According to Plainville City Clerk Sandra Langston, Johnston was active with the Plainville Recreation Department before her time of public service and continued to dedicate her time to the facility while serving on the Council.

The new Gordon County Government Plaza: Open for Business

The Gordon County Government Plaza, in the former BB&T Building located at 215 North Wall Street in downtown Calhoun, opened its doors on Monday, Feb. 6. The building now houses the office of Gordon County Tax Commissioner, Property Assessor and Gordon County Voter Registration and Elections office, all formerly housed in the Gordon County Courthouse Annex.

March 2017

Gordon County E-911 will begin Text to 911 service March 1

Beginning March 1, 2017, wireless customers in Gordon County will be able to send a short message service (SMS) to E-911 for emergency help when unable to make a voice call. Debbie Vance, director of Gordon County E911, presented the new service during the most recent meeting of the Gordon County Board of Commissioners. “It’s our new phone system that is going to allow us to use text service,” said Vance. “The intended use of Text to 911 is for citizens and visitors who are deaf, hard of hearing, have a speech disability or when a voice call to 911 might otherwise be dangerous or impossible.”

Smith indicted on 19 counts including theft and identity fraud

The Gordon County Grand Jury convened the morning of March 20 and indicted Gordon County School Board member Ricky E. Smith on 19 total counts, including seven counts of financial transaction card theft, nine counts of identity fraud and a count each of theft by taking, criminal trespass and influencing a witness. The indictments stem from his arrest on Monday, Aug. 15, 2016 after a theft of currency and credit cards was reported from a private residence in the Red Bud community. The theft was reported on Aug. 12, 2016.

Gordon Hospital hosts walking trail dedication and ribbon-cutting

Gordon Hospital hosted a special dedication and ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new CREATION Health Wellness Walk on Tuesday, March 28 from 12 - 1 p.m. at 1035 Red Bud Road in Calhoun. Funded by hospital employees, the Gordon Hospital Foundation, and Northwest Georgia Paving, the walking trail was designed to promote physical activity and features exercise stations throughout the path. The CREATION Health Wellness Walk is now open for community use during daylight hours.