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Walker County designated StormReady County

The National Weather Service (NWS) has designated Walker County as a StormReady County. The four-year designation provides continued recognition of the county’s efforts to reach a high level of severe weather preparedness.

“Walker County is doing its part to minimize the vulnerability of our citizens to extreme weather events,” said Chief Blake Hodge, Walker County Emergency Management director. “In order to be officially recognized as a StormReady County, we met a number of benchmarks established by the NWS, state and local emergency management officials.”

Criteria includes the development of a formal hazardous weather plan, establishing a 24-hour warning point and Emergency Operations Center (EOC), and utilizing multiple methods to alert the public to severe weather warnings and forecasts.

“We also actively monitor weather conditions locally, promote the importance of public readiness through community seminars and utilize a corps of trained storm spotters who report storm information to the NWS,” Hodge added.

Among the resources Walker County uses to alert the public about severe weather is SirenGPS. The community notification system sends smartphone notifications, text messages and calls landlines when the NWS issues severe weather warnings.

Residents can sign up for the free service through the SirenGPS app, available on Apple and Android devices, or by calling Tina in the Walker County Commissioner’s Office at 706-638-1437.

In addition, Walker County has access to the Facebook Local Alert system, which shares weather alerts in the newsfeed of every Facebook user in Walker County.

This is the third time since 2015 that the NWS has recognized Walker County as a StormReady County.


Catoosa_walker_news
LaFayette reapplies for Main Street designation, seeks program coordinator

LaFayette is resuming its downtown development efforts after losing its Main Street designation and then downtown affiliate status.

The city is currently advertising for a Main Street coordinator. This individual will work in partnership and coordination with consultant Elizabeth Wells, whom the city hired to manage economic development initiatives. She said the coordinator’s job posting will remain open until the “right candidate” is found.

“We currently do not have a Main Street designation,” Wells said. “We wanted to rebuild the program from scratch with all of the new and exciting things that we have going on in the city.”

Wells said the city’s Downtown Development Authority (DDA) is “doing some very forward thinking, planning and investing,” and the city will soon learn if it has been accepted as a new start-up program. If not accepted as a start-up, the city will follow Main Street’s principles and participate as an affiliate program.

Main Street is a historic-preservation-based, downtown redevelopment program established by the National Trust for Historic Preservation in 1980 and is managed by the Trust’s subsidiary, the National Main Street Center. Programs maintain their annual accreditation by meeting benchmarks in 10 different areas and follow Main Street’s trademark Four Point Approach: organization, promotion, design and economic vitality (business enhancement).

LaFayette was designated as a Main Street program in 2007, following a rigorous 18-month start-up process that included community education and building a broad base of support. The city lost its Main Street designation a few years ago, dropped back to affiliate status and then lost its affiliate status “due to failure to meet both national and state requirements,” according to the Georgia Department of Community Affairs Office of Downtown Development.

Earlier this year city officials announced the city’s selection for a grant to develop a downtown master plan with assistance from the Carl Vinson Institute of Government at the University of Georgia. The Lyndhurst Foundation, Georgia Municipal Association and Georgia Cities Foundation are funding the plan.

The Main Street coordinator would be a key position to guide the new efforts.

Wells said she and City Manager David Hamilton will conduct the interviews and then conduct a group interview with some of the DDA members. The city manager will make the final decision in the hiring process and supervise the employee once hired.

The job posting states a major focus for candidates’ education and experience is preferred in “public administration, business administration, historic preservation, marketing, public relations, planning, nonprofit administration, economic and/or community development.”

Wells has also worked as an economic development consultant for Rossville.


Catoosa_walker_news
Downtown LaFayette property owners now able to apply for the facade grant

The LaFayette Downtown Development Authority (LDDA) is looking for downtown property owners who are ready to take part in the new facade grant program to help assist, update and enhance the downtown area.

Applications are now available for commercial property owners that are located in the LDDA district to begin the process of updating their facades with solid short-term and long-term opportunities to transform downtown.

The current facade grant budget is $20,000.

