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Second Calhoun Chick-fil-A location could soon be a reality

The largely underdeveloped Red Bud Road area around the Interstate 75 exit may soon get an additional food option.

Several City and County officials confirmed Tuesday evening that a deal to bring a second Calhoun Chick-fil-A location to the area near Walgreen’s is currently in the evaluation stage.

“To my knowledge, they are still going trough their due diligence,” City Administrator Paul Worley said. “I don’t think they have purchased the property yet, but yes ... they are looking at a location on Red Bud Road.”

As with any real estate transaction, a deal can take time.

“I hope it comes but everything has to work out first before it’s a done deal,” Worley said.

Mayor Jimmy Palmer confirmed the survey process is underway, and developers are currently seeking an easement from Walgreen’s to move the process forward.

“Hopefully it will be done soon,” Palmer said. “They said once they start it will move quickly.”

Palmer said he was initially contacted by a group about the project, and facilitated a jumping off point for discussions.

“The engineering group got in touch with me, and we set up a meeting with Community Development,” Palmer said, adding that at the moment the aforementioned easement is the first hurdle in the process, as well as the necessary processes with the Georgia Department of Transportation that comes along with this type of project with state highway access.

The most likely target for the project seems to be the parcel of land between Walgreen’s and Red Bud Liquor at 1105 Red Bud Road that sits catty-corner to Arby’s. That property is currently owned by Hamilton Medical Center, who has its new Calhoun campus behind the property off Curtis Parkway.

County Commissioner Bruce Potts also mentioned the potential project during his Commissioner’s Report on Tuesday night, lending further credibility to the longstanding rumor.

As for Chick-fil-A, when the Calhoun Times reached out to the company last week, no confirmation was given.

“While we hope to serve the Calhoun community in the future, we cannot confirm a location at this time,” Jackson Spalding public relations representative Brownlee Hopkins said on behalf of the company.

Carters Dam spill gate issue leads to minor local flooding

If residents in eastern Gordon and southern Murray counties noticed any additional high water earlier this week, it wasn’t just because of the rain.

An issue with a re-regulation spill gate at Carters Dam released additional water from the facility for a period of time Tuesday, according to the Army Corps of Engineers.

“We are currently operating in emergency mode as a dam spill gate is stuck in the open position at the re-regulation dam,” the Army Corps of Engineers said in a release Tuesday morning. “We are working to resolve this issue as soon as possible.”

The issue caused concern for additional water in areas around Gordon and Murray counties already prone to flooding, in addition to the heavy rains in the area over the past several weeks.

River forecast models predicted waterways around the Red Bud community to go into minor flood stage Tuesday with the unexpected release, according to the Corps.

Just before 1 p.m., engineers were able to get the spill gate down, and reported water retreating from the re-regulation lake area below the dam near the Gordon-Murray county line east of the Highway 411 and 136 intersection.

Local officials had been monitoring the issue from the onset, and were in communications with both the Corps of Engineers and the National Weather Service.

“Due to the flow of water that has already been released continuing downstream we could possibly still see some flooding issues but any of those should be minor in nature,” Gordon County Emergency Management Director Courtney Taylor said Tuesday afternoon.

During the gate’s malfunction, approximately 15,000 to 18,000 cubic feet per second of water was being released from Carters Lake, according to Taylor.

With the gate now repaired, local crews will continue to monitor the situation as any additional water that does flow into Gordon County.

“Gordon County public safety and public works are monitoring flood prone areas and public works will begin placing signage on flooded roads if and as they begin to occur,” Taylor said.

Gordon County approves Emergency Operations Plan, on-demand architectural service contract

Several items were approved by the Gordon County Board of Commissioners this week, including the latest Emergency Operations Plan.

The plan, available for viewing at online, is intended to provide a comprehensive framework for county-wide emergency management by addressing the roles and responsibilities of government organizations. It also aims to provide a link to local, state, federal, and private organizations and resources that may be needed in response to local disasters and emergencies.

“We’ve been working on this for about a year,” County Administrator Jim Ledbetter said, adding that the plan has to be updated every four years. “There was a grant that we received to provide an expert to us who drew up most of the plan.”

Ledbetter made note that the current plan comes into play nearly every day as a guideline for various county operations dealing with contacts and notification procedures for county departments.

“This is our general playbook for how to respond to various emergencies,” Ledbetter said.

