Calhoun Times Year in Review 2016 Part III

Calhoun-Gordon County celebrated the Fourth of July in style, saw the arrest of a Gordon County BOE member, prayed for a little boy seriously injured in a wreck that took the life of his father and followed many other news stories during the third quarter of 2016.

July 2016:

Gordon County celebrates the Fourth of July: Despite temperatures in the high 90’s, residents celebrated the Fourth of July in record numbers throughout the county. The day kicked off in Fairmount with the Salacoa Valley Kiwanis’ Annual Fourth of July Celebration in Tate Park, which began at 10 a.m. and lasted until the early afternoon. There was live music in the pavilion throughout the day, bingo and carnival-style games, rides and inflatables for the kids, a cash raffle and food and craft vendors. Hundreds showed up to celebrate our nation’s birthday at the event. Later that night, Mohawk Presents The Star Spangled Celebration, the annual celebration of Independence Day, was held at the Northwest Georgia Regional Fairgrounds in Calhoun. What has become known as the “Biggest and Best Fireworks Show Ever” did not disappoint as the park filled with patrons and cars lined over a mile of Highway 53 to watch the show. Prior to the fireworks, the fairground was filled with entertainment from local bluegrass and gospel bands, national country rock performances, local dance troupes and food and craft vendors.

Brock to lead Red Bud Elementary: During the June 27 meeting of the Board of Education, Debra Brock was named principal at Red Bud Elementary School effective July 1, 2016. The move comes following an extensive interview process that began after the resignation of Katie Vaughan earlier this month. Debra Brock had served as the assistant principal for Red Bud Elementary.

Annual Declaration of Independence Reading held at Gordon County Courthouse: The third annual Declaration of Independence Reading took place on Thursday, July 7, on the steps of the Gordon County Courthouse. The Gordon County Bar Association, the Office of the Public Defender and the Office of the District Attorney sponsor the event each year. Lawyers throughout the county were invited to help conduct the public reading.

CPD arrest mother/daughter on forgery, identity theft charges: Calhoun Police on Friday, July 8, arrested a mother and daughter on dozens of counts of forgery in the fourth degree and two counts of identity theft. Charged in the case are 31-year-old Crystal Michelle Silvers of Cartersville and her mother, 62-year-old Charlotte Lenore Miller of Calhoun. According to Chief Garry Moss, detectives, receiving information concerning stolen checks, discovered several of the checks had passed through the City of Calhoun. Silvers’ faces 126 counts of fourth-degree forgery, all misdemeanors, and one felony count of identity theft. Miller faces 10 counts of fourth-degree forgery, all misdemeanors, and a felony count of identity theft.

United Way’s Young Leaders Society to host first Lunch with Leaders event: The United Way of Gordon County’s recently created Young Leaders Society is hosting its first Lunch with Leaders Event on Friday, Aug. 12, from 12 – 1 p.m. at the Historic Depot in downtown Calhoun.The society was created with optimistic views that would bring a diverse group of young leaders together through partnerships, volunteerism and philanthropic service.

Large turnout for local Improv Workshop: There was a large turnout for the recent Improv Workshop held at the Gordon Central Media Center July 5-7. Instructor Josh Scott said that students as young as 14 participated and there was representation from all county schools and Calhoun High School, along with a few homeschoolers.

Calhoun High School Majorettes win third DMA national title: The Calhoun High School Majorettes hard work paid off- they captured their third Drum Majorettes of America national title this past weekend at Wingate University in North Carolina. The majorettes previously won the title in 2012 and 2014. The team is under the direction of Head Coach Tracy Farriba and Assistant Coach Madison Bunch.

Fairmount pickets in support of Gordon Hospital’s Fairmount Family Medicine: Residents in Fairmount showed up on July 20 in full support of Gordon Hospital’s Fairmount Family Medicine, which Gordon Hospital announced earlier in the week that it would close the doors of the facility in October. According to Gordon Hospital, lack of business was to blame for the decision to close the office.