The LDDA facade grant program is designed to enhance the physical appearance of downtown businesses, located in their jurisdiction, by providing financial assistance for exterior building improvements to support the revitalization of up to 10 local property owners’ storefronts with this round of grant-making.

An applicant’s total project cost must exceed $2,000 to be eligible. This program provides up to 50% in reimbursements for eligible costs, which will be outlined in the application, not to exceed $2,000 per storefront.

For example, this would allow for the possibility of placing new doors, windows, awnings, signage, and fresh paint on an eligible local property in the LaFayette Downtown Development Authority jurisdiction. You can find a map of our LDDA district on the city of LaFayette website or the LDDA Facebook page.

The facade grant program will be a component of the current short-term plan to bring immediate improvement to the aesthetics of downtown while continuing to work toward the future for major long-term impact.

UGA is using photographs of existing downtown structures to frame a “compare and contrast” of the existing structures with digitally rendered artwork that gives the property owner a look at “What could be” with enhancing the outside of the building with the facade grant funding.

New vision on the horizon

The University of Georgia’s Carl Vinson Institute of Government manages the Renaissance Strategic Visioning and Planning Process (RSVP) and works in partnership with the local LaFayette RSVP Steering Committee. Together, they are making great strides in building a vibrant plan using the city and citizens’ vision to transform the downtown into a more updated, beautiful, and energized area that our community can enjoy for years to come while respecting the city of LaFayette’s historical structures and quaint hometown feel.

As the city is still in the early phase of the planning process, more than 1,200 surveys were collected in March and 250 focus group participants took part in giving feedback to UGA to begin to inform the new downtown plan. A focus group concentrated on the next generation of leaders was also held with the Lafayette Junior City Council created with students from LaFayette High School.

The community survey says …

The data gathered from the survey details what the community said they wanted to see in the city and illuminated some of the existing problem areas needing to be addressed.

Public input included strong desires for “something to do” in the city, improving connectivity, as well as updating the Mars Theatre District, and connecting Joe Stock Memorial Park and Ross Abney Complex with the rest of downtown.

Public input included the need for more restaurants with outdoor seating, more retail being available and open longer hours, and filling up the vacant buildings with new businesses in the downtown area.

Citizens view the lack of outdoor dining as one of the most missing elements in downtown LaFayette. They also expressed interest in a cleaner, more modern feel, and wanted to see more progress on the lot where the building collapsed.

The positive feedback of the downtown repeated in the survey included: a strong sense of “community,” the appeal of the “hometown” feel, the opportunity for “potential,” a sense of “progress” occurring, and that it feels like our community is “friendly” and “welcoming”.

Time to apply

This is an amazing opportunity to begin to beautify our LaFayette as we make strides to design a more dynamic downtown for new business growth, sustaining existing businesses, attracting more visitors and residents, and connecting our community as a whole.

Applications are currently being accepted by the LaFayette DDA and can be downloaded on the city of LaFayette website, www.lafga.org, and emailed to ddalafayettega@gmail.com.

This downtown revitalization plan is a very exciting opportunity for the city of LaFayette and its citizens, as previous communities have seen substantial revitalization and improvements in their downtowns following this rigorous UGA planning process. We would like to thank the University of Georgia, the Lyndhurst Foundation, Georgia Municipal Association, and the Georgia Cities Foundation for fully funding this project with no local tax dollars required.


The 15th annual Patriotism at The Post is Friday, July 2, with fireworks starting at dark.


Restaurant inspections for Walker and Catoosa counties for June 1-15, 2021

During June 1-15, 2021, the health department conducted inspections at 21 food services in Walker and Catoosa counties: seven earned a perfect score of 100, 12 earned a score in the 90s (A), and two earned a score in the 80s (B).

WALKER COUNTY

THE LOOKOUT MOUNTAIN CLUB INC.

