Walker County Newsletter  Issue 19
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In this issue:
  • Whitfield to Hold Eight Community Forums in Walker County in February
  • Walker County Fire Rescue Plans Smoke Alarm Blitz
  • Diamond Circle Resurfacing Project Completed Early, 2019 Projects List Being Developed
  • 2018: Year in Numbers
  • "How Walker Works" Now on Apple Podcasts
Eight Community Forums Scheduled in February

Walker County Commissioner Shannon Whitfield invites residents to share their ideas to start the New Year.  Whitfield will host a series of community forums in February to discuss what’s working well today, along with goals and opportunities for the future.
The forums will take place in eight different communities across the county, so residents can attend the one that is most convenient for them.  Each session will begin at 6:00 p.m. and feature a brief introduction, but the majority of each event will consist of public comment and discussion.
“Over the past two years, community input has led to enhancements in fire protection, updates to ordinances regulating animals and alcohol, safety upgrades on Nickajack Road, clean-up of blighted property and our annual tire amnesty day, among other improvements,” said Whitfield.  “I look forward to hearing about the topics important to folks in Walker County and their thoughts on how we can improve county services.”
Community forums will be held at 6:00 p.m. at the following locations:

-Monday, February 4 at Cedar Grove Community Center (5395 W Cove Road, Chickamauga)

-Tuesday, February 5 at Rossville Civic Center (400 McFarland Avenue, Rossville)

-Monday, February 11 at Armuchee Valley Community Center (11471 GA-136,  LaFayette)

-Monday, February 18 at LaFayette-Walker County Library (305 S Duke Street, LaFayette)

-Tuesday, February 19 at Center Post Community Center (8125 GA-337, LaFayette)

-Thursday, February 21 at Fairyland Elementary School (1306 Lula Lake Road, Lookout Mtn)

-Monday, February 25 at Mount Pleasant Community Center (5270 GA-157, Rising Fawn)

-Tuesday, February 26 at Chickamauga Civic Center (1817 Lee Clarkson Road, Chickamauga)

Walker County Fire Rescue Plans Smoke Alarm Blitz

Walker County Fire Rescue and the American Red Cross of Northwest Georgia will be going door to door on February 2nd to improve fire safety in the Chattanooga Valley community.  Teams will be canvassing the Dry Valley Road area to install smoke alarms at no charge, conduct a home safety survey and identify potential hazards in the home.
Four people died in two unrelated fire incidents on Dry Valley Road last year.  Fire investigators did not find working smoke alarms in either home.
“Our greatest obstacle with our free smoke alarm program is getting people to sign up,” said Chief Blake Hodge.  “In my 25 year career, I have not worked a residential structure fire that resulted in serious injury or death, when there were operating smoke alarms present.  Smoke alarms save lives!”
Walker County launched a public service campaign last year that resulted in firefighters installing 228 smoke alarms.  Only 21 smoke alarms were installed in 2017.  “With over 68,000 residents, it’s important to diversify our communication efforts and approach, so this information gets to all our citizens,” added Chief Hodge.  “We hope by adding this one-day blitz, we can increase participation.”
Volunteer opportunities are available for community members who would like to be part of this home fire preparedness campaign.  To learn more or to register, contact the American Red Cross of Northwest Georgia at 706-728-3424 or email Carla Maton at
Any Walker County resident in need of free smoke alarms should contact Walker County Fire Rescue at 706-539-1255. 

Diamond Circle Resurfacing Project Completed Early
2019 Projects List Being Developed

The weather cooperated in December giving the contractor time to finish the Diamond Circle resurfacing project early.  Walker County voters approved the Transportation Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (TSPLOST) in November of 2017, but it did not take effect until April 2018.  With funding beginning to flow into the county by summer, Walker County was able to pay cash for this project and the Nickajack Road project in 2018.

The 2019 road projects list continues to be developed, but several roads have already been identified for work.  We plan to solicit contractor bids on the following roads:
  • Peavine Road (Rock Spring area)
  • Ringgold Road (Rock Spring area)
  • Five Points Road (Chickamauga area)
  • Osburn Road (Chickamauga area)
  • South Dicks Creek Road (Armuchee Valley area)
  • South Burnt Mill Road (LaFayette area)
  • Dry Valley Road (Rossville area)
  • W. Schmitt Road (Rossville area)
  • Glass Mill Road (Chickamauga area)
  • Jones Road (Noble area)
In addition, Walker County is working with area utility providers to ensure underground lines that need to be replaced are addressed before road work begins.  This could impact the schedule of when some roads are resurfaced.
2018: Year in Numbers

Department statistics for Walker County Government reflect several positive developments for the past year.  The Animal Shelter, Codes Enforcement, Fire Department and Mountain Cove Farms all experienced a high demand for services.