Gordon Hospital to host annual Back to School Blast event: Gordon Hospital hosted its Back to School Blast event for all local public, private, and homeschool students in grades Pre-K through 12 on Thursday, July 28 at the Sonoraville Recreation Complex, 7494 Fairmount Highway. “This event, which is the largest one we host for the community each year, is always fun and educational,” said Garrett Nudd, director of marketing for Gordon Hospital. “This is also a way for us to focus on our wellness program, CREATION Health, which promotes whole-person healthy living.”

Rasbury edges out Silvers in Republican Primary Runoff Election: Calhoun businessman Pat Rasbury defeated incumbent Ricky Silvers in the Republican Primary Runoff Election for Gordon County Chief Magistrate. Only 2356 voters turned out for the runoff election, with Rasbury garnering 58.47 percent of the vote, with Silvers receiving 41.53 percent.

Gordon County Board of Commissioners recognize firefighter Talley upon retirement: The Gordon County Board of Commissioners recently recognized Lt. Doug Talley of Gordon County Fire & Rescue, who has retired after 30 years of service. Talley, who has worked at all stations within Gordon County Fire & Rescue, was working at the new Red Bud Station 6 upon his retirement.

GC alum Tiana competes on Comedy Central’s “Jeff Ross Presents Roast Battle”: Comedian Sarah Tiana, an alumof Gordon Central High School, competed in late July in Comedy Central’s special four-night event, “Jeff Ross Presents Roast Battle,” a televised roast, which features comedian Ross, host Brian Moses and a panel of celebrity judges.

August 2016

Lawrence releases new EP after successful Kickstarter campaign: Voice alum Ellie Lawrence, the singer/songwriter who captured hearts across the country in 2015 on the popular televised singing contest on Season 9 of “The Voice,” released her first EP, “If You Knew Me,” in early August, with the recording reaching as high as number 5 on the iTunes Singer/Songwriter Chart over the weekend.

County holds public hearing concerning amendments to various ordinances: The Gordon County Board of Commissioners heard from several residents concerning amendments for the ordinances of backyard chickens, grass and weeds and indoor shooting ranges at a commission meeting held Tuesday, Aug. 2. Some discussion had previously been held concerning updating the ordinances, with suggestions of yard grass being kept at 12 inches or lower in height, a change in the acreage to keep backyard chickens from five acres to two acres and noise reduction and other safety concerns of indoor shooting ranges.

Man severely injured in early morning camper fire Sunday: One person was severely injured in early August when a camper caught fire at the A-OK Campground, located at 2523 Red Bud Road in Calhoun. The occupant, identified as Ronald Jarrett, 50, was airlifted to Grady Hospital in Atlanta with second and third-degree burns on 60 percent of his body. According to Battalion Chief Zevan Gilbert with Gordon County Fire and Rescue, two stations were dispatched to the fire after receiving the call where, upon arrival, a fire attack crew cooled exposures on each side of the burning camper and extinguished flames from a vehicle located in Jarrett’s campsite. Campers on both sides of Jarrett’s campsite suffered damage. According to Gilbert, the fire started in the front of Jarrett’s camper and the cause of the fire has been ruled undetermined. Jarrett eventually succumbed to his injuries.

Meadows recognized as “Champion of Georgia Cities”: Rep. John Meadows (R-Calhoun) in August received the “Champion of Georgia Cities” Award from the Georgia Municipal Association. Given at the end of every two-year legislative term, the award recognizes legislators who actively support major GMA initiatives and goals.