1201 FLEETWOOD DR LOOKOUT MOUNTAIN

Inspection date: 06-01-2021

Score: 96

Inspector’s notes: Observed dish machine dispenser unable to produce sanitizer. CA: PIC is to switch over to three-compartment sink until dish machine is repaired. (4 pts)

HARDEE’S

12876 N HWY 27 CHICKAMAUGA

Inspection date: 06-08-2021

Score: 96

Inspector’s notes

Observed choking posters not posted in dining room. Had PIC post posters in visible locations. (1 pt)

Observed kitchen equipment (deep fryers, hood vent, coolers, heat lamps, and etc.) with build-up. Had PIC increase frequency of cleaning schedule. (1 pt)

Observed build-up of debris on dumpster pad. Had PIC removed debris and pressure wash pad. (1 pt)

Observed facility floors with heavy build-up of debris. Had PIC clean floors/walls more frequently by implementing a cleaning schedule. (1 pt)

PIZZA HUT-DELIVERY EXPRESS

55 HWY 813 CHICKAMAUGA

Inspection date: 06-08-2021

Score: 100

GUADALAJARA

12937 N HWY 27 CHICKAMAUGA

Inspection date: 06-08-2021

Score: 99

Inspector’s notes: Observed paper towel dispenser empty in restrooms. Had PIC restock dispensers. (1 pt)

LAFAYETTE GOLF CLUB

638 S MAIN ST LA FAYETTE

Inspection date: 06-09-2021

Score: 100

LAFAMILIA MEXICAN RESTAURANT LLC

516 CHICKAMAUGA AVE ROSSVILLE

Inspection date: 06-14-2021

Score: 84

Inspector’s notes

Observed no PIC present at the time of routine inspection. CA: CFSM will designate PIC with working food safety knowledge at all times when CFSM is not present. (4 pts)

Observed sanitize concentration too strong for manufactures recommendation CA: PIC cut sanitizer concentration with water to produce appropriate sanitizer concentration. (4 pts)

Observed TCS foods stored over 24 hours without date marking. CA: PIC discarded TCS food. (4 pts)

Observed buildup on walls and ceilings of main kitchen area. CA: PIC will clean all buildup and debris located on walls and ceilings. (1 pt)

Observed multiple flies throughout facility. CA: PIC will follow up with pest control service to effectively control pest. (3 pts)

OLD SOUTH RESTAURANT

796 CHICKAMAUGA AVE ROSSVILLE

Inspection date: 06-14-2021

Score: 100

CATOOSA COUNTY

JACK’S FAMILY RESTAURANTS

56 LAKESHORE DRIVE FORT OGLETHORPE

Inspection date: 06-02-2021

Score: 94

Inspector’s notes

Observed spray bottle of soap stored on food preparation table in between use. CA: PIC moved spray bottle to chemical storage area. (4 pts)

Observed the ice cream scoop dipper well not functioning. Employees are filling the well with hot water and changing it out routinely to ensure the water stays at 135 degrees Fahrenheit or above, but it gets difficult to do during busy times. CA: Dipper well must be repaired. (1 pt)

Observed grease build-up on heat lamp area where fries are kept and side of the equipment in that area of the kitchen. CA: PIC had employees clean equipment. (1 pt)

BOJANGLES’

2051 BATTLEFIELD PKWY FORT OGLETHORPE

Inspection date: 06-02-2021

Score: 91

Inspector’s notes: Observed TCS foods cold held at above 41 degrees in prep top cooler (see temperature chart below). CA: PIC took TCS and placed in ice bath to chill. PIC will monitor prep top/egg cooler prior to continuing using for cold holding TCS foods. Informal follow-up will be conducted to verify cooler is functioning properly. This is a repeat violation over the last 12 months and requires a risk control plan. RCP will be discussed with PIC. (9 pts)

TERIYAKI OF JAPAN

33 LEGION ST RINGGOLD

Inspection date: 06-03-2021

Score: 96

Inspector’s notes: Observed no handwashing soap available at one of the handwashing sinks. CA: PIC filled up hand soap dispenser. (4 pts)

HARDEE’S

1086 BATTLEFIELD PKWY FORT OGLETHORPE

Inspection date: 06-03-2021

Score: 98

Inspector’s notes

Observed grease and food debris build-up on much of the equipment in the facility. Observed heavy food debris build-up in coolers and freezers and gaskets of the cold holding units. CA: PIC will have employees do a thorough deep cleaning of equipment. This is a repeat violation and will require a written plan of correction. (1 pt)

