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City approves annexation, rezoning requests

Members of the Calhoun City Council approved several items, including three rezoning requests, two of which included annexation.

A pair of adjoining properties at 1544 Highway 53 Spur were each approved for annexation into the city, as well as rezoning.

According to attorney John Robbins, a convenience store is planned for one of the two acre parcels. The city approved rezoning from county to C-2 for that property.

Apartments are planned for the other two acres, according to Robbins, and zoning was approved from county to R-2 for that parcel.

Both pieces of property by ZR Holdings LLC and are located at the corner of the Highway 53 Spur and Forest Heights Drive.

Another rezoning was approved by the council for 15.81 acres off Travelers Pathway behind the Pilot Travel Center at Highway 41 and I-75 from C-2 to Industrial-G.

The parcel, owned by Stanley Simpson, is the future home of Traveloko, according to a sign at the property.

Also approved by the council was a beer and wine package license request from Buc-ee’s No. 52, 601 Union Grove Road.

None of the public hearings drew comment from members of the public.

In other business, the council approved Councilman Al Edwards as the city’s designated voting delegate for the annual GMA membership business meeting on Aug. 8.

The council also approved the requested homecoming parade permit from Calhoun City Schools for Thursday, Sept. 30 at 6 p.m., following the traditional route through town. That application is subject to approval from the Georgia Department of Transportation.

A request by the city telecommunications department to make 15 electronic items surplus for sale on GovDeals was also unanimously approved.

Monday, July 26 is the next scheduled meeting of the city council. That meeting is set for 7 p.m. at the Depot, 109 S. King St. That meeting will be open to the public.

All votes by the council were unanimous, but without Mayor Pro Tem Crowley who wasn’t present.

Buc-ee's Calhoun set to open Aug. 23

Calhoun’s long-awaited Buc-ee’s location is set to open Aug. 23, according to the store’s manager.

“We’ll be opening at 6 a.m.,” Calhoun store manager Adam Eckroate said. “We’re excited to get started.”

Eckroate said he recently relocated from a store in Texas to become the manager at the Calhoun location, and expects to be officially turned over to him by contractors on Friday.

Located at 601 Union Grove Road, Buc-ee’s No. 52 is the second location in the state of Georgia, following location west of Warner Robins about 160 miles down Interstate 75.

An application for a beer and wine package license was approved for the store Monday night by the Calhoun City Council.

The process for the 53,000 square foot store started back in 2019 with a land exchange approval and zoning through the Gordon County Commission and Calhoun City Council.

A portion of Johnson Lake Road was moved during construction to meet up with Belwood Road in order make room for the store, and a traffic light recently began operation at that intersection.

Headquartered in Lake Jackson, Texas, Buc-ee’s was founded in 1982 and has locations in Texas, Alabama and Georgia with other stores planned or under development in North Carolina, South Carolina and Florida.

The chain’s largest location is currently a nearly 68,000 square foot travel center in New Braunfels, Texas that has 120 gas pumps and 1,000 parking spaces. It’s not only the largest Buc-ee’s location, but is also considered the largest gas station and convenience store in the world.

One thing that makes Buc-ee’s different than most travel centers along the interstate is that large trucks aren’t allowed as the stores have no fueling points for semi trucks.

Local 'elves' join forces for Christmas in July

For the 13th year, several local churches, businesses and individuals have combined efforts to make the year a little brighter for their neighbors.

This year’s Christmas in July collaboration was held this past Saturday and 102 local families — including 115 adults and 268 children — were pre-selected to be helped.

Over 100 volunteers pitched in at various times.

Each family was gifted a health care kit, toothpaste, toothbrushes, a dental care bag, a personal hygiene bag, disinfectant wipes, masks, toilet paper, feminine products, razors, shaving cream, diapers, shampoo, conditioner, bath soaps, bedding, towels, cleaning supplies, Bibles, back packs with school supplies and other goodies.

Families were also provided with gift cards to use at local grocery stores.

Also, both local school systems were presented with boxes of supplies, including new underwear, socks, shoes and clothing to be given to children in need by school social workers.

Grants supplies by dozens of organizations, churches and businesses helped with this year’s efforts, including a $1,000 from North Georgia Electric and $1,500 from the Calhoun-Gordon Community Foundation of Northwest Georgia.