County School Board member arrested in Gordon, Whitfield Counties: Gordon County Board of Education member Ricky Smith, age 44, was arrested by Gordon County Sheriff’s Office on Monday, Aug. 15, on three felony charges of financial transaction card theft, two felony charges of financial identity fraud and two misdemeanor charges of theft by taking. According to a report, on Friday, Aug. 12, a private citizen reported the theft of currency and credit cards from a private residence in the Red Bud community. According to a statement from the GCSO, the items were allegedly stolen from a purse inside the residence. The cards were subsequently used in a number of transactions at businesses in Dalton the same day. The credit card providers notified the victim of the theft of unauthorized transactions. Detectives with the Gordon County Sheriff’s Office and Dalton Police Department worked together on the investigation. Dalton Police were able to identify the person using the credit card as Smith, with an address of 582 Brown Farm Road in Calhoun, by using video surveillance film. Smith posted a $20,000 bond on Tuesday evening, Aug. 16 and was given to the custody of Whitfield County authorities to face charges there. According to Whitfield County arrest records, Smith is charged there with two counts of financial transaction card fraud, a count of ID theft fraud and a count of first degree forgery.

Local pain clinic closes doors; leaves patients in medical bind: According to a sign on the office door, Georgia Pain Physicians Clinic of Calhoun, located at 185 Professional Court off of Curtis Parkway, closed its doors effective Aug. 10, 2016. The Calhoun clinic was founded by Dr. Robert E. Windsor, an Atlanta-area physician who owned at least five locations in Georgia and at least one location in Kentucky. Patients reached out to the U.S. Attorney’s Public Affairs Office in Atlanta to find out why the clinic has closed and what they should do now for their pain treatment.

Drowning victim identified in overnight accident: Emergency personnel from the Gordon County Sheriff’s Office, Gordon County Fire & Rescue, Gordon County EMS and Georgia DNR responded to a scene at a lake on 628 Craigtown Road in mid-August, sometime before 11 p.m., to a possible drowning. Around 11 p.m., the body of Terrance Bradley Williams, 26, of a Calhoun address and a former student at Gordon Central High School, was pulled from the lake. According to Gordon County Deputy Coroner Heath Derryberry, Williams, who had recently moved back to the Gordon County area, was swimming in a large, hidden lake that sits a long distance away from Craigtown Road with his girlfriend, identified only as Lydia. The girlfriend told Derryberry that they were swimming across a 75-yard section of the lake and about 20 yards into the swim, Williams began having trouble and went underwater. The girlfriend told Derryberry that she attempted to help but when she tried to find him, he was already underwater and never resurfaced.

Gordon County Sheriff Mitch Ralston, Sheriff’s Auxiliary and Northwest Georgia Sheriffs sending aid to flood-stricken areas in Louisiana: According to Gordon County Sheriff Mitch Ralston, Northwest Georgia Sheriffs and the Gordon County Sheriff’s Office Auxiliary were in the process of assembling aid supplies for flood stricken East Baton Rouge Parish in Louisiana. Sheriff Mitch Ralston and the Auxiliary, along with Whitfield County Sheriff Scott Chitwood, Walker County Sheriff Steve Wilson, Murray County Sheriff Gary Langford, Catoosa County Sheriff Gary Sisk, Dade County Sheriff Ray Cross and Chattooga County Sheriff Mark Schrader are organizing the relief effort.

Calhoun City Schools’ announces 2017-2018 Teachers of the Year: Calhoun City Schools in late August announced their 2017-2018 Teachers of the Year. For Calhoun Primary School, Missy Wright was “Teacher of the Year;” Calhoun Elementary School was represented by Shelly West as “Teacher of the Year;” Calhoun Middle School announced Jule Medders as “Teacher of the Year; ” and Calhoun High School selected Christina Long as “Teacher of the Year.”

Calhoun honors Bowen for 46 years of service at CPD: The Calhoun Police Department, City of Calhoun employees and dignitaries honored the retirement of Captain Larry Bowen with a special party on Wednesday, Aug. 31. Bowen worked many different positions in the police station since he began 46 years ago, and was a logistics officer at the time of his retirement, which was officially Friday, Sept. 2.

September 2016

Chalk It Up! event raises awareness for suicide prevention: September is National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month and on Saturday, survivors of suicide showed up to the annual Chalk It Up! event at BB&T Park in downtown Calhoun, where many shared their thoughts and expressed their emotions over losing a loved one to suicide.