Observed grease-build-up on walls behind fryer and grill and standing water behind freezer. CA: PIC will have employees clean. This is a repeat inspection and will require a written plan of correction. (1 pt)

SUBWAY

2598 LAFAYETTE RD FORT OGLETHORPE

Inspection date: 06-04-2021

Score: 100

APPLEBEE’S

2219 BATTLEFIELD PKWY FORT OGLETHORPE

Inspection date: 06-07-2021

Score: 89

Inspector’s notes

Observed no paper towels available at two of the handwashing sinks. CA: PIC put paper towels in paper towel dispensers. (4 pts)

Observed handwashing soap not dispensing in one of the handwashing sinks. CA: PIC replaced battery in hand soap dispenser. (4 pts)

Observed food debris build-up on several pieces of equipment in the facility. Observed food debris inside of reach-in coolers and grease and food build-up on sides of cooking equipment. Observed food debris build-up in microwaves and on the outside of the microwaves. CA: PIC will clean equipment. Will require plan of correction. (1 pt)

Observed food debris on floors stuck in grout. Grout is getting so low in between tiles that the food and water is staying trapped in between tiles. CA: Recommend replacing grout in areas where is has gotten so low between tiles. (1 pt)

VALLARTA

23 LEGION ST RINGGOLD

Inspection date: 06-08-2021

Score: 95

Inspector’s notes

Observed hydrogen peroxide and bucket of sanitizer solution stored on prep table surface. CA: Chemicals must be stored away from food and food prep areas in a designated area. (4 pts)

Observed employee personal items, food and medicine stored on prep surface and scattered on shelves and not labeled. CA: Employees must keep all personal items in one designated area away from food preparation and food storage. (1 pt)

THE HANGOUT (MOBILE UNIT)

1379 CROSS ST FORT OGLETHORPE

Inspection date: 06-09-2021

Score: 100

THE HANGOUT (BASE OF OPERATION)

1379 CROSS ST FORT OGLETHORPE

Inspection date: 06-09-2021

Score: 100

TACO BELL

3022 BATTLEFIELD PKWY FT. OGLETHORPE

Inspection date: 06-09-2021

Score: 99

Inspector’s notes: Observed dumpster lid open when not in use. CA: PIC had food employee close the dumpster door. (1 pt)

SONIC

6645 HWY 41 RINGGOLD

Inspection date: 06-14-2021

Score: 91

Inspector’s notes: Observed TCS food in prep top cooler cold holding above 41 degrees Fahrenheit. Internal hanging thermometer showed the air temperature to be over 45 degrees Fahrenheit. The internal temperature of food ranged from 47-51 degrees Fahrenheit. CA: PIC said they had it serviced recently and it had needed Freon, but they will keep the food iced down until it can be permanently repaired or replaced. (9 pts)

KRYSTAL

15703 ALABAMA HWY RINGGOLD

Inspection date: 06-14-2021

Score: 97

Inspector’s notes: Observed food service employee wearing a wristwatch while preparing food. CA: PIC had employee remove wristwatch and wash hands. (3 pts)

TACO BELL

5422 ALABAMA HWY UNIT 4682 RINGGOLD

Inspection date: 06-14-2021

Score: 96

Inspector’s notes

Observed food service employee preparing food while wearing a wristwatch. CA: PIC had employee remove the wristwatch and wash hands. (3 pts)

Observed leak in ceiling directly above prep line on serving line/table. PIC said it has been addressed but not repaired. They are not actively using that portion of the serving line but requested them to put a pan on the line to catch the dripping water and keeping it from splashing on the food being prepared and cold held on the line. CA: Leak in ceiling must be repaired as soon as possible. Informal follow-up will be conducted within 10 days to verify the leak has been repaired. (1 pt)

WENDY’S

401 BATTLEFIELD PKWY FT. OGLETHORPE

Inspection date: 06-15-2021

Score: 100


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