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Walker County assisted living facility closed after accusations of abuse

Authorities are investigating claims of abuse at an assisted living facility in Walker County, Sheriff Steve Wilson said Thursday, May 19.

Sheriff’s Office detectives and investigators with the Georgia Department of Human Resources on Wednesday, May 18, inspected and searched Majestic Manor, an assisted living facility at 67 Pin Oak Drive in Rock Spring, the sheriff said.

“Investigators are investigating allegations of elder abuse by the owner-operator of the facility,” he said.

The facility’s state operating license is issued to Debra A. Donohue of Ooltewah, Tenn.

As a result of the inspection and search, authorities closed the facility and relocated 15 residents in Northwest Georgia, Wilson said.

The investigation is continuing and possible criminal charges may be issued in the case, he said.


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Winding around Walker County: Facts to know, places to go, and sites to see

Walker County is a beautiful place — that much most residents would probably agree on. If nature and history are things you love, you could stay busy for a while.

Let’s start with some basics about the county and move on from there.

There are five incorporated cities in Walker County. One of them may surprise you a little.

♦ LaFayette is the city seat, with 6,888 residents last time someone counted.

♦ Rossville comes in at 3,980 residents and is home to the John Ross House.

♦ Chickamauga boasts 2,917 residents and its own school system.

♦ Lookout Mountain’s 1,641 residents look down in the valley onto all the others.

♦ And then there’s Fort Oglethorpe with a population of 10,423 folks, but only 358 of them live in Walker County. The rest live in Catoosa County.

To make matters more confusing, many residents who live in Fort Oglethorpe have Rossville addresses, though they do not live in Rossville or Walker County.

If you aren’t confused enough, there are people who live in Catoosa County but have Chickamauga addresses.

Moving beyond the little confusions, the U.S. Census Bureau feels pretty certain that Walker County is home to around 69,398 people.

And speaking of moving, did you know that the Tennessee Valley Railroad offers a “Chickamauga Turn” route with layovers in the city of Chickamauga (one hour, fifteen minutes) and Chickamauga Battlefield (30 minutes at Wilder Tower)?

If you prefer to move vertically and have a very long rope and some serious experience, you can rappel into Fantastic Pit — 586 feet down, down, down. Incredible Pit is an experience, too, at 444 feet down.

Both pits are part of the Ellison Cave system that’s 12 miles long and 1,063 feet deep at its deepest.

Pettyjohn’s Cave offers a great opportunity for those who like to travel by crawling. It contains the Worm Tube — a 150-foot wiggle on hands and knees.

The bottom line is there are lots of ways to move around in Walker County and its cities and all the parts not in cities.

To learn more about things to do and ways to move in Walker County, visit https://walkercountyga.gov/discover.


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19 tons of dog food given away in Ringgold

Monday, May 16, was a good day for area dogs as many owners loaded their pups into their cars and headed for the Ringgold Telephone Co. parking lot to pick up free dog food.

North Georgia Animal Alliance secretary Sara DeBerry received a call a few weeks ago from the Atlanta office of the Humane Society of the United States asking if NGAA would be interested in distributing a truck load of donated dog food from Chewy.com.

“We definitely were,” says DeBerry, “but we needed a place with a loading dock and a forklift.”

RTC to the rescue! DeBerry contacted Marcy Kernea, advertising and public relations manager at RTC, which has supported NGAA in its work for many years now.

“We were happy to help,” says Kernea. “Alice Bandy, the owner of RTC, has a real heart for animals and we love helping the community.”

DeBerry and other NGAA volunteers, as well as volunteers from RTC, were ready early Monday morning to distribute 1,300 bags of IAMS dog food. Cars started lining up an hour early with canines of all sizes and types hanging out windows or sitting on human laps.

Kernea and DeBerry agree that the most fun part was seeing all the dogs. On the other hand, loading 39,000 pounds of dog food in 30-pound bags was a lot of hard work. But DeBerry says she hopes to be able to do it again. “Maybe we’ll get some cat food next time, too.”

Kernea is also looking forward to doing it again. “We already do food distributions for people through The Evitt Foundation,” she says. “Being able to help with pets too is great.”


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Event planned to show support for new hospital in Catoosa County

An event called #StandDownParkridge will be held Wednesday, May 25, to protest Parkridge Health System’s attempts to halt construction of a new hospital in Catoosa County.

“The state of Georgia recently approved CHI Memorial’s certificate of need to build a new hospital in Catoosa County to serve north Georgia,” Catoosa County Public Information Officer John Pless said. “However, we understand Parkridge Health System (based in Chattanooga) plans to file a last-minute appeal by May 31. This could delay the project for years, or even cause CHI Memorial to cancel their plans altogether.”

The event will begin at 5 p.m. at 4700 Battlefield Parkway in Ringgold.

Parkridge Health System, which operates two hospitals in neighboring Hamilton County (Tenn.), wants the state of Georgia to stop construction of the new hospital, in part, on the grounds that it would duplicate services already being provided by existing hospitals. Parkridge’s hospitals are both less than 8 miles from the location of CHI Memorial’s proposed new hospital.

CHI’s current hospital building in Fort Oglethorpe, called CHI Memorial Hospital Georgia and located at 100 Gross Crescent Circle, is nearly 70 years old, with some portions of the hospital dating back to 1904.

The new hospital, which will also be called CHI Memorial Hospital Georgia but located at 4750 Battlefield Parkway in Ringgold, will replace the Fort Oglethorpe facility.

The $130 million-plus hospital will feature state-of-the-art inpatient beds, including an intensive care unit (ICU), a full-service emergency department, and operating rooms and procedural suites. Plans include 64 medical/surgical beds, an emergency department with support services and related on-site infrastructure.

The new hospital will connect to the current CHI Memorial Rees Skillern Cancer Center and CHI Memorial Parkway medical office building on Battlefield Parkway, creating a single campus and establishing a central location for inpatient and outpatient services.

Construction of the new hospital is scheduled to begin in the summer of 2022, with a targeted completion date of mid-2024.


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