Following changes to the county's Animal Care Ordinance and the second year of spaying and neutering dogs and cats before they leave the shelter, euthanasia rates declined significantly.  Only 58 animals were euthanized in 2018!  That number is amazing, considering 732 were euthanized the year prior and 1,066 in 2016.

Codes Enforcement officers continue to work zones throughout the county, helping residents address property maintenance issues.  Officers found 5,125 properties in compliance in 2018, an increase of 379 compared to 2017.  There was also improvement in another codes enforcement area.  The number of violations decline year to year, from 1,469 in 2017 to 857 last year.

Firefighters with Walker County Fire Rescue responded on calls 6,359 times in 2018, an increase of 1,617 over 2017.  The use of Quick Response Vehicles (QRV) also jumped.  Firefighters used QRV's 84% of the time in 2018.

Mountain Cove Farms Resort continues to benefit from great word of mouth, event planning and Walker Rocks.  Along with hosting the Forever Bluegrass Festival twice a year and a number of wedding events, 908 nights were booked at the resort.  There were only 162 nights booked in 2016 and 525 in 2017.

Walker County tracks litter pick-up, potholes, transit rides, new home construction and several public relations functions monthly, as well. You can view all of the departmental stats in the Records & Statistics section of

"How Walker Works" Now on Apple Podcasts 

"How Walker Works" is now on Apple Podcasts for iPhone and iPad users! Subscribe today and never miss an episode.

If you don't use an Apple product, no worries. We'll still post these features online, including, Facebook and Youtube.

So far, the following departments or programs have been featured:

Audio from Commissioner meetings in 2019 are also available to Podcast subscribers.
Quick Hits
Find a valentine for all seasons during the Walker County Animal Shelter's My Furry Valentine event on Saturday, February 9th.

The shelter will be offering speed petting, giving visitors a chance to flip through a photo album and select a potential valentine. The staff will then hook you up with four of your furry favorites. Then, you'll spend four minutes together in hopes of making a match. 

Adoption fees will be reduced during this event to $10 for cats and $20 for dogs.  The price includes spay/neuter, rabies and core vaccination.  Those making a match during this event will also receive a new pet owner starter pack, which includes toys, food, a leash and collar.

Human and doggy snacks will be available at the shelter during My Furry Valentine, which runs from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Saturday, February 2nd will be Frank Richardson Day in Walker County. Mr. Richardson served the county and its citizens on the Planning Commission for 46 years, helping facilitate many projects which continue to have a positive impact on the county.

Mr. Richardson was honored with a plaque and proclamation during the January 24th Commissioner's Meeting.

February will be a busy month for Extension Agents in Walker County.  The local UGA Extension office will play host to several classes and demonstrations for those interested in learning more about the growing and marketing process of chickens and cattle.

The events begin on February 12th with a Meat Fabrication Demonstration at the Walker County Ag Center on the Civic Center Campus.  Hailey Robinson will explain the different cuts of beef for wholesale and retail and show those in attendance how to cut those portions.  The cost for this class is $15.  This demonstration is part of a larger series of classes on Marketing Your Beef Locally.  For more information, call 706-278-8207.

On February 13th, the Georgia Department of Agriculture will present an Egg Candling Class at the Ag Center.  If you have a backyard flock and want to sell your eggs, you need an egg candling certificate.  This class will put you on that path.

Egg Candling is the process of examining an egg in a dark room to detect germ development.  This class is free and will be held at 8:00 a.m., 10:00 a.m., 12:00 p.m. and 2:00 p.m.  To register, call 770-535-5955.

In addition, Walker County Extension will host a Backyard Flock Management Class on February 14th from 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. at the Ag Center.  The class will review poultry breeds, feeds, needs, housing and other items of interest to be successful.  Call 706-638-2548 to register.

Commissioner Whitfield appointed seven community members to the newly created Vision 2030 Advance Team. The group is charged with investigating, researching, discussing and deliberating the actions necessary to make recommendations to the Commissioner's Office addressing issues pertaining to land use, especially issues affecting property values, public nuisances, property rights and future development.
The following are members of the Vision 2030 Advance Team:
Phillip Cantrell
Scott McNabb
Stanley Matthews
David Roden
Bobby Teams
Elizabeth Wells
Matt Williamson

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Walker County Commissioner's Office · 101 S Duke Street · LaFayette, GA 30728 · USA