City Council continues to move forward on police station, sets millage at recent meeting: The Calhoun City Council met in early August to discuss the Calhoun police station. A land option to explore for a future site of the station was also voted on during the meeting. At a previous council meeting on Monday, Aug. 22, two options for property purchase to build a new police station were brought to the table for discussion. One of the two properties is currently owned by the Gordon County Development Authority on McDaniel Station Road, which had been offered to the City free of charge for the building of a station. The other property was the current Fred’s store, located at 325 Curtis Parkway SE, across from the current Gordon County EMS facility. The Council voted to direct City Administrator Eddie Peterson to work with the Gordon County Development Authority concerning the acreage on McDaniel Station Road and to report back to the Council with those findings to possibly move forward with the property selection.

Gordon BOE rolls back millage rate: The Gordon County Board of Education met on Monday, Sept. 13 and approved the school millage rate for the upcoming year. The millage rate was rolled back to 19.850, coming down from the state maximum of 20 mils this past year. The millage was brought for a vote and the Board unanimously approved it. Last year, the Board voted to raise the millage rate to 20 mils from 18.794 due to state mandated increases in retirement contributions and health insurances, among other things, which the school system had no control over.

Gordon Hospital hosts Robot Day and Gordon Urology Open House: Gordon Hospital hosted Robot Day and Gordon Urology Open House, to give the community a chance to get a closer look at the da Vinci surgical system used by Dr. Hak Lee, urological oncologist of Gordon Urology.

Northwest Georgia Fair kicks off in grand style: The annual Northwest Georgia Fair kicked off with a parade on Saturday, Sept. 10. Bands from Calhoun High School, Gordon Central High School and Sonoraville High School marched during the parade, which also saw participation from contestants from this year’s beauty pageants, winners from last year’s pageants, floats, dance groups and local Shriners.

Stewart to fill Gordon County BOE vacancy: During a called meeting on Sept. 15, 2016, the Gordon County Board of Education selected Dana Stewart to fill the unexpired term of Pam Taylor, who had recently resigned her Post 3 position, following a relocation that took her out of Gordon County.

GoFundMe account set up for boy severely injured in auto accident: A GoFundMe account was set up to help with medical expenses of a boy who suffered severe injuries in a wreck that took the life of his father. Ryder Stone, age 4, was a passenger, along with his sister, Raelyn, in an automobile driven by his father, Rocky Stone on Sunday, Sept. 18. Stone hydroplaned on Red Bud Road, losing control of his vehicle and was struck by a Ford F-250. Rocky Stone was pronounced dead at the scene of the accident. Ryder was immediately transferred to T.C. Thompson Children’s Hospital in Chattanooga, Tenn. in critical condition. The little boy spent several months in the hospital and returned home just before Christmas.

Sheriff investigating death of toddler: According to Gordon County Sheriff Mitch Ralston, deputies are investigating the death of a toddler. Deputy sheriff’s responded to a private residence on Knight Bottom Road in eastern Gordon County at approximately 7:35 p.m. Monday, Sept. 19. The report was of a child who had drowned. The first deputy arrived on scene within six minutes and was quickly joined by Gordon County Fire & Rescue personnel, who began emergency medical aid. A volunteer firefighter had also responded to the scene and was performing CPR before the arrival of deputies. Gordon County Fire & Rescue personnel attempted to revive the child and an air-rescue helicopter was sent to the scene. The two-and-half year old boy was transported to the Gordon Hospital emergency room where he was subsequently pronounced dead despite the efforts to save him by all of the medical personnel.

Unity Run XXIII: David Murillo and Emily Lindsey were the male and female overall winners of the 23rd annual Unity Run 5K on Tuesday. Sept. 24.

CPD make rape, kidnapping arrest: Chief Garry Moss states, Calhoun Police have charged 25-year old Jacorey Norwood, of Calhoun, with one count kidnapping, one count entering auto, one count terroristic threats, four counts simple battery and two counts rape. On Sunday, Sept. 25, 2016, officers received information from the victim, stating she had been taken by force to a residence where she was physically assaulted. Detectives subsequently obtained tangible evidence linking the Norwood to the assault.