United States Congressman Tom Graves enlightened a large group of some of the best and brightest high school students from the 14th Congressional District of Georgia on how to become leaders in their communities and exhibit leadership qualities as they move forward in their education and careers at the 2017 GA-14 Youth Leadership Summit last Tuesday.
The summit, which took place at Georgia Northwestern Technical College, opened with a welcome and remarks from Graves describing how the selected students are leaders in their respective high schools, and how big of a responsibility that can be.
"I believe that this district has been seeded with some of the greatest leaders of tomorrow, and today," Graves said. "You are all leading someone, somewhere, somehow."
Graves was joined by a variety of guest speakers during the event, who each shared their unique insight and personal leadership journeys. The students in attendance were seated at various tables where they had the opportunity to interact with individuals from different schools and share their thoughts on the information relayed by the guest speakers.
First up was Casey Aultman, who currently works as the State Relations Manager at Georgia Tech and formerly served as a Georgia Senate Rules Committee Aide. Aultman shared her college and career path, and started an interactive dialogue with the students about their personal career goals. Throughout her presentation, Aultman
utilized thunder as metaphor to illustrate the adversity students will have to battle through as their journey continues.
Chick-fil-A Rockmart franchisee and entrepreneur Zach Thomas took to the stage next. Thomas shared his leadership journey, which also includes becoming an accomplished author, attending the U.S. Military Academy in West Point, N.Y., becoming an Army Ranger Instructor and founding Ranger Coffee. Thomas' speech was centered around the question "Who are you?" He challenged students to discover their identities and passions.
Graves then spent a few minutes discussing his personal path from local humble beginnings to the national political level and fielded questions from the group. His message was rooted in the theme of "Dream big, work hard and achieve much."
After lunch, students also heard from 21st Century Leaders representatives Nicole Meadows and Asher Jones. 21CL is a group that encourages students to explore career opportunities, take on leadership positions and give back to their communities.
The last speaker of the summit was Johnny "Joey" Jones, who is a retired Staff Sergeant in the U.S. Marine Corps that was combat wounded in 2010. Jones spent eight years in Iraq and Afghanistan as an Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) Tech who disarmed and destroyed 80 Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDS). He encouraged students to overcome life's obstacles and "Get up, get over it and get going!"
In addition to the presentations by the guest speakers, students also participated in games that allowed them to display their school spirit, viewed inspirational and motivational videos, openly discussed topics with their tables and received a chance to share their knowledge of District 14 and win prizes during multiple rounds of trivia led by Graves.
According to Calhoun Police Chief Garry Moss, a four month long investigation of a Mohawk Industries employee has led to the arrest of 54-yearold Deborah Ann Busby, of Fairmount, in connection with financial transaction card fraud and identity fraud.
Busby was arrested on Oct. 9, 2017 on 51 counts of financial transaction card fraud and 51 counts of identity fraud.
Busby was a 17-year employee of Mohawk Industries, according to an HR representative with the company, where she worked as an Incentive Specialist. Investigators say that, after employees at Mohawk uncovered discrepancies in several Mohawk accounts, they were contacted, where several hundred documents were examined, along with conducting interviews with numerous parties. It has been alleged that Busby took approximately $766,000 over a three year time period, where she used her position to convert funds for her own use.
"(Busby) used the money to pay personal bills, take lavish vacations and purchase various items for personal use," said Calhoun Police Captain Tony Pyle.
At about 7 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 19, a deputy sheriff observed a suspicious Honda automobile driving recklessly near the intersection of US 41 and Interstate 75 near Resaca. The driver of the Honda sped away at a high rate of speed. The deputy gave chase and the pursuit extended onto the interstate and then into Calhoun. The deputies were joined by Calhoun Police officers and state troopers from the local State Patrol Post. The chase continued out of Calhoun and onto State Route 53 (Rome Road) with the offender driving head on into opposing traffic on numerous occasions, including one attempt to ram a patrol car. The chase lead into the Scottsville community where the Honda drove into a private farm road before stopping.
The driver, identified as Matthew Thomas Dotson, age 34, whose last known address was listed as 369 Hunts Gin Road, fled on foot. The passenger, identified as Ashley Paige Wooten, age 22, of 263 5th Street, Rolling Acres was arrested at the scene without incident and charged with possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute, forgery, and permitting
an unlicensed driver to operate (her) vehicle.
Deputies, troopers and authorities from Floyd County remained in the area for several hours searching for Dotson, who has not been located at press time. A substantial amount of methamphetamine was found within the Honda automobile by deputies. Warrants have been issued charging Dotson with possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute, forgery, aggravated assault, fleeing and attempting to elude peace officers and a host of other traffic offenses. Sheriff Mitch Ralston thanked the Calhoun Police, troopers from State Patrol Post 43, as well as the Floyd County Police and Sheriff's Office for their valuable assistance.
