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Chickamauga school chief Day accused in mall theft

Superintendent of Chickamauga City Schools, Melody Day is accused of trying to have stolen more than $300 dollars worth of items from Belk at Hamilton Place Mall on December 2, 2018.

Day was allegedly switching price tags of sale items and full price items while in a dressing room to lower the price. When an employee noticed her selecting merchandise to take into the dressing room, Day was apprehended in the store and the police were called. The value of all the items was a little over $300. She has been cited for theft under $1,000.

She was issued a citation as opposed to arrest, and was told to turn herself into the Hamilton County Jail on January 2, 2019, and was also issued a summons to appear in court on January 16.

She had not turned herself in as of Thursday afternoon, and her attorney, Lee Davis, told the Times Free Press that Day denies the charge and that he is waiting to hear what further evidence the police have during her Sessions Court hearing, scheduled for 1:30 p.m. on Jan. 16.

Davis said Day cooperated with the security guard at Belk's and that he believes there may have been some confusion and, potentially, price tags could have been swapped by accident.

The Free Press reported that Day has worked for Chickamauga City Schools since 1978, first as a teacher. The board of education hired her as superintendent in 2000, and she has continued in her role as superintendent since then.

A school board representative said Day told the board about the accusation shortly after it happened. They said she will remain in her position pending court proceedings.

Day's next court date is Jan. 18.


2018 sets rainfall record at 67 inches

An especially rainy December made 2018 the wettest year on record for the Tennessee River Valley and Northwest Georgia with a total of 67.01 inches of rain, topping the previous record of 65.1 inches set in 1973.

While that was good for crops — up to a point — the heavy rain and number of rain days also slowed planting and harvesting, as well as construction of highway projects and business and residential construction projects across the area.

Rainfall for the year was more than 140 percent of normal and runoff more than 200 percent of normal, said James Everett, senior manager for TVA's River Forecast Center, both boosted by hurricanes Florence and Michael and Winter Storm Diego.

Metro Atlanta also set a record of 70.03 inches as it received almost 1 foot of rain in December alone, which is three times the average monthly rainfall.

For Georgia overall, 2018 was the second wettest year on record, with 20 inches above the average.

There was more rain the last two weeks of the year than the Tennessee Valley typically sees in a month — even during the wettest months.

"We got the entire month's average in just the last two weeks," National Weather Service meteorologist Sam Roberts said.

Nearly 5 inches of rain in Chattanooga from December 14 through New Year's Eve helped push the Tennessee Valley to a new record rainfall. The TVA utility company tracks weather patterns for the 41,000-square-mile, seven-state Tennessee Valley area and has rainfall data going back 129 years.


Commander Patrick Doyle: husband, father, hero in blue

On Sunday, Dec. 30, Patrick Doyle, commander from the Lookout Mountain Judicial Circuit Drug Task Force, ended his battle with cancer at the age of 47.

While serving in the police force, the impact he had was unmatched. This compassion for his fellow man extended not only to the community, but to every single person Doyle came into contact with, and perhaps, most importantly, his family.

To all who knew him, he was considered a family man and a picturesque father. Sheriff Wilson of Walker County described Doyle as "the only man I know of that could be in the woods before daylight for turkey hunting, dropping a line at the fishing hole at 10 a.m., watching the Bulldogs play at three, deep-frying a turkey at five, and going on a meth lab bust at eight."

Doyle's team at the task force worked narcotics investigations in Dade, Walker, Catoosa and Chattooga counties, where they would cover rural areas that had plenty of trafficking territory. Since he became commander, Patrick Doyle was the face of drug awareness in North Georgia, speaking at schools and appearing on UCTV. He also continued to assist on investigations.

His funeral was held on Wednesday, Jan. 2, at LaFayette First Baptist Church. Law enforcement from LaFayette and Walker County attended, as well as an abundance of community members who were all

there to show their support. During the service, Sheriff Wilson and Jim Powell, the pastor from Harbor Lights Baptist, both gave heartfelt speeches about the legacy Doyle left behind. Also included in the service were traditional law enforcement funeral customs, including a final radio call, saluting, and passing along the folded U.S. flag to Doyle's widow, Dacia.

Most of those who worked alongside him described Doyle as a "yes" man.