The 2023 edition passed the board unanimously during Tuesday night’s regularly scheduled meeting.

Also approved was a request from HMO Properties LLC to rezone a 12.25-acre parcel at 146 Shope Lake Road from A-1 Agricultural to C-G Commercial for a non-climate controlled storage unit facility. A similar past request had been approved by the board in 2021, but the property was reverted back to A-1 when that project didn’t become a reality.

A Malt Beverage, Wine and/or Liquor License for Mapco Express, 973 Highway 53, was also approved, as well as the surplus of a county-owned Glock model 45 9mm handgun to be presented to retired Sheriff’s Captain Mike Barton.

Commissioners also approved an on-demand architectural and engineering services proposal from Croft and Associates.

“This aspect of their service is to provide on demand consultation,” Ledbetter said, adding that these types of services would usually be called upon to address unforeseen circumstance such as a washed out bridge repair not requiring major, more long-term architectural work.

The agreement doesn’t obligate the county to use Croft for jobs, but simply leaves the ongoing option to call on their services when needed.

Finally, Commission Chair Bud Owens set the latest round of Commissioner committee appointments. Vice Chair Kevin Cunningham will be charged with Human Resources, Elections, ITGIS, Planning and Development, and Building Inspections; Commissioner Chad Steward will be charged with the Finance Department, and Tax Assessor’s Office; Commissioner Bruce Potts will be charged with Parks and Recreation, and the Senior Center; Commissioner Kurt Sutherland will be charged with Fleet Management, Public Works, and Building and Grounds; and finally Owens will be charged with Public Safety and Emergency Services, as well as Animal Control, and Code Enforcement.

“What this means is ... we have the opportunity to serve as their connection and their liaison to the board, and we can advocate for them, if needed,” Owens said, adding that it also gives commissioners the chance to keep the board updated on what’s happening around county government.

The next regularly scheduled meeting of the Board of Commissioners is set for Tuesday, Feb. 7, with the work session beginning at 5 p.m. and the regular meeting at 6 p.m., both in the Gordon County Judicial Building Assembly Room, 101 S Piedmont St. All regular meetings are open to the public.

According to Owens, unless notice is given otherwise, this will be the new ongoing time and place for all regular commission meetings through 2023.

New local COVID cases rise more slowly, one new death

New local and statewide COVID cases didn’t rise as sharply as the previous week.

Over the past week, Gordon County saw 20 new cases and one confirmed death. Across Georgia, 6,016 new cases of the virus and 102 confirmed deaths were reported.

Gordon County’s Community Level stayed at Medium over the prior week. Per CDC guidelines, individuals should stay up to date on their COVID vaccines, get tested if they have symptoms, and wear a mask if they have symptoms, a positive test, or COVID exposure. Those at high risk for severe illness should consider masking in indoor public spaces at that level.

That level remains medium because of last week’s hospitalization rates — those have declined slightly to 16.6 new COVID admissions per 100,000 in population. Overall, staffed inpatient beds in use by COVID patients are up to 6.6%. The case rate has increased slightly, up to 115.59 per 100k in population.

Currently, the Omicron variant of COVID remains top of the food chain in the United States. Delta and other variants still retain a few cases, but have mainly been quashed by Omicron. Three subvariants of Omicron make up a significant portion of cases in America, and have for several weeks: XBB.1.5, which is the current dominant subvariant, BQ.1.1, and BQ.1. The subvariant which drove the summer spike in cases, BA.5, has quickly been dethroned by those variants, going from 70% of new cases down below 5%.

CDC continues to recommend updated bivalent boosters for those ages five and over and at least two months out from their previous dose, and for children six months to four years of age who had the Moderna primary series at least two months prior.

To schedule a COVID-19 vaccine or booster appointment, those interested can also log on to or call 888-457-0186 for the Health Department Vaccine Scheduling Resource Line. For more information on vaccination and boosters, visit

Anyone experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, or those who have been in close contact with an individual with COVID-19, should be tested regardless of vaccination status.

Four more free at-home test kits are now available per household through USPS. Those who would like those free kits can visit and input their information to get tests shipped straight to their front door.

At DPH/Mako Medical test sites, testing is free of charge. Those in Gordon County can also find a PCR testing kiosk within AdventHealth Gordon. To find a COVID-19 test site, log on to

Lenny Gregory