Ringgold's City Council will have a new face in 2018 after newcomer Kelly Bomar defeated incumbent Jake Haynes Tuesday, Nov. 7.
Four people, including incumbent Randall Franks and newcomer Rhonda Swaney, were vying for two atlarge seats in the non-partisan race, with the top two votegetters as the winners. Voters were instructed to pick two of the four candidates.
Franks was re-elected to his post.
Out of 712 votes cast among the 383 ballots, the votes went: Bomar, 209 (29.35%); Franks, 188 (26.40%); Swaney, 167 (23.46%); and Haynes, 146 (20.51%).
The city has about 1,750 "active" voters. An "inactive" voter is one who has not cast a ballot in two straight federal elections.
Bomar, a teacher, ran for a council seat in 2015. In that race he accumulated the fewest votes among seven candidates vying for three seats. On Tuesday, he took home the most votes.
"I just want to give a big 'thank you' to all the people that helped, and a big 'thank you' to all the other candidates," Bomar said. "I've learned a lot, even from all the other opponents. A big 'thank you' to Rhonda (Swaney) and her crew and her family. We weren't a ticket by any means, but we did a lot kind of together as the challengers trying to do change and stuff. ... I know she worked her guts out and ran a great campaign. I definitely look forward to being able to do some good things for the city and representing the city well."
Franks said he's excited about the future of the city and another four-year term representing his community.
"I want to thank Ringgold residents for the faith that they have once again placed in me to serve them on the Ringgold City Council," Franks said in a prepared statement. "I congratulate my fellow council member-elect. Our city has an amazing future in store and every Ringgold resident will be needed to help us achieve even greater opportunities in our hometown. I look forward to working with all our residents alongside my fellow council members, to ensure the goals I shared during my campaign are among the priorities that we strive to achieve."
In addition to thanking the voters, Franks praised the community as a whole.
"I am thankful that the warmth, kindness, and a positive nature of our community shined through at the polls," he said. "We are amazing people with a unique history, strong sense of community, deeply rooted patriotism, love of family, faith in God, and respect for one another. Folks may try to change who we are, but I pray that we never lose those values because that is what I believe makes Ringgold one of America's greatest cities."
Bomar and Franks will be sworn into office after the first of the year, prior to the first City Council meeting.
It all started earlier this year. Folks could borrow audio and e-books online through the Catoosa Library and the Georgia Digital Download Overdrive system.
But a number of people were having trouble figuring it out – how do I get it to work on my phone, my laptop, my Kindle?
The library got enough calls about it that Director Richard Groves decided to set aside an hour each week so people could bring in their devices and get one-on-one help. "Technology Tuesday" was born.
"Overdrive can work a little differently on each devise," says Howard Holsomback, library administrative business, payroll and facilities specialist, who, along with Groves, is available to help people during the Technology Tuesday hour each week. "On Kindle, you actually have to log into Amazon to get to your borrowed books, even though the Overdrive service has no connection to Amazon."
Soon after Technology Tuesday was launched, Groves decided to expand the service to technology in general and not just problems with the library's digital borrowing system.
"We're not technology experts," says Holsomback.
"But between the two of us, we often know enough to help people with problems. Sometimes we can help them get over a hump and take off on their own."
One time, says Holsomback, an older couple came in with their new smart phone. "They wanted to know how to take pictures and send them to their children. We discovered that the wife had already been taking pictures without realizing it, so she had a lot of amusing selfies on her phone. All of us got a laugh out of that."
Holsomback helped the couple understand the various ways they could send pictures – as attachments, through social media and other methods. He sent them on their
way armed with the knowledge they needed to continue learning by themselves.
"If we're not successful in helping," Holsomback says, "at least we tried and it didn't cost anyone anything. Sometimes, though, just talking over the problem with us makes a light bulb go on for a person, and they're able to figure things out from there."
Technology Tuesday runs for an hour, 2-3 p.m., every Tuesday at the Catoosa County Library at 108 Catoosa Circle in Ringgold.
The library can be reached by phone at 706-965-3600, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or through Facebook at Facebook.com/ CatoosaCountyLibrary.
You're on Facebook looking over everyone's latest selfies and you're thinking, "There has to be something more worthwhile I can be doing."
Meet GADD Overdrive. GADD stands for Georgia Download Destination. Overdrive is a service through the public library system that allows you to borrow – at no cost – over 5,000 audio books and over 11,000 e-books, as well as a handful of videos.
So, let's say you want to read a popular novel or a motivational book. Maybe you'd like to learn Spanish or improve your English pronunciation. You might want to read up on diet and nutrition or learn what it's like to be a Secret Service agent. There are books for you at GADD Overdrive.
Thinking of starting a business or applying
for a new job? That's covered, too.
There's something for everyone, from children to adults, from the casual reader to the learner or seeker.
If you're short on time, borrow an audio book and someone will read to you. Pop on some headphones and listen to a book while you exercise or wait at the doctor's office or the auto shop. Listen while you drive. Gather the family round the campfire and listen to something together. How cool is that? You can listen on your phone, computer, tablet, Kindle and lots of other devices.
Books can be borrowed for 7-14 days. The site has features to keep track of what you've read and what you'd like to read. You can listen to excerpts of audio books before borrowing.
"Beginning in February," says Catoosa County Library Director Richard Groves, "GADD will be switching to a new provider, so people will also have access to a lot of magazines and to several thousand more audiobooks."
If you've ever looked at the cost of buying or renting audio and e-books, even used ones, you'll appreciate this service all the more.
To take a look at books available, check out gadd.overdrive.com.
If you already have a library card, go to gapines.org to set up an account, then go to gadd.overdrive.com to borrow books using your card.
If you don't have a library card, go to the Catoosa County Library and they'll get you set up with one: 108 Catoosa Circle, Ringgold. You can reach the library by phone at 706-965-3600, by email at email@example.com or on Facebook at Facebook.com/CatoosaCountyLibrary.
The Catoosa County Board of Commissioners recognized the Ringgold Flag Committee with a proclamation Tuesday night, Nov. 7, in honor of the fine work the groups does each year with biannual "Festival of Flags" celebration throughout Ringgold.
The flag committee consists of volunteers, some of which are veterans themselves, who work tirelessly twice a year to line the city of Ringgold with American flags and crosses to honor deceased veterans from Catoosa County.
The program also includes students from Ringgold High School cutting and assembling the poles and wooden cross stands as needed each year when new flags are added for recently deceased veterans.
City Councilman Randall Franks and former longtime mayor Joe Barger were on hand for the meeting to accept the proclamation, and Commission Chairman Steven Henry had plenty of praise for the group's work in the community.
"Thank you to all the volunteers that are out there tirelessly working and for your service," Chairman Steven Henry said. "We take a lot of the things in the country for granted, and without the veterans, serving and battling for the rights we have, we wouldn't be able to sit here tonight. Thank you all."