In the eulogy, Sheriff Wilson shared a touching story.

"Once, Pat mentioned going out of town to take P J (Doyle's son) to an FFA meeting. As usual, I only actually heard part of the conversation. Little did I know is that PJ was receiving an award at the national FFA convention, where the president of the United States, Donald Trump, would be speaking. This is quite rare, as the president is usually invited, but President Trump spent about an hour with those kids. It completely slipped my mind, and I called Pat, forgetting that he was out of town. Pat picked up the phone quickly and answered in his usual upbeat tone. I asked if he was busy and he said he was at the FFA convention in Indianapolis, and the president was getting ready to speak. I apologized, explaining my forgetfulness, and asked him why in the world he answered the phone. He simply said, "Because you are the sheriff/"

No matter the time, Doyle was always committed to his work and helping his fellow man.

In a comment on the Catoosa Walker News facebook page, Andi Guffey said, "My heartfelt condolences to his family, friends, and coworkers! This man played an important role in saving my life, just by simply doing his job. Because of him, the DTF, and our Lord, I have been in recovery for over 3 years. For that I am eternally grateful to him."

In various interviews in the past, Doyle would describe his work as crucial to recovery for addicts. He felt that, to rise up, one must first hit rock bottom, and that his work helped that process. In fact, his pastor, Jim Powell, mentioned this in his comments Wednesday, saying "[Doyle] once said that his position was used to bring these people to rock bottom. Then sometimes people like myself are used to lift them back up. We'd just became friends, but more than anything I admired him because, as Sheriff Wilson said, he was a family man."

In November of 2018, in an interview with the Walker County Messenger, Doyle described his work as "ripping off that band-aid for people so that they can learn to focus on healing themselves."

Above all of this, Commander Doyle's favorite title was "dad." He enjoyed nothing more than getting to bond with his son, PJ. The sheriff also addressed his son, saying, "You were the light of your father's life. He was so proud of you, and don't you ever forget that. Daddy loves you so much."

Pat was truly one of a kind and will be missed by all who knew him. He passed away on Sunday, Dec. 30, 2018, surrounded by family and friends.


Hill announces candidacy for commissioner seat

Just two months after the voters of Walker County overwhelmingly (more than 80%) approved a referendum changing the form of government in the county from a sole commissioner to a five-member board with commissioners from each of the four districts plus an at-large commission chairman, the first hat has been tossed into the ring.

Jim Hill, a resident of Rossville, a lifelong resident of the north end of Walker County and one of the original members of the Wilson Road Neighborhood Group, has announced his desire to be the first District One commissioner.

The election will be in November 2020 and the new board will take office January 2021.

Hill said he will meet on a regular basis with residents of the north end and listen to their concerns, pledging to represent the north end of the county and build a working relationship with the other commissioners that will begin a rebuilding of that area of the county.

His full announcement follows:

"My full name is James Hill. I go by Jim. I was born in Chattanooga, Tennessee and my family quickly moved to Chattanooga Valley as an infant. We remained in Chattanooga Valley throughout elementary, middle and high school. After finding the love of my life, Paula Clark Hill, we moved to Rossville and established our family. So, I've lived in the north end of Walker County for my entire life.

"I have worked for the same broadcast company for 25 years. This has been the best experience in working with the public and businesses. Learning how to compromise and stand ground at the same time.

"With this said living paycheck-to-paycheck, I understand. Raising a grandson... yep, I'm doing that too. That is a reason which Paula and I considered for this next decision.

"My friends, I formally announce that I will be a candidate for Walker County Commissioner District One. It's time that the Rossville/Fairview area have a voice which understand what we have lived through and have been mostly ignored for years. It's time that District One has someone to fight for them!

"Giving a voice for Rossville-Fairview and what is best for Walker County will be my utmost concern. Walker County has excellent potential, and District One has what businesses desire: Quick access to the Interstate, high speed fiber optics, excellent power service and workers ready to go.

"I will be having meetings where you can come and ask questions and voice your concerns for District One. I will have several to allow you to be able to come. I look forward to gaining your support and your ultimate vote of confidence at the ballot.

"Thank you and may God bless Walker County, the State of Georgia and the greatest nation ever, The United States of America."