As of press time, the Sheriff's Office was still actively searching for Dotson. Anyone with knowledge of his whereabouts is urged to call 911 or the Sheriff's Office at 706-629-1244
Early voting for this year's General Municipal Election has begun, but this election cycle will not see a Saturday voting offering at the Gordon County Board of Elections and Voter Registration Office.
There have been 240 to cast their vote early as of press time for this year's General Municipal Election, which includes the City of Calhoun, Town of Resaca and a Countywide SPLOST Election. Early voting is held Monday - Friday through Nov. 3, 2017, from 8:30 a.m. until 5 p.m. at the Gordon County Board of Elections & Voter Registration Office, which is now located at the old BB&T Building at 215 North Wall Street in Calhoun.
The election involves several posts up for grabs in the City of Calhoun, City of Fairmount, City of Plainville and Town of Resaca.
An important Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (SPLOST) vote is also on the ballot. This SPLOST is not new; if passed it will simply be a continuation of the SPLOST currently in place. SPLOST projects laid out by Gordon County and the local municipalities on this ballot include:
Gordon County: Funding capital outlay projects consisting of: public works projects including road and bridge improvements, annual paving, equipment purchase, resurfacing projects, improvement, repairs or replacement to Mt. Olive Road, Boone Ford
Road, and, other roads, bridges or capital infrastructure; public safety vehicles and equipment; renovation and equipping of government administration buildings; renovation and equipping the E911 facility; renovate, construct and equip Sugar Valley Fire Station; land acquisition, design, construction and equipping an Agricultural Facility and economic development projects; improvements to Parks and Recreation including renovations at Salacoa Park; development of greenways and trails; improvements to Sonoraville recreation facility; and to acquire land, design, construct and equip Youth Sports field(s) on the west side of the County; construction and equipment for a new evidence building and morgue; renovation, expansion and equipment for records retention; renovations to the Sugar Valley Community Center.
City of Calhoun: Funding public safety projects consisting of: police body cameras, fire department vehicle extraction equipment, police station debt repayment; funding recreation projects consisting of a new gym with indoor walking loop, tennis court improvements, dog park, trail system expansion throughout Calhoun, playground equipment, Oostanaula boat ramp improvements, maintenance equipment; funding public works street milling and resurfacing, public works equipment, completion of Peters Street, recycling building and equipment, maintenance equipment for cemetery, parks, and animal control, sidewalk repair and expansion, additional sidewalk access to all city schools; funding utilities to repair and replace various sewer infrastructure.
City of Fairmount: Funding capital projects consisting of: public works projects for city streets to include widening, curbs and gutters, sidewalks, storm drains, shoulder repair, street maintenance and equipment, repair and replace culverts and parking lots; new construction or renovation of municipal buildings including equipment and fixtures; recreation facilities or equipment; and, water and sewer projects.
City of Plainville: Funding capital improvement projects consisting of: sidewalks; road improvement or repair; recreation; improvements or repair to City Hall and Fire Department; and, maintenance and repair to city property.
Town of Resaca: Funding capital projects consisting of: a new town hall; public works for roads and streets; and, expansion of sewer service.
Seats up for grabs this election cycle are:
City of Calhoun:
For City Council Post 3, incumbent councilman Matt Barton will face former Calhoun councilman George Crowley.
For City Council Post 4, former Calhoun councilman Ray Denmon, former Gordon County commissioner Alvin Long and Ed Moyer have all qualified to run for the post being vacated by David Hammond.
For Calhoun City School Board Post 1, only local photographer Andy Baxter is running, the post being vacated by current school board member Alvin Long.
For Calhoun City School Board Post 2, incumbent Rhoda Washington will see no opposition, as well as Calhoun City School Board Post 3, where incumbent David Scoggins was the lone qualifier.
City of Fairmount:
Incumbent Fairmount City Council member Steve Fain qualified for Post 1 and incumbent Fairmount City Council member Jim Dodd qualified for Post 3; if no one qualifies as a writein candidate for Fairmount City Council posts, there will be no election. Deadline for write-in candidates is Friday, Sept. 1.
City of Plainville:
Incumbent Plainville City Council member James Miller qualified for Post 3 and incumbent Plainville City Council member Frances Fossett qualified for Post 4; if no one qualifies as a writein candidate for Plainville City Council posts, there will be no election. Deadline for write-in candidates is Friday, Sept. 1.
Town of Resaca:
For Resaca Town Council Post 3, Michael Austin, Randy Barron and Mitch Reed will all vie for the post.
For Resaca Town Council Post 4, incumbent Sandra Adams will see no opposition.
For more information on this year's General Municipal Election, visit www.gordoncounty.org, where sample ballots can also be found.