Coordinators include Sandi Dillard, Vickie Spence, Mary Sterling, Jan Drexler, Anne Barton, Judy McEntyre, Pam Treglown, Rosellen Burns and Heather Moss.

14th District race drawing national money; Democrats vying to unseat Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene spark interest

Northwest Georgia’s U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene is spending a lot of money to raise money for her 2022 campaign.

The Rome Republican’s latest filing with the Federal Elections Commission shows she has just under $2.8 million in the bank.

For the period covered in the latest quarterly report — April 1 through June 30 — she spent about $1 million and took in $1.5 million. During the previous quarter she spent $1.4 million to bring in $3.2 million.

Candidates who have already announced they’re running against her next year have far less to work with at this point.

Republican Mark Daniel Clay of Adairsville spent $2,910 of the $6,000 he started with and reported $3,090 cash on hand. The primary to choose party nominees is scheduled for May 24, 2022.

Four Democrats also have active campaigns registered with the FEC.

Marcus Flowers, a veteran from Bremen, was in the financial lead with $234,578 on hand as of March 31. He had not yet filed his June 30 report, which was due Thursday.

Rome City Commissioner Wendy Davis, who jumped into the race in May, reported raising $118,104 and spending $6,727 over the two-month period. Her balance at the end of June was $111,377.

Holly McCormack of Ringgold has raised nearly $250,000 since she declared her candidacy in the first quarter of the year. She reported a total of $60,010 in the bank as of June 30.

Lateefah B. Conner of Dallas had $26,335 in her campaign fund at the end of March and had not yet filed her second quarter report.

Georgia’s 14th Congressional District covers the counties of Floyd, Gordon, Polk, Chattooga, Walker, Catoosa, Dade, Whitfield, Haralson, Murray and Paulding, and part of Pickens.

It is one of the most heavily Republican districts in the state, although the Georgia General Assembly is slated to redraw the voting maps this fall when 2020 census numbers are released.

A deeper dive

Greene’s reported activity over the past few months shows a candidate criss-crossing the country to raise funds.

She’s also spent tens of thousands of dollars with Facebook for virtual events and with a New Jersey-based mobile messaging firm. Mudshare taps into data generated by mobile devices and apps to identify potentially receptive consumers and their habits. It then contacts them through social media, texts, automated phone calls and emails.

Travel also accounts for a large part of Greene’s expenditures. There are numerous payments for commercial air flights, Ubers, hotel rooms and meals. While the bulk of the receipts are for typical costs, with flights and rooms in the $100 to $200 range, several trips to Florida were pricier.

A meal at Charley’s Steak House in Orlando on Feb. 26 was listed at $3,205. Another meal on March 23 — at Morton’s The Steakhouse in West Palm Beach, near former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago — was $1,000.

Greene also spent $5,868 at Morton’s on April 22, and made three payments of $384 each for rooms at the West Palm Beach Courtyard by Marriott on April 24.

She also listed over $60,000 in legal fees and still owes herself $500,000 from the $9.5 million personal loan she made to her 2020 campaign.

Greene’s donors were from almost every state in the nation and many of them made monthly contributions. Of the hundreds reported in her second quarter filing, 36 of them were from the 14th District and a majority of those were women.

Davis’ first filing shows more than two-thirds of her contributions came from Georgia — and at least half of that from people within the 14th District.

She’s a member of the Democratic National Committee and also drew support from relationships she’s developed there during her years as a political consultant. She also added a personal loan of just under $5,000.

Most of Davis’ expenses were payments to NGP VAN, a voter database and web hosting service provider used by the Democratic Party, and Act Blue, an online fundraising site also used by the party.

On June 22 Davis paid $227 for a staff meal at El Zarape in Rome.

McCormack reported taking in $164,725 and spending $148,514 between April 1 and June 30.

Through the Act Blue site, McCormack drew contributions from numerous states, including Georgia, but few from within the district. A big bump of $1,000 came from a group called Downballot Dems based in Paulding County.

In addition to Act Blue fees, McCormack spent money on several different types of campaign materials including videos, photography, design services, printing and mailings. She also listed payments to five campaign staffers and several consulting firms.

An $1,800 payment went to The Campaign School at Yale University for candidate training. McCormack also spent a total of $3,090 for lodging at the Mainstay Suites in Chattanooga, Tennessee, on six occasions in May